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1. Dan Woodger

Dan Woodger

Dan Woodger is a London based illustrator who uses pastel color palettes and black outlines to create eccentric scenes that are bound to make you chuckle. His portfolio of highly expressive characters has helped him land editorial and advertising collaborations with The New York Times, Heineken, and Google. I am especially impressed with his work for the messaging app LINE, in which he crafted 1000 unique emojis in 10 weeks. To keep up with his work and read his personal insights on each of his projects, make sure to follow his blog and Instagram.

Dan Woodger

Dan WoodgerDan Woodger

Dan WoodgerDan Woodger

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Cruschiform
One and Done

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2. Five questions for Oxford World’s Classics cover designer Alex Walker

Judging a book by its cover has turned out to be a necessity in life. We've all perused book shops and been seduced by a particularly intriguing cover--perhaps we have even been convinced to buy a book because of its cover. And, truly, there is no shame in that. It takes skill and artistry to craft a successful book cover, and that should be acknowledged.

The post Five questions for Oxford World’s Classics cover designer Alex Walker appeared first on OUPblog.

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3. Dog Loves Counting

Dog Loves Counting. Louise Yates. 2013. Random House. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Dog loved books. He loved reading them late into the night and didn't like to leave them for long.

Premise/plot: Dog knows he should go to bed, but, he's having trouble falling to sleep. He decides to count something--not sheep--to help him sleep. So he opens a book, finds himself inside, of course--Dog gets lost in books, becoming part of the action--and starts to find things to count. He makes friends too, of course.

My thoughts: Of the three books, this is my least favorite. I still love Dog as a character. And I can even relate to not wanting to put down his book and go to bed. But as an adult reader, I can't really lose myself in a book that focuses on counting from one to ten and back again. I just can't. For young children, of course, this one is still recommended. But it feels more 'educational' than the previous two in the series.

Text: 3 out of 5
Illustrations: 3 out of 5
Total: 6 out of 10

© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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4. Putin and beyond: a Q&A on Russian politics

Russian politics has always been a fascinating subject around the globe. Exactly how politics works there, along with Putin's vision for the country and the world at large is the source of constant debate.

The post Putin and beyond: a Q&A on Russian politics appeared first on OUPblog.

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5. Never judge a suitcase ...

We've all heard the expression never judge a book by its cover but what about never judge a suitcase until you see what's inside?

I'm sure you've seen lost luggage auctions on TV (like storage wars only with suitcases). It's where you bid on a case with no clue to the contents. Occasionally someone finds a laptop or jewellery, but more often than not it's a pile of dirty laundry. Personally, I've never wanted to go through someone else's lost luggage and sincerely hope nobody ever goes through mine. That, however, didn't stop me buying this case with very little knowledge of the contents.

Battered suitcase from The Giant Shepton Flea full of vintage books

It wasn't at a lost luggage auction but at a flea market or The Giant Shepton Flea Market to be more precise. I had an inkling of what might be inside because I saw someone open the case and take out this little book; 

Honk and Tonk by Joy K Seddon Flip book Vintage children's books

She took a quick flick through the pages before throwing it back in the case and walking away. I have a soft spot for flip books from the 1940s and 1950s and was quick to take her place. As I started rummaging through the case the stall holder said, "You can have that for a fiver (US$6.26) if you want it." I assumed he was referring to the book but when I queried it, he said, "No for the lot love, case and all." I mumbled "Yes OK," and he bagged the entire thing before I got as much as a second glance at what I was buying.


A case full of vintage flip books & other children's books from the 1940s and 50s

Although small, the suitcase is heavy, so the only sensible thing was to take it to the car. Once there, I couldn’t resist taking a peek inside. Imagine my delight at finding not one but eight flip books along with several story books by Racey Helps and Enid Blyton, a sweet story about Humpty Dumpty, one called Merry-go-round, a Vistascreen 3D viewer with slides and other bits and pieces. Time was getting on and anxious not to miss out on any treasures waiting to be found I decided to leave further investigations until I got home. In hindsight, I should have quizzed the seller about the origins of the suitcase. Did he buy it from an auction, a house clearance, did he know the previous owner, or was it his?


