• R.I.P. Jane Resh Thomas, 86, in June ("The Princess in the Pigpen," 198

    From Lenona@21:1/5 to All on Tue Aug 22 13:00:35 2023
    About "The Princess in the Pigpen":

    "After tossing feverishly on her sick-bed in seventeenth-century England, Elizabeth, daughter of the Duke of Umberland, awakens to find herself mysteriously transported to a farm in twentieth-century Iowa."

    (with photo)

    When Kate DiCamillo moved to Minneapolis from Florida, she joined a writers’ group taught by widely known Minnesota children’s author Jane Resh Thomas. One night DiCamillo stayed after class and poured out her troubles to her teacher. DiCamillo was
    poor and struggling, with more than 400 rejections of her writing. She didn’t know how much longer she could believe in herself.

    Thomas replied: “I will believe in you for you.”

    Award-winning author and writing mentor Jane Resh Thomas died Monday, June 12, 2023, at the Martin Luther Assisted Living Center in Bloomington. She was 86.

    DiCamillo’s success as an award-winning writer is just one of the mentoring legacies left by Thomas, who died Monday, June 12, at Martin Luther Assisted Living Center in Bloomington from the effects of numerous health issues, according to her executor,
    Theodore Olson. She was 86 and was preparing for a writers’ workshop the next day. She had been leading a group of six writers and was coaching Daniel Bernstrom, a young picture book author.

    Thomas was the author of 15 books, an English instructor and was instrumental in the founding of the Hamline University’s MFA in writing for children and young adults. A recipient of the University of Minnesota Kerlan Award for contributions to
    children’s literature, she was a children’s literature columnist for several national newspapers, including the Minneapolis Tribune.

    There were no genre fences for Thomas, who wrote picture books, short fiction, middle-grade fiction and biography. Among her books are the popular “Saying Good-bye to Grandma,” about a 7-year-old returning to her grandparents’ home for her
    grandmother’s funeral, a story described as “not maudlin or depressing” by the Pioneer Press’ reviewer. She won Minnesota Book Awards for “Behind the Mask: The Life of Elizabeth I,” and “The Counterfeit Princess.”

    Born in Kalamazoo, Mich., Thomas was an emergency room nurse in Florida before moving to Minneapolis and marrying advertising executive Dick Thomas. Her son Jason took his life in 2016 after a struggle with mental illness.

    Thomas earned undergraduate and master’s degrees from the University of Minnesota, where she was working as a nurse and English teacher before she began her career as a freelance writer in 1972. Her first book, “Elizabeth Catches a Fish” (1977),
    was based on her childhood memories.

    A celebration of Thomas’ life will be held Aug. 15 from 5:30 to 9 p.m., with a 7 p.m. program, at Moirs Park, 10320 Morgan Ave. S., Bloomington.

    (videos - she's in one of them, at least)

    What I posted in 2016:

    Born in Kalamazoo, Michigan, she became a nurse in the 1950s and then a writing instructor and editor. She now lives in Minneapolis. Starting in 1972, she became a book critic for Minneapolis Star Tribune and Cleveland Plain Dealer.

    Her books include "picture books, short fiction, middle-grade fiction, and biography."

    (includes her awards and a longish article on her work)

    (rules for writing, by Thomas)

    (on grammar)

    Middle third of post:

    ...What would a non-native speaker make of “every which way,” an expression common in 1940s Kalamazoo, when and where I grew up? My family also said, “I can't hardly believe it.” A welder once told me that the bosses and the metallurgists spoke a
    different language among their peers than they did with the workers, while he knew only one; he had come to college, he said, in the hope of speaking more than one way. This principle of rhetoric is decorum, suiting the language to the situation. Knowing
    how to say both “I can't hardly believe it” and “I can hardly believe it,” gives me latitude that I didn't have back home.

    RickiThompson's son, who speaks Japanese, told me that the seventy-odd English prepositions perplex Japanese people, whose language has only seven. How do we know whether to say He put the baby on the bed or in the bed; He put the baby to bed or into bed?
    Do we hang the painting atop the bed or over the bed or above the bed or above the head of the bed? Might above the bed mean on the ceiling? What does She's lying under a tree mean; a non-native speaker might think that the sentence means the woman is
    buried there. Which is closer: She's sitting by the tree, next to the tree, or beside the tree? Usage of prepositions is not so tricky for people who were born into families who speak English, but few of us can explain the subjunctive mood with much
    confidence that a non-native speaker could understand how to use it. The British use subjunctive more often than Americans do, one reason they sound funny to us. Unless we've studied languages, we know most of what we know about them by ear.

    Grammar serves us, rather than our serving grammar. We nevertheless do better as writers if we know how the language works. We can create effects only to the extent that we've mastered the language. If we don't know when to employ past perfect verb tense
    in an English sentence (She had put the baby to bed), we can't show the chronology of actions merely by adjusting verbs. The Sapir-Whorf proposition holds that the grammar of a language affects the way people conceptualize the world and themselves in it.
    English allows me to say, If the weather weren't so cold, we might have had a picnic and to think about what we missed. For a Vietnamese speaker whose native language lacks the hypothetical subjunctive mood, if and might statements, and consequently
    thinks entirely in facts, that sentence is just ridiculous...

    (on the importance of patience in writing)

    ("On Kindness, On Intention, and On Anger in Children’s Writers" - about the lecture that preceded it)

    (more of same)

    (brief recollection of a writing program by Thomas)

    (six Kirkus reviews - "Daddy Doesn't Have to Be a Giant Anymore" is about an alcoholic dad)

    (reader reviews)

    (brief synopses of her books)


    Elizabeth Catches a Fish, illustrated by Joseph Duffy, Seabury Press (New York, NY), 1977.

    The Comeback Dog, illustrated by Troy Howell, Clarion (New York, NY), 1981. Courage at Indian Deep, Clarion (New York, NY), 1984.
    Wheels, illustrated by Emily McCully, Clarion (New York, NY), 1986.
    Fox in a Trap, illustrated by Troy Howell, Clarion (New York, NY), 1987.
    Saying Good-bye to Grandma, illustrated by Marcia Sewall, Clarion (New York, NY), 1988.
    The Princess in the Pigpen, Clarion (New York, NY), 1989.

    Lights on the River, illustrated by Michael Dooling, Hyperion (New York, NY), 1994.
    Daddy Doesn't Have to Be a Giant Anymore, illustrated by Marcia Sewall, Clarion (New York, NY), 1996.
    Scaredy Dog (chapter book), illustrated by Marilyn Mets, Hyperion (New York, NY), 1996.
    Behind the Mask: The Life of Elizabeth I, illustrated by Marcia Sewall, Clarion (New York, NY), 1996, published as Elizabeth the Great: Queen of the Golden Age, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 1996.
    Celebration!, illustrated by Raul Colon, Hyperion (New York, NY), 1997.
    The Snoop, illustrated by Ronald Himler, Clarion (New York, NY), 1999.

    The Counterfeit Princess, Clarion (New York, NY), 2005.
    Blind Mountain, Clarion (New York, NY), 2006.

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