Thought for the Day:
“I came to writing kind of late. I was an engineer, and the one thing I’ve learned is that you have to steer a project in the direction of the maximum fun for you. You could say lively energy, or you have to try to be intrigued. Basically, if you were a musician and you were playing joylessly, nobody would want to hear you.”
~ George Saunders ~
Gifts for My Writer Friends:
Louise Harnby has a stellar post HERE that discusses Action versus the Intention to Act. This is a good one.
Minor characters are necessary to write a rich, full story, but sometimes they can try to take over. HERE is an interesting post from Blonde Write More on that topic.
Highlights Foundation sent me an interesting post HERE — Transform Introspection into Dialogue by Nancy Werlin.
My daughter, granddaughter, and I have been busy this week trying to see as many of the Oscar-nominated films as possible before the ceremony tonight. We didn’t see them all, but we saw most of them. I’d like to just mention a couple of observations. I don’t often see foreign films, but Parasite is such a terrific, unexpected film, I want to recommend it. I think it might well win Best Picture, and deservedly so. I also really enjoyed Ferrari vs. Ford and Jo Jo Rabbit. I was unimpressed by 1917 and felt the script was really weak, while the sets and costumes were great. It will be interesting to see how this all comes out.
I finished my stack of books from Candlewick Press and want to tell you about the last of them. Trowbridge Road by Marcella Pixley is such a good book and an important book for middle-grade readers. And that great cover! I love it. Here is the review I posted on Goodreads.
It is the summer of 1983, and Ziggy is dropped off at his Nana Jean’s house. His mother is in and out of recovery, has an abusive boyfriend, and really can’t take care of him. Also, Nana Jean and Ziggy’s mother think a new start might stop Ziggy from being bullied for his long hair and odd ways. June Bug Jordan lives a few doors up the street, and her life is off the rails. Her father died from that new disease, AIDS, and her mother spends all her time scrubbing the house to get rid of all the germs lurking everywhere. She is rapidly losing touch with reality and no longer cooks for June Bug. If it weren’t for Uncle Tony bringing groceries once each week, June Bug would starve. Ziggy and June Bug find each other and form a friendship, a magical friendship where they visit an imaginary kingdom where nothing can hurt them. But each day, June Bug must return to her home where her mother is hurting her in many ways. The real question is can June Bug find a way to save herself.
Author Marcella Pixley has written a stunning middle-grade novel that will break readers’ hearts over and over. June Bug and Ziggy are very true characters, believable and fully realized, and also very sympathetic. Readers will be cheering for these kids all the way through. The issues raised in this book — mental illness, addiction, abuse, and more — are, unfortunately, things many young people will relate to. The great news is the book also is filled with hope and love and permission to find resources to help readers who need that help. This is simply a terrific book with beautiful writing and great characters — a very compelling story not just for youngsters, but for all readers lucky enough to find it. Do not miss this book.
I have a gently-used ARC of this book 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. And don’t forget to check for other Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday posts at the Greg Pattridge’s blog HERE.