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1. Presidential Polar Bear Post Card Project No. 210 - 8.24.16


Happy 100th birthday to the National Park Service! And the polar bear rangers are ready to go for any further expansions or additions to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and Alaska's coastal plain.

0 Comments on Presidential Polar Bear Post Card Project No. 210 - 8.24.16 as of 8/25/2016 7:31:00 PM
2. Stirring The Plot: Physical Obstacles

Physical obstacles prevent movement, communication, access to a person, the retrieval of an object, and necessary exchanges. 

Physical distance prevents access which increases tension.

Time limits put the tension level at full throttle.

These are the types of action scenes that leave your readers biting their nails. The harder the task, the greater the anxiety level for the reader.

1. A physical barrier, like having to break into a safe or out of a cell.


This is a key tool in every genre from thriller t0 romance. Yes, romance. In the Outlander series, there are numerous times when Jamie and Claire must rescue one another from captors. And what is a heist movie without obstacles to the theft?

2. A situational barrier, such as trying to enter an area that is off limits.

Whether you character succeeds through sweet talk or stealth, waiting for them to get past this barrier can be funny, thrilling, or heartbreaking.

3. Physical restraints, like being stuck inside a car, plane, or train. 


Or trying to break free from handcuffs or a straight jacket. Your character does not have to be a magician to use this tool. They can be tied up or boxed in. Everyone can relate to the need to escape.

4. Missing the target whether it is a boat, train, airplane, or opportunity.


This is another situation your audience can relate to. The nearer the miss, the higher the tension. Will they get another chance or have to find another way?

5. Limited mobility due to a temporary or permanent physical disability.


Self-healing thriller characters aside, when your character is shot, stabbed, or otherwise hobbled, they will have difficulty doing what comes next.

6. Misunderstanding the time frame involved or being given an impossible timeline.


The ticking clock is arguably the most intense tool in the tension toolkit. There must be an "or else" for it to work properly. Nothing is worse than setting a ticking time bomb that doesn't go off.

7. Physical distances that make accomplishing the task difficult or impossible.


Whether you character has to traverse a hall, a flight of stairs, an eighty-story building, or rush from country to country, your readers feed on the the adrenaline rush your character experiences as he tries to accomplish the impossible.

8. Being misled about the correct destination.


Friend or foe, antagonist or love interest, missing the bus gives your readers a feeling of let down. They can relate to that moment when you realize you've taken the wrong turn, the wrong plane, or walked into the wrong bar.

9. Not being able to touch.


Truly, nothing is more agonizing than watching characters who desperately want to touch each other being kept apart. It can be lovers who are forbidden to love, or a mother reaching for a child who is slipping through her hands, literally or figurative. It can be the grieving loved one trying to reach the dead or dying. This tool can gut your reader or fill them with longing.

10. Different places or times.

This tool works best in the science fiction and fantasy realms where characters are literally worlds or time periods apart. From Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series to the movie Somewhere in Time, nothing keeps people apart more effectively than being in different eras. Your characters can be placed in different planets, starships, or fairy realms. Your readers will hang on to find out how they resolve these great distances.

For more about how to craft plots using conflict check out, Story Building Blocks: The Four Layers of conflict available in print and e-book and check out the free tools and information about the series on my website.

0 Comments on Stirring The Plot: Physical Obstacles as of 8/25/2016 7:45:00 PM
3. Lot's of Rain, Heat and Watercolors!

The Summer of 2016 has been a great season for watercolor painting of local landmarks and houses in Tyler, Texas. Tyler has about 15 miles of red brick streets constructed in the 1930s and 1940s and I get to enjoy them every day.
Many beautiful churches, houses and public buildings are framed by the brick streets which make a pleasing, colorful foundation for my sketches and paintings.
I've uploaded several images of my paintings, I hope you enjoy them.


Brick Street Village


First Presbyterian Church


Marvin Methodist Church


Marvin Methodist


Christ Episcopal Church


Crescent Laundry


Cotton Belt Depot


First Baptist Church


First Presbyterian


Old Smith County Jail


Chilton House


Charnwood District


Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception


Rick's On The Square


All of these images are Copyright 2016 by John Randall York


Feel free to leave a tip!


0 Comments on Lot's of Rain, Heat and Watercolors! as of 8/25/2016 4:51:00 PM
4. Sabotage: The Mission to Destroy Hitler's Atomic Bomb by Neal Bascomb


While WW II was waging furiously in Europe, some countries didn't see as much action. But it didn't mean that pivotal moments didn't occur in those countries.  Switzerland declared itself neutral, but Norway didn't.  And there was one place in Norway that became very VERY interesting to the Nazis.  It was a place so obscure and rare, they would do anything to make sure they could control it. 

An interesting fact - the science behind the nuclear bomb was being explored before and during World War II.  Everyone knew that whomever developed it first would win the war.  And the race was on.  Different physicists and scientists came up with various ways to create one and there were many elements that had to be used.  One of them was called heavy water.  Hydrogen has been replaced by deuterium, which made it essential for bomb making. The unfortunate thing was that heavy water was difficult to produce and there wasn't much of it.

But there was one place in Europe where heavy water was produced.  The Vemork Hydroelectric Plant in Norway.  Difficult to access, it was the perfect Nazi situation, making it hard to infiltrate.  It was to be a huge Nazi secret that gave them the extra incentive to win the nuclear race. 

One thing they didn't count on was the patriotism of the Norwegians.  There were underground resistance groups that sprung up and when the Nazis found them out, they used scare and death tactics to contain them.  It only bolstered them to fight back even more.  Several Norwegians went to England to train with the secret intelligence service to become infiltrators, spies and saboteurs.  They were to go back to Norway and create new resistance groups and sabotage any Nazi effort.

The top priority was to destroy Vemork....but could they without getting caught or putting the small town of Rjukan in jeopardy for their lives? Even worse, their mission was to take place in winter across a vast frozen area where survival would be severely tested.

Young adult non-fiction is fascinating for one very simple reason - these are the events that aren't usually written about in history books. Neal Bascomb hit it out of the park with his newest book. Narrative in nature, Bascomb tells a riveting story as well as providing images and photographs of the main players and sites.  In hindsight, readers will see how one mistake could have changed the outcome of the war. This is the invisible part of WWII teens will find fascinating.

0 Comments on Sabotage: The Mission to Destroy Hitler's Atomic Bomb by Neal Bascomb as of 8/25/2016 4:23:00 PM
5. Monopolists

The Monopolists. Mary Pilon. 2015. Bloomsbury. 320 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: One day during the depths of the Great Depression, an unemployed salesman named Charles Darrow retreated to his basement.

