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<<May 2015>>
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1. Essence of Mannstyle: Blackhat

No film director gets the sound of gunfire like Michael Mann. It's not just that he typically uses recordings of live fire; plenty of people do that. There's an alchemy he performs with his sound designers, a way of manipulating both the sound of the shots and the ambient sound to create a hyperreal effect. It's not the sound of gunfire. It's a sound that produces the effect of standing close to the sound of gunfire.

Mann is celebrated and derided for his visual style, a style so damn stylish that any Mann film is likely to get at least a few reviews saying, "All style, no substance." I can't empathize with such a view; for me, style is the substance of art, and if any object has value beyond the functional, that value is directly produced by style. (Which is not to say that Mann's style is above criticism. Not at all. But to say that it is "only" style, and that substance is something else, something that can be separated from style, seems nonsensical to me. You may prefer the style of an Eric Rohmer or Bela Tarr or a Steven Spielberg or just the general, conventionalized style of mainstream Hollywood or mainstream TV ... but it's still style, and it's still substance created and transmitted through style.)

What generally goes unnoticed about Mann's style is how the aural and the visual work together. The visuals can be so ostentatious, so determinedly symmetrical (in his early work) or abstract (in the more recent films) or supersaturated or obscuringly dark, that the strangeness of the soundtrack remains unremarked. One of the most sensitive viewers of Mann, Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, noted it, though, in his review of Blackhat, pointing out the "patchy sound mixes" and "sound design [that] is deliberately erratic, rendering a good fifth of the dialogue unintelligible..."

Yes, and more: since his first abstract-expressionist film, 2006's Miami Vice, Mann has cast non-Americans as American characters for some of the leading men (Colin Farrell, Christian Bale, Chris Hemsworth) and non-native speakers of English as the leading women (Gong Li, Marion Cotillard, Tang Wei). The men do a good job with their American accents, but it creates an extra level of artificiality for them to work through, an extra way for them to distance their everyday self from their character.

The women wrestle with English well, but their tones and rhythms are noticeably different from a native speaker's, and the effect is to further make the dialogue difficult to apprehend, to distance the words spoken from their meanings and heighten their aural qualities.

The dialogue in Mann's movies, regardless of whether he's the writer, is unmistakably the dialogue of a Michael Mann movie — there is Mannspeak just as there is Mametspeak. It's clipped, jargony, declarative, pulpy. It sometimes drives critics crazy ("laughable" and "ridiculous" are words I've frequently seen used to describe the dialogue in Mann's movies). The actors tend to fall into similar rhythms from film to film, and you could play a one or two minute clip of dialogue from any of Mann's films, particularly the ones of the last decade or so, and you'd know it was dialogue from a Mann film, just as you can easily identify clips of dialogue from the movies of Robert Altman, Woody Allen, and Terrence Malick. Couple the dialogue and how the actors speak it with a recording style that is more common to amateur documentaries, and the effect is odd and, if you're able to tune into it, intoxicating.

The ways we understand and get to know characters in these movies are also very different from the techniques of conventional Hollywood cinema. Mann's always presented psychology via action, but in his most popular films — that is, his films of the 1990s — there's a pretty standard approach to psychology. That all changes with Miami Vice, where a new distance is placed between viewer and character while at the same time the filmmaking heightens the sense of our subjectivity melding with theirs.

Now, the characters thoughts, feelings, and desires no longer inhere within the character, but are, instead, expressed through the light, colors, angles, and sounds of the world as it is conveyed to us. Mann's characters are no longer characters so much as they are figures in a landscape, and the landscape is an extension of those figures' feelings.

That's why it doesn't much matter whether you can understand all the dialogue. The dialogue is just sound, and it's how that sound fits with the images (the light, the color), and how those images and sounds flow together, that matters.

Odd and even alienating as Mann's style has become, there's a profound unity to its effect. More and more, he's come to make movies that feel not so much like dreams as like insomnia.

This style is not what we might expect from someone as concerned with verisimilitude as Mann. He prefers going to locations rather than building sets; he makes his actors do months of preparation; he hires numerous consultants to get all the details right. And then, shooting and editing the film, he obscures it all, swirls it, hollows it out, fragments it into collages of drift, burst, and glimpse until all that is real feels utterly artificial. Mann's ultimate aim seems to be affect: to evoke a feeling of the hyperfake real, of the deeply flattened surface, of a world rendered into electricity jumping across a flat plane of endless night.

