Monday, May 19, 2014

From Left to Write: Summer Fun

With three weeks left on the countdown clock 'til the school's last bell rings, the buzz coming off the kids is palpable.  Ready or not, summer is coming.

And while I am more than excited to ditch the 5:40 am alarm clock, I would rather be ready and have some activities planned out, or at the very least, thought out.

There are the inexpensive to free activities that will be the staples to fill our days:

~ Trips to the coast to build sandcastles & take adventure walks along the
~ Summer library reading programs to keep li'l & big brains from getting
~ Tending to our growing edible garden in the backyard
~ Riding bikes through the neighborhood
~ Playing with neighborhood friends
~ Mornings at the park (mornings, because uber hot days & I are not on
    the friendliest of terms)

~ Painting with the kids (looking forward to framing some new pieces)
~ Learning how to play the guitar

And then there are those activities that cost some dough, but are totally worth it:

~ Taekwondo (Big Bro began taking classes over a year ago and four
    months in, Li'l Sis jumped in too)

~ Swimming lessons
~ Local day camp
~ A couple of local museums we want to visit
~ The Zoo
~ Jelly Belly Factory tour
~ Mrs. Grossman's sticker factory tour
~ Exploratorium

That should keep us pretty busy!  What are you up to this summer?  Any exciting plans?  Any fun destinations you're looking forward to visiting?

This post was inspired by Bittersweet by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore, a novel that exposes the gothic underbelly of an American dynasty, and an outsider's hunger to belong.  Join From Left to Write on May 20th, as we discuss Bittersweet.  As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.

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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

From Left to Write: Sparkle Words Shine in Ruby

"Use your Sparkle Words!"

Flashing back to my son's first grade classroom, I easily hear his teacher rallying her students to include descriptive adjectives into their writing.  As they were six years old, those words often consisted of a favorite color from an eight pack box of Crayolas;  or the words a lot, very, manygreat, or cool.  As simplistic as those words are, even several years later, I still think of those or any descriptions as Sparkle Words.

Clearly, those lettered images grow as kidlets' vocabularies increase.  And by the time words are whipped into published story, hopefully those stitched together letters and phrases paint pictures for readers to see into the writer's world.

Cynthia Bond transports her reader, creating magic with her Sparkle Words, in her debut novel, Ruby.  The imagery her words paint firmly embeds a reader into time, place, sight, sound, and smell.

My eyes sucked in the opening of Bond's tale, telling of a mad woman, but it was only the second paragraph that grabbed and pasted me stuck like a winged creature on a permanent fly paper pit stop.  Bond uses her version of Sparkle Words to tell us of Ruby Bell.

Eyes read those words, just as I was taught at three, moving from left to right across the page.  But, once was not enough.  And I still did not have enough, even reading it five, six, seven times.  Due to its subject matter, the book is not one my kidlets are ready for, but I knew those words in the second paragraph - the ones that would not let me go - are the perfect sample of where I hope they learn to grow their own versions of Sparkle Words, so I read it to them.  And even still, it was not enough.

It took me at least a day before I was able to move beyond just the second grouping of sentences.  And the very last set of words from that second grouping held so tightly to my breath, I fell asleep several nights watching them parade across my closed eyelids.

Fortunately, Bond continued to share her rich and layered imagery for my eyes to greedily suck in the hundreds more paragraphs in her tale.

I hope your world is adorned with Sparkle Words - words you hear, words you read, words you write, words you speak.

This post was inspired by the novel, Ruby, by Cynthia Bond, a gripping story about overcoming our past and embracing love in a racially charged rural 1950s Texas.  Join From Left to Write on May 8th, as we discuss Ruby.  As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.

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