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Results 26 - 50 of 600,051
26. 50 States Against Bullying: NORTH CAROLINA

For the ninth state on the 50 States Against Bullying campaign, I visited The O'Neal School in North Carolina, speaking to students in grades 8-12. There were trees everywhere at this school, making the campus and its surroundings absolutely beautiful.

Even the statues were flipping out over the trees!


Yes, I considered adding myself somewhere within that sequence of statues for a photo-op, but then I considered the fact that I would probably hurt myself. So I didn't.

Meanwhile, inside the school, students had begun mounting #ReasonsWhyYouMatter cards to both sides of this board. Reading through these notes has becomes a great way to focus myself before I begin speaking with the students.


Giving a speech using Powerpoint, as I do, helps calm the nerves. This way, hundreds (sometimes thousands!) of eyes aren't constantly just on you.


Of course, if you get on a roll and skip over a topic, it becomes obvious once the wrong slide pops up. But I recovered from this mishap, which is thankfully rare. And, at the end of my talk, I even got my first standing ovation!


Signing books and chatting with students and teacher afterwards often turns emotional, and that was very true at this stop. While the stories shared could be heartbreaking, it is also inspiring to see people so willing to open up. That's always been a hard thing for me to do myself, so I never take these moments lightly. In fact, I feel like I learn from each one of those students.

But not all moments included tears. For example, I got to meet Miss North Carolina Junior High School America!


After my school visit, I had a bit of  time before heading to the airport, so I headed to...The Country Bookshop! This store provided books for my school visit, and was also a great place to browse (like I said, it's a bookshop). They recently began having visiting authors sign a tabletop in their store, which I did. While I signed it, the table was also being used for a meeting between the store's book buyer and a sales representative from another publisher (not mine, so they shall remain nameless...but easy to figure out). When I mentioned that I wrote the forward to one of this publisher's recent releases, Positive, by Paige Rawl, the bookseller brought her store copies over for me to sign.

So if you live near Southern Pines, go grab these books. Plenty of people have copies of Paige's memoir signed by Paige herself, but no one has a copy signed by me!





Now that I've flown on to the next state, I totally regret chickening out of a picture with those statues.

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27. Flashlight by Lizi Boyd



This is a simple but cute picture book for younger children. The whole book is wordless and takes place at night. It features a boy who's camping near the woods and decides to go on a walk with his flashlight. The beam from the flashlight reveals the hidden world of night to the boy. Other select parts of the woods are lit as well: birch trees, luna moths and june bugs. The moon rises and offers another source of light. Interspersed are cut-out shapes offering glimpses of critters in trees and ponds. At the end, the animals get to use the flashlight and have fun shining it on the boy. A unique and fun picture book!

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28. Seconds

I don’t remember where I heard about Bryan O’Malley’s newest graphic novel Seconds, but I immediately put myself on the library hold queue for it. You may recognize O’Malley as the creator of the Scott Pilgrim graphic novel series or maybe you might just know that the movie Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is based on one of those novels (I learned from the movie that I should have vegan superpowers but I must be doing something wrong because I’m still waiting for them). I’ve not read the graphic novel series, have you? And if so, should I?

But back to Seconds. It is about Katie, a successful chef who runs a hip restaurant called Seconds. She is in the midst of trying to strike out on her own with a brand new restaurant but the building is in such bad shape renovations are taking forever and costing a lot of money. Katie lives in a tiny room above Seconds in order to save money. One evening, there is an accident in the kitchen and a young waitress whom Katie has been trying to make friends with is badly burned. In her room, Katie is presented with a chance to change things. A notebook appears in which she it to write what she wants to change and then eat the little mushroom that was left beside it.

Now I know what you are probably thinking about that mushroom! I thought it too. But it isn’t that sort of mushroom. What it does is erase the accident. It never happened. Katie is happy and relieved and wishes she had more mushrooms because there is so much she would change if she could. And then she discovers the mushrooms are growing beneath the floorboard of a not frequently used storage closet behind the kitchen. She helps herself to quite a few of them, a dozen. And every time something happens that she doesn’t like, she can change it. Her new restaurant, her old boyfriend, friends, she changes them all sometimes more than once. She begins to get confused about what has and hasn’t happened.

She learns from Hazel, the waitress and now her friend who burned her arms that began this whole thing, that Seconds has a house spirit. The house spirit’s name is Lis and she makes an appearance in Katie’s room demanding she give back all those mushrooms, Lis’s mushrooms. But Katie refuses. Things get bad. Really bad.

