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Yeah, never leave one millimetre of paper untouched!
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LIVE IN CONCERT – ONE NIGHT ONLY!
|ROCK STAR SANTA--BACK COVER|
It’s Christmas Eve. The tree is lit and children await Santa’s arrival, only they’re not tucked snuggly in their beds dreaming of sugarplums. They’re stomping and clapping at a Christmas rock concert, where Santa is the “star.” Santa’s snow-white hair is in a ponytail and he’s ready to rock. The rowdy reindeer band includes Donner on electric bass, eerily resembling Keith Richard. Blitzen has a Paul Stanley-like star painted on his eye as he plays the drums, and you can’t help but notice the resemblance of Comet to Slash, as he shoots across the stage. It’s an original, modern day retelling of a Christmas classic, but what happens on this night before Christmas is rockin’.
ROCK STAR SANTA is proud to take his place among real ROCK STARS. The powerful sound of electric guitars, pounding bass, and crashing drums inspired Rock Star Santa’s birth.
|Author with Rock Star Santa Fans and Santa Doll|
Shortly after attending a Trans-Siberian Orchestra Christmas concert, I penned the verses for Rock Star Santa—my interpretation of a rock concert of kids. Written in lyrical rhyme, it’s a rollicking night before Christmas with a surprise twist.
Rock Star Santa has fans around the world. He performed over 157,000 concerts in the United States, Canada, England, and the Caribbean.
|REAL ROCK STAR SANTA WITH KIDS FROM MONTSERRAT|
Rock Star Santa by Gayle C. Krause (Author), Will Terry (Illustrator)
Reading level: Ages 3-7
Paperback: 32 pages
Holiday themes to expect: Santa
TCBR analysis: Kids will really enjoy the energy from this wildly fun take on Santa Claus.
Publisher’s synopsis: Santa Claus Live In Concert, One Night Only!
Gayle’s short stories and poems can be found in Hopscotch for Girls, Boy’s Quest, Highlights and various anthologies. She’s the author of Scheherazade’s Secret, a retelling of the Arabian Night’s Tale, and RATGIRL: SONG OF THE VIPER.
|RATGIRL: SONG OF THE VIPER|
The book trailer can be viewed at:
|ROCK STAR SANTA--FRONT COVER|
So what do you love most about Christmas? If you like the exact same thing Rock Star Santa does, he’ll be sending you a signed copy of his book. Just leave your comment below for a chance to win and have a “Rocking Christmas Eve!” The Winner will be announced on Saturday, December 5th. Thanks for stopping by!!!
You can contact Gayle at the links below:
|Author Gayle C. Krause|
Website – www.gaylckrause.com
Blog – http://thestorytellersscroll.blogspot.com
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Hope and Celebration - Light in the darkness, time out for happiness, wonder and magic.
Enter the world of tales told by people, of stories that live on. of tales of wonder, fairy tales.
Santa Claus, the man in the red suit stepping out of the chimney, comes to us from the talented Thomas Nast; his popular 19th century illustrations helped to popularize Santa Claus as we know him today.
This book influenced the thinking of generations of readers, and transformed the spirit of the Christmas holiday. The transformation was guided by Dicken's passionate belief that the true Christmas spirit embodied caring and generosity -- especially for those less fortunate.
A Christmas Carol was written with the passion born of his painful childhood as an impoverished 12 year old boy from a broken family.With his father in debtor's prison, Dickens was forced to leave school and work ten-hour days for six shillings a week under harsh conditions (the factory was home to multitudes of rats) in England's new industrial economy.
Much has changed with the passing of time and the commercialism of the marketplace has brought an endless stream of marketing -- more games, toys and advertising -- to Christmas.
But the Spirit Of Christmas does live on.
“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach!” ...Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol.
Scrooge Lives On...
Viking has recently published (October 2015) a well reviewed book by Charles Lovett, The Further Adventures of Ebenezer Scrooge. For more information, visit his website: Charles Lovett
The above illustrations are by John Leech from the original A Christmas Carol.
The Legend of Santa Claus
The popularity of this story-poem, first published in 1823, continued to grow with the passing years. It was originally written for his children by Clement Clarke Moore.
Later in the century, popular illustrations by Thomas Nast, including Moore's poem, A Visit From St Nicholas, firmly established Santa Claus as a jolly, rotund figure in a red suit with a white beard. Nast's images of Santa and his red suit became accepted and remain the norm today.
The illustration is by Thomas Nast.
The Fairy Tale Moves On Its Own Time
"It all adds up to this: the fairy tale narrates a wish-fulfillment which is not bound by its
own time and the apparel of its contents. In contrast to the folk tale, which is always tied to a particular locale, the fairy tale remains unbound. Not only does the fairy tale remain as fresh as longing and love, but the evil demons that abound in fairy tales are still at work here in the present, and the happiness of "once upon a time", which is even more abundant in the fairy tale, still affects our vision of the future..."
The above insights into the role of fairy tales are from an essay written in 1930 by the German scholar and philosopher, Ernst Bloch. I believe that the context in which they were written adds to their import. Germany in 1930 was in the grip of the Great Depression. Poverty and uncertainty had swept the land. Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party were feeding on people's fear and rising in power. Bloch later escaped to the USA where he wrote his renowned three-part treatise, The Principle of Hope (1938-1947).
The illustration from the Secret Of The Kells is by Tomm Moore. The painting is by Gerard Dubois.
The Elves and the Shoemaker
Here is an excerpt from a fairy tale by the Grimm's that came to be a Christmas story. It tells of the elves who helped a hard working, but impoverished shoemaker and his wife ...they, in gratitude, surprised the elves at Christmas time.
