Sunday, December 31, 2017

My 2017 Reading list

Last year the author, Trent Reedy, challenged us to read 100 books.  Since I didn't begin my list until sometime in the Spring, I did not reach 100.  However, this year I probably have read over 100 books.
And here they are:
Booklist of Books Read in 2017

Brosgol, Vera. Leave Me Alone!  NY: Roaring Brook Press, 2016.
Cordell, Matthew. Wolf in the Snow.  NY, Feiwel and Friends, 2017.
Deedy, Carmen Agra. The Rooster who would not be Quiet!  Illus. Eugene Yelchin. NY: Scholastic Press, 2017.
Doyen, Denise. Illus. Ellza Wheller. The Pomegranate Witch. San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books, 2017.
Dacosta, Barbara. Mighty Moby. Illus. Ed Young.  NY: Little Brown and Co., 2017.
Ellis, Carson.  Du Iz Tak?  Sommerviille, MA: Candlewick, 2016. (Caldecott Honor)
Engle, Margarita. All the way to Havana. Illus. Mike Curato. NY: Henry Holt and Co., 2017.
Galing, Ed. Tony. NY: Roaring Brook Press, 2017.
Graegin, Stephanie   Little Fox in the Forest. NY:  Schwartz & Wade Books, 2017.
Ruzzier, Sergio. This is not a picture book! San Francisco: chronicle books, 2016.
Santat, Dan.  After the Fall, How Humpty Dumpty got back up again.  NY:  Roaring Brook Press, 2017.
Slater, Dashka. The Antlered Ship. Illus. Terry and Eric Fan (the Fan brothers). NY: Beach Lane Books, 2017.
Smith, Lane.  A perfect Day, NY: Roaring Brook Press, 2017.
Weatherford, Carole Boston. Freedom in Congo Square. Illus. R. Gregory Christie. NY: Little Bee Books, 2016l   (Coretta Scott King Honoree)  Strangely written – the author’s note in the back repeats the very same information as the forward  in the front of the book, written by someone else.
Wenzel, Brendan.  They All Saw a Cat.  San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2016.  Caldecott Award Winner.

I Can Read
Seuss, Dr.  Hop On Pop.  NY: Random House, 1963.
Willems, Mo. There’s a Bird on Your Head.  NY:  Disney-Hyperion, 2007.

Angleberger, Tom. Horton Halfpott or the fiendish mystery of smugwick manor or the loosening of M’lady Luggertuck’s corset.  NY: Amulet Books, 2011.  (overwritten In the style of Dickins)
Applegate, Katherine.  Wishtree.  NY: Feiwel and Friends, 2017.  (possible Newbery contender)
Arnold, Elana.   A boy Called BAT.  NY: Walden Pond Press/ HarperCollins, 2017.
Berry, Julie.             The Emperor’s Ostrich. NY. Roaring Brook Press, 2017.
Barnhill, Kelly. The Girl Who Drank the Moon.  Chapel Hill, NC: Algonquin Young Readers, 2016.  (Newbery Award)  (difficult to trudge through)
Bradley, Kimberly Brubaker.  The War I finally won.  NY: Dial Books for Young Readers, 2017.  (possible Newbery Contender)
Brown, Peter.  The Wild Robot. NY: Little Brown and Co, 2016.           
Coville, Bruce.   Hatched, The Enchanted files book 2.  NY:  Random House, 2016.
  ….             Trolled, The Enchanted Files, book 3. NY: Random House, 2017.
Gidwitz, Adam. The Inquisitor’s Tale, or, the three magical children and their holy dog.  NY: Dutton Children’s Books, 2016. (Newbery Honor) (keeps the reader involved all the way through)
Jamieson, Victoria.  All’s Faire in Middle School.  NY:  Dial Books for young readers, 2017. (Graphic Novel -- Ren Faire homeschooler goes to Middle School)
Jones, Carrie.  Time Stoppers.  NY: Bloomsbury, 2016.
Kelly, Erin Entrada. Hello Universe, some friendships are meant to be.  NY: Greenwillow Books, 2017.
Magoon, Kekla.  Rebellion of Thieves, a Robyn Hoodlum Adventure.  NY: Bloomsbury, 2016.
Papademetriou, Lisa.  Apartment 1986. NY: HarperCollins, 2017.  Beginning of a series about a blind black boy (whose family has money and a girl whose family has money problems in NYC.)
Pennypacker, Sara. PAX.  Illus. Jon Klassen.  NY: Balzer + Bray, HarperCollins, 2016.
Reynolds, Jason.  Patina.(Track Book 2)  NY: Atheneum Books for young readers, 2017.
Schlitz, Laura Amy. Princess Cora and the Crocodile.  Somerville, MA: Candlewick Press, 2017.   (by Newbery Award winner)
Snyder, Laurel.  Orphan Island.  NY: Waldon Pond Press (HarperCollins), 2017.
Williams-Garcia, Rita. Clayton Byrd Goes Underground.  NY:  Armistad/ HarperCollins, 2017. (Good story about a boy in the 1920s Blues scene, but the last chapter winds everything up too quickly.)
Wolk, Lauren.  Wolf Hollow.  NY: Dutton Children’s Books, 2016.  (Newbery Honor)
  ….   Beyond the Bright Sea.   NY: Dutton Children’s Books, 2017.
Yolen, Jane and Adam Stemple (son).  B.U.G. (Big Ugly Guy).  NY: Dutton Children’s Books, 2013.

