I’d heard great things about The Silver Unicorn, an independent bookstore in West Acton, MA, and I was not disappointed. I was there with other contributors to the Writers’ Loft’s An Assortment of Animals poetry anthology and loved the warm atmosphere of the store. We presenters had as much fun as the audience! Thank you, Silver Unicorn!
I’m looking forward to next Sunday morning, April 7th, when I’ll be doing a get-ready-for-Passover program at the North Suburban Jewish Community Center in Peabody, MA. I’ll get to share two of my picture books with children and their families, and run some fun activities!
Plus … there will be food (not just the food for thought kind). See you there!
240 Lynnfield Street
Peabody, MA 01960
When it came to my humorous but heartfelt middle grade novel Not Even Mrs. Mazursky, based on my real life worship of my fifth grade teacher, subsequent disillusion, and eventual realization that no one is perfect, hence the title, (wow! this is a long sentence!), I decided to dedicate it to my sister:
Because, as the dedication says, my big sister is an extraordinarily generous and warm person.
She gives herself wholly to people she meets professionally, to her friends, and her family.
Part of her generosity is expressed through the meals she makes for countless people — always yummy and bountiful.
“How did you make all that?” I might ask. “It’s delish!”
“Oh, it was easy,” she’ll say. Maybe for you, I’d think, accepting a second helping. As the dedication references, she has an amazing amount of energy. No one can keep up with Judy. I don’t think anyone has tried!
For my third book, I honored my grandfather, aka Poppy, with whom I had a close, joyful relationship. He came to the U.S. at age 18, having escaped from the czar’s army (yes, we’re talking pre-Russian Revolution), knowing no English and almost no one.
He learned English, Italian, and Spanish, graduated from the Columbia University School of Pharmacy and eventually owned two pharmacies in New York City. When I studied Russian in high school and college, Poppy and I had a secret language deployed at family gatherings.
At age 90, he wrote his autobiography. My dedication reflects Poppy’s belief in me.
The aforementioned third book is my middle grade novel Confessions of an Orange Octopus, in which eight year old “Chooch” learns to juggle and wants to become a street juggler, but his parents are not on board. After he and his friends (members of the Gripe Club, whose mission is to complain about grown-ups) have variuos adventures, Chooch and his parents agree on a compromise. And who gave Chooch the how-to-juggle book and devised the compromise plan? His grandpa!
Last week I had the honor of being invited back to do an author visit at Minuteman High School, the regional technical-vocational school located in my hometown of Lexington, Massachusetts. Since the visit involved presenting to students in the design & visual communications and early childhood education classes and giving feedback on picture books they were creating, I was joined by the designer and illustrator of Me and the Weirdos, Doreen Buchinski. Her art tips and insight turned out to be a wonderful complement to the my writing guidance and suggestions.
It was a joy spend the day at this school, with talented, receptive students and welcoming, dedicated staff members.
I had so much fun at a special story time featuring An Assortment of Animals: A Children’s Poetry Anthology at The Blue Bunny Bookstore in Dedham, MA. Nine of we poet and illustrator contributors shared our creations and inspirations with an enthusiastic audience.
I’d never been to the store before, which is charming and friendly and has a coffee shop inside! For sure, I’ll be back.
Just as I was in the midst of this series of posts about the dedications of my various books, I received one of my own! Author Josh Funk enrolled in the Writing For Children class I teach eight times, becoming a better and better writer. Three and a half years ago, he published his first book, Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast, and his career took off. Amazingly and thrillingly, he just came out with book number 10!!!!— It’s Not Hansel and Gretel …
,,, which he sweetly dedicated to me and two of his classmates, Ellen Cohen and Doreen Buchinski (illustrator of Me and the Weirdos!). Over time the class evolved into a critique group, with me more facilitator/alpha critique-er than teacher, so as Josh says, Ellen, Doreen and I were all with him “from the beginning.” A talented, versatile and popular author and presenter, Josh is also a lovely person.
My second published book was the middle grade novel Me and the Weirdos. Whereas the new edition is dedicated to Ashley and Eva, the young composers and playwrights of the musical based on the book (see previous posts), the original book was dedicated to my parents, who were quite delighted by the dedication’s warmth and humor.
As the headline says, here’s my very first book dedication, to my sweetheart husband,
I thought that was a very nice message, and he was pleased. I was excited to share it with my parents as they opened my first published book, What Should a Hippo Wear? — published by Houghton Mifflin, back in 1979.
My mother, though, didn’t see it the way I did. She said, with her New York intonation, “Why not a million?” Sometimes mothers need to cut you down to size, I guess. But she did have a point … And all these years later, I should thank Al for a billion reasons.
When I’m not posting regularly or I’m writing less often, I feel I should swat myself with a rolled-up newspaper, or even a board book. But my lapse in productivity of late has been forgivable, I’m sure you will agree, as we welcome our adorable newest family member—our granddaughter, Linny!