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The emotions it brought forth in me are spilling over again and again, of late. I don't know what to make of that tenderness that I feel, but it is real. Around the same time that I read the anthology, I got an electronic copy of We Sang You Home by Richard Van Camp and Julie Flett. I had that same response to it. Indeed, there were moments when I was blinking back tears! Now, I've got a copy:
I've thought about it a lot since first reading it, trying to put words to emotions. Richard Van Camp and Julie Flett are Native. I've read many of their books and recommend them over and over. Working together on this one (their first one is Little You), or apart, the books they give us are the mirrors that Native children need.
Just look at the joy and the smile of the child on the cover! That kid is loved, and that's what I want for Native kids! To feel loved by words, by story, by books. We Sang You Home is a board book that, with very few words on each page, tells a child about how they were wanted, and how they came to be, and how they were, as the title says, sang home where they'd be kissed, and loved, and... where they, too, would sing.
Here's me, holding We Sang You Home. See the joy on my face? Corny, maybe, but I wanna sing. About being loved, by this dear board book.
I highly recommend We Sang You Home. Published by Orca in 2016, it is going to be gifted to a lot of people in the coming years.
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We made a Play Doh pizza (Forming spinach from the green) And I cut out little slices (Cutest ones I've ever seen). Next we patted pancakes, rolled out snakes And to our hearts' content, We squished and squished with all our might; (A perfect way to vent!). Though the colors smushed together (Not my choice, but what the hey) We had lots of fun, the perfect Inter-generation play. Then we stuffed the Play Doh in the cans And covered them up tight 'Til another opportunity Presents for such delight.
जीवन में स्वच्छता का महत्व हमारे जीवन में स्वच्छता का महत्व कितना है या कौन कितनी सफाई रखता है इसका भी पता नही पर मैने आज स्वच्छता में बहुत बडा योगदान दिया. अपने पर्स से कागज निकाल कर सडक पर नही फेंंका घर आकर डस्टबीन में ही फेंका. बस .. इतना ही … !! आप […]
As much as this project has been about my own small way of participating in the political process, about encouraging the current administration to give due consideration to an issue that I feel strongly about, its also been an engaging way for me to raise my own personal awareness of SO many other things. That being said, please don't forget about your own participation in the process, and DO get out your vote by November 8th. No polar bear actually running for President, but if there were I bet they'd believe in taking bold steps to reduce our carbon outputs and to get a grip on global warming.
Orla Kiely has done it again and created another wonderful licensing deal for her prints. This is time it is with UK retailer Halfords to produce a series of bicycles, bike accessories, and camping gear. Orla's designs now appear on everything from saddle covers, to tents and, enamel mugs. Branded under the Orla Kiely diffusion label 'Olive and Orange' (named after her labradoodle dog) there
Check out LEE & LOW BOOKS’ Building Classroom Community Unit for First Grade! The FREE and downloadableunit consists of eight read aloud lesson plans to inspire your best classroom community yet.
The start of first grade is ripe with opportunities for building long-lasting positive school behaviors and attitudes. Time spent building relationships and establishing social and academic expectations can pay dividends all year long.
Using a rich collection of diverse picture books to support this work lays the foundation for a classroom culture of appreciation and acceptance.
The Building Classroom Community Unit for First Gradeconsists of eight read alouds and provides a structured approach for this important work, yet the lessons are flexible enough for you to teach language and behaviors specific to your students’ population, preferences, and goals. Each lesson is intended for multiple days so that from the beginning students are exposed to close reading and the value of multiple readings. We believe the first eight read alouds, or roughly the first two months of school, are critical to setting the tone of your classroom community, read aloud procedures, and expectations for engagement.
review and build on the expectations for listening and discussion participation introduced in kindergarten, with a new emphasis on staying focused on a topic and building on others’ responses
encourage students to learn about one another through discussions of favorite individual and family pastimes and goals for the year ahead
engage in rigorous yet developmentally appropriate discussions about crucial topics such as individual strengths and challenges, managing disagreements kindly, and persevering through mistakes and difficult tasks
Each lesson may be used as a stand alone, but we hope that using these books as a broad unit will help lay the foundation for a strong classroom community with strong learning expectations. We designed the unit to spiral. Additionally, each lesson and book can be adapted for other grades (and we hope you will do this!).
Book extension activities encourage exploration of these topics through writing, drama, and art, as well as lay the foundation for collaborative learning during your year.
