What is JacketFlap

  • JacketFlap connects you to the work of more than 200,000 authors, illustrators, publishers and other creators of books for Children and Young Adults. The site is updated daily with information about every book, author, illustrator, and publisher in the children's / young adult book industry. Members include published authors and illustrators, librarians, agents, editors, publicists, booksellers, publishers and fans.
    Join now (it's free).

Sort Blog Posts

Sort Posts by:

  • in
    from   

Suggest a Blog

Enter a Blog's Feed URL below and click Submit:

Most Commented Posts

In the past 7 days

Recent Posts

(tagged with 'Book Giveaway')

Recent Comments

JacketFlap Sponsors

Spread the word about books.
Put this Widget on your blog!
  • Powered by JacketFlap.com

Are you a book Publisher?
Learn about Widgets now!

Advertise on JacketFlap

MyJacketFlap Blogs

  • Login or Register for free to create your own customized page of blog posts from your favorite blogs. You can also add blogs by clicking the "Add to MyJacketFlap" links next to the blog name in each post.

Blog Posts by Date

Click days in this calendar to see posts by day or month
<<May 2015>>
SuMoTuWeThFrSa
     0102
03040506070809
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
31      
new posts in all blogs
Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Book Giveaway, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 26 - 50 of 792
26. Crime Solver’s Detective Agency, by Victoria Schwimley | Book Giveaway

Enter to win an autographed paperback copy of Crime Solver's Detective Agency (CreateSpace Independent Publishing, 2014), by Victoria Schwimley. Giveaway begins February 26, 2015, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends March 25, 2015, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

Add a Comment
27. The Jaguar Stones: The Lost City, by J&P Voelkel | Book Giveaway

Enter to win a hardcover copy of The Jaguar Stones: The Lost City (EgmontUSA, February 10, 2015), by J&P Voelkel. Giveaway begins February 19, 2015, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends March 18, 2016, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

Add a Comment
28. Fribbet the Frog and the Tadpoles, by Carole P. Roman | Series Giveaway

Enter to win a full autographed set of the Captain No Beard series, by award-winning author Carole P. Roman; including the newest title Fribbet the Frog and the Tadpoles; plus a Kidoozie Pirate Den Playhouse! Giveaway begins February 12, 2015 at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends March 11, 2015, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

Add a Comment
29. Mom’s Good Advice

It’s my turn to continue the discussion of Beautiful Oops. (To learn more, read Beautiful Oops! by Barney Saltzberg. Read about Celebrate Oops!, “an initiative designed to build confidence and turn accidents into teaching moments.” Also check out Aprils and Bobbis posts and Barney Saltzbergs Wednesday Writing Workout.)

When this topic came up, I thought it would be an easy one to write about. I make a lot of mistakes. I tried to think of one I turned into a positive experience. Not so easy.

Brainstorming gave me a couple of ideas. One was Milton the Monster. The other was Mom saying “Oopsie Daisy” when one of us kids fell down.

The mistakes that haunt me now are often errors of omission—things I should have done but didn’t. Given a difficult choice, I can agonize until it’s too late to do anything. What if a better option comes up? Mom used to say, “Sometimes not to decide is to decide.”

Bird feeders outside Mom's window. Can you tell I'm craving spring?

Fear can be paralyzing, so sometimes almost any action is better than none. What if I make the wrong choice? No use crying over spilled milk, Mom says.

I always try to make the best of whatever situation I find myself in. But when I try to think about my mistakes, well, I don’t want to. Mom's advice? Don't dwell on them. Maybe blocking them out is the best way for me to be able to pick myself up, dust myself off, and carry on.

Thanks, Mom!

Don’t forget to enter our drawing for an autographed copy of the young adult novel Skin and Bones by Sherry Shahan. Today’s the last day!

JoAnn Early Macken

0 Comments on Mom’s Good Advice as of 2/6/2015 10:28:00 AM
Add a Comment
30. Possible Imaginations


As April Halprin Wayland reminded us, sometimes mistakes are masterpieces waiting to happen, that there is a “magical transformation from blunder to wonder.” 
  
We continue to celebrate The Beautiful Oops Day!


 The transition from blunder to wonder can be challenging. As psychologist Kristi DeName   suggested, whenever we experience transitions, we are letting go of Some Thing. These transitions are defined by loss. Some losses are profound: a marriage, a home, a friend, a pet, a job. Some are less profound, as we let go of habits or objects, or an idea. But all change is scary because all loss is scary. It is unsettling, overwhelming, disappointing, and confusing.


