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26. Next Year's Readers: TBR Focus on Diverse Characters


I always thought I was doing an adequate job building a diverse classroom library. Then A Fine Dessert and A Birthday Cake for George Washington happened. Franki and I started having conversations with each other and with teachers around our district about the importance of building more diverse classroom libraries -- libraries with books that can serve as mirrors where students can see themselves, and libraries with books that can serve as windows, giving students an accurate look at others' lives. As I browsed through the chapter books in my classroom library in preparation for a PD I was co-leading in my building on this topic, I was dismayed by the lack of diversity. To quote Maya Angelou, "Do the best you can until you know better. Then, when you know better, do better." 

Next week I'm going to lead my class in audit of my classroom library, both for gender bias and for racial bias. I was inspired by this post. I think the conversations will be incredibly powerful.

In the meantime, here is one book that's sitting at the top of my #summerbookaday TBR pile and two others that I have pre-odered on Amazon. 




Save Me a Seat
by Sarah Weeks and Gita Varadarajan
Scholastic, May 2016

"Joe and Ravi might be from very different places, but they're both stuck in the same place: SCHOOL. 

Joe's lived in the same town all his life, and was doing just fine until his best friends moved away and left him on his own. 

Ravi's family just moved to America from India, and he's finding it pretty hard to figure out where he fits in. 

Joe and Ravi don't think they have anything in common -- but soon enough they have a common enemy (the biggest bully in their class) and a common mission: to take control of their lives over the course of a single crazy week."




by Grace Lin
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (October 4, 2016)

"Pinmei's gentle, loving grandmother always has the most exciting tales for her granddaughter and the other villagers. However, the peace is shattered one night when soldiers of the Emperor arrive and kidnap the storyteller.


Everyone knows that the Emperor wants something called the Luminous Stone That Lights the Night. Determined to have her grandmother returned, Pinmei embarks on a journey to find the Luminous Stone alongside her friend Yishan, a mysterious boy who seems to have his own secrets to hide. Together, the two must face obstacles usually found only in legends to find the Luminous Stone and save Pinmei's grandmother--before it's too late.


A fast-paced adventure that is extraordinarily written and beautifully illustrated, When the Sea Turned to Silver is a masterpiece companion novel to Where the Mountain Meets the Moon and Starry River of the Sky."




by Nora Raleigh Baskin
Atheneum Books for Young Readers (June 28, 2016)

"From the critically acclaimed author of Anything But Typical comes a touching look at the days leading up to the tragic events of September 11, 2001, and how that day impacted the lives of four middle schoolers.

Ask anyone: September 11, 2001, was serene and lovely, a perfect day—until a plane struck the World Trade Center.

But right now it is a few days earlier, and four kids in different parts of the country are going about their lives. Sergio, who lives in Brooklyn, is struggling to come to terms with the absentee father he hates and the grandmother he loves. Will’s father is gone, too, killed in a car accident that has left the family reeling. Naheed has never before felt uncomfortable about being Muslim, but at her new school she’s getting funny looks because of the head scarf she wears. Aimee is starting a new school in a new city and missing her mom, who has to fly to New York on business.

These four don’t know one another, but their lives are about to intersect in ways they never could have imagined. Award-winning author Nora Raleigh Baskin weaves together their stories into an unforgettable novel about that seemingly perfect September day—the day our world changed forever."



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27. If Your User Name Came to Life

Rainbow PenIf Your User Name Came to Life . . .

Today’s blog post comes from PurpleFairy1862 who asks, “What happened when your user name came alive?”

Here is her answer: 1,862 purple fairies are trying to kill me by using a magical spell while I am in a trap.

What would happen if YOUR user name came to life? Go to the STACK Back Message Board and leave your answer for your own user name. If you don’t have a user name, it’s easy to get one — and free! Sign up now.

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28. कार्टून – मेरा देश बदल रहा है

कार्टून – मेरा देश बदल रहा है भारतीय जनता पार्टी के दो साल पूरे हुए नही कि जश्न आरम्भ हो गए… नया गाना मेरा देश बदल रहा है रिलीज किया गया… बात ज्यादा पुरानी नही है जब अच्छे दिन आने वाले है बच्चे बच्चे की जुबान पर था पर शायद वो नही आए … कोई […]

The post कार्टून – मेरा देश बदल रहा है appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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29. ALSC Member of the Month – Alyssa Morgan

Each month, an ALSC member is profiled and we learn a little about their professional life and a bit about their not-so-serious side. Using just a few questions, we try to keep the profiles fun while highlighting the variety of members in our organization. So, without further ado, welcome to our ALSC profile, ten questions with ALSC member, Alyssa Morgan.

1. What do you do, and how long have you been doing it?

Courtesy photo from Alyssa Morgan

Courtesy photo from Alyssa Morgan

I’m the Children’s Librarian/Head of Youth Services at the Morgan County Public Library in Martinsville, IN.  I’ve been in this position almost 5 years, and actually began my career here as an intern.

And yes, the library and I do have the same name.

2. Why did you join ALSC? Do you belong to any other ALA divisions or roundtables?

I see ALSC as a way to keep in touch with other librarians across the nation.  Through ALSC, I’ve gained not only great programming ideas, useful management tips, and the knowledge that I’m not the only librarian who faces triumph and struggle on a daily basis.

3. If a movie was presented of your life, who would you want to play you?

Kate Winslet or Emma Thompson.  Even though I bear no resemblance whatsoever to either of them.

4. Do you have a favorite word?  What is it?

Serendipitous!

5. What forms of social media do you use regularly?

I’m a Facebook fiend!  I try to tweet (@LibraryLyssa) and blog (www.librarylyssa.com) on a regular basis but it usually falls on the back burner.

6. Do you have any cats or dogs or other pets?

One cat, Olivia.  When I was at the shelter looking for a cat, I was holding her in my lap and another cat hopped in my lap and hissed at her.  She very calmly turned around, smacked the snot out of the other cat, and went back to cleaning her paws.  I knew this was the cat for me!

7. What do you like to drink? Coffee, tea, juice, water, or something else?

COFFEE!  COFFEE!  COFFEE!

8. What’s the best book you’ve read recently?

The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley.  The teen librarian and I recommend it to EVERYONE!

9. Do you normally celebrate holidays? What’s your favorite?

December 4 has become a holiday at my library because there are four of us who share that date as our birthday!  Cards and all sorts of sweet treats are brought in to help celebrate.

10. What would you be doing if you weren’t a librarian?

I honestly have no idea and hope I never have to find out!

*********************************************************************************

Thanks, Alyssa! What a fun continuation to our monthly profile feature!

Do you know someone who would be a good candidate for our ALSC Monthly Profile? Are YOU brave enough to answer our ten questions? Send your name and email address to alscblog@gmail.com; we’ll see what we can do.

 

The post ALSC Member of the Month – Alyssa Morgan appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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30. Guest Post: Christopher Morgan: 5 steps to getting a book published

5 steps to getting a book published

My bucket list has been dwindling over the past decade as I've been slowly ticking things off one-by-one. I've learned to play the piano (badly), visited the Galapagos Islands, seen the standing Moai of Easter Island & learned to SCUBA dive. I've been on safari in Africa, visited the pyramids of Giza and stood on a glacier in New Zealand. The most recent entry on the list to receive a tick is writing and publishing a novel. The process wasn't what I was expecting but I finally managed to get Forestium: The Mirror Never Liesacross the line with more books in the Portallas series to follow. Here are the major milestones I had to complete before I could put that tick into the box.

Step 1 – Turning intention into action
So many people think about writing a novel but very few of them actually do. The first major milestone is taking the plunge and putting pen to paper (or perhaps fingers to keyboard). Many people that write something never see it through to getting published either. Overcoming the initial hurdle of actually taking some sort of positive action doesn't necessarily come easy but it is the most vital first step in the process. Nothing else can follow until you get something written.

Step 2 – Editing
You've written something. That's great! Is it any good? Well, the answer to that question will initially depend on who you ask. If it's anyone that knows you, or has any vested interested in protecting your feelings (that's anyone that knows you), then they are not the right person to help you edit your novel. As the author, you are also not the right person to edit your novel – regardless of how good you think it is. A professional editor is an absolute must and it's one of the few things that you should devote the most attention and value to.

Step 3 – Cover art
Should people just a book by its cover? No. Do they? Yes. This is potentially one of the most influencing factors in your novel being a success or not. There are ways to get a book cover done expensively or cheaply but however you end up doing it, make sure to get a good cover that's appropriate for your genre and target audience.

Step 4 – Determine a publishing route
Here you have two basic options – indie (self-publish your work and join the hordes of independent authors our there) or trad (find an agent and a traditional publishing house). There are pros and cons to both approaches and what's right for you isn't necessarily right for me and vice versa. If you manage to find an agent and/or a publishing house, they will do much of the work of getting your book published BUT you will have to surrender a good portion of any income derived from the book. If you self-publish, which is much easier than you might think, it will require a lot more work BUT you get to keep a much bigger slice of the pie for each book sold. This is a much bigger subject than I can cover here but keep following http://portallas.com/blog/ for more information, as I will be presenting a talk on self-publishing in Melbourne in August.

Step 5 – Marketing
Even the best written prose in the world will languish in obscurity if nobody knows it exists. If you've gone done the trad route, then your publishing house will have their own marketing budget and will, hopefully, be pushing your book for you. That doesn't mean you can rest on your laurels. Social media, on-line presence, book signings and speaking engagements are all part of the picture. And trust me – nobody will sell your book more enthusiastically than you will.

Christopher Morgan is an author, blogger, IT Manager, graphics artist, businessman, volunteer and family man living in Melbourne, Australia. Much of his time is spent volunteering for his local community. He creates visual learning resources for primary school children, which are marketed through his company Bounce Learning Kids. He is also involved in local civics and sits on various community & council committees.

Christopher was born in the UK and grew up in England’s South East. At age 20, he moved to The Netherlands, where he married Sandy, his wife of 28 years. Christopher quickly learned Dutch and the couple spent 8 years living in the far South of that country before they moved to Florida in 1996. After spending 7 years in Florida, Christopher and Sandy sold their home and spent the next 2 years backpacking around the world. Christopher has visited more than 40 countries to date.

Whilst circumnavigating the globe, Christopher wrote extensively, churning out travel journals. He and Sandy settled back in the UK at the end of their world tour, where their two children were both born. In 2009, the family moved to Melbourne, Australia, where they now live.

FORESTIUM is Christopher’s debut novel and is the first in the PORTALLAS series



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31. Miles Franklin Literary Award shortlist

       They've announced the shortlist for the (Australian) Miles Franklin Literary Award.
       There's still quite a wait until they announce the winner of the A$60,000 prize -- on 26 August.

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32. Loons and Eagles . . . Eagles and Loons

The only chance I’d have all weekend to get out on the lake was early, early Saturday morning.

Sleep in an extra hour . . . get out on the lake . . . sleep in . . . get out on the lake . . .

Yeah. There was no contest.

My first stop was to check on the nesting loon, as many campers mentioned hearing them  call Friday afternoon.  Just seeing her on the nest, had me breathing a sigh of relief.

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I snapped a couple photos, and just when I’d decided to move along, she rose back to push the grasses up against her egg.

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I sure hope this one hatches!!  It would be wonderful to have a loon chick on the lake again.

I dipped my paddle in the water and turned to head down by the state park area of the lake (there’s a cove down there that’s always humming with birds when the sun comes up) Suddenly, I noticed something splashing in the water on the shoreline.  Using my camera like binoculars, I zoomed in just as it took off . . .

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Sure wish I’d seen it sooner to get photos of it bathing!

I followed .  . . at a respectful distance of course.  The eagle landed on a branch and hung its wings to dry.

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He preened for quite awhile. As I looked around, I realized the nest was in sight from his  perch.

They are ever watchful of their little ones.

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It was such a beautiful morning to be out on the lake, gliding along, listening to nature rising with the sun.  I’m looking forward to many more mornings just like this one . . .

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33. The Queue review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Basma Abdel Aziz's The Queue, just out from Melville House.

       Some nice related coverage in The New York Times today too, as Alexandra Alter reports that Abdel Aziz and other Middle Eastern Writers Find Refuge in the Dystopian Novel.

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34. One Little Word Check-In

Have you checked in on your OLW?

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35. Contest for dialogue-only short stories

Bartleby SnopesEntries are open for the Bartleby Snopes 8th annual Dialogue Only Contest. First prize: $300 minimum (higher if 50+ entries received). Compose a short story entirely of dialogue — no narration — that delivers a powerful and engaging story. Length: 2000 words max. Entry fee: $10 for unlimited entries. Deadline: September 15, 2016.

