Monthly Archives: June 2011

Rejections #184, 185, 186, 187 – Contrary, Redivider, Bete Noire, Shotgun Honey

Contray was so fond of my submission they invited me to submit again.  To the next issue.

Shotgun Honey encourages me to take another shot, with another story.

Bete Noire didn’t think my piece was very engaging.

Redivider thanks and appreciates me and my writing, but &c.


Rejection #183 – Word Riot

I have this little game I like to play with Kevin O’Cunn at Word Riot.  I send him a story, he rejects it.

He did give a comment this time, though, roughly: more story, less artifice.  I can feel that.

Rejections #180, 181, 182 – Vestal Review, Mixer, Comets & Criminals

Vestal Review says, “Good writing, well told, just not quite right for us. Sorry to say no.”  Nice of them to say so.

Mixer appreciates the chance &c.

Comets & Criminals thanks me but unfortunately &c.

Awesome books for your kid

Now for something completely different.  My pal Jane Wright, mother extraordinaire, posted an extensive list of her favorite children’s books at Facebook.  It was too good not to get out into a more public forum.

When (not if) you need to hammer your kid into a state of wide-eyed submission, do it with a book, not the TV.

Jane’s full post:

Upon request, I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorite children’s books.  Some are award-winning staples for a child’s library; others less well-known.  All are big hits with my two-and-a-half-year-old.  I’ve tried to give a brief explanation of why each one appeals to me.  These books are basically either funny and quirky or poignant without being sappy or didactic.  I am by no means a Child Lit scholar, but I am very passionate about reading to children, which I know you all do religiously.

When I was Young in the Mountains by Cynthia Rylant.  The last page of this story puts a lump in my throat every time I read it.

The Relatives Came also by Rylant makes me pine for the happy-crazy chaos of family reunions.

The Keeping Quilt by Patricia Palacco.  The true story of a quilt passed down through the generations in her family.  Memoir meets history for children.  Pallaco’s Thunder Cake made me want my own Russian immigrant grandmother.

Pigsty by Mark Teague.  Quirky story about a messy room with tongue-in-cheek humor for parents.

The Secret Shortcut another funny book by Teague.  I like that the best friends in the book just happen to be different ethnicities without making an issue of it (which I suppose I just did by writing about it, but you know what I mean).

Where the Sidewalk Ends  by Shel Silverstein “Ickel Me, Pickle Me, Tickle Me, too” is a favorite in our house.  Also, “Dreadful” and “Thumbs”.  I highly recommend finding a recording of Silverstein himself reading select poems.

Alphabet Mystery  by Audrey Wood, illustrated by her son Bruce Wood.  Not your typical alphabet book, in that it is actually entertaining for adults to read. The picture of the little letters tucked in their beds cracks us up.

Hush! A Thai Lullaby by Minfong Ho.  Sweet and soothing.  Hint:  you can sing this story to the tune of “Mockingbird” (“Hush Little Baby”)

Fly Guy pure cartoony goofiness!  Our favorite is There was an Old Lady who swallowed Fly Guy.

Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears  by Verna Aardema  Challenge yourself to read it with a different voice for each animal in the African storytelling tradition.

Misoso a collection of African folktales from all over the continent retold by Aardema.  Each story comes with an explanation of origin.

Folktales are a gateway to other cultures that open up rich conversations with children.  I especially like Anansi the Spider and Coyote (the trickster) stories:

Coyote and the Laughing Butterflies and Coyote Places the Stars by Harriet Peck Taylor

Coyote:  A Trickster Tale from the American Southwest by Gerald McDermott

Anansi the Spider by Gerald McDermott

Anansi does the Impossible by Verna Aardema

Boogie Knights by Lisa Wheeler “A madcap monster’s ball” where the castle creatures come to life.  Written in rhyme!

Old Cricket also by Wheeler.  Cricket fakes injury to get out of work because “you don’t get to be an Old Cricket by being a dumb bug”!

Three Little Dassies by Jan Brett   An African retelling of The Three Pigs.  Illustrations have special emphasis on regional textiles.  And really, I have yet to read a Jan Brett story that I wasn’t wild about.  I love how Brett uses her illustrations as clues as to what will happen next.  (Predicting is a pillar of reading comprehension!)

Another favorite, Mem Fox:  Koala LouWhoever You AreZoo LookingTen Little Fingers and Ten Little ToesWinifred Gordon MacDonald PartridgeTough Boris are our favorites so far.

A Nightmare in the Attic by Mercer Mayer.  All the nightmare wants is a teddy bear to snuggle with.  All the kid wants is for her parents to believe her.  We also love Mayer’s little critter books–great for a quick bedtime story.

Snow “Snowflakes don’t watch television.  Snowflakes don’t listen to radio.  All snowflakes know is snow, snow, snow.”  Wonderful illustrations that show adult and child’s perspective of winter.

The Z was Zapped  Chris van Alsburg’s ingenious black and white illustrations in a theater setting.  Great vocabulary builder.

Fairy tales and tall tales retold and illustrated by Steven Kellog.  Our favorites are Jack and the Beanstalk  and Paul Bunyan.  Richly detailed illustrations are a visual treasure hunt.

I Took the Moon for a Walk reads like a lullaby.  Allison Jay’s pictures are magnificent!  (Jay’s alphabet book is a must-have for littles)

Owl Moon by Jane Yolen is one of, if not the best-written children’s books I have ever read.  A simple, yet profound story of a girl and her father in search of the great horned owl.

What are your favorites?  What are your go-to books at bedtime?  Which stories mesmerize your child?

To this list I would add Curious George:

Classic Curious George, on the left, not this newfangled crap they’re pushing nowadays, of course.

And can’t forget Skippyjon Jones, perennial bedtime heavy hitter.

Go read Frank Bill right now

If I could issue commands from this post, my hand would be seizing you by the throat right now, demanding that you click upon the following links and go read a couple of the best damn stories I’ve ever come across online.  Broken sentences give form to broken lives, tense and tight and no bullshit.   Appearing in Beat To A Pulp.

Do it:


The Need

Rejections #177, 178, 179 – TriQuarterly, Clarkesworld, Shotgun Honey

Some day.  All these arrived in my inbox today (and there’s still a good two and a half hours of day to go):

Clarkesworld thanks me but the story isn’t quite &c.

TriQuarterly thanks me, but the story doesn’t &c.

Shotgun Honey thanks me for taking the time but &c.

Chris Ault is pure class and American commentators can be boring compared to this

Yes, college football is shot through with corruption, cheating, abuses, and sweet, sweet ill-gotten adrenaline.  But there are a few knights out there yet.  Like Nevada’s Chris Ault:

He lives in what state?

Ault’s current contract ends June 30, 2012. His new contract calls for a $25,000 annual salary increase, but Ault has indicated his decision to forgo the increase in the coming year and to voluntarily incur a 4.8 percent salary reduction on the portion of his salary funded through the State of Nevada’s budget allocation to the university.

With the voluntary adjustments, Ault’s salary for the fiscal year 2012 will be $435,119, of which $158,131 represents state funds.

“In light of our statewide troubled economy and the cuts many of our state workers are enduring, I felt it was important to share in the reductions,” Ault said.

Someone alert the ghost of Frank Capra.

Also, I think all prospective football commentators should have to go to the same school as the European guy in this clip: