Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Hope you have a Spooktacular evening! Hwaa ha ha haaa!
Monday, October 29, 2007
Oh well. Congratulations, Boston Red Sox! You did us proud!
Friday, October 26, 2007
And not even because David Ezra Stein wrote two books starring a character named Ned. Though I think the snowflake should weigh heavily in my favor since my husband's name is Ned. And while I'm at it, how about the coincidence that David's middle name is Ezra and that's the first name of the man who founded my alma mater.
Okay. I know I'm stretching the reasons why I deserve this snowflake. But, seriously. Look at this snowflake! David used acrylic and black ink...simple materials for a beautiful snowflake that has my name all over it...all because it reminds me of a cute version of the Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz and all that he wanted...Courage. Pure and simple. Courage.
David has written and illustrated four picture books: Cowboy Ned & Andy, Ned's New Friend, Leaves and Monster Hug! His illustrations and books are joyous, sweet and charming. Perfect for hanging out with your little one(s) and reading out loud. And congratulations is in order for David--Leaves was recently awarded the New York Public Library, Best Books of 2007.
David was kind enough to agree to an interview. Little did he know what he was getting into. Without further ado...I'd like to welcome David Ezra Stein.
HWM: What made you realize you wanted to write and illustrate children’s books?
David: In senior year of Parsons, where I was studying illustration, I had a teacher named Pat Cummings who was a real, live children's book author and illustrator. Meeting someone who makes her living that way put the idea into my head that I could do the same. She told me she loved my class work and I had a good shot at getting published. During that semester, I suddenly remembered how I'd loved books a child, and how I'd always written stories for pleasure, and it all fell into place. Well, not right away; it took four years before I sold my first book.
HWM: Which came first, the illustration or the writing? How did this all come about?
David: Well, if you go back to the age of three, I was already drawing. Writing had to wait until I could read, of course. I remember in school we had special time set aside to work on our own books. This was in first or second grade. My friend and I collaborated on a 100-page book about Charlie Brown. It was all pictures, and I don't know if we ever made it to 100, but it was ambitious. I also drew more than my share of spaceships bristling with guns.
I kept on drawing and writing all through school. It came from a very personal need, not from any real outside source. When I finally published my first book, it was like the public tip of a very big personal iceberg of work...if you catch my drift.
HWM: Your website is wonderful. How involved were you in the design of it?
David: Thank you! I created it all on my own. I have been building my own websites for about 5 years now (i.e., as long as I've had one). I hope folks come visit me and my books there. There's a cool book-making project up, and I will soon be selling prints of my artwork there, among other things.
HWM: The picture book market is tough to get into nowadays. What do you think sets your work apart from the other picture books out there?
David: I don't quite know the answer; Maybe you should ask my editors and art directors! All I know is that the picture book form is very close to my heart, and when I look at the bookshelves in the store I just know there's room for me up there. It's like there's a big conversation going on, and I have something to say that I need to add to it!
HWM: How do you come up with the ideas for your books and artwork? Tell me about your books and any new projects you’d like to share.
David: I have ideas every day. I believe everyone can. The "trick" is to listen to and honor those ideas. Write them down. Draw them. Edison said something like, "The best way to have a great idea is to have a lot of ideas."
Some of my books start as words, some as pictures, and sometimes (like with the book Leaves) the words and pictures come all at once. When an idea meets up with an emotional impetus–a need–a story is born. I believe a story has to need to be told. The way I tell stories is in the picture book format. It is one of my native languages. (After all, my parents and grandparents read to me very early on.)
HWM: Tell me about the snowflake you designed. What inspired you to design “The Mane Event”—I saw a picture of it on the Robert’s Snow website and it’s awesome. It reminds me of the Lion in the Wizard of Oz.
David: "The Mane Event" was inspired by the shape of the snowflake I was given. It was kind of the first impulse I had on viewing that shape. The mane seemed to be gathered in bunches, hence the bows. I imagined someone had tied the lion's mane in ribbons (while he was sleeping perhaps), and this was his first reaction on looking in the mirror.
HWM: Why did you get involved in Robert’s Snow? Have you created other snowflakes in the past?
David: This was my first time participating in Robert's Snow, mainly because I'd never heard of it before this year. It was a good chance to be part of a community of artists and help a good cause. It is all the more important to me because I lost someone close to me to cancer a few years ago.
