Gina Mayes is a children's illustrator and surface designer who is originally from Mexico but currently resides in Mansfield, Texas. Gina's latest fabric collection is called 'Fairy Meadow' and has been designed for sale at her Spoonflower shop Baby Bubble Co.. Featuring whimsical botanical designs with lush greens and beautiful pastels. Gina is a mom of three and loves to sew, knit and doAdd a Comment
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Blog: OUPblog (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: *Featured, Arts & Humanities, Books, Philosophy, absuse, Daesh, Diana Tietjens Meyers, ethics, human rights, human rights abuse, Iraq, IS, ISIS, middle east, moral philosophy, morality, NGOs, sexual abuse, sharia, Victims' Stories, Victims' Stories and the Advancement of Human Rights, violence, Yazidi, Add a tag
Mass sexual violence against women and girls is a constant in human history. One of these atrocities erupted in August 2014 in ISIS-occupied territory and persists to this day. Mainly targeting women and girls from the Yazidi religious minority, ISIS officially reinstituted sexual slavery.
The post Caring about human rights: the case of ISIS and Yazidi women appeared first on OUPblog.Add a Comment
Blog: Great Kid Books (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: ages 2 - 4, ages 5-8, ages 8-12, kindergarten, picture books, preschool, Add a tag
Do you enjoy reading wordless books with your child? Do you like the freedom to make up your words and stories, or does it leave you a little lost? Wordless picture books tell the stories only through the illustrations, and they put much more of the storytelling role onto the reader.
1. Encourage children to make up the story. There is no "right" or "wrong" way to read these books.
2. Spend time looking at the cover and talking about the book's title. What do you think this story is going to be about? What do you notice?
3. Take a "picture walk" through the pages, looking at the pictures and talking together about what you see.
4. Slow down and notice the details together. Talk about the characters' expressions, the setting, the use of color. What does the illustrator want us to notice?
5. Encourage your child to use different voices, add sound effects and use interesting words as they tell the story. Have fun!
These conversations will enrich your child's storytelling, bringing joy and meaning to the experience.
- 10 Minutes till Bedtime, by Peggy Rathmann -- A boy's hamster leads an increasingly large group of hamsters on a tour of the boy's house, while his father counts down the minutes to bedtime.
- A Ball for Daisy, by Chris Raschka -- A dog has fun with her ball, until it is lost. This story is about what it is like to lose something special, and find a friend.
- Draw!, by Raúl Colón -- A boy who is confined to his room fills his sketch pad with lions and elephants, then imagines himself on a safari.
- The Farmer and the Clown, by Marla Frazee -- A farmer rescues a baby clown who has bounced off the circus train, and takes very good care of him until he can reunite the tot with his clown family.
- Flora and the Flamingo, by Molly Idle -- In this wordless book with interactive flaps, a friendship develops between a girl named Flora and a graceful flamingo, as they learn to dance together.
- Float, by Daniel Miyares -- A boy loses his paper boat in the rain, and goes on an adventure to retrieve it.
- Good Night, Gorilla, by Peggy Rathmann -- An unobservant zookeeper is followed home by all the animals he thinks he has left behind in the zoo.
- Journey, by Aaron Becker -- A lonely girl draws a magic door on her bedroom wall and through it escapes into a world where she creates a boat, a balloon, and a flying carpet that carry her on a spectacular journey.
- The Lion and the Mouse, by Jerry Pinkney -- In this wordless retelling of an Aesop fable set in the African Serengeti, an adventuresome mouse proves that even small creatures are capable of great deeds when she rescues the King of the Jungle.
- Mr. Wuffles!, by David Wiesner -- Mr. Wuffles ignores all his cat toys but one, which turns out to be a spaceship piloted by small green aliens.
- Pool, by JiHyeon Lee -- Two shy children meet at a noisy pool and dive beneath the crowd into a magical undersea land, where they explore a fantastical landscape and meet various creatures.
- Spot the Cat, by Henry Cole -- A cat named Spot ventures out an open window and through a city on a journey, while his owner (and the reader!) try to find him.
- Tall, by Jez Alborough -- All the jungle animals help a very little monkey to feel that he is tall.
- The Typewriter, by Bill Thomson -- Three children find a typewriter on a carousel, and begin an adventure that helps them discover the wonder of words.
©2016 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books Add a Comment
At Sixth Tone Zang Jixian has a Q&A with Author Can Xue on the State of Chinese Literature
Can Xue is the author whose The Last Lover won last year's Best Translated Book Award (for which I was a judge); see also the Yale University Press publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.
