Monday, November 24, 2008

Free Writing Workshop at the Menlo Park Library Dec. 12 for Ages 12 & up

I'm teaching a free Writing Workshop at Menlo Park Library on Friday, Dec. 12. It is for ages 12 and up. Sign up now by emailing Youth Services at It'll be Friday evening from 7-9:00 p.m. Hope to see you there. Please feel free to pass on this link and tell teachers and teens about this event. Tell your local teens I look forward to meeting them. Of course adults are welcome, too.

Many thanks to Menlo Park Youth Services for hosting this event and to Kepler's Books for providing the books for sale.

Location: Menlo Park Library
800 Alma Street
Menlo Park

Forecast: Interesting and fun writing exercises and plenty of time for Q & A. So please bring your questions. I look forward to meeting you soon!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

CSLA (California School Library Association) Author Illustrator Brunch

Sunday's CSLA Author Illustrator Brunch in Sacramento was fun. I had a chance to say a brief 'hello' to several author friends. Here are some pics:
A few of the authors in attendance (from left): Gennifer Choldenko, Jay Asher, Erin Dealey, Elissa Haden Guest, Lynn Hazen, Karen Beaumont & Bob Barner

More pics:
Elissa Haden Guest & Lynn Hazen

Alma Flor Ada, Gennifer Choldenko & Isabel Compoy

Lori Lim (one of the organizers of the brunch) with Elissa Haden Guest

Pam Turner, Lynn Hazen & Gennifer Choldenko

I was seated at Table 10 where I met a really great bunch of librarians and curriculum leaders from Long Beach.

I was happy to see author Ron Koertge there, faculty from my MFA days at Vermont College. I was hoping to get a photo but--oops--I must have had the camera set to "movie." Well, this is the Imaginary Blog so please imagine a nice photo or a very short video of Ron & me smiling.

Forecast: I'm still aiming for another interview before November becomes December!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

CSLA: California School Library Association Conference

What's happening in Sacramento?
First off, you'll see beautiful trees changing colors--amazingly bright yellows, oranges and reds. Then there's nearly 180 degrees of sky. And right now is the CSLA's (California School Library Association) conference. I dropped in today and met Sharon Hallberg & Wendy Chason, Poster Session organizers extraordinaire. Here they are presenting me with a nifty little calculator. Thanks, ladies.
Below is my friend, author Erin Dealey. Erin will be facilitating a workshop on Saturday.

Forecast: I'll be back on Sunday with more author friends for the Author Illustrator Brunch and Book Signing.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Congratulations to Judy Blundell, National Book Award Winner for What I Saw and How I Lied

I'm excited to hear about the NBA winner so I'm following twitter for the first time ever.

This just in from the NBA twitter site:
"Winner of the 2008 National Book Award in Young People’s Literature is Judy Blundell, What I Saw and How I Lied (Scholastic)."

Congratulations to all 5 National Book Award Finalists for being nominated for YOUNG PEOPLE'S LITERATURE
See more info at

Laurie Halse Anderson, Chains (Simon & Schuster)
Kathi Appelt, The Underneath (Atheneum)
Judy Blundell, What I Saw and How I Lied (Scholastic)
E. Lockhart, The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks (Hyperion)
Tim Tharp, The Spectacular Now (Alfred A. Knopf)

Forecast: Time to read, What I Saw and How I Lied

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

An Interview with Señor Calavera, the Bicycle-Riding Star of Yuyi Morales' New Book, Just in Case

Lynn: Thank you Señor Calavera for visiting the Imaginary Blog. You can park your bicycle right over there. I have a few questions for you...

Do you get invited to many parties? What kind of party do you like best? Do you dance or play party games? Any favorites?

Señor Calavera: Dear author, Lynn Hazen, being the quiet type, I appreciate doing this interview in writing. I do not usually answer interviews, for my work demands that I do not dilly-daily with my duties. However, I am looking at my watch and I realize I have extra time today—Besides, I understand you bake some excellent cookies, is that true?

Lynn: Hmm, I used to. For now, please tell us about parties.

Señor Calavera: Parties? Oh my, I wish I would get invited to more parties. When dear Grandma Beetle sent me her invitation, I could already smell her fried plantains and her tamales. I couldn’t wait to have cake and break the piñatas—I wouldn’t miss her party for anything in the world. But I don't do much dancing at parties; cha-cha-cha, salsa, cumbia, quebradita, they are all very difficult moves, and I am afraid I am rather stiff. But ever since I started doing author visits, the children often request that I shake my bones for them. I am usually shy, but I should admit that I love it when the children clap the beat and cheer for me to try.

Lynn: When did you learn to ride a bicycle? Why don’t you wear a helmet?

