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I was a kid running wild and free in the 1970s, and I find myself intrigued with the fiction written these days that takes place during that time period. It's a convenient time period, for sure. By this I mean that technology hadn't yet tethered us to our parents, and I'm assuming that most kids were like my sister and I -- running around the neighborhood and beyond with friends and coming home when we got hungry.
Raymie is a girl who isn't really noticed much by her parents. Her father has actually just up and left with a dental hygienist and Raymie's mom is spending her time staring into space. Raymie finds some comfort in neighbor Mrs. Borkowski who seems to know everything and always has time to talk to Raymie. She has also hatched a plan to get her father to come home.
Raymie has decided that she will enter and win the Little Miss Central Florida Tire 1975 pageant. This will result in her picture in the newspaper. Her dad will be so proud of her, he'll have to come home. When Raymie tells her dad's secretary her plan, Mrs. Sylvester says Ramie just has to learn to twirl the baton as her talent. This is how she ends up at Ida Nee's place for twirling lessons along with Beverly Tapinski and Louisiana Elefante -- two girls who couldn't be more different from one another.
Louisiana is a wheezy and delicate girl, prone to swooning, while Beverly is the tough talking daughter of a cop who swears that she's seen things. In between these two, Raymie Clarke is a steadfast girl just doing her best to understand others.
Over the next few days, Louisiana dubs their trio the Rancheros, and even though Beverly refuses to live by the moniker, it becomes clear that Louisiana often gets her way. As the girls search for Louisiana's beloved cat, perform good deeds, experience loss, and do a little breaking and entering along the way, they slowly reveal their worries to one another. They become tied together by the brokenness that surrounds them.
As always, DiCamillo leaves poetry on the page. But this book felt different to me. I was talking to a colleague about it and I noted that it felt like it had a big dose of Horvath in the pages. Some have said the girls are too quirky and almost derivative. I disagree. When you look closely, kids are weird. And if they allow themselves to be honest with who they are, Beverlys and Louisianas and Raymies are completely reasonable. Trying to mend neglect with toughness or fantasy is innately human. I really enjoyed this quiet and quirky summery read. I do wonder at today's kids sitting with the 1975 setting. I'm interested in their feedback.
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I am so looking forward to the movie, " Hidden Figures". It inspired this little piece for the cover of the fall issue of SCBWI. The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. SCBWI.org. If you are interested in learning about how to write or how illustrate children's books you want to start here.
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My Maisons du Monde features are carrying over from last week. One because we had a day off to focus on the Sock Design Contest and two they have so many lovely things to see. The French based retailer was founded in 1996 and celebrates it's 20th birthday this year. It has nearly 200 stores in France with a further 69 across Europe including Italy where I came across them. There philosophy is
In the end, the decision for the UK to formally withdraw its membership of the European Union passed with a reasonably comfortable majority in excess of 1¼ million votes. Every one of the 17.4 million people who voted Leave would have had their own reason for wanting to break with the status quo. However, not one of them had any idea as to what they were voting for next. It is one of the idiosyncrasies of an all-or-nothing referendum.
आप पार्टी समाचार – ब्रेकिंग न्यूज आज कल ब्रेकिंग न्यूज बनी हुई है कि AAP Party का विधेयक आज जेल गया. आज मार पीट हुई आज स्याही फेंंकी गई … अरे भई जिस दिन कुछ नही हुआ उस दिन भी तो ब्रेकिंंग न्यूज बनती है .. कि आज कुछ नही हुआ .. आम आदमी पार्टी […]
Wagon Wheels. Barbara Brenner. Illustrated by Don Bolognese. 1978. HarperCollins. 64 pages. [Source: Bought]
First sentence: "There it is, boys" Daddy said. "Across this river is Nicodemus, Kansas. That is where we are going to build our house. There is free land for everyone here in the West. All we have to do is go and get it."
Premise/plot: Wagon Wheels is an early chapter book based on a true story. Set in the late 1870s, the book follows the adventures of the Muldie family as they settle in Kansas. First the family settles in Nicodemus, Kansas, a black community. Then the father leaves the boys behind and searches for a better place to settle down and call home, this time near Solomon City. The boys--all on their own--travel to rejoin their father. (The father disliked the flat land and missed trees and hills.)
The book is narrated by Johnny, one of four boys being raised by a widower. The text is simple, and the action is straight-forward. Though simple, it was packed with just the right amount of detail. This book is much, much shorter than any of the Little House books, but, it is just as vivid.
My thoughts: I really liked this one. The edition I picked up is all black-and-white illustrations. I could not tell based on the cover alone that it was a black pioneer family. So I was very pleasantly surprised when I started reading the text to find some diversity. The family--and the community--are saved from starvation by the generosity of Indians--Osage, I believe. Unlike the Little House books, the Indians are portrayed positively. Yes, they are referred to as "Indians" but not savages or redskins or the like.
It’s easy to assume that only ‘evil’ people commit atrocity. And it’s equally easy to imagine the victims as ‘good’ or ‘innocent’. But the reality is far more complex. Many perpetrators are tragic. They may begin as victims. Victims, too, may victimize others. These victims are imperfect. Some victims survive – and some even thrive – because of harm they inflict.
