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1. Favorites

Each year, as school comes to a close, I like to run some statistics to see how our collection is being used.  I run reports for the top 50 check outs of the school year, and then the top 10 based on format. It would come as no surprise to anyone who has spent any time at my school that graphic novels rule the day.  With 5 active comic book clubs, the format is beloved.  We do have some straight fiction and non-fiction in the mix as well.

Without further ado, here are some of the top 50 with the audience of tweens in mind!

Sunny Side Up, by Jennifer Holm











Nimona, by Noelle Stevenson











A Tale Dark and Grimm, by Adam Gidwitz












Auggie and Me, by R.J. Palacio












So You Want to Be a Jedi, by Adam Gidwitz












The Apothecary, by Maile Meloy











Diary of a Wimpy Kid, by Jeff Kinney












The One and Only Ivan, by Katherine Applegate












I'd love to know what your students/patrons loved this year!

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2. Author Kate DiCamillo Finds Summer Fun at The Local Library

This summer, kids can access great books, go on adventures to faraway places and even win prizes – all at their local library.

Kate DiCamillo, author of Because of Winn-Dixie, The Tale of Despereaux and the recently released Raymie Nightingale, appreciates the importance of reading – especially during the summer.

As she visits schools throughout the country, answering questions about her new character Raymie and her journey to conquer remarkable things, she’s also letting kids know that all summer long their local libraries offer great opportunities for summer fun as the 2016 Collaborative Summer Library Program (CSLP) National Summer Reading Champion.

We had the opportunity to talk to Kate about what inspired her to become a children’s author, the importance of books and imagination and which books she loved to read during summer break as a kid.

Your books are very imaginative. Why is important for kids to explore their imagination through books?

Because you find that anything is possible – and the feeling of possibility gets into your heart. That’s what books did for me.

As a kid, I was sick all the time and spent so much time alone. It was super beneficial to read because I was convinced that the things I didn’t think were possible actually were! That’s incredibly important for kids in need, but also for all of us.

DisplaypicYour stories are very relatable for children. Why is it important for kids to see parts their lives in the books they read?

I feel this as an adult reader too. Books give me an understanding not only of the world and other people’s hearts, but my own heart. When you see yourself in a story, it helps you understand yourself.

During my school visits, so many kids tell me stories of how they connect with my characters – Despereaux and Edward Tulane and Raymie. It’s so humbling to see that connection.

And when you see other people, it introduces you to a whole new world. I think of a story I read as a kid, which was actually just reissued, called All of a Kind Family. It’s about a Jewish family in turn-of-the-century New York. That couldn’t have been more foreign to me growing up in Central Florida but I loved every word of it.

Did you like to read during the summer as a kid?

Yes! I loved reading. I could spend all day reading. I’d go up into my tree house with books and sometimes didn’t come down until dusk.

If you gave me a book as a kid, I loved it. I read without discretion.  But I did have my favorites I’d come back to again and again: Beverly Cleary’s books, Stuart Little and Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books.

It’s so crazy to stand in front of groups of kids and tell them this. There’s always a murmur of “oh, yeah, yeah! I read that!” That’s the staying power of books.

How can kids access books and learning activities over the summer?

That is the beautiful thing about CSLP summer reading programs at public libraries: it makes it easy for parents, caretakers and kids themselves to access all kinds of materials and activities for free.   The 2016 summer reading theme is “On your mark, get set, READ!” and I think that’s an open invitation to readers of all ages to take advantage of everything their library offers.

Want more Kate DiCamillo? Listen to her talk about the fantastic summer fun you can find at your local library!

The post Author Kate DiCamillo Finds Summer Fun at The Local Library appeared first on First Book Blog.

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3. Wisdom from Veterans


A couple of the guys that go to the diner are veterans, and they love to talk. I sketch them and write down what I hear. 

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4. My Thoughts: Burning Midnight by Will McIntosh

4 fulfilling blondie brownies.

Cover Love:  Yes.  I think this cover is very eye catching!

Why I Wanted to Read This:
The synopsis was intriguing to me, it made me want to more as soon as I could so I read it!  Here's the synopsis from Good Reads:
Seventeen-year-old David Sullivan’s life is about to change—all because of one tiny, priceless item found in the murky bottom of a Brooklyn water tower.

