Newly minted. Song + story = WordofSouthFestival

If given a chance to waltz in pro bono time in the cause of literature,

who wouldn’t want to attend that dance?

And if this shimmy arrived wrapped up with seats at the feet of author Ann Patchett,

or before expressive storyteller Romona King, or with comics ace Nathan Archer leading children
in story-making, wouldn’t you do that?




So it was that I found myself signed on with a new Southern tradition this month – WordofSouth.
This festival of sound and story unfolded in my hometown, but I would have traveled for it,
just as it was designed to be enjoyed here by folks from far away.




Creative writers and performers from New York City – STORY PIRATES –
entertained. As did Gustafer YELLOWGOLD. And the Emmy-winning
actor Tony Hale, read from his new children’s book ARCHIBALD’S NEXT BIG THING,
(created with Tony Biaggne)


On the sound side of things, the stages rocked to SWEET HONEY IN THE ROCK & also with the poignant melodies of Aaron Copland’s LINCOLN PORTRAIT, spoken by newly minted Academy Award winner J.K. Simmons.


It was so much wonderfulness. Even with April showers.


Storyteller Ann Patchett


What I kept thinking of, as I sat with writers on the floor at the feet of Ann Patchett was – Stephen King. Not that the two occupy the same genre bookshelves. But the last time I heard a novelist as generous in public speaking
in our town, it was masterwriter King, who spun personal story after story for us in a sweet – yes, sweet – way. And then, he genially autographed our daughter’s books in a privately memorable way.
Ann Patchett, wearing her stand-up comic mask well, gifted her audience with one story after another direct from her life. (Ann Patchett is on right, introduced by Mary Ann Lindley.)

Novelist Ann Patchett (right) introduced by Mary Ann Lindley

Now we know something of her sister/college administrator, of Ann’s own personal nun, the endearing employee who fled NYC, the endearing employee who sells poetry books for her in her headline grabbing store, Parnassus, Sparky & the shop’s dogs & lotsa other morsels readers & writers gobble like so much kibble.   On opening day a photo of Ann in her revolutionary bookstore in Nashville appeared on Page One of The New York Times. Newly opened indy bookstores that carry new books are a rarity. My hubby & I love visiting our two, which are a hike, WOS sponsor –THANK YOU Annie & Jordan – the bookshelf in nearby Georgia & down by the bay, Downtown Books & Purl.


Story Fort

So now onto the part of WordofSouth that stole my heart, as much as I loved
Ann Patchett’s and other main stage presentations & I now am committed to reading all her books that are out & will be published henceforth.


Story Fort is the WordofSouth
safe place for the youngest ones, a festival within a festival.  Artist Linda Hall, ghost tales-teller Doug Alderson & others were on hand to create fun for young ones. Danielle Shelton, who has impressive educational degrees with her name, brought her geetar & lovely voice to kneel on the Story Fort mats & create songs about the toddlers. She was a lively close-up wee ones’ entertainer.

My hubby & I saw many Story Fort events but we are human & weren’t able to spend time with every performances & art project, of the two days.

Danielle Shelton - Story Fort - WordofSouth Festival

Danielle Shelton – Story Fort – WordofSouth FestivalWe clapped along with our one-and-only-, beloved babytime/storytime/Legostime icon, “Mr. Gary” from our favorite local public book palace – the LeRoy Collins Leon County Public Library.  And we sang “This Land is Your Land” with the equally beloved, one and only duo of HOT TAMALE, (with Craig Reeder) which uniquely features musician and songwriter Adrian Fogelin. Adrian, my dear pal who appears in my posts now and again, is also a hot-off-the-press book-launching middle grade author, with SOME KIND OF MAGIC. And it’s her most recent novel for students, following the legendary CROSSING JORDAN & other titles, such as SORTA SISTERS. Her books justifiably win mega awards. It won’t be long before Publishers Weekly starts granting her column space, I predict.



Here are more, incomplete, images from WordofSouth. In a previous articles here at Bookseedstudio and over at Group Blog, I covered commemoration of Days of Rememrance, which we honored at Story Fort.

I felt fortunate to present to the kiddos three times in the Story Fort during the WOS weekend. Thank you to author Mark Mustian for originating this festival of sound and story. If you travel to attend book festivals WordofSouth has got the power to return, so keep visiting the site for the eventual posting of next spring’s date. Sponsors included the National Endowment for the Arts. And that’s company we like to keep.

