May 11, 2017

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I had a delightful visit on May 9 to B.C. Charles Elementary School in Newport News. The children had read Lottie’s Courage and a couple had read Divided Loyalties. The students were bright, enthusiastic and polite. They had wonderful questions and gave thoughtful answers to the questions I asked. Students graciously helped me with research for a new book.

I gave each student a copy of Marching in Time and personalized the books. The class gave me a lovely Orange Star plant. Thank you Mrs. Tatum for inviting me to visit.

April 11, 2016

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templars_promo

The third volume of my trilogy based on the life of Viscountess Ermengarde of Narbonne, THE VISCOUNTESS AND THE TEMPLARS, will soon be available through Amazon and other online booksellers. 

September 19, 2013

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I’ve recently done a podcast about becoming an historian: http://www.collegefundingresource.com/045-career100-becoming-a-historian-an-interview-with-phyllis-haislip/

Check it out.

August 22, 2013

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One of the problems with being a children’s author is that my readers grow up. And yes, I want them to “outgrow” my books. As it’s important for them to grow up, I need to grow as a writer, too. My six books of middle grade historical fiction have been successful, but I took on a new challenge in writing my first adult historical novel. THE VISCOUNT’S DAUGHTER was published August 10. It’s available both in paperback and as an ebook. Check it out. The ebook is available at: http://amzn.to/14wygWs

The paperback is available at: http://amzn.to/17f8SDC
Also check o.ut my other website:
 

July 10, 2013

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The Library of Congress National Book Festival Summer Writing Contest for rising 5th and 6th graders encourages kids to write about a book that is important to them. “A Book That Shaped Me” essays should be one page long. Get an entry form at your local library or download one from: http://www.wrl.org/kids.

July 10, 2013

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Early summer seems to be a good time for children’s book authors. Kids are out of school and the summer stretches invitingly before them. I recently had a busy book signing at Colonial Williamsburg and to my delight met a lot of young readers.

I hope the kids who got my books will enjoy them in the days ahead. I have visions of them on the beach, in the mountains, or stretched out on the couch reliving our history through my books.

In the days ahead I’m sure I’ll hear from some of them.

 

 

April 5, 2013

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I met this delightful mother and daughter recently at Colonial Williamsburg where they bought a copy of one of my books.

I met this delightful mother and daughter recently at Colonial Williamsburg where they bought a copy of one of my books.

March 5, 2013

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Matthew Whaley Elementary School in Williamsburg celebrated Dr. Seuss’ birthday with their annal book fair at Barnes and Noble. I’m shown here with Media Specialist Maud Ann Wilson. What an exciting and delightful event.

February 10, 2013

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Librarians and Children: a great team!

Children from local schools participated Friday night in choosing this year’s Beacon of Freedom Award winner. The winning book was  Steve Sheinkin’s THE NOTORIOUS BENEDICT ARNOLD. Congratulations Steve and to the students who did an excellent job selecting a winner. Of course the students wouldn’t shine without the support of their librarians and families.

 

February 8, 2013

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I’ve been remiss. Over the years, I’ve received a lot of letters, cards, and emails from readers. And I’ve found they only write me if they like my books. In the past, I’ve not posted any of their letters. With her permission, I’m posting this comment from Ty’Reonna:

“You’re book was great I enjoyed reading it! Lili’s Gift inspired me to know that many young girls like me could not go on a great journey to find their father and have an amazing gift from god. That’s extraordinary! My favorite part was when she found her dad and they became a family again. Also when she went to go talk to the witch who didn’t turn out to be one, and what you explained on that part was the cover of the book where she held out her hand. The part that was sad was when her mom didn’t have enough money and Lili  and Caleb had to be sent to the orphanage and she would always get in trouble with her gift. You’re book was out of this world I will continue to read more. Hope you can write more books for my family and we would be delighted to read them thanks for being a great author! I learned a lot about the civil war and Virginia.”

Thank you, Ty’Reonna!

 

 

 

January 20, 2013

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This is Martin Luther King Weekend, and it is a pleasure to see so many African Americans visiting Colonial Williamsburg. Celebrate our history!

January 13, 2013

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White Mane Kids, the publisher of five of my children’s novels, has just made BETWEEN THE LINES available in electronic form. Check it out on Smashwords.

http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/273369

January 13, 2013

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Limelight Talent, a children’s theater group, in Petersburg, Virginia performed skits based on two of my books: DIVIDED LOYALTIES and BETWEEN THE LINES as part of the celebration of the  Revolutionary War Battle of Petersburg.

I took a number of movies of the great performances of the cast members, but I unfortunately lost those somewhere in cyberspace.

The actors and actresses did a great job with my characters. I spent December 1 and 2 at the Centre Hill Mansion in Petersburg where the skits were performed. One young man asked me if I didn’t get tired seeing the same skits several times. I told him an author never gets tired of hearing their words repeated by someone else.

Thanks to the young actors and actresses. Well done! It was privilege to see you. Thanks for your hard work in bringing my characters to life,

 

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August 28, 2012

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I was signing books at Barnes and Nobles in Williamsburg when a lovely 4th grade teacher bought books to share with her class.

Where would we be without enthusiastic teachers!

August 19, 2012

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Today I was signing books and I met a delightful reader whose mom purchased all of my books for her !!! I hope to hear from this very special reader.

July 7, 2012

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What a pleasure to meet Xavier and Sahara at my most recent book signing! Xavier reads to his little sister. I hope they enjoy LOTTIE’S COURAGE.

July 4, 2012

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One of the great things about being a writer is meeting readers. This was very special. I met Sara and Hannah through their grandparents (children’s writers LOVE grandparents).  These grandparents bought LOTTIE’S COURAGE years ago when it won the Beacon of Freedom Award. They gave it to their granddaughters who only now are old enough to enjoy reading it. When these girls visited Williamsburg, they wanted to meet me. So granddad took us all out to a lovely lunch where we had plenty of time to chat. I gave Sara and Hannah two of my more recents books and hope they will enjoy them as much as they did LOTTIE.

 

May 13, 2012

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Fifth-grade students at Langley read LOTTIE’S COURAGE. Here are some of their comments:

“I loved it when Lottie escaped from slavery.”

“I liked the part when Lottie got back with her mommy”

“I liked the part when the boy helped the soldiers.”

“I liked it when Ned hung the boy not he fence.”

“I loved the book, its full of history.”

“I like your books. They are amazing.”

“I couldn’t stop reading.”

“It’s a great book.”

“My favorite part of the story was everything.”

“I love everything about the book it’s giving me courage to write a book myself.

No wonder I love going to Langley. I was invited to see a presentation by Langley students. Check out these short clips on youtube.