Among the interesting/depressing answers:
Zang Jixian: Your works are gaining a large readership in the English-speaking world. What would you say are the reasons ?And:
Can Xue: It's mostly because I integrate a lot of Western cultural elements in my work. I believe I'm doing the best job among Chinese writers in that aspect. Therefore, foreign readers can accept my work as literature.
Zang Jixian: Could you evaluate the current situation of China's literary world ?Ouch. Add a Comment
Can Xue: I've said it before: I have no hope, and I don't feel like evaluating it.
UK card store Scribbler have recently launched their first extensive collection of Notebooks designed by their in house team. From tropical pineapples to smart black & white designs they are available in Scribbler's 33 stores nationwide.Add a Comment
Bobbie Print have created a new collection of hand printed screen prints based on the season. The first two designs Spring and Autumn have just been launched and Summer and Winter will follow shortly. The designs look at the plants and flowers that we all associate with those particular times of year.Stylized Hyacinths, Bluebells, Hellebores and Snowdrops have all been given a mid-centuryAdd a Comment
Blog: OUPblog (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: *Featured, Art & Architecture, Arts & Humanities, Books, Literature, Religion, Theatre & Dance, 400th anniversary, Dr Faustus, extract, Fantastic Metamorphoses, Illuminating Shakespeare, macbeth, Marina Warner, Other Worlds, Other Worlds: Ways of Telling the Self, shakespeare, Shakespeare and Magic, Shakespeare and the Supernatural, Add a tag
Human beings are subject to a continual process of bodily transformation, but shape-shifting also belongs in the landscape of magic, witchcraft, and wonder. Marina Warner, in her award-winning essays Fantastic Metamorphoses, Other Worlds: Ways of Telling the Self, explores this idea ranging from Ovid to Lewis Carroll. In the extract below she looks at Shakespeare's use of magic and demons
The post “Aery nothings and painted devils”, an extract from Fantastic Metamorphoses, Other Worlds appeared first on OUPblog.Add a Comment
When I was in 7th grade, I was determined to be a writer. I loved English class. I loved to read. More than anything, I loved to write, even if I didn't really have anything to write about. I would journal about my days and try to make them sound exciting, for some future self who might someday be reading my diary. I would scribble story ideas on napkins and used envelopes, and stick them in a notebook for future writing inspiration. I probably still have one or two or ten of those notebooks lying around, gathering dust.
So what happened? Well, lots of things. My perspective on the world changed a lot when I went home to Manila instead of applying for an Ivy League school like I'd always planned on doing. Depression happened. Working in retail and being really tired all the time happened. Community college happened. Not all things that happened were necessarily good or bad, it was just life. I honed some skills (baking, knitting, art) and got worse at some things (exercising, staying organized, swimming).
Now and then when I think about writing, I realize I have lots and lots of things to talk about. Want to know about that time I got kicked off the school paper? Or that time I really embarrassed myself in front of a guy I liked? (Those times, I should say, there were a few.) How about that time I got left back a grade even though I had the most freaking perfect grades a student could ever want? Oh man, I have some stories.
I read a lot, too. I know I'm preaching to the choir, but reading is so, SO important for anyone who wants to be a writer. You have to learn how words work, how they string along together to do something, like teach a lesson or evoke a feeling or make you cringe. You have to know the rules before you break them. You have to learn what bores people to tears so you can, you know, NOT write like that.
I almost think reading, too much reading, is the thing that has eaten away at my writing life the most in the last 20 years. Every year I try to read more than I did the year before. Every year I write less, and less, and less. I can tweet, no problem. I usually strive for funny/informative in 140 characters or less. I just want to share things that I think people I know will find interesting. I love hashtags, too. They're the best on Instagram--I probably spend more time picking hashtags there than writing the caption. I kind of hate writing reviews now. I still form opinions on things, but I'd rather comment about them on Facebook than really go into a full analysis of something. I want to have short text conversations with others more than I want to carefully compose a critical essay (because that feels like homework). I just want to react and use as many emojis as possible to get my feelings across. Tumblr is my absolute favorite. I don't even have to comment: just reblog. Always reblog.
When I'm not chasing deadlines for school work, I read. I have read some pretty amazing books, and that's kind of the problem. Have you read The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss? How about every book ever written by Leigh Bardugo, or Mary Pearson, or Maggie Stiefvater, or Maria V. Snyder, or Margaret Atwood? How about Carlos Ruiz Zafon's The Shadow of the Wind (no relation to the other previously named book with "wind" in the title)? I love those books. I think some part of me thinks too far ahead, that I'll never be as good as they are, and why waste time working on something that will never pan out, that won't pay the rent, when I can sit here and unwind from my day job by watching 6 episodes of Gilmore Girls every night?
