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1. RSVP For Maya Angelou Stamp Dedication

Author Maya Angelou is getting a forever stamp from the USPS and you can go to the dedication ceremony on Tuesday, April 7.

The event, which will also be attended by Oprah Winfrey, Al Sharpton and poet Nikki Giovanni, will take place at the Warner Theatre in Washington DC at 11 a.m. You can RSVP to attend at this link or by calling866-268-3243 before 5 p.m. ET April 3. Each RSVP is limited to two (2) seats.

The stamp features a hyper-realistic painting of Angelou by the Atlanta-based artist Ross Rossin. The original painting is currently on display at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery through Nov. 1. The stamp also features a quote from the author:  \"A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.\"

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2. Cover Revealed For Book Four of The Millennium Series

The Girl in The Spider's WebThe cover for The Girl in The Spider’s Web, the fourth installment of the bestselling Millennium series, has been unveiled by The Wall Street Journal.

Swedish writer David Lagercrantz picks up where the late Stieg Larsson left off. Deadline reports that Lagercrantz did not consult “the partial manuscript for a fourth book that the author’s partner, Eva Gabrielsson, reportedly found in his computer.”

According to The Guardian, Quercus Books will publish the United Kingdom edition of this book on August 27th. Click here to watch the book trailer and see the cover art for this title. Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of Penguin Random House, won’t release the American version until September 1st. Follow this link to see the American publisher’s book trailer.

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3. Christine Taylor-Butler's THE LOST TRIBES

Christine Taylor-Butler's The Lost Tribes was released on March 25th. Published by Move Books, I read an advanced copy. Here's the synopsis from Amazon:

In The Lost Tribes, five friends could never imagine their ordinary parents are scientists on a secret mission. When their parents go missing, they are forced into unfathomable circumstances and learn of a history that's best left unknown. Now they must race against time in the search for tribal artifacts that are thousands of years old. Artifacts that hold the fate of the universe in the balance. But unbeknownst to them, they are catalysts in an ancient score that must be settled. The Lost Tribes is a challenge from beginning to end. As the chaos unfolds so do opportunities to solve codes and figure out where the characters will end up next (and the illustration and design give the reader a visual unfolding as well). Written by a former engineer, this book provides a sturdy and accurate science and history foundation, where readers will surely become participants in the facts, fun, and adventure.

Among those five friends and their parents is Serise Hightower and her parents, Dr. David Hightower and Dr. Cheryl Hightower. The kids (Serise, Carlos, Grace, and Ben and his little sister, April) all live in the same cul-de-sac in California. Until later in the book when we learn that all these characters are "scientific observers from another galaxy" we think of Serise as being Navajo. We first learn about her on page 52 (reading the ARC, so page numbers may differ in final copy) when two characters, Ben and Grace, are trying to break a coded message in a game that Ben's uncle has given to him. Serise, Grace tells Ben, is good at breaking codes.

Ben doesn't like Serise. He thinks of her as the "self-titled Queen of the Universe" (p. 60) who can barely move in her tight jeans and wedge-heeled shoes. When she appears in the story, she's showing off a watch that her mom got in New Mexico. It has turquoise in it. That Serise paints matching flowers on her nails tells me the watch is something similar to what I show to the right.

More obnoxious to Ben, however, are the "maroon and purple highlights and feathers in her jet black hair" (p. 60). Another character, Carlos, doesn't like Serise either. He praises the watch but smirks at Ben as he does it. Serise's mom is the Curator of the Sunnyslope Museum of Natural History. She travels a lot. The expensive gifts she brings back to Serise mean that she is spoiled.

Ben doesn't think much of the watch. Serise asks if he wants to see "something cool" (p. 61). Ben, Grace, and Carlos follow her to her backyard (p. 61):
A domed structure sat in the corner. Covered with blankets, canvas tarps and leather, it looked like a cross between a hut and a tent. A single opening was visible on the west side.
It, she tells them, is a "new sweat lodge" built by her dad. He is "getting ready for a vision quest." His hobby is mystic religions and he's "always trying to conjure up the spirit of an ancient ancestor."  In this vision quest, he'll "cleanse himself of toxic impurities and restore his soul" (p. 61). He's been meditating and fasting and wants to do a ceremony on Sunday to get guidance for a journey he's going to go on.

Ben asks if he always does these ceremonies before a trip, and Serise tells him this one is different. After "the big storm" that happened when the book begins, her dad is going to "ask the Tribal Council for permission to conduct an Enemyway ceremony" (p. 61). From inside, the kids can hear her dad chanting. Grace thinks the whole thing sounds cool till Serise tells her "You have to be naked."

Serise goes to the sweat lodge and shows them a walkie talkie she has put there with the intent of playing a joke on her dad while he does the ceremony. While she's doing that, Grace, Ben, and Carlos whisper to each other about how awful it is to be around her.

That evening, Ben's dad tells him that they're invited to the sweat lodge on Sunday. Of course, Ben is unhappy about it. When he gets there, he sees Dr. Hightower and Grace's dad, Dr. Choedon, standing by "an intricate painting at the entrance to the lodge." Dr. Choedon calls it a mandala that is part of the ritual. Inside, Dr. Hightower tells them that if they're sick, they shouldn't participate, because being in a sweat lodge "is a grueling test of endurance." He starts to chant and pour water over huge "red-hot boulders" that Dr. Hightower tells them were heated outside the lodge and brought inside with "a little ingenuity" that he doesn't describe.

Thus far, Taylor-Butler (the author) has not named a specific tribal nation.

The "Enemyway ceremony" and the language that Serise's dad uses, however, indicate that we are meant to think they are Navajo. But because they aren't really Navajo (remember, they're not of Earth at all), I'm not sure what to do with this.

Where did these observers from another galaxy get the information they needed to behave in what they think of as Navajo?

