Coloring Page Tuesday - Shuttle Bus

     We will have a shuttle bus running from campus to downtown this summer, so, of course, I had to draw one for the sign!!
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     Remember, I create my coloring pages to draw your attention to my books! Especially... Merbaby's Love! Click the cover to learn about this sweet lullaby board book written by New York Times Best-selling author, Jane Yolen! Makes a GREAT baby shower gift!
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     I create my coloring pages for teachers, librarians, booksellers, and parents to enjoy for free with their children, but you can also purchase rights to an image for commercial use, please contact me. If you have questions about usage, please visit my Angel Policy page.

Graduations at Hollins!

I love graduation ceremonies. Everyone dresses up in their academic robes, important music is played or sung, and one of life's biggest milestones is celebrated - the completion of a degree that, oftentimes, has taken four years (or more) to achieve. They are a very big deal.
     Our first ceremony was the Honors Commencement Ceremony in the chapel on campus. All the faculty lined up to walk in as usual.

Our fabulous chorus and the beautiful space made it all feel incredibly momentous.

Afterwards, faculty and students gathered in the Quad for a drum circle... as you do! (I'm constantly reminded what a special place Hollins is.)
The next graduation ceremony was the official commencement for all the undergraduate and graduate students. A threatening storm sent us to the colliseum downtown instead of on the gorgeous Quad in the center of campus. (I hope we can be there next year!)

     We got ready for the procession in a room downstairs. Here I am with our Museum Director, Jenine Culligan, and our Library Director, Luke Vilelle.
Happily, one of our grad students was able to make it for graduation ceremonies! Here I am with Mollie Hillman.
President Hinton gave a rousing speech, as always.
And the commencement speech was delivered by Hollins grad and Opera Star Helena Brown. You can read more about her here.
I got to cheer on Mollie as she walked across the stage. Here she is on the BIG SCREEN!
And also Raine Matos who just finished their BFA in Fine Arts and will be joining us for graduate studies this summer!
Genevieve, Amy, and I had fun cheering on all the graduates as they walked through our congratulations line.
There's Mollie again!
It's impossible to leave a commencement ceremony without a BIG SMILE on your face! CONGRATULATIONS EVERYONE!!!


One of my brilliant friends, Claudia Mills, has another wonderful book coming out on June 18th that deserves some love! I asked her to drop by to talk about it. Take it away, Claudia!
     A lot of newsletters come my way, and I mean to read them but somehow never get around to it, and months later they end up in the recycling bin. But a few years ago, I browsed through a newsletter from the University of Colorado at Boulder, where I taught in the philosophy department for twenty years, and one article caught my eye. Ecology professor Katharine Suding had created the Boulder Apple Tree Project, to preserve the county’s aging heirloom apple trees as well as memories of those who loved them.
      I clipped the article and taped it in a notebook where I mean to keep ideas for possible books but somehow never get around to it, and if I do save them, never remember to do anything with them.
      But this article, clipped by happenstance, years later became the seed of The Last Apple Tree. The book stars an heirloom apple tree, lone survivor of a vanished orchard, and two seventh graders, a boy and a girl, who uncover its secrets while interviewing her grandfather for a school oral history project.
      Of course, in the process of groping toward the actual story, I had to come up with secrets for the tree, and tensions between the boy and the girl, and between the boy and his environmental activist father. I had to come up with a character arc for the girl, who wants to protect her widowed grandfather from losing himself in the griefs no one in her family is willing to talk about.
      There would be poems, I decided, from the point of view of the apple tree, scattered throughout the book. My previous book for young readers, The Lost Language, was my first novel in verse, and I found I adored that literary form. But I didn’t want to write two verse novels in a row. No, this book would have standard prose book chapters, alternating between the viewpoints of the boy and the girl. But poems from the tree would give me a chance to indulge my love of writing poetry and contribute a third viewpoint, the most important of all.
     Maybe I should read these newsletters more faithfully! Or at least occasionally. For who knows what tiny tidbit of an idea may emerge, that planted, and watered, and fertilized, and given slow time to grow, may find itself someday bearing the fruit of a published book.

Here's a photo of Claudia and her favorite writing spot, where she writes for at least an hour a day!