Monday, June 27, 2011

Nonfiction Monday is Here Today

I'm collecting links today of the Nonfiction Monday reviews of great nonfiction books for kids and other nonfiction posts of interest. Since I will be adding more and more links during the day, do check back this evening to see them all.

If you are interested in writing nonfiction, these links might interest you:

Rosi Holinbeck wrote about the Highlights Foundation Non-Fiction Workshop with Peter Jacobi on her blog, The Write Stuff. I know several people who have attended this workshop and can't recommend it highly enough. If you can possibly manage to attend one of these, your writing surely will improve.

Another author, Melissa Higgins, is writing a series of posts about a nonfiction Work for Hire project she's working on. If you are interested in seeing the process, click on this blog link and then come back in the next weeks as well to explore her thoughts about this project at MG Higgins.

Of course, my favorite nonfiction writer's blog is I.N.K. Interesting Nonfiction for Kids.

Here are the book reviews:

Sue, at Archimedes Notebook has posted a review of Up, Up and Away, a story of a spiderlings journey written by Ginger Wadsworth. (Oh Ginger, you KNOW my reaction to spiders!)

Jeff Barger at NC Teacher Stuff has a post about Medieval Life.

Jennifer at Jean Little Library has a review of The Secret Lives of Backyard Bugs.

Amy at Hope is the Word liked the new Chris Van Allsburg book, Queen of the Falls, today.

Amanda at A Patchwork of Books reviewed Friends: True Stories of Extraordinary Animal Friends.

Over at the blog, Apples with Many Seeds, Tammy has posted about two sports books from the series, RecordBooks. ONe is a biography of Jordin Tootoo, the first Inuit to play in the National Hockey League. The second book is more historical, Tough Guys, which looks at hockey in the early 1900s and the impact of WWI and the Spanish Flu on the teams and league.

Rebecca at The Joy of Literacy reviewed a fun book -- POP! The Invention of Bubble Gum.

There's a review of Come See the Earth Turn at Bookmuse today.

Jeanne Walker Harvey wrote about All Aboard! a picture book biography that features Elijah McCoy, the son of slaves who dreamed of becoming (and did become) a mechanical engineer and inventor of improvements for the railroads over at True Tales & a Cherry On Top.

Roberta at Wrapped in Foil enjoyed the hands-on science book The Klutz Guide to the Galaxy.

At Geo Librarian, Heidi reviewed Amelia Lost: The Life and Disappearance of Amelia Earhart.

Mermaid Queen: the Spectacular true story of Annette Kellerman, who swam her way to fame, fortune, & swimsuit history! is the featured book on All About Books with Janet Squires.

And that's Nonfiction Monday for this week.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

ALA is NOW -- ALSC Blog

Were you not able to attend ALA (the American Library Association) convention this year -- like me? Well, don't mope about it. Get thee to the ALSC blog to see what's going on in New York City this weekend in the children's book world.
What is ALSC?
The Association for Library Service to Children.

Awards are given out
Why series are popular
Storytimes for all ages
Nonfiction Book Blast
Poetry Blast
and more
( did I mention -- chocolate? )

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Amanda Old is now Amanda Brunke

I've been across the country the past few days -- to Washington State -- for my youngest daughter's wedding. (blog entries during those days were written earlier and then scheduled to appear during that time.) Since her new husband is part Native American, it was a Native American ceremony in a circle in the woods on his family's property near Olympia, Washington.

Picture 1 is Kevin waiting in the ritual circle (cedar chips/ lovely smell) for Amanda to walk down the path, flower girl in front strewing
buttercups. You can see his brother and four nephews, two of which were ring bearers. In front of him is the blanket with the ritual herbs and Owl feathers for the ceremony.
On the tree stump is Kevin's clock which became part of the ceremony.

Picture 2 is the ring ceremony.

Picture 3 is the blanket ceremony. The two oldest females, I referred to as "The Moms," wrapped a blanket around the couple and then smoke from the burning herbs were blown at the couple
and then around the circle at each person
to seal the ceremony.

Who were the Moms? Well, I was one of them. Kevins's aunt was the other.

