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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Star Stars!

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Hello all,

A bit of good news about my upcoming (March 9!) book release:

STAR IN THE FOREST is getting two starred reviews-- from Booklist and School Library Journal!

School Library Journal (STARRED)

* Gr 4-6 ". . . Once again, Resau has woven details of immigrant life into a compelling story. The focus is on the developing friendships, both between Zitlally and her previously ignored neighbor, and between the fearful youngster and the dog. Conversations between the two girls are believable and the details of their lives convincing. The first-person narrative moves steadily as Zitlally loses and then gradually recovers her voice and gains confidence. Vignette illustrations introduce the chapters. A version of Zitlally’s father’s spirit animal story, a note about immigration, and glossaries of Spanish and Nahuatl words are appended. This is a well-told and deeply satisfying read."

ALA Booklist (STARRED)

* As in Francisco Jiménez’s The Circuit: Stories from the Life of a Migrant Child (1997) and Pam Muñoz Ryan’s Esperanza Rising (2000), Resau’s novel tells a child’s migration story with simple immediacy… Always true to Zitlally’s viewpoint, the unaffected writing makes clear the anguish of illegals. The thematic parallels with the dog, also an illegal of sorts, are redundant; it’s the family story, more than the pet plot, that will grab readers. A pronunciation guide, a glossary, and a note about immigration from Mexico to the U.S. close this unforgettable narrative of a girl’s daily struggle to find a home.

Yay! Thank you, Booklist and SLJ! I'm elated!

In my last post I mentioned that THE INDIGO NOTEBOOK was selected as an ALA Amazing Audiobook for Young Adults. The narrator, Justine Eyre, had an international childhood much like Zeeta, the main character. I think that her voice reflects this-- it's an absolute delight to listen to her.

Years ago, I listened to another book Justine narrated-- The Alchemist's Daughter-- and I absolutely loved her voice in that one, too. I remember asking myself, is this book just really, really well-written or is it that this narrator can make *anything* sound well-written?! Either way, I'm grateful she was reading my book! Click here to hear an excerpt.

Audiobooks are on the expensive side, so if you're interested in listening to the whole book, you could check it out of the library. If it's not there, you can ask your librarian to order a copy (and tell her it's an ALA Amazing Audiobook!) ;)

Okay, time to pick up Lil Dude from daycare! Thanks for reading!


Friday, January 22, 2010

Scholarships for Mayan village and book news

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In Guatemala--some people involved in the Xucaneb Fund, including some scholarship recipients

Hello! I'm feeling happy, back from my NIA (dance) class. Just turned in copyedits for The Ruby Notebook *big sigh of relief*, and am now switching gears to revise The Queen of Water (the true story of my friend's girlhood in Ecuador).

This means that my poor brain has to shift from French mode back to Spanish mode... I was at the library a few days ago, talking to the lovely Guatemalan children's librarian there in Spanish, but French kept trying to slip out. Frustrating...

Speaking of Guatemala, I've been meaning to post something about the non-profit where I donated 5% of my royalties this year. It's called the Xucaneb Fund, part of the Village Earth, and it helps educate young people from the Q'eqchi' Maya village of San Pablo Xucaneb in Guatemala.

Hector, Osvaldo, Maria Cristina, Aurora, Aurelia-- scholarship recipients

Here's some info about it, cut and pasted from the Village Earth website:

"These five young people are continuing their studies as a result of the scholarships we have offered to the children of the Association. Young people study in the village school until they finish 6th grade. Then if they want to go to middle school, 7th - 9th grades, they have to leave the village which is too expensive for many of them. Before this project most of the kids couldn't dream of going past 6th grade, but now 10 students per year are able to continue their education with the assistance of Q.120 per month, about $15. So for $150 a year a student can continue going to school and hope for some options in life besides farming. Some want to continue the farming life, which they certainly should be able to do, but some are interested in pursuing other fields."

The Xucaneb Women's association, formed with help from Village Earth funds

This education situation is common in rural Oaxaca (where my first two books are partially set), as well, as you might remember from Red Glass. I spent time in villages where many teens left to spend the week in the nearest town (usually several hours away) to attend la prepa (high school), and came back to their villages for the weekends. The teens whose families didn't have money or relatives in town had to stop school around age 14 (if not sooner).

