Enter to win a copy of Ancient Earth Journal: The Early Cretaceous (Quatro Kids Books, 2015), written by Juan Carlos Alonso and Gregory S. Paul. Giveaway begins August 31, 2015, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends September 30, 2015, at 11:59 P.M. PST.Add a Comment
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Blog: The Children's Book Review (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: Giveaways, Book Giveaway, Dinosaurs, Gregory S. Paul, Juan Carlos Alonso, Add a tag
Blog: YALSA - Young Adult Library Services Association (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: Blogs, Committees, Diversity and Equity, Governance, Partnerships, Programming, Teen Services, Tweens, YALSA Info., Add a tag
Happy End of Summer and Back-to-School!
I’m so excited to be sharing my first YALSA President’s Report!
It’s been a whirlwind since ALA Annual, and here’s what I’ve been working on since then:
Done & Done!
- Appointments to Edwards, Printz & Nonfiction Committees
- Assigning Board liaisons to Strategic, Selection & Award Committees
- Assign Board Members to Standing Board Committees
- Column for Fall 2015 issue of YALS
- Virtual training for New YALSA Board members
- YALSA blog post on Presidential Initiative: 3-2-1 Impact! Inclusive & Impactful Teen Services
- Worked with YALSA Board to appoint Renee McGrath to fill Krista McKenzie’s vacancy on the YALSA Board
- Had first call with the Whole Mind Group, who YALSA is working with on Strategic Planning
- With Chris Shoemaker, hosted first monthly chat with the YALSA Board, where we discussed YALSA’s Standing Board Committees
- Interviewed candidates for Member Managers for the Hub blog and Teen Programming HQ; appointed Molly Wetta as new Hub Member Manager and Jessi Snow as new Teen Programming HQ Member Manager
Works in Progress
- Filling Strategic Committee vacancies
- Filling Rachel McDonald’s Board vacancy
- Appointing YALSA representatives to ALA groups
- Strategic Planning
- Preparing for YALSA’s YA Services Symposium & Fall Executive Committee meetings
- Seeking content experts for Teen Programming HQ
- Seeking out partnerships with ALA ethnic caucuses, ALA LGBT Round Table, ASCLA, Wattpad, National Writing Project, Connected Learning Alliance, DeviantArt and more
Media & Outreach
- Expressed YALSA’s support of the establishment of the Joint Caucus of Librarians of Color, Inc. in Library Journal
- Interviewed by the Chicago Tribune for an article on Summer Learning programs
- Interviewed by School Library Journal for an upcoming article on tweens and tween library services
Stats & Data
- Friends of YALSA raised $1,155 in June 2015
- Friends of YALSA raised $436 in July 2015
- Membership: 5,113 (down -0.3% over this time last year)
- Oct. 1 - Deadline to submit a volunteer form to be on YALSA's upcoming award, selection and strategic committees! More information here
Last, but certainly not least -
- All of our members for all that you do to support teens and teen library services in your communities, every day!
- Chris Shoemaker, YALSA’s immediate Past President, for passing the torch and mentoring current President-Elect Sarah Hill
- YALSA’s ALA Annual 2015 Local Arrangements Committee, for a terrific job coordinating travel tips & info and local YALSA events in San Francisco
- YALSA Board, for your hard work, leadership and enthusiasm - I know it's going to be a great year!
- YALSA Staff, especially Beth Yoke, Letitia Smith & Nichole O'Connor, for your assistance and support with association logistics
Until next time!
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Blog: Great Kid Books (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: ages 5-8, best new book, friendship, picture books, Add a tag
Even though children are surrounded by other kids at school, they often don't feel seen or acknowledged. Mac Barnett and Christian Robinson tap into this feeling in their delightful story about Leo, a little ghost who makes a friend.
Leo: A Ghost StoryLeo has a hard time making friends because he’s a ghost. No one can see him. But we can. He’s pretty satisfied spending time by himself, but he is happy when a family moves into his house. It's good to have company. But the family doesn't see things the same way.
by Mac Barnett
illustrated by Christian Robinson
Your local library
*best new book*
Kids will know just what it's like not to be wanted, and they will empathize with Leo as he leaves home. The cool blues of Robinson's illustrations match the soft, subdued mood. One afternoon, "Leo found himself roaming along a sidewalk covered in drawings." Jane looked right up at Leo and asked if he'd like to play. At first, Leo is stunned that she's talking right to him.
|"Leo, do you want to play Knights of the Round Table?"|
I won't give away the ending, but be rest assured that it will bring a smile to your face and let kids know that they can find a friend who likes them just the way they are.
Enjoy this book trailer. Just like the book, the kids' voices shine through.
Check out these other reviews & interviews:
- review at Jen Robinson's Book Page
- interview with Christian Robinson at Let's Get Busy Podcast
- starred review at Kirkus
Illustrations ©2015 Christian Robinson. The review copy was kindly sent by the publisher, Chronicle Books. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books. Thank you for your support.
©2015 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books Add a Comment
Blog: Kid Lit Reviews (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: 5stars, Books for Boys, Children's Books, Middle Grade, NonFiction, art, art prompts, colored pencils, crayons, creativity, doodling, imagination, Photo Doodles: A Creative Sketchbook, Quirk Books, ViiiZ, Add a tag
Photo Doodles: A Creative Sketchbook
Quirk Books 8/20/2013
160 pages Age 8—12 +
“You’ve never seen a doodle book quite like this one!”
”Wait, you can talk?”
