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1. Maisie Dog Create a Caption

Create a captionCreate a caption for this adorable dog, Maisie!

Hi, there! This puppy seems like she is going on her own outdoor adventure! What would you say she is thinking in that cute, furry head?

Maisie Dog

Here’s my caption: “Watch out, world! I’m off my leash and ready to take over this dog park!”

Write YOUR caption in the Comments below!

Megan, STACKS Intern

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It's Tuesday! Write, Share, Give.

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3. #752 – 53 – I Can Dance and I Can Play by Betsy Snyder

I Can Dance & I Can Play Written and Illustrated by Betsy Snyder Chronicle Books       9/01/2015 978-1-4521-2929-7 and 978-1-4521-2905-1 14 pages     7” X 7”     Age infant—2 “Readers make dancers disco, tap, or pirouette and athletes splash, sprint, or score just by wiggling their fingers. But wait! There’s even more …

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4. Girl

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5. Inktober 2015 - Day 12

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6. writers can learn a lot from a dummy

Collage by Vicky Lorencen

Collage by Vicky Lorencen

Back in the late 1900s, there was a clever public service announcement encouraging seatbelt use. It featured crash test dummies and the tagline “You can learn a lot from a dummy.”

Fast forward to, well, right this very minute. When I hear the word dummy, I think of a mini mock-up of a picture book, not a badass mannequin.

Some of my friends write picture books exclusively. (If you must know, I admire/loathe them all. Blast their bundles of talent! Promise not to repeat that, okay?) While, I, on the other cramped hand, write picture books illusively. Meaning, I get a won’t-go-away idea. I do my best to puzzle the idea into a manuscript and then tinker with it until it begs for mercy. Then rinse and repeat. It is never easy or pretty. But, Seuss help me,  it brings me a perverse, inexplicable delight when I finally pin that butterfly of an idea to the board. Making a dummy helps me get to that point.

Whether you and picture books are going steady or you only hang out when the mood strikes,  dummy-making may be wise for you too.

Smart dummy pointers . . .

  • Do not waste a nanosecond worrying about your inability to draw. Dummies are designed to be tools, not  objets d’art.
  • Illustrators need a dummy. Writers need a dummy. All God’s children need a dummy (more or less).
  • If your picture book word count needs a serious count down, making a dummy can really help. You can easily see which words are keepers and which are just leftovers. Aim for 500 or less–a whole heap less.
  • Dummies will also tell you if your cute or clever idea is robust and active enough to sustain a 32-page page-turner.
  • For a tip-top primer on how to make a dummy, visit this blog post from picture book author extraordinaire Tara Lazar.
  • At a recent SCBWI event, I picked up this cool trick from masterful picture book author Kelly DiPucchio. Once Kelly has a decent draft, she prints it and cuts out each line, then uses an existing 32-page picture book (any one will do) to check her pacing. She paperclips or lightly tapes her lines into the book to see how well her story fits the format. If not, she can tailor and tighten or expand.

You simply must be convinced of a dummy’s brilliance by now.

And so, my little cummerbund of cuteness, my bon vivant of brilliance, do you dare devise a dummy? Indeed, I hope you do.

Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things. ~ Steve Jobs

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7. NEW SEASON - isak familjen

Isak have released a brand new product range for AW15 called Familjen that features on tableware and trays. The new cheerful collection has been designed by Sandra Isaksson in England and Sandra describes her inspiration that Familjen are a beautiful and happy people living in the far Lappish north of Sweden, in Mintbergen a village is so remote that the sun does not rise in the winter and does

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8. NerdCon and a Blogging Birthday

Today is my golden blog birthday! Twelve years of blogging is ancient in internet time but I can honestly say I am surprised because it doesn’t feel like I have been doing this crazy thing for that long. When I began I just thought I’d try out a new thing called blogging and see what happened, I had no long-term plan. But it was fun so I kept at it. The years passed and sometimes I would wonder just how long I could possibly keep this up? I told myself, and I still do, that the day is ceases to be fun is the day I hang up my blog hat. Since I am still here you know I am still having fun. Quite a lot of that fun is because of all of you, leaving comments, telling stories, and sharing the marvelous obsession of books and reading we all have.

