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1. Week in Review: April 19-25

Miss Marjoribanks. Margaret Oliphant. 1866. 512 pages. [Source: Bought] 
Dick Whittington and His Cat. Told and cut in linoleum by Marcia Brown. 1950. Simon & Schuster. 32 pages. [Source: Bought]
Board Book: The Babies and Doggies Book. John Schindel and Molly Woodward. 2015. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 26 pages. [Source: Review copy]
Board Book: This Little Piggy. A Finger & Toes Nursery Rhyme Book. Natalie Marshall. 2015. [May] Scholastic. 12 pages. [Source: Review copy]
Board book: Red Light, Green Light. Yumi Heo. 2015. [June] Scholastic. 20 pages. [Source: Review copy]
Jampires. Sarah McIntyre. Illustrated by David O'Connell. 2015. [June] Scholastic. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]
Side by Side. Rachel Bright. Illustrated by Debi Gliori. 2015. [April] Scholastic. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]
One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish. Dr. Seuss. 1960. Random House. 60 pages. [Source: Library]
Ramona's World. Beverly Cleary. 1999. HarperCollins. 240 pages. [Source: Library]
Ginger Pye. Eleanor Estes. 1950. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 306 pages. [Source: library]
Bo at Iditarod Creek. Kirkpatrick Hill. Illustrated by LeUyen Pham. 2014. Henry Holt. 288 pages. [Source: Library]
Green for Danger. Christianna Brand. 1944. 256 pages. [Source: Bought]
Dragon Flight. Jessica Day George. Bloomsbury USA. 272 pages. [Source: Library]
Hippos Are Huge. Jonathan London. Illustrated by Matthew Trueman. 2015. Candlewick. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]
A Life Observed: A Spiritual Biography of C.S. Lewis. Devin Brown. 2013. 256 pages. [Source: Library]
Gospel: Recovering the Power That Made Christianity Revolutionary. J.D. Greear. Foreword by Timothy Keller. 2011. B&H Books. 266 pages. [Source: Bought]
The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. C.S. Lewis. 1950. HarperCollins. 224 pages. [Source: Bought]

This week's recommendation(s):

I loved, loved, LOVED Miss Marjoribanks. I also really enjoyed rereading The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe.

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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2. Library Loot: Fourth Trip in April

New Loot:
  • The Turnip Princess and Other Newly Discovered Fairy Tales by Franz Zaver von Schonwerth
  • The Whole Story of the Bible in 16 Verses by Chris Bruno
  • The Sound Of Music Story by Tom Santopietro
  • Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  • Dr. Seuss's ABC
  • Dr. Seuss's Sleep Book
  • King's Cross by Timothy Keller
  • Ten Apples Up On Top by Dr. Seuss
  • The Sneetches and Other Stories by Dr. Seuss
  • Onion John by Joseph Krumgold 
Leftover Loot:
  • The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights by John Steinbeck
  • The Midwife's Tale by Sam Thomas
  • Three Musketeers by Alexander Dumas, translated by Richard Pevear
  • Murder at Mullings by Dorothy Cannell
  • Green Eggs & Ham by Dr. Seuss
  • Princess of the Silver Woods by Jessica Day George
  • Princess of Glass by Jessica Day George
  • Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George
  • The Black Cauldron by Lloyd Alexander
  • Les Miserables by Victor Hugo, translated and with notes by Christine Donougher
  • Cursed in the Act by Raymond Buckland
  • The Search for the Red Dragon by James A. Owen
  • The Just City by Jo Walton
  • Here, There Be Dragons by James A. Owen
  • The Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare
  • The Indigo King by James A. Owen
  • Enchantress from the Stars by Sylvia Louise Engdahl
  • War Bonds: Love Stories from the Greatest Generation by Cindy Hval
  • Emma: A Modern Retelling by Alexander McCall Smith
  • The Story of the Trapp Family Singers by Maria Augusta Trapp
  • Memories Before and After The Sound of Music by Agathe von Trapp
  • Mary Poppins, She Wrote: The Life of P.L. Travers by Valerie Lawson
  • George, Nicholas and Wilhelm: Three Royal Cousins and the Road to World War I by Miranda Carter
  • The Beauty and the Sorrow: An Intimate History of the First World War, Peter Englund, translated by Peter Graves.
  • Anastasia and Her Sisters by Carolyn Meyer
  • The Far Side of Evil by Sylvia Louise Engdahl
  • The War that Ended Peace: To Road to 1914 by Margaret MacMillan
  • Pete the Cat's Groovy Guide to Life by Kimberley and James Dean
  • Who Thinks Evil: A Professor Moriarty Novel by Michael Kurland
  • The Infernal Devices & Others: A Professor Moriarty Omnibus by Michael Kurland
  • The Empress of India: A Professor Moriarty Novel by Michael Kurland
  • The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson

      Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Linda from Silly Little Mischief that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.   