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36. On Writing

A friend of mine who writes history books said to me that he thought that the two creatures most to be pitied were the spider and the novelist — their lives hanging by a tread spun out of their own guts. But in some ways I think writers of fiction are the creatures most to be envied, because who else besides the spider is allowed to take that fragile thread and weave it into a pattern? What a gift of grace to be a ble to take the chaos from within and from it to create some semblance of order.

-Katherine Paterson, A SENSE OF WONDER: ON READING AND WRITING BOOKS FOR CHILDREN

The post On Writing originally appeared on Caroline Starr Rose

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37. Forest Fun pillowcase

Saw this cute pillowcase sewn with my Forest Fun fabric:


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38. Monday Mishmash 5/30/16


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

Here's what's on my mind today:
  1. Memorial Day  Take time today to remember what the holiday is really about. 
  2. Book Signing At Blairstown Elementary  Last Monday I signed close to 100 books at Blairstown Elementary School. It was such a great day. This school has been so incredibly supportive, reading all of my picture books and my MG, Curse of the Granville Fortune, so I donated a copy of Mystery of Majestic Cave to the library so the student could continue reading the series.
  3. Editing  I'm finishing up one client edit and getting ready for the next this week.
  4. Revising  I've been working through my latest Ashelyn Drake NA contemporary romance. So far I've been pleasantly surprised by the first draft. It's not nearly as bad as I thought it would be. I swear when I draft I go through periods where I think I'm writing nothing usable, but then I revise and surprise myself.
  5. End of the School Year  My daughter has a half day on Tuesday and then she's off for the summer. I can't believe another school year is finished.
  6. Visions of Mockingbird Point  True Poison, my cover designer for the Curse of the Granville Fortune series, sent me the draft of the cover for book three. As usual, it blew me away. Can't wait until it's finalized so I can share it with you all.
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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39. The Thank You Book by Mo Willems




I didn't intend to review Mo Willem's The Thank You Book, the 25th and final book in the Elephant & Piggie series that began in 2007. I first encountered these books as a bookseller and story-time-reader while working at Barnes & Noble. I wasn't a big fan of Willems's Pigeon books, mostly because I found them challenging to read out loud. I quickly discovered that Elephant & Piggie books were a joy to read out loud and had mass appeal, from little kids to parents to even teens! Then my youngest son started learning to read and my appreciation of what Willems was doing deepened immensely. You can read all about that experience HERE. I want to take this time to tell you what a deeply satisfying end to a series The Thank You Book is and share my experiences with Elephant & Piggie as an elementary school librarian and, of course, say THANK YOU to Mo Willems!



Willems's The Thank You Book is both a wrap-up and a genuine thank you to readers. While spending time with Gerald and Piggie is always a treat, I remember how exciting it was to pick up a new Elephant & Piggie book over the last nine years and find a new character in the story. Snake from Can I Play, Too? is probably my favorite. All these characters are back in The Thank You Book and on the endpapers! And, in a really awesome wink, Pigeon appears in the pages (and not just the endpapers) of The Thank You Book! Piggie apologizes for not including him in their books, to which Pigeon (in his own font) responds, "That is what you think!" The Thank You Book reads like the best ending to a long running television series possible. Readers get to revisit old friends and familiar story lines while also seeing their favorite characters do what they do best one last time.



I am finishing up my second full year as an elementary school librarian. More than 80% of the students at my school are socioeconomically disadvantaged, 65% of them are reading at grade level and 55% of them are English language learners. When I took over my library it had languished through more than a year of substitute librarians cycling in and out of the space and several years of a diminished or non-existent book buying budget. There were just a few Elephant & Piggie books on the shelves and they were not circulating. Taking advantage of my employee discount at Barnes & Noble one last time, and taking advantage of the generosity of my amazing principal, I bought a copy of every book in the series and began reading them out loud to my students - all grades. Gerald and Piggie became instant celebrities in the library. Today, we have at least three copies of each book in the series on the shelves (in their own special section) and they are always almost all checked out. They are a staple for my first graders, but I especially love checking them out to the kindergarteners. Technically, I'm not supposed to check books out to the kinders, but it's hard to say "no" to those adorable little faces. And I absolutely love telling them to look for Pigeon at the end of the book -and in all of Willems's books! Sometimes I have to nudge the second and third graders away from Elephant & Piggie, or encourage them to get one book at their reading level and one E&P. And, happily, I occasionally get older students checking these books out to read to younger siblings. 

