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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: kathi appelt, Most Recent at Top [Help]
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1. Current Scratch: Join Us, (Mostly) Annual Conference, Local Events, 2016 Best Children's Books, Market Your Book

Join Us! 

Our next regular meeting will be held on Wednesday, January 25th at 10 a.m. in the College Station Barnes & Noble (if you'd like to see us before then come to the holiday party - see info in next section). Topic: Make 2017 Goals. We'll also discuss news and provide encouragement. Gentle critique begins at 9:30 a.m. Bring copies of 5 double-spaced pages of your work in progress. Those who have time may go to lunch at a local restaurant. Members and friends welcome.

Annual Conference

Brazos Valley Blooms -- SCBWI-BV 25th Annual Conference!

REGISTRATION BEGINS December 15, 2017.  You will want to jump in early for this one. Prepare for keynotes, manuscript consultations, portfolio showcase, box lunch, dinner(pay your own way)...

Date:  March 4, 2017
Time: 8 a.m. (registration) to 5 p.m.
Place: Covenant Presbyterian Church, 220 Rock Prairie Road, College Station, TX 77845


Kathi Appelt, award-winning author

Kathi's books have won numerous national and state awards, including the Irma and Simon Black Award, Children’s Choice Award, Teacher’s Choice Award, the Oppenheimer Gold Award, Parent’s Choice Award, Storytelling World Award, Growing Good Kids Award, Texas Writer’s League Award for Children’s Literature, the Texas Institute of Letters Award, Best Books for Young Adults, VOYA Top of the Shelf Award, and a host of others. Kathi is a founding member of SCBWI Brazos Valley

Her first novel, The Underneath, was a National Book Award Finalist and a Newbery Honor Book. It also received the Pen USA Award, and was a finalist for the Heart of Hawick Children’s Book Award.  www.kathiappelt.com

Associate Editor: Karen Boss, Charlesbridge Publishing

"Karen is an associate editor at Charlesbridge where she works on fiction and nonfiction picture books and middle-grade novels. She holds a MA in Children’s Literature from Simmons College and regularly acts as a mentor for their Writing for Children MFA program. Karen also has an MA in higher education administration and worked at colleges and in the nonprofit sector for the first 15 years of her career. She still works part-time in development at Hyde Square Task Force, a nonprofit that works with at-risk youth in Jamaica Plain. Some authors she’s currently working with are David L. Harrison, Jane Yolen, Nancy Bo Flood, Rich Michelson, and debut author Tami Charles. Her favorite children’s book is The Trumpet of the Swan by E. B. White, and she thinks that Holes by Louis Sachar is quite possibly the best thing ever written."

excerpt from www.highlights foundation.org. 
Hornbook Interview-podcast

Donna Cooner, award-winning author

Donna, a Texas native, is a three-time graduate of Texas A&M University. A former teacher and school administrator, she now teaches teachers and principals at Colorado State University where she is the director of the School of Teacher Education and Principal Preparation. She lives in Fort Collins, Colorado, with her two labs and a cat named Stu. She's a big fan of chocolate and laughing (not necessarily in that order).

Donna is the author of over twenty picture books and was a founding member of the Brazos Valley Society of Children's Bookwriters and Illustrators. She has also written children's television shows for PBS and textbooks for future teachers. SKINNY was her debut novel for young adults, followed by CAN'T LOOK AWAY. www.donnacooner.com

E.B. Lewis, award winning-Artistrator

E.B. has illustrated over seventy books for children, including Nikki Grimes’ Talkin’ About Bessie: The Story of Aviator Elizabeth Coleman, the 2003 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award Winner; Alice Schertle’s Down the Road, an ALA Notable Book; Tolowa M. Mollel’s My Rows and Piles of Coins, an ALA Notable Book and a Coretta Scott King Honor Book; Bat Boy and His Violin by Garvin Curtis a Coretta Scott King Honor Book, and Jacqueline Woodson’s The Other Side, a 2002 Notable Book for the Language Arts.  www.eblewis.com

Associate Literary Agent: Jennifer March Soloway, Andrea Brown Agency

Jennifer works closely with Executive Agent Laura Rennert. She enjoys all genres and categories, such as laugh-out-loud picture books and middle-grade adventures, but her sweet spot is young adult.

Jennifer is a suspense junkie. She adores action-packed thrillers and mysteries, full of unexpected twists. Throw in a dash of romance, and she’s hooked! She’s a sucker for conspiracy plots where anyone might be a double agent, even the kid next door. She is a huge fan of psychological horror that blurs the lines between the real and the imagined. But as much as she loves a good thriller, she finds her favorite novels are literary stories about ordinary teens, especially those focused on family, relationships, sexuality, mental illness, or addiction. In such stories, she is particularly drawn to a close, confiding first-person narrative.

Nearby Lodging:

La Quinta Inn & Suites College Station South
1838 Graham Rd, College Station, TX 77845
Phone:(979) 704-6100

Sleep Inn & Suites
Address: 1846 Graham Rd, College Station, TX 77845
Phone:(800) 424-6423

Courtyard Bryan and College Station
3939 Texas 6 Frontage Rd, College Station, TX 77845
(979) 695-8111


2016 Best Children's Books

Market Your Book

Manuscript Wish List   --  The official website. 

Hope you are ready for a fabulous new year!!!!

 Disclaimer: The views expressed here are my own, and not necessarily those of the SCBWI.

1 Comments on Current Scratch: Join Us, (Mostly) Annual Conference, Local Events, 2016 Best Children's Books, Market Your Book, last added: 12/29/2016
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2. Video: Kathi Appelt & Alison McGhee on Maybe A Fox

From Cynthia Leitich Smith's  Cynsations

From Book View Now: "Host Rich Fahle talks with children's authors Kathi Appelt and Alison McGhee about their book, Maybe A Fox (Atheneum, 2016) at the 2016 L.A. Times Festival of Books.

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3. Lucky March: Serendipitous Moments

Hi folks, I'm continuing my series called Lucky March. I'm about a quarter Irish, and this month I'm writing about about random circumstances that end up sending good fortune your way. This week I'm writing about those serendipitous moments that change everything. These lucky moments can come at any time and any place. Often they will come when you are least expecting them. 

Here are a few things that I have noticed about lucky moments. Lucky moments are rare. You must be ready to leap. Lucky moments do not check your schedule to make sure your are emotionally available. Just embrace the luck even if you have tears on your face. Lucky moments often come with a ton of kismet, deja vu and que sera, sera. Call it fate, harbinger, or providence, these lucky moments will send shivers down your spine and pull out the neat threads that stitch together your understanding of the universe. Psst, you will be better. Finally, sometimes you might totally misread your luck. Just because it doesn't feel lucky at the time doesn't mean that it wasn't lucky. 

