Kids Questions

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Letter from second grader.

I received a packet of letters from Mr. Mauldin’s class in California who read Jalapeño Bagels. In their letters were a bunch of questions. I thought I’d share the answers since many kids ask me similar questions when I do school visits.

Merani, Aaron, Nicholas, asked if I had a partner in writing the story? No, I wrote it myself, but I did have help from my writers group and my editor to fix it.

Leilah asked: What is your favorite food? I like pizza. What is your favorite hobby? Collecting squished pennies. What do you do on the weekend? Walk, ride my bike, get outside.

Leilah, Kim, Cydney, Agustin want to know: Do you have kids? No, just a cat, Purrsia.

Emils, Ishan and Jasleen asked if I’m a bakery person. I do like to bake but I don’t work at a bakery.

Jacob wants to know if I have a limo. No, I drive a Subaru Forester. Red.

Abigail Guillen, Agustin, Panth, Danielle and Michelle want to know how old I am. I was born on February 7, 1960.

Ramses asked if I think of other stories? All the time! I would love to get a new story with this family published.

Ryan and Kassandra ask: How many stories have you written? More than 125 but only 23 were made into books. The others are hoping to be books one day. Some are just for practice.

Aislyn asked: How do you make all the books? Lots of time sitting down at the computer, trying to figure out the best way to say things, changing words, moving sentences and writing and rewriting until I feel like I have a good story. It could take months or years until I’m done. When one story is finished, I start another one.

Johann wants to know if I am married. I’ve been married for 26 years.

Daniel Sanchez wants to know what my favorite sport is. I like to do skiing but like to watch football once in a while.

Daniel also wants to know my favorite bakery food. I like chocolate chip cookies and carrot cake. (but now I’m gluten-free)

Vanessa wants to know if I am Mexican. No, I am American with a father who was born in Ukraine.

Sebastian and Agustin asked me if I’m nice. Yes, sometimes too nice. But I’d rather be kind than uncaring.

Keep on being curious!

Spirit Week at Valdez

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Spirit week kicked off Monday at Valdez Elementary School in Denver (a dual language school) with a visit by Colorado author, you’re very own, Natasha Wing! The effort to bring me to their school was spearheaded by Phoebe, the student council secretary.

Phoebe introduced me at their morning Community Meeting then I presented to the 3 year olds to Kindergartners (we read The Night Before Easter and talked about how my love for bunnies inspired the book). Following that, I spoke to the 1st through 3rd graders about writing and the making of a book. After that I met with 4th and 5th graders to talk about writing in a Pick My Brain session.

I was most impressed with how the kids used my books as inspiration for their classroom projects and essays. One class even translated An Eye for Color into Spanish! Here are some of the projects that I spotted displayed in the hallways.

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I was honored to be part of Valdez’s Spirit Week celebration and wonder how many kids came to school wearing a white wig for Dress as your Favorite Author Day.

Gracias, Valdez!

Art Book Talk and Art Activity

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Loveland Museum/Gallery Hosts Gallery Talks and Art Activity During Night on the Town

LOVELAND, CO – The Loveland Museum/Gallery invites individuals of all ages to enjoy two gallery talks and a drop-in art activity during Night on the Town on Friday, April 11, 2014. Night on the Town guests will enjoy free admission to the Authentic Form exhibition and will have the opportunity to learn more about the exhibition from collector Mark Addison and children’s author Natasha Wing. Both events are free and open to the public.

Authentic Form: Abstract Art Featuring Selections from the Polly and Mark Addison Collection, CU Art Museum features 40+ abstract works of art and encompasses a broad array of artistic approaches and aesthetic tendencies. Included in the exhibition are works by many well-known artists such as Josef Albers, Herbert Bayer, Alexander Calder, Sonia Delaunay, Helen Frankenthaler, Ellsworth Kelly, Sol LeWitt, Elizabeth Murray, Louise Nevelson, Dorothea Rockburne, Frank Stella, and Barbara Takenaga.

Polly and Mark Addison began collecting contemporary art in the early 1970s, and only a small portion of their impressive art collection is represented within the Authentic Form exhibition. On Friday, April 11, guests visiting the Loveland Museum/Gallery will have the rare opportunity to learn more about the exhibition from Mark Addison himself. At 5:30 pm, Addison will present an interactive tour of the Authentic Form exhibition and discuss various works of art featured within the Main Gallery.

Also taking place on Friday, April 11 is a gallery talk and drop-in art activity with children’s author Natasha Wing. As a child growing up in Connecticut, Wing lived just down the street from Josef Albers, one of the artists featured in the Authentic Form exhibition. Albers is famous for his experimentation with color and combining squares of different hues to change the mood of his art. His findings have inspired art educators around the world.

