The Connecticut Book Award winners were announced this past weekend. The following books/authors won in the Young Readers category.
Tuesday, October 25, 2022
Thursday, October 20, 2022
Then my sons went to work in a bakery and started bringing home dozens of unsold doughnuts at the end of the day. They aren't good the next day. I don't find that they freeze all that well. Yes, you can have too much of a good thing. Except for stops at a few Tim Horton's when I was in Canada, doughnuts lost their attraction for me. Having to give up gluten did not improve the situation. There's a gluten free bakery near here that makes something round with a hole in that is edible but is stretching the definition of "doughnut."
Now The Doughnut Fix deals with the classic/cliched kid situation of a child being forced to move away from home/friends. But it's well done. It's good.
- The move is brought about by a believable crisis. Maybe I'm reading something into this, because I'm an adult, but I thought the parents were, again believably, just barely holding on.
- While the friends-growing-away-from-each-other thing is another classic/cliched kid situation, Tristan was believable with it and didn't carry on with it forever. I also wanted to wring the friend's mother's neck. Metaphorically speaking, of course.
- The siblings and their relationships were realistic and unique.
- Let's-start-a-doughnut-business--Also unique. And...doughnuts.
- Finally, at one point I was reading this book and thought "This is a good book about cooking."
Tuesday, October 18, 2022
Time Management Tuesday: An-Hour-And-A-Half Chaos Break, And Now I Am Calm Again. Well, As Calm As I Ever Am.
Why Is Controling The Material Chaos Around You Time Management?
Minimalism And Desks
|Chaotic desk in the old days
- No pencil holders, that's what drawers are for, and no knickknacks.
- No shelf of writers' journals, which you can see in the older picture. I purged them a couple of years ago, moving material I thought I might use to a digital journal and tossing the rest. I can accept that if I've done nothing with an idea I had in the 1980s and have no interest in it now, chances are I'm never going to use it.
- The red dictionary in the old picture is gone. It was outdated, anyway, and I use on-line dictionaries now.
- I see some medical bills in the old photograph. I have a file in the new desk for them, too.
- Oh, and I think my trail journal is on the desk in the old picture. It's not allowed on my desk now.
Wednesday, October 12, 2022
sought it out.
These are books that it is difficult to talk about, because what is not known about them is what makes them so pleasurable to read. I tried to find a review of the most recent book, but I think the two I looked at gave away more than I want to. I can say that both books maintain the same atmosphere, and given that they were published, if not written, eight years apart that's no small task for the author to have accomplished. I will say that you should read the original book first and the prequel second. It's a prequel. Come on.
I can also safely say that I loved the family matriarch, Tipper Taft Sinclair. I suspect I wasn't supposed to. I don't think it says something disturbing about me that I like her but is an expression of how I function in our family. Tipper ran an annual lemon hunt in Family of Liars. I thought that was a fantastic idea, so when we were having a three-generation birthday lunch on my deck a few weeks ago, I ran an apple hunt, which is like a lemon hunt, but different. It wasn't as elaborate as Tipper's lemon hunt, but I didn't think to do it until the week before.
Next year my apple hunt will be more Tipper-like.
But you have to read the book twice before you feel that way. The first time through, I didn't notice that. Give these books a read.
Tuesday, October 11, 2022
Right now I am in the midst of May Days in October, one of the two times a year I get together with some other writers on Facebook and set aside some time to work on something specific. You might call it binge writing.
One of the things I'm doing this time around is using the blueprinting method I learned about from Wendy Maas at a NESCBWI conference workshop in 2016. What it does is help generate material. I don't use this anywhere near enough. If I did, this particular never-ending project I've been working on for three years might be in my rearview mirror. I'm finding it very helpful right now. In addition to revising two chapters during the last ten days, I've blueprinted two new ones. I might stick to the blueprinting and get the rest of this book worked out this month.
If You're Doing NaNoWriMo You Might Want To Try Blueprinting
National Novel Writing Month is just a couple of weeks away. Writing a 50,000 word manuscript in one month is a lot easier if you know what you're going to write. Blueprinting can help you with that.
