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Books By The Banks, 2017

12 Nov

Every year along the banks of the Ohio River, Cincinnati hosts a huge book festival. Well actually, it’s downtown in the convention center, so it’s literally closer to banking institutions than to the river banks, nevertheless it’s an event you can bank on every year! And every year, I meet more new and wonderful people – authors, illustrators, teachers, librarians, parents, kids, friends, volunteers.

This year I attended a panel of ‘authorstrators’, author/illustrators. These talented people both write and illustrate. I was inspired by Loren Long, Rafel Lopez, Ben Clanton, and Amanda Driscoll. Look at this small sample of their work. Amazing!

Each artist has his/her distinct style. Without looking at the names or even knowing the artists, I’m sure you could group these books into four piles based solely on the art. These books present readers both windows and mirrors to see themselves and others in literature. Of the many things discussed, I think the key message is to be fresh, different, unique, and true to yourself.

I was particularly in awe meeting Rafel Lopez. He spent several minutes talking with me even though there were other people in line waiting to meet him. We discussed his work, and the importance of bringing diverse books into the world. He chuckled with me at the trouble I sometimes have convincing people I am spanish because I don’t fit their stereotype. And he encouraged me to continue writing and submitting. “There is a place for all our work,” he told me. I will treasure my copy of Maybe Something Beautiful which he autographed for me.

 

And then, I had the pleasure of listening to the award winning author and National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, Kate di Camillo speak. I just wanted to curl up and never leave her funny, warm, human spirit. She spoke directly to my writer’s heart and my reader’s soul. She talked about connections, about making connections with the world around you and writing toward the connections with others. She also talked about keeping everything open so you don’t miss a thing. Keep your eyes and ears open. Keep your heart and mind open. Keep your brain open. Allow creativity to find you and inspire you to write, or draw, or dance, or sing, or do whatever it is that connects you to the world outside yourself.

 

Even though the line was looooooooong, she took a moment to look up and smile for each and every fan wanting a picture taken with her. What a genuine kind person she is!

 

And last, but not least, I took a few minutes to stop by the bookmobile parked outside the front doors of the convention center. Actually, the bookmobile is part of my former school district and I wanted to pop in and say ‘HI’ to the wonderful folks who work tirelessly to put books into kids’ hands. There is no checkout system. Kids are free to browse the shelves, sit and read, and take home any book that speaks to them. They don’t even have to live in our district. Our librarian was calling out to families passing by, “Come on in. Pick a book to take home.” And they did. They climbed up the steps to the brightly painted, remodeled school bus, designed by nationally renown author/illustrator Loren Long, into the inviting reading space filled with books, stuffed animals, cushioned benches, and friendly faces of Princeton City School employees. My heart was bursting to see the happiness a few pages could bring to those kids and their parents.

If you have any gently loved children’s books laying about the house, please consider a donation to this or many other organizations in your neighborhood.

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Paying It Forward, Starting In My Own Community

12 Feb

Author, Lauri Fortino is paying it forward with proceeds from her debut picture book. Check out her blog and support her mission or your own community in your own way.

Lauri Fortino's Frog On A (B)log

Little Man Asleep_Peddlers Bed Scene from The Peddler’s Bed illustrated by Bong Redila (Ripple Grove Press, 2015)

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Even before my first children’s picture book, The Peddler’s Bed, was published, I knew I wanted to help people. But how? After the book was released, I began to research non-profit organizations that might be a good match. And although there are many extremely worthy causes out there, it didn’t take long to realize that the best match was right here in my own community: The Syracuse Rescue Mission.

Since 1887, the Syracuse Rescue Mission has been helping people in need by providing food, clothing, and shelter. Though they have evolved over the years, adding more services, programs, and locations, the values of faith, hope and love continue to form the foundation of their mission.

This is what the SRM is all about: Putting an end to hunger and homelessness for men, women, and children in…

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Read Across America Day

3 Mar

In honor of the good doctor, Theodor Seuss Geisell, the National Education Association celebrates Read Across America on his birthday, March 2nd.  Because that was on Sunday, it was moved to today, March 3rd. In our neck of the woods, there are a lot of schools closed, so I expect this day may be celebrated tomorrow in many classrooms.  Regardless of where and when it is celebrated, the focus is the same… Read!  The NEA offers teachers and parents ideas and materials to celebrate and encourage reading.  There are traditional events, Wear a Hat to School, Green Eggs and Ham luncheons, One Fish Two Fish swimming Blue Jello, etc.

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I’d like to take a minute and quote some of his lesser celebrated books, and some of my favorites. Especially for an older child, these books are intended to offer food for thought as well as entertainment.

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Five Lessons I’ve Learned from Dr. Seuss    (listed alphabetically by title)

‘Every year the same four things!  I’m mighty tired of those old things!  I want something NEW to come down!’  and   ‘Even kings can’t rule the sky.’  Bartholomew and the Oobleck

 ‘A person’s a person, no matter how small.’  Horton Hears a Who!

‘Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before.  What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store.  What if Christmas perhaps, means a little bit more.’  How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

‘Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better.  It’s not.’   The Lorax

‘I know, up on top you are seeing great sights, but down here at the bottom we, too, should have rights.’  Yertle, the Turtle

I spent 30 years in education, encouraging reading in classrooms. Today I’m using Read Across America to encourage reading among adults.  I have piles of novels stacked on shelves and on the floor that I’ve been meaning to organize, someday.  Today is the day!  Today, I organize and sort.  Today these books are going into two piles Keep and Give-away.  It’s time to spread my love for reading with adults who haven’t developed that love, or who would love to have their own books in their own homes.  Maybe this small act will encourage an adult to pick up a book and read.

Book Donations

12 Oct

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Just had to share a picture of this beautiful mosaic on the outside of the Duke Energy Convention Center in Cincinnati, Ohio.  The hands are gorgeous each in their own right, but put together they really make a powerful statement.  They also put me in the mind of sharing, reaching out, lending a helping hand, and working together.

This morning I spent several hours inside this building with hundreds of other people at the Books by the Banks book festival.  I met some really great authors, writers, speakers, and volunteers.  I also picked up two children’s books that I had autographed by the authors and dedicated to the students of the last school I worked at before I retired last year.

The students of Woodlawn Elementary School will be receiving What Was Your Dream, Dr. King? by Mary Kay Carson and Benjamin Franklin, American Genius by Brandon Marie Miller.

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 Benjamin Franklin, American Genius

On my way home I snapped the picture of the hands.  Later this evening I got the idea to have more give-aways.  So I thought I would get some ideas from you… where would YOU like me to make my next donation?  Leave me a note in the comment box telling me where and why you think I should make my next donation.

 

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