Sunday, June 16, 2019

MMGM BIOGRAPHY WHO WAS NORMAN ROCKWELL?

~ MARVELOUS MIDDLE-GRADE
MONDAY BIOGRAPHY FEATURE ~
--  'WHO WAS NORMAN ROCKWELL?'  --
AUTHOR SARAH FABINY
ILLUSTRATOR GREGORY COPELAND



ABOUT THE BOOK {from Goodreads}:

Brush up on your knowledge on popular American painter and illustrator Norman Rockwell with this exciting Who Was? title.

Norman Rockwell often painted what he saw around him in nostalgic and humorous ways. After hearing President Franklin Roosevelt's address to Congress in 1943, he was inspired to create paintings that described the principles for universal rights: four paintings that portray iconic images of the American experience. Over the course of his lifetime, he painted 322 covers for the Saturday Evening Post. Of his work, he has said: "Maybe as I grew up and found the world wasn't the perfect place I thought it to be, I consciously decided that if it wasn't an ideal world, it should be, and so painted only the ideal aspects of it."

MY THOUGHTS:
I have thoroughly enjoyed the half dozen or so of these WhoHQ Penguin Workshop biographies published by Penguin Random House LLC that I've read in the past couple of years. This volume is no exception.

When I hear the name, Norman Rockwell, I think Americana. This prolific and talented painter contributed paintings to The Saturday Evening Post from 1916 until 1963. The book includes background information on the history of and the importance of this magazine in American culture.

I was pleased that the author included some information about Norman's childhood so young readers can relate to his struggles. Apparently, Norman was skinny and uncoordinated, so unlike his brother--Jarvis--he was not chosen to play in the neighborhood games. 

However, from a young age Norman exhibited talent as an artist. He liked to draw pictures from magazines. When his father read aloud to the family at night, Norman would draw pictures of the characters in his sketch book. 

Unfortunately, Norman's mother was sickly and his father's attention was given to the care of his wife. Mr. Rockwell did not pay much attention to Norman and Jarvis. Apparently, the loneliness and lack of love Norman felt from his parents affected him his entire life. I worked with lots of children who were in the same situation, and I think this book may inspire them when they learn that a talented artist of great fame experienced the same things in his home life as a child.

As a middle-grader, Norman worked at several jobs to earn money for art lessons. He mowed lawns, taught drawing to an actress, and delivered mail. At age seventeen Norman dropped out of high school so he could enroll full time in the Art Students League school in New York City. He studied there for the next three years. 

He spent every spare moment working on his art. He did not go out on the town or party like the other students in his classes. Norman placed himself on a very strict regime. He did not skip lunch, and he never worked all night. 

Norman later became associated with the Boy Scouts of America as an illustrator for their first handbook. He was hired to become the art editor of Boys' Life Magazine, the Boy Scout magazine. Over the next sixty years Norman painted many covers for the annual Boy Scout calendar too.

In addition, Norman illustrated advertisements for socks, cereal, toothpaste, and cough medicine. He had a dream of painting a cover for The Saturday Evening Post. When he intitially met with the magazine's editor and art editor they bought two covers and one additional sketch idea and three future covers. Norman was on his way!

The book chronicles his U.S. Navy service during World War I. His Four Freedoms covers on The Saturday Evening Post, published in 1943, helped to sell over $132 million worth of government bonds to help the World War II effort. 

After a tragic fire in which his entire studio burned down, Norman Rockwell decided to paint the present rather than paint historical scenes and portraits. This change of focus spurred him on to paint Rosie the Riveter for the May 29, 1943, cover of the Post. 

In an effort to increase the popularity of the magazine during the late 1950s and early 1960s, the Post commissioned Rockwell to paint portraits of US politicians Dwight D. Eisenhower, Richard M. Nixon, and John F. Kennedy. Norman also traveled around the world to sketch portraits of world leaders. This was not the type of work Rockwell wanted to be doing. He wanted to paint covers that told a story. After 323 covers, he retired from the Post at age sixty-nine.

He continued to work through the 1960s and early 1970s by painting what he saw happening in America. Desegregation of neighborhoods and schools, the Civil Rights Act, and the Apollo 11 moon landing were among his most famous works. 

In 1976, Norman Rockwell was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Gerald Ford. However, Rockwell was too frail to attend the ceremony; so his son, Jarvis, accepted the medal on his behalf. He died at the age of 84 in November, 1978.

