I've been sitting on this news for FIVE years!!! TONGUE-TIED is finally out. Isn't it pretty? I love it. It's my memoir for kids about stuttering. It's part of Heinemann's Fountas & Pinnell series of leveled books for classroom use.
This book also has my first art (calligraphy). See the writing in Hindi? I wrote one stanza of the poem Jhansi ki Rani, the one I mention in the text. If you want to know the story, check out this movie Manikarnika: Queen of Jhansi. Note, it's violent, so definitely not for kids who aren't at least teenagers.
I am thrilled because I can finally include Tongue-Tied in the memoir workshops that I'm offering this September at Write 2 Ignite Conference (Sept. 20-21) and the Carolinas SCBWI Conference (Sept. 27-29). I would love to see you there, so please prayerfully consider coming to these wonderful conferences for children's writers.
I've been unusually quiet because as I prepare to begin a new phase in my life without the day-to-day care of kids (yes, even teenagers need it), I've been evaluating how I use my time, and I'm sad to say that half of it is dissipated in the shallows. I've discussed this before when we bought the first cell phone for Max (he was 15). He had to read The Shallows by Nicholas Carr first so that he knew the dangers a smart phone and all that connectivity posed. Last year, I inherited Dagny's cell phone and I've seen how easy it is to spend 30 min scrolling through Facebook. I must admit that when I'm in the backseat of the car, it is the only way I can distract myself from her driving. But she too, is leaving home, so there's no need.
I've been practicing Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport for the past month and I highly recommend it. He lays out the groundwork for how to reorient your life around the things you care deeply about. And because I care deeply about writing books that matter and music that elevates the heart and soul to God, I bought a copy of his Deep Work. It is brilliant. I am, in essence, retraining my brain to work deeply. I am working on my lectures for Sept. and I want to be So Good They Can't Ignore Me (another one of Cal's titles I've amended slightly--isn't it just the best?). I doubt I will continue to use Facebook. I don't like the format even after three years and the benefits are too small compared to the noise it creates in my head. The blog will remain. I enjoy it tremendously.
I have been reading other good books. Loved Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo. Beautiful, powerful writing. A story that will resonate with many teenagers, especially those who are questioning their faith. And I'm getting ready to dive into a couple more good books, and the beach too :)