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By: Terry Hooper-Scharf,
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Did you know Aquaman was in Man of Steel? Never saw him? You wouldn't have. When Superman saves oil rig workers he is knocked unconscious into the sea. We see him open his eyes and he sees a pod of whales. He then blacks out but wakes up on the beach.
Apparently, the whale pod rescued Superman at Aquaman's request.
I'm waiting for the Lois Lane as a naked pole-dancer deleted scene to surface. It was there. I swear -behind that wall you see Superman fly past.
Anyway, check out 30;00 minutes in...
Here, check it out -Aquaman's non-appearance.
Blog: The Open Book
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Common Core State Standards
, Educator Resources
, ELL/ESL and Bilingual Books
, children's books
, close reading
, ELA common core standards
, Reading Aloud
, reading comprehension
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This week we are tackling what parents can do once they hear those magical words, “Your child has a Lexile score of…” For strategies for teachers and booksellers on navigating leveling systems and building a community, check out here and here.
For parents who want to help your children find a book at their levels:
1. Ask teachers what leveling system they are using to assess your child’s reading growth.
- What does this system measure?
- What does a book at this level look like? Below-level book? Above-level book?
- What are examples of books and series that are on this level?
- Where can I find out more information about this leveling system and books measured using it?
2. Research books and this leveling system for yourself online. Publishers and the leveling systems themselves often have books leveled. Additionally, there are many booklists already out there. Remember, your child isn’t the only one to ever have achieved a Lexile level 620. Someone has made a list before you.
- For pre-made lists: Literacy organizations, such as Reading Rockets, ReadWorks.org, and Reading is Fundamental, have created top-notch reading lists. Libraries, such as Phoenix Public Library who built its own reader’s service to search titles by Lexile, often have ready-made booklists by grade and theme.
- To create your own: Search by book titles or by levels on Scholastic Book Wizard, Perma-Bound, Lexile’s Find a Book, Accelerated Reader BookFinder, and specific publishers like Lee & Low.
3. Do not assume that a library or bookstore will know what these levels are or mean. Ask your child’s teacher for a conversion chart to other leveling systems or download your own (see above). Download one from Reading Rockets, Booksource, Scholastic Guided Reading Program, Lexile, or Lee & Low. Also ask for booklists for Lexile levels the child should explore and take them with you to the library or bookstore.
4. If you have a child who is reading significantly above his or her typical grade level and are concerned that higher levels equal too mature content or themes, look for expository nonfiction. Nonfiction often has higher technical and academic vocabulary bumping up the Lexile or Accelerated Reader levels (as they measure linguistic complexity), but the themes and concepts won’t be mature. Is your child reading a grade or two above peers and absolutely loved the science unit on forces and motion? Find sciences books that align with your child’s science or social studies units. Your child will be able to explore more in-depth about forces than will be covered in class. Check out the annual Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Medal winner and honors list and iNK (Interesting Nonfiction for Kids) Think Tank for award-winning nonfiction titles.
5. Most importantly, continue to expose your child to a wide range of genres, levels, and text sources. Just because your child achieved a Lexile level 920 doesn’t mean the child should only read books at a Lexile level 920. Your child’s teacher may assign homework with reading passages at specific reading levels, but it’s important for students to engage with texts that aren’t leveled as most books in bookstores and libraries won’t be. We interact with texts of all kinds throughout our day, including nutrition labels, newspaper articles, advertisements, recipes, and road signs. The real world does not provide children with texts at their level all the time and we need to work with them to develop reading strategies to cope when they come across more challenging texts. Moreover, we want our readers to develop their love of reading, along with skills and critical thinking. This may include our children seeking out and re-reading favorites or comfort books that happen to be lower leveled (who hasn’t indulged on a silly summer beach read every now and then?) or trying harder books that happen to be on their favorite subject (who can resist those stunning books filled with multisyllable Greek- and Latin-derived names of awe-inspiring dinosaurs?).
For further reading:
7 Strategies to Help Booksellers and Librarians Navigate Lexile
8 Strategies to Help Educators Explain Lexile and Invest Stakeholders
What have we missed? Please share in the comments your tricks, tips, and ideas for helping families and children navigate the bookshelves.
Jill Eisenberg, our Resident Literacy Specialist, began her career teaching English as a Foreign Language to second through sixth graders in Yilan, Taiwan as a Fulbright Fellow. She went on to become a literacy teacher for third grade in San Jose, CA as a Teach for America corps member. She is certified in Project Glad instruction to promote English language acquisition and academic achievement. In her column she offers teaching and literacy tips for educators.
Filed under: Common Core State Standards
, Educator Resources
, ELL/ESL and Bilingual Books
, children's books
, close reading
, ELA common core standards
, Reading Aloud
, reading comprehension
By: Terry Hooper-Scharf,
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I may go a little quiet as I am preparing books, etc., for the upcoming shows so don't panic if I go ansent from CBO (news ought to still continue!),
By: Terry Hooper-Scharf,
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Well, the news is out. DC comics are getting darker and darker and their movies and TV series are also going that way. However,
Disney Comics has a solution.
Disney is known as a "family friendly" company -as was Marvel Comics. Archie Comics appears to have tried to take over that mantle. Disney ain't having that.
Disney executives are quite pleased with the money quite literally spilling in from the movie franchise and all the goodies that spin out of that. However, as the statistics show, 'Marvel' Comics are losing money. It's one reboot after another. One number one followed by another number one. "Gimmick" covers to try to cash in that just are not working.
Now, Germanys top weekly magazine dealing with movies and pop culture, Großer Witz, has incurred Disney wrath by publishing an interview in its October that should not have seen print until next April.
We all know this "Eight months Later" thing is going on. The Avengers will shoot ahead to April 2015 while all other titles continue normally. But why? What sense does it make? Why are the Avengers titles months ahead of others?Eristein Lügner of Großer Witz was one of several top journalists who were given advance interviews for what Disney calls in the interview "the enormously ground-breaking event in comics history" which is a big statement, right?
It is pointed out in the interview, which was quickly taken offline after legal threats from Disney (but the magazine is still out there), that "April Fools Day" starts off April. There is a bit about past Marvel April Fool gags and then it gets to the crunch. Gag
The Avengers have been on a time-quest (anyone remember when Tony Stark went rogue in the final issues of volume 1 of The Avengers?) and this actually ties in with the Avengers Forever series and Immortus. Realising what has been going on in the Marvel Universe and the many multiple threats posed that they cannot possibly defeat, the Avengers join forces with Immortus and later Kang (who is...well you know all that stuff) and "set things right".
Disney/Marvel explain that they thought it was about time to "tidy house -get continuity set and go back to the family company Marvel was -without losing the creative edge". So, remember all those retro "hommage" covers that have been appearing in the last year and constant talk of "Marvels proud heritage"? It was all PART of the build up. Hold on to your seats.....
.....In April, 2015, the Marvel Universe as it exists now will cease. The entire line is being rebooted back to the old 1960s/1970s volume 1 universe! WHAAAAAT??!!!!!! Lügner notes that the movies are seen as a seperate "Marvel-film-Universum" - "Marvel movie universe" with all its spin-offs, etc., but that the comics universe will "harken back to the great House of Ideas of that (Silver Age) period"
What is odd, to say the least, is that titles such as The Avengers, Fantastic Four, etc., will continue their numbering from where the volume 1 series' stopped. This is also confirmed by a Japanese journalist named Tekiya who is working on a book on Marvel Comics in Japan "Marvel Okijodan"
Interesting to see how many US bloggers and comic news sites report on this -or will they, as in the past, tow the Disney line so as not to anger their "sources"?
Bee and his boy. My attempts at doing hair and fuzz. It didn’t work out too much. It just looks like dirty lines. Oh well.. got to do some more research. Drawn on Corel Painter X3 with custom brush with Wacom Intuos. Day 25 of 30 day Trial.
Contrary to what you might think, you don't need any of these things to be a successful writer.
By: Evil Editor,
Blog: Evil Editor
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Guess the Plot
Summer of the Flood
1. When a hurricane leaves Galveston Island flooded, residents are forced to wade to school and work. The wet clothes and shoes are bad enough, but the worst part? Sharks.
2. Sixth-grader Annie wants to stage a production of Hamlet with local children, while her cousin Maggie wants to jump in the rising river and drown herself. Either way, there's gonna be a tragedy.
