family · genealogy · history · stories · Uncategorized

Revisiting Paradise

There’s something about this place that affects people, even people who didn’t grow up there or have family from there. Just his week, I received this message from someone who saw my blog entries about Paradise, Katie, and Estel. Here’s what John wrote: Tanya,  As a young man in the 1970s, John Prine’s song sparked… Continue reading Revisiting Paradise

biography · book review · Common Core · history · kidlit · libraries · nonfiction · STEM · writer friends · writing · YA lit

Review: The Jerrie Mock Story: The First Woman to Fly Solo Around the World

The Jerrie Mock Story: The First Woman to Fly Solo Around the World by Nancy Roe Pimm Hardcover and Paperback, 168 pages Published March 2016 by Ohio University Press ISBN13: 978-0-82142-2-151 Everyone has heard of Amelia Earhart, but what do you know about Jerrie Mock, the first woman to fly solo around the world? Amelia… Continue reading Review: The Jerrie Mock Story: The First Woman to Fly Solo Around the World

award winners · book review · books as gifts · characters · fairy tale · favorite books · folktale · kidlit · libraries · middle-gradel novels · stories · summer reading · Uncategorized · writing

Over the Moon for This Fairy Tale/Folktale

West of the Moon by Margi Preus Amulet Books/Abrams © 2014 Thank goodness for gentle stories that take you by the hand (much like the girls on the cover of the book) and take you into mountains, woods, and valleys, and even aboard ships. West of the Moon is a journey like that. Astri is… Continue reading Over the Moon for This Fairy Tale/Folktale

canning · family · grandmother · mother · personal insights · summer · tomatoes

Taming the Tomatoes

I have a deep and abiding love of tomatoes. They remind me of long summer days, of standing beside my grandmother with a saltshaker in one hand and a warm, red fruit in the other in her weedless garden. They remind me of something that is both wild and tame—growing like crazy until you wonder if… Continue reading Taming the Tomatoes

characters · favorite books · kidlit · middle-gradel novels · personal insights · stories · writer friends · YA lit

Those Resilient Characters

Today I’m the guest writer on The Nerdy Book Club blog. I talk about how, as a child, books with steadfast, resilient characters gave me what I needed during difficult times. They gave me hope. They made me believe in my own strength. It’s just one more reason that reading skills are so critical for… Continue reading Those Resilient Characters

family · genealogy · history · nonfiction · personal insights

A Bit of Perspective

I am still thinking about that trip to Paradise. There is no real way to convey the emotions of discovering a town lost to coal mining, but I think this image will partially represent the sadness. Where once there were people, there now is pollution. Where once there was life, there is now desolation. Where… Continue reading A Bit of Perspective

family · genealogy · history · personal insights · travel

Finding Katie, A Graveyard in Paradise, Part 4

The graves were in every sort of condition. Some were broken; some were flat and sunken into the earth. Standing among the front line of stones, I surveyed the cemetery, so overtaken with weeds that most of the markers weren’t visible at all. I knew from the photos I’d seen online that Katie and Estel’s… Continue reading Finding Katie, A Graveyard in Paradise, Part 4

family · genealogy · history · personal insights · stories · travel

Such a Sadness, A Graveyard in Paradise, Part 3

Aunt Sue and I slowly headed down the gravel road, the stones crunching under the tires and dust drifting behind us. We followed the path the men had described, but even with that we got lost. All the terrain looked the same—orange, terraced, and mostly barren. Tenacious weeds and grass grew in the gullies where… Continue reading Such a Sadness, A Graveyard in Paradise, Part 3