What is JacketFlap

  • JacketFlap connects you to the work of more than 200,000 authors, illustrators, publishers and other creators of books for Children and Young Adults. The site is updated daily with information about every book, author, illustrator, and publisher in the children's / young adult book industry. Members include published authors and illustrators, librarians, agents, editors, publicists, booksellers, publishers and fans.
    Join now (it's free).

Sort Blog Posts

Sort Posts by:

  • in

Suggest a Blog

Enter a Blog's Feed URL below and click Submit:

Most Commented Posts

In the past 7 days

Recent Posts

(from all 1552 Blogs)

Recent Comments

JacketFlap Sponsors

Spread the word about books.
Put this Widget on your blog!
  • Powered by JacketFlap.com

Are you a book Publisher?
Learn about Widgets now!

Advertise on JacketFlap

MyJacketFlap Blogs

  • Login or Register for free to create your own customized page of blog posts from your favorite blogs. You can also add blogs by clicking the "Add to MyJacketFlap" links next to the blog name in each post.

Blog Posts by Date

Click days in this calendar to see posts by day or month
new posts in all blogs
Viewing: Blog Posts from All 1552 Blogs, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 2,000
1. People Think This McDonald’s Ad Ripped Off A Certain Pixar Short

See if you can guess which one.

0 Comments on People Think This McDonald’s Ad Ripped Off A Certain Pixar Short as of 4/21/2015 3:25:00 AM
Add a Comment
2. Pulitzer Prizes

       The 2015 Pulitzer Prizes -- which include several book categories -- have been announced.
       The Fiction prize went to All the Light We Cannot See (by Anthony Doerr; get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk). Nice to see The Moor's Account by Laila 'MoorishGirl' Lalami was one of the finalists .....
       The Criticism prize went to a TV critic.

Add a Comment
3. SURTEX 2015 - monika forsberg

And finally from Jennifer Nelson Artists we have some bold flyers from Monika Forsberg who will be in Booth 355.

0 Comments on SURTEX 2015 - monika forsberg as of 4/21/2015 4:43:00 AM
Add a Comment
4. An overview of the UNIDROIT PICC, with Stefan Vogenauer

The UNIDROIT Principles of International Commercial Contracts, or PICC, were created in 1994 after decades of preparation, against what Oxford author Stephan Vogenauer calls a “romantic background” of a global commercial law, or lex mercatoria. While the UNIDROIT PICC offer a harmonizing global contract law, some objectors may say that as “principles”, they are too vague. Stefan tackles this objection in the video below, and also highlights how some practitioners may be surprised by the contents of the Principles.

The post An overview of the UNIDROIT PICC, with Stefan Vogenauer appeared first on OUPblog.

0 Comments on An overview of the UNIDROIT PICC, with Stefan Vogenauer as of 4/21/2015 4:35:00 AM
Add a Comment
5. SURTEX 2015 - victoria johnson

In just under a months time it will be the opening of the Surtex show in New York - when some of the worlds best designers will showcase their latest prints to buyers. Companies from all over the world will be look for fresh new designs to use on a myriad of products. Over the next few weeks Print & Pattern will be highlighting some of the artists to look out for if you are visiting the show or

0 Comments on SURTEX 2015 - victoria johnson as of 4/21/2015 4:43:00 AM
Add a Comment
6. SURTEX 2015 - lauren lowen

Another fab artist to look out for from Jennifer Nelson Artists at Surtex next month is Lauren Lowen. You may recognise Lauren by her previous name Lauren Minco who is known for her quirky and whimsical characters. See Lauren's latest designs in Booth 559 from the 17th-19th May.

0 Comments on SURTEX 2015 - lauren lowen as of 4/21/2015 4:43:00 AM
Add a Comment
7. R is for Recruiting Officer

Recruiting Officer           from my poetry book, Kaleidoscope  

You old devil, performing conjuring tricks
in the bleak December classroom.
You ham act the nativity, roll up your sleeves.
The ginger hairs on your arms glisten
under the naked bulb.

Your fists scoop out manure, cleansing the stable floor,
warm dung drips between your coarse fingers,
as your sour breath touches open faces.
You revel in their reaction, forming young minds,
creating an hypnotic state.

Your stoat to their frozen rabbit,
you teach them original sin,
tell them they shut the inn door, and weave
a glowing lantern slide before their astonished gaze,
with towering Magi bearing bitter gifts.

Lord of your chalk domain, exhausted by your
matinee performance now replete,
you close moist fleshy mouth, replace the lens cap
over thrusting tongue, and Pied Piper them
into a leafless playground.

Years later, standing in that empty classroom,
the stage of your many triumphs, you look at the rows of
iron-runner desks, breathing the fumes from the 
pot-bellied stove, and rummage in your bag of tricks.
Your hopes for your future, your religious faith, now gone, 
have you forgotten the Christian army you sent into battle?

0 Comments on R is for Recruiting Officer as of 4/20/2015 6:21:00 PM
Add a Comment
8. Attachment review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Florence Noiville's Attachment., due out shortly from Seagull Books (in a nice-looking little volume, by the way).

