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<<October 2016>>
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1. Fun books to read for Halloween

Halloween is almost here and it's the perfect time to read a spook-tacular Halloween themed books.

Here are a few not too spooky Halloween books for our young readers:

Go away, big green monster! by Ed Emberely
Die-cut pages through which bits of a monster are revealed are designed to help a child control nighttime fears of monsters.

Does a cow say boo? by Judy Hindley
Children on a farm want to know which creature says "boo," and learn about animal sounds as they search. 

Room on the broom by Julia Donaldson
A witch finds room on her broom for all the animals that ask for a ride, and they repay her kindness by rescuing her from a dragon.

Otter loves Halloween! by Sam Garton
Otter and Teddy celebrate Halloween.

Big pumpkin by Erica Silverman

A witch trying to pick a big pumpkin on Halloween discovers the value of cooperation when she gets help from a series of monsters.  

The little old lady who was not afraid of anything by Linda Williams
A  little old lady who is not afraid of anything must deal with a pumpkin head, a tall black hat, and other spooky objects that follow her through the dark woods trying to scare her.

For our older readers looking for a scary story to tell in the dark:

Scary stories to tell in the dark by Alvin Schwartz
This spooky addition to Alvin Schwartz's popular books on American folklore is filled with tales of eerie horror and dark revenge that will make you jump with fright.

In a creepy, creepy place and other scary stories by Judith Gorog

A collection of scary stories with unpredictable events and bizarre characters.

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2. Breaking: Oscar-Winning Studio Moonbot Lays Off Employees After Possible Studio Sale

Moonbot is laying off employees in Louisiana, but might be growing even larger in Florida.

The post Breaking: Oscar-Winning Studio Moonbot Lays Off Employees After Possible Studio Sale appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

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3. Trusting God Through a Miscarriage (Part 1 of 2)

by Sally Matheny

Trusting God Through a Miscarriage
(photo by Pixabay)
Not even the startling, cold lubricant squeezed onto my belly could stifle my excited chatter.

I was on the verge of being the first one to hear a great secret—the gender of our third baby!

Earlier that day, I had taken our seven-and nine-year old daughters to a sitter. They wanted to go with me for my 12-week check up. I told them the following month’s appointment would be an ultrasound. I assured them they could go with me, and their daddy, to see the baby growing inside my tummy then.

Now, here I was, by myself about to hear the big reveal earlier than expected. Finding it difficult to locate the tiny baby with his stethoscope, the doctor asked how I felt about an ultrasound to see if I was as far along as we thought.

I happily agreed but told him he’d have to do another one next month because I’d promised my girls. Plus, my husband was out of town on business so there was no way he could get there in time to see today’s ultrasound.

So, I felt like I was special since I was about to receive some exciting news before everyone else. What a nice gift to receive after enduring three months of nausea!

“If I’m not as far along as we expected will you still be able to tell if it’s a boy or girl?” I asked.

“Maybe. We’ll see,” the tech said as she slid the probe around.

A few seconds later, she added, “There’s the baby.”

“Awww, it looks like it’s waving,” I said, noticing five, distinct, widespread fingers held in front of a profiled head and nose.

My heart pounded, waiting for her to tell me the big news. Boy? Or girl?
A few more swipes. She announces, “Okay. The doctor will be in to see you in just a minute,” as she leaves the room.

Odd. Maybe the tech isn’t allowed to say anything and has to wait for the doctor.

A few minutes later, the doctor comes in and repeats the same movements over my belly. It’s awfully quiet in the room until the doctor grunts a low and short, “hmm.”

I feel my enthusiasm fade in the dimly lit room. Something isn’t right.
Read more »

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4. Query Letters

There are some things you should NOT include in your query letter.


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5. Coloring Page Tuesday - Halloween Story Time

     Halloween is Monday - are you ready? If you don't want to hand out candy, and you aren't a business, feel free to hand out my coloring pages instead! CLICK HERE for more Halloween-themed coloring pages!
     CLICK HERE to sign up to receive alerts when a new coloring page is posted each week and... Please check out my books! Especially...
my debut novel, A BIRD ON WATER STREET - winner of six literary awards. Click the cover to learn more!
     When the birds return to Water Street, will anyone be left to hear them sing? A miner's strike allows green and growing things to return to the Red Hills, but that same strike may force residents to seek new homes and livelihoods elsewhere. Follow the story of Jack Hicks as he struggles to hold onto everything he loves most.
     I create my coloring pages for teachers, librarians, booksellers, and parents to enjoy for free with their children, but you can also purchase rights to an image for commercial use, please contact me. If you have questions about usage, please visit my Angel Policy page.

