Sunday, December 27, 2009
The highlight turned out to be Aebleskiver from Denmark. Here's the funky pan:
And the final product:
We ended up celebrating:
Denmark: Aebleskiver and later a red cabbage side dish
Germany: Beer bread and potato salad
England: Cider chicken and pea salad
Ireland: Irish stew and Irish whiskey
Later talking to Justina Chen, I realized how funny we were. To cook traditional to her is to cook food from Taiwan. What she has grown up with her entire life. And here we were saying for the first time, "Wow, this is good! Yay for being Danish!"
Next year Emily has requested an Italian Feast of the Seven Fishes. The year after will be a Harry Potter Feast. So much to look forward to! But for now, I can recommend Aebleskiver. Try it!
Friday, December 18, 2009
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Friday, December 11, 2009
Lorie Ann Grover says: "When Colleen asked for a book recommend for What a Girl Wants, I went back and scrolled through my goodreads. What have I read this past year, that I'd want to place in the hands of a teen girl? There are so many books! Certainly every readergirlz main feature and postergirlz recommended read. But what rises to the top for me, personally? I've chosen three:
Justina Chen's North of Beautiful because every girl should be challenged to discover her own definition of beauty. Teen girls will identify with Terra as she charts her path away from her constraining, abusive father. They will cheer when she finds truth and beauty through art, and she gathers insight through her new friend Jacob. The beautifully crafted sentences and rounded characters will hold readers with hope and call them to find their own north of beautiful.
Laura Resau's Red Glass is my second recommend. With rich, beautiful language, readers will join Sophie on her journey into Mexico during a summer road trip. An eccentric cast, cultural diversity, and a hint of magical hope infuse this work which will expand the scope of teen girls today. Whether they be touched by the Bosnian war refuge or the six year old Mexican boy who has crossed the U.S. border illegally, the readers' experiences and empathy will be broadened.
And Beth Kephart's House of Dance is my third recommend. The lyrical beauty of Beth's prose just may incite teen readers to reach out to an older generation. As Rosie is charged with tending to her grandfather dying of cancer, she uncovers the life that he loved. Through ballroom dance instruction, Rosie's confidence blossoms until she can stand and give back herself. The sense of community and family love found in this gentle journey will resound in teen readers.
So there are three books of hope, I just realized. As I say to teen readers, "There's hope. Look." (Loose Threads, 2002)"
Colleen Mondor: Oh Justina Chen! Oh Beth Kephart! Can I say how much I love their books? Justina's Nothing but the Truth (and a few white lies) remains one of the funniest and most normal books I've read in ages. And yet it is anything but typical it's just that any reader can see themselves in Patty's frustrations. And Beth's Nothing But Ghosts is a revelation, plain and simple. Such gorgeous writing and such a light touch when it comes to family drama and romance and coming-of-age. A book to sink into!
Colleen went on to say:
"And Lorie Ann Grover. Well, good grief, where to begin with my friend Lorie Ann. She writes for teens and toddlers and she is (in my mind) the beating heart of the readergirlz. When I grow up, I will be as powerful and talented and compassionate at Lorie Ann. She makes my world better."
And I say:
Colleen, I'm in awe of all you accomplish and provide the literary community. AND your amazing love and sacrifice for your family is inspiring. Seriously. Inspiring. Thank YOU! xox
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Ooo. I like the guy kissing her hair. Can you make him out? Click on the image, and it will enlarge. Sweet!
*rubs hands together* Now back to the text!
Friday, November 27, 2009
Lee Bennett Hopkins was the recipient of the 2009 NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children. Several lovely poets organized a celebration for Lee and created a book of poetry in his honor, with the help of NCTE. Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong graciously invited me to include an entry.
The beautiful cover was created by Stephen Alcorn.
My entry was based on the Lee's book Been to Yesterdays that really prompted me to find my voice and form.
Been to Yesterdays
You stretched out your hand
and gave me
Been to Yesterdays.
“Stowed in cardboard
in paper chests”
like my own
waiting to be dusted, lifted, and remembered.
and middle grade voice facing divorce
found my mother,
and me facing the divorce in my childhood.
Been to Yesterdays
took me to my own.
Thank you for
holding out your hand
so that I might grasp it.
Lorie Ann Grover, 2009
Thank you to all the poets who worked so hard to honor Lee! Well done!