Add a Comment
9. Fusenews: “It’s like a shoe of flesh”

  • Mmm. Vanity straight up. So I never quite know how to post “me stuff” news when it’s particularly nice. On the one hand I could post the link with the typical “I’m not worthy” statement attached, but that always sounds as if I doth protest too much.  Or, I could go the other route, and just celebrate the link with a whole lotta hooplah and devil take the consequences. I think, in the end, I’d prefer to just preface the link with a long, drawn out, ultimately boring explanation of why these links are problematic in the vague hope that your eyes glazed over and you skipped to the next bullet point.  That accomplished, here is a very nice thing I was featured in recently at Bustle.  I think Anne Carroll Moore probably should have taken my slot, but insofar as I can tell, she is not around to object.
  • There comes a time in every girl’s life when she realizes that all the funny stuff on the internet was written by a single person.  That person’s name, it turns out, is Mallory Ortberg.  And if you doubt my words, read her recent Toast piece The Willy Wonka Sequel That Charlie’s Mother Deserves.  It’s applicable to the book as well, though in that case it would be “The Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Sequel That Charlie’s Mother and Father Deserve”.
  • It was Jarrett Krosoczka who alerted me to the fact that Jeanne Birdsall has a blog.  Jeanne, you sly devil!  Why didn’t you tell us?
  • Are discussions of children’s book illustrations given adequate attention when people interview authors about the books that influenced them when they were young?  Mark Dery at The Ecstasist doesn’t think so.  In a recent interview with Jonathan Lethem, the two discuss, amongst other things, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, a psychedelic children’s book by popular shrink, Dr. Eric Berne (who wrote Games People Play) called The Happy Valley, The Goops, Rabbit Hill, and the odd thickness (and hidden erotic meanings) behind Ferdinand the Bull’s neck.
  • I don’t usually advertise journal’s calls for contributions, but this seemed special.  Bookbird (a journal close to my heart for obvious reasons) is calling for contributions for a special issue exploring Indigenous Children’s Literature from around the world.   So if you’ve a yen . . .

Recently I hosted a Children’s Literary Salon on Jewish children’s literature, its past, present, and future.  It was a really great talk and has inspired, I am happy to note, a blog post from one of the panelists.  Marjorie Ingall of Tablet Magazine recently wrote the piece Enough With the Holocaust Books for Children!: Yes, we need to teach kids about our history. But our history constitutes a lot more than one tragic event.  It quotes me anonymously at one point as well.  See if you can find me!  Hint: I’m the one who’s not Jewish.

  • And to switch gears, the cutest children’s librarian craft idea of all time.  A teeny tiny traffic jam.  Alternate Title: Dana Sheridan is a friggin’ genius.
  • Not too long ago I helped usher into completeness a brand new children’s book award.  Behold, one that’s all about the math!!  Yes, like you I was an English major who thought she feared the realm of numbers.  Now I see the true problem: there were no good math books for me as a kid (and subsisting entirely on a diet of The Phantom Tollbooth doesn’t really work, folks). Now worry not, interested parties!  The Mathical Award is here and the selections, not to put too fine a point on it, are delightful.
  • Out: Dark Matter.  Five Minutes Ago: Gray Matter.  In: White Matter.  At least when it comes to how children learn to read.  The New Yorker explains.  Extra points to author Maria Konnikova for the Horton Hatches the Egg reference buried in the text.
  • Full credit to Aaron Zenz for turning me onto the site Sketch Dailies.  Cited as a place “that gives a pop culture topic each week day for artists to interpret” there are plenty of children’s literature references to be found.  Draco Malfoy. The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Hedwig (more owl than Angry Inch).  Warning: You will get sucked in, possibly for a very very long time.  Three of the Very Hungry Caterpillar winners recently were here, here, and here.
  • Oop!  The end of the voting on the Children’s Choice Book Awards is nigh. Your last chance to “voice your choice” is looming. Voting for @CBCBook’s Children’s Choice Book Awards closes at ccbookawards.com on May 3rd.  And, if I might be so bold, you may notice something a little . . . um . . . interesting about this year’s hosts of the CBC Gala.  *whistles*
  • Daily Image:

This one’s going out to all my Miyazaki fans.  In the event that you ever needed a new poster for your walls.  The title is “And Made Her Princess of All Wild Things:


0 Comments on Fusenews: “It’s like a shoe of flesh” as of 4/21/2015 5:27:00 AM
Add a Comment
10. Seven Questions Over Breakfast with Marie-Louise Gay

“I shake my ideas around and turn them upside down and look at them flying out the window like a flock of birds. Suddenly, I know who lives in the forest … a giant,
a shy young giant with birds nesting in his hair. His story starts here …”


If you saw last year’s Any Questions?, written and illustrated by Canadian Marie-Louise Gay, who has been nominated for the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award and the Hans Christian Andersen Award, you may recognize the above illustration. It’s from the book, and it’s Marie-Louise herself, hard at work in her studio. (Some of my favorite illustrator interviews have been the ones where artists send illustrated “author photos,” but I digress.)

Any Questions?—a finalist for Canada’s 2014 Governor General’s Literary Award for Children’s Illustration, as well as a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year and a Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year—was released last August by Groundwood Books, and it was then that I contacted Marie-Louise about an interview. I’ve admired her work over the years, and then along comes this excellent book, an exploration of what it means to be creative, as well as imagined conversations with children about writing and creating art — ones based on real conversations she’s had at school visits over the years. Kirkus called the book “a perfect summer’s day bound in 32 pages,” and Booklist praised the book’s “empowering” message — “that creativity is messy and fun!” Hear hear.

Yes, that was last year. Sometimes I get busy. But better late than never. But she’s also just released (this month, in fact) the adventure novel The Traveling Circus, written with her partner, David Homel, and also published by Groundwood. So, I meant to post this interview so late. Yes, I MEANT TO DO THAT. (Ahem.)

