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

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Happy Birthday to my Blog!

February 22, 2008
My very first post!

Did I ever expect, some 1,245 posts later, I'd still have a thing to say?
Okay, that was a rhetorical question. No need to comment. ;)

What was fun while scrolling back a little bit was remembering all the books I'd read and reviewed. And all the friends I've made along the way.

Danette and our Insomniacs Club. She and I accept parallel parking challenges. I first wrote about her book in 2008 and I still love her books!

A few years ago, my buddy Eileen redid my logo. All these clicks later, I love it as much as when she designed it.

I met Rosi Hollenbeck at a Highlights Foundation Workshop, also a while back. Now I love reading her blog and she kindly comments on mine.

Just a few friends who've made this writing thing so much fun.

I started this blog before I'd published a book. But I had a dream!

 Thanks, everybody, for reading! Hope you'll stick around!

Birthday Thought for the Day:

Monday, February 17, 2020

Monday Reading

Again, I've been lax.

I read a lot of books and forget to blog about them. If it weren't for
#IMWAYR, I'd probably never remember what all I've read.

BUT this has been a great week for reading Middle-grade Fiction.

First off, a book from a writer whose books I admire so much. Susan Hill Long writes funny, she writes poignant, she writes adventure and she writes books with true heart.

This one just came out and I predict kids will love it. Publisher's Weekly agrees.

Yes, there's a baseball subplot going on. And this is my favorite time of year to read baseball-related novels. But oh that Josie! How I love her.

I also just I finished an ARC, sent by the publisher. (Pubbing early March, thank you FSG!)

I was interested in this novel because I know a woman with Turner Syndrome, and have known her most of her life. But I've never read much about it and certainly not a middle-grade book.

WHAT STARS ARE MADE OF is a debut novel by Sarah Allen. The writer has Turner Syndrome and the book felt very authentic about the disorder. Libby, the 12-year-old narrator isn't so great at making friends or knowing the right thing to say and I loved how the author developed an unusual friendship between Libby and a new girl in her class. The story moves quickly along, and the narrator is definitely a character kids will relate to.
In the publicity material I received along with the book, the author quotes C.S. Lewis: "We read to know that we are not alone." So true.

Another Advance Reader Copy I was privileged to read is Rebecca Stead's newest


Thank you, NetGalley!

The book's publishing in April, 2020.  I'm a huge fan of Stead's, and I bet a lot of kids will love her new book.
Two dads, a loving mom who's in the picture, a big blended family, a kid with all sorts of fun things in her life, a wedding and a lot of good things to eat.  :)

And of course, she's worried that her world will change with her new family.

Here's the starred review from Publishers Weekly.
I'm sure many more will follow, or maybe already have.
Plus, love that cover, don't you?

In my grownup reading world, I finished and enjoyed another Ann Cleeves book and I'm reading my second detective/ thriller/ mystery by another Brit, Mick Heron. My guilty pleasure/ nighttime reading.

I also read a ghost story, something I don't do often. It kept me awake at night, so think I'll avoid that genre.

Can't wait to hear all the book recommendations from my It's Monday What Are You Reading? pals!

Saturday, February 8, 2020

Consider Your Heroes

Perhaps now more than ever, it's important to choose role models kids can look up to. Is it because we know more now about our heroes than we ever did? Is it the culture, the ability to read everything anybody does, good and bad?

Not that writers haven't always tried to hold up good examples! 
I started writing THE WAY TO STAY IN DESTINY over ten years ago. The seed of an idea for that book came from a childhood experience --one degree of separation from a baseball hero. But that hero had taken a big fall since my childhood memory. And an editor who read the manuscript (and rejected it with a lot of nice comments) suggested "my" baseball player might not be the best hero for the kids of Destiny, Florida.

I'd lived in Atlanta when I was a young librarian just beginning my career. I knew Hank Aaron was a hero. It was an easy switch.

So choose your heroes carefully, writers. If you're placing a character on a pedestal, be sure he or she deserves it.

There are a lot of interesting stories out there about Hank Aaron. He doesn't mind speaking up about things he believes to be wrong. 
Here's his take on the recent cheating scandals in baseball. 
He started a foundation that has helped so many kids.
He's an all-around good guy. 
A perfect book character. 
Somebody kids should remember.

My buddy Eileen, who still lives in Atlanta and follows the news, shared this resource via her local TV station and a Facebook page., on the occasion of Aaron's 86th February birthday. 
(Photos and a letter from the president via the John F. Kennedy Library.)

This is the kind of sports hero our kids need to know about.