YA Fiction:
Anderson, M. T. (Tobin). Landscape with invisible hand. Somerville, MA: Candlewick Press, 2017.
Cashore, Kristin.  Jane, Unlimited. NY: Penguin Young Readers, 2017.
Knudsen, Michelle.  Revenge of the Evil Librarian. Somerville, MA: Candlewick Press, 2017.
Lackey, Mercedes.  Hunter.  NY: Hyperion, 2015.
  ….  Elite.   NY: Hyperion, 2016. 
  ….  Apex. NY: Hyperion, 2017.
Scarborough, Sheryl. To Catch a Killer, a novel.  NY:  Toor Teen, 2017.
Wrede, Patricia.  The Far West.  NY: Scholastic Press, 2012.  (Third Volume of an alternative America, called Columbia.)
  ….  A Matter of Magic/  (another version) Magic & Malice. (both containing the same two stories – Mairelon the Magician and Magician’s Ward.)
  ….   And Caroline Stevermer.  Sorcery & Cecelia –or – The Enchanted Chocolate Pot.  NY: Harcourt, 2003.
 ….  , ….  The Grand Tour –or- the purloined coronation regalia.  NY: Harcourt, 2004.  Being a revelation of matters of high confidentiality and greatest importance, including extracts from the intimate diary of a noblewoman and the sworn testimony of a lady of quality.
  …. , ….  The Mislaid Magician – or - ten years after.  NY: Harcourt, 2006.  Being the private correspondence between two prominent families regarding a scandal touching the highest levels of government and the security of the realm.
Yoon, Nicolay.  The Sun is also a Star.  NY: Delacourt Press, 2016. (one day in the life of a Jamaican deportee and her influence on a Korean-American doctor-to-be.)

Bowman, Donna Janell. Step Right Up, How Doc and Jim Key Taught the World About Kindness.  NY: Lee & Low Books, Inc, 2016.
Bryant, Jen.  Six Dots, a Story of Young Louis Braille.  NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2016.
Mahin, Michael.  Muddy, the story of blues legend Muddy Waters. Ilus. Evan Turk.  NY:  Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2017.
Stelson, Caren.  Sachiko, a Nagaski Bomb Survivor’s Story.  Minneapolis: Carolrhoda Books, 2016.
Steptoe, Javaka. Radiant Child, the Story of young artist Jean-Michel Basquiat.  NY:  Little Brown and Company, 2016.  (Caldecott Medal)

JB-Cody            Fleming, Candace. Presenting Buffalo Bill, the man who invented the Wild West. NY: Roaring Brook Press, 2016.
JB-Crabtree            Harris, Lois V.  Lotta Crabtree, gold rush fairy star.  Grettna, LA:  Pelican Publishing Co., 2017

