The Beastly Collective!!

March 20th, 2020

Hey, folks!

Wow, everything is suddenly weird and different, but life goes on, and so do stories.

Today, I’m writing with a request. I’ve written a story that has no ART, and art is important. Locked in my house this way, I’m reaching out to folks who might be inspired to make and share art for my story. Give a listen to the story time, and then, draw or paint or sculpt me a collective of YOUR favorite animal, and I’ll post them here.

Cool? Cool. Check out the amazing art that’s already come in!

Here’s a PITEOUSNESS of DOVES!

And a MUMBLE OF MOLES.

And a CLOWDER of CATS.

And a CONVOCATION of OCTOPI.

And an ERST of BEES!

 

Keep em coming!

Waking up the blog…

March 17th, 2020

The world is different than it was a few weeks back, huh?  I find myself thinking it might be a good time for a more regular record of what’s going on… so I’m waking up the old blog.

The  Coronavirus (Covid 19) has hit everywhere, and while we aren’t in a full lockdown yet here in Atlanta, things feel… odd. My family is staying inside mostly, or working in the yard. Once a day we take a walk, but we carry a lacrosse stick with us, to make sure we stay 6 feet away from other folks.  We cook a lot, and watch movies, and read. I’m feeling very lucky to have a screened porch for when it rains (which it does this time of year in GA, a LOT).

I’m writing, and that’s a very good thing.  As terrible as all of this is, there are blessings too. I’ve been spending a lot of time doing everything BUT writing the last few years, and this feels like a chance to refocus.

Two weeks ago, I was visiting schools in NY and NJ, still flying around the country. I was planning for my son’s bar mitzvah on June 13, which probably won’t happen now. I was having dinner with friends. Now, everything is different.

But life has to continue, right?  So I’ll take a shower, make the coffee! I’ll garden and clean out the closets. I’ll do what I can to support the agencies and organizations helping people get through this hard time (support your local food pantry, if you possibly can, and call your local government to demand rent/mortgage relief, and a freeze on utilities!) I’ll help my kids with their school work and learn to play an instrument.

Meanwhile, I’m going to be posting some content to my Youtube channel, for parents who might like some storytimes and writing activities. This is me reading CHARLIE & MOUSE OUTDOORS (book 4), and offering a little explanation of fiction/nonfiction, as well as a loose writing prompt, that might require a pillow.

 

 

 

Ta dahhh…

February 12th, 2020

 

CHARLIE & MOUSE ARE BACK, and they’re going camping!

It’s spring!  And after a very very very very busy year, I’m home at last, living life at a more relaxing pace, thank goodness.  We’re fully settled into the new house, and gearing up for Lew’s bar mitzvah in June, and that all feels really nice.  I have a few trips planned (see the sidebar for my calendar, if that interests you. I’ll be in Knoxville, Athens, and Jackson, MS for festivals, and I’m doing a few school visits out of state), but mostly, I’m staying put, so I can write the next book, and bake muffins, and  maybe even see what comes up in my new garden.

Of course, there’s lots going on in the world, and I’ll also be canvassing and phone banking for whoever wins the democratic nomination. Another reason to stay home and tend to things. So many gardens to water…

I hope you’re well!

Golly…

December 13th, 2019

Catching my breath…

November 8th, 2019

The big news this fall is that we MOVED!

How did I forget that moving is so totally exhausting?  Can someone remind me, the next time I decide to move? Especially if I also have a teaching schedule, two books publishing, two teenage kids, and a full travel schedule?

That said, it feels worth it, because I finally have an office, for the first time in over a decade? It’s pretty thrilling to spread out, write at a desk, and unpack all my wonderful clutter!

Too many things happened this fall to catch up, but I do want to mention that I got an absolutely amazing review in the Times,from one of my very favorite authors.  The kind of review you don’t forget.

More soon, I promise, as soon as I unpack everything…

What a year!

June 21st, 2019

WOW!!

It has been an unusually crazy spring, full of travel.  Honestly, I overdid it this season, and learned some lessons about what I can and can’t handle. Moving forward, I’m hoping to do a better job about not overbooking myself. I LOVE visiting schools and meeting kids, but I need to do a better job of remembering my own kids, back at home.  I know that if I can be more thoughtful about booking events I’ll be able to give everyone my very best.

That said, one of the highlights of my spring was visiting the Shanghai American School.  I can’t believe my little books took me to CHINA!  I am, however overbooked and tired, a very very very lucky girl…

And of course, I do have new books coming out this fall, so I WILL be hitting the road a bit in the beginning of September. I’m hoping to do a little driving tour in the southeast, to visit some schools and bookstores. So if you happen to be in GA, SC, NC, TN, or AL, within about 5 or 6 hours of Atlanta, shoot me a message, and we’ll see if we can’t make it happen.  Ideally, this would involve school interested in doing a grade-wide read of My Jasper June…

And speaking of My Jasper June, just look at the amazing things people have to say about it:

“This book is a treasure—a touching story of friendship, loss, and finding beauty in the every day, with characters who stay with you long after you’ve turned the final page. I absolutely loved it.” (R. J. Palacio, New York Times-bestselling author of Wonder)

“Honest and beautiful, My Jasper June shows us what real friendship makes possible in the face of the impossible.” (Rebecca Stead, Newbery Medal-winning author of When You Reach Me)

“Unflinchingly true and hopeful at once, My Jasper June gives us a friendship so intense and magical, we feel lucky to be there for every gut-wrenching minute of it. Snyder is a truly wonderful writer.” (Emily Jenkins, New York Times bestselling author of Brave Red, Smart Frog)


I’m so excited to share this book with you!

Meet Jim!!!

June 14th, 2019

Deep breath!!!

February 15th, 2019

Well, after a year away from the publishing world, I’m heading back in.  I have four (FOUR?) books coming out in 2019, and I’m sure I’ll be posting about them, as time goes by.  But today is sort of the beginning.

Two bits of news:

Charlie and Mouse: EVEN BETTER (third in the series) will be out in April. And I just found out it’s a Junior Library Guild selection, so that’s exciting! Honestly, the months just before publication can be a little terrifying. You’ve worked so hard to make something good, but it’s been a private matter, personal. And now, suddenly, it hits you that other people are going to see the thing you’ve made, and judge it, so you begin to question all your creative choices.  JLG is, in many cases, the first indication that you’ve done a good job. JLG books are selected before trade reviews, and before before people start posting their thoughts to Goodreads. So it’s a very soothing thing to find out JLG liked a book. WHEW.

And also… we’ve just revealed the cover of my next novel, My Jasper June. The book won’t be out until September, but I wrote a little something about it for the Nerdy Book Club, and you can see the full cover (teaser above) if you head over there to check it out.  I poured a lot of myself into this book, and I worked on it for five years, on and off. Seriously. I hope you’ll like it.  I really REALLY hope you’ll like it.

That’s all for now, but more soon. When next I post, it’ll be from China!

It’s been a long long long long time…

February 7th, 2019

I don’t post here often, and for that I apologize.  Though I’m not sure this blog gets much traffic these days, so maybe that’s just fine…

But so much has happened since November, that I felt the need to take a moment and say so.

First of all, we had an election! (it didn’t go exactly as we hoped, but good things happened, and the I’m optimistic for the future. Stacey Abrams is a goddess. We haven’t heard the last of HER.)

Then we had a bar mitzvah!  (and WOW, did Mose do an amazing job. We were overwhelmed and moved by having so many of our loved ones here. The whole thing was incredible)

Finally, I finished a book…  (which will be in bookstores in September, and I hope you’ll give it a go.)

Of course, many other things happened too.  But these three November events were enough to turn me into a very tired lunatic.  And I’ve just now barely recovered, to be honest.

And that’s a good thing too, because we’re heading into a busy (if not quite SO busy) spring.  I’m at work on a graphic memoir called FAIRY HUNTER, with hopes to finish it over the next few months.  And Charlie & Mouse EVEN BETTER will be out in April, so I’ll be on the road (WI, MD, MO, CA, and CHINA) quite a bit, doing events and school visits to support the book.

Maybe I’ll see you out there…

 

Somewhere between a massacre and an election: A Little Hope…

November 5th, 2018

I want to take a moment in a very busy week, to tell you a story about something that happened on Saturday…

I think perhaps you have been feeling lost this week, as I have. The events in Squirrel Hill hit many of us incredibly hard, in a season when we’ve been depleting ourselves, and trying to remain hopeful. Everything has been feeling supercharged for months, and we want to believe things might get better. But it’s hard to believe in much, right now. Surrounded by swastikas and voter suppression, stories of kids in cages and troops heading for the border. We’ve marched in the streets and knocked on so many doors, and yet still…

I feel like I’ve been holding my breath for two years, and then last Saturday, someone came along and beat me with a crowbar, but somehow I still need to find the energy and spirit to get to Tuesday. To canvas cheerfully. To hope. It’s been hard to find hope.

Anyway, on Shabbat this week we went to services at Congregation Bet Haverim, which is always uplifting and warm and friendly. In the best moments, it gives me real inspiration and steam to keep going, and on other days, it’s just reassuring to be surrounded by my community. But this week, something new happened.

To understand this story, you need to know that CBH sits in a very observant neighborhood, within the eruv. Toco Hills is the most traditionally Jewish neighborhood in Atlanta, and most of the synagogues/institutions there are Orthodox. It’s where you live in Atlanta if you need access to kosher groceries, and you want (need, really) to be able to walk to shul.

CBH is a different kind of synagogue for Toco Hills, and while I love being able to pick up kosher groceries when my dad comes to visit, or get a decent bagel, I will tell you that it’s a strange feeling to drive past walkers, as I leave the synagogue. Suffice it to say, there isn’t a lot of interaction between CBH members, and the larger Jewish community in Toco Hills (that I know about).

But it is one thing not to know the neighborhood, generally. And it is another thing not to know your next door neighbor. For years now, CBH has had a neighbor, a synagogue called Young Israel. There is a street that divides the two buildings, called Merry Lane, where we park, and though I have walked past the same faces many times down Merry Lane, I’ve never stopped to say hello. Never asked a name. I felt certain that these folks wouldn’t welcome my intrusion.

My own insecurities about my Jewish authenticity are legion, and I’ve spent decades navigating them in different ways. When you grow up an intermarried kid in the Reform world, it’s hard in one way. When you go to work for an organization like Hillel, or move to Israel, it’s another. When you try to call a mohel for the first time, it’s downright awful. I’ve always been drawn to observance and Jewish learning, and I’ve always been curious about the Orthodox world, but I’ve also had to assume that my interest and presence might offend some people, and so I’ve stayed away, out of respect. That extended to Young Israel.

But honestly, it’s been a sad thing for me. A tight little knot. Because I like people, and new faces, and learning…

So, getting back to Shabbat! On Saturday, during services, Rabbi Joshua Lesser told us all that we were all invited, after kiddush, to join him in the middle of Merry Lane. He explained that, in the wake of the devastation at Tree of Life, we were going to meet our neighbors, and mourn together. So we all shuffled out into the street.

When we got there, he and Rabbi Adam Starr lead us in thoughtful responsive readings. Both rabbis spoke about the shooting, and we chanted the names of the victims. We all sang, and joined arms, and swayed together. And that was powerful enough.

But then Rabbi Starr tasked us with a “foodless kiddish.” He said it was time to meet each other. And so we did . We wandered around, shaking hands, and saying hello. And it was deeply moving for me. These wonderful smiling people I’d walked past for so long. One man was fantastically warm and friendly, and when he heard that Mose’s bar mitzvah was a week away, insisted he was going to come.

I’m not sure I can say what that meant. And it doesn’t matter whether he attends or not. The simple act of showing support and interest. Of validating Mose. And through Mose, CBH. A recognition of our differences not needing to be a stumbling block to friendship and respect. I want to thank him.

I want to thank both rabbis. It healed me a little, after the wounds of Squirrel Hill. But it also healed me a little from the (honestly, self-inflicted) wounds of walking down Merry Lane for years, and turning away from familiar faces on the other side of the street.

There is nothing that will undo what happened in Pittsburgh. It is an atrocity. It is a wound, and it will continue to be a wound. It will continue to hurt. Just like there is nothing that will undo so many other harms in this world, including the political harms of the last two years.

But it was good to be reminded that out of harm and pain, we can learn and grow. In practical ways, these are the moments we have to challenge ourselves to make light. To find new kinds of goodness. Not because it fixes what’s broken. Sometimes, the broken thing is broken forever. But because we are still capable of making new things that are whole and strong.

And I think remembering that fact, believing it, and proving it to the world, is the best way to move forward…

Now, please, go and VOTE. But in doing so, remember to heal yourself (and each other) as best you can. In both ways, you make the world better.

It’s all connected.