Flip books, Honk and Tonk, Jimmy at the Zoo etc., vintage children's books

The case has seen better days, but the contents are joyous. I'm sure everything belonged to the same little boy. His name is in most of the books and in some instances so is his address. His name and address are also on a label inside the case but this time written in a different hand, possibly by an adult. I have an image of a little lad of around eight years old stashing his favourite books and bits and pieces inside his case, but I wonder why someone added his address. Maybe the family were moving home, or perhaps the little boy was going to stay with family or friends.  


Vistascreen 3D printer, Racey Helps Books found in case at Shepton Flea

After a few days, the case and its contents began to trouble me. Obviously, I’m thrilled to have it in my care, but I’m also sad for the little boy and his lost treasures. Where is he now? Is he alive or dead? Why did he part with his case? I will probably never know, but I have learnt a little more about him. Looking through the books I discovered not one but two addresses, one in Parkstone, Poole, Dorset, and one in Alton, Hampshire. Using the age of the books as a guide, I concluded he and I must be of a similar age. 

I have a subscription to FindMyPast so it was fairly simple to find a record of his birth, which turned out to be 1949. He was born in Surrey, England, and spent part of his childhood in Alton, Hampshire, places I know well. He later moved to Poole, Dorset and married there in 1973. I can find no trace of him after 2003, but that may be my very amateurish attempts at searching. He is a year younger than me so if he is alive he is 67 now. I still don’t know why he parted with the case, but I feel an affinity with him and his childhood because mine was probably fairly similar. Between the ages of five and twenty one, I lived just 15 minutes or 6.3 miles from Alton, Hampshire. Without knowing it, he and I were near neighbours. We may even have seen or spoken to one another. 

Noddy, Humpty Dumpty, Enid Blyton old books

Thinking about it now I have to assume the stall holder acquired the case from an auction or house clearance. I have no evidence of that, just a hunch, plus the seller didn't look as if he was in his sixties. I suppose the case could have belonged to his father? It's sad to think of someone's cherished possessions given so little regard or value, but I'm thrilled to have them and will do my best to be a good custodian of the memories contained in a battered case.

My post next week will include a giveaway for followers of this blog. Be sure to call back and don’t forget to follow.

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6. And the Winner of FULL OF BEANS is...

I'm happy to announce that, according to randomizer, the winner of the hardcover copy of FULL OF BEANS is...





Congratulations, Suzanne! Expect an email from me asking for your mailing address.

*   *   *

Next week, I'll be featuring a review of TIME TRAVELING WITH A HAMSTER by Ross Welford, and the week after, an exclusive Q&A with Ross, and a giveaway!




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7. Juncture Workshops: One Final Spot Left in Cape May, NJ



We may still be riding the waves of our Field Notes memoir workshop but we're also eagerly anticipating our time by the Jersey shore, this coming November.

We have one spot left in this gorgeous painted lady.

Write to us here, if you have interest.

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8. जिंदगी का सच – दोहरी जिंदगी

जिंदगी का फलसफा दोहरी जिंदगी जीते और जिंदगी का सच निगलते हम लोग .. ये एक ऐसा कडवा सच है जिसे आप और हम जी रहे हैंं. जिंदगी का सफर जिंदगी का सच यही है कि वाकई, हम दोहरी जिंदगी जीने लगें हैं एक सोशल मीडिया पर दूसरी असल जिंदगी में. कुछ दिन पहले मेरा […]

The post जिंदगी का सच – दोहरी जिंदगी appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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9. A History of my Archive in 10 Objects. No.3: Toothless Old Man, 1976

In part three of 10 objects from the archive of objects found in my dad's house, I'd like to offer this.

School project: Toothless Old Man. Pen & Ink. 80cm x 60cm, 1976
After the tentative steps of the Henry Hudson picture I worked on two other school projects before setting to work on this large piece, which proved to be the most experimental and successful of my school drawings in pure pen and ink. It was drawn from a randomly selected photo reference using a multi coloured pen and ink line technique - on the face and hat I used three separate pen nibs to switch colours and gradually build up the drawing in different coloured cross-hatching, the waistcoat was filled in by dabbing ink with sponge. It was a labour-intensive technique for such a large sized drawing, but proved a great success. Sadly many of the coloured inks have faded over time.

