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Viewing: Blog Posts from All 1562 Blogs, dated 11/22/2012 [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 85
1. 4 Award-Winning Children’s Picture Books – Giveaway

By Bianca Schulze, The Children’s Book Review
Published: November 23, 2012

Enter to win a picture book prize pack that contains four award-winning books from author Sherrill S. Cannon.

One (1) winner will receive:

  • Gimme-Jimmy
  • The Magic Word
  • Peter and the Whimper-Whineys
  • Santa’s Birthday Gift

Giveaway begins November 23, 2012, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends December 18, 2012, at 11:59 P.M. PST.



Jimmy is a bully whose favorite word is “Gimme”, who has to learn to share.  Every time he uses the word “Gimme”, his hand swells.  He finds that when he starts using his New Polite Rule, his hand returns to normal and he has a lot of new friends.

Reading level: Ages 3-8

Paperback: 32 pages

Awards: Winner of 2012 Silver Readers Favorite Award, and 2012 Pinnacle Achievement Award

The Magic Word

Elisabeth needs to learn The Magic Word “please”, and to use it every day. She makes lots of new friends when she starts thinking of others and being polite.

Reading level: Ages 2-8

Paperback: 28 pages

Awards: 2011 Gold Readers Favorite Award, 2011 Pinnacle Achievement Award, 2011 Global eBook Finalist Award, 2012 Reader Views 2nd place, 2012 International Book Award Finalist and 2012 Next Gen Indie Finalist

Peter and the Whimper-Whineys

Peter and the Whimper-Whineys helps parents cope with whining in a fun way.  Peter learns that Whimper-Whineyland is not a nice place to be!

Reading level: Ages 3-8

Paperback: 30 pages

Awards: 2011 Bronze Readers Favorite Award and 2011 USA Best Books Finalist

Santa’s Birthday Gift

After reading a story of the nativity to a grandchild, she asked “But where’s Santa?”  Santa’s Birthday Gift to Jesus is his promise to bring gifts to children each year to celebrate the birth of the Christ Child.

Reading level: Ages 2-7

Paperback: 24 Pages

Awards: 2011 Silver Readers Favorite Award and 2011 Indie Excellence Finalist

About the Author

Sherrill S. Cannon is a former teacher, grandmother of ten and winner of a dozen awards for her four books. She is also the author of six published and internationally performed plays for elementary school students. For more information, visit: http://cannon.aegauthorblogs.com

How to Enter

  • Fill out the required fields below
  • Enter once daily

Giveaway Rules

  • Shipping Guidelines: This book giveaway is open to participants in the United States, Canada and United Kingdom only.
  • Giveaway begins November 23, 2012, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends December 18, 2012, at 11:59 P.M. PST, when all entries must be received. No purchase necessary. See official rules for details. View our privacy policy.

Prizing courtesy of Sherrill S. Cannon.

Original article: 4 Award-Winning Children’s Picture Books – Giveaway

©2012 The Childrens Book Review. All Rights Reserved.

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2. Books for Christmas: children's books - Telegraph

ooks for Christmas: children's books - Telegraph

I believe this Christmas roundup by Dinah Hall first appeared in the print paper last weekend. It is now available online...

Her closing choice caught my eye:

I would normally run a mile from a book featuring occult murders but The Diviners by Libba Bray (Atom, £12.99) is "pos-i-tute-ly" the duck's quack. Evie O'Neill is sharp as a tack and with a mouth like Dorothy Parker. At home among the speakeasies and Ziegfeld Follies, she also has a special power which will lead her to the truly creepy Naughty John. DINAH HALL

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3. Guardian children's books podcast: Cornelia Funke on Ghost Knight | Children's books | guardian.co.uk

Guardian children's books podcast: Cornelia Funke on Ghost Knight

6-minute interview and reading, recorded on recent visit to Salisbury Cathedral by the German author

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4. 2013 Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge

2013 Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge hosted by The Book Vixen

We all know I'm terrrrrible at keeping up with challenges, but I can't resist joining them. And with as little as I've read this year, I don't think it will be too much trouble to try this one by The Book Vixen.

