The Power of One Writer
Back Yards, Ethiopia and Children's Books
author • speaker • teacher • volunteer

The swirl of travel

As my Vermont College semester winds to a close, two new adventures loom in my imagination: the January residency, where I will be leading a workshop focusing on picture books, and a trip to Ethiopia where I will be leading–am trying to invent–a workshop for creating some super simple, playful, patterned, culturally appropriate books that

Read More »

Drinking water???

I like global projects that leave everyone surprised and a little more open-hearted. This photo is from a day when artist Stephanie Schlatter and her artist friend Aklilu decided to show kids in Ethiopia that anything can be a canvas–including YOU. Today my neighbor was telling me about a time when he was a young

Read More »

Catching up with myself

On May 24, I was in Washington DC to be honored by SEED for my work in spreading literacy through my books and my volunteer work with Ethiopia Reads.  As you notice, the invitation says the ending time of the event = 12:30 a.m. That Ethiopian oration is not for the fainthearted!  And it actually

Read More »

Family on the hot, hot savanna

It only takes me a second or two to bring back the delicious sensations of the hot, hot savanna. When I was speaking at an Ethiopian heritage and culture camp this summer, I showed this picture. Someone asked me, “But aren’t there crocodiles in some of the rivers in the warm part of Ethiopia?” Um…yes.

Read More »

Back to School in Ethiopia and always

Not long after we got to Ethiopia, my big sister got to go to kindergarten.  Her teacher was so fond of her, she even gave her a lovely, big doll. I was probably mildly jealous of my sister’s having such a doll, but I was REALLY jealous that she got to go to school and

Read More »

Foodie process/writing process

I picked up the baton on talking about writing process from one of the writers who often goes on retreat with me in the fall: http://jacquelinebriggsmartin.blogspot.com/  She and I have a lot of the same themes going on in our work and lives. She writes… “Right now I’m very happy to be planning for the release

Read More »

Brave mothers

Long plane trips between continents…learning how to manage life in Addis Ababa and then in the countryside where (at first) water arrived at our house on the backs of donkeys and cooking was done on and in a wood-burning stove…landing on

Read More »

Beauty and the Beast

Home from travels and thinking, again, about weeds.  Ah…weeds. One of my stops was in Kansas, a visit organized by LeAnn Clark–astounding volunteer for Ethiopia Reads who has gathered and sorted and figured out how to ship about 300,000 gently used

Read More »

Come on, Mother Nature, give peace a chance

On Saturday, I was honored to speak at a young author’s conference in southern Washington, and was it ever special. These days, it takes almost heroic effort to pull off such things–teachers, parents, kids all choosing to be part of

Read More »

Books, life, and waking up to every little detail

Isn’t it fascinating how books and life weave together sometimes?  Over spring break, I visited a museum that had an exhibit about things recovered from an old, old shipwreck.  Including…a rat skeleton! What a perfect introduction to the next spring

Read More »

Speaking of “friends help”…

Lots and lots and lots of people over the years have approached me with a question something like this: “I have a great idea for/have written/have written and re-written and re-written a children’s book. What now?” I always recommend the

Read More »

Life comes at you…

…with a whoosh and a whomp. Yes, I knew it was slick in Vermont. I slid down the hill to the gym the first morning before 6 a.m. in the dark bending my knees, staying low to the ground and

Read More »

Hard to believe…

…that I first taught in the MFA program at Vermont College of Fine Arts in 2006. Showing up in Vermont in January and July? Sleeping in a dorm room?  Eating cafeteria food? Hmmmm. Boot Camp for Writers!  Who thought THAT

Read More »

Creep

New Year often feels like a time for a big leap–or at least a big step. Preferably forward. Three years ago at the end of December I headed to Chicago for what became an intense year of meeting fans of Lanie. Could anything be sweeter

Read More »

Christmas ho ho ho

Christmas joy–in the house shared by the teacher and nurse who lived in Maji–the only other English-speakers besides our family–and more recently!

Read More »

Team

My mom homeschooled me for my first three-four years of school–and I loved school.   She used to laugh and tell the story of this exchange.  She asked–when she started classes with my older sister–“Do you want to join Caroline in

Read More »