Friday, November 15, 2019

Storyteller's Journey

My NaNoWriMo Update

Since I'm looking forward to a visit from our son, Brian, next Thursday, I tried to "put a lot of words in the bank" this week. Hoping to be able to cruise just a bit during his time here, the last nine days of the month. (He lives in NYC and I haven't seen him since last Christmas, so I'm super excited!) My current word total as of last night is: 29519. Good luck, to all you Wrimos!

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Whimsical Word of the Week

Bedazzled - (adj.)
to be so positively impressed that you are unable to notice anything negative; enchanted.
Example: the princess was bedazzled by the manipulative prince.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Bibliophile's Corner

A Velocity of Being
Letters to a Young Reader
edited by Maria Popova 
& Claudia Bedrick

Goodreads Description:
In these pages, some of today’s most wonderful culture-makers—writers, artists, scientists, entrepreneurs, and philosophers—reflect on the joys of reading, how books broaden and deepen human experience, and the ways in which the written word has formed their own character. On the page facing each letter, an illustration by a celebrated illustrator or graphic artist presents that artist's visual response.

Among the diverse contributions are letters from Jane Goodall, Neil Gaiman, Jerome Bruner, Shonda Rhimes, Ursula K. Le Guin, Yo-Yo Ma, Judy Blume, Lena Dunham, Elizabeth Gilbert, and Jacqueline Woodson, as well as a ninety-eight-year-old Holocaust survivor, a pioneering oceanographer, and Italy’s first woman in space. Some of the illustrators, cartoonists, and graphic designers involved are Marianne Dubuc, Sean Qualls, Oliver Jeffers, Maira Kalman, Mo Willems, Isabelle Arsenault, Chris Ware, Liniers, Shaun Tan, Tomi Ungerer, and Art Spiegelman.  

My Thoughts:
This unique book by Maria Popova and Claudia Bedrick is really a collection of love letters to young readers. Most of the featured contributors address their letters to those young people who they will probably never meet, but to whom they hope will receive inspiration and instruction from their years of experiencing life as adult readers & creatives. I myself was moved as I read about the remarkable journeys each extraordinary person had lived along their unexpected path to prominence. I highly recommend A Velocity of Being to all writers, and to children of every age. (Be sure to follow the talented Maria Popova, @BrainPicker, for daily inspirational articles on Twitter & Facebook.)

Click here to learn about the insightful writer, Maria Popova. 
Click here to learn about the multi-talented, Claudia Bedrick.

Friday, November 8, 2019

Storyteller's Journey

My NaNoWriMo Update

The first few days of my NaNoWriMo journey were super busy, but I knew they would be. (I didn't write at all last Saturday or Sunday!) So, on Friday, I wrote 4,325 words, and on Monday, I wrote 3,975 words, to make up for the lost days. My current total as of 11/7 - last night - is 13,669 words. One of the most difficult things about NaNoWriMo is to meet the word goal without losing your life! ๐Ÿ˜€

Good luck to all the NaNoWriMo participants out there!

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Whimsical Word of the Week

Kakistocracy (n.)
government ruled by the worst people.
Example: The democracy had turned into a kakistocracy due to the unqualified dictator who was the current president.

Monday, November 4, 2019

Bibliophile's Corner

Dear Mr. President
by Sophie Siers and
Anne Villeneuve

Flap Copy Description:
Sam has a problem - he has to share his bedroom with an older brother who is messy, noisy, and just generally annoying. Then he hears about the president's plans to build a border wall. What a perfect solution to his problem - he'll build a wall across the middle of the room to keep his utterly undesirable brother out!

In a series of letters addressed to the president, Sam shares his plans, debates the pros and cons of building a wall, learns about walls built throughout the ages, and begins to see the value of compromise...

My Thoughts:
This recently released picture book is fantastic! It deals with sibling rivalry, and is a subtle political satire. Dear Mr. President will offer the opportunity to discuss with your child issues of tolerance, learning to live with others, and the importance of recognizing other points of view. This beautifully illustrated picture book is extremely relevant in the U.S. today. I highly recommend it to young readers of all ages!