Adapting to change forces us to gain perspective. We are forced to re-examine our lives and our choices… and our options.

Blunders Ahoy!

As you know, I’ve long studied American folklore and history. I graduated from Vermont with a four-book contract for picture books that highlighted my love of American folklore and history. But, as much as I knew about writing and story, I knew nothing of the business of children’s publishing. That was my blunder, followed quickly by another: I signed on with the first agent who would help me with the multi-contracts. While this agent helped seal the deal with the contracts, issues arose. Needless to say, that relationship didn’t work out. I was referred to another agent, and more problems arose. It turned out that the contracts contained a couple of damaging clauses. According to this second agent, I couldn’t submit work elsewhere, and she couldn’t renegotiate the clauses. In other words, my career was not only stalled, it was completely derailed.


My first two picture books came out in 2009, eight years after signing the contract. The third book came out in 2012, eleven years after signing the contract. The fourth contract, however, was cancelled. Determined, I went to Author’s Guild, learned what I had to in order to understand these clauses, and then I renegotiated the particular clauses myself.


But there was yet another, stronger riptide I had to steer through. Beginning in 2001, the children’s market was changing dramatically. The folklore picture book market was bottoming out. The very genre that I had studied, loved, and sought as my career was no longer an option. Talk about a bumpy ride! My friend Eric Kimmel said I should write middle grade books.


Middle grade novels? I liked reading middle grade novels, but I had never considered writing them. How was I going to combine all that I had learned and loved in folklore and history with this new format? Was it even possible in a market that no longer viewed folklore as relevant? Historical fiction was having an equally hard time in the market.

 

  What do I do now?


Not only do writers have to adapt to the shifting markets, sometimes we have to make our own place in it. And there’s the wonder of it!! As my wonderful new agent, Karen Grencik, said “As long as you are writing what’s in your heart and doing the best you can…” Finally, twelve years after I graduated from Vermont College, Karen sold my first middle-grade novel Big River’s Daughter to Holiday House. Three months after that, she sold my second middle grade novel, Girls of Gettysburg, also to Holiday House. All things happen for a reason at the time they are supposed to happen. As River and Tiger plunged into the wilds of the frontier, taking on the Pirates Laffite and the extraordinary landscape of the mighty Mississippi River in the rough-and-tumble Big River’s Daughter, there is that truth of River’s journey: if one perseveres, life can be full of possible imaginations. 


This here story is all true, as near as I can recollect. It ain’t a prettified story. Life as a river rat is stomping hard, and don’t I know it. It’s life wild and wooly, a real rough and tumble. But like Da said, life on the big river is full of possible imaginations. And we river rats, we aim to see it through in our own way. That’s the honest truth of it.” River Fillian, Big River’s Daughter 

Bobbi Miller



Don’t forget about our giveaway, featuring an autographed copy of Sherry Shahan’s YA novel, Skin and Bones!

0 Comments on Possible Imaginations as of 2/2/2015 6:18:00 AM
Add a Comment
31. A Dozen Cousins, by Lori Haskins Houran | Book Giveaway

The Children’s Book Review | January 31, 2015 Enter to win a hardcover copy of A Dozen Cousins (Sterling Children’s Books, February 3, 2015), story by Lori Haskins Houran and illustrations by Sam Usher. One (1) winner receives: A hardcover copy of A Dozen Cousins Age Range: 4-6 Giveaway begins January 31, 2015, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends February 28, 2016, […]

Add a Comment
32. The Opposite of Spoiled: Raising Kids Who Are Grounded, Generous, and Smart About Money | Book Giveaway

Enter to win a hardcover copy of The Opposite of Spoiled: Raising Kids Who Are Grounded, Generous, and Smart About Money (Harper, February 3, 2015), by Ron Lieber. Giveaway begins January 27, 2015, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends February 26, 2016, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

Add a Comment
33. A Rose by Any Other Name Can Be...a Heather: Naming Characters

     There are two things about writing that never get any easier for me. . .coming up with a good title and naming characters.  I still have a hard time with titles, but I have developed strategies to give my characters good names.

    I spent most of my pregnancy struggling to come up with just the right name for my daughter, a name that would be all her own. In writing, I do not have the luxury of spending eight months on one character name.