Reading Challenge Details:
  • Runs January 1, 2013 – December 31, 2013 (books read prior to 1/1/2013 do not count towards the challenge). You can join at anytime. Sign up on The Book Vixen’s blog.
  • The goal is to outdo yourself by reading more books in 2013 than you did in 2012. See the different levels below and pick the one that works best for you. You can move up a level as often as you’d like but no moving down.
  • Books can be any format (bound, ebook, audio).
  • Novellas that are at least 100 pages in length, as well as full-length novels, will count for this reading challenge.
  • Re-reads and crossovers from other reading challenges are allowed.
  • Grab the reading challenge button and post this reading challenge on your blog to track your progress. Please include a link back to this sign-up post so others can join the reading challenge too. You do not have to be a book blogger to participate; you can track your progress on Goodreads or LibraryThing.

     Getting my heart rate up – Read 1–5 more books
     Out of breath – Read 6–10 more books
     Breaking a sweat – Read 11–15 more books
     I’m on fire! – Read 16+ more books

I'll be tracking my reading here and on Goodreads.

Current goal (may change depending how many books I finish by Dec 31, 2012): 78... I’m on fire!

Bring it on, 2013!

1 Comments on 2013 Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge, last added: 11/30/2012
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5. Teen Choice Giveaway

130x130_sweepstakes_1 It's time again for a new STACKS Blast Sweepstakes, and this month's prize is a good one! For December, we are offering you a chance to win 2 items from the swag that celebrities got at the 2012 Teen Choice Awards! But, here's the thing. You can ONLY enter if you subscribe to the STACKS Blast Newsletter.

The STACKS Blast is our free monthly e-mail newsletter. You give us your e-mail address and an e-mail address for one of your parents, and once a month (usually around the 15th), we give you a newsletter full of games, videos, celeb news, books, message board happenings, and a sweepstakes you can enter.

First, you sign up for the newsletter. Then you wait until December 15 when Hooray! the STACKS Blast will arrive in your e-mail inbox. Inside, you'll see a special section for the STACKS Giveaway. That's where you enter for a chance to win one of the necklaces from this Lena display worth $127, and one of the purses from this McFadin display worth $80. (Carly Rae Jepsen is a fan, but the prize is not the exact bag she is holding.)

Lena Mcfaddin

Sign up for the STACKS Blast Newsletter now so you can enter the sweepstakes when it comes. Good luck!

— Sonja, STACKS Staffer

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6. Jan Greenberg, the Arts, and BOOK LINKS

The November 2012 issue of Book Links features a focus on literature and the arts. I was fortunate enough to interview Jan Greenberg, author and collaborator on many nonfiction and biographical books about contemporary artists, as well as two fantastic ekphrastic (art-based) poetry collections, Heart to Heart and Side to Side. She shared the roots of her interest in art, back-stories on the creation of several books, including Ballet for Martha, the benefits of collaboration, her research process, and her views on the importance of art education. Look for "Talking with Jan Greenberg" (pp. 19-23) along with Common Core Connections and activities based on some of her works.

Here are a few extra nuggets that were not included in the print article!

More about her collaboration with Sandra Jordan--

Jan Greenberg: Once a guard at MOMA asked us why we were standing in front of a Jackson Pollock for such a long time. Most people, he said, last around 20 seconds in front of a painting. I might add that these field trips are accompanied by some delicious meals, much laughter, and visits to both our families. I feel as if Sandra’s Aunt Gay and her sister Nancy are my relatives too.

There are studies from the Getty and other research institutions that perception in the arts improves critical thinking skills. Although I believe in the arts for their own sake, I know what a wonderful teaching tool the visual arts are for stimulating discussion in the classroom. That there has been renewed interest in nonfiction in the Common Core curriculum is gratifying to me. I write for a nonfiction children’s literature blog. I.N.K, which has introduced me to authors who share many fascinating insights about their books, classroom activities, and technical information.

I also asked her about  the ideal role of technology in creating and/or promoting art and poetry for young people in this digital age.

Jan Greenberg:
The electronic media is very important. Google any artist, artwork, or poet or poem of note and up they pop on the computer screen. One of the most valuable parts of my education was memorizing poetry and reciting it in class. I still remember the lines to Wordsworth’s “Daffodils,” Frost’s “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” and the first stanza of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. The rhythms, figurative language, and emotional qualities of poetry are enhanced by speaking the words out loud, by taking them in, and making them one’s own.

And here is a sampling of suggested activities based on her works.

In the classroom:
After reading selections and sharing art images from Greenberg’s Heart to Heart: New Poems Inspired by Twentieth-Century American Art and Side by Side: New Poems Inspired by Art from Around the World, invite students to talk about their favorite poem selections.

Which key aspects of the art does the poem showcase in the poem?
The image itself?
The story behind the art?
The emotional impact of the art?
How does the poet arrange the words, lines, and stanzas to create the poem?

