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<<November 2014>>
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1. Airfix cancels new sets

I know its not comics but there are a lot of gamers and modellers who visit CBO -and I'm interested anyway.

Bad news released by Airfix and Plastic Soldier Review gave this announcement:

ArticleIcon Airfix cancels new setsUnfortunately yesterday Airfix announced that they had cancelled all of their planned World War I figure and battle sets. Whether they will return to making figures in the future is not known, but this news will disappoint many who like us were looking forward to seeing Airfix become a strong player in the hobby once more.

On a more positive note, RedBox look to be working on a couple of early modern Ottoman Artillery sets. More details as we get them.

ALL of their World War One era sets? Sets they had a LONG time to develop and work on for the big 100th Anniversary of the war.  And there are lots of complaints from other Airfix customers and a rumour -a RUMOUR- that the company aint doing so good.

Oh well.

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2. A look at Disney’s BIG HERO 6 Art Book

Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Big Hero 6 is the story of Hiro Hamada, a brilliant robotics prodigy who must foil a criminal plot that threatens to destroy the fast-paced, high-tech city of San Fransokyo. This new title in our popular The Art of series, published to coincide with the movie’s U.S. release, features concept art from the film’s creation—including sketches, storyboards, maquette sculpts, colorscripts, and much more—illuminated by quotes and interviews with the film’s creators. Fans will love the behind-the-scenes insights into Disney’s newest action comedy adventure.

  • Hardcover: 168 pages
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books (October 28, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1452122210
  • ISBN-13: 978-1452122212







































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3. Speaking of Alan Moore, what’s up with Electricomics

cropped ElectricomicsLogoWide 516931 Speaking of Alan Moore, whats up with Electricomics

Last May, Alan Moore announced he would be involved with a new line of digital comics called Electricomics. Given that Alan Moore is to computers as Daryl Dixon is to soap, this seemed counter intuitive, but it turns out his daughter Leah was very much involved in it. A line of comics was announced:

Electricomics will be a 32-page showcase with four very different original titles:

Big Nemo – set in the 1930s, Alan Moore revisits Winsor McCay’s most popular hero

Cabaret Amygdala – modernist horror from writer Peter Hogan (Terra Obscura)

Red Horse – on the anniversary of the beginning of World War One, Garth Ennis (Preacher, The Boys) and Danish artist Peter Snejbjerg (World War X) take us back to the trenches

Sway – a slick new time travel science fiction story from Leah Moore and John Reppion (Sherlock Holmes – The Liverpool Demon, 2000 AD)

But what’s new since may? Electricomics had a panel at Thought Bubble and Asher Klassen has a detailed account, explaining that the project is not for profit but being funded by the Digital Research and Development Fund for the Arts, leaving the project free to just noodle around and find out what is possible, which sounds pretty exciting, especially when you factor in the involvement of Daniel Merlin Goodbrey, who is on the cutting edge of the “Future comics.”

Those of you picturing Alan Moore hunched over a computer workstation writing code with his beard nearly hiding the keyboard, stop it. Don’t be ridiculous; that’s what he has code demons for (No, seriously, a shed full of ‘em. It’s in the zine.). Mr. Moore may not be a wizard of the tech variety, but it seems his self-proclaimed alienation from modern forms of media has allowed to conceive this project relatively unpolluted by the endeavours that precede it. He doesn’t know Comixology, Madefire, or Manga Studio. He knows comics. That’s something that was made crystal clear through the course of this panel, the idea that, if you could distill from the form the Essence of Comics, then that would be the driving technology behind this project. That’s what a couple top theorists, legendary writers (did I mention Garth Ennis?), and hotshot programmers are doing with a bundle of government money: not an exercise in visual FX, motion graphic, music, flashinglight and pretty colours, but attempting to take the narrative structural and spatial freedom of a digital workspace and make it understandable and accessible to you through…an app.

With the convention season slowed down, I’ve begun to think about larger comics topics again, and “Future comics” is at the top of my list. As mentioned before, Madefire aside, this seems to have stalled out. Throwing think tank money at the question of what comics can do on the internet seems like a marvelous project and I’ll be eagerly awaiting more news.

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4. Add Another Book To the Pile

As if my reading life weren’t busy enough right now, I’ve just added three more books to the pile. It’s gotten so bad I should really quit blogging altogether until after the holidays and dedicate myself full-time to doing nothing but reading. As lovely as this sounds, I am sure my boss would not agree and after a week I would likely start to get a bit restless and long for something to break up the reading.

Even knowing that over a month of doing nothing but read would sour, I still can’t help but imagine that it would be wonderful. But what would be wonderful is all that time in which I could decide to read or not, when and for how long. Because isn’t that really what we dream of? Not so much doing nothing but read all day but the luxury of being able to make that choice. Like today. I was reading Emma at lunch and I was enjoying myself so much, I was comfortable and happy and wanted to keep reading. I had to return to work though. So what I want when I imagine a month of nothing but reading is to be able to say, I will stay here and keep reading Emma and I’ll go back to work when I feel like it. Instead of fitting reading around everything else, I want to be able to fit everything else around reading. If only.

