Thursday, September 24, 2015

Patterson gets recoginition

One of our favorite authors that has given back plenty to small book stores and many authors gets some recognition to be proud of....
James Patterson will receive Lifetime Achievement Award by National Book Foundation.
See more of what Patterson is all about on his website

Thank you Mr. Patterson for all that you do for literacy and getting children excited about reading!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

 I spent some time in my favorite local book store @changinghands today and picked out a few of my favorites.

This little gem is a delightful story about wanting to be something else and missing the greatness of what we are and what gifts we have as a person or frog.
Baby Bear Counts One is beautifully illustrated and a fun story to read out loud. It gives you the chance to count up to 10 with your little one and has lots of intriguing animal sounds you would hear in the wild.  This story allow the reader to expand on all the creatures and their habits as winter nears.

There is something special about an artist that can draw their own story.  These 2 selections star an author/artist that possesses this gift.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Reviewing a few of my recent favorites:
Goldfinch by Donna Tartt  @donnaTartt is a spectacular mystery that grabs you from the start and has you page turning until the very end. The list of words to describe this book are far too long to list.

The story takes us through Theo's life that is full of sadness, love, neglect, mystery and has the reader anxious for the loving characters through this entire book!  The story is full of everything from sex, drugs, murder, art, culture, love and desperation.

Ms. Tartt writes beautifully with a great care to detail which could be why it's over 700 pages or in my case 32+ hours of windshield time.  I should also mention the fabulous job the narrator David Pittu did with his many accents and inflections.  Most importantly though is the intricate story that Ms. Tartt weaves the most wonderful characters into.

Big Little Lies by Laine Moriarty  @LaineMoriarty is another mystery with fun and devastating family drama weaved throughout.  Ms. Moriarty explores everything from childhood bullying to domestic abuse in her book.  I found it a very fun read relating to almost all the parents she brings to life on the pages.

I will admit I was dead wrong on which parent had been killed on Parent Trivia Night at Pirriwee Public School.

I really enjoyed the integration of several controversial and scary social topics (human rights for young girls) she has mentioned in the book. Ms. Laine writes with wit and has great detail to plot and characters which isn't the case in every published book with a comedic tone.

It is quite clear why this is a must read!

SCBWI Bulletin @scbwi
This is a small magazine that holds a big punch for children book authors and illustrators.  Each issue prompts me to write, read and research something new.  It's put together by a handful of staff that do a fabulous job to inspire each of us that are lucky enough to subscribe.  This is a must read for any aspiring or published author.  Due to the audience of illustrators it always has joyful drawings throughout that I share with my Grandson.

Thank you Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators! @scbwi

Sunday, April 12, 2015

America's Royal Family

I've heard several people proclaim who should be our royal family (that is if America were to have one.)  Everyone from the Obama's, Clinton's, the Trumps and even Kanye stating he and his wife one of Kardashians should be the ideal couple to represent our country.  Most of these options make me ill for reasons I won't bother with but if I were to nominate the perfect couple it would be Bill and Melinda Gates.

This wonder-couple has been married for 21 years, produced 3 children and more importantly devoted their lives to philanthropy serving millions of people all over our world. Thirty billion dollars of their very own and many more billions raised by them through the Giving Pledge is directed to education, vaccines, computer access in our libraries and woman's health worldwide. #gatesfoundation

Melinda attended Duke before going to work at Microsoft for Bill who started at Harvard but didn't finish with a degree before he co-founded the largest software company. Both of these amazing individuals seem driven and focused on inequality and health issues on a grand scale that is making a difference across the world. #endpolio, #philanthropy

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Friends are like water

We all need water and water comes in varying forms. Rushing rivers, meandering streams, the ocean waves, and calm lying lakes.  I liken my different friends with this analogy. 

I've been fortunate enough in the last few weeks to celebrate my birthday with a number of friends and family.  What I have noticed is the difference in each of my relationships.
Some friends are inspirational......I hope to be that kind of friend one day.
Some are just for fun and that is as important as any other.
Others make you feel loved more than anything, while others need your love more than anything.
I have friends that are like sisters: older and younger sisters.  There is certainly a difference between the two and friends that are mother figures in my life. Others that I liken to a lawyers scale of day they lift me up and another I lift them. In the end we balance each other well.