(This book was also released under the title of Dear Donald Trump.)

Click here to learn about the author, Sophie Siers.
Click here to learn about the illustrator, Anne Villeneuve.

Friday, November 1, 2019

Storyteller's Journey

Ready, Set, Write!

It's been eight years since I participated in NaNoWriMo. Right now I'm in the middle of writing several projects, so I thought it would be a good idea to give it a go again. However, I have four events and an out-of-town guest on my calendar this month, so I'll have to be on my toes to get in 2000+ words a day. That same goal was what enabled me to meet the 50,000 word challenge back in 2011.

By the way, for the next several Fridays I'll be using my blog as a way to update my NaNoWriMo progress. I'll mention my word count and my thoughts about the process. My final update will be on Friday, 12/6/19.

Wish me luck! Today is the first day of a very long month. ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Whimsical Word of the Week

Chimera (n.)
a fire-breathing monster with the head of a lion, the body of a goat, and the tail of a snake.
Example: The mother labored late into the night to finish her child's Halloween costume of a chimera.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Bibliophile's Corner

The Tragical Tale of Birdie Bloom 
by Temre Beltz

Flap Copy Description:
In the fairy-tale kingdom of Wanderly, everyone has a role.
Birdie Bloom is a Tragical. Doomed to an unhappy ending, she spends her days locked away with seventeen other orphans at Foulweather's Home for the Tragical, where she's supposed to be learning to accept her terrible fate.
Agnes Prunella Crunch is a witch. The wicked kind. Which means she's supposed to be perfecting her witchy cackle and flinging curses from The Book of Evil Deeds. But lately, Birdie has been desperate for an escape, and Agnes has been in a bit of a witchy slump. The one thing they could both use is … a friend. And with the help of some magical Winds, a wayward letter, and a very unusual book, they might just find each other - and together rewrite their story into one that (just between us...) isn't very Tragical at all.

My Thoughts:
This middle grade novel by debut author Temre Beltz is sure to frighten all fans of fantasy this Halloween! It includes colorful characters, a puzzling plot, and features the unusual feature of footnotes - not surprising  since Ms. Beltz is also a lawyer! My favorite element in The Tragical Tale of Birdie Bloom is the theme of friendship prominently featured throughout the enchanting story. I highly recommend this middle grade novel to readers aged eight to twelve.

Click here to learn more about the author, Temre Beltz.

Friday, October 25, 2019

Storyteller's Journey

Public Domain Photo
Why I Write Ghost Stories

When I embarked on my storyteller's journey, all of my fantasy stories seemed to have the natural world and/or anthropomorphic animals in them. In 2011 I was inspired to begin a middle grade fantasy novel that included those elements, but also included ghosts. The inspiration for this idea was not due to my love of spooky or frightening stories; it was due to something much more personal.

This photo is of me with my maternal grandmother. When I was in college I lived with her since her home was near the college I was attending. After her death, I purchased that house in the early eighties. Soon after, I was in the middle of one of my most challenging times of my life. While crying in my bedroom - which had previously been my grandmother's bedroom - I saw her ghost. It was as if she was alive again.

It wasn't a frightening experience; in fact, it was quite positive. I felt strengthened and encouraged by her specter, even though she didn't speak. I had always believed in an afterlife; this experience only solidified my conviction. Over the years I've seen her ghost only once more, but it was again during a time of trouble. However, knowing that she's nearby, somehow, has always been a comfort to me. I was extremely close to my grandmother, even closer than to my mother.

In the decades since this experience, I've spent a lot of time thinking about the spiritual world all around us. Not only ghosts, but angels and demons. Consequently, it was only natural that these beliefs would end up in my writing. (My MG protagonist encounters her mother's ghost!)

Have a happy and spooky Halloween! ๐ŸŽƒ

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Whimsical Word of the Week

Leafdom (n.)
an area with a lot of plants and leaves that feels like its own world.
Example: The author's fairy tale was set in a leafdom where a society of tiny gnomes lived.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Bibliophile's Corner

Trees - A Rooted History
by Piotr Socha &
Wojciech Grajkowski

Flap Copy Description:
Part botany, part history, part cultural anthropology—Trees goes beyond the basics to tell readers everything they might want to know about this particular branch of the plant kingdom.

