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1. Sketchbook Exhibition at The Point

I've got a mini-exhibition of my sketchbooks this month at The Point gallery in Doncaster. On Tuesday, I travelled there for a meeting, to finalise which sketchbooks I am going to have on display and to install them. 

For now, it's only a small display: just 6 open books in neat glass cases, set into the wall of the gallery. I chose various contenders to show to the curator at the gallery. I also needed to test out which would fit best in the spaces, which are only 12 inches square, which meant neither small ones nor long ones would work. 

Luckily they were perfect for A5 books, of which I have quite a few. We chose a selection of different subjects, for visual impact, but also to get across the idea that you can sketch anything. I was keen to show work in various media too, because for me, sketchbooks are about experimentation and having fun, rather than creating predicable results.

It was lovely seeing the gallery. It's not somewhere I was aware of before they got in touch, which is shameful, given how close it is. The Georgian front belies a very modern interior. It's more than a gallery too: it's an arts centre, with music and dance studios, as well as a lovely cafe (which was very good value - lovely coffee for £1!)

If you are thinking of going to take a look, you have until October 21st.

There is also currently an Urban Sketching exhibition on, with drawings by artist Terry Chipp. There's free parking for 2 hours on the street outside the gallery too. What more could anyone want?

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2. Where next? New politics, kinder politics and the myth of anti-politics

For many commentators the 2015 General Election was the first genuinely ‘anti-political’ election but at the same time it was one in which the existence of a major debate about the nature of British democracy served to politicize huge sections of society.

The post Where next? New politics, kinder politics and the myth of anti-politics appeared first on OUPblog.

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3. Grave News

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4. Celebrating World Teachers’ Day on Two Writing Teachers #WorldTeachersDay

October 5 is World Teachers' Day. Thank you, teachers, for all you do!

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5. What is your favourite Shakespeare adaptation?

In anticipation of Shakespeare celebrations next year, we asked Oxford University Press and Oxford University staff members to choose their favourite Shakespeare adaptation. From classic to contemporary, the obscure to the infamous, we've collected a whole range of faithful and quirky translations from play text to film. Did your favourite film or television programme make the list?

The post What is your favourite Shakespeare adaptation? appeared first on OUPblog.

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6. Strategies for Evoking Moonlight

"Khasra by Moonlight" is one of the original paintings in the exhibition "The Art of James Gurney"  in Philadelphia. 
Khasra by Moonlight by James Gurney, 12 x 18 inches, oil on board
To evoke the feeling of moonlight, I used the following six strategies, which I based on my own personal memories of observing moonlight, and my study of other artists whose nocturnes I really admire (especially Frederic Remington, Atkinson GrimshawJohn Stobart, and Frank Tenney Johnson):

1. Set up an overall temperature contrast between the orange torchlight and the cool blue-green moonlight.
2. Keep the chroma in the moonlight low--not too intense of a blue-green. Hint of blue in far distance.
3. Put a slight warm halo around the moon and edge-light the adjacent clouds.
4. Keep the key of the painting relatively high.
5. Suppress all detail in the shadows and put some texture and variety in the lights.
6. Introduce a gradual stepping back of value, lightening as it goes back to the far minaret.

Here's the quick (45 minute) maquette that I built for lighting reference. It didn't need to be beautiful at all, just any old blobs of modeling clay were all I needed.

I quickly discovered that I had to move the actual lighting position quite far to the left, much farther to the left than the position of the moon in the painting.

After taking a digital photo of the maquette, in Photoshop I shifted the key toward blue-green, and I desaturated it slightly. The photo shows a lot of reflected light in the shadows, which I largely ignored. I would have played up that reflected light had I wanted to evoke daylight effects, where I might want to amplify the relatively weak reflected light.
"The Art of James Gurney" at the Richard Hess Museum at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia will be on view through November 16, and I will do a public presentation on October 29.
"Khasra by Moonlight" was first published in Dinotopia: Journey to Chandara
There's a discussion of architectural maquettes in my print book Imaginative Realism: How to Paint What Doesn't Exist and an exploration of moonlight in Color and Light: A Guide for the Realist Painter

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7. Small is Beautiful

The last few weeks have given me a chance to celebrate and network with librarians working in small libraries at two special events that reminded me again of my abiding respect and enthusiasm for those working in libraries serving small communities.