But back to those three books I just added to my pile. Two are library books that I jumped into the hold queue for a month or more ago and I didn’t expect either of them until at least mid-December. But here they are. Women In Clothes is an “exploration of the questions we ask ourselves while getting getting dressed every day.” Edited by Sheila Heti, Heidi Julavits, Leanne Shapton and Mary Mann, it includes photos and interviews and stories and essays long and short and who knows what other sorts of surprises await in the pages?

I have a love/hate relationship with clothes. I like clothes that are just a little different in some way, quirky. At least that’s how I like to imagine my “style” if I had a style. But because I hate shopping for clothes a large portion of my closet is filled with items I did not buy for myself but others bought for me as presents. I am pretty decent at sewing my own clothing but it is so much work and fabric is so expensive that it is just easier and more cost effective to buy a dress off the clearance rack at Target or accept whatever my mother gifts me with at Christmas. But there is a discount fabric store that recently opened near me and I am in the process of setting up my sewing machine and locating all my long unused supplies in order to make myself some fun skirts and dresses. All that explanation to justify why I would be interested in a book on women’s clothing and fashion, as if I need a reason. But I feel like I do because part of why I hate shopping for clothes is this feeling that it is frivolous (and yes I have seen the movie of The Devil Wears Prada and would absolutely love some of those outfits in my closet but I cringe over spending $50 for a pair of jeans so designer clothes are not going to happen).

Well, did I ever go far afield there. Now that you know all about my fashion sense, or lack there of, the other book from the library is F by Daniel Kehlmann. I’ve seen a few blog posts about this one that left me intrigued especially since what the “F” stands for is never actually explicitly revealed. It seems the reader is left to make her own decision about that. It is the story of a man named Arthur who abandons his family in the middle of the night and eventually becomes a famous author. Part of the novel is also what his abandonment does to his sons.

The third book just added to my pile is a review copy of a book being published in January called Dirty Chick by Antonia Murphy. It Murphy’s story of how she and her husband, both urban dwellers, decide to move to New Zealand and become farmers in order to provide a slower, safer place for their five-year-old son who was diagnosed with a developmental delay. Neither Murphy nor her husband knew a thing about farming but they figured it couldn’t possibly be all that hard. They find out otherwise, of course. I hope it will be something fun and light to read so I can forget about the cold and snow for awhile.

Now fingers crossed that I get a respite of at least a few weeks before any additional books I have hold requests on come round to me!

Filed under: Books, New Acquisitions

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5. Call for Entries: second Society of Illustrators Comic and Cartoon Art Competition

SOI 2015CFE Call for Entries: second Society of Illustrators Comic and Cartoon Art Competition

Last year the Society of Illustrators inaugurated a comics art competition similar to the one for illustrators they’ve been running for many years. (Disclosure: I was a judge.)  The Comics and Cartoon Art Annual offered a printed guide to the best comics of the year in a succinct form. The competition is back in 2015, chaired by Steven Guarnaccia, with Co-Chair: R. Sikoryak. The above art is by Bendik Kaltenborn. I had a great time with my fellow judged and absorbing a great many new cartoonists and established one in a new guise. I’m sure this year will be an even better compeition. Entry guidelines are below. Last year’s winners are here. 


The Society of Illustrators is proud to announce the second annual Comic and Cartoon Art Competition.
Open to artists worldwide, entries are considered by a jury of professionals, including renowned cartoonists, illustrators, publishers, and editors. The competition will result in an exhibition that will showcase the most outstanding works created in this genre throughout each year.

The original works will be exhibited in the MoCCA Gallery at the Society of Illustrators from June 16 through August 15th, 2015.

Opening Award Galas will be scheduled where Medals and Certificates will be presented to the artists whose works are judged best in each category.

All accepted entries will be reproduced in a full color catalog.

A selection of 40 works from each Exhibition will then tour colleges throughout the country in an educational traveling show, a tradition that we have had at the Society for over 30 years.


Long Form: A work that is longer than 40 pages. Includes graphic novels, comic books, etc. An anthology is eligible in this category if it is created by one person, and the individual stories form a cohesive whole. If stories should be judged independently, please submit an entry form per person.

Short Form: A work that is more than two pages but shorter than 40 pages. Includes stand-alone work, zines, comic books and work that has been published in anthologies. Work appearing in anthologies may be entered in this category if the individual story is shorter than 40 pages. If stories should be judged independently please submit an entry form per story.

Special Format: Work that is design-driven and created with special attention to production values, including limited edition, small press, hand-made and artist’s books.

Digital Media: Work that is native to a digital format. Includes web comics, online comic strips, and other digitally driven works. Up to 20 images accepted per entry.

Comic Strip: A short-form work published in newspapers, magazines, books, online, etc. featuring four or more panels. Must be one page or less.

Single Image: Work featuring a self-contained narrative image with or without caption. Includes gag cartoons, political cartoons, single-panel cartoons, etc.



Eligibility: Any book that was created from January 2014 – January 2015. Both published or self-published are accepted. International entries are welcome. Each submission will receive consideration by every member of the jury for its category.

