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    Buy Elizabeth Levy Books on Amazon
    • Amber Brown Horses Around
      Amber Brown Horses Around
      by Paula Danziger, Bruce Coville, Elizabeth Levy
    • Amber Brown Is on the Move
      Amber Brown Is on the Move
      by Paula Danziger, Bruce Coville, Elizabeth Levy
    • Amber Brown Is Tickled Pink
      Amber Brown Is Tickled Pink
      by Paula Danziger, Bruce Coville, Elizabeth Levy
    • Parrots & Pirates (Mystery at Sea)
      Parrots & Pirates (Mystery at Sea)
      by Elizabeth Levy
    • Danger & Diamonds (A Mystery at Sea)
      Danger & Diamonds (A Mystery at Sea)
      by Elizabeth Levy
    • . . . If You Were There When They Signed the Constitution
      . . . If You Were There When They Signed the Constitution
      by Elizabeth Levy
    • My Life as a Fifth-Grade Comedian
      My Life as a Fifth-Grade Comedian
      by Elizabeth Levy
    Tuesday
    Feb082011

    Out of Egypt

    Alexandria Library, Liz, Bruce Coville, Kathy Coville and Carrie DanzigerThe Sphinx and me -- with very few tourists around.












     

     

     

     

     

    Many of you know, but perhaps some of you don't, that I was in Egypt when the country erupted.  I was there to do an author visit with Bruce Coville, the wonderful children's book author, and his wife Kathy, an illustrator. We went to the  Schutz School in Alexandria Egypt. In some ways it was a children's book festival, because we were there to visit Carrie Danziger, who teaches at the school.  Carrie is the niece of Paula Danziger, and the original model for Amber Brown. After Paula's death, Bruce and I both adopted her as our own.,  School Library Journal is publishing an article on our thoughts that we are home and I will post it when it comes out.  

    I want to thank so many in children's book community who let us know how concerned they were for us.    

    We arrived in Alexandria on January 21st, and although the Tunisian revolution had broken out, there was very little tension.  We explored the city, including one of the world's most beautiful libraries. In ancient times Alexandria was famous the world over for it's library and it's scientists. On January 24, the first graders and I wrote a wonderful story, "Lions and Tigers" go to Mars. The third graders turned their classroom into a cruise ship and we went to Zambia and one the African Cup (Soccer Championship, or as they call...Football).

    But then on Tuesday, January 25, the first of the protests began, and school was closed for two days.  We did reopen and on Thursday, wrote wonderful stories (two classes ended up in the Bermuda Triangle) but even with the tension there was wonderful humor from the kids and their teachers.  We did get to see the Pyramids and the Sphinx.  From then on the fast moving events over took us as we had to try to figure out how to get out of Cairo  We had great respect for the courage of the people....and the protesters themselves were mostly peaceful.  We actually were worried about the military who soon moved tanks in front of our hotel.

    I will add more thoughts later....but I just wanted to post a few pictures.....and to tell you how many people  in Egypt, in the middle of everything, worked so hard to keep us safe.

    And we were!!! We flew home on February 2.

    Yes it was scary!   But so many people helped us out.  Here is a picture of a Tank outside of our hotel, and then a picture with our wonderful guide, Ahmed Ramadan, who took us to his home in order to keep us safe and helped us get to the airport and out safely.

    More to come....

    Tank in front of our hotelOur wonderful guide Ahmed Ramadan, Bruce Coville, Kathy Coville, and me

     


    Monday
    Nov152010

    WHAT’S GOING ON? TURNING A CLASSROOM INTO A CRUISE SHIP  

     

    Every year I do a writing project with the 5th Graders at The Bronx New School with two of my favorite teachers.  When we begin in the fall, we never know exactly what we’re going to write about, but this year, the theme at the school is taken from the Marvin Gaye song, “What’s Going on!”

    The kids were excited about my new book, Danger and Diamonds and I wanted them to write their own stories onboard a cruise ship.  While we were brainstorming, we played the song:

    Mother, mother

    There's too many of you crying

    Brother, brother, brother

    There's far too many of you dying

    You know we've got to find a way

    To bring some lovin' here today – Ya

    What’s going on….what’s going on…..

    We decided that the sound of that song could turn the classroom into a cruise ship. Stay tuned while we levitate over the Bronx. Each of the students is going to study the country where their family was from --- they are going to sing “What’s Going on” to their parents, and write me a few lines. They tuned as we begin our ports of call, and let me know what stories you think could write if your school turned into a cruise ship.

    Tuesday
    Oct262010

    IS THIS RESEARCH?

      In the 21st Century, the Gladiators of Rome are mostly out-of-work actors who would be very at home as part of the entertainment crew on a cruise ship.   I’m not sure whether these guys are going to make it into my next book, but I wouldn’t be surprised.

                Keith Richards, from the Rolling Stones, is one of my rock-and roll heroes. He says that as a songwriter, he is always watching people, looking for ‘ammo” – the idea for the next song.  That’s what it felt like when I was traveling in Europe for almost a whole month.  I was traveling in the waters where pirates once roamed….and I felt like a pirate, not quite writing, but still searching the horizon for what might just by chance turn into the next story. 

    As a writer, you are always looking for ideas, the problem is that you don’t know exactly which one of them is going to be good.   But there is something about traveling that makes history and stories come alive. History is full of mistakes and going in the wrong direction and yet, thinking you are right, just like Columbus thought he had sailed to the Indies.   Just like Columbus I got lost lots of times, making wrong turns and thinking I was somewhere I wasn’t.

    But that’s all good practice for being a writer.            

     

    Tuesday
    Sep142010

    TEA AT THE PLAZA: ELOISE LIVES FOREVER

    TEA AT THE PLAZA:  ELOISE LIVES FOREVER

    I am Eloise.  I am six.  I am a city child.”

    Eloise would be actually 55 in human years, and I am sixty-eight, but I felt such joy when my seven year-old great-niece wanted to come to New York City for her birthday.  I asked if she would like to have tea at the Plaza with her friend who was also coming in from the small town in New England where they live. YES!  She answered.  What power fiction has!  A girl born in the 21st century realizes that Eloise is anything but boring! 

    As Eloise says,  “Getting bored is not allowed…”  We can all learn from Eloise not just about how not to be bored but to embrace all our moods – even the black ones.

     “”Sometimes I throw a temper fit….But not very often,”  says Eloise. Actually one of my best friends was the model for Eloise throwing a temper fit…and if I look closely I can see a little of Eloise in her…and in all of us.

    My New Year’s resolution is to channel Eloise when I write and when I live my life.  She’s a wonderful role model.

     

    Wednesday
    Sep012010

    Liz and the Mystery of The Sphinx

    No, much as I love mysteries, I haven't solved the mystery of the Sphinx. But I am hoping to set my next cruise mystery in Egypt.   Thanks to Photo shop I am at the King Tut exhibit in Times Square New York. (Life it seems is one long research project.)  I am going to Alexandria, Egypt with Bruce Coville  to visit Carrie Danziger, Paula Danziger's niece in January.  Carrie is teaching at the American school there.

    And the boy is not sleeping in the hammock.  He and his brother and I just finished a mystery in which mummies took over their beach house...and they invited him into the hammock to pretend he was a mummy.  

    So even in the summer, there's time for imagination -- but what there doesn't seem to be time for is to actually write.  But that's what summers are for -- to recharge and to come up with ideas.  Let me know if you've had any adventures over the summer that could turn into a good mystery...

    Stay tuned....

    Cheers,

    Liz