 

 

 

 

May 1, 2012

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On last Saturday I drove to Richmond to attend a meeting of the Mid-Atlantic branch of the children’s book writers and illustrators. Literary Agent Molly Jaffa from Folio Literary Management gave the attendees an insight into some of the things an agent can do for a writer. She has helped Lana Krumwiede to make her first book a better book. It sounded like the ideal author-agent relationship. I left wondering if today that kind of partnership wasn’t rare.

I was fascinated by the presentation of Hazel Buys whose picture Olaf’s Door is available on iTunes. Buys seems to be taking advantage of the new technology.  I was a little disappointed there wasn’t more time given to the ebook revolution.

 

 

April 8, 2012

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My newest book is now available from White Mane Kids. Check it out!

March 4, 2012

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Until the new book is available about April 1, I’m offering my ebook THE TIME MAGUS  for $.99. It is available on Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, and Smashwords. My hope is that you’ll love THE TIME MAGUS so much you’ll want to buy the new book.

 

 

 

February 20, 2012

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It was a pleasure to meet Elizabeth, an eager reader, who was in Williamsburg visiting her grandparents. Keep reading, Elizabeth!

 

 

January 29, 2012

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It’s a very long process to write a book and get it published. But I am almost there with my new middle grade novel. It will be out in March from White Mane Kids.

Between the Lines is an historical novel for children between the ages of eight and thirteen. The story begins in Williamsburg, Virginia. Cassie is a mixed-race child who is a slave. During the Revolutionary War, the British Army offered freedom to slaves who joined their cause. Cassie escaped to the British only to be put out between the battle lines during the Battle of Yorktown, the decisive battle of the war.

I have seen sketches for the cover and I am looking forward to holding the book in my hands.

September 18, 2011

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My niece Pam and her husband James celebrated their wedding with a huge party.
 They offered a prize for the best decorated flipflops. Above are my winning flipflops.
 We had a great time and we are SO happy for the bride and groom.
What fun!

September 4, 2011

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There were many downed trees in our neighborhood.

Fortunately our house was undamaged, but others nearby were not so lucky. We have just had power restored after six days. We are glad we invested in a generator after Hurricane Isabel.

During the worst of the storm we could hear the thunk of trees going down all around us. It was scary.

Destruction was everywhere.

 

 

Our street was blocked and neighbors helped clear the trees.

 

Too bad!!!

August 26, 2011

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This fellow says hee-haw.

The animals can the Camino are sometimes real and sometimes legendary.

A legend or a fact? The beast of Gevaudan.

This wolf-like creature terrorized south central France between  1764 and 1767. There were over 200 attacks and more than 100 people died.

An heroic cat immortalized in stone.

This is a happier story. Cats were outlawed in France, but one little girl hid her cat. After the cats were gone, mice and rats overran the area. And the little girl’s cat saved the day.

 

August 19, 2011

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This dog was sleeping earlier in the middle of the road!

 

What you don't see, is that I could reach out and touch these critters.

 

It's hard carrying a pack all day.

 

How can one visit Spain without seeing El Toro?

 

 

August 14, 2011

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A dog's life

Modern day pilgrims who hike the ancient pilgrimage route, The Camino de Santiago, across France and through Northern Spain, encounter not only other pilgrims but a variety of animals. Fortunately, most of them are friendly.

Mama Horse and Colt

Getting out of the wind

 

In the 12th-century, people were interestedf in real and imagined creatures such as these carved on a capital at San Juan de la Pena

August 7, 2011

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Part of the fun of being a writer is to meet other writers. Friday night I met Maggie Stiefvater who was in Williamsburg as part of a book tour. Her latest book Forever, is the third volume of a young adult trilogy. The first two volumes, Shiver and Linger, have been wildly successful. Maggie Stiefvater gave an engaging talk and I got a signed copy of her newest book.

Mattie Stiefvater and me!

The next day I met Penny Clifford for lunch. Penny is another writer and long-time friend. She brought me a French copy of her young adult novel, The Shalimar Code. Check out Penny’s website:

http://www.marylouiseclifford.com/

That evening I signed books at Colonial Williamsburg and as always it was great fun to meet readers and their families.

 

 

Today I’m back to my own writing and household chores.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

July 16, 2011

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It is always great to meet kids who like to read.

Great looking kids!

July 8, 2011

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Here is six-year-old Juan completing an 8 K (nearly five miles) walk with his grandad

The Camino de Santiago is a medieval pilgrimage route that starts in France and end in Santiago, Spain. More than a 100,000 walkers undertake what at times is a very difficult journey. Pilgrims carry everything they need in backpacks and stay at pilgrim dormitories called albergues or refugios. Sometimes these places offer food for walkers and local restaurants provide special pilgrim menus. My husband and I have walked the route four different. This year was the first time we saw any kids on the Camino.

 Here Juan has been reunited with his mom and brother Javier and of course. his proud granddad.  Juan and his family live in Pamplona, Spain.

 

Sisters from Denmark

Nine-year-old Joan is on the right and her sister Marianne is five. They are walking all the way to Santiago with their mom. This day Joan has a blister. But the kids say they are enjoying the trek.

Carla from Ireland

Nine-year-old Carla was walking with her Mom and Dad and an older brother and sister. Carla likes the time in the dormitory best when she is NOT walking. Her family walked from Pamplona to Burgos, about 120K ( almost 75 miles).  Carla reported that her 12-year-old sister refused to come because her makeup might run. She stayed with her grandmother in Ireland.

What a pleasure it was for me to meet such great kids on the Camino. WELL DONE, KIDS!

April 27, 2011

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This year we had an usual Easter dinner, eating a picnic with friends on board their yacht.

April 22, 2011

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April 20, 2011

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It’s always exciting to meet avid readers.


This reader couldn’t wait to begin reading LOTTIE’S COURAGE. How rewarding for me to see someone enjoying my books!

April 17, 2011

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Life is good in Williamsburg in April!

April 16, 2011

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Colonial Williamsburg is lovely in April. Enjoy!

Gardens at the Governor's Palace

Redbud

 

Dogwood

Governor's Palace Garden

Colonial Williamsburg Garden

 

If you look closely you should see a bee enjoying the tulips.

March 21, 2011

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Kids in Ohio read Divided Loyalties and sent me great questions. I thought I’d post them since other readers might be interested in their questions and my answers.
1. We think Divided Loyalties should be made into a movie. Is there any chance of that? I totally agree. It would make a great movie and we could have action figures. Over 400 kids in Williamsburg where I live wrote to Disney asking that my book, Lottie’s Courage, be made into a movie. They never even got a response. However, I was thrilled that they cared enough to write Disney.
 