How to enter: Mail 6 copies of the publication to the Society of Illustrators: 128 East 63 Street, New York, NY, 10065. Attn: Comic and Cartoon Art Competition. Must include the official entry form with each copy.

DEADLINE: Monday, January 5, 2015.

Entry Fees For Book Submissions:
$30 per entry (includes all six copies) for non-members of the Society of Illustrators.
$20 per entry (includes all six copies) for members of the Society of Illustrators.
Include a check with the entry. Checks made out to Society of Illustrators.


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6. Christmas Classics you’ve read to you kids – Christine Bongers

Fellow Boomerang Blogger, Romi Sharp recently congratulated me on hitting my first century. Gob smacked! I mean I don’t even own a cricket bat, let alone know how to hold one. She meant blogs of course. I hardly noticed. They rack up and slip by like birthdays these days. Nonetheless, even numbers deserve celebration (especially […]

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7. And one more: Warren Ellis’ Global Frequency in development once again

Global Frequency 8 And one more: Warren Ellis Global Frequency in development once again

And here’s another second look at a comics property that already had a time at the dance—Global Frequency, already the subject of a failed project way back in the prehistory of 2005, is getting another look as a TV show, with Jerry Bruckheimer once again leading the way.

The comic book Global Frequency came out from Wildstorm during the days when it was edgy and daring.. (For those of you who came in late, Wildstorm was once an imprint of DC Comics that put out more wild and crazy adventure themed stuff. It was shut down a few years ago and its remaining properties were folded into Vertigo.)

Written by Warren Ellis and drawn by a bunch of artists including Garry Leach, Steve Dillon, David Lloyd and Gene Ha, it followed a high tech privately sourced elite crime solving organization—an idea that has kind of been done to death since then but it still works when done well. (Person of Interest?) A pilot was made starring Michelle Forbes and Josh Hopkins in 2005 but it went nowhere. But those were the days when comic books were just things printed on paper and not idea space thought peaches.

Now it’s back with Bruckheimer producing and Rockne S. O’Bannon writing a new pilot. O’Bannon is well known for creating Farscape, and he’s also working on Constantine, but don’t hold that against him.

As Deadline helpfully points tout, this is part of the EXPLOSION of WB TV projects based on comics, joining the on air Arrow, Gotham, Flash and Constantine, and the upcoming iZombie and Supergirl, which has a series commitment at CBS, and Lucifer, also at Fox.

Whoever is doing TV development at DC Comics—you rock.

1 Comments on And one more: Warren Ellis’ Global Frequency in development once again, last added: 11/20/2014
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8. S’more’s, Packrat’s Coat and Q & A fun!

Not too long ago, I was asked by one of my critique partners if I’d have time to Skype her third grade classroom. “We’ve read the first Cooper and Packrat,” she’d told me, “And started the second.  They’re loving them so much!”

“I could try to scoot over for a visit, you’re school day is longer than mine,” I suggested.

“Oh!  You could be our Mystery Reader!” she’d exclaimed.

I’d always wanted to be a mystery reader!

I counted the days until finally it was time.

Cumberland 6

So, I knocked, once, twice, three times.  And smiled to hear the squeals on the other side of the door.  Questions flew around the room, then silence.

My friend’s voice.  “Are you a boy? Knock two times if you are. Once if not.”

One knock from me.

More chatter on the other side.

“Are you a grandmother?”

One knock.

“Are you a Mom?”

Ah-ha! Trick question.  I knocked twice. More squeals.

“Wait, wait,” I heard one girl say.  “Is it one of OUR moms?”

My friend repeated the question.  “Knock two times if not.”

I knocked once . . . then twice.  Lots of squeals.

“Is it the writer of Mystery of Pine LAKE!? Is it?” I heard from a student. “Oh I hope so!”

My friend asked the question.  “If so, knock twice.”

I knocked once.  Pause.  Twice.

Oh my goodness! What a welcome!



They had a campfire going in the middle of the classroom floor!

Students pulled me this way and that, showing me the work they’d done with the first Mystery of Pine Lake, and now Mystery of the Eagle’s Nest.

They were very proud of Packrat’s coat.  Every time they read a scene in which he pulls something from it, they add it here.

Cumberland 1

Cumberland 5

Yes, even the mouse and the forgotten tuna sandwich!

I didn’t know I’d put 29 things in his coat, since Chapter 1, Book 1!  Very cool!  (I may need to use this for my own research)

Cumberland 2

When they were settled down, I spoke to them of inspiration.  Of my writing process.  Of  Book 3 – Mystery of the Missing Fox. I showed my wildlife and campground photos.   Soooo very many thoughtful and well thought out questions flew around the room.

And then . . . they made me a s’more.

Oh my goodness, but that tasted good!

Cumberland 3

I had so much fun!  Thank you for inviting me Ms. Cooper!  I hope you all enjoy the last couple chapters of Mystery of the Eagle’s Nest as much as I enjoyed visiting your classroom!

Cumberland 7



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9. Enter now to win signed print books!

Don’t miss out on your chance to win a

signed print copy of Broken Promise!

~Goodreads Giveaway~


Broken Promise by Jen Wylie


Check out more Untold Press books with

Goodreads Giveaways going on!

Don’t miss out on the chance to win a signed book!

On each Goodreads book page just scroll to below the blurb for the Enter to Win section!


Distraction by Angela McPherson


Tainted EB

Tainted Energy by Lynn Vroman


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10. fancy mail

Today's package is a bit intimidating, and not only because of it's size.
Voila: my page in this year's Directory of Illustration!!!!!!!


I submitted this last spring, and while there are things I would do differently today, (you know how it is) I'm pretty proud of it. It's a nice big book, I wonder where all the other copies are heading out to today...

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11. Harts Pass No. 227

A certain surliness has taken over my otherwise eternal optimism -- brought on no doubt by too little sleep and simultaneously too little vitamin D. GRRR!

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12. Mini-Reviews: Book Club Choices (Blankets, Fangirl, The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender, and Porotofino)

Every year I swear that THIS is the year I will keep up with reviews.  I read, on average, 3 books each week, so it should all come out well in terms of staying on top of my reviews.  I post three books reviews a week and one or two discussion posts and everything is great.  In theory.

But I always hit this point at the end of the year where I realize I'm so far behind and I have so many books left to review that there aren't enough days left to review them all.  And because I want to start the new year with a clean slate, I'll be cramming several book reviews into each review post for most of the rest of the year in order to really get as many completed as I can.  I took out blah books that I had nothing to say anything about, but was still left with a bunch that I feel like my readers NEED to know about.

So here we have the first collection of mini-reviews - books that I read for my FYA book club, my regular book club, or in my mission group that you need to know about.

Blankets by Craig Thompson, read for book club
Wrapped in the landscape of a blustery Wisconsin winter, Blankets explores the sibling rivalry of two brothers growing up in the isolated country, and the budding romance of two coming-of-age lovers. A tale of security and discovery, of playfulness and tragedy, of a fall from grace and the origins of faith.
This one earned a spot among my very favorite graphic novels, alongside Maus and Persepolis.  It's the story of a young man who grows up in a conservative family who meets a girl at church camp and falls in love for the first time.  The book focuses as much on his spiritual journey away from and possibly back to faith as it does on his first experiences with romance.  It's stunningly beautiful, in terms of art and writing, and on my wishlist for Christmas this year.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, read for FYA Book Club
Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan...

But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words... And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.
It's Rainbow Rowell and it's a romance set in college, so there's not really much of a question about whether or not I'll love it, right?  This is EXACTLY the kind of New Adult I'd like to see more of.  It has the college setting, but it's filled with normal kids.  No one with an over-abundance of angst or tattoos or reckless living.  It's MY college experience.  The characters struggle with homework and where to sit in the cafeteria and how to connect with roommates they don't share much in common with.  And of course there's the college romance, which I could totally identify with, having met Luke in college.

It was fun and quirky and just a delight to read.  As far as the fanfic element is concerned, I was worried that I would find it off-putting.  I don't read or write fanfic and it's not something I'm really interested in at all.  I didn't find it to be problematic or something that took me out of the book or kept me from identifying with the characters.  Even if you're not into the world of fandoms, I think you can still appreciate the story and characters - and if fandoms are your thing, well you'll really love it!

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton, read for FYA Book Club
Foolish love appears to be the Roux family birthright, an ominous forecast for its most recent progeny, Ava Lavender. Ava—in all other ways a normal girl—is born with the wings of a bird.

In a quest to understand her peculiar disposition and a growing desire to fit in with her peers, sixteen-year old Ava ventures into the wider world, ill-prepared for what she might discover and naïve to the twisted motives of others. Others like the pious Nathaniel Sorrows, who mistakes Ava for an angel and whose obsession with her grows until the night of the Summer Solstice celebration.

That night, the skies open up, rain and feathers fill the air, and Ava’s quest and her family’s saga build to a devastating crescendo.
I almost didn't read this one.  It was down to just a day or two before our meeting, I was sick, and I had just picked it up from the library.  I didn't know if I'd finish it and I wasn't even sure I would like it or what it was about.  I hadn't ever heard of it.  HOW have I never heard of this?  Why is the entire book blogging community not singing it's praises?

It's absolutely stunning.  I'm partial to magical realism in the first place, but this is one of the best I've read in quite a while.  It has all the whimsy of Sarah Addison Allen combined with the darker elements of The Golem and the Jinni and the amazing writing seen in The Night Circus.  There were even moments where I could see echoes of Big Fish.  Basically any magical realism that I have fallen for, I saw reflected here.  It is beautiful and if you are a fan of good writing, great characters, or magical realism you simply must read it.

