Saturday, November 29, 2008

gobble, gobble

This Thanksgiving, I discovered the gastronomic deliciousness of homemade cranberry sauce. YUM! Before, I had always had cranberry sauce from a can--that circular-shaped red jell which we tried to disguise by mushing with a fork, even though the slightly metallic taste gave it away.

Not this year! Why didn't I ever make homemade cranberry sauce before? It's so good! It's so easy! And my secret ingredient? A handful of chopped candied ginger. Candied ginger makes everything taste better.

Friday, November 28, 2008

fortune cookie friday

"One cannot refuse to eat just because there is a chance of being choked."
-Chinese Proverb

Thursday, November 27, 2008

In the spirit of Thanksgiving

Somewhere I read the quote, "Love is simply wishing another to be happy."

I've thought about it a lot over the last few years, and with the true meaning of the holidays being wrapped with the two emotions of love and happiness I thought I would share this video with you. It is a little long and a bit intellectual, but what I took from it was that you can find happiness in almost any situation if you allow yourself. And that is something to be thankful for, is it not?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

santa claus parade

My visit in Montreal coincided with their Santa Claus Parade, which I was excited to go see. Even the cold Canadian morning weather could not freeze my excitement. And how could it? My first glimpse of the parade was the float with... unicorns! (Did I ever mention I was a big unicorn girl in grade school?) Anyway, the parade was the perfect harbinger of my holiday cheer. And now, I want to do a book about a Santa Claus parade. It was such fun to see children's book characters like Alice, come to life,

a walking Christmas dinner,

oompa-loompa-ish ornaments,

and, of course, Santa!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Thursday, November 20, 2008

window wishes

I'm in Montreal, Canada now for a bit of a break (just saw a Bob Dylan concert last night!) and for some reason, the holiday window decorations in the department store fill me with great joy:

Isn't it great? If I did not have such a dismal track record with Christmas books, I'd allow the hundred of ideas the window inspires turn into a book. Maybe I can look at it as a second career--what would be the job title? Window Displayer? Christmas Window Decorator?

Monday, November 17, 2008

my in-progress holiday list, part one

So in keeping with my I'm buying books for the holidays post, I've been brainstorming ideas for the people on my list. I want to give a mixture of my own books (for the personal touch) as well as books that I think they might enjoy. In the off chance that people on your list might be similiar to the people on mine, here is what I am thinking:

For the toddler whom the parents want to grow up bilingual:
The Round is a Mooncake and Red is a Dragon books by Roseanne Thong and that I illustrated as a primer on shapes, color and Chinese culture along with Richard's Scarry's Best Word Book in CHINESE and some Chinese baby flash card books.

For the toddler's slightly older sibling:
The Seven Chinese Sisters by Kathy Tucker that I illustrated, and this new book The Pet Dragon by Christoph Niemann that I just discovered-- it's a great book incorporating Chinese calligraphy and a fun story--not a primer to teach Chinese writing, but more of a book to get one excited about Chinese writing. And I guess to keep with the "dragon" theme I will add my book Bringing in the New Year.

For the foodie friends with a new baby: Dim Sum for Everyone! and Fortune Cookie Fortunes for the baby, and The Fortune Cookie Chronicles and Shark's Fin and Sichuan Pepper: A sweet-Sour Memoir of Eating in China Because it's never too early to start a love of Chinese food!

The younger sister who likes to make things: Lissy's Friends and doll, Fold me a Poem by Lauren Stringer and an origami kit.

The slightly older brother who is a picky eater: The Ugly Vegetables and Luck of the Loch Ness Monster: A Tale of Picky Eating by Alice Flaherty (a hilarious story about how the Loch Ness Monster grew from a small worm eating oatmeal that a picky eater kept throwing out the window). I will probably add Meghan's Astronaut Handbook in as well.

That takes care of most of the very young on my list. Next, the "I'm too old for picturebooks, I can read on my own" crowd. (PS, if you suspect that you are one of the people on my list, act surprised at Christmas, please!).

Friday, November 14, 2008

fortune cookie friday

"The man who removes a mountain begins by carrying away small stones."
-Chinese Proverb

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I'm buying books for the holidays!

The holidays are coming and with these not great financial times, this is my overly-earnest plea for you to consider a gift that will truly leave a long lasting meaning to the people in your life. Yes, baby clothes are cute. Yes, video games are cool. But books are timeless. Books are remembered forever. Books enrich your life. They are important. And, after being alerted by Jama Rattigan, the book industry is in trouble.