2. Why did you have MacAllister die in the story? We really liked this character. I liked MacAllister, too. The only crime in our U.S. Constitution for which there is a death sentence is treason. During the Revolutionary War it was hard to know who was a loyalist and who was a patriot. You can imagine, then, that treason would be taken VERY seriously. And the punishment was hanging. If he was discovered and “let off” the book wouldn’t be accurate. Also, I think it is important to remember what a high price the patriots paid for our freedom.  
 
3. Is there going to be a Divided Loyalties II?  Will you add new characters in a sequel or focus on Teddy? I haven’t thought about a sequel to Divided Loyalties. Perhaps you can tell me what should happen in the sequel. What problems would Teddy face after the war was over? Josh would have problems, too, but his would be very different because of his race. What do you think would make a good story? I like Teddy and Josh and I think they should be in a sequel.
 
4.  Why did you add Ears to the story? Lots of kids love pets and when I can, I try to include one in my stories. They are a part of life today and in times past. 
 
5. Do you ever go back and reread Divided Loyalties? It took me a long time to get all the errors out of Divided Loyalties. Usually books go through two galley proofs. Galley proofs are copies of the book from the publisher the author must correct and check and recheck making sure everything is correct. Divided Loyalties went through THREE galley proofs. Actually, I’m afraid to read it again. Afraid, I might find an error I missed. Sometimes I read a selection of one of my books when I visit schools so that readers can hear the author’s voice. What part of the book would you like to hear me read? 
 
6. What is your favorite book that you have written? I don’t have a favorite book. The characters become like my children. And most moms with more than one kid will tell you that they love them all the same.
 
7. Where did you get the idea for the plot of Divided Loyalties?  The book is based on an incident that actually happened and I found out about it when I was researching my nonfiction book Marching in Timeon the Colonial Williamsburg Fife and Drum Corps. Is that why Teddy lives in Virginia where you live? My son was a fifer in the corps and his best friend was an African-American boy. So, I dreamed up the book while watching my son march through the streets of Colonial Williamsburg. 
 
8. Why did Teddy’s mom have to die? I had a hard time with Teddy’s mom dying. I wrote about it and I felt so bad I took it out of the book. Then I thought about it. I try to be accurate with my books and in the eighteenth-century life expectancy (the overall time a person could be expected to live) was only 35-40 years. Today life expectancy in the US is 78 years. So, it was very likely in the eighteeth century for a kid to lose one or both of his parents before he/she was grown. As a result I returned to the way I had written about Teddy’s mom’s death at first in the hopes that some readers would ask the very question you’ve asked and learn how difficult life could be in times past. 

March 13, 2011

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It’s always a treat to visit Langley Elementary School. The fifth graders have read Lottie’s Courage and they had wonderful questions and seemed to really enjoy the book.

I got thank-you notes from many students and even a gift! What a pleasure to meet such great students and see Mrs. Stohler again, one of the fifth-grade teachers who loves history and instills that love in her students. I’ve been invited to attend their Civil War Fair in May! It should be great fun.

This year I videoed my talk. But I haven’t yet been able to figure out how to edit the material to a size that will fit on this website. I’m still learning….

March 4, 2011

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Some visitors to Colonial Williamburg are very knowledge about colonial life and customs. It’s always a pleasure to meet them. The young man shown in this photograph has taught himself to fife and he will appear next year in The War of 1812 electronic field trip created by Colonial Williamsburg. I was delighted to learn he had read my historical novel, Divided Loyalties, and found an historical error in the book. In one instance, I mentioned “socks” when the correct word was “stockings.” Since two experts connected with Colonial Williamsburg read the manuscript and we thought we’d gotten out all the errors, I was both humbled and delighted to learn a reader had spotted an error. It is very difficult to get all the “bugs” out of a manuscript and I work very hard to do so. It is gratifying to know someone is paying attention and cares about the details.

February 15, 2011

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Otis and I hosted a potluck dinner at our local pool for people who have walked the Camino de Santiago, or those who are intending to walk, the medieval pilgrim route tot he shrine of St. James in Santiago, Spain. 

 To our great delight Cullen and Palma made wonderful paella. 

Ron’s tortilla (Spanish potato omelet) was also a treat.

We had plenty to eat.

We shared memories.

We reconnected with old friends and made new ones.

 

  The great food, the Spanish wines, and the company made for a memorable evening.

January 16, 2011

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I have only recently delved into the rich and exciting world of podcasts. I’ve been reviewing my French on Coffee Break French, listening to a History of the World in 100 Objects, and the Secret History of Art.  I’ve explored a couple of writing podcasts, New Yorker shortstory podcasts, and even a Rick Steves podcast on pilgrimages.

For those of you with MP3 players, go to iTunes and select podcasts. That will take you to categories. You will find a podcast about almost anything you are interested in. Enjoy!

December 31, 2010

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This Christmas I was delighted to get a BIG box in the mail from Mary one of my readers in Pennsylvania with not only a gift for me, but also one for my coming grandchild. How very nice of her and her mom. They MADE these gifts!!!

An Adorable Baby Blanket

A Soft and Colorful Christmas Throw

Mary has also read my first e-book and written me a great review on Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Time-Magus-ebook/product-reviews/B004D4ZPP4/ref=dp_top_cm_cr_acr_txt?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1

I am blessed!

December 20, 2010

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Even though I’ve lived in Williamsburg since 1985, I never tire of Christmas here.

All the colonial houses are expertly and artistically decorated.

These decorations won first prize.

A dusting of snow adds to the feeling of Christmas.

The Governor's Palace wears greenery, too.

We even have colonial snowmen in Williamsburg.We have colonial snowmen in Williamsburg. 

This sign has a tiny yellow effigy of King George III, hanging by his neck!

 

Merry Christmas everyone!

 There is always something going on in the historic area. Today it was a humorous version of Scrooge. I made a short movie of part of the performance.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jOvOKzkSPv8

December 14, 2010

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The view from my study window. It is hard to stay on task when the world turns white.

 

Lovely, lovely snow!

December 9, 2010

Sixth-grade student members of the Wildcat Cafe read Divided Loyalties this year and had great questioned when I visited yesterday.

December 6, 2010

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It was Lili’s big day!

I was invited to Centre Hill Museum (built in 1823) in Petersburg, Virginia http://www.petersburg-va.org/tourism/cntrhill.htm to attend a series of skits based on my two Petersburg books for kids. What a thrill for me to see real children from Limelight Talent http://limelighttalent.org/ bring my characters to life.

The historic Centre Hill Mansion was a wonderful setting for my Civil War stories and it was beautifully decorated for Christmas. Two different actresses, Heather Talley and Sydney Welton, brought Lili, the heroine of Lili’s Gift to life and I was delighted to see children playing Fiona, Caleb, Miss Hodgkiss, Mr. Stroop, Mr.  Undertow, Matron, Mary, Aunt Edna, and the children’s grandmother Willow. 

After these wonderful performances, an actor, Stuart Nicholson read an excerpt from Anybody’s Hero.

