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Results 26 - 50 of 662,361
26. Large Book Advances

Even if you're one of the very few who gets a six-figure book deal, you might want to keep your day job.  


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27. Minding Your Manners

#storybuildingblocks,@diana_hurwitz,#writingtips,#fiction,#screenplay
www.dianahurwitz.com
I give credit to an article in Parents magazine for inspiring this one. Are etiquette and chivalry truly dead? In your story world, you decide. 

Tweet: Mores and manners change with the times, but everyone has a set of rules. #writingtips

From knights in clanging armor, to Victorian parlors, to the craziness of Hollywood, every story world has a set of rules for how people are supposed to behave and whether or not your characters choose to.

How comfortable Dick is in terms of asking for something depends on his personality type and whether he likes the person he is asking. The polite way to ask is, "Please may I ...". If Dick says, "Please taking a running leap off a short pier," the game is on.

How comfortable Dick is in terms of receiving things also depends on his personality type and whether or not he wants the item received. 


Thank you's when used appropriately, are the oil that makes life run a little smoother. An insincere thank you can mask anger when Dick would really like to let those rude words fly and can't. "Why thank you! However did you come up with such a creative solution to our current predicament ...Sweetie." If he says, "Thank you for not breathing," the game is on.

When a character interrupts a conversation, even to tell Dick that Timmy is in the well, he is being rude.


How often do your characters interrupt each other? Is it well meant, deliberately intrusive or because the situation requires it? Is it timed to deflect an important or revealing conversation?

Cell phones are rampant. Forcing the people around him to listen to Dick's conversation is rude. Listening in on other people's conversations is considered rude. This can also have unforeseen consequences. People aren't careful when they talk on their phones in public. They aren't careful when dining with their friends in restaurants. Clues can be dropped, sensitive information revealed and a person's true colors exposed.

"It's better to ask permission than forgiveness" is a current favorite. But is it? Sometimes Dick should ask permission, like before he raids someone else's refrigerator. He'll pass on asking permission if he is raiding their safe. Taking something innocent without permission may seem harmless, but may push the wrong button. How does Dick feel about having something taken without permission? Is he amused or furious?

Jane should keep negative opinions to herself. Or between her and her friends and out of earshot of other people. In which case, they can discuss freely and at length over their favorite beverage. Refer to the previous "there's no privacy while dining" scenario. This is especially true when commenting on other people's physical characteristics, clothing, possessions and children. It isn't considered acceptable to offer an insult as a compliment: "My, those tattoos are so colorful." Or "It must have taken hours to do that to your hair." Southern women are queens of the insult/compliment smashup. "Well, bless her heart, isn't she precious? It must have taken a month of Sundays to come up with that outfit."

Jane should take a hostess gift to someone's house when invited for dinner and thank them for having her over and for the good time she had. If Jane is lying through her teeth, you have conflict. If she takes them a present intended to insult, the game is on. Is she thanks them for the most riveting evening she's ever had, the insult might fly right over her host's head.

Sally was taught to knock before entering. This could avert a potential disaster if her husband is in bed with someone else. If she is doing something she doesn't want anyone to know about, locking the door would be a great idea. If Sally never locks a door and suddenly decides to lock the door, there is conflict. Locking the bathroom door could mean the child/person knocking better be bleeding, the house on fire or someone dying. If not, the game is on.

When making a phone call, Dick should introduce himself and ask for whoever he wishes to speak to. With the advent of caller ID this is going out of fashion. The conflict occurs when Dick doesn't bother to ascertain who he is talking to before he speaks. It also occurs when Dick answers someone else's phone, particularly if he pretends to be that person. Wrong numbers and misunderstandings are rife in these situations.

What are your story world rules about profanity? It is considered bad manners to use foul language in public, particularly if sensitive little ears are around to hear them. There are still factions of society insulted by words that other factions of society use as versatile adjective/noun/verbs. Profanity is generally considered crass in business and social functions. If Dick does so, how much trouble will he be in? Is Jane offended by profanity or does she swear like a sailor?

Dick should never call other people names or make fun of them. Until they are out of earshot and can't hear him or retaliate. Unless he intentionally wants to start a fight. Even good natured teasing can be taken the wrong way.