So thank you. You could all be in a gazillion other places, but for this little bit of time you have chosen to be here. I am honored and grateful and convinced that I must be one of the luckiest people in the world.

Maybe it is only appropriate that I tell you about my NerdCon Stories weekend. This was not a comic convention, this was a storytelling convention. It was organized by Hank and John Green. You may recognize the name John Green, yup, he’s the very same who wrote The Fault in Our Stars. Nearly 3,000 people turned out for this first ever event. There were nerds of all stripes and ages and from all over. I met a mother and daughter who had driven up from Georgia. There were lots of awesome nerd t-shirts, many of them book related, hair colors from every spectrum of the rainbow, a TARDIS dress, lots of fun shoes and boots that I coveted and I don’t even especially like shoes. There were a few people who arrived in costume but not many.

The days began and ended with main stage events that included various presentations on why stories matter. Some were funny and some were serious. There were storytelling games, rapid fires questions to a panel of writers, a mock debate on sock sock shoe shoe v. sock shoe sock shoe, some puppet theater, and musical entertainment and a little sing along.

There were breakout session panels throughout the day both days on a variety topics from adaptation to alternate media, activism and narrative, oral storytelling, storytelling through song, and writing about sex. There were so many people wanting to see this last panel that there were disappointed people who didn’t make it into the room including myself.

A little blurry Telling the Truth panel

A little blurry Telling the Truth panel

The panels I did make it to were mostly pretty interesting. One was called “Telling the Truth.” It was moderated by Hank Green and the panelists were Paolo Bacigalupi, Leslie Datsis, Jaqueline Woodson, Ana Adlerstein and Nalo Hopkinson. All of the panelists talked about how, fiction or nonfiction, they try to tell the truth as they see it. Bacigalupi put it best when he said fiction is facts that become a beautiful lie.

Another panel I attended was called “Honing Your Craft: Embettering Your Word-Doing.” Moderated by Holly Black, the panelists were Paolo Bacigalupi, Stephanie Perkins, Lev Grossman, and Nalo Hopkinson. Grossman works full time as an editor at Time Magazine and I was surprised to learn that he did most of his fiction writing on the New York subway to and from work. They all commented on how each book requires a different writing process and it never actually gets easier. One of the most interesting things about this session was how these obviously successful writers all mentioned at one point or another how afraid they are to show their work to other people and how their fear of looking stupid drove them to revise and revise and make their work the best they could. They all had strategies for overcoming their fears of writing badly. And while they all talked about being afraid, it also struck me that they were all quite brave as well. Both Grossman and Bacigalupi remarked that they had each just called it quits on books they had been writing for months that were not working and how they put all that work aside and started over.

One of my favorite sessions was “The Benefits of Diverse Stories.” The moderator was Liz Hara and the panelists were Desiree Burch, Jacqueline Woodson, Dylan Marron and Jacqueline Carey. They all stressed the importance of not having a single narrative to represent an entire group of people as if a gay man or a black woman could only have one kind of story. All of them talked about looking past the marginalized to the general and finding the humanity and the things that connect us all. Dylan Marron suggested that if you are telling a universal story you should use universal bodies to tell that story instead of defaulting to straight white man. It was all very inspiring!

This is starting to get really long so I will save a few more bits for tomorrow. Something to look forward to I hope!

Filed under: Blogging, Books Tagged: NerdCon Stories

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9. The 50 States Fun Fact Blog Tour - Oregon

You already know I love books. Did you also know I love maps? I do! Whether they're for places real or imagined, I love maps because they help you visualize the shape and the history of everywhere, especially the places you've never been. 

