Spring’s Secret Garden

Monarch feeding on a Butterfly Bush.

The Secret Garden was one of the classics I read to my children. We spent many hours in the car driving to Maryland and Long Island to visit family (hon, trust me, we know every rest stop on the New Jersey Turnpike), and made the time pass quickly by learning language, discovering stories, discussing characters and predicting plots. I only found out later that “brain imaging has suggested that hearing stories evokes visual images in children’s brains, and more strongly if those children are accustomed to being read to.” (The Merits of Reading Real Books to Your Children  by Perri Klass, M.D.,The New York Times)

Wait! What? Something I did was good for my kids? Woohoo! Hopefully, that balances out the other stuff that might not have been, ummm, as advantageous.

“Is the spring coming?” he said. “What is it like?”…
“It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine…”
― Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

Friendships in Kids Literature

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World Read Aloud Day’s theme this week is Friendship, and friendship in kid’s literature is one element that keeps us reading. I have so many favorites, but here are the Top Five Friendships in kidlit that make me care and make me cry.

  1. Watership Down by Richard Adams, Hazel, Fiver, Bigwig and Silver.
  2. Henry and Mudge by Cynthia Rylant, Henry and Mudge
  3. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, Lucy Pevensie and Mr. Tumnus
  4. The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo, Despereaux and Princess Pea
  5. The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger

Who are your favorite friends in literature, kids or adults?

Hon, of course I have to add one more friend to this post. She’s a best friend to everyone in our house.

My Plus One and Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds--everyone's best friend!

My Plus One and Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds–everyone’s best friend!

The Next Big Thing–Blog Hop Part II

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Recently, I participated in The Next Big Thing–Blog Hop thanks to the fabulous young adult writer, L.A. Byrne.  Describing aspects of writing the picture book Cora Gets Carried Away made my main character, Cora, feel real.  I met a writer of middle grade fantasy, Leslie Zampetti at a SCBWI Meditation Workshop and tagged her as a writer to watch.  I have one more writer to introduce.

Kim Beck and I went to college together and, along with four other girls, lived together in  a house junior year.  We go a lonnng way back.  Who would have guessed that her oldest daughter and my youngest daughter would be born just three months apart, that I would live in her hometown and that we would both be bitten by the writing bug?  (Speaking of bugs, check out the newly released picture book Bug Patrol by Denise Dowling Mortensen or what non-fiction author Lyn Sirota says is her secret.)

Back to Kim.  In her “The Next Big Thing–Blog Hop” post, she provides a link to the first chapter of her young adult dystopian novel, The Interpreters.  Love it!  (and not just because I’m biased).

Hon, I now end my cover letters and queries to publishers with “Hope Springs Eternal” because WE are the Next Big Things.

Which children’s book authors have made an impression on you?