Monday, April 30, 2012

Book Review: After the Snow by S. D. Crockett

 After the Snow
After the Snow
By S. D. Crockett
In this standout post-apocalyptic adventure, 15-year-old Willo learns to find hope in a hard, barren world.
Now that the polar ice caps have melted, "the sea stop working [and the snow] fall and fall and fall and don't stop," life is hard for Willo and his family. But they are better off than most. They are "stragglers" living in the mountains, hunting and trapping, and making their way with as little outside help as possible. It's better than being "stealers," who take what they desire. Willo's family steers clear of the city, where the government and the gangs vie for control. But when government trucks take away Willo's family, he is left to fend for himself. He knows he can make it on his own, but shouldn't he search for his family? Avenge their betrayal? When he finds a girl called Mary, starving and abandoned, all his instincts say to run. Still, Willo tries to help her, and they are both picked up and trucked into the city. Separated from Mary, Willo feels helpless and unprepared. None of his skills seems to be of any use here.
Willo's first-person narrative reflects both his lack of formal education and also his keen survival skills, and his lyrical voice pulls readers into his world. He hears a dog spirit that guides him, and along the way, he learns some important secrets about his father and his own place in the world. S.D. Crockett's debut novel marks her as a writer to watch. --Lynn Becker, host of Book Talk, the monthly online discussion of children's books for SCBWI. First appeared in Shelf Awareness for Readers 4/16/12, reprinted with permission.
Discover: A powerful picture of life in a new ice age, in which Willo is put to the test, but finds his own way.

Lynn Becker

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Thursday Result of WEW #13

This is one of my favorite exercises. But with any of the prompts, you can make it whatever you want whether that's a poem or sentence or paragraph or character study or exploring setting. Make it whatever serves you best.

WEW #13
Prompt: Poem time – in the voice of any object you like. Similar to WEW #4 - metaphor as a thing - only in poetry. 
I am formally dressed
88 Tuxedoed keys
Ready for a grand finale
Or perhaps an opening song
Harmony plucked and pressed
Jovial, melancholy,
forceful, quiet
I am not fussy
Fingers cracked in warm up
Or cloaked in peanut
butter & jelly
I don’t like sticking together
But I do like being played
Endure a messy beginner
or a practiced pianist
I long to hear the melody
The beautiful sounds made
To capture my imagination
and my heart
Play on.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Writing Exercise Wednesday #13

WEW #13
Time to celebrate National Poetry Month with a poem prompt.  Have fun!
Prompt: Poem time – in the voice of any object you like. Similar to WEW #4 - metaphor as a thing - only in poetry. 

Monday, April 23, 2012

Book Review: Queen of Hearts by Martha Brooks


Queen of Hearts
By Martha Brooks
What if you contracted tuberculosis and there was no easy cure? Martha Brooks (Mistik Lake) tells the story of one feisty teenager, Marie-Claire, who, along with her brother and sister, is unwittingly exposed to TB by a favorite uncle, and must move to a nearby sanitarium for treatment. Set during World War II and based in part on the author's experience growing up on the grounds of a TB sanitarium in Canada, Queen of Hearts paints a vivid portrait of life in such a facility before the discovery of penicillin, when "chasing the cure" meant bed rest and more bed rest.
This is not the kind of existence a girl imagines for herself when she has just attended her first dance, met a soldier leaving to fight in the war, and experienced her first kiss. Even worse, Marie-Claire and her siblings must separate, and her brother Luc's condition deteriorates quickly. Marie-Claire writes notes to her brother, and receives answers from his roommate, the young musician Jack Hawkings, also a patient in the sanitarium, for whom she develops feelings.
Marie-Claire has a tough time adjusting to life in the facility. Visitors are few, as most outsiders, including her mother, stay away. But TB or not, Marie-Claire must learn to grow up. And like most teenagers, she is curious about life and love. Is there life after TB? Is there love? From the very first page, Martha Brooks draws us into her narrative. Rich in sensory details, every word adds to this compelling picture of life on the Canada prairie. --Lynn Becker, host of the monthly online discussion of children's books for SCBWI, Book Talk. First appeared in Shelf Awareness for Readers 10/18/11, reprinted with permission.

Discover: A compelling picture of life on the Canada prairie during WWII, with a teenage heroine coming of age in a tuberculosis sanitarium.         
Lynn Becker

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Thursday Result of WEW #12

WEW #12
Since the other one is late then so is this one! But better late than never - again.
Prompt: Make two long sentences with these nouns: book, chair, hedgehog, skates
Verbs: Eviscerate, complain, polish, sing
Wart, the smallest hedgehog, went singing past his brothers and sisters (as they stood open-mouthed like eviscerated fish) on his brand new skates that were polished to shine like the sun.
Knocking over a large stack of books, Wart fell over the chair, tumbling high in the air, landing on his bottom complaining, “Ouch, that hurt.”

Next week will be a poetry exercise. Can't let Poetry Month go by without one. Hope to see you then!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Writing Exercise Wednesday #12

WEW #12
Sorry this is late - I set it to post and it didn't. I need to learn more...
Prompt: Make two long sentences with these nouns: book, chair, hedgehog, skates
Verbs: Eviscerate, complain, polish, sing


Monday, April 16, 2012

Oh My Goodness - Old Photos! (that go with WEW #8)

My sister is sending me old family slides transferred into photos/jpgs so we can surprise our dad for his 80th birthday. So if you know him, don't tell him. And, 80 really is just a number. But what was fun about viewing these pictures is that it coincided with my writing exercise #8. It was interesting to see how my memories held up against the photos and I didn't do too badly. Hope you have photos to add to your writing exercise too!  Enjoy a trip down yonder, Angela

The backyard with swingset - rhubard was nearby

Playhouse by the path - Dog's kennel in other corner

Snowball, me and puppies

Dad's Christmas light show

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Thursday Result of WEW #11

WEW #11
Prompt: Any minute now…
Any minute now something will happen. Any minute now. Okay. Come on. Nothing’s happening. My reflection hasn’t changed one bit. I thought when I turned 13 my breasts would appear. Breasts – such a pretty word. The boys in my class say boobs. And repeatedly point out that I don’t have any. They’ll be sorry one day for teasing me – I’ll have breasts and no braces and my face will clear up and I’ll become the butterfly my mom keeps referring to. And I won’t even look at those boys.
But right now – any time now – I’m waiting for something to happen.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Writing Exercise Wednesday #11

Welcome to another Wednesday - it's a rainy day here - a perfect day for an exercise! Let's get started.

WEW #11
Prompt: Any minute now…

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Thursday Result of WEW #10

Had a nice day of recouping after being sick most of the night. Hence the very late posting. The comments have been fun - keep them coming!
WEW #10
Prompt: askance, zipper, granddame, picket, hooey

The granddame of the ball wore her boa, tiara and shawl as if that were the norm. No one dared say otherwise. Even though her tiara sat askance, not a peep was uttered. Until her grandson roared into the room yelling, "hooey, hooey!" He stopped dead in front of his grandmama, his shirt sticking out his zipper as if it were a white flag proposing a truce. 

She gathered him up into her arms and he whispered, "I love you, Grandmama." As she hugged him to her he gave her tiara a poke back into place and they shared a wink.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Writing Exercise Wednesday #10

This is a fun one - but aren't they all?!

WEW #10
Prompt: askance, zipper, granddame, picket, hooey