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6. Monday Poetry Stretch - List Poem for Fall

A list poem is a carefully crafted list, catalog, or inventory of things. Robert Lee Brewer of Poetic Asides writes this in his article List Poem: A Surprisingly American Poem:
The list poem was used by the Greeks and in many books of the Bible. But two of the most popular American poems, Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself” and Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl,” are list poems. So what is a list poem? 
Basically, a list poem (also known as a catalog poem) is a poem that lists things, whether names, places, actions, thoughts, images, etc. It’s a very flexible and fun form to work with.
What is it about list poems that makes them so accessible? Perhaps it's because the list is so ubiquitous in our lives. Everyone makes lists, so finding them in poetry is not unexpected and makes them seem familiar.

In the book Conversations With a Poet: Inviting Poetry into K-12 Classrooms (2005), written by Betsy Franco, the chapter devoted to the list poem includes this background and helpful information.
The list poem or catalog poem consists of a list or inventory of things. Poets started writing list poems thousands of years ago. They appear in lists of family lineage in the Bible and in the lists of heroes in the Trojan War in Homer's Iliad.  
Characteristics Of A List Poem
  • A list poem can be a list or inventory of items, people, places, or ideas.
  • It often involves repetition.
  • It can include rhyme or not.
  • The list poem is usually not a random list. It is well thought out.
  • The last entry in the list is usually a strong, funny, or important item or event.
Your challenge for this week is to write a list poem about fall, or Halloween, or something October-y. Please share a link to your poem or the poem itself in the comments.

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7. Monday Review: GEMINI by Sonya Mukherjee

This is one of the most gorgeous and effectivecovers I've seen. I love it.Synopsis: Clara and Hailey are twin sisters, and like a lot of sisters, they are closer than close one moment, but in the next, they get on each other's last nerve. Hailey is... Read the rest of this post

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8. Wildlife Photos by Mary Nida Smith


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9. ‘Superhero’ by Kris Merc

Music video for Kool Keith x MF Doom's "Superhero."

The post ‘Superhero’ by Kris Merc appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

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10. Top Children’s Literary Agents


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11. Bird Bath

While wandering some wooded paths
We witnessed warblers taking baths.
Some rocky croppings, they’d detected,
Had some dips where rain collected.

Several types of birds appeared
And waited ‘til the “bathtubs” cleared.
Taking turns, they each immersed
While those in waiting chirp-conversed.

The bathing birds, a’frenzied, flapped
As water droplets rose and slapped.
I couldn’t tell if all that preening
Was for show or simply cleaning.

Concrete jungle thoughts aside,
In New York City, we’re supplied
With lots of Nature’s hidden treasures;
Spotting them provides sweet pleasures.

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12. It’s Tuesday! Write. Give. Share.

It's Tuesday! Time to write, share and give!

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13. Savaged Lands

Savaged Lands. Lana Kortchik. 2016. 292 pages. [Source: Bought]

First sentence: It was a balmy September afternoon and the streets of Kiev were crowded. Just like always, cars screeched past the famous Besarabsky Market. And just like always, a stream of pedestrians engulfed the cobbled Kreshchatyk. Yet something was different. No one smiled, no one called out greetings or paused for a leisurely conversation in the shade of the many chestnut trees that lined the renowned street. On every grim face, in every mute mouth, in the way they moved – a touch faster than usual – there was anxiety, fear and unease. And only three teenagers seemed oblivious to the oddly hushed bustle around them.

Premise/plot: Natasha Smirnova's world is turned upside down by the Nazi's invasion of her hometown of Kiev in September 1941. Savaged Lands chronicles her life during the war.

My thoughts: I almost loved this one. I did. Why the almost? The love scenes were a bit too graphic for my personal taste. (I like things on the clean side). What did I love about it? The drama and intensity of it. The ugliness of war and the messiness of family life come together in this historical novel. I also thought the author did a good job creating complex characters. Not every single character perhaps. But the main characters certainly.

