Exciting morning watching the ALA Youth Media Awards live webcast from Seattle! It’s fun to root for your favorite children’s and YA books published in 2018, and there are usually a couple of surprises to keep things interesting.
First off, there were several welcome additions to the annual announcements. For years, I wondered why the Asian Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA) Literature Awards were not included. We’d hear about the Coretta Scott King and Pura Belpré winners, but not about the Asian Pacific American winners.
Well, from now on, not only will the APALA Literature Award winners be highlighted, but also awards from the American Indian Library Association (AILA) and the Association of Jewish Libraries (AJL). All in an effort “to bring awareness about and encourage the creation of more books that depict diverse cultures, or by authors of color.” About time, I say. Hooray!
“If you think about a Thanksgiving dinner, it’s really like making a large chicken.” ~ Ina Garten
Just wanted to pop in briefly to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving.
I’ll be away from the blog until next week, since I’ll be busy turkey plucking, cranberry gathering, green bean snapping, potato mashing, and pie baking eating devouring.
(Okay, fine. So I’m getting a little help from Whole Foods this year . . .)
Still, I must be in full concentration mode as I dig out the big platters and serving dishes, wash plates, goblets and silverware that don’t often see the light of day, and — my favorite part — set the table. 🙂
Here are some things I am especially thankful for this year:
1. My father turned 104 years old on November 17. He has been in a slow decline since contracting pneumonia recently, and is not on his computer anymore. It’s been touch and go; we weren’t sure he’d make it till his birthday, but he did. This is something he wanted to do, so he did it. We remain in awe of his resiliency, and are thankful for each day he chooses to remain with us in this world.
2. There are no words to describe the devastation and heartbreak of the California wild fires. We are so grateful for the courage and strength of the firefighters, first responders, rescue workers, and forensic teams who continue to labor above and beyond. In the painful aftermaths of this and other recent tragedies (Pittsburgh, Thousand Oaks, Puerto Rico, Parkland), unsung heroes have given us hope by proving that human beings are capable of infinite goodness.
3. I am relieved and thankful that as a result of the midterm elections, a check on the executive branch has been restored. Faced with an egregious lack of leadership in this country, we have seen that our votes and our voices do matter and can make a difference.
4. Though it’s been a tough 2 years with our democracy being challenged at every turn, I am actually grateful for the enormous wake-up call. Since we have a President who has succeeded at bringing out the worst in this country (instances of hate, racism, bigotry, violence, xenophobia, corporate corruption, incivility, moral bankruptcy), we’ve all been forced to re-evaluate what it means to be good citizens, and to take action when and where we can. I do think for too long we took for granted what we “thought” we had all along. As flawed human beings, too often we value something more when faced with losing it (e.g., free speech).
5. Artists, musicians, writers, and creatives of all kinds: thankful for how their work sustains and inspires me each and every day. Much is being destroyed in this world. I stand wholeheartedly with those who devote their lives to making, building, birthing, uplifting.
What are you especially thankful for this year?
🍗 HAPPY GOBBLING! 🍗
“What I love about Thanksgiving is that it’s purely about getting together with friends or family and enjoying food. It’s really for everybody, and it doesn’t matter where you’re from.” ~ Daniel Humm
“I come from a family where gravy is considered a beverage.” ~ Erma Bombeck
“Only love interests me, and I am only in contact with things that revolve around love.” ~ Marc Chagall
I’m a longtime Marc Chagall fan, and during this, my THINK BLUEyear, I’m finding his work especially nourishing.
Who can resist his beautiful paintings– poetic inner dreamscapes replete with joy and childlike imagination? We are reminded that truth of vision is neither linear nor precise, but often abstract. He asks us to feel what he feels.
French art critic Raymond Cogniat said this about Chagall’s work:
The most obviously constant element is his gift for happiness and his instinctive compassion, which even in the most serious subjects prevents him from dramatization . . . Musicians have been a constant during all stages of his work. After he first got married, ‘lovers have sought each other, embraced, caressed, floated through the air, met in wreaths of flowers, stretched, and swooped like the melodious passage of their vivid day-dreams. Acrobats contort themselves with the grace of exotic flowers on the end of their stems; flowers and foliage abound everywhere.
Sigh. And he said this about Chagall’s use of color, which is what initially attracts the viewer and captures his attention:
The colors are a living, integral part of the picture and are never passively flat, or banal like an afterthought. They sculpt and animate the volume of the shapes. . . they indulge in flights of fancy and invention which add new perspectives and graduated, blended tones . . . His colors do not even attempt to imitate nature but rather to suggest movements, planes and rhythms.
Chagall was able to convey striking images using only two or three colors. Look what he was able to do with BLUE!
Sometimes up is down, and down is up. Chagall painted his heart on the canvas. He once said:
In our life there is a single color, as on an artist’s palette, which provides the meaning of life and art. It is the color of love . . . If I create from the heart, nearly everything works; if from the head, almost nothing.
These days there seems to be a shortage of love in this country. A good antidote is to immerse oneself in Chagall’s work — the stunning, swirling blues of moonlight, romance, memory, compassion, holiness, fantasy, truth. A blue face, a blue angel, a blue village, all help to heal a broken world.
“I had only to open my bedroom window, and blue air, love, and flowers entered with her.” ~ Marc Chagall
Recently, while browsing online for bear pictures (as all good arctophiles are wont to do), I chanced upon the work of Hungarian artist Reich Károly (1922-1988).
Just in case you’re feeling a little color starved and need some spring into summer inspiration, thought I’d share some of his children’s book illustrations today. Who can resist his bright colors, whimsy, and contagious joy?
Not only did I find the bears I craved (he once designed some bear postage stamps!), but so many other wonderful animals too. His style is child-like, charming, and irresistible. You just have to smile when looking at his pictures. 🙂
“Kindness is the No. 1 quality I look for in a man.” ~ Meghan Markle
“I’ve longed for kids since I was very, very young. And so . . . I’m waiting to find the right person, someone who’s willing to take on the job.” ~ Prince Harry
Get your tiaras and top hats ready!
In just 3-1/2 days, HRH Prince Henry Charles Albert David will marry Rachel Meghan Markle at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle!
There’s nothing like a royal wedding to quicken the pulse and lift the spirits. Oh, the history and pageantry! And who doesn’t love a fairy tale romance (they met on a blind date)?
This unconventional union shows the monarchy on a decidedly modern track: Prince Harry will not only be marrying a commoner, but an American actress — a divorcée of mixed race who is three years his senior. Such a thing would have been unthinkable in days of yore.
One can’t help but remember King Edward VIII, who abdicated the throne in 1936 to marry American divorcée Wallis Simpson, or Princess Margaret having to refuse Group Captain Peter Townsend’s proposal because as a divorced man he was deemed unsuitable by the Church of England.
How times have changed! It’s good to see more openness, inclusion and forward thinking. 🙂