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Viewing: Blog Posts from All 1562 Blogs, dated 11/18/2012 [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 75
1. CHRISTMAS DESIGN - ray stitch

i love the designs on these christmas ribbons designed by alice pattullo. alice created 8 designs in the series exclusively for stylish fabric store 'ray stitch' and they are available online for £1.50 per metre. or if you are in london you can visit their store and cafe in islington. also spotted at ray stitch was this cute 'cherry christmas' fabric collection by aneela hoey.

1 Comments on CHRISTMAS DESIGN - ray stitch, last added: 12/1/2012
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2. 2013 CALENDAR - aliette

with the year drawing to a close designers and illustrators have created lots calendars to show off their artworks. here is one that caught my eye featuring delicate illustrations french graphic designer from aliette. to create the calendar's theme aliette worked on collections of objects for each month of the year with 4 different color tones (one per season). available online here at etsy.

1 Comments on 2013 CALENDAR - aliette, last added: 12/18/2012
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3. Stay Close to Mama by Toni Buzzeo; Illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka

*Picture book for preschoolers through 1st graders
*Little giraffe as main character
*Rating: The illustrations of Stay Close to Mama are absolutely adorable, and it is a cute story, although parts confused me as an adult because the little giraffe gets in all sorts of dangerous situations because he doesn’t stay close to Mama, but Mama is right there–and both could be attacked. Anyway, kids won’t analyze like this–my daughter loves it at two because she is into Mama and Baby and animals. I got it from the library.

Short, short summary: Twiga (which means giraffe in Swahili) wants to explore his habitat, but his mama wants him to stay close and safe (as all of us mamas do!). Of course, he is curious, and so he sets off to explore (since Mama Giraffe cannot grab his hand), and he gets into all sorts of dangerous situations, such as in the river with an alligator, passing right by a hyena, getting stung on the nose by ants, and more. Each time, Mama is close behind, telling Twiga to stay safe; and in the end, Twiga realizes his mama is right–except he is still curious.

So, what do I do with this book?

1. For preschoolers and primary students, this is a great book to share and discuss stranger-danger and staying with your parent/teacher in a public place (such as on a field trip). Talk about what Twiga is doing in each illustration, and then compare that to a real life situation with your little one.

2. Stay Close to Mama can also be used to talk about the giraffe’s habitat in Africa and what else lives there–plants and animals. You can also bring into it predator and prey or food chains.

3. The author’s note at the end of the book gives some interesting information about giraffes. You could do one of two things with this. Before reading the book and the note, you could start a KWL chart–writing down what children already know about giraffes and then what they wonder. Then after the book, you can fill in the LEARN column. OR you could do a Venn diagram, comparing and contrasting a giraffe with an animal that children know more about like a dog.

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4. Event Recap: Laini Taylor at B&N Americana

Hi, everyone! Last Friday Laini Taylor stopped by the B&N Americana in Glendale, CA to sign her new book, Days of Blood and Starlight. Luckily it was scheduled for 7 pm, which meant that I could make it there after work. Due to some bad parking mojo, I made it to the store just in time to buy my book before the event started (and Leigh Bardugo was behind me in line!). Big thanks to our friend Liz who got there early and got us rock star seats. 

I'd met Laini last year at Book Soup so I already knew that it would be a really fun event, and she didn't disappoint. Laini started off by telling everyone a little bit about how the first book in this series, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, came to be. (This is where I start paraphrasing so some of this might not be exact but it's close to it). She was in the middle of writing a really epic post apocalyptic sci fi novel (with ballerinas!) and just wasn't feeling that spark with it. So she gave herself a free day to write which turned out to be one of the most fun writing days she'd ever had. In that free day she had written a story about Karou and her father. She had so much fun with these characters and wanted to know more about them. In the end, she finished her sci fi novel so and then immediately started writing Smoke and Bone.

Laini said that Daughter of Smoke and Bone was originally supposed to be a standalone book but the story and world kept growing.  Right now, the goal is to finish the series with the next book though she says she wouldn't say no to writing another book in that same world someday focusing on different characters.

Laini talked about writing Blood and Starlight and how hard it was to write a book about war. She said that, at times, she wanted to skip the hard parts and get back to the kissing. :) The book had to be dark but not so dark that people didn't want to go into that world. 

