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1. #712 -If You Were a Dog by Jamie A. Swenson & Chris Raschka

cover lg.
If You Were a Dog
Written by Jamie A. Swenson
Illustrated by Chris Raschka
Farrar Straus Giroux BYR        9/30/2014
978-0-373-33530-4
40 pages              Age 3—6

“If you could be any kind of animal, what would you be? Would you be a sod that goes ARRRROOOOOOO? Or maybe you would be a sharp-toothed dinosaur that can CHOMP, STOMP, ROAR! Perhaps you might want to be a hopping frog that goes BOING, BOING, RIBBET! But maybe you would want to be the best kind of animal of all. Can you guess what that is?” [inside jacket]

Review
Using sparse text, including exuberant onomatopœia, and characteristics specific to the animal on the spread, Swenson asks young children how they would act if they were a dog, a cat, a bird, a bug, a frog, and a dinosaur. Each two-spread animal begins its question with a recognizable formula:

“If you were a . . . would you be a . . . ?”

For example, the first animal is the dog.

dog am combo “If you were a dog, would you be a speedy-quick, lickety-sloppy,
scavenge-the-garbage,
frisbee-catching,
hot-dog-stealing,
pillow-hogging,
best-friend-ever sort of dog?”

The following spread always asks one final question:

dog 2  combo“Would you howl at the moon?  Some dogs do.”

Youngsters will love the questions, especially each of the activity-type characteristics in If You Were a Dog. While not written in rhyme, the text flows nicely. The individual characteristics are ordered such that the similar suffixes following each other. Raschka’s illustrations are child-like in form, yet lively, and capture the text and the reader’s (listener’s), imagination. Young children will not only contemplate how they would act based on the given charactersitics, but are bound to come up with their own. I like anything that activates and stretches a child’s imagination and If You Were a Dog fits that bill nicely.

The final three spreads in If You Were a Dog acknowledge that we cannot become any animal we want, but we can imitate those around us. Besides, kids are told, the best animal to be is yourself.

IF YOU WERE A DOG. Text copyright (C) 2014 by Jamie A. Swenson. Illustrations copyright (C) 2014 by Chris Raschka. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Farrar Straus Giroux Books for Young Readers—an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group, New York, NY.

Purchase If You Were a Dog at AmazonBook DepositoryiTunesMacmillian Children’s Publishing Group.

Learn more about If You Were a Dog HERE.
You can find the CCSS-Aligned Discussion and Activity Guide HERE.

AWARDS
Junior Library Guild selection

Meet the author, Jamie A. Swenson, at her website:  http://www.jamieaswenson.com/
Meet the illustrator, Chris Raschka, at his twitter page:  @ChrisRaschka
Find more children’s books at the Farrar Strauss Giroux BYR website:  http://us.macmillan.com/mackids
Farrar Strauss Giroux BYR is an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group.

Copyright © 2015 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved

Review section word count = 225

Full Disclosure: If You Were a Dog, by Jamie A. Swenson & Chris Raschka, and received from Farrar Strauss Giroux BYR, (an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group), is in exchange NOT for a positive review, but for an HONEST review. The opinions expressed are my own and no one else’s. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


Filed under: 4stars, Children's Books, Library Donated Books, NonFiction, Picture Book Tagged: animal traits, animals, being oneself, Chris Raschka, creativity, Farrar Straus Giroux, If You Were a Dog, imagination, Jamie A. Swenson, self esteem

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2. Some Special Eateries in Braga

                                                                                                                                                             Well this post is mainly about some of our favorite eateries, but a later one will hit the highlights of some special places to see. (And then we'll move on to our nephew's wedding last week.)

One of our favorite hangouts when we go to Braga is Café Vianna, a café overlooking Praça da República (Republican Square). There are tables inside and out, but we sit at an outside table under one of their giant umbrellas sipping wine and people-watching.
Café Vianna used to be a
hub of political activity in
the years before Salazar.

Now it's just a popular place
for tourists to enjoy.


It's almost always busy.











The square is dominated by an immense circular fountain, and on a hot day it's refreshing just to watch the streams of water shoot up and splash down. (It was hot in early June!) The square was being decorated while we were there (as was the city) for the coming Festa de São João (St. John the Baptist), a very popular festival that occurs mid-June.

I was surprised by a rainbow!
The arches are part of the decoration
for the coming Festa de São João 
Two gracious women at
the tourist office, Márcia
and Cristina, have helped
me a lot with my research.











The eating places in Braga are quite interesting. Each of them has a unique flair. And I don't mean just what kind of food they serve. They combine ideas about eating. For instance, on our last trip, we discovered a wine bar called Copo. But Copo isn't just a wine bar. or a tapa bar, although that, too.
It's several things rolled into one. Here we are enjoying our favorite small table by the corner window. But this building -- which is really two -- is full of nooks and split levels. The room next door is a wine and gin bar (with an actual horseshoe bar.) Up a flight from that is a cocktail lounge. A stairwell off of that leads to a small restaurant area. From where we are sitting in this picture, stairs lead down to a little champagne nook, which leads up to another restaurant area, and also down to yet another restaurant area. Surprises abound everywhere. And Copo does serve great tapas.

A little dining hall.
Unless you prefer the garden.
Art on the wall, food on
the table, books to read.
What's not to like?