Willems's books have become a common thread for all of my students. As I read The Thank You Book over and over, about 25 times in all to all grades, I choked back more than a few tears. I explained to the students that this would be the last Elephant & Piggie book and their disappointment and shock was always audible. They didn't always understand why I was sad that this was the last book, but when I told them it was like saying, "Goodbye," to two good friends who were moving away, the lightbulbs went on - just like Piggie's often did. Having had two years now to inspire my students to read by hooking them with Willems's humor, I am looking forward to seeing our reading scores rise. And, while I am sad to think that there will be no more new books from Gerald and Piggie, I look forward to whatever it is Mo Willems does next, and I especially look forward to getting to share it with my students! THANK YOU, MO WILLEMS! Your books have made a difference in my life and the lives of my students.

Source: Purchased

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40. Certain Songs #551: Guided by Voices – “Tractor Rape Chain”

GBV - Bee Thousand Album: Bee Thousand
Year: 1994

It starts out with just an acoustic guitar being ramdomly strummed in the corner of a room, as if Robert Pollard hasn’t quite worked out the song that the rest of the band — who are filing into the room and grabbing their instruments — are going to play next.

Suddenly, he finds a riff, and “Tractor Rape Chain” explodes into full-blown technicolor glory, guitars perfectly interlocked, drums right on the spot, and everything right with the world. Maybe this is low-fi, but it sure isn’t a song that was accidentally recorded.

This time, when the guitars pop-in-and-out of the mix, it’s for emphasis, not because there was a problem with the recording.

Meanwhile, Robert Pollard alternates verses about a relationship coming apart with a chorus about the furrows a tractor makes in a rapeseed field, sung at the very top of his range.

Parallel lines on a slow decline
Tractor rape chain
Better yet, let’s all get wet
On the tractor rape chain
Speed up, slow down, go all around in the end

I don’t know if that’s supposed to be some kind of metaphor, or if those were just some words that fit the melody that came to his head. Probably the latter.

All I know is that I loved guitar sound on the verses and the stop and build to the chorus. And I really loved the long, arcing melody line of that chorus, how it soared at the beginning, but somehow got almost sad by the time it was over.

And when he got hung up on “Speed up, slow down, go all around in the end”, so did I. That would be the part that I would sing over and over in my head after any time I listened to Bee Thousand.

“Tractor Rape Chain”

“Tractor Rape Chain” performed live in 2014

Every Certain Song Ever
A filterable, searchable & sortable database with links to every “Certain Song” post I’ve ever written.

Check it out!

Certain Songs Spotify playlist
(It’s recommended that you listen to this on Spotify as their embed only has 200 songs.)

Support “Certain Songs” with a donation on Patreon
Go to my Patreon page

The post Certain Songs #551: Guided by Voices – “Tractor Rape Chain” appeared first on Booksquare.

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41. Giveaway winner! Plus, a NEW Giveaway for UNIDENTIFIED SUBURBAN OBJECT by Mike Jung

I'm pleased to announce a Giveaway winner for the signed hardcover copy of THE DRAKE EQUATION by Bart King. According to randomizer the winner is:


SUE HEAVENRICH


Congratulations, Sue! Look for an email from me asking for your mailing address.

*  *  *

And I'm so excited because I have a new giveaway this week and it's also SIGNED BY THE AUTHOR!




Unidentified Suburban Object by Mike Jung (April 26, 2016, Scholastic Press, 272 pages, for ages 8 to 12)


Synopsis (from Indiebound):  The next person who compares Chloe Cho with famous violinist Abigail Yang is going to HEAR it. Chloe has just about had it with people not knowing the difference between someone who's Chinese, Japanese, or Korean. She's had it with people thinking that everything she does well -- getting good grades, winning first chair in the orchestra, et CETera -- are because she's ASIAN.

Of course, her own parents don't want to have anything to DO with their Korean background. Any time Chloe asks them a question they change the subject. They seem perfectly happy to be the only Asian family in town. It's only when Chloe's with her best friend, Shelly, that she doesn't feel like a total alien. 