HWM: What has been the biggest surprise of your career?
David: So far, that achieving a dream is only the beginning. There's always more work to do, more learning, more decisions to make. Enjoy the process!
HWM: If you could share any unique tip to aspiring illustrators/writers, what would it be?
David: Work, work, work! Don't wait for someone to invite you, pay you, or beg you. While you're waiting to hear about one manuscript, work on another. Welcome your ideas, be a good host to them. And always keep a sense of joy in what you do.
HWM: What was the best illustration/writing advice someone ever gave you?
David: My drawing teacher always said: Look at what you're drawing, not at the paper.
HWM: Will you be posting more on your blog?
David: Sure, I plan to post news regularly on my blog. Sometimes I even post pages from my sketchbooks.
HWM: What makes you laugh?
David: Not a what, but a who: my wife. That's how I fell in love with her.
HWM: If you were a superhero, what powers would you want and why?
David: The power to know the truth no matter what distractions are around.
Thank you David!
Here are today's featured snowflakes:
Juli Kangas at Sam Riddleburger's blog
Ginger Nielson at Miss O's School Library
Margot Apple at Jo's Journal
For more information on the master schedule of the featured snowflakes, head on over to 7-Imp. Please think about bidding for a snowflake in the Robert's Snow auction for yourself or a loved one. Treat yourself to some creative goodness and help raise money to fight cancer. Come on, let's make this the year!
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
I've had the pleasure of reading On Pointe and Hold Me Tight. Both books are on my list of Strong Girl Role Models in Children's Literature. This was my thought on Hold Me Tight: Inspired by a true story, Hold Me Tight is an emotional story written in prose. I wanted to protect 12 year old Essie and her family from everything that was happening to them. First, Essie's dad leaves his pregnant wife and two children. Second, Essie's classmate Chris is kidnapped. Third, Mr. Paul, Essie's mom's friend, tries to touch Essie in an inappropriate manner. You cheer for Essie's mom, who believes her daughter rather than Mr. Paul. She throws his sorry butt out the door and gets the authorities involved. How's that for a strong mama? You cheer for Essie, who is a sweet girl who watches out for her brother and mother, worries about classmate Chris, speaks up for herself, finds ways to punish her dad, and has the strength to hold on to what she has.
Here's what I wrote about On Pointe: What do you get when you combine a free verse style novel with a hopeful teen who dreams and sacrifices for the love of ballet? Add a bit of competition, an ambitious family, and a grandfather who was right all along and you get a beautiful flowing novel, On Pointe...for more, read here.
And talk about awards. Loose Threads has been recognized as A Best Book for the Teen Age, New York Public Library; A Best Children's Book of 2002, Bank Street College of Education; A Washington State Book Award Finalist, 2003; A Top 10 Youth First Novel, Booklist; A Best of the Best, Edmonton Public Libraries, Canada; A Rhode Island Teen Book Award Nominee; New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age; Bank Street College Best Children's Book of the Year; Booklist Top Ten First Novel for Youth; Washington State Book Award Finalist; and Rhode Island Teen Book Award Finalist.
On Pointe has been awarded the Girls' Life Magazine Top Ten Summer Read; Bank Street College Best Children's Book of the Year; Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children's Book Award Finalist; A Kansas State Reading Circle Middle School Title; and A Missouri State Reading Circle Senior Title.
Hold Me Tight won the distinction of A VOYA Poetry Pick; and A Kansas State Reading Circle Middle School Title.
Wait until you read all about Lorie Ann. I'm sure you'll agree with me that she is one accomplished woman. Without further ado, I give you Lorie Ann Grover.
Lorie Ann: After being in the Miami Ballet Company and growing too tall to continue to pursue my career, I refocused my energy on fine art. I attended the University of Miami and began a drawing major. However, I soon realized I felt thwarted with imagery only, and I really needed to write to fully communicate. I have a brother ten years younger than me, so my exposure and interest in picture books was still fairly fresh and current. Also, my job in college at South Dade Regional Library was to shelve about 800 children's books a day. You could say, children's lit has always been with me. It was a natural step to write and contribute to the field that I love.
HWM: You’ve written four books so far…do you have any current or future projects you can share with your fans?
