Archive for September, 2014

Congaree National Park

On Saturday I attended a free photography workshop at Congaree National Park. Not only did I wanted to improve my picture taking skills, I went to get ideas. I’m still thinking of nature deficit and how there aren’t many picture books on nature.
A husband and wife team led the workshop. I was disappointed only three other people showed up, but hey, more attention on me then. I felt kinship with the group right off the bat, all of them loved visiting national parks and taking photos. The class focused on the prescribed burn done in the spring. We were to tell a story with our photos and incorporate types of photos on our checklist – patterns, light, different angles.
After the workshop, I walked along the boardwalk through the swamp, taking pictures and going over ideas in my head. I ended up with three. Now to decide which one to tackle and how to go about getting it done. A mix of photos and drawings? Should I first query an agent/publisher and let them choose an illustrator? To the self-publish thing and do everything myself? A lot to think about.


Read Full Post »

1960’s. Kennedy. Cold War. Cuban Crisis. Growing up is hard enough and Franny must deal with these, and a crazy uncle. Her father is in the Air Force, a pilot stationed outside of Washington, D.C. not the best place to be with Russian warheads pointing at the United States. Franny, age eleven, is in the fifth grade. She’s worried, petrified, the bomb will drop on her and her family. Interspersed throughout the book are posters and pamphlets of the era: Duck and Cover, Bert the Turtle, as well as short biographies of the important figures of the time. I found them a neat addition, adding to the realism of the time and giving the reader a better sense of what it was like to live then. The biographies and background information proved useful as well although I’m not sure I liked that the information went beyond 1962. If Franny wouldn’t have known, say that President Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, why should the reader? It made me think: Oh, this is 1963 now? This being a trilogy (Book 1 of the Sixties trilogy), maybe we could find out more in the next book, if indeed the next are set in subsequent years. If not, then the information could be put in the back.
I found the book fascinating. It made me think of my childhood, reminding me of a bomb drill at my school. Having grown up on military bases, there were passages in it, that hit home. I must mention the smoking. I think some people might have issue with it, but that was so normal back then. My mom smoked as well. I hated it, but tolerated it. Everyone seemed to smoke back then although it seems strange now.
This book will work great in school especially when teachers talk about the cold war as this hits home what it felt like. The Cuban crisis is before my memory and the bomb drill was just something different to do, but the book and Bert the Turtle pamphlets made it feel real and now.

Read Full Post »


I’m bummed, disappointed. I submitted a session for this year’s EdTech (Education Technology) conference and found out they didn’t accept Animation A Rama. I thought for sure they would because I have never seen a session on conventional animation and I’ve gone to the conference for nearly eighteen years. Usually when they talk about animation, they refer to Prezi, a kind of animated power point. Really? I’m talking free tools to help your kids with media literacy, sequencing, and all sorts of higher thinking skills. I’m talking fun! Stop motion animation (Monkey Jam), making stick figures kick each other’s butt (Stykz), classic animation (Pencil), and more. RenderMan, people! RenderMan!
How can they deny me the opportunity? Miss this year’s Comic book themed EdTech? The comic nerd in me is crying big time.
Big sigh. Oh well. Maybe I can retool this and use it to attend the school librarian conference, which, while fun, just isn’t as fun as EdTEch for me. They give out less candy and there’s no real whip cream to put on your coffee. Last year I ladled half a bowl full on mine. It was more cream than coffee.
Must go now. The regularly scheduled blog will be come next week if not sooner. I hope I remember what I wanted to write about.

Read Full Post »