3. Abby and Jake may be only 14 years old, but they know they're in love. Can Abby get her dad, Noah, to give Jake a place on his precious ark?
4. That was the year. The year we all despaired. The year red heels were found washed up on the beach. The year glue-on mutton chops sold on e-bay. The year NaNoWriMo happened in June.
5. Everyone in the valley is making fun of that crazy old religious man, for building that giant boat. When storm clouds roll in, however, and a parade of paired animals begins making its way through town, folks start getting nervous.
6. Stranded on the roof when the river breaks its banks, Elsa bludgeons her abusive husband and casts him into the deluge below. But her actions are witnessed by a ghostly child who taunts and goads Elsa the entire summer.
The summer before Annie starts sixth grade, her cousin Maggie goes crazy. The kind of crazy where she runs away from home and tries to commit suicide.
Maggie’s parents don’t know what to do with her. They think a summer in Northern England with her recluse grandparents – former Shakespearean actors who sing to their sheep [Baa baa baa, baa baa baa ram.] and haven’t left their house in six years – will [inspire her to get it right this time.] clear her head and get her out of their hair. [Nice. Their kid tries to kill herself and they want her out of their hair.]
Annie – she’s coming too, with a grand plan for their English summer that includes finding clues about the mother she never knew, getting Maggie’s mind off jumping in another river, and convincing her grandmother to stage Hamlet in their backyard, cast with children from the local village.
[Quotes from 6th-grade Hamlet:
Neither a borrower nor a lender be
You may not borrow nor shall I lend my iPod.
Give every man thy ear, but few thy comic books.
Something is rotten in the refrigerator.
There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than football cards, Barbie dolls and Xboxes.
Get thee to a video arcade.
Bieber or the Biebs -- that is the question.]
Maggie – she’s not having any of it. Her heart’s still set on running.
SUMMER OF THE FLOOD is a middle grade novel of 51,000 words.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
How old is Maggie?
You've given us the characters: Maggie, Annie, reclusive grandparents. You've set up the situation: the two girls are spending the summer in England. Now . . . What happens?
You can cut the setup to something like:
The summer before Annie starts sixth grade, her cousin Maggie runs away from home and tries to commit suicide. Maggie’s parents decide a summer in Northern England with her reclusive grandparents will set her on the right track, and Annie goes along, hoping to find clues about the mother she never knew--and to keep Maggie’s mind off jumping in another river.
Now give us two more paragraphs in which you relate the plot.
AlaskaRavenclaw said...See if you can tweak the phrasing slightly to acknowledge that you know Maggie's parents are totally lame.
I know and you know that parents really do things like send a seriously troubled kid to stay with whacko relatives in a foreign country instead of getting help for 'em, but the neutral "don't know what to do" makes it sound like you consider their choice an acceptable one.
And then, yeah, say what happens.
And why Hamlet? I mean I get that its discussion of suicide works for your story, but most sixth graders haven't even read the play. Why is this kid so interested in it?
ps-- nothing against the UK, and not meaning to imply that it contains relatives any more whacko than those we enjoy here in the US. But the point is the parents are getting the kid to a place where, when the @#$# hits the fan, they won't be the ones dealing with it. vkw said...Yeah, about the parents. I know of parents who have done exactly this. However, I don't think they did it to get the kid out of their hair. They did it because after months and months, perhaps even years, of dealing with a trouble child that climaxes with a serious suicide attempt they are exhausted and overwhelmed and at their wit's end. And, a change of scenery has falsely been thought of a cure for problems of every kind. And, grandparents are notoriously nice, most of the time, wanting to save/help their children and grandchildren. All that love and not giving up on family members gets in the way of their thinking.
Of course, maybe that's not the case with Maggie's parents or grandparents but I get it. I wouldn't be flippant about it, though. Either glance at it the way EE did or explain it better if it is part of the story or understanding your characters' motivation.
This is a good setup. I am notoriously bad about not liking middle grade queries because I think they sound shallow. But, this doesn't sound shallow, this sounds interesting and deep and even fun.
Please rewrite your query to convince me I am right. BuffySquirrel said...
Once upon a time, when depression was known as melancholia, a common cure was the sea change. You go on a nice long cruise and by the time you get back home you're better.
I can't imagine an intercontinental flight having *quite* the same effect. BuffySquirrel said...
Boy is Annie going to be disappointed when she finds out what the North's idea of 'summer' is. Hope her theatre isn't outdoors.
Oh, wait, just noticed the title. Guess that answers the question about the author's familiarity with Northern summers. AA said...
I agree with AlaskaRavenclaw- I only read Romeo and Juliet in high school (and didn't like it). Hamlet is much better, but most kids have no experience with it. I hadn't been exposed to Shakespeare before high school except for pop culture references like tv shows.
A line about how grandpa recites some of it to Annie, or whatever, would be good. For believability, I want to know why this has to be THE play.
I do think it sounds interesting. I'd also like a hint if Annie finds anything surprising about her mother, or maybe something she didn't want to know.
As a United Nations Women’s Goodwill Ambassador, Emma Watson has been hard at work promoting support for women around the world. Recently, Ms. Watson stood along side UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, to launch the UN’s “HeForShe” Campaign, at UN Headquarters in New York. The HeForShe Campaign calls for boys and men world wide to participate in the gender equality movement. The campaign hopes to have one billion boys and men become advocates for stopping women’s global inequality. Ms. Watson, giving a speech at the event, spoke at length about her experiences and what she hope to see happen through the campaign. Rappler reports:
“It is time that we all see gender as a spectrum instead of two sets of opposing ideals. We should stop defining each other by what we are not, and start defining ourselves by who we are.”
“I want men to take up this mantle so their daughters, sisters and mothers can be free from prejudice but also so their sons have permission to be vulnerable and human, too and in doing so, be a more true and complete version of themselves,” Watson said.
“How can we effect change in the world when only half of it is invited to participate in the conversation? Men, I would like to take this opportunity to extend your formal invitation. Gender equality is your issue, too.”
“I’ve seen my father’s role as a parent being valued less by society. I’ve seen young men suffering from illness, unable to ask for help for fear it will make them less of a man …. I’ve seen men fragile and insecure by what constitutes male success. Men don’t have the benefits of equality, either. We don’t want to talk about men being imprisoned by gender stereotypes but I can see that they are.”
Watson said liberating men from stereotypes ultimately benefits women.
“When they are free, things will change for women as a natural consequence. If men don’t have to be aggressive, women won’t be compelled to be submissive. If men don’t need to control, women won’t have to be controlled. Both men and women should feel free to be strong,” she said.
“You might think: who is this Harry Potter girl? What is she doing at the UN? I’ve been asking myself at the same thing. All I know is that I care about this problem and I want to make this better. And having seen what I’ve seen and given the chance, I feel my responsibility to say something.”
“The more I spoke about feminism, the more I realized that fighting for women’s rights has too often become synonymous with man-hating. If there is one thing I know for certain is that this has to stop.”
“Why has the word become such an unpopular one? I think it is right I am paid the same as my male counterparts. I think it is right that I should make decisions about my own body. I think it is right that women be involved on my behalf in the policies and decisions that affect my life. I think it is right that socially, I am afforded the same respect as men,” she said.
“My life is a sheer privilege because my parents didn’t love me less because I was born a daughter. My school did not limit me because I was a girl. These influences are the gender equality ambassadors that made me who I am today. They may not know it but they are the feminists needed in the world today. We need more of those.”
She stressed that both men and women must work together for the girls and women who are less privileged than she. She cited women who earn less than men for doing the same work, child brides, and girls who are unable to finish their education.
The full length article from Rappler and the transcript of Ms. Watson’s entire speech can be read here.
We would stand on the beach at Montauk, a boy and his father, looking out past the easternmost point on Long Island, and I'd strain to hear my father’s words as the ocean waves broke in front of us, crashing and thundering to reveal their power.
“Never turn your back on the ocean,” my father would warn me. “The riptides are treacherous.”
Some of the waves were five and six feet tall, and my
Everyone’s creative story is different because we are all unique and completely individual in our own way, meaning nobody’s creative journey is exactly the same. Some of us may know early on that we are destined to be creative and set to pursue our career through college and university, where as there are other people who discover their creative meaning deep down later on like a seed that needed time to grow. Over the years I’ve come across some very talented people, many whom have spent time in art education and some who are purely creatively self taught.
