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Viewing: Blog Posts from All 1562 Blogs, dated 6/24/2012 [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 119
1. STORESNAPS - kids design

i had a little snoop around the kids department at fenwick's recently and was pleased to see a special belle & boo area featuring nursery wall prints and stickers, plus cushions, tableware and even clothing. they also had some great children's books including several by the wonderfully talented ellen giggenbach. its well worth a look if you are in london researching children's design. fenwicks

2 Comments on STORESNAPS - kids design, last added: 6/25/2012
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2. DESIGNER - clare vickery

clare vickery is a british textile designer who likes to create her patterns from unusual subjects and narratives, creating some interesting and quirky designs. largely influenced by illustration clare specialises in both manual and digital design. to contact clare regarding freelance, placements or commissions visit her website online here.

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3. Sunday Sketching -

Short sketch - in the teensy purse Moleskine, balanced upon my knee....

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4. Danette Haworth Shares Her Insights

At the SCBWI conference here in Orlando, FL, I was able to chat with the very talented Danette Haworth. She is the middle grade author of the VIOLET RAINES ALMOST GOT STRUCK BY LIGHTNING, THE SUMMER OF MOONLIGHT SECRETS, JACK AND ME, and her upcoming book that will be released in September, A WHOLE LOT OF LUCKY.

I'm a big fan of Danette's books. The characters are so real and I'm instantly sucked into the worlds that Danette creates. I first read VIOLET RAINES when I was still living in Korea and the story brought me right back to Florida with the lightning storms, alligators, thick hot air and swamps. I was homesick! And who wouldn't fall in love with the spunky Violet?

In the interview, Danette chats about her SCBWI success story, why pre-published and published authors should attend conferences, as well as a peek at her upcoming book, A WHOLE LOT OF LUCKY.

Thank you Danette for sharing with us!

You can find Danette on:
Her website: http://www.danettehaworth.com/
Her blog: http://summerfriend.blogspot.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/danettehaworth

And as a special treat, I'm giving away an autographed ARC of A WHOLE LOT OF LUCKY that Danette shared with us! All you have to do is post a comment. (note, later in the week I'm giving away another of her books!) You get an extra point if you tweet, blog, Facebook or share this post with a friend.  Just let me know in your post! The deadline to enter is by July 11th.

7 Comments on Danette Haworth Shares Her Insights, last added: 6/27/2012
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5. Juju the Good Voodoo by Michelle Hirstius

Author Showcase

By Bianca Schulze, The Children’s Book Review
Published: June 24, 2012

Juju the GOOD voodoo: From “da Bayou” of Louisiana on a foggy night we find Juju…. Juju happens to be a special voodoo doll that Marie the Voodoo Queen has been looking for.  Marie cast an enchanting “good deeds” spell in her jeweled cup and sprinkles charms on Juju.  Juju then comes alive off the pages of this delightful tale.  Now Juju can go spread her “good deeds” to everyone and everything around.  With so many negatives around, we need Juju to cast her spell and change things for the better!

Cute and fun drawings done in crayon illustrate in this first book the origin of Juju and where she came from and we look forward to where she will go or what she will do next….

Children and parents alike will fall in love with this adorable and charming voodoo doll “Juju”.

About the Author and Illustrator:  Michelle Hirstius was born and raised in New Orleans, LA, where the culture and city has plenty to write about.  She started drawing back in High School with crayons and through her struggles since Katrina, has found out there is nothing better than home and your true roots.  She picked up the crayons again and discovered by doodling “Juju”.   Inspired by New Orleans she wanted to create a story to brighten smiles on children and adults and hoping to inspire them to follow their dreams and creative side.  Michelle now lives with her Cairn Terrier “Sassy” north of New Orleans.

Follow Juju and get more info on her her website:  www.JujuTheGoodVoodoo.com

Juju the GOOD voodoo is intended for children ages 3-10, but hey adults could use some “good deeds” spells too!

Juju the GOOD voodoo is available for purchase on www.amazon.com in print and kindle and www.JujuTheGoodVoodoo.com

ISBN – 978-1475059519, Pages: 30, Paperback: $12.00 US

The Author Showcase is a place for authors and illustrators to gain visibility for their works. This article was provided by the author. Learn more …

©2012 The Childrens Book Review. All Rights Reserved.


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6. Million Dollar Writing Prompt

Writing_prompt_genericMillion Dollar Writing Prompt

Today’s Write On Writing Prompt comes to us from WhiteBlack7 who challenges us with a question I would looooove to have to answer some day.

What would you do if you were rich?

Maybe you would give money to charity? Or buy lots of new stuff? Bling out your wardrobe? Help your family? Or a specific cause? The sky's the limit. We can always dream!

Give a shout out to WhiteBlack7 in the Comments below with your answer. Inquiring minds want to know!

—Ratha, Stacks Writer

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7. Artist For Life

I'm in my mid forties now and I've realized - I'm an artist for life. I've met a lot of artists - some successful and some working on becoming successful and a few who have given up. I would like to talk to those of you who might be thinking of giving up or working on your back up plan.

First, I believe that we're all artists. Even someone who is mostly left brained has had to create a solution to a problem using duct tape and for that moment he/she was an artist. Second, for those of us who are mostly right brained - using our creativity feels natural and is expressed on a daily basis in one form or another. How we approach a simple interaction with a stranger is a chance to either use art or shut down and go into robot mode. Of course we all do that from time to time - like in elevators - it's ok - sometimes you just can't think of anything to say right? 

So if using your art is natural to you - you can't really turn it off. You can choose to do different things with it - different occupations - different projects etc. But some occupational choices will leave you fulfilled at the end of the day while others will leave you frustrated and discouraged. I don't mean tired and annoyed like many school teachers. At the end of the day a school teacher still has a lot of autonomy and can exercise a great deal of creativity in the classroom with each student interaction. I'm talking about taking on a job or project where using your art is unwanted, unappreciated, and unnecessary.

Let me tell you about the time I almost became a prison guard. Yes you read that right. Six years ago we were living in California and had just learned that my wife had contracted an auto-immune disease. She was a special ed teacher at the time and we realized she was going to have to quit her job due to this illness. I was worried that we would lose our medical insurance and knew that I wouldn't be able to purchase any for her. We both went into panic mode and over the next few months I found myself looking into occupations that would provide coverage.

I'm really only "qualified" to do a few things on this planet - one of which is painting pictures. Trash pick up is another but they don't provide medical insurance so I skipped over that one. Soon my search revealed that working for the state of California not only provided a decent salary and hefty benefits but was also relatively easy to land. A few classes and training and they would practically take anyone willing to lock themselves up with murderers and pedophiles. I was frustrated, scared, disappointed and broken as I filled out the proper paper work and checked myself into the preliminary classes to become a California Corrections Officer.

I felt like I was turning my back on my creative side. In prison creativity can get you killed. My next door neighbor was a corrections officer and we spent a lot of time talking about how different I would need to become in order to survive as a C.O. He basically said I would have to become a robot in order to avoid getting noticed. Inmates will try to get to know you so they can manipulate you, extort you, threaten you, and exploit you. He said, "I'm a totally different person inside the prison - you wouldn't even re

17 Comments on Artist For Life, last added: 6/26/2012
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8. Creating a Chapter Book Series

This June Illustration was sent in by Joanne Friar. You may recognize her work, since she was featured in March on Illustrator Saturday.   She says, “As a child I spent summer vacations hiking with my family and that tradition continued with our own children. Nothing says summer to me like the cool shade of a mountain forest and the smell of pine trees!  www.joannefriar.com

The Books Go On and On: Creating a Chapter Book Series – Workshop given by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen

Written by: Tiffany Alexander

Sudipta gave us a great inside view of chapter book series creation. She narrowed down the topic of chapter book series to writing commercial/genre stories. The overriding principle is that, throughout the books in a series, a couple of elements stay the same, with some differences included in each book.

Sudipta stressed that series books (or any book) must start with character. The main character of a series will have to support the creation of many stories, so character is important.

1.)  The character has to be both charismatic (in that you can draw from him/her repeatedly for new stories) and ordinary (so that readers will be able to relate to the character).