Portofino by Frank Schaeffer, read with my mission community
Some kids told lies to be special. Calvin told lies to be normal. The son of a missionary family, he looks forward all year to summer vacation in Portofino--especially since he'll once again have the chance to see his beloved Jennifer. But even in this seductive seaside town in Italy, the Beckers can't really relax. Calvin's father could slip into a Bad Mood and start hurling potted plants at any time. His mother has an embarrassing habit of trying to convert "pagans" on the beach. And his sister keeps a ski sweater and miniature Bible in her luggage just in case the Russians invade and send them to Siberia. Dad says everything is part of God's plan. But this summer, Calvin has some plans of his own. 
This is not one I would have ever picked up on my own.  To be honest, I still find the cover to be a total turnoff.  It looks boring and my heart sank a little when I picked it up from the library.  I'm so glad I gave it a try though, because it felt like I was reading the story of my life.  Frank Schaeffer is the son of theologian Francis Schaeffer, and this novel is considered to be largely autobiographical.  Calvin's story is told in such a delightful way, despite the serious challenges he and his family face in terms of his parents' dysfunction.  It's got a lot of church-based humor that I think will appeal to anyone who grew up evangelical, but it's also not conveyed in an insulting manner.  I felt like we were laughing together at some of the crazy things that go on in conservative Christian culture, not like it was being mocked.  It's super funny and a quick read, I highly recommend it, particularly to those who grew up with similar families.

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13. Francesca Lia Block apologized for Native stereotyping in WEETZIE BAT

On November 11, 2014, the We Need Diverse Books campaign hosted a twitter chat about LGBTQ literature. During that chat, Emily Campbell (@Ms_Librarian) tweeted that Francesca Lia Block's book, Baby Bebop, was important to her. She included Block in the tweet. I replied, saying "The Native content in her bks is stereotyping 101." Here's a screencap:

Campbell asked for more information, and I sent her a link to my analysis of Weetzie Bat. The next day, November 12, Block replied to me and Campbell, saying "No offense meant. My apologies. All respect for all." Here's that screencap:

I thanked her, saying "Most ppl mean well but lack awareness, esp of Native ppl & how culture is used/misused." Here's the screencap of that; I don't know why its font is larger than the others:

She replied again, saying "I would like to learn and grow, until I am no longer alive." And I thanked her again, saying "Your voice as ally pushing back on broad/deep misrepresentations of Native ppl is important." Here's the screencap of that exchange:

I don't know what, if anything, Francesca Lia Block has said or done about this since then. Most authors who respond to my critiques of their work are defensive. Her response was different, and I appreciate that, but I wonder if she's said anything more about my critique, elsewhere, to friends, perhaps?

Block's apology came up this morning in a tweet exchange I had with a colleague about Daniel Handler, the author of Lemony Snicket books who made several racist remarks last night (November 19) at the National Book Awards. He called them "ill conceived humor" in an apology he tweeted today (November 20). His remarks weren't "ill conceived." They were racist.

Block and Handler are key figures in children's and young adult literature. They are authors of best selling books. They could change a lot of hearts and minds if they'd say more than either has said so far.

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14. People Can’t Stop Buying ‘Frozen’ Crap, As Long As It’s Not Anna

We often hold up box office numbers as proof of a movie's success or failure, but even for "Frozen," which is the highest-grossing animated movie of all time, its box office gross is a fraction of the merchandising revenue it has generated for the Walt Disney Company.

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15. Hansel And Gretel by Neil Gaiman. Illustrated by Lorenzo Mattotti. Sydney, Bloomsbury. 2014

The lost children. The gingerbread cottage. The scary witch who, however, doesn't see very well and can easily be fooled. All elements of one of the darker Grimm fairytales. All here in this retelling, along with the explanation of where the children's names come from. (When you think about it, if this had been a British folktale, it would have been called "Johnny and Maggie" or Meg or even Peggy, none of which have quite the same ring to them)

If you're going to have a folktale retold, especially such a dark one, Neil Gaiman is a good one to do it. The average retelling is just that - a straight retelling which isn't by the Brothers Grimm or whoever. "Once upon a time..." And then the writer and publisher decide just how much of the original story can be told, depending on who is having the story read to them. For example, you really don't want to describe Cinderella's stepsisters cutting off toes to fit into the glass slippers, do you? Not at bedtime, anyway. 

One thing about folktales is that you never learn reasons, such as why parents would throw their children out of the house to die, even in a famine. Neil Gaiman suggests war and thieving soldiers passing through and taking away all the food sources and destroying the fields. This version even suggests that it may be a reason behind the witch's cannibalism, though not entirely; from the description of what Hansel and Gretel find hidden around the gingerbread house afterwards, she sounds more like a serial killer than a poor old pensioner who is as much a victim as anyone else. 

At the end of the book, the author talks about the possible origins of the story in the time of the Plague, when all sorts of terrible things would have happened and family relationships broke down.

The book is basically an extended retelling rather than a twist on the original tale. If you're expecting something along the lines of The Sleeper And The Spindle, you may be disappointed. But as a retelling, it has class, and the beautiful moody black and white art of Lorenzo Mattotti supports it well.

If you're going to buy a version of this folktale to read to your children, this one is the way to go.

I hear there's a movie of this book planned, or at least optioned. That should be most  interesting...

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16. Elephants Have Wings- inclusion at Christmas

Why we must promote acceptance to children

FLINT eMagazine writes:-http://flintmag.com/children/

Acclaimed author Susanne Gervay’s new children’s picture book,Elephants Have Wings (Ford Street Publishing, H/B $26.95,) is inspired by the ancient story of the blind men and the elephant and promotes the importance of peace and inclusion to younger readers.

