Today, I am featuring a book by a writing friend, Jo S. Kittinger. Rosa’s Bus was recently released by Boyds Mills Press. I met Jo a few months after I started writing for kids when I attended my first SCBWI conference. Jo was (and still is) the co-regional adviser for the Southern Breeze regional chapter of SCBWI.
I am grateful to Jo for being willing to give me advice along my publishing journey. She and her husband Rick are also accomplished photographers and I always love seeing the beautiful photographs they take of nature. (I miss the photo gallery Jo used to have on her website.)
I took special notice of Jo’s books at the conference bookstore back in 2001 because they were nonfiction, and the subjects were perfect for my sons back then: rocks, dead logs, and birds. In addition to those books, Jo has written easy readers and has a picture book forthcoming from Peachtree Publishers titled The House on Dirty Third Street.
To my mind, Rosa’s Bus is a perfect example of how an author can pitch a well-worn topic in a new way. A quick search of books about Rosa Parks available through Amazon.com yielded 120 results. At our recent SCBWI/Southern Breeze conference, I asked Jo to read from the book and to talk about why she approached a familiar subject in this way.
Those of you who follow the blog may not be surprised to learn that he got a Kindle for his birthday. So, really, I got a Kindle for Richard’s birthday.
This put me back in the sewing room again, making a second Kindle cover. In the time between making the first cover and the second, we discovered that Richard likes to read the Kindle without a cover. But I like to read it while it is in the cover. So, I got the first cover and he got a simple sleeve.
Our Thanksgiving was a team effort. After Richard’s birthday celebration, we worked in my parents’ kitchen. D and his friend S made the cranberry relish. Richard made pie crust dough for two pies (cushaw and pecan). My Dad made two kinds of stuffing and prepped the bird for roasting. I took the bird home and roasted it overnight.
Some people (namely G and N) slept while others worked. The big boys appeared to have picked up a bug so we let them doze the evening away.
The Recipe: Cornbread Dressing (gluten and dairy free)
I have been eating gluten free for more than a year, now. I’ve been eating dairy free for a lot longer. This year, in lieu of the turkey stuffing of my youth, I decided to try cornbread dressing. Almost since the beginning of my gluten free days, I’ve enjoyed cornbread. I merely substitute a gluten free flour mix for the wheat flour in my standard cornbread recipe (from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything). I use a mixture of almond and rice milks with a little vinegar to substitute for the buttermilk. I remember liking cornbread dressing as a child, though never at my house.
I consulted a chef friend and pretty much followed his directions (with a few Sarah touches).
A double batch of cornbread
1 TBL olive oil
1 large red bell pepper
1 lb. fresh sausage
3 c chicken stock
1/4 c craisins
Break cornbread into chunks and let sit out overnight until stale.
Heat oil in skillet. Dice onions and cook over medium heat until translucent. Dice bell pepper and add to onions. Cook for only a minute or so. Put the onions and peppers in a large mixing bowl.
Form the sausage into patties. Brown over medium to high heat. Put the patties on a plate lined with a paper towel. Let the grease soak out. Break the sausage patties into pieces.
In the mixing bowl with the onions and peppers, add the cornbread chunks, the sausage, and the craisins.
In a separate bowl, mix the eggs into the chicken stock. Add the liquid to the bowl of cornbread chunks.
Mix thoroughly. Place in a large caserole dish. Bake at 375 degree oven for an hour.
I baked mine in the morning and re-heated it in the microwave for serving on Thanksgiving. I have enjoyed the leftovers for several days.
I plan to make it again for Christmas.
Other dishes besides those already mentioned: mashed potatoes (by N), anadama bread, steamed sweet potatoes, green beans with corn, gravy, Chinese steamed dumplings, guacamole with corn chips, chocolate cake, whipped cream, ice cream (8 types).
I am stewing about my work-in-progress. I heard back from one of my trusted readers and the news wasn’t all good. I need to do some hard thinking about this story and how I want to tell it. I’m past figuring out “if” I want to tell it and I’m pretty sure it can be a picture book, but I am going to try a few things before I’m ready to let it go out again. One of the things I need to do is get really analytical about it. I need to dummy it. I need to take it back down to brass tacks. So, what did I do today, you ask? I high-tailed it up to my sewing room.
I decided he needed a cover for my Kindle so I spent a few hours today making one.
I’ve had this piece of patchwork in the sewing room for a long time. I finally found a good use for it.
The strap around it is leftover from a hemming project for my mom. The cardboard inside came from a freebie legal pad cover.
I’m glad I went outside to take these photographs because it is a gorgeous day. I noticed a beautiful butterfly in our butterfly garden. It looked for all the world like a Monarch, but I can’t be sure.
Today I have a brief video of Vicky Alvear Shecter, author of the new book, Cleopatra Rules! The Amazing Life of the Original Teen Queen, published by Boyds Mills Press.
I met Vicky five years ago at an SCBWI-Southern Breeze conference in Jackson. Back then, her first book, Alexander the Great Rocks the World (Darby Creek), was still an idea. We agreed over our meal that there was definitely room in the children’s market for a book on Alexander. Her son and my three would be thrilled, we knew.
At our most recent SCBWI-Southern Breeze conference, we sat down outside to talk about Cleopatra Rules! Vicky uses humor to good effect in her work. Her style is welcoming for young readers, who might generally think of ancient history as, uh, boring.
Vicky has a YA novel in the works, too. Cleopatra’s Moon will be out in 2011 with Arthur A. Levine Books. I can’t wait for that one.
Check out Vicky’s blog, History With a Twist.
Great news! Growing Patterns: Fibonacci Numbers in Nature has been selected to the Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K-12 for 2011, a cooperative project of the National Science Teachers Association and the Children’s Book Council. The 2011 list is here, and you can see this page for lists from past years.
I am grateful to the committee members for their consideration. Science teachers, environmental educators, and librarians use these lists as they develop curricula and build collections.
In other news, I sold two more photographs to Highlights High Five, a magazine for 2- to 6-year olds. I can’t show you the photographs now, but I will when they appear in the magazine.
I am just about ready to send the new manuscript out into the world again. I have gotten a lot of good feedback from writing colleagues, librarians, reading friends, and family members. I revised accordingly. I’ll keep you posted.