book review, Children's Writing, Giveaway, Ida B, Katherine Hannigan, Radiolab, Writing

Ida B — Review and Giveaway

Thought for the Day:
“One thing that helps is to give myself permission to write badly. I tell
myself that I’m going to do my five or ten pages no matter what, and that
I can always tear them up the following morning if I want. I’ll have lost
nothing — writing and tearing up five pages would leave me no further
behind than if I took the day off.”
~ Lawrence Block ~

Gifts for My Writer Friends:
Writer’s Digest sent me a post HERE by Robert Lee Brewer with good tips from copywriting that will help you with your novel. A l. ot of good reminders in this one. 

Kristin Lamb always entertains and edifies. HERE you will find a great post on dialogue. Enjoy! 

While at the poetry workshop at Highlights, one of the attendees spoke at length the first evening at dinner about how poets and all writers have to “put in the work.” He talked about how Jane Yolen writes a poem every day — every single day. Her stuff doesn’t just happen. She puts in the work. I found Steven Pressfield’s blog post HERE a very similar message. It’s important for us to remember that that is how it happens. 

And speaking of the poetry workshop, it was wonderful. David L. Harrison is very possibly the nicest person on the planet, and he led a wonderful workshop with plenty of stellar speakers. It was a very good workshop, group, and kickstart for me (I hope). I can’t recommend the Highlights Foundation Workshops enough. They really know how to take care of their attendees and make sure they have the best experience possible. On first glance, they seem expensive, but when you realize housing and meals (spectacular meals!) and transportation to and from just about any airport in the area are included, it’s really very reasonable. Click HERE to get more information. 

My daughter Maggie and I completed our cross country tour with no problems. I had a wonderful couple of days with her in NYC after the workshop. We rode the Staten Island Ferry (it’s free!) on a gorgeous day and followed that up with a Broadway show and late dinner. Perfect day. The show we saw is The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night. This is the most amazing play I think I have ever seen. So different! Wonderful performances and a terrific script. See it if you ever get a chance. But now I’m home and it is time for me to get back to work, starting with a review and giveaway here.

I took a passel of books with me on our road trip, but I didn’t get nearly as much reading done as I thought I would. Maggie introduced me to Radiolab, a wonderful show that is on NPR. She had a bunch of podcasts on her phone, and we listened to all she had along the way. If you are not familiar with Radiolab, click HERE to listen to my favorite. I now have 142 podcasts of Radiolab on my computer. All I need is time. Anyway, one of the few books I took along on the trip that I actually found time to read is an oldie (published 2006), but a real goodie. It is Ida B…and Her Plans to Maximize Fun, Avoid Disaster, and (Possibly) Save the World by Katherine Hannigan.   Isn’t that a great title? I had never read it before and, since there may be a few others who missed it, here is my review.

Ida B. Applewood is a smart cookie and perfectly happy in her everyday life, but then she has to start school where the teacher refuses to call her by her real name, and the teacher has rigid rules about the silliest things, and Ida B can’t be outside when she wants to. She is miserable until her parents decide to homeschool her. Then she can be where she wants with her friends the trees and the babbling brook and where her imagination thrives. After four years, her mother gets cancer and has to have treatments that make her sick and weak. Then the worst happens. Even though her parents had promised she would never have to go back to regular school, she will have to. And they need to sell part of their property with some of Ida B’s favorite trees to strangers. Ida B reacts in typical, selfish-child fashion and creates some real problems for herself, her parents, and even for some others. 

I really like this book a lot. The voice of Ida B (the story is in first person PoV) is

Katherine Hannigan

pitch perfect and the story is more about learning to deal with disappointment and learning how to forgive than it is about dealing with an ill parent, which, frankly, would have been pretty predictable. The writing is terrific and the voice of Ida B is still rattling around in my head. If you missed this one, please try to find time to get to it. It’s a very quick read, but worth your time. My copy isn’t as gently-read as usual since it travelled to the east coast and back, but it’s in good shape and I will give it to one of you.


To win, all you need do is have a US address, be a subscriber or follower, and tell me that in a comment you leave on this post. If you are reading this in your email, click HERE to go to the blog so you can leave a comment. If you would like extra chances, please spread the word by posting the link on a Tweet, blog post, Facebook, or any other way you like. Let me know what you have done in your comment, and I will put in extra chances for you for each that you do.

Don’t forget to check out Shannon Messenger’s wonderful blog HERE for many more Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday reviews and giveaways.


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