IndiaInspired by Susanne’s journey to India and South East Asia, she returned imbued with the cultures of India and Asia and the parable of the blind men and the elephant with its spiritual traditions in Buddhism, Jainism, Hinduism, Sufism and modern philosophy. As the child of refugees, Susanne wanted to open a discussion about pathways to peace by creating an illustrative text that gave young people positive ways to navigate a world torn by conflict.

Beautifully illustrated by Anna Pignataro, Elephants Have Wings follows the story of two children, riding on the wings of a mystical white elephant, embark on an extraordinary journey to discover the meaning of the parable of the blind men and the elephant, and the humanity in all of us. Endorsed by the esteemed Blake Society and created by the award-winning picture book team of Susanne Gervay AO and Anna Pignataro, Elephants Have Wings is a remarkable book that promotes peace and understanding to young readers.

ELEPHANTS HAVE WINGS COVER by Susanne gervay illustrated by Anna PignataroG

Interview with Susanne

Kiribati -speaking to childrenI’ve spoken to hundreds of thousands of young people, sharing my books across the world, in remote indigenous communities, Australian capital cities, throughout regional Australia, across the USA, Asia, India, Kiribati, Europe, from the richest to poorest communities, to young people in prison, hospitals, special schools, remote Outback stations, international schools. The young people I speak to come from many faiths, ethnicities, cultures. However there is a commonality. They seek acceptance, safety, love and are overwhelmed and disempowered by a world in conflict. Story can create a place to unravel their fears and disempowerment and provide pathways to compassion, understanding of other peoples and faiths and become a participant in creating a safer world.

On my tours, a little American boy told me that when he grows up he wants to be an architect. But he will only design short buildings. The Twin Towers of 9-11 are part of who he is now. I included his words which felt so poignant, in my ‘I Am Jack’ series.

I was flown to New York to speak about the power of my young adult novel ‘Butterflies’ to travel with young burns survivors and families. I had the extraordinary privilege to be on the faculty with Kim Phuc, the 9 year old Vietnamese girl running naked from napalm bombs in Nick Ut’s 1972 iconic Pulitzer Prize winning photo. With 80% of her body burned, she decided to turn pain into compassion. She is a UNESCO Ambassador for Peace and established the Kim Phuc Foundation for child survivors of war.

Kim Phuc Pulitzer Prize photoKim Phuc became incorporated into ‘Always Jack’:-

My hero Jack, of the ‘I Am Jack’ books and his friend Christopher whose parents are Vietnamese refugees present their project to the school.

“Jack and Christopher say together. ‘Kim Phuc, the girl running from the bomb, said, ‘Don’t see a little girl crying out in fear and pain. See her as crying out for peace.’” (Chapter 10)

As part of a delegation, an initiative of the Edmund Rice Centre, I travelled to Kiribati with Patrick Dobson, father of Indigenous reconciliation. Kiribati looks like paradise, an island nation of 32 atolls in the Pacific with approximately 100,000 people. However, without sanitation, rising sea levels, inadequate fresh water supplies, one of the highest infant mortality rates in the world, it is a multi-faith country struggling for survival. I had the privilege of sharing my books with wonderful teachers, students and communities. I addressed an assembly of hundreds of students under an open canopy. When I announced that I would donate my books to the school, in a spontaneous thanksgiving of song, their voices rose in a powerful celebration of thanks. It was deeply moving.

Peace Story UNICEF IBBY - by Susanne gervay and frane LessacThere have been many special moments of connection through story. I was invited to represent Australia in the international peace anthology by IBBY Korea under the auspices of the United Nations. My story ‘Remember East Timor’ was one of 22 stories, by 22 authors, 22 illustrators from 22 countries with different faiths and cultures. My author visit to the Deaf and Blind School where I read my picture books to children with multiple disabilities and diverse faiths, was significant in sharing the commonality of all children while recognising their difference.

As the child of refugees, ‘Elephants Have Wings’ encompasses the ethos that drives all my writing, engaging with young people as they face the challenges of life and empowering them with compassion, understanding of different faiths, humanism. The extraordinary tree of life that connects all humanity spreads its ways through the pages of ‘Elephants Have Wings’, as the mystical white elephant takes the children across the beauty of the world, its conflict and then safety of home.

‘Elephants Have Wings’ was written for young people and adults to open discussion about what sort of world they want and how they can contribute to it because ‘The elephant is in all of us’.


The post Elephants Have Wings- inclusion at Christmas appeared first on Susanne Gervay's Blog.

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17. Australian children’s writer adds to her awards collection

Queensland author Karen Foxlee has won three prestigious overseas awards for her gothic children’s fantasy released this year. Foxlee’s book Ophelia and the Marvellous Boy (Hot Key Books) has been selected for three awards in the Middle School category. Ophelia and the Marvellous Boy has been named ‘Best Book of The Year’ by the School […]

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18. Hachette Book Group Forms Contract to Acquire Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers

Hachette-Book-Group-LARGE11-300x89Hachette Book Group has established an agreement to acquire Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers. The executives have designated Black Dog & Levinthal to be a new division at the Hachette Books imprint.

