Monday, May 31, 2010

procrastination technique...or help me decide what to wear to the newbery banquet!

So I've been pretty busy and have lots of things to blog about-- BEA, my last school visit of the year, visiting my parents in Upstate NY...but my current obsession is trying to figure out what I should wear for the Newbery Award Banquet at the end of June. This truly has become an obsession. Such a distracting obsession that I have promised Squatchie that I will get the dress question settled by the end of the week and actually get some work done (did I mention that I have a novel I have to write?)

But can you blame me? This is like the Oscars for children's book authors! Really! I've been scouring the web to see what people have worn before and found this:



So, I've been mulling over my dress options. The practical side of me says I should wear a dress that I already have in my closet...but you know me and dresses!

For a while I have had my heart on this Anthropologie dress that I saw online:

but I can't find it ANYWHERE in my size (or even a size that could fit with some tailoring). I have searched and searched. sigh. So, I've had to discard this dress dream and move onto other possibilities (fyi, it's the "painted lotus" dress if anyone has any connections with Anthropologie outlets or knows someone who might want to sell it to me...)

And the other possibilities include this green lace dress, the same color as my lucky jade bracelet:


Or this raspberry one, that reminds me of the roses that blooming outside:


What do you think?

on my desk monday

Shiny Junior Library Guild medallion for Ling & Ting! (Don't forget about the party!)

Friday, May 28, 2010

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

book talk tuesday

THE ORDINARY PRINCESS by MM Kaye

IndieBound Description: Along with Wit, Charm, Health, and Courage, Princess Amy of Phantasmorania receives a special fairy christening gift: Ordinariness. Unlike her six beautiful sisters, she has brown hair and freckles, and would rather have adventures than play the harp, embroider tapestries . . . or become a Queen. When her royal parents try to marry her off, Amy runs away and, because she's so ordinary, easily becomes the fourteenth assistant kitchen maid at a neighboring palace. And there . . . much to everyone's surprise . . . she meets a prince just as ordinary (and special) as she is!

My Thoughts: I adored this book when I was younger. It never won any awards or was considered literature with a capital "L" but it is a completely charming, sweet and light story that has never left me or anyone else I know who has read it. It is also the first book where I remember reading the author's note and thinking it was really neat...and wishing I was an author as well. I can't say that I like this new cover, but perhaps it is the nostalgia in me (though I think she looks way too young and not that ordinary). The version I read as a child, while it looks more "mass market" captured more of the charms of story, I think.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

now presenting...

The Ling and Ting Book Trailer:



Official release date is July 1st, 2010 but if you come to my party you get it before everyone else!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

peaceful homes let children soar!

Remember that painting I did that I said I would tell you about later?

It was for ATASK, an amazing group that focuses on helping Asian families and individuals who are victims or potential victims of domestic violence. They were looking for an image to support their outreach and prevention message of "Peaceful Homes Let Children Soar." I was privileged to be ask to create it and I tried honor their organization by incorporating elements of their logo of butterflies and cranes into the painting.

And, at the ATASK Longwood Symphony Orchestra Benefit Concert....
I'm onstage!!

Luckily, not playing any of the music (phew!). ATASK used my painting to make a poster to give to the first 100 donors at the concert. I was truly proud that image I created encouraged giving to such an great cause. I was there to present Dr. Howard Koh, US Assistant Secretary for Health for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (pretty impressive, huh?) a framed copy of the poster.
I felt a bit out of my element, but we're hoping he hangs it in his office to help raise awareness of ATASK's mission. Hey, maybe President Obama will see it and want one for his daughters!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

it's an honor just to be nominated...

...is the standard line, but this time I REALLY mean it. Because the kind people at Papertigers have nominated ME for the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award!

I'm sooo flattered, though I will not be holding my breath for it...the last two Americans to win were Maurice Sendak and Katherine Patterson! Still, it's pretty fun to think my name is somewhere circling around theirs though (albeit probably in the broad periphery!).

book talk tuesday

The Family Under the Bridge by Natalie Savage Carson

Indiebound Description: This is the delightfully warm and enjoyable story of an old Parisian named Armand, who relished his solitary life. Children, he said, were like starlings, and one was better off without them.
But the children who lived under the bridge recognized a true friend when they met one, even if the friend seemed a trifle unwilling at the start. And it did not take Armand very long to realize that he had gotten himself ready-made family; one that he loved with all his heart, and one for whom he would have to find a better home than the bridge.

Armand and the children's adventures around Paris -- complete with gypsies and a Santa Claus -- make a story which children will treasure.

