Thursday, March 29, 2012

Love of Books

Here is a neat article, “What I Love About Books,” posted by Barbara Vey on the Publishers Weekly blog. She lists ten reasons why she loves books. So I started my own list about why I love books too:

  1. I love to read for inspiration.
  2. I love to immerse myself in another time and place, especially with historical fiction novels.
  3. I love to learn new things that I didn’t know before.
  4. I love my imagination to soar with some books.
  5. I love to sometimes chuckle, sometimes cry, with certain books.
What about you? What do you love about books?

Tree in Boerne, TX
You might also be interested in an interview conducted by Rachel Martin with Newbery Honor Medalist Natalie Babbit (Tuck Everlasting) on the NPR blog. She talks about her new book, The Moon Over High Street.  

"Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him." -- Maya Angelou

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Writing a Manuscript

Are you having a hard time getting started on that manuscript that’s been at the back of your mind forever? Should you worry about format? Should you outline before you start? These are simple questions that we ask ourselves. Brian Klem’s post on the WritersDigest blog addresses this topic. He offers five simple key tips on “How to Write a Manuscript.”  Read his post for simple but useful tips on getting unstuck and getting started. 

It’s never too early to read to a child. A few days ago, I did a school visit for very young children – preschoolers. It was a delight to read to such adorable young people. They were attentive and wide-eyed as I read and acted out the story. Children love being read to.

"All really good picture books are written to be read five hundred times." -- Rosemary Wells

Sunday, March 18, 2012

A Wrinkle in Time

What started out as vignettes and poems ended as a novel in verse for Guadalupe Garcia McCall. McCall, the author of the award-winning young adult novel, Under the Mesquite, was a guest speaker at our monthly SCBWI chapter meeting at Barnes & Noble on Saturday, March 17. Her talk was on “Literacy and Our Roles as Writers and Illustrators for Young People.” She pointed out the need for diversity in books. She challenged us to strive to write stories that are authentic and well researched and to immerse ourselves in the culture we are writing about. She is already at work on her second novel, which is due out in October of this year.

Texas Bluebonnets
Did you know that one of the classics, A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle, almost wasn’t?According to a post on the NPR blog, “The Unlikely Best-Seller: ‘A Wrinkle In Time’ Turns 50, L’Engle’s book “almost didn’t see the light of day. Although the author already had six books to her name, publishers were perplexed by her latest.” Read the entire post to find out why it was first rejected.

"I believe that good questions are more important than answers, and the best children's books ask questions, and make the readers ask questions. And every new question is going to disturb someone's universe." --Madeleine L'Engle

Monday, March 12, 2012

World Read Aloud Day

On March 7, "World Read Aloud Day," I had the pleasure of reading to over 100 students during a school visit at Walnut Creek Elementary, Austin, Texas.  The students were enthusiastic and asked really good questions after the reading. A question asked was whether I had ever written a book from a childhood experience to which I answered, “Yes, Lupita’s Papalote.” A highlight for me was when I mentioned that I had lived in Thailand and learned that two young girls in the audience were originally from Thailand and the family had now settled in Texas. Small world!

Dr. Seuss would have been 108 on March 2. I think you might enjoy reading Jason English’s post on the blog titled, “10 Memorable Dr. Seuss Quotes About His Work.” 

“A person's a person, no matter how small.” ― Dr. Seuss, Horton Hears a Who!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Alicia's Fruity Drinks/Las Aguas Frescas de Alicia

Even though I do not have a hard copy in my hands yet, my latest bilingual picture storybook, Alicia’s Fruity Drinks/Las Aguas Frescas de Alicia, is available for pre-order on The book will be available in bookstores by May 31. The illustrator, Laura Lacamara, did a fabulous job on the art. She is a super talented artist. Visit her website to view some of her beautiful work.

As I have mentioned before, a picture book is collaboration between the writer and the illustrator so it becomes “our” book. Thank you, Laura, for the time, dedication, and love you put into this book.

Stay tuned for when I have a booksigning for this book. I should be getting my copies any day now. It’s always a thrill to see UPS drive up and deliver that very special package. Magical!

"Touch magic -- pass it on."  -- Jane Yolen

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Filler Market

What is the filler market, you might ask? According to Marie E. Cecchini on her blog,, Webster defines "filler" as "material used to fill extra space in a column or on a page of a newspaper or magazine." She writes: “Fillers can be written for children or adults, and topics for them run the gamut from parenting, health, and weight loss, to redecorating your room, dealing with finance concerns, working with technology, and managing stress.”

Children’s book author, Kathleen Muldoon’s article, “Short, Sweet and Sometimes Profitable – Writing for the Filler Market,” addresses this topic on the Institute of Children’s Literature blog. The author of numerous children’s books, Muldoon writes that fillers come in many forms such as "short anecdotes, notable quotes, and interesting bits of trivia." She gives examples of other types of fillers. Maybe you have a short anecdote you might want to submit to a magazine. Look through those files and I'll bet you'll find one. 

New Mexico

"Seasonal queries to a magazine should be submitted at least six months ahead of schedule to allow for editorial lead time." -- Writer's Digest Weekly Planner