identity crisis

jaime-mormann

I love this picture because I wasn’t posing. My son Stuart took it when I was watching my new husband speak about Schrodinger’s Cat at a presentation for his new book The Quantum League. Matt and I had only been married about a month. (Apparently, I hold my hands in weird ways and touch my face when I’m not aware of it.)

Once upon a time, I wanted to write novels. It was a mired path coming to that decision—with long distance chats with my mom and sister about finding our passions, hours of watching Oprah, and follow-up calls with my mom and sister about what we had just watched on Oprah. Once I finally settled on writing fiction as what I wanted to do, I put everything I had into it. At first, I trod carefully, like peering from behind the doorway into a crowded room. So I started by trying to find other people who also wanted to write, and as luck would have it (or Providence), I met a nice girl at church. Her name was Julie, and she confessed in one of our first conversations that she had actually been published once, and that she really wanted to be an author. We became fast friends and started working toward our dreams. We went to conferences, joined writing groups, entered contests, bought laptops, flew to England to research our stories, started submitting—well, she did. I was still too scared, and still too ADD to get anything done.

a little something hazardous for halloween, anyone?

donner-dinner-party-review

When I tucked everyone into bed the other night, my ten-year-old daughter started reading this book. When I woke up the next morning, her light was on, and she was finishing it up. I’m sure she got some sleep in there somewhere, but whether she did or not, I was a happy mom. Anytime my kids read something because they want to, I’m overjoyed, and if it’s about history to boot? I’m over the moon.

All my kids fell in love with Nathan Hale’s first two graphic novels in his Hazardous Tales series, One Dead Spy and Big Bad Ironclad, when he first introduced them to us last year. They present history in a way that is not only accurate and informative, but entertaining and funny as well.

The kids and I came up with some questions we had about his series, most particularly about his latest installment, Donner Dinner Party. So we had a little interview. Here’s how it went (I love how he answered the last question):

how to paint like Eric Carle

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I grew up with Eric Carle books, and now my kids are. Eric is still alive at eighty-four, has illustrated over seventy books, and has sold over 103 million copies of his books around the world. Now that is the stuff of legends.

Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? was a nightly ritual at our house, as were many of his others. I love that so many Eric Carle books have always pushed the envelope. The Very Hungry Caterpillar  isn’t just a book about a caterpillar who eats through cake and candy, which is already fun, but there are actual holes in the pages, and different sized pages to take you through the days of the week. It’s genius.

Years and years ago, I saw an episode of Mister Rogers Neighborhood where Mr. Rogers visited with Eric Carle at his studio and demonstrated how he creates his illustrations. I’ve always wanted to show my kids how to do it. So today, for Eric Carle’s birthday, we did it.

book review and giveaway: ol’ mama squirrel

ol-mama-squirrel-tx

Illustrations by Oliver Jeffers and Artwork courtesy of Penguin Young Readers Group

Ready for a giveaway?? How long has it been, like a year or something?

The people at Penguin recently sent me a copy of the book Ol’ Mama Squirrel by David Ezra Stein to review for Mother’s Day, and offered to give away a few copies to some lucky readers.

When we received the book it became an instant favorite in our house. Mama Squirrel is the kind of gal who back down, especially when it comes to her babies, a trait I can definitely relate to. I asked my seven-year-old what he thinks of the story. Here’s what he had to say:

Me: Tell me about Ol’ Mama Squirrel.

CKR: It’s fun.

Me: What else? What’s it about?

CKR: It’s about a squirrel that loves her babies.

Me: What does she do?