Coming up on the holidays, I'm always on the lookout for cool bookish gifts to give to the inquisitive young people in my life. I know just the youngsters who'll be getting this from me. It's The 50 States by Gabrielle Balkan, illustrated by Sol Linero. Available now from Quarto Knows, it features a fact-filled landscape that's as fun as it's educational.

Today I get to shine the spotlight on Oregon--one of my favorite states and at the top of my list of places I'd like to visit! 

Click on the image to see a bigger version of the two-page spread.

Click on the image to see a bigger version of the two-page spread.

Here are some of my favorite facts from the book (used with permission!)

Can you guess why?

Did you know...

The “Ramona” author grew up in Yamhill: a town so small it didn’t have a library—so her mom started one!

Nearly 700 volunteers work each year to bring the Bard’s plays to life.

The creator of The Simpsons was born in Portland.

A recent study found over 1,000 coffee shops brewing in Oregon!

is the largest bookstore in the world!

Here you can savor a bacon-maple doughnut bar and even get married!

Give up? They're all related to books somehow! Powell's, the largest bookstore... Matt Groening, who got his start with the self-published comic book Life in Hell... Beverly Cleary who wrote many of my childhood favorite tales... Shakespeare... who didn't write books, he wrote plays, but close enough--I'm willing to wager many book lovers have a shelf just for Shakespeare. He was just that prolific. Ok, yeah--it takes a special dexterity to drink coffee and eat donuts while reading without getting glaze all over the pages, but it's a great skill to have. I'm just saying.

That's it for our state spotlight. What other states would you like to see? Comment below and I'll try and find out who on the tour is featuring your state! (Check back for list updates!)

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10. Reasons to be cheerful.....

Halloween comes early.

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11. CARDS & WRAP - dicky bird

I was reminded about Dicky Bird whilst watching Pound Shop Wars on television the other week. The episode featured The Pound Shop a platform for designers to sell their lower priced items to a wide audience either online or in pop up locations such as Selfridges and The V&A. Dicky Bird cards and pocket mirrors were spotted in their store, and I thought I would take a look and see what was new

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12. The Art of Story – Festivals and anthologies in review

Editor, publisher, author, and all round busy guy, Paul Collins describes his latest anthology as ‘a sumptuous literary feast’ in which ‘no one will go away hungry, as the collection is a literary banquet with something for everyone.’ If that doesn’t whet your appetite for the collection of Australian stories, poetry and artwork that is, […]

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13. Original books for all ages from NZ

There is an incredible depth of literary talent in New Zealand ranging from Booker Prize winner Eleanor Catton to Kate di Goldi, Lloyd Jones, Janet Frame and the incomparable Margaret Mahy. NZ is also the base for amazing publisher Gecko Press, which publishes books from around the world for children. We should keep an eye […]

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14. Oct 12

 Shannon Associates

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15. Draw Tip Tuesday: The Waterbrush

Welcome to Draw Tip Tuesday!

I often use a water brush when I am drawing on location. I received several questions about it so here's a quick video of what exactly the waterbrush is.

Whether you’re using a jar of water and a brush, or you find yourself a water brush, you can make awesome art.
And if you want to learn more, head on over to my website, koosjekoene.nl and join one of my classes today!

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16. Artist of the Day: Jacob Menden

Discover the art of Jacob Menden, Cartoon Brew's Artist of the Day!

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17. A Question Regarding Character Development and Romance

A hello from Canada! I'm currently writing a YA novel. I already have the whole plot line listed out, and I've already written eleven chapters. Here

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18. Ed Park on the Library of Korean Literature

       In this week's issue of The New Yorker Ed Park writes about 'Reading Dalkey Archive Press's Library of Korean Literature', in Sorry not Sorry, a good overview of the series, and providing good context for it.
       Many of the titles he mentions, both in the series and aside from it, are under review at the complete review (and I'll be getting to a lot more of the Dalkey titles).

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19. A Fun Day

A gorgeous day to meet with friends
To take a little hike,
Just catching up with lots of laughs;
There’s nothing not to like.

