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 'childhood')

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
<<August 2014>>
SuMoTuWeThFrSa
     0102
03040506070809
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
31      
new posts in all blogs
Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: childhood, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 85
1.

  i just wanted to be mork, as a kid. make everybody laugh and go to another planet as maybe that's where i came from, all along? sigh...xoxoxoxo, robin. 

0 Comments on as of 8/12/2014 12:40:00 AM
Add a Comment
2. Beeing There

beescopy

Done in the car while waiting for the library to open. Bees were pollinating purple flowers next to me.

I’d like to share something I think is fun. The reaction I get from people when I’m out drawing or painting. When not in my car more often than not reactions are positive, like the Starbucks barista, saying he thought it cool. Occasionally my experiences are, let’s just say a bit awkward. Even so they’re often something I look back on with a smile, as they reflect the understanding of the person it’s coming from. On one occasion where I was drawing at coffee shop, a woman sat at the table next to me accompanied by her two children. As they were getting ready to leave she mentioned she was an artist too. She shook my hand and introduced herself. I noticed while one of her children had gone, the other had walked behind me (between myself and the wall). Mom noticed and noticed I noticed. As she and I continued our conversation, her daughter then got on one side of her and put both hands on her mother’s hip and began pushing. “Let’s go… I thought we were going to go.” I had said, “I guess she’s a bit protective. I remember my daughter was that way sometimes.” When her mother tried to continue talking her daughter came next to me, crossed her arms in front of her and said, nodding to my sketchbook I’d now closed, “Did you draw that?” I said “What,” opening it, “You mean this?” She then nodded over to a magazine on the nearby table and said “You copied that”. I said, “No, these are people who were here. I drew them.” Mind you, she was maybe nine or ten years old. By then mom was ready go. I could only smile. Happy Mothers Day.

 


Tagged: Allen Capoferri, Art, cafe drawing, Childhood, Illustration, mothers day, Nature, sketchbook, sketchbook drawing

7 Comments on Beeing There, last added: 5/9/2014
Display Comments Add a Comment
3. the rainbow connection

finally got around to scanning this little beauty....my homage to my FAVORITE childhood doll, Rainbow Brite. along with her BFF, Starlight, of course. ;)

PRINTS AVAILABLE HERE:

0 Comments on the rainbow connection as of 4/3/2014 8:59:00 PM
Add a Comment
4. all horses...

©the enchanted easel 2014

©the enchanted easel 2014


should have rainbow colored manes. or so i think anyway....;)

snippets from my piece entitled "the rainbow connection"... my tribute to my favorite childhood doll, rainbow brite and her sweet horse, starlight.

oh i loved that doll! 




"the rainbow connection"
©the enchanted easel 2014




0 Comments on all horses... as of 3/21/2014 6:33:00 PM
Add a Comment
5. Sketch for today - Meningitis

I started a blog about childhood rememberings lately ... you can see more at https://lookbackincandour.wordpress.com/

Remembering is hard ... especially from younger years. Are the memories from photographs, from tales told to you later in life? Or real snapshots in your mind? Perhaps it's a mixture of them all.

Having been in avoidance of diarying for many years my solution is to recall my memories as visuals.

I believe this will be a worthwhile journey, if difficult at times.

Toodles!

Hazel

0 Comments on Sketch for today - Meningitis as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
6. Of Guns and Children’s Books

The old refrain: we’ve seen this before and we’ll see it again.

Some disturbed individual buys a bunch of guns and murders a bunch of people. The media falls in love with the story. We endure some rounds of punditry. A few people change their minds on the issues of gun control and mental healthcare, but most of us stand firm in our opinions. Then, after a few days, we move on, until another wayward soul takes some shots at another awful legacy and we all say, “we’ve seen this before and we’ll see it again.”

I rarely address current events on this blog. I almost never mention my politics. But I feel the need to address the issue of guns and gun violence. Don’t worry, I’m not here with boatloads of links and statistics and I don’t think I’m qualified to offer viable solutions. I’m only going to talk about how this issue relates to my life and my writing.

I’ve never owned a real gun, or even fired one. Although I lived a free-range childhood that involved plenty of squirt, rubber dart, and cap guns, my parents didn’t allow firearms in the house. Even BB guns were off limits. If I wanted to shoot an air rifle, I had to arrange a clandestine meeting in the woods with a friend who owned a pump-action Daisy. During one such meeting, I ended up with a welt on my cheek, the result of poor safety precautions and an opportunistic ricochet. “You’ll shoot your eye out, kid,” indeed.