As Moonrat says in her post about supporting the book industry:
Buy your sister a book instead of a sweater for her birthday; buy your friend who can't even make toast or boil water a beginner's cookbook; buy your company's receptionist a novel you liked because most people probably ignore him/her (it's always a her, though, isn't it?) and you'll make his/her day.

Buy your holiday gifts now. Instead of a CD for your brother, buy him a book on his favorite recording artist.

Instead of going to the library this one week buy the book you were going to read--it might only be a difference of a couple of bucks in the end. One day this week, make a peanut butter sandwich, skip going out for lunch, and buy a paperback.

Got an anniversary? Skip chocolates; fiction is sexy.

Got a non-reading friend with a birthday? Buy them a book and tell them it's high time they got over it. Or, more kindly, that you're doing it to sponsor your own future writing career. Or blame me if you must; I can take it.

It doesn't matter what. It doesn't have to be a literary fiction hardcover. If could be a $5.99 mass market nutrition guide, a $4.99 young reader chapter book, a Harlequin romance. Your money will still prevent returns of other books--literary fiction is usually the first to go--and will trickle down to the publishing companies, who will then be more likely to be able to afford to publish unprofitable literary fiction. Even if it's not by your favorite author or your favorite publishing house, your favorites will be indirectly affected.

Do you have reluctant readers on your list? Change the adjective with your gift. I firmly believe that there is at least one book for everyone that can transform. It's a different book for each person and you can find it! The bloggers at BUY BOOKS FOR THE HOLIDAYS would be thrilled to help you. The girls and I, here, would be happy to as well.

I know that this might seem self-serving considering I am an author (especially after I offered free bookplates to those who order my books) but I would not make books if I didn't consider them important (and I am honestly urging you to buy any book, not just mine!). On the aforementioned bookplate, I designed it around the Chinese proverb A Book is like a Garden in One's Pocket. In this cold financial climate, during this chilly holiday season, plant the seeds and let books blossom for you and the ones you care about.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

newsletter promotion

I've just sent out my new-and-improved e-mail newsletter (please sign up for it!) and amongst the other tidbits I am offering this promotion:


I'm honored by the number of book-lovers who choose to give my books as gifts for the holidays! To make these holiday presents even more special, I've designed a new bookplate (see to the right) that I will personally autograph and send to you FREE. All you have to do is send an e-mail to (you can also send to Alice at, with the following:

1.To WHOM you wish the bookplate to be autographed to.
2.WHICH book the bookplate is for (I have different messages and drawings for each of my books)
3.Your name and MAILING ADDRESS

and you will get your bookplate ready to put in any book of mine which you have purchased.

This is a limited-design bookplate, which means this design is only for this promotion, but there is NO limit on how many bookplates you can request.

Promotion ends December 7th, 2008. All bookplates will be sent out that week (if you need it earlier, please make a special request when you send your e-mail)

Friday, November 7, 2008

fortune cookie friday

"If you are patient in one moment of anger, you will escape a hundred days of sorrow."
-Chinese Proverb

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

me, teacher

In between the election and visits, I have forgotten to tell people that I have accepted a teaching position at Pine Manor College for the their Low-Residency Creative Writing Program. Even though I am a bit delayed in announcing this, it is in no way a reflection of the great honor it is to be a part of their program. They boast of a diverse student body as well as an impressive faculty (An Na! Jacqueline Woodson! Laban Hill!).

So if you have ever thought about writing children's literature, consider looking into this program. If you end up being my student (I am only going to take 3), I promise to guide you with best I have within me.

The Solstice Low-Residency MFA in Creative Writing Program of Pine Manor College ( is now accepting applications for the winter residency/spring 2009 semester, with a deadline of November 15, 2008. We offer concentrations in fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, and writing for young people.

Designed for writers wishing to pursue their writing goals while balancing the demands of work and family, the Solstice MFA in Creative Writing Program offers affordable tuition, small classes, third-semester internships, the most diverse faculty in the country, and one-to-one mentoring in a friendly and non-hierarchical environment.

For more information, visit, email or call the MFA Office at (617) 731-7697.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


I woke up at 6 AM today to go and vote. I have to drive off to Albany today for a school visit, so I thought I'd better go early and beat the rush. I didn't beat the rush. Like how the line ends in the sunrise? Symbolic, perhaps?

After two hours of waiting, I voted...and I have the sticker to prove it!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

the baby is kicking

If you haven't noticed, the cover for WHERE THE MOUNTAIN MEETS THE MOON has been unveiled. There is even an amazon page for it. It's not officially out for another 8 months, but I'm already feeling like an expectant mother.