Premise/plot: Love Monopoly? Hate Monopoly? Mary Pilon's The Monopolists is a fascinating read to be sure. Who invented Monopoly? Who did NOT invent Monopoly? Why does it matter?

The Monopolist tells the story of the woman who invented the game, a game with two very different sets of rules. She didn't call her game 'monopoly' but 'The Landlord's Game.' The general game board concept and rules of play were hers. This was in 1904. In her community, it became quite popular, even an obsession of sorts. So much so that it spread across the nation as one person--or one couple--would teach another and another and another and another. People would create their own homemade game boards. The rules were taught but not written down. For decades, people were playing this game, loving this game. It wasn't a game you could buy at the store, though. 'The Landlord's Game' wasn't the only real-estate game that predates Parker Brothers' Monopoly. The game Finance also did. It also being offspring of Lizzie Magie's original game. Though I think perhaps by that time, it had just one set of rules. Charles Darrow, the man whose name would be associated with the game MONOPOLY, was taught the game by friends. He later claimed he invented the game. The couple who taught Darrow spent a lot of time in Atlantic City with the Quakers who LOVED the game and changed their own game boards to reflect their lives. These place names would stay with the game and be the names that we come to associate with Monopoly. The rules, the layout of the game board, the place names, all were essentially handed to Darrow ready-made.

Most of this book focuses on a lawsuit in the 1970s and early 1980s. Parker Brothers was trying to stop one man--Ralph Anspach--from selling his own game, a game called ANTI-MONOPOLY. Anspach was an economics professor, I believe. It would take a lot of time, effort, stamina, and courage to stay in the fight.

My thoughts: I really enjoyed this one. I enjoyed it even more than I thought I would. I don't love playing Monopoly, but, I found the game-playing culture of the twentieth century to be FASCINATING. There is something to be said for people spending time together around a table and actually talking and having fun doing the same thing. This was written in an engaging way. I'd definitely recommend it.

© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

0 Comments on Monopolists as of 8/25/2016 3:59:00 PM
6. The Taking of Temperature

When Henry's toy thermometer
Was used to check his bear
For fever, I was most surprised
That not the derriere

Nor mouth was where he placed it,
For he made it very clear
That the best place for a reading
Was inside the teddy's ear.

I was poised to thus correct him
But I realized nowadays
That we measure kids for fever
In some unexpected ways.

In my day, things sure were different.
Still, we wouldn't need a push
To insert thermometers
Into the ear and not the tush.

0 Comments on The Taking of Temperature as of 8/25/2016 3:21:00 PM
7. Active Bodies, Active Minds: Boost Wellness & Learning with Sports Equipment

kid with basketball

Experts say that one way to help your kids get a jump on learning is to help them, well, JUMP!  Boosting students’ physical activity not only supports health and wellness and makes kids feel better, but it turns out that it can help them learn better, too.

That’s why First Book is excited to announce a brand new addition to the First Book Marketplace lineup of resources:  sports and fitness equipment provided through Target.

“Whether it’s dribbling a basketball, playing softball, or maneuvering through an obstacle course, physical activity can improve academic achievement, boost cognitive skills and improve concentration and behavior for kids – both in and out of the classroom,” said Kyle Zimmer, First Book president and CEO.  “Thanks to Target, many more schools and programs serving kids in need will have the resources to encourage healthy activities that also foster learning.”

Through Target funding, First Book will now offer brand new softballs, soccer balls, bean bag toss games, playground balls and more on the First Book Marketplace.

If you’re a teacher serving children in need, you may be able to take advantage of special funding from Target that will provide credits that educators can use to access sports equipment from the First Book Marketplace site. So run – don’t walk – to find the sports and play equipment you need to support learning and wellness for the children you serve. 

The post Active Bodies, Active Minds: Boost Wellness & Learning with Sports Equipment appeared first on First Book Blog.

0 Comments on Active Bodies, Active Minds: Boost Wellness & Learning with Sports Equipment as of 8/25/2016 2:13:00 PM
8. ‘Un Long Baiser’ by Gwendoline Gamboa

Music video for Migou's "Un long baiser."

The post ‘Un Long Baiser’ by Gwendoline Gamboa appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

0 Comments on ‘Un Long Baiser’ by Gwendoline Gamboa as of 1/1/1900
9. Paris party!


Let them eat cake!


Sweetness from Cafe Pray...
 
It's always fun to play with noses
on famous art...
They puzzled over my hand-drawn pieces of  Picasso's Woman & Bird


and then played "Pin the Nose on the Picasso"


After a scavenger hunt, and treats,
we made wee matchboxes des Paris.

Ah the joys of the small things in life!

Paper. Art-making. A clamor of cousins. Laughter. Balloons.
Joyeux anniversaire! Happy birthday!

Here's to finding joy in the small things and the good things, my friends!

Au revoir!
C'est la belle vie!
Swan song!

Books!




Adele and Simon by Barbara McClintock
The Iridescence of Birds by Partricia MacLachlan, illustrated by Hadley Hooper
Henri's Scissors by Jeanette Winter
A Giraffe Comes to Paris by Mary Tavener Holmes and John Harris, ill. by Jon Cannell
Picasso and the Girl with the Ponytail by Laurence D'Anholt
Gaston by Kelly DiPucchio, illustrated by Christian Robinson

0 Comments on Paris party! as of 8/25/2016 1:57:00 PM
10.

A new portfolio for Buttons and Beads on on website! 

 http://cynthia-iannaccone.blogspot.com/p/buttons-beeds.html

0 Comments on as of 8/25/2016 2:15:00 PM
11.


0 Comments on as of 8/25/2016 2:15:00 PM
12. Comedy in Picture Books

There are several time-honored ways to create a funny picture book.

https://www.theguardian.com/childrens-books-site/gallery/2016/jun/29/comedy-in-picture-books-how-its-done-in-pictures

0 Comments on Comedy in Picture Books as of 8/25/2016 11:31:00 AM
13. स्लोगन स्वच्छ भारत अभियान

स्लोगन स्वच्छ भारत अभियान सफाई अभियान पर नारे – स्लोगन स्वच्छ भारत अभियान – खुले में शौच मुक्त भारत मोदी जी के निर्देशन में आज पूरे भारत में  देश में सम्पूर्ण  स्वच्छता अभियान , जन आंदोलन के रुप में चला हुआ है जहां लोगो ने इसकी महत्ता को समझ रहें हैं  वहां स्वच्छता आ भी […]

The post स्लोगन स्वच्छ भारत अभियान appeared first on Monica Gupta.

14. Harts Pass No. 312

A fitting ode - I hope - to the final week before starting school!