Then a new teacher comes to town: Ms. Lee. She's Korean American, and for the first time Chloe has a person to talk to who seems to understand completely. For Ms. Lee's class, Chloe finally gets to explore her family history. But what she unearths is light-years away from what she expected.

Why I recommend it: I've been one of Mike's loyal followers since, well, practically forever (in social media terms). I've always found his blog posts and tweets thoughtful and thought-provoking. He's a founding member of We Need Diverse Books (and yes, people, we STILL need diverse books!). But all of that is really besides the point because I LOVE THIS BOOK and I would love it even if I didn't know anything about the author and even if I hadn't read GEEKS, GIRLS, AND SECRET IDENTITIES, Mike's first MG novel, published in 2012.

Chloe's voice is pitch-perfect. You will feel you are listening to an actual twelve-year-old girl gripe about her parents and school. Her family history is wild and crazy, but makes for a fun, fast-paced read. Chloe's friendship with Shelly reminds me of actual friendships I had in junior high. And it's always refreshing to read a story in which the main character has two loving parents. Plus, this is a lighthearted, humorous novel that nevertheless delves into deeper issues of prejudice and racism. Today's kids need this book more than ever.

Favorite lines (from page 66): "The notes spilled out of the violin strings like beams of sunlight, and I got that tingly feeling I always get when I'm playing something as well as I can play, except I was just playing a scale!"




Giveaway details: I have a SIGNED hardcover copy to give away. To enter, you must be a follower of this blog and you must comment on this post. US mailing addresses only, please (so sorry!). If you mention this giveaway on social media, please let me know and I'll give you extra chances. This giveaway ends at 10:00 pm EDT on Sun June 5 and the lucky winner will be announced on Monday June 6, 2016. Good luck!


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42. Lançamento do livro Sonho de Mãe – Andrea Viviana Taubman e Sandra Ronca

Baixo Bebê – praia do Leblon, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil.
Dia 8 de maio de 2016, mães e filhos se reuniram para prestigiar o novo livro da dupla Andrea Viviana Taubman (escritora) e Sandra Ronca (ilustradora), editado pela Editora Jovem.
Sol suave, brisa fresca do mar, muitos amigos e sorrisos, cercaram a sorridente autora que traz nos olhos o brilho da delicadeza essencial para tratar de temas delicados. Neste, ela fala dos sentimentos que nos temperam quando nos fazemos mães. Um ponto de vista especial, e de extrema entrega. Medos, esperanças, sonhos, expectativas sobretudo de que a felicidade seja o destino.
As imagens da ilustradora Sandra Ronca traduzem de forma doce a narrativa de Andrea Taubman, e sentimos cada pincelada como um toque de amor.
Como conheço Sandra e Andrea pessoalmente, sei que é exatamente esse o criar das duas. Toques de amor, registrados agora para sempre pelo editor e professor Alcides Goulart, da Editora Jovem.

Para adquirir o seu exemplar:
http://www.editorajovem.com.br/loja/sonho-de-m-e.html

Admira...












Fotos de Thais Linhares, maio de 2016. Luz do mar.

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43. MMGM Links (5/30/16)

Here's this week's MMGM links (sorry if I missed anyone--we lost a kitty today, so my brain is a little shot)

- Mark Baker wants everyone to solve THE MYSTERY OF MEMORIAL DAY. Click HERE to see why
- Andrea Mack is spotlighting JUST LIKE ME. Click HERE to see why. 
- Got My Book has a post on the benefits of audiobooks HERE. And a review of THE IRON TRIAL if you click HERE. 
- Greg Partridge is raving about ALL RISE FOR THE HONORABLE PERRY T. COOK. Click HERE to see what he thought.   
- Rosi Hollinbeck is reviewing--and GIVING AWAY--CICI RENO: #MIDDLESCHOOLMATCHMAKER. Click HERE for details. 
- Karen Yingling also always has some awesome MMGM recommendations for you. Click HERE to which ones she picked this time.
- Joanne Fritz always has an MMGM for you. Click HERE to see what she's talking about this week. 
- The Mundie Moms are always huge supporters of middle grade. Click HERE for their Mundie Kids site.


