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Results 1 - 25 of 220,376
1. A counting book with a story

Little Kiwi Counts the Chicks by Bob Darroch (Puffin)

I love kiwi books; understandably since I help release kiwi chicks on Motuora Island during the breeding season. And I've loved Bob's series of kiwi books with their humour and cartoon drawings ever since the first one came out quite a few years ago. This time Bob's written a counting book with kiwi chicks but it's a counting book with a difference - it actually has a story. I can see this being very useful in the classroom. It's just a shame Penguin didn't make the book bigger so that it can be seen by all the 4-5 year olds sitting on the mat
learning to count.

What's the story? Two little kiwi chicks ask Morepork where everyone is in the forest because it is so quiet. Morepork tells them all the birds will be home getting ready for their new families. When the two kiwi chicks hear some noise they go and investigate. First they find one little kakapo chick, then two little moreporks, and three baby silver-eyes, and four kaka ... but it doesn't just end with counting - there's a little surprise ending.

Bob's cartoon like characters fill the page with bright colour. This book will sure to be popular with 3-5 year old children (and their parents). The small book can easily be held by small hands but as I said above it won't be easy to share with a class. It would be great if they made some big size ones, and perhaps a Maori version. (If enough teachers requested it perhaps Penguin would.)

RRP $15.99
ISBN: 978 0143506621

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2. A slick pair of double monks by @gjcleverley #englishshoes #englishshoemakers #doublemonks #mensshoe

A slick pair of double monks by @gjcleverley #englishshoes #englishshoemakers #doublemonks #mensshoes #mensstyle #mensfashion #menswear #fashion #styleformen #style #dressshoes #shoes #shoestyle #shoestagram #shoeporn #scarpe #zapatos #chaussures #estilo #stile #monkstraps #georgecleverley #theshoesnob84 #theshoesnob by theshoesnob84
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3. Discovering Chris Raschka’s brilliant picture book, THE COSMO-BIOGRAPHY OF SUN RA

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I was wandering around my local library, picking my way through the biographies in the children’s section, when I came upon a surprising picture book about the great jazz musician, Sun Ra.

You could have knocked me down with a feather. I love Sun Ra, but I never expected to find a picture book about him.

Though Sun Ra’s music has a small but loyal following, he’s always been on the fringe. A little “out there,” so to speak. Not of the mainstream. In fact, Sun Ra himself contended that he was not from this planet. He claimed that he was from Saturn.

Clearly, this was a work of love for Chris Raschka.

Here’s the book trailer — check it out — and I’ll continue below.

 

 

One nice thing about Chris Raschka is that he’s already won two Caldecott Medals. And the terrific thing is that after you win awards like the Caldecott Medal — the highest award for illustration in children’s literature — then people kind of let you do what you want.

So the smart people at Caldlewick Press didn’t tell Chris Raschka that doing a picture book about Sun Ra was crazy. They didn’t say that 99.8% of picture book readers had never even heard of Sun Ra. And that the parents probably hadn’t either. No, they said, “Great, let’s do it.”

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The artwork is vibrant, colorful, free, spontaneous, wildly alive. In other words, it magnifiently matches its subject matter.

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But the truly brilliant stroke to this biography comes in the first few sentences, as follows:

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Sun Ra always said that he came from Saturn.

Now, you know and I know that this is silly. No one comes from Saturn.

And yet.

If he did come from Saturn, it would explain so much.

Let’s say he did come from Saturn.

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Well, on My 22, 1914, Sun Ra landed on Earth.

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And so the story goes.

I love a book when it clearly comes from a personal space, not from a cold, SunRa71calculated look at the marketplace. Raschka created the book that was in his heart; I know this is true without ever having met the man. It is a celebration of the true artist, brave enough to go his own way. Two men, in fact, Sun Ra and Chris Raschka, who followed the beat of a different drummer. Because that’s what real artists do. They create the work and let the rest of us sort it our for ourselves.

I’m here to say, thank you, Chris Raschka, for this incredible gift.

Your brilliant book.

Here’s a quote from Chris Raschka taken from an interview with Smithsonian magazine:

“I wanted to write about Sun Ra because he steps outside the boundaries of traditional jazz more than anyone. I was aware of him in high school because he was so far out there, even rock ‘n’ roll teens like myself knew about him. When his selection of singles came out I was even more struck by the breadth of his interest in all kinds of music. It was my experience with Sun Ra’s own openness to things that made me more open to him. Openness is something any teacher strives to instill in his or her students. I think all of my jazz books about the four musicians I’ve written about so far, are about people that most ten year olds have never heard of. My hope is to let kids hear these names early, so that when they are teens or adults the door is already just a little bit open.”

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I’ll close with a clip from Sun Ra himself, created during his time here on Earth. Open your ears, your heart, your spirit.

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4. 2015 SCBWI Europolitan Con: Publisher Greet Pauwelijn of Book Island

Greet Pauwelijn
By Mina Witteman
for Cynthia Leitich Smith's Cynsations 

Greet Pauwelijn is publisher with Book Island, as well as a translator.

