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1. Halloween Poll

Happy HalloweenHalloween Poll

Moderator Katie on the Reading Buzz Message Board posted a poll-type quiz with questions contributed by Go-green-or-else, DreamtimeDetermined14, BreezeBrain39, WinterWonder9300, and DarkRising6.

MU HA HA HA! Let the fun begin!

  1. What’s your favorite thing about Halloween?
  2. What’s your favorite type of candy?
  3. What are you being for Halloween this year?
  4. What’s your favorite Halloween costume you’ve ever had?
  5. What do you usually do for Halloween (trick-or-treat, party, stay home)?
  6. What’s the most IDEAL Halloween costume?
  7. Do you have any Halloween traditions?
  8. On a scale of 1-10, how much do you like Halloween?
  9. Do you know the history of Halloween? Do you care?

There are lots more questions to answer in the Halloween Quiz post. Go check them out and tell Moderator Katie I said, “Hi!” Happy Halloween!!

image from kids.scholastic.com — Sonja, STACKS Staffer

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2. Emperor Pickletine Rides the Bus: Review Haiku

I don't even want
to think about how bad this
pickle guy must smell.

Emperor Pickletine Rides the Bus by Tom Angleberger. Amulet/Abrams, 2014, 224 pages.

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3. Goosebumps Monster Personality Quiz

Goosebumps SlappyWhich Goosebumps Monster Are YOU?

Villainy. Terror. Mischief.  All words to describe the monsters that wreak havoc in the Goosebumps book series by R.L. Stine. The menacing ghouls that fill the pages of the books each have their quirks that make their “monster-nalities” absolutely wretched! Take the Goosebumps Monster Quiz to see which ghoul is your rightful alter-ego.

Are you the trash-talking Slappy with a heart of pure cold, the vengeful Mummy, the devilish Scarecrow, the dastardly Lawn Gnomes, or the beastly Abominable Snowman? Discover your innermost wicked trait and see which Goosebumps monster you truly are.

Take the quiz. Which monster are you? Post it in the Comments.

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4. Inspiring the Next Architects: Children’s Books About Design, Building, and Architecture

Celebrate architecture and design for Archtober with students!

October, or “Archtober” as it is called, marks the 4th annual month-long festival of all things architecture and design in New York City.

Architecture Children's BooksRecommended reading to teach about architecture for students:

Dreaming Up: A Celebration of Building

Sky Dancers

The East-West House: Noguchi’s Childhood in Japan

 Shapes Where We Play

STEM + Literacy Activities:

1. Encourage students to examine the differences between architecture and engineering. How do these two fields depend on each other? What is unique about each field? What do architects contribute to building a structure? What do engineers contribute? For a simplified breakdown of the duties of an architect and an engineer, the New School of Architecture + Design has a clear infographic.

2. Have students in small teams research a well-known structure in their community, city, or state (such as a museum, performing arts center, or place of worship). Who built it and when? For what is the structured used? Where is it located? What is it made of? Why were those materials used? What is special about the design? What challenges did the architect have in creating this structure? In addition to online and print resources, students can interview someone who works at the structure, if possible. After research is complete, students can create a model of the structure, design a poster advertising it to tourists, or write and present a report on the structure to the class.

3. Ask students to imagine that they are architects assigned to design a new school. Describe the materials you will need and what the building will look like. As you think about the design and materials needed, consider the types of spaces children in the school will need to learn, read, eat, study; what you will need to make the building safe and sturdy; and what will make it an attractive place in which to learn.

4. Set up a hands on, or sensory, station with materials from home or a local hardware store that are used to build structures. Examples could be a wood spoon for wood, a cooking pot for steel, etc. Have students touch and record the characteristics of each sample material. Why might an architect use steel instead of wood, or bamboo instead of concrete? Students can make a chart of popular building materials to compare the advantages and disadvantages of each. Have students study the physical characteristics (based on sight, touch, sound, and even smell) of brick, wood, bamboo, clay, concrete, steel, glass, iron, rock, straw, recycled materials, and more. For advanced or older students, topics to compare include cost of the material, availability, resiliency in natural disasters, typical lifetime, flexibility and ability to shape the material, environmental friendliness, and beauty/appeal.

5. Have students study the roles that appeal/beauty, safety, and function/purpose play in the design of a structure. Is one preferable over the other? Why? Do these factors all work together or can they be in conflict with one another? Students can look at one specific structure to see how the architect addressed each of these issues. If possible, ask a local architect or professor from an area college to discuss these factors.

6. Watch PBS’s “Building Big,” a five-part miniseries on bridges, domes, skyscrapers, dams, and tunnels. Each one-hour program explores the different type of structures and what it takes to build them. An educator’s guide of activities from PBS is available online.

7. Lead students in a step-by-step activity to create their own geodesic dome, sandcastle, toothpick structure, or floor plan. Instructions can be found online at the archKIDecture website.

Jill Eisenberg

Jill Eisenberg, our Resident Literacy Specialist, began her career teaching English as a Foreign Language to second through sixth graders in Yilan, Taiwan as a Fulbright Fellow. She went on to become a literacy teacher for third grade in San Jose, CA as a Teach for America corps member. She is certified in Project Glad instruction to promote English language acquisition and academic achievement. In her column she offers teaching and literacy tips for educators.


