Ten writers for children. All with something to say.


Cook's Choice for Edie Hemingway

My husband is the cook in our house.  He's the one who experiments with new recipes, grills or stews over the open campfire, is delighted with kitchen gadget gifts, and subscribes to Cook's Illustrated magazine.  Don't get me wrong.  I can and do cook, but for me it's a chore--that is until it comes to baking bread.  My one and only specialty that draws the entire family to my table is "Shredded Wheat and Molasses Bread."  No bread machine for me!  There's something therapeutic about the measuring, mixing, kneading, and waiting that soothes my nerves, raises my spirits, gives me a sense of accomplishment, and fills the house with a delicious aroma and anticipation.  But it wasn't until I sat down to write this week's blog topic on "Cook's Choice" that I thought to liken bread baking to writing:
  1.  Both require a time commitment.
  2. Both involve mixing ingredients.
  3. Both require patience.
  4. Both require a leavening agent--"an addition that causes general change or modification."
  5. Both require kneading--"mixing and working into a uniform mass."
  6. Both require a time to rise (or resonate).
  7. Both require revision--punching down, mixing again--sometimes more than once.  A rising and falling of action.
  8. Both require baking--a time to harden or solidify through heat (or patience).
  9. Both may be presented to eager hands.
  10. And, finally, both are devoured by hungry appetites.
So, next time you can't decide what to cook or what to write, try baking bread.  Dive into the dough, get your hands messy, knead it until it's smooth.  Be patient and persistent.  Savor the taste.  The result is worth it.


I Don't Know How to Cook

You have touched a delicate issue. I cook for my husband, and he likes my meals. But when I cook for company, I always ruin something. It's so bad that a friend asked me no to invite anybody to my house to eat.
I, however, know how to write recipes. To your right is one inpsired by Frida Kahlo's recipe book. It's published in my book Frida: Viva la Vida! Long Live Life.

I challenge you to write a recipe for Peace.

A spot of cheer in bleak times

Cardinal In A Tree
by Christy Hale

New for 2008. 8 cards and red envelopes.
Greeting: "Season's Greetings."
Size: 5 x 7"
Item# 69861
$17.95/$14.36 Members

The award-winning MoMA holiday card program has been in existence for more than a half century. Initially, the Museum invited artists whose work was represented in the collection to create original designs, including Alexander Calder, Henri Matisse, and Andy Warhol. We have expanded the program over the years to include images from MoMA's permanent collection as well as new designs by talented contemporary graphic artists, illustrators, and designers.



Top Ten Questions Asked During School Visits

I have been doing a lot of school visits this fall. As a former elementary teacher, I love having the opportunity to work with students again. During my visits I get asked many questions, frequently along the lines of "Where do you get your ideas?" and "Is it hard being an author?" but here are some of the more memorable questions I've been asked over the years:

#1 "May I touch your hair?"

Yes, if you are gentle.

#2 "What kind of underwear do you have on?"

That's kind of a private question. Does anyone have a less private question?

#3 "Why aren't you married?"

I haven't found the right person yet.

#4 "I got a puppy last night!"

Congratulations! How very exciting!

#5 "My cousin got a puppy two weeks ago!"

That's exciting too.

#6 "My cousin had a puppy that ate an entire box of chocolate covered peanuts and then got sick and threw up all over his bed and then my cousin got sick and threw up too!"

Wow. Does anyone have an asking question about writing or illustrating instead of a telling story?

#7 "How do you write the words so neatly at the bottom of each page of the book?"

Actually, I don't write the words at the bottom of each page. A machine prints the words in the books for me. (When the students discover that I haven't actually hand-written all my books, their admiration for me drops considerably).

#8 "Did you write Harry Potter?"

(When students discover that I haven't written Harry Potter, the Garfield comic strip, or the No, David! books, my esteem plummets further).

#9 "Can you touch the ceiling?"

( I'm 6 feet 5 inches tall. Frequently I can touch the ceiling. Once again, my status rises).

#10 "Are you rich?"

I'm doing what I love. I have a job where I get to use my imagination and be creative. I get to meet fun, appreciative, enthusiastic kids who tell me they love my books.

Am I rich?

You bet.


What’s Cooking? by Christy

I have always fanaticized that if I won the lottery I would hire a cook. I don’t play the lottery, so guess I’m stuck in the kitchen trying to figure out varied dishes with interesting flavors while managing to coordinate the different times needed for preparing each. Balance, timing--a life long quest. Food preparation should be fun and creative, right? Let someone else do it! I’d rather be cooking up my ideas for writing and illustrating. I have too many pots fighting for front burners on my stove and back burner ideas piling higher each minute.

What’s cooking today? I need to finish designing Nutcracker programs for two different casts (barter for my daughter’s dance classes); finish two complex educational illustrations (rare jobs from my agent so I can’t turn them down); conference call to discuss an artist’s revised sketches then draft follow-up letter with comments (my Lee & Low art director hat); write to a different artist regarding art delivery (same hat); finish book designs and upload print PDFs to NorthSouth ftp site (freelance design gig); write photo archivist from Noguchi Museum regarding backmatter for my upcoming Noguchi title with Lee & Low Books; finish art for the interior of this book, sketch cover ideas; return overdue books to the library; order Christmas presents; get our holiday tree and decorate. That’s my menu du jour. Oh, and how could I forget? I’ll also cook dinner.

Today this blog is my writing.


Cook's Choice

When I was a kid, everyone ate school lunch. Maybe it was the rural area, and the fact that a lot of kids got free lunch, but for whatever reason, we all ate school lunch which made the daily menu a crucial part of our day. And once in a while, that day's square would contain the mysterious words: Cook's Choice. What was that? Just what it sounds like, whatever the cook wanted to make that day. ( I always crossed my fingers that the cook would choose to make sub sandwiches and not pea soup) So our blogging topic this go-round is just that: Blogger's Choice.
I'm in the midst of a move. In the past 18 months, I have left our home in Washington State, moved to West Africa, moved to Wisconsin, and now to eastern Oregon, where we are ensconced in two hotel rooms, waiting to find out when and if we get to move into the house we are trying to buy. So how does this affect my writing?
Fairly adversely. I like routine, to sit down in the same spot every day and write. Having my "spot" changed so frequently isn't easy. And for the first 3 weeks in this hotel room, I've had a rough time. But I've realized it isn't the physical spot that counts, it's the mental one. So last week I finally sat down with my editorial revisions for my novel, spread them out on the bed that isn't mine, plopped down, and jumped back in.
Do I hope to have a more permanent "spot" soon? Of course. But until then, this temporary one will have to do...