0 Comments on Harts Pass No. 312 as of 8/25/2016 10:55:00 AM
15. A plea to keep teacher librarian positions

Recently I was asked to write a letter to the editor on behalf of teacher librarians whose positions are being cut from the Burlington School District. A district, from what I can gather, actually has a surplus in their budget. This is a sad and troubling trend. Libraries aren't just about providing books to those who wouldn't otherwise have access (though of course that is huge!). They teach students skills that will last a lifetime. They instill research habits that shape how we all make valuable decisions in our lives, how and if we vote, for example. I believe strongly that each time we cut funding from school and public libraries, we chip away at our democracy, and further divide the privileged and the underserved. Please support the libraries in your community! Thanks

To the editor:

I am writing on behalf of the teacher librarians whose positions stand to be cut from the Burlington School District this fall. The trend to cut funding from school libraries is a deeply troubling one, especially when considering the positive influence school libraries have on student success. At least 60 studies have shown that student achievement is higher in schools with full-time certified school librarians. Research, technology, and literacy are dependent on access to school libraries and their trained professional librarians. Limiting access means limiting these opportunities for all students, but especially disadvantaged students who do not have access to technology at home or the ability to visit a public library. When we cut library hours, we hurt the students who need these services most. This also tears at the fabric of democracy, since these students are less likely to know how to access information, judge the quality of information or utilize libraries in their adult lives. Access to information is the key to educational success in our society, which in turn is the key to successful careers and successful citizens. As a children's book author, I've had the opportunity to visit school libraries all over Vermont and it is clear that libraries are the heart of the school. After touring colleges with our son last spring, it was clear this is also the case at colleges and universities. By providing resources to our young students, we prepare them for college, as well as life beyond. I hope that the school district will reconsider their decision.



Sincerely,

Jo Knowles

16. First go of CAT rig

cat_test from Lachlan Creagh on Vimeo.

About 3hrs worth today - not refined too much- seeing how I went- broad sketches of actions that might be used in an ad.

0 Comments on First go of CAT rig as of 8/25/2016 9:37:00 AM
17. #portraitchallenge: boris kustodiev

Here's my version of The Tradeswoman at Tea (also translated as The Merchant's Wife, the classic Russian painting by Boris Kustodiev from 1819.



There's a nice description and a bit of background on the original painting from the State Russian Museum over on this blog.



And cartoonist and comics professor Lynda Barry has written an excellent essay on why copying artwork is such a good way of studying it. I agree, I don't feel I've really seen a piece properly until I've drawn it myself, learning all the different parts of it and wondering why the artist had a certain line ending in a certain place or admiring a positioning of colour to make something in the painting appear to leap forward. Read the whole essay on Lynda's blog.

18. Remembering John Muir on the centennial of the National Park Service

This year, Americans celebrate the centennial of the National Park Service. On August 25, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed the National Park Service Organic Act. The bill culminated decades of effort by a remarkable generation of dedicated men and women who fought to protect the nation’s natural wonders for the democratic enjoyment of the people.

The post Remembering John Muir on the centennial of the National Park Service appeared first on OUPblog.

0 Comments on Remembering John Muir on the centennial of the National Park Service as of 8/25/2016 10:13:00 AM
19. Building community: lessons from swimming

What would be the impact if our current policy to insure safety and prevent drowning were to pay people to swim with each swimmer? No one could go swimming unless they had a paid professional, or paraprofessional, swim with them. Our present policy in human services and mental health is kind of like paying people to insure the safety and well-being of others.

The post Building community: lessons from swimming appeared first on OUPblog.

0 Comments on Building community: lessons from swimming as of 8/25/2016 8:29:00 AM
20. कुत्ते की जानकारी और मनोरंजक खबर

कुत्ते की जानकारी और मनोरंजक खबर एक article के सिलसिले मे मैं pet dogs , dogs food , कुत्ते की नस्ल ,कुत्ते का खाना के बारे पर गूगल पर सर्च कर रही थी. Labrador  के बारे में पढा फिर पढा कि कुत्ते  की स्पेनी  Chihuahueño सबसे छोटी नस्ल है और इसका नाम  मेक्सिको के चिहुआहुआ […]

The post कुत्ते की जानकारी और मनोरंजक खबर appeared first on Monica Gupta.

21. Protecting our children from profanity

We adults are careful about swearing around our kids. We don’t want bad language to confuse or corrupt or otherwise harm them. As Steven Pinker says in passing while talking about profanity in The Stuff of Thought (2007), “if some people would rather not explain to their young children what a blow job is, there should be television channels that don’t force them to,” and there are. We have every right to be protective of our children even if we don’t have a reason.

The post Protecting our children from profanity appeared first on OUPblog.

0 Comments on Protecting our children from profanity as of 8/25/2016 6:43:00 AM
22. मर गई इंसानियत – शव को कन्धे पर लेकर चला दस किलोमीटर

मर गई इंसानियत – शव को कन्धे पर लेकर चला दस किलोमीटर नेट पर एक खबर देखी जोकि वाकई में वाकई में विचलित कर गई. खबर थी कि ओडिशा के कालाहांडी जिले में एक आदिवासी व्यक्ति अपनी पत्नी के शव को कंधे पर लेकर करीब 10 किलोमीटर तक चला. साथ में उसकी बेटी भी थी. […]

The post मर गई इंसानियत – शव को कन्धे पर लेकर चला दस किलोमीटर appeared first on Monica Gupta.

23. A Game Plan for Writing Workshop Transitions

Have you ever visited a colleague’s classroom or watched a video of a lesson and wondered, “How are those kids so perfect? How do they seem to know exactly what to do, the… Continue reading

24. Eugene Yelchin's THE HAUNTING OF FALCON HOUSE

I've become a fan of Eugen Yelchin's creations, so I'm thrilled to have him on today...