Señor Calavera: Dear Lynn, riding a bicycle is a serious stunt. I have been practicing forever. Yet, the other day I was riding my bicycle—my basket brimming with wonderful presents—when all of a sudden, I don't know how this happened--but before I knew it, I was flying in the air, and so were my beautiful presents! When I landed everything was ruined. What a disaster. I always thought my hat was enough protection against falls, but now I realize that if I want to be safe when I ride my bicycle, I should have a friend with me to help me come up with more present. Oh, yes, I should have a helmet too.

Lynn: What are your favorite letters of the alphabet? I hear there are some extra letters in the Spanish alphabet that are not in the English alphabet. What can you tell us about that?

Señor Calavera: The Spanish alphabet is one of my favorites. Why-- all those letters always make me feel very smart and inspired. That makes sense, doesn’t it?

For example, there we have the letter LL, which is very handy when you need LLUVIA (rain) or when you need to make a LLAMADA (a call) or when your belly is LLENA from eating too much cake and candy (full. Although mine is ussually rather stuffed). Or what about the letter CH? Do you like chewing CHICLE (bubble gum)? And CH is a very useful letter when you can’t find your CHANCLAS (sandals).

But my favorite letter in any alphabet is X. Just check out the following Spanish words: XOCOYOTE (the youngest child of a family), XOCHIMILCO ( field of flowers) XOLOZCUINTLE (Mexican hairless dog). However, the Spanish alphabet keeps evolving and some of my favorite letters have already disappeared! I can’t believe it…

Lynn: What is your favorite food?

Señor Calavera: Churros sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon served with hot atole. Why? Do you know how to make those too?

Lynn: Nope, sorry. I don't know how. Do you have a favorite hobby? What do you do in your spare time?

Señor Calavera: Spare time? Well, certainly, on rare occasions, like this one, I am able to set some time to do something different. Counting both in English and Spanish is one of those things I sometimes do while waiting for spare time to be over. Most recently I've been considering learning how to knit. I hear it is very good to relax the nerves.

Lynn: I hear you have your own website now, Señor Calavera. And a movie, too. Did you ever imagine that you would be such a colorful star? How do you handle the paparazzi? Are you on My Space, too? Please tell us the links to find you (so you won’t come looking for us).

Who Is Señor Calavera from Yuyi Morales on Vimeo.

Señor Calavera: Dear Lynn, giving you my links won't spare you my visit when the time arrives. But in the meantime you can come to MySpace and become my friend at:

If you rather become my fan (please, don’t look at me when I am blushing) come to my Facebook Fan Page at:

Furthermore, come see my website where you can learn more about the books that have been written about me, download activities, like making a mask or a puppet. You can even watch me ride my bicycle...while reading and without wearing a helmet! You mean, I shouldn’t be proud about it? Oh, dear…

Lynn: Did you ever imagine that you’d star in more than one book?

Señor Calavera: I didn't imagine that readers would be so enthusiastic about getting to know more of the things that happen to me. But children kept giving ideas for more books. One once even suggested that I should get married—Goodness sake! But many, many of them also wanted to know whether I would keep my promise to come back to Grandma Beetle’s Birthday party. Well, of course! I would not miss that for anything in the world.

Lynn: What are your plans for the future?

Señor Calavera: First, to go to Grandma’s party this Friday, November 21 in San Francisco. We are having a great celebration, and you and your readers are invited too, Mrs Hazen. I also think I would like to learn how to play an instrument--maybe the guitar—they tell me learning to play music calms the nerves too and it come handy when you fall in love. I also plan to make some more friends so that perhaps I might get invited to more birthday parties.

Lynn: I hear there is a cool interactive game on your website. Could you please tell us how it works and where to find it?

Señor Calavera: Yes, but I warn you, the game it is only for brave people. It is a quiz where anybody can test their trickster abilities and find out how much longer they might live once I come to meet them. Are you ready for the challenge, Mrs. Hazen?

Lynn: Gulp, er--well--maybe I am not so brave...

Señor Calavera: A badge will be given to you at the end of the game. Just click on the image above.

Lynn: Okay, I will try in Just a Minute.

But Just in Case the results are not good, let me ask now--Do you have any pets?

Señor Calavera: I hear that a pet requires time to care for it. Would I have the time? It does sound intriguing, though. You mean a pet like a cute puppy--but wait! What do puppies chew on? No, no, no! I might consider an iguana instead.

Lynn: What do your friends say about your success in the children’s book world? Are they envious?

Señor Calavera: My friends think I am famous! Can you believe that? But my friends would never be envious of any of it; that is why they are my friends. Wherever I go, and whatever I do, my friends are part of me too. I take my hat off for my friends.

Lynn: Nice meeting you Señor Calavera. Is there anything else you’d like our Imaginary Readers to know?

Señor Calavera: Please, let our Imaginary Readers know that I will come to meet them in due time--not later, not before. And that I like candies very much. Than you Mrs. Hazen.

