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1. Sex, love, and Shakespeare [slideshow]

Whether he fills his scenes with raunchy innuendos, or boldly writes erotic poetry, or frequently reverses the gender norms of the time period, Shakespeare addresses the multifaceted ways in which sex, love, marriage, relationships, gender, and sexuality play an integral part of human life.

The post Sex, love, and Shakespeare [slideshow] appeared first on OUPblog.

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2. ऐसा भी होता है

ऐसा भी होता है कई बार कुछ ऐसी बात हो जाती है जो भुलाए नही भुलती. हमेशा हमारे दिमाग में ताजा रहती है. बहुत समय बाद एक व्यक्ति से मिलना हुआ. पहले तो पहचान नही पाई पर जब याद आया तो  हम दस मिनट तक हंसते ही रहे… !!! हंसते ही रहे !!! असल में […]

The post ऐसा भी होता है appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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3. Illustration Challenge #35

Have you ever heard of a palomino blackwing pencil? Vivian French kindly gave me one recently and I have loved how soft the lead is - especially on a soft, high quality paper. If you can't get your hands on the pencil, try a 6B or an Ebony pencil and draw on some nice paper. I promise it will be a unique experience for you!

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4. Day 6: Renée Watson

Watson Headshot cropped

In 2011, The Brown Bookshelf celebrated Renée Watson as an up-and-coming voice in the world of children’s literature, with two titles debuting the previous year: A Place Where Hurricanes Happen, a picture book illustrated by Shadra Strickland and published by Random House; and What Momma Left Me, a middle grade novel published by Bloomsbury. Since that time, she has become a celebrated author who has gone on to produce other stellar titles, including the picture book Harlem’s Little Blackbird: The Story of Florence Mills (illustrated by Christian Robinson, Random House 2012) and her first YA novel – which happens to be today’s featured title – This Side of Home (Bloomsbury 2015).

this side of home smaller cover


In This Side of Home, high school seniors Maya and her twin sister Nikki, find themselves in the unusual predicament of being at odds over the gentrification of their neighborhood. Nikki is excited about the new changes—pretty shops and boutiques replacing abandoned storefronts—while Maya is disturbed by all the “upgrades” that seem to be only for the benefit of the new people coming in, as opposed to the residents who have been there all along. For the first time, the sisters must, as the publisher puts it, “confront their dissenting feelings on the importance of their ethnic and cultural identities and, in the process, learn to separate themselves from the long shadow of their identity as twins.” Complicating matters even more, Maya finds herself becoming attracted to the new white boy who has moved in across the street, which understandably creates a sense of internal conflict.

Watson’s timely and conversation-provoking young adult novel has been well received, garnering starred reviews by Booklist and The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books (BCCB). Please join us in celebrating This Side of Home on Day 6 of 28 Days later!


Read what Renée Watson has to say about This Side of Home:

Home is a Complicated Place 

Book Page Interview on This Side of Home


Listen to Renée Watson speak about This Side of Home and writing for children:

Black Book Talk

Schomburg Live: Renée Watson and Tracey Baptiste on Diversity in Literature

NPR Interview & Jacqueline Woodson and Renée Watson, Photographed in Brooklyn




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5. Are you really free? Yes: a new argument for freedom

How is human freedom really possible in the natural world as correctly described by modern physics, chemistry, biology, and cognitive neuroscience? Or, given the truth of modern science, are you really free? By 'real freedom,' I mean 'real free will and real rational agency'.

The post Are you really free? Yes: a new argument for freedom appeared first on OUPblog.

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6. Using Artifacts and Photos to Inspire Writing: Discovering the Writer’s Life

Using artifacts and photos from our life allows us to reconnect with stories and breathes in new life to our writer's notebooks.

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7. Trump Tries in New Hampshire

Scholastic News Kids Press Corps Trump Tries in New Hampshire by Stone Shen

On February 2, more than 3,000 Donald Trump supporters crammed into an athletic club in Milford, New Hampshire to hear the Republican candidate speak. The place was buzzing with excitement. Before Trump came on, a group of people went onto the stage and delivered speeches. This included some of Trump’s campaign managers and former United States Senator Scott Brown.

This rally was important because it was right after the Iowa Caucus, in which Trump finished second. Trump said that he was pleased with the final standing in Iowa, although he has complained elsewhere that the process was unfair.

At the rally, Trump promised to make “big, big cuts in taxes to the middle class.” When asked about his position on gun control, he said, “We’re going to protect ourselves by protecting the Second Amendment.” The Second Amendment says that “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.”

One main topic was illegal immigration. Trump said that he did not oppose immigration. Rather, he just wants immigrants to settle in the U.S. legally.

One Trump supporter with whom I spoke said, “I like his immigration policy. He wants to secure the borders and make people come in the way they used to. You come in, get a job, you support yourself, and you contribute to this country.”

Trump stood by his decision to not participate in the final Republican debate before the Iowa Caucus. That decision was said to have contributed to his defeat to Ted Cruz. Trump said that he had been proud to hold a fundraising event for veterans at the same time as the debate, raising 6 million dollars.