What they do is troubling and misrepresentative. Generally speaking, Navajo ceremonies take place in hogans, not sweat lodges, and sandpaintings are done inside of hogans. Healers don't need to seek permission from a tribal council to do ceremonies. Fasting isn't part of the preparation. Though the ceremony in The Lost Tribes is called an "Enemyway" ceremony (usually written as Enemy Way), the language that Hightower uses is that of the Beauty Way ceremony.

The description of the sweat lodge in The Lost Tribes is more like the sweats done by other Native nations. With this vision quest/sweat lodge/Enemyway ceremony, the author has collapsed the ways of several distinct Native Nations and Tibetan Monks into... the ways of who?!

On page 286, we get an explanation. The kids learn their parents are not from Earth. They were sent to Earth from their homes in the Sonecian galaxy to find out what happened to a previous group. Henry (Ben's uncle), explains (p. 289):
"We call this place Safe Harbor because that is what it represented to our ancestors--a sanctuary from the impending collapse of a star near our galaxy.
"Our ancestors wanted to preserve something of their cultures. Earth was the nearest planet capable of sustaining the many species found in our solar system, making it perfect for colonization. They placed eight tribes on a land mass similar to the environment on their home planet. In time, the tribes blended with the indigenous populations and became part of their genetic pool."

For some unknown reason, they didn't survive and there's no records as to what happened. The kids parents are supposed to investigate what went wrong, but they've done other things, too--like having children. Medie (Ben's mom, who is a chemist) created a way for the kids to behave like human children. For Ben, it was a drink. Parents of the other kids gave it to them, too, in other forms. For Carlos, it was a green tamale. For Grace, it was sushi rolls. For Serise, it was smoothies and mud masks she used at night.

Because Earth's core is unstable, a decision is made to evacuate. Plans are being made to leave, but those plans are interrupted by the arrival of a transport ship, accompanied by military escorts.

"Fierce-looking warriors" in heavy body armor arrive. They are the Royal Guard of Casmir, which is Carlos's tribe. They carry spears, and show no mercy when provoked. Their leader has a "macho swagger" (p. 307-308).

Another group of warriors materializes. These wear no armor and carry no weapons. They are Serise's tribe, the "Hayookaal." Their long black hair "blew in an invisible breeze" -- which signals their ability to control weather and climate on Earth (p. 308). They are very muscular.

Hmmm... the Latino and Native characters are from tribes known as exceptional warriors, even in another galaxy.

Grace's tribe arrives next. They look a lot like Serise's. They're "one of the oldest tribes in the known universe" and are the best linguists in this alliance. They've got a power, too, but do not speak of it publicly. Three other tribes materialize. As Ben wonders when his tribe will materialize, an explosion takes place, but it is the means by which his tribe arrives. They're the Xenobian Warrior caste, an "elite squad" who are "brilliant strategists."

As is clear, the kids in The Lost Tribes are from various tribes, which means the book qualifies as a "diverse" one. For me, however, the diversity must ring true.

The Native characters and their attributes are a mish-mash of several nations, and they're stereotypical, too. The use and misrepresentation of ceremonies that are sacred to the Navajo Nation is especially troubling. Also troubling is that the Kirkus review says there is a "lack of stereotyping" in the book.

These problems could be attributed to stereotypical material that the inhabitants from the other planets read---we all know there's plenty of that right now---but elsewhere in the story, they talk of how superior they are to humans. They've been watching and living amongst humans on earth for thousands of years, so it seems to me they'd know a lot about all the humans on earth and how they were treated by each other. That would include misrepresentations.

The problems in The Lost Tribes are such that I cannot recommend it.

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4. NPM Project: Jumping Into Form - Sijo

Originating in Korea, sijo (pronounced she-zho) are poems divided into three or six lines. These poems frequently use word play in the form of metaphors, symbols and puns. Here is a description from AHApoetry.
More ancient than haiku, the Korean SIJO shares a common ancestry with haiku, tanka and similar Japanese genres. All evolved from more ancient Chinese patterns.

Sijo is traditionally composed in three lines of 14-16 syllables each, totaling between 44-46 syllables. A pause breaks each line approximately in the middle; it resembles a caesura but is not based on metrics.
I'm quite fond of the poems in Linda Sue Park's book Tap Dancing on the Roof: Sijo Poems. This book provides a wonderful overview and introduction to the form. Park's poems will have kids laughing and thinking at the same time. As the form demands, they are full of little surprises. Here are two of my favorites from the book.

Summer Storm

Lightning jerks the sky awake to take her photograph, flash!
Which draws grumbling complaints or even crashing tantrums from thunder--

He hates having his picture taken, so he always gets there late.


Breakfast

For this meal, people like what they like, the same every morning.
Toast and coffee. Bagel and juice. Cornflakes and milk in a white bowl.

Or -- warm, soft, and delicious -- a few extra minutes in bed.

Poems ©Linda Sue Park, 2008. All rights reserved.

How do you write a sijo? Here is a brief summary of the advice Park gives at the end of her book.
Three line poems should contain about 14 to 16 syllables per line. Six line poems should contain 7 or 8 syllables per line.

The first line should contain a single image or idea. The second line should develop this further. The last line should contain the twist. 
In his sijo primer, poet Poet Larry Gross writes:
Remember the three characteristics that make the sijo unique — its basic structure, musical/rhythmic elements, and the twist. It is shorter and more lyrical than the ghazal. It is more roomy than the haiku, and it welcomes feelings and emotions which haiku either discourage or disguise. It should please lovers of ballads, sonnets and lyrics, and the downplay of regular meter and rhyme should appeal to writers of free verse. 
Before introducing sijo in the classroom, you may want to try writing some sijo yourself! Here's a video primer to get you started.
While there are more familiar Asian forms of poetry read and written in the classroom (we'll get to those this month too!), I love the challenge that this form presents.