Six or seven years later, when I was studying in London, a lone Englishman at a party full of Americans approached me and asked how many of us were carrying guns. I laughed at the absurdity of his question, but he wasn’t joking. Not only did he believe that all Americans owned and carried guns, he also assumed that we did so when we traveled.

A year after that, on New Year’s Eve, I was in a nearly empty pizza parlor on Bleecker Street when a group of teens in puffy coats entered. They didn’t attempt to order. They just stood amid the tables, eyeing up the cashier. When one teen unzipped his coat, I saw a pistol tucked in his waistband. The cashier knew what was about to happen; he placed his hands flat on the counter and didn’t budge. After a tense minute or two, one of the teens finally said, “not worth it,” and they walked out.

A few years later, in rural upstate New York, I attended a 4th of July party. In lieu of fireworks, the host pulled an Uzi from his impressive gun cabinet and proceeded to shoot a few dozen rounds into the air. I don’t know if he was the legal owner of that Uzi, but I doubt it. I left the party shortly after the entertainment.

Guns haven’t played much of a role in my life of late, except when it comes to my writing. These days, I write books about kids. Because my books are about kids, they’re sold to kids. In my books, some of the characters wield and shoot guns. Those characters are all kids.

During the editorial stages, I have been asked to remove plenty of swearing and kissing from my books. It’s a business decision more than an artistic one. Certain libraries and book-buyers refuse to buy anything in the middle-grade market (i.e. fare for ages 9–12) that features a few hells and a little frenching. And yet, I have never been asked to edit out a gun or an incident of gun violence, even when a 12-year-old character is the perpetrator of that violence. The powers-that-be are okay with all that.

Should they be okay with all that, though? I don’t know. I hope they should be, as long as I’m doing my job as an author, which I believe is to provide an engrossing story with compelling characters whose motivations are relatable a

2 Comments on Of Guns and Children’s Books, last added: 7/25/2012
Display Comments Add a Comment
7. In Praise of Children - Liz Kessler

I spent the last couple of days writing a post for this blog. It was jolly and fun and hopefully entertaining. But after yesterday's news about a horrific and heartbreaking shooting in an American school, I couldn't help feeling that a blog written today should have a different focus.

I write books for children. I write about mermaids and fairies and time travel and pirate dogs. Mostly, though, I write about family and friendship and love and loyalty. These are the things that are important to me. I believe that these are the things that are important to most of us. In one afternoon, in an elementary school in America, at least twenty families have had all of these things taken away from them, by a young man with a gun.

At the time of writing this, there aren't many facts available about the background to any of this, so I can't comment on that. I'm not going to get into the politics of it either – although, if I wanted to, it would be just one simple sentence: America – do something about your gun laws now.

So what do I want to say? I suppose I want to reflect on what kind of a world we live in – what kind of a world we have created. And I want to ask whether it's possible for us to do something about this.

The night before last, I watched a Panorama programme about homelessness in the UK. I thought the same thing then. Innocent children who haven't had a chance yet to make any mark on this world are in situations where they're losing something that so many of us take for granted. Their homes. Yesterday, twenty children had their entire lives taken away from them.  And in recent months, we have all heard the appalling stories that have come to light about Jimmy Savile and others who stole hundreds of children's innocence and blighted their lives forever.

We live in a world where space travel is taken for granted, where lives are saved with incredible medicines or operations, where with the touch of a few buttons we can talk to and even see someone on the other side of the planet. We live in - we have created - a world where unbelievable things are possible.

With all this intelligence, how have we not managed to create a world in which our children are safe?

As a children's author, I am quite often asked if I would ever think about writing books for adults. Right now, I can't help thinking – why would I want to do that? Adults are the ones who harm. Adults are the ones who damage. Adults are the ones who should know better.

Children are the ones who see things as they are. Who see the beauty and simplicity and excitement and innocence and incredible potential of this world.

At this moment, I am proud of my job. It is about celebrating childhood – and right now I can't think of anything more worthy of celebration and protection than childhood.

I'm not a parent, but if I was, tonight I would hug my children that little bit tighter. I'm not religious, but tonight I will take my chances and ask God to look after the twenty innocent children who were ripped from this world when their lives had barely begun. 