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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3. Newsletter-NEW!

Debbie Dadey is the author, with co-author Marcia Thornton Jones, of such best-selling reluctant readers children's series as The Adventures of the Bailey School Kids, The Swamp Monster in Third Grade, Slime Wars, Ghostville Elementary, The Bailey School Kids Junior Chapter Books, the Keyholders series and the Mermaid Tales series from Simon and Schuster.

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4. The Babies and Doggies Book

Board Book: The Babies and Doggies Book. John Schindel and Molly Woodward. 2015. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 26 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Lots of things babies do, doggies do too. Babies and doggies hide and peek. Babies and doggies like to eat.

Premise/plot: Photos and text reveal just how much babies and doggies have in common. The photos are adorable. If you find babies cute and adorable, you'll like the pictures. If you find dogs cute--especially puppies--then you'll like the pictures. If you like puppies and babies, you'll find the book precious.

My thoughts: I liked it. I did. I loved looking at the photographs. The text was very nice as well. The rhyming worked well and didn't get in the way. 

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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5. Anniversary Rituals

Every year, Stan and I celebrate our anniversary by attending the Inman Park Festival and buying art. We've been married 14 years, so we've gathered some nice items over time. Today we found our last festival treasure before we start some new traditions in Scotland. It's a lovely (little) print by Andrew Kosten of Gum Pal Press. I adored all his work, so it was hard to decide. Stan, of course, leaned toward the piece with wheels. Isn't he great? Click here or the image to go see more of Andrew's work (and maybe buy some for yourself)!

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6. Planting for Pollinators

I was inspired by one of my own characters to plant a “bee garden,” this spring, and today planted the better part of my wife’s little pocket of prairie with beardtongue, salvia, bee balm, black-eyed susans, coneflowers, thymus, verbena, coreopsis, asclepias, and yarrow. There’s an empty spot for milkweed we’re getting from a neighbor. The stuff in back is prairie grass that’s (mostly) been there for years.

pollinator garden

It doesn’t look like much now, but by mid-summer most of these guys will be 2-4 feet high, in bloom, humming with bees and crawling with caterpillars. My wife even supports this venture though she doesn’t like butterflies, but it will be hard not to be taken in by the potential magic of watching, with our bug-loving boy, a monarch nudging its way out of a chrysalis one late summer morning. Thanks to a book by a local author, he is also expecting bison.

Filed under: Miscellaneous Tagged: bees, gardening, monarchs, native grasses and forbs, phyllis root, plant a pocket of prairie, pollinators

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7. An Appreciation -British Creator Ben R. Dilworth

There are UK comic creators who deserve to get far more recognition than they do. I have highlighted some of these in the past but  it is worth mentioning one other.  Ben R. Dilworth.

Now the man inked over my pencils "in the day" (which is what we call the period 1986-1990) on strips such as Liz & Jen: Coming Out and D-Gruppe: Revenge of the Ice Queen.

He was also self-publishing Small Press comics under his Penguinflight banner and seemed to be  contributing to every small press comic going -Bum Comic, Creepy Crawlies, Zine Ager, Hardware -it is a bloody long list and the legendary Picasso Cafe must never be forgotten!

Neither do I forget Dilworth stapling Black Tower Adventure issues across his knee at the old Bath marts.  Nor the experimental acetate, spray-painted covers for Previews Comic or a dozen other mad things.

We ought to, really, forget the most famous and now nearly lost legendary visit of Dilworth and Andrew Hope (who recently worked for Marvel Comics) to Bristol.  The drunken outrages committed -including throwing up over the window of comic shop, Forever People, or the very long discussion between the two on the movie A Company of Wolves which kind of resulted in the 0300 hours incident of me wielding a bread-knife......yeah, let's forget that.

Anyhow, The Tall Man wrote and drew for comics such as Fantaco's Taboo, Eternity Comics Killing Stroke and Trident Comics (PLEASE no one mention Trident to Paul Ashley Brown!!) The Shadowmen written by some Scots bloke...uh, Mark Millar.

He can also claim to be, as the artist, co-creator of Pete Wisdom, initially created by Warren Ellis and drawn by Ben , in a pitch for "Electric Angel" for publisher Trident Comics.