Jane should sit through a play, assembly, lecture or business meeting quietly and pretend she is interested even if she is bored silly. What happens if she doesn't? We've all been in boring business meetings, school music programs or dance programs that - other than our little darling's five seconds of fame - bore us to tears. You may be at a lecture or a workshop. This is where the cell phone issue comes in. The light from the screen is distracting. Jane may be bored, but the parent/participant sitting next to her might not. What happens if Jane is forced to sit there? What happens if she breaks free? What happens if she breaks out her Blackberry?

Sally should cover her mouth when she coughs or sneezes. These days it's an act of terror to spread germs in a public place or airplane.

If he sees someone struggling, Dick should offer to help. This is lovely if an elderly person is struggling with their groceries, a mom with a stroller, or someone drops something and doesn't notice. These situations can be hilarious or deadly. What could a little act of kindness lead to? What could Dick gain by pretending to be helpful? There's the old joke about the boy scout who helped the old lady across the street only to find she was headed the opposite direction. Good intentions rarely go unpunished.

When someone asks a favor, Jane should do it without grumbling, unless the favor is inappropriate. Favors can be dangerous. If Jane asks a favor, she should preface it with, "Would you mind." If she follows that up with "Would you mind sodding off?" the game is on.


For more on crafting conflict to create tension, pick up a copy of Story Building Blocks II: Crafting Believable Conflict available in paperback and E-book.

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28. Celebrating 25 Books Over 25 Years: George Crum and the Saratoga Chip

lee & low 25th anniversaryLEE & LOW BOOKS celebrates its 25th anniversary this year and to recognize how far the company has come, we are featuring one title a week to see how it is being used across the country in classrooms and libraries today.

Today we are featuring one of our favorite titles: George Crum and the Saratoga Chip.  This fun story looks at the history behind everyone’s favorite snack food: the potato chip! 

Featured title: George Crum and the Saratoga Chip

Author: Gaylia Taylor

Illustrator: Frank Morrison

About the book: Growing up in the 1830s in Saratoga Springs, New York, isn’t easy for George Crum. Picked on at school because of the color of his skin, George escapes into his favorite pastimes — hunting and fishing. george crum and the saratoga chip

Soon George learns to cook too, and as a young man he lands a job as chef at the fancy Moon’s Lake House. George loves his work, except for the fussy customers, who are always complaining! One hot day George’s patience boils over, and he cooks up a potato dish so unique it changes his life forever.

Readers will delight in this spirited story of the invention of the potato chip — one of America’s favorite snack foods. George Crum and the Saratoga Chip is a testament to human ingenuity, and a tasty slice of culinary history.

Awards and Honors:

  • Texas Bluebonnet Masterlist, Texas Library Association
  • Best Children’s Books of the Year, Bank Street College of Education
  • Distinguished Children’s Biography List, Cleveland Public Library

gaylia taylorAuthor Gaylia Taylor began writing for children after she retired from many years working as a Reading Recovery® teacher. Taylor stumbled across George Crum’s story while researching African American inventors on the Internet.

“I’m always looking for a story to tell, and George Crum caught my attention because his invention, the potato chip, is loved by so many people,” says the author in an interview. “I have to admit that a story about the potato chip peaked my own curiosity, because it is my favorite snack.” The more Taylor read about George Crum, the more interested she became in his life. The author says that all her research described George Crum as having a very distinct and colorful personality. “I just couldn’t let him go,” says Taylor. “I said, ‘George, we’ve got a story to tell!’”

Resources for Teaching With George Crum and the Saratoga Chip:

Explore Other Books About Food:

hot hot roti for dadaji cover

Hot, Hot Roti for Dada-ji

by F. Zia, illus. by Ken Min

sweet potato pie cover

Sweet Potato Pie

by Kathleen D. Lindsey, illus. by Charlotte Riley-Webb

hiromi's hands cover

Hiromi’s Hands

written and illus. by Lynne Barasch

cora cooks pancit cover

Cora Cooks Pancit

by Dorina Lazo Gilmore, illus. by Kristi Valiant

Also check out our Food and Cooking Collection! These books explore different foods and cuisines from around United States and around the world!

food and cooking collection

Have you used George Crum and the Saratoga Chip? Let us know!

Celebrate with us! Check out our 25 Years Anniversary Collection.

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29. How the ‘Storks’ Filmmakers Transformed A Pack of 100 Wolves Into…Anything

The scene-stealing transforming-wolves in "Storks" were both a creative and technical animation challenge.