In September, I was one of the teaching facilitators for an intensive three day Wisconsin Youth Services Leadership Institute. Twenty-five library staffers involved with youth work, almost all from small libraries, were selected from over sixty applicants.

At the beginning, many felt that they didn't deserve to be called librarians because they lacked a master's degree. Over the course of the three days, through workshops on history, advocacy, leadership and more; through many individual and group conversations and expressions of mutual support for each other; and through some eye-opening goal setting, all the participants claimed their title as librarians and leaders doing great things for their communities in libraries.

Then I attended the recent Association of Rural and Small Libraries conference. I had long heard that this was one of the best library conferences out there and I can't disagree. Fifty-nine break-out session presentations; five major speakers at meals throughout the 2.5 day conference; and plenty of support for everyone to network and talk together during breaks, dine-arounds and receptions. The organizers made sure everyone felt welcomed.

I heard over and over people talking about colleagues they met from all over the country with similar situations (both triumphs and tears) and how great it was to touch base and connect. The focus on issues and concerns specific to the those working in small libraries had alot of meat for people from larger libraries and I found myself tugged between many great sessions scheduled opposite each other (eight programs per time slot!!).

Perhaps my favorite part was how many presenters were from small libraries sharing their expertise. It was great to hear new voices and ideas and perspectives and worth the price of admission. When I go to conferences, I love to hear from people working in many different library situations and my favorite panels are those that are made up of voices from multiple libraries of various sizes and regions.

As a longtime freelance storyteller in my state, I had the opportunity to go to many, very small libraries over the years. Each time I learned some new cool idea, some tip or trick, an arrangement of collections or services that was, well, completely brilliant. The creative librarians at many of these libraries became my role models, my go-to inspiration and pals.

Their work was echoed again in these two conferences and reinforces one of my deep and abiding beliefs. We are all librarians - regardless of education, all community advocates, all dedicated altruists who believe in the power of reading to change lives and that librarians from medium and large libraries have a TON to learn from our colleagues in small libraries.

Small is beautiful!

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8. New Book I'm Reading...

I read a post on The History Girls blog, by my friend Gillian Polack, in which she mentioned a fascinating book she had read recently, A Drizzle Of Honey: The Lives And Recipes Of Spain's Secret Jews by David M Gitlitz and Linda Kay Davidson.

Of course, I had to have it and it was available on iBooks, so...

It's proving an enjoyable read. There are quite a few history-themed cook books out there, yes. I have a few myself. The Heston Blumenthal one about medieval cooking is great! But it's more of a history book than a cookbook. Which is fine for research and even a bit for cooking.

But this one has a bit of everything and it's not just "how to cook the way they did in medieval Spain" or even "how Jews cooked in medieval Spain" but about what could happen to you in Spain if you were caught cooking in a certain way or at certain times that might suggest you were secretly Jewish, especially after the Inquisition turned up. And a lot of these recipes are based on trial records, when people's neighbours and servants noticed that someone was doing things the Jewish way, maybe too fond of eggplant and chick peas, cooking your Saturday meal on Friday, having a salad with the girls on Saturday arvo... The evidence against one man who was burned at the stake included a type of casserole he had cooked! This has to be the first cookbook I've read where cooking could get you killed.

The authors have found recipes in a number of medieval Spanish and Moorish cookbooks that sounded like the ones mentioned in the trial records. They have made sure the ingredients were available in your average supermarket. And since so many have a lot of saffron in them(as they say, if you used the amount given in some of the recipes you'd have to take out a second mortgage!), they only include saffron where you really can't manage without it. If you just want the colouring, they say, turmeric will do.

Anyway, it looks good so far. I'm hoping to find something I can try, for which I have the ingredients in my pantry, fridge or fruit bowl!

Meanwhile, back to the book.

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9. Archie the Daredevil Penguin

I adore this little book trailer about a penguin who longs to fly. Has anybody seen the book yet? (Click the image to watch on YouTube.)

