Tuesday, August 18, 2009

August 18 2009

It's Tuesday. Mostly sunny here in Iowa. The kind of late summer day that makes one feel empowered enough to think this might be the day to meet all sorts of goals that would seem down right foolish on a gray, rainy day. A goal like maybe updating one's website.

I did try. I did make one change. But this blog has become my escape route, my backdoor. Visit me here, I wrote on what became the only entry I made on www.michelledwards.com/ I had wanted to write something about my book Alef-Bet, now back in print after many years. The above illustration is from the book. Ah well, you did see it here. And it's on Amazon. And wherever fine books are sold, as my husband is so fond of telling those kind enough to inquire.

Knitters, check out this week's Lion Brand Newsletter for my latest story, Back to School.

Other news to report has to do with owls. The one who showed up in the woodpecker's tree the other night. A glorious specimen. Huge. Commanding. And I think maybe a sign of something grand to come. When I was rewriting Jackson Friends, hoping that Harcourt would finally offer me a contract, I spotted an eagle on my walk. Now an owl. I know what I hope it means. Stay tuned.

Enjoy the last days of summer.

Friday, July 10, 2009


Here's what I had planned to post. Long, witty stories that told of what I have done in my absence from this blog. Wonderfully crafted, they would only hint at the majestic evening walks I have taken in the Iowa countryside. Without bragging, referring to the shawl almost done, lace almost perfect. The tiny purse entered in Home Ec Workshop's purse contest. (Iowa City folks, don't forget to vote!) The magnificent trip to Camp Ramah and the company of other children's book writers, new friends, I think. And my homegrown group, the Tall Grass writers. But here it is late Friday afternoon. The buzzer just rang. Time to need the challah for tonight's meal. So a humble offering to any followers of this blog. An image, rough and tumble. Posted.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

The five authors – Michelle Edwards, Carol Gorman, Jacqueline Briggs Martin, Claudia McGehee, and Anne Ylvisaker - are the members of the Tall Grass Writing Group, an ensemble dedicated to promoting children’s literature by appearing together across Iowa to share the joy of reading. All five live in eastern Iowa.

Jacqueline Briggs Martin’s Snowflake Bentley (Houghton Mifflin, 1998) won the 1999 Caldecott Medal; it’s an illustrated biography W. A. Bentley, a scientist who photographed individual crystals of snow. She has written 15 picture books; her most recent book is Chicken Joy on Redbean Road (Houghton Mifflin, 2007).

Carol Gorman is the author of over forty books for young and younger people, including Games (HarperCollins, 2007) and, most recently, Stumptown Kid (Peachtree Publishers, 2007), a story about baseball, prejudice, and honesty, co-written with Ron J. Findley. Many of Gorman’s books are popular with middle school readers.

Anne Ylvisaker’s most recent book, Little Klein (Candlewick, 2009), won high critical praise. Her earlier novel, Dear Papa (Candlewick, 2007), made Booklist’s Top Ten First Novels for Youth; she has also written numerous non-fiction books for youth about science and the natural world.

Claudia McGehee’s Woodland Counting Book (2006) and Tallgrass Prairie Alphabet (2004), both published by the University of Iowa Press, feature illustrations inspired by our local natural environment. A forthcoming book will focus on birds.

Michelle Edwards wrote and illustrated Chicken Man (New South Books, 2009), which won the National Jewish Book Award. She is also the author of the Jackson Friends series, starting with Pa Lia’s First Day (Harcourt, 2005) and most recently adding Stinky Stern Forever (2007).

Refreshments will be provided and additional copies of several of each author’s books will be available. This is the Haunted Bookshop’s third author event since reopening at 203 North Linn Street earlier this year.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Jane Clark Brown

I just found out that Jane Clark Brown , illustrator of the Marvin books, passed away in January. I met Jane at a Camp Hochelaga reunion. She was a tireless worker for Camp, and even at the reunion, I watched her pull a weed here and there. At Hochelaga, in the the new library, in the new Lodge, that she had worked hard to get built, we sat and talked about children's books, editors and illustrations. I was so looking forward to having another time like that with her at 90th reunion this summer.

