Sunday, August 17, 2014

That's Amore!
The 43rd SCBWI Summer Conference!!

by Hilde Garcia

This year's theme for the 43rd Annual SCBWI Summer Conference. This year, Tomie dePaola turned 80 and in honor of our successful flash mob from 2012, we serenaded Tomie on Saturday night with That's Amore.

Happy Birthday Tomie!
Tomie was ill and couldn't fly out to see it in person so a video was sent to him. He Skyped the closing Key Note with Lin Oliver as his moderator to a crowd of 1200 fans!  To conclude the incredible weekend, we had none other than the one and only Judy Blume give us an inspiring farewell.

My daughter sat in the front row, sketching Judy at the podium. She then walked up to her after her speech and gave her the illustration.  Judy was touched. I had no camera and I wish I had a photo of her drawing to share with you, but I will never forget the image of that moment when my daughter, brave enough to be in a room with 1200 people, walked up to Judy Blume and said, "I drew this for you.  I loved Tales of a 4th Grade Nothing."

Judy Blume
That to me was the quintessential moment of the conference.  Judy graciously took it and shared it with other noteworthy people who were gathered around her at that moment.  She was genuinely touched.  Considering how many books of Judy's have inspired me over the years, it was quite amazing to see my daughter make Judy smile.  Then Judy shook her hand. I was so glad I have taught my kids how to shake a hand!

I have attended this Conference regularly for the last 6 or 7 years and I must say that this year, I was inspired more deeply than in past years. Maybe it was the right mix of key notes, break out sessions, socials, piña coladas, and Judy Blume, or maybe it was that I was ready for a break through with the revision of my novel.  And when you are ready, the universe embraces you.

Either way, I was in the zone and the weekend proved to be worth the time, money and effort to attend. (Communicating my crazy schedule to my husband who agreed to be Mr. Mom was nothing short of miraculous).  The intensives on Monday shook loose the problems with my plot, giving me a way out of the darkness.

The break out sessions that stayed with me included Maggie Stiefvater, Sharon Flake, Adriana Dominguez, and Linda Sue Park's Key Note.  (For full conference schedule, go to

Linda Sue Park
This year, I also participated in the Intensives that take place on Monday.  I went to Linda Sue's on Revision and took away fabulous techniques for tightening your novel and really finding the heart of the story.

                 Maggie Stiefvater
I also attend Maggie's intensive on Character - Specifics vs Details.  It was an eye opener and I noticed what is necessary and what is not in my story.

Meanwhile, during my intensives, I was getting calls from the twins' summer camp of a possible lice outbreak and a fractured finger- each kid with one of those problems, but yet, I managed to have a break through despite the joys of motherhood and was able to stay without darting to save either one!  (By the way, all was clear in the end, but talk about impeding your Main Character!)

Here are some highlights of advice and suggestions from some of the key note speakers and the inspirational words that they shared with us on the first morning of the Conference!
Meg Rosoff

Imagination has the possibility to make everyone better at everything except for politicians! -Meg Rosoff.

Young Judy Schachner
Bienvenidos, Benvenuti, Now, Chocolate, Fluffernutter, Reinvent, Heart, Rebel, Ready, Willing, and Able.

Become a collector not just of things, but of experiences too. -Judy Schachner

Challenged, Hashtagselfie, Stretch, Be, You, Wonder, Agog, Hutzpah, Serendipity, Diversity, SCAT, and Endure.

Everyone is a product of where they came from- they are either running away from it or running to it. -Maggie Stiefvater

This industry is cyclical. You cannot write to a trend. Write the book you are inspired to write, the minute you don't you loose your voice. -Justin Chanda
Justin Chanda

Patience, Focus, Botanical, Community, PLAY, and Supercaliforniaisterrific-I hope you get published.

The voices that first influence me were my family.
-Sharon G. Flake

Sharon G. Flake
Epiphany, Class, Overcome, Classic, Splinter, Astonishment, Common Core, Imgaination, and Gumba- just do it!

Diversity is your point of view! -Adriana Dominguez

Relationships, Friends, Entrepreneurial, La Cuna, Fierce, Visualize, Library, Authenticity, Eccentricity, Feel, Skyfarm, and Optimism

Don't bore the editor- make every word count. -Linda Sue Park

Persevere, Empathy, Unputdownable, Start, Hands-on, Deal, Awesome, and CONVICTION.

