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I think it’s so easy as a writer to get insecure. To start off with, we’re creative people in a confining world. We’re usually different in some way (who isn’t?), and many of us have had painful experiences or painful childhood. And there’s a lot of rejections in the world of writing, even after you’re published. Rejections for manuscripts, for blurbs for your books, the edits and re-edits of a manuscript even after acceptance for publication, and then the occasional painful negative reviews that don’t get your work. All part of the work and life of being a writer–but they can wear on us. And since we can put so much of ourselves into our work–I know I do–it’s hard not to have it affect your self-esteem.
I do have the added layer of being an abuse and torture survivor, and being taught to hang on to the negative. I’m trying hard to turn that around and hold on to the positive, but it’s hard for me to do. So when something like this happens–when a writer whose work I love and admire, who speaks out with a strong voice, says she admires me and thinks I’m a hero for what I write and how I reach people? It’s a huge gift, one that I hold close to me. Thank you Jennifer! (beaming)
I love Jennifer Brown’s books (Hate List, Bitter End, Perfect Escape, Thousand Words, Torn Away). They’ve got strong girl heroes who go through painful experiences and find hope. If you like my books, you will probably like Jennifer’s, and vice versa.
I believe that #YASaves. I know it does; I couldn’t have survived my child- and teenhood without the books I devoured, looking for something to tell me I wasn’t alone, wasn’t crazy, that things would get better–and I know it from the reader letters I get telling me that my books helped readers not kill themselves, talk to someone for the first time about their own pain, get help, stop cutting, feel like they can survive what they have to survive…. Hearing such from other people–readers and writers–is a gift of strength and love that I hold on to when things feel too hard. If you love someone–a friend, a writer, a parent–never hesitate to tell them. Words are powerful, and they can heal.
One of the things that Bill Finger, star of Bill the Boy Wonder: The Secret Co-Creator of Batman, was known for was including larger-than-life everyday objects in his scripts. I contacted the Kevin, hoping there would be an opportunity to borrow/rent his titanic typewriter for a Bill the Boy Wonder promotional event in New York. While oversized cool, the typewriter alone would not be enough.
At BookExpo America 2010, I was thrilled to see a 10x10 foot typewriter in the booth of Abrams Books (to promote the book Monumental: The Reimagined World of Kevin O’Callaghan):
We’d need a Batman as well. And I knew just the one:
inspired by the Mego dolls of the 1970s…AKA 68% of my childhood I didn’t hear back, and no such event materialized, but the vision persists in my mind.
By: Anna Raff,
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Us runners sure do a number on our poor tummies. All the pounding, up, down, fast, jiggling, jiving…if our stomaches and intestines could speak I can only imagine the expletives they’d be yelling at us!
Actually, those stomaches and intestines of runners DO speak…just with things much more powerful, dare I even say explosive, than words. Yes, runners and their guts are stuck in a state of ongoing negotiations.
“PLEASE behave for my long run, preeeettty please!!” the runner’s silent prayer before heading out the door.
Runners plan their foods accordingly, learn from trial and error, we do our best to set ourselves up to avoid a stomach related attack but sometimes it feels like we’re in some kind of peace-treaty contract negotiation House of Cards style.
Those runner guts are testy, moody, volatile. Sometimes there is just NO pleasing them despite what feels like us doing our best to abide by the ‘rules’.
I’ve done a few posts on handling GI issues HERE and HERE
Today let’s talk about those post-run, especially post-workout tummies and guts. After all that jiggling and jiving lots of runners complain of feeling nauseous, that food is the LEAST appealing thing in the world, and sometimes runners actually struggle to keep food down.
The issue is that runners ALSO know how incredibly important refueling your body and muscles is within the first 30 minutes of finishing your workouts. In order to maximize your recovery (upwards of 60% better) so you can come back stronger, it really is crucial to find something, anything that will get into your system and STAY there.
