Sunday, August 31, 2014

September Events

September is already rolling in with some pretty spectacular events.  This month always seems like the busiest to me.  School is starting, folks are trying to get as many trips in as possible before the sun stops shining, and the authors start coming around again.

Here are some great events coming to the Boston area as well as a sneak preview into October.


September 5
* Young Adult authors Sarah J. Maas and A.C. Gaughen discuss their new books Heir of Fire and Lady Thief, Wellesley Books, 7 pm

* Four Massachusetts authors share their new Middle Grade books, Dana Alison Levy, Jen Malone, Anna Staniszewski, and Jennifer Ann Mann, Porter Square Books, 3 pm

September 11
* Local authors, Diana Renn, Erin Dionne, Kim Harrington, and Laurie Faria Stolarz, discuss the craft of writing mysteries and thrillers for young adults, Wellesley Books, 7 pm

September 12
* Jason Segal (yes, the actor) presents his new children's book Nightmares!, Harvard Square Books, 7 pm, tickets available only online ($20 for adults - includes book, $5 for kids - does not include books)

September 18
* The Carle Honors Gala, which I DID attend last year, is being held in NYC.  Sadly, I had to turn down an invitation this year for my bff's wedding.  But YOU should go.

September 19
* Rainbow Rowell, author of Eleanor & Park, presents her new book for adults at Harvard Square Books, 6 pm, tickets $5, available online

September 20
* James and Kimberly Dean, of the Pete the Cat series, read their newest book, Pete the Cat and the New Guy, Wellesley Books, 10 am

September 23
* Jarrett J. Krosoczka, author of the Lunch Lady series will be at the Newton Free Library, 2 pm

September 28
* Porter Square Books, my FAVORITE bookstore in Boston, celebrates its 10th anniversary.  Go say hi! 

September 30
* Stephen Pinker, NOT a children's author but someone I read during college and admire greatly, will speak at Harvard Square Books, 6 pm, tickets $5 on sale on September 2nd.

* The Carle is hosting Lois Lowry for an Educator's night on Oct. 2.  It is currently sold out but you can get on their waiting list.
* Rick Riordan is speaking at Porter Square Books on Oct. 7.  Tickets are $5 and will go fast!  (I already have mine!) 

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Gliding into Fall

Boston Ballet's photo of the original Swan Boat performance
I can feel the change in the air.  I have clipboards and sticky notes surrounding me.  Yep, fall is coming.

Two days ago I had my first day of school.  Forty-eight hours later I am back home in Colden, NY, awaiting a new season with the smell of grass and dirt.  Our welcome home as we drove in last night was a sky filled with a million stars, the Milky Way floating across the sky.  I wish I could see the Milky Way every night.  That's the type of sky I love.

I've been sitting in bed for way too long listening to my family enjoy coffee and breakfast, laughing upstairs.  Peaceful moments like these remind me to slow down and let life soak in.

And so, this morning for your wake up and boogie video, I am sending you some Swan Lake.  Ballet gives me the same feeling as looking up at a sky full of stars or enjoying the fresh crisp morning of an approaching fall.  Last week, the Boston Ballet recreated a 1970s performance and photo shoot of Swan Lake performed on the swan boats at the Boston Public Garden.  Sadly, I missed this because I was back to work.  However, for you and for me, I have brought a video of the photo shoot and a small clip of Swan Lake to inspire you to glide through your day.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Clog Dancing on the Porch

My year in Dallas.  (I'm the cutie in the overalls)
If we had never left, I may have been a clogging fool by now!

It is Dance Friday.  I have worked a total of 1.5 days now and I was in my pjs by 6:30 pm.  If you are getting ready to dance tonight, take a look at these folks.  I love them so much.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Take Time. Listen and Read.

