Monday, April 29, 2013

Posting with The Kindness Project

Today's my day on The Kindness Project . . . it's all about the little things. And how they're huge.

Here's the link: The Kindness Project

Hope to see you there,

Monday, April 22, 2013

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: The Humming Room

The Humming Room by Ellen Potter received a lot of MMGM buzz when it released in early 2012, so I knew it would be a fantastic story. And knowing it was inspired by The Secret Garden, well, that kinda made my eyes pop! How intriguing.

The premise: When Roo's father is killed, she learns she has an uncle she never knew about. The uncle takes her in, but the mansion where he lives (an old tuberculosis sanitarium for children) is as cold and heartless as he is. But the walls hum -- or that's what it sounds like to Roo anyway. Roo follows the humming and discovers what everyone in the mansion is keeping her from -- a garden. A garden with a secret.

What I loved: The mystery. The secret must be revealed in order for healing to come to these carefully-crafted characters. And I have to include my love of the setting, too. The river, the mansion and the garden are also carefully-crafted characters.

For more middle grade recommendations,
follow this link to the links on
Happy middle grade reading! 

Monday, April 15, 2013

Living (and Writing)

There's a song by Revive called "Blink" with these lyrics in the chorus:

"It happens in a blink, it happens in a flash
It happens in the time it took to look back
I try to hold on tight, but there's no stopping time
What is it I've done with my life?"

Each time I hear the song, I'm challenged. What is it I'm doing? Am I taking time? Am I absorbing the little things?

Because I know I can't stop time . . . and it's the little things, when strung together, that truly are the big things.

So perhaps that's why I'm not the kind of writer who will ever say, "I need to write." I'll repeat that in case you read it too fast. I will not say, "I need to write."

Yes, I really did just admit that.

Because what I need to do is live.

Laugh with my kids. Admire a budding tree. Sit on my front stoop in the sun. Watch football with my husband.

These moments are living. And writing? That's what I do in the other moments.

I'm not saying I always balance it perfectly, but I consciously work on it. What about you? How do you make sure your life doesn't get too tangled to simply live?

Monday, April 8, 2013

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: Crow

The winner of my ARC of When the Butterflies Came is . . .
Hooray! Please email your mailing address to barbarawatson94(at)gmail(dot)com.

And now, today's great middle grade book . . .

You guys. This book made me cry. More than once. Not that it's unusual for me to cry when I read, but Crow by Barbara Wright really could have happened in U.S. history. In fact, parts are based in real events, so that makes it all the more impacting.

The premise: In 1898 Wilmington, North Carolina, Moses Thomas and his family are living out the Emancipation Proclamation. Racism still exists, but it's nothing like Boo Nanny (Moses' grandmother) experienced as a slave. But as the summer progresses, racial tensions increase. And although he's still in Wilmington, Moses finds himself in a place he doesn't recognize.

What I loved: The weaving of a historical event (the Wilmington Massacre of 1898) with the spot-on voice of each character. Moses, Moses' mother, Moses' college educated father, and Boo Nanny--Moses' former-slave grandmother. Barbara Wright joins multi-generations in this story and hits the mark with each one.

For more great middle grade books, follow the links on
Happy middle grade reading!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Blooming Inside

When the snow finally melts away and green springs up where brown used to be, I feel like I, too, re-emerge somehow. As if part of my soul has been hibernating but is now free. Like I'm a butterfly that swung much too long in her cocoon and can't wait to soar.

This little tree--I planted her; she lives in my front garden and I named her Camille--shows exactly what happens to my insides each spring. They bloom a perfect kind of happy. My sweet Camille isn't decked out quite this fancy just yet, but she will be in a few weeks. I call it her prom dress because she blossoms right when all the neighbor girls are heading to their proms.

As for me, I sashay and whirl and skip, probably even prance, because . . . it's spring! Just curious, does spring make you this happy? If not spring, then what is it that makes your insides bob and jig? And it doesn't have to be a season. Maybe for you it's shoes or chocolate or hugs or Mountain Dew. Anyway, what's your thing?