Books -- reading and writing.
Home, cooking, the weather.
And whatever connections I can make between these chapters of my life.

Monday, October 31, 2016

It's Monday What Are You Reading?

I love these #IMWAYR posts. 
They're all over the blogosphere!
Occasionally, I join in the fun, too.

So this is my Monday book, and it's a good one. 
No, it's a GREAT one.

I met Karen Cushman for the first time last weekend in Houston at the fabulously fun event, TWEENS READ.
But from my librarian days, I've been a fan. I didn't buy her book there because my suitcase would hardly close as it was. (I pack small.)

Imagine my delight when I realized I actually already own a copy, buried on my To Be Read shelf. Sent by her publisher. 
Thank you, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt books!

CLICK HERE to see what the folks at Kirkus say, besides that it's star-worthy!

Here are some things I love about this book:

The language, oh the language!
"Grayling felt her face sag like an empty feed sack."
That image will be with me a while.

One secondary character, Desdemona Cork really cracks me up.
             Desdemona Cork twitched her shawl, and Phinaeus Moon blushed.
             Grayling rolled her eyes. "Can you not leave it for a moment?" she hissed to Desdemona Cork. "Must you enchant everyone?"
             Desdemona Cork pulled her shawls tightly around her. "'Tis not something I do, but something I am."

Yes, the book takes place a while ago, in the days of magic and spells and mice who change into goats. But that Desdemona totally reminds me of somebody I know.

I'll leave you with some words of wisdom, advice the travelers learned on their journey, your thought for the day:

Do no magic you cannot undo.
Perfectly apt for a Halloween Monday, no?

Now rush right out and buy the book, request it from your library, fire up the Kindle, however you prefer to read. You'll totally love this one!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The History We Don't Always Know


While researching my own novel, MAKING FRIENDS WITH BILLY WONG, at Delta State University's Chinese Heritage collection, I heard a lot about this story. 

This new book is just out today!

Here's a bit from the publisher's description:

A generation before Brown v. Board of Education struck down America’s “separate but equal” doctrine, one Chinese family and an eccentric Mississippi lawyer fought for desegregation in one of the greatest legal battles never told.

On September 15, 1924, Martha Lum and her older sister Berda were barred from attending middle school in Rosedale, Mississippi. The girls were Chinese American and considered by the school to be “colored”; the school was for whites. This event would lead to the first US Supreme Court case to challenge the constitutionality of racial segregation in Southern public schools, an astonishing thirty years before the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision.

The Kirkus review is HERE.

An AMAZON link is HERE.

It's a really fascinating story that happened in Bolivar County, Mississippi. 

Monday, October 10, 2016

Carnegie Libraries

"A library outranks any other one thing a community can do to benefit its people.  It is a never failing spring in the desert."
                                                               Andrew Carnegie

I love the stories about Carnegie libraries across the country.

You can CLICK HERE to read a bit of the history.

Or HERE FOR A FASCINATING STORY about the secret apartments at the New York Public Library's branches, funded by Andrew Carnegie. 

I grew up near Clarksdale, MS, where a Carnegie Library is still used as a library.

There's a beautiful Carnegie Library in downtown St. Petersburg, a library I frequent occasionally.

If you'd like to visit some of these libraries, there's a state-by-state list HERE.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

Do you follow the It's Monday What Are You Reading blogs?

If not, here's the story. 
I'm going to quote Alyson Beecher here because she says it perfectly:

It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journeys.  Jen Vincent ofTeach Mentor Texts and Kellee Moye of Unleashing Readers decided to give It's Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. It is a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It's also a great chance to see what others are reading right just might discover your next “must-read” book!

I wish I were better at keeping up with my own reading. I usually have at least two kids' books and one something-else going at the same time. Because I've been traveling, I've also read a couple of airplane books, sadly not worth mentioning. 

Also, I have a library book due tomorrow, which inspired this post. I was going to zip through it this afternoon and blog about it. But I'm not going to talk about that book, which seems to have garnered excellent reviews but fell apart for me 3/4 of the way through.

What I finished last night and LOVED SO MUCH. Sorry, can't help hollering. 

I happened to be at a Highlights UNWorkshop with Meg last month where she received a very special honor and a scholarship in her name. What a treat to sit around the breakfast table (lunch, dinner- Hey, it was Highlights! We eat a lot!) and talk about how she came to write this story.

The good people at Highlights gave everybody a copy of Meg's new book. Honestly, I thought I'd send it to a lovely friend, a teacher in her first job, in New York. Perfect match. I'll still pass along my autographed copy. But I'm so glad I read it first. 

What a book. Mine is now filled with stickie notes! 
Things that will make me think hard about my own writing. 
I adore how she weaves in historical details in. Son of Sam- I'd almost forgotten that. And the great NYC Black-out. The way she makes readers feel their characters' worries and fears- brilliant.

The music, food, lingo. All those fabulous things that don't really matter if you don't get them. It might not even matter if Meg had chosen to leave them out. But they so enrich this book!

I'm delighted to know that BURN BABY BURN has just been long-listed for the National Book Awards. Well deserved. 

I turned the last page of the book this morning, reading the interesting Author's Note. What a truly inspiring read for a writer. As I'm sure it will be for its intended Young and New Adult audiences.

Here's hoping your weekend reading was every bit as good as this book.