Ann Ingalls, Barbara Krasner, Highlights Founders Workshops, Maryann MacDonald, Odette's Secrets, Sacramento Book Review, The Little Piano Girl, The Treekeepers, The Whole Megillah

A Review of Odette’s Secret and a Surprise Giveaway

Thought for the Day:
“The best way to have a good idea is to have lots of ideas.” ~Linus Pauling~
Here are some links that I think you will find valuable:
For a good article on creating emotional frustration with GREAT examples and good exercises, click HERE.  
Want to know how to develop any idea in to a great story? Click HERE for a good article on that. 
Click HERE for a terrific article on turning any story idea into a great story. 
The winner of this week’s drawing for a Kindle copy of The Treekeepers, (Hold your breath now!) is Carol Baldwin!! Carol is a writing teacher and blogger extraordinaire. You can find her blog HERE, and it is worth your time to go. Carol, I will be in touch about getting your Kindle copy or The Treekeepers to you. If you didn’t win, read on. There will be another giveaway this week.
A couple years ago when I went to my first retreat with Carolyn Yoder at the Highlights Foundation, one of the new friends I made was Ann Ingalls, a writer of extraordinary talent. She  told us about her then-new picture book, The Little Piano Girl, which she had co-written with her equally-talented sister, Maryann MacDonald. If you haven’t seen this charming book, you really should get it. Ann and I have stayed in touch. She helps me with my poems sometimes and we talk writing. Recently she mentioned her sister had a new middle-grade book written in verse, Odette’s Secrets. I decided I’d better order it up and give it a read. I’m so glad I did.
This is the story of a young Jewish girl living in Paris with her mother and father. The Nazi’s invade the city and everything changes. Odette’s father joins the French Army and her mother becomes part of the Resistance. It was bad enough to have her father gone, but soon her mother sends Odette with some other children to the country to live with strangers in order to be safe. There she must keep secret that she is Jewish. She goes to school, makes friends, and even goes to mass at the local church. Her life, while so different from life in Paris, is really wonderful. After some time, her mother has to escape Paris and is reunited with Odette. They move to another small village and, again, Odette makes friends and seems to fit in. She even teaches her mother what to do in mass so no one will know they are Jewish. But is all this enough to keep them safe in these terrible times?
I pick wildflowers for Mary’s altar.
Then I take off my rubber sandals
and wade into the water to look for frogs.
But a sound behind me makes me jump—is it the cows?
No, it’s the village children marching toward me.
One look tells me they’re not here to play.
They look like farmers ready to chop down a big tree.

I can’t recommend Odette’s Secrets enough. Based on real happenings and people, it is a beautiful, powerful book that will take you to a time and place we all know much about, but the perspective is very different from anything else I’ve read. The voice is so authentic, you will hear little Odette’s voice in your head, gentle French accent and all. MacDonald’s writing is lyrical and spare, but carries a great deal of potency.

Maryann MacDonald, photo taken by
Stefan Falke

There is a fantastic interview with Maryann MacDonald on Barbara The Whole Megillah. Barbara’s blog is always really worth your time, but especially this edition. Click HERE to read the interview on Barbara Krasner’s incredible blog. You might also want to check out Maryann MacDonald’s site and learn more about her and her MANY books. Click HERE to go to her site.

I can’t bring myself to give away Odette’s Secrets, but I always keep my promises, so I have another middle-grade book to offer for this week’s drawing. It’s The Fourth Stall Part III – a gently-read ARC. You can see my review of it for the Sacramento Book Review by clicking HERE. You won’t believe the concept of this series. It’s pretty darned funny.
Don’t forget to stop by Shannon Messenger’s wonderful blog for more Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday links. Click HERE to find it.
On the book giveaway, this is for U.S. only. Sorry, but it would be too expensive for me to send books out of the country. But please leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you. Remember, if you have trouble leaving a comment, click on the title of the post and it will give you just this post with a comments section on the bottom. Also, if you haven’t signed up by email, please do. Just look in the upper right-hand corner of this page, pop your email address in, and you will receive an email each time I put up a new post. Your information will not be shared with anyone.           

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