Archive for ◊ May, 2012 ◊

28 May 2012 Home of the Brave

I grew up in rural southeastern Oklahoma, but I traveled widely…by reading every book about other cultures and distant places I could find. Because my father was a minister, my life choice for travel was to become a missionary. But who am I to tell other people how to live?
My life took a different direction, and I hope the students I taught to love books are grateful. Wait, maybe I did become a missionary!
Mark Twain said, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness…” To help your young person understand people from other cultures, I could like to recommend a book:
Katherine Applegate’s Home of the Brave will break your heart with its eloquence. This novel in verse follows Kek, an African refugee, to cold Minnesota, as he misses what remains of his family and his homeland despite the war that rages there.

13 May 2012 Freaky Fast Frankie Joe

Freaky Fast Frankie Joe is Lutricia Clifton’s first novel, and I can’t wait for more from her. In fact, I’m adding this middle grade novel to my Recommended List for Children’s Writers. Its characters are as richly drawn and likeable as those in Clementine, and its subject matter is relevant—the parent/child relationship, what makes a family, the value of friends, responsibility—and it does it all without preaching or descending into preciousness.

13 May 2012 Focal Point

I used to think I couldn’t focus, but now I know it’s just that I try to focus on too many things. So, this past year, I narrowed my writing focus to two things. Okay, three–I’m completing a YA novel, I write a weekly column for Drumright Gusher and Oklahoma Observer, and I’m a poet–I jot lines at dinner, at school, and in line at the store.

I didn’t stop reading quality literature for young people, however.  I read, at least for a few minutes, almost every night. My reading material is a mix of youth lit and nonfiction books about farming, politics, and economics.  See, more of that focus.

Because I’ve never quit reading quality children’s literature, the focus of my blog, I’ve decided to change my blogging habits. I can address books I believe worthy of comment in a few lines. Starting now.

It’s good to be back.