Welcome to May!

How can it be May already? I don’t know. I have a busy month ahead, with my youngest graduating preschool this year, and my oldest moving out of elementary into intermediate school (which is just the other side of the school building, thank goodness! I’m looking forward to both children being in the same place for a few years.)

Time flies.

And no, don’t tell me that they will soon be graduating high school. I don’t want to think about it.

Children are not a distraction from more important work. They are the most important work.

Dr. John Trainer

Project Updates:

In other news, I have been prepping for my local Spring SCBWI conference. I have a page filled with 8 story pitches, a printed-out copy of my dummy, and updated pieces in my illustration portfolio. I feel more prepared and ready to make connections and get my foot in the door somewhere.

I also made this new David and Goliath piece for my portfolio. I’d like to add several more portfolio pieces soon, using the same style as this (the cut paper look).

Books I’m Reading and Recommending:

Adult:

A Feather on the Water
by Lindsay Jayne Ashford

This one took me a few tries to get into but I feel like it was a journey worth taking by the end of it. A trio of women, each with pasts they are working through, spend time running a camp for displaced people after WWII.

Just weeks after World War II ends, three women from different corners of the world arrive in Germany to run a Displaced Persons camp. They long to help rebuild shattered lives–including their own…
For Martha, going to Germany provides an opportunity to escape Brooklyn and a violent marriage. Arriving from England is orphaned Kitty. She hopes working at the camp will bring her closer to her parents, last seen before the war began. For Delphine, Paris has been a city of ghosts after her husband and son died in Dachau. Working at the camp is her chance to find meaning again by helping other victims of Hitler’s regime.
Charged with the care of more than two thousand camp residents, Martha, Delphine, and Kitty draw on each other’s strength to endure and to give hope when all seems lost. Among these strangers and survivors, they might find the love and closure they need to heal their hearts and leave their troubled pasts behind.

Young Adult:

Brindille
by Frederic Brremaud and Federico Bertolucci

An interesting adventure, with a strange twist at the end. Beautiful pictures.

A frail young girl flees a roaring forest fire in the middle of the night desperately taking refuge in a cave where she quickly loses consciousness. She wakes up in a strange, tiny village populated by fairy-like creatures. Her hosts seem intrigued by the sparkles of light that seem to surround her. The village chieftain explains that one of their hunters found her passed out in the forest and brought her back here for treatment. He asks who she is, but she remembers nothing except for a wall and flames. The chief is baffled by her tale as there has not been any fire in the forest lately, and yet the young woman does indeed show signs of burns. Somewhat recovered and dressed in woodland clothes made by the villagers, the young lady asks to meet the hunter who found her in the forest. She asks her savior to take her to where he found her, hoping that seeing the place will restore her memory. But Meliss refuses — the rules of the village say that only hunters can enter the forest, and all of the sparkles surrounding the girl would catch the eyes of predators living in these woods…
What follows is a tale of discovery, magic, tragedy, and adventure, as the girl discovers powers that may or may not be borne of an ancient evil. She befriends a cunning, talking wolf along the way, and together the two set out on a journey that will not soon be easily forgotten.

Middle Grade:

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry
by Mildred D. Taylor

I know this is required reading in some classes, but I had never read it before. What a great book! This is the one I would recommend the most of my recent reads. I want to read all of Mildred D. Taylor’s books now.

With the land to hold them together, nothing can tear the Logans apart. Why is the land so important to Cassie’s family? It takes the events of one turbulent year – the year of the night riders and the burnings, the year a white girl humiliates Cassie in public simply because she is black – to show Cassie that having a place of their own is the Logan family’s lifeblood. It is the land that gives the Logans their courage and pride, for no matter how others may degrade them, the Logans posess something no one can take away.

Picture Book:

The Thief Who Stole Heaven
by Raymond Arroyo and Randy Gallegos

This is a beautiful book, with a story about the thief on the cross beside Jesus at the crucifixion. It is a serious story, which might have elements you don’t want to read to your very young ones: violence, crucifixion, blood. The story is a reminder that we don’t earn heaven… it is only the belief and faith in Jesus and His surpassing grace and mercy that gets us there.

Award-winning TV personality Raymond Arroyo’s evocative new book will take its place in the pantheon of classics for Christian children.
Majestically illustrated by Randy Gallegos, this inspiring story begins when the Holy Family is set upon by roadside thieves. Jesus is a young boy–and the lead bandit is the Bad Thief. His accomplice is a young man named Dismas, later the Good Thief.
Remembering his own mother and family, Dismas is moved with compassion and persuades the leader to let the Holy Family go. He does not change his ways, but while on the cross many years later, Dismas is caught in the entrancing gaze of the Blessed Mother from under his own cross. He suddenly realizes that the man suffering horribly next to him was the captivating boy on that fateful day long ago. He instantly asks Jesus for forgiveness–and knowing exactly who he is, Jesus forgives Dismas, assuring him of Paradise that very day!

Until next time,

Charlotte J. Glaze