J.P. Leventhal founded the company in 1993; it specializes in publishing illustrated books and creative non-fiction titles. Hachette plans to retain the management team with Leventhal as publisher, Maureen Winter as associate publisher, and Rebecca Koh as editorial director.

Here’s more from the press release: “The impressive range and variety of the Black Dog & Leventhal list is evident in their recent bestsellers, which include The Complete Cartoons of the New Yorker, Skyscrapers, Take Me Out to the Ballpark, The Complete Front Pages of the New York Times, The Louvre: All the Paintings, Theodore Gray’s The Elements, as well as the more recent Molecules, which is currently on the New York Times science bestseller list. The company publishes 20 to 30 books per year, in the categories of art, history, science, humor, cooking, crafts, music, and theatre, as well as a selection of books for young readers.”

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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19. AJL Recommends Hanukkah Books for Children

Heidi's dad playing ukulele by the light of the shamash candle


Over at "People of the Books" (the blog of the Association of Jewish Libraries), they've posted a list of recommended Hanukkah books for children


There are brand new books listed, like one I'm especially excited about: Honeyky Hanukkah by Woody Guthrie, illustrated by Dave Horowitz, and accompanied by a Klezmatics CD. I interviewed Nora Gurthrie in 2006 about the Klezmatics CD Happy Joyous Hanukkah based on Woody's work, and I interviewed Dave Horowitz in 2007 about his hilarious picture book Five Little Gefiltes. I'm thrilled to see them come together to create this new picture book!


The AJL post also lists Hanukkah-themed books that have been recognized by the Sydney Taylor Book Award as gold or silver medalists or with a Notable Book designation. The Sydney Taylor Book Award has been in business since 1968, so there have been quite a few Hanukkah-related winners over the years. 

In fact, the AJL list is not comprehensive, listing Notable Books only back to 2007. For Hanukkah Notables from earlier years, you can always check the entire list of all winners ever.


AJL recommends the books for library storytimes or for gift-giving. The Jewish Book Council has also published some gift recommendations for adults and kids, some Hanukkah books and others that would just make nice presents. What better gift than a book?


Click here to listen to Honeyky Hanukkah!

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20. Erasure and Blackout Poems: Poetic Forms

One form I’ve been meaning to get to for a while is the blackout poem and also the erasure poem. Both are sort of similar with the major difference being in presentation, I suppose.

Or it’s kind of like rectangles and squares. You see, all squares are rectangles, but not all rectangles are squares.

The same could be said of erasure and blackout poems. After all, all blackout poems are erasure poems, but not all erasure poems are blackout poems.

What is a blackout poem?

A blackout poem is when a poet takes a marker (usually black marker) to already established text–like in a newspaper–and starts redacting words until a poem is formed. The key thing with a blackout poem is that the text AND redacted text form a sort of visual poem.

I tried creating my own and pasting it onto the blog, but I’m having technical difficulties–so instead, click here to check out a blackout poem from one of the masters of the form, Austin Kleon.

What is an erasure poem?

An erasure poem is any poem that sculpts itself out of another larger text. The blackout poem is an erasure poem, but so is a poem like this:

From Ed, by Robert Lee Brewer

We’re approaching the annual
trip of six young winners!

The deadline for poets is NOW!

Open Antioch
and Paris first.

Start journeys of great things.

How moral characters use
cash and horror for information.


Some erasure poems work with or against the original text; some erasure poems look for completely new and unrelated meanings than the original text; and some erasure poems are just complete nonsense. In the example above, I used one of my recent WritersMarket.com newsletters (which by the way are free to receive, though site subscriptions have a fee).

Quick note on ethics: There is a line to be drawn between erasure/blackout poems and plagiarism. If you’re not erasing more than 50% of the text, then I’d argue you’re not making enough critical decisions to create a new piece of art. Further, it’s always good form to credit the original source for your erasures.


roberttwitterimageRobert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and author of the poetry collection, Solving the World’s Problems (Press 53). He edits Poet’s Market, Writer’s Market, and Guide to Self-Publishing, in addition to writing a free weekly WritersMarket.com newsletter and poetry column for Writer’s Digest magazine.

He prefers to use horoscopes for most of his erasures, though it’s also fun to do with longer rambling free verse poems too.

Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer.


Find more poetic goodies here:


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21. Jump See Farm app review

 Jump See Farm app reviewNew educational app Jump See Farm (JUMPSEEWOW, October 2014) introduces preschool and primary-age kids to life on several independent rural farms as well as an urban apiary (Best Bees, right here in Boston!).

From the main menu, tap on an icon to explore one of six subjects: pig, sheep, dairy cow, chicken, tractor, and bees. Each subject has its own “landing page” featuring a friendly, naive-style illustration with a couple of interactive animations.

 Jump See Farm app review

Tap on select objects or animals in the illustration to access brief documentary videos (up to four on each subject, for a total of more than 30 minutes), narrated by a mix of farm-working adults, kids, and teen 4-H members. These videos detail the animals’ jobs on the farm, their care and feeding, attributes of the specific breeds being raised, and how milk, cheese, honey, etc., are produced, all with cheery bluegrass music (composed for the app by Tomas Murmis) in the background.  Jump See Farm app review

The videos also highlight the different species’ personalities. According to one teen girl, Tamworth pigs (a “heritage” breed) “act like dogs. My pig last year would come up to me and she would sleep on me. I just like them because they’re really social and they’re really loving.” Dairy cows, apparently, are curious but “mellow creatures.”

