Secrets of Eastcliff-by-the-Sea

Part of the Family

In The Secrets of Eastcliff-by-the-Sea, I’ve written about an entire family of sock monkeys. Each time a new person is born into the family of Ethel Constance Easterling, who celebrates her 90th birthday during the book, she creates a sock monkey for them and names each one. Within this story, we meet: Throckmorton S. Monkey,… Read More


Throckmorton S. Monkey

The Home of the Sock Monkey

Throckmorton S. Monkey, one of the main characters in The Secrets of Eastcliff-by-the-Sea, is a red-heeled sock monkey. Do you know the history behind these easily-recognizable stuffed animals? Did you know that Rockford, Illinois calls itself the Home of the Sock Monkey? That’s because John Nelson, a Swedish immigrant to America, patented a sock-knitting machine… Read More


Yorkshire terrier

A Yorkie Inspired My Novel

Tango, my beloved dog who passed on last year, the model for one of the main characters in Tango: The Tale of an Island Dog, was a Yorkshire Terrier. Do you know much about this breed? Do you realize that it has been a popular pet since Victorian times, first being recognized by the American… Read More


Five Books to Enjoy

Here are five books for middle grade readers that I’ve read and enjoyed recently: 1. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll with illustrations by Camille Rose Garcia (Published by Collins Design, an imprint of HarperCollins, 2010) 2. The Question of Miracles by Elana K. Arnold (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015) 3. On My Honor by Marion Dane… Read More


When Wishes Come True

Tango is traveling by boat on the ocean with his person, Marcellina, and her boyfriend Diego when Tango is washed overboard! In the months that follow, his fondest wish is to find his way home to Marcellina. He does everything within his power to make that wish come true. He has a lot of help… Read More


“Hey, Rat-Boy!”

In the Teachers’ Guide for Tango: The Tale of an Island Dog, I’ve suggested that you develop a script for Chapter 34—“A Fair Fight”—and act out the scene. Start the scene at the point that Beau hears a voice call into the night: You’ll find good dialogue to work with and it’s a tense scene,… Read More


Eileen Beha

Reading Out Loud

In the midst of the coziest time of year to share books, I posed the question to several Minnesota writers, “Describe a time in your life when a special person read out loud to you.” Here’s how three of them answered. I’ve included my own memory as well. Under the Stairs Janet Graber (who grew up… Read More


The Longest Night

Lighting the Winter Dark

Augusta and McKenna make enchanted candles for the tourists in Tango: The Tale of an Island Dog. Perhaps you’d like to make your own for the darkest night of the year, the Winter Solstice on December 21st. Here’s a video tutorial on making your own pillar candles. Have fun! And here’s another book for your… Read More


Fantastic Mr. Fox

Beau Fox’s Booklist

Beau Fox sent me a note last week. He’s such a reading advocate that he wanted to share a list of books about foxes with you, dear readers. “When asked, I’m partial to my own story of course, Tango: The Tale of an Island Dog, in which I impart a good deal of wisdom to… Read More


Secrets of Eastcliff-by-the-Sea

Reading Aloud and Signed Books

During this season of gift-giving, I—like so many other grandparents, parents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends—turn to books as the perfect present for a special child. Nothing gives me more pleasure than knowing that a book I’ve selected might become his or her favorite, destined to be read over and over again. But… Read More