Fan mail Friday

October 10th, 2014

Reaching into my mail bag today for a fun book club do-it-yourself project!

First of all, check out the centerpiece that this fifth grade book club put together when they discussed THE MOTHER-DAUGHTER BOOK CLUB:

Centerpiece

I love it!  Skates to represent Cassidy, a notebook and pen for Emma, sewing basket for Megan, and what looks like a stuffed dog for animal-lover Jess. Oh, and a copy of LITTLE WOMEN, of course.

But wait! There’s more! Check out the mood pillows that they made:

Mood Pillow 2

Mood Pillow 1

 

Cuuuuuute!  Wondering what a mood pillow is?  Click here to find out (hint: if you read LITTLE WOMEN, you’ll know).

Ann, who leads this particular book club, generously offered to share directions with all of my blog readers for making a no-sew mood pillow. Ready? Here you go!

You will need — cylindrical pillow insert, sweatpants or pajama leg (or sewn cylinder), sturdy rubber bands (2 each), ribbon (about 1 yd. each).

Pillow insert

This is what a pillow insert looks like

Take a pajama leg or a sweatpants leg and cut it the length of the pillow plus from six to ten inches on each side. Stuff the insert into the pants leg so that it is in the center. Gather up the excess fabric on either side, and make a ‘pigtail’ with it, securing it with sturdy rubber bands.

Finally, cut the yard of ribbon in half, and tie a bow over each rubber band!

Mood Pillow 3

Thanks, Ann, and thanks to your book club girls and moms, too!

 

Happy book birthday & a giveaway!

September 30th, 2014

Happy book birthday to me!

LittleWomenXmas_1

It’s officially here! My new baby goes on sale today in bookstores everywhere!

A LITTLE WOMEN CHRISTMAS is so beautiful it practically glows, thanks to artwork by the gifted Bagram Ibatoulline. Seriously, I just keep turning the pages and smiling! Every picture book author out there knows exactly how I feel — it’s an amazing feeling to see one’s story come to life visually — but to have your publisher choose an illustrator like Bagram Ibatoulline for your book … well, that’s when you feel like you just won the Triple Crown.

(You also feel like you won the Triple Crown when Publishers Weekly gives your book a STAR and calls it “brimming with warmth … as crisp and clear as a snap of winter air.” Wow! Click here to read the full review.)

This story is close to my heart in several ways. First of all, of course, because it’s really Louisa May Alcott‘s story, and I’m just re-telling it in a different form, for a different audience. Louisa was one of my childhood heroes. I lived in Concord, Massachusetts, from fourth grade through tenth grade, just a short bike ride away from Orchard House, the Alcott family home where Louisa lived and wrote Little Women. Being an aspiring author myself, I was awestruck. I used to save up my babysitting money (a whopping 25 cents an hour back then) for the entrance fee, then ride over and take the tour as often as I could. I’m sure the nice people at Orchard House got a little tired of seeing my eager face!

Orchard HouseOrchard House

It was incredibly inspiring to me to see the rooms where Louisa lived and worked. The half-moon desk that her father, Bronson Alcott, built for her so that she could have a place to write! The dining room where she and her sisters put on plays, just like my sisters and I did! I couldn’t get enough of it.

(By the way, Orchard House is making a documentary about the home’s 350-year history, and needs our help to fund it. If you’re a fan of Louisa May Alcott and Little Women, please click here to learn more about how you can support this important project.)

Back to Louisa and me. Let’s fast forward a few decades. My childhood dream has come true, and I am now a published author, thanks in no small part to the early inspiration which Louisa provided. I poured some of my gratitude and love for her into THE MOTHER-DAUGHTER BOOK CLUB, which is set in Concord, and in which my fictional book club reads Little Women. There was plenty left over, though. Can you imagine how delighted I am to be able to pay tribute to her once again, with this beautiful book?

Let’s celebrate! It’s a birthday party, after all. I have two copies of A LITTLE WOMEN CHRISTMAS to give away. If you’d like to win one, just share your favorite Louisa May Alcott quote with us in the comments below. (Don’t know one? Hint: Google is your friend.)

Winners will be chosen at random at midnight on October 12th. US and Canada only, please. Share this giveaway on your blog or Facebook or Twitter or other social media for additional entries. (If you tweet or blog or otherwise share on social media, please leave a link in the comments below so I can assign you an extra entry.) 

BONUS:  Anyone who contributes to the Orchard House documentary Kickstarter campaign will be assigned TWO additional entries! Any amount qualifies — just let me know you’ve contributed. We’re on the honor system with this one.

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