Filed under: Educator Resources, Holidays and Celebrations Tagged: architecture, book activities, children's books, Educators, STEM

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5. 5 AWESOME BOOK REVIEWS OF WHY POETRY CAN SAVE THE PLANET By Joe Sottile 

Most Helpful Customer Reviews 5.0 out of 5 stars          Reasons Why Everyone Should Read Poetry October 5, 2014 By Teacher, Reader, and Reviewer Format:Kindle Edition Joe Sottile's poetry that I've read is uplifting and inspiring. It brightens the sometimes dreary world. Now, Joe has written a book titled WHY POETRY CAN SAVE THE PLANET. In this book he gives reasons why even non-poetry lovers should read poetry, valid reasons that make you stop and think, at least they did me.

Joe is a former teacher and from what I can tell, not knowing him personally, he was a good one. When students got angry he'd have them write their anger on paper. This helped them learn to deal with their anger. He offers many other ideas of how parents and teachers can help children and red flags to watch out for.

WHY POETRY CAN SAVE THE PLANET would be a great book for teachers, counselors, and everyone that works with children and teens. If I were still teaching I'd want a copy for my classroom. Let me leave you with a quote from Joe: "...you have to see with your heart, your passion ... and sooner or later your mind will follow."

I was provided with a copy of this book for my honest review.

5.0 out of 5 stars
A different book about poetry October 16, 2014 By Amazon Customer Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase I was not expecting to find such a witty, smart and constructive book when I actually got the book - I was expecting some nice poems that I can read and potentially some interpretation of those. But inside I found a revolutionary approach of poetry - why and how can poetry influence in a positive fashion our lives - the author had the courage to express his view in writing. And his view turned out to be a very interesting read that I enjoyed from the first page to the last.

5.0 out of 5 stars Joe continues to amaze with yet another stroke of brilliance October 16, 2014 By Jill Alcorn Format:Kindle Edition Joe continues to amaze with yet another stroke of brilliance, Why Poetry can Save the Planet. Every page is filled with story after story that is sure to give pause to all readers, even those who don't read poetry. He will always be Joe "Silly" Sottile, but in this book, we are granted more serious narratives, and they make every bit as great a story.

Incredible value for the book, honestly. This is a book you'll be sure to read again and again.

4.0 out of 5 stars A Teacher/Counselor/Therapist Must-Read October 7, 2014 By J. Mctaggart Format:Kindle Edition Although I am not a poetry lover (or anywhere close), I have been using Sottile's poems with students for a great many years. I choose to use his work because he "gets" kids, and he speaks TO them - not above them. In "Poetry Can Save the Planet" Sottile, speaking to the adults who work with children, presents a powerful case for what he believes to be true. And who knows? He just might be right.

5.0 out of 5 stars I loved this book October 7, 2014 By R. Humbert Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase I loved this book! I never really gave much thought to poetry at all. I started reading and couldn't stop! My favorite part is his story about his mom and how he used poetry to help him through such a difficult time. Very inspiring! Lisa Humbert

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6. Another #FridayReads with AW&Co Staffers!

It’s #FridayReads with Albert Whitman Staffers!  Today, metadata master and sales team all-star Caity Anast talks about her current reads:

I laughed when I read Annette’s post, because I too went through a period of very little “fun-for-me” reading when my children were babies (What to Expect the First Year doesn’t count as fun).

I nodded my head as I read Wendy’s post, because although I am not keeping track of books I’ve read on Goodreads, I do have my own personal list that I have kept since high school. It started with a pamphlet my freshman year English teacher passed out called “Excellence in English: The Honors English Program, York Community High School” that listed the core and supplemental readings by grade level. (A shout out to those great English teachers at York.) I highlighted the titles as I read them, and my goal was to read all the titles in the pamphlet.

high school pamphlet

(The ACTUAL pamphlet…I still have it…)

But I reassessed that goal after picking up Moby Dick for fun. I just couldn’t get through it. I mean how many times do you have to describe the whale? I get it, it’s big. I suppose if I read it for English class and had someone to discuss it with, I would have found it more interesting. But instead, I put it down and never finished it. That was the first time I had ever done that. I always felt it was my duty to finish a book. After that, I decided I didn’t have to read every book on that list, but I could refer to it from time to time.

The latest book I am reading is a recommendation from my dad, Bellweather Rhapsody by Kate Racculia. I’m not very far along into the book, but the setting is the Bellweather Hotel where a murder-suicide happened fifteen years ago in room 712. Now the hotel is host to Statewide, a high school music festival. So far I’ve been introduced to Alice and Rabbit Hatmaker, twins who are participating in the festival, and their chaperone and teacher, Natalie, who happens to be a former student of Viola Fabian, Statewide’s chairperson and mother of Jill, the best flautist in the state. It’s received three starred reviews, so it’s bound to be good. Booklist says, “Encore, encore.”

