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If you’ve seen the new show Stuck in the Middle, you’re probably a fan, because once you watch one episode you just can’t stop! At least this was the case for me. The show is about Harley Diaz and her six (yep six!) siblings and she’s the middle kid.
Rachael – the oldest, totally vain and into her looks and social media.
Ethan – Harley’s favorite sibling, budding musician, and partner in crime.
Georgie – basketball player who makes up for lack of “skill” with positive will (known to say “Negativity is loserville, my friend!”). Slightly annoying but kind of funny.
Twins Louie and Beast – crazy mini-ninjas.
Daphne – the youngest, usually wearing a tutu, tiara, and their mom’s high heels.
Her mom occasionally hides in the pantry to escape from the craziness of seven kids, and the kids often eat food from the garbage. But hey – this just happens sometimes with seven kids in one family!
Would You Rather. . .
Be the oldest of seven siblings OR the youngest?
Have your family forget your birthday OR totally embarrass you in front of your crush on your birthday?
Have your wi-fi cancelled OR your device/tablet broken?
Have a big family OR be an only child?
Be a rock star musician OR world famous scientist?
Only get 3 minutes in the bathroom in the morning OR have to share a toothbrush with your sibling?
Babysit three crazy 5-year olds OR change five poopy diapers?
Let us know what you’d rather in the Comments below!
Celebrate International Jazz Day with these seven books about Jazz from LEE & LOW BOOKS:
Rent Party Jazz, written by William Miller and illustrated by Charlotte Riley-Webb – Sonny Comeaux has to work in order to help his mother make ends meet. Mama loses her job, and Sonny is worried: How will they make the rent? A jazz musician named Smilin’ Jack helps Sonny have the world’s best party, and raise the rent money in the process. Buy here.
i see the rhythm, written by Toyomi Igus and illustrated by Michele Wood – This book is a visual and poetic introduction to the history of African American music, including Jazz music. Buy here.
Jazz Baby, written by Carole Boston and illustrated by Laura Freeman – This book is a celebration of music and movement. This story in verse is inspired by the riffs, rhythms, and freedom of jazz. Buy here.
Little Melba and Her Big Trombone, written by Katheryn Russell-Brown and illustrated by Frank Morrison – This award-winning biography follows the life of legendary jazz trombonist, composer, and arranger Melba Liston. At the age of 7, Melba fell in love with the trombone. Later, she broke racial and gender barriers tobecome a famed trombone player and arranger, spinning rhythms, harmonies, and melodies into gorgeous songs for all the jazz greats of the twentieth century: Randy Weston, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Billie Holiday, and Quincy Jones, to name just a few. Buy here.
Sweet Music in Harlem, written by Debbie Taylor and illustrated by Frank Morrison – C.J. needs to act fast. A photographer from Highnote magazine is on his way to take a picture of his Uncle Click, a well-known jazz musician. But Uncle Click’s signature hat is missing! C.J. must find it before the photo shoot. Buy here.
Rainbow Joe and Me, by Maria Diaz Strom – Eloise likes colors and so does her friend, Rainbow Joe. Since Rainbow Joe is blind, Eloise tells him about the colors she mixes and the fantastic animals she paints. Rainbow Joe tells Eloise that he can also mix and paint colors. Buy here.
Ray Charles, written by Sharon Bell Mathis and illustrated by George Ford – This award-winning biography follows the life of world-renowned jazz and blues musician Ray Charles. It includes a new introduction by author Sharon Bell Mathis and updates his life to the present day. Buy here.
The University of Chicago Press is pleased to announce that House of Debt: How They (and You) Caused the Great Recession and How We Can Prevent It from Happening Again, by Amir Sufi and Atif Mian, has been awarded the 2016 Gordon J. Laing Prize. The prize was announced during a reception on April 21st at the University of Chicago Quadrangle Club. The Gordon J. Laing Prize is awarded annually by the University of Chicago Press to the faculty author, editor, or translator of a book published in the previous three years that has brought the greatest distinction to the Press’s list. Books published in 2013 or 2014 were eligible for this year’s award. The prize is named in honor of the scholar who, serving as general editor from 1909 until 1940, firmly established the character and reputation of the University of Chicago Press as the premier academic publisher in the United States.
Taking a close look at the financial crisis and housing bust of 2008, House of Debt digs deep into economic data to show that it wasn’t the banks themselves that caused the crisis to be so bad—it was an incredible increase in household debt in the years leading up to it that, when the crisis hit, led consumers to dramatically pull back on their spending. Understanding those underlying causes, the authors argue, is key to figuring out not only exactly how the crisis happened, but how we can prevent its recurrence in the future.
Originally published in hardcover in May 2014, the book has received extensive praise in such publications as the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Financial Times, Economist, New York Review of Books, and other outlets.
