||[May. 16th, 2013|05:41 pm]
On Tuesday I finished a two-day visit at Colegio Roosevelt, the American international school in Lima. Librarian John Kurtenbach arranged a great schedule for myself and author Julia Durango, who's traveling with me. Julia saw the pre-K/K classes and did a joint presentation with me to grades 1-2. I saw grades 3-8. Attentive and enthusiastic audiences. A special shout-out to the Grade 6 group (which included a couple classes of 7th graders), all of whom read A LONG WALK TO WATER--they were my final presentation and a terrific finish to my time at the school.|
Julia and I had arrived on Friday evening, so we'd had the weekend to explore Lima before starting work on Monday. On Saturday, John took us to two museums, including the beautiful Museo Larco, and introduced us to Pisco, the Peruvian national beverage. Sunday, we shopped the Indian markets and had dinner at Huanca Pucllana, a restaurant that overlooks an archaeological site that's dramatically lit at night.
I'm awaiting photos from the school; in the meantime, a few photos from our first days:
Greeting visitors at the Museo Larco: a Peruvian Hairless dog, a native breed. Never seen anything like it!
The ruins at Huanca Pucllana in Lima.
At the Huanca Pucllana restaurant, assorted appetizers. In the foreground, chicharrons de cuy. Cuy is one of Peru's most famous dishes. (Look it up...)
In the library at Colegio Roosevelt, pointing to the photo of previous visiting author Laurie Halse Anderson.
On the way from the Cusco airport to the Sacred Valley:
Llama llama woolly mama!
Julia and baby llamas.
It's difficult to post photos from here, so I'll probably wait until I get home to post more. And there *will* be more.... This is truly an amazing place.
|Sister Connection (58)
||[May. 16th, 2013|02:38 pm]
MIND GAMES by Kiersten White|
Sisters Annie and Fia both swear to keep each other safe after their parents die, but when a school offers blind Annie a chance to see, they both enroll and are subjected to the whims of a man who uses their psychic talents against his foes -- and each other. The alternating povs and shifts in time give the reader a full picture of the sisters and how they came to be in their present circumstances. Interesting characters are introduced, but their full motives are unclear and keep the reader guessing. A sequel is inevitable. (HarperTeen, 2013)
|Forest of Reading 2013
||[May. 16th, 2013|02:24 pm]
Yesterday I got to take part in the Festival of Trees for the first time, thanks to The Way We Fall‘s White Pine nomination. Such a fun day!
First, all the nominated authors got on stage with two student volunteers apiece. One volunteer was holding a big sign with our name, while the others went up in turn to introduce us and our books. (My two had come all the way from Ottawa!) And then the authors had to get up and say a few words, mainly about how amazing it had been to be a part of the Forest of Reading program…
After which the winner was announced. Congrats to Jeyn Roberts and The Dark Inside!
Then I did a signing for the many enthusiastic readers who’d shown up. I heard from a lot of teens who’d loved The Way We Fall and were excited about the rest of the trilogy (which I will never get tired of hearing!), and got some great questions. For the many who asked about my tips for aspiring writers, here’s the longer blog post I mentioned to go with the advice I was able to give you in person.
After a tasty lunch, Lena Coakley and I split an hour with two short workshops and some avid writers-in-the-making, and then I got to have a quick chat with a few librarians and industry folk before I had to run off to the day job.
So glad I got to meet so many other authors, and join in the festivities!
(And thanks to my Canadian publicist Melanie for taking the photos!)
Originally published at another world, not quite ours - Megan Crewe's blog. You can comment here or there.
||[May. 16th, 2013|12:01 pm]
...So You Think You Can Dance!! This is truly my favorite show (even over TAR), and I'm so excited that it's on again. Even though the auditions aren't my favorite parts, I've already seen a couple of amazing dancers that I suspect will not only get into the top 20 but will go far: Amy (someone) and the tap dancer. The Amy girl reminds me of Melanie (who won season 8, I believe it was) in her ability to use her body to express the meaning of the music. It's truly magical. And the tapper was phenomenal. I don't think I've ever seen a tapper (well, aside from Gregory Hines) who could move with such effortlessness.