“Photo Doodles combines kid-friendly photographs and cool creative challenges into the perfect canvas for anyone capable of wielding a crayon. Young artists and designers can complete dozens of fun and playful pictures of everything from roller coasters and soda cans to book covers and palaces. Perfect for sketching, scribbling, and coloring outside the lines, Photos Doodles will unleash the aspiring artist inside children of all ages.” [front jacket]
Photo Doodles is a fun-filled book for those kids—and adults—who love to doodle, but may not know how to get started. Similar to writing prompts, each spread contains a one sentence prompt to help you with ideas to doodle your way to a fun, satisfying end. Here are two of those prompts:
“Who (or what) is at the other end of the rope?”
“What outfit will the puppy wear today?”
With 160 pages to doodle and color, it seems the options are endless. From decorating a sea of umbrellas to filling in storyboards with your own story. There is even one many students will find hard to resist:
“It’s your turn at the blackboard . . . what will you write?”
How about “No more math problems,” or maybe “School’s out early today: Leave at noon,” or maybe you would use your turn to make tomorrow a teacher conference day—“Students stay home!”
There are plenty of open spaces in Photo Doodles or those kids and adults who can doodle and draw with ease and loads of pages with images to make colorful and expressive, rather than drawing from scratch. A total of 200 pictures await your crayons, colored pencils, markers, or other artistic medium. While marketed for the middle grade set, younger children will enjoy many of the easier prompts in Photo Doodles and adults will love the range of images and prompts.
I enjoyed playing with Photo Doodles. I love to draw, but have a hard time getting started. Photo Doodles made getting started easy and the images and prompts got me thinking of ways to doodle other than the normal doodles in the margin of a page.
Coloring books for adults are in every corner of every bookstore online and off, but doodle books that prompt you to create imaginative scenes and messages, like Photo Doodles, is not as common. I think kids of all ages will enjoy Photo Doodles as much as I have.
PHOTO DOODLES: A CREATIVE SKETCHBOOK. Text and illustrations copyright © 2015 by ViiiZ. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Quirk Books, Philadelphia, PA.
Meet the authors/illustrators, ViiiZ.
Vahram Muratyan at his website: http://www.vahrammuratyan.com/
Elodie Chaillous at LinkedIn: https://fr.linkedin.com/pub/elodie-chaillous/84/79a/462/en
. . (ViiiZ is the artistic team of Vahram Muratyan and Elodie Chaillous andfounders of ViiiZ, an art direction and graphic design studio created in 2005 in Paris. They graduated from the acclaimed Parisian design school ESAGPenninghen.)
Find middle grade novels at the Quirk Books website: http://www.quirkbooks.com/
Copyright © 2015 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved
Full Disclosure: Photo Doodles: A Creative Sketchbook by ViiiZ, and received from Quirk Books, is in exchange NOT for a positive review, but for an HONEST review. The opinions expressed are my own and no one else’s. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Filed under: 5stars, Books for Boys, Children's Books, Middle Grade, NonFiction Tagged: art, art prompts, colored pencils, crayons, creativity, doodling, imagination, Photo Doodles: A Creative Sketchbook, Quirk Books, ViiiZ Add a Comment
Blog: The Children's Book Review (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: Ages 9-12, Animal Books, Picture Books, Science, Dinosaurs, featured, Gregory S. Paul, Juan Carlos Alonso, Non-Fiction, Add a tag
What is it about dinosaurs that intrigue us so much? There are lots of extinct animals, some are even stranger than the dinosaurs. Yet when it comes to capturing our imagination, dinosaurs rule.Add a Comment
Blog: The PlanetEsme Plan: The Best New Children's Books from Esme's Shelf (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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Oh my goodness, if teachers haven't spent enough already on glue sticks and bulletin board border and what-not...but one of the great pleasures of the plundering of the pedagogue's paycheck is the building of one's own special classroom collection. Here are a baker's half-dozen of primary picture book titles that I would hazard to suggest are must-haves of the season. Treat yourself, or if you're a parent, treat a teacher!
Mouse's First Night at Moonlight School by Simon Puttock, illustrated by Ali Pye (Nosy Crow). Any child will relate to the feeling of shyness on the first day in a new classroom. But don't worry...Miss Moon will help the little mouse find friends, and any child who hears this story will be reassured that his or her classroom teacher will do the same! The nocturnal school setting suggests a certain autumnal spookiness that matches well with the timidity of our hero, and the witchy teacher is simply charming. I can't wait to share it with primary students during our first week together!
There Was an Old Dragon Who Swallowed a Knight by Penny Parker Klostermann, illustrated by Ben Mantle (Random House) I know, I know, another "there was an old woman" formulaic cumulative tale chestnut, but really, this one is very good. Exciting, bold and funny illustrations and clever rhymes combine with the appealing Medieval setting to make this a favorite read-aloud.
Troll and the Oliver by Adam Stower (Templar Books) Every day around lunchtime, Troll tries to eat the Oliver, but to no avail. With the catchiest refrain since The Gingerbread Man and a great surprise ending, this book is sure to inspire predictions, choral speaking and a lot of laughs.
The Grasshopper and the Ants by Jerry Pinkney (Little, Brown) Can't have too many classics, and the beauty of this version of this Aesop's fable by a multiple Caldecott-winning watercolor artist will make you gasp aloud. You should get it just as a present to yourself, though it's bound to prove as useful and cheerful as a song in the long, cold winter months.
Rufus the Writer by Elizabeth Bram, illustrated by Chuck Groenink (Tundra Books) A story stand instead of a lemonade stand? What an inspired idea! Read how Rufus satisfies his customers, gets paid in an alternative economy and set up your own Story Stand in a writing center.
Use Your Imagination by Nicola O'Byrne (Nosy Crow) Speaking of story, a rabbit who happens to be a librarian helps a hungry wolf create a narrative with an ending that keeps him from being the end. Meta marvelousness with discussion of action and setting.