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At the same time I am listening to an audio book in the car. I find this is a great time to catch up on what my kids are reading. It’s also a great way to find out the proper pronunciation of a character’s name. I am in the middle of because of mr. terupt (tear upt, not tur upt as I thought) by Rob Buyea. It’s a great story about a fifth grade class and their new teacher. Each chapter is told from the point of view of one of seven children in the class. You’ve got your brain, outcast, loner, mean girl, prankster, fat girl, and the new girl. I honestly can’t wait to get in my car each day to see what’s going to happen next.

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7. Recap: Diversity Panels at New York Comic Con 2014

Stacy Whitman photoStacy Whitman, Publisher of the Tu Books imprint of LEE & LOW BOOKS, gives us a recap of the 2014 New York Comic Con (NYCC) event and two big panels on diversity.

The #WeNeedDiverseBooks and #geeksofcolor hashtags were well represented at Comic Con this year, with three panels discussing diversity and several more panels where the subject came up. Publishers were showcasing their diverse titles among their frontlist promotions. And panels about diversity topics, even those held in large rooms at inconvenient times, were standing room only all weekend—a clear sign to me that this subject is on the minds of more and more people lately.

I missed the #WeNeedDiverse(Comic)Books panel, but you can see a recap of it here. Read on for recaps of the panels I attended:

Geeks of Color Go Pro panel

I arrived early, wanting to be able to get a good seat, and only two people were waiting in line—which made me nervous. Last year, the Geeks of Color panel was packed full. Would they repeat that this year the 8pm Thursday time slot, which admittedlywas less than ideal?

I needn’t have worried. Soon the room filled to capacity, perhaps 400-500 people, mostly people of color who were fans, interested in writing or illustrating themselves, or who had family members interested. Diana Pho, an editor at Tor, moderated the panel. Panelists were LeSean Thomas (BLACK DYNAMITE: THE ANIMATED SERIES; THE LEGEND OF KORRA; THE BOONDOCKS), Tracey J. John (MTV.com; Gameloft), Alice Meichi Li (Dark Horse), Daniel José Older (Author, HALF-RESSURECTION BLUES); and I. W. Gregorio (Author, #WeNeedDiverseBooks).

Geeks of color go pro panel

from L to R: Diana Pho, LeSean Thomas, Alice Meichi Li, Daniel José Older, I.W. Gregorio, and Tracey J. John

Most of the time was taken with each panelist sharing their story of how they went pro. Their answers for how they became an animator, a writer and editor, an illustrator, a video game writer, and a surgeon and writer were as diverse as the panelists themselves, showing how many paths there are to a professional creative career. For example, Boondocks and Legend of Korra animator LeSean Thomas grew up in the projects and never attended college, but instead got into comics because the materials to draw were pretty cheap, he said. He found opportunities when he showed his work to his boss at a sports store where he worked after high school, and learned as he worked his way up.

Daniel José Older, on the other hand, was a paramedic and antiracist organizer. Getting published took him six years. “The publishing industry will make you learn patience,” he said.

I.W. Gregorio wanted to become a writer but followed the path to becoming a doctor because that was what one did in her family. But one day, someone told her, “you’ll never become a writer,” and that, she said, ticked her off enough to want to prove them wrong. She also mentioned that her job as a surgeon makes her writing career possible and gives her stories to tell.

Others spoke of internships, art classes, balancing day jobs, getting master’s degrees, and community building.

Tracey John, when asked what she wished she knew when she began, said that she wished she had known to challege the status quo. Now, she’s more willing to ask tough questions, she said—such as “why does Princess Peach need saving?”

Older suggested that writers of color need to “reimagine what success means for each of us” and to build community “rather than think of it as networking.” For people who are getting started, he suggested to find people who are willing to ground you and challenge you.

Alice Meichi Li said that “you are an average of the five people you interact with most in your life,” so look for people who fit three categories: an older mentor, an equal, and someone you can mentor, because you learn a lot from teaching.

The big question of the night came from one of the last audience members to ask a question: Why are we still having this conversation? When will we not need a geeks of color panel at 8:00pm in the corner? Diana Pho replied that she thinks we’ll need such panels until we hit critical mass—not just at Comic Cons, but in all of pop culture, of people who believe diversity matters. We here at LEE & LOW agree with Older’s concluding remark: the more people speak up, the less circular the conversation will be, and we can push the conversation forward.

Women of Color in Comics panel

Friday was the Women of Color in Comics panel, which I was thrilled to see was an equally packed room. Moderated by Regine Sawyer of the Women in Comics Consortium, this panel also featured Alice Meichi Li (Dark Horse), Alitha Martinez (penciler and inker for Marvel), Jamila Rowser (Girl Gone Geek blog), Juliana ‘Jewels’ Smith (comics artist, (H)AFROCENTRIC), Barbara Brandon-Croft (cartoonist), Geisha Vi (cosplay model), and Vanessa Verduga (actor, writer, producer).

A packed audience for the Women of Color in Comics panel

A packed audience for the Women of Color in Comics panel

From L to R:

From L to R: Geisha Vi, Barbara Brandon-Croft, Jamila Rowser, Vanessa Verduga, Alice Meichi Li, Juliana ‘Jewels” Smith, Alitha Martinez, Regine Sawyer

The moderator, Regine, started out by asking what drew the panelists to comics and how they got started. Again, a diverse range of answers—from family influence to students introducing their teacher to comics, to a natural desire to draw as a child—led to a diverse range of paths into their professional work.

