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1. Happy Birthday, Neville!

30th July marks the 35th birthday of Neville Longbottom, a character who shows that we can prove ourselves to have more strength and courage than we could ever know.

At first appearance, Neville was an unexpected Gryffindor, and his first few years at Hogwarts were riddled with mishaps. He made his entrance as a clumsy boy looking for Trevor – his toad – on the Hogwarts Express.

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He was almost a hatstall at the Sorting Ceremony (pleading with the Sorting Hat to be in Hufflepuff), he melted Seamus Finnigan’s cauldron in his first Potions class, and broke his wrist at his first flying lesson. His luck never seemed to improve, as he was relentlessly mocked and bullied by Draco Malfoy (who pranked him with the Leg-Locker curse in their second term). Even in his first year, however, Neville showed us his courageous side, as he challenged Malfoy (and then proceeded to single-handedly take on Crabbe and Goyle) at the Gryffindor vs Hufflepuff match:

‘Neville went bright red but turned in his seat to face Malfoy.

“I’m worth twelve of you, Malfoy,” he stammered.

Malfoy, Grabbe and Goyle howled with laughter, but Ron, still not daring to take his eyes from the game, said, “You tell him, Neville.” ‘

The Chamber of Secrets saw Neville fearing for his life, facing the prospect of a basilisk in Hogwarts. Though pure-blood, he feared that his squib-like tendencies would lead to him being a target. In one of Gilderoy Lockhart’s lessons he is hung up on a chandelier by his ears, and utters what came to be his most famous quote:

‘Why is it always me?’

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In his third year, Neville revealed in Remus Lupin’s Defence Against the Dark Arts lesson on boggarts that his worst fear was Professor Snape, leading into the great scene in which boggart-Snape emerges wearing Neville’s grandmother’s clothes.

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He attended the Yule Ball with Ginny Weasley in his fourth year, after being declined by Hermione Granger.

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Neville was a devoted member of Dumbledore’s Army in his fifth year, being one of the first to sign up. After we learned that his tortured parents were being treated in St Mungo’s, and that three of their torturers had escaped Azkaban, Neville improved his skills with the DA at a significant rate. He accompanied the trio to the Ministry of Magic to save Sirius Black, was captured and briefly endured the Cruciatus Curse under Bellatrix Lestrange, attempting convince Harry to hand over the prophecy. It is in The Order of the Phoenix that we learn that as both Neville and Harry were born at the end of July to parents who had escaped Voldemort three times, they were both in line to becoming the child Sybill Trelawney’s prophecy spoke of, but Harry had been ‘marked’ as Voldemort’s equal as a baby:

‘The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches… born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies… and the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not… and either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives… the one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord will be born as the seventh month dies’

Neville returned to Hogwarts in The Deathly Hallows, and re-started Dumbledore’s Army, rebelling against the Death Eaters (specifically the brutal Carrows):

‘Alecto, Amycus’s sister, teaches Muggle Studies, which is compulsory for everyone. We’ve all got to listen to her explain how Muggles are like animals, stupid and dirty, and how they drive wizards into hiding by being vicious toward them, and how the natural order is being reestablished. I got this one ((indicates to a large gash on his cheek)) for asking her how much Muggle blood she and her brother have got.’

After being physically punished for his efforts, the Ministry targeted Neville’s grandmother as a method of blackmailing him, however, she managed to escape capture. This led to plans to kill Neville after singling him out as ring-leader of the rebels, and then to his subsequent hiding in the Room of Requirement, a newly-turned hiding place connected to the Hog’s Head and Aberforth Dumbledore.

During the Battle of Hogwarts, Neville received orders from Harry to set killing Nagini – Voldemort’s horcrux – to their highest priority, which he later fulfilled due to having pulled Godric Gryffindor’s sword out of the Sorting Hat. Neville’s bravery in directly standing up to Voldemort and his followers not only proved him worthy of the sword, but also proved just how much of a Gryffindor he had become (and always had been!).

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Later in life, Neville became an Auror, then Professor of Herbology at Hogwarts. He married Hannah Abbott, and they now live together above The Leaky Cauldron. Like other members of Dumbledore’s Army, he has kept his enchanted D.A. coin as a badge of honour, occasionally showing impressed students.

J.K Rowling has said that Neville ‘finds happiness in his grandmother’s acceptance of him as a gifted wizard and as the new herbology professor at Hogwarts’. You can read more about his later life in Rita Skeeter’s Daily Prophet article on Pottermore here.

Join us in wishing Neville a very happy 35th birthday!

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2. #718 – Marvelous Cornelius: Hurricane Katrina and the Spirit of New Orleans by Phil Bildner & John Parra

cover
Marvelous Cornelius: Hurricane Katrina and the Spirit of New Orleans

Written by Phil Bildner
Illustrated by John Parra
Chronicle Books      8/04/2015
978-1-4521-2578-7
44 pages     Age 3—5

“In New Orleans, there lived a man who saw the streets as his calling, and he swept them clean. He danced up one avenue and down another and everyone danced along—The old ladies whistled and whirled. The old men hooted and hollered. The barbers, bead twirlers, and beignet bakers bounded behind that one-man parade. But then came the rising Mississippi—and a storm bigger than anyone had seen before. Phil Bildner and John Parra tell the inspirational story of a humble man, and the heroic difference he made in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.” [inside jacket]

Review
Marvelous Cornelius, the person, embodies the best of us. Day-to-day he performed his job—one many would consider unglamorous—with dignity, enthusiasm, and a spirit of giving to those he served. People responded positively to this larger-than-life man. Kids enjoyed his spirited antics. When disaster struck in the name of Hurricane Katrina, this French Quarter-New Orléans resident went to work cleaning up his city with the same joyousness as before, only this time, the residents responded not only with enjoyment to see their local “hero,” but pitched in following his lead. Together—including many volunteers from outside of New Orléans—Marvelous Cornelius led his neighbors in cleaning up their beloved city. Just as he did on his daily job, Marvelous Cornelius helped keep New Orléans clean, for he was a garbage man by trade; garbage man extraordinaire.

s2With the use of many writing techniques—alliteration, repetition, and exaggeration—author Bildner keeps the story lively. Children will enjoy Cornelius Washington’s story of how an ordinary citizen can help keep their city or town upbeat, their neighbors friendly and joyous, and their streets clean, making for a wonderful place to live.

Marvelous Cornelius_Int 2At times, the illustrations  portray Marvelous Cornelius as a literal giant emphasizing his larger-than-life persona. He becomes more realistic when portrayed with the residents he served. I would have liked to have seen a more multicultural representation of the residents of New Orléans, though artist Parra may have decided to show a true representation of the resident’s Cornelius Washington actually served. Of note: the illustrations do show a multicultural people once the city is swept clean of the “gumbo of mush and mud.”

s1The art is a delight with its rustic feel and animations of Cornelius “Tango-ing up Toulouse” and “Samba-ing down St. Peter.” I loved the changing text size and font when Marvelous Cornelius sang out his familiar calls:

“WOO! WOO! WOOOOO! WOO! WOO! WOOOOO!”
“RAT-A-TAT-TAT RAT-A-TAT-TAT
“HOOTIE HOO! HOOTIE HOOOOO! SHOWTIME!”

