Purple Profile Pic

Happy Birthday, Dear Lea!!!!

I am blessed to have the greatest writing buddy on the face of the planet!
We get together at least one day every month to touch base and work together on writerly projects.
We bounce ideas off of each other and discuss how we plan to advance our writing careers.
We talk about the books we've read, exchange books, and talk about what we liked and didn't like about them.

In addition, over the past several years, we've become close friends and there's no one whose
company I enjoy more outside my own family. She's truly my BFF, and I'm proud of it!


  • Current Mood
    happy happy
Purple Profile Pic

SCARS by Cheryl Rainfield

    I have a confession to make. I avoided reading Scars by Cheryl Rainfield.

I avoided it for so long after getting the book, that I missed posting my review in time to plug the great promotion the author was holding on her website, with apologies to my readers for not posting the link.

Why did I commit this travesty of putting a book aside for so long? Because I knew how hard it would be to read. Exactly how hard. Because really, how could it not be difficult? Just reading the blurbs told me what I needed to know:

"Scars is a brave novel, a read-in-one-sitting-except-when-you-have-to-put-it-down-to-breathe novel." --Ellen Hopkins

"Scars is a painful and well told story, obviously written with the heart's blood of the author. It could prove to be a life-saver for other young victims of abuse and self-harm." --Lois Duncan

This wasn't going to be a quick, easy YA read. These types of books tend to speak aloud--they should--they have a lot to say. What I didn't know before picking up Scars, was exactly how much it would say...no shriek at me. How much of my heart would be ripped out and handed back to me. How much of my outlook would change after this one read. 

Congratulations to Cheryl Rainfield for really digging deep and pulling up the dregs of emotion that exist for those who resort to cutting to mask or alleviate their pain. While I found some of the book to be a bit predictable and overly dramatic, I cannot deny that I mostly found the entire story to be incredibly powerful and  "in your face" in the best sense.

Kendra's fierce determination to find the truth about her abuse and the identity of her abuser is beyond admirable. Her passion for art and need to express herself through that medium bring a likability to Kendra's character.

The book isn't the least bit patronizing. It shows raw emotions & reactions without necessarily explaining specific causes, which allows readers to draw their own conclusions. Ultimately, I have to agree with Ellen Hopkins that this book forces one to stop and breathe. By the time I was done dragging the book everywhere I went, it looked as though it had been through a war. And although I felt as though I'd been through the war with it, I couldn't pretend I wasn't glad I'd read it.

Kudos to the brave main character and to her even more brave creator.

Off to Turn Another Page....
  • Current Mood
    thoughtful thoughtful
Purple Profile Pic

YA book picks for the past decade

From Joan Kaywell, of the Assembly on Literature for Adolescents (aka: ALAN):

"Hi Fellow YA Lovers,

Every decade, Dr. Ted Hipple would ask YA enthusiasts, what their favorite YA books were for the last decade.   He would compile the list and publish the results in THE ALAN REVIEW.  Given that he was my mentor, I figured I'd follow the tradition.  So, here's my request:

Please e-mail me at kaywell AT usf DOT edu your response to this question:

In your opinion, what are the 10 best YA books published between 1999 and 2009 with 1 being your favorite and so on?  Please list title and author and identify your primary role in how you made your selections as (choose only one) either a secondary teacher, a university professor, an author, a media specialist, or a parent.

When Ted asked me for my recommendations for 1990-1999, this is how it looked:

TOP TEN NOVELS OF THE 90'S (Joan F. Kaywell, university professor)


1.  Ironman by Chris Crutcher (1995)

2.  Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes by Chris Crutcher (1993)

3.  The Watsons Go to Birmingham by Christopher Paul Curtis (1995)

4.  Good Moon Rising by Nancy Garden (1996)

5.  Don't You Dare Read This, Mrs. Dunphrey by Margaret Peterson Haddix (1996)

6.  Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse (1997)

7.  All But My Life by Gerda Weissmann Klein (1995 in paper, 1957)

8.  Push by Saphire (1996)

9.  When I Was Puerto Rican by Esmeralda Santiago (1993)

10.  Make Lemonade by Virgina Euwer Wolff (1993)

The deadline for your nominations to be included is April 15, 2010.

I would appreciate your copying, pasting, and sending my message to all YA enthusiasts you know.  PLEASE only respond one time.

Thanks tons.  I hope to have this published in the summer 2010 issue of THE ALAN REVIEW.  If you are not a member of the Assembly on Literature for Adolescents of the NCTE and would like to join, go to www.alan-ya.org for more information on how to become a member."