Trees explores the important roles trees play in our ecosystem, takes an up-close-and-personal look at the parts of trees (from roots to leaves), and unpacks the cultural impact of trees from classification systems (like family trees) to art forms (like bonsai trees). Looking forward, Trees also addresses the deforestation crisis. Heavily illustrated in the same style as Bees: A Honeyed History, Trees: A Rooted History serves as a beautifully packaged celebration of trees of all kinds.

My Thoughts:
This beautiful book by Piotr Socha and Wojciech Grajkowski is the perfect tome for tree huggers of all ages! The whimsical illustrations are equal parts botanical and fine art, and the in depth information on a variety of trees around the world, make Trees - A Rooted History a must-read. I highly recommend this book to readers eight to eighty!

Friday, October 18, 2019

Storyteller's Journey

Public Domain Photo
The Legacy of a Library

In some ways my community's library system has been more important to my education than my elementary, middle grade, and high schools. The reason I make such a stark statement is that as a child my family moved nine times! (Always within our city, but usually to a different school.) Consequently, I was seemingly always in a new building, never making longtime friends. Thus, the local library was the stable source of information for me. Even the librarians were familiar to me when my own teachers seemed to come and go.

This is the first library I was introduced to as a little girl. I visited it several times as a child with my granny, on a field trip in the 1st grade, & with my Blue Bird group.

(The 1909 building is now the Clark County Historical Museum & is on the National Historic Registry.)

When I was in the third grade this "new" building was built. It's where most of my library memories were made! (It now serves as the Fort Vancouver Regional Library Operations Center.)

Then in 2011 this new state of the art library was built in the downtown section of our city. Early on, I weekly volunteered there for two years.

I also volunteered at the Cascade Park branch of the library. Since then, I've participated in two author events at this location. The most recent, last Saturday.

I was honored to be invited to participate in the Words & Pictures Festival. It's always fun to meet readers (and authors) of all ages, and to sign and sell my books. Many thanks to Fort Vancouver Regional Library for hosting the fantastic event.

As you can see, the library system in my community has been an integral part of my life. I'm sure thousands of Americans can say the same thing about their libraries in every corner of our country. A library is more than a repository of literature. Every branch of our library (15 of them!) offers visitors a comfortable place to read, learn, and meet new friends. They offer weekly ESL classes, provide gift packets to new mothers, host book sales, and on and on. I can't even imagine our town without them. They even provide awesome events like this one:

It will be great to attend this wonderful event again this year!

Make sure you support your library - wherever it is! Click here to read an insightful article by writer and cultural critic, Maria Popova: 

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Whimsical Word of the Week

Misanthrope - (adj.)
a person who dislikes humankind and avoids human society.
Example: The terrorists on September 11, 2001 must have all been misanthropes to have murdered the thousands of innocent souls that  tragic day.

Monday, October 14, 2019

Bibliophile's Corner

Song for a Whale
by Lynne Kelly

Flap Copy Description:
From fixing the class computer to repairing old radios, twelve-year-old Iris is a tech genius. But she's the only deaf person in her school, so people often treat her like she's not very smart. If you've ever felt like no one was listening to you, then you know how hard that can be.

When she learns about Blue 55, a real whale who is unable to speak to other whales, Iris understands how he must feel. Then she has an idea: she should invent a way to "sing" to him! But he's three thousand miles away. How will she play her song for him?

Full of heart and poignancy, this affecting story by sign language interpreter Lynne Kelly shows how a little determination can make big waves.

My Thoughts:
It's always a pleasant surprise to come across a middle grade novel that is entertaining, informative, and heartwarming; Lynne Kelly's Song for a Whale definitely fits that description! One of my favorite elements of the story is the protagonist, Iris. While Iris is deaf, and the deaf community is a significant part of the plot, Song for a Whale is really for anyone who has ever felt like they're not being understood. In addition to that, the research the author obviously put in to portray the life of Blue 55, and whales in general, is so apparent. I highly recommend Song for a Whale to readers aged eight & up!