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10. My tweets

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11. Top 10 Reasons Why You Should Apply for An ALSC Professional Award

ALSC Professional Awards

Get your application in for an ALSC professional award today! (image courtesy ALSC)

It’s ALSC professional award season and our goal this year is to see you apply for one of these great grants and scholarships. To help you understand why, we’ve prepared a list of the top ten reasons why you should apply for award or grant this fall!

1. Programs are expense

ALSC has a bunch of great grants that will help cover the cost of materials, speakers fees, and other assorted costs.

2. Your boss will love it

Nothing says, go-getter like going and getting a grant or award. Especially for early-career professionals! Go get ’em!

3. Your community will love it

Awards and grants are great public relations fodder. When you win, you can share the news with your local newspaper. Brag a little!

4. A gateway to becoming more involved

ALSC professional award winners are in a special community among themselves. Winning an award with ALSC shows that you are ready for bigger things. Think of the places you’ll go, for instance, if you won the Bechtel Fellowship and spent four week studying children’s literature at the University of Florida’s Baldwin Library!

5. Take advantage of membership

Most ALSC professional awards are open to ALSC members, so make sure to use this benefit to your advantage.

6. Host a famous author or illustrator

This is specific to one amazing award…the Maureen Hayes Author/Illustrator Award. You could bring a recognized author/illustrator to your school or library!

7. Showcase your great ideas

Think you have a really innovative and exceptional program? This is a great way to show it off. Apply for a grant like the Light the Way or Baker & Taylor Summer Reading Grant which recognize outstanding ideas.

8. We tailored these specifically to librarians involved in youth services

You’re probably already doing these things in your library, so why not get recognized for it?

9. You can also recognize someone else!

The ALSC Distinguished Service Award recognizes an ALSC member who has made significant contributions to and an impact on, library services to children and ALSC. Know someone like that? Nominate him or her!

10. Money doesn’t grow on trees..nor do books!

Maybe your parents told you this at one point, but it’s true! ALSC grants and awards are a great way to supplement your library budget. If you’re in a small library that wants to build your collection, consider applying for the Bookapalooza program (applications open soon)!

Hurry! Many ALSC professional awards have deadlines of November 1, 2015. 

The post Top 10 Reasons Why You Should Apply for An ALSC Professional Award appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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12. Printable: Flourish & Bloom



This month I've invited good friend and talented designer Lisa Zainuddin from oxoloco.com to kindly contribute one of her lovely calligraphic pieces for the free printable that's available to subscribers of the monthly newsletter. What do you think of "Flourish & Bloom"? Absolutely delightful, right? Here's a shot of her work in progress ...




Lisa is also collaborating on the children's books with myself and brilliant author Jennifer Poulter, so you'll be hearing more of her as time goes by.

Meanwhile I'm back at college and the workload is pretty intense at the moment. I'll be posting pages from the sketchbooks here as I go along, as well as at the new site for my persona as children's book illustrator Mariana Black! It's all a bit confusing right now but I'm sure I'll get everything sorted out eventually, though some lines may remain blurred forever - I don't quite have a problem with that though.

As always, the monthly illustrated quotes are available as free printables exclusively to the subscribers of the Floating Lemons monthly newsletter. Click HERE to sign up for it.Have a lovely week! Cheers.


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13. Best Selling Young Adult Books | October 2015

This month, the best selling young adult titles include books by super-talents Neil Gaiman, Chris Riddell, Rainbow Rowell and Sarah Dessen.

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14. Tell Us Something True/Dana Reinhardt (you're. going. to. love. it.)

We returned from a rain-soaked Shenandoah Valley to a northeaster being chased by a possible Category 4. But I had places to be. Third and Spruce, for a conversation. Up near the Art Museum, to visit with a friend.

I had places to be, and I was saturated. I was a walking puddle, a character from a Peanuts cartoon.

I had two things in my bag, in my long walk from damp to embarrassing. One of them was Dana Reinhardt's oh-so-perfect forthcoming novel (I apologize in advance that you will have to wait for it until next spring), Tell Us Something True (Wendy Lamb Books, Random House Children's Books).

May I preface this by saying that I have enormous respect for Dana Reinhardt—as a writer, as a person. Despite her impressive breadth as an author, her astonishing talent with character, story, and sentences, and her cache of awards, you will not find her out there on the circuit showboating. You will not hear her raising toasts to herself.