Amir Sufi is the Chicago Board of Trade Professor of Finance at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Atif Mian is the Theodore A. Wells ’29 Professor of Economics at Princeton University and director of the Julis-Rabinowitz Center for Public Policy and Finance.
The Press is delighted to name Professor Sufi to a distinguished list of previous University of Chicago faculty recipients that includes Adrian Johns, Robert Richards, Martha Feldman, Bernard E. Harcourt, Philip Gossett, W. J. T. Mitchell, and many more.
Okay, here’s a new logical reasoning puzzle. See if you can figure it out on your own. If you can’t, don’t worry. The answer is below. So grab a pencil and paper, and good luck!
(1) Five dogs are appearing in a dog show. (2) The Chihuahua appears first. (3) The Golden Retriever comes out right after the Great Dane. (4) The Poodle and the Golden Retriever both come before the Dachshund. (5) The Poodle comes out before the Great Dane. In what order do the dogs appear?
Here’s how to use process of elimination to solve it:
Grab a piece of paper and a pencil with an eraser. Draw five empty boxes with the numbers 1-5 marked above them. Why 5? We know from reading the first sentence of the puzzle that there are five dogs, so these boxes represent the order of each dog.
Now read the second sentence. We know that the Chihuahua comes out first. So mark Chihuahua in Box 1.
Let’s move on to the third sentence. We know the Golden Retriever comes right after the Great Dane so the Great Dane can not be last in Box 5. And we know that box 1 is already taken. That means the Great Dane could be in either Box 2, 3, or 4. And the Golden Retriever can only be in Box 3, 4, or 5 because if it was in Box 2, it would be after the Chihuahua instead of the Great Dane. For now, write Great Dane in Box 2, 3, and 4 and write Golden Retriever in Box 3, 4, and 5. we will use process of elimination to cross out the wrong ones.
Sentence 4 tells us that the Golden Retriever and the Poodle come before the Dachshund. Hold on. That means that the Golden Retriever can’t be in Box 5 because the Dachshund comes after it. Since the Golden Retriever can’t be in Box, 5 then the Great Dane can’t be in Box 4, so cross those 2 out.
Since the Dachshund comes after the Golden Retriever and the Poodle, that means the Dachshund could be in Box 4 or 5, so write Dachshund in those 2 boxes. And the Poodle could be in any box before the Dachshund (except Box 1 because Chihuahua is there). So, write Poodle in Boxes 2,3, and 4. Whew! This is getting tough, but stick with it! It will all work out in the end.
Now for the final clue, sentence 5! The Poodle comes out before the Great Dane. That means the Great Dane can not be in Box 2 because the Chihuahua is in Box 1, not the Poodle. So cross out Great Dane in Box 2. Take a look. The Great Dane can only be in Box 3. Cross out everything else in Box 3 and circle Great Dane. And since the Golden Retriever is after the Great Dane, it has to be in Box 4! When you cross out all the other dogs that don’t belong in Boxes 3 and 4, you can see that Box 5 belongs to the Dachshund, and Box 2 belongs to the Poodle!
Here’s the answer from left to right: Chihuahua, Poodle, Great Dane, Golden Retriever, and Dachshund. We did it!
Do you like these kinds of puzzles? Leave a Comment to say what you think!
This is not one of those books. This book is about mood, and how it works in and with us as complicated, imperfectly self-knowing beings existing in a world that impinges and infringes on us, but also regularly suffuses us with beauty and joy and wonder. You don’t write that book as a linear progression—you write it as a living, breathing, richly associative, and, crucially, active, investigation. Or at least you do if you’re as smart and inventive as Mary Cappello.
And, to whet your appetite, an excerpt from “Gong Bath”:
Swimming won’t ever yield the same pleasure for me as being small enough to take a bath in the same place where the breakfast dishes are washed. No memory will be as flush with pattering—this is life!—as the sensation that is the sound of the garden hose, first nozzle-tested as a fine spray into air, then plunged into one foot of water to re-fill a plastic backyard pool. The muffled gurgle sounds below, but I hear it from above. My blue bathing suit turns a deeper blue when water hits it, and I’m absorbed by the shape, now elongated, now fat, of my own foot underwater. The nape of my neck is dry; my eyelids are dotted with droplets, and the basal sound of water moving inside of water draws me like the signal of a gong: “get in, get out, get in.” The water is cool above and warm below, or warm above and cool below: if I bend to touch its stripes, one of my straps releases and goes lank. Voices are reflections that do not pierce me here; they mottle. I am a fish in the day’s aquarium.