Part of me knows it's not supposed to be easy if it's worth doing. But another part of me insists I need to do something else first. Cleaning the fridge, or scrubbing the toilet, or putting away the laundry: once the most pressing to-do-list items have been checked off, by the time I'm done, all I'm good for is putting my feet up and watching, you guessed it, just one more episode of Gilmore Girls. Some perverse part of me thinks getting on a treadmill for an hour should come first. Barring that, I should play paper ball catch with the cats so they get some much-needed exercise. These are things worth doing. Maintaining good hygiene, cooking a meal from scratch, getting my teeth cleaned. All worthwhile and responsible uses of time and effort. When I'm done with all of these other things, I'll read. When I'm done, I'll paint/knit/sew something. When I'm done, I'll write. It's always in the plans.
Today, however, and every other day for at least a week, I am writing first, and everything else later. (Actually, I thought up this challenge for myself while procrastinating on the final paper I have to turn in to my teacher on Friday.) Every other day, the moment I'm free, the books will stay closed. The knitting bag stays unopened. Netflix remains frozen on the Gilmore Girls episode I stopped watching last night because I had to be up at 4:30 for work.
What do I think will happen? Well, I don't think I'll have a bestselling novel anytime soon. I won't even have a finished first draft of something in the next year (oh school, I love you, I hate you!). I think I will write about writing, about not writing, about things that are not writing. But maybe, just maybe, I will write.
Is there something you'd like me to write about? Let me know in the comments. Here are some things I brainstormed while procrastinating some more because I am really, really not ready to work on this paper for class:
- learning to drive
- favorite restaurants
- how much I hate shopping for clothes
- celebrity crushes
- being a bad god-parent
- being a bully
- my cats (of course)
- unrealistic musical aspirations (probably)
- how much I love eating out alone
- used bookstores
- talking on the phone and how much I hate it now
- looking for work
- working in groups
- board games
- video games
- why I procrastinate
Ok, I think that's enough procrastination for now.
I'm going to go cook some spaghetti while watching Gilmore Girls, then work on my paper... after I watch an episode of Gilmore Girls...Add a Comment
Blog: OUPblog (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: *Featured, Journals, Politics, Social Sciences, civilian, civilian deaths, dead, dead bodies, drone strikes, human rights, Iraq, ISA, ISA journal, Jessica Auchter, Journal of Global Security Studies, military, Syria, US government, Add a tag
What happens when dead bodies crop up where they are not supposed to be? How can this allow us to reflect on how we understand security and insecurity? For example, mass graves can be indicators of crimes against humanity. Recent satellite evidence of mass graves analyzed by Amnesty International outside of Bujumbura has led to a focus on the political violence there, a result of turmoil after Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza announced his intention to seek a third term.
The post Dead body politics: what counting corpses tells us about security appeared first on OUPblog.Add a Comment
Blog: The Leaky Cauldron (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: Actor Interviews, Bonham Carter, Bonham Carter Interviews, Movies, News, Rickman, Alan Rickman, Alice in Wonderland, Alice Through the Looking Glass, Helena Bonham Carter, The Red Queen, Add a tag
Helena Bonham Carter has always been one to take on more anomalous roles in her acting career. The Red Queen definitely does not differ from this pattern. With her abnormally large head and a tendency to order beheadings onto others, the role is one that Helena enjoys quite a bit.
She gave a interview with Den of Geek this week, telling us a little about her return to the role in Alice Through the Looking Glass. While the first movie, Alice in Wonderland, had little focus on Helena’s character, this one will not only show her more in present time but also give us a peak into her past.
And then when the sequel came around, I was just praying it was well-written. And it was. And in a sort of typically Red Queen egocentric way, I thought, “Oh, there’s a lot about me!” [laughs] And it all made sense. And there was lots of things to develop. So it was fun, because she wasn’t necessarily a big part in the first one. So it was nice to have something where you develop something and you work on something quite a lot. And I seriously do…I’m anal about my craft.
Helena Bonham Carter is no doubt one of those actresses who puts everything she can into a role, finding ways to better relate to her characters. She tells that she did a bit of research, using the Alice books, on her character. She seems to understand Iracebeth and her childish anger, “…I thought, “Well, she’s got too big a head.” So everybody’s head that was normal size was always a reminder that hers was abnormal. So that’s why she had to cut everybody else’s head off.”
Another face, or voice rather, from Harry Potter will appear in the film. Alice Through the Looking Glass, which is dedicated to him, is said to be Alan Rickman’s last film. Helena and Alan have worked closely many times before and she had a few words of consolation for those still mourning his passing:
Well, the poetic thing about it is he’s voicing a blue butterfly. And anything that I can tell Rima, his wife, to comfort her, is there’s that quote: “Just when the caterpillar thought it was all over, it became a butterfly.” And often, butterflies…you know, death can be seen as the end. It can also…I don’t know if it’s any comfort, but you can also see that it’s a point of transition.
Give me a moment to wipe my tears…
Wow, okay. On that note, see the rest of the interview here and be sure to get tickets to see Helena Bonham Carter in Alice Through the Looking Glass which comes out this Friday!Add a Comment
Blog: Pub(lishing) Crawl (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: Industry Life, PubCrawl Podcast, Genres, Romance, Add a tag
This week JJ and Kelly conclude their series on genres in publishing with ROMANCES. Also, we reveal the depth of our Harry Potter nerdery and our deep fandom past. TRIGGER WARNING: We discuss rape and consent in Old School romances.
- Smart Bitches, Trashy Books (and their podcast!)
- Romance is the largest market of publishing in terms of sheer number of books being published, units being sold, as well as cash flow.
- We discussed the hallmarks of other genres, but romance really only has the one: your main couple must end up in a relationship by the end of the book (the so-called HEA, or Happily Ever After, or the HFN, or Happily For Now).
- Romance is a staple of publishing, and is a large part of what we now consider the literary “canon” but the modern romance novel as we knew it first came into existence in the 1970s. According to the Smart Bitches, the “first” modern romance novel is The Flame and the Flower by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss.
- Romance novels are divided into Old School and New School romance: Old School are the books published pre-1990s.
- Old School romances may be partially responsible for the “trashy” reputation around romance novels because there were forceful, rapist male romantic leads, but for other reasons, not the least because the stories were centered around female leads and female pleasure.
- Old School romances were also about awakening the female lead, sexually, emotionally, etc. so some hangups about “virginity” (actual or metaphorical) linger.
- Romance publishing is divided into two segments: category and single-title.
- Category romances are specific lines from a publisher focusing on specific tropes and storylines. As a romance writer, it may be easier to break into publishing by starting to write for categories.
- Single-title romances are focused more on the author’s name than the tropes, e.g. Nora Roberts. The stories and tropes are created wholesale by the author and is more similar to other trade publishing genres.
- In terms of content, romances can literally contain anything. Anything! That’s the greatest thing about romance; it’s like Mad Libs: put in what you want and you’ll pretty much guaranteed to find a romance novel that fits that criteria. Romances span every genre: mystery, thriller, science-fiction, fantasy, contemporary, et al. What constitutes a ROMANCE as opposed to another genre is the centrality of the love story.
- Romances can have series, either where friends or different family members get their own romances in separate books, or else it’s one central couple throughout multiple books.
Books Discussed/What We’re Reading
- Beyond Heaving Bosoms by Sarah Wendell and Candy Tan (AKA The Smart Bitches)
- The Flame and the Flower by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss
- The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides
- Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
- Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover by Sarah MacLean (The Rules of Scoundrels, not Fallen Angel series)
- The Bridgertons series by Julia Quinn
- The In Death series by J. D. Robb (AKA Nora Roberts)
- Cotillion and A Lady of Quality by Georgette Heyer
- The works of Courtney Milan
- The works of Sherry Thomas
- Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase
- The works of Laura Kinsale (For My Lady’s Heart, Shadowheart, The Shadow and the Star)
- Pregnesia by Carla Cassidy
- The Raider by Jude Deveraux
- Get in Trouble by Kelly Link
- The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen
- Save the Cat by Blake Snyder
What We’re Working On
- Kelly is continuing to work on her WIP, not by writing words, but by journaling and thinking and creating.
- The project JJ couldn’t talk about last week was a companion novel to Wintersong! Cue the panic.
Off Menu Recommendations
- The Rocky Horror Picture Show
- Moulin Rouge!
- Quiz Up Harry Potter Trivia
- There’s No Such Thing as a Fish
- Also, follow @sweden and @ireland!