Here I am with the actors!

Kids waiting to perform.

Studying lines. 

The wonderful skits were followed by a delightful version of Dicken’s The Christmas Carol.  Matthew MacLaughlin played Scrooge and three-year-old grandson Victor MacLaughlin was a touching Tiny Tim.

Kudos to Limelight Talent, Maria MacLaughlin who composed the Lili skits, and to Laura Willoughby, Curator of Collections for the Petersburg Museums. Well done!

To see excerpts from the skits:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eU3pgA0tq3I

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LO3RMbf6VaE

November 28, 2010

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Going to the beach at Thanksgiving is always a treat. It’s great to see kids having fun.

As always, the scenery was spectacular!

Even at night, the beach captiviated us!

November 23, 2010

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My newest book, an ebook, has just been published on Kindle and SmashWords. The Magus is a prototype of an advanced computer that goes back in time to 1937. The book costs $2.99 and the first 50 pages are free on SmashWords. Check it out!  http://amzn.to/ft8qxV  http://bit.ly/gdlqBL

November 20, 2010

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Walking in my neighbhood, I snapped the following photos for people who don’t have autum leaves or whose leaves have long gone. Enjoy!

Behind our house!

Some leaves are still green.
This fall leaves in my neighborhood are gorgeous.

A feast for the eyes!

November 15, 2010

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I was very fortunate today to talk with 300 sixth graders. What a great audience! What good questions!

It’s always fun to meet readers!

November 7, 2010

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Baby clothes are so adorable! What fun to buy them.

October 25, 2010

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Students did wonderful illustrations of Lottie’s Courage.

The kids were great listeners!

And they had insightful questions.

October 22, 2010

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It is always a joy to meet readers. These sisters from Indiana came to Williamsburg in full costume. Don’t they look grand?

The kids below are from Texas. They were full of enthusiasm not only for my books, but for the prospect of reading books electronically. Readers often ask me which of my books is my favorite, and I honestly can’t tell them. Because once I create the books, the characters become like my children. The same is true for my readers. Once I meet them I am quite convinced that each is very special. 

October 11, 2010

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Garrett, visiting from South Carolina is an avid reader who loves history!

Ian from North Carolina is also a history buff. How nice to meet readers!

October 6, 2010

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Virginia Author Phyllis Haislip to Partner with Petersburg’s Limelight Talent to Bring Civil War Stories to Life 

Limelight Talent will present historical skits based on two of Phyllis Haislip’s books Lili’s Gift: A Civil War Healer’s Story and Anybody’s Hero: The Battle of Old Men and Young Boys on Saturday December 4 and Sunday December 5 at Petersburg’s Centre Hill Museum. While both books are written for elementary and middle school age levels, the stories appeal to those of all ages. Lili’s Gift tells the tale of a twelve year old girl and her brother who journey from Philadelphia to Petersburg in search of their father, a Civil War soldier. Anybody’s Hero tells of two boys’ search for answers to some of Petersburg’s mysteries that coincide with their participation in the June 9, 1864 Battle of Old Men and Young Boys.

Both books complement history and reading lesson plans for 4th to 8th graders. Lilli’s Gift includes lesson activities and both volumes feature glossaries of Civil War terminology. The volumes serve as great classroom resources as well as appealing to avid young readers. 

A performance of excerpts from Anybody’s Hero will take place from 2:00 – 3:00 on Saturday December 4 and Sunday December 5. Performances of excerpts from Lili’s Gift will take place every hour on the hour from 10:00 until 1:00 on the same days. Mrs. Haislip will be signing books from 1:00 to 3:00 on both days. In addition to the performances, children’s activities will be offered at the museum on both days.

Both Lili’s Gift and Anybody’s Hero are available for purchase from Centre Hill Museum’s gift shop. The retail price is $8.95 plus tax. Centre Hill Museum is located at 1 Centre Hill Ave. in Petersburg. For more information call (804) 733-2401.

September 27, 2010

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Members of the Cherokee Nation visited Williamsburg this last weekend. It’s great living here. So much history! And many great photo opportunities.

September 21, 2010

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I have learned the skits based on my books, Andybody’s Hero and Lili’s Gift, will both be performed the same day with a repeat of the skits on the following day. I can hardly wait until December when children will bring my characters to life.

September 17, 2010

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I learned today that a children’s theater group in Petersburg, Virginia will perform skits based on two of my books on December 4 and 5.  The Saturday performance will be based on Lili’s Gift, my most recent book. The Sunday performance will be based on another of my books, Anybody’s Hero. Both books are set in Civil War Petersburg. What a thrill!

September 15, 2010

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Many home schooled children are visiting Williamsburg this week. I met lots of nice families. And I even got a hug and a kiss today from D.J., shown here in her colonial costume. Life is good!

September 6, 2010

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After Hurricane Earl brought us some rain, the air was crystal clear and it was great weather for a walk in the college woods.

Who is this little guy trying to hide?

And who is this fungus?

July 11, 2010

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This picture was taken at Dodger Stadium. We got to watch the Cubs play the Dodgers. It was a great game, but unfortunately the Cubs lost 3 to 2.  LA was cold. We wore sweaters and jackets over them at the game.

In addition to the loving the ballgame, we especially enjoyed the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena and the Huntington Library.  Even though the Huntington is a library, it is also a series of fantastic gardens.

Lotus plants growing in the Chinese Garden

One of many gigantic bonsai in the Japanese Garden

We had great food!

THE BEST PART OF ALL WAS SEEING OUR SON AND DAUGHTER-IN-LAW.

June 25, 2010

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A reader brought me this bookmark yesterday while I was signing books at Colonial Williamsburg.  What a thoughtful, ideal gift for a writer! Many thanks Alexandra.

June 10, 2010

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May 24, 2010

Steve Seinkein, the 2009 winner of the Beacon of Freedom Award, with his award-winning book Two Miserable Presidents. The book is about Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis and the kids who chose the winner loved the humor and compelling stories about the Civil War. The kids learned lots of things that never appear in textbooks, but brought history alive for them. Check out Steve Sheinkein’s books.

http://us.macmillan.com/search/6500268/Steve+Sheinkin

May 20, 2010

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It’s always a pleasure to meet kids who have enjoyed one of my books!

I got wonderful thank you letters from Mrs. Tatum’s class.

I signed books for the whole class.

I got hugs!

Kids made great posters and I signed each of them, too!


May 15, 2010

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It is always fun to meet readers and I had a wonderful welcome at Walsingham Academy.

Students in Mrs. Dixon’s library class had read Lottie’s Courage and not only did they host my visit, but they took me to lunch at Chickahominey House.

I talked to students about research and I was delighted with their lively participation.