A favorite lunch place of ours is Centésima Página, The Hundredth Page, a unique bookstore and café housed in a Baroque building on Avenida Central. I can't begin to tell you how inviting it is. These pictures may help. There are numerous little side rooms, small indoor tables, a garden patio. And books, books, books, everywhere! They also offer art exhibits and guest speakers, and special kid programs at various dates and times. But the books and snacks are irresistible.


Exterior: The bookstore/cafe is on
Avenida Central, not
far from Praça República.
Books, books, books! What's not to like?

















Not far from Centésima Página is a remarkable place called Casa do Professor, a home for retired teachers -- at any level: elementary to university level. It houses a library and a restaurant and bar, among other features. The goal is to make the teachers feel at home. But the restaurant is also open to outside guests and parties. We didn't take any picture of it, but here is a website that can tell you more about it . There is a buffet dining room at street level, and both a cafeteria and a menu restaurant down a few stairs to the next level. The food was delicious and so reasonably priced. Being vegetarians, we had a vegetable-filled pastry for lunch that was so good I could swoon over it. And a party of teachers were at a group of tables near the far window, having a wonderful time.

Last spring, visiting the Museu Imagem for research, (Image Museum), a unique photography gallery, we were privileged to meet the director, Rui Prata, who introduced us to both the fabulous three day photography exhibit last fall, and also Casa do Professor, as well as two other noteworthy restaurants. The names of those two wonderful restaurants elude me, but we found two more in a little square (Largo da Praça Velhanear the museum: Taverna do Felix, and Anjo Verde.

Anjo Verde means Green Angel, and it's all vegetarian food that must be cooked by angels! Last fall we enjoyed a memorable lunch of eggplant parmigiana cooked just right. We split an order, and their portions are so generous we still were quite stuffed. I only have one picture to share, but this website can show your more of the interior, as well has samples of their wonderful food :

Right next door, in the same largo was a restaurant I'd been intrigued by online while doing research -  Taverna do Felix (Felix's Tavern). I want to place a scene in my book there. These pictures should give some idea of it's distinct ambience, which is both elegant and cosy.
A great selection of wines. 

Gray lace on white linen.
Combined with Marilyn!
There was a homey quality to this restaurant, established by all the antiques placed here and there, I suppose, and the soft lighting.

Little tables were also in clusters, here and there. We were among the early guests, but were welcomed in, and "Nina" the owner, explained the wonders of Port to me as she and a warm and friendly waitress named Sandra set things in place: White Port is an appetizer, and red Port is for dessert. (I knew about the red, but not the white, did you?) In the course of the evening, she gave us a sample of each. Here's a video that gives you more information about the restaurant and owner, and you'll encounter the beautiful Portuguese language as well. And here are some photos of the food: as well as more pics of the restaurant. Our meal was lovely. We do eat fish, and we had broiled sea bass beautifully presented.
Meanwhile, the restaurant had started filling up, and there were couples at various tables from all parts: Netherlands, Belgium . . .

The man from Belgium recommended a hotel to us, and it turned out to be where we were staying: Hotel Senhora a Branca, reflecting the name of the church - Igreja Senhora a Branca - and the name of the square  - Largo Senhora a Branca, where the hotel is located. We have stayed there all three trips and will again. It's a comfortable hotel, reasonably priced, with beautiful rooms and a friendly staff. And we made friends with a young intern who has received her Masters in cultural tourism and who took us on a tour of her Braga the last evening we were there. (Thank you, Ines!)

And then there is the mysterious young woman who is always playing her violin on one street or another: 

who is she? 

Her playing is haunting. 



Next blog will be about the Churches, Gardens, and Museums of Braga. Stay tuned. 

Meanwhile, what is the best restaurant meal you've ever had? Do you like to read while you eat? Are you a vegetarian? If so, what kind? (I have learned that there are quite a few classifications.) 



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3. Joe Cepeda interviewed by Don Tate: The #LA15SCBWI Pre-Conference Interview

Another great in-depth interview between SCBWI Team Blog's Don Tate and awesome illustrator Joe Cepeda for you at Don's blog here.

They talk about philosophy, diversity, portfolios, so much more. Joe also shares about his breakout workshop at the conference, "Style Versus Voice: An Illustrator’s View."




The 2015 SCBWI Summer Conference is fast approaching! We hope you'll join us.

Registration and details here.

Illustrate and Write On,
Lee

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4. Originality and "nods" to other works?

I had a couple of questions regarding the originality of content. I've got two examples which I'll try to keep brief. Firstly, my current project features

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5. Andye's Favorite Things to do in D.C. {The Fixer Blog Tour & Giveaway}

We recently read and LOVED The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes, so we jumped at the chance to be on the blog tour, and spread the love a little more! Since The Fixer is set in Washington D.C., and I happen to live in the D.C. area, I was asked to talk about my favorite things to do in D.C. Make sure you enter the Giveaway at the end of the post! Seeing all the sites: The way that I most

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6. An Evening At Ford Street Publishing



It's been a long time since Booktalkers ended at the Centre for Youth Literature. I've missed it. You would come to the State Library(before that there were three other venues - I went to all of them)and meet friends and make new friends, mostly teachers and librarians, as well as would-be librarians like Kevin Lee, a bank worker who loves children's books(he's now studying librarianship in line). You'd have nibbles and chat. Then you'd go into the ANZ Theatrette and listen to guest speakers, usually writers and sometimes publishers, and buy their books from the Little Bookroom stall. It happened four times a year, with a wonderful end of year event where publishers talked about what was coming out next year and you got a goodie bag of free books. 