The back matter includes a section on where Norman Rockwell's work can be found, timelines of Norman Rockwell's life and the world, and a Bibliography.

Highly-recommended for fans of art history, American heroes, US history, and biographies of famous Americans.

 *******************************  
Learn about more great middle-grade reads by visiting Greg Pattridge's 'Always in the Middle' blog to find the links to other blog posts celebrating Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday!  
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Sunday, June 9, 2019

~ MMGM HISTORICAL ADVENTURE PENNY ~

~ MARVELOUS MIDDLE-GRADE
MONDAY HISTORICAL
ADVENTURE FEATURE ~
--  'PENNY'  {HORSE DIARIES #16}  --
AUTHOR WHITNEY SANDERSON
ILLUSTRATOR RUTH SANDERSON




ABOUT THE BOOK {from Goodreads}:

For all lovers of horses and history! In the latest book in the Horse Diaries series, meet Penny, a blue-eyed palomino paint mare who grows up in the Wild West of California during the Gold Rush!

CALIFORNIA, 1850.
Penny is a blue-eyed palomino paint mare with a taste for adventure! She and a boy named Jesse search for gold in the hills of Northern California. After striking it rich and then losing everything, Jesse and Penny join the Pony Express. The job is a tough one, but Penny loves a challenge! Here is Penny's story . . . in her own words.

Love horses and history? Don't miss the stories of Elska, Bell's Star, Calvino, Lily, and more in the Horse Diaries series!


MY THOUGHTS:
As a middle-grade reader, I adored horse stories. Some of my favorites were by famed author Marguerite Henry:  Misty of Chincoteague; Stormy: Misty's Foal; Brighty of the Grand Canyon; and King of the Wind. When I saw this book, Penny, which combines my love of California history with a story about a horse, I was sold.

This book covers many years and many events in California's history. The narrator of the story is a Palomino mare owned by the main character, Jesse, and his grandfather, Buckeye Jack. The story opens in 1853 when the three of them arrive in the Sierra Nevada foothills after they split off from their wagon train. Jesse is a nine-year-old orphan whose parents died of cholera on the wagon train trail a few months ago.

At this point in the story, the horse has no name. Buckeye Jack encourages Jesse to choose a name for their new horse. Jesse tries out the names of Buttercup, Duchess, and Sunshine, but none of them sound right to him. Later on in the story Jesse christens the mare 'Penny' when she saves them from an undesirable situation.

Jesse and Buckeye Jack work in the gold fields and are swindled by the merchants selling supplies and by a gambler who comes into their camp one evening to play cards with the grandfather. Unfortunately, Buckeye Jack loses the mare in a card game. Jesse is understandably upset, but things work out in the end.

Penny makes her way back to the two gold miners. Jesse's historical adventures continue when he joins the Pony Express in 1860 at age sixteen. This part of the book was filled with action and was really fun to read.

When the Pony Express closes in late 1861, Jesse and Penny join the railroad and work laying track for the Transcontinental Railroad over the Sierra Nevada mountains. The author's description of the back-breaking work and rough working conditions for men and their horses is a real eye-opener.

Once the railroad is completed, Jesse moves back to California and opens his own business driving passengers from the railroad station to their lodgings in black carriage. Of course, his trusty side-kick, Penny, is the one pulling the carriage. 

Jesse is now an adult and the rest of the story is about his marriage and eventual life as a father to two middle-grade children of his own. Jesse and his family live in Omaha, Nebraska, his wife's hometown. Penny is the family horse and enjoys her job as the transporter in charge of carrying the children to school each day.  

But wait! There is one more adventure in store for Jesse, his family, and Penny. This adventure involves 'Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show' featuring Annie Oakley and Buffalo Bill Cody. This final section of the book is great fun and will delight readers of all ages.

The Appendix is thorough and includes detailed information about the American Paint Horse {Penny}, The California Gold Rush, The Pony Express, and Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show. 

I studied California history in grade school, high school, and college. I still enjoy visiting history museums and historical sites throughout the Northern California region. I found the author's depiction of life in California during the above time period to be accurate and realistic.

Highly-recommended for readers of all ages who are fans of California history, horse fiction, historical fiction, Gold Rush history, Pony Express history, Wild West history, and historical adventures.

I borrowed this book from the local public library.

