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1. Armada

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2. Friday Linky List - 6 May 2016

From The Read Quarterly: So why don't children read the classics anymore? (Written by a 14-year-old - and she hits it home!)

From PW: Children's Editor Dick Jackson Turns Author - inspiring read!

From LiteraryHub: On the heartbreaking difficulty of getting rid of books

From SYP Scotland: Picture Hooks: Getting the Hang of Illustrating Children's Picture Books

At Cynsations: 2016 SCBWI Bologna Illustrator Interview: Paul O. Zelinsky

Chris Cheng's Bologna Wrap-up

From Write4Kids: The Adventures of Dan Santat: A Conversation with the Caldecott-winning Author & Illustrator

From SLJs 100 Scope Notes (by Travis Jonker): 2016 Preview Interview: Flying Eye Books

From BuzzFeed: This woman painted the first page from Harry Potter on her wall!

From PWs ShelfTalker: Beyond Bookmarks: How Publishers Can Help Authors and Booksellers

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3. Digital Mentor Text for Blogs: Teaching Writing with Mentor Texts

Some of the most influential pieces of writing that have tugged at my heart and live in my soul are blog posts. As we planned this blog series on mentor texts, a lightbulb flashed above my head: Why not create a collection of mentor blog posts to help me improve my own writing? Why not create a similar collection for my students, to share with them possibilities and craft moves they could try, too?

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4. Audio – Short Story- Dard by Monica Gupta

Audio – Short Story- Dard by Monica Gupta पति पत्नी के खूबसूरत रिश्तों को दर्शाती कहानी है दर्द …   हमे किसी की कीमत का तभी अहसास होता है जब वो हमारी जिंदगी से हमेशा हमेशा के लिए चला जाता है … !! आईए सुनिए मेरी ही लिखी एक और कहानी  दर्द और बताईए कि […]

The post Audio – Short Story- Dard by Monica Gupta appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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5. Poetry Seven Write Tritinas

This month the Poetry Seven crew wrote in the form of the tritina. The tritina is composed of 3 tercets and a final line (envoi) that stands alone. Similar to a sestina, though shorter, it uses a set of 3 alternating end words instead of six. The form is: ABC / CAB / BCA / A, B, and C (final line/envoi).

The words we chose from were selected by Tanita. They were:
sweet, cold, stone, hope, mouth, thread

I think repeating words are hard, so this took some thought. However, it was the final line using all three words at once that proved to be the real challenge. I wrote two poems for this form. The first is a bit melancholy, but that always happens to me at this time of the year. My father’s birthday was yesterday (the 5th). He would have been 90 this year. And tomorrow (the 7th) is the 7th anniversary of his death, so he’s been much on my mind as of late. Therefore, the first poem is for/about him. The second is much lighter.

Without further ado, my tritinas.

Tritina #1 

My father pulled the hook from the mouth
of the bass. I touched its cold
scales, the thrill of catching it sweet.

Memories of my father are sweet,
though sometimes I imagine him, mouth
agape, my mother at his side touching his cold

hands. At the end, the world went cold.
There was nothing sweet
in death. My heart and mouth

slammed shut. Now I fish alone--no dad, no largemouth--just cold, sweet stillness.

Tritina #2

Speed Dating Introduction ... A 30-Second Tritina

I relish the smoothness of a stone
worn by water, the sweet
smell of freshly mown grass, the cold

slide of ice cream down my throat. I long for winter cold,
summer sun, the skipping of a stone
across the lake, that first buttery taste of sweet

corn. I believe in the sweet
hereafter, going cold
turkey, that some things are set in stone.

I’m stone cold sober, so lay some sweet lines on me.

Poems ©Tricia Stohr-Hunt, 2016. All rights reserved.

You can read the poems written by my Poetry Seven compatriots at the links below.

I do hope you'll take some time to check out all the wonderful poetic things being shared and collected today by Sylvia Vardell at Poetry for Children. Happy poetry Friday friends!

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6. Room of Love

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7. My tweets

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8. Friday Feature: The May Queen Murders

Today, I'm excited to share Sarah Jude's latest book, which just released on Tuesday. Sarah is awesome and her book looks amazing! Check out The May Queen Murders.

Stay on the roads. Don’t enter the woods. Never go out at night.  

Those are the rules in Rowan’s Glen, a remote farming community in the Missouri Ozarks where Ivy Templeton’s family has lived for centuries. It’s an old-fashioned way of life, full of superstition and traditions, and sixteen-year-old Ivy loves it. The other kids at school may think the Glen kids are weird, but Ivy doesn’t care—she has her cousin Heather as her best friend. The two girls share everything with each other—or so Ivy thinks. When Heather goes missing after a May Day celebration, Ivy discovers that both her best friend and her beloved hometown are as full of secrets as the woods that surround them. 

