Thought for the Day:
“Inspiration does not come like a bolt, nor is it kinetic, energetic striving, but it comes into us slowly and quietly and all the time, though we must regularly and every day give it a little chance to start flowing, prime it with a little solitude and idleness.”
~ Brenda Ueland ~
Gifts for My Writer Friends:
The Writer magazine has a good article HERE that will help you create complex, dynamic characters for your story.
Derek Haines has an interesting article HERE on Just Publishing Advice that explains What is the Past Perfect Tense and How Do You Use It? It has very good examples.
The folks at Writers Helping Writers always have wonderful stuff in their posts. The post HERE will help you with How to Describe a Location You’ve Never Visited. I have some of these in my WIP, so this is a great one for me. I hope it is for you.
And the isolation goes on. I am interested to see all the ways people are finding to make this time more tolerable. My favorite regional theatre, B Street Theatre in Sacramento, has virtual shows several nights every week. I sure wish I had bought Zoom stock! On Saturdays, they have a show called Maximum Occupancy which is a long-form improv with three of my favorite actors from the company. They ask for ideas from the audience, and then do almost an hour-long improv show. Last night’s show had an additional actor. The prompt from the virtual audience was, “A Flower-Arranging Disaster Therapy Group.” OMG, it was hysterical. I have no idea how they can come up with the things they think of, especially when they are not even in the same room, but are just seeing each other on little screens. Bravo! I hope you have something in your neck of the woods that is keeping you laughing. Since it’s virtual, you could sign up from anywhere. Go to https://bstreettheatre.org/virtual-party/ and scroll down to Maximum Occupancy and sign up! Very fun stuff.
Every so often, I receive an email from a nice publicist for Candlewick Press offering me ARCs in exchange for honest reviews. I don’t often read graphic books, but this one looked cute, so I requested a copy. It actually comes from Walker Books, which is a British imprint that, I guess, is owned by Candlewick. I think this might have originally been published in French, but I’m not sure of that. It is a very European book, a memoir set in France, and the lifestyles of the children in the book are quite different from those of American children. Anyway, here are my thoughts about Sylvie by Sylvie Kantorovitz, who is both the author and the illustrator.
We meet Sylvie when she is in elementary school. She had been born in Morocco, but now her family lives in France at a normal school (a college that trains teachers) for boys. Sylvie’s father is the principal, and they have an apartment in the same building as the classrooms. Sylvie and her brother explore the building and find interesting places to play and closed up rooms that are fun for exploring. Sylvie’s mother is a fourth-grade teacher and is not very nice to anyone in the family, but especially Sylvie. Mom is very demanding and so focused on Sylvie’s school success that she seems to miss the important things, like Sylvie’s talent and irrepressible love for art. Sylvie’s father had been an artist but decided to become a teacher to make a more stable life for his family, but he clearly understands his daughter’s heart. The book carries Sylvie and her family forward as Sylvie moves through middle school and through high school until she is moving on to college. Her friendships change, her family grows (adding a brother and sister), and her independence grows. She even finds a room down the hall from their apartment that she makes her own, giving her privacy and some level of freedom.
Young readers will be interested in the very different way of life children have in other countries yet the same kinds of problems and situations growing up brings to all. The illustrations are cute and certainly add to the story. A book that spans from early elementary school to college is a rare thing and might put kids off but for the graphic form. This will be a good discussion starter in classrooms and could well get reluctant readers engaged.
I have a gently-read ARC of this book for one of you, although I really have no idea when I will get to the post office. It could be a while. 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.