Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Perfect Author Visit Part 2

Some of the classes at Hampden Meadows School in Rhode Island made a matrix of some of my books. It was great to see how the students had given so much thought to the various elements of the books and noted the similarities and differences. (And I loved the pictures they drew!)

And after my visit, I was presented with beautiful daffodils! What a lovely springtime reminder of The Perfect School Visit!

And tucked inside those flowers was......WILLY (from How to Steal a Dog)!

Monday, March 30, 2009

The Perfect Author Visit

I had the PERFECT author visit to Hampden Meadows School in Barrington, Rhode Island.

Librarian Jane Austin did everything right. She could write the book on HOW TO HOST THE PERFECT AUTHOR VISIT.

Many thanks to the fourth grade teachers who worked so hard to prepare the students...

...and to the awesome fourth graders at HMS who read my books, asked great questions, drew great pictures and made me feel so welcome!

Ms. Colangelo's class

Ms. Gaynor's class

Ms. Carroll's class

Ms. Waring's class

Mr. Farley's class

Ms. Couto's class

Ms. Clegg's class

Ms. Gluck's class

Ms. Burrow's class

Ms. Bailey's class

Ms. Williams's class

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Eeny meeny miny moe

Okay, still browsing for a dog to rescue.

I want this one.

No, wait....I want this one.

Or this one?

This one?

I think I need 14 more acres and one less husband.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Thursday, March 26, 2009

I'll have a Danish with my coffee....

The Danish editions:

Moonpie and Ivy (Danish title = Postcards from Pearl)

Fame and Glory in Freedom, Georgia (Danish title = Bird and Harlem)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

FSG April Newsletter

Farrar, Straus & Giroux April newsletter.

It's so foreign to me

I thought it might be fun to post some pics of the foreign editions of my books.

Here are some French editions. Kids often ask me why the French publishers use photographs on the covers.

My answer?

I don't know. (Heh....at least I'm honest.)

If anybody knows, please, enlighten me.

Me and Rupert Goody

Moonpie and Ivy

Fame and Glory in Freedom, Georgia (French title = The Spelling Bee)
Beethoven in Paradise

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Another one for the DOG

North Carolina School Library Media Association's Elementary Battle of the Books for 2009-2010.

I love a good battle!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Where is Baxter now?

While in South Carolina this past weekend, my sister and I drove around our hometown, visiting some of our old haunts and reminiscing. We stumbled upon a great antique store and decided that after a rough three days, we deserved a treat...so we went in to look around.

They had FANTASTIC baby cups!!!

I collect engraved baby cups.

I obviously don't need any more baby cups:

But how could I resist?

So, of course, I didn't!!

Check this one out.

April 29, 1918

From Grandma

Don't you love that?

But this one!!

Baxter Moore, Jr.


Where is Baxter now?

What was his story?

What books did he read?

Did he love dogs?

Did he have a garden?

Did he eat grits for breakfast?

Did he marry his high school sweetheart?

Did he make birdhouses in the little workshop in his garage?

I don't know the answer to those questions...

but there's one thing I do know.

Little baby Baxter was one strong little tyke!

Check out the dings and dents on this puppy! I love this!!!

But most of all, I wonder....why was this cup in that antique store?

What road had it traveled?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Heading south

I'm heading down South for my mom's memorial service.

Will be back next week.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Greetings from Nowhere is a Georgia Children's Book Award nominee for 2009-2010.

I love those Southerners!

Eeny meeny miny moe

I'm thinking about adopting a dog.

But how do I choose?

I want this one.

No, wait, I want this one.

No, this one.
I want them all.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Twenty-five glorious years

Today is my 25th wedding anniversary.

Seems like only yesterday.

You can probably imagine a small, intimate wedding party on SAINT PATRICK'S DAY (in L.A.)!

Hint: We had champagne BEFORE the ceremony. Heh!

(Thanks for the iPhone, honey!)

Monday, March 16, 2009

I won!

Guess what?!

How to Steal a Dog won the South Carolina Children's Book Award!!

Two words: WOO HOO

This one is particularly meaningful.

First of all, it's voted on by children - the ultimate award!

And second of all, South Carolina is my home state.

Born and raised there.

Graduated from the University of South Carolina.

And heading down there on Thursday (sadly, for my mother's memorial service. She would have been tickled pink by this award. Sigh...)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

I'm back

Okay, my world is up and spinning again and I stepped back on.

Thanks so much to all of you who sent such lovely notes and comments. I appreciated every one of them.

Isn't it amazing how the internet turns this big wide world into a much smaller one and connects us to each other?

It makes you realize that we can be very different from each other and live thousands of miles apart and in completely different environments, but we all have one thing in common: a heart.

Two little toots

How to Steal a Dog nominated for Pennsylvania Young Readers' Choice Award for 2009-2010.