Designer Kelly Angelovic was thrilled to announce the launch of her new line of soulful paper goods, including greeting cards, notecards, thank you notes, and prints. Six years ago, Kelly opened the doors to her design studio in Boulder, Colorado realizing a long-held dream of working as a professional artist and illustrator. After licensing collaborations with Oopsy Daisy, Robert Kaufman,
Ray Oranges is a Florence-based designer whose work has caught the eye of Wired, Monocle, and Creative Review. Focusing on the shapes of his subjects rather than their details, he abstracts architecture and landscapes to create artful and geometric pieces. His extreme minimalism, mixed with his calculated use of negative space and long shadows, gives his portfolio a surreal and dreamlike quality. To keep up with his work and architectural inspiration, make sure to follow him on Instagram.
One of the greatest challenges faced by schools and universities today is preparing students for an unknown future. Our graduates will likely have multiple careers, work in new and emerging industries, grapple with technologies we can’t even imagine yet. And so we’re asking our staff to equip students with the skills they need to thrive in a potentially very different world to the one we live in now.
October features a NEW book, touring shows, wonderful exhibitions, and fun stuff!
October 25 will see the publication of my next picture book, NANETTE'S BAGUETTE, which has already garnered a starred review from KIRKUS and another starred review from BOOKLIST.
I'm very excited and proud of the book, it's been great fun doing preview readings of the story over the past few months.
I'm kind of done with meta picture books, but I will never be done with sloths, especially sloths named Mervin. Happily, Mervin the Sloth Is About to Dothe Best Thingin the World is a really fantastically fun meta picture book. Colleen AF Venable, graphic novel designer for the excellent FirstSecond by day and graphic novelist by night, makes her picture book debut with the help of illustrator Ruth Chen.
Mervin the Sloth Is About to Dothe Best Thingin the World begins with Mervin, center page, slowly moving to the right with each page turn, as the title drops in from the top of the book over the course of a few pages. A red panda, Mervin's friend, strolls onto the scene, taking excited notice of the falling title. More and more friends arrive, all speculating about the best thing in the world that Mervin is about to do. Flying? Digging? Gazelling (which is not even a word, as bird points out)? Is Mervin going to fight a shark? Turn into a robot? Do all our homework? Invent a time machine? There will definitely be lots of laughs as you read this book out loud, which is a must. Mervin the Sloth Is About to Dothe Best Thingin the World should not be read alone and when you get to the end of the book you will see just why... Be sure to watch this brief video of Colleen and Ruth doing a stellar job reading their book out loud!
Soon to be on the shelves of my school library, Colleen's graphic novel series Guinea PI:
ये अंधा कानून है. देश का खोखला कानून है क्योकि हर रोज कुछ न कुछ ऐसा पढने सुनने को मिल जाता है कि कानून पर से विश्वास ही उठता नजर आता है. आज भी कुछ ऐसा ही हुआ. नेट पर सर्च करते हुए अचानक ध्यान एक खबर की और चला गया. खबर थी कि फिल्म ‘पिंक […]
I’ve published twenty middle-grade and young-adult books with Random House, Macmillan, Oxford University Press, and others. My first book came out in 1993, when self-publishing was difficult to do, expensive, and mostly looked down on as a way that clueless wannabe authors would get sub-par books printed, only to have unsold copies mildew in the writer’s garage. Now, of course, that has changed. Self-publishing—now usually called “indie publishing”—is less expensive and easier to do than it used to be (although doing it well still isn’t cheap, and indie publishing isn’t without new challenges), and the advent of print on demand and eBooks means you don’t have to stockpile. Many still look down on indie-published books, and that’s understandable. It’s possible to self-publish a dreadful story with no editing and a garish cover. Of course, plenty of traditionally-published books are bad too. But the lack of gatekeepers means that the percentage of awful books is higher among the indies than the traditionals. Still, every day there are more and more beautifully written, interesting, well-edited, and attractive indie books. A tiny fraction of them become bestsellers and a few are even made into movies. So when one of my manuscripts received careful consideration by several major publishers, only to be rejected for vague reasons each time, I decided to give indie publishing a whirl. The result is The Song of Orpheus: The Greatest Greek Myths You Never Heard, which came out in July. My target reader for this collection of little-known myths is the kid who loves Greek myths but is tired of reading the same ones over and over. The research was challenging and enjoyable, and I loved discovering stories that I thought middle-schoolers would like. Rewriting them to keep true to the originals while sounding fresh to today’s readers was great fun. But there are many facets to a published book. It’s not enough for it to be well written. To be successful—and for the author to be able to take pride in it—the book must also be well edited, copy edited, and designed, with an attractive cover and