That ended when someone decided that it was just too expensive, especially the food. So no more Booktalkers. They do still have the end of year event, though no free books and some of the "new books" promoted are old books that have been around for several years - perhaps a reprint? Anyway, it's still enjoyable and I go, but it's not the same. 

For the last few months, Ford Street Publishing has been running something very like Booktalkers at its Abbotsford office, only much smaller because the room is about the size of the average classroom. I haven't been able to go before, because I just don't want to go after dark to a place in the suburbs and wait for public transport afterwards, but my lovely publisher Paul Collins told me that this time a friend of mine who lives in my direction would be there, so I emailed him and he kindly agreed to drive me home.

And so I went and it was delightful. The speakers this month were Gary Crew, author of a lot of grim and scary books, and Judith Rossell, author of the delightful novel Withering-By-Sea, which was shortlisted in the Aurealises(yes! It was one of the books I read and loved) and is now shortlisted for the CBCA Awards(not that it will win, CBCA Awards, alas, tend to go to deadly serious books, not sure how this one got on the list!). 

Gary has written two picture books for Ford Street that I have read and reviewed here. He has a new Ford Street novel coming out, Voicing The Dead, based on the story of a boy who was adopted by a Torres Strait Islander tribe of headhunters in the 19th century and wrote a book about it when he finally got back to England. So his talk was about the theme of castaways in fiction over the centuries, only mentioning his book towards the end, in connection with what he had been saying. And very enjoyable it was too; so many other writers would have begun with their novel and just mentioned where they got the ideas. 

After intermission, filled with people drinking and nibbling, we heard Judith Rossell speak. I had spent some of the intermission buying a copy of her book and having her sign it for young Nicholas, a book club member and student at my school who simply adored it and asked when she was writing another book. Well, he asked if there was anything else of hers he could read(there isn't - it's her first novel, though she has wide experience as an illustrator), but will be delighted to hear there will be another book in the series, hopefully next year. She was surprised to hear that a boy had enjoyed it, but was pleased. Nicholas will also be pleased when I give it to him next week! 

She did talk about her book, but in a fascinating way. For those of us who think of the Victorian era as stuffy and behind the times, she pointed out the huge number of things that had been invented or first happened in the 1880s, when the novel is set(eg the typewriter, the lightbulb, the telephone, Coca Cola, words such as "dude") She also showed us a picture of a Victorian era hotel in the US which she used as the basis for her hotel in Withering-By-Sea. It burned down many years ago, but there are still photos of it, even a postcard showing it burning down!

On the way home, I shared a back seat with another friend of George's, Vicki Petraitis, whom I know vaguely through Sisters In Crime and who writes true crime, a wonderful chance to chat about that genre. 

On the whole, a very enjoyable evening and I do recommend these sessions for any YA/children's booklover in Melbourne. You can find out when they are by subscribing to the Ford Street newsletter.

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7. More good stories from Lorelei Signals (link)

Check out the fascinating variety of fantasy stories featuring strong female characters in the July-September issue of Lorelei Signalshttp://www.loreleisignal.com/CurrentIssue.html

Here's a quote from Which Witch: "only half-joking that if you threw Antigone to the wolves, she would end up leading the pack back to kick your ass."

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8. Is It Important to Teach American History?

by Sally Matheny


Is It Important to Teach American History?
I love history, especially American history. I love reading about some interesting part of history I’ve never read about before, then researching primary documents to see if it’s true. So many fascinating facts never make the cut to be included in school textbooks. Perhaps if more of them were incorporated, a greater interest in American history would result. Is it important to teach the history of our country?

Read more »

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9. Ruby Needs to Know: Do You Remember Training Bras?

Welcome guest blogger, Ruby Gold. Ruby lives in a small town in Indiana. Lately, she's taken to blogging to try to understand her niece, the universe, and how she can get a good pastrami sandwich in rural Indiana.
When my ten-year-old niece wanted a training bra (she begged for a hot pink strappy thing to cover her breast buds), I shrieked. “A training bra! For Pete's sake, why do your boobies need to be trained? I mean, c'mon! What are they going to do compete in the Olympics to see which ones stay up the highest and the longest?I hope you're not planning to show them someday to Hugh Hefner, heaven forbid!”
She told me I was nuts, which she does at least twice a day, and which I may very well be. Que sera sera!
But, seriously,who ever invented training bras to begin with? And really, please, please, can anyone tell me what is their mission?
Like many other weary aunties, I turned to the modern day Guide for the Perplexed: Google. And I found the aboutparenting website. Here's what it had to say: “A training bra helps protect the nipple from chafing against clothes. A training bra also helps give the girls a flattering shape.” Protect the nipples from chafing? Tell me, women of the world, who out there has ever suffered from chafed prepubescent nipples?
If you have, I'm very sorry and hope that they've healed.
But, excuse me for pointing out the obvious, men have nipples and most of them aren't wearing bras!
Then, the article goes on to say: “A training bra is necessary when a girl begins to develop, as girls may be teased about their changing bodies.” Ha! That's the clincher, I thought. Women of the world, who has ever been teased about their changing body? I see millions of hands going up around the globe waving, madly.
Okay, that's sad. But the article gets sadder: “A training bra does not train the breasts, rather it helps girls adjust to wearing a bra and it provides a small amount of shaping and protection.” Well, so that's it, huh, we're training girls to be adjusted to the life-long discomfort of bra wearing. Think wires sticking under your boobs. Please don't tell me the wires are more comfortable when they're padded. Or that brassieres are a joy to wear when they have straps digging into your shoulders. Think of all the ways these boob contraptions can drive a woman berserk. Scratchy lace ones. Silly snappy spandex ones. Madonna's cone bra. Thin ones, padded ones, ones to shape, mold, and lift like your breasts are aching to take off and orbit to outer space.
Remember the girdle? Yeah, glad we got rid of those!
Bra burners of the world where have ye gone? So I wrote to Gloria Steinemto see if women were still burning bras. She didn't answer.
But I took my niece's bright pink training bra to the backyard and threw it into a roasting bonfire. It smoked up nicely.
The next day, my niece was despondent when she came home from school. “Auntie, now my nipples are chafing against my T-shirt and the school bully said he could see them. Like he could actually see my nipples!!!! How could you have burned my bra, you Cruella De Vil!”
So, should I back down? Should I buy her another training bra? Years later she'll probably accuse me of starting her on a path of bodily confinement, fleshly tortures, and heaven only knows what else. What's an auntie to do? I want to say don't wrap and strap in the girls until you really need to.
I'd love to hear your two cents on training bras. Does anybody remember wearing them? Please feel free to share your experiences and advice. Ruby Needs to Know!

