30. Mary Higgins Clark Interview


New Visitor’s…Please read the two paragraphs at the end of this column before beginning your explorations in theater, poetry, children’s literature, movies, television, books, and the Arts. It will say New Visitor’s Greeting and be in boldface. Please read the About comments in the upper index, also.

Important Columnist Note: I made a mistake trying to load this column yesterday. I sent messages to 45 of Jenny’s friends in Canada and then gave them the wrong access code. I will run the first story for two more days, so everyone can view it without going to a sub-level on my site. New ideas for today will follow my Mary Higgins Clark and Jenny Witterrick discussion. It will say New Ideas For Tuesday in boldface following their story.


A Good Day…It is a good day when you can spend thirty minutes talking books, creative projects, and vacation plans with Mary Higgins Clark and Jenny Witterick. This chance meeting could not have been planned to run any better. Mrs. Clark, the world-renowned author, just finished her new book Daddy’s Gone A Hunting and was looking forward to her vacation. She gladly shared ideas on her new writing as she expressed how relieved she was to finally finish her latest book. Her books have been impossible to put down. She is an outstanding writer. She looked outstanding in the picture above with Jenny Witterick, too. Her new book Daddy’s Gone A Hunting comes out April 9th.

Jenny Witterick is one of Canada’s most successful business-woman. Ms. Witterick’s success story should be followed and emulated by women everywhere. Research both the work she has accomplished heading Sky Investment Counsel Inc. (Sky) since 2004 and the path she forged years earlier in financial circles throughout Canada. It is an inspiring journey.

This vignette, however, is about Jenny’s writing not the money she has helped thousands to wisely invest. My Mother’s Secret is her new book. It is out March 25.

Jenny's Book

Anita Pyclik in an email to Jenny summed up Ms. Witterick’s work far better than I could ever do. Jenny said I could share it in my column. She let me read it on her iPad. After reading what Anita said, I suggested to Jenny that she use Anita’s comments on her book cover or in her forward. After reading this moving description you will want to buy Jenny’s new book, immediately. I will let you know the publication date in a future column.

Anita said: Please find my heartfelt and honest thoughts on the novel, ‘My Mother’s Secret’ below:
When J. L. Witterick first handed me a copy of her manuscript, I was excited … but there was a bit of skepticism as well. As J. L.  explained, her first novel ‘My Mother’s Secret’ was a story about the Holocaust of WWII … a truly tough subject for anyone. Having completed a double major in History and Theology, I like to think of WWII novels as something that I have already read thoroughly. In my years of study, I must have covered countless topics, each providing me with vivid details and horrific accounts of the holocaust.

Nevertheless, having been born in Poland and coming from a strong Polish background, I started to read out of nostalgia.  Unexpectedly, I could not stop once I started and continued to read for almost the full day until I finished.  I did not want to leave one word behind. J. L.’s  book has an incredible capability to draw you in.  The story is about compassion and our hope for humanity all in one. I felt emotional and proud to be reading this book on heroism, love and hope during a dark time in history that aimed to destroy all such notions.

Coming from a Christian-Polish background, I do not have any ties to Judaism … so perhaps many will wonder why this book appeals to me? This book is not just a tale about how Jewish families were saved by a Polish woman.  It is the story about a compassionate and brave soul, who in the midst of the horrors around her, still followed her conscience. You do not have to be Jewish, or religious, or a history enthusiast to have this novel appeal to you. It will seep into your heart and stir up powerful and beautiful emotions, no matter who you are or where you come from.

At first glance the novel seemed short to me, but I realized by the time I completed one third of it that J. L. did exactly what a powerful and memorable book does … it leaves you in awe!  Sometimes this can happen 50 pages into a book, sometimes 400 pages, and sometimes not at all. But just a few chapters into J. L.’s  book and I felt a swell of inspiration … a moment where I was deeply moved and intrigued and I dare not put the book down. J. L.  filled the book with such powerful characters, drawing on facts, data, accounts, emotions and of course love.

I can see this novel changing and touching many hearts … including mine.  I wish nothing more than to see ‘My Mother’s Secret’ have the same effect on millions as it did for me.

Tom’s addition…This book is meant to be inspirational. Jenny has, therefore, committed 100 percent of her royalties from books sold at Indigo/Chapters to the Love of Reading Foundation. This Foundation, like Philadelphia Reads, buys books for kids who can’t afford them. Books that are sold through other channels will go to various other charities such as Girls Helping Girls, ALS research, CISEPO, Transplant Research Foundation of Canada, and the Max and Beatrice Wolfe Children’s Centre. Jenny says, “Doing good feels good.”

New Ideas For Tuesday
The Castle Builder

Children’s Literature…The Castle Builder is an artistic masterpiece fashioned by Dennis Nolan. This masterpiece is predicated on the ability of the author and illustrator to shape illustrations and a story by using dots to create every picture and imagine. I am talking dots! A pencil point hitting a paper again and again to form amazing pictures! No one will believe that these multi-layered and three-dimensional pictures are created with a pencil. This technique is a perfect strategy for adding dot drawings to lessons on concrete poetry. The book is perfect for introducing the artistic creativity of illustrators and authors. The story starts with a young boy building castles in the sand. All of a sudden he is transported into the world of knights and castles and has to protect his construction from the onslaught of water and other powers.