- The Swedish number
That’s all for this week! We will be on hiatus for the next two weeks as both JJ and Kelly will be on vacation (not together, alas!). When we return, we will be starting a new series, wherein we break down stories to see what makes them successful or not. As always, sound off in the comments if you have any questions and we’ll see you in two weeks!Add a Comment
Blog: OUPblog (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: *Featured, Arts & Humanities, Philosophy, Politics, Quizzes & Polls, Hobbes, Leviathan, Philosopher of the Month, philosopherotm, philosopherotm quiz, philosophy of politics, Philosophy Quiz, political philosophy, political science, quiz, Thomas Hobbes, western philosophy, Add a tag
This May, the OUP Philosophy team honors Thomas Hobbes (April 5, 1588 – December 4, 1679) as their Philosopher of the Month. Hobbes is remembered as the author of one of the greatest of books on political philosophy ever written, Leviathan, in which he argued with a precision reached by few other thinkers.Add a Comment
Blog: Playing by the book (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: Aleksandra Mizielińska, Antonia Lloyd Jones, Daniel Mizieliński, Animals, Cities/towns, Construction, Dollshouses, Earthquakes, Exploration, Geography, Geology, Learning about the world, Nonfiction, Oceans, Science, Water, Add a tag
Aleksandra Mizielinska and Daniel Mizieliński (@hipopotam) started a revolution here in the UK, with the publication by Big Picture Press back in 2013 of their now famous Maps. With that beautifully produced book we started to see something of new departure for children’s non-fiction, with publishers realising that there was an appetite for gorgeously illustrated and finely produced information books which didn’t look or feel like school textbooks.
Since then we’ve seen several new non-fiction imprints established, dedicated to bringing us eye-catching, unusual and sumptuous non-fiction for children and young people, such as Wide Eyed Editions and 360 Degrees. This is great news, especially for younger children who report choosing to read non-fiction (42% of 7-11 year olds) almost as much as they do fiction (48.2% of 7-11 year olds, source), though you’d never guess this from the imbalance in titles published and reviewed.
It’s wonderful to see the return of the founders of the non-fiction revolution with a new title, Under Earth, Under Water, a substantial and wide-ranging exploration of what lies beneath the surface of the globe.
Split into two halves, allowing you to start from either end of the book by turning it around to explore either what lies beneath the earth, or under the oceans, this compendium of startling facts and quirky, fresh illustrations makes the most of its large format (a double page spread almost extends to A2), with great visual and verbal detail to pour over and a real sense of going down, down, down across the expanse of the pages.
The Earth pages cover everything from burrowing creatures to plant life in the soil, via extracting natural resources to industrial underground infrastructure. Tunnels, caves, digging up fossils and plate tectonics are all included in this rich and varied buffet brought together though a simple concept – simply exploring what is underneath our feet.
The Water pages explore aquatic life right from the surface down to the bottom of the Mariana Trench, ocean geography, human exploration with the aid of diving equipment, the history of submarines and even shipwrecks.
Lavishly produced, with gorgeously thick paper it is a delight to hold this book in your hands. Wonderful design, featuring lots of natural reds and browns in the Earth section and soothing shades of blues and green in the Water section, ensures exploring the diverse content is a visual treat as much as it is a spark for thinking about the world around us in new ways.
My only question mark over Under Earth, Under Water is the lack of an index. Maybe this makes it more like a box of treasures to rummage in and linger over, the sort of space where you can’t be sure what gems you’ll dig up. Although perhaps not a resource from which to clinically extract information, Under Earth, Under Water offers a great deal to explore and a very enjoyable journey to the centre of the earth.
There’s so much we could have “played” in Under Earth, Under Water. We toyed with making submarines, visiting caves, planting seeds to watch roots grow, but in the end the animal burrows won out, and we decided it was time to make our own. This began with papier mache and balloons…
…which when dry were set into a cardboard box frame, and surrounded by layers of “soil” i.e. different coloured felt, to recreate the layering of different soil and rock types.
Then the burrows needed filling! Sylvanian families came to the rescue, along with nature treasures gathered from the garden.
And soon we had a dollshouse with a difference! (Can you spot the bones and other archaeological finds waiting to be dug up from the soil??)
Whilst making our underground burrow we listened to:
Other activities which might work well alongside reading Under Earth, Under Water include:
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Disclosure: I was sent a free review copy of this book by the publisher, Big Picture Press. The book was translated by Antonia Lloyd Jones although she is not credited in the book.
Blog: Children's Book Reviews and Then Some (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: Picture Books, Add a tag
As a parent, I find so many teachable moments in BLOCKS. As a librarian who just won a grant that has brought three different sets of blocks (Kapla, Magnatiles and TEDCO Blocks & Marbles) into the library, I especially am grateful to have this book to pull off the shelf when the battles begin...
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Make Your Own Art Bot!
An art bot is a thing that uses a motor to in some way create art with drawing implements attached to it. There are many different possible designs. This is a guide to make the one I made, which does not require any expensive or hard-to-get materials. Make sure you read the entire procedure before attempting.
- A large paper or plastic cup that you can cut
- At least three markers or colored pencils (markers work a lot better because colored pencils don’t have enough pressure to draw well and need to be sharpened)
- An electric toothbrush (you can get really cheap ones at the dollar store)
- If they’re not included in the toothbrush, batteries
- Remove the motor from the toothbrush. I’m not sure what brand I used, but the motor came out easily. If there aren’t any, put in batteries.