So 1)  I'm predisposed to love Dana Reinhardt, and 2) I felt hugely blessed to receive an early copy of her book. But 3) Even I could not imagine how utterly un-put-downable this new novel is. About a teenage boy who is dumped by a girl and finds himself (on his long walk home) standing before a fading sign—black words on white: A SECOND CHANCE.

This dumped kid, River: He feels he needs a second chance.

And so he enters into this community of teens who are struggling to break free of one kind of addiction or another. He feels at peace. It's his turn to talk and he fables up something. He confesses that he is addicted to weed. It's not true. It's not even close to true. But if River holds onto (then embellishes) this ready myth, he'll always have a chair in this circle.

He wants a chair in that circle.

This is the premise of Dana's book. But Dana never barters with mere premise. She is a storyteller with a heart, a writer (and a mom) who understands that characters make for story, not theses. That the honorable thing to do with a novelistic set-up is to find out who lives inside the chosen frame. Who really lives there. What they think. How they hope. How they screw up. How they take first steps toward forgiveness. How they continually readjust the way they see the world and themselves.

There's not a single throw-away character in Tell Us Something True. No cardboard constructions representing An Idea. There are best friends, an adorable half sister, good parents, white neighborhoods, Mexican ones, missed buses, the romance of imagination. There's humor and infinite humanity. There's line after line of prose so good I kept pumping my fist, and let me tell you something: I didn't want this book to end.

I despair, sometimes, at the YA category. At trends that suffocate original impulses. At books that sell on the basis of a hook and authorial ambition (and little else). At copy cat voices. At plot-point checklists. At self-serving declarations. At marketing machines.

But then along comes Dana Reinhardt, who writes character and considered plots, who quietly, then boldly escalates her ideas, who gets you all caught up inside the family of action, who leaves you running from place to place in a storm, desperate to return to her story.

Tell Us Something True is hope; it is humanity; it offers a master class in ultimately accepting our own impossible imperfections. Original, funny, wrenching, real, and intelligently surprising, it's bound to endure. It might even heal the many cracks between us.

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15. FREE!!!!

I want to do something special for my readers, so for the next three days (October 4-6) Something Within will be available on Amazon (Kindle Direct) for FREE download! Pass the word!   I am busily typing away book two. I'm up to chapter 19, and the plot is thickening! *squee!* I'll be posting a tid-bit or two shortly, but unitl then...happy reading! :)

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16. 31 Days of Halloween: Inktober

Inktober isn’t part of Halloween, per se, but it is part of the season. The purpose of Inktober is to get artists drawing, with the goal one inked drawing a day. Jake Parker has a primer, with tools and suggestions here. And his own wonderful drawings. Here’s some Halloween appropriate drawings from Days 1-4 — […]

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17. घर परिवार

घर परिवार 


घर परिवार और समय का महत्व

कल शाम एक जानकार से बात हो रही थी.बातों बातों में मैंने  बताया कि एक टीवी पर बहुत ही अच्छा विज्ञापन आ रहा है जिसमे बेटी अपनी मां को बेटी कह कर पत्र लिखती है और उन्हें ब्लड प्रेशर चैक करने की मशीन भेजती है और लिखती है तुम्हें इसकी जरुररत है तुम्हारी मां … !!पर मेरी इस बात पर वो जानकार उदास हो गईं और बोली कि तुम तो लिखती रहती हो ब्लाग …क्या मेरी बात को लिख दोगी…

मैंने कहा, अरे क्यो नही आप बताईए तो … इस पर वो बोली कि उनकी शादी बहुत अमीर घर मे हुई. हर तरह की सुख सुविधाएं थी. सारा समय किट्टी पार्टी, सोशल वर्क में लगी रही और घर के लिए समय नही दिया. पति वैसे भी ज्यादातर बाहर रहते और उन्होनें दूसरी शादी भी कर ली थी जिसका उन्हें बहुत बाद में पता चला…  बेटा पहली क्लास में हुआ तो मसूरी होस्टल भेज दिया ताकि झंझट ही न रहे… बेटे से मिलने जब भी जाते तो उनके दोस्तों की पूरी फौज जाती ताकि सैर सपाटा और आऊटिंग भी हो जाए…