I hope these thoughts on luck help you. Regardless of how your good luck comes, I hope it finds you this week.

I had the opportunity to ask two brilliant children's writers about lucky moments on their journey this week. One is Alison McGhee.  Alison's lucky moment was a dark and blizzardy night when she'd lost her suitcase at the airport. (not exactly feeling like a lucky moment, but her missing suitcase lead her to Kathi Appelt, a friend to treasure and a writing partner. So there you go -- luck that a suitcase went missing!

Kathi Appelt also shared a lucky moment story. Many years ago, she wandered into the only independent children's bookstore in BCS (Jacque's Toys and Books). A conversation began and by the end of the conversation Kathi had a new job that transformed her understanding of children's books forever. Yay for lucky conversations. Don't be too busy to chat, friends. Luck hunkers down in good conversations. 

I find great value in revisiting the moments that change everything. 

I know this week is short, but I am CRAZY busy! I hope you contemplate luck and if you are like me you realize that luck is just godspeed. That said, godspeed to all of you. I will be back next week with more lucky March.   

No doodle this week. I am having a cover crush. Please consider checking out Kathi Appelt and Alison McGhee's new book: MAYBE A FOX.   
Here is a traditional Irish blessing to tuck in your pocket. 

May love and laughter light your days,
and warm your heart and home.
May good and faithful friends be yours,
wherever you may roam.
May peace and plenty bless your world
with joy that long endures.
May all life's passing seasons
bring the best to you and yours!

0 Comments on Lucky March: Serendipitous Moments as of 3/13/2016 1:32:00 AM
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4. Get your WIFYR on

First, I must confess a shameless partiality toward Carol Lynch William’s WIFYR conference. Pronounced, wiff-er or wife-er, it is coming in June. It’s time to get your WIFYR on.

The assistants met today to plan. It felt good to be back with a community of writers. That is what the conference is about, coming out of our solitary endeavors and sharing with like-minded others. No matter your level of skill or where you are along the spectrum, there are others cheering for you and helping you improve your writing. The draw is the the collegiality, the chance to mingle with other writers.

The WIFYR site is almost up. Technicals issues, you know how they go. The authors include: Dean Hughes,  Dave Farland, Kathi Appelt, Dan Wells, Julie Berry (whom I’m assisting for), Lisa Mangum, Jennifer Adams, Ann Cannon (whom I’ve assisted for previously and can attest is a kind heart and an entertaining writer. And of course, Carol.

You should consider joining WIFYR this year. It will do you and your writing good. All the local conferences - LTUE, LDStorymakers, League of Utah Writers - have a community of writers in common. It is inspiring to being in their midst. WIFYR offers five intensive days of it. The level of commitment varies with each writer depending on cost, time, and other commitments. There are less expensive options for just the afternoon sessions or one of the daily mini-workshops. But I say take a big bite of the whole thing. The morning workshops is where real writing takes place. Knowledgeable, published authors pour over your manuscript and offer suggestions. Ten or twelve of your new best friends, in a gentle and caring manner, look at each other’s stories try to make them all better it. Bang for buck, there is no better deal than this conference.

The most important reason to should consider WIFYR this year is you’ll love yourself for it. You’ll  grow as a writer. Your manuscript needs this make-over. 

0 Comments on Get your WIFYR on as of 1/11/2015 3:50:00 AM
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5. Video Sunday: Meeting All Your Sleer n’ Thneed Needs

2014 marked a distinct increase in attention spent on children’s books with diverse characters. However, this is not to say that all books with diverse characters got the same amount of attention.  Take, for example, Saving Baby Doe by Danette Vigilante.  It was one of the only middle grade books in 2014 to sport a Latino boy protagonist (go on . . . name me two others in 2014).  It had great writing as well, so why has almost no one talked about it?  NYPL put it on their 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing list and recently our local station NY1 interviewed Staten Island resident Ms. Vigilante about the book in our Stapleton branch.  Watch carefully and you may see me in my cameo role as “New York Public Library” itself.

You better watch out, you better not cry. You better not pout, I’m telling you why. 90-SECOND NEWBERY FILM FESTIVAL IS COMING TO TOWN!!!  You can see the full listing of where the festival is headed here.  In the meantime, here’s one of the new videos.  Is it bad that it actually scared me?  It’s a bunch of kids doing The Graveyard Book (The Dance Macabray as kickline = inspired) but I had the same reaction to it that I had to Shaun of the Dead.  I honestly found parts of it (the sleer) scary.  I is wimp!!

Maybe I’ve been reading The Lorax to my kiddo too much but you know what this is, don’t you?

It’s a Thneed! Thanks to Aunt Judy for the video.

Have you seen the latest trailer for a new version of The Little Prince?  For the first 30 seconds or so of this you’re going to be confused, possibly angry.  Stick with it.  Please.

Beats Bob Fosse as The Snake, anyway.  Then again, points docked for not having any Gene Wilder. (Fun Fact: Most movies are docked points for this very reason)

No no no no no. Not allowed.  I call foul.  Illustrators have enough talent as it is.  They are NOT allowed to also be excellent authors and even if they happen to be precisely that they are NOT allowed to have pitch perfect voices that can read selections from their books with all the vocal skills of the highest paid celebrity.  Back you go, Chris Riddell.  Ply your magic dulcet tones elsewhere.

A Reading with Chris Riddell: The Wyrmeweald Trilogy – Returner’s Wealth from Beth Sabey on Vimeo.

At this point there are too many fantastic 2015 picture books out there to tell you about.  Thank goodness some of them make book trailers, then.  For example, have you heard about Kathi Appelt’s fabulous When Otis Courted Mama, illustrated by Jill McElmurry?  If not then remedy is at hand:

Now another trailer.  As blurbs go, “This book smells great” may be my pick of the week.

And for the off-topic video of the day, it’s a Swing vs. Hip Hop dance off from Montreal.  As my friend Marci put it, “the first swing round is sort of meh but it gets better.”

Thanks to Marci for the link.


7 Comments on Video Sunday: Meeting All Your Sleer n’ Thneed Needs, last added: 1/12/2015
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6. Counting Crows

Are you hungry as a crow? Hungry as a crow in a red striped shirt? Hungry for three ripe mangoes? Six salty peanuts? Nine spicy ants? Then come snack along with the counting crows and enjoy the mischievous, munchy mayhem — but watch out for the cat! Books mentioned in this post Counting Crows Kathi [...]

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7. WIFYR faculty, part 1

I don’t know how Carol Lynch Williams does it, but every year, she assembles a staff of top-notch faculty members. This year is no different. 

Nine super writers will run the week-long morning workshops. Additionally, there will be five others one day a week for the mini-sessions. The workshops are the heart of the conference. You and your new best friends spend twenty hour critiquing each others’ work and exponentially increasing your understanding of the writing craft. There are less expensive options for attending WIFYR, but every writer should do a morning workshop at least once.

This year’s faculty members will be examined in this two part post. In alphabetical order, we start with Jennifer Adams, Kathi Appelt, Julie Berry, Ann Cannon and Dave Farland. You can go to http://www.wifyr.com to find out more about this conference.

Jennifer Adams - Full Novel Workshop
Jennifer is the author of more than two dozen books, including the board books in the bestselling BABY LIT series, which introduce small children to the world of classic literature. She’s worked as a book editor and works at The King’s English, a sponsor of WIFYR. You can visit her online at: http://jennifer-adams.com .

Kathi Appelt - Picture Book and Middle Grade Novel
Kathi is the New York Times best-selling author of more than forty books for children and young adults. She is on the faculty in the Masters of Creative Writing for Children and Young Adults Program at Vermont College of Fine Arts. (Carol is a VCFA alumni and often pulls instructors from there.) She’s won awards for her THE UNDERNEATH, KEEPER, MY FATHER’S SUMMERS, and THE TRUE BLUE SCOUTS OF SUGAM MAN SWAMP.

Julie Berry - Novel Class
Another Vermont College grad, Julie is the author  of ALL THE TRUTH THAT’S IN ME and THE SCANDALOUS SISTERHOOD OF PRICKWILLOW PLACE. She’s also written THE AMARANTH ENCHANTMENT, SECONDHAND CHARM, and the SPLURCH ACADEMY FOR DISRUPTIVE BOYS. Find her online at www.julieberrybooks.com, or on Twitter at @julieberrybooks. I am honored at being able to assist for Julie this year.

Ann Cannon - Trouble Shooting Class for All Genres
I’ve assisted for Ann before and can attest to her grasp of writing, her ease of imparting that wisdom to students. She writes PB to YA and entertains Utahns with her weekly column in The Salt Lake Tribune where she also reviews children’s books. She’s published thirteen books including CHARLOTTE’S ROSE, SOPHIE’S FISH, and CAL CAMERON BY DAY, SPIDER-MAN BY NIGHT. She’s also published feature articles in local and nations magazines.

Dave Farland - Boot Camp
Dave has mentored some bog names in children’s literature. That list includes Brandon Mull, Brandon Sanderson, James Dashner, and Stephanie Meyer. He’s an award winning, international best seller with over 50 novels in print, including ON MY WAY TO PARADISE and THE RUNELORDS fantasy series.

All great authors willing to share their expertise with others. Up next week, Dean Hughes, Lisa Mangum, Natalie Whipple, and Carol Lynch Williams

(This article also posted at http://writetimeluck.blogspot.com)

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8. top 4 post-workshop mistakes to avoid

Vermont College of Fine Arts Photo by Vicky Lorencen

Vermont College of Fine Arts
Photo by Vicky Lorencen

Kathi Appelt, David Macinnis Gill, Dana Walrath, Joy Peskin Photo by Vicky Lorencen

Kathi Appelt, David Macinnis Gill, Dana Walrath, Joy Peskin
Photo by Vicky Lorencen

You roll your quarters, register, and highlight the dates on the calendar. You pre-pick your plane seat and pack your bags. You’re going to a workshop! You look forward to it for months, fret about how many pairs of shoes to take, and finally, it’s time to blast off. I got to do just that earlier this month when I attended the amazing 12th Annual Novel Writing Retreat at Vermont College of Fine Arts. (If you’d like a great recap of the experience itself, I highly recommend visiting Debbi Michiko Florence’s site.)

I don’t know about you, but time passes at a sloth’s pace leading up to an event, but then the workshop itself whisks by at road runner speed. If you’re not careful (and by you’re, of course, I mean, I’m), it’s easy as gliding up an escalator to let the whole experience slip away once you’re back home.

Watch out for these post-workshop mistakes . . . 

1. Rushing to query or submit your manuscript. Some writers think, if I don’t send that editor or agent my manuscript as soon as I get home, they’ll forget all about me. Not true, especially when you wisely offer a little reminder in the first sentence of your cover letter about how you met. Even if a presenter gives you a teensy window–like six weeks–to submit, take your time. Better to email a glistening, well-groomed manuscript, than to rush yourself and offer a schloppy copy. Your work is a reflection of you. Go for shiny, not speedy.

2. Neglecting your notes–if your notes are handwritten (mine always are), type them up. Seriously. It won’t take long, and while you’re typing, you’ll be reviewing the gems the presenters shared with you. It’ll be easy to highlight the parts that resonate with you too. [Next, pop some brackets around a hint or suggestion that perfectly applies to your WIP and cut/paste it into your ms. to serve as a reminder when you return to that section.] Don’t want to type? Use an old school highlighter or sticky notes to spotlight the bits you most want to recall. Put those pages (or copies of them) in the folder of goodies (research, hard copies, feedback) you’re compiling for this new novel. The idea is to incorporate every epiphany, aha and eureka into what you’re working on now, plus you’ll make them easier to find for future follies, that is to say, novels.

Photo by Vicky Lorencen

Photo by Vicky Lorencen

3. Disconnecting with the people who “clicked” with you. Friend them on Facebook, send a follow-up email or connect with them on LinkedIn. Send a text, a tweet or smoke signal, whatever works for you. These are your new peeps who share your passion. Passing on this chance to expand your circle is criminal, okay, well, at the very least, a pity.

4. Cooling off—you arrived home pooped, but positively giddy about a new idea for your WIP, but then your fervor fizzled. Family, your tyrannical to do list and Facebook eclipsed your euphoria. Don’t let them! If you have a critique group (or a beloved writing buddy), share what you learned with them. Talking about the lectures will help to solidify concepts in your mind. Your group/buddy may also be able to help decide out how to best use what you learned (and of course, you can return the favor). Ask someone to hold you accountable and offer to do likewise.

How about you? How do you keep the momentum moving after a workshop or retreat?

