Monday, January 31, 2011

Why I write books for kids

Prison yard

I like to see what the dogs are up to in the yard at night. (I know, I know....)

So I asked my husband to install motion-sensitive floodlights.

We now have what is referred to as "the prison yard."

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Summer vs Winter

Views from my windows

From the dining room window:

From the kitchen window:

From the front door:

From the front door:

From my office (i.e., nothing: snow stuck to screen):

From the family room:

Things I Love Thursday

The button jar I made for Mother's Day in elementary school.
Made from a mason jar with a pin-cushion top.

It's still filled with all the buttons my mother had in the jar a million years ago.
I used to play with those buttons all the time.
I especially love the little bow ones.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I love kids

Letter from a fan of How to Steal a Dog:

I very much like your mottos also. I have mottos too. The mottos are acoonnomatata and sleep and eat. It's harder than you think. Sometimes you sleep too much you miss dinner. Sometimes you eat so much you cannot sleep. Then theres homework. Great doing business with you.

I love kids.

Monday, January 24, 2011

One word....

Thinking like a kid

I've been writing children's books for a long time now.

I've gotten pretty good at remembering to think like a kid.

But sometimes I forget.

Because I'm not a kid.

Recently, I was putting away my WIP for the day when I happened to scan a page.

I had written:

Stella watched as Levi and C.J. and Jiggs headed in one direction and Mutt in the other. She definitely smelled a rat. But she was tired and hungry and wanted to go home.

And it hit me....

A kid gets tired when she's in the department store with her mother.....

A kid doesn't get tired riding her bike.

So I changed it.

But she was hot and hungry and wanted to go home.

Saturday, January 22, 2011


Ruby has been working and working on this chew ring for a long, long time. (This is one of the toys she stole from another dog!)

She finally did it.

A breakthrough!

But I didn't want her to have it anymore so I bought her a new one.

She slept with it last night.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Things I Love Thursday

I love these two transferware pieces I got on eBay.

I'm not even sure what the one on the left it. A "biscuit jar" minus the lid, I think. But I use it for a pencil holder.

The one on the right (with a fox that I love) is a small sugar bowl, but I use it for kosher salt by my stove.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Goodness, gracious, great balls of ice

So, after extensive research and much testing, my husband has determined that these round ice balls (I guess you can't have a round ice cube) keep drinks colder longer and don't melt as fast.

But you need a special Japanese ice ball maker.

Monday, January 17, 2011

My Skype Visit

My Skype visit with the terrific students of Martin J. Gottlieb Day School in Jacksonville, Florida.

Barbara O'Connor Skypes With 4th Grade from MJGDS Classrooms on Vimeo.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

ALA Notables 2011

Some great news for The Fantastic Secret of Owen Jester!

My snowy day view

Children make the BEST reviewers

A review of The Fantastic Secret of Owen Jester from a 7-year-old reader on Amazon:

This is a really good adventure book, and is also a friendship book. I'd say that if "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was a "10" then this book is a "12". I'm planning to read it again. I think my dad should read it too.

I liked this book a lot, it was really detailed. Even though there weren't any pictures in the book, the author described things so well that I could imagine everything very clearly. The only girls in the story were Owen's enemies, but I think girls would still like the rest of the book.

Complete review here.

Monday, January 10, 2011

My lovely gift

My beautiful new blanket chest is perfect in my office.

Thank you, Willy.

Friday, January 7, 2011


I accidentally deleted about 25 comments from this blog and can't get them back. Heh.

So if your comment was deleted, please don't take it personally.

I have read and do appreciate them all.

School visit survival kit

I do about 4,579 school visits a year.

I have my survival kit down to an art.

Here's what you need for school visits:

1. Your books
2. Any goodies you want to show the students (Example: I have Yoohoo boats for The Small Adventure of Popeye and Elvis.)
3. Computer
4. Cord for computer
5. Mac adapter (This is a must. My Powerbook G4 uses a different adapter than schools have.)
6. Remote control
7. Flash drive with presentation on it (backup plan)
8. Extension cord
9. Multi-plug electrical thingie (for plugging in more than one item)
10. Duct tape (for taping down the extension cord to prevent students from tripping)
11. Pens
12. Money
13. Business cards
14. Hand sanitizer
15. Breath mints
16. Book plates
17. Extra batteries for the remote control
18. Water

In my car, I keep:

1. Napkins
2. Plastic utensils
3. Almonds/granola bars
4. Disposable toothbrushes

In the winter, I have:

1. A shovel
2. De-icer
3. Windshield scraper
4. Hat and gloves
5. A small quilt
6. Flashlight

(Don't laugh. I once left a school just minutes before a major blizzard started. By the time I got home, cars were stranded on the side of the highway.)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Look what I got

The paperback Scholastic Book Fair edition of The Small Adventure of Popeye and Elvis.

That's my SLIPPER, not your TOY

I can't seem to get it through Ruby's head that my slippers are not her toys.

She doesn't chew them up.

She just TAKES them.

She even takes them out to the yard (which is why they are now DIRTY).

She finally gave up.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

I love kids

In a letter from a reader about How to Steal a Dog:

Did Toby and Georgina ever learn better language?

Monday, January 3, 2011

My Pals

My writers group has been together for TWENTY years!!!

Here is our annual holiday dinner.

standing (l to r) Brian Lies, Deanna Garland, Delia Weikert, Kim Marcus
seated (l to r) Mary Wisbach, Valerie Kerzner, Carolyn DeCristofano, Wiesy MacMillan

Same as above but me seated far right

Delia opening her gift:

Brian, Carolyn and Valerie as Deanna opens her gift:

Carolyn reading The Taking Tree as Brian looks on:

Valerie showing her gift to Kim and Delia:

Kim and Mary happy with their gifts:

Wiesy showing her little froggy gift:

We ended the night with this cake (which, before it got mangled, said To a Year of Great Writing):