The post How the ‘Storks’ Filmmakers Transformed A Pack of 100 Wolves Into…Anything appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

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30. Cynsational News & Resources

By Cynthia Leitich Smith
for Cynsations

Author Interview: Guadalupe García McCall: Remembering What Has Endured, What Has Been Lost by Justin Barisich from BookPage. Peek: "It takes a lot of courage to let the world see your heart, to lay it down on the ground in front of the enemy and say, 'This is it. This who I am. This is what I’ve got,' and that is what Dulceña does."

How to Find and Reach Influencers to Help Promote Your Work by Angela Ackerman from Jane Friedman. Peek: "Because if you truly appreciate what they do, you will naturally want to help them further succeed. And while of course you hope they’ll return the favor, that’s not your endgame. Creating a relationship is."

Seven Surprising Facts About Creativity, According to Science by John Paul Titlow from Fast Company. Peek: "In the face of a major loss, our brains often explore new creative outlets as part of the 'rebuilding' process of our lives, especially as our perspectives, priorities, and ways of thinking about things shift around. " Note: the observation about teachers at the end of the post does not apply to me.

Ten Tips for Video-Chat School Visits from Christine Kohler. Peek: "Although my stress-level skyrocketed that morning when my PC’s operating system corrupted, I thought other authors might benefit by what I did in pre-planning to ensure 'the show must go on,' and on schedule."

Children's Literature as a Vehicle for Peace by Summer Edward from Medium. Peek: "Is social justice an elite weapon to be wielded in the hands of a few acclaimed activists or is it a human imperative to which each individual is called?"

Series Beginnings by Mary Kole from Kidlit.com. Peek: "By providing this context but weaving it into the first few chapters of the story, you will be welcoming your existing readers back into the story while simultaneously giving new readers a chance to catch up. All without info-dumping."

Interview: Dean Gloster on Dessert First by Adi Rule from VCFA Launchpad. Peek: "...with all the intensity of residency, my constantly emailing documents to myself to print out in the library, and my mostly using my VCFA email address, I actually missed the message from the editor saying they were buying my book...."

No One Gets a Pass When It Comes to Writing Multicultural Books from Grace Lin. Peek: "I get a fair amount of flack for portraying light-skinned Asians or Asians in the stereotypical haircut of heavy bangs."

What I Leaned About Publishing an #OwnVoices Book with a Latinx Heroine by Valerie Tejeda from Bustle. Peek: "I've learned a lot about what it means to be an #OwnVoices author — the good, the bad, the ugly — but here are a few things that have stuck out to me the most..."

Four Ways "Stranger Things" Gets Middle Grade Right by Mary E. Cronin from Project Mayhem. Peek: "Kids are the stars of this show, and middle grade writers can draw much inspiration from it. Here are four ways that the creators of 'Stranger Things' totally nail middle grade...."

Give Your Characters Roots by Dave King from Writer Unboxed. Peek: "Growing up in Mordor gives you a very different outlook on life than growing up in New England."

What's In a (Character's) Name? by Olga Kuno from Becca Puglisi from Writers Helping Writers. Peek: "Coming up with just the right name can be daunting. I’d like to share some ideas on how to simplify the process."

Winnie The Pooh Makes Friends with a Penguin to Mark Anniversary by Alison Flood from The Guardian. Peek: "Sibley, who was asked to write a new Pooh story to mark this year’s anniversary, said that the photo of the author and his son with the penguin toy came to mind while he was 'pondering what other toys Christopher Robin might have owned but which were never written about'."

Native American Contemporary YA Novel
We Are Still Here: An Interview with Debbie Reese from NCTE. Peek: "I wish that teachers would do all they could to push against that monolithic 'primitive' and 'uncivilized' depiction that is so pervasive and damaging to our youth, but all youth, too, who play and learn alongside our children."

Why I Write About the Immigrant Experience by Reyna Grande from CBC Diversity. Peek: "I read and I read, though I’d always felt a void—a yearning, a missing piece that I desperately wanted to find. What I wanted most of all: to not feel invisible."

How to Write a Latinx Character & Other Questions by Yamile Saied Méndez from The Che Boricuas= A Puerto Rican + An Argentine + 5 cute kids. Peek: "...this list isn't all inclusive. I just wanted to show all the aspects in which culture affects a person. The ways in which it will affect your character. The reader will notice if the only thing the writer did was slap a Spanish-sounding name and dark skin on a character."

