Top Ten "Little" Things To Miss In Boston

The packers are boxing up our 12.5 years in the Boston area. Tomorrow's moving day, so it's a good time to post my list of Top Ten "Little" Things To Miss in Boston. Note: friends, neighbors, schools, libraries, indies, sports, publishers, history, architecture, and church are Big Things, and so are not listed. Ready? All additions welcome.

#10: Lilacs in the Spring: I hear some grow in California, but there's something dizzying about lilacs in New England because you've been longing for color and fragrance for months. Below is a variety that bloomed in our garden.

#9 Apple Picking: Apples, too, grow in California, but as my fabulous next-door neighbor says, "Nothing tastes like a New England Macintosh or Macoun. Irreplaceable!" Not to mention the five-senses experience of brilliant foliage in the background and the energizing tang of autumn air.

#8 Our House at Christmas.

#7 Washing Dishes in October.

#6 Sweet Caroline in the 8th Inning.

#5 Indie Ice Cream.

#4 The Accent: Versatility with four-letter words is a "hallmahk," (see below) s(short o)rry.


#3 Insider Town Names: This accompanies #4, but deserves a separate category, don't you think?

#2 Walkability: It's a cozy city, plus from our house I can walk to the Newton Free Library, Whole Foods Market Newtonville, and Newton Presbyterian Church, among other destinations, and bike along the Charles to Harvard University for Saturday morning coffee.

#1 Logan Airport: Close to home thanks to the Big Dig, requiring neither trains nor shuttles to get you to the JetBlue Airways gates at Terminal C, a Dunkin' at departures and one at arrivals, Menino's classic Bostonian voice welcoming all visitors, but best of all, my portal back to my home away from home.

Thank you, Boston. Here we come, San Francisco Bay Area!

You're Invited: PEN New England Discovery Award Event 5/19

Please come celebrate authors Anna Boll and Kathy Quimby, winners of this year's PEN New England Susan P. Bloom Discovery Award. The event starts at 6:30 pm on Sunday, May, 19 at University Hall at Lesley University in Cambridge. It's free and parking is available. Both authors will read from their winning submissions and refreshments will be served afterwards. Come mingle with other authors, members of the PEN NE Children's Book Committee, and the winners. (I'll have the privilege to introduce Anna and her work during the event.)  Hope to see you there!

Thank you, New England, for Seven Years of Author Visits

Today marked my last all-day author visit before our big move to California. I met with four classes of seventh graders at Boston Collegiate Charter School (BCCS) in Dorchester, one of my favorite destinations thanks to the Foundation of Children's Books (find out more about this organization, please--they have an incredible vision to bring authors into underserved schools).

BCCS has this to say about itself:
Our mission is to prepare each student for college
Boston Collegiate Charter School serves over 600 students in grades 5 through 12. Our goal is to instill in our students the expectation of college from the moment they walk through our doors. Boston Collegiate has consistently brought its mission to life: 100% of our graduates have been accepted into college! The majority of them will be the first in their families to graduate from college. In 2012, 100% of BCCS 10th grade students scored Advanced on the Math MCAS exam, ranking BCCS as first in the state on this exam.
Wow. Each year during my author visit to BCCS, I see this mission in action. These kids are focused. They ask great questions. Today one was taking careful notes while I spoke. I asked if I could see them and she gave me a copy:

Here are a few phrases that caught her attention as I was speaking:
  • "challenge: find a book you'll read again"
  • "rejected a lot"
  • "7th grade was her least favorite year"
  • "books widen hearts more than movies"
  • "no shoes in the house in India"
  • "stories are everywhere ... find your own"
Yep. That about sums up my presentation.

Thanks, New England, for seven great years of hospitality to me as an author. Since 2006, I've visited dozens of schools and libraries in all of your states, explored your lovely small towns and dynamic cities, discovered your great restaurants and coffeeshops,* and last but far from least, met your dedicated, passionate educators.

I'll be back for a week in the spring and a week in the fall to make the rounds. In the meantime, keep up your good work of connecting books with young readers. I'm going to miss being a part of it all year around.

*Check out the Cape Verdean lunch I relished today at a restaurant in Dorchester, for example—perfect, since I was speaking to many Cape Verdean students:

New SCBWI Award for Unpublished Authors over 50!

Maybe it's because I recently hit (ahem) a big birthday myself (your cue to coo in kindly disbelief, thank you very much), but this announcement that just zinged into my in-box was exciting:

The SCBWI is proud to announce the immediate launch of the Karen and Philip Cushman Late Bloomer Award for authors over the age of fifty who have not been traditionally published in the children’s literature field.  The grant was established by Newbery Award winner and Newbery Honor Book recipient Karen Cushman and her husband, Philip Cushman, in conjunction with the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.  Karen published her first children’s book, The Midwife’s Apprentice (winner of the 1996 Newbery Medal), at the age of fifty-three and has gone on to become one of the field’s most acclaimed novelists. 
 “This award was established to encourage and celebrate late bloomers like me, who didn't start to write until age fifty.  But then I bloomed, and I'd love to see others do so as well,” said Karen.  
SCBWI Executive Director Lin Oliver agreed, “One of the great aspects of writing children’s books is that it’s not age-restrictive. The SCBWI hopes an individual’s creative expression can make a valuable contribution, no matter what his or her age.”  
The award is open to both unpublished children’s book authors or author/illustrators over the age of fifty, and one winner will be chosen from the pool of those who have submitted material for the SCBWI Work-In-Progress Grants. 
The winner will receive $500 in cash, and free tuition to any worldwide SCBWI conference.  The first winner will be selected this year and announced along with the other Work-in-Progress Grant recipients. 
About Karen Cushman 
Karen Cushman is the author of The Midwife’s Apprentice (winner of the 1996 Newbery Medal), Catherine, Called Birdy (a Newbery Honor book), The Ballad of Lucy Whipple (winner of the John and Patricia Beatty Award), and her latest book, Will Sparrow's Road (Clarion 2012). Karen lives and writes on Vashon Island in Washington.  To learn more about Karen visit 
General Information 
Founded in 1971, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators is one of the largest existing writers’ and illustrators’ organizations, with over 22,000 members worldwide. It is the only organization specifically for those working in the fields of children’s literature, magazines, film, television, and multimedia. The organization was founded by Stephen Mooser (President) and Lin Oliver (Executive Director). 

Charlesbridge Hosts Panel on Diversity in Children's Literature

Charlesbridge and the Children's Book Council's Diversity Committee Present

Diversity on the Page, Behind the Pencil, and in the Office:

A Discussion with Children’s Book Creators and Editors

Thursday, May 16, 2013 | 6:00-7:30 p.m.
Moderated by Ayanna Coleman, CBC Diversity Committee


Mitali Perkins, author
London Ladd, illustrator

Katie Cunningham, Editor, Candlewick Press
Alyssa Mito Pusey, Senior Editor, Charlesbridge Publishing
Monica Perez, Executive Editor, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Location: Charlesbridge Illustration Gallery
First Floor, 85 Main Street, Watertown, MA 02472

 Seating is limited for this free event, so please register here.