And I will ask us as a society to grieve for their families, to be thankful for our own and to do everything we can each do in our own way to create a world that is worthy of all of the gifts, riches and knowledge that we have.

9 Comments on In Praise of Children - Liz Kessler, last added: 12/16/2012
Display Comments Add a Comment
8. Freshly Pressed: Friday Faves

WordPressers, day in and day out, you entertain us, you make us think, you make us laugh, and you make us grateful to be exposed to so many voices all over the world. It’s a pleasure to read what you’re writing. Like everyone in the community, we value that feeling of connection that comes from reading something that speaks to you, that resonates, that makes you feel not so alone.

For this edition of Freshly Pressed Faves, we’re looking at three posts that do just that, all around the idea of “busy-ness.” Modern society seems to embrace the idea that unless you’re “swamped” or “super busy,” you just aren’t being productive enough. Free time? Fill it up, preferably with something that pays! This attitude permeates children’s lives, too, with scheduled after-school dance classes and soccer practices and violin lessons and foreign language tutors. The idle hours that once allowed kids to daydream seem to be no more. When’s enough enough, though?

Doing more only to do less — do we glorify busy?

Author Tim Kreider believes ‘Our frantic days are really just a hedge against emptiness.’ We feel we are nothing, not worthy, unimportant or left out if we have nothing to do.

But there is another aspect to it. Perfectionism – that shadow from our childhoods. We want to be excellent – because if we are, we will be worthy of love. So we take on anything and everything that is thrown us. Even when we are aware we are overwhelmed, we find it hard to say ‘NO’. Because we fear that if we do – people will think less of us. So we end up doing more than our fair share.

Sofagirl at Campari & Sofa writes eloquently about her own fight with the “busy” beast and the scary personal episode that drove her to question it all. Weaving in others’ research on the topic, she presents a compelling argument for taking a step back — and a deep breath — and for refusing to participate in the tyranny of “busy” any longer. Bet you’ll find it difficult to disagree.

The Quiet Contemplation of Inactivity

As kids we could come up with 16 ways to put our lives on the line using the jungle gym in ways no designer ever intended. They were days when we simply looked at clouds and imagined animals (or teachers or, for the juvenile delinquents, body parts) hiding in the puffy expanse of the heavens. … We were bored, but no one was ever bored enough to learn something.

Except it appears, according to recent research, that boredom is good for the brain. Evidently, boredom switches our brain’s little buttons and the synapses and neurons start firing on more cylinders, pushing us to creativity and intellectual growth.

John Wegner of Consistently Contradictory harkens back to a time when “boredom” and free time were acceptable and even encouraged, when we didn’t rely on technology and scheduling quite so much, and when we allowed our brains to wander. Are we losing the benefits of this today? Should we re-introduce some “slack” into schools? Read John’s convincing and thought-provoking post and you’ll probably be answering “yes.”

The Kid Stays in the Picture

When I was a kid, Dad made it clear that ‘mere play’ was being idle—something lazy people did. And boy, you couldn’t get lazier than me.

Michael Maupin from Completely in the Dark takes us back to his childhood and the lasting effects of not being encouraged to “play.” He explains, “As a shadow, it darkened the room, filling me with anxiety and self-doubt: ‘What am I doing now? Is it practical? Is it useful? Shouldn’t I be ashamed?’ … For years that sound, that shadow, was all around. It blocked up my writing, my artwork, my self-esteem — everything. I was psychologically held at gunpoint by an ethic that carries little currency in my world.”

Not one to be bullied, however, Michael has found ways to protect and embrace his natural tendencies towards “play and reverie.” Read his post, and you’ll be inspired to do the same.

Did you read something in the Reader that you think is Freshly Pressed material? Feel free to leave us a link, or tweet us @freshly_pressed.

For more inspiration, check out our writing challenges, photo challenges, and other blogging tips at The Daily Post; visit our Recommended Blogs; and browse the most popular topics in the Reader. For editorial guidelines for Freshly Pressed, read: So You Want To Be Freshly Pressed.


7 Comments on Freshly Pressed: Friday Faves, last added: 4/20/2013
Display Comments Add a Comment
9. Maurice Sendak - a smart smart man

 I, blessedly, had very good parents.  But, not everyone has very good parents.  Parents try to be good - for the most part.  But sometimes we/they are not.