Fowl Play by Travis Nichols (Chronicle) One of the trickiest parts of learning a new language is learning the idiomatic expressions, and this book is chock full of them, in the context of discovering who broke Mr. Hound's store window. Mystery of helping ESL students solved!
Also check out:
The Whisper by Pamela Zagarenski (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt); I Will Never Get a Star on Mrs. Benson's Blackboard by Jennifer K. Mann (Candlewick); Daisy Saves the Day by Shirley Hughes (Candlewick); Snow White and the 77 Dwarfs by Raphael Barbanegre (Tundra Books); The Little Gardener by Emily Hughes (Flying Eye Books).
And where is all the nonfiction, you may ask? Stay tuned for best books for the new school year part II! In the meantime, please share your favorites in the comments below.
Links for informational purposes. Please support your local independent bookseller! Add a Comment
Alasdair Gray's best-known work -- and modern classic -- Lanark has been turned into a play, by David Greig, and has now premiered at the Edinburgh International Festival; see their publicity page.
Not an easy work to adapt -- but at a nearly four-hour running-time Greig seems to have tried to stuff a great deal in.
Early reviews -- see those in The Guardian, The Observer, and The Stage -- have been enthusiastic.
Blog: So many books, so little time (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: dueling covers, Add a tag
The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Xiao Bai's French Concession.
I was particularly curious about this one, because Yao Minji, in Old Shanghai thriller lures Western publisher, noted:
The novel by Shanghai author Xiao Bai sold only moderately well in China, but it has the elements that appeal to Western readers.Personally, I'd much rather see titles that are more popular in China, even if that means they're ostensibly mystifying to 'Western' readers -- and, indeed, despite whatever Western-reader-appealing elements this novel (supposedly) has, it turns out not to be a very good one. I'm not particularly surprised it wasn't a big hit in China -- and I suspect it won't be in the 'West' either; sure, aspects of it are interesting -- but it's also a mess.
I fear publishers still haven't hit on the formula of Chinese fiction translating into Western success ..... (I also fear they are going about it mostly, if not all, wrong -- but then that would be more or less par for the publisher course, at least as far as the majors are concerned.)
(Note also that this was a work-for-hire translation -- translator Chenxin Jiang didn't get to keep the copyright (as she should have), instead it's: "English language translation © HarperCollins". Yes, there are exceptions -- Elena Ferrante, sigh ... -- but basically it's a good rule of thumb: if the translator doesn't have the copyright the work is much more likely not to be ... of the highest quality .....) Add a Comment
Blog: prime time rhyme (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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An Irish pub, a Guinness pint
And music playing - live!
There aren't many better ways
For spirits to revive.
The barkeep may be half your age
But conversation flows
And perfect strangers share their thoughts -
That's just the way it goes.
An Irish pub's the same no matter
Where you wander in.
There's Guinness and a friendly vibe
And laughs above the din.
Blog: Notes from the Slushpile (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: Addy Farmer, Emma Chichester Clark, Marcus Sedgwick, Moomins, snow, winter stories, Add a tag
by Addy FarmerAbout two minutes ago, the Summer Holidays stretched out like this ...
|not a computer in sight|
|Moominpapa could write whenever he wanted to|
Never mind because in the end reading is the stuff of writing.
The media would have us think that Summer is a time for reading and I did read alot although not on the beach. But I don't think that I read anymore than I do the rest of the year. Radio 4 even had a brief say about how summer reading was no different to winter reading on the daily commute, really. Most of my summer reading has been a writer new to me, Frances Hardinge. I whipped through the brilliant, 'Verdigris Deep' and 'The Lie Tree' and 'Cuckoo Song'. I've just started, 'A Face of Glass'. These are cracking good stories and that is what I like to read any time of the year.
But I do like Winter and stories set in winter time. So, let's just conveniently forget the intervening hufflepuff-like season of Autumn and spring to contemplation of Winter stories. Is there a difference between these and those set in Summer? Perhaps, we might personify them. Summer is perky with arms-wide and smiling where Winter is dark, hunched and dour. One camps outdoors, one skulks inside. One looks out at the world, the other looks inwards ... well, you get the idea.
Winter is coming (say it like a cinema trailer announcement). Put that way, it sounds scary which to my mind is not a bad thing. Traditionally, Winter is associated with death and hibernation. It is when the flowers fold and the garden hides. The cold makes your fingers freeze and your bones ache; it requires effort to keep warm and keep moving.
|Hope you're wearing a vest, Gandalf|
Winter Time by Robert Louis Stevenson
Close by the jolly fire I sit
To warm my frozen bones a bit;
Or with a reindeer-sled, explore
The colder countries round the door.
When to go out, my nurse doth wrap
Me in my comforter and cap;
The cold wind burns my face, and blows
Its frosty pepper up my nose.
Black are my steps on silver sod;
Thick blows my frosty breath abroad;
And tree and house, and hill and lake,
Are frosted like a wedding cake.
Here, in A Child's Garden of Verses, Stevenson sums up all the good stuff I used to love as a child about Winter. it could be the comfort of playing outside on a snapping-cold day, then the glorious comfort of warming yourself, not to mention the breath-taking beauty of a landscape transformed by SNOW.
|Where the dickens did all this snow come from?!|
" The darkness and the mist had vanished with it, for it was a clear, cold winter day, with snow upon the ground ... the quick wheels dashing the hoar-frost and snow from off the dark leaves of the evergreens like spray"
I like that C.S Lewis added a touch of Victorian London to Narnia. Not only that but the snow makes it beautiful. I want to go there. The snow plays a more sinister role here; it is seen as stilling time and freezes life to its essentials. The land waits for Winter to end (spoiler - it does).
|Mad as a box of frogs|
|She looks almost cuddly|
do not cuddle this bear
|The best cover in the world|
I'm gonna sit here in my place on the hill behind the house. Waiting. And watching. Ain't nothing moving down there. The valley look pretty bare in the snow. Just the house grey and lonely down by the river all frozen.The snow can force you inside and send you mad or make you see things that might or might not be there. It is the perfect setting for a ghost story as Dark Matter by Michele Paver so brilliantly and shiveringly demonstrates. The snow blinds the hero, Jack. “How odd, that light should prevent one from seeing.” he says. The snow controls his movements and eventually his mind and makes him see what should not be there. In the end, the snow subdues him.
