Monday, July 18, 2011

Wonderful Children's Book

This book is by Alan Katz and the kids and I read it tonight.  It was fun for me to read it, because it really is a song book more than a "read before bed" book.  Each poem has in parentheses below the title "In the tune of..."   The tunes were quite easy, well most of them, and made the reading of the poems very enjoyable.  I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys child's poetry sung to a "fun" tune. 
Side note: I attended the Iowa City Book Festival this past weekend.  Saturday morning was mainly spent attending kids activities: Character Parade (Kate was really into the characters- Mason was more into crafts), Puppet Show, Tess Weaver author of The Opera Cat  read this book with real live opera singer accompanying her in the reading (this is another great book as is The Encore Cat and Frederick Finch Loud Mouth).  After lunch I left the kids and went to Women's Writer's Read ( no I didn't leave them alone Matt and my father in-law hung with them while my mother in-law and I went to the reading) which took place in the Women's Archives at the University of Iowa Main Library.  First off the Women's Archives is interesting in and of itself.  I could have just walked around and looked at all of the pieces of art work and pieces of works (kind of like a museum).  The head of the archives' husband was attending the session and before it started saw me looking at some of the relics.  He introduced himself and we got to talking and he is an archivist at the Herbert Hoover Library in West Branch.  I now have his contact info so I can call and have personal tour any weekday he is around.   I asked him, stupidly, whether he knew all there is to know about Hoover and he responded that Hoover lived to be 90 and he has worked there 9 years so he knows about 10%  of the man's life.  Anyways, back to Book Festival: The two women who read during this hour were very different in their type of writing, but both very interesting, gracious to each other and enjoyable.  The first who read was Julie Hanson from Cedar Rapids who writes poetry.  She just published her first book of poems called Untitled.  I'm not a huge fan of adult poetry, but I really enjoyed her poems.  She was very snarky and had a great reading voice.  The other reader was Edith Pealrman from the East Coast, believe it was New York who writes short fiction.  Her most recent book is Binocular Vision and the short story she read was fascinating, and again I'm not historically a fan of short fiction, but enjoyed the story very much.   She too had a great reading voice.  At the end of the session questions were allowed to be asked.  One lady asked the question of  the reader's favorite book and the short fiction writer sad Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens (which I haven't read and hope to in the near future).  After she said her favorite the comment was made from audience that although she enjoys short fiction her favorite book is not short fiction, but a novel. Poetry lady responded Charlotte's Web- told you she was snarky :). Also, one of the members of the audience made the comment that she was very thankful for their great contribution to the festival and how nice it was to be read to because as adults we are so rarely read to.  I agree with this and wondered if that was why I actually enjoyed both the poems and the short fiction.  The last author I went to was Elizabeth Berg. She has written over 25 books (23 of them fiction, 2 nonfiction).  She was an ICU nurse first and then wanted to stay home with her kids and so she decided to try to become a writer.  She sent in an essay to Parents magazine for a $500 contest they were having then went back to being a nurse to later find out she won the contest.  She then wrote many articles for any women's magazine she could submit for. Her first book Durable Goods (which again needs to be added to my list) was accepted first time out and she reports never having any of her works rejected (remarkable!). She was very nice and easy to listen too, but I felt like she was holding back some of herself in her answers, which maybe you need to do when you are a celebrity.  She gave some great advice for writing: be detailed, but don't write out all details, be a good observer, and write, write, write and read, read, read.  It was great to be sitting with others in that auditorium and I wondered if any of those sitting around me would become the next "Elizabeth Berg".

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