What did I like about it? The romance. The romance is both the novel's biggest strength and greatest weakness. It all depends on YOU the reader. If you love ROMANCE, if you love romance with DRAMA, with OBSTACLES, then you may love, love, love this one. It wouldn't be a stretch to say this one is more about a 19 year old girl falling madly, deeply in love for the first time than it is a novel about the second world war. If you love HISTORY more than romance, you might feel that too much emphasis is placed on her weak-in-the-knees, heart-pounding romance. Her life is practically unrecognizable, she's lost immediate family members, and all her thoughts are consumed in HIM. All the time it's him, him, him, HIM. (His name is Mark, I believe)

This one has plenty of tension and conflict. Is it good drama? or too melodramatic? I think again this is up to each reader. The conflict between Lisa and Natasha--two sisters--is very real and takes up a good portion of this one. Definitely gives readers something to think about as they keep turning pages.

© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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14. PACKAGING - sainsbury's

Talking of Sainsbury's I noticed that they have recently repackaged their own label bakery products using repeat pattern designs. Just a little mention really but it caught my eye as I love to see pattern in use wherever it pops up.

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15. Guest Post: Author-Illustrator Ambelin Kwaymullina on Ethics, Process & Own Voices

By Ambelin Kwaymullina
for Cynthia Leitich Smith's Cynsations

The first of a four-installment dialogue with Ambelin and Cynthia. 

Our focus is on the creative life and process, speculative fiction, diversity, privilege, indigenous literature, and books for young readers.

I am an Aboriginal author, illustrator and law academic who comes from the Palyku people of Australia.

And I am an Own Voices advocate, by which I mean, I promote the stories told by marginalised peoples about our own experiences rather than stories told by outsiders.

I’ve written before that I don’t believe the absence of diversity from kids lit to be a ‘diversity problem.' I believe it to be a privilege problem that is caused by structures, behaviours and attitudes that consistently privilege one set of voices over another.

Moreover, the same embedded patterns that (for example) consistently privilege White voices over those of Indigenous peoples and Peoples of Colour will also work to privilege outsider voices over insider ones, at least to some degree.

The insider voices, of those fully aware of the great complexities and contradictions of insider existence, will always be more difficult to read and less likely to conform to outsider expectations as to the lives and stories of ‘Others’.

Insider stories can therefore be read as less ‘true’ or trap an insider author in a familiar double-bind – if we write of some of the bleaker aspect of our existence we’re told we’re writing ‘issues’ books; if we don’t we’re accused of inauthenticity.

I would like to think that as an Indigenous woman, I have some insight into marginalisation not my own. I have always thought that any experience of injustice should always increase our empathy and push us towards a greater understanding of injustice in other contexts.

But that does not mean my experiences equate to that of other peoples.

In an Australian context, I have said that I do not believe non-Indigenous authors should be writing Indigenous characters from first person perspective or deep third, because I don’t think a privilege problem can be solved by writers of privilege speaking in the voices of the marginalised.

And I apply the same limitation to myself in relation to experiences and identities not my own.

Ibi Zoboi recently wrote powerfully to the perils of the desire to ‘help’, noting that White-Man’s-Burdenism is not limited to White people. I run writing workshops for peoples who come from many different backgrounds of marginalisation, and as a storyteller, it is tempting to enact that instinct to ‘help’ into a narrative, to highlight the struggles of workshop participants in one of my own stories.

But between the thought and the action must come the process by which I determine if I am really helping at all.

So I ask myself, is the story mine to tell? The answer is no, of course; their stories are their own and their pain is not my source material.

The only way in which I would write from someone else’s perspective is in equitable partnership with someone from that group (where copyright, royalties and credit are shared).

This would not necessarily mean we each wrote half a novel. The other person may not write a word; their contribution could be in opening a window onto insider existence and correcting the mistakes an outsider inevitably makes.

I’ve had people tell me that this is the job of a sensitivity reader. But I am cautious about the boundaries of that relationship because I think there are cases where the input of an insider advisor infuses the narrative to such a degree that they are really a co-author and should be treated as such.

I don’t think the question is who wrote what words, but whether the story could have been told at all but for the contribution of the insider.

Someone once told me that I was restricting myself as a storyteller. I don’t believe I am.

I am acknowledging boundaries, but boundaries do not necessarily limit or restrict. Boundaries can define a safe operating space, for myself and for others, and respect for individual and collective boundaries is part and parcel of acknowledging the inherent dignity of all human beings.

