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1. The Job: Based on a True Story (I Mean, This is Bound to have Happened Somewhere) by Craig Davis

Joe B. enjoys the sweet life as a vice president at a huge conglomerate, Universal Whirligig. But along with the Big Boss' favor, he has also gained the notice of a bitter human resources manager, Luci Fernandez. Hateful of any success but her own, Luci manages to get him demoted to the mail room! A rollicking comedy of errors follows as Joe B. tries to figure out what's happened to him, and attempts to get a meeting with the Big Boss. Joe B.'s great expectations have taken a dickens of a twist. His family is forced to make a series of hard adjustments, and he gets only lame comforts from a string of the worst friends anyone could have. Will he finally track down the cause of his frustrations? Or will he only learn a lesson about what it is to be the boss, and that what is apparent is often only a shadow of a greater ongoing good? "The Job: Based on a True Story (I Mean, This is Bound to Have Happened Somewhere) is a modern parable of ancient troubles and truths.

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2. सोच को बदलो

सोच को बदलो

कई बार गूगल सर्च में बहुत अच्छी बाते पढने को मिल जाती हैं और हमारी नकारात्मक  बदलनी शुरु हो जाती है ..

यह भी सच है

ये राहें ले ही जायेंगी मंजिल तक, हौसला रख….
कभी सुना है कि अँधेरे ने सवेरा होने ना दिया..!!!

अपनी रोटी जो दूसरो के साथ बांट कर खाता है उसे भूख की बीमारी कभी नही सताती

हमारे जीवन में अगर कुछ निश्चित है तो वह है – अनिश्चितता… !!!

एक सच ये भी है … छोटी सोच वालों की जीभ अक्सर बड़ी होती है …..

सपने और लक्ष्य में एक ही फर्क है सपने के लिए बिना मेहनत की नींद चाहिए और लक्ष्य के लिए बिना नींद की मेहनत !!!!

आंधियों में भी जो दीया जलता हुआ मिल जाएगा
उस दीए से पूछना मेरा पता मिल जाएगा

मंजिल न सही नजरों में अभी

कदमों में अभी रफ्तार तो है !!!


जब टूटने लगें हौंसलें तो याद रखना
बिना मेहनत के हासिल कुछ नही होता
ढूंढ लेना अंधेरों में अपनी मंजिल
क्योकि जूगनू कभी रोशनी का मोहताज नही होता

अपने अंदर के अहम को निकाल कर स्वयं को हल्का कीजिए क्योकि ऊंचा वही उठता है जो हल्का होता है !!!



The post सोच को बदलो appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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3. Book Review: The Job by Craig Davis

Description from Amazon Joe B. enjoys the sweet life as a vice president at a huge conglomerate, Universal Whirligig. But along with the Big Boss' favor, he has also gained the notice of a bitter...

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4. #BGHB15 #HBAS15


Roger and Richard; photo by Elissa Gershowitz.

The Horn Book gang–Sharks AND Jets–has been busy posting photos and Tweets and quotes and stuff from our very successful Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards/Horn Book at Simmons Colloquium events of last weekend. We will be publishing coverage in the January/February issue of the Magazine, and look for a fabulous cover by Marla Frazee, who gives us a little more of the Farmer and the Clown story. (And, yes, for those who asked, Susan Cooper’s inspiring speech will be in the issue.) Thank you to all who made the events a success–HB and Boston Globe and Simmons staff, our judges, our speakers, and our attendees, who kept the conversation lively. Cathie, Katrina, and I have already started planning next year’s program (if saying “let’s pick a date” counts as planning). The BGHB 2016 judges–Betsy Bird, Roxanne Hsu Feldman, and chair Joanna Rudge Long are already at it. 2016 marks the 50th anniversary of the awards so we hope to make the weekend extra-special.

The post #BGHB15 #HBAS15 appeared first on The Horn Book.

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5. Book Review: Jabberwocky by Daniel Coleman

Description from Amazon How can a boy succeed where an army has failed? Tjaden, a young man who aspires to be an Elite soldier, blames himself when Elora’s beautiful face is disfigured by a...