Sara, Ayla &  Jan - Story Fort - WordofSouth Festival 2015

Sara, Ayla & Jan – Story Fort – WordofSouth Festival 2015

TCC scholar Briana Byrd  at WOS Festival's Story Fort

TCC scholar Briana Byrd at WOS Festival’s Story Fort






Seven Kinds of Wonderful: Adrian Fogelin & SOME KIND OF MAGIC + giveaway

Award-winning author & my pal, Adrian Fogelin’s new novel is SOME KIND OF MAGIC.
It is released April 1.
The magic of knowing an author is that you can peek at not only the Work-in-Progress. But you also hold
the Advanced Readers Copy in your eager hands.

To help celebrate this neighborhood story, which visits characters Jemmie & Cass, from Adrian’s ground-breaking
1st novel, CROSSING JORDAN, I’m sharing seven kinds of wonderful things connected to this novel & the author:

Warning: a highly personal list. After reading SOME KIND OF MAGIC, your 7s will depart from this – perhaps.

1. Set in my town – Tallahassee, Florida

2. Features a 6-year-old boy & a fedora – two favorite topics of mine, younger readers & hats

3. Features Cass & Jemmie, their friendship is one I love

4. Adrian employs the word “plinky”

5. An adult character’s name is Paul, which is the American version of my hubby’s name, Paolo.

6. The neighborhood pals have a cool hangout place that isn’t a mall, arcade or boardwalk/sidewalk.

7. KIRKUS (professional, well-regarded review service) agrees with me: “A fine, complex tale of family, friends and magic.”

Over at the seven kinds of wonderful GROUP BLOG, Adrian shares her own 7s.
Plus that’s where I’m giving away a copy of this new one.
And there are some lovely author & publisher links.
Please go have a visit!.

poem for Roasted Oysters + more

Poem for Roasted Oysters

I don’t eat oysters

O! No- I don’t

How is it that one





c. Jan Godown Annino

Well, anyone knows that it is food that makes or breaks an occasion.

The food was fabulous and hosts/servers/chefs were wonderful –

at the 2015 Authors in Apalach festival of books, readers & writers.


Apalachicola Municipal Library

Caty Green, Library Queen of the municipality of Apalachicola,

seen somewhere in this post on the sidewalk with an author at the

village’s 2015 Mardi Gras event,

convened about 20 or so scribes including the cookbook maven

Joyce LaFraye and also Janis Owens, originator of so many great Southern tales

such as My Brother Michael.


Susan Cerulean,
whose new one, COMING TO PASS, will be featured at a cafe event in Apalachicola April 24
overseen by Downtown Books & Purl, led a panel with Mary Jane Ryals and Faith Eides.




Adrian Fogelin rustled up a panel featuring Kim Cross Teter, Leslee Horner,

Mary-Lois Sanders, Perky Granger, Vickie Spray & myself. I
vote Perky for Best Author First Name of the panel.

Adrian’s SOME KIND OF MAGIC, her new middle grade novel,

found a lively launch at this event & it was seven kinds of

wonderful that a local student purchased the first copy of it.


Children’s books panelist & Nashville author Kim Teter’s ISABELLA’s LIBRETTO came home with me,
autographed, & I intend to mention it on a future Bookseedstudio post because already in chapter
one, I’m hooked.

River Jordan (other Best First Name of the Event) & Elizabeth Stuckey-French, Judy Conklin, Jane Doerfer, Olivia DeBelle,
& Dawn Radford were wonderful participants, even though they weren’t on the children’s books panel.

I was happy to see local bookseller Dale Julian of Downtown Books & Purl
handling event purchases again, which benefit the Apalachicola Municipal Library.
Susan Wolfe of Forgotten Coast Used and Out of Print Books, added to the bookish aura.


News was announced – I learned that Tallahassee force of nature Prissy Elrod
sold her memoir FAR FROM THE ORDINARY for a movie deal to Lucky Dog Filmworks.

Go & get your memoir written – all you stragglers. Hope Prissy’s story can film on site in Tally.

I read it right after I came away with my signed copy & it’s a page-turner.