Black Girl Magic: Black Girlhood, Imaginations and Activism by Dhonielle Clayton from We Need Diverse Books. Peek: "I hope a new generation of black girls can cling tight to the novels of the ladies below and start to find themselves in interesting and dynamic new media. I know that if I had had even a few of these books and role models, the teenage me wouldn’t have felt so invisible."

Share Your Voice by Dan Blank from Writer Unboxed. Peek: "A voice without action, is silence. In that silence is the potential where you could be connecting with people who will be moved by your stories."

Cynsational Awards

The 2016 Kirkus Prize Finalists: "Winners in the three categories will receive $50,000 each, making the Kirkus Prize one of the richest annual literary awards in the world."

Little, Brown Launches New Award for Illustrators by Sally Lodge from Publishers Weekly. Peek: "Caldecott Medalist and five-time Caldecott Honor artist Jerry Pinkney will act as a judge and the inaugural artist mentor for the first annual Little, Brown Emerging Artist Award, recognizing new illustration talent and encouraging the development of high-quality picture books that resonate with readers of diverse backgrounds."

Ann Bausum
Children's Book Author Ann Bausum Wins 2017 Nonfiction Award from the Children's Book Guild of Washington, D.C. Peek: "In recognition of her 14 nonfiction books and the way her work has enriched the minds of our children and the life of our nation, Bausum has been selected to receive the 2017 Children's Book Guild Nonfiction Award. The award is presented annually to an author for a body of work that has contributed significantly to the quality of nonfiction for children."

Congratulations to Don Tate, recipient of the Illumine Award for children's literature from the Austin Public Library Friends Foundation!

Reminder: The deadline for the Lee & Low New Voices Award is Sept. 30.

This Week at Cynsations



More Personally

My heart is heavy this week, Cynsational readers. I was saddened to hear of the death of Dr. Ernie Bond of Salisbury University. He was a tremendous educator, and I am grateful to him for his support of inclusive children's-YA literature. Moreover, the eighteen-year-old daughter of a high school friend and classmate has taken her own life "after a long battle with PTSD, depression and anxiety." Please continue to support teachers, support teens and consider donating to the Lane Marrs Memorial Fund.

The Link of the Week: Perceptions of Diversity in Book Reviews by Malinda Lo from Diversity in YA. Peek: "...it is basically common knowledge among minority authors that including more than one minority identity in a book is a huge risk for your career. In the real world, plenty of individuals deal with more than one minority identity at the same time, every day." See also Kick off Bisexual Awareness Week with 12 2016 YA Books by Dahlia Adler from Barnes & Noble.

Personal Links

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31. WHEN WE WERE ALONE by David Alexander Robertson and Julie Flett

When We Were Alone is one of those books that brought forth a lot of emotion as I read it. There were sighs of sadness for what Native people experienced at boarding schools, and sighs of--I don't know, love, maybe--for our perseverance through it all.


Written by David Alexander Robertson and illustrated by Julie Flett, When We Were Alone will be released in January of 2017 from Highwater Press. I read the ARC and can't wait to hold the final copy of this story, of a young children asking her grandmother a series of questions, in my hands.

The story is meant for young children, though of course, readers of any age can--and should--read it.

It opens with the little girl saying:
Today I helped my kókom in her flower garden. She always wears colourful clothes. It's like she dresses in rainbows. When she bent down to prune some of the flowers, I couldn't even see her because she blended in with them. She was like a chameleon. 
"Nókom, why do you wear so many colours?" I asked. 
That child, wondering about something and then asking that "why" question is the format for the story. To this first question, her grandmother says that she had to go to school, far away, and that all the children had to wear the same colors. They couldn't wear the colourful clothes they did before they went to that school. Here's Julie Flett's illustration of the children, at school. I can't look at this illustration without my heart twisting:



Twisting at the expressions on their faces and wondering what they felt, and then I feel a different kind of emotion as I read the next page and look at the next illustration, because the grandma tells the child what they did to be colourful again. They rolled in the leaves, when they were alone:


There's a page about why she wears her hair so long, now, and why she speaks Cree, now. And, a page about being with family. Each one evokes the same thing. Tenderness. And a quiet joy at the power of the human spirit, to survive and persevere in the face of horrific treatment--in this case--by the Canadian government.

