Category: World

My first kids’ story!

I have to admit, even after receiving the acceptance letter and author’s contract, I was wondering if the story would actually end up in the magazine. I’d ordered several copies of the issue, so I’d have felt pretty silly if it hadn’t.

It turns out that Faces magazine, part of Cobblestone Publishing (which also includes Cobblestone, Cricket, Odyssey and Muse) still liked my story enough to print it – and it’s IN the April 2008 issue! You can get a copy here – just use the link on the right. (It’s the issue called “Go Green!”, shown at the bottom.)

The story is a retelling of “Old Man Winter” after the advent of global warming. The most unexpected feeling came when I opened the story to find three beautiful illustrations. The illustrations were made specifically for the story, showing three scenes that I had written. I can’t even describe it. But I can express my pride in this story’s potential to help kids make more conscious, earth-friendly choices.

I had written the query for the story as part of an assignment for a class called “Writing for Children and Teens” at the Institute of Children’s Literature. It’s a class that you can take more or less at your own pace. My pace has been slow, because I’m working full-time and sporadically nurturing other hobbies. How slow, you ask? I started the class in fall 2005, and I just sent my second-to-last assignment two weeks ago. At the beginning of the class, I was paired with my instructor Constance, who has extensive experience in the field (she was an editor at Highlights magazine). I send each assignment to her, through snail-mail (whoa), and she sends comments and suggestions within the next several weeks. Throughout the class, I also learn more and more about the submission process, so that I can market my work as well as write it.

My most recent assignment was a chapter outline for a novel-length project for teens. The next is three complete chapters from the outline. From there, I’ll have what I need to submit query packages to a few book publishers that I feel are good fits for the project. I can’t wait!


A few points to remember as you’re riding the CTA trains in Chicago (we Chicagoans call it “the el”):

1. Don’t worry so much about getting ready for your stop. Standing near the door for your whole ride just puts you in the way of other people trying to use the doors. Similarly, preparing yourself for the next stop well beforehand by forcing a tiny path through the rest of us (packed like sardines) is equally curious and irritating. Seriously, chillax! I have never seen anyone miss their stop because they didn’t get out in time.

2. Use your inside voice. When you’re in a group on the el, people aren’t amused by you unless they have nothing better to do. Same thing goes for cell phone convos. No one cares! In fact, they’d rather you shut your gab-hole so they can read their books. Red line riders are sometimes exempt from this rule, because the train itself can’t be bothered to stay quiet.

3. Seats have borders, too. When you’re lucky enough to score one of those not-quite ergonomic seats on the el, you get all the space within the confines of those nifty lines that border its fuzzy blue (or brown) surface. In other words, no one should cross borders with their giant elbows as they read the paper or text their (probably equally self-entitled) friend.

4. Check your scent. Everyone knows that voices carry – but breath travels, too. Carry a pack of gum with you for those post-coffee mornings.

I know I’ve missed a few – feel free to let me know your El-iquette additions.

What happens to Old Man Winter after global warming?

How would the folktale of Old Man Winter change in the advent of global warming? The readers of Faces magazine will find out, when my adaptation of the tale appears in their April 2008 environmentalism-themed issue.

Faces is a magazine about world cultures for kids aged 9-14. Each themed issue immerses its readers in unfamiliar customs and traditions through articles, activities, and retold folktales. (In case you were wondering, the story of Old Man Winter is derived from the Russian folktale “Morozko”.) Faces is part of the Cricket Magazine Group, which also includes Cobblestone, Spider, and Odyssey.

I’m just putting the final touches on the story now. In three short months, the issue will be in subscribers’ hands, sitting in kids’ bookstores, and available to order online.

It’s my first magazine publication, and I’m so excited!

I’m getting green

My annual carbon emissions are 25,579 lbs.

That’s equivalent to the emissions from 2.5 passenger cars.

Average carbon emissions per year, per person:
United States: 44,312
Qatar: 117,064
France: 13,668
India: 2,645
Kenya: 440

I’ve pledged to reduce my CO2 emissions by 9,480 pounds, or 37 percent.

Take the Green Challenge quiz here.
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