May 13, 2010

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Windsor Middle School has a great program to encourage reading. It is the Wildcat Book Cafe. Readers get to discuss books over lunch.

How wonderful to meet so many enthusiastic readers!

May 10, 2010

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Kids at Windsor Middle School have been reading Lottie’s Courage. I’ll be meeting with them on Wednesday of this week. I was delighted to read their posting about the book on line at: http://www.wmsbookcafe.blogspot.com

April 21, 2010

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Many of you may know the sad tale of Stanley, from a book by Jeff Brown called Flat Stanley. Stanley was a boy who is flattened but not injured by a falling bulletin board. Now that he is very thin he can travel all over through the mail.
Alaina in Pennsylvania asked that Flat Stanley visit me, and of course, I was happy to show him the sights. Here is Stanley at Jamestown where the first permanent English settlement was established in 1607.
Stanley visited James Fort and
the Native American village.

Stanley had fun in Williamsburg.

Colonial people welcomed him warmly.


And he met two lovely girls and their dolls.

Stanley visited the Colonial Capitol

and the Governor’s Palace.


Stanley even got o sit with Mr. Thomas Jefferson who was writing the Declaration of Independence.

April 16, 2010

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Today I gave the Keynote Address at a meeting of the Virginia Educational Media Assoication (school librarians). I was honored to be asked to address this great group! Here I am shown with Sabrina Carnesi who arranged this terrific conference.

April 13, 2010

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April 3, 2010

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April 2, 2010

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Wow!

March 28, 2010

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There are six kids in this family and they all will get the chance to read Divided Loyalties. That’s very special.

March 25, 2010

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At the Gathering of the American Pilgrims on the Camino I co-chaired a question and answer session. This bear wanted to learn about trekking too.

I also walked the labyrinth at the retreat center. It was a fun conference!

March 11, 2010

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My visit to Eaton Middle School turned out to be a “great fit.” Here I am in my new Eaton sweatshirt. Yeah Eaton!
I loved my visit. The students were attentive and asked great questions. I look forward to hearing from kids who read my books!

March 6, 2010

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I love going to Langley Elementary School in Hampton to talk with students about reading and writing. Kids at Langley are avid readers and excited about learning. The students in Mrs. Stohler’s class and Mr. Humble’s class had all read Lottie’s Courage. They were an attentive audience and had wonderful questions.

I met lots of great readers, signed lots of books, and came away with two great, huge thank you cards, wonderful drawings, and a gift bag containing an adorable Easter dish, a scented candle, and a sweet picture of Mrs. Stohler and her family.
Sometimes my riches amaze me!

March 3, 2010

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We are having yet another snowy day in Williamsburg. Usually we see only one or two flakes all winter, but this year we have gotten one snowstorm after another. My amaryllis plant hasn’t minded the snow, producing four huge, gorgeous bunches of blossom. I’m not much of a horticulturist, but I gather that usually you can expect only one blossom from the plant. I hope this splash of red cheers you on a dark day.

February 10, 2010

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We have missed the heavy snows north of Williamsburg. But we still had blizzard conditions this morning.

February 3, 2010

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How is this for an icicle? Last weekend brought eight inches of snow and cold weather to Williamsburg.

January 23, 2010

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In summer this little statute of St. Francis in my garden is usually almost covered with flowers. In the bleak days of January, however, he must be pleased to be a convenient dining table for squirrel munching on an acorn.

January 18, 2010

Torchlight by Carol Otis Hunter. (Boston, Houghton Mifflin, 2006) The book revolves around an incident in 1854 (The summary wrong on back of cover) Fifth grader Charlotte befriends an Irish girl, Maggie in Westfield MA amid strong anti-Irish feelings. The story is told from Charlotte’s point of view and language reflects the period. Good historical research. Gentle humor throughout the book graces what could be a dreary topic. Highly recommend.

January 15, 2010

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Children from Williamsburg/James City County elementary and middle schools met January 13, 2010 at the Williamsburg Regional Library where they chose the winner of the eighth annual Beacon of Freedom award.
The 2010 Beacon of Freedom Award winner is Two Miserable Presidents by Steve Sheinkin. Students read five books relating to American history from 1607 to 1865, choose representatives from their schools who met to decide the winner.
Shown in the picture are Rawls Byrd media specialist Viky Pedigo and Abubakar Alawy, the student chosen to represent Rawls Byrd Elementary School.
The Beacon of Freedom Award is supported by a generous grant from the Disabled American Veterans.

December 28, 2009

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One of my readers, Mary from Harrisburg, PA, sent me a picture for Christmas. How very special! I am blessed!

December 6, 2009

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Author Suzanne Adair and her family visited Colonial Williamsburg this weekend. Check out her books at: www.suzanneadair.com

December 1, 2009

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Each year the challenge is to write a 50,000 word novel in the month of November. This year I chose to work on completing the first draft of an adult novel that I started last year. That project is completed at over 113,000 words. Now I’ll begin much needed revisions. The above picture shows me with Laurin Wittig and Nicole Green, two other published authors. It is the last day of the month and we are working faithfully to the end. We met at the Coffee Beanery in Williamsburg where we have been warmly welcomed.

November 27, 2009

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The Impressionist Collection at the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena wowed me. I had never seen the Van Gogh painting above.

The museum has many, many fine paintings from Medieval and renaissance Europe. What a treat to be able to spend an afternoon there!

November 19, 2009

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Last week we had a convergence of Hurricane Ida and a Northeaster(a severe storm that usually brings lots of rain, wind, and high tides) in Virginia. It is being called Nor-Ida.

I snapped the above photo of a house in Newport News during the storm. Notice how the rain on my car windshield has distorted the vertical supports of the porch railing. What an interesting world we live in!

November 13, 2009

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Here are more student responses to the slides of the Camino de Santiago that I showed at Crittenden as part of a journaling workshop this week.
Well done, students!

Christina

“The sky that was running away from the dark, scary clouds reminds me of Hurricane Isabel. I was playing outside when I noticed the clouds and ran home. My mother, brother, and I went to my abuelos’ house and watched the monstrous wind knock down trees.”

Brian

“The green mountains I saw reminded me of my road trip to VA Tech. We drove on a mountain and it was very difficult. The view was great though, trees, flowers, streams, and animals. Nature should be appreciated. The air was fresh and the forest smelled like pine.”
Kerry

“They showed some dogs just running, but I could not let my 2 dogs do that because they would run away, bite someone or get hurt. On the buildings the detailing was really nice and you really don’t [have]that kind of detail here. You only see it in a historical and very significant place like Washington, D.C. “

Eric

“I’ve been on a 5 minute journey to Spain and I saw an old castle that reminded me of a really big black castle in church class and I had to put it away when I was done with it and it made me realize that nothing lasts forever and things eventually go no matter what it is.”