Lorie Ann: I'm looking for an agent right now as I have 3 novels I'd like to place and a pile of board books. My work is getting ahead of me, and it would be great to have someone in my corner giving me a hand. Two novels are written in verse, and one is a fantasy in prose. One verse novel is about one of my best friend's daughters being struck by a truck in a crosswalk. The other is about my experience in Korea living among prostitutes, and the fantasy is about a woman's self worth and religious persecution.
HWM: How did you get started in writing in verse? What do you enjoy about writing in free verse? What advice do you have for those people who have difficulty working within the tight structure of this format?
Lorie Ann: I actually started by writing picture books. Loose Threads was first sold as a picture book. The project fell through when my editor left publishing. I resubmitted the work to Emma Dryden at Margaret K. McElderry Books. She was the one who suggested I expand the picture book into a verse novel. She suspected I had a lot more to say. She was right!
I love the tightness of verse. Emma says my entries are like photographs. I enjoy capturing intense emotion and surrounding it with white space. I have the kind of mind that sees the large picture and breaks it down to the minute.
If verse doesn't come naturally, write prose first. If you want to experiment, take a paragraph of your prose and then divide it into verse. Look for natural breaks, rhythms, and points you'd like to emphasize. Think of it as shaping a sculpture. There's no wrong. This is your own heartbeat creating shapes. Then, read the final verse structure aloud. Is anything gained? If so, try more. If not, it was an interesting exercise.
HWM: Are your novels all inspired by real life situations? When did you know you had the right ending for your books?
Lorie Ann: My novels are based heavily on my life. I am the main characters. Many of my family members carry their own names. When I see someone reading my work, my stomach lurches as if they are reading my journal.
I really don't touch the keyboard until I know my ending. I need to have my landing in sight through the entire process. It feels safe to me.
HWM: Who was the toughest character to write about?
Lorie Ann: I'd have to say the man who molested me in Hold Me Tight. I'd shake a bit whenever I had to even revise that scene.
HWM: Which book, if any, would you change if you had the chance, and why?
Lorie Ann: I wouldn't change any of my novels. I think of them as a representation of who I was at that point. I do look at my illustrations and think I'd like to move a line or change a color. But again, I try to have peace that this was what I saw at the time. Any thoughts or new ideas go into new works.
HWM: Do you outline or free form?
Lorie Ann: I jot points at the start. More like rocks across a stream that I'll leap to with the shore in sight Not a formal outline. I can't just free form or I'd be lost in an ocean.
HWM: Where do you like to write?
Lorie Ann: I'm kind of like a cat. I choose my spots and then change them: the couch, my office, the rocking chair, my bed.
HWM: What is your writing process or ritual?
Lorie Ann: My process is: when everyone's quiet, I write! Really. I homeschool my daughter. (I'm down to teaching one now. Our oldest I finished and is in college.) I work with readergirlz, and maintain our household. When I get everything done, and the laundry's not calling either, I announce to everyone, "I'm writing. Do not interrupt me unless you are bleeding or on fire." That works.
HWM: I understand you also illustrate books. What medium do you work in?
Lorie Ann: I do illustrate. It gives me a chance to exercise another part of my mind. I love the elephants in When Daddy Comes Home. And the cover. I feel I caught the joy of father and child. Or elephant and otter. :~) I work in oil pastel, gouache, and pencil.
HWM: How long does it take you to write the first draft?
Lorie Ann: That varies according to what is going on in my life. I had cancer this summer and was in complete isolation for a week. I knocked out about 80% of a first draft. Usually it takes several months.
HWM: What has been the biggest challenge of your writing career and how did you tackle it?
Lorie Ann: The biggest challenge was probably persevering through the six years of rejection. I think ballet training came to my aid. Every day you plie. Over and over. Every day you sit at the computer and write again.
HWM: What has been the biggest surprise of your writing career?
Lorie Ann: The biggest surprise has been becoming a readergirlz diva. I never imagined myself teaming up with Justina Chen Headley, Dia Calhoun, and Janet Lee Carey to really create change. It's been a wonderful extension of my writing and given me awesome contact with readers. Empowering them to read, reflect, and reach out has been extremely fulfilling.
HWM: If you could share any unique writing tip to aspiring writers, what would it be?