Memores are nothing until they turn into blood within you.  -Meghan McDonald

First line is the promise, last line is the payoff.
Lisa Yee


One technique discussed by Linda Sue Park was to re-write a line every which way you can.  Maggie discussed that the more realistic the characters' specific characteristics are, the least likely they are to become a duplicate in your story.

The biggest take away from the weekend seemed to be echoed by every key note and break out session-  what motivates us to write the story is the crux of the story that inspires us to tell it.

I guess the words that stayed with me the most came from Judy Blume, "Don't let anyone discourage you- if they try, don't get depressed, get angry. Writing didn't just change my life, it saved my life."

So go and let it save yours. Write the story that only you can write. And if you haven't attended a conference yet, make it a mission to do so.

It's a weekend that stays with you long after the autograph party is done.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Dispatch #25: Why I Didn't Go
to the 2014 SCBWI Summer Conference

by Lupe Fernandez

My brain floats down Yuba River.

Sure I could write that I went camping with my wife and kids along the Yuba River, got a tan, three days of rain, mosquito bites, snorkeling time, met fascinating Sierra County folk and stopped at Farrell's Ice Cream parlor on the way home.

Sure I could write - cue Sad Melody for Violin - that I didn't have enough money to pay conference fees and that I didn't win the WIP award.

Sure I could write about this poor writer who is down to his last quarter and has to decide between a can of tuna or a can of cat food. Four cats. Count 'em. Four.

Yeah, I could write about that.

Or I could write about the choices I made. The choices I made to become the Foreign Correspondent in the Northern Hinderlands. The choices I made to fall in love, get married and be a step-father. I could write about my car breaking down and needing to buy another car suitable for my new family. Finance payments superseded writer conference tuition.

I could write about the big gamble I took to write and suffer the slings and bank statements of this profession. The dice are still rolling.

I'm sure I missed a lot of swell breakout sessions, keynote addresses and manuscript submission opportunities.
I decided to jump in the river and float on an black, rubber doughnut. Two currents ran downstream to the shallow end of algae slimy stones. But a few eddies curled back upon the river and kept me in place, in case I wanted to paddle upstream, buck the rapids and go back to the beginning.

And start over.

I'll be back next year.

The Yuba?

The Conference?

Stay tuned.

Monday, August 4, 2014

First Line/paragraphs from Crystal Kite Finalists Part 4

By Susan J. Berger
The annual Crystal Kite Award is a peer-given award to recognize great books from 15 SCBWI regional divisions around the world.
This post covers the finalists and winners in the Atlantic, Mid South and Southeast regions. It's interesting to note that most of the Crystal Kite finalist's books are available on Kindle. 
Some first lines weren't available online, but I was able to contact Timothy Young and Rhonda Hicks Rucker and they gave me their first lines.
I have no first lines for My Blue is Happy, but it felt wrong leaving out any of the finalists. I used the SCBWI Blurb in place of the first lines for that book. All links are to the SCBWI page. You can follow the page links to purchase sites.
Again: The Crystal Kite is a rather odd award in that there are no Categories. Therefore a picture book may be competing against a young adult novel.

 Atlantic (Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, Washington DC, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland)

City Cat by Kate Banks, illustrated by Lauren Castillo

Wake up, City Cat. It’s dawn.

Watch the day put clothing on in city colors,

Brown black, rust and gray.
The pictures show a cat going through the landmarks of Europe. Looks like great fun.
I Hate Picture Books! Written and Illustrated by Timothy Young

I Hate Picture Books! I never want to read another Picture Book! So I’m getting rid of ALL of them . . . ‘cause all they do is get me in TROUBLE. 

I couldn’t find the first page, so I searched for Timothy Young on Facebook and he sent me a PDF of the book. I loved it so much that I wrote a review on Amazon and Goodreads. I love Timothy’s sense of humor and his illustrations.

Tea Party Rules by Ame Dyckman, Illustratrated by Keith Campbell

Cub was playing in the woods then he smelled something delicious. He followed his nose through the bushes and found . . .Cookies! And another bear.

The Monstore by Tara Lazar, Illustrated by James Burks

At the back of Frankensweet’s Candy Shoppe, under the last box of sour gumballs, there’s a trapdoor. Knock five times fast, hand over a bag of squirmy worms, and you can crawl inside THE MONSTORE.

Oh yes!  Want to read this one.  Thanks to Tara for sending me the first page.

“Yaqui Delgado wants to kick your ass.”