Poets arrange words on the page much like artists use various media to create their art. Discuss the choices in spacing, line breaks and stanzas the students notice in the poems. Then invite students to try creating their own ekphrastic poems in response to artworks.

Begin by looking for compelling images from print resources like magazines, newspapers, or family photos or online resources like Flickr, Google images, or the GoogleArtProject. Students can work with a partner to choose a favorite piece, talk about the art, and create a poem inspired by the art. Then come together as a group to share art selections and new poems and post the pairs together in a class display.

Common Core Connections
RL.5.5. Explain how a series of chapters, scenes, or stanzas fits together to provide the overall structure of a particular story, drama, or poem.
RL.5.7. Analyze how visual and multimedia elements contribute to the meaning, tone, or beauty of a text (e.g., graphic novel, multimedia presentation of fiction, folktale, myth, poem).

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7. Happy Thanksgiving!

Would you know who is the greatest saint in the world: It is not he who prays most or fasts most, it is not he who gives most alms or is most eminent for temperance, chastity or justice; but it is he who is always thankful to God, who wills everything that God wills, who receives everything as an instance of God's goodness and has a heart always ready to praise God for it.   William Law

 Had Thanksgiving dinner with some friends down the street, and their extended family (about 25 of us total). Kailin made her requisite 8 dozen butter rolls - a family(s) favorite (2 pans are already in the oven). I think there were maybe 8 rolls left after dinner...

 Had counters full of food - 2 turkeys, 2 types of stuffing, 5 different veggies dishes, rough-mashed potatoes and amazing gravy, about 5 different types of jello salads(?)(!), 8 dozen rolls, etc... All delicious!

 (happy carcasses...)

 Kailin - with her adopted 'siblings' 

 (she spends a lot of time over at their house..)

Oh, and kittens!

Lovely day. Happy Thanksgiving!

2 Comments on Happy Thanksgiving!, last added: 11/30/2012
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8. Free Fall Free – One More Day

The delightful pair of mice dressed up for Thanksgiving was sent in by Roberta Biard.  She was the first illustrator featured in 2012. http://wp.me/pss2W-3U0

Roberta is a full time illustrator from Texas. She specializes in whimsical artwork for children’s picture books and related industries.

Writers and Illustrator have one more day to send in something to win one of the following:

1. If you have or are writing a book, you can submit it for a chance to have editor Karen Chaplin read and critique your first page. 

2. If you are a published author, you have a chance to be the Featured Author of the Month – be interview and get your book or book seen.

3. Illustrator’s have a chance to be featured on Illustrator Saturday by submitting a piece of art and a link to see more.

4. Illustrators who have already been featured on Illustrator Saturday, Illustrators who want to be considered for Illustrator Saturday, or Illustrators just starting out and do not have enough artwork to be featured, can still get there artwork or new illustrations seen by professionals in the industry by participating.

Karen Chaplin began her publishing career at Scholastic. She was most recently an editor at Puffin Books/Penguin Young Readers Group, where sheedited Zombie Queen of Newbury High and Fairy Bad Day by Amanda Ashby, Paris Pan Takes the Dare by Cynthea Liu, and Exclusively Chloe by J. A. Yang, among others. Currently, she is an Editor atHarperCollins Children’s Books, where she acquires middle-grade and YA fiction. A few recent projects she’s worked on includeSomething Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard, Starling by Lesley Livingston, andDon’t Turn Around by Michelle Gagnon. You can follow Karen on Twitter @CapChapReads.

Fundamentally, Karen loves a good story with strong characters that leap off the page and stay with her long after she’s finished reading. A short sampling of what she is looking for include contemporary realistic fiction (e.g., contemporary romance), anything for middle-grade boys, techie/spy/action thrillers, middle-grade mystery, YA psychological thriller/horror, and reality-based sci-fi/fantasy (i.e., the story needs to take place on earth or in a place that is recognizable and accessible).

You must do one of the following:

1. If you choose to follow me or are already following me, you will get your name put into the basket.

2. If you put a link up on your blog or website, you will get your name put in the basket. If you have both, you can choose to put a link on both and get your name in twice.

3. Do two Tweets about a post on my blog and get your name in the basket. This can be repeated three additional times for a total of four times in the basket. Tweets must be done on separate dates.

4. Post something on Facebook and get your name in the basket.

5. Do it all and you will have your name in the basket eight times. On November 24th I will put all the names in the basket and I will pull out ten names and read the first pages that go with the name. Out of those ten, I will pick 4 to send to our quest critiquer for November.