Click here to learn about the author, Lynne Kelly.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Storyteller's Journey

The Joy of Writing

Since embarking on my storyteller's journey in 2008, one important lesson I've learned is that a professional writer must write even when she doesn't want to. It is the one behavior that I believe separates a writer from an author. That being said, the sense of satisfaction after writing on a seemingly uninspired day, is priceless. Some of my best writing has occurred on days when I least expected it. And, because of that, I treat my career as a job; I show up even when I don't feel like it. Consequently, my life, and my writing career, have been transformed.

There are any number of inspirational quotes about perseverance, encouraging writers to just keep going. What I'm talking about is something akin to a runner's high. I've actually grown addicted to writing - in all its forms. Whether it's blogging, journaling, writing poetry, or working on my manuscript, I feel a flow of life as I type out words onto a digital page. However, that doesn't mean I'm able to write 2000 words everyday - which is what I'll need to do next month if I'm to be successful with NaNoWriMo!

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Whimsical Word of the Week

Hirsute - (adj.)
Example: The sasquatch is a large hirsute creature that walks upright and dwells in the wilderness.

Monday, October 7, 2019

Bibliophile's Corner

The Missing of Clairdelune
by Christelle Dabos

Flap Copy Description:
In book two of the bestselling Mirror Visitor Quartet, "the plots multiply, the world of the Arks gains depth, details abound, and the story envelops the reader as the pages fly by." 
When Ophelia is promoted to Vice-storyteller by Farouk, the ancestral Spirit of Pole, she finds herself unexpectedly thrust into the public spotlight. her gift―the ability to read the secret history of objects―is now known by all, and there can be no greater threat to the nefarious denizens of her icy adopted home than this.
Beneath the golden rafters of Pole's capitol, she discovers that the only person she may be able to trust is Thorn, her enigmatic and emotionally distant fiancรฉ. As one influential courtier after another disappears, Ophelia again finds herself unintentionally implicated in an investigation that will lead her to see beyond Pole's many illusions to the heart of a formidable truth.

My Thoughts:
As I read Book Two of The Mirror Visitor - The Missing of Clairdelune - I kept thinking that at some point these books by Christelle Dabos will be discovered by multitudes of American fans of fantasy fiction who will go crazy for her work. Until then, I'll keep spreading the news! This multi-layered story includes a sensational cast of characters and a plot that will keep you guessing at every turn. The settings (which always are important to me in a story) are to die for - which some of the story's characters actually do. I highly recommend The Missing of Clairdelune, as well as Book One of The Mirror Visitor - A Winter's Promise, to readers aged ten and up. 

Click here to learn about the French author, Christelle Dabos.

Friday, October 4, 2019

Storyteller's Journey

Public Domain Photo
The Experiences We Need to Write

While there are numerous articles dedicated to the qualifications needed to be a Kidlit author, I've always been interested in exploring the experiences needed to be an effective children's book author.

It's important (and necessary) as a new writer to become proficient at all the elements of storytelling, as well as to be adept at using  the English language. Obviously, it can take years to actually acquire those abilities. (I'm still working on them!) But to assume that those are the only skills necessary to be an effective and authentic writer is just not true. In the eleven years since I embarked on my storyteller's journey, I've learned a myriad of lessons. One of the most important, and least discussed amongst writers, is the necessity to live a full life.

When I read a children's book that really resonates with me, I almost always delve into the biography of the author. I'm curious. I want to know about their education, background, online presence, etc. While there are just as many paths to publication as there are authors, I've learned one thing: Living a full life is necessary to be an author with something important to say - something that will speak to children.

Negative experiences I've seen mentioned by successful authors reveal they found strength amidst their struggles. Here are just a few:

Painful childhood
Debilitating shyness
Struggles with identity
Lack of financial support/poverty
Spiritual confusion
Victim of bullying
Struggles with living in a diverse community
Struggles with parents
Dealing with a divorce - as a child or an adult
And on and on...