The image was the centre piece of my school's 1976 art show during the summer festival, and made it to the pages of the local newspaper - my first press appearance! Even my junior school headmistress came to see it. By this time I was absolutely determined to be an illustrator and had my sights set on art college.

After the show this picture adorned the walls of my parent's house for a few years before being consigned to the loft. The identity of the man in the photo I never knew!

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10. Jedi Academy: A New Class by Jarrett Krosockza, 176 pp, RL 4




Jeffrey Brown authored the first three books in the Jedi Academy series, two of which I enthusiastically reviewed here. This trilogy is HUGELY popular in my school library and a fantastic alternative to Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Before that, Brown wrote a trilogy of Darth Vader, a comics series that imagines Vader's life as father to Luke and Leia. Brown's new series debuted in August and features prehistoric siblings Lucy and Andy as they deal with typical kid stuff while also being filled with scientific information and facts about pre-history. 



Jedi Academy was too good to let go, and quite smartly, Scholastic has tapped Jarrett Krosoczka, author of the Lunch Lady series of graphic novels. Jedi Academy: A New Class finds young Victor Starspeeder making a midyear transfer from the Jedi Academy at Obroa-skai, where he has had a series of mishaps to the Jedi Academy at Coruscant. Victor decides that he is going to start keeping a journal of his time at Jedi Academy because that is what his father, who died when Victor was a baby, did.

The Jedi Academy has its own challenges, starting with Christina, Victor's big sister, who already goes there. She tells him in no uncertain terms that once they are at school, they are strangers. Navigating the new school on his own, Victor is swayed by Zach, and older student, who turns out to be a bully and a prankster with his own agenda. He also gets stuck with Artemis, an asthmatic kid in a black hooded cloak who just might be a Sith. Victor tries to make friends, impress a girl, and get his special project on the planet Endor completed while also trying to stay out of trouble and keep Zach from getting him kicked out.


Krosoczka hits all the right notes in Jedi Academy: A New Class, continuing and updating features that Brown introduced in the first three books like handwritten notes between characters, school schedules and pages from the school newspaper, including an advice column by Ms. Catara, the school guidance counselor who is also a Gungan. Krosoczka also creates a couple new twists, including the Galaxy Feed, which is a social media type feature that pops up on a tablet like device, and a page of comic strips that look at classics like Family Circus, Peanuts and Garfield through the lens of Star Wars. I especially liked, "Huttfield," in which Jaba the Hutt is the lazy, food loving star of the strip.

While I love that this series continues on (and I hope that, after another three books a new author/illustrator takes on this challenge) and am thrilled that I have more of these books to offer students, for me, Krosoczka's take on the academic world of the young Jedi lacks a bit of the depth, heart and humor that I found in Brown's books. But hey, I'm pretty sure I'm not the target audience for these books...

Source: Purchased

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11. Sprains, Strains, and New Directions

New Akashiya Sai Watercolor Pens: the full set!

Two weeks ago I sprained my ankle. I was on the way to my writer’s group at the Albuquerque Museum and while I was walking through the car park, I stepped on an extended sprinkler head hidden by a covering of gravel. The pain of the event is indescribable: a spike through the ball of my foot, sending me into a contorted loss of balance, that then resulted in a totally twisted ankle and foot. Somehow I limped to my meeting, managed to converse for the next few hours, and then went home to collapse. Ice and pain killers got me through the worst of it, but my foot is still very tender as is my other foot and leg, as well as my back and shoulders from all the strain of hop-hop-hopping along every day to get from A to B.

By the third day of hoppity-hop I wanted to know WHY this had happened to me. Besides knowing that I wasn’t looking where I was going (I rarely do), I wondered if there could be some sort of symbolism or metaphysical lesson to be learned here. I did a quick Google search and got the same message several times over: a sprained ankle is an indication that you are to seek out a new direction. 

Sitting with my foot elevated and my stack of books and journals handy, I decided that the only new direction I wanted at that moment was to close my eyes and nap all day. But apparently the universe had other ideas. Almost immediately after reading several websites each saying the same thing about following new paths, the mail arrived and I received some new pens I ordered online several weeks earlier: a twenty-color set of Akashiya Sai Watercolor Brush Pens, along with a sampler set of eleven black drawing pens. Thirty-one pens in total. For a minimalist such as myself, the number was mind-boggling, and thoroughly distracting. It was like when I got a ball of Silly Putty when I was five and had chicken pox.

