Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Hear me, hear me!

So, I'm super excited (and nervous)  that I will be one of the presenters at TedxNatick on Jan 23rd! I'm writing and polishing a whole new speech--"The Mirrors and Windows of Your Child's Bookshelf"--I am really hoping it will be good. If you love Ted talks, here's your chance to go to one and hear some awesome speakers--tickets are on sale now!

Did I mention I was really nervous about the speech? So, since practice makes perfect, I'm doing a dress rehearsal of the speech at an event at the Eric Carle Museum on  Saturday, January 16, at 1pm! Constructive criticism and encouragement welcome!

Hope to see you!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

memory pearl

"I am Rudolph and these are my extra noses," she says, "I need them in case my old nose runs out of batteries."

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Drum it up for Drum Dream Girl!!!

Don't miss this beautiful, beautiful book! I HEART it and am buying up lots of copies to give away this holiday season, and I'm not the only one.

WNDB has started a #DrumitUp campaign to help get this book the attention it deserves.  So please spread the word and purchase a copy (or two or three!) yourself! You'll be spreading some beauty into the world, which is just what we all need--don't you think?

Drum it up!

Friday, November 27, 2015

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Come see me!

I'm having a book event as a fundraiser for Rain Dragon's school! Please come (there's free frozen yogurt, too!)!

Saturday, Dec 5th
80 Main St, Northampton

Hope to see you!

Monday, November 9, 2015

on my desk monday

On my desk today is a copy of the newspaper article featuring my week of school visits in Iowa! It was a great trip--I plan to write up more about it later--but in the meantime you can read the article HERE! Thanks so much for having me, Iowa City Schools!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

this year's pumpkins

I had hoped to revive our pumpkin carving party tradition this year, but fate was against us. I had gotten rid of our old dining table and ordered a new one but  the shipping company somehow lost it. We have been using this red bench as our table for the last five weeks:

I finally just canceled that table and ordered another from somewhere else. Crossing my fingers the new one makes it!
A pumpkin party without a table seemed rather inconvenient, so we carved solo again this year. And again, we themed them to her current obsession. Right now,  she is in love with Curious George. She started with the books but now prefers the TV show. I know, sacrilege!!

But she likes better that "the man catches him" (and George doesn't break his leg) in the TV episode and she is never satisfied with my answers when she asks, "Why did he open the ether bottle? Why did they have to put George in the cold shower to wake him up?" when I read the book(!). And, I've kind of accepted it because the TV show is a bit more contemporary with characters of different races and women working. In fact, Rain Dragon is so interested in the female firefighter that it was one of the characters she chose for the pumpkins:

Hundley (or Pretzel, she always makes me change the name when I read that book), Lady Fireman (that's Rain Dragon's name for her) and, of course, George

In the years past, I mainly used a plain kitchen knife. But this year we bought some new carving tools and what a difference! So much easier!

And they come out so much better too! I think these are our best pumpkins, yet:

I know Rain Dragon thinks so!

Monday, October 26, 2015

on my desk monday

The Ling and Ting: Together in All Weather magnets have arrived! Would you like one? You'll get one with your book when you order an autographed copy of the book at my local bookstore! All the info HERE!

Friday, October 23, 2015

memory pearl

a carousel of shoes

Me: What is this?
Rain Dragon: A merry-go-round, of course!

Duck is on the brown horse, by the way.

Monday, October 19, 2015

on my desk monday

I'm sketching the cover for When the Sea Turned to Silver:

I've started doing my sketches in pieces, all on tracing paper so I can move things around. I guess it would be faster if I could draw on the computer...but I am too old-fashioned!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Join me for a Live Video Chat!

The Girls Leadership organization chose Year of the Dog for their October Parent-Daughter Book Club selection and to cap it off, we're having a live video chat! You are welcome to join! Send your questions and find out more HERE!

Monday, October 12, 2015

on my desk monday

I've been trying to return to rituals in my work. Since I've had Rain Dragon, I've let a lot of things become rather slap-dash which is okay in some things (I've accepted it when it comes to, say, the state of the living room floor) but I think, for me, the act of writing and illustrating needs ritual--if only to cement in my mind that this is something of importance, that I must be considerate of.

One of the rituals I want to do with my writing, which I began with Starry River of the Sky is to print out the version-of-last-approval (basically the absolutely last time I can make changes), take a morning and read the entire thing out loud. Anyplace that I stumble or feels awkward, I mark and reconsider and, usually, change. 

And it's almost time for me to do this for When the Sea Turned to Silver.  To prepare, I decided to adapt my illustration tradition of making paper folders to this. I decided to make a custom decorate three-ring binder to hold my manuscript:

the decorative paper, the glue and a cardboard 3-ring binder (bought pre-made)

I'm kind of envisioning the colors of the cover of the book to be like the paper I chose for the binder:

beautiful japanese paper with a wave motif! All glued and clipped together to dry smoothly! 

Now it's all ready to go:

I hope some of the beauty of the paper infuses into my writing! Wish me luck!!!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

on my way to the grocery store

Moving to the country has it's perks! Only here could you have an honor-system farm stand:

with the most amazing farm-fresh eggs:

I bought 2 dozen and will be coming back for more!