Once you are ready to begin, here are some resources that will help you tackle introducing and writing sijo in your classroom.
I hope this little introduction to sijo has piqued your interest in the form. Come back tomorrow to learn about another Asian poetic form.

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5. Sean Fay Wolfe Lands Deal With HarperCollins

Minecraft PictureSean Fay Wolfe, a teen writer, has signed a three-book deal with HarperCollins. Wolfe became well-known for writing fan fiction stories inspired by the video game Minecraft.

Senior editor Pamela Bobowicz negotiated the terms of the agreement with Zachary Shuster Harmsworth literary agent Rick Richter. The publisher will release book one of Wolfe’s middle-grade trilogy, entitled Quest For Justice, on July 28, 2015. Book two will come out on October 27, 2015 and book three will follow on January 26, 2016.

Here’s more from the press release: “Sean Fay Wolfe was just 16 years old when he wrote, Quest For Justice, the first book of The Elementia Chronicles trilogy, which he originally self-published. Inspired by the best-selling game, this unofficial trilogy brings Minecraft fans and middle grade readers on an action packed adventure. In Quest for Justice, dark forces are at work on the Elementia server, and when new players Stan, Kat and Charlie arrive on the scene, they quickly find themselves in peril.”

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6. Becoming Steve Jobs Joins iBooks Bestsellers List

Becoming Steve Jobs by Brent Schlender & Rick Tetzeli has debuted on the iBooks bestsellers list this week at No. 2.

Apple has released its top selling books list for paid books from iBooks in the U.S. for week ending March 30, 2015. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins remained at No. 1 and The Stranger by Harlan Coben landed the No 3 slot.

We’ve included Apple’s entire list.

iBooks US Bestseller List – Paid Books 3/30/15

1. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins – 9780698185395 – (Penguin Publishing Group) 2. Becoming Steve Jobs by Brent Schlender & Rick Tetzeli – 9780385347419 – (The Crown Publishing Group) 3. The Stranger by Harlan Coben – 9780698186200 – (Penguin Publishing Group) 4. The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks – 9781455520664 – (Grand Central Publishing) 5. Paper Towns by John Green – 9781101010938 – (Penguin Young Readers Group) 6. NYPD Red 3 by James Patterson & Marshall Karp – 9780316284561 – (Little, Brown and Company) 7. Fifty Shades Darker by E L James – 9781612130590 – (Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group) 8. Fifty Shades Freed by E L James – 9781612130613 – (Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group) 9. Dead Wake by Erik Larson – 9780553446753 – (Crown/Archetype) 10. Fifty Shades of Grey by E L James – 9781612130293 – (Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group) 11. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr – 9781476746609 – (Scribner) 12. Allegiant by Veronica Roth – 9780062209276 – (Katherine Tegen Books) 13. Divergent by Veronica Roth – 9780062077011 – (Katherine Tegen Books) 14. Almost Broken by Portia Moore – No ISBN Available – (Portia Moore) 15. Beautifully Broken by Portia Moore – No ISBN Available – (Portia MOore) 16. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah – 9781466850606 – (St. Martin’s Press) 17. Dark Places by Gillian Flynn – 9780307459923 – (Crown Publishing Group) 18. Insurgent by Veronica Roth – 9780062114457 – (Katherine Tegen Books) 19. Manwhore by Katy Evans – 9781501101564 – (Gallery Books) 20. Before I Break by Portia Moore – No ISBN Available – (Portia Moore)

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7. Cold War dance diplomacy

Why did the US State Department sponsor international dance tours during the Cold War? An official government narrative was sanctioned and framed by the US State Department and its partner organization, the United States Information Agency (USIA—and USIS abroad). However, the tours countered that narrative.

The post Cold War dance diplomacy appeared first on OUPblog.

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8. Knuffle Bunny Statue May Be Installed in Brooklyn

Knuffle BunnyThe Friends of Park Slope Library group hope to secure $250,000 to build an outdoor storytelling garden. If they are successful, they plan to install a statue of Knuffle Bunny.

This character appears in Mo Willems’ Caldecott Honor-winning picture book Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale and the sequel Knuffle Bunny Too. In the past, Willems used to be a resident of this Brooklyn neighborhood.

Here’s more from DNAinfo.com: “The garden is one of several neighborhood upgrades that could receive funding through City Councilman Brad Lander’s participatory budgeting program, which kicks off April 14. Voters in Lander’s 39th District will choose their favorites from a list of 13 possible projects, and the top five vote-getters will split $1.5 million in taxpayer dollars from Lander’s discretionary budget. Now in its fourth year, the citizen-led budgeting initiative has paid for several local improvements that were dreamed up by residents, from new computers at libraries to bathroom renovations at elementary schools.” (via The Mo Willems Blog)

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9. The Very Fairy Princess to Be Adapted For Television

The Very Fairy Princess, a popular children’s book franchise from actress Julie Andrews and her daughter Emma Walton Hamilton will be adapted into a television series.

Corus Entertainment’s Nelvana Enterprises, a producer and distributor of children’s animated content, has teamed up with the two authors to produce the series.

The series star a young girl named Geraldine, who lives her day to day as a fairy princess. There are currently eight books in the franchise with a ninth book, The Very Fairy Princess: A Spooky, Sparkly Halloween, coming out this fall.

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10. Editorial Submission :: Marcel George

Post by Natalie

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Marcel George is a freelance illustrator living in London. He studied Illustration at Brighton University and graduated in 2010 with first class honours. He specializes in creating hand painted, contemporary watercolour illustrations.

See more of his work on his website.

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11. The Bologna Children's Book Fair

Entrance. This year's theme is Alice.
I'm in Bologna, Italy at the Bologna Children's Book Fair. Many folks on twitter have asked about the fair, especially as so many agents attend and tweet about it! -- so I thought I'd do a little post about what the heck goes on here.