कभी उसके बालमन को जानने की कोशिश नही की कि उसे भी मेरी, घर की याद आती होगी.. वो भी मेरी गोदी चाह्ता होगा मुझसे लिपट कर रोना चाह्ता होगा. शिकायत करना चाहता होगा … जाने अनजाने बहुत दूर कर लिया मैने उसे अपने आप से … आज वो विदेश में है और शादी कर ली है दो बच्चे भी हैं और खुश है अपनी दुनिया में … आज मैं उसे याद करती हूं मुझे उसकी जरुरत है पर किस मुंह से बुलाऊं … आज बहुत पछतावा है .. काश मैंने उसे समय दिया होता…. काश  उसके बालो पर हाथ फेरा होता….  काश उसे थपकी देकर सुलाया होता तो …आज सब कुछ है मेरे पास पर फिर भी कुछ नही है … बिल्कुल सुनसान है घर … और बेटे की बनाई कुछ तस्वीरे दिखाने लगीं …

भरे हुए गले से वो तस्वीरे दिखाए जा रही थी और मैं अपने आंसुओं को चाह कर भी रोक नही पा रही थी. मैं बस उसका हाथ पकड कर उन्हें सिवाय दिलासा देने के कुछ नही कह पाई और बाहर आकर सोचने लगी कि बहुत जरुरी है अपने परिवार अपने बच्चों को समय देना. ये हमारी सबसे बडी दौलत हैं और इन्हे सहेजना हमारा कर्तव्य… बच्चों के अच्छे भविष्य के लिए बाहर भेजना कोई गलत नही पर जब वो छुटटियों में घर आए या जब हम मिलने जाए तो पूरा स्नेह दर्शाना बहुत जरुरी है… नही तो जैसे मेरी ये जानकार दुखी हैं और पछता रहीं है और रो रही है वैसे हमे भी इसका सामना न करना पडे… बच्चों का अपने पेरेंट्स और पेरेंटस अपने बच्चों की तरफ लगाव और प्यार सदा बना रहे…


घर परिवार और समय का महत्व आपको कैसा लगा …!!! अगर आप भी अपना कोई अनुभव सांझा करना चाहें तो आपका स्वागत है !!!home family photo

The post घर परिवार appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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18. Contemplating the change in season, in today's Inquirer

In today's Philadelphia Inquirer, I'm remembering a recent day spent alongside my father, at Longwood Gardens. We made our way to the meadow. We stood on the cusp of a season. We thought about the summer we had shared packing up his beautiful home, and about all that might come next.

That story can be found in full here, along with an invitation to join me and Marciarose Shestack at the Free Library of Philadelphia this coming Wednesday evening, at 7:30, as we talk about our love for this city.

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19. 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #452: Featuring Moira Birch Swiatkowski


Hey there, dear kickers. I had a post lined up today, saying that I’d be taking a week-long blog break. A couple months ago, I received the James Marshall Fellowship from the University of Connecticut. That means I’m going to head up there to look through the papers of author-illustrator James Marshall. (Big fan here of his work. I’m excited!) I was going to do that this week, but plans have changed. My father is actually on hospice and is, I think, nearing the end. So, I’ll do that trip another day, another time.

But that sudden change in plans left me with nothing to post today, especially since I’m out at my parents’ house. You all know it breaks my heart to put up a post without any art. I decided to ask the talented Moira Birch Swiatkowski, a regular kicker herself (and an artist previously featured here at 7-Imp), if she could share some art. She gave me permission to pick whatever image I wanted from her site, and I thought the above image was fitting. As you can read here, it’s all about breakfast and all about fathers.

Since I’m around this week after all, please do leave your kicks, if you’re so inclined.

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

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20. Listen to Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez’s ‘Locke & Key’ audio (comic) book for free right now

  Don’t have time to read the award winning horror best seller, Locke & Key, by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez?  The same company that brought you Jamal Igle’s Molly Danger audio book, AudioComics, adapted the New York Times best seller for Audible. I don’t feel comfortable calling this 13 1/2 hour full production an audio book […]

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21. Archive: Maurice Blanchot

       Via I'm pointed to the report at Harvard University's Houghton Library's weblog, Modern Books and Manuscripts, that Maurice Blanchot papers acquired by Harvard -- some twenty cartons worth.
       I suspect not everything is ... revelatory ("Real estate transactions including the sale of 48 rue Madame, 27 rue de Vaugirard. 1 folder" or "Wall calendars: 1965, 1971"), but a lot is intriguing -- including the: "Correspondence including Jacques Derrida, Edmond Jabès, Monique Antelme, Jacques Abeille, René Char, and presidents of France" (presidents ! plural !).