formatting. It has to be made available to readers and promoted effectively. I’m a professional in only one of those areas: writing. I used to copy edit, but I know better than to copy edit my own work, and similarly, I’m not about to trust my own judgment of my writing. My very editorial agent had made me go through several revisions before she submitted it, and then, as I said, it received positive attention at some good houses. So I was comfortable that I wasn’t deluding myself about its quality. But what to do about the rest of the book-production process? Fortunately, my agent, Lara Perkins, came to the rescue. Her agency (Andrea Brown Literary Agency) was one of the pioneers of “agency-assisted self-publishing,” and she steered me to a copy editor, a cover artist, a designer, and a formatter, who all did stellar jobs. She also handled getting the ISBN, dealing with Amazon, and lots of other aspects of publication, some of which are ongoing. I found a publicist on my own, after getting Lara’s input. What’s in it for Lara? She collects her standard commission after I’ve earned back what I spent on everything but the publicist and other expenses I’ve run into after publication. (This is another reason I was confident that this was a marketable project; Lara’s not about to spend all that time on a book that she didn’t think would sell!) I had complete control over every step. Lara presented me with options for each of the services she helped me find, and I consulted directly with Joe Cepeda, the brilliant illustrator who did the cover. For this reason, I’m not going to say how much all this cost—you can spend a lot less than I did, or a lot more. Expect to go into four figures, up to five, for high-quality work. Is this expensive? Yes, it is. But it’s a business, just as a KFC franchise is a business. And considering that a KFC franchise costs between $1,250,000 and $2,530,000, I feel like my much, much smaller investment was money well spent. One of my added expenses was getting a review from Kirkus Reviews. You have to pay for their review of an indie book, but this doesn’t guarantee it will be a favorable one. They allow you to choose whether or not to publish their opinion, and rumor says that at least 90% of the time, the author chooses not to do so—Kirkus is notoriously tough! This was another financial risk, but it paid off: While I was writing this post, Orpheus received a glowing review!
Why do some great Broadway shows fail, and mediocre ones thrive? How does the cast onstage manage to keep tabs on the audience without missing a beat or a line? Ken Bloom, author of Show and Tell: The New Book of Broadway Audiences, delves into the inner workings of the Broadway stage and the culture surrounding Broadway hips and flops.
Many of the books I see promoted as “Middle Eastern literature” for children—indeed, almost all of them—are books written by Westerners and set in the region. Just so, we have floods of books by soldiers, aid workers, and journalists who spent some time in Iraq, for instance, and almost none by Iraqis.
Writing about other places is valuable, yes, but it’s another thing entirely to listen to the stories—the cadences, the art, the beauty—coming from another language.
I find it limiting and echoey to read the narrow band of “our own” Anglophone stories. We can offer our children much much more: more joy, and more ways of seeing. What would you like the children’s literature community to gain from this annual event?
Just as with #WiTMonth (Women in Translation), I think it’s key to start with recognition—to recognize that we don’t translate much from around the world. We translate a bit from Western European languages, where publishers have connections, and that’s great. But the literature currently translated from the great Indian languages, from Chinese, from Turkish, from Farsi, from Eastern European languages, would fill a few small shelves. These literatures could give us so much!
I’m grateful for the bit translated from Japanese literature, which has been feeding our children’s imaginations in new ways. (And our grown-up imaginations, too.)
What was your own experience of literature as a child? Was your whole world represented in stories you read?
The world outside was a mysterious and scary place, difficult and sometimes painful to understand. But the worlds as presented in my books were so tangible, they really belonged to me, they could be read and re-read.
As for translations, I particularly loved folktales from around the world, and cherished not just Italo Calvino’s collection (which I read until it fell to bits), but Norwegian and Japanese and Arab and other folktales. The folktale is a wonderful global form where there has been much sharing from language to language, culture to culture.
Have you translated any literature for children?
Not in any serious or systematic way; just helping translate picture books for a friend. I would love to, but interest in Arabic kidlit has been vanishingly small.
What currently available Arabic>English kidlit translations would you recommend?
There are precious few, while children’s books translated into Arabic are many. (There are books from French and Japanese, for instance, that I know and love only in Arabic.)
September is National Attendance Awareness Month, a time when schools and programs across the country emphasize the connection between satisfactory school attendance and academic achievement.