Kerosene slopped from the rusty pail and splashed against the abandoned stable. Fumes burned my eyes but didn’t blur my father’s silhouette as he faced the building, bucket in hand. It would burn and, with it, the body inside.

     “Go to hell!”

     Papa’s shoulders twisted as he wheeled back, shouting, sweeping the pail around. More kerosene rained against the wood while bile scorched my throat. I was too tired to get sick on the hay, my body wasted from screaming. I wiped my hand over my mouth and something snagged my lip. My fingernail was missing, a ragged root jutting from the bloody bed. Bitten off and swallowed by someone who wanted me dead.

     This ain’t real.

     Yet I smelled the kerosene and felt the spring air and the dust in my nose, my feet firm on the ground. No matter how my mind ached to fly away, it tethered to a stark truth. This was real.

     “Ivy, stay back,” Papa warned, and then looked to Mama, close by with an antique lantern shedding dim light. The night sky swelled with clouds like spiders’ egg sacs ready to burst, but the storm would miss Rowan’s Glen. The hay, the ground, the stable were kindling-dry, and every movement kicked up brown clouds. Mama pulled me until we were safely away. The clink of her silver bracelets racked together as she eased her arm around my shoulder.

     “Don’t worry.” Mama’s still-thick Mexican accent lilted her voice, but her expression was stoic except for a pinch around her eyes. That blankness scared me.

     “This must be done,” she whispered.

     I wadded my fingers into my long skirt. The blue patchwork was smeared with blood and dirt. Last summer, my cousin Heather and I sewed peasant skirts together. They flared when I spun, round and round, always with Heather.

     The last time I saw Heather, she was wearing a skirt with red ruffles.

     Papa trailed kerosene on the ground and retreated from the stable before tossing the pail inside. I couldn’t see into the shadows. The body lying on the stone floor might yet have a pulse. A shiver tugged at my neck, my chest rising and falling with shallow breaths. One clear thought pierced my mind’s muddle, and it sickened me.

     I wanted that body to burn.

     “Timothy.” Mama fished a book of matches from a pocket in her apron and gave them to Papa. He took the matches and stretched one hand to hold mine. He was strong. My throat ached when I swallowed, from being choked in an attempt to silence me. Now I said nothing as Papa struck the match.

     The fire didn’t whoosh to life. First, the match hit the ground and breathed. Then a blue worm of flames emerged from the earth and devoured one blot of fuel before moving to the next. Upon reaching the stable, the worm bloated into a dragon that blazed yellow and orange. The wood planks hammered by my great-great-grandfather when he was young crackled, bone-dry from drought. Fire twisted through the stable while coils of smoke erupted from the windows. The pulse of the body inside thump-thumped in my head. Frantic. Dying.

     “Mama?” I whimpered.

     “It’s only fair,” she said.

Papa didn’t speak. Rage had made him do the unspeakable. For me, even though I’d survived. But also for those who hadn’t. Fire was cleansing. Fire was vengeance. The flames burned red, as red as the ruffles of Heather’s skirt. As red as Heather’s hair.
Grab the book on Amazon now!
SARAH JUDE lives by the woods and has an owl that lands on her chimney every night. She grew up believing you had to hold your breath when passing a graveyard. Now she writes about cemeteries, murder, and folklore. She resides in Missouri with her husband, three children, and two dogs. When she's not writing, she can be found volunteering at a stable for disabled riders. Visit her website at www.sarahjude.com.

*Want your YA, NA, or MG book featured on my blog? Contact me here and we'll set it up.

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9. Last One!!

Last comment on this (though there are some almost having heart attacks!). "Cowards: The Cowards Remain Silent" has received the highest number of views for a post -MANY from the UK- this year.

But I'm done.  I've made it all clear now the people involved need to grow some balls.

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10. Review of the Day: Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk

WolfHollowWolf Hollow
By Lauren Wolk
Dutton Children’s Books (an imprint of Penguin Random House)
ISBN: 978-1101994825
Ages 10 and up
On shelves now.

I am not what you might call a very brave reader. This is probably why I primarily consume children’s literature. I might puff myself up with a defense that lists the many fine aspects of this particular type of writing and believe it too, but sometimes when you catch me in a weak moment I might confess that another reason I like reading books for kids is that the content is so very “safe” in comparison to books for adults. Disturbing elements are kept at a minimum. There’s always a undercurrent of hope running through the book, promising that maybe we don’t live in a cold, cruel, calculating universe that cares for us not one jot. Even so, that doesn’t mean that I don’t sometimes have difficulty with books written for, oh say, 10-year-olds. I do. I’m not proud of it, but I do. So when I flipped to the back of Wolf Hollow mid-way through reading it, I want to tell you that I did so not because I wanted to spoil the ending for myself but because I honestly couldn’t turn another page until I knew precisely how everything was going to fall out. In her debut children’s book, Lauren Wolk dives head first into difficult material. A compelling author, the book is making the assumption that child readers will want to see what happens to its characters, even when the foreshadowing is so thick you’d need a knife to cut through it. Even when the ending may not be the happy one everyone expects. And you know what? The book might be right.