A kid named Vanessa tells me this in the morning before school. She springs out with no warning and blocks my way, her textbook held at her chest like a shield. She’s tall like me and caramel. I’ve seen her in the lunchroom, I think. Or maybe in the halls. It’s hard to remember.

This one’s on my TBR list. It was also a 2014 Cybil nominee



Flame in the Mist by Kit Grindstaff

Prologue: The Sometime Long Ago Root of Revenge.

“Help me – help!” A weary voice from outside. A fist hammering on the door.

            The boy turned from the fire and the potion he was stirring. Who would call at this hour, before dawn had yet dusted the town rooves? He ran to the door and flung it open.

 The author put me in a far-gone time with that one phrase “before dawn had yet dusted the town rooves.” I kept reading the preview and it’s definitely on my TBR list.  

 Mid-South (Kansas, Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, Mississippi, Louisiana)

Gaby, Lost and Found by Angela Cervantes
Chapter 1
A Siamese cat crouched on a tree branch, peering down at Gaby with brilliant blue eyes. It cried out. The cat was stuck in the tree in front of her house and, as luck would have it, she had on the nicest sweater she owned. Gaby pulled the cardigan sweater tighter around her. This was her last good school sweater until who-knows-when her father would have enough money to buy her a new one. The poor cat cried again. Gaby looked back at her small yellow house. If her mother were here, that cat would already be out of the tree and purring – safe and sound in her mother’s arms.

I read on. Another TBR.  My reading list is expanding beyond my ability to keep up.
Ice Cream Soup by Ann Ingalls  (This is a level one reader)

Look at me.

Look at What I can make.

I can make and Ice Cream cake

Mustache Baby by Bridget Heos

When Baby Billy was born, his family noticed something odd: He had a mustache.

What does this mean?” his mother asked.

Well, it all depends,” the nurse said. “You’ll have to wait and see whether it’s a good-guy mustache or a bad-guy mustache.”

Yes! Must read.
My Blue Is Happy by Jessica Young

Follow one girl’s journey through her neighborhood as she explores what colors mean to different people. ls red angry, like a dragon’s burning breath? Or brave like a fire truck and a superhero cape? ls pink pretty or annoying? What about black and orange and green? ln her picture-book debut, author and art teacher Jessica Young challenges common assumptions about colors and celebrates individual perspective. Brazilian-born artist Catia Chien provides her own interpretation in this ode to colors—and the unique ways we experience them.

Swing Low, Sweet Harriet by Rhonda Hicks Rucker
Chapter 1: Rebel Rumors
South Carolina, 1863

Big Mama stood at the table, stirring cornbread batter. Ben tiptoed along the rear of the cabin, turned the handle of the back door, and opened it. Creeakk!! 
“Yes’m.” He had forgotten to grease those hinges.
“You finished out in that barn?”
“You sure?”
“Where you going now?”
Here it comes. “Thought I’d go fishing for a spell.”
Big Mama quit stirring the batter for several seconds. She turned and looked at Ben. “Remember there’s cottonmouths and gators out there.”
“I remember.” Big Mama was always worried about the swamp creatures.
“Well you just mind yourself and be careful, you hear?”
That was easier than he thought. Maybe she realized he was getting older, or maybe she just wanted some fish to cook. 
He dug out his line and pole from the shed and made his way to the Combahee River. There were still a couple of hours of daylight left, and he might get lucky.

 Thanks to Rhonda for sending the first page. Love her style. Another TBR

The 13th Sign by Kristin Tubb

Sagittarius: Your bubbly personality and effervescent style make you a shoo-in for “Most Likely to Be the Center of Attention at a Party. Straighten that tiara, flash those pearly whites and dance for your admirers, superstar.’”

Madame Beausoleil finished reading my horoscope form the ancient book in her lap. She raised her gaze to mine. Madame’s eyes were foggy with age, though she claimed her cloudy eyes helped her to “see.”

I am going to assume this teaser from the SCBWI Website was also part of her query letter. I would personally have asked for the ms.
What if there was a 13th zodiac sign? You’re no longer Sagittarius, but Ophiuchus, the healer, the 13th sign. Your personality has changed. So has your mom’s and your best friend’s. What about the rest of the world? What if you were the one who accidentally unlocked the 13th sign, causing this world-altering change, and infuriating the other 12 signs? 

Jalen did it, and now she must use every ounce of her strength and cunning to send the signs back where they belong. Lives, including her own, depend upon it.