The story is good, well told. The art is good too. They combine to make an enjoyable reading experience. I liked that Katie is a successful woman and this is her story. She is not drawn as tall and gorgeous, impossibly skinny and extremely well endowed. Nope, Katie is normal. Kind of short even with sort of crazy hair. I also enjoyed mulling over all the ways “seconds” can be applied in the story. From food so good you want seconds to second chances to how a life can change in seconds.

I don’t read graphic novels very often, not because I don’t enjoy them. I think I am just very picky about them. They have to meet some kind of worthiness test that I can’t even begin to articulate. But Seconds passed the test. I’m glad it did because it’s a good read.


Filed under: Books, Graphic Novels, Reviews Tagged: Bryan O'Malley

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29. From Here to There


How exciting!   

This month I've shipped a package off to Canada,
 
Finland, England and another to Ireland.   

(Earlier this year, I've have shipped to China, Spain, Japan, 

Russia, and Germany)  


It gives me such a kick when I think about the places the art is shipped.  

It's a small world. 

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30. The autobiographical account of the youngest ever solo circumnavigation of the Earth

If you want to see the other side of the world, you can do two things: turn the world upside down or travel there yourself…  …which is exactly what 14-year-old Laura Dekker did. One Girl, One Dream is her incredible story. Laura Dekker was 14 years old when she started her solo navigation around the world […]

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31. KidLitCon 2014: Further Thoughts (and Sketches)

I meant to do this post last Thursday, but work spun dizzily out of my control, tossing me into a whirling black hole (do black holes whirl? I feel like they do) of getting-caught-up. Tanita's done some amazing posts with lovely photos of the... Read the rest of this post

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32. I Didn’t See it Coming

I didn't see it coming

I didn’t hear it coming.

For an opening line I think it works. What do you think?

See what coming? Exactly!

The reader is going keep reading to find out, and isn’t that the overarching purpose of the first sentence—to compel the reader to read the second sentence. Etc.

I was going to write a blog piece on “openings.” By examining the first paragraphs of my upcoming book, The Writer in Love, I would assess the effectiveness of my beginning, see if it…

  • Established a Central Question
  • Made a promise
  • Set a trajectory

But that opening line got hold of me and wouldn’t let go. It wanted this blog post all to itself.

I sure didn’t see that coming.

Then it hit me—that line echoed far beyond Page One. So innocently tossed onto the page many months ago, it infected the entire manuscript, becoming a major motif throughout the book.

The cheetah is the first and most obvious thing I didn’t see coming. It approached me from behind and grabbed my hand in its mouth and wouldn’t let to. True story. I didn’t see it coming was the perfect way to establish an essential fact of fiction:

Protagonists never see it coming.

Drama depends on it.

Protagonists don’t see what coming? That which will destroy them. For their own good! It’s amazing how many times we can hear the poets and the mystics say something like this…

“Our body is a ship that sails on deep blue waters. What is our goal? To be shipwrecked!”

And still we complain, “I didn’t see it coming.”

Neither do writers see it coming.

We get in over our heads, trust me. We get excited about creating the kinds of payoffs that give readers their money’s worth. We find ourselves writing about characters whose only way out of Act II is to surrender to the storm, and by that I mean forsake who they’ve always thought they were.

I didn’t see that I was laying a trap for myself by trying to write in depth about such sacred story mechanics. I was in way over my head. I was drowning, myself. I almost quit. I didn’t see that coming, either.

I wrote a scene in which I drown. (That was fun.) I didn’t see that coming, either.

I never expected to take almost two years to write The Writer in Love.

To be honest, I never anticipated becoming a writer. I was going to be a mapmaker.

I never thought I’d have children until I tended my grandfather on his deathbed.

Nor did I imagine my children having children!

I didn’t foresee my website vanishing a few weeks ago. I thought I’d lost everything. I was resigned to starting over, but most of it is resurrected, and with a new design. Look, I’m blogging again!

The cool thing about blogging is you can start with a line like, I didn’t see it coming, and see where it goes. Because we don’t write to explain, we write to find out.

We might equally say that we live to find out.

I’ve found out a lot while writing The Writer in Love. And it all started with this opening scene:

I didn’t hear it coming.

