Thought for the Day:
“Each time I write a book, every time I face that yellow pad…I think, ‘Uh oh, they’re going to find out now. I’ve run a game on everybody and they’re going to find me out.”
~ Maya Angelou ~
Gifts for My Writer Friends:
HERE is a post from Linda Sue Park about writing a novel. You can learn from a master.
I don’t know of any book that only has one character. They all have supporting characters. HERE K. M. Weiland has a great post, 9 Ways to Approach Relationship Dynamics in Fiction.
Writers are often told the first page is incredibly important, but HERE is a post from Ryan Lanz on A Writer’s Path with 3 Things that Make a Great First Line. It has some great examples. And it seems to me it used to be the first chapter! Things get tighter and tighter.
I’ve had a busy week with my classes. I am enjoying them and learning a lot and trying new things. We have an interim week this week to catch up on things and meet with our critique groups. I need some catch-up time. I’ve gotten a little behind in a couple areas, so I will have to be diligent and make sure I don’t waste a lot of time. This week I was so fascinated and horrified by what was going on in Ukraine, I could hardly take my eyes off the TV. I honestly never thought I would see something like this happen again. I worry so much for my friends in Europe and for the Ukrainian people. I sure hope there is a way to stop Putin. He is such a despot. I know little about Ukraine, but I am learning a lot this week. If you missed CBS Sunday Morning today, there was a fascinating little (7 minutes) history lesson HERE that is well worth your time.
Last week, I offered a gently-read copy of I Survived The Galveston Hurrican 1900 by Lauren Tarshis to one of you. This week’s winner is Donna Gwinnell Lambo-Weidner. Congratulations, Donna! I will get your book out to you soon. If you don’t know Donna, she is a children’s writer and blogger from the San Francisco Bay Area. You can learn more about her at her site HERE. I have another giveaway this week, so keep reading.
Those of us who are members of SCBWI know that we all make wonderful contacts and meet amazing people. One of the people I have become friends with (and am a great admirer of) is Kelly Milner Halls. She is a prolific author and works incredibly hard at her craft. I haven’t read all of her books, but I have read a lot of them, and I have never been disappointed and have always been surprised and fascinated. I had a chance recently to get a copy of her new book from her publisher in exchange for an honest review. That was a no-brainer. I got the book a few days ago and am happy to share it with you today. The new book is Famous Artists in History: 15 Painters, Sculptors, and Photographers You Should Know and is illustrated beautifully by Amy Blackwell.
As the arts are being cut left and right in school, teachers should be thrilled to find this wonderful compendium of short biographies of fifteen artists from the Renaissance through the modern era. These include the very famous, such as Michaelangelo Buonarroti, Picasso, and Andy Warhol, and many not very well-known (although they certainly deserve to be) such as Njideka Akunyili Crosby and Utagawa Hiroshige. The subjects are photographers, painters, and sculptors, and each has his or her own short biography. Each biography is three to five pages long and includes a beautifully-rendered portrait. Halls discusses their early life and journey to becoming an artist, some of their influences, and something about their chosen medium. As always is the case with Halls writing, it is conversational, lively, and interesting, and her research is impeccable. Back-matter includes a glossary for words by which middle-graders might be challenged, and five pages of on-line references to encourage youngsters to continue learning about these great artists and to give young readers a ready chance to see some of the art these artists created. This is a real gem of a book that will make kids excited about learning and about art. Make sure you don’t miss it.
I have a gently-read paperback 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 Greg Pattridge’s blog HERE.