Jane Clark Brown, Hochelaga Girl, you will be missed.

Monday, April 20, 2009

April Showers and Children's Books

I meant to post this several weeks ago. Here's what I have learned about blogging, though. Work comes first. This has been a busy time for me. I'm working on a new book. A huge undertaking. More about that in the coming months. And then there's a new knitting essay, Knitting for Soldiers, which will appear in this weeks Lion Brand Yarn Company Newsletter. On my needles at the moment is a hat for the Ships Project. Also the cardigan from the Mason Dixon Knitters, Knitting Outside the Lines.

Back to the the post I had intended for weeks ago. And children's books. My friend and great supporter, Natalie Blitt, has a blog, Reading Kids are Dreaming Kids. And her last post about my book, Alef-Bet.

Writing and illustrating books can be a lonely buissness. And there's a long wait between when a book is finished and when it comes out in print. I know it may sound a bit trite and over used, but a great review, or any acknowledgment of a book, always means a lot to me.Thank you, Natalie.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Fiber Gathering

A few years ago when I was signing books in Blowing Green, Kentucky, I had the good fortune of meeting Joanne Seiff and her husband, Jeff, the absent minded professor. I knew her patterns from Knits Magazine and she knew my Lion Brand essays. In the children's book section of a book festival, we chattered away about knitting. We have become long distance fiber buddies, exchanging stories, ideas, advice, and even recipes.

I have been waiting a long time for her book, Fiber Gathering. My library copy was picked up on Monday. Tuesday night was a quiet night here on Hickory Trail, so I brewed a cup of tea and settled down to spend some time with my friend.

What a great read! Joanne took me, and will take you, too, on warm-hearted, joyous romp around to the country's fiber festivals. Sampling foods, touching yarns, meeting spinners, shearers, knitters,and more, Joanne doesn't miss anything in what she brings us. And who would have ever guessed, that focused, Jeff, the absent-minded professor, the book's photographer, would capture the spirit and soul of animals, humans, and the gatherings that happen when all are brought together to celebrate fiber.

Fiber Gathering is a book you will want to read. Trust me me on that. And soon a second Joanne Seiff book, Knit Green, will be available. Now that's good news!

Visit Joanne at her blog, yarn spinner

Follow her on Fiber Gathering's Blog tour

March 31st Joanne Seiff, author Yarn Spinner
April 1st Kim Guzman, designer WIPs N’Chains
April 2nd Rosemary Hill, designer Rosemary-go-round
April 3rd Donna Druchunas, tech editor Donna Druchunas’ Blog
April 4th Cathy Adair-Clark, designer Catena Expressions
April 5th Terri Shea, designer spinningwheel.net
April 6th Chrissy Gardiner,designer Knittin’ Mom
April 7th Jeff Marcus, photographer Yarn Spinner (guest post)
April 8th JoLene Treace,designer JoLene Treace Unraveled
April 9th Cindy Moore, designer fitterknitter

Monday, March 23, 2009

March 23 2009

Okay, I am a little excited about spring. I've seen a few teeny tiny almost buds on the trees. The days are longer and I'm gearing up for warm weather. The baskets of mittens and gloves are still out. Just in case.

I would like the weather to stay cool enough for me to wear my new sweater a bit longer. It was the co-subject of my last Lion Brand essay, UFOs: The Sweater and the Shawl .

Alef-Bet: A Hebrew Alphabet Book (Hebrew Edition)

The paperback editions of Chicken Man and Alef-Bet arrived on Friday. It's an incredible feeling to hold these books again and know that they are back in print. Available. Many thanks to all who made the re-issue possible. You know who you are.

It's a short post today. Most of this afternoon has been spent trying to make friends with Photoshop 4 and In Design. More on that when we pass the dating stage. For now, there's dinner to made. Family time. And later, Jack Bauer.