Blackhat lost a lot of money. According to Box Office Mojo, it is Mann's least financially successful film since The Keep, a movie he's mostly disavowed. Produced for a reported $70 million, Blackhat has earned only 10% of that investment back and supposedly had the 11th worst opening for a film in 2,500 or more theatres since 1982. It is likely to end up being one of 2015's biggest flops, and that's saying something (for all the talk of Jupiter Ascending being a disaster, the Wachowski's film had some success in foreign markets and looks like it's made back its production budget, at least. Blackhat cannot say the same).

This is not especially surprising. Blackhat is marketed as a techno-thriller (the trailer, while hinting at Mannstyle, is pretty exciting), and its plot is, indeed, that of a techno-thriller. But anybody who goes into the movie expecting a techno-thriller is likely to be disappointed. "Boring" is a word commonly used in viewers' responses to the film.

The thrill is not in the movie's narrative, which gets subsumed and sublimed into Mannstyle. The thrill is in the movement, sound, and editing. Mann's affinities are more with Wong Kar-Wai than with any standard action filmmaker.

We could talk about the ideas in the movie, ideas about surveillance and punishment and information and reality. It's not for nothing that there are references to Foucault, Lyotard, and Derrida (The Animal That Therefore I Am) early on. But these ideas are not expressed as ideas that one can talk about and debate: they're ideas that are felt, sensed, whiffed, dreamed. They can't be separated from the mode of expression.

That's Mann's real accomplishment here. Ideas, like the books in Nick Hathaway's cell, get left behind.

The traces of those ideas, though, pulse through our circuits and burn across the night sky.

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2. Interview with Liane Brouillette on Book Publishing Secrets

Today is Day 9 of the 10-day virtual book tour for Help Your Child to Thrive.

Read an interview with the book’s author today at Book Publishing Secrets.

Here’s the link:

Book Publishing Secrets – Interview with Liane Brouillette

Author Liane Brouillette

Author Liane Brouillette

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3. International trailer Unveiled For Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

A new international trailer has been unveiled for Me And Earl And The Dying Girl.

Jesse Andrews adapted his 2012 young adult novel for the screenplay. The video embedded above offers glimpses of Thomas Mann as Greg, RJ Cyler as Earl, and Olivia Cooke as Rachel.

A screening was held at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year. The theatrical release date has been scheduled for June 12th. Follow this link to watch the first trailer. (via MTV.com)

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4. TOMORROWLAND - Drive Through Movie Review

**********NO SPOILERS************

The Nerd Riders, Kristin and Clint, give their thoughts on the new Disney film TOMORROWLAND. 


QUESTION: If you could go to an alternate universe what would you want to see there?

Read More

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5. Cover Unveiled for New Cindy Crawford Book

Cindy Crawford (GalleyCat)

The cover for Cindy Crawford’s forthcoming book, entitled Becoming, has been unveiled.

Vanity Fair reports that the jacket showcases a picture taken by the acclaimed photographer Herb Ritts. We’ve embedded the full image for above—what do you think?

This project features essays written by Crawford and approximately 150 photographic pieces. The team at  Rizzoli has scheduled the publication date for September 29th.

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6. Coloring page days of rage + Caption Contest


Original comic by Lisa Nowlain

OK, so clearly this is a rant. Sometimes rants aren’t productive, but sometimes they’re a funny and loud way to start a conversation (especially when they’re not being yelled into your face). As someone who is passionate about open-ended creativity and art, who has studied and practiced art in a variety of formats as well as been a children’s librarian, I do feel passionately about the subject.

Coloring pages are a great child-calmer, and we have some in the library. I’ve recently whipped up a couple that are a little more open-ended and they go like hotcakes, but I’ve also been experimenting with putting out blank sheets and they get filled up even faster!

All in all, there’s nothing wrong with having fond memories of doing coloring pages as a child, and they can be quite meditative. But if we’re going to be intentional with our storytimes – which is so important and I’m so grateful for the storytime warriors who are outlining this so clearly – I say we need to be equally intentional with our crafts and activities. Art has an incredible potential for plugging into early literacy practices and inspiring kids to be confident and self-actualizing, if we let it.