The Gong Bath turns out to be a middle-class group affair at a local yoga studio, not a private baptism in a subterranean tub. The group of bourgeoisie of which I am a member pretends for a day to be hermits in a desert. It’s summertime, and we arrive with small parcels: loosely dressed, jewelry-free, to each person her mat and a pillow to prop our knees. We’re to lie flat on our backs, we’re told, and to try not to fidget. We’re to shut our eyes and merely listen while two soft-spoken men create sounds from an array of differently sized Tibetan gongs that hang from wooden poles, positioned in a row in front of us. Some of the gongs appear to have copper-colored irises at their center. In their muted state, they hang like unprepossessing harbingers of calm.
I love all fairy tales whether they are books, movies, plays, or even ballets! From Frozen to Sisters Grimm, to Swan Lake, I love it all. The fairy tales in this list are a bit . . . twisted. They are based on the original stories, but then there is some kind of twist to make it different and interesting.
Big Bad Detective Agency by Bruce Hale for Ages 7–10
The houses of all Three (not-so-) Little Pigs were broken into and ransacked, and the Pigs are squealing for justice. So Prince Tyrone, ruler of Fairylandia, drags in the obvious suspect: Wolfgang.
The lone wolf has big teeth, sharp claws, no alibi—and a single day to find the real culprit and clear his big bad name. When Wolf (reluctantly) teams up with the fourth Little Pig to crack the case, the Big Bad Detective Agency—and an adventure way funnier than your average fairy tale—is born!
Tyme #1: Grounded: The Adventures of Rapunzel by Megan Morrison for Ages 8–12
In all of Tyme, from the Redlands to the Grey, no one is as lucky as Rapunzel. She lives in a magic tower that obeys her every wish; she reads wonderful books starring herself as the heroine; her hair is the longest, most glorious thing in the world. And she knows this because Witch tells her so—her beloved Witch, who protects her from evil princes, the dangerous ground under the tower, even unhappy thoughts. Rapunzel can’t imagine any other life.
Then a thief named Jack climbs into her room to steal one of her enchanted roses. He’s the first person Rapunzel’s ever met who isn’t completely charmed by her (well, the first person she’s met at all, really), and he is infuriating—especially when he hints that Witch isn’t telling her the whole truth. Driven by anger at Jack and her own nameless fears, Rapunzel descends to the ground for the first time, and finds a world filled with more peril than Witch promised . . . and more beauty, wonder, and adventure than she could have dreamed.
Whatever After: Beauty Queen by Sarah Mlynowski for Ages 8-12
This time, the magic mirror sucks Abby and Jonah into the story of Beauty and the Beast. When the siblings accidentally mess up this enchanting and magical tale, hijinks and hilarity ensue . . . and things get pretty ugly! See also the other books in the Whatever After series.
Grimmtastic Girls #6: Goldilocks Breaks In by Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams for Ages 8–12
Goldilocks wants everything in her life to be just right, but sometimes at Grimm Academy, there are too many choices. When she sneaks into Grimmstone Library after hours, she’ll have to make a tough decision if she wants to discover her magic charm! See also the other Grimmtastic books.
Twice Upon a Time #1: Rapunzel, the One With All the Hair by Wendy Mass for Ages 8-12
Rapunzel is having the ultimate bad day. She’s been stolen from home by an evil witch, locked in an incredibly high tower, and doesn’t even have a decent brush for her hair. Prince Benjamin is in a pretty uncomfortable situation himself. His father wants him to be more kingly, his mother wants him to never leave her sight, and his cousin wants to get him into as much trouble as possible. Plus, there’s the little matter of prearranged marriages. . . . Both Rapunzel and Prince Benjamin are trapped—in very different ways. It’s only when their paths cross, that things really start to change. Also available: Twice Upon a Time #2: Sleeping Beauty, The One Who Took the Really Long Nap. Twice Upon a Time #3: Beauty and the Beast, the Only One Who Didn’t Run Away
If you love fairy tales like I do, try these books and tell me what you think in the Comments.
Released last fall from LEE & LOW BOOKS, The Story I’ll Tellis a gentle and moving story of adoption and parental love that is sure to touch the hearts of readers everywhere, no matter how they came to be a family. It has received starred reviews from Booklist and Publishers Weekly, which called it “an unabashed love letter, one that many families will treasure.”
We asked illustrator Jessica Lanan to take us behind the scenes of her art process bringing The Story I’ll Tell to life:
The process for illustrating The Story I’ll Tell started with research and brainstorming. I read books about adoption and collected evocative images from magazines and the internet that I thought might be useful references. There were a lot of questions to investigate as I tried to piece together the identity of the characters and the overall look and feel of the artwork.
As I researched, I also began sketching thumbnails. My art director and editor provided feedback on these, and through several rounds of revisions we worked to get the concept and flow of the art just right. The thumbnail sketches were also essential in order to work out the composition of each page. For each round of revisions I made a printed dummy in order to simulate the flow of the book.