Didn't know all that did you?


Here are some of his credits from a data base I just stumbled across at http://comicbookdb.com/creator.php?ID=8028

Killing Stroke (1991)


Killing Stroke (1991) The Shadowmen (1990) Taboo (1988)


Gore Shriek (1986) Gore Shriek (1990) Killing Stroke (1991) The Shadowmen (1990) Shriek (1989) Taboo (1988) Trident (1989)


Gore Shriek (1990)
Killing Stroke (1991)
And over recent years The Tall One has had work published by Black Tower -including his Award winning Haiku (in English), Aesop's Fables, Purple Hood, Runestone, Chronos:The Watchman -and much, much more that has ensured Black Tower titles such as Adventure were able to carry on after a rough patch.

The man is a fecking comic book genius.  WFT is he not working full time in comics and getting paid??!
Calming down a bit....deep breath.  Seriously, check out the Black Tower lulu.com store front and you'll find Dilworth work.  Maybe one day he'll get a creator byline for Pete Wisdom, hmm?
From myself I'd like to offer him a big THANK YOU.

You wait, I'll make him famous yet.  Poor but famous!

And I went and forgot Loaded number 1 from 1991 in which I wrote and pencilled Graveyard  and Dilworth  inked and lettered!

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8. 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #429: Featuring Charles Santoso

– From Sean Ferrell’s I Don’t Like Koala
(Click to see spread in its entirety)


– From Jessica Young’s Spy Guy
(Click to enlarge)


I’ve got a review over at BookPage of Sean Ferrell’s I Don’t Like Koala (Atheneum, April 2015), illustrated by Charles Santoso. That is here, and I’ve got some art from the book here today at 7-Imp.

To boot, I’ve got some illustrations from another Santoso-illustrated book, Jessica Young’s Spy Guy, coming to bookshelves in May from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, the story of a very loud, very bumbly spy and his “Chief” (a.k.a. his dad). Looks like the Spy Guy illustrations were created digitally, and the Koala illustrations were colored digitally — but originally created in pencil. There’s a definite difference in the two; there’s more texture, for one thing, in the Koala illustrations, and the Spy Guy illustrations channel more of a traditional cartoon vibe, which is fitting for this light and fun slapstick story.

Santoso, who lives in Australia, is an animation-studio concept artist/art director by day and illustrator by night! Here’s a bit more art from both books. Enjoy. …


Art from Sean Ferrell’s I Don’t Like Koala:


(Click to see spread in its entirety)


(Click to enlarge)



Art from Jessica Young’s Spy Guy:


“So Spy Guy went to Headquarters to see the Chief. ‘Chief!’ he said. ‘Tell me the secret to spying!’ ‘Spy Guy,’ said the Chief, ‘that you must discover for yourself.
But if you seek to sneak, try not to speak.'”

(Click to enlarge)


“Spy Guy put on his brand-new shoes. He didn’t make a sound as he crept through town. But … everyone saw him coming.”
(Click to enlarge)




I DON’T LIKE KOALA. Text copyright © 2015 by Sean Ferrell. Illustrations copyright © 2015 by Charles Santoso. Illustrations reproduced by permission of the publisher, Atheneum Books for Young Readers, New York.

SPY GUY: THE NOT-SO-SECRET AGENT. Text copyright © 2015 by Jessica Young. Illustrations copyright © 2015 by Charles Santoso. Illustrations reproduced by permission of the publisher, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Boston.

* * *

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

* * * Jules’ Kicks * * *

I’m typing this while listening to President Obama’s remarks at the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner, and it’s funny stuff. (The Anger Translator made me laugh outloud.) My kicks 1-7 will be that — and, selfishly, I want to hear the rest of it, so I’m off! But tell me …

What are YOUR kicks this week?

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9. Red light, Green Light

Board book: Red Light, Green Light. Yumi Heo. 2015. [June] Scholastic. 20 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Let's take a ride. Here's your seat! We'll drive down this: One way street!

Premise/plot: Red Light, Green Light is a concept board book on driving and road signs. It's a lift-the-flap book. Each sign is a flap that can be lifted to reveal what it means.

My thoughts: It's okay. Not wow-worthy perhaps. It's obviously focusing more on the teaching elements, but, it does have a slight story to it. The family is on the way to the playground. Some of the rhymes work okay for me. Some don't. For example, "Slow down, car, the brakes go pop. Traffic light says red means stop."

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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10. IF: Tense

Tension, Doubt, Performance anxiety… Can he catch it? Can it get away?