It's not that you must suffer to be a writer, but you must suffer to be compassionate and empathetic. That's just how it happens. To touch the hearts of young readers, we need to have experienced a few struggles that some of them have experienced. The fact that we over-came our obstacles can give hope to a child who sees no way out of her dilemma. Surviving almost always yields wisdom as its reward.

But, it's not just negative experiences that are required, it's those positive experiences we choose to bring into our lives. Here are a few:

Enjoy a hobby outside of books: Music, art, sports, etc.
Have a curious mind; continue to live & learn
Travel - learn about other cultures
Volunteer - no better way to fill your heart with joy!
Maintain a strong network of friends & family
Exercise - I'm still working on this one!
Discover your spirituality - in whatever form it takes
Conquer your fears - wade into unfamiliar waters
Attend writer events - a great way to learn & have fun!
And on and on...

One of the best ways I've found to help heal emotional wounds - and to become whole - is to infuse the soul with positive experiences like those listed above. (However, there are times when professional help is needed; always  consult your physician or health care provider.)

As you can see, I've written one of my longer posts. This topic has been on my mind for some time. There's one more thing:

You must share your experiences to be an authentic author.

Therefore, let me be honest; I've struggled with nearly every negative point I mentioned above, beginning with enduring a painful childhood. I'll leave it at that, for now. The good news is I survived, and thrived.

Live a full life! Everything you experience will make you a better writer.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Whimsical Word of the Week

Weir - (n.)
a low dam built across a river.
Example: The beavers built a weir that created a pond to protect them from predators during the winter months.

Monday, September 30, 2019

Bibliophile's Corner

The Dictionary of Difficult Words
by Jane Solomon, illustrated by Louise Lockhart

Goodreads Description:
What is a bumbershoot? Or a moonbow? And what does it mean when someone absquatulates...? Find out all this and more in the Dictionary of Difficult Words. Test your knowledge with more than 400 words to amaze, confuse, and inspire budding wordsmiths (and adults). All of the words featured in this book are difficult to spell, hard to say, and their meanings are obscure to most children (and most adults)! Written with simple, easy-to-understand definitions by lexicographer Jane Solomon, this dictionary celebrates the beauty of the English language for family trivia time spent around the printed page. 

My Thoughts:
This week I'm reviewing another great book that features words! The Dictionary of Difficult Words is the perfect book to excite your child about the English language as the school year is just getting started. And yes, as the description above states, there are even words in this little tome to confound and astound most adults. (And, the whimsical illustrations by Louise Lockhart wonderfully illuminate the words in a most entertaining fashion.) I highly recommend The Dictionary of Difficult Words to readers of all ages.

Click here to learn about lexicographer, Jane Solomon.
Click here to learn about illustrator, Louise Lockhart.

Friday, September 27, 2019

Storyteller's Journey

Photo by Victoria Lindstrom
September and a New Start

Like many writers, I find I slip into the mode of student when September rolls around. I can almost smell the #2 pencils and vintage Pee-Chees as I pen this post. Consequently, I believe my unconscious self feels it's time to do the work of a scribe - no matter what. Recently, my writer friends and I got together for our annual write-out at my home and I was super-inspired to begin a new project - which I did. It's the second book in my proposed MG fantasy series.

(By the way, if you're a new visitor to Writ of Whimsy, you should know that I use my Friday posts primarily as an online journal. Thus, the name: Storyteller's Journey! That being said, I also enjoy posting tidbits for writers, and other important writerly subjects I want to explore.)

If you know me at all, you know I love having multiple projects in process - several irons in the fire, if you will. So far on my storyteller's journey this has been the best approach for me. While I know I need to be a consistent writer to be a professional author, I do like having the choice of what to work on. That being said, once I get lost in the setting and premise of a children's story, I tend to stay there for some time.

This current project didn't arise out of thin air. My husband and I traveled to Europe in 2014 in large part to allow me to research possible future projects set in England, France, Italy, & Scotland. Also, since this past summer I worked to polish the first book in the Livvi Biddle Series, I've got Livvi on my mind! (Below is my attempt at art.)

