Saturday, March 29, 2008


I've been reading in the last couple of days about 14 "super foods" that are supposed to keep you healthy and less medicine-dependent into old age. I've been skimming through the book, Superfoods Rx. Some of the super foods include: broccoli, tomatoes, beans, oats, soy, and blueberries. Jane posted on something similar to this about another book. Basically, we should eat stuff that grows in dirt. That's the bottom line.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Thoughts on Cancellation of Issues, Etc. Radio Show

Every organization, religious or not, has its own political wrangling; such is the case within my own denomination.

When I was 19 years old, I joined the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, which is rooted in biblical truth, historic liturgical practice, sacramental worship, and doctrinal clarity. I love my church and my congregation. After the cycle of Holy Week services culminating in Easter last week, I was reminded again how grateful I am for the historic roots of my faith--the passion readings from John, the darkened church at the Easter vigil, the sweet smell of hope in the Easter lilies. But this is not merely an intellectual exercise. It is a personal, deeply comforting message I hear in every worship service, assuring me of a loving God who daily rescues me from my own failings and from the broken world we live in.

Last week, the powers-that-be at our denomination's headquarters decided to cancel a popular radio show called "Issues, Etc." I don't understand, nor do I pretend to understand, all of the reasons behind this. But it is troubling and disappointing on many levels. Here is an article written by M.Z. Hemingway, a friend of mine, about the topic in the Wall Street Journal. Very nicely put, Mollie.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

To-Read; Beatrix Potter; Allen Say

So I was glancing over at Jane's blog and noticed this post on a reading challenge.
I'm not sure I could name 56 books I want to read before the end of the year, but I can start with a short list:

Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
The Wild Blue: The Men and Boys who Flew the B-24s over Germany by Stephen Ambrose
Shadow Divers by Robert Kurston

I'm almost finished with a book called The Tale of Beatrix Potter, which is a biography about the children's author by Margaret Lane. I'd like to find a couple of other biographies to read about authors. The thing I love about reading biographies, especially biogs about children's authors, is I am reassured that every author has ups and downs in his or her writing life. I've had some frustrations lately, in the midst of some nice school visits, and it's always good for me to hear about other authors who have gone through the same sort of thing. Here's a really nice section about Beatrix Potter's work from this book:

"Conveying truth by means of fantasy, enlarging our perception of life by poetic means, is one of the highest functions of art, and it is not extravagant to say that in her small and special sphere Beatrix Potter performed it. ... Displayed in the trappings of their human counterparts [the animals Potter created] reveal their own true natures by oblique methods, and we ever after know more about them from having observed their behavior in significant disguise" (p. 106).

Last, this afternoon I stopped by the Fort Wayne Museum of Art, where Allen Say, another children's author/illustrator was doing a book signing. There is a nice display of his beautiful original artwork from three of his books.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Gobble Gobble Crash

At the end of last week, I got my first proofs of Gobble Gobble Crash: A Barnyard Counting Bash. It's so exciting to see this new book coming together. I decided to take a couple of snapshots to show everyone how it's looking at this point in the process.

I wrote Gobble, boy, about 8 (?) years ago. The manuscript had a long and eventful journey, eventually ending up at Dutton Children's Books and it will be published this fall. I will definitely have to go to Pittsburgh for a book signing for this book since that is where the inspiration for the book came from.

One late afternoon, I was with my family, and we were driving on a road in Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh is an unusual city in that it is very hilly and divided up by three rivers. So, getting around town is a bit of a challenge--but it's also an adventure. We were on Streets Run Road (I think) which is like going up the side of a mountain. The road is lined with thick trees.

Well, on this one afternoon, we were driving home and all of a sudden, a huge bird flew over our car, over the road. Scott was driving and had his window down and said he could hear the beating of the wings of this huge bird. This happened shortly after we moved to Pittsburgh, and we didn't know what the heck that thing was that flew over our car.

We asked around and found out that there are tons of wild turkeys in the Pittsburgh area (and I'm sure all over the state). So, we actually had a wild turkey sighting. It was cool.

A couple of years later, I saw a mother turkey with seven little baby turkeys trying to cross another road, but this time on foot. One poor little guy got stuck on one side all by himself. Don't know if he ever made it.

Anyway, little incidents like that are what inspire my stories. I had an idea for a counting book about wild turkeys making a big ruckus at a barnyard. This manuscript went through SO many revisions. It was crazy. But finally, after getting guidance from other writers and editors, I settled on a story, and it is!

Valeri Gorbachev illustrated the book. His artwork is fantastic! I completely love it. Anyway, the book will be released this fall (in September, I believe), so I'm looking forward to seeing it all bound and finished. It's a great treat, however, to see it in these earlier stages.