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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Rumi, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 9 of 9
1. My first post - by Anne Booth

My First Post for an Awfully Big Blog Adventure

Hello! I can’t quite believe this is happening. It seems only yesterday when I was on an Arvon ‘Writing for Children’ course with Linda Strachan and Cathy MacPhail, but in fact it was back in 2010 - four and a half years ago.

Linda and Cathy can be seen discussing it here:

I was on that week. It was wonderful. It was great to learn from Linda and Cathy, and to hear the work of the other writers and to write some things myself. I knew already that I loved children’s books - I had an M.A. in Children’s Literature, had been a bookseller, and had four children of my own ranging from 13 to 10. However, the love I felt for children’s books, combined with the awe I felt for those who wrote them, meant that I hadn’t dared to think I could write any of my own stuff. It was ‘having a go’ that week, and the encouragement and detailed feedback Linda and Cathy gave us all, that gave me confidence. I felt at home in that world, where it was normal to discuss pirates and monsters, for example, and see events through children’s eyes! I remember Linda talking about the Scattered Authors’ Society and am so amazed and happy that I am a member now myself.

There were many wonderful writers on that week, and on another subsequent week run the next year by Joyce and Polly Dunbar at Lumb Bank. I hope that all of us get published eventually. My own breakthrough came in 2013, when Nosy Crow Publishers accepted my picture book text, which is now ‘The Fairiest Fairy’, due to be published in June this year.

http://nosycrow.com/books/the-fairiest-fairy  I am overwhelmed by the loveliness of Rosalind Beardshaw’s illustrations!

2013 is also the year when my lovely agent,  Anne Clark , took me on. This transformed my life! It led to my novel ‘Girl with a White Dog’ being published by Catnip in March 2014, and me writing ‘Lucy’s Secret Reindeer’ for O.U.P. , published in October 2014. Now, in 2015, ‘Dog Ears’ will be published in April for Catnip, ‘The Fairiest Fairy’ (Nosy Crow) in June, and ‘Lucy’s Magic Snowglobe’ (O.U.P.) probably in October. There should be another Nosy Crow picture book for Christmas too, but perhaps that’s for 2016.

Next month I will be 50! This time last year I had no books published, and suddenly, by the end of this year I will have had 5, maybe 6! It feels like when you are waiting at a bus stop for ages, (in my case = years!) and then suddenly all the buses come at once!

So my message to anyone out there reading this, who loves reading children’s books so much that they do not not feel worthy to write them is - go on - have a go. It’s never too late. Sign up for a course with people as inspiring, encouraging and enthusiastic as Linda and Cathy, Joyce or Polly. Follow writers and  illustrators and agents and publishers you like on Twitter - I have had such lovely conversations with fellow enthusiasts - and found out about so many wonderful children’s books there. It was because of Twitter that, without an agent at that time, I submitted to the new publisher Nosy Crow in the first place. It is because of Twitter that I learnt that a new agent, Anne Clark, was looking for clients. There are THOUSANDS of amazing children’s books out there waiting to be discovered on all sorts of subjects, by all sorts of authors, for all different age groups, but there’s always room for more!  There’s a world of loveliness to enjoy as a reader AND as a writer, and if you’d like to combine the two - GO FOR IT! It’s the best job in the world!

And if you are an experienced writer like Linda or Cathy, please think about being a tutor. That course changed my life.

Anne Booth www.bridgeanneartandwriting.wordpress.com @Bridgeanne on twitter

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2. Gift Idea # 6: A Bit of Magic

Here are two picture books that make anything seem possible.

Little Elephants, by Graeme Base, Abrams, $16.95, ages 4 and up, 40 pages, 2012. When locusts threaten a boy's farm, a stranger appears with a magical horn that brings a herd of tiny elephants to the rescue. In this enchanting picture book, Jim and his mother are nearly out of luck -- their harvester is broken and a swarm of locusts is headed their way. But then something incredible happens. Jim sees a mysterious vagabond wading through the wheat stalks. Though the man cannot stay to help, he tells Jim the wind will bring good luck. That afternoon, Jim discovers a bullhorn left on the gate and as he blows into it, clouds of dust waft out and set off a wondrous chain of events. First, a wild mouse that Jim had let loose the day before returns to his bedroom with a surprise: A herd of toy-sized elephants scuffling under his bed. They're frisky and mischievous, and Jim tries to hide them because his mom doesn't want animals in the house. But then the locusts descend, and the elephants break cover and come charging out. They sprout wings and with trunks swinging, launch themselves at the locusts and drive them away. At last, the wheat is safe. But how will Jim and his mother ever harvest it? Base once again dips his pen into a magical place and gives readers something to dream about. Best parts: Nighttime scenes of the elephants racing around Jim's room on toy cars and frolicking in the yard with egg beaters and spoons -- and later, flying off with the stranger into the sunset.