Christopher

“I’ve been on a 5 minute journey through Spain and I saw a very muddy trail. The trail reminded me of my vacation to Feirystone Park. When we took my brother back to Blacksburg, VA, we decided to drive to Feirystone Park, a where the rocks form differently. We had so much fun on the way there listening to the voice on the GPS, but when we got there it was wet and muddy. That did not stop us though and we got some very cool rocks.”

Daryl

“The feast is like my Thanksgiving when I was at my grandma’s house. Everyone was going there. Friends, family, kids, babies, adults, everyone! My grandma had to make two turkeys, two pots of mash potatoes, dozens of biscuits, three cans of cranberries and three pots of green beans.”

Troy

“I’ve been on a 5 minute journey and out of all the things I saw, the dirt road was my favorite because that long, wide and bumpy road reminded me of good memories. Memories of being in the country, riding my motorcycle down the endless dirt roads. Then coming home to a good family and a good meal. It was very peaceful there , and that place will always be with me.”

Ria

“The dirt road in the slide reminds me of when I ride my bike to Lake Murray. They have the most amazing natural dirt lanes to ride on. I love it when you go down the steep one, get a shot of adrenaline, then it is the hill in the middle and for a spit second you feel like you are flying.”

Liam

“The eerie fog reminded me of the when I was outside and the fog was so thick that I couldn’t see anything.”

Greg

“When I saw all the shoes on the shelf, it reminded me of my many pair of shoes that I had in the 6th grade.”

Allison

“I liked the picture of the boot on the rock near the water. The was brown and looked worn. It was alone and beautiful, just like most things in this world. It reminded me of when when I went to the beach. We hiked the giant sand dues. I made it to the top first and stood looking out at the ocean. The sand hit my legs in individual grains as the wind blew.”

Gabby

“I like sheep. The little sheep guys were walking across a road cautiously. They were being careful not to get run over by the drivers.”

Rapawnda

“I liked the view of the water. It reminded me of my trips to VA beach.”

Alexis P

“I think the castle is so pretty. It reminds me of my brand new house. It’s big but, not that big. I just see space when I see that castle.”

Kathleen

“The picture of the mountains reminded me of bliss and like how life can have all sorts of turns in it, but you can always make it through.”

Adina

“The castle reminds me of the castle our family owns in Scotland. Our family goes way back to the Vikings. The medieval castle with the pretty stones makes me think about my family’s history.”

Jennie

“There was a picture of a man with a tool and I thought it was a monkey. I can relate to it because last summer I took a trip to Africa and saw lots of monkeys.
Vandan

“The family reminded me about vacationing with my family in Louisiana.”

Tobias

“The ship reminds me of my first fishing trip with my dad. I really enjoyed that day. I remember when I saw a fish jump out of the water.”

Nicholas

“The shoes reminded me of military boots lined up.”

November 12, 2009

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Yesterday when I arrived at Crittenden Middle School, I saw something VERY interesting going on. I had to explore.

I learned that these young women have been learning to knit since school began this fall. They are making scarves for themselves and for charity. They’ll next learn how to make hats.

I learned all about their project from Sabrina Carnesi, Media Specialist, who is teaching them this life skill. What beautiful yarns! What a great project!

I am posting more student responses to the slides of the Camino de Santiago from the journaling workshop yesterday.

Good work, students!

Taryana
“One thing that reminded me of my life is when I saw the lion on a piece of fabric. It reminded me of what I am doing in my IE class. I cross stitch and I am making a cross with two squares in the middle and I am highlighting it in orange and white.”
Ian
“I liked the picture of the cabin because it reminded me of when I went to Lake Gaston for the first time, and it reminded me of when I went camping with my family. “
Tatiana
“One thing that relates to my life is the cross. The cross reminds me of my life because I believe in Jehovah. But other people believe that He doesn’t have a personal name but I do and it is Jehovah.”
Corinzio
“The muddy road reminds me of the time I rode my go-cart right after it had rained, and it was muddy and dirty. A long time ago when I used to live with my grandma when they washed clothes to dry them they used clothes lines. When I was little my granddad owned a lot of land. I remember running with my friend in the grass.”
Khai
“The pictures of France reminded me of French toast.”
Tarin
“The cow crossing the road reminded me of when we took my cousin to college at Penn State and when we drove up and down the hills. The house party reminds me of the Christmas party last year in Suffolk. It was a dark night and we had all sorts of good food.”
Shakira
“The dirt road reminds me of when my family and I go to North Carolina to our family and we go down a dirt road.”
Krischel

“The cross reminded me when I first went to church at Morning Star and I was little. It was my first time seeing a cross and knowing what it represented and [it reminded me] when I got baptized in front of a cross so that nothing bad would happen to me like to drown or choke.”
J’Mal
“I have seen a lot of animals walking across the street and lots of working people picking crops in the field.”
Nicholas
“This reminds me of when I went to Boston, MA. Traveling can help you by giving you ideas for writing and an open mind.”
Gabbie
“I think that the fireplace reminded me of my family. The last time my family was together was almost three years ago and when we sat together we had Smores, peanut butter, and pancakes and that was the happiest time of my life.”
Courtney
“I liked the picture of the children playing on the sidewalk. They were having fun and that reminds me of me and my friends. I can smell the stinky sewage water and smell the fresh air.”
Alex M
“The mountains remind me of West Virginia.”
Robert
“All the cars parked remind me when my grandmother died and her funeral. Everybody came to my house and there were lots of cars parked outside my house. I was very sad when I got into the cars with my brother.”
Alexis
“When I went on a journey this morning to Spain the rocky and muddy land reminded me of when my mom cooks crumb cake. It always breaks apart and she adds carmel to it. So it looks like a muddy road with rocks in it, just like in the slide show.”
Tauae
“When I saw the dog on the ground, it reminded me of when I was walking with my dog up a hill in Ponce, Puerto Rico and we were very tired but we never gave up because if we did the steep hill would make us fall down again.”
Arianda
“The one that shows the big ship reminds me of my dad because he took me there [to the ocean] and it was really fun. I cold see the fishes and the waves. “
Justin
“One of the slides was like my trip to North Carolina. It was a beautiful trip. I remember smelling plant food in the ground [and] driving by the houses hearing the dogs barking at us.”
Isaiah
“When I saw the contorted tree, I thought of a tree I always used to climb on in the Noland Trail. The way it was contorted some limbs laid low to the ground and those were the limbs I would climb on to get to the top. It would always feel rough and bumpy. The tree was about 15 feet high and I would get scared sometimes to go to the top. But I always felt good when I got to the top.”
Saleem
“For all the world, I’d like to go to the field because it reminds me of those dark orange dirt paths at the Bonx Track. When you touched it, it felt like the sand you’d find at the beach.”
Dylan
“The bus reminded me that I’m always on the move because I move to different places a lot. “
Endia
[I liked]the family sitting together at the dinner table. I sit at the table along with my family and the people were sitting at the table eating really good food.”
Xernona
“The picture of the town that had the Molana sign on the town restaurant I liked because it reminded me of my grandma’s home town, Frankfort, Germany.”
Morgan
“The picture of the thunderstorm clouds remind me of dark times when it is rainy outside. I love it. This may sound weird, but I love the days when it’s raining because that means you have an opportunity to do nothing, you can just sit there and relax and watch movies.”
Kyle
“[I liked]the big, huge blue and black bus with soft leather seats and the smell or morning and stinky and smelly window. [It] reminded me when I used to rise the bus with my grandma to work and when we used to go out to eat.”
Saron
“The lady with the flowers reminds me of my grandma.”
Mario
“If I went to Spain and hiked up all those mountains, it would remind me of hiking up the mountains in Australia. It kept getting colder and colder as you went up. It had a lot of dirt, but some trees and we did a scavenger hunt on the mountain.”
Brian
“Out of the things that I saw in the slides the one that looked like a storm coming reminded me of how when I went to North Carolina and there was a big storm coming in. I can remember during the storm the rush of the wind was blowing in my face and leaves [were] slapping me back and forth.”
Nora
“The bus that is at the beginning of the show reminds me of how I like to go places. I like to go everywhere.”
John
“How wonderful lots of animals crossing the road just like when my little sister was crossing the road.”
Stanley
“The statue reminds me of a picture I saw in a book in the library.”