Although we were near the volcano, Mount Rainier, we couldn't prove that because the silly mountain never showed its face. We finally saw it from the plane as we were leaving.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Second Writing Exercise

Another writing exercise my advisor gave me was to write a paragraph of 150 words in sentences of 7 words or less. The shorter the better. Here's that one:

We had lost Donny. He was only three years old. He could be anywhere. Dad looked under the table. I ran over to the pool. There he was! Donny had jumped into the water. I could see him wiggling. I jumped in after him. Luckily, the water was three feet deep. Donny tried to get away from me. He was still underwater. I reached in and grabbed him. I lifted him high. The silly boy giggled. He tried to swim in the air. Dad took him from my arms. Donny laughed and laughed. He struggled to get into the water. Dad wouldn’t let him. Dad gave him to me. I led Donny to the swings. We spent time swinging. After that adventure, we gave Donny waterwings.

(Update. Don now swims like a fish – two feet under water all the way. He can’t seem to float.)

Monday, June 20, 2011

Nonfiction Monday and writing exercise

Nonfiction Monday is located at Geo Librarian today.

I just wanted to share a true story that I wrote as one of my Packet 5 assignments for Vermont College. The assignment was -- Write a one sentence paragraph of at at least 150 words. And here's what I wrote:

So there we are at the dinning room table with the family all gathered around to meet my new boyfriend, the guy who asked me to marry him believe it or not, and as usual Sandy and Don are sitting on the other side from me carrying on, which they do all the time, with Don grabbing Sandy’s arm, placing it around his neck and screaming that she’s choking him while all the time Sandy is trying to remove her arm from his neck but he has too strong a grip on it and keeps shoving it towards his throat and they keep on yelling and all of this rumpus across the table from me (and my boyfriend, soon to be husband) ends in the usual way with ‘someone,’ I won’t say just who, knocking over their milk and the milk streaming across the table into my lap and me reacting in the usual way with TOTAL embarrassment.

(Marion if you are reading this, you know WHO spilt the milk.)

Friday, June 17, 2011

School's out !

School's Out For Summer! (can you hear the rock 'n roll tune?)

The 11-year old just graduated from 5th grade today -- with a Presidential commendation!
Last week and this week have been just packed with various 5th grader events, including a huge gathering for the 5th grade yearbook signing.

Last evening one of her friends took her to get her nails done in celebration. (black nail polish -- but it's acceptable because she had so much glitter and "diamonds" put on it that the nails actually look more silver than black.)

Today, while the rest of the school held last-day, half-day classes, the 5th graders were in the Cafetorium holding their 5th grade farewell ceremony, culminating with a powerpoint of slides of them at various ages.

Now she's at a Graduation Pool Party -- the last gathering of all the 5th graders who attended the after-school care with her. The day care is called A Family Affair.
Tomorrow she attends another Graduation Pool Party.
She'll have her own graduation pool party in a week or two, when things settle down.

School's Out for Summer!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Blog -- Cockeyed Caravan

Over at the Cockeyed Caravan, Betsy Byrd's husband is taking apart and putting back together the Harry Potter books. He thinks the first three are just about perfect, but then shines his light on the flaws of the last four. He's up to book 5. Stay tuned for the rest of the books. I know I will.

(You remember that Betsy Byrd also writes a delightful blog about books, mostly new books, at her blog, A Fuse #8 Production. And now she has a baby bookworm to try the new picture books out on.)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Blog -- Shelftalker

One thing a writer needs to be aware of is bookstores. We writers should support independent bookstores because they are special places run by people who love books.

And a blog that is written by a bookstore owner who talks about books, customers, and the publishing business is Shelftalker, written by the owner of the Flying Pig bookstore, Elizabeth Bluemle and her partner, Josie Leavitt.

Elizabeth Bluemle is a published author herself, as well as being the sponsor of the Flying Pig Humor Award at Vermont College of Fine Arts in Writing for Children and Young Adults.
Corrected -- the award is called, The Flying Pig Grade-A, Number-one Ham Humor Award.

You'll enjoy reading this bookstore view of the publishing business.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

End of Semester Relief

It's a good thing I bought a ticket to Vermont for the summer residency, because I PASSED my first semester! My advisor just sent back packet 5 with a nice comment, "good job!"
Are you done? my granddaughter asked.
Sorry, no. Three more semesters to go.

We've had a stretch of very hot weather here in Maryland -- in the 90s and one day it hit over 100 degrees. The new annual flowers I planted have been complaining about the lack of rain.
So, today during the meeting of the swim team (meeting and pot-luck dinner), what do we get? Pouring down rain and thunder and lightning.
(and the promise of cooler weather for the next week -- in the 80s.)