Stories of life at residential or boarding school are ones that Native people in the US and Canada tell each other. In Canada, because of the Truth and Reconciliation project, there's an effort to get these stories into print. I'm glad of that. We haven't seen anything like the Truth and Reconciliation project in the U.S., but teachers and libraries need not wait for something similar to start putting these books into schools, and into lesson plans.

When We Were Alone is rare. It is exquisite and stunning, for the power conveyed by the words Robertson wrote, and for the illustrations that Flett created. I highly recommend it.

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32. Nebuchadnezzar to Saddam Hussein: The history of the myth of Babylon

‘Babylon’ is a name which throughout the centuries has evoked an image of power and wealth and splendour – and decadence. Indeed, in the biblical Book of Revelation, Rome is damned as the ‘Whore of Babylon’ – and thus identified with a city whose image of lust and debauchery persisted and flourished long after the city itself had crumbled into dust. Powerful visual images in later ages, l perpetuate the negative image Babylon acquired in biblical tradition.

The post Nebuchadnezzar to Saddam Hussein: The history of the myth of Babylon appeared first on OUPblog.

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33. Alcatraz Versus the Knights of Crystallia

Alcatraz Versus the Knights of Crystallia. Brandon Sanderson. 2009. Scholastic. 299 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: So there I was, hanging upside down underneath a gigantic glass bird, speeding along at a hundred miles an hour above the ocean, in no danger whatsoever.

Premise/plot: This is the third book in the Alcatraz fantasy series. IN this one, Alcatraz and company arrive at last in the Free Kingdoms, in Nalhalla. Alcatraz wrestles with fame and ego in this one. Though raised in the Hushlands in a Librarian-controlled nation, he's FAMOUS in Nalhalla already, even starring in his own book series. (The book series being written by the Prince himself). Open up one of his books, and his theme music plays. You don't really get more famous than Alcatraz Smedry, of course, it's not really, truly HIM that is famous, more an idea of him. Also in this one, Bastille is put on trial. Will she be stripped of knighthood? How long will her punishment last? I should also not forget to mention that the LIBRARIANS want to come to peaceful terms and end the war at last. But Alcatraz and his friends suspect the WORST. But so many people want peace that they seem willing to give the Librarians the benefit of the doubt....

My thoughts: This one is an action-packed read full of fun and humor. I love this series. And I think I enjoyed this third book even more than the first two books. Folsom was a great new character to introduce--loved his talent, by the way. And it was nice to meet a librarian who wasn't evil for a change!!!

© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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34. 14th birthday, present

14th Birthday, Present

While you are sleeping
I find your sister's old phone--
the smart one--
and make the call.

Your dumb, old phone,
with its cracked screen--
"not your fault"--
lies in the hall,

full of stupid photos
and foolish texts sent--
against the rules.
You never call.

I add another line and
increase the data plan--
that's my secret--
pay for it all.

I activate your new phone
congratulate myself--
birthday gift achieved--
and test a call.

There you are, goofing on last
year's voice message--"Like,
totally, like ciao!"
You sound small,

smart enough for a phone
but little, like a kid--
high, chirpy voice--
not cracked, not tall.

draft (c) HM 2016

****************************
Fourteen is different nowadays, huh?  I spent hours and hours on the kitchen wall phone with the long spiralled cord, sitting in the privatest place it could reach at the top of the back stairs, practicing my double entendre with a boy who was a friend, not a crush--safe space.

My son is moving from the "dumb" phone to the smart phone because he needs to start practicing how to use it wisely, but we have our qualms--unfairly, because we didn't have the same ones with his sister.  This rightly makes him indignant (but they have different strengths and weaknesses and are susceptible to different, shall I say, "cultural" dangers.)  However, he's getting his sooner than she got hers.

Hope it doesn't grow him up any faster than he's already going.

The Poetry Friday roundup today is with Catherine at Reading to the Core.  Call in for plenty of poetry conversations!

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35. The Top 25 Publishers for New Authors

http://www.authorspublish.com/the-top-25-publishers-for-new-authors/

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36. Why peer review is so important

As part of Peer Review Week, running from 19th-25th September, we are celebrating the essential role that peer review plays in maintaining scientific quality. We asked some of our journal’s editorial teams to tell us why peer review is so important to them and their journals.