    I believe that name is the single most important aspect of a character. It is usually the first thing a reader learns about him.  The name should reflect the character's personality is some way, however subtle.  Sometimes that is a mysterious process that goes on in the author's head, unexplainable to anyone else.  I do not know how E.B. White decided on Charlotte and Wilbur, but can you imagine them named anything else?  A book called Barbara's Web?  A pig named Bob?  No, somehow Charlotte and Wilbur, along with Fern and Templeton and Mr. Zuckerman are so right, they could not be anything else.

    Since I write historical fiction, I have a second barrier to finding just the right name. My names need to fit the time period.  The characters in Yankee Girl were pretty easy.  The book was about my sixth grade class.  I used names that were popular in 1964, as well as names that were popular in the South.  Jimmy's Stars, which takes place in 1943, was a little more difficult.  I knew that my main character was born in 1932, and would have graduated from high school in 1950. I scoured libraries and second-hand stores for 1949-50 high school annuals. (There were an awful lot of girls named Betty.)

    Contemporary fiction isn't much easier.  Names change as quickly as any other fashion.  Some names scream a particular decade.  I am a baby boomer, and I was usually the only Mary Ann in a class full of Debbies, Karens, Cathys and Sharons.  When I was a middle school teacher in the late 80's, I taught more than a few Farrahs. My friends who had babies about then named them Ashley and Kate (not after the Olsen twins!)  When I had my daughter in 1994, I was the only one in my childbirth class who did not name their child Tyler or Taylor (regardless of sex).

   Then there are adult names. In children's books, they are usually not a central character but occasionally they are.  (Miss Gruen and Reverend Taylor in Yankee Girl come to mind.) How do you name adults?

   Here is a list of sources I have compiled that help me with The Naming Game.

   1.  Baby name books.  These often reflect the popularity (or lack of popularity) of a name, as well as give a cultural origin. (Warning:  I learned not to carry one of these in public unless I wanted to start rumors about a possible new addition to my family.)

   2.  School annuals.  These work for both contemporary and historical fiction.

   3.  School directories, websites, newsletters, newspapers, class lists.  Schools in my neck of the woods generate an enormous amount of student information. If you don't have access to your own personal student, read the school news pages online or in your neighborhood paper/website.

   4.  Obituaries.  Yeah, I know it's kind of morbid, but I have collected a number of "old-timey" names from them.  Around here, they usually include the person's nickname as well.

   5.  Observation.  I live a mile away from the fastest growing immigrant community in the country.  Call me nosy (or a writer), but I notice workers' name tags.  I ask the employee where they are from and how they pronounce their name.  No one has been insulted (yet), and I have collected names I would never have thought of on my own.

    6.  The Social Security Index of Popular Baby Names. This site is unbelievably cool.  It lists the top 200 names for boys and girls for each decade, from 1880 to 2010.  Not only is it searchable by decade, but by each state as well. (Apparently Mary and James were the hot names of my decade.) http://www.ssa.gov/OACT/babynames/decades

   What do I do with all these names?  I list them in a notebook, separate from my regular journal. Right now, the 1910 Social Security list is getting a heavy workout from me.  My characters are named.

      Now if I could just think of a title...

     Don't forget about our current book giveaway.  For more information click here.

Posted by Mary Ann Rodman

 

0 Comments on A Rose by Any Other Name Can Be...a Heather: Naming Characters as of 1/26/2015 12:27:00 PM
Add a Comment
34. Guest TeachingAuthor Interview and Book Giveaway with Sherry Shahan

I've enjoyed reading my fellow TeachingAuthor' posts on plotting and planning. That series ended with Esther's post on Monday. Today, I'm presenting a new topic: a guest TeachingAuthor interview and book giveaway! But first, I want to share some updates regarding our blog. The next few months will be a busy time for me due to a variety of personal and professional commitments. (If you live in the Chicago area and you're looking for a writing class, I hope you'll check out my class offerings, including one tomorrow on "Great Beginnings.") So, while I'll continue to work behind the scenes here, I'll be taking a blogging break. And I'm THRILLED to announce that the talented Carla Killough McClafferty will be blogging in my place. If you don't know Carla, do read her bio info on our About Us page. I hope you'll give her a hearty welcome when she makes her debut here three weeks from today.

