Monday, September 29, 2008

Reader Monday - What's Your Savvy?

Today's savvy story comes from Claudia D. in Colorado.

Fox Pups

If I had a Savvy it would be to talk to animals.

One day I woke up and my dog, Oscar, said, “I’m hungry and I want love!” So I got up and fed him gave him love. I begged my mom to take me to the zoo so I could talk to the animals. She got tired and took me there. We saw peacocks, giraffes, wolves, and lions.

Then we saw the arctic fox and it said, “I am going to have pups soon and no one knows!” I walked away and saw a bunch of other animals. I went and told the zookeepers about the fox but when we went back she was gone!!!

We looked all over for her. When we reached the elephants I realized the fox landed in there with the elephants!

The elephant said to me, “What is this?” He nearly stabbed the fox with his tusks but then one zookeeper sprayed water for the elephants and they got distracted and walked off to play in the water. Another zookeeper went in with the elephants and picked up the fox. He took her back to her pen.

A month later I went back to the zoo and on the glass on the fox’s pen there was a sign that said, RECENT BIRTHS. We went to the animal nursery and saw the two pups.

The two pups said, “Thank you for saving us.”

I felt good because I could talk to animals.

The End

For more reader savvies, click on the What's your savvy? label here on the blog. And check back weekly for Reader Savvy Mondays, where I post what real kids have to say about what their savvy know-how might be. Or to write to me what you imagine your savvy might be, click HERE to be directed to the Contact page of my website.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Another Photo from Anderson's YA Conference

Okay, here I am with Paula Yoo and her book Good Enough (HarperTeen), and Cameron Tuttle with her book Paisley Hanover Acts Out (Dial, March 2009). I couldn't have asked for better panel-mates. These ladies are smart and funny and have amazing talents. I can't wait to read their books!

On The Road


I attended the Midwest Booksellers Association trade show yesterday in St. Paul, Minnesota, and finally got to meet Sarah Prineas, (see picture) author of The Magic Thief. Sarah and I have been emailing since our books debuted this summer. I also met Jody Feldman, whose book, The Gollywhopper Games, came out in March.

Caroline Cooney and more! Today, I'm in Naperville, Illinois, for Anderson's YA conference. Like yesterday, I'm surrounded by some amazing authors: Nancy Werlin, Suzanne Collins, Ellen Klages, Holly Black, and many others. I was also delighted to meet fellow debut children's authors, Paula Yoo and Cameron Tuttle. Hopefully, I'll get a picture up with these wonderful women soon, as the three of us were on a panel together that was so much fun. The other picture here is of me and Holly Black of Spiderwick.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Grandma Dollop and Airport Security

Airports do not like out of the ordinary objects. This is what I recently discovered when I tried to take one of Grandma Dollop’s jars with me in my carry on luggage for a school visit in the Chicago area.

For anyone who’s not read Savvy yet, or who may simply need a refresher, Grandma Dollop’s savvy—her unique know-how—is the ability to capture radio waves and can them in jars like dusty, bulky, clear glass iPods. Loosening the lid of any of these jars allows one to listen to whatever’s trapped inside, but removing the lid completely frees the song or news item or long-winded State of the Union address back into the air where it becomes lost for good—unless Grandma’s there to recapture it once again.

I have one of Grandma Dollop’s jars. It plays the Chicken Dance. A tune that can lodge itself into your phonological loop and stick there to torture you for hours if careful precautions aren’t taken in advance. Maybe this was the true source of the TSA’s concerns over the very ordinary looking glass jar in my backpack. Perhaps it wasn’t the fact that I’d carefully wired the lid of the jar with a micro speaker, coin cell, and an elaborately thought-out but simply executed leaf switch built around a C-shaped piece of paper taped inside the jar, that required three different TSA agents to tilt their heads and ponder what it was that they might be seeing in the X-ray monitor at Denver International Airport. Perhaps it was the energetic oom-pah-pah Chicken Dance trapped inside the jar that was the real threat. I know plenty of people who would agree.

But as soon as the TSA officials discovered a whole cheesecake in the bag of the woman next to me, the security officers let me pack up my jar and move along to catch my plane. It turns out that cheesecake is much more interesting than a magical jar full of accordion music. Who knew?


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

What I've Been Reading (Listening To) Lately


As busy as I've become over the last few weeks with travel, preparations for more travel, and with writing, I haven't felt that I could take the time to sit down with a book unless it is during the few moments I find while waiting to pick up my daughter from school, or during other similar small gaps of unused time.

However, last week I drove to Nebraska for a couple of author appearances (see earlier blog entries) and I checked out some audio recordings of a couple of the books on my "to be read" list.

The first was absolutely fabulous and I can't believe that I waited as long as I did before getting around to reading--or rather, listening--to it. Linda Urban's A Crooked Kind of Perfect is a book to savor! The story is so beautifully and carefully crafted, and the characters are fantastic. I highly recommend it! It simultaneously made me want to stop writing and work to make my writing even better. Perhaps that sounds strange and hard to follow, but it's the effect Urban's writing had on me as I listened. Impressive and inspiring!