“I like how he is trying to support the country,” said Pearse Wojczak, a young Trump fan from Connecticut, “and how he is trying to protect us.”

Trump ended the rally with a look toward the New Hampshire Primary, saying, “I expect to win.”

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8. The Lost Time Accidents review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of John Wray's new novel, The Lost Time Accidents.

       I was very much looking forward to this, and it has a lot of elements/aspects that appeal to me, but I found it fell surprisingly flat. Wray seems to have taken his time writing it (his last novel came out in 2009) and I wonder if he just spent too much time on it -- not so much in polishing it (though the writing certainly feels very worked-over) but in playing with it, resulting in (among very much else) things like that piece ascribed to Joan Didion. (I am still desperately hoping that's some kind of inside joke between Wray and Didion, but I'm thinking ... probably not so much. (Among those he mentions in the Acknowledgements are Ursula LeGuin and Murakami Haruki -- but not Didion.))

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9. ‘Wide Open’ by Dominic Hawley and Nic Goffey

Music video for The Chemical Brothers "Wide Open" featuring vocals by Beck and dancer Sonoya Mizuno.

The post ‘Wide Open’ by Dominic Hawley and Nic Goffey appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

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10. Lisa Maxwell, author of UNHOOKED, on working on a book for years

We're excited to have Lisa Maxwell join us to talk about her latest novel UNHOOKED.

Lisa, how long did you work on UNHOOKED?

UNHOOKED was a long time coming. The book started as my 2011 NaNoWriMo project, but when I was done, it was a hot mess. I revised it for almost a year before I queried it, and then it went through a round of revisions and two agents before it went on submission. After the first round of submissions didn’t pan out (no pun intended), I revised the book again, changing it from past tense to present tense. That was back in 2012. So I’ve been working on one version of this or another for over four years, and I’ve gone through two agents and countless revisions for this book, so I’m so excited my characters finally are making their way out into the world.

What is your favorite thing about UNHOOKED?

My favorite thing about UNHOOKED is the way I’ve gone back to the source text and revived the darker aspects of it. When I was re-reading Peter and Wendy, there was one line that really struck me, that Peter would “thin” the lost boys out when they got too old or too plentiful and that “I never remember them after I kill them.” Those lines certainly didn’t speak to any Disneyfied version of Neverland, and I wanted to bring that sense of danger back to the story. In my Neverland, Pan doesn’t remember those he’s killed, because memory isn’t something that lasts in Neverland. The erosion of memory is one of the most dangerous parts of my story, and it’s something I took from the original story itself. In Barrie’s original tale, it made Neverland a fantastical adventure, but also a dangerous place, and I hope it does the same for mine as well.

Oh, and my pirate… I can have two favorite things, right? ;O)

What are you working on now?

I’m currently working on my 2017 book, which is untitled at this point. I’ve pitched it as Gangs of New York with Magic. But there’s some time travel involved too, and I’m really excited about how it’s coming together.


Unhookedby Lisa Maxwell
Simon Pulse
Released 2/2/2016

For as long as she can remember, Gwendolyn Allister has never had a place to call home—all because her mother believes that monsters are hunting them. Now these delusions have brought them to London, far from the life Gwen had finally started to build for herself. The only saving grace is her best friend, Olivia, who’s coming with them for the summer.

But when Gwen and Olivia are kidnapped by shadowy creatures and taken to a world of flesh-eating sea hags and dangerous Fey, Gwen realizes her mom might have been sane all along.

The world Gwen finds herself in is called Neverland, yet it’s nothing like the stories. Here, good and evil lose their meaning and memories slip like water through her fingers. As Gwen struggles to remember where she came from and find a way home, she must choose between trusting the charming fairy-tale hero who says all the right things and the roguish young pirate who promises to keep her safe.

With time running out and her enemies closing in, Gwen is forced to face the truths she’s been hiding from all along. But will she be able to save Neverland without losing herself?

Purchase Unhooked at AmazonPurchase 
Unhooked at IndieBound
View Unhooked on Goodreads


Lisa Maxwell is the author of Sweet Unrest, Gathering Deep, and Unhooked (Simon Pulse, 2-2-16). When she's not writing books, she's an English professor at a local college. She lives near DC with her very patient husband and two not-so patient boys.

Have you had a chance to read UNHOOKED yet? Have you stuck with a novel through years of revision? Are you surprised by the darker tones of some of the original pre-Disney stories? Share your thoughts about the interview in the comments!

Happy reading,

Jocelyn, Shelly, Martina, Erin, Susan, Sam, Lindsey, Sarah, Sandra, Kristin, and Anisaa

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11. C.C. Hunter, author of ALMOST MIDNIGHT, on secondary characters auditioning for a lead part

We're thrilled to have C.C. Hunter stop by to tell us about ALMOST MIDNIGHT, her collection of novellas.

C.C. , what was your inspiration for writing ALMOST MIDNIGHT?

