Book Giveaway, Children's Writing, Chris Grabenstein, Giveaway, Juan Filipe Herrera, Maggie Hollinbeck, Red Roses Green Gold, Welcome to WonderLand Home Sweet Motel, Writing

Jabber-Walking — Review and Giveaway

Thought for the Day:
“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” 
~ Henry Ford ~

Gifts for My Writer Friends:

Steven Pressfield always has something important to say. The post HERE on resistance is no exception.  
I recently came through the mother of all writer blocks, and I have a critique partner who has been having that problem lately. Sure wish I had had the post HERE from Ramey Channell guest posting on Janice Hardy’s Fiction University a couple years ago. 
Having trouble coming up with ideas? Anne R. Allen’s post HERE will help you with that. 

My trip to New York was fabulous. The opening of Maggie’s show, Red Roses

Green Gold, was amazing. It was an invitation-only event, and I really wished I had facial-recognition software on my phone. There were lots of people from the music and theatre industries, and I was sure if I had a better memory, I would have recognized a whole lot of people. I did recognize Edie Falco in the audience, but that was all my poor brain could manage. The cast was incredible — eight terrific singers who all played multiple instruments. Maggie plays eight instruments — piano, accordion, stand-up bass, electric bass, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, mandolin,  and box drum. And she got a nice photo in the NYTimes on-line review. You can check it out HERE. And a little interview with her HERE that has a really funny story in it. 

Last time I wrote, I offered a gently-read paperback copy of Welcome to Wonderland Home Sweet Home by Chris Grabenstein. I mistyped. It’s a hardback copy! Anyway, the winner this time is Natalie Aguirre. Congratulations, Natalie! If you don’t know Natalie, she is a writer and runs the exceptional blog, Literary Rambles. Check it out HERE. There is so much good stuff there. Don’t miss it. Natalie, I will get your book out to you soon. For the rest of you, another book, another giveaway.

I occasionally get emails from publishing companies offering me books for review. I’m pretty picky about what I accept, but when I saw one written by Juan Felipe Herrera, the Poet Laureate of the United States from 2015-2017, I thought I had better check it out. The book is Jabber-Walking and it is unlike any other book I’ve seen. It is a middle-grade book that seems designed to help kids open up their minds, to allow their thoughts to flow freely onto the page, and start them on the road to writing poetry. Basically the idea is to walk around, notebook in hand, and free-write about all the many things that might stimulate their creative side. Mr. Herrera seems to have an unusual fascination with blue cheese, and he often refers to Jabber-Walkers as Burrito-Heads. He has a strange sense of humor, but one that I think the younger set will really appreciate. There are funny sketches throughout the book and a tremendous use of type as graphics, if that makes sense. You will know what I mean if you get a gander at the book. I must admit, I had some problems picturing kids in cities walking around writing in

Juan Felipe Herrera

notebooks. Yikes! There is traffic and curbs and dog poop and other things in the city that, to me, seem to require watching where one is going, but that’s just me. And there is a frenetic quality to the writing that made it hard for me to read (I actually got a headache), but I am not the target audience, and I imagine kids might well just eat this up. 

I have a gently-read ARC for of this for 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 Greg Pattridge’s blog HERE for many more Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday reviews and giveaways. He has graciously agreed to take over temporarily for Shannon Messenger while she is running around promoting her latest book. Thanks, Greg, and good luck, Shannon!





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