Please help me welcome Theresa Milstein, to The Storyteller's Scroll. We're revealing the cover of her new poetry and prose collection, Time and Circumstance.
Publication date: March, 2017
Genre: Single Author Poetry & Prose Collection
Paperback: ISBN-13: 978-1-925417-30-2
ePub: ISBN-13: 978-1-925417-31-9
Kindle ASIN: to come
“The trunk of this family is
lost to history / Photo
Jeffrey Brown authored the first three books in the Jedi Academy series, two of which I enthusiastically reviewed here. This trilogy is HUGELY popular in my school library and a fantastic alternative to Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Before that, Brown wrote a trilogy of Darth Vader, a comics series that imagines Vader's life as father to Luke and Leia. Brown's new series debuted in August and features prehistoric siblings Lucy and Andy as they deal with typical kid stuff while also being filled with scientific information and facts about pre-history.
Jedi Academy was too good to let go, and quite smartly, Scholastic has tapped Jarrett Krosoczka, author of the Lunch Lady series of graphic novels. Jedi Academy: A New Class finds young Victor Starspeeder making a midyear transfer from the Jedi Academy at Obroa-skai, where he has had a series of mishaps to the Jedi Academy at Coruscant. Victor decides that he is going to start keeping a journal of his time at Jedi Academy because that is what his father, who died when Victor was a baby, did.
The Jedi Academy has its own challenges, starting with Christina, Victor's big sister, who already goes there. She tells him in no uncertain terms that once they are at school, they are strangers. Navigating the new school on his own, Victor is swayed by Zach, and older student, who turns out to be a bully and a prankster with his own agenda. He also gets stuck with Artemis, an asthmatic kid in a black hooded cloak who just might be a Sith. Victor tries to make friends, impress a girl, and get his special project on the planet Endor completed while also trying to stay out of trouble and keep Zach from getting him kicked out.
Krosoczka hits all the right notes in Jedi Academy: A New Class, continuing and updating features that Brown introduced in the first three books like handwritten notes between characters, school schedules and pages from the school newspaper, including an advice column by Ms. Catara, the school guidance counselor who is also a Gungan. Krosoczka also creates a couple new twists, including the Galaxy Feed, which is a social media type feature that pops up on a tablet like device, and a page of comic strips that look at classics like Family Circus, Peanuts and Garfield through the lens of Star Wars. I especially liked, "Huttfield," in which Jaba the Hutt is the lazy, food loving star of the strip.
While I love that this series continues on (and I hope that, after another three books a new author/illustrator takes on this challenge) and am thrilled that I have more of these books to offer students, for me, Krosoczka's take on the academic world of the young Jedi lacks a bit of the depth, heart and humor that I found in Brown's books. But hey, I'm pretty sure I'm not the target audience for these books...
Thank you for checking in with me now and again. Good news. My writer, Cindy, presented my story to several agents and publishers last week. WOOHOO! They are interested. This makes me just that much closer to flying in for you to read about me.
Cities in the early days of the United States were mostly quiet at night. People who did leave the comfort of their own homes at night could often be found walking into puddles, tripping over uneven terrain, or colliding into posts because virtually no street lighting existed.With the advent of gas lighting, culture transformed in fascinating ways. Here are 12 interesting facts about urban nightlife, which show how times have greatly changed and, remarkably, how some things have remained the same.
This upcoming Friday, I’ll be suiting up to join my colleagues at Mirror World Publishing for a much anticipated event! TheWorlds Collide Gala will be celebrating Mirror World Publishing’s new partnership with Adventure Worlds Press and all the 2016 book launches!
If you’re in the area, please join us at7pm Friday September 30, 2016 at Sho: Art, Spirit, and Performance 628 Monmouth Dr, Windsor, Canada for a night to remember. You can meet several of the authors, along with myself, my publisher, and the team behind Adventure Worlds Press, listen to some readings, win some prizes, enjoy the cash bar and light refreshments, music, and participate in the Q and A afterwards.
Also, a reminder that I have a GoodreadsGiveaway still going on until September 30th for a chance to win Book #1 in my MG/YA time travel series, The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis. If you haven’t read the first book, please consider entering for a chance to escape to the past and have a blast before Book #2 The Last Timekeepers and the Dark Secret comes out on October 17th!
Here’s some more information about the Worlds Collide Gala:
Happy Fusenews day to you, guv’nor. In today’s episode we tip our hat to a post last week that is probably my most popular of all time. Who knew knitting needles could be such lightning rods? In any case, on with the newz!
How old is the picture book biography as we know it today? Recently I’ve been thinking long and hard about what its purpose is, as well as its limitations. Jacqueline Davies has thought longer and harder in some ways, though, since her recent post Writers and the Real Estate Market takes a very personal look at the choices she made when she wrote The Boy Who Drew Birds. She makes some remarkably interesting points about content and format.
