In my opinion, books are the best accessory.
Written in Stone review, author interview below: Warning: I am a HUGE fan of Rosanne Parry. I respect and appreciate her as an author, person, reader, library advocate, and friend. Luckily, I received this book as an advanced readers copy on my Kindle through Netgalley. I’ve never taken more notes or highlighted more text while reading an eBook. There were so many poignant portions and rich language in this novel. Here’s a summary of the book from the publisher: “A young girl in a Pacific Northwest Native American tribe in the 1920s must deal with the death of her father and the loss of her tribe’s traditional ways.”
What stood out to me: Eight Thoughts:
1. I know I completed reading a fantastic historical fiction book about how one girl, Pearl, rises above expectations and creates her own path into the future following her interests, skills, and passions.
2. The story presented the difficulty with a person living on a tribe being torn between staying on the reservation or exploring outside when there are huge setbacks in the community. It also shares how creativity can help the survival of a community, even with many who are trying to exploit people.
3. What connects a community? The simple tradition of drumming… I loved the integration of drumming through this book.
4. This gorgeous line: “I could be the teller now. I could make his life real. I could raise him out of the water with words.” and this one: “My children’s footprints, my grandchildren, they were leading me now.” and finally, this one: “Have the courage of my ideas.”
5. This was a painful, honest reflection on attempts to exploit Native tribes.
6. Word I loved: “pin-neatness” – when Pearl described her Aunt Susi’s home.
7. Reading the authors note in the book, Rosanne mentioned how a cedar tree is interconnected to with other trees throughout the forest so that there is not a single tree but instead an interconnected forest. She mentioned this because there were many connections that brought her through the creation of the book, no single origin. BEAUTIFUL.
8. Also, I love how Rosanne was inspired by her former students when teaching on a Native American reservation asking the poignant question: “Why is the story never about us?”
Fantastic book trailer for Written in Stone:
Rosanne Parry has the talent for creating the most beautiful characters. I’ve loved reading all of her books so far and was NOT disappointed with her newest title. Here is her Pinterest collection for Written in Stone: The pictures really help the story come to life and Rosanne’s thoughts that accompany the pictures are full of insight:
(Thanks Rosanne for giving me permission to use some of the pictures/captions in this post!) http://pinterest.com/rosanneparry/written-in-stone/
Here is a fantastic blog post Rosanne wrote about using Pinterest to help promote and share inspiration for Written in Stone: http://rosanneparry.com/a-recipe-for-written-in-stone/
Also, here is a free downloadable teacher’s guide from Random House. They’ve done a beautiful job with it. It’s got common core references and many more fantastic useful tools for sharing Written in Stone in the classroom: http://www.randomhouse.com/teachers/resource/written-in-stone/.
Thank you so much to Rosanne for agreeing to this interview:
Are there any authors or books that you liked as a child that you still read now?
I spent a good part of today rereading 3 books I loved in 1st and 2nd grade—My Father’s Dragon, Elmer and the Dragon and The Dragons of Blueland by Ruth Stiles Gannett. I have a story for younger readers that I’m working on right now and I wanted to see how the Dragon Stories really worked and think about which elements appealed to me the most and how the three books worked together as a series. I’m not at all sure I want to write a series but if I do I want to learn everything I can about them. I don’t have a degree in English or an MFA in creative writing or in fact any formal training in writing stories, so the only thing I have to go on is my respect for the good work I see and careful study of how an admired author achieved what she did in the story.
Have you read any children’s literature books recently?
I read quite a lot. I’m always researching something for a book, and my friends come out with books I’d like to read and my kids are reading things they want to talk about with me. Some of what I read is up on Goodreads but not everything. I read a play by August Wilson this week and a book about writing humor called Here’s the Kicker and the Ruth Stiles Gannet books and a book of poetry by National Book Award winning Nikki Finney and the newspaper. I finished Seraphina last week. It was written by the amazing Rachel Hartman and edited by my own editor Jim Thomas. I started Rogue a story about a girl on the Autism spectrum by Lyn Miller Lachman but somebody in my family wandered off with it before I finished. I would love to take whole week off and read Poison by Bridget Zinn and both of Laini Taylor’s newest books and Code Name Verity and the new Terry Pratchett book, Dodger.
What was a favorite genre you read as a child? How have your tastes changed as an adult?
As a child I read more non-fiction than anything else by far. I was curious about everything so I looked for books about animals, and weather and foreign countries and how to draw and how to build things and chemistry and history and outer space. I also read a lot of folk and fairytales and I loved mythology which is classified as non fiction though I’m still not sure why. I adored maps and exploded diagrams and blue prints and architectural renderings. (My father was an engineer and taught me a little bit about drafting and always had blueprints lying about.) I liked secret codes and sheet music. I read a ton of biographies. I was fascinated by espionage and also farming. What can I say? The world is an interesting place.
Do you still have any of your books from when you were a child?
One of the reasons I decided to send my work to Jim Thomas at Random House was because when I met him at an SCBWI retreat we discovered we had many favorite books in common including The Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula LeGuin. We are close in age so we read from the same edition with this beautiful cover.
A few years ago when Ursula had a reading in Portland, I brought the copy I’d read and reread a zillion times for her to sign for my editor. As she was signing she asked what books I’d written so I told her about Heart of a Shepherd. She said she’d read and enjoyed it and recommended me to her friends at the Fishtrap workshop (where I’ve since been a workshop presenter). I have never been more astonished and pleased in my entire life! When I told my editor Ursula liked our book he was so thrilled he sent me his copy of Wizard of Earthsea that he’d read when he was a boy so that I wouldn’t be lonely for mine.