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11. The Tale Of My Comic Book Artist Alter Ego Back Issue


Due to a few problems I took today off from drawing or doing much other than the previously posted item about bagging or not bagging my zines.  But I did take the opportunity to catalogue my comic magazines like Alter Ego.

I had Alter Ego volume 2 on Standing Order (SO) at Forbidden Planet but after one excuse after another it was not until I told the then manager that I'd contact the guy who owned FP (I'd only met him twice but it was a good bluff -hey, I worked in the comics industry) my SO started with No.9. I'm not kidding.

Thereafter it was an on-off fight to get the damn magazine.  All the usual "distributors fault" and other excuses.  "I have it on order so we need to wait for it to arrive".  Next week I asked and the man checked but no issue was on order. 

The same happened with Back Issue, Comic Book Artist.  Now, remember these were ALL on SO and I was literally pestering every week to make sure I got a copy though I did get really **** off when I was told my copies were sold to someone who walked in and asked about the titles.  Not even a regular customer.

The list tells the story so:

#3   #4
Comic Book Artist
9    12   13   14  15  16  17   18   19   20   21   22   23   24  25 (last issue and the fight to get #23-25 was near titanic!)

Back Issue
2   3   4   5  6  8   9   12   13  14  17   18   19   21   23   25   26   27   29   32   34  38   40   41    42   43   44   45   46   48   49    50   51   52    53   54   55   57   58   59   60   62   64

Alter Ego
9  10  11  12  14  15  17  18 19  20  21  22  23  24  25  26  27  29  30  31  32  33  34  35  36  37  38  39  40  41  42  43  44  45  46  47  48  49  50  51  52  53  54  55  56  57  58  59  60  62  63  64  65  66  67  68  69  70  71  72  73  74  75  76  77  78  80  81  82  83  84  85  86  89  90  91  92   95  96  97 98  99  100  101  102  103  104  105  106   107  108  109  110  111 113  114  115  116  117

Now those are some weird gaps and I only found out later that friends of people working in the stores (yes, we are talking three different stores each promising that they "will guarantee" that I never miss an issue again!) got my copies because something in it interested them.  Now that really does make a mockery of the prominent sign:

      "Standing Order -NEVER miss an issue again!"

Horse shit with flies to that.

So why did I stop at Alter Ego 117?  Well, I could no longer stomach what Marvel and DC were churning out so stopped buying.  But at least I'd get my mags.  No.  What?  Well, it was made very clear to me that if I was no longer going to have a comics SO then they could not guarantee my magazine SO.  WHY? All I got was a shrug.

Seriously, comic shops want to survive then they need to treat their customers with respect. 

These are a lot of issues and I doubt I'll ever get the ones missing which is a pity as I loved Alter Ego in particular.

But one thing I did think while going through these: if anything the UK needs a Platinum and Golden Ages publication.  Never know, it might happen!


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12. Reminder: Apply to Host the 2016 Arbuthnot Lecture!

Pat Mora Arbuthnot Lecturer

Pat Mora will deliver the 2016 Arbuthnot Lecture (image courtesy of Pat Mora)

ALSC and the 2016 May Hill Arbuthnot Lecture Committee are proud to announce the opening of the application to host the 2016 event featuring award-winning children’s book author and pioneering literacy advocate Pat Mora.

Host site application forms can be downloaded at the Arbuthnot site. Applications are due May 15, 2015. Information about host site responsibilities is included in the application materials. The lecture traditionally is held in April or early May.

Born and raised in El Paso, Texas, Mora grew up bilingual and bicultural. With degrees in English and speech, she was a teacher and university administrator before writing children’s books. Known for her lyrical style, Mora’s poetry and prose have won numerous awards, including a 2005 Belpré Honor Medal for text for “Doña Flor: A Tall Tale of a Giant Woman with a Great Big Heart,” published by Knopf Books for Young Readers, and illustrated by Raul Colón. Her generosity for sharing bookjoy, the phrase she coined for the power and pleasure of words, led Mora to launch “Día,” which will observe its 20th anniversary in 2016.

The post Reminder: Apply to Host the 2016 Arbuthnot Lecture! appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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13. people making fab stuff

My friend Laurence wanted some company doing his homework today and I amused myself having a little chat with him about copyright. ...Actually, his © is completely valid! He doesn't have to register copyright anywhere to make the picture completely his. When he draws a picture, he immediately has the copyright. (Whether he can defend it, is another thing.) We got the leafy layout idea and adapted his poster from the cover of Gary Northfield's comic book, Gary's Garden.