The panel also discussed the ongoing harassment issue in comics as well as genre and gaming. Young women are the fastest growing demographic, changing the base of the comics industry. The panelists were asked how they address feminine issues in their work. Alice Meichi Li (who was on the Geeks of Color panel), said that she loved how panels such as these were getting bigger. She addresses feminine mythology, the heroine’s journey, in her work, and argued that visibility made all the difference for readers. She told a story of reading Wizard magazine growing up, where the list of top ten writers in the back of the magazine were all white guys every time, except occasionally Jim Lee. To be able to see all kinds of people creating comics helps create demand from more diverse readers.

Jamila Rowser from the Girl Gone Geek blog said that from a fan perspective, the changing face of the industry shows the demand and the need for representation of women, particularly accurate representation of women of color. “When you don’t see people like you doing things you love, it’s discouraging,” she said.

The panelists also spoke of how sometimes they might feel invisible in the industry—Alitha Martinez, who has worked at major comic book houses as an artist, including work on a Batman comic, said that she’d been mistaken for cleaning staff before when arriving for a panel or other major professional event. Vanessa Verduga mentioned that sometimes she feels an expectation to whitewash herself, to fit within an expected personality structure rather than to be herself.

When asked why diversity was important in the first place, Jamila Rowser answered that a lack of diversity can stop readers’ enjoyment, but it can also discourage future creators, and stories set in the future with no diversity “erase our presence in the future.”

Alitha Martinez noted that women of color can’t remain on the fringes, shouting from the outside. She said that women tend not to approach editors at Marvel and DC, and that those are the places where change needs to happen most because they’re the biggest. In addition, Alice Meichi Li said that if we want to see change, as readers, we need to support that change with our wallets. “Ignoring creations by women and people of color is ignoring community,” she said. “Find your audience, know your community, know how to speak to them, and create your own niche.”

Throughout the weekend, I saw a widely diverse audience excited about comic books, animation, science fiction, fantasy, and games. Cosplayers were in abundance, including people of color. Here are a couple of my favorites:

baby captain america

iron man storm cosplay

Korra cosplay

NYCC is a great example of why #WeNeedDiverseBooks, like those we publish!


Filed under: Diversity 102, Diversity in YA, Diversity, Race, and Representation, Fairs/Conventions, recap post Tagged: Comic Con, comics, cosplay, NYCC

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8. Fat Boy vs. the Cheerleaders: Review Haiku

Never underestimate
the persistence and
power of band nerds.

Fat Boy vs. the Cheerleaders by Geoff Herbach. Sourcebooks Fire, 2014, 320 pages.

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9. R5 Halloween Traditions

r5R5 Halloween Traditions

We caught up with guys and girl of R5 to talk about their favorite Halloween memories. Just imagine one-year-old Ross Lynch in a little, baby bear costume. Do you have that image in your head? OK. Now you’re ready to read on . . .

Q: Do you guys have any cool Halloween costumes or traditions?Ross: When we were little, our mom used to match us because she wanted us to feel like a team. That was her idea behind it. And we all dressed up as Zorro, all together.
Rydel: I was the girl.
Ross: Oh, you were the girl. But we all had our hats and our swords and were all, like, sword fighting and all of that stuff. That was a good October.
Rocky: We kept that trend going. Actually just two years ago, we were all the Avengers.
Rocky: Except he wasn’t.
Ratliff: I wasn’t.
Rocky: But he [referring to his brothers] was Captain America. He was Iron Man. I was Thor.
Rydel: I was Black Widow and our little brother was the Hulk.
Rocky: Yeah. So, we kept it going. It was pretty fun.

R5

Image courtesy of Disney Channel

Rydel: Oh, my grandma also hand-sewed all these bear costumes. So there was one year . . . actually a few years in a row we were all bears.
Rydel: We were really little.
Rocky: I was probably, like, two years old.
Rydel: Ross was, like, one maybe, and I had a light fur and they all had dark fur.
Ratliff: Oh, that’s cute.
Rydel: I think even mom had one too. It was just a family of bears.

Ross: You know what I’ve realized about Halloween though? I’ve never been something scary.
Ratliff: I was something scary once. One time I didn’t know what to get so I got a big whoopie cushion.
Ross: That’s scary?
Ratliff: No, I’m getting to it. It was a big whoopee cushion and I filled it with something and then I put a mask on, and I would just act like I was asleep on my front lawn. And then people would come and I would be like, “Rahhhhh,” and I’d scare them. And they were like, “Ahh!” That was scary.
Ross: With a whoopie cushion?
Ratliff: It was a whoopie cushion but I had, like, one of those hockey masks on.
Rydel: They didn’t know he was in it.
Ratliff: Yeah. And then I acted like…I was just like a . . . a prop.
Ross: Dude, there’s better ones where people act like a scarecrow.
Ratliff: Oh yeah.
Riker: I love Halloween. It’s one of my favorite holidays.

