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1. Best Speculative Fiction of 2014


This one is definitely in my top five overall for the year.  It may even be the best.  I struggled with putting this in adult fiction or in speculative fiction, because it reads more like an adventure/survival book than it does a science fiction book.  But it's also set on the surface of Mars, so I wound up deciding to feature it here.  Basically, an astronaut is trapped on Mars and has to figure out how to survive until NASA figures out a way to rescue him.  

You can also find this one on my list of audiobooks, but it deserves a place here as well.  It's about a terrifying post-apocalyptic world where opening your eyes can drive you to suicide and murder and a mother who wants something better for her children.  

Another post-apocalypse story, this time in a world whose population and culture has been decimated by a plague.  It was particularly harrowing to read this fall during the panic surrounding ebola.  I can't say enough good things about the writing and the plot itself.

I don't usually read straight-up paranormal horror, but this one was absolutely impossible to resist.  The book is designed to resemble an Ikea catalog and features illustrations of progressively disturbing products.  It's worth reading for the design alone, but the story is also compelling.  I'll be so disappointed if I don't get a sequel next year.

Not really a dystopia and not really a post-apocalypse, this is really just a somewhat bleak imagining of our world's future, particularly in the East.  We move from India to Africa and follow a young girl's search for her birth mother.  It's one of the more difficult books I read this year, but also one of the most rewarding.

I'm not even going to try to describe this one because of spoilers, but trust me when I say that it's a must-read if you're fans of post-apocalyptic settings, horror, or suspense.  It fits all three categories quite well.

Another candidate for top five overall, this is probably the most beautiful writing I read this year.  It fits into the speculative category because the main characters are mythical immigrants to New York City (a golem and a jinni), but it would work just as well in literary fiction.  The story is moving but the real star is the writing.

The first in the Southern Reach series, this one is honestly hard to sub-classify within speculative fiction without having finished the series (the second two books are waiting for me at the library right now).  It has adventure and conspiracy and mysterious disappearances from Area X, where our main characters are sent to try to discover why all other expeditions have failed.


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3. New Agency

Newly formed Rising Bear Literary Agency will represent picture book through young adult authors.

http://risingbear.com/about-us/

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4. Guest Post and Giveaway: Wendy S Marcus, Author of Loving You is Easy

Please welcome Wendy S Marcus to the virtual offices this morning!

First off a great big thank you to Manga Maniac Café for hosting today’s blog post promoting my Loveswept Contemporary Romance, Loving You Is Easy. In the story, the hero, Shane, is a soldier in the U.S. Army who returns home wounded. I’ve been asked to discuss five things Shane would never have in his rucksack. So here goes:

1) Porn – Since getting four full color, sexy pictures from his pen pal, Brooke, Shane has no desire to look at any woman but her. Those long, slender legs. That firm, perfectly rounded ass. Hot damn, gets him worked up every single time.

2) Pre-packaged/commercially produced baked goods – Shane’s mother loves to bake, and he grew up with a constant supply of delicious, fresh-baked cakes, pies and cookies. To this day she still makes sure he never goes without her tasty treats, even while he’s overseas. (Good thing he likes to work out or he’d be big as a house!)

3) A book – Shane’s more of an action guy than a reader. He prefers doing to reading about other people doing – especially where sex is concerned.

4) Lotion – Guys are tough and their skin should be tough. Now Shane believes lotion has its uses. Like foreplay, to get his hands on the soft, delicate skin of a woman’s back and shoulders. Or in a pinch, for a massage of a more personal nature, like when a man is away at war for months at a time. But he’d never let lotion take up valuable space in his ruck.

5) A camera – At the beginning of Loving You Is Easy Shane is in his fourth tour of combat duty in Afghanistan. The horrible images of all he has seen during years at war are forever burned into his memory – no matter how hard he’s tried to get rid of them. He does not need pictures to remember.

And now a question for you, if you had to go away for a long journey and all you could pack is one rucksack, what are the top five things you would definitely, without a doubt, take with you? Remember, they have to fit in your ruck!

Loving You is Easy
By: Wendy S. Marcus

Releasing December 9th, 2014

Loveswept

She’s a survivor of the front lines of politics. He’s a wounded soldier returning home from the battlefield. Can they place their trust in the power of love?

Nobody plays the role of perfect politician’s daughter better than quiet, respectable math teacher Brooke Ellstein. But she won’t be caught swimming with the sharks again, not after the son of a wealthy donor sinks his teeth into her and gets away with it. Still, political connections have their perks, such as heading up the governor’s “Support Our Troops” pen-pal initiative—and getting first dibs on the smoking-hot sergeant whose picture shakes her right down to her goody-two-shoes.

When corresponding with sweet, classy Brooke, Shane Develen instinctively hides his commando tattoos and blue-collar roots—and he can tell that she’s hiding something, too. But Shane knows he’s gained her trust when Brooke gives him a blisteringly sexy photo. Then he’s injured in an ambush and a fellow soldier posts the snapshot online. Overnight, Brooke’s reputation turns to ashes. Even though he’s totally wrong for her, Shane shows up on Brooke’s doorstep, determined to set things right—and discovers that right or wrong has nothing on the chemistry they share.

Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2014/09/loving-you-is-easy-by-wendy-s-marcus_27.html

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22747255-loving-you-is-easy?from_search=true

Buy Links : Amazon | Barnes | iTunes | Kobo

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Loving-You-Easy-Wendy-Marcus-ebook/dp/B00LYXSNZG/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1411408102&sr=1-1&keywords=Loving+You+Is+Easy+by+Wendy+S.+Marcus

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/loving-you-is-easy-wendy-s-marcus/1120019667?ean=9780553391237

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/lv/book/loving-you-is-easy/id901077884?mt=11

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/loving-you-is-easy

Author Info

Wendy S. Marcus is an award-winning author of contemporary romance. A nurse by trade, Wendy holds a Master of Science in Health Care Administration, a degree that does her absolutely no good as she now spends her days, nights, and weekends mucking around in her characters’ lives creating conflict, emotion, and, of course, a happily ever after. Wendy lives in the beautiful Hudson Valley region of New York. When she’s not writing, she enjoys spending time with her family, which includes her dog Buddy, and blogging/e-mailing/tweeting/facebooking with her online friends.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Website: http://wendysmarcus.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Wendy-S-Marcus-Author-Page/184507031577429
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/WendySMarcus
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4823224.Wendy_S_Marcus

Rafflecopter Giveaway ($25.00 eGift Card to Choice Book Seller and Loveswept Mug & Tote)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The post Guest Post and Giveaway: Wendy S Marcus, Author of Loving You is Easy appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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5. Cover Reveal, Asa, Jay Crownover

We are so excited about the cover reveal for Jay Crownover's ASA! ASA is the sixth and final book in Jay's Marked Men Series, published by HarperCollins. Check out the hot cover and don't forget to pre-order your copy today!




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Amazon US ** iBooks ** Barnes & Noble ** Kobo

About ASA:

Starting over in Denver with a whole new circle of friends and family, Asa Cross struggles with being the man he knows everyone wants him to be and the man he knows he really is. A leopard doesn’t it change its spots and Asa has always been a predator. He doesn’t want to hurt those who love and rely on him, especially one stunning arresting cop who suddenly seems to be interested in him for far more than his penchant for breaking the law. But letting go of old habits is hard, and it’s easy to hit bottom when it’s the place you know best.

Royal Hastings is quickly learning what the bottom looks like after a tragic situation at work threatens not only her career but her partner’s life. As a woman who has only ever had a few real friends she’s trying to muddle through her confusion and devastation all alone. Except she can’t stop thinking about the sexy southern bartender she locked up. Crushing on Asa is the last thing she needs but his allure is too strong to resist. His long criminal record can only hurt her already shaky career and chasing after a guy who has no respect for the law or himself can only end in heartbreak.

A longtime criminal and a cop together just seems so wrong . . . but for Asa and Royal, being wrong together is the only right choice to make.



Marked men Banner

And don’t miss the previous books in The Marked Men Series!

RULE

JET

ROME

NASH

ROWDY

And don't miss Jay at 3pm EST over at the Between The Covers page on Facebook today! Come chat with her!

Jay Crownover

About Jay Crownover:

Jay Crownover is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Marked Men series. She also introduced the dark and sexy world of The Point that started with BETTER WHEN HE's BAD and is currently working on her newest series The Saint of Denver. Like her characters, she is a big fan of tattoos. She loves music and wishes she could be a rock star, but since she has no aptitude for singing or instrument playing, she'll settle for writing stories with interesting characters that make the reader feel something. She lives in Colorado with her three dogs.





Website ** Blog ** Facebook ** Twitter ** ASA Goodreads ** Jay Crownover Goodreads

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6. Fit for a wanna-be king: Stratford Zoo Midnight Review Presents Macbeth (ages 8-12)

Do your kids love graphic novels? Do you know any kid who loves the spotlight or has fun when their friends grab center stage? The Stratford Zoo Midnight Review is a new series of graphic novels that my students are giving a round of applause for the way it combines humor, theatrics, tragedy and puns. It would make a great gift either for comic-book fans or theater fans.
The Stratford Zoo Midnight Review Presents: Macbeth
by Ian Lendler
illustrated by Zack Giallongo
First Second, 2014
Your local library
Amazon
ages 8-12
"Macbeth, the hero of our story, the greatest warrior in the land."
When the zoo shuts for the night, the animals gather together and put on a show. The lion makes a natural mighty Macbeth, full of swagger and a taste for power. My students were easily able to imagine why such a beast would want to be king--and Lender's version shares this classic play in a form that is very kid-friendly. Here's how he adapts the witches' famous song which charms Macbeth, setting the plot in motion:
"Double, double,
toil and trouble,
fire burn and cauldron bubble.
Eat the king,
the plot will thicken,
go on Macbeth,
he tastes like chicken."
Lendler mixes humor and puns throughout Shakespeare's bloody tragedy, giving young readers a real sense of the classic play but making it very age-appropriate. Giallongo's illustrations capture Macbeth's slide into gluttony perfectly, make light of the witches and add plenty of ketchup to keep the tragedy at bay. My students definitely give this version of Shakespeare a hearty round of applause.