Lorie Ann: I'd say read all genres and do writing exercises to mimic them. If I hadn't tried verse, my voice might not have found a way out. I really think finding the specific format is the key.
HWM: What was the best writing advice anyone ever gave you?
Lorie Ann: Janet Wong gave me a little yellow cushy chair that says, "Butt in the Chair." Awesome. I believe it was Katherine Paterson who said revisions are your chance to turn spilled milk into ice cream. It's helped me treasure the revision process.
HWM: The readergirlz divas have been busy with the 31 Flavorite Authors. How did this evolve?
Lorie Ann: Since we saw our community thriving, we thought there might be a way to use what we had created to support YALSA's Teen Read Week to encourage literacy. Justina brainstormed the idea to feature one author every night in October. 31 Flavorites was born.
HWM: What’s next for the readergirlz divas?
Lorie Ann: The divas are in the final stretch of 31 and brainstorming a project for the holidays and a fabulous one for spring. We are doing select appearances across the country as well. Justina is launching her second novel, Girl Overboard, and Dia is launching The Return of Light, a Christmas Tale. Janet is psyched about her novel Wenny Has Wings being made into a movie in Japan. She has to shop for a dress to wear to the premiere. And as I said, I'm hunting for an agent, and currently revising a verse novel with a house. While looking at a few more cancer treatments.
HWM: How long have you been homeschooling your children? What made you decide to homeschool? What are the challenges and joys of homeschooling?
Lorie Ann: I homeschooled my oldest daughter from 3-15. She started college at 16. I believe we are on the same track for my younger daughter. We decided to homeschool because both girls began to read so early. I just started teaching them, and pretty soon, we were off track with the school system in terms of age. I remember my oldest wasn't going to be able to start kindergarten until age 6. There was no way that girl was going to wait!
The challenge is to teach self-motivation. The child has no one in sight to brush against, compete with, or follow the class example. All of that has to be raised up in the individual.
Social experiences are actually what most people are concerned about. My oldest participated in the band at school for 8 years and became the first homeschooled drum major in the public high school. My youngest participates in choir at the middle school and enjoys it very much.
The joy includes teaching your child to read. It's hard work but the greatest moment. And then seeing them devour information they are interested in is a blast. There's so much more time; my oldest studied from college Marine Biology books at 14, and my youngest has worked her way through college Cultural Anthropology books. They have time to seek and discover their passions.
HWM: If you found a way to go back to your teen years as one of your characters, what would you do differently?
Lorie Ann: Since my characters are me, the question is what would I do differently. I'd make friends. I lost so much trust when my father left my family, I became very internal. It would have been so much easier if I had found friends like I have now. Everyone needs a circle of divas!
HWM: What makes you laugh?
Lorie Ann: Definitely my brothers. We all tend to fall on the floor when they are around. I do, also, laugh at myself--a lot.
HWM: If you were a superhero, what powers would you want and why?
Lorie Ann: You ask that of someone with the last name of Grover? Super Grover! Warm, blue, and fuzzy with a heart to help. Even if he has trouble with his landings. He can fly!
Thank you, Lorie Ann! Best of luck with everything...
Where to find more info on Lorie Ann Grover:
Lorie Ann's website (for information on her books and her beautiful artwork)
excerpt from Loose Threads
excerpt from On Pointe
excerpt from Hold Me Tight
Edited to add: I just found out that Lorie Ann's book, Hold Me Tight, Loose Threads and On Pointe are nearly sold out. They may be available in the future as a print by demand. That makes me so sad. These books are helping teens deal with issues they may not necessarily feel comfortable talking about. Look at the response from Lorie Ann's Chat on readergirlz! Hopefully, these books will come out in paperback.
Monday, October 22, 2007
Please note: these entries are the property of the authors. If any of you go on to write a manuscript from your entry...good luck!
Beneath the gnarly oak tree Christina and Tarabeth nestled as tightly as they could together. Once again their parents were arguing over everything and anything, and they could no longer take it, so they had sought shelter beneath the tree that had once held their childhood treehaven.
Elizabeth glanced towards the back of their old brick house, wishing they could go in. "Tarabeth," Elizabeth chattered, "do you see that small door over there?"
Tarabeth too noticed a glint of metal in the sun, she had never seen that before.
