Saturday, December 18, 2004

Writers, Wannabes, and Booksellers

A couple of sites of interest:

Anne Lamont's article on Salon.com takes a hard look at those conference-going writers who're perhaps "playing writer" more than putting words down on the page and maybe for the wrong reasons. Cranky or insightful? What do you think?

The Association of Booksellers for Children offers a membership to authors and illustrators, which was news to me today. Thrilled, I signed myself and my honey up. Take a look at some children's book creators who already belong.

Friday, December 17, 2004

The Moon Came Down On Milk Street

The Moon Came Down On Milk Street by Jean Gralley (Henry Holt, 2004). The moon has come down softly, and who will put it up again? Who will make things right? The fire chief, the rescue workers, the people. This brilliantly simple book speaks to our universal need for comfort, for heroes, for hope. It's perhaps the best "crisis" book ever published, as resonate and necessary for young readers as their grandparents. A must-buy for every school, household, and library. Ages 3-up. HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION.

Holidays, Friends, and (Of Course) Books

Quite a bustling December week. Toni Buzzeo was kind enough to send me some votives, reindeer ornament hooks, and wine swirly decorations. Talked to Katie Davis on the phone about her work in progress. Ran into Brian Yansky today at Suzi's Chinese Kitchen, out with his mom. Received a gorgeous e-card from Jennifer Ward. It's so delightful. I keep watching it again and again. Also received a card from debut illustrator Joy Hein, whose Miss Lady Bird's Wildflowers (written by Kathi Appelt) is a stunner--gorgeous paintings, fascinating integration of art and learning.

By the way, Brian and I are on a husband-wife authors panel being hosted by the Writers' League of Texas next month. It's called "To Death Do Write & Publish." Really! Fairly hysterical title, I thought.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Hana In The Time Of The Tulips

Hana In The Time Of The Tulips by Deborah Noyes, illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline (Candlewick Press, 2004). Hana and Papa used to pretend in the garden that he was ill and she could cure him with a kiss or a race or a rose. But suddenly, Papa seems ill for real, struck by greed, and it separates him from simple pleasures, those he loves, Hana. This intensely personal look at Tulip Mania ("the first documented case of market mania"), which took place in Holland from 1634-1637, brings young readers to a family caught up in its midst. Most remarkable are the evocative narrative voice, the deft integration of the artist Rembrandt, and original illustrations that seem to have been lifted from museum walls. In the flap copy, Ibatoulline remarks that, in preparation to illustrate this book, he studied Dutch and Flemish paintings. Broad appeal from young reader to adult; as welcome in first grade as in master's classes in fine art and literature. Ages 6-up. See also Nancy Keane's booktalk.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Mayra L. Dole

It was a thrill today to hear from Mayra L. Dole, the Cuban-born author of the new multicultural bilingual books, Drum, Chavi, Drum!/Toca, Chavi, Toca! and Birthday in the Barrio/Cumpleanos en el Barrio (Children's Book Press).

Do surf over to her Web site to read the article on Writing Children's Latino Books (also helpful for writing any children's books), Dole's bio, her interviews (very interesting). Also be sure to check out her Cuban recipes, Cuban stories, and Cuban culture page.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Francess Lantz

In memory of children's/YA author Francess Lantz, donations may be sent to: Amber Brown Fund / SCBWI Museum of Children’s Books; 8271 Beverly Boulevard; Los Angeles, CA 90048. The Amber Brown Fund brings authors to classrooms.

Monday, December 13, 2004

A Flurry

Not a flurry of snow, a flurry of activity.

Received two presents in the mail today--a kitty bracelet from Debbi Michiko Florence (so cute!) and a box of tea with a bundle of cookies from Kathi Appelt.

Also picked books off to the spring lists to review from HarperCollins and Clarion.

And sold an article on being a children's/YA author to Career World.

Plus, writing!

Busy, busy!

Vermont College

Next summer I'll be visiting faculty at the Union Institute & University/Vermont College MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults program. M.T. Anderson, author of Burger Wuss and Thirsty (among others), is the department chair and called to talk to me about it last week.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Gruene, Texas

Went roadtripping with Greg down I-35 South to nearby Gruene, Texas to have lunch and shop for antiques.

Picked up a small craftsman desk and chair for the guest room (exhibit Greg driving the Olds down the interstate with Cyn squished in a corner of the backseat, praying all are not crushed by a passing semi).

The desk had been painted turquoise at one time, which we're sure dessimated the "condition" value of it, and though someone did their best, flecks of turquoise are still evident in the grain, on the under hardware, and flat across the bottom of the desk door (you have to crawl under to see it). But it's still a tremendously well made piece, and really, the turquoise gives it a sort of weathered southwestern charm. Besides, it was in the budget.

We put the desk and chair in the guest room and moved the seating of cowhide chairs and ottoman to the landing. The cats seem to like it there.

Katie Davis

Spent most of yesterday reading a manuscript for Katie Davis, one of the world's most sparkly and talented people. What I love most about Katie's work is that it's so authentically childlike, exploding with sincere emotion, and at the same time, often funny.

Took a break with Greg to take in the 2004 Armadillo Christmas Bazaar at the Austin Music Hall (think live music, food/drink, downtown, inside, art festival).

Sites of use to writers: eHow: clear instructions on how to do (just about) everything and How Stuff Works.
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