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Ronald Kidd - March 2019

Another Paterson Prize Honor

I just learned that my latest novel Lord of the Mountain has been named an Honor Book for the 2019 Paterson Prize for Books for Young People, in the category Grades 4-6. 

The prize, by the the Poetry Center in Paterson NJ, goes to “the most outstanding book for young people published in 2018.” Typically the prize is given to one book in each category, with three Honor Books.

My previous novel Night on Fire, about the Freedom Riders, was co-recipient of the 2015 Paterson Prize.

How the Trumpet Got Its Toot

Anthony Plog has done it again. My good friend and musical collaborator has composed a new piece for narrator and symphony orchestra. The new piece is How the Trumpet Got Its Toot, with music by Tony and text by yours truly. Here is a synopsis, taken from the score:   

How the Trumpet Got Its Toot, based on a story by Ronald Kidd, tells the tale of the young and idealistic trumpet, son of two brass candlesticks, who finds his musical destiny in the city of Sinfonia. He meets the flute, who teaches him about music and life, and the tuba, who shares the importance of friendship. Along the way we are introduced to all the instruments of the orchestra.   

“Written by Anthony Plog in the style of Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf, this short piece for narrator and orchestra is ideal for children’s and family concerts. A children’s opera version, premiered by the Utah Symphony and Opera (in a production pictured here), is also available.”    

This piece follows several previous collaborations with Tony, in which he wrote the music and I provided the text: the cantata Magdalene, about victims of sex trafficking and prostitution; the oratorio God’s First Temples, depicting the first great battle of the environmental movement; and the children’s opera Santa’s Tale, about an elf who tries to take over Christmas and how Santa wins it back, with the help of Blitzen the reindeer and a little girl named Molly.     

For more information about Anthony Plog and his music, click here.

What Does a Genius Look Like?

If you’ve ever pondered this question, you might want to read a terrific article about Richard Feynman, perhaps the greatest physicist since Einstein and one of the most colorful characters of the 20th century. 

The article, “What Impossible Meant to Feynman,” describes Feynman’s personality and unusual teaching approach, in which the word impossible had an alternate, unexpected meaning. Click here to see the article.

I’m a big fan of Richard Feynman, ever since including him as a character in my historical novel The Year of the Bomb. In the story, a group of young horror-movie fans in the 1950s witness the filming of the horror classic The Invasion of the Body Snatchers in their hometown. Picking up on the film’s paranoia, the boys learn that one of the inventors of the A-bomb lives nearby, and they become convinced he’s a spy. It’s Feynman, of course. The boys stalk him, Cold-War style, and confront him, with humorous and inspiring results.

To learn more about Feynman, read James Gleick’s masterful biography Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman.

Now Available

  • Lord of the Mountain
    The “big bang” of country music in 1927 at Bristol, Tennessee.
    Read more
  • Room of Shadows
    Edgar Allan Poe returns and gets the glorious death he deserved.
    Read more
Learn about my books, plays, and music at ronaldkidd.com.
Download a sampler of chapters from three of my latest books.

Copyright © 2019 Ronald Kidd, All rights reserved.


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