And if we let kids do it! Letting kids get messy, make mistakes, and learn that their work and process are valid are steps to building happy and healthy adults. A recent Opinion piece in the New York Times shows that over-structured classrooms don’t intervene in educational slides, and “Other research has found that early didactic instruction might actually worsen academic performance.” Instead, children need space to play and discover things on their own – and though the article doesn’t touch on them, I believe coloring pages are an example of overly-didactic art instruction. Another study, for instance, shows that creativity is decreasing in American schoolchildren, and points to the lack of freedom kids are given as the main reason. There is a lot of freedom in a blank page and an encouraging adult, and in the informal learning space a library can provide.


At the suggestion of the wonderful ALSC member and former president Mary Fellows, I’m hosting a caption contest (ala the New Yorker) for my next post! Give your best shot in the comments. Winner to be announced next post (sorry, no prizes, just glorious celebration of your wit).

Come up with a funny caption in the comments!

Come up with a funny caption in the comments!

More resources on process art and alternatives to coloring pages:

Lisa Nowlain is the Harold W. McGraw Jr. Fellow and Children’s Librarian at Darien Library in Darien, CT. She is also an artist-type (see more at www.lisanowlain.com).

The post Coloring page days of rage + Caption Contest appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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7. Margaret Atwood Adds Manuscript to Future Library

Margaret Atwood is the first author invited to participate in the Future Library, a time capsule of culture built in Norway last year that won’t been seen until 2114.

The Canadian author is adding her manuscript to the time capsule next week and to mark the occasion, she published some thoughts on Wattpad about the who experience. Check it out:

As a child, I was one of those who buried treasures in jars, with the idea that someone, some day, might come along and dig them up. I found similar things while digging in the various gardens I have made: old nails, old medicine bottles, fragments of china plates. Once in the Canadian arctic, I found a tiny doll carved of wood – rare wood, for no trees grow there and such a piece of wood must have been driftwood. That is what the Future Library is like, in part: it will contain fragments of lives that were once lived, and that are now past. But all writing is a method of preserving and transmitting the human voice.

The novel is part of The Future Library project, spearheaded by Scottish artist Katie Paterson. The project organizers planted 1,000 trees in Norway to supply the paper to print a collection of books in 2114. They plan to invite one writer a year to contribute a new text and print all of the books in 100 years.

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8. Stan Lee Inks Deal for Graphic Memoir

Stan LeeThe legendary Stan Lee plans to write a graphic memoir. Lee himself designated comics artist Colleen Doran to create the illustrations for this project.

The Touchstone imprint will publish Amazing Fantastic Incredible: A Marvelous Memoir on October 6th. The publisher also plans to produce a deluxe slipcase ‎edition; Lee will sign a limited number of these particular books. Senior editor Matthew Benjamin negotiated the deal with the team at the Susan Crawford literary agency.

Lee had this statement in the press release: “As Marvel just celebrated its seventy-fifth anniversary, I thought maybe it’s time for a look at my life in the one form it has never been depicted, as a comicbook…or if you prefer, a graphic memoir. It strikes me as a horrendous oversight that I haven’t done it before! If I didn’t know everything about my life already, I’d envy your voyage of discovery!”

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9. Digital Novel Published Via BitTorrent Bundle Draws 700K Downloads

“H8 Society – How an Atomic Fart Saved the World”” by 2Dans has seen more than 700,000 downloads since the digital novel was first available through an H8 Society BitTorrent Bundle on May 7th.

The interactive digital novel is a dark comedy featuring 26 indie songs created by 4,000 global artists and graphics from Bill Sienkiewicz, H8 Society Art Director & illustrator, known globally for his work with DC & Marvel Comics.

Music id core to the story and each song helps progress the story and develop specific characters and events. The authors modified the 374-page novel by embedding audio files and social sharing tools to help give readers the chance to share content. Follow this link to download the book.

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10. John Green Responds to Casting Requests

JohnGreen304Throughout his lifetime, John Green has juggled many roles including young adult author, video blogger, and entrepreneur. Thanks to the Paper Towns film adaptation, he adds the title of “executive producer” to his résumé.