It hadn’t finished devouring the bait when my Bolex ran out of film, so I retreated but slowly, walking away through the elephant grass when it surprised me from behind by clamping down on my hand hard enough to hold me but not break the skin. The growl in its guts, I could feel the vibration in my arm if you can imagine that. And then in my own belly. It’s a funny thing when your life stops suddenly dead in its tracks, it’s not funny at all because there you are for the first time without a future. As for the past, well, it’s your fault—my fault!—I had been carrying the bloody bait in that hand. Of course, the cat could smell it. I could see that now.

I should have seen it coming.

 

 

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33. 31 Days of Halloween: Chris Schweizer’s Monster Month

swamp ape 31 Days of Halloween: Chris Schweizers Monster Month

As you can imagine, we’re not the only website counting down Halloween month. Chris Schweizer, comics educator and the man behind the delightful Crogan’s Adventures series from Oni, is posting a mostly daily monster picture  and here’s today’s the Florida Swamp Ape. You can see the rest in the link like this Ghost Rider in the Sky:

ghost rider 31 Days of Halloween: Chris Schweizers Monster Month

 

 

 

 

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34. On Safety, Kathleen Hale, and what to do next

A lot of bloggers are thinking about what the next steps are after this weekend. How do we react when negative status updates about a book can get you stalked? Is an author going to show up on my doorstep? Call me at work and harass me until I cry? Blogging isn't a job, it's a hobby. It's supposed to be fun, a way to connect with other book nerds.

It's not supposed to put you in danger.

Of the two big issues facing book bloggers right now, a major lawsuit looks like "lucking out."

That's fucked up.

And it's worse than authors showing up in your front yard and calling you at work. It's the people who automatically take her at her word that the reviewer was wrong and harassing her. She wasn't. I know. I'm shocked, too! A woman who thought that showing up on someone's doorstep was a rational response to bad status updates has a skewed version of the reality leading up to that point. Shocking! But there are a lot of people who are applauding her for "fighting back."

So, what's next? Do I seriously have to balance the safety of my family with my desire to talk about books? Is this a real live thought process I've been having the past few days? REALLY?

I blog and tweet with my real name. It's not that hard to figure out where I work. And part of this is on purpose--my blog is personal and mine and I do it on my own time, but to say it's 100% separate from work is hard. My day job (which includes regularly scheduled nights and weekends) affects the blog--it informs what I read, my library users inform my reactions to titles and my blog affects my day job-- it's opened up professional doors to me and given me opportunities I may not have had. Many of my blogging friends are also professional colleagues and part of my personal learning network. My blog is on my resume. Honestly, in the grand scheme, at this point, it doesn't make sense for me to change it to a pseudonym. But what am I leaving myself open to?

And here's another area-- I'm not just a book blogger. I'm also a professional reviewer. I regularly review for School Library Journal (paywalled) and the RT Book Reviews website. These are signed reviews and SLJ even includes my place of employment after my name. If anything, this is what makes the most sense to give up. The majority of my critical or negative reviews are professional (mostly because I'm not apt to finish a book I don't like unless it's assigned.) But, I really like reviewing professionally. It's made me a better reader and a better blogger. It has helped my career and sometimes I get paid. It's not something I'm willing to give up, and I don't think I should have to in order to protect my safety.

And then my thought process turns to the fact that the affected bloggers are much bigger than me, so it's not going to be an issue for me... except. I have had an author track me down at work about a review I wrote. This person used my library's "contact us" form to comment on my review of their book. Luckily, it was for one of the professional outlets, so I could just forward it to my editor and let them deal with it.

Who do I forward the scary lady on my front lawn too? What happens when someone defames me in an international newspaper? What happens if the it's the blog, where I'm the editor? Will my professional reputation be dragged through the mud and affect my ability to put food on the table?

Where do I go next? Do I give into my fear? Is that letting the terrorists win (in the parlance of our times?) Do I accept the risk, knowing there are more Kathleen Hales out there and if they can write well enough (and let's be honest, that article was fascinating and compelling. She can clearly write. She just can't recognize dangerous and probably illegal behavior) people will just take her word at it without even trying to hear the other side of the story?

In a month and a half, Biblio File will turn 10. Yes, a decade of book blogging. Posting has been spotty at times, and this is not the first time I've seriously considered stopping. But, every other time it was because of internal issues--do I really want to devote the time it requires or do I want to prioritize other things in my life? Do I still have the passion to make it worth the brain space? And I've always just taken a break or powered through. It's never because of something external before. And... I just don't know now.

