Friday, May 28, 2010

Grab Bag Friday: Teddy Tedholm

 Is it wrong that I'm glad it's summer partly because So You Think You Can Dance has started up again? Oh, Cat Deeley, how I've missed you!

Maybe I was in a sappy mood, but Teddy Tedholm's audition last night brought tears to my eyes within the first 20 seconds. The way this kid moves is so quirky and beautiful and heartbreaking. I kind of agree with Mia...he might be a genius.

You can watch it here, but you have to wade through about a minute of the "bad" auditions so the producers can set you up to understand how good he is. In case you were about to miss that little fact. :) [note: There's a new link/video below without all the intro stuff. Also, you can't really see the full screen here, so it might be best to click on the link. 5/29]

Teddy Tedholm: Boston Audition Season 7

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Songwriting, Fiction, and Poetry for Kids Workshop Deadline: June 1

For those of you with creative kids in your life...June 1st is the registration deadline for Songwriting for Kids, Fiction Writing for Kids, and Poetry Writing for Kids workshops.

I can't wait! All workshops will take place at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, and the registration form can be found at If you know of anyone who might be interested, please pass this information on.

July 12-16
Songwriting for Kids Vol. 1
Students entering grades K-3
This is the traditional Songwriting for Kids workshop. We will learn American folk songs and use them to discover the basics of songwriting while gaining some insight into the historical context of the songs. We will focus on elements of rhythm, rhyme, melody, and above all, collaboration. Students will learn about creative teamwork and work together to write a class song. Students who have previously taken this workshop are more than welcome as songs and activities vary from year to year.

July 12-16
Fiction Writing for Kids

Students entering grades 3-5
This workshop teaches the basics of fiction writing, including Character, Plot, Revision, and Imaginative Writing. During the workshop, students will study character development, plot structure, and setting in popular children's literature and will write and illustrate their very own book.

July 19-23
Songwriting for Kids Vol. 2

Students entering grades K-3
In Vol. 2, we will experiment with various songwriting forms and structures: the blues, the "hooky" pop chorus, the bridge. Students will work in small groups and individually to write a number of "song sketches" throughout the week. This workshop may be taken as a stand-alone, but students who have taken Vol. 1 will benefit from having a knowledge of the vocabulary and traditional song structure we will use as a base.
July 19-23
Poetry Writing for Kids

Students entering grades 3-5
This workshop teaches the basics of writing poetry in both form and free verse. Students will learn to study and analyze poems by poets from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Robert Frost to Gwendolyn Brooks and Robert Hayden. Students will use class time to write and illustrate their own short book of poems.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Book Trailers from Lane Smith & Neil Gaiman

I think I've posted a couple book trailers here before, but just in case you're new to the concept, it's basically a movie trailer for a book. I've been a little skeptical about book trailers...Are they effective? Worth the effort? Who will see them? Will they actually sell more books?

Well, here are two examples of book trailers that actually worked on me. As in, I saw the trailer, I had to have the book. What do you think? Are book trailers the wave of the future or just another passing fancy?

Trailer #1: It's a Book by Lane Smith
I plan to go out and buy It's a Book when it comes out in August solely because this trailer cracked me up. Now the question is, when August comes around, will I still remember it? I hope so!

Trailer #2: Instructions by Neil Gaiman
I just bought Instructions as a gift for someone who shall remain nameless (because I haven't actually gifted it yet) as a direct result of watching this trailer. What a great book for someone who is setting out on a journey or new direction in life (um, graduation, anyone?)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Grab Bag Friday: Creature Comforts on Self Image

If you follow this blog you already know how much I loved the show Creature Comforts when it was on, so I will spare you further comment except to say thank goodness you can get the DVDs on Netflix now!

Here's a little comic genius to kick off your weekend. Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Lena Horne: I Got a Right to Sing the Blues

This month, we lost the lovely, elegant Lena Horne. I've always admired how much intensity Ms. Horne brought to her singing. When you listen to a Lena Horne song, you believe each word is true because she put everything she had into her performances. In her melancholy songs, you can feel the ache in her voice like it's a tangible thing.

There's a fascinating obituary over at the New York Times about Ms. Horne's experiences as a black woman in Hollywood in the 1940s:
"Ms. Horne was stuffed into one “all-star” film musical after sing a song or two that, she later recalled, could easily be snipped from the movie when it played in the South, where the idea of an African-American performer in anything but a subservient role in a movie with an otherwise all-white cast was unthinkable."

While Stormy Weather is, of course, the quintessential Lena Horne anthem, I've always been partial to her version of I Got a Right To Sing The Blues. There's that ache in the way she sings "down around the river" that just gets me every time. I couldn't find a YouTube video for this one, so here's a clip. [I was also able to find the entire song here, but you may need Quicktime or something to hear it.]

Monday, May 17, 2010

Summer Blog Blast Tour 2010 Starts Today!

For those kidlit aficionados out there, you'll be happy to know that today is the kick off of the annual Summer Blog Blast Tour. This means an entire week of fantastic author interviews! (The full week's schedule can be found over at Chasing Ray.)

I'm especially looking forward to tomorrow's interview with Rita Williams-Garcia at Fuse #8. I recently read One Crazy Summer and loved the way she balanced humor and powerful moments in a story about three young girls who spend a summer at a Black Panthers day camp in the 1960s.

Today's SBBT interviews:

Friday, May 14, 2010

For Papa: On the Sunny Side of the Street

My grandfather passed away this week, and in the midst of all the sadness, I've been trying not to lose sight of all the happy memories I have of him.

Papa and I shared a love of old movies and big band music. If you stayed overnight at his house, you'd get to stay up late watching Turner Classic Movies and then be woken up at (what felt like) dawn to Bing or Frank or the Andrews Sisters blasting through the stereo. It was heaven.

Papa was a crooner and my favorite memories of him involve Nana on the piano and Papa at her side singing his heart out. I was lucky enough to sing this song with him at my wedding, and every time I hear it, I think of Papa belting it out with a smile. It might be a little sappy, but I like to think he's on the sunny side right now.

Frank Sinatra: On the Sunny Side of the Street

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

I Wrote a Hit Song! Winner: Lucy, age 9

I'm back from my blog vacation and lots has happened while I was away. For one, spring has arrived! Our window feeder has been teeming with chipping sparrows, chickadees, and bluejays.

And speaking of bluejays, the Spring 2010 I Wrote a Hit Song! contest winner has been announced. Our winner, Lucy, is a songwriter from right here in Maine and she wrote a very cool song about one of her favorite birds.

Please stop by the I Wrote a Hit Song! site to listen to Lucy's bittersweet song, "When a Bluejay Dies."

Once you've read the lyrics, please leave a comment to let the world (and Lucy) know what you like about the song.