Some tidbits we learned from the Q&A:
  • Laini finds the snarky, teen dialogue between Karou and Zuzana easy to write.
  • Yes, there will be more Zuzana on Book 3.
  • On worldbuilding: She often writes fantasy worlds that are set in the real world. She doesn't do a lot of research but writes interesting tidbits down in her notebook, which she may find much later and use in a book. Wikipedia is one of her research tools.
  • She believes folklore and folk tales are helpful if you want to get a sense of a culture.
  • She doesn't like to outline. Though she knows how she'd like Book 3 to end, things happen, and there is a possibility that it might go in a different direction.
  • On what she's read lately: Robin Hobb (epic fantasy writer that Laini is a big fan of), Holly Black's Curse Workers series, Codename Verity, The Name of the Star

After the Q&A it was raffle time! Laini was raffling off two gorgeous pieces of jewelry from the new Smoke and Bone jewely line. I arrived late and didn't see the raffle box or I totally would have entered. I love the cool, creepy vibe of the pieces. 

our friend roxy actually won. yay, roxy!
Books were then signed. :)

If you're interested, Laini has a nice recap of her two days in L.A., including an awesome picture with some hardcore fans.

Thank you B&N Americana for another well organized event. Thanks to Laini, for being funny and sweet and awesome. We are all super excited to read the new book! Lastly, I leave you with this impressive photo of the long line for the signing. You should click on it to see it in full size.  

More photos on Facebook and on Flickr from our friend Katie.

click to enlarge (go on, do it)

More event pics available in the Facebook album for the event.

1 Comments on Event Recap: Laini Taylor at B&N Americana, last added: 11/30/2012
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5. Peter, Paul and Peepy

After Pennsylvania my Peep and I went to the SCBWI - LA Illustrator's Day . . .


SCBWI stands for Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators -- the largest children's book organization in the universe. We (I say we because I'm on the board along with these amazing authors/illustrators) have over 20,000 members.


It was held at the beautiful Clairbourn School. I love that place have have spoken there a few times including the time we saw (or didn't see) Pseudonymous Bosch . . .


Another time when we spoke there, we had lunch with Academy Award winning actress Marlee Matlin. She knew my books and asked if she could join us!

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(Marlee has the best complexion of anyone I've ever met.)

I've also keynoted there for SCBWI - LA Writer's Day. My editor Cheryl Klein spoke at that event, too. Here are Cheryl and I with my other editor, Arthur Levine. And here are Arthur and Cheryl having an typical editorial meeting . . .

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Then there was the time we spoke to the PTA . . .


However, on this day, the day we started with before we got all nostalgic, the illustrators ruled! Here's Mark Fearing's back, and then his front . . .

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The full day included portfolio reviews, agent and illustrator insights and more . . .

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Peepy was so helpful. She critiqued portfolios and even sold books . . .

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She worked very hard, and was pleased when her dear friend, Lee Wind, offered her some lovely refreshments . . .


We were so excited to hear author/illustrator Peter H. Reynolds speak. Last year-ish we visited his store, The Blue Bunny . . .

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Peepy's dear friend, famous world traveler, Priscilla, lives there. So if you stop by, be sure to say "hello" to her!


Fun Fact: Peter also illustrates Megan McDonald's JUDY MOODY books! And Megan and I wrote for American Girl together! (She wrote the Julie books, and I wrote Ivy Ling's book.) Here's Megan . . .


Look! It's Ivy on Oprah's show!

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Oops! Back to Los Angeles and Illustrator's Day. Here's Peter and his identical twin, Paul . . .

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Or, wait. Maybe this is Paul, who's the CEO of FableVision, and Peter, who's founder/CEO . . .

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When it came time for him, meaning Peter, not Paul, to draw, Peepy was his inspiration . . .

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Then again, isn't she everyone's inspiration?



(I actually bought this for someone one year.)


Oh, look! These books make lovely holiday gifts . . .


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6. The Day of the Dead by Karen King

One of the things I love about travelling is learning about the different customs various countries have. I usually come back with lots of ideas for stories, which unfortunately I rarely get time to write up.

I got married recently and we went on honeymoon to Mexico at the end of October. I was surprised to be see the above 'skeletons' in Cancun airport and couldn't resist taking a photo. Then I found that 'dressed up' skeletons were everywhere. Like these statues sitting outside a shop in Fifth Avenue.

There were even chocolate and candy skulls for sale. And 'warriors' walking around, decorated like this to represent 'life and death'. As you can see, half of him is decorated as a skeleton. He was very friendly though and happy to have his photo taken with me.