Right away I forgot about my nap and started to try out my new pens. After all, my journal was right there in front of me. As I was doodling, I then naturally got some new ideas (no, no, please no new ideas): 

  • Why not try Inktober this year? Similar to NaNoWrimo for writers, Inktober is a challenge to produce, and post on social media, an ink drawing a day for the entire month of October. I've always wanted to try it, but never had the courage to post daily. While I was thinking about this, I then had the idea to:
  • Finally start that children’s picture book I’ve been dreaming of since last year, which involves:
  • Learning to draw horses and ponies (the most difficult subject I can think of). 


Three new directions that are entirely do-able, don’t interfere too much with my already carefully-laid plans to work on my new novel, and if anything, enhance what I’m doing already. For instance, I draw every day anyway—so why not just work with ink for a month? And although I am currently marketing my picture book based in Barcelona, wouldn’t it be a good idea to be able to tell editors I am working on a second book? 

An interesting side note about learning to draw horses is that horses have delicate legs and ankles. Their feet must be considered and cared for in a serious and responsible way. Where they walk, how their shoes fit, and how they're exercises all matters. It made me think that what I need to do until the end of the year is to keep my eyes open, pay attention, and sit still long enough to get my work done. 

Thankfully, I can report that my own foot is on the mend and I'm certain I'll be  back to my old self in another week or two. But I also understand that there’s plenty of room for a new self, too--especially the one that gets to sit down all day!

Tip of the Day: According to metaphysical practitioners, there’s a lot we can learn from illness and injuries. In my case, despite the pain and inconvenience, I feel I’ve come through with some valuable insights and renewed energy for my art and writing. The next time you’re under the weather, ask if there is anything you are meant to understand or explore on a deeper level. Like me, you might be surprised at what you discover.

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12. New Voice & Giveaway: Maria Gianferrari on Penny & Jelly

By Cynthia Leitich Smith
for Cynsations

Maria Gianferrari writes both fiction and nonfiction picture books from her sunny, book-lined study in northern Virginia, with her dog Becca as her muse.

Maria’s debut picture book, Penny & Jelly: The School Show, illustrated by Thyra Heder (2015) led to Penny & Jelly: Slumber Under the Stars (2016)(both HMH Books). 

Maria has seven picture books forthcoming from Roaring Brook Press, Aladdin Books for Young Readers, GP Putnam’s Sons and Boyds Mills Press in the coming years.

Could you tell us about your writing community--your critique group or partner or other sources of emotional, craft and/or professional support?

In the spirit of my main character, Penny, an avid list maker, here are my top five answers:

1. Ammi-Joan Paquette:

I am so grateful for my amazing agent, Ammi-Joan Paquette!

Where do I begin? I owe my writing career to Joan, for taking a chance on and believing in me. She has been sage guide, a cheerleader and champion of my writing from the get go.

She’s made my writing dream come true!!

2. Crumpled Paper Critique (CP):

I would not be where I am today without my trusted writing friends and critique partners: Lisa Robinson, Lois Sepahban, Andrea Wang, Abigail Calkins Aguirre and Sheri Dillard. They have been such a wonderful source of support over the years, in good times, and in bad.

Yes—it’s kind of like a marriage—that’s how dedicated we are to each other’s work! They’re smart, thoughtful, insightful, well read, hard-working and the best critique partners one could hope for!

We have a private website where we share not only our manuscripts, but our opinions on books, ideas, writing inspiration and doubts. I treasure them and wish we lived closer to one another to be able to meet regularly in person. Hugs, CPers!



3. Emu’s Debuts:

Like many other writers, I’m quite a shy and introverted person. If you’ve seen that classic hamster ball cartoon about introverts, that’s me! Having a book debut is extremely intimidating.

I was so lucky to have joined the ranks of Emu’s Debuts, so named for clients and debut authors affiliated with Erin Murphy Literary Agency (EMLA).

The Emu’s Debuts blog is a place for sharing thoughts on the craft of writing and illustrating, being debuts, and most importantly, helping launch our books into the world. I have since fledged, but it was so helpful, reassuring and fun to be a part of this community of very talented, kind and generous people. Check out the current flock of Emus.



4. Tara Lazar:

Picture book author extraordinaire, and founder of PiBoIdMo (picture book idea month), Tara has also been a generous supporter, not just of me, but for all the pre and published picture book authors and illustrators out there. Thousands of writers participate and are inspired by guest posts during PiBoIdMo, November’s picture book idea challenge. She shares insights on craft, the field of publishing, new books, interviews, giveaways, etc. on her popular blog, Writing for Kids (While Raising Them), throughout the year.

When the news of the Penny & Jelly sale broke, Tara kindly offered to host me of her blog. Later, she invited to be a contributor for PiBoIdMo, and last year she also participated in my blog tour for Penny & Jelly.

5. Kirsten Cappy of Curious City:

Kirsten’s a kidlit marketing guru and owner of Curious City. She was invaluable in sorting through the mire that is promotion.

Kirsten’s clever and creative and had so many wonderful ideas for promoting Penny & Jelly in ways that would be most comfortable for an introvert like me. She designed a Jelly banner with original art from illustrator Thyra Heder for use as a photo booth so kids could “be” Penny and pose with Jelly, as well as gorgeous postcards and business cards.

I especially love the talent show kit for library and classroom use that Kirsten designed. Please feel free to share and use it.

As a picture book writer, you have succeeded in a particularly tough market. What advice do you have for others, hoping to do the same?

1. Write What You Love:

Write what you’re obsessed with. This will help you not only endure the inevitable rejections along the way, but also the winding road of revision.

My debut nonfiction book, Coyote Moon, was released this July. It initially began as an article on suburban coyotes for "Highlights."

Well, "Highlights" rejected it, but I wasn’t ready to let go of my manuscript.

The coyotes kept howling in my head, so it morphed into a poetic picture book.

Several revisions later, it won a Letter of Commendation for a Barbara Karlin grant from SCBWI; many more revisions later, it was acquired by Emily Feinberg at Roaring Brook Press. And I am so in love Bagram Ibatoulline’s illustrations. They are absolutely stunning!

2. Read. Read. Read:

Then read some more. I once read that before attempting to write one picture book, we should first read 1,000. But don’t just read them, see them as teachers, as mentor texts for your own work.

One of the most helpful exercises is to hand-write or type the words of my favorite picture book texts, to feel the rhythm of the and pulse of the story in my fingers, to get under the story’s skin—see its bones or structure and the way the muscles and sinews, rhythm, refrain and repetition, are bound together. Doing this helps us find a story’s heart, its elusive soul and helps us understand our own work.

Consider joining founder Carrie Charley Brown’s ReFoReMo, where picture books are studied as mentor texts. Get ready to dig deep!


3. Don’t Give Up!

Persevere! Keep swimming! Rejection is at the heart of this journey and it’s not usually a linear journey, it’s more circuitous, with ups and downs along the way.

Take it one day, one moment at a time, and celebrate all of your successes, both big and small.

And remember, keep improving your craft, and building your connections, you will get there!

(See #1 again)

4. Play and Experiment:

To find your writing voice, play with different points of view. Change genres. Try out different structural techniques like letters, or a diary format or lists, like I did with Penny & Jelly.

Think about the shape of your story. Is it circular? Could it be a journey? Would a question and answer format enhance it? Does it have a refrain?

I’m not an illustrator, but you can do the same kinds of things to find your visual voice—switch sketching for sewing, or painting for clay. And most of all, embrace your inner kid and have fun!

5. Reach Out:

Connect with your local and online writing community—there are so many valuable resources out there. You’re reading Cynsations, so that’s a great start! If you haven’t already joined SCBWI and found a critique group, that’s a must. As I mentioned above, join Tara Lazar’s PiBoIdMo challenge in November, or Paula Yoo’s NaPiBoWriWee to write a picture book a day, which takes place in May.

There’s a plethora of writing groups on Facebook. One I highly recommend is Kidlit411, co-run by Elaine Kieley Kearns and Sylvia Liu. It’s such a wealth of information for authors and illustrators on writing/illustrating craft, on promotion, on submissions for agents and editors, revision—all kinds of things. And to borrow Jane Yolen’s title, above all, Take Joy!