Southeast (Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Alabama)

Anubis Speaks! by Vicky Alvear Shecter

Greetings, Mortal. Allow me to introduce myself.  I am Anubis – the Egyptian god of the “Mysteries of Embalming,” the “Guardian of the Veil of Death,” Opener of the Ways of the Dead,” and if you are “bad” . . .Your. Worst. Nightmare.

Olivia Twisted by Vivi Barnes

“Thus, a strain of gentle music, or the rippling of water in a silent place, or the odor of a flower, or the mention of a familiar word, will sometimes call up sudden dim remembrances of scenes that never were . . .”

-Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist


I should be used to this by now – the emptiness that fills me when I become homeless for the stretch of a car ride. I’ve don’t this more times than I can count. But the truth is that it sucks. Every Time.

Wild Discoveries: Wacky New Animals by Heather Montgomery

Dear Explorer

Scientists have identified almost one million different animals creeping, peeking and sneaking across this earth! That number blows my mind. When I realized that there may be as many as six million new one waiting to be discovered – and that they are all a bit wacky –I couldn’t wait to write this book!


The Ballad of Jessie Pearl by Shannon Hitchcock


Sometimes when the kerosene lamp casts shadows, I think I see Ma’s ghost. If she were still alive she’d say, Jessie Pearl, you keep on studying. Not everybody is cut out to be a farm wife. We’ll find a way to pay for teachers college. Leave your pa to me.

 I hope you find some of your own “must reads” here. Happy reading and writing, my friends.
You might also be interested in the other Regional 2014 Crystal Kites posts:

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Things To Do at the SCBWI Conference

by Hilde Garcia

It's conference time again and I am excited.  Every year I attend, it is always a new experience leaving me inspired and with many new friends.  For some folks, it might seem a bit daunting.  If you are new, there is a Pre Conference Orientation to help you get off to a great start. 

And if you visit the SCBWI website, you have a wealth of information you can review, especially the DO's and Don'ts PDF.  Click on the link below to take you to that most excellent document.

But if you are a little nutty and want to take a different approach and have some fun in the process, just relive with us some of Pen and Ink's most fun antics throughout the years.

I have been attending since 2007. The conference always seems to fall on my birthday weekend and the best present I can be given by my family is three days of R and R. 

In 2010, Pen and Ink decided to attend as a group. And if you remember Gypsy Rose Lee, Kris decided it wasn't enough to simply  attend, we had to have a gimmick. Kris suggested we create a picture book. And we did it up Hollywood Style.

Two days before the conference, Kris, Sue, and I were having manicures and then Taquito Tuesday at El Torito.  Kris found an idea in her margarita.  "We should do a pirate alphabet picture book at the conference."

We looked into our margaritas but only saw alcohol. 

"And how should we do this?" I wolf down a taquito.

We should ask authors at the conference to pick a letter and say it into the camera in their best pirate voice."

"It sounds good to me," says Sue.

"Me too," I say, "but who is going to break it to Lupe?"

"Just bake him some cookies and he will cave," Kris says.

So we did.  We designate Lupe as our cameraman. Sue is our costumer. And Kris and I began to shanghai victims… hem, potential participants to take part in the fun.  I have to admit, I was a bit skeptical that people would want to do it, but we were surprised at how little convincing people needed.  They were quite willing indeed.

And you wouldn't believe the caliber of pirates we had join our ship!  You will have to click on the link to see the cast of bandits… I mean… award winning authors extraordinaire.  My daughter did our art work.

Click on me if you know what's good for ya!

Once we finished The Pirate Alphabet, Stephanie Gordon and Judith Enderle, fixed us with their minatory eyes and said, "What you gonna do next year?"

We felt obligated and a bit scared to say no.

SO- we decided to send my hamster, J. J., to the conference.  There was only one problem.  He died. Sue found a great stand in named Penny. We were assured she was young and not pregnant.  Two days later, she gave birth to 6 hamsters.  

Then the thought hit us.  

How hard is it to write when you are a mom? And even get out of the house to go anywhere?  Thus was born the hilarity of Penny Goes to the Conference for a MS Consultation. 

She signed up for a constellation and sought advice from her fellow non-furry writer pals.  We didn't expect her to actually get a consultation with an agent, but that she did, with none other than the excellent Ms. Linda Pratt.  Want to see our hilarity?  Click below.  

 Visit our post and click on both videos!
Visit our post and click on both videos for maximum fun!
You can also read Penny's pages on the post.  