Then I discovered the reason why. It was just before the festival 'The Day of the Dead', which occurs on November 1st and 2nd. Mexicans believe that this is time the dead return to Earth to visit their families. According to legend, the souls of children visit on Nov 1st and everyone else on Nov 2nd. There are lots of celebrations  and graves are cleaned and decorated, with offerings left for the visiting ancestors - toys for children and bottles of alcohol for adults! This might seem a little macabre but Mexicans believe that death is transition from one life to another in a different level, and at this time of year the dead and living can both communicate with each other. How fascinating if this could really happen, I can feel a story brewing already.

If you could meet anyone from the past for one day, who would it be and what would you say to them?

Karen King writes all sorts of books for children. Check out her website at www.karenking.net.

8 Comments on The Day of the Dead by Karen King, last added: 12/2/2012
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7. ¡Announcing the first annual Brown Friday holiday shopping guide!

From Wikipedia: Black Friday is the name given to the day following Thanksgiving Day in the United States, traditionally the beginning of the Christmas shoppingseason.  On this day, most major retailers open extremely early, often at 4 am, or earlier, and offer promotional sales to kick off the holiday shopping season, similar to Boxing Daysales in many Commonwealth Nations.”

From La Bloga (today):Brown Friday is the name given to the day following Thanksgiving Day in the United States, traditionally the beginning of the Christmas shoppingseason.  On this day, most lovers of Latino literature will find that perfect book that will make a great gift during this holiday season.”

As we see news reports of people bundled up in long lines waiting to grab the best price on flat screen TVs (bring your pepper spray!), why not give the gift of literature by finding that perfect book written by one of the many talented Latino authors who populate this great place we call earth?  And while you’re at it, do you know of a Latino-owned bookstore in your city that carries such potential holiday gifts?

So, to kick off this first annual Brown Friday, here are a few titles from 2012 that would make good stocking stuffers.  And I encourage readers of La Bloga to add other titles in the comments below.  Also, if you have a great Latino-owned bookstore to recommend, please do so.  Here in Los Angeles, I recommend Tía Chucha’s Centro Cultural located at 13197-A Gladstone Ave., Sylmar, CA 91342.

Remember, this list is not meant to be exhaustive…it’s just a good start.

Western Avenue and Other Fictions (University of Arizona Press) by Fred Arroyo.  From the publisher: “In these engaging and often gripping short stories, Fred Arroyo takes us into the lives of working-class Hispanic migrants and immigrants, who are often invisible while they work in plain sight across America.  As characters intertwine and evolve across stories, Arroyo creates a larger narrative that dramatizes the choices we make to create identity, make meaning, and deal with hardships and loss.  His stories are linked by a concern with borders, both real and imagined, and the power that memory and imagination have to shape and structure our lives.”

Conjuro (Mammoth Publications) by Xánath Caraza.  From the publisher: “Xánath Caraza's first book-length collection Conjuro (Spellbound)… is published by Mammoth Publications, a Native-owned literary press.  In this tri-lingual text, Caraza combines Spanish, English, and Nahuatl (language of the Aztecs) to create a continuous spell of verse.  Caraza's writing derives from her awareness of Indigenous thought: words are tangible objects, not abstractions, and capable of influencing physical reality's web of interactions.”

Breathing, In Dust(Texas Tech University Press) by Tim Z. Hernandez.  From the publisher: “Deep within California’s golden agricultural heartland lies a rotten core: the fictional farming community of Catela, where the desperate realities of poverty, drug abuse, violence, and bigotry play out in the lives of cucarachas and coyotes, tweekers and strippers, wetbacks and white trash…. Tim Z. Hernandez’s land of pain and plenty, his Catela, evokes the essence of the migrant underclass experience.  But more, his stories take us there, into the streets and into the groves, into the back rooms of the carnicerias and the panaderias, onto the tracks, onto the thirsty highways, in scenes that unfold with graphic, breathtaking honesty.”

Performing the US Latina and Latino Borderlands (Indiana University Press) edited by Arturo J. Aldama, Chela Sandoval and Peter J. García.  From the publisher: “In this interdisciplinary volume, contributors analyze the expression of Latina/o cultural identity through performance.  With music theater, dance, visual arts, body art, spoken word, performance activism, fashion, and street theater as points of entry, contributors discuss cultural practices and the fashioning of identity in Latino/a communities throughout the US.  Examining the areas of crossover between Latin and American cultures gives new meaning to the notion of ‘borderlands.’  This volume features senior scholars and up-and-coming academics from cultural, visual, and performance studies, folklore, and ethnomusicology.”

Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America (Scribner) by Gustavo Arellano.  From the publisher: “The nationally syndicated columnist and bestselling author of ¡Ask a Mexican! presents a fascinating and tasty trip through the history and culture of Mexican food in this country, uncovering great stories and charting the cuisine’s tremendous popularity in el Norte.”

The Dreamer(Scholastic) by Pam Muñoz Ryan and illustrated by Peter Sís.  From the publisher: “From the time he is a young boy, Neftalí hears the call of a mysterious voice.  Even when the neighborhood children taunt him, and when his harsh, authoritarian father ridicules him, and when he doubts himself, Neftalí knows he cannot ignore the call.  Under the canopy of the lush rain forest, into the fearsome sea, and through the persistent Chilean rain, he listens and he follows…. Combining elements of magical realism with biography, poetry, literary fiction, and sensorial, transporting illustrations, Pam Muñoz Ryan and Peter Sís take readers on a rare journey of the heart and imagination.”

4 Comments on ¡Announcing the first annual Brown Friday holiday shopping guide!, last added: 11/30/2012
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8. Gift Idea - Klutz Activity Books

Gift Idea - Celebrate the Holidays with Klutz

About - Klutz has activity books for all genders and ages.  Today I wanted to share with you a few of my favorites.

For Boys ages 4 and up - Disney Lightning McQueen Build & Race - $16.99

I have a couple of young nephews that are huge Lightning McQueen fans.  They have the pajamas, and figurines, and with this book they can even make and race their own cars.

Synopsis - Punch out 12 sturdy board-stock cars, including familiar faces like Mater, Francesco, Sally, and, of course, Lightning McQueen. SET: Customize them with the included reusable vinyl stickers. GO: Snap on wheels and race your cars on the giant fold-out racetracks. Comes with: 12 punch-out cars, 16 interchangeable snap-on wheels, reusable stickers, giant foldout racetracks, pop-up storage garage.

For Boys Ages 8 and Up - The Klutz Coin Blaster Arcade - $19.99

I remember sitting at my desk in 5th grade watching boys make paper footballs and shooting them at each other.  I never knew how they did it, but I always wanted to.  The Klutz Coin Blaster Arcade, is a tabletop arcade inside a book.

Synopsis - The book is full of awesome tabletop target games including basketball, break the bank, and boxing. Ten different games test your coin blasting mastery and let you dominate the kitchen table. Comes With: 2 coin blasters, 2 ramp stands

For Girls Ages 4 and Up - Make Your Own Disney Princess Paper Purses - $16.99

I have a little Princess that absolutely loves Disney and all things girly.  She will dress up in beautiful costumes, and act out the story.  And if you get it wrong...she doesn't hesitate to let you know.  she would absolutely love to make and decorate her own purses inspired by her favorite princesses.

Synopsis - Make three themed purses inspired by fairy tales’ most fashionable heroines: Belle, Ariel, and Cinderella. Customize with glittery jewels, enchanting Disney Princess cameo stickers, and more, then fill with the included ready-to-cut-out royal accessories. It’s everything young princesses need for endless imaginative play. Comes with: : 3 sturdy cardstock purses, Disney Princess cameo stickers, jewels, sequins, pom-poms, satin cord, glue, 2 sheets of cut-out accessories.

And last but certainly not least,

For Girls Ages 10 and Up -  Klutz Beaded Bands - $21.99

We've tried some of the bead projects from Klutz before, and I absolutely love them.  The designs are current and new, and the instructions are easy to follow.  We made some wickedly cool bracelets last year, and it would be easy to turn the patterns into necklaces or rings. 

Synopsis - Make gorgeous beaded bracelets that can be worn stylishly wrapped or stacked on your wrist. These pretty, polished, and professional bands might look difficult to make, but are actually simple to do. With the Klutz custom-designed loom, beautiful beads, and super-clear instructions, you’ll master all seven of the stunningly unique designs. Comes With: custom loom, over 900 glass and specialty beads, closure beads, cord, beading thread, 3 needles

I received a product to review from the above company or their PR Agency. Opinions expressed in this post are strictly my own - I was not influenced in any way. I received no monetary compensation for this post.

