Steve Cotler

Steve Cotler

Category Archives: Education

Innumeracy and Chicanery

I am no fan of standardized testing, but New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof appears to be. And his 4/25 column (“Are You Smarter Than an 8th Grader?”), which uses such measuring tools to make a point, is distressingly misleading. In order to demonstrate our country’s incompetence in mathematics, he presents three questions from a 2011 Trends […]

In Praise of Children’s Librarians

When I was a boy, elementary schools did not have libraries. We didn’t know what we were missing because our town had a Carnegie Library. Beginning in 1889, steel magnate Andrew Carnegie built homes for books. Eventually his philanthropy erected 2,509 public libraries, two-thirds of which were in the United States. The one in my […]

Admitting Writers and Artists to Harvard

The following essay is taken without alteration from Harvard Magazine’s current issue. I reprint it without comment because its clarity and persuasiveness require none. Read and reflect. *     *     *     *     * Porter University Professor Helen Vendler, a  preeminent poetry critic, has served on Harvard College’s undergraduate admissions committee. Given contemporary admissions processes and pressures, […]

Cheesie Mack in “Publishers Weekly”

My first book, Cheesie Mack Is Not a Genius or Anything, was released by Random House Children’s Books almost exactly one year ago. Since then I have visited over 80 schools across the country…in Massachusetts (Cheesie lives in Gloucester), New York, California, Oklahoma, Nevada, Florida, Washington, Idaho, and I can’t remember where else. Kids love […]

School Breakfast Sugar

At a school I recently visited on my Cheesie Mack book tour, I arrived as breakfast was being served. It was a sugary, carbo feast, consisting of a paper carton of chocolate milk, a plastic container of sweetened applesauce and a hard boiled egg in a twist-tied plastic bag, and a cinnamon bun in cellophane. […]

Celebrating the Holidays and Rewriting

My web design firm, Waxcreative Design, knows how to get authors noticed. In addition to great aesthetics, they are expert at branding, marketing, and promotion. They are also good people. I am honored this Holiday Season to be featured on their New Year’s card. About 100 school sessions ago,

Cheesie Mack and Mac ‘n’ Cheese

Every author visit I make to schools around the country is different. Schools have distinct personalities, and my presentation is redirected by local influences. One school might put up posters and have a Cheesie Mack Day. Another might get me interviewed by the local newspaper. But for every school, in this time of tight budgets […]

Cheesie Mack and the Reading Detectives

How do you get kids excited about reading? My answer is to show them how reading a good book is an adventure in itself. I get them to ask themselves questions. Questions like: Who are these characters? Why did the plot take that turn? How did the author create this mood? I call it being […]

A Return to Kamala School

I was in Southern California all last week hopping from bookstores to schools in an exhausting and exhilarating schedule of 22 Cheesie Mack book events and two Pobba concerts. All were fun and rewarding, but one visit, a spur-of-the-moment trip back in time, stood out. In September 1952, Oxnard’s Kamala School (K-6) opened to students. […]

A Siyuntist’s Perspective

Little Johnny can read well long before he can spell well. Should you be worried? Should you send him to a tutor? Problem-solving technique can be deductive/analytical or inductive/synthetic. Stated another way, an approach can be convergent or divergent. For every youngster striving for literacy, learning to read and spell requires both convergent and divergent