J 355.82511            Winter, Jonah. The Secret Project. Illus. Jeanette Winter.  NY: Beach Lane Books, S&S, 2017.
J 398.209…            Sloat, Teri. Sody Sallyratus. NY:  Dutton Children’s Books, 1997.
J 557.9132            Chin, Jason. Grand Canyon. NY:  Neal Porter, Roaring Brook Press, 2017.
J599.67            Roy, Katherine. How to be an Elephant, growing up in the African wild. NY: Roaring Brook Press, 2017.
YA759.9492            Heiligman, Deborah. Vincent and Theo, the Van Gogh brothers.  NY:   Henry Holt and Sons, 2017.
J 808.1            Alexander, Kwame, Chris Colderley, and Majory Wentworth. Out of Wonder, Poems celebrating poets. Illus. Ekua Holmes. Somerville, MA: Candlewick Press, 2017.   (by Newbery Award winner) poetry collection
J 811            Grimes, Nikki. One Last Word.  NY: Bloomsbury, 2017.
J940.4594            Barton, Chriss. Illus. Victo Ngai.  Dazzle Ships, World War I and the art of confusion. MN: Millbrook Press, 2017.
J 973            Eggers, Dave.  Her Right Foot.  Illlus. Shawn Harris.  San Francisco, CA: Chronicle, 2017.

Atwood, Margaret.  The Handmaid’s Tale.  NY:  Houghton Miflin, 1986.  (terribly prophetic of Trump and Pence’s regime.)
Beverley, Jo.  I bought and reread all of her books right after she died.
Bujold, Lois McMaster.  (rereading the Miles Vorkosigan saga) Mostly in combination bindings under collective titles.
                        Cordelia’s Honor (Shards of Honor and Barrayar)
                        Young Miles (the Warrior’s Apprentice, The Vor Game)
                        Miles, Mystery & Mayhem (Cetaganda, Falling Free, Ethan of Athos)
                        Mirror Dance
                        Miles in Love  (Komarr, A Civil Campaign, Winterfair Gifts)
                        Diplomatic Immunity
                        Captain Vorparil’s Alliance
Cruisie, Jennifer.  Trust Me on This.  NY: Random House, 2011.
Deveraux, Jude.  The Girl from Summer Hill.  NY: Ballentine Books, 2016.
  ….              Knight in Shining Armor.  NY:  Pocket Books/ S&S, 2002.
  ….            Legend.  NY: Pocket Books/ S&S, 1996.
  ….               Sweet Liar. NY:  Pocket Books/ S&S, 1992.
  ….            Days of Gold (Bk 1 of Edilean novels).  NY: Atria S&S, 2009.
  ….            Lavender Morning (Edilean Novel).  NY:  Atria S&S. 2009.
  ….             Heartwishes, an Edilean novel.   NY:  Atria S&S. 2011.
  ….            Scarlet Nights.  NY:  Atria S&S. 2010.
  ….             The Scent of Jasmine.  NY:  Pocket Books, 2011.
  ….            Secrets. NY: Atria Books/ S&S, 2008.
  ….            The Mulberry Tree. NY: Atria Books/ S&S, 2002.
Gorey, Edward.  The Unstrung Harp; or, Mr Earbrass Writes a Novel.  NY: Harcourt Brace &
             Company, 1953, renewed 1981.
Lackey, Mercedes. The Fairy godmother, Tales of the Five Hundred Kingdoms. Book 1.  UK:
            Luna Press Publishing, 2004. 
  ….            The Sleeping Beauty, Tales of the Five Hundred Kingdoms.
  ….            One Good Knight, Tales of the Five Hundred Kingdoms.
                        (I own all the series. These are the ones I re-read this year)
Lackey, Mercedes. A Scandal in Battersea, an Elemental Masters Novel. NY: DAW books, 2017.  (Library book, but I own some of this series)
Lawhon, Ariel.  Flight of Dreams.  NY: Doubleday, 2016.
Maguire, Gregory. Wicked, the life and times of the wicked witch of the west.  NY: Regan Books/ HarperCollins, 1995.  (met him at CLNE. This book became a broadway hit.  He says he based the witch on the head of Children’s Services at HCPL – Mrs. Sedney – my boss – which, now that I’ve read the book, I really don’t think it is any way like her at all.)
Moon, Elizabeth.  Award-winning Heris Serrano series, now in combined paperback editions
                        Heris Serrano (book 1)
                                    Hunting Party/  Sporting Chance / Winning Colors
                        The Serrano Connection (book 2)
                                    Once a Hero / Rules of Engagement
                        The Serrano Succession (book 3)
                                    Change of Command / Against the Odds
Novik, Naomi. Uprooted. NY: Del Rey, 2015.  (Nebula Award winner)
 ….   Temeraire, In the Service of the King.  Series: listed below:
                        His Majesty’s Dragon
                        Throne of Jade
                        Black Powder War
                        Empire of Ivory
                        Victory of Eagles
                        Tongues of Serpents
                        Crucible of Gold
                        Blood of Tyrants
                        League of Dragons
Putney, Mary Jo. Once a Rebel (Rogues Redemed)  NY: Kensington Books, 2017.
Quinn, Julia.  The girl with the make-believe husband. A Bridgertons prequel.  NY: Aavon Books, 2017.
Rekulak, Jason.  The Impossible Fortress, a Novel.  NY: Simon & Schuster, 2017. 
                        (Reads like a YA with teen characters.  I guess the publisher thought teens wouldn’t be able to under the computer Basic computations and early computer games.)
Springer, Nancy.   Fair Peril. NY: Avon Books, 1996.
Westlake, Donale E.  Trust Me on This.  NY: The Mysterious Press, 1988.
Wrede, Patricia and Pamela Dean. Points of Departure, Liavek Stories.  NY: Diversion Books, 2015. (paperback)
  ….  The Raven Ring. NY: Tor, 1994.  (although listed for adults, today this would have been published as YA)

B Fisher.  Fisher, Carrie. The Princess Diarist.  NY: Blue Rider Press, 2016.
B-Franken            Frankin, Al.  Al Franken Giant of the Senate. NY: Twelve, 2017.
B-Jahren.             Jahren, Hope. Lab Girl. NY: Thorndike Press, 2016.
B-Litt.            Litt, David.  Thanks, Obama; my hopey, changey, white house years  (a speechwriter’s memoir)  CCCO/ HarperCollins, 2017.
B-Remini.              Remini, Leah. Troublemaker, Surviving Hollywood and Scientology.  NY: Ballantine Books, 2015.


324.7304 F   Franken, Al.  Lies and the Lying Liars who tell them: A fair and balanced look at the right.  NY: Dutton, 2003.
973.931 F            Franken, Al.  The Truth (with jokes).  NY: Dutton, 2005.

324.9730932        Green, Joshua. Devil’s Bargain, Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, and the storming of the presidency.  NY:  Penguin Press, 2017.           
510.9252           Shettlery, Margot Lee.  Hidden Figures: The American dream and the untold story of the black women mathematicians who helped win the space race.  NY: HarperCollins (William Morrow), 2016. 
614.518            Barry, John M.  The Great Influenza, the epic story of the deadliest plague in history.    NY:  Viking,2004.
641.5092            Miller, Adrian.  The President’s Kitchen Cabinet, the story of the African Americans who have fed our first families, from the Washingtons to the Obamas.  Chapel Hills, NC:  The University of North Carolina Press, 2017.
641.5973L            Lohman, Sarah.  Eight Flavors, the untold story of American cuisine. NY:  Simon & Schuster, 2016.
823.8            Standiford, Les.  The man who invented Christmas, How Charles Dickens's A
                         CHRISTMAS CAROL rescued his career and revived our holiday spirits.
                         NY: Crown, 2008.
973.928            Podhoretz, John.  Hell of a Ride, backstage at the white house follies 1989-1993.  NY:  Simon & Schuster, 1993.
973.932            Mayer, Jane.  Dark Money, the hidden history of the billionaires behind the rise of the radical right.   NY:  Random House, 2016.
975.3              Brower, Kate Andersen.  The Residence, inside the private world of the White House.  NY:  HarperCollins, 2015.            (excellent view of this world)

Friday, December 15, 2017

Holiday Tips you might (or might not) want

Found on another writing e-mail list:

Just in time for the holidays--some "sensible" tips ( LOL)

1. About those carrot sticks. Avoid them. Anyone who puts carrots on a 
holiday buffet table knows nothing of the Christmas spirit. In fact, if you see carrots, leave immediately. Go next door, where they're serving rum balls.

2. Drink as much eggnog as you can. And quickly. Like fine single-malt scotch, it's rare. In fact, it's even rarer than single-malt scotch. You can't find it any other time of year but now. So drink up! Who cares that it has 10,000 calories in every sip? It's not as if you're going to turn into an egg- nogaholic or something. It's a treat. Enjoy it.
Have one for me. Have two. It's later than you think. It's Christmas Holidays!