Monday, November 23, 2009
I just wanted to share the beauty and joy of the National Book Awards Dinner. So here are a few photos of the magical night!
Dia and I were all gussied up. That's a bird in my hair!
The venue was gorgeous! Flower petals all over the table.
We thanked rgz friends and judges Coe Booth and Nancy Werlin. These ladies, along with Kathi Appelt, Carolyn Coman, and Gene Luen Yang, had worked so hard choosing the finalists!
At our table were the charming daughters of Philip Hoose, Young People's Literature winner for Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice. Here he is kissing his daughter right after the announcement. :~)
Also at our table was Poetry Winner Keith Waldrop for Transcendental Studies: A Trilogy. That's the award before him!
Needless to say, we were cheering for Laini Taylor and Rita Williams-Grarcia! Arthur Levine even dyed his goatee pink to match Laini!
"Lorie Ann is a readergirlz founder, a homeschooling mother, a former dancer. She is also, let me be clear, a bonafide poet who, with Hold me Tight, captures the bewildering eight weeks in the life of a young girl whose father has left, whose mother is pregnant, and whose classmate has been snatched by a vengeful kidnapper. It doesn't make sense, and yet this is life as Estele Leann knows it, life as she must learn to live it.
A novel-in-poems might sound like a daunting proposition; Hold me Tight is anything but. I can't, in fact, imagine telling this story in any other fashion, with any other tools. More words would have been excess and somehow less true. Fewer would have denied us the long dwell in the cracked-open heart of a child. In line after line, Lorie Ann masterfully reveals a child grappling to understand, and to forgive.
I'm going to shatter
into a million slivers,
and none of my pieces
will end up
touching each other.
She reveals as well a child who is already finding her way:
I gather a few bits
and tape myself
back into Dad's arms.
This is what I have
to show he loved me once.
This was me
before I hated him.
This was then.
Sometimes the people who put others on the stage (as Lorie Ann has put so many on the stage) aren't given enough room beneath the spotlight. Today, on my blog, it's Lorie Ann Grover's turn to leap and to touch down, graced.
Saturday, November 21, 2009
So, here's my new info from my trip.
10 Things I Learned About NYC:
1. NYC pigeons are chubby.
2. Mounted policemen will smile at you, but it's best not to share a smile on the subway.
3. There is such a thing as Taxi Court, thank you, Melissa Walker. Wish we had known when Dia was forced out of the cab and left on the curb.
4. Subway entrances are openings in the ground. Do not look for a subway building.
5. Nobody else is wearing fluffery things on their heads.
6. Black is what to wear.
7. King Kong is not climbing the Empire State Building, the Terminator is not in the alley, and Neo is not in the subway, even though you strongly expect them to be.
8. New Yorkers will help people find their way very nicely.
9. One can make $10 walking a dog.
10. East Coast bubble tea tapioca balls are softer than West Coast. No symbolism intended.
Calvin Sims, Program Officer of the Ford Foundation
Harold Augenbraum, Executive Director of the National Book Foundation
Leslie Shipman, Director of Programs of the National Book Foundation
The National Book Foundation wrap up says:
The Foundation's first year of offering the Innovations in Reading Prize saw 150 applications from 30 states."
A selection process was created based on the following criteria: level of innovation, impact and need, with innovation always carrying the most weight. Impact and need came into play only in cases where two programs were judged to be equally innovative. "Innovation" was not limited to meaning only technologically innovative. In some cases, innovation meant identifying a need in the community and developing a program to address that need in a simple and effective way. In all cases, selections were made to reward programs that create and sustain a life long love of reading."
I was so happy and thankful to represent the rgz community! Woot!
Friday, November 20, 2009
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Dia and I have arrived in New York City! Last night we partied it up at the Powerhouse Arena. Today we are off to receive the Innovations in Reading Prize from the National Book Foundation for readergirlz! Getting ready to hit Wall Street with my Docs! And we are off!
Friday, November 13, 2009
Friday, November 6, 2009
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
So, the questions: Does teen literature exaggerate the mean girl phenomena too much? If aliens landed on earth and read teen lit (oh my) would they expect to find mini Cordelias wreaking havoc on every high school across America? Are they so prevalent because it just easier to write about mean girls then nice ones? Is teen lit reflecting what is real in this instance or propagating an unfair female stereotype?