It was a good thing these two (and a pretty talented hip-hopper) came on last night, because after Tuesday, I was beginning to think that maybe the show was losing its edge -- but now, I'm delighted, as always. (And I must say, the number of long-haired girls in tight shorts who can do splits and leap around just isn't that appealing to me -- probably the guys like them, though -- and they all begin to look the same after a while.)
This was one of my favorite moments from last season -- I love Alex (and really, who doesn't?), and Eliana and he danced together with such beauty and passion...dancing is just something special. :)
|Kept in the Dark (1882)
||[May. 16th, 2013|10:33 am]
http://blbooks.blogspot.com/2013/05/kept-in-dark-1882.htmlKept in the Dark. Anthony Trollope. 1882. 512 pages.
I love, love, love Anthony Trollope. Kept in the Dark is a novel about relationships. Cecilia Holt, our heroine, when we first meet her is engaged to be married to Sir Francis Geraldine. While she was madly in love with him for a few brief weeks, she soon begins to see that he is not the one for her. There is something not quite right about him, something that worries her. So. She tells him that she's changed her mind. She will not be marrying him. His vanity is wounded, so he goes and boasts that he changed HIS mind. She doesn't care that much at the time; after all, the important thing is that the engagement is over. Even Cecilia's three closest friends don't know what to believe in the matter. Cecilia chooses not to gossip, not to add to the rumors. A few months later Cecilia and her mother are traveling around in Europe. She meets a man just a few years younger than Sir Francis. (Sir Francis was quite a bit older than Cecilia). He tells her after a brief acquaintance that he's suffering from a broken heart. A young woman, a beautiful woman, (a SILLY woman) has broken their engagement; she's fallen in love with a younger man, a Captain Geraldine. Cecilia's only known George Western a week! He's opened up his life to her, sharing his thoughts and cares, but how should she respond? She's certainly not brokenhearted herself, and except for the fact that there was not another man, her case superficially resembles his. She did "jilt" an older man. So she remains silent. As time goes by and they meet again and again in their travels, the two fall in love. Cecilia has an idea that she should tell him about her former engagement, but, the time doesn't seem right. To interrupt during the proposal would be awkward at best. She at first plans to tell him before the wedding, but, then her determination weakens. In a matter of months, the two are wed and her husband is still being "kept in the dark."
Most of the novel focuses on her husband's reaction to the news. For those that have read He Knew He Was Right, George Western does not do a Louis Trevelyan. Not quite. He leaves her quite suddenly, and he does insist on a permanent separation. But he offers her the country house, his home, and all the money she wants. She refuses these "kindnesses" which seem so cruel. She returns to her mother's house...but that is not the end of the story!
Unlike previous Trollope novels, readers only meet a few characters. The other two characters we spend time with are Sir Francis Geraldine and Francesca Altifiorla. Miss Altiforla was a "dear friend" to Cecilia Holt at the start of the novel; but she is VICIOUS. We also get a quick glimpse or two of Lady Grant, George's sister. I really loved this minor character!
I enjoyed this one. I really did.
People are taken and must be taken in the position they frame for themselves. (6)
"Do you measure the one thing by the other," said Lady Grant; "a man's desires by a woman's, a man's sense of honour by what a woman is supposed to feel? Though a man keep such secrets deep in his bosom through long years of married life, the woman is not supposed to be injured. She may know, or may not know, and may hear the tale at any period of her married life, and no harm will follow. But a man expects to see every thought in the breast of the woman to whose love he trusts, as though it were all written there for him in the clear light, but written in letters which no one else shall read." (55)
"Lies are a sort of thing which are very commonly told, and are ordinarily ascribed to the world at large. The world never quarrels with the accusation. The world has told most infernal lies to this man about his wife. (124)
© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews
|Fusenews: Honest Toddlers and Awesome Amish
||[May. 16th, 2013|08:00 am]
- First off, I have to suspect that after this week my blogging stats will be fairly healthy. First I wondered whither the 2013 middle grade black boys and then Sophie Blackall let me become the repository for some truly fantastic stories. Doubling back to that question about diversity in 2013 middle grades, author Varian Johnson has a good post of his own delving into that same topic. I randomly ran into Varian on my little book tour while hanging out with James Kennedy in Chicago. It is a very small children’s literary world after all, my friends.