STORY BEHIND THE STORY
Eugene Yelchin
      Thank you so much for inviting me to share a “behind the scenes” glimpse of The Haunting of Falcon House. As with my previous books, this is a middle grade novel that could be read on several levels by both young and adult readers. On the surface Falcon House is a classic ghost story in which a protagonist uncovers a crime that had occurred in the past yet still haunts the present. However, the crime here serves to present a moral argument on a larger scale — is it possible for an individual to feel free in a society that allows one group of people to oppress another?
      The story takes place in St. Petersburg. I wanted to write a book about my Russian hometown for a very long time; the feelings that that city can stir in one’s heart could never be forgotten. The reason is not particularly the beauty of its historical center, but rather the fact that the authors like Pushkin, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, and Gogol had all used St. Petersburg as the prime location for their stories. As a result, for the dwellers of St. Petersburg, the real city and the city imagined had always blurred into one. “Below us in the waiting stillness gleamed Saint Petersburg. The churches, palaces, and bridges lay buried under the brilliance of snow. The sky shone with stars. Their pale blue flicker reflected from the frozen river that sliced the city into islands like shards of a shattered mirror.”
      “We dashed along snow-coated streets that sparkled like sugar, crossed bridges arching over frozen canals, and passed palaces gleaming with gold. Shops with enormous windows flashed by like tinfoil. The gas lamps had just been lighted, and below the lamps flowed crowds of richly dressed people. Sleighs and carriages I’d never seen the likes of crisscrossed in all direction. The crisp and frosty air rang with crackling whips, ringing bells, and sleigh runners squeaking over the dazzling snow.”
      While working on the book, I’ve collected a great deal of photographs of the 19th century Petersburg, some beautiful, some spooky, most giving me exciting ideas for the narrative. “Bewildered, I gazed at my grandfather’s death mask. The leaping shadows cast upon his aspect by the moving light of candelabrums conferred upon it a peculiar impression of a living face. His cheeks were sunken, eyes tightly shut, and the drooped corners of his mouth seemed to gather into an unpleasant grimace; was Grandfather sneering at me?”
      Because the main hero Prince Lev is the “last of ancient lineage”, I was particularly interested in the images of the Russian aristocracy. “Two piercing eyes were fixed upon me. I gasped and stumbled back. From the vibration of my near fall, the fire flared in the fireplace, light swept across the shadowy recess from where the eyes were glaring, and I saw their owner. A man hovered in the utter darkness. His body was distorted, strangely incomplete, swaying slightly in the flicker of the candles. I could scarcely breathe.”
      Prince Lev is summoned, or so he thinks, to take charge of the Lvovs’ family estate by his aunt Olga Lvovna, a classic tyrannical and highly manipulative antagonist.
      “I had seen Olga Lvovna’s pictures in my father’s photographic album. In every picture, she smiled, her eyes shining brightly, and she was always dressed in white. That little girl was no more. Olga Lvovna was my father’s older sister, but how much older I couldn’t tell; she looked about a hundred. Her eyes were circled with dusky rings, her waxy cheeks were hollow, and all that remained of her once smiling lips was but a brief thin line. Her dress was black, and she was so pale and skinny, I fancied she had spent her life in prison with neither sunlight not fresh air.”
      Given the book’s genre, I had a lot of fun writing scary passages, while trying to stay faithful to the 19th century’s supernatural style. There are chilly shadowy hallways, and candles that go out by themselves, and of course there are bats, lots of bats.
      “There was a terrific crash. The whole house shuddered. In an instant, an earsplitting shriek echoed through the shaft. A boiling black cloud rose from below, screeching, shape-shifting, and cartwheeling right at us. I sprang away from the opening. Bats poured out of the shaft, swooping across the landing in a thick, black smudge.”
      My favorite place to write is always my art studio, but this time I had to surround myself with objects that would help me creating a believable atmosphere of the 19th century Russian aristocrat’s study — period weapons, taxidermy, silhouette portraits, etc.
      And finally, to design the book as an original 19th century volume, I acquired and studied a great deal of antiquarian books —a priceless addition to my library!
     Thanks so much Eugene! To learn more about Eugene and his books, visit his website.

0 Comments on Eugene Yelchin's THE HAUNTING OF FALCON HOUSE as of 8/25/2016 6:31:00 AM
25. 10 interesting facts about the cello

Every summer since 1895, the Henry Wood Promenade Concert (commonly known as the BBC Proms) presents an eight-week orchestral classical music festival at the Royal Albert Hall in central London. This year’s Proms put a special focus on cellos.

The post 10 interesting facts about the cello appeared first on OUPblog.

0 Comments on 10 interesting facts about the cello as of 1/1/1900
26. The Arms Trade Treaty and exports to Saudi Arabia: “Now is the summer of our discontent?”

For some campaigners, the acid test of the effectiveness of a putative global arms trade treaty was whether it would prohibit or somehow legitimize the selling of arms to Saudi Arabia. Of course, those who expected a total prohibition on arms trading were always going to be deeply disappointed, but many of us felt it similarly unlikely that an international instrument would ever make it impossible for internally repressive regimes to procure weapons on the open market.

The post The Arms Trade Treaty and exports to Saudi Arabia: “Now is the summer of our discontent?” appeared first on OUPblog.

0 Comments on The Arms Trade Treaty and exports to Saudi Arabia: “Now is the summer of our discontent?” as of 1/1/1900
27. PAPERCHASE - new season

We are nearly at the end of our Paperchase showcase and today we have a selection of new arrivals that have just gone on sale in stores and online. This beautiful Night Garden diary caught my eye and I wonder if we will see more items in this print. Scroll down for more notebooks, diaries, and the odd pencil case with motifs and themes that include wolves, unicorns, and washy watercolour

0 Comments on PAPERCHASE - new season as of 8/25/2016 3:23:00 AM
28. निर्भया रेप कांड और हमारी कानून व्यवस्था

(तस्वीर गूगल से साभार) निर्भया रेप कांड और हमारी कानून व्यवस्था निर्भया गैंग रेप के दोषी विनय शर्मा ने देर रात तिहाड़ जेल में आत्महत्या की कोशिश की. निर्भया रेप कांड तो हम सभी के जहन मे होगा. 16 दिसंबर 2012 को हुए निर्भया सामूहिक दुष्‍कर्म एवं हत्‍या के मामले में अदालत ने छह लोगों […]

The post निर्भया रेप कांड और हमारी कानून व्यवस्था appeared first on Monica Gupta.

29. दांतों की चमक और मुस्कुराहट

दांतों की चमक और मुस्कुराहट Smile Please   How to keep your teeth healthy .. मजबूत दांत , क्या ना खाएं ?? तुम इतना जो मुस्कुरा  रहे हो … या  मुस्कुराने की वजह तुम हो …फिल्मी गाने बहुत खूबसूरत लगते है  सबसे बडा प्रश्न ये है कि दातों में चमक की वजह से हमारी मुस्कुराहट है या […]

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30. Review of the Day: Who Broke the Teapot?! by Bill Slavin

WhoBrokeTeapotWho Broke the Teapot?!
By Bill Slavin
Tundra Books
$16.99
ISBN: 978-1-77049-833-4
Ages 3-5
On shelves now

In the average life of a child, whodunits are the stuff of life itself. Who took the last cookie? Who used up all the milk and then didn’t put it on the shopping list? Who removed ALL the rolls of toilet paper that I SPECIFICALLY remember buying at the store on Sunday and now seem to have vanished into some toilet paper eating inter-dimension? The larger the family, the great the number of suspects. But picture books that could be called whodunits run a risk of actually going out and teaching something. A lesson about honesty or owning up to your own mistakes. Blech. I’ll have none of it. Hand me that copy of Bill Slavin’s Who Broke the Teapot?! instead, please. Instead of morals and sanctity I’ll take madcap romps, flashbacks, and the occasional livid cat. Loads of fun to read aloud, surprisingly beautiful to the eye, and with a twist that no one will see coming, Who Broke the Teapot?! has it all, baby. Intact teapot not included.