Slowly the girls crawled across the yard to the house. There, unbeknownst them before they found a silver finished door just waiting to be opened.
Alkelda the Gleeful:
Kate and Moon-Pie found a dusty door. The door was behind the couch in Aunt Libby’s library. “I will have to crawl through the doorway,” Kate said. “You are short enough to walk through the door. Then I can see what is behind the door.”
“No,” Moon-Pie said. “I do not want to go.”
“We will have fun,” Kate said. “This is a secret passage. We will find gold. We will find shiny stones. We will find books with magic spells.”
“No,” Moon-Pie said. “We will find monsters. We will find meat-eating dinosaurs. We will find spiders.”
“Some spiders are nice,” Kate said. “Besides, we are prepared. I have a flashlight. You have silly putty. We are both brave. We will have the adventure of our lives.”
The sisters ran past the shaking trees then crept along the path, looking for the light that would show them back to the passage. It was getting dark, and the wildlife of the forest behind them were starting to get restless.
"Quick!" Mary said, pulling Rita through the bushes. "Let's rest here. Keep quiet and look around. Let's see if we can figure out where we are."
There couldn’t possibly be a more boring way to spend a beautiful fall day, Shelby thought to herself as she trudged up the basement stairs in her aunt’s house with yet one more box for Goodwill. Couldn’t her parents have chosen a rainy day to do this particular chore?
“Thanks, Shelby,” her mom said as she deposited the box in the driveway. “Can you help Kaylee in the cold room?”
Shelby shrugged. What was she supposed to say? No? Of course she would help her sister. When Shelby got to the cold room, Kaylee was surrounded by piles of linens.
“Oh – I’m glad you’re here. I don’t know if any of this stuff is considered good or not.” Kaylee said, and held up a finely embroidered handkerchief.
“That looks good. But who uses handkerchief’s anymore?” Shelby said and sat beside her younger sister.
“Of course it’s good.”
Both girls jumped at the unexpected voice behind them. Shelby, heart beating fast, turned slowly to see who could possibly be behind them, since the only door to the room was in front of them.
“I embroidered those myself.” It was a girl, not much older than Shelby, wearing very old fashioned long skirts.
“Who are you?” Shelby asked.
“Where did you come from?” Kaylee said at the same time.
“I’m Rita. I came from here – but sometime else. Want to come with me?” She beckoned with one finger, a slight smile on her face.
Anything was better than sorting out old handkerchiefs and napkins. Shelby and Kaylee nodded.
“Then follow me.”
And they followed her behind a shelf and back around – right back to where they had been. The room was the same room – but everything was different. There were herbs hanging from the ceiling and strings of onions, and there was a barrel of potatoes and a barrel of apples.
“Where are we?” Kaylee asked.
“Right where you were,” Rita answered.
“Then when are we,” Shelby asked.
Rita just grinned. “That is the question, isn’t it,” she answered.
Cree-aa-k! Ann and Hope jumped.
"What was that?" Hope said.
"I don't know," Ann said, "let's go check."
The sisters started to walk up the stairs to the attic. Ann noticed a glimmer of light near the top stair that floated towards them. She nudged Hope.
The light shimmered then faded in front of them. Hope put out her hands to try to catch the last of the light. Her right hand caught on something solid. She pulled on it and a door opened into the staircase.
Sunday, October 21, 2007
Here's the schedule for Week 2, which starts on Monday. Thank you Jen Robinson for compiling this list. You can find links to the posts themselves, and any last-minute updates, each morning at 7-Imp. Jules and Eisha have also set up a special page at 7-Imp containing a comprehensive list of links to the profiles posted so far. Also not to be missed is Kris Bordessa's compilation of snowflake-related contests around the blogosphere over at Paradise Found.