One of the most exciting things about my job is seeing people who've been inspired by my books, using them as a jumping-off point to creating their own pieces of artwork, costumes and stories. Look, it's a Sea Monkey jumper! And the chap who's wearing it also named Oliver! Big thanks to his aunt, who designed and knitted it and sent the photo to my co-author Philip Reeve and me!

Check out this Oliver and the Seawigs bedroom wall mural, tweeted by @Brazgosuperstar. Pretty amazing!

Hurrah! A Lego Rambling Isle, wearing a Seawig, tweeted by Andy Lacey.

When the Children's Book Club met up at Booka Bookshop in Shropshire, they made their own Seawigs! (If you'd like a Seawig template, you can download one here off my website.)

And one more, a photo of a very realistic-looking Seawig, tweeted by Gareth P Jones.

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14. Publishing in ... Kenya

       Always fun to see the local complaints -- though admittedly it's also a bit depressing to see such problems and issues appear to be universal -- as in The Standard Abenea Ndago notes there are Few arguments that publishers and editors will never win.
       Ndago doesn't mince words:

The universe of locust feeding on the grass of Kenyan literature is presided over by a clueless generation of publisher CEOs that is probably a hundred times more traditional than the old people they usually accuse of this disease.
We did not initially know it, but it should now be clear that the second biggest stumbling block to the growth of Kenyan literature -- second only to State House -- is the Kenyan publisher.

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15. 100 Years—Armenian Genocide by Pablo Gostanian

On its centennial, a tribute to the 1.5 million victims of the unrecognized Armenian Genocide.

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16. Murder on the Thirty-First Floor review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Per Wahlöö's Murder on the Thirty-First Floor -- a recent re-translation of his 1964 novel (originally published in English as The Thirty-First Floor, in 1967).

       Wahlöö is of course best known for his Martin Beck series, co-written with his wife, Maj Sjöwall, but he also wrote several novels on his own, including this one, the first in his Inspector Jensen diptych.
       In the US Vintage Crime/Black Lizard have re-issued five of his solo efforts -- I had previously reviewed The Generals -- and this one was certainly worth resurrecting (and re-translating).

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17. C2E2 2015: Marvel Secret Wars “Battleworld” Panel

The second of Marvel’s Secret Wars themed panels focuses on “Battleworld”. Senior Editor Nick Lowe was joined by James Robinson, Joshua Williamson, editors Jake Thomas and Jon Moisan, and Secret Wars writer Jonathan Hickman.

Nick Lowe kicked off the panel by asking Jonathan Hickman to describe the main “Secret Wars” book. The event is the culmination of his grand design for his Avengers run. Hickman also praised his artist Esad Ribic as Lowe showed off pages from issue #1. Pages which featured characters locked in battle. When Hickman was asked to talk about what happens in the opening, he answered by quipping, “Everybody Dies.”

Next up Lowe showed the covers for Inhumans: Attilan Rising, which will be written by Charles Soule with art by John Timms. Soule himself described the book as “in-line with Casablanca.” The cast of characters include an all-new version of the Hulk, Undead G-Man, a Ghost Rider, and Mega-Rad.


Lowe transitioned into Ultimate End, written by Bendis with art by Mark Bagley. Lowe talked about wanting to keep secrets about these series so the twist and turns will have the emotional impact intended. (Maybe don’t start talking about post Secret Wars before the event begins)


More details emerged about Master of Kung-fu from the team of Haden Blackman and Dalibor Talajic. It takes place mostly in K’un-Lun, but in this alternate version of the mystical city, everyone is a martial arts master. This part of Battleworld has several schools of martial arts taught by alternate versions of their characters; including aBlack Panther School, a Spider-Man School and a White Tiger dojo. An underground tournament between all determines who runs this part of Battleworld and Shang-chi will have to go up against his own father. It was mentioned that Talajic is a martial artist and has been waiting years to do a story like this.

In keeping with the fight theme the group talked about the Secret Wars: Battleworld anthology series. The first issue will feature a story by Williamson about a Doctor Strange-powered Punisher fighting a demonic Fantastic Four. Editor Moisan teased more outlandish battles such as Blade fighting Howard the Duck, Egyptian Silver Surfer will take on a crocodile version of Abomination, and old West Deadpool fightingDevil Dinosaur.


Williamson talked a little bit about Red Skull. His book has a version of the character that is supposed to be dead and his influence is still felt in the realm. A group of heroes will enter the deadlines to either verify the rumors or kill the Red Skull.

Next up was Secret Wars: Journal. The series will be a place for parts of Battleworld that don’t have a series of their own. One of Kevin Wada’s covers shows Kate Bishop from the ‘1602’ universe where she is a Robin Hood-esque figure.