Ah, but it's not all teen-angst gloom and doom. At the younger end, there are so many ways for snow to be the cheery, comforting, exciting and playful.
Summer fading, winter comes
Frosty mornings, tingling thumbs,
Window robins, winter rooks,
And the picture story-books.
Picture Books in Winter by Robert Louis Stevenson
|Come in! It's lovely and warm inside!|
Bear and Hare:Snow! by Emily Gravett celebrates the joy to be had with friends in the snow.
|We've all done it|
.... before the warmth of friendship found and all wrapped up in Christmas - lovely.
I leave the obvious to last and I'll whisper it, Christmas. It seems that no Christmas is complete without snow. I agree. I want Christmas to have deep and crisp and even snow ...
so we can make snowmen.
So never mind that it's the end of Summer, Winter is coming and it brings ...
The Times of India gets a number of writers to play along in its 'Write India' initiative, soliciting reader-questions for them; this month they offer Chetan Bhagat's responses to fifteen reader-questionsAdd a Comment
Blog: Emerging Writers Network (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: Book Reviews, Add a tag
Benchere in Wonderland by Steven Gillis
Copy via MS Word from Steve (wherein I disclose that I obviously know Steve)
This is the fifth novel of Steve's that I've read and the seventh book overall. It's the best of his that I've read, which is saying quite a bit, especially after the last trio of Temporary People, The Consequence of Skating, and The Law of Strings.
Benchere in Wonderland seems to "simply" ask What is Art? and What is Art's role in the world? I think it goes beyond that though and pushes the reader to think about what it means to be human--what it means to think, to act, to love, to grieve, to admire.
The Benchere in question is Michael Benchere--world renowned architect, and sculpture. I don't want to spoil anything for any readers of this wonderful novel and will simply say that Benchere ends up deciding to build a huge sculpture in the Kalahari Desert in Africa and while he simply wants/hopes to do it for the sake of the sculpture, it turns into much more--a media event, a place for people to converge, to make their own comments about art and about politics and love and ...
And Gillis has infused this novel with plenty of humor and entertainment. It's a novel that will entertain you greatly while causing you to think.
5 starsAdd a Comment
Blog: Reading Teen (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: 3 pieces, Mystery, Other Paranormal, Review My Books Reviews, Reviews: Jackie, Add a tag
Review by Jackie The Appearance of Annie Van Sinderen by Katherine Howe Age Range: 12 and up Grade Level: 7 and upHardcover: 400 pagesPublisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers (September 15, 2015)Goodreads | Amazon It’s July in New York City, and aspiring filmmaker Wes Auckerman has just arrived to start his summer term at NYU. While shooting a séance at a psychic’s in the EastAdd a Comment
Blog: ALSC Blog (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: ALA Annual 2015, Guest Blogger, Add a tag
This summer my husband and I packed up, threw a couple of dogs in our car, and moved from Texas to Massachusetts. I had resigned from my amazing job as an elementary librarian in Coppell, TX and accepted the Media Specialist position at Shrewsbury High School (just outside of Worchester, MA). Our summer was spent looking for houses, attempting to understand the foreign language that is real estate, and playing Tetris with all of our belongings. On the bright side, between packing, driving, and across country flights, I have finished a record number of audio books.
In the middle of all this, I flew to San Francisco for my first ALA Annual conference. I fortunately received a Penguin Young Readers Award, an award that is given to support 4 members of ALSC who have fewer than 5 years experience in the library to attend their first ALA Annual. This experience may not have been a moment of calm amidst my chaotic summer, but it was a reinvigorating weekend that went beyond my expectations.
Conference attendance provides the important opportunity to increase your involvement in ALSC and ALA as well as network with colleagues. This is the core justification for my continued participation at ALA conferences. I am a member of the ALSC Membership Committee, and as a part of my commitment to this committee, I helped to organize the ALSC 101 event. I have had the opportunity to learn more about the division through the committee, but ALSC 101 helped to provide a greater understanding of opportunities for involvement within ALSC.
Each opportunity to work on a committee or volunteer in any way helps ALSC support library services to children. We are a passionate group of individuals and our voices carry weight within the world of libraries, children’s literature, and education. Take the opportunity to become involved.
Our community is a powerful resource for any librarian. I was able to speak with many others who work with children and teens in the library. There were also a number of sessions I attended about school libraries, STEM programming, and diversity. This conference allowed me to take advantage of the wealth of experience from other conference attendees as I bring a stack of new ideas and perspectives to my library.
As I write this, I am one week away from my first day at a new school, with high schoolers for the first time, and across the country from everything I know. The conference was not a reprieve from my chaotic summer. In the span of 4 days, I attended my first Newbery/Caldecott/Wilder Banquet, explored San Fransisco, watched an incredible city wide Pride celebration, met a number of phenomenal authors, snagged a few amazing ARCs for review, and hung out with some the coolest librarians I know. It was busy, it was crazy, it was fun, but most importantly it was transformative. My first ALA Annual gave me the confidence to take on my new role and the knowledge that there is a large community within ALSC and ALA to support my library, my students, and me.
Emily Bredberg works as a High School Media Specialist in Shrewsbury, MA. She has spent the few remaining weeks of her summer reading and hiking through some of New England’s beautiful forests. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram, @BredbergReads.