As I compile my next interview for a 2nd inspirational essay I just wanted to share that all of them are special, intriguing and important in their own special way. My friends feed my soul and fill me with joy.

Love's Philosophy by:  Percy Bysshe Shelley
The fountains mingle with the river
And the rivers with the ocean,
The winds of heaven mix for ever 
With a sweet emotion:
Nothing in the world is single:
All things by a law divine
In one spirit meet and mingle......

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Amazing Friend #1

Have you ever noticed who you surround yourself with?  This is suppose to be an important key as to the person you are.  I guess that means you can exclude family because your stuck with them one way or another. I notice that the friends I choose or that choose me.......not sure how that works....all come from very interesting backgrounds. This makes me wonder if I have an innate affection for peoples background stories.  Knowing how people have grown up and what their lives were like before they became the person they are now probably has something to do with the fact that I love a good story.

Here's just a sample of what I mean:
One of my oldest friends that happens to be 84 years old grew up in Wisconsin during the depression and like most young woman she married at 21 and had 3 children.  During her marriage she was mainly a homemaker but upon request of the school principal she did some teaching during a severe shortage of teachers.  Her marriage ended in what did she do?  She went back to college to become a psychologist at the ripe age of  50. Her internship took her to Tucson Arizona where she says,  "That  year was one of the best I have ever had, from the standpoint of learning, exploring a new area of the country, and fun."

When we met she was already in her early 60's and she told my daughter and I of a trip she was planning to take biking through Holland during tulip season.  As you can imagine we were amazed.  Not only was she the first person we knew to do this.  She was the first 63 year old we knew that was training herself to bike 15-30 miles a day on vacation!

From there she amazed us with continuing with her education on her many vacations she took through Backroads and Road Scholar, formerly Elderhostel that specializes in vacations abroad that include classes in everything from cooking to history and of course biking thru far away countries.

Her career as a clinical psychologist spanned from 1986-1999. Once she retired she found herself bored (decorating her garage one day) and decided to push herself out of her comfort zone and do something new.  She became a certified Pilates Instructor at age of 72 and still teaches several classes a week.
After mastering that, she started taking ballroom dancing classes at age 75, which she now competes in regularly.

Joan is currently publishing a book she wrote titled, Keep on Dancing and other Attitudes, Platitudes, and Latitudes from the Ballroom be released this fall.

I know your all dropping your jaw and maybe like me want to be just like Joan.  I'm wondering how I'm going to top this story and feel sorry for the person that has to follow her.  It's like a comedian you don't want to follow the best one of the night.
But, I have someone in mind.......

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Oscar Time

Oh no! Here's a draft of last years Oscar nominees that never got posted)
Last years list is quite different from this years. Here's my take on the two (in case your that far behind)The list is long and some of the choices are very obscure like Life of Pi....Beast of The Southern Beast and Silver Lining Playbook but like years past this should not be a surprise.  The rest portray pivotal times in the history of the USA.

2013....I have see the following:
Zero Dark Thirty was a great movie of a big point in our own history.  The director puts you right in the movie where you feel a part of the action.  I enjoyed the movies point of view very much.  The intelligence community is as big a part of this movie as the brave Navy Seals and for a non-military person to be able to see what our armed forces risk for our sake was powerful.  Jessica Chastain performed a very convincing character.  I would give her an Oscar for this role.
Lincoln was another great history movie that obviously took place well before any of us watching it could have known the details this movie showed us.  As laden with history and politics as this was, it doesn't lose your interest.  Daniel Day-Lewis deserves an Oscar for this portrayal in my opinion.
Argo  was interesting enough to watch and amazing that the Americans pulled-off such a feat and didn't get to take credit for it!  It certainly reminds us of the recent attack in Benghazi, Libya which did not end well for our people. Again showing the great bravery of American people serving the USA in foreign countries.

2014 nominees:
Americans Hustle
Captain Phillips
Dallas Buyers Club
12Years a Slave
The Wolf of Wall Street

My winner: #Philomena  By far of all the movies had the best acting and content. 12 Years a Slave was equally as compelling but certainly darker than even the Nuns that stole and sold babies in Ireland.

Well in retrospect 12 Years a Slave ran away with the awards and deservedly so.  I do wish #JudiDench had gotten more pub on this movie and urge you to rent this movie!