On my needles is a cashmere scarf. Lion Brand Cashmere puts me in a great mood every time I make a stitch.

So long for now!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Two-Illustrators Friday

My kids love the book, Pat The Bunny. Yesterday while reading through Leonard Marcus's book, The Golden Legacy, I found this picture of Nancy Kunhardt holding the knitted rabbit which inspired her mother Dorothy to write the book. I loved the little girl in her wooly snowy suit, holding her wooly rabbit. I am a bit nostalgic today about little girls and baby book , as my oldest, my first baby turns 22 tomorrow. Happy Birthday, Meera!

Illustrators Friday - One

A sketch from my week in Pine Mountain, California. A week of friendship, work, knitting, reading and the great outdoors!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Valentine Friday

My friend Nora gave me a wonderful pillow with read and white Hungarian embroidery. It's a prefect Valentine with all its flourishes. And so this happy little Friday Valentine is also a thank you to Nora for a great gift.

It's gray here today in Iowa. Looks like it will snow. Tomorrow I'll be heading to my friend Rosalie's house tucked up in the California mountains. Latest report-snow there, too. I can hardly wait. I'll be packing work for my new book (more about that in later posts), warm clothes, and of course, my knitting. I have a sweater almost finished and I think I'll pack that. Plane knitting will be socks or mittens, something small.

I just finished a pile of ten washcloths for this month's charitable knitting. Hope to drop them off before I leave.

Wherever you are, whatever the weather is, have a warm Valentines Day!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


I want to thank all of you who have stopped by to visit this blog-in-progress. As I stumble and learn, it's great to read your comments. I think I am really going to like blogging. Now on to my third post.

See that thoughtful woman in the garden. That's Anna Levine, author of Running on Eggs. And see the book on the table, that's Anna's new young adult novel, Freefall, a Sydney Taylor Honor Award winner for teen readers. Set in Israel, it's Aggie's book, too. She's the main character and we follow her through the tender terrain of the time right before her army service begins.

Freefall skillfully covers the usual romance and friendship parts of a Y/A novel, but what kept me reading, is how that plays out in an Israel under attack. Abby's deep, vulnerable, strong and always true. As is her story. And that's what makes Freefall a wonderful read.

Check out Running on Eggs, Anna's first book. You won't want to miss out on that story. And if there are younger kids in your life, picture book age, look for Anna's other new book, Jodie's Hanukkah Dig.

for more information on Anna Levine and her books, go to http://freefallthenovel.com/

Friday, February 6, 2009

Spelling errors,Mrs. Fennessy and Illustration Friday.



I'm just getting the hang of blogging, and have learned my first big lesson. I should have paid more attention to Mrs. McGraw. My good friend, Vicki, wrote me this morning with a small list of my spelling and grammar errors. Please forgive me, I will try to do better.

I promised to post the Mrs. Fennessy image. So there she is. I haven't quite gotten the hang of how to place the illustrations, so she's the lady at the top of the post. The one with the orthopedic shoes.

My new Lion Brand essay is up, Valentines For All. And shortly, I posted my Friday illustration on
Old Sneakers, a group blog. http://oldsneakers.blogspot.com/

Thursday, February 5, 2009

First Post

February 5, 2009

Greetings from Iowa City, Iowa. This first blog entry is done from my very cold studio on a sunny winter's day.

How are you? Fine, I hope. That's how I learned to write a friendly letter. From Mrs. McGraw, my seventh grade teacher at School 18. She was tall, white haired, large chested woman. When she wrote at the blackboard, she always kept one had behind her back. She was the model for Mrs. Fennessy (my 4th grade teacher) in my Jackson Friends Books. And as hard as I have tried to upload an image of her. Can't quite bridge the technology gap. So if you are dying to see Mrs. Fennessy/McGraw, scoot down to the next post.

For knitting readers; FYI. I have just finished my Valentines Day essay for Lion Brand. It should run in Friday's newsletter.

So long for now.