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1. The Room review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Jonas Karlsson's small workplace novel, The Room.

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2. RHYMOCEROS by Janik Coat

Hooray! Janik Coat, creator of the fantastic hippoposites, brought to us by the wonderful people at Abrams Appleseed in 2012, is back with a companion book - RHYMOCEROS! Coat has a visually stunning style that is paired with a fresh take on what are usually tired concept books. Where hippoposites stands out for a creative use of opposites, RHYMOCEROS is equally matched with creative rhymes -

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3. DESIGNER - ailsa lishman

Ailsa Lishman is a recent graduate from Manchester School of Art where she studied a BA (Hons) in Textiles In Practice. Ailsa specialised in printed textiles using a a combination of screen printed and digital techniques to create her designs. She loves to play around with mark making and abstraction to create fresh and exciting surface pattern prints. Ailsa recently completed a three month

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4. DESIGNER - ali benyon

Designer Ali Benyon is originally from the UK but is now based in Australia where she has just released a new product collection. The fabrics for the new range have all been designed by Ali, with some printed by Spoonflower and others screen printed and made in Australia. Items available include make up/toiletry bags, purses, fabric mirrors, cushions, tea towels and soy wax candles. Note books

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5. cally jane studio

Post by Alice Palace

These are some super cute animal illustrations from cally jane studio…

otters-cally jane studio Horsey_callyJaneStudio Moon Owl-Cally Jane Studio

See more of her work here

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6. L.A. Times Book Prize finalists

       They've announced the finalists for the 35th annual L.A. Times Book Prizes.
       Some interesting works -- and a lot of categories. I have some of these, but none are under review at the complete review at this time.

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7. कार्टून … हैप्पी होली

The post कार्टून … हैप्पी होली appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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8. How to chose and use your art materials wisely

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If you’re anything like the thousands of creatives out there, you’ll no doubt have something called “GotToHaveEveryArtSupply-itis”and its incurable. We get so excited and enthusiastic when the glorious sound of the art supply shop opens like an unknown force pulling us in against our will (not really), to when there’s a sale online we just have to get them all.Although with this vast growing collection of art supplies, in which we think deep down will bestow upon us great creative talent, comes being practical and responsible to.

 Each art material has its advantages and disadvantages, however its actually how you use them that will help you to produce great work.So here’s a few tips to really help  you choose your creative weapons of choice wisely and wield them like a true creative warrior!

1.  Combine materials that compliment each other – Just because you have an artbox filled with yummy supplies, doesn’t mean you have to throw everything into the mix to make the perfect receipe. Experimenting is key to know what works for you and your style to build your creative process. Look closely at the textures, contrasts and effects each material gives you and which would compliment each other nicely to create the perfect creative dish.  For example watercolours and coloured pencil work great together to create colour washes with beautiful tone work.

2. He’s got it so I need to have it to - No doubt you’ve done this to where your inspirational creative idol uses a specific art supply and  you feel the urge to possess it to achieve greatness. Although this isn’t to say its not the quality of product that gives them great results, bear in mind they’ve been honing their skills and processes with it for countless hours through “practice“. Not every art supply works the same with every creatives style and process, but experiment with different materials to see if introducing it to your creative making steps will benefit the pieces you create.

3. Invest within your budget- Last but not least investing and budgeting, understandably art supplies often aren’t cheap as they come in so many different brands, qualities and quantities at different prices. There’s also artist and student grade materials, however the key is be wise and stick to your budget. Test materials out and if you feel they have a permanent place in how you make your art then this gives you the option to invest in them further.

Good luck creatives and have fun wielding those art supplies!

Featured image by Amy Van Luijk  you can find out more about her work here.

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9. Illustration Friday: Reflection


There's nothing like the love between a girl and her -- wait, what the who?!


Remember the Snailtropolis from the last post?  When I panned out, I discovered what had caught the snail's attention.  I feel bad for those snail wranglers.  




On a separate note, my house is slowly being stripped for parts under my very nose!  I discovered several curious holes in my window screen recently.  I had no idea how they got there.


And then a few days ago, I heard rattling at the window and saw a couple of birds pecking at the screen.  Oh my goodness!  Birds were clipping little squares from my screen!  Maybe they had their own little windows to cover, though you'd have to wonder why they'd want to keep bugs out.  I mean, that's lunch right there, flying through the window.  It's even better than delivery, because you don't need to tip.  I did a little research and, appropriately enough, the little culprits responsible for this are called House Finches.  Pffft.  House Filchers is more like it.  

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia






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10. Mel Crawford, Little Golden Books Illustrator, RIP

Mel Crawford spent decades drawing the world's most famous cartoon characters, but he didn't do it at any animation studio.

