(Source: atmagaialove)

(Reblogged from lauriehalseanderson)
(Reblogged from yahighway)

Q&A with Author Jacqueline Woodson



You have spoken often of the way in which writing in verse was useful to you in capturing your memories. When you first sat down to write BROWN GIRL DREAMING, did you already know this would be the best approach or did you realize this only after you began the writing process and your memories began flowing?

I really didn’t know what Brown Girl Dreaming would be in the end.  When I’m writing in verse, it usually ends up as a picture book.  I didn’t know if this would be a whole bunch of pictures books about different parts of my life or if it would be an adult novel or a middle grade novel.  I just knew I had to write it the way it was coming.  So from the very beginning, the approach was the same, but as the story became more clear to me, the arc of the book shifted.

Several of your books have been adapted for the stage and screen.  Are there any plans to adapt any of your other works?  If you had your choice, is there a particular title that you would like to see on stage or on screen?

Right now BENEATH A METH MOON is being adapted for the big screen.  I don’t think too much about my books becoming movies — Although I do love a good movie, I am happy with my books as books.  And too — who would play ME???

SHOW WAY, THIS IS THE ROPE and BROWN GIRL DREAMING reflect your family’s history. Over the years, you have expressed an interest in writing non-fiction. Do you have plans to write non-fiction?

I don’t think I do but I don’t really ever say ‘never’ anymore.  Right now, I’m writing a lot of poems — so maybe it means I’m moving back to picture books for a while.

What has been your family’s response to BROWN GIRL DREAMING?  Did you send a draft at any stage to certain members of your family for feedback, forgotten details or, even, approval? Were you concerned with “getting it right”?

My sister LOVES it.  Both my brothers have said encouraging things but not sure if either has finished it yet.  My father is thrilled that I’m a writer and The Woodsons are pretty psyched to have parts of their story in the world.  I don’t know if I “did” get it right.  I mean, what does “right” mean when it’s memory.  I wanted the love I have for my family, the love I have for my people, the struggles and triumphs, the sense of time and place and journey — to come through.  And hopefully, I’ve done that.

You have spoken about the major shift that occurs when readers move from picture books to those without illustrations and how important it is for older readers to return to picture books.  It is often a challenge to convince adults to consider picture books for older readers.  How do you meet this challenge?  What advice would you give to booksellers?

I always ask people to read the words without the pictures first.  Then take in the pictures without the words.  In this way, they can begin to see the depth of the story, it’s poetry and nuances.  I think picture books are the best way to teach young writers about story arc, the hero’s journey, point of view, character metamorphosis, I could go on.  They’re also a great tool for giving struggling readers confidence.  They’re also, I think, of all the genres, the hardest to write!!  So if this isn’t enough to convince someone, I don’t know what else to say.

We are currently in the midst of an ongoing and belated discussion on the lack of and need for added diversity in children’s literature.  Your books are a significant contribution to filling this void. Gene Yang recently gave a powerful speech at the National Book Festival encouraging authors to include diverse characters that don’t necessarily reflect the their own ethnicities.  What is your response to his suggestion? What advice would you add to his suggestion?

I’d say know the people you’re writing about really, really well.  If you don’t know them, how can you even begin to tell their stories?

Jacqueline Woodson is currently the Tumblr Reblog Book Club Pick. Please visit the book club to share your thoughts on Brown Girl Dreaming.

Jacqueline Woodson will be speaking at Politics & Prose tomorrow at 7pm.

(Reblogged from richincolor)


very interesting combinations

(Reblogged from bookavore)
I’ll let myself write the wrong thing, the right thing, the thing too tangled to distinguish as either until later. I’ll let myself write something that fails if I need to, so that I can transform it later into something which succeeds. Today I’ll let myself write badly, if that’s how the words are coming out. Because bad words are better than no words. And because without letting myself write badly, I cannot let myself write at all.
On Getting Things Wrong,” by Leila Austin (via yahighway)
(Reblogged from yahighway)


Gorgeous Puffin in Bloom editions illustrated by Anna Bond from Rifle Paper Company! Beautiful artwork on those endpapers and cover, plus special bonus materials at the end of each book. Including, of course, a recipe for raspberry cordial.