The question that has often come to mind though no doubt for those of you who may have self taught your practice is “does it matter whether you have an art education background or whether you’re self taught?” Many people are going to have mixed opinions on this topic and there are sometimes pros and cons to both, but whether you are self taught or have had the opportunity to study in education here’s my two cents on why I still think you’re creatively amazing whichever path you take.
1. You’ve followed your own creative path in a different way and you should be proud of how far you’ve come and excited of where you’re yet to go.
2. The opportunity for development and learning is endless , there’s no race to the finish in either circumstance so invest in yourself and build on who you are.
3. Don’t think so much that you’ve missed out on opportunities in the past, just look to the future, what you aspire to achieve and have to share.
4. You can draw just as good as the next guy but remeber that like our artwork we’re all works in progress.
5. You’ve got your eye on the end goal and inside have creative idea’s and potential that someone else has yet to imagine.
Image by Artist Fredrik Rattzen you can find out more about their work here .
No Name. Wilkie Collins. 1862/1998. Oxford University Press. 748 pages.
No Name is my third Wilkie Collins novel to read this year. I've also read A Rogue's Life
and The Law and the Lady
. I don't know if I'll have time to squeeze in another before the year is over or not. But it's looking like No Name will definitely be my favorite. This novel reminded me of why I enjoy reading Wilkie Collins! And sometimes I do need reminding. I have been disappointed before. But when he's good, he tends to be really, really good. No Name is definitely Collins at his best! I enjoyed No Name best when I stopped trying to categorize it.
Magdalen Vanstone is the heroine of No Name. After her parents die within weeks of each other, she learns some startling news that changes everything for herself and her sister. Her father was not legally married to her mother; that is he was not legally married to her until a few months ago. His honorable intentions, unfortunately, have ruined their lives. For his marriage discredits his previous will. If he had NOT gotten married, then the girls would have been in his will and they would have inherited everything. Now his everything goes to an estranged older brother that is mean and cruel. (Collins would like you to boo, hiss now)
Norah, the good sister, the good older sister, accepts this news with grace and courage. She will follow Miss Garth's advice closely. She will become a governess. She will be far from wealthy, but, she'll hold onto as much dignity as she can cling to under the circumstances.
Magdalen, the younger sister, refuses to accept it at all. And she's just as clever and crafty as she is stubborn. Magdalen teams up with a relation of a relation, a con man named Captain Wragge. Both are clever and willing to be a bit immoral in pursuit of what they want most, of what they feel they deserve. Captain Wragge may sound like a villain, but, there's just something about him that I can't help liking. He certainly makes NO NAME an interesting read!!!
Magdalen has a plan, a scheme, for recovering the money that is rightfully hers. She will stop at nothing to get it. What is her plan? Well, it involves her (mean) uncle, Michael Vanstone, and his heir, Noel.
The scheme does not go unnoticed, however. Mrs. Lecount is a servant in the Vanstone household, and she is very controlling and extremely observant. She is always on the lookout for people who might be tempted to take advantage of the family since they are old and/or weak and/or very stupid!
It is a plot-driven novel with plenty of twists and turns. I enjoyed every single one. The book may be over 700 pages, but it's a quick 700 pages!!! It's a surprisingly quick read. Once you become hooked on the story, on learning what happens next, once you start to CARE about the characters, you just have to read on and on!!!
Will Magdalen's scheme succeed?
Will she get her hands on the money?
Will she share the money with Captain Wragge?
Will he find a way of getting his share? Is he really on her side no matter what? Or will he turn traitor?
Will either sister get married? Will either sister live happily ever after?
© 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews
By: Terry Hooper-Scharf,
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I had to delete a lot of comments pertaining to the Scottish Yes/No vote. I got a deluge of very rude, insulting comments from BOTH (?!) camps along with accusations.
Fer crying out loud -give me a break.
Anyway, to be fair and avoid any accusations of bias I've removed all Yes/No comments -even the polite ones. I should have known better than tip CBOs toe in the political waters.
We all only have so much continuing education/professional conference funding - whether it's from our institution or our own savings accounts. And of course there are many possible ways to use that money when thinking about national conferences - not just for ALA sponsored events but for groups like USBBY, Think Tanks, NAEYC, Computers in Libraries, STEM powered conferences, unconferences, and much more. Choosing what works best and balancing our choices is definitely a challenge. Though we want to attend all the things, it just isn't possible.
Just off the end of the ALSC 2014 Institute in Oakland, I want to talk a bit about the differences in two of my favorite conferences.ALSC Institute
Held every other year at different venues around the country (next up Charlotte NC in fall 2016), this small intimate conference is focused, youth program heavy and -centric (16 unique sessions
, plus at this year's Fairyland extravaganza, a choice of one of over a dozen other breakouts) and combines deep learning with great opportunities to hear from book creators/publishers. This year, local and national authors in attendance and presenting or mingling numbered well over 40. That's quite an opportunity to speak personally with a book creator as well as hear their banter and thinking on panels!
It sounds bizarre to say that a conference with 350 youth librarians is intimate - but it is. You spend Wednesday night through Saturday noon with the same group of people - at meals, sessions and social events. If you choose to take advantage of it, you meet and share with a ton of colleagues as well as run into people IRL that you only work with virtually. One of the true advantages of these "regional" national conferences is that you get a chance to meet many youth folks from the venue's surrounding areas. This year we saw lots of our CA, OR, ID and WA peeps who can't make it to annual. That was worth the price of admission alone.
Admission. Well, here is often where the rub comes. Even with sponsoring publishers and organizations, this remains an expensive conference when you combine registrations, transportation and housing. In terms of sheer opportunity to learn/network, these costs are more than made up for. This year, I paid the whole tab myself (PLA ate up the library CE funds this year) and I'd do it again in a heartbeat.ALA Conferences
Held twice a year these are the muscular conferences that move our association and profession forward. It's an opportunity for librarians to work on committees and task forces that hone leadership and problem solving skills by plunging hands, hearts and minds into the guts of improving service to our communities across types and sizes of libraries.
Vast, sprawling and often confusing, ALA conferences are also an extraordinary opportunity to work with librarians from all types of libraries on areas of passion (technology = LITA; Feminism = Feminist t\Task Force; Intellectual Freedom = Freedom to Read Foundation...and endless combos) outside of our primary focus. Amazing opportunities to see massive exhibits and get hands-on looks at new and upcoming youth titles are combined with opportunities to attend special events that publishers host (breakfasts, lunches, social hours) and let you rub elbows with book creators is definitely a perk.
In general ALA is far less programmatic. "What?!?!?!" you say, "There are a TON of programs to choose from!". Each division/unit is given a very small number of programs they can sponsor in the leaner paradigm adapted over the past few years. ALSC gets five, yes, I said FIVE program slots. Along with these there are independently pitched programs like Conversation Starters, Ignite sessions and Networking Commons opportunities that help attendees fill their dance cards.
I love the annual conferences for the committee work and networking opportunities across types of libraries. Its the way that I can give back to the profession by working on ALSC committees, task forces, the board and ALA Council. Working with my peers, we make a difference because together we are stronger.Upshot?
If you can make it to both types of conferences, most excellent. If you need to choose, Institutes are more programmatic/intimate. ALA conferences are great for working hard towards a better profession and giving back to the profession by working on committees and learning leadership skills. Although, I guess I can say I never won a Pete the Cat doll at an ALA conference ;->
- Sat, 13:36: RT @SCBWI_MD_DE_WV: Getting this conference started! #SparklingLit http://t.co/NwXTgSszSj
- Sat, 13:38: Yeah, I seriously cannot imagine writing a book with my husband. Things would get ugly!! #sparklinglit http://t.co/0usJ5Sk91q
- Sat, 14:33: RT @marielamba: Don't point out your short comings in your query, instead inspire my confidence #querytips #literaryagent
- Sat, 16:34: For those that attended @Miranda_Paul breakout and heard my announcement at the end, my email is Laura.firstname.lastname@example.org #sparklinglit
- Sat, 20:18: RT @shelleykoon: Marc Tyler Nobleman was, in his own words, "Just the fool" to research images Bill Finger co-creator of Batman! #sparkli…
- Sat, 20:18: RT @JenWeingardt: Becky Shapiro, Scholastic, suggests jjournaling your character to help define her voice. #sparklinglit #writingtips
- Sat, 20:19: RT @RyanSheely: @MarcTNobleman says "There really is no obstacle but yourself." @SCBWI_MD_DE_WV #SparklingLit
- Sat, 20:19: RT @SCBWI_MD_DE_WV: Agent Ella Kennen "we are all flawed our MCs need to be flawed too." #SparklingLit
Does your library limit attendance to children’s programs, requiring some sort of advance registration? Or are all programs planned with an eye toward accommodating any size group?