Here is an illustrated interview with Maurice Sendak on how hard it is to be a child.  He is truly missed.
Thanks to Betsy at Fuse#8 for sharing this.  Check out her other Sunday videos.

1 Comments on Maurice Sendak - a smart smart man, last added: 7/9/2013
Display Comments Add a Comment
10. Kids!!!!

Kids!!!!

Childhood, The Grand Adventure! Kids just wanna have FUN!


1 Comments on Kids!!!!, last added: 8/25/2013
Display Comments Add a Comment
11. That would be excellent

         




I've been a very bad blogger this year, mainly because of this, of course. But G's treatments are now done, and we're working toward getting our life back to our "new normal." But first, we're moving apartments this week and packing is exhausting!

As always happens, while packing I've been finding forgotten things, like this letter Grace had sent me back when we were both seniors in high school. I had brought this with me from my parents' house in California a while back because I wanted to quote some of the letter in a talk I was giving, I think.

In it, we talked about boys, of course. I had asked her to send me a boyfriend, so she sent me this guy:


Cute, huh? She named him Roger.

And here are a few snippets from the letter:

"I'm going to illustrate children's books, y'know. That would be so cool. One day when we're all grown up, you'll see in a book store: Illustrated by Grace P. Lin. That would be excellent."

and:

"I wish I could show you my portfolio. Then you could tell me if you think I'm talented. Or then you could lie to me and tell me you think I'm the bestest artist in the world and of course I will make it into RISD."

I wonder if Grace has the letter I wrote back to her. But I'm sure I said something like:

I think you're talented, Grace! You are the bestest artist in the world, you will make it into RISD, and you will become a famous children's book author and illustrator.

See, I can predict the future!

4 Comments on That would be excellent, last added: 10/31/2013
Display Comments Add a Comment
12. Dot.: Randi Zuckerberg & Joe Berger

Book: Dot.
Author: Randi Zuckerberg (@randizuckerberg)
Illustrator: Joe Berger
Pages: 32
Age Range: 4-8

Full disclosure. Yes, Dot. is one of those picture books written by a celebrity (business maven Randi Zuckerberg) to convey a particular lesson. I am not generally a fan of such books. This one is even kind of a spin-off of an adult title by the same author (Dot Complicated: Untangling Our Wired Lives), with the same release date. And yet, Dot. worked for me. 

Dot. is a simple story. We learn that a little girl named Dot is quite skilled in the use of digital devices. "She knows how to tap ... to touch ... to tweet ... and to tag." And she talks and talks on phones and devices and webcams. But when Dot's brain becomes a bit fried from too much device-time, her mother sends the zombie-like child outside to "reboot." Outside, among friends, Dot learns different meanings of tap (tap dancing), touch (touching a sunflower), tweet (like a bird), and tag (you can guess that one). And at the end, she and her friends embrace both the outdoors and real togetherness AND devices. 

I think that ending is a big part of what made the book work for me. If the story had ended with Dot realizing the error of her device-prone ways, and spending all of her time playing outside, well, it just wouldn't have been realistic. But it IS realistic to think that a child could get caught up sitting around inside, tapping away on the computer, only to be reminded that playing outside is fun also. Only to be reminded that it's more fun to do whatever you're doing with other kids than to do it alone. 

By keeping the focus entirely on Dot, and finding a solution to her specific problem of tech burnout, Zuckerberg avoids making Dot. feel didactic. It helps, I think that Mom is only shown as a pair of hands shooing Dot outside. Otherwise, there are only kids, dogs, and butterflies.

I also quite liked the parallelism that Zuckerberg uses, between actions we do on devices, like "surfing", and actions that can be done in real life, like "surfing." Some of the examples work better than others ("swiping" paint seems a bit of a reach), but the idea of focusing on these dual meanings works. 

Joe Berger's illustrations help, too. When Dot, in dotted dress, is "surfing" on the computer, she lies across the back of the couch with one leg up, reaching down to the computer. This is a nice visual clue to what is to follow later. The indoor illustrations are fun, but all set against plain backgrounds, white walls, etc. This provides a nice contrast when Dot goes outside, and is surrounded by birds, flowers, trees, and so on. I'm not quite sure why Dot has gray hair, but she also has an impish smile, a swirly skirt, and a cute dog.

