Here’s something for fun on a Friday afternoon — two cool record-setting domino paths of books. The first is from the Seattle Public Library and was a kick-off promo for their 2013 Summer Reading Program. It set a world record!
The second is from a book association in Belgium. It includes almost 5,000 books, so they claim they’ve set a new world record. (Thanks to literary agent Steve Laube for posting this on his blog, where I first saw it.)
Here’s Seattle’s creation:
And here’s the one from Belgium:
Your turn: Which one do you think is cooler? Or, what’s your favorite part of them?
I did something completely new and different last weekend – participated in a recreational drum circle.
Drum circles have been around for hundreds of years (or maybe even thousands, I’m not sure). It’s a time when people come together to play handheld drums and other percussion instruments as a common group. Circles can be used as celebrations, a way to build community, or just a chance to have fun. Our leader started the baseline rhythm and we were able to add to it with our own instruments.
The first day we learned about the instruments, the concept of drum circles, and having fun together. I played this really cool Brazilian triple chime and had a blast tapping rhythms that hopefully fit with the bigger sound.
We did different rhythms and activities the next day, but they all had the same purpose – to let us express our individuality while still being part of (and fitting in with) the underlying theme.
We ended on Saturday with a time of making wind chime music. We used the quieter, more subtle instruments and didn’t try to stay in synch with each other as much as let the sound of our instrument grow and fade before we played it again. But, underneath it all, two of us tapped buffalo drums to keep a common beat going. It was one of the most relaxing and peaceful times I’ve ever experienced, and was even more special because of sharing it with friends.
Our leader gave us the chance to share some of our thoughts before we ended the time together each day. I loved hearing how we found connections personally, spiritually, and as writers (because this was an activity at a writers’ conference). Things like:
- We all have gifts and songs to share, and ways to express ourselves.
- It’s OK to celebrate our uniqueness and who God made us to be, as people and as writers.
- We write about different things, for different formats or in different genres. But we’re all still part of the bigger writing community and have a place to fit into the big picture.
- There’s nothing wrong with giving ourselves permission to play sometimes – and most of us probably need to do it more often!
Your turn: Have you ever been part of a group doing something like that? How do you see your enjoyment of books or writing fitting in with other people?
Today I’m joining a blogging meme to get myself thinking about some different things related to this blog. The challenge (thanks to Edie Melson over at The Write Conversation) is to use an acrostic of the word TRUST and how it can tie in with the blog.
So here goes …
T = Teens and tweens, who I write this blog for. And, yes, I’ve been slack about things lately but am really trying to get back on schedule.
R = Reviews of books that are good for teens and tweens. Most of the books I post about and review are written from a Christian perspective because I follow Christ – and because they’re great books written by wonderfully talented authors. I’ll sometimes mention or review books from a secular publisher (as opposed to one that focuses on the Christian market), but will still follow my no-smut-allowed rule.
U = Understanding how much your teachers are trying to cram into your brains, and how limited their time to do that really is. I come from a long line of teachers on both sides of my family, so I’m pretty familiar with their challenges even though I’m not standing in front of a classroom full of you every day. A lot of the writing tips I cover here are straight from my kids’ class curriculums, because I know those are the real-world things you’re expected to know. As I say on my About page, I’m not trying to replace what teachers do in the classroom – I’m just trying to give an extra boost to their lessons and hopefully help you understand things better.
S = Spotlights on authors who might be new to you. Did you know that most authors (except the super big name ones who’ve sold a gazillion books) have to do the bulk of book promotion and marketing themselves? The word gets out about great books because readers who enjoy the stories or who know the authors share it with other readers. They blog, they write book reviews, they tell their friends. My hope is that you’ll get interested in some of the authors I spotlight here and will check out their books for yourself.
T = Tips for becoming a better writer, whether it’s a paper for your English class or that novel you scribble notes about when you’re supposed to be asleep … or studying for that science test … or listening to your mom’s latest lecture.
I guess Writing Stars has more to do with trust than I realized. Do you think that’s an accurate rundown? Or, if not, what would your suggestions be?
And since this is a meme … now it’s your turn! Click below to link your own blog post about TRUST.
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This Sunday, April 7, will be Holocaust Remembrance Day. Although it might be a time some people don’t want to remember because of the terrible things that happened, that’s exactly why we need to stop and remember — to honor those who went through it, and to remind ourselves that we don’t want to go down that path again.
If you don’t know much about the Holocaust during World War II, there are lots of books that bring the time to life while still being interesting (and OK for tween/teen readers). Here are three of my favorites I think everyone should read:
Number the Stars, by Lois Lowry: The fifth graders at my kids’ elementary school read this every year. It’s told through the eyes of 10-year-old Annemarie, whose family takes in Annemarie’s best friend Ellen Rosen and conceals her as part of the family when German Nazis begin their campaign to “relocate” Jewish families in Denmark. We learn how the Danish Resistance smuggled almost the entire Jewish population of Denmark across the sea to Sweden — almost 7,000 people. Real people can become real heroes.
Someone Named Eva, by Joan Wolf: Milada’s village in Czechoslovakia is invaded by Nazi troops looking to either kill or imprison citizens. Milada is “lucky” because she has blonde hair and light-colored eyes. She’s taken with some other children to a special camp where they’re “refashioned” to become like German children who can be adopted by German families. Milada’s new name becomes Eva, and she joins the family a high-ranking Nazi official. It was based on actual events, and brought out a side of Nazi Germany that I’d never known. I had the chance to interview author Joan Wolf on another blog a few years ago, if you’re interested in learning more. Read Day 1 of her interview and Day 2 of her interview here.
Diary of a Young Girl, by Anne Frank: This real-life story of surviving the Holocaust has been a classic for years. She and her family lived in the “secret annex” of a government building for 2 years, until they were betrayed to the Germans. It’s a vivid look at how life was when they were cut off from the outside world — hungry, crowded, under constant threat of being discovered and imprisoned or killed. But it’s also a tribute to human courage and determination (and best for older middle school readers instead of younger kids).
Your turn: Have you read any of these books? Or have you read others about the Jewish people during the Holocaust that you would recommend? Share with us!
Tomorrow — March 14 — is International Ask a Question Day. Did you know that? (See, there’s our first question LOL) I’ve never been afraid to ask questions, which I think is partly because I come from a family full of teachers. Wish I had a nickel for every time I heard, “The only stupid question is the one you don’t ask” or, “If you have a question, chances are someone else does too.”
So, in the spirit of International Ask a Question Day … what’s your question? What do you want to learn about writing? Or what MG or YA books do you want me to review? Feel free to ask anything, though I won’t guarantee answers. I look forward to hearing from you!