The post Why peer review is so important appeared first on OUPblog.

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37. Thoughts on the New TV Season, 2016 Edition

This week has seen the first inklings of the new TV season, as the US networks start trotting out shows in the hopes of success, legitimacy, or even the tiniest bit of attention.  And yet here I am, still talking about some of the shows of summer.  This is partly because, as we've all more or less accepted, network shows just aren't where it's at anymore, and there isn't that much to say about

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38. The Museum of Me

My dad was the last of his generation in our immediate family. One of the consequences of his passing has been the sorting out of all the nooks and crannies of his house, which revealed a lot of things I'd completely forgotten still existed. Not only parental items we grew up with from childhood, but also things left behind by us kids as we moved on in life. As the artist of the family I've by far been the worst offender - when I set off to art college all my school art work was consigned to my dad's loft, where some of it stayed for 40 years. Even when my parents moved house, they loyally took my old artwork with them.

Other bits and pieces were thrown, but artwork was sacred, even the scrappiest of work. To this was later added my degree course sketchbooks (though I threw away most of my finished course work when I left Manchester), bags of artwork from my London studio days, and various bits and pieces from the 21 years I lived in Japan, including every single letter I wrote home to my parents.


They kept it all. Yellowed, damp and foxed from all those years in my dad's loft, great wads of the stuff. And now it's all in my possession again.

This is in addition to my dad's creative life - the contents of his little art studio room, his oil paints and other materials, some of his paintings, boxes of books and postcards that inspired him (largely seascapes, the Impressionists and Victorian genre painters). Plus his collection of First World War books, and most importantly for me, our family archive of photos and documents - as the family genealogist I worked a lot on these with my dad's encouragement, painstakingly identifying faces, scanning and photoshop restoring, compiling and researching our family history, these are all in my safe keeping now.


So I've been buying new storage furniture for a major reorganisation.

When I left Japan I came back to the UK pretty well empty handed, in grief over my wife's death I threw away virtually all artwork except children's book illustrations, abandoned my furniture, household items and record collection, and sold off 2/3 of my books. I brought very little back from Japan, It was a new life coming back to England, I wanted to start afresh, not be burdened by the weight of a previous existence. I regret throwing so much away now, but it did stand me in good stead over the numerous times daughter and I moved house.

But now with the arrival of all this material I'm in a bit of a dilemma what to do with it all, not the family archives, but particularly my old artwork. My dad's occasional paintings are one thing, but my adolescent stumbling art attempts? Some of these ancient works are truly embarrassing, for the prosaic subject matter as much as anything - what was I thinking? It always surprised me that my parents were more interested in displaying my immature work on their walls rather than my professional illustration career. But age has given this work a resonance and unique significance I can't ignore. It's now an archive, I can't throw it away, it's history!

..... some of it I'm quite proud of actually, these were important stepping stones.

So, inspired by Neil McGregor's successful BBC/British Museum tie-up series A History of the World in 100 objects, I'll share a few bits and pieces of in a History of my Archive in 10 Objects.

Coming up is Object Number One.... Read the rest of this post

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39. Say Cheese! Original watercolor made to order

Cheese, cheese, makes you sneeze
Hang it on your washing line
Rub it on your knees

Original Art (and poem) by me!
Special Offer £24.99 Post Free
Pen and Ink and Watercolour
Size is 6" x 4" in 10" x 8" White Mount
Will be created especially for you. Each one will differ slightly.
Use the Paypal button below to purchase!

original children's illustration for sale
Original Art. £24.99 Post Free





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40. Making Comparisons: A Little Glimpse at Discovering Similes

This week I’ve been checking and monitoring my students’ work and making plans. I’ve been delving into some fun lessons from, The Big Book of Details by Roz Linder for inspiration and using… Continue reading

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41. Nest



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42. Friday Links List - 23 September 2016

From GalleyCat: All About Roald Dahl: INFOGRAPHIC

From Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast: Chris Raschka (and Vera B. Williams') HOME AT LAST. I met Vera when she spoke at Kindling Words. By the end, I gave her a big hug and rubbed her back. I told her I was checking for wings. She truly was an angel.

From Writer unboxed: The Power of Myth in Fiction - about the false stories we believe - really interesting!