2.)  The character should have one or two unique characteristics, weaknesses, or quirks to give them depth and make them interesting/sympathetic.

3.)   A character can be ordinary, but not boring or flat – give your character specific traits.

Sudipta advised us to “give the ordinary a bit of a kick.” She also showed how developing character can create the series hook. For example, for her series, Sudipta formed a character described as someone who is self-conscious about wearing glasses and feels it is a weakness. As Sudipta developed the character, she realized that the glasses (the character’s apparent weakness) would also hold special powers, and further, would be a source of conflict and strength. At first they were just glasses, but in the process of writing they became an object from which the story/plot emanated.

A well-formed series must also have a good cast of supporting characters. They will help maintain the series and make it rich in story possibilities. Sudipta named five different stock character types:

1.) The sidekick – stays with the main character through thick and thin; if there is more than one sidekick, each should bring something different to the table.

2.) The nemesis – a character who either intentionally or unintentionally gets in the main character’s way and foils his/her plans, and it could be someone who always seems more skilled or “better” than the main character in some way.

3.) The secret-sharer – a peer who knows the main character’s secrets or feelings, and  who might also impart wisdom or help keep the main character on track, without making decisions for the main character.

4.) The positive authority figure – possibly another source of wisdom or reason, or someone who offers comfort to the main character, and often someone the main character wishes to emulate or does not want to disappoint.

5.) The negative authority figure – someone who has power over and creates difficulty for the main character, not necessarily the person who creates the big problem, but who is still problematic in some way, think “mean school principal” or the like.

Interactions between characters are definitely key.

Setting is impor

1 Comments on Creating a Chapter Book Series, last added: 6/25/2012
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9. Princess Merida – the feminist princess brought to you by @DisneyPixar #Brave

Pixar has a 25 year history of entertaining children with blockbusters such as Finding Nemo and Toy Story. Brave is their latest offering, out just in time for the school holidays.

Set in the Highlands of Scotland, the feisty red headed Merida (voice by Kelly Macdonald) challenges destiny to change her fate. 

Pixar has debunked the traditional fairytale. The beautiful, love struck princess has been swept under the carpet, replaced by the independent Princess Merida. There are no jewels, no grand balls and no carriages. In place of a carriage is Merida’s trusty steed, Angus and the jewels have been replaced with a crossbow.

Princess Merida, a skilled archer, prefers to be out in the woods to being given lessons on deportment by her mother, Queen Elinor. The only regal dress we see Merida wearing she struggles with, finally splitting open its seams to show off her archery skills.

Merida’s mother, Queen Elinor, has given her all the necessary education required to fulfill her destiny – marriage to the son of one of the three Scottish clans, but strong willed Merida has other ideas about her destiny. She embarks on a mission to give herself the freedom she seeks, the freedom to choose the man she will ultimately marry.

The humour that is so prevalent in other Pixar films is less evident in Brave. Merida’s triplet brothers provide brief interludes of humour with their toddler pranks and mischevious charm. The Scottish theme allows for tried and tested kilt jokes to abound which will no doubt entertain children, but are a bit old hat for the adults.

In Brave, Pixar has aimed for a film with serious undertones as it examines the relationship between mother and daughter - the angst, the stubbornness and ultimately the compromises that must be made. Perhaps more telling is the conflict in this film, which revolves around gender roles and duty to society. 

Adult concepts are not new to Pixar films. Up dealt with the overwhelming reality of death and loss

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10. Yesterday the Slushpile, today the film, the theme park and the studio tour!

by Addy Farmer Indulge me on this Monday morning whilst I take you on a lightning scar whizz round the Harry Potter Leavesden studio tour!   Just to think it all started with words. Words become a world and the world was Harry Potter. Together with assorted fellow muggle parents and a good few over-excited children we queued and jumped about as we waited for the magic to begin.

20 Comments on Yesterday the Slushpile, today the film, the theme park and the studio tour!, last added: 6/27/2012
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11. Yesterday the Slushpile, today the film, the theme park and the studio tour!

by Addy Farmer  Indulge me on this Monday morning whilst I take you on a lightning scar whizz round the Harry Potter Leavesden studio tour!   Just to think it all started with words. Words become a world and the world was Harry Potter. Together with assorted fellow muggle parents and a good few over-excited children we queued and jumped about as we waited for the magic to begin.

0 Comments on Yesterday the Slushpile, today the film, the theme park and the studio tour! as of 1/1/1900
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12. Nawe Writers in Schools Skill Sharing Day: Sue Purkiss

Just over a week ago, I got up at 5am to trek north to Leicester for the day to go to the Nawe Writers in Schools Skill Sharing Day. I was hoping for new ideas about content, maybe some tips about how to get more work in schools, and just to network and chat with other writers - always a pleasure.

I was also quite interested to visit Leicester. I did my PGCE there years ago, and taught there for a couple of years: I wondered whether it had changed. As to that, it was a nasty day: old, wet, windy and grey. No town would have looked at its best. I think I'll leave it at that.

The De Montfort campus, new since my day, seemed curiously deserted, even given that it was out of term time. The wind howled round corners, the rain slashed across the squares and terraces, and I wished to goodness I had worn a coat instead of just a cardigan. But soon I found the conference venue and emerged from the lift to find SASsies Helena Pielichaty and Caroline Pitcher - oh joy! And later Paeony Lewis arrived, having valiantly taken on the Leicester Ring Road. (She lost.)

There was an introductory address, four workshop sessions (each with four options - so difficult to choose!), and a closing address. Sue Horner gave the introduction. Sue is 'a leader in education and the arts... the author of Magic Dust That Lasts, a national report on residencies in schools for Arts Council England.' She talked about how valuable it can be for schools to have writers in - but pointed out that only 10% do. She touched on the new curriculum for primary schools, which apparently contains such gems as a requirement to cover the use of the subjunctive in year six. Hm.

She suggested that it's important to get teachers writing, and that it's possible to do other things in schools apart from one-off sessions: 'mentoring, modelling (I think she meant demonstrating how to get children writing, rather then showing off the latest writerly  gear - the John Dougherty flowery shirt, the Caroline Lawrence toga/cowboy outfit, the fantabulous Harriet Castor Tudor outfit, for instance.) - and helping to evaluate.'

More controversially, she said she thought that one-day visits aren't that useful, but that residencies are. I would have liked to ask her to expand on this, but there was no time for questions. Since she has written a report about residencies, she will clearly know a lot about them and have gathered a good deal of evidence as to their usefulness: but I would be interested to see the evidence that one day visits are not valuable. More of this later.

The first session I went to was on curriculum and education policy, and was given by Robin Webber Jones, the Director of Learning at New College, Stamford. I'd hoped that this would give some clues about how to link what we offer to the curriculum: this was probably unrealistic - I suspect there's no avoiding trawling through the curriculum for oneself, or talking to a friendly teacher. But it was very interesting: he discussed creative writing in relation to various learning theories, and also explained the reality of what government policy is asking schools to do - and therefore the tension between what they might like to do, and what they are actually able to do. This was a great talk: stimulating and lively.
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13. Books Recently Read

CATCH & RELEASE - Blythe Woolston

Polly is angry and hurt. She wanted a normal life with her high school boyfriend, Bridger, but that relationship is over. What changed things was a flesh-eating disease that destroyed her eye, scarred her, and altered the look of her face. Other youths in town had died because of the disease, but she’s alive. When she goes on a fishing trip with Odd, who lost his foot to the disease, it’s a time to reflect on her life and circumstances. Just as with the fish she catches and releases, there are things inside herself that need to be let go. 

The voice in this was great. I enjoyed Polly’s evolving emotions and inner thoughts, as well as her interactions with Odd. I liked how Woolston focused on various themes—in this case fishing and disease, which I would never have thought of putting together—to bring out her characters and their actions. 


David, once a popular football player, is still grieving the loss of his mother. He’s lost friends and his girlfriend as a result of his plummeting social status. He’s a doting brother, taking care of his brother, Will, who experiences seizures. Both boys are about to go back to school. On their first day there’s an explosion. Hair falls out, people are vomiting up organs, illness spreads rapidly, and soldiers barrage the school shooting at people. The soldiers retreat. If they come too near, they fall ill with symptoms hitting them right away. All the adults, faculty and staff, have died and only students remain. 