3. If something comes with gravy, use it. That's the whole point of gravy. Pour it on. Make a volcano out of your mashed potatoes. Fill it with gravy. Eat the volcano. Repeat.

4. As for mashed potatoes, always ask if they're made with skim milk or whole milk. If it's skim, pass. Why bother? It's like buying a sports car with an automatic transmission.

5. Do not have a snack before going to a party in an effort to control your eating. The whole point of going to a Christmas or New Year's party is to eat other people's food for free. 

Lots of it. Hello? Remember college?

6. Under no circumstances should you exercise between now and New Year's. You can do that in January when you have nothing else to do.
This is the time for long naps, which you'll need after circling the buffet table while carrying a 10-pound plate of food and that vat of eggnog.

7. If you come across something really good at a buffet table, like frosted Christmas cookies in the shape and size of Santa, position yourself near them and don't budge. Have as many as you can before becoming the center of attention. They're like a beautiful pair of shoes. You can't leave them behind. You're not going to see them again.

8. Same for pies. Apple. Pumpkin. Mincemeat. Have a slice of each. Or, if you don't like mincemeat, have two apples and one pumpkin. Always have three. When else do you get to have more than one dessert?    Labor Day?

9. Did someone mention fruitcake? Granted, it's loaded with the mandatory celebratory calories, but avoid it at all cost. I mean, have some standards, mate.  (actually, I love fruitcake, but it doesn't seem

to be a universal thing.)

10. And one final tip: If you don't feel terrible when you leave the party or get up from the table, you haven't been paying attention.
Reread tips. Start over. But hurry! Cookieless January is just around
the corner.

By Craig Wilson, USA TODAY  (December 2001)

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Writer's quotes - Patricia Wrede

Advice from one of my favorite authors.
(I say - authors - because I have so many favorites)

"Talent is way down on the list of things you need to write; it comes in a distant fourth, after persistance, motivation, and discipline. 
And the reason is that "talent" is as common as mud; what's rare is the motivation to sit down and actually do something with it, the discipline to do it regularly, and the persistance to stick with it until it's finished. 
I know oodles of extremely talented people who will never publish anything, because they won't ever sit down and actually *write* anything, much less finish it." -- Patricia Wrede

Sunday, November 26, 2017

It's a continual battle

Teen: It's hot in here
Me: (looks at thermostat - 73 degrees.
Me: wearing long pants and warm fleece top.
Me: not hot
This used to be a debate between me and my husband. Now between teen and me. (I'll never win. She just turned down the thermostat - behind my back)

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

November and Pies

In November our hearts and minds turn to pies.  Pumpkin pies, in fact.
I used to have to bake a round dozen of pies during November. (and repeat, but with less pies in December)  But nowadays, being retired and a widow, there are less pies necessary.

What did I used to have to bake?
Two pies for my husband to take to work for their early Thanksgiving party.
Two pies for my husband's birthday on November 15 - because he hates cake.
Two pies for November story time at my library for my Pumpkin Pie, Oh My! storytime.
Four pies for Thanksgiving.
And two more pies because my granddaughter's birthday is at the beginning of December.
A dozen pies.

It got so I stopped making homemade crust and bought ready made ones at the grocery store.
(have you tried Marie Calendar's piecrust?  It's the best.)

Actually, this is not my recipe.  I don't use the condensed milk one.  I use an old Fanny Farmer cookbook recipe with real milk and four eggs.  The whipped cream is vital for serving, but for family I usually whip the heavy cream, adding vanilla and sugar.
I just thought the expression on the pumpkin was funny.

This year I'm only making four pies in November.
Two last week when my nephew, Chad, came to town and we had a family dinner. (at a Mexican restaurant)
And two this week for Thanksgiving.

And the Doctor has the last word.
There is no argument against pie.  November is pie month.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

What makes a great nonfiction picture book?

Children's book editor Melissa Manlove discusses what makes a great Nonfiction Picture book on The Chronicle Books blog using the wonderful Over and Under the Snow by Kate Messner.
The Surprisingly Complex Principles of a successful picture book.

Click on over and explore.