We’re giving away a complete set of four to one lucky person who completes our MG/YA classics challenge this year!

Photographs by The Midnight Garden.

(Reblogged from rainbowrowell)
Do not quit. You see, the most constant state of an artist is uncertainty. You must face confusion, self-questioning, dilemma. Only amateurs are confident … be prepared to live with the fear of failure all your art life.

W. O. Mitchell

Lensblr Quote of the Day

 (although Mitchell was not a photographer this still applies to all artists, including photographers)

(Reblogged from lensblr-network)

Packed house at @andersonsbkshp for Erica O’Rourke, Sarah J Maas, and Susan Dennard. (at Anderson’s Bookshop Naperville)

Anonymous said: what about Gaza and Ferguson John? do they not deserve your respect? you're such a hypocrite, i's disgusting


I think this is a deeply flawed way of looking at the world.

Now, I have talked about Ferguson, and I’ve talked about Gaza. (In fact, I’ve been writing and talking about Israel and Palestine for more than a decade.) But there are many important problems facing the world that I haven’t talked about: I haven’t talked much about the civil war in South Sudan, or the epidemic of suicide among American military personnel, or the persecution of Muslim Rohingya people in Myanmar.

Is that okay? Is it okay for me to talk about, say, racism in football and lowering infant mortality in Ethiopia? Or must we all agree to discuss only  whatever is currently the ascendant news story? Is it disrespectful to Ferguson protesters to talk about continued political oppression in Egypt now that we are no longer reblogging images of the protests in Tahrir Square? I think this is a false choice: If you are talking about Ferguson and I am talking about Ethiopian health care, neither of us is hurting the other.

I think the challenge for activists and philanthropists online is in paying sustained attention, not over days or weeks but over years and decades. And I worry that when we turn our attention constantly from one outrage to another we end up not investing the time and work to facilitate actual change. We say “THE WORLD IS WATCHING,” and it is…until it isn’t. We’ve seen this again and again in Gaza and the West Bank. We’re seeing it in Iran. We’re seeing it in South Sudan. And we’re seeing it in the U.S., from net neutrality to Katrina recovery.

The truth is, these problems are complicated, and when the outrage passes we’re left with big and tangled and nuanced problems. I feel that too often that’s when we stop paying attention, because it gets really hard and there’s always a shiny new problem somewhere else that’s merely outrageous. I hope you’re paying attention to Ferguson in five years, anon, and I hope I am, too. I also hope I’m paying attention to child death in Ethiopia. I don’t think these things are mutually exclusive.

I really don’t want to minimize the effectiveness of online activism, because I know that it works: To use a personal example, I’ve learned a TON from the LGBT+ and sexual assault survivor communities in recent years online. People on tumblr make fun of me for apologizing all the time, but I apologize all the time because I am learning all the time, and every day I’m like, “Oh, man, Current Me has realized that Previous Me was so wrong about this!”

But we can only learn when we can listen. And when you call me a hypocrite for talking about X instead of talking about Y, it makes it really hard to listen.

At times, online discourse to me feels like we just sit in a circle screaming at each other until people get their feelings hurt and withdraw from the conversation, which leaves us with ever-smaller echo chambers, until finally we’re left only with those who entirely agree with us. I don’t think that’s how the overall worldwide level of suck gets decreased.

I might be wrong, of course. I often am. But I think we have to find ways to embrace nuance and complexity online. It’s hard—very, very hard—to make the most generous, most accepting, most forgiving assumptions about others. But I also really do think it’s the best way forward.

(Reblogged from rainbowrowell)
I mean, I’m married. But still.

I mean, I’m married. But still.