May 15, 2013
March 3, 2013
Nighttime Ninja is also a finalist for the Children’s and Teen Choice Book Awards the only national book awards program where the winning titles are selected by young readers of all ages, at www.bookweekonline.com. 30 finalists have been announced in six categories, representing kids’ and teens’ favorite books, authors, and illustrators of the year. Last year, almost 1,000,000 votes were cast, more than doubling votes from the previous year. Young readers can vote at www.bookweekonline.com or their votes may be tallied and entered by booksellers, librarians, and teachers into the group ballot at www.bookweekonline.com until May 9, 2013.
December 16, 2012
When lilacs last in the dooryard bloom’d,And the great star early droop’d in the western sky in the night,I mourn’d, and yet shall mourn with ever-returning spring.
Ever-returning spring, trinity sure to me you bring,Lilac blooming perennial and drooping star in the west,And thought of him I love....
December 10, 2012
When azaleas last in the front yard bud,
Last week in an odd early winter heat,
Before the temperature did downward thud,
And snow crunched beneath my feet.
December 9, 2012
December 8, 2012
Landfillharmonic for more information and innovation!
November 20, 2012
More proof that cardboard boxes are a more evolved species of toy and lead to more brain power:
A Wellington, Ohio schoolteacher opted for cardboard boxes instead of toys, and the kids didn't bat an eye...but instead, actually concentrated more.
"Kids who had trouble separating from their parents in the morning or just were quieter in the classroom, we have actually seen them become leaders and we have seen them grow,” Kaser said. It's not all about racing marbles and role playing; the teachers say that the kids are learning more than just playing with boxes.
"There are negotiations when one person says it's a hotel and someone else says it's a rocket ship, being able to solve those problems and also be flexible,” said Jill Webb, Head of Lower School at Wellington. NBC4
October 15, 2012
September 24, 2012
Without realizing it, I'd begun my own Cardboard Challenge this fall. It came about as a confluence of two events: the excitement of the release of my children's picture book Nighttime Ninja, and the mundane activity of cleaning house. When I began cleaning, I was a bit depressed to find large stashes of cardboard: boxes, sheets, tubes, you name it, some of it dating back more than thirty years! Why was I saving this? I wondered. What good is it? Why save it any longer? (To be fair, we didn't have recycling thirty years ago.)
Suddenly, it dawned on me.
I stayed up until the wee hours for several nights, getting crafty, creating Nighttime Ninja puppets and more! All it took was a bit of paint, and imagination.
Who knows what will come in handy? That's what I keep telling myself, at least....maybe I'll build a cardboard castle, or a cardboard car, or a cardboard arcade....
Meanwhile, try out the Cardboard Challenge yourself!
July 23, 2012
Nighttime Ninja is beginning to make its presence known! And what a more splendid welcome than a starred review in Publishers Weekly:
"[Barbara] DaCosta builds her debut on the scaffolding of the suspenseful adventure that turns out to be make-believe....The depth of feeling DaCosta and [Ed] Young give to the boy’s fantasy makes this a standout."
Ed Young and I enjoyed making this book. I hope that boys and girls everywhere (and ninja-like adults) will enjoy our "children's picture book thriller!" Look for it in stores September 18.
June 8, 2012
Bradbury would have undoubtedly woven a terrific story out of the dusty copies of his works that I rescued from my parents' basement, books that were among the first that I purchased myself--for a quarter each--at a used bookstore later obliterated by urban renewal.
Were his stories fantasy or science fiction? To me, they were reality always taken a step further, asking questions that should be asked, giving answers that provoked even more mystery.
Ray Bradbury's many works--Dandelion Wine, October Country, Something Wicked This Way Come, Fahrenheit 451, The Illustrated Man--stand as testament to a life of words well done.
May 8, 2012
Born in 1928 to Polish Jewish immigrants, Sendak's childhood was shaped by the external forces of the Depression, World War II and the loss of much family in the Holocaust, and his own struggles with illness.
Sendak captured in his art and writing the knife's edge---the fears and delights that terrify and tantalize. His works are archived at the Rosenbach Museum in Philadelphia. Sendak can be heard interviewed by Terri Gross on NPR's Fresh Air.
April 9, 2012
The great Rube Goldberg's fantastical inventions were once a regular cartoon feature in the newspaper. Goldberg (1883-1970) had such wild inventiveness that it has lived on among engineering students everywhere, inspiring such creations as for this year's competition: a machine that was required to pop a balloon at the end, and in the process would have made "a piece of toast, juiced oranges, assembled a hamburger, inserted a CD into a CD player, shut off an alarm clock, put a stamp on an envelope, sharpened a pencil, watered a plant and more. And it incorporated multiple energy transfers, including mechanical, thermal and electrical."
You can watch the process here, and read the full report at Wired. Also, you can visit the official site for Rube Goldberg.
January 23, 2012
It only took 60 hours for this wonderful video Joy of Books to be filmed. Sean Ohlenkemp, a Canadian ad-man, along with wife, friends, and helpers, created this fantasy of "what happens at night when the bookstore is closed." Moving thousands of books, the team mixed and matched themes, jacket colors, sizes, shelving, doo-dads, and toys in pursuit of the message: There's nothing like a real book.
This video also became a case study in online viral phenomena, going to over 1.5 million views in less than a week as it was passed around between book lovers. I don't know if I skewed the statistics, though, as I've watched it at least a dozen times.
January 22, 2012
It will soon be the 200th birthday of Charles Dickens, one of the greatest English writers to live.
It will soon be about 200 months since I began to read Dickens' famous novel, Great Expectations, at the suggestion of a young friend who is now no longer quite so young.
"Hold your noise!" cried a terrible voice, as a man started up from among the graves at the side of the church porch. "Keep still, you little devil, or I'll cut your throat!"When I first came to this passage, I stopped. I read it again. I'd never read prose like this, that was so utterly poetic, so filled with rhythm, and which created so evocative a scene. I read it aloud. I copied it down and posted it above my desk. Later, I memorized it. This one snippet from a scene had grabbed me and so thoroughly mesmerized me that I've been reading that same passage over and over for the last 200 months.
A fearful man, all in coarse gray, with a great iron on his leg. A man with no hat, and with broken shoes, and with an old rag tied round his head. A man who had been soaked in water, and smothered in mud, and lamed by stones, and cut by flints, and stung by nettles, and torn by briars; who limped, and shivered, and glared, and growled; and whose teeth chattered in his head as he seized me by the chin.
That's my excuse for not finishing Great Expectations.
What is your favorite Dickens' work? Why?
December 19, 2011
"How many of us have been held back by myths? ....I’d like to add my own favorite writing myths to be busted. (Whether these are myths or delusions, I’ll leave to you to decide.) 1. You have to be neurotic to be a good writer/poet/artist/actor.
Reality: Health and happiness are ever-so-much-more-pleasant states of being.
You don’t need to be miserable to be a successful creative artist! If, however, you like creating suffering characters, what you do need is empathy. That, plus observational skills. Of course, you’ll still tap into your own experiences to some extent as you write, but you don’t need to go to extremes in your own behavior. All you need is to amplify a quality to make it stand out in a character. In other words, the personality quirk that allows someone to justify stealing a car is not that different from the person who steals a paperclip."
Read the rest of my article at Buried Under Books, then, add some of your own myths that deserve busting!