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Three excellent things

music and dancing at the street corner

Last week, on my way to the jail, I saw a guy sitting on a street corner, strumming a guitar. Just sitting on the curb, noodling. I can't remember what he was wearing, but though he was a young guy (teenaged, or twenties), the scene had a 1930s feel to.

This week, on that same corner, a guy was dancing. Cool dancing, where you isolate bits of your body, where you pivot on your heels. He was in a bright yellow sports jersey with a number on it, and yellow sweatpants. He had earbuds in, but I could tell the music was great from his dancing.

A bookstore reading

I got to hear Grace Lin, author of Where the Mountain Meets the Moon and The Starry River of the Sky, read from Dumpling Days, the third of her series of books starring Pacy Lin--basically, her childhood self. In the excerpt she read, Pacy has her first experience of Japanese food--including wasabi (which, she says, feels like you're sneezing fire). It was hilarious--poor Pacy! On the theme of dumplings, she also read a vignette about making dumplings from a book for younger readers, Ling and Ting: Not Exactly the Same. Ling and Ting are identical twins, but, as the subtitle says, they're not exactly the same, and this shows in their approach to dumpling making. It was an ADORABLE story and is apparently a favorite with Grace's own daughter.

The other readers at the event--Jeanne Birdsall, Jane Dyer, and Mordicai Gerstein--read not only from their own books, but from books that had influenced them or that they admired, and I came away with a lot of titles I'd like to read.

Awesome scientist trading cards

Not only are these cards beautifully made, and with a fact-filled bio on the reverse side, but each scientist gets a great D&D-style class on the front:

Johannes Kepler: Ecstatic, Sage
Maria Sibylla Merian: Illusionist, Adventurer
Darwin the Elder: Hermit, Sage
Maria Mitchell: Guide, Autodidact
Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek: Artificer, Merchant

Maria Sibylla Merian

Maria Sibylla Merian text small

They come in a sewn paper pouch, sealed with a circular sticker with a beaker on it. They're from the Supramystic Saga, about which you can read more here.

They seem like a really fun present for an imaginative kid who likes science--I bet someone could make up a great Yugioh-style game with these guys.

Plus, the creator--one of the creators--has an appreciation of stamps. Look at the pretty ones he put on my parcel:

stamps small

The Hawaii one made me think of Pen Pal (But 87 percent of the things I encounter make me think of Pen Pal).

And here you can see the science-y array of stamps he's got for the next parcel he's sending out:

So if you're looking for a creative present for someone, these cards might be an idea. (You can get them here.)


( 24 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 20th, 2014 10:04 pm (UTC)
Just don't try that in Tehran or they'll have you thrown in jail.
Sep. 20th, 2014 10:05 pm (UTC)
Don't try which thing? Stamp art? street corner dancing?

Sep. 20th, 2014 10:09 pm (UTC)
Dancing and music in general.
Sep. 20th, 2014 11:04 pm (UTC)
That bookstore reading sounds amazing. Grace Lin AND Jeanne Birdsall, all in one night! (I don't suppose either of them mentioned when they have their next book coming out?)

And Maria Sibylla Merian sounds fascinating. I had never heard of her before!
Sep. 20th, 2014 11:59 pm (UTC)
Jeanne Birdsall read from the next of her Penderwick books--just a smidgeon**--but I missed when she said it was coming out. She also read from what sounds like a great Eva Ibbotson book: Journey to the River Sea--have you read that one?

And I didn't know about Maria Sibylla Merian until Google featured her one day in a Google doodle--very cool!

**One of the kids in the (rather small) audience was a personal friend of hers, and she had put the kid into the story as an incidental (I guess? Hard to tell from the brief excerpt) character, so she read that portion.
Sep. 21st, 2014 02:16 am (UTC)
I'm glad to know the next Penderwick book is in the works, at least! They are so soothing.

I haven't read most of Ibbotson's children's books, probably because I read one when I was a child and had a very mixed reaction to it. But perhaps I should give Journey to the River Sea a try.
Sep. 21st, 2014 09:56 pm (UTC)
Oh, and I forgot to add that Grace Lin says she's working on a third book in the Where the Mountain Meets the Moon series.
Sep. 20th, 2014 11:07 pm (UTC)
Those are all awesome!
Sep. 21st, 2014 09:56 pm (UTC)
It was a good day :-)
Sep. 20th, 2014 11:52 pm (UTC)
When I worked at The Reminder, I always loved when the Stamp Club newsletter came. It always had great stamps on it.
Sep. 21st, 2014 09:56 pm (UTC)
I love tiny spaces in which people get to be creative, and that's exactly what stamps are.
Sep. 21st, 2014 01:09 am (UTC)
Maria Sibylla Merian: Illusionist, Adventurer

Sep. 21st, 2014 09:57 pm (UTC)
It's such a great description. And what a cool life.
Sep. 21st, 2014 06:56 am (UTC)
The scientist trading cards sound great. How cool to be an illusionist adventurer...
Sep. 21st, 2014 09:57 pm (UTC)
illusionist adventurer--a great job title
I totally agree!
Sep. 21st, 2014 08:31 am (UTC)
On the corner...
...of Guitar and Dance, I asked twins, their hands and cheeks covered in flour, if they knew where I might find someone who could help identify the tiny wisp-winged creature I cupped in my hands.

One twin pulled a deck of cards from an apron pocket and gave them a shuffle. A single card fell to the ground. "You need Maria Sibylla Merian."

The other twin nodded. "Follow the Starry River of the Sky to Where the Mountain Meets the Moon and perhaps you will find her."

"Perhaps," the first twin agreed, "she will let herself be seen, if she isn't too busy adventuring."

"Here," said the other, holding out a bag. "Take these. The Starry River is long, but the fish that swim it love a tasty treat and may help you if offer them a dumpling."

"Oh, take mine, take mine, too. They're not exactly the same!"
Sep. 21st, 2014 09:58 pm (UTC)
Re: On the corner...


You are a miracle.
Sep. 22nd, 2014 01:51 pm (UTC)
Re: On the corner...
You are the poster of miracle fodder.
Sep. 21st, 2014 09:59 pm (UTC)
Re: On the corner...
I'm going to tweet this at Grace Lin, because I think she'll love this.
Sep. 22nd, 2014 01:50 pm (UTC)
Re: On the corner...
I hope she does. What you posted of her work is very evocative.
Sep. 22nd, 2014 08:56 pm (UTC)
Re: On the corner...
This is so lovely!
Sep. 23rd, 2014 05:01 pm (UTC)
Re: On the corner...
Thank you. asakiyume posts such inspiring things.
Sep. 22nd, 2014 08:57 pm (UTC)
*takes delighted noteS*
Sep. 25th, 2014 02:20 am (UTC)
( 24 comments — Leave a comment )

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