This is an occasion where liquids can be a runner’s best friend. If you struggle with keeping actual food down due to an upset stomach after your runs and hard workouts take it to the liquids. Recovery drinks and smoothies can get you those essential protein amino acids and carbs to repair those muscles.
Recently Clif sent me a care package, among the bars (which I already knew I liked and enjoy), they introduced me to their recovery and electrolyte drinks. I hadn’t tried either of those so was interested to test them out.
Clif Protein Recovery Drink
I sampled the Orange Mango and really liked it. I tried it mixed in with a smoothie (berries and other fruit) and I also tried it just mixed with water. It’s sweet but not overpoweringly so, and plenty tasty on it’s own just with the water.
Each pack has 170 calories and 10 grams of protein. If there was anything I would change or suggest it would be if there were more grams of protein. Ideally, post-run and post-workout you want at least 25 grams of protein. But other than that, I really liked this one…it also comes in Chocolate and while I didn’t try this flavor, really I’ve not met something chocolate I don’t enjoy.
Clif Electrolyte Hydration Drink
These little guys come in tiny sleeves and are really easy to carry around and stash in a bag. I tried the Cranberry Raz and it was a win in the taste department. The thing with hydration for runners is this is an ALL DAY thing, you need to continually be drinking water and fluids…not just right before or after your runs.
I’ve also explained a lot how crucial it is to drink not JUST water, but to find electrolyte replacement drinks to ensure your balances there are correct. Especially with the potassium and sodium. So this is why the market for electrolyte drinks has exploded the past few years. Taste-wise Clif nailed it. The only recommendations I have is that they offer a few with less calories…one pack is 80 calories because it also contains the simple sugars.
If you’re actually RUNNING (ie: part of your marathon training fueling strategy) you DO need that quickly digested glucose. But, if you’re not and you’re just needing the electrolytes the extra carbs and calories may not be what you need.
Thank you, Clif, for sending me these to test out and review!! All their products are available online and I’ve seen them in lots of stores too.
Soooo, while I STILL feel entitled to complain and be irked at my stomach any and every time it causes me trouble…on some level, when I imagine the bumping, jumping, jiving, and all that other stuff it has to put up with I can kinda sympathize with it for putting up with me as much as it does!
Treat your stomaches with care, Runners!
1) If you’ve had a dialogue with your stomach how did it go? Do you say a little hope/prayer before long runs?? haha.
2) Something you’ve learned about running and nutrition lately?
3) Have you tried either the Clif Recovery or Electrolyte Drinks?
I don't think it will come as a shock to regular readers of this blog that the short fiction categories are my favorites on the Hugo ballot, to the extent that I attach to them an importance that is probably completely out of proportion to how most of the voting base thinks of them. Yes, I know, the best novel category is the only one most people (and especially anyone outside of fandom, or even
It is the 6th year of the BoB and we’ve already had smashing decisions from three terrific judges along with clever graphics again from SLJ’s art director Mark Tuchman, smart commentary from kid commentator RGN, and wonderful responses from our loyal followers. Be sure to check it out!
At Chemers Gallery, it's all about the art, but we bet you didn't realize that we consider the framing to be a part of that! Custom framing is an art form in itself, and we strive to create just the right tone to fit not only your artwork but your life as well.Shell
We love it when new mouldings are introduced - our imagination runs wild with the sheer scale of possibilities that open up. Over the years we've seen trends come and go and return once again. We've also seen some crazy ideas that just might work. (Remember when we brought badass to the OC??)