Please note that as a guest post, the views expressed here do not represent the official position of ALA or ALSC.
If you’d like to write a guest post for the ALSC Blog, please contact Mary Voors, ALSC Blog manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The post The Value of ALA Annual: Reflections from a First Time Attendee appeared first on ALSC Blog.Add a Comment
Blog: Kelly Hashway's Blog (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: contemporary, editing, Limitless, Monday Mishmash, Our Little Secret, reviews, romance, young adult, Add a tag
- First Day of School My daughter went back to school today. :( I miss her already.
- Editing It's probably no shock that my plate is full with edits this week.
- Recovering From Knee Injury In case you didn't see my posts on FB and Twitter last week, I fell on the treadmill and now both knees look like I'm trying to audition for The Walking Dead—as a zombie of course. They're healing now, but ouch!
- Our Little Secret I'm SO excited for this release on September 15. Like SO excited. I love this book, and it's gorgeous thanks to the amazing team at Limitless Publishing. I have a lot planned for the month of September to celebrate, so stay tuned.
- Writer Wednesday Topics My posts from the other side of the submissions desk seem to be popular, so I thought I'd ask you if there's anything you'd like me to talk about in my Wednesday posts. What do you want to know about as far as submitting to editors?
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Blog: A Fuse #8 Production (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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Not too long ago The Guardian had a piece out called Picture books that draw the line against pink stereotypes of girls. I was keen on it, particularly since in the midst of all these children’s books about breaking down stereotypes, I’ve seen awfully few “tomboy” titles. Books about girls who won’t wear dresses or care two bits about makeup and pink sparkles. They exist, but they’re not often commented on, so I liked the piece.
In the midst of all its books mentioned, I was particularly intrigued by a Yasmeen Ismail title that I’d not seen before. Called I’m A Girl!, it was described as, “a challenge to every instant playground assumption that a blue-clad, rambunctious speed demon must be a boy.” It looks awfully neat, and it got me to thinking about a little commented upon children’s book character: The female who doesn’t sport eyelashes, bows, or pink. In other words, books where girls are just as sordid and snarling or wild and wacky as their male counterparts. An ode to my four favorites:
Sasspants from Guinea PIG, Pet Shop Private Eye
She made her debut just before the current wave of children’s graphic novel love sweeping our fair nation. She was a guinea pig, dour and more interested in reading than interacting socially. She solved crimes. Her name was Sasspants. Honestly, is there anything else that need be said? Her series was fantastic, but might have been hampered by the fact that sizewise it looked like a picture book. Still, you can’t help but adore any series where the fish make obscure MRS. FRISBY AND THE RATS OF NIMH jokes.
Bad Kitty by Nick Bruel
There are many reasons to love Bad Kitty. She has more chutzpah than Garfield, more charm than Heathcliff, and more of an appetite than Grumpy Cat. She uses the word “Feh” with flair and I would argue that she is a feminist icon since her driven self-interest makes her a wonderfully flawed character. At no point does she fall in love or bat her eyelashes or do anything but act like a very inwardly focused cat.
Piggie from the Elephant and Piggie series
Honestly, it wasn’t until Mo wrote I Am Invited to a Party that I realized that Piggie was a girl at all. When it comes to animal characters, so many illustrators think it necessary to deck their girls out in bows and eyelashes and the like. Mo figured out that if you say a character’s a girl then by golly it’s gonna be a girl. And though at first you might worry that she’s the manic pixie dream pig to Gerald the elephant’s Eeyore-like persona, we know that at times she is just as prone to dour thoughts as her pachyderm pal.
Bink from Bink and Gollie
Of all the characters I’ve mentioned today, it is Bink that throws my four-year-old for a loop. She refers to Bink as “he” constantly, though I point out repeatedly that Bink wears a skirt (unlike, say, any of the girls previously mentioned). The skirt may throw her out of contention, but clearly it doesn’t register with her readership, so I’m keep her on this list. Truth be told, Bink may also be my favorite gal here. She has only three books but one can hope that the Bink & Gollie train has not entirely left the station. Three is a perfect little number, sure . . . but four? Four would be superb. Four then, please!
Feel free to mention your own lovely ladies that don’t rely on frills and furbelows.Add a Comment
Hippolyte posted this awesome-tastic challenge for you on the Fan Fiction Message Board!
So! This is a thing I saw in a STACKS Message Board a LONG time ago and though I’ve never participated myself, I figured it’s high time someone brings a new writing challenge. Here’s the deal:
You are to write a drabble inspired by the first song that comes up on shuffle. Grab your phones/ipods/mp3s/playlists or anything you have with music stored in it and a shuffle option, and enable said option. Your task is to write a short story (fan fiction or original) inspired by the song, for as long as the song is playing. Once the song is over, you stop writing and completely leave it be.
- You may skip songs in case you can’t get inspired, but don’t be too picky or you’ll just be shuffling forever.
- You must skip any songs that are inappropriate either because of language or content. Any song that receives a rating beyond PG 13 according to your judgment should better be avoided. We trust your judgment.
- In case you feel that a song with questionable content is still appropriate enough for this board, please mention all warnings that apply. Your story has to be 100% appropriate for all people on this boards. (As Moderator Katie says, don’t write something you wouldn’t say to a 7/8-year-old.)
- Your drabble can be a fan fiction or an original one. No preferences, but in case of fan fiction, make sure that the fandom you’re writing for is appropriate for younger kids on STACKS (PG 13 at most).
- “Completely leave it be” is just that. Don’t correct anything. Don’t play the song again. Don’t touch it; it’s already a masterpiece.
- Stories are expected to be short. Just brainstorm something and leave it in its raw beauty for the world to see.
- Of course, you’re never obliged to post what you just wrote if you don’t want to. We’re only doing this for fun.