3 Comments on Gift Idea - Klutz Activity Books, last added: 11/30/2012
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9. Illustration Friday - Zoom

©Lesley Breen Withrow

This weeks Illustration Friday topic is 'zoom' and I thought this art of mine fit well. It also ties in nicely with the coming winter season here in New England. I haven't gotten a chance to go ice skating yet, but I certainly was bundled-up in my winter coat, hat, gloves and scarf last week!

1 Comments on Illustration Friday - Zoom, last added: 11/30/2012
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10. Things you could put in your pocket

6 Comments on Things you could put in your pocket, last added: 12/1/2012
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11. Writing conferences: Everyone has a first one! Agents included...

by guest blogger, Gemma Cooper I read the lovely Jo Wyton's blog about her first conference experience with interest, because her first conference was also my first conference! And we sat across from each other at dinner on the conference Friday night and talked about our virgin conference concerns. I remember her admitting she was nervous about talking to agents and editors (although you

23 Comments on Writing conferences: Everyone has a first one! Agents included..., last added: 11/30/2012
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12. Just in Time for Holiday Gift Giving! Enter Our Book Giveaway!

"Like" the NCBLA on Facebook, and You Could Win an Outstanding Collection of Books for Young People Valued at Over $500!

What could be better than opening a brand new book, its pristine pages never opened or perused by anyone else? How about a big box filled with an assortment of new books to share with young people, all written and illustrated by some of America's most gifted storytellers and artists and delivered to you free?!

Because the NCBLA believes in the magic and power of books, we want to spread the joy of reading this holiday season. We invite you to enter to win an outstanding collection of books for young people of all ages valued at over five hundred dollars—many of which have been signed by the authors! All you have to do is "like" us on Facebook

To like us on Facebook now, click here!

Including some of the finest fiction and nonfiction, picture books and novels, our giveaway collection features a diverse assortment of hardcover, paperback, and audio books by award-winning authors and illustrators:

2012 Newbery Medal Winner
William Alexander, Natalie Babbitt, Mary Brigid Barrett, Calef Brown, Susan Cooper, Kate DiCamillo, Timothy Basil Ering, Jack Gantos, Nikki Grimes, Steven Kellogg, Patricia MacLachlan, Patricia McKissack, Marilyn Nelson, Katherine Paterson, Lesa Cline-Ransome, James Ransome, Chris Raschka, Tanya Lee Stone
Chris Van Dusen
and MORE 

Images of just a few of our giveaway book titles are included here. Check this blog and our Facebook page often to discover the other titles included in our giveaway.

2012 Caldecott Award Winner
  Our book giveaway is the perfect 
  solution to your holiday shopping
  woes! With the spirit of holiday
  giving in mind, the winner will
  receive enough books for personal
  gift giving AND philanthropic gift
  giving, enabling you to donate freely
  to the local classrooms, libraries,
  hospitals, or worthy youth
  organizations of your choice. 

How to Enter to Win Books!

Hardcover and signed by the author!
The book giveaway starts today, Monday, November 19, 2012. All you need to do is visit our Facebook page and "like" us before 11:00 PM EST on Monday, December 10, 2012, and you will be automatically entered in the giveaway.
(Our page is titled The National Children's Book and Literacy Alliance.) To like our page, simply click the Like button at the top of our Facebook page. The winner will be randomly chosen from all our Facebook "likes." We will announce the winner on Wednesday, December 12, 2012. 

Hardcover and signed by the author!
Companion audiobook also included!
Please share our book giveaway information with all the parents, guardians, grandparents, aunts and uncles, teachers, librarians, and other adults who live and work with young people you know!

Being a Facebook friend of the NCBLA ensures you are among the first to receive our activist alerts, news of our latest projects and events, and critical information regarding literacy and literature for young people.

To stay even more connected with the NCBLA, we invite you to sign up for our Friends of the NCBLA email list. 

TWO hardcover copies included in giveaway!
To be added to our email list, email us at info@thencbla.org and type "Friends of the NCBLA" in the subject field. Please include your name, mailing address, phone number, preferred email address, and other information you would like us to know (such as your profession and professional or personal interest in young people, literacy, libraries, and literature) in the email.

For the latest updates on the Book Giveaway, be sure to check our Facebook page and this blog often.

To read the official contest rules, click here.

