Saturday, November 18, 2017

Writer's advice - P.G. Wodehouse

P.G. Wodehouse, wrote almost a hundred books of fiction, 16 plays, and composed lyrics for 28 musicals. 
When asked about his technique for writing, he said, "I just sit at a typewriter and curse a bit."

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Sunday, November 12, 2017

The plan for today is

Today is - input revisions done on paper in to the computer day.
So I headed to my computer in my PJs.
Then I remembered I had to drive a teen to an Ice Skating thing with her friends, so I got dressed.
But --
As I was making my salad breakfast/ lunch, she offered to drive herself.
Wow.  I had forgotten that now she can take herself to group events.
So now I'm sitting here, all dressed and no place to go.
Oh right.
This is input revisions done on paper in to the computer day.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Read Read READ

Scholastic just posted a terrific article by Evan Robb, Principal of Johnson Williams Middle School. The blog addresses the importance of independent reading with suggestions for making time for students to read self-selected books during the school day. Go to and start reading now! Here's an excerpt from this outstanding piece:
"Many administrators might be thinking that their school does not have time to add independent reading to the instructional piece. While reading this blog, I’m asking you to suspend that belief. Let me be your guide and help you make independent reading an integral part of your school’s curriculum. I have wrestled with the challenges of finding more time for independent reading. Soon after I adopted the goal of creating a school-wide culture that values this type of reading, I reached out to staff and collaborated with them to find solutions."

Monday, November 6, 2017

Muddy Waters

Muddy, the story of Blues Legend Muddy Waters.
by Michael Mahin.
Illustrated by Evan Turk
Available now (as of September, 2017)

This picture book biography is getting a lot of talk and hints about awards.
For example, it's already listed by the New York Times as one of the Best Illustrated Children's Books of 2017.  And more awards are to come, for sure.

The writing is smooth and lyrical, with the refrain, "But Muddy was never good at during what he was told" coming at turning points in his life.

It's the illustrations that are getting the most attention, even mention of possible Caldecott material - but I have a bone to pick with them.

Nowhere can I discover if Evan Turk is considered "white" or a person of color.  Even the photo on his webpage doesn't clue us in, because it's a black and white photo.

Now, if he is African American, people will overlook the exaggerated body positions and rough cut faces with thick lips.
But if he is 'white'....  Lordy, if he is WHITE, they will burn him alive.
Just like they did to Ezra Jack Keats when he depicted the loving mother in The Snowy Day being heavyset.  (when she certainly looked like lots and lots of the moms who were around me while I was growing up.)
p.s.  I just checked his Facebook page and yes, he is white.    Hmmmmm.

Evan Turk has lots of information about the technical side of how he created the illustrations in this book here.

His Facebook page is here.

To learn about Michael Mahin, click on the link above under the title of this book.
In the interests of honesty, I confess that Michael Mahin is an active member of the San Diego Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators and of the PRO group to which I also belong.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Holiday decorations

What's with this jump from Halloween decorations to Christmas decorations?
Don't people realize that there is a Harvest Holiday that comes between?

In fact, I was seeing Christmas decorations for sale in stores by mid October - along with huge sales on Halloween and Thanksgiving decorations.  I know store buyers like to be slightly ahead of the sales season and have their products available the minute you want them -- but I think they're getting too far ahead of themselves these days.

Don't you?

Friday, November 3, 2017

Day of the Dead

November 3.
All Soul's Day is known as the Day of the Dead here in southern California.
Here's a picture of my son-in-law ready to play polo - in Day of the Dead costume!

And here he is again, with his wife.