The group touched on Thors, but not much was given outside of a bit of art. It’s the series most fans and critics are excited for, especially featuring the art of Chris Sprouse. (Can someone do a Too Many Cooks/Thors mashup?)

THORS-2-VAR-dc480-1fb0e THORS-2-01127-7e666

James Robinson talked about Marvel Zombies vs. Age of Ultron. The series is about a pocket of humanity in the middle of a war between the undead superheroes and Bendis version of elements of the Age of Ultron. Robinson described it as, “mayhem, violence and black comedy, but there’s also these characters that love each other trying to survive.”

As the presentation started to run long Lowe quickly ran through the other Marvel Zombies book, along with covers for Ghost Riders, and Star-Lord and Kitty Pryde.

Thomas talked about Siege by Kieron Gillen. The series will have three double-paged spreads drawn by guests artists. It’s premise is about a part of the Battleworld called “the Shield” which is attacked by Ultrons and Zombies. The cast which includes versions of Scott Summers, America Chavez, Kang and the 1602 Kate Bishop are forced to be on the wall defending this part of the planet.

The presentation portion ended with the newly announced Secret Wars: Secret Love. It looks like Marvel is going to dive back into romance comics with the cover featuring Ms. Marvel and Robbie Reyes. Creators involved include Katie Cook, Michel Fiffe, Felipe Smith, Jeremy Whitley, and more.



Strange that this title got a Battleworld banner. Now we hope one of these stories mimics the song “Love is a Battlefield” or when they did it on South Park.

Sunday morning, the third part of these Secret Wars panels wraps things up with “Warzones”.

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18. NPM Project: Jumping Into Form - Interview with Joan Bransfield Graham

In preparation for sharing forms this month, I wrote to a number of poets and asked if they would respond to a short list of questions on poetry, writing, and form. I'm thrilled every time one responds positively and find they have all been extremely generous with their time.

Today I'm sharing the thoughts of Joan Bransfield Graham, author of the books Splish Splash (2001), Flicker Flash (2003), and The Poem That Will Not End (2014). In addition to these books, Joan's poetry for children has been published in numerous anthologies, textbooks, and children's magazines.
How do you begin a poem? OR How does a poem begin for you — with an idea, a form, an image, or something else? 
Joan: There are so many ways that poems tempt me to write them. Sometimes it starts with "a rhythm, a rhythm and a rhyme" and, then just like Ryan O'Brian, I'm off and writing. After we went on a family camping trip to Yosemite and hiked up Vernal Falls on the Cold Shower Trail, I wrote a "Waterfall" poem. When I thought about how it might look on the page, I decided to experiment with shaping it like a waterfall. Whole stanzas solidified into "Ice Cubes," I froze words into a "Popsicle," and took a "Shower" in words . . . Splish Splash evolved. Having an ongoing interest in photography, I often think of poems as wide-angle (the big picture) or telephoto (zoom in for the details) poems.  With poetry, as with my camera, I can capture a moment in time, an emotion, a new perspective. I like to play with the shape of language and the language of shape. Also, if you rub words together, how can you not ignite a spark?

How do you choose the form of your poems?
Joan: Perhaps the poems choose their own forms, the one that fits best. It helps to try out various forms for the same idea to see which is the most effective. Musicians jazz our world with soul, rock, classical. Artists amaze with oil paints, watercolor, collage. Poets surprise our senses and shake us awake with delicious forms and voices to best express what they want to say. It is exciting to have so many options. It's fun to experiment until it clicks, and you know you've found the perfect fit. Former U.S. Poet Laureate Stanley Kunitz said, "A common fallacy is to think that a poem begins with a meaning which then gets dressed up in words. On the contrary, a poem is language surprised in the act of changing into meaning."  

Are there any forms you haven't tried but would like to? Why or why not?
Joan: I'm always eager to try something new. I have information in my files about the Arabic ghazal and might have to give that a try. An example is Patricia Smith's "Hip-Hop Ghazal." I just got home from the gym where I stretched my way through yoga with peaceful music in the background and then danced through a loud Zumba class with hip-hop, Middle Eastern, and salsa rhythms. A woman said to me, "My brain is ready, but my body's not." I don't think she actually spoke in iambic pentameter, but that's how I remembered it. Music and dance can have repetitive movements and moves, and I am thinking maybe I need to write a Zumba/exercise/dance villanelle.

