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26. Cullman Fellows

       They've announced the 2015-2016 Fellows at the New York Public Library's Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers -- a nine-month gig that includes "a stipend of up to $70,000, an office, a computer, and full access to the Library's physical and electronic resources".
       Always an interesting group of writers and projects, but most eye-catching this time around are:

  • Two-time Best Translated Book Award-winner Krasznahorkai László, who: "will be working on a novel about Melville after the publication of Moby Dick". Awesome !

  • Bonsai-author Alejandro Zambra, who: "will be working on a book about personal libraries".

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27. Sunday Sketching

2-3 minute heads in the teensy purse Moleskine balanced upon my knee....

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28. Blog Series: A Peek Inside Conferring Toolkits

This week my friends and I at Two Writing Teachers will take you on a tour of our writing toolkits. You won't want to miss a single post this week!

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29. RhyPiBoMo Week 5

My reading material from this week:


My favorite for the week is WHEREVER YOU GO by Pat Zietlow Miller illustrated by Eliza Wheeler. Love, love the illustrations!

Here is my poem for the Golden Quill Poetry contest:

KITTY'S QUEST FOR FREEDOM
I must sneak out, I must sneak out,
this kitty wants a walk about.
I’ll duck out when Dog comes in –
if I fail, I’ll try again.

Now I’m out, now I’m free!
I’m scared – it’s way too much for me!
I should be glad ... to my chagrin,
now I want to sneak back in!

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30. Hunting Finches



Paul Finch's latest Heck novel, Hunted, is released this week and you can meet Paul in Waterstones Liverpool One store on Wednesday 6th May 2015 at 18:30 where he'll be in conversation with Luca Veste.

Paul and his wife Cathy are awesome folk so if you're in the local area, come give Paul your support. The Bestwick and I will either be cheering from the front row (him) or the back row (me).

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31. Star Wars Day

Hi!May 4 Is Star Wars Day! 

To celebrate, go play the Jedi Trainer Game!

I don’t know why May 4th is Star Wars Day. It seems like such a random date. Nevertheless, I speak for Yoda and all the Jedi knights when I say, “May the 4th be with you!”

Star Wars Heroes book cover

What do YOU think Yoda is saying on this book cover? Leave your caption in the Comments.

Sonja, STACKS Staffer

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32. Celebrating my Fourth Blog Anniversary…Then and Now…

May the Fourth be with You...
THEN:
ALL SYSTEMS GO! (First posted May 4th, 2011)

May the ‘Fourth’ Be With You!

Sorry. I couldn’t resist. After all, it is Luke Skywalker Day.

First, let me introduce myself—my name is Sharon Ledwith and I write young adult fiction. My genres include: time travel mysteries (kind of like a mesh of fantasy with a splash of sci-fi meets Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys), as well as paranormal stories where teens deal with psychic powers like psychometry, telekinesis, animal communication—stuff like that.

My intention of this blog is to:

#1 Get you to know me as a writer, and post my experiences as an indie publisher of eBooks.

#2 Introduce and showcase my stories and characters.

In a nutshell—market myself and promote my work.

That’s it really. You see, writing is all about the reader. My goal is to influence and empower today’s youth—the next generation—through the stories I create. I believe everyone is here at this time with a mission and a purpose, and every child has something to add to our evolutionary advancement. Children truly are the keys to our future. It is my hope to unlock this portent.

NOW:
Wow! To be honest, I was so afraid when I started blogging and putting myself out in cyber-space. Reading my first post over again, I realize that I’ve come a long way in my writing journey. Back in 2011, I didn’t have a publisher and was still querying agents and publishers. This blog and my Facebook account was the beginning of my online presence, and I really felt like a fish out of water. But I kept blogging and posting on Facebook. I learned to share interesting and helpful posts for other authors as a way of connection. I figured out what works for me and what doesn’t—still an ongoing process, I must admit! And I continue to work on my author brand and platform through blogging and networking with other authors, readers, publishers, and bloggers.

