Archive for December, 2011

Here comes the future…

Thursday, December 29th, 2011

2012?  It’s about to be 2012? How is that remotely possible?

Every year moves faster, doesn’t it? Decades seem to be flying by.  My babies aren’t babies anymore.  My new house is no longer new.  It’s insane…

And yet, so what? Each year is different, wonderful in its way.

2011 was pretty great.  Nothing hugely major happened. THAT was noteworthy.  Nobody lost a job or started a new job. We didn’t move.  Life became… normal.  We ate tacos, made some new friends, fell in love with our neighborhood.  You know, life?

And now, staring into 2012, I’m excited about… MORE OF THE SAME.  Isn’t that funny?  I’m excited to stay put, to settle down even more. No new schools, new jobs, new houses. Maybe we’ll fix up the kitchen. Maybe we’ll get the house a little more organized.  Maybe we’ll do a better job of walking the dog when it rains.  Maybe I’ll learn to bake bread.  Maybe we’ll take a weekend trip to Chattanooga. Maybe we’ll ride bikes.

I have a week to settle into 2012, and the I have 2 months to finish my new book, Seven Stories Up, which is a companion to Bigger than  a Bread Box. And then? Then I’m not sure what I’ll do…

I want to write more poems. I want to revise some of my old picture book manuscripts. I want to try a chapter book, about some kids who live in an actual city, and find magic there. Short chapters, simple language,  carefully chosen.  I think there will be a pet rat.

Or maybe it’s time to try YA. I have an idea for a book about a girl, and the bible…

Or maybe I’ll attempt a screenplay!

But I don’t know for sure… Which is exciting…

For years we’ve had so many factors of our lives “up in the air.” Schools and houses and jobs, and the looming question of maybe leaving Atlanta.  The only stable thing, in some ways, has been my writing.  The only thing I KNEW for sure.   Now the opposite feels true. Life is stable, but I don’t know what I’ll write next.


So here I go, into the future. Into the miraculous now!!!  Where anything might happen…

How about you? What’s your future looking like today?

Happy Hanukkah…

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011


Our “Judaica” collection  includes a lot of things made from play-doh, two menorahs upcycled from old bike chains, and Mose’s famous “wax museum.”

But as long as there’s grease hanging in the air, and the smoke alarm goes off at least once… As long as everyone gets sick eating the crap candy they won playing dreidel, and fights over which present to open tomorrow night… you know it’s HANUKKAH.

Happy winter, friends.  There are miracles lurking in  each story. There are candles burning everywhere you look.  There really are.

Love, Laurel

Bigger than a Breadbox treats…

Friday, December 16th, 2011

I haven’t been doing a lot of publicity-posting.  There’s a point where an author just starts to feel too self-congratulatory, posting all these different reviews and things.  Like showing off each piece of candy as you eat it.

Especially when the world is full of actual NEWS.

But then, I do want to be sure to give credit and thanks to the wonderful people who support my books, and so many of them write absolutely fantastic blogs that YOU should be reading.  ALso, my mom likes to see this stuff (hi, Mom)

So here’s a roundup!

I’m honored to have been read and reviewed by Anita Silvey, at her Book-a-day Almanac.

Random Acts of Reading did this terrific summary of my fall-of-skype visits. And some of the skyping teachers have also blogged about the adventure!

I was so pleased to see this review pop up at Mrs. Katz’s Book Blurbs.

This great group-review from Scripps-Howard made the rounds a few weeks back. I loved that my book was included alongside Carmen Deedy’s new title, The Cheshire Cheese Cat.  Carmen is an Atlanta writer, and her daughter is a friend of mine.  Moments like this make me feel like I’m living in a really interesting community!

Travis Jonker and John Schumacher (two of my biggest library-heroes) did a joint “top-20 children’s books of 2011″ at their blogs, 100 Scope Notes and Watch. Connect. Read.  Bread Box was # 16!

I loved this review from Maine Library-blog, A View from the Library!

Debbie Duncan did a stellar roundup of fall titles for a group of papers in Northern California, and Bread Box was in it!

Jen and Kellee wrote this thoughtful review over at Teach Mentor Texts, and made my day! Their blog is a really wonderful resource, especially for teachers and book clubs!

This review at Kidliterate actually made me cry, and want to visit St Louis, so I could thank Melissa in person.

Bread Box was included in this great Bookrageous podcast! ALso at KUER’s holiday book show!

I’ve also been very lucky to be included in a lot of holiday newsletters, from some of the best bookstores in the country.  Most of these documents aren’t online, but whenever I pop into a store, and see my book in an actual brochure, that kids and parents take home with them, it makes me spin around and giggle.  Thank you to all the bookstores who still take the time (and expense) to include these personal touches!

Likewise, Bigger than a Bread Box is being read for a slew of mock Newbery clubs, like this one, and this makes me so happy and excited, especially since these are groups of KIDS, by and large.  I love when adults read my books too, of course, but I write for KIDS, and they matter much more to me.  I wish there had been clubs like this when I was a kid myself. I’d have been ALL OVER THAT.

Speaking of me being  a geek for books, I’ve been nominated for a NERDY.  If you read Bigger than a Bread Box, and liked it, you can vote for me!

Really, it’s been a very exciting fall!




Laurel Snyder’s Backlist Holiday Gift Guide…

Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

For Hanukkah/Xmas/Kwanzaa/NewYears/Sostice I like to give books, of course! BOOKS!  I love to give books.

