Monday, November 30, 2009

Looking for Denise

I recently took part in an author blogging panel at the NCTE conference. One of the things we discussed was teachers helping students with letter-writing and email etiquette when contacting authors.

I wish I had remembered to point out something that happens frequently: students not putting their return address on their letters. Often, a student will only put a scribbled (and sometimes illegible) return address on the envelope.

I try to be careful but from time to time, the letter gets separated from the envelope.

I hate thinking there is a student out their somewhere waiting for a letter from me and is disappointed when it doesn't come.

Notice to any teachers reading this blog:

There is a 10-year-old girl out there right now waiting to hear from me.

If your class recently read Dear Mr. Henshaw and was assigned to write to an author - and you have a student named Denise C., will you please email me at barbaraoconnor at mac dot com?

Note to Denise, wherever you are: I'm sorry! I wrote you a letter but I have no address.

Gobble gobble

Our traditional Thanksgiving dinner at the Chatham Bars Inn on Cape Cod.

An amazing cookie house town with a train:

Check out the Polar Express playing at the drive-in movie:

The dessert bar included homemade ice cream for these little cones:

But me? I hang out at the raw bar:

No turkey. No stuffing. No sweet potatoes.
Crab cakes, sushi, shrimp, lobster, oysters, clams.
Ya think I love seafood?

Friday, November 27, 2009

Voices from Down Yonder

If you're in Searcy, Arkansas on December 5, come on by Harding University.

I'll be participating in a readers' theater performance called Voices from Down Yonder.

The event will feature a collection of authors whose works, geared toward children and young adult readers, display the life and traditions of the South:

Kathi Appelt
Kimberly Willis Holt
Alexandria LaFaye
Kerry Madden
and me

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Two cool blogs

How can you not love a blog called Campaign for the American Reader: an Independent Initiative to Encourage More Readers to Read More Books (and um, with a nice little feature about yours truly)?

And that blog links to another interesting blog called: Coffee with a Canine (with um, a nice little feature about yours truly)?

Are you sick of me yet?

(Thanks, Marshall!)

photo credit: Getty Images

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

NCTE Conference

A picture is worth a thousand words...

which is a good thing because I'm not writing a thousand words.

The beautiful Philadelphia train station:

Farrar, Straus & Giroux exhibit booth:

FSG marketing team extraordinaire: Katie Halata (left) and Jeanne McDermott:

Me and Lauren Wohl (right), Associate Publisher FSG/Roaring Brook/First Second:

(l to r) Me, Peepy, Lisa Yee:

Me and author Jo Knowles (right):

Karen Terlecky (left) and me:

Everyone rushing to get to my author blogging panel. (Actually, it's the Philadelphia marathon. I think Laurie Halse Anderson is in there somewhere.)

The Author Blogging panel, organized by Denise Johnson, Associate Professor of Reading, Language and Literacy at The College of William and Mary (l to r) Justine Larbalestier, Laurie Halse Anderson, me, and Lisa Yee:

Because she's always late (hey, that's what Justine said), she missed the photo pose above, so here is a very blurry Maureen Johnson (she's much sharper in person):

Lisa telling the audience how many drafts she does for each book:

A great time was had by all.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Photo shoot for SLJ

Naturally, I was ecstatic when School Library Journal contacted me about being interviewed for their Under Cover column.

They wanted to do a photo shoot and, thankfully, due to my heavy school visit schedule, the photographer agreed to come to my house.

She suggested that perhaps my garage would be the best place to set up.

Here is the garage in my fantasy world:

This is the garage in my real world:

Luckily, because I am a princess and cannot go out into rain or snow to get into my car, I insist that I have half of the garage for MY car. (Can you see the steer skull on the wall by the door? Notice it is not hanging over my living room mantel. It is hanging in the garage. Good thing women are in control of the world.)

So I backed my car out and the fabulous photographer, Jodi Hilton, went to work setting up. What a good sport she was!

By the way, the photo shoot is what the 70 Yoohoo boats were for.

And here's the photo with the boats!

Photo credit: Getty Images

Friday, November 20, 2009

Thursday, November 19, 2009

SLJ Best Books of the Year

The Small Adventure of Popeye and Elvis was named one of School Library Journal's Best Books of the Year for 2009.


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

What a racing pigeon auction sounds like

Don't let the pigeon lose the race

What do you do when you go to Florida?

Swim in the ocean?

No way.

Walk on the beach?

Uh uh.

Play golf?


You go to a racing pigeon auction!

The pigeon being bid on is the one in the lit box.
(The highest bid when I was there was $4700.)

This shows the lineage of the pigeons:

And afterwards, you could have some jambalaya!

I found out about this auction because on a recent flight, my husband sat next to a fantastic guy who runs racing pigeon auctions. I mean, what are the odds?

He was so nice to me and just the person I need for my racing pigeon research. Yay.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Grace Lin Auction

This month's Grace Lin painting auctioned to support the Foundation for Children's Books.

Bid here.

NCTE Schedule

For those of you headed to the NCTE convention in Philadelphia this weekend, my schedule is below.

I'm looking forward to meeting new friends and reconnecting with old ones.

Saturday, November 21
Books for Children Luncheon
Marriott Grand Ballroom, Salon A
5th Floor

Saturday, November 21
Panel discussion: Author Blogs: Connections, Collaborations and Creativity

With Laurie Halse Anderson, Maureen Johnson, Justine Larbalestier, and Lisa Yee
Convention Center; Street Level; Room 103A

Sunday, November 22
9 a.m. - 11 a.m.
Book signing at Farrar, Straus & Giroux/Macmillan Booth 513

Monday, November 16, 2009

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Book lamp

This lamp turns off when you put the book on it and back on when you lift the book off.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Closing shop again

Once again, I'm closing up my blogging shop for a few days.

I lost my dear friend, Joe Guccione (age 62) after a valiant battle with ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease).

My husband and I spent almost every Saturday for a year and a half with Joe and his wife, my dear, dear friend, Leslie.

Saturdays will never be the same. is hard sometimes.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

NCTE blogging panel

I'll be at the NCTE conference in Philadelphia November 20-22. I'll be speaking on a panel about author blogs with Laurie Halse Anderson, Lisa Yee, Maureen, Johnson, and Justine Larbalestier

(For an easier to read version of the info below, click here.)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Some awesome writing

From a biography of his mother, written by a fifth grader:

Original version:

She hated putting price stickers on plastic bags at her father's bakery.

Revised version:

Peel, stick. Peel, stick. She hated her job. Her fingers were aching, shaking and sore as she put price tags on plastic bags at her father's bakery.