Saturday, November 13, 2010
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Monday, October 11, 2010
I love that she is content here.
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Many Moons by James Thurber, illustrated by Louis Slobodkin
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Saturday, September 4, 2010
Have those of you with young kids seen the picture book Pete the Cat by Eric Litwin? Pete the Cat loves his white shoes, and we love Pete the Cat!
If you have a toddler, preschooler, or young elementary student, you'll want to check it out. Jazzy rhythm, cool illustrations, and a feel-good moral. Plus, there's this really cool YouTube video of the author doing a live reading. We are having fun watching it at our house.
I hope to be posting about some other exciting new picture books that have been getting repeated readings over here. Blogging has taken a backseat to the back-to-school frenzy!
Thursday, August 12, 2010
- With a dad who's a teacher, J has picked up on the phrase "my students". "Mama, at school, what do you think my students will want to play?" "Don't worry, I will share things with my students." Oh, what are his poor classmates in for?
- Prepping J for a preschool tour this morning I said, "We are going to look around at the preschool and see what kind of things they have there. You'll have to also be quiet and patient for a little bit while Mommy and Daddy talk to the teacher." He dryly replied, "You will need to be quiet and patient too because I might have to talk to the teacher."
- During the visit, C and I nodded as the director discussed the behavior, mindsets, and learning styles of 3 year-olds as it all sounded very familiar and we were reassured in our thinking that J is right on target and a very bright boy. We were no sooner back home and in the door, though, and he was acting up, giving me sarcastic answers, and while in a self-imposed time-out, peed and pooped his pants.
- Lastly, like the naive parents we are, we spontaneously decided to reward J's patience during the visit with a trip to Tim Horton's for some tim bits. Of course after he finished his two, he asked for more. C told him that was all we had and that two was a lot. J's face darkened and he said, "No, it's not. Two is two. Next time I want five."
Saturday, July 31, 2010
Thanks to those who entered. You should all go get a copy from your library. If you need more insight into the story to sell you on it, here is an essay from the author on his inspiration behind the novel.
In His Own Words
Christopher Nicholson, author of
THE ELEPHANT KEEPER
Exactly where The Elephant Keeper spilled from isn’t easy to say, but its origins seem to lay a long way back. If it is, to some extent, a celebration of the English countryside, it must be significant that I was brought up right on the edges of London; that, if I walked up a nearby hill, I could look in one direction over the vast expanse of the city, dark and, in those days, still subject to dense smog, while the other direction offered a view of unbroken green breached only by the spire of a distant church. The novel also emerges from a fascination with the exotic, and as a little boy I used to fantasize about zoo animals roaming the English countryside. In my bedroom I had a long procession of carved elephants, and downstairs, on the hall chest, lay a curving ivory tusk, half a meter long, fashioned into a paper-knife and engraved with the Nicholson coat of arms. I still have this grotesque object.
In 1984 I visited Nepal to walk round the Annapurna mountain bloc, and afterwards traveled to the Chitwan National Park, where I rode on an elephant for the first time. It was during this period that I made a series of radio documentaries for the BBC on the relationship between humans and animals; this work helped develop my thoughts on the differences between human and animal language. About the same time, I happened to visit the stately home of Longleat, in south-west England, where a safari park had been started, and I remember how excited I was at the sight of giraffes grazing in the park, which was landscaped in the mid 18th century. They looked perfectly matched to their surroundings. Although there were no elephants at Longleat, it was easy to imagine that there might have been; and maybe this thought eventually gave rise to that part of The Elephant Keeper set on a country estate.
During my twenties and thirties I began to collect old natural history books, especially those of the 19th and late 18th centuries - which I loved (and still love) for their eccentric illustrations and wonderfully romantic language. When I began to write the novel, one of my aims was simply to enjoy swimming in some 18th century language. The first draft was written in a whirl & probably took no more than six months, but there was a lot of reworking and rewriting. I carried out a good deal of library research into obscure 18th century texts on such matters as veterinary science, horse-breeding, gout, and I visited a number of 18th century estates for descriptive detail. The great country house and deer park at Petworth, in southern England, had some influence on the deer park in the novel. I also spent time with two elephant keepers at a zoo that held, in addition to several female elephants, a very large male. Male elephants are dangerous creatures; this one was not only ill-tempered but half-mad. I learnt a lot about the phenomenon of ‘must’ or ‘musth’, in which male elephants are attacked by a kind of frenzy; I used this in the novel.
