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Showing posts from November 29, 2009

Let me take care of your Christmas shopping...

It's easy: buy books--for everyone. Nothing better than curling up with a great new book during down-time on Christmas Day. Besides, books are cheap. They go well with chocolate. And cozy Christmas fires in the fireplace. They don't even rot your brain. If you're stumped about which book to buy for the kids in your life, let me take care of that problem for you right now. Here's my list of this-year's book recommendations after twenty years of reading aloud and talking about books to kids, as well as watching how kids respond to the read-aloud experience of individual books. All the books on my list have passed the story-under-fire test: they've grabbed and kept real-life kids' attention, whether the kids are reading-addicts, or not so easy to please. Besides, they're all great, high-quality books I've read and happen to love myself, or I wouldn't put them on my list:) Eat-the-book phase (babies): *   Pat the Bunny , by Dorothy Kunhard

What's in a name, Romeo? More than you thought, maybe...

I've noticed  a trend in my writing: I think I might be slightly obsessed with names. For instance, my princess story has a main character who loses her name--and has to find another; my witch story centers around a girl who's stuck with probably the worst name on earth; and my current work-in-progress has a main character who's a slave boy with no real name at all. One of the things my princess, slave boy, and witch each discover, I think, is that a name is often not some floating thing you toss or take up like a bit of seaweed, even if you manage to change it (which I'd do in a heartbeat if my last name were Bloodvessel, for instance, like a particularly-nasty character in one of Joan Aiken's books); it's often attached to something else--to family and origin, history and genetic traits, even culture, place, and heritage; it defines, at least a little bit, our sense of who we are. Unfortunately, in Romeo's case. And Juliet's. "A rose by an