The scene of the crime: The kitchen. The family? Oblivious. As the mother enters the room it’s just your average morning. There’s a baby in a high chair, a brother attached to a ceiling fan by his suspenders, a dad still in his underwear reading the paper, a daughter eating pastries, a dog aiding her in this endeavor, and a cat so tangled up in wool that it’s a wonder you can still make out its paws. And yet in the doorway, far from the madding crowd, sits a lone, broken, teapot. Everyone proclaims innocence. Everyone seems trustworthy in that respect. Indeed, the only person to claim responsibility is the baby (to whom the mother tosses a dismissive, “I doubt it”). Now take a trip back in time just five minutes and all is revealed. The true culprit? You’ll have to read the book yourself. You final parting shot is the mother accepting a teapot stuck together with scotch tape and love from her affectionate offspring.

WhoBroke2Generally when I write a picture book review I have a pretty standard format that I adhere to. I start with an opening paragraph (done), move on to a description of the plot in the next paragraph (so far, so good), and in the third paragraph I talk about some aspect of the writing. It could be the overall theme or the writing or the plotting. After that I talk about the art. This pattern is almost never mucked with . . . until today!! Because ladies and gents, you have just GOT to take a gander at what Mr. Slavin’s doing here with his acrylics. Glancing at the art isn’t going to do it. You have to pick this book up and really inspect the art. For the bulk of it the human characters are your usual cartoony folks. Very smooth paints. But even the most cursory glance at the backgrounds yields rewards. The walls are textured with thick, luscious paints adhering to different patterns. There’s even a touch of mixed media to the old affair, what with cat’s yarn being real thread and all (note too how Slavin seamlessly makes it look as if the yarn is wrapped around the legs of the high chair). Then the typography starts to get involved. The second time the mom says “Who broke the teapot?!” the words look like the disparate letters of a rushed ransom note. As emotions heat up (really just the emotions of the mom, to be honest) the thick paints crunch when she says “CRUNCHED”, acquire zigzags as her temper unfurls, and eventually belie the smoothness of the characters’ skin when the texture invades the inside of the two-page spread of the now screaming mother’s mouth.

So, good textures. But let us not forget in all this just how important the colors of those thick paints are as well. Watching them shift from one mood to another is akin to standing beneath the Northern Lights. You could be forgiven for not noticing the first, second, third, or even fourth time you read the book. Yet these color changes are imperative to the storytelling. As emotions heat up or the action on the page ramps up, the cool blues and greens ignite into hot reds, yellows, and oranges. Taken as a whole the book is a rainbow of different backgrounds, until at long last everything subsides a little and becomes a chipper cool blue.

WhoBroke1Now kids love a good mystery, and I’m not talking just the 9 and 10-year-olds. Virtually every single age of childhood has a weakness for books that set up mysterious circumstances and then reveal all with a flourish. Heck, why do you think babies like the game of peekaboo? Think of it as the ultimate example of mystery and payoff. Picture book mysteries are, however, far more difficult to write than, say, an episode of Nate the Great. You have to center the book squarely in the child’s universe, give them all the clues, and then make clear to the reader what actually happened. To do this you can show the perpetrator of the crime committing the foul deed at the start of the book or you can spot clues throughout the story pointing clearly to the miscreant. In the case of Who Broke the Teapot, Slavin teaches (in his own way) that old Sherlock Holmes phrase, “When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”

I love it when a book turns everything around at the end and asks the reader to think long and hard about what they’ve just seen. Remember the end of The Cat in the Hat when everything’s been cleaned up just in time and the mother comes in asking the kids what they got up to while she was gone? The book ends with a canny, “Well, what would YOU do if your mother asked YOU?” Who Broke the Teapot?! does something similar at its end as well. The facts have been laid before the readers. The baby has claimed responsibility and maybe he is to blame after all. But wasn’t the mother just as responsible? It would be very interesting indeed to poll a classroom of Kindergartners to see where they ascribe the bulk of the blame. It may even say something about a kid if they side with the baby more or the mommy more.

WhoBroke3I also love that the flashback does far more than explain who broke the teapot. It explains why exactly most of the members of this family are dwelling in a kind of generally accepted chaotic stew. You take it for granted when you first start reading. A kid’s hanging from a ceiling fan? Sure. Yeah. That happens. But the explanation, when it comes, belies that initial response. The parents don’t question his position so you don’t question it. That is your first mistake. Never take your lead from parents. And speaking of the flashback, let’s just stand aside for a moment and remember just how sophisticated it is to portray this concept in a picture book at all. You’re asking a child audience to accept that there is a “before” to every book they read. Few titles go back in time to explain how we got to where we are now. Slavin’s does so easily, and it will be the rare reader that can’t follow him on this trip back into the past.

I think the only real mystery here is why this book isn’t better known. And its only crime is that it’s Canadian, and therefore can’t win any of the big American awards here in the States. It’s also too amusing for awards. Until we get ourselves an official humor award for children’s books, titles like Who Broke the Teapot?! are doomed to fly under the radar. That’s okay. This is going to be the kind of book that children remember for decades. They’re going to be the ones walking into their public libraries asking the children’s librarians on the desks to bring to them an obscure picture book from their youth. “There was a thing that was broken . . . like a china plate or something . . . and there was this cat tied up in string?” You have my sympathies, children’s librarians of the future. In the meantime, better enjoy the book now. Whether it’s read to a large group or one-on-one, this puppy packs a powerful punch.

On shelves now

Source: Publisher sent final copy for review.

