Archive for January, 2010

Promising Books of 2010

Jan. 30, 2010

Here are some of the promising books I’ve been editing lately:

Isabella Propeller by John Aldridge. An intriguing little story (with a playful name!) based on the legend of the Blowing Rock in North Carolina. An inquisitive little girl, a vintage beanie found in grandmother’s attic, a magical red feather—and Wind Keeper, the mysterious mountain woman of the winds. Who could ask for more?

Nothing But the Ordinary by Bobby Thomas. The debut YA novel by an Alabama youth minister with a yen for storytelling. In the book, Ethan Thomas gets his wish for something extraordinary to happen at boring ol’ General High. To his shock, however, he discovers that a mysterious villain is planning to destroy the school! If only there were something special about him like incredible strength or speed. Instead, Ethan discovers four students who do have super powers but do not want to use them—or don’t know even know how. But what part will Ethan play in all this?

Big Box, Little Box by Kathy Nash and Damien Nash. The spiritual story of one little box that is lost in a mail sorting center, and the big box that shows him the way. This inspiring book, which is also formatted as a DVD, entertains young readers while helping them avoid negative labels and realize their potential. This book makes its debut February 6 in Atlanta. ISBN# 978-0-9841729-3-1

Music Beach by C.E. Walz. A charming picture book in rhyme by the author of Mary’s Treasure Box (Tommy Nelson, 1998) and Alley Loo: A Spooky Swamp Tale (Dragonfly Publishing, 2009). Geared to kids ages 3-8, Music Beach is the story of what happens at night, along the seaside, when the sun goes down.

“When the sun goes down and palm trees sway,

Come hear the sounds near Turtle Bay…

From the Sandcastles of yesterday,

We’re live from Music Beach!”

Double Teamed by Dana Konop. A rollicking and yet poignant middle-reader for kids ages 8 and older that tells the story of a regular boy at a regular school who meets challenges that few of us have…and becomes a hero who changes his family’s life forever. Dana has won four awards in the Writers’ Digest Writer’s Competition for Children’s Fiction.

“Mom unleashes her parent eye on Dad and me. I squirm to keep her from melting my flesh with that. Dad finishes picking the dirt out from under his fingernails. He stands up and nods with his eyebrows raised at me, and I know exactly what he means by that.”


Read Full Post »

Social Media Helping Haitian Relief

So much has been going on in Haiti the last two weeks, and I’m fascinated by how involved we all are through the Internet.

The Mashable site I follow on Twitter reported today that Mac and iphone communities raised more than $143,000 in relief efforts in just days: http://mashable.com/2010/01/22/indierelief-results/

My friend and former Tennessean newspaper colleague Shelley Mays Young posted a photo on Facebook that shows a young Haitian boy, arms opened wide in jubilation, just after being rescued after a week: http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=30931831&id=1412799093

I found out through online news sites that the search and rescue team in my own hometown of Fairfax, VA, rescued two men who had been talking to one another while buried in the rubble. When they were both unearthed, the men shook hands for the first time. And Piedmont Healthcare in my current hometown of Atlanta posted notices that they had sent a surgical team three days ago to Albert Schweitzer Hospital. The physicians went, despite the fact that Haiti had suffered another major tremor. See Piedmont’s Facebook site entry on this at:


Anderson Cooper rescued one young Haitian boy who had been hit in the head with a concrete block by looters, http://www.redbalcony.com/?vid=26239. And CNN’s Sanjay Gupta is doing surgery in Haiti as well as sending back tweets to give us all a glimpse into the devastation, and offer any hope—even something as small as his triage unit getting generator power. In fact, he reported feeling an aftershock today, Jan. 22, on Twitter: http://twitter.com/sanjayguptaCNN

It seems that people are finding ways to help all over the Internet—and learning about aid from others. We are longer removed from tragedies such as this one. We are in it, even as we sit in the safety of our homes, as I am, with a Mac on my lap.

As I write this, I am reminded that the important thing is to use the information gleaned from social media to find a way to help before putting the computer to sleep. I may not be able to fly to Haiti to dig for victims, perform surgery, or rescue a child from the street—but I can, and will, do something.

By the way, to read about relief efforts by my own church, check out the Episcopal News Service reports:



“To donate to Episcopal Relief & Development call the agency at 1-800-334-7626 ext. 5129; or mail a gift to Episcopal Relief & Development, P.O. Box 7058, Merrifield, VA 22116-7058. Please write “Haiti fund” in the memo of all checks.”

WREN COTTAGE Writing & Editing

“Writing is both mask and unveiling.”
—E.B. White

Read Full Post »

Putting Christmas “away” seems to take just as much time as getting it “up.” My youngest college child just left to go back to campus this week, and so I’m playing catch-up on writing, editing, and putting away all of the decorations that we Episcopalians tend to leave up until Epiphany, January 6. (Yes, Virginia, there are 12 days of Christmas.)

This week I’ve also been thinking about the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrator’s big Springmingle conference February 26-28 at the Century Center Marriott in Northeast Atlanta. This is a great opportunity to meet other writers, editors, and illustrators in children’s publishing, get a manuscript or a portfolio critiqued, and listen to professionals in the field, like literary agent Josh Adams and keynote speaker Jane Yolen, author of Owl Moon (Owl Moon!) and How do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight?

Because of the holidays, SCBWI fliers may be a little late getting out. So for more information and to register, go to:


The holidays may be over but there are some inspirational things to look forward to in 2010, and Springmingle is just one of them.

Happy New Year!

Read Full Post »

Big Box, Little BoxDelivers

Inspiring Message to Kids

Atlanta—Self-esteem doesn’t come in a box but potential does in the inspirational new children’s book Big Box, Little Box: How to Load Your Truck.

Written by Damien K.H. Nash and Kathy Nash, Big Box, Little Box is the imaginative story of a frightened “little box” that gets stranded in a mail-service sorting center. It takes the advice of a wise “big box” to make Little Box realize that the first step on a successful life journey is recognizing his own potential—being the best he can be.

“Big Box uses kind words and a gentle manner that spark an awakening and an excitement in Little Box,” the book explains. “Little Box realizes he is unique and possesses a set of skills that the world is waiting to receive.”

Big Box also warns Little Box to reject others’ negative labels such as “good,” “bad, “lazy,” or “smart,”—advice that Big Box, Little Box authors hope that readers will all take to heart. Emmanuel, the Perfect Label-Giver, however, can help Little Box find his true self and deliver on his potential, the story emphasizes.

“Every box is labeled,” Big Box points out. “Through this journey

weare given many labels. Some labels we willlike, and some we won’t.”

“This will help affirm children’s feelings of significance and encourage them to reach their potential,” says educator Kathy Nash. “Many times, what you say to your child is what he or she will become. If you say he is lazy enough times, he may believe it and act that way.

“Most parents say they want their child to grow up to be successful, get along with their peers, and be able to take care of themselves,” Nash added. “However, parents must use words that reflect how they want their children to act later in life.”

Big Box, Little Box is an interactive book. Words are color-coded, so grownups and children can take turns reading aloud, and the book includes a list of vocabulary words and recommended activities. A DVD offering expanded descriptive language is also available with English, Spanish, and French subtitles.

“It’s the responsibility of every one of us to invest in our children’s future,” says Kathy Nash. “At TNG Publishings, we strive to introduce products that enhance the experience of reading and learning. Big Box, Little Box opens the door to an innovative way of teaching our children character-building principles that will sustain them throughout life.”

“We Deliver Potential!”

Big Box, Little Box

ISBN# 978-0-9841729-3-1

“Writing is REwriting.”

–Robert L. Kelley

Read Full Post »