"About midnight in they came, dancing and skipping, hopped round the room, and then went to sit down to their work as usual; but when they saw the clothes lying for them, they laughed and chuckled, and seemed mightily delighted.
Then they dressed themselves in the twinkling of an eye, and danced and capered and sprang about, as merry as could be; till at last they danced out at the door, and away over the green..."
Here is link to read it all: The Elves and the Shoemaker The illustration is by Lucy Crane.
The Saga Of Santa Claus
Who is Santa? Where did he come from? How did the toy workshops get started? Where did all the elves come from and why did they agree to move to the wintry north and make toys for Santa? And how about the flying reindeer...where did they come from? These are among the many heretofore unanswered questions about the orgins of Christmas and Santa Claus.
Now, at last, author Mark Couturier has written The Saga Of Santa Claus, a fascinating book telling the complete story of the ancient origins of Christmas and Santa Claus. For a comprehensive picture of this original book, check out the enthusiastic Amazon reviews.
"The year 2015 will see the 49th annual Kwanzaa, the African American holiday celebrated from December 26 to January 1. It is estimated that some 18 million African Americans take part in Kwanzaa.
Kwanzaa is not a religious holiday, nor is it meant to replace Christmas. It was created by Dr. Maulana "Ron" Karenga, a professor of Black Studies, in 1966. At that time of great social change for African Americans, Karenga sought to design a celebration that would honor the values of ancient African cultures and inspire African Americans who were working for progress.
Kwanzaa is based on the year-end harvest festivals that have taken place throughout Africa for thousands of years."...Kwanzaa ends with gift giving and a celebratory feast.
This post is based on a comprehensive article by Holly Hartman.
Christmas Lights Moving Through the Hills...
A Holiday treat, and a wonder to behold, the moving lights are on hundreds of sheep, running in the darkness, guided by sheepdogs...this is a classic video...Here is the link: Moving Lights
Penn Vet Working Dog Center Philadelphia, PA is a recent recipient of a Planet Dog Foundation (PDF) grant. The goals of the Penn Vet working Dog Center are "national security, fields of detection work, canine health and performance, and to enhance that unique bond between humans and man’s best friend". The Planet Dog Foundation has awarded grants exceeding one million dollars to fund "the training, placement and support of dogs helping people in need."
"The Penn Vet Working Dog Center is part of the University of Pennsylvania's School of Veterinary Medicine, and serves as a national research and development center for detection dogs. They work to train elite detection dogs to assist in medical research, national security, and finding victims of disasters. PDF has awarded a $10,000 grant in support of Punches, a female Labrador Retriever named in honor of Jack Punches, a victim of the attacks of 9/11. Punches is training to detect explosives, explosives residue, and post-blast evidence. Trained explosives detection dogs can also detect firearms and ammunition hidden in vehicles and containers, on persons, or buried underground."
The Ghost Dog of Christmas Past
Here is an an excerpt from the dog lovers book, Circling the Waggins, by CA Wulff. The dogs seen in the ebook cover are the current residents of the cabin in the woods wherein this saga of a life with rescued dogs takes place. The book is a journey into the heart and mind of a dedicated pet lover who shares her experiences, concerns, and deep emotions with the reader.The setting is a cabin-home in a national park forest. The characters are several adopted dogs, cats, and, for a while, domestic mice -- and two compassionate women.
"I feel like we are haunted by the ghost dog of Christmas past. The season brings a million reminders of our Troll, a dog who had loved Christmas more than any other time of year. He would get excited at the first signs of holiday decorations, and his eyes would shine with a child’s wonder. On Christmas morning, he would race to be the first dog under the tree, to tear at the packages full of biscuits and rawhides. Each of the dogs would tear at a package, but Troll unwrapped with such gusto and fervor, that they would all abandon their presents to stand back and watch him, and then make off with whatever treats he had revealed."
CA Wullf also created the cover for her book.
Review... Loved it… This delightful conclusion to the Planet of the Dogs series just caps off a wonderful tradition. The story is well suited to be read aloud to younger children and as chapter book for the older ones. All of your favorite dogs help rescue two of Santa's reindeer from the Evil King of the North. The story also imparts important lessons of cooperation and responsibility." Mary Jacobs, Editor/reviewer Bookhounds
We have free reader copies of all the books in the Planet Of The Dogs series for therapy dog organizations, individual therapy dog owners, librarians and teachers...simply send us an email at email@example.com and we will send you the books.
Our books are available through your favorite independent bookstore, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Powell's and many more. They are also available in digital format at Barnes and Noble, Amazon, Kobo, Oyster, Inktera, Scribd, Powells, Tolino,
Librians, teachers, bookstores...You can also order Planet Of The Dogs, Castle In The Mist, and Snow Valley Heroes, A Christmas Tale, through Ingram with a full professional discount.
The illustration, above, from Snow Valley Heroes, A Christmas Tale, is by Stella Mustanoja-McCarty.
"What a truly wonderful and unique Christmas story for the whole family..." Don Blankenship,
Teacher, Reviewer for Great Books For Kids.
Singing One Of The Old-Time Carols
..."'I think it must be the field-mice,' replied the Mole, with a touch of pride in his manner. 'They go round carol-singing regularly at this time of the year. They're quite an institution in these parts. And they never pass me over—they come to Mole End last of all; and I used to give them hot drinks, and supper too sometimes, when I could afford it. It will be like old times to hear them again.'
'Let's have a look at them!' cried the Rat, jumping up and running to the door.