After the thumbnails were ready, I worked on more detailed drawings, using reference images and models as needed. Here you can see a rough clay model that I used as a reference image for one of the drawings:
Once the drawings had been approved, it was time to move on to the final art. I was using watercolor for this book, which is a rather unforgiving medium, so, I made a miniature version of each painting first in order to get all the mistakes out of the way. Then I transferred my drawing to the watercolor paper and started painting!
Each final piece was done with watercolor and colored pencil on 300lb watercolor paper.
Jessica Lanan has been in love with illustrated books since an early age. Besides The Story I’ll Tell, she has also illustrated Good Fortune in a Wrapping Cloth from the Shen’s Books imprint of LEE & LOW BOOKS. She currently lives in Boulder, Colorado, where she enjoys thunderstorms, crunching autumn leaves beneath her feet, and leaving footprints in freshly fallen snow.
You can purchase a copy of The Story I’ll Tell on our website here.
Okay, my fellow puzzle-lovers, we’re back with ANOTHER picture puzzle! This time, you’ll be hunting for words instead of objects (because hey, we’re kind of obsessed with words). Can you find the following words in the old stamp design?
Click on the picture to see a larger version.
Okay, there was a theme here. What? Who doesn’t love yummy, sugary foods? We’re off to snack on some cupcakes, but let us know what words you were able to find (and which ones you couldn’t) in the Comments!
The Academy “convenes leaders from the academic, business, and government sectors to address critical challenges facing our global society.” This year’s cohort marks the 235th class of inductees, stemming from an inaugural selection of members in 1781, including Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, and Beyoncé, who is a spectre as ageless as Melisandre from Game of Thrones.
Raymond and Lorna Coppinger have long been acknowledged as two of our foremost experts on canine behavior—a power couple for helping us to understand the nature of dogs, our attachments to them, and how genetic heritage, environmental conditions, and social construction govern our understanding of what a dog is and why it matters so much to us.
Add them up, all the pet dogs on the planet, and you get about 250 million.
But there are about a billion dogs on Earth, according to some estimates. The other 750 million don’t have flea collars. And they certainly don’t have humans who take them for walks and pick up their feces. They are called village dogs, street dogs and free-breeding dogs, among other things, and they haunt the garbage dumps and neighborhoods of most of the world.
In their new book, “What Is a Dog?,” Raymond and Lorna Coppinger argue that if you really want to understand the nature of dogs, you need to know these other animals. The vast majority are not strays or lost pets, the Coppingers say, but rather superbly adapted scavengers — the closest living things to the dogs that first emerged thousands of years ago.
Other scientists disagree about the genetics of the dogs, but acknowledge that three-quarters of a billion dogs are well worth studying.
The Coppingers have been major figures in canine science for decades. Raymond Coppinger was one of the founding professors at Hampshire College in Amherst, and he and Lorna, a biologist and science writer, have done groundbreaking work on sled dogs, herding dogs, sheep-guarding dogs, and the origin and evolution of dogs.
“We’ve done everything together,” he said recently as they sat on the porch of the house they built, set on about 100 acres of land, and talked at length about dogs, village and otherwise, and the roots of their deep interest in the animals.
To read the profile—which touches on the Coppingers’ nuanced history with wild canines—in full, click here.
Fashion isn’t just for the girls. While women have an assortment of accessories and jewelry to choose from, boys have tons of ways to add some style their outfits.
1. Colorful shoes
Don’t let your shoes be an afterthought. Find a pair of sneakers with a crazy pattern or with bright colors that will help you stand out in a crowd.
T-shirts are fun and can say a lot about a person, but you can add flair to an outfit with a hoodie. Find a cool zip-up sweatshirt that complements your t-shirts. If you wear it unzipped, people can still see the cool design on your t-shirt and the hoodie adds another dimension to your outfit.
Sunglasses are perfect for any outfit. If you slip on a pair of aviators, you look like a cool fighter pilot ready for a mission. If you put on a sleek pair of black shades, you can master the mysterious and cool look. Or find a colorful pair of sunglasses and you look ready to party.
If it’s cold outside, scarves are the perfect accessory to keep your neck warm. But they’re also super-fashionable. Just ask Harry Potter, who wore his Gryffindor scarf everywhere.
Wearing a pin is a great way to express your personality. Find a cool pin that represents something about yourself and fasten it to your shirt. Hey, if Katniss Everdeen can pull off a pin, why can’t you?
So there you have it, 5 fun ways to spice up an outfit. So, how do you keep yourself looking fashionable? tell us in the Comments.