0 Comments on Just in Time for Holiday Gift Giving! Enter Our Book Giveaway! as of 11/30/2012 7:17:00 PM
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13. Monday Mishmash 11/19/12

Happy Monday! Here's my mishmash of thoughts:

  1. Thanksgiving  Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. I got to help out with my daughter's Thanksgiving program at school. It was so much fun and so cute.
  2. Editing  I've been editing a lot lately for clients. Other than being a writer and a mom, editing is such an amazing job. I get to read awesome manuscripts and help other writers.
  3. Holiday cards  The photo cards I ordered came in. Now I just need to print my labels and mail them.
  4. Author events  I was at the Cops and Kids Reading Room on Saturday, reading my picture book, May the Best Dog Win. These events are always so much fun, and it was sponsored by Just Born candy company.
  5. Touch of Death Blog Tour  I have some great stops coming up on my blog tour, including giveaways, character interviews (so fun!), and reviews. Here are two amazing stops in case you missed them here and here.

That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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14. Barfoot & Thompson Book written by Kids

The Miracle at Gull’s Bayby Auckland Primary & Intermediate Students

Edited by John Parker and Illustrated by Keven Mealamu (Published by Barfoot & Thompson)

With seven new stories for readers to enjoy, The Miracle at Gull’s Bay is the new anthology of children’s stories from Barfoot & Thompson’s Young Author’s Challenge. With themes of helping one another, tackling pollution, perseverance and a funny story about too much bacon, this collection of stories has been illustrated by rugby hero Keven Mealamu and edited by children’s author John Parker.

With a story written in diary format, one in a bird’s point of view, another in a dog’s, these stories will delight young readers and inspire budding authors to take up their pens.

The past four story books have helped Barfoot & Thompson raise a combined $90,000 for Starship. Through the Barfoot & Thompson Magic of Reading programme, copies of the books are also provided to Starship Children’s Hospital and Whangarei Hospital’s Children’s Ward where they are given to young patients to read and take home.

All proceeds go to Starship Hospital

Each copy costs $15 and can be ordered online from www.barfoot.co.nz/storybook


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15. Gems II. ©2012 Dain Fagerholm

©2012 Dain Fagerholm

0 Comments on Gems II. ©2012 Dain Fagerholm as of 11/30/2012 7:01:00 PM
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16. Comment on Storytime: Stories in the Stars by a bad case of books

Thank you!

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17. Sunday Sketching -

 Last weekend, Greg Manchess took a look at my purse Moleskine and suggested that I try pushing the caricatures/exaggerate the features in my people drawing in here. So, I attempted. Enjoyed for the first three heads...

...then my fledgling cartooning attempts kind of ran dry, but I think it's a great idea, and I hope to continue to push it in the future.

In the teensy purse Moleskine, balanced upon my knee.

2 Comments on Sunday Sketching -, last added: 11/30/2012
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18. Advice on first steps in getting published

Open letter to new writers:

Writing a manuscript is hard enough, but submissions can be downright scary. I get a lot of requests for advice, and although my own commitments won't allow me to take on any mentoring or manuscript assessment, I do have a few suggestions. 

Copyright Protection
Please note: these are my opinions only. I am not a lawyer or copyright expert - please check the copyright council of the country you are submitting to for more specific and up to date advice. 

Generally, you automatically have copyright of what you have written and do not need a lawyer when you submit your work to a publisher. This will be strengthened by adding 'unpublished work © your name, date' at the end of the piece. I think you can be very confident that your ideas won't be stolen. 

Manuscript Assessment and Development.

Cathie Tasker was the children's book editor for HarperCollins (she published my first 7 books, including Ark in the Park, which won the Australian Children's Book Council book of the year). She later moved to Koala Books, but is now doing manuscript assessment. cathie.tasker(at) bigpond.com

The successful children's author Sally Odgers also does manuscript assessments. 

Virginia Lowe runs courses on writing for children  http://www.createakidsbook.com.au

http://cbiclubhouse.com has a lot of good tips on writing in general and writing for children in particular. 

Jackie Hoskings has a weekly online newsletter on writing for children, Pass it On jackiehosking(at) bigpond.com

If you use twitter it could also be helpful to put in hashtags such as #childrensbooks #agents etc to find useful groups

Also keep your eyes open for competitions, which are often a good way in - my first book was published by winning a Scholastic picture book text competition. 