The Man from the Land of Fandango, by Margaret Mahy, illustrated by Polly Dunbar, Clarion, $16.99, ages 4 and up, 32 pages, 2012. A jolly man in a tricolor jacket leaps off a painting on a magical journey into make-believe, in this sparkly treasure by the late Mahy and her long-time illustrating partner Dunbar. After a girl and boy dab the last paint onto the man's portrait, he "bingles and bangles and bounces" off the picture and takes them on a musical romp with instrument-tooting animals. By the end of the picture book, the showman has danced on ceilings and walls, and taken the children bouncing on kangaroos and sliding down a wave of dreams. Mahy's rhymes skip and somersault across the page, while Dunbar's watercolors shout with glee. Characters smile with half-moon eyes and take trampoline leaps as stars and bubbles float about them. Every character in the story looks dizzily happy and that makes readers want to feel that way too. A wonderful farewell from one of the world's most beloved writers. Favorite part: Watching the man from Fandango leap into life and show us all that you're never too old to be playful  -- "He comes in at the door like a somersault star" and dances around as merrily as chimney sweep Bert from Mary Poppins before popping back into his portrait. 

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3. Living in colour

I don’t know about you, but since Christmas we’ve been seeing a lot of grey. Grey clouds, grey sleet, grey sky, grey rain. I’m beginning to get a bit itchy now for some splashes of colour. Some early crocuses would be nice, or even just some sunshine!


So I’m having to get my colour fix another way, and one source of rainbow delight this last couple of weeks has been Flyaway Katie by Polly Dunbar.

Katie is feeling grey. Finding inspiration from a beautiful picture on her wall of birds with colourful plummage she sets about trying to cheer herself up. First she puts on her most colourful clothes, and although that helps she doesn’t yet feel quite right. So, Katie then paints herself – her face, her arms, her fingers, and whilst the paint is drying magic occurs.

With a fizz and a flutter Katie is ably to fly into the picture on her wall and spends the rest of the day living in colour, making friends with the cheerful, exotic birds around her, having a great deal of fun right up until it is time to return home for her bedtime bath.


Both girls (and me!) love this book. The illustrations are a tonic – Dunbar’s use of colour is most definitely what the doctor ordered for us. Stars and sparkles fizz over the pages and the birds’ feathers come in a riot of colours. Katie’s imagination and can-do attitude, as well as her body language and fashion choices remind me somewhat of Lola (as in Charlie and Lola) – a great little hero to identify with. Although a short read, it carries a great message worth reminding ourselves of sometimes – with a bit of creativity we can do a lot to help cheer ourselves up! No more complaining about the weather and the cold then for me ;-)

As soon as we’d read the book for the first time, M and I both wanted to do exactly as Katie had done – find our best, brightest, cheeriest clothes and fly away into a magical place. So the first thing we did was to recreate a picture to hang on our kitchen wall in hommage to Katie’s picture. I cut out bird shapes from card and “feathers” from multi coloured tissue paper and we all sat down as a family to stick, glue, and decorate our birds.


The final result has certainly brightened up our kitchen!


One friend saw this yesterday and commented “Hmm, not a lot of parental involvement there, then!” – but that was missing the point entirely I think – this was a great project that got all four of us sat together around the tabl

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4. Polly Dunbar

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5. “Bystander” Named to Ballot of 2012 Charlotte Award Nominees

This is amazing good news. Great news, in fact. I’m happy and proud to say that my book, Bystander, is included on the ballot for the 2012 New York State Reading Association Charlotte Award.

To learn more about the award, and to download a ballot or bookmark, please click here.

The voting is broken down into four categories and includes forty books. Bystander is in the “Grades 6-8/Middle School” category. Really, it’s staggering. There are ten books in this category out of literally an infinity of titles published each year. You do the math, people.