November 11, 2009

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Journaling requires careful observation of the world. I challenged students at Crittenden to watch five minutes of slides from the Camino de Santiago, an ancient pilgrimage route in Spain, and describe what they saw.


Students were eager to share what they saw.
This was the easy part. I next asked students to relate what they saw to something in their lives, promising to publish the “gems” I found on my website. As I look over what the students have written I’m impressed.

Remember students had only minutes to write these thoughts. They are not finished prose, but reactions to the slides. Also keep in mind, the students were sixth graders, seventh graders, and eighth graders.
Alex
“The bunk beds in the cabin reminded me of the yearly trip to North Carolina beachfront. The cabin was almost identical to the slide. There was a bunk bed and single bed and swing outside. Conner and Ho were sleeping the bunk bed. I was sleeping in the single. Will slept on the swing. I stayed up all night watching Batman movies. Conner was playing my video game.”

Ariel

“The brown dog reminded me of my pet dog Lollipop because he is always laying around.”

Chelsea

“The beaches and great views reminded me of when I go to Old Orchard Beach every summer since I was two. When I go there, my family and I would check in at a motel right on the beach with an amusement park 5 minutes away. We always go the park every night unless it is bad weather.”
Jermine

“The bus going to New York was stinky. I hope I do not go on that bus again.”

Tyler

“The woman holding the red and white quilt reminded me of my warm, soft comfortable cowboy blanket. It was my favorite quilt to sleep and bundle up with. Whenever I go over to my dad’s house, I love to sleep on the couch with my blanket.”

Jordan
“The dark clouds reminded me of Hurricane Isabel (2005).”
Dymon

“The nice restaurant reminds me about my life because I love to go to fancy and non-fancy restaurants. I love their good food and I love having a good time. When I go to a restaurant I love to eat dessert. My favorite restaurant is Cheese Cake Factory.”

Keara
“The religious statue in the slide reminded me of the many statutes my grandmother has in her home. Her friends’ mother makes most of them by hand. they are really beautiful.”

Ashley H.

“The mountains were evergreen. There was fog slightly around it. I closed my eyes and imagined Arizona mountains. They were so different. Arizona with the craggy rocks, cactus, and snakes versus the evergreen mountains. I missed Arizona and I couldn’t wait to go back. So I sat there and admired the mountain. It was green about 1000 mixes. It had flowers of colors I thought I had never seen. But in my head it reminded me of home. I think I could smell the cooking of my aunt and hear the laughs of my cousins playing.”

Terrinae

“As the photos were being shown on the projector one really caught my eye, it was the picture with the beautiful green tree. I apply this to my personal life because it mostly reminds me of the way my family sticks together. The way the roots sprout out of the tree represents the way my family was brought up to always stick together whatever the circumstances.”

Malcolm

“The slide with the boot reminded me of the song by Genesis “Home by the Sea.” That particular slide also reminded me of Hampton University.”
Ashley W.
“The blue sea reminds me of when I am sitting on the beach with my family, watching colorful fireworks beating down on the ocean after sunset on the Fourth of July. I feel comfortable and the fireworks are just beautiful.”

Ricky
“It reminded me of my large beautiful dog. One morning I found him lying in the kitchen on the concrete floor lying next to his food bowl with a foul smell of dog food. I wondered why he was lying there so I looked around the dirty floor an found the bag of dog food all over the floor. Then I heard a noise. He was still awake, eating his dog food.”
Lonnie

“The bunk beds reminded me of my room because I own a bunk bed. The dirty path reminded me of my backyard because it is useless thing and dirty things are everywhere. “

Kahil
“The mountains looked like a picture I drew in my notebook. I felt like I was climbing a really steep mountain. It was a huge blizzard and I was about to break a record for the quickest time for climbing a huge mountain. The snow tasted like vanilla ice cream.”

Candace

“A dead dog reminded me of my grandmother’s dog because I grew up with him and he meant a lot to me. His name was Bubbles. The dog in the picture was brown, black and big. So was Bubbles.”
Felonna


“This is a picture I can relate to. It is a statute on a building and it is silver. In New York there is one building that looks like it.”

Kalika

“When I saw grass covered mountains that reminded me of my view of my room in Colorado. When I was depressed I would look at the mountains which made me feel better.”

Austin

“The bus looked like [one from] the Martin Luther King boycott.”

Cantrell

“I have a beautiful golden retriever that is very lazy, so she sleeps a lot in and outside.”

Jarred

“The rugged hard road with many bumps and cracks, with many big rocks also with lots of dirt reminds me of my aunt’s rugged road going up to her house.”

Naya
“In one of the photos, I saw some kids playing with one another and it immediately brought back memories when I was about that age playing with my friends.”

Autumn

“There was a big blue bus, and it relates to my life [in that] my grandma rides the bus to her job at 4:00 am in the morning before the bus even starts running and she works at the shipyard on a boat cleaning the inside.”

Simone

“One of the pictures that related to me was the one with the two people hiking and that reminded me of the time me and my grandma hiked last year in Wisconsin.”

DeMonte

“I used to watch my little cousins play outside in red jogging suits. When I jumped in, they all ganged up on me.”

Raegaon

“The storm reminded [of] my life because I ‘d seen a cloud similar to that and I thought a bad or horrible storm would come soon. It was dark gray and large! I was scared.”