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10. Karen Cushman Cover Reveal (are you ready for a fantasy novel?)

You read that right, folks.  Karen Cushman has a new book coming out (hooray!) and it’s not like her books in the past.  Cushman has embraced her fantastical side in her latest title, Grayling’s Song.  Here’s the plot description:

“When Grayling’s mother, wise woman Hannah Strong, starts turning into a tree, Hannah sends Grayling to call “the others” for help. Shy and accustomed to following her mother in everything, Grayling takes to the road. She manages to summon several “others”—second-string magic makers who have avoided the tree spell—and sets off on a perilous trip to recover Hannah’s grimoire, or recipe book of charms and potions. By default the leader of the group, which includes a weather witch, an enchantress, an aspiring witch, a wizard whose specialty is divination with cheese, and a talking and shape shifting mouse called Pook, Grayling wants nothing more than to go home.

Kidnapping, imprisonment, near drowning, and ordinary obstacles like hunger, fatigue, and foul weather plague the travelers, but they persist and achieve their goal. Returning, Grayling finds herself reluctant to part with her companions—especially Pook. At home she’s no longer content to live with her bossy mother, who can look after herself just fine, and soon sets out on another journey to unfamiliar places . . . possibly to see the young paper maker who warmed her heart.”

To get a sense of the book, I had the honor of asking Ms. Cushman a couple questions about his new direction.

Betsy Bird: It’s always a cause for celebration when a new Karen Cushman book is on the horizon.  This book does feel, to some extent, like a bit of a departure for you.  While it has a historical feel, there’s magic in its bones.  Have you always wanted to write a fantasy?  Or is this a newfound desire?

KarenCushmanKaren Cushman: It is definitely a departure.  After eight historical novels about gutsy girls (and Will), I wanted to try something different. I had an idea for a fantasy.  How difficult could it be?  I would not be bothered by all that pesky history, the rules and boundaries that constrain an author writing about a real time and place.

That shows how much I know about fantasies.  A fantasy world has as much history, as many rules and boundaries and limitations, as historical fiction, but the author has to invent them. For both fantasy and historical fiction authors, our task is to make a world come alive within boundaries.  .

Grayling’s Song takes Grayling reluctantly on a journey to free her mother from a curse. I set myself a difficult task: to write a fantasy in which magic exists but is sometimes harmful and never the answer.  Grayling has to get herself and others out of danger without magic–by being thoughtful, observant, cooperative, persistent, and determined.  In other words, human.  My husband calls it an anti-fantasy.  And that’s the point: magic is not the answer.

BB: Can you tell us a little bit about the origins of the book itself?

KC: The book began with the image of Grayling’s mother rooted to the ground.  I’m not a big fantasy reader and had never before thought about writing a fantasy, but that image appeared in my head and I wanted to find out more, so I had to make it up and write it down.

BB: What are some of the children’s fantasy novels that you yourself have enjoyed reading (either when you were a child or now as an adult)?  Have they influenced this book in any way?

BookThreeKC: I don’t remember fantasy being popular when I was young.  Science fiction, yes, but I wasn’t interested.  The first fantasy I recall reading is Peter Beagle’s wondrous The Last Unicorn, and I was all grown up and married before that.  Since then I have found several fantasies to love:  Lloyd Alexander’s five Chronicles of Prydain books, which I read over and over with my daughter, The Hobbit, The Once and Future King, Ella Enchanted, The Princess Bride, Plain Kate, Seraphina, The Goblin Emperor.

I think their influence is mostly in their wide spectrum.  There is no  one right way to write fantasy, they told me, no correct kind of character, no approved method of magic.  And several of them gave me permission to be funny, ironic, and  downright silly at times.