My Thoughts: Oh, how I loved this book! These are my favorite Garth Williams illustrations, and that is saying a lot. The story is simply wonderful...and it paints a magical picture of Paris--not the shiny images that you see in tourist photos, but a rich atmosphere with real characters. This is a oldie but such a goodie!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Friday, May 14, 2010

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

years go by

During my recent event in Albany, NY, a young girl brought me a photo of the last time we had met:

The date on the photo says 2003, and the book I am signing The Seven Chinese Sisters was published that year...yet I can't believe it was 7 years ago. The picture book reader is now reading my novels:



That's pretty neat, don't you think?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

book talk tuesday

FORTUNE'S MAGIC FARM by Suzanne Selfors

IndieBound Description:
This story takes place in the dark, dank village of Runny Cove. There, orphan Isabelle works her fingers to the bone at the Magnificently Supreme Umbrella Factory, struggling to support herself and her Grandma Maxine. That is, until Isabelle discovers that she has inherited Fortune's Farm, the last place on earth where magic grows. Now Isabelle must use the magic to save the people of Runny Cove without spilling the secret of Fortune's Farm to the world-or worse, to the greedy factory owner, Mr. Supreme, who wants to exploit the magical fruit for his own selfish purposes.

My Thoughts:
This book was so much fun. It reminds me a bit of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with the stark contrast of the dreariness of Isabelle's life in the beginning to life at Fortune's Farm. And, like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory it also made me hungry, though this made me crave fruit instead of chocolate--which is comparatively healthy, so I was very grateful (maybe it can be used in coordination with healthy eating!). The book went too fast, I wanted more adventures when I got to the end of the book, so I will have to cross my fingers for a sequel.

My solitary quibble is that the cover is not indicative of the book at all. I mean it is nice and colorful...but Isabelle has green hair in the book, it's part of the magic and a fairly big plot point...and this girl has brown! That bugs me. So instead of looking at the cover, I think you should watch this book trailer of it instead. It'll give you a much better idea of the inside!

Monday, May 10, 2010

on my desk monday

finally answering my fan mail! sorry anyone who has been waiting...

Friday, May 7, 2010

fortune cookie friday


"There is only one pretty child in the world and every mother has it."
-Chinese Proverb

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Please come!


Come celebrate Ling & Ting's book birthday! My very first early reader will be available on June 19th and I'm having a party for it!

As usual, I will be reading and signing and giving away cupcake + more loot-filled goodie bags!

And the fun game this time? It's a costume party! Ling and Ting are twins so...

Come with a friend (or relative) in a MATCHING OUTFIT and get a special-while-they-last-handmade prize!!


What is it? Come to the party and see:

WHERE: Porter Square Bookstore
25 White St. Cambridge, MA
617-491-2220

WHEN: Saturday, June 19th 3pm

Feel free to invite others and spread the word! The more the merrier! If you can, please RSVP (to the evite HERE or send me an e-mail at gracelin.manager@gmail.com) so I have an idea of how many goodie bags I should make--but you can always show up last minute, I'll make extras!

Hope to see you!!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

book talk tuesday

WHAT A YEAR by Tomie DePaola

IndieBound Description: The year 1940 is a very big year for Tomie-it's the start of first grade, and it's his first birthday in the new house at 26 Fairmount Avenue. It's also the first year that Tomie gets to go trick-or-treating with his older brother, Buddy. Then the holidays arrive, and Tomie has a part in the Christmas play. This Christmas is going to be great! But disaster strikes when Tomie gets the chicken pox. Will he be cured in time for the Christmas pageant? Join Tomie dePaola once again as he takes us back to his childhood and allows us to share the holiday season with his family and friends.

My thoughts
: I adore the Tomie dePaola's 26 Fairmont Ave books. Not only do I think the writing completely captures the voice of an authentic child, they describe events that are so much in a child's world & interests. These books were a large influence and inspiration for my Year of the Dog & Year of the Rat (and upcoming Dumpling Days!) books.

Monday, May 3, 2010

on my desk monday

This is a violin I painted for a benefit for my niece Lily's violin school (she takes lessons there). They have students paint "retired" violins and auction them off at an event in May. Lily asked me to paint one...and how could I deny a request from my flower girl?

I did find the violin a bit challenging. It didn't come out exactly as I wanted, I couldn't really get any fine line work to stick. But I was happy that I got to paint my origami birds again(they are starting to become a little bit of an obsession, much like fish were a while ago, I think it is a sign of something):

as well as one of my favorite quotes:
(the woods would be silent if no bird sang except the best)


I thought that was fitting for a kids' music school, don't you think?