I just don't know.


Links to Amazon are an affiliate link. You can help support Biblio File by purchasing any item (not just the one linked to!) through these links. Read my full disclosure statement.

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35. Getting Old

Have you had your colonoscopy?
Your mammogram? Or hey –
Your stress test? Blood work? Body scan?
Get on it right away!

If you cannot relate to this,
Just wait a few quick years
For as you age, that youthful health
Dries up and disappears.

And then the testing days begin
So when you’re with your friends,
You’ll find your conversations
Follow healthcare’s latest trends.

When you are young, you think your youth
Will always be on hold.
It’s really quite surprising
How things change as you grow old.

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36. Blueberry Diapers

Here is a recent design that I sold to Blueberry Diapers. Check out their wonderful company and product line.





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37. Monday Poetry Stretch - Kodachrome

Over the last few weeks I have been scanning slides and revisiting old family photos. My uber-cute brother and sister are in the picture below! Don't you just love those Easter basket sunglasses?
While immersed in this project I've been reminded me of a story NPR ran a few years ago about a photo historian who found an archive of more than 14,000 photos taken by Charles W. Cushman. Cushman began using Kodachrome soon after it came out and used it to capture the world in ways it had never been seen before. 

You can hear the story at The Found Archive of Charles W. Cushman. Better yet, you can see some of the photos at Lost and Found: Discover a Black-and-White Era in Full Color.

Our family slides are not great works of art, but they contain an awful lot of history. I'm amazed that this array of images has captured the evolution of the television, clothing, hairstyles, and cars. So, today I'm thinking about old kodachrome and photographs. I hope you'll join me this week in writing about them. Please share a link to your poem or the poem itself in the comments.

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38. Book Review: I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

From Goodreads:
Jude and her brother, Noah, are incredibly close twins. At thirteen, isolated Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude surfs and cliff-dives and wears red-red lipstick and does the talking for both of them. But three years later, Jude and Noah are barely speaking. Something has happened to wreck the twins in different and divisive ways - until Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy, as well as an unpredictable new mentor. 
The early years are Noah's story to tell. The later years are Jude's. What the twins don't realize is that they each have only half the story, and if they could just find their way back to one another, they'd have a chance to remake their world.
Writing
I'm going to do my best to write this without shrieking or flailing and just stick to the facts about how well-written this novel is.  What I found most amazing was how clearly I could picture every scene and every character in this book, despite the fact that Nelson doesn't include a lot of description.  I'm quick to admit that most of the time when I read, I have vague pictures of things in my head, but I focus more on what's happening than on how it "looks" in my mind.  I think the reason I found this one so easy to picture was that the characters are just so very real.

That doesn't mean that I think the characters were entirely believable - I spent the first chapter feeling really weird about Noah and the way his mind works.  I'm still not willing to say that I think she captured a believable voice with him.  But the point of a novel isn't always realism.  And I think that in this one, the character of Noah is so much more than having a believable teenage voice.  He represents something, and his language reflects that.  

Once I got used to the metaphorical language and brilliant artistic images that are thrown around so perfectly, I just fell in love with who Noah and Jude are and how they relate to each other and to their family.  It's something I continue to find myself thinking about a mulling over even after having finished the book, because there is just so much there in terms of the ideas that Nelson is putting out, in addition to the compelling story and lovable characters.

Entertainment Value
I feel almost sacrilegious comparing a book, especially a YA book, to Bel Canto, which is my very favorite book ever.  Bel Canto was the first book I read that literally took my breath away and I am thrilled to report that Jandy Nelson replicated that amazing experience in this book.  It's just beautifully done.  The words are beautiful, the story is beautiful, and the meaning of it all is, yep, beautiful.  I've found myself retelling scenes in my head throughout the week, while I'm not reading, just because thinking about it is that much fun.  And I don't necessarily mean light or fluffy fun, because it's hard to read at times and deals with some really difficult subject matter.  It was fun in the way that something that pulls at your heartstrings and makes you sit up and pay attention is fun.

Overall
I really can't think of anyone I wouldn't recommend this book to.  I think there's something there to appeal to all readers, including those who aren't typically drawn to YA.  I recommend going into it with an open mind and not expecting to find the characters to be accurate depictions of your average teen.  Noah and Jude are anything but average, but I think the amazing writing and the deeper meanings more than qualify any suspension of disbelief required.

Thanks to NetGalley for provding a copy for me to review.

