Monday, March 29, 2010

April 1st is the postmark deadline for California Young Reader Medal ballots. The 2010-2011 Nominees are posted at the CYRM website. You'll also find past nominees and winners. This is an excellent resource when you are looking for books from picture books to YA. The books are nominated by children and adults, but the final selection is decided by the vote of the readers so you know these are favorites with children of all ages.

Tonight is the first night of Passover and some great book suggestions on this topic can be found at The Booknosher.

Friday's Famous First: "There was once a little princess whose father was king over a great country full of mountains and valleys." The Princess and the Goblin by Scottish author and poet George Macdonald.

Friday, March 26, 2010

This week's Poetry Friday Roundup is being hosted by Julie Larios at THE DRIFT RECORD.

The first week of spring has brought a cool breeze to tease the apricot blossoms from the tree in a snowy shower and I appreciate the change from the winter gales that tore through my garden.

With Spring in mind, I turn to a work by Scottish Poet, George MacDonald (1824-1905) titled:

The Wind and the Moon

Said the Wind to the Moon, "I will blow you out.
You stare in the air
Like a ghost in a chair,
Always looking what I am about.
I hate to be watched; I will blow you out."

Thus begins the wind's struggle to rid itself of the moon. For the complete poem visit Apples4theteacher where you will also find some lesson suggestions.

George MacDonald, a prolific author of children's books, was a contemporary of Twain, Whitman and Emerson and his work was admired by C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien.

Friday's Famous First: Can you identify the title and author of this first line?
"There was once a little princess whose father was king over a great country full of mountains and valleys."

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

It's Writers Wednesday and I've been commiserating with fellow writers who are experiencing that moment when the first rejection letter arrives. It stings...particularly when you thought you did everything right.

  • Researched the houses, editors and/or agents that handle your particular type of work.
  • Followed the submission guidelines to the letter.
  • Sent a manuscript that's been peer-reviewed at the very least and maybe gone through several professional classes and workshops.

If you're lucky enough to receive a rejection letter it might indicate a reason your manuscript was turned down. It's just as likely that there will be no hints to point you in the right direction. Many houses have adopted a policy of not contacting authors at all unless the editor is interested in the work. The submitted manuscript is recycled and you can assume the house has passed on the project if you haven't heard from them in a predetermined time frame: 6 months, 9 months, etc.

Now what?

This is an opportunity to ask yourself how to make the manuscript better. Look at the plotting, character development, language, voice...all the components of your story and writing style. Chances are that the time away from your story after you sent that submission will allow you to more objectively determine if there is anything that needs to change. If you need fresh eyes on your work find an objective reader to give you another point of view.

Then revise, rewrite and get that story back out there.

For another perspective on the subject of getting published check out "Top Five Tips to Finding and (Keeping Fans) for Your Writing" @ Gary Smailes' Bubble Cow.

Monday, March 22, 2010

I've been trying to decide which of Sid Fleischman's books is my favorite: By the Great Horn Spoon? The Trouble Begins at 8? The Midnight Horse? Newbery award winner, The Whipping Boy?...oooh so many great choices. And more to look forward to with Sir Charlie about to arrive. So far I haven't been able to pick just one.

If you haven't visited Sid Fleischman's Take a moment to read the biography of an extraordinary man and well-beloved author. There's wisdom there for readers and for writers that is well worth a look.

Thanks Sid, for everything.

Friday's Famous First: "It was late one winter night, long past my bedtime, when Pa and I went owling." Owl Moon by Jane Yolen.

Friday, March 19, 2010

This Poetry Friday Roundup is hosted by Some Novel Ideas. Take a moment to enjoy the imaginative Piku poems created by seventh grade students in honor of Pi day (3.14) along with the many other thoughtful contributions.

While I'm on the subject of poetry, let me suggest you check out, or even join in the poetry challenge for the month at A Year of Reading.

Tomorrow, March 20th, is the first day of spring and Anastasia Suen offers a spring-related poetry lesson for primary and intermediate students at Picture Book of the Day.

Friday's Famous First: Can you identify the book title and author of this first line?
"It was late one winter night, long past my bedtime, when Pa and I went owling."

Monday, March 15, 2010

If you are looking for a new bed-time picture book you might want to take a look at the review offered at Jen Robinson's Book Page for "The Hiccupotamus by Aaron Zenz.

While we're on the subject of reading to your children -- if you've ever felt that picking up another picture book is more chore than delight -- let me suggest you take a look at the Friday, March 12th, post at Mother Reader...Reading is Boring (Sometimes) about that most special of times with an often true and humorous twist.

Here's the answer to Friday's Famous First: "Garnet thought this must be the hottest day that had ever been in the world." Newbery Medal book Thimble Summer by Elizabeth Enright.

Friday, March 12, 2010

This week's Poetry Friday Roundup is being hosted at Becky's Book Review.

If you are wondering if your child is ever going to tire of the series, genre, etc. that currently holds them in thrall, the answer is "Yes!" Today there's a wonderful post over at A Year of Reading, "Trust That Your Child Will Make It Through That Reading Phase," that is well work a look.

Friday's Famous First: Do you know the book title and author for this first line? "Garnet thought this must be the hottest day that had ever been in the world."

Monday, March 8, 2010

Today marks the birthday of author, Kenneth Grahame, born March 8th, 1859. Grahame wrote the well-known short story, "The Reluctant Dragon," but is most famous for "The Wind in the Willows" which was first published in 1908. Both books are much beloved and still enjoyed by children today. "The Wind in the Willows" has remained a classic of English literature and appeared in numerous forms from comic book versions to Broadway stage productions, TV shows, and films. It even inspired Mr. Toad's Wild Ride at Disneyland.

Here's the answer to Friday's Famous Firsts: "When my brother Fish turned thirteen, we moved to the deepest part of inland because of the hurricane and, of course, the fact that he'd caused it." This first line is from Savvy written by Ingrid Law - 2009 Newbery Honor Book.

The Gingerbread Cowboy Book Trailer