BB: So many authors have difficulty writing standalone books.  Which is to say, books that don’t require sequels.  Looking at your titles, I don’t know that you’ve ever done a sequel.  Is there a particular reason for this?  Do you think you might try one in the future?  I’m sure your fans have asked you to

KC: Stories seem to come to me all of a piece–a beginning, middle, and end, all in one book.  I had thought about writing a sequel to Catherine Called Birdy for my second book  but my editor didn’t like sequels and urged me to try something else.  So I did.  That something else was The Midwife’s Apprentice, which won the Newbery Medal in 1996.  Good call, Dinah.

I still think about that Birdy sequel.  I have a plot and characters, but I’m not sure I could recapture that voice.  Birdy’s voice is so distinctive and pretty well known. But maybe, maybe…

CatherineBirdyBB: Speaking of which, recently you were a bit in the news when Lena Dunham announced that she was adapting Catherine Called Birdy, one of her favorite books, to the silver screen. I assume that you’ve had interest from Hollywood in the past, but this felt a bit more serious.  Did it catch you off-guard?

KC: Off-guard is an understatement.  Several people had sent me the comment Lena made stating that Catherine Called Birdy and Lolita were the two best books for girls.  That’s pretty rare company but I thought no more about it until a contract for an option appeared from Lena’s company.

I’ve met with Lena, who is bright and lovely and sweet, much smarter and nicer than Hannah from Girls.  Lena is excited about the project and determined to make it happen so I have my fingers crossed.

BB: Well finally, what are you working on next?

KC: Too many ideas are swimming around in my head.  I’m working on a short story set in Elizabethan Bath, which may also be a novel.  And there is Millie McGonigal waiting for me in San Diego in 1941.  And a book about a pilgrimage to Rome, and, oh yes, something about thieving orphans in medieval Oxford.  Probably my next book will be one of those.  Probably.

BB:  A million thanks to you, Karen, for agreeing to speak with me!  Just as a side note, Lena Dunham also has a tattoo of Richard Peck’s Fair Weather.  Probably the only one in known existence, so her motives are certainly pure.

And now folks . . . the very first Karen Cushman fantasy novel!

GraylingsSong

Karen Cushman’s acclaimed historical novels include Catherine, Called Birdy, a Newbery Honor winner, and The Midwife’s Apprentice, which received the Newbery Medal. She lives on Vashon Island in Washington State. Her website is www.karencushmanbooks.com.

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11. TEST star placement in rev of week

Jimmy the Greatest by Jairo Buitrago Jimmy the Greatest!
by Jairo Buitrago; illus. by 
Rafael Yockteng; trans. from 
the Spanish by Elisa Amado
Primary Groundwood 48 pp.
5/12 978-1-55498-178-6 $18.95
e-book ed. 978-1-55498-206-6 $18.95
What happens when a boy from a nondescript small town grows up to be a talented boxer? Most would dream of bigger and better places, but not young Jimmy. When gym owner Don Apolinar encourages him to start running (despite his missing shoes), Jimmy decides he will become a boxer, inspired by a box of clippings and books about Muhammad Ali. When his trainer leaves to make his fortune, Jimmy makes a poignant and surprising decision to stay and support his little town with a library and a fixed-up boxing gym. This town could be anywhere in the tropics, but the (Colombian) author and illustrator do not identify it, giving the book more universal appeal. The background colors of the illustrations—the brilliant blues of the sea and the tempered beige of the sand—highlight the stylized brown villagers, including lanky Jim and bearded Apolinar. Understated poetic language permeates the whole story, but the last page soars. “There are no elegant houses / or fancy things. / But we’re really great. / We dance and we box / and we don’t / sit around waiting / to go someplace else.” In a world where so many must leave their homes to find work, it’s inspiring to see Jimmy able to do a truly great thing, right where he wants to be.

 

LR thinks star looks best when there is no box around it.

To make this happen, first place star as you normally would (i.e. default alignment: left, full size)

It will look like this in post (hit Preview to see it with white box):

Title etc.

Then back in draft, click on art and select icon for editing (little landscape picture)

In Advanced Settings tab (below) under Image properties type 0 (zero) after Border and Horizontal space. When you hit Update, this will automatically change the code in the Styles box to what you see in the screenshot here.

Now when you hit preview it should look like this:

Title etc.

Finally, put the cursor between the star image and first letter of title and add a space:

Title etc.

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12. Summer Reading Club Check In

Here at my library, we are just about halfway through the summer (hooray!), so I thought it might be a good time to check in and see how Summer Reading is going for everyone.

Our reading program is going like gangbusters with about 1500 kids (plus about 300 in the Daycare Summer Reading Club) registered and lots of finishers coming in (we typically end up with about 2000 kids signed up by the end of the summer). This year, we’re able to give out a FREE BOOK to every finisher, which feels awesome (we typically have about 1000 finishers).

Another big hit has been the Fine Bucks we’re giving out to children and teens. Each SRC finisher gets 10 fine bucks, which can be used to pay fines on late or lost books on children’s or teen cards. I really love any way we can get kids’ cards clear and allow them to check out books. Parents love that our Fine Bucks don’t expire, so they can save them for when they might need them.

Photo by Abby Johnson

Photo by Abby Johnson

My staff and I have been reading, too! We’re slowly filling up our staff “reading log”, which is posted at our Children’s Reference Desk to (we hope!) inspire families to join us in reading all summer long.

Our programs have been going strong, with huge turnouts for our large performers this summer. Because we had such a HUGE increase in our outreach to schools this past school year, we took a little step back from summer programming. Families are still coming in and using their library and checking out tons of books!

It’s almost time to begin the countdown to the new school year. Our schools are changing to more of a year-round schedule and most of our schools start back on July 29!

How’s summer at YOUR library?

— Abby Johnson, Youth Services Manager
New Albany-Floyd County Public Library
New Albany, IN
http://www.abbythelibrarian.com

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13. Bully for you and you and you

Aside from one dinner with a college friend and another with MVP and Barbara Bader, I spent ALA Midwinter in the exhibits drumming up business and listening to publishers, who had mostly two things on their mind: the Common Core and bullying. Wait, am I being redundant?

As far as the Common Core goes,

 

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14. Caine Prize

       They announced the winner of the Caine Prize yesterday -- not at the official site yet, last I checked, but see, for example, the report at the Books Live weblog -- and the prize whose: 'focus is on the short story, reflecting the contemporary development of the African story-telling tradition' went to The Sack (warning ! dreaded pdf format !) by Berkeley-professor Namwali Serpell (see her faculty page).

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15. 'Round the Bend

When your life is going smoothly,
It’s so simple to pretend
That no negatives are waiting
To assault you ‘round the bend.

Don’t succumb and get complacent,
Thinking joy will never end,
For its opposite is lurking
And it’s right around the bend.

It’s much better if you’re ready,
Which is why I recommend
Never flaunting jubilation;
Sorrow’s skulking ‘round the bend.

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16. Top Ten Hyped Books I've Never Read...

From Becs Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke & The Bookish.  This week's topic is Top Ten Hyped Books I've Never Read, which actually wasn't too hard for me, because I honestly have so many books in my TBR (er...on my TBR SHELVES) that I just had to glance at them as I was writing. I don't know if these books are hyped a lot. It feels like they are. I consider hyped to be...what it

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17. ALA, the Sunday version

Here are a few pictures from my day. I did not take pictures at the publisher breakfast. It was a tad crowded and I was balancing a coffee cup on my knee. But I did get to hear about a bunch of new books. Always a good thing. Some librarians had volunteered to help out in the presentations. There was storytelling. At 7:00 AM. I am not really a storytelling sort of girl at any hour, so that was a little rough on me. However, I did love thinking about that new Brian Pinkney book.

I am having some issues with these silly pictures…so I will just caption them and hope for the best!

I visited the Horn Book booth for a bit.

 

I ran into two of my favorite guys. One is Roger Sutton. The other is my husband, Dean Schneider, fresh off his book committee work.

 

The Notables Committee members have a LOT of books to consider…and they cannot have a list of four hundred books…

 

Here they are, talking about Notable books.

 

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18. The Millions' 'Second-Half 2015 Book Preview'

       The Millions' Most Anticipated: The Great Second-Half 2015 Book Preview is now up -- "at 9,100 words strong and encompassing 82 titles, this is the only second-half 2015 book preview you will ever need" they claim .....
       It's a nice overview of (mainly) the bigger titles due out over the next ... eight months (it actually goes through February 2016 ...) but far from comprehensive -- and it's particularly disappointing regarding fiction-in-translation, with almost none that's not published by the big(gest) houses included; a rare exception is Krasznahorkai's 'reportage', Destruction and Sorrow Beneath the Heavens (see the Seagull Books(' distributor's) publicity page, or pre-order your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk).

       (Especially for those interested in books in translation, Typographical Era's The 2015 Visual Guide to Translated Fiction and the 2015 Translation Database at Three Percent (latest version here) are far more useful. Caveat and warning: the visual guide really is visual -- arranged by book covers -- rendering it enervatingly busy/near-unusable for some of us (all I want/can bear is text !), while the Translation Database is an 'Excel Worksheet' which, sigh, has to be downloaded (i.e. you can't open it directly in your browser).)

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19. Cinesite and Image Engine Merge In Continuing VFX Consolidation

The two companies combine staffs into a worldwide workforce numbering over 525 artists.

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20. Random Item Personality Quiz

Soo random!What random item are you?

  1. It’s the weekend! You’re most looking forward to . . . a) playing kickball with your besties in the park. b) hanging out with your dog. c) putting together an art project like a scrapbook or mural. d) spending quality time on the sofa, reading books and catching up on your favorite movies. e) volunteering!
  2. Your favorite song is . . . a) a catchy pop tune. b) a chill electronic track. c) very rock n’ roll! d) a beautiful ballad. e) at least 20 years old.
  3. You dream of living . . . a) in a fun, funky town. b) by the beach. c) in a tree house. d) on a beautiful farm. e) in an exciting city.
  4. You prefer to drink . . . a) water. b) fruit juice. c) chocolate milk. d) soda. e) tea.
  5. Your favorite kind of cupcake is . . . a) red velvet. b) birthday cake with sprinkles. c) chocolate. d) carrot cake. e) cupcakes aren’t really your thing.
  6. Your favorite book to read at the beach is something . . . a) mysterious but fun. b) super-silly. c) fantastical! d) that you’ve read before and loved. e) non-fiction.
  7. Your dream job would involve . . . a) traveling the world and helping people in need. b) working with animals. c) designing awesome things. d) making music. e) holding an important government position.
  8. You consider yourself a person who likes to . . . a) be prepared for any possible situation. b) go with the flow. c) keep track of important people and dates at all times. d) consider other people’s feelings first. e) take control of situations as a leader.
  9. You prefer to . . . a) hang out in large groups of people, strangers and close friends included. b) hang out with your close friends, but sometimes make new ones. c) hang out with just your close friends. You’re picky about company! d) hang out with whoever’s around. e) constantly make new friends.
  10. For your birthday, you would like to . . . a) go bowling. b) go to a theme park! c) have a sleepover party. d) have an awesome birthday dinner. e) go on a trip to a foreign city.