In a nod to Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert, children’s librarians Lori Faust and Kendra Jones debate the pros and cons:
LF: Well, Kendra, I will begin with a very obvious “pro” in favor of pre-registration to a set limit: if staff knows how many people to expect at a program, it is much easier to plan, prepare and purchase supplies without over-buying and wasting those limited budgets.
KJ: True, but limiting attendance can create more work for staff as they will have to take registration, follow up, pass out tickets, etc., plus there is the unpleasant task of informing interested patrons that a program is full.
If we allow walk-ins, we are more apt to have kids attend whose parents do not want to/cannot commit ahead of time and those who do not know the great things the library has to offer until they drop in one day. To then be unable to attend a program is not great customer service.
LF: That’s a good point, Kendra, and we always want to make sure we have some programs that are open to all. I’ve worked at libraries that run things both ways. One did not like us to limit attendance; we had fabulous turn-outs, but because we always had to expect 100+ kids (on a very small budget), we could only offer inexpensive programs that accommodated huge groups. And I found that kind of limiting creatively.
In response to your point that turning people away isn’t good customer service, I’d argue that for some libraries, with limited space perhaps, keeping the crowd to a manageable size can make the experience better for those in attendance. I’ve had complaints from patrons when programs have been very crowded, too!
KJ: I understand how that can be challenging, however, there are other options for programming for large crowds of people. Identical programs can be held back to back, for example. Only one program has to be planned and is then repeated. Not only does this offer patrons more choice in time but allows more patrons to partake in a library program.
LF: That would be a great option, IF…Well, there are several “ifs” depending on an individual library’s situation – can the youth services staff book the space for double the time? Is there enough staff to cover the department and run multiple programs? Is there enough money to cover twice the program? I want to mention, too, that requiring registration for programs doesn’t necessarily mean that patrons get turned away. Often, a program doesn’t “fill up,” but having a good idea of how many kids will attend helps the staff prepare for (and sometimes tweak) the program.
KJ: So true, Lori, that some libraries do not have the resources to do a double header. However, if a program is not getting filled up, perhaps registration is acting as a barrier to one of our most prized resources.
When I worked in a system where registration was required, even with reminder phone calls, patrons did not come for the program. And since they were under the impression that registration was required, there were no drop-in patrons to attend the program, meaning supplies went unused and the program was smaller than intended. Which may not bode well with statistics loving stakeholders who often provide funding for youth programs.
Now we have had our say, but we know there is so much more to this issue! It is your turn to make some arguments for, or against, program attendance limits. Add your thoughts in the comments.
Our guest bloggers today are Lori Faust and Kendra Jones, who wrote this piece as members of the Managing Children’s Services Committee.
If you’d like to write a guest post for the ALSC Blog, please contact Mary Voors, ALSC Blog manager, at email@example.com.
Hey everyone! Clara Kensie here. A few times a month at Adventures in YA Publishing, I post a question for you and the Adventures in YA team to answer. The questions cover all topics important to writers and book lovers: craft, career, reading, books, and more. Join the discussion!
Question of the Week:
Do you listen to music while you read?Katharyn Sinelli:
Hmmm. I don’t think the theme song to Team Umizoomi counts as a playlist per se. I usually read whenever I have a moment. If I’m really into a book, that can be when I’m waiting for my food at the deli. Most often these days I’m reading late at night in bed so it’s pretty quiet.Lisa Green:
Oooh. I don’t purposely listen to anything while I read because I will be totally sucked into the story and tune out everything else. On the flip side, though, nothing bothers me when it comes to my surroundings when I read. It’s all about the book, baby! Kind of odd when I think about how much I like playlists when it comes to writing. Alyssa Hamilton:
I don't listen to music or anything at all but I can easily do it. I find that because I'm reading in every spare second I have, I've learned to be able to still be aware of my surroundings and follow along with things even if I'm absorbed in my book. Martina Boone:
I can’t listen to anything with lyrics when I read any more than I can when I write. The words conflict. But I do love listening to instrumentals, as long as the music is soft. The problem is that I can’t predict where someone else’s book is going to go the way I can with my own book, so if the mood of the music is too different from the emotional tone of the book, I end up getting irritated and it effects my enjoyment of what I’m reading. As a result, I usually don’t listen to music when I’m reading either. Sad, right?Clara Kensie:
I love the coziness of reading on a rainy day, so sometimes I’ll fake that mood by reading to a thunderstorm playlist on Spotify. Also, pumping music directly into my ears helps me block out distractions, especially when I’m trying to read in a hectic or loud environment, such as my kids’ sports practices and play rehearsals. I’ve bookmarked a few reading playlists on Spotify that I like to listen to, and I've even made my own reading playlist for Spotify. It has 24 songs and it’s 97 minutes long. Here’s the link if you’re interested: https://play.spotify.com/user/clarakensie/playlist/7coLUz190zzTR8lKrSpsoEWHAT ABOUT YOU?
Does reading to music distract you, or do you like to listen to music while you read? Or maybe you listen to thunderstorm or white noise apps? If you’ve made your own reading playlist, tell us the songs you have on it!
At the SKB Foundation Workshop
in Dubois, Wyoming, most of the painting practice involves landscape painting outdoors, or wildlife painting from photographs indoors.
I thought it would also be a helpful exercise for everyone to paint real, three dimensional animals from observation, but living models weren't available on short notice.
So we arranged to borrow a fine specimen of coyote, a pronghorn antelope, and a wolf from local taxidermy artist Lynn Stewart,
who very generously brought them over to the art center.
This was my view of a running white wolf. I liked the pose, but I imagined it backlit against the bold fall colors of the quaking aspens, with sagebrush in the foreground, as I remembered the setting from a horseback ride in the morning.
Here's the two hour gouache demo I did with that idea in mind.
It would have been even better to do a location study separately outdoors and combine it with the taxidermy study, properly lit -- or to take the taxidermy outside into a natural setting. The idea is to put away the camera and see if there's a way to do a wildlife study as much as possible from life and imagination.
On the other side of the room, John Seerey-Lester did this magnificent acrylic study of the same wolf. He chose to set it within a snowy winter backdrop.
That's John and his wife Suzie (pink hat) in the right foreground of the photo below. They are featured in the current issue of International Artist magazine, not only for their wildlife art, but also for their landscapes and nostalgia scenes.
It was a marvelous experience for all of us to paint together with a combine imagination and observation.
Links:John and Suzie Seerey-Lester's websiteStewart Taxidermy, Dubois, WyomingSKB Foundation Workshop
A colleague, Trish, wrote to ask me if I'd seen Heather Sappenfield's The View From Who I Was. She said it is set at a place called American Indian Preparatory School, modeled on the Native American Preparatory School. Trish didn't know it, but that school means a lot to Native people.
I had not heard of the book, so looked it up and saw that an ARC (advance reading copy) was available at Net Galley (anyone can sign up to read ARC's via Net Galley). The View From Who I Was is due out in January. The description of the book is unsettling. Here's the first paragraph:
Sometimes the end is just the beginning At Crystal High's Winter Formal, Oona Antunes splits in two. Her disembodied spirit watches as her body leaves the dance and tries to freeze to death. Three days later, she wakes in the hospital missing fingers and toes, burdened with the realization of what she's done to her mother and father.
But it was the second paragraph that got my attention:
When her school counselor invites Oona to join him at a Native American school, she becomes immersed in a foreign world where witches, talking rocks, and minor deities are reality. Oona discovers that if she is to heal, her father must also heal. But are his problems more than they can handle?