We were lucky enough to have Ian Lendler visit Emerson last week to share his book with our 4th and 5th graders. He starts out his presentation with a loud bugle calling everyone's attention (see below), just as the young boys did during Shakespeare's time. He shares an overview of the story with students, emphasizing some of the lessons of the story. Our kids highly recommend his visit to other schools, especially for kids who like funny comic books and putting on their own plays.
Ian Lendler at Emerson
Are you looking for a holiday gift to add to the fun? I know my students would love their own stadium horn to call everyone to their performances. They also might want a mighty robe, fit for a king. Check these ideas out:
The review copies were kindly sent by the publishers, First Second. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books. Thank you for your support.

©2014 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

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7. Spotlight and Giveaway: Double Trouble by Lori Wilde

This morning I have an excerpt and give away for Lori Wilde’s Double Trouble.  Enjoy!

About DOUBLE TROUBLE

Two Lori Wilde romances together for the first time in print!

CHARMED AND DANGEROUS

When her thrill-seeking twin sister goes missing, Maddie Cooper must come to her rescue-which means teaming up with irritating, arrogant, and altogether way too sexy FBI agent David Marshall. David isn’t one to get easily distracted but his new self-proclaimed partner has him completely sidetracked with her delectable curves and knockout smile. His first priority: follow the leads in the case. Then he can go about the all-too-enjoyable task of following his heart . . .

MISSION: IRRESISTIBLE

PR specialist Cassie Cooper loves the adrenaline rush of a well-planned party. And a masquerade ball at the museum is her best yet. But when a legendary amulet is stolen practically from under her nose, she needs the help of her nemesis, archaeologist Harrison Standish. No-nonsense Harrison has all the intensity of Indiana Jones. Though just when he needs his full attention on their mission, he’s having the damnedest time keeping his mind-and his hands-off Cassie . . .

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1rTIWNv
B&N: http://bit.ly/1FPwwsw
BAM!: http://bit.ly/12vZf7J

About Lori Wilde

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Lori Wilde has written sixty novels. She holds a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Texas Christian University and a certificate in forensics. She volunteers as a sexual assault first responder for Freedom House, a shelter for battered women. Lori is a past RITA finalist and has been nominated four times for theRomantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award. She’s won the Colorado Award of Excellence, the Wisconsin Write Touch Award, the Lories, the More Than Maggie, the Golden Quill, the Laurel Wreath, and the Best Books of 2006 Book Award. Her books have been translated into twenty-five languages and featured inCosmopolitan, Redbook, Complete Woman, All You,TIME, and Quick and Simple magazines. She lives in Texas with her husband, Bill. 

AUTH. WEBSITE:

http://www.loriwilde.com/

AUTH. TWITTER ID:

@LoriWilde

AUTH. FACEBOOK:

https://www.facebook.com/LoriWildeBooks?fref=ts

From Charmed and Dangerous

The air in the room seemed miserably hot even though he’d twisted up the controls on the air conditioner when he’d walked in. Or maybe it was the heat of his blood rushing through his veins.

“Nobody likes being intimidated.”

“Don’t be so sure of that. Ever heard of a submissive?”

“I’m not a submissive,” she denied. “Far from it.”

“You sure? You entered a man’s room while he was getting undressed.”

“That doesn’t make me submissive. If anything, I’d say I was dominant.”

“You dominating me?” The notion was so foreign, so utterly ridiculous that David burst out laughing.

His derision incensed her. She stabbed an index finger in his direction. “Maybe you’re the one who’s longing to be submissive.”

“Oh yeah?” Swiftly he covered the remaining distance between them.

She backpedaled until she ran smack dab into the wall. David grabbed both her wrists, pinned her hands above her head and swiftly shoved one knee between her legs, completely hemming her in with no way out.

“This look like submissive to you, darlin’?” he growled.

They were both breathing hard, their lips almost touching.

“For your information I’m a third degree black belt in karate,” she said.

“Bring it on. I’m fifth degree.”

“You don’t threaten me.” She gulped, belying her own bravado.

He saw the column of her throat muscles pump hard and he knew he’d succeeded in intimidating her, but still she held her ground. She might be scared, but she was too damned proud to run away.

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The post Spotlight and Giveaway: Double Trouble by Lori Wilde appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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8. The Long Way Home by Louise Penny

Peter Morrow hadn't returned after the year he and Clara had agreed upon for his return so the search for Peter began. Of course, Armand Gamache was asked to be involved even though he had retired from the police force.

THE LONG WAY HOME has the well-known, well-loved residents of Three Pines we all are familiar with and the residents that make Louise Penny's books ones I enjoy reading.

THE LONG WAY HOME was a bit different from her other books.  Instead of solving a murder, the Three Pines residents were working together to find Peter.


This book was different because of the way the investigation took place.  Gamache actually was not in charge; Clara was.  It discussed muses and different art terms.  It was more about artists than the solving of a regular murder mystery, but the characters as always worked beautifully together.

​I can't say I didn't like THE LONG WAY HOME, but it is quite different from her other books and took a bit of getting used to.  Regardless of the style and plot, though, THE LONG WAY HOME still had the pull all of her books have on you. ​

​Ms. Penny's books usually involve emotions. THE LONG WAY HOME was specifically about happiness, sadness, and finding oneself.​  4/5


This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

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9. The Many Sides of Santaand Some Art from Chuck Groenink



 

Last week at Kirkus, I chatted here with children’s book author and poet Bob Raczka, so today I’m following up with some of Chuck Groenink’s illustrations from Raczka’s Santa Clauses: Short Poems from the North Pole, released by Carolrhoda Books in September. Groenink, as I mentioned in the column last week, is from the Netherlands but now lives in New York. I highly recommend exploring the art at his site or even his tumblr. If you subscribe to the Horn Book, you’ll recognize him from the cover art of the current issue.

I’m tellin’ you what. We see lots of new holiday picture books every year, many easily forgettable, but I really like this one. I’d love to see a 2015 7-Imp interview with Groenink so that we can see way more art from him. Don’t you agree?

Enjoy the art.


“…Wishes blowing in / from my overfilled mailbox— / December’s first storm …”
(Click to enlarge spread)


 


“…The north wind and I / whistling to ‘Let It Snow!’ / on the radio.”
(Click to enlarge spread)


 


(Click to see spread in its entirety)


 



 

* * * * * * *

SANTA CLAUSES: SHORT POEMS FROM THE NORTH POLE. Copyright © 2014 by Bob Raczka. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Chuck Groenink and reproduced by permission of the publisher, Carolrhoda Books.

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10. An Age of License: Review Haiku

A perfect last-minute
gift for your favorite
post-college wanderer.

An Age of License: A Travelogue by Lucy Knisley. Fantagraphics, 2014, 189 pages.

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11. Suggestions for the Batchelder Award?

ALSC Personal Members are invited to suggest titles for the 2015 Batchelder Award given to an American publisher for a children’s book considered to be the most outstanding of those books originally published in a foreign language in a foreign country and subsequently published in English in the United States during 2014. Please remember that only books from this publishing year are under consideration for the 2015 award. Publishers, authors and illustrators may not suggest their own books. The deadline for submission is December 31, 2014.

You may send recommendations with full bibliographic information to the Chair, Diane Janoff at diane.janoff@queenslibrary.org.

The  award will be announced at the press conference during the ALA Midwinter Meeting in February 2015.

For more information about the award, visit the ALSC website at http://www.ala.org/alsc/. Click on “Awards and Grants” in the left-hand navigation bar; then click on “ALSC Book & Media Awards.” Scroll down to the “Batchelder Award Page”.

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12. Librarian Preview: Harper Collins (Spring 2015)

Oh, it’s a big one.  A big honking preview, this is.  Yes indeed, folks, Harper Collins is in town and they’ve a mess of good looking books just aching to arrive on your shelves.  Now the last time I attending a preview for HC I was massively pregnant with back pain to match.  This time around, in comparison, I was positively lithe, leaping from table to table as the editors showed us their pretty baubles.  Here then is an encapsulation of some of the goodies that will be hitting shelves nationwide fairly soon.  To wit:

Table One

At these librarian previews we the MLIS degree holders move from table to table, where each imprint gets its own say.  With Table One we began with Greenwillow and a season that’s going to feel a little distant to us for a while:

Finding Spring by Carin Berger (97800622510193)

FindingSpring Librarian Preview: Harper Collins (Spring 2015)

Cute, right?  In this story a bear is searching for spring.  So what does he find instead?  Snow.  Lots of it.  Done in Berger’s customary collage style, this is one artistic little book that rewards close reading.  Note, for example, that the snowflakes and flowers see in these pages are held in place by tiny pins.  Sort of gives the whole book a three-dimensional feel.  Gorgeous.

For a closer look at the interior art, stop on by Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast for a sneak peek.

Red by Michael Hall (9780062252074)

Red Librarian Preview: Harper Collins (Spring 2015)

I actually already talked a bit about this one back during the last Harper Collins preview, but I like it so very much that I’ll mention it again.  To wit, snarky faceless crayons populate a book where a blue crayon is mislabeled as red.  A pencil tells the tale (as you might imagine).  I’m already imagining a LOT of applications for this as a gift book.  It sells itself.

