Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Whimsical Word of the Week

Rame - (adj.)
something that is both joyful and chaotic at the same time.
Example: Giving birth to her first child was a rame experience for the young mother.

Monday, May 23, 2022

Bibliophile's Corner

Osmo Unknown 
and the Eightpenny Woods
by Catherynne M. Valente

Flap Copy Description:
Osmo Unknown hungers for the world beyond his small town. With the life that Littlebridge society has planned for him, the only taste Osmo will ever get is his visits to the edge of Fourpenny Woods where his mother hunts. Until the unthinkable happens: his mother accidentally kills a Quidnink, a fearsome and intelligent creature who lives deep in the woods.
None of this should have anything to do with poor Osmo, except that a treaty was once formed between the Quidninx and the people of Littlebridge that neither group would harm the other. Now that a Quidnunk is dead, as the firstborn child of the hunter who killed her, Osmo must embark on a quest to find the Eightpenny Woods - the mysterious kingdom where all forest creatures go when they die - and make amends. Accompanied by a very rude half-badger, half-wombat named Bonk and an antisocial pangolin girl called Never, Osmo will need all his bravery and cleverness to survive the magic of the Eightpenny Woods to save his town...and make it out alive.

My Thoughts:
Award-winning author Catherynne M. Valente has done it again; Osmo Unknown is the latest in her long list of fantasy creations - I loved it! Her dark fairy tale takes the reader on a wild and imaginative journey, where strange beasts abound! I highly recommend this middle grade novel to readers aged eight to twelve.

Friday, May 20, 2022

Storyteller's Journey

Under the Umbrella
Though I'm a Pacific Northwesterner through and through, using an umbrella is something I rarely do. However, the phrase "under the umbrella" is something I think of quite often. Especially in relation to how my writing fits into my life as a whole.


Many years ago, when I was in a very dark period of my life, a wise person gave me some invaluable advice: "You need more parts in your daily routine that pertain not only to your family, but things that pertain to you - personally. Friends, interests... possibly, a new profession. You need more under your umbrella." I took that advice and found a way through the darkness to see that an entire new life was waiting for me.

Since that time, writing has become my new profession. And though it doesn't pay as well as my former occupation, I've never been happier. However, part of the reason I'm so content is that I have always remembered to have several interests under the umbrella of my life. Beyond my family and friends, I enjoy hobbies: time in the out of doors, traveling, music, reading, and a passion for a variety of the arts.

So, while this blog is about children's literature, from time to time you may notice topics that don't quite fit into that category. 

But they do fit under the umbrella of my life.

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Whimsical Word of the Week

Liberosis - (n.)
the desire to care less about things - to loosen your grip on your life.
Example: The new father felt a sense of liberosis welling up inside his soul, as the love for his infant son seemed to replace his own concerns. 

Monday, May 16, 2022

Bibliophile's Corner

My Own Lightning
by Lauren Wolk

Flap Copy Description:
It's been several months since the tragic events set in motion by bully Betty Glengarry, and the routine of daily life in Wolf Hollow has slowly returned. But for Annabelle McBride it's hard to move forward and make peace with what feels like thread-bare justice.
Newly warm summer days are about to bring a jolt of change on the winds of a powerful storm. In its wake, the search for her brother's missing dog will set Annabelle on a new path that brings her to unfamiliar doorsteps and reunites her with a too-familiar adversary - Andy Woodberry, who was complicit in Betty's most terrible acts. Growing up and blazing her own trail will soon force Annabelle to reexamine deeply felt truths - about people, about justice, about herself - that had once seemed so uncomplicated. 

My Thoughts:
With a touch of magical realism, author Lauren Wolk's My Own Lightning is a worthy sequel to her Newbery Honor winning novel, Wolf Hollow. This poignant tale includes a protagonist that is kind and courageous, and brave enough to examine her own prejudgments of others. Set in Pennsylvania during World War II, this lyrical slice of Americana is historical fiction at its finest. My Own Lightning is a middle grade novel not to miss. I highly recommend it to readers aged eight to eighty!

Click here to learn about the author, Lauren Wolk.

Friday, May 13, 2022

Storyteller's Journey

Friday the 13th!

If you're a writer of fantasy for children, myths, legends, and superstitions are critical elements in the drafting of your magical storyline. Long-held superstitious beliefs are important.

They can offer the writer a premise from which to launch her plot. Whether it's werewolves and a full moon, vampires' aversion for sunlight, or the proverbial black cat and our fear to cross its path!

For me, the myth (or is it?) that one can time-travel through the portal at Stonehenge (near Salisbury, England), prompted me to spend the last decade working on a middle grade novel in which my female protagonist unexpectedly travels through time while visiting the famous Standing Stones. My husband, Michael, and I were lucky enough to visit the World Heritage Site in 2014, on our three-week trip to Europe.

Michael, me, and a shapeshifting bird?
So, if you're a writer of magical stories for children, it behooves you to utilize strange and superstitious beliefs to your advantage. 

Whether you're superstitious, or not! 

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Whimsical Word of the Week

Perfidious - (adj.)
deceitful and untrustworthy.
Example: The schoolmaster couldn't trust the perfidious pupil not to cheat on his examinations.