Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Mother-Daughter Book Club

I just finished reading The Mother-Daughter Book Club by Heather Vogel Frederick. What a great book! From the book jacket: "What begins as a mom-imposed ritual of reading Little Women soon helps four unlikely friends navigate the drama of middle school. From stolen journals, to secret crushes, to a fashion-fiasco first dance, the girls are up to their Wellie boots in drama. They can't help but wonder: What would Jo march do?" Frederick tells the story in four different voices -- Megan, the popular girl; Cassidy, the tomboy/hockey player; Emma the reader/aspiring writer; and Jess, the farm girl/actress. I'm not usually a fan of stories with too many different viewpoints, but it really works in this book. And, it makes me want to start my own mother-daughter book club with my two girls!

Frederick includes "Fun Facts about Louisa (May Alcott)" throughout the book. Here are some facts that I found particularly interesting:

  1. Louisa kept a "mood pillow" shaped like a sausage on the parlor sofa. When she was in a good mood, she stood it on end. When she wasn't, she placed it flat, and her family gave her some space.
  2. In addition to books for young people, Louisa also wrote for adults. Sometimes she wrote under pseudonyms, include Flora Fairfield, Tribulation Periwinkle, and A.M. Barnard, under which alias she published what she called "blood and thunder" thrillers.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Lines that make you say "Ahhhhh!"

While most of the children's writing community has high-tailed it to LA for SCBWI's annual summer conference, I am left pouting at my desk, like a 2nd grader who wasn't picked for the recess game. So, instead I'm reading about the conference on Alice Pope's blog. Not the same as being there, but at least I didn't have to shell out $1,000 bucks to go!

So, to console myself (and those of you who are pouting, too), here are a few breathtaking lines from some of my recent reads:

She was serenity. Her lips faintly smiling. Her golden skin. The glowing thread-ends of her hair. She seemed to have been dipped in sunlight and set here to dry. -- from Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

Like so many of Archie's words, they seemed not to enter through my ears but to settle on my skin, there to burrow like tiny eggs awaiting the rain of my maturity, when they would hatch and I at last would understand. -- also from Stargirl

Just like real life, not all stories end happily. Sometimes friends betray us, and the people we love don't always love us back. Sometimes people die or leave us. I don't know yet if there will be a happy ending for my and my family. If life were a book, would I want to skip ahead to the ending? Or would I rather wait and read along to find out...? I'm not sure. -- from The Mother-Daughter Book Club by Heather Vogel Frederick