If you would like to join in the MMGM fun, all you have to do is blog about a middle grade book you love on a Monday (contests, author interviews and whatnot also count--but are most definitely not required) and email me the title of the book you're featuring and a link to your blog at SWMessenger (at) hotmail (dot) com. (Make sure you put MMGM or Marvelous Middle Grade Monday in the subject line so it gets sorted accurately--and please don't forget to say what book you're featuring) You MUST email me your link by Sunday evening in order to be included in the list of links for the coming Monday. (usually before 11pm PST is safe--but if I'm traveling it can vary. When in doubt, send early!) (Also make sure the post you send me is a new post, not one from earlier in the week. I try to keep the content fresh)

If you miss the cutoff, you are welcome to add your link in the comments on this post so people can find you, but I will not have time to update the post. Same goes for typos/errors on my part. I do my best to build the links correctly, but sometimes deadline-brain gets the best of me, and I'm sorry if it does. For those wondering why I don't use a Linky-widget instead, it's a simple matter of internet safety. The only way I can ensure that all the links lead to safe, appropriate places for someone of any age is if I build them myself. It's not a perfect system, but it allows me to keep better control.

Thank you so much for being a part of this awesome meme, and spreading the middle grade love!


*Please note: these posts are not a reflection of my own opinions on the books featured. Each blogger is responsible for their own MMGM content and I do not pre-screen reviews ahead of time, nor do I control what books they choose. I simply assemble the list based on the links that are emailed to me. 

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44. Seeking speculative writing about social justice issues, the marginalized

The SpectatorialThe University of Toronto’s speculative fiction journal, The Spectatorial, is currently looking for fiction, poetry, articles, essays, graphic fiction, novel excerpts, book/movie reviews, etc. Particularly interested in topics that touch upon other cultures and marginalized groups, whether it’s discussing literature no one has heard of from another country, or addressing social justice issue in a speculative work. Articles 500-1200 words, or pitched proposals for topics of interest. Deadline: ongoing.

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45. How To Face Your Fears

I am a big believer that outside of the comfort zone is where the magic happens. I don’t just believe it does, I know it does.

Here’s a little example of a recent experience in facing creative fears:

The other day I had a delicious meal and ate Dutch asparagus. Those white asparagus come from the south of the Netherlands and can be harvested only for a very short season so every year. So these beauties are celebrated on the plate. All the more reason to draw them too!

So I did.

20160520_asperges
Although that comic-style recipe illustration doesn’t quite match the rest of the page, I loved working on this and it could be the basis for a version 2.0, an illustrated recipe to send to They Draw And Cook for example.

The eventual purpose (if any) didn’t matter, because I was just enjoying the process of drawing in my sketchbook.

Now it definitely needed color, that was for sure.
So my brush hovered over my color palette, deciding whether to go for a safe color or something different. I wanted a contrasting color and looked at the red watercolor in my palette and thought: red can be quite aggressive, it’s kind of scary.

If something is scary… Do it anyway!

All the more reason, actually.
It might surprise you how much you can accomplish, when exploring the unknown or unpredictable.
And besides: what is the worst that could happen?
My father taught me something valuable, which he learned from his mom: to remind yourself that “your life doesn’t depend on it”. This is especially true when it’s just a drawing!20160520_aspergeskleur

So I decided to make that red paint bleed all over the page and then also added a layer of red color pencil to deepen the color. And I love where it brought this page.
It may be too bright, and the red doesn’t reflect the delicate flavor of the dish, but it looks great as a sketchbook spread.

What scares you? Go and do something with it. Today.

Oh and if this asparagus drawing tastes like more: join my 4-week online class on illustrating recipes in June. Click here to learn more and sign up!

Dilih-ad-small

The post How To Face Your Fears appeared first on Make Awesome Art.

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46. On This Day 75 Years Ago, Disney Animation Changed Forever

The Walt Disney Company loves to acknowledge anniversaries and milestones, except for this one.

The post On This Day 75 Years Ago, Disney Animation Changed Forever appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

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47. A Glimpse into my Writing World…

I thought I’d try something completely different (cue the Monty Python music), and give my readers and followers a glimpse into my writing world by asking my ‘author’ self these five fun questions…

1.      Given unlimited resources, what would be your ideal writing environment?
Hmmm…unlimited resources? I honestly don’t know how to answer that because I DO have the perfect writing environment. But if I had a choice, I’d like a condo in Florida for the winter months, so I could continue to enjoy the warm weather all year round! After all, didn’t Hemingway have a place down there? Grin.

