Today's post is a strange one. It's my brother-in-laws birthday and he is actively dying a pretty horrible death. His mom, my exquisite 90 year old mom-in-law, and I have been his main care-givers and it's been really challenging. I've been around other deaths but none as difficult as this. Morphine helps but his will to keep breathing makes for lots of wheezing and coughing and awful sounds in trying to get air in. No-one shows this kind of death in movies and I don't think that this kind of death is the subject for young children but there are some great books for kids about death, such as the many great titles on this list.
My favorite is Badger's Parting Gifts, which is truly wonderful on so many levels.
Sustenance in Teaching
Right now I'm co-teaching a now-closed for 2016 Middle Grade course with the awesome Hillary Homzie with beautiful, soulful, super smart talented and fun students. Hillary and I love working with each other, making each other better teachers and better writers while helping our students who help us with the exact same things. At the same time we all support and nurture each other in a myriad of ways. Hill and I were talking about our excitement at knowing that students from this course will be getting published and how magic the whole process is for us being a part of that. Then I got a Facebook post from Miri Leshem-pelly in Israel who took our Craft and Biz of Writing Picture Books course coming up in May and just got a contract. Here it is verbatim, "Dear Mira Reisberg, I wanted to share with you the exciting news that I've just signed a contract with Kane Miller Publishing for the picture book that I wrote during your wonderful course at the Children Book Academy! Thank you so much for helping me on my way to publication." Wow, talk about being nurtured and sustained. This makes 81 contracts for former students which feels pretty phenomenal.
So right now I feel that I'm holding and being held and even though life can be really hard at times, there's tons of beauty and joy that I am very grateful to be a part of.
So I'd like to switch gears and share a blog post from one of our current students and former scholarship recipients Kara Stewart. I don't normally do this but as we get up to 80 thousand views per month (even though most of the readers don't comment :( I wanted to help her have a wider platform, It's a really important post that may be difficult for some to read but I hope that you read it anyway and please share it. I'm just going to share the beginning to give context:
Writing About Native Americans by Kara Stewart
Today's post is lengthy. I created it first not as a blog post, but as an addition to the online MG writing course I am currently taking through the Children's Book Academy. I noticed that a number of writers in the course with me had some form of American Indian content in their books or planned books. To address that, I wrote the following guest post, which I hope will be sent out with the other course materials. I'd love it if Mira Reisberg would use it as a part of all of her courses going forward. She has a wonderful opportunity to educate writers on diversity as part of their craft education. I would also love it if agents and editors would seriously consider these points when evaluating manuscripts. Here's the link to read the rest of this powerful post!
And of course I will. We already discuss diversity as part of all our interactive courses, especially in the webinars but I will make sure to include this link from here on in.
Award-winning creative, Dr. Mira Reisberg, has worn just about every hat in the industry including: art director, editor, best-selling illustrator and author, kid lit university professor, and literary agent. Mira holds a PhD in Education and Cultural Studies with a focus on children's literature. Her mission is to help make the world a better place through children's literature and joy.
3/7/2016 04:03:56 pm
Working in a kindergarten classroom it seems that every year we are faced with the loss of a pet, grandparent, parent, sibling or community member and I’ve read many of the books listed. Another good one is IDA ALWAYS by Caren Lewis. I wrote a picture book, LOVE NEVER DIES, that I’m submitting to agents right now. It was inspired by the death of my brother which sounds very similar to the horrible time your brother-in-law is having. I'll keep your family in my prayers.
3/7/2016 07:52:03 pm
Sharon, thank you so much for your beautiful comment. It is greatly appreciated. I wish you all the best in getting Love Never Dies published. These books are very important.
3/8/2016 09:12:35 am
I am so sorry for your loss Mira. Death in the past few months has hit my family hard and explaining to children brings so many emotions.
3/8/2016 04:14:05 pm
Thank you Jenna. I know that you've had a really rough go losing your grandmother too. We are given so little training in how to deal with death and how to celebrate life as well for that matter. Thank you for your kind words.
3/8/2016 02:18:37 pm
So sorry for your loss. Death is a difficult subject and I thank you for sharing your list of books about it. Condolences to you, your mom-in-law, and all the family.
3/8/2016 04:15:18 pm
Oh Charlotte, thank you. You are such an incredibly kind and thoughftul person. Your words are greatly appreciated.
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We are so excited to be mixing things up at CBA, beginning with some delicious additions to the Blogfish. Meet our awesome bloggers!!
Here's our lineup:
1st Mondays begin with awesome multi-published former student Shirin Shamsi who will be focusing on Muslim and cultural kidlit.
2nd Mondays will feature super smart Melissa Stoller whose career is taking off with several new books.
3rd Mondays will feature Bryan Patrick Avery, published writer, man of mystery, and professional magician among other things.
4th Mondays will feature STEM, STEAM & SEL obsessed author Kourtney LaFavre sharing delightfully dorky, quirky, and fun info.
And 5th Mondays we'll be taking a break