The area has been quarantined, with a canopy over the entire school. There are food drops. When soldiers visit, they’re heavily armed, wary of the young people carrying the mystery disease. The young people's hair has grown back white, minus pigmentation. Soldiers set up a booth where students can press their thumbs on a pad and a door opens to a chamber that leads to the real world. Only older students are allowed to leave, their bodies no longer able to spread the disease. Meanwhile, everyone else is stuck. 

Most students e

30 Comments on Books Recently Read, last added: 6/27/2012
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14. Space on the page

Illustration Friday's theme this week is "Space." Some might obviously interpret this cosmically, but for me this week, space has been about telling a story... or more to the point, how my characters take up space on the page.

Before the SCBWI intensive three weeks ago I rushed through sketches for my new book Twelve Months of Monsters in order to have a dummy to show at the conference. Turns out that's a great way to see what's wrong with your book. On the drive home from Kinkos I had a deeply unsettled feeling that something was just not quite right with all these monsters now that they were actually enlarged full size and paginated into a book. So this week I've been reworking some of them and rewriting some of the text in the process. In the beginning I had held back doing so many of my "crazy" angles and cropping... everyone always comments positively on them, but sometimes I think "is it too much, is it just exhausting?" Maybe it is exhausting, but, in the words of Sammy Davis Jr., I just gotta be me. Now my monsters now have turns, twists, and close-ups on their pages. Their space is more dynamic I think (read: i hope.) In the redoing I was able to play up the hidden story of how they come alive from the calendar. Below are the before and after shots:

Week by week and day by day
Twelve months of monsters starts this way.



In March when winter ends,
A kite will soar on monster winds



Week by week and day by day a monster's year goes 'round this way. (this is actually the last page of the book and intended to show the little monster finally getting a bite as she is tucked back into the calendar)

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15. betWeen by Daniel Frost

Young Chance N. Counter thought her life was nothing more than a series of meaningless, random events. But when she finds some crinkly yellow pages from an old book, with the same drawing of a shadowy door in each one, this all suddenly changes. Pages in hand, and armed with only a flashlight, Chance finds one of the shadowy portals and steps into the place between night and day... it is the place where nightmares and fairytales and creatures that go bump in the night were created. It is the place of lore and legend and dreams, and the place where the Shadow King reigns supreme. But to leave, Chance, along with a new ally (who happens to be a talking fox) must summon all of her courage and use all of her wit to travel through this bizarre world and find her way home. Continue reading

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16. What Writers Can Learn From Charlie Sheen

The writing life comes with moments of desolation. As if God chose a two-for-one special for writers—“Here, take a dash of creative ability and a soupcon of despair.”

I’ve been writing fiction for over 15 years. My first novel, THE LOST SAINTS OF TENNESSEE, was published this February, a miracle that took a decade to arrive. Along the way, the dark forces of doubt, uncertainty and isolation prowled around me in a tight circle demanding one thing. Surrender. In 2002, I quit my job to write the draft of what would become LOST SAINTS. A home equity loan financed a year devoted to writing. I worked on the book three days a week while my daughter Georgia attended preschool. I was also pregnant again. By the time Gracie was born in February 2003, the first draft was almost complete.

I went back to work full-time and the strain of balancing career and parenting left no energy for the book. There seemed to be no hope of finding time to write. Ever.





Guest column by Amy Franklin-Willis, who was born in Birmingham,
Alabama and is an eighth-generation Southerner. She received an
Emerging Writer Grant from the Elizabeth George Foundation in
2007 to complete THE LOST SAINTS OF TENNESSEE, a novel
inspired by stories of her father’s childhood in rural Pocahontas,
Tennessee. The book was selected by Independent Booksellers as
an Indie Next Pick. She currently lives with her family on the West
Coast. This is her first novel. Connect with her through her website,
on Facebook and in the Twittersphere.





Driving home from work one night I made an impulsive detour to the mall, intent on ninety minutes of cinematic therapy. I parked in the garage but found myself unable to get out of the car. My writing journal lay on the passenger’s seat and the weight of never again being able to return to the book in a serious way crashed over me.