Interview by Marie Morreale

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10. Scholastic Kids Council Shelfies

Peep says Hi.Whenever I go to someone’s house for the first time, I always try to peek at the bookshelves to see if that person likes the same books as I do. Is that nosy of me? What? You don’t do that? Anyway . . . I knew I wanted a peek at the Scholastic Kids Council’s bookshelves so I asked them to send me their “shelfies.”

Do you see any of your favorite books?

Ari shelfie

Beata shelfie

Emma Rose shelfie

Grace shelfie

Izzy shelfie

Kennedy shelfie

Maggie shelfie

Michael shelfie

Rowan shelfie

Leave a Comment to tell us which books we would see in YOUR shelfie.

Sonja, STACKS Staffer

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11. rivers and rain: letter from St. Johns

Hello old friends!

It has been a long while.

I have fallen into a hole of sorts; a hole made of music practice and ferns and creaky floorboards and stubs of incense.

Here is where I am living now:


My house is in the mist, on the far side of the bridge. If you listen carefully, you can just make out the drone of a tambura and the water-drop warble of a tabla being played. If you can't hear that, it means I am in the garden, shoveling a mountain of dirt from one place to another for no apparent reason.

There is a mysterious truck in my neighborhood where the duck and chicken man lives with his duck and chickens. Here is a picture of them foraging outside the post office (the tall, red-legged duck is me):


I have not been writing very much lately. I sleep one night out of every two. I've been trying to figure out some big questions, and it's funny where figuring can lead you: sometimes down a rabbit trail you could not have conceived of months or years before, sometimes back to the very place you started from but forgot about along the way.

Here is a picture of the Chinese pagodas that live under my floor (the red shoe in the corner belongs to the duck in Figure 2.):


Mostly, they are covered by a rug, but now and then I lift it and peer down at them: pagodas! And cherry blossoms too, all year round. It's nice to know that there are many layers to this world, that there are springtime pagodas hiding just beneath the dusty rug. 

The red-bearded man some of you remember as Techie Boyfriend has just peered over my shoulder. He laughs: "Mostly YOU'RE covered by a rug," an unfair statement as I am currently only wearing one out of the two sweaters I wrested away from the hobo spiders this morning.

Friends, I hope you are all doing wonderfully and writing great stories. See you in the rain...




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12. This is a call

I’m going to ask for something completely unfair.

Unless you attended opening night of this year’s Children’s and Young Adult Literature Conference at The Loft Literary Center, you probably haven’t seen the Czech film Who’s Afraid of the Wolf. The 2008 film was shown at The Loft thanks to a University of Minnesota professor’s connection to the filmmaker, I believe, and a lively panel discussion followed. Unfortunately, even with the magical Internet at our fingertips, I think the full-length movie is otherwise not very findable in the US.

Who’s Afraid of the Wolf is the story of a girl named Terezka and her parents, and it is striking for the stunningly authentic child’s perspective it conveys. Adult characters are portrayed with depth and good intentions and human flaws, yet for grownup viewers, the cinematography gives a peek back in time to how a kindergartener observes and interacts with her parents and others. Difficult conversations are heard from under the kitchen table or while pretending to focus on an activity across the room. Mom’s old acquaintance is a newcomer to Terezka’s family universe. Events and behaviors beyond a child’s scope of knowledge may as well be the work of aliens. Read a good summary here.

While the story is not limited to one perspective, it treats the child’s point of view with humbling respect and weight.

The trailer gives a decent idea:

Who is Afraid of the Wolf (international trailer) from Bionaut on Vimeo.

My inability to share the whole film with you is what makes this unfair: I’m looking for a picture book manuscript that wows me with similar authenticity. One in which the camera angle is from about three-and-a-half feet high. One that leaves my jaw hanging open at the voice or the way the narration transports me back into a six-year-old’s body. (Give or take a few years.) Especially, and critically, one that holds appeal for both children and the adults who may be reading with them, in the way this film is kid-friendly but no less engaging for adults.

A few notes that may or may not be relevant: I’m a linguist by training. The way the words fit together to paint a story is equally or more likely to woo me as/than any particular type of character, setting, or plot is. I generally don’t go for personified animals. We at Carolrhoda are more likely to publish picture books that are a bit offbeat and/or off the beaten path (think Infinity and Me). I’ll take dry humor and sharp wit any day over super-sweet or sentimental. I will never stop loving Winnie the Pooh.

Watch the trailer. Then send me submissions until October 31.

-Anna Cavallo (@eatreadwriterun)

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13. The Professional: Donald E. Westlake

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Deadspin columnist/Yankees fan/out-of-print litterateur Alex Belth recently sat down over email with Levi Stahl, University of Chicago Press promotions director and editor of The Getaway Car: A Donald Westlake Nonfiction MiscellanyTheir resulting conversation, published today at Deadspin, al0ng with an excerpt from the book, includes the history of their engagement with the Parker novels, Jimmy the Kid‘s amazing cover design, culling through Westlake’s archive, an obscure British comedy show, and the perils of professional envy vs. professional admiration. You can read the interview in full here, and have a look at a clip after the jump below.

***

Q: In a letter, Westlake described the difference between an author and a writer. A writer was a hack, a professional. There’s something appealing and unpretentious about this but does it take on a romance of its own? I’m not saying he was being a phony but do you think that difference between a writer and an author is that great?

