"I often work within the realm of fairy-tales and folk-lore. I began making a series of book-sculpture, cutting-out images from old books to create three-dimensional diorama's, and displaying them inside wooden boxes...
For the cut-out illustrations, I tend to lean towards young-girl characters, placing them in haunting, fragile settings, expressing the vulnerability of childhood, while also conveying a sense of childhood anxiety and wonder. There is a quiet melancholy in the work, depicted in the material used, and choice of subtle colour...
Paper has been used for communication since its invention; either between humans or in an attempt to communicate with the spirit world. I employ this delicate, accessible medium and use irreversible, destructive processes to reflect on the precariousness of the world we inhabit and the fragility of our life, dreams and ambitions." -Su Blackwell (click on her name to go to her website.)
Music by Budd, 'How Vacantly You Stare at Me'.
If you liked this post about these amazing book sculptures, you might also enjoy my post about dress sculptures/paper dresses.
I treasure my writing community—online friends and face-time associates, my longstanding writing group, my zany retreat buddies, my wise agent and the various editors with whom I’ve worked.
I treasure my native imagination. Without it, I’d be lost. I’ve had big fun making up characters like, Johar, a fifteen-year-old Afghan poet and weaver, and futuristic inventions like a credit card skimmer, imbedded in one’s wrist.
My family is a treasure. I’m proud of my sons—one teaching history and geography in a former palace in China, and the other, a fourth-year Arabic student interested in working for a humanitarian organization, who just returned from Cairo. I’m proud of their brave and fearless stance as they traverse the globe. Was it all of our family travels when they were little tykes that inspired them? I’d like to think so. I also treasure the fact that my hubby and I have been friends for so long.
I treasure my years as a painter, and I treasure art, as it has complimented my journey into narrative. For writing, as painting, is about “brushing in” vivid scenes, plot and characters, and layering—a layer of scaffold, a layer of detail, a layer of suspense, a pulling-back layer of compression, a final glossy varnish that pops the story to brilliant highlights and shadowy depth.
I treasure my students, for they inspire and amaze me.
I encourage you to jump over to the blogs below, also in the tour, to read about what others treasure. But first, leave me a note about what you treasure!
NIGHT OF THE MOONJELLIES by Mark Shasha. This book was inspired by the author's memories of working at his grandmother's hot dog stand by the sea in New London, Connecticut in the 1970s. It features the warm relationship between the main character and his grandmother, along with the hustle and bustle of the busy day at the hot dog stand. Seven-year-old Mark finds "something that felt like jelly" on the beach. After their busy day at work, Gram and Mark take a boat out to sea, where Mark sees an oceanful of shimmering white lights--moonjellies--and returns his to the water.
What exactly are "moonjellies"? Visit Mark Shasha's website to find out. (Hint: they're not "jellyfish".)
Many homeschoolers have discovered this story and used it as part of literature-based FIVE IN A ROW cirriculum...look at what this inspired mom did with her kids, while they read and completed activities for NIGHT OF THE MOONJELLIES - click here.
THE VERY LONELY FIREFLY by Eric Carle. The firefly buzzes off in search of companionship, but keeps following other lights by mistake--a candle, a flashlight, a lantern--and these in turn are all leading in the direction of a fireworks display. Finally, the lonely firefly finds the friends it is seeking--a dozen or more other fireflies (you child will love the surprise on the last page!)
In Winter I get up at night
I have to go to bed by day.
The Liebster Blog Award was given to me by the awesome Beth Fred, whose blog is magical and has purple sparkles that follow you everywhere you put your cursor! Check it out here.
This award spotlights bloggers who have less than 300 followers (like me, so far). As recipients pay it forward, Liebster love keeps growing. Recipients are also asked to share their 5 top picks, then include the following in their blog:
1. Thank the giver and link back to the blogger who awarded you.
2. Reveal your top 5 picks & let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
3. Copy & paste the award on your blog. (see award image above!)
4. Have faith that your followers will spread the love to other bloggers.
5. And most of all—have bloggity-blog fun!
Lots of my picks are indie authors to watch. So, here goes:
1. Arthur Slade, a well-published kids' fantasy author, who is turning all of his out of print books into indie gold! Learn how here.