First of all, there is the show floor - if you've ever been to a trade show like ALA or BEA you'll be familiar with the sight of row after row of booths filled with books from every publisher in the US. The difference with Bologna is, there are not only booths for every publisher in America... there are booths for every publisher in the entire world. Publishers get a chance to look at the best of the best, so that they might "buy in" books from other countries to add to their own lists. It's truly amazing and inspiring to see what is being published elsewhere.
Costumed characters must've been boiling!

Also, as with any convention center, you get the assorted giant characters wandering around, weird giveaways and photo ops, lousy food, temperatures that range from oven-blasting heat to ice cold in the space of a few yards, etc.

The second piece of the fair is the Art. There are art galleries, art prizes, and perhaps most striking, the Walls of Art. These are white walls surrounding the main hall, that get papered over by hopeful illustrators displaying their wares. By the end of the fair, these walls are so crowded with artwork that it is dripping all over the floor.

Day 1 - the walls are just starting to fill.
Day 2 - More art to come!
Now, the part of the fair that AGENTS think is the most important: Rights selling at the Agent's Centre. You'll recall this blog post from a few years ago explaining subsidiary rights in a nutshell -- well, the rights that agents are mostly here to sell are foreign/translation rights.

One side of the agent's centre
Agents and foreign rights managers each have an assigned table in the Agent's Centre. From about 9am to about 6, agents will sit at one of these 100+ tables taking meetings. Every half hour, a new meeting. Some agents' schedules are so intense that they don't even build time in for breaks... this was a bit of a problem this year, as we didn't have an Agent Restroom! ARGH. #bathroomgate #glamorous.

The goals of most meetings include networking and putting faces to names; learning about the market in a given country; and pitching, pitching, pitching. Agents are meeting mostly with foreign publishers and foreign co-agents, and talking about their own list based on what those people say they are looking for.

Not gonna lie - it's truly exhausting. Which is why tonight I stayed in my rental apartment rather than going off to party-hop or have a dinner out. Because tomorrow... it all begins again!

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12. Thinking (out loud) about learning in makerspaces

I recently made an expedition to SXSWedu in Austin. I was really excited about this conference because I thought it’d be useful to me as an educator/facilitator/enabler of science and technology-based programs and projects at my library. I was looking forward to hearing new-to-me perspectives on student (or in my case teen)-centered learning; maybe I’d pick up some tips on how to help teens feel comfortable expressing their interests or how to frame  a challenging project in a manageable way or chunk it into achievable pieces. What I most hoped to do, I think, was speak with other educators about the unique challenges and opportunities of learning in a makerspace-type environment. It was a valuable experience in many ways, but not quite what I expected. (The usual caveats apply – YMMV, perhaps I picked the wrong sessions, didn’t find the right folks to network with, etc.)

As I left SXSWedu and headed for home, I reflected a bit on my experience. I was disappointed, because I had hoped to connect with experts - people who knew more than me about what I was doing. I didn’t. At a panel where I expected higher-level conversation about makerspaces and learning, I left frustrated that the conversation was ‘what is a makerspace?’ and ‘low-budget vs high-budget’ and ‘you don’t NEED a 3d printer’ instead of ‘this is what makes a makerspace special, and this is how to maximize that opportunity.’ I wanted nuts and bolts and a user’s manual, and I got Tinker Toys. As I thought more and more about what had happened, it occurred to me that if I wanted to talk about this, I ought to just start the conversation I wanted to hear. To that end, here are the questions on my mind right now, and some of my possible answers.

Question 1: What’s the best way to enable teen-initiated learning in a makerspace?

A makerspace-based learning environment is very different from the structure of classroom-based learning, and I wonder how to scaffold learning and build skills methodically in such an unstructured, come-and-go environment (or whether I should even be worrying about that).

We could provide pre-chunked modules for each tool or skill (in physical or digital format). For example, a set of Arduino-themed handout-style modules, beginning with Blink and advancing to more complicated projects. We could curate a tailored, leveled set of links to digital resources for self-directed learning, like Youtube videos, Instructables, tutorials from sites like SparkFun and Adafruit, and resources created in-house. Another option might be leveled project challenges, with resources on hand and mentors (staff and/or teens) on-site to help. For example, “program the EV3 robot to follow a line maze” with Mindstorms programming books and websites accessible, and volunteers from a local robotics team.

Question 2: How should progress be measured or tracked in a makerspace learning environment?

The first option that springs to mind is badging – digital, physical, or both. A bonus (and a drawback) of this method is the opportunity to engage an artistically inclined teen volunteer to design the badges. One major question for this method is the procedure for issuing badges. There could be an online form to fill out, though that feels disconnected and impersonal, and I know I value any chance to engage with a teen during the learning process. Staff could be the primary issuers, but that reinforces the adult-as-authority dynamic. Teen mentors could also be deputized to approve badge earning, but organizing that as a face-to-face interaction could be complicated. Would these badges stay with the badge earner, or in the makerspace? Would we need to create physical artifact to hold the badges?

Chart-based tracking is a simple, time-tested method. The information is all in one place and easily accessible, but it feels (to me) a bit internal and closed off. It could be made more accessible, however. A binder is more restricted than a Google Doc, and quite private as opposed to a classroom-style wall chart.

It could be handy to track progress on the resources themselves, especially for those teens who are looking for help learning to use a resource. Imagine a sticker on the back of a resource sheet or ‘Expert’ badges displayed alongside digital resources – the teen looking at those resources can easily see peer mentors. Privacy issues could come up here, but an opt-in system might alleviate that worry. One possible complication is the difficulty of scheduling peer-to-peer learning sessions with so many demands on teens’ time.

In addition to those questions, I’ve been thinking a bit about some of the unique challenges and opportunities inherent in makerspace-based learning.