LS: I suspect that it’s not, and that to some extent even Westlake himself would have disagreed with his younger self by the end of his life. I think the key distinction for him, before which all others pale, was what your goal was: Were you sitting down every day to make a living with your pen? Or were you, as he put it ironically in a letter to a friend who was creating an MFA program, “enhanc[ing] your leisure hours by refining the uniqueness of your storytelling talents”? If the former, you’re a writer, full stop. If the latter, then you probably have different goals from Westlake and his fellow hacks.

But does a true hack veer off course regularly to try something new? Does a hack limit himself to only writing about his meal ticket (John Dortmunder) every three books, max, in order not to burn him out? Does a hack, as Westlake put it in a late letter to his friend and former agent Henry Morrison, “follow what interests [him],” to the likely detriment of his career? Westlake was always a commercial writer, but at the same time, he never let commerce define him. Craft defined him, and while craft can be employed in the service of something a writer doesn’t care about at all, it is much easier to call up and deploy effectively if the work it’s being applied to has also engaged something deeper in the writer. You don’t write a hundred books with almost no lousy sentences if you’re truly a hack.

Read more about The Getaway Car here.

 

 

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14. Dave Zeltserman's Five Favorite Horror Novels

To celebrate the release today of The Boy Who Killed Demons, author Dave Zeltserman recommends his five favorite horror novels: 1) I am Legend by Richard Matheson Brilliant book, and the best of the modern vampire novels. If you think you know the book from the movies (Last Man on Earth, Omega Man, I am Legend), you sort of do.  A worldwide plague has turned everyone but Robert Neville

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15. Gracefully Grayson: Review Haiku

Sensitively done;
a testament to the power
of great theatre.

Gracefully Grayson by Ami Polonsky. Hyperion, 2014, 256 pages.

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16. October Books of the Month

Happy HalloweenHappy almost-Halloween! This month’s Books of the Month are brought to you by the Halloween Book Challenge. Every week, we are reading a different book in a different Halloween-y category. It’s not too late to join! Here are the categories:

Oct 1-7 Halloween Colors
Read a book with black or orange in the book cover.

Black and orange book covers for Halloween Book Challenge

Oct 8-14 Creepy Setting
Choose a book that takes place somewhere creepy like a cemetery, a dark forest, a haunted house, an abandoned amusement park, an old castle . . .

Halloween Book Challenge: creepy settings

Oct 15-21 Supernatural Abilities
Read a book that has witches, warlocks, vampires, werewolves, zombie, ghosts, or a character who has special abilities.

Oct 22-31 Trick or Treat
This week’s book can be anything related to Halloween, costumes, candy, tricks, or treats.

This month’s Books of the Month are all of the books people are reading for the Halloween Book Challenge. Behold the word cloud!

October books of the month

Are you taking the Halloween Book Challenge? This week, the book topic is Supernatural Abilities. Tell us which supernatural-type book you’re reading in the Comments.

Sonja, STACKS Staffer

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17. Goosebumps Books: Most Wanted

Goosebumps Most Wanted: 12 Screams of ChristmasGoosebumps Most Wanted: The 12 Screams of Christmas

Christmas comes early for Goosebumps books fans—and in more ways than one! We have an exclusive preview of the newly released, Goosebumps Most Wanted: The 12 Screams of Christmas. It’s never too early to get into the Christmas spirit, and for Goosebumps, that usually means something downright terrifying is brewing. In the new book, Kate Welles and her friend Courtney are taking part in the school’s production of “The 12 Screams of Christmas.” When their teacher moves rehearsals to a certain house with a lot of history, it gives a new meaning to “Christmas Spirit.” Dare to take a peek?

JUST FOR INK SPLOT 26 READERS! Read an exclusive preview of the new Goosebumps Most Wanted: The 12 Screams of Christmas.

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18. Thirteen Scary YA Books: Diverse Edition

Thirteen Scary YA Books (diverse edition)
Halloween is right around the corner. There’s no better way to celebrate than by reading books that will scare you to pieces! Here’s a lucky thirteen list of our favorites (all featuring diverse characters or by diverse authors):