It is fair to say that if Betty Glengarry hadn’t moved to western Pennsylvania in the autumn of 1943 then Annabelle would not have needed to become a liar later. Betty looks the part of the blond, blue-eyed innocent, but that exterior hides a nasty spirit. Within days of her arrival she’s threatened Annabelle and said in no uncertain terms that unless she’s brought something special she’ll take it out on the girl’s little brothers. Annabelle is saved from Betty’s threats by Toby, a war veteran with issues of his own. That’s when Betty begins a more concentrated campaign of pain. Rocks are thrown. Accusations made. There’s an incident that comes close to beheading someone. And then, when things look particularly bad, Annabelle disappears. And so does Toby. Now Annabelle finds herself trying to figure out what is right, what is wrong, and whether lies can ever lead people to the truth.

Right off the bat I’m going to tell you that this is a spoiler-rific review. I’ve puzzled it over but I can’t for the life of me figure out how I’d be able to discuss what Wolk’s doing here without giving away large chunks o’ plot. So if you’re the kind of reader who prefers to be surprised, walk on.

All gone? Okay. Let’s get to it.

First and foremost, let’s talk about why this book was rough going for me. I understand that “Wolf Hollow” is going to be categorized and tagged as a “bully book” for years to come, and I get that. But Betty, the villain of the piece, isn’t your average mean girl. I hesitate to use the word “sadistic” but there’s this cold undercurrent to her that makes for a particularly chilling read. Now the interesting thing is that Annabelle has a stronger spine than, say, I would in her situation. Like any good baddie, Betty identifies the girl’s weak spot pretty quickly (Annabelle’s younger brothers) and exploits it as soon as she is able. Even so, Annabelle does a good job of holding her own. It’s when Betty escalates the threat (and I do mean escalates) that you begin to wonder why the younger girl is so adamant to keep her parents in the dark about everything. If there is any weak spot in the novel, it’s a weak spot that a lot of books for middle grade titles share. Like any good author, Wolk can’t have Annabelle tattle to her parents because otherwise the book’s momentum would take a nose dive. Fortunately this situation doesn’t last very long and when Annabelle does at last confide in her very loving parents Betty adds manipulation to her bag of tricks. It got to the point where I honestly had to flip to the back of the book to see what would happen to everyone and that is a move I NEVER do. But there’s something about Betty, man. I think it might have something to do with how good she is at playing to folks’ preexisting prejudices.

Originally author Lauren Wolk wrote this as a novel for adults. When it was adapted into a book for kids she didn’t dumb it down or change the language in a significant manner. This accounts for some of the lines you’ll encounter in the story that bear a stronger import than some books for kids. Upon finding the footsteps of Betty in the turf, Annabelle remarks that they “were deep and sharp and suggested that she was more freighted than she could possibly be.” Of Toby, “He smelled a lot like the woods in thaw or a dog that’s been out in the rain. Strong, but not really dirty.” Maybe best of all, when Annabelle must help her mother create a salve for Betty’s poison ivy, “Together, we began a brew to soothe the hurt I’d prayed for.”

I shall restrain myself from describing to you fully how elated I was when I realized the correlation between Betty down in the well and the wolves that were trapped in the hollow so very long ago. Betty is a wolf. A duplicitous, scheming, nasty girl with a sadistic streak a mile wide. The kind of girl who would be more than willing to slit the throat of an innocent boy for sport. She’s a lone wolf, though she does find a mate/co-conspirator of sorts. Early in the book, Wolk foreshadows all of this. In a conversation with her grandfather, Annabelle asks if, when you raised it right, a wolf could become a dog. “A wolf is not a dog and never will be . . . no matter how you raise it.” Of course you might call Toby a lone wolf as well. He doesn’t seek out the company of other people and, like a wolf, he’s shot down for looking like a threat.

What Wolk manages to do is play with the reader’s desire for righteous justice. Sure Annabelle feels conflicted about Betty’s fate in the will but will young readers? There is no doubt in my mind that young readers in bookclubs everywhere will have a hard time feeling as bad for the antagonist’s fate as Annabelle does. Even at death’s door, the girl manages the twist the knife into Toby one last time. I can easily see kids in bookclub’s saying, “Sure, it must be awful to be impaled in a well for days on end . . . . buuuut . . . .” Wolk may have done too good a job delving deep into Betty’s dark side. It almost becomes a question of grace. We’re not even talking about forgiveness here. Can you just feel bad about what’s happened to the girl, even if it hasn’t changed her personality and even if she’s still awful? Wolk might have discussed after Betty’s death the details of her family situation, but she chooses not to. She isn’t making it easy for us. Betty lives and dies a terrible human being, yet oddly we’re the ones left with the consequences of that.

In talking with other people about the book, some have commented about what it a relief it was that Betty didn’t turn into a sweet little angel after her accident. This is true, but there is also no time. There will never be any redemption for Betty Glengarry. We don’t learn any specific details about her unhappy home life or what it was that turned her into the pint-sized monster she is. And her death comes in that quiet, unexpected way that so many deaths do come to us. Out of the blue and with a whisper. For all that she spent time in the well, she lies until her very last breath about how she got there. It’s like the novel Atonement with its young liar, but without the actual atoning.

Wolk says she wrote this book and based much of it on her own family’s stories. Her memories provided a great deal of the information because, as she says, even the simplest life on a Pennsylvanian farm can yield stories, all thanks to a child’s perspective. There will be people who compare it to To Kill a Mockingbird but to my mind it bears more in common with The Crucible. So much of the book examines how we judge as a society and how that judgment can grow out of hand (the fact that both this book and Miller’s play pivot on the false testimony of young girls is not insignificant). Now I’ll tell you the real reason I flipped to the back of the book early. With Wolf Hollow Wolk threatens child readers with injustice. As you read, there is a very great chance that Betty’s lies will carry the day and that she’ll never be held accountable for her actions. It doesn’t work out that way, though the ending isn’t what you’d call triumphant for Annabelle either. It’s all complicated, but it was that unknowing midway through the book that made me need to see where everything was going. In this book there are pieces to pick apart about lying, truth, the greater good, minority vs. majority opinions, the price of honesty and more. For that reason, I think it very likely it’ll find itself in good standing for a long time to come. A book unafraid to be uneasy.

On shelves now.

Source: Thanks to Penguin Random House for passing on the galley.


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11. 3000 chairs

Because... of this poem by Children's Author Nicola Davies, and the #3000chairs project.
It's worth every second it takes to read.

My husband and I had the opportunity to spend time in Kosovo with war survivors - refugees who returned to their homes carrying life-wrenching scars of war, with stories that ached in the hearing, and burned in the telling.

I wish a chair for every child running from war.
I wish refuge.
and hope.
and light.

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12. SURTEX 2016 - natasha kirby

Natasha Kirby is a freelance surface pattern designer based in London and Kent. Her work is inspired by the beautiful Kentish countryside and all its flora and fauna. Natasha's designs are created using a technique of pouring, dripping, manipulating and mixing gloss paints and glues together to create a variety of effects. She recently graduated from ABSPD modules 1-4 where she learnt the

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13. The Adventures of Midge and Moo / Opposites - a bookwrap


Authored and illustrated by Kerry McQuaid

Unwrapping some adorable illustrations...

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14. Making things up: the care and feeding of Plot Bunnies

by Teri Terry
a.k.a. the Bunny Whisperer

Part 4 in Making Things Up: a blog series about the creative process.
The other day I was chatting with one of my fellow bloggers - Addy - and made a comment about Plot Bunnies, when she said....

What is a Plot Bunny?

Just in case any other writers out there aren't in with the Plot Bunnies, here we go!
And if this is all sounding rather daft to the sensible, here is the literary kudos. Although Plot Bunnies have been around since the beginning of time, Steinbeck phrased it rather nicely:
Ideas are like rabbits. You get a few and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen. John Steinbeck

Plot Bunnies inhabit your daydreams, your unconscious, your subconscious, everywhere you're not using logic or conscious thought, and they want attention. One bunny leads to another, and another, and another - and you never know where they might take you. 

They can be distracting, but ignore them at your peril. They are the lifeblood of being a writer.

It can be very tempting when you're deep in the writing cave to ignore your Plot Bunnies. You're a Serious Writer; you have a deadline, whether self-imposed or in a contract. You are focused, committed, and you will write 1000 words or whatever you've set yourself and you will finish chapter X. Serious Writers don't have time for the bunnies.

Plot Bunnies are your friends, and they must be cared for and nurtured. If they are, they refuse to go away until you write them. They are those ideas that wiggle and jump inside your head for attention; they must be written. They NEED to be written. They will make your writing better. They may make you waste time now and then, true, but if you routinely quash them down, they may not be there when you need them.

So, how do you encourage visits by these shy and elusive creatures? This depends on the writer and Plot Bunnies involved.

My Plot Bunnies need the following:

Tea. Lots of tea, in mugs with interesting or inspirational messages (Don't Panic, above, is one of my favourites).

Notebooks. usually brightly coloured, with or without frogs and hamsters. 

Banrock - of course. As chief muse he is a Plot Bunny wrangler. 

The *right* pens 

Appropriate T shirts: particularly favoured if actual bunnies are involved, as above. 


Environmentally unfriendly long showers, where I'm so away with the Plot Bunnies that I can't remember whether I've washed my hair or not and have to start over again. 

Sometimes, even chocolate and wine!!
Banrock, Chief Muse and Plot Bunny Wrangler,
 has been there since the beginning:
here he is with Slated proofs - back in 2011!
No matter how important and serious your writing is to you - and believe me, mine is to me - without enough of the crazy, it just doesn't work.  

Thanks to Cathy for the photo of her bunny, Alice

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15. What Type of Writer Are You? Part 3

Most writers are introverts. That’s just the nature of the beast. Writers spend a lot of time alone and palely loitering over their pads of paper or keyboards. 

Introversion is not shyness or social anxiety. Those are fear-based psychological conditions.

I suspect there are more introverted editors, because they are usually confined in a cubicle or freelancing at home. Editing is tedious, lonely work. 

It’s easy to tell whos's who at writing conferences. Introverted Jane tends to hang with the people she knows. She scans the crowd looking for familiar faces, or brings her buddies with her. She meets internal resistance when asked to pitch or take the microphone. That doesn’t mean she isn’t interesting or a witty conversationalist. 

Once the ice has been chipped, she is eager to talk about what she loves most: writing and reading. She isn’t there to compete. She is there to absorb. She is interested in what other people are writing. She enjoys the individual exercises and lectures but struggles to share in public. 

She attends the workshops to hone her craft. She enjoys meeting other introverted writers. It’s the self-promotion and exposing herself to public scrutiny that gives her ulcers. Jane may shun the bar after dinner, unless her friends go with her. Even then, she is likely to seek a table in a back corner. Jane leaves the conference drained and in need of a vacation. If she received negative feedback or criticism, she will ruminate in private or sound off to her trusted circle.

Extroverted writers are in the minority, mainly because they are not natively drawn to long periods of pondering and working in solitude. They tend to be sports or comedy writers, but can show up in any genre. 

Dick writes for the recognition or impact. He wants to be the next J. K. Rowling. There are extroverted agents and marketing professionals present too. 

Even if the agents, presenters, and editors are introverted, they are forced to schmooze and perform in an extroverted way. Extroverts thrive on it and are easy to spot. The introverted ones can be painfully awkward to watch.

Dick loves the limelight. He flits from table to table, introducing himself to perfect strangers. He hogs the microphone and loves publicly reading his work. He likes watching the other conference attendees. He likes talking about them as well as to them. He is more interested in who you know than what kind of writing you do. He is there to network and promote himself.

Dick finds it hard to focus on the individual exercises. He is easily bored and can be highly competitive. He likes the voting, the rah-rah, and the woo-woo. He likes winning. Dick is concerned about his image. He wants to fit in. He eagerly pitches his ideas to other people. He may never write them. 

He is found networking at the bar after dinner long after dinner. Dick leaves the conference humming with energy. If he received negative feedback or criticism, he leaves fuming and vents to everyone about it.

The Dicks at the conference struggle with all the Janes. Extroverts tend to think introverts are boring loners. He couldn’t be more wrong, but that is his general impression. He thinks they are an unfriendly bunch, especially if they don’t eagerly embrace his overtures. He flits until he finds the extrovert’s table.

The Janes at the conference are annoyed by the Dicks. They think the extrovert tables are too loud and rude. They may very well discourage Dick from landing at their table. They will cross the room to avoid his.

Every writer must shore up his weak side. Jane is forced by the very nature of a conference to step outside her comfort zone. She is put on public display and forced to interact with people outside her inner circle. She must sell herself as well as her work. It feels slightly dangerous, but she is in good company.

Dick finds the conference slightly confining. He may not find an audience for his bubbling repartee. He may feel silenced or marginalized for the first time in his career. It isn’t a comfortable sensation. He may be rebuffed, left to bounce around the room like a loosed helium balloon.

Each needs to take pity on the other. They should spend a little time getting to know one another. Opposites can help each other grow. Dick can help Jane learn to network and put her best foot forward. Jane can help Dick learn the pesky details of craft. Both have something worthwhile to offer and to say. Getting Dick to sit down and Jane to speak up is the challenge.

Next week, we will continue to explore writer temperaments.

For more tips on how to craft believable characters, pick up a copy of Story Building Blocks II: Crafting Believable Conflict available in paperback and E-book, and Story Building Blocks: Build A Cast Workbook, also available in paperback and E-book.

