Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Six Weeks to Yehidah Named in January Magazine's Best of 2011

What a thrill and honor it was to discover that Six Weeks to Yehidah was named one of January Magazine's best children's books of 2011. The listing was also accompanied by a beautifully written review by India Wilson. To read the review, click here.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Tiferet Talk Interview with Josip Novakovich

Tomorrow night at 7 pm EST I have the great honor of interviewing Josip Novakovich for Tiferet Talk. Novakovich is the author of three short story col­lec­tions (Yolk, Sal­va­tion and Other Dis­as­ters, Infi­deli­ties: Sto­ries of War and Lust), the novel April Fool’s Day, two col­lec­tions of nar­ra­tive essays (Apri­cots from Cher­nobyl, Plum Brandy), and two text­books (Writ­ing Fic­tion Step by Step, Fic­tion Writer’s Work­shop). He is the recip­i­ent of the Whit­ing Writer’s Award, a Guggen­heim fel­low­ship, two fel­low­ships from the National Endow­ment of the Arts, an award from the Ingram Mer­rill Foun­da­tion, and an Amer­i­can Book Award. He’s been anthol­o­gized in Best Amer­i­can Poetry, Push­cart Prize, and O. Henry Prize Sto­ries. Kirkus Review calls him “the best Amer­i­can short story writer of the decade.”

Novakovich's works are rich and deep and written in beautiful, clean prose that captures the nuances and complexities of being human in a variety of settings and circumstances. The story he will read tomorrow, "Ice," focuses on the experience of two boys in the Croation town of Nizograd as they discover Coca Cola for the first time. The story, of course, is about so much more than Coca Cola. I hope you will join me in discovering the many layers of meaning in this and Novakovich's other works.

We will talk, as well, about his writing textbooks, which not only inspire, but which also offer fantastic practical advice.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

My Yehidah Release

In celebration of the release of my new book, My Yehidah, I would like to share some of the wonderful blurbs that were written about it. I am so thankful to the people who took time out of their busy schedules to read the book and make these comments!

In this fantastic companion piece where Roald Dahl meets Eckhart Tolle, Melissa Studdard offers children of all ages an interactive journey to honor their best self. Would that we all as boys and girls had the encouragement, creativity, and wisdom that young Annalise receives as she ventures to Acoustic Island, enters petroglyph portals, and masters that annoying Inner Monkey that knocks us all off-center – at any age. My Yehidah is indispensible for any parents who desire a creative way to nurture their child’s emotional intelligence, creativity, and authenticity.
—Jeffrey Davis, The Journey from the Center to the Page: Yoga Philosophies and    Practices as Muse for Authentic Writing

I am excited to see a journal for young adults written expressly to encourage their own imaginations and aid in developing awareness about their spiritual journeys.  The workbook, based on the novel Six Weeks to Yehidah, is filled with coloring pages, mandalas, and engaging questions that facilitate deepening one’s inner life.  Adults will enjoy and benefit from this book as much as the children for whom it is intended.
Beautifully illustrated by renowned artist, Cheryl Kelley, this book will delight and challenge children to be inspired to engage in their own creativity.
          —Tess Castleman, Jungian Analyst

Joyful, profound and accessible, My Yehidah gently inspires seekers on a journey into their deepest dreams through the magical power of writing, art and imagination. My Yehidah is the young explorer’s perfect companion in living rooms, classrooms and camps.
         —Malcolm R. Campbell, Sarabande

First Melissa Studdard gave us her wonderful novel Six Weeks to Yehidah, a rollicking fable of a ten-year-old girl’s adventures in self-discovery.  Now talented artist Cheryl Kelley has come along to add visual shape to Ms. Studdard’s imaginative tale.  Together the two women have crafted a companion volume to the novel, called My Yehidah.   Filled with illustrations, pictures to color, and insightful written exercises, My Yehidah guides young readers through their own voyage of discovery, showing them the wise place within us all that makes us who we are.   My Yehidah is a fun and valuable learning tool designed to demonstrate that we and the myriad aspects of Creation are, after all, one.
        —Dave Hoing, author of Hammon Falls

Melissa Studdard's Six Weeks to Yehidah is magic!  This beautifully crafted story of awakening youth will rekindle the spark of new beginnings in anyone lucky enough to read it. I treasure this wonderful, important story and its new companion journal, My Yehidah. Together, these delightful books transport readers on a fantastic journey that travels to the core of reality.
            —Anthony Lawlor, author of 24 Patterns of Wisdom

I wish I were a child again with parents who honored my inner world as much as they taught me to clean my room, do my chores, and finish my homework.  My Yehidah is a parent’s opportunity to do just that. As a child’s imaginative, inspirational companion, it encourages one’s senses of fantasy, exploration, curiosity, spirituality and endless amazement.   
This delightful book awakens the art of inner reflection through story, drawing, writing, painting and more.  A rich, confident imagination, the cornerstone of any life’s work, seems to be what Goethe was fostering when he declared, “When you learn to trust yourself, you’ll know what to do with your life.”
Let your children experience the adventure of My Yehidah to foster their creative expression, soul connection and joyous wonder in their emanating young lives.
           —Dr. Herb W. Agan, psychologist and family therapist

Nothing is more wonderful than to discover the unity within. Nothing is more marvelous than discovering and understanding your capacity to make your life more beautiful. This joyous book will help you discover what is best within.
—Kenneth Weene, minister, psychologist, and novelist.              

Pulling ideas and inspiration from her middle-grade novel, Six Weeks to Yehidah, Melissa Studdard, along with Cheryl Kelley, has created an interactive book in which the reader is invited to ponder these ideas, reactions to and connections between them. My Yehidah is an orchard of words and images to feed the imagination and a meadow of blank spaces to meander through while sketching, coloring, painting, collaging, and writing. After reading the captions and following the writing prompts, the reader's thoughts and feelings are taken on a journey from mind to page that is both adventurous and creative. Once completed, it can be a resource to return to again and again not only to see where you began, but also to ignite more exploration and contemplation about where you are, how you arrived there, and where to head next. Whether you roam My Yehidah on its own or after reading Six Weeks to Yehidah, whether you are young or old, whether you go alone or with a group, a journey through its pages is time well spent.
--Dawn Leas, author of I Know When to Keep Quiet

Yehidah means unity. It is your center, your entire self, the part that never changes, the part that is never confused. My Yehidah is a companion book to Six Weeks to Yehidah by Melissa Studdard, but can be used independently. In Six Weeks to Yehidah young Annalise goes on a journey and ends up finding things out about herself that she didn’t know existed. She grew in her journey and this journal will help you do the same.  Travel through your dreams and explore your subconscious in this unique journal of self-discovery. Deep questions pair up with the images, allowing the reader to reach a near meditative state preparing them for an amazing journey. No matter what age a person is, a spiritual journey is a journey that is worth taking. Consider this book a guide to your Yehidah.
--Leanne McGinty, Ahgoo Review

This playful, imaginative workbook offers therapists and counsellors a resource for guiding children through a process of self-exploration and creativity.  It is useful for both individual and group work.  Attitudes, dreams, experiences, feelings and thoughts are identified, creating grand therapeutic opportunities for insight and empowerment. When children share their visual journey with family members, there is increased connection and understanding. 
 --Marilyn Magnuson, Family Therapist and Art Therapist