As part of my Original Content 20th anniversary observance and to offer a helping hand for anyone prepping for NaNoWriMo I am republishing a blog post on blueprinting, which includes a link to an article Wendy Maas wrote on the subject.
Tuesday, December 18, 2018
Time Management Tuesday: There's Always Time For Blueprinting
Or almost. It's definitely something you can do when you don't have time to do much.
I sometimes lump blueprinting in with outlining. It's different, though, in that it's a method of generating material for new writing, while outlining is more about organizing material you already have.
The Basic Blueprinting Method
As described by Wendy Maas in a workshop I attended in 2016, blueprinting involves coming up with eighteen events that could happen in your book, which become your chapters. Then for each chapter, come up with ten things that could happen in it. For each of those ten things, use who, what, when, where, why questions to elaborate upon them.
There's more to it than that. Take her workshop. Or read her article on the subject.
How It's Been Working For Me
I've used this quite a bit for an adult book I'm working on. I don't worry a lot (or at all) about getting the numbers right. But the system is very helpful. When it's working particularly well, I can practically drop my blueprint notes right into paragraphs.
Why Can Blueprinting Help During A Time Crunch...Like December?
Blueprinting can help when you don't have a lot of time because you can do it in bits and pieces. You can work on coming up with a few things that could happen in a chapter at any time, wherever you are. In the car during a twelve hour road trip, for instance. You can answer who, what, when, where, why questions about the items you came up with in odd moments. Make some notes on your phone, tablet, or any scrap of paper nearby. If you can grab ten or fifteen minutes, pull the notes together.
When you can get back to regular work time, you'll have at least a part of a blueprint to use. You can get back to producing content a lot faster.
Also, just tinkering with your blueprint whenever you can will help keep your head in the game, because you won't have gone days or weeks without even thinking about it.
Thursday, October 06, 2022
First off, I feel I should point out that while the book's publisher is marketing it as middle grade, the library I borrowed it from classified it as "Teen." The kids are 8th graders and have access to more social media than I would expect from true middle graders and more freedom to get around. None of this means middle grade students shouldn't read it or like it, just that the more mature characters help explain their access to more mature situations. By mature I don't mean engaging in sex, but understanding racism and that they have the ability to become involved with environmentalism in realistic ways.
Mary Kate is a student in a pilot science class involving climate science in a town near Hartford, Connecticut. She has students from Hartford attending school with her. Living in this area, I can tell you that this is realistic. The kids seem gung-ho for environmentalism, but this makes sense, because they had to apply to attend the class. Only kids who can prove they have an interest and reason to be there are there.
The kids have various interests, meaning environmentalism is covered in a more whole life type of way then in the "let's save the little wild rodent from the big bad oil company" kind of books. Food waste, composting, fast fashion, electric vehicles are among the topics pulled into the story. One of the things I particularly like about this book is that many of the things covered, such as composting and fast fashion, middle grade and above students could make part of their lives now.
Another topic Firestone covers--the connection between climate/environmentalism and race. Embarrassed to say that I was not aware of that. And my trash was going to the Hartford incinerator she writes about. (Interesting sidenote--before the incinerator came to Hartford, there was an enormous landfill there, known as Mt. Trashmore. It was right along a major highway north of the city. Landfills are not supposed to smell, but this one most definitely did.)
Another important aspect Firestone touches on--the potential for knowledge of climate change to cause anxiety in children. This isn't a book that just takes the attitude that children can and will fix everything for us.
The chapters in this story are very short and often in different formats--sometimes a traditional narrative, sometimes a podcast, sometimes a letter. I do like to move along when I'm reading.
This really is a book that should be valuable for a number of reasons. I hope it makes the short-list for the Connecticut Book Award next year, being both by a Connecticut author and set in Connecticut.
Saturday, October 01, 2022
For those of you in the area who can get there, this appearance is around her picture book The Animals Would Not Sleep, which is part of the Storytelling Math series from Charlesbridge Publishing.
Also note that free signed copies of the book will be given to each child who registers. But, remember, separate preregistration is required for each child coming in order for each of them to get a book. You can find the registration form at the Guilford Public Library link above, but, heck, to make this easy, I'm going to link it again. Here.
A great opportunity.