I’m still struggling to meet my deadline. This week I was reading the March/April issue of Horn Book Magazine. (Bedtime reading, not computer time, and yes, I know I’m behind. BTW, Horn Book is the classic magazine of children’s literature—highly recommended to anyone thinking of writing for children or young adults.) This issue honors Katherine Paterson , a missionary kid from China who has written more than 25 books (many of them award winners.) She is also the newly appointed National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. In a short essay (p.36) Linda Sue Park (herself a Newbery Medal winner) talks about the impact that Katherine Paterson has had on her life. Park was only thinking she might like to try writing when she found Paterson’s book of essays The Spying Heart. In the essay “Do I Dare Disturb the Universe?” she came upon the author’s technique of writing two pages a day.
I have been going through my shelf of books on writing and children’s literature, wanting to post them with reviews on Shelfari.com and Goodreads.com so when people ask, “What’s a good book on writing?” I know which ones I like best and why. I have re-read a couple that I remember liking a lot. The first was a disappointment. Although I recognize the chapter on fantasy as the source of many of our family favorites, the rest of the book spends too much time analyzing works that haven’t stood the test of time.
Turn Not Pale, Beloved Snail; a Book About Writing Among Other Things has NOT been a disappointment. It is a delight even after thirty years. I thought I would review it for you, but alas! It is out of print, and the only used copy available on Amazon costs $50! So check your public library for this book that inspires young people to look at life in new ways and get their vision down in words.
At twenty-one I had no concept of what thirty-seven years with one person would be like. I thought love was kisses and romantic dinners and strolling hand-in-hand. I didn’t know it meant moving from continent to continent, learning new languages, and acquiring a taste for churrasco, boerworst and scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam.
When we married, May 12, 1973, I was the one who wanted to be a missionary in distant cultures. Steve was a campus minister with Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship. He had never been out of the country except for Canada.
Long ago in Mozambique during the civil war of the 1980s, I used to break out in a rash at times of special stress. I remember once when we returned from grocery-shopping and R & R in neighboring Swaziland to some particularly stressful news. I woke the next morning with my chest, neck and face covered with rash and my eyes swollen nearly shut.
LeAnne Hardy has lived in six countries on four continents. Her books come out of her cross-cultural experiences and her passion to use story to convey spiritual truths in a form that will permeate lives.