It is our choices, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities. ~ J.K. Rowling

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9. Review of Maybe a Fox

appelt_maybe a foxMaybe a Fox
by Kathi Appelt and Alison McGhee
Intermediate, Middle School   Dlouhy/Atheneum   261 pp.
3/16   978-1-4424-8242-5   $16.99   g
e-book ed. 978-1-4424-8244-9   $10.99

Eleven-year-old Jules, a budding geologist, and her twelve-year-old sister Sylvie, the fastest kid in school, live with their father in rural Vermont. Because the girls’ mother died when Jules was small, her memories, frustratingly, are dim. She does remember the awful sight of their mother collapsing onto the kitchen floor, and then six-year-old Sylvie sprinting as fast as she could to get help, but it was too late. And now Sylvie is the one who has disappeared: one morning before school she takes off running in the woods and never comes back; they think she tripped into the river and was swept away. At the same time, a fox kit, Senna, is born, with the instinctual desire to watch over and protect Jules. Because foxes are considered good luck, Jules’s occasional glimpses of Senna bring her some peace. A catamount, too, is rumored to be in the woods, along with a bear, and at book’s climax, the human, animal, and (most affectingly) spirit worlds collide and converge. This is a remarkably sad story that offers up measures of comfort through nature, family, community, and the interconnectedness among them. The sisters’ best friend, Sam, who is himself grieving for Sylvie and desperately longs to see that catamount, is happy to have his brother Elk home from Afghanistan, but Elk’s own best friend Zeke didn’t return, leaving Elk bereft; he and Jules mourn their losses in the woods. Zeke’s grandmother is the one to whom Sylvie ran when their mother collapsed and who now brings soup for Jules, and for her kind, stoic, heartbroken father. A good cry can be cathartic, and this book about nourishing one’s soul during times of great sadness does the trick.

From the January/February 2016 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

The post Review of Maybe a Fox appeared first on The Horn Book.

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10. Review of the Day: Keeper by Kathi Appelt

By Kathi Appelt
Illustrated by August Hall
Atheneum (an imprint of Simon & Schuster)
ISBN: 978-1-4169-5060-8
Ages 9-12
On shelves now.

I don’t consider myself a particularly sentimental person. I don’t really cry at movies (E.T. was supposed to go home, for crying out loud). Television shows leave me high and dry (sorry LOST finale). And books? Considering that I read most of them in quick bits and bites as I travel the New York City subway system, you’re going to be some kinda book to crack so much as a sniffle out of me, let along an out-and-out bawl. So imagine my surprise the other day as I stood on the platform of the F train in Brooklyn, tears merrily streaming down my face as I read Kathi Appelt’s latest. Now I’ll be the first to admit that there were some personal reasons why this book was hitting me as hard as it was. And what’s more, I’m fairly certain that if I was eleven and reading the same book I wouldn’t have cracked so much as a sniffle. That said, there are some authors that can make words twist emotions out of your chest. Who can embarrass you when you board the F train, trying desperately to look like you weren’t just crying over a small, unprepossessing children’s book. Appelt’s one. And her latest is going to win over a whole new generation of young fans.

How can a single day go so wrong? It wasn’t supposed to be a bad day, after all. It was a day that was leading up to a sweet blue moon. But that was before ten-year-old Keeper ruined her guardian Signe’s traditional crab gumbo by setting the crabs free. Before she inadvertently destroyed grandfatherly Mr. Beauchamp’s most prized possessions. Before she was present when Dogie, a man she sees as a kind of father, watched as his hopes of asking Signe to marry him were dashed before his eyes. Now the only way Keeper can think to make amends is to cast off into the sea with just her dog B.D. in tow to find Meggie Marie. Meggie Marie is Keeper’s mama and, she thinks, a mermaid as well. Along the way Keeper gives up the things that mean the most to her, and comes to appreciate the fact that it’s people, not objects, that bind a family together. No matter how bad your day has been.

When Appelt wrote The Underneath it caused strong emotions in her readership. You loved it or you hated it. A couple folks didn’t commit one way or another, but for the bulk of us that was it. Love or hate. Tempers seethed. Sharp words were exchanged. The important thing to remember is that folks were talking about a children’s book. Their hearts got mixed into the discussion. It’s a powerful writer that can wring such passion out of her readership, even if it results in debates over the quality of the book itself. The Underneath was a dark piece of writing hidden behind a kitten-laden cover. It confronted the nature of evil itself with a villain so nasty, reviewers couldn’t even contest his lack of redeeming qualities. Keeper is an experiment in contrasts. Where The Underneath examined hate and bitterness, Keeper is about love, family, and forgiveness.

There is a note at the back of this book in the Acknowledgment section that strikes me as just as important as any word in the text itself. Writes Ms. Appelt of one Diane Linn, “She lovingly cast her knowledge of tides and currents and stingrays my wa

7 Comments on Review of the Day: Keeper by Kathi Appelt, last added: 6/29/2010
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11. Some great inspirational links

Between my DVD and Blu-ray website, DiscDish.com; my books; and moving, I feel like I’m just trying to keep my head above water. So, a couple articles I read today as I was doing research really caught my eye. They’re geared toward bloggers and those trying to make money online, but their message works equally well for writers trying to get their work published and pushing through the self-doubts.

The first is How To Remain Productive When You Feel Like Giving Up. Self-doubt is a normal thing that every writer has to battle, even if they’re published but especially when they’re just starting out. It’s hard to sit at that computer and type and type without knowing if your work will have any success at all. The majority of people who start writing a book never finish it, and those who do often don’t do the work necessary to get it in a good enough shape for publication. And then there’s the querying agents process… Rejection is part of a writer’s life, and it can be hard to keep going, but this article has some great tips.

The second article, from the same site, is titled: If You Want Success Today, Let Yesterday Go and Stop Seeking Tomorrow. The article is long — and I must admit, I skimmed it — but the title itself is what I thought was great advice. I tend to look back and look forward way too much for my own good, but it does nothing except build my anxiety. And the truth is, I can’t do anything about yesterday or tomorrow. All I can work on is right now. And in this moment, I can work on one thing. So I need to choose that thing, then work on it to the best of my ability, not worrying about what’s going to happen tomorrow or what I missed yesterday. If I do my best right now, if I succeed today, then tomorrow will be sorted out by itself.

The third inspirational blog post I found today is for writers. Author Bobbi Miller has a great interview with fellow author Kathi Appelt. Kathi offers up a bunch of good stuff (her answer about the “American fantasy” genre is very interesting), but the most inspirational part is at the bottom when she talks about advice she received from M.T. Anderson, who told her “write what you think you can’t.” To Kathi, that meant she had permission to fail, and that opened her up to try new things. Good advice for all of us.

Write On!

3 Comments on Some great inspirational links, last added: 9/7/2010
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12. One Writer’s Process: Kathi Appelt

Award-winning author Kathi Appelt was in the second grade when her aunt gave her a diary. It was “one of those locking diaries, the kind with a key,” says Appelt, “and I would say that having that very private place to write is what set me on the way. I wrote all kind of things in that diary. Even today I keep a journal.”That diary did, indeed, set Appelt on her way. Now she is the author of more

3 Comments on One Writer’s Process: Kathi Appelt, last added: 11/10/2010
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13. Fusenews: A small smackerel of news

When you work with the real Winnie-the-Pooh you have a tendency to get complacent. “Oh sure,” you think.  ” I know everything about that bear.  Absolutely everything.”  So it’s nice when the universe gives you a swift kick in the pants to remind you that you are not always up on your Pooh knowledge.  Or at least not as up on it as you might think.  For example, I completely missed the fact that they just reissued The Winnie-the-Pooh Cookbook by Virginia H. Ellison (amusingly my library’s gift shop has known for quite some time has stocked several copies accordingly).  I found this out when a reporter from the Associated Press wanted to interview me (or anyone else who worked with the silly old bear) about Pooh and food.  The final piece, Counting pots of honey? Pooh’s recipes for them consists of me desperately trying to think of ways to describe Pooh and food.  You will probably enjoy it more for the cute honey gingerbread cookie recipe at the end.

  • The article in Tablet Magazine (“A New Read on Jewish Life”) is entitled The Others: Several new books for children and young adults ask us to see the world through Palestinian kids’ eyes.  Its author is Marjorie Ingall, one of my favorite children’s book reviewers, most recently seen heaping praise upon A Tale Dark & Grimm in the last New York Times children’s book supplement, as is right.  The article in Tablet gives great insight into books like Where the Streets Had a Name (which I reviewed myself) as well as Sarah Glidden’s How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less, which I have on order with my library.  For this article, Marjorie is lambasted in her comment section.  Some of the comments are thoughtful, but a great many show why this issue is so rarely discussed in children’s literature today.
  • I suppose it’s old news, but more Best Book lists of 2010 are up and running!  First you have the Kirkus list, which contain more than a couple non-fiction titles that I would like to get my hands on.  It also features my beloved Departure Time, a fact that makes me inordinately happy.  Another list that came out last week was the School Library Journal picks.  Split into different parts, you can read the somewhat truncated non-fiction list here, the picture book list here ( 10 Comments on Fusenews: A small smackerel of news, last added: 11/23/2010
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14. A Little Book and Poetry Love…

BOOK LOVE: This past week, the school where I teach had a book sale and one of the books on the shelves and my wish list was JULIA GILLIAN (and the Quest for Joy) by Alison McGhee.

You know that wonderful feeling when you find a great book and you can’t wait to share it with someone else you know will love it, too? That’s exactly what I felt this weekend: JULIA GILLIAN book love.

I enjoyed every minute of the reading and I know there will soon be more JULIA GILLIAN fans in my classroom.

There are two more books in the series to keep the book love going : JULIA GILLIAN (and the Art of Knowing) and JULIA GILLIAN (and the Dream of the Dog).

POETRY LOVE: Last spring I was able to take a poetry workshop with amazing poet and teacher, Rebecca Kai Dotlich. I’ve long been a fan of Rebecca’s work, but I just discovered Kathi Appelt‘s recent interview with Rebecca about writing, poetry, picture books, and more. Rebecca shares a great poetry writing tip for teachers and Kathi and she talk a bit about BELLA AND BEAN, a beautiful picture about poetry and friendship.

I wrote a brief entry about BELLA AND BEAN earlier this year on ReaderKidZ. Check it out HERE.

Enjoy Kathi Appelt’s video interview : (Don’t you just *love* the background music, “Adieu False Heart”? I sure do!)

2 Comments on A Little Book and Poetry Love…, last added: 12/6/2010
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15. Video Sunday: He’d be significantly less weird looking if he had eyebrows, yes?

I’ve been asked in the past why it is that I don’t write up the online librarian previews by folks like those at Scholastic.  The reason is simple.  I figure that if you have access to the online previews you don’t need a recap from someone like me.  You can see them for yourself!  That said, some of you may have missed the Fall 2011 Scholastic preview that came out last month.  I didn’t think to blog it before, so go wild!  It’s up and ready for your attention, such as it is.

Book trailer time!  My respect for this one hinges on the fact that the kids in the video are as good as they are.  They’ve cultivated a kind of dead-eyed calm that I admire.

Speaking of trailers for books, here we have Liz Scanlon and Kathi Appelt discussing Scanlon’s newest title Noodle & Lou.  In it a worm and a blue jay are buds.  Any time I see a book where folks who eat or are eaten by one another are friends I think of that moment in Charise Mericle Harper’s Fashion Kitty where the main character explains how hard it is to be friends with something you want to eat.  She then shows a boy with a pet chocolate cake saying, “I love you.  But I really want to eat you.” Love that book.

Anywho, enjoy!

Thanks to Kathi Appelt for the link.

A new Harry Potter trailer was released this week.  I have resigned myself to not seeing it until it comes out on DVD.  Le sigh.

Thanks to Early Word for the link.

And finally for the off-topic video, I know that Stephen Colbert briefly linked to this video once.  It’s just so doggone Russian and so doggone cheery (two phrases I don’t tend to pair together) that I can’t help but make it my song of the day. La la la la la!

6 Comments on Video Sunday: He’d be significantly less weird looking if he had eyebrows, yes?, last added: 6/22/2011
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16. Writers and Illustrators and Dinosaurs: Kathi Appelt

Kathi Appelt is the author of more than thirty picture books and the novels THE UNDERNEATH and KEEPER.  THE UNDERNEATH was a finalist for the 2008 National Book Award and a 2009 Newbery Honor Book.

Kathi was born in the front seat of her father's Ford and grew up in Houston.  She currently lives in College Station, TX, with her husband Ken and four cats.

Here, she poses with a Tyrannosaurus rex figurine at the hostess's station at Threadgill's in Austin, Texas.

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17. Newbery-Honor-winning Author Kathi Appelt's Wednesday Writing Workout

Today we have an extra-special Wednesday Writing Workout, provided by the terrific teacher and amazing author, Kathi Appelt!

In case you're not familiar with Kathi's work, she is the author of the Newbery-honor winner and National Book Award Finalist The Underneath, as well as the highly acclaimed novel Keeper, and many picture books. She is a member of the faculty at Vermont College’s Master of Fine Arts program and occasionally teaches creative writing at Texas A&M University. Kathi has two grown children and lives in Texas with her husband.