I have begun co-writing a speculative fiction YA novel that is told from the perspectives of two girls: one Chinese, and one Indigenous. I am writing the Indigenous girl, and Chinese-Australian author Rebecca Lim is writing the Chinese girl.

The original idea for the story was Rebecca’s, but already it is changing as we each negotiate our own identities and experiences.

This is not a story that is restricted by boundaries; it is one that would not exist without them. In the writing of it, Rebecca and I are creating something that is greater than the sum of both of us – and in such stories, I see the future.

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16. पान मसाला खाने के नुकसान हैं या फायदे

पान मसाला खाने के नुकसान हैं या फायदे ये हमे ही सोचना है सिग्रेट पीते हुए हम वाकई ग्रेट लगते हैं या ये  सी ग़्रेड चीज है  … ये हमारी सोच पर है और यकीनन अगर हम अपने बच्चो से अपने परिवार से प्यार करते हैं तो हमें समझादारी से काम लेना होगा   है ना […]

The post पान मसाला खाने के नुकसान हैं या फायदे appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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17. बेड़ियाँ

उम्र के संग संग,
अड़ियल हो जाते है हम,
कल को पकड़कर,
कल तक ले जाते है हम,

बाँध देते है एहसास की नाव,
आँसुओं के समुंद्र तट पर,
बीत जाती है खुशियाँ,
तड़पते मन, झड़पते हट पर,

खुद को ही अंधेरे में,
झोंक देते है हम सब,
खटखटाए जो मुस्कान, 
लगते है पल, कम तब,

बढ़ती उम्र के साथ,
बढ़ती जाती है उलझने,
न ढूँढ पाते है कोई दवा,
न दिख पाती है सुलझने, 

इन्सा की फ़ितरत देखो,
हैरत कर देती है,
गम का डर सताता है, उससे,
खुशियाँ जो देती है,     

पंख के नाम पर,
अक्सर मूक हो जाते है,
चाहते हुए साथ किसी का,
तन्हाइयों से चिपक जाते है,

गुस्से और हट को हम,
समझदारी का नाम देते है,
दिल जो बोले सच्चाई,
झूठ का उसको इनाम देते है,

आज़ादी की इस चाहत में,
गुलाम ही बने रहते है,
खुद को बाँधते है बेड़ियाँ,
दूजो का इल्ज़ाम कहते है |

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18. The Great Antonio by Elise Gravel, 64pp, RL 2

The Great Antonio is Elise Gravel's loving tribute to Antonio Barichievich, the Croatian born strong man who was a Montreal fixture for many years. The Great Antonio is also yet another superb beginning reader from the fantastic TOON Books. Gravel begins this fanciful story of the life of this giant of a man speculating about his possible parentage and wondering about his childhood in Croatia. This may seem like an odd subject for a beginning reader, but Gravel tells Antonio's story with a playful tone that is immediately engaging.

To show readers just how HUGE Antonio was, she shows his clothes (a cat could sleep in his shoe, but it was quite smelly) and his eating habits. She also shows reader the various opponents he wrestled and the many enormous, heaving things he lifted and pulled.

 Antonio was larger than life and stories about him border on the unbelievable. Reading Gravel's author notes at the end of the book helped me get a perspective on this strange - for a beginning reader, anyway - story. Gravel shares that one of her favorite authors is Roald Dahl, who "got her interested in unusual people and animals," saying that she is, "attracted to anyone who is STRANGE or FUNNY." Growing up in Montreal, Gravel was very familiar with this strange and funny man. Like Sampson, Antonio had magnificent hair - long, thick dreadlocks that fell to the ground and were often used to pull buses. Or, Antonio would put metal in his braids and use them as golf clubs and more.

Gravel gives The Great Antonio the feel of a tall tale, speculating about his life and his feats but also respectfully sharing the stranger aspects of it. Near the end of his life, Antonio chose to live on the streets of Montreal, using a donut shop as his office. Gravel tells readers that, when he died, a mountain of flowers was left at his favorite table at the donut shop. Antonio himself may have created this air of mystery about himself, lending to his larger than life persona. In her author notes, Gravel shares that, after his death, many of his "wild stories" were proven to be true!

Source: Review Copy

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19. Rune Fisker

Rune Fisker

Rune Fisker’s illustrations are vignettes of a curious and surreal land. The blank and emotionless faces of his characters add a dose of mystery to his dreamlike landscapes full of leafy vegetation, flying household items, and geometric accents. By depicting just glimpses of each narrative, he creates scenes that are enticingly ambiguous and bound to spark the viewer’s imagination.

