Sunday, December 12, 2021

Firekeeper's Daughter

 Well, I've already decided that this should be the next ALA Printz winner:  Boulley, Angeline. Fire Keeper’s Daughter – keep the secret, live the lie, earn your truth. NY: Henry Holt & Co., 2021. 

    The connection I have to this author is that I attended Debby Dahl Edwardson's writer retreat called Loonsong the year that Debby also held a Turtle Island retreat the week after I had been there specifically for Native American Writers 

           This has already been chosen to be a Netflix film)

Monday, December 6, 2021

Things to know about Xmas

Xmas myth busting

1. Xmas is not "crossing" out Christ. It's an ancient way of abbreviating Christmas. The X stands for Christ. Go look it up. My mama taught me that decades ago. Every year I'm gobsmacked that so many people don't know this.
2. Happy Holidays has been around a lot longer than the PC flap that started the "War on Christmas." The origin of "holiday" means Holy Day. So don't get bent out of shape if someone wishes you happy holidays. Besides -- there's more than one of them this time of year. Just be nice to people, and be thankful if they also say something nice to you. Season's Greetings is perfectly fine as well.
3. The Twelve Days of Christmas STARTS on Christmas Day -- and runs through January 5th. January 6th is Epiphany or the observance of the Wisemen's visit. Go look it up.
4. Things like Advent and Epiphany are observed by other Christian sects besides Catholics -- including several Protestant denominations and Orthodox Christians.
5. You do NOT need to use an apostrophe when you address Christmas cards unless you are sending something to the Haversham's cat instead of just the Havershams.
End of the annual Xmas Holiday grousing. You're welcome.

Monday, November 8, 2021

The substitute teacher faces spitballs

 Every so often my daughter's  principal would call me for an emergency substitution at the nearby middle school.  Mainly because I lived a block away and he knew he could call me at the beginning of the school day and I'd be there before the first class session began.

The one time I subbed for a math class, the teacher had left a boring problem sheet for them to work on. Instead there were spitballs. so many spitballs. (this was the only class I had that problem) So many that I could Not figure out where they were coming from to pick one or two students to blame, so when, at the end of the class they had not completed that dinky sheet of math questions I told they they had to complete it over the weekend. (AW, Mrs. Old. we never get homework over the weekend.) And that I was leaving a note for their teacher explaining why. (leaving them to wonder what punishment the real teacher would give them for the rain of spit balls.) 

Actually, I had problems keeping a straight face during that class, because I thought it was hysterically funny. 

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Adult books that I read during the 2020 pandemic


Chandler, Raymond.  Farewell, My Lovely. NY: Random House , 1940. (his biography said that this book was funny.  It’s not. You need to know a lot of  detective slang words, too.)

Christie, Agatha.  Crooked House.  NY/London: Harper/ GP Putnam sons, 2011/1949. 

Deveraux, Jude.  Change of heart.  NY:  Pocket books, 2014.

Harris, Charlaine. Real Murdersan Aurora Teagarden Mystery. Thorndike, Maine: Center

             Point Large Print, 1990/ 2008.

    ….   A bone to pick, an Aurora Teagarden Mystery. Thorndike, Maine: Center

             Point Large Print, 1992/ 2008.

    ….   Three bedrooms, one corpse. an Aurora Teagarden Mystery.  NY: Charles Scribner’s

             sons, 1994   (actually there were two corpses. Hmmm) 

    ….   The Julius Housean Aurora Teagarden Mystery. Thorndike, Maine: Center Point

             Large Print, 1995/ 2009.

    ….   Dead over heels, an Aurora Teagarden Mystery.  NY: Charles Scribner’s sons, 1996.

    ….   A Fool and his Honey, an Aurora Teagarden Mystery. Maine :  Thorndike Center

             Point Large Print, 1999.

    ….   Last Scene Alivean Aurora Teagarden Mystery. Maine:  Thorndike Center

             Point Large Print, 2002.

    ….   Poppy done to Death, an Aurora Teagarden Mystery. Maine: Thorndike/ Chivers

             Large Print, 2003.

    ….   All the little liarsan Aurora Teagarden Mystery. Maine: Thorndike Press Large Print,


    ….   Sleep like a baby, an Aurora Teagarden Mystery. NY: Minotaur books, 2017.

            (the last in this series)

    ….   An Easy Death.  NY: Saga Press, 2018.  (Excellent alternate history tale)

Henderson, Zenna.  Pilgrimage, the book of the People.  NY: Avon, 1961.

            (published as a paperback/ costing only $0.75 !!!)

    ….   Ingathering, the complete people stories.  Framingham, MA: The NESFA Press, 1995.

            (Combines both Pilgrimage and her second people book – The People, no different flesh.)

Heyer, Georgette. The Black Moth. London: Heinemann, 1929. (her first book, published 1921)

            (Has always been in print – wow – for 100 years.)

    ….   The Masqueraders. NY: E.P. Dutton & Co. (originally published 1928)

    ….   The Talisman Ring.  NY: E.P Dutton & Co, 1936.

    ….   A Blunt Instrument.  Mattituck, NY: Aeonian Press, 1976. (reprint of 1938).

            (one of her mystery books)

    ….   Cotillion. Napierville, IL: Sourcebooks, 1953/ 2007 reprint. 

    ….   Sprig Muslin. NY: GP Putnam’s Sons, 1956

    ….   The Corinthian. NY: Buccaneer Books, 1983. (originally published 1940)

                        Quarantine re-Reading = I’m now re-reading some of Lackey’s series

                        Tales of the Five Hundred Kingdoms series

Lackey, Mercedes. The Fairy Godmother (Tales of the five hundred kingdoms). NY: Luna, 2004.

    ….   One Good Knight. (Tales of the five hundred kingdoms). NY: Luna, 2006.

    ….   Fortune’s Fool.  (Tales of the five hundred kingdoms). NY: Luna, 2007.

    ….   The Snow Queen. (Tales of the five hundred kingdoms). NY: Luna, 2008.

    ….   The Sleeping Beauty(Tales of the five hundred kingdoms). NY: Luna, 2010.

    ….   Beauty and the werewolf(Tales of the five hundred kingdoms). NY: Luna, 2011.

                                    (Last one of the series. I’d love to read more)

                        Quarantine re-reading the Collegium Chronicles

    ….   Foundation, the Collegium Chronicles, v.1. NY: Daw books, 2008.

    ….   Intrigues, book two of the Collegium Chronicles. NY: Daw books, 2009.

    ….   Changes, book Three of the Collegium Chronicles. NY: Daw books, 2011.

    ….   Redoubt, book Four of the Collegium Chronicles. NY: Daw books, 2012.

    ….   Bastion, book Five of the Collegium Chronicles. NY: Daw books, 2013.

                        Which continues on with the Herald Spy Series

    ….   Closer to Home, book one of the Herald Spy.  NY: Daw books, 2014.

    ….   Closer to the Heart, book two of the Herald Spy.  NY: Daw books, 2015.

    ….   Closer to the Chest, book three of the Herald Spy.  NY: Daw books, 2016.

                        Which continues on with the Family Spy Series

    ….   The Hills have Spies. Book one of the Family Spies. NY: Daw books, 2018.

    ….   Eye Spy, Book two of the Family Spies. NY: Daw books, 2019.

….       Spy, Spy Again, Book three of the Family Spies. NY: Daw books, 2020.

                        And more elemental Masters

    ….   The case of the spellbound child, Elemental Masters series. NY: Daw books, 2019.

            (more magical adventures of Nan, Sarah, and the Watsons. Sherlock shows up, too)

                                    ReReading Anne McCaffrey’s Pern series

McCaffrey, Anne. Dragonflight, volume 1 of the dragonriders of Pern. NY: Del Rey/ Ballantine,

             1968.  (See YA list for the teenage harpers’ books that go along with Vol. 1, 2, and 3)

    ….   DragonQuest, volume 2 of the dragonriders of Pern. NY: Del Rey/ Ballantine, 1971.

    ….   The White Dragonvolume3 of the dragonriders of Pern. NY: Del Rey/ Ballantine, 1978.

    ….   Moreta: Dragonlady of Pern. NY: Del Rey/ Ballantine, 1983.

    ….   Nerilka’s Story. NY: Del Rey/ Ballantine, 1986. (runs concurrently with Moreta)

    ….   Dragonsdawn. Dragonriders of Pern series. NY: Del Rey/ Ballantine, 1988.

    ….   The Renegades of PernDragonriders of Pern series. NY: Del Rey/ Ballantine, 1989.

    ….   All the Weyrs of Pern. NY: Del Rey/ Ballantine, 1991.

    ….   The Chronicles of Pern: First Fall. NY: Del Rey/ Ballantine, 1993. 

            (short stories filling in gaps in the Pern series)

    ….   The Dolphins’ Bell.  Illus. Pat Morrisey. Newark, NJ: Wildside press, 1993. (novela)

   ….    The Dolphins of PernDragonriders of Pern series. NY: Del Rey/ Ballantine, 1994.

