Book Reviews Coming Soon!

I just spent a fabulous couple of days at the American Library Association Midwinter Meeting, held this year in Seattle. I met editors, authors, book reviewers, bloggers, and publishing and distribution representatives. I review books from time to time, and that part of me has opened its dragon eyes and declared, Great books are still being published. We need to get them into the hands of families!

Some of the enticing books I brought home from ALA.

I came home with numerous books and graphic novels I’m eager to share with y’all. I specifically sought middle grade magical fiction and nature-connected fiction, however I found myself ranging into both picture books and young adult, and my dragon heart urged me to pick up titles related to diversity, social justice, and bettering our world.

Storytelling and losing oneself in story is integral to how we humans relate to one another and make sense of our lives and world. You can read more about my thoughts about books as magical doors and reading books to kids here. Books were my companions as a child. Children’s fantasy in particular fueled my imagination to live the kind of magical life I read about. Animal fiction (such as Bambi, A Life in the Woods by Felix Salten, and Jean Craighead George’s many animal novels) fed me — a suburban child — with experiences of forest life, of what it might be like to be the deer, or the fox, or the prairie dog.

I’m passionate about storytelling — hearing the story, experiencing the movement and expression of the teller — and I find reading a story to hold its own wonder. I find a book to indeed be a spell book of sorts, the markings on the pages lifting off to weave worlds in our hearts.

I look forward to sharing some exciting books with you in the coming weeks!

A stack of picture books and a poetry/recipe book from ALA.

Harp Circle on Vashon!

Harp Circle on Vashon! - Art
Illustration by Jane Valencia

What: Harp Circle on Vashon!
When: Sunday, Feb. 10, 2-4:30
Location: Home of Jane Valencia

Contact Jane here for location and to RSVP

Please bring: your harp (if you have one), snack or beverage to share (or feel free to just come!)
If you wish: you’re welcome to bring another instrument or a tune to share

All harp players of any kind of harp (including lyres), all levels including absolute beginners

Folk who are harp-curious
Folk who have a harp but haven’t played in awhile, even years (or decades!)
Musicians who love playing music with harp players
You love the harp and are happy just to listen to it

…. You are all welcome to this gathering!

The intention of this gathering is to share our love of the harp, or curiosity and interest about this beautiful instrument, to meet and to support each other wherever we are in our harp journey or in how we happen to be with the harp that day!

What we’ll do:
We’ll meet each other and the harps. I (Jane) will lead some group harp playing, designed for everyone present to be able to participate in the music-making. Even if you’ve never played the harp, you’ll be able to play! We’ll use the harp in a variety of ways in our music making. We will also have a “works-in-progress” time, where all are invited to share a tune they are working on and be fully supported in their playing. If you want to bring a tune, song, or poem to share that we might play with as a group, please do. I love to improvise ways a whole group can musically adventure together. If you want to lead a group music offering yourself, you are welcome to do so!

You love the harp but have no wish to play? You’re welcome to listen and enjoy!

Any questions? Please contact me. Feel free to share this information with others who might be interested!

Yours with harp and song,


Harpers Hall Gathering - photo
What a Harp Circle looks like. Pictured: a Harpers Hall Monthly Gathering.

Farewell to Forest Halls Celtic ~ Hello, to …. !?

Greetings, Friends,

This is a little note to let you know that Forest Halls Celtic is no longer airing, not even as a replay. A few reasons exist for this decision: the shows weren’t created to be “evergreen,” so they have some very dated information in them is one reason. The other, weightier reason to me, is that the show feels … complete.

I am working on a new kind of audio (and more) series that I’m eager to bring forth to you. But it’s not ready yet. I’m on a learning curve with the tech, and I feel like this show is just beginning to find its own life. When the series is ready, you’ll experience how in some ways it is Forest Halls Celtic, the Next Generation. But it won’t be called that.

In any case, now that I’ve officially ended Forest Halls Celtic, I’m understanding once again how closing one door opens another, and that the life force of FHC is now free to fully find its new form.

Dancing with a Dragon - excerpt - Illustration
An excerpt from “Dancing with a Dragon” – illustration by Jane Valencia