2.      Where do you actually write?
I set up a writing office in my home. Since we’re empty nesters, one of the bedrooms was a perfect fit to fill with my book shelves, books, a reading chair, L-shaped desk, computer, printer, and story board. I don’t have a great view, but I figure it helps keep me staring at my computer and pounding the keys. Wink.

3.      How did you come to write The Last Timekeepers series?
Both the idea and inspiration came to me through a dream I had around 1998. In this dream, I saw seven arches, and there were seven people (five kids, two adults) with crystals in their hands, walking up to these arches. It definitely had an Indiana Jones feel to it. At that time, I was writing a paranormal romance (before there was a distinct genre) and had no intention of writing a middle-grade/young adult book like The Last Timekeepers. But this idea kept growing in my mind, and wouldn’t leave, like some mystical force pushing you from behind. So, I thought I’d challenge myself and write a novel—a series—that would appeal to my son, who at the time was the target age of my audience. I’ve always loved the time travel genre, so I imagined the arches I saw vividly in my dream as time portals. It was a no-brainer for me.

4.      What was the hardest part of writing your book, and how did you overcome it?
Hardest part? I think starting from scratch and learning the process of actually writing a book. I’m strong at dialogue, so that part wasn’t a problem, but I lacked in novel structure and how to construct a novel. I had to learn from the ground up, so I went to night classes, joined writing workshops, read books on writing to hone my skills enough to get the first draft done. And then when the book was complete, I had to learn how to edit, revise, and redo. This part of writing a novel is an ongoing work in progress! LOL!

5.      What is your favorite late night snack?
I’m gonna say a bag of party mix—the cheesier the better! I do love my salty snacks! And thankfully, I don’t indulge that often.

The writing business can be messy and hard at times, but it can also be fun and rewarding. Givingreaders a small glimpse into an author’s life can provide an avenue for engagement, life-long connections, and fans for life. Cheers and thank you for reading my post!

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48. Merchandising Rights

More than you ever wanted to know about the right to create merchandise (toys, games, stuffed animals, etc.) based on your book.

http://writersinthestormblog.com/2016/04/merchandising-rights-in-publishing-deals/

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49. Memorial Day Prayer


On this Memorial Day, we pray for those who courageously laid down their lives for the cause of freedom.  

May the examples of their sacrifice inspire in us the selfless love of Your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Bless the families of our fallen troops, and fill their homes and their lives with Your strength and peace.

In union with people of goodwill of every nation, embolden us to answer the call to work for peace and justice, and thus, seek an end to violence and conflict around the globe.

We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

(Credit http://www.diocesepvd.org/a-prayer-for-memorial-day/) 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Best wishes,
Donna M. McDine
Multi Award-winning Children's Author

Ignite curiosity in your child through reading!

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Dee and Deb Off They Go Kindergarten First Day Jitters ~ December 2015 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ 2016 Story Monster Approved
A Sandy Grave ~ January 2014 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ 2014 Purple Dragonfly 1st Place Picture Books 6+, Story Monster Approved, Beach Book Festival Honorable Mention 2014, Reader's Favorite Five Star Review
Powder Monkey ~ May 2013 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ 2015 Purple Dragonfly Book Award Historical Fiction 1st Place, Story Monster Approved and Reader's Favorite Five Star Review
Hockey Agony ~ January 2013 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ 2015 Purple Dragonfly Book Award Honorable Mention Picture Books 6+, New England Book Festival Honorable Mention 2014, Story Monster Approved and Reader's Favorite Five Star Review
The Golden Pathway ~ August 2010 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ Literary Classics Silver Award and Seal of Approval, Readers Favorite 2012 International Book Awards Honorable Mention and Dan Poynter's Global e-Book Awards Finalist

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50. Contest for full-length poetry collections

Rescue PressRescue Press invites entries for the Black Box Poetry Prize, a contest for full-length collections of poetry. Open to poets at any stage in their writing careers. Judge: Douglas Kearney. No reading fee; however donations are appreciated and go toward publishing the winning manuscript(s). Authors who donate $15 or more receive a Rescue Press book of their choice. Deadline: June 30, 2016.
Twitter: @rescuepress.co

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