Monday, October 22
- Mark Teague at The Miss Rumphius Effect
- Sharon Vargo at Finding Wonderland
- Christopher Demarest at Writing and Ruminating
- Rose Mary Berlin at Charlotte's Library
- David Macaulay at Here in the Bonny Glen
Tuesday, October 23
- Carin Berger at Chasing Ray
- Marion Eldridge at Chicken Spaghetti
- Sophie Blackall at not your mother's bookclub
- Erik Brooks at Bildungsroman
- Brian Lies at Greetings from Nowhere
Wednesday, October 24
- Elisa Kleven at Rozzie Land
- Consie Powell at Becky's Book Reviews
- Jimmy Pickering at Shaken & Stirred
- Frank Dormer at What Adrienne Thinks About That
- Sheila Bailey at Lizjonesbooks
Thursday, October 25
- Julia Denos at Interactive Reader
- Rebecca Doughty at A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy
- Brian Floca at A Fuse #8 Production
- Margaret Chodos-Irvine at readergirlz
Friday, October 26
- David Ezra Stein at HipWriterMama
- Juli Kangas at Sam Riddleburger's blog
- Ginger Nielson at Miss O's School Library
- Margot Apple at Jo's Journal
Saturday, October 27
- Julie Fromme Fortenberry at Your Neighborhood Librarian
- Sarah Dillard at The Silver Lining
- John Hassett at cynthialord's Journal
- Abigail Marble at Please Come Flying
Sunday, October 28
- Ashley Wolff at A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy
- Barbara Garrison at Brooklyn Arden
- Kelly Murphy at ChatRabbit
Please take time out to visit all of these blogs, and read about these fabulous illustrators. Unfortunately, we haven't been able to feature all the illustrators, but you will be able to see everyone's snowflakes at theRobert's Snow auction. Each snowflake makes a unique gift (for yourself or for someone else), and supports an important cause.
Saturday, October 20, 2007
I'll make this a variation from the exercise I read about. How about if we write a few sentences from any point of the story. Beginning, middle or end. Your choice.
Let's try writing about this storyline:
Two sisters discover a secret passage in their aunt's house.
So here are the categories I chose:
MG/YA Historical Fiction
Keep in mind, the lines don't have to be perfect. This is an exercise to see if you can find a voice out of your comfort zone. You may find you're intrigued by a different genre once you try this.
Historical Fiction is totally out of my comfort zone. So here's my try at it:
Lady Smythe smoothed out imaginary wrinkles from her crisp crinoline skirts. She walked over to the fireplace and ran her fingers along the edge of the mantel. Click. The fireplace groaned open to reveal a long hallway. Elizabeth gasped from her hiding place.
Here are the rules again: Write a few sentences from any point of the story. Beginning, middle or end. Your choice. The sentences don't have to be perfect. Mine certainly aren't. I'll post your creations and give away a paperback copy of Gail Carson Levine's book, Writing Magic: Creating Stories That Fly. Edited to add: I realized I forgot to put in a deadline. How about I'll make this a weekend wandering. Deadline will be Monday morning, October 22nd, 8am EST.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Don't get me wrong. Most people are kind and do understand. It's just those times, when I hear grumblings from parents who are ticked off their child can't eat their favorite snack in school or bring in birthday cupcakes to the classroom because of those kids with food allergies. Or when I see the flash of annoyance streak across a person's face when I ask about the ingredients in a food or inquire about cross-contamination. Or when people who know about my child's severe food allergies get upset with me because I don't go to their homes. What they don't get, even though I explain it to them, is I don't go to their homes because they always have every dangerous food allergen in every possible form cooking, baking, frying all around my child. My child ends up needing medication to relieve the itchiness, hives and asthma.
All these little actions, even though I know aren't meant to be malicious in anyway, render me weak and anxious, hopeless of a normal life for my child. And when I think about a post I read back in April, I am sickened. I weep for the difficulty and bullying my child may experience as she grows older. To think this is all because of FOOD!
You know I'm all about self-confidence, and right now, my incredible child is a tower of strength. There is no doubt in my mind that she will be tested over the years and need all her courage and strength to overcome negative attitudes.
I urge you to take five minutes to watch these sweet children talk about their food allergies. Watch their beautiful faces. Look in their eyes. Listen to what they have to say. Please. It would mean the world to me. Thank you.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Selina Alko at Brooklyn Arden
Scott Bakal at Wild Rose Reader
Alexandra Boiger at Paradise Found
Paige Keiser at Your Neighborhood Librarian
Janet Stevens at The Miss Rumphius Effect
Remember, you can go over to the Robert's Snow auction and bid on snowflakes starting November 19th to support a very important cause. Thank you.