    ….   The girl who heard dragons. Illus. Michael Whelan. NY: Tor, 1994.

                     (Only the title story is a PERN story. The rest are short stories, realistic & fantasy)

    ….   No one noticed the cat.  NY: ROC/ Penguin. 1996.

                        (not a PERN book. Simply good fantasy)

    ….   Dragonseye. Dragonriders of Pern series. NY: Del Rey/ Ballantine, 1997.

    ….   Masterharper of Pern.  Dragonriders of Pern series. NY: Del Rey/ Ballantine, 1998.

    ….   The Skies of Pern. NY:  Del Rey/ Ballantine Books, 2001.

    ….   A gift of Dragons. Illus. Tom Kidd.  NY:  Ballantine Books, 2002.

                (four short stories originally printed elsewhere from 1973 - 2002. One of them,

                The Girl Who Heard Dragons, 1994, has been melded into several other Pern Books,

                 including The Renegades of Pern, The Dolphins of Pern, and is featured in another

                 collection of short stories with the title – The Girl Who Heard Dragons.)

McCaffrey, Todd and Anne McCaffrey. Dragon’s Kin. NY: Del Rey, 2003.

    ….   Dragonsblood - Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern... NY: Del Rey, 2005. 

                        (actually comes after Dragon Harper in this series)

    ….   Dragon’s Fire. NY: Del Rey, 2006.

    ….   Dragon Harper.   NY: Del Rey, 2007.

    ….   Dragonheart-- Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern. NY: Del Rey, 2008.

     ….  Dragongirl -- Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern. NY: Del Rey, 2010.

    ….   Dragon’s Time -- Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern. NY: Del Rey, 2011.

    ….   Sky Dragons -- Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern. NY: Del Rey, 2012.  

            (Anne’s son, using Anne’s story outline. There are quite a few of these

             joint projects, some begun while Anne was still alive.)

 McCaffrey, Gigi. Dragon’s Code – Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern. NY: Del Rey, 

            2018.  (written by Anne’s daught er)

McCaffrey, Anne and Elizabeth Ann Scarborough.  Catalyst. A tale of the Barque Cats.

            NY: Del Ray, 2010. 

    ….   Catacombs, A tale of the Barque Cats. NY: Del Ray, 2010. 

                        Brain Ships series:

McCaffrey, Anne with Mercedes lackey and Margaret Ball. Brain Ships. NY: Baen, 1992.

            (Consisting of 2 books – The Ship who Searched and Partnership. Sequels to 

            The Shop Who Sang )

McCaffrey, Anne with S.M. Stirling. The City who fought, NY: Baen, 1993.

McCaffrey, Anne with Jody Lynn Nye.  The Ship who Won. NY: Baen, 1994.

    ….   The Ship Errant. NY: Baen, 1996.

McCaffrey, Anne with S.M. Stirling. The Ship Avenged. NY: Baen, 1996.

Quinn, Julia. The secrets of Sir Richard Kenworthy. (Book 4 of the Smythe-Smith Quartet which

             I began reading in 2019.)  NY: Avon/ HarperCollins, 2015.

Taylor, Jodi.    Hope for the best. The chronicles of St. Mary’s. London: Headline, 2019.

            (The latest in her time traveling historians stories) 

Winspear, Jacqueline. 

    ….   Masie Dobbs, Birds of a Feather. Two Maisie Dobbs Novels. NY: HarperCollins. 2003/

             2004.  (The first and second books of this series combined in one paperback.)

    ….   Pardonable Lies, Maisie Dobbs Novel.   NY: Henry Holt and Company, 2005.  

    ….   Messenger of Truth, a Maisie Dobbs Novel.   NY: Henry Holt and Company, 2006.  

    ….   An Incomplete Revenge, a Maisie Dobbs Novel.  NY: HarperCollins, 2008.

    ….   Among the Mad, a Maisie Dobbs Novel.  NY: Henry Holt and Company, 2009.

    ….   The mapping of Love and Death, a Maisie Dobbs Novel.  NY: HarperCollins, 2010.

    ….   A lesson in secretsa Maisie Dobbs Novel.  NY: HarperCollins, 2011.

    ….   Elegy for Eddie, a Maisie Dobbs Novel.  NY: HarperCollins, 2012.

     ….  Leaving everything most loved, a Masie Dobbs Novel.  NY: HarperCollins, 2013.

    ….   A dangerous place, a Maisie Dobbs Novel.  NY: HarperCollins, 2015.

