Wednesday, June 30, 2010

AlA recap

As everyone has already said, it was a great weekend at ALA! I only wish I could have squeezed in some signings and chatted with more of you, I think the heat might have melted my brain a little and slowed me down. Also (in case you can't tell in the photos posted), I am five months pregnant and a little less mobile than usual.

Anyways, my ALA weekend started at a Random House cocktail party at the Newseum. My publisher was celebrating the launch of the Cat in the Hat PBS show, and hosted a lovely party (complete with Thing 1 and Thing 2 cocktails) up on the rooftop below. We only stepped out on the deck for a few minutes as it was 100 degrees, but I did get these shots...

Then is was off to a lovely celebration dinner with Grace and company.

Sunday I visited the convention center and strolled along the isles looking at all the publisher's displays. Then in the evening headed back to Libby and Alvina's hotel to change for the banquet, which Grace so generously gave us all tickets to. Choosing my outfit was less about finding the perfect dress and more about finding something appropriate that would fit over my belly, but I managed with a very stretchy dress I bought on Etsy.

I didn't take as many pictures as I should have, but I did get this one of the beautiful programs, filled with art from The Lion & the Mouse.

This is the banquet hall, SO big.

When they called Grace's name we all got up and cheered! She looked gorgeous with a glowing smile on her face. Such a perfect moment.

Then came Jerry Pinkney's speech, throughout which he had an irrepressible grin. I loved that he has his whole family stand up to be cheered for (librarians sure know how to hoot and holler!).

I found Rebecca Stead's speech incredibly moving. She divided it into four parts... how she became a writer, found the courage to keep working on her novel then accept the attention it brought, then ended with all the ways in which she is grateful. It was so humble and relatable. Especially the part where she talked about always fearing the moment when people sung her happy birthday and were all staring at her... she said winning the award felt like a million happy birthdays, but she loved it!

Here is me, Libby, and Elaine at our table. Again, I wish I had taken more pictures, but hopefully other people's posts will fill in where mine leaves off. Congratulations Grace and all the winners!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Pictures from the Newbery/Caldecott Banquet

Here are some of the pictures that I took at the Newbery/Caldecott Banquet on Sunday evening. You can see more pictures at my Scenes from ALA post at Wild Rose Reader.

Rebecca (Grace's agent), Grace, & Alvina
Some of My Kidlit Blogger Buddies:
L to R
Laura Salas, Kelly Fineman, & Sara Lewis Holmes

Tanita Davis, Laura, & Kelly
Pam Coughlan & Tanita

It was so much fun meeting my blogging buddies in person.
I felt like I was seeing old friends!

Monday, June 28, 2010

I haven't posted in a while. I've been all consumed by some non kids book things... some things that I'd rather not be consumed by... some rather unpleasant things.

Anyway, last weekend I went to my parents' house for a family reunion. While there I took a nice canoe ride with my sister...

And sat in the new structure my dad built by the river, which sits on a large rock. In this shot my dad is sitting in it playing his guitar. Being at my parents' house is very relaxing and I definitely needed a break.

And then I went to DC to cheer Grace on as she received her award. I stayed with my aunt who lives in Virginia. I was frightened to go because it was a long drive and I wasn't feeling well but I'm glad I went. I had a good time. When I got there I went out to dinner with the BRG gang, my aunt and her husband, my little sis who was visiting DC as well (she went to school there), my RH editor, Janet Wong, Grace's agent, and maybe some other people? Am I forgetting anybody? I'm not sure who was sitting at the other side of the table. Then the next day I painted a bit (my aunt nicely let me use her table!) and then put on some dress clothes. I of course forgot my dress shoes at home so I had to make do with my aunt's black flip-flops and some of her dark red/maroon nail polish at the last minute (this is so typical of me). I also forgot my mom's black sweater so I had to wear my gray sweatshirt when I got cold. Oh yeah, real dressy! I may have well just worn jeans. I'm also annoyed that I didn't take more photos. Why did I bother carrying my camera? But I guess that's another topic.

(this is Grace's book being projected. Go Grace!)

(The only photo I took of anyone really. Why didn't I take more photos? Next time someone tell me to take more! Anna is looking lovely and Grace's husband Alex is making a silly face...)

(This shows how LARGE the thing was. I couldn't figure out where to sit. People had to help me find the spot. I was seriously LOST. The whole thing was crazy. Did the seating even have a system? Maybe it did but I didn't notice. It was too crazy for me to figure it all out. Aaaaa!!!!)

We're at ALA!

Last night was the big Newbery-Caldecott banquet. If you're curious what we all wore:
Yes, Grace wore the Anthropology dress. I wore a dress I bought on eBay.
All of Grace's dress hunting on eBay caused me to buy three dresses on eBay, including this pink polka-dotted one I wore during the day in honor of Ling & Ting:
Congratulations Grace, Rebecca Stead, Jerry Pinkney, and all the other honorees! And now I must get myself to a breakfast. I'm sure the others will post more this week.

Friday, June 25, 2010

"What Do Women Want?": A Poem by Kim Addonzio

Since I’ve been a bit preoccupied in recent weeks with looking for dresses for my daughter’s wedding and the Newbery/Caldecott Banquet (Check out my Three Dresses and a Wedding post for the details), I thought it would be appropriate to post a poem about a DRESS—a red dress—this Poetry Friday. (My husband loves me in red.) I enjoy the humor in Addonzio's poem--an answer to the question: "What Do Women Want?"

“What Do Women Want?”
by Kim Addonzio

I want a red dress.
I want it flimsy and cheap,
I want it too tight, I want to wear it
until someone tears it off me.
I want it sleeveless and backless,
this dress, so no one has to guess
what's underneath. I want to walk down
the street past Thrifty's and the hardware store
with all those keys glittering in the window,
past Mr. and Mrs. Wong selling day-old
donuts in their café, past the Guerra brothers
slinging pigs from the truck and onto the dolly,
hoisting the slick snouts over their shoulders.

You can read the rest of the poem here.


At Wild Rose Reader, I have an original list poem entitled Things to Do If You Are a Lawnmower.

The Poetry Friday Roundup is at The Art of Irreverence.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

More Dress Obsession from a Blue Rose Girl

In earlier posts at Blue Rose Girls and Wild Rose Reader, I wrote about finding a mother-of-the-bride dress for my daughter's wedding in July. After that was done, I had to go looking for the "perfect" dress to wear to the Newbery/Caldecott Banquet. Well, now I'm not planning to wear the mother-of-the-bride dress that I had originally posted about--long story. If you want to read about the dresses I've bought and about what I'll be wearing to ALA and the wedding, check out my Three Dresses and Wedding post at Wild Rose Reader.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Thank you for coming!

The Ling heads were made:

the Ting heads were made:
The boxes had their cupcakes:
And the bags were filled with their magnets and chopsticks:
And only needed decorating:
But I had a hard time getting the help to part with the paper flowers:

However, everything was finished and brought to the bookstore for the LING AND TING BOOK PARTY!!!

Where, after I spoke a little (tried to keep it short):

It was time for the cupcakes!

It was kind of a long line (thanks for your patience!):
Because I had to admire everyone's matching Twin outfits!!

This family deserves a prize for the cupcake theme coordination--they even have a matching Lissy doll:

Though, these girls looked pretty delicious in their dim sum shirts:
And these ladies are lovely in their spring colors, coordinated with Mom and brother:

While these girls even had matching shoes:

But, I admit, I'm a bit partial to those matching with ME!

I hope everyone had a good time at the Ling & Ting Book Party! Thanks so much for coming!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

On the road

After putting the finishing touches on A Photo for Greta, I am packing up my car and heading out for a week long road trip. I am a. very excited about this book and thrilled to have it finished after many years of developing the project and b. psyched for a long weekend and whirlwind road trip after many months of painting.

My car is packed and the first stop is New York. I'll meet with my publisher, drop off the art, and have a nice lunch. Then its back on the road and heading down to my hometown in Virginia to visit with my folks for a few days. My mom is doing me the very kind favor of looking after my plants next year while we're in California, so my car looks something like a greenhouse with 15 large leafy plants squeezed into the back of my Honda Coupe. I love my plants and couldn't leave them to wither.

Last stop will be DC on Saturday and Sunday, where I will join the BRG and lots of you (I hope) at ALA. If you are walking the floor or doing a signing or will be at the banquet let me know!

Got to hit the road, so I'll leave you with a piece of Greta art, more to come soon!

Monday, June 21, 2010

It's so fluffy I'm gonna die!

I'm on vacation at Lake Tahoe right now for a family reunion. Here's the view from my balcony:

No real post today, but thought I'd share a video from the upcoming movie Despicable Me that a friend shared with my brother on Facebook. Apparently, one of the characters is this adorable little girl named Agnes (she looks like she could perhaps be Asian?). There are a few hilariously cute scenes of her from the trailer that people have been focusing on. This video even plays it in slow motion:

It's so fluffy!!!!

Here's the trailer the scenes are cut from if you want to see them in context:

I might have to see the movie for that girl alone.

(Full disclosure: my company happens to be publishing the movie tie-in books.)

Saturday, June 19, 2010


If you're going to ALA next weekend, how many hours have you spent trying to decide what to wear? I have spent too many to count, if I include time on ebay trying to find something. Not counting that, though, it's around 8 -- trying on the dress once it arrived, photographing it, getting undergarments for it, and discussing it with various interested parties -- including the BRGs of course and even the mothers of most of the kids I babysit for.