True to Book Island's bold dream of enriching children's and adults' lives in the English- and Dutch-language market, she publishes children's books in English and Dutch.

She does this by bringing unique stories from Europe to the shores of New Zealand, then using only the best talent to translate, design and print beautiful high-quality books.

Book Island books are available in New Zealand, Australia, the UK, Ireland, Belgium and The Netherlands. Follow @bookislandbooks on Twitter.

Greet is part of the SCBWI Europolitan Conference faculty. The conference will take place April 4 and April 5 in Amsterdam.

Was there one book that started it all for you?

For me, it was really the ability to read my first words and sentences that started it all, not just one particular book. As soon as I had discovered the magic of reading, I immersed myself in books, devouring them voraciously. I must have been one of the very few children in the world who often got punished for reading too much.

Is there a book that changed your life?

There are too many titles that have influenced me to name them all. Having grown up in a country where literature in translation plays an important role, I was exposed to stories from all over the world, which instilled a desire to travel and explore in me.

However, as a child I particularly looked out for titles from Dutch publishing house Lemniscaat, who after all these decades, still publish the most amazing books.

We are very proud to have one of their recent titles on our list: The Umbrella by Ingrid and Dieter Schubert.

You started your career as a translator of Polish, but after your move from Belgium to New Zealand you founded a children’s book publishing house. What inspired this change?

After relocating to New Zealand at the end of 2009, one of the first places I visited was the children’s section at the local library. It was quite a culture shock.

Back in Belgium we had been spoilt for choice when selecting books for our sons, then aged three and one. I immediately noticed that most of the beautiful picture books that European readers have access to were unavailable in the English-language market.

Most stories at the library were rhyming, poorly illustrated, with very predictable endings. I was desperate to find more challenging books for my kids and myself.

At that stage, I was still translating Polish literature for Belgian and Dutch publishers. I rapidly realised that due to the ongoing crisis in the book industry, this source of income was about to dry up.

Polish literature in translation had never been a gold mine for foreign publishers and they were becoming increasingly reluctant to publish more titles from Poland. I decided to look into adding English to my portfolio and soon after that I came across a children’s adventure novel by a well-known New Zealand author, Barbara Else.

Thanks to its universal story, it seemed just perfect for the Dutch-language market. I convinced a Belgian publisher to buy the rights to The Travelling Restaurant and this way I landed my first translation job from English.

While working on this title, I suddenly wished I hadn’t told the publisher in Flanders about this possible bestseller and had acquired the rights myself. Also, there were so many more foreign books out there that had been overlooked, so here was my chance.

That day I decided to become a children’s publisher and fill the gap that I had identified earlier.

To make it slightly more challenging I thought: why not publish in two languages, English and Dutch, at the same time?

Obviously, I knew very little about publishing and its challenges!

Book Island is based in New Zealand, but also active in the Dutch-language area - Belgium and The Netherlands. You publish both Dutch-language and English-language picture books. What are the similarities and what are the differences between the two?

The differences between the Dutch- and English-language market are significant, which makes our selection process quite challenging. Very few titles work well in both markets.

Quite often the content of European picture books (i.e. from the European continent) is not entirely acceptable or suitable for the English-language market, where there tend to be a lot more taboo topics.

The Dutch market is a lot more open-minded. The illustrations are generally also more sophisticated. More care has been attended to the design and production of the books.

Bookstores in the English-language market sell predominantly paperbacks, while our customers in Belgium and the Netherlands only want hardbacks.

For one of our latest titles, the two-way books Follow the Firefly/Run, Rabbit, Run! – Excuseer, heeft u soms een knipperlichtje gezien?/ Hup, konijntje! by Bernardo Carvalho, we had to design a new paperback edition for the English-language market, while the Dutch title was released as a hardback, like the original Portuguese edition. I will talk about these differences in more depth at the conference in Amsterdam.

How would you describe your house’s publishing focus? What kind of books do you love working on?

With Book Island, we want to share the treasures of children’s books in foreign languages with Dutch- and English-speaking readers.

When selecting new titles we particularly look for layered picture books. Each time you return to the book it will reveal a new layer, in the illustrations or the story. These layers make our books suitable for young and older readers alike, which is an important Book Island selection criterion. I like how Belgian ALMA winner Kitty Crowther compares such picture books with Russian nesting dolls.

We’re drawn to books that tackle quite difficult but very important topics. A perfect illustration is Maia and What Matters by Tine Mortier and Kaatje Vermeire (translated by David Colmer), a story about the enduring relationship between a little girl and her grandmother in the face of illness and aging.

We believe that the children of the 21st century are a lot brighter and more mature than we were at their age, hence we feel we need to publish titles that don’t dumb down their ability to understand and learn.

Our world has also become increasingly diverse, which should be reflected in books of all kinds.