Researchers and social scientists are always trying to figure out the secret to academic success for students. Public schools or charter schools? Is standardized testing effective? What role should technology play in schools? For every answer, more questions emerge.
One thing the leading minds in education do know is that attendance works. If a teacher is looking for a way to help improve their students’ academic outcomes, attendance works.
Our friends at Attendance Works, a national and state initiative that promotes better policy and practice around school attendance, have developed FREE resources in English and Spanish that help reinforce the importance of attendance for caregivers of young children.
Why Attendance Matters:
Early attendance helps children read and succeed later in school
Children from low-income families are more likely to be affected by lost school time
Chronic absenteeism starts early, so encourage good attendance habits now
These resources are a great way for teachers to engage with their students’ caregivers and highlight the importance of good school attendance. Teachers can use the strategies and tactics found in these downloadable materials to help caregivers ensure attendance is a priority for their young students now and in the future.
Because after all, attendance works.
If you serve kids in need, please visit the Attendance Works section of the First Book Marketplace to download FREE resources that can be used to engage caregivers and convey the importance of satisfactory school attendance.
The Best (Worst) School Year Ever. Barbara Robinson. 1994. 117 pages. [Source: Bought]
First sentence: Unless you're somebody like Huckleberry Finn, the first day of school isn't too bad.
Premise/plot: This book is a sequel to the Best Christmas Pageant Ever. Both books are narrated by a girl named Beth who bear witness to the awfulness of the Herdman family. The book loosely takes place between the first and last days of school. The chapters are more episodic than linked to one another. All focus in on the Herdman family. Some chapters are better than others. I wouldn't say that any were wonderful.
My thoughts: I really LOVE, LOVE, LOVE The Best Christmas Pageant ever. And I think the reason why was that it had a point--a redemptive point. The Herdmans surprised everyone with their humanness, and, they weren't just the town joke when all was said and done. That isn't the case with The Worst Best School Year Ever. While there was one touching moment when Beth, the narrator, noticed Imogene at her best, that alone wasn't enough to make up for all the "let's laugh at the Herdmans." The scene I did like was when Beth noticed the initials on the blanket "returned" to baby Howard. I.H. When Howard lost his blanket--he was the bald baby whose head the Herdmans tattooed with waterproof markers--Imogene gave him her old blanket and pretended it was his that she had found. Only Beth suspected the truth. The first book seemed to end with a fuzzy removal of the "us" and "them" distinction. Not so with this one. And that is disappointing.
Number 5 in the History of my Archive in 10 Objects, is this triple set of bird studies from early 1977.
Buzzard, Kingfisher, Long-Eared Owl. Watercolour on paper, 1977
I was 17, I was about to leave school and start a foundation course at the now-gone and much lamented Bournville School of Art, I was full steam ahead for a career in illustration, the world of graphic art, experimentation and adventure awaited.
But all that was in the future - in the meantime I was generating some income from selling these kinds of traditional studies in a local giftshop/framing gallery in Mere Green. The owner, Mrs Gameson, was extremely supportive of my work and gave me wall space to display and sell pictures of wildlife and familiar scenes of Sutton Coldfield, in watercolour (as here) or pen and ink. Gameson Gallery also managed me as an artist on commission - word of mouth recommendations led me to draw many of the big houses on the private estate in Four Oaks, I'd cycle with sketchpad and ink bottle to anywhere that wanted a drawing - unfortunately this came to an end when one customer returned their house sketch, upset that I'd included the washing on her line in the drawing.
Virtually everything I painted at that time was sold by the gallery, but these three studies survived because they were a birthday gift to my mum in January 1977. I believe they were amongst my first attempts to paint in pure watercolour (that is, just paint, no pen lines).
I carried on working with the Gameson Gallery even after I started my Foundation course, right up until I left for Manchester, Mrs Gameson gave me my first ever one-man (or one kid!) exhibition, mostly wildlife paintings. My parents were particularly proud of this and my father was disappointed when I drifted away from such work. Being an artist in the eyes of my father was to paint attractive pictures, exhibit them, sell them and put them on the wall. He could never really get to grips with my choice to be an illustrator rather than a gallery fine artist, there was a suspicion I was under-selling my talents. I'll always remember him saying "when are you going to paint a proper picture I can put on the wall?" By "proper", he meant a landscape, seascape or genre oil painting. But eventually he did come round to understanding my creative path.
The fact remains though, of all the work I created and showed my parents over all these years, the one thing that never left their walls, on display without a break for nearly forty years from 1977 until 2016, were these three bird studies.