NAPS was, and is, a special place to us. Located near Santa Fe (remember--I'm from Nambe Pueblo, which is near Santa Fe), it was designed to provide gifted Native high school students with a culturally supportive education from which they would go on to college. I know people who worked there, and I know students who went there, too. I started reading, making notes as I went.
Far too often, Native people--or some semblance of Native people--are used by people who care only for their romantic notions of who we are. Mascots, of course, are one example.
In the Acknowledgements, Sappenfield says she went to NAPS twice. Those visits weren't enough to give her a meaningful or grounded respect of who we are... In The View From Who I Was,
there are a lot of romantic notions that ultimately serve as the turning point in the protagonist's life.
I hate that NAPS and kids there were used
by Sappenfield for this book.
It feels like a violation. The school and
kids are only a magical device that
serves the white protagonist.
Soon after learning about the book, I learned that the description at Net Galley is an old one that no longer describes the book. Frankly, I was relieved. But when I read the book, the description at Net Galley (also at Amazon and GoodReads) struck me as accurate. There is stuff about witches, and there's a talking rock...
As indicated, I read an ARC (advanced reading copy), which--in theory--means that there is still time for the author to revise. However, I think the errors indicate a fundamental lack of understanding, knowledge, and respect that would prevent the book from being revised in such a way that it would be ok.
After reading the ARC, I talked with a former NAPS teacher and student. The student, in particular, was troubled by how the school and teachers are misrepresented. It was special to her. Since her time there, she said, there's been nothing written about it. She hates that this book, with these errors, might be the first thing about the school that people read.
Here's my notes on the parts of the books that are about Native people/culture, with my thoughts in italics. I've included comments from the student (C) and the teacher (A).
You'll see places where I use "Oona/Corpse" and "Hovering Oona" when I'm talking about the protagonist. It is a bit confusing overall. The protagonist's name is Oona. As the book opens, Oona's spirit splits in two. The part that stays in her body is called "Corpse" by the part that left her body and hovers nearby. The story is told to us by the part of her spirit that hovers. Hovering Oona has control over whether or not Oona/Corpse is going to express or act on emotions. Oona/Corpse isn't aware of the Hovering Oona.
Murial (Oona's mom) likes to decorate their swanky home in Colorado using Native artifacts. There's a peace pipe, kachinas, moccasins.
Wondering about the back story for these items. I wonder where Oona's mom got them? She could have gotten them online, but those would be fakes. I wonder if Oona's mom knows about the American Indian Arts and Crafts Act? (Note to readers: Do go read that act. It is important and protects consumers from fraud, and, it also protects Native artists for whom their art is their livelihood.)
Prior to the suicide attempt, Oona is with Mr. Handler (her school counselor) at a school leadership conference. They're at a session put on by Native students from the American Indian Preparatory School. The school counselor has spent time at the school prior to this. In the session, a Native guy with a crew cut introduces Dr. Benson, who is the school's "flute master." He plays the flute to open their session.
It is plausible that there would be someone on flute opening a session, but not probable that the school would have a "flute master." Pop-culture tells us that when you have Indians, you gotta have flute music. They kind of go together in white peoples minds. Though many Native nations use flutes, they're over-used by outsiders who want to signal "Indian" to an audience. Invariably, it gives people goosebumps (as it does to Oona). Flutes used that way are even the butt of jokes amongst us. Having it open this conference presentation made me shake my head. It appears later, too, in a gathering at the school. I asked C (student) about it. She said they'd have morning openings each day where announcements were made. Someone would pray in their Native way, but no music.
The row of Native students sits with bowed heads.
Not clear if they were sitting that way when the flutist was playing (as though it is a prayer), or, if they are sitting that way as the Navajo girl is introduced and speaking. Bowed heads suggests a prayerful moment, but overall it doesn't sound right to me.
The Native guy with the crewcut introduces a Navajo student, Angel Davis, who is "of the Fort Defiance Navajo" and then Angel takes the stage and starts talking.
Generally speaking, a Navajo person takes care (in presentations) to introduce themselves according to fairly standard protocols. See the first few minutes of this video for an example. At conferences, those first few minutes would be followed by a translation (into English) of what was just said. Angel doesn't use the protocol before moving into her very-Indian presentation.
Angel's presentation is about five feathers she has with her on stage. She talks about how she got each one:
Angel's speech was slow, yet soft, lilting: "I hold in my hand five feathers." She held up her hand and out the sides of her fist were the ends of long feathers. "Gifts from my grandfather. From his headdress. An eagle feather for each good thing I've done." Angel read about each of those good things: graduating middle school, helping her brother when he had mono, attending the American Indian Preparatory School, far from home, completing a summer writing program, even farther away. She ended with reading at this conference. She didn't candy-coat things, she just described how each challenge she didn't want to do at first, and after, her grandfather would call her out behind their house, place his hand on her shoulder, tug a feather from his headdress, and give it to her.
There's a lot wrong with that passage. First, headdresses are not part of traditional Navajo attire. They are worn primarily by Plains tribes. As written, it sounds like Angel's grandfather wears it all the time, or, that he put it on to do this feather-giving-ceremony where he takes a feather out of his headdress. It doesn't work at all. When a Native person is given a feather to mark an accomplishment, it isn't taken from an existing headdress. And, when feathers are given, it (or how it is done) generally isn't something they talk about to outsiders in the way Angel does. It is possible, but not plausible.
Oona listens to the next speaker who talks about his "costume" with its "fringe, beads, and feathers" and how he goes to powwows, where he dances for his grandma and his ancestors. Oona thinks "Was he kidding? The guy wore a white Oxford shirt with short sleeves and a tie."
It isn't likely that he would have said "costume" or "fringe, beads, and feathers." He would more likely have said "regalia." He does the powwow circuit, it sounds like. He dances for his grandma and ancestors. Dancing for his grandma and ancestors sounds right to me. Does Oona think he can't be legit because he's wearing a shirt and tie? Or, is she being snarky about who he dances for? Either way, there's also a feeling that these kids are richer than Oona, with all her material wealth, is.
Mr. Handler invites Oona/Corpse to go with him to the Native American school, where she can help juniors fill out college applications. (Later, we'll learn that her help is specific to navigating websites.)
That sounded ok to me, but when I was talking with C about the book, she asked me what Oona was going to do at the school. I told her, and she laughed, saying they were tech savvy and didn't need help like that.
Murial says that she wanted to be anthropologist because she loves Indians.
More flute music. It appears several times throughout the story.
See comments about page 16.
Oona/Corpse is with Mr. Handler. They're approaching the grounds at the Native school. Before they get there, she sees faded house trailers (one with plywood covering window) and rusted out cars.
Two Indian kids scampered around out front, one in just a diaper, the white of it against this world, against his skin, seemed unreal.
How does protag know those are Indian kids? The school is not on a reservation. The community by it is not Native either. That the two kids "scampered" also stands out. Animals scamper. Little kids, too, the dictionary says, but given the overwhelming associations of Indians-as-animal-like, seeing it here gives me pause.
At the school, Oona/Corpse is greeted by Louise, who is "a stout, toffee-tinted woman in a purple broom skirt and a white blouse." She has ebony hair that she wears in a bun that is clasped with a beaded barrette.
I didn't note what words Sappenfield used to describe skin tones of Oona's mother or Mr. Benson, or Ashley (her friend at school). Later on, Angel is going to ask Oona if she is part Native (Angel says "an urban Indian") because Oona's skin tone is olive. Of late, there have been several discussions online about words used for skin tones, when and how they're used, and who is using them.
Back in the car, Mr. Handler and Oona/Corpse drive to the part of campus where their rooms are. As they drive, she sees "a white woman in a blouse and jeans and an Indian man with a long braid...".
How does she know the woman is white? Oona's assumption is that all Indians have darker skin and hair, so this woman must be white. That is an incorrect assumption. Later, Angel and Oona have a conversation about skin tones.
Mr. Handler tells Oona/Corpse he's there to help counsel the kids at the school:
They're the kids who want to go on to college. These are not your average Native American kids."
He backs off from that statement, saying
"Scratch that. They're just kids. Trying to figure things out. Like you."
I'm glad he backed off but what did he back off from? Did he mean that an average Native kid doesn't want to go to college? I really don't know what to make of that exchange.
They park the car and get out. A "flock" of Indian students approach.
