If you are between 8 and 108 years old and like to read middle grade books, then you are especially welcome here!

Yes to the Yeti!

Posted: April 22nd, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Letters to T | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

Keylan and Jake from Long Beach, CA write:

Dear T,

We are not interested in stories about vampires. We don’t care about werewolves, either. Or ghosts. And especially not mermaids! What we ARE interested in is the Yeti or Abominable Snowman. Here is a story we’ve written about the mighty Yeti called SNOBEAST. We both worked on the cover drawing. Those are the Himalaya mountains in the back. What do you think?

T replies:

Thanks for letting me read your Yeti story, Keylan and Jake! SNOBEAST sent chills of terror and excitement up and down my spine. I have long been fascinated by tales of the Yeti. I’m a believer!

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Sometimes it’s okay to play with your food

Posted: March 14th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: T Writes | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

I’m gonna be round my vegetables

I’m gonna chow down my vegetables

I love you most of all

my favorite vegetable…

So sang The Beach Boys in their song “Vegetables.” Beatle Paul McCartney joined the band to chew raw vegetables for percussion effects on the recording.

The Vegetable Orchestra is an Austrian musical group that uses instruments made entirely from fresh vegetables. The group consists of ten musicians, one cook, and one sound engineer. A concert of the Vegetable Orchestra appeals to all the senses. As an encore at the end of the concert and the video performance, the audience is offered fresh vegetable soup.

Two brothers in China have caught the vegetable music bug. They’ve carved out an odd career, turning vegetables into musical instruments. The creative pair began their craft two years ago and spend most of their time scouring food stalls for the perfect pieces.

I’m never going to look at the veggies on my plate the same way again!

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Griffin’s Gold

Posted: February 9th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Letters to T | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

Sam and Andy from Chicago, IL write:

Dear T,

We finished Griffin’s Gold, our story about the legendary Griffin, and we printed copies. Here’s one for you. You can share this excerpt. It’s from the part where Griffin and Dragon fight to the death for Griffin’s gold, only Griffin lets Dragon live to see another day. That’s good because later on they have to join forces to battle an evil Giant. What do you think?

Drawing of a Griffin by Sam and Andy

Drawing of a Griffin by Sam and Andy

From Griffin’s Gold by Sam and Andy:

Griffin and Dragon were face to face with each other. Warily they circled each other. Griffin twitched his wings in eager anticipation of the battle to come, while Dragon snorted plumes of smoke into the chilly air.

Despite the cozy fire he had built, Griffin’s lair was almost as cold as the frozen mountaintop. Dragon lifted his mighty tail and slammed it down hard, pounding the rocky ground. The metallic scales of his impenetrable body armor glistened in the fire’s glow.

“Give me your treasure,” he told Griffin, “and you can avoid a good beating.”

Griffin’s razor-sharp claws drew sparks from where they scraped the rock. “It’s you who are going to get beaten, Dragon,” he replied. “I’ll give you ten seconds to skedaddle on out of here. Otherwise, you’re in for it big time.”

“I ain’t leaving here without that gold,” said Dragon.

“Suit yourself,” said Griffin and lunged at Dragon’s vulnerable throat with his fearsome eagle’s beak. The battle for Griffin’s gold had begun.

T replies:

Wow, Sam and Andy! I am thoroughly impressed. The adventure was gripping, the suspense was unbearable, and I don’t want to spoil the ending, but I can say that Griffin and Dragon are a force to be reckoned with. Great job!

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A holiday letter

Posted: December 17th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: T Writes | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

This is my second cousin once removed, composer Cornelius Power.

Composer Cornelius Power (April 1, 1821 – July 4, 1915)

Cornelius loved writing letters, and every year at holiday time, the Power family turns to one of them in particular, which has been handed down through the generations. It is dated December 17, 1856, and I’d like to share it with you.

Greetings, Holiday People!

You’ll never guess what I’m doing right now. I am actually dashing through the snow in a one-horse open sleigh. Contrary to expectations, I am not laughing all the way. It is far too cold here in this winter wonderland for that. As it is, I am bundled up from head to toe in warm clothing, but I think I’ll burrow down deep into the cozy quilts and blankets that my sleigh driver has so thoughtfully provided.

Sleigh driver? Ha! It is my BFF, James Lord Pierpont, the famous organist and composer and my comradely rival in all musical endeavors. James has got a thing about one-horse open sleighs. The only thing he cares more about than composing catchy songs is dashing through the snow. He is working on a new song about it now, but I can’t see it going anywhere. He calls it “Jingle Bells,” and it’s fairly simpleminded, not at all up to the high standard he set with “Ring the Bell, Fanny.”

How I long for a cup of hot cocoa! We brought a whole lake of it in a thermos, but it spilled all over the floor of the sleigh thanks to James’s erratic driving. He’s up there now on the absolute edge of his seat, cracking the whip and singing at the top of his lungs. I’m burrowing further into the blankets and quilts. It’s a well-known fact in these parts that survivors of sleigh crashes are nearly always found closest to the floor of the vehicle.

I can only imagine how wondrous one-horse sleighs will be one hundred and fifty or so years from now, but I daresay holiday wishes will have remained exactly the same. By then, no doubt poor James’s simpleminded ditty “Jingle Bells” will have been long relegated to the dustbin and some other songwriter will have come along to better describe how fun it is to ride in a one-horse open sleigh. I am far too humble to be referring to myself, of course, although some say my sleigh song “Horsey Snow Ride” is the catchiest number they’ve ever heard.

Darn it, James! That turn was much too sharp. Ohhhhhhhh!!!!

(At this point the letter ends in a series of jagged marks.)

Of course, as history shows, Cousin Cornelius was wrong about “Jingle Bells.” James Lord Pierpont’s sleigh-ride song went on to become one of the best known and most commonly sung winter songs in the world, whereas, sadly, Cornelius’s own sleigh song “Horsey Snow Ride” has been completely ignored. But he was right about holiday wishes. They’ve remained exactly the same.

Give thanks for blessings.

Say a prayer for peace.

Give a donation where it’s needed.

Resolve to be a little more patient, a little more forgiving, and a lot more helpful.

Amen to that!

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