Cynsational Giveaway


Enter to win an author-signed copy of Penny & Jelly: The School Show and Penny & Jelly: Slumber Under the Stars. Eligibility: U.S. only. From the promotional copy:

This young and funny picture book introduces the soon-to-be star of her school talent show: Penny. Despite her desire to knock everyone's socks off, Penny's having a tough time deciding on what talent she might have. With a little help from her dog, Jelly, Penny tries out various talents—from dancing to unicycling, fashion designing to snake charming—with disastrous results. That is, until she realizes that she and Jelly have a talent to share that's unlike any other.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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13. आप पार्टी समाचार – ब्रेकिंग न्यूज

आप पार्टी समाचार – ब्रेकिंग न्यूज  आज कल ब्रेकिंग न्यूज बनी हुई है कि AAP Party का विधेयक आज जेल गया.  आज मार  पीट  हुई आज स्याही फेंंकी गई … अरे भई जिस दिन कुछ नही हुआ उस दिन भी तो ब्रेकिंंग न्यूज बनती है .. कि आज कुछ नही हुआ .. आम आदमी पार्टी […]

The post आप पार्टी समाचार – ब्रेकिंग न्यूज appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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14. Negative 15 degrees Celsius


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15. Book Review - Portrait of the Mermaid

Another amazing and heartfelt review of my mermaid coloring book. I am SO joy filled hearing how much these lovelies are touching people all around the world. 🐳

❤️ ADORE the blue mermaid!!!!


Color by Iris Eenmäe (@iriseenmae) http://thecoloringaddict.com
Get your own copy of Portrait of the Mermaid HERE

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16. Funny Social Media Cartoons – Twitter is best

East or West Twitter is The best Funny Social Media Cartoons – Twitter is best. सोशल मीडिया में सबसे पहले टविटर हमारा ध्यान आकर्षित करता है. मुहावरा पुराना हुआ कि लातों के भूत बातों से नही मानते… आजकल भूत लात हाथ से नही बल्कि सोशल मीडिया पर कुछ भी लिखकर मानते हैंं … मनोरंजन के […]

The post Funny Social Media Cartoons – Twitter is best appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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17. Celebrating 25 Books from 25 Years: Chess Rumble

LEE & LOW BOOKS celebrates its 25th anniversary this year! To recognize how far the company has come, we are featuring one title a week to see how it is being used in classrooms today and hear from the authors and illustrators.

Today, we are celebrating Chess Rumble, which explores the ways this strategic game empowers young people with the skills they need to anticipate and calculate their moves through life.

Featured title: Chess Rumble

 Author: G. Neri

 Illustrator: Jesse Joshua WatsonChess Rumble cover image

Synopsis: In Marcus’s world, battles are fought everyday—on the street, at home, and in school. Angered by his sister’s death and his father’s absence, and pushed to the brink by a bullying classmate, Marcus fights back with his fists.

One punch away from being kicked out of school and his home, Marcus encounters CM, an unlikely chess master who challenges him to fight his battles on the chess board. Guarded and distrusting, Marcus must endure more hard lessons before he can accept CM’s help to regain control of his life.

Awards and Honors:

  • Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers, American Library Association (ALA)
  • Notable Books in the Language Arts, National Council of Teachers of English
  • Lee Bennett Hopkins Promising Poet Award, International Reading Association (IRA)
  • Top Picks for Reluctant Readers, BoysRead.org

G. Neri, an award-winning filmmaker whose work has earned him several honors. Inspired by his editor, Jennifer Fox, who had wanted to do an urban chess story for years and finally saw the possibility of making it come to life through him, Neri dove into the project with unbridled enthusiasm. “I loved the idea of using chess strategy as a way to approach life. I had dealt with a few teens who had come from troubled pasts and had difficulty finding an outlet for their inner struggle. So the idea of pairing a kid like this with a chess mentor who did not back down came naturally. It was a very organic process, and I let the characters tell me their stories.”

Neri hopes that readers will come away from Chess Rumble “think[ing] about their lives and the choices they make before they make them.” Pressed to continue, Neri says, “I hope they are intrigued to play chess, and maybe start thinking about acting on, instead of reacting to, negative situations. Acting considers what can happen if you make one choice versus another. Reacting just responds impulsively to the problem instead of thinking ahead three steps and maybe making a better choice.