I think that kids will like her. And if they like Dot, hopefully they won't feel dictated to by the point that this book is making. And let's face it. There are an awful lot of kids out there who could benefit from spending a few hours outside, where the only screen is the screen door. Mary Lee from A Year of Reading liked it, too, calling Dot."the perfect antidote to BYOD" (bring your own device). 

I suspect this one will work better with five to seven year olds, kids who spend a bit of time using keyboards, and talking on the phone to friends or family members. My three year old was unimpressed. I think you'll find that Dot. is worth a look, particularly for libraries and classrooms. Perhaps one could pair it under the Christmas tree with a jumprope and some sneakers. 

Publisher:  HarperCollins (@HarperChildrens)
Publication Date: November 5, 2013
Source of Book: Review copy from the publisher

FTC Required Disclosure:

This site is an Amazon affiliate, and purchases made through Amazon links (including linked book covers) may result in my receiving a small commission (at no additional cost to you).

© 2013 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook

Add a Comment
13. childhood reading

When I was in Seattle, I had a great time going through some old family photo albums and taking quick snapshots of some of them. I noticed a couple themes that emerged. One of them was books; there were loads of photos of people reading to my sister and me. I'm certain that had loads to do with me being an obsessive reader as a kid and teenager, and why I'm making books today. Funnily enough, my sister didn't like reading for a long time, until she discovered Archie comics. Now she reads even more than I do.


Here's my dad, reading to me in the house where my parents still live. Check out Dad's fab trousers!

I think that giving kids access to books and apps is great, but nothing beats getting read to. I still love it. When Stuart and I first got married, we decided we were going to read books to each other. But maybe I have a bad reading voice, or Stuart just likes to be in charge or something, but it quickly morphed into Stuart reading to me. (Which suits me just fine.)


My grandma reading to my sister and me


Stuart and I worked our way through Bill Bryson's Notes from a Small Island, The Wind in the Willows, Rebecca and a couple other books. It's funny how a book can come across differently when someone else reads it. When I read Rebecca (by Daphne du Maurier), I really sympathised with the timid main character, but when Stuart read it, I thought, I'd much rather meet the headstrong, fun-loving first wife, Rebecca.


Dominique, our baby-sitter, reading to us. I can identify the other book, Bedtime for Frances by Russell Hoban and Garth Williams.


Family friend JoAnn Burwell reading to us, with our friend Sarah Knofel. Sarah was much of a bookworm as I was.


My aunt looks on as her friend Marjorie reads to us The Magician and the Petnapping by David McKee. (Here's an interview I did as an adult with David McKee!)


Reading Shel Silverstein's Where the Sidewalk Ends to my grandpa

Oh, and I noticed another theme of our photo albums: I come from a line of people who wear kickin' spectacles. Here's my mother and grandma:

Add a Comment
14. stumptown comics festival - portland, oregon

Jet-lag and catching up means it's taken me a week and a half to blog this, but here it is, my Stumptown blog post!



My family used to go every year to the Oregon on holiday (Cannon Beach, to be specific - here's a photo. Cannon Beach was where a lot of the outdoor scenes of The Goonies was filmed.) Since it's our old vacation place, I've always thought of Oregon as my favourite state.



As I flew over from MoCCA festival in New York City, I drew this mini comic on the plane to Seattle and roped my parents into helping me put it together. Which I'm glad I did, as it turned out to be my best-selling item! (Apologies if you already read it in an earlier post.



There's been A LOT going on in Portland since I emigrated to Britain. It has a thriving arts and comics scene; in fact, such a scene that there's now a whole TV show called Portlandia that parodies the city 'where young people go to retire', 'all the hot girls wear glasses' and 'you can put a bird on something and call it art'. Portland residents have very mixed reactions about the series, it does hit a bit close to the bone (and particularly annoying if your art career involves a lot of birds.) But I love this clip. The '90s are how I remember America, so it's ALL STILL THERE... in Portland! Ha ha...


YouTube link



YouTube link

I was trying to think of things to draw in Seattle when I was trying out
encaustic wax painting with my sister, so... yeah. The bird. I think in Britain right now it's unicorns, possibly shifting toward tentacled creatures. There was even a brief period where everyone seemed to put Abraham Lincoln on things.