Touch the Brightest Star by Christie Matheson (9780062274472)

 TouchBrightestStar 500x500 Librarian Preview: Harper Collins (Spring 2015)

Since the popularity of Press Here by Herve Tullet, a load of different interactive picture books have swamped the market.  The best of these do more than simply tout their interactive elements, though.  And those that have a purpose above and beyond the directives aimed at child readers tend to be worth seeking out.  In Matheson’s latest, kids are encouraged to embrace the dark rather than fear it. Touch the firefly and watch it glow on the next page.  That sort of thing.  It’s interactive bedtime fare and even includes some night sky info as well.  Matheson first started these series of sorts with Tap the Magic Tree.  The plans for the third book in the works?  Planting a seed.  Awwww, yeah.

Backyard Witch: Sadie’s Story by Christine Heppermann, ill. Deborah Marcero (9780062338389)

BackyardWitch Librarian Preview: Harper Collins (Spring 2015)

That’s clever.  They were pitching this early chapter title as something to hand to the Ivy & Bean lovers of the world.  Of course it has magic in it, but that’s okay.  If author Christine Heppermann’s name sounds familiar that may be because she was recently responsible for the very YA Poisoned Apples this year. Switching gears a tad, she is now coming out with a story of Sadie.  When her two best friends go on vacation without her, she’s none too pleased.  A trip to her play house leads to the discovery of a Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle type witch.  She’s asked to help find the witch’s friends.  One is a bird (a yellow warbler) who was turned avian by mistake.  And since I’m always desperate for early readers, I’m excited to give this one a go.

Blackbird Fly by Erin Entrada Kelly (9780062238610)

BlackbirdFly Librarian Preview: Harper Collins (Spring 2015)

Oo. This one sounds exciting.  Written by an author who was born in the Philippines and moved to Louisiana, the book features a Filipino girl dealing with growing up.  The girls at school are no longer nice and her mom runs her home as if she’s still in the Philippines.  She would prefer to learn the guitar and emulate her favorite artist – George Harrison.  Sounds good.

Anyone but Ivy Pocket by Caleb Krisp (9780062364340)

IvyPocket Librarian Preview: Harper Collins (Spring 2015)

Note, if you will, the tiny skulls on the cover.  From what I could gather then it was a kind of Amelia Bedelia by way of Downton Abbey in a Tim Burton-like book with a Lemony Snicketesque plot.  Got that?  In this story the titular Ivy must deliver a diamond to a girl on her birthday.

Waiting by Kevin Henkes (9780062368430)

Waiting Librarian Preview: Harper Collins (Spring 2015)

I have excellent news.  I’ve seen the Caldecott winner of 2016.  You see?  I just saved you an entire year’s work.  Slap your hands together, folks, because your work is done.  Yes, Kevin Henkes has a new picture book coming out and it is absolutely fascinating.  The toys on the cover are, you see, waiting.  Based on Kevin’s kids’ own toys, the story takes place at a single setting: the window.  And you would be amazed how much drama can be derived from such a location.  Beautiful beautiful beautiful  . . . and not out until September 2015.  Sorry, guys.

The Doldrums by Nicholas Gannon (9780062320940)

Adélaïde Radio Librarian Preview: Harper Collins (Spring 2015)

What you’re seeing here isn’t the cover so much as an example of some of the full-color art found in this title.  Three kids (Archer, Adelaide, and Oliver) are waiting for an adventure.  Their intent?  To find Archer’s grandparents, last seen on an iceberg.  Add in a pinch of a Hitchcockian flavor and maybe a little Wes Anderson and you’ve got yourself a fascinating little number.

Table Two

Ding!  Moving on.

Bunnies by Kevan Atteberry (9780062307835)

Bunnies Librarian Preview: Harper Collins (Spring 2015)

I’m always on the lookout for that rarest of rare beasts: The very young readaloud picture book.  And in this story you will find precisely that.  Not too dissimilar from Bob Shea’s 2014 title Don’t Play With Your Food, the story centers on a monster with a serious bunny obsession.  They appear.  They disappear.  They don’t seem to care that all he wants in the whole entire world is just to see them.  Awww.

Teddy Mars Book #1: Almost a World Record Breaker by Molly B. Burnham, ill. Trevor Spencer (9780062278104)

TeddyMars Librarian Preview: Harper Collins (Spring 2015)

Teacher debut alert!  There are many things I could tell you about this book, but I think I’m just going to leave you will the first line (which may be slightly paraphrased, so forgive me if it’s not 100% accurate): “The day my brother crawled into the catbox I knew my life would never be the same.”

What This Story Needs Is a Pig in a Wig by Emma J. Virjan (9780062327246)

WhatThisStory Librarian Preview: Harper Collins (Spring 2015)

I’m also always on the lookout for picture books with very simple texts.  When the Geisel Award goes to picture books, I stand up and cheer.  Seems to me that this book, described as containing a text, “where every single word is important,” fits the bill. The plot is simple.  There is a pig.  Too many animals jump into her boat.  Hijinks ensue.

Stick Dog Dreams of Ice Cream by Tom Watson (9780062278074)

StickDogIceCream Librarian Preview: Harper Collins (Spring 2015)

Were you aware that Stick Dog started as an app?  Not I, said the fly.  Now on his third book, the eternally hungry hero continues to lure in readers not yet ready for Wimpy Kid, looking for something with slightly more text than Bad Kitty.  And the good news?  Stick Cat is on the horizon.  Woohoo!

Little Miss, Big Sis by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, ill. Peter H. Reynolds (9780062302038)

LittleMiss Librarian Preview: Harper Collins (Spring 2015)

Last seen in the book Plant a Kiss, two siblings return to the picture book stage.  Clever in its simplicity (and how has no one ever thought to write a title like this one before?) the book contains a young but very funny text.  And since funny is at a premium these days, this is a book I’ll be looking to read.

Lazy Dave by Peter Jarvis (9780062355980)

LazyDave 500x411 Librarian Preview: Harper Collins (Spring 2015)

One namer children’s authors are not unheard of (Avi, anyone?).  And like all one namers, Jarvis actually has two.  His name is Peter Jarvis and in 2015 he’ll be debuting with a story of a girl an her dog.  The girl in question loves the dog but is perturbed by the fact that he’s so ding dang lazy.  Truth is, the dog gets up to a LOT of adventures.  He just happens to experience them through sleepwalking.  Certainly this will pair well with that recent TOON book Tippy and the Night Parade, that’s for sure.  Look for Jarvis to come out with Forgetful Fred at some point as well.

Table Three

Listen, Slowly by Thanhha Lai (9780062229182)

ListenSlowly Librarian Preview: Harper Collins (Spring 2015)

I covered this book briefly in my last Harper Collins preview, but it’s just so nice I’ll cover it twice.  Coming from the author of Inside Out and Back Again, this book is Thanhha Lai’s first title since she won her Newbery Honor.  No pressure or anything.  Fortunately it looks as though she’s not let the win go to her head.  Like her last book, this story also features a child of Vietnamese parents, but there the similarities pretty much stop.  Writing in prose, in this contemporary novel a girl lives in Orange County with her family and grandmother.  When her grandma discovers that there may be new information about her husband, who disappeared during the Vietnam War, our heroine finds herself forced to go along.  Inspired by family history it’s getting starred reviews left and right.  Better check it out then.

Ferals by Jacob Grey (9780062321039)

Ferals Librarian Preview: Harper Collins (Spring 2015)

10 points to the author and publisher for not naming this book “Crow Boy”.  The temptation to do so must have been extreme.  I mean, c’mon.  “Raised by crows”?  Writes itself.  Described to us as “Batman meets The Graveyard Book” (surprised they didn’t reference the film The Crow as well) the story stars a boy named Caw.  He has the ability to speak to crows, which marks him as a “feral”.  Now the most evil feral, a fellow known as the Spinning Man, is returning.  Beware the spiders, folks.

The Last Dragon Charmer #1: Villain Keeper (9780062308436)

VillainKeeper Librarian Preview: Harper Collins (Spring 2015)

Here’s a term you may never hear again, but that just sounds interesting: Reverse portal fantasy. Know what it is?  Well, the plot of this book might give you a hint.  In this story a prince wants to slay a dragon.  Pretty standard stuff.  Or at least it would be if the prince wasn’t mysteriously sent to Asheville, NC.  Number of dragons in Asheville?  Zero.  Or so you might think . . . They said this would be a good complementary title to The Hero’s Guide for Saving Your Kingdom.  Absolutely.

Gone Crazy in Alabama by Rita Williams-Garcia (9780062215871)

GoneCrazy Librarian Preview: Harper Collins (Spring 2015)

It’s here!  It’s here!  It’s almost here!  In April or so we’ll be seeing the third and final volume in the Rita Williams-Garcia series that began with One Crazy Summer. I thoroughly approve of the clothes featured on the cover here (the bell bottoms on book #2 still rankle).  In this book the girls take a bus to visit Big Ma in the family home.  The time period is Summer 1969.  The place?  Alabama.  And the three find out pretty quickly that they are not exactly in the best possible time and place to be chanting Black Power slogans.  The editor, Rosemary Brosnan, said in all seriousness that it’s the best of the three.

Monstrous by MarcyKate Connolly, ill. Skottie Young (9780062272713)

Monstrous Librarian Preview: Harper Collins (Spring 2015)

They say it’s Frankenstein meets the Brothers Grimm but I suspect there might be a bit of Monster High stuck in there on the side.  Meet our heroine.  She has the eyes of a cat, the wings of a raven, and she has one purpose in life: To rescue girls under the spell of an evil wizard.  Simple, right?  But when you’re a monster you have to learn that sometimes there are things and people out there even more monstrous than you.

Endangered by Lamar Giles (9780062297563)

Endangered Librarian Preview: Harper Collins (Spring 2015)

Yep.  This one’s a YA novel but I’m highlighting it because it’s one of the very rare titles with a contemporary African-American girl on the cover.  Little wonder.  It’s by #WeNeedDiverseBooks fellow Lamar Giles.  Well played.