At #Authors in Apalach, the book tables were set against lovely scenic paintings,

& art & books were all arrayed around the locally famous Apalachicola Trading Canoe, said to be the longest

such historic commerce canoe in all of Florida (created circa 1750-1800). This 52-foot boat

is the 1st-floor centerpiece of an 1836 historic brick-walled warehouse, now the Center for History, Culture & Art.

This totally intact boat set the tone for thoughtful conversation about the 106-mile long Apalachicola River

& estuary system, which requires constant vigilance to maintain the water quality necessary

to support the region’s vast web of life in the air, on land and in water, especially for those

water residents we eat the most – shrimp, fish and oysters. Fox squirrels and fox can

mosey further into the Apalachicola National Forest, but those salty little

guys have no where else to go.


Apalachicola Trading Canoe (circa 1750-1800)

credit: Apalachicola Center for History, Culture & Art



My husband cast his hook at favorite area spots & noshed, especially on the roasted Apalachicola oysters, created by attorney Donna Duncan, posing just before the city’s Friday night musical events kicked up in the street around the corner. She is one of my hubby’s favorite former students. Donna’s oyster recipe co-maker, who we enjoyed meeting, was John Solomon. The Duncan-Solomon Chamber of Commerce cooking team earlier took 3rd place for their Authors in Apalach-presented tricky* recipe, in a contest of the Apalachicola Volunteer Fire Department’s Oyster Cook-Off & they won 1st place for a unique oyster pot pie.

Thinking it was something else, I ate an ostreidae because Duncan-Solomon dressed it in broiled bacon and savory spinach & I didn’t know it was an oyster until later – that’s how their morsel *tricked me.

In non-food news, Paolo watched my Seminole Indian patchwork at the book table as I dashed upstairs to the airy top-floor room, where the sunny view of the blue sky -blue water dock, across from our location at 86 Water Street looked inviting. Writing tips from authors were noted by constant scribblers in attendance from points far and near.

Love, Apalachicola
It is clear that Apalachicola loves books, readers, literature, writers & fresh seafood eaters, fun times & all their accompanying fisher folk, café-goers & cottage-dwellers. And we love Apalachicola, back.

The night before we sat on bales of hay set out along Market Street & enjoyed great live music, spotting our pal Caroline & waved at folks we met, earlier in the day down by the bay.



Children of many cultures, celebrate! #ReadYourWorld

Welcome to the party. The vibrant Children’s Literature Community is celebrating Multicultural Children’s Books Day!

On Twitter we are at #ReadYourWorld.

For Jan. 27,  a world of attention lights upon what many editors and writers focus on all along the year – books for children ages pre-school through 12, which illuminate ideas of creativity, fun, friendship, dedication to justice, love, and peace among the many cultures of the World and especially among  children.


To see some of the Multicultural Day leaders, please check out below. I share here from a possible 300 books or perhaps 3,000 in the universe – who knows how many with these values, there are? Certainly a higher number than decades back, but there is wide room for more.




            The Hawaiian Hiatus of Herkimer Street by Desirae Foston, collects a community where neighbors are so in synch with each other and their pets, that they dream of a vacation together. This 15-page story with short text on color block art pages, is narrated by an unnamed child. Neighbors lift off in a home-sewn giant balloon. Adventures ensue. Surfboards and tropical flowers appear in this tall tale, which names a real NYC street. (Book sent by publisher.) Visit an author interview by Valerie Budayr and link to an audio connection.


While I have your attention I can’t resist sharing the stage with some previously celebrated multicultural titles & also pointing out a couple more.



Poetry for Young People by Langston Hughes is a visit to music-making, work days and community celebrations from one of the country’s most important writers. The 26 story poems, songs of accomplishment at home and out in the world, are edited for grades six and above, by David Roessel & Arnold Rampersad. The illustrator is the late Benny Andrews, of Georgia, a celebrated artist who provided a folkloric style for this book. (My book purchase.)



Crossing Jordan, by Adrian Fogelin, sets the stage for two middle school neighbors – Cass, who lives in the fixer-upper, working class neighborhood of a southern town, and a newcomer this summer, Jemmie. Crossing Jordan is the first novel in linked storytelling from this award-winning author; others include the forthcoming Some Kind of Magic.  Despite parental anxiety and outright hostility, about the girls being from different races, the two discover with exuberance, sweat and joy, what they have in common. This is an International Reading Association Notable Book for a Global Society Honor Book and it won many state awards & other distinctions. (My book purchase.)