Do you have a key writing tips for kids? Or adults?
1. It’s okay to set aside a story that isn’t working and come back to it later. Working writers do this all the time.
2. Spelling and punctuation really don’t matter until you are ready to show your work to another reader. The first several drafts can be as messy as you want when you are the only one reading them.
3. It is not possible to write a story that will please everybody. But it is helpful to write a story with one particular reader in mind. If you can connect deeply with just one reader who you know and care about, chances are lots of other people will connect to your story too.
Do you have a new book being released in the next year?
Yes, Written in Stone will come out on the 25th of June. I am so excited about this story. It’s the book that made me a writer. I worked on Written in Stone off and on over more than 15 years. It’s a cultural survival story set among the Makah of the Olympic Peninsula in Washington. I always find it difficult to sum up my own work but here’s a great summary from the Publisher’s Weekly review:
Paying tribute to the fortitude of Northern Native American tribes, Parry (Second Fiddle) creates a vivid novel tracing a Makah orphan girl’s coming of age during the early 1920s. At one time, 13-year-old Pearl held an esteemed position in her tribe as the daughter of “the best whaler of the Makah” and a master weaver. Now, Pearl’s parents are dead, and she is uncertain about her position in the world. She considers leaving home to work in the city like many struggling natives, including her independent-minded cousin. It isn’t until a white stranger threatens to trick local tribes out of their oil-rich land that Pearl realizes her need to preserve her people’s traditions and, especially, their stories.
I’m going to have a book launch party at Powells in Beaverton, Oregon on June 28th at 7:30 pm. I’ll have some first foods from the Quinault and Makah and some artwork to look at and hopefully lots of friends to share the moment with! If you’re in Portland at the end of June, I hope you’ll come.
If you weren’t a writer, what occupation would you be working in?
I loved teaching and I miss it when I’m away from the classroom. I’m sure I’d still be a teacher if I wasn’t writing.
Did any teacher or mentor specifically influence you in your career?
I am blessed to live in a vibrant community of writers in Portland but rather than brag about them all, let me give one example of how I’ve been mentored.
When Second Fiddle was in the planning stages, I mentioned to Virginia Euwer Wolff that I’d admired her story Mozart Season and was writing a book about girl musicians who play in a string trio. I didn’t realize at the time that Virginia is an accomplished chamber musician herself. She invited me to her niece’s home for an evening of classical music exactly as chamber music was meant to be heard—in a home among friends. In addition to her own Trio Con Brio, her friends and relatives sang opera, played piano, flute, guitar, and cello in various combinations. It was a magical evening and gave me insight into the relationship small ensemble players have with each other. My book was all the richer for it.
Virginia has gone on to encourage my own return to playing violin and has been a generous encourager of my daughters’ musical endeavors. I’ve since met many more people in Portland’s music community, which will (I hope) lead to more books with a musical element in them. A librarian I met at Virginia’s house concert recently asked me to do a music and poetry event with him in the Dalles. We each wrote 3 poems on the theme of Love and War and then chose companion songs for each to be played by he and I on bass and violin and an assortment of his friends on piano, saxophone, mandolin, drums, harmonica, double bass and bagpipes. The event was a real creative stretch for me. I’d never done a poetry reading before and never played with a band. But that event lead to a connection with a radio host in town who took Written in Stone to read and hopefully review and maybe even do an interview on the radio. I realize this is a very long answer but that is the beauty of mentoring. It may begin with a small act of generosity but sometimes that one interaction leaves a positive ripple in a person’s life years later. I hope I can be that mentor for somebody some day.
*Do you have any favorite topping you like on your pizza? (in honor of my husband who thinks it would be cool if I collect a list of author’s favorite pizza “You can learn a lot about a person from the pizza topping they like.”) – I’d really appreciate you answering this one!!
They have Pizza Hut in Germany, which I found particularly funny when I lived there because in German Hut means hat. What I did not find funny was that they served a pizza that had corn and broccoli on it. No. I’m not making that up. It tastes just as vile as you are imagining. I know because I tried it. Here is a combination that sounds just as strange and is surprisingly delicious—Italian sausage and grapes. No kidding. Sometimes you just have to try something to know if it will work.
The habit I never break for my writing practice is…read it aloud before you show it to anybody.
If someone had told me…that being an author would one day mean that I spent a long sunny afternoon standing on a flat bed truck playing my violin with dozens of kids and then signing books for them and then going to a youth prison to talk about books with kids there and then going out to dinner with an author whose work I really admired, well I would have thought they were crazy. In fact even after it happened, I still think they’re a little crazy. I also think that I am the luckiest person in the world!
Why do people always assume…that my characters opinions are my opinions. I’d die of boredom if all my characters thought and felt and acted in the same way I would. There is no story fun in writing a character like me. I love to explore characters that do things I’d never try or view the world in a way I barely understand.
Debbie, you forgot to ask me… If I can give away a signed copy of my newest book Written in Stone! Here you go!
And can I brag for a moment about Robert Tuschman’s gorgeous cover art? I love this cover. I love the way he captures the beauty and wildness of the Olympic coast. I love the timeless feel and I love that they put a brown girl on the cover who is doing something more interesting than wearing a dress!
I’m thrilled to also give away a copy of Rosanne Parry’s beautiful book: Second Fiddle!
Here is a contest entry form for both books: Contest closed, congratulations to: Shannon and Jess!
Grey Whale Migration video:
Additionally, Rosanne is featured on the The Mother-Daughter Book Club webpage- http://motherdaughterbookclub.com/newsletter/
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