As a writer, Wing wanted to share the story of her childhood neighbor. Her book An Eye for Color: The Story of Josef Albers is for children, but she shares it with art educators and parents alike, giving them suggested activities and ideas to experiment with Albers’ theories. Wing will discuss and sign copies of her book at 4:30 pm on Friday, April 11 in the Foote Gallery of the Museum. At 5:00 pm, following the presentation and book-signing, Wing will lead a drop-in art activity for participants of all ages. Copies of Wing’s book will be available for purchase during the event.

Admission to the Main Gallery exhibit is free during Night on the Town, as are the affiliated gallery talks from Mark Addison and Natasha Wing. For more information contact the Loveland Museum/Gallery at (970) 962-2410.

The Loveland Museum/Gallery is located at 503 N Lincoln Avenue, the corner of 5th and Lincoln, in Loveland, Colorado. http://www.lovelandmuseumgallery.org.

 

My Favorite Autobiography for Children

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I’ve always loved the bright colors and energy of Lois Ehlert’s collages (Think Chicka Chicka Boom Boom). So when I read that she had written an autobiography, I had to check it out. What attracted me to her book was how she incorporated both real photos and artwork from her books, as if art is just as real as life, because it IS her life. She also gives an inviting peek into her studio and how she creates her collages that children will love and adults will admire. There’s even sketches and a storyboard to illustrate the book designing process that’s perfect for teachers to use when talking about books. After reading The Scraps Book, I wanted to be an illustrator!

I highly recommend this book for children curious about art, teachers wanting to introduce students to the art of book making, and adults who are fascinated with how artists work and create.

Scraps project: Create an Easter egg out of scraps and found objects. Send it to me via email (natashawingatgmail.com) and I’ll post it here.

Pie Recipe for Pi Day

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How to crimp the edges.

Today is International Pi Day, a day when math geeks eat pie to celebrate the number pi (3.14).

If you want to make your own pie, here’s one of my favorite crust recipes from A Slice of Humboldt Pie: Stories & Recipes:

NEVER FAIL PIE CRUST

4 c. flour

2 tsp. salt

1 T. sugar

1-3/4 c. butter flavor Crisco

1 T. apple cider vinegar

1 egg

½ c. cold water

Mix flour, salt and sugar. Cut in shortening. Mix vinegar, egg and water then slowly pour into flour mixture. Work it into a ball with a fork and your hand. Separate into 4 balls and roll out. Makes 4 pie shells. Enjoy!

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Pie bird.

Eat Pie on Pi Day

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Recipes galore for baking pies.

March 14 is International Pi Day and one way to celebrate is to eat PIE!

Pi Day was founded by Larry Shaw and was first held at the San Francisco Exploratorium in 1988. The first one began with the public and museum staff marching around a circular space and then eating fruit pies. To celebrate Pi Day and the 10th anniversary of my book, I’m re-releasing, A Slice of Humboldt Pie: Stories & Recipes, 10th Anniversary Edition.

The book was first published in 2004. It began as a quest to find a pie crust recipe that I could count on each time I baked a homemade pie. The quest turned into a series of essays on the people I interviewed about their pies. It was a fun project because I met a lot of nice and interesting folks. And the research, which entailed eating lots of pie, wasn’t so bad either.

A Slice of Humboldt Pie: Stories & Recipes contains recipes for pie crusts and fillings. It also has anecdotal information about berries, Humboldt County apple orchards, and pie-baking tips.

The new book has been reformatted and I added a recipe of my grandmother’s that cousin Meg had, written in Grandma’s handwriting. We made Grandma’s key lime pie this past Thanksgiving and it was super easy and yummy so I wanted to include it as a nod to my grandma.

If you’re looking to celebrate Pi Day by eating pie, there are plenty of recipes to try. (Hey! That rhymes!)

The book is available at:

Blake’s Books in McKinleyville, CA

Eureka Books in Eureka, CA

Lovelights in Eureka, CA

Old Firehouse Books in Fort Collins, CO

Amazon

CreateSpace Store 

Virtual Birthday Party with School

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I celebrated my birthday with my new buddies.

Last week I Skyped with Hillel Day in Michigan and we had a great visit. Then they had a surprise for me. The kids found out that my birthday was coming up so they called back a few days later and threw a virtual birthday party for me complete with hats, singing and cupcakes. They also wrote a sweet poem inspired by The Night Before stories titled The Night Before the Author Skype. It’s moments like this that make connecting with the kids a truly special treat. A shout out to teacher Lori Rashty for being so enthusiastic and extending the learning experience for her kids. It was a pleasure!

Birthday Game Deadline Extended

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My mom and me.

In celebration of the night before my birthday, I am giving away two copies of my new book, The Night Before My Birthday.

Here’s how to win a signed copy:

1) Guess what time I was born on February 7th. The person to come closest wins. (Still taking guesses. See hint below.)

2) Guess which Chinese animal sign I was born under. First person to get it right wins. (We have a winner! Year of the Rat.)

You have until midnight February 14, 2014 to submit your guesses.

On your mark, get set, go!