We're always searching for the latest and greatest trends to share with you, and we were shell-shocked
with how gorgeous this one is! That's right, a veneer of mother-of-pearl shell creates soft translucence in three finishes and sizes. Available in shimmery white, champagne gold and, well, think of a glistening sea urchin for the third color! You'll just have to see what we're talking about in person. Perfectly elegant for bridal portraits and vanity mirrors and absolutely adorable for baby snaps, these frames are sure to make a splash.Tortoise Shell
Speaking of shell, faux tortoise shell is back and better than ever! Frames like these haven't been available for about a decade, and we're thrilled to see their return. Elegant
, they make us think of manor homes, men's smoking rooms and natural history museums. Thoroughly suited for antique prints including botanical and Audubon style, the depth of color lends a richness to the presentation and elevates your art to the next level. Rustic
What's old is new again - the "reclaimed" wood look has been reclaimed
in today's shapes and colors! Rustic with a modern twist, these beautifully textured mouldings look like they've led former lives as wine barrels, barn siding, and factory flooring. Clean lines fit in with the current feel for simple shape and form. We can see these frames on folk art and seascapes, giving a real period look to the finished product.Acrylic
We've seen color remaining strong despite a 10 year hiatus, and there are some vibrantly
playful frames keeping pace! New on the scene are acrylic mouldings that can be easily personalized in more than 80 colors to exactly fit your style. Choose a glossy or frosted finish in single, double and now, even triple color - patterned frames are also available! Vivid hues provide a real pop of personality. The possibilities are endless to turn your treasures into a work of art that's as unique as you are.
We continue on with our color trends
to an unlikely material for picture framing - painted welded steel! Cool and modern with an industrial edge
, these new frames are surprisingly versatile, fit for anything from movie posters and abstracts to the more traditional "slice of life" and even plein air. Scrubbed & sanded antiquing keeps the look from being too finished. Available in as many color combinations as you can imagine, we dare you to try this look out!
As a lucky-strike extra, the first 20 people who come in, even just to look, and mention this blog will get a free SoapRock!
|All natural glycerine soaps, made in America!|
My YA novel is a story about how the 14 year old narrator along with her mother, escapes from her abusive father. The father tracks them down and eventually kills the mother and rapes the narrator leaving her for dead. The story is really about how she recovers from this violence. My question: how much of this do I mention in the query. Is giving away the entire plot a bad idea?
Giving away the entire plot is a terrible idea.
The purpose of a query letter is to entice an agent to read more, not tell the entire story. If you tell the entire plot, I have no incentive to to read more.
And, I must caution you that your email reveals a bigger problem than how much plot to reveal. You need to be very very careful how you couch the backstory.
When I read your question for this blog post, I felt like I'd been smacked in the face by the violence.
And while violence IS a part of YA books, and certainly a part of the books on my list, it's violence in context. You've given me no context here. Of course, that wasn't your purpose, your question is about how much plot to reveal.
BUT if you start your query with how you started this email, it will be a problem. Remember, YA is in many ways about the feelings and emotions of the characters, not what happens. You don't have any of that in the email.
There's a brilliant piece in Issue 59 of Tin House
magazine** called The Soundproof Room
by Lacy M. Johnson. Read that to see how she brings the reader in, beguiles the reader into caring very deeply about what happens. This is a heart wrenching excerpt of a memoir. If you'd queried me to read it in bald-faced terms, I would have said no, but once I started, there was simply no putting it down.
**If you don't subscribe, your library probably does.
Every story needs a protagonists, but it doesn't always need an antagonist.
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Why am I just now
discovering the awesomeness
that is S.G.?
The Adventures of Superhero Girl by Faith Erin Hicks. Dark Horse Comics, 2013, 112 pages.
"What do you mean, they didn't write much about women? That's so unfair!"Emily, age 10
Tonight, I was reading aloud with my 10 year old (yep, she still loves it when I read her picture books) and I told her why I really wanted to read some of Cokie Robert's new book Founding Mothers
. I explained that when I was growing up, the history books really didn't have much about the women who helped establish this country. Immediately, she was hooked and wanted to hear more.
Remembering the Ladies
by Cokie Roberts
illustrated by Diane Goode
your local library
Roberts begins this picture book with letter explaining to readers how she came to write this book. It's a wonderful way to begin, because it personalizes the story for children, explaining why Roberts felt it was so important to write this and share these women's stories.
"I don't remember ever being taught anything about the women who lived at the time the thirteen American colonies decided to break from Britain and build a country. I knew nothing of the mothers, wives, sisters, daughters and female friends of the men who wrote the Declaration of Independence, fought in the revolution, created the Constitution, and formed our first government."
Roberts profiles ten women who were influential in the founding of the country, whether directly through their own writing or actions, or indirectly through the men they supported. She writes of Deborah Read Franklin, who ran her husband Ben Franklin's businesses in the States while he was in England. Goode's illustrations are lively and engaging, as you can see below.
Share this with children and see where the conversation takes you. I love the way Mary Lee Hahn, part of the terrific teaching duo behind A Year of Reading
, describes how she might use the book:
"Even just the conversation about what makes a person influential would be fascinating, as would a discussion of the problem of how to know historic women deeply when they often did not leave a trail of primary source material for historians to study."
Roberts' writing is clear and concise, providing just enough information to pique children's interest. At times, I wish that she had shared more about where she found her information, or perhaps just a few more quotes from the women themselves. But I can understand how this might have weighed down the text too much. It's a delicate balance. Kids who are interested in learning more will definitely be interested in checking out the websites listed in the back.
For students who are interested in women's lives during this period, definitely check out the Colonial Williamsburg
web site. Kids will like their new article "Martha Washington and 4 great 18th century women you've never heard of
." I especially like their profiles of different women
who lived and worked in Williamsburg, shedding light on the different roles and activities of a range of social classes.
Do you like sharing nonfiction picture books with children? Definitely check out the weekly feature over at Kid Lit Frenzy
, hosted by Alyson Beecher.
The review copy was kindly sent by the publishers, Harper Collins. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books (at no cost to you!). Thank you for your support.©2014 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books
Heartbeat by Elizabeth Scott. 2014. Harlequin. 256 pages. [Source: Library]
Heartbeat is definitely an intense read with the potential to stay with readers. The heroine of Heartbeat is a young woman, Emma. She is in shock, in grief. She's angry; she's sad; she's all over the place. She wants things the way they were before, but, slowly oh-so-slowly coming to terms with the idea that something good could come in the future. The one person she wants to talk to most, of course, is her mom. She can physically go to her mom's room and talk, but, there will never be an answer again: her mom is on life support, she's being kept alive by machines for the sake of her unborn baby. Those ten weeks or so seem IMPOSSIBLE to young Emma. For better or worse, she can't bring herself to admit that her stepdad might be making the best decision, the right decision, the decision that her mom would make if she could. Seeing her mom alive-but-dead breaks her heart every single day. Yet, to the hospital she continues to go day by day. For the sake of her mom, or, so she tells herself. She feels that her mom is forgotten, that the unborn baby, is all. But readers don't just meet Emma. They also meet Olivia, Emma's best friend, and Caleb, a bad boy who might possibly understood the pain of loss better than anyone else in town. Emma and Caleb come together in Heartbeat, and, it's something.
© 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews
Today we’re welcoming bestselling author and brilliant writing coach James Scott Bell to Writers Helping Writers. James has created a unique writing method that solves the “plotter or pantser” dilemma when it comes to structuring a novel, so please read on!
~ * ~ * ~
I’ve been studying plot and structure for over twenty-five years. Plot was something I did not understand when I started out. I thought writers just sat down at the typewriter (you can read about the typewriter on Wikipedia!) and an intricate story just flowed out of their fingertips. I’d been told you can’t learn to write fiction. You either had this inherent talent or you didn’t.
I believed that for years.
But then one day I decided I would try to learn even if I failed. I had to try. I wanted to write that much. And slowly, through immersion in the craft and daily practice, I started to get it. Then I got published and started to teach it. I love this craft of ours, and love helping other writers.
I’ve written maybe fifty novels (not all of them published!) and I’ve written them in all different ways. I’ve “pantsed’ my way to completed book (no outline or planning) and I’ve outlined others. I’ve done it in between, too. So I know full well the strengths and weaknesses of every approach.
I’ve also been amused by some of the vehement arguments by proponents of a particular method.