When I asked Marie-Louise about her published books thus far in her career, a question I ask everyone, she sent me a comprehensive bibliography, which I’m not including at the bottom of this post, only because it refuses to format properly for me. But trust me when I say it’s a long list; her first illustrated book was in 1976, as those of you who have followed her career closely know well. She’s spent decades capturing, with her warm watercolor illustrations, the wonders of childhood and nature. There is a spontaneity and energy to her work that really shines.

We’re having her preferred breakfast today — an orange, granola, yogurt, and a strong coffee. “Strong” coffee? An illustrator after my own heart. Let’s get right to it, and I thank her for visiting and sharing art. …

* * * * * * *

Jules: Are you an illustrator or author/illustrator?

Marie-Louise: Author/Illustrator.


From Any Questions?:
“But what if my story started on old yellowish paper? …”


From Any Questions?:
“Believe it or not, there are times when I don’t have any ideas at all.
My mind is a blank. …”


From Any Questions?:
“So I have to use my imagination. Try out new ideas. …”


From Any Questions?:
“But sometimes that doesn’t work either.
So I go back to my drawing table. …”


Jules: Can you list your books-to-date? (If there are too many books to list here, please list your five most recent illustrated titles or the ones that are most prominent in your mind, for whatever reason.)

Marie-Louise: [See the “Books” link at Marie-Louise’s site.]


From Any Questions?:
“One cold, gray autumn day, when the trees had just started losing their leaves, revealing their well-kept secrets—hidden birds’ nests, lost kites and the dreams of those who had slept in their cool, leafy summer shadows—
the giant heard something. …”


From Any Questions?:
“I wonder if this green is slimy enough? …”


From Any Questions?:
“‘Who are you?’ asked the giant.
‘I’m a beast,’ whispered the beast. ‘A horrible, dreadful beast. …'”



Jules: What is your usual medium?

Marie-Louise: Watercolor is my preferred medium, but I use it in conjunction with pencil, colored pencils (Caran d’Ache Supracolor), pastels, acrylic, gouache, collage, and ink.


Jewish Public Library banner


Poster for the LA Times Festival of Books


Jules: If you have illustrated for various age ranges (such as, both picture books and early reader books OR, say, picture books and chapter books), can you briefly discuss the differences, if any, in illustrating for one age group to another?

Marie-Louise: I have illustrated both board books and picture books, as well as early reader books and chapter books. I can’t say that there is such a big difference between illustrating early reader books and chapter books. The difference would not be illustrating for one age group or another but, in the case of the picture book, where the visual vocabulary (the art) is much richer than the the text. It enables the child who cannot yet read, or has difficulty in reading, to understand the story through it’s visual clues, body language and facial expressions of the characters, the details, etc. My goal when I write and illustrate a picture book is to be spare with words and eloquent in my art.


Petits Bonheurs poster


Poster for a Kaleidoscope conference


Jules: Where are your stompin’ grounds?

Marie-Louise I live in Montréal, province of Québec, Canada.

Jules: Can you briefly tell me about your road to publication?

Marie-Louise: I started drawing when I was sixteen years old, doodling on my textbooks, sketching on paper napkins or on any available and relatively flat surface. I opted for art school. After studying graphic design, animation, drawing, and photography, I started doing various cartoon strips for local magazines and newspapers while I was still in school. I branched out towards editorial illustration for magazines in Canada and the U.S.: Saturday Night, Mother Jones, Psychology Today, etc.

I was approached a few years later by a publisher and author of children’s books who asked me to illustrate one of his picture-book manuscripts — then a second one and a third. The experience was exhilarating. I fell in love with exploring a story in pictures, creating a visual vocabulary, creating characters that evolved in a landscape that I had invented. It didn’t take too long before I was tempted to try my hand at writing my own stories.



Jules: Can you please point readers to your web site and/or blog?

Marie-Louise: www.marielouisegay.com.

Jules: If you do school visits, tell me what they’re like.

Marie-Louise: I don’t do as many school visits as I used to, but I still enjoy doing them. My preference goes to smaller groups, one or two classes, because I find that interactive presentations are much more fun and inspiring. I start by describing what an author/illustrator’s life is like (normal except for the fact that I have no boss, no office hours, and I spend the day alone in my studio, doodling and writing and daydreaming). I talk about the creative process. I show them sketches, storyboards, colored sketches, and original drawings. I read them a story or two. I sometimes do a drawing, using the kid’s suggestions, or write an interactive story with them. Other times we improvise a play with characters that I have just created in front of them and to whom they give life. I answer as many questions as I can.


– From a Houndsley and Catina book (Candlewick Press)


Jules: If you teach illustration, by chance, tell me how that influences your work as an illustrator.

Marie-Louise: I taught illustration for ten years at the Université du Québec in Montréal, but that was twenty years ago. At the time, I felt that all the research I did to build my classes was very inspiring and enriched my work greatly.

Jules: Any new titles/projects you might be working on now that you can tell me about?

Marie-Louise: I have just finished illustrating a picture book for Candlewick, Press called Tiger and Badger by Emily Jenkins. It will be published in February 2016.

I am also exploring, sketching, and writing a book of short illustrated cartoon stories. I’m in the middle of the ninth draft of a puppet play. I am revising a new chapter book in the Travels with my Family series (co-written with my partner, David Homel). The Traveling Circus published just this month.

Mmm. Coffee.Okay, we’ve got more coffee, and it’s time to get a bit more detailed with six questions over breakfast. I thank Marie-Louise again for visiting 7-Imp.

1. Jules: What exactly is your process when you are illustrating a book? You can start wherever you’d like when answering: getting initial ideas, starting to illustrate, or even what it’s like under deadline, etc. Do you outline a great deal of the book before you illustrate or just let your muse lead you on and see where you end up?


