Sunday, May 23, 2010

Everything I need to know...

For Mother's Day, I got "Everything I need to know I learned from a children's book: Life lessons from notable people from all walks of life" edited by Anita Silvey. It's a fascinating read for anyone interested in how people develop character traits, a subject which I find intriguing in both the real world and in fiction. Famous and/or accomplished adults by the dozen contributed their memory of a favorite childhood book and then discuss how the story or its lesson impacted their life.
Among them: William DeVries (surgeon who performed the first successful permanent artificial heart implantation) loved the Wizard of Oz and was drawn to the Tin Woodman, the character without a heart. Steve Wozniak, the cofounder of Apple Inc, remembers how the Tom Swift book series introduced him to creative problem solving using scientific principles. Brad Paisley's favorite book was and is the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and its adventurous spirit touched him so deeply that he gave his son the middle name Huckleberry. As a premature twin who had seizures and grew up in a predominantly white neighborhood, Tiki Barber found inspiration in The Little Engine That Could.
What a wonderful legacy these authors have created. What an honor it would be to touch a developing character in such a rich and lasting way.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Amazing videos

I have a tendency to get lost in my research for the book, and yet finding primary sources (Germany newspapers, diaries, or magazines) from 1938 Germany has been a little harder than I expected. Lots of information is available about the war itself, especially from the American viewpoint, but that prewar period in Germany is a bit harder to come by.
Last week, I spoke with the librarian at the Abington Library about finding some additional primary sources for details I need to set up the historical accuracy of my finale. She had a great suggestion for primary sources: video. She suggested going to the US Holocaust Museum website as well as Google videos and use my typical search terms -1938 Munich- and see what kind of hits I got. I tried it and Bingo. I found some actual footage of parades - in color! Amazing.
Seeing a Nazi-era parade in living, moving detail will make my description of it more accurate. It also helps me see how to fit Sophie's climatic scene into it in a way that will be logical and exciting.