But now, finally, I have come up with way that will bring calm and singing to this whole discussion. I do hope I’m on the short list for the Nobel Peace Prize next year.
What is this novel approach? (Pun intended). Well, it’s a method. In this method you don’t start at the beginning and pants your way through. Nor do you start with the ending and outline the whole doggone thing.
You actually start from the middle.
That’s what I said—the dead center of your novel. Because it is here, in what I call “the mirror moment,” that you discover, truly, what your novel is really all about.
Not only that, but if you nail your mirror moment, you immediately deepen the entire book in a way that will impress agents, editors and readers alike. And even yourself.
I had to write a book about it. It’s called Write Your Novel From The Middle, and it’s available via Amazon
and Barnes & Noble.
Here’s how I discovered it:
A couple of years ago I decided to study what some writing teachers call the “midpoint.” I never considered it that important, because Act 2 is really about peaks and valleys and increasing danger anyway. And as long as I was writing scenes that were related to the story question, the middle of the book would unfold naturally.
In researching the topic, I discovered there was no agreement on what the midpoint was supposed to do. So I took some of my favorite movies and books and went right to the smack-dab middles and rooted around. What was going on here?
What I found literally knocked my socks off. (Yes, I actually had to go around my house picking up my socks, so revelatory was this).
What I discovered was that the true midpoint was not a scene at all—it was a moment within a scene. And that very moment, if properly rendered, clarified the entire story.
It’s about the Lead character, taking a long, hard look at himself (as in a mirror). He asks, Who am I? What have I become? Who am I supposed to be? An example is the classic film Casablanca. In the dead center is that moment when Ilsa comes to Rick after closing time, to explain about why she left him. He’s drunk, and basically calls her a whore. She cries and leaves. And Rick buries his head in his hands. The rest of the film is about what kind of man Rick will be.
Or, the mirror moment is when the character realizes that the odds are so great he’s probably going to die. This is the very middle of The Fugitive. Dr. Richard Kimble realizes every police officer and fed in the country is after him. He can’t possibly survive.
Now, if you are intentional about what this moment is in your own book, it will illuminate everything for you. The writing will be more unified and organic. If you’re a panster, you’ll be guided on what to pants next. If you’re an outliner, it will help you revise your outline.
In this book, I explain how to do that, no matter what kind of writer you are—pantser, plotter or tweener.
Also included in the book are five of my best tips for becoming a more productive and effective writer of fiction. Think of those tips as the “Just wait! There’s more!” part of the infomercial. If I could include a juicer with this book, I would. Or that thing that makes bacon bowls.
Instead, I offer to you, my fellow writers, the Write From The Middle Method. It works for me and I do believe it will for you.
James Scott Bell lives and writes in Los Angeles. His website is www.jamesscottbell.com You can find him on Twitter and blogging every Sunday at The Kill Zone.
I have James’ new book on my kindle…do you? If you like, put it on your GoodReads list.
Also, Becca is goofing off over at The Writing Nut today, so indulge your inner voyeur as she shows the world her personal writing space!
LAST CALL: March 13th is fast approaching! Becca and I are running our popular Using Nonverbal Communication to Wow Readers Webinar at WANA International on Thursday at 8:00 PM EST we’d love for you to join us. This 1 1/2 hour session will lead you through the many different ways to express emotion, and help you utilize what you already know to write compelling scenes. If your characters seem to always be shrugging, frowning or smiling because you get stuck on how to describe feelings in a fresh way, this webinar is for you.
The post James Scott Bell: The “Write From The Middle” Method appeared first on WRITERS HELPING WRITERS.
I'm struggling to maintain a reading life these days. I get 40 minutes a day in the car with my audio book, but LIFE has made it hard for me to read much with my eyes. Luckily, I have avid readers in my classroom.
When I got this ARC, I knew exactly which student should read it. Her first apps on her new iPad were space apps. Her persuasive essay was about why she should go to space camp. Her passion is All Things Space, and if she doesn't wind up with a career in space science, I will be amazed. Here's W's review of Life on Mars.