2. Christine Murray, a journalist and author of urban fantasy, who lives in Dublin. Her blog is always thoughtful.
3. Katie Klein, successful indie author of YA fantasy, tells it like it is about her publishing experience. Worth a look!
4. Jenny Phresh's Party Pony blog. OMG, she is the funniest writer alive. I'm not kidding!
5. Angela Carlie, a middle grade & YA author of fantasy. Check her blog here. She's a member of the indie collective, DarkSide Publishing, a very impressive group. And her novel, Land of Corn Chips has the best title and cover everrrrr.
|LAND OF ENCHANTMENT, by Norman Rockwell|
How do you raise a reader?
Here are some facts parents should know, from JIM TRELEASE, author of THE READ-ALOUD HANDBOOK...
2. ACROSS the world, children who read the most, read the best.
3. WE humans are pleasure-seekers, doing things over and over if we like it.
4. READ aloud to your children, even as infants. Initially, the sound of your voice is a beacon of calmness, conditioning the child to associate you and the book with security.
5. LISTENING comprehension comes before reading comprehension. You must hear a word before you can say it or read and write it.
6. CHILDREN usually read on one level and listen on a higher level.
7. THE top winter Olympians come from states where they have the most ice and snow. And reading research shows that children who come from homes with the most print—books, magazines, and newspapers—have the highest reading scores. They also use the library more than those with lower scores.
8. THERE is a strong connection between over-viewing of TV by children and under-achieving in school. Simply put: those who watch the most know the least.
|Bella becomes her little brother's hero when she figures out a|
way to get back his stuffed animal, "Dogger".
This book is a great summer read aloud. Kids are off school and can oftentimes get bored and irritated with their siblings. What better story to share on a warm summer afternoon? For ages 3-7.
Another "sibling book" that won the Kate Greenway Medal (in 2001): I WILL NOT NEVER EVER EAT A TOMATO, by Lauren Child.
Well, I guess July is National Blueberry Month as well as National Ice Cream Month (and boy, do they taste yummy together!) Did you know that ice cream dates dates back to the 2nd century B.C.? Alexander the Great liked snow and ice flavored with honey and nectar. (You can read more about the history of ice cream HERE.)
BLUEBERRIES aren't just good tasting, they're healthy...according to the North American Blueberry Council (yes, there is such an organization): out of 40 different fruits, juices and vegetables, the blueberry has the highest antioxidant level. And just three and a half ounces of blueberries are equivalent to over 1700 International Units of vitamin E. (Find some snack recipes with blueberries HERE for kids).
In the story, Sal and her mother decide to go out and search for blueberries at the same time as a mother bear and her cub. This story is sweetly and humorously told, as Sal and the cub wander off and absentmindedly trail behind the wrong mothers!
Don't worry - it all turns out okay in the end!
Many of us, even as young girls, were drawn to beautifully made dresses, fancy frills, and fashion! My first exposure to haute couture was probably from the Hollywood musical, FUNNY FACE, starring Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire. I'll never forget the shot of Audrey, descending the broad stone stairway at the LOUVRE MUSEUM in Paris, looking like the "Winged Victory" herself, arms extended above her head, with her red drape billowing behind her as she floated past the Greek goddess, NIKE. (Edith Head and Givenchy made quite a good team!)
dress sculptures and paper dresses.
|Here's a dress made out of phonebook pages, by Jolis Paons.|
|I love this miniature paper-cut, by Elsa Mora.|
|Lady Dulcinea, Anthropologie Rockefeller Center Gallery, 2008|
|Ruffian Paper Doll, 2009 (photo, Geoff Green)|
|The train on this dress is made up of 1,000 paper cranes! (by Yuliya Krypo,|
made from recycled newspaper)
|This dress sculpture is made of book pages, milled paper, |
typewriter parts, linen rope and binders.
