Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Texas Teen Book Festival: A Review

It happens once a year. Teens all over Texas converge on Austin in a one day celebration of books, authors, and readers. A collaboration of the Texas Book Festival, BookPeople bookstore, and tons of volunteers brings readers and authors together in a unique event. It's a day of panels featuring the various authors and their genres, giving readers an in-depth opportunity to get to know them and ask them questions. Where did they get the idea to write their specific book? What are their fears? How do they research? Where is the craziest place inspiration has struck? Throughout the day, and at the very end as well, readers have the chance to get their books signed by the attending authors or snap a quick photo.

Marvel Girl and I spent last Saturday at this amazing event.

At the Truth, Truth, Lie panel featuring Jennifer Lynn Barnes, Libba Bray, Aaron Hartzler, Stephanie Tromly, and Suzanne Young, we learned that "fictional friends matter" (Jennifer Lynn Barnes) and that books should be told like a striptease, "on the first page take off the glove" (thank you, Aaron Hartzler for that gem). Please note, Libba Bray will now be adding more clothes beginning in the first chapter. We also learned authors take chances being placed on government watch lists with their search histories. The dangerous risks they take to bring us valued entertainment.

One fascinating thing we learned is there is actually a study of the psychology of books. When Jennifer Lynn Barnes isn't writing, she teaches psychology at a university. Not just the regular kind that delves into the human mind, but the kind that analyzes books and the effects it has on people. How people become attached to the characters they read and how these characters form a sort of tribe for the reader. And how it is all perfectly okay. Where was this course when I was in college?!

The Future Possible panel featured authors Pierce Brown, Claudia Gray, Sophie Jordan (our personal favorite), Jenny Martin, and Rick Yancey. Rick Yancey revealed his greatest fear is . . . hair clogs. Yes, the kind that stop up drains. A grown man fears those. Although I cannot blame him as they are quite disgusting. Sophie Jordan did not visit a penitentiary to research her YA series, Uninvited, about kids who possibly contain a kill gene. But she did watch hours and hours of a television program documenting kids who really do kill. The sacrifices these authors make for us. Pierce Brown was a fan favorite among the female population. Look at that face, any guesses as to why? Yes, yes he's a cutie, but he was also very endearing to his fans and is extremely dedicated to his craft. The woods, at night, do not scare him. Ha! He gallantly goes into said woods with nothing more than his laptop and noise blocking headphones to write. Though this may seem a bit extreme and no way would you ever catch me traipsing through the woods at night, even with the world's brightest flashlight and a hazmat suit to keep the creepy crawlies off me, but hey, kudos to Pierce for his courage. I'll just remain here on my couch and wait for his next release.  

Our last panel of the day was the Tru Love 4Eva panel, featuring Huntley Fitzpatrick, Jenny Han, Morgan Matson, Margo Rabb, and Jennifer E. Smith. I have to be honest here, this was the most awkward panel we have ever attended. These authors write YA romance, but when put on the spot were tight lipped to answer much of the questions. Had it not been for the amazing moderating done by Sarah Pitre of the Forever Young Adult blog, this panel would have been a flop. She was witty, the perfect amount of snark, and completely hilarious. Although, we did learn a few tidbits, such as Margo Rabb keeps journals that she refers to when she needs to write a scene pertaining to that magical moment when characters experience their first kiss, and Jennifer E. Smith found her audience when delivering what her own family groans at what she calls jokes. "Why are seagulls called seagulls? Because if they flew over the bay, they'd be called bagels."

We skipped the closing keynote this year and opted to hit the signing lines early. This gave us plenty of time to visit with the lovely and amazingly talented, Sophie Jordan. She is a Texas native and writes in multiple genres. Did I mention already that she's one of our favorites?

Once the lines got into full swing we got to visit with Jennifer Lynn Barnes, Rick Yancey, Jenny Han, and the beautiful Suzanne Young.

I have to say all the authors we met were very welcoming and open to their fans. All in all it was a fantastic day. See ya next year, TTBF!

Lapbooking: Ancient Civilizations

For the first time in our homeschooling journey, we're giving lapbooking a try. I have to say, I'm kicking myself for not trying this sooner. What a fun learning experience, not to mention a handy tool to use for future reference.

We're in the middle of working on the Ancient Civilizations lapbook for history. It's not complete yet, but I think it's coming along rather nicely.

Before we open the folds, we have mini flaps that open to reveal the definitions of the main words of study.

Next we have a map of the different ancient civilizations we will be studying. As we learn about each, Fairy Girl will color in that section of the map and we'll extend the lapbook to include the added sections.

Lift the map pictured above and we have a brief mention of basic needs. Fairy Girl is in the process of working on the mini book you see attached. It will include things like food, shelter, and clothing.

Next we get into a brief description of the people. The pull out shown below is the social order. This section also flips down to reveal a write up that Fairy Girl will complete summarizing what she learned about this section.

The right flap with contain a mini pull out timeline. More pictures will be posted once this section of the lapbook is completed.

Sources used are:

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

About Us

Hey there, welcome to Our Good Sweet Life. Scroll down to meet the tribe.

Literary Gal is our resident Jill-of-all-trades. She's a crafter, avid reader, reviewer, editor, homeschooling momma, coffee addict (life fuel, she can't people without it), and domestic engineer (it's a thing!). She's also the mastermind behind this blog (is that wise?). You can find her touches and voice throughout the site.

The Man is an avid reader, gun aficionado, and former Army dude. Just because he has a house full of girls (and lots of glitter) doesn't mean he's a softy. Mess with his tribe, and well...you might need a new pair of undies. German Shepherds and Kitties are his weakness (hmm...wonder where Marvel Girl gets it from).

Marvel Girl is our go to person for Marvel, Harry Potter, Merlin (the BBC TV show) and YA reads. She's currently navigating through her 3rd year in high school and loves crafting, art, writing, reading, and KITTIES (<---some may call it an obsession). 

Fairy Girl is the smallest of our tribe, and often times the loudest. She is currently in her 3rd year of homeschooling and loves playing soccer, doing crafts (very messy ones), learning about dinosaurs, and everything and anything to do with My Little Pony. She's an advanced and dedicated reader. She'll be sure to chime in from time to time in the Kids section.