 *******************************  
Learn about more great middle-grade reads by visiting Greg Pattridge's 'Always in the Middle' blog to find the links to other blog posts celebrating Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday!  
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Thursday, June 6, 2019

~ FRIDAY FICTION FEATURE THE NUMBER OF LOVE ~

~ FRIDAY FICTION FEATURE ~
BLOG TOUR STOP FOR
--  'THE NUMBER OF LOVE'  --
AUTHOR ROSEANNA M. WHITE
~Post Includes:  Book Spotlight, Author 
Bio, Excerpt, Unique Guest Post Shared
by the Author & Giveaway~ 
 

Welcome to the Blog Tour & Giveaway for The Number of Love by Roseanna M. White with JustRead Publicity Tours! Follow along with the tour for a special inside peek at how The Number of Love is connected to the author's previous book from another series, A Song Unheard.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Title: The Number of Love  
Series: Codebreakers #1  
Author: Roseanna M. White  
Publisher: Bethany House  
Release Date: June 4, 2019  
Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance/Intrigue

Three years into the Great War, England’s greatest asset is their intelligence network—field agents risking their lives to gather information, and codebreakers able to crack every German telegram. Margot De Wilde thrives in the environment of the secretive Room 40, where she spends her days deciphering intercepted messages. But when her world is turned upside down by an unexpected loss, for the first time in her life numbers aren’t enough.

Drake Elton returns wounded from the field, followed by an enemy that just won’t give up. He’s smitten quickly by the too-intelligent Margot, but how to convince a girl who lives entirely in her mind that sometimes life’s answers lie in the heart?

Amidst biological warfare, encrypted letters, and a German spy who wants to destroy not just them, but others they love, Margot and Drake will have to work together to save them all from the very secrets that brought them together.


PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | ChristianBook

EXCERPT FROM 'THE NUMBER OF LOVE':

A snapshot slid out as he unfolded the letter. He picked it up and sucked in a breath.

He didn’t even glance at his sister’s image, smiling from the right side of the photo. He was too busy looking at the figure on the left.
The dark-eyed nameless girl.

She stared up at him with an intensity that a camera should not have been able to capture so well. Her lips didn’t smile, exactly, but they didn’t not either. The corners were turned up just the slightest bit, in a way that put Mona Lisa to shame.

The black-and-white image couldn’t reveal details like eye color or the shade of suit she wore, but his memory supplied the image’s lack. Deepest brown eyes, so dark they were nearly black. The day he’d seen her, she’d been in dark blue—he couldn’t have said whether this skirt and jacket were exactly the same or not, but he imagined them as such.

Just as he imagined the snap of her wit ready to trip off her tongue.

* * *

Title: A Song Unheard
Series: Shadows Over England #2 
Author: Roseanna M. White  
Publisher: Bethany House  
Release Date: January 2, 2018  
Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance/Intrigue

Willa Forsythe is both a violin prodigy and top-notch thief, which make her the perfect choice for a crucial task at the outset of World War I—to steal a cypher from a famous violinist currently in Wales.

Lukas De Wilde has enjoyed the life of fame he's won—until now, when being recognized nearly gets him killed. Everyone wants the key to his father's work as a cryptologist. And Lukas fears that his mother and sister, who have vanished in the wake of the German invasion of Belgium, will pay the price. The only light he finds is in meeting the intriguing Willa Forsythe.

But danger presses in from every side, and Willa knows what Lukas doesn't—that she must betray him and find that cypher, or her own family will pay the price as surely as his has.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

Roseanna M. White is a bestselling, Christy Award nominated author who has long claimed that words are the air she breathes. When not writing fiction, she's homeschooling her two kids, editing, designing book covers, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna is the author of a slew of historical novels that span several continents and thousands of years. Spies and war and mayhem always seem to find their way into her books...to offset her real life, which is blessedly ordinary.

CONNECT WITH ROSEANNA: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

GUEST POST SHARED BY THE AUTHOR, ROSEANNA M. WHITE:


Margot De Wilde, my heroine in The Number of Love, is a mathematician working as a codebreaker in England’s Room 40 during the Great War. So she’s fond of numbers. Like, crazy fond. The girl totally baffles me with the way she thinks and views the world in mathematical concepts—in a highly entertaining way, of course. (And let’s not get into how an author can be baffled by her own characters. It happens, okay? More often than we’d like to admit…)

So Margot is all about numbering things—hence why she and I thought it would be great fun to share a numbered list. So allow me to introduce

Seven things you might not know about The Number of Love:

The number “18” appears 62 times in the manuscript (honestly, I thought it would be more, LOL.) Or maybe 63, if you count the one on the cover!

