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

Friday, December 6, 2019

Good advice

Like Linda Sue, I also believe in learning from the best.

In this instance, Linda Sue Park together with Lois Lowry.
That's some serious writing firepower there!

Years ago, I took a short workshop with Linda Sue and she explained the way she begins a novel.

This link is from 2000.

I wonder if it still holds true for her process. I bet it does.

One of my favorite parts of this advice:

What I like best about Ms. Lowry's outline is that there is NO step labeled “Theme.” I think she believes as I do: That theme should grow out of the character and the story. If a writer begins with theme, the story is likely to be heavy-handed and messagey ... the kind of book kids run away from. And I'm running right beside them!

(from my desk, my inspiration for today...)

Monday, December 2, 2019

Happy Monday! Happy December!

I wish I were better at #MWAYR (It's Monday, What Are You Reading?) posts.

I love connecting with teachers and librarians and other bloggers.
But sometimes Mondays get away from me. Especially the Monday after a holiday.

I did read a lot of books this week. I'm still working on a couple but I'll add them. 
If something terrible (or wonderful) happens in the end of these two books, please don't tell me.

I love the beginnings!

This one's on the list of New York Public Library's Best Books of the Year.
Here's the link. Lots of great titles.

I read a few chapters with a young Thanksgiving visitor. He loved it. I loved it. But it was his book and it went home with him. Now I've reserved it from our library because I need to know what happens. Such a strong beginning.

I've never read a book by SARAH ARONSON. My loss! She's a super writer. She also is an excellent writing teacher.
What I love about this book, so far, is how she creates a kid who's Jewish, a soccer player, a younger brother with big shoes to follow, and he's a great character. Good strong family dynamics.
I also love the quotes from presidents at the head of each chapter. Perfect!

Follow her on various social media and maybe even take a class. Here's her website:

My fall round-up appeared recently in the Christian Science Monitor.
I loved all the books I reviewed. Then again, I only review books for them if I like them. Often they'll assign the books, sometimes I add one or two.

One picture book really touched me.

Here's my review. You can click that link up there if you want to see my reviews of the other books, a bit of middle-grade and a collection of picture books.

The Love Letter (ages 4-8), written by Anika Aldamuy Denise and illustrated in lovely muted colors by Lucy Ruth Cummins, is a joyful celebration of friendship. Hedgehog, Bunny and Squirrel, three unlikely chums, each receive the mysterious letter telling them “You are a joy, a light, a secret hope.” The power of this simple thought carries these three through their day, feeling cheerful or helpful or carefree. And, in the end, loved. A perfect picture book to be treasured and read many times.

Another of the books I reviewed introduced me to an artist I didn't know.

Love this photo of my friend Jeu Foon reading to his grandson.
This is how he describes PAPER SON:

"This book is the best I have ever seen or read about Tyrus Wong’s life and the creativity he expressed in his Disney Bambi artwork and in his magnificent flying kites. 
The author, Julie Leung, and the artist, Chris Sasaki, honor Tyrus’ journey as a “Paper Son” in historic detail and with much heart. The book’s artwork reminded me of Tyrus’ sublime style of painting foreground and background around his subjects.
If you know who Tyrus Wong is, then you know he is a legend. Please read this book ... you will be inspired by a truly gifted man ..."

So, there you have it! My kids' books for the week. 

I'm still plowing through quite a few grownup mysteries and even a writing craft book.
I reread a bit of PARDONABLE LIES (Maisie Dobbs- I've read them all!) because a friend and I have been talking about ole Maisie and how we love her.

I'm almost finished with Michael Connelly's DARK SACRED NIGHT. This is the second book that features Renee Ballard. Love his new female character. 

I'll look forward to jumping around to a few blogs this Monday morning. Hope everybody had a lovely Thanksgiving, filled with turkey, dressing, and tons of books.