Saturday, September 13, 2014

Some Quick Reads

Good morning!  After an exhausting week, and my heart still hurting, I was grateful to have a quiet  morning in bed.  Staying in bed for a couple of hours on a weekend morning is one of my favorite gifts in life.

Happy birthday Roald Dahl!
(photo from

While perusing I found some cool things happening in the great big world of children's literature.  Here are some for you!

Today is Roald Dahl's birthday!  If you were in England you could celebrate by dressing up as an Oompa Loompa and jump out of a plane!

Do you draw a line for literature being too dark for children?  Interesting article.

Newbery season is upon us.  Folks are gathering their lists, adding more interesting books.  But what does it take?  Check this out. 

Want to know some new, exciting books coming out this fall?  Have a looksee! Or check out this list.

Books ARE fashion.  From Fashion Week in NY to your own bookshelf. 

Moon Dance Friday

Actually, it should be aurora borealis dance Friday because right now, some people near me can see it!  I went out and took a look but my city lights are outshining nature's light show.

Moon Over My Boston

Alas, I will have to dream of dancing under the aurora some other night.  But you? Find someone you love, play this song, and give em a twirl or two under the aurora if you can see it and if not, the moon will do as well.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Hold Fast to Dreams

My dream was always to be a writer and to write children's books.  My friend's mom told me in 5th grade, when she came to teach us about careers, that I would never make enough money as a writer and maybe I should think about something else.  "What about a teacher?"

I love teaching.  However there is some part of me that has always wanted to belong to that community, the family of writers, the people who could tell stories and make you laugh weep cry wonder think.  I wanted to bring stories to people who didn’t have them.  I wanted to give a voice to those who couldn’t speak. Teaching lets me do this in many ways but I have always held a place in my heart for that spot in that other place that I haven’t been able to belong.

When I started this blog four years ago it was with the idea that my dedication to “the magical world of children’s literature and a dream come true” would set the foundation for my place in the family of writing.  I thought for sure this world would recognize the stuff my dreams were made of.  They would know that this was always a part of me and what possibly took me so long to get there.

Little things happened.  I started going to events, I started asking questions, talking to important people in the world of children’s literature.  But the open arms weren’t there.  Their embrace of a long lost family member never happened.  I was told by an “expert” that all the books I loved were the wrong ones.  Clearly I wasn’t thinking enough about what children’s literature really was.  I felt like I was in middle school all over again.  “You dress like a poor person,” was how they told my I didn’t belong then.  “You just don’t know,” is what I’ve been told now.

Cheers to all the "wrong books"
Text from Brown Girl Dreaming
Still, I’ve struggled to keep up, like the middle schooler I was back then, doing everything I could to find my place in this world I so deeply wanted to be a part of.  I tweet.  I blog. I follow.  I attend. 

This summer, the popular group started posting about a book they all loved.  And I thought, “I am going to read THAT book and then they will like me!”  So I looked it up.  The book hadn’t come out yet but they all had an early released copy.  Every day I read another important person talk about this book.  They tweeted.  They blogged.  I felt left out again.  I was too poor to read the book ahead of time.  So I pre-ordered and awaited its release.

Monday my cat passed away.  Thursday I got the call that my time had arrived, my book was available.  

I felt my voice and my heart in these
words from Brown Girl Dreaming
This morning, I sat and read the whole thing in one sitting.  It was everything they said it was.  But it was more for me.  I may not belong to that group, but I did belong to someone.  In the past 16 years as I struggled to find my place among friends, at jobs, in my dreams, Nikolas James Pumpkinhead came with me.  I told him my stories, sang him my songs, cried in his orange fluff when my heart broke.  In this book I read today, words washed over the new hole in my life and gave it a voice when I haven’t been able to speak.  This book started to heal my heart.  No group can take that away. 

So I may not be a part of the popular group.  Your world may not follow my tweets or read my blog.  But today I realized I truly don’t give a fuck.  I’ll keep reading the wrong books and the right books and keep writing even though it doesn’t make me any money.  You may know all the publishers, you may be able to afford to have my favorite authors come visit your students, you may all get advanced copies, but you can’t take the change that happens in my heart whenever I read and whenever I write.  That is my new dream come true.

Me too, Jacqueline and Langston, me too

Monday, September 1, 2014

Goodbye, Old Friend

My companion for the past 16 years passed away today.  I feel like there aren't enough ways to honor the friendship my darling cat brought me. you didn't meet him, man did you miss out. 

Cheers to a long-loved-life, Nikolas James Pumpkinhead.

One month old, back on the farm...16 years ago!

He loved books as much as I did.
And yes, that is a baby picture of him in the photo

Two weeks ago. 
This is how we woke up almost
every day for 16 years.