We love stories with strong characters and a little twist. Sir Mouse to the Rescue by Dirk Nielandt and Marjolein Pottie (translated by Laura Watkinson), which is a gorgeously illustrated chapter book about reversed role models, is still one of our favourites. There’s also Sammy and the Skyscraper Sandwich by Lorraine Francis and Pieter Gaudesaboos, a wonderfully absurd story about a little boy who thinks he’s very hungry and wants to eat a giant sandwich.

The illustrations in our titles are as important as the story, and if they don’t match 100 percent, we sadly have to reject the book. Sometimes we also have to turn down stunning books because they’re just not translatable.

You publish books in translation. Could you tell us how the acquisition and translation process works?

Once we’ve preselected new titles, we check with the original publishers whether the rights are still available for English and/or Dutch. Subsequently, we negotiate the royalty payments etc with them.

Once we’ve acquired the rights we immediately start the translation process.

Since the pages in a picture book hold very few sentences, which are supported by equally important illustrations, we need to pay attention to each single word. I love having long discussions with the translator about the meaning of one particular word. Every word has to be right.

Fortunately, we’re not translating novels, because we’d probably never publish them, still trying to change words here and there.

Editing is the next step. Editors are as important to us as translators and too often they don’t get mentioned. We’ve been working with Frith Williams who has an incredible eye for detail and a great feeling for rhythm.

Once we feel like the translation is about right we pour the text into the original files. Then we reassess the result in relation to the illustrations.

Often, we have to edit the text a couple more times before we’re entirely satisfied.

Finally, we send the finished PDF to the original publisher for approval.

Cynsational Notes

Mina Witteman is a published author, writing in Dutch and English. She has three adventurous middle grade novels, over 40 short stories, and a Little Golden Book out in The Netherlands.

The first volume of a three-book middle grade series, Boreas and the Seven Seas, is scheduled to come out in April 2015. She is the Regional Advisor for The Netherlands and Chairman of the Working Group Children’s Books of the Dutch Authors Guild.

In addition to writing, Mina teaches creative writing. She is a freelance editor and a mentor to budding writers.
Follow her on Twitter @MinaWitteman.

Learn more!


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5. No Boys Allowed: School visits as a woman writer

I've been doing school visits as part of my tour for PRINCESS ACADEMY: The Forgotten Sisters. All have been terrific--great kids, great librarians. But something happened at one I want to talk about. I'm not going to name the school or location because I don't think it's a problem with just one school; it's just one example of a much wider problem.

This was a small-ish school, and I spoke to the 3-8 grades. It wasn't until I was partway into my presentation that I realized that the back rows of the older grades were all girls.

Later a teacher told me, "The administration only gave permission to the middle school girls to leave class for your assembly. I have a boy student who is a huge fan of SPIRIT ANIMALS. I got special permission for him to come, but he was too embarrassed."

"Because the administration had already shown that they believed my presentation would only be for girls?"

"Yes," she said.

I tried not to explode in front of the children.

Let's be clear: I do not talk about "girl" stuff. I do not talk about body parts. I do not do a "Your Menstrual Cycle and You!" presentation. I talk about books and writing, reading, rejections and moving through them, how to come up with story ideas. But because I'm a woman, because some of my books have pictures of girls on the cover, because some of my books have "princess" in the title, I'm stamped as "for girls only." However, the male writers who have boys on their covers speak to the entire school.

This has happened a few times before. I don't believe it's ever happened in an elementary school--just middle school or high school.

I remember one middle school 2-3 years ago that I was going to visit while on tour. I heard in advance that they planned to pull the girls out of class for my assembly but not the boys. I'd dealt with that in the past and didn't want to be a part of perpetuating the myth that women only have things of interest to say to girls while men's voices are universally important.  I told the publicist that this was something I wasn't comfortable with and to please ask them to invite the boys as well as girls. I thought it was taken care of. When I got there, the administration told me with shrugs that they'd heard I didn't want a segregated audience but that's just how it was going to be. Should I have refused? Embarrassed the bookstore, let down the girls who had been looking forward to my visit? I did the presentation. But I felt sick to my stomach. Later I asked what other authors had visited. They'd had a male writer. For his assembly, both boys and girls had been invited.

I think most people reading this will agree that leaving the boys behind is wrong. And yet--when giving books to boys, how often do we offer ones that have girls as protagonists? (Princesses even!) And if we do, do we qualify it: "Even though it's about a girl, I think you'll like it." Even though. We're telling them subtly, if not explicitly, that books about girls aren't for them. Even if a boy would never, ever like any book about any girl (highly unlikely) if we don't at least offer some, we're reinforcing the ideology.

I heard it a hundred times with Hunger Games: "Boys, even though this is about a girl, you'll like it!" Even though. I never heard a single time, "Girls, even though Harry Potter is about a boy, you'll like it!"

The belief that boys won't like books with female protagonists, that they will refuse to read them, the shaming that happens (from peers, parents, teachers, often right in front of me) when they do, the idea that girls should read about and understand boys but that boys don't have to read about girls, that boys aren't expected to understand and empathize with the female population of the world....this belief directly leads to rape culture. To a culture that tells boys and men, it doesn't matter how the girl feels, what she wants. You don't have to wonder. She is here to please you. She is here to do what you want. No one expects you to have to empathize with girls and women. As far as you need be concerned, they have no interior life.