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At story’s end, the author writes more about New Orléans, its people, and Hurricane Katrina (which brought major devastation to this coastal city). Bildner also delves into his writing style, saying his use of alliteration, repetition, and exaggeration helped him write Cornelius Washington’s story as a folktale, similar to that of John Henry. Together with artist Parra, Bildner has succeeded in writing a story every child should read and will most definitely enjoy. Teachers can find many lessons in Mr. Washington’s story of an average person who rose to heroic heights simply by doing his best every day.

MARVELOUS CORNELIUS: HURRICANE KATRINA AND THE SPIRIT OF NEW ORLEANS. Text copyright © 2015 by Phil Bildner. Illustrations copyright © 2015 by John Parra. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Chronicle Books, San Francisco, CA.

Purchase Marvelous Cornelius: Hurricane Katrina and the Spirit of New Orleans at AmazonBook DepositoryiTunes BooksChronicle Books.

Learn more about Marvelous Cornelius: Hurricane Katrina and the Spirit of New Orleans HERE.
Find a Common Core-Aligned Teacher’s Guide HERE.


Read more about Katrina’s Children HERE.
Watch the full length video Katrina’s Children free HERE.

Meet the author, Phil Bildner, at his website:  http://philbildner.com/
Meet the illustrator, John Parra, at his website:  http://www.johnparraart.com/
Find more picture books at the Chronicle Books website:  http://www.chroniclebooks.com/

 

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

Full Disclosure: Marvelous Cornelius: Hurricane Katrina and the Spirit of New Orleans, by Phil Bildner & John Parra, and received from Chronicle Books, is in exchange NOT for a positive review, but for an HONEST review. The opinions expressed are my own and no one else’s. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


Filed under: 5stars, Children's Books, Favorites, Historical Fiction, Library Donated Books, Picture Book Tagged: alliteration, Chronicle Books, community spirit, Cornelius Washington, exageration, folklores, Hurricane Katrina, John Parra, joy, Katrina's Children, Marvelous Cornelius: Hurricane Katrina and the Spirit of New Orleans, Phil Bildner, repetition, writing technique

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3. Funny Tweets on What NOT To Say To A Writer

Entertainment Weekly has gathered some wacky and wild tweets from writers on the maddening things people say to them about writing. Joanne Harris, author of Chocolat, kicked off the trend when her hashtag #TenThingsNotToSayToAWriter caused a hilarious uproar on literary Twitterverse, July 28, 2015, with other writers following up with their own funny and awful things they've been told.

A few highlights from the Entertainment Weekly article:

S.E. Hinton@se4realhinton: I thought you were dead. #TenThingsNotToSayToAWriter

Harlen Coben@HarlenCoben:
Eye surgeon: I'm thinking of writing a novel!
Me: Cool, I'm thinking of doing eye surgery!
#TenThingsNotToSayToAWriter

I've been having fun adding my own #TenThingsNotToSayToAWriter tweets:

"You still haven't written that novel about the mating habits of orangutans I told you to write?"  #TenThingsNotToSayToAWriter

"You really write poetry? Really? No kidding! Does it rhyme?" #TenThingsNotToSayToAWriter

"Hey, wasn't your short story about the hermaphrodite nun who longed to sing in The Sound of Music really about you?" #TenThingsNotToSayToAWriter

"It would be really far out to write a novel about Pluto with you."  #TenThingsNotToSayToAWriter

"Why don't you get a real job?"  #TenThingsNotToSayToAWriter

Feel free to share your own humorous #TenThingsNotToSayToAWriter both on Twitter and in my comments section below.


Hope you enjoyed this post! To be notified of future updates, use the subscription options on the right side bar.

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4. Detroit Drunken Historical Society Celebrates Detroit's 314th Birthday

Last Saturday the Detroit Drunken Historical Society celebrated Detroit's 314th Birthday and as part of the celebration, Corktown Studios hosted a pop-up silent art auction. The exhibition featured local Detroit artists who were asked to take inspiration from an 1883 book, " The Legends of le Detroit " described by the organizers as " a compilation of myth and lore from Detroit's French era." I was fortunate to be able to participate. The party was a blast, the people and art were great, and as an added bonus, my piece sold! I took a little creative liberty and just wanted to present the fact that French Fries come from France and Detroit loves them!








http://leglessmermaid.blogspot.com


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5. Nowadays...

You may have been wondering why it's so quiet around here lately…


The answer is I've been hard at work! Above are my new postcards (created with my agents, ABLA). They're designed and printed in time for the SCBWI conference (aka #LA15scbwi), which kicks off tomorrow morning bright and early. It takes a good bit of preparation — new portfolio art, new postcards, new dummies or manuscripts.  New shoes!

Some people begin to prepare months in advance, but I couldn't. I have another project on the go, also demanding my 1000% attention. I'm working on my picture book for Nord Süd (North South Books): getting to know the characters ...

and playing around with the hero...
 ...with his eponymous green umbrella…

And above all, trying to get the visual narrative to work:
Here is the famous storyboard clothesline, with earlier versions of many of the spreads. Of course, by the time the book gets into print there will be more changes, revisions and endless effing tweaks.

So that's where I have been lately. This blog will probably stay quiet for a little while longer, but nowadays I can also be found on Instagram and even tweeting on Twitter.

See you all later — enjoy the summer!




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6. Italian Ices

A friend in the hospital
Made a request
When the topic of
What I could bring was addressed.

Just a few blocks away
There’s a stand that sells ices,
Both water and crème-style;
Each flavor entices.

The weather was hot
And it started to rain
But I made it to Ralph’s;
I’d not visit in vain.

With two scoops in the dish
That my friend likes to get,
I walked quickly so they
Wouldn’t melt or get wet.

Though the bag fell apart,
I accomplished my goal
As my friend ate the ices
I hoped would console.

Such a small thing for me,
The most easy of chores
But a mountain for someone
Who’s stranded indoors.

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7. Trust Your Writing--Trust Your Readers

At around the 2:45 mark of the video of Norm MacDonald roasting Bob Saget, he tells a ridiculous joke about Saget looking "like a flower...yeah, a cauliflower" and he then repeats and somewhat explains the joke. Not a stand-up comedian, it is my determination that MacDonald does this repetition/explanation to hammer home just how absurd this joke (and the others in this fantastic routine) was. In other words, he HAD A REASON to do so.

Maybe my biggest recent pet peeve in reading is when an author does NOT trust their own writing, or apparently believe that their reading audience is of a junior high school level or below. After writing a beautiful passage, with a nice subtle point to it, they'll follow that passage and period up with the explanation. WHY??? Why not trust that you've made the point with your writing? Why not believe that the person reading your work has the ability to piece together what you've sewn?