Sketches from Caramba (Groundwood, 2013)



: When I am asked to illustrate someone else’s story, the process starts immediately as I read the manuscript for the first time. If I don’t instantly see images in my mind as I read it, it is usually a sign that this particular story is not for me. At the second reading, I am already doing thumbnail sketches of key parts of the story or of the main character, in pencil right on the paper manuscript. Then, once everything is settled—contract, advance, due date, etc.—the first thing I do is a quite detailed storyboard of the book on the layout provided by the art director, and then I start looking for ways of escaping the imposed layout, letting my sketching guide me, trying out different points of view — but always within the confines of the story, of course.

It is quite a different process when I write and illustrate my own story. I feel more at liberty to improvise, to try new paths, to let my illustration change the story, and vice versa. It is a process of osmosis, much more organic then when I am illustrating an another author’s story.


Illustrations from and cover of Caramba


2. Jules: Describe your studio or usual work space.


: A small light-filled studio on the second floor of our tiny, century-old red brick house. The large windows look over scruffy urban gardens, shadowed by large maple trees, and an alleyway where dozens of children play, laugh, scream, climb trees, skateboard, play tag or hide and seek. In the summer I am hidden in a sea of green leaves, and in the winter, a storm of snowflakes. I am surrounded by books, notebooks, art books, design books, children’s books, old magazines and encyclopedias or animal books and my art materials — jars of paintbrushes or colored pencils, bottles of ink, tubes of watercolor paints or acrylics, scraps of paper. An immense wooden chest of drawers that was used to store priests’ vestments in a sacristy now holds hundreds of sheets of paper of every size, shape, texture and color, as well as my artwork. My computer is in another room to keep distractions to a minimum. The walls are covered in sketches and artwork, and taped or pinned on the wall nearest to my drawing table is the project I am working on: storyboards, sketches, or final artwork.


Illustrations from and cover of Caramba and Henry (Groundwood, 2011)


3. Jules: As a book-lover, it interests me: What books or authors and/or illustrators influenced you as an early reader?


: I grew up speaking French at home and did most of my primary schooling in English, so I read both in English and French. Babar, Curious George, Martine à la Plage, Grimms’ fairytales, as well as Hans Christian Andersen, Tintin, Nancy Drew, C. S. Lewis. I was fascinated by the detailed illustrations in the Babar stories or in the Tintin books.

But the real turning point was in my early teens when I immersed myself in the worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin or John Wyndham, and at the same time I was mesmerized by the surrealistic, achingly funny, intellectual, and visual musings of the french bédéistes (in English, this could translate as perhaps cartoonists or precursors of the graphic novel?): F’Murr with his Génie des alpages; Claire Bretécher and her Cellulite; Mandryka with his Concombre Masqué; Gotlib; Jean-Michel Folon.

My sources of inspiration expanded as I attended different art schools in Montréal and San Francisco. I poured over Saul Steinberg’s and Ralph Steadman’s drawings. I discovered the quirky, wonderful world of Edward Gorey, the inventiveness of André François, the bold designs of Tomi Ungerer, the weird illustrations of Ian Pollock. I was influenced by painters who “illustrated,” who told a story: Fernando Botero, Edward Hopper, David Hockney. And as it became clear to me that writing and illustrating books for children were my main interest and passion, I was absorbing the perfect twinning of art and story in the humourous and lively illustrations of Tony Ross and Quentin Blake; the painstakingly detailed drawings by Chris Van Allsburg; the gentle, emotional, funny books illustrated by André Dahan, William Steig, and Rosemary Wells. I especially admired the eastern Europeans — Helme Heine, Wolf Erlbruch, Lisbeth Zwerger, Henrik Drescher, Klaus Ensikat, and Květa Pacovská.

In Canada, I poured over Ken Nutt’s enchantingly detailed Zoom illustrations; I was inspired by Michèle Lemieux’s colours and light and masterful drawing technique; and Pierre Pratt’s quirky vision of the world. I was enthralled by the lovely energy and vivacity of Katy MacDonald Denton’s children and animal characters.

This list is far from exhaustive, and the more I think about it, the more images float to my mind. All these artists’ works have become part of my visual memory and vocabulary. This is where I have found find part of my inspiration.


Illustrations from and cover of Roslyn Rutabaga and
the Biggest Hole on Earth!
(Groundwood, 2010)


4. Jules: If you could have three (living) authors or illustrators—whom you have not yet met—over for coffee or a glass of rich, red wine, whom would you choose? (Some people cheat and list deceased authors/illustrators. I won’t tell.)

Marie-Louise: Edward Gorey, Shaun Tan, and Lisbeth Zwerger. But I would prefer seeing them individually and in their respective studios. (Edward Gorey might be difficult to meet!)


Illustrations from and cover of
Stella, Queen of the Snow (Groundwood, 2010)


5. Jules: What is currently in rotation on your iPod or loaded in your CD player? Do you listen to music while you create books?

Marie-Louise: I only listen to music or the radio when I am applying colors or collage on an illustration: I want my mind to work instinctively when I paint. I want my choices and juxtaposition of colors to emerge from my subconscious. So while my mind is following a certain beat, a rhythm, a train of thought, a poetic turn of phrase, surprising colors, or odd combinations, lovely and spontaneous mistakes subtly make their way into my illustrations. I might listen to Salif Keita, Cat Power, Miles Davis, Glenn Gould, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Joan Osborne, Leonard Cohen, Lucinda Williams, Manu Chao, and more. But I need total silence when I am writing, storyboarding, or exploring a story’s twists and turns.