Here is what you need to do:

WRITERS: Please attach your double spaced, 12 point font, 23 line first page to an e-mail and send it to kathy(dot)temean(at)gmail(dot)com. Also cut and paste it into the body of the e-mail. Put “November First Page Critique” in the subject line. Make sure you have your name on the submission, a title, and indicate the genre. Also let me know which steps you took, so I will know how many times to put your name in the basket. If you end up doing more things to get additional entries, then e-mail me by November 24th with the updated number you have completed. Please let me know what you have done and when, so I can check it out.

Published Children’s Book Writers: You can also participate by doing one or more of the five above steps to get your name in the “Book Feature” hat. If your name is drawn, I will do a post featuring your book, an interview, bio, and pictures of the cover and interior art (if that applies). Author Susan Hood was the winner for October.  Here’s the link: http://wp.me/pss2W-5Bc

Please put “November Children’s Book Promo” in the subject area and let me know the steps you took, so I can put the correct amount of slips in the basket. Please send it to kathy(dot)temean(at)gmail(dot)com. Deadline November 24th.

ILLUSTRATORS: If you are an illustrator, you can participate and choose to get featured on Illustrator Saturday or get your new book featured by following the five steps for the writers. Please put “November Illustrator Feature” in the subject area. I will need to know what steps you completed to get into the basket and I will need a few illustrations or if you want to promote your book, then send the name and cover along. Also include a promtional blurb.  Please send it to kathy(dot)temean(at)gmail(dot)com.

Call for illustrations for November (You do not have to be narrowed down to send in a piece of art for Nvember). I’m looking for illustrations that reflect the feel of Fall, the election, and Thanksgiving. You do not have to wait, I will post the illustrations as they come in.  I would like to have them no later than November 25th, since it is hard to find the right place for your work, instead of squeezing it in at the end of the month. I would love to have something to go with the election on Tuesday. Please make sure the illustration is at least 500 pixels wide and include a blurb about yourself and a link to see more of your work. Please send it to kathy(dot)temean(at)gmail(dot)com and put “November Illustration” in the subject box.

Talk tomorrow,


Filed under: marketing, opportunity, Places to sumit Tagged: Critique, Editor Karen Chaplin, First pages, HarperCollins, Roberta Biard

1 Comments on Free Fall Free – One More Day, last added: 11/30/2012
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9. jeanphilippedume: Work in progress. Courtesy Monsieur Dume.


Work in progress.

Courtesy Monsieur Dume.

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10. PiBoIdMo Day 23: Carol Gordon Ekster Believes The Stories Find Us

Last year I was a lurker on the PiBoIdMo site. The posts were inspirational. But I couldn’t (more accurately, I wouldn’t) do the listing of ideas. I taught elementary school for 35 years. My days lacked flexibility and overflowed with structure. Bells rang throughout the day telling me where to go and what to do. Perhaps too many years in a classroom have left me seriously resistant to following directives. And even though I‘ve been retired for a few years, my mind and body bolt to such demands: “Gather an idea a day”. Ha! I’ll wait until they come to me!

I like my ideas to come from a place of trust. I trust that when I finish a manuscript, another idea will present itself. I let my ideas float in on a dream when they are ready for me. My favorite stories have come to me that way. The pad and pen next to my bed sits nightly hoping to be written on.

Unfortunately, I have lost more than one story when I was away from home and a pad was not nearby. As many times as I repeated that idea before slumbering off again, it was completely forgotten by morning.

Typically, I am hesitant to join things, even something as motivational as PiBoIdMo. But then I read one of the posts on this site…and I decided to look more carefully with my author eyes that day. As I left my health club after yoga, I noticed the person at the front desk was wearing an unusual witch costume. Yes, it was Halloween. I looked at her and told her she just might be the inspiration for a new story. I got home and started my PiBoIdMo ‘12 ideas folder. I wrote down my thoughts for that story. And in the days that followed, because of all the pouring out of picture book love and posts on coming up with ideas, I started looking more actively rather than waiting for a story to hit me over the head. I believe wholeheartedly, whether we search with intention or passively, that the stories that are meant for us will find us.

Picture books touch me. I used them daily when I taught 4th grade to enhance every subject, or to make a point when a social situation arose that needed to be dealt with. Picture books are a quick and sweet way to avoid lectures or a boring review. Just read a book! It can touch upon a myriad of bases.