Rune Fisker

Rune Fisker

Rune Fisker

Rune Fisker

Rune Fisker


Also worth viewing:

Raúl Soria
Andrea Dell’Anna
Caitlin Keegan

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Thanks to this week's Sponsor // Foto Sushi

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20. महिला और समाज – भारतीय समाज में नारी का स्थान

महिला और समाज – भारतीय समाज में नारी का स्थान – हाल ही में हम महिलाओं से जुडे दो बेहद खास त्योहार गए. करवा चौथ और अहोई अष्टमी का. पर नेट पर तो मानों मजाक बनाने वालो की बाढ सी आ गई. बहुत ही ज्यादा मजाक बनाया गया. कुछ अच्छा भी लगा तो कुछ बुरा भी… महिला […]

The post महिला और समाज – भारतीय समाज में नारी का स्थान appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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21. 2017 VFX Oscar Contenders: From Most-Likely To The Outliers

Who are the likely contenders for a visual effects Oscar? And which films might surprise this year?

The post 2017 VFX Oscar Contenders: From Most-Likely To The Outliers appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

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22. KIDS DESIGN - sainsbury's TU A/W16

Today I have some snapshots of the latest Autumn/Winter children's clothes at Sainsbury's. They retail their clothing under the brand TU and for Autumn Sainsbury's have brought us Owls, woodland flora and fauna, and ducks in the rain. For winter there are plenty of bear designs for boys, either camping style, skiing, or in woolly hats. For girls their are Scandinavian style birds. Here are my

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23. Second Printing!

A Family Is a Family Is a Family is going into second printing and I am so joy-filled I could be a drawing by Qin Leng!

While I'm here, could I ask a favour? We've been very lucky with reviews (stars from Kirkus, School Library Journal, and Publishers Weekly) but it would be nice to have a few more reader reviews up here if anyone has the time or inclination. Thanks!

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24. Fusenews: Moominlatte

Good morning!  I’d like to begin today by thanking the good people of Foundation 65 for allowing me to moderate a panel discussion last night with Duncan Tonatiuh, Grace Lin, Matt de la Pena, Janice Harrington, and Steve Sheinkin.  Foundation 65 has created this cool program where these authors are visiting every single child in the Evanston, IL public school system this week.  I helped kick it off, which was lovely.  In this image you’ll see me in a rare moment of not lolling all over the podium (there was no seat high enough for me to sit on, and my heels were killing me).



Travis just offered a fascinating look at the recently released Follett statistics of what children around the country are checking out.  It’s simultaneously unsurprising and disheartening.  If you’re into that feeling, check the list out here.


Gotta hand it to Bookriot.  When they came up with a list of 9 Kids Books That Should Be In Print, they did their due diligence.  No mention of Hey, Pizza Man, but otherwise impeccable.  I have a copy of Trouble for Trumpets of my very own, so I can attest to its awesomeness, and The Church Mouse should definitely find a new audience.  Well written, Danika Ellis.


Two Harold and the Purple Crayon related posts appeared around the same time last week.  The first was from The Ugly Volvo (a.k.a. my replacement for The Toast) called Harold’s Mother and the Purple Crayon.  The other was Phil Nel’s piece How to Read Harold in which he reveals the possible subject of his next book.  There are also some pretty keen links at the end.  Go to it!


This one’s neat.  Middle school teachers Julie Sternberg and Marcie Colleen have collected short audio clips in which storytellers share memories from their childhood.  They write,

“For each memory, we propose writing prompts for students as well as questions for classroom discussion.  Topics range from moments when storytellers have experienced bullying or been bullies themselves; to the first time they remember doing something they knew to be wrong; to difficulties in their home lives; to the effects of keeping secrets.  We hope each story helps kids think through issues that can be difficult to address but impossible to avoid.”

The site is called Play Me a Memory and contributors include everyone from Sarah Weeks and Kat Yeh to Michael Buckley and Matthew Cordell.  If you’re looking for writing prompts to share with kids, this site may prove inspirational.


This is neat:


It’s like fanart for a really recent picture book.  Cool stuff, Migy.


I know Dana Sheridan says that artist Aliisa Lee’s illustrations of classic folktale characters are “manga characters”, but I think the adaptations go a bit further.  These creations look particularly Pokemon-esque.  I could see me capturing one in a public space.  Couldn’t you?

