As I'm sure most of you have heard, author Brian Jacques passed away this past weekend. No need to say that the children's literature world has lost a giant. I don't think I'm exaggerating when I say he paved the way for series writers to be "box office hits."
I, like my many of my former students and now bookstore customers, anxiously awaited the next installment of his famed Redwall series. But I was also a big fan of Flying Dutchmen series too. He had a way of telling a broad, epic journey and make it fun.
Additionally, the store was fortunate to host him a few years back. What struck me about him was his natural talent to tell a story. He spoke with such eloquence and emotion and had everyone, kids and adults, sitting on the edge of their seats.
RIP Brian Jacques.
On another note, the deadline for the Highlights Foundation's Chautauqua conference scholarships is February 12. As a former attendee (and scholarship recipient), I strongly suggest writers attend this week long event. Not only is it one of the best vacations you'll ever take, it's such a phenomenal writing conference that you won't regret attending.
It took me years to make up my mind to attend (being cajoled by a good friend of mine who had attended earlier). I finally applied and was pleasantly surprised when I got the scholarship. What did I get from it? I did get my Reading Today job through a contact I made there. I met National Book Award Winner Kathryn Erskine before she was published, as well as several other good friends and colleagues.
More information can be found at www.highlightsfoundation.org
My advice is "Give it a shot. If they say no, you are not out anything. But if they say yes...."