Friday, October 01, 2004

An African Princess

An African Princess by Lyra Edmonds, illustrated by Anne Wilson (Candlewick, 2004). Lyra has always been told she is an African princess, even though princess with freckles who live on the tenth floor are rare. But when other kids doubt her, she begins to wonder herself. Will a trip visit to Taunte May, an African princess herself, clear up any confusion? A joyous celebration of self in engaging, lively illustrations. Features a biracial family. Ages 4-up.

National Book Month

Find out more about National Book Month, sponsored by the National Book Foundation (which also sponsors the National Book Awards).

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Jane Peddicord

I had the distinct pleasure of lunching at Katz's today with new Austin author Jane Peddicord, who has picture books under contract with Charlesbridge and Harcourt. She was fun and friendly, and full of questions about the author's life. (Also another recovering lawyer).

More personally, Stephanie sent me the most gorgeous scarf--knitted herself. It's a deep fuschia/burgundy pink, soft and fuzzy, along with two books on grieving. Such a sweetheart.

Planning to watch the presidential debates with Greg tonight.

So far, no keying in changes on the new mss, but the day is young. I have hope still.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Julie Lake

The lovely Julie Lake is taking over as the Austin SCBWI regional advisor. She's the author of Galveston's Summer of the Storm, and I'm one of her biggest fans.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Knopf Delacorte Dell Fall 2004

Received the Knopf, Delacorte, Dell Young Readers Group Catalog today and found many titles to read, including:

The People Could Fly: The Picture Book by the late Virginia Hamilton, illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon; 0-375-82405-7; Tio Jose And The Singing Trees by first time author David Gonzales, illustrated by Stacey Schuett; 9-385-32744-7; A House of Tailors by Patricia Reilly Giff; 0-385-73066-7; Molly McGinty Has A Really Good Day by Gary Paulsen; 0-385-32588-6; Laugh Till You Cry by the late Joan Lowery Nixon; 0-385-73027-6; Bucking The Sarge by Christopher Paul Curtis; 0-385-32307-7; Snakecharm by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes; 0-385-73072-1; Finding Miracles by Julia Alvarez; 0-375-82760-9; Red Palms by Cara Haycak; 0-385-74648-2; To Establish Justice: Citizenship And The Constitution by Patricia McKissack and Arlene Zarembka; 0-679-89308-3; Orphea Proud by Sharon Dennis Wyeth; 0-385-32497-9.

For the fun of it: To the extent I can tell from the bios, of the children's/YA book creators featured in the catalog:

29 live outside the U.S. (mostly the U.K., mostly England);

19 live in California or the NE United States (New England);

6 live anywhere else in the entire U.S. (a book by Texan Joan Lowery Nixon is featured in the catalog, but sadly, she has passed on);

6 are members of traditionally underrepresented ethnic groups in the children's book creator community (all Latino or African American, including Newbery winner Christopher Paul Curtis and first-time author David Gonzales)(a book by Virginia Hamilton is featured in the catalog, but sadly, she has passed on).

3 are teenagers (Amelia Atwater-Rhodes, Christopher Paolini, and Kelly McWilliams (who lives in Arizona)(all three pages make mention of their youth)).

On Cyn's Mind

This past week's episode of "Dateline," "How Safe Are Your Favorite Restaurants?", rated the top ten moderately priced family chain restaurants for health code violations. They measured critical violations, which are the kind of things like cross-contamination, food temperature, and vermin (ew!), which can send you to the hospital.

The upshot is that Denny's is the best, Red Lobster and Bob Evans aren't bad, and pretty much avoid everything else. Given the option, I choose an Austin-owned restaurant locally and apply that same approach to most major cities, but sometimes on a highway or in a suburb, the choices are few. Yikes!

This reminds me, Greg says that according to a recent Rand study, people living in suburbs live four fewer years than people living in the cities. Supposedly, this is because of traffic stress and fatalities during peak commute times.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Idiot Speak

Tried reading a book last night and found myself distracted by all the "idiot speak."

"Idiot speak" is when the characters say things to each other that they all already know. It's a transparent vehicle for the author to offer backstory. Seamless integration is the much better, though more difficult, way to go.

I hasten to add that I'm not the person who named "I.S." that, which I admit sounds harsh. I've seen it referred to that way in writing articles.

More personally, I revised from about 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today--reading and cutting. Had dinner with Greg at Katz's (scrambled eggs and turkey ham).

People on my mind: Elisa Carbone, Kathi Appelt, Fred Bortz, Debbi Michiko Florence (who sent my chocolates and a bookmark from Hawaii), and Dian Curtis Regan.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Hope Vestergaard

Hope Vestergaard's site has been redesigned, and it's adorable. One of my fave author sites on the 'net.

Robert's Snow: Buy A Snowflake And Beat Cancer

Own a piece of art by your favorite children's book illustrator and help fight cancer at the same time! How? By participating in Robert's Snow: for Cancer's Cure ( , a unique fundraiser for cancer research. Over 100 children's book illustrators have made original works of art - on snowflakes - to be auctioned online from Oct. 31 to Dec.12.

Using the news of her husband's cancer as a catalyst, children's book author/illustrator Grace Lin rallied her colleagues to create Robert's Snow: for Cancer's Cure, a fundraiser on behalf of the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. On snowflake templates, children's book illustrators such as Chris Van Allsburg (The Polar Express), Marc Brown (Arthur), and Mary Grand Pre (Harry Potter) have created exclusive images that will be auctioned off at

Help it snow by spreading the word! Download a press kit or flyer from and distribute it to your local community. And, of course, bid on a snowflake yourself!
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