I'll show no example of this as it would be incredibly rude, but I think it's something younger writers especially should pay attention to--TRUST YOUR WRITING//TRUST YOUR READERS--it will make your work stronger.

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8. Avoiding the Word "Very"

There are many ways to prune all those "very" appearances from your manuscript.

http://writerswrite.co.za/45-ways-to-avoid-using-the-word-very

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9. Amazon Credits Begin to Appear After E-Book Settlement

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10. Stonewall: Breaking Out in the Fight for Gay Rights

Stonewall: Breaking Out in the Fight for Gay Rights   by Ann Bausum Viking-an imprint of Penguin, 2015 ISBN: 9780670016792 Grades 9-12 The reviewer received a copy of the book from the publisher. Ann Bausum is known for writing nonfiction books about civil rights and social justice. Her latest book for teens, Stonewall: Breaking Out in the Fight for Gay Rights, describes how the Stonewall

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11. Jurassic World sequel possibilites (link)

Yes, there's a sequel on the way--no title yet--and here are some fun possibilities from Tor.com: Jurassic World 2

I'd like to see Jeff Goldblum in it too.

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12. Apologetics Study Bible for Students

I get quite a few requests to review items on my blog - some jump out at me and some don't.  This one, however, was one that I truly hoped I'd make it on the blog review team.  The Apologetics Study Bible for Students is one I wish we'd had when my boys were younger.  One of my sons has been deep into theology and apologetics since he could read - he just devoured anything on these topics and he would have thoroughly enjoyed this Bible as a reference tool he could sink his teeth into!  The articles in the Bible (120 of them) are written by some of today's leading Christian thinkers and they deal with some of the big questions - Homosexuality, Yoga, New Age Movement, Cloning, Gambling, Scientology, Rape and Incest and more.  The articles are thoughtful and well-written and give our teens some great topics to ponder.  The Bible is created to be appealing to teens - both the design and layout.  We also thought the Twisted Scripture articles were great!  These are written to discuss topics that current religious movements use to twist Scripture and go against historic Christian teaching.  This is another area where we want to strengthen our kids' faith in the world in which we live.

The other thing we loved about this Bible is the resource library of videos online.  There are videos still yet to be added - but some there already as well that answer the tough questions in video format - you can stream them or download them OR even share to social media.  I was excited with the quality of the videos and the topics they covered.  http://www.apologeticsbible.com/video-archive/

Don't forget to enter the Confident Faith Sweepstakes while you are surfing - this is a great contest when you can win a Bible, mini apologetic library or even a trip!  https://app.promo.eprize.com/confidentfaith/

ADDED BONUS - I was told I could give away a copy as well here on my blog!  So - you get an entry for commenting below.  AND leave a separate message for each social media platform you share this giveaway on and you will get additional entries.  Winners will be chosen on August 7!



"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
 Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

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13. Historical Inspiration for Game of Thrones: INFOGRAPHIC

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14. Comics Illustrator of the Week :: Phil Noto

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Quietly, one of the best current super-hero series being published is Nathan Edmondson & Phil Noto’s run on Black Widow. I first noticed Noto’s work on Marvel’s Uncanny X-Force, a few years back. His work brings a nice combination of fine art & design aesthetics to mainstream comic books. One of Noto’s earliest and most frequent collaborators was writing team extraordinaire Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti; starting off with a number of issues on their classic Jonah Hex run in the mid-2000’s, then projects like Superman/Supergirl: Maelstrom and Trigger Girl 6 for Image’s Creator-Owned series.

Phil Noto and writer Gerry Duggan received an Eisner award nomination in 2011 for their original comic series The Infinite Horizon, which tells a post-apocalyptic war story inspired by Homer’s Odyssey.

Phil Noto has worked for Disney Animation, as well as a concept artist for video games, including the mega-hit BioShock. Noto continues to be one of the most sought after cover artists in comics. He recently created a series of classic magazine inspired covers for Marvel.

You can follow the latest Noto news and see the newest art on his tumblr site here.

For more comics related art, you can follow me on my website comicstavern.com – Andy Yates

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15. Will the Seminole Tribe of Florida & Hard Rock Buy the Venice Casinò?

Chief James Billie (center) with Hard Rock Cafe staff in Venice
(Venice, Italy) Chief James E. Billie, Chairman of the Seminole Tribal Council, is a colorful character -- gutsy, outspoken, warm and sincere, a Native American whose culture rings from his heart. Leader of the only unconquered Native American Tribe in the United States, the Seminole Tribe of Florida, who own Hard Rock International, Chief Billie served 22 years as Chairman/President of the tribe, from 1979 to 2001, "the longest tenure of any elected leader in the Western Hemisphere, other than Fidel Castro." The Seminoles are the only tribe that never signed a formal peace treaty with the United States.

Chief Billie's mother belonged to the Bird clan; his father was was a white sailor who went to Europe during WWII without knowing of the pregnancy. As an infant, Seminole medicine men wanted to kill Jim Billie the traditional way -- by stuffing mud in his mouth and leaving him to die in the Florida Everglades -- because he was a half-breed. His mother, Agnes Billie, who died when he was nine, and Betty Mae Tiger Jumper, another half-breed -- who went on to become the first and only tribal chairwoman -- put a stop to it. To earn money, Jim Billie went on to wrestle alligators for tourists, as well as build chickee huts.

Chickee hut at Big Cypress Indian Reservation
Chief Billie is one of the people responsible for giving birth to the Indian gaming industry in the United States by pushing through a contract to operate high-stakes bingo on the Seminoles' Hollywood reservation in 1979, and then leading the tribe when it won a US Supreme Court 1996 decision upholding the sovereign rights of tribes to conduct gaming on their reservations. Like many Indian tribes, the Seminoles were heavily dependent on federal welfare, which Billie believed were used to keep Indians "down, uneducated, inexperienced in the business world."

When the money started gushing in, Chief Billie became a thorn in the side of the Florida government and big business, insisting on behaving like a Native American by refusing to put toxic dumps and landfills on Seminole land, and being uncooperative about pipelines, flight paths, roads and telephone towers. No American Indian has been more investigated by the US government than Chief Billie-- including by the FBI and the IRS -- yet no agency has brought a single criminal charge against him. When he started to criticize his fellow councilmen's spending habits, and brought in an outside administrator, Chief Billie rankled the Seminole ranks, who began to block him. However, what actually brought him down was a woman scorned, who later said she had been coerced into filing suit against Billie for sexual misconduct by other Seminole leaders. Chief Billie was impeached by the Seminole Council in 2001, and started, once again, to build thatched chickee huts in South Florida, waiting for his opportunity to make a comeback.

Hamish Dodds, Chief Billie & Pablo Castrogiovanni - Hard Rock Cafe, Venice
In 2011, at age 67, James E. Billie defeated Mitchell Cypress, the previous two-term chairman, by a landslide to return, once again, as Chairman of the Seminole Tribe... which is why he was here in Venice at the Hard Rock Cafe on Monday, July 27 -- which also happened to be my birthday.