     ….  Journey to Municha Maisie Dobbs Novel.  NY: HarperCollins, 2016.

    ….   In this grave houra Maisie Dobbs Novel.  NY: HarperCollins, 2017

    ….   To die but once, a Maisie Dobbs Novel.  NY: HarperCollins, 2018.

    ,,,,    The American Agent, a Maisie Dobbs Novel.  NY: HarperCollins, 2019.




 B Chandler      MacShane, Frank. The life of Raymond Chandler. NY: E.P. Dutton, 1976.

B Fox              Fox, Michael J.  A funny thing happened on the way to the future; twists and turns

             and lessons learned.  NY:  Hyperion, 2010.

B Heyer           Kloester, Jennifer. Georgette Heyer.  London: Heineman/Random House, 2011.

B Karr             Karr, Mary.  The Liars’ Club, a memoir. NY:  Viking Penguin, 1995.

B Trump         Trump, Mary L. Too much and never enough – how my family created the world’s

             most dangerous man. NY: Simon & Schuster, 2020. 

B Winebanks  Wine-Banks, Jill. The Watergate girl – my fight for truth and justice against a

             criminal president.  NY: Henry Holt and Co., 2020.




 070.43097       Stelter, Brian. HOAX, Donald Trump, Fox News, and the dangerous distortion of 

            truth. NY: ISP/ Simon & Schuster, 2020.

332.15094       Enrich David.  Dark Towers – Deutsche Bank, Donald Trump, and an epic trail of 

            destruction. NY: Custom House/ HarperCollins, 2020.

338.272           Maddow, Rachel.  Blowout – corrupted democracy, rogue state Russia, and the

             richest, most destructive industry on earth.  NY: Crown, 2019.  

          (This book is just like listening to Rachel Maddow speak.)

355.00973       Bergen, Peter.  Trump and his generals – the cost of chaos. NY: Penguin, 2019.

362.1   Bollyky, Thomas. Plagues and the paradox of progress – why the world is getting 

            healthier in worrisome ways. Cambridge, MA: the MIT press, 2018.

                        (written before COVID-19. He needs to add a chapter about that, which would

                         make him revise some of his conclusions in earlier chapters.)

420.9   Bryson, Bill. The Mother Tongue, English and how it got that way. NY: William

             Morrow, 1990.

500      Bryson, Bill.  A short history of nearly everything. NY: Broadway Books/ Random

             House, 2003.  (not human history but history of this earth and things on it)

909      Harari, Tyval Noah. Sapiens, a brief history of Humankind.  NY:  Harper, 2015.

            (not really brief – is 444 pages long)

973.933           Anonymous (a senior Trump administration official) A Warning. NY: Hachette

             Book Group, 2019.

973.933           Rucker, Philip and Leonnig, Carol.  A very stable genius, Donald J. Trump’s

             testing of America. NY: Penguin Press, 2020.  (two Pulitzer prize winners)

973.933           Schmidt, Michael. Donald Trump v. the United States, inside the struggle to stop 

            a president. NY: Random House, 2020.

973.933           Strzok, Peter. Compromised, counterintelligence and the threat of Donald J.

             Trump. NY: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2020. (FBI Investigation & Mueller Report)

973.933           Wolkoff, Stephanie Winston. Melania and me, the rise and fall of my friendship 

            with the first lady. NY:  Gallery Books, 2020.

973.93309       Woodward, Bob.  Rage. NY: Simon & Schuster, 2020.

            (includes word for word interviews with the incompetent President Trump)


Children's Books I read in 2020 during the Pandemic

 Well, it's time to consider what books will get awards. The Newbery and Caldecott awards will not be announced until Next Year but readers are considering which books published this year qualify.  However, I realized that I had not posted the books that I read during the first year of the pandemic - 2020.  So here goes.

The list of children's books I read last year with some comments:

Picture Books

 Bailey, Jenn. A friend for Henry. Illus Mika Song.  San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2019.

Harrison, David and Jane Yolen. Rum Pum Pum. Illus Anjan Sarkar. NY: Holiday House, 2020.

Loney, Andrea. Double Bass Blues. Illus Rudy Gutierrez. NY: Alfred A knopf, 2019.

Maillard, Kevin Noble. Fry Bread – a Native American family story. Illus. Juana Martinex=Neal.

             NY: Roaring Brook Press, 2019.

            (Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award for most distinguished informational

             book for children. It was also a Picture Book Honor choice for the American

            Indian Youth Literature award.) 

