Sunday, March 22, 2015

Being Twelve

Do yourself a favor and spend a little time with the Being Twelve Tumblr.

Being Twelve is a project of WNYC (

I love the Tumblr site because it's just the kids, with no analysis:

(Photos and videos by Amy Pearl and Jennifer Hsu)

Monday, January 5, 2015


My main piece of news is that I have a new book out this year, on August 4th. (Librarians and other special people will be able to read it this month: I'll be at ALA Midwinter in Chicago, along with a bunch of ARCs.) I'm experiencing the usual mix of pre-pub emotions - excitement, dread, pride, looking at the cat and wishing I were a cat, etc.

Here's the cover, drawn by the artist Marcos Chin (

And here's a link to the book description: link 
Please note that I did not call my book brilliant. But I do like the part where it says the book is about the bonds - and limits - of friendship. Though to be honest, I didn't write that either.

Other news! I'm teaching an evening writing workshop at the 92nd Street Y from mid-February through the end of March (link). It's a true workshop, which means that we'll spend most of our time discussing student work as a group. Some of my happiest hours have been spent in writing workshops. There's something magic about them. To apply, send in your work by January 16th, which happens to be my birthday. And, believe it or not, it's also my cat's birthday:

Happy New Year.

Monday, June 9, 2014

New season breaking

Today feels like summer, and it's been a long time since I mini-blogged. (I consider this a mini-blog.) I've been writing, and when I'm writing I have to hog my brain, so I disappear from here (and from Twitter). By mid-summer, I should have a "real draft" and will once again be able to put sentences together in other areas of my life. Meanwhile, thanks to anyone who even periodically checks in here.

Mini-update, with photos:

     We had two family birthdays in May.

     We sometimes make up the candles as we go along. Obviously it's the cake that matters.

      Also in May, I went to Paris with my mom. It was completely great: lots of walking, eating, and seeing friends. (This is the view from the studio we rented.)

     We took a train to Amsterdam for a day. I had never been there before, and fell in love with it. I'd love to spend more time there.

      Back in NYC, our family went to see Xu Bing's amazing Phoenix at St. John the Divine. There are two of them actually, a male and a female, and they'll only be there this year. If you're near the city, I urge you to go.

      As some of you know, I'm a National Book Awards judge this year (for the Young People's Literature category). Lovely books have been showing up at my place by the boxful, and I've been reading like crazy. Not being able to talk about what I'm reading, however, turns out to be more frustrating than I anticipated.

       More soon, I hope!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

What could have been

Because I'm thinking about Harriet the Spy a lot this year, I recently re-read Suzuki Beane, a book (published in 1961) about a girl who lives on Bleecker Street with her too-cool-for school parents (Suzuki, unfortunately, DOES have to go to school). Written by Sandra Scoppettone, the book was illustrated by Louise Fitzhugh (you'll happily recognize the style). If you haven't experienced this book, find a way to read it. (It's always nice to be reminded that people bravely took children's books to unconventional places long before any of us were writing.) I found several places where the book is referred to as a satire of Elouise. I'm not convinced.

I also found this:

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Happy New Year

Wishing everyone a well-lit path and plenty of company in 2014 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Five minutes in Greenland

Aningaaq is the name of a short film created as a companion to the much-better-known Gravity. It shows the people on the other side of a distress call that Sandra Bullock's character makes. She reaches a family in Greenland, and although she can't speak the language, there are a few moments of connection, as you'll see if you watch the movie:

Aningaaq (via the New York Times' Carpetbagger)

What mesmerizes me is the setting. While writing my first novel I spent a lot of time trying to understand what the landscape of Greenland would really feel like. I read books, looked at photographs, and interviewed scientists who had spent time there, and I still managed to get things wrong - for instance, I carefully researched timetables for sunrise and sundown, but failed to appreciate that during some months "sundown" means that the sun dips just below the horizon, so that it doesn't actually get completely dark, as I had written it. (How did I learn this? A sixth grader pointed it out to me during a school visit. He had been to Iceland.)

Warning: While the film includes a lovely shot of a team of Greenland's working dogs, there is also a brief but somber storyline involving one of them.

And here's the website for that first book of mine, First Light:

Here in the United States, the next twenty days are the darkest of the year. Wherever you are, I'm wishing you light.