One job that Green has never tackled is “casting director.” Despite this fact, many of his fans have been hounding him about possible actors and actresses to star in the Looking for Alaska movie.

Green has responded to these rabid requests through his social media channels with this retort: “I. Do. Not. Cast. Movie. Adaptations. Of. My. Books. I am not a casting director. Please stop threatening to kill me.” Below, we’ve collected Green’s Twitter messages in a Storify post.

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11. Bibliophile Launches Reading-Themed Instagram Project

BOOK'S CALLING (GalleyCat)One bibliophile named Jakub Pavlovský has launched an instagram account called “BOOK’S CALLING.” Through this social media channel, he displays photos of himself reading print books in different environments.

According to BoredPanda.com, Pavlovský aims to inspire people to value “the beauty of stories written on paper.” He has designated the following motto for this project: “Make Time For Reading. Anywhere, Anytime.”

Pavlovský typically features a different quote about reading for each post. Some of the books he has read include The Unlikely Spy by Daniel Silva, Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, and Inferno by Dan Brown.

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12. Advocating for School Libraries – a Primer

“What?  I need to do what?  But what does that mean?”  These are exactly the words that flashed through my mind when I attended my first annual conference and heard a keynote speaker say,  “It is our responsibility to advocate for our students, our programs and our profession.”  After what I consider a compulsory moment of internal panic, [inside voice:  I have a new responsibility.  No one told me about it.  I don’t even know how!  This did not happen in library school. What?]  I began to calm myself.  [It is a brand new day and I can do this, I think.  Ok, but first, I will read the new Neal Shusterman book.]

Now, several years later, as I stare at the four stools behind my circulation desk and feel their lonely state, I now understand that is is my responsibility to advocate for my students, my program, and my profession.

AASL provides the best definition:

Advocacy is the ongoing process of building partnerships so that others will act for and with you, turning passive support into educated action for the library program.


When we advocate, we are building partnerships and educating others to act on behalf of our students and programs.  I don’t know about you, but I can always use the extra help. Part of being effective is seeking the resources needed for your program.  If you want help, you must ask.  (It is not WWII, the volunteer generation has left the building.)  Trust me, relying on the collective memories of library experiences from your stakeholders to drive them to act is a bad idea.  You must share your vision in order to offer opportunities for investment.


  1. STAY POSITIVE.  No one likes to hear about the downfall of the library or your fear about losing your job or your program.  This is negative branding and you let them know you are expendable.  Worse, no one is comfortable, so they avoid the media center.  Post your positive message where you can see it every day, the message you will share when others ask how are things are going.

Exa.  “Hey, did you know the new Florida Teens Read List was just announced.  So many of the books look so good!  I can’t wait to read them.”

Exa.  “I am just arranging the new college and career section!  Isn’t it great!”

Exa.  “Oh, these kids are keeping me busy, busy, busy!”

  1. COLLABORATE.  Stop acting like it is somebody else’s job to come find you to seek your collaboration.  Email, visit, call.  What they get comfortable with, they will seek out.  Make teachers comfortable with your assistance.

Exa.  “Oh, Mrs. Teacher, what are you working on now with your students?  I would love to share some ideas with you.”

  1. SHARE.  With students and staff--Use a bulletin board in the media center to share information and another one on campus.  With parents--Place information from your program in the school’s newsletter.  If you don’t have a page on your school’s website, ask for one.  With the entire community--Make your own media center website.  Develop your use of Twitter and use a unique hashtag for messages from your program.
  2. GIVE GOOD PROGRAMS.  Good library programs grow programs.    Good programs encourage us all to be excited about visiting the library or media center.
  3. LEARN.  Participate in webinars.  Attend conference.  Learn from more experienced professionals about their successful library efforts.