One challenge I’ve run into more than once is a complicated first foray into learning a new tool, resulting in frustration and discouragement and eventual abandonment of the project altogether, which in turn colors the teen’s view of the tool and makes it less likely that the teen will attempt to use that tool again. I hope that providing a structure for learning new tools and skills (see: Question 1) will ameliorate the problem. In discussions with others, I’ve also heard the suggestion of leaving the project as-is, in hopes that the teen will revisit it or that another teen’s curiosity will be piqued and they’ll take up the challenge. (Tangential – should projects be marked abandoned or off-limits to limit toe-stepping?)

Some makerspace materials are disposable, but many must be reused (for example, Arduinos), but being able to show off projects is important. What’s the best way to record these projects for posterity and ensure that the maker has some artifact of their accomplishment? Video clips? Time lapse photography? And what’s the best way to store and catalog these digital artifacts so that they’ll be accessible to the makers? Should they also be publicly accessible?

 

Caroline Mossing is a Teen Services Librarian in the Teen Library at the San Antonio Central Library.

 

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13. Purposeful Play Programming

Ever envy those fabulous, expensive play spaces some libraries have? You can create a temporary, educational play environment within your existing library space that promotes adult interaction, is highly inclusive, and creates opportunities for outreach to the underserved.

Introducing, SMART STARTS!

Smart Starts (2) Smart Starts (5)

Three years ago, we founded Smart Starts, a hands-on, interactive environment where adults help children develop early reading, writing, math and science skills through fun play activities. This drop-in program is offered several times over the course of a few days during weeks we are not holding storytimes. Patrons can come anytime during the posted hours and stay as long as they wish.

The goal of Smart Starts is to provide a richer, more meaningful library experience where adults can play side-by-side with their children, enhancing learning experiences. Dad John Witte observed, “The chance to interact with other kids in a learning environment is valuable both for the kids and the parents.”

Each Smart Starts program has a theme, developed around an educational focus. Six to eight stations are created for each theme. PowerPoint slideshows display scrolling instructional slides featuring the various stations.

Smart Starts has allowed us to embrace the community’s educational initiatives as well as reach out to the underserved. We encourage community groups to schedule special sessions just for their members.

CREATE YOUR OWN LEARNING THROUGH PLAY PROGRAM

Wanted: Head Coach. Find a staff member who will lead others in choosing activities and gathering supplies. You could then recruit one person to find science experiments, another to work on crafts and a third to handle parent tips and extension activities, etc. Once planned, various individuals can run the program while it is open. Their role is to help visitors get started and model conversation and play behavior.

Themes

Brainstorm themes. These can be derived from educational initiatives in your community or staff interest and expertise. Many of our themes have been STEAM-related. For instance, we have created programs featuring air, measurement, plant growth, patterning and weather. After you have selected themes, search preschool curriculum books and websites for ideas for the activity stations. These might include . . .

Science Experiments

Smart Starts (9)Kids love to experiment with hands-on science. We have explored how polar bears stay warm in the arctic, compared the speed of objects traveling down ramps and practiced using all five senses. Imagine a child’s face when they smell cotton balls soaked in vanilla, mint, lemon or garlic!

Crafts

Offer crafts that can be used to explore the subject further. A kaleidoscope promotes discussions of light. A feeder allows children to observe backyard birds. A texture collage may prompt additional investigation of the five senses at grandma’s house. These crafts should be accessible to a wide range of developmental levels. The emphasis is process, not product. I always say, “If it looks too much like the sample, something is wrong!”

Mini Library

Gather a collection of your library’s books, puzzles, and other resources related to your theme ready for check-out. We set out a couple of beanbag chairs for those who want to curl up with a book. We also provide a sheet explaining the educational research and suggesting extension activities. These materials promote further learning and exploration of the topic at home.

Games

“Go Fish!” Games are a fun way to encourage learning and repeatedly practice skills. Create and laminate your own matching games and sequencing cards. Ask for donations of educational games and puzzles or scout for them at garage sales and re-sale stores. Kids also love to play with real objects made into a game. Sort small, medium and large kitchen items. Match socks or mittens. Make sets of 2, 5 and 10 blocks.

Other Activities

Here’s where you can get creative and courageous! Here are some ideas we have tried – with success!

  • Build walls with stones and play-dough
  • “Mess-free” fingerpaint using instant pudding in a sealed plastic bag
  • Bubblewrap hopscotch
  • Climb in various moving boxes
  • Guess the object based on its shadow
  • “Paint” a chalkboard with water
  • String cereal, beads, dry pasta and straw pieces on chenille wires and bending them into letter shapes
  • Create iSpy games with stickers, beads and sequins
  • Pretend to be a gardener with a shovel, rake, watering can, spray nozzle, silk flowers, etc.
  • Make up narrative stories with puppets or dollhouse figures

Tips for Success

Patrons are delighted that such an enriching program is not only available at the library, but free. Many intentionally add Smart Starts to their weekly schedule and arrange to meet friends. Mom Melissa Drechsel remarked, “I am homeschooling my kindergarten-aged daughters this year and Smart Starts has been the perfect complement to reinforce some of the things we are learning about at home. We have enjoyed the many activities at Smart Starts and I have recommended the program to many other mothers with little ones at home.”

Smart Starts (8) Smart Starts (7) Smart Starts (4) Smart Starts (3)

This program has also allowed us to interact with our patrons and attract previous non-users in a whole new way. Adults feel more comfortable to ask questions, and children enjoy playing with the library staff in this informal setting. The variety of activities and levels of engagement allows all children to participate, including those with special needs and beginning English language learners. We even host special sessions of Smart Starts for at-risk preschool classes, the local Newcomers chapter and young moms groups from area churches.

Once set-up, we offer the space at various times over the course of a few days. Themes may be repeated every year. This type of program is also be easily modified to a smaller scale or for outreach at local community events.