Table 4

Meet the Dullards by Sara Pennypacker, ill. Daniel Salmieri (978006198563)

Dullards Librarian Preview: Harper Collins (Spring 2015)

Now again, we talked about this book before, but there’s a lot to love here.  Salmieri, man.  That kid’s going places.  It hurts matters not a jot that his Dragons Love Tacos is on the New York Times bestseller list every week right now (sidenote: the best Dragons Love Tacos video of all time is here).  In this book long time pro Pennypacker pairs with Salmieri to present what may be the greatest childhood metaphor of all time.  Mom and Dad are dull.  Proudly so, and like all good parents they are attempting to inculcate their children in the wide and wonderful world of blahness.  Trouble is, the kids are dangerously attracted to activities more interesting than watching paint dry.  The description? “The Stupids with boring people”.  Nice.

Cat and Bunny by Mary Lundquist (9780062287809)

CatBunny 500x474 Librarian Preview: Harper Collins (Spring 2015)

Doesn’t look like much from the cover, does it?  But doggone it if this isn’t one of the cleverer little books coming out right now.  A debut, the book features a large menagerie (for lack of a better word) of kids in animal costumes.  In this book, a topic horribly familiar to many a kiddo is tackled: Sharing your best friend.  Quail, you see, wants to play with Bunny but Cat is NOT down with that plan.  Understanding ensues.  Talk about a topic parents ask for that we hardly have any books to cover!!  Note: My table insisted that the endpapers be turned into a poster someday.

If You Plant a Seed by Kadir Nelson (9780062298898)

IfYouPlant 500x500 Librarian Preview: Harper Collins (Spring 2015)

Kadir continues with the cute.  Picasso had his Blue Period.  Kadir has his Cute Period.  Described as “intense”, in this book a mouse and a rabbit plant a seed.  What ensues is a tale of selfishness, kindness, karma, and consequences.

First Snow by Peter McCarty (9780062189967)

FirstSnow 500x464 Librarian Preview: Harper Collins (Spring 2015)

Okay.  So we need diverse books, right?  Absolutely.  But don’t we also need diverse animal stories?  Is there any reason why animals can’t be diverse as well?  Peter McCarty has always been remarkably good in this arena.  Now he continues his series of books starring familiar characters.  He began with Henry In Love, continued with Chloe, and now we have First Snow.  Pedro is from South America and has come to spend time with his cousins in the north.  When they learn that he has no experience with snow they insist that he join in the fun.  He takes some convincing, of course.  Snow is, and it’s hard to argue with this, cold.  Fortunately a sledding mishap ends with the unintentional consequence of Pedro suddenly loving the white, fluffy, and (yes) cold stuff.  Great great great.

Every Little Bit of You is Yummy! by Tim Harrington (9780062328168)

EveryLittleBit Librarian Preview: Harper Collins (Spring 2015)

Like a lot of librarians I’m always on the lookout for good picture book readalouds.  Did you see Jbrary’s 2014 Favourite Storytime Picture Books?  That’s the kind of stuff I’m talking about.  So I was intrigued by what Harrington is doing here.  Like a kind of follow-up to Eric Carle’s From Head to Toe, the book is interactive with a song online to boot.

Masterminds by Gordon Korman (9780062299963)

Masterminds Librarian Preview: Harper Collins (Spring 2015)

The heart wants what it wants.  And what my heart wants right now is for 2015 to arrive so that I can finally pick this book up and read it.  For whatever reason, Gordon Korman has managed to pen a book that pushes all my buttons.  As a kid I would have been all over this thing.  You see, in this book a group of kiddos live in a kind of Pleasantville-ish town.  They’re good kids too.  Then one day a kid bicycles to the town limits and pretty quickly they discover that nothing they know is the truth.  They’re a sociological experiment in the making and their purpose has yet to reveal itself.

The Girl in the Torch by Rob Sharenow (9780062227959)

GirlTorch Librarian Preview: Harper Collins (Spring 2015)

Here in New York we children’s librarians keep one eye peeled at all times for NYC-related children’s book fare.  Happily there’s a bloody ton of it out there.  Case in point, a book they’re calling “Hugo Cabret meets True Grit“.  While on Ellis Island a girl’s mother dies in quarantine.  So what’s a daughter to do?  With the prospect of deportation looming, our heroine does what any forward thinking young woman would.  She decides to live in the torch of The Statue of Liberty.  Tackling big themes like what it means to be “American”, this just sounds fun.

Joey and Johnny, the Ninjas: Get Mooned by Kevin Serwacki, ill. Chris Pallace (9780062299338)

JoeyJohnny Librarian Preview: Harper Collins (Spring 2015)

Speaking of fun: Ninjas!  Ninjas make everything better.  The first in a four book series, imagine if Roald Dahl wrote a story about a ninja school and it was then animated by the creators of Adventure Time.  That’s what you’ll get in this book of two competing ninja schools.  Apparently the book tackles the tricky issue of taking the easy way out of things.  With ninjas.  Did I mention that part before?

Moonpenny Island by Tricia Springstubb (9780062112934)

MoonpennyIsland Librarian Preview: Harper Collins (Spring 2015)

Gilbert Ford.  I hope he’s very rich by now.  Periodically middle grade book covers go through phases.  There was the Brett Hardinger phase for a while, and before that the C.F. Payne phase.  Now it’s all Gilbert Ford all the way.  He started out luring in the kiddos with the Pseudonymous Bosch “Secret” series, and cemented his reign with the Newbery Honor book Three Times Lucky.  There’s just something appealing about his style.  Now he’s done the cover for the latest Tricia Springstubb novel.  This book is about seeing things for the first time.  It’s also about a mom who leaves to take care of grandma, themes of evolution, and a load of trilobites (note the cover).

The Dungeoneers by John David Anderson (9780062338143)

Dungeoneers Librarian Preview: Harper Collins (Spring 2015)

Hard to tell.  Is this a Dan Santat cover?  Sure looks like one.  In any case, the author of the delightful Sidekicked is back, but not with any superhero tales this time.  Nope, this is a story of Colm.  He’s a peasant who, quite frankly is fed up with being a peasant.  After picking the wrong pocket (to put it mildly) Colm’s given a choice.  He could be done away with in a suitably medieval manner or he can become a member of low born adventurers.  He chooses the latter and is enthralled, until he realizes that there are problem with this particular group.

Omega City by Diana Peterfreund (9780062310859)

OmegaCity Librarian Preview: Harper Collins (Spring 2015)

Strap in, folks.  We’re clearly in adventure mode now.  I don’t know about you but I’ve noticed a significant uptick in the number of books described using Goonies as a reference.  They called the Little, Brown & Co. book If You Find This by Matthew Baker as “Goonies meets Holes“.  Now Harper Collins is calling Omega CityGoonies meets City of Ember“.  After a girl’s father loses his job she follows clues left by a diary and finds an underground bunker.  It’s first in a three book series and promises action.  Just so long as it doesn’t reference Omega Man in any way (it’s the title that made me think of it) we’re cool.

The Arctic Code by Matthew J. Kirby (978006224873)

ArcticCode Librarian Preview: Harper Collins (Spring 2015)

That Matthew Kirby.  He just can’t keep away from ice.  First it was the remarkable Icefall.  Now he has a new three book series set in the near future.  Earth has succumbed to a new Ice Age.  Meanwhile our hero’s mother is in the Arctic doing some kind of work there.  When she disappears after sending a cryptic message, her daughter Eleanor goes to find her.  Apparently the book asks the rather difficult question, if we can’t save everyone on earth, who do we save and why?  Sounds like it would pair well with the Rebecca Stead debut novel First Light.

A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, ill. Gris Grimly (9780062293756)

StudyScarlet Librarian Preview: Harper Collins (Spring 2015)

Cool . . . and YA.  Doggone it.  Yes, the wonderful Gris Grimly is back and this time he’s chosen to illustrate the debut of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s most famous hero.  In color no less!  Now when I saw what book it was I admit I was a bit incredulous.  Anyone who has read this knows that there is a LONG section dedicated to a subplot involving Mormons in America.  I asked and yes indeed.  The Mormons made it into this book intact.  Fascinating.

Table 5

Picture Perfect #1: Bending Over Backwards by Cari Simmons (9780062310224)

BendingOver Librarian Preview: Harper Collins (Spring 2015)

Someday an enterprising librarian in a small system will create stickers that say “snark free” or “mean girl free” and put them on certain titles in their collection.  I know that when I was a kid I would have vastly preferred those kinds of books.  Those stickers would actually apply pretty well to this new series by Cari Simmons.  Each story is a standalone but they all have one thing in common: What happens when you realize that you and your longtime best friend are two VERY different people?  They said it was for the Mix / Candy Apple readers.  I say it’s also for the fans of The Kind of Friends We Used to Be and the upcoming Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson.

Archie Greene and the Magician’s Secret by D.D. Everest (9780062312112)

ArchieGreene Librarian Preview: Harper Collins (Spring 2015)

Kids, here’s some safe advice.  Should you receive an ancient book for your birthday, just put that sucker down.  You don’t want to know what it’s going to get you into.  In the case of Archie Greene, such a book helps him to discover that he’s a Flame Keeper, charged to find and preserve magical books.  Mind you, occasionally there are books where characters pop out of their pages.  Just consider that one of the hazards of the job.

The Fog Diver by Joel Ross (9780062352934)

FogDiver Librarian Preview: Harper Collins (Spring 2015)

Adventure! Pirates! Airships! Slum kids who’s made themselves a kind of patched together family.  In the future we live in the sky.  Why?  Because a deadly fog is on the ground, of course.  The worse news?  It’s rising.  For that reason we’re all living on the mountaintops these days.  The wealthy are the uppermost while fog divers scavenge below.  Our heroes must save their guardian and to do so they must go on a journey.  Amongst them is a boy who can survive the fog so, naturally, the bad guy wants him.  This will be the first of two books in the series.