If you picked mostly A’s, you are a rubber band ball.
Rubber band balls are so underrated! Who doesn’t need rubber bands? From tying hair up to opening tricky jar lids, rubber bands do it all. As do you, bouncy friend! You’re upbeat, a team player, and always willing to help out someone in need. You’ve got so much energy and you can’t wait to use it in fun, productive ways. Yay for rubber bands!

If you picked mostly B’s, you are a pocket dollar.
What’s a pocket dollar, you ask? Why, only the most AWESOME SURPRISE EVER! Finding an unexpected dollar in your pants pocket is the most amazing feeling ever. Like the pocket dollar, you brighten everyone’s day, and help people find joy in the little– and big — things in life. You’re like a billion golden rays of the warmest sunshine, pocket dollar! Keep on shining!

If you picked mostly C’s, you are an old movie ticket.
“Wait . . . a stubby, old ticket? How is that awesome at all?!” Don’t fret, my friend. Old movie tickets are great reminders of the day we went to the movies. Did you go with your best friend, or a new one? Was it a rainy day? What did you do before and after? Whether it was a special day or a regular one, movie tickets have a strange way of making us remember all sorts of little details. You, old movie ticket, have a stellar memory. You never forget a birthday, you always remember everyone’s favorite ice cream flavors. Oh, old movie ticket, you represent the awesome memories! What would your friends do without you?

If you picked mostly D’s, you are an empty shoe box.
The empty shoe box may seem kind of useless, but just wait until it’s time to find a spot to store your seashell collection/lip balm library/pen pal letters. The shoebox is the perfect storage solution! And so are you. Like the empty shoebox, you’re super-versatile, and you’re also super-low-key. You bring out the best in the people around you by being calm, collected, and pleasant always. Don’t underestimate your value, empty shoebox!

If you picked mostly E’s, you are a safety pin.
There is no emergency you cannot handle. You are everyone’s personal cheerleader and speedy problem solver. You take the lead in every situation because you know that you make the best leader. You are always lively and willing to help, and your heart is always in the right place, safety pin!

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21. Each Kindness

Each KindnessDarn you, Charlotte Zolotow committee! You beat me to the punch, awarding this fine book your award last week! The CCBC website explains, “The Charlotte Zolotow Award is given annually to the author of the best picture book text published in the United States in the preceding year….The award is administered by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center, a children’s literature library of the School of Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Each year a committee of children’s literature experts selects the winner from the books published in the preceding year. The winner is announced in January each year. A bronze medallion is formally presented to the winning author in the spring during an annual public event that honors the career of Charlotte Zolotow.”  If you have never attended the Zolotow celebration, you are really missing out. First, you get to go to Madison, Wisconsin, and second, you get to be with people who love children’s books, and third, the lectures are always terrific. 

So, this lovely book won an award for the text. Do the illustrations hold up as well as the words?

If you have not read Each Kindness, please do. I just gave a talk to 80 or so second graders at a local school and this (along with Island) was the book they appreciated the most. This school does a fantastic Caldecott exploration each year, and by the time I drag in with my little dog-and-pony show, they have some strong opinions about current picture books. I get to tell the story of how I got to be on the committee…blah blah…but then I get to sneak in a few questions about what they are liking and not liking. When I held up Woodson’s book, there was a collective intake of breath and a murmur of oohs and ahhs.

Second/third  grade might be the perfect age for this one. Somewhere around this time, kids start to notice things like clothing and wealth and what makes kids fit in or not. These are the same grades where teachers find themselves reaching for The One Hundred Dresses, a book which deals with a similar theme.

Let’s look at the art, shall we? Lewis’s watercolors never disappoint, do they? The first spread is a lovely school shot– rural school,  snow-covered. A lone child walks up the front steps. Turn the page and Lewis captures the perfect feel of a New Kid. Maya’s eyes are cast down, the teacher is holding her hand, and the perspective lets us know that she is not comfortable. Her clothes reflect the text–her clothes look a tad ragged, especially for the first day. Turn the page and we see the other main character, the narrator Chloe, looking out the window at the reader, a sour look on her face. Maya is faded in the background, but she has a little smile, a little hope on her face. The playground page is almost too painful to look at–three little girls, holding hands, while Maya walks with her hands behind her back. Lewis puts a bit of sunlight around the girls and has the rest of the group looking at Maya. No one is including her.

The art goes on, gently documenting the social strata of this classroom. Chloe rejects Maya and sets the tone for the rest of the class. The seasons change, Maya keeps trying to fit in, but Chloe and her friends do not allow it. We see her in her fancy (but used) dress and shoes or holding the wrong doll and her eyes always remind us of her pain. Even while she skips rope, she skips alone.