I knew two things for sure. The book needed work, lots of it, and the time to craft it would be impossible to find in my current schedule. I also knew that I wanted to have one more baby. Just one. I loved being a mother and reveled in the noisy chaos of my growing family despite its negative effects on writing production.

Sitting in the car with Georgia’s car seat looming in the rear view mirror, I decided I had to choose. The babies or the book.

I felt the writer part of me–that small interior version of myself who could never read enough and never stop the stories clamoring for their turn to be made real—wither.

I drug out the clunky cell phone from my purse and dialed the only person I could think of who might se

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17. Top 100 Children’s Novels #3: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

#3 Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling (1997)
287 points

Oh, our family got hours and hours and hours of enjoyment out of these books. We read all of the first five out loud as a family, with no reading ahead. (Or as little reading ahead as we could stand.) Her imaginative details are unsurpassed, and she’s knows how to leaven her writing with plenty of humor. – Sondra Eklund

Sometimes hype is just hype, but when it came to the anticipation surrounding the release of each Harry, the substance of what was hoped for met the expectation. Beyond Block-buster movies and Lego sets, beat the heart of true heroism. By the end of the seven book saga every character on the side of right had a moment to shine. From Mrs. Weasley, to Neville, all the way down to Dudley and his cup of tea. Rowling stands alongside Jane Austen in her ability to allow her characters to open their mouths and prove themselves a fool. Rowling also created, hands down, the most evil villain in all of Children’s lit. No, I’m not looking at you Tom Riddle. Delores Umbridge wears that vile crown. Voldemort never put on airs that he was anything other than a power mad megalomaniac, whereas Umbridge coated her pious bigotry in pink virtue and creepy kittens. There lies a cautionary tale. – DaNae Leu

There’s a boy who lives in a cupboard under the stair, and he has an unusual scar on his forehead… Harry Potter is no doubt the most famous wizard since Gandalf, but what makes him and his friends at Hogwarts so compelling that half the world seemed to be reading the series at some point? I would say that Rowling showed us the power of writing about friendship and writing with originality. Harry, Ron, and Hermione are easy to root for, and things like quidditch and every-flavor jelly beans are the freshest details in children’s fiction since Cinderella showed up in a pumpkin coach wearing glass slippers. – Kate Coombs

Although not necessarily the best in the series, this was really a ground-breaking book. I love the way that the reader is drawn into the story. Harry is an “everyman” character, not knowing any more about magic and the wizarding world than we do, and so we learn along with him. I think Rowling is very respectful of the young reader in this book, not over-explaining things like the Cerberus and the “mirror of erised,” but rather giving the reader the opportunity to make discoveries. – Sarah Flowers

The first book is one of the most generic in a series that becomes increasingly (and rewardingly) complex in it’s study of human nature, but it’s an essential beginning, and still a great one. Seeing Hogwarts for the first time is as satisfying in rereads as it was the first time around. Harry Potter is a pleasure that, once having, you never want to give up. – Nicole Johnston Wroblewski

I love this series not only for its fantasy, imagination, love, courage, and loyalty shown in the book; there are also a lot of situations, characters, that can be used as discussion materials with students from third grade up. This series will become a new classic. – Dudee Chiang

Turned the tide of children’s literature. – Cheryl Phillips

The description from the publisher reads, “Orphaned as a baby, Harry Potter has spent 11 awful years living with his mean aunt, uncle, and cousin Dudley. But everything changes for Harry when an owl delivers a mysterious letter inviting him to attend a school for wizards. At this special school, Harry finds friends, aerial sports, and magic in everything from classes to meals, a

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18. Top 100 Picture Books #3: Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems

#3 Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems (2003)
198 points

Proof that temper tantrums are an art form of their own. – DaNae Leu

Top three betraying my love for fourth-wall-breaking. – Robin ParryRemember when picture books never broke the 4th wall? When I read this book to students after it was first published, they went crazy. The idea that the book characters were talking to them was something they had never encountered before. Now my students are quite used to this idea. They are used to this idea thanks to Mo. I guess it wouldn’t be a good idea for me to quit my job and become a Mo Willems follower. (kind of like a deadhead, but without the tye-dye and VW bus.) – Amy Miele

From #5 to #3 (the previous Top 100 Picture Book Poll versus the curren Top 100 Picture Book Poll), it’s clear that the longer time goes on the more followers the Pigeon garners.  I credit his p.r. team.  Not only does he have his own books to fall back on (this year’s The Duckling Gets a Cookie?! is case in point) but he even shows up in other characters’ books!  Talk about a clever bird.

