Monday, December 31, 2018

Reflection: 2018

What a year! 

I signed with an agent, 
earned a portfolio award at an #SCBWI conference, 
signed two book contracts, 
started working from home as a full time author- illustrator, 
hit five years since my stroke and heart surgery, 
and all in all, I am utterly dazzled. 

Thank you, Molly O'Neill and Root Literary for taking me on and helping make this happen. 
Thank you, friends, for joining me on this journey. 
I am blessed. 

As we look ahead to another year, 
I wish you joy in all your creating, 
light in the darkness, 
and so much love.  

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Bea and Jules, all together:

Bea and Jules have had a busy month! 

Thank you for following their advent journey, and for cheering them (and me!) along the way. 

Long live the dreamers, 
the scissor-wielders, 
the glitter-lovers, 
outdoor gatherers, sweets-bringers, 
the merry makers! 

Cheers to you all!

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Bea and Jules, Day 25!

Happy Advent!
Happy Christmas!
from Jules and Charlie
and Bea -
and me. 

Monday, December 24, 2018

Bea and Jules, Day 24:

Bea and Jules have been bringing home a little bit of Christmas every day. 

But will it work? 

Bea put light jars at every window so her mom could see them on her way home. She hung up all the stick elves.  And there was the music concert. And clove oranges! And cookies!

But what if it’s not enough?

But it turns out, it is.

“YOU are the present, Bea! Every time I come home, it’s Christmas. All your making - every thing you touch, all the merry magic - that just adds twinkle. But I already have my Christmas right here.”



The Legend of the Poinsettia - Tomie dePaola

The Wish Tree - Kyo McClear, Chris Turnham
Bear's First Christmas - Robert Kinerk, Jim La Marche
How Six Found Christmas - Trina Schart Hyman
Christmas Tapestry - Patricia Polacco
Who is Coming to Our House? - Joseph Slate, Ashley Wolff
The Little Drummer Boy - Ezra Jack Keats
The Nativity - ill. by Julie Vivas

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Bea and Jules - Day 23

Jules gets to sit and be quiet for a long time. 
So she makes a poem.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Bea and Jules, Day 22:

Sugar plums.

Jules read stacks of Christmas books to Charlie.
Now Charlie wants to ride a North Pole train,
find polar bears and magic jingle bells.
And he wants to dream about dancing sugar plums. But who knows what sugar plums are?
Jules tells him they are a new kind of cereal.
Now "Sugar Plum Cereal" is on Charlie's Christmas list.

What books would you recommend to Charlie for dreams about dancing sugar plums? 

The Night Before Christmas - Clement C. Moore, Richard Jesse Watson
The Nutcracker - E.T.A. Hoffman, Maurice Sendak
The Polar Express - Chris Van Allsburg
Santa Calls - William Joyce
The Three Snow Bears - Jan Brett
The Mitten - Jim Aylseworth, Barbara McClintock
The Snowman - Raymond Briggs

Friday, December 21, 2018

Bea and Jules, Day 21:


Tonight is the longest night of the year.
Jules says that makes it the best night to look for light.
Bea’s mom piles them in her car, and they go light-finding. 

Bea loves everything with icicles and snowflakes. 
Jules loves houses that look like gingerbread with white icing, and everything that sparkles.
Charlie’s favorite is a house with a flashing train in the yard. 
It even SINGS! 


Great Joy! - Kate DiCamillo, Bagram Ibatoilline
Shine Mine - Mary Quattlebaum, Tim Ladwig
Snowmen at Night - Caralyn Buehner, Mark Buehner

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Bea and Jules, Day 20

Today, Jules is giving cookies and oranges 
to some of the people she sees each week:
Bus drivers. 
Mail deliverers.  
She ties up cookies in bags.
Charlie is pretty sure he should have all the cookies.
"Just the broken ones, Charlie."
Jules instantly regrets saying that. 
"Don't break MORE cookies, Charlie!"  

What are your favorite holiday cookies to make (and eat)?


A Little Women Christmas - Heather Vogel Frederick, Bagram Ibatoulline
Take Joy - Tasha Tudor
Merry Christmas, Strega Nona - Tomie dePaola

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Bea and Jules, Day 19:

Jules has the best, best news!
Gran is starting to feel better! 

Gran says that after last night's music, 
she almost feels as spry as a snap pea and fit as a fiddle.

Today she is sharing pie secrets,
and Jules is all ears.

How is that for a little bit of Christmas magic?

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Bea and Jules, Day 18:

Practice makes music. 

Bea’s mom whirls away at her new job.
And Bea is a whirl, too. 
She's planning a surprise. But she has to practice.
“Practice makes music,” Bea says.
It’s not the kind of gift you wrap, but Bea hopes her surprise will brighten up some hearts.

Show time!
Jules’ Gran comes. Uncle Moony, too.
Bea’s mom takes the night off. 
“Ladies and Gentleman, welcome to our show!” 
Bea plays.
Jules plunks.
Charlie plays Bea’s cat: Tail swish. Whisker rub.
Purr. Purr. Purr.

What are your favorite holiday music traditions?

Monday, December 17, 2018

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Bea and Jules, Day 16:

Arise and shine.

Bea and Jules are treasure hunting again.
Jules says her best ideas come from outside.
Rocks make good presents!
Some people paint or draw on them. That is an easy way to give someone a smile - rock art.

But Bea has a shinier present in mind.
She collects smooth rocks from the beach. Sand or any kind of gravel works fine, too.
Small candles will nest in the rocks.
Grownups can help light the candle.


Saturday, December 15, 2018

Bea and Jules, Day 15

Wreathy Making

Today, Bea and Jules forage for outside presents.
Charlie helps.
             ”Remember, Charlie - don’t eat wild berries!”
Gather, bunch, bend, and tie. 

Wreathy gifts! 

Oops. Charlie's has heaps of branches,  
but they're all sticks! 
Thankfully, Bea always has a plan.

What can she do with a pile of sticks?

Wrap them with yarn and bells.
Or paint them to look like long red elves! 

Now Bea can check “make stick presents” off her list. 

What are your favorite crafty things to make this time of year? 

Friday, December 14, 2018

Bea and Jules, Day 14:


Today, Jules and Charlie are making cookies. 
Here are Charlie’s directions for decorating gingerbread people:
1. Grab a raisin in each hand. 
2. Put one raisin on the cookie. 
3. Put the other raisin in your mouth.
4. Repeat until 
your mouth is too full, 
your cookie runs out of room, 
or your sister makes you stop.


The Gingerbread Man - Jim Aylesworth, Barbara McClintock
Gingerbread baby - Jan Brett
Gingerbread Friends - Jan Brett
Gingerbread for Liberty! - Mara Rockliff, Vincent X. Kirsch
The Gingerbread Man Loos in the School - Laura Murray, Mike Lowery
The Gingerbread Girl - Lisa Campbell Ernst
The Gingerbread Boy - Paul Galdone


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