Characters from four other books make “guest” appearances in these pages, including: Brook and her father from The Lost Heiress (Justin is mentioned but not on-page); Rosemary from A Name Unknown; Willa and Lukas from A Song Unheard; and Barclay and Evalina (and, honestly, quite a few other “family” members) from An Hour Unspent.

When a character named Camden is introduced, the conversation he has with our hero, Drake, made me rewrite Cam’s entire history, which I thought I already had figured out—I thought his mother had died when he was a kid, but no. She had to be alive solely so that Drake could make a joke about her sending him a tin of biscuits for helping Camden out of a scrape. (Turns out, this was a great thing, since his mother had a pretty important role in book two, On Wings of Devotion, when Camden takes center stage…)

This book has phrases from 3 other languages in it—French, which is Margot’s native tongue; Spanish, which Drake learned from his mother’s family in Bilbao, Spain; and German, spoken by our antagonist. (Yeah…I speak English. A little French. This was, um, challenging.)

The bad guy goes by “Das Gespenst,” German for “The Ghost.” When I decided I wanted this to be his name, I emailed my foreign-exchange-student brother (he lived with our family for a year when I was 12) who is German and asked him which of the many “ghost” words in German would work best. He not only gave me the vocabulary lesson, he also made sure I knew where the hyphen should go between syllables if it was ever broken up between lines in the manuscript. Thank you, Sascha! (Also, just try to say “Das Gespenst” without pitching your voice low and sounding all threatening. You can’t do it. You just can’t!)

One of the books that inspired the character of Margot was Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan, an amazing middle grade book I read with my homeschool class a couple years ago.

Some of my searches while writing included: prosthetic limbs in WW1, symptoms of anthrax poisoning, air raids of London in 1917, history of tungsten (wolfram), popular Spanish literature in the 1910s, Belgian poets, and Einstein’s 1917 essays (including page numbers in the journal they were published in). Yep. Never a dull moment when you’re a historical writer!

* * *




TOUR GIVEAWAY

Grand Prize: Shadows Over England series, The Number of Love, and the Decrypto board game, plus "Mi Alma" necklace (Necklace is 24" chain with a 1" pendant that says "Mi Alma" Spanish for "My Soul". A term of endearment used throughout the book. Handmade by Bookworm Mama)

(3) additional winners of The Number of Love.

Enter via the Rafflecopter giveaway below. Giveaway will begin at midnight June 3, 2019 and last through 11:59 pm June 17, 2019. US only. Winners will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.
Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.


Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!
cropped-justread-logo.png
# # # # #
 

Monday, June 3, 2019

~ BLOG TOUR A SONG UNHEARD ~



~ BLOG TOUR STOP ~
-- 'THE NUMBER OF LOVE' &
'A SONG UNHEARD'
--
AUTHOR ROSEANNA M. WHITE
~Post Includes: Book Spotlights on Both
Novels, Excerpt from 'A Song Unheard',
Author Bio & Giveaway~
 

Welcome to the Blog Tour & Giveaway for The Number of Love by Roseanna M. White with JustRead Publicity Tours! Follow along with the tour for a special inside peek at how The Number of Love is connected to the author's previous book from another series, A Song Unheard.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Title: The Number of Love  
Series: Codebreakers #1  
Author: Roseanna M. White  
Publisher: Bethany House  
Release Date: June 4, 2019  
Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance/Intrigue

Three years into the Great War, England’s greatest asset is their intelligence network—field agents risking their lives to gather information, and codebreakers able to crack every German telegram. Margot De Wilde thrives in the environment of the secretive Room 40, where she spends her days deciphering intercepted messages. But when her world is turned upside down by an unexpected loss, for the first time in her life numbers aren’t enough.

Drake Elton returns wounded from the field, followed by an enemy that just won’t give up. He’s smitten quickly by the too-intelligent Margot, but how to convince a girl who lives entirely in her mind that sometimes life’s answers lie in the heart?

Amidst biological warfare, encrypted letters, and a German spy who wants to destroy not just them, but others they love, Margot and Drake will have to work together to save them all from the very secrets that brought them together.


