Saturday, May 5, 2012

Bravo, Angus! Bravo, Children!

Recently, Angus MacMouse grabbed his baton, donned his tuxedo, and came with me to Lynn, Massachusetts, where we met some amazing children at an after school reading and literacy enrichment program called CLASS (Centerboard Literacy and Scholastic Support).  The children had been reading Angus MacMouse Brings Down the House and the program director asked me to come and visit.

Angus had to come, too, of course, and he had a great time showing the children (K-3) how to conduct.  Together we all conducted the Overture to Carmen, which is a wonderful, lively piece of music.  The children really enjoyed feeling and expressing the rhythms and emotions in the overture.  Everybody had a great time conducting, and Angus and I loved meeting some new friends.  (I wish I could show you their happy faces!)

Monday, April 2, 2012

Tea Time!

If you know me, you know I love tea.  And I love tea sandwiches... and, of course, I love dessert!
So, I was in heaven recently when I was invited to a lovely tea party by some equally lovely friends.  I just have to share this picture.  The table looked so pretty!

"Thank God for tea!  What would the world do without tea?  How did it exist?  I am glad that I was not born before tea!"  Sydney Smith

I always thought that was an amusing quote.  (But I think I have to agree.)

Monday, March 26, 2012

Remembering Ellen

It's been just about a year since the world lost a truly lovely person and a very talented writer and illustrator–– and I lost a dear friend and mentor.

I met Ellen Weiss Goldstrom in 1999 when I started taking her illustration classes at the Marblehead Arts Association.  Our class met for several years, eventually moving to her dining room table, where we sat sipping coffee and nibbling whatever delicious muffins she decided to bake for us that day.  She came up with the most wonderful assignments that challenged us, made us grow, and stretched our imaginations.  When I look through my portfolio I realize that almost everything in it is from her class.  We were inspired by her, and she got results!

Almost everything I know about picture books I learned from Ellen.  A graduate of Rhode Island School of Design, she was the illustrator of about twenty-four books, and she wrote several of them as well.  She collaborated with her mother, a teacher, on one of her classics,  My Teacher Sleeps in School.

Another favorite that is still in print is So Many Cats.  You can see that her style is pure and delightful.  (These books were done back in the days when illustrators had the tedious task of doing color separation.)

Ellen lost her long, courageous battle with breast cancer, but she left behind a wonderful legacy.  Her talent was incredible.  Her courage was an inspiration.  Her heart was huge. The last time I saw her, just a few days before she died, she was full of questions about me.  She was always interested and made you feel like you were the most important thing in the world to her at that moment.

I wish we could still sit at her dining room table and chat about art and children's books and life.

I miss you, Ellen...

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Squeak of the Week

"If we, citizens, do not support our artists, then we sacrifice our imagination on the altar of crude reality and we end up believing in nothing and having worthless dreams."

From Yann Martel's Author's Note (p. xi) in his amazing,
 beautifully written book Life of Pi.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Artists and Authors Night

I spent a wonderful evening a couple of weeks ago at the Hawthorne Hotel in Salem-- one of my favorite places.  It's a venerable old hotel which exudes both warmth and elegance.

Lobby of the Hawthorne Hotel, Salem, MA.

The occasion was their second annual Artists and Authors Night, and my writers' group had a table there.  I was able to display Angus MacMouse Brings Down the House, and I sold quite a few copies.  Our North Shore Writers' Group also sold copies of our collected short stories, Ghost Writers, and A Reader's Potluck.  Ghost Writers has sold very well in Salem, for obvious reasons!

Alan and Susan selling our books. 

It was a great opportunity to meet many other local artists and writers.  There was wonderful live music and great food from the hotel's Tavern.

Like so many of Salem's literary and artistic endeavors, this one just gets better every year.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Silly Frilly Grandma Tillie

Kirkus Reviews calls SFGT a "capricious tale 
that will have young girls wishing for a silly grandma 
just like Tillie, especially if she can hang a spoon from her nose.

Congratulations to Laurie Jacobs, fellow children's book author and a member of the wonderful new writers' group I have joined.  (Actually, the group is not new, but I am new to the group!)

There are several very gratifying moments along the road to the publication of a new book, but for the writer, none of them quite compares to the moment when you first hold that book in your hands!  You see the cover art for the first time, feel the binding, turn the pages.  It's absolutely thrilling!  After all your careful attention to every detail and every word, your book has finally arrived in the world.

I'm so happy for Laurie, and happy to say that I love this book.  I'm sure Silly Frilly Grandma Tillie will do very well because it has everything you want in a picture book.

The story is fun and delightful to read out loud, and the illustrations by Anne Jewett are colorful and exhuberant-- just like Grandma Tillie herself!  Little Chloe and Sophie are treated to an entertaining romp and a zany cast of characters when Grandma Tillie comes to babysit.  

Hang a spoon from your nose, dance the conga, and join the fun.  I highly recommend this delightful book.

Great job, Laurie!!!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Spotlight On My Favorite Local Book Shop

The wonderful book blog, She Is Too Fond Of Books, has recently posted my essay on The Book Shop in Beverly Farms.  It's a fabulous little shop and everyone there is very friendly and helpful.

It seems that even the big bookstores are struggling these days, so it is more important than ever that we do everything we can to support our local independent book shops. Small is beautiful!

I hope you will take a peek at my essay, and visit Dawn's blog often.  It is lots of fun, and loaded with great reviews and information-- even recipes!

The Book Shop in Beverly Farms