Author Diane Ackerman wrote, “Play is our brain’s favorite way of learning.” Through activity programs such as Smart Starts, we can provide a fun, educational environment at our libraries to help equip our local children for a life of learning.

(All photos courtesy Glen Ellyn Public Library)

****************************************************************

Photo by Stephanie Blackwell/GEPL

Photo by Stephanie Blackwell/GEPL

Our guest blogger today is Bari Ericson, Youth Programming Associate at the Glen Ellyn Public LibraryBari enjoys combining her experience as an art student, corporate paralegal, law firm librarian, preschool teacher and mom to serve local families at GEPL.

Please note that as a guest post, the views expressed here do not represent the official position of ALA or ALSC.

If you’d like to write a guest post for the ALSC Blog, please contact Mary Voors, ALSC Blog manager, at alscblog@gmail.com.

The post Purposeful Play Programming appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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14. Preview: The Spring 2015 YA Scavenger Hunt and a COMPULSION for Reading Giveaway

Hey, guys!

Are you ready for some fun? I'm participating in the Spring 2015 YA Scavenger Hunt from noon PACIFIC time on April 2nd to noon PACIFIC time on April 5th. 

The hunt is HUGE this year, so there will be eight different teams. I'm going to be on #TeamBlue, but you can play every team for more chances to win! 

If you've never played before, it's like a giant blog hop, introducing you to new YA authors and books at every stop. There are tons of prizes including a grand prize for each team. If you win one of the grand prizes you will get a book from each author on that team! For more information and to make sure you get hunt updates, sign up for news on the #YASH website. 

Not only will I be hiding an exclusive never-before-revealed sneak peek of COMPULSION, but I will also be giving away a signed hardcover and an ARC of PERSUASION, book two in the series for part of the Blue Team prize. 

Starting today, here on Adventures, I'll also be giving away a Tiffany-style "key" necklace like Barrie wears, an "I have a compulsion for reading" tote bag, and ten "I have a compulsion for reading" bumper stickers. You don't want to miss out on this fabulous and fun event, but play fast because the hunt is only live for three short days!

Ready? Here are the teams! (Hint: If you click on the image you can get a close up)

Blue Team 1 Pink TeamTeam Gold (2)Team Purple 1Team GreenTeam Red 1Team Teal (2)
Team Orange


I hope you are all as excited as I am!
THE HUNT BEGINS 4/2/15!

Today's Bonus Giveaway




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SOUND OFF! 

What book first started your compulsion for reading?

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15. Video: A School Visit with Author G. Neri

By Cynthia Leitich Smith
for Cynsations

G. Neri is the Coretta Scott King honor-winning author of Yummy: the Last Days of a Southside Shorty (Lee & Low) and the recipient of the Lee Bennett Hopkins Promising Poet Award for his free-verse novella, Chess Rumble (Lee & Low).

His novels include Knockout Games (Carolrhoda Lab), Surf Mules (Putnam) and the Horace Mann Upstander Award-winning, Ghetto Cowboy (Candlewick). His latest is the free-verse picture book bio, Hello, I'm Johnny Cash (Candlewick).

Prior to becoming a writer, Neri was a filmmaker, an animator/illustrator, a digital media producer, and a founding member of The Truth anti-smoking campaign. Neri currently writes full-time and lives on the Gulf Coast of Florida with his wife and daughter.

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16. Poetry Festivals & YA Lit Discussions Get Booked

92YHere are some literary events to pencil in your calendar this week.

To get your event posted on our calendar, visit our Facebook Your Literary Event page. Please post your event at least one week prior to its date.

Four young adult writers are set to participate on a panel called “New Twists On Old Fairytales.” Hear them on Tuesday, March 31st at the 92Y (on Lexington Ave.) starting 7 p.m. (New York, NY)

The Miami Poetry Festival will take place throughout the entirety of April. Join in from April 1st to April 30th for events throughout the entire city. (Miami, FL)

The next session of the “Selected Series” event will focus on April Foolery. Check it out on Wednesday, April 1st at Symphony Space starting 7:30 p.m. (New York, NY)

Author Jeffrey Bennett will sign copies of his book What is Relativity? at the UTA Maverick Activity Center. Meet him on Wednesday, April 1st starting 7:30 p.m. (Arlington, TX)

Three young adult authors will take part in the “Great Teen Reads” panel at Books of Wonder. See them on Sunday, April 5th from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. (New York, NY)

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17. April Fools' Day Trivia Quiz Answers

question marksHappy April Fools’ Day!

Yesterday, we posted an April Fools’ Day Trivia Quiz. Were you fooled, or did you guess the answers?

  1. What date is April Fools’ Day?
    ANSWER: April 1st.
  2. According to one belief, April Fools’ Day is said to have started in which country? (Hint: Eiffel Tower)
    ANSWER: France. According to one story, in 1582 Pope Gregory XIII changed New Year’s Day from April 1 to January 1. People weren’t happy with this, and kept celebrating on April 1. The January people made fun of the April people, and tricked them into running “fools’ errands” and playing tricks on them. Hmm . . . sounds complicated. I’ll just stick to putting rubber bugs in my family’s beds!
  3. In 1998, which restaurant published a fake advertisement for a hamburger for left-handed people? (McDonald’s or Burger King)
    ANSWER: Burger King! They put an ad in the newspaper announcing a new menu item: the Left-Handed Whopper. It had the same ingredients as the original Whopper, but rotated the condiments 180 degrees. Thousands of customers went into BK requesting the new sandwich which was not real!
  4. Back in 2011, which celebrity teen heartthrob singer pretended to let talk show host Jimmy Kimmel shave off his hair?
    ANSWER: Justin Bieber! Luckily, it was all a joke.
  5. TRUE or APRIL FOOL: In 2005, NASA posted on their website that water had been found on Mars. Was water really found on Mars?
    ANSWER: APRIL FOOL! Well . . . actually yes and no. When readers scrolled down, they saw a picture of a glass of water placed on a Mars candy bar. (Good one!)
  6. What would YOU rather do: put Vaseline on your parents’ toilet seat OR a mustache tattoo on your sister while she’s sleeping?
    ANSWER: No wrong answer, you sneaky trickster, you!
  7. TRUE or APRIL FOOL: In 1957, Swiss farmers enjoyed a surprise “spaghetti crop” when spaghetti grew on trees.
    ANSWER: APRIL FOOL! It was a BBC prank.