The Keepers: The Box and the Dragonfly (9780062275820)

Keepers Librarian Preview: Harper Collins (Spring 2015)

And this one will be the first of four books.  I’ve written about this before, actually.  In this book a boy meets a group called “The Keepers” and is given a box that shows the future.  Only thing is, this isn’t a fantasy.  Nope.  It’s a highly developed science fiction title where all the “magical” elements are based on theoretical physics.

Mars Evacuees by Sophia McDougall (9780062293992)

MarsEvacuees Librarian Preview: Harper Collins (Spring 2015)

My resident science fiction expert librarian (see: Views from the Tesseract) assures me that this book is excellent.  In it, Earth is at war with aliens so the kids are evacuating to Mars.  Our heroine arrives there and next thing you know all the adults have disappeared.  So the kids, the robots, and an alien (!) team up.  They described this one as Pixar-esque with plenty of humor.  And the name of the sequel?  Space Hostages.  Awesome.

And that’s that!  All that remains is to look at the . . .

Best Meets

You know, sometimes in my quieter moments I look back and think about my favorite bizarre “meets” overheard at a preview.  It didn’t even use the word “meets”, but the implication was clear.  The name of the book has long since faded from my mind but the description . . . ah, the description is forever.  “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon . . . on MARS!”  Still the best.  In the meantime, these are pretty good too:

“The Monkey’s Paw meets E. Lockhardt meets Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” – The Cost of All Things by Maggie Lehrman

“X-Men meets Game of Thrones” – The Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

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13. Rush to make memories this holiday season

A Time for Rushing and Remembering

 

The countdown is on! The days rush by with ‘to do” lists that grow with the rapidity of the nose of a less-than-honest Pinocchio. I saw the phrase “rushing and remembering” as the lead in to an article in our local paper and it brought me up short. I wanted to sit down and write a heart-to-heart to all young parents during this time of the rolling year. I wanted to plead with them to stop rushing so for their own sakes, and build “remember whens” with their children. For THAT is what their children as they grow older will say to them. “Remember when… mom?” And it will be followed by the memory.

My girls are young women now. They have their own lives and we often talk about their growing up years in hindsight with an evaluative eye. They say hindsight is twenty twenty. Believe me, it can bring a halt to your gallop when they tell you what THEY remember as a precious moment from a holiday, versus what I, as a parent, tried to fashion into my ideal of perfection that I thought they needed. VERY differing viewpoints, let me tell you, were the outcomes of our little tete a tete times.

All I can say is that THEY remembered harried parents rushing, rushing rushing, with little time and much to do to make everything LOOK effortless. All that perfection is exhausting! Remember in the movie, “The Wizard of Oz” when Dorothy and her pals unmask the Wizard behind the screen? He’s huffing and puffing, frantically pulling levers and implementing sound effects to create an illusion of who he tries to be. Why? Because he thought that’s what the Munchkins expected for a Wizard to be and that’s what he became. We all have expectations this time of year and we try frantically as parents to meet them, for ourselves, but mostly for our children.

What DO my girls remember of past holidays? They remember the traditions of TIME SPENT TOGETHER and not dollars SPENT ON THEM. They remember a song, a story, an ornament they loved, sock fights (they’re fun and softer than snowball fights) or the taste of a favorite cookie we always baked together.

Most of all they remembered the family time we spent with one another. Maybe it was driving around town to see the decorations at other houses, playing the carols from my own childhood as we decorated the tree, figuring out whose turn it was to put up the star on top of the tree and diving through tissue paper in search of those crumbling Play-Doh ornaments they made in elementary school? Did they survive another year packed away?

Whether you know it or not, THESE are the rememberings YOUR children will take with them for a lifetime. And here comes my plug. Please make one of their rememberings a favorite picture book story at the end of the day or maybe MIDDAY, with the two of you cuddled up. Snuggling is a very underestimated healing activity during the rushing season, they say.

There is a reason for all the herculean efforts we make this time of year. It’s to build memories in time of shared experiences! President Harry Truman had a very unusual phrase he called “foxholes of the mind”. It spoke to a moment in time that he could relive that was sweet and satisfying from the past and that he could call up when needed. Strange how fortifying those “foxholes” can be to children and adults today in our very stressful, fast forward world.

Rush to make memories this season. For in the life of a child, that is probably the most meaningful present you can give them – yourself.

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14. Fuse #8 TV: The Grolier Exhibit and Author Jennifer Niven!

I think I’m beginning to get the hang of this!

Yes, we’ve yet another Fuse #8 TV episode today and this time we’ve worked out some of the kinks. No more with the herky jerky videos at the start! Instead, I take you on a lovely little tour of the current Grolier exhibit of children’s literature. Then it’s interview time with YA author Jennifer Niven of the much lauded All the Bright Places.

Enjoy previous episodes of Fuse #8 TV here thus far!

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15. The Benefits of a Small Writers’ Conference

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by

Janice Hardy

Janice Hardy RGB 72Attending a writers’ conference can be both exhilarating and terrifying, but it’s almost always rewarding. There’s something wonderful about being in a room where everyone around you has the same passion, and no matter who you happen to sit next to, you know you have something in common. I always come away from a conference re-energized and ready to write, but I know not all writers share my enthusiasm about being around that many people.

If the idea of a large conference makes you nervous, then consider a smaller, local conference. These events can range from 20 to 250 people, with smaller workshops and a more relaxed crowd. Even better, local conferences are usually easier on the budget, but offer just as many helpful workshops and opportunities to meet agents and editors.

You’ll be able to:

  • Meet local writers and form friendships and/or critique groups
  • Interact with authors and conference faculty in a more intimate setting
  • Network with people in your area, from authors to editors to agents
  • Build confidence to attend a larger conference in the future
  • Work on your “professional author” skills in a smaller, less intimidating atmosphere
  • Attend workshops and sessions from top industry professionals
  • Get a feel for what you want from a conference in the future

Even if you enjoy large conferences (1000+ people), a smaller conference can be equally rewarding, and a nice change of pace. I find a mix of sizes provides me with the best variety of social, networking, and educational options. Sometimes I want as many workshops and I can get, other times I’d rather relax and have fun.

Finding a Local Writers’ Conference

In most cases, just Googling your state and “writers conference” will get you a list of possibilities, as most states have some kind of writers’ organization. Many of these have one or two events a year, from conferences to smaller meet and greets to single workshops at libraries or bookstores.

If you write genre, try looking at the local chapters of your national organizations. For example, my personal chapter of SCBWI is Southern Breeze, and they hold two conferences a year, plus workshops and other events all year round. Most genre organizations offer events as well. Here are a few to get you started:

Romance Writers of America (RWA) with over 145 local chapters

Society of Childrens’ Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) with over 80 regions around the world

Mystery Writers of America (MWA) with eleven regional chapters across the US

These are just a few of the organizations and local events, and there are a lot more if you check their individual sites.

Why You Should Attend a Local Writers’ Conference

To get out and meet people: Most of us write in a vacuum. We sit in a room somewhere, typing on a keyboard or scribing in a notebook, and we don’t mingle with our fellow writers. Maybe once in a while we attend a critique group or have lunch with writer pals, but for the most part, we’re alone.

This can lead to uncertainty and doubts about what being a writer is all about and what’s “normal” for writers. It’s easy to feel that bout of writer’s block means you suck as a writer when you don’t have other writers telling you they go through the exact same thing and feel the same way–and that it means nothing beyond you happen to be stuck right now. A local writers’ conference allows you to meet other writers and get a healthy perspective on this crazy profession.

To network: Besides being fun, you’ll meet people who might be able to help you in your career, or those you might be able to help in return. There are great networking opportunities that will be valuable no matter what stage you’re at in your career. Just because you’re a newbie now doesn’t mean you can’t make friends and contacts for when you do publish.

To learn: There’s only so much we can learn on our own, and a conference exposes us to different ways of thinking, writing, and being a writer. Aside from the workshops and sessions, it’s an opportunity to talk with other writers and learn from their experiences.

Even if a small conference can have value and they’re worth exploring. Check out what local conferences and events are in your area and see what they have to offer.

And if you happen to be a kidlit writer (picture books to young adult novels), might I suggest the upcoming conference from my own local chapter of SCBWI? Registration for Springmingle ’15 just opened, and this is a wonderful, relaxed conference for those who write for children and teens. It’s in Decatur, GA this year, so not only is it a great conference, but a fun weekend away–the downtown Decatur area is filled with shops and restaurants and things to do, and it’s all walking distance from the conference.

What are some of your favorite writers’ conferences?

Janice Hardy is the author of the teen fantasy trilogy The Healing Wars, where she tapped into her own dark side to create a world where healing was dangerous, and those with the best intentions often made the worst choices. Her novels include The Shifter, Blue Fire, and Darkfall from Balzer+Bray/Harper Collins. The first book in her Foundations of Fiction series, Planning Your Novel: Ideas and Structure is out now. She lives in Georgia with her husband, one yard zombie, three cats, and a very nervous freshwater eel. Find out more about writing at her site, Fiction University, or find her on Twitter @Janice_Hardy.

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16. 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #411: Featuring Christine Brailler


“The children were nestled all snug in their beds …”
(Click to enlarge)


 

I’m handing the site over this morning to artist Christine Brailler, pictured right, for something totally different — stained glass mosaics. (Have I ever posted about stained glass mosaics? I actually don’t think I have.) Last year, Christine released her first picture book (Brownian Bee Press), The Night Before Christmas. I read it last year, but did I post about it? Nope. I had intended to, but I got busy. When I contacted her about it this year, we decided better late than never. So, she visits today to talk about how she makes her mosaics and to share process images, as well as some photos of the stained glass pieces from the book.

Let’s get right to it. For those who are interested in even more information, Christine blogged here about her process from start to finish.