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16. SURTEX 2016 - hollie mcmanus

Designer and illustrator Hollie McManus is very excited to be exhibiting at Surtex this year with design collective Dot & Flow, in Booth 244. Hollie takes her inspiration from nature, animals, people and texture to create fun, whimsical, colourful patterns, typography and illustrations. 

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17. mother may I?

(c) Robbie Nuwanda 2015
mother may I
take a break
sisters may I
slow down
cousins may I
sleep and wake
in tune with moon and sun?
every day is raced away
lists are long
with oversight/s
mother may I
fail to strive
let nature drive
for 40 days?

daughter yes
do breathe and rest

if anyone is asking why
why lay by?
why go slow?
"I'm the mom
and I say so."


See you all in mid-June.
The roundup is hosted today by Sylvia at Poetry for Children.

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18. Poetry Friday: Our Little House by Thomas Walsh

Our little house upon the hill
In winter time is strangely still;
The roof tree, bare of leaves, stands high,
A candelabrum for the sky,
And down below the lamplights glow,
And ours makes answer o'er the snow.

Our little house upon the hill
In summer time strange voices fill;
With ceaseless rustle of the leaves,
And birds that twitter in the eaves,
And all the vines entangled so
The village lights no longer show.

Our little house upon the hill
Is just the house of Jack and Jill,
And whether showing or unseen,
Hid behind its leafy screen;
There’s a star that points it out
When the lamp lights are in doubt.

- Our Little House by Thomas Walsh

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.

Learn more about Poetry Friday.

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19. What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,Plus What I Did Last Week, FeaturingIrene Dickson, Emily Gravett, and Kazue Takahashi

— From Kuma-Kuma Chan’s Home:“I walk into his home.It smells slightly of bear.”(Click to enlarge)   — From Bear & Hare—Where’s Bear?:“There!”(Click to enlarge)   — From Blocks:Note: The text here is different than it appears in the book.(Click to enlarge)   Over at Kirkus today, I’ve got some new children’s lit novels on the […]

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20. FOODFIC: Iqbal - Francesco D'Adamo

13-year-old Fatima works in a carpet factory, bonded to master Hussain Khan to pay off her family’s debt. Khan keeps the total amount owed on a slate beside each child worker's loom, lightening the debts by one rupee for each full day of satisfactory work. When all the debt lines have been erased, the children will be free to go home. Fatima, who’s been indentured to Khan for 3 years (and to 2 other masters before him), doesn’t know which chalk marks represent her running tally and which spell out her name because she never learned to read.

Her entire young life consists of carpet-weaving: a work day that runs from sunrise to sunset, opening with chapatti and dal half an hour before dawn, served by the master’s wife in one large bowl to be shared amongst the 14 child laborers. They do break for a lunch of chapatti and vegetables, but, as Fatima relates, break lasted an hour…hunger a good deal longer.

And in the early days, she dreamed of home, including the sweet laddu my mother made with chickpea flour, the desserts and almonds that we ate on feast days. But those memories have faded over the years, and the hopes the children now share with one another are not for sweeter food, but for sweeter dreams. Or even any dreams at all. Fatima’s grandmother once told her that to have no dreams is the worst fate of all, and so the children compete every morning by making up fantastical sleep adventures from the night before.

Those false dreams were truly all they had to live on until Iqbal arrived. Iqbal, who was two years older than Fatima with eyes sweet and deep and [that] weren’t afraid.

It is Iqbal who crushes those pretend dreams as well as the children’s hopes that their debts will indeed someday be erased. But he replaces those fantasies with a real hope – that one day they will run away from the factory. A dream that Iqbal swears he will bring to fruition. And that may actually sustain them far better than that forgotten sweet laddu.

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21. Leave space for the reader to contribute

airplane view

There is a much overlooked element in picture books – the white space. The designer looks after this. This is the space in which the child readers make their own interpretations. A room crammed with furniture is not inviting. Nor is a book too full of words and pictures. Leave space for the reader to contribute. This will foster literacy of both kinds in the child, the visual and the verbal. It will also actively engage and stimulate the imagination.
-Joyce Dunbar

The post Leave space for the reader to contribute originally appeared on Caroline Starr Rose

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22. STEAM programming in Acton-Agua Dulce and Moose Jaw

Maker programming is a large trend in public libraries throughout North America. By researching kit options and planning for added costs, public libraries can develop successful steam programming.

Moose Jaw Public Library has invested in a number of Maker programming initiatives which have been well received, including MakeDo, Squishy Circuits, and Little Bits. Prior to purchasing we sought reviews from a number of sources, including communications with other librarians, makezine.com, and reviews at PLA and at other conferences. We funded our Maker programs through a grant and through donations from our local Friends of the Library.