Did you pull any good pranks for April Fools’ Day? I’m looking for some good ideas for next year, so let me know in the Comments below!

-Ratha, STACKS Writer

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18. Brad Garrett Announces His Book of Autobiographical Essays

Everybody Loves Raymond actor Brad Garrett announced the release of his first book.

Gallery Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, will publish When the Balls Drop on May 5th. In the video embedded above, Garrett reveals some of the topics he explores in his essays: “middle age,” “mid-life crisis,” and “erectile dysfunction.”

According to The Hollywood Reporter, ABC may develop the content from this book into a sitcom. At the moment, “the pilot script for the single-camera comedy is being penned by Garrett and How I Met Your Mother writer Chuck Tatham. Like the book, it will examine the life of a divorced, middle-aged man trying to balance home life and work.”

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19. 30 Days of Teen Programming!

prog guideAs the chair of YALSA's Programming Guidelines taskforce, I'm excited to announce that the Teen Programming Guidelines are now available! The guidelines cover all aspects of programming, from idea to evaluation. They were developed in alignment with The Future of Library Services For and With Teens: A Call to Action, and with input from YALSA members. Our hope is that these guidelines will be a valuable tool for you in your library work with teens, both as how-to guide and as an advocacy tool.

To celebrate, YALSAblog is hosting 30 Days of Teen Programming, a month-long series of posts to help get us all started thinking about the guidelines in concrete terms. Each post will tie into one of the ten guidelines with examples, ideas, best practices, or problem-solving.

We'd love to hear from you as well. How do the guidelines reflect the work you're already doing? How do you hope to use the guidelines in your library?

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20. Three Questions with Tricia Springstubb: Advice for young writers, office cats and CODY AND THE FOUNTAIN OF HAPPINESS

A late bloomer, Tricia Springstubb didn’t discover the writing life till after she’d tried many other careers—all of which, not so surprisingly, centered on kids. Now she is lucky enough to be a full-time writer in Cleveland, where she lives with her teacher husband and, of course, Habibi. Her books include the novels What Happened on Fox Street, Mo Wren Lost and Found, and the picture book Phoebe and Digger.

You can find out more about Tricia and her work at her website, on Twitter and on Pinterest.

Synopsis of CODY AND THE FOUNTAIN OF HAPPINESS:

This is the very first book in a new series about Cody, her best friend Spencer, and their diverse families and neighbors. Cody is a girl who hates to give up, which makes for adventures big and small. My books are usually kind of broody, so writing one as sunny and happy as this was great fun. The next book publishes in spring 2016. (Publisher: Candlewick)

Q. Could you please take a photo of something in your office and tell us the story behind it?

This is the aptly named Habibi. He’s beloved not just by me, but kids all over the world. For real! Whenever I do a Skype visit, the sound of young voices brings him running. As soon as I hold him up to the camera, it’s all over for me. He completely steals the show! When not being a rock star, he likes to hang around my desk, preferably sitting on top of my notes. Cody features a large, comic, infinitely lovable cat named MewMew. Maybe you can guess my inspiration.

Q. What advice do you have for young writers?

Look again.

The world today is such a busy, buzzy place, with stimulation coming at us from every angle. It’s easy to find ourselves skimming along the surface of all there is to see, hear and read. Easy to forget how to listen instead of hear, how to look and really see.

Kids are born naturals at noticing and observing. As writers we need to nurture that skill, so we don’t just register A Tree but This Tree, in all its particular leafy (or barren) glory. Not just A Mean Girl, but This Mean Girl, with her chewed-down nails and too-loud voice. Our job is to go beneath the surface, beyond labels and first impressions, behind that front door. I may be biased, but I think it’s the world’s best, most rewarding job!

Q. What are you excited about right now?

I’m surfing the stratosphere because Eliza Wheeler is the illustrator for the Cody books. She found just the right combination of warm and witty to perfectly suit the books’ tone. Wait till you see her MewMew!

I’m also excited to have two new books in a single year, a first for me for sure. The other is Moonpenny Island, a middle grade novel for slightly older readers. A small island, Moonpenny harbors some big secrets. I think of the main character, Flor, as a sort of older sister to Cody. Both girls brim with questions and dreams, and though they grow and change, they also remain indelibly, uniquely themselves.

------
For more interviews, see my Inkygirl Interview Archive.

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21. Aurora Theater Gunman’s Mother Has Published a Book

Arlene Holmes, the mother of James Holmes, the man on trial for a massive shooting at a movie theater in Colorado during a screening of \"The Dark Night Rises\" back in 2012, has self-published a book.

When the Focus Shifts: The Prayer Book of Arlene Holmes is a collection of prayers from Arlene’s journals, written in the aftermath of the tragedy. In the book, she analyzes the guilt that her family has experienced after the horrible event. Check it out:

Few people have analyzed the effect on the family of an accused shooter facing the death penalty. This prayer book is a unique look at the aftermath of a mass shooting from the perspective of the accused’s mother, as she prays her way through the pretrial court proceedings.

 

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22. Adult Coloring Book Leads Book Sales on Amazon

Last year’s Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Coloring Book by illustrator Johanna Basford and her latest Enchanted Forrest: An Inky Quest and Coloring Book are the bestselling books on Amazon.

Unlike most coloring books, these books are made for adults. Why the trend towards coloring books for adults? As The International Business Times points out, adult coloring books are gaining in popularity thanks to digital detoxes.