- Cut a hole in the bottom of the cup that the motor can fit halfway into. Turn it over so the hole is on top, and tape the motor in halfway so that the end with a button on it is sticking halfway out. If the button is in a different place, find a way to arrange it so it is reachable from outside.
- Tape your pencils or markers around the outside of the cup, drawing ends down (away from the motor end). Make sure they are evenly spaced and the drawing ends are the same distance away from the rim of the cup.
- Place the art bot on a piece of paper with the motor on top, and turn it on! If not every marker/pencil is drawing, adjust them so that they are all touching the paper.
- If you used markers, make sure to cap them when you are done.
Blog: TWO WRITING TEACHERS (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: Author Spotlight Series, writing, Add a tag
Author Liz Garton Scanlon implores us to let "you be you" in today's Author Spotlight post.Add a Comment
Blog: So many books, so little time (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: writing life, Add a tag
This month began with the most amazing thing ever: a book tour for The Girl I Used to Be! The last time I had a tour was in 2002. As the economy crashed, independent bookstores folded, and newspapers cut back, tours faded right along with them.
I was determined to make the most of it. So I said yes to everything. Yes to speaking to kids from four different schools in a day. Yes to doing a bookstore event that same night. Yes to flying to a different city after that.
And I had a great time! But I did pick up some tips I’m going to pass along for the next person who wins the tour lottery.
The last time your clothes fit in your carryon is the day you pack it at home. Don’t overpack! If you’re willing to wear the same black polyester (and thus unwrinkle-able and basically indestructible) top in every city you visit, you can save some space in your suitcase. And you need to leave room, because every school will want to give you a coffee mug, T-shirt, and pen emblazoned with the school’s logo. I have also gotten a tea towel, “genuine sand,” a plaster hand missing fingernails like one of my characters, and reusable grocery bags.
And you’ll also end up with treats: chocolate in the shape of the Alamo, pralines so sweet they make your teeth ache, Kind bars, chocolate covered almonds, a package of Oreos, caramel toasted coconut chips, mini Kitkats, homemade cookies, Lindor balls, and occasionally fruit. Those who follow me on social media often give me potato chips. I actually carried a full bag of chips from Milwaukee to Chicago where I ate them at midnight when I finally checked into my hotel. My advice is to avoid the crab-flavored ones.
In fact, for your waistline, dump all the treats into the nearest garbage can as soon as you are out of eyesight. Otherwise you will end up in your hotel room eating a piece of really bad candy that tastes like chocolate-covered perfume, wincing, and then opening another wrapper.
All the candy did come in handy when Alaska ran out of meals on a flight from Chicago to Seattle. For breakfast, I ate a peanut butter cup that had been rattling around in my backpack. Loose. By the time I found it, half the chocolate was missing. But at least it didn’t have anything stuck to it. And I figured the peanut butter counted as protein.
If you’re ever wondering what to get an author, Starbucks cards are small and endlessly useful. Also those grocery bags, especially if they are emblazoned with something local, are a fun gift and pack flat.
My other tip would be figure out the shower while you are still sort of awake. Do you raise the handle, spin it, press it? Is there a separate piece you need to engage first? Otherwise you’ll end up after four hours sleep phoning the front desk and begging them to reveal the secret. And they in turn will send up a maintenance man, who will turn it on with ease, and look at you in your shortie PJs with barely concealed disgust.
And then after you take your shower you will realize you have no idea how to turn it OFF. Resist the urge to leave it running for four hours until housekeeping shows up.
I also stayed in a hotel hosting the a conference for the White Shrine of Jerusalem, a Masonic organization that seemed to be made up of white ladies over the age of 80 and wearing formal polyester gowns with corsages even for the 6 am breakfast buffet.
I visited more than a dozen schools and talked to over 3,000 kids. One girl who wanted to be a writer was shaking so badly it looked like she would fly apart. I held one of her hands with my left hand while I signed her book with my right. One teacher worried that her pizza lunch wouldn’t be “sophisticated enough” for me. I had a wonderful time, and even though I came down with a weird kind of strep normally only seen in cows, I would do it again in a heartbeat!
Blog: An Illustrator's Life For Me! (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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On the Friday afternoon, John and I helped to get things set up.
It poured and poured. India's paper stars dissolved. The wind blew the rain in and her cushions and throws wicked up water. It put out the fires. The rain might have dampened everything in sight, but it didn't dampen our spirits. Oh no. We Nether-Edgers are a tough lot.
