Saturday, February 28, 2009

My Desert Sun

My good friend Diana Tuorto, who happens to be a superb author, just got some wonderful news: Her young adult novel My Desert Sun is going to be re-released! Probably sometime in late April. This is indeed happy news for all readers of young adult fiction - but especially for animal and horse lovers!

My Desert Sun is one of several books Diana has written, both in the voice of a horse, and all about horses. It is both a poignant tale and a revelation with regard to the conditions and the tribulation borne by wild horses. It is timely and important - and what's more, the proceeds from every book Diana sells go towards animal rescue in general and horse welfare, more particularly.

My Desert Sun is the story of Cayuse, a young, free-spirited mustang who lives in the desert and mountains of the American Southwest. While life in the desert is often peaceful and serene, Cayuse spends many days merely fighting for survival. However, he soon learns that survival among mankind is much more difficult. (From Diana's website)

I have not only read My Desert Sun, which I highly recommend, by the way, but I know first hand of its development, having been fortunate enough to have worked on a critique of it (in its earlier drafts), along with other members of our writing group.

More information is available from Diana about it at Cayuse's Canyon, Diana's blog.

Check it out!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Biography as Book Report

You know what was really cute yesterday?

Eight and nine year old kids dressed up in costume, intended to look just like people in the biographies they had to read, in order to write their book reports.

At my kidlets' school, the third graders (and yes, both of my kids are in third grade this year – I’m a mom of twins!) had to read a biography for their winter book report, and then they had to dress up like the person of their respective books and give a report on that person, as if they were that person.

Voice. Yes, they are starting to learn all about that, along with getting a crash course in seed ideas, lead sentences, clever phrases and so on. It was an interesting take on doing book reports – not at all like in the days when I was a kid. Back then, we read a report to the class that we’d written, or maybe we made a diorama. Not now. It’s much different, but far more creative, which I really like.

But in addition to the actual book report and costume and speech for their classes, the kids also did this thing called the Living Wax Museum. For this project, all the third graders stood by class (there are four third grade classes this year) in two rows each around the perimeter of the gymnasium. Moms and dads and other relatives were invited in to see it, and the idea was for us grown-up folk to walk around and observe the kids, who were posing and/or standing with appropriate props. When an adult tapped a kid on the shoulder, the kid 'came to life' so to speak, and spouted factoids about his or her person.

As you might expect, some of the kids really got into it, and were very show-biz-y - and other kids probably wished they could be someplace else. Yep - any place else but there. But as a public speaking project it certainly was a fun one (at least, from my grown-up perspective, anyway), and each kid most likely did learn a thing or two about a famous person from history.

There were a number of Abraham Lincolns, George Washingtons and Albert Einsteins. There were two or three Amelia Earharts, Helen Kellers, Florence Nightingales and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jrs., too. And as you might guess, sports figures were portrayed prominently by a number of kids. But there were some interesting standouts who were one of a kind (and not only my kidlets, who as it happened were one of a kind, too.)

F’r instance, there was a Harry Houdini, St. Patrick, Clara Barton, Kerry Strug, Hillary Clinton and other famous people.

Here’s a few photos from the Living Wax Museum...

Cute, right?

So then...I suppose because I am a writer and an author and - of course, a mom, I was asked by a couple of the teachers to visit the school tomorrow to talk to the third graders about writing. Theirs and mine. And you know what? Maybe I’ll talk a little on those processes about which they are currently learning, but after that, I think I’ll turn it around on them – and encourage them to show me some kid creativity and talent and fun. And that will be really cute, too. Definitely. Cute.

More about this tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

It's heeeeeeeeeeere!

Yes - that's right!

Penny Wishes
is now available
at Lilley Press!

When Grampa James comes to visit his grown daughter, he grows increasingly alarmed about odd coincidences, and about a dark secret buried deep in his past, as he discovers more about Penny, the strange friend of his 15 year old granddaughter Alex.

Told from three different characters’ points of view, this is a story of words and deeds that should have been said or done, and never were. It is also a story of triangles: of Grampa James, Alex, and her friend Penny who connect with unexpected consequences in the present time, and of a young teen boy named Jimmy and his two best friends, all of whom were forever changed because of one singular event which occurred in 1959.

Check it out!