book review

The Luck of the Buttons

 “Tugs Button darted past Zip’s Hardware, stumbled over the lunch specials sign at Al and Irene’s Luncheonette, and pushed through the door of Ward’s Ben Franklin as if the devil himself were chasing her.” Anne Ylvisaker, The Luck of the Buttons, (Candlewick Press, April 2011)


Please help me welcome Tugs Buttons to the world of children’s books. She’s the spunky star of a new middle grade novel, The Luck of the Buttons. Written by my friend, Anne Ylvisaker, her story is set in Iowa circa 1929 and it’s a great read.

Here's how you can catch The Luck of the Buttons internet buzz, and join in the book’s celebration.

  • Head over to Anne Ylvisaker’s blog where she’s been writing and illustrating with family photos the stories behind Tug’s story.
  •  “Oh yes, and there's pie in the story!”  Don’t miss the pie party over at Vintage Cookbooks and Crafts . All week there will pie recipes and posts are by Anne. Today’s rhubarb.
  • When you have finished your pie, stop by Anne’s Facebook Author’s page.
  • Don’t let your excitement end there.  Get yourself a copy and read The Luck of the Buttons. Look for it in the usual places—great independent bookstores like The Red Balloon Bookshop, online booksellers like Amazon, or your local library. It's also an audio book.


Writing Yoga

“Just as the practice of yoga encourages you to hear and trust your inner voice, so too does the practice of keeping a journal. Writing every day can help you work past the distracting noises of the world so you can listen more closely to the voice that can be found deep inside you. Day after day, as your thoughts appear beneath your pen as it moves across the page, you’ll begin to hear your voice emerge out of the silence. That voice will teach you what you need to know in your yoga practice and your life.”
Bruce Black, Writing Yoga: A Guide to Keeping a Practice Journal


Although Writing Yoga is meant to be used with yoga practice,and my understanding of yoga is limited, on Monday, intrigued by this “part memoir, part writing guide”, I started a yoga journal.  All week, following the larger, universal messages in the book’s journal practices, I have filled it with drawings, words, and memorable quotes. Starting my morning with reading and journal writing primed me for my other work. I felt better equipped to deal with the anxiety that sometimes seeps into my creative process.  And last night, Writing Yoga motivated my stiff middle-aged body to attend a Gentle Yoga class. Thanks to Bruce Black’s honest recollection of his first yoga class—one of the many tender, funny, and deeply personal experiences he shares in his book--before entering I knew to take my shoes off and leave them by the door.

I had planned to complete all the chapters and all the exercises before writing this post. But Writing Yoga isn’t that kind of book. It’s not a race. It’s a journey I want to take over time. There are chapters I want to read again, journal practices I’d like to revisit and new ones I hope to explore when I am ready.

Writing Yoga has earned a place by my studio reading chair. It is a great resource for anyone struggling to hear their own voice in a very noisy word. With Bruce Black as your guide, it’s hard not to feel confident of achieving that goal.



Bruce‘s blogs -- Wordswimmer,

Writing Yoga with Bruce Black,

Rodmell Press -- Publisher of Writing Yoga and other books about yoga, Buddhism, Taoism and Akido.


Harriet The Spy by Louise Fitzhugh. A middle grade classic about a young girl who keeps journals "spy books". Try to get a copy with the original cover drawn by the author.


Yoga Socks


For a healthy, fiber-filled lifestyle. One of my favorite HYVEE checker recommended this recipe for Big Batch Bran Muffins. I plan to try it out this weekend, substituting tofu with lemon juice for the buttermilk.