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22. अंधविश्वास और हम

अंधविश्वास और हम superstition photo

अंधविश्वास और हम

 एक आंटी फेसबुक पर सारा दिन लगी रहती हैं. कल बहुत उदास सी मिली. पता लगा कि उनकी बेटी को डेंगू हो गया  है वो उदास इसलिए थी कि कल फेसबुक पर उनकी जानकार ने एक देवता की तस्वीर शेयर करने को कहा था कि शेयर करो कृपा बरसेगी पर उन्होने नही की शायद इसलिए बेटी को … !! अरे!! ऐसा नही होता मैने कहा इसी बीच उनके बेटे ने दूसरी लैब से टेस्ट करवाया तो टेस्ट नैगेटिव आया. तब जाकर उनकी जान मे जान आई.

वैसे हम भी कमाल के अंधविश्वासी होते हैं. दादरी के अखलाक की खबर( टाईम्स आफ इंडिया) के मुताबिक कि अखिलेश यादव उनके गांव न जाकर उस परिवार को लखनऊ इसलिए बुलाया कि अंधविश्वास है कि जो सीएम नोएडा का दौरा करता है उसे चुनाव में जीत नही मिलती. अरे !! हार या जीत अपने किए कर्मों से मिलती है ना कि दौरा न करके !!

अंधविश्वास और हम




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23. Philosopher of the month: Karl Marx

This October, the OUP Philosophy team are highlighting German social and political theorist Karl Heinrich Marx (5 May 1818 – 14 March 1883) as their Philosopher of the Month. Known as the founder of revolutionary communism, Marx is credited as one of the most influential thinkers for his theoretical framework, widely known as Marxism.

The post Philosopher of the month: Karl Marx appeared first on OUPblog.

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October 4, 2015

Dear Bonnie Bader, Grosset & Dunlap, and Penguin Young Readers Group,

Your book, Who Was Christopher Columbus, published in 2013, has major errors in it (p. 4, Kindle edition):

The error is in that last line that reads "Christopher Columbus had discovered a new world." Maybe you think that the sentence before it makes it ok because it tells readers that no one in Europe knew about this land. It doesn't make it ok. Later, you tell readers he discovered an island he named Dominica. And that he also "discovered the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico" (p. 72-73 in Kindle version). Simply put, you can't discover something that someone else already had. With this book, you're misleading children. You're mis-educating them.

Your Who Was Christopher Columbus is loaded with other problems, too. My suggestion? Withdraw it from publication.

My suggestion to all the people who already bought Bader's Who Was Christopher Columbus? Do not use it with young children. Instead, write to Penguin and ask for your money back, or, use it with older children and adults in a text analysis activity. Read what Bader wrote, and compare it to other sources. A great set of resources for this activity is at the Zinn Education Project website. Another excellent resource is Rethinking Columbus.

You, Ms. Bader, and your editors at Grosset & Dunlap (it is an imprint of Penguin), can do better. I hope you do. Recall the book. Refund the money parents, teachers, and librarians spent on it, too.

And do better.

Debbie Reese
American Indians in Children's Literature

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25. Archive: Ian Rankin

       In the Daily Record they're reporting that Rebus author Ian Rankin aims to leave his literary archive to the National Library of Scotland.
       He kindly wants to donate his archive -- including "his boxes of receipts, bills" -- though it's unclear how much insight his faded faxes will offer scholars:

"I was going through some boxes of stuff recently, stuff from the late 80s when the fax machine was god, and I had all these rolls of shiny fax paper, and they have now faded to blank sheets.

"I have just got boxes full of blank sheets of paper, where faxes once were, probably from my publisher.
       (Quite a few of the Rebus-novels are under review at the complete review, beginning with the first, Knots and Crosses.)

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