Livvi Biddle - by Victoria Lindstrom
The above digital art was only meant to serve as a bit of a reminder as to what I envision my protagonist to look like - since I couldn't find an online image that satisfied me. However, this doesn't satisfy me either!

In any event, I'm glad to be so inspired this September; I hope to complete the first draft of this second book by the end of the year.

Wishing each of you a great season of writing and/or creating!

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Whimsical Word of the Week

Cachinnate - (v.)
laugh loudly.
Example: The quirky old man made the child cachinnate in the middle of the church service.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Bibliophile's Corner

The Lost Words
by Robert MacFarlane - illustrated by Jackie Morris

Flap Copy Description:
From Acorn to Weasel: a gorgeous, hand-illustrated, large-format spellbook celebrating the magic and wonder of the natural world.
All over the country, there are words disappearing from children's lives. Words like Dandelion, Otter, Bramble, Acorn and Lark represent the natural world of childhood, a rich landscape of discovery and imagination that is fading from children's minds.

The Lost Words stands against the disappearance of wild childhood. It is a joyful celebration of the poetry of nature words and the living glory of our distinctive, British countryside. With acrostic spell-poems by peerless wordsmith Robert Macfarlane and hand-painted illustrations by Jackie Morris, this enchanting book captures the irreplaceable magic of language and nature for all ages.

My Thoughts:
What could be better than a book about words that celebrates the magic and wonder of the natural world? Evidently the British literary critics agree: The Lost Words won Children's Book of the Year as well as the Kate Greenaway Medal for children's book illustration to Jackie Morris. The beautiful book not only inspires the reader to more fully embrace the natural world, it reminds us all of those precious (and rarely-used) words that so perfectly describe our world. I highly recommend The Lost Words to readers of all ages!

Click here to learn about the author, Robert MacFarlane.
Click here to learn about the illustrator, Jackie Morris.

Friday, September 20, 2019

Storyteller's Journey

The Zigzag River near the Willow Writers' cabin on Mt. Hood
Fall is my Favorite Season

My summer included the Willow Writers' Retreat, the SCBWI Summer Conference in Los Angeles, and an in-house write-out, among other fun experiences.

While it's sad to see summer depart, fall is my favorite season of the year in the Northwest. Click here for my upcoming book events. (I'm also planning on participating in NaNoWriMo this year - wish me luck!)

Click here to read my recent quarterly newsletter.

Click here to subscribe to my quarterly newsletter.

Burnt Bridge Creek Greenway Trail - Washington State

Wishing everyone an awesome autumn!

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Whimsical Word of the Week

Bildungsroman - (n.)
a novel dealing with one's formative years.
Example: The author had penned a coming-of-age story, or bildungsroman.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Bibliophile's Corner

New York
Day & Night
by Aurelie Pollet & Vincent Bergier

Goodreads Description: 
Some of New York's most familiar sights look very different at night in this highly amusing introduction to the city. Sometimes your eyes can play tricks on you, especially in the dark. This enchanting picture book shows how New York City can look quite peculiar at night. Each brightly colored spread is overlaid with a sheet of translucent blue paper and when lifted, voila! A space ship and Martian become the Guggenheim, a giant serpent is actually the subway, King Kong's jungle turns into Central Park, and a superhero takes on the shape of a construction worker. Exhilarating and captivating, all the scenes are easily switched between day and night and will take the reader on a unique journey that lets imaginations run wild while revealing that some things at night aren't as scary as they seem.

My Thoughts:
This imaginative picture book is super fun and informative! While young children will be entertained with the book's ingenious format, they will also be learning about one of our country's most important big cities - and that it's not as formidable as it might seem! New York - Day & Night will also inspire curiosity as to how the book was created; a great introduction to a special form of art. I highly recommend this book to readers aged three to seven.

Click here to learn about the author, Aurelie Pollet.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Storyteller's Journey

It's Time for Summer Vacation!

Like most of you, I'm excited to spend some time outside in the sunshine this summer. So, I'll be taking my annual summer break from blogging. I'll be back on Writ of Whimsy in September. Below are two links for you to view.

Click here for my summer reading list for kids.