I’ve also gotten better with time. Go figure. My intention has changed a lot since that first blog post. I’m much more confident and tech savvy then I was. Now I’m a published author, and represented by a literary agency. I’ve also learned to adapt to my environment, and go with the flow through the ups and downs of the publishing industry. So what have I learned in the last four years? In grand Oprah-like fashion, I’d like to share with you what I know for sure:

·         I’ve realized that I do NOT want to be an indie publisher, but rather be part of a publishing company. I’m more of a team player and had to figure that out for myself. I like having the support of a publisher behind me. Plus I didn’t have to look for, and invest in an editor, cover artist, and book formatter.
·         I’d rather write blogs that uplift or help authors and readers.
·         I love showcasing middle grade and young adult authors and their books and/or series on my blog for readers to find.
·         I enjoy doing Goodreads Giveaways. I’ve connected with so many readers this way!
·         Book blog tours are exhausting. I’ve learned to delegate blog tours to the professionals whenever possible!
·         Trying to fit into other authors’ shoes is painful and unproductive. Stand in your truth.
·         I can only be one place at a time. Too many social media accounts = too many distractions and not enough writing time. I decided to stick with Facebook, get on Twitter, join Google+ and Goodreads, and occasionally share on LinkedIn. That’s it!
·         I blog every Monday. I used to do it twice a week, but couldn’t keep up. I’ve learned being consistent keeps you out there and creates an audience.
·         I’ve learned to develop a positive mental attitude. Trust me, a PMA will keep you afloat on the days you just want to throw in the towel.
·         I’ve learned from other authors. Success leaves clues. Follow the clues.
·         Finally, I’ve learned that writing is both a business and a passion. It requires wearing two different hats. You need to juggle these hats if you want to be a successful author.


Where the Magic Happens...
I still believe writing is all about the reader. And I still hope to influence, uplift, and empower through my books. My personal motto is: I write to make people’s lives better, create something of value to make them smile. May the fourth be with you, everyone! Cheers! 

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33. Tuesday Morning

It is hard to describe to those who do not understand libraries, who haven’t been in a library in years, the value of the public library today.

We are community anchors.

Libraries are the center of life, a place of aspiration and hope.

Sometimes that can sound like rhetoric, even to me.

In Baltimore we have 22 libraries. One of them is at the corner of Pennsylvania and North Avenue. It is one of our largest branches and one of our most beautiful. The community it serves is one of our most disadvantaged. Every day the library is open, people of the community come to the library to use computers, attend baby storytimes and relax after school and work. Monday, April 27th was no different. By two o’clock the library had staffcustomers. Children, adults and teens were in the library along with staff when the violence that was taking hold in our city came literally right to the door. The brave and committed staff of the Pennsylvania Avenue Branch kept everyone safe that day. That is remarkable, but what is even more remarkable is that every single staff member showed up for work that very next day, to open the doors again at 10 AM.

When I began working in 1988, the branch manager of the Pennsylvania Avenue Branch was Betty Boulware. She was a dignified and statuesque woman of tremendous kindness and determination. She was diligent in keeping that branch looking its best and the staff busy with programs. Betty believed that it was even more critical to offer a beautiful, bustling library in a community that had so many challenges. Betty understood that if we gave the community something truly beautiful; they would come to love it and honor it.

Penny, the Girl on the WindowWhen the smoke cleared on Tuesday morning, April 28th, the National Guard was in Baltimore. They had come under cover of darkness, amid fire and glass strewn streets. Glass was everywhere. It seemed that every window along some streets was smashed. Local Businesses were in ruins. The CVS across the street from our branch burned all night, hampered by some punching holes in the fire fighters hoses. When the library opened at 10 AM that morning, our CEO, Carla Hayden, came herself to help staff put the sign on the door. It is a glass door. The whole front of the branch is glass and remained intact.

I am greatly saddened by the events that have happened in my city. There is so much work that needs to be done on the road to justice and to making Baltimore the city we who love it believe it can be. It is daunting but I am steadied and renewed by the vison of our branch, its untouched glass windows glinting in that Tuesday sun: an anchor, a center of life, a place of aspiration and hope.

(Photos courtesy of blogger)

The post Tuesday Morning appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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34. Spotlight and Giveaway: Breaking Noah by Missy Johnson and Ashley Suzanne

This morning I have an excerpt and giveaway for Breaking Noah.  Enjoy!

Breaking Noah

By: Missy Johnson & Ashley Suzanne

Releasing May 12, 2015

Loveswept

Blurb

What happens when you start falling for your worst enemy? Fans of Abbi Glines and Monica Murphy will relish this addictive novel of smoking-hot seduction—and revenge gone so wrong, it’s right.

I wasn’t always this jaded. I had a clear head, things I wanted out of life, and a concise plan on how to get there. For being only twenty-one, I pretty much had it all figured out. Until the day my cousin died.


I spent months going over all the details surrounding her death, trying to figure out how I missed the signs, and the only thing I could come up with was she would still be alive if it wasn’t for one person: her professor. So I transferred to his college, enrolled in his class, and set my new plan in motion.

First I’ll seduce him. Then I’ll ruin him. I’ve just got to stay strong and not let his charm and my emotions get the best of me. Because someone has to pay for her death. If it’s the last thing I do, I’m going to break Noah.


Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2015/02/breaking-noah-by-missy-johnson-and.html

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23636584-breaking-noah?from_search=true

Buy Links: Amazon | B & N | iTunes | Kobo | Publisher

Author Info: Missy Johnson
Missy Johnson is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author who lives in a small town in Victoria, Australia, with her husband and her confused pets (a dog who thinks that she is a cat, a cat who thinks he is a dog . . . you get the picture). When she’s not writing, she can usually be found looking for something to read.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

 

Author Info: Ashley Suzanne

Ashley Suzanne has been writing for as long as she can remember. As a youngster, she was always creating stories and talking to her imaginary friends. Thankfully, her parents also carried this love of fiction, and helped her grow into the bestselling author she is today. When Ashley isn’t coming up with her next story, you’ll most likely find her on the couch, telling her husband all about her new book boyfriend, or spending quality time with her two gremlins . . . er, adorable children.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter| Goodreads

EXCERPT:

He’s flustered.

I suppose if I’d been caught stalking a student, I’d be flustered, too. I stand there with my hand on my hip, my eyebrows raised, waiting for him to say something. Containing my smirk is harder than I’d imagined. I really couldn’t have planned this any better if I’d tried. Oh, Karly, justice is so close, I can taste it.

I don’t even think he’s aware he’s glanced at my chest three times already. Noah’s already putty in my hands.

“Mr. Bain? Would you like to tell me why you’re at my home, of all places? You couldn’t be stalking me, could you?” The cool, sarcastic tone of my voice surprises even me. I had no idea I had it in me—so Karly-like. It’s as if her attitude’s flowing through me.

He’s so uncomfortable that it’s a real effort for me not to laugh. What the hell is he doing here, outside my apartment? This guy really is the definition of creep. The way he looked at me today, and now this? I shiver and run my hands over my arms. He might be the worst kind of predator—attractive, intelligent, with a smile that could charm the pants off a nun. It would have been easy for Karly to fall for him and never be able to see the disastrous results coming.

“I was in the area . . .” His voice trails off as his face resigns to the fact that there is nothing he can say to get him out of this. I don’t think watching him squirm will ever get old. How’s that hot seat feel? It’s only going to get worse.

“Dammit,” he curses, slamming his hands down on the steering wheel in frustration.

“Language, Professor Bain,” I chide softly. I lean forward so my arms are resting on the door frame of his car.

He runs a hand through his dark, unruly hair, his pale blue eyes darting around, and I can see the effort he’s putting forth to not look at me. Maybe he’s expecting me to be angrier than I am? That I’d be making more of a scene? But how can I be? This is perfect.

I never expected to have this kind of effect on him this early, and as creepy as he’s being right now, this is exactly what I want. I really thought I’d at least have to put in some sort of effort.

He finally speaks. “I wanted to check that you were okay.” His voice is quiet, and I’m confronted by how much I actually believe his words.

Don’t get dragged in, Zara. This is probably how he lured Karly, too. Acting allconcerned and gentlemanlike. I want to pull his heart straight out of his chest, but there’s much better ways to handle men like him.

“Why wouldn’t I be okay?” I laugh. I pretend his words don’t affect me, but they do. I’m not used to anyone outside of my family actually caring about me. I’m usually referred to as the lone wolf. With the exception of Karly and my brother, nobody knows me. I’ve never given anyone the chance. Not even Dillon. He’s seen glimpses of who I really am, but allowing anyone that close gives them the opportunity to hurt me.

