Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Totally leebossa!!!

Don't let this ick-en-spick new cover fool you, The Secret Language is just as leebossa as you remember it. And I'm plugging it today because the recent Terebithia movie got me thinking about Nordstrom's only book.

Both are books about lonely kids, and about deep singular friendships and secret imaginings that make the world a bigger place. And while in Terebithia it's a pretend place that bonds the kids, in Secret Language, the shared device is an invented language

(I don't think I have to translate leebossa or ick-en-spick for you, even if you've never read the book. Remember your context clues?!)

My own childhood was this way. I only had one friend-- one REAL friend. But my faith in that friendship (and the private imaginary universe we constructed together) was what made the "real" world feel safe to me. And so books like this struck a real chord in me.

Now, as an adult, reading such books reminds me of what it truly felt like to be a kid. The same way that sitting under the dining room table can still make me feel eight years old.

There were different vantage points back then. Perspective was different. Experience somehow a little richer.

The Secret Language is a good book for bringing back such perspectives. It's a tree to climb, a fort you've built from pillows. Reading this book is like opening your eyes underwater to search for the penny.

(It doesn't hurt that it's set in a boarding school. I always wanted to go to boarding school. Then again, I also wanted to be an orphan. This seems crazy now, but that's because I'm a grownup now. Dang!)

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Not entirely a coincidence...

That I happen to be taking a few Pinkwaters with me on vacation this week, at the very same time that somebody else has just interviewed Daniel Pinkwater, America's Greatest Writer.

Not *entirely*.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

What I'm up to...

Yeah, yeah... excuses excuses...

No, really, I *have* been reading. But mostly I've just been reading this over and over and over again, to my elephant-addicted son. And while I don't love it enough to blog it, my son's discerning toddler-tastes would indicate that Gilles Bachelet is a total genius, and worthy of kidliterati status.

No really, it's cute.

But enough about my kid. What about ME?!

Well, I'm awful busy, over here, getting organized and blogging for the Class of 2k8. You should check it out!

(Oh, and it turns out to be true-- the running-away latke and the Hannukah goblins are officially the best Jewish-winter-holiday-books on the market. Says ME!)

Monday, December 17, 2007


I just found out that Lewis Carroll invented the work "chortle"! A hybrid of the words "chuckle" and "snort".

Did you know? Probably you did...

But I find this to be a wonderful thing, and I'm feeling glad I didn't let my editor change my word "glop" to "blob" as she desired...

So glad I'm chortling.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

New site!!!

My new site is live and AWESOME... if I do say so myself.

Stop by for a sneak peek of some of Jaime Zollars' amazing artwork for Inside the Slidy Diner.

Great great thanks to Jeff Skinner, my superdoooooper designer.

No, no, no...

To the person who got here with a google search: ferdinand the bull gay.

You are stupid.

Ferdinand is not gay. Nor is he straight. He is a bull. And let me tell you, the average bull is likely to fornicate with just about anything that fits when he has a mind to. But I do not think he forms romantic attachments.

Not even Ferdinand.

I wonder if you are assuming that anyone who likes flowers is gay. Or that anyone who does not like to fight is gay.

If so, color me gay.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The no-review review...

I cannot tell you about my favorite Chanukah picture book because....

As far as I know, no truly amazing Chanukah-book-for-kids has yet been written.

And I don't mean an acceptable book. I don't mean a "Wee-ell, it's pretty good, and the pictures are nice, and if we don't give them something they'll read Frosty the snow-man or How Little Bun-Bun Went to Jesus Land..."

I mean GOOD! Nothing GOOD is out there... GOOD like Christmas has good stuff. Good like the Peanuts Special, or the Christmas chapter in Little House in the Big Woods where Laura gets a WHOLE penny, all for herself. Gift of the Magi GOOD or A Christmas Carol GOOD.

Why is this? Why does Christmas only require a special time of year and "spirit", and so it can do a whole range of things... but Chanukah sends us to pancakes and dreidels and candles and that's IT! Why can't there be a Chanukah "spirit" with which to infuse books, so that we might abandon our oily foods as a theme?

Oily foods are NOT A THEME!

And one gets tired of the Maccabees. And the pogroms. Didn't anyone ever celebrate Chanukah in any other place and time than Israel, Poland/Poland-ish place, or [insert present-day name of wherever you happen to be]. Weren't there Chanukahs happening in like, Medieval England? The Wild West? Burlesque stages in the 30s?

Can you imagine if every bit of Christmas media was required to mention candycanes, paperchains, and Jesus?


Bring it on!

(and don't you dare send me to look for Moishe and his dumb fry-pan. I'm over the shtetl thing. And don't you DARE send me to look for Sammy the Spider. Sammy the Spider is sooooo last year.)