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6. Jabberwocky by Daniel Coleman

How can a boy succeed where an army has failed? Tjaden, a young man who aspires to be an Elite soldier, blames himself when Elora’s beautiful face is disfigured by a bandersnatch. Elora hides behind her scars, feeling unlovable in a world that only confirms her doubts. Before Tjaden has a chance to convince her that scars don’t matter, an even more terrifying monster comes between them—the Jabberwock. Tjaden must risk his life not only to prove his love to Elora but to save her life. If the secrets of the vorpal sword fail, so will Tjaden. Originally published as a novella (39,000 words) in 2011, many readers asked for a longer version of that delved more deeply into the story and subplots. This 2014 version JABBERWOCKY is a full novel at 69,000 words. It has been completely rewritten and augmented with illustrations by E.K. Stewart-Cook.

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7. #749 – Peek-A Boo! by Nina Laden

Peek-a Boo! Written & Illustrated by Nina Laden Chronicle Books     8/01/2015 978-1-4521-3396-6 10 pages     Age Infant—3 “Peek-a goo? Peek-a brew? Peek-a booo! “In this hi-scare-ious follow-up to the bestselling board books Peek-a Who? And Peek-a Zoo!, Nina Laden turns her playful eye (and wear) to spooky Halloween sounds. Read the clue …

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8. America's 4th July 2011

A bit of trivia regarding America's 4th July celebrations and the nation's revered flag. I love the flag for what it stands for, and for being the flag under which our Church was founded, through Moroni as requested by our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ

AMERICAN FORK — There were 2.5 million people living in the American colonies when the Continental Congress approved the Declaration of Independence in 1776.
There are a few more Americans today — 311.7 million. And just like many who are anxious to light a few fireworks on the Fourth of July, the Census Bureau's penchant to tell Americans about themselves gets its fuse lit at a chance to celebrate the most American of national holidays — by the numbers.

Tom Smart, Deseret News
The crew steps inside the Dee Balloon III before launching during the America's Freedom Festival's annual Balloon Festival in Provo on Friday.
From the archive
•Tallying America for the Fourth of July – June 27, 2011
•Bills by Bishop, Hatch would change census counting, include Utah missionaries overseas – March 31, 2011
•2010 Census details Utah growth; West Jordan now 4th largest city – Feb. 24, 2011
The information quantifies the obvious, adds a few surprises and begs a question or two.
It may be a surprise that $3.2 million worth of American flags sold in 2010 were manufactured overseas, for example. But with that in mind, it is likely less of a surprise that $2.8 million of those imports came from China. Mexico is the biggest purchaser of American-made American flags, buying $486,000 worth last year.
The Census Bureau did not quantify how many American flags end up in places hostile to the United States, destined to become a prop in some nefarious media-attention-seeking down-with-America protest.
Much more subjective might be the question about how many "famous" American flags there are. Candidates certainly include the "Star Spangled Banner" Francis Scott Key spoke of when witnessing the bombardment of Fort McHenry; Betsy Ross' flag; the flag hoisted on Iwo Jima, memorialized at the Marine Corps War Memorial near Arlington Cemetery; the banner almost destroyed in the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, now known as the National 9/11 flag; or perhaps the banner farthest from earth that the Apollo 11 crew planted on the moon in 1969.
It is likely no surprise at all that China is the source of the bulk of the imported fireworks — $190.7 million worth in 2010. Uncounted is the number of the people who unroll their spent fireworks to look at the Chinese newsprint inside.
What may be a surprise is that the United States also exported $37 million worth of fireworks in 2010, with Japan being its single largest customer.
Across the country, 31 places have "liberty" in their names, the most populous being Liberty, Mo., with 29,149 residents. Another 35 have "eagle" in their names, including Utah's own Eagle Mountain. The most populous is Eagle Pass, Texas, population 26,248.
"Independence" is in the name of 11 places, the largest being Independence, Mo., population 116,830. Nine places have "freedom" in their name, led by Freedom, Pa., population 4,464.
The Census Bureau says there is only one "patriot" — Patriot, Ind., with a burgeoning population of 209.
Places with some form of "America in their names" total five, led in size by — stand and salute — American Fork, Utah, population 26,263.