I hope everyone has fun! I also hope you’re not weak enough to decline the challenge. Mwahaha!
So leave your song title and artist in the Comments, and then go to the Fan Fiction Message Board to share your whole story.Add a Comment
Blog: Here in the Bonny Glen (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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Sophie’s Squash by Pat Zietlow Miller & Anne Wilsdorf. Read to: my boys.
If you only pick up one new picture book for fall, let this be it. Here’s what I wrote in a Picture Book Spotlight post last year:
We first read this absolute gem of a picture book last year during the CYBILs. Fell so utterly in love with it—the lot of us—that a library copy wouldn’t do; we had to have our own. Huck and Rilla were overjoyed when I pulled it out this morning. Sophie’s instant bond with a butternut squash is utterly believable, and not just because Huck formed a similar attachment once upon a time, long before we encountered this book! “Bernice” becomes Sophie’s best friend and closest confidant, all through a bright and beautiful autumn. But as winter approaches, Bernice begins to get a bit squishy about the edges. Sophie’s parents make gentle attempts to convince Sophie it’s time to let her friend go, but since their suggestions involve treating the squash like, you know, a squash, Sophie’s having none of it. Her own solution is sweet and heartwarming, and it makes my kids sigh that contented sigh that means everything has come out exactly right.
How to Read a Story by Kate Messner, illustrated by Mark Siegel. Read to: my boys.
Well, I was sure I had posted a video of Huck reading this book last March. He was enchanted by the story from the first—a little step-by-step guide to enjoying a book with your best reading buddy, charmingly illustrated—and one day I caught him reading it out loud to himself, putting in all the voices. ::melt:
(In case the video won’t play for you, here’s a Youtube link.)
Charlie Parker Played Be Bop by Chris Raschka. Read to: my boys.
One of our longtime family favorites. The rhythm and whimsy of the text has captivated each of our small fry in turn. And the art is bold and funny and altogether wonderful.
Don’t Know Much About History by Kenneth C. Davis. Read to: the teens.
Another of the texts Beanie, Rose, and I are using for our 20th-century history studies. We continue to enjoy reading history texts aloud together, which allows us all to stay on the same page (literally) and—even more important—fosters discussion and fruitful rabbit trailing. We try to reserve two 45-minute blocks a week for this, supplementing with other books (including graphic novels, historical fiction, and biographies) and videos.
Books Continued from Last Week:
I’m nearing the end of To the Lighthouse and am feeling pretty well shattered. And I sort of want to start it all over from the beginning.
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Blog: Children's Book Reviews and Then Some (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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In 2012 I reviewed Neversink, a superb, Watership Down-esque tale of animals living in the Arctic Circle by Barry Wolverton. I've been waiting three years to see what he does next and The Vanishing Island, the first book in the Chronicles of the Black Tulip series is every bit as exciting as Neversink and inventively set in the alternate past of 1599! The town of Map is the "dirtiest,Add a Comment
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Blog: Pub(lishing) Crawl (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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You’ve Chosen Your Setting – Now What?
Who cares where your story takes place? Just about everybody.
A well-chosen setting grounds your story in the reality of a particular place and time. It’s more than a flat backdrop against which themes and metaphors unfold. The setting is a character in its own right, and as such helps to propel the story forward, to reveal character, to heighten tension, and ultimately, to provide resolution.
CREATING THE SETTING
Who died and made you God? Setting is your opportunity for world-building. The importance of the right setting is most apparent in fantasy and science fiction writing, but is equally true for mysteries and mainstream fiction. A story’s setting forces the passage of time, unleashes weather, changes seasons and offers landscapes and skylines and history. It imposes restrictions upon your characters, as well as offering unique opportunities and challenges. The city of Paris, France, is real and familiar to many but in my novel, The Paris Key, I had to bring it to life for those who’ve never visited. Setting the story in Paris not only shaped what my characters could do and how, but allowed me to incorporate unique features, such as the city’s subterranean catacombs and the gargoyles high atop Notre Dame, as metaphors for my character’s journey as she unearthed family secrets and determined her own future.
Make it resonate: Evoking the texture of your setting is critical: make your fictional world as tactile and present to your reader as it is to the characters in the story. Address all five senses: sight, sound, feeling, taste—and don’t forget scent! Good or bad, our sense of smell is primal and evocative. An American in Paris may initially be struck by the beauty of its historic architecture, the grand museums, and well-tended parks, but will always remember the aromas of fresh baked bread from the boulangeries, sweets at the patisseries, coffee at the sidewalk cafes, the fresh rain on the pavement and the sometimes funky-smelling waters of the Seine.
Propel your story: Run out of ideas for your character halfway through your story? Look to your setting to ratchet up the emotional stakes for your character and move the story along. In The Paris Key, my protagonist can’t slip easily through her days because she is in a foreign country and has limited language skills. She struggles to understand—and to make herself understood—and even simple tasks are made challenging by a new language, different customs, and France’s legendary bureaucracy.
YOUR MOST IMPORTANT CHARACTER
If you make your setting the heart of your tale it will pump warmth or frigidity, comfort or strife, familiarity or strangeness through the entirety of your story.
Reveal character: Use your setting to reveal aspects of your protagonist’s character, whether through comfort with the surroundings, or conflict, or both. The Paris Key is essentially a tale of reinvention as my protagonist struggles to cope with being a newcomer, a fish out of water, a stranger in an unfamiliar (yet charming, this being Paris!) culture. The sights and sounds of Paris surround her and dictate her internal conflicts. Everyday activities pose new and unexpected difficulties and the struggle inspires constant questions: Is it worth it? Should I give up and go home? What have I done?