At this recent school visit, near the end I left time for questions. Not one student had a question. In 12 years and 200-300 presentations, I've never had that happen. So I filled in the last 5 minutes reading them the first few chapters of The Princess in Black, showing them slides of the illustrations. BTW I've never met a boy who didn't like this book.

After the presentation, I signed books for the students who had pre-ordered my books (all girls), but one 3rd grade boy hung around.

"Did you want to ask her a question?" a teacher asked.

"Yes," he said nervously, "but not now. I'll wait till everyone is gone."

Once the other students were gone, three adults still remained. He was still clearly uncomfortable that we weren't alone but his question was also clearly important to him. So he leaned forward and whispered in my ear, "Do you have a copy of the black princess book?"

It broke my heart that he felt he had to whisper the question.

He wanted to read the rest of the book so badly and yet was so afraid what others would think of him. If he read a "girl" book. A book about a princess. Even a monster-fighting superhero ninja princess. He wasn't born ashamed. We made him ashamed. Ashamed to be interested in a book about a girl. About a princess--the most "girlie" of girls.

I wish I'd had a copy of The Princess in Black to give him right then. The bookstore told him they were going to donate a copy to his library. I hope he's brave enough to check it out. I hope he keeps reading. I hope he changes his own story. I hope all of us can change this story. I'm really rooting for a happy ending.

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6. 50 States Against Bullying: MAINE

Last week, I flew from the west coast to the east coast for two school visits on the 50 States Against Bullying campaign. Both of those schools had snow days, so I used my free days to explore the D.C. area, but I'll be back to make up those states, because 48 States Against Bullying just sounds...ooh, so close.

After a weekend back at home, I hopped in a plane and flew from the west coast to the east coast again to attempt a school visit in Maine.


But again...snow day!

This time, I was able to move my flight back a day in the hope that there wouldn't be two snow days in a row. So what to do with my free day in Bangor? Well, the most important thing any author can do in Bangor is pay his or her respects to the home where many, many, many brilliant and dark stories originated.


I'm talking, of course, about the home of Mr. Stephen King.

The gate around his house has evil looking metal sculptures guarding the inhabitants on the other side, so I didn't dare walk up to the door. But I wanted to!


Then I did a little fanboy touring around town, visiting the storm drain that inspired the famous paperboat and clown scene in IT. Of course, the drain was covered in snow, so I couldn't take a photo of it, but I know I drove over it!

I also visited the cemetery where they filmed some scenes from Pet Sematary, including Mr. King's cameo.


By the way, if your're not from here, you're probably saying Bangor wrong.


The next day...no snow day! So I was able to visit Mount Desert Island High School.


I know what you're thinking: It sure doesn't look like a desert! And I knew you were thinking that because I thought the same thing. But this whole area obviously likes to play with how words are pronounced. It's pronounced dessert, like what you eat soon after dinner and usually again before bed. The story goes, some French guy came here and saw the mountains where nothing grew on top of them and thought they looked like deserted mountains. Did you hear that? Deserted. So that's why...

Nope! Still doesn't make any sense to me, but whatever.

Inside, they displayed their #ReasonsWhyYouMatter notecards.


The students were amazing to speak with and had many great questions, plus some silly ones. For example, apparently I look like I drive an Audi. I wasn't sure if that was a compliment or not, but the Audi website calls them luxury performance cars, and that sounds pretty good.



By the way, the students at MDIHS are All About Those Books.


The school librarian took me and local author (and friend) Christina Baker Kline out to lunch. And yes, Ms. CBK is an awesome author, but guess what. She used to babysit Stephen King's kids! If you're thinking, "I think I recall a story in Stephen King's On Writing about a babysitter," you're right. But that was his babysitter, not theirs. Please don't get the two confused.


This was followed by coffee with YA author Carrie Jones, whose debut novel came out the same year as mine. And we were in the Class of 2k7 together, so there is much history shared!

On my way back to the hotel in Bangor, I had to stop and get a pic of this miniature golf course covered in snow. The place is called Pirate's Cove, which made me laugh because the Pirate's Cove where I live is a nudist beach. But I didn't see any nudies running around here.


And that's probably a good thing right now.


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7. Top 25 Pitch Plus One Entries

You've ALL been amazing and we hope you've learned from the feedback the process provided. But here are the top 25 titles you've been waiting for! Congrats. If you find yours below you should revise and get your pitch and first page back ASAP! You have until February 27th at 3PM EASTERN. Then I will begin posting the pitch and first pages for each of you. If you choose not to revise, I will post the same entry as last time with a new random number. 