Illustrations and cover art from
Stella, Star of the Sea (Groundwood, 2010)


6. Jules: What’s one thing that most people don’t know about you?

Marie-Louise: That I am constantly anthropomorphizing birds, cats, trees, sheep, objects etc. — creating conversations between them, giving them thoughts and emotions, and imagining their lives and adventures.


Illustrations and cover art from
When Stella Was Very, Very Small (Groundwood, 2011)


* * * The Pivot Questionnaire * * *

Jules: What is your favorite word?

Marie-Louise: “Serpetine.”

Jules: What is your least favorite word?

Marie-Louise: “Compulsory.”

Jules: What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?

Marie-Louise: A vast, luminous landscape of mountains. Or a starry, moonlit sky over the ocean.

Jules: What turns you off?

Marie-Louise: Crass commercialism.

Jules: What sound or noise do you love?

Marie-Louise: The beat of a bird’s wings flying overhead in an early morning sky.

Jules: What sound or noise do you hate?

Marie-Louise: Loud racing car engines.

Jules: What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

Marie-Louise: Actor, architect, explorer, sculptor, ceramist.

Jules: What profession would you not like to do?

Marie-Louise: Politician.

All images are used by permission of Marie-Louise Gay.

The spiffy and slightly sinister gentleman introducing the Pivot Questionnaire is Alfred, copyright © 2009 Matt Phelan.

0 Comments on Seven Questions Over Breakfast with Marie-Louise Gay as of 4/21/2015 4:01:00 AM
Add a Comment
11. Full Speed Ahead! How Fast Things Go by Cruschiform

Full Speed Ahead! How Fast Things Go by Cruschiform, a French creative studio started by Marie-laure Cruschi in 2007, reads like an inforgraphic with each page presenting a speed (KM/H and MPH) and things that move at that speed. With your interest piqued, you can flip to end of the book where there is a glossary that provides a paragraph of information about the vehicle, person, animal

0 Comments on Full Speed Ahead! How Fast Things Go by Cruschiform as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
12. NPM Project: Jumping Into Form - Mask/Persona Poems

Mask or persona poems are poems in which the subject of the poem is the speaker.  In creating the poem the writer takes on a "mask" or personality and speaks in the voice of an animal, element of nature, or inanimate object.

In her book Dogs & Dragons, Trees & Dreams: A Collection of Poems (1980), Karla Kuskin shares a number of mask poems. The preface to this section of the collection reads:
The following five poems do not have titles. As you read each poem you will figure out what it is describing. Each one tells how it would feel to be something other than yourself.
I've read a lot of definitions and descriptions of mask poems. I think I like this one best for kids. Here's one of the poems she shared.

If you,
Like me,
Were made of fur
And sun warmed you,
Like me,
You'd purr.

Poem ©Karla Kuskin. All rights reserved.

In the book Conversations With a Poet: Inviting Poetry into K-12 Classrooms (2005), written by Betsy Franco, the chapter devoted to the persona poem includes this background.
In a form or mode of poetry called the persona poem or "mask poem," the poet takes on the voice of someone else--puts on a mask. In these poems, the poet takes over the persona of someone other than himself or herself and speaks in the first person. In the 1800s Robert Browning and Alfred Lord Tennyson wrote persona poems, among other forms. These poets and their contemporaries usually took on the voice of a historical or mythological character. This is also done in modern persona poems, but nowadays, poets also speak as if they were such things as an object, a place, an animal, an abstract idea, or a fantasy character.
There are many, many good books of poetry written entirely as mask poems. Mask poems can also be found in numerous children's poetry collections. Here are just a few of my favorites.
Dirty Laundry Pile: Poems in Different Voices (2001), selected by Paul Janeczko and illustrated by Melissa Sweet, is a collection of poems in the voices of a broom, kites, gloves, crayons, and more. In the introduction Paul writes:
I collected the poems in this book because I love reading poems written in the voice of an object or an animal, as if that thing or creature were speaking to me. In these persona or mask poems, as they are called, the poets let their imaginations fly and feel what it might be like to be a mosquito, a crayon, a kite, a turtle. It's something like wearing a Halloween costume or playing a part in a school play. Great fun, don't you think? As you read these poems, if you find yourself wondering what it would feel like to be a caterpillar, a soccer ball, or a honeybee, grab a pencil and let your imagination fly in a poem. Let that new voice sing!
In this book you'll find poems like "The Vacuum Cleaner's Revenge," "Scarecrow's Dream," and "Prayer of a Snowflake." This book is a terrific mentor text for using with kids learning to write mask poems. Here is an example.

by Deborah Chandra

Come, press my mouth against your ear,
I hold a message just for you.
Deep inside my throat is where
It curls, waiting for you to hear.

Put there by the sea itself,
Who whispered something you should know
In shadowy sounds wound round my shell,
And with my hidden tongue, I'll tell.

Poem ©Deborah Chandra. All rights reserved.
in the swim (2001), poems and paintings by Douglas Florian, is a collection of humorous poems about underwater creatures. Many of the poems in this volume are written in the voice of the animal. Here's one of my favorites.

The Starfish
by Douglas Florian

Although it seems
That I'm all arms,
Some other organs
Give me charm.
I have a mouth
With which to feed.
A tiny stomach
Is all I need.
And though it's true
I have no brain,
I'm still a star--
I can't complain.

Poem ©Douglas Florian. All rights reserved.