Boy, it must be hard. Every year, without fail, Marjorie Ingall (Mamaleh Knows Best) scours the publishing world for great Jewish-centric books for kids. The pickings are almost always slim, but once in a while you get some really good biographies. Picture book biographies (I sense a theme to today’s post) no less. The first is of the current Ruth Bader Ginsberg bio in the piece Teaching Kids the Value of Dissent and the other Rich Michelson’s most recent bio in Leonard Nimoy’s Fascinating Life. Great books. Great write-ups.
Librarians. We have one of those professions where it’s pretty clear that whenever we appear in the news, 50% of the time it’s not about something good. Case in point, the recent news about a thrifty library cataloger who donated $4 million to his employer after his death. His employer, however, was a university library. So, naturally, $1 million of that is going to a football scoreboard. Some folks are less than entirely pleased with that development.
I mentioned it last week but I’m mentioning it again today because it’s a darn good cause. If you don’t know about why authors and illustrators alike (as well as celebs like Al Roker and Nicole Kidman) are painting piggy banks for auction, you should fill yourself in here. A good cause and you get art. The bidding just started yesterday, so don’t be left behind. And I know I won’t get it, but this is my own personal favorite piggy:
I already read this four years ago, but with the recent passing of Gene Wilder I saw it included in a Chronicle Books newsletter and just couldn’t resist putting it up again. It’s Gene Wilder’s handwritten notes on the changes he’d prefer to the Willy Wonka costume he was initially given. Ole blue eyes himself.
Maurice Sendak was initially going to design that old movie Return to Oz?!? Apparently it never happened but he did create a publicity poster for the ad campaign. Not that it really looks like any of the characters in the movie (I’m working on a couple theories on who the guy on the far right is) but in terms of the book Ozma of Oz, it’s not terrible.
Many many thanks to J.L. Bell at Oz and Ends for this image. Yet another old post from 2012. I’m having that kind of a day.
East or West Twitter is The best Funny Social Media Cartoons – Twitter is best. सोशल मीडिया में सबसे पहले टविटर हमारा ध्यान आकर्षित करता है. मुहावरा पुराना हुआ कि लातों के भूत बातों से नही मानते… आजकल भूत लात हाथ से नही बल्कि सोशल मीडिया पर कुछ भी लिखकर मानते हैंं … मनोरंजन के […]
Two weeks ago, my latest book, As I Descended, was released. One week later, I received an anonymous message from a thoughtful reader who’d just started the book. This reader, who’s Indigenous, noticed that I’d used the term totem pole in chapter 1 to describe where a character stood in her school’s social hierarchy ― in the sense of the phrase “low man on the totem pole.”
Talley's response to that reader was similar to the one I got from Sarah McCarry when I wrote to her about that phrase in her book (see her post), and the response I got from Ashley Hope Perez when I wrote to her about the phrase in her book (see my post).
In short: they listened.
Talley wrote that she'd shared that reader's message with her editor, Kristen Pettit at Harper Teen, and that the term will be taken out of future printings of the book. Here's the photo of the page that Talley posted:
The line is "Maria was almost as high up the totem pole as Delilah." I'm guessing that the book's title "As I Descended" is a reference to that totem pole. My guess is that Delilah is going to descend from a high point on the social status hierarchy.
The book itself has nothing to do with Native peoples. I haven't read it, so do not want anyone to think that this post is an endorsement of the book.
In her post, Talley apologized:
I profoundly regret that I used the term this way, and I apologize to any readers who have been hurt by it.
I shared Talley's Tumblr post, adding this:
Really glad to see another person speak up about this, and another writer and editor acknowledge its use as being wrong! Very glad it’ll come out of the next printings, too, and that it is all being made public for us to know! Thank you, Robin!
A thought, though, about apologies.
I get why people offer them. They’re a social grace. But sometimes, they carry some things that don’t work. They suggest that __ is hurt by the word that misrepresents their particular demographic, when maybe __ isn’t actually hurt. Maybe __ is just pissed off. Yeah, I know, being angry can be characterized as hurt. Still, though, saying someone of that demographic is the one who should be apologized to suggests they’re the only one who is hurt by the word, when I think everyone who doesn’t know it is a problem is impacted by it.
Instead of “I profoundly regret that I used the term this way, and I apologize to any readers who have been hurt by it,” maybe something like (and yeah, I know, this is pretty audacious of me to tell someone how to apologize, but I think we’re talking about larger issues) “I messed up. I didn’t know I was messing up. Lot of us don’t know. Let’s not do that, ok, ourselves, anymore, ok? And let’s tell others about it, too.”
On Twitter, I retweeted her "On Making Mistakes" tweet, and that I had a response to her post (crossing lot of social media platforms with this post!). Talley replied that she agrees with my points.
1) A Native reader wrote to Talley. 2) Talley listened. 3) Talley wrote to her editor. 4) Talley and her editor are revising that line. 5) Talley wrote about this error, publicly.
Change happens, when we speak up, and when we listen. With more of this speaking up, and listening, I feel optimistic that change can happen. Add a Comment
And this year's focus is on Celebrating Diversity. Click the banner to learn more about BBW, read articles about why diverse books are commonly banned, and find some titles that some people would rather you didn't read - and go read them!