  1. Half WorldHalf World by Hiromi Goto – Melanie Tamaki lives with her mother in abject poverty. Then, her mother disappears. Melanie must journey to the mysterious Half World to save her.
  2. Vodnik by Bryce Moore – Sixteen-year-old Tomas moves back to Slovakia with his family and discovers the folktales of his childhood were more than just stories.
  3. The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa – Allie Sekemoto survives by scavenging for food by day. She hates the vampires who keep humans like cattle for their food. Until the day she dies and wakes up as a vampire.
  4. Liar by Justine Larbalestier – Micah is a liar; it’s the only thing she’ll tell you the truth about. But when her boyfriend Zach is murdered, the whole truth has to come out.
  5. Battle Royale by Koushan Takami – A group of junior high school students are sent to an island and forced to fight to the death until only one of them survives.
  6. Summer of the Mariposas by Guadalupe Garcia McCall – Odilia and her sisters discover a Wolf Mark coverdead man’s body while swimming in the Rio Grande. They journey across Mexico to return his body in this Odyssey-inspired tale.
  7. Devil’s Kiss by Sarwat Chadda – Zombies, ghouls, and vampires all make appearances in the story of Bilquis SanGreal, the youngest and only female member of the Knights Templar.
  8. Panic by Sharon Draper – Diamond knows better than to get into a car with a stranger. But when the stranger offers her the chance to dance in a movie, Diamond makes a very wrong decision.
  9. Ten by Gretchen McNeil – Ten teens head to a secluded island for an exclusive party…until people start to die. A modern YA retelling of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None.
  10. Wolf Mark by Joseph Bruchac – Inspired by the Abenaki skinwalker legend, this YA thriller is Burn Notice with werewolves.
  11. The Girl From The WellThe Girl from the Well by Rin Chupeco – A dead girl roams the streets, hunting murders. A strange tattooed boy moves to the neighborhood with a deadly secret.
  12. 172 Hours on the Moon by Johan Harstad –  Three teenagers win the vacation of a lifetime: a week-long trip to the moon. But something sinister is waiting for them in the black vacuum of space.
  13. Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake – Cas Lowood is a ghost hunter, called to Thunder Bay, Ontario to get rid of a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, who has killed every person who has stepped foot in the house she haunts.

What else would you add to the list?


Filed under: Diversity in YA, Diversity, Race, and Representation, Lee & Low Likes, Tu Books Tagged: African/African American Interest, Asian/Asian American, Book Lists by Topic, diversity, halloween, Joseph Bruchac, Latino/Hispanic/Mexican, list, Multiracial, Native American, Science Fiction/Fantasy, Teens/YA, Tu Books

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19. Halloween Cat Writing Prompt

Create a CaptionCreate a Caption for Halloween Kitty!

This cutie kitten is so excited for Halloween! Can’t you tell? I just want to give her a million treats! What do you think she is thinking under her witch’s hat?

Leave your caption in the Comments!

Halloween Kitten

Sonja, STACKS Staffer

Kitten image credit SuperStock

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20. Alvin Ho #6: Review Haiku

I don't understand
how Alvin's parents didn't
EFFING MURDER HIM.

Alvin Ho: Allergic to the Great Wall, the Forbidden Palace, and Other Tourist Attractions by Lenore Look, illustrated by LeUyen Pham. Schwartz & Wade, 2014, 176 pages.

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21. Literature in translation

UCP_translations_2014_cover

In the wake of the controversy (or welcomed interest, depending on your position) surrounding Patrick Modiano’s recent Nobel Prize in Literature, the AAUP circulated the hashtag #litintranslation, in order to promote those books published by university presses that attempt to overcome the dearth of literature in translation that has long acquiesced to a peculiar hegemony in American letters. In fact, Yale University Press already had plans to publish Modiano’s Suspended Sentences: Three Novellas this fall, as part of their Margellos World Republic of Letters series. A quick review of the tweets circulating under #litintranslation reveals an equally robust list of works brought into the English language by the university press community, including several by the University of Chicago Press. With that in mind, and on the heels of the Frankfurt Book Fair, we’re debuting our sales catalog Translations from Chicago, where among hundreds of storied works spanning the disciplines, you can find:

The Selected Letters of Charles Baudelaire: The Conquest of Solitude, ed. and trans. by Rosemary Lloyd

Vegetables: A Biography by Evelyn Bloch-Dano, trans. by Teresa Lavender Fagan

One Must Also Be Hungarian by Adam Biro, trans. by Catherine Tehanyi

Sketch for a Self-Analysis by Pierre Bourdieu, trans. by Richard Nice

The Beast and the Sovereign, Vols. I and II by Jacques Derrida, trans. by Geoffrey Bennington

The Voice Imitator by Thomas Bernhard, trans. by Kenneth J. Norcott

Youth without Youth by Mircea Eliade, trans. by Mac Linscott Ricketts, with a Foreword by Francis Ford Coppola

To see the complete catalog in PDF form, click here.

 

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22. Cybils Nomination Suggestions!

Wednesday is the last day for Cybils Awards nominations, and there are still eligible books that haven't been nominated that maybe should be considered. If you're looking for something to nominate, here are some suggestions that might jog your memory. See this post for information on eligibility and how to nominate.

Young Adult Speculative Fiction


Chasing Power
by Sarah Beth Durst
ISBN 978-0802737557

Published today (October 14), but still within the eligibility window.

Amazon link









The Truth Against the World
by Sarah Jamila Stevenson
ISBN 978-0738740584

Amazon link









Glory O'Brien's History of the Future
by A. S. King
ISBN 978-1478957775

Amazon link

Another book with an October 14 publication date.
William Shakespeare's The Empire Striketh Back
by Ian Doescher
ISBN 978-1594747151
Amazon link

and

William Shakespeare's The Jedi Doth Return
by Ian Doescher
ISBN 978-1594747137
Amazon link

Sequels to last year's finalist, William Shakespeare's Star Wars



Mortal Gods
by Kendare Blake
ISBN 978-0765334442

Amazon link

Sequel to Antigoddess. Also published October 14, just within the eligibility window.







