Ten writers for children. All with something to say.


The Places We'll Go, Part Two

I've just returned from a personal writing retreat in Grand Marais, Minnesota, where I stayed at Lauren Stringer's quaint guest house, affectionately referred to as "The Boat." Without the distractions of the Internet or phone (or laundry and housework!) I was three times as productive with my writing as I would have been at home.

Grand Marais is beautiful small town located right along the shore of Lake Superior. My first day in town I gave a presentation on my YA novel ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY NOT at Drury Lane Books. I'm not sure I've ever been in a bookstore with a more scenic location; the window behind me looked right out onto the great sweetwater sea.

And although most of my days were spent writing, I also had time to enjoy some incredible hikes along the Superior Hiking Trail, which took me to the roaring Devil Track River as well as the breath-taking gorges and waterfalls of the Cascade River.

Experiences like this make me grateful that I have the job that I do, and the freedom to enjoy a week devoted solely to writing. I am also extremely grateful to have friends like fellow potato Lauren and her husband Matthew, who graciously open up their cottage to artists and writers seeking a quiet place to work far from the distractions of home.


Potato Skins

Time for me to develop a protective skin! The pub date for The East-West House: Noguchi's Childhood in Japan is fast approaching. My books are in the warehouse and out for reviews. Since this is my debut as an author, I'm more than a little bit nervous. Yesterday I received notice of my first review, on BookDragon, a blog for the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Museum. I can't complain about the review (which is mostly a summary of the story). It's the blog response that concerns me, because it challenges my facts. I have good sources for my information. Is it lame to write a response directing bloggers to my sources? Actually I tried, but for some reason my post didn't show up. Years ago I carefully researched and illustrated a book about Mohawk Sky Dancers and the building of the Empire State Building. There was a famous photographer, Lewis Wickes Hine, who documented the construction. I relied on his images when developing my compositions. Nonetheless, I was criticized in a review for being historically inaccurate. Readers of the review would not know that there were photos showing my illustrations to be correct. The words of the reviewer were already out there, and surely any self-respecting librarian wouldn't want to order a book they thought to be inaccurate. Arrgh! I'd love to hear how the rest of you seasoned authors deal with reviews.


Summers past

I'm not sure why, but summer seems to be the most nostalgic season. Perhaps because I wasn't in school, where the routine days just meld into one another and only bad memories tend to stick out. Summers for me meant haying season and a lot of work, but they also meant visiting cousins and of course, my birthday. As a child, aren't birthdays just the most important day? Well, that certianly changes as we age, but some things don't. I still love getting books for presents, although nowadays, more often as not, they come in the form of a giftcard so I can pick my own. ( Better yet, I say.) But I still own most of the books I got as a child. Here's a sampling, do you recognize any?