Publishing: Submissions and Opportunities

There should not be any cost involved in publishing with a publishing house. They pay you! There is certainly cost involved in self-publishing, though it's an area I know very little of.  

It's helpful to have an agent but not essential; there's often a catch 22 that agents may not accept you unless you have a contract ready to sign. 

Check the Golvan Arts Management site for thorough advice on submitting to a publisher or agent. To choose which publisher you will submit to, find the one whose work you like and where you can see your work fitting – eg if you're writing humour, send it to a publisher who publishes humour. 

At the moment many of the big publishing houses have set days on which they accept unsolicited manuscripts. Check their websites. 

Also, Brian Grove at My Perfect Pitch has general publishing advice for unpublished authors, and a list of publishers accepting submissions.

The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators has lots of information for members on their website and in their magazines, and of course at their meetings.    http://www.scbwiaustralia.org 

For general information on writing and contracts in Australia, consider joining the Australian  Society of Authors. asauthors.org  You can join as an associate member before you're published. There's also a Fellowship of Australian Writers. 

In Canada, the relevant association is The Writers Union of Canada

Good luck!
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19. Running With Sass

I confess, as of late I’ve been running with quite a bit of sass.

sassy girl

That’s a little sassy, no?

I was running with sass when some idiot in a car thought it funny to start hollering at a runner minding her own business. This guy was real original, “Runners are skinny!” Usually I just ignore shouts but he was driving super close to the bike lane (ie: me), I was extra sassy, and I flipped him the bird. Hey, did you hear? The bird is the word.

Later on I was a tad on the sassy side when I noticed the man running on the opposite side of the street clearly needed his ego in check. Namely he suddenly picked up the pace in an effort stay ahead of me. Then it was more like to stay even with me. So I confess I just couldn’t resist and chicked the dude. Hey, did you hear? I guess the chick is the word?

Too may people out strolling on the sidewalks, blocking the entire way are apt to make a runner find some extra sass. You can only be patient for so long. I did the cough a few times as I came up behind them, still nothing. I wasn’t as sassy as I could have been, I just said, “Excuse me” rather than barrel through them. Though, to be totally honest, it would have felt kinda good to knock some elbows. ;)

Then I just plain got sassy with myself, “Legs, what is your problem? Why must you insist upon crawling up this hill, I swear you feel like a load of bricks. I’m not happy with you, I’m filing for divorce.” My divorce is pending…the legs are on warning, so I’ll wait it out a bit and see if they start acting right. ;) [Chances are in my favor, we all have slog-fest runs, BUT better runs show their faces rather soon.]

It’s okay to have a little sass in your stride. Running is the perfect outlet to sort of ‘get off your chest’ whatever is weighing you down or agitating you in life. Sometimes you run off a little steam…
run pissed
Other times you run on bliss. You know what I’m talking about; a runner excited is a runner with a little extra bounce in their stride.
rainbow run
I’ve done the total zone-out run to. Eyes sort of glazed over and you get home and think, “How did I get here, that was a run on total auto-pilot.”

Today I was running with sass.

1) When was the last time you were running with sass? Can you share a particular sassy event?

2) What was the ‘emotion’ of your last run? (ie: venting anger, nervous excitement, out for blood competitive, auto-pilot, etc.)

3) Last run you wanted to maybe divorce your legs…go! Then the last time you decided to retract that filing.

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20. CAT REVIEW: Vince ponders “Pilgrim Cat”

Vince mimics "Pilgrim Cat.In this season of giving thanks, I am happy to welcome my cat, Vince, back to the blog. Vince has reviewed quite a few cat-themed books for me over the years, but lately he’s taken a break because he hasn’t been feeling well.

But Vince has been bouncing back, and said he felt up to another review.

So here he is. Take it away, Vince!


Have you ever noticed Thanksgiving is always about the turkey?

Not that I’d want to trade places. But it’s always turkey this and turkey that. I mean, it’s just a bird.

So when I saw the cover of a picture book called Pilgrim Cat (Albert Whitman, 2004), I was intrigued. There, on the cover of what was clearly a Thanksgiving book, sits a cat on a perch regally surveying his minions, I mean the Pilgrims.

I liked the cover so much, I had to try to imitate it. How do you think I did?

I’m still waiting for my minions to show up, but I’m sure they’ll be here soon. Everything moves slowly during the holiday season.