Monday, October 15, 2007
My husband has this cute little book, about 2 inches by 3 inches with a few selections of Abraham Lincoln's writings. I found four year old with this in her possession and thought it would be a good idea to rescue it. Of course I needed to look through it, and found this letter. I hope you are as inspired by this as I was when I read it.
Letter to George Latham
July 22, 1860
With more than a common interest I subscribe myself
Very truly your friend,
Read the entire letter here.
Sunday, October 14, 2007
Jules organized around 65 bloggers to highlight over 150 illustrators in the hopes people will go to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute's Robert's Snow site, bid on the snowflakes, and raise money to help fight cancer. I have an amazing interview with David Ezra Stein scheduled to post Friday, October 26th.
Most of us have probably been touched by cancer's reach, in one way or another. Maybe a family member, a friend, a co-worker. I was diagnosed with melanoma in my late twenties. Thankfully, it was in the early stages, so I only needed two surgeries to make sure it was all out. Wouldn't it be so incredible if all cancer patients could hear these magic words, "We got it all out!" or "We have a cure!" Let's help make this happen.
Please go and find out about all these talented illustrators and their snowflakes. I'm sure you'll find one that captures your heart.
Here is this week's schedule for the illustrator highlights. Thank you, Jen, for putting this schedule together.
Monday, October 15
Tuesday, October 16th
Wednesday, October 17
Thursday, October 18
Friday, October 19
Saturday, October 20
Sunday, October 21
Please take time out to visit all of these blogs, and read about these fabulous illustrators. And, if you're so inclined, think about bidding for a snowflake in the Robert's Snow auction. Each snowflake makes a unique gift (for yourself or for someone else), and supports an important cause.
Friday, October 12, 2007
For the young who want to
by Marge Piercy
Talent is what they say
you have after the novel
is published and favorably
reviewed. Beforehand what
you have is a tedious
delusion, a hobby like knitting.
Work is what you have done
after the play is produced
and the audience claps.
Before that friends keep asking
when you are planning to go
out and get a job.
Genius is what they know you
had after the third volume
of remarkable poems. Earlier
they accuse you of withdrawing,
ask why you don’t have a baby,
call you a bum.
For the rest of the poem
Poetry Friday is over at Two Writing Teachers this week. Go on over and stay awhile.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
What about kids who are involved with sports or other outside activities? Do you find it's difficult for them to get their homework done? How you work this out?
How about if you have younger children who need attention...how do you help your older ones with their homework when a little one wants you to play a game of hide and seek?
Okay, any advice from all you organized and experienced parents would be greatly appreciated. Comment away. Please.
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
I can't believe I've missed posting about this one. The readergirlz divas and YALSA will be hosting 31 Flavorite Authors for the 31 days in October -- all in honor of Teen Read Week. Join in the Chats with a new author every night over at readergirlz MySpace Group Forum @ 5pm PDT/ 8pm EDT.
Here is this week's schedule:
October 7th Ellen Hopkins
October 8th Justina Chen Headley
October 9th Chris Crutcher
October 10th Ann Brashares
October 11th Sarah Mlynowski
October 12th Cecil Castellucci
October 13th Kirby Larson
Here is the entire schedule for October:
October 1st: Meg Cabot
October 2nd: Tiffany Trent
October 3rd: Brent Hartinger
October 4th: Lorie Ann Grover
October 5th: K.L. Going
October 6th: Nikki Grimes
October 7th: Ellen Hopkins
October 8th: Justina Chen Headley
October 9th: Chris Crutcher
October 10th: Ann Brashares
October 11th: Sarah Mlynowski
October 12th: Cecil Castellucci
October 13th: Kirby Larson
October 14th: Tanya Lee Stone
October 15th: John Green
October 16th: Sara Zarr
October 17th: Deb Caletti
October 18th: Rachel Cohn
October 19th: Kirsten Miller
October 20th: Mitali Perkins
October 21st: Sonya Sones
October 22nd: Lisa Yee
October 23rd: Carolyn Mackler
October 24th: E. Lockhart
October 25th: Janet Lee Carey
October 26th: Gaby Triana
October 27th: Lauren Myracle
October 28th: Holly Black
October 29th: Cynthia Leitich Smith
October 30th: Dia Calhoun
October 31st: Stephenie Meyer (Special time: 9 PM PST/MIDNIGHT EST)
Saturday, October 6, 2007
Boys and girls are going to love, love, love this series. The Harry Potter books are classics and will surely be much loved for years to come.