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31. एक प्रैस कांफ्रैंस ऐसी भी – भारी स्कूल बस्ता

एक प्रैस कांफ्रैंस ऐसी भी – भारी स्कूल बस्ता स्कूली बच्चे और बस्ता बहुत भारी, Heavy School bags , कमर दर्द झेलते  मासूम बच्चे.. आखिर कब तक ?? Press Conference अक्सर हम राजनीति से जुडे अलग अलग मुद्दों पर press conference देखते रहते हैं पर आज एक ऐसी खबर पढी और हैरान रह गई कि ऐसा […]

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32. भारी स्कूल बैग – बच्चों ने की प्रैस कांफ्रैंस

भारी स्कूल बैग – बच्चों ने की प्रैस कांफ्रैंस स्कूली बच्चे और बस्ता बहुत भारी, Heavy School bags , कमर दर्द झेलते  मासूम बच्चे.. आखिर कब तक ?? Press Conference अक्सर हम राजनीति से जुडे अलग अलग मुद्दों पर press conference देखते रहते हैं पर आज एक ऐसी खबर पढी और हैरान रह गई कि ऐसा […]

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33. My tweets

34. Two Lies and A Truth with LAMAR GILES

I’d like to welcome Lamar Giles to The Storyteller’s Blog. I met Lamar last month at the Highlights Foundation Summer Camp, where he was my mentor for my new YA thriller.  I couldn’t have asked for a better mentor. He is a two-time Edgar nominee for Fake ID – 2015 and Endangered – 2016. That being said, Lamar— 1. Do you see yourself in any of your characters? Somewhat. No

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35. Faithful Cover Reveal and Giveaway - Michelle Hauck

FAITHFUL COVER REVEAL  Today, Michelle Hauck and Rockstar Book Tours are revealing the cover for FAITHFUL, book two in the Birth of Saints series which releases November 15, 2016!  Check out the gorgeous cover and enter to win a SIGNED copy of book 1 GRUDGING! On to the reveal!  Title: FAITHFUL (Birth of Saints #2) Author: Michelle Hauck Pub. Date: November 15, 2016 Publisher: 

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36. Union Files Complaint On Behalf of ‘Sausage Party’ Artists Over Unpaid Overtime Allegations

A Vancouver union is asking the Canadian government to investigate whether animation artists were not paid overtime during the production of "Sausage Party."

The post Union Files Complaint On Behalf of ‘Sausage Party’ Artists Over Unpaid Overtime Allegations appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

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37. My NZ Poetry Adventure

I just spent an amazing week in New Zealand for the IBBY Congress and enjoyed sharing my poetry poster, meeting New Zealand poets, soaking up a panel dedicated to poetry, chatting with a Latvian publisher of poetry, checking out poetry at the downtown library and area museums, and seeing the country's plans for their National Poetry Day (TODAY!). So fun! Here are a few highlights. So gratifying to learn we are part of a global poetry community!

I had my poster printed on a scarf and then WORE my poster-scarf for the rest of the conference! Check out Mailpix.com (but get a Groupon first and it only cost $20 plus $10 for shipping!).


I met these poets at the conference and was excited to point out to Jenny and Paula that their work was featured on my poster. Bought Paula's massive book (pictured in blue) and got her to autograph it too! Don't miss this excellent website: nzpoetryshelf.com


She is publishing 100 individual Latvian poems as little cardboard books with art by various well-known Latvian illustrators-- to reach pre-school children and their families in particular! Check out FB.com/bikibuks


This panel featured poetry exclusively and here Helen O'Carroll talked about verse novels including works by Holly Thompson, Allan Wolf, Kwame Alexander, Ann E. Burg, and Karen Hesse, as well as Australian and New Zealand novels in verse.

Here's an example of the reader response to THE WATCH THAT ENDS THE NIGHT by Allan Wolf from a NZ teen.


American professor and author Chris Crowe shared the fascinating process that emerged as he created his novel in verse, DEATH COMING UP THE HILL about a teen struggling with war in the world and in his family, written entirely in haiku and containing one syllable for each soldier who died in the Vietnam War.


Check out this shelf of poetry books at the downtown public library (including UNBEELIEVABLES, ECHO ECHO, WATER SINGS BLUE), plus the first issue of the NZ School Journal, THE source of literature provided to ALL NZ children for years and years-- including now.

A participatory magnetic poetry wall at the main cultural museum (Te Papa) in Wellington, the capital of New Zealand.

Yes, National Poetry Day is held on the last Friday of August every year in New Zealand (since 1997) and there are tons of activities planned for all ages. Wish I could stay for it!


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38. ‘Mirror in Mind’ by Seunghee Kim

A woman looks into her mind, chasing her ideals on a tightrope.

The post ‘Mirror in Mind’ by Seunghee Kim appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

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39. Audible Accepting Submissions.

http://audiblerange.com/categories/inside-audible/audible-announces-a-new-collaboration-with-ted/?source_code=SNGGBWS0428160007

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40. Book Review: The Winner's Kiss by Marie Rutkoski

Title: The Winner's Kiss
Author: Marie Rutkoski
Published: 2016
Source: ARC from a friend

Summary: Kestrel has been banished to a frigid northern work camp. Drugged and beaten, she struggles to remain defiant, but finally succumbs. When she is rescued, it's going to be a long, long road back to who she used to be.

Meanwhile, Arin is fighting for the future of his country, trying to oust the Valorian invaders and rebuild what was smashed to rubble. Reunited with Kestrel, he struggles with his emotions over previous events and the betrayal that wasn't.

It's a harrowing journey for both Arin and Kestrel to freedom for the Herrani people, and to personal happiness.

First Impressions: Arrrrgh so gooooooood.

Later On: As you can probably tell from my first impressions, I'm not exactly unbiased about this series. I adored the first two books for their mix of the great fate of nations and the intimate fate of people, and how powerfully each can affect the other. The end of the second book left everything in rubble, so I was anxious to see how Rutkoski resurrected her characters.

Refreshingly, Arin and Kestrel do not fall into each others' arms when he rescues her from the work camp. There's too much pain and betrayal between them for that, and Kestrel is far too broken to focus on anything but putting herself back together.
Kestrel's memory returns in fits and starts, and some pieces remain patchy until the end (and, one suspects, will do forever). But she is still Kestrel, brilliant and crafty and occasionally ruthless, yet still impacted by her family ties and history.

Arin, for his part, is struggling between the two sides of this woman and trying to simultaneously forgive himself for his anger and to forgive her the things that she's done, as well as trying to be the ruler that he seems to have been elected.

This book, and the whole series, are deeply satisfying on both the grand-fate-of-nations and the intimate-fate-of-people fronts.

More: My review of the first book
Waking Brain Cells
Book Nut
Cuddlebuggery

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41. Call for Entries: Annies and VES Awards

Award season in animation means not just the Oscars, but also the Annies and the VES Awards.

The post Call for Entries: Annies and VES Awards appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

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42. OPEN MIC: RIFFS ON LIFE BETWEEN CULTURES IN TEN VOICES Now in Paperback!

I'm excited to announce that Candlewick Press has just released the paperback version of OPEN MIC: RIFFS ON LIFE BETWEEN CULTURES IN TEN VOICES!