Resources for teaching with Chess Rumble: 

Watch the trailer:

You can purchase a copy of Chess Rumble here.

For more titles about different experiences with bullying and peer pressure, check out our Bullying/Anti-Bullying Collection here.

Bullying Collection Cover Images

Have you used Chess Rumble? Let us know!

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

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18. Suiting Up for the Worlds Collide Gala…


This upcoming Friday, I’ll be suiting up to join my colleagues at Mirror World Publishing for a much anticipated event! The Worlds Collide Gala will be celebrating Mirror World Publishing’s new partnership with Adventure Worlds Press and all the 2016 book launches!

If you’re in the area, please join us at 7pm Friday September 30, 2016 at Sho: Art, Spirit, and Performance 628 Monmouth Dr, Windsor, Canada for a night to remember. You can meet several of the authors, along with myself, my publisher, and the team behind Adventure Worlds Press, listen to some readings, win some prizes, enjoy the cash bar and light refreshments, music, and participate in the Q and A afterwards.

As a part of Culture Days in Windsor, this event is free and open to everyone to attend. For more information, or to RSVP, please head over to our Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/1186485788080361/

Also, a reminder that I have a GoodreadsGiveaway still going on until September 30th for a chance to win Book #1 in my MG/YA time travel series, The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis. If you haven’t read the first book, please consider entering for a chance to escape to the past and have a blast before Book #2 The Last Timekeepers and the Dark Secret comes out on October 17th!

Here’s some more information about the Worlds Collide Gala:


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19. MMGM Links (9/26/16)

Before I get to this week's MMGM link, I just wanted to say a quick sorry if anyone tried to catch me at the OC Kids' Book Festival yesterday.

I was there for my 1:00 signing and got to chat with some of you, but I know I also said I'd be speaking on the Tween stage at 3:20--and I thought I was. But when I got to the stage, it listed someone else in my timeslot. And I spent the next hour getting led around to different stages by different volunteers and none of them were right and no one seemed to know where I should be. So, long story short, if you were looking for me and couldn't find me, it wasn't for lack of trying. And hopefully we can meet at one of my upcoming SoCal events.

Anyway, on to MMGM!

- Bookish Ambition is spreading some love for BEHEMOTH. Click HERE to see what they thought. 
- Randomly Reading is cheering for A BOY NAMED QUEEN. Click HERE to see why. 
- S.A. Larsen is giving a sneak peek at one of the characters in MOTLEY EDUCATION. Click HERE for all the fun.   
- Andrea Mack is spotlighting ONE FOR THE MURPHYS. Click HERE to see what she thought.  
- Justin Talks Books wants everyone to visit THE KINGDOM OF OCEANA. Click HERE to read his review!
- Got My Book is talking about the audiobook for THE BRONZE KEY. Click HERE to see what they thought. 
- Patricia Tilton at Children's Books Heal is championing APPLESAUCE WEATHER. Click HERE to read her review.
- Completely Full Bookshelf is raving about RAYMIE NIGHTINGALE. Click HERE for their take. 
- Susan Uhlig is seeing stars for ALL FOUR STARS. Click HERE to see what she thought.
- Jenni Enzor is spotlighting FRAMED. Click HERE to see why. 
- Greg Pattridge is feeling FRAZZLED. Click HERE to read his review.
- Rosi Hollinbeck is reviewing--and GIVING AWAY--UNBOUND. Click HERE for all the fun. 
- Jess at the Reading Nook has a guest post from author M. Tara Crowl. Click HERE to check it out.  
- Tara Creel is sharing her favorite Spooky Reads. Click HERE to see what they are.
- Michelle Mason is inviting everyone over for THE SLEEPOVER. Click HERE to read why. 
- Carl at Boys Rule, Boys Read! wants to know WHO WOULD WIN? Click HERE to read his feature. 
- Shannon O'Donnell is back--and planning a weekly MMGM again. Click HERE to see what she's talking about this week.  
- Karen Yingling also always has some awesome MMGM recommendations for you. Click HERE to which ones she picked this time.  
- Joanne Fritz always has an MMGM for you. Click HERE to see what she's talking about this week  
- The Mundie Moms are always huge supporters of middle grade. Click HERE for their Mundie Kids site. 