McKissack, Patrica C. What is given from the heart. Illus. April Harrison. NY: Schwartz &

             Wade books, 2019.  (Coretta Scott King New Illustrator Award)

Morris, Richard. Bear Came Along.  Illus: LeUyen Pham. NY: Little, brown and Co., 2019.

            (2020 Caldecott winner)

Nyong’o, Lupita. Sulwe. Illus. Vashti Harrison. NY: Simon & Schuster Books for young readers,

             2019. (2020 Corretta Scott King illustrator honor) (author was warrior in Black Panther)

Pizzoli, Greg. The Book Hog. NY: Hyperion, 2019.  

            (Geisel award winner- even tho in picture book format, not ICR format.)

Portis, Antonette. Hey Water.  NY:  Neal Porter Books/ Holiday House, 2019.

            (Backmatter – Water Forms, The Water Cycle, Conserving Water, Books to Explore.

             This is classified as NF by Library of Congress, but San Diego Library has it in 

             picture books)

Ransome, James. The Bell Rang. NY: Atheneum books for young children, 2019.

            (2020 Corretta Scott King illustrator honor)

Roth, Susan. Birds of a Feather- bowerbirds and me.  NY: Neal Porter Books/ Holiday House,

             2019.  (both bowerbirds and Susan are artists creating collages)

Theule, Larissa. Born to ride, a story about bicycle face.   Illus. Kelsey Garrity-Riley. 

            NY: Abrams books for Young Readers, 2019. 

            (Illustrations show the fight for women’s right to vote)

Yang, James. Stop! Bot!  NY: Viking, 2019. (book is taller than wide because - tall building)


I Can Read

 Morris, J.E.  Flubby is Not a good pet! NY: Penguin Workshop, 2019.  (Jennifer Morris)

            (2020 Geisel honor book)



 Applegate, Katherine. The One and Only Bob. NY: Harper, 2020.

            (Sequel to The One and Only Ivan)

Coville, Bruce. Aliens stole my body.  (v. 4 of Rod Allbright and the Galactic Patrol)

            NY: Aladdin paperbacks, 1998.  (The series is now being made into a movie)

Messner, Kate. Chirp.  NY: Bloomsbury, 2020.

            (Mystery. Who is sabotaging grandmother’s crickets for food business, plus what is

             Mia’s hidden secret. I had trouble even thinking about crickets for food. Yuck.)

Mlynowski, Sarah, Lauren Myracle, Emily Jenkins. Upside Down Magic. NY: Scholastic, 2015.

                 (now made into a Disney Movie.  The movie was OK but the books were better.)

    ….   Upside Down Magic – Sticks & Stones. v. 2.   NY: Scholastic, 2016.

    ….   Upside Down Magic – Showing Off. v. 3.   NY: Scholastic, 2017.

    ….   Upside Down Magic – Dragon Overnight. v. 4.   NY: Scholastic, 2018.

    ….   Upside Down Magic – Weather or not.  v. 5.   NY: Scholastic, 2018.

    ….   Upside Down Magic – The big shrink.  v. 6.   NY: Scholastic, 2019.

    ….   Upside Down Magic – Hide and Seek.  v. 7.   NY: Scholastic, 2020.

Noel, Kaela.  Coo. Illus. Celia Krampien. NY: Greenwillow/ HarperCollins books, 2020.

            (I didn’t believe the first chapters and feel they were tacked on to create backstory, but 

            the bulk of the story – a girl who can talk to pigeons – is well done. Raised by pigeons

             from infant to 10 years old – not so much. Where would pigeons get milk for a baby?)

Park, Linda Sue.  Prairie Lotus. NY: Clarion Books, 2020.

                 (2021 Asian/Pacific American award. Maybe more.)

Schmidt, Gary D.  Pay Attention, Carter Jones.  NY: Clarion Books/ HMH, 2019.

                 (Dad has disappeared. An English Butler appears, organizing and supporting the 

            distraught family.  Also, much about the game of Cricket & how Carter applies it to life.)

Shurtiff, Liesl.  Time Castaways #1, the Mona Lisa Key. NY: Katherine Tegan Books/ 

            HarperCollins, 2018.

   ….    Time Castaways #2, the Obsidian Compass. NY: Katherine Tegan Books/ 

            HarperCollins, 2019.

    ….   Time Castaways #3, The forbidden lock. NY: Katherine Tegan Books/ 

            HarperCollins, 2020.

Slade, Arthur.  Jolted – Newton Starker’s rules for survival. NY: Random House, 2009.

