Friday, November 16, 2012

Katie's Friday Finds #5 and Peter Jacobi

My find for this Friday is a book I've known about for years. It was an instant hit when I read it to my fifth grade class and now my daughter loves it, too!

The World According to Humphrey by Betty G. Birney; middle grade fiction
Birney took the ordinary and made it extraordinary by writing this novel about a class pet from the hamster's point of view. You see, Humphrey isn't an ordinary hamster. He's learned to read and uses his tiny notebook and pencil that are hidden behind his mirror to write. When the kids speak to him, he tries to squeak back, but they just can't understand 'hamster'. Not only is the book funny and full of adventure, which will keep a reader's attention, but Birney brings a unique voice to all the characters and tells their stories brilliantly. There are more books in the Humphrey series and I'm thrilled to revisit these books now that my daughter is reading them.

Zionsville Library

Last weekend I attended Indiana SCBWI's autograph party and luncheon event at the library in Zionsville, Indiana. We ate a boxed lunch and listened to Peter Jacobi speak about writing. The event was a few hours long, but I could have listened to him talk all day!

Here's what I loved about Peter's lecture; he was inspirational. There are so many conferences where you listen to a speaker and the talk is all doom and hard it is to write children's books, the state of the children's book market, and on and on. A serious writer knows all of this.

I found it refreshing to listen to a well-respected professional in the field tell us that we are warriors, brave, tolerating years of rejection as we hone our craft and still we don't give up. Thank you, Peter Jacobi, for understanding that we know the hardships of writing, and instead of dwelling on that, you gave us solid, useful information on the craft spoken from your heart, encouraging us to reach for excellence.

Here's a picture of our committee with Peter. I'm on the end, in blue jeans. Egads - I didn't plan to have my picture taken. Note to self; even if you're just attending an informal two hour event at a library, dress in slacks. Someone may want to take your picture.

IN-SCBWI Steering Committee and Peter Jacobi 

Thanks for stopping by,
Katie M.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Katie's Friday Finds #4; A Cookbook

I found this book several weeks ago and I love it so much I decided to put it on my Friday Finds list. This is not a children's book, nor is it a novel of any sort. It is a cookbook and it's a fabulous cookbook if you like to use a slow cooker!

Make It Fast, Cook It Slow; The Big Book of Everyday Slow Cooking by Stephanie O'Dea
Five reasons I've fallen in love with this book:
1. The recipes are easy to make and adaptable.
2. There is a huge variety of meal choices and types.
3. The entire book has gluten free options for every meal.
4. The author gives her family's verdict on every meal in the book.
5. Every recipe I've made from the book so far tasted delicious!

If you use a slow cooker, give the recipes in this cookbook a try. I don't think you'll be disappointed!

Thanks for stopping by,
Katie M.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Katie's Friday Finds #3 and Autograph Party!

In case you don't follow my other blog (, you might wonder why I've missed a few Friday Finds lists. Last March my husband bought a $10 raffle ticket at a fundraiser and we won a trip here:

The week of the trip was in October and I had a packed month between writing, teaching, vacation prep, and general family living, so I wasn't great about updating the Friday Finds. However, I have two additions to the list...

The Ghost's Grave by Peg Kehret; middle grade novel
Oooohhhh, one of my all time favorite stories! With characters like crazy Aunt Ethel who shoots a bat in her kitchen, dead Aunt Florence who has returned as a peacock, and persistent Willie, the ghost who wants his leg bones back, this page turner keeps your attention the whole way through. Josh, the main character, makes the story come to life with his feelings and actions. This book is a thrilling read that shouldn't be missed!

 Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson; picture book
I adore this book so much that I can recite it word for word (with accompanying actions!). What I love most about this rhyming picture book is that the story isn't sacrificed for the rhyme. So often I'll run across that in a book and it drives me mad. Not here. This beautifully illustrated story showcases loyalty and friendship in a humorous way and makes you want to be a character on the new broom at the end of the story. If you haven't read this picture book, you and your kids are missing out.

House on Hackman's Hill update: 
My daughter loved this book so much (from Friday Finds list #2) that it inspired this year's Halloween costume. She went as Anubis, Egyptian God of the Dead. It took a little imagination and a lot of hot glue, but we pulled it off!

Autograph Party 

Not to be missed, the Indiana region of SCBWI is hosting a book signing in Zionsville, Indiana on Saturday November 10th from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Christmas is coming and this would be the perfect time to buy books for the readers in your life and have them signed by the authors (all of whom are great people). If you're in the area and have time, drop by 4Kids Books & Toys and support our Indiana authors!

Thanks for stopping by,
Katie M.