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9. Next Move, You're Dead (The Next Move, You're Dead Trilogy Book 1) by Linda L. Barton

Homicide Detective John Cooper has always followed the evidence to solve any case; that is until a mysterious caller begins to make him question that evidence. With the murder cases he has been working on already solved, John wonders what the phone calls have to do with them. The evidence clearly proves the guilt of those involved, but the calls make him begin to question his findings, as well as himself - for the first time in his career. With each move, John finds himself caught up in a strange game with an unknown opponent. The caller is always one-step ahead of John, and seems to know John better than he knows himself, but how? How can someone know every detail of a murder and not be involved, but more importantly, how can this chilling caller know everything about John? As John prepares himself to take on the challenge, he soon realizes that everything he has believed is no longer part of his new reality, but merely the next move in The Game. If you enjoy an exciting psychological thriller, as well as a villain you will LOVE to HATE then Next Move, You’re Dead – Book 1 of the Next Move, You’re Dead Trilogy is for you. This trilogy is not for the faint of heart, but rather for those who enjoy a dark thriller; full of twists and turns until the last page. While reading this trilogy, you will find yourself lost on a journey into the mind of a diabolical villain, as he pulls you deeper into The Game.

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10. We Need Diverse Books

Gina organizes the book fair at our daughters' school. Moved by the #WeNeedDiverseBooks movement, she curated a list of books & we'll plaster town with this art!

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11. Broken Photo Contest


Deaf Heroine Shines in Romance, Broken by Tanille Romance Feature Photo Contest

New York, New York – October 8, 2015 (www.brokenthenovel.com) Broken by New York Author Tanille Edwards is a young adult novel that stars Milan, the girl everyone wants to be but no one really knows. Milan finds herself in a burgeoning supermodel career right at the start of her senior year in high school. Nothing like expected, Milan is struggling to identify with her friends and family. Milan, like every teenage girl, is fighting insecurities. Milan goes to great lengths not to be known as hearing impaired. To top it all, Milan finds herself longing for a lost love.



Snap & Win.....Enter the Broken by Tanille Contest Today!
3 WAYS to WIN!! Post, SHARE, WIN. Go to:http://www.undercoverstarlet.com/

Broken is a novel conceived in the new media era where books and music can be consumed on a single platform. Every copy of Broken includes a link to download the Broken Soundtrack that includes
free music from author & singer/songwriter Tanille. Tanille makes the heart­throbbing longing for a lost love come alive in her single "Baby Comeback to Me" as part of the Broken Soundtrack. Broken invites readers to enjoy a new spin on Young Adult Romance.



Broken is available everywhere books are sold including iBooks, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo and more. Look for Broken by Tanille Edwards.

Follow @MilanParkAve and instagram.com/MilanParkAve 


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12. Question about Lights and Darks

Picture by John VanHouten
Blog reader John VanHouten asks:

"Hey James,
I know you say on your website that you don't give personal art advice but this question is about light. Specifically, the phrase about the lightest darks being darker than the darkest lights. I'm working on a painting and I'm not sure if darkening the shadow area of the skeleton will make it lose its local color of yellowish off-white, because it would be darker than the lightest part of the dark cloak. Is the phrase about darkest lights and lightest darks just applied to only one object at a time or is it applied to a whole image like the skeleton AND the robe? What do you think?
Thanks, John"

Hi, John,
There are kind of two different principles at work here, and those principles sound similar, so they can be a little confusing.

1. One is that the darkest values on the lit side of a given object are almost always lighter than the lightest values of the same object in shadow. This is assuming that the object is of a fairly constant local color and a fairly matte surface, such as a skull, fabric, or skin. It would not apply to something patterned, glossy, or highly reflective. It's also assuming we're talking about sunlight or any strong light source with normal surfaces bouncing the light back into the shadow. Given those constraints, this one is nearly always true. You seem to be adhering to the principle in your picture.

2. The other principle is that in a black object lit by direct sunlight can often be lighter than a white object in shadow. You have also got that working in your picture, as the light side of the black cloak (left swatch) is a little lighter than the shadow side of the skull (right swatch). In my observation, this one only holds true under ideal conditions. Outdoors, you need to have a cloudless sky and not too much reflected light coming into the shadow side.

So as you guessed, the first rule applies to one object at a time and the second rule applies to the whole picture. These principles come up because students tend to underestimate the depth of shadows. They also tend to introduce too much tonal variation within the lights and too much tonal variation in the shadows. This happens because our visual brains use context cues to override the luminance information that our retinas actually receive.

You also mentioned a concern about maintaining the appearance of the local color of the skull as it moves from light into shadow. A white object can move through a wild range of colors as it absorbs different influences around it. I'm guessing that reflected light from the yellow tassel would spread a vertical glowing band of warm light—thought too light in value—to the area of the shadowed skull just to the left of the tassel.