Life on Mars
by Jennifer Brown
Bloomsbury USA Childrens, August 2014
ARC provided by the publisher
I really loved the book Life on Mars by Jennifer Brown. When I first saw the book I thought it will be a non-fiction book but when I started reading it I figured out it was fiction. This book is about a boy named Arcturus Betelgeuse Chambers, most people call him Arty. Arty was named after the Alpha star in the constellation Bootes. The Alpha star is the brightest star in the constellation. All of the Chambers family is named after stars. Arty’s sister Cassi is named after the star Cassiopeia. But Cassiopeia dosen’t like being called by her name she likes to be called Cassi.
Arty has been working on something to connect to Mars, and find Martians. The machine he has been working on is called CICM, it stands for Clandestine Interplanetary Communication. Arty and his friend Tripp thinks that Arty’s next door neighbor, who they call “ Mr. Death,” is a zombie, because every night he goes behind their house in his black hoodie with his trash bag and a box and comes out in the morning.
Aunt Sarin has to stay with Arty and his sisters while their parents go to search for house in Las Vegas (A really bright city where you can’t see stars because of the light pollution.) But when Aunt Sarin has to go to the hospital because she is having a baby, Arty has to stay with Mr. Death.
Arty discovers that Mr. Death loves space just like he does, and they become friends. Arty and Mr. Death work on CICM together and decide to name it HUEY instead of CICM. Arty soon discovers a terrible secret about Mr. Death.
Recommended for ages 6-12.Patricia Polacco
is one of our great contemporary picture book authors, and specializes in picture books with serious content such as racism, disabilities, and even cancer, making them appropriate for older elementary school readers. In her newest book, which fits in perfectly for Women's History Month, she explores the girlhood of one of the most famous female figures of the 19th century, Clara Barton.
Clara was the fifth child to be born into the Barton family in Massachusetts, and with her mother in ill health, she was virtually raised by her siblings, particularly her older brother Davie, whom she adored. Joyous illustrations in Polacco's signature style show Davie showing Clara how to ride on a horse while she flings her arms in the air in delight. She helped Davie with his chores on the farm, and had an immediate affinity for nature and particularly with animals. But she had a speech impediment that made her shy and afraid of people; because no one understood this sort of problem in that day, her older sister punished her for not speaking correctly. School was a nightmare for her, and finally her parents agreed she could be taught at home. Even as a young girl, Clara had healing hands and neighbors let her treat their farm animals. When Clara's beloved brother Davie breaks both legs in an accident, she becomes his nurse and with her coaxing, urges him back to health, giving him the courage to try to walk again.
This is a touching introduction to a famous woman from history from a unique perspective--her love for her brother. Children will be able to easily identify with Clara's inhibitions, her love for nature, and animals, and her desire to help her brother heal. An author's note tells more about Barton's career as a teacher, nurse, and founder of the American Red Cross. In an intriguing author's note, we learn that Patricia Polacco herself is distantly related to Clara Barton, on her mother's side of the family, and they own a vase which is reputed to once have belonged to Clara Barton herself.
See Mary Ann Scheuer
and Louise Capizzio's
post on Kidlit Celebrates Women's History Month
for more great suggestions on how to pair this book with other resources on Clara Barton.
By: Terry Hooper-Scharf,
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Join DAVE GIBBONS signing THE SECRET SERVICE at the Forbidden Planet London Megastore on Saturday 22ndMarch from 3 – 4pm!
Two masters of the form, Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons, have come together to produce this remarkable new graphic novel from Millar and Hollywood director Matthew Vaughn, set in the aftermath of the 2011 riots that fractured London. The film based on the graphic novel, and directed by Vaughn, will be released in UK cinemas in March 2015.