            (boy from family who attracts and dies by lightning strike – will he survive?)

Springer, Nancy. The case of the Missing Marquess, an Enola Holmes mystery. NY: Philomel/

             Penguin Books for Young Readers, 2006. 

    ….   The case of the left-handed lady, an Enola Holmes mystery. NY: Philomel/ Penguin

             Books for Young readers, 2007.

    ….   The case of the bizarre bouquets, an Enola Holmes mystery. NY: Philomel/ Penguin

             Books for Young Readers, 2008. 

    ….   The case of the peculiar pink fan, an Enola Holmes mystery. NY: Philomel/ Penguin

             Books for Young Readers, 2008. 

    ….   The Case of the Cryptic crinoline, an Enola Holmes mystery. NY: Philomel/ Penguin

             Books for Young Readers, 2009. 

    ….   The case of the gypsy good-bye.  an Enola Holmes mystery. NY: Philomel/ Penguin

             Books for Young Readers, 2010. 

                        (now a movie)

Timberlake, Amy.  One came home – a sister lost, a body found, the truth buried. NY: Knopf,


Reedy, Trent.  Stealing Air. NY: Arthur A. Levine/ Scholastic, 2012. (skateboarding)

Young, Karen Romano.  A girl, a raccoon, and the midnight moon.  Illus. Jesixa Bagley. 

            San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2019.  (Saving a library branch)


YA Fiction:

 Bartoletti, Susan Campbell. The boy who dared, a novel based on the true story of a Hitler 

            youth.  NY: Scholastic Press, 2008.

Jones, Diana Wynne.  Dark Lord of Derkholm. NY: Greenwillow/ HarperTrophy, 1998.

            (The title sounds scary, but it’s actually a funny fantasy.)

McCaffrey, Anne.  Dragonsong.  NY: Atheneum, 1976.

    ….   Dragonsinger. NY: Atheneum, 1977.

    ….   Dragondrums. NY: Atheneum, 1979.

                        (These three are stories of young Harpers and their craft view of the major events

                  happening in the upper Dragon Weyrs as told in her Adult books about PERN.)

Reeve, Philip.  Mortal Engines, the Hungry City Chronicles.  NY: HarperCollins, 2001

    ….   Predator’s Gold, book 2 of the Hungry City Chronicles.  NY: Scholastic, 2003

    ….   Night Flights, a Mortal Engines Collection. NY: Scholastic, 2018. 

            (short stories about the aviatrix, Anna Fang who saved the Mortal Engines protagonists)

    ….   Infernal Devices, book 3 of the Hungry City Chronicles.  NY: Scholastic, 2005.

    ….   A darkling plainbook 4 of the Hungry City Chronicles.  NY: Scholastic, 2006.

    ….   A web of air, book 2 of the Fever Crumb series.  NY: Scholastic, 2010.

                        (prequel to the Hungry City Chronicles)

    Riggs, Ransom. Miss Peregrine’s home for peculiar children.  Philadelphis, PA: Quirk Books,


    ….   Hollow City, the second novel of Miss Peregrine’s peculiar children. Philadelphis, PA: 

            Quirk Books, 2014. 




 J Blondin.        Bowman, Donna Janell. King of the Tightrope, when the Great Blondin ruled 

            Niagara.  GA: Peachtree, 2019.



J Bryan.           Bryan, Ashley. Infinite Hope, a black artist’s journey from World War II to

             Peace. NY: Caitiyn Diouhy/ Atheneum Books, 2019. 

            (illustrated with Photographs plus his artistic renderings)

J Leeuwwenhoek        Alexander, Lori. All in a drop, how Antony van Leeuenhoek discovered an

             invisible world. Ill. Vivien Mildenberger. NY:  Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2019. 

            (2020 Robert Sibert honor award)  (Chapter book illustrated biography)

YA Lindbergh             Fleming, Candace. The rise and fall of Charles Lindbergh. NY: Schwartz

             & Wade books, 2020.                        (I never knew he was a NAZI and American First leader)

            (2021 -ALA YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults.)



 YA 323           Brimner, Larry Dane. Blacklisted! Hollywood, the cold war, and the first 

            amendment.  Honesdale, PA: Calkins Creek, 2018.  (excellent coverage of the damage

             the House Un-American Activities Committee did to life in the USA. And warnings

             about it possibly beginning to happen again under Trump, except flipped.)

J 595.492        Schnell, Lisa Kahn. High Tide for horseshoe crabs. Illus. Alan Marks. 

            MA: Charlesbridge, 2015. 