The second book I listened to was Rick Riodan's The Lightning Thief. My daughter read the entire Percy Jackson series (so far) this past summer, and has been on me ever since to read them as well. Having always loved Greek and Roman mythology, this book was fun! And I enjoyed both the humor and the constant action and adventure that ran throughout. When I get the time, I will definitely read (or listen) to the rest of the books that are out in this series.

In actual reading, my daughter and I are reading Snakehead, by Anthony Horowitz at bedtime. Then we will run out of Alex Rider books and start in on the Ranger's Apprentice series by John Flanagan, which we are looking forward to.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Reader Monday - What's Your Savvy?

Today's savvy story was written by Malena S. from Colorado:

Zip zip zip!


“Where am I?” I cried.

Just a second ago I was reading my book in my bed when I heard zip zip zip! But why am I on a horse’s back? My family and I had just gone on a horseback ride last week.

I felt like something weird was going on. After all I was most likely dreaming. Suddenly I was in my room again.

But before you could blink, Alice my older sister, who was seventeen, knocked on my door.

“Who is it?” I said.

“Alice,” she said.

“I have got to tell you something!!!” I hollered.

To my surprise, Alice was in a hurry! Quickly I told her everything. She said it could be my Savvy. After all, I was almost thirteen. Still I thought Alice was joking. She does that a lot.

“Don’t tell anyone, anyone,” I whispered.

I knew Alice would keep a secret, but she did have trouble not telling Mary, her friend.

Guess what I heard that night!

I heard zip zip zip again! Now I was starting to think it was my Savvy. But I still doubted it.
This time I went way back and it was winter again. Brrr! I was cold, I was wearing short shorts, a hat and a summer dress with a pretty design of pink and purple flowers. While I was outside in the cold in the park I thought about telling my mom about this even though I told Alice not to tell anyone.

Thirty minutes later I was back home asleep. The next day I told Mom. Mom said I need to scumble my go-back-in-time Savvy.

“How do I do it, mom?”

“That I can’t help you with,” Mom said. “You will learn, Amy.” Mom said.

I tried everything to scumble my Savvy. Eight days later I thought and thought about that horse ride really hard. Suddenly I was there riding a horse again!

“Yippee I think I know how to scumble my Savvy now!”

That evening I told mom and dad. They were glad to hear that I had scumbled my Savvy.

“One thing you have to do though, Amy, is use your Savvy for good, not evil,” said dad.

“Ok,” I said. On my fifteenth birthday many months later, I finally understood my Savvy. I was relieved. I had totally scumbled my Savvy. Yippee!

Alice was very excited. She remembered when she was able to scumble her Savvy and now her sister did too.

The End


For more reader savvies, click on the What's your savvy? label here on the blog. And check back weekly for Reader Savvy Mondays, where I post what real kids have to say about what their savvy know-how might be. Or to write to me what you imagine your savvy might be, click HERE to be directed to the Contact page of my website.

Friday, September 19, 2008

On the Nebraska Side of Kansaska-Nebransas

Tonight I am staying at the Liberty Inn Bed and Breakfast in Seward, Nebraska. Seward is the home of Chapters Books & Gifts, and is very close to Bee, Nebraska, where the characters in Savvy make a stop. I'll be reading from Savvy tomorrow at Chapters, but tonight I was treated to fish dinner in Bee by the shop's lovely owner, Carla Ketner. Thanks, Carla!

Aside from appearing briefly in Savvy, Bee is known for the Friday night fish dinner at Lou & Mary Anne's Bar, where the waitresses balance astounding numbers of paper plates loaded with fried fish and French fries as they weave through the crowds who flock to eat there. I got to meet Lou himself, and dinner tasted great! I also enjoyed the company immensely, as there was a whole group of us! Thanks Cheryl and Jan for coming along too, and to Carla and Jan's kids for being such great sports! And thanks must go to Jan's husband, Scott, as well, for entertaining me with stories about his very tale-worthy father. The pictures are of Carla and I outside of Lou's, and of me with Lou himself, inside the restaurant.

Last night, I had another pleasant evening. I was in Omaha, at The Bookworm, chatting with teachers and school librarians who came for the store's annual Teacher Appreciation Night. Ellen Scott took very good care of me, and I enjoyed meeting Omaha picture book author James Solheim. The Bookworm is a wonderful store. If you're ever in Omaha, definitely check it out! Sadly, I forgot to take my camera with me to The Bookworm. I will have to remedy that by going back someday!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Original Essay at Powell's


Powell's Books has a wonderful collection of original essays written by authors exclusively for their site. David Almond, Neil Gaiman, Linda Sue Park, Sarah Dessen, these and other authors have all contributed their own 1000 (or so) word essays for anyone to read. I was happy to be asked to add an essay of my own, and to be among the ranks of such esteemed storytellers.

My essay is entitled:
Taming the Wilderness: Imagination, Tall Tales, and Why Anxious People Should Write, and can be found by clicking HERE to get to the Powell's Books site. You can also find the links to the essays of other authors in the site's side bar. Enjoy!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Reader Monday - What's Your Savvy?

Today's savvy story comes from Julia in Colorado:






















For more reader savvies, click on the What's your savvy? label here on the blog. And check back weekly for Reader Savvy Mondays, where I post what real kids have to say about what their savvy know-how might be. Or to write to me what you imagine your savvy might be, click HERE to be directed to the Contact page of my website.