Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Thank You, World Book Night!

Dear World Book Night,

I wish you could have been with me yesterday when I gave out copies of Ender's Game to the "Crestdale Kids." These are students from the Crestdale community in Matthews, NC who come to Covenant Day School once a week for tutoring.  

I wish you could have seen the excitement of a third grade boy who took his copy and hugged it. At first he thought it was going to be too hard for him (and it might be, since he is a struggling reader) but about 30 minutes later he came back and proudly announced that he had read two pages. 

I wish you could have seen the fourth and fifth graders who realized these books were theirs to take home and read.

I wish you could have seen the kindergartners who were excited about getting their books and saving them until they were older.

I wish you could have seen the first grader who started reading it as soon as she received it.

I wish you could have heard a grandmother announce that she is going to start a book club for the students to come to her house, eat pizza and discuss the book. 

I wish you could have been a part of our celebration of books and reading.

What am I saying? 

Of course, you already were. 

                                                  *******ich will see tens of thousands of people share books with others in their communities across Amerib
World Book Night is a celebration of books and reading in which tens of thousands of people shared books with their communities to spread the love of reading on April 23.

This was the second year that this event was celebrated in the United States. I was one of over 25,000 givers that helped distribute half a million free books. 

April 23 was chosen because it is the UNESCO International Day of the Book, chosen in honor of Shakespeare and Cervantes, who both died on April 23, 1616. (It is also Shakespeare's birthday.) In the Catalan region of Spain, the day is celebrated by giving a book and a flower to a loved one. Book Night is a celebration of reading and books which will see tens of thousands of people share b

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Same Kind of Different as Me

Ron Hall and Denver Moore were as different as day and night. Ron, a white, affluent art dealer lived in one grand, expensive home after another in the suburbs of Fort Worth. Denver was black, uneducated, and an ex-con who lived on the streets of Fort Worth.

They were worlds apart; but in a way that only God can orchestrate, their lives became intertwined together. Same Kind of Different as Me is their story. 

I enjoyed this book on many levels.  Written from alternate points of view, the book doesn't hold back on portraying the thoughts, feelings and prejudices of men from two different races.  Each man's voice comes through loud and clear as they describe their upbringing and the events leading up to meeting at the Union Gospel MissionIt also showed the esteem they both had for Deborah Hall, Ron's wife, and the grief they shared when she died.

But most of all, it showed how God was at work, bringing all three of them to faith in Jesus Christ and then working out His purposes in their lives.  

Since my work in progress, Half-Truths, is also about the relationship between a white and black person, here are a few passages which I appreciated:

Ron, talking about his childhood in Corsicana, Texas: 
"In the 1950's the Southern social order was as plain to the eye as charcoal in a snowbank." (p. 22)

Denver sharing his life in the '60's: 
"But [if] you go down to Louisiana right now, and take a drive on down the back roads in Red River Parish, and you might be able to see how a colored man that couldn't read and didn't have no radio, no car, no telephone, and not even 'lectricity might fall through a crack in time and get stuck, like a clock that done wound done and quit."  (p. 64)

During one of their first conversations Denver challenged Ron with the "catch and release" principle of friendship:
"If you is fishin for a friend you just gon' catch an release, then I ain't got no desire to be your friend....But if you is looking for a real friend, then I'll be one. Forever." (p. 107)

When Denver mourned Debbie's death he talked to her: 
"You was the onlyest person that looked past my skin and past my meanness and saw that there was somebody on the inside worth saving... We all has more in common than we think. You stood up with courage and faced me when I was dangerous, and it changed my life. You loved me for who I was on the inside, the person God meant for me to be, the one that had just gotten lost for a while on some ugly roads in life." (p. 193)

In conclusion, Denver wrote:
"After I met Miss Debbie and Mr. Ron, I worried that I was so different from them that we wasn't ever gon' have no kind a' future. But I found our everybody's different--the same kind of different as me. We're all just regular folks walking down the road God done set in front of us...The truth about it is, whether we is rich or poor or something in between, this earth ain't no final restin place. So in a way, we is all homeless--just working our way toward home." (p. 235)

I finished the book on April 15 and tried to contact Denver and Ron to tell them how much I appreciated their story. I discovered that a week earlier Denver had gone home to be with his Lord. 

This is a moving book on many levels showing the power of God to change lives. 

Friday, April 13, 2012

Book Burst- Pass it On!

I spent the month of February writing a proposal for the SCBWI-Work in Progress grant. Rebecca Petruck encouraged me to re-vision the first chapter of Half-Truths and tirelessly cheered me on--even as she delivered the "but I really think it would be better if you did it this way" news. 

When I finished the revision she sweetly rewarded me with this "Book Burst" which she made from an old book:

She found the idea in The Repurposed Library by Lisa Occhipinti.

This video gives you a brief idea of how to bring new life to an old book. Next time you want to present a writer with a special gift check out Occhipinti's book. 

Rebecca, by the way, is a fantastic editor and critiquer. She has recently launched her own critique business and I highly recommend her. Even if she made me rewrite my first chapter a bazillion times. Or maybe, because she made me do that. 

Pass it on. 

Friday, April 6, 2012

The Colors of Spain

When my friends asked me what I liked about Spain the most, invariably I would answer, "the colors." You're about to find out why.

Children's shoes

The candy stall
Barcelona market

Smoothies to go
Barcelona market

A flower stall along Las Ramblas, a long pedestrian thoroughfare in Barcelona

A cold, black night looking out over Barcelona
with my daughters, Lisa and Lori
One of the many tile walls in the
Parc Guell designed by Antoni Gaudi
Lisa showing a typical
Moorish mosaic

Flamenco shoes for young and old
the market in Granada

Tile work
Alhambra, Granada
800-year-old Moorish castle

Looking out a window
at the Alhambra

Heavy, wonderful rugs.
In a little town in the Alpujurras mountains

Black olives, flung down
from the tree
Look closely
and find a tiny frog
inside this calla lilly

Peacocks guarded the pool,

and the roof.

All locally grown,

and wonderfully delicious.

The Mediterranean meets the Atlantic
at the southernmost tip of Europe,


Flowers cascading
in Tariffa

Zucchini, ground almonds & chunks of parmesan.

Flamenco dancer

As a writer, I usually don't agree with the maxim, "A picture is worth a thousand words." But, sometimes they do say a lot! 


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