In fact, Faith, the little girl featured in the book, has to wait a long, long time as the ship she’s on travels from England to the New World.  Luckily for her, there’s a pouncy, mouser of a cat on board to keep her company. They become friends, and when Faith gets sick waiting for the men to build homes, the cat curls up right next to her head and stays there until she feels better.

I was very proud of my literary counterpart at this point in the story. I’ve been known to do the same thing when the smallest human at my house is sad or sick.

So once everyone is on dry land and getting settled in, Faith returns the favor by sneaking fish to the cat when the adults are planting corn.

But then, the unthinkable happens. The cat goes missing. Faith cries, but even that doesn’t bring it back. I had to admit I was a bit worried here. I, of course, know that cats can take great care of themselves, but this is the wilderness we’re talking about. Bears. Panthers. Deep forests.

Fortunately, Squanto, an Indian who has befriended the Pilgrims and met Faith’s cat, finds the cat in a hollow log with — get this — kittens!

I did not see that coming.

Faith is thrilled. She carries the cat and the kittens home in her apron and they become a integral part of the Pilgrim village. Then, when the Indians and the Pilgrims join the for the first Thanksgiving feast, Faith has even more cats to sneak treats to under the table.

Now maybe I’ve become more of a softie lately because I haven’t been feeling well, but this story made me say, “Awwwww.”  So I’d highly recommend it.

Now, if only my minions would arrive. I could use a snack!


Thank you, Vince! It’s great to have you back.

Pilgrim Cat is written by Carol Antoinette Peacock and illustrated by Doris Ettlinger. You can learn more about Carol Antoinette Peacock at her website. You can learn more about Doris Ettlinger at her website.

If you’d like to see other books Vince has reviewed, here are a few:

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21. Gems.

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22. With a negative spin, something like this could be really scary


Nestle has a campaign that will them to track a buyer and shower him or her with prizes. But what if someone did something like this, only evil?

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23. Net News: 19th November 2012

1. Robert Louis Stevenson Day

Robert Louis Stevenson Day, which comes around every year on his birth date the 13th of November, had a great array of events to celebrate the day – including a moustache flash mob, photo-literary, Treasure Island readings and much much more.

For a full list of the events surrounding the day the cityofliterature website has all the details you need. While they are Edinburgh based, there’s some great ideas there that you can adapt for your own school or library.

Thank you Edinburgh! Great day, fantastic looking events.

2. Graphic Novels Melbourne premiere

The very lovely- and CYL regular- Bernard Caleo and Daniel Hayward have made a documentary on comics making culture in Melbourne. One and all are invited to the screening premiere of what promises to be a fascinating and unique look at Melbourne’s history.

The CYL team are big comic fans and have an introduction book list and a follow-up book list to kick start your comic/graphic novel reading.

3. YALSA YA Lit Symposium and Future Tends! 

A lovely little round-up of the YALSA’s YA Lit Symposium. What’s the ‘next big thing?’ Happily Australian YA made the list (presented by our very own Adele Walsh), along with Fandom, Contemporary YA and Transmedia.

Love the shout out to all the up and coming Aussie YA authors. When I sat back and read Adele’s Read Alert post about the YALSA Symposium I was struck by how impressive this new wave of Aussie authors are. There’s so much talent there, and I think Australia gets to be really proud of all the unique voices being published at the moment.

4. Publishers Weekly Best Of 2012.

I don’t know about you, but I always get excited when I see a Best Of list. Publishers Weekly have several categories that might be off interest to you from their Best Of list. There’s the comics list, children’s picture books (I am a huge Olivia fan, right on!), and children’s fiction.

Children’s fiction was an interesting list. I was extremely excited to see Bitterblue and The Fault In Our Stars, an Inky Longlisted title and Inky Award winner respectively.

5. Famous Five to be Famous Again.

The Famous Five series by Enid Blyton will – hopefully – be gracing our television sets.

Now all I need is a mini-series based on Malory Towers – BBC made of course – and my world is complete. However, I’m a little afraid of casting choices (should my dream ever come true), due to the… new direction the publishers have taken with Darrell.

Darrell when I was a child:

Darrell now:


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24. Colour Inspiration: Pink Cupcake Hues

The photograph was taken by a multi-talented musician friend, Susy Sapphire, when she was over for a visit. She made those delicious cupcakes too. Cheers.


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25. Comment on Storytime: A is for Alligator by PragmaticMom

I love how both these picture books are from such great authors AND have alligators in them! So fun!

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