Sully is a sphere dealer at a flea market. It doesn’t pay much—Alex Holliday’s stores have muscled out most of the independent sellers—but it helps him and his mom make rent.

No one knows where the brilliant-colored spheres came from. One day they were just there, hidden all over the earth like huge gemstones. Burn a pair and they make you a little better: an inch taller, skilled at math, better-looking. The rarer the sphere, the more expensive—and the greater the improvement.

When Sully meets Hunter, a girl with a natural talent for finding spheres, the two start searching together. One day they find a Gold—a color no one has ever seen. And when Alex Holliday learns what they have, he will go to any lengths, will use all of his wealth and power, to take it from them.

There’s no question the Gold is worth millions, but what does it actually do? None of them is aware of it yet, but the fate of the world rests on this little golden orb. Because all the world fights over the spheres, but no one knows where they come from, what their powers are, or why they’re here.
Romance?: Yes. Sully and Hunter have some good chemistry.

My Thoughts:
This book was a really good read:  quick and interesting.  The author did a great job doling out information slowly, but not too slowly.  Just enough to keep you going to the next page to get more about the world Sully lived in.  The most interesting thing is that this world is one that is everything like ours, except there are these spheres that enhance the people who use them.  There are spheres that enhance hearing or make you faster. Sully is a sphere dealer.  He sells them, but has never used them himself.  However, he is famous because he found the most rare sphere ever, a Cherry Red.  He sold it to a collector for two million dollars, but when this collector "burned" them (you need two of the same color to use them) and they didn't enhance anything for him, he voided the check he had given Sully.

Nobody knows where the spheres had come from, but everyone tries to get their hands on them.  This is a very interesting world the author has created.  There are super common spheres and really rare spheres.  There are books about what spheres can do what and how much the rare ones are worth.  Sully is an expert on spheres so when he meets up with a girl, named Hunter, who wants to hunt spheres with him, he jumps at the chance.  And soon they find the most rare sphere of all, a Gold.  Having this very rare sphere makes Sully and Hunter a target from powerful people who will stop at nothing to get this sphere.

I liked the pacing of this book.  Once the Gold spheres gets burned the information comes quick and I liked how the "climax" of the story is not drawn out page after page.  I also appreciated the ending because I don't mind a neatly tied up finish to a book.  And I know that my middle school readers will appreciate it as well.  This will be a great book to hand to a reader who just wants something "different."

To Sum Up:  I am excited for next fall to get this book into the hands of readers who want something interesting with action but don't want to commit to a series or one with a lot of pages.

Book bought for my school library collection.

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5. What's New In YA ~ May 31, 2016

Are you wondering what's new in YA today? Check out these wonderful new releases!   BEWARE THAT GIRL by Teresa Toten For fans of We Were Liars, The Girl on the Train, and Gone Girl, this powerful psychological thriller with multiple mysteries is set against the backdrop of the megawealthy elite of New York...

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6. First Look at Harry, Ginny, and Albus in ‘Cursed Child’ Cast Photos

With only a week until the previews begin, Pottermore confirmed the casting of Ginny and Albus in the upcoming production of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child–and included a few sneak peeks at the actors (including our new Harry) in-character in new cast photos!

 

_89840310_l-rharrypotter-jamieparker,albuspotter-samclemmett,ginnypotter-poppymillerThis Potter family portrait introduces us to Cursed Child’s Ginny (Poppy Miller), alongside Albus (Sam Clemmett) and Harry (Jamie Parker).

 

HP_19753_Harry_FL

Of our new Harry, actor Jamie Parker, J.K. Rowling says:

“He simply is Harry now. There’s a kind of relief in watching him, he gets it so right.”

 

HP_19966_Ginny_FL

Poppy Miller is Cursed Child‘s Ginny, and portrays a “kind and cool” mother to the Potter clan, according to J.K. Rowling.

 

HP_19889_Albus_FL

Sam Clemmett is seen in his Hogwarts robes in this character portrait as Albus Severus Potter. Clemmett had the idea that the robes are hand-me-downs from his older brother, James, and we think the imagery works well.

 

Of Clemmett’s casting, J.K. Rowling (mysteriously) said:

“There’s much I could say about Sam-as-Albus, but we’d be into spoiler territory so quickly I’ll just say we couldn’t have cast better.”

