What I’m Reading

dicey's song

Author Cynthia Voight’s Dicey’s Song, and the Mister Max trilogy

Cynthia Voight won the 1983 Newbery Medal for Dicey’s Song. I read the whole book and, quite honestly, I can barely remember it. I do recall that Dicey brought her siblings safely to live with their grandmother. Each sibling has issues settling into his or her new life at home and in school. Their mother lies catatonic in a mental institution in Boston. Perhaps Voight’s depiction of Dicey’s struggles is what gained her the medal.  Could it be that thirty-five years ago, learning disabilities and death were considered innovative topics in children’s literature?

I was much more intrigued by the Mister Max books: The Book of Lost Things, The Book of Secrets, and The Book of Kings. Here, the author cleverly leaves the big question– can Max locate and rescue his parents?—to be resolved only in the last book. So of course I had to read them all. The twists in the plot, and Max’s job as Solutioneer were entertaining. I was especially impressed by the quality illustrations from the hand of Iacopo Bruno. His use of perspective was amazing! I studied the pictures, wondering, “How does he do that?” I even googled Bruno, who lives in Milan, Italy.  Check out his work at:


mister max




Winter Days

While the temperature and the snow keep falling, I amuse myself indoors. The earliest morning hours are reserved for writing.   First I shuffle around the kitchen at 5:30, making tea. Then I go to my desk and work on a story.

When daylight comes, I like to sew.

Piecing a quilt is an up-and-down activity. Standing, I measure, cut and pin. I sit to sew, then stand to iron. In between, I arrange the pieces, or blocks, on the flocked side of a vinyl tablecloth tacked to the wall. This is my “design wall” where I can plan how the quilt will look as a whole.


Quilting is satisfying in so many ways. The colors and patterns of fabric please my eye. My hands know the movements of measuring, cutting, and pinning so well that it’s like a dance with familiar steps. I enjoy the smell of freshly ironed fabric, and the sound when the sewing machine cuts the thread.

sewing machine

And when the quilt is finished, I have the pleasure of having created a useful blanket for someone to cuddle up in on these winter days.