Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

Happy All Hallow's Eve, everyone! Are you excited for the tricks and treats? I've always loved Halloween, and no not for the candy. I just like the mystery and magic behind it. Okay, the candy is a pretty great bonus, but there are so many other great things now that you can do that still allow to dress up and have fun. Like host a Halloween party with awesome snacks and spooky games. Or if you're in the community service mood, like I will be tonight, participate in Trick or Cans.

Here are some fun foods and crafts to put you in the trick-or-treating spirit!

Shrunken Apple Heads:
Prepare a bowl of water and lemon juice.
Pull out as many apples as you would like to carve.
Core the apple, but leave the top and stem.
Carve funny, scary, or sad faces into your apples.
Bake at 225 for 3 hours.

For more fun, put them in apple cider to make shrunken head apple cider.

Bloody Footprint Walkway:

Buy a roll of white decorating paper (like you would use to decorate doors) and roll it down the walkway to your door. You might need to tape it.

Paint the bottom of your feet red and walk up the paper to the door.

For extra blood, splatter it a little.

Monster Mason Jars:

Mason jars, different colored gauze, watered down glue, googly eyes, sharpie

Wrap the mason jar with the gauze (color depending on what type of monster you want to create)
Paint on the watered down glue
Wait to dry then glue on googly eyes.
For mouths and noses, take your sharpie and draw some gnarly features.
Fill it with a candle or flowers, depending on how you are planning to use it.

Fun Halloween Facts:
1. Samhainophobia is the fear of Halloween
2. If you put your clothing on inside out and walk backward, you might see a witch at midnight.
3. Spiders seen on Halloween are supposedly dead loved ones checking in on you. So be careful who you step on.
4. Dressing up as monsters originated with the celtic people where they would dress up as ghouls to disguise themselves from the real ghouls.
5. Harry Houdini died on Halloween in 1926

Spooky wishes on this Halloween night!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Guest Post

This semester, I have been interning with a local indie-publishing house, Audrey Press, known for The Fox Diaries and The Ultimate Guide to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Audrey Press also runs in conjunction with the blog, which reads and reviews Kidlit and then finds fun activities and crafts to bring the story to life. I was lucky enough to be asked to write a guest post for the book of my choosing, and in a way, I think I knew what book I wanted to do even before Mrs. Budayr asked me. I've always been a big fan of Holes by Louis Sachar, and I saw this book had plenty of activities that were just waiting to be explored. Well, now my Holes post is well and alive on, so check it out and let me know what you think.

Holes on Jump Into a Book

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

A Little About Sarah Dessen

            I might be the only teenage girl in several countries that has not read a Sarah Dessen book. I know; I’m awful. But don’t worry—I’m working on reading her newest book, The Moon and More, now, and I should come out with a review here in a couple of weeks.
            Anyway, I was lucky enough to attend a Q&A that included herself, Lauren Morrill, and Jennifer E. Smith. (Their posts are yet to come). She was very interesting to listen to and very much inspiring for a young writer such as myself. One of the great aspects of these Q&A’s with authors is that they can become very personal and share a lot about their background.
Lauren Morrill, Jennifer E. Smith, Sarah Dessen
            When Mrs. Dessen was in high school, she fell in with the wrong crowd. She wasn’t great at school or anything else for that matter, and as she says, books are really the only thing that got her through high school. She was blessed to live in a town that flourished with published authors that encouraged her to follow her writing dream. When she went off to college, she wrote a couple of unsuccessful books while working at a Mexican restaurant, which she continued to work at through the publishing of her first book. Now, she’s just published her eleventh book, ironically writing about the one time in her life that she would rather forget.
            I got to ask her a few questions myself, and here are her answers:
1. What do you think is the biggest misconception people have of you?
            That I know what I’m doing. People think now that I’ve written eleven books, that I must know everything there is to know, but that’s not true. Every book is a new experience.
2. Do you have an inspiration food?
            I keep two pieces of chocolate on my writing desk every day.
3. What are you passionate about besides writing?
            Good Morning, America, which I was blessed to be on—a dream come true, and my family.

Fun Facts about Sarah Dessen:
Ø    For those of you that are regular Dessen readers, you might have noticed that several of her characters have a strong aversion to mayonnaise. This stems from her work at the Mexican restaurant. Every morning she would have to prepare dressing for the restaurant—that’s a lot of dressing. And what does dressing have a lot of? Mayonnaise.
Ø    She’s a control freak about everything except her writing.
Ø    She is a creature of habit, who always has to write in the afternoons.
Ø    She always wanted an exotic name like Veronica…Sarah just wasn’t enough.