If you are following along and want to read the amazing work of our contestants you can find it posted at http://adventuresinyacontests.blogspot.com


ANYTHING BUT ALIVE
CHILDREN OF TOKUA
COWARDS AND CAPES
FIGHT FOR THIS
IF ONE OF THEM IS DEAD`
LISTEN TO ME
MUSE POWERS IN DANGER
NIKITA WHITFIELD AND THE BUTTERFLY EATER
RETTA VS. MUTANTS
RIVETED
THE BATTLE OF WONDERLAND GARDENS
THE CHRONICLES OF WHAT HAPPENED, BY CAM HANSON
THE GREAT WOODS
THE HUNT FOR THE HEAVENLY HORSE
THE KIDNAPPER'S CONUNDRUM
THE LAND OF JOY AND SORROW
THE LEDGE
THE MIDNIGHT FLIGHT OF THE SALEM MAGI
THE OTHER SIDE OF NORMAL
THE SECRETS WE KEEP
THE SINNER ROSE
TRACKER 220
WHATEVER IT TAKES
WHO IS BERKLEY ADAMS?
XAVIER AND THE MYSTERIOUS BLACK SPACESHIP

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8. Environmental Book Club

 In What is Cli-fi? And Why I Write It in The Guardian author Sarah Golding describes climate fiction as "fiction that foregrounds climate change." Her interest in writing it appears to go beyond using it as a setting, world, or spring board for a plot. She's trying to do something specific with her cli-fi books for young readers. She hopes that her characters' concern for the environment will spread to her readers.

On a related note, you might want to take a look at The Necessary Evolution of Environmental Writing by John Yunker at the Ecolit Books blog. He writes about needing stories "that inspire lasting change and have the power to change our worldview."

So both writers are talking about using environmental fiction in a proactive way, at least, if not one that is actually instructive.


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9. Bartography Express for February 2015, featuring Lynda Mullaly Hunt’s Fish in a Tree

This month, one subscriber to my Bartography Express newsletter will win a copy of Fish in a Tree (Penguin) by Lynda Mullaly Hunt.

If you’re not already receiving Bartography Express, click the image below for a look. If you like what you see, click “Join” in the bottom right corner, and you’ll be in the running for the giveaway at the end of this week.

20150224 Bartography Express

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10. pf roundup & forward...march!

Greetings to all and welcome to the last Poetry Friday round-up of February! I'm delighted to be your host as we leap over this year's invisible 29th into March, my birthday month.

Inspired by fellow Piscean Laura Shovan's February Poetry Projects (if you haven't, check out three years' worth here, here and here), I got to thinking about the word "march."  What a great word!  In addition to being the month of the god Mars, you can slow-march to the beat of your own drum or quick-march someone else off to their room.  You can play a march with the band, you can lead a march to demand rights or protest wrongs, and you can observe the march of time or progress.  The origins of this meaning of "march" are quite old, dating to when the Franks and even the Indo-Europeans before them marked off boundaries by foot.

Best of all, "March" is a tasty mouthful.  That -ch ending is explosive, definite; and yet it also has a softness, a long-lasting breathy end that belies its hard beginning.  As I considered this -ch sound, I realized that I have a particular fondness for words that end in -ch--they pop up again and again in my poems--and a project, a challenge, was born!

So here is a collection of -CH words, one muscular verb for eaCH weekday of MarCH.  I'm going to stretCH myself to post five -CH poems weekly throughout MarCH!  A few will be previously published, but most will be brand-new. Please join me in this CHallenge, poetry friends! 

MARCH OF WORDS POETRY CHALLENGE

2 march
3 stretch
4 twitch
5 punch
6 fetch

 9 unhitch
10 bleach
11 smooch
12 pitch
13 arch

16 inch
17 approach
18 botch
19 munch
20 hatch

23 clutch
24 crouch
25 snatch
26 besmirch
27 quench

I'll repost each word on its day, and you can send me your responses by email or leave them in the comments for that post.  I'll share all the responses for each week on Sunday mornings, and on March 31st I'll announce the "Stretchiest Marcher" (the poet who responded to the most words) and send a poetry prize his or her way!

And now...the round-up, courtesy of Inlinkz!  It's my first time using it, so let me know if anything is not working.   

   



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11. Returning Soon!


Due to an overactive work schedule and an under-active imagination, the head wolverine at Harts Pass Comics has temporarily suspended operations. Gritty as they be, even the most diligent of the Gulo gulo can only do so much. Thanks for tuning in and come back next week!

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12. “Chandelier”

I’m not too old to be deeply moved by Sia’s “Chandelier.” It makes me think of someone I once knew well and lost, for various reasons, one of them being her lifestyle choices. She died before she could break free. Kristen Wiig and Maddie Ziegler were outstanding in their Grammy performance piece of this song. … Continue reading “Chandelier”

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13. FOODFIC: Please Welcome Diane Dunning, Author of Greta Smart Figures It Out

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20458647-greta-smart-figures-it-out


There’s a whole lot of eating and drinking in my contemporary-romance novel, Greta Smart Figures It Out.

The story opens inside a Manhattan restaurant, where the main character, Greta, finds herself being served this morsel while on a nightmare blind date:

“You’re not beautiful,” he said. “Your profile said ‘beautiful.’ You kind of overreached on that one.” He smirked and sipped his dirty martini.