The story and illustrations change once the teacher (finally, I say) gets involved. Maya is absent when the teacher presents a lesson on kindness that finally gets through to Chloe.  We see the faces reflected in the ripples of the bowl of water–a nice change of perspective. The art now highlights Chloe. First, her somber face stares at that stone that stands in for the idea of kindness. Then, her eyes are cast down (like Maya’s) on her way home, slowly walking how from the school with the backpack seeming to drag her down. The next page is the only dark page in the book–Maya’s empty desk which will stay empty. The last two pages let us know the truth–that Chloe will never get a chance to make it better. Chloe looks sad and sorry, her body slightly slumped as she contemplates what has happened. She becomes smaller on that final page turn, less powerful, but with a hopeful shaft of light pointing to the future. 

This is a true teacher’s book–with plenty to talk about in a classroom. Will the committee find it too teacher-y or a new classic in the literature of bullying and kindness?

What say you?

 

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22. Tuesday Slice of Life Story Challenge

It's Tuesday! Join us!

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23. "sitting pretty"....

on a Monday night! :)

this little sweetie goes by the name Sunshine (well, she is bright, cheery and yellow like the sun....) and is one in a small series of cute little birds.

ORIGINAL PAINTING FOR SALE HERE and PRINTS and other goodies FOR SALE HERE!

{an adorable little bluebird is up next....}

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24. Spotlight and Giveaway: Making a Comeback by Kristina Mathews

 
Enter to Win a
$15.00 Amazon or B&N eGift Card

 
MAKING A COMEBACK
More Than a Game #3
Kristina Mathews
Releasing July 7th, 2015
Lyrical Press: Shine

 
With a divorce in the works, Annabelle Jones heads out to Southern California, the land of sun and starting over. She wants to prove to herself and her young daughters that she still has what it takes to turn heads as a swimsuit model—that she doesn’t need a man to take care of her. Until an accident forces her to rely on the hunky, yet mysterious man next door…

Nathan Cooper is trying to revive his own career. Once a top left-handed relief pitcher, he tried to get over a hidden injury with the aid of banned substances. Not only was he caught and suspended, he was traded and missed out on winning the championship. Now he’s a free agent without a contract, and that means life is ready to play ball…

 
BUY NOW
 
Today was a good day. A glorious day. Sitting at the stoplight in the Southern California sunshine, Annabelle Jones did a drum solo on the steering wheel of her convertible Mercedes. She didn’t care if people stared at her singing along to “Don’t Stop Believing.” She hadn’t stopped believing, and look at her now, fresh off her first modeling job since filing for divorce. So it wasn’t the cover of Sports Illustrated, still, it was a job. Something she could be proud of. Her daughters could be proud of her.

It wasn’t about the money. The income she earned from this modeling job was more about pride. Having something to offer the world, even if it was just her face.

Annabelle wanted to show her daughters that a woman didn’t need a man to take care of her. She could stand on her own two feet, and return to the career she’d given up when she married Clayton Barry. She might not fly off to exotic locations or work with the world’s most famous photographers, but she was working.

She lifted her face to the sun, soaking in its warmth. It was as if the fog of the last few years had finally lifted. Nothing but blue skies ahead for her and her six-year-old twin daughters.

Today’s shoot was just the beginning. Her agent had two more jobs lined up for her before the end of the month. He’d also scheduled her to attend the televised celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue. She hadn’t been able to make the photo shoot last fall in New York for the magazine, but he thought making an appearance on the live show would give her plenty of exposure.

Hopefully, she’d be able to juggle it all. Part of what appealed to her about today’s job was that it was close enough that she’d be able to shoot for a few hours and still get home in time to meet her daughters when they got off the school bus.

Annabelle glanced at the clock. If the light didn’t change soon, she wasn’t going to make it to the bus stop in time.

The song ended and Annabelle turned down the volume. She’d started listening to Journey during the Goliaths’ World Series run. So the song was five years older than she was, the message still rang true. It was about hope. Starting over. Believing.

The traffic light turned green, and she pulled into the intersection. A flash of yellow appeared out of the corner of her eye. She turned in time to see an SUV blow through the stoplight. Before she could react, the vehicle struck her Mercedes just behind the driver’s side door.

Her head slammed into the side window. Glass shattered and she looked down at the blood on her blouse. A thousand black pixels danced before her eyes.

And then nothing.



a Rafflecopter giveaway

 
Kristina Mathews doesn’t remember a time when she didn’t have a book in her hand. Or in her head. But it wasn’t until she turned forty that she confessed the reason the laundry never made it out of the dryer was because she was busy writing.
While she resigned from teaching with the arrival of her second son, she’s remained an educator in some form. As a volunteer, parent club member or para educator, she finds the most satisfaction working with emergent and developing readers, helping foster confidence and a lifelong love of books.
Kristina lives in Northern California with her husband of more than twenty years, two sons and a black lab. A veteran road tripper, amateur renovator and sports fanatic. She hopes to one day travel all 3,073 miles of Highway 50 from Sacramento, CA to Ocean City, MD, replace her carpet with hardwood floors and serve as a “Ball Dudette” for the San Francisco Giants.


 
 

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25. Early books, late books, and books that fade from memory

alksdfjalk

Next post about books that made a splash at the beginning of the year but fade by the end. Horn Book stars that don’t make it onto Fanfare (and some that weren’t starred but grow on us and DO find a place on the Fanfare list). In the next few weeks Robin and I will concentrate on the books that are still being discussed and that seem like very good contenders. Or that others are discussing but we don’t think should be on the list.

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