 

Pottermore promises to reveal more Cursed Child character portraits later this week, and we can’t wait!

 

Visit Pottermore to read more and to see what Parker, Miller, and Clemmett had to say about taking on their newest roles.

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7. The View, and the Plan

posted by Neil Gaiman
In a friend's old old house today, as Amanda records in the basement studio and I write in a corner, while Ash sleeps in his seat beside me. Rain lashes the windows and the wind shakes the shutters, and it seems like a proper English Summer as far as I'm concerned.

Today is the publication date for THE VIEW FROM THE CHEAP SEATS, my collection of non-fiction, of essays and speeches and introductions. It's out. it looks like this:


Or it looks like this:


Depending on whether you are in the UK or the US. There are independent bookshops in the US with signed-and-embossed copies. (Here's a link to all the shops which have ordered them: https://www.facebook.com/WmMorrowbks/posts/1017987604950366)  There are bookshops in the UK that have signed copies (I don't have a list. Lots of Blackwells and Waterstones shops for a start.)

Tonight UK time -- in a few hours -- I'll be talking to Audrey Niffenegger about the book at Union Chapel. It's very sold out, but you can watch it online via this. Click and it should take you to the livestream.




And you can get it online at places like Amazon (http://bit.ly/VfCheapSeats) and Indiebound.

Maria Popova at Brainpickings wrote a beautiful piece on one of the essays in the book, the introduction to the 60th anniversary edition of Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451.

It's been reviewed elsewhere, as well. Here's a bit of the NPR review:
What View accomplishes, though, is considerable. Broken up into sections — "What I Believe," "Music and the People Who Make It," "Some People I Have Known," "Make Good Art," and so on — his musings shine with wit, understatement, and a warm lack of pretention. He speaks of "backing awkwardly away from journalism" in his youth, the first step of his eventual metamorphosis into an award-winning fantasy author with a fanatical following, and reflects on the patterns that arise in our lives: "Events rhyme."
Accordingly, View draws order out of the seeming chaos of Gaiman's scattershot career, from journalism to comics to novels to children's books to screen adaptations. He talks about his life, but always through the lens of an external subject, usually on object of passion: the superhero comics of the legendary Jack Kirby, the transgressive songs of Lou Reed, the way "the shape of reality — the way I perceive the world — exists only because of Doctor Who." That was written in 2003, before Gaiman actually wrote for Doctor Who; similarly, his many ruminations onAmerican Gods, his greatest work of prose, take on a deeper resonance now that the book is well on its way to becoming a cable TV series.
Gaiman is a writer above all, though, and his entries about writing and reading make up the meat of View. They range from the deeply personal, eerily poignant "Ghosts in the Machines: Some Hallowe'en Thoughts," first published in the New York Times, to an appreciation of the element of dreams in H. P. Lovecraft's work — a particularly illuminating topic, as one of Gaiman's most beloved characters, Morpheus of The Sandman, is the deity of dreams himself. Even more intriguing is "All Books Have Genders," a meditation on the making of American Gods — as well as a humble assessment of his authorial flaws — in which he offers the succinct slogan "Novels accrete," an entire master class on the creative process summed up gracefully in two words.
It's a relief that it's published: I don't think I've ever been as nervous about a book coming out as I have been about this one. You can hide behind fiction. You can't hide behind things that are about what you think and believe.



Over at Powells, I wrote a playlist for the book:  http://www.powells.com/post/playlist/wheres-neil-when-you-need-him-neil-gaimans-playlist-for-the-view-from-the-cheap-seats- which I'm currently listening to on Spotify, with a lot of pleasure.

Over on Sky Arts, the first two of the four episodes of Neil Gaiman's Likely Stories have aired. (Here's a review of them.) If you have a Sky subscription, you can watch them online or download https://www.sky.com/watch/channel/sky-arts/neil-gaimans-likely-stories. No, I don't know how you can watch them legally elsewhere in the world, yet. I will tell you when I find out.

And it's halfway through the year.  I'm about to dial down my online presence a lot, which normally means I blog more and tweet/facebook/tumblr etc much less. One by one the things I had to do are getting done, and I'm getting ready to write a novel. It's there in my head, a huge thing...

And if I'm not writing a novel, I'll probably be playing with him:





(Photo of Ash NOT smiling as a bonus, because people keep asking if he ever stops being happy. He's happy pretty much all of the time, but here's one of him looking pensive.)


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8. PREVIEW: Watch These Two Zoo Animals Try Their Hand at Banking in John Patrick Green’s HIPPOPOTAMISTER

A while back, we covered the announcement of Teen Boat artist John Patrick Green’s first solo graphic novel, Hippopotamister.  Recently released by First Second Books, Hippopotamister is about two animals who decide to escape the run-down zoo they called home in order to forge better lives for themselves.  They go out into human society to look for jobs, […]

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9.


Arkansas my Home

©By Mary Nida Smith

The trees of summer
Invites visitors to stay
Beckoning them to sit beneath
Relax along lakes and rivers
Throw a line in, take a cruise,
Dive in for a swim.
Before visitors realize…
They call Arkansas home.


                                          (c) Photographs by Mary Nida Smith


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10. david o'connell & francesca gambatesa: when i'm a monster like you, dad!

So my Jampires co-author David O'Connell has just released another picture book! This time he wrote the book, and HarperCollins teamed him up with illustrator Francesca Gambatesa, and it's all about fathers, and out just in time for Father's Day! :) (Here's a link to it on Francesca's website, where you can see some early sketches of When I'm a Monster Like You, Dad!.)



So a bunch of us went along to Gosh Comics in Soho to celebrate! Gosh are awesome at not only stocking comics, but also a range of other illustrated books, often by people who also make comics. Here's a photo nabbed from Gosh's Facebook page. (I wore my new flourescent jumper, wahey.)




A big congrats to Francesca because, while she's done lots of other illustration work in different formats, this is her first picture book, and it's lovely. Hurrah! (We agreed that picture books are quite a lot of work and take quite a lot of time to illustrate.)



Here's Dave doing a dramatic reading with one of Francesca's pictures on the screen. It's about a little monster who thinks he can have fun being big and scary like his dad as a grownup, but the dad shows his kid how they can have fun together right now.



And then there was a big signing. (Stuart got our copy dedicated to both of us and we shall treasure it.)



Fab to see writer-illustrator friends Laura Ellen Anderson, Jamie Littler and my studio mate Elissa Elwick:



And the crafty artists Sami Teasdale and my former studio mate Lauren O'Farrell (aka Deadly Knitshade):



Side note: did you see the amazing phone box cosie that Lauren and Sami knitted for The Clangers?


Photo by David Jensen from Knit The City Facebook page

Thanks to Gosh's lovely Steven Walsh, Nora Goldberg (and Tom Oldham who was manning the basement) for hosting!



And since I was practically the only person who'd never tweeted a selfie from the Gosh loo, that was WHAT I GONE AND DONE.



Huge congrats, Dave and Francesca!

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11. REVIEW: Scooby Apocalypse #1 is What You Feared

scooby-apocalypse-banner-740x431Scooby Apocalypse #1 Plot and Art Breakdowns: Keith Giffen Concept: Jim Lee Script: J.M. DeMatteis  Art: Howard Porter Color: Hi-Fi Letters: Nick J. Nap This past Wednesday saw the publication of Scooby Apocalypse #1, the second entry into DC’s new line of Hanna-Barbera titles reinterpreted for a modern audience. While last week’s Future Quest #1 was business […]

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12. friends in high places


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13. Later, Gator! In all of its hardcover, final-copy glory :)




A great weekend of coaching kids at the State track meet was made even better when I came home to find a few early author copies of LATER, GATOR! Its always fun to see the final product and Sterling did such a nice job with all of the little things like color corrections, spot varnish on the cover etc. Personally, I'm also super happy about the patterned endpapers as well -- which extend the story just a bit in important ways for both the beginning and the end.

Give your local bookstore a call and give them a head's up for the July 19th pub date. They can place their order any time. Pre-orders are also available right now on Amazon and just about any place else that you could order online.

Ciao for now!

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14. दो जून की रोटी महंगी हुई

 दो जून की रोटी महंगी हुई आखिर आदमी को चाहिए क्या…. केवल दो जून की रोटी …. बस किसी तरह दो जून की रोटी यानि दो समय का खाना भले ही यह मुहावरा लगे पर सुनने में अजीब इसलिए लगेगा कि एक जून से दो जून की रोटी महंगी हो जाएगी.सर्विस टैक्स बढ जाएगा  14.5% […]

The post दो जून की रोटी महंगी हुई appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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15. MO WILLEMS STUDIO SUMMER 2016 UPDATE!

It's a busy summer this year with conferences, appearances, theater, and exhibits! Here are some of the highlights: APPEARANCES! JUNE is the busiest month for me this summer. I hope you'll come see me when I visit: NEW YORK - JUNE 3, 4 I'll be doing a few events at the New-York Historical Society in conjunction with the ART & WHIMSY OF MO WILLEMS exhibit there. June 3, 6pm:   Screening

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16. Top Ten Tuesday: Beach Reads Week

Welcome to Young Adult Book Central's Top Ten Tuesday post! Each Tuesday we will be hosting a different theme or topic involving all things bookish!!! The Top Ten Tuesday post was originally created at The Broke and The Bookish so visit there site for all the fun details about this awesome meme!!   This week's...

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17. How long should a chapter be?

Question: Hi, I'm struggling to decide when to change the chapter. I know it's when you change the subject but I seem to write 4 or 5 pages and then I'm

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18. Scaffolding in Scene

There are two types of writers when it comes to scene, I’ve found. One type takes a minimal approach to the stuff around the dialogue. One uses dialogue tags, adverbs, and narrative to construct scaffolding. If you’ve ever worked with me no a manuscript, you know that I don’t take kindly to a lot of scaffolding. I feel that it distracts from the dialogue, which is the rightful star of scene. It’s usually totally unnecessary. When I see a lot of scaffolding, I often remind writers to trust themselves and their readers. Trust themselves to come across as intended, and trust their readers to pick up on what’s being conveyed.

The point is, if you can’t be clear using dialogue alone, you need to look twice at what’s within the quotation marks, not what’s around them. Take a look at the following examples. The first is dialogue with no scaffolding. I’ve only used dialogue tags twice, one for each character at the beginning:

“Hey,” Sara said.
“What’s up?” Zach asked.
“Oh, you know.”
“The usual?”
“The usual.”

I would say that there’s not enough here. We don’t know enough about the characters, what they’re feeling, or why they’re talking in the moment. So I would say that something needs to be added. But how much something? Let’s say that you want to really convey what’s going on with Zach and Sara. How might you achieve that? Well, let’s add some emotions, tags, fancy “said” synonyms, and choreography. The simple scene can easily become:

“Hey,” Sara snarled.
“What’s up?” Zach said, icily.
She waved her hand in the air, as if dismissing him. “Oh, you know.”
“The usual?” He made sure to roll his eyes.
Quite annoyed, she dropped her voice to a near-whisper. “The usual.”

Well, I would say it’s quite clear now how Zach and Sara are feeling. The dialogue is exactly the same, but now I’ve festooned the scene with all sorts of little extras that clearly tell the reader that Zach and Sara are having some kind of fight. Maybe they’re avoiding one another. Maybe Zach has come into Sara’s coffee shop and she has to serve him but she doesn’t want to.

There’s tension in the scene, I’ll admit. But maybe it’s also a bit of overkill? After all, after reading this, my head is almost ringing from being hit too many times. The writer here (me) is explaining the emotions way too much. “Snarled” conveys anger. Waving a hand in the air is a cliché gesture for dismissing. If that wasn’t enough, the dismissal is also explained (“as if dismissing him”). Eye rolls are another cliché gesture. Then the emotion of annoyance is named, and a tone of voice is introduced that further underscores the tension between the two. We usually only whisper things if we’re trying to be quiet or if we’ve tightened our throats in anger.

The second scene would have too much “scaffolding,” as I call it. Whereas the first scene has not enough. If Zach and Sara were really fighting with one another, there would be no way to tell without some help. You might think that I’m playing the scaffolding up to provide an example, and while that was my objective, I am not lying when I say that I’ve seen scaffolding that thick in manuscripts. And sometimes even thicker scaffolding.

Oftentimes, writers don’t trust themselves to be clear about what they’re saying. And they (subconsciously) don’t trust readers to “get it.” So they go overboard. You will know if you put up a lot of scaffolding because you’ll see that almost none of your dialogue exists “naked” on the page (without any tags or narration).

So what’s the solution? Pare way down. And let the dialogue itself do the emotional talking for you, instead of putting everything in the scaffolding. I’ve changed the dialogue itself to have more emotional energy. You can also use interiority to convey feelings, like I do with a peek into Zach’s head here. This would be my ideal third example, a sort of middle ground:

Sara looked up from the register. “Oh. Hey.”
“Oh.” Zach fumbled with his wallet. He should’ve known her schedule better. Maybe she swapped shifts? This was the last thing he needed. “Um, what’s up?”
“What’s up? What’s up. Really? You know.”
“The usual?”
“Yeah, let’s go with that. The usual.”

There’s a sense of tension here between Zach and Sara, but it’s not hammered home. There’s some breathing room for the reader to wonder what they might be thinking or going through, and it opens the door for more of an interaction than “I HATE YOU”/”WELL I HATE YOU MORE!!!” That’s sort of the tone of the middle example, and you can definitely find more nuance.

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19. Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 5/31/16: Decisions, decisions

§ Nice Art: Darwyn Cooke’s Brief History of Mainstream Comics – I’m not sire of the origin of this, but it’s a great way to remember Cooke. § Many comics friends gathered at this weekend’s MegaCon to remember Cooke as well. It looks like he was celebrated in style. § Elsewhere, reading the news was a […]

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20. Author Chat with Jacqueline West (Dreamers Often Lie), Plus Giveaway!

Today on the YABC blog we are happy to sit down with author Jaqueline West and talk with her about her about her new novel Dreamers Often Lie, which released April 5th, 2016!    YABC: What surprised you most while writing your latest book? I wrote this book between deadlines for my middle grade series,...

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21. Automatic Rejects

If you you want to sabotage your query, just follow these suggestions.

http://annerallen.com/2016/04/top-10-ways-write-self-rejecting-query-blogger-agent-publisher.html

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22. Synopsis 50


Sixteen year old PRINCESS PEGI is a misfit who prefers books to fashions and saves animals instead of hunting them. Her parents plan to marry her off to a suitable prince. Pegi wants to experience life outside the palace walls. On the day of the wedding she escapes into the woods, drawn to the cottage of evil fairy INGENIOSA.

As a baby Pegi had been cursed by Ingeniosa. [Why?] Pegi is to run away on her sixteenth birthday and spend the rest of her life searching for herself. Ingeniosa offers to remove the curse but Pegi sees it as a chance to break free of the yoke that is her royal destiny and chart her own path in life.  [Didn't she just break free from that yoke in the previous paragraph?]

As Pegi begins her quest, Ingeniosa offers her two gifts. The first is a companion – KUMO the were-dog, a mutt who can turn into a wolf at need. The second is a magical cookie which embodies the curse; if Pegi consumes it, the curse will end and she and Kumo will be back in their normal habitats. [You put a curse on someone, wait sixteen years for the curse to take effect, and immediately hand your victim the antidote?] [What is Kumo's normal habitat?]

Pegi’s new life is strange, confusing and full of misadventures. Kumo dismisses her as a silly royal; his superior attitude maddens her. But their relationship evolves as Pegi subsumes her vanity and learns from her mistakes. Mistrust and contempt change into mutual respect and affection, and they become true companions. [This was advertised as a YA book, but the magic cookie and the fact that Pegi grows close to her dog rather than a boy make it seem like a book for a younger crowd.]

When Pegi thwarts a witch hunt, she hears about the TRUTHERS.  [Not clear what that means. Were witches literally hunting, or was someone hunting witches or is this the more common figurative meaning of a witch hunt? I'm not sure we need to know what Pegi was doing when she heard about the Truthers anyway.] There are many groups of Truthers and each group believes it possesses the Sole Truth. [Do all groups of TRUTHERS refer to other groups of truthers as the LIARS?] All of them want to outlaw magic, hunt magical creatures and ban ideas they disagree with. Pegi is appalled by what she hears, but the world seems big enough and the danger remote. She realizes her mistake when she and Kumo try to help a besieged bookseller and witness the Truthists burning books and artifacts considered unacceptable. 

Forced to flee for their lives, they end up in the middle of a desert [It would have to be a pretty small desert to be chased all the way to the middle of it on foot without being overtaken. I was joking in the query when I said she needed a werecamel, but since the dog's ability to become a wolf doesn't seem to be paying off . . . ] [Or the dog could have the ability to change into any animal.] and Kumo begins to ail with a mysterious malady. The cookie is Pegi’s last hope. Eating it will return her to the gilded cage of royal life, but she will make any sacrifice to save her beloved were-dog. [The cookie sends Kumo back to his normal habitat, but I'm not sure why that would cure his mysterious malady.] When the cookie doesn’t work, Pegi is forced to make do without others’ magic. She manages to escape the desert and save Kumo by enlisting the help of a dying dragon, a pair of hungry vultures and a medicine man. [You can hardly claim the cookie is her last hope when a seemingly endless supply of potential allies happen to be in the middle of the desert.] [A living dragon would be more helpful in getting out of a desert than a dying dragon.]

The near loss of Kumo helps Pegi understand who she is and what she must do with the rest of her life. Her precious freedom is useless in a world where books are burnt and thinking is unfree. [It seems to me it's the realization that her freedom is useless that shows her what to do with her life, not the near-loss of Cujo.] She must either accept a yoke worse than her royal destiny or resist in her own way. Kumo says they can still walk away but Pegi knows that soon enough they will run out of places to run away to. Pegi and Kumo head towards a city controlled by the Truthers determined to do what they can, even if it’s just protecting one book, freeing one mind and saving one life at a time


Notes

There are so many people who don't request synopses, it hardly seems worth the trouble to write one.





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23. Nerdlebrity apocalypse: Sons of Anarchy cast revolts over non-payment at Space City Comic Con

We’ve reported on many “When a con is crap” moments over the years, but this weekends Space City Comic Con in Houston seems to have combined the biggest ripoffs with the biggest stars for a planned Sons of Anarchy reunion that…well, it didn’t quite pan out, as someone named Ava Jade reports: While talking with […]

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24. It's Live!! Cover Reveal: Exo by Fonda Lee + Giveaway (US/Canada)

Hi, YABCers! Today we're super excited to celebrate the new cover reveal for EXO by Fonda Lee, releasing January 31, 2017 from Scholastic. Before we get to the cover, here's a note from Fonda: Welcome to the cover reveal for EXO, my upcoming science fiction action novel. I’m excited to be...

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25. The Book of Frogs lights the internet aflame

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I mean, truly—here’s a positively radiant review, by Jesse Nee-Vogelman for Spectrum Culture:

Review 1
I’m not an expert on frogs. In all likelihood neither are you. If you desire to remedy this ignorance, The Book of Frogs contains a significant amount of information about frogs. Two thumbs up.

Review 2
I don’t think I’ve ever cared for anything the way Tim Halliday cares for frogs. By comparison, I am emotionally barren. I can barely handle a single romantic relationship. Batrachophilia is a much more work-intensive ardor.

The Book of Frogs details over 600 species of frogs, which, mind-bogglingly, comprises less than one-tenth of total frog species. Tim Halliday writes about each one as if it were his lover. Consider his description of the Atlantic Coast Leopard Frog, a “slim, athletic frog with…long, muscular legs,” which isn’t even one of the prettier frogs in the catalog. Halliday is an emotional cosmonaut, exploring the outermost reaches of human feeling. He has breached the extremities of passion. Should not we all hope to touch, if briefly, such fondness for the world and its creatures? . . . [another 300 or so words that are LOL funny and incisive, critical in the best sense of the term]

All in all, Halliday captures both the extraordinary and ordinary of frogs in the same breathless prose that you wrote in love notes to your eighth-grade crush. Couple that with six hundred beautifully composed pictures of sometimes beautiful animals, and you’ve got yourself one hell of a novelty book. In its several months as the centerpiece of my coffee table, The Book of Frogs has generated more conversation than any other item in my apartment. It’s an aesthetic pleasure as an art object, informative as a reference guide, and gives me hope that one day, just like Tim Halliday, I will learn to love.

To read more about The Book of Frogs, click here.

To vote Jesse Nee-Vogelman for president of Nature, etc., click here.

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