Other things you can learn to do at a conference.  Practice your dance skills, learn to wrap, bake cookies to share, work on your smashing costume for the Saturday Night gala. 

One year, my husband and I, dressed up as Mr. and Mrs. Hollywood and Lin Oliver was so tickled by it, she still calls us by those names!  

And when the theme was blue, so were we! I played Happy Birthday on the bongos to Elizabeth Law and years later, it lead to a submission to her office.

The year we wore pajamas, we came in our own Say Goodnight "moon" PJ's, bottoms optional. (We made shirts to spoof Go the F to sleep picture book).

We were part of the 2012 Flash Mob. Good luck trying to find me in it. And if you have a talented husband, get him to rap!
Click to see the 2012 Flash Mob tribute to Lin Oliver and Steve Mooser!

That's my guy!
By the way, the best writing advice I can give you, is networking advice:

Pay attention to your costume. Competition is fierce and prizes are awarded! 

Here are some parting thoughts to make the most of your weekend:

1. Go up to people and simply say hi. They will say hi back. I did and here's our new friend Nuria.  If you visit Rita Crayon Huang's Flickr photo album, she has thousands of awesome photos of the last 6 conferences.

2. When people ask you if you are published, say you are "pre-published."

3. When you shake someone's hand, really shake it. Nothing is worse than a lackluster shake. Look them in the eye and smile when you shake. Trust me, it's a dying art form, but one still worthy of being practiced.

4. Consume alcohol respectably.

5. And make sure that if you have any "costume" pieces still on your face or body, you quickly leave them in the elevator before you crawl to your chair on Sunday morning. (Actually, the year we did the 1970's theme, my peace sign came with me to the Sunday morning keynote).

Lin Oliver and Stephen Mooser at SCBWI have created what is the closest thing to Nirvana for me. I cherish these days that refuel my soul and jump start my writing for the year. 

No matter what, come prepared to smile, have fun, and be inspired.

From all of us at Pen and Ink, thanks for reading!

Happy 5th Anniversary to our group!
Here's the whole gang. Lupe, Sue, Me and Kris, then my junior inkies- Sam and Victoria and the one and only silent technical partner, David "The Rapper" Krol.  Without him, Skype and many other tech stuff would escape us!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Avonlea is for me!

Our Journey to Avonlea.
by Sam and Victoria Krol

with some thoughts from our mom, Hilde Garcia

I always knew that Avonlea was a fictions name that L. M. Montgomery gave to the setting that served as a backdrop for her novels.  She grew up in Cavendish, the prettiest spot on the north shore, as many have commented, and in her enchanting novels, she had us all fall in love with a place called Avonlea.

Then on Canada Day, while in line for Cow's Creamery ice cream, the best ice cream we have ever tasted, a lovely family told us that we had to go to Avonlea. I, of course, said, that was not the real name of the town, but they said, "No, you have to go to Avonlea.  It's an actual place."  Well, we attempted to find it on our phone and the woman says, "You can't miss it.  It's on the way to Montgomery's Cavendish home."  Imagine my delight when I thought about really traveling there. No journey to P. E. I. could be complete without a visit to Avonlea.

SO we put our phone away. No one else had theirs out and we trusted we'd find it in the morning. I stayed up late that night and read all about it on the internet though, and couldn't sleep for the anticipation of being able to walk through time.

I wondered if it would be captivating for the rest of my crew.  From what I could tell, we were going to go back in time and "play" as if we were in the novel.  It sounded like fun to me, but you know how kids are today, so I wasn't sure what to expect.

SO here are their takes on visiting Avonlea.


It was fun pretending to live in 1901.  Josie Pye asked me what air conditioning was when I mentioned it to her.  So I explained it during flag making time.  We also did wool dying with Ms. Rachel Lynde.  We had to fetch water from the water pump because there wasn't a sink.  And then we brought the bucket back to the tub where we were going to place the wool.  We all took turns.

"Today, we are going to dye wool," Mrs. Rachel Lynde said.  Then she pulled out some samples in different stages of the dye process.  The she said, "We're going to use this new fangled thing called Kool-aid."  Some adults chuckled.  Then she let us smell it.  It smelled like beets.  She poured the grape kool-aid into the bucket full of water.  Then she stirred it, then she dumped in the yarn and said "Let's soak the yarn in the bucket until 4 o'clock.  I ended up coming back two days later and I bought the yarn I helped die and made a scarf for me and one for my doll.

