Brookfield, Connecticut1. I gave my last school visit of 2013 this week in beautiful Brookfield, Connecticut. This was my third time visiting Whisconier Middle School, and every time I go, the kids are fabulous.2. My daughter comes home today for Christmas! I'm so excited to see her and have her home.3. While I was in Connecticut, I found out that Half A Chance (Feb 2014) was chosen as a Junior Library Guild selection! This is my first JLG book, and I'm thrilled. :)4. Also, Hot Rod Hamster: Monster Truck Mania (March 2014) received a glowing and fun review in Kirkus! https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/cynthia-lord/monster-truck-mania/5. My family is hosting two Christmas parties this weekend and now the weather says freezing rain on both days. Nooooooo! We have lobster (which is how we lure our families to make the drive to Maine!), but now I'm thinking if the weather is bad, there may be no one here to eat it!
Putting this here -- Andrew Solomon's Moth piece on his treatment in Senegal moved me tremendously years ago, and i go back to it often, as well as his piece on Cambodian women. there's a lot in this new video that mirrors my life.i'm posting it here in hopes that it might help someone else who might need to hear it. (and for those who don't, i thank you in advance from refraining from sending the police after me.)
Why, yes. Yes there is. There is selling the poem again, which is what has happened with my poem, "A Place to Share", found in the marvelous and award-winning anthology, Dare to Dream . . . Change the World, edited by Jill Corcoran.I was thrilled when the poem was accepted for publication, and thrilled again when an educational publisher from Canada contacted me and asked my permission to reprint the poem as part of a fourth-grade curriculum for reluctant readers. It will be used in their online curriculum (and the sample I saw for an older grade was splendiferous indeed!), and in text if they opt to print it. I was happy, of course, to get paid for the poem again, but happier still to think that thousands of Canadian school kids will get to read my poem. (I just hope it isn't a painful experience for them.)
Today is Alice Price-Healy Little Liddel Abernathy McGuire's fifth birthday. We did not meet until she was ten days old, but this is the day when she began. I am still so very grateful to her for deciding to do that.As a kitten, Alice's name was "Ado Annie," and she was a prissy, prissy princess who didn't really care for any of the human suitors who came to visit her litter. Until she met me, and went to sleep on my arm, and I asked in a strangled voice if her breeder (my friend Betsy Tinney) took checks.It took a good deal more time and conversation before Alice was ready to come home with me, as a sixteen week old fuzzball with firm ideas about the world, her place in it, and my place under her. She was my first Maine Coon, and after the learning curve was behind us, she quickly became one of my best friends.She is pushy; loud; arrogant; prissy; very stinting with her love, and very particular about who deserves it. She gives affection when she wants to, not when people demand it. She won't eat human food, but she begs for it all the same, only to disdain it with a sniff if allowed to get a closer look. She sits like a human, and likes to hug the remote. She is, as I often tell her, my favorite thing.Happy birthday, Alice. Let's celebrate a dozen more.
I admit to having tunnel vision from time to time. Sometimes the big picture is just too much, and I need to focus down on a component part before opening my eyes widely to take in more. Thankfully, I have colleagues (friends) who will point out when the blinders are cutting off real perception on my part. I am not the only one who suffers from tunnel vision, of course. One of the people who wishes to reform education, Bill Gates, seems to have some problems with his blinders as well when it comes to technology and his belief that it will cure all ills if only applied correctly. Take, for instance, his insistence on using MOOCs (http://chronicle.com/blogs/onhiring/the-problem-with-bill-gatess-vision/41963) despite the evidence that few folks actually complete MOOCs. It is, as the author of this post proclaims, part of the corporatist view of education. It also, though, demonstrates a tunnel vision of what technology can and cannot accomplish. Anyone who knows me knows that I love gadgets. Smart phones, tablets (yes, I have more than one), iPods, laptops, apps, you name it, I have probably bought it or it is on my list. But the gadgets I have actually play a role in my "career." Career Girl was texting me about the wonders of her mini iPad (she is a PC and Droid person but is slowly seeing the benefits of other devices). She was extolling the virtues of some of her recent experiences with apps for note-taking. I know. I use my tablets for note-taking, for social networking, for writing, for reading, and more. Have them supplanted more "ancient" tools totally? Nope. I use them as tools. And herein is one of my issues with the technology items on the newly designed CCSS assessments which tout technology when, in reality, the technology is not necessary. Some of the new assessment examples ask kids to drag and drop sentences into a box in sequential or chronological order. How is that technology? Why not number the statements from 1-5? What does drag and drop really measure that cannot be measured by a numbering system? Take a look at apps, too. Some book apps simply have the book on screen. Some have extra bells and whistles. Look at those bells and whistles. Does unscrambling a word really help a kid enjoy and maybe comprehend a text? Games and activities are worksheets on the screen. We do not need one more worksheet, than you very much.It is time to look at the big picture when it comes to books and reading. There is so much more to reading than the "pillars" of the National Reading Panel's findings (especially since they decided to ignore certain areas of reading in favor of their pillars) or the 4 corners of the text of CCSS, or the one book fits all approach now being promulgated in a risk to teach close reading or another standard or skill. We need to look right, left, up, down, sideways, catty-cornered, and more as we search for the best practices, the best books, the best approaches for our kids.
Since it's been a while and there are a bunch of new readers here, a poll!
Open to: All, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 33
Which of my books have you read?
Which of my Stargate books have you read?
Which books to do you intend to read?
Which Stargate books do you intend to read?
And last, which forthcoming books do you intend to read?
And last, which other books I've talked about but not sold do you want to read?
Bad Houses finds readers outside its target demographic,* is reviewed along with several excellent titles from Portland creators in the Mercury with a memorable headline, and makes the iBooks Best of 2013 Comics & Graphic Novels list (warning: that link will attempt to open iTunes). So I felt compelled to document via screenshot:
N.B. If you’re looking for it inside iTunes/iBooks, you’ll have to scroll past several other categories, but trust me, it’s there!
And the event: I’ll be at Cosmic Monkey Comics from 12-2 on Saturday 12/21 along with several other folks, happy to sign copies of Bad Houses for you, your loved ones, and/or any hoarder friends you want to passive-aggressively troll.
* I do not actually recommend giving the book to small children, nor does my friend who sent the photos. But they’re pretty darned cute, aren’t they?
Originally published at sararyan.com. You can comment here or there.
Sitting here.All alone.No one here beside me.Well, the cat is smiling at me from across the room, but it's still lonely here at the table.*busts into Donkey's song*
A launch party for MORE THAN GOOD ENOUGH! I'll be sharing prizes, book giveaways and behind-the-scenes goodies. hope to see you there! January 11, 7pmBOOKS AND BOOKS 265 Aragon AvenueCoral Gables, Florida33134305.442.4408