Most women would lose their appetites at this point, flip the table and stuff the guy into the nearest buffet drawer before storming out. Instead, Greta stays, even after he ditches her. She reclaims her dignity with a glass of wine and a calamari appetizer at a table outside. A pleasant dish has restorative powers.

Throughout the book, food connects Greta to her past and grounds her in the present. It provides the setting for Greta to grow and pivot as she discovers new truths about herself, friends, family and a potential lover. Yet it also works against her, as it does when she meets a former colleague for “bad girls lunch.”

Greta Smart Figures It Out isn’t intentionally a book about food, it just turned out that way. Set during The Great Recession, there are no extravagant multi-course meals with exotic ingredients…just a 27-year-old single career woman hungry to transition her life into more satisfying fare. And, with the help of the right food and drink here and there, she finds the sustenance to do it.


Thanks for stopping by to share your food for thought, Diane!



You can find Diane here:






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14. Nikki Slade Robinson as author and illustrator


Muddle & Mo by Nikki Slade Robinson (Duck Creek Press)

This is Nikki's first solo book (as far as I know). She has illustrated 60 other children's books (one of my favourite's being 'Hannah Bandana's Hair - just because the main character has hair like mine and I've lost things in my hair before too.) I'm surprised she hasn't done it before because this little book is rather gorgeous. It reminds me a little of Rowan and Mark Sommerset's successful books.

Nikki has gone for pared back illustrations and text, with the focus on faces with lots of expression. She's used recycled paper as a backing and two illustrations on each double page spread - the duckling and the goat.

The duckling called Muddle (very appropriate name) talks to Mo the goat. First he tells Mo he's a funny colour, his beak is too hairy, he's eating the wrong foods, his wings are on his head ... Of course, you soon realise that Muddle thinks Mo is a weird looking duck and it's not until he sees a herd of goats that Muddle realises he's got it all wrong.

The story comes in a different angle from most 'accepting differences' stories. Little kids are often faced with prejudice about looking different. This clever book suggests to the reader in an underlying message to accept different species/cultures, as not everyone is the same. Let's face it - that's what makes life interesting. Read the book to find out what Mo says back to Muddle at the end.

A rather cute book that will be popular with 3-6 years old children. Teachers and parents can generate lots of discussion about accepting others/differences etc.

I'm pleased Duck Creek Press has gone back to this size format and printed it in paper back and hard back. It is practical for schools and kindies - so the books last long enough and can be read aloud in group settings. This book is sure to be popular in those settings so needs to last long!

ISBN: 1927305003 hardback $29.99 paperback $19.99

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15. Self-Checkout

In many local chain stores,
The cashier is now passé.
You check out by yourself whenever
You’re prepared to pay.

You scan each item one by one;
The codes reveal the price
And if you have a coupon,
It’s accepted – very nice!

If you need help, a store employee’s
Waiting in the wings
And when you’re done, some bags await
For you to pack your things.

At first I wasn’t thrilled about
The whole self-checkout plan,
But since it seems to speed things up,
I’m now a loyal fan.

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16. My blog should now be safe for Outlook


One of the unintended consequences of my switch to MailChimp was that I crashed the poor unsuspecting Outlook users out there.

Sorry! I mean you no harm!

This should now be fixed. If it is not, please let me know and I shall work on another fix ASAP.

And if you don't use Outlook and are wondering why you are reading this post, here is a fantastic cat GIF for you:



Art: Schipbreuk by Henri Adolphe Schaep

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17. Photo

JP w: kids

Quick snap from our recent visit to Mass Moca in North Adams, MA. It’s always good to get to a museum just to let it fill you up.

This here is Maggie, 14, proudly wearing her new “Kale” sweatshirt. To the right, that’s Gavin, 15, who basically does not approve of photographs. I’m nearly six feet tall, but Gavin is quickly closing the gap.

My oldest son, Nicholas, is not in this photo because he’s a senior in college at Geneseo, NY.

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18. Logic Problems

Watch out for these logic problems to prevent your reader from being pulled out of the story.

http://writershelpingwriters.net/2014/12/four-logic-problems-will-ruin-day-manuscript/

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19. Hollins Launches Margaret Wise Brown Prize in Children’s Literature

The annual award will showcase the best picture book manuscript as selected by a panel of judges and will be among the few children’s book honors with a cash prize.

Roanoke, Va. – Hollins University is paying tribute to one of its best-known alumnae and one of America’s most beloved children’s authors by establishing a literary award in her name.

Presented annually beginning in 2016, the Margaret Wise Brown Prize in Children’s Literature will recognize the author of the best text for a picture book published during the previous year.

Winners will be given a $1,000 cash prize, which comes from an endowed fund created by James Rockefeller, Brown’s fiancée at the time of her death. Each recipient will also receive an engraved bronze medal as well as an invitation to accept the award and present a reading on campus during the summer session of Hollins’ graduate program in children’s literature.

