Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Operation Yes meets Blue Chicken at Phantom Tollbooth

Every word of that title is accurate. 

While in New York over Veterans Day weekend, I met my friend Debbie Freedman, author of the amazing picture book, Blue Chicken, at Books of Wonder just before their event celebrating the 50 year anniversary of The Phantom Tollbooth. If you haven't checked out Debbie's interview at 7-Impossible Things Before Breakfast, run there, chicken-fast.  You must see the vivid, emotionally true, totally fun art from this book that celebrates color and redeeming mistakes. (The two-page spread which reads simply "The chicken is sorry! Sincerely sorry." is my favorite moment in the flood of disaster that overtakes the chicken----but Jules shares many other fabulous ones.)  

Debbie and I signed each other's books, ate scones and drank tea with fellow author Rosanne Parry, and my lovely agent, Tina Wexler. Then Debbie was kind enough to get my copy of The Annotated Phantom Tollbooth signed for me while I dashed off to my Military Families panel at the NYPL (more on that later.)  

I took a few photos of the Phantom Tollbooth event, but the lighting was difficult, and the store was packed, so I failed to deliver much beyond the fuzzy shot below. I also had to strain to hear both Jules Feiffer and Norton Juster (who were occasionally prompted for stories by Leonard Marcus, there on the right.)  What made the event for me were the little moments---such as Norton Juster admitting to growing up with a dad who adored puns (me, too!) and the kid with the green mohawk who peppered Jules and Norton with enthusiastic questions. I can't wait to dive into my annotated version, which is, I think, the third copy of The Phantom Tollbooth I have in the house. (Can't be sure; there may be a fourth lurking around.)

I have so much more to report from my trip to New York.  It was, from start to finish, a perfect weekend, but I think my posts will have to be delivered in short bursts.  As the chicken says, I'm sincerely sorry. Will catch up soon. Very soon!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Stages on Pages at Books of Wonder (Cue the Squeee!)

Stages on Pages

On Thursday, November 10th, Books of Wonder is delighted to present 7 authors who have written new books for teens that feature young people involved in one way or another with the performing arts. Joining us will be debut author SHELLA CHARI to share Vanished, the story of 11-year-old Neela, who's determined to protect an antique Indian stringed instrument that's a family heirloom which she dreams of playing for delighted crowds someday; author BARBRA DEE will present her new novelTrauma Queen, about Marigold, a teen girl who's constantly embarrassed by her infamous stage actor mom; debut author SOPHIE FLACK will take us into the exclusive world of the Manhattan Ballet Company as we follow one aspiring dancer persuing her dreams in BunheadsSARA LEWIS HOLMES will present Operation Yes, about a sixth grade class on an army base with a new teacher who uses improvisational theater to teach and inspire them and how they come together to help their teacher when her brother goes missing while serving in Afghanistan; debut author STASIA WARD KEHOEwill share Audition, the story of high school junior Sara, and the trials and tribulations she endures while struggling to become a professional ballet dancer;debut authorGRETCHEN McNEIL will introduce Possess, a dark thriller in which 15-year-old Bridget's ability to hear demons poses a very real threat to her, her family, and maybe the entire world; finally, author ROSANNE PARRY will present Second Fiddle, set around the time of the fall of the Berlin Wall, this is the harrowing tale of 13-year-old Jody -- a violinist and composer -- who sets in motion an unlikely chain of events  when she and her friends save a Russian solider from drowning in Berlin. Join us beginning at 6pm as these wonderful authors read from their new novels, answer questions from the audience, and sign copies of their works. Some of the authors, who play instruments, will also provide live music! Ages 10-14. Thursday, November 10th, 6-8pm