My Shadow Fall fans were the real inspiration and reason this book came to be. Since Turned at Dark, an e-story about Della Tsang becoming a vampire, was released in e-print I’ve been getting emails from readers wanting it to come out in paperback. The story wasn’t long enough to put in hard print. Then, St. Martins published Saved at Sunrise, another e-novella about Della, Unbreakable, an e-novella about Chase Tallman, and Spellbinder, an e-novella about Miranda Kane. Finally, due to many more requests from fans, my editor decided to put these stories in a paperback anthology. Then we decided to add a bonus novella in the mix. But who was this novella going to spotlight? There had been a character knocking on my mind and asking for her story to be written. I tried to ignore her because frankly, she wasn’t exactly a likely candidate. She wasn’t even likable for most of the series. She was Kylie’s archenemy in the first four books. But Fredericka Lakota wouldn’t give up, so I gave in. As I started brainstorming Fredericka’s story, Fierce, the inspiration for this piece quickly became overcoming obstacles in our lives.

What did this book teach you about writing or about yourself?

While I’ve always been a writer who fleshes out my secondary characters, writing the short novellas about secondary characters has taught me to dig deeper. You never know when a secondary character isn’t just auditioning for a lead part. For example, I always knew Fredericka had a story to tell, but I had created her to be Kylie’s nemesis and hadn’t planned on delving deeper into her point of view or showing her growth. But in Whispers at Moonrise, the fourth book in the Shadow Falls series, Fredericka started evolving. Her character just set out to redeem herself. I gave her some page space to do it, but then gently shut the door on her.

That was a mistake. That girl just kept knocking. Writing Fierce really showed me that no time is wasted when developing those secondary characters. I never guessed that Fredericka would end up with her own story or wind up being one of those characters who I cared so deeply about.

What do you hope readers will take away from ALMOST MIDNIGHT?

I think every story in Almost Midnight carries a message of friendship, of picking yourself up by your bootstraps, and overcoming hurdles.

What are you working on now?

I’m working on Miranda’s book. It’s so fun getting into that witch’s head.


Almost Midnightby C.C. Hunter
St. Martin's Griffin
Released 2/2/2016

Nestled deep in the woods, Shadow Falls is a secret camp where teens with supernatural powers learn to harness their abilities and live in the normal world. 

Independent and strong-willed Della Tsang did not believe in vampires...until she became one. Chase Tallman is the newest member of Shadow Falls, but what made him into the sexy, mysterious vampire he is today? And what led him to Della Tsang? And for Miranda Kane, magic has always been something she's struggled with, but when an opportunity to test her powers takes her to Paris, she'll have to prove that she's a witch to be reckoned with and belongs at Shadow Falls.

Fans won't want to miss these four remarkable stories of love, magic and friendship.

Purchase Almost Midnight at Amazon
Purchase Almost Midnight at IndieBound
View Almost Midnight on Goodreads


C.C. Hunter grew up in Alabama, where she caught lightning bugs, ran barefoot, and regularly rescued potential princes, in the form of Alabama bullfrogs, from her brothers. Today, she's still fascinated with lightning bugs, mostly wears shoes, but has turned her focus to rescuing mammals. She now lives in Texas with her four rescued cats, one dog, and a prince of a husband, who for the record, is so not a frog. When she's not writing, she's reading, spending time with her family, or is shooting things-with a camera, not a gun.


Have you had a chance to read ALMOST MIDNIGHT yet? Do you write novellas starring your secondary characters? How do you know when a secondary character deserves their own novel? Share your thoughts about the interview in the comments!

Happy reading,

Jocelyn, Shelly, Martina, Erin, Susan, Sam, Lindsey, Sarah, Sandra, Kristin, and Anisaa

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12. Translating Journey to the West

       An interesting piece about translating from the Chinese in the Los Angeles Review of Books, as W.J.F.Jenner writes about Journeys to the East, "Journey to the West"
       He translated the classic Journey to the West -- get the four-volume edition at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk -- and notes:

Because this was a book written for entertainment and pleasure I did not want it cluttered with footnotes. I reckoned that as long as readers were being carried along by the story, they did not want to be distracted by an annotator plucking at their sleeves, and explaining the countless Buddhist, Daoist and other references. Those who do want the scholarly paraphernalia can always turn to Anthony C. Yu's version.
       (As you know, I can never get enough scholarly paraphernalia, so, yeah, I do lean towards the Yu-translation.)

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13. Emma Watson Expands Her Influence

The brilliant Emma Watson’s influence continues to grow!  Over 100,000 people have joined her book club, Our Shared Shelf, on GoodReads, and now news breaks of her appointment at an Oxford college.

The Guardian reports that Emma Watson joins Benedict Cumberbatch and nine others as visiting fellows at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford.  The college posted Watson’s bio as a means of introduction:

Best known for her role as Hermione Granger in Harry Potter, Emma graduated from Brown University and attended Worcester College, Oxford. She received a BAFTA Britannia Award for British Artist of the Year in 2014. In the same year she also became a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador advocating equality and promoting education for girls.

Emma Watson also lived in the Oxford area before being cast in the Harry Potter films.

The appointments were announced by the college’s principal, Alan Rusbridger, former editor-in-chief of The GuardianRusbridger writes,

We canvassed names from our own governing body, of people of distinction whom we admired and whom we felt could add to the intellectual and cultural life of LMH.  A small sub-committee then whittled down the names to arrive at the list we are announcing today – which spans science, medicine, the performing arts, literature, feminism, politics, law and policing.

Of the eleven people honored, Rusbridger claims that only one is a serious academic.  All are leaders in their respective fields, including artist Cornelia Parker, musician Neil Tennant (of the Pet Shop Boys), and film director Beeban Kidron.

Lady Margaret Hall hopes that Emma Watson and the other fellows will feel free to drop by the college, join the students and professors for meals in the dining hall, and participate in at least one structured event/appearance/lecture at the college over the course of the three years of the fellowship.  The point is for both the students and the visiting fellows to grow in their knowledge and gain new perspectives.

Please join us in congratulating Emma Watson on this most recent honor!

To read more, visit Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford or The Guardian article.

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14. The Eulogies

You listen to the eulogies
Describing someone’s life,
With focus on the happy times
But little on the strife…

The anecdotes to make us laugh
And nod our heads – that’s him!
The picture boards depicting shots
When he was young and slim.

To capture who a person was
Once death has staked his claim
Is like watching reruns of the highlights
Of a tennis game.

You get the gist and understand
How all the points combine
But a life is so much more than just
Where spotlights choose to shine.

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15. Tim Tingle, on HOUSE OF PURPLE CEDAR winning American Indian Library Association's 2016 Youth Literature Award in Young Adult Category

Yesterday (Feb 6 2016), the American Indian Library Association (AILA) announced the winners of its 2016 Youth Literature Awards. Recipients of the awards will be formally recognized at the American Library Association's Annual Conference this summer, in Orlando, Florida.

The winner in the Young Adult category is House of Purple Cedar, by Choctaw writer, Tim Tingle. I asked him to tell me about the book and his thoughts upon hearing the news. Here, I share his generous and moving response.


From 1998 to 2013 I worked almost every day on “House of Purple Cedar.” That’s what happens when you’re a 50 year-old man writing in the voice of a 12 year-old girl. Don’t ask me why, I might say something like, “She was the ghost talking to me.” And it might be true. A life changes over 15 years, and many eye-opening events worked their way into the narrative; theft from an old man with dementia, which I witnessed. A major theme throughout the book, alcohol and the accompanying spousal abuse, I saw first-hand growing up.   
In truth, I know and love every character in HOPC. Roberta Jean, the teenage girl with four bratty brothers, is my real-life sister Bobby Jean. Samuel, the quiet son of the preacher, is my brother Danny, who flipped his kayak and drowned a few years before I began the book. One-legged Maggie was a combo of my 7th grade history teacher, Mr. Beeson, who limped on a wooden leg; and his stubborn and hilarious counterpart, my reading teacher Mrs. Deemer. And as all Choctaws know, the Bobb brothers honor Bertram Bobb, our esteemed Choctaw chaplain.
As I reflect on where I was and why I included certain scenes and characters, I realize that so many of my friends are gone. Jay MacAlvain, a retired prof from Seminole State College, nurtured and coached me through my M.A. thesis, and a late-night story of his inspired the book. He told of a drunken sheriff in small town Oklahoma who, after an argument with his wife, boarded a train and shot dead the first Indian he saw. The dead Indian was Jay’s uncle, whom he never met. The sheriff knew no one would report him or complain. Until 1929, it was against the law in Oklahoma for an Indian to bear witness against a white man.
Reports of the suspected arson of New Hope Academy on New Year’s Eve, 1896, gave this story a home: Skullyville, once a bustling city in eastern Oklahoma. Skullyville became my second home. I walked the nearby railroad tracks for miles, sat amongst the gravestones, sang Choctaw songs—and listened.
My gone-before Choctaw friend, storyteller/writer Greg Rodgers, and I spent many days at Robber’s Cave, near Wilburton, OK, as I wrote and he revised at a furious pace. We walked over so many graveyards I felt more at ease among their residents than in town. I grew to trust my flying fingers.
I so longed that the stories I carried from these excursions would finally be told. I wanted the little girls of New Hope Academy to be honored, a century later. I wanted every woman who suffered from abuse to know they did not bring it upon themselves.
And I wanted non-Indian readers to experience the world from the viewpoint of the persecuted; the bruises on Amafo’s cheek, the tender touch of Pokoni….oh how I love those elders. The power and strength to forgive.
Yea though I walk through the valley of the sometimes heartless, I will walk the road of goodness, wave the light of forgiveness, and smile warm jokes along the way, as so many of my Choctaw kinfolks did. 


This is the sixth set of books the American Indian Library Association has selected for its awards. The committee members change each time. In nearly every year, Tim's books are amongst the winners. Crossing Bok Chitto won in the picture book category in 2008. Saltypie: A Choctaw Journey from Darkness into Light was selected as an Honor Book in 2012. In 2014 his How I Became a Ghost won the Middle Grade Award, and his Danny Blackgoat: Navajo Prisoner won the Middle Grade Honor.