|Close up of details.|
The "Word Dress", made entirely from the pages of books, was designed and
hand crafted by Lancashire bridal designer, Jennifer Pritchard Couchman.
engaging and worthwhile books. Here are some good recommendations (many were found in my go-to-resource, BOOKS THAT BUILD CHARACTER by William Kilpatrick):
TOM'S MIDNIGHT GARDEN by Philipa Pearce. (for ages 12-14) Review from BOOKS THAT BUILD CHARACTER: "This novel is widely considered to be one of the masterpieces of children's literature...critic Humphrey Carpenter has noted that TOM'S MIDNIGHT GARDEN is, in essence, a reversal of PETER PAN. In Pearces's novel, a boy has to come to terms with the fact that time cannot be stopped, that change and growth and loss are part of human existence...Tom's brother has measles, and so Tom is forced (unhappily) to spend the summer with his aunt and uncle...one night he hears an old grandfather clock strike thirteen. When he goes down to investigate, he decides to step outside, and he discovers himself in a beautiful garden rather than a paved driveway...he meets a pretty young girl named Hatty. After many puzzling visits, he begins to realize that each one occurs at a different point in time in Hatty's life...she perceives him as a ghost who appears only after long absences...The author resolves these mysteries in a satisfying and moving conclusion. Tom's experiences cause him to leave his angry, self-preoccupied life behind, and learn something about love, time, and the importance of memory." The descriptive writing and plot in this book made a huge impression on my older son. To this day, he sites it as a favorite.
HATCHET by Gary Paulsen. (ages 12-14) A survival story about a thirteen-year-old boy, Brian Robeson, who is flying in a small plane to visit his father. The pilot of the plane has a heart attack, but Brian manages to guide the plane to a lake and emerges unhurt. Alone in the forests of Canada, he learns to survive. There is never a question the situation is desperate, the author's tone is never sentimental, as Brian learns patience, self-reliance, the value of hard work, and a respect for nature. Even reluctant readers will get into this story - a favorite of my younger son!
LORD OF THE FLIES by William Golding. (Ages 14 and up) Before there were THE HUNGER GAMES, there was Lord of the Flies. William Kilpatrick says, "This is an ugly book (though beautifully written). But if the ugliness in LORD OF THE FLIES is related to something deep within human nature, how can we afford to look away? It suggests that what we call civilization is a very thin layer of order covering passions and emotions that could easily rip it apart...a cautionary tale meant to shock us into an awareness of the fragility of moral and political life." The story involves a plane crash on a tropical island, a group of British schoolboys, and a power struggle. Without the protection of the adult generation, the older children find themselves drawn into all the sins of their parents' world - blind ambition, vanity, greed, and hate. I read this one aloud to my kids. It was a hard book to get through (emotionally), but spurned some really good discussion. (Lord of the flies website here)
THE ARTHURIAN TRILOGY by Rosemary Sutcliff. A masterful retelling.
The Light Beyond the Forest: The Quest for the Holy Grail
The Sword and the Circle: King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table
The Road to Camlann: The Death of King Arthur
THE DARK IS RISING SEQUENCE by Susan Cooper. Susan Cooper, in her five-title Dark Is Rising sequence (steeped in Celtic and Welsh legends), creates a world where the conflict between good and evil reaches epic proportions. She ranks with C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien in her ability to deliver a moral vision in the context of breathtaking adventure. My husband really enjoyed reading this too!
The Dark is Rising (Newbery Honor); Over Sea, Under Stone; Greenwitch; The Grey King (Newbery Medal); Silver on the Tree.
THE ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN by Mark Twain. Another great recommendation from BOOKS THAT BUILD CHARACTER by William Kilpatrick: "In the famous 'Notice' at the beginning of this book, Mark Twain warns that anyone 'attempting to find a moral' in the novel 'will be banished'. As usual, Twain was being humorously ironic, since this American classic is shot through with profound moral dilemmas...full of adventure and comedy, this novel is far more complex and thematically rich than its predecessor, THE ADVENTURES OF TOM SAWYER (which should be read first as preparation...When Huck and the runaway slave Jim head out on the Mississippi on their raft, they encounter a series of events that shows the corruption and hypocrisy of what is often call 'respectable' society...Huck, a child, and Jim, a slave - the weakest member of this society - are forced to use their wits to survive." A favorite of my older son.