Cat Bauer with Seminole Chief Billie at Hard Rock Cafe, Venice
With James E. Billie was Hamish Dodds, Hard Rock International President and CEO, as well as Chief Billie's wife, Maria, 13-year-old son, Eecho, 12-year-old daughter, Aubee, and other members of the tribe including Josh John, Nancy Willie, Danny Tommie and Trishana Storm, a descendant of George Storm, the man who had taught Jim Billie how to wrestle alligators. It was a tight group.

As President and CEO of Hard Rock International, Hamish Dodds, a Scotsman, oversees all aspects of the global enterprise, and is responsible for strategic development. Previously, he worked as CEO for Cabcorp, and then in the upper ranks of PepsiCo. He said that Italy was a very, very important market for Hard Rock, and spoke of the passion the Seminole owners have for their own brand. Dodds said that it was not easy to do business in Italy, but that he thought that Prime Minister Matteo Renzi was trying to make it easier.

Ca' Vendramin Calergi - Home of Venice Casinò
Dodd said he had been looking into investing in the casino here in Venice for about five years, but back then the environment was not conducive. Hard Rock is interested in buying the casino out by the airport and turning it into a Hard Rock Casino. When it comes to Ca' Vendramin Calergi, the casinò here in Venice on the Grand Canal -- the world's oldest casino -- Dodds said it was a beautiful, historic building that needed to be preserved, and they would be interested in an operating partnership with Venice, but do not want to put the Hard Rock name on it.

At that point I was bursting with excitement -- I had come to the conference hoping for the opportunity to discuss just that topic, and here the CEO of Hard Rock was presenting it himself! To me, if the Hard Rock transformed the casino by the airport into a Hard Rock Casino, yet was behind the scenes at Ca' Vendramin Calergi, it would bring much needed wealth and positive energy to Venice. Venetians and Seminole Indians under the leadership of Chief James E. Billie are a good fit. I THINK THIS IS A FANTASTIC IDEA.

Seminole Indians at Hard Rock Cafe, Venice
Chief Billie then told the story of how he had always loved rock and roll, especially Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix, and plays himself (he was even nominated for a Grammy for his song, "Big Alligator"). He got back from serving in Vietnam, and kept seeing Hard Rock Cafe tee-shirts everywhere. So he bought a tee-shirt. Then, his tribe opened the first high-stakes bingo on the land of a sovereign Indian nation, and they got some money. One day he found himself sitting next to a guy named Pete on a first-class plane trip, who ended up being Peter Morton, who, together with Issac Tigrett, had founded the Hard Rock Cafe. They spoke about doing business together -- Chief Billie said he thought something along the lines of Hard Rock garb and a franchise, nothing like buying the company, which happened when he was not on the council.

Several times Chief Billie said how grateful and thankful he was. He taught us the Seminole word "Sho Na Bish," which means "thank you," and wants to put that on all the Hard Rocks, too, in addition to the LOVE ALL - SERVE ALL put there by Issac Tigrett.

When the conference was over, Hamish Dodds said that anyone -- the press, the employees, the kitchen staff, anyone -- could ask them anything. He was immediately interrupted and told that a list of questions had already been prepared. He responded that it would lose the spontaneity, but acquiesced. They were then asked several innocuous questions by the translator; for example, to Chief Billie: 'Why do you think the word "Hard Rock" is so successful, and what do you like about it?" To which he replied, "You can probably answer that yourself," and then went on to say it was a romantic word, a sexy word.

Maria, Chief Billie's wife, and Cat Bauer
Chief Billie also spoke about how much he loved his wife, Maria, and how grateful he was that she was here with him. He said that the Seminoles were good hunters, and that now they hunt for businesses instead of animals. He said that running into Hard Rock was a good hunt.

Chief Billie ended the conference by saying that back when the Seminole used to fight the military that they called themselves the unconquered, and that he had discovered that Venetians call themselves unconquered, too. Then he exclaimed: "Sho Na Bish!"

From the press notes:

With a total of 202 venues in 64 countries, including 154 cafes, 21 hotels and 10 casinos, Hard Rock International is one of the most globally recognized companies. Beginning with an Eric Clapton guitar Hard Rock owns the world's greatest collection of music memorabilia, which is displayed at its locations around the globe.

Visit www.hardrock.com for more information.

Ciao from Venezia,
Cat
Venetian Cat - The Venice Blog

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16. An Incredible Signature: Thanks, Marcia and Sergio!

As writers, we put our books out into the world, and they take on a life of their own, apart from us. But sometimes, we get an echo back about what the book is doing, who is reading it and how they are affected. This week, I had one of those incredible, amazing and powerful moments.

Abayomi, the Brazilian Puma

Abayomi, the Brazilian Puma in English. Named an NSTA Outstanding Science Trade Book 2015. | DarcyPattison.com Brazilian/Portuguese version of Abayomi. Released in Brazil Summer 2015. | Fiction Notes by Darcy Pattison

When I worked on the story of an orphaned puma cub from Brazil, the scientists involved were incredibly generous with their time and information. Dr. Marcia Goncalves Rodrigues and Sergio A.P. Ferreira made this book possible. With the publication of the Brazilian translation, they are able to go into the schools with Project Abayomi and do education of teachers and students. Recently, over 500 teachers listened the story of the plight of pumas and other wildlife in urban areas of Brazil.

That’s exciting news, for sure. To see a book travel to a different country and start to make a difference is amazing.

And then, I received this special version of the Portuguese version of the book. What’s so special about it? Why am I grinning so crazily?

Abayomi, the Brazilian Puma, personalized with a signature from the puma himself. | DarcyPattison.com
This book was signed by Abayomi himself. That’s his paw print. Thanks, Marcia and Sergio for allowing me to be part of Abayomi’s story.



Because Abayomi himself signed this book. When the puma was receiving a regular medical checkup, Sergio inked his paw and added his paw print to my book. This is one of those teary moments when you realize that a book isn’t JUST a book. It’s an idea. Pumas face very real dangers from loss of habitat and urban encroachment on their habitat. It’a a small thing to write a book; but a small book can have a huge impact. Thanks, Marcia and Sergio for allowing me the privilege of having a small part in Abayomi’s story. It’s been incredible.

Read More about the Brazilian Corridor Project for Pumas

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17. Front Street

 

A new print I finished up today. It's watercolor, pencil, collage and a bit of digital tweaking.

Asides:

* We've got loads and loads of new pages over on the ongoing "Alfred" comic, in case you missed it this past spring.

* I'm enjoying obsessed with this book about artist Eric Ravilious.

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18. Exclusive Excerpt & 10 Chances to Win! // AWAKE by Natasha Preston

Today we are celebrating Natasha Preston's newest YA Thriller, AWAKE, which will be releasing August 4th.  Natasha has graciously provided us with an exclusive excerpt from the book, and make sure you check out the awesome giveaway at the end of this post! Excerpt from AWAKE by Natasha Preston “Come here,” I said, holding my hands out. Usually she would curl into my side but

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19. Creative Commons Launches Kickstarter Campaign for a Book

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20. Some love from the New York Times

YAY!!!


http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/07/29/books/review/29childrens.html?_r=1
XOXOX

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21. Five Little Monkeys

Board Book: Five Little Monkeys: A finger & toes nursery rhyme book. Natalie Marshall. Scholastic. 2015. 12 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence:  Five Little monkeys jumping on the bed. One fell off and bumped his head. Mama called the doctor and the doctor said...No more moneys jumping on the bed!