From The New Yorker: Cartoons about children's books - like this one:

Gawk over this beautiful work by http://www.leejungho.com/

From The Blabbermouth Blog: Guest Post Regarding Writing: Matt Bird & The Secrets of Story

From Flashbak: Why Charles M. Schulz Gave Peanuts A Black Character (1968)

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43. FOODFIC: Please Welcome Russell James, Author of Q Island



Aiden Bailey has shredded wheat squares for breakfast. Every breakfast. At the same time each morning, the exact same amount, arranged the same way in his bowl. It’s part of what his mother Melanie calls the Routine. Aiden needs the Routine.

Aiden has autism, and is pretty far out on the spectrum, with severe communication issues. Having a rigid structure to his day gives him an anchor in the world, and that anchor gives him the internal peace to function.

But the outbreak of the paleovirus on Long Island, New York destroys his routines, and everyone else’s. The virus turns the infected into crazed killers, and the government quarantines the whole island. Aiden and Melanie are trapped.

Aiden becomes infected. But he doesn’t get sick. In fact, his autism gets better. The aspect of his personality that caused his mother so much work and heartache now may hold the cure to the spreading virus. But only if she can get him off the island. She has to get him past the infected, she has to get him past the government, and there’s a gang leader who’s found out about Aiden, and has his own plans for what to do with a boy who might be a cure...


Thanks for stopping by to share your food for thought, Russell!



You can find Russell here:







Q Island received a starred review from Publisher’s Weeklyand was the Pick of the Month in Famous Monsters of Filmland Magazine. 

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44. Chalk Lessons

How do you feel about failure?
This summer, we made chalk paint with cornstarch, food coloring, and water. 
Summery delight!
See our driveway canvas?
 Little did we know that a thunderstorm brewed two hours away.
All our chalky wonders washed away overnight.

It's that resonance of art and failure that makes us strong, right?

Do you ever wonder if we can learn as much from our flops
- our sloppy first drafts, our rejections, our imperfections -
as from our neat and tidy successes? 

I have this thing. This fear of ruining a brand new notebook or sketchbook. 
I figure if I'm constantly working at something, then naturally, I'll keep improving. 
And when I look at my old notebooks stuffed with terrible first drafts and awkward brainstorms, 
I get panicky. What if this first page represents who I am through that entire notebook or sketchbook? Can't it at least start out perfect?
Talk about writer's block, eh?
So, I solved it. 

It's my secret to hurdling the fear of failure. (in a notebook.)

I just skip the first page. 

Then I'm set. I have a one-page cushion keeping me from a first-page flop. 
(Really, it means that the second page becomes the first page, but shhh.)

But really, don't we gain something in being brave with each feeble offering of ourselves?
In truth, even if I jump right into the first page of a notebook and ink it up with a scratchy failure, 
actually my "failure" teaches me something, and that becomes growth.
And if that's true, then maybe "failure" isn't so much of a failure. 
Maybe the effort of trying something stretches and grows our skills. 
And actually, that is beauty right there: being brave.
So, go out and be brave, my friends!
Ruin some second pages.
Scribble your heart out.
Make sloppy chalk paint that gets rained on overnight.
Get all muddy and splash around in those glorious flops.

Chalky books!


Journey by Aaron Becker
Quest by Aaron BeckerChalk by Bill Thomson
Art & Max by David Wiesner
The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds
Harold's Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson

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45. It’s a Boy! Share your Joy!

We have been on pins and needles over here at Two Writing Teachers as Stacey’s due date approached. We have all been anxiously checking our email and text messages for news. Today we… Continue reading

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46. MAISONS DU MONDE - vintage corner

I am still featuring Maisons du Monde, the shop I fell in love with whilst in Bologna at the beginning of this month. Here is why I liked them so much - the ranges at Maison du Monde are a lesson in how to make patterns work on a wide range of products and add value and style to a business. It is the prints that add the appeal to these goods and make them stand out from other retailers. Plus

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47. The Anatomy of a Backpack

Anatomy of a Backpack

Remember shopping for school supplies? You combed the store aisle to pick out the perfect binder. You couldn’t wait to crack open that brand new box of crayons.

Getting ready for school is a lot more than checking items off of a list. It’s a rite of passage. Fresh markers, pencils, and notebooks get kids excited about learning. Compared to used or donated supplies, brand new items match the excitement of a new school year and new possibilities. When they have the tools they need, kids go to school with confidence.