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11. A Darker Shade of Magic: Tour Stop + Giveaway (international)

We have two fun things for you today–A Darker Shade of Magic prize pack and a quick visit from V.E. Schwab as part of the official blog tour! The book was just released this week and reviewed by Kim–I’m in the middle of the book myself and I can see why she lavished it such glowing praise. In the book, which takes place in multiple alternate universe Londons, one character observes, “No London is truly without magic.” Kim’s question for our stop on the official blog tour: What are the most magical parts of London to you? V.E. Schwab: I grew up wanting the world to be stranger than it was, and because of that, I’m inclined to look for—and see—the potential for the magical, the fantastical, the extraordinary everywhere I look. In alleys and doorways and in the seams between places—and in the case of ADSOM, between worlds—anywhere there’s... Read more »

The post A Darker Shade of Magic: Tour Stop + Giveaway (international) appeared first on The Midnight Garden.

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12. Bookselling in ... Russia

       At Russia Beyond the Headlines they offer an English version of Kira Latukhina and Pavel Basinsky's Rossiyskaya Gazeta article, finding that The Russian book industry is at a crossroads.
       The bleak situation:

"Book distribution networks have been ruined in recent years," Alexei Varlamov says. "The situation is even worse in the regions, where publishing a book is the same as publishing it for yourself. As a result, almost all literary engagement is restricted to our two main urban centers: Moscow and St. Petersburg." The problem is complex and can only be resolved with a complex approach that extends beyond the Year of Literature. Money must be invested into maintaining and reviving regional as well as central bookstores, otherwise a significant portion of the country faces being cut off from this important cultural marker.
       Given the abject failures of the Putin regime in managing ... well, pretty much anything, things do not look promising.

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13. Classroom Slice of Life Story Challenge: Day 5 of 31

Thinking about how to structure your Slice of Life writing? This post may help. And welcome to Day Five!

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14. A Slice of Poetry

Slice up a quick write and a poem may emerge!

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15. HOMEWARES - cordello home

Cordello Home is a brand all about 'design, pattern, colour' and bringing it to life on everyday homeware products.  Their patterns are all created using the iconic heart symbol and the name Cordello was born out of two Italian words Cuore (heart) and Modello (pattern).  The company's founder Kate Shaw is a lover of all things Italian - especially the sense of style. The Cordello Home

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16. Things I Love Thursday


I love this video of students at Pomperaug Elementary School in Southbury, CT. 

They discuss what they learned from their Skype session with me. Also included are some snippets of the Skype (starting at minute mark 2:51).

Special thanks to Ms. Martellino for sending me this. 



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17. Best Selling Kids Series | March 2015

Holy books, Batman! The Batman Classic series is this month's best selling kids series from The Children's Book Review's affiliate store.

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18. Austin Kleon on the Importance of Attribution



"If you share the work of others, it’s your duty to make sure that the creators of that work get proper credit. Crediting work in our copy-and-paste age of reblogs and retweets can seem like a futile effort, but it’s worth it, and it’s the right thing to do. You should always share the work of others as if it were your own, treating it with respect and care."

"All of this raises a question: What if you want to share something and you don’t know where it came from or who made it? The answer: Don’t share things you can’t properly credit. Find the right credit, or don’t share."

Austin Kleon is the author of Show Your Work!, Steal Like an Artist, and Newspaper Blackout. The above quotes are from an older blog post of his (Credit is Always Due) that he shared via his weekly newsletter.



Thank you for this important reminder, Mr. Kleon. Some believe that students should be able to use media that is not licensed for reuse in projects that never leave the classroom. But I believe that we need to teach students the importance of using only that media which is licensed for reuse (plus giving proper attribution to the source) EVERY time they borrow from others. 

I want my students to be the MAKERS, not just the USERS, and as such, they need to use unto others' creations as they hope others will use unto the things they make and share in the classroom, in the school setting, and in the wide world.



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19. The Beekle Experience

beekleAs a member of the 2015 Caldecott committee, making “the call” to Dan Santat on the morning of February 2 was such a thrill. The good folks at ALA make it possible for you to experience it HERE. Once the announcements of the Caldecott awards were made public, the Internet buzzed. One of the first things I saw online after the announcements was this short video from Dan Santat. It melted my heart. I was running on adrenaline, very little sleep, and home-made ginger cookies at this point, and that little clip just really got me. Dan Santat’s first Tweet of that day was “I’m so bummed the Patriots won the #SuperBowl last night. My whole day is ruined.” I immediately thought, “The guy is funny!” You can follow him on Twitter @dsantat. When I got back to my hotel room, I saw this amazing craft from This Picture Book Life blog. It inspired me to create my own Snow Beekle once I got back home.

When I was home I really dug in to read the Caldecott news. There are several interviews that will give you more about Dan Santat, like this one from Publisher’s Weekly, this one from NPR, this one from Dan’s local station in Pasadena, and this one on the 7 Impossible Things blog. And there’s this fun podcast from Picturebooking.

