Thursday, January 31, 2013

Book 2 has a title! Miri Attwater and All That Glitters

Gold nugget
Book 2 has a title!

Miri Attwater 
All that Glitters

So what glitters? Is all that glitters gold?

Gold is a pure element, which means all the atoms in a nugget of gold are the same. Chemists abbreviate gold with its chemical symbol Au. In it's pure form before it's been polished, gold doesn't really glitter. In fact, it's kind of dull.

Pyrite, though, glitters a lot! Pyrite is sometimes even found in the same types of formations as gold. It's shiny appearance has given it the nickname "fool's gold." 

But pyrite isn't gold at all! It is only iron and sulfur combined together to form a compound called iron sulfide. Chemists write its name FeS2 .

It is sure has fooled a lot of hopeful gold diggers!

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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

A kid's review of Miri Attwater the the Ocean's Secret

This review is special to me because it's my first official kid's review of Miri Attwater and the Ocean's Secret!

Holly is in 3rd grade. She says, "I like mermaids and I loved the bubble world in the book."

I am so glad you enjoyed that part, Holly, because I really had fun dreaming up the underwater world of Kai Kaona. When I decided that mermaids were going to be mammals it created an obvious problem. If they were going to be hiding at the bottom of the ocean, how were they going to breathe?

I decided I needed some way to get oxygen from the ocean water. And, if I could have the building walls themselves collecting oxygen, I could have lots of area to do it with. Somewhere in there my imagination landed on the idea of giant bubbles! (In the book, Fisk explains a little about how the bubbles work.)

Also, I wanted the mermaid world to be beautiful.

Link to a gorgeous commemorative pop-up book
When I was about the same age as Holly, I started reading all of the Wizard of Oz books. (Okay, I think I was actually older than Holly when I started doing that. I was not an early reader.) I was hoping that Dorothy would visit another place just as beautiful as the Emerald City. She never did. I think the only thing that came close was maybe where Glinda the good witch lived? But in any case the description was not any where detailed enough for me.

Another favorite of the books from the school library that I read over and over was Witches, Ghosts, and Goblins: A Spooky Search for Miranda's Cat. Oh, how I loved this book. Let me assure you, if I loved it, it was not scary, in spite of its title. Aside from all the color pictures (remember, I said I wasn't an early reader!) I loved the description of the gem caverns that they traveled through. I loved this book so much I located a copy for my own kids and I was surprised to see that the description was only one or two lines! My imagination did a lot with those two lines.

So, all that to say, when I started dreaming up Kai Kaona, I wanted to make it the beautiful mystical world I longed to visit in books when I was a kid.

You can read the rest of Holly's review at V.K. Finnish's blog where V.K. posts a regular feature "Reviewed by Kids."

Thanks Holly!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

You are Hereby Cordially Invited to Dinner with the Queen - Don't Panic!

Our Christmas dinner table. Sparkling fruit juice always adds a pretty touch.
Happy New Year! We set a pretty table for our Christmas dinner and that got me thinking about dining with the Queen. Have you ever dreamed of being invited to a palace for a banquet?

The first time Miri met the Queen in Miri Attwater and the Ocean's Secret it was at a fancy, schmancy dinner. Sadly, the Queen wasn't wearing a tiara. (Don't worry! A crown is coming in Book 2 - All that Glitters.) But there was plenty of sparkling china, crystal, and silver that Miri had to worry about not knocking off the table!

So what are the rules for dining with the Queen? Don't worry, if your manners aren't royal perfect, Queen Elizabeth II of England doesn't order "Of with her head!" like the Red Queen in Alice in Wonderland. At least not very often.

President George W. Bush and Queen Elizabeth II at a state dinner
According to the British Royal Family's official website, there aren't any special rules for meeting or dining with Queen Elizabeth II. You wouldn't know it from reading the stories in the British press, though. They love to print stories about mistakes made by various leaders, including our Presidents and First Ladies! Can you imagine how hard it is to have a crowd of reporters just watching for you to make a mistake?

So what do you do if you get invited to dinner with the Queen? Don't panic! here are a few pointers to help keep you out of the headlines.

1. Don't arrive after the Queen.

2. Remain standing behind your chair until the Queen takes her seat.

3. Don't eat until the Queen starts eating.

4. When the Queen is finished, the meal is over. (Even if you haven't managed to scrape the last bit of the delicious shrimp newberg off your plate.)

Tables at the State Dining Room at the White House
But, alas, let's face it. If you live in the States you are much more likely to be invited to dinner with the President. No crowns, but the tables are still pretty. And you'll still be faced with all that silverware! So how do you not end up having to eat your fruit sorbet with a fork like Miri did?

Come back next week and learn all the secrets to make it through a formal dinner. Better yet, sign up by email or put the blog in your feed reader so you won't miss it!

(Because I'd hate for you to be embarrassed when you're invited to the White House. You might not get a second chance!)

Related Post:
Ms. Ivy's Guide to Basic Table Manners