No Extra Words

one person's search for story

Episode 112: Two Girls Named Betsy: going back to the books of my childhood

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episode 112

Today’s books are:

“B” is for Betsy by Carolyn Haywood. Harcourt, Brace, & Co., 1939.

Betsy-Tacy by Maud Hart Lovelace. HarperCollins, 1940.

Blog posts about Carolyn Haywood from the Free Library of Philadelphia:

Part 1

Part 2

Complete list of Betsy-Tacy books with synopses

Thank you for being here for this our 3rd anniversary episode.

Find our first anniversary episode here.

And our second anniversary episode here.

Happy listening,



Special Episode #19: My Thoughts on “The Great American Read”

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Special Episode #19

Watch the full 2 hour PBS launch special here.

Check out the full list of nominees.

Find me on Goodreads and join the conversation.

Happy listening,


Episode 111: On Being a Little Boy

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episode 111

Today’s books are:

The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats. Viking, 1962.

A Poem for Peter by Andrea Davis Pinkney. Viking, 2016.

Other things discussed in this episode:

Ezra Jack Keats’s former collaborator talks about him.

Andrea Davis Pinkney’s website.

Happy listening,



Episode 110: Poets in Picture Books

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episode 110 artwork

Today’s books are:

Gertrude is Gertrude is Gertrude is Gertrude by Jonah Winter. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2009. (not pictured)

A River of Words: the story of William Carlos Williams by Jen Bryant. Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, 2008.

Pablo Neruda: poet of the people by Monica Brown. Henry Holt and Company, 2011.

Other links and notes from the show:

Some notes on the current Golden Age of Picture Books 

Horn Book’s history of the picture book biography. 

The Sibert Medal, given by ALSC, awarding informational writing for children.

Booklist interview with Jonah Winter, in which he talks about the similarities between picture books and poetry

Jonah Winter’s website

How to read Gertrude Stein from Boston University

Full text of “Sacred Emily” by Gertrude Stein.

Happy listening,



Episode 109: Real Poetry, No Pretension

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episode 109 artwork

Today’s books are:

Hip Hop Speaks to Children: a celebration of poetry with a beat, edited by Nikki Giovanni. Sourcebooks, Inc., 2008

Out of Wonder: poems celebrating poets by Kwame Alexander. Candlewick Press, 2017.

Links to some of the things we talked about today: on National Poetry Month

Last year’s Poetry Month conversation with poet Kelly Russell Agodon on No Extra Words

Poet James Berry, who was featured in Hip Hop Speaks to Children

Tupac as most profane hip hop artist

The Atlantic on what is a poem

NPR conversation on Out of Wonder

And then we end with a blast from the past.

Happy listening,



Episode 108: Women Writers on Baseball

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Episode 108

Today’s books are:

Squeeze Play: a novel by Jane Leavy. Doubleday, 1990. (Not pictured. In his younger days, my little baseball fan tore the cover off my copy.)

Wait Till Next Year by Doris Kearns Goodwin. Simon & Schuster, 1997.

She Loved Baseball: the Effa Manley story by Audrey Vernick. Balzer & Bray, 2010.

Other books mentioned:

Queen of the Diamond: the Lizzie Murphy story by Emily Arnold McCully. Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2015.

Girl Wonder: a baseball story in nine innings by Deborah Hopkinson. Atheneum, 2003.

The Streak: how Joe DiMaggio became America’s hero by Barb Rosenstock. Calkins Creek, 2014

Links to things discussed today:

The Attagirl podcast episode on Effa Manley

The Negro Leagues Museum Twitter account

Doris Kearns Goodwin’s bibliography

Happy listening,


Episode 107: Where Do Books Come From?

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Episode 107 cover

Today’s books are:

A Wreath for Emmett Till by Marilyn Nelson. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2005

Little Leaders: bold women in black history by Vashti Harrison. Little, Brown, and Company 2017.

Other books I spoke of quite a bit are:

Carver: a life in poems by Marilyn Nelson. Front Street, 2001.

How I Discovered Poetry by Marilyn Nelson. Dial Books, 2014.

Links to some things we talked about today.

The interview where Marilyn Nelson discussed the initial discussion about Emmett Till.

Vashti Harrison’s Instagram account.

Vashti Harrison’s interview in School Library Journal.

Happy listening,



Episode 106: Old Friends

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Old Friends

Today we’re talking about a book we once knew well.

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle. Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1962.

Thank you to today’s special guest who stopped by to talk Wrinkle with me. Check out his other appearance on the show.

Happy listening,


Episode 105: How I Came to Love Historical Fiction

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105 show art

Today’s books:

Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder. HarperCollins, 1932.

Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder. HarperCollins, 1935.

Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder. HarperCollins, 1933.

On the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder. HarperCollins, 1937.

By the Shores of Silver Lake by Laura Ingalls Wilder. HarperCollins, 1939.

The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder. HarperCollins, 1940.

Little Town on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder. HarperCollins, 1941.

These Happy Golden Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder, HarperCollins, 1943.

The First Four Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder. HarperCollins, 1971.

Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson. Delacorte Press, 2006.

Links to some of the things we talked about today:

The History Chicks podcast episode on Laura Ingalls Wilder.

Some basic info on the Homestead Act .

Links to the two charts about number of Homestead Final Patents: 5 year increments, 10 year increments.

Montana specific Homestead Act Info.

Roger Lea MacBride’s obituary.

Little House as a teachable moment.

Little House from the American Indians in Children’s Literature blog.

Happy listening,


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