Posts tagged ‘Work’

July 21, 2011

My Home, the Office

Maybe it’s because I’ve always had a minor infatuation with office supplies (really, who doesn’t?), but when I was growing up, I was kind of excited about the idea of working in an office.  This was plenty before Michael Scott or Jim and Pam made it cool.  This was just me, my best friend, and the pens, paper, and old telephones our parents let us use to pretend.

 

I realize now that with the exception of my job at Borders, all the time I’ve spent working in and after college has been in an office setting.  Sounds super exciting, right?  Exactly the adventure a globetrotting college student looks for in the midst of her higher education.

 

Actually, it was.  From my school’s internship office to a couple of publishing houses, then a literary agency, and then another publishing house, I was always surrounded by people who were smart, funny, and passionate about their jobs.  And, of course, Post-Its.

 

Now I am happily discovering how my assistant positions in the workforce have prepared me for my job as stay-at-home-mom and co-manager of a household (apartmenthold?), freelance business aside. This post was prompted by the realization that my trips to Office Max are becoming more and more frequent.  While some of the items I’m looking for are for business-related, most of them are intended to keep things rolling on the home front.  Really, there is as much organizing, following up, and filing to do in a home as there is in an office.

 

For example, I have a plastic bin with hanging folders containing everything from medical and insurance information to keepsake cards John and I have given one another or received from family to forms we’ll need to file our taxes next year (hooray!).  I’m in and out of that box at least once a week, either with something new to file or to retrieve some tidbit of information.

 

Because I am internet-recipe-hunting obsessed, I also have a binder with printouts of recipes I’ve tried or want to try.  The OfficeMax trip this week was, in part, to purchase tabbed dividers to better organize the binder (check it out—aren’t they beautiful?).  For the first time in my life, I’m consistently using the three-hole punch that fits in the binder.  My room was always messy when I was younger, but now I find not having piles of paper all over helps to keep my brain on straight.  Having a small desk (read: room for only one stack at a time) has been a real help on the organizational/sanity side, as well.

 

As helpful as most of my office experience has been, there are some things I picked up that aren’t really applicable at home.  At my last job, I once (or twice) almost tipped a file cabinet on myself by opening both drawers at once.  Yes, I was pregnant both times.  Yes, I will blame it on being overtired or just too darn hungry to think.

 

Still, now when I’m putting laundry away, I’ll only open one drawer at a time, because I forget that in a dresser, more than one drawer can open at once.  And maybe because a little bit of me is afraid the dresser is going to fall on me.  Thank goodness I don’t have to worry about that occupational hazard anymore.

 

And thank goodness there are just as many uses for Post-Its at home as there are in a cubicle.

July 13, 2011

Books and Destruction: Or the Life of a Young Boy

One of the bonuses of working in children’s publishing is the unlimited access to free books.  Needless to say, once I found out I was pregnant with Jacob, I started gathering books for him to grow into.  I have a collection of board books, picture books, middle-grade and YA novels that have made a great start to our family library.

A lot of the books we have are beyond what Jacob can really understand right now.  Still, I read books at all levels to him—board books, picture books, middle grade novels, and even adult books I’m interested in.  I hear it helps with language development, plus I love to read.  And sharing stories with Jacob is clearly better than simply reading them on my own.

When I was pregnant, a friend jokingly asked me what I was going to do if my kid hated books.  I said s/he was going to have to learn to read, work hard at school, etc., but John and I intend to let our children pursue whatever interests them.  We believe it’s more important that children and teenagers learn to work hard, follow through, and manage their time than that they become award-winning musicians, all-star athletes, or even honor students.

But today that is neither here nor there.  The moral of the story today is that it is yet to be seen whether Jacob really likes to read books; the only thing that’s certain thus far is that he enjoys destroying them.

Dog by Matthew Van Fleet is an excellent book for young kids (so are his books Cat, Heads, Tails, and so on).  A simple, rhyming, and good-to-read-aloud text is accompanied by photos of all sorts of dogs, and every other page has something to touch or make move.  Any of Van Fleet’s books would be great gift for a baby shower, or even a first or second birthday present.  They are chunky and accessible . . . and recommended for ages two and up.  There is good reason for that last bit.

Jacob loves this book.  It’s clear that he’s a big fan of Van Fleet’s work.  However, it seems that some of my critical editorial perspective made its way into his DNA, because Jacob has begun to create his own dog from different elements of the book:

Perhaps this is the work of an abstract artist in the making.

That, or a mad scientist.  Only time will tell.

July 12, 2011

Dancing Home

Today is a very special day in my life as an editor.  The first book I edited—Dancing Home by Alma Flor Ada and her son, Gabriel M. Zubizarreta—was published today by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster’s Children’s Publishing Division.

 

 

Dancing Home is a story for middle-grade readers (ages 9-12) that alternates between the perspectives of Mexican-American Margie and her Mexican cousin Lupe.  Margie has finally convinced the kids in her California school that she is one-hundred percent American, just like they are. But when Lupe comes to visit and attend school with Margie for a year, everything changes.  Margie resents the effect Lupe’s arrival has on her family, her friends, and her life at school.  Meanwhile, Lupe is struggling to learn a new language and find her place in a new school.  Both girls are in need of a friend, and with the help of a special Mexican dance, they find one in one another.

 

The book is being simultaneously published in English and Spanish (I helped very little with the Spanish edition, Nacer bailando—majoring in German really wasn’t practical).  Although I did the majority of the editorial work on the English edition before I left S&S in November, there was still plenty of work to do by the other incredibly talented people at Atheneum.  I recently got advance copies of both editions, and let me tell you, they did a beautiful job.

 

Clearly this book has a special place in my heart, and I was delighted to find that trade review journals liked it, too!  Here’s what they had to say:

 

“The third-person narration shifts its focus gently from girl to girl, allowing readers access to their thoughts and feelings…. Although sometimes wise beyond their years, Margie and Lupe will charm readers as each girl struggles for belonging and acceptance in this realistic novel.”

KIRKUS REVIEWS, June 1, 2011

“This story will assist readers in embracing their own heritage and developing an appreciation for their classmates’ backgrounds. It’s an enjoyable offering (and a great read-aloud) that will capture readers’ attention and have them rooting for the cousins and their friendships and family relationships.”

School Library Journal, July 2011

“Ada, the author of many multicultural titles, including Tales Our Abuelitas Told: A Hispanic Folktale Collection (2006), and Zubizarreta write knowingly of the difficulties of a life lived in two cultures. A subplot involving Lupe’s father (who came to America illegally and later abandoned his family) is also well handled, as is the inclusion of a Ruben Dario poem, “To Margarita.” Give this to fans of Pam Muñoz Ryan’s Esperanza Rising (2000) and Becoming Naomi Leon (2004).”

Booklist, July 1, 2011

 

Next time you’re at a bookstore or the library, stop over to the children’s section and check it out.

 

Congratulations to Alma Flor and Gabriel on the publication of their book!

 

%d bloggers like this: