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

Monday, November 28, 2016

It's Monday again

And what are YOU reading?
I hope you've taken a big bite out of your TBR file, along with that turkey sandwich.

This is my stack. I'll never get through it! It's toppling over!

But over the Thanksgiving weekend, I finished at least two of them, and they were so good.

1. Be Light Like a Bird, by Monika Schroder. Lovely story for young readers who like their action with heart. I read this as an ARC when it first came out but now our library had a copy sitting on the new book shelf and I just had to check it out. The words seem the same but it was delightful to savor them this time around. (True confessions- I don't love reading books as rich as this one on my Kindle. I'm sure I missed something. )

2. Liberty by Kirby Larson.

I'm only peeking into this, gently, because I bought it as a gift and am trying to keep it gift-like (is that a word?). 
I loved the other two in this series and so far, this one may be the best yet! World War II. New Orleans. That dog!

I'm also reading a few ARCs, courtesy of the publishers and NetGalley, which you may have noticed in my tottering To Be Read stack. I'll save those to share when I have more time to think about them. 

Happy Reading, and I hope you all had a restful, thankful-for-your-blessings weekend.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Traveling and Musing

It was a funny time to be traveling around, talking about books. I think Ann Patchett said it best in her recent blogpost, which you can read HERE.

And talking about books like mine seemed like a relatively important way to help kids figure out their worlds. Just before my visit to SQUARE BOOKS JR. in Oxford, MS, the fabulous folks there tweeted this about my visit:

So I think I'll share a few photos from my week going "home" to Mississippi and let them speak for themselves.

The event at Square Books Jr. The table that greeted me!

My friend Frieda Quon stirred up the Chinese community and they came! 
And my family, they came!
We had some really great conversation afterwards at Boure on the Square in Oxford.
Thank you, Frieda. Thank you, Jane and George.

My sister donated a copy of MAKING FRIENDS WITH BILLY WONG to the Batesville library, where I met the very smart and enthusiastic new librarian, a recent transplant from New Jersey!

And of course, we ate.

The obligatory stop for fried chicken, turnip greens and the like, 
and boiled peanuts- at the local gas station.

Lunch with family after my event at the Friends of the Bolivar County library event.
(where nobody took a single photo?)
Thank you to all the people who came and asked great questions.
And to my friend Lonnye Sue for inviting me!

Airport grocery for barbecue. My past life is on the walls...

If you are ever in Cleveland, Mississippi, home of all sorts of attractions like a GRAMMY MUSEUM, be sure to stop in at the Train Museum (HERE's the link). 
My brother, sister and I donated our dad's "train doctor" certificate, and they have it on display!

The opening line in my new book, MAKING FRIENDS WITH BILLY WONG, mentions a 3-cent stamp.
I had to take this photo!

A beautiful drive to Memphis, through the Mississippi Delta. And all good things must end. 
Thank you to all the friends and family who hosted me, showed up for my signings, 
and helped with everything!

PS: Cotton used to be baled like this.

 I guess these are mostly decorative these days.
As a wise southerner once said, (I paraphrase and I think it was either Willie Morris or Dave Barry) Someday Soon all we ever knew about the South will be inside a big book on a coffee table in a Brooklyn brownstone...

If you haven't had enough of my trips home, CLICK HERE for a previous post, with photos.
And a little more about the train that once came through my hometown. You may have heard of it? (The City of New Orleans)  :)

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Thank you, Mighty Girl

One of the best places to find great books, if I do say so myself, is the Mighty Girl website.
 And I have nothing to do with the MIGHTY GIRL folks, but I love their book selection.

Imagine my surprise and delight to see they've said lovely things and included MAKING FRIENDS WITH BILLY WONG on their list of books about friendship.

( Including new novels by my friends Donna Gephart and Shannon Hitchcock.)

Here's what they said about my book:

One good friendship can help a Mighty Girl blossom. It's 1952, and Azalea is dreading a summer helping her Grandmother Clark — she struggles to make friends at the best of times, and now she'll spend months in an unfamiliar town. When Billy Wong, a local Chinese-American boy, shows up to help in her grandmother's garden, Azalea is startled that her grandmother encourages her to talk to him. Not only does it turn out that Billy is easy to befriend — a surprise given their different backgrounds and experiences — but Azalea also discovers that making friends with others isn't as hard as she thought it was after all.