We invited Kathi to be our guest today to celebrate last week's release of her new middle-grade novel, The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp. (What a gorgeous cover!) The book has already garnered starred reviews from Booklist, Kirkus, PublishersWeekly, and School Library Journal. That's right--FOUR starred reviews! Several reviewers have referred to this novel, set in a Texas swamp and filled with a great cast of characters (including humans and critters), as a "rollicking tale." Here's a brief description:

Twelve-year-old Chap Brayburn, ancient Sugar Man, and his raccoon-brother Swamp Scouts Bingo and J'miah try to save Bayou Tourterelle from feral pigs Clydine and Buzzie, greedy Sunny Boy Beaucoup, and world-class alligator wrestler and would-be land developer Jaeger Stitch. 
I can't wait to read it!
If you'd like to know more about Kathi and her work, check out her website. And be sure to read through to the end of this post, where I ask Kathi about the connections between today's Writing Workout and The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp.

Kathi Appelt's Wednesday Writing Workout:
                          Whirled P’s

I’m often asked where I get my ideas, and one day while doodling at my desk, it occurred to me that most of my stories start with something I’ve found in the letter P, particularly People, Places and Pets.  Those three are the most Popular when it comes to digging into my idea file.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that the letter P, which looks rather like a half-eaten Popsicle on the Page, is chock full of idea generators. 

Here are a few besides the three I mentioned above:


Well, the list goes on and on, but you get my drift.  As an exercise, then, choose one of the “Big Three” (People, Places, Pets), and then write a story using at least one of the other P’s on the list. 

Example:  People and Present might lead to a story about the time my step-mother gave my sister a pair of boots that had the stars and stripes on them.  They were uglier than ugly and my sister was heartbroken.  But she also didn’t want to hurt my step-mother’s feelings, so she wore them anyways.  It was a true predicament.

Another example:  Place and Props might lead to a poem about my kitchen window and the hummingbird feeder that I keep in the tree just outside it.

Final example:  Pets and Puddle could be the perfect setting for a story about a kitten who tries to leap a big puddle OR a puppy who leaves a puddle on the kitchen floor. 

There aren’t any hard and fast rules here.

So, take those P’s and stir them up, whirl them (as my friend Liz Garton Scanlon suggests).  And see what happens.  I’ll bet something Phantastic shows up.  

Thanks so much for sharing this wonderful Writing Workout with us today, Kathi. And congratulations on all the Phantastic reviews for The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp.

Readers, as a follow-up, I asked Kathi if any parts of The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp were inspired by this exercise. Here's what she said:
Definitely place comes to mind.  When I was in college, I lived in deep, swampy East Texas where I encountered all sorts of wildlife, including the poisonous sort.  And of course PIES!  Pies are central to the story.  Then there are the pricker vines, the pine trees, and the paisanos.  
So, lots of P's.
Well, Readers, I hope you're inspired to whirl a few P's of your own. If so, please let us know what you Produce.

Happy Writing!

7 Comments on Newbery-Honor-winning Author Kathi Appelt's Wednesday Writing Workout, last added: 8/2/2013
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18. Stories about stories

So, what did you do today?  Really?  Hmmmm.  Whoa!  What happened then?

Please don't ever tell anyone that you can't tell stories.  Everyone tells stories.  It's how we touch each other.

I just finished two fine new children's books, Bo at Ballard Creek by Kirkpatrick Hill, and The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp by Kathi Appelt.  And stories - and the telling of stories - featured in both of them.

Bo loves hearing the story of how she ended up with her two huge papas in a gold mining town in Alaska.  And she loves hearing the stories of how the "boys" who work at the mine got to Ballard Creek.  Everyone has a story - however short.  Little Bo gathers adventures that will turn into stories, too.  This book has been compared to The Little House on the Prairie series.  The descriptions of life in a gold mining town in 1929 and 1930 are lovingly detailed.  Bo is a character I hope to read about again.

The Sugar Man is just a story to most of the people around Sugar Man Swamp, but not to Bingo and J'miah the new information scouts of Sugar Man Swamp.  They know he's real and they know they must only wake him up in an emergency.  What the two raccoons don't know is that an emergency is heading their way.
Bingo, J'Miah and a grieving 12-year-old boy named Chap must protect the Sugar Man Swamp from greedy developers.  Throw in 17 rapacious, destructive and awful wild boars and you have stories to the top of your ears!  Short, short chapters keep the pages turning.  And stories about the Sugar Man and his friends and enemies crop up over and over.

Long Live Stories!!!

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19. April Showers: Language and Style

I'm continuing my journey of what waters my writer's soul. I love to read books and I'm touching on a few books this month that have added creative water to my work. This week I'm going to chat about Kathi Appelt's TRUE BLUE SCOUTS OF SUGAR MAN SWAMP.  This one fun read and has a swinging beat. In this story Bingo and J’miah, raccoon brothers are on a mission to save Sugar Man Swamp. Two things standout for me in this book -- language and style.

I love the language here. There is a rhythm in the cadence of the language that reminds me of music. Here's a bit of lyricism : "Nosotros somos paisanos. We are fellow countrymen. We come from the same soil." This bit gives me a good chill. I also love that the language uncovers place. For example: “They say that lightning never strikes in the same place twice, but the same is not true for courage. As it turns out, when courage strikes, it almost always begets more courage.” The choice of begets here coupled with lightning puts me in mind of an old time southern Gospel preacher. I also get some Texas swing and Texas drawl on every page. I kept smiling with each twist of phrase. Specific word choice creates universal appeal. It makes the language breathe. Check the similes in your book. Watch out for the cliches. Do better.

The style of TRUE BLUE SCOUTS is all about the southern storytelling tradition with the Texas tall tale tradition mixed in.  Multiple story lines weave here, and reminded me of a great uncle of mine who was a master basket weaver. He knew just how to bend a strip of bark or a stalk of sugar cane into the perfect basket shape. Appelt jumps from head to head: raccoons, a rattle snake, humans,feral hogs, the Sugarman and more. She captures in her word basket the need to save our natural places, the preciousness of the world around us, and what exactly it means to be a hero. Style has a job, and in this case it's to bring everyone around to the back porch for a stor, to take the chills, the laughs, and riotousness and learn something too. Think about your style and do more.

I hope that you put you best efforts into the language and style of your work this week. It might just transform into something bigger than you thought it could be. I will be back next week with more April showers. I hope you return too.

Also please consider checking out my upcoming ebook PLUMB CRAZY from Swoon Romance. Thanks!

This week the doodle is on a egg. Here is "Spidey Egg."

Here is a little quote for your pocket.
I admire people who dare to take the language, English, and understand it and understand the melody. Maya Angelou

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20. Kidlit Events June 10-16

We have two events happening this week, one YA and one picture book. But this isn’t any ordinary picture book signing—this is a very special event in support of the Ronald McDonald House featuring a special book from Newbery Honor and National Book Award Finalist Kathi Appelt. Your place in line will be assigned when you purchase the book from Blue Willow Bookshop, so if you don’t want to wait in what I expect will be a very long line, hurry to buy your copy ahead of time! See you there!