  1. TAKE YOUR POSITIVITY TO THE NEXT LEVEL.  Share it with others.  Join a professional association and find ways to connect with other media specialist and librarians.
  2. PLAN NEW COLLABORATIONS.  Find ways that your programs can add value to what is already happening in your school or community.  Exa.  Blood drive and book fair or blood drive and fine forgiveness program.
  3. SHARE MORE.  Shout out to your helpers, mentors, sponsors, and contributors in your email, your newsletter, your local newspaper, on your website, and on Twitter and Facebook.
  4. PLAN AND GIVE ONE OR TWO EPIC PROGRAMS PER YEAR.  Author visit, local official acts as librarian for a day, book fairs, comic con, Dia de los Muertos, etc.  Let your community interests be your guide.
  5. LEARN WHAT WORKS.  Track your attendance and usage connected with programs.  Do more of what works in your community.


  1. POSITIVITY FOR ALL.  Write an article about something you do. Present at a conference or meeting.  Speak with lawmakers about your programs and what they do for the community.
  2. FIND COMMUNITY PARTNERS.  From ladies club to sewing club to car club, there is a club out there that wants to be involved with your patrons.  Find them and let them in.
  3. SHARE THE RESULTS.  Pictures are the only evidence that matters in the community.  Make picture taking a part of every program, activity, and event.
  4. LEARN FROM YOUR PROGRAMMING.  What doesn’t work does not often have to be tossed.  Survey your patrons. Maybe your just missing one small element that can change the focus.
  5. LEARN something new that inspires you!  Only the inspired continue to be creative and we are in the business of creativity.  You don’t have to jump on every band wagon, but an occasional “ride around the park” can add a fresh perspective.


  1. Share what you do and how it affects your community by advocating for libraries and the profession on National Legislative Library Days in Washington or Legislative Days in your state.

“Oh, the things that you can do…”
Vandy Pacetti-Donelson is a Library Media Specialist. She is a library advocate and board member for the Florida Association for Media in Education (FAME). Find her online at www.eliterateandlevelingup.com or follow her on Twitter @VandyPD.

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13. Historian Claims to Have Uncovered a Portrait of William Shakespeare

A historian named Mark Griffiths claims to have uncovered “the true face of” William Shakespeare. According to Country Life magazine, this likeness of the Bard can be found on the title page of John Gerard‘s 1597 botany book, The Herball.

The video embedded features Griffiths recounting how he made this discovery. Below, we’ve posted the cover from the May 2015 issue of Country Life magazine which showcases Shakespeare’s portrait.

The world’s greatest English playwright lived from 1564 to 1616. Given the publication date of Gerard’s plant tome, this means that the image was created during Shakespeare’s lifetime. The Guardian reports that “the only known authentic likenesses of Shakespeare are in the First Folio and the effigy on his monument at Holy Trinity church in Stratford-upon-Avon. Both of these were made posthumously.” (via CNN.com)

Country-Life-Cover-May-20-2015 (GalleyCat)

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14. Guest Post: Amy & David Axelrod on The History of Magic & The Bullet Catch: Murder by Misadventure

See facebook page, excerpt  & educator guide.
By Amy Axelrod & David Axelrod
for Cynthia Leitich Smith's Cynsations

When we began, we knew that we wanted to write a novel about a down-and-out magician during World War I.

We knew the setting would be New York City and that this washed-up magician, who we named Barzini, would be involved with a roster of famous illusionists of the time. And finally we knew we would have a young protagonist, named Leo, whose life would serendipitously change from being a petty criminal to a stage magician.

Both of us had interest in the history of stage magic and its legendary personalities. The early 1900s was an exciting and innovative period in the history of magic. But it was also a time of intense competition, jealousies and theft.

When trying to come up with a plot for the book, we kept circling around one magician in particular: Chung Ling Soo.

He was an American named William Ellsworth Robinson who masqueraded as a Chinese conjurer and became a world-wide sensation. His signature illusion was the bullet catch, which would ultimately kill him during a performance. Chung Ling Soo became Barzini’s nemesis, and Leo became entangled in their rivalry.

Writing an historical novel is like being on a treasure hunt. One clue leads to another and another.

We read and cross-referenced many Internet sources, biographies on Houdini and books on illusion written by magicians of the golden era.

Chung Ling Soo (Ransom Center, U.T., Austin)
One particular gem was a book written by Harry Houdini in 1906. The Right Way to Do Wrong: An Exposé of Successful Criminals, was intended to be a handbook educating the public on the ways of criminals. Instead, it read as a primer on how to commit crime, and was taken out of print. This book proved helpful when creating Leo, a pickpocket, and his gang of thieves.

