I received an e-mail from Karen Pennebaker this week. Turns out, we share an affinity for the letter ‘G’ that for Karen, goes back 60 years.

When Pig Latin was the “thing,” Karen and her childhood friend came up with their own secret language that only they knew—inspired by that wondrous little letter that we’ve all come to love.


Waldorf chalkboard drawing introducing the alphabet in 1st grade. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons; Hgilbert

“When the other kids in school would start speaking Pig Latin, we would talk to each other in Gigickilan, and it drove them nuts because we could understand THEIR language and they didn’t have a clue as to what we were saying. Camping, to us, would have been “gamping” rather than “glamping” but I know how you got the “glamp” part … glamorous camping sounds like the best kind.”

“Gi gent go ge gail gox gand gound ga getter grom goo.” (I went to the mail box and found a letter from you.)

And here’s my splash page, an ode to ‘G.’


Thanks for sharing, Karen!! Gi gove git!

Pinch me!

Oooh la la

Art, literature, and some of my favorite female figures from cherished fiction?

Pinch me!

I must be dreaming.

I’ve just enjoyed a tantalizing glimpse into a new book that will be released on August 27.

Look …


“A treasure of a gift for the well-read woman, this collection brings together 50 stirring portraits, in watercolor and in word, of literature’s most well-read female characters. Anna Karenina, Clarissa Dalloway, Daisy Buchanan …”

And, yes—Jane Eyre!

“Each seems to live on the page through celebrated artist Samantha Hahn’s evocative portraits and hand-lettered quotations, with the pairing of art and text capturing all the spirit of the character as she was originally written,” extols the book’s description.

Are you drooling?

Me. Too.

As if I wasn’t hooked already, I hear that the book will have a silkscreened cloth spine, debossed cover, and “pages that turn with the tactile satisfaction of watercolor paper.”

Pardon me while I swoon.

I’m a sucker for a book with tactile appeal, and I cannot wait to get my hands on this one.

Tell me—which characters are you hoping to see?


Holly Golightly; Photo courtesy of Samantha Hahn;


Three Bags Full

What could possibly be mysterious about …


Photo by Roger Green via Wikimedia Commons


This is a question best asked of German writer Leonnie Swan, who seems to sense something a bit more …

sharp? savvy? shrewd?

about these curly critters than the average pasture passerby might surmise.

Swan is the author of Three Bags Full, an unlikely suspense novel surrounding—in fact, starring—sheep.


Cover of the latest edition of Three Bags Full by Leonie Swann; Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Warm up your funny bones, girls, ’cause this sleuth spoof is worth a read.

Picture an idyllic hillside meadow in Ireland …


Photo by Eric Jones via Wikimedia Commons

But don’t be fooled.

(No, we’ll have no wool pulled over our eyes.)

This is the scene of a crime.

A beloved shepherd has fallen victim to a garden spade,

duh, duh, DUH!

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Pen Pals

Do you ever wish, in this age of click-and-text, that your child could be a little more in touch with pen and paper?

Call me old fashioned, again …

I love letter writing,


Photo courtesy of Collar City Brownstone;

and I want my grandgirls to know the delight of holding an unopened envelope in their little hands (not to mention develop lush letter-writing skills that transcend LOL and BFF).


Vintage photo of girl licking envelope; unknown date;

Of course, computers and social media sites have made it easier than ever to connect with people far and wide, but these instant avenues to acquiring “friends” don’t come without a modicum of risk, especially where our kids are concerned.

(That’s grandmotherly apprehension for you.)

Anyhow, this train of thought led me to lament the fading of a lovely tradition: pen pals.


Enfant écrivant by Henriette Brown, 1860-1880, V&A Museum Londres;

“Having a faraway pen pal is not only a fun way to boost reading and writing skills, but also a window into other cultures, or at least other parts of the country,” writes Teri Cettina of

I couldn’t agree more!

But … where can a blooming Jane find a pen pal these days?

Right here: Amazing Kids.

The Amazing Kids! PenPals Program is a non-profit, literacy-based, traditional letter-writing program that is available to all children ages 5 to 17 worldwide.


(One could get carried away with the exclamation points, couldn’t she?)

Amazing Kids! Founder and President Alyse Rome explains that the program’s mission is to help inspire kids to discover their own unique gifts and to use them in positive and productive ways to make a difference in their lives and in the communities in which they live. “It offers one of the few remaining choices for finding an established, safe, and trusted traditional letter-writing pen pal program for children.”

Now, that’s what I’m talking about (!!!!!!!!!)

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