This title is but one in a long line of books on animals, all of which contain mask poems. Additional titles to look for include beast feast (1998), on the wing (2000), insectlopedia (2002), mammalabilia (2004), lizards, frogs, and polliwogs (2005), and more.
Two titles by Marilyn Singer, Turtle in July (1989, OP), illustrated by Jerry Pinkney, and Fireflies at Midnight (2003), illustrated by Ken Robbins, are both collections of mask poems. Turtle in July is a collection of poems that pairs animals with the months of the year. It also includes four seasonal poems focused on the bullhead (a type of catfish). Fireflies at Midnight is a collection of poems about animals at different hours of the day on a summer day.

Here's a favorite poem from each book.

Canada Goose
(from Turtle in July)

Did I tell you?
I should tell you
Going home
We're going home
Are you coming?
Yes, you're coming
Going home
We're going home
How the sun will warm each feather
How the wind will make us fly
Follow me -- I'll be your leader
As we flap across the sky
Are you ready?
I am ready
Going home
We're going home
Is it time now?
It is time now
October's happened
And we're going home

(from Fireflies at Midnight)

I, crayfish,
no day fish
no way fish
at all
Nosy otter, watch its jaws
Careless wader, watch my claws
Spend each morning
lying soundless
under stones
Spend each evening
shredding stems
picking bones

Poems ©Marilyn Singer. All rights reserved.
Volcano! Wakes Up, written by Lisa Westberg Peters and illustrated by Steve Jenkins, is a collection of mask poems that describe a day in the life of an imaginary Hawaiian volcano. Ferns, lava flow crickets, a small black road, and the volcano itself all speak in these poems. Here's how it opens.


I'm the baby.
I'm much smaller than my
big sister volcanoes. I'm a little sleepy
now, but when I wake up, watch out! I throw
nasty tantrums. It always works--I get the most attention!

Here's what the ferns have to say when they realize the volcano is awake.


Fire-maker's awake!
She's about to 
this caldera
a lake of fire and
lava. Ah, the
must be over.
Put away all the
But wait . . . it's
hot yet. It's 
not even warm
yet. What a 
delay on this
beautiful day. Hey,
everybody, let's 

Poems ©Lisa Westberg Peters. All rights reserved. 
Button Up!: Wrinkled Rhymes, written by Alice Schertle and illustrated by Petra Mathers, is a collection of 15 mask poems in which the author speaks in the voices of shoes, galoshes, undies, a bicycle helmet, and more. Here's an excerpt.

Bertie's Shoelaces
by Alice Schertle 

Good old Bertie,
he lets us hang around.
It doesn't bother Bertie
when we drag along the ground.
We're not up tight
as our Bertie Buddy knows.
We're hang loose laces and
we don't do bows!

Poem ©Alice Schertle. All rights reserved.

Now that you've seen some great examples, here are some helpful resources for reading and writing mask poems with your students.
That's it for the mask/persona poem. I hope you'll join me back here tomorrow for another form.

0 Comments on NPM Project: Jumping Into Form - Mask/Persona Poems as of 4/21/2015 2:15:00 AM
Add a Comment
13. Preparing some ATC

click on the left arrow to see some more or click on the image to browse to my Flickr

0 Comments on Preparing some ATC as of 4/21/2015 5:01:00 AM
Add a Comment
14. Just Itzy by Lana Krumwiede, illustrated by Greg Pizzoli

I love reading picture books to every grade at the elementary school where I am the librarian, but I have to confess that the kindergarteners are my favorites to read to. And Just Itzy by Lana Krumwiede with perfect illustrations by Greg Pizzoli is my new absolute favorite book to read to them. I love it when I read a book that gets my listeners to think even before I have read the first

0 Comments on Just Itzy by Lana Krumwiede, illustrated by Greg Pizzoli as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
15. All the Busy

inkblot rhino

ARGH, when did I go from being a daily blogger to a weekly one? When I took on so much extra work, I suppose. It’s just so. very. busy. right now. But busy is good—busy is kids with full lives and writers with full workloads.

Busy is I got my manuscript back from my editor, so I’m in revision territory now, and that’s absorbing.

Busy is Journey North Mystery Class! Which we finished today with our usual awesome party full of lively presentations and unusual food. Delicious in every way.

Busy is the three (!) homeschooling classes I’m teaching! Two literature and one writing class—I suppose if you count Journey North, which I lead (but my friend Erica hosts at her house, and in my opinion that’s the hardest part), that makes four classes. Except (as I mentioned) JN is done now, so only three. We’re having a lot of fun. I teach because I love. The reading, the discussion, the kids—oh, most of all, these energetic, deep-thinking kids.

Busy is my roster of Other Jobs—the grantwriting gig, the website maintenance gig, the editorial gig. You know, the day jobs that make the writing life possible.

Busy is Sketchbook Skool and my commitment to daily drawing. (The rhino up there was for an assignment—splatter some ink on the page and turn it into a drawing. He’s scribbly on purpose. Also because I’ve never drawn a rhino before and I was winging it.)

Busy is when the neighbor kids are on spring break and therefore practically living at my house during daylight hours. We have become That House!

Busy is evening IM chats with Jane and full days with the rest of the gang. And morning walks with Scott, because no matter how busy All the Busy is, it’s never too busy for that. :)

Add a Comment
16. Death and all of his tunes

Whether they be songs about angels or demons, Heaven or Hell, the theme of the afterlife has inspired countless musicians of varying genres and has embedded itself into the lyrics of many popular hits. Though their styles may be different, artists show that our collective questions and musings about the afterlife provide us with a common thread across humanity. Here are some of the songs that best represent this wide range of emotions that many people have about what lies beyond.

The post Death and all of his tunes appeared first on OUPblog.

0 Comments on Death and all of his tunes as of 4/21/2015 4:35:00 AM
Add a Comment
17. Draw Tip Tuesday - Draw Your Feet!

Welcome to Draw Tip Tuesday!
Do you ever feel like drawing.... and then you don't know what you actually should draw?
Look down! There you will find two very patient models - they're always there: your feet!

Will you let your feet inspire you today? Whatever you do, Make Awesome Art. For more inspiration, head on over to my website, koosjekoene.nl to join one of my classes today!

0 Comments on Draw Tip Tuesday - Draw Your Feet! as of 4/21/2015 3:45:00 AM
Add a Comment
18. The Isle of the Lost: A Descendants Novel | Book Giveaway

Enter to win a MEET THE DESCENDANTS prize pack! Giveaway begins April 21, 2015, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends May 20, 2015, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

Add a Comment
19. Common Core IRL: Looking at Persuasive Writing & Mentor Texts (ages 9-12)

Students and teachers around the US are writing persuasive essays with renewed interest, as the Common Core explicitly calls on students to write opinion pieces that support a point of view with reasons and information. See, for example, the ELA Writing Standard 5.1.

At the Emerson Library, we have been reading Can We Save the Tiger?, by Martin Jenkins, to see how he develops his argument and supports it with reasons and information. Read my full review of this terrific nonfiction picture book. Today, I want to take you into our concluding library lesson, where we examined Jenkins' text to see how we could learn from his writing.

We read the concluding two pages, projected on the screen. For each page, I asked students what key phrases they noticed that were particularly powerful. You'll see their responses in green below.

Students noticed that Jenkins began his conclusion with, "So you see, trying to save just one endangered species..." Their teacher drew this back to a phrase they had used in class: "As you can see..." Other students noticed the way he wrapped up his conclusion (see below) with a question to pull readers in: "And I think that would be a shame, don't you?"

We wanted a little more specifics about helping tigers, so we turned to online research. The World Wildlife Fund has several very helpful pages about problems tigers are facing and action we need to take. This makes terrific model writing. Here's just one of the sections we looked at and the students' responses.

This paragraph is written in the same form that students are using in their writing. The claim or argument is "One of the biggest threats to tigers in poaching." WWF supports this with evidence and then elaborates their reasons. Students noticed the way facts were included within this paragraph, as well as explanations. They drew attention to the following phrases:
  • "One of the biggest threats..."
  • "Poaching has reached critical levels..."
  • "Governments around the world must combat poaching..."
  • "Nepal has already proved..."
We talked about how they can use similar language in their own writing, regardless of the topic.

School librarians play an essential role in helping students develop their persuasive writing skills. We help identify mentor texts, for students to read on high-interest topics. Much of my work in this area has been influenced by Melissa Stewart's writing on mentor texts. I definitely recommend reading her wealth of posts about this topic.

School librarians also help students dig deeper into topics they care about, guiding them on authentic research. So much information is available on the Internet, but it is critical that we help students effectively find information they can read and understand. I used our library catalog's Destiny Web Path Express to target the WWF article.
This post is part of my larger body of work: Common Core IRL: In Real Libraries. My thinking and work in this area is greatly helped by conversations with fellow bloggers and friends, Alyson Beecher, Cathy Potter and Louise Capizzo. See our full presentation from last summer here.
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.

©2015 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

0 Comments on Common Core IRL: Looking at Persuasive Writing & Mentor Texts (ages 9-12) as of 4/21/2015 2:09:00 AM
Add a Comment
20. Social Media Etiquette

What not to do when using social media.

0 Comments on Social Media Etiquette as of 3/17/2015 5:21:00 PM
Add a Comment
21. Israeli book-price law

       Last year Israel passed legislation placing limits on book-discounting (previously widespread, especially among the market-dominating retailers), and it would be interesting to learn about the consequences of the implementation of this legislation.
       Unfortunately, what coverage one finds tends to be along the lines of Sharona Schwartz's New Israeli Law Mandates Price Controls for Books, Minimum Payments to Authors -- Here's What Happened to Sales After Just One Year at something calling itself 'The Blaze'.
       While several sources are cited, the only person who seems to have been interviewed for the piece is one "Boaz Arad, the head of the Ayn Rand Center's Israel branch", with predictable results -- quoted at length and offering such helpful textbook economic explanations as:

For example, Arad said, "If I can produce at the rate of $5 an hour -- that's what I'm worth to my employer -- maybe I'm not disciplined, maybe I'm disabled, but if you enact a minimum wage of $6 an hour, it means my employer will lose a dollar on every hour he will have me so the next day I'll lose my job."
       Much as readers no doubt appreciate the 'lesson' in basic economic theory ... well, there's considerable debate about the effects of minimum wage laws and this simplified version only makes the grade in your junior-high economics class. Beyond that, and more significantly: minimum wage laws are not really comparable to pricing laws of the sort under (ostensible) discussion.
       But good to see Arad 'understands' publishing -- and how authors can become successful ! --, offering helpful and insightful advice such as:
Almost the only way for unknown writers to become popular is to put their first book on sale, even to give it for free if possible, to publicize their name and get their audience and eventually make money from their writing,
       So that's the secret ! Now you know !

       As to the Israeli law in question: more (real) hard data and less ideologically tainted theorizing, please. Please.