Now I must go and dispose of all these tissues.
Friday, October 5, 2007
I'm a Spelling Queen. I kid you not. While I have to fiddle around at times with grammar and punctuation, spelling is one of those things that just comes naturally to me. Forget about spell check. You want to know how to spell something, call me. Everyone else I know does. Seriously.
So it was quite the pleasant surprise when I found a square cardboard box outside my front door yesterday afternoon. Remember when Sara Lewis Holmes had a Poetry Friday Giveaway? I won! The amazing thing was that Sara chose my number then tried out a random number generator. Both results came up with my number. Luck or Fate? Hmmm. Here's a picture of the cool mug from poets.org.
Now here's the other side of the mug. Isn't it fun? Doesn't it make you smile? The poets featured on the mug are Edgar Allan Poe, Sylvia Plath, William Shakespeare, Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Third grader was intrigued by this mug and had lots of questions about the poets. Sara, thank you so much for this wonderful mug. This really made my day.
I remembered this great piece from Shakespeare's Macbeth and read it out loud to my daughter. She loved it. In celebration of October,
Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and caldron bubble.
Fillet of a fenny snake,
In the caldron boil and bake;
Eye of newt and toe of frog,
Wool of bat and tongue of dog,
Adder's fork and blind-worm's sting,
Lizard's leg and howlet's wing,
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.
Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and caldron bubble.
Cool it with a baboon's blood,
Then the charm is firm and good.
Thursday, October 4, 2007
M. Thompson, Liz Garton Scanlon and Alkelda the Gleeful...
Drop an e-mail to me with your address and I'll send you a surprise!
Thank you, everyone, for playing along with me and keeping up with the 30 Day Challenge. I hope this was helpful for all of you. Good luck with your continued progress toward your goals.
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
I have to say, I had a tough time getting motivated these past couple of weeks to write everyday. Life kind of blindsided me with too many things. My creative ability had been somewhat stifled in my writing and my blogging.
My youngest celebrated a birthday. She's been giving Spiderman
Not that I'm complaining and all. All these puzzle pieces I need to figure out and put together to make everything right again is totally okay. That's what I do best. However, it has been leeching away at my writing time.
So here's what I did. I brought my laptop to my little one's school. That way the forty five minutes spent at her school, is balanced with some writing time in the peace of my car. I've also taken to writing notes in a little book I carry with me while I'm waiting in the doctor's office, or waiting in the car line to pick up the kids, or am running on a schedule that's completely out of whack.
I was able to write four days last week. One hour of total brilliance, the others, well, we'll have to see. But, I've also decided that I did pretty well for having a week or two from a place I really don't want to go back to for awhile.
So, how did you do? Remember to let me know in the comments here or over here by 11:59 pm EST to be entered for a surprise! The prize winner will be announced tomorrow!
Nominations for The 2007 Cybils began yesterday.
Here are the basic rules:
1. The book must be published in 2007;
2. Only one book per category;
3. Click on a category and read the description;
4. Click the Comments button and read through the titles;
5. If your favorite book isn't listed, type in the author and title;
6. Hit the Post button, and your favorite title is entered! Easy, right?
7. Nominations close Wednesday, November 21st.
I'm thrilled to be on the nominating panel for the MG/YA Non-Fiction Committee. We need your help to find some great books. Stop on by and nominate your favorite 2007 Non-Fiction book! Here is the description as posted in The Cybils blog:
Middle Grade and Young Adult Nonfiction covers a wide swath of territory: from history, biography and science to sports, astronomy and dinosaurs. Homeschooling parents are using single-subject nonfiction books to supplement or replace textbooks. Teachers and librarians are recommending nonfiction titles to expand upon classroom subjects and to pique the interest of kids passionate about particular topics. And kids of all ages are seeking out books that unwrap the mysteries of the world around them. The MG/YA nonfiction committee is seeking the very best titles in this wonderful and diverse arena.
--Jen Robinson, organizer
Come on, go on over to The Cybils blog to nominate your favorite 2007 MG/YA Non-Fiction title. You know you want to. No need to be shy.