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Over one million families in North America alone celebrate “Chrismukkah.” Around the globe more and more families are incorporating the hybrid holiday into their lives, yet there is no “go-to” story about it for them to embrace. Until now. Hanukkah Howie vs. Santa Claus will be cherished by every child who grows up in a Chrismukkah home, but it will be enjoyed by all readers because it’s fun, funny, and full of heart.
Howie climbed out of the Hanucopter and approached his first house. He sprinkled some oil, then slid under the front door with his bag of gifts. Everything was going smoothly, a typical first night of Hanukkah. Or so he thought! There was someone else in the house, and he had presents, too–Santa Claus! When the shocked pair realized there were families on both their lists…It. Was. On. Hanukkah Howie vs. Santa Claus is the hilarious and heartfelt story of how two holiday heroes wind up with the greatest gift of all for themselves: friendship.
About the Illustrator: Andy Catling is a professional illustrator with more than 30 illustrated titles under his belt. See http://www.catling-art.com/ for more.
Each year I have the privilege to illustrate and design the T-shirts worn by all the volunteers and staff at the Humane Society of Broward County’s huge fundraiser “Walk for the Animals.” The dogs on this T-shirt are very special to me. They are the friends of Small Dog, the lead character in my picture book series.
The Walk will be held February 28th this year. If you love dogs, this is a must attend event!
There is sci-fi and fantasy, but I say why build a new world? Historical fiction offers our world, but in a different time. All the writer has to do is a little research.
Okay. A lot of research.
Stories are about people. There is something I find fascinating about the lives or people in this world, yet of another time. The only problem is that the term itself - historical fiction - is often met with outstretched forefingers in the sign of the cross from wild-eyed agents and editors.
I find the genre fascinating and don’t understand it’s adverse connotation. Story is story and if you people them with intriguing characters and you place them in perilous situations, what does it matter if they are in a time long ago? Just to get around the negativity, I have to dress my stories up with a modern day time traveler in order to sneak in historical settings.
Sherman starts her research in the map room of libraries. This is to get a good working knowledge of the geography of the story. The Internet can help in this regard, but the local university may offer more if the city library can’t provide.
Then she researches the big history, the major events going on at the time. That seems obvious. But it is in what she calls the “tiny history” that details emerge that bring the story to life. She asks herself a thousand questions to discover the minutiae of everyday life. She imagines arriving at one of her characters’s house and wonders, how she got there, in a cab a carriage or on horseback, if the road paved with cobblestones or is is mired in mud, if the house is lighted and if so by candle light or gas, if the place is in a good neighborhood or a slum. All these questions provides details of the time and place that give the story a sense of immediacy and reality.
Sherman warns that we must be careful not to let the research show and turn the whole thing into a history lesson info dump. The writer can’t show off the amount of research they’ve done. The trick is to provide enough description to flesh out the character and give life to the world, without burdening the reader with unnecessary details.
The nature of historical fiction, its limits of an earlier time, does allow the writer some advantages. Authors are supposed to create difficulties for their characters. In addition to the conflicts, barriers, and misunderstandings characters in any novel can face, there were no cell phones or Google to provide the quick fixes our modern day characters may employ. Using a smart phone to locate a Starbucks in a foreign part of town is much easier than sailing to the Far East when an unchartered American continent gets in your way.
Whether as a reader or a writer, there is pleasure in seeing real people dealing with day-to-day living in times long ago.
(This article also posted at http://writetimeluck.blogspot.com)
It was with great sadness that we at ABBA heard of the death of Pauline Fisk, writer of Midnight Blue and many other much-loved children's books, a few days ago on 25th January. Pauline blogged for ABBA for a time, and Penny Dolan has volunteered her usual slot so that we could repeat one of Pauline's posts. This is the last one she wrote for us, in May 2013, and it says so much about her breadth of vision, her sense of adventure, and her concern that children's imaginations should be nurtured.
Our thoughts and our sympathy are with Pauline's family.
This is my last post, regretfully. Life and all its busyness has galloped ahead of me and needs reining back. Before I step down, however, I want to share with you some things I said the other night at Keele University’s Keele Link Awards Ceremony.
I began with a story, because stories are what I do best and they’re also the means by which I make sense of the world. Five years ago now, as some of you will know, I was out in Belize, funded by the British Arts Council, researching gap year volunteering for my novel In The Trees. I wasn’t an adventurous type. I was a sixty year-old, asthmatic, stay-at-home author who’d never been anywhere more tropical than Rome in November. What had kicked me out of my office, however, was the power of imagination.
And it was imagination that I was at Keele to talk about. That same imagination that 'will get you everywhere', according to Albert Einstein, whilst logic 'only gets you from A to Z'. ‘I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination,’ he said. ‘Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.’ And, again, from Picasso, ‘Everything you can imagine is real.’
Well, six years before my Belize trip, my son Idris Davies experienced what was real about that country as a gap year volunteer. I’d waved goodbye to a white-faced, spotty [the result of back–to-back shifts in McDonalds] youth and returned to the airport five months later to greet a person who was literally, physically unrecognisable. By that I mean that when I saw Idris talking to my husband, I thought the tall man in the Trekforce t-shirt was one of the leaders of the trip explaining why our son had missed the plane. Idris’s entire body shape had changed, but it wasn’t muscles, hair or tan that rendered him unrecognizable. It was the way he inhabited his body, as if it wasn’t an accidental appendage but he was actually in charge of it.
Now there’s a story, I immediately thought. As an author of young adult novels, how could I not? What happened to young gap year volunteers when they went off on those rites of passage projects? What changed them - and how?
Six years later, I was in Belize finding out. Six years, I have to say, of struggling not to go out there, because I wasn’t the sort of writer who wrote those sorts of books. I was a stay-at-home gal. I couldn’t afford it. Other writers would do it better. My publishers wouldn’t be interested. My agent would think it was a bad idea. Nobody was writing gap year novels for young teenagers – and I was terrified of snakes.
What drove me out there, against all odds? It wasn’t my publishers being interested after all, my agent thinking it was a good idea and the money for the trip coming in. It was the power of imagination that sent me to Belize. A story had me in its grip, and I didn’t know exactly how that story might unfold, but I knew that if I went out to this unknown country in Central America, it would come. My Kevin Costner moment. If you build it, they will come.
So, imagination. The realm of creative, slightly batty, forgetful types like Albert Einstein, Pablo Picasso - and me. I think not. The realm of all of us – that’s what I went to Keele University to say. What happened to me with In The Trees was that I was captured by an idea. It got me so tightly that it wouldn’t let go. And that’s exactly what had happened to the young people I went out to meet. There, miles from civilization, guarded by soldiers because their project was so dangerous, I found groups of young school leavers trekking into the jungle and enduring hideously primitive living conditions because the idea of saving the rain forest had lodged itself in their heads and wouldn’t be removed. They’d had the imagination to see what might happen if nothing was done - and they were doing what they could.
When did your imagination first kick off? I have a photo somewhere of myself at the age of three making up stories for the big children next door. They’re lined up on one side of the garden wall and I’m on the other and they’re asking what happened next…and next…and next… and I’m telling them.
I believe I was privileged to grow up in an age where imagination was valued. At my primary school my ability to make up and write stories was encouraged. I was made to feel special because of what I could do. But anybody who had half a good idea was made to feel special too. These were the years after the war when the country was trying to grow itself again and its young people were not just its future but valued as a resource.
There was so much freedom back in those days. Half my childhood was spent lurking around back alleys, looking for fairies under bramble bushes, going early to the local park so that I could sit and enjoy it all on my own, making dens in the undergrowth and stories in my head. I travelled alone on the underground. My parents would put me on a bus on one side of London and I’d be met off it on the other. Apart from that little matter of sums and science, languages and sport [in other words, all the things I wasn’t good at in school] I was free. And my imagination was free.
Even when my children were growing up, they too were free. We lived out in a Shropshire village on the edge of the Long Mountain. Summer holidays were spent playing cowboys in the long grass of the churchyard next door [when funerals weren’t taking place] or damming up the local stream.
There’s a tendency, I know, to say that things aren’t what they used to be in the good old days. By which we mean our good old days. Well, surprise, surprise, children are born and growing up with every bit as much imagination as children ever were. The big question now, though, is what happens to it.
Nowadays nobody in that village allows their children to play down the stream. Not since the funny man was there, trying with some woman to get children into his car. So often now it’s fear that fuels people’s imaginations, not opportunities. Who might be lurking round the corner, waiting to pounce? What are governments really up to if we only knew the truth? When will Peak Oil happen and the world as we know it come to an end?
I think we have some very real reasons to be fearful sometimes. But with imagination we can overcome our fears, or at the very least work our way round them. Imagination doesn’t have to bring out the worst in us. It can turn our problems into opportunities. And that’s surely where education comes in.
Children need to be given space for their imaginations to flourish. And they need this space in school, not just afterwards between home time and bed. You want to know what I fear? Here’s an example for you. Imagine a local rural primary school. This is one I know well - I’m not making it up. It’s a lovely school full of lovely children in the middle of lovely countryside - hills, valleys, rivers and verdant woodland. The school’s environment is entirely nurturing. If anywhere in this country is going to turn out free-thinking, imaginative children you’d expect this to be it. But, come the end of the academic year, the Head wants artwork from the top class to go on display – and there is none. Why not? Do I need to spell it out? I certainly didn’t the other night. The children and their teacher had been too busy keeping up with the National Curriculum to have any time left over for art.
Is this really possible? This school? What’s happening here? And if this is what’s happening all over, what do we do?
My connection with Keele came about through the Children’s University, of whom Michael Morpurgo is National Chancellor and I’m Shropshire’s Chancellor. If you want an organisation that’s stimulating children’s imaginations you need look no further. Here it’s very much the children who take the lead, coming up with ideas and dragging themselves, their parents and their teachers off to do or see whatever it is that interests them. And it's not just a cosy, middle-class organisation either. Shropshire's Children's University is operating in some of the most deprived areas in the county. I’m proud to be associated with an organisation like that.
If we don’t see our children’s imaginations fed and stimulated, then the scientists of the future are a thing of the past, the artworks of the future will be black on black, the designers, the thinkers, the builders, the workers of the future – and those craft workers whom the government has just, in yet another of their fits of total madness, announced in a white paper are no longer part of the creative industry – where will they all be?
I don’t need to end here with John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ to make my point. Instead I’m going to end where I started – with Albert Einstein and his imagination encircling the world. In his Commendation of In The Trees, Rafael Manzanero, the Chief Executive of the Belizean NGO responsible for the protection of that country’s rainforest,wrote that people like us really could make a difference to our planet, even though it seems we’re worlds apart. ‘It is not only moral to do so,’ he wrote,‘but the survival of forests will make the planet a better place for human life.’
THIS is the idea that caught hold of a group of young people – that not only governments and multi-national charitable organisations could make a difference to the world around them; they could too. According to Rafael Manzanero it’s been an effective and lasting difference too. And, in the face of illegal logging, poacher activities, unlicensed gold-panning, crime syndicates, the organized smuggling of everything from jaguar cubs to Mayan artefacts - it takes some imagination to achieve a result like that.
The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights by John Steinbeck
The Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times by Jennifer Worth
Historical Romances: The Prince and the Pauper, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc by Mark Twain
The Painted Bridges by Wendy Wallace
Jane Austen Cover to Cover: 200 Years of Classic Covers by Margaret C. Sullivan
Empire in Black and Gold by Adrian Tchaikovsky
The Midwife's Tale by Sam Thomas
A Great and Glorious Adventure by Gordon Corrigan
The Upstairs Room by Johanna Reiss
Little Town on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
These Happy Golden Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Bo at Iditarod Creek by Kirkpatrick Hill
Space Case by Stuart Gibbs
The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander
Socks by Beverly Cleary
The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss
The Cat in the Hat Comes Back by Dr. Seuss
On Beyond Zebra by Dr. Seuss
Horton Hears a Who by Dr. Seuss
If I Ran the Circus by Dr. Seuss
A Girl from Yamhill: A Memoir by Beverly Cleary
My Own Two Feet: A Memoir by Beverly Cleary
The Big Over Easy by Jasper Fforde
The Fourth Bear by Jasper Fforde
Wars of the Roses: Stormbird by Conn Iggulden
The Foundry's Edge by Cam Baity & Benny Zelkowicz
Red Berries, White Clouds, Blue Sky by Sandra Dallas
Snow on the Tulips by Liz Tolsma
Out of the Easy by Ruta Septys
Devil at My Heels by Louis Zamperini
Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire fromThe Captive Reader and Linda from Silly Little Mischiefthat encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.