J 811.6            Alexander, Kwame. The Undefeated. Illus. Kadir Nelson. NY: Houghton Mifflin

             Harcourt, 2019.  (Caldecott honor, Golden Kite award) 

J 940.54          Heiligman, Deborah.  Torpedoed – the true story of the World War II sinking of

             the children’s ship. NY: Henry Holt, 2019.

            (2020 Winner of SCBWI’s Golden Kite Award for Nonfiction for Older Readers)

YA 943.086    Bartoletti, Susan Campbell.  Hitler Youth, growing up in Hitler’s shadow

            NY: Scholastic, 2005.  (wonderfully researched)

Sunday, October 31, 2021

Halloween tree

 Have you put up your Halloween Tree yet?

Friday, October 8, 2021

I met my husband at college

There are so many husband meeting stories.  

My "right time to meet him" was because in high school I went on a trip with the Luther League to a state convention at Keyser, West Virginia, and while there discovered Potomac Junior College. (these days it's called - Potomac State College of West Virginia University.) In German class I sat next to this guy who had come from Baltimore Maryland. Francis Elbert Old III, otherwise known as Chip. We both had come by train, me traveling east from the Ohio River area of West Virginia and he traveling west from Baltimore Maryland. We both were there because our first choice college had not accepted us.

It really irked me that a lot of boys and men at that time thought that girls going to college was a waste of time; that they were only looking for MRS. degrees. It always shocked them when I insisted I was intent on earning a degree in a field where I could work. That discouraged a good many from dating me. Which was fine with me.

It just so happened that we both were in the college band - me on clarinet and he behind us in charge of the kettle drums. We liked each other and had a few casual dates, nothing much. He never believed me when I told him that the whole woodwind section was adoring him from afar.

Since this was a 2 year college, I went on to West Virginia University and dated other guys. Since he had taken a year off from high school to work, he was a year behind me. The next year, I was sitting in my Ancient History class and Lo and Behold, guess who came and sat next to me? This same guy. That year we were friends, but dating other people. (Can you believe that one of his girlfriends was a girl named Wendy? It's true.)

At WVU, I was in the orchestra playing the bassoon and was constantly being roped in to play with small groups at the Music Department, so that the people studying to be conductors could practice conducting with us as their victims. Fun. A year or more later, I bought a guitar and asked him to teach me how to play. He was great at it, but I never got my fingers coordinated enough to be any good. (Eventually he performed at the local Coffeehouse with the other local folk singers) I also attempted the flute with the same result, so I sold the flute to a jazz musician, but I'm not sure what happened to the guitar. I think I gave it to my sister.  

I don't know if he joined the Fencing Club because I was in it, but he got quite good with the epee. When I went to be a camp counselor, teaching fencing, I wrote long letters to him. Unfortunately his father, who was an editor, got ahold of my letters and EDITED them, and said I was a poor writer. It's too bad he didn't live long enough to see my 45 published books. (Chip used to call me - his 'famous writer wife.")

Anywho, we dated, then married, graduated from WVU, got MSLS graduate degrees at University of Kentucky (where we helped run the Fencing Club there), and began working as librarians at Baltimore County Public Library. After having several children, I ended up at Harford County Public Library as a children's librarian for over 20 years.

Saturday, October 2, 2021

Bookcases wanted

 I was just in my local library and noticed they were packing up to renovate. Since several of our wooden bookcases came from a library under renovation, I asked if they were selling their beautiful bookcases.

 Sadly, they were not. They were only renovating the floors and were moving the bookcases out of the way.  🙁

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Farewell typewriter

 My husband and I shared an electric typewriter. He wrote articles for an antique MG car magazine and I was writing articles for the local newspaper. 

One day I discovered at breakfast time - no typewriter. He had gotten so frustrated at his multiple mistakes on a typing page that he had had to retype several times that he had picked up the typewriter and thrown it on the floor. We were vacuuming up typewriter parts and multiple ball bearings for months afterwards. 

Friday, September 24, 2021

They repainted our houses

 Well, they've repainted the section of the condo that I see from my kitchen window. It's so depressing. (others may say it's smart and chic and o so elegant, I don't.)  

The houses used to be painted in warm autumn tones. Creamy off white houses with warm rusty autumn leaves paint on the trim.  

Now what do I see? Stark white houses with black trim and gray doors. Depressing.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

A Publishing Industry Glossary

Just for fun,  Posted by: Rick Walton  

   Date: Sat Jun 18, 2011 

Whenever I spend a great deal of time involved in something, my mind starts rebelling, and twisting it out of shape and it spit out the following:

A Publishing Industry Glossary

Author--the costume a writer puts on when he goes to a cocktail party.