Children’s Literature describes the plot in this way: “In this picture book with simple pictures and lots of empty space, a cute blue pigeon begs the reader to let him drive the bus while the bus driver is gone. He implores, promises, whines, begs, bribes (like I don’t get enough of this from my kids) in order to get his chance. He says things like, ‘I bet your mom would let me’ or ‘I have dreams you know.’ This could actually be a sad book (hey, I was always the kid who wanted the Trix rabbit to actually get some Trix) except for the last two pages. After the bus drives off leaving the pigeon looking dejected, a semi drives up, the pigeon looks at it, and says, ‘Hey…’, and the end papers of the book have the pigeon smiling, eyes closed as he envisions himself driving a semi.”

Here is what we know about the creation of this book (yet again that sneaky 21st century publication date is wreaking havoc with my reference tools).  I’m drawing on my memory files here, so someone correct me if I get any of this wrong.  When our story begins Mo Willems is an animator, a cartoonist, and the kind of fellow who can do a gig on Sesame Street in his spare time.  Every year he creates these little sketchbooks for his friends and acquaintances.  He’s been doing them since 1993.  Anywho, he creates one of them and it’s just this funny little black and red ditty called Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus.  It’s pretty much what you see in its final finished form today, actually.  Well, his literary agent (Marcia Wernick) tries to sell this puppy all over town.  Bupkiss.  Publishers aren’t interested.  It’s way too weird.  Too wild.  Too unlike what’s selling today (though I’m sure someone could have remembered that The Monster at the End of this Book has a similar layout and a heaping helping of moolah as a result).  The happy ending?  Book sells.  Mo’s suddenly a picture book author/illustrator.  Batta bing, batta boom, instant success.  The masses cheer.  The children get to scream “No” even more often on a daily basis.

Six years later the Hyperion website announces that, “DON’T LET THE PIGEON DRIVE THE BUS! Has been named a finalist for the Picture Book Hall of Fame for the 2009 Indies Choice Book Awards.”  Picture Book Hall of Fame, eh?  Well guess what?  0 Comments on Top 100 Picture Books #3: Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems as of 1/1/1900

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19. Translation from ... Korean

       In The Korea Herald Claire Lee reports on an 'international workshop on Korean literature organized by Korea Literature Translation Institute' -- where she found: U.S. publisher interested in Korea's young writers, translators, as:

After publishing 16 books of Korean lit, mostly collections of poems, White Pine Press' founding editor and poet Dennis Maloney says he is now interested in writers and translators from Korea's younger generation.
       A representative from Dalkey Archive Press, who reportedly also have ambitious from-the-Korean plans (see my previous mention), was also there; great to see KLTI working so energetically to push Korean fiction abroad (and compare that with the recent Japanese fizzle (see my mention) ...).

       See also the index of Korean literature under review at the complete review. I'd love to cover more ..... Read the rest of this post

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20. 'South Asian writers making waves'

       At Dawn's InpaperMagzine, Claire Chambers offers a Who's who: South Asian writers making waves.
       Disappointingly restricted to English-language fiction (god forbid anything in translation might make waves ...), it's a decent if very basic overview.

       See also the index of South Asian literature under review at the complete review.

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21. Preparing for ZIBF

       The Zimbabwe International Book Fair -- once (but quite a while ago ...) the leading one in Africa -- is scheduled to run 30 July to 4 August this year, and there are encouraging signs that they are getting at least part of their act together -- so, for example, there's a Zimbabwe International Book Fair Association website .....
       Unfortunately the deadline for sending in proposals for presentations has passed, but from the suggested topics they list one hopes that some interesting subjects will be up for discussion; the theme of this year's fair is 'African Literature in The Global and Digital Era'.

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22. IF: Space

I actually have a literal illustration of Space! Usually have to kind of come in sideways on an Illustration Friday theme.
Did this several years ago for Earth Day. Not much of a "conceptual" illustrator, more towards "story" but thought I would try my hand at it.

1 Comments on IF: Space, last added: 6/24/2012
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Thanks for visiting the official site of children’s author Artie Knapp!  

Where Alligators Bowl, Roosters Moo, and Elephants work at car washes!


Use of any of the content on this website without permission is prohibited by federal law

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24. ‘Net News: 25th June 2012

1. What on earth is going on with ebooks?

The Book Depository is closing their ebookstore - users only have until the end of this month to download any ebooks they’ve bought.

Meanwhile in France, where ebook (and book) prices are fixed, the brick-and-mortar bookstore industry is doing just fine, thanks.

“Books are living things… They need to be respected, to be loved. We are giving them many lives.”

Slightly off-topic, but continuing the reverence for the lives of books is this beautiful post on the history of a particular book.

Books travel. They’re gifted and borrowed, they’re passed down the family as their owners die, they end in second-hand bookshops where somebody buys them to start the cycle all over again. 

If you are curious about ebooks and digital publishing, I recommend Digital Publishing Australia as the place to find out just what is happening in the ebook world.

2. Modern teenagers

Don’t understand kids these days? Find out what it’s like to be 12 years old in the year 2012.

If you need some inspiration on how to educate today’s teenagers, this TEDx talk by Tony Wagner will get you going.

What the world cares about is not what you know, but what you can do with what you know. And that is a completely different education problem.

 3. Discovering great reads

Riffle hopes to be the new social media tool for discovering books online. A new product from marketing developer Odyl, Riffle is slated to be invitation-only, facebook-friendly, and quality-controlled.

 4. Miles Franklin winner announced 

Just in case you missed it, (what, was your internet broken?), Anna Funder won the 2012 Miles Franklin award for All That I Am. Congratulations, Anna!

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25. New Voice: Tracy Bilen on What She Left Behind

Discussion questions
By Cynthia Leitich Smith
for Cynsations

Tracy Bilen is the first-time author of What She Left Behind (Simon Pulse, 2012). From the promotional copy:

"Don’t even think of leaving...I will find you," he whispered. "Guaranteed."

Sara and her mom have a plan to finally escape Sara’s abusive father. But when her mom doesn’t show up as expected, Sara’s terrified. Her father says that she’s on a business trip, but Sara knows he’s lying. Her mom is missing—and her dad had something to do with it.

Each day that passes, Sara’s more on edge. Her friends know that something’s wrong, but she won’t endanger anyone else with her secret. And with her dad growing increasingly violent, Sara must figure out what happened to her mom before it’s too late...for them both.

Was there one writing workshop or conference that led to an "ah-ha!" moment in your craft? What happened, and how did it help you?

My “ah-ha” moment came after I had finished writing my first (unpublished) novel and had a professional critique. The person doing the critique pointed out that my protagonist needed a story goal – something that she was working toward during every chapter.

Oh. Right. That.

Such a simple concept, but one that forever changed my novel writing! 

Looking back, are you surprised to debut in 2012, or did that seem inevitable? How long was your journey, what were the significant events, and how did you keep the faith?

From the outside, it can seem like being offered a publishing contract is a bit like winning the lotto. But the more involved I got in the writing community, the more this seemed attainable.

Taking novel writing courses taught me how to structure a novel. Joining SCBWI and RWA and attending conferences introduced me to manuscript critiques, led me to form a critique group, and taught me a lot about how to find an agent.

Entering contests gave me feedback and led to my winning a year-long mentorship with Michigan writer Shutta Crum.

When I finished my mentorship with Shutta, I knew I was ready to look for an agent, but I also knew that finding an agent wouldn’t necessarily mean that I’d actually sell my novel.

So I was cautiously optimistic when we went out on submission, yet confident that I’d done all I could to make this work. And I knew that if it didn’t work out this time, I would write another book and I’d try it again.

But it did work! The bottom line is that if you really want to publish your book and

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