Open Mic | Candlewick | 12 years and up


Download a Classroom or Book Club Guide

Listen in as ten YA authors—some familiar, some new—use their own brand of humor to share their stories about growing up between cultures. This collection of fiction and nonfiction embraces a mix of styles as diverse as their authors, from laugh-out-loud funny to wry, ironic, or poignant, in prose, poetry, and comic form. With contributions by Cherry Cheva, Varian Johnson, Naomi Shihab Nye, Mitali Perkins, Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich, Debby Rigaud, Francisco X. Stork, Gene Luen Yang, and David Yoo.


"Open Mic: Riffs On Life Between Cultures in Ten Voices" by Mitali Perkins, created by Ali, a student at The Bubbler.

REVIEWS

"[Open Mic] will leave readers thinking about the ways that humor can be a survival tool in a world that tends to put people in boxes." — Publishers Weekly

"Naomi Shihab Nye offers an eloquent poem about her Arab American dad, whose open friendliness made him 'Facebook before it existed.' David Yoo, Debbie Rigaud, Varian Johnson, and Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich also contribute stories to this noteworthy anthology, which robustly proves Perkins’ assertion that 'funny is powerful.'” — Horn Book Magazine


"Teachers will find some powerful material here about how the young can become discomfited and find solace in their multifaceted cultural communities." — School Library Journal


"...David Yoo’s excellent 'Becoming Henry Lee' is the one that will probably elicit the most laughs. But all invite sometimes rueful smiles or chuckles of recognition. And all demonstrate that in the specific we find the universal, and that borders are meant to be breached." — ALA Booklist







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43. Sad News

@Godfox
Summer skies between Lichfield and Burton, July 2016

Dear friends, some readers may have heard that my father passed away very recently, his illness this year has been one reason for my recent silence on the blog, though other various factors have also had a major part.

I had hoped to post a full tribute to my dad, but I've been asked by family not to share our grief on social media. I will be back shortly with illustration and art related posts however.

Many thanks for your understanding.

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44. The smell of brand new sharpened pencils...ahhh.


Hi Friends,

Back to school time has always been one of my favorite times of year. There is an amazing energy in the air! Can you feel it?

While I was raising my own daughter we would anticipate the school year with both excitement and a nervous energy at the same time. There was fun school clothes shopping and getting all of the needed supplies on the list. I still adore the smell of a box brand new crayons and sharpened pencils!

There were also butterflies in our tummies at the thought of meeting new teachers, seeing old friends from the previous year and meeting brand new ones, too.

For me, as a mom who worked at home, it was also a time of feeling a burst of new creativity and energy on the cool autumn mornings. I couldn't wait to dive into new projects when I had a full day with no interruptions.

I created this print remembering all of those wonderful teachers who helped influence and mold my daughter and myself into what we are today. It makes a lovely gift for those special teachers in our lives.

For a limited time I am offering
this print for 30% off by using the special code: TeacherThanks at checkout.



I want to wish you all a wonderful new school year and thank you for being a part of our wonderful community. I am so grateful for each and every one of you!

Phyllis


Gifts that give back
Phyllis Harris Designs & You – Giving the gift of love and healing
Every purchase of a heart-warming Phyllis Harris Designs illustration print donates 5 percent of every illustration print sold from our website to Children's Mercy Hospital.  

FOLLOW ME ON SOCIAL MEDIA
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45. Review: The 2016 Arthur C. Clarke Award Shortlist, part 2

The second part of my review of this year's Clarke shortlist is now online at Strange Horizons, covering Arcadia by Iain Pears, Europe at Midnight by Dave Hutchinson, and The Book of Phoenix by Nnedi Okorafor.  You can find it here, and in case you haven't already read part 1, that's here.  The actual winner will be announced in London in a few hours, but as I write in the conclusion to the

46. Not recommended: Michaela MacColl's THE LOST ONES

Right now, in my social media networks, private and public conversations are taking place. People are--to put it mildly--objecting to what Michaela MacColl has written in The Lost Ones. It purports to be a story about two Native children who ended up at Carlisle Indian Industrial School, and is told from the perspective of the girl, Casita.

MacColl's book is due out in October of 2016 from Calkins Creek, which is an imprint of Highlights. It is in their "Hidden Histories" series, which begs a question. Who is this history "hidden" from? The Lost Ones is being marketed as one in which MacColl (she isn't Native) and her publisher, are doing A Good Thing. They are Saving Native People and our history from being hidden.

I wonder, though, is MacColl the right person to write and tell this story? The two children in the book were real children. Does MacColl have what she needs to tell this very delicate story, with the integrity the children deserve?

My short answer is no. The promotional language for the book echoes what I found in the story, too. With The Lost Ones, we have a story about Good White People Doing Good Things for Native Kids. Yuck.

The Author's Note

People may argue that MacColl did her homework. In the Author's Note, she says that she reached out to "Richard Gonzales, Vice Chairman of the Lipan Band of Texas." He met with her and in that meeting, suggested she talk with Daniel Romero, who is "Chairman of the Lipan Band of Texas."

Sounds legit, right? Here's the thing, reviewers and editors, and writers, too! It can be very hard to determine if your sources are ok.

I wonder if MacColl knows, for example, that this "Lipan Band of Texas" is not recognized by the federal government, or the State of Texas, either. The one recognized by the State of Texas is the Lipan Tribe of Texas. See the difference? The first says "Band" and the second says "Tribe." Does that matter? I think so. I may return to that later.

For now, let's read more in the Author's Note.

In the first paragraph in the section titled "Lipan Apache or Ndé," MacColl writes that she uses Ndé in the story rather than Apache, because Ndé is what Casita would have used. That's right, but as I read the story, I saw one instance after another in which MacColl's outsider status was glaring. Using Ndé instead of Apache is an easy "fix" in a manuscript. All one needs to do is use those nifty word processing features that let you replace one word with another, in one fell swoop. I don't think MacColl did that, but when I read Casita thinking of Changing Woman as a goddess, I can't help but see MacColl's use of Ndé as superficial. Here's why.

MacColl uses an outsider word ("occupied") when she says, on page 236, that "Lipan Apache occupied southeastern Texas and northern Mexico." How does a people (in this case, Apaches) "occupy" their own homeland?

In the next paragraph, she writes that the Lipans conducted raids and often killed Texas settlers. She tells us that they "caused an estimated $48,000,000 worth of property damage (measured in today's dollars)" over a ten year period (p. 237). Most people reading this paragraph will be taken aback by that $48,000,000 of property damage. Sympathies will be with the White settlers. Where, I wonder, is her estimate of what the Lipans lost?