- Along very much the same lines, I would like you to read the best book review you will read all year. Possibly all decade. If you have not experienced a Pink Me review before, they pretty much give me something to strive for. Paula knows how to zero in on the meat of a book, and acknowledge the good alongside the seriously uncomfortable. And what’s making her uncomfortable at the moment? That would be Trash Can Days by Teddy Steinkeller. If we are talking about depictions of race in books for our youth, then this is an excellent place to start the conversation. This is your required reading of the day. A billion thanks to Mary Ann for the heads up.
- Not sure if I should be furious or relieved that the universe didn’t alert me to the fact that Honest Toddler, one of my favorite Twitter feeds, has a blog. Better still, there are children’s book reviews. Worth seeking out if only because it managed to work the phrase, “too much rim make the ride too hard” into an encapsulation of Babar.
- I was so very very happy to see that the WNBA recently announced that one of its winners of the 2013 Pannell Award was none other than the delightful Bookbug Bookstore in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Bookbug recently went out of their way to create for me the greatest Giant Dance Party the world has ever known. I’m talking strobe lights, cupcakes, a smoke machine, kicky music, and an actual GIANT in the house. Derek Molitor and Joanna Parzakonis totally deserve that award. If you see them at BEA this year, give ‘em a clap on the back from me.
- The site Dolce Bellezza is hosting an upcoming reading challenge in June asking folks to come up with Japanese children’s books. The comments offer more suggestions as well, in case you’re interested.
- Once upon a time I used to work in the Central Children’s Room of New York Public Library in a branch located across the street from MOMA called The Donnell. Then they tore it down. Tore it down good they did. That was back in 2008 and finally they’ve announced the new library location that will be in the same space. The 53 Street Branch Designs were covered by all major New York City dailies and more so if you’re curious to see what the world’s most ultra-mod library branch looks like, observe: The New York Times The Wall Street Journal, The New York Post, The New York Daily News, The Associated Press, and NY1.
- In other library news, Jay-Z was found in our archives . . . circa 1939.
- Regarding book covers, this is how you do it people. Want to make your average everyday kid read about the Amish willingly?
Geez, that’s a smart cover. Why is this so hard for some folks to figure out? This! Do this!
- Good news, folks! Dan Blank, one of my favorite folks in town, is in the business of telling authors how to do parts of their jobs better. He does these webinars that are well worth considering. In fact, on 5/22 he has a Build Your Author Platform course you might do well to check out. Just sayin’.
- Rita Meade, I love you. Today is a day for me to link to bloggers unafraid to take up arms against ignorance. In this case, Rita offers a response to Michael Rosenblum’s disheartening What’s a Library? piece. His piece reminds me of the time I was seated next to an otherwise perfectly nice hedge fund manager who had a hard time contemplating why libraries continue to exist. For him, the argument that not everything is digitized (or will be) and libraries contain out-of-print titles turned out to be my most persuasive point (like Rosenblum, he was unmoved by the not-everyone-has-internet-access argument), but it’s different for every person. In any case, Rita’s response does the heart good. We need more Ritas.
- Heart still bleeding a little? This’ll sop up the mess. A heartwarming (in the truest sense) post from Kathi Appelt.
- Were you listening to Ask Me Another when Lois Lowry appeared on the program? If not, she shows up at around 18:40. Thanks to Ben Collinsworth for the link.
- It’s about this point that I realize that I may be the last person in our business (the children’s / YA book biz) not to mention Maureen Johnson’s remarkable Coverflip piece. You’ve probably all seen this already, but if you’re the last person in America to find it, you’re welcome.
