Friday, November 29, 2019

Storyteller's Journey

My NaNoWriMo Update

When I registered for the 2019 NaNoWriMo, I knew from my past experience in 2011, that Thanksgiving week is the big hurdle just before the finish line. In fact, this week I only wrote 3065 words for a current total of 49,144 words. Knowing I had the last day of the month (tomorrow) to push over the 50,000 word goal, gave me a bit of breathing room. But after cooking our Thanksgiving dinner, & retiring after midnight, I feel like this R2D2 GIF!

Visit here on Friday, December 6th, for my NaNoWriMo Follow-up!

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Whimsical Word of the Week

Ramfeezled - (adj.)
Example: The woman was ramfeezled after working all day on the Thanksgiving dinner for her family.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Bibliophile's Corner

A Slip of a Girl
by Patricia Reilly Giff

Flap Copy Description:
The family farm is everything to Anna: the stone wall where she sits with best friend Liam, the fields of chickweed and lumpers for tea and supper. She promises her ailing Mam that she'll always look after their home and her youngest sister, Nuala, who needs extra care. When their landlord, an English earl who owns much of the land in her part of County Longford, tries to seize their farm for sheep pasture, Anna is faced with an impossible choice: give up her house to be destroyed or face imprisonment. There are whispers of a growing rebellion in the country, but how can one girl stand up to the earl's dreaded battering ram?

My Thoughts:
This lovely novel in verse by award-winning author Patricia Reilly Giff, was inspired by her own great-grandparents. The historical fiction tale tells the story of the Irish Land Wars; it comes to life through the eyes of the poor country girl, Anna. Her character arc of resilience and determination brought me to tears. It is obvious that the author not only loves Ireland, but did her due diligence with research. I highly recommend A Slip of a Girl to readers aged eight to twelve, and to fans of Ireland everywhere!

Click here to learn about the author, Patricia Reilly Giff.

Friday, November 22, 2019

Storyteller's Journey

My NaNoWriMo Update

This past week I took Sunday off (to clean my house!), but I still managed to make significant progress with my word count. It's a good thing too, since my son arrived from the East Coast late last night, and I'm hosting a group of seven for Thanksgiving. As of last night my total is: 46079. I can see my destination of 50,000 words in the distance. We've got this, Wrimos! 😃

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Whimsical Word of the Week

Flibbertigibbet - (n.)
a person who is silly and likes to gossip or daydream.
Example: While the young man had received a degree in economics & finance, he was really nothing more than a flibbertigibbet. 

Monday, November 18, 2019

Bibliophile's Corner

Gittel's Journey
An Ellis Island Story
by Leslea Newman &
Amy June Bates

Flap Copy Description:
Gittel and her mother are supposed to immigrate to America together. Before they can board the boat to Ellis Island, the health inspector tells Gittel's mother that she wsn't well enough to travel. Gittel must make the journey alone. Her mother promises her that everything will turn out fine, but the boat is so big and Gittel is so small. Can she really go across the ocean to begin a new life on her own? The book includes an author's note explaining how Gittel's story is based on the journey to America taken by Leslea Newman's grandmother and family friend.

My Thoughts:
It's always a special experience to be introduced to a new title by the book's author - that's just how Gittel's Journey came across my path! Last summer while I was attending the SCBWI Annual Summer Conference in Los Angeles, CA, I was lucky enough to take in a workshop taught by Leslea Newman. Her presentation was stellar, and when I saw her book, I knew I'd enjoy it. It's fantastic! One big reason I like it so much, is due to the fact that the story is based on true events. The other reason is that the heartwarming immigration story is so relevant for children in the United States today. In addition to that, the illustrations are some of the most exquisite I've seen in a long time. In the words of the book's illustrator, Amy June Bates, "For all children who come to this country seeking freedom and safety." I highly recommend Gittel's Journey to children - and adults - of all ages!

Click here to learn about the author, Leslea Newman. 
Click here to learn about the illustrator, Amy June Bates.

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! 😀

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. 😃