We also researched the magicians’ collection and Houdini’s private scrapbooks at the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas, Austin.

Other books used in researching The Bullet Catch (Holiday House, 2015):

Jay, Ricky. Learned Pigs & Fireproof Women. New York: Warner Books, 1986.

Jay’s Journal of Anomalies. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2001.

Celebrations of Curious Characters. San Francisco: McSweeney’s Books 2011.

Steinmeyer, Jim. The Glorious Deception: The Double Life of William Robinson, aka Chung Ling Soo, the Marvelous Chinese Conjurer. Boston: de Capo Press, 2006.

Cynsational Notes 

Follow Amy @amy_axelrod & David @chunglingwho at Twitter

Amy Axelrod has written many picture books, including The Pigs Will Be Pigs Math Series (Simon & Schuster), and the middle-grade novel Your Friend in Fashion, Abby Shapiro (Holiday House).

David Axelrod works in publishing and has written numerous YA novels under pseudonyms.

Read more about their research and collaboration at Amy's blog at Goodreads.

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15. Comics Illustrator of the Week :: Enrique Alcatena













I was turned onto artist Enrique Alcatena’s work by my friend Jon Vinson(DUB Comics). Alcatena is well known in his native country of Argentina and has garnered international respect for his dark surrealist art. There are many comics by Alcatena still unpublished and untranslated here in the States. Hopefully some independent(or major) publisher picks up the slack soon and gives us some English language editions of his work.

In the meantime, you can still track down some of his earlier work in back issue bins, such as Predator vs. Judge Dredd and various Batman comics, including The Batman of Arkham Elseworlds Special with writer Alan Grant.

You can read more about the art of Enrique Alcatena in a recent article The Comics Exotic by the aforementioned Jon Vinson.

You can find Enrique Alcatena’s Art & Comics Facebook page here.

For more comics related art, you can follow me on my website comicstavern.com – Andy Yates

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16. Toon Thursday Flashback: Game Shows for Writers

I was watching an episode of Chopped last night while making dinner, so it seems appropriate to revisit this one! And, never fear, I do have plans for actual NEW cartoons in the very near future, by which I mean sometime after this month ends...at... Read the rest of this post

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17. Whimsical Illustrated Prints and Products by Marc Johns

March Johns is both clever and prolific, and his well loved drawings are available in a wide variety of products in his online shop here.

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18. Diva Delight: Silence, by Deborah Lytton

What do you do when you are born to sing, yet, suddenly silenced? Stella finds herself in a world without sound. The challenge follows to find beauty in a silent world. It's Hayden, a teen boy who stutters, who will be her guide as she simultaneously leads him to find his true voice by looking at his past.

Deborah Lytton's YA release of Silence from Shadow Mountain is told from two incredibly honest points of view. The growth and truth discovered by the characters is inspirational. As Stella concludes:

"I know that dreams are for today, not for someday. They are for here. And now."

"Music is the silence between the notes." says Claude Debussy. We will be waiting for Lytton's next release, listening to the music resonating from Silence to her following work.

by Deborah Lytton
Shadow Mountain, 2015

LorieAnncard2010small.jpg image by readergirlz

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19. Last Call For Manuscript (and Portfolio) Consultations at the 2015 SCBWI Summer Conference!

The Conference consultations are an amazing opportunity.

Rather than the typical wait of months (or even longer!) and then not always even hearing what the editor or art director or agent thought (if it's a pass), this is a chance to get an industry professional (agent, editor, art director or published author or illustrator) to sit down with you for twenty minutes to give you an honest, professional appraisal of your work and discuss the first ten pages of your manuscript!

Note: The deadline for manuscripts is that they must ARRIVE in SCBWI's Los Angeles office ON or BEFORE Tuesday, MAY 26. Manuscripts received after THAT DAY cannot be accepted.

For illustrators, you can get a portfolio consultation (you just have to register and sign up for it by May 26, then you bring your portfolio with you to the conference.)

Are there success stories from the consultations, of agents and editors who've ended up signing projects from what they saw at the consultation? Yes. But even more than that, each consultation is a chance to get that honest feedback, and to grow as an author and/or illustrator. And we all need to keep growing as artists, no matter where we are in our careers.