MacColl tells us that she's veered from the historical record as follows:

  • Casita and her little brother, Jack, were taken captive in 1877, but there's no record of it, so she uses details from an 1873 event in which the 4th Calvary went into Mexico, destroyed several villages, and took 40 captives.
  • Casita and Jack were taken in by "a military man and his wife, Lt. Charles and Mollie Smith" (p. 239) who traveled from base to base during the three years they had Casita and Jack with them, but for the story she chose to tell, MacColl kept the Smith's (and Casita and Jack) at Fort Clark. 
  • Because so little is known about Mollie Smith, MacColl created her as a Quaker interested in social justice, and writes that in her story "Mollie takes in two Indian children, despite the disapproval of her military husband, to prove the Quaker theory that the Indians can be tamed with kindness" (p. 239).

Quite honestly--I blanched when I read "tamed with kindness." This is in the Author's Note, where MacColl could discredit the "tamed with kindness" theory (I haven't looked it up), but she didn't. She lets it stand. The back cover tells us the book will be promoted at educational and library conferences, which means they plan to pitch it as something teachers can use to teach kids about these two children. As written, the note suggests that Native peoples needed to be tamed.

One could argue that the story itself is more important than the dates of when the children were captured, but would we make that argument about, say, a fictional work about Abraham Lincoln? I think not. And though the Author's Note tells us what MacColl did in writing the story, the language throughout the Note and the story itself, are ones that affirm and confirm a White perspective on Native peoples. In the note, MacColl wonders if Casita ever got to "perform" her "Changing Woman dance." Her use of "perform" is wrong. Our rituals are not performances. We wouldn't say that a girl performed her First Holy Communion, right? It is the same thing.

The Story

I finished reading The Lost Ones last night. As I read, I stuck tabs on pages. My copy has a lot of tags in it, see? I ran out of tabs, or you'd see more. (The different colored tabs mean nothing.)

Some of the tabs point to the places where the text reads "Changing Woman Goddess" or "the Goddess." One of them points to a part where Casita thinks "It seemed impossible that any ritual could really give someone as ordinary as herself magical powers" (p. 21). Because she is captured, Casita doesn't go through the ceremony. It is a recurring plot point in the story and is where the story ends, too, when Casita is at Carlisle. In the final chapter, a Lakota girl named Eyota is sick. The Lipan kids decide they can replicate the Changing Woman ceremony so that Casita can heal Eyota. The ceremony is described, in detail. That, I assume, is why the promotional material characterizes the story as one in which Casita tries to hold on to her Lipan Apache traditions. But there are problems with all of this! Neither "goddess" or "magical power" are appropriate! Remember in the author note, MacColl wrote about using Ndé because that is what Casita would use? I seriously doubt that Casita or her mother would use "goddess" or "magical power" and I strongly believe that the Lipan Apache people, today, would not be okay with the description of the ceremony. See, for example, a proclamation issued by the Lipan Apache Tribe of Texas that speaks specifically to ceremonies being done by the Lipan Apache Band. 

On page 27 when Casita's village is being attacked and she sees her mom standing defiantly with an axe, Casita "hollered a war cry" and "felt a thrill of pride; this was what it was to be Ndé!" MacColl, thru Casita, tells readers that fighting is what being Ndé is about?! That is definitely an outsider characterization!

On page 38, Casita "asked Usen, the chief of all the spirits, to bless this place" (the burnt village and bodies of her mother and others who were killed in the attack). I've never seen "chief of all spirits" used by Native people...

I could say a lot more about the book, but will stop. It is deeply flawed.

The book includes a two-page Afterword from Daniel Castro Romero. I wonder if he read the entire manuscript? Is he ok with the story that MacColl created? Did he think it okay, for example, for her to create Ndé women who use the word "goddess"? I hope not. But, as noted above, he's the Chairman of the Lipan Band, which is doing the ceremonies that the Lipan Tribe's proclamation is about. I think that MacColl was on a slippery slope from the very start. She wanted to do something good but there was far too much potential for this story to fail. And, for me, it did.

0 Comments on Not recommended: Michaela MacColl's THE LOST ONES as of 1/1/1900
47. Values

I was raised with honesty
The uncontested rule,
A policy that was enforced
At home and, too, at school.

An object found by chance or luck,
I very quickly learned,
Could never be embraced as mine,
But had to be returned.

The wrong change given in a store?
An error being billed?
I’d proudly point them out; those values
Solidly instilled.

But times have somehow changed and now
Things don’t seem black or white.
My conscience sometimes grapples with
What may be wrong or right.

And so, instead of pride, I felt
A sense of ridicule
When, admitting that I’d underpaid,
I looked more like a fool.

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48. Alamo All Stars

Alamo All-Stars (Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales #6) 2016. Abrams. 128 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: Three hundred families...land grand....Texas...almost home.

Premise/plot: Nathan Hale and his two pals (the hangman and the British Officer) are joined by Juan Seguin and his three executioners (firing squad, I believe?) to tell the story of the Alamo. It doesn't rush into the story of the Alamo though. Readers learn about Mexico declaring its independence from Spain, the setting up and deposing of several Mexican governments, the arrival, with permission, of American settlers (families) into Texas, the clashes and near-clashes of those settlers with the native tribes in Texas (all given names, I won't mention them all here) and with the Mexican government. Not all Mexican leaders welcomed the idea of settlers, some feared that the more settlers there were, the more likely they would rebel and claim Texas for their very own. Readers learn about Stephen F. Austin, Jim Bowie, Sam Houston, Davy Crockett, William Travis, etc. Some of the people we learn about center around the Alamo--lived, fought, and died at the Alamo--some not. The book explores why they were fighting, what they thought they were fighting for, and their strong personalities that certainly didn't always help in their decision making.

My thoughts: Though a Texan, Texas history has not been my strongest subject especially when I was in school! I found this book a lot more interesting than a textbook. It also helps knowing that I'll never be quizzed on the subject again. Quite the difference between reading for the story and reading to remember names, dates, and places.

There were a LOT of characters in this one. It was fun that our familiar gang was joined by four more. Juan Seguin and his executioners added something to the story. I liked how the hangman came to get along with them and wanted to have a sleepover.

© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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49. Bloggers

If approached correctly, bloggers can be your book's best friend.

https://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/2016/06/27/5-ways-to-make-a-blogger-want-to-stab-us-in-the-face/

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50. Josh Cochran

Josh Cochran

Josh Cochran’s portfolio is a colorful wonderland that is dense with detail and color. Working with muted tones and hand drawn lines, he creates charming monsters and imaginative environments that one could stare at for hours. His whimsical characters have found their way into conceptual illustrations for The New Yorker and large murals for the U.S. Open and Warby Parker. To keep up with his work, make sure to follow him on Instagram.

Josh Chochran

Josh Chochran

Josh Cochran

Josh Cochran

Josh Cochran

Josh Cochran

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Webuyyourkids
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Josh Brill Interview

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