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.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Uma Krishnaswami

One of the marvelous faculty members of Vermont College of Fine Arts, Writing for Children and Young Adults has been interviewed on Cynsations Blog.

(Yes, I know that's a very long name for my grad school.  We usually write it as: VCFA WCYA.)

Anywho, check out Uma Krishnaswami - On thriving as a long time, actively publishing children's author.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Writer's Quotes

Neil Gaiman quote:

"Google can bring you back 100,000 answers.
A librarian can bring you back the RIGHT ONE!"

Monday, August 21, 2017

Book Review - Apartment 1986 by Lisa Papademetriou

(with any luck, that picture might be a link to the HarperCollins site where you can read a bit of the book.)
Apartment 1986 by Lisa Papademetriou. HarperCollins, 2017.

Wow, Lisa. You had me on the edge of my seat during the last few chapters of your new book -- Apartment 1986.
I had been reading a few chapters while eating lunch, but at that point I had to carry the book around with me -to sit and read, to lay on my bed and read, etc. until I reached the very satisfying conclusion.
Of course there are questions still to be answered, such as Cassius adjusting to his final handicap (no spoilers), and how Callie's family carries on, and what about Callie's school and that huge test she missed? Whoa - and the school bully.  
Great ending, but lots of threads here if you plan to do a sequel.

If you'd like to listen to a NPR interview of Lisa Papademetriou, click here.   Guess what?  She DOES plan this to be a series.  Yay!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

First Day of School approaches

It's getting close to the beginning of school (happens in 2 weeks) and the teen is suddenly muttering, "I'm going to be a Senior this year. I have to look Good!"
(I see a shopping trip in our future.)

Monday, July 3, 2017

Writer's Quotes

Maya Angelou:

We may encounter many defeats, but we must not be defeated.

I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.

Try to be a rainbow in someone's cloud.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Writer's Quotes

David Foster Wallace:

I just think that fiction that isn't exploring what it means to be human today isn't art.

Fiction is about what it is to be a human being

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Writer's Quotes

Louisa May Alcott:

I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship.

Far away, there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations.  I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead.

hmmm, that one reminds me of the motto the class of 1961 at Parkersburg High School which went something like this:  A man's grasp must always exceed his reach.
Actually, I never understood it. These days, I'm only slightly beginning to understand it.
I think Louisa May Alcott's statement makes much more sense.

Monday, June 26, 2017

A little bit about ME

                           (photograph by Roxyanne Young)
I was the oldest of 4 children, so you know who was in charge of the other children - me. Babysitter. Wasn't asked back to babysit for several people which was fine with me because their kid(s) were brats. 
Since I was used to handling my own siblings, I wasn't taking any guff from those brats, so they complained to their parents that I was mean. (It's quite a surprise the first time you see a kid who seemed to be enjoying you babysitting suddenly burst out with -fake- tears them minute the parents come home.) I was quite willing to never go back to those families.   
In high school, although I was on the academic track, I worked in the cafeteria to help out with lunch (free food was always good), and then discovered that others got leave from school in December to go work at stores in the downtown. I joined that group and learned all about working the Christmas rush. fun!
I wrote my first stories those last years of high school.
In college my first year I was student assistant to the Journalism teacher. Every summer during my college years I worked at a photo developing place. Black and white photography. It was quite exciting when color photography was invented and the public began using it. Only the more experienced workers were allowed to work on that side of the building, but every so often I helped there as well.
My Senior year of college I worked at the top of the library building recording and organizing the collection of donated papers and photographs. Worked with some very interesting Civil War letters. (I was a History major)
In 1966, I got married to another history major, Francis Elbert Old III (otherwise known as Chip Old).
My first year of grad school (as a history major, again) I worked as a secretary in another college building. (only was asked to make coffee once. Since I don't drink coffee, I knew not how to make it, and they never asked me again. A new invention was installed in the building and I was nominated to learn how to use it. It was the very first word processor, called the MT/ST (Magnetic Tape/Selectric Typewriter).  
Then we both got accepted to library school in anther state - Kentucky - UK.
We needed jobs as well, so with my store experience (see high school above) and my husband's warehouse experience (and washing machine repairman) we both got jobs at the Stewart's department store in downtown Lexington. Eventually we got a scholarship and an assistantship and completed our Masters in Library Science and both began working for Baltimore County Public Library in Maryland. 
He became a branch manager and I retired to have children.
While they were growing up, I wrote, worked part-time as a librarian, and did some substitute teaching at my daughter's middle school, much to her embarrassment. (evidently what they wanted subs to do was show up and show movies - I could do that.)
I also worked part time as a reporter doing feature writing for the local neighborhood newspaper - the Parkville Reporter.
When our kids wanted to go to college, I went back to full-time work - as a children's librarian in another county to the north - Harford County Public Library. One of the reasons the head of the Children's department hired me was because she knew that I had organized several library and children's literature conventions. (also a National car convention - The New England MG'T' Register.)
Meanwhile, I was being published - first in children's magazines, and in the 1990s, a good many books. (My first books were easy readers for the Reading Roots - Shared Stories program.)
I retired from Harford County Public Library in 2011, but now was raising a second generation. (She's now a teenager - and driving.)
And I earned another degree - I received master's degree in writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts, Writing for Children and Young Adults in 2015.
So that's me - mom, grandmom, children's librarian, writer, teacher, Girl Scout Leader, secretary, sales clerk, etc., etc., etc.

Writer's Quotes

From Franz Kafka

Start with what is right rather than what is acceptable.  (which might explain his use of a insect as a main character)

In the struggle between yourself and the world, second the world.

From a certain point onward there is no longer any turning back.  That is the point that must be reached.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Writer's Quotes

from Kate DiCamillo:

Everything I write comes from my childhood in one way or another.  I am forever drawing on the sense of mystery and wonder and possibility that pervaded that time of my life.

Every well-written books is a light for me.  When you write, you use other writers and their books as guides in the wilderness.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Author's Quotes

from unknown other writers to me on the occasion of my graduation from Vermont College of Fine Arts with a degree in writing:

Chart New Waters!

Be Kind to Yourself


Thursday, June 22, 2017

Author's Quotes

Quotes from Ray Bradbury:

Living at risk is jumping off the cliff and building your wings on the way down.
He also later (earlier?) stated this another way.  I suspect he said this quite often, actually.
Jump, and you will find out how to unfold your wings as you fall.
I've also heard this --
Jump and build your wings on the way down.

Don't think.
Thinking is the enemy of creativity.  It's self-conscious, and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can't try to do things.  You simply must do things.

In my later years, I have looked in the mirror each day and found a happy person staring back.
Occasionally I wonder why I can be so happy.  The answer is that every day of my life I've worked only for myself and for the joy that comes from writing and creating. The image in my mirror is not optimistic, but the result of optimal behavior.

Sunday, June 18, 2017


I've always loved to swim.  Which is why we always belonged to a pool so that the family could swim and the kids could be in the swim team.
However, as I grow older, I'm also using swimming as an exercise, keeping the joints in shape.

My favorite stroke is the sidestroke. Lazy swimming on your side with your head almost out of the water.  Next favorite -- backstroke.  (same reason, easy to breath while swimming, lying on your back)  All the other strokes (crawl or freestyle, breast stroke, butterfly) are just controlled drowning, in my opinion.

Then I made an interesting discovery. The sidestroke was great at trimming hips.  Except for one problem.  If you only swam on one side all the time, ONE hip trimmed down, but the other kept its secretary spread.  hmmmmm.
So I began forcing myself to learn to do the sidestroke, lying on the other side.

Ah - problem solved.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Story Spine

I've just been introduced to STORY SPINE, a good and easy way to remember how to plot a story.  Especially useful for picture books:
From theater educator Kenn Adams -- Story Spine exercise to teach the craft of story structure.Kenn is a veteran improviser, a playwright, and the author of How to Improvise a Full-Length Play: The Art of Spontaneous Theater. He’s been doing school theater enrichment programs for 20 years. The Story Spine exercise is one Kenn uses not only with kids, but also with adults in improv classes.
The Story Spine is exactly what it sounds like: a structure that supports a story. It consists of a series of sentence beginnings that you complete:
Once upon a time…
Every day…
But one day…
Because of that…
Because of that…
Because of that…
Until finally…
And ever since then…

    Although the Story Spine seems simple, it’s really an ingenious way to help kids (and adults) learn how to construct a satisfying story.