I can't recall what words author used to describe groups of kids at Oona's school in Colorado. Was flock used there, too? Problem with flock is similar to scamper.
A boy greets Mr. Handler by calling him "Lone Ranger." And then:
"He no sabe," another one said, and they all laughed. 'No know,' I realized; Tonto had been disrespecting that white-masked man, and I'd never had a clue.
That doesn't make sense to me. The line Tonto uses is "kemo sabe" -- not 'he' or 'no'. Sappenfield wants us to think that Tonto was saying "he no sabe" and as such, was dissing the Lone Ranger. Does Sappenfield now know what Tonto said? Am I missing something myself?!
That part aside, the banter between the kids and Mr. Handler is easy going and reflects relationships I've seen between Native kids and white teachers and staff who have established a warm relationship.
Oona/Corpse and Mr. Handler go to dinner and sit with the staff and teachers. Oona/Corpse is introduced to Dr. Yazzie, the headmaster. He is the guy Oona/Corpse saw earlier--the one with the braid:
Now Corpse saw the symmetry of his forehead, cheeks, and chin, a honey-tinted movie-star face, smooth but for creases at his eyes.
Ok. A super handsome dude. Yazzie, by the way, is a Navajo name.
As they eat, Dr. Yazzie tells Mr. Handler:
"You know the statistics, Perry. Half of them can't handle the college world and drop out."
Mr. Handler asks about students. Davina has done ok. Louise posits that Davina's aunt has been a good role model for her. That aunt is a sergeant on the Navajo police force. When Mr. Handler asks about Cindy, Louise replies:
"Her father died." Louise's mouth, which arced down naturally, stretched down in a real frown. "Her mother had to get a job, so Cindy went home to help out with the kids."
"Poor girl," Mr. Handler said. "She was so smart."
Louise nodded. "Yes, a waste. Her father's death was a waste too. Put his truck in the ditch. Drunk. Tried to walk home on a frigid night. They found him sitting, frozen, at the entrance to their driveway. Apparently neighbors were driving past, waving."
A laugh burst from Ms. Cole. "Sorry. I hadn't heard that last part."
I found that conversation troubling. It is plausible that Louise would think "waste" but it isn't plausible. The teachers and staff at NAPS were especially supportive of Native culture and values. That a Native kid would step up to help her family would not be characterized as a waste. That neighbors drove past and waved at the body of Cindy's dad... Is that plausible?! It strikes me as incredibly offensive to imagine, let alone share, or laugh at. Louise and Ms. Cole strike me as horrible people. When I told C (student) and teacher (A) about this, they both felt that this was a misrepresentation of the teachers and staff. It strikes me as a 'fit' with government boarding schools were the framework for them was "kill the Indian and save the man" but definitely does not fit with NAPS. A quick note about Louise's mouth, which "arced down naturally" -- Angel's does, too. Weird.
Mr. Handler then asks about Roberta:
Louise laughed. "She skipped that summer internship you arranged at the hospital. Didn't even call to let them know."
Louise goes on to say that Roberta is 18 years old now, and
"She took a job as a stripper instead. Still goes back and works weekends. Calls herself Destiny."
Mr. Handler scans the cafeteria and sees Roberta. Oona/Corpse sees her "shapely back". The next line is Hovering Oona's voice:
I had an image of Roberta in a string bikini, slithering along a pole over an audience of salivating men, some hungrily waving dollar bills.
That is another very troubling part of the book. Why did Sappenfield create this particular characterization for Roberta?!
Hovering Oona looks at the kids in the cafeteria and thinks
these weren't the people we'd imagined inhabiting that flute music. The ones who'd made us feel poor. Maybe the bullshit had been those conference readings.
Ok... so Roberta is meant to humanize Native people?!
Closing out this scene in the story, Mr. Handler says that he's read statistics (about Native people), but that "the reality is a lot harder to swallow."
So--the reality is one girl who has done well, one who has gone home, and one who is a stripper?
Dr. Yazzie, studying Oona/Corpse, puts his hand in his pocket.
It seemed an odd detail at that moment. Later, we learn that he keeps a rock in that pocket. It talks to him.
After dinner, Oona/Corpse and Mr. Handler head to their rooms. As he says goodnight to Oona, she sees him swallow and his Adam's apple goes up and down. Oona/Corpse wants to say she's sorry about those kids, but she doesn't, because Hovering Oona stops her.
Early morning, Oona/Corpse goes out on a trail where she'll get cell phone reception. She calls her boyfriend. After the call, Angel comes along the same trail. She tells Oona that she's "greeting the sun." As she goes on her way, she calls back "I dreamed of you three nights ago."
Angel asks Oona if she's "an urban Indian" who is "from the city" and that "maybe doesn't know traditions, Indian ways." Surprised, Oona asks Angel how she could be Indian (appearance-wise). Angel tells her there's "a lot of mixed-blood or northern Indians here that don't look Indian."
That is an interesting passage. I'm glad to see appearance being addressed.
Angel tells Oona/Corpse about photographers that want photos of kids who look Indian. She also talks about how people like to visit Indians to "feel like they've done a good deed or something."
Another interesting passage, and accurate. It is ironic, too. It demonstrates that Sappenfield is able to have her characters speak to outsider use of Native people for their own benefit, but, with the way she uses Native culture in her book, doesn't understand that she's doing precisely that with this book.
As they talk, Angel looks at Hovering Oona on Corpse's shoulder.
As the book progresses, we learn that Angel and Dr. Yazzie can see Hovering Oona. And, in a passage that returns to imagery of Roberta as a pole dancer, Roberta walks through Hovering Oona's spirit and has a reaction that tells us that she, too, has ability to sense Hovering Oona. That makes them mystical or magical. It might seem cool a lot of people, but it plays on stereotypes! Not ok.
Oona/Corpse goes up the trail behind the school and comes upon Angel, kneeling in a clearing. Oona gets behind a branch and watches Angel, who is chanting. She turns north, west, south, and east. She rises and calls out to Oona that she doesn't have to hide, and asks her if she's spying on her. Oona says that, in addition to wanting to know more about the dream, she wanted to see what greeting the sun was. Oona asks Angel why she does it, and Angel says it is "showing him I'm ready for the day. And worthy."
That is unsettling. I understand that curiosity, but honestly, it is creepy and voyeuristic. I'm curious about the back story for it. What is Sappenfield's source? Is that something a Navajo girl or person actually does? Is it accurate? Is her source the Navajo girl she named in the Acknowledgements at the back of the book? Did she see that girl praying? Did she ask that girl if she could join her?
If yes, there's a huge power dynamic in that request, and it is entirely inappropriate. In universities, there are research protocols that do not allow vulnerable populations (youth) to give permissions like that because they don't have the experience/knowledge/wherewithal to say no. Increasingly, tribes are asking writers to go through similar tribally-based protocols when they are there for research purposes for stories. I'm pretty sure NAPS administrators would not have given the author permission to do this.
Angel and Oona talk for a while. Oona tells Angel that she had tried to kill herself. Angel nods, saying
"I thought you looked like you'd been dead."
This is another manifestation of the stereotypical mystical Indian who sees and knows things...
At breakfast Oona/Corpse asks Angel what she saw that made her think that Oona had been dead. Angel shrugs her shoulders and looks at Hovering Oona. Oona/Corpse says
"If I'd said I was an urban Indian, would you tell me?"
Angel's face hardens and she gets ready to leave. Oona presses her, asking if she can join her to greet the sun. Angel sighs and asks "Do I have a choice?" Oona/Corpse seems to be developing an awareness of Hovering Oona.
With Oona's question, it seems to me that Sappenfield knows that there are things that are guarded. The way she handles all the spirituality in the story tells me that she doesn't care about anything that Angel or Native people might be guarded about.
After Angel leaves, Oona overhears two white teachers talking. One says that teaching there has
"been a wild ride, and I've never been able to forget, even for a minute, that I'm an outsider."
She goes on to talk about her first week at the school, when a girl went to her room (teachers live on campus):
"...whimpering about witches in her room. It was the middle of the night, for God's sake, and I tried to calm her. I mean, witches? I eventually got her to sleep, she spent the night in my room, and in the morning she seemed fine. At lunch Yazzie took me aside. Apparently I'd handled it all wrong. Made a fool of myself. When a student has witches in her dorm room, you inform Yazzie immediately, and they call a medicine man to come purify it."