Now for a double shot of espresso/adorableness:


Thanks to Marjorie Ingall for the link.


I outsource some of my knowledge of children’s literature to those better suited than I.  For example, if you were to ask me what the best Christian books series out there might be, I’d probably hem and haw and then excuse myself to the ladies room where I would attempt to climb out the window.  Author/illustrator Aaron Zenz, however, knows his stuff.  Recently he said that the best series is Adam Raccoon and that the books are now officially back-in-print.  FYI, Christian reader type folks!


Just the loveliest piece was written recently at the Horn Book by Sergio Ruzzier about his time looking at the work of Arnold Lobel and James Marshall at the Kerlan Collection.  And though I might take issue with the idea that Marshall’s humans were less charming than his animals, the piece is an utterly fascinating look at the process of the two men.


Daily Image:

And for our last image of the day, we turn once again to good old upcoming Halloween:


Reminds me of the time I went to the Dan Quayle Museum and saw the Fabergé Egg that showed him being sworn in as VP (<— all that I just said is true).  Thanks to Marci for the link.


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25. Writing from the Inside Out. . . Interview with Author/Illustrator Ken Lamug + Spooky Halloween giveaway

Dear friends,

There's a deliciously spooky Halloween treat waiting for you, but first the winner of last week's giveaway for The Stone and the Bowl by Bish Denham is: Rosemary Basham!! Congratulations, Rosemary! Last week's winner didn't claim her prize, so I pulled a new winner for Pamela Jane's Halloween or Christmas book using random.org. Congratulations to: Heather Sebastian! Thank you for including your e-mail address. I'll be in touch shortly.

NOW. . .Please join me in welcoming the mutli-talented, Author/Illustrator Ken Lamug. Learn about Ken, read his insightful interview about his writing journey and influences, and click on his links for a real spooky preview of his picture book and for lessons in illustration! Thank you, Ken, for your generosity in donating an autographed copy of your book, The Stumps of Flattop Hill. Ken hinted that he might have some extra treats for the winner! So please be sure to leave a comment for Ken for a chance to win!

Kenneth Kit Lamug is an author/illustrator based in Las Vegas, Nevada. He self-published his first children’s book which won a bunch of awards and fulfilled one of his lifelong dream. His most recent books include the macabre children’s fairytale, The Stumps of Flattop Hill (One Peace Books) and the parenting parody book, HURTS LIKE A MOTHER (Doubleday). He has contributed to Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s “Tiny Books of Tiny Stories” and many other publications. Ken has also worked in movies, comics and his photography has been showcased internationally. When he’s not making monsters in the basement, he enjoys other hobbies like working.

The Stumps of Flattop Hill is a macabre tale of a little girl who enters the town’s legendary haunted house in the face of fear. A dark tale for children in the tradition of the Brother’s Grimm, it calls to mind the provocative illustration style of Edward Gorey. Scary and entertaining, this book challenges the idea of what children’s books can be.

The Stumps of Flattop Hill received the Literary Classics Seal of Approval 2016


How did you come up with the storyline?

The Stumps of Flattop Hill was a small idea that started with a rhyme. I didn’t really have a firm idea, so I stowed it away. Then one day, while on a family vacation, we drove past a town called Flat Top (California) and for some reason that name sparked the idea for the story. I was rhyming and thinking of the possibilities all the way to San Francisco.

When I returned, I started writing down the idea and was even inspired by Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven. The haunted house idea came from my childhood experience, where kids daring each other to enter a creepy house was not an unusual event.

I got to work and it all came together a few months later.

Did you like fairytales as a kid?

I grew up in the Philippines which was a melting-pot for many cultures (from Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Middle-Eastern, Western and others). Hearing stories about urban legends, & folktales was just part of growing up.

Grimm fairy tale stories that I read as a child were already westernized versions which were kid-friendly. I enjoyed reading them and watching them on television. The fantastical worlds and mysterious creatures fascinated me.

What really scared me though were the stories that kids would share around the neighborhood. We had monsters that stole babies from pregnant women, dark elves that would cast illness, or ghost that haunted our school hallways.

Those were real to me and has influenced my stories in many ways.

What was your artistic influence for The Stumps of Flattop Hill?