I'm quite fond of the villanelle. Here's "Fever," compliments of Ryan O'Brain, from THE POEM THAT WILL NOT END. When I wrote this, I had visions of Amadeus at his creative crescendo and could hear Peggy Lee singing and snapping her fingers. I've color-coded the repeating lines. When I'm working on a villanelle, I fill in the repeating lines I've chosen and then work backwards, forward, around—it's an intriguing challenge. I'm planning to use this for a choral reading sometime with one side of the room reading the red lines and the other side reading the blue lines. I have written those lines on large strips of oaktag. Then students can see and feel this form before they encounter Dylan Thomas' "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night" and Elizabeth Bishop's "One Art." I dedicate this to all poets, artists, actors, and musicians who have a fever to create. 


I cannot stop this fever in my brain,
I feel compelled to write, and write, and write.
Day in, day out, the words just fall like rain.

Is there some way that I can plug the drain—
To rescue me, to save me from this plight?
I cannot stop this fever in my brain.

I’ve stepped on board a rhythm kind of train,
That’s traveling, zooming at the speed of light.
Day in, day out, the words just fall like rain.

What made this happen no one can explain,
I toss and turn and twist each sleepless night.
I cannot stop this fever in my brain.

What’s that? You say that I should not complain?
I’m tired and hungry, but you might be right.
Day in, day out, the words just fall like rain.

Now, I just wrote this villanelle refrain.
Hey . . . maybe I should NOT put up a fight.
I cannot stop this fever in my brain.
Day in, day out, the words just fall like rain.

Poem ©Joan Bransfield Graham. All rights reserved.

What tools (rhyming dictionary, book of forms, etc.) do you use in writing poetry (if any)?
Joan: My senses are the most important tools. (A Natural History of the Senses by Diane Ackerman is a terrific book.) I don't own a rhyming dictionary. If I'm looking for a rhyme, I go through the alphabet in my head for possibilities. Myra Cohn Livingston's Poem Making, Mary Oliver's A Poetry Handbook, and Edward Hirsch's How to Read a Poem and Fall in Love with Poetry are all resources I enjoy using. And, of course, reading lots of stimulating poetry. What would you like students or children to know about poetry?

What would you like students or children to know about poetry?
Joan: My I'd like them to know that poetry is fun, useful, and a great adventure. Each poem is an act of discovery; you can learn more about yourself and more about the world around you; it helps us widen our vision and our hearts. Poetry is a bridge that connects us and allows us to step into another's experiences, ideas, life. We are all connected, and nowhere is that connection stronger than in poetry. C. S. Lewis said "We read to know we are not alone." When someone responds to what we have written, then we are singing a duet.

Finally, one of your esteemed colleagues suggested I ask for a poem in a foreign verse form. Would you be willing to share a poem for this project?
Joan: Edward Hirsch reports that "pattern poems have been found in Greek, Latin, Hebrew, Chinese, Sanskrit, ancient Persian, and in most modern European languages." Today we often use the term "concrete" (the opposite of "abstract")—having a definite form. The Pattern Poem shows a visual relationship between form and meaning. And so I offer two versions of my poem "Birthday Candles" from Flicker Flash—one in English and then the same poem in a foreign language—Japanese. What an amazing job they did! The Japanese version of Flicker Flash came out in 2013 from Fukuinkan Shoten, Japanese text ©Chie Fujita. I am astonished they were able to translate the poems and maintain the shapes so successfully.
To refer back to question #1, when I was attempting to write this poem,  I put candles on a cake, lit them, and sat alone at the dining room table in the dark.  I thought about all the celebrations we had experienced around that table . . . and the glowing faces, which made all those occasions so special.

A million thanks to Joan for participating in my Jumping Into Form project this month.

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19. C2E2 2015: Marvel Secret Wars “Last Days” Panel

Marvel is bringing their Secret Wars to the second city all weekend at C2E2 2015. Kicking things off are the “Last Days” of the Marvel U. To talk about these events the publisher assembled Dan Slott, Ryan Stegman, Al Ewing, Dennis Hopeless, editor Jon Moisan, and Charles Soule.

The presentation kicked off with Ms. Marvel #16, which sees the return of artist and Kamala Khan’s co-creator Adrian Alphona on art duties, with co-creator and series writer G. Willow Wilson leading the young Ms. Marvel into her biggest adventure yet of her very brief superhero career. We already know that the young Kamala is part of the All-New All-Different Avengers post Secret War, this arc could however change the direction of the character for the future.

Magneto #18 will begin his journey through his last days arc. The group gave few new details about what we’ll see but did mention Sugarman will be a part of the arc. All the characters we’ve seen in the series will be uniquely affected by the incursion.