Now, for today's guest TeachingAuthor interview, let me re-introduce you to Sherry Shahan, author of picture books, easy readers, and novels for middle grade and young adults. You may recall that Sherry contributed a terrific Wednesday Writing Workout back in July. I began that post by saying:

>>Sherry and I first met virtually, when she joined the New Year/New Novel (NYNN) Yahoo group I started back in 2009. I love the photo she sent for today's post--it personifies her willingness to do the tough research sometimes required for the stories she writes. As she says on her website, she has:

 "ridden on horseback into Africa’s Maasailand, hiked through a leech-infested rain forest in Australia, shivered inside a dogsled for the first part of the famed 1,049 mile Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in Alaska, rode-the-foam on a long-board in Hawaii, and spun around dance floors in Havana, Cuba."   
<<

Sherry's most recent young-adult novel, Skin and Bones (A. Whitman) required a different kind of research, as she shares in her interview below. According to Kirkus Reviews, she did her work well::
"Shahan tackles eating disorders in a fast-paced, contemporary coming-of-age novel. . . A quick read with a worthy message: We are all recovering from something, and the right companions can help you heal. The wrong ones can kill you."

The paperback edition of Skin and Bones will be released in March. Meanwhile, Sherry is generously contributing an autographed copy for a  TeachingAuthors' book giveaway. To enter, see the instructions at the end of this post. First, though, be sure to read the following interview:


Sherry, how did you become a TeachingAuthor?

In the 1980s I lived in a small town and didn’t know anyone who was a writer. I hadn’t even heard of SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators). I heard about a local Writers Conference and signed up. At the end of the workshop focusing on children’s books, I asked the instructor if she’d critique my middle-grade novel manuscript. She agreed. Soon thereafter she told me she’d shared it with her editor (a school book fair publisher). They bought that novel and I worked with them on five more.
Fast forward: After graduating from Vermont College of Fine Arts (MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults, 2007) I was brimming with enthusiasm about writing. My friends soon tired of discussions of emotional subtext, objective correlatives, polyphonic elements, etc. When I heard that UCLA was seeking teachers for online writing courses I sent the department chair my resumé. I’ve been teaching for them ever since.

What's a common problem that your students have and how do you address it?

It’s simply the overuse of passive verbs—and that’s across the board, no matter what the person’s writing experience. As an exercise, I post a short paragraph that’s riddled with ‘was,’ ‘seems to be,” ‘must have been,’ ‘would,’ ‘had,’ etc. I then ask them to reconstruct the paragraph using active verbs. Happily, writings submitted after the exercise shine with lively, active language.

Back in July you shared a terrific Wednesday Writing Workout with our readers and talked a bit about Skin and Bones. You mentioned then that the novel started out as a short story. What inspired that original story and how did you expand it to a novel?

I had a crazy idea about a love story from the perspective of a teen guy with anorexia, which I set in an Eating Disorders Unit of a hospital. The short story sold right away to a major literary journal. Later, a London publisher included it in their YA anthology, and after that it appeared in their Best of collection. So far the 1,400-word version of Skin and Bones has appeared eight times worldwide.

My agent kept encouraging me to expand the story into a novel. But I wasn’t ready to spend a year (or more) with young people in the throes of a life-threatening illness. I weighed the pros and cons.

Pros:
* The short story would serve as an outline since the basic story arc was in place.
Each character already had a distinctive voice.
The hospital setting was firmly fixed in my mind.
The subject matter had proven itself to be of interest to readers.
Proven ground is attractive to editors and publishers, as long as the topic is approached in a fresh way.

Cons:
* The story would require an additional 60,000 words.
I would have to create additional characters.
Every character would require a convincing backstory.
I would need compelling subplots.
Every scene would require richer subtext.

Well, the "Pros" obviously won out.J We don’t often hear or read of boys having anorexia. How did you go about researching this story? What kind of response has it received from readers and teachers?

My primary research was memoirs about teens with addictions. There were striking similarities between the mindset of say, someone with anorexia or bulimia, and a young person addicted to drugs. Shame and guilt effected both addictions. I wasn’t prepared for the skillful manner in which teens—males and females—manipulated friends, family, and the environment in order to keep their obsession secret.

I’ve been visiting high schools and libraries talking about Skin and Bones and the dangers of eating disorders. Many people have known a male with anorexia. According to N.A.M.E.D. (National Association of Males with Eating Disorders) approximately ten million males in the U.S. suffer with this disease. Sadly, there are too many heart-breaking examples on the Internet.

Do you have any suggestions for teachers on how they might use one of your books in the classroom?