Pulau Selayar adalah pusat wisata bahari di Provinsi Sulawesi Selatan. Pulau ini adalah bagian dari Taman Nasional Takabonerate. Ini adalah sebuah pulau yang memiliki atau terbesar ketiga di dunia setelah kepulauan Maladewa dan Marshall. Selayar terdapat di Flores dan merupakan pintu gerbang menuju ke Taman Nasional Taka Bonerate.
Kepulauan Selayar memiliki pantai yang indah dengan pasirnya yang berwarna putih dan airnya yang jernih. Anda bisa berenang atau bersantai di pantai sambil menikmati keindahan alam di sekitar Pulau Selayar. Selain itu, bukit-bukit hijau yang membentang, serta gugusan batu karang memanjang ke arah laut sejauh 200 meter merupakan pemandangan yang luar biasa dari tempat ini. Baca juga : Tips Berwisata Kepantai
Kepulauan Selayar memiliki letak yang sangat strategis terutama bagi anda yang ingin melakukan beberapa kegiatan seperti menyelam, snorkeling atau berenang dan memancing.
Bagian timur dari kepulauan ini adalah tempat yang sering dikunjungi oleh para wisatawan. Tempat ini juga terdapat banyak resort yang menyediakan fasilitas menyelam dan bisa di sewa dengan harga yang relatif murah. Selayar dan Takabonerate adalah alternatif terbaik untuk menyelam dan menikmati keindahan bawah laut selain Raja Ampat, dan Selat Bali. Pulau Selayar yang terkenal akan keindahan bawah lautnya itu memiliki terumbu karang yang sangat luas. Ada sekitar 1 juta hektar terumbu karang yang ada di tempat ini.
Tidak mengherankan apabila Selayar kemudian menjadi salah satu permata laut yang terindah di dunia. Selain itu, alamnya yang masih murni merupakan nilai plus dari tempat ini.
Di tempat ini visibilitas ketika menyelam mencapai 30 meter. Salah satu yang paling menarik dari tempat ini adalah tebing karang hasil letusan gunung berapi. Tak hanya itu, ketika anda menyelam, anda akan banyak menemukan ikan-ikan langka seperti Barakuda, Giant Travelly, Marlin, Sailfish, Dogtooth Tuna, Yellowfin, Wahoo, dan Makerels.
Rute Menuju Kepulauan Selayar
Rute menuju Pulau Selayar dan Taman Nasional Taka Bonerate sebenarnya tidak terlalu sulit. Dari Makassar anda bisa menuju ke Pulau Selayar dengan menggunakan mobil, bus, dan menyeberang menggunakan Ferry. Perjalanan biasanya memakan waktu sekitar 8 hingga 9 jam.
Jika anda ingin mendapatkan informasi lebih tentang resort yang ada di pulau ini, yaitu Resorts Selayar Island. Anda bisa mengunjungi www.Selayarislandresort.com, resort ini terletak sekitar pertengahan antara pantai barat Pulau Selayar dan tempat menyelam di bagian timur. Tempat ini menawarkan kamar yang memiliki AC dan memberikan kenyamanan serta beberapa fasilitas modern. Akomodasi yang dimilikinya diantaranya adalah aku akses ke 50 spot diving, perahu, dan masih banyak lagi yang lainnya.
Selain itu anda juga bisa membuka situs dinas pariwisata kabupaten Selayar yang beralamat di www.Selayartourism.com. Disana anda bisa mendapatkan beberapa informasi mengenai hotel, penginapan, serta panduan berwisata di Pulau Selayar. Selain itu, cobalah untuk mengunjungi www.takabonerate.net untuk menggali informasi lebih banyak.
Wow. It was the original, pre-Letraset lettering, 1986 Black Tower ad that I thought had been lost years ago. Featured are Wildmane, Runestone (the flying guy with the big moustache if you have never -WHAT?!- read a Black Tower book before) and to their rear, Team Nippon's own Red Dragon (when Black Tower had a super hero group).
In an interview with EW, X-Men: Apocalypse writer Simon Kinberg confirmed Rose Bryne will be returning for the X-Men: First Class sequel to reprise her role as Moira MacTaggert.
“We ended First Class with Charles having wiped portions of her memory of her experience with the X-Men. They are, essentially, strangers to her when she meets them,” he told EW.