Image Credit:  Marvel

Image Credit:

A sliver of Black Widow was shown as the group teased issue #19. Her story will feature the character in the present while still showing the beginnings of Natasha’s story. We’ll see one of her most horrible moments during her Red Room days. It looks to be a very emotional last days for Black Widow.

The Punisher’s last days will see the character pushed to his end physically and emotionally. As the entire run will culminate in this story, the team is going all out with balls to the wall action. Now it seems that the series could be ending to make way for a possible new series written by CM Punk.

Al Ewing talked about Captain America and The Mighty Avengers. His goal is to break as many hearts as possible. As he talked about when the announcement was first made, his story will look at the world crumbling around the team. It’s a story told from the readers point of view.

Image Credit: Marvel

Image Credit:

Loki: Agent of Asgard #14-15 will see scores settled between the gods of Asgard in a total war ignited by King Loki. The writer teased a returning element from the Simonson run that will blow readers minds.

Dan Slott in typical fashion played with the crowd by asking if everyone was worried about what will happen post Secret Wars. Jokingly, according to him it’s all “GONE!” He’ll continue working with amazing team of Mike and Laura Allred on the last days of Silver Surfer. He did drop a few tidbits about the upcoming arc. Surfer will survie in the void and be given the power to recreate the universe. This arc will examine the question about what to do with infinite power.

The group announced Ant-Man: Last Days #1, which goes on sale in August. Scott Lang will be teaming up with a golden age hero we’ve already seen but don’t know the identity of. Last Days of Ant-Man will not be a new series but instead just a one-shot with the creative team of Nick Spencer and Ramon Rosanas.



You can watch all the C2E2 goodness through lifestream on their website here

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20. Jungle Jaguars at Scribble Kids!

We had the fiercest artists around today at Peninsula Art Academy!


By Marymaking

I got my jungle jaguar inspiration from Mary Making.  She created her own jungle jaguar using paper collage and colored pencils. I love the mixed media approach, but we didn’t have time for watercolors to dry today.
I decided to go a step further and teach the kids how to create a foreground, middle and background using collage elements. But first, we created our jaguar close-ups with a guided drawing that explored blending and shading. So proud of how much the kids absorbed!


jaguar sketch

Maura’s jaguar drawing

Next the kids cut out their jaguars, and I gave them big construction paper to create their ‘background’ rain forest.

We used oil pastels and colored pencils to draw our jungle scene. Then we added the ‘middle ground’ or the middle of our scene, by collaging paper leaves and water. Finally we added the ‘foreground’ of our pictures, and glued our super-big jaguars and leaves in front.

The kids used their imaginations with the rain forest scenery, but we also had reference images for inspiration!


Dexter’s jungle jaguars are fighting!

Thatcher's Jungle Jaguar

By Thatcher, age 7

Jungle Jaguar

By Maura, age 6

Jungle Jaguars

By Dexter, age 10

The post Jungle Jaguars at Scribble Kids! appeared first on Scribble Kids.

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21. Psst. Enjoying The Forever Girls?

Click to embiggen. Happy Weekend! Enjoy The Forever Girls, a little tale by graphic novelist and cartoonist (& Melissa Wiley's beau) Scott Peterson, with artwork by artist and animator Monica Bruenjes. So much to love here: Snow White is seriously... Read the rest of this post

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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? 

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23. Debbie Dadey, Children's Author

Debbie Dadey is the author, with co-author Marcia Thornton Jones, of such best-selling reluctant readers children's series as The Adventures of the Bailey School Kids, The Swamp Monster in Third Grade, Slime Wars, Ghostville Elementary, The Bailey School Kids Junior Chapter Books, the Keyholders series and the Mermaid Tales series from Simon and Schuster.

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24. Social Media Etiquette

What not to do when using social media.

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25. This Little Piggy (2015)

Board Book: This Little Piggy. A Finger & Toes Nursery Rhyme Book. Natalie Marshall. 2015. [May] Scholastic. 12 pages. [Source: Review copy]

 First sentence: This little piggy went to the market.

Premise/Plot: A board book adaptation of the traditional nursery rhyme. Though these little piggies won't be eating any roast beef. I don't have a problem with adapting any of the lines. That's part of the fun of playing little piggies.

My thoughts: I enjoyed this one! I love the sturdiness of the pages. I think the pages will be easy for little hands to turn. All books--even board books--can be "loved" too much and wear out quickly. But this one seems a little better than some I've read and reviewed. I thought the illustrations were nice.

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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