Jaleel

“I ride a bus to school.”

Malik

“I have a bunk bed in my house.”

Kalek

“My great granddad has two boats.”

LaJavne

“The bus reminded me of the bus trip when I went to Florida where I stayed for 5 years.”

Nickierra

The lady up on the stage dancing reminds me of me dancing when I [had] a concert in Mississippi and I had a lot of people looking at me and screaming.”

Urique

“The field I saw reminded me about football. I used to play football [and] ran the ball all the way to a touchdown.”

Macuayla

“Flowers make me think of my porch.”

Kiana

“German shepherds remind me of cops because of K-9 dogs. I like K-9 dogs because they are nice and help people.”
Sedesia

“When me and my mom went to Kings Dominion, we rode the city bus.”

Tatiyana

“When I get bored, I go out and go hiking in North Carolina. When I go out in deep fields, it feels weird.”
Shaine
“The big gray statue of the man attackin a fierce dangerous animal reminds me of the stories my fun, cool cousin told me about when he was in the war.”

STAY TUNED, MORE TO COME SOON

November 10, 2009

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For more than year I’ve been an e-mailing with a reader from Pennsylvania. Mary is an avid reader and writer, and she often sends me her stories to read.

How nice it was when Mary and her class visited Williamsburg. We were able to spend the morning together, enjoying the Historic Area.
Mary and her friends walk back in time as they leave the Visitor’s Center to visit the Historic Village.


A Colonial Williamsburg interpreter shows them a colonial doll in the Wythe House.

Kids, the next time you cuddle up to your favorite fuzzy stuffed animal, image trying to cuddle these colonial dolls.

October 18, 2009

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Avi is one of kids’ favorite authors. He has written 70 books and won many awards including the prestigious Newbery Medal. He came to Williamsburg this weekend to receive the Beacon of Freedom Award for his novel Iron Thunder.

The Beacon of Freedom Award is a child-chosen award supported by a generous donation from the Disabled American Veterans. Local kids read five or six books chosen by a committee and vote on their favorite. So kids, if you haven’t read Avi, please make it a priority to do so. You can visit his website at: http://www.avi-writer.com/

Friday evening at the award presentation, Avi spoke at the Williamsburg Regional Library. He had valuable things to share with kids and other writers.

As a student, Avi was a lousy writer. Kids, there is hope for you even if you find writing challenging.

Avi stressed that each of his books goes through as many as 60 or 70 revisions. He explained that if you see something that looks easy, for example like someone playing tennis well, it is the result of lots of hard work. It is the same with writing.

A student asked Avi what was the favorite book he had written. He replied that is is always the book he is working on. He has to believe that it is his best work. There is a lesson here for us all. You must believe in what you write and strive to make it your best work.

Being able to go to dinner with Avi was very special. Not only is he a good writer, but I found him to be lively and likable, humble and humorous, knowledgeable and kind.

I was delighted to learn that he, like yours truly, can’t spell and relies on spell check.

October 14, 2009

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We have returned to the US after being out of the country for nearly six weeks. After a delightful visit to Paris, seeing friends, my husband and I walked over the Pyrenees Mountains on the Camino de Santiago in Spain, a 1200-year-old pilgrimage route during the month of September. It was a tremendous experience. We walked 391 miles. I carried a twenty pound pack.

Not everyone carried a pack! My husband, Otis, seen below is the second-oldest pilgrim we met. He has just turned 75. We heard rumors of older pilgrims, but we didn’t meet any. His pack weighed 25 pounds.

The youngest pilgrim we met was just 13 months old. He was from Brittany in France and he wasn’t walking. His dad was carrying him in backpack.

Probably nothing could be more boring to you, my readers, than seeing someone’s travel photos. I am devastated that due to a malfunctioning memory chip, we lost a third of them. However, if you would like to see additional photos, check them out at :
http://www.flickr.com/photos/27952030@N07/sets/72157622462398455/show/

August 21, 2009

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We’ve been getting ready for our third pilgrimage. We leave next week for Paris and we will walk over the Pyrenees (Mountains between France and Spain) starting on September 1, my birthday. We’ll walk 30 days, ending our trek at Leon, Spain where we began our first pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago in 2007.

Pilgrims have been wearing scallop shells to identify them as pilgrims for over 1200 years. The pilgrim shells my husband and I wear are five-million year-old Virginia fossils, named for Thomas Jefferson.

My son and daughter-in-law sent me pants for my birthday. The pants, shown above, are blue and white with tiny scallop shells embroidered on them.

Sometimes my riches amaze me.

August 14, 2009

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On my recent trip to New Hampshire, I attended a concert held in a traditional New England bandstand. Many years ago it was common for small towns to have a bandstand, usually in the center of the town for summer concerts.

For more than 20 years, every week in the summer, my friend and former colleague Angela Robinson has arranged free public concerts in the small town of Henniker.

The concerts were so successful that the “town” decided that they needed a bandstand. Angela Robinson was not pleased with the proposed location of the bandstand and complained loudly to everyone in town. Then she found out that it was NOT the town building the bandstand. Her husband was building it in her honor.

So when I visited my friend I planned my visit so that I could attend one of “her” concerts. It was very special.

August 9, 2009

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When I was a kid when someone was beaten badly at a game, we said he or she was “skunked.”

Recently, we stopped for ice cream at an ice cream store near our neighborhood. And to my great surprise, i saw two skunks traipsing around the tables behind the store. They were quite tame and very beautiful and they obviously liked ice cream since they were foraging for bits of cone or dropped ice cream.

I couldn’t help but feel that the poor critters had been “skunked” that is, in this case their habitat destroyed by a new housing development. They were beaten and doing their best to survive in spite of it.

July 31, 2009

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We are again training for another pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago. This year we’ll start in France and go over the Pyrenees to Leon, Spain where we started our first pilgrimage in 2007.

The picture is of my husband, Otis, crossing a stream on the 14.36 miles hike we took on Tuesday around Charlottesville, VA on our 30th wedding anniversary. We both carried nearly 20 lbs. in our packs. After our hike, we joined friends for dinner at the Boar’s Head Inn.

July 24, 2009

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See these red tomatoes. They are fake!!!!

The animal friendly trap hasn’t been working. The squirrels take the bait and spring the trip, but don’t get caught. So, I have been putting brown paper lunch bags over the tomatoes as they ripen.

Will the fake tomatoes and the brown paper bags foil the wiley squirrels? Will the Haislips ever have any tomatoes? Stay tuned!!!!

July 21, 2009

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One of the real joys of being a writer is meeting readers. Today I met Christopher from New Orleans. He and his family are visiting Williamsburg from New Orleans. I look forward to hearing from Christopher after he has read Divided Loyalties.