Hollins will request prize nominations from children’s book publishers. Then, a three-judge panel, consisting of established picture book authors, will review the nominations and choose a winner.

“The Margaret Wise Brown Award will be one of the few children’s book awards that has a cash prize attached,” said Amanda Cockrell, director of the children’s literature program at Hollins.

Brown graduated from Hollins in 1932 and went on to write Goodnight Moon (Harper & Brothers, 1947), The Runaway Bunny (Harper, 1942), and other children’s classics before she died in 1952. Hollins celebrated her life and work with a year-long Margaret Wise Brown Festival in 2011 and 2012, which featured stage and musical adaptations of her work along with readings, workshops, guest lectures, and other activities for all ages.

The study of children’s literature as a scholarly experience was initiated at Hollins in 1973; in 1992, the graduate program in children’s literature was founded. Today, Hollins offers summer M.A. and M.F.A. programs exclusively in the study and writing of children’s literature, an M.F.A. in children’s book writing and illustrating, and a graduate-level certificate in children’s book illustration.


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20. Someone asked me a while ago to show my Edward Greens. Well, here they are. I have a couple more pai

Someone asked me a while ago to show my Edward Greens. Well, here they are. I have a couple more pairs on order from @skoaktiebolaget . #edwardgreen #shoes by gusvs9
11024439_341048846088722_352300037_n.jpg

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21. Shocking Schiaparelli - MEETINGS AT THE PALACE - Venice

Elsa Schiaparelli
(Venice, Italy) Elsa Schiaparelli, the cosmic fashion designer who created the color Shocking Pink, was born into an aristocratic, intellectual family in Palazzo Corsini in Rome in 1890 -- her great-uncle, Giovanni Schiaparelli, discovered the canals on Mars; her father was a professor of Oriental literature; her mother was descended from the Medicis. Elsa Schiaparelli - Fashion Artist was the topic of today's inaugural conference of Incontri a Palazzo or "Meetings at the Palace," a series of lectures held in the piano nobile of Palazzo Mocenigo, Venice's Museum of Fabric and Costumes.

Miley Cyrus in Schiaparelli jumpsuit at Oscar parties Feb 22, 2015
Elsa Schiaparelli was a wild child. She liked to be called Schiap, not Elsa. Schiap ran away from home at the age of six and was found three days later marching at the front of a local parade. Criticized by her mother for her homely looks, she spent a lot of time with Uncle Giovanni, the astronomer, gazing at the nighttime sky through a telescope. In 1911, while at the University of Rome, Schiap published an mystical, overtly sensual poem, and her horrified parents sent her to a convent in Switzerland. Schiap went on a hunger strike and got out of the convent, then ran off to England and became a nanny. While attending a theosophical conference, she fell in love with the lecturer, Wilhelm Wendt de Kerlor, who claimed to be a Polish count, theosophist and spiritualist, whom she promptly married. They spent several seasons in Nice, then went to NewYork in 1916 on an ocean liner where Schiap became friends with Gabrielle Picabia, the wife of the avant-garde artist Francis Picabia, who would tug her into their circle of famous friends like Man Ray and Marcel Duchamp. 

Elsa Schiaparelli - Photo: Man Ray
The couple produced a daughter whom they called Gogo, who contracted polio. But Count de Kerlor turned out to be a con man and a womanizer, and when he had an affair with Isadora Duncan, Schiap asked for a divorce, and in 1922, took Gogo to Paris.

Schiaparelli trompe l'oeil Bow Tie Sweater
Schiap quickly became part of the Paris scene, encountering fashion icon Paul Poiret, who supported her fresh ideas. Schiap considered herself an artist who channeled her creative energies into fashion, and since she was touched by the cosmos, there was an element of other-worldliness to her designs. Her rise to fame was due to a simple hand-knitted black pullover with a white trompe l'oeil bow tie that Vogue declared a masterpiece and was a huge hit in the US.

Marlene Dietrich wearing Schiaparelli
According to Bio.com: "For Schiaparelli, fashion was as much about making art as it was about making clothes. In 1932, Janet Flanner of The New Yorker wrote: "A frock from Schiaparelli ranks like a modern canvas." Not surprisingly, Schiaparelli connected with popular artists of the era; one of her friends was painter Salvador Dali, whom she hired to design fabric for her fashion house."

Shocking de Schiaparelli Perfume
Schiap became a success on the Place Vendôme, counting Marlene Dietrich and Greta Garbo among her clientele. She invented culottes, the evening gown, the built-in bra and dared to expose zippers. In 1937 she launched a fragrance, "Shocking," its pink glass torso bottle based on Mae West's body. She began collaborating with the Surrealists, especially Salvador Dali, with whom she created a lobster dress which was worn by Wallis Simpson.

Wallis Simpson in Schiaparelli lobster dress
Schiap closed her business in 1954, and published her autobiography Shocking Life. She died in her sleep in Paris in 1973.