And here's how it looks if you put three birds at a table. Here I am with my fab table mates, my studio mate Ellen Lindner ([info]ellenlindner) and Cliodhna Lyons (lj user="ztoical">), pronounced 'Kleena'. I sold lots of copies of my new all-ages comic book Vern and Lettuce and generally felt pleased about its US launch.


(Photo by my sister's partner, reporter Mike Lewis)

A big thanks to visitor Linda Wada (who knew of me through British comics creator Garen Ewing), who shot several videos duri

Add a Comment
15. childhood painting

Back to the photos I found when I was back in Seattle recently... Here's one of my all-time best days at school that I can remember as a kid. It was first grade, and our class was making a big papier-mâché elephant for the school auction. We didn't finish painting it grey before recess break, so I begged the teacher to be allowed to stay in the classroom to work on it while the other kids were outside. And she said yes! On the first day of school, I had got myself quite badly and memorably bullied at recess, and I was horribly scared of the other kids. So being able to stay and paint by myself in the classroom - paint something VERY BIG! - had me in a state of complete bliss. I was so proud of that elephant.



My mother saved these; here are some of my very first figure drawings.



And a bit later, here's a landscape I drew of Cannon Beach, on the Oregon coast.



And much older, here's a painting I made as a teenager. I though it was terribly cool, and now I can see just how amusingly of its time it looks.

Add a Comment
16. Vis Dev A Fish Story

Above is a vis dev story beat for A Fish Story. For those of you not familiar with the terminology “vis dev” is short for visual development. A “story beat” is an important part of the story…one that “drives the characters”.  These are all terms in “previs” which is short for pre-visualization.

My daughter said the drawing reminded her of the “original Cinderella story. You know, the Chinese folktale?” I never heard of this.


Tagged: Allen Capoferri, Aquatic Life, Art, character design, Childhood, China, Fish, Illustration, people sketches, Pre-Vis, story illustration

1 Comments on Vis Dev A Fish Story, last added: 5/30/2011
Display Comments Add a Comment
17. Nuts and Bolts and Chocolate

Picture book author Tony Johnston has over 125 books for children in her repertoire! She was kind enough to speak at the 2011 Southern California SCBWI Writer’s Day and share her immense knowledge and insight. This was one of the most heartfelt talks I’ve ever been too. Johnston is passionate and moved by her responsibility as a writer.

The following notes were taken during her talk:

"Giant" by N.C.Wyeth

Where Do You Find Inspiration?

  • “Keep alive to everything.” – N. C. Wyeth
  • Bumble through life at the ready.
  • “If I keep alive to everything, a story will find me.” –Tony Johnston
  • “I have not exhausted the ground I stand on.” – N. C. Wyeth (on why he doesn’t need to paint the alps. There is plenty to see and explore where he lives.)
  • Notice things more and more. Inspiration doesn’t always come from an emotional core.
  • The LA Times is a great place to find stories.

 Let the Feelings Catch You:

  • “Be caught by feelings.”
  • “Words from the heart, enter the heart.” (Saying in the Torah ??)
  • Sentimentality is the cheapest lie.
  • You don’t have to include significance and meaning to have a heartfelt moment in your book.
  • Make ‘em laugh, but do it honestly.
  • Heartfelt silliness is also an emotion.
  • When writing about difficult subjects (like racism) remember that children don’t flinch. It is the grownups that flinch.

On Writing Picture Books:

  • Keep it simple.
  • “How difficult it is to be simple.” – Vincent Van Gogh
  • Writing simply does not mean words must be short and easy. It should be the words that belong.
  • “The difference between the right word and almost the right word can be the difference between the lightning and a lightning bug.” – Mark Twain
  • Don’t slip into Cinderella’s Syndrome. Don’t try to fit a story into something that doesn’t fit. The glass shoe is the shape/structure of your story, if you try to force it, it will break.” Johnston’s example of this was a picture book that was really a novel, but she didn’t realize it till an editor pointed it out to her.
  • Find the right form for your story.
  • Listen to your editor.
  • Don’t sentimentalize or trivialize.
  • The process for every book is different.