Ah! There's the part about witches that the blurb on Net Galley refers to!
The two teachers commiserate about feeling like outsiders.
Similar to the question about Angel's prayer, I'm curious about the source for this part about witches and medicine men.
The next morning, Oona/Corpse joins Angel in her greeting of the sun. Though she moves in the same ways that Angel does, she isn't listening to Angel. Her thoughts are about her parents, her suicide, and her dad, in particular. She whispers to Hovering Oona and seems to be gaining insights into her family dynamics and her own well-being.
Again: what is the author's source for the way that Angel is shown in her movements? Turning to N/S/W doesn't jibe with what I know of the greeting that Navajos do at dawn. Some nations do have a directional greeting. In this part of the story, readers assume the voyeuristic gaze that Corpse had earlier. As a Native woman, this part makes me uncomfortable. I don't think author imagined a Native reader, or Native views on exploitation of Native spirituality.
Dr. Yazzie talks with Oona/Corpse, telling her that it looks like she's had a hard time. She says "Don't tell me you can see I've died." He says that it isn't hard to see, and then nods towards her shoulder where Hovering Oona is perched. He tells her:
"I have a rock in my pocket. It speaks to me."
"It tells me you're a good person. That you're going to be ok."
Clearly, Dr. Yazzie is a mystical Indian, too. This is the talking rock of the Net Galley blurb.
Corpse goes to "Circle" which is a gathering that happens once a week. Mr. Handler sits beside her. She tells him about Dr. Yazzie's rock. They're seated in chairs arranged in a circle. Dr. Yazzie comes in and sits on the floor in the center of the circle. Dr. Benson (the flute master) rises from his chair and plays. All heads are bowed. Corpse gets goosebumps and then comes fully aware of Hovering Oona's view, and how Hovering Oona "constantly reasoned, doubted, judged" Oona. Oona/Corpse whispers to Hovering Oona that she has to stop. Oona/Corpse reaches to her chest, to the "slice" through which Hovering Oona had left at the start of the story. Hovering Oona darts down and enters but doesn't like it in there and takes off again. When the lights come back up, everyone is staring at Oona.
Oona is definitely healing, and it is due in large part to these mystical Indians and their flute music. My guess it that people will dismiss my concerns. Overall, I can hear them say, this is a book about healing from suicide. How that happens, to them, doesn't matter. It reminds me of so many books. Cole in Touching Spirit Bear is healed thru similar Indian ways. In that story, he comes to terms with his bullying behavior. It is top of many lists about bullying. The stereotyping of Native people doesn't matter to people who are intent on using the book with bullies. People are staring at Oona, we'll learn later, because they saw Hovering Oona.
Another mealtime. Oona/Corpse is sitting with the kids, where they are talking about William's time at a summer camp at Harvard. People said to him "I didn't know Indians wore normal clothes." Oona says "Seriously? You believe they knew that little about Indians? That's impossible."
It is odd that Oona is incredulous. Recall she was wondering about the kid at the conference who was in a shirt and tie? That aside, her remark is interesting given what she says next about mascots.
The conversation moves to a discussion of the Washington DC pro football team mascot, the Cleveland Indians logo, and, the Chiefs. William says "Headdresses? Just feathers are religious for us." They laugh, and Corpse laughs with them but thinks to herself that it isn't funny at all, and wonders why she never noticed these things before.
Not having noticed problems with mascots before sounds a lot like the person at Harvard who wondered about Indians wearing normal clothes. It is hard to know just what to make of the things that Oona thinks and says.
Oona/Corpse tells Angel there's no water there, but Oona tells her there is, under their feet. She goes on:
"In Navajo tradition, we have Tonenili. He's responsible for rain, sleet, and snow. He also causes thunder and lightning. Often at ceremonies he's there in a costume of spruce branches, playing the part of a clown. He sprinkles water around. Especially during night chants. Maybe he's been speaking to you, trying to heal you."
This, I think is the "minor deity" of the Net Galley blurb. I'm doubtful that Angel would have told Corpse that much detail about Tonenili, but as before, what is the source for this? That the word "costume" is used makes me think that the source might be an anthropology text written by an outsider.
At breakfast, Oona/Corpse is with Angel. Oona sees Dr. Yazzie with his hand in his pocket and starts wondering to herself about the rock. Angel says "What?" Oona says "nothing."
Does Angel's "what" to Corpse suggest that Angel can hear her thoughts? Maybe Oona was not wondering to herself. Maybe she was actually speaking her thoughts aloud.
Angel and Oona/Corpse go for a hike. Oona asks Angel about the girl who had a witch in her room and learns that the room she is in was that girl's room. Oona asks Angel:
"A medicine man cleansed my room?"
"Does that stuff linger? Like could his power cleanse me?"
Angel seemed to sort out her thoughts in the road ahead of them. "When you first came here, you scared me," She looked over her shoulder, right at me [Hovering Oona]. "I worried you might have the ghost sickness and you might take me with you."
"Me? Is a ghost like a witch? Is that what that girl saw? Is that why everyone was staring at me?
"It's complicated. It's not good to talk about these things. They have power."
"Do you think a medicine man could cure me? My hands and feet have been tingling since Circle."
Angel tells her that she doesn't think Oona needs a medicine man anymore because she's healing herself.
I don't know where to start in analyzing that conversation. Angel shares information but also says it isn't good to talk about these things. She's right--Native peoples guard some things very carefully, but she chose to share some of it with Oona. Lucky for Oona! As before, I wonder about Sappenfield's source for this material.
On their hike, Angel holds out an eagle feather to Oona and says:
"This is for all the things you've survived."
No! Angel can't legally give Oona an eagle feather. It is illegal for people who are not Native to have eagle feathers. Info here: http://www.fws.gov/eaglerepository/ This law is info 101 to Native people, and especially those who would be at NAPS.
At that point, I stopped taking notes. I did read it, all the way to the end. Though the book goes on for another hundred-plus pages, the story location shifts when Mr. Handler and Oona leave the school. They were there for one week. Angel and William return at the very end, at Oona's graduation.
There's more analysis to do--the depictions of Gabe (Oona's boyfriend) and the family maid (she's Mexican), and the use of Spanish in various places. Some of it doesn't sound quite right to me. I'll close this post with something I said earlier:
I hate that NAPS and kids there were used
by Sappenfield for this book.
It feels like a violation. The school and
kids are only a magical device that
serves the white protagonist.
It isn't "just fiction" that Sappenfield, or any writer is doing, when they write a story. Some fictions affirm existing stereotypes. Some create new problems for Native people to deal with. It doesn't have to be that way. Writers---you can do better. Editors---so can you!
Last: If something I've said is unclear (or if there are typos!), do let me know. I welcome your question, corrections, and comments.
Editor's Note: The original post for this review had an error in the title. This is a reposting of the review with the correct title (the word 'where' was replaced with 'who').
The 4 Stages of Competence | My wife read a magazine while we were waiting in the doctors’ office and found a learning model that has changed my perspective on learning.
The core of the idea is that in order to gain a competence in a skill it is necessary first to recognize that there is more to learn. I personally find the point of view refreshing because it gives me permission not to be perfect yet. It is expected, in fact necessary, for mistakes to be made in order for me to get better.
Before I can achieve competence I must recognize that I am incompetent.
All skill development goes through this stage. It is the stage in the process where most of us quit. If we do however wish to gain the skill a conscious effort must be made. This is a stage of faith. A willingness to invest consistent effort over time to become competent. It is not immediate gratification.
The following is a condensed version from Wikipedia.
The individual does not understand or know how to do something and does not necessarily recognize the deficit.
Though the individual does not understand or know how to do something, he or she does recognize the deficit, as well as the value of a new skill in addressing the deficit.
The individual understands or knows how to do something. However, demonstrating the skill or knowledge requires concentration.
The individual has had so much practice with a skill that it has become “second nature” and can be performed easily.
As children we enjoy a stage where ignorance is bliss. We draw, dance, and sing, because we like it without worrying that it is “good enough”. Then one day when we realize that there is long way to go before we can really draw, sing, and dance, well. We say things like “I can’t draw a straight line”. What gave us pleasure a few days ago now seems unattainable.