Add a Comment
22. New Adult Fiction Genre - Contemporary Romance - #WriteTip

There is a new genre emerging..."New Adult" fiction for older teens aka college-aged readers. You never stop growing up, but little in the market seems to address the coming-of-age that also happens between the ages of Nineteen to Twenty-six. Life changes drastically once high school is over, you have college, first jobs, first internships, first adult relationships…

Part of the appeal of NA is that the storylines are about characters who are taking on adult responsibilities for the first time without guidance from their parents. And the storylines generally have a heavy romance element. 

Keep this in mind as you revise your wonderful story, New Adult books are mostly about that specific time in every person's life—the time when the apron strings are cut from your parents, you no longer have a curfew, you're experiencing the world for the very first time, in most cases, with innocent eyes. New Adult is this section of your life where you discover who you want to be, what you want to be, and what type of person you will become. This time defines you. This is the time of firsts, the time where you can't blame your parents for your own bad choices. 

An NA character has to take responsibility for their own choices and live with the consequences. Most storylines are about twenty-something (18 to 26) characters living their own lives without any parents breathing down their necks, and learning to solve things on their own as they would in real life. New Adult fiction focuses on switching gears, from depending on our parents to becoming full-fledged, independent adults.

I am a firm believer that if you’re going to write a certain genre that you should read it, too. So I’m going to recommend that you start devouring NA novels to get a real sense and understanding of the genre before you write one.

Here are some great recommendations: https://www.goodreads.com/genres/new-adult-romance and http://www.goodreads.com/genres/new-adult and https://www.goodreads.com/shelf/show/new-adult-romance

Just as YA is fiction about teens discovering who they are as a person, New Adult (NA) is fiction about building your own life as an actual adult. As older teen readers discover the joy of the Young Adult genres, the New Adult—demand may increase. This, in turn, would give writers the chance to explore the freedom of a slightly older protagonist (over the age of 18 and out of high school, like the brilliant novel, "BEAUTIFUL DISASTER" by the amazing talents of author, Jamie McGuire) while addressing more adult issues that early 20-year-olds must face.

Older protagonists (basically, college students) are surprisingly rare; in a panel on YA literature at Harvard’s 2008 Vericon, City of Bones author talked about pitching her novel, then about twenty-somethings, as adult fiction. After several conversations, Clare realized she had to choose between adults and teens. She went with teens.

Quote from the publisher, St. Martin’s Press: We are actively looking for great, new, cutting edge fiction with protagonists who are slightly older than YA and can appeal to an adult audience. Since twenty-somethings are devouring YA, St. Martin’s Press is seeking fiction similar to YA that can be published and marketed as adult—a sort of an “older YA” or “new adult.” In this category, they are looking for spunky but not stupid, serious but not dull, cutting-edge, supernatural stories.

Quote from Georgia McBride, author (Praefatio) and founder of #YALitChat and publisher at Month9Books: "New Adult is a fabulous idea in theory, and authors seem to be excited about it. But in a world where bookstores shelf by category, to them, it is either  Adult or Young Adult. Some booksellers even call their YA section “teen.” And when you have a character who is over a certain age (19 seems to be the age most consider the start of New Adult), it is received as Adult. In some cases, the designation by publishers causes more confusion than not.
Let’s face it, YA is associated with teens, and at 19, most no longer consider themselves teens. So, it would support the theory of placing these “New Adult” titles in the Adult section. However, with the prevalence of eBook content, it would seem that the powers that be could easily create a New Adult category if they really wanted to...."

There’s also a list on goodreads of New Adult book titles. These books focus on college age characters, late teens to early twenties, transitioning into the adult world.

Some popular authors of the NA category include:
  • Jamie McGuire
  • Jessica Park
  • Tammara Webber
  • Steph Campbell
  • Liz Reinhardt
  • Abbi Glines
  • Colleen Hoover 
  • Sherry Soule

Would you buy New Adult books? 
Does the genre appeal to you? 

Does it sound better than YA (teen novels)? 
Or are you happy with YA as it stands?

Do you consider YA to include characters that are over the age of eighteen? 

0 Comments on New Adult Fiction Genre - Contemporary Romance - #WriteTip as of 3/18/2015 4:48:00 PM
Add a Comment
23. Jewish Quarterly-Wingate Prize

       They've announced the (co-)winners of this year's Jewish Quarterly-Wingate Prize: Diary of the Fall (by Michel Laub) and Hanns and Rudolf (by Thomas Harding); see, for example, the report at The Jewish Chronicle.

Add a Comment
24. the garden was erased by the generations - II

temperas on a printed image i made with ink, over a poem by J.L.Borges

0 Comments on the garden was erased by the generations - II as of 4/21/2015 5:01:00 AM
Add a Comment
25. Literary Dogs

Dog LibrarianFamous Books Written by Literary Dogs

We already know that cats are literary geniuses. While people consider dogs to be “human’s best friend,” did you know that they’re also great writers? I had no idea how many famous books were written by dogs until I found this stash of books hidden out in the dog house . . . buried under a few of my dog’s favorite chew toys.

Can you identify these famous literary masterpieces written by dogs?Harry Potter Dog

  • Hairy Pawter and the Sorcerer’s Bone by J.K. Rawhide
  • The Woof According to Humphrey by Betty G. Bark-ney
  • Diary of a Wimpy Dog: Doggy Days by Jeff Kennel
  • Dear Dalmatian Diary by Jim Bone-ton
  • I Survived Hurricane CAT-trina by Lauren Terrier

Leave your answers in the Comments below, and let us know what books you would find in your dog library!

-Ratha, STACKS Writer

“The Librarian” Flickr photo by aussiegall adapted with permission
“Dog Looks Like Harry Potter” Flickr photo by Pets Advisor adapted with permission

Add a Comment

View Next 25 Posts