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16. रक्तदान और जागरुकता

रक्तदान और जागरुकता Blood Donation की जागरुकता  लोगो में बढ रही है और स्वैच्छिक रक्तदान के प्रति लोगो को जागरुक कर रहे हैं. सुरत में पिछले दिनों सुरत रक्तदान केद्र और रिसर्च सैटर द्वारा स्वैच्छिक रक्तदान कैम्प आयोजको की वर्कशाप का आयोजन किया गया तमे केम छो सूरत शहर के बारे में … डायमंड और […]

The post रक्तदान और जागरुकता appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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17. Free 1st 5 Pages Workshop Opens Today!

Our February workshop opens today at noon, EST. We'll take the first five Middle Grade, Young Adult, or New Adult entries that meet all guidelines and formatting requirements. Click here to get the rules. I will post when it opens and closes on Adventures in YA Publishing and on twitter (@etcashman), with the hashtag #1st5pages. In addition to our wonderful permanent mentors, we have author Brian Katcher and agent Christa Heschke!

So get those pages ready - we usually fill up in under a minute!

February Guest Mentor – BRIAN KATCHER

Brian, a Stonewall Book Award-winning author, is the author of THE IMPROBABLE THEORY OF ANA AND ZAKALMOST PERFECTEVERYONE DIES IN THE END, and PLAYING WITH MATCHES. Brian’s worked as a fry cook, a market researcher, a welding machine operator, a telemarketer (only lasted one day), and a furniture mover. He lived on an Israeli military base one summer, and once smuggled food into Cuba. When he’s not writing, he works as a school librarian. He lives in central Missouri with his wife and daughter.


The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak is Stonewall Book Award-winning author Brian Katcher’s hilarious he said/she said romance about two teens recovering from heartbreak and discovering themselves on an out-of-this-world accidental first date.

It all begins when Ana Watson's little brother, Clayton, secretly ditches the quiz bowl semifinals to go to the Washingcon sci-fi convention on what should have been a normal, résumé-building school trip.If slacker Zak Duquette hadn't talked up the geek fan fest so much, maybe Clayton wouldn't have broken nearly every school rule or jeopardized Ana’s last shot at freedom from her uptight parents.

Now, teaming up with Duquette is the only way for Ana to chase down Clayton in the sea of orcs, zombies, bikini-clad princesses, Trekkies, and Smurfs. After all, one does not simply walk into Washingcon.

But in spite of Zak's devil-may-care attitude, he has his own reasons for being as lost as Ana-and Ana may have more in common with him than she thinks. Ana and Zak certainly don’t expect the long crazy night, which begins as a nerdfighter manhunt, to transform into so much more…

Purchase it at your local bookstore, or online. And add it to your shelf on Goodreads!

February Guest Agent – CHRISTA HESCHKE

Christa started in publishing as an intern at both Writers House and Sterling Lord Literistic, where she fell in love with the agency side of publishing. Christa has been at McIntosh and Otis, Inc. in the Children's Literature Department since 2009 where she is actively acquiring for all age groups in children’s. For YA, she is especially interested in contemporary fiction, thriller/mystery, and horror. She is always on the lookout for a compelling voice combined with a strong, specific hook that will set a YA novel apart in its genre and the flooded market. She is open to all types of middle grade and especially enjoys adventure, mystery, and magical realism, whether in a voice that is more light and humorous or one with more of a timeless, literary feel. For both YA and MG, she is particularly interested in unique settings and cultural influences, interesting storytelling structure, complicated romances, diverse characters, sister or friendship-centric stories, and stories that feature artists of any kind.

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18. Into the Fire Cover Reveal!

You know when you see a book cover and it brings tears to your eyes because it's just so perfect? Well, that's how I felt when Limitless Publishing sent me the cover of Into the Fire. Deranged Doctor blew me away. I mean this is Cara. Right down to the freaky red streaks she has in her hair and her sapphire eyes. And that Phoenix emblem! Oh wait…you haven't seen it yet! ;)

Okay, check out the GORGEOUS new cover!

In one month’s time, seventeen-year-old Cara Tillman will die and be reborn from her own ashes…

Her life of secrecy has never been easy. She’s watched her younger brother, Jeremy, burn and rise again in a coming-of-age process called rebirth. And just like her brother, when her time comes, she won’t remember anything from her first life other than she’s a Phoenix—a member of a small group of people descended from the mythical Phoenix bird.

The last thing she needs to worry about is falling for the new guy in town—Logan Schmidt.

Cara is drawn to Logan in a way she can’t explain, but she’s not exactly complaining. Everything is perfect…except it’s not. Once she’s reborn, she’ll forget Logan. And to make things worse, a Phoenix Hunter is on the loose, and Cara’s involvement with Logan is bringing out her Phoenix qualities—the very qualities that will draw the Hunter right to her.

Desperate times call for desperate measures…

Afraid of hurting Logan, Cara breaks it off for good. But her attraction to him runs deeper than a typical high school crush. She wants him—needs him. And if he proves willing to stay by her side, their love might destroy them both.

Can Cara hide from the Phoenix Hunters long enough to survive her rebirth? And if so, will it mean a new beginning with Logan—or the beginning of the end?

So, what do you think? I can't tell you how much time I've spent staring at this cover. The book is now up on Goodreads, so you can add it to your shelf here. Want the book to arrive on your Kindle on release day? Preorder it here NOW.