One more thing: Can you get that student on a better meal plan?
Previously: Black is Light, White is Dark
More in my book: Color and Light: A Guide for the Realist Painter

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13. It's live!! Cover Reveal: What Happens Now by Jennifer Castle + Giveaway (US/Canada)

Hello, YABCers!

Today we're super excited to celebrate the cover reveal for WHAT HAPPENS NOW by Jennifer Castle, releasing June 7, 2016 from HarperTeen. Before we get to the cover, here's a note from Jennifer:

Hello YABC! I can't think of a better way for my upcoming novel WHAT HAPPENS NOW to take its first step into the world. This is the book of my heart...and this cover makes my heart do Zumba. I want to crawl inside it and live there for a while, which I guess is the whole point of a great cover! I’m always fascinated by how a book cover takes shape, so I asked the people who did all the work here if they would share their process...
From Heather Daugherty, Senior Designer at HarperCollins Publishers:
“When I read this book by Jennifer Castle, I was consumed by wanting to freeze life-moments in time. That perfect summer day. That moment your crush knows who you are or actually notices you, or your eyes finally lock for what seems like too long and not long enough at the same time. Those poignant adolescent moments you agonize through, but later wish you had savored every second after they are long gone. The concept of using miniature sculpture, or the diorama art form, to create this book cover seemed daunting and an absolute must at the same time. The perfect challenge! What better way to capture these moments than having an artist sculpt each character by hand, and get it so right?! Thomas Doyle is an extraordinary artist and it was a pleasure brainstorming this amazing cover idea with him!”
From Thomas Doyle, New York-based artist (thomasdoyle.net):
“I create miniature worlds that function much like dioramas that I then show in museums and galleries in the US and abroad. The materials are typically those used by model railroaders, along with an array of art and hardware supplies--all brought together to simulate reality in 1:87 scale. I was excited to take part in creating the cover for WHAT HAPPENS NOW because the book itself distills the intense emotions that come with being young in the summertime. In a similar vein, my artwork often seeks to crystallize memories of things past into frozen moments. Having spent many an afternoon along the lakes in Michigan, where I grew up, I wanted the cover to communicate both the expansiveness of the “perfect” summer day, along with the push and pull that accompany a teenage crush. Capturing the two lead characters on the raft, apart yet together, seemed like a great way to tell that story.”
Jennifer here again! Um, yeah. I’d say this is a fantastically unique way to tell the story; I hope you all agree. Enjoy this exclusive cover reveal!
~ Jennifer Castle (WHAT HAPPENS NOW, HarperTeen)



Ready to see?

Scroll, YABCers! Scroll!


































Here it is!



*** If you choose to share this image elsewhere, please include a courtesy link back to this page so others can enter Jennifer's giveaway. Thank you! ***



by Jennifer Castle
Release date: June 7, 2016
Publisher: HarperTeen
ISBN: 0062250477
About the Book
I know what it is to want something so badly, you feel like your cells aren’t properly bonded together without it. 
I also know what it’s like to get that something.
And honestly, I’m still not sure which is worse. 

Ari Logan is battling to win her war against depression and the dark night she hurt herself on purpose. It’s not easy: her best friend is drifting away, her mom’s emotionally checked out, and she spends her days playing caregiver to her handful of a half-sister, Danielle. But it’s summer, and anything is possible... 

That’s when Camden Armstrong steps onto the beach of Ari’s local swimming lake.  
At first, Ari quietly longs for Camden from afar, seeing in him everything she wants to be. When the two discover a true connection the following summer, Ari lets herself fall not just for the quirky and self-assured Camden but also his friends, tumbling into their world of independence, adventure, and shared sci-fi fandom. As Ari’s romantic dreams come true, she must unlock the mysteries of the very real and troubled boy behind her infatuation, while also struggling with her own demons, obligations, and loyalties. 
WHAT HAPPENS NOW is a powerful, insightful story about learning to heal, learning to love, and what happens when fantasy becomes reality.

b2ap3_thumbnail_jencastle_cropped.jpgAbout the Author

Jennifer Castle is the author of two previous YA novels from HarperTeen, THE BEGINNING OF AFTER and YOU LOOK DIFFERENT IN REAL LIFE, as well as the digital novella PLAYING KEIRA. She lives in New York’s Hudson Valley with her husband, two daughters, and two terribly spoiled cats.

Twitter | Web | Facebook | Goodreads | Tumblr | Instagram | Pre-order Amazon


Giveaway Details

Two winners will each receive a signed ARC of WHAT HAPPENS NOW (when available) + signed bookmarks. 