Jessica Riskin’s The Restless Clock: A History of the Centuries-Long Argument Over What Makes Living Things Tickexplores the history of a particular principle—that the life sciences should not ascribe agency to natural phenomena—and traces its remarkable history all the way back to the seventeenth century and the automata of early modern Europe. At the same time, the book tells the story of dissenters to this precept, whose own compelling model cast living things not as passive but as active, self-making machines, in an attempt to naturalize agency rather than outsourcing it to theology’s “divine engineer.” In a recent video trailer for the book (above), Riskin explains the nuances of both sides’ arguments, and accounts for nearly 300 years worth of approaches to nature and design, tracing questions of science and agency through Descartes, Leibniz, Lamarck, Darwin, and others.
The Restless Clock is a sweeping survey of the search for answers to the mystery of life. It begins with medieval automata – muttering mechanical Christs, devils rolling their eyes, cherubs “deliberately” aiming water jets at unsuspecting visitors who, in a still-mystical and religious era, half-believe that these contraptions are alive. Then come the Enlightenment android-builders and philosophers, Romantic poet-scientists, evolutionists, roboticists, geneticists, molecular biologists and more: a brilliant cast of thousands fills this encyclopedic account of the competing ideas that shaped the sciences of life and artificial intelligence.
To understand this unspoken arrangement between science and theology, you must first consider that the founding model of modern science, established during the Scientific Revolution of the seventeenth century, assumed and indeed relied upon the existence of a supernatural God. The founders of modern science, including people such as René Descartes, Isaac Newton and Robert Boyle, described the world as a machine, like a great clock, whose parts were made of inert matter, moving only when set in motion by some external (divine) force.
These thinkers insisted that one could not explain the movements of the great clock of nature by ascribing desires or tendencies or willful actions to its parts. That was against the rules. They banished any form of agency – purposeful or willful action – from nature’s machinery and from natural science. In so doing, they gave a monopoly on agency to an external god, leaving behind a fundamentally passive natural world. Henceforth, science would describe the passive machinery of nature, while questions of meaning, purpose and agency would be the province of theology.
The work of luminaries such as René Descartes, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, Immanuel Kant, Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, and Charles Darwin is discussed, as well as that of contemporaries including Daniel Dennett, Richard Dawkins, and Stephen Jay Gould. But there are also the lesser knowns: the clockmakers, court mechanics, artisans, and their fantastic assortment of gadgets, automata, and androids that stood as models for the nascent life sciences. Riskin’s accounts of these automata will come as a revelation to many readers, as she traces their history from late medieval, early Renaissance clock- and organ-driven devils and muttering Christs in churches to the robots of the post-World War II era. Fascinating on many levels, this book is accessible enough for a science-minded lay audience yet useful for students and scholars.
To read more about The Restless Clock, click here.
I hate when I can’t find the remote for the television, so I can only image what it’s like hunting for Bigfoot. Also known as Sasquatch, Bigfoot is a hairy, ape-like creature that is believed to live in northwestern United States, but no one has ever confirmed its existence.
Bigfoot entered pop culture in 1951, when Eric Shipton photographed a giant footprint. The myth grew even larger when residents of California continued to find abnormally large tracks in 1958. The manhunt for the creature was launched at Bluff Creek, California to find the source of the tracks, and a legend was born.
Over the years, people have reported more Bigfoot sightings. In 1967, Roger Patterson and Robert Gimlin claimed they captured Bigfoot on film, but many years later, a close friend admitted he wore a costume to fake the sighting.
Rick Jacobs thought he captured a photo of Bigfoot using an automatically triggered camera, but park rangers later identified the creature in the photo as a sick bear.
Unfortunately, scientists proved many of the sightings to be hoaxes. After the death of Ray Wallace, his children came forward with a 16-inch wooden foot their father used to fake those California Bigfoot tracks in 1958. Scientists also believe other sightings occurred when people mistook bears and chimpanzees for Bigfoot.
Although scientists have disproved all supposed Bigfoot sightings, believers continue to search for the elusive Sasquatch. So, do you believe in the legend of Bigfoot, or is Sasquatch just a hoax? Tell us in the Comments!
“I’m interested in the collage form,” Balakian said. “I’m exploring, pushing the form of poetry, pushing it to have more stakes and more openness to the complexity of contemporary experience.”
He describes poetry as living in “the speech-tongue-voice syntax of language’s music.” That, he says, gives the form unique power. “Any time you’re in the domain of the poem, you’re dealing with the most compressed and nuanced language that can be made. I believe that this affords us the possibility of going into a deeper place than any other literary art — deeper places of psychic, cultural and social reality.”
From the book’s titular poem:
Bach’s cantata in B-flat minor in the cassette,
we lounged under the greenhouse-sky, the UVBs hacking
at the acids and oxides and then I could hear the difference
between an oboe and a bassoon
at the river’s edge under cover—
trees breathed in our respiration;
there was something on the other side of the river,
something both of us were itching toward—
radical bonds were broken, history became science.