Gary’s life is going nowhere. He lives in public housing with his mother and spends his nights carousing with his friends. But Gary’s Uncle Jack has taken a different path – one of glamour, danger and mystery. When Jack is called upon to get his nephew out of trouble one last time, their lives are going to intersect in a way neither of them could have foreseen. From the creative team of Mark Millar (Kick-Ass), Dave Gibbons (Watchmen) and Matthew Vaughn (Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels; Snatch; Layer Cake; Stardust; Kick-Ass and X-Men: First Class) comes this highly anticipated and superlative work.
Dave Gibbons is one of Britain’s finest comic artists, whose most famous work is the multi-award- winning Watchmen. Since then he has drawn series including Batman, Doctor Who and Give Me Liberty, and has written Batman vs. Predator, Green Lantern and World’s Finest, as well as his own graphic novel The Originals.
Forbidden Planet is the largest store of its kind in the world. Some of the biggest names in SF, Fantasy and Cult Entertainment have come to our London Megastore for events, including Jonathan Ross, Kevin Smith, Sam Raimi, Guillermo del Toro, John Landis, Terry Gilliam, Christopher Lee, Simon Pegg, William Gibson, Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett, and Stephen King.
By Karen Cioffi
I was recently asked to look over a children’s fiction picture book manuscript. This was not a paying job, just a favor.
The ‘new to writing’ authors, who are both health care professionals, had already been calling major publishers to find out submission requirements. They were told their manuscript would not be looked at without an agent.
So, they went to the library to
By: Caroline Starr Rose,
Blog: Caroline by line
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I have this thing with finding hearts in unexpected places. Here’s one that will be lunch soon.
The post Tomato Love appeared first on Caroline Starr Rose.
If we were having coffee... I'd tell you I miss blogging. The once-a-week posting is getting old (and I'm sure it is for you too), but I'm just SO busy. If you look at my calendar for March, I have something going on almost every single day and that just doesn't leave a whole lot of room for sitting down and typing out book reviews. Or reading books for that matter. I'm just behind on everything. It's slightly overwhelming, but getting out at night is nice!
If we were having coffee... I'd tell you that Elliott has started calling me "mommy" which is super adorable. I realize this is a normal thing for kids, but I've always been "mama" and just one day he started calling me mommy. Totally caught me off-guard and still gets a smile out of me several times a day.
I don't even have a recent picture of him for this post. That's how behind I am.
If we were having coffee... I'd tell you all about my hatred of winter. I used to LOVE winter. Fall and winter were always my favorite seasons growing up in snowy Upstate NY, but as I've grown older, I realize that my moods are definitely associated with the seasons and I need sunshine. I may hate the humidity of summer, but the days staying lighter longer and more sunshine than clouds definitely helps keep me in my usual cheerful form. It's supposed to be 70 today and high 20's tomorrow, so really, March can just go away.
If we were having coffee... I'd gush over the brilliance that was True Detective. I think that's the best television I've ever seen. It was like watching a fantastic 8-hour movie. The acting was great, the plot was CRAZY, and the unique format kept me hooked. Whole new cast next season. So cool.
If we were having coffee... I'd probably talk about my fear of this Dave Ramsey Financial Peace class we're starting next week. It's going to be intense. Anyone else take it?
Here's to more reviews later in the week, I hope!
By: JOANNA MARPLE,
Blog: Miss Marple's Musings
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I feel I have been a little remiss as one of my goals with this interview series over the past three years has been to highlight up-and-coming illustrators, who are not yet published but whom I want to get on … Continue reading
Blog: Liz's Book Snuggery
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Sister Anne’s Hands
By Marybeth Lorbiecki; illustrated by Wendy Bopp
March is Women’s History Month and March 8th through 14th is the first ever National Catholic Sisters Week that is intended to celebrate the generations of sisters who have taught in schools, served in nursing homes, orphanages and hospitals throughout the United States. Generally they were the glue that, in many ways, held the institution of the Catholic Church together seamlessly. And they did this all with a quiet determination and dedication with little recognition other than the conviction that their lives and the thousands they touched, were a testament to the faith they believed in. Sadly their numbers are dwindling as young people choose other avenues of service.