June 10, Tuesday, 7:00 p.m. TROUBLE by Non Pratt
Blue Willow Bookshop
Non Pratt, YA Author

Non Pratt will discuss and sign TROUBLE, her debut novel for young adults. From Publishers Weekly: Friendship, betrayal, lust, and love are recurring themes in U.K. editor/publisher Pratt’s first novel exploring the trials of a British teen after she finds out she is pregnant. Reluctant to reveal the identity of the baby’s father, 15-year-old Hannah is surprised and relieved when her new friend, Aaron, offers to pretend he is responsible. But Aaron’s motives run deeper than wanting to help Hannah: part of him hopes that acting nobly might make up for previous actions that ended in tragedy…

June 14, Saturday, 1:00 p.m. MOGIE THE HEART OF THE HOUSE
Blue Willow Bookshop
Kathi Appelt, Children’s Author

Newbery Honor and National Book Award finalist author Kathi Appelt  will discuss and sign her newest picture book, MOGIE: THE HEART OF THE HOUSE.

Mogie is a real-life Labradoodle with a special talent: he always knows just what a sick kid needs! Give that dog a puddle and he’d splash. Give him a whistle and he’d roll over. Give him a rule and he’d break it.

One day a passel of puppies was born. Each puppy was designated for a Very Important Job, like Service Dog, or Search and Rescue Dog, or Groomed for the Show Ring Dog. Each puppy, that is, except Mogie. Mogie was a ball-chasing, tail-wagging, moon-howling pup. Not the kind of pup for any of those jobs! But there is a place that is just right for Mogie: a very special house where sick children and their families can stay while they undergo long-term treatment. A place with children who NEED a ball-chasing, tail-wagging, moon-howling pup. And there’s one little boy in particular who needs Mogie. And Mogie is about to prove he’s the best darn pooch in the passel. Based on a true story, this heartwarming picture book is published in conjunction with the Ronald McDonald House.

Note: In order to go through the signing line and meet Kathi Appelt for book personalization, please purchase MOGIE: THE HEART OF THE HOUSE from Blue Willow Bookshop. At the time of your purchase, Blue Willow will issue a signing line ticket that indicates your place in line. Your book and signing line ticket can be picked up at the event.

June 14, Saturday, 4:00 p.m. 
River Oaks Bookstore
Quinn Holliday, Author & Ryan Shaw, Illustrator

Join the Quinn Holliday, author of MACGYVER THE BEST BIG BLACK DOG for a reading and signing. Ryan Shaw the illustrator will be drawing for the kids as well!

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21. Kathi Appelt and Mogie + KidLit Events June 17-24

MogieThis weekend was the occasion of a very special event at Blue Willow Bookshop. Newbery Honor and National Book Award finalist author Kathi Appelt held the Houston launch for Ronald McDonald House Houston’s tour for their picture book celebration of MOGIE, THE HEART OF THE HOUSE. Kathi was accompanied by three other celebrities, the RMHH Executive Director Leslie Bourne, the RMHH Director of Development Mikki Donnelly, and the RMHH Key Comfort Ambassador himself, Mogie!

Before Kathi got started telling about meeting Mogie Mogie the Ambassadorand writing his story, Mogie put his ambassador skills to work. He graciously greeted each person who walked through the door, making us all feel welcome and wanted.

Blue Willow Bookshop was fill to the brim with Kathi’s fans, Mogie’s fans and people who love picture books. After Kathi’s brief, sweet talk about Mogie and the wonderful kids she met at the Ronald McDonald House, everyone filed into line to get their copies of the book personalized. Every book was signed by Kathi and stamped with Mogie’s PAW-tograph.

The book: Mogie is a real-life Labradoodle with a special talent: he always knows just what a sick kid Celebritiesneeds! Give that dog a puddle and he’d splash. Give him a whistle and he’d roll over. Give him a rule and he’d break it.

One day a passel of puppies was born. Each puppy was designated for a Very Important Job, like Service Dog, or Search and Rescue Dog, or Groomed for the Show Ring Dog. Each puppy, that is, except Mogie. Mogie was a ball-chasing, tail-wagging, moon-howling pup. Not the kind of pup for any of Signature and Pawtographthose jobs! But there is a place that is just right for Mogie: a very special house where sick children and their families can stay while they undergo long-term treatment. A place with children who NEED a ball-chasing, tail-wagging, moon-howling pup. And there’s one little boy in particular who needs Mogie. And Mogie is about to prove he’s the MOGIE, THE HEART OF THE HOUSEbest darn pooch in the passel. Based on a true story, this heartwarming picture book is published in conjunction with the Ronald McDonald House.

For more adorable pictures of Mogie and his RMHH family take a look at this article from The Houston Chronicle.

Follow Mogie: Twitter Facebook Website
Follow author Kathi Appelt: Twitter Facebook Website
Follow illustrator Marc Rosenthal: Twitter Facebook Website
Follow Ronald McDonald House Houston: Twitter Facebook Website
Follow Blue Willow Bookshop: Twitter Facebook Website

And now, this week’s event:

June 21, Saturday
THE TINY PRINCESS AND THE MISSING CHOCOLATES by Nancy Shakespeare, Illustrated by Katie ClouetteThe Storybook Cottage, Katy, TX
Nancy Shakespeare, PB Author

Join Nancy Shakespeare at The Storybook Cottage to celebrate the release of her new picture book, THE TINY PRINCESS AND THE MISSING CHOCOLATES. When the Tiny Princess’ chocolates go missing, it is up to Tatum to find them. On a quest to find her sweets, she discovers something even more important than her delicious chocolates.

This is a free event and the Princesses will enjoy one hour of pampering; including brush-on glitter, nail painting, a tea party with pink lemonade & Princess cookies and story time with the Author. To register, please send an email to [email protected]. Space is limited.

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22. Picture Book Satuday

It's been awhile since my last Picture Book Saturday and I'm hoping you're itching for some good reads (I know I was!). No theme today, just some random stories I've enjoyed over the last few weeks. Hope you find something you like!

Winnie Finn, Worm Farmer by Carol Brendler and illustrator Ard Hoyt

Winnie Finn just loves earthworms and really wants to enter them into a category at the county fair. She knows every little thing to know about the worms and thinks she can win a prize for sure. Unfortunately, there is not a category for worms at the fair and everyone she asks about it thinks she's completely silly for even considering trying to enter worms! Well, Winnie is determined to get her beloved earthworms noticed...one way or another!