DAVID COPPERFIELD, by Charles Dickens. This is truly the best coming-of-age book any boy could ask for. It's language is old fashioned and daunting at first, but a mature reader should do fine. I'm happy to say my youngest - who is still a challenged reader - was finally motivated, at the age of 19, to get through this 1,000-plus-page classic. And he loved it! The quote I'm sharing about this book is something I read years ago, by an Orthodox monk, that lead me to realize the influence that good literature could have on my children's souls:
THE HOBBIT and THE LORD OF THE RINGS series, by J.R.R. Tolkien. Do I really need to say how much enjoyment your boys (and ANYONE) will get from these?
THE SPACE TRILOGY by C.S. Lewis (again, from William Kilpatrick: "Before C.S.Lewis wrote the CHRONICLES OF NARNIA, he became concerned with an ideological frame of mind he called "scientism". According to Lewis, scientism was the belief that technology would liberate mankind from the moral traditions of the past; the end result would be the elevation of certain scientists to the status of godhood, with the power of life and death over the whole human race....The three novels that constitute THE SPACE TRILOGY dramatize the conflict between scientism and the moral tradition of the West."
Out of the Silent Planet - A Cambridge University scholar named Ransom accidentally stumbles onto a scheme in which two men, one a scientist and the other a huckster with intellectual pretensions, prepare to travel to Mars and plunder its rich and strange culture.
Perelandra Ransom is brought to Venus, where he finds a new Adam and Eve, who are being tempted by the evil scientists from the first novel.
That Hideous Strength The cosmic struggle between good and evil takes place on Earth, as a scientific institute comes close to asserting its power over the world.
CARRY ON, MR. BOWDITCH by Jean Lee Latham. (Newbery Medal) Fascinating biography of Nathaniel Bowditch, an eighteenth-century nautical wonder and mathematical wizard. (This can also be read aloud to younger middle readers, who are studying Earl American history. As a family, we were excited to visit Salem, and try and picture how it would have looked during this brilliant young man's lifetime.)
ROBINSON CRUSOE by Daniel Defoe illustrated by N.C. Wyeth. (The "granddaddy" of all adventure stories). In his own words, Robinson Crusoe tells of the terrible storm that drowned all his shipmates and left him marooned on a deserted island. Forced to overcome despair, doubt, and self-pity, he struggles to create a life for himself in the wilderness. From practically nothing, Crusoe painstakingly learns how to make pottery, grow crops, domesticate livestock, and build a house. His many adventures are recounted in vivid detail, including a fierce battle with cannibals and his rescue of Friday, the man who becomes his trusted companion. Full of enchanting detail and daring heroics, Robinson Crusoe is a celebration of courage, patience, ingenuity, and hard work.
ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF IVAN DENISOVICH by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. (high school and up) This story concerns a single day in the life of a Soviet prisoner, Ivan, in the Soviet gulag, a prison camp in remote and frigid Siberia, where prisoners are stripped of everything - freedom, possessions, health. But there is one thing that cannot be taken away: a man's soul. "It should be read both as a reminder of the continuing plight of political prisoners and as a humane celebration of the oral and spiritual dimensions of human nature." - William Kilpatrick.
FATHER ARSENY, translated by Vera Bouteneff. A narrative comprised of encounters with Father Arseny, a former art historian and priest imprisoned in the Gulag. An intimate testimony of what it means to “bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2). Father Arseny became Prisoner No. 18736 in the brutal 'special sector' of the Soviet prison camp system. In the darkness of systematic degradation of body and soul, he shone with the light of Christ's peace and compassion. I wept, reading this aloud to our teens. We all loved this book.