- I might have mentioned in my Neil Gaiman / Jon Klassen / Lemony Snicket post that I was at Bank Street College of Education recently to talk with some of the kiddos there about book covers. Allie Bruce, local librarian extraordinaire, was kind enough to blog about my visit as well as some of the responses from the kids. If you wanna see me showing more thigh than I really should (yes, I’m afraid that really is what I wear when I talk to 6th graders) now’s your chance. Also check out the kids’ thoughts on books seen in “a certain bookstore chain” recently.
This is nice. An Austin photographer decided that rather than dress her 5-year-old up like a Disney princess she’d do something a little different and dress her up like a range of kickass women. Here’s one of the many results of the project:
Loverly. You can see more here.
|The Word Nest!
||[May. 16th, 2013|11:00 am]
As some of you know, this past fall we moved from my beloved home state of California to Connecticut for my husband’s job. After being evacuated from Hurricane Sandy, making it through a blizzard and several snow storms, and otherwise enjoying our rental on the ocean, we are thrilled to finally move into our new home sweet home. New to us, at least. The house was built in the early 1800s!
My husband has always been very supportive of my writing career, and he knows how hard it is for me to move time and time again for his career. (This is the seventh move in sixteen years.) To show his great love and appreciation, he had a special studio built just for me and my writing/reading! I’ve dubbed it The Word Nest (the area where we live is bird bountiful). As promised, here are a few before, during, and after photos! Many appreciative thanks to Mystic River Building Company and their amazing team and crew for creating and building this perfect space!
The studio is a former wood shop, attached to the detached garage. It was not weather proof nor secure so the first thing we did was put on a new roof, and add new windows and a door with a lock.
The original wood shop was not separate from the garage, so we added a wall, insulation, drywall, and paint and trim.
No surprise that I have a ton of books so I needed space for them. And I wanted to make sure I had additional space for my constantly growing library.
And finally, the most important part of my writing studio – where I write:
And my amazing views:
And let’s not forget, writing would be a very lonesome endeavor without the perfect companion:
Trixie checks out the new space!
Thanks to Amanda of GreenChickens for this awesome custom sign!
Happy reading and writing! I know I’ll be happy working and reading in my cozy Word Nest!
Filed under: construction, retreat
|Letters About Literature
||[May. 16th, 2013|07:21 am]
I'm always honored when a child writes a letter to me for the "Letters About Literature" contest. Each state names three state winners whose letters go on to compete nationally. I've had many state winners for Rules, but this is the first one for Touch Blue.
Zoe is a sixth grader in North Carolina, and here's an excerpt from her letter:
"Most importantly, I learned blessings do not always come in neat packages. Tess planned for Aaron to be exactly how she w...anted him to be. But while she was planning and checking the details, she missed what Aaron needed most. Aaron came looking for love and acceptance. Tess was too focused on her own plan to notice. She had plenty of love to give him if she had just opened her eyes. That’s exactly what I did. My perspective opened to include the real struggles of people around me; my world grew bigger and became more like reality. I have been thoroughly touched by your work, Touch Blue. I’m glad to have a new outlook that includes looking for all of the unlabeled blessings around me."
You can read the entire letter here:
||[May. 16th, 2013|06:15 am]
by Maryann Macdonald (Author)
Booktalk: In this free-verse poetry novel, Odette is a young Jewish girl living in Paris during a dangerous time. The Nazis have invaded the city, and every day brings new threats. After Odette’s father enlists in the French army and her mother joins the Resistance, Odette is sent to the countryside until it is safe to return.
On the surface, she leads the life of a regular girl—going to school, doing chores, and even attending Catholic Mass with other children. But inside, she is burning with secrets about the life she left behind and her true identity.
Open books cover our stars like shields.
Henriette forgets she is thirsty.
The librarian, our gatekeeper,
pretends we are children like any others.
All afternoon, we read fairy tales.
In our cave of bookshelves,
we feel safe from the evil giants
marching down the street.
Copyright © 2013 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.