Bologna Children’s Book Fair

Bologna Children's Book FairFor a long time now, I have had an interest in writing a children’s book. Why? Because when we are young, this is when we have incredible curiosity to learn and our imagination is big. Books expose us to life, to adventure… We believe we can be or do anything. Reading is powerful.

A few years ago, someone told me about the annual Bologna Children’s Book Fair in Bologna, Italy. I immediately investigated.

Bologna seen from Asinelli Tower

Bologna seen from Asinelli Tower

The book fair takes place every year “at this time” – end of March beginning of April. Approximately 70 publishers from around the world travel to Bologna to buy and sell rights for international publication. They all gather here from authors, literary agents, illustrators, licensors, licensees, packagers, distributors, printers, and booksellers to librarians.

For me, this is super exciting! This is the place to see the latest in children’s literature and multimedia production from around the world.

We have all been influenced by different children’s books when we were young, i.e., Babar, Madeline, Pinocchio, Rupert Bear, Dr. Seuss, etc.

Who remembers being part of Junior Great Books?

Strega_Nona_(Tomie_dePaola_book)_cover_artThinking of Italy, my children enjoyed this Italian children’s book called, “Strega Nona,” by Tomie dePaolo. The book was published in 1975 and won the Caldecott Honor in 1976. The story is about Strega Nona and her magic pasta pot and Big Anthony who secretly tries to use the magic pasta pot, fumbles on the magic verse, filling the town with pasta. Strega Nona comes to the rescue.

It’s fun to read about the author, see Tomie dePaolo’s story here:

So, how do I get into the Bologna Children’s Book Fair? You’ve got to be in the industry to attend. I still have this on my Bucket List, there’s got to be a way…

I know, I hear you saying, “Start writing!”

Casper’s at it again…

Casper, my little ghost, is back. This time 5:30 AM I saw flickering lights coming from the TV. My old Panasonic TV turned on by itself again. This time it was not a movie, but an infomercial for exercise.

I did smirk to myself. That was an appropriate wake up call. It did cross my mind that Casper was suggesting I get into a routine. This was a Zumba informercial, you know those are lively!

Casper - My Little Ghost

Casper – My Little Ghost

This TV situation is a bit odd, isn’t it? How can a TV turn on by itself?

My engineering friend suggested that the internal timer has gone wacky. This TV is from the old days where you would set the timer on the TV to record your shows. This is a plausable idea.

I’m curious to figure this out, but I don’t care to pay a repair man over $200 to tell me I need a new TV. We know that will be the end result. Also, there might not be a repair man out there.

I wanted to have an old Apple scanner/printer/fax machine fixed and was told they don’t fix those anymore. WHAT? I knew it was a small fix, I had Googled what needed to be done, but it was not something this non-engineer could take care of on her own. That was frustrating.

Like it or not, at some point we are forced to “upgrade!”

Everyone needs their own “little ghost.” Thanks to Casper, I did exercise today, because I kept thinking of that Zumba infomercial.

Badge of Honor

This week, I deserve a badge of honor. For years now my mother has been begging me to listen to audio books. I have resisted as any child does. Why, I just didn’t think I’d like it. I mean, if you have to listen to the CD, you have to pay attention, and with our busy lives when would I have time to mentally focus?

The Rosie Project

The Rosie Project

My mother, in her Italian accent would say, “Cicciolino, listen to the books while you are cleaning the house, you’ll want to clean, because you’ll want to hear the entire story.”

I’m laughing, can you imagine that? I thought she was really digging deep now. An audio book that will make me WANT to clean the house? I imagined myself wearing a cute Italian apron, with a funny duster, humming opera tunes while listening to audio tapes. That’s the perfect Italian wife!

This past week, my mother got her wish. I actually listened to an audio book. It was by complete accident.

Our Book Club is reading “The Rosie Project,” by Graeme Simsion. All the print versions at the library were checked out, EXCEPT (did you hear that), except for the audio version. YES, I smiled; OK Mom, you’re getting your wish!

A miracle happened! I popped the CD in my car and was pleasantly surprised to hear the narrator (Daniel O’Grady) speaking in an Australian accent. His voice, reading the story of a “nutty professor looking for a wife,” was so amusing that, my mother was RIGHT, I wanted to keep listening to the story! NOW, I needed a long road trip somewhere…

Cat O'Nine Tales: And Other Stories

Cat O’Nine Tales: And Other Stories

I’m hooked… next audio book, “Cat O’Nine Tales: And Other Stories,” by Jeffrey Archer!