It was a pretty sight, and a seasonable one, that met their eyes when they flung the door open. In the fore-court, lit by the dim rays of a horn lantern, some eight or ten little fieldmice stood in a semicircle, red worsted comforters round their throats, their fore-paws thrust deep into their pockets, their feet jigging for warmth. With bright beady eyes they glanced shyly at each other, sniggering a little, sniffing and applying coat-sleeves a good deal. As the door opened, one of the elder ones that carried the lantern was just saying, 'Now then, one, two, three!' and forthwith their shrill little voices uprose on the air, singing one of the old-time carols that their forefathers composed in fields that were fallow and held by frost, or when snow-bound in chimney corners, and handed down to be sung in the miry street to lamp-lit windows at Yule-time..."
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame, Illustration by Ernst Shepard
Interview With Santa
This interview was conducted as part of a program to determine the truth behind the incredible story of Snow Valley Heroes, A Christmas Tale....
Santa: I’m happy that the story is finally coming out.
Interviewer: Is it a true story?
Interviewer: Why haven’t we known about it before?
Santa: I think it was lost in the mists of time…It took place hundreds and hundreds of years ago.
Interviewer: Is it true that there was to be no more Christmas?
Santa: I’m sorry to say that it’s true. Until the dogs arrived.
Interviewer: The dogs?
Santa: It was a surprise to all of us in Santa Claus village. None of us, and that includes all the elves, had even heard of dogs.
Santa: Well, that and the fact that dogs has just started arriving on planet earth. Prior to that time, there had been no dogs on Earth.
Interviewer: Really! Where did they come from? And how did they find you?
Santa: They had started coming down to Earth from their own planet – the Planet of the Dogs. They came down to help people. Somehow, they heard we were in trouble, and one day, there they were, just like that...
To read all of the Interview with Santa, click this link: Interview with Santa
"One Christmas was so much like the other, in those years around the sea-town corner now, out of all sound except the distant speaking of the voices I sometimes hear a moment before sleep, that I can never remember whether it snowed for six days and six nights when I was twelve, or whether it snowed for twelve days and twelve nights when I was six.
All the Christmases roll down towards the two-tongued sea, like a cold and headlong moon bundling down the sky that was our street; and they stop at the rim of the ice-edged, fish-freezing waves, and I plunge my hands in the snow and bring out whatever I can find. In goes my hand into that wool-white bell-tongued ball of holidays resting at the rim of the carol-singing sea, and out come Mrs. Prothero and the firemen..."
Dylan Thomas, A Child's Christmas in Wales
Light In The Darkness
"The Global Partnership for Education (GPE) supports developing countries to ensure that every child receives a quality basic education, prioritizing the poorest, most vulnerable and those living in fragile and conflict-affected countries.
Established in 2002, the Global Partnership for Education is comprised of 60 developing countries, more than 20 donor governments, and international organizations, the private sector and foundations, teachers, and civil society/NGOs."
Since its inception, the Global Partnership has supported developing country partners to achieve remarkable and measurable results. For example, the number of out-of-school primary school children has been reduced from 56 million to 41 million in 2012. They have also achieved substantial improvements in gender parity and major increases in the number of girls completing primary school in countries where GPE has supplied support and resources.
Here is a link for more ot the remarkable RESULTS, from around the world (updates and photos), of the Global Partnership for Education.
Hope in Dystopia in Mockingjay: Part 2
This film is being seen by multitudes of people worldwide. Based on that fact alone, Mockingjay 2 is an important YA crossover film. It is a rather long, dark, viewing experience, executed with excellent acting and all the traditional elements of a very well done action movie. Mockingjay 2 also deals with issues of morality amidst the painful chaos of war.
Richard Lawson, in his thoughtful Vanity Fair review, considered the film's significance in these troubled times as well as the "entertainment" value of the film. Here are excerpts:
"Mockingjay: Part 2 shows us, in rich and bracing fashion, the Hunger Games movies have been saying something all along—about the tragedy of youth (or anyone) in war, about post-traumatic stress disorder, about the ways we cede our autonomy to notions of comfort, to spectacle, to the easy lies of othering. The film makes these points in a far more clear-headed, more resonant manner than its source material. It’s a rare film adaptation that improves upon the original text, highlighting its crucial themes while streamlining and shaping the action into something legible and gripping...
The Hunger Games films...show us how good blockbuster movies can be. And they beseech us, in their earnest way, to be better, conscientious stewards of our own fraught and fragile world. That’s a useful message for anyone these days, young adult or not."
Here is a link to the article: Richard Lawson
Here is a link to the trailer: Mockingjay 2
Star Wars: The Force Awakens -- in time for the Holidays
The Dark Side Returns Worldwide on December 18-19 in 2D, 3D, and IMAX 3D...just in time
for the Holidays. Disney executives expect a very happy holiday, anticipating box office records with this $200,000,000 million dollar film. Fans will find that Harrison Ford, Chewbacca, Jedi Knights and light sabers have all returned along with the Dark Side. In keeping with changing times, the good side also has an important female warrior woman, Rey. Played by newcomer Daisy Ridley, she is also a red hot pilot.
Here is a link to Trailer #1: The Force Awakens
Review: In ‘The Good Dinosaur,’ a Reptile Tends to His Human Pet
Manohla Dargis, the excellent NY Times reviewer, wrote a warm review for this latest Pixar production. Here is an excerpt...