We were never the same.
And, as the jacket description notes:
The title poem of Peter Balakian’s Ozone Journal is a sequence of fifty-four short sections, each a poem in itself, recounting the speaker’s memory of excavating the bones of Armenian genocide victims in the Syrian desert with a crew of television journalists in 2009. These memories spark others—the dissolution of his marriage, his life as a young single parent in Manhattan in the nineties, visits and conversations with a cousin dying of AIDS—creating a montage that has the feel of history as lived experience. Bookending this sequence are shorter lyrics that span times and locations, from Nairobi to the Native American villages of New Mexico. In the dynamic, sensual language of these poems, we are reminded that the history of atrocity, trauma, and forgetting is both global and ancient; but we are reminded, too, of the beauty and richness of culture and the resilience of love.
Poems in the Atticis a collection of poetry that creates a tender intergenerational story that speaks to every child’s need to hold onto special memories of home, no matter where that place might be. We interviewed master poet Nikki Grimes on her process for writing poetry and if she has any tips to share.
In Poems in the Attic, the reader is introduced to free verse and tanka styles of poetry. Why were you drawn to the tanka form?
Poetry, for me, has always been about telling a story or painting a picture using as few words as possible. Haiku and tabla are forms that epitomize that. I’d previously played with an introduction to haiku in A Pocketful of Poems, and I have long since been intrigued with the idea of incorporating tanka in a story. Poems in the Attic provided such an opportunity, so I jumped on it.
Many readers are intimidated by poetry or think it is not for them. For people who find poetry difficult, where would you recommend they start?
Start with word play. I sometimes like to take a word and study it through the lens of my senses. Take the word “lemon”, for instance. What is its shape, its scent, its color? Does it make a sound? Does it have a taste? How would you describe that sound, that taste? Where is a lemon to be found? What does it do or what can you do with it? In answering such questions, in a line or two in response to each question, one ends up either with a poem or the makings of a poem.
Is there something people can do to be “good” at writing poetry? Where do you find inspiration when you get stuck?
There are a few answers to that question.
Read poetry voraciously. If you aspire to write good poetry, you must first know what that looks like.
Practice, practice, practice. Writing is a muscle that must be exercises, no matter the genre.
Play. Build your vocabulary. Experiment with a variety of forms. For too many trying poetry, rhyme is their default. But rhyme is bot synonymous with poetry. It is merely one element of it. Explore metaphor, simile, alliteration, assonance, and all the other elements of poetry. Think interns of telling a story and painting a picture with words. These practices will lead you somewhere wonderful.
Are you a fan of the Dork Diaries series – or as my friend says “kind of like Diary of a Wimpy Kid for girls?” It follows middle-schooler Nikki Maxwell, a normal (but dorky) girl who transfers into an expensive private school. She makes new, fabulously dorky friends, and battles the beautiful, popular crowd, navigating school life with lots of laughs and crazy adventures.
There are 10 books in the series, and a Dork Diaries movie is in development. If you’re psyched about that, then check out our Dork Diaries Would You Rather, inspired by the books!
Would You Rather . . .
1. Have dorky friends OR snobby friends?
2. Volunteer in the school library OR volunteer in an animal shelter?
3. On a dare – toilet paper someone’s house OR tell your crush you like him or her in a different language?
4. Be poor OR spoiled?
5. Get locked in the janitor’s closet OR locked in Brianna’s “diva hair salon” where her crazy 6-year-old sister experiments on your hair?
6. Enter an ice skating competition OR a pop star talent competition?
7. Have your diary stolen OR your brand new phone stolen?
1. Which of these events is NOT in the Summer X Games? A) Motorcross Best Trick B) Rally Car Racing C) BMX Freestyle Big Air D) Monoski
2. Which of these athletes made history when he became the first person to pull of a “double backflip in freestyle motorcross” at the X Games? A) Tony Hawk B) Travis Pastrana C) Torstein Horgmo D) Shaun White
3. The first Winter X Games took place in which of these California locations. Remember, for the winter games, there must be snow and mountains! A) Los Angeles B) Palm Springs C) Santa Barbara D) Big Bear
4. B.A.S.E. jumping is an extremely dangerous sport where adventure-seekers jump from very high objects while wearing a parachute or wingsuit. What do you think B.A.S.E. stands for? A) Building, Antenna, Span, Earth B) Broken Ankle, Sore Everything C) Be Adventurous, Seek Excitement D) Bold And Somewhat Extreme
5. Which of these weird words is actually a term used in the world of skateboarding? A) Fakie B) Blorg C) Pring D) Norno
6. Which of these is NOT a competitive snowboarding event? A) Slope Style B) Rail Jam C) Slalom D) Slide Rule
7. Which of these forms of surfing does not require any additional equipment? A) Wind Surfing B) Kite Surfing C) Body Surfing D) Surfing the Net
8. From approximately what altitude does a skydiver usually jump? A) 12,500 feet B) 50,000 feet C) 102,000 feet D) 80,000 feet
9. Which of these extreme athletes has broken over 50 bones in his lifetime? A) Mat Hoffman B) Shaun White C) Tony Hawk D) Kelly Slater
10. True or False? “Smearing” is when a climber uses his foot to press down on a foothold.
Read on for the answers!