Greetings from Nowhere named to Cooperative Children's Book Center Choices list for 2009, nominated for the Pennsylvania Keystone Reading Award, and received a recommendation for the Kansas State Reading Circle.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Stopping the world

My mother passed away yesterday...


I'm stopping the world....

....and getting off....

for a while.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


I received an email from a fan recently.

An excerpt:

I'm in a reading group with my school librarian and she has been reading Greetings From Nowhere to us! It's a GREAT book!

I have also read the book How To Steal A Dog, and Fame And Glory In Freedom Georgia and Moonpie And Ivy. and I was wondering if you would want to use me in one of your books.

... I love music, sports, meatloaf, and the color purple!


I love kids.

Monday, March 9, 2009

It only took me 25 years.....

For my 25th wedding anniversary (which is St. Patrick's Day, for those of you who want to send gifts), my husband got me an iPhone.

He just doesn't know it yet.

Of course, I need a manual. I have OMD (Obsessive Manual Disorder).

When I was at the Apple Store, I asked the Young Whippersnapper Baby Salesperson if it came with a manual.

He replied: ???????? [and in his head he was thinking: These old broads are ridiculous.]

So I had to BUY a manual.

Here it is. Only, it took me 30 minutes to figure out why Photobooth on my Mac shows the photo backwards.

I DID figure it out, by the way - it's called "Flip Photo" in the Edit menu, in case you need to know.


Sunday, March 8, 2009

Writing Tip Tuesday

No, you're not going crazy. It is not Tuesday. But this got published today by mistake, so, oh well...heh!

The best writing tip in the world?


So....I offer this post as a testament to that.

I'm not a book reviewer and I don't play one on TV....so I wouldn't attempt to review this book.

But I AM gonna say how much I loved The Floating Circus by Tracie Vaughn Zimmer.

First of all - the subject is fascinating: historical fiction about a circus on a boat, based on a real boat, called Floating Palace. Who knew?

But it's the writing that grabbed me with this one.

I mean, how can you not love a book that starts out:

I shoulda listened to my brother. Right follows Zach like a shadow, but wrong wears me like a skin.

I definitely had to lock the highlighters away while reading this library book, because my fingers were just itching to mark all the lovely sentences and phrases. (I suffer from OHD: Obsessive Highlighting Disorder.)

  • It smelled like dirty boys. And dirty boys are mean boys....
  • My family was a pile of rags now - shredded and torn.
  • Still, the corner felt safe and good, like vegetable soup on a rainy day.
  • Anger and fear took turns with me all night, so sleep did not find me until the pale lavender light wedged its way through the open door.
  • I couldn't picture myself in their top-buttoned world anymore. [I love that: top-buttoned world.]

Lovely writing.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Grace Lin's Auction

Tap dancing and writing

Yesterday was the first Wednesday in ages that I haven't had a school visit or had to write.

So I decided to go to tap dancing class.

I've been tap dancing for FIFTY years.

I take a class whenever I can, which, alas, isn't too often anymore.

My tap shoes cost more than any other pair of shoes I own.

I sent them to a special shoe shop in New York City to have Savion build-ups (which means adding to the sole in a way that adds weight and gives a better tone - named for the tap dancer Savion Glover).

I keep them in a beautiful hand-woven bag from Guatemala.

What does this have to do with writing, you ask?

Okay...I'll tell you.

Author Ann Cameron is a dear friend and mentor of mine.

We have the same editor at Farrar, Sraus & Giroux (Frances Foster).

We became e-mail buddies and grew very close. She was living in Guatemala at the time.

Because she's such a nice person, she sent me a lovely hand-woven bag from Guatemala.

When her book, The Secret Life of Amanda K. Woods, was nominated for the National Book Award in 1998, she invited me to join her in New York for the festivities.

I jumped at the chance.

She agreed to pick me up at the train station.

But these were the days before websites and blogs and Facebook and all that stuff, so we hadn't seen photos of each other and didn't know if we would recognize one another at Penn Station.

She suggested that I carry the bag from Guatemala so she could find me (which I did).

I had a fantastic time on that trip - schmoozing with Ann and the other nominees: Jack Gantos, Louis Sachar, Anita Lobel, and Richard Peck!!


That's how tap dancing and writing are related.

And by the way, that little gold coin in the photo? That's a coin from Guatemala that Ann must have put in there and I never knew it was there until yesterday!!!!!!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


My son has a friend from Korea who translated this advertisement for How to Steal a Dog from the Korean publisher, (Dasan Books).

It reads:

Even though my Dad has disappeared my 11-year-old self will take care of my family

One day my dad and home disappeared.

All that's left for my Mom, brother and I is a car and one gram of courage.

Now Georgina's ambitious project to the world has started.

How to Steal a Dog Perfectly
by Barbara O'Connor/Farrar, Straus & Giroux