Auction--a contest where two or more editors race to see who can show the most irrational exuberance.

Advance--the best proof that your project is moving forward.

ARC-- a vessel you send out into the ocean of reviewers, hoping it floats instead of sinks.

Backlist--books still in print, but which the publisher hides behind his back so they are hard to see.

Book--a rectangular device for immortalizing the person whose name is inscribed on it. Not to be confused with "headstone".

Contract--a document which, if held to the same standards as its subject, would require serious editing.

Cover letter--a letter designed to cover the weaknesses in your manuscript.

Critique--hopefully advice to help you turn your pony into a racehorse, but too often the suggestion that you turn your pony into an alligator.

Designer--a person who proves that people do indeed judge a book by its cover.

Dialogue--what people might say in real life if it were edited for clarity, conciseness, and for necessity to the plot. In other words, nothing at all like what people say in real life.

Draft--a manuscript with still enough holes in it to let the wind blow through.

E-book--E stands for everyone, as in everyone now will think they can write a book.

Editor--a young woman with just slightly more power than God. 

Editorial Board--a plank that your book is forced to walk by the captain of the publishing ship. Sometimes the book is allowed to come back and join the crew. But most of the time the book is pushed into the ocean.

Endpapers--a great place to write notes when you're out of notepaper, which is why they should be plain white.

Fiction--what a writer tells himself to make him believe he can write something people will pay money for.

Graphic novel--a comic book that went to college.

Hardcover--the best kind of book to use as a murder weapon.

Imprint--one of the personalities exhibited in a publisher's multiple personality disorder.

ISBN--Intercontinental Satellite-Based Nuke. What an author wishes they had access to when they get a bad review.

Jacket--an outer covering designed to make a cool book hot.

Line editing--editing that does not require you to wrap your mind around the whole plot, as substantive editing does, but which allows you to work while standing in the grocery store line, the bank line, the DMV line,...

Mass-market--a type of book that most of the time the masses, with great enthusiasm, ignore.

Option clause--a contract clause that gives you the option to either say, "No thank you, take it out." Or, "Are you out of your mind? Take it out!"

Print on demand--polite people say "print on request".

Publication date--a blind date set up between your book and the reader. You hope for a long-term relationship, but too often it results in your book being stood up.

Publisher--a company that is looking for something new and fresh as long as it has been done before.

Quill--if it was good enough for Shakespeare, it is good enough for you.

Reader--a very smart person who likes your book, or one who is not so smart who doesn't.

Rejection--a necessary evil, unless it involves my manuscript, then it is a totally unnecessary wrong.

Remainder--also known as "reminder". A step in the publishing process designed to remind you that you aren't as hot as you were starting to think you are.

Royalty--a British term for when publishers send the author lots of small pieces of paper with pictures of royalty on them in exchange for publishing their books. American publishers kept the term, in spite of the fact that our small pieces of paper do not have pictures of royalty on them, because they are afraid that if it was called "president", we would hear it as "precedent" and start expecting them to send us those little pieces of paper more often.

Typewriter--the best writing device ever to use as a murder weapon.

Unsolicited submission--a twisted form of attempted adoption where you give your dear child away to someone who doesn't want it.

Vanity press--a variation of "van o' depressed". So-called because you end up depressed with a van full of books.

Young adult--the average age of editors today.

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Keep reaching for your goal

I'm listening to a video chat from the national SCBWI conference about setting and achieving your career goals- and it occurred to me that I have actually done this. I had a full-time job in a library (around wonderful children, wonderful co-workers, and books books books.) I also wanted to write books. I ended up writing many books and over 40 of them were published. We won't talk about the ones still filling drawers in my office filing cabinets. And for about a year I was a famous author. :) (then I went back to being a working mom who wrote books in her "spare" time. :) )

I also reached my goal of performing as a musician and hanging out with other musicians (in college) and later with music fans. (followed the Moody Blues for a while and even got to meet them for a quick minute backstage with a friend.)
I got very, very tired of shoveling snow (one year we had over 4 feet of snow - in Maryland!) So I now live in the land of eternal springtime - southern California coast.
I wanted more instruction about writing, so I went for a second masters degree (the first was in Library Science that I attended with my husband), at VCFA - Vermont College of Fine Arts, writing for Children and young adults.
Have I reached all my goals? nope. If you stop reaching for goals, you shrivel up and die.
So I keep reaching.