"Blink and you may miss the sly joke that sets 'The Good Dinosaur' on its enchantingly eccentric way. It begins with a near apocalypse 65 million years ago and an asteroid racing toward Earth. And while that’s around the time, more or less, that science hypothesizes the dinosaurs bit the dust, the wizards at Pixar have forged another creation story. Instead of crashing, the space rock zips past the big blue marble... "
Here is a link to read all of MS Dargis' review: The Good Dinosaur
Hope and Celebration are here with music... 3 minutes and 40 seconds of joy from singing kids in many places...What A Wonderful World (Playing for Change)
Nancy Houser, on her Way Cool Dogs Blog, provides a wide variety of information on dog issues ranging from health care and nutrition to canine science and dog love. On a recent post, How To Love Your Dog, she wrote about many facets of dog love. Here's an excerpt...
And, whether your dog is a mischievous young puppy and full of bounding love, or an older dog that has been abandoned with very little love— it won’t be too hard to play the part.
Loving your dog makes it easy to build positive and loving feelings for this furry friend, choosing what is best to develop a better life. Dogs who are loved not only feel safe, but secure and cherished. But, recognizing if you love your dog does not mean a thing if your dog does not love you back."..The article continues, including a point by point section entitled , "How to tell if your dog loves you back".
Nancy also includes information on fascinating MRI studies regarding a dog's love by neuroscientist Dr Gregory Berns. Dr Berns wrote a book titled "How Dogs Love Us". To learn more about Dr, Berns and his MRI dog studies, here is a link to his Ted Talk.
The photo is courtesy of the wonderful Paws Giving Independence therapy dog organization, Peoria,Illonois. Please click on the photo to enlarge and to see why it was chosen.
Long Line at the Library? It’s Story Time Again
by Winnie Hu NY Times
"Story time is drawing capacity crowds at public libraries across New York and across the country
at a time when, more than ever, educators are emphasizing the importance of early literacy in preparing children for school and for developing critical thinking skills. The demand crosses economic lines, with parents at all income levels vying to get in.
Many libraries have refashioned the traditional readings to include enrichment activities such as counting numbers and naming colors, as well as music and dance. And many parents have made story time a fixture in their family routines alongside school pickups and playground outings — and, for those who employ nannies, a nonnegotiable requirement of the job...
Libraries around the country have expanded story time and other children’s programs in recent years, attracting a new generation of patrons in an age when online offerings sometimes make trips to the book stacks unnecessary. Sari Feldman, president of the American Library Association, said such early-literacy efforts are part of a larger transformation libraries are undergoing to become active learning centers for their communities by offering services like classes in English as a second language, computer skills and career counseling."
The illustration of the rabbits is by Beatrix Potter.The illustration of the Moomins is by Tove Jansson.
Blog: OUPblog (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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One of the tasks of a Canadian ambassador to the United States is persuading his audiences that Canadians really are distinct from Americans. One ambassador commented that if he asked an audience The Question – was there a difference – Americans would politely say no, not really, and Canadians would say the opposite. What is the correct answer to The Question – or is there a correct answer?
The post Five differences between Canada and the United States appeared first on OUPblog.Add a Comment
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I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving, and now it’s time to get ready for more holiday parties. The party I am looking forward to the most this season is our SCBWI Houston holiday pot luck dinner on Monday, December 7 at 7:00 at the Tracy Gee Community Center. Along with book and art sales and great food, we’re doing something special this year; we’re celebrating the launch of Kathy Duval’s newest picture book, A BEAR’S YEAR. Everyone who pre-ordered it from Blue Willow bookshop will get a little gift from Kathy. Please join us!
In addition to our SCBWI party, a lot of other events are keeping Kathy quite busy. The next morning, Wednesday, December 2, she’s doing storytime at Katy Budget Books from 10:00 to 11:00. Next week she’s visiting two schools:
December 8 at James Randolph School in Katy, and another on December 11 at Patterson Literature Magnet School. In between, she’ll be Skyping with St. John Vianney School in Brookfield Wisconsin on December 7. Go Kathy!
In this morning’s Publisher’s Lunch I read some good news for Mary Lindsey, the local author of SHATTERED SOULS. Mary’s first three books in the HAVEN series, following a community of shifters and spell weavers whose ancestors fled persecution during the Wurzburg and Bamberg witch trials of the 1600s, sold to Liz Pelletier at Entangled Teen.
In other news for local authors, Russell Sanders has a new YA novel, COLORS, releasing this winter. Mark your calendars for his launch at River Oaks Bookstore on February 6.
Word to the wise: you are not in a free country! Example:
I looked at the smiling snowman and art and I turn around: "So, nice, friendly smiling snowman? Really? Compacted snow with a hat and carrot nose and stone eyes is normal? Its supernatural. It is possessed by a dark entity or demon and it wants to subvert your mind, possess you. You'll do what it tells you to -it might even tell you to gouge out peoples eyes, slaughter your family, burn the house down. It'll possess your body until you are an inhuman, smelling, rotting corpse and die -or some decent soul kills you -and that will NOT be pretty! Not such a lovely, cheerful character now is it?"
Point made I turned and left.
Apparently, according to police, I am never to go back to that nursery school.
EU bureaucracy at its worst!!!
Need to get my ears syringed, too. I went into a rage for ten minutes yesterday asking why we have to vote to "bum" someone. My sister pointed out the word was "bomb".
Still, Tennis, hey? Why are spectators to that, ahem, "sport", becoming such loud mouthed, noisy yobs? Even rugby crowds are better behaved...rugby fans are good folk at heart and its why you find fans from opposing teams mixed up in stands, still holding their drinks and lots of friendly banter.