Christine: Before I discovered mosaics, I had always wanted to illustrate a children’s book but never felt very confident about my painting abilities. Once I found mosaics in 2005, I thought, what a unique idea it would be to illustrate a book with my mosaics. About six years ago on Christmas Eve, my family and I were reading “The Night Before Christmas,” as we always do, when suddenly I thought, “I would love to illustrate this book, personalize it with my family in it, and read it every year!” So, I began the process of designing and creating fifteen stained glass mosaics over the next four years.

The first thing I did was draw quick 2×3” thumbnail sketches, not thinking too much about it — really just getting the idea of it down, the side story of the cat, etc. Here’s one I did of the reindeer, which—don’t laugh—look much more like donkeys!



Some of my ideas changed dramatically, once I started the mosaic process, like eliminating the reindeer altogether when Santa is flying over the house. I simply couldn’t fit eight reindeer in the design, let alone one, since I wouldn’t be able to cut the glass tiny enough for all the detail that would require. I found such limitations to be a fun challenge — that is, for me to come up with something different, which often led to more creative choices and end results.

From there, I did hours and hours of research on pretty much every element in the book. For example, I didn’t know how to draw reindeer (as you can see), so I spent a lot of time looking at photos to find the qualities I wanted to express. In my notes, I wrote “joyful, playful, not dainty, sturdy and strong.” I found what I was looking for in images of reindeer races. What got me was that they run with their tongues hanging out, like dogs riding in a car with the top down – they look so happy! I knew I had to include that detail in my design.

I planned for an 8×10” book in the end, so I drew my final designs at 5×8”. (I draw more accurately when I draw small; don’t ask me why!) I do only a line drawing for the design and then work out all of the details, once I get to the glass cutting stage.

The preparation for the mosaic work goes like this: enlarge the design to the final mosaic size of 15×24”, tape down on cardboard (so I can move it if necessary), tape plastic wrap down over the design, and then tape fiberglass mesh down over the plastic wrap. I can see the design through the plastic wrap and will then glue the glass onto the mesh. The plastic wrap keeps the glass from being glued to the design underneath. This process allows me to make changes to the mosaic with ease, as opposed to trying to remove glass that has been glued to a board. And I made some major changes throughout, as you will see. In this image, you can see how it all works:


(Click to enlarge)

I don’t generally color my designs in advance, as I like to work with the glass to see what looks best together. Once I have the design taped down, I play with glass colors like this. The colors on the top are too harsh. The ones on the bottom are softer and much more appealing to me, so I went with those.



(Click each to enlarge)


 

Deciding on colors for the quilt:


(Click to enlarge)

A big part of my process is printing out the design small and using it to play with a few different things: color, value, and andamento (the visual flow of the mosaic that is produced by how the glass is cut and how it is placed in the design). In this one, I worked on color and value:

On this one, I worked out how I wanted the reindeers’ blankets to be designed. I sometimes tweak a design at this stage, too; for instance, here I decided the tongue needed to be shorter.

In this example, I’m working out the andamento in the cat, the guitar, their clothing, and their faces. You can see the direction lines of how the glass will be laid, as well as shapes of the cuts.



 

In progress, working with my guides:



(Click each to enlarge)

The biggest part of making this book was to be able to include my family in it. I worked from photos of my husband, myself, our son, and our cat. My husband posed for all of the pages he was featured in and even posed for some of Santa’s body positions, so I could get them just right.








 

The process of creating our cat, Raymi:



Sometimes I wouldn’t have a photo of Raymi that matched what I wanted her to be doing, so I’d do a very extensive search online for a cat in the pose I wanted. Then I’d adapt it to her colors and markings.




When I finished all 15 of the mosaics, there were changes to be made. Some were minor, but others were huge. The interesting thing is that by the time I got to the final mosaic, it had been four years since I started and my technique had changed and improved. I needed the earlier mosaics to match the quality and style of the later ones. In this mosaic, I changed the wall from dark random pieces of glass to lighter, straight cut pieces and added a darker frame around the mosaic on the wall. Much better!



 

This one went through a lot of revisions:



(Click each to enlarge)

Other changes were a matter of aesthetics. I originally did the house grey, because I wanted it to be personal to us and our house is grey. It just looked so dull against the snow, so I changed it to brick. It was an additional 17 hours to change — but worth it.



(Click each to enlarge)

This change was a necessity – I had made Santa’s bag green in the fifth mosaic, but when I got to the ninth mosaic, I realized it wasn’t going to work, because the green bag was sitting right in front of the Christmas tree and was disappearing. This is downside to not planning out all of the designs in advance. So, I had to re-do the bag in both mosaics.



(Click each to enlarge)

Sometimes I’d get partway through an area, only to realize the colors weren’t working. Fortunately, I didn’t get too far before I decided this one didn’t work for me.



(Click each to enlarge)

Finally, I’m satisfied with the mosaics but there is still a lot to do. I have to cut the boards, attach hanging hardware, transfer the mosaics to the boards, grout them, finish the edges, and paint the backs. When I went to attach the mosaics to the boards, I found that they were too floppy and unmanageable, so I had to first apply glue to the backs of the mosaics and let them dry so that hey’d be rigid enough for me to hold onto without all the pieces of glass falling off.


(Click to enlarge)

Once they were glued to the boards, my favorite part was next, filling in all those gaps with grout. I spread the grout all over the mosaic and then wipe off the surface so that only the grout in between the glass remains.


(Click to enlarge)

I love grouting and seeing how the mosaic changes, how it becomes cohesive and complete — and even softens the mosaic. Here is a detail from one of the mosaics, before and after grouting.



(Click each to enlarge)

One of the last steps is finishing the edges of the mosaics with thinset to match the grout. [Ed. Note: This is pictured above in the photo of Christine that opens this post.]

I did it! Thanks so much for reading about my process.




Finished mosaics
(Click each to enlarge)


 

All images are copyright © 2013 by Christine Brailler and used by her permission.

Note for any new readers: 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks is a weekly meeting ground for taking some time to reflect on Seven(ish) Exceptionally Fabulous, Beautiful, Interesting, Hilarious, or Otherwise Positive Noteworthy Things from the past week, whether book-related or not, that happened to you. New kickers are always welcome.

* * * Jules’ Kicks * * *

1) The girls are off from school for the holidays, and this always means more time to read together. We’re reading a handful of good novels right now.

2) I’ve graduated to Level Two in my piano lessons, meaning book two in the course I’m using. My teacher would veer from book one an awful lot in order to let me do what I wanted, so it’s been a while with book one, but now I’m moving on. It feels good to “graduate.”

3) I so super bad wish I could see this show.

4) Last Tango in Halifax.

5) A kicker shared his writing with me, and it was a pleasure to read it.

6) Last weekend we saw a stage production of A Christmas Carol, and it fake-snowed on us inside the theater at the end. (Well, it only snowed on some rows, so we had extra-great seats.)

7) My husband was in Portland this past week and snapped this picture of our book in Powell’s. That was fun to see.



 

What are YOUR kicks this week?

10 Comments on 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #411: Featuring Christine Brailler, last added: 12/21/2014
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17. Princess Cupcake Jones Won't Go To School! - a bookwrap

'Tis the season to eat cupcakes....fa la la la la la ... la la la la!!!



Unwrapping....


"Princess Cupcake Jones Won't Go To School".... Authored by Ylleya Fields and Illustrated by Michael LaDuca




Drum roll please ...

The book is filled full of fabulous illustrations that are colourful, vibrant and full of action and expression.  They make the text come alive and highly enrich and enhance the storyline.




Unwrapping the story...

This fairy-tale, starring Princess Cupcake Jones, is sure to give you a platform you can use to ease your little one's fears of the dreaded "I don't want to go to school syndrome."

Her beautiful Queen Mother, with grace and patience, lovingly encourages her little daughter that all will be well as the reality of going to school sinks into her daughter and produces a melt-down.  The Princess resorts to playing sick and even hiding under her bed to avoid going.  This spunky little gal has made up her mind that she will be no show at school no matter what. After gentle persuasion and brute determination on her mother's part,  Princess Cupcake Jones finally relents and goes off into her unknown.

Written in rhyme the storyline points out the feelings of a scared little girl who wants to stay home and play with her toys and be with her mom and not venture out of her comfort zone.  When she finally is persuaded that she can do it, she dresses up in her best tutu, faces her fears head on, and discovers school isn't such a bad place after all.  

The book is interactive and hidden on each page, in each illustration, is a word to find.  
Please visit the website: www. PrincessCupcakeJones. com, where you will encounter activities, tips and valuable information.  I highly recommend this book.

This is the second book In the Princess Cupcake Series, the first being, "Princess Cupcake Jones and the Missing Tutu."


Who did the wrapping?



Ylleya Fields has three daughters and a son. While looking for books to read to her eldest daughter (when she was 2), Ylleya was struck by the limited number of titles featuring African American characters. Blending both of her daughter's images and personalities together, Cupcake Jones was created. Born in South America, Ylleya currently resides with her family in Cleveland, Ohio. She enjoys writing and is currently working on new Princess Cupcake Jones stories. Ylleya's first book "Princess Cupcake Jones and the Missing Tutu" has won the Mom's Choice Award, the Gelett Burgess Award, a Family Choice Award and a IndieReader Discovery Award. Preorder her second book in the series, Princess Cupcake Jones Won't Go To School now!



Who decorated the wrapping paper?





My name Michael LaDuca, the creative director of Luminus Media, LLC. Since Graduating from Edinboro University in 2006 with a bachelor of Applied Media Arts, I have worked professionally in the design industry. Through a combination of expert knowledge in digital media and strong life time background in fine art, I will deliver you a design at the highest caliber that will noticeably stand out upon other design pieces. Whether you need print design, web design, or illustration, I would love to put my passion to work for you.


Read on and read always!

It's a wrap!