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19. Seven reasons why your medications are not working properly

What happens when medication doesn’t bring your condition under control? Usually, it’s not just one single issue but various factors that contribute to the problem. Your doctor will work to figure out why–and from there, create a new plan of attack. Finding the right combination of medications may require some trial and error.

The post Seven reasons why your medications are not working properly appeared first on OUPblog.

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20. national libraries day

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21. The REFORMA Children in Crisis Project: A Personal Account

Photo by Hendrik Terbeck

Photo by Hendrik Terbeck

The REFORMA Children In Crisis (CIC) Project was created by librarians who witnessed an inhumanity and felt compelled to act. There are several articles out there that introduce the great work of this project. However, for this piece, I wanted to bring in a perspective that captured the spirit of the movement — the very personal connection the members have to the work they do. Ricardo Ramirez is a Senior Library Assistant for Youth and Spanish Services at Butte County Library in Chico, California. Below is a personal narrative about his experience.

I started working on the REFORMA CIC in the summer of 2014. It was during my second semester as a MLIS student at SJSU, and in the very early stages of being a parent, that the contemporary plight of refugees from Central and Latin America came to the forefront of my attention. Because at the time I did not have a television, it was from following social justice non-profits on Facebook and being networked on social media with activists and educators, that I began to learn the issues affecting these refugees, and moreover, the fact that so many of them were unaccompanied children from some of world’s most dangerous regions. The keyword here, is children, very much like my own child, who would like to climb up on my lap while I did my graduate research. I was not surprised to learn that this type of child migration existed, but it was shocking none the less, and especially painful to see the conditions in which they were detained by immigration agencies. At the time I had just finished a pair of papers, Counter-Storytelling in Young Adult Literature and Braided Histories: Beyond Collected Biographies in Children’s Literature, both of which explored how “non-traditional” narratives can provide young people in hostile environments valuable resources and emotional support. A flicker of hope and inspiration occurred: I am a position to offer some type of support…

Before I had submerged myself in statistics of the crisis, before I understood the demographics of the refugee children, there were a handful of photographs that moved me. It is important for me to mention this because I was in the early stages of raising my own child and also deeply involved in the early learning programming at my library, and from that particular vantage point at that time in my life I was constantly motivated to explore how young minds could be shaped by positive learning environments and play. The photographs that I saw of the refugee children were in stark contrast to what I saw on a daily basis, and what my ideals were for creating spaces where children and families can thrive and explore. Far from learning environments, most child refugees from Central America are detained in spaces that are dark and heartbreaking. I held my own child as I encountered these images, and I knew that the one thing I could do for them was to extend my hand and my heart. I imagined a consortium of librarians and educators providing school, storytimes, and performance. I had witnessed on a daily basis how a genuine smile, a song, a story could brighten the spirit of child who was attending their first storytime, or listening to their parent hum a melody they had never heard before. As I daydreamed about all of this, in Austin, San Diego, Miami, Fresno, and in other parts of the country, librarians, the kind who have spent their entire library careers as advocates for the underserved and unrecognized, gathered their energy and came together to form what would become the REFORMA Children in Crisis Task Force. Somehow, because I raised my hand when they called for members, I was pulled in by their gravitational force, and have been along for the ride ever since.

Addressing the literacy and information needs of these children is a part of a complex issue. Children and teens who are fleeing from violent regions face extreme hardships that can cause a lifetime of trauma. Books and outreach are an important step. Librarians like Ady Huertas and David Lopez, two all-star members of the CIC Task Force, have provided outreach to detention centers and refugee shelters by providing books and programming, as well as giving tours of their libraries, library card sign ups, and summer reading programming. In both cases, they were supported by their local REFORMA chapters and members into action. Ady Huertas’ proximity to the US-Mexican Border Region and her connections with Tijuana librarians like Rosa Maria Gonzalez, has enabled our outreach to expand not only to refugee children, but also children and families who are living in extreme geographic and socio-economic isolation. 

It is eye opening work, that can be exhausting. But what it has done for me is to be constantly vigilant for causes of the underrepresented and populations of young people that have experiences that we may be unprepared to deal with. Challenges exist. At the core of the CIC is a continual fundraising and advocacy effort for a cause that is perpetual and variable from region to region. Add to this, working against a strong re-emergence of hostility towards migrants and refugees, librarians who serve youth and families have a strong responsibility to be inclusive to new communities and be prepared to provide resources that are focused on their evolving needs. Yet librarians and educators must also be able to create programs for all in their service areas that reinforce community building and positivity towards new immigrants. This can be as simple as taking the time after a storytime to personally welcome a new family with warmth and gratitude because they are spending their family time with you.

