Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Books for Children's Hospital...

Since our sophomore year of high school my Blanchet girlfriends and I have been enjoying an annual Christmas party and gift exchange (believe we just celebrated #14?!) and this year we decided to donate new children's books to kids at Seattle Children's Hospital (just a few of the books pictured above). I am so grateful for this amazing group of ladies and their generosity, friendship and love throughout the years. May our tradition continue always! And may everyone have a Merry Christmas and a joyful New Year!


Monday, December 16, 2013

"The love of it is great, huge and it will be with me forever. I blundered into it, found I could do it well. It has raised me from nothing into something, not a lot, but something. 
If you do something well and you enjoy it, what more can you bloody well ask?"
~Peter O'Toole

Inspiration Lives Here...

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Book Gift #12

The twelfth day of Christmas is here and so is our final book gift idea. And what's better at Christmastime than a treasured classic that truly captures the magic of the season?
So here it is, #12 on the list-
Chris Van Allsburg's wonderful The Polar Express!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Merry Christmas Wishes...

From a little Christmas elf :)

Miss Maggie Mae, age 2

Book Gift #11

Being a writer I don't always recommend wordless picture books :) but this one is simply adorable. Fuzzy felt makes for one super cute and cozy picture book!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Book Gift #10

For the mischievous reader on your list enjoy Mac Barnett's and John Scieszka's brilliantly funny, graffitied masterpiece Battle Bunny

Monday, December 9, 2013

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year...

My husband and I went out to a Northbend tree farm this weekend and cut down a cute little 5ft Noble Fir for our first Christmas tree in our first home. So proud! What joy this season brings!

Book Gift #9

My favorite version of The Nutcracker illustrated by Maurice Sendak. As a Seattle native I grew up attending the Sendak and Stowell produced Pacific Northwest Ballet of the Nutcracker and this accompanying book was absolutely magical to me...

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Book Gift #7

A wonderful winter story that can be enjoyed all year long!
Cub's Big World explores the timeless themes of a mother's eternal love and a child finding the balance between independence and support when they need it most.

Book #6

In a word- beautiful. 
A perfect bedtime story

Book Gift #5

Imaginative, silly, sweet fun

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Book Gift #4

Nancy Tillman's beautiful You Are Loved Collection makes a perfect gift for any child or expectant family. The illustrations are stunning and magical, the messages timeless, lyrical and oh so heartfelt. The collection includes On the Night You Were Born; Wherever You Are, My Love Will Find You; and The Crown on Your Head. My favorite book set to give :)

The Joy of Reading...

Book Gift #3

The just released and simply lovely Once Upon a Memory written by Nina Laden and illustrated by Renata Liwska

Author Nina Laden and illustrator Renata Liwska celebrating their book launch at Secret Garden Books in Ballard, WA

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

"You know, I've been doing this for twenty years, and I'm continually dissatisfied. I make a religion of being dissatisfied. I don't think there is a point in doing a book and saying,  'Isn't that wonderful?' Then you don't learn. When people ask what's the best book you ever did, there's no point in saying, 'Oh, that was four years ago.' That means everything since was worse, right? So I say, it's the next book. Then, you know, even though I've done the best book I think I can do, I know the book I'm going to do might be even better. It's all delusion, but it does keep one trying one's best."
~Arnold Lobel 

Book Gift #2

A must have on every bookshelf in my opinion and a 2013 Caldecott Honor recipient no less, by the incredible pairing of Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen, and personally one of my all time favorite picture books:
A perfect gift!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Gifting Books this Christmas!

First on the list of perfect books for gifts this year:
Available from the Greenwood Space Travel Supply Store, by
826 Seattle


Some of My Favorite Winter Reads...

Love the Last Line...

