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Tuckahoe Area Public Library

Wanna Be In My Book Club?

By Appearances, Community work, What I'm Reading No Comments
Nothing means summer more to me than reading outside. Whether at the pool, park or beach, it’s been a life-long passion and a way that I reset. The summer is when I dive into the books that truly appeal to me, instead of the ones that I dutifully read for reviews, presentations or teaching. At last, no one is looking over my shoulder or expecting anything! If I could wish anything for kids after a long, hard school year, it would be that same feeling of freedom to read what feels right. That same feeling of escape. So, this year, I’m going to carve a little bit of time to share that summer reading love with kids in my own community. I’m partnering with Henrico County Public Libraries for a tween book club where I’ll meet with readers to talk about what we’re reading. I’ve curated a list of book suggestions for kids in 4 – 6th grade or so (see the beautiful covers below). It includes some of my favorite well-known names, but also titles by authors who might be new to them. And, of course, I’ve made sure the list is inclusive. If you live in the Richmond community, I hope you’ll stop by one of my five book talk dates – or all of them, if you like. I’ll discuss different titles each time, and have the kids weigh in, and offer suggestions based on what they’ve been reading. Yes, I’ll have snacks and giveaways. Maybe even...
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My December reading list

By picture book, middle grade, YA, What I'm reading

I did some holiday shopping today, but to treat myself kindly (and to avoid becoming a lunatic by Noche Buena), I made a pit stop at my favorite public library. That’s the Tuckahoe Area library in Henrico, VA, where the librarians make me feel like family and don’t mind walking me around to the different shelves like a lost puppy. These days I’m on the hunt for books at every age group that really dazzle me for their appeal for girls. (All suggestions welcome.) You might remember that I’m half the brains behind Girls of Summer with my friend, Gigi Amateau. We are spending this winter and spring discovering new writers and dreaming of what will make our Must Reads for 2012. Vicky Smith at Kirkus recently posted a nifty list of best books for 2011, so naturally I got curious. Very helpful, as it’s divided by categories. I picked up Inside and Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai and The Fires Beneath the Sea by Lydia Millet on her recommendation. Then, because I’m a browser, I grabbed How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr (Nat’l Book Award finalist for Story of a Girl) and Mary Hooper’s Fallen Grace, which the Times of London compared to Philip Pullman’s work on Victorian life. Finally, I took a drive to my closest indie bookstore, bbgb, where a team of design “elves” were making snowflakes and other store decorations. I picked up Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu. If you follow Shelf Awareness, you know…

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It’s Hispanic Heritage Month. Let’s eat!

By Latino Life, The Writing Life

September ushers in the strangely straddled Hispanic Heritage month (Sept 15 – Oct. 15). I’ll be doing lots of appearances around town to celebrate, but this month I thought I’d share some Latin magic through my kitchen. Here’s Arroz con Pollo – chicken and yellow rice. It’s one of those dishes that every Latin cook aspires to make well, the kind women fight about and secretly criticize behind each other’s backs. There are a million recipes, but here’s mine. Ingredientes Olive oil (about 5 T) 1 whole chicken cut up or (better) a collection of thighs and legs 2 T red wine vinegar 1 T dried oregano ½ pound medium grain white rice 1 small red pepper, finely chopped 1 small onion, finely chopped 3 cloves of garlic mashed 1 small tomato, seeded and chopped ¼ cup pimento-stuffed olives (I cut these in half) 1 T tomato paste 1 beer 2 ½ c water 1 c white cooking wine salt to taste Also, the following spices you’ll have to borrow from me or pick up at the International Food aisle: Bijol Sazón Accent con azafrán (comes in a box) Instrucciones: You’ll need a pot that’s not too deep. I have a nifty pan for this, see? It’s large, but a little shallow. A dutch oven works fine, too. Put your chicken pieces, vinegar, salt and oregano in a gallon-size ziplock bag. Squish around to coat. Let marinate for at least an hour. Pat each piece dry. Using half your olive oil,…

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A love letter to librarians

By Random howls into the world

Tomorrow is National Library Worker’s Day. How are you celebrating? By happy coincidence, I’ll be speaking at the spring conference of the Richmond Area Reading Council. RARC is a group of Virginia book lovers banded together across sixteen counties to celebrate books and get people reading. Naturally, librarians and teachers will make up most of the mix. Nice! Hands down, there’s no edgier group than librarians. For a relatively new author like me, they’re my lifeline in a sea of splashy commercial titles. When they’re not battling censorship from the foolish, they’re figuring out how to stretch their measly budgets to bring living, breathing authors – big time and small — into the lives of kids. To Lucinda Whitehurst and Shelly Dean. To Janet Craft and Cindy Ford. To Sue Van Tassell and all the rockin’ librarians who love books, writers and readers. To all of you who have so generously helped me get started, gracias. So, how to celebrate? Let’s laugh. Here’s Betty White’s interpretation of the stereotype from The Middle. (If only BW made friends with a librarian, all her techno woes might be over!) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B52IydOYrL0

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