Monday, February 28, 2011

Resource Link's Best of 2010

If you're looking for some new Canadian resources for children for your library, classroom or home this list is a great place to begin your search.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

You Never Know When (and How) Opportunity Will Come

I love this story. It's one of those serendipitous events where some nice things happened to a hard-working person (in this case, the artist Patricia Storms) and those good things happened in a circuitous way. Patricia says it best, so I'll leave it to her, but just in case you aren't tuned into the kid-litosphere, it involved Martin Amis, some snarky, tossed off words, a London paper, and a maelstrom (mael-Storm?) of drawing that included, amongst others, The Cat in the Hat, Madeline, and a few wild things.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A Room of My Own (2)

Okay, the second wall. My office is such a mess (an organized one, mind you) that I have been putting off posting this, but here I am; the truth of it all. This is my second desk, where I usually shift when I want to spread things out (ahem, once the surface is cleared as much as possible) or write by hand. It is also where I dump my junk when I come into the office.

When we had our house renovation done (which is when I got a real office and not just a corner in another room) we added these cubbies as an after-thought. I am so glad the carpenter suggested them. Some of them are specifically kept to file the papers and books I need for a specific project —

Others are kept for little vignettes because, well, I'm a bit of a pack-rat and like any self-respecting pack-rat, I like pretty and interesting things.

(The cubbies also are a great surface for sticky notes, something that breed in my office environment.)

The Golden Book of Biology is my gem. I love it, because I love Charlie Harper's art (plus, I'm a biologist) so I was delighted to find out it was worth a bit of cash. Only when I am absolutely desperate will I part with it. (Or maybe not.) Other things here are two hearts (one in stone, one in wood) carved by men (well, boys, actually) other than my husband (see note above about pack-rat-itis), rarely used lipstick, round stones I love, ear phones, iPod, etc. and a great little change purse that says, "old enough to know better...young enough to give a rat's ass." (Apologies to any young ears.)

Monday, February 07, 2011

Vancouver Legacy Books

To celebrate Vancouver's 125th birthday, ten classic books about Vancouver are being republished. You can find the details here.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

A Room of My Own (1)

Besides, "How old are you?" or "How much money do you make?" (favourites of younger audiences), one of the most common questions I get asked is "Where do you work?" (Or, "What is your writing routine?")

Routine? I guess I have one, but since I do other things than just write books, it depends at bit on what is going on. Generally (read: on the best of days!) I try to rise fairly early, about 5 or 5:30. I am a morning person, so can easily get a cup of coffee and get right down to work. That's when I do my most creative work. By mid-morning I switch over to editing or research and by mid-afternoon I'm usually down to paying bills and sorting piles. I try to fit in some sort of exercise in between it all - yoga or some light weights, a walk, or a bit of time on my "tread desk." (More on that coming soon.) This schedule, such as it is, goes to hell when I have a looming deadline. Then, I work when I can, including evenings and weekends.

As to where I work, I am lucky to have a room of my own. It is frequently overflowing with piles of papers and books, but there is a semblance of organization and is possibly my favourite room in the house. (I do love my work, but it's good to shut the door at the end of the day.) I thought you might want to take a peek, so I'll be posting pictures of various angles. I did not clean up before pressing the shutter. (That is probably more than apparent.) First up:

This is my "filing system" for a very large project I've been working on for several years. I had huge amounts of research to organize and this is only a part of it. I originally had piles all over my office floor, then finally hauled this old bookshelf out of the shed and put it to good use. This photo was taken when I was finally finished (as finally as I can be for the moment; there are lots of edits to do) so I was sorting and cleaning. Each shelf once had three piles about the size of the one in the lower right corner. I've now squeezed them in to five bankers boxes. The two large flower paintings (one only partially visible) done by Daughters A and P. The smaller one is a thrift store find. I have another large flower painting from Daughter A to add to the wall.

(By the way, the little book you can see on the top shelf in the upper left, is The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin as a BOARD BOOK, which I find hilarious. Honestly, what baby would care less? And I would love to see parents trying to explain it all to their wee one. (And having written quite a bit about evolution, I can't imagine that someone would think condensing it in to five pictures was an easy thing to do.) The book is one of a series of four board books, "Children's Condensed Classics." I also have Shakepeare's All the World's a Stage and Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 in board book version!)

On the top shelf is my grandmother's old Underwood typewriter. It is just so beautiful and so heavy. I could build some serious biceps by bench pressing it! I love having it nearby and will have to track down from tape so I can actually use it.

New Resource for Reluctant Readers

Do you have a young reluctant reader in your house? If so, you might want to check out this new youth literacy website, developed by YA author, Pam Withers. The site includes interviews with middle grade and young adult authors and well as book reviews.