I think about the many gifted picture book authors and pause to contemplate their stories and what I might learn from their work. Can I move others to tears like Patricia Pollaco does in many of her stories? She writes about what she knows. My favorite story of hers is THANK YOU, MR. FALKER. That was her story as a child. And when I read the amazing picture book, IS YOUR BUFFALO READY FOR KINDERGARTEN? by Audrey Vernick, it spun out a new idea in my brain. Yes, I’m gathering ideas while I’m reading other author’s picture books. That’s a creative thinking skill… it was called piggy-backing when I taught it. It’s not that different from Diana Murray’s clever concept “mash-up” from Day 10, which brought forth more than one listing for my 30 stories in 30 days.

Once I determined to take on this PiBoIdMo commitment, I began observing the world more intensely. As my husband drove us to NY one weekend recently, I sat with my laptop as billboard signs and store names brought forth more to add to my PiBoIdMo file. I watched the kids play with their iPods in a waiting room when I sat patiently to get blood drawn for my yearly physical. I was almost sorry when they called me rather quickly. I was like a detective on a case…there might be more for me to see! I jotted down a story title sparked from an article in the AARP Magazine. Anyone under 50 doesn’t know what they are missing! I was more open to collecting from the universe of ideas. Thank you, PiBoIdMo, for your push to participate in this structured activity that can only help me grow as a writer. I hope to start the seed of a story that will touch little lives.

After all, that is why I’m writing.


Carol Gordon Ekster’s first published book, WHERE AM I SLEEPING TONIGHT? A STORY OF DIVORCE, Boulden Publishing, Fall 2008, was an About.com finalist for best book for single parent families. Another story, “The Library Is The Perfect Place”, was in Library Sparks magazine, February 2010. A picture book, RUTH THE SLEUTH AND THE MESSY ROOM, December 2011, was part of the debut list by the innovative publisher, Character Publishing. Now retired from teaching, Carol is grateful that her writing gives her a way to continue communicating with children. She also hopes to spread her love of picture books, as she did earlier this month at the Literacy For All Conference through Lesley University in her presentation, Using Picture Books to Enhance Curriculum for Grades 3-6. She lives in Andover, MA with her husband Mark. Learn more at CarolGordonEkster.com
and follow her on Twitter @CEkster.

Carol is generously giving away a picture book critique to a lucky PiBoIdMo’er who completes the 30-ideas-in-30-days challenge. Leave a comment on this post to enter…and if you also take the PiBo-Pledge in early December confirming you have 30 ideas, you’ll be entered to win. Good luck!

10 Comments on PiBoIdMo Day 23: Carol Gordon Ekster Believes The Stories Find Us, last added: 12/2/2012
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11. Cyber shop for Ballou High School this weekend, please!

In the midst of your holiday shopping madness, just in case you have a few dollars to spare, we here at Guys Lit Wire wanted to let you know that the students of Ballou High School in Washington DC would be delighted to receive a gift or two at their library. Their wish list at Powells Books has been updated with a ton of sale books (A TON!!!) and between those titles and so many great condition used options there are a crazy amount of titles under $10. We'd really appreciate it if you think of Ballou this holiday season and shop at Powells (the nation's largest independent bookstore and a mainstay of the Portland downtown scene). Be sure to provide the mailing address below if you haven't shopped the wish list before, check out our earlier book fair info here and for a post full of Ballou Library pictures, take a peek here. You can also follow Ballou on twitter or like them on facebook.

Happy holiday shopping, y'all and thanks in advance for buying books for this great school library!

Mailing Address:
Melissa Jackson, LIBRARIAN
Ballou Senior High School
3401 Fourth Street SE
Washington DC 20032
(202) 645-3400

[Post pic of students "Rappin' and Poetry for Teen Read Week", last month.]

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12. FOODFIC: Welcome Back Laurie Boris, Author of Drawing Breath

If I feed you, can I keep you?

I’ve been thinking about the deeper meaning of the kosher dietary laws of Judaism. I do that now and then, for fun. Common wisdom says that these edicts were necessary to avoid contaminated food, back in the days before refrigeration. The rabbis wanted to steer people away from bottom-dwelling clawed critters and pigs that live in their own filth. Less common wisdom—and perhaps the real reason, in my opinion—is that kosher laws were designed to keep Jewish children from fraternizing with and eventually marrying people of other religions. What is sharing a meal if not a bonding ritual, an opportunity for a social interaction?

Although Drawing Breath is not about a Jewish family like some of my other books, the sharing of meals still bonds the