Different Time, Different Place: The unique history of the time period is, of course, a crucial part of your setting. Storylines from different eras might take place in the same physical setting, but the passage of time changes and affects the surroundings. The contrast between two different time periods can help tell your story: how have social customs and expectations, governments and communities changed? A secondary tale in The Paris Key has to do with a character damaged by the Basque struggles against the legacy of the Franco dictatorship; his presence in the City of Light, so far from Spain, brings the fight to the streets of Paris and echoes the brutality of World War II. On a personal level, his story becomes part of the family secrets the protagonist find buried in the catacombs.
Heighten conflict and find resolution: Setting can be the catalyst for plot development. Literally and metaphorically, our environment molds us. We may all be the same underneath, but think how different the life experiences of someone born and raised on a farm in California, compared to someone born and raised in Paris. The protagonist in The Paris Key has always held herself apart from others, but she finds this impossible in Paris, partly because of a culture of neighborliness she find herself in, and partly because the foreign setting makes her dependent on the kindness of strangers. As the novel progresses, the catacombs and the streets of Paris are the setting for the story’s resolution, as they reveal their secrets and the protagonist is forced to come to terms with her mother’s story, and the truth about her own past.
DON’T TACK IT ON
Whatever you do, make your setting integral to your book. Give it a purpose. Whether a story is set on a distant planet, in a spaceship, in a small American town, or a large French city, reveal the setting slowly over the course of your story, as you would any character. Allow your readers to “meet” your setting with fresh eyes at first, and uncover the complexity of the environment slowly, through the interactions of the story’s characters. Let the setting help you to frame and arrive at your resolution, as the environment makes its impact known. Remember, your setting can reflect, embody, or fight with your characters, but at the very least it will affect your novel’s emotional landscape, from first word to last.
JULIET BLACKWELL is the author of The Paris Key (Berkley/Penguin; 9/1/15), the New York Times bestselling Witchcraft Mysteries and the Haunted Home Renovation series. As Hailey Lind she wrote the Agatha-Award nominated Art Lover’s Mystery series. She is past president of Northern California Sisters in Crime and former board member of Mystery Writers of America. For more, visit: http://www.julietblackwell.net.Add a Comment
Blog: Cartoon Brew (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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Women don't receive the same opportunities as men do in animation, and they're finally speaking out about it.Add a Comment
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Thanks to First Second Books for providing a review copy and a giveaway for Ben Hatke's latest title, Little Robot, due out this coming Tuesday (09/01/2015)! Read on for my honest review, and remember to check the rest of the blog tour stops along the way for more reviews and chances to win!
About the Book
When a little girl finds an adorable robot in the woods, she presses a button and accidentally activates him for the first time. Now, she finally has a friend. But the big, bad robots are coming to collect the little guy for nefarious purposes, and it's all up to a five-year-old armed only with a wrench and a fierce loyalty to her mechanical friend to save the day!
#1 New York Times Bestselling author Ben Hatke brings his signature sweetness to a simple, moving story about friendship and overcoming fears that will appeal to readers of all ages.
Visit the publisher's page to view excerpts and find links to purchase the book.Click here to find out more
About the Author
Ben Hatke is the author and illustrator of the New York Times bestselling Zita the Spacegirl graphic novel trilogy and the picture book Julia's House for Lost Creatures. He lives and works in the Shenandoah Valley with his wife and their boisterous pack of daughters. His latest book is Little Robot.
Even if you've never read a Ben Hatke book or graphic novel before, you're in for a treat with Little Robot. Hatke's drawing and storytelling style is deceptively simple; at first glance it doesn't seem like there's much going on--muted color palette, subtle lines, mostly wordless panels. But as you turn the pages, a deeper appreciation takes root as you get to know the characters and their quirks.
A lonesome little girl finds a robot after it literally falls off a truck. Unpacking the Little Robot, she tinkers with it a bit as it seems unsteady and unsure. After parking the little robot in a junkyard car overnight, she returns the next day for adventures and play. Little Robot goes along with her, and for a while things are great--but then a big, mean robot from the warehouse is sent to retrieve the missing unit. As if that weren't enough to deal with, Little Robot doesn't seem to understand the difference between "alive" and "not alive", and starts to look for things that are a little more like him, and a lot less like his new friend.
Hatke deftly illustrates emotion, not just on the part of the little girl--her elation at finding a companion, the enthusiasm she puts into fixing things with her tools (she wears them on a handy utility belt), and her dismay when her new pal seems less interested in her and more interested in an abandoned pickup truck they find. He also infuses personality into everything from a beat up old truck to a perky transistor radio, and admirably does so with an economy of words. Little Robot and various other androids that appear later in the book show varying degrees of sentience, and the interplay between them makes for some funny, but also touching, scenes. Tension builds when Little Robot, Little Girl, and Big Robot's objectives clash and result in some unexpected twists. A few action sequences also liven up the plot, and the little girl has to rely on her wits and mechanical know-how to get out of a tight spot.
Aside from presenting us with spirited, playful art and a compelling tale, Hatke takes a "traditionally" boy topic (technology) and turns it on its ear with a non-white female character as the protagonist, doing so without losing the everyman (or everywoman?) appeal of a darned good yarn.5 stars - stay up all night
Blog Tour Schedule
Read Now Sleep Later, 8/31 http://www.readnowsleeplater.org/
Teen Lit Rocks, 9/1 http://teenlitrocks.com/
Cherry Blossoms and Maple Syrup, 9/2 https://innocencewalker.wordpress.com/
Bibliophilia, Please, 9/3 http://www.bibliophiliaplease.com/
The Book Monsters, 9/4 http://thebookmonsters.com/
Fly to Fiction, 9/5 http://flytofiction.blogspot.com/
Bumbles & Fairy Tales, 9/6 http://bumblesandfairytales.blogspot.com/
Stacked Books, 9/7 http://stackedbooks.org/
Ex Libris Kate, 9/8 http://exlibriskate.com/
The Book Rat, 9/9 http://www.thebookrat.com/
Working for the Mandroid, 9/10 http://www.workingforthemandroid.com/
Heise Reads, 9/11 http://www.heisereads.com/
The Hiding Spot, 9/12 http://thehidingspot.blogspot.com/
Fleen, 9/13 http://fleen.com/
Cuddlebuggery, 9/14 http://cuddlebuggery.com/
Win Little Robot by Ben Hatke, prize provided by the publisher, First Second Books. Just enter with the Rafflecopter widget below!