And for everyone attending, you can sign up for a Social Media consultation with social media guru Greg Pincus.

You can read all about the consultations and their guidelines here.

Here's to the conference (and maybe a consultation, too) being a great experience to move your craft – and career – forward!

You'll find all the conference details and registration information here.

Illustrate and Write On,

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20. PEN Center Emerging Voices Fellowship Seeks Submissions

PEN Center USA is looking for submissions for its 2016 Emerging Voices Fellowship. The literary fellowship exists to help launch literary careers for writers that lack the tools and access to do so on their own.
Writers can find applications at this link. The deadline for submissions is August 10, 2015. Fellows that are selected will earn a $1,000 grant and will participate in an eight month professional mentorship program. This includes courses donated by UCLA Writers’ Extension Program, being a part of hosted Author Evenings with authors and several public readings in Los Angeles.Fellows will be paired with mentors. In the past, Sherman Alexie, Aimee Bender, Chris Abani, Héctor Tobar, Ron Carlson, Jerry Stahl, Susan Straight and Harryette Mullen have all served as mentors.

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21. Pick of the Week for PET and This Week’s Topic


It’s Illustration Friday!

We’re excited to announce this week’s topic, but first please enjoy the illustration above by Oriol San Julián, our Pick of the Week for last week’s topic of PET. Thanks to everyone else for participating. We hope it was inspiring!

You can also see a gallery of all the other entries here.

And of course, you can now participate in this week’s topic:


Here’s how:

Step 1: Illustrate your interpretation of the current week’s topic (always viewable on the homepage).

Step 2: Post your image onto your blog / flickr / facebook, etc.

Step 3: Come back to Illustration Friday and submit your illustration (see big “Submit your illustration” button on the homepage).

Step 4: Your illustration will then be added to the participant gallery where it will be viewable along with everyone else’s from the IF community!

Also be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter and subscribe to our weekly email newsletter to keep up with our exciting community updates!


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22. It's live!! Cover Reveal: The Secret Side of Empty by Maria E. Andreu + Giveaway (US/Canada)


Today we're super excited to celebrate the cover reveal for THE SECRET SIDE OF EMPTY by Maria E. Andreu, releasing September 1, 2015 from Running Press. Before we get to the cover, here's a note from Maria:


YABC Readers!  I’m so excited to share the paperback cover for THE SECRET SIDE OF EMPTY.  I thought I couldn’t love a cover more than that of the hardcover edition of TSSoE.  I was wrong!  I think this paperback cover so perfectly encapsulates the mood of the book and the red, white and blue gives a subtle hint at the conflict.  Plus it’s nice to have a bit of history when a cover is revealed so that you can “show off” some of the nice awards and reviews. It’s always a little nerve-wracking to let go and trust when something as personal as YOUR book cover is being designed without YOU (in retrospect, thank goodness for that).  But as soon as I saw this I knew that the team at Running Press completely “got” the story.
I am SO excited to share this cover with you.  Please enter to win a signed copy!
~ Maria E. Andreu (THE SECRET SIDE OF EMPTY, Running Press)



Ready to see?

Scroll, YABCers! Scroll!


































Here it is!



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



by Maria E. Andreu
Release date: September 1, 2015
Publisher: Running Press
ISBN: 978-0762459162
About the Book


With graduation and an uncertain future looming, M.T. must figure out how to grow up in the only country she's ever called home... a country in which she's "illegal."
A Junior Library Guild Selection
A 2014 National Indie Excellence Award winner (young adult fiction)
A School Library Journal Top 10 Latino Books of 2014
An International Latino Book Award Finalist 2015

To learn more about this book and see our review, go HERE.


b2ap3_thumbnail_Maria-Andreu-author-photo.jpgAbout the Author

Maria E. Andreu is a writer and speaker whose work has appeared in Newsweek, The Washington Post, NJ.com and the Newark Star Ledger.  Her debut young adult novel, THE SECRET SIDE OF EMPTY, has been called “captivating” by School Library Journal and was inspired by her own children experiences as an undocumented immigrant.  Maria currently lives in New Jersey with her two children.