The most important thing about all of this, for us as information professionals and resource providers to children and families, is that refugee children are living their lives in a state of uncertainty. They don’t know if they will ever find a safe refuge, here or anywhere else. All take great risks to migrate towards safety despite increased violence and persecution on their route to the United States. Refugee children from Central America, much like their counterparts from distraught regions in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia, have no other option but to keep moving away from violence. There is no home to return to. In the past few years many of us have been inspired by public libraries that open their doors to act as a refuge for communities in pain. At the same time, we are heartbroken by imagery of children in detention and being passed from nearly capsized fishing boat into the hands of rescue. What is at the heart of the CIC mission is that some relief is possible in this, be it through the gift of a book that a child can take with them on their journey, or in the outreach that we can offer as they prepare to resettle into a new life that has more hope for them.

To learn more about how you can get involved, visit the REFORMA Children in Crisis Project website. 

Sylvia Aguiñaga, LSSPCC Committee Member 

Ricardo Ramirez, Senior Library Assistant for Youth and Spanish Services, Butte County Library, Chico, CA

The post The REFORMA Children in Crisis Project: A Personal Account appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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22. found! day 6

Yes, I finally found my way to Laura Shovan's new website and to her February Writing Workout...and I'm excited that the prompts for daily writing are all about found objects.  Better yet, we don't even have to find our own objects...photos are provided!

So I'm jumping in to follow along as well as I'm able, starting with the Day 6 found object(s) below.

A Doll Trap

secured behind glass
                     or less
doubly exposed
        they gaze out
 lean  reaching     toward

one does more than yearn
       raises her
                     chubby arm
to crack that glass again
               dolly hai-ya

she will be
       will walk  among
      walls and rock
        follow    plastic paths
                   to new clothes
  new scenes

~HM 2016
all rights reserved


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23. #820 – Greatest Guru in All the World by Jojo Wood

Today is Take Your Child to the Library Day! Get out those library cards at get thy self and children (don’t have any, borrow one or more from a mom needing a break), and get to the library. Check out the new books, the old books, storyhour, and everything else your local library offers. Today’s …

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24. Kimberley Griffiths Little, author of BANISHED, on the importance of determination and perseverance

BANISHED is the second book in the Forbidden series, and we're delighted to have Kimberley Griffiths Little here to chat about it.

Kimberley, what scene was really hard for you to write and why, and is that the one of which you are most proud? Or is there another scene you particularly love?

Chapter 20 ended up being added after I already had a complete draft of BANISHED. I’d foreshadowed treason with two other characters and hadn’t carried it through to its climax. I still needed to write the BIG confrontation. Somebody had to die, but who, and how?

I quickly drafted the chapter in a frenzy since my editor’s deadline was looming within days. It stunned me when all the plot pieces came together. The chapter didn’t suffer too many revisions either, which is always a bit astonishing.

I particularly love the emotional scene between Jayden and Kadesh at the end of Chapter 20. Kadesh is tearing himself into pieces over the fact that he had to carry out capital punishment on the traitor and the king’s son, his unwitting accomplice. It’s the first time the burdens and weight of responsibility as heir to the throne comes into full force and it almost does him in emotionally because he had to punish men he’d known his entire life. The tender scene between Kadesh and Jayden made me cry for him. It was also a great opportunity to show a new side to their deepening relationship.

What's your writing ritual like? Do you listen to music? Work at home or at a coffee shop or the library, etc?

I’ve always worked at home—in dead silence—except for three yelling, wrestling boys in the background. Somehow I manage to tune them out unless someone is bleeding. Then I began drafting Banished and immediately became overwhelmed by so many characters and plot threads.

I kind of freaked out. Stared at my screen for hours. Ate way too many cookies—including cookie dough by the heaping spoonful. My daughter told me about Pandora so I checked it out. The Downton Abbey “station” is surprisingly a good one, a great mix of instrumental from dozens of artists. I adore the Secret Garden, an Irish/Norwegian duo, they are soooo good! and piano solos. I’m a pianist and listening to piano music just *does* something for me.

I found out for the first time in my life that I liked listening to music while I wrote. It took me into the mood of my story. After a few weeks struggling to start each new writing session I’d turn on Pandora on my Ipad—and the music turned a switch on in my brain. I was like Pavlov’s dog. I found myself writing when the music began. A few weeks later I’d written 80,000 words and finally typed The End. It was a miracle.

Now I flounder around until the music goes on and voila(!) my fingers and brain finally get going. It was the only thing that got me through the drafting of Book 3, too.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?

Finish the book! I know SO many writers who get bogged down in the middle—and honestly, we ALL get bogged down. Too many aspiring writers have files full of half-done manuscripts, first chapters, bits and pieces of great ideas, but no completed manuscript.

True Story: I have a friend who was convinced that she had to get an MFA degree in writing (which she did) in order to learn how to become a better writer and get published—and yet, she has yet to finish a full, complete manuscript so that she can even begin querying agents and editor.

Sadly, she is remarkably talented and every time she attends a writer’s conferences her first pages are read by an editor who loves it and wants to see the book when it was done. But she’s never submitted the book because she hasn’t finished it.

Striving for perfection or not disciplining yourself to stay in the chair and get through to the end can be your doom. Twenty years after I first met this friend, she has yet to finish her YA novel. My heart bleeds for her.