Saturday, July 17, 2010
Friday, July 16, 2010
Thursday, July 8, 2010
Thanks to my friends at Harper Perennial for reminding me that Sunday, July 11 is the 50th anniversary of the publication of To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. They are making a big celebration out of it here, including the publication of a special 50th anniversary edition. I couldn't let this pass by without a mention. What a special and spectacular book. And what about Gregory Peck in the movie? So powerful. I think To Kill a Mockingbird may be the only instance in the history of turning books into movies that the movie actually does the book justice.
Saturday, May 22, 2010
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
So, lately this blog has become primarily a book blog! I don't mind, do you? I think most of my readers are...readers! Anyway, I'm here today with some more book news and another giveaway!
Yesterday, I learned of a new campaign from Harper Perennial that combines two of my very favorite things: letters (or letter-writing) and books! To celebrate publication of Ben Greenman's What He's Poised to Do, Harper Perennial launched Letters With Character: An Interactive Literary Environment. The idea is to write a letter to a fictional book character. Anyone from literature that you'd love to introduce yourself to, or that you have a bone to pick with, or just have some things to say to. Isn't that a cool idea? I know there's a fair share of book characters who really stuck with me after I finished their story and I think this would be a really cool exercise.
So, read on for all the details on how to submit your letter to the project. And, if you leave me a comment telling me what character you'd write to, I'll enter you in a chance to win a copy of Greenman's book. (Big thanks to Amy at Harper Perennial for offering to give both me and one lucky reader a copy of this book of short stories!) Deadline for the giveaway is midnight on Friday, May 21, 2010.
OK, read the full project description below. I'm off to think about who I'd write to (kids lit counts too!) ;-)
Harper Perennial presents
LETTERS WITH CHARACTER
An Interactive Literary Environment
On the occasion of the publication of Ben Greenman’s What He’s Poised to Do (Harper Perennial, On Sale: June 15, 2010) we invite you to celebrate the art of correspondence and WRITE A LETTER TO A FAMOUS FICTIONAL CHARACTER
Before there was any fiction at all, there were letters. For centuries, letters were the only way for people in different locations to communicate with each other. But letters have also become a rich and complex element of the best literary fiction. The acclaimed author Ben Greenman explores how letters function in life, as well as how they function in fiction in his new collection of inter-linked stories What He's Poised to Do.
"Ben Greenman's masterwork of stories inspired by letters offers
fresh insight into the mysteries of intimacy."
--Simon Van Booy.
On the occasion of the book's publication, and in celebration of the art of the letter as a form of fiction, Harper Perennial invites you to participate in its Letters With Character campaign, and to write a letter to a fictional character. The letters can be funny, sad, demanding, fanciful, declarative, or trivial. They can be about a novel, a short story, or a children's book, works both literary or popular. There is only one requirement: They must be written by a real person and must also address an unreal one.
The best, most interesting, strangest, and most moving letters will be collected on LettersWithCharacter.blogspot.com.Visit the site to see a selection of those that have already been written: a romantic appeal to Captain Ahab, a moving consideration of middle age addressed to a Garcia Marquez heroine, a hilarious challenge to Agatha Christie's famed detective Hercule Poirot.
And feel free to submit your own letters to LettersWithCharacter@gmail.com
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Saturday, May 1, 2010
Friday, April 9, 2010
Have you ever considered writing a book?
Friday, March 26, 2010
It All Changed in an Instant is a collection of six-word memoirs, penned by authors known and unknown. Some of the more famous who stepped up to this daunting task include: Sarah Silverman, Neil Patrick Harris, Suze Orman, and Tony Hawk. The biographical blurbs are honest, open and run the spectrum of serious to hilarious to poignant and inspiring. All wrapped up into one book, it's an easy, enjoyable read and fun to just flip through and read aloud with someone.
She left me for the librarian. Chris Clark
Sunday, March 21, 2010
Saturday, February 6, 2010
Maybe I'm nesting, because I've been feeling crafty lately. Either that, or my subconscious knows I won't have any craft time for awhile!! I've been making some more flannel pieces for J's board and also for a friend's birthday gift.