Monday, March 31, 2014

Spring Blogging Break

Even though we still have many stubborn piles of snow around, things are finally feeling springy here in Minnesota, and I need a spring blogging break. My family and I aren't traveling anywhere beach-like or tropical, but I just need a rest. Time to soak up a little extra sunlight, time to enjoy the buds popping on trees, and time to let my dog run loose at the park.

I'll be back in a few weeks, refreshed and ready for what's ahead. Spring renews me. The steady rains. The green lining the world. The damp woods. After a long winter, all those things bring me back to life.

See you April 21st,

Monday, March 24, 2014

Middle Grade Great

Last month was a great month for my hardcover middle grade library!
First off, I had a super lucky time with blog giveaways, and these were my prizes. They're pretty nifty, I think. 

And then this released. And with as much as I adored Three Times Lucky, of course I purchased this companion novel on Release Day.

And then, I heard nothing but super wonderful stuff about this book and purchased it shortly after its release too.

And now in March, I want to buy Hope is a Ferris Wheel and Under the Egg, but I have to wait a while.
Hardcovers are hard on the pocketbook.

I've already read my way through Flora and Ulysses, The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing, and A Snicker of Magic and am smack dab in the middle of When Audrey Met Alice. All are awesome.
What about you? Any awesome book giveaway wins lately? Purchase anything you've been dying to read?

Monday, March 17, 2014

Tumblr Update

Just over a month ago I posted about Tumblr and how even though I'd been on the site for a year and liked it, I wasn't using it much. And then I asked for Tumblr tips, which I didn't get many of -- and that's fine -- I learn by doing anyway. So I started doing. And I learned, of course.

But what I did get on that last Tumblr post was a lot of people wanting me to share what I found out when I started using it more. So here you are . . .

Tumblr is a micro-blogging site which means it's small snippets of information shared in a fun, fast and easy-to-follow manner -- because it's mostly images and quotes and gifs. It's sometimes words but not a whole lot of them. A few links are spread here and there, pointing you to things you can read. Or not. And liking people's posts and reblogging other's posts are the main ways ideas spread.

Reblogging means sharing someone's post with your followers which is part of what makes Tumblr fast and fun. You don't have to come up with your own stuff all the time. Copyright can be an issue, so I'm careful about what I reblog and check the original source before I do.

My Tumblr is different than this blog and also separate from my tweets. I want it that way. I work hard to make sure it is that way. But, it's still the writer me, the teacher me, the middle-grade-book-loving me, and the daily-dog-walking me. Just in a different form.

Finding people to follow requires some leg work, but the search function is much improved since I first joined, and searching hashtags helps find people of similar interests.

And now that I've learned how to better use Tumblr, I find I love it. In fact, it's beating Twitter as my favorite social site at the moment. It's a way to express yourself in such a different way than other social media because it's so visual. An escape from ALL THE WORDS. (Maybe other writers feel this way too -- Tumblr has a huge writer/author presence.) And since Tumblr's the place many young people are, if you write for them or simply know them, :-) it's a place you should check out.

So, if you're inclined, hitch up those pants and stroll into the Tumbr waves with me. Mine's right here.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: After Iris

This novel, After Iris by Natasha Farrant, is the story of one family's deep ache of the heart, a family struggling after losing one of their own. But it's written with a lightness and humor which the blurb on the back cover captures perfectly: The story of a lovably imperfect family trying to hold it together without driving each other (too) crazy.

The premise: Blue's twin sister died three years ago and now her parents spend most of their time away from home, working -- sometimes all over the globe. Blue's older sister is trying to find herself. Younger siblings Jasmine and Twig obsess over pet rats. And Blue just blends in. When an au pair named Zoran enters the picture, as well as a trouble-maker neighbor named Joss, things grow even more chaotic for Blue's family.

What I loved: This is a story of grief woven into a story of growing up. It's both humorous and serious, light-hearted and heavy, full of sadness and full of joy. And all of this together is life -- a blend of beautiful times and heart-wrenching ones.

For more middle grade recommendations, 
follow the links on Shannon Messenger's blog. 
Happy middle grade reading,

Monday, March 3, 2014

Upcoming Awesome Things

Two upcoming awesome things are likely things you've heard about,
but they're important so I want to highlight them here. 

The first, World Read Aloud Day, is this Wednesday, March 5th. It challenges us to "Be the story."

The other is World Book Night and takes place on Wednesday, April 23rd. It puts books in the hands of those who don't read or don't read much. Two years ago, I was a book giver and still treasure the experience and my button.
In fact, here's my button. It sits in my bookcase alongside my prized hardcovers.

Some pretty great events, wouldn't you say? Have you taken part in either of them?