Black Friday is now, through sheer business greed, "Black Friday Week" and even "Black Friday Fortnight"? Why?
Small shopkeeper opposite gets a loud of complaints because something he sells is "Ten pence cheaper at Asda!" and to follow that they say "Might as well get in the car and go there!" So, the item he is selling is 75p. You can buy it in Asda for 65p. Fair enough. Asda is about three miles away and if you catch the bus that's £1.50 there and £1.50 return. £3.00. Or by car -how much fuel are you using trying to drive around winding, busy roads? To save 10p? I know small shops charge more but that is because they cannot dictate terms to suppliers.
And a tax on Tampons "because they are a luxury item"??? Worst thing is I bet a woman was probably one of the people who approved that. I'm guessing because, usually, when you write or say that this is a typical moronic, arse-headed male thing to do someone says: "the decision was approved by Lady Shave's committee" -utter arse-headed morons.
PROTEST IN THE SUPERMARKETS SISTERS!!!!
I've taken two -TWO- of those tablets and Mr Floppy still hasn't woken up yet. No more buying meds from Kenyan Pharmacy Online.
COME ON, EVERYONE -SING!!!!!
The saints are crippled
On this sinners' night
Lost are the lambs with no guiding light
The walls come down like thunder
The rocks about to roll
It's The Arockalypse
Now bare your soul
All we need is lightning
With power and might
Striking down the prophets of false
As the moon is rising
Give us the sign
Now let us rise up in awe
Rock 'n roll angels bring thyn hard rock hallelujah
Demons and angels all in one have arrived
Rock 'n roll angels bring thyn hard rock hallelujah
In God's creation supernatural high
The true believers
Thou shall be saved
Brothers and sisters keep strong in the faith
On the day of Rockoning
It's who dares, wins
You will see the jokers soon'll be the new kings...
Why aren't you singing??
Wonder what these new meds do?
Let's get Christmassy -a classic!
Sadly, folks -I SHALL RETURN!!
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Transmission of information.Add a Comment
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|Micronesia foliage from U.C. Berkeley|
|James Perry Wilson, Summery Showers|
Blog: Read Roger - The Horn Book editor's rants and raves (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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Talks with Roger is a sponsored supplement to our free monthly e-newsletter, Notes from the Horn Book. To receive Notes, sign up here.
You ask some very great writers and illustrators about how they do what they do, and it can seem as much a mystery to them as it is to you. But Kevin Henkes is one of the most astute and articulate observers of his own artistic choices I have ever met, and it was a pleasure to talk to him about the creation of his latest picture book, Waiting.
Roger Sutton: This is probably the fourth or fifth picture book I’ve seen this year about waiting, and I want to know: What’s in the water?
Kevin Henkes: I don’t know! But in my work life, waiting has been very big. My next book is called When Spring Comes, illustrated by my wife, Laura Dronzek. It was originally called Waiting for Spring, and the word wait is in it seven times, which is quite a lot for a picture book. Then after that I have a picture book coming out called Egg, and the word waiting is in that one seventeen times. Children spend a lot of their time waiting. They wait in line. They have to wait their turn. They wait for their birthdays, holidays, weekends, the end of the school day. They seem to be waiting quite a lot, so I thought it would be a good idea for a book.
RS: How do you handle waiting in your own life? Are you good at it?
KH: If I’m working on a book and it’s going well, that’s a real anchor in my life and it makes everything else okay, including waiting. And I do love the time between when I’ve finished a book and when that book comes out in print. I use that time to come up with an idea for the next book, so I don’t mind it being stretched out. I know some people ache to see their book after they’ve finished the art, but I enjoy that lovely stretch of waiting. It’s a year, usually.
RS: Your work is done. It’s out of your control at that point.
KH: And it hasn’t hit the world yet, so it can still be the lovely thing that I think it is.
RS: Waiting can be nice if it’s something nice that you’re waiting for, like your little guys in this book, the pig with the umbrella waiting for rain. She knows it’s going to rain eventually, and she likes rain. It’s always good to have something to look forward to.
KH: I was at a bookstore in Minnesota, and the bookseller who introduced me said to the group of children sitting on the floor, “This book is about waiting. Does anyone like waiting?” One lone hand went up, a little girl about six who said, “I love waiting.” I noticed her throughout my presentation, because she was very present. If I said something that was mildly funny, she laughed hysterically. She was there. Then I noticed her again near the end of the signing line.
KH: Waiting. And then she got to the table. She put her arms on the table. She leaned in to me. She narrowed her eyes, and said, “Okay, I changed my mind. I do not like waiting.”
RS: How do you prevent a book that is about anticipation — and now of course I’ve got that damn ketchup ad in my head — do you remember that, with the Carly Simon song?
RS: When a book is about anticipation, and the setting is essentially a tableau that doesn’t change, how do you prevent it from being static? Did you have to think about how to keep it dynamic?
KH: No, I thought, how do I keep this clean and simple? It was a conscious choice to not show a child in the illustrations. I wanted to keep it simple in its design, universal in its scope. There are no references to a home other than the window. There’s no wallpaper, no floor, no carpet, no furniture. At one point I toyed with the idea of having either the tail of a dog or a cat, or a dog or a cat itself coming in and out, but a lot of the work was just scaling back. I pictured this as a book in which the reader and the listener would have a lot to talk about. Where do you think the elephant came from? Or who do you think put the gifts on the windowsill? Is someone moving the figurines?
RS: You know, I do have to ask about that elephant. Jumped or pushed?