Entering is simple, just fill out the entry form below. Winners will be announced on this site and in our monthly newsletter (sign up now!) within 30 days after the giveaway ends.

During each giveaway, we ask entrants a question pertaining to the book. Here is the question they'll be answering in the comments below for extra entries:

What do you think about the cover and synopsis?

Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway:

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14. Platypus Police Squad Movie!

Variety just broke the news on the Platypus Police Squad movie!
That's right, MOVIE! I'm pinching myself!
I am BEYOND thrilled to be working with Walden Media, the studio behind the Narnia films and the upcoming adaptation of Roald Dahl's The B.F.G., to bring these monotreme detectives to the silver screen. And with the talented Jon Saunders and Ross Evans penning the script and Saunders directing, Zengo and O'Malley are in very capable hands! 

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15. When picture books bring on tears

At some point, it probably has happened to any teacher, parent, or caregiver of young children. You are reading a story to a child or group of children and something about the story hits you and makes you misty eyed. Other times you might read a story that causes a child to cry. Books that hit an emotional nerve in adults might not always do the same for young children and vice versa. Often, there are picture books with subtexts that make adults emotional, but young children may not pick up on them. In these cases, I would argue that asking the child/children open ended questions about the book can help us understand their perspective better than trying to explicitly tell the children your interpretation of the subtext.

heart bottleAn example of a book that has made me shed a tear is The Heart and The Bottle by Oliver Jeffers. This book deals with loss and grief in symbolic ways that young children may not fully comprehend. However, the lack of a clear direct theme or lesson can spark deeper thinking in individual children and interesting discussions when read in a larger group. The Heart and The Bottle is often surreal in its style which makes it easier to share in a group setting compared to books that deal with loss and other emotional topics in a more direct way.

knock knockUnlike Jeffers’ story, Knock Knock authored by Daniel Beaty and illustrated by Bryan Collier is grounded in realism. Knock Knock is based on a moving poem about Beaty’s absent father which he has often performed live. (Watch it here). It is hard for me to read this book without getting tears in my eyes. Parts of the story hit close to home for me and very close to home for children I have taught. I have recommended it to families of children dealing with absent fathers and read it to individual children — but not in a group setting. In an ideal world, group story times would be a place for healing where no topics would be taboo. However, it is important to respect individual families in the class and over the years many families dealing with issues like absent parents, divorce, or family problems in general have told me that they prefer we don’t read books that encourage their child to talk about these issues in a group setting. As a teacher, I believe that these types of discussions can be healthy, but I fully understand parents who don’t want their personal business potentially discussed in a classroom where other parents might find out and engage in gossip and shaming.

bad case stripesFinally, I would like to note that it is impossible to predict how children will react to stories. For instance, I never thought A Bad Case of Stripes by David Shannon would stir strong emotions in a child, but I once had a child burst into tears while reading it because their mom had food poisoning and they associated the book’s story about not eating Lima beans with their mom’s illness. On the other side, I know of many teachers and parents who tear up while reading The Giving Tree but the children hearing it have not had any emotional reaction to the book.

So now I will leave the readers of Lolly’s Classroom with some questions:

  1. What children’s books cause strong emotions in you? What books have caused your students to feel strong emotions?
  2. Do you read books relating to potentially emotional topics in the classroom? At what age do you think hard topics like death, loss, and divorce should be introduced in books you read? Should parents be consulted before reading emotional books? Should parents be given any sort of veto power or opt out mechanism for their child regarding certain books?


The post When picture books bring on tears appeared first on The Horn Book.

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16. Book Trailer: Uh-Oh! by Shutta Crum, illustrated by Patrice Barton

From the team behind Mine! (Knopf, 2011)
By Cynthia Leitich Smith
for Cynsations

Check out the book trailer for Uh-Oh! by Shutta Crum, illustrated by Patrice Barton (Knopf, 2015). From the promotional copy:

A charming summer story that's just right for toddlers, from the team behind the critically acclaimed picture book "Mine."

What does a toddler say when she drops her sunglasses in the sand? "Uh-Oh."

What does she say when a seagull lands on her sandcastle? "Uh-Oh."

What does she say when she finds a crab in her pail? "Uh-Oh."

And what does she say when a BIG wave is coming? That's the biggest "Uh-Oh" of all.

This nearly wordless story of toddler adventure perfectly captures the dynamics between the youngest friends and the sheer pleasure of that favorite toddler word: Uh-Oh.

