I was asked by the amazing Ounce of Prevention Fund to join the #ShareYourWords campaign. The Ounce of Prevention focuses on early childhood education and “gives children in poverty the best chance for success in school and in life by advocating for and providing the highest-quality care and education from birth to age five.”
Have you been wondering if my book Snappsy the Alligator (Did Not Ask to Be in This Book)is the right book for you? Or for your horse-loving nephew? The neighbor kid who wants to be in the CIA? Your son who loves baseball? That 8-year-old you know who is planning on joining the circus? Your farmer uncle? Your aunt the accountant? The college professor you always see at the bus stop? That weird old guy on the corner who threw an apple at you once?
The answer to all of these is YES. Don’t believe me? Look here:
When I meet with students, I try to convince them that being a writer is not easy. That I don’t sit down at my desk and words flow from me effortlessly. I also try to convince them that I’m not rich. I don’t have a butler. I don’t live in a mansion.
They don’t always seem convinced.
Mostly I tell them all this because I didn’t know it when I was a kid. I thought authors were magical fairy wizards who lived in castles made of jewels. Or, I guess, mostly I thought authors were either dead or millionaires.
I didn’t know writing was something anyone could do.
Want proof of what the writing life is really like? Here’s a (mostly true) video about how I came up with the idea for Snappsy the Alligator (Did Not Ask to Be in This Book). It involves a lot of coffee, terrible story ideas, and procrastinating.
So, what do you get when you add two Star-Wars-obsessed kids, Legos, and a video camera? This. (Also: I feel the need to mention that they haven’t actually seen any of the Star Wars movies. So this is their version of Star Wars via, you know, book learnin’.)
Today we fete Zuzu, who is now 4 (and also celebrate this fun brief time when, until August, we have kids who are 2, 4, 6, and 8 years old). We are making cherry cupcakes today, since apparently cherry cupcakes mean birthday. For her birthday dinner she requested:
broccoli, for the people who want broccoli
carrots, for the people who want carrots, not me though, make sure you put down ‘NOT ZUZU’
salad for the grownups
bread with butter.
Sounds good to me. And I’ll leave you with this, which you’re going to have to view as a rare white unicorn glimpsed in the forest (I used to say “it’s like seeing Snuffleupagus” until I found out that now everyone can see Snuffleupagus). Zuzu often picks up a book, and reads it to herself in this incredibly hilarious (to us) fashion, making up the story based only loosely on the pictures and more on what people are saying near her at the time, and whatever else might be going through her head. We all, all of us, here, love watching her do this, BUT…if she knows she’s being watched, she stops immediately. Last week I saw her reading to herself in this manner, and tried to get a video, but I was too far away, and next to the humming aquarium, so you can’t really hear her. But you can get a sense of the drama involved, perhaps. (The drama of her reading, I mean.) (Though also maybe I mean the drama of stalking my children as I hide amongst the furniture, careful not to disturb them in their native habitat.)
And what better way to celebrate a dog-loving girl’s birthday than with a dog-shaped cake? Thanks to Martha Stewart for the recipe (cake here and frosting here) and templates and to Adriane for the extra-large pastry tip.
In retrospect, this cake was a bit much. It took the better part of the day to make and, as you can see, is the size of an actual dog. Still, it was kind of fun. And yummy.