My Alaskan-based adventure novel Ice Island (Random House/Yearling) is used as part of the “IDITA-Read” program, a fun reading race from Anchorage to Nome.

Goal:
Read *1,049 minutes or pages appropriate to student’s reading level.

Procedure:
1.  Explain to the students that they will compete in their own Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. Their race will be a reading race.
2.  Each student draws a musher from entries on the Iditarod website (which includes trail maps, mushers’ diaries, etc.). Students try to read faster (pages or minutes) than the distance their musher travels on the trail.
3.  Teachers track each student’s progress on a large map of Alaska by daily visits to the Iditarod website.
4.  Students select their books before the “vet check.” (Dogs are checked before the race to make sure they’re healthy.)  Teachers decide if students’ books are “healthy” (grade/ability level).
5.  As students read their way to each checkpoint, they are responsible for logging in their time and having it checked by a race marshal (teacher or librarian).
6.  Provide prizes or special recognition for those who compete in the reading race.

Materials:
1.  Large map of Alaska with Iditarod Trail & checkpoints clearly marked.
2.  Legend listing distances between checkpoints.
3.  Name pins/tags to mark students’ reading progress on the trail.
4.  Sleds or dogs (felt or construction paper) to mark progress of mushers.
5.  Iditarod “Reading Log” for each student.
6.  Lots of books!

Objectives:
1.  Encourage recreational reading.
2.  Develop an interest in history and geography of Alaska.
3.  Encourage completion of a project.

Wow, what a fun activity! I hope some of our blog followers who are teachers will give it a try and report back to us. Finally, Sherry, what are you working on now?

I’ve just finished a very rough draft of a YA novel that explores the emotional and psychological trauma of abduction. My protagonist is a sixteen year-old girl who’s kidnapped on her way to meet her boyfriend. The kidnapper isn’t someone the readers will suspect.

Sounds like a real thriller, Sherry. Good luck researching that one! And thanks again for today's interview.
Readers, here's your opportunity to enter for a chance to win an autographed copy of Skin and Bones (A. Whitman). Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter via 1, 2, or all 3 options specified. If you choose the "comment" option, share a comment to TODAY'S blog post answering this question: 
What will you do with the book should you win: save it for yourself or give it away?

If your name isn't part of your comment "identity," please include it in your comment for verification purposes. Comments may also be submitted via email to: teachingauthors [at] gmail [dot] com

If the widget doesn't appear for some reason (or you're an email subscriber), use the link below to take you to the entry form.

The giveaway ends on Feb. 6. 
After you've entered, don't forget to check today's Poetry Friday roundup over at A Teaching Life.
Good luck and happy writing!
Carmela

P.S. If you've never entered a Rafflecopter giveaway, here's info on how to enter a Rafflecopter giveaway and the difference between signing in with Facebook vs. with an email address. Email subscribers: if you received this post via email, you can click on the Rafflecopter link at the end of this message to access the entry form.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

0 Comments on Guest TeachingAuthor Interview and Book Giveaway with Sherry Shahan as of 1/23/2015 10:07:00 AM
Add a Comment
35. An Ember in the Ashes, by Sabaa Tahir | Advanced Reader Copy Giveaway

The Children’s Book Review | January 16 Enter to win an autographed advance reader copy of An Ember in the Ashes (Razorbill, April 28, 2015), by Sabaa Tahir, and a T-shirt. One (1) winner receives  An advanced reader copy of An Ember in the Ashes autographed by Sabaa Tahir. An Ember in the Ashes T-shirt. Age Range: 12 and up Giveaway begins January 16, […]

Add a Comment
36. Candlewick Prize Pack with 6 of TIME Magazine’s Top 100 Young Adult Books

Enter to win a prize pack with 6 of the listed Candlewick titles from TIME Magazine's Top 100 Young Adult Books. Giveaway begins January 15, 2015, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends January 31, 2015, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

Add a Comment
37. Hissy Fitz, by Patrick Jennings | Book Giveaway

Enter to win an autographed hardcover copy of Hissy Fitz, by Patrick Jennings. Giveaway begins January 9, 2015, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends February 8, 2015, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

Add a Comment
38. If You Were Me and Lived in … Peru: An Introduction to Learning About Other Cultures | Series Giveaway

Enter to win a full autographed set of the If You Were Me series, by award-winning author Carole P. Roman; including the newest addition If You Were Me and Lived in … Peru: A Child’s Introduction to Cultures Around the World! Giveaway begins December 22, 2014, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends January 21, 2014, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