“I had a feeling.” He shrugs, shaking his head as if he can’t put into words exactly what he’s doing. The sweat beading on his forehead and the slight tremor in his hands have me wondering if this really is out of character for him. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have come here, and you obviously weren’t meant to see . . .”

“That you were spying on me?” I supply. “I can assure you, Professor Bain, I’m quite all right, and not in need of saving, or whatever it is that you’re doing here,” I protest. “I can only imagine what the dean would say if she found out about this. I’m not exactly sure, but I would think that showing up at a student’s home in the middle of the night with some sort of feeling could land even the most trusted professor in some serious hot water.” Start begging, Noah. The unintentional trap I’ve laid for him: It’s pure genius. I only wish I’d thought of it myself.

“Please, Zara. Can we keep this between us? I’m sorry . . .” He curses again, gripping the steering wheel so tight his knuckles turn a ghostly white. I know the color well. I’m sure if I uncoiled my tightly wrapped hands, they’d match his perfectly.

I bite back a smile. I can’t help it; I’m amused, yet angered at the same time. How is it possible to feel both of these emotions simultaneously? Wanting to giggle and punch him in the face? I wish there were some manual to tell me which feeling I should have.

I’ve never seen a grown man so worked up before. His embarrassment is obvious, yet there’s something else I can’t put my finger on. Maybe genuine concern? But that can’t be the case. He hasn’t known me long enough to feel that way. He starts the engine and I step back, cross my arms over my chest and attempt to keep my fists hidden from sight. I bite my lip and watch him shift the gearshift into drive.

“Sure, Professor Bain,” I whisper, biting my lip. Releasing balled hands, my finger toys with the necklace that hangs around my neck, drawing his gaze once again to my breasts—a trick Karly taught me when we were teenagers trying to buy beer. Give a man an excuse to ogle your goodies and you’ve won without even having to try. I tilt my head and smile at him. “This will be our little secret, okay?” A secret that I’m going to use against you anytime I wish, I think to myself, inwardly rubbing my hands and cackling like a mad scientist.

“I’ll see you tomorrow, Ms. Hamilton,” he says nervously. He checks his blind spot, or to see if anyone else is watching our interaction, and sheepishly smiles.

I watch as he drives off, the car disappearing into the night. I stand on the road for a moment, trying to gather my thoughts before I head inside. The last thing I need is Dillon poking his nose around where it doesn’t belong. This is my fight.

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35. New Swedish Book Review

       The 2015:1 Issue of the Swedish Book Review is now up, with all the book reviews and some of the articles (including a report on The Tove Jansson Centennial Conference: Multiple Aesthetics, Passion, Politics and Philosophy by Silvester Mazzarella) freely accessible.

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36. Fusenews: Gravel in the bed

“If kids like a picture book, they’re going to read it at least 50 times, and their parents are going to have to read it with them. Read anything that often, and even minor imperfections start to feel like gravel in the bed.” – Mark Haddon

I’ve just returned from speaking at a magnificent writing retreat weekend at Bethany Hegedus’s Writing Barn in Austin, Texas.  That quote was one that Bethany read before Alexandra Penfold’s presentation and I like it quite a lot.  Someone should start a picture book blog called “Gravel In the Bed”.  If you need a good treat, I do recommend The Writing Barn wholeheartedly.  The deer alone are worth the price of admission.  And if you’ve other children’s book writing retreats you like, let me know what they are.  I’m trying to pull together a list.

  • I just want to give a shout out to my girl Kate Milford. I don’t always agree with the ultimate winners of The Edgar Award (given for the best mysteries) in the young person’s category but this year they knocked it out of the park. Greenglass House for the win!
  • As you know, I’m working on the funny girl anthology FUNNY GIRL and one of my contributors is the illustrious Shannon Hale.  She’s my personal hero most of the time and the recent post Boos for girls just nails down why that is.  Thanks to bookshelves of doom for the link.

