Dear LJ friends, Kidlitcon made me love you more than ever.

As I was just saying over on susanwrites 's LJ, I love my Bonny Glen readers & the conversations we have there. But there is something really special about the intimate writerly conversations that happen here on LJ, where all of the folks I follow are in children's books. I came home from Kidlitcon--where it was such a joy to hang out & talktalktalk with other writers (and that's always how I feel after a con or a visit with a writer friend like annemariepace --determined (not for the first time) to be more involved over here. Maybe I'll cross-post some Bonny Glen stuff, I don't know.

Here's a bit of a cross-post, actually: the day after Kidlitcon I had the incredible, magical, dreamy experience of visiting Mankato, MN, home of Maud Hart Lovelace, with Kathy Baxter (an extraordinary woman and a force in children's books) and my pal Margaret. Margaret posted a fabulous account of our trip this morning. She makes tons of fun of me, which is one of the things I love best about her. 

Winona's Wall

Me on Winona's wall. Photo by Margaret.

A great writing week

I'm so excited. I wrote about a third of my new book this week. Don't quite know how this happened. It's all coming together so nicely.

Every evening I come upstairs and read the new pages to my girls. They're laughing at all the right places and being tortured by suspense at all the right moments. Yay. When I finish, they beg me for more. And I have to tell them, "There ISN'T any more yet!" I'm never quite sure where the next little bit is headed so I couldn't give anything away even if I wanted to.

Oh, but they do think it was mean of me to write about a small boy who bites. A boy much like their little brother. "MOMMY!" (Indignantly.) "Poor Stevie, you put him in the book!"

Heh, that's what he gets for biting me.

Call for Submissions: Carnival of Children's Literature

Here in the Bonny Glen (my author/mom blog) is hosting a Carnival of Children's Literature on Feb. 13th, 2006. (A blog carnival, in case you haven't seen one yet, is a collection of topic-related posts from various weblogs. In this case, the topic is children's literature. To see an example of a carnival, check out the most recent edition of the Carnival of Education.)

I'd love to include some posts by children's book authors and illustrators! Submissions may be any post related to children's books—book reviews; interviews; stories from parents, teachers, librarians, etc, about kids' adventures with books; behind-the-scenes posts from children's book authors and illustrators; etc.

Entries are due by Sat, Feb 11th at 6 p.m.

For more information or to submit a post, click here.

(Note: Having a post included in the Carnival will mean extra traffic to your blog, so if that appeals to you, great! But I know many of my LJ friends prefer to keep their journals less public, so I wanted to give a heads-up for you private types.) :)

Thanks, and spread the word!

What's on Your List?

My post-ALA library-reserve frenzy just now has me thinking...what books are on your list of Books No Self-Respecting Children's Book Author Should Miss? No, wait, that sounds weighty and intimidating. Plus it begs for long lists of the classics we've all read a hundred times. More recent books, I guess I mean. Breathtaking books like WALK TWO MOONS or ultra-fun ones like THE ANYBODIES (which, I grant you, I have a little bias about because the author is a good friend of mine, but I would love it regardless, for its quirkiness and the originality of the voice, plus it takes a couple of pot shots at Little House which absolutely crack me up, especially since I suspect they were at least in part a snarky jab at me and my Little House editor, who also edited the ANYBODIES.)

Books you checked out of the library and liked so much you had to go buy them.

That kind of list. What's on yours?

The Penderwicks

I wrote about reading this book to my kids over on Bonny Glen a week or two ago...we're halfway through the book now, and I'm so interested in how giddy they are when I'm reading it, and how deeply attached to it they are already, as if they've known these characters all their lives. In a way, they have; part of what they're loving so much about the book is that the sisters' personalities and relationships ring so true. It's like my girls are encountering their own selves in this novel—the way I felt the first time I read Anne of Green Gables, I suppose.

I wonder what I'd think of Penderwicks if I'd read it alone first. I have a friend who read it herself (not to her kids) and she thought it was just okay. My kids think it's screamingly funny. All three girls will burst out laughing at the same moment, and I'll be taken by surprise because the line in question struck me as only mildly funny. It reminds me of the first commentary I got from a child about Little House in the Highlands—my illustrator read the galleys to her 5 yr old daughter and reported back that young Maggie had almost wet her pants when Martha's big sister complained that sleeping with Martha was like sharing a bed with a cow—certainly NOT a line I'd thought particularly impressive when I wrote it. LOL.

I swear that's the best part of writing for kids, and of reading to them, for that matter: getting to see what moves them, amuses them, bores them, awes them; getting that window into a totally different perspective.

The Race Is Still on...

Anne Marie wrote:

"And congrats on the finalist status for the BoB Awards--let us know the results."

The polls are still open (I have no idea when they close—the website doesn't seem to say) and so far I am, shock of shocks, waaay in the lead! The popular vote only counts toward 40% of your total score, though; the judges grade on readability, presentation, and content. So we'll see. So far, it's been lots of fun.

Not too late to cast a vote, if you're the link above and scroll down to "Best Education/Homeschooling Blog." Mine is "Here in the Bonny Glen." The cooking and knitting categories were lots of fun to explore, and one of my very very favorite blogs is a contender in the "Best Book/Literary Blog" category—Mental Multivitamin.

Thanks for checking up on me

Kelly & Anne Marie, thanks for your nice notes. We did have a rough December. Three of the kids got RSV—Wonderboy's was on top of his pneumonia—so the house was an infirmary pretty much right up until Christmas. Then they got better (just in time to enjoy the day, hooray), and a week later the plague descended upon me and I've spent the last two weeks coughing myself silly. The computer is fixed, though.

And on a happy note, I discovered yesterday that my author/mother blog, Here in the Bonny Glen, is a finalist in the Best Education/Homeschooling Blog category of the BoB Awards! Nice little pat-on-the-back. I think the voting is supposed to start later today, but I'm just thrilled to have made it this far. Always nice to have your writing appreciated, in any form.

I turned in a couple of articles this week, and my novel manuscript (which needs a major revision) is still in my editor's hands, so today my desk is blissfully clear and I can write whatever I want. Ooh, that feels good to say. Whatever I want.