Title: A Song Unheard
Series: Shadows Over England #2 
Author: Roseanna M. White  
Publisher: Bethany House  
Release Date: January 2, 2018  
Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance/Intrigue

Willa Forsythe is both a violin prodigy and top-notch thief, which make her the perfect choice for a crucial task at the outset of World War I—to steal a cypher from a famous violinist currently in Wales.

Lukas De Wilde has enjoyed the life of fame he's won—until now, when being recognized nearly gets him killed. Everyone wants the key to his father's work as a cryptologist. And Lukas fears that his mother and sister, who have vanished in the wake of the German invasion of Belgium, will pay the price. The only light he finds is in meeting the intriguing Willa Forsythe.

But danger presses in from every side, and Willa knows what Lukas doesn't—that she must betray him and find that cypher, or her own family will pay the price as surely as his has.

EXCERPT FROM A SONG UNHEARD:
“Some people don’t need to be taught in order to learn.”
“Very true.” Was that not what PΓ¨re had always said about Margot? That it wasn’t like teaching her at all—it was like reminding her of something she already knew but for which she hadn’t quite had the words.
He had always thought music similar. That his favorite compositions were capturing something he’d always known existed and putting it to paper. Giving voice, giving words to those soaring notes of joy, the pulsing beats of temper or pain.
But it had taken teaching for him to learn how to bring those notes to life on an instrument. For everyone he knew, it was the same. Oh, he had met musicians who played by ear, to be sure. But not like this. “So you began at age twelve. Teaching yourself. And now you can re-create the most challenging pieces after hearing them . . . how many times?”
She shifted, glanced at the incredulous Jules again, back to him. Shrugged. “It depends on the piece. Once, sometimes. Twice or thrice always suffices.”
Once. Or twice.
Jules fell to a seat on a chair. “Incroyable,” he muttered again.
Lukas just held that gaze she’d shifted back to him. It was incredible. Unbelievable. “You are a . . . a prodigy.” He’d never met one, not really. Children with talent, certainly. But this talented? Never. Miraculous, his family would say. God-gifted.
He’d not given much thought in recent years to gifts from God. And these last few weeks, he wouldn’t have bet God was still even imparting gifts, given the state of the world. But what else could one call this? Her?


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

Roseanna M. White is a bestselling, Christy Award nominated author who has long claimed that words are the air she breathes. When not writing fiction, she's homeschooling her two kids, editing, designing book covers, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna is the author of a slew of historical novels that span several continents and thousands of years. Spies and war and mayhem always seem to find their way into her books...to offset her real life, which is blessedly ordinary.

CONNECT WITH ROSEANNA: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram


TOUR GIVEAWAY

Grand Prize: Shadows Over England series, The Number of Love, and the Decrypto board game, plus "Mi Alma" necklace (Necklace is 24" chain with a 1" pendant that says "Mi Alma" Spanish for "My Soul". A term of endearment used throughout the book. Handmade by Bookworm Mama)

(3) additional winners of The Number of Love.

Enter via the Rafflecopter giveaway below. Giveaway will begin at Midnight June 3, 2019 and last through 11:59PM June 17, 2019. US only. Winners will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.
Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.


Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!
cropped-justread-logo.png

πŸ’—πŸ’—πŸ’—πŸ’—πŸ’—πŸ’—πŸ’—πŸ’—πŸ’—πŸ’—πŸ’—πŸ’—πŸ’—πŸ’—πŸ’—πŸ’—πŸ’—πŸ’—πŸ’—πŸ’—


πŸ’ž My inspirational historical romance short story, 'Handmade Hearts', is free on Amazon June 2nd - June 6th!

πŸ’ž This story was inspired by a true story and is set in New Orleans during WWII. Click on over to Amazon to download your free copy . . . Enjoy!

LINK TO 'HANDMADE HEARTS'
 πŸ’—πŸ’—πŸ’—πŸ’—πŸ’—πŸ’—πŸ’—πŸ’—πŸ’—πŸ’—πŸ’—πŸ’—πŸ’—πŸ’—πŸ’—πŸ’—πŸ’—πŸ’—πŸ’—πŸ’—
  



 

MMGM BIOGRAPHY WHO WAS NORMAN ROCKWELL?

~ MARVELOUS MIDDLE-GRADE MONDAY BIOGRAPHY FEATURE ~ --  'WHO WAS NORMAN ROCKWELL?'  -- AUTHOR SARAH FABINY ILLUSTRATOR GREG...