Tuesday, March 31, 2009

what is beauty?

This is a little movie I made with my friend Alexandre Ferron (who is also making my book trailer, he is the film-movie-smarty one) for the North of Beautiful: Find Beauty Challenge, inspired by the book North Of Beautiful.

For every video about beauty that fans upload, my friend and uber-talented author Justina Chen Headley will donate $10--up to $1,000--to help children in third-world countries born with cleft lips and palates.


I'm always sad when people don't smile for photos because they "hate their smiles." I think that is contrary to reality-- in my opinion, people always look better when they smile because they look happy! And happiness is the greatest beautifier! So, our little movie is based on that. What do you think?

p.s.--if you like it, please rate it; I'd like to win that Ipod touch! ha ha

Sunday, March 29, 2009

just something nice

I'm back from Texas and I thought, before I get back to work, I'd spend some leisure time enjoying the world. Like looking at this beautiful animation by children's book illustrator Terri Sloat:

Isn't it lovely?

Friday, March 27, 2009

fortune cookie friday

"Be not afraid of moving slowly, be afraid only of standing still."
-Chinese Proverb

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

table of Menus

I am still traveling in Texas visiting schools daily, which while fun, is admittedly exhausting. But not without highlights! For example, a table full of red origami cranes (just like Menu in Lissy's Friends) from a first grade class:

Even so, I must confess that I am a bit drained, which is why this post will be a bit truncated. But besides the cranes I wanted to share these other tidbits:

1. There was a lovely blog post at Xiaoning's Blog about the anniversary of The Ugly Vegetables. That's better than a card!

2. I was forwarded this link. It's my first review of my new novel (out June) Where the Mountain Meets the Moon! And it's a good one (phew!). Terry Hong of the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program calls it "...definitely a glowing, loving, memorable read." THANKS!

3. I have figured out how to get my blog on my Amazon Connects profile (my last and only post there was in 2006...). Anyway, at least I think I have. If I haven't, don't tell me until after I have had a good night's sleep.

Sunday, March 22, 2009


It's hard to imagine, but my very first published book has hit its 10 year anniversary! Yes, The Ugly Vegetables is 10 years old. To celebrate this momentous occasion, the publisher has printed an anniversary edition and it is finally IN STOCK (both in hardback and paperback)! The new edition features a new cover, design and an updated pinyin glossary.

The last was a most important change, as the original book used out-dated pinyin which made it difficult for those non-Chinese speakers (including myself) to pronounce the names of the vegetables. So, in honor of this edition I've added an Ugly Vegetables Chinese Lesson on my website.

Listen to audio clips of each of the correctly pronounced vegetable names (thanks, Mom!) here: UGLY VEGETABLES CHINESE LESSON

and have a Happy Birthday Cupcake for The Ugly Vegetables!

Yippee! I hope it has many happy returns of the day!

Friday, March 20, 2009

fortune cookie friday

"A bird does not sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song."
-Chinese Proverb

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


First Grade Student: Grace Lin, how old are you?
Me: How old do you think I am?
First Grade Student: 14!
Me: Well, I'm a little older than that!
First Grade Student: 87!
Me: Um, well, I'm younger than that!
Second Grade Student: I know! I know!
Me: Okay, how old do you think I am?
Second Grade Student: Are you a grandmother?
Me: No.
Second Grade Student: Then you're 29. My mom says any woman who is not a grandmother is 29.
Me: You have a very smart mother.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

on the road again

Yes, I'm in Texas again! It's 80 degrees here, but this time I brought short sleeve shirts.

Forgot the sunglasses again, though.

Friday, March 13, 2009

fortune cookie friday

"When you have two pennies, buy a loaf of bread with one, and a lily with the other."
-Chinese Proverb

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

the singing bush

I pass this bush on the bike path regularly, and recently it was full of song. Hundreds and thousands of tweets and whistles...but all invisible. It was almost as if the dried branches were singing to welcome the warmer weather.

Of course, it was birds--but so well camouflaged that, even with close inspection, they were nearly impossible to see. In fact, I was only really able to locate one:

and I am sure there were many more. Regardless, it was a nice serenade for spring!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Thursday, March 5, 2009

small graces: March

This painting will be on auction on March 9th! Please spread the word!

more at www.smallgraces.org

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

on the road

It seems like I have been non-stop traveling...because I have! I've been fortunate to be invited to visit many schools this spring, lately in Ohio and Texas. They've been wonderful visits, where lovely librarians have introduced me to the wonders of Metro MintWater:
(Really, this stuff is amazing. I am on a search to find it on the east coast!)

Also, I was given the BEST complimentary gift to give to an author, an assortment of post-it notes in its own case:

(Oh, why did I not have you 6 months ago when I was revising my novel?)

And I met the greatest bunch of students, including some Chinese-American twins!
(Ling and Ting, here I come!)

But, one of my favorite parts of visiting schools is seeing how the teachers and librarians have used my books in the classroom.

Here, students researched the meaning of the Chinese zodiac animals (inspired by Year of the Dog):

Younger students wrote their own fortunes:

(One of my favorite ones read "Dogs gaurd you.")

And gave Olvina different identities:
(Olvina as a karate master! Have to love that, maybe if then she wouldn't be such a chicken. Ha ha.)

Many classes studied the similes that I wrote in The Year of the Dog. This I found particularly intriguing as I have been thinking about adding a Simile Workshop in my repertoire of presentations.

I particularly enjoyed this collection of student illustrated Year of the Dog similes:
Aren't those great? I keep taking photos and notes of everything, hoping to update the activities section of my website. But I haven't gotten around to it...I've been traveling too much!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

earlier in the month

Here's a lovely post about a school visit I did earlier in the month with a wonderful bunch of students at the Lawrence School in Brookline. I meant to write about it before but got sidetracked! It's a great little primer of my "How a Book is Made" presentation, and I am so glad they enjoyed it.

(It's also an interesting lesson in vanity for me--considering the relatively flattering 1st photo of the post and the, um, not-so-flattering last one! Notice which one I used here? Ha ha!)