Monday, October 31, 2011

As time goes by

Mrs. Mansfield's fifth graders at John F Kennedy School are eager to show me their timelines during a biography-writing workshop.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Things I Love Thursday

I have a box of letters my father wrote home to his parents during World War II.

I treasure all of them.

But here is my favorite (translation below pics):

It says:

Dear Dad,

I guess you are getting to think I am nothing but a spend thrift. I guess I did spend money.

I had better fess up and tell you the truth and quit beating around the bush. You already know how I made all that money I sent home. I won it gambling and I also lost all I had this month, which was only about $25.

I am going to quit gambling or I won't have any money in the bank. By now you should know I am building you up for something so here goes.

I am flat broke. Go ahead and give me a good kick where it will do the most good.

If possible (don't send your money, but mine) send me $30 by wire or air mail and I promise that I won't gamble anymore. I have learnt my lesson.

Don't tell Mom.

Also tell me how much I have in the bank. Mom said that she sold my car. How much did she get?

Well, that is enough of my troubles. Hope you are doing a better job at saving than I am.

I hope to get Harriet an engagement ring in Sept, for some day I hope to get married. Don't tell Mother that, at least for a while.

Well, be good.

Remember I will never gamble any more.

Your bad boy,

Here is Bad Boy Bill and Harriet (my mother):

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Read this book

I loved Saint Louis Armstrong Beach

by Brenda Woods.

Combine one brilliantly-portrayed character (clarinet-playing Saint), the colorful setting of New Orleans, one heart-tugging stray dog, and the devastation of Hurricane Katrina and you have one wonderful read.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Are we having fun yet?

I was sorting through family photos the other day and came across this one from a trip to Belgium a number of years ago.

These are tourists on a canal boat tour.

Are they having fun yet? Haha!

Friday, October 21, 2011

I love kids

From a student:

To me, your [sic] the best author of all time.

I love kids.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Things I Love Thursday

In 1944, my parents were sweethearts, window-shopping before my father went off to the war.

My mother saw a little red suede jacket that she loved.

My father bought it for her.

67 years later

I love it, too.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


How to Steal a Dog was featured on NBC Nightly News last night in a piece about helping kids cope with this tough economy.

This is the preview.

And this is the piece that aired.

I'm happy to have this wonderful exposure, but, is bittersweet. I wish the economy weren't such that this kind of bibliotherapy is needed.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Travelling in my slippers

I've been doing quite a few Skype visits with schools recently.

It still seems amazing to me that I can chat with kids in faraway places right from my home.

I didn't even have to change out of my slippers to visit Georgia:

Or Texas:

Or Thailand:

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Read this book

I am so bad at book reviewing, that I decided I'm just going to steal other people's reviews and then say:

Read this book.

Monika, Monika, Monika, you did it again. Wow!

Note: This got published before I got the link inserted, so, sorry if you didn't get this link.

Bog walk

A slow news day today, so I'm posting a panoramic pic of my favorite place to walk
(a cranberry bog)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

They did it again!

You might remember my obsession with Cafe Francais.

I am, once more, in mourning.

They have gone and changed the packaging again!!

It's not even a real CAN.

It's cardboard.

They better not have changed that delicious "coffee" inside.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Pumpkin Day

It was in the 80s over the weekend here in New England.

A great day to go pumpkin shopping!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Love that Gracie

When I was awarded the William Allen White Award for the state of Kansas, the student who introduced me was the adorable Gracie Schmidt.

When I arrived the first night, she presented me with boiled peanuts (made from scratch by her and her mother.)

Gracie did a great job at the award ceremony.

Last week, she sent me this picture of herself when she discovered BOILED PEANUTS by the roadside.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Some great advice for writers

Hound Dog True by Linda Urban

How many ways did I love this book?

As I used to say as a kid, "Every which-a-way."

Here is just a smattering of sentences I loved. (And that's a good word: smattering.)

One teacher--a man--wears flip-flops. He has hair on his toes. Mattie is glad she will not be in his class. Seems wrong to know your teacher has hair on his toes.

Mattie feels herself blush. She's not sure what a hernia is, but it seems like if you had one, you wouldn't want people knowing about it. Like warts or a bad report card.

Quincy had a way of talking--flat and dull, like stones dropping
plunk, plunk in a puddle.

Mattie feels whatever brave she had sliding out the bottom of her shoes.

Kisses Mattie on the top of her head, drops his hat over the kiss spot. It feels good. Like having a Band-Aid on a paper cut.

There are lots of other sentences in Hound Dog True by Linda Urban.

Go read them.