Friday, April 23, 2010

HealthCorp Gala

I was lucky enough Wednesday evening to attend Dr. Oz's HealthCorp Gala. It was at Pier 60 on the water and it was a beautiful (and fun!) evening.

I went because a very good friend of mine Tara Guber was being honored for her work with YogaEd, an organization that she started whose mission it is to bring yoga into the school system. It's an incredible program with some remarkable people attached and it was wonderful to get to celebrate her success. In fact, the entire evening was like a whose-who of the children's world in New York. It was a very different crew than my usual publishing circuit but it was all people who are running programs whose mission is the betterment of our youth. I met a man who brings drumming and musical theater into schools, a woman who is running a program to bring art therapy to preschools and many bigwigs who I (admittedly) was more than a little starstruck at meeting. These are people who inspire me daily, who make me feel, in the moments when it would be easier to crawl up and give up, that what we do is important and beyond important, absolutely vital.

I felt a bit like Cinderella after it was all over, slipping back into my flats and walking the distance home to my Chelsea apartment. But one thing stayed with me from the night and that's the passion all these people have (and sustain) for their cause. I've realized lately it's very difficult to get anything done, really done, without passion. With passion comes the motivation to do amazing things. These individuals are pure proof.


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

National Library Week!

In honor of National Library Week I've compiled some links I think are fun and informative. I love libraries. And librarians. And books. And children. And quiet time (ask my roommate, I'm a big fan of quiet time), so I wanted to celebrate on the blog. Thank you, thank you, libraries and the people who work in them. You do us all proud.

Reading Rockets has a great post on favorite books about libraries and librarians. Read it here:

Jo Knowles has written a lovely post on why libraries are important. And why we should fight to save them. Read it here:

Betsy Bird's complete "100 greatest kid novels" list. OK, so it's not necessarily about libraries but she is the raddest librarian I know. So, it stays. Read it here:

Last but not least celebrate National Library Week by going to your local library. Set up show for a few hours. Read, write and observe. Libraries are special places. It does us all good to remember that.

Read away,


Sunday, April 11, 2010


Very close friends of mine had twins last summer and since they were born my Sundays more or less revolve around spending time with them. I usually stop by their apartment once or twice a week to say hello but Sundays are really our time. Sometimes we go for brunch after hanging out with the twins in the morning or we just lounge around the apartment, drinking coffee and gossiping. It's one of my favorite things about my week, least of which is the fact that I think (hope, really) that the twins are developing knowing who their aunt Rebecca is.

When I moved to New York is never occurred to me that I'd miss family. Sure, I knew I'd miss my own family, but I saw that as missing my mom and dad as individuals, not necessarily as people who provide comfort and stability. I've heard people say that New York is a city in which you find your family. That people move here from every corner of the world and are drawn together by circumstance, interest, faith and heart. I realized today, as I puttered around their kitchen, pulling open drawers and setting the table for lunch, that I felt at home. That I felt like I was home. It's a funny thing to wake up in the middle of your life. To have a moment in which you realize that whenever there is, you're somewhere close. Sundays remind me that sometimes just slowing down and taking in the simple pleasure of the people around you is what life is all about. That this is the best it gets.

Although I have a sneaking suspicion that when the twins say "Rebecca," it might get even better.

Have a wonderful week,


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Order Rules

April is shaping up to be a very big month. Birthdays, some travel plans, and, of course, lots of work. My general routine has been shaken up quite a bit which is proving to be challenging when it comes to getting anything really done. You know what I mean, right? The extra-long weekend away or the doctor's appointment during your usual writing time or the lunch meeting outside are all innocent enough, except when they're back to back to back and all of a sudden you've gotten no writing done for a week.

I was speaking to a close friend of mine and kindergarten teacher about this over the weekend. I was lamenting a bit about my schedule, how whenever I become lax in my day structure everything seems to fall apart, and we started to chat about children. Routine is unbelievably important in the early years of life. Yes, childhood is about free expression and exploration but there is a reason the garden is the consummate metaphor of childhood. Children need to feel free to run wild, but in the confines of safety and order. In other words, routine is key. So much of life at that age is new and scary. The magnitude of things a four year old comes in contact with over the course of a day that they fail at is overwhelming. Having a structure and a routine creates a sense of accomplishment and peace. It allows children to succeed at the small things like how to tie their shoelaces and knowing where the crayons are for free drawing time. It's also the reason I love to write children's books. The beautiful simplicity the picture book form allows is something I have always gravitated towards. How best can we tell a story with the fewest words? How can we pay tribute to the ever-present themes of childhood? How can we, at the end of the day, create something that will last?

The experience of childhood changes from generation to generation, certainly, but those beginning years remain the most untouched. They don't know how to work ipads yet (well, maybe some do!) or care that pizza has hydrogenated fat. To them, life is magic. Yes, frustrating and confusing and at times terrifying, but new, and exciting. Everything is an adventure.

Order helps them to feel secure in the wild of this world. To know there are certain things they can count on, even if the rest of life fails them. My guess? It would help us, too. What are the things in your life you need in order to feel safe, fulfilled, content? Make sure they don't leave your day. I'm going to try.

Have a great day,


Sunday, April 4, 2010

Catching Up

It's been way way WAY too long since I posted. A mis-mosh (mish-mosh?) of things are to blame for this most of which in some way involve my absurdly short attention span, the approximate four books that I'm working on, and, of course, chocolate. As my friend Leila would attest to, chocolate is always to blame. I've also been working on some really neat freelance projects with a few educators I wholeheartedly admire. So, all in all, time well spent.

But, I digress.

Nurturing Narratives is growing in all sorts of exciting ways. I was lucky enough to participate in the specialist (it's a word, I decided) of birthday parties last week. It's always such a joy to bring writing to children on their birthday and make language and narrative FUN. Like, CLOWN fun. For me that's the name of the game. Being silly, laughing, making words and enjoying it. We came up with a great story about princesses and faraway places and there was even a dramatic play to top it all off. A lovely afternoon, indeed.

What else?

I was in Portland over the weekend and had the absolute privilege of going to Powell's Bookstore. Has anyone been? It's the Mecca of books, I think. I spent about three hours in the children's section. So long, in fact, that I nearly missed the reading I came there to see. It was wonderful. I've never seen a bookstore quite so fully stocked in my life and everyone was so helpful and friendly. Well, everyone in Portland was so helpful and friendly. Which was appreciated. Especially since it rained the entire four days.

More to come soon. Have a wonderful week!