My uncle the voracious (understatement) reader emailed me today:
    I'm attaching a letter I've written to your cousin, Christiana.  I'm sending her a copy of Orwell's 1984, a copy in which I've made extensive margin notes.  Of course, I'll put a twenty dollar bill in with the letter on p. 112, but I'm wondering if this is even appropriate.  I think she's a reader. I know she likes The Hunger Games.  But I was fifteen when I first read 1984 and I think it's time she read something other than fluff. Am I pushing too hard, d'ya think?  I really have no idea what a girl of fifteen thinks about these days. But you know me and books.  I want to give her a fighting chance in life.
Uncle John"
I always believe in giving kids books that will challenge them and broaden their horizons. The right book at a pivotal moment in young adulthood can be life changing, and that is a magical and powerful thing. What a gift. Books give us a fighting chance in life. I'd have to agree wholeheartedly.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Advice for Writers...

"Keep a diary and write down your feelings about each thing you do. This means you have to notice and remember. And not just feelings, but the color and shape and taste and smell of things. This helps you to make what you are writing about clear and alive. 
Also, read a lot."
~Charlotte Zolotow
Children's book giant Charlotte Zolotow, author of more than 70 books and editor (at HarperCollins predecessor Harper & Row, where she reigned over her namesake imprint), has died at the inspiring age of 98.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

"A person is a fool to become a writer.
His only compensation
is absolute freedom."
~Roald Dahl
Big Thanks to Tara Lazar and PiBoIdMo for the daily doses of inspiration!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Home Sweet Home...

In non-writing news, but a life update all the same, my husband and I just bought our very first house! We have moved to West Seattle, which after living in lovely lower Queen Anne, feels about a million miles away! We will adjust though, and are very excited to be first-time homeowners. Best of all? My very own Library/Writing Room!

The Uncorking of Brilliant Ideas...

Do you ever come across other people's brilliant story ideas and wish you had thought of them?!
All too often for me, I'm afraid. When I read this update in the PW Children's Bookshelf Rights Report, it sounded so wonderfully beautiful I was instantly insanely jealous that it was not my own (not to mention the landing of the perfect illustrator for this project, one of my favorites, the incredibly talented Erin E. Stead..!)
But works like this inspire me to keep getting better, to keep striving to achieve that laudable idea of my own that someone one day will be jealous of, oops I mean, inspired by :)
Very much looking forward to adding this book to my collection...
"Nancy Conescu at Dial has bought world rights to The Uncorking of Ocean Bottles, written by Michelle Cuevas (The Masterwork of a Painting Elephant) and illustrated by Caldecott Medalist Erin E. Stead (A Sick Day for Amos McGee). The picture book tells of a solitary seafaring man who, the publisher explained, “wishes that someday one of the bottles that he is charged with opening will contain a message for him.” Cuevas was inspired to write the story after she learned that Queen Elizabeth I had appointed an official “Uncorker of Ocean Bottles” and it was a criminal offense for anyone other than the Uncorker to open messages in bottles. Publication is scheduled for 2016; Emily van Beek at Folio Literary Management represented Stead, and Brenda Bowen at Sanford J. Greenburger represented Cuevas."  

Books of Note...

The New York Times Book Review has announced its 10 Best Illustrated Children’s Books of 2013. The honorees are:

My Brother’s Book by Maurice Sendak (HarperCollins/di Capua)
Ballad by Blexbolex, trans. from the French by Claudia Z. Bedrick (Enchanted Lion)
Jemmy Button by Jennifer Uman and Valerio Vidali (Candlewick/Templar)
The Dark by Lemony Snicket, illus. by Jon Klassen (Little, Brown)
Holland by Charlotte Dematons (Lemniscaat)
Journey by Aaron Becker (Candlewick)
Fog Island by Tomi Ungerer (Phaidon)
Jane, The Fox and Me by Fanny Britt, trans. from the French by Christelle Morelli and Susan Ouriou, illus. by Isabelle Arsenault (Groundwood Books/House of Anansi Press)
Locomotive by Brian Floca (S&S/Atheneum/Jackson)
Nelson Mandela by Kadir Nelson (HarperCollins/Tegen)
*Courtesy of PW Children's Bookshelf

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Illustrator Spotlight

Katie Viggers!
Just came across her whimsical book, Almost An Animal Alphabet, at Barnes & Noble this morning and fell in love! Her animals are simply enchanting. Check her out...