Lynn: Thank you, Señor Calavera. I think I am ready to try that quiz now. Uh-oh. Here are my results...

trickster badge small

Forecast: High likelihood of another interview coming soon--AND increased tension not know which unknown teen reader will win the unclaimed prize at the end of my Urban Moon/SHIFTY post from a couple of days ago???? Hint: look at the forecast that day.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Unique Books & Gifts for Your Hard-to-Please Literary Friends

Do you have any challenging book-loving folks on your holiday gift list? Have they already read every book imaginable so you just don't know what to get them? I recently went to the 2008 Book Arts Jam sponsored by the Bay Area Book Artists (BABA) and Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA where I saw lots of cool stuff.

This truck and camper in the Foothill College parking lot foreshadowed that this would be a fun event.

I don't usually peek inside parked vehicles but I couldn't resist. Inside the camper was a cute little kitchen, a space to sleep and ladybug pillows!

Okay, out of the parking lot and on to the Book Arts Jam...

There were many artists displaying their wares. Here are a few of my favorites.
How about a journal made out of an old recycled lp? Here's a spiral "Personal Record Book" by Jaki Ernst. Cool, right? I bet your literary friends don't have one of these!

Here's a lovely little book for wine-lovers. Yep, the front and back covers of this tiny accordion book are made from matching halves of a wine cork! The little circular band on the left (kind of like a cigar band) slides over the closed book to keep it all together. That's another cork book all closed up on the right.

Here is the artist, Suzanne Lydia Thomas, with her cork book, cool mini-book earrings and pins. I bought a nifty little pair of mini-book earrings she created using paper handmade and marbled by her mom & dad.

Suzanne makes all kinds of unique books. Take a look at another of Suzanne's books below. It's small and could fit discreetly in the palm of your hand or tucked into a purse.

This one is titled, Protection.

It's another beautifully designed accordion book. When you open it up it reveals 10 pockets, filled with...


This book contains a quote on what "Papa says" about never leaving the house without protection. Surely, this is the perfect present for someone on your gift list. You can find more of Suzanne Lydia Thomas' unique books, earrings and pins here.
Great stuff--take a look!
Tell her Lynn at The Imaginary Blog sent you.

Check out the Bay Area Book Artists, the Book Arts Jam, the other exhibitors and various book artists here.

Forecast: Holidays approaching with increased chances of book buying.

And of course if you'd like to buy one of my books for someone on your holiday gift list, please visit your local bookseller or click on these Amazon links for Shifty, Cinder Rabbit, Buzz Bumble to the Rescue, or Mermaid Mary Margaret. Thanks!

Imaginary Readers, if you know of any other cool book artists,
Book Art Festivals or places on and off the web to find unique one-of-a-kind books, please tell us via the comment function below.

Kidlitosphere posts about gifts and reading check out November's Carnival.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Urban Moon Over The Mission

No Parking Moon

A similar moon shows up in my new YA novel, SHIFTY.

In my books you will not find overly flowery descriptions of my characters--or setting either. But I love San Francisco and the juxtaposition of urban life, man-made objects and the natural light you'll find here. I like the diversity of people in all neighborhoods, the beauty of things we want to see. But I also try to be aware of the people and parts of the city we pretend not to see or frequently turn away from. So I've begun to carry my camera around with me to try to capture some of what I see in "my setting."

I took these photos Wednesday evening on a "not quite full moon" night.

Stop Sign Moon (above)

Telephone Pole Moon (below)

Forecast: A free online interview chat between the author (that's me) and the English class of the first middle school or high school student (this could be you!) who comments below on where you'll find the moon in my YA novel, Shifty. (including the page numbers).

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

My Heart Belongs to Vermont College...

My heart belongs to Vermont College where I got my MFA in Writing For Children & Young Adults. I met many wonderful and talented writers, connected to my Salon sisters, and honed my craft with the help of amazing faculty in an exciting, intensely challenging, yet fun creative environment. So it's great to get together with local MFA grads. It's even more fun when a member of Vermont's faculty comes to town.

Here's M.T. Anderson with Vermont MFA grads Lynn Hazen, Sharry Wright and Jandy Nelson after his reading and signing at NYMBC in San Francisco. M.T. Anderson read from Feed and his new book, Octavian Nothing II. Having drinks afterward at Max's Opera Cafe was fun, too--though the waiters failed to burst into song as we had hoped. Maybe next time.

If you'd like to read an interview with M.T. Anderson, including his musings on the merits of broccolli, new strategies for plotting and more--please check out this post on the Imaginary Blog back in April 2008.

Forecast: Happy Memories of The Dame Has a Lame Tame Crane--Hmm, can you forecast memories? I think I just did.


Sweet! What's so sweet? Dianda's St. Honore cake, the little guy in the hat, our new president elect, Yuyi's birthday & Jim's, too.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Don't Forget to...


Because our leaders and policies we choose today will affect children, families and many others here in the U.S. and around the world for years to come.

Today's Forecast: Hope

To see a wonderful collection of Blog the Vote posts from other authors and KidLitosphere folks, go here: