July 4, 2014
Today, our country celebrates it's 238th birthday (did I do that math right??), and this year Houghton Mifflin Harcourt celebrates its 150th anniversary. Hurray for HMH! They're a wonderful publisher, and I feel lucky to be one of their authors. You can read a terrific article about this venerable house in Publishers Weekly. At the end of the article is a listing of HMH's top ten all-time bestselling children's novels, and I am proud to have The LEMONADE WAR included on that list along with some of my all-time favorite titles and authors. Happy sesquicentennial HMH—(do you like saying that word as much as I do??)—and to the next 150 years of great literature for kids.
July 3, 2014
How great are these book covers?!? These two books are THE LEMONADE WAR (left) and THE LEMONADE CRIME (right) translated into simple Chinese. I love the bright colors and fun graphics. The backgrounds are like colorful wallpapers. So different from the American covers (which I also love). My son asked, "Why didn't they just leave the covers the same and translate the words?" I thought about that and figured that both words and visuals require translation across cultures. It's an interesting thing to consider, how an image might not "read" the same in a different country. Every translation of the Lemonade War books has a wildly different cover, so it's interesting to think about the different decoding that goes on when readers confront those different images.
July 2, 2014
Did you see the cover story in this Saturday's Boston Globe G Magazine? It's a terrific article on Boston as a center for writing for children. "Make Way for Boston: The City is Among the Leaders in Young Adult and Children's Books," by Joseph P. Kahn points out the ways in which the city follows its tradition in children's publishing but also leads the way into the future. Within the article there's a quiz you can take to test your knowledge of the children's publishing world. And guess what book title is included in Question #10's fill-in-the-blank? For answers to the quiz, scroll to the bottom of the on-line link. Have fun!
July 1, 2014
I woke up this morning, and even before I got out of bed I realized that all the writing I had done yesterday had to be thrown out. That's right. Not revised. Not reworked. Just chucked. It's not that the writing was bad or that it wasn't interesting in its own way (as its own thing). But it didn't advance the plot and slowed the pacing of the story (this is Chapter 2, after all) to a crawl. And you do have to keep a story moving ahead, particularly in those opening chapters when a reader's attention is so apt to wander because she hasn't gotten far enough into the story to be wholly invested. So out it goes, every last word. Lucky for me, I had written only three pages yesterday, so it wasn't a devastating loss. The thing is, I should have been alert to what was going on, because the writing felt like a slog. And yes, we all have our sloggy days, and sometimes pushing through yields great results, but just as often, it means we've wandered off the path—and not in a good way. Now, I could be critical of myself for not recognizing sooner that I had gone off the rails and thus wasted an entire day of writing. But instead, I choose to commend myself for being able to (quickly) see what wasn't working and for being willing to toss it out—and with good cheer. After all, no writing day is ever wasted. Ever. Happy July, everyone!