All of this put me in mind of a wonderful picture book I remember called, “Sister Anne’s Hands” by Marybeth Lorbiecki with illustrations by Wendy Bopp.
Sister Anne is an African-American sister teaching in a parochial school in the 60’s. Her teaching and storytelling methods are inventive and interesting as Wendy Bopp’s illustrations portray Sister Anne’s students held in rapt attention when she speaks. Just imagine how hard that was to pull off with 50 something children in an average class at that time! The picture book’s story is told through the eyes of young Anna, a student in Sister Anne’s class who is confused when she overhears her parents say, “I don’t know how a woman of her color is going to survive.”
Sister Anne confronts the concrete meaning of that overheard phrase when a paper airplane sails through the air in her classroom with the following words written on it:
Roses are red.
Violets are blue.
Don’t let Sister Anne
Get any black on you.
The racial slur from a young unformed mind, obviously influenced by others, has Sister Anne react with a calm demeanor as she says she “needs quiet time to think about this.”
And Sister Anne opts to react to the racial discrimination in her young charges by informing them of her own experiences and heritage that causes some parents to withdraw their children from the class. But the children who remain are the fortunate ones. They are the recipients of the wisdom and talented teaching of a wonderful young woman who has an innate love for the young minds that come into her sphere for one special year. Young Anna in Sister Anne’s Hands and it seems, the author herself are both lucky enough to have come under the influence of a dedicated sister whose persona is only symbolic of the thousands like her. Wendy Bopp’s beautiful art work coupled with Ms. Lorbiecki’s view on a very contemporary issue of the 60’s is beautifully executed.
And in that same vein, this book put me in mind of a sister I once met that recently passed away. She became the teacher of a young African-American student named Clarence Thomas; the very same Clarence Thomas that went on to become a Supreme Court Justice. Her dedication to the teaching of young African American students at a time in our country’s history when it was, to say the least, frowned upon, was both heartfelt and heroic. This sister, and others of her order put the education of ALL children first. Her core belief, put into action, was that every student deserved to have an equal chance at reaching his or her goals and her entire life was in the service of that belief.
So to ALL the Sister Annes of this world, and especially to the sister that I just mentioned, “Thank you! For the world will not see your like again.” And by the way, I had a Sister Anne-like teacher too!
Here's your chance:
For Spring 2014, The Carle is creating a special exhibition to celebrate this new book. We will showcase the original work of the 14 published artists as well as a digital exhibition from friends from around the world.
We invite Artists of all ages to submit a digital image of an original work of art depicting your own favorite animal. Your submission will be available on a digital screen in our gallery from April 8-August 31 and will be included in an online exhibition that will live on our museum’s blog. Submissions will be accepted from now until August 1, 2014.
Thank you for your interest in this project. All royalties from What’s Your Favorite Animal?,published by Holt and Company, benefit The Carle and its educational programs!
Relatedly, there's a Harriet the Spy Turns Fifty (FIFTY!) exhibit coming up, and I'm thinking that a trip is very definitely in order for that one.
By: Kenneth Kit Lamug,
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My vacation starts tomorrow!
I’ll be spending some time off the grid in the Caribbean for awhile. I’m taking LOTS of books with me to-be-read (TBR). Not sure if I’ll be able to read all of them between relaxing and being fabulous. Ha.
I don’t know about you but there are SO. MANY. BOOKS. I want to read. For this trip, I have a sort of science fiction theme going but I also have some fun fiction, craft, and memoir in the mix as well.
Here’s what I plan on taking with me on my trip:
In the After by Demitria Lunetta
Cress by Marissa Meyer
Lilith’s Brood by Octavia Butler
The Martian by Andy Weir
Redefining Realness by Janet Mock
Conversations with Octavia Butler edited by Conseula Francis
The Awesome Girl’s Guide to Dating Extraordinary Men by Ernessa T. Carter
The Authentic Swing by Steven Pressfield
Read any good books lately? Let me know about them so when I get back I can add them to my already growing, leaning tower of TBR books!