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17. Collection Wisdom

book cartOne month ago, I became the Head of Youth Services at a library in Western Pennsylvania and I’ve been thinking about budgets and physical space and the giant puzzle that is building a great youth services collection.  I tend to believe a smaller newer collection is more appealing.  Yep, fewer and newer books, even if that means we only have a few Goosebumps left on the shelf.  So I’ve been doing some weeding.  I think we all need a friendly reminder that it’s OK to cut your collection.  Go ahead!  Remove books that are in bad condition or outdated and don’t replace them. I know that Curious George and Madeline may still circulate; but I also know I have limited space (don’t we all!)

My library is fortunate to be part of a larger library consortium so our collection is technically 45 libraries-strong which means I could focus on what my community needs when they walk into my location.  Now that many (most?) of our patrons order their library books online so they can run in and pick them up quickly, what can I offer my area families when they walk through our doors to browse?  Maybe a juvenile bestsellers collection?   Maybe a toy-lending program?  Someone once said to me years ago, the library’s Achilles heel is its futile aim to be everything to everyone all the time.  I’m interested in what it would look like to get specific.  What if I tried to support a collection policy that relied on my specific community’s desires?  What would that look like?  Would that even be a good idea?

I’d love to hear your thoughts; how do you approach collection development at your library?

(Photos courtesy of guest blogger)


fall.jpgOur guest blogger today is Kelley Beeson. Kelley is the Youth Services Department Head at the Western Allegheny Community Library. She’s been working in libraries since high school and her favorite book is Marcus Zusak’s The Book Thief.

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 alscblog@gmail.com.

The post Collection Wisdom appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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18. Fall Is Off To A Bang!

I'm finally back to blogging after a long visit with my family and other busy things going on in this writer's life.

I must say, this fall is starting out with a bang! While visiting my family in Virginia, my mom, sis and I had two very successful book signings. To be honest, I wasn't expecting either function to be much, however the event that I was sure I'd be lucky to sell one book at, ended up being one of my most successful. It sure is fun talking to people about our books but when someone comes up to you and wants to buy one of each, well I must admit, it's a terrific feeling and big boost to the ego!

This happened not once but two or three times during these book signings. Amazing! At least to me it was.

I also just attended another successful book signing here in Louisiana at the Denham Springs Fall Festival. It was chilly, windy and I was suffering from a rotten cold, but who cares when people are buying your creations! I paid for it the next day but it was still well worth it.

Last night I had another book signing at La Divina Italian Cafe. Why there, you ask? Because the owner of that very unique and lovely cafe is doing her part in supporting the community and our local authors. Each Wednesday night she has kids night and features a different author. We read our stories to the kids, sometimes play games and have all kinds of fun. It really is a great thing this cafe is doing and we just wish more local businesses would follow suit!

The picture below is of two little cutie pies and friends, Elliot & Julia at La Divina last night. We sure had fun!

Up next on October 24 & 25 is the Poche Plantation Arts and Crafts festival which I'm really excited about.

How about you other authors out there. What's your fall looking like?

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19. Book Review: Next Move, You're Dead (The Next Move, You're Dead Trilogy Book 1) by Linda L. Barton

Description from Amazon Homicide Detective John Cooper has always followed the evidence to solve any case; that is until a mysterious caller begins to make him question that evidence. With the murder...

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20. The Hole in the Wall Gang and The Sister's Wish

Earlier this week, I had the chance to reconnect with my old friend Amy, who I know from The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp. Amy is incredible, and not just because she got her entire family to dress as my characters and planned the school visit as head of the PTO. I know Amy because her younger brother, Craig, was one of my campers back in the day. Craig was just an incredible kid. When Paul Newman founded the camp, he stated that he wanted to create a space to "let kids kick back, relax and raise a little hell." Craig personified that mantra in the most beautiful way possible. He had a quick wit and a warrior's heart. Craig began his battle with cancer at age four and lived with it until he passed in his early twenties. 
Grief can weigh us down, and then there are people like Amy who use grief for a greater good. She, along with her sister, Beth, founded The Sister's Wish. The mission of this non-profit is so admirable—grant wishes for young adults aged 18-30 who are living with terminal and chronic illnesses. They do this on their own and throughout Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts. 
I know Craig would be so proud of his sisters. It was magical to see his mischievous spirit living on in his nephew and nieces.