I picked out a black silk Marimekko dress on ebay, partly in consultation with Fiona from last week, her mother, and little brother ("Let's get the man's opinion, too," the mother said). By the time I consulted them, I'd narrowed the ebay choices down to 2:

* a black silk Marimekko cocktail dress

*a long emerald green dress (also Marimekko)

I liked the bright green one, for the color, but knew the style (babydoll) would be HIGHLY unflattering. Fiona liked the green one, too -- but her mother and brother both liked the black one, and I remembered Alvina saying that most of the editors would be wearing black. So, I went with that.

Fiona was disappointed, but brightened up when she thought of this idea:
"You can spray paint it green!"

The dress came and looked horrible -- the swirly skirt that Fiona's mother,who has a fashion-model figure, described as "skimming the hips" encased mine.

The result: I'm going to
a) wear something I had already OR (if he'll do it) get Fiona's father (an artist/furniture maker whom she claims is really good at making clothes) to cut out a pattern for me and make a new dress myself
b) stop buying clothes on ebay
c) try to remember that it never pays to try to be something you're not, in clothes or writing -- black is NOT my color, cool as it is and smashing as it looks on many people
d) stop beating myself up for the time wasted

Every artist and writer I know is at least a little obsessive-some more than others, it's true. The trick is to obsess about writing (or painting, as the case may be). But how do you turn the channel in your brain once another obsession -- or procrastination technique -- has set in???????????

If anyone has the answer to that one, I'd really like to know it....but I'm also curious about how much time other people have spent on the what-to-wear question.

See you next weekend--and really, what I wear doesn't matter. The point is to celebrate Grace and Alvina and WHERE THE MOUNTAIN MEETS THE MOON and maybe meet some of you, too!

Friday, June 18, 2010


I’ve been really busy with mother matters and with plans for my daughter’s upcoming wedding in July. I didn’t have time to write up a poetry post for today…so I’m sending you over to How Sweet It Is!: A Poetry Tale, my Poetry Friday post at Wild Rose Reader. You can read about a trip Grace and I took to Yummies candy store in Kittery, Maine, in June of 2008. We took a field trip up there so I could get inspiration for a collection of candy poems that I was planning to write. Grace helped me select the subject of candy. Each of us has a serious sweet tooth!

(NOTE: My Wild Rose Reader post includes Salt Water Taffy, one of my candy poems from the collection.
Here are a few pictures from our trip up to Yummies:

The Poetry Friday Roundup is at Two Writing Teachers.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

random wonders

So...Ling and Ting has received 3 starred reviews!!! It's true--Kirkus, Booklist and the Horn Book (my first star ever from them) have given Ling & Ting the elusive star! I am (happily) amazed. Truthfully, I'm telling you this not to brag but because I want you to think that the book is SOOOOOO good that you HAVE to come to the book party on Sat. C'mon, it's 3 stars of goodness!

Speaking of goodness, you can see the "original twins," the ones who first inspired Ling and Ting at this blog post HERE.

And, along the same lines of amazing strange things, I am only 7 (yes, 7) fans away from reaching 1000 on my facebook fan page. When I first started the page, I said that if I ever reached 1000 I'd give everyone a cupcake. I didn't think it would happen so I wasn't too worried about it. But now I am going to have to seriously consider the possibility. Do you think I can wheedle my publisher into sending me on the 1,000 cupcake book tour? Hmm, say 40 cupcakes at each event...that would be like a 25 city tour! Eeks! And where would I bake them in each city? Okay, will have to start thinking of a plan B...

But, in the meantime, you CAN get a real home-baked cupcake from me if you come to my book party on Sat. (It's at 3 pm at Porter Square Books). I'm thinking chocolate with vanilla frosting this time. Anyway, there won't be 1000, but there will be one for you!

and the winner is...

So I have decided my dress! Which one is it? Well, you'll just have to wait until I post about my Newbery Banquet Experience! It's happening REALLY soon, June 27th, so you really don't have to wait that long.

In the meantime, thank you all who commented on my dress choices. I chose randomly (meaning I closed my eyes and randomly scrolled down) and these are the winners of the Where the Mountain Meets the Moon audio book:

From my personal blog gracenotes- commenter #9 Kiy
From the blue rose girls blog--commenter #13 Sarah
From my FB Fanpage: commenter #11 Karen Gajewski

Thank you very much for playing! Please send your snail mail address to and we'll get your audio books out to you ASAP.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

First books

One week til my deadline for A Photo for Greta! I'm at the stage where I go back over all the paintings and touch up little things, make sure the colors match, and make any last minute changes... there is much to be done so I will make my post short today.

Just yesterday I got a sweet little package on my doorstep, the first bound books for Disappearing Desmond. The book will be on shelves in August, more soon on festivities planned!