Thought for the Day:
“Do not wait; the time will never be ‘just right.’ Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along.”
~ George Herbert ~
Gifts for My Writer Friends:
Every story needs antagonists, and HERE is a terrific article by Jessica Stilling writing for The Writer called Anatomy of am Antagonist: Writing the Ideal Villain for Your Fiction.
One of my readers, Beth Schmelzer, recommended the link found HERE to me. It is from Cynsations blog and is called Keeping it MG: Handling Tough Topics in Fiction written by Barbara Dee. It is a good one. Thanks, Beth!
Backstory is tricky. Rhiannon Richardson has a good post HERE at The Good Story Company about Writing Backstory: Know What’s Enough.
First, I want to wish all of you a happy and safe Thanksgiving. What can I say about 2020 that I haven’t already said? The pandemic continues, worse than ever, with so many people ignoring the warnings, traveling and gathering. The president continues to ignore the results of the election and sends delusional lawyers to courts and microphones to declare lies as truth. So I think the thing to do is just leave you with some writer jokes and get on to the book review. Here you go. You’re welcome.
How many science fiction writers does it take to change a light bulb?
Two, but it’s actually the same person doing it. He went back in time and met himself in the doorway and then the first one sat on the other one’s shoulder so that they were able to reach it. Then a major time paradox occurred and the entire room, light bulb, changer and all was blown out of existence. They co-existed in a parallel universe, though.
How many mystery writers does it take to screw in a light bulb?
Two. One to screw it almost all the way in, and the other to give it a surprising twist at the end.
How many screenwriters does it take to screw in a light bulb?
Why does it have to be changed?
How many cover blurb writers does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A VAST AND TEEMING HORDE STRETCHING FROM SEA TO SHINING SEA!!!!
I regularly read a blog by Antoinette Truglio Martin, a writer and storyteller. She had a new book come out recently and asked me if I would review it. It is historical fiction and is written for middle grade. Everyone who reads my blog regularly knows how much I love historical fiction, so it was easy for me to agree. Daily Bread is set in New York City in 1911, and it is a very American story. We are a nation of immigrants, and Lily’s family had immigrated from Sicily. Her mother still does not speak enough English to barter with tradesmen for fish or vegetables. Her daughters must act as her translators. Margaret is the oldest and is a star pupil at school. Betta is too frail to attend school or go out at all. Lily goes to school and helps as much as a ten-year-old can. Gigi is only four and wears their pregnant mother out. Papa works at the docks, often having to work double shifts just to make enough to keep the rent paid on their tiny tenement apartment. Margaret goes before school every morning to the local bakery where the kind owners, the Goldbergs, allow her and a couple other children to mix and knead their own dough for daily bread which they can then buy for 3 cents instead of the usual nickel. It is the Goldbergs way of helping poor families and also teaching the children a skill. Lily goes with Margaret each day so she can learn the art of bread-making, even though she is too little to do it yet. As time goes on, Lily becomes privy to some secrets Margaret has kept from the family. Margaret’s best friend, Connie, is told she can get a job at the Triangle Shirt Factory and can get one for Margaret too. But Margaret wants to stay in school and make something of herself. Pressure is great from Mama for Margaret to work in the factory and make more money. Lily faces her own problems with two boys who are also bakery apprentices harassing her, and having to learn to navigate the city when she takes on delivering bread. Great danger seems to often lurk around the corner for this immigrant family.
Martin has written a rich, complex, and particularly American story with wonderfully complete, well-developed characters and authentic details of the immigrant experience of the early 20th century. The writing is excellent and the story is compelling, and will keep older middle-grade readers fascinated, particularly those who enjoy historical fiction. This is a quiet book and pretty serious, so it will take a fairly sophisticated reader. I think adults will also enjoy this one. And isn’t that a pretty cover? That will make people pick up this book.
I have a gently-read, autographed paperback copy 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.