KH: I think it was an accident with the child owner. I was at the Brooklyn Book Festival, and a person came up and asked, “So, did the elephant die? Isn’t that dark for a children’s book?” And I said, “Well, no. It’s a broken figurine.” Children are people, and people deal with all kinds of loss. Some children deal with huge losses. Even if they haven’t, they’ve dealt with a popped balloon or a dropped ice-cream cone. And I think that children are good at taking from a book what they need, or not taking what they don’t need. If you’re a child who has suffered a big loss, you might interpret that spread differently than a child who has not.
RS: Or if you’re a black-hearted Irishman like me, you think the owl pushed him off the ledge.
KH: Someone else asked, “On the page where the elephant arrives, why does the pig have a come-hither look?”
RS: Wait, I have to look.
KH: I said, “Really?” This person had a whole scenario.
RS: It is amazing what you can do to express motive and emotion with the placement of those little dots for eyes.
KH: Yes. The book started because I began going to my local clay studio in 2006. I make little animal sculptures. I have many of them in my studio. One day I looked at the ones on the windowsill, and they really seemed like they were looking out the window, waiting. Originally I thought I would use my figurines and photograph them, but I decided that I’m much better at drawing and painting than I am at sculpting. And actual figurines would be fixed in a certain way, and I wanted to be able to at least change their eyes or the tilt of their heads.
RS: You do a really great job of having them retain their figurine nature, but giving them just enough movement to provide a story and emotions.
KH: That was tricky. I didn’t want them to be moving all over the place as if they were living, breathing beings, but I did want them to have enough life to make the story work. Some move more than others.
RS: When creating the groupings, was it in your mind that someone was moving them or that they were moving themselves?
KH: Oh, I always imagined a child who owned them and loved them playing with them. I guess there is always that question of what happens when you turn the light off.
RS: It’s kind of like that old science-fiction story, where people realize they’re just bugs and that someone’s controlling them from above.
KH: That whole idea plays into this story, I think. One could interpret this book many different ways.
RS: The toys are never described as waiting for their owner. It’s not a toy longing to be played with. They have each other.
KH: And it’s not a toy longing to become real.
KH: Probably in the child owner’s eyes, they are real.
RS: I want to talk for a minute about my particular obsession with picture books, which is page turns. When you’re creating a book, when are you thinking about the page turns of the finished book?
KH: I always write the words first. I get them to the point where I think they’re perfect, and then I dummy, cut up the words and start playing around with them. That might be the point where I really see the physical page turns, but I’m already thinking about page turns when I write.
When I’m writing — and particularly when I was writing this book — I wanted there to be a real pattern to the words. In the beginning I’m playing with the pattern. “When the moon came up, / the owl was happy. / It happened a lot. / When the rain came down, / the pig was happy. / The umbrella kept her dry.” It sets up a series. After the characters are introduced, there’s the section where we’re getting more information about their lives. “Sometimes one or the other of them went away, / but he or she always came back. // Sometimes they slept. / But mostly they waited. / Sometimes gifts appeared.” So you have sometimes, sometimes, sometimes. And then to heighten that little series, once, and it’s big: “Once a visitor arrived…” When I wrote the line “They saw many wonderful, interesting things…” I remember thinking, oh, this is my chance to have a wordless section. Trying to decide how many wordless pages there would be and how the pages would play against one another—that was a long, hard process of decision-making.
RS: One thing I love about this book is that it keeps confounding us as to, well, what kind of book it is, exactly. Do you know what I mean?
KH: Oh, I do. Most of my books are about something small writ large: girl has purse, wants to show it to the world, and has to wait. The waiting again. When I decided that I wanted this book to be about waiting, I didn’t want it to just be about a child or a character waiting for something. I wanted it to be bigger than that. I was thinking about the changing of the seasons, the wonder of nature, sudden sadness and disappointment, those unexpected moments of joy or sadness that crop up while you are waiting for something. And I wanted it to be big enough to include birth and death.
RS: Ah, so the elephant does die.
KH: Well, of course that’s what I was thinking about. And with the matryoshka cat at the end, it’s birth.
RS: But it’s never a “you’re getting a baby sister” book either, though.
KH: No. Although — so far I’ve read it about twenty-five times across the country, from New York to California. With the elephant, there’s usually a collective “awww.” And with the cat, there’s usually an “aaahh.” But one little boy — he was about three — grabbed his head and said, “Oh, no. Not more babies!” I overheard someone saying he had newborn twin siblings at home. It was poignant and funny and I loved it. And again, it made me think everyone sees what they see. It might not be what I intended at all. But waiting for a baby is another big wait.
RS: This book swims against the tide of thinking we need a lot of action, that we need a child or at least personified animal characters. We need a big plot. I wouldn’t say yours is a particularly plotted book in the way we traditionally think of those.
KH: I would agree, but I would also say I think there is a lot going on.
RS: There’s a ton going on.
KH: For a young child, there’s a lot to talk about. I recently spent some time with my niece’s two-year-old daughter. I’m amazed at her ability to imagine and play with just about anything. And at her willingness to stay on one page of a book and really talk about it with an adult who’s asking questions. I think of this book as being pretty packed. I was a little surprised when I read a couple of reviews — which have been lovely — that said not much happens. I think a lot happens.
RS: But it’s not happening in a traditional plot trajectory.
KH: I’ll give you that.
RS: Do you think, as you’re creating a book for young children, about how it’s going to be read? Do you assume the kid is looking at it by him or herself? Do you assume an adult and a child together?
