A Writer's Playground

Monthly Activities for Kids by Linda Martin Andersen

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Posts Tagged ‘Ana Olswanger’

The Cherry Blossoms in Washington, D.C. Remind Me of…

Posted by lindamartinandersen on April 9, 2014


“The Cherry Blossoms in Washington, D.C. Remind Me of…” by Linda Martin Andersen

A Writer's Playground Fotosearch_u17996074 “A Writer’s Playground”–A place to find wordplay, writing, and monthly calendar activities for kids and those young at heart.

March 20, 2014–April 13, 2014 is National Cherry Blossom Week.

The Cherry Blossoms in Washington, D.C. Remind Me of… A Family Vacation There.

Have you ever been to the Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, D.C.?  Over thirty years ago, my family took a vacation there.  We arrived when the blossoms were at their peak.  We waited in line for a couple of hours.  Our sons passed the time by playing Frisbee on the lawn.  Then we climbed to the top of the Washington Monument. (897 steps)  Our younger son said that the view was the best part of our trip and that it was worth the wait.  Music to a mother’s ears.  I hope you’ll be able to see this view of cherry blossoms one day too.  Due to increased national security, no one is allowed to climb to the top today.  Instead, you may ride a glass-walled elevator to the top.  Hope that won’t disappoint you.  😉  Check this link for more information


Time for some Cherry Tree Trivia…

1.  Who was Eliza Ruhamah Scidmore?

2.  What was the Cherry Tree Rebellion?

3.  Name the places where cherry trees are planted in Washington, D.C.?

To answer these trivia questions,  check the sites below: 

Write your own trivia questions.  Please share them in the comment section.









The Cherry Blossoms in Washington, D.C. Also Remind Me of…Kathy Burkinshaw. 


Kathy Burkinshaw is a  friend I met in Charlotte, North Carolina.  She writes for children.  I’m so glad I’ve gotten to know her and I’d like for you to get to know her too.  After reading this interview, see if you can tell why I associate Kathy with cherry trees in Washington, D.C.  Please share your comments below.

Kathy, thank you very much for agreeing to speak with us at “A Writer’s Playground.”  Let’s start with an ice breaker:

Tell us three things  you like to write about.  Why?

Thank you Linda for inviting me to be your blog guest! 

Three things I like to write about:  History, Mystery, and Japan.  I have always been drawn to books that have a plot line one  could relate to with a splash of suspense.  And if it takes place in the midst of a historic event – that is a novel trifecta for me!  I love to research, in fact I am probably OCD about researching a topic or setting.  I am half Japanese so I love learning about traditions in my culture so that I can share it with my daughter. 

Why do you write for children?

I have been lucky enough to have the opportunity to teach Christian youth classes to preschoolers and first graders, as well as being my daughter’s Brownie troop leader.   I love working with or presenting to students.

Please tell us about the writing contest you won.

I would be happy to!!  I was in blissful shock when I found out last July that I had won first place in the YA/MG Novel category of the SCBWI Carolinas 4th Annual Art and Writing Contest!

What is the topic of your winning manuscript?

My manuscript gives a non political manuscript glimpse into a 12 year old’s daily life in Hiroshima during the last year of World War II.  A shocking family secret is revealed and as she gets closer to the truth, a bright flash of light on a clear August day threatens to destroy her sense of what she cherishes most.

What can you share about the tentative title of your manuscript?

It is THE LAST CHERRY BLOSSOM.  One of my mother’s favorite memories is celebrating the cherry blossom festival with her Papa and her family.  Also, scientists originally said nothing would grow again on Hiroshima soil for many years.  Yet the cherry blossoms bloomed again the following spring.  The cherry blossoms endured much like the spirit of the people affected by the bombing in Hiroshima.

Who or what planted the seed for your manuscript?

THE LAST CHERRY BLOSSOM is my mother’s story.  When my daughter was in 7th grade, she had asked me to come in and tell my mother’s story about the people under that famous mushroom cloud.  I was encouraged to write The Last Cherry Blossom when teachers inquired if I had a book to complement my discussion, one they could add to the class reading list.  I wanted to write this book not just to honor my mother and her family, but to honor all the people that suffered or died from the effects of the atomic bomb.

Recently, you were interviewed by your local newspaper.  Please tell about that.

A contributing writer to the Charlotte Observer, read about my award on my husband’s Facebook page.  I was thrilled and nervous when she asked to interview me about my mother’s story that lead to writing the manuscript.

I understand that you are represented by a literary agent.  Who is it?  How did you find representation?

In September I was signed by Anna Olswanger of the Liza Dawson Agency in New York!  She did a long distance critique of the first 20 pages of my manuscript at the 2012 SCBWI Carolinas conference.  In February 2013 I sent my revised manuscript to her.  We worked on several revisions and that September she offered to represent me.  I am not ashamed to admit that I yelped a “woohoo” and did a happy dance!

What are you writing about now?

I am in my research phase of a couple of historic scenarios for my next story.

What else would you like to share?

I have been presenting my mother’s story to middle school students for the past 4 years and love it. Also, I am so glad to have met you at the 2012 SCBWI Carolinas conference!

And I’m glad I met you too!  Thanks again for agreeing to this interview.  I wish you much future writing success.  You know I’m a big fan!

Readers, can you guess why Kathy Burkinshaw reminds me of cherry blossoms?  Please leave your answer in the comment section.  Thank you for visiting “A Writer’s Playground.”  Please come again soon.  Bring a friend.

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Copyright © 2014 Linda Martin Andersen

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