1. Which of these events is NOT in the Summer X Games? D) Monoski
2. Which of these athletes made history when he became the first person to pull of a “double backflip in freestyle motorcross” at the X Games? B) Travis Pastrana
3. The first Winter X Games took place in which of these California locations. Remember, for the winter games, there must be snow and mountains! D) Big Bear
4. B.A.S.E. jumping is an extreme sport where adventure-seekers jump from very high objects while wearing a parachute or wingsuit. What do you think B.A.S.E. stands for? A) Building, Antenna, Span, Earth
5. Which of these weird words is actually a term used in the world of skateboarding? A) Fakie
6. Which of these is NOT a competitive snowboarding event? D) Slide Rule
7. Which of these forms of surfing does not require any additional equipment? C) Body Surfing
8. From approximately what altitude does a skydiver usually jump? A) 12,500 feet
9. Which of these extreme athletes has broken over 50 bones in his lifetime? A) Mat Hoffman
10. True or False? “Smearing” is when a climber uses his foot to press down on a foothold. TRUE
The Texas Library Association Annual Conference is next week and we’re so excited to meet everyone! The conference takes place in the George R. Brown Convention Center and LEE & LOW will be Booth #1746!
See below for our signing schedule as well as a few other events that our authors and illustrators will be participating in:
Wednesday, April 20
Guadalupe Garcia McCall (Shame the Stars), 11:30 AM-12 PM, Authors Area Aisle 3
If you’re looking for something fun to do, here are some very cool (and very messy) science experiments you can do at home!
There are two ways to get slimed. One is to become a teen sensation and get slimed on the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards. The other (and much easier) way is to just make it at home. If your parents ask why you want to make slime, you can say it’s because you’re researching polymers, which you technically are. Polymers are substances that behave like both a solid and a liquid simultaneous, a characteristic that gives Slime its gooeyness.
Here’s how you do it: In a small bowl drop a big glop of Elmer’s glue (about 1 inch worth). Then add three tablespoons to the bowl and stir it up. Add food coloring until you get the color you want. Then take a small glass, fill it with water, and mix in a tablespoon of Borax powder. (If you can’t find Borax at your local store, you can order it online.) Now stir the Borax mixture into the bowl and in a few seconds you’ll have slime!
The Diet Soda/Mentos Trick!
Want to make soda explode and tell people you’re studying chemistry at the same time? If you don’t mind making a bit of a mess, you can!
First, go outside with one bottle of diet soda. Then drop in a Mint Mentos candy and wait a few moments. Suddenly, you’ll have a geyser of soda shooting up to the sky.
Now it’s time to get science-y. The reason this works is because the carbon dioxide in carbonated soda is slightly unstable. When a Mentos dissolves, it causes a chemical reaction that makes the C02 want to separate from the soda, forcing it to shoot violently out of the bottle. For this experiment to work you have to use diet soda because regular sugary soda doesn’t react this way.
Now you know a couple of cool science experiments to perform. Wow! Science is messy!
“Esho, he Boishakh, Esho Esho. Come, O Boishakh, Come, Come”
– Rabindranath Tagore
Growing up in a home filled with the rich culture of my Muslim and Bengali heritage, I was fortunate enough to take part in multiple New Year celebrations. Every year, April 14 celebrates the arrival of the Bengali New Year or Pohela Boishakh, part of a unique calendar system determined by the seasons. It’s one of my favorite holidays, filled with a blend of colorful traditions and communal reflection. My relatives back home in Bangladesh celebrated the holiday with elaborate festivities that include going around town visiting family and friends, dressing up in traditional garb, and attending parades showcasing talented Bengali artists and performers. Here in America, the celebrations are not quite as elaborate but the traditions are kept alive within the Bengali community. Here are three things that are always a must in my home:
Punjabis and Red and White Saris
During the holidays, we typically show off the snazziest fashion trends from South Asia. On Pohela Boishakh, however, it’s customary for women to wear simple traditional white saris rimmed with red and for men to don the Punjabi. In the weeks leading up to the holiday, my friends and I exchange saris as gifts so they’re extra special!