Friday, October 2, 2015

memory pearl

We don't know what this is, but she spent all morning making it:

I think it might be a beaver dam

Monday, September 28, 2015

on my desk monday

On my floor are the revisions to my novel:

I actually have many more than this, these are just the major revisions, the ones I felt I needed to  I print-- More more minor or earlier versions (about 20+) I didn't bother to print out

I learned the hard way that I do the best revising when I read from real paper. When I revise only on the computer I miss a lot! Somehow, reading on paper with pencil in hand is much more effective. So when I asked my good friend Libby to be my beta reader for my novel, I completely understood when she asked if I would send it to printed out, on paper.

However, my novel is close to three hundred pages and my three hole punch could only punch ten pages at a time.  So trying to put it together neatly and securely was a challenge which I pretty much failed:

When I lamented my lack of craft to Libby, she commiserated--saying she had the same problem as well! Some of our other author friends put together and bound their drafts so beautifully? How did they do it? They must just have more patience.

But then in the middle of night, Libby sent me an e-mail:

I felt really dumb that I hadn't thought of this!

Pre-punched, 3 holed paper!!! 

Which changed my life.

Now, I could do the rest of my revisions this way: 

behold the power of the 3-ring binder and pre-punched paper!

I think it's made a difference! Of course I am biased, but I really like this new novel!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Happy Autumn Moon!

Today is the Moon Festival! Take a moment tonight to gaze at the moon, be thankful for your blessings and send the Moon Lady your secret wish. She might grant it!

Wishing you a happy Autumn Moon!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Don't forget to celebrate the Autumn-Moon Festival!

The Moon Festival is on Sunday!  Need some help celebrating? I have a pinterest board with celebration suggestions as well as one with books you can share!

You can even share this poem I just wrote in honor of the day:

Phases of the Moon
by Grace Lin

it is a sideways smile
then a tilted silver rainbow
it becomes a white banana
and then a half-cookie
that is swallowed
in a bulging belly
until it is full
That is when I like the moon best
floating and round
a balloon in the sky
just for me

Happy Autumn-Moon!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

summing up summer in our garden

It's the Autumn Equinox today which means the summer is over!

Like this blog, due to the focus on the new novel (When the Sea Turned to Silver, the title has changed so many times I have to repeat it so that it sticks in my head), everything in the yard became a bit neglected. But even overgrown, the garden still had its charm.

our overgrown yard is still kind of pretty, I tell people we were going for that "natural look."

Maybe because Rain Dragon didn't notice the weeds. She waited eagerly everyday for something to ripen so that she could pick.

Sometimes she didn't even wait for things to ripen:
"but the dragon likes green tomatoes!"
But finally, there peas and beans to pick:

The beans were appreciated:

But the peas much more so, feasted upon:

as well as played with:
"I'm having a pea party!"
And then our overgrown jungle of plants had new treasures to find:


and one tall sunflower, to match our windspinner:

A nice little harvest:

and a lovely summer:

Goodbye, Summer!

Monday, September 21, 2015

on my desk moday

Today, there are flowers, a throwback to my past writing companions

These are to celebrate the almost-end of the novel writing, but mostly they are a last goodbye from the summer.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Preparing for the the Moon Festival!

from Round is a Mooncake: A Book of Shapes

This year the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival falls on Sept. 27th! As I've said before, the Moon Festival is one my favorite holidays.  Now that I don't live in the city anymore, I can't just go pick up some mooncakes in Chinatown, which makes me feel a little sad. But I'm still going to celebrate!

Many of my books, from Thanking the Moon to Starry River of the Sky deal with Chinese moon myths. I have oodles of activity suggestions to help celebrate it! I even started a Moon Festival Activities Pinterest board as well as a Book list board in honor of the holiday!

The Moon Festival is basically a Chinese version of thanksgiving, centered around the moon. One  big tradition of the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival is to share poetry--either ones you love or ones you, yourself, write!

Me, personally, I've always thought of myself as more of a poetry-hack so I've always been a bit hesitant to share my poems. But over a year ago, my friend Janet Wong encouraged me to participate in her Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations and so I submitted one of my Moon Festival poems.

And, in honor of the upcoming Moon Festival I share it with you now:

On the Moon Festival

I am allowed to play
Outside tonight
Climb and slide and 
I will knock on the moon
And the Moon Lady will say
Yes, tonight
The rabbit can come out to play

(Note: On the night of the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival, people send the Moon Goddess or Moon Lady a secret wish in hopes that she will grant it. The Moon Lady's companion is the Jade Rabbit. Read more here.)

Monday, September 14, 2015

on my desk monday

On my desk today is the most beautiful blue and white rabbit rice bowl! It was handmade by Jade Schuyler of Chatham Pottery. Why did she make me such a beautiful gift? Well, those tickets should be a hint:

Because I saw the Where the Mountain Meets the Moon production at the Harwich Junior Theater:

and Jade was one of the actresses (she played Ma and she was so moving that she made the audience cry):
She was out of costume when she gave me the bowl, but she was fantastic!
The whole show was great! To the evil green tiger:

to Minli (the so, so talented Caroline Workman!) and the hilarious Dragon (B. Christopher Williams):

Honestly, they were all terrific! And it was so much fun seeing the story come to life again.  Here's me and the great cast and creative directors Nina Schuessler and Jane Staab:

And this is the selfie I tried to take with them:

I kind of like this one better, don't you? You can just make my glasses out at the bottom.

Great fun and a great way to end the summer!