For more background stories on Bystander — that cool inside info you can only find on the interwebs! — please click here (bully memory) and here (my brother John) and here (Nixon’s dog, Checkers) and here (the tyranny of silence).

Below please find all the books on the ballot — congratulations, authors & illustrators! I’m honored to be in your company.



Bubble Trouble . . . Margaret Mahy/Polly Dunbar

City Dog, Country Frog . . . Mo Willems/Jon J Muth

Clever Jack Takes the Cake . . . Candace Fleming/G. Brian Karas

Lousy Rotten Stinkin’ Grapes . . . Margie Palatini/Barry Moser

Memoirs of a Goldfish . . . Devin Scillian/Tim Bower

Otis . . . Loren LongStars Above Us . . . Geoffrey Norman/E.B. Lewis

That Cat Can’t Stay . . . Thad Krasnesky/David Parkins

Turtle, Turtle, Watch Out! . . . April Pulley Sayre/Annie Patterson

We Planted a Tree . . . Diane Muldrow/Bob Staake



The Can Man . . . Laura E. Williams/Craig Orback L

Emily’s Fortune . . . Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

Family Reminders . . .

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6. A Perfect Picture Book Picnic

Thanks to the very generous folk at Walker Books I got to do something which makes me very happy earlier this week – read aloud lots of fabulous picture books with friends and their kids, and then give the books away, all part of a Picture Book Picnic

The day started early, baking “Walker Bear” Gingerbread biscuits…

With the first of our “emergency supplies” ready for scoffing, we got to to the main business of the day – reading together!

We started with The Duckling Gets a Cookie!? by Mo Willems, humorous take on why it’s so nice to be polite.

Full of chocolate chip cookies (we used this recipe) and cold milk I then read How to Get a Job by me The Boss, actually by Sally Lloyd-Jones & Sue Heap. After a long conversation about what everyone wanted to be when they grew up, I interviewed the kids for the post of Explorer. All the kids sailed through their interviews (Do you like being outdoors? Yes! Are you afraid of snakes? No! Do you like climbing trees? Yes!) and so we got down the map of our local area and off we set on our bikes to have an adventure.

We set up our first camp by a sunny stream, perfect for a reading of Arthur’s Dream Boat by Polly Dunbar.

After the story we made paper boats and floated them off down the river.

Then we climbed up a hill to one of my favourite climbing trees, and in we all clambered to read Anna Hibiscus’ Song by Atinuke and Lauren Tobia.

Anna Hibiscus’ Song is an exuberant, joyous book about what makes people happy – just perfect for me on a day doing what makes me happy!

Anna Hibiscus (yes, the very same character as in the fabulous early chapter books also by

4 Comments on A Perfect Picture Book Picnic, last added: 7/29/2012
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7. Caged Wisdom: The Rich Man and the Parrot

The Rich Man and the ParrotAuthor: Suzan Nadimi
Illustrator: Ande Cook
Published: 2007 Albert Whitman & Co. (on JOMB)
ISBN: 0807550590 Amazon.ca Amazon.com

Lyrical dialog and sweet, somehow soothing illustrations bring to life an 800 year old story of fondness and freedom that challenges us to make space for the perspectives of both captor and captive.

Other books mentioned:

You can read more about thirteenth century mystic poet Mawlana Jalal ad-Din Rumi and the designation of 2007 by UNESCO as the International Year of Rumi here.

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8. See a wonderful Polly Dunbar extravaganza

and interview at seven impossible things before breakfasts.

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9. Loss, Laughs and Loony-Proof Love: My Dad’s A Birdman

My Dad's A BirdmanAuthor: David Almond (on JOMB)
Illustrator: Polly Dunbar (on JOMB)
Published: 2007 Candlewick Press (on JOMB)
ISBN: 0763636673

Chapters.ca Amazon.com

Airy illustrations, playful, British dialogue and sprightly dipping, gliding narrative give flight to a zany father-daughter adventure that dances delicately between tenderness, tomfoolery, hope and despair landing lightly in the comfort of allied abandon.

You can read the first three chapters of this book here.

More dreams of flying on JOMB:

2 Comments on Loss, Laughs and Loony-Proof Love: My Dad’s A Birdman, last added: 6/19/2008
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