Twitter | Web | Goodreads | Facebook | Pinterest | Pre-order Amazon


Giveaway Details

One winner will receive a signed paperback copy of THE SECRET SIDE OF EMPTY plus a grab bag of 4 YA bestsellers (unsigned).

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?

Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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23. Melissa Lozada-Oliva Poetry Video Goes Viral

How do you respond in a name calling situation? Poet Melissa Lozada-Oliva has crafted a response message (complete with NSFW language).

The video embedded above features Lozada-Oliva’s performance at the 2015 Women of the World Poetry Slam. Follow this link to listen to another one of her pieces.

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24. Books Aren't Dangerous Campaign


Do you remember that book that changed your life as a reader, or maybe just your life in general? You do? That’s great! 




Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, authors of the BEAUTIFUL CREATURES series, have started a campaign called BOOKS AREN’T DANGEROUS. For every picture of a book that uses #BooksArentDangerous, a book will be donated to an underserved school or library!


We put our team of staff reviewers to the test and here are some of the pcitures and stories they shared with us to help keep this campaign going. Pictures were shared on social media first with #BooksArentDangerous and then passed along to us here at YABC! 







"Tamora Pierce's books changed my life. Her stories about female knights and their adventures gave me the courage I needed to become the athlete that I am today."--Hannah, Staff Reviewer






"I picked Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher, because when I read the book, I finally understood how one action can have so much affect. It might seem small, but in reality, it can change things. It can change things for better or worse, but it can change. It taught me to think about my actions and realize that they have an opposite and equal reaction (physics ha!). Even though this book really got me upset (I cried), I think this book truly changed my life and the way I think about what I want to do with my life!"--Nanouk, Staff Reviewer




"Storm Siren taught me how to embrace my emotions and not push them away."--Samantha, Staff Reviewer






"The DUNE series by Frank Herbert was the first series that introduced me to sci-fi as a teen.  I loved the surrealism throughout which spoke to me during a very difficult time of my life.  I have to say this series was a life saver for me."--Kim, Staff Reviewer





"OUT OF THE SILENT PLANET was the first book to show me that sci-fi can be deeply beautiful, poetic, and profound. I am still in awe of this book, each time I re-read."--Mandy, Staff Reviewer





"Harry Potter is the reason I'm a reader and a writer. I think it's safe to say I owe the literary life I have now to a boy wizard and his adventures."--Kayla, Blog Manager and Staff Reviewer





"In the Forests of the Night by Amelia Atwater Rhodes inspired me to write. The author was thirteen when it got published, and so was I. It let me know that you are never too young to start trying to achieve your dreams."--Zoraida, Staff Reviewer 




"C.S. Lewis taught me to love stories, and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe taught me I could escape into them when "real life" was more than I could bear. It was comforting to imagine a magnificent world could be entered through the most mundane of places."  --Angela, Staff Reviewer



Here at Young Adult Books Central, we love our books. So we are offering a giveaway to help spread the word about this fantastic campaign! Follow the link today and start sharing your #BooksArentDangerous pictures with the world.


Interested in the giveaway? Click HERE!


**You can find more information about the #BooksArentDangerous campaign HERE.

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25. Bob Woodward On Bin Laden Reading Obama’s Wars

Journalist & author Bob Woodward thinks that Osama Bin Laden didn’t read his book closely enough. If he did, he might not have lived in the Pakistan hideout.

Woodward shared his opinion with The Washington Post after news came out that his book was among 38 other English language titles on Bin Laden’s book shelf during the raid on his compound in Pakistan. This information was published along with a number of documents that were declassified by the government this week. Here is what Woodward had to say to The Post:

\"If he read ‘Obama’s Wars,’ bin Laden’s takeaway should have been Obama does not like war but is willing to use lethal force,\" Woodward said in an e-mail. \"The American commander-in-chief in fact prefers covert Special Forces raids targeted and aimed at capturing or killing known high-value terrorist in their hideouts. A close reading might have sent him back to a mountain cave. Follow-on reading about Nixon (\"All the President’s Men\" and \"The Final Days\") could have shown him the destructive power of hate. As Nixon said, ‘When you hate your enemies, you destroy yourself.’ \"

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