Then we did a whole bunch of other stuff.

For example, step dancing, square dancing, (not the same thing), pie eating contest, and more.

Okay readers, here's a little news flash.  The whole time we were on Prince Edward Island, we saw no one on a CELL PHONE!!  And in Avonlea, everyone was having wholesome fun!!!  The second day in Avonlea, I went to and played around with Josie Pye who was glad we had returned.  We had this shannanigan going on that started when she wrote Anne's name incorrectly on the chalk board.  My middle name is Anne, with an e, so I had to let her know.

It all started when Josie Pye told a falsehood on the first day of school.  She said that Anne broke her tablet over Gilbert's head 117 times. We knew that couldn't be true, because we saw it, it was only once.  I of course, defended Anne and told Josie my middle name was Anne, with an e.

Josie said, "It should be Victoria Josie."  And preceded to call me that the rest of the day.  During knitting with Mrs. Lynde, she announced it to everyone in the store.  I went, "Uggh!"  My dad asked why I was annoyed and I said, "Because she dislikes that my name is Anne and is calling me Victoria Josie." (But I secretly love it.)

During this whole time, Josie was waiting for me so we could go and play, but I told her I would catch up with her.  My dad and I decide to have some fun and we ran back to the school house and wrote on the chalk board Josie's name wrong five different ways.  We wrote Josey Pye, Josee Pie, Josie with the Pi symbol, and even José Torta which is Josie Pye in Spanish.

Then she came and read it and left me a note, "Dear Viktoreeeah Josie, You should focus on your spelling more. Love JOSIE PYE."  What I loved was how much she played along and she was all grown up and loved pretending.

It was hard to say goodbye.  She hugged me and told me to have a safe journey out West.  I could have stayed in Avonlea forever.


When I went to Avonlea in Prince Edward Island, which is in Canada, I played a game called Crokinole with three of the townspeople who were named Tommy, Gilbert, and Moody.  Crokinole is a game where you shoot discs across the circular game board trying to land in the higher scoring regions of the board, while also attempting to knock away opposing discs.  We played about ten games together on one of the games I shot the disc so hard that it bounced off of the board and landed in Moody's shirt pocket.  Since there were four people, we made teams of two.  Every few games, we switched teams so we got to play with everybody.  Crokinole is a game that's hard, but fun.

There was also a fair and in the fair they had a pie eating contest.  The contestants that were in the pie eating contest were my mom, known as Hilde, a town boy, and two other visitors.  The winner of the pie eating contest was one of the two visitors.  My mom didn't win because the crust was stuck to the plate and she couldn't get it up off of the plate!  The contest was very funny because you could only eat with your mouth. What I mean is you couldn't use your hands.  At the end of the pie contest, my sister and I, started to dip our fingers in the pie. A few dips later, my mom told us to stop.  All the contestants had a pie mustache and by the way, the pie was chocolate!

We also participated in a sack race.  Well, it was actually four sack races. One for the small and young ones, one for the the big and older kids and two for the adults- ladies and gentlemen.  My sister got placed in the little kid race because she is short and she WON first place, and was given an
"I love Gilbert!" tattoo.  In the older kid race, I WON that race and I got the same tattoo.  My mom yelled, "Those are my twins."  My mom asked if I could have the tattoo so I gave it to her.

The adult race was very funny.  My dad came in last place because he fell down.  My mom got 3rd place because two taller girls beat her by one jump and they tied.  I think it was too close, but there wasn't any kind of replay camera.

I also played a kick ball game and threw balls into a wooden board that had holes in it and every time you made it in, you had to back up and throw from a farther distance. I did really well in that game.


And the pig races were awesome! It was fun and I didn't want to go.

Today's kids have a world of electronic gadgets at their fingertips. Many children today do not look up when they speak to you, have trouble reading facial expressions, and simply cannot pretend, converse, or make believe.  It's a travesty.

Avonlea to all the visitors that came and to me was a haven, hope that we haven't lost all the kids of today just yet. So many kids loved the story and loved that it was brought to life.  My kids reveled in it and suspended their reality for not one day, but two, as we simply couldn't get enough of the first day there.

The second day, feeling like we had come home, I simply let the kids run amuck doing whatever they wanted while I wandered around and shopped. They shadowed the town "children" and played with them and even skipped down the side walk.

Happier times. Simpler times.  I cannot wait to return.