My summer has been filled with a serene sense of loveliness that was much needed.  The consistent need to go-go-go from last school year was matched by a desire to sit, listen, breathe, and just be this summer.  The two greatest gifts I was given this summer were the time to listen and read.  The last week in Ferguson holds a lot for us to learn.  To listen and read are two of those. Our country is being confronted with a lot, again.  Listen and read, folks.  With social media leading the charge of reporting, there is a race to be the first to speak.  Action is important, but don't forget to take time to listen and read first.

I saw these when I was out for lunch the other day.
Both very timely.

I have three days left of summer vacation.  I felt compelled to fill them with some last minute activity - maybe another trip to NY for the day, try to get some paperwork done that has continuously slipped to the end of the to-do list all summer.  However, this morning I felt more like just letting it wash over me.  I've been reading updates on Ferguson, opinion articles, quotes, looking at photos.  I am reading it all.  Some articles awaken me to new understandings, some frustrate the hell out of me.  How often I forget the power, the freedom, the privilege of just having time and space to listen and read, and to be moved in any way by writing.  It is not the case for many citizens of our world today. I don't have much to offer in terms of new insight.  I feel like there are powerful writers out there who you should find to do that.  My suggestion is to learn more about what is happening.

I realized this morning that I never posted about one of my favorite trips from the summer, one that offered me time to reflect on my own place in the world.  My good friend from LA was on this coast visiting her parents in Blue Hill, Maine.  I drove up for a few days to visit and it gave me a lot of inspiration.  It is amazing, and also to be expected, how much a little time away from your normal surroundings can change you.  I cherished every moment of that trip - meeting my friend's daughter Bianca, smelling blueberries and salt water everywhere, sipping de-caf coffee with her parents at night and just chatting.

Bar Harbor

The kind of peace one
can only get in Maine

Bianca helped me with my summer reading

The beautiful home I got to rest in

While these books don't speak to the current state of our world, they represent the serenity and peace I found while in Maine.  Change happens when we feel called to action and also when we have the time to be aware of the world around us.

Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney

Barbara Cooney captures the beauty of living by the sea in this tribute to living a fulfilled life.  Alice Rumphius learns that to do this, she must travel the world, live by the sea when she grows up, and to make the world more beautiful.  So she brings lupines to her coastal town in Maine.  At the end, just as her grandfather did to her, she passes these three tasks for a good life on to her niece. 

One Morning in Maine and Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey

Robert McCloskey wrote eight books and four of those books were set in Maine.  This makes sense because although he was originally from Ohio, McCloskey spent many years of his life in Maine.  After spending a long weekend near his home, I can definitely see why.  One Morning in Maine and Blueberries for Sal capture the essence of two very important parts of Maine, the sea and blueberries!  His illustrations should look familiar, they bring these stories to life in the same eloquent way that they did in his well-known book Make Way for Ducklings.

Anastasia Krupnik by Lois Lowry

Ok, I am cheating here.  Yes, there are a slew of other books about Maine that I could add to this list.  Lois Lowry lived in Cambridge, MA for many years.  Anastasia lives in Cambridge in this series of books.  However, Lois recently traded her city life in for a quiet life in Maine and so she now falls into the category of amazing authors who have lived in Maine.  Anastasia is a young girl who isn't afraid to tell it like it is.  I imagine she would be joining in on the protests in our world today.  So, not from Maine, but I am adding it anyway.

Take care my friends, and be grateful for your moments of peace. 

Friday, August 15, 2014

Shake Your Booty

Dance Friday.  Dance.  Because it is Friday. Here is a video of my adorable niece dancing at our family reunion last week.  You can see me hop in for a minute to boogie with her.  If you mute it and play the Booty Swing video below it syncs up pretty well.


Also, check out everything Parov Stelar does.  His music will fill your days with booty shaking.  I'm a sucker for old movies and new music mashes so this video won today but there are sooo many more.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Kid Lit in A Minute

Lots of posts in the ready but busy back home with the family.  I hope you are enjoying the last moments of summer!
Not gonna lie, I won't be buying this version

Here are a few things going on in the world of KidLit.

The Horn Book posted their list of Kid Lit events. Check it out here.  (Boston...what is the Kidlit Drink Night meet-up???  Never mind, I'll just go and tell you.)

The Horn Book is hosting a two-day colloquium in October called, "Mind the Gap" all about the best stuff going on in children's lit.  I'll be there!

The Horn Book and I both missed this amazing event happening at The Haley House in Roxbury.  Irene Smalls is holding her book release party there!  August 14.

A new cover for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was released today.  What do you think?  Some think it was aimed at adults (hipsters??) not kids. A lot of people have mixed feelings.  Some are already having fun with it.

They are making A Wrinkle in Time a movie.  I am over kidlit as movies.  It doesn't seem genuine to me.  Just banking off what's hot right now.  I digress.

I just had to get in on the #ireadeverywhere
campaign.  I may have tweeted multiple pictures...

The New York Public Library is making reading happen with two new hashtags for followers.  The first, a campaign called #ireadeverywhere asks folks to send in photos of them reading.  A lot of celebrities have hopped on the bandwagon.  Yeah!

NYPL is also hosting a game called #emojibooks in which they give you an image with emojis and you guess the book. 

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Soundtrack to a Good Book

I've read two YA novels this summer that feature music as a major part of their story line.  Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell claims romance with the Smiths playing in the background.  Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith, which explores the notion of a young teenager genuinely confused by his sexuality while fighting off 6-foot tall killer praying mantises, repeatedly names Exhile on Main Street as the best album ever. (Side note: despite the seemingly strange plot line of Grasshopper Jungle I really liked the book.) This seems like something new, yes?  I did a quick Google search and found lots of YA books about music but nothing that mentioned music as a part of the scenery.

I wonder if Rowell and Smith wanted the music to tell us more about the characters or about the story.  I guess the marriage of music and story isn't new.  Many blogs I follow are now pairing music with words and recipes.  Spotify recently featured an ad for Zach Braff's new movie that asked listeners to create their own soundtrack for the film.  I like it in books, I think, as long as this new trend isn't an attempt to lure me into a future feature length film. (Or is it?? Ugh. )

It is an interesting notion, and one I think I like, to have a soundtrack go along with the book you are reading.  I listened to music mentioned in both books while reading and when I finished the books.  It made me curious about what music I would pair with some of my favorites. Maybe "Welcome to the Jungle" and Where the Wild Things Are? Lynard Skynard's "Simple Man" and The House at Pooh Corner?


A musical match?

What do you think?  Do books deserve soundtracks to carry us through the stories?  Is this a sneaky plot for YA fiction so they have a soundtrack when it goes to the big screen?  Or maybe this is a new way for "users" to interact with the world around them? Anybody read any other books with music influences?

Friday, August 1, 2014

Dance Because You Can

I have neglected Dance Friday a lot this summer but I am back.  Today's Dance Friday is inspired by a chain of events.

Yesterday I went to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.  God, it is beautiful there.  If you are ever in Boston I suggest you head there before the other museums.  It has a completely different feel and the whole building is art by itself. (P.S.  They also had some famous artwork stolen.  Crazy!

While I was there, I headed into a fashion exhibit currently on display.  There was some traditional Mexican music being played to go along with the fact that the fashion designer, Carla Fernández, is Mexican.  I thought, 'Oh, man, this music is going to make me dance in public at a fancy museum."  As if on cue, the friend who I went with started dancing.  I can't remember his exact words but it was something like, "I mean, why not?"  Indeed!

While we were there we also saw some amazing artwork.  One of the most stunning pieces was El Jaleo by John Singer Sargent.  It was enormous and demanded that you stand and look forever.  This little picture I snagged from the interwebs doesn't do a lick of justice so you will have to go check it out.  El Jaleo refers to a dance called jaleo de jerez.  This is your first Dance Friday video.

I'm also throwing in here a commercial I saw posted on FB this morning because it also deserves attention and we saw some lovely Degas at the museum yesterday.

And now you have...Dance Friday.  However you can, because you can, and because, why not?