Thursday, May 30, 2013

Belated Post: Visiting the Eastern Shore in Maryland

In April, I was also fortunate to spend a week in Maryland, visiting schools and libraries on the Eastern Shore. I was  happy to go as I last year I had to drop out as I got a little busy--needless to say, I'm was very glad to be reinvited!

And it was a fun week!  Hosted by famous blogger librarians Sam and Rachel, we enjoyed all the warm welcomes:



One school welcomed me with  a quilt  inspired by the descriptive language from Where the Mountain Meets the Moon:


Here's a better picture of it! Luckily we drove to Maryland so we could take it back:




And after a whole week, I got very good at doing my Starry River of the Sky presentation:




As well as teaching students how to draw a tiger:





And I wasn't the only one getting more skillful! Rain Dragon really started to master the whole walking thing:



But, of course, the best part was meeting readers, all of whom seemed to have really enjoyed my books!



Thanks so much Sam and Rachel! Thanks so much Eastern Shore Libraries!


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Belated Post: The Fay B. Kaigler Children's Book Festival

So, all the way back on April 10th (you'll see why I note the specific date),  we went to the Fay B. Kaigler Children's Book Festival  in Hattiesburg, MS. Even though Rain Dragon had flown before,  this time she was much more cognizant. I think she was a bit stunned:

Luckily, when she is stunned she is also speechless so she was a well-behaved baby for most of the flight. 


We flew into New Orleans, where our guardian angel/hostess Anna met drove us to Hattiesburg...

the most hospitable hostess you'll ever meet! She even took us on a tour of New Orleans after the festival!

after a quick stop for some fried oysters:
YUM!!!

And it was in Hattiesburg that we realized that Anna's completely and amazingly warm and hospitable nature was not just exclusive to her. Everyone who was a part of the Book Festival was incredibly thoughtful and kind. They set up a conference room all full of toys just for Rain Dragon to play in!

When I first saw the room, I asked if there were other children at the festival...but it was all just for Rain Dragon!
She absolutely LOVED it. She didn't want to leave!

And perhaps because she knew everyone was so friendly that it was at the conference, right before my keynote speech that Rain Dragon decided to take her first steps! She had been stumbling and standing for days before, but it was at the conference that she finally strung together three or four steps--walking from the stage to table and grinning the whole time. Needless to say, the conference will always be a happy memory for me.

Because it really was a great honor to speak at the Festival! For those who might not know, the Fay B. Kaigler Children's Book Festival  is not only a celebration of children's literature (they give the Ezra Jack Keats New Writer & Illustrator Award), but also a celebration of the de Grummond Children's Literature Collection. There are so many children's book treasures there! From the amazing mural by Esphyr Slobodkina:


to sculptural studies by the Reys:

to a complete set of the original OZ books (which I admit I covet! I might have to start collecting these myself):

One of the funnest things about the Festival and the Collection is how they honor a different children's book creator every year with a special coin. The author/illustrator chose what image they'd like embossed for the back (the front is always their image). 


There was Beverly Cleary with Ramona:


Ernest Shepard with  Winnie the Pooh:


And, of course, there was Ezra Jack Keats, whose entire works (or at least most of it!) is housed at the de Grummond:

including the beautiful art from The Snowy Day which I adore (and I admit  kind of inspired these photos):


which was also  epitomized in the last of the many kindness the festival showed us. Yes, they gave Rain Dragon a Peter doll!



Though she does treat him rather roughly:



She loves him!
and now that she's walking she's impossible to get a still photo of, too!

Thanks so much!

Monday, May 27, 2013

on my desk monday

Finally moved in! And I can't believe it's been over a year since these were taken:


Oh, how time flies!

Friday, May 24, 2013

fortune cookie friday


"A beautiful flower is incomplete without its leaves."
-Chinese Proverb

quick catch-up!

I posted this on my facebook page but I thought I'd put a little note on my blog as well, just for those not on facebook:

Things have been so busy that I haven't opened my reader mail since X-mas...and I realize that school is now ending. If something was sent that needed a response before school was over (a teacher who wanted bookplates for her students, for example), please e-mail gracelin.manager@gmail.com and I will try to get things out ASAP.  If you can, please include the number of students, address, the last day of school and any other pertinent information just in case I can't find the letter (also it will be faster!). I can't 100% promise my response will get there in time, but I will try!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Best Books for Babies (or at least mine)!

So, things are finally starting to calm down and this poor neglected blog will soon be getting some attention! Yay! I've missed connecting with all of you.

While I get things in order, I thought I'd share this guest post I did for the "What to Expect When You are Expecting" website, ( yes, it a website for the book all expecting moms know!).  I wrote about Rain Dragon's five favorite baby books!  After all the baby book testing we've done, I thought I should share!



Tuesday, May 14, 2013

moving

goodbye, bookshelves!

So, I spent Mother's Day moving. We've been moving in stages, but this was our last and final move. One of the reasons we've moved so slowly is because I've had a hard time letting go. From Robert to renovations,  there are a lot of memories and emotions about the apartment that go beyond mere homeownership for me.

But just like before, I've found solace in the quote "You only lose what you cling to." By choosing to leave the apartment, I don't lose the memories, but I do let go of the past. Which makes room for the future.

And I realize how apropos it that it was Mother's Day that I left this apartment behind. Because it's Rain Dragon that initiated our move. It's so we can give her the home we want, to be the family and mother I want us to be. Because I'm not just moving, I'm moving forward.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

a little busy


You might have noticed that things are a little quiet here at the blog.  Well, not only is my school visit schedule in full swing (I promise posts about my trips to MS and MD), we've sold the apartment (as long as nothing falls through, knock on wood)! The real estate market has definitely bounced back, it was a little crazy how quickly and how much interest there was. We're happy the apartment has sold  but we weren't prepared for it to go quite so fast...and now the schedule is even crazier! So sorry for the radio silence and please stay tuned as I promise to return once things calm down a bit...