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18. What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Meilo So


“Blown by the wind, / water sails high. / Tumbling cloud plumes curl through the air. /
Soplada por el viento, / el agua se remonta. / Volutas nebulosas ruedan por el aire.”

(Click to enlarge spread)


 

This morning over at Kirkus, I write about some holiday picture books titles, what I think are some of the best of the season. It’s a Christmas miracle: LeUyen Pham has made me like “The Twelve Days of Christmas” again. That link will be here soon.

* * *

Last week, I wrote here about Pat Mora’s Water Rolls, Water Rises (Lee & Low, October 2014), illustrated by Meilo So. Today, I share some spreads from it.

Enjoy.


“Water rolls / onto the shore / under the sun, under the moon. /
El agua rueda / hacia la orilla / bajo el sol, bajo la luna.”

(Click to enlarge spread)


 


“In the murmur of marsh wind, / water slumbers on moss, / whispers soft songs far under frog feet. / En el viento susurrante de los pantanos, / el agua duerme sobre el musgo, / murmura suaves canciones bajo patitas de ranas.”
(Click to enlarge spread)


 


“Water burbles in springs, / gurgles and turns / down streams and rivers seeking the sea. / El agua burbujea en los manantiales, / borbotea y desciende /
por los arroyos y ríos buscando el mar.”

(Click to enlarge spread)


 



 

* * * * * * *

WATER ROLLS, WATER RISES. Copyright © 2014 by Pat Mora. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Meilo So. Illustrations reproduced by permission of the publisher, Children’s Book Press, an imprint of Lee & Low Books, New York.

3 Comments on What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Meilo So, last added: 12/21/2014
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19. Guest Post & Giveaway: Dana Walrath on Writing from the Marrow

By Dana Walrath
for Cynthia Leitich Smith's Cynsations

My first novel, Like Water on Stone, just came out (Delacorte, Nov. 2014). Of course, I’m smiling. The cover and interior of the book are beautifully produced. I’ve poured my soul into it.

“What’s it about?” people ask me.

When I tell them, “It’s the story of three siblings who survive the Armenian genocide of 1915 with the help of the guardian spirit of an eagle,” I’ve learned that I better get my smile under control.

Genocide and smiles do not go together.

And yet I know that “smile-worthy” hope and the power of the imagination fill this story, even as it minces no words about the violence. The three young siblings not only survive, but they survive intact, because their imaginations protect them. Ardziv, the eagle, embodies imagination. Just as he protects the young ones as they journey, he protects the readers.

Ardziv also protected me as I wrote this story.

Like Water on Stone, grew out of one the very few things my mother told me about her own mother’s life: “After her parents were killed, she and her younger brother and sister hid during the day and ran at night from their home in Palu to the orphanage in Aleppo.”


I was in elementary school when I learned this, and it took me decades to fill in the flesh around those bare bones. I knew this story had to be told, especially in the face of global politics that allow for continued denial of this first genocide of the 20th century. But I knew it had to be told in a way that would pull readers along, instead of punishing them.

The story flowed out in lyrical free verse instead of prose, the abundant white space providing safety for the reader, just as Ardziv does. The crumbling Ottoman Empire, whose leaders orchestrated the genocide, is distant in time, space, and experience for readers. Free verse evokes the feeling of foods, music, dances, and ritual from another land. Because it works through metaphor and magic, free verse also shows all that was physically lost, and how it persists in the imaginations of survivors.

Palu roof
Keeping my Armenian identity hidden, I had traveled to my grandparents’ homeland the summer of 1984. With the hospitality characteristic of the region, I was welcomed into people’s homes and fed foods I had known my whole life. In Palu, I asked locals if they knew of any mills—my great grandfather had been a miller. I was sent across the eastern branch of the Euphrates River on a modern bridge next to a crumbling one built of stone, and into the woods when I found a mill, set along the banks of a stream. On the rooftop the woman of the house served me tea, a half dozen children watching us, mounds of apricots drying in the sun.

Palu Mill Wheel
When I asked about the mill’s history she told me that it had been in her family for sixty years, but before that it had belonged to Armenians. Joy and pain converged as I thought this could perhaps have been my family’s home.

Psychologist Paul Ekman—who has spent a lifetime analyzing the connection between emotion and facial expression— shows us that when we remember the death of a loved one, our faces reflect a blend of strong sadness, moderate anger and moderate joy.

When a book touches me, it passes the “tear test”-- bringing tears to my eyes not because of sadness but because of connection.

We write to connect. We read to connect. Connecting is complicated. Our faces reflect that.

This human capacity for hope, magical thinking, and imagination in the face of the deepest pain, builds a bridge from the dark places to joy. We know this complexity and connection in the marrow of our bones, that place where our bodies make our blood and keep us flowing.

Human connection deserves our widest smiles.

Cynsational Giveaway

Enter to win a signed copy of Like Water on Stone by Dana Walrath (Delacorte, 2014). Author sponsored. U.S. only. a Rafflecopter giveaway

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20. App of the Week: 2014 Favorites

Throughout the year, YALSA's App of the Week bloggers review what's new and interesting in the app world for teens and the library staff that work with them. In this end of the year App of the Week post, we look at the top four apps that stood out to bloggers in 2014.

Canva
A favorite of YALSA Blogger Jen Scott Willis

canva logoGraphic design is a tricky business, and one that many of us don't realize is part of our job description until we're faced with a blank document and a list of almost-but-not-quite-right font choices. ' Canva, a free, web-based application' that lets you easily produce' professional-looking' designs, made this part' of the' job much easier for me when it debuted over a year ago. ' Now, with the introduction of the iPad app, the possibilities are both endless and mobile.

So far, I've used Canva's web app to design everything from icons for our online calendar to posters for programs and thank you cards for presenters, and I've heard glowing reports from teens of their successes using it for both school projects and social media posts.

The iPad app is not without its bugs --' pics can be slow to upload and there are sometimes hitches in the interface that you don't see in the web version -- however, the developers seem quick to respond to user feedback and offer updates. ' Meanwhile, the ease of use, professional results, and potential for collaboration that the iPad version offers' makes this a go-to for your toolkit.

Monument Valley
A favorite of YALSA Blogger Carli Spina

monument valley logoMy top app this year is the game Monument Valley. Available for iOS, Android, and Kindle Fire devices, this is a beautiful game that was clearly designed with a great deal of thought. Everything from the architecture of the buildings that players must navigate, to the color scheme, to the music playing in the background comes together to create a mesmerizing experience. The puzzles themselves are, for the most part, fairly straightforward, but you will still want to continue playing to see more and more of this gorgeous world. The game was initially released for iOS devices in the spring and has already won a 2014 Apple Design Award and been named the best iPad app of the year.

New levels for the game were released in November, though somewhat controversially they are not included in the price of the original app and instead cost an additional $1.99. Given that these levels almost double the size of the app, fans of the original game will definitely want to download them. Now that Monument Valley is available on more platforms, it will undoubtedly find an increasing audience of devoted fans. I highly recommend giving it a try!

ScratchJr
A favorite of YALSA Blogger Linda Braun

scratch logoThe MIT coding program for kids and teens, Scratch, has been around for a long time. However, ScratchJr, the iPad app was released in the summer and it is a great way for young children to learn about programming and for staff that work with teens to learn that too.

ScratchJr doesn't have as many commands to work with as it's parent product Scratch, but it has plenty to get started with for those who are learning how to program in this way. Users can move characters in all directions, have the character speak, record narration, hide and show characters and more. Users can also add backgrounds and change the look of a character using some simple character editing tools.

Any adult that is wondering what this coding thing that people are talking about as a part of learning for children and teens is all about, should try out ScratchJr as a first step in their own learning. Teens working to help younger kids will do well learning ScratchJr as well. It's worth the time to take a look and think about how ScratchJr does have an impact on the teens and the families that you work with.

YikYak
A favorite of YALSA Blogger Wendy Stephens

yik yak logoIf there is one app that has had an impact on youth culture in our communities in 2014, it would have to be YikYak. The app is designed for users to get a sense of what’s going on locally. YikYak lets you peek at othercommunities or college campuses, where use is huge, but can only post and vote (up or down) for Yaks in your immediate area. It doesn’t require a username, just proximity, though you can insert a “handle” if you wish.

YikYak has great potential for sharing what’s going on nearby – I’ve seen it used to advertise special retailer promotions discounts as well as crowd-source information on traffic conditions -- but in many schools, teens made anonymous threats or become victim of systematic bullying using the anonymity of the app.

It might be the digital version of a bathroom wall, but I wanted to write about YikYak because I think it and others apps of its type offer important opportunities for powerful conversations with teens about digital citizenship. Also, arrests related to content illustrate the need for helping young people understand that digital anonymity is somewhat of an illusion and that content posted through apps like YikYak remains identifiable.

Libraries should be safe spaces, so if cyberbullying in your area is an issue, you might want to investigate the geofencing option that prevents posting to YikYak from school campuses. Also good to know: five down votes will remove a Yak from the feed, so if you see something that slanders an individual, you can help make that content disappear.

Have a suggestion for App of the Week? Let us know. And find more great Apps in the YALSA Blog's App of the Week Archive.

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21. Winterfrost (2014)

Winterfrost. Michelle Houts. 2014. Candlewick. 272 pages. [Source: Review copy]

I very much enjoyed Michelle Houts' Winterfrost. This wintery read is set in Denmark. It opens one Christmas Eve. The first chapter starts off with a family celebrating together. That first chapter ends with a phone call and a promise. A promise not to the characters, but, to the readers:
It should have been an ordinary Christmas on the Larsen farm, nestled among the flat, snowy fields of an island called Lolland in the south of Denmark. But it wasn't. And if it had been, well, we wouldn't have much of a story to tell, now, would we?
Bettina, the heroine, is left on the farm with her younger sister, Pia. Every year, her father visits his uncle at this time of year--the week between Christmas and New Year. Her mother is called away unexpectedly with news about a family member's health. (Just who is not mentioned in the first chapter.) So Bettina, aged 12, can take care of a nearly 1 year old and a whole farm, right? Well? Mostly.