Learn more about The Sister's Wish via their Facebook page or on their website here: http://www.thesisterswish.org/

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21. The latest Jessica Jones teaser hints at Kilgrave’s menace

Hey, what do you know? We finally get a Jessica Jones teaser that shows Krysten Ritter’s face. Additionally, it sounds like we can now confirm that David Tennant’s Kilgrave/Purple Man will be British. That’s a nice a sigh of relief really, given that his efforts at an American accent were pretty uneven on Gracepoint, I’m […]

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22. A Narwhal!

A Narwhal!

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23. Art during breakfast

Early mornings can be great. At least, when you're a morning person, like I am. I love going for an early morning run while watching the world around me waking up, write up a blogpost or squeeze in a quick drawing during breakfast.

I don't even really think about the subject I draw at the breakfast table. Usually it's just what's right in fron of me.

Sometimes it's my husband, checking his email after he made us coffee...

... a selfie in the reflection of the espresso machine

...or again my husband, procrastinating on starting the work day by practicing a little bit of mandoline.

A great way to practice quick drawings, and people-drawing skills. But sometimes it's also a quick scribble or a sloppy sketch of my breakfast:

When is your best time of the day?

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24. Autism-friendly program!

On Sunday, October 4 the Syosset Public Library presented our 3rd annual autism-friendly performance.  This year Plaza Productions, Inc. put on a wonderful production of Disney's The Little Mermaid, Jr.  The performance was specially designed and adapted for children with autism and autism-spectrum disorders and their families.  We provide a calming corner and coping tools in the lobby and families are welcome to visit at any time during the performance.  If you would like information about upcoming performances, please leave us a comment.

Posted by Amy

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25. Platypus Police Squad

In 1997 I gave this fourteen-year-old kid advice about RISD and art school, and now he's set to direct and cowrite a movie based on my book series for a major Hollywood studio. 
As many of you may know, I spent many years working at The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp starting in my late teens. One of my nearest and dearest friends that I worked with there was Ali Baghai. When camp wasn't in session, I often found myself at his house, just outside of Boston. The Baghai house was just one of those households where everyone collected. Ali's mother, Jane, just reveled in having her sons and all of their friends under one roof at the same time. She was a remarkable woman who always made you feel so loved—Wendy to our Lost Boys. It was at one of these get-togethers that I met this red-headed kid named Jon Saunders. Jon was Ali's younger-brother Jeff's friend. Jon and Jeff were (and are) both artists, and in-between games of Goldeneye on N64, I'd share my experiences at Rhode Island School of Design. I was a sophomore at the time.
(Another friend that I made at the Baghai house in those days was Chris Zengo, who grew up to be a Massachusetts State Trooper, and the namesake for a certain platypus detective.)
Jon would later attend RISD, along with Jeff, and during their time there, I was a frequent guest lecturer for my former professors. We'd catch up whenever I was in Providence. I even won an alumni award the year that Jon graduated in 2005. So I got to see him grab his diploma from the stage. 
Jon moved to L.A. after graduation, and I found myself there often. Punk Farm had just been picked up for development and I was hitting the streets, meeting with just about every development executive in town that would make time for me. I crashed on Jon's couch in those days and shared folders filled with samples of this Lunch Lady project I had brewing. 
Jon moved forward with some amazing animation projects over the ensuing years, and I kept plugging along with my books. We kept in touch, but as it goes when you start having kids—I got insanely busy. I named the corrupt mayor in Platypus Police Squad after Jon to thank him for those weeks of couch surfing. 
Jon called me up last winter. His career was picking up steam, and was I doing anything with Platypus Police Squad? I was, in fact, readying something. We put our heads together, along with his brilliant writing partner, Ross Evans. Walden Media was quickly on board, and we now have a movie in development! Jon and Ross really get what I have been doing in the Platypus Police Squad books, and I could not have found a better pair to shepherd this project along from page to screen. 
Jane Baghai is no longer with us, but I can only begin to imagine how tickled she'd be by all of this. If she was here, I know she'd instantly produce a photograph of a gang of kids sitting on her couch playing Nintendo in 1997. I miss Jane terribly, she was a very special woman—and I will forever be grateful to her for opening her doors to me. 
The photo on the left is of Jane and Ali Baghai and I at the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp in 1997. On the right, that's Jon Saunders, Ross Evans and I on our first creative meeting for the film adaptation of Platypus Police Squad back in February.

Check out the animation that Jon Saunders directed for Nike. It currently has more than 88 million views!! 

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