Add a Comment
39. Suspicion, by Alexandra Monir | Book Giveaway

The Children’s Book Review | December 19, 2014 Enter to win a hardcover copy of Suspicion, by Alexandra Monir. Two (2) winners receive: A hardcover copy of Suspicion, by Alexandra Monir. Age Range: 12+ Hardcover: 304 pages Giveaway begins December 19, 2014, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends January 18, 2015, at 11:59 P.M. PST. About Suspicion Publisher’s Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Imogen Rockford […]

Add a Comment
40. Zodiac, by Romina Russell | Book Giveaway

Enter to win a copy of Zodiac, by Romina Russell. Giveaway begins December 9, 2014, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends January 8, 2015, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

Add a Comment
41. Santa Snoopy Holiday Book Giveaway

In Celebration of 50 Years on TV for A Charlie Brown Christmas, enter to win a Santa Snoopy book prize pack! Giveaway begins December 6, 2014, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends January 5, 2014, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

Add a Comment
42. Tell us your favourite book of 2014 and WIN!

2014 is drawing to a close and what another fantastic year of books and reading it has been. To celebrate we are giving away 8 copies of one of our favourite books of 2014; The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North (you can read our review here). All you have to do is […]

Add a Comment
43. The Orphan of Torundi, by J. L. McCreedy | Book Giveaway

Enter to win a copy of The Orphan of Torundi, by J. L. McCreedy. Giveaway begins November 29, 2014, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends December 28, 2014, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

Add a Comment
44. Snowman’s Story, by Will Hillenbrand | Book Giveaway

Enter to win a hardcover copy of Snowman's Story, by Will Hillenbrand Giveaway begins November 12, 2014, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends December 11, 2014, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

Add a Comment
45. Get Happy, by Mary Amato | Book Giveaway

Enter to win a hardcover copy of Get Happy, by Mary Amato. Giveaway begins November 16, 2014, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends December 15, 2014, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

Add a Comment
46. Apple Dumplings





If you live long enough, life becomes more about letting go than of gathering. It is inevitable, this letting go.

Sometimes we have to let go of our favorite things: our favorite pair of shorts worn to the fray. Our favorite book with its tattered pages. Even our car, with its 200,000 miles of memories.

Sometimes we let go of clutter, and wonder why it took us so long to throw them out. You know what I speak of: The box full of old research gathered for stories that probably won’t ever be written. Those uncomfortable shoes with pointy toes and impossibly high heels that you never, ever wore, but dang they look sparklie. Those skinny jeans that felt more like a bone corset then denim. Those old love letters, although the guy went on to marry someone else. Those laser disks (what?). Those eight-tracks (what?). That rotary phone (what?). Those old ideas that no longer serve a purpose in our lives.

Sometimes the letting go is more profound, as we say good-bye to our special friends, the four-legged as well as the two-legged sort. And those with wings. And we say goodbye to family. To colleagues and heroes and inspirations.

Of course, the key phrase in all of this, If You Live. And perhaps, along the way of living our lives, we gather some understanding of it all. We become, hopefully, wise. It’s an elusive concept to grasp. Through the ages, religious leaders, philosophers, even politicians have debated on what is wisdom.

According to Dr. Vivian Clayton, wisdom consists of three elements: cognition, reflection, compassion. Wisdom happens when we take the time to gain insights and perspectives from one’s cognitive knowledge , what she calls the reflective dimension. Then we can use those insights to understand and help others, what she calls the compassionate dimension.

Of course, if it were that easy, with just three ingredients, there wouldn’t be all this debating about what it means. That’s why I like hanging out with poets. They know about such things. Marion Dane Bauer inspired me in her recent post, “Because receiving is another way of giving. The giver grows in the giving. And that’s a truth we all need to hold close at any time of life!”

And her wisdom resonated with me. I am not the poet like my fellow Teaching Authors. Did you see Carmela’s Thanks-Giving Thanku

I am just a storyteller. Begging your indulgence, I was reminded of an old English folktale (Source: Lindsay, Maud. The Storyteller. Lothrop, Lee & Shepard; 1915).  It went something like this: 

There once was an old woman who lived in the woods. One day, she decided to bake apple dumplings. These dumplings were her favorite. She had everything she needed to bake the dumplings, except for the apples. She had plenty of plums, however. She filled a basket with these plums, covering them in her finest white linen. Then she dressed in her finest clothes and set out to trade these plums for some apples.


Morguefile


By and by, she came across a young woman. The old woman asked the younger if she had apples to trade for her plums.

“No,” said the young woman, as she looked with such longing at the plums. “I have plenty of chickens, and not much else.”

The old woman traded her basket of plums for a bag of feathers. The old woman thought it was a good trade. The bag of feathers was much lighter to carry.

By and by, the old woman came to a garden, one of the loveliest gardens she had ever seen. She stopped a moment to smell the roses when she heard a couple arguing. The couple saw her, too.

“Tell us, old woman," said the woman.  "Do you agree that cotton is best for making a cushion on our bed?”

“No,” said the old woman.

“See, the old woman agrees with me,” said the man. “Straw is best for our bed!”

“Never straw!” said the old woman, as she held up her bag of feathers. “But a bed made of feathers is fit for a king!”

The old woman traded the bag of feathers for a bouquet of roses. She thought it was a good trade.

By and by, the old woman met a young prince who looked as sad as a rainy day.

“I go to meet my lady love,” said the young prince. “But I have no gift to show her how I truly value her.”

“Give you lady love these roses,” said the old woman. “And she will know.”

She traded the bouquet of roses for a gold farthing. What a good trade! At last she had enough money to buy her apples!

You may think the story might end here, for it seems like a happy ending. But it does not.

By and by, the old woman came to a young mother and her child, who stood with a big and furry dog. They were all frail from hunger.

How can I eat apply dumplings when my neighbors cannot eat at all? thought the old woman. And she said to the young mother,” I have need for a companion, and would ask for your help. May I trade this gold coin for your handsome dog?”

The young mother agreed. The old woman worried now, for how could she take care of a big and furry dog? Where would he sleep? What would he eat? Lost in her thoughts, she didn’t notice where she was walking.

“That’s one fine dog,” someone said. She looked up to see an old man rocking on his porch. His house sat in the shade of an old apple tree.

“That’s a fine apple tree,” she said.
Morguefile


“Apple trees are poor company to an old man who cannot bake,” he said. “But I’d trade all the apples you want for that fine fellow!”

The old woman traded the big and furry dog for a barrel of apples. She baked apple dumplings for her and her new friend. And that night, she enjoyed one of the finest apple dumplings she had ever baked.

Not The End.

My list of grateful things:

My daughter, who stands above any list.

For the wisdom of my friends. For working in a field where my heroes have become my friends. Including Eric and Marion, Monica and Emma, and Karen, and far too many that I do not have space enough to list. Thank you.

For the compassion, and love of my kindred spirits, like Cynthia, Carmela and The Teaching Authors, Rebecca and the Collective, Brian and the Snuggies; for soul sisters Jo and guiding lights Bonny and Bette. And many more. Thank you.

For apple dumplings.


If you like this tale, you might be interested in my book, One Fine Trade, illustrated by Will Hillenbrand (Holiday House, 2009).

You also might be interesting in this: Phyllis Korkki. “The Science of Older and Wiser,” New York Times , March 2014.

Don’t forget about the CWIM giveaway!

Bobbi Miller


0 Comments on Apple Dumplings as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
47. We Like What We Like

When he was little, one of my husband’s favorite Christmas movies was “Santa Claus Conquers the Martians.” I laughed out loud the first time he told me the title, sure he was making it up. But no, it’s a real movie starring a young Pia Zadora as a martian child. The acting is terrible, the […]

0 Comments on We Like What We Like as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
48. Skink: No Surrender, by Carl Hiaasen | Book Giveaway

Enter to win a hardcover copy of Skink—No Surrender, by New York Times bestselling author Carl Hiassen. Giveaway begins November 19, 2014, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends December 18, 2014, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

Add a Comment
49. Captain No Beard and the Aurora Borealis, by Carole P. Roman | Book Giveaway

Enter to win a full autographed set of the Captain No Beard series, by award-winning author Carole P. Roman; including the newest title Captain No Beard and the Aurora Borealis! Giveaway begins November 22, 2014, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends December 21, 2014, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

Add a Comment
50. Ripley’s Fun Facts & Silly Stories: The Big One! | Book Giveaway

Enter to win a copy of Ripley’s Fun Facts & Silly Stories: The Big One! Giveaway begins November 24, 2014, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends December 23, 2014, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

Add a Comment

View Next 25 Posts