A burger and a beer just wrap
It all up with a bow,
Though paradise can’t last, of course;
The traffic home’s real slow.

But still, despite the lengthy ride
Of inching cars and miles,
I wish there were more days like this one,
Filled with friends and smiles.

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20. A Chekhovian view of privacy for the internet age

Defining “privacy” has proven akin to a search for the philosopher’s stone. None of the numerous theories proposed over the years seems to encompass all the varied facets of the concept. In considering the meaning of privacy, it can be fruitful to examine how a great artist of the past has dealt with aspects of private life that retain their relevance in the Internet age.

The post A Chekhovian view of privacy for the internet age appeared first on OUPblog.

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21. Crow

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22. Deutscher Buchpreis

       The imitation-Man Booker German Book Prize has established itself as the most prestigious German ... uh, book prize (though its €25,000 prize isn't even the richest German book prize whose winner was named in the last week -- that would be the Wilhelm Raabe-Literaturpreis, which announced last week that Clemens J. Setz will get their €30,000-payday (albeit only 1 November, at the official ceremony)) and they've now announced that Die Erfindung der Roten Armee Fraktion durch einen manisch-depressiven Teenager im Sommer 1969, by Frank Witzel, takes this year's prize.
       I just got my (print) copy a few days ago, and I have to say it looks damn good (and massive -- 800+pp) -- lots of playful variety (including chapters in dialogue, a Marat/Sade-variation, a chapter in the form of a questionnaire -- and a fourteen-page index), which all looks like it's right up my alley. It was already high on the get-to list, but it's moved even higher now.
       See also the Matthes & Seitz publicity page.

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23. Build Your Own Monster

Looking to make a monster for your comic book, graphic novel, or story? Here are some  things to keep in mind from Jorge and Rafael with a special sneak peek at Book 3 Monsters.

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24. Happy Halloween, Witch's Cat by Harriet Muncaster

Last year I reviewed Harriet Muncaster's enchanting picture book, http://www.books4yourkids.com/2014/10/i-am-witchs-cat-by-harriet-muncaster.html"target="_blank">I Am a Witch's Cat
, in which our narrator has a unique perspective on her world, one that allows her to see everything as a magical experience. Equally magical are Muncaster's illustrations, which are 3D sets made from paper and other materials that she photographs. The combination of the story and the illustrations is perfect! 

In Happy Halloween, Witch's Cat! the narrator tells us that Halloween is coming.

Preparations are made. A costume needs to be chosen! At the costume store, the little Witch's Cat tries on lots of costumes but something is always wrong - too slimy, too frilly, too tangly. Nothing feels right so they head home for supper then prepare for the Halloween party that night. Just in time, the narrator has the perfect idea - she will be a witch and her mom will be a special witch's cat!

The story in Happy Halloween, Witch's Cat! is a simple one, but there is so much going on in the detailed illustrations, readers will pore over every page.

Be sure to visit Harriet Muncaster's blog, Victoria Stitch where she shares the creation process, from sketches to set building, along with Celestine, a fairy doll that Muncaster has been dressing, creating props for and taking pictures of all over the world for at least the last three years!

Source: Review Copy

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25. Fall and Winter Events

Fall and Winter Schedule!

There are a few events left before the calendar year comes to a close. Hope to see you soon!

October 17
12 PM
Northampton, MA
Montessori School of Northampton Book Fair

October 28
6:30 PM
Medford, MA
Medford Public Library

November 8
4:00 PM
Northampton, MA
R. Michelson Galleries Annual Illustration Show

November 17
7:00 PM
Irving, TX
Vally Ranch Library

November 21
3:00 PM
Leominster, MA
Leominster Public Library

December 13
New York, NY
First Book NYC Fundraiser at Symphony Space

And looking ahead to the beginning of 2016...

January 26
Comic Squad: Lunch! hits bookshelves!

January 30
Plainsville, MA
An Unlikely Story Bookstore

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