Thought for the Day:
“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”
~ Thomas A. Edison ~
Gifts for My Writer Friends:
Would you like to notch up your scene conflict? K. M. Weiland has some great ideas HERE.
Query letters are so important and so hard. GalleyCat has a post HERE with 23 Literary Agent Query Letters that Worked. For me, seeing examples of good work is an awfully good way to learn. Check it out.
And if that isn’t enough on query letters, HERE is a post from the Irene Goodman Literary Agency about what makes the perfect query letter.
I drove to Ashland, Oregon, recently with a friend and saw a couple of very interesting productions at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. If you ever have a chance to get to Ashland, do it. First, it is a charming little town in a beautiful part of the country. Secondly, the Festival, which runs from mid-February through the end of October, mounts several productions each year. This year there were eleven plays, four of which were Shakespeare plays and one was Shakespeare related. We saw Henry V and Love’s Labour’s Lost. Both were terrific and we had a great time.
I hope you all had a wonderful holiday weekend last week. I took the weekend off from blogging to catch up on some other things.
When I last posted, I offered an ARC of Kate DiCamillo’s newest book, Louisiana’s Way Home, to one of you. This week’s winner is Nancy! Nancy always posts my link on social media for extra chances and sometimes that pays off. Congratulations, Nancy. I will get your book out to you soon.
I mentioned on a post recently I will no longer be giving away hardback copies I review as I will donate those to my granddaughter’s charter school library. This week I have two reviews — one to donate to the library and one to give to one of you. Just Under the Clouds by Melissa Sarno is a book I received from the San Francisco Book Review. It will be going to the library. Here is my review for SFBR.
Cora and her sister, Adare, live with their mom in a shabby little apartment in a scary building. But maybe that’s better than having to move again to a place that might be worse. Cora tracks places in her life in a notebook her father left. They have moved a lot since Cora and Adare’s father died suddenly. Sometimes, when you don’t have much, you have to hang on to anything you can and you have to take on a lot of responsibility. Cora does. Adare is different, in a special school, and Cora has to take care of her after school until Mom can meet them. It’s hard — hard to have friends, hard to feel safe — just hard for a middle-schooler to take on so much. When they are forced to move again, the girls get a taste of a much different life.
Author Melissa Sarno has written a wonderful debut middle-grade novel with a story that is moving, complex, and layered, with characters readers can really identify with and care about, with situations that are heart-wrenching and real, with writing that is beautiful. This book deserves readership beyond the intended middle-grade audience.
I sometimes receive books directly from publishers. Scholastic recently sent me an ARC of a new MG book that is coming out soon that is for the youngest of the MG set. This is a group for which I don’t usually read, but I think there is a real need for books that transition kids into the middle grades and for reluctant readers in the MG group. This book should be attractive to many trying to make that leap. Bobs and Tweets Trick or Tweet by Pepper Springfield (AKA Judy Newman from Scholastic Publishing) is illustrated by Kristy Caldwell. The story, which is written in rhyming stanzas, but without the strict meter found in picture books, is much longer than those written for younger kids. It is described as Dr. Seuss meets Captain Underpants, and I think that is an apt description. The story is a cute halloween story with a town contest for the Best Halloween Block. Bobs and Tweets (last names, not first) are out to make sure their block wins. They have to overcome everything from zombies to spooky houses, from a family feud to a power outage. But it is Halloween and, for kids, there is probably not any holiday that is more fun than this. The cartoonish illustrations are the perfect accompaniment to this story and help to complete it. The many chapters will be attractive to kids making the transition to more hefty MG books.
I have a gently-read ARC of Bobs and Tweets Trick or Tweets for one of you. All you need do is be a follower or subscriber (it’s free!), have a U.S. address, and leave a comment below. If you would like extra chances, please share the link to this post on Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media outlet and let me know you have done that. If you are reading this in your email, please click HERE to get to my blog, then click on the title of the post, and leave a comment. And don’t forget to check for other Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday posts at the Greg Pattridge’s blog HERE.