It doesn’t take enormous talent to write a book, it takes a bigger dose of determination and perseverance. Yes, it’s hard. Every single book I write is hard in its own way, but it’s possible. There are writers across the country, sitting in their solitary rooms, pounding away at their keyboards (and sometimes pounding their heads), and finishing. When you have a complete manuscript you have a chance at publication, it’s that simple.

The other half of this advice is that after you finish the first manuscript, begin your next book within months or at least a year. The writer who keeps writing new stories (as opposed to revising the same one ad nauseam) will automatically become a better writer. I promise you that is true. I wish someone had told me this twenty years ago.


Banishedby Kimberley Griffiths Little
Released 2/2/2016

She thought she’d lost everything . . .

After spending months traveling the harsh, unforgiving Mesopotamian desert, Jayden reunites with a broken, injured Kadesh. Although everyone was convinced the violent and unpredictable Horeb, Jayden’s betrothed, killed the handsome prince, Jayden knew in her heart that her love was alive and safe. But their reunion is short-lived, as they learn Horeb is on their trail and determined to take back the girl he has claimed. Soon, the two star-crossed lovers are on the run toward Sariba, Kadesh’s homeland, where, as heir to the Kingdom, he plans to make Jayden his princess.

But the trek to Sariba is fraught with heartache and danger. After narrowly escaping being stoned to death for a crime she didn’t commit, and learning that her sister has disappeared, Jayden’s only solace is her love for Kadesh. But even he is keeping secrets from her . . . secrets that will change everything. This gorgeous and enchanting sequel to Forbidden, is full of love, danger, and heated passion that will leave readers breathless.

Purchase Banished at Amazon
Purchase Banished at IndieBound
View Banished on Goodreads


Kimberley Griffiths Little was born in San Francisco, but now lives in New Mexico with her husband and three sons in a solar adobe home on the banks of the Rio Grande. Her award-winning writing has been praised as "fast-paced and dramatic," with "characters painted in memorable detail" and "beautifully realized settings."

Kimberley adores anything old and musty with a secret story to tell and makes way too many cookies while writing.

She's stayed in the haunted tower room at Borthwick Castle in Scotland; held baby gators in the bayous/swamps of Louisiana, sailed the Seine in Paris; ridden a camel in Petra, Jordan; shopped the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul; and spent the night in an old Communist hotel in Bulgaria.

Kimberley's Awards include: Southwest Book Award, Whitney Award for Best Youth Novel, Bank Street College Best Books of 2011 & 2014, Crystal Kite Finalist, and New Mexico Book Award Finalist.


Have you had a chance to read BANISHED yet? Does music help you write or does it distract you? Do you continue to write new stories to become a better writer? Share your thoughts about the interview in the comments!

Happy reading,

Jocelyn, Shelly, Martina, Erin, Susan, Sam, Lindsey, Sarah, Sandra, Kristin, and Anisaa

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25. Ready Set Draw | Kelly Light Draws Louise’s Cat

Ready Set Draw TEMPLATE

Author and illustrator Kelly Light shows Storymakers host Rocco Staino how to draw the fierce and fantastic cat from Louise Loves Art.


Ready! Set! Draw! is the drawing tutorial show for anyone who aspires to draw like their favorite kid lit illustrators. In each episode a bestselling and/or award-winning artist draws a character from their book. Budding artists will enjoy creating their very own versions of familiar and new characters.


Did you, a child, or student draw their own cat using this video? Please share your images with us via Facebook or Twitter!

Watch Kelly Light’s episode of StoryMakers to learn more about her books and to find out the name of the cat!STORYMAKERS Kelly Light
Kelly reads Louise Loves Art on our Read Out Loud series too!
READ OUT LOUD - Kelly Light (Louise Loves Art)



Louise Loves ArtLouise Loves Art Cover – Meet Louise. Louise loves art more than anything. It’s her imagination on the outside. She is determined to create a masterpiece—her pièce de résistance! Louise also loves Art, her little brother. This is their story. Louise Loves Art is a celebration of the brilliant artist who resides in all of us.



Via kellylight.com
Author and illustrator Kelly Light grew up on the New Jersey shore surrounded by giant pink dinosaurs, cotton candy colors, and Skee-Ball sounds. She was schooled on Saturday-morning cartoons and Sunday funny pages. She picked up a pencil, started drawing, and never stopped. Kelly has illustrated Elvis and the Underdogs and Elvis and the Underdogs: Secrets, Secret Service, and Room Service by Jenny Lee, and The Quirks series by Erin Soderberg.

Kelly is an International Ambassador of Creativity for The Chuck Jones Center for Creativity! The Center is a non-profit founded by Chuck Jones, the animator, artist and director of so many of the cartoons that we think of when we just think the word “cartoon”. In his lifetime, Chuck enjoyed talking to and encouraging younger artists. The center continues in this spirit to ignite creative thinking through free art classes for kids, creativity workshops, presentations and talks for kids and adults meant to inspire and enlighten. The center also has outreach programs to local schools who have lost their art funding and visits senior citizen centers to provide drawing and creativity exercises for greater mental and emotional health.

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Ready! Set! Draw!
Executive Producer: Julie Gribble |  Producer: Kassia Graham

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Ready! Set! Draw! - Kelly Light: Louise Loves Art

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