             MALALA/IQBAL by Jeanette Winter is a flip-the-book-over concept design to package two separate, but chillingly similar, stories together. It tells the activism of two children in Pakistan.

Future Nobel peace prize winner Malala Yousafzai is only 11 as she starts to speak up against the Taliban, advocating education for girls. Instead of agreeing with her, the Taliban shoots her in the head and neck, on a private van, en route to school. She survived. And the world will benefit from her leadership the rest of her life.

The poignant story of Iqbal Masih is shockingly, lesser known. With this potent picture book thousands of children will know that this boy was only 4 years old when he was chained to a factory loom, to make carpets. When a new law said factories couldn’t abuse children this way, he becomes a child-activist, telling children in carpet factories all over Pakistan that they are free. Iqbal’s life is threatened but he doesn’t stop spreading the good news. He is only 12 when riding his bicycle one day, he is shot and killed. (Borrowed from LeRoy Collins Leon County Public Library.)


Although I haven’t seen Last Stop on Market Street, written by Matt De La Pena and illustrated by Christian Robinson, I’d like to share this link to a New York Journal of Books review by Janice Floyd Durante, who offers a website that exemplifies Multicultural Children’s Book Day values. I would also like to shine a star on The Brown Bookshelf, a thorough source for a long time.

Bookseedstudio blogger Jan Godown Annino is the author of the multicultural story, She Sang Promise: The Story of Betty Mae Jumper, Seminole Tribal Leader, illustrated by Lisa Desimini, with a letter to children by Moses Jumper, Jr. , an ALA/Amelia Bloomer Top Ten Title.  But wait, there’s more!

The important nuts & bolts….

For more on Multicultural Children’s Book Day celebration’s sponsors/leadership visit 

First Books’ Virtual Book Drive, Children’s Book Council


Wisdom Tales Press, Daybreak Press Global BookshopSatya House,,   Author Stephen Hodges and the Magic Poof, Junior Library GuildCapstone Publishing, Lee and Low Books,  The Omnibus Publishing; Double Dutch Dolls, Bliss Group Books, Snuggle with Picture Books Publishing,  Rainbow Books, Author FeliciaCapers,   Chronicle Books   Muslim Writers Publishing & ,East West Discovery Press.



Africa to America, All Done Monkey, The Educators Spin on It, Growing Book by Book, Kid World Citizen, Many Smiles, Multicultural Kid Blogs & Sprouts Bookshelf which are all beautifully linked together at Pragmatic Mom, the blog of this event’s co-creator, Mia Wenjen.

Valarie Budayar, of Jump Into A Book, is also the co-creator.

Brava, to each of you!


You can be a librarian?

Next to families, teachers, medical folks/other first responders,  & farm folks

(make mine mostly organic farm folk, please – ’twas what my Dad did)

librarians are who I feel  keep our civilization perking along.

Librarians defend books against censorship –

in polite ways, which isn’t always easy to do.

They are the lead characters in many true stories of childhood hours

rescued from inept/inadequate families.

And of course in families where all functions as it should,

libraries are like the cherry on top of the sundae, or they are like the bookmark nestled between the pages of the book, or like the surprise little gift package of book-plates by the dinner plate at the family dinner hour,  or like the timely family visit to the library

puppet show or No. That’s wrong. Librarians ARE the library puppet show…


A master’s degree in library science is suggested for many important library careers, but my friend from Girl Scout parent days is happy at work in our town library, as an aide/assistant, connecting the right book to the right child.

I’d like to share something about another keen library worker.

Young Adult/ Middle Grade novelist Adrian Fogelin, who is an award-winner for many of her titles, such as THE REAL QUESTION, CROSSING JORDAN, SISTER SPIDER KNOWS ALL & many others, is in fact a Sunday afternoon neighborhood librarian.

Check out her one-of-a-kind check-out system. It  makes me want to stand up and cheer!

This sweet news is courtesy of Danielle Smith, who creates the blog, There’s a Book!.

And you’ll find a FUN sing-along video with it, too!

I hope you’ll be glad that you looked at these books.

If awards are handed out for under-the-radish, non-fadish, unofficial library work,

Adrian Fogelin is your nominee.

Note: April 11, 2011 is the beginning of annual National Library Week.

Suggest to your favorite politician that we can’t do without our librarians.