"I'm not a sociologist, but I've read Queen Bees and Wannabes by Rosalind Wiseman and Odd Girl Out by Rachel Simmons. I believe the nonfiction conclusion that girls leverage power in a very different way than boys. Rather than plain facts and fists, girls use words and withhold them to manipulate.
I do remember certain mean girls throughout my school experience, and I've witnessed them in my teen daughters' as well. Anti-bully programs are popular in the public school system in our area. I'm assuming both sexes are addressed.
Maybe the subject is a fad right now, Colleen. And maybe we are looking more at the mean girl herself, rather than the victim who used to concern us most. Stephen King's Carrie flashes to mind. Is this new perspective giving the subject a fresh breath in teen lit? There's a fuller story of the mean girl herself, and there's even the exploration of a placid character turning into one: Tina Fey's Mean Girls.
Those are my thoughts. I'm not overly worried or concerned. The antagonist wears so many masks. Right now, she just happens to have a very nice complexion."
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Cyn, I'm so thankful this generation of teens has our pop culture and more at their fingertips. This just wasn't the case for my mother and her mother.
Whether it's vintage on youtube, or hulu, or project playlist, nearly all the media material of generations past are accessible today.
This frees us as writers to draw on memories important to us, yet still connect with today's teen. Just as you did in Rain is not my Indian Name. It was no big deal to reference M*A*S*H in my novel Loose Threads.
What a win win! My mom will often laugh when she visits and hears Dean Martin seeping from my sixteen year old daughter's ipod. Just goes to show...
Sunday, November 1, 2009
My friend just pointed out Jon Klassen's work to me. Is this not GORGEOUS?
Absolutely inspiring. Check out his website here or his blog here.
He also did preliminary drawings for Coraline. Okay, can someone tell me WHY hasn't Jon been asked to do a picture book yet? Seriously. I searched Amazon and found nothing.
Calling children's book art directors and editors. Sign, Jon!
Saturday, October 31, 2009
Joan and I are launching a segment called: Photototz over at readertotz! We are inviting all authors/illustrators to send a cover of their latest book AND a photo of when they were a tot. We'll stream these onto the blog and collect the entries in the sidebar. It should be fun!
If you'd like to participate, send your images to readertotzatclearwiredotnet Share a little baby smile and celebrate your recent release!
To get things going, here's mine. I'm a tot of 20 months. :~)
Show us those baby faces, readertotz!
Friday, October 30, 2009
Friday, October 23, 2009
I remember the plastic vinyl
squeezing my head
like a tight hug.
Gold buttons winking
as brightly as the aqua waves.
Knowing myself to be
as my grandmother.
We filled the salted air
with our laughter
It's down to our last night hanging out together for Teen Read Week. And I'm so excited we are hosting Dia Calhoun and Sylvia Engdahl. What an honor to have both ladies!
Sylvia truly is the pioneer of Sci-Fi lit for YA. When we saw her active on MySpace, we knew we had to snatch her up and have a celebration for her contributions to the literary landscape. Enchantress From the Stars was first printed in 1971. Sylvia is our first Senior guest.
And Dia is my good friend, nonprofit partner, and critique partner. Her words are luminous.
Here's to an amazing party. And be sure to catch the TRW Tribute rolling at rgz. I loaded 48 blogs of love!!!
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Here's tonight's chat! Cassie will be checking in from MEXICO! Let's hope her internet connection holds. She's concerned...And Patrick is in ENGLAND. I believe he's going to check in tomorrow morning for questions. We totally give it up for Zoe Marriott and Diane Duane for staying up till 2:00 themselves!
We are averaging 10 comments per minute. It's fast and furious!
See you at the chat!
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
And now it's Holly, Cynthia, and Lisa's turn! Come by for the party and celebrate Teen Read Week! Last night we had an average of 10 comments per minute!
See you there!
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
I'm actually focusing on HOLD ME TIGHT rather than ON POINTE as it fits the theme of the evening better. All three of the feature books touch on kidnapping!
Hope you can make it tonight at 6:00 Pacific at the rgz blog. Off to look for an awesome celebratory headpiece for the occasion. Here's mine from last night. :~)
Monday, October 19, 2009
Yay! Teen Read Week is here! I'm so excited. :~)
Here's our lineup for tonight. Hope you can join us as we Read Beyond Imagination. Woohoo!