Click here to read my recent quarterly newsletter. 

Coronado, CA - Pt. Loma in the distance

Have a spectacular summer!

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Whimsical Word of the Week

Ludic - (adj.)
full of fun and high spirits.
Example: The ludic librarian instilled a sense of wonder in children as they wandered amongst the bookshelves.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Bibliophile's Corner

The Path Made Clear
Discovering Your Life's Direction and Purpose

by Oprah Winfrey

Flap Copy Description:
Everyone has a purpose. And, according to Oprah Winfrey, "Your real job in life is to figure out as soon as possible what that is, who you are meant to be, and begin to honor your calling in the best way possible."

That journey starts right here.

In her latest book, The Path Made Clear, Oprah shares what she sees as a guide for activating your deepest vision of yourself, offering the framework for creating not just a life of success, but one of significance. The book's ten chapters are organized to help you recognize the important milestones along the road to self-discovery, laying out what you really need in order to achieve personal contentment, and what life's detours are there to teach us.

Oprah opens each chapter by sharing her own key lessons and the personal stories that helped set the course for her best life. She then brings together wisdom and insights from luminaries in a wide array of fields, inspiring readers to consider what they're meant to do in the world and how to pursue it with passion and focus. These renowned figures share the greatest lessons from their own journeys toward a life filled with purpose.

Paired with over 100 awe-inspiring photographs to help illuminate the wisdom of these messages, The Path Made Clear provides readers with a beautiful resource for achieving a life lived in service of your calling - whatever it may be.

My Thoughts:
For the last two weeks I've featured book reviews that are primarily for adults, before I take my summer break from blogging. Oprah Winfrey's The Path Made Clear is the perfect summer read for all adults. The beautiful book is insightful and inspirational. There are bits of wisdom sprinkled throughout it that will speak to all adult readers - no matter where they're at along their personal path. This book is a must read!

Click here to read fourteen inspirational quotes from Oprah Winfrey.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Storyteller's Journey

My Annual Summer Reading List!

Once again it's time to feature my favorite books for children (aged 8 and up) that I've read since last autumn. Merely select a title, click on it, and read my review. Enjoy!

The following fantastic books are listed in random order:

The Girl Who Drew Butterflies - by Joyce Sidman

Caterpillar Summer - by Gillian McDunn 

Front Desk - by Kelly Yang

Counting Birds - by Heidi Stemple

Finding Langston - by Lesa Cline-Ransome

Island War - by Patricia Reilly Giff

Louisiana's Way Home - by Kate DiCamillo

Little Man Little Man - by James Baldwin

The Only Road - by Alexandra Diaz 

The King of the Golden River - by John Ruskin

There's something for everyone on the list. Enjoy reading this summer!

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Whimsical Word of the Week

Kelig - (n.)
butterflies in one's stomach.
Example: The teacher was feeling a sense of kelig as she prepared for her first day teaching summer school.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Bibliophile's Corner

Helen Oxenbury
a life in illustration
by Leonard S. Marcus

Flap Copy Description:
A fascinating, beautiful, and definitive account of the life of esteemed artist Helen Oxenbury.Filled with insights that span Helen Oxenbury's life -- from her early childhood through a career in children's books that started in the 1960s and is still going strong today -- here is an exquisitely designed and thoroughly entertaining celebration of one of the finest illustrators of our time. Written by acclaimed author Leonard S. Marcus, Helen Oxenbury: A Life in Illustration is a keepsake that is sure to engage and delight everyone from scholars to art aficionados, as well as the many fans who have grown up with Helen Oxenbury's enchanting books.

My Thoughts:
This book came across my path as I was perusing literary articles on Twitter. The whimsical cover art grabbed me right away. Little did I know that Helen Oxenbury - a life in illustration would introduce me to the talented illustrator of so many well-known children's books! Learning about the journey of an artist or writer is something I always enjoy. Ms. Oxenbury's creative path is especially inspirational and entertaining. I highly recommend Helen Oxenbury - a life in illustration to any adult who loves art and children's books!

Click here to learn about the author, Leonard S. Marcus.