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Showing posts from April, 2011

Noah Barleywater Runs Away

Noah Barleywater Runs Away by John Boyne
David Fickling Books, 2011 (ages 9-12)


One day, eight year-old Noah Barleywater runs away from his home and his problems. Before long, Noah has been branded an apple thief and encountered a grumpy adult, a hungry donkey and a helpful dachsund. Most amazing of all however, is Noah's discovery of a magic oak tree and the toyshop that lies beyond it. There, Noah is greeted by an old toymaker every bit as mysterious and magical as the toyshop itself, a toymaker whose stories will change Noah's life forever.

Noah Barleywater marks John Boyne's return to children's fiction after the success of his deservedly celebrated first novel, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas. I do not want to give too much away about the plot as there are a few secrets that some readers may want to uncover for themselves. One thing that I can say is that Noah Barleywater not only met but surpassed my expectations from an author of Boyne's calibre. The book ha…

This is for you, Mom

The Hands that Prepared
By Dan Overcash


Rough, red, cracked and scarred

Mom serves shelled butterbeans

As Sunday fare….

Glad my buddies didn’t come.

Glancing away and down to pray,

“Thank you, Lord, for this food

And the hands that prepared it.”

Gnarled fingers clasp to agree

But in that silent pause,

My heart sees with better eyes.


Thread winding, cone to cone
From midnight to dawn;
Scrubbing flour sacks,
Shirting sewn for a son
That “will make it one day.”
Soapy dishes, shucking corn
Picking cotton in noonday heat;
Strips binding bloody fingers
Where thorny bowls cut deep
Into hands holding hope.


Shiny leather stride stairs to center stage
NASA engineers stand amazed.
“We will launch a manned mission
To Mars in 2020, and this is how…”
Not ashamed, nor bowed,
Head up, fingers spread,
The old familiar grace resounds!
“Bless the hands that prepared…”
Dismissing the ritual “Amen,”
I gently whisper, “This is for you, Mom.”

Hope Rapson Offers Writing Instruction

Here are two writing workshops that are well worth the effort.  Hope Rapson has been teaching Creative Writing for 20+ years and has had many students published.  Some of her former students write professionally.

Writing Poetry, Grades 7-10

Dates: Monday through Thursday, May 16 to 19, 2011

Times: 9-12 A.M.

Fees: $100 for 1-2 students decreasing $10 dependent on enrollment (8 maximum)

All writing supplies will be provided; home access to email and computer processing are required. Students will be assigned a day to bring snacks and drinks to share with the class.

A nonrefundable registration deposit of $20 is required by May 13th; this will be deducted from the class fee.

Instructor: Hope Ellen Rapson
Columbia, SC 29212
803-381-2551 or email hopellen@bellsouth.net for further information and/or registration.



Writing the Hero’s Journey Story for Grades 7-10

Dates: Monday through Thursday, May 16 to 19, 2011

Times: 1-4 P.M.

Fees: $100 for 1-2 students decreasing $10 dependent on enroll…

Best Colleges for Aspiring Writers

An aspiring writer choosing a college is a lot like a child trying to make a decision in a candy store. Cliched simile aside, the amount of colleges with utterly brilliant writing programs, both at the graduate and undergraduate level, is astounding. That being said, everyone has a different set of preferences for a writing class, and writing programs can vary quite significantly, making that meticulous search for the right school highly rewarding in the end. As with any college search, you should take into account school location, class size for your concentration, and faculty, among other factors, to ensure the right decision for your future. And, of course, always keep in mind what style or genre of writing you wish to pursue.

1. Emory University (Atlanta, Georgia): Ask anyone for the best schools for writers, and Emory will inevitably emerge. With a plethora of outstanding minds flocking to and from Emory every year (be it guest lecturers, students, or alumni), it is no wonder wh…