All learning requires a recognition of incompetency. So today I give you permission to be incompetent so that you might become competent.
What skill are you trying to gain competency ?
It’s time for Weekend Links! This is my chance to share some of the amazing links, articles and resources that I have discovered throughout the course of the week…AND…there are some really, really good ones this week.
September 15 to October 15 is National Hispanic Heritage Month
and is a celebration of the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America!
Huge Linky, Giveaway and Round-up at PragmaticMom Hispanic American Books for Kids: Link Round Up. Here is a gold mine of ideas/ways to celebrate this holiday!
Planet Smarty Pants has a great post about reading and learning about Mexico
Gorgeous and in-depth post from Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes
LOVE this post from Crafty Moms Share: Hispanic Heritage Month Blog Hop–Learning about Juan Quezada a Mexican Potter
Becky at Kid World Citizen has a great post about 5 Famous Latinos: Role Models for Hispanic Heritage Month
If you are not hungry now, you will be after readings this post from Spanglish House! Hispanic Meals to celebrate our Heritage.
What great links and reads did YOU find this week?
DON’T FORGET! Time is running out to claim this FREE GIFT. This 50-page Treasure Island Adventure PDF guide will give the little swashbuckler in your life hours of fun and learning!
The Activity Book Includes:
- How to Be a Pirate
- Pirate Wear
- Pirate Speak
- Pirate Code of Conduct
- Pirate Doings
- Flying your colors
- Swashbuckling Sword Moves
- Pirate Games plus many more activities and how to’s
Click the image below and grab your FREE copy!
The post Weekend Links: National Hispanic Heritage Month books and links appeared first on Jump Into A Book.
I couldn’t resist sharing this wonderful post from ROBIN NEWMAN about the PRINCETON BOOK FESTIVAL.
Originally posted on Robin Newman Books:
Celebrating its 9th year, the Princeton Children’s Book Festival provides children, and bigger children like myself, the opportunity to meet some of their all-time favorite authors and illustrators, to learn about their craft, and to pray that their credit cards won’t exceed their credit limits because they’ve bought so many books. :)
And here are some photographic highlights of this year’s festival:
John Bemelmans Marciano
Me & Leeza Hernandez
Corey Rosen Schwartz
Shhh! You didn’t see me.
Alison Ashley Formento
I had an awesome, amazing, super, wonderful, very, very good day at the Princeton Children’s Book Festival! And I’m looking forward…
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Katreina Eden grew up in the Midwest, eventually landing in California, where she went to law school and then ran her own law firm for a number of years. She currently works as the Executive Vice President of Cedar Fort, Inc., in Springville, Utah. Katreina also owns and operates Organiwic, LLC, an all-natural candle company, with her sister. She enjoys being out in nature and spending time with family. Aside from being published in various legal journals, this is Katreina’s first trade publication. It's apleasure to have you on my blog, Katreina! How did you come up with the idea to write Bible Bands? The idea was actually suggested by the owner of our publishing company because the topic was a huge trend but we wanted to add a bit of a twist to what was already out on the market and we thought the Bible themes would also help inspire kids. How was your writing process like? The hardest part about writing the book, aside from learning the art and then creating my own designs, was taking all the step-by-step images. Going into the project, I thought it would be difficult to come up with my own design ideas, but once I learned how to make the jewelry, coming up with my own designs to match scripture themes came pretty easy. I was surprised about that part. Some of the technical aspects of the designs were a little more difficult to create than others once I had a vision of what I wanted so it was a matter of trial and error until the design worked. What do you hope children will take away from your book? Mostly I hope kids will learn that they can have fun while being spiritually uplifted as well. I want them to be able to embrace their spiritual beliefs, whatever they may be, through living life, not just when they happen to be in church. This is your first book. Are there any more on the way? Maybe. I'd like to write more, but I'm also extremely busy. It will probably depend on if this one is successful. You're also an attorney and vice-president of Cedar Fort, Inc. Tell us about that. Ever since I was little, I have been rather determined and let's say ambitious. I like learning. Going to law school and practicing law was just something I wanted to do at the time and I am grateful for the knowledge and training law school and the practice of law has provided me. I also enjoy helping good businesses succeed and being involved in that actual process. Cedar Fort is a great place to work and I feel we are trying to accomplish great things by inspiring the world through books. What has been the most rewarding aspect of writing this book? I think the most rewarding aspect is seeing other's reactions to the book. I had no idea others would find it so enjoyable. Initially I took on the project because it made good business sense, but it has turned in to more than that. Anything else you'd like to share with readers? I would just say live your dreams; nothing is impossible with God's help.
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A power happy mean girl entered my life on my first day of school. A day I looked forward to for what seemed like years. I watched my brothers from my bedroom window catch the bus, waiting for my day to arrive, and who do I meet the first day, Holly White.
I couldn't understand why other children cried at the bus stop and physically wrestled their parents on their first day of school.
I guess it was due to the fact that I watched my older brothers do it, and they manage to return safely, plus my mother read to us, and I was dying to learn how to read; I guess I was a weird kid.
I remember feeling overjoyed when I climbed the stairs on the school bus for the first time. My brother was instructed to walk me to my classroom, but of course he didn't, which was fine with me, because I was a big girl full of courage, that is until the bell rang, and I started crying and roaming around the school trying to find my classroom.
Then, a miracle happened, another student was also lost and she was with her mother, her name was Holly White, and from that moment on we were joined at the hip. We learned to read and write together, and spent every free moment talking about everything we knew about the world.
We went to all of the same birthday parties, joined brownies together, etc...Holly was one of the popular girls that every female first grader wanted to be associate with, or even join for lunch, and I was her side kick, wing girl, and slave.
For some reason, I didn't feel like I was likeable as myself, so I bragged about the one thing that most children went crazy over- My parents owned a boarding stables, taught riding lessons, and brought most of their boarders to horse shows, so the horses they owned as well as the other horses at our barn were not for children to ride. But, I had a Shetland pony we could ride, and I couldn't wait to tell Holly.
Well, naturally I thought Holly would be delighted to visit our barn, and impressed enough to maybe spend the night. So, one afternoon at recess, I mustered the courage to invite her using my parents stable as bait.
I remember what happened next like it was yesterday;
Holly and I were looking for a four leaf clover at recess, when I said,
"Holly, would you like to ride the bus home with me tomorrow? Every afternoon after school I ride with my mother to our barn. I have a Shetland pony, and we also have horses you can brush and sit on."
Holly's stopped looking through the clover, paused, fixed her dark brown eyes on mine as if she were my enemy, and replied,
"I hate horses."
Stunned, I began to think as fast as I pulled clover, and said, "Well, we also have chickens, dogs, cats, and a bunch of other animals. What kind of animals do you like?"
Holly thought for a moment, which seemed like a year, and said,
"Well, I like pigs. Do you have any pigs?"
Delighted, by the prospect of having a queen ride home with me on the bus, I said,
"Oh yes, we have lots of pigs, and we even have a pond for them to play in- When would you like to visit?"
"What about tomorrow?" Holly said. And of course I agreed, although I wasn't sure my mother would, especially on short notice, so I spent the rest of the afternoon practicing how to ask my mother. I felt like tiny slivers of ice were running through my bloodstream the rest of the day.
But, to my surprise, my mother said yes, and after a nights sleep, my day came to impress our school celebrity.
When my mother, Holly, and I arrived at our barn, Holly was amazed and impressed, even with the horses.
Then, she was ready to see the pigs at play in their pond.-
The pond was far back in the pasture, so Holly and I kept walking until the barn was out of sight.
Then, it happened, my mother started calling my name, "Ann, Ann, where in the world are you going?"
But, before I could answer, Holly said, "We're going to see the pigs!"
I felt as if I was melting, when my mother replied,
"Ann, we don't have any pigs! Now, come back to the barn this instant."
-Today, I suspect Holly knew we didn't have any pigs, because she felt she would lose her power if she admitted she was impressed. I like to write stories of the mistakes I made growing up because we all make the same ones. All of us have to deal with mean girls and boys- It seems to be one of the recipes of life. And this was my first one. I wonder where Holly White is today, and what kind of person she turned out to be. I bet she is a nice person today. Thanks for reading such a long story, I hope you enjoyed it- Ann Clemmons