Not too long ago I was part of a rather large gathering based on one of my blog posts.  The artist Etienne Delessert saw a piece I’d written on international picture books and how they’re perceived here in the States.  So what did he do?  He grabbed local consulates, flew in scholars, invited friends (like David Macaulay) and created an amazing free day that was hugely edifying and wonderful.  You can read the SLJ report We need more international picture books, kid lit experts say or the PW piece Where the Wild Books Are: A Day of Celebrating Foreign Picture Books or the Monica Edinger recap International Children’s Books Considered.  Very interesting look at these three different perspectives.  And, naturally, I must thank Etienne for taking my little post so very far.  This is, in a very real way, every literary blogger’s dream come true.  Merci, Etienne!

  • There’s a lot of joy that can come when when a British expert discusses their nation’s “forgotten children’s classics“.  The delightful Oxford Companion to Children’s Literature is out and its editor Daniel Hahn has recapped the books that he feels don’t get sufficient attention in Britain.  Very funny to see one of our American classics on this list (I won’t ruin which one for you).
  • How do we instill a sense of empathy in our kids?  Have ‘em read Harry Potter.  Apparently there’s now research to back that statement up.  NPR has the story.
  • Ooo. Wish I lived in L.A. for this upcoming talk.  At UCLA there’s going to be a discussion of Oscar Wilde and the Culture of Childhood that looks at his fairytales.  It ain’t a lot of money.  See what they have to say.
  • Because of I have ample time on my hands (hee hee hee hee . . . whooo) I also wrote an article for Horn Book Magazine recently.  If you’ve ever wondered why we’re seeing so many refugees from the animation industry creating picture books, this may provide some of the answers.
  • Over at the blog Views From the Tesseract, Stephanie Whelan has located a picture book so magnificent that it should be reprinted now now now.  Imagine, if you will, a science fiction picture book starring an African-American girl . . . illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon.  Do you remember Blast Off?

Of course you don’t.  No one does.  Stephanie has the interiors on her site.  And since the number of books that show African-American girls as astronauts are . . . um . . . okay, I’ve never seen one.  Plus it’s gorgeous and fun.  REPRINT REPRINT REPRINT!

  • Speaking of girls in space, I’ve never so regretted that a section was cut from a classic book.  But this missing section from A Wrinkle in Time practically makes me weep for its lack.  I WISH it had been included.  It’s so very horribly horribly timely.
  • As you’ll recall, the new math award for children’s books was established.  So how do you submit your own?  Well, new submissions for 2015 (and looking back an additional five years) will begin to be received starting June 1st. So FYI, kiddos.
  • Daily Image:

Know a librarian getting married?  Or an editor?  Or an author?  Gently suggest to them these for their registry.


Thanks to Stephanie Whelan for the link.

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37. Cartoon- Self help

cartoon. lady monica gupta

जिस तरह से महिलाओं पर लगातार अत्याचार हो रहे हैं.. रेप हो रहे हैं दोषियोको ना ही किसी का डर है न अदालत का खौफ … ऐसे में सबसे अच्छा माध्यम है … अपनी सुरक्षा अपने हाथ… बजाय उधर उधर ताकने के और मदद के लिए पुकारने के महिला को स्वयं की रक्षा करनी होगी और ऐसे मजनूओ को पाठ पढाना होगा कि महिला अब कमजोर नही है

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38. Best Selling Young Adult Books | May 2015

With so many strong novels on this list, a lot remains the same on our hand-picked list from the Best Selling Young Adult list.

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39. Monday Poetry Stretch - Burns Stanza

When I interviewed J. Patrick Lewis last month (read it here) he said in response to a question on forms he wanted to try, "I’m endlessly working my way through Robin Skelton’s indispensable The Shapes of Our Singing: A Comprehensive Guide to Verse Forms and Metres from Around the World. For any poet eager to experiment, there is a surprise on every page." That was endorsement enough for me, so I ran out and bought a copy. I am still reading my way through it, but I thought this was as good a time as any to try out something new.

Here's what Skelton says about the Burns Stanza.
The Burns Stanza is so called because Robert Burns make brilliant use of it and it was through his work that it became familiar. It is also called Standard Habbie, the Scots stanza and the six-line stave. Each stanza has six lines rhyming A A A B A B. The A lines are usually of eight or nine syllables and the B lines of four or five. 
To a Mouse by Robert Burns is a great example of this.