And there are already a ton of gift-guides out there, but I don’t see any reason one has to give HOT NEW BOOKS when there are so many amazing books that are not HOT or NEW.  It is the easiest thing in the world to call up your local bookstore and ask them to place an order for you, of backlist titles they don’t always have on the shelves (and usually cheaper too).  They might even giftwrap and/or ship them for you!

I’ll add more books as I think of them, and if you have someone you need a present for, feel free to leave a vague description of them in the comments, and I’ll think of the perfect book!

And now… here we go!


For anyone who really really needs  a laugh, anyone out of a job, or going through a breakup, or broke, or just kind of low-because-of-this-gray-December-weather. No lie, this is funnier than Tina Fey. It will make your ribs hurt from laughing:



For any little tiny person who might not have it yet, my very favorite picture book of all time. Super cheap (Thank goodness for Little Golden books). I buy these in lots of 10 and give them out like candy.  Every home should have this book and surprisingly, most do not. Mister Dog is the least co-dependent and cheesey, MOST adorable children’s character ever. I love him.  Breeds independent sane children.  ”He was a funny old dog. He liked strawberries.”  Who doesn’t?

Mister Dog


For precocious little girls who wear a lot of pink, when you want to steer them away from all those godawful princesses.  Eloise’s sass, intelligence, imagination, and fawnciness will appeal to them, and she’s nothing like anything else they’ve got.  Any Eloise book will do, but I really like Paris the best.  There’s kissing in it!  Prepare yourself for SQUEALING!

Eloise in Paris


For little boys who like blammo blammo rough stuff, when you want to steer them away from yet another Star Wars/ Bat Man/ Pokemon book.  Ramayana changed out household, turned it upside down. No kidding.  My boys can stare at this thing for HOURS.  We’ve gone on road trips and only taken this one book. It is full of swords and crazy stories and beheadings and magic and violence of the best sort. It’s also totally insane, and once they go to bed, you may find yourself reading it, with a glass of wine in your hand.

Ramayana: Divine Loophole


For serious readerly kids who  are drawn to fantasy and magic in the best way.  Once they tip over into vampire-land, you’ve lost them, but Thurber’s genius will appeal to any kid, boy or girl, who is still into magic.  I WEEP to think that there are kids growing up without this book in their lives.  Every word in this book is perfect.  If there’sone single book I think every kid should have before they turn 12, this is it. Buy someone this book, for goodness sake!

The Thirteen Clocks


For aspiring (or successful) writers, and anyone interested in history.   The letters of Ursula Nordstrom, the single most important editor of books for kids (though adult authors will enjoy it too), is a DELIGHT.  It makes a writer feel both hopeful, and in good company when they fail.  It’s a huge help in reminding any writer what WRITING IS ALL ABOUT.  It’s also a fabulous reminder of what letter-writing used to be.  One of those books that make you feel/look smart when you read it, but as fun and rompy as any beach read.

Dear Genius


For little boys and girls who have gotten a little TOO obsessed with violence, when you want to pull them back into sanity, this is a title that actually introduces the idea of what war actually is. The art is abstract enough NOT to give your kids nightmares, and the book is truly a work of art.

The Enemy: a book about peace


For ANY family or human at all, for Hanukkah, this is the best book on the market.  You don’t need to have kids to love this book. Adults love it too! I just ordered three copies to give away this winter myself.  It is the ONLY Hanukkah book I know of that actually tells the story of the miracle/battle accurately, in a way I’m comfortable about, and BONUS: it touches on the difficulty of the “holiday season” for Jews, and does so with humor and generosity of spirit.   Seriously, I can’t say it enough. If you haven’t read it, buy YOURSELF a copy.  A readaloud of this book will become a tradition at your house too.

The Latke Who Couldn’t Stop Screaming


For the smart going-gothy-girl who is better than all those vampires her friends are reading, The Bell Jar can be a life changing book. I read it at 16 and it was a HUGE transition for me, turned me into a poet. Seriously.  Plath’s prose is lovely, her melodrama suits the age, and the book really does hold up. Pair it with a copy of Ariel and then sit her down to watch Sylvia, streaming free on Netflix. Bet you she starts wearing some awesome vintage dresses and writing her own poems!

The Bell Jar and Ariel


Kelly asks for “a title for a 9-year-old girl, reads a lot, something with a great girl power message” and  the first thing that comes to mind is the Olivia Kidney series, by the awesome Ellen Potter. All three books are, I think, out in paperback, and a little set of the three might be just what the doctor ordered.  These books are gently weird, and young in “content” but smart as can be, and full of good words.  Just right for a serious young reader.  Olivia has definite spunk!







In the mail…

Friday, December 9th, 2011

Got our first copy of my new picture book, Good night, laila tov!

Mose and Lew like “the part where the dog pees.”  I hope you will too.

(you can enter to win a signed copy here!)

I caught a unicorn!!!

Thursday, December 8th, 2011

Well, maybe not a unicorn, but an equally rare sort of mythical beast…

A break!

I’ve been saying all fall that I “just needed to get to December.” It’s been a mantra for me.  As I’ve traveled and skyped and run myself ragged, taken on freelance gigs I didn’t have time for, critiqued manuscripts and flacked my book around.  Half of me didn’t believe my own mantra, was certain that it would never come.

Down time? What’s that?

And admittedly my down time isn’t vacation. I have the boys. I have a book due to my editor in February. I have a trip to Baltimore (to see family) and my volunteer hours at the library, and a few stray skypes and school visits.

But still… it feels expansive and restful and manageable.

The goal is to keep it that way. To NOT fill it up with house tasks and social commitments and playdates and so on.

I need this time. My head needs some space. My book needs some undivided attention.

Who knows when the chance will arise again.  You can’t expect to catch TWO unicorns, you know…