Here’s a perfect example of not being open to someone’s viewpoint! Mom, you are ALWAYS right!

Becoming Irish!

Fighting IrishI started learning about the Irish when I met my roommate Freshman year at Saint Mary’s College. She came from a big Irish family in upstate NY. She had freckles, strawberry blond hair, great sense of humor, real prankster and enjoyed drinking beer. We were in luck that her brother was a senior at the University of Notre Dame that year. I had just graduated from Miss Porter’s School and suddenly my world went from Daisy Chains to the Fighting Irish and a Leprechaun mascot!

Now, my daughter is going to the University of Limerick and we are getting to know the Irish even better. Last year on an interview with a book publisher, I found an Irish cookbook. The other day I was driving home, no rain, but there was a rainbow on the skyline – no leprechaun though, trust me, I looked.

The Irish have had their influence on my daughter. She now eats biscuits, not scones. She drinks tea, not coffee. She said sugar goes in before the milk and no Irish house is without a tea kettle. She said she’s learned that to “shift” means to “make out.” The term “crack” means to be happy and a black person is not an African American (grin).

She’s learned patience and time management (see sheep photo), enjoy the beautiful countryside, there is no rush! Embrace driving on the “other side” of the road. Oh, and Dublin is now becoming a magnet to American companies as their European headquarters.

Irish Sheep

Irish Sheep

Do you see where I am going here? We have the potential of becoming Irish. After four years of College, my daughter might have an Irish accent and decide to stay there.

Irish beer clinkingAfter watching the film The Quiet Man with John Wayne, I thought the Irish have the temperament of the Italians (my background). Fiery one minute and toasting the next. Irish / Italians – this could work!

So, here’s to becoming IRISH!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Where do Blogs fit in?

Well, here you go, social media explained in one easy graphic from At least that seems to be where it came from. Does anyone understand the use of online content (graphics, videos, articles, etc.) that are floating around the internet? When can we use them? How can we use them?

Social Media Explained

Social Media Explained

There must be copyright laws that apply. I did some investigating on this subject; however, rules and regulations were not clear.

I’m sure this has crossed ALL of your minds when you are passing along a post, a graphic, a video, an article, etc. How does an author “own” their own content. This is a big question, because social media is about “sharing.” I think rules/regulations are evolving on a “case by case” basis. Yes / No?

I just read an article about cyber thieves stealing domain names from up and running companies. The company realizes this has happened when they are not receiving foot traffic or any orders. They think their site went down. They investigate and find their site was stolen. Lots of legal work to get their site back!

One thing I have noticed is that some authors have started putting their name / website address on their graphics. Like this one I am sharing with you. This way, we all know where the content came from. Excellent idea!

Back to this social media graphic. Great, right! What a concise way to explain marketing using social media. It looks like the graphic came from a Google marketing meeting. When put in layman’s terms suddenly social media is easy and understandable.

So, if you are good at social media, the sky is the limit on how you can market yourself and your company. Where do Blogs fit in on that white board though!

Crossing the Sahara Desert

I’ve always been fascinated by the Sahara Desert in Morocco. A few years ago I was reading the travel section of the Chicago newspaper and there was a beautiful picture of runners in the desert. The caption read, “Marathon Des Sables: Toughest Footrace on Earth!” That caught my attention.

I started reading and was fascinated from the start. Why so tough? Well, the race is six days long. You basically are running a marathon each day in extreme heat. On the 4th day they really putMarathon des Sables you to the test by having you run about 46 miles. Keep in mind that you have your entire week’s supply of food, clothing, sleeping bag, etc. on your back as you run.

Did I mention extreme heat of over 100˚ Fahrenheit? During the day runners are given water at different rest stops. At night you sleep in a designated tent with seven other people, who become your family. Yes, there could be scorpions, but it sounds like you don’t care… at that point you are so tired and dealing with blisters that you plop down to sleep.

I fantasize about doing this race; although, I know it’s not realistic. I cannot take the heat, I really dislike running, I have never been in a marathon, I am currently not in marathon shape and I am not in my 20s – 30s. Did I miss my chance?

The appeal for me with this race is crossing the desert – having an adventure. Of course, there is the question of stamina, endurance, and determination as well. So, when are we too old to attempt something like this? They say some people in their 60s have walked the race. Yes/No? What do you think?

FYI – registration for 2016 is now.