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2010 A Brand New Year!

I love new beginnings, fresh starts, new goals, new challenges, new growth.

2010 has gotten off to a great start. The year ahead feels good!
We always talk about making those resolutions that can strengthen us in every facet of life. But if we're not proactive and determined in those goals, nothing really changes, does it?

Being a writer for children is an incredible journey, but so is being a mom, a youth leader, a city committee member--whatever we aspire to do. Those first steps aren't always easy ones. I can still remember stepping off that shuttle bus and into the world of writers. I shook in my socks. The greatest lesson I've learned in all of this, carries me into this next decade of possibility. I've learned that the more I step out of my comfort zone, the more my comfort zone expands to find me again. Life is amazing and so is opportunity.

So for my writing life, I'm about to grow again in attending the Portland 2010 IRA Conference held here in February. It will be neat to go, observe, listen, and learn, and maybe make some new friends along the way.

With my Editor at Charlesbridge, I'm also looking forward to working on the next Aggie book, not yet accepted, but in revision between the two of us. I'm also excited to work with Boyds Mills as a new book has been accepted for publication. I can't wait to see what "Millie" looks like! This character has been in my heart for three years!

If you are reading this, and you'd like a special activity for kids--- you might have an artist in your area who could help with a fun little experience.

You could have kids each write a book, after a class segment on writing. Then, ask an artist in your area to create their main character and let them feel what it's like for a writer to see their very own characters come to life. That is an amazing moment. Characters rarely are born as we envision them.

Kids can make a first book simply using construction paper for the cover, and plain paper for the inside book. Binding is easy. Zip it through a sewing machine, spiral bind it at kinkos, or use a stapler. Books bound well do make better keepsakes.

Can you imagine a child's face discovering how someone else sees their character? I think that would be a neat moment. An elementary school teacher--might work work with a High School art teacher. Art club holds many talented youth who might love such a fun opportunity! Your local librarian might also have some contacts, and I know your local SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators) would help you network as well.

Have a great New Year, may 2010 bring you all things bright and beautiful!

Lori Ries
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