Premise/plot: A board book adaptation of the classic nursery rhyme "Five Little Monkeys."

My thoughts: The pages are easy to turn, which is a good thing, always. The illustrations are nice enough, I suppose. The text itself isn't surprising or extra-wonderful. The book includes "helpful" illustrations for parents who are clueless on the motions of the song/rhyme. (Are they necessary?)

The traditional rhyme is fun. As is the song. Here's one of my favorite adaptations:


© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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22. Tonight in New York: Animation Block Party Opening Night

The opening night screening is free and open to the public.

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23. Utah Boy Who Reads Junk Mail Receives Thousands of Books Thanks to Mailman's Facebook Plea


Matthew Flores
C/O Sandy post office
8850 s 700 e
Sandy, Utah 84070
He's counting on me, so I'm counting on you!






This is Matthew Flores. Today while delivering mail to his apartment complex, I saw him reading ads, and then he asked me if I had any extra mail he could read. He told me his wish is to have books to read. I told him the library had many, but he said they don't have a car, and couldn't afford the bus. So... let's get this 12 year old some books! Let's help him. I was given many books as a child, and it's time to help someone else! Please share and let's get him tons of reading material! Most kids his age want electronics! It's great to see his desire, and you should have seen him beam when I said I could help!
Matthew Flores
C/O Sandy post office
8850 s 700 e
Sandy, Utah 84070
He's counting on me, so I'm counting on you!

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24. Publishers Look to Libraries for New E-Book Opportunities

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25. Metallica Featured in Comic Book

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26. Get the Word out about Your #SummerLearning Successes!

You work hard all summer to provide teens with a variety of activities to help them learn and grow.  But chances are, your elected officials do not know about the great work you do and what it means to teens and to the community.  So, it's up to you to show them!  Elected officials need to know about the vital role libraries play in helping teens succeed in school and prepare for college, careers and life.  Without this knowledge, they will not be able to make informed decisions regarding key pieces of legislation, such as the Elementary & Secondary Education Act (ESEA) or the Library Services & Technology Act (LSTA).  District Days--the time when members of Congress are back in their home states--are the perfect chance for you to show off all the great things you do for and with teens through your library, by inviting your Congressperson to come and visit any time between Aug. 1 and Sept. 6, 2015.  You could also bring your teen patrons to them at their local office.  YALSA's wiki page has everything you need to extend your invitation, plan for a visit, and be a great host!  Your teens are relying on you to speak up for them, so be sure to seize this opportunity.  Then, tell us how it goes by sending photos and information using the #act4teens hashtag.

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27. C. H. Greenblatt ‘Not Thrilled’ With Nick’s Treatment of ‘Harvey Beaks’

New episodes of "Harvey Beaks" were pulled from the network's summer schedule with no warning to the staff.

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28. Peace is an Offering by Annette LeBox

Peace is an Offering is a short but nicely illustrated book about peace and kindness.  It gives many examples of peace, all of which kids can relate to. There is a lot of detail in the illustrations, so parents can expand on each page and talk about the various topics.

Also Try:
One Family by George Shannon
Whoever You Are by Mem Fox
Old Turtle by Douglas Wood

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29. Pine and the Winter Sparrow retold by Alexis York Lumbard

Pine and the Winter Sparrow is a retelling of a traditional Native American tale.  In the book a sparrow with a broken wing seeks shelter during the winter. All of the trees refuse him, except for Pine.  As a reward the pine tree becomes the only tree to not lose her leaves in the winter.  This is a nice book that teaches kindness, as well as a little bit about the rhythms of the seasons. 

Also Try:
The Magic Boat by Demi
A Grain of Rice by Helena Clare Pittman
Zomo the Rabbitt by Gerald McDermott

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30. Swan Lake Illustrations


Last November I worked with the U.S. Educational publisher Seed Learning to illustrate a picture book version of Swan Lake for early readers. Last week I received an exciting parcel in the post with two copies of the book all the way from Korea! It was a really fun project to work on and made me face my fear of illustrating human characters! 

Here are a couple of spreads from the book...



 


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31. Dr. Seuss Editor Cathy Goldsmith to Host Reddit AMA

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32. One Good Dragon Deserves Another: Review

If only a perfectly nice dragon could be left well enough alone to manage his curse removal business with his partner (and crush) the human mage, Marci. Unfortunately for Julius, his family is far too big and far too, well, draconic to ever let him be. And clan seer Bob claims to have big plans for him. This does not at all add up to a quiet lifetime of removing tank badger spirits (don’t ask) from the erstwhile cursed. This series is just so much awesome fantasy fun. Picking up shortly after the events of Nice Dragons Finish Last, Julius and Marci are giving it their best to scrape by running a curse removal business when major events start happening that throw the two into a situation way beyond their means. Estella, seer, daughter of the Three Sisters and long time enemy of the Heartstriker clan has put into motion... Read more »

The post One Good Dragon Deserves Another: Review appeared first on The Midnight Garden.

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33. Disney Descendants Video Interview

Disney DescendantsMeet Cameron Boyce, Sofia Carson, and Booboo Stewart from Descendants

Attention villains and heroes alike! The new Disney Channel movie Descendants premieres Friday, July 31, at 8 p.m.! Are you excited to see what happens after “happily-ever-after?” Well, I got the chance to sit down with Cameron, Sofia, and Booboo and discuss their roles in the movie!

BOOBOO STEWART, DOVE CAMERON, CAMERON BOYCE, SOFIA CARSON, MITCHELL HOPE, SARAH JEFFERY

Image credit: Disney Channel/Jack Rowand

It was a blast getting to know Cameron, Sofia, and Booboo. I could see the camaraderie and friendship between them as they poked fun at each other and laughed together. They all reminded me in good, not evil, ways of their characters in Descendants. It was clear how much they loved creating this movie. Watch my exclusive videos with the stars below!

They started off with some words of wisdom about lessons fans can take away from Descendants. Apparently, this movie has a lot to teach you about growing up and becoming your own person.

Things became even more interesting when I asked what they wished they had known before filming the movie. Watch their funny responses here. Seems like Cameron Boyce did not like wearing that tight leather jacket!

Want to see more videos? Descendants stars reveal their favorite villains, other villain’s kids they would like to meet, glimpses into their own childhoods, second chances, and what it means to be the fairest of them all!

I could have hung out with these awesome stars all day, and I can’t wait to see Descendants! Leave a Comment about the interview and what about Descendants you’re most excited to see!