Pass it on! 
  • Current Mood
    excited excited
Purple Profile Pic

In Which Son gets to use the "A" Word!

As soon as Son saw Artsy Fartsy, he had to crack it open. It was completely irresistable.

Luckily, I was able to pry it out of his hands (after he fell asleep) long enough to read it myself, at which point I wanted very much to talk to the author, Karla Oceanak.

Collapse )

For those interested, my official review of Artsy Fartsy can be found over at YA (& Kids) Books Central!


Purple Profile Pic

A very purpley interview with author Jean Reidy

I was lucky enough to snag an interview with one of the hottest new picture book authors!   See what I mean? Not only is she gorgeous and talented, she's also clever and funny.

That's why I predict her new book, Too Purpley, will soar to the top of best seller lists everywhere!  
And, it will be followed shortly by its companion: 

It's easy to see at a glance just how much kid-appeal these books,illustrated by the extraordinary Genevieve LeLoup, have jam-packed in them. And Jean's not even done yet! To learn about other work coming soon, check out her award-winning website. But first you can find out more right here.

Collapse )

 You can't ask for a better author than this one, folks!


  • Current Mood
    chipper chipper
Purple Profile Pic

Top Books of 2009

                                      happy-new-year.jpg new_year image by naqiufalah

This has been a WONDERFUL year for me (much better than 2008), and I'm anxious to see what 2010 brings.
By the way, I've decided on "twenty-ten," over the more cumbersome "two-thousand-ten." How about you?

I'm wondering a couple of things about my f-list. So tell me a couple of things:

One really great thing that happened to you this year and
Two great books you read in 2009!

As for me, the arrival of The Littlest Prince tops my list as the greatest thing that happened to/for me this year. There really isn't anything better than a warm baby snuggled into your neck, or listening to baby giggles. Life is good here at the Prince homestead.

As for the two greateset books I read in 2009:

I'm tempted to name the ones that I've read repeatedly from early inception, like Soul Enchilada and Scones and Sensibility, but that would probably be "cheating." So, I'm going to name a couple of others instead:

Also Known as Harper by Ann Haywood Leal, which is probably considered a "quiet" middle grade but has stuck with me all year long
Waiting for Winter by  Sebastian Meschenmoser, a picture book with such striking illustrations, they cannot be ignored.

Now, don't get me wrong, those are just two great books that were released in 2009. I also read a few books for the first time this year, which were released awhile back, but that I love, love, loved:

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian by Alexie Sherman

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman


The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Anyway, that wraps up this year for me. Tell me about you!

  • Current Mood
    curious curious
Purple Profile Pic


A poignant coming-of-age story, THE YEAR OF THE SAWDUST MAN chronicles a year in the life of Nissa Bergen. Her impulsive mother has just run off, leaving Nissa and her father behind in the wake of small town gossip.
A fairly quiet and reflective book, I found it to be insightful and realistic. Flashbacks focused on Nissa’s unique and fun relationship with her missing mother, while the eleven-year-old also dealt with the current problem of watching her father move on with another woman.
One thing I found particularly compelling was the way Nissa’s feelings about her mother wavered uncertainly. One day Nissa would think of her with adoration and complete loyalty, ready to fight whomever spoke a bad word. The next day, she’d remember her mother’s flightiness and instability and be appropriately angry at her abandonment. This felt very believable and understandably confused.
Milkweed Editions has sparked my interest lately, as I make my way through books that have waited far too long on my shelves for their due attention. I look forward to unburying more treasures like this one from my “to be read” stack.
Off to Turn Another Page….
  • Current Mood
    cheerful cheerful
Purple Profile Pic

I've been, like, quoted and stuff!

Please allow me a "geek" moment.

Like many people, I check out my Google Alerts now and then. Ya know, to be sure none of the other "Julie Prince"s out there are starring in porno flicks or anything I should know about before I learn it the hard way.

Anyhoo, I found a professor's 'Intro to Literature' assignment that quoted yours truly:

"In her review of The Lucky Place for ALAN, Julie M. Prince comments that, 'The challenge of keeping a character’s voice believable and consistent is always difficult. Vincent manages it under doubly difficult circumstances, since this story spans from Cassie at age three to Cassie at age twelve. Vincent has done an amazing job of capturing the world from a preschooler’s perspective and growing the voice along with the character.' Your challenge in this week's discussion forum is to first write your adult version of the event, and then try to capture that same event or memory from the perspective of the kid you used to be, the one who lived it firsthand."

Is it corny that I'm more proud of this than I am of my actual publications? *tee hee*

  • Current Mood
    pleased pleased