April 10, 2006

Monday Musings

I've discovered a new site, thanks to the heads up of some cool people at SCBWI. Since Autumn 2005, the website Children's Media Professionals Forum, brought together by April Sayres, the phenomenally gifted and prolific picture book and middle grade nature author, has quietly flourished and given the people who work with and for children a place to meet.

I like to think of myself as a 'professional,' but I merely lurk on the site as of yet. I get a little thrill reading how one of my very favorite authors, Jane Yolen, works on projects and sees the world. It's a free registration, but you can lurk without signing up (just don't expect to be able to comment on threads or post your thoughts). Do check it out!

Kentucky author Marcia Thornton Jones tells a funny story that has the best punchline ever. Her first book, Vampires Don't Wear Polka Dots (published in 1990), was written to amuse herself when she was having a cruddy day. Before this, Marcia was a teacher and a struggling author, having never published anything major, but always hoping, and checking and double checking her work, and struggling to get the words just right. The one piece she wrote with a fellow teacher as a joke...shone. So, there's something to be said for lightening up and letting your work sing. Here's another bit of proof that writing what you love - in Thornton Jones' case, silliness -- always beats trying to write how you think publishers want you to. Forty middle grade books later, you'd better believe Marcia Thornon Jones believes that!
Finally, the very best story of the day -- favorite children's author Beverly Cleary turns 90 this week. Yay! Another long-lived California writer! To celebrate this week, pick up a Cleary book. (My choice will be Dear Mr. Henshaw, a book my fifth graders requested to read over and over.)
Ms. Cleary talks to NPR's Debbie Eliott about the manically magically memorable Ramona Quimby, the brightest, peskiest character in the neighborhood of Beezus and Ramona, Henry Huggins, Otis Spofford, Ellen Tibbets and all the others on Klickitat Street. Did you know there's actually a group called "Ramona the Pest," in Oakland?! People are scandalized, but they mean it as a tribute...I think. Another tribute is found on Recess: the World of Children's Culture Every Day. (This is a cool site, too, on its own.)

No comments: