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1. Try! Try! Try!, by Lindsey Craig | Book Review

Try! Try! Try! is an entertaining board book that encourages young readers to try new things.

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2. Fish Create a Caption

Create a caption for this glorious goldfish!

FishLeah from the Scholastic Kids Council sent this wonderful picture of her pet goldfish in all its glorious goldishness!

What do you think this fish is trying to say?

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3. Comic-Con 2016: Warner Bros. Developing Animated Pepe Le Pew Feature

Can Warner Bros. reboot Pepe Le Pew for modern audiences?

The post Comic-Con 2016: Warner Bros. Developing Animated Pepe Le Pew Feature appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

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4. BLUEPRINT - brenda manley designs

Brenda Manley Designs will be showing at Blueprint New York from the 8th-10th August. The studio includes Brenda and a wonderfully varied and capable group of ten artists and has a portfolio brimming with seasonal, floral and fresh art that is perfect for licensing with home, decor, stationery and fabric. Appointments are still available just email brenda@brendamanleydesigns.com

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5. PRINTSOURCE - designastration studio

Also showing at Printsource next month will be Tiffany Laurencio of the Designastration Studio.

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6. Monday Mishmash 7/25/16


Happy Monday! Monday Mishmash is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing what's on your mind. Feel free to grab the button and post your own Mishmash.

Here's what's on my mind today:
  1. My Laptop Works Again!  I'm jumping for joy because my laptop is finally working again. I ran a huge update and now everything is good. It took forever, but I'm happy. :)
  2. Proofing After Loving You  I'm doing the final proofing for After Loving You (Ashelyn Drake NA romance) before it goes off to the formatter.
  3. Fun Story! Last week the contractor who put in our new windows told me his wife asked what my first name was and when he told her she realized she recognized my name because she had read one of my books. How cool is that?
  4. Editing  My editing schedule is booked into next year already. Just wow!
  5. Updating My Website  I've been updating my website after a few people asked how to order signed copies of my books. There's now a store! I don't have payment buttons because shipping costs are different depending on where you live, but all my books are there with prices.
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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7. The Sold-Out 2016 SCBWI Summer Conference will be starting soon!

As I write this, we're just days away from #LA16SCBWI


It's going to be amazing!

If you're not lucky enough to attend this time around, remember to follow along on social media (the hashtag is #LA16SCBWI) and here on this blog.

Here's to all the inspiration, craft, business, opportunity and community ahead!

Illustrate and Write On,
Lee

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8. स्मार्ट सिटी – कितने साक्षर और निरक्षर हम

क्लिक कीजिए और सुनिए  दो मिनट और 18 सैकिंड की ऑडियो “स्मार्ट सिटी – कितने साक्षर और निरक्षर हम” डिग्री धारक कृपया ध्यान दें .. बडी बडी भारी भरकम डिग्री लेने से हम पढे लिखे की श्रेणी में आ जाते हैं ? अगर आपकी भी ऐसी ही सोच है तो जरुर सुनिए 2 मिनट का […]

The post स्मार्ट सिटी – कितने साक्षर और निरक्षर हम appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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9.



New water color abstractions taken with my phone. These were class demonstrations.


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10. The Yeti Files: Attack of the Kraken by Kevin Sherry, 128 pp, RL 2



It's here! Book 3 in Kevin Sherry's superbly silly series of books featuring all your favorite cryptids is here! Following in the footsteps of Monsters on the Run and Meet the BigfeetBlizz Richards and the gang go under the sea The Yeti Files: Attack of the Kraken



But, before heading to Atlantis, Alex the Elf and Gunthar the goblin are getting up to no good, out of eyesight from Blizz. Blizz thinks the two are getting along nicely in their igloo, but really, the devious duo are off tending to Gunthar's new pet whose name begins with "pt."


As Blizz gets the cryptosub ready to head out, he explains to Alex, Gunthar and Frank, the arctic fox who always seems to know what's really going on, all about the hidden city of Atlantis and the merfolk who live there. He also reminds the gang and readers how they received an urgent alert from the merfolk at the end of The Yeti Files #2of Monsters on the Run. In Atlantis, they crew are greeted by the Mayor, Julius Blacksand, who has been making big additions to the city with the help of some powerful, precious, rare crystals mined nearby. But, a determined megafan of Blizz's named Coral tells him that the mayor isn't all he seems to be and that his continued mining of crystals is threatening the health of the ocean they live in - and the mysterious Kraken. Can Blizz and the gang prove that this is true and stop Julius Blacksand? And just who is Emily Airwalker and where is she? While I always adore the humor in Sherry's books, he weaves some very pertinent themes of conservation and environmental awareness into Attack of the Kraken that I appreciated.


 The Yeti Files Books 1 & 2:

      Meet the Bigfeet          Monsters on the Run


Source: Purchased

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11. Tsonokwa ~ Woman of the Woods

WomanWoodslndianMyth_RobertaBaird_1signed
“She’s called the wild woman of the woods. In some legends, she’s a giant. But she catches little children and puts them in a basket on her back, and then she takes them home and eats them.

“But she’s very slow and dull-witted, and her eyes are cast downward to symbolize this slowness of wit. So they usually get away.”

Her lips are pursed to make the “huuu-huuu” sounds that are characteristic of her. The sound is like the wind blowing, and when children hear that they will clutch at their parents’ legs so that they “don’t get carried away by Tsonokwa,”

“But if you can find her house, you would come away with untold riches. For them, that consisted of furs, walrus ivory, dried fish, dried meats, and especially copper. Copper to them was like gold is to us.”

The well-stocked house of Tsonokwa means that she is a symbol of wealth. So when a chief dispenses his inheritance to his successor, she appears in a male form and presides over the ceremony. The figure representing the male form, Geekumal, wears a mask with a beard and mustache.

Retold by Anthony H Taylor, a retired art teacher who spent a lifetime building his great ethnographic collection, and then upon passing donated it to  the University of Utah.
…and who taught me everything I know about art.

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12. Francelia Butler Conference

Every year at Hollins University, students put on the Francelia Butler conference to celebrate the woman who made the world take children's books seriously. It's a one-day conference with visiting scholars, academic and creative readings by students, and this year - the first awarding of the Margaret Wise Brown Award for Best Picture Book, which went to Phil Bildner for MARVELOUS CORNELIUS.

Although my favorite part of his acceptance speech was when he shared this fabulous graphic: Teach/Learn. I always say teaching is learning!
Each year a theme is chosen to decorate the conference. This year's theme was "Stranger at the Door" - which led to some wildly creative decorations. Teachers - pay attention!


The Hogwarts door was especially creative - just some cardboard squares and VOILA!

Doors were everywhere!
Even the podium was decorated as a door - to a Hobbit Hole!
Each year there's an auction to raise money for future events. I snagged an original linocut by Ashley Wolff - woot! (Not a print - the actual linocut!)

And each year I listen to the speakers while I draw custom thank-you and congratulations notes for friends, faculty, and students. Here are some of this year's batch.
You may see some of these again as coloring pages...
     Even nicer this year was the more conscious inclusion of our illustrators. Awards were given and the gallery show was impressive. We are so proud of our students here at Hollins. They do a great job!

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13. Share the Hope of Christ with the Mentally Ill

by Sally Matheny


Share Hope with the Mentally Ill

Years ago, one of my kindergarten students, “Cody,” exhibited bizarre and sometimes violent behavior. He wasn’t malicious. Yet, he consistently wrecked havoc among the five-year-olds, causing everyone around him great stress and concern. 

No matter what methods we tried to encourage success for him, they only helped for a short time—a very short time.



My assistant and I felt all our efforts were hopeless. And school wasn't the only place of Cody’s erratic and raucous behavior.

One morning he came in with singed hair and no eyebrows. His crystal blue eyes remained as expressionless as his face as he told me what he did in the middle of the night.

The kindergartener snuck out of his home with an armful of toys. He dumped them in a pile in the front yard. Then, while everyone was asleep, he set them on fire.

I asked his grandmother, whom he lived with, about it later. She seemed a bit frazzled, but laughed it off and said the boy was constantly into things. 

It took me almost an entire year to convince Cody’s grandmother and family doctor that something wasn’t right. He needed more help than his prescribed Ritalin could provide.

Around May that year, Cody finally received the requested testing and counseling. The results revealed Cody suffered from severe mental illness due to physical and sexual abuse. He was taken where he could receive extensive care.

Prior to Cody receiving help for his mind and body, I had the opportunity to offer him hope for his troubled soul.

It was on one of those many days when the P.E. teacher sent him back into the classroom because he was causing mayhem and harm on the playground. Cody flitted from one end of the room to the other. I was used to talking to him while he was on the move. Rarely did he stand still or even make eye contact.

However, that day, something unusual happened.
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14. PRINTSOURCE - epluche

We have had some more flyers come in for Printsource and Blueprint - two major designs shows taking place in New York in the second week of August. The first are from Laurie Brochard of Epluche will be showing new works at Printsource in Booth A32 on 9th-10th of August.

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15. Flupp na Casa do Jongo da Serrinha em Madureira


Em 23 de julho de 2016 na Casa do Jongo da Serrinha em Madureira, zona norte do Rio de Janeiro.

Xico Sá e Júlio Ludemir.




Júlio Ludemir.





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16. My 10 Top Favorite Things…

Now that summer is in full swing in the banana belt of Canada, I’m willing to bet most kids in the northern hemisphere are enjoying their free time doing their favorite things like playing with their friends, hanging out at the beach, reading books by their favorite authors (wink), or going on vacations with their families. That said, I thought I’d compile a list and share my ten top favorite things that I enjoy whether it’s summer, fall, winter or spring.

1. Enjoying my morning coffee outside (weather permitting) on our patio. True therapy.

2. Big. Bang. Theory. Sheldon still cracks me up!

3. The original Star Wars movie. I know, I’m dating myself, but I was one of those people who went
to the movie theatre to see it again and again. Of course movies were cheaper back then!

4. My reading chair. It’s comfy and cozy. Even when I have to share it with the cat.

5. Reading...in my reading chair…with or without the cat.

6. Writing the first draft of a novel that nobody sees because that’s where the fun begins!

7. My pets. After all, I have to read my first draft to someone. Right?

8. Writing ‘THE END’ on the final draft of my novel. Trust me, it’s a BIG deal! 

9. Connecting with my readers online and offline. Trust me, it’s a HUGE deal!


10. Single. Malt. Scotch. No explanation necessary.


So, what are some your favorite things? Would love you to comment and share! Enjoy the rest of your summer, and thank you for reading my blog! Cheers! 

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17. Library Loot: July

So where have I been? Despite my lack of 'library loot' posts, I've actually been averaging about three to four trips to the library per week. There is the difficulty. If you know you're going to the library "tomorrow," it's hard to get down to writing a library loot post "today." But since it's been almost a month since my last post...here I go:

New Loot:
  • Camille by Alexandre Dumas, fils
  • Fudge-a-mania by Judy Blume
  • Double Fudge by Judy Blume
  • Golf Without Tears by P.G. Wodehouse
  • My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows
  • Waylon: One Awesome Thing by Sara Pennypacker
  • Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus by Barbara Park
  • Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain
  • Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk
  • Johnny Cash: The Life by Robert Hilburn
  • Man in White by Johnny Cash
  • Counting Thyme by Melanie Conklin
  • Another Day as Emily by Eileen Spinelli
  • The Luck Uglies by Paul Durham
  •  Fork-Tongue Charmers by Paul Durham
  • All-Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook by Leslie Connor
Leftover Loot:
  • Riddley Walker by Russell Hoban
  • A Royal Experiment by Janice Hadlow
  • Are You Experienced by Jordan Sonnenblick

  Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Linda from Silly Little Mischief that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries

© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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18. French language in International Law

French is the language of diplomacy, German the language of science, and English the language of trade. Whereas German has been displaced by English in science, French continues to occupy a privileged position in international diplomacy. Its use is protected by its designation as one of the two working languages of the United Nations (UN), the International Court of Justice, the International Criminal Court and ad hoc UN-backed tribunals.

The post French language in International Law appeared first on OUPblog.

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19. It took 94 audiobooks to illustrate 1 picture book

A glimpse at the messy studio
Illustrators are often asked what materials go into making their work. What brand of pencil is that? What paper do you use? Is that acrylic? For this post, I wanted to focus on one crucial element, at least in my own painting process, that goes unseen in the final work, and that is a constant supply of audiobooks! I say 'painting process' because during the drawing and ideas phases I need quiet, or movies I've already seen, or not-too-intrusive music. But, when it comes to painting there's nothing better to get me into the creative zone than a good audiobook!

It all started back with working on various paintings while listening to all the Harry Potter books read by Jim Dale, who does the most amazing job of bringing the characters to life. He set the bar so high though that I didn't know where to go next. After stumbling around a bit, I found His Dark Materials, (the Golden Compass series), which with its full cast and Phillip Pullman's epic storytelling rose right to the top of my list of best audiobooks ever. 

I tend to gravitate towards the fantasy/sci-fi genres in middle grade, YA, and adult, but I will wander into other genres if I hear something is especially good.

As part of my painting process, these audiobooks have an important job to do, and that is to keep me on task. This became especially important as I was illustrating my first children's picture book, GRUMBLES FROM THE TOWN: MOTHER-GOOSE VOICES WITH A TWIST by Jane Yolen and Rebecca Kai Dotlich. As this was the most illustrations I'd ever painted back-to-back I needed more audiobooks than I ever listened to in my lifetime. I devoured them one after another. Between paint strokes, I was hunting down new series; watching for publisher's tweets for recommendations.

The best audiobooks for my purposes were the ones that had me rushing back to the studio to hear more. During a long project it can be a challenge to keep the motivation going, and getting back to a story in progress was great motivation. In this regard, one series did this better than all the rest during GRUMBLES, and that was Marie Lu's Legend Trilogy. I fell in love with her characters, June and Day, so deeply that I would rush home during my lunch hour to listen and paint. 

So, I wanted to write this post as a heartfelt thank you to all the authors and narrators and publishers who created these audiobooks which kept me company during those intense months of painting. I'm already gathering a list of books for future painting sessions. Below is a list of approximately all the audiobooks I consumed while painting GRUMBLES FROM THE TOWN, mostly through my library's OverDrive.com system. I'm a bit shocked to see about 94 books on this list, and I remember listening to some of these more than once. I definitely listened to some of Neil Gaiman's works multiple times. He weaves the most wonderful tales, but he also has the most  marvelous voice which makes the paint flow just right. :)

If you happen to have similar tastes you may find this list helpful. And I'm always up for recommendations. (I know I should start a GoodReads account. I hope to soon...)

Marie Lu - Legend Trilogy (the best!)The Young Elites, The Rose Society
John Stephens - Books of Beginning Trilogy (narrated by Jim Dale - he's awesome!)
Tony DiTerlizzi - The Search for WondLa Trilogy (loved it!)
Jaleigh Johnson - The Mark of the Dragonfly (#1) (an unexpected gem!)

Everything Neil Gaiman writes is brilliant!- 
Neil Gaiman - American Gods, Anansi Boys, InterWorld (#1, #2)Odd and the Frost Giants, Trigger Warning, The Neil Gaiman Audio Collection, The Sleeper and the Spindle, Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders, M is for Magic, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, The Graveyard Book 

Sabaa Tahir - An Ember in the Ashes (This one left me craving more, but at the time book 2 wasn't out yet. A Torch Against the Night is out now, and I look forward to revisiting this series!)


Victoria Aveyard - Red Queen (#1) (I know enjoyed this one, but the cover doesn't represent the flavor of the book, so it gives me a weird case of amnesia. I'll have to refresh my memory before starting #2 and #3)


Ransom Riggs - Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children #1 (This was perfect to listen to on Halloween)

George R.R. MartinFeast for Crows, A Dance with Dragons, Rogues: Short Stories


Process pics of THERE WAS AN OLD WOMAN WHO LIVED IN A SHOE spread

The funny- (Much needed after all the Game of Thrones):
Adam Rex - The True Meaning of Smekday, Smek for President, Cold Cereal
Mindy Kaling Why Not Me?, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)
Felicia Day - You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost)
B.J. Novak One More Thing
David SedarisLet's Explore Diabetes with Owls, The Ultimate David Sedaris Box Set
Neil Patrick Harris - Choose Your Own Autobiography
Jennifer L. HolmThe Fourteenth Goldfish

The map books (I seem to have a thing for map books):
S.E. Grove - The Glass Sentence #1 (I'm looking forward to books 2 and 3 of this fun trilogy)
Carrie Ryan The Map to Everywhere (#1) 

Michael Scott - The Alchemyst (The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel #1), The Magician (#2)

Maile Meloy - The Apothecary (#1), The Apprentices (#2)
Naomi Novik - His Majesty's Dragon(Temeraire #1), Throne of Jade(#2)Black Powder War(#3)
Laini Taylor - Daughter of Smoke and Bone (#1)
Holly Black - The Darkest Part of the Forest, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, Doll Bones


Process pics of the GRUMBLES FROM THE TOWN cover
As a Hunger Games fan, these were obvious choices:
Veronica Roth - Divergent Trilogy
James Dashner - The Maze Runner Trilogy

Blue Balliett - Chasing Vermeer (#1)

Cassie Beasley - Circus Mirandus (narrated by Jim Dale - he's awesome!)
Lauren Oliver - Liesl and Po
Jenny NimmoMidnight for Charlie Bone (#1)
Lemony Snicket - The Lump of Coal (short story)
Bruce Hale - Nate Macavoy, Monster Hunter (short story)
Various Authors - Infinity Ring Series, (#1-5)
Brandon Mull - Wild Born (Spirit Animals #1)
Terry Pratchett - The Wee Free Men, Dodger, Snuff - Discworld Series, Book 39
Colin Meloy - Wildwood
Patrick Rothfuss - The Slow Regard of Silent Things (Since I was already a fan of The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man’s Fear this shorter story was quite enjoyable.)

Jacqueline Woodson - Brown Girl Dreaming (read by Jacqueline Woodson - a glorious way to experience her Newbery Honor Book!)

David Arnold - Mosquitoland 
Markus Zusak - The Book Thief (Loved it, but later discovered painting and balling my eyes out don't go together. Still really amazing though)
Chris Howard - Rootless
Dean Koontz - Odd Thomas 
Matthew Reilly - 7 Deadly Wonders (Like an action-adventure movie)
Lois Lowry - The Giver 
Madeleine L'Engle - A Wrinkle in Time
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry - The Little Prince


Close to the finish line - paintings piled up around the studio
Eoin Colfer - Airman
Lev Grossman - The Magicians (#1)
Charlie Fletcher - Stoneheart (#1)
Orson Scott Card - The Lost Gate (#1)
Trenton Lee Stewart - The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict
Karen FoxleeOphelia and the Marvelous Boy 
Angie SagePathFinder Septimus Heap: Todhunter Moon Series, Book (#1) 
Michael ScottThe Thirteen Hallows     

Oh, I also listened to many wonderful podcasts. Some of my favorites can be found at: All the Wonders 


GRUMBLES FROM THE TOWN: Mother-Goose Voices with a Twist is available for Pre-order from:

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20. स्मार्ट सिटी – कितने साक्षर और निरक्षर हम

क्लिक कीजिए और सुनिए  दो मिनट की ओडियो “स्मार्ट सिटी – कितने साक्षर और निरक्षर हम” डिग्री धारक कृपया ध्यान दें .. बडी बडी भारी भरकम डिग्री लेने से हम पढे लिखे की श्रेणी में आ जाते हैं ? अगर आपकी भी ऐसी ही सोच है तो जरुर सुनिए 2 मिनट का ओडियो स्मार्ट  सिटी […]

The post स्मार्ट सिटी – कितने साक्षर और निरक्षर हम appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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21. Presidential Polar Bear Post Card Project No. 196 - 7.24.16


GRRRAAAA!!!! Pretty much how I felt as I forced myself to listen to last Monday's Republican Convention coverage on the 2 hour drive home from Wenatchee... Thankfully, spending the rest of the week on a backpacking trip with my daughter and friends - and away from any and ALL media coverage - might have tipped my soul back into balance.

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22. The perpetual Oxford tourist: what to see and do in the city of dreaming spires

This week, the International Association of Law Libraries is holding its 35th Annual Course in Oxford, United Kingdom. Oxford University Press is delighted to host the conference’s opening reception in our own offices on Great Clarendon Street.

The post The perpetual Oxford tourist: what to see and do in the city of dreaming spires appeared first on OUPblog.

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23. Historical Nonfiction Children’s Books I’d Like to See (Based Entirely on Drunk History Episodes)

Recently I did a post where I mentioned several wonderful Hark, A Vagrant webcomics featuring historical figures that I’d love to see turned into picture book biographies.  Well, in a similar vein, I’m a big fan of the Drunk History series on Comedy Central too.  It’ll be returning soon for a fourth season and has a lovely way of highlighting stories that I think would adapt brilliantly into the children’s nonfiction book format.  The real stories, that is.  Not the drunk tellers.  That would be weird.

Now because this is a post where comedians get drunk and try to tell historical moments in history, I think it’s pretty safe to say that a goodly chunk of the videos embedded here are Not Safe for Work.

A quick note too that this is mostly male, just as the Hark, A Vagrant piece contained mostly women.  Kate Beaton’s better at awesome women than Drunk History.  Sad but true.

And none of these video clips are complete by the way.  They’re just little snippets of the full stories.

First up!

Jim Thorpe is named the greatest athlete of the 20th century

The Joseph Bruchac picture book biography Jim Thorpe’s Bright Path and his fiction work Jim Thorpe: Original All-American are pretty much the gold standard on all things children’s-books-about-Jim-Thorpe. Still, considering how amazing the guy was, I bet we could get a lot more books about him out there (though I’d be amiss in not also mentioning Don Brown’s Bright Path: Young Jim Thorpe).  You could even do what Drunk History does here and just highlight one amazing moment in his life.  This clip doesn’t get to it, but when his shoes get stolen and he competes with a pair he finds in the trash . . . I mean, that’s amazing.

Japanese-American Daniel Inouye fights in World War II

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – We do NOT have enough picture book bios of badass Asian-American heroes.  In the Hark, A Vagrant post I made a case for Katherine Sui Fun Cheung.  Well considering Daniel Inouye’s life and contributions it is doggone weird that he has so little in the children’s biography realm.

Sybil Ludington takes her midnight ride

Sadly this clip doesn’t really get to the thick of her contributions in the Revolutionary War, but it’s a good start.  Very few 16-year-old female war heroes out there.  To be fair, this very year (2016) Feiwel and Friends published E.F. Abbot’s fictionalized accounting in Sybil Ludington: Revolutionary War Rider.  But a little nonfiction wouldn’t hurt too.

Muhammad Ali refuses to fight in the Vietnam War.

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One of my favorites.  I know we’ve a fair number of Ali bios for kids.  But, again, what about highlighting this moment in his life? It makes for a fascinating story in and of itself (and lord knows we have too few pacifist bios out there on beyond Gandhi).

Despite having only one hand, Jim Abbott proves to be a great baseball players.

Again, I wish we had the full clip here for you to watch.  Abbott’s story is amazing in and of itself.  The Cuba part is nice but let’s just get into the fact that he could pitch one-handed.  How about that, eh?

Thanks for checking them out!  And with the fourth seasons of the show at hand (including one told by Lin-Manuel Miranda) more ideas are bound to come up.

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24. "Bringing Stories Up From Your Soul" (inspired by Craig Childs)

Recently my friend and colleague Craig Child's posted a beautiful piece on the excellent blog, The Last Word On Nothing" called "A Shooting, A Storyteller". I urge you to go read it before continuing here.

When writing, sometimes it's easy to fall into "the zone" and sometimes the muse or whatever you want to call it, seems unreachable. I believe this is often true because we are terrified of what we want--what we need--to say.

In Craig's piece, he describes how his friend Everett told stories to a group of children on a family camping adventure, and reflects on why the children were so drawn to Everett in particular. "Perhaps they were so drawn to him because of his investment, not just spinning tales off the top of his head, but bringing them up from his soul," Craig writes.

I think this phrase, "bringing stories up from your soul" is a beautiful way to think about how to draw the muse out on challenging days. More than that, of how essential it is when we're telling stories, to allow ourselves to reach there in the first place.

As writers, we entertain, we provoke, we hopefully inspire thought. Those moments are most meaningful when the stories we've shared have come from deep within. When they've come from the most true place in us. These are the stories, as Craig puts it, that "hold us together."

This is my last entry for this season of Teachers Write. You've all inspired me and given me hope in countless ways this summer. But that doesn't mean it's time to put writing aside. Now is the time for you to carry this practice into your daily lives. Our words have held us together this summer, and they can continue to do so in spirit each time you sit down to write.

I wish I could share a talking rock with all of you before we move on, and provide a safe place for you to bring your story up from your soul. To encourage all of you to think about those stories you hold deep within, and how telling them in whatever fashion works best, will draw readers to you, and create community. And more than that, empathy. And more than that, love.

For your Monday Morning Warm-Up, I offer a challenge. This is meant as something to reflect on, and then something to write about privately, as least for now. Since this is deeply personal, I won't ask you to share, but perhaps let us know in the comments what the experience was like.

Monday Morning Warm-Up:

If you had a talking rock of your own, who would you like to sit on it with, and what would you like to say? Once you know that, I urge you to draw the story up from your soul. Draw it up and then, as Craig says, "Pull the plug, and let it drain out raw."



Note: I am away this week doing volunteer work for Habitat For Humanity and a housing group for women and children, so I may not be able to reply to comments until I return. I encourage you though, to have a meaningful discussion with each other, and comment on replies if you have the time. I will miss you all! Love, Jo

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25. Eden West Book Review

Title: Eden West  Author: Pete Hautman Publisher: Candlewick Publication Date: April 14, 2015 ISBN-13: 978-0763674182  320 pp. ARC provided by publisher This is a book that could be confused for dystopia at first glance. Jacob lives in the community of Nodd, home to the people known as the Grace. Their prophet, who has a penchant for young wives, says that the Grace will be spared when

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