Archive for September, 2012

Whatcha Reading?

September 15, 2012 @ 11:32 am | Filed under:

I missed doing my August recap, probably because it would have been embarrassing (consisting largely of Kindle samples of memoirs by female escapees from polygamist sects). Have, as usual, too many books going at once and dozens more piled beside my bed. And queued on the Kindle. But, you know, in for a penny, in for a pound. What’s on your nightstand?

Nature Journal

September 14, 2012 @ 4:07 pm | Filed under:

(This one’s for me. The more scattered-across-many-networks my internet life becomes, the more important it seems to archive things here, where I will always be able to find them.)

She says nature study is her favorite part of the day. It isn’t an everyday thing—not the journaling, I mean—just once or twice a week. She especially loves the “talking part,” the part where we look at (smell, touch, sometimes taste) a sprig of this or that, studying it closely, discussing its characteristics. “So,” she’ll say, with the same inflection used by my elderly neighbor back in Queens, no nonsense, ready to dish. “So. Let’s look, Mommy.” I ask leading questions: leaf shape, growth pattern, texture, scent. She peers closely, so serious. And then suddenly in the midst of all this Careful Observation she’ll flash a grin: “This is awesome.”

“Alternating leaf pattern. It was hard.” 🙂

“It was [a] pattern too.”

(And lest this sound too perfect, let me add for the record that none of her sisters demonstrated much interest in nature journaling past the age of, oh, maybe eight or so. They all moved on to other pursuits. Which is fine! I have marveled at every age. Six is delicious, and fleeting, and full of wonder. I’m savoring it.)

Review and Interview Roundup

September 13, 2012 @ 4:25 pm | Filed under: , , ,

School Library Journal on The Prairie Thief:

“Wiley has created a charming, inventive tale that reads like a delightful mash-up of Little House on the Prairie and Tony DiTerlizzi’s ‘The Spiderwick Chronicles’ (S & S). Short chapters and the air of mystery and suspense keep the pages turning, and readers will be taken with Louisa, who is sweet and mild-mannered, yet has the strength to fight for what is right. The writing is breezy and lyrical…[a] top-notch story.”

More reviews:

The Prairie Thief at Kirkus
The Prairie Thief at Jen Robinson’s Book Page
Fox and Crow Are Not Friends at Kirkus


Brave Writer podcast with Julie Bogart
Author Spotlight at Writing on the Sidewalk
Authors Are ROCKSTARS! podcast
Author letter at Ready-to-Read

Our Morning Music

September 13, 2012 @ 11:28 am | Filed under:

Beanie is learning Dvorak’s New World Symphony theme for her piano class. I love the Largo theme and it’s always a happy day for me when one of the girls reaches this point in their lesson books. Beanie wanted to hear the whole symphony, so we started with a few YouTube clips.

First, the theme played by on flute:

Then on classical guitar—this is lovely:

Which led us to this rather thrilling electric guitar rendition of the 4th movement:

I love that the young guitarist says he first encountered this piece of music in a video game, fell in love with it, hunted it down, and taught himself to play it by ear. 🙂

Here’s the same movement played by the Vienna Philharmonic:

Breathtaking—but I think I like the electric guitar version best.

Brave Writer Interview!

September 11, 2012 @ 8:27 am | Filed under: ,

My Brave Writer podcast interview with Julie Bogart is up! We gabbed about my new books, our writing lives, encouraging our kids’ writing, homeschooling, blogging, and all kinds of things. Something there for everyone, not just homeschoolers. I loved getting to talk about the writing process with someone as on fire for the subject as Julie and could have gone on chatting all day.

If you have any questions about the topics Julie, her son Noah, and I discussed, please fire away!

Monday Links & Language

September 10, 2012 @ 8:53 am | Filed under: , , ,

New Thicklebit: Tats for Tots.

New interview: Writing on the Sidewalk.

Foreign language app we are finding irresistible, with a deliciously mockable edge: Earworms. (I learned about it at GeekMom. Rose and Beanie are using the German; Jane, the Japanese. Rose likes it so much she ponied up her own funds for the Arabic.)

Other resources Jane is using to learn Japanese (answering Ellie‘s question from my learning notes blog): Pimsleur Approach audio program (check your library for these); Free Japanese Lessons; Learn Japanese Adventure (another free site).

I had such a fun time yesterday recording a Brave Writer podcast with Julie Bogart and her son. I’ll let you know when it goes live! The Prairie Thief is the October selection for Brave Writer’s Arrow program—a monthly digital language arts curriculum featuring a different work of fiction in each installment. Brave Writer is one of the first resources I ever gushed about on this blog, way back in 2005. 🙂 And as you’ll discover in the podcast, Julie Bogart was the blogger who inspired me to start Bonny Glen in the first place!