Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Rebecca Caudill Young Readers' Book Award

In February of 2014, I received an email from the Chair of the Rebecca Caudill Young Readers’ Book Award Committee, her name was Michelle Glatt, and she wrote:

As the Awards Chair for the Rebecca Caudill Young Readers’ Book Award Committee, I am pleased to tell you that your book, A Diamond in the Desert, has been selected for our 2015 master list. Congratulations! Please keep this information confidential until the list is posted at (most likely tonight or Monday morning).

I was thrilled to receive this email.  A DIAMOND IN THE DESERT has been my favorite book I have written so far.  I seem to get more emails about it from teachers and librarians asking if they can Skype call with me.  I have several schools that just want to talk about this book.  Next week, I am headed up to Chaminade Prep School, which is in Chatsworth, talk to the seventh grade students about the book, and then the week following, I will be doing a presentation at the Downey Public Library.

The link to the Rebecca Caudill website is here:

There are twenty other books on the list, which is here:

To follow the RCYRBA on twitter, you can go here:

I do not think my book will win, there are several other extremely well written books on this list, but I am very happy that it was nominated. 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

A Very Long Sailing Trip, and a Book, LONG WERE THE NIGHTS, by Hugh B. Cave

The Cruise of the Jolly Tar

Last year, when my great, great, uncle Hugh Robinson died, my mother came into my hotel room, (the funeral was in Virginia, where he lived) and gave me this Navigation Chart.  She said I should get it framed and give it to my son, Sam, who is also attending the Naval Academy.  So I took it to the framers and picked out a grey mat and then had them put a silver frame around it and at Christmas, I gave the chart to Sam. 

This chart shows the trip of Jolly Tar, a sailboat that both Frank and Hugh Robinson took along with Bill Small, who was the navigator, and Dave Seaman, who was the Captain.  These men were all attending the United States Naval Academy and must have gotten permission to take this long cruise, which lasted six days.  You can see that they saw whales along the way, because there is a drawing of a whale on the chart.  They left out of the Chesapeake Bay and made their way up the coast. 

You can also see that they must have encountered weather along the way because of the way they tacked this way and that way. 


One more thing, I have just finished reading LONG WERE THE NIGHTS, by Hugh B. Cave, which is the story of the Saga of the PT Squadron “X” in the Solomon Islands during World War II.  My great, great, uncle Hugh Robinson was awarded the Silver Star his actions against an enemy of the United States.  This is third highest military award given to any person serving in the capacity of the Armed Forces.  Hugh Robinson lived to be 97 years old.  He was well loved by the men he led.  At his funeral, the entire chapel was filled, and then some people even waited in the hallway. 
Hugh M. Robinson, who was awarded the Silver Star
I can't imagine what I would have done in this position!

In the paragraph I highlighted, from LONG WERE THE NIGHTS, it reads: “Robbie, (who was Hugh Robinson), our squadron commander, wet his lips and said we would do our best.  The rest of us wondered just how good our best would be, against that kind of opposition.  Because - good God - the whole Jap navy was on the way and we were just three little torpedo boats!”

The men ended up defeating the Japanese Navy.  They fought until the very end and sank most of their ships. 

While I understand how difficult this must have been, I don’t think I could have been there.  I would have been too scared!