Sunday, December 27, 2009

Just the Right Size

Think of a book about mathematical theory and physics. Now imagine people passing it around at a party. Well that's what happened with Just the Right Size by Nicola Davies. I handed it to one friend to read, he passed it along to someone else. I could tell who had it by following the guffaws and chuckles. This is a very funny book for kids based on very good science.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Heart of a Shepherd

One of my favorite recent middle grade novels, The Heart of a Shepherd, was named one of the year's best by Horn Book. I'm thrilled. The book has just the right combination of action, adventure, drama, and humor. Yet it also has a character-driven plot, and raises questions about life, death, and faith.
I wish I could pull this off so well!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Fact or Truth

Stephen Koch has an interesting discussion of facts vs. truth in his book Writer's Workshop: A Guide to the Craft of Fiction. (I'm loving this book.) He says that whether you're writing fiction or nonfiction, facts alone don't make it. You have to get "possession" of the facts. Internalize them, find their inner truth. It doesn't matter where the "facts" came from, whether they came from they came from reality or your imagination (as in making up a character). John Keats said it this way, "A fact is not a truth until you love it."

I can totally relate to this in writing biographies for children. It wasn't the facts, it was the truth that I found in them, that made middle schoolers tear up when I read aloud Dian Fossey's biography from Women of the Golden State.

Thanks to the Alan Shawn Feinstein Middle School for inviting me to take part in their readathon.