If you would like to join in the MMGM fun, all you have to do is blog about a middle grade book you love on a Monday (contests, author interviews and whatnot also count--but are most definitely not required) and email me the title of the book you're featuring and a link to your blog at SWMessenger (at) hotmail (dot) com. (Make sure you put MMGM or Marvelous Middle Grade Monday in the subject line so it gets sorted accurately--and please don't forget to say what book you're featuring) You MUST email me your link by Sunday evening in order to be included in the list of links for the coming Monday. (usually before 11pm PST is safe--but if I'm traveling it can vary. When in doubt, send early!) (Also make sure the post you send me is a new post, not one from earlier in the week. I try to keep the content fresh)

If you miss the cutoff, you are welcome to add your link in the comments on this post so people can find you, but I will not have time to update the post. Same goes for typos/errors on my part. I do my best to build the links correctly, but sometimes deadline-brain gets the best of me, and I'm sorry if it does. For those wondering why I don't use a Linky-widget instead, it's a simple matter of internet safety. The only way I can ensure that all the links lead to safe, appropriate places for someone of any age is if I build them myself. It's not a perfect system, but it allows me to keep better control.

Thank you so much for being a part of this awesome meme, and spreading the middle grade love!


*Please note: these posts are not a reflection of my own opinions on the books featured. Each blogger is responsible for their own MMGM content and I do not pre-screen reviews ahead of time, nor do I control what books they choose. I simply assemble the list based on the links that are emailed to me. 
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20. आस


बस हवाओ से होती रही बातें,
कदम यह ज़मीन में कब रखे,
टकराया धरती से जो एक बार,
मॅन में अल्फ़ाज़ मैने तब रखे

इंद्रधनुष से दिखने वाले है जो,
बेरंग ज़िंदगी का ढंग वो रखे,
बरखा से मिलने जो मैं जाऊं,
जलते सूरज का संग वो रखे,

सपनों की सुंदर, उस नगरी से
कोसो दूर का रिश्ता, वो रखे,
कोई जो जाए, चंदा के पार,
न कोई ऐसा फरिश्ता, वो रखे,

इसलिए बस मौन ही रहता हूँ,
दिल की बात, दिल कब रखे,
हर तरफ है, मुखौटे ही मुखौटे,
दोस्त बनने की चाहत, कब रखे

समंदर से पूछ लेता हूँ अक्सर,
शांति की आस ये मन, कब रखे,
बंद है सब खिड़की और दरवाज़े,
रोशनी की आस ये तन, कब रखे ||

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21. Writing: A Path to Become an Intentional Educator

What if there was a way to build in opportunities to reflect, in writing, about my teaching right in the place where the lesson plans reside? And what if that place could also offer daily inspiration and opportunities to set positive intentions for the week ahead?

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22. Experimenting with Photoshop Brushes


Doing some experimenting with Photoshop brushes
for this month's theme of "Pig". 

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23. Genome editing’s brave new world

“O, wonder!/How many goodly creatures are there here!/How beauteous mankind is!/O brave new world,/That has such people in't!” Shakespeare’s lines in The Tempest famously inspired Aldous Huxley’s novel Brave New World, first published in 1932. Huxley’s vision of the future has become a byword for the idea that attempts at genetic (and social) engineering are bound to go wrong. With its crude partitioning of society, by stunting human development before birth, and with its use of a drug – soma – to induce a false sense of happiness and suppress dissent, this was the opposite of a ‘beauteous’ world.

The post Genome editing’s brave new world appeared first on OUPblog.

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24. Life After Pixar: An Interview with Brenda Chapman

"Brave" director Brenda Chapman reveals big new plans in an exclusive interview with Cartoon Brew.

The post Life After Pixar: An Interview with Brenda Chapman appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

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25. A former child soldier prosecuted at the International Criminal Court

It’s easy to assume that only ‘evil’ people commit atrocity. And it’s equally easy to imagine the victims as ‘good’ or ‘innocent’. But the reality is far more complex. Many perpetrators are tragic. They may begin as victims. Victims, too, may victimize others. These victims are imperfect. Some victims survive – and some even thrive – because of harm they inflict.

The post A former child soldier prosecuted at the International Criminal Court appeared first on OUPblog.

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