So, there’s a lot of Beekle love out there, and it is well-deserved. This year’s Caldecott medal book is one that you can share at preschool storytime. There’s already a craft you can make (with preschoolers I’d use frosting scribblers instead of Sharpie marker to make the face because you know they are going to want to eat it). You can use The Adventures of Beekle, the Unimaginary Friend with older groups, too. It is a seemingly simple book, but so much is going on. Embedded in this story is the archetypal Hero’s Journey: Beekle leaves home on a quest, heeding his call to adventure. He leaves his normal world and ventures out into the unknown. He then experiences trials in that world: he is looking for something, and searches valiantly. Once Beekle finds what he is looking for, and has bonded with his new friend, he can return, and do the unimaginable. For more on the Hero’s Journey, and how Beekle relates, try this link.

Photo by Angela J. Reynolds

Photo by Angela J. Reynolds

Look closely at that art! Each section of the journey is denoted by color and slight style changes, and fits the pacing just right. Look for the color yellow to tell you that change or something significant has occurred. Look at the emotion on our hero’s face when he meets his friend. Explore those end pages. Take that dust jacket off and revel in the lovely board cover underneath. Find the joy in this book that so many young children do. And don’t forget to look for the Beekle Bum – that image gets noticed every time I share this book in storytime.
Have fun with this book, and if you have more ideas on how to use it in storytime or in the classroom, share in the comments!

The post The Beekle Experience appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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20. Vietnamese literature abroad

       As I've often noted, the South-East Asian languages are among the worst-represented in translation (especially into English). In Viet Nam they apparently have been holding an international conference -- "attended by the local literati and over 150 international poets, authors, and translators from 43 countries and territories" -- trying, in part, to figure out what can be done about the situation.
       Coverage can be found in:

       Among the advice on offer:
Kazakhstani writer Bakhitkozha Rustemov stressed that a joint effort from the Government and relevant sectors and agencies, as well as national and ministry-level cooperation agreements, are needed.
       Ah, yes, relying on 'national and ministry-level cooperation agreements', that's the ticket .....
       Of course, there are some ... positive (?) observations: sure, Russian interest and activity is down since Soviet times, but, hey:
As many as 6 books by Vietnamese authors are scheduled to be published in Russian by 2016.
       Compare that to the US: the Three Percent database lists all of one work of Vietnamese fiction published in translation in all of 2014 -- Ticket to Childhood by Nguyen Nhat Anh (not, I'm afraid, a front-runner for the Best Translated Book Award) -- and none at all so far on the (admittedly still incomplete) 2015 database.

       Still, at least they seem to be trying to address the issue(s), and looking for ways to get the word/books out. Which seems more than local laggards Thailand, Burma, Laos, and Cambodia have managed to date ..... Read the rest of this post

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21. Day 5 of the March SOLSC! #SOL15

It is day five of our 31-day writing challenge. Are you having fun yet? What feels easy? What feels challenging? Please share your thoughts when you leave the link to your slice of life story.

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22. The Secret to Creating a Really Good Bad Guy

12 pillarsBecca and I are welcoming Susanne Lakin today, who is a writing coach, author and editor all rolled into one. Susanne is our go-to expert for all things editing, and has a great new book out called the The 12 Key Pillars of Novel Construction: Your Blueprint for Building a Strong Story (The Writer’s Toolbox Series). I’m reading it now and am far enough in to say this is a book that you want to add to your collection. Susanne does a great job of showcasing each critical piece of storytelling, and explaining how they all fit together to frame the structure of a compelling and meaningful novel.

Today she has some great thoughts on how to build an memorable antagonist, so please read on! FleuronDon’t you just love to hate really great bad guys in novels? A list of the most intriguing villains in literature includes characters such as Moriarty in Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories, Long John Silver in Treasure Island, Edmund from Shakespeare’s King Lear, and Hannibal Lecter in Red Dragon by Thomas Harris.

Not every novel has a villain. Often many characters take on the role of an antagonist at various times —someone who stands in the way of your protagonist. They may be well meaning or not.

But if your novel features one specific character providing the central source of opposition for your hero or heroine—in other words, a villain or bad guy—take the time to craft such a character so that he or she will be believable and memorable.

hannibalThere are countless varieties of bad guys, but the best ones are memorable because of four specific traits:

  • They aren’t stereotyped. People are complex, fickle, selfish, self-sacrificing, and fearful. Depending on the situation and mind-set when something happens, each of us might react in an unpredictable way. The temptation, especially with a nemesis character, is to defer to stereotype. To make bad guys really bad to the point that they are comic-book cutouts. How can writers avoid the stereotype? Read on . . .
  • They have a reason they’re bad. Great villains are passionate about what they believe. They go after a goal much in the way a protagonist does, and believe that what they are doing is the right thing in the circumstance. They aren’t just bad to be bad. All characters, whether virtuous or villainous, need core motivation based on how they were raised and treated throughout their life, the lies they believe about themselves and the world, and the deep-seated fears that frighten them and cause them to act as they do.
  • They show a glimpse of vulnerability and inner conflict. The best villains in literature are the ones you almost like (but would never admit it!) and find fascinating. They are usually complex, full of inner conflict, but have moments of grace or kindness that seem contradictory. Those moments, though, turn a predictable stereotype into a riveting, believable nemesis. Give your bad guy a moment of doubt. Let your readers feel sorry for him . . . for just a second. Then get them back to hating him.
  • They are flawed, and they usually know it. Often a villain’s awareness of his flaws is what motivates him toward his goals. He overcompensates for those flaws with his negative traits: pride, impatience, cruelty, heartlessness, greed, lust—to name a few. Because he is unable to love, he hurts others. Because he lacks true self-worth, he hates to see others succeed and attain happiness. What has been denied him, he denies others.

Push Beyond the Stereotype

Life is messy, difficult, stressful. Everyone reacts to stress differently and often inconsistently. You may want to make your role as writer easier by manufacturing consistent, predictable, stereotyped characters, but I would like to encourage you not to.

Push yourself to create believable characters that are complex and sometimes unpredictable. If you can create a moment in your novel in which the hero and the villain agree on something and realize what they do have in common, you can have a powerful moment.

Likewise, those moments in which the bad guy is actually vulnerable and/or empathetic can go a long way to making your story feel authentic.

How Bad Guys Are Good for Your Story

 Even if you don’t have one classic villain in your story, be sure you have one or more antagonists in your novel in some form or another.

Antagonists are so useful in many ways. By providing opposition, the hero can voice and demonstrate what he is passionate about, what he’s willing to risk, and why he’s after that goal. Nemesis characters provide the means to amplify and showcase the themes in your story, for they often take an opposing view on issues.

Your nemesis character does not want your hero to reach his goal. He himself should have needs, fears, and goals he is striving for based on what he believes. He may be evil, greedy, psychotic, or a sociopath. Or he might instead be a friend who is fearful of losing something precious to her, and who believes with all her heart the protagonist must not reach his goal. It depends on your story.

If you don’t have anyone opposing your protagonist, spend some time thinking how to create someone. Make his needs and goals clash with your hero’s. Make him believe he is right and has the right to his belief. Then readers will really love to hate your bad guy. Which is a good thing!

Who are your favorite bad guys in literature and why? Do they show a glimpse of vulnerability or some empathetic quality in the midst of all their evil? Share in the comments.

susanne S. Lakin is the author of sixteen novels and three writing craft books. Her award-winning blog Live Write Thrive gives tips and writing instruction for both fiction and nonfiction writers. If you want to write a strong, lasting story, check out her new release The 12 Key Pillars of Novel Construction, part of The Writer’s Toolbox Series, which provides a foundational blueprint that is concise and practical, and takes the mystery out of novel structure.

The post The Secret to Creating a Really Good Bad Guy appeared first on WRITERS HELPING WRITERS™.

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23. Victoria Jamieson and Roller Girl

The issue of friendships ending was certainly central for me, and it was the concept I was most interested in exploring in the book. Although the details of the story are different, the heart of the issue—the pain of a slipping friendship—was from my own experience.”

* * *

Over at Kirkus today, I have a back-and-forth with author-illustrator Victoria Jamieson, pictured here, about her first graphic novel for children, Roller Girl, which will be on shelves next week — and which is really good.

That link will be here soon.

Next week, I’ll have some art from the book, as well as some early sketches and such.

Until tomorrow …

 

Photo of Victoria taken by Herminio Jacome and used by permission of the author.

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24. लेख इलाईची कपूर

कमाल है लोगो की सोच की … कुछ देर पहले वटस अप पर एक मैसेज आया कि भूल जाओ अब राज कपूर, अनिल कपूर, एकता कपूर, ,साहिद कपूर, रणवीर कपूर, अर्जुन कपूर, करीना कपूर … आज की जरुरत सिर्फ “इलाईची कपूर” सच मानिए पहले तो मुझे समझ ही नही आया पर जब समझ आया तो … Continue reading लेख इलाईची कपूर

The post लेख इलाईची कपूर appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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25. Hand and Hand Anti-Bullying Club

Make a difference!Join the Hand and Hand Anti-Bullying Club

Bullying is such a big problem for kids, so we started a club to help you deal with it. Go to the STACK Back Message Board and tell us your stories of being bullied. If you don’t want to go into detail you don’t have to. We are here for you though.

My story: I’ve been bullied almost every year in school. I was tired of it and needed to do something about it. My best friend Layla and I created this organization to help people like us. This is for YOU GUYS.

Join us here!

Rowan, Scholastic Kids Council

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