I would love to visit Xucaneb sometime, and meet these students. Yet another reason to return to Guatemala. (Our lil dude, almost three years old now (!), spent the first nine months of his life there until we adopted him.)

Okay, on to a few random things I wanted to mention here. First, big congrats to the winners of the Newbery, Printz, Sibert, and the other medals awarded by ALA this week! (These awards are like the Oscars of children's literature!) I'm especially happy for Liz Garton Scanlon for her Newbery honor for ALL THE WORLD, which is one of my all-time favorite picture books. Lil Dude loves it, too-- we read it every night before bed now. If you have any young child in your life, I highly recommend giving this book to them.

I'm also extra-happy for Chris Barton's Sibert Honor for Day-Glo Brothers. I haven't gotten my hands on a copy yet, but soon I will!

Liz and Chris and I have the same agent-- Erin Murphy-- so we're all part of the "Gang of Erin." We're so lucky to have this nice bond with all the other gang members-- all the authors (I think there are over 50 of us!) are super-supportive of each other. Twenty-five of us will be meeting in Chicago this spring for our fourth annual retreat-- can't wait!

The Indigo Notebook didn't walk away from the ALA honors empty-handed, you'll be glad to know! It was selected as an ALA Amazing Audiobook for Young Adults. (Of course, most of the congrats should go to Justine Eyre, who did a truly amazing job reading it aloud!)

I also wanted to write about one of my new favorite older kids' books-- When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead, which, not surprisingly, won the Newbery this year. I'll write more about it later because I want to do it justice... and I want to write a bit about A Wrinkle in Time, too. And about space and time and existence and all that... but I'll save it for another day...


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

TV interview, Ruby update, caravan news...

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Hello all!

So, remember I mentioned in an earlier post that I was about to do a TV interview on the show BookEnds? Well, I did it, and thankfully, nothing disastrous happened-- in fact, it was pretty fun! Click here to watch it if you have a half hour to whittle away, or something to procrastinate... ;) This was my favorite interview so far, mainly because two teens from our local Interesting Readers' Society were interviewing me. It was fun to banter with them before and after the show... and of course it's always refreshing to be asked who my favorite Disney princess is during an interview!

So, what have I been doing lately? For one, listening to lots of French music as I go over copy-edits for The Ruby Notebook (set in Aix-en-Provence). Now I'm listening to Vincent DeLerm. Here's the song that's playing now, actually. Hee hee-- I just looked at the video to give you a link, and it's really silly-- made me laugh.

Going over copy-edits is rather tedious work. Still, it's exciting in that I know this is *really* it, and it will *really, truly* be a book soon-- and I know I'd better focus, because it's my next-to-last chance to make any changes.... but it's a bit boring. If my scanner weren't buried under heaps of papers, I'd scan a page for you so you could see what itty-bitty details I'm dealing with. Instead, I'll show you this (which, actually, does relate to Ruby, which has bohemian-troubadour-gypsy-ish characters)....

I've been decorating my writing studio-trailer on breaks from Ruby. I've always envisioned it ultimately looking like a gypsy caravan, but it's taking me a while to get there. I came across a book about roulottes (caravans) featured in Cote du Sur-- a French magazine I discovered in the apartment I rented in Provence while researching Ruby.

gorgeous, n'est-ce pas?!?!

I fell in love with the caravans (designed by Jeanne Bayol), but didn't have enough time to visit her roulottes studio (is that what you'd call it?) in another town in Provence.

Then, when I went to order her roulotte book for myself in the U.S., I saw it cost over a hundred bucks! Gulp! I didn't order it.... but luckily, I found these pictures on flickr!

Okay, so my trailer looks nowhere near as sumptuous as the caravans in these pics... but they inspire me. I want to get my sewing machine fixed so I can do a bit of sewing and trimming before I post pics of my own trailer... but soon, SOON I'll give you a virtual tour.

Speaking of my trailer, a package just arrived for me. It contains a hand-made birdhouse-trailer, similar to this one, complete with glow-in-the-dark windows! This was one of my splurges with leftover Christmas gift money...