Megan, STACKS Intern

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34. Tell Me What to Dream About by Giselle Potter

This is a very sweet, whimsical book that will delight kids.  It's also a sweet book about sisters and the relationship between them.  The little sister has trouble sleeping, so the big sister comes up with increasingly outlandish suggestions to dream about. The illustrations are cute and colorful.

Also Try:
Rude Cakes by Rowboat Watkins
Wild by Emily Hughes
Home by Carson Ellis

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35. First Book- Manhattan


If you like Dr. Seuss and enjoy supporting First Book - Manhattan, you may want to save the date for this December event. I am delighted to be returning to Symphony Space to host this celebration and fundraiser. There will a cavalcade of talented actors on hand to read from the works of Dr. Seuss—this is not to be missed!

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36. It's Tough to Lose Your Balloon

I'll never forget the unexpected thrill I got when I first saw my last name on the spine of a published book. For whatever reason, I had anticipated seeing it on the cover and title page, but not the spine. It's Tough to Lose Your Balloon marks the 30th time I've experienced this—and seeing my family name printed on the spine of a book is as thrilling as ever! (And you'll be able to see for yourself on September 8th, when Balloon launches!)
My new life goal is to see that consonant-heavy name printed horizontally on the spine of a book!

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37. Princeton Children's Book Festival

I'm incredibly honored to have created the artwork for the 2015 Princeton Children's Book Festival! It's their 10th anniversary, and I can't wait to join in on the festivities on September 19!


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38. A Pleasant Surprise

Last night, my 10th grade English teacher, Mrs. Frances Fedor, surprised me at my presentation at the Walpole Public Library! I remember her class vividly, especially the big term project. Students were put into groups, and we needed to make a movie or play based on a book. My group chose Stephen King's Misery. Somehow I convinced my group to make an animated adaptation, everybody colored in the hundreds of drawings and supplied voices—it was a ton of work. (And you can find the movie at https://youtu.be/LfTAbv0iRPA) There's no doubt that project was a precursor to what I do now. 
Mrs. Fedor also chaperoned my senior year trip to Camp Sunshine. My work with the campers there, all families dealing with pediatric cancer, had a tremendous impact on my life. I can still feel the ripples from that week today! 
Oh, and I also happened to have a slide of The Picture of Dorian Gray in my slideshow—Mrs. Fedor's assigned summer reading in 1992. How appropriate!

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39. New Baby Books

With the imminent arrival of my own new baby, I’ve had baby books on the brain these past few months. From the books we recommend to sleepless parents to the books about childhood and technology we give to the parents of savvy teens, librarians are sometimes intimately involved in the struggles of our patrons’ childhoods. Never is this more clear than when we’re asked for books about a new baby. A great new sibling book can help immensely in easing the transition from being an only child to being one of a group.

julius_baby_of_the_worldKevin Henkes’s Julius, the Baby of the World is one of my favorite picture books, period, but it also is one of the best new sibling books I think I’ve read. I recommend it to parents all the time, and have the personal experience to back it up – this is the book my parents gave to me and my sister before the arrival of my much-younger baby brother. Children of all ages can identify with Lily’s excitement about her new sibling before he arrives and her horror at the way her life changes afterwards! The resolution, when it comes, is perfect. Of course Lily can say mean things about her brother, but no one else can!

peter's chairAnxiety over a new sibling is a universal issue, which is why a book first published in 1967,  Peter’s Chair by Ezra Jack Keats, as relevant today as it was the day it was published. When Peter’s parents repaint his crib pink for his new baby sister, Peter is perturbed but willing to let it go. When they decide to paint his chair, however, Peter takes a stand. Again, Peter’s eventual acceptance of his sister’s place in his life shows a way forward for children hearing the story that is both natural and comforting. Life will change with a new sibling, but it doesn’t have to change for the worse.

What are you favorite books about new babies?

 

The post New Baby Books appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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40. If You Liked Cruel Beauty...

 

Contributed by Samantha Randolph, Staff Reviewer

 

Cruel Beauty is hands down one of my all time favorites. I’ve spent a whole chapter of my thesis working with it, and I just fall in love with it more every time I read it. My favorite part of the story? The main character, Nyx, a young woman who isn’t that nice. Nyx is a majorly complex character, full of bitterness, kindness, love, and hate. She is more than a touch wicked, but far, far from evil, and I love her for it.

b2ap3_thumbnail_cruel-beauty-cover.png

 

Here are 5 other books that have that same element of a main character who isn’t all smiles and sunshine (not that there is anything wrong with that either).

 

 b2ap3_thumbnail_messenger-of-fear-cover.pngb2ap3_thumbnail_tattooed-heart-cover.png

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_nimona-cover.png

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_the-break-up-artist-cover.png

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_hexed-cover.pngb2ap3_thumbnail_charmed-cover.png

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_hit-cover.png

 

 

Happy Reading!

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_samantha-randolph-bio.png

Samantha Randolph is a Staff Reviewer for YABC. She absolutely loves children's, middle grade, and young adult literature. Samantha is currently attending a small university where she will soon graduate with a degree in English Literature. She can also be found at The Forest of Words and Pages, Fresh Fiction, and most coffee shops that serve cinnamon roll lattes. 

 


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41. Book Recommendations


If you were to put a Roald Dahl book and a Beverly Cleary book in a blender, you'd get Dory Fantasamagory. We LOVED reading this chapter book in my house. 
I recommended this book on my weekly segment on SiriusXM Kids Place Live. Listen for me every Tuesday at 8 and 10 AM. 
And find an archive of the books I talk about on air via the Pinterest. http://t.co/YhzqNTsLJB http://t.co/nVPchG61HN

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42. Peanut Butter and Jellyfish Audiobook


Did you know that I recorded an audiobook of Peanut Butter and Jellyfish? Weston Woods & Scholastic Audio also made a spiffy animated adaptation. 
I just received my first review for my voiceover work. I'm used to getting taken to task for my words and pictures, but it was so surreal to read a review of my "acting." It was a really nice review!

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43. 48 days, day 47: celebration

{{ I am chronicling 48 days of writing before my July 31 travel. If you are chronicling your summer writing/days and would like to share, please link or comment so we can all cheer one another through. Strength to your sword arm!}}

The Year of Exploration is here.
On Being a Late Bloomer is here.
My speech at Vermont College (moments, memories, meaning) is here.
 ====================
We don't have a picture of us in the sixties. We met when our mutual friend, Jimmy Murphy, who lived down the street from me and drove me to school in his family's Corvair, asked me one morning at pick-up, "Can we go by and get my friend Jim?" and I said sure.

Turns out, Jimmy and Jim worked together (if you could call it that) at Biff Burger in Charleston, South Carolina. My dad had been transferred to Charleston in 1968. He spent two years mostly flying C-141s into and out of Vietnam while my mother held together a family of three kids and a dog and teenager-hood in the late sixties.

As Jim loped out of his house, trombone case under one arm, spiral notebook spilling papers out of the other, I knew my life was about to change. You can't even define it that way -- it's a feeling you understand only later, looking back. I got out of the passenger seat and crawled into the cramped back seat, not because I was a girl and that's what girls did, but because Jim was 6'6" tall and I knew he wouldn't fit in the back.

