A New Word

I have found that teaching the gifted and talented students has re-engaged my mind to new levels. I used to think about where words came from or who chose what word to mean what it does. But it's been a long time since I've pondered these things.

The tide is changing once again. Today I came across the word "august" in my reading and initially thought it was a mistake. Why would the author use a month of the year as an adjective? So, I looked it up and discovered this definition at dictionary.com: august, adj. inspiring reverence or admiration; of supreme dignity or grandeur; majestic

It made me wonder if whoever named the months of the year thought August was amazing. Because I’d never thought August to be that great. It’s hot. No holidays. Summer vacation draws to an end. Maybe that’s why they named it that - to try to redeem this time of the year. As I ruminate on it, over the last few years I have looked forward to August for new reasons. I've become a bit of a gardener. Most of my plants don't begin to flower and show off their majestic grandeur until August. So that could be inspiration to where the name came from. I have to be honest, I'm just musing here... not doing any research!

Then the book Wonder by RJ Polaccio came to mind. Auggie's–the main character–real name is August. His mom has homeschooled him his whole life because he was born with severe deformities. Auggie faces adversity when he goes to school for the first time as a fifth grader. But he overcomes. He does inspire admiration. His mother calls him a wonder.

Words are so much fun when you explore the meanings behind them. I like the depth of this word. What's your favorite word or a word you've learned recently?

Daddy's Girl

The following tribute can be found in the back of my latest book, Benjamin Blair and the Case of the Missing Noun Hound. It sums up why this project has been so special. He and my mom both brainstormed the birth of Ned the Noun Hound with me in the mid-90s. Ned has four friends that I hope to introduce you someday. But, those are other stories...

A Tribute to the Illustrator

Read more

Going Back...

My youngest daughter’s GT teacher came into her class when I was subbing the last week of school. She told me she was leaving for a full time position at another school. My eyebrows raised as I considered what that could mean. After much discussion and prayer with my husband, I applied, interviewed (via phone during a camping trip!), was offered and accepted the part time Gifted and Talented teaching position at my daughter’s school. 

I am going back. 

After 13.5 years! I’m a bit shell-shocked thinking “what have I got myself into?” But I also lay awake night after night excitedly flooded with ideas and possibilities. I already love this staff and the students I’ll be working with.

And yes, I will keep writing. My next book should be out next month if everything goes well with the post-production. And there are more stories in my head waiting their turn…

Read more

The History behind the Character Club Series

When I was in 3rd grade, I started a "Writer's Club" at recess. It boasted 2 members on day 1 and was just me by day 2 but I wrote a whole series called "Love is . . ." and still have them! They are folded pieces of paper, stapled with the funniest drawings. The "books" take you inside a 3rd graders mind, but don't have much in the way of story element. I grew up and pursued teaching instead. I taught 3rd and 4th grades for 10 years. The only thing I disliked about it was teaching writing - especially GRADING it! But towards the end of my full-time teaching years, I took some writing classes that turned my thoughts around. When our daughters were born, we decided I'd stay home with them. That began my second career. Ten years later when both of the girls were in school full time, I began subbing. Interacting with students again inspired me to once again explore writing. The dream had been dormant but not dead. Every once in awhile, I'd think of a plot and begin writing but give up after a page or chapter or two. I kept telling those who asked that unless God gave me an idea, I couldn't write. I also had a friend tell me that children's publishers are looking for series of books, not stand-alone stories. My comment was "I can't even think of one idea, let alone a series!"

Read more