Circle of Stones
by Catherine Fisher
ISBN 978-0803738195

Amazon link










While We Run
by Karen Healey
ISBN 978-0316233828

Amazon link










The Slanted Worlds
by Catherine Fisher
ISBN 978-0803739703

Amazon link










Young Adult Fiction

Reality Boy
by A.S. King
ISBN 978-0316222709

Amazon link

This one came out just after last year's eligibility period. It was too late to be eligible last year, but it is eligible this year.







The Doubt Factory
by Paolo Bacigalupi
ISBN 978-0316220750

Amazon link

Elementary/Middle Grade Speculative Fiction

Storm: The SYLO Chronicles #2
by D.J. MacHale
ISBN 978-1595146670

Amazon link



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23. Book Review: Bev Stowe McClure's STAR OF THE TEAM

Right from the title, I had a hunch that this would be an excellent book. Why? Haven’t most of us while growing up daydreamed about being “the star of the team”? It’s a universal desire. Then I read the dedication, which I always do to find out where the author’s heart is. After I read Beverly Stowe McClure’s dedication, I knew this would be one of her best efforts as a writer ever. I wasn’t wrong.

Because the basketball action was described perfectly—plenty of action, and no needless words, I knew that I was on the right path for a good read. Right on that first page I was introduced to many of the important characters, and one of the book’s major conflicts. One line stood out showing how well the author knows kids and how to appeal to their reading taste: “She looked as if she’d swallowed up a bug and was about to puke the thing up.” Now, I knew my granddaughter, Megan, would love this book because a little grossness goes a long way with young readers.

Good writing goes a long way, too. This novel is action-packed from the get-go. I think that Beverly Stowe McClure is half author, half sportscaster, and half star basketball player, (I hope you caught a little humor there.) But what I said is absolutely true. The author really knows the game of basketball, and kids. Those are two elements that really make this book a fun-read,

Speaking of humor, that’s another quality of the book: it is laced with humor along the way to the championship game.  And Kate struggles with staying true to her good values or being narrow-minded and negative. We are never sure how it’s all going to turn out, especially after she has a major setback. And the author provides us with a number of surprises before we sit down for the final game of the season.

I liked all of the characters, especially Kate, Emily, Coach Mom and Ray. They always talk like real people, thus creating very believable characters and a story to remember. There are lessons to be gathered from this novel. They reveal themselves in a subtle way as you read the book, lessons that I hope all my grandchildren know such as: life is a team sport.

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24. October 13th, 2014

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25. Harry Potter Halloween

Happy HalloweenHalloween is an important holiday in the Harry Potter books. Have you ever noticed that important events always seem to happen in October in those books? Here are some memorable events from the Harry Potter books that took place in October along with a question for you to ponder:

  1. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone: On October 31, a mountain troll attacks Hermione in the girl’s bathroom at Hogwarts. After Ron and Harry help her fight it, the 3 of them become inseparable friends. Would you rather fight a troll or a Dementor?
  2. October 4 is Professor McGonagall’s birthday. Would you rather have Professor McGonagall as your head of house, or Professor Snape?
  3. Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets: October 31 is Nearly Headless Nick’s 500th Deathday party. Also, the basilisk from the Chamber of Secrets petrifies Mrs. Norris. Would you rather have as your house mascot Nearly Headless Nick or the Bloody Baron?
  4. Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban: On October 31, Sirius Black attacks the Fat Lady. Would you rather be a ghost flying around Hogwarts, or a person in a Hogwarts portrait?
  5. October 17 is Professor Flitwick’s birthday. Would you rather take Charms or Transfiguration?
  6. Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire: The Goblet of Fire chooses Harry as one of the Tri-Wizard champions on October 31. Would you rather be a participant in the Tri-Wizard Tournament, or just a spectator?
  7. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: Harry, Ron, and Hermione visit Hogsmeade on October 5, and Dumbledore’s Army is formed. Would you rather go to Hogsmeade or Diagon Alley?
  8. October 30 is Molly Weasley’s birthday. Would you rather be in the Weasley family or be in the Black family?
  9. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince: Harry has his second lesson with Professor Dumbledore sometime in October when he sees Dumbledore’s memory of going to meet Tom Riddle for the first time at the orphanage. Would you rather take Occlumency lessons with Professor Snape or Defense Against the Dark Arts lessons with Professor Quirrell?
  10. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone: Lily and James Potter are killed on Halloween, but Voldemort lost most of his powers and there was much rejoicing in the wizarding world. There is no would you rather question for this. It’s too awful and I need to go have a little cry. Please excuse me. *sniff*

Here are some more Would You rather questions from EnergeticGriffin20 while I’m gone. Would you rather . . .

  1. Be a Slytherin or Gryffindor
  2. Be a Hufflepuff or Ravenclaw
  3. Get stuck in the Chamber of Secrets for 10 minutes or get stuck in a closed room with Dementors for 10 minutes
  4. Be Professor Dumbledore or Professor McGonagal
  5. Be a Quidditch player or not
  6. Study Charms or Potions
  7. Have a detention with Professor Snape or Professor Umbridge
  8. Live with Harry Potter your whole life or live with Hermione your whole life
  9. Be a professor at Hogwarts or a student at Hogwarts

Leave your answers in the Comments.

Sonja, STACKS Staffer

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