MakeDo encourages children to explore basic engineering principles. Each kit comes with a plastic safe saw, and several pins and hinges. Each library supplies cardboard boxes and the paper supplies required by the kits. Children can build anything they wish, or follow the kit instructions. While they cannot take their creations home, they can display their works of art and turn your library into a gallery!

With electrical circuit kits, it is important to consider the actual ongoing cost of the maker kits, including replacement parts.  Squishy Circuits and Little Bits are very popular, however both kits have hidden costs. Squishy Circuits offers a fun, tactile way to experience electricity. However, librarians will need to factor in the cost of extra dough, replacement wires and time for cleaning equipment. Little Bits are fun! Kids love assembling these magnetic circuits. Buy the largest pack in your budget, as you will want multiples for a larger group. Additional budgeting is a must, as some pieces at the time of our kit’s purchase were only sold separately.

The Acton-Agua Dulce Public Library has also invested in various maker kits, with special emphasis on Snap Circuits Jr. kits. Each kit comes with an instructional booklet with projects that a child could do alone or in pairs. The baseline Jr. kit comes with 100 available projects that start from a basic closed circuit where a light illuminates or a fan spins to more complicated series and parallel circuits. I used this set for a S.T.E.A.M. centered program for ages 8-14 and it was very well received. Some kids already had lessons on circuitry and knew how they worked so I allowed them to have complete freedom with the kits and focused more on those who were just learning how the circuits worked.

The Snap Circuits kits turned out to be excellent for passive programming as well as more structured, lesson-based programming. We now have a couple different types of kits at the library as part of our Homework Center, and the afterschool kids love setting them up and seeing what they can create. And don’t worry if a piece gets lost or broken because you can easily buy replacement parts through their website. The only additional cost to the kits is the use of AA batteries, two needed per kit.

Three  questions you may want to ask before buying your maker kit: Will it be something that kids will ask for again, over and over? Can you do a whole program around the kit? How easy is it to get replacement parts? The biggest takeaway with buying maker kits is that you have to try them for yourself to see what will work for you and your community.


Courtesy photo from Tina Docetti

Courtesy photo from Tina Docetti

Our guest bloggers today are Amanda Cain and Tina Dolcetti.Tina currently works for the Moose Jaw Public Library as a Children’s Librarian. By night, Tina can be found in her community, mentoring an adult with a cognitive disability for the Saskatchewan Association for Community Living. Amanda is a Children’s Librarian who enjoys opening young minds with stories, rhymes and activities at the Acton-Agua Dulce Public Library.

Please note that as a guest post, the views expressed here do

Courtesy photo from Amanda Cain

Courtesy photo from Amanda Cain

not represent the official position of ALA or ALSC.

If you’d like to write a guest post for the ALSC Blog, please contact Mary Voors, ALSC Blog manager, at alscblog@gmail.com.

The post STEAM programming in Acton-Agua Dulce and Moose Jaw appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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It was good to hear that Dave Gordon and Chang3lings made some good sales at the Edinburgh comic Con.  
It also seems that the UK may be a bit later in catching on but more events seem to be organised around vintage toys of the 1970s and 1980s.  Unfortunately for the Ebay sharks, the aficionados are not gullible and are ignoring the excessive prices asked for common and CHEAP figures and toys. Sadly, I can't get to Warp Zone in London this month. Might be a good thing as an old man rolling about the floor clutching his wallet and screaming "I have no more money!" is a very, uh, embarassing sight.
Remember that there is a link to Chang3lings on the right.

I love Winged Greenie below -over 2 feet tall which has an option for bird-like feet/claws.
Above: A little over 2 feet (60cms) tall with resin wings.  EVERYTHING hand-crafted by Chang3lings.

 Above the cover to the Chang3lings catalogue.  As you can see, they do not just make one off exclusive dolls but also sell quality vintage action figures -Cyborg, Muton, Android and my favourites -Micronauts!

Check out the unique figure below.

 Chang3lings is one of the most under-rated UK pop culture businesses and you can meet up with David Gordon, who is also a very talented graphic novelist (check out Cosmic Oddity).

When you talk about investment potential it usually involves comics.  Comics produced in their thousands and 99.1% of all those copies of a book will need to be destroyed before yours is worth anything.  But the action figure and doll market is strong.  
Guess what? all of Chang3lings dolls are unique.  Just one of each. One of each.

In case that did not sink in let me explain it.  Chang3lings will make a custom made figure or sell a figure of which there will only ever be one.  Not replicable..

You would own the only one of its kind.  Hopefully treasure and love it but, if you ever had to sell then that figure is unique.  No "Oh, well I think I saw one cheaper at---" because there are no other copies/duplicates.

But look at it another way, and I've seen some of these first hand and no photo really does them justice.  There are different scale sizes and you can see the much chunkier me of a few years back at the Bristol Comic Expo at David Gordon's table with a display of dolls.