Monday, October 14, 2013

 "Just remember when you are feeling overwhelmed that this is all just life. Nothing to be taken too seriously. Everyday ends and a new one begins. And things are always changing. You are never stuck. And really so long as the people you love, love you, that is all that matters."

~Alex. Evans 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The real Christopher Robin and Winnie the Pooh. Love this

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

"...If you are in love with what you do day in and day out, it's not work. Every day you're adding a piece of joy to your ethos. So find your passion, and fall in love with your why."

~Arian Foster, NFL player, philosopher, artist, poet


One reading and writing room
aka my office (someday:)
~photo courtesy of Pinterest
Bookshelves like these are amazing!  ... Uploaded with Pinterest Android app. Get it here: http://bit.ly/w38r4m
"Creativity has much to do with experience, observation, and imagination, and if any one of those key elements is missing, it doesn't work."
~Bob Dylan
as found in this month's SCBWI Bulletin

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Newest Faves...

I love a morning spent at Barnes & Noble!
Here's the latest and greatest:

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

"Envisioning a new scene first thing in the morning when I wake – that reminds me, I am a writer."
~Carmen E. Richards

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

And Now Book 2!

Nellie and I finished the first HP and now onto the second, with new artwork and everything! Reading aloud with voices is maybe my favorite thing ever :)

Fun Writing Prompts...

Can't wait to try this game out with my writing group! We're always looking for ways to inspire creativity...

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Happy Anniversary!!

Celebrating our 1st *2nd* Wedding Anniversary today! 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A Chapter A Day...

Nellie begs me everyday to read Harry Potter to her; can't tell you how happy this makes me :)

Monday, July 22, 2013

Reading the Classics with Children

So Nellie and I just finished reading Francis Hodgson Burnett's A Little Princess together, and as much as I love reading aloud (it might be my favorite thing ever) I gotta say this one was tough to get through. From the Victorian language that was often well above her 6 year old head, to the fact that not a whole lot happens in this story, Nellie begrudgingly allowed me to finish the 250 page book but not without some groaning. I never want our reading aloud time to be something dreadful, it should be looked forward to and enjoyed, but we both felt it was important to stick it out and finish what we started. And I know she felt very proud when we did finish, and I'm happy she had that sense of accomplishment. Though the classics may feel stodgy and outdated to some kids today, I think they are an important way for children to discover a different time and a different style of writing. So slog away! You and your child might just end up finding a gem you could have otherwise overlooked. At the very least, your vocabulary will be profoundly improved.

But now we will read something fun and intriguing and mysterious and wonderful, a newer classic and a page-turner she won't want to put down, that means of course it's time for the one and only...
Harry Potter!
(I might be even more excited than Nellie)

Summer Reading!

Maggie and Nellie completed their first 10 books of the summer and each got to choose a book to take home! So proud of the little readers

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Maggie's Birthday!

Maggie turns 2 years old today! Perfect present? A board book, of course! A Margaret Wise Brown must-have for all children's collections...
What did Maggie say when she opened it?
"Read it to me please!"
Best words to hear :)

Wednesday, June 5, 2013


Could not adore this French author and illustrator collaboration more!

Last Words of Advice...

"Write from your heart, from YOUR truth, it's what makes your voice genuine and believable...
If you want this dream, you will get there.
Perservere. Be patient. You WILL get there.
Make them WANT to listen!"

~Instructor Jolie Stekly, UW Writing for Children
Last night my year-long Writing for Children Certificate program at the University of Washington came to an end. And what a great year it was! Wrote new stories, had spectacular teachers, signed with an agent, and best of all I met incredible friends and hopefully lifelong writing partners. I can't express enough gratitude and praise for this particular program and what it has done for my writing career. Anything you can do to further your craft, do it! Thank you to UW, our leaders Jolie Stekly and Nina Hess, and to my classmates who endlessly inspire, motivate and encourage!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Nellie published a book before me!
So proud! (And a bit jealous ;)