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39. Just the Facts, Ma’am: Which Graphic Novel Categories are the Biggest?

BISAC chart Just the Facts, Maam: Which Graphic Novel Categories are the Biggest?Ever wonder what categories are the most popular in graphic novels?

Think it’s all manga and superheroes?

Well, as you can see on the chart to the left, it’s fairly diverse.

How did I come up with these percentages?

Simple…

First, there’s this group called BISG.  They make sure all the standards that booksellers and publishers use work.  One thing they standardize are called BISAC subject codes.  These help booksellers to categorize what they sell, either online or onshelf.

Books In Print is a big database run by R.R. Bowker, who also manage EANs and ISBNs for Anglo-American publishers.  If it’s got an EAN, they list it.  Even for the rinky-dink publishers you’ll never hear of.

With a little trial and error, and hacking of URLs, I figured out a way to search BISACs for specific years.  That’s a work in progress, and I’ll publish that data at a later date.

But it’s quite easy to search for EVERYTHING by a specific BISAC code, regardless of date.

Here are the numbers for the above chart:

TOTAL 72,992
TOTAL Manga 15,143
TOTAL Juvenile 9,802
Superheroes (CGN004080) 8,811
General (CGN000000) 17,996
TOTAL Everything Else 21,240

Some caveats:  BISACs are assigned by publishers.  A title may have more than one BISAC subject code.  A title may have a “graphic novel” BISAC, yet not be a graphic novel.  (For example, a Golden Book easy-to-read Spider-Man story book.)  Version 2 of the BISAC subject codes dates to November 1997, which predates the modern era which started in 1999 with the importation of Pokemon titles by Viz Media.

(Library subject headings are just as muddled.  Some titles use “Comic books, strips, etc.”; some use “Graphic novels”.  But if we standardize the search terms, one can still study trends.)

Note that graphic novels for kids outnumber superhero titles for a general trade audience…

Manga’s numbers have decreased over the years (2013, Manga only had 14% of the titles), and “everything else” has grown (36% in 2013).

What’s it all mean?  Stay tuned…  I need to fill in the years from 1970 to 2011.

Here’s the raw data for each BISAC subject I could find, including ones since deactivated.  (Yes, they still show up…)

CGN000000 COMICS & GRAPHIC NOVELS / General 17,996
CGN001000 COMICS & GRAPHIC NOVELS / Anthologies 880
CGN002000 COMICS & GRAPHIC NOVELS / Comics & Cartoons 393
CGN003000 COMICS & GRAPHIC NOVELS / Educational 9
CGN004000 COMICS & GRAPHIC NOVELS / Graphic Novels / General 1547
CGN004010 COMICS & GRAPHIC NOVELS / Crime & Mystery 1309
CGN004020 COMICS & GRAPHIC NOVELS / Erotica 522
CGN004030 COMICS & GRAPHIC NOVELS / Fantasy 2778
CGN004040 COMICS & GRAPHIC NOVELS / Horror 2056
CGN004050 COMICS & GRAPHIC NOVELS / Manga / General 10291
CGN004060 COMICS & GRAPHIC NOVELS / Media Tie-In 1426
CGN004070 COMICS & GRAPHIC NOVELS / Science Fiction 2322
CGN004080 COMICS & GRAPHIC NOVELS / Superheroes 8811
CGN004090 COMICS & GRAPHIC NOVELS / Romance 266
CGN004100 COMICS & GRAPHIC NOVELS / Manga / Crime & Mystery 169
CGN004110 COMICS & GRAPHIC NOVELS / Manga / Erotica 56
CGN004120 COMICS & GRAPHIC NOVELS / Manga / Fantasy 2004
CGN004130 COMICS & GRAPHIC NOVELS / Manga / LGBT 57
CGN004140 COMICS & GRAPHIC NOVELS / Manga / Historical Fiction 126
CGN004150 COMICS & GRAPHIC NOVELS / Manga / Horror 412
CGN004160 COMICS & GRAPHIC NOVELS / Manga / Media Tie-In 237
CGN004170 COMICS & GRAPHIC NOVELS / Manga / Nonfiction 42
CGN004180 COMICS & GRAPHIC NOVELS / Manga / Romance 816
CGN004190 COMICS & GRAPHIC NOVELS / Manga / Science Fiction 754
CGN004200 COMICS & GRAPHIC NOVELS / Manga / Sports 117
CGN004210 COMICS & GRAPHIC NOVELS / Manga / Yaoi 62
CGN004220 COMICS & GRAPHIC NOVELS / Manga / Religious 7
CGN005000 COMICS & GRAPHIC NOVELS / History & Criticism 175
CGN006000 COMICS & GRAPHIC NOVELS / Literary 1479
CGN007000 COMICS & GRAPHIC NOVELS / Nonfiction 752
CGN008000 COMICS & GRAPHIC NOVELS / Contemporary Women 159
CGN009000 COMICS & GRAPHIC NOVELS / LGBT 138
CGN010000 COMICS & GRAPHIC NOVELS / Historical Fiction 319
CGN011000 COMICS & GRAPHIC NOVELS / Religious 93
CGN012000 COMICS & GRAPHIC NOVELS / Adaptations * 21
ART004000 ART / Techniques / Cartooning 905
HUM001000 HUMOR / Form / Comic Strips & Cartoons 3642
HUM002000 HUMOR / Comic Books, Strips, etc. 42
JUV033070 JUVENILE FICTION / Religious / Christian / Comics & Graphic Novels 117
JUV008000 JUVENILE FICTION / Comics & Graphic Novels / General 6025
JUV008010 JUVENILE FICTION / Comics & Graphic Novels / Manga 867
JUV008020 JUVENILE FICTION / Comics & Graphic Novels / Superheroes 1306
JUV008030 JUVENILE FICTION / Comics & Graphic Novels / Media Tie-In 413
JNF028010 JUVENILE NONFICTION / Humor / Comic Strips & Cartoons 239
JNF049190 JUVENILE NONFICTION / Religious / Christian / Comics & Graphic Novels 40
JNF062000 JUVENILE NONFICTION / Comics & Graphic Novels / General 327
JNF062010 JUVENILE NONFICTION / Comics & Graphic Novels / Biography 166
JNF062020 JUVENILE NONFICTION / Comics & Graphic Novels / History 302
TOTAL 72992

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40. I wonder what I should do today ?


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41. Comic: Watch Those Dangling Modifiers...

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42. My son and I are instant fans. We have taken to making fan art...



My son and I are instant fans. We have taken to making fan art in our spare time. Shown here are Peppermint Butler & Cinnamon Bun (who always seems to be melting?)



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43. "Planet" Reviewed At Reduce Footprints

Saving the Planet & Stuff is reviewed today at Reduce Footprints, a blog dedicated to researching and sharing information about easy ways to do positive things for the Earth. My favorite line--"The story is also wonderful for adults, of all ages, as it touches on the challenges of living life as a "greenie", in a fun and interesting way."

Notice that blogger Cyndi runs a couple of activities designed to build the green community.

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44. Have an affair - book, that is

There's nothing quite like falling in love with a new idea.

file0001781362730A lot of times it will happen when you are in the middle of another book. A book that has gone from pure pleasure to write to a kind of muddy slog.

And then a voice will whisper inside of you:  "This book sucks. But I'm a anew idea!  I would make a wonderful book. I would practically write myself. "

Do not give into temptation.  Do not divorce your current book to run off and hastily marry your new idea. Because one day you will wake up and you'll realize you are stuck in the same muddy slog, only now it's with your once shiny new idea.

Does that mean you should give up on your wonderfu, sexyl new idea?

No. But what you should do is make it your affair book. Yes, sneak off every now and then to write it. Write with passion. Leave when it starts suggesting you need to do the dishes or take out the garbage. Come back to it with presents of energy and excitement and insight.  Repeat as necessary.

Two of the best books I've ever written were not under contract, and I really shouldn't have been writing them. But I snuck out every now and then to meet up with them secretly. And I'm so glad I did.

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45. Connecticut Children's Literature Calendar Update

Author Page McBrier will appear at the Rowayton Library in Rowayton this Thursday, October 23, from 3:30 to 4:30.

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46. Author Studies, Kathleen Hale, Native authors

Last week, the Guardian published an article by Kathleen Hale that detailed how she had stalked a blogger who wrote a negative review of her book. Understandably, the article prompted a great deal of conversation on social media, with many bloggers expressing fear about being stalked.

Amongst the responses to Hale were ones that said that reviews are about books, not their authors, and that an author should not take reviews personally. A book, some say, stands alone. The author does not matter.

I appreciate that response but am hitting the pause button. Here's why.

