Weird Stories from the Lonesome Cafe

Fall 2013

Coming soon--Ukulele Hayley!

Chicago Public Library Best of the Best list 2012

Oregon Book Awards 2012

Ukulele Lady

Bank Street College of Education, Best Books of 2011

200,000 people attended the National Book Festival.

Each state had a table at the Pavilion of States. Look closely, and you'll see CARMEN LEARNS ENGLISH.

Everyone got a map. Kids took the maps to each state's table to get it stamped. I helped stamp using Oregon's Ramona Quimby stamp (because Beverly Cleary is an Oregon author.)

We saw Giant Pandas at the National Zoo in Washington, D. C.

After visiting Washington, D. C. we took the train back to Portland, Oregon--from sea to shining sea!

After three days on the train, I look a little bit tired. But happy!

Move over Rock Bottom Remainders! Here comes "Banned"! From left to right: Neysa, Monelle, Michelle, Judy (not pictured: Docena, Lucinda)

Keynote address at SCBWI--Southern Idaho/Northern Utah April 2011

Bank Street College of Education, Best Books of 2011

Prince George, B. C. gets a lot of snow!

Fleur in Aberglen Castle (Div. 6 Highglen Elementary)

At Heather Park Elementary with Ishbu the rat puppet.

Frederick and Ishbu's first adventure!

The second book in The Tails of Frederick and Ishbu

Summer Reading

Word by Word

Welcome to the Blog Hop!

August 13, 2013

Tags: Ukulele Hayley, children's books, Bruce Hale, Judy Cox

Thanks to multitalented children’s author Bruce Hale for the invitation to this blog hop! Here’s a link to his website where you can read about his new picture book, CLARK THE SHARK and his School for Spies series for middle grade:
Bruce Hale

What gave you the idea for Ukulele Hayley?

I knew that ukuleles were enormously popular, and that many schools were starting up uke bands and clubs. As part of my research, I taught myself to play ukulele and became completely hooked! The uke is a fun instrument—it’s light, portable, and inexpensive. It’s relatively easy to learn the basic chords, but the instrument is versatile enough for jazz and classical music. In the book, Hayley starts a uke club at school. I became so enthralled with ukulele that I started a ukulele group in my town, and I also teach uke classes for children at a local music store. It’s a clear case of Life imitating Art!

How does it differ from others in that genre?

Ukulele Hayley is an early chapter book with a lot of humor. There are lots of books for that age group, but I think mine differ in that they are a little bit deeper. I hope that my children’s books have “heart”—something you can take away after you finish the book—an idea that resonates with both children and adults. In the case of Ukulele Hayley, I wanted to portray the power music has to bring people together.

Why do you write what you do?

I write humor because I see the quirky side of things. It’s my nature to make up stories; that just seems to be the way I think. I probably only get around to writing down a small portion of them! I was a bookworm growing up, and I remember all the wonderful books from my childhood and the joy reading brought me. I always wanted to be a part of that writing and reading world. Even after 26 books, seeing my books at a library or bookstore is a tremendous thrill.

What’s the hardest part about writing?

That’s changed over the years. When I was working as a teacher, playing in a band, and raising my son, finding the time to write was the hardest part. Now that I’m retired, and my son is grown, I still struggle with finding time--possibly even more so now that I don’t have a regular job to organize my time. I’d so much rather play the ukulele! But, once I sit down and get involved in my story, the words eventually flow, even if not quite at the same pace as they once did.


What are you working on now?

I have a new picture book, tentatively titled “WoolGathering” coming out in 2014. I’m currently working on the third book in my fantasy/animal/adventure series, The Tails of Frederick and Ishbu. The series includes The Mystery of the Burmese Bandicoot and The Case of the Purloined Professor. Frederick and Ishbu are brother rats who live in a cage in Miss Dove’s fifth grade classroom. Ishbu loves carrot sticks and marshmallow treats and Frederick loves Geography. In my new book, they are evicted from their cage and must find their way back home (and save the world from their nemesis, the Big Cheese—an evil mastermind who heads up the Bilgewater Brigade gang.

I've invited other children's authors to participate--I'll add them as they respond, so keep checking back!

Selected Works

Picture Book
Animal Adventure
A stand-alone companion volume to "The Mystery of the Burmese Bandicoot" and "The Case of the Purloined Professor" also by Judy Cox.
Award
Bank Street College of Education Best Books 2014
New Books
Join Mouse on his fourth adventure--a romp in the snow!
Mrs. Millie's Kindergartners surprise her with a pun-filled birthday party!
Mouse is back in a Halloween adventure.
Nora's rowdy cousin from Texas is coming to stay. Is Ellie as bad as Nora remembers? Junior Library Guild Selection
Award Winners
Oregon Spirit Award
Bank Street College of Education, Best Books of 2011
Bank Street College of Education Best Books of 2011
TIME magazine Best Children's Books of 2009
Anne Izard Storytellers' Choice Award 2009
Children's Choices list 2009
TIME magazine Best Children's Books of 2005
Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Award 2004
Nevada Young Readers Award 2002