More great reasons to move to Central New York

This part of the country is quickly becoming a literary hub in the United States. There is already a very long list of authors, poets, and illustrators who live here. Then Suzan-Lori Parks moved here a few months ago.

And the latest news?

Tamora Pierce is moving here, too. Yep. It’s the truth.

See, I told you this is the best place in the world.

For those of you lucky enough to live here – I know what you want to do on Saturday. You want to participate in the 10th annual Paige’s Butterfly Run. This run is held in the memory of Paige Yeomans Arnold, a strong, gentle, beautiful child who died of leukemia in 1994. The Run raises money for cancer research, to support families who have a child fighting cancer, and for a scholarship in Paige’s honor.

You can participate in a certified 5K run, or (if you are out of shape like me) you can enjoy the 3K fun run/walk. BH and I will both be there. I’ll probably be bringing up the rear. You have to register by tomorrow, though, so hurry!

Paige’s mother, Ellen Yeomans, is a dear friend of mine. Not only is she a terrific author, but she is the area’s SCBWI regional adviser, and she teaches courses in children’s literature. She is one of the movers and shakers who are defining the area as a literary hub.

For teachers of FEVER 1793

I’ve had two notes from teachers who are doing a wonderful job bringing FEVER 1793 to life in the classroom.

Debbie Myers writes: Hi! … I am a teacher of the gifted in an intermediate school (grades 4-5) in Martinsburg, WV. I was looking for a good topic to do a class Social Studies project on and our librarian came back from the Children’s Literature Festival in Frostburg, Md. last year with your book, Fever 1793. She thought it might make a great “jumping off” point for a class project. I immediately read the book and loved it! I decided that it was the perfect topic for our class project.

So . . . to make a long story short. My class of six 5th grade gifted students read the book, discussed it, did some activities with it, and decided that the Yellow Fever epidemic of 1793 would be the topic of their class project. They read some more information (especially Jim Murphy’s book), researched on the internet, wrote their individual reports, created their backboard and their table display, and I chose two students to be the spokespersons for the project (the maximum amount you can have for a SS fair project in WV).

We won first place at the school level (no surprise there-we were the only class project), 1st place at the County level (where we did have more competition), and, finally, this past Friday, FIRST PLACE IN THE STATE FAIR!! I have had 3 other class projects go to the state fair but I have never had a first place winner. It was exciting and humbling at the same time. Needless to say, I am quite proud of my students.

I just wanted to let you know that your book really inspired all of my students to take a closer look at yellow fever. Usually, when I chose a book to read with my students, one or two will complain about it. Not this book! They all liked it. One student even said that her favorite part of doing the project was reading the book…. Thank you for writing such a terrific book.

On the other side of the country, Eleanor Ryan and her 6th grade students in Larkspur, CA have a wonderful Web project and blog about FEVER.

I love teachers.

I love my job.

Day 1 of summer and I’m already complaining


Hazy. Hot. Humid.

I hate days like this.

This will be a short entry, because nobody wants to listen to me whine about the weather.

More X-Men 3 Mistakes I feel vindicated. Since movie theaters have air conditioning, I’m thinking I should head to one soon. Any suggestions about what I should watch?

I’m cranky already so I might as well go for broke. I am going to the gym.

Here – figure out how your household is impacting the environment.

How we start summer in the country

Now that all danger of frost is gone (not that it is ever truly gone up here), what did we do with that beautiful hot day yesterday? BH, Son & I split, hauled, and stacked seven cords of wood that we will burn next winter. We did it the modern way, with a nice hydraulic splitter (thank you, Honda) that we rented for the day.

I apparently passed my picking up sticks apprenticeship because I was allowed to run the splitter. The fun part was watching the sharp thingie snap the wood in two. The not-fun part was wrestling massive blocks of wood up on to the splitter. I’m moving very slowly today. My back, legs and arms have all gone on strike in protest of yesterday’s activities. But we got it done. I feel like a pioneer.

Woke up at 5 am – BH and I both thought we heard someone crying, but it wasn’t in our house. Then a thunderstorm struck. Maybe it was the spirits awake in anticipation of the storm.

Watched X-Men III on Saturday. I really enjoyed it except for one nagging thing. In the scene where the guy in the funny hat moved the bridge – was anyone else annoyed by the time shift that was unaccounted for? The scene starts in bright sunshine and daylight. It wasn’t even sunset. And it did not seem like the moving of the bridge itself took hours, but “suddenly” by the time the bad guys invade Alcatraz, it’s night time. In one shot, looking back on the bridge, the car all have their headlights on, which they didn’t earlier. The drivers of the cars had fled or fallen off. Did Funny Hat’s minions all say, “Wow, for safety reasons and better lighting, we should turn the headlights on”? Or maybe one of the mutants had special Headlight Power.

That bugged me. But I liked the rest of the movie a lot, and I am notoriously fussy about movies so that’s saying something.

Picnic with friends and relatives today. I’ll be the one sitting very, very still.

Friday afternoon odds n ends


Thank you lost-child2 for taking the time yesterday to explain how the Literature Map works. You can read both of his explanations if you scroll down through yesterday’s comments.

My food quirk of the moment? Straight wasabi paste on baby carrots.

Do you know about Library Thing? (Thank you mikigarrison for pointing it out. Do any of you post to it? What do you think (here’s the SPEAK entry)?

Other deep thoughts: it possible to eat too much wasabi? Does anyone have a wasabi muffin recipe? What about wasabi/lemon/poppy seed?

Oh, man. I just realized I am also craving lox. It’s a good thing we live out in the middle of nowhere.