Tips for writers:
  • Figure out what works for you and stick with it.
  • Don’t think too much about your second book—it’s not as natural.
  • Trust your editor.
  • Your opinion of your work is the most important.
  • Pick your snits, as my dad always said.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Herman Parish at Amelia Bedelia’s 50th Anniversary

          We all know and love that wacky, literal housemaid known as Amelia Bedelia. This year, she is celebrating her 50th anniversary, or birthday, and I had the opportunity to listen to her nephew talk today. As you may know, Peggy Parish passed away in 1988 (coincidentally Amelia’s 25th anniversary) at the age of 61, and her nephew has continued his aunt's legacy.
Her grandparent's home
                                                                                              We all wonder where brilliant children’s authors such as she come up with these beautiful characters that captivate the world. I now know. It seems that much of Ms. Parish’s inspiration came from her own life. Every Sunday, her entire family would take a short drive down to her grandparent’s, the Rogers, house for dinner. There in their big, beautiful home, they had a young maid who was hopeless in household matters. When told to dust around the room, she dusted the edges of the room and not in the middle. Ms. Parish herself was her very literal person. When asked what his favorite memory of his aunt is, Mr. Parish responded, “One day we drove past a sign in her hometown—‘Manning, South Carolina. Matchless for Beauty and Hospitality.’ She then said to me, ‘I’ve always thought that sign was funny. People in Manning have plenty of matches.’ That’s when I knew that I’d known Amelia Bedelia all along.” Do we all remember Amelia’s black purse that she carried at the most random of times? Well, that was actually Ms. Parish’s purse, and true to the reputation, she never put it down.
            For five years after his aunt died, Herman did not write, yet he continued to get thousands of letters from children asking what was going to happen to Amelia Bedelia next. Ms. Parish must have known that her character was going to live long after her.
            His first Amelia Bedelia book without his aunt was Good Driving, Amelia Bedelia. The inspiration for this book came from a road trip with his wife. When they came to a stop sign with only a left or right turn, he asked his wife, “Left?” and she said, “Right.” So instead of turning left, he turned right. When he got yelled at for going right when she said right, she had to scold him, for she meant right, as in correct, not right the direction. Read Good Driving, and you might just find a similar instance happening to Amelia in a fork in the road.
            In my belief, you’re never too old for a good children’s book, especially the crazy, literal world of Amelia Bedelia. So delve back into the world of drawing drapes, undusting, dressing chickens, and delicious lemon-meringue pie, and remember the laugh-out-loud fun that you had as a child.

First Amelia Bedelia Sketch
Fun Facts:
Peggy's memorial in Manning
  • Peggy’s real name is Margaret. She liked the alliteration of Peggy Parish better.
  • After she retired, she acquired eleven cats in two years. That is why Amelia Bedelia’s statue in Manning, South Carolina has a cat paired with it.
  • When Herman Parish asked a school if they knew what Amelia’s famous pie was, a boy raised his hand and said, “I know. She made lemon…orangutan pie!” 

Southern Festival of Books Day 1

Line up for today:
Herman Parish (nephew of Peggy Parish) discussing Amelia Bedelia's 50th anniversary
Jennifer Smith, Sarah Dessen, and Lauren Morrill (from my hometown) discussing YA romance lit
Kathryn Lasky and Hannah Barnaby discussing Kidlit
Aprilynne Pike, Teal Haviland, and Sonia Gensler discussing YA supernatural Novels.
Even the birds came out for the festival!
Nashville Public Library

Features and more pictures to come!

For those of you who are already planning your trip for the 26th Annual Southern Festival of Books, I have scouted a couple yummy restaurants to fill your stomaches with delicious treats!

Puckett's: amazing, good ole down-home barbeque. Not only is it a delicious restaurant, but it is also a grocery and a music venue for aspirings singers. Come enjoy delicious meals and a thorough southern experience at the intersection of 5th and Church St.

Tazza: this restaurant has an assortment of food choices, but they are most famous for their italian dishes. While the food was delicious, I think I enjoyed the atmosphere the most. Our waiter made us feel like we were important to him. Plus, they have killer desserts!

Friday, October 11, 2013

We're Going on an Adventure!

This last weekend of my fall break, I'm headed to Nashville for the 25th Annual Southern Festival of Books. This marvelous event hosts hundreds of fiction and nonfiction authors that we all know and love! Some simply hold book-signings while others give talks about writing and about their books. I am focusing my attention on YA and children's authors: Rick Riordan, Sarah Dessen, Aprilynne Pike, Kathryn Lasky, Lauren Morrill, Herman Parish (Peggy Parish's nephew), among others.

For one thing, I just want to meet Rick Riordan. He's amazing. But I do have a purpose, do not mistake me. This semester I have been participating in an internship with Press. When I told my boss who all was going to be at this festival, she was excited for me to go and encouraged me to try to talk to as many of them as I can.

For those of you who are not familiar with Jump into a Book, this is an extremely successful blog that not only promotes the books of Audrey Press but also works in conjuction with several authors and indie publishers to promote beautiful children's literature. They constantly jump into a book, which means they read the book and find activities to bring the book to life. I asked my boss if they had ever done a book jump on one of the Kathryn Lasky's books, and she said no. This is the perfect opportunity for me. I love Lasky's Guardians of Ga'hoole series, and I think every child should have the opportunity to read them. If I can get a small interview with her, maybe the guardians will be next on Jump into a Book's list.

However, there will be a feature on each of the author's listed as I go through my weekend, so stay tuned!