TIME LAPSE-- I just spent two hours on the phone with my friend Megan, who's visiting the States from her home in France. We went over all the French in The Ruby Notebook, including the pronunciation guide. Ack! The pronunciation guide! Trying to find a simple, clear way to show French vowel sounds in English (for young readers with no knowledge of French) ... it's like one of those classic impossible tasks in a fairytale-- like spinning gold from straw. Crazy-making! Megan was a trooper, though... here's a pic of us last year in Aix-en-Provence, at a fountain which is mentioned in Ruby.

Back to work!

Gros bisous (big, fat kisses),

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

An abracadabrant new year!

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northern California coast

Hello dear readers!

I thought I'd spice up this new year's post with some monsterful words from The Word Museum: the Most Remarkable English Words Ever Forgotten. (See the glossary at the end of this post if you're feeling cabobbled or blutterbunged.)

After a bit of deepmusing on this past year, I made a list of things I'm grateful for (the list ended up way to long to list here...) Here are some highlights:

I'm grateful to my friends, family, and readers... and honored that even antipodes are reading my novels.

I'm grateful for my husband and son, who provide me with babies-in-the-eyes every day and night... not to mention plently of croodling.

I'm grateful for finishing The Ruby Notebook (released next fall), which was not easy for me-- it involved many hours in my trailer with clumpst hands on my keyboard, while out the window was a great deal of falling-weather and snow-blossoms. Sometimes I felt utterly ramfeezled, like a total maulifuff, all mawmsey, and by planets in a twee-- those were the tough days. But there were lots of good, fruitful days, where I was frooncing and delighting in the story prorumping from my fingertips.

I'm grateful for the many book events and conferences and school visits and blog interviews I got to do this year, and the librarians, teachers, students, bloggers, writers, and book sellers I met.

I'm grateful for my first trip to Random House-- it was absolutely monsterful meeting everyone at Delacorte. Then, I had a retreat full of gramarye in Portland with my abracadabrant agent and the authors she works with.

The Indigo Notebook was released, and in celebration, we had a party that was a complete glee-dream for me... my friend and co-author of The Queen of Water, Maria Virginia, was in town to dance and partake in the merriment. (And I"m grateful that this year we signed a contract for our book, which will come out in Spring 2011)!

I'm grateful for the trips I took-- some writing-related, and some just for fun and gratulating and weather-spying-- Mazunte (beach town in Oaxaca), Tulum, Steamboat Springs (CO), nothern California, Portland, southern Maryland, suburban Maryland, Michigan, NYC...

Ratherist, I'm grateful for simple joys, like watching dust motes and insect wings in sunlight, moon-gazing with Toddler, star-gazing with Ian, walking along the river near my house, gazing at light on snow and water and petals and all the other pleasures of the soul and soul-case.

Here's my resolution for this year, which is already off to a monsterful start: Have a playful, joyful, frooncing attitude toward writing. Fill my head with happy love-teeth and bellitude.

Have you done some deepmusing yourself? What are you grateful for? What's your resolution for this year? I offer you welwilly wishes for a sloven's year in 2010!!!

GLOSSARY (These are all *real words* that used to be in the English language! Let's put them back in use again...)

abracadabrant -- marvelous
monsterful -- wonderful
blutterbunged -- confounded
cabobbled-- mystified
deepmusing-- contemplative (and comtemplating?)
antipodes-- people who live on the other side of the earth
babies-in-the-eyes-- the miniature reflection of himself which a person sees in the pupil of another's eye on looking closely into it. (Absolutely adorable, no?)
croodling-- snuggling
clumpst-- hands stiff with cold
falling-weather-- rain or snow
snow-blossoms-- snowflakes
ramfeezled--exhausted from work
maulifuff-- a woman without energy; one who makes much fuss and does little or nothing.
mawmsey-- sleepy, stupid, as from want of rest
by planets-- irregularly, capriciously
in a twee-- overcome with fear or vexation
frooncing-- to go about in an active or bustling manner
prorumping-- bursting forth
gramarye -- magic
glee-dream-- merriment caused by music
gratulating-- rejoicing
weather-spying -- stargazing
ratherest-- most of all
soul-case-- the body
love-teeth in the head-- inclinations to love
bellitude-- beauty, elegance, loveliness
wel-willy-- benevolent
sloven's year-- a wonderfully prosperous season

Thanks for indulging me!