KH: I hope it works all ways. With this book I was thinking about an adult and a child, and thinking about an adult asking certain questions. But I think a child could do that on his or her own as well. I also wanted there to be a lot of space between the words, between the sentences, between the thoughts. I give space to the reader or listener to fill it in. I think that’s important. Even in books without pictures, I think we need a space between chapters. We need a space between paragraphs sometimes. It can be really powerful. What you leave out can be pretty dynamic.
RS: There’s so much mystery in this story. How did these particular figurines get there? Are they toys? Are they alive? What’s going on with them? Is there anybody else in the world besides them? I think you echo that mysteriousness by giving lots of room around each picture, around each sentence. Don’t you think that, visually, that encourages someone to wonder?
KH: I do. I used white space with this book in a way that I never have before. Both with the words — space between the words, the sentences — and the white space with the design of the book. And yet I wanted it to be very grounded. I wanted the illustrations to work together. I think of them as being echoes of each other. When I introduce each of the characters, there’s a double-page spread. “The owl with spots was waiting for the moon. / The pig with the umbrella was waiting for the rain.” And then: “The rabbit with stars / wasn’t waiting for anything in particular. / He just liked to look out the window and wait.” He’s in the lower right-hand corner of the right-hand page. When the cat comes, and the text goes through the whole series of questions — “Was she waiting for the moon? / No.” And then when I say, “She didn’t seem to be waiting / for anything in particular,” I’ve echoed the position of the rabbit. It creates a rhythm. There’s a reason to it. That part of bookmaking is what I love most. Thinking everything through and making it work together in a certain way.
RS: And then making all that work disappear.
KH: Yes. There’s that great M. B. Goffstein quote from her picture book An Artist: “You should work and work until it looks like you didn’t have to work at all.”
A spread that really pleased me when I came up with it was one of the wordless ones — the one where on the left-hand side of the page is the window with frost and on the right-hand side are the fireworks. I remember thinking the fernlike pattern of the frost was a great way to segue into the feathery nature of the fireworks. One is natural, and one is not. There’s a similarity, but there’s a tension. You could compare it; you could contrast it. You could talk about it; you don’t have to talk about it; you don’t even have to notice it, but I did, and that’s what matters. Those are the kinds of things that, when they happen, I think: I love my job.
More on Kevin Henkes from The Horn Book
- Horn Book Magazine starred review of Waiting
- 2005 Caldecott Medal profile by editor Susan Hirschman
- “Grand and Important: Books for Beginning Readers” article by Kevin Henkes
- We get the best mail: Out of the Box blog post with Kevin Henkes art
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- Mon, 14:42: Me: Do I care that they are smiling this much? Shaun: Who? Me: The characters in my book. Shaun: Me: Shaun: I... https://t.co/lsq2GckdvX
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|This Land Is Your Land by Catherine Ciocchi, published by Arbordale Publishing, and illustrated by me, Cathy Morrison|
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How can December be here already? Where has the year gone?
This is the 12th month of my “daily drawings” and this month will be devoted to Reindeer! Tune in every weekday for more of these guys.Add a Comment
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Meet the Authors of a Caterpillar, a Bee, and a VERY Big Tree
Dicksy Wilson was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma and grew up in the 70’s and 80’s with some really great parents and a pretty cool little brother. She always enjoyed writing as a child and would sometimes write puppet skits for her and her brother to perform for their parents. After she had children of her own, she thought it would be fun to write a children’s book. One day while she and her brother were watching the kids swim, she came up with the line, “In a quiet backyard quite a bit like your own… a little green caterpillar crawled all alone.” This line later became the opening line of their book, A Caterpillar, A Bee and a VERY Big Tree. Soon after, she and her brother began collaborating on their book, which would take several years to complete. Dicksy lives in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, with her daughter Hannah, who is a senior in high school, her husband Scott, and her dog, Nash. Her son, Hayden, is grown and married, and has a child of his own.
Growing up in Tulsa, Oklahoma in the 70s and 80s, D.B. Sanders had an early interest in art. Beginning with a love of cartoons, he started designing his own comic book characters at the age of 10. By his early teens, he became increasingly aware of his ability to draw in his own unique style. After obtaining his degree in art, he has utilized his passion for multiple artistic endeavors. This is his first children’s book to co-author and illustrate. Sanders lives in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma with his wife, Ashley and their children: Zach, Zoe and Leaf. More art can be found on Facebook at “The Art of D Sanders”.Add a Comment
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Everyone needs a best-est friend. What is that you ask? It is someone you love being with, playing with, and simply just hanging around with. Today's great book shares the value of friendship and how true friendship will always put a smile on your face and warmth in your heart.
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Doesn’t it seem as though many of the biographies written are about men and their accomplishments? Don’t get me wrong — there are plenty of admirable men who have changed the world through their daring, innovation, and wisdom. But how about the other half of the world’s population? Women just haven’t gotten the press they deserve. Luckily, biographies today are becoming vastly diverse with the individuals they feature and the fields in which those individuals excel. And that includes some great new biographies about women. Take a look at these three to share with your students (both male and female). The first is for younger students (grades K-3) and the other two are good for upper elementary (grades 4-6):
Dear Malala, We Stand With You by Rosemary McCarney with Plan International
There have been several books written by, and about, Malala Yousafzai, but this picture book version is unique. It begins with a short biography of Malala and her 2012 shooting by the Taliban for being outspoken about education for girls, and her life in England now. The bulk of the book is a series of exquisite photographs of girls around the world and brief text describing their desire for an education, despite the many social, political, and economic restraints placed on them. The title ends with ways for the reader to help further Malala’s cause.