Byrne will join returning co-stars Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Michael Fassbender, and James McAvoy. She will also join recently-introduced Oscar Isaac, who will be playing a central villain, and Sophie Turner, Tye Sheridan and Alexandra Shipp, who will be playing younger versions of Jean Grey, Cyclops, and Storm, respectively.
The sequel is set in the 1980s, which means the time period will jump forward by about 20 years – Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen are said not to be reprising their roles, and we’re guessing the rest of the cast will have just aged very gracefully?
This week me, my family, and my friend Jenae are hanging out at Universal Studios Orlando for the Harry Potter Celebration. It has been an absolutely amazing experience. This is my third time to HP world, but my first time going to Diagon Alley, and let me just tell you IT IS INCREDIBLE!! Riding the Hogwarts Express was a moment I can't even describe. The Gringotts ride is probably my favorite
2015 marks the 25th anniversary for the Humane Society of Broward County’s annual “Walk for the Animals” fundraising event. For something special I was asked to illustrate and design a commemorative T-shirt that will be sold on the day of the Walk (Feb. 28th, 2015).
Part of the fun of the “Walk for the Animals” is seeing the thousands of dogs all in one place. There are big dogs, little dogs, old and young, purebreds and mixed breeds. There are dogs in wagons and dogs playing Frisbee. The “parents” of all these pets are as varied as the dogs themselves. There are vendors of every type imaginable. I can’t say enough how much I look forward to attending, with or without my beloved dog.
There is only one condition, no cats allowed at the event (but the money raised does go for all the animals the HSBC cares for, not just dogs).
If you know what this is, then you know what this is. My kids are in Classical Conversation. They have a song that goes through the history called “The Timeline”. I took parts of that song and turned it into a loop. Thank you kids and wife for coaching me in the melody. I experimented […]
The Harry Potter Celebration at the WIzarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando is well underway! Inside the Magic has uploaded many pictures from the events thus far, and conducted a small interview with Michael Gambon, James and Oliver Phelps, and Evanna Lynch. The pictures of the opening events can be seen here; Inside the Magic reports:
We had a chance to chat with the Potter foursome in a Q&A that followed that introduction, located inside Diagon Alley’s Leaky Cauldron restaurant. While Lynch and the Phelps twins have made many appearances at Universal Orlando throughout the construction of both sides of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, this was Gambon’s first return since the original opened in 2010 and his first visit to Diagon Alley. From his initial first impressions immediately after stepping inside the Leaky Cauldron to his hilarious take on why he won’t be riding Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts while he’s here, Gambon definitely was the highlight of the interview session. He noted that Dumbledore didn’t exactly spend a lot of time hanging around Diagon Alley, so it was unusual for him to be there. And, he added, without his beard and robe he doesn’t entirely resemble his character, but being at Universal makes him miss the ensemble, wishing he had it with him to dress up. But Evanna Lynch isn’t quite so happy this trip, as she said she recently went vegan and is now unable to enjoy the delicious Butterbeer ice cream. These film stars will appear in presentations and autograph sessions throughout the weekend event.
The Harry Potter Film twitter feed is regularly tweeting key moments throughout the events. Some answers from the Film Actors Q&A can be read on their twitter, here.
I thought my new year's resolution was very manageable. Each month I would go to a place in New York City that I had never been. (I can't believe I almost broke my vow--it was already the last day of January!)
After a week of polishing a manuscript, I was ready to get outside of my head and my apartment.
The weather was crisp and cold. The wind was so fierce, I almost changed my mind about going to Owl's Head park on the eastern edge of Brooklyn. But I'm glad I didn't.
At the top of the hill, I could see white caps
on the water of New York harbor.
Without their leaves, the trees are so exposed.
As if they aren't trees at all, but some other kind of life form.
How long has this fellow being been standing on this spot?
This week's recommendation(s): Plenty of genre fiction reviewed this week.
For science fiction lovers, I recommend Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. I did enjoy it very much. I'm not sure I loved, loved, loved it. Only time will prove that one way or the other. I personally still love Worthing Saga more. But that could be because I've reread it four or five times!
Brave New World was a good read. I didn't "love" it. But I'm so glad I read it. If you enjoyed Fahrenheit 451 or The Giver, you should definitely seek this one out.
I would definitely recommend Erle Stanley Gardner's The Case of the Velvet Claws. This is the first Perry Mason mystery. It was just a fun read from start to finish.