The books, from Laurence King Publishing, feature intricately hand drawn designs of flora and fauna and animals inspired by the author’s rural home in Scotland. Some pages feature unfinished works, so that the reader can finish the patterns themselves.

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23. NPM Project: Jumping Into Form - At the Starting Gate!

I've been looking for a good way to describe my choice of project this year and why I'm so passionate about poetic forms. After listening to this fabulous PBS NewsHour piece on Kwame Alexander​ and poetry, I can say it no better.
"See, I’m in love with poetry. And there are so many different forms of poetry. And I believe I wanted to have that sort of variety, that sort of diversity of verse, so that kids could sort of figure out what they were interested in and what they could latch on to and perhaps mimic some of these poems themselves."
Ditto and Amen.

See you tomorrow for the launch of my 2015 project, Jumping Into Form. Up first is the sijo.

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24. It's live!! Cover Reveal: Your Voice Is All I Hear by Leah Scheier + Giveaway (US/Canada)

 

Hi, everyone!

Today we're super excited to celebrate the cover reveal for YOUR VOICE IS ALL I HEAR by Leah Scheier, releasing September 1, 2015 from Sourcebooks. Before we get to the cover, here's a note from Leah:

 

Welcome to the cover reveal for my second novel, YOUR VOICE IS ALL I HEAR. I am so excited to share it with you!  Getting a cover mock-up is so nerve-wracking for an author. I tell people that I'm "graphically-challenged;" I know what looks good when I see it but I can't visualize or design anything, not even if my life depended on it.  So when people asked me what I wanted my cover to look like, all I could say was, "I don't know. Sad. But not too sad. Also hopeful? There should be a girl on it.  Or maybe a boy?"
 
A couple of months ago, I was in a deli ordering sandwiches when my phone beeped. My editor had just sent me the cover photo! I couldn't believe it was ready. I tapped on the message, holding my breath for the big reveal, as I bounced in place like a little kid on a sugar high. I waited. And waited. AND THE ATTACHMENT WOULDN'T OPEN ON MY PHONE. It was an awful moment. I gasped out, "Oh my god, oh my god! Extra pickles, please!" to the mystified deli waiter and frantically messaged my daughter. "Open my email," I begged her. "I can't see my cover! You have to tell me what you think." An eternity passed as she downloaded the picture. "Ohhhh, Mom," she replied. "Wow. You are so lucky!"
 
My daughter was right. It had turned out even better than I'd hoped for. When the snapchat popped up on my screen, I finally saw the girl I'd imagined for years, right there in front of me. Joanna Jankowska and her team had captured the mood of the book in one perfect photo.
 
"Hey, lady? Your sandwiches are ready." The waiter held them out nervously. "Extra pickles, just like you said, okay?"
 
"Thank you, that's just wonderful!" I exclaimed. "You're wonderful!"
 
He smiled and backed away slowly. I guess he wasn't used to seeing wild-eyed enthusiasm over pastrami on rye.  
 
Since then, whenever I go back to that deli, I always get a crap-load of pickles with my order.    
   
I want to thank the team at Sourcebooks for the beautiful cover design. And for the many pickles that have come into my life. 
 
 
~ Leah Scheier (YOUR VOICE IS ALL I HEAR, Sourcebooks)
 

 

 

Ready to see?

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Here it is!

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_your-voice.png

*** If you choose to share this image elsewhere, please include a courtesy link back to this page so others can enter Leah's giveaway. Thank you! ***

 

YOUR VOICE IS ALL I HEAR

by Leah Scheier
Release date: September 1, 2015
Publisher: Sourcebooks
ISBN: 1492614416
 
 
About the Book

 

April won't let Jonah go without a fight. He’s her boyfriend—her best friend. She’ll do anything to keep him safe. But as Jonah slips into a dark depression, trying to escape the traumatic past that haunts him, April is torn. To protect Jonah, she risks losing everything: family, friends, an opportunity to attend a prestigious music school. How much must she sacrifice? And will her voice be loud enough to drown out the dissenters—and the ones in his head?

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_leah-scheier.jpgAbout the Author

Leah Scheier is the author of Secret Letters, a historical mystery featuring the daughter of the Great Detective. After finishing up her adventures in Victorian England, Leah moved back to modern times, and currently writes about teens in her hometown of Baltimore. During the day she waves around a pink stethoscope and sheets of Smurf stickers; at night she bangs on her battered computer and drinks too much caffeine. You can visit her website at leahscheier.com or say hi to her on Twitter @leahscheier.

 

Twitter | Web | Goodreads | Facebook | Pre-order Amazon | Pre-order Barnes & Noble | Pre-order Book Depository | YABC Profile

 
 
 

Giveaway Details

Two winners will each receive a signed copy of YOUR VOICE IS ALL I HEAR (when available). 

Entering is simple, just fill out the entry form below. Winners will be announced on this site and in our monthly newsletter (sign up now!) within 30 days after the giveaway ends.

During each giveaway, we ask entrants a question pertaining to the book. Here is the question they'll be answering in the comments below for extra entries:

What do you think about the cover and synopsis?

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25. ABC Family Gives the Green Light For a Mortal Instruments TV Show

City of BonesABC Family has given the green light for a TV show based on Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments young adult novels. The executives plan to create a 13-episode drama series.

Here’s more from The Hollywood Reporter: “Constantin Film will produce, and Ed Decter (Helix, Unforgettable, The Client List) is on board to serve as showrunner and executive producer…Production will begin in May in Toronto.”

Back in August 2013, Constantin released a feature film adaptation of the first book City of Bones. No announcements have been made as to whether or not the lead actors of that movie, Lily Collins and Jamie Campbell Bower, will come back to reprise their roles as Clary Fray and Jace Wayland. (via Variety.com)

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