In her parents' rush, the entire family, it seems, forgot to put out the traditional bowl of Christmas rice pudding for the nisse. The Larsen family's nisse, Klakke, is NOT happy. Klakke isn't necessarily "bad," just in a bit of a bad mood. But even in a horrible mood, he'd never do anything to hurt any human.

Winterfrost is about what happens when her parents are away. It's about one girl's adventure with nearby nisse. Though traditionally, nisse are not supposed to show themselves to humans, to interact with them, rules are broken in Winterfrost.

It is a fun fantasy. Bettina is a lovely heroine. It is a quick read that I enjoyed very much.


© 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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22. The Turtle of Oman by Naomi Shihab Nye



The Turtle of Oman
by Naomi Shihab Nye
illustrated (with small sketches at the beginning of every chapter) by Betsy Peterschmidt
Greenwillow Books, 2014
review copy from the public library (but I'll be purchasing this one for my classroom library)

This book is not a novel in verse, but it is written so poetically that sometimes it feels like a poem.

This book is a love song to HOME. 

Young Aref is leaving Oman to live in Michigan for 3 years while his parents go to graduate school there. The story tells about his last week in Oman, spent procrastinating and delaying the packing of his suitcase, while savoring everything he loves the best in and near the city of Muscat in Oman with his wonderful grandfather Sidi. Together, they go to the nearby sea and spend some time on the beach. They go to a camp out in the desert and spend the night. They ride out with a fisherman into the sea. Aref spends the night at Sidi's house and they sleep out under the stars on the flat roof of Sidi's house. 

When they are at the Camp of a Thousand Stars, they meet a man with a falcon who flies away from his handler, but comes back every time to sit on his arm. When they go to the beach, they visit the place where the sea turtles come back every year to lay their  eggs. Out on the boat, Aref catches a fish, but lets it go back to its home in the sea. And slowly, throughout the course of the week, Aref can begin to imagine leaving Oman, because he knows that he, too, will return.

By showing us Oman through the eyes of a child whose heart is breaking to leave it, Naomi Shihab Nye gives the reader an intimate look at a place that, though very different from anywhere in North America, will invite the reader appreciate both Oman, as well as all the people and particular places that make HOME special to him/her.

 

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23. Asterix a Tintin Newydd i'r Nadolig / New Asterix and Tintin for Christmas



Asterix a Tintin mewn Cymraeg, Cernyweg, Gwyddeleg, Gaeleg a Sgoteg
 
Dalen (Llyfrau) Cyf
 

New Asterix and Tintin Adventures –
in Welsh, Cornish, Irish, Gaelic and Scots
Mae Asterix a Tintin wedi ennill eu plwy ar draws y byd fel ffefrynnau llyfrau straeon stribed, a'u hanturiaethau wedi eu trosi i dros gant o wahanol ieithoedd. Yn eu plith mae'r Gymraeg, Cernyweg, Gwyddeleg, Gaeleg a Sgoteg – gyda dwy antur newydd i Asterix yn Gymraeg yn cael eu cyhoeddi y Nadolig hwn!
Asterix and Tintin are firm comic book favourites all around the world. Both have taught themselves well over a hundred languages. Asterix has two brand new Welsh adventures out for Christmas, and Tintin joins him with appearances in Cornish, Irish, Gaelic and Scots!
Asterix a'r Cryman Aur © Les Editions Albert-René/Goscinny-Uderzo 2014
Asterix a'r Cryman Aur ac Asterix a'r Snichyn yw anturiaethau diweddara'r Galiad bach peniog yn Gymraeg. Mae tipyn o greisis yn taro pentre'r Galiaid yn Asterix a'r Cryman Aur. Ar gyfer paratoi y ddiod hud ryfeddol sy'n cadw'r Rhufeiniaid draw, mae angen i'r derwydd Gwyddoniadix ddefnyddio cryman aur. Ond ar ôl torri llafn yr unig gryman sy ganddo, mae gofyn i Asterix deithio ymhell, a datrys dirgelwch, er mwyn cael gafael ar gryman newydd o safon.
 
Daw pentre'r Galiaid dan fygythiad cyfrwys y Rhufeiniaid yn Asterix a'r Snichyn... mae Iŵl Cesar yn ceisio tanseilio undod y llwyth drwy daenu enllib a drwgdeimlad ymysg y pentrefwyr – ac mae gan ei gynllun gyfle rhagorol i lwyddo, diolch i snichyn bach dan din o'r enw Bacterius Drwgynycaus. Tybed a fydd Asterix a'i gyfeillion yn ddigon hirben i wrthsefyll y bygythiad? Amser a ddengys!
 
 
 
 
The plucky Gaul has two new adventures in Welsh – Asterix a'r Cryman Aur (Asterix and the Golden Sickle) and Asterix a'r Snichyn (Asterix and the Roman Agent). There's a bit of a panic in Asterix a'r Cryman Aur... to prepare the magic potion which keeps the Romans at bay, druid Gwyddoniadix has to use his golden sickle – but when the druid breaks the one and only sickle he possesses, Asterix is given the task of buying a new one. This takes Asterix on a dangerous journey to distant Lutetia where a mystery awaits him before he can find a sickle that meets the druid's exacting standards.
 
In Asterix a'r Snichyn, the Gaulish village is under threat from a cunning Roman plan, as Julius Caesar tries to spread distrust and bad blood throught the Gaulish tribe. Caesar's plan is sure to succeed thanks to his agent provocateur, Bacterius Drwgynycaus. He's a nasty piece of work, and Asterix and his friends will find it hard to resist his wily ploys.
 
Asterix a'r Snichyn © Les Editions Albert-René/Goscinny-Uderzo 2014
    
 
 
 
Tintin: Todóga na bhFarónna (Gwyddeleg / Irish) © Hergé/Moulinsart 2014

Y Bad Rachub yw antur ddiweddara Tintin yn Gymraeg, lle mae Tintin a'i gyfeillion mewn peryg enbyd ar ddyfroedd dyfnion y Môr Coch. Yn gymar i'r gyfres yn Gymraeg mae egin o'r gyfres mewn Cernyweg hefyd. An Ynys Dhu (oes rhaid cyfieithu'r teitl?!) yw stori gynta Tintin mewn Cernyweg, ac am y tro cynta erioed mae'r gohebydd pengoch hefyd wedi dysgu siarad Gwyddeleg gyda chyhoeddi Todóga na bhFarónna (Mwg Drwg y Pharo). Mae'r Gernyweg a'r Wyddeleg yn ychwanegu at ffurfafen Geltaidd Tintin, lle cyhoeddwyd Toit nam Phàro a The Merk o the Pharaoh (sef fersiynau o Mwg Drwg y Pharo) mewn Gaeleg a Sgoteg yn ddiweddar.
 Tintin's latest undertaking in Welsh is Y Bad Rachub (Red Sea Sharks), where Tintin and his companions find themselves in mortal danger aboard a ship on the Red Sea. Joining the Welsh series are the first ever Tintin adventures in Cornish – An Ynys Dhu (The Black Island) – and Irish – Todóga na bhFarónna (Cigars of the Pharaoh). These join the growing series in Gaelic and Scots, with the recent publication of Cigars as Toit nam Phàro and The Merk o the Pharaoh – all available from Dalen!
 
Tintin: An Ynys Dhu (Cernyweg / Cornish) © Hergé/Moulinsart 2014
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Cofiwch hefyd am…
Don’t forget…
 
Derwyddon: Cystudd y Cyfiawn
 
Mae rhan ola cyfres arswyd Y Derwyddon wedi ei chyhoeddi – penllanw'r gyfres ragorol hon ar gyfer oedolion. Yn Cystudd y Cyfiawn, y chweched bennod o'r stori, mae tro annisgwyl yng nghynffon y dirgelwch sy wedi drysu'r derwydd Gwynlan yn ei ymchwil i ganfod y rheswm dros ladd y mynachod yr Eglwys Geltaidd.
 
The final part of the gothic murder-mystery Y Derwyddon is now available. In Cystudd y Cyfiawn, druid sleuth Gwynlan finds an unexpected twist to his long quest to reveal the truth behind a score of vicious ecclesiastical deaths.
 
The series in Welsh is complemented by an English edition. Druids: Voyage of Discovery is also now available!
 
 
Fe gewch chi hyd i holl lyfrau Dalen ar ein gwefan dalenllyfrau.com
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24. Be gentle with yourself. You deserve your love and compassion.

be-gentle-20141217_161804-450Be gentle with yourself. You deserve your love and compassion.

If you’re a perfectionist, or you grew up in a household with a stern, critical, or abusive parent or caretaker, on had a partner who was, then you may struggle–like I have–with being kind and gentle to yourself. You may be harsh to yourself, even cruel. But you deserve your love and compassion; you really do! And when you’re loving with yourself, when you give yourself the same compassion you would a friend, you’ll find that you’re happier and things don’t seem as hard. So try to be gentle with yourself. Don’t push yourself too hard. Think of yourself the way you would a friend. Figure out what you need to feel happier or more at ease, and then allow yourself that.


This can be a hard time of year for many people, so I thought I’d post more positive messages for people again–selfies along with the messages, so people can see the person (and author) behind the message. I think it helps make it more personal and real.

I will try to post photos most days of December for you all. Let me know if you like this idea. :)

And if you like this post, if it speaks to you, I hope you’ll share it with others.

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25. Grammar Matters + a Book Giveaway

Lynne Dorfman and Diane Dougherty's new book, Grammar Matters, is for teachers of Kindergarten through 6th grade. It provides lessons as well as grammar references so you can enhance your instruction and get your students excited about learning grammar.

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