I don't know where the trombone went. Maybe there wasn't a trombone.

"Hi," was all I managed. "Hi," he said back. He had gigantic lips (good for kissing, it turned out). He smiled with his whole face, hiding nothing, including how amazing he thought I was, this creature who occupied the front seat of his friend Jimmy's car.

And that was the beginning. Things went very fast. I was a good girl. He was a Billy Graham good boy. But we were very good explorers, and we became inseparable, and such good friends, too. He was a good listener. I was a good talker. For the first time in my life, I had someone to really listen to me, to intently listen, looking me straight in the face, paying attention. It was heady stuff!

The music in his life became the music in mine, as I sat at football games in the bleachers in freezing November, watching the sousaphone player at halftime marching in the St. Andrews High School Marching Band. He loved band, he loved the piano (his strength, still today), and he loved rock and roll.

My dad was transferred to the Philippines in 1970, and through a series of events too long to go into here, Jim and I lost touch for a few decades. When we reunited in our late forties, he still looked at me with that grin and those lips and those eyes so intent on my face, listening. I was so far gone before we even got started again. "I can't believe you never got married," I said, "that you never had kids..."

And do you know what he said? "I waited for you." Well. Here I am, me and my decades of living, my four children all grown now, who have been folded into Jim's heart, too, a heart that has room for anything Debbie loves. It's downright inspiring.

I am pouty, where he lets go. I am critical, where he is understanding. I am self-centered, where he is selfless. I could go on. Perhaps I have him on a pedestal. Perhaps he puts me there, too. Maybe that's as it should be.

We are two artists trying to make our way in a world that is not sympathetic to artistic temperaments and making a living. We manage. We like being together and say that's what counts. We both like simple, silly adventures. He makes me laugh. He likes my faces. He likes my snoring. "I can't sleep until I hear you snore." He will go with me to France one day -- a dream I had even when I knew him in high school.

Is it all good? We both find brown sugar cinnamon frosted Pop Tarts hard to resist. There. Something not so good? Nah. It's all good.

Today is our 8th wedding anniversary. We'll spend it getting ready to leave on our trip that begins in tomorrow's wee hours.

This song was number 50 on the Billboard Top 100 for 1969. I'm listening to a lot of late sixties music in preparation for writing Book 3 of the sixties trilogy. I'm looking for anchor songs for scrapbooks, and for story inspiration. This song reminds me so much of that amazingly innocent and yet powerful Charleston time we had together in 1969. Here's to you, Sweet Jim, to the 14 years we've spent together again. I hope we get 14 more.

(the hair! the suits! the dancing while playing guitar! the lip sync! where are the trumpets? hahahahaha. oh, sixties, you are so weird. thank goodness.)

The Spiral Starecase
More Today Than Yesterday

I don't remember what day it was.
I didn't notice what time it was.
All I know is that I fell in love with you.
And if all my dreams come true,
I'll be spending time with you!

Every day's a new day in love with you.
With each day brings a new way of loving you --
Every time I kiss your lips my mind starts to wander...

I love you more today than yesterday
But not as much as tomorrow!

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44. Face-Lift 1268


Guess the Plot

Misgivings of Pawns

1.  We're supposed to move forward little by little, but what's the point? We almost never make it to the other side. Those rooks and bishops and knights would eat us for lunch. No, we're staying put, it's too dangerous out there.

2. They are treated like pawns by their government. Yet even a lowly pawn can become a knight. Well, in chess anyway. But not in the Valnesian Empire. where they are squashed like bugs.

3. In the nightmarish not-so-distant future, humans have voluntarily subjugated themselves to a ruling elite called the Overseers. One day, 16-year-old Atricia gets too inquisitive about the hierarchy and finds herself in a Correction Camp. A mysterious, barely communicative boy rescues her and takes her to the Outlands, where rebels are preparing to restore humans as rulers of their own destiny. The fate of mankind rests on Atricia's shoulders. But first, she must figure out whether she is a Suzanne Collins character or a Stephenie Meyer character.

4. When the young wife of chess champion Feodor Wadzyk is found strangled in the family garage, homicide detective Zach Martinez knows two things. One, the 80-year-old chess master didn't use his own jock strap to kill the 20 year old model; and two, tonight is family game night, so when his Dad says the goddamn top hat is a hotel, the goddamn top hat is a hotel.

5. It was a mistake to come this close to shore. We could get caught in a net. What? Oh, I thought you said Misgivings of Prawns.



Original Version

Dear Evil Editor,

My name is ________, and I am a recent high school graduate living in ________ in a town called ________. [I know it's unfair, but almost all of the people to whom you might send your query will lose interest after reading the phrase "recent high school graduate. Solution: Omit this sentence. They don't care where you live and if they want to know your name, it's at the bottom of the letter.] [By the way, I haven't been able to figure out what belongs in your second blank. My best guesses:

1. my parents' basement

2. a material world
3. Walmart ]

I am searching for an agent to represent my first book, Misgivings of Pawns, which is a 120,000-word epic fantasy story following a boy named Roland Traske on his journey through The Valnesian Empire. Within this book, I wanted to relate the mental hardships that losing one’s family, home, and way of life can cause while still telling an entertaining story. I ended up with a book that I’d love to read. [Excellent. That's one copy we can count on selling.] Roland, however, is an unwilling adventurer, and although his actions will decide the outcome of a conflict no one in his world saw coming, he’s nowhere near happy about it. Here’s what he has to say…

Hello, my name is Roland Traske, and this book is all about me...

…and how my life collapsed into fire and rubble.

Here, you’ll find the people, places, and events that started everything. I was barely a man in these pages, [Earlier you called him a boy. Tell us his age. Also, if he's a teen we'll be wondering whether you intend the book for a young adult audience or middle grade, or adults.] and The Valnesian Empire was being torn apart by conflicting beliefs and politics that I thought I understood. It only took one day for everything to come to a head and leave me broken, homeless and wandering.

That day and the days after doubtless had the makings of a good story, but as I ran from my ruined home and my ruined life, that was the last thing on my mind. When I fled across The Empire in the backs of wagons and on bleeding feet, I wasn’t worried about the plot. When I arrived in Watching and was sent on a hopeless errand by a desperate Lord, I wasn’t thinking about style. [I'm more interested in whether you were thinking about those things when you wrote the book.] When Fate revealed its own twisted plans for me in a place of death and darkness, I wasn’t dwelling on grammar. When I was gifted and cursed with powers I didn’t understand, I never considered symbolism. When I stood in defense of a city that wasn’t mine, I couldn’t care [have cared] less about character. [However, now that I'm trying to make a buck off my story, I'm told that all this crap I never cared about actually matters. Who knew?] [This is just a list of things that happen in the book (You left your ruined home, fled across the empire, attempted to run an errand, developed a super power and defended a city.) which you appear to be using to explain why your book isn't well-written. It also goes on too long. Three items is the most that should be on a list. Did you notice that my list of places you live had three items? Sure I could have continued:

4. luxury
5. Westeros
6. the psych ward
7. Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood
8. sin
9. a double-wide trailer
10. the funk

but you would have gotten bored.] 

