Monday, July 21, 2014

How to Steal a Dog Movie Pics

A few more pics from the filming of How to Steal a Dog in South Korea

Mookie with director Kim Sung-ho

That face!! Love.....


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Summer Check-in

Hey, y'all!

I know this blog has been quiet this summer but I have a good excuse.

I've been here:

And here:

And here:

With these folks:

(l to r) Kirby Larson with Winston the Wonder Dog, Susan Hill Long, Augusta Scattergood and me

Doing what, you ask?


And now:

Light at the end of the tunnel (sort of)

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Things I Love Thursday

I love seeing these photos of shooting the movie version of How to Steal a Dog in South Korea.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Rain Reign

As all good Girls Scouts know (and I was one),
their motto is:

when you read Rain Reign by Ann Martin

which (witch) you must (mussed)...

Be prepared.... love a character (or 2) with all your heart hate a character (and maybe understand him a teeny bit but still hate him) have your heart broken ride an emotional roller coaster have more understanding of Asperger's syndrome have more empathy for children with Asperger's syndrome love this book

Trust (trussed) me 

(Coming October 2014 from Feiwel and Friends)

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Absolutely Almost

Hey y'all.

Remember that Disney movie, The Shaggy Dog, where a kid turned into a dog? 

Well, guess what?

Lisa Graff has turned into a fifth grade boy!


She must have.

Because how else could she have NAILED the main character in her amazing new book, Absolutely Almost?

How else could she have written such an absolutely perfect fifth grade story?




Read it.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Celebrating Words and Voice

Writing voice.

Hard to define.

Difficult (impossible?) to teach.

But there's nothing I love more in a book than a distinctive writing voice.

I may not be able to define it, but I know it when I see it. Or, more correctly, I know it when I HEAR it.

And if you think about it, that is really the literal meaning of the word "voice" - something that you HEAR.

To me, a distinct writing voice is one that sounds unique. It has a rhythm and flow and melody to it that sets it apart from another author's writing voice.

So here are a few examples of voice that I love:

From Patricia MacLachlan's Sarah, Plain and Tall (even the TITLE has a wonderful voice):

He was homely and plain, and he had a terrible holler and a horrid smell. 


There will be Sarah’s sea, blue and gray and green, hanging on the wall. And songs, old ones and new. And Seal with yellow eyes. And there will be Sarah, plain and tall.

From Cynthia Rylant's Missing May:

Whirligigs of Fire and Dreams, glistening coke bottles and chocolate milk cartons to greet me. I was six years old and I had come home.


Home was, still is, a rusty old trailer stuck on the face of a mountain in Deep Water, in the heart of Fayette County. It looked to me, the first time, like a toy that God had been playing with and accidentally dropped out of heaven. Down and down and down it came and landed, thunk, on this mountain, sort of cockeyed and shaky and grateful to be all in one piece.

From Kate DiCamillo's The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane:

Lolly was a lumpy woman who spoke too loudly and who wore too much lipstick.


The days passed. The sun rose and set and rose and set again and again. Sometimes the father came home and sometimes he did not. Edward’s ears became soggy and he did not care. His sweater had almost completely unraveled and it didn’t bother him. He was hugged half to death and it felt good. In the evenings, at the hands of Bryce, at the ends of the twine, Edward danced and danced.

 From Kate DiCamillo's Flora and Ulysses:

He looked exactly like a villain.
That’s what Flora’s brain thought.
But her heart, her treacherous heart, rose up joyfully inside of her at the sight of him.
 From Natalie Lloyd's A Snicker of Magic:

I think that’s one of the best feelings in the world, when you know your name is safe in another person’s mouth. When you know they’ll never shout it out like a cuss word, but say it or whisper it like a once-upon-a-time.


Lonely had followed me around for so long. That word was always perched somewhere close, always staring down at me, waiting to pounce out my joy.

From Natalie Babbitt's Tuck Everlasting:

The first week of August hangs at the very top of summer, the top of the live-long year, like the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning.




Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Two Things on Tuesday

Thing One

Some photos from the filming of How to Steal a Dog in South Korea:

Thing Two
Every sentence must do one of two things — reveal character or advance the action.
--Kurt Vonnegut 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Joey Pigza

The Key That Swallowed Joey Pigza by Jack Gantos

Classic Gantos
Who doesn't love Joey Pigza?

Coming September 2014

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Two Things on Tuesday

Thing One

Dear Barbara O'Connor:
You are the best writer in the world. I promise that is not a joke. 

Thing Two

Dear Barbara O'Connor:
 I really appreciate you taking time out of your busy schedule to tell us about your book How to Steal a Dog. I learned that some of Mookie's quotes are real but some are fake and are from your brain.

Monday, June 9, 2014


I love this quote from author Kirby Larson SO much, and not just because she references me (but, um, shucks, thanks), but because I so totally agree:

Thinking about the diversity in children's books conversation: So glad it is happening! But worried that it might get narrowed to certain criteria. As a kid who grew up without much, I know I would have died and gone to heaven to read Barbara O'Connor or Frances O'Roark Dowell or Watt Key or Lois Brandt (Maddi's Refrigerator, due out in the fall) to find kids like me who bathed in gas station restrooms or didn't have enough to eat or always wore hand me downs. So write your story. Tell it true. Because there's a child out there for whom that story will be a mirror and an escape. A very important escape. And perhaps, perhaps, even a ticket out. That is what diversity in literature is all about.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

For Frances

Today I pay tribute to my brilliant editor of 18 years, Frances Foster, who passed away Sunday morning at the age of 83.

It was my honor and privilege to have worked with her on ten books during those years.

She was smart, funny, gracious and wise.

She gave the world wonderful books that will live on and enrich readers for many years to come.

When she was honored at the Eric Carle Museum a few years ago, her authors were asked to write a short piece called What I Learned From Frances Foster. Here is what I wrote (with some inside jokes that only Frances will get):

I've learned the difference between walking UP the sidewalk and walking DOWN the sidewalk.
I've learned not to panic when a letter from her begins with the words, "Brace yourself."
I've learned not to panic when a phone call begins with the words, "I have a little niggle."
I've learned to appreciate humility when I receive an email stating: Thank you for reminding me how bad Fame and Glory really was before I got my mitts on it."
I tried to learn from her the proper use of ellipses, but I still don't get it.
I've learned patience, open-mindedness, tact, an appreciation for the creative process, and the importance of compromise.
And to quote the ending of some editorial correspondence I sent to her a few years ago, "As always, thanks for your insight, instinct, smarts, humor, respect, patience and safety-mindedness."
(The latter being a reference to a BB gun scene that I initially thought was hilarious but was reminded by someone wiser that it was very unsafe.)

You can read about her amazing career HERE.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Neener, neener Miss Banner

My love of writing was evident in my 6th grade report card

We have enjoyed Barbara's creative poems, stories and plays. She recognizes all parts of speech and their uses. She uses good form in all written work.

*adjusts halo*

But, alas, by 11th grade, I began to go downhill. 

If Barbara wishes to maintain this rating, she must refrain from talking at the beginning of class periods. AND Barbara can improve her work by being more attentive to class instructions.
 I got an A, Miss Banner, you old biddy. 

Maybe I didn't NEED to be attentive in your class.

And, um, I grew up to be a writer.


Neener neener

And, um, luckily, my English language skills are not genetic.
Here is my father's 9th grade report card: