Saturday, April 20, 2019

Photo Problem

When I was a kid you could take eight photos with a role of film. We were impressed when that number went up to 12.

But, today, with the modern technology, there's no limit to the number of photos we can take.

I was planning to post some photos from the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference here today, but I have so many I can't decide which ones to use.

So I guess I won't post any. :-(

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Blue

My favorite color has always been blue. I love bright, royal blue and I also love turquoise blue.

There’s nothing more beautiful than a blue sky.

Blue makes me happy.

But, for some strange reason, our culture associates blue with sadness. 
People feel blue when they are sad or sing the blues about sad things.

Why in the world is that so?

How did the happiest, most beautiful color become associated with sadness?


If you know, I’d love to hear the answer.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Naomis Two

I always enjoy books with original concepts and Naomis Too certainly has that.

It’s about a blended family with two girls, both named Naomi, who are about the same age and in the same grade at Middle School.

But one is African-American and the other is White.

The book was written by two authors, each one writing from the point of view of one of the Naomis in alternating chapters. I sometimes had difficulty remembering which one was which, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying the book.

And the authors, Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich and Audrey Vernick are also of different races, so they know what they’re writing about.


I was drawn in by the plot, and was surprised to learn it was the second one in a series because it certainly stands alone.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

It's A Sci-Fi World

A few decades ago if you saw people walking alone down a street talking out loud you’d have assumed they were insane. 

Today you just assume they’re using a cellphone.

Back in the 1930s when George Orwell wrote 1984 it was science fiction that someone could watch you in your home from far away, or that you could cook a meal in a few minutes. 

Today those things are the norm.

In the days of my youth if I sent a letter to someone who lived on the other side of the continent it took at least a week for them to get it and another week or so for me to get a reply. 

Even expensive long distance phone calls took a while talking with the operator and waiting for a connection. If the other person wasn’t home there was no way to leave a message.

Today we can send messages to each other in a matter of seconds and people can receive them at their convenience.

And I remember when fabric that didn’t need to be ironed first became available. Today most of our clothes are made of synthetics.

Maybe eventually instead of cellphones we’ll have brain implants. Then some evil world government will use those to control us all.


(Can you tell I’m a writer?)

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Story Time

When I was a little kid my parents read to me every night before bed.

Of course I read to my own kids, too.

And, as a preschool teacher I often read to my students.

Years ago I read of a study where scientists tried to find out the best method for teaching reading. They interviewed the highest functioning students at the best universities in the USA.

To their surprise, the only thing those students had in common was that their parents read to them often when they were kids.


I’ve told this story before because I think it’s important for everyone to know they should read to young kids as much as possible.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

New Website Appearance

My new website is finally up and running. It's the same address, www.janetanncollins.com, but has a completely new look. I'd love to have you leave a comment or send me a message and let me know what you think of it. Thanks.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Earliest Memories

I remember meeting one of my cousins for the first time just before my second birthday. I also remember many visits to my grandmother, who died a few months later, and other things from the year I was two years old.

Bu I know other people who can’t even remember major things that happened when they were four or five years old.


What is the earliest thing you can remember, and how old were you when it happened?

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Hattie Ever After

I love reading about San Francisco history, and this book by Kirby Larson does a wonderful job of bringing that era to life.

The book takes place in 1919. It’s about a girl who comes to The City hoping to become a newspaper reporter.

In an era when women were expected to be humble, submissive housewives, that was extremely unlikely.

But Hattie is determined to succeed and takes lots of daring chances.

She discovers things aren’t always what they seem. I won’t spoil the book by giving away the plot secrets, but I will say it’s exciting and the story is surprising.


This is the second book in a series, but I hadn’t read the first one and didn’t miss any information from that. However the writing is so good I’ll look for more books by the author, including that first one in the series.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

My Webpage

My webpage, www.janetanncollins.com, is being redone and I  believe it will be up and running by Monday Evening.

If you get the chance, I’d appreciate having you check it out.

Please let me know what you think.

It will still link to my blog, http://onwordsblog.blogspot.com.
I share all of my blog posts, like this one, on Facebook and would appreciate having some comments on the actual blog.


Thanks.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Upside Down In The Middle Of Nowhere

This book by Julie T. Lamana  is her first novel, but she was a Literacy Specialist so that helps explain why it’s so good.

The book is about a girl named  Armani and others who experienced Hurricane Katrina.

Although I had read and seen news reports about that hurricane, this book made me feel as if I actually experienced it.

Armani is separated from family members and others she cares about and must deal with loosing almost everything, and with all the problems of the hurricane’s aftermath.


The characters are all realistic, so their emotional trauma is gripping. It’s not a book for the faint hearted, but it’s a powerful and hopeful story.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Is it Just Me?

Most of the people I know spend time watching TV or videos, often on their phones or tablets.

But I’d rather read a book.

I do turn on the TV while I’m eating dinner to watch the evening news. Once in a while I might even watch a show or even go to a movie with a friend.

But I can’t imagine going a whole day without reading.

I usually read about half a dozen Middle Grade or Young Adult novels every week and maybe one novel or non-fiction book for adults in a month. I also read the hard-copy newspapers and some magazines.

There’s something pleasurable about using my own imagination, sometimes with the help of a photo or some illustrations, to visualize what I’m reading about.

