Zelda Fitzgerald — Talented, Troubled Wife of F. Scott Fitzgerald

Zelda Fitzgerald, around 1919

Zelda Fitzgerald (July 24, 1900 – March 10, 1948), known for her beauty and personality, made a name for herself as a socialite, novelist, dancer, and painter. She was far more than merely the wife of writer F. Scott Fitzgerald, who called her “the first American flapper.”

Born Zelda Sayre in Montgomery, Alabama, she met Scott at a country club dance in 1918, when he was stationed outside of Montgomery during WWI. He was immediately taken by Zelda, and their passionate and tumultuous relationship began — as did Scott’s liberal borrowing of material from her letters and diaries for use in his own works. 

Although friends and family were not necessarily in favor of their match, Zelda agreed to marry Fitzgerald once his first novel, This Side of Paradise, was published. He finished it in the fall of 1919 and urged his editor, Maxwell Perkins, to hurry the release. This Side of Paradise was published March 26, 1920, and the couple was married on April 3rd at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Read More→

Bookstagram for Authors and Book Lovers

magical book

Bookstagram is an Instagram account featuring books with pictures dedicated to showcasing everything “bookish.” Bookstagram for authors and book lovers uses a series of hashtags, participates in special book events and themes, and posts images that involve bookshelves, book spaces, and of course, books!

Some of the best Bookstagrammers stick with a central theme. Many of them use props to enhance these themes, while others develop styles unique to their brand. Bookstagram accounts post book reviews and host book giveaway contests, too!

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How to Use BookTok: A Guide for Authors and Publishers

garrett library

BookToks are TikTok accounts that are dedicated to books and everything “bookish.” They’re part of a niche platform for short-term video content. BookToks might include content such as videos about literary collections, building at-home libraries, book reviews, and promotions for new releases. Here’s a quick guide on how to use BookTok.

You might notice that many people post content that is awfully similar. These are known as “trends” or challenges, and they can ultimately help widen your page reach.

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All-of-a-Kind-Family by Sydney Taylor — Jewish Joy, Family Ties

All of a kind family original cover

All-of-a-Kind-Family by Sidney Taylor (1951) is the first of a series of children’s books about the everyday lives of a tight-knit Jewish family at the turn of the 20th century. Ella, Henny, Sarah, Charlotte, and Gertie are young sisters who live with their parents in the Lower East Side of New York City.

This story and its sequels smooth the rough edges of immigrant life, but the warmth and strength of the family unit sends the message that love and mutual respect can overcome many of life’s challenges. The girls occasional bicker, but their love and loyalty for one another is evident.

The five sisters love to do everything together, whether it’s going to the library to choose each week’s treasured books, interacting with peddlers in Papa’s junk shop on rainy days, or going on the rare outing with wise, patient Mama. Read More→

Marguerite Henry, Author of Misty of Chincoteague

Marguerite Henry

Marguerite Henry (April 13, 1902 — November 26, 1977), was a beloved American author of animal stories for children. She authored more than fifty children’s books throughout, capturing especially the dreams and fantasies of horse-loving children everywhere.

Many of Marguerite Henry’s books are based on true stories of horses (and occasionally other animals), and have since been translated into twelve languages. Her best-known novels are Misty of Chincoteague  (the basis for the 1961 movie Misty) and its sequels.

King of the Wind (1948) is another of her most popular novels, recognized as “the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children,” by the American Library Association. Both it and Misty of Chincoteague won the highest accolade a children’s book can garner, the Newbery Medal Award; King of the Wind won the Young Reader’s Choice Award in 1951 as well.

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The White Girl by Vera Caspary, Forgotten Contemporary of Nella Larsen’s Passing

The White Girl by Vera Caspary

Passing by Nella Larsen (1929) has staked an important place as a classic fictional work of race, class, sexuality, and identity. Thematically similar, The White Girl by Vera Caspary, a white Jewish novelist and screenwriter, was published earlier that same year and is all but forgotten.

This analysis of how this now-obscure novel relates to Nella Larsen’s enduring classic is excerpted from the forthcoming A Girl Named Vera Can Never Tell a Lie: The Novels of Vera Caspary by Francis Booth:

In a career spanning 1929 to 1979, prolific novelist and screenwriter Vera Caspary wrote a series of compelling strong and amoral women. Her two most famous titular anti-heroines – Laura and Bedelia – were turned into successful Hollywood films of the noir genre in the 1940s. Read More→

Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry (1947)

Misty of Chincoteague Book Cover

Marguerite Henry (1902–1997) was an American children’s book author who wrote some fifty-nine novels inspired by true stories of horses and other animals. Her most famous novel, Misty of Chincoteague (1947), was the first in a series of six stories centered around a wild palomino pony named Misty.

Set in the island town of Chincoteague, Virginia, the novel stars Misty and her mother (Phantom) along with brother and sister Paul and Maureen Beebe. While the book is a work of fiction, the story is based on real people and ponies of Chincoteague Island.

In 1948, Misty of Chincoteague received the Newbery Honor Award and went on to become a classic children’s horse story, right up there with Black Beauty. The book was a bestseller, reprinted numerous times, and is still in print.

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Jan Morris, Travel Writer and Historian — an Introduction

Jan Morris (October 2, 1926 – November 20, 2020), the historian and travel writer, was born and mostly raised in England, but identified as Welsh. Renowned for the Pax Britannica trilogy, a history of the British Empire, she was also esteemed for her intimate and insightful portraits of several great cities of the world. 

Jan published under her birth name, James, before completing her transition to female in 1972. She was one of the first public figures to come out openly as transgender, making her a pioneer to the generations of trans writers (and others) who came after her. 

This introduction to the ideas and accomplishments of Jan Morris is excerpted from Mightier Than the Sword; Rebels, Reformers, and Revolutionaries Who Changed the World Through Writing by Rochelle Melander, illustrated by Melina Ontiveros. Copyright © 2021 Beaming Books. Reproduced by permission. Read More→