Teachers assign author studies. There are guides on how to do them. Publishers like Scholastic offer guides, too. In them, students are asked to do research on the author's life, and that author's body of work. They are asked to make connections between the author's life and work. They are also asked to make personal connections between their own life experiences and those of the author and/or characters in the author's books.

Given the amount of conversation that took place over Kathleen Hale's article, I'm pretty sure a student doing an author study of her will come across the article. I hope they come away from it thinking that Hale went too far in stalking the blogger. Perhaps, in the days to come, we'll learn more about why the Guardian published that piece, and, because I think Hale was wrong to stalk the blogger (she paid for a background check on the blogger, and later rented a car and went to the blogger's home), I hope that the Guardian editors add a note to the top of that article, linking to responses from the blogging community.

On AICL, I've said that authors matter because I know that teachers ask students to do author studies.

My preference is that teachers assign books by Native writers because when the book is assigned, the teacher can say, for example, "Cynthia Leitich Smith is a tribal member of the Muscogee Creek Nation." The teacher can show students Cynthia's website and the website for the Muscogee Nation, too.

In doing that, the teacher will be using present-tense verbs ('is' and 'are'), and pushing against the idea that American Indians no longer exist, and, against the monolithic and stereotypical image of American Indians as people in feathered headdresses who lived in tipis and hunted buffaloes.

In short, an author's identity matters, and it is why I advocate for Native authors.

Back to Kathleen Hale. Here's some of the responses to her article. Please read them, and, learn about stalking, too. Start with information provided at the Stalking Resource Center.


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47. the ghosts of night, the dreams of day

Had a lovely day yesterday, drawing for the love of drawing rather than for work. I always love catching up with Urban Sketchers Yorkshire, my sketchcrawling buddies, too. We spent the day at the National Emergency Vehicles Museum in Sheffield. It was right up my tree. Loved the subject matter. I could spend another day, or ten, there. And, maybe even a night; apparently there are many ghosts in this former police and fire station. If you believe in that sort of thing, of course. I don't but I'm willing to have my mind changed.

 There was a very specific colour scheme too. Reds, blacks and a little yellow were the colours of the day. I managed to not take seventeen pencils cases, which is an achievement for me, and narrowed it down to just the three sketchbooks. I always try to take some tools that I wouldn't normally draw with at home. I try and play a bit more on sketchcrawls. It feels like the right place to do that as you often encounter subject matter you wouldn't normally choose to draw. The red Bingo dabber was an inspired choice of pens.

 Here's something I've noticed during October, as I'm participating in Go Sober For October, I do a lot more with my weekends. It's much easier when you're not factoring in a 'big night' or a hangover. That's just another benefit to being sober; doing more stuff with your time. Just look at how my blogging has increased in the last month!

 The museum holds a vast range of fire service related memorabilia that had previously been sitting in attics and local fire stations all over the county and amongst the exhibits were prisoner files from the last century. I found these the most fascinating of all, and below are my drawings of some of the mugshots from around the 1940s. It's funny how just by drawing somebody, spending that time studying someone, you can feel a real connection with them. I don't just want to now more about the faces I drew, I feel an empathy, sympathy, for them. Protective towards them even, like I knew them. I guess what I'm trying to say was that I was touched by them. Maybe I do believe in ghosts.




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48. Writing Scams

Beware of scams perpetrated by authors and/or malicious others.

http://annerallen.blogspot.com/2012/10/beware-seven-deadly-writing-scams.html 


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49. Review – Imagine a City

The sumptuous cloth cover and unfurling clouds swirling across the end pages indicate something special about Elise Hurst’s latest picture book, Imagine a City. You’ll recognise Hurst’s illustrations from her other picture books such as The Night Garden, Flood and The Midnight Club to name a few. Imagine a City is a glorious collection of […]

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50. Buy a copy of The Walking Dead Vol. 1 with an original oil painting by Ben Templesmith for an absurdly low price

Walkingdead5 Buy a copy of The Walking Dead Vol. 1 with an original oil painting by Ben Templesmith for an absurdly low price

Well, $412 seems absurdly low to us, anyway. 

Renowned horror/fantasy artist Templesmith has been experimenting with hand-painted covers for several books, and this is an original one of a kind oil painting done on a copy of The Walking Dead Volume 1. The painting was varnished, and I don’t know if you can read the book inside, but it seems to me that this is a pretty darned sweet collectible…especially for Halloween.

Also…Christmas is coming.

More Templesmith stuff at the 78Squid retail website.

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