A LITTLE EXCITEMENT
Living far in the country the fear of fire can be very
real. My wife and I were living on Sally's Backbone
in Marshall County in 1984. One winter evening our car
caught fire. It was cold. There was a foot of snow,
and after midnight. The blazing auto was also very close
to the house under some spruce trees. I used that real
fear to guide my creation of the tale of a chimney fire.
Having lived on a farm and presently heating my own
house with wood, I was easily able to borrow the rest
of the details upon which I could invent the plot.
This is a true, autobiographical account of a blizzard
recalled from my childhood. This was also the title
of a related poem that my wife had the good sense to
suggest might make a picture book. It was this tale
I sent off to my editor almost immediately upon the
acceptance of A LITTLE EXCITEMENT.
ROCKS IN MY POCKETS
The core of this tale comes from my co-author, Bonnie
Collins, a true, traditional Appalachian storyteller.
Having shared the storytelling stage at the Vandalia
Gathering (West Virginia's premier folk life celebration)
where we also judge the state liar's contest, Bonnie
has been both friend and inspiration. Several years
ago my wife and I were asked to interview Bonnie for
"Goldenseal" magazine. It was in the course
of this interview that I heard this amazingly delightful
tale and realized at once that it had great potential
for becoming a children's picture book which, with Toni
Goffe's inspired pictures, it did.
A line of poetry came to me one afternoon as I was
scribbling in my notebook: "There may be a million
stars but there is only one sky." I still don't
know where those words came from but it is from that
line that ONLY ONE had its birth. I have no doubts but
that this was a gift.
This book draws part of its plot from recollected family
tales and documents I inherited from my grandmother,
especially her father's postcards from his years in
the logging camps of the American Northwest early this
century. Although I did not set out to tell a tale about
alcoholism, it does, nonetheless, address this illness
and, inasmuch as it does, I have hoped, with something
like hindsight, that it provides true testimony and
caution, as well as hope.
In 1991 my family left Sally's Backbone where we had
lived for nearly a decade. It was a bittersweet move
and one afternoon shortly after we had resettled in
town I found myself wondering what it might feel like
for a kid to have to make a move similar to the one
I had just made. The details were fresh and still all
around me. I went from there.
I have long been friends with the fine American poet,
Jared Carter, among whose many accomplishments is the
winning of the Walt Whitman Award. One afternoon, Jeb,
a Hoosier like myself, was sitting on my back porch
in Moundsville and asked, "Marc, you've written
a lot about your Appalachian home. When are you going
to write a real Hoosier tale?"
"About basketball or tornadoes?" I jokingly
But somehow Jeb's prompting stayed with me, and the
possibility of surprising both he and myself by taking
up that little joke. That's where the story started.
Later Nancy Springer and Anna Smucker would provide
important criticism that helped me get said what I wanted
to say. The book was finished in the Black Mountains
of Wales in the summer of 1992.
ALL THE WAY TO MORNING
Like ONLY ONE I believe this book, too, came as a
gift, although I actually do not recall its inception.
Unlike the earlier book, however, this one was not immediately
accepted by my editor. But I always liked the idea,
worked it through some significant revisions, and just
kept sending it around. Then Judith Whipple at Cavendish
read it and loved it at first sight.
So had I.
RED ARE THE APPLES
What can you find in an autumn garden? A harvest of bright colors, and lots to explore! Come share a day of big orange pumpkins, shiny purple eggplants, juicy red apples, and bright blue skies---a day of fall fun and abundance.
Marc Harshman and Cheryl Ryan love to work in their prizewinning organic garden.
Wade Zahares recently planted an apple orchard on his farm where he lives and works in southern Maine.
A simple text and soothing, picturesque illustrations by Mary Newell DePalma make this a perfect story for young children eager to travel the roads and see the variety of sights making up America. “And all the good roads / always lead you home.”
ONLY ONE NEIGHBORHOOD
One bakery has many different breads; in one school there are many children. This unique book uses a busy city neighborhood to teach the concept of one versus many. The same author-and-artist team that created the evergreen title Only One takes children on a tour of shops, the firehouse, and more via a simple, soothing text and extraordinary woodblock illustrations. At the book’s end, readers see how many neighborhoods can come together to make one city, showing how each one of us is part of something bigger.
BOOKLIST also recommends adding this to core collection: “Peace, Not War.”