The Girl from the Tar Paper School: Barbara Rose Johns and the Advent of the Civil Rights Movement by Teri Kanefield
Barbara Johns, an African American high school student in Virginia in 1951, was appalled at the conditions of the make shift classrooms in their segregated school. Acting well beyond her years, she organized a peaceful walk out, demonstration, and boycott among her senior class to demand new facilities. They were ridiculed by the local school board, government, and police force. The NAACP agreed to take on the case, only if the students changed their demands to full integration. They agreed, and their case contributed to the 1954 Supreme Court ruling in Brown vs. Board of Education. The story begins with Barbara’s senior year, and flashes back to her early years, and then beyond. Remarkably, she grew up to become a school librarian! The book is filled with captioned photos, sidebars, quotations, and primary sources. The large font and strong voice makes for a swift read. The concluding author’s note is enlightening, and the timeline, endnotes, and extensive bibliography complete the book.
Rad American Women A-Z by Kate Shatz, illustrated by Miriam Klein Stahl
This is a collective biography of 26 women, described as “rebels, trailblazers, and visionaries who shaped our history…and our future” (cover copy). They represent diverse fields, ethnicities, ages, and geographic locations. Beginning with Angela Davis, and ending with Zora Neale Hurston, each biographee’s personality, challenges, and accomplishments are described in engaging text and accompanied by a simple black and white block cut illustration. The book concludes with an end note, a list of “26 Things that you can do to be rad!” (unp.)., and a list of resources.
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I mean, if I were then there are two actresses I'd say ought to be in the running for the part of Strange's "love interest" and they are....
Essie Davis (Miss Fisher Mysteries)
Before you say a thing, Davis is a blond...or she was last week, I think. But what the hell. Great actress and incredible cheekbones.
The other, obviously, is Cate Blanchett. Also a great actress and, just realised, also has great cheekbones. Theme somewhere here.
And I know everyone will have their own opinions so, without being rude about either of these two actresses -who would you choose?
And, Subzero, Ya Ya Han is not a contender. NO.
Oh, and, yes, I am old enough to still say "actor" (male) and "actress" (female) especially after seeing a recent conversation in which a person could not remember the name of the "actor" and kept shaking his head as his friend kept offering names -"Mel Gibson?" "No!" "George Cloony?" "No! The one with the legs!" And "The one with the legs? WTF you talking about???" long pause....."Oh -a woman?"
I come from the past.
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My NaNoWriMo 2015 has drawn to a close.
This year was definitely different from last year where I felt out of sorts and scatterbrained the whole month I tried to write. I feel that this year was better; much better.
I had to bust a move this last week and trust me, it wasn't easy. That's alright, I chose to prevail and prevail I did. Tenacity is such a great thing to have in reserve when you need it.
I've said it every week but I will say it again. My greatest thanks goes to my best friend, Angela Markham. I think we motivated and pushed each other and benefited from it.
Thanks to Lyn Ehley, my favorite editor, and also Allan Baker (another of my editors) who were game enough to work on editing Jewels 2 in "real time" as I wrote it.
Jewels #2 will be released in January 2016 so stay tuned for news on that front.
NaNoWrimo 2015 Final Stats Wrap-upWords written week #4: 25,399
NaNo final grand total: 50,416 Add a Comment
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A Caterpillar, a Bee and a VERY Big Tree is the story of a little green caterpillar named Gus. While out on a stroll, Gus meets Shoo Bee, a bee who suffers from pollen allergies! Gus and Shoo Bee become fast friends, and when a storm threatens to send all the other caterpillars tumbling from the great tree, they team up to save the day. With help from wise Councilor Cricket, an Army of Ants and several fire flies – the friends are able to not only work together, but also teach a great lesson on what it means to be different and the way that we are all unique.
When they got the idea for Gus, they decided that this was their chance to teach share with readers how to:
• Develop courage to overcome obstacles;
• See the value in true friendship;
• Understand that everyone is different and differently abled;
• Value teamwork;
• Be aware of the value of communication;
• and Cherish diversity.
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Initially tested in pet dogs with bone cancer, a new drug that delays metastasis now helps children with the same disease in Europe. The immune modulator, which mops up microscopic cancer cells, has not been approved in the United States, researchers say.
The post Studying pets’ cancers may yield health benefits for humans appeared first on OUPblog.Add a Comment
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भ्रष्टाचार ईमानदारी गई तेल लेने … अभी कुछ देर पहले एक परिचित मिले. तनाव में लग रहे थे पूछ्ने पर बताया कि बुरा हाल है इन सरकारी विभागों का. मैनॆ भी हां मे हां मिलाई और कारण पूछा तो उन्होने बताया कुछ काम था विभाग में चाहता था कि तुरंत हो जाए इसलिए आफिसर को […]Add a Comment
Daemon fans rejoice! OBLIVION is available NOW!! The eBook includes two bonus books from Daemon's POV, as well as original music inspired by OBLIVION embedded in the eBook. We know you've been waiting for this book for a long time, and today you get a little taste of what's to come. We have an excerpt from OBLIVION for you to sink your teeth into! Check it out below and tell us what you thinkAdd a Comment
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Listen to Book Bites for Kids on Tuesday, December 8th at 2:30 central time when authors Dicksy Wilson and D. B. Sanders will talk about their new book, A Caterpillar, a Bee, and a VERY Big Tree.
To listen to the live show on December 8th, at 2:30 central, just go to www.bookbitesforkids.com.Add a Comment
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Get to know the team behind the Illuminating Shakespeare project as they reveal their stand-out Shakespearean memories, performances, and quotations.Add a Comment
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