Did the wash of water phase the grill guys?
They stayed at the flaming grill turning out hamburgers and hot dogs while the rest of us huddled under the two pavilions. Yeah, grill guys!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

End of the semester

This is a test. Blogger has been cranky again and not letting people post or comment.

But today is the end of my first semester at Vermont College of Fine Arts in Writing for Children and Young Adults. Today I sent my last packet to my advisor and I'm crossing fingers and toes that she finds it acceptable. There's so much more work I need to do on these manuscripts. There's so much more writing technique I need to learn.

(Now to try posting this for the third time.)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Blog -- Alice Pope's SCBWI Children's Market Blog

Those of you who belong to SCBWI (the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators), and if you don't belong YOU SHOULD, should be familiar with the name, Alice Pope.

She runs the SCBWI's Children's Market blog. Now, don't go thinking that all she talks about is markets, although that's good too. She also talks about conferences, writing, books, and authors. Her current post talks about some of the author/ speakers and the SCBWI-LA Conference coming up in August. Click and enjoy. -wo

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Best and Worst Writing/ Marketing advice

A friend pointed out this message on a blog called, The Kill Zone, called The Best and Worst Writing Advice I ever Got. As I read it over, I could feel my head nodding, my mind agreeing with most everything the writer said about marketing your books. Good Advice. Go read it and be warned. -wo

Monday, June 6, 2011

Nonfiction Monday

Just a reminder that Nonfiction Monday is at Picture book of the Day today.
What is Nonfiction Monday?
It's a roundup of all the reviews of nonfiction books done on blogs on June 6th. When you go to this blog, you'll find links to them. Have fun clicking away. -wo

(for those of you who tried the link I posted on Monday, sorry. That blog went off the air Monday, so Picture book of the day jumped in to replace it. The other blog will return in a few days.)

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Blog -- Blue Rose Girls

Another blog I like to keep up with is a blog jointly written called Blue Rose Girls, created by a group of friends who one day decided to create a blog together. It's not a blog of writers. It's not a blog of illustrators. It's not a blog of editors. IT'S ALL THREE!
Not only that, but there are links to their individual blogs and webpages, as well.

Who are these wonderful people? You just might recognize some of their names:
Anna Alter
Libby Koponen
Grace Lin
Meghan McCarthy
Elaine Magliaro
Linda S. Wingerter
and Alvina. Now, I once knew Alvina's last name, but she doesn't use it on this blog and I have forgotten it. (pssst. she's an editor)

They describe themselves and their blog this way:
In the tradition of the Red Rose Girls, a group of children's book professionals (authors, illustrators, an editor, and one former librarian) discuss everything kidlit related; from industry news and the ever-changing world of publishing to the creative process with all its frustrations and inspirations. Please join us in the discussion!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Blog -- Agent Jill Corcoran

Several agents have blogs where they give advice to writers about the tricky parts of the business of being published as well as talk about her writers, their books, and their sales. Among them is Jill Corcoran of the Herman Agency.

It looks as if she is only blogging once a month these days, but there's lots of good information in her older posts if you want to take a look and learn. Plus lots of links to other good blogs.
Just click.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Visitors to our sunporch

Cheep. Cheep.
Tracking down the source of the noise, I found two house sparrows casing out the sunporch. Are they planning to raise a second family there? (see previous post about the fledglings flying)

Also -- my husband says the bats have taken roost in their usual spot on the sunporch. The noise they make is too high pitched for me to hear.
Yea Bats!
Eat those mosquitoes!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Blog/ Journal -- Jane Yolen

Jane Yolen, who has been called the Hans Christian Andersen of America and the Aesop ofthe twentieth century, doesn't actually keep a Blog.
She keeps a Journal on her website where she jots down notes about writing and life, with occasional bursts of poetry. She calls it "Telling the True."

Her latest entry was mid-May where she was packing for her annual summertime move to Scotland, her second home. Her thought for that entry was, "The ups and downs of being a writer on two sides of the Atlantic." On the upside are things she loves about Scotland. The downside is not knowing if the thing she is looking for is in her cabinet in Scotland or somewhere in the house in Massachusetts.

She'll begin writing journal entries again when she gets settled in Scotland. She doesn't write every day. Instead, she'll talk about what happened during the past week or so in one entry.

I think she has had over 300 books published, so I'm sure you've read at least one of her adult or children's books sometime in your life -- even if it only was reading one of her Dinosaur books to a two year old.
Check out Jane Yolen's Journal here.