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It is season transition time! That means some days are like summer and some are like fall. The leaves on maples are beginning to change color already. The Canadian geese are flocking around the lakes for food and rest on their way south. The bees are very busy. The monarchs float through the garden. The crickets chirp almost 24-hours a day. The cicadas buzz in the heat of a warm afternoon. Days are noticeably shorter. Nights are cooler and mornings are on the verge of crisp. Some of the pumpkins in the garden are hinting at orange. On my bike rides I see masses of goldenrod with their feathery flowers turning yellow and bluestem grass flowering and starting to turn pink/red. The squirrels are frantically collecting their winter stores and digging holes everywhere to hide it in. And my allergies are raging beyond what my medication can control but I refuse to lock myself in the house and as a consequence have a near-constant sore throat, dry, itchy eyes, and swollen sinuses so I feel as though I am coming down with a cold even though I am not. But in a little over a month there will be a killing frost and it will be the end of the growing season and I will be both relieved and sad.
We have a sunflower in the garden that is 10 feet/3 m tall. The flower on top is ridiculously small given the plant’s height. It must have put all its energy into getting tall and not saved enough to make a big flower. We have a few shorter sunflowers in the garden and we are attempting again this year to save them from the squirrels so we can eat the seeds ourselves. One has a bag over the flowerhead already as the seeds grow and dry. We did this last year and it worked until we left it too long and an enterprising squirrel broke the flower stalk and ripped the bag apart and had itself a tasty meal. Not gonna let that happen this year!
The amaranth is going great. I had thought it would only get about 5 feet / 1.5 m tallbut some of them are about 7 feet/ 2 m tall. They are very beautiful plants. I looked up when and how to harvest the seeds and it should be pretty easy. Famous last words! But I also discovered the plant has a golden yellow variety too. So Bookman and I are thinking we will plant both read and yellow next year. The seeds are tiny and you can use them like flax seed or cook them like quinoa. Apparently they make a delicious breakfast porridge. The whole enterprise being an experiment this year, I am not certain how much seed we will get from our patch. Next year I will know to leave more room between each plant. Also, the young greens are reportedly very tasty and rich in iron, calcium and vitamin C. According to one website I found, if you prune down the main stem for greens early in the season it will promote a somewhat shorter but much bushier plant that will produce more flowers. The greens are used like one would use Swiss chard. I also learned that amaranth is a nitrogen hog so next year, since the plants get so tall, I am going to try growing pole beans with them and see how that goes. The summer has been cooler than usual this year which is fine by me, but it does present a problem for plants that need heat to ripen the fruit like tomatoes. We have loads of green tomatoes in the garden and so far have had only three cherry tomatoes get ripe enough to pick. The coming week is forecast to be downright hot, summer’s last hurrah. So my fingers are crossed that the heat is enough to get the tomatoes on their way to ripening. If not, I suppose Bookman will have to make some green tomato salsa or discover the pleasures of fried green tomatoes.
I picked the last of the yellow wax beans, a second effort from the plants that are now officially done. I also picked a couple of small yellow beets. When I say small, I mean small, they are about the size of a gobstopper, but I am happy about it nonetheless because they are the first beets I have ever pulled from the garden. Every gardener has the vegetable that she just can’t grow and it is always one that is so easy, according to everyone else, but for some reason it is not easy for her. Beets are my Achilles heel. Every year I plant them and they sprout and get a few inches tall but never really leafy and never any beetroots. That I have pulled two beets big enough to actually eat is a cause for celebration and makes me inordinately happy. Perhaps my beet luck is about to change!
We had a bald eagle visit the neighborhood yesterday. It is not uncommon to see them nearthe lakes but they generally don’t fly around the neighborhood. It circled around low a few times, watching something, no doubt, though I don’t know what. All the crows in the vicinity were in an uproar and goodness can they make a loud racket! After circling around four or five times it gave up and left, much to the relief of the crows who quieted as soon as the eagle departed. Unfortunately I was too busy watching it to even think about trying to get a photo. Such a beautiful bird too!
Thursday the fence people came our and set the posts for out fence. Yay! This week they will come out and install the chainlink. Yay! Bookman and I are still working out all the materials we need for the chicken coop. It is taking longer than I thought but we are getting there!
My long ride yesterday was lovely. It was cool enough that I had to start the ride with arm warmers. I took them off about halfway through and was still a bit cool but it was also really humid and I was borderline warm with them on. So I figured better a little chilly than hot. It was foggy in a few places though not so foggy that it affected visibility. A very nice ride.
My friend who rides with me Saturday mornings for part of the way had a wasp fly into one of the vents of his helmet and sting his head! I’ve eaten my share of gnats, been smacked by bugs and other unknowns, have even been pooped on by a low flying crow, but I’ve never had anything fly into my helmet let alone sting me while riding. Luckily he isn’t allergic to wasps and while it hurt he was able to keep going and still enjoy the ride. Next weekend he is getting married so I will be on my own for the whole ride. The weekend after that is the Jesse James fun ride Bookman and I are signed up for. One of the perks is a chair massage at the end of the ride. I am not sure which I am looking forward to more, the ride itself or the massage at the end of it!
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