Writing outside your native tongue

I’m writing my first picture book in Portuguese. And I’m absolutely loving it. I’m all giddy and have that wonderful lovey-dovey feeling you get when you start something new that you think just might end up working. My one dilemma? Who in the world will I get to critique it? I wonder if Ana Maria Machado has time for a quick read? 🙂

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Go Carrie!

I have to admit that I haven’t had a chance to read Carrie Jones’ two books yet. Being in Brazil makes it difficult sometimes to keep up on the latest and the greatest in YA lit. But to know how adorable Carrie Jones is, all you have to do is read this entry from her Journal (though you might want to skip the link to the video at the end. Carrie gives plenty of warning that it’s not appropriate for kids and that there are those who might find it offensive. But the post itself is adorable!):


Good luck, Carrie! Hear, hear for Clean Campaigns!


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I pulled out an old picture book manuscript day before yesterday. It’s quiet. It’s literary. It might be philosophically obtuse. I’m somewhere deep in a literary hole, staring up at flickers of light, trying desperately to grab hold of one of them for keeps. But there are parts of this manuscript that make me go, “YES! YES!”, and I think that deep somewhere in it, there is something to love.

But now that I’ve been staring at the same stanza for the last two hours, changing it back and forth and back again, I’m spent. Chocolate, anyone?

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If you’ve got vibes and got ’em good, send any and all you’re willing to part with toward publishing-dom for me, please. Smart Savvy Agent went wowsers over my re-vision of the-pb-I-feared-to-revise and sent it on it’s merry way, off to Brilliant and Esteemed Editor. Fingers crossed.

And I’m off to dream up new and exciting things…

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Wishing on stars, hoping against all hope, dreaming impossible dreams

I sat with my daughter today as she tried to pare down the list of presents she hopes to receive for her birthday, just a little over a month away. For a nine year-old, who is still learning the value of money, and only just beginning to be aware of the needs of others before she thinks of her own wants, this was a very difficult task. When you’re nine and you’re wooed by the colors and sounds of the latest gadgets, or the status and style of the latest clothes, or even (albeit a little secretly because you’re too old for such things) by the beauty and marketing of the latest doll, it’s hard to set your own limits. You want to hope for everything. You want to have it all.

It’s a time when your hope is young but it’s wild and rampant. You don’t restrain it. You’re not afraid to wish.

As I was helping my daughter today, there was a part of me that was sad, homesick for that unrestrained hope, that time before you learn that you don’t get everything you hope for. (Though, thank God because we’re protected from some of the useless things we’ve hoped for. We can’t really know what we want until we know what we need.)

But the funny thing about hope is that the older we get, the more fragile our hoping becomes. We try to protect ourselves, to not hope too much or we’ll be disappointed. We want to save ourselves from the letdown.

And yet, we can’t help it. We may turn our eyes, but we can’t turn our hearts.

The difference for me between childlike hope and our own more fragile hope is that children can wish on a thousand stars in the sky and never run out of wishes or stars. And if they don’t get what they want, their wish is still out there somewhere, floating around in the universe, waiting, quite possibly, to come true. Our hoping is more knowing, more informed, but all the more tender because we know that if it’s to be, we play a part in making it true. And we fear we’re not up to the task.

Fear not, friends. Even our dashed hopes can lead to achieving impossible dreams.

Greener Still

My youth was green, like tender shoots

Sprayed with chartreuse,

Limed with strokes of light,

Blind but reaching


Innocence waned

Then turned its face,

Its knowing eyes cast

Toward cooling clay,

Its hoping, ever greener


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