All the way, I carried Pity at my side and a legacy on my back, but I also had a city of death on my conscience. I brought an end to ally and foe alike as I ran from my guilt, and it stung me each time, but I pressed on regardless. Now, looking back, I see that it had to be me. I was the only one who could have done what needed done [doing] and shouldered the weight that brought on. Looking back, I see that it was a good story, but I was the one who had to live every second of it. All I ask is that, as you read, remember that a good story does not always make for a good life and that I lived this one…

Because I’d give anything to change it all. [That whole section is vague. We want to know what happens in your book. What is Roland after? Who is trying to prevent him from getting it? What's his plan? What goes wrong?] 

Roland is a little morose right now, but there may still be hope for him down the road. Included are the ______ of Misgivings of Pawns, the beginning of his story. If you’re interested in the full manuscript, please contact me at this email and let me know. I’m currently preparing for college and working on my second book, Trials of a Knight.

Sincerely,


Notes

I couldn't tell if the section from Roland's point of view was the book's prologue or was an attempt to do something clever. Most agents would rather hear the story from you than from your character. If writing queries from the POV of a character in the book led to frequent success, everyone would do it, and agents would . . .  Well, actually, they would accept it because otherwise they'd have to go back to being editors. But the point is, agents don't want you to be clever, they want to know if you have a good story. Therefor, I recommend boiling your book down to three paragraphs:

1. The setup. Who's the main character and what's his situation when the plot begins to unfold? For instance: As war, pestilence and natural disasters consume the Valnesian Empire, sixteen-year-old Roland Traske watches as a marauding army destroys his home and kills his parents. He flees on foot, hitching an occasional ride on a wagon, and finds his way to the town of Watching, where a podiatrist cures his bleeding feet.

2. The Story. What does he want? Revenge on those who killed his family? To reach Pleasantville? To save his new home from an approaching danger? What's the biggest obstacle to attaining this goal? What's his plan? How does he go about it? What's this power that presumably gives him a chance of succeeding?

3. The Dilemma. What choice must he make when the chips are down? What's the downside of each choice? 


Focus on Roland. Within each paragraph connect ideas with transitions/cause and effect. Each sentence should lead logically to the next. You're telling a story, not making a list. 


Come up with a more intriguing title. I recommend Leon Trotsky: A Life 


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45. On My Honor

On My Honor. Marion Dane Bauer. 1986. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 96 pages. [Source: Review copy]



The good news is that the jacket copy of this book is so straight forward I would have known to avoid this one as a kid. (Sad books and I did not get along.)

What is the book about? Joel and Tony are close friends, perhaps even best, best friends. But Joel isn't honest with Tony. And Tony isn't honest with Joel. If either boy had been honest, then the book wouldn't exist essentially. The truth is, Joel doesn't want to go with Tony to Starved Rock state park to climb the bluffs. And Tony doesn't want to go swimming at the city pool with Joel. Joel's last hope is that his Dad will say no to the boys biking over to the state park. Is Joel honest with his Dad? Of course not! Don't be silly. His Dad thinks his son wants to go biking with his friend. And though he knows it may be beyond his child's ability to bike eight or nine miles each way, he says yes. Perhaps he wants his son to like him and think he's cool? Joel tries to hide his disappointment that his Dad failed him by setting up good boundaries, and reluctantly Joel sets off on a very long journey. (In the Dad's defense, Joel and Tony are not honest about what they're going to do once they get to the state park.)

At some point, perhaps halfway, perhaps not. The boys take a break on the bridge. Tony decides to change plans. Now Joel had promised his Dad that they wouldn't change plans, that they would go where they were supposed to go, and do what they were supposed to do, but, does Joel have the integrity, the "honor," to stand his ground? Of course not! Not in this book! Tony decides to go swimming in the river, the river that both boys had been warned was dangerous dozens and dozens of times. Tony talks his friend into going swimming in a dangerous river. Joel knew he was making a bad decision, a "wrong" decision, a breaking-all-rules, and going-against-my-parents-decision, but he goes along with Tony anyway. Into the water they go. But Tony has a big secret: he can't swim. And, as you can imagine, swimming in a dangerous river with strong currents and whirlpools is not the best idea if you can't swim. So Tony drowns.

What little regard I have for Joel is completely lost in the next half of this oh-so-short novel. (I was so thankful this one is short!!!) Is Joel honest with anyone after the accident? Does he tell the police? Does he tell Tony's mom? Does he tell his Dad? It's not that he doesn't tell anyone--he tells a stranger, someone near the scene that he gets to look for Tony in the river--but when this stranger wants to do the right thing, the only necessary thing, Joel makes promises he has no intention of keeping. The lying begins. He has no idea what happened to Tony. He left Tony on the road, on his way to the state park. Tony was alive and biking the last time he saw him. He has no idea why he isn't back home yet.

The truth does come out, of course, but not in a way that puts Joel in a good light, an honorable position. The book ends with Joel and his Dad having a heartfelt conversation. But that conversation didn't sit right with me. Joel wants assurance that there is a heaven and that his friend, Tony, is there. And his Dad tells him that no one can be sure that there even is a heaven. But if there is a heaven, then he's sure Tony is there. I'm not sure which annoys me more. The emphasis that "no one can be sure" there is a heaven, or, the assumption that anyone who dies automatically goes to heaven. I'm not suggesting that the book should end with a discussion that heaven is a real place and hell is a real place, and unless you're trusting in Christ as your Savior, you're destined for hell. That's an unlikely book ending for sure.

Who's responsible? Who's to be held accountable? Who's to blame? The book spends some time devoted to this, mostly through showing and not telling. (Though that last conversation with his Dad does bring this up.) The book certainly can bring a reaction out of the reader.

On My Honor was a Newbery Honor book in 1987.

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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46. As promised

IMG_9036

Rilla’s pocket handiwork.

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47. Delcourt -Ocelot


 O celot est un magnifique félin qui parcourt le monde en compagnie de sa maîtresse, une jet-setteuse digne de Nabilla, afin de concourir aux plus importants concours de beauté animale. Mais au moment d’un transfert à Roissy, leurs routes se séparent et le voilà secouru par une curieuse bande de chats prêts à tout pour le ramener à son vrai domicile qu’il n’a jamais connu : la jungle sudaméricaine.

http://www.bdgest.com/preview-1755-BD-ocelot-ocelot.html


;
 
 

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48. Mark Hamill to Voice the Joker in Batman: The Killing Joke

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49. Stora kornö flee market

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50. It's Tough to Lose Your Balloon Book Trailer


Here is the book trailer for It's Tough to Lose Your Balloon! 
Kids' problems can sometimes feel trivial to us, but when we get down to their level and watch that balloon float away...man, it is indeed tough. 
It's Tough to Lose Your Balloon will be on bookshelves everywhere on September 8th!

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