In moments when the deluge slowed to a drizzle, kids ran around and people hula-hooped:
Some time around midnight the rain stopped. Dan, who had set up a cocktail bar from the back of his van, brought out a record player and a massive pile of LPs. We danced in the mud, in wellies and walking boots, cocktails in hand, to hits from the 70 and 80s mostly. The best boogie I've had in a long while. Numbers dwindled gradually. At half three, John and I gave it up, but apparently the last few stopped up until 5.30!
A bass player was discovered asleep under a hay bale.
And then it was time to pack up ourselves. The stragglers mucked in to help clear up and ferry things back into Jonny's van and we said our final goodbyes. not that final though - Jonny is already planning another one for mid summer!
Thanks to various people for taking such great photos, especially Charlie Osguthorpe. And of course thanks to Jonny, for such a brilliant idea and having the energy to make it happen.
One suspects that the reason for obituaries in e.g. The New York Times and The Washingotn Post have more to do with her centenarian- than literary-status; regardless, the death of Chinese author (and translator) Yang Jiang deserves the notice -- even if her work hasn't made much of an English impression.
She's perhaps best know in the English-speaking world as the wife of Qian Zhongshu, author the classic Fortress Besieged; see the New Directions publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk, but her own companion piece of sorts, Baptism, -- though much harder to find -- is also worth a look; see the Hong Kong University Press publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.
Blog: 123oleary (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: Julie Morstad, Robin Mitchell, Simply Read Books, The Henry Books, When You Were Small, Add a tag
Is it possible that When You Were Small was published a decade ago? Sometimes it feels like it was just last week. Sometimes it feels like it was a century ago.
Part of the success of this book (and its fellows) is due to the brilliant book designer, Robin Mitchell Cranfield. Along with Dimiter Savoff, publisher of Simply Read Books, she came up with such a beautiful, stripped-down, timeless aesthetic for the book. I couldn't love it any more than I do.
|photo: Summer Hall/Appyreading|
My great hope is to go on making books with Julie Morstad. There are many, many reasons for this but the best one, for me, is that we find the same things funny. And in that vein, is this wonderful photo I came across on Instagram a little while ago. It was posted by Summer Hall of Appyreading and she's given me permission to share it here.
When You Were Small is being released in paperback this month (I'll have more on that soon) and is available for pre-order now.
Here are a few places you can find the book. I'll be adding in more and if you have suggestions please feel free to comment. I'm always happy to learn about independent booksellers that are new to me.
Indigo Indiebound Amazon.com Amazon.ca Amazon.uk WH Smith Powell's Barnes & Noble
Blog: A Fuse #8 Production (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: Reviews, Reviews 2016, 2016 picture books, 2016 reviews, Albert Whitman and Company, funny picture books, Lori Haskins Houran, picture books, Sydney Hanson, Add a tag
Years ago I saw a very interesting sketch produced during the early years of Disney animated filmmaking. The drawing was an explanation to animators on the precise proportions it takes to make a drawn character “cute”. The size of the eyes, the proportions between a large head and small hands, the slant of the gaze, all this contributes to the final cute form. At its worst, the word “cute” conjures up creations like those Precious Moments figurines and their insipid equals. At its best, it touches on our maternal and paternal instincts, even if we’re the kinds of folks who prefer furry animals to actual human babies. If you are a children’s librarian working with picture books, you get a nice and steady influx of cute into your location. Some of it is good, but most of it is fairly intolerable. An Anne Geddes / Nancy Tillman-like excess. I can be forgiven then for putting aside Next to You: A Book of Adorableness when first it came to my desk. I read every picture book I’m sent, but some I read a little faster than others, and this didn’t strike me as something to rush over and devour. It took a fellow co-worker to break the news to me that author Lori Haskins Houran’s title has a very sharp tongue lodged firmly in its cheek. With a canniness uncommon in cutesy picture book fair, Next to You manages to reach a dual readership: People who will take it seriously and people who will get the joke. Sweet.
A narrator addressing a child sets the tone at the start. That tiny border collie puppy with the bow around its next and a little lamb toy (nice touch)? It’s only “kind of cute”. The yawning tiger cub or round-tailed bunny? “Whatever”. Honestly, the person being addressed wipes the floor with the competition. Those animals used to be really cute. “Until you came along. Now? Sorta so-so”. The narrator’s casual attitude is swiftly called into question, however, when they see a newborn giraffe for the first time. Seeing the giraffe chasing a butterfly, they’re almost persuaded that the giraffe is cuter but, “No! NO WAY! They are NOT as adorable as you. Not NEARLY.” Whew! A final shot of some of the animals in a cuddly pile ends with the narrator saying that none of them are as cute as you, “And you know what? I’m happy to be . . . next to you.” Aw.
