Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Climate Change

Climate Change
Spring is officially here, but in the Sierra foothills where I live it doesn’t feel like Spring. We’re having lots of rain and possibly snow in the higher elevations.
I keep reading about climate change. Some people say it’s not happening. Others say it is natural and similar cycles have always happened, while others blame pollution by humans. Or it might be caused by a combination of those factors.
But climate change is real and I can give a definitive answer as to the reason.

It’s the skateboarders. They jump up and down so much they’re tipping the planet!

Saturday, March 17, 2018


Today I’m doing a presentation of some of my books at the Sacramento Children’s Museum as one of their March Literacy Month programs.
This should be fun for me, and I hope for the kids who attend as well.
I enjoy kids a lot - after all, I’ve been a teacher most of my adult life. That’s one reason why I write books for kids. 
Don’t tell, but the other reason is that I’m still a kid on the inside. ;-)

And I hope the kids who come will all become kids who enjoy reading.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018


Hub Caps
One day as I walked down a sidewalk in town I started noticing the hubcaps of the vehicles parked along the street.

I couldn’t believe the variety of designs on something so ordinary and practical. Hubcaps all are round, and most have five or six holes, but the number of variations is amazing!

Since then I’ve noticed hubcaps any time I’m in a parking lot and continue to be surprised at how many different ways there are to shape them.

Thinking about the hubcaps reminds me of how different we human beings are from each other. Most of us have the same basic body parts, with some variations for gender, age, race, and special needs. But very few humans look exactly alike, and our minds are all completely unique.

Just as we can come up with many ways to design hubcaps we’ve used our creative abilities in thousands of ways and keep coming up with new things. 

People are amazing!

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Children's Theater

Children’s Theater
I grew up in a small town in Marin County, California, which was then a semi-rural area. 
Every Summer a group of mothers led Fairfax Junior Theater. Back then most women were stay-at-home moms but, since my mother had been widowed so she had to have a job, she couldn’t participate.
Kids from all over town joined the free group. I loved participating in it!
I never got a staring roll (those always went to kids whose mothers were running the program) but I usually got an important one. I specially enjoyed getting to play the part of an evil character.
Today, since we no longer have many stay-at-home moms, parents must pay for their kids to participate in programs like this. And that means roles are assigned more fairly.
But, otherwise, children’s theater is a lot like it was back in the 1940s and ‘50s.
This afternoon I plan to see a play put on by PAG, the local children’s theater in Grass Valley, where I now live.

I know I’ll enjoy the performance, and it will bring back memories of my own performances as a kid.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

5:00 Whistle

When I was a kid I lived in a small town that had a volunteer fire department. The fire chief was paid (I think) and there was a fire station where the fire engine stayed.
Any time there was a fire, a loud whistle that could be heard all over town would sound from the fire house. It used a distinct pattern for every section of town. I think that was so the fire fighters would know where to go to fight the fire. Maybe the volunteers met the truck there, but I’m not sure about that. 
The volunteers, who were strong, healthy men, would all have had regular, local day jobs, which allowed them to leave whenever a fire happened.
Perhaps the men met at the firehouse and the whistle was just to warn the neighbors, but most of us didn’t know the sound pattern for our neighborhoods so that doesn’t make sense.
But there’s one thing I am sure of:
That whistle went off every day at exactly 5:00 p.m. as a test to be sure it was working.

And all the kids in town, who were playing outside with adult supervision, knew when they heard that 5:00 whistle they had to stop playing and go home.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Spam Requests

Like most people, I have a spam file on my computer that gets dozens of messages every day. Lots are political, others are advertisements, etc., etc. 
They’re a bit irritating, but we see advertising everywhere. And it’s a simple thing to glance through the junk file in case there’s a ‘real’ message in it by mistake, then to click a button and delete the rest. 
But the really irritating ones are the Facebook friend requests. 
Most of those are from pages with nothing but photos of a “handsome” man, often holding a cute little kid or animal, or wearing a military uniform.
Of course I’m not stupid enough to accept any of them, but they keep coming, and I have to open them in order to access the button to block them.

What are the most irritating things that arrive in your inbox?

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Too Many Books

Of course, as one of my tee shirts says, there’s no such thing as too many books. But I often blog about books I especially like for kids, and this week I can’t choose between four of them. They’re all fairly new because my local library got quite a few new books recently.
Have Sword, Will Travel by Garth Nix and Sean Williams is sci-fi. I love that the magic, talking swords have personalities. Of course the human characters do too, and they have an exciting adventure.
Who Killed Darius Drake by Norman Philbrick is about a geeky kid who gets swept into solving a mystery. Kids can identify with all the characters in this book, and the plot is fascinating.
Another of these good books is Betty Before X. It’s a fictionalized biography of the childhood of a girl who grows up to become the wife of Malcom X, and the book brings the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1940s to life.
And How Oscar Indigo Broke The Universe (And Put It Back Together Again) Is a fun science fiction story about baseball that takes place in today’s world. Kids who enjoy sports and/or sci-fi will love this book.

Now I need to head back out to the Library and find some more good books.