And I like to sit down in a comfortable chair and relax while I’m reading for pleasure. I spend more than enough time in front of the screen reading e-mail and other things online.

Am I a dinosaur? 


Does anyone else still prefer reading genuine, old fashioned books?

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Conference

Next week I’ll be going down to the SF Bay Area for the West Coast Christian Writers Conference. Although I won’t be speaking, I will be on staff. 

That conference replaced the Castro Valley Christian Writers Conference where I spoke for many years.

I love writers conferences. Writing is a solitary business, but writers are communicators, so when we get together we just click.


Some of my favorite friends are people I met at conferences in the past.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

No More

I’ve decided not to post any more Silly Sunday Words of Wisdom and Warning. I’m not sure what caused me to start those ridiculous posts in the first place, and I think it’s time to pretend I’m a grown up even though I’ll probably always be a kid on the inside. But I hope I don’t ever stop writing books for kids.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Today. :-(

Well, I usually blog on Wednesday and Saturdays, but today was one of those days when everything goes wrong. 

I won’t bore or depress you with the list, but there were also some good things like chats with good people. I’ll try to do better and post something as usual on Saturday.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Silly Sunday

Words of Wisdom and Warning:

Whether you call it a sofa or a couch, don’t brush your teeth with it.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Time

Time

It seems like Christmas was a very short time ago, but February will start in less than a week.

Years, months, days, morning, noon, and night are caused by the rotation of our planet and its journey around the sun. But weeks, hours, minutes and seconds are human inventions. 

The Romans originally named the months after their dietys and powerful people. Their calendar year began with March because that’s when Spring started. The months were alternating 30 and 31 days. 

But when Augustus became Caesar and had a month named after him he wanted it to be as long as July, the month already named for Julius Caesar. So he took one day from the February, the last month of their year, and added it to August.

Of course February usually only has 28 days instead of the 29 in leap years.


Let’s enjoy it while it lasts.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

ASL Book

I used to work at California School for the Deaf and raised three Deaf foster kids. I lived in the San Francisco Bay Area most of my life.

I was thrilled to read You Don’t Know everything Jilly P by Alex Gino because it perfectly portrayed what the culture in that area is like. 

The story is about a hearing girl who has a Deaf sister and becomes friends with a Deaf boy through an internet chat group. 

Things have changed a lot since I worked at CSD. The internet didn’t exist yet and the school was in Berkeley instead of Fremont. The book shows today’s culture in the area perfectly.

Alex Gino is a skilled writer and made me care about all the characters as the story unfolded.


The book will help readers understand differences while carrying them along with a dramatic plot. And they might even learn a little ASL (American Sign Language.)

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Silly Sunday

Silly Sunday words of wisdom and warning

If your nose runs, don’t chase it.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Stories

When I was a kid my grandfather lived with us.

Every day when we came home from school he’d tell us stories about his life in San Francisco in the 1800s and early 1900s.

We’d hear about the newly invented game of base ball, the San Francisco earthquake in 1906, and how he heard the detective who caught the evil Black Bart tell how he did that.

And Gramp would play his five-stringed banjo and teach us to sing old songs from that time.

Often we’d wish we could just go out and play, but now I’m so glad I got to hear all his stories.

I wish I could tell my grandkids about his stories and things that happened in my own childhood, but they don’t live near me. And they’d probably rather play video games anyway.


Do you share stories with people in your family?

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Words of Wisdom and Warning

Here's my silly post for the week.

Never peel an elephant.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Mystery

Yesterday I heard a faint, high-pitched sound that seemed to be coming from the ceiling.

 It was too soft to be from a smoke alarm, and every time I moved under one of the alarms the sound seemed to be coming from another direction. 

I followed it around the house, but always heard it coming from somewhere other than where I was standing.

It was driving me crazy!

I asked a neighbor with mechanical skills to come in and help me find it, but he was hard of hearing and couldn’t hear it at all.

The sound continued for several hours.

Finally I decided to sit down and read, hoping that would distract me from the frustrating sound. My dog jumped up onto my lap and the mystery was solved!

The sound was coming from the collar she wears to keep her from barking. Normally it emits a sound only dogs can hear if she barks, but the slightly lower sound is to let me know the battery is low.

I removed the battery and replaced it with a new one and the sound was gone.


Whew! What a relief!

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Snared

It’s a good thing last Saturday was a rainy day and I didn’t have to go anywhere because when I started reading Snared, Escape to the Above I couldn’t put it down.

I love the creative concept of an underground fantasy world where the residents have never seen the light of day.

The characters seem real, and I felt like I was experiencing the adventures Wily Snare must  deal with.

This book must be the first in a series but, unlike some series books, it has a satisfying conclusion.


I look forward to reading the next book by Adam Jay Epstein.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Words of Wisdom and Warning

I've decided to post short things in this category every week as long as I can think of some.

Here's the first one: Do not put bananas in your ears.

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Apology

Apology

I blogged twice a week with almost no exceptions for many years. But, lately, I’ve often been remiss in posting anything to my blog.

Between moving, unpacking, and the holiday season, writing blog posts became lower on my To-Do lists. 


I’m sorry if anyone has missed my posts, though I’ve still been active on Facebook. And I’ll try to get back to blogging about three of my favorite things, words, books, and kids, soon.