Remember that there is a link to the right of page for Chang3lings and they have now been named "The UKs Premier Exclusive Figure" company!
Now, back to the real delights!

When I met Dave, Lesley and Lynsey at the Bristol Expo I got to see how carefully the dolls were put together -everything from eyes (different colours), hair and right down to the clothing and extras that were amazing to see.  Things have moved on since the day of Action Man (GI Joe) outfits and weapons!

The display piece below (NOT completed in this photo) has raised a few comments and interest and resulting in some good sales so it just goes to show what a bit of creative display work can achieve.
or how about this......
Yes, the fourth Doctor and Sarah Jane Smith and some bald crook off the TV...but I think the Doctor is far more interested in someone else!  Now come on you Star Wars fans what do you think?
Below: more classic figures. If there is one place you need to go if you are into any scale figures/dolls this weekend it HAS to be Chang3lings at the Edinburgh Comic Con!
And I did say that Dave was an incredible graphic novelist. His Cosmic Oddity was such a revelation to me that I just sat there after finishing reading it.  So, you see a copy grab it because, as I wrote earlier this month, the book deserves an award.
In case you missed that item:
My Excess: Dave -A Cosmic Oddity

Black & White
106 Pages
Price: £12.99
The biography of Dave Gordon, often called the Uk's Manara. Detailing Dave's origins and relationships, this is an insight into one of UK comicdoms creators.

I got this book handed to me by the postman (mailman if you are American) at 1300 hrs and by 1500 hrs I had read it through.

This is David Gordon -the UKs very own Milo Manara- telling his story.  From his birth and adoption three days later through family life, school, university, work and later trying to contact his birth mother -the outcome of which is still currently open.

Dave takes us through his life and troubled relationships with himself (2014) narrating and flashback images and sequences of events.  The style he uses in this book, being honest here, I saw at a glance and thought "not sure about this".  However, I realised the clever way the art had been designed and drawn -photos, etc.- actually worked. Even the cartoony flashback-to-situation pages (see below).

What can I write about this?  Gritty -yes.  Factual and being brutally honest and to be equally honest here I do not think I'd have the guts to quite literally open up my chest and let some of these experiences out.  Being pushed away by his adopted family is bad enough but then having to go through his (adoption) father dying of cancer -bad enough.  But we then learn about the abusive relationships (physical and emotional).

There is still the matter of his birth mother and how that might end.  However, Dave is now happily in a relationship with Lesley (I've met her and she seems quite nice for a prison officer -not even a moustache!) and that gives us a sort of happy ending.  But, oh boy, what happened before.

Let me tell you something.  For years I was also an agent for comic creators.  You see good art, you know the writers or artists are reliable so, as an agent you put a spin on things to sell the work.  I've read and reviewed comics and graphic novels for publications and online now for over 30 years.  I see a couple hundred books of one sort or another a year -the crammed bookshelves and floors attest to that.

I cannot think of one book where a creator has taken us through his personal life and things have been so dark and gut-wrenching -even preparing for suicide- that I have said out loud "F***!" so many times. My sister even said "What are you swearing at?"

If this were an independent film it would be getting some award.  A publisher should be paying Gordon to allow them to publish this!  This is superbly written -and it must have taken a lot of thought to put this together without going over the top or exaggerating.  To make it a sequential story interspersed with illustrated text pieces....this is truly what Will Eisner described what graphic novels should be: telling a true and honest story that grabs the reader and pulls them in.

You people out there deciding who gets nominated for an Eagle Award should read this book.

This book should NOT be ignored. If you think "I'll buy just one Independent book...." then PLEASE make it this.

The book has surprised and shocked me - I have heard some snippets over the years but never the whole story.  In fact, you really need to read it yourself because nothing I write here can even adequately do it justice.

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24. BLUE PRINT 2016 - melanie chadwick

Melanie Chadwick will be exhibiting for the first time at Blue Print Show with her agents at Pure Illustration on 12-16th May at the Metropolitan Pavilion, New York. Melanie is based in Falmouth. Cornwall where she has her own design and illustration studio creating everything from pattern designs to brand logos. Previous clients have included The National Trust and Mollie Makes. Since January

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25. प्रशांत किशोर की राजनीति और सलाह

प्रशांत किशोर की राजनीति और सलाह सुनने में आया है कि   चुनावी रणनीतिकार प्रशांत किशोर भी इस बात से सहमत हैं कि राहुल गांधी या प्रियंका में से किसी को मुख्‍यमंत्री पद के उम्‍मीदवार के तौर पर उतरना चाहिए. उनका मानना है कि इससे प्रदेश के ब्राह्मणों में अच्‍छा संकेत जाएगा… जबकि कुछ कांगेसी […]

The post प्रशांत किशोर की राजनीति और सलाह appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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