I hope you'll join me this week in writing a poem that uses the Burns Stanza. Please share a link to your poem or the poem itself in the comments.

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40. Admiralty Islands, 1944

Pete Hurley, WWII, 1944

Pete Hurley, WWII, 1944


This is my grandfather, Pete Hurley, during WWII in the Pacific. He was a member of the SeaBees – the USN Construction Battalion who built and maintained airports, runways, etc. on the islands during the war. He’s about 28 in this picture.

My grandfather died a few days before my 5th birthday but I have some huge memories of him. He was not a big man, but had a very big personalty. More than anything, he embodied all the classic characteristics of the Irish Mick – fair skinned, fair haired, blue-eyed, a great dancer and storyteller, talented in a thousand different ways. He wasn’t perfect – he had the Irish demons as well – but he was unforgettable.

This is one of my favorite photos of him – if you follow me on twitter (@chasingray), my grandfather & grandmother are in my profile pic.

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41. Nervous Conditions review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Tsitsi Dangarembga's 1988 novel, Nervous Conditions -- a novel that lives up to its modern-African-classic reputation.

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42. Best New Stars Wars Books: May the 4th Be with You

The Children's Book Review strikes back with the return of the Star Wars book list. Grab your favorite little droid and treat them to a galactic read—the force is strong in these books.

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43. Celebrating all types of families: 3 new picture books (ages 3-9)

Three new picture books celebrate all types of families with joy and love. Share these with preschoolers or kindergartners, especially as Mother's Day approaches--helping kids recognize that families take many shapes and forms.

Families, Families, Families
by Suzanne Lang
illustrated by Max Lang
Random House, 2015
Your local library
Amazon
ages 3-6
This book is sure to bring giggles as you read it with young children. Lang shares a medley of silly cartoon animal families showing all kinds of nontraditional families.  Each cartoon portrait is framed, hanging on a wall -- the realistic elements adding to the humor.
"Some children have lots of siblings"
"Some children have none."
Gently rhyming lines accompany the family portraits: "Some children live with their grandparents/ and some live with an aunt./ Some children have many pets/ and some just have a plant." As the SLJ review clearly states, "The loud-and-clear message is that 'if you love each other, then you are a family.' And imagine the many children who will be reassured because they have found a portrait of a family they will recognize as their own." A delightful celebration of diversity, treated with loving humor.
My Family Tree and Me
by Dušan Petričić
Kids Can Press, 2015
Book trailer
Your local library
Amazon
ages 4-9
Beginning with his great-great-grandparents on his father’s side, a young boy introduces his family, leading to a current family portrait at the book's center. This provides a wonderful way to help children really understand and visualize what a family tree means. The second-half traces his mother’s family, back to his great-great-grandparents on her side. A delightful celebration of multicultural, multigenerational family.
The back cover of My Family Tree and Me
I especially love how easily Petričić integrates diversity into this picture book. The young boy's family is biracial, and each side of his family tree celebrates different heritage. Careful readers will notice how family traits carry on from one generation to the next. Best of all, I think this will help children start wondering about their own extended families.
Stella Brings the Family
by Miriam B. Schiffer
illustrated by Holly Clifton-Brown
Chronicle, 2015
Your local library
Amazon
ages 4-8
When Stella’s teacher announces their class is going to have a celebration for Mother’s day, everyone is excited, everyone except for Stella. What should she do? She has two dads and no mom.
"We're going to have a celebration for Mother's Day"
"Stella would be the only one without a mother at the Mother's Day party."
Schiffer tells the story through Stella’s eyes, perfectly capturing a child’s perspective -- sharing her worries, her classmates’ questions and the solution that Stella and her family come up with. This helps kids connect to Stella, empathizing with how she feels. When the big day arrives, Stella brings her whole extended family and feels surrounded by love and happiness.

I hope you enjoy seeking out these books as you celebrate all kinds of families with children. Picture books are both mirrors of our own worlds, helping us see ourselves a little more clearly, and windows into other people's worlds.

Illustrations ©2015 by Max Lang and Holly Clifton-Brown; used with permission from the publishers. The review copies were kindly sent by the publishers, Random House, Kids Can Press and Chronicle Books. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books. Thank you for your support.

