November 1, 2015
It's always nice to start a new month off with a particularly uplifting post, and this one COUNTS. I got an email from a teen blogger named Jessica, who does all kinds of interesting and worthwhile things, but in particular, she is trying to get books into the hands of kids in homeless shelters in time for the holidays that start to roll around this time of year. (Really, I'm in favor of giving homeless kids books—and food and clothing and a place to live—all year long, but this is a particularly nice time to give, so let's go with the flow.) Jessica started a GoFundMe campaign called Operation Every Child. She's already reached her modest goal of $1,000 to buy books for homeless kids this holiday season, but why stop there? So additional funds will go to spreading the program to more homeless shelters. And if you're an author out there (hey, you!) then why don't you send a few copies of your latest book to Jessica so she can get them into the hands of a kid who might just need a good story to make it through a tough day. You can reach Jessica at email@example.com. I'm already gathering a pile to send to her now.
October 30, 2015
A quick "yahoo!" to my friend Linda Booth Sweeney, whose new book, WHEN THE WIND BLOWS, was recently published by G.P. Putnam's. The exciting story follows the adventures of a family that heads outdoors on a particularly blustery day. The text is simple enough for little ones, but rich and evocative enough to keep older readers on the edges of their seats. After all, there's a lot going on when the wind blows, and this book doesn't miss a thing: "Windows rattle. / Doors creeaaak. / Chimes sing. / We peek." It's a terrific read-aloud. And even though the characters venture out into the wild, it's an awfully nice book to curl up with on a comfy couch when the wind is howling outside and you feel like staying snug indoors.
September 25, 2015
Hurray, it's Friday, and I simply couldn't be happier to announce the arrival of a terrific new middle-grade novel called OWL GIRL, written by the highly talented Mary Atkinson. OWL GIRL tells the story of Holly, who's stuck spending part of her summer at the lakeside house of her very particular grandmother. MIssing her parents, hurt that her older brother Nick doesn't seem to want to spend time with her anymore, and worried about her aging dog Bonk, Holly has to figure out on her own how to get along with Gram while staying true to herself. When an owl hoots in the woods in the dark of the night, Holly can't resist following its call.
Ooh, I could go on and on about this adventurous, heartwarming book (which I had the pleasure of reading when it was in manuscript form), but I think it would be better if you just went out and enjoyed it yourself. And isn't the cover art by acclaimed Maine illustrator Jamie Hogan just gorgeous?? There isn't a thing about this book that isn't top shelf.
September 22, 2015
I absolutely loved this story from Muncie, Indiana, about some students at West View Elementary School who got SERIOUS about winning a lemonade war. What marketing strategies! What business know-how! What energy! Love it, love it, love it. Good job, third- and fourth-graders in Ms. Pickett's class. It sounds like your school year is off to a great start.
September 12, 2015
One last word on lemonade stands and their legality (or illegaility!). The Chief of Police in Leominster, Massachusetts, posted the following on Facebook on August 18, 2015:
Good morning Facebook,
This is your Chief of Police, Bob Healey, taking the wheel this time. I've noticed that a few comments are made under our posts regarding sales at lemonade stands. The posts reference surprise and wonder that these young entrepreneurs here in our city aren't shut down and ordered to cease and desist all operations of sales because they failed to secure the proper permit.
Fine folks here of LemonTown, I, Chief Healey, tell you now that our department will never shut down a young child's lemonade stand! As Chief of Police I would not authorize that shut down and no officer here at 29 Church Street would either! As you may have seen in a few of the posts, my officers enjoy a cold cup of lemonade, particularly on these scorching and muggy days! Some have even posed for a Facebook photo shoot with the kids. While hydrating the community, the kids are also learning about fiscal responsibility, community service and well—just being a good kid having good old-fashioned fun.
Rest assured kids and parents of future lemonade stands—you have my word that under my administration here at the police department, your stand will not be subject to permits and never shut down. In fact, please share by private messaging or if you want to, pick up that old-fashioned telephone and give us a call telling us where and when your stand will be operating. If we're able, we'll stop down to support you.
Kids of LemonTown, Massachusetts, as the old phrase goes, "When life hands you lemons, make lemonade."
This is Chief Healey over and out. Carry on.
So there's the final word on the state of affairs regarding lemonade stands in Leominster, Massachusetts. My guess is that Officer Ken from THE LEMONADE WAR would have been happy to serve under Chief Healey.
As the good Chief says, "Carry on!"
September 10, 2015
And just to finish off the parade of lemonade stands with a laugh (albeit a rueful one), here's a picture of comedian Jerry Seinfeld, his son Julian, and friends (and fellow criminals) Xander and Jaden, after a local East Hampton, NY police officer told them they had to close down their lemonade stand because they didn't have a permit. Yes! Just like Evan in THE LEMONADE WAR. According to sources (CBS, CNN, Entertainment Weekly), the kids had a lemonade stand on August 18 to raise money for Baby Buggy, a charity that partners with community-based organizations to distribute items (like strollers and clothes) to families. But the policeman (seen in the background on the right) told them they'd have to cease and desist their illegal activity. Who knew having a lemonade stand could turn into an episode of "Law and Order"? Ripped right from the headlines.
September 9, 2015
We've had a very hot September so far, at least here on the East Coast. (I know you folks in the Midwest have been feeling it, too!) One good thing about hot weather is it creates thirsty customers. Here's another fabulous lemonade stand from friends in North Carolina. Left to right: Eliza, Jessie, and Abby raised $85 for Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation, a favorite charity of mine! Nicely done, ladies. I adore the colorful, patchwork sign, and I salute you for practicing good sun protection techniques and responsible trash collection. You're an inspiration to us all.
September 1, 2015
I can tell these nine-year-olds in New Jersey really paid attention while reading THE LEMONADE WAR. They learned all the most important lessons: decorate your stand to attract customers, locate your stand in a place where you'll get a lot of business, add value with something extra (notice the pretzels!), and most important of all, donate some or all of your earnings to a charity. These kids raised money for their local animal shelter, just like Jessie and Megan did in the book! Hooray for young entrepreneurs!