If you serve kids in need, you can help instill that confidence with new supplies from the First Book Marketplace. There is more to a backpack than meets the eye — it’s not just textbooks, paper, and pencils. The anatomy of a backpack includes items like calculators, for when students run out of fingers and toes to count. It includes gluesticks, because sometimes tape just doesn’t do the trick. It includes highlighters, so students can learn how to focus on key parts of what they’re reading.

When many students’ backpacks are put on the examining table it becomes clear that some things are missing from their anatomy. Maybe they have fresh paper, but nothing to write with. Perhaps they have pencils, markers and paper, but no backpack to put them in. The First Book Marketplace offers educators and program leaders the opportunity to help fill a child’s backpack with what they need.

And if it’s the backpack itself that they need, First Book has those too.

 

Please visit the supplies section of the First Book Marketplace to find more items that make up the anatomy of a backpack.

The post The Anatomy of a Backpack appeared first on First Book Blog.

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48. Ape and Armadillo Take Over the World by James Sturm, 40 pp, RL 2


Ape and Armadillo Take Over the World by James Sturm is my new favorite book. I fell in love with TOON Books when I discovered them in 2008, just around the time my youngest was learning to read. Having been through this process with my two older children, I was not looking forward to the tired old leveled readers that we were left to slog through after classics like Frog & Toad, Little Bear and Poppleton. Françoise Mouly and her quest to bring engaging, marvelously illustrated graphic novels into the world of beginning readers has meant that there are now over 50 fantastic books to take your new reader from sight words to chapter books. 

















If you have read even a few beginning readers, you know that unlikely friends and the complexities of friendship are the staple of this genre. With Ape and Armadillo, Sturm has created the only duo who could even remotely rival Frog and Toad. And an armadillo! How many armadillo characters are there in kid's books to begin with? Happily, the title page shows Ape juggling, a curled up Armadillo among the balls in the air. Sturm's illustrations are superb - crisp and colorful and filled with motion and emotion.


Armadillo is a little guy with big ideas. Ape, his opposite, is more thoughtful and compassionate. When Ape and Armadillo Take Over the World begins, we find Ape taking issue with Armadillo's plan for world domination. While Armadillo does things fly away on the royal Pegasus, Ape has to distract a spitting serpent, fight an army of robots and escape through the sewer tunnels of the castle. Armadillo counters, saying that he is the one who thought up this plan and having ideas is not so easy. When Ape tries to come up with a plan (that involves kids, an ice cream shop, juggling Armadillo and hiding in tubs of ice cream) Armadillo shoots him down. But, like all good friends, the two manage to find common ground, coming up with a phenomenal plan for world domination that involves special suits, magic wands, creating a zoo filled only with really cool animals like griffins, dinosaurs and giant bugs and ending with ice cream. Because, as Ape points out, he likes a lot of the people in the world and doesn't want to rule it or blow it up.





The best part of Ape and Armadillo Take Over the World? Sturm includes bonus comic strips that run at the bottom of every page, giving readers a glimpse into the personalities of the main characters. Ape and Armadillo embody the creative imagination of kids, a creativity that is not bound by logic or physical limitations.

Read my reviews of the 
Adventures in Cartooning Series here










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49. निकला


हर एक शब्द उसका तीर सा निकला,  
फूलों का वो हार, ज़ंज़ीर सा निकला 

वक़्त का खेल होता है बहुत निराला. 
कमज़ोर था जो, शमशीर सा निकला, 

ग़लतफहमी का तोहफा देने चला था,
खुशियों का पिटारा फकीर सा निकला  

समझा कहाँ उसने, दिल का अफ़साना,
दावा वो पत्थर की लकीर सा निकला 

तड़पने के बाद भी, गले से लगाया, 
                दोस्त वो मेरा 'साथी', पीर सा निकला || Dr. DV ||

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50. What inspires the people who save lives?

The ability to improve the health of another person or to save their life requires great skill, knowledge, and dedication. The impact that this work has goes above and beyond your average career, extending to the families and friends of patients. We were interested to discover what motivates the people who play a vital role in the health and quality of life of hundreds of people every year.

The post What inspires the people who save lives? appeared first on OUPblog.

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