©2015 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

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44. Segrelles Exhibition in Spain

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45. Fearsome Fairytales From France by Adele Geras. Illustrated Fiona McDonald. Christmas Press 2015


                                      

Here is another one of Christmas Press's delightful series of folk and fairytale retellings. This time the focus is on France, with the stories Beauty And The Beast and Bluebeard, retold by veteran children's historical novelist Adele Geras, once more lavishly illustrated by the talented Fiona McDonald.

Beauty And The Beast has been charming us since Lucius Apuleius's Cupid And Psyche in which the girl is to be sacrificed to a scary beast and instead finds herself married to the beautiful love god. (C.S Lewis used that one as the basis for his novel Till We Have Faces.) It tells us not to judge a book by its cover; the Beast can only be redeemed when a woman loves him for himself instead of for his looks, and Adele Geras does a little more than retell. She shows the reader just why Beauty might fall in love with a scary-looking man. She loves his "low, musical voice". He is intelligent. They talk about a wide variety of subjects every night, till she looks forward to their conversations. In the end, she, like Robin McKinley's Beauty, demands of the handsome young man what he has done with her Beast. 

Bluebeard is the truly scary story of a serial killer husband, but kids like gruesome. In this version, the mother urges her daughter to agree to the marriage because he's rich. He's old and much-married, but so what? Older men, she argues, tend to be indulgent to young wives. 

I often wonder what would have happened if the wife had not opened that room. I suspect the husband would have found another excuse for murder. There are plenty of Bluebeards in real life (Frederick Deeming, anyone?) who don't need an excuse.

The story is told well, anyway. And it's interesting to think that there's very little of the fantastical in this particular story, except the notion that the blood would still be on the floor or that the key couldn't be cleaned if it was. 

I think this book might suit children from about seven to ten. Any younger is too young. Any older and they might have abandoned fairytales for novels. 

Another excellent publication to add to your fairytale library!

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46. {Excerpt & Giveaway} TRACKED by Jenny Martin

Today we have the privilege of being the next stop on the TRACKED blog tour. This book is a lot of fun, and is one of the most anticipated books of the season. Below we have an excerpt, to give you a taste of what's to come, and don't miss the awesome giveaway at the end of the post! Enjoy! ~Andye TRACKED  Author: Jenny Martin Pub. Date: May 5, 2015 Publisher: Dial Books Pages: 400

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47. 10 Things...Painting Priorities

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48. Eye Candy for Today: Dürer’s St. Eustace

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St Eustace, Albrecht Dürer Engraving, roughly 14 x 10 inches (35 x 26 cm). Link is to zoomable version on Google Art project; downloadable file on Wikimedia Commons, original of this impression is in the National Gallery of Victoria, which also has a zoomable image. In this tour-de-force engraving — created at the dawn of […]

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49. Star Wars Epic Yarns: A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back & Return of the Jedi by Jack and Holman Wang

Of course there is a specific market for Star Wars: Epic Yarns, the trilogy of books by twins Jack and Holman Wang, creators of Cozy Classics. However, this happens to be a very large market - one that has raised their children and grandchildren with these movies as part of their lives. Why am I reviewing these books? I was one of those people who stood in line, more than once, as a child to

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50. Monday Mishmash 5/4/15


Happy Monday! Monday Mishmash is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing what's on your mind. Feel free to grab the button and post your own Mishmash.

Here's what's on my mind today:
  1. Drafting  I'm hoping to finish my MG draft this week. I have 15 pages of notes for the book, but for some reason it's been a difficult book to draft. I'm about 8K in at the moment.
  2. Critiques for Rate Your Story  I have three critiques I need to get to this week since I'm a volunteer judge at Rate Your Story.
  3. Class Presentations  I get to visit my daughter's second grade class this Friday to see the kids present the computer projects they've been working on. I'm always amazed at how good kids are with computers so this should be fun.
  4. Free Monthly Newsletter  My free monthly newsletter goes out this evening. If you aren't signed up but would like to receive one, click here.
  5. Editing  I have a small gap between editing projects, so if you need anything edited in a hurry, I'm your lady. Feel free to email me at khashway(at)hotmail(dot)com.
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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