Time flies like an arrow
Fruit flies like a banana
~ Groucho Marx

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Wishtree: A Tree with a Story to Tell

 

“It’s hard to talk to trees. We’re not big on chit chat. That’s not to say we can’t do amazing things, things you’ll probably never do. Cradle downy owlets. Steady flimsy tree forts. Photosynthesize. But talk to people? Not so much.”

With that opening, who wouldn’t want to dive into Katherine Applegate’s latest book, Wishtree (Feiwel and Friends)?

Amy Stewart Adds Bling

I am a huge fan of Amy Stewarts Kopp sisters series (Girl Waits With A Gun, etc). If you don't know them, I urge you to check them out. So Amy is one of the few writers I folow on Goodreads. Recently she added this editing tip that I just love! It's about that final edit before you send you manuscript off. Some of her suggestions, like reading each page out loud, I know is spot on but painful. I know to do this but sometimes try not to. Partly I am lazy, partly I hate the sound of my voice but mostly because I know I will discover ugliness that I will have to confront!

Two Stories With Evil Aunts

Recently two different books I read featured unfeeling, tightly wound aunts. That is something I haven’t seen much of and so, for that admittedly feeble reason, I’m going to talk about both books.

In Stitch in Time (by Daphne Kalmar, Feiwel and Friends), Donut’s father dies unexpectedly, leaving her an orphan. Aunt Agnes shows up: all lumpy oatmeal, woody turnips, and the endless clickety clackety of knitting needles.

New Old Friends Bring Surprises

Although I don’t remember who recommended I read Saving the Planet & Stuff (Putnam, 2003) by Gail Gauthier, I am very glad I did. It’s not often these days that you read a middle-grade novel where there are intergenerational friendships. Gauthier does a great job both poking fun at and showing the marvels of friendships like this.

Landing An Agent; You’ve Got One On The Line, Now What Do You Do?

One of the most frequent questions you’ll hear at writing conferences is, “Do I need an agent?”  or “How do I look for an agent?” For many beginning writers getting an agent feels like the Holy Grail. Once you hook an agent, you are on the yellow brick road to fame and success.

March Forward

In my effort to review a range of middle-grade books, this week I bring you a non-fiction story. March Forward, Girl (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) is a memoir by Melba Pattillo Beals.

Wonderfully Disgusting and Adventuresome Books You Might Never Have Heard Of

Meet Mick Bogerman, treasure hunter, zombie fighter and mermaid wrangler. Mick is the narrator of the Slug Pie series, which includes: How to Navigate Zombie Cave and Defeat Pirate Pete, How to Rid Your Swimming Pool of a Bloodthirsty Mermaid, How to Destroy the New Girl’s Killer Robot Army and How to Protect Your Neighborhood from  Circus Werewolves. I file these under “wonderfully disgusting and thrilling books you might never have heard of.”

Great Metaphor for Tuning Out Haters

 

This article by James Clear resonated with me. In part it is because it deals with how to handle one’s inner critic. That’s always a good topic to re-visit since one’s inner critic never rests. But I particularly appreciated his metaphor, from race car driver Mario Andretti. Andretti was asked by a reporter at SUCCESS magazine for his top tip for success in race car driving:

A Story about friendship and family

Aven Green, the main character in Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus, (by Dusti Bowling, published by Sterling), happens to have been born without arms. But this story is not about Aven’s armlessness per se. It is, at its heart, a story of friendship and family.

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