Okay. So let’s talk audience here. When a picture book is talking about how cute someone is, that’s usually a tip-off that kids aren’t actually the focus. Instead, this is probably a book written with the hopes of becoming a baby shower staple. Picture books for expectant mothers are big business (how else to explain the inexplicable yet continual sales of Love You Forever?) so each season we see a couple titles make a play for the hearts and minds of incipient parents everywhere. Few succeed in the long run. What distinguishes Next to You from the pack is that it manages to not merely be a new baby book. Houran has somehow or other managed to write something that has appeal to a certain brand of snarky new parent (a common animal too often ignored by the picture book market) AND to actual children as well. This book is self-aware. A saving grace.
The text gets you pretty much from the first sentence onward. “Next to you, the softest puppy in the world is only kind of cute.” As a librarian I was intrigued but I wasn’t sold. Not until we got to the squirrel. That was the moment when I felt like Houran was making a distinct comment about those of us that waste countless hours watching cute animal videos on YouTube. “A squirrel eating a doughnut with his tiny hands? Adorable, sure. But next to you? Meh. Just OK.” The mix of “tiny hands” and “meh” is noteworthy. I know this sounds a little odd, but that two-page spread is the first true indication that you’re dealing with a picture book is a slick sense of humor. After all, that opening line might just be a fluke. But there is no denying how funny squirrels with itty-bitty widdle hands are, particularly when combined with the all-encompassing and supremely uninterested, “meh”. When the book stops for a moment to goggle at the shockingly cute giraffe, that pause is fascinating. I mean, how do you get a plot out of a book where all the narrator is saying is how cute various animals are? Houran must have also had a blast trying to conjure up all the different forms of cuteness out there? At the same time, take some care to notice that these animals are never in compromising positions. A pig may occasionally wear a sweater but nothing here is considered cute because it’s having its dignity taken away.
It’s a lucky editor that gets a manuscript like this one. Imagine knowing that the artist you acquired would have to excel in the art of “cute”. This editor undoubtedly had to consider a wide swath of artists adept at big eyes and tiny bodies. In the end, the selection fell to first time picture book illustrator Sydney Hanson. Trained in animation and character design, Hanson’s Tumblr page is awash in a sea of sweetness. More details and intricate than the characters found in this book, Hanson is adept at not simply rendering cute the horrible (the big-eyed tarantula is my favorite) but making it clear that these characters have personalities too. The book doesn’t give away Hanson’s medium, so this might all be done on a computer for all I know. That said, it looks like colored pencils. For the art to be effective there has to be a certain level of fuzziness to it. Colored pencils provide that virtual fuzz. My two-year-old son has taken to hugging cute characters in books when he sees them. Next to You, thanks to Hanson’s techniques, is now infinitely huggable.
I never thought I’d say this, but I think this book would actually make a good readaloud to a large group. It would take some practice. You’d really have to get your cadences down. But with the right inflection this could actually work for a bunch of kids. It might even work particularly well for those of the jaded variety. The same kinds of kids that get hornswaggled by Guess Again! by Mac Barnett and Adam Rex would find themselves flummoxed by this book. Few can turn pages without thinking, “Where is this going?” An oddity of a book, but a good one to know about. Don’t let the big blue kitten eyes on the cover fool you. There’s a lot to love between these pages. It’s a book that upsets expectations for adults but still manages to be fun for kids. And if you happen to want to give it to a new parent, I’m not gonna stop you. Not one little bit.
On shelves now.
Like This? Then Try:
- Cute and Cuter by Michael Townsend
- Guess Again! by Mac Barnett, ill. Adam Rex
- The Princess in Black and the Hungry Bunny Hoard by Shannon and Dean Hale, ill. LeUyen Pham
At Sampsonia Way they now have a transcript of their Q&A with Fariba Hachtroudi, whose The Man Who Snapped His Fingers recently came out from Europa Editions; see their publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.
I do like this reaction:
The publisher suggested cutting the length of the book. And I said, "Instead of trimming the book, I'm going to add."(Her reasoning is, of course, entirely sensible.) Add a Comment
Blog: E is for Erik (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: polar bears, presidential polar bear post card project, Add a tag
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At the Literary Hub they have six new translation-related pieces (as they're apparently 'Celebrating Translation Month', whatever that might be ...).
It's all worth a look -- despite some really lax fact-checking in several places ..... (E.g.: "In 2015, 570 translated books were published in the United States" writes Anjali Enjeti -- relying on the invaluable Three Percent database, but ignoring what databaser Chad Post always makes very clear, that that refers only to: "titles that have never before appeared in English" (in the US); the actual number of 'translated books' published is, of course many times larger, thanks to new translations of previously translated titles and, especially, reprints of previously published translations.)
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