When I first saw some of Gorey’s books I was mesmerized by his technical precision. The detailed line work required a lot of discipline and patience, which was something I lacked at the time. But as I studied more of his books, I also fell in love with his dark humor. I felt that his stories were never straightforward, that something was hidden for the reader to interpret. His work ethic is also a great inspiration, producing over a hundred books is quite an accomplishment. A few of my favorites include, The Epipleptic Bicycle, The Willowdale Handcar and his most popular book The Gashlycrumb Tinies. These books are perfect examples containing the right amount of humor, macabre and mystery.

Another influence that I should mention is Tim Burton. His short film, Vincent, created quite an impression, along with his loose and dynamic drawing style. I was hoping to achieve that balance between Gorey and Burton in The Stumps of Flattop Hill.

How long does it take you to draw an image? How long to finish the book?

I found that planning a scene will often times take longer than the drawing process itself. Since I also have a regular job and a family, I can only dedicate so many hours in a day to drawing or writing. A typical drawing can sometimes be completed in a single evening or sometimes it can take more than a week. But planning it and thinking about the right image can take a long time and many trial and errors. The entire book took about six months to complete and a few revisions that occurred over a year's time. It’s always healthy to step back from a project and look at it at a later date with a fresh perspective.

What about the parents who do not want their kids to read spooky stories?

I can understand how some parents wouldn’t want their kids to read a spooky story. Maybe they don’t think their kids can handle it, but I also think we don’t give the kids enough credit in this regard. Of course, as parents we have to gauge what our kids can and cannot handle. But we should also take this opportunity to explain things and teach them.

The Stumps of Flattop Hill is not just a spooky story; there’s humor and there’s also a character who shows strength. But the ending of the book is open to interpretation.Even though an entire town feared the haunted house, Florence maintained a peaceful and happy expression in the end. Maybe it wasn’t all that bad after all.

What has been your experience with the publication of The Stumps of Flattop Hill?

My process has always been about finishing a book and then pitching it to a publisher. When I finished The Stumps, it made its rounds to the publishers through my agent (it took a little over a year).  But once it was picked up by One Peace Books, it has been quite smooth and most of the art and text were kept as is. They were easy to work with and very supportive.
Here are a few videos of Ken creating illustrations. The first link is the trailer for The Stumps of Flattop Hill. I came across it on Twitter and immediately invited Ken to be a guest on my blog. Thanks, Ken, for sharing your talent here. If you're drawn to spooky books and fairytales, you're going to love this eerie tale! Click on the link below:

Spooky Halloween Fairytale Picture Book Children's 


Click on the link below for a lesson in illustrating Edward Gorey style:


Click on the link below for a Pen and Ink drawing lesson:


One more time lapse lesson in drawing:

Illustrations from inside The Stumps of Flattop Hill:
REVIEWS of The Stumps of Flattop Hill:
 This is a book my kids would have dragged out of the box time after time, the one held together by sellotape and a shared love of things that go bump in the night. If there’s a small person in your life who likes delightfully creepy tales, give both of you a treat and buy them this. - Vulpes Libris

This book isn’t the type of children’s book such as The little Engine That Could or Green Eggs and Ham, all bright colors and a simple moral. It’s creepier and darker — both literally and figuratively — and ends more ambiguously than most children’s books. For the right kind of child — or an adult who remains young at heart — it may be just the right sort of book.
Las Vegas Review Journal (F. Andrew Taylor)

"Ken Lamug’s THE STUMPS OF FLATTOP HILL brings a long-overdue disturbance to the picture book arena. The cover alone promised me things that I was desperate for the story to keep.”
The Midnight Society

What are you working on now?
I’m always in the middle of a book project or doing research. I’ve just finished a 150 page wordless graphic novel. “Pedro and the Flea King” is about a boy who goes on an adventure as he tries to save the town from the king and his minions. It’s making its rounds looking for a publisher at this time. I’m also about to wrap-up an all-ages comic (titled Random Quest) which will debut in the fall for the Vegas Valley Comic Book Festival. With my down-time, I’m focusing on my children’s picture book projects, taking workshops and participating in critiques. Just trying to get better at the craft.
Learn more about Ken Lamug and his books:

Follow him on Facebook and Twitter:

Thanks, dear readers, for stopping by to leave a comment for this talented young man! As always, simply leave a comment for a chance to win! The WINNER will be announced on FRIDAY, OCTOBER 28th. ~Clara

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