Bearsie BearIra

Children’s Literature II…Bearsie Bear and The Sleep Over Party by Bernard Waber sounds like another Ira Sleeps Over adventure and in a way it is. Only this time it isn’t neighboring children experiencing their first sleepover. Unlike Ira Sleeps Over no stuffed Teddy Bears are involved in this sleepover. The sleepover group in this story is a host of animals, not children. Like the books The Fly Went By, Can I Keep Him, and Jimmy’s Boa Ate The Wash, this book is perfect for teaching events in a sequence, alliterative sounds, memory skills, cardinal and ordinal numbers, and problem solving.

My students draw and cut out animals of their own to participate in the party. The creative thing about the story is fitting everyone into the sleepover bed. The author’s animals are hilarious as they are introduced and  pile into bed one by one to participate in the party.

NightingalesThe Flint Heart

Children’s Literature III…Of Nightingales That Weep by Katherine Paterson is a glimpse into the lives of oriental woman brought up in a culture of second hand citizenship. Best known for her books Bridge To Terabithia and Jacob Have I Loved Katherine Paterson paints her experiences from her early years in China into this story of a samurai’s daughter who is forbidden to weep at her father’s death. Paterson is a two-time Newbery Award winner. This is a feat enjoyed by a very few. Her new book, The Flint Heart traces the lives of those who become evil from holding this heart. What happens as a child tries to save his father from the spell of the Flint Heart is the main theme of the story. If you are looking for stories where the prince carries the princess off at the end, it is best you select another author. If you love a great story, Katherine Paterson will excite your literary taste buds at every level.

Mysteries Cover

Poetry…The Mysteries of Harris Burdick by Chris VanAllsburg is an art and creative writing challenge. You will recognize his name as the author of The Polar Express and its picturesque recreation in movie form. In this book, VanAllsburg presents sixteen pictures with a critical thinking, mini-phrase to get you to look at each beautifully drawn, mysterious picture, and tell the picture’s story. I changed this for my students and challenged them to complete a quatrain while telling the inner story of his drawings. Here is what I said as a writing model in poetry form for his picture of the sleeping girl that is slowly being entangled in vines.

Harris Burdick

This picture’s story is my favorite.
It is by far the very best.
You can tell from the vines that encircle her,
Allesan is in for a long, long rest.

Book Humor…

The title of a movie or book often plays a key role in its success, at least initially, as it tries to attract viewers or readers.  Help me as I try to complete my book list below.  Can you add ten books to my selections? On a scale of 1-10 vote next to each book on how creative you think the pun was.

Book                                               Author

1.  Monsters                                          by Frank N. Stein
2.  The Art of Promptness                 by U. R. Tardy

3.  Never Say Goodbye                       by C. U. Jones
4.  Questions                                        by Y. A. Skme

5.  One Way Street                              by N. O. Turner
6.  Eagles: Extinction or Life            by J. Byrd

7.  Errorless Baseball                        by Happy Fielding
8.  The Knitting Handbook               by Pearl I

9.  Big Game Fish Mastery               by C. John Hooker
10. Worldwide Holidays                    by Noel E. Aster

11. Plants You Love                            by Ivy Bennett
12. Windmills                                      by Gail Rogers

Do you have any book titles you love in this format. Send them to me to be included in one of my upcoming columns

New Visitor’s Greeting…Welcome to Let’s Talk, a freewheeling column on movies, theater, television, books, educational practices, current events, and the Internet. If you are a first time visitor to the column, I recommend that you start with the About topic in the Index Bar at the top of the page. Follow About with the Let’s Talk column in archives. It was the first column of the New Year. Proceed to Let’s Talk II and then work your way up to today’s column. These columns will introduce a plethora (a better word choice than myriad) of new ideas and old delights you may have missed. It will give you a foundation for some of the issues we are introducing and following up in newer columns.

New visitor’s comments are welcome, too. They are immediately placed on this page in the contributor’s comment section or are shared with the column’s readers on Sunday. You are welcome, also, to suggest topics for discussion or enlist help from the site’s family of readers. I am a compendium of useless information. Challenge me, please, with great theater, travel, history, books, movies, and educational issues that would interest a wide audience of readers. The “compendium comment” was stolen from Orson Bean. Bean used the quote many times on television talk show interviews. Please recommend my column to your friends and other lovers of discussion.



About tjpalumbo

Tom Palumbo is a nationally known and award winning author, teacher, technology designer, administrator, and grant writer. He has taught for thirty-five years in preschool through 12th grade classrooms throughout the quad state area. His ideas have made a difference in the way thousands of teachers, parents, and children read, write, do mathematics, use technology, and think creatively and critically. Tom’s twenty books on reading, writing, critical thinking, and mathematics have won four national book awards. 5,000 teachers and home schooling parents have matriculated through his graduate courses/lectures. 12,000 have signed up for his website. As Director of Pennsylvania’s Parent Information Center and New Jersey’s Citizen’s For Better Schools Resource Center, Tom received over two hundred commendations for his presentations to thousands of teachers, parents, and administrators throughout the Florida, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Maryland area. Workshop participants receive idea loaded CD’s, access to hundreds of videos, PowerPoints, curriculum links, games, and lessons on his website, and an activity booklet filled with common core curriculum in line with local, state, and national standards. Instruction, on each of these resources, is presented during his presentation. Mr. Palumbo has over two hundred learning centers, bulletin boards, and project developers in reading, writing, poetry, literature, and math in make-it/take it item format that can, also, be part of any workshop program. Call or email Tom to set up a workshop for your organization. Tom Palumbo tjpalumbo@aol.com 215-262-9986 aimtjp.wikispaces.com
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