Kate Blanchett in Schiaparelli
In 2007,  Diego Della Valle, CEO and President of Tod's, acquired the brand Schiaparelli. In addition to Miley Cyrus wearing the brand to the after-Oscars parties, Schiaparelli has been recently worn by such celebs as Kate Blanchett and Lorde.

Lorde in Schiaparelli
Like many originals, Elsa Schiaparelli's spirit continues on long after her body was laid to rest.

Ciao from Venezia,
Cat
Venetian Cat - The Venice Blog

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22. Interview with Aline Soules for Meditation of Woman


Come and join me as I talk with author Aline Soules about her prose poetry and fiction book Meditation on Woman and Evening Sun A Widows Journey on Stories From Unknown Authors http://blogtalkradio.com/storiesfromunknownauthors at 1pm EST today.







Book Description of Meditations on Woman

These prose poems and flash fiction pieces work together to create a universal woman -- complex, multi-faceted, and fascinating.



  • Paperback: 82 pages
  • Publisher: Anaphora Literary Press (December 17, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1937536130
  • ISBN-13: 978-1937536138



Book Description of Evening Sun

Through her poems in Evening Sun, Aline Soules reflects on her journey through widowhood, chronicling her emotions--despair, anger, longing, love, reconciliation.

  • Paperback: 38 pages
  • Publisher: Andrew Benzie Books (May 29, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0989758494
  • ISBN-13: 978-0989758499



Author Bio:
Aline Soules' work has appeared in journals, e-zines, and anthologies such as The MacGuffin, 100 Words, Literature of the Expanding Frontier, and Variations on the Ordinary. Her books: Meditation on Woman, published by Anaphora Literary Press, Dec. 2011; and The Size of the World (co-published with The Shape of the Heart), Plain View Press, 2005. Prose poems from Meditation on Woman previously appeared in Poetry Midwest, the Newport Review, the Kenyon Review, et al. Poems from her chapbook, Evening Sun, have appeared in Reed, Shaking Like a Mountain, The Houston Literary Review, et al. She earned an M. A. in English, an M.S.L.S. in Library Science, and an MFA in Creative Writing, this last from Antioch University Los Angeles. Her blog: http://alinesoules.wordpress.com. Her twitter handle: @aline_elisabeth. She is also on facebook (https://www.facebook.com/aline.soules), as is her latest book (https://www.facebook.com/MeditationOnWoman).

Review:

Meditation on Woman is a deep look into the mind of a woman through fifty-six meditations. Through ups and downs, and twists in turns in our lives, Aline captures every moment. Of life, of death, or just the everyday of living, the deepness of the fictional story is profound. She turns the simplest of events into something complex, memorable, and insightful, readers will walk away feeling endowed.


The Evening Sun-A Widow's Journey is heart wrenching yet relatable to others who have felt the authors pain.

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23. Two months into 2015: my year of risk

My resolution for 2015 is a single word: risk. I'll be turning 56 this year. The opportunities I will have to take physical risks are narrowing.  I also want to take social risks, and emotional risks, and risks with my writing - all kinds of risks.

So far, I've had a frank conversation with someone I respect but who also used an exaggerated campy "gay" voice to make some points.  I think it was eye-opening for both of us.

And in three weeks, I'm signed up to do that Urban Escape and Evasion class, which includes a day spent trying to elude pursuers after you are "kidnapped."

This past weekend, I competed in a Brazilian Jiujitsu (grappling tournament).  In this tournament, we were split up by gender, but in my grappling classes I grapple with men, usually only with men since none of the other women in my school regularly take BJJ class.  One of my regular partners is 228 pounds, which let me tell you is a lot of weight when someone centers it and pins you.

For a long, long time, I said there was no way I would grapple past what I needed to do for whatever color of sash I was working on in kung fu. It felt too ob-gyn-y. Too rape-y. You couldn't tell me that one of the best positions was on your back with your legs wrapped around some guy's waist.  It seemed too vulnerable and weird.

Guys will often grow up wrestling with their friends.  None of the girls I know ever did that.

But then my kung fu school started offering BJJ classes four times a week and I started going to them. I am still don't have a very good offense. And at  my gender and my age and my weight compared to many of my partners, I mostly play defense.  But I have a damn good defense.
BJJ Tournament april looks dominant
BJJ Tournament April refuses tap
BJJ tournament better back of gi
BJJ Tournament Syd
Bjj Tournament Syd 2

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24. 10½ Questions with Reshama Deshmukh, creator of THE PIED PIPER

One of the big draws of KidLitCon is getting a chance to meet your fellow bloggers, find out what their interests are, and discover where they intersect with yours. As you may know by now, here at FW our main focus is on Young Adult fiction, with an... Read the rest of this post

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25. MARCH UPDATE!

March is looking to be a great fun Month with lots of Theater all over the country, appearances in Amherst, MA and, for the first time, New Zealand! But first a quick look at last month: RECAP! What a fun month February was; starting out with a surprise call from the Geisel Committee informing me that Elephant & Piggie's WAITING IS NOT EASY! had garnered a Geisel Honor!  This was a

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