The Essence of Childhood:

  • Great picture books deal with the essence of childhood. Essence is the spirit, the pith, the heart of a story.
  • The language of essences is clean, like an arrow, straightforward.
  • “To the memory nothing is ever truly lost.” –Eudora Welty
  • You must get back to the place where it hurts.
  • “No tears in the writer. No tears in the reader.” –Robert Frost

Be Bold When You Write:

  • Don’t play it safe. Writing is about risk taking!
  • Writing is about sharing yourself.
  • “Don’t hold anything back. Don’t hold anything for the next

    2 Comments on Nuts and Bolts and Chocolate, last added: 5/31/2011
    Display Comments Add a Comment
18. Why? - Andrew Strong

Anyone with children will know the ‘why?’ stage. The child discovers that this tiny word can make an adult talk and talk and talk. The child receives undivided attention because the adult loves to show how much he knows.

‘Isn’t the blossom beautiful?’

‘Why.’

‘It’s beautiful so it attracts bees.’

‘Why?’

‘To help make more trees, and more blossom.’

‘Why?’

‘So that...er...would you like some Gummy Bears?’

It goes on forever. The child isn’t really listening, she’s just enjoying the attention, the love that’s being devoted to her.

‘Why?’

Because adults love to explain. Adults want to be able to show they understand and that everything is explicable.

‘Why?’

Because adults fear that not knowing means they are stupid. Or that the child will feel rejected. Adults just love to fill silence with sound.

‘Why?’

Shut up. I don’t know.

Take the recent riots. How many different explanations did we hear? Left wingers giving left wing explanations (cuts; no jobs; the breakdown of the state). Right wingers giving right wing explanations (bad parenting; nanny state; the breakdown of the family). I am sure many of these views could have been given even before the event.

Question: If there was a riot next week what would be the causes?

The right wingers and the left wingers have already made up their minds. The event itself doesn’t have any relevance.

Young children imagine all adults will give similar answers, that the reasons for something happening are easy for us grown ups to understand. The world is black and white. Up until around the age of seven or eight, if you ask a child whether it is wrong to steal a loaf of bread to feed a starving family, almost every one will give a categorical ‘yes’. It is wrong to steal. Of course it is.

This is one good very reason for giving children a diet of fiction. Children get to hear inside the heads of other people, even if they aren’t real. These imaginary people can hold views that real people may have. And slowly, a child begins to realise that two characters versions of the same event may be very, very different.

As children begin to explore the territory of what makes us the people we are then they can begin to understand that others may be inflexible, or are not even prepared to listen to evidence before coming to conclusions, that sometimes judgements are clouded by temperament, character or emotion.

It’s a giddy experience, the dawning realisation that there may be fewer certainties in the world.

Why?

It just is. Now go to bed.

5 Comments on Why? - Andrew Strong, last added: 9/3/2011
Display Comments Add a Comment
19. One for the Wayback Machine

I thought it was time to post a photograph. Since I happened on this old photo of my daughter I thought I’d share. I always liked this photo, daughter aside but also because it has a freshness I like. Now that I look at it nearly two decades later I still like it for that reason.

I remember my first 35 mm camera. A friend I meet in France noticed I liked photography and introduced me to the real world of camera formats by letting me use his inexpensive fixed lens 35mm. Upon returning to the states I bought a Pentax K1000, a real workhorse which I took this with. You’ve probably heard others say the same but I have to say it too…I miss the format compared to digital.


Tagged: Allen Capoferri, Childhood, Family, Photography

3 Comments on One for the Wayback Machine, last added: 10/12/2011
Display Comments Add a Comment
20. Unleash Your Dreambeast

Thanks to the OPEN A BOOK blog for using my "Dreambeast" poem to get people thinking big for 2012!

0 Comments on Unleash Your Dreambeast as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
21. Two Funny Valentine's Poems


Click to read Squashtastic & Valentine Fool

0 Comments on Two Funny Valentine's Poems as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
22. Once upon a life story…

By Denis Sampson


“Once upon a time and a very good time it was there was a moocow coming down along the road.” It is one of the most celebrated of all fictional beginnings, evoking the essence and tradition of narrative itself, telling a first story to a child, and at the same time the beginning of a very sophisticated kind of biographical fiction, the childhood and youth of an artist. Joyce’s self-portrait in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man absorbed and reinforced a Romantic tradition that assumes the artist’s life is determined by childhood and inevitably grows out of those earliest experiences. It was Baudelaire who proclaimed that “genius is the power to recover childhood” so it is hardly surprising that the shape of the artist’s life is so often set down chronologically, as if it is uniquely and inescapably defined by its starting point and its familial contexts.