Got a tomboy in your life? Winnie is a such a great character, standing up for herself (and for her love of earthworms) and showing pure determination in getting her point across. A spunky, strong girl that likes to dig in the dirt and play with worms!

The illustrations are adorable and help to depict Winnie just as I would see her in my head. Cute freckles, no-nonsense clothes, and a glint in her eye. They'll easily hold a child's attention during a read aloud.
Get this one for the young girls in your life...let them know it's ok to play with dirt and bugs (and it's even fun!). Boys will enjoy it too, Winnie's story is a lot of fun and filled with a great message.

Winnie Finn, Worm Farmer
Carol Brendler
32 pages
Picture Book
Farrar, Strauss, and Giroux
August 2009
Review copy received from publisher

Too Purpley! by Jean Reidy and illustrator Genevieve Leloup

This one had me cracking up, because I know a few children just like our main character. She's just a tad bit picky when it comes to what she wants to wear...it's either too prickly, too itchy, too matchy, or of course, too purply! She keeps going through outfit changes until she finds something that is "so comfy!"

So cute! Each page really stands out, due to Leloup's awesome, modern illustrations and our pig-tailed main character is adorable. I loved the "too matchy" page and the look on her face during the "too feathery" page will make your kiddos giggle.

Perfect for a read aloud with toddlers. The illustrations will help teach certain words, like what stripes are, the color purple, polka dots, etc. Again, very cute!

Too Purpley!
Jean Reidy
32 pages
Picture Book
January 2009
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23. Saying A Lot with A Little

A few days ago in Think Before You Write, I mentioned that although a picture book is short, it doesn’t take a short time to write:

You whittle down the length so every word packs a punch, while still presenting a compelling page-turner, full of illustrative potential. (Which means you have to leave some things unsaid.)

So what does that mean? Leaving some things unsaid? Well, I’ve found perfect examples from Kathi Appelt. (Yes, Newbery Honoree Kathi Appelt. She knows her stuff.)

Today my daughter asked me to read Appelt’s Bubba and Beau Meet the Relatives, one of our favorite picture books.

Appelt says a lot with a little, meaning she uses a few words to describe a situation, leaving illustrator Arthur Howard to fill in the blanks.

Bubba and Beau Meet the Relatives is about a baby boy, his bloodhound puppy and the Texan family relatives who come to visit one afternoon. Bubba’s Mama Pearl is very nervous about the relatives’ arrival.

Appelt says: “First Mama Pearl went on a home improvement spree.”
Howard draws: Mama Pearl shoving clothes into a drawer, pushing an overstuffed closet closed, and sweeping Bubba’s toys underneath the bed.

Notice it took 19 words to describe the illustrations, but Appelt only used 9 words to set the scene.

Appelt says: “Then she handed out orders.”
Howard draws: Mama Pearl pointing to a cobweb which Big Bubba swats with a broom, Mama Pearl holding a bag for the bloodhound to put away his bones and balls, Big Bubba vacuuming with Beau riding the cleaner.

And there it took 36 words to describe the illustrations, but Appelt only used 5. (OK, I could have described the art in a tighter fashion, but I think you see my point.)

Later in the story, Applet introduces “…Cousin Arlene and her dog, Bitsy.”

Appelt says: “Honey, it was froufrou city.”
Howard draws: Cousin Arlene in a frilly pink dress, with a pink bow to match the one atop Bitsy’s fluffy head.

Once again, Appelt’s petite word count packs a humorous punch, with Howard’s illustrations telling half the story.

In our favorite scene of the story, Bubba, Beau, Arlene and Bitsy have just been discovered in the mud hole. “Only one thing to do,” says Big Bubba.

Page turn. (Which means a surprise is coming!)

Appelt says: “Yeehaw, honey! It was a picture perfect day in Bubbaville.”
Howard draws: The entire family sitting in the back of Big Bubba’s truck, which has been filled with a hose so it’s a Texan-style pick-up truck pool.

At kidlit conferences and events I’ve repeatedly heard that picture book writers must leave room for illustrations. Bubba and Beau provides a superior example of how to write a successful tale that inspires brilliant pictures. The words and images work beautifully together like Bogey & Bacall, Astair & Rogers, and Lady Gaga & Elton John. (OK, maybe that last analogy wasn’t so good. But I needed something current.)

If you have a recommendation of a picture book that says a lot with a little, let’s hear it!

10 Comments on Saying A Lot with A Little, last added: 2/21/2010
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24. A Lecture Everyone Should Hear or Read

As you know, I had the priviledge of having Kathi Appelt as my advisor last semester at Vermont College. Last year, at the summer residency, Kathi gave a fabulous lecture that left me saying, "Everyone should hear that lecture. Every single person in the world. Especially if they're a writer and/or educator."

Well folks, I've got great news. Kathi's lecture, Blurring the Lines, is available online on the Hunger Mountain website. Please-please-please click here to read it (it's long, but worth every second of your time). Hunger Mountain is the journal of the Vermont College Fine Arts program. I was so happy to see Kathi's lecture in print, as I could savor it slowly (yes, like fine wine or Belgian chocolate).

In Kathi's poignant writing style, she gives us so many things to consider--as writers, parents, teachers, humans. With compassion and the knowledge of the scholar she is, she discusses the reactions to her award-winning novel The Underneath, the importance of reading, embracing your past, the overuse of standardized tests in today's schools, becoming more humanitarian, censorship, Ferdinand the Bull and the importance of blurring the lines that we often put up to distinguish "us" from "them." I laughed, cheered, and even gasped at times. You will be enlightened, comforted, and want to become a "book whisperer."

Here is one of my favorite quotes:

I’m worried that our children, expert test takers by the time they reach fifteen where every answer is true or false, will not have Ferdinand or the little old woman eating mush or beautiful Ginger [Black Beauty] because tests have taken over and the language of their childhood will always be age appropriate and standardized. It will be too conscious and not conscious enough. And someone whom we could drink a beer with will stand in front of the world and say, “bring it on,” without the ability to imagine the ramifications or the feelings of others, someone who forgot Ferdinand.

This is a beautifully written lecture/essay. Pour yourself a glass of wine, sit back and enjoy...

1 Comments on A Lecture Everyone Should Hear or Read, last added: 3/30/2010
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25. California Schoolin’ with Kathi Appelt

My dear Vermont College teacher and friend, Kathi Appelt, stopped by Peachland Elementary earlier this week as she was finishing off the last days of her Keeper tour.  What a treat. Our Peachland community of teachers and students LOVED peeking into the life of a real-live author.

Thanks, Kathi!

** Don’t forget to check out Kathi’s blog, too!!


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