While it’s obvious that these are working animals valuable for their usefulness, their human caretakers clearly do feel plenty of affection for them. One young girl says, “I have a lot of favorite things about chickens, but one of my favorite things is when they take dirt baths.” A teen gives her pig a pat and tells him she loves him. Occasionally the narration gets a little cutesy — as when a beekeeper points out a brand-new bee emerging from her cell in the honeycomb and exclaims, “It’s her birthday!… How special is this?” But kids likely won’t mind, and the information communicated with this warmth and enthusiasm will intrigue them. A list of recommended resources on farm animals and farm living is available at JUMPSEEWOW’s website.

Available for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch (requires iOS 6.0 or later) and for the Kindle Fire; $2.99. Recommended for preschool and primary users.

share save 171 16 Jump See Farm app review

The post Jump See Farm app review appeared first on The Horn Book.

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22. The Bracelet by Dorothy Love

Diamond. Emerald. Amethyst. Diamond
                      = D. E. A. D.

A bracelet that mysteriously appeared on Celia Browning's nightstand was a bracelet she thought was from her fiancee, but once she saw what the individual jewels spelled out, she knew it wasn't good.

​Celia Browning was the daughter of a wealthy merchant and a descendant of a family member who died in their home about 20 years ago.  The death was​ said to be a suicide, but others believed it was a murder. Now just when she was finally going to be wed to her childhood sweetheart, nosy newspaper men began to question what happened and began causing trouble by printing articles in the paper, having people follow and frighten Celia, and leaving mysterious notes and gifts in the  house.

Celia couldn't tell her father about any of these odd situations because he wasn't well.  Her cousin, Ivy, was the only one who knew about the mysterious note but not the bracelet.  Who should Celia tell, and when should Celia tell someone?

Could her uncle really have murdered his wife?  What was this incident that happened so many years ago, and why does someone want to dredge it up again?​

THE BRACELET gives the reader a glimpse into wealthy households​ ​and appears to be about the Browning family and how they fit into society, but underneath all of that, ​it is a murder mystery that Celia needs to solve for her own peace of mind. 

Are there family secrets and perhaps a murderer hidden within all that southern hospitality and charm? Does a red diary with clues truly exist and have the answers to the 20-year-old mystery?

​THE BRACELET was an enjoyable, clever read with just enough suspense to keep ​you guessing about who the culprit is that was sending gifts and leaving notes and who it is that wanted to ruin the Browning family but why now?

I enjoyed THE BRACELET because of the setting and the time period.  Ms. Love definitely gave a perfect portrayal of wealthy, Southern life in the 1800's along with the added bonus of intrigue about the murder.  The ending is definitely a surprise and quite a good one.  

Don't miss reading THE BRACELET. 4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the author and pubslisher in return for an honest review.

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23. Boomerang Books is Australia’s first online bookstore to become a Google Trusted Store.

Boomerang Books has become Australia’s first online bookstore to become a Google Trusted Store. To gain accreditation Boomerang Books passed a 30-day qualification period in which online suppliers must maintain a high level of customer service, reliable delivery time-frames and high customer ratings. The Google Trusted Stores program was launched in Australia earlier this year […]

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24. Environmental Book Club

The Green Earth Book Awards were announced in September.  The Nature Generation has been sponsoring them for ten years. This year's winners:

Picture Book: The Eye of the Whale by Jennifer O'Connell

Children's Fiction: The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp by Kathi Appelt

Young Adult Fiction: Washashore by Suzanne Goldsmith


Children's Nonfiction: A Place for Turtles by Melissa Stewart with illustrations by Higgins Bond


Young Adult Nonfiction: Inside a Bald Eagle's Nest: A Photographic Journey Through the American Bald Eagle Nesting Season by Teena Ruark Gorrow and Craig A. Koppie

Honor Books:

Ellie’s Log:  Exploring the Forest Where the Great Tree Fell by Judith L. Li with  illustrations by M.L. Herring

Frog Song by Brenda Guiberson with illustrations by Gennady Spirin

Mousemobile by Prudence Breitrose with illustrations by Stephanie Yue

Parrots Over Puerto Rico by Susan L. Roth and Cindy Trombore with illustrations by Susan L. Roth

The Lord of Opium by Nancy Farmer

The Tapir Scientist:  Saving South America’s Largest Mammal by Sy Montgomery and Nic Bishop

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25. Exciting News - Ruff Christmas will be available to buy at Amazon Tomorrow!

 Hi Everyone

We are so excited. Our hilarious holiday season book, Ruff Christmas is released and will be available at Amazon.com tomorrow.

This book will give you a unique, hilarious view of Christmas, one you've never experienced before.

Don't forget that you can enter to win the only FREE signed copy of this very entertaining book.  Press on the link below.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Ruff Christmas by B.R. Tracey

Ruff Christmas

by B.R. Tracey

Giveaway ends December 09, 2014.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

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