2. Panta Bhat and Illish Maas
There’s no end to the delicious savory and sweet treats on this day but a simple dish of Panta Bhat (rice soaked in water and salt) and Illish Maas (fried Hilsa fish) are staple meals to share with the family. It goes really well with pickled Mango Achar! This type of food is a reminder of our agricultural roots and the sustenance provided by the natural world around us.
Reading Rabindranath Tagore
My love of literature stems from a heritage that places significant value on the arts. Bengalis boast an array of writers, poets, artists, and performers, most notably poet Rabindranath Tagore, the first non- western author to be awarded the Nobel Prize. On this day the Daiyan family revisits his timeless song, “Esho, he Boishakh”, by doing a reading as a family and reflecting on the words that pay tribute to the earth.
Pohela Boishak is a celebration of Bengali roots and culture, unblemished by modernity. It asks that no matter where we are, we should seek to gather, reflect, and marvel at the coming of a promising New Year. Today I encourage you to celebrate Bengali culture with me by reading Yasmin’s Hammer, a beautiful moving story set in Bangladesh with illustrations that capture the sights and smells that engulf you as you walk the streets of my country.
As we say in Bengali, Shubho Noboborsho (Happy New Year)!
Mitul Daiyan is a former LEE & LOW intern who recently graduated from Harvard Divinity School.
Have you ever wanted to take a trip to the cloud forest? Explore the Andes of Ecuador? Discover a new species? Well, you’re in luck.
With¡Olinguito, de la A a la Z! / Olinguito from A to Z! travel to the unique world of the cloud forest and discover the bounty of plants, animals, and other organisms that live there as you help a zoologist look for the elusive olinguito, the first new mammal species identified in the Americas since 1978.
But the adventure doesn’t stop there. Anyone can learn to be an explorer in their own backyard with the FREEOlinguito Activity Kitand Teacher’s Guide. Learn more about the cloud forest and other ecosystems, including all of the important animals and the adaptations that help them survive in their environment with the many interdisciplinary ideas, projects, and engaging activities.
Content themes and subjects covered:
ecosystems and habitats
animal classification and adaptation
vertebrates and invertebrates
competition and predation
Here’s a preview of the types of engaging projects and activities you can find in the Olinguito Activity Kit and Teacher’s Guide:
Observe an Ecosystem!
You will need:
a pen or pencil
a thick, old paperback book
Make note of the time of day you are making your observations. Is it morning, afternoon, or night?
Record all the plants and organisms you see, including trees, shrubs, bushes, grasses, ferns, mosses, and lichens.
Record all the animals you see in the area, including insects, arachnids, mollusks, reptiles, birds and mammals.
Gather fresh leaves of different shapes from trees and shrubs and put each separately between two pages of the paperback book. You may also gather small, colorful flowers or flower petals and put them between pages of the book.
Take photos of any animals you see.
Once you are back inside, place the paperback book under a pile of heavy books for a week or two to let you pressed leaves and flowers dry.
Design a Cloud Forest Travel Brochure!
Have students research cloud forests in the Andes and create an informative and persuasive travel brochure. Include headings, subheadings, pictures, maps, and informative captions.
Where are the cloud forests located?
What plants and animals live there?
Why are cloud forests valued or important?
What is the climate like?
What will people see there?
What environmental and human threats do they face?
Why should someone make the cloud forest his or her next vacation destination?
Create a Cloud Forest Alphabet or Glossary Book:
string or twine
art decorating supplies (crayons, colored pencils, markers. etc.)
Alphabet Book: include the featured letter, a picture or drawing of the featured plant or animal, and the name of the plant or animal.
Plant/Animal Glossary Book: include the name of the plant or animal, a picture or drawing of the featured plant or animal, and an informative description of the plant or animal: where does it live? what does it eat? how is it classified (plant or animal, vertebrate or invertebrate, etc.)?
For more fun and exciting activity ideas, including I-Spy Fun and learning to create you own pressed leaf print, check out and download the FREE Olinguito Activity Kit and Teacher’s Guide.
You can purchase a copy of ¡Olinguito, de la A a la Z! / Olinguito, from A to Z! : Descubriendo el bosque nublado / Unveiling the Cloud Forest on our website here.
Veronicahas a degree from Mount Saint Mary College and joined LEE & LOW in the fall of 2014. She has a background in education and holds a New York State childhood education (1-6) and students with disabilities (1-6) certification. When she’s not wandering around New York City, you can find her hiking or hanging out with her dog Milo in her hometown in the Hudson Valley, NY.
Earth Day is April 22. Here are some Earth Day trivia quizzes and activities you can do to celebrate our dear planet Earth, and help inspire your fellow humans to treat our planet with more loving care!