Literary biographers, and often the memoirs of artists, have usually reinforced this pattern. Richard Ellmann begins his justly acclaimed biography of Joyce with a chapter entitled “The Family Before Joyce” and comments: “Stephen Dedalus said the family was a net which he would fly past, but James Joyce chose rather to entangle himself and his works in it.” Ellmann takes his cue, then, from Joyce, but it is not only Romantic paradigms and the artists themselves that influenced the shape of literary biography in the twentieth century; perhaps even more important were psychological paradigms, and the idea that biography is a branch of history played a part.

At any rate, common sense seems to endorse this way of beginning and contributes to the expectation that a biography should begin at birth and also sketch the genetic or historical inheritance. We observe people around us growing into adulthood and away from or towards the patterns of behaviour they have known in their childhood.  Recollection is always affecting, especially childhood memories, in conversation or in reading. Yet it is selective recollection, and we do not really remember chronologically.In the second half of a lifespan, especially, as we move further away from childhood and may no longer have parents alive, we become aware of many other ways of finding order in a life. We realize, for instance, that there are many beginnings and endings, or phases that seem to break away from, or repeat, earlier patterns.

If we ask when a writing life begins, it may make more sense to focus less on chronology or childhood and more on the moment that allows us to map the beginning of significant accomplishment. For instance, both Proust and Beckett spent fifteen years dithering before they really began the work on which their fame rests; the work that came before would be forgotten without that new beginning. It was in 1909, when Proust composed the essays in Contre Sainte Beuve, that he really discovered the focus and energy that allowed him to begin A la recherche du temps perdu. The five years that followed the end of World War II gave Beckett The Trilogy, Waiting for Godot, and other work of a new stylistic beginning. It might even be said that he began again about the age of forty and that this was the true beginning of his work. Conrad’s decision to write in English may be the decisive moment in his career.

In the end, and in the beginning, it is how people gather tog

0 Comments on Once upon a life story… as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
23. Barrel Organ Phil & His Marvellous Monkey

It's strange what we remember and what we don't.

I recall going to a hospital with my nan when I was small and that the lobby area was a large circular room. I can still recall the echoing sounds of our footsteps. My mum says this never happened and there is no such hospital in Liverpool.

I also recall a man with a monkey playing an organ in the city centre when I was little. To which I was told to stop being silly and such things hadn't existed since the early 1900s... Muahaha.

While trawling the internet today, I somehow found myself at You Tube searching for old videos of Liverpool and came across this...




...check out the video at about 4:05.

Now all I need to do is find that darn hospital. My quest to prove I am always right continues...


*Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

8 Comments on Barrel Organ Phil & His Marvellous Monkey, last added: 2/28/2012
Display Comments Add a Comment
24. CHILDHOOD



CHILDHOOD

Scab -- pick it.
Booger -- flick it.

Penny -- find it.
Kite string -- wind it.

Horse -- pretend it.
Fort -- defend it.

Snowball -- throw it.
Marigold -- grow it.

Happiness -- scream it.
The future -- dream it.

© Mary Lee Hahn, 2012




Poem #11, National Poetry Month 2012

The first two lines of this poem jumped into my head, and the rest followed quickly behind. It was a fun poem to write. Many lines are ones I've lived...okay, I'll admit it...I've lived EVERY line of this poem! I'm still working on that last line...



Cathy, at Merely Day By Day, is joining me in a poem a day this month. Other daily poem writers include Amy at The Poem Farm, Linda at TeacherDance, Donna at Mainely Write, Laura at Writing the World for Kids (daily haiku), Liz at Liz in Ink (daily haiku), Sara at Read Write Believe (daily haiku), Jone at Deo Writer (daily haiku)...and YOU?

15 Comments on CHILDHOOD, last added: 4/14/2012
Display Comments Add a Comment
25. Beautiful poem about lost childhood.

To Any Reader - Robert Louis Stevenson. Click READ MORE. As from the house your mother sees
You playing round the garden trees,
So you may see, if you will look
Through the windows of this book,
Another child, far, far away,
And in another garden, play.
But do not think you can at all,
By knocking on the window, call
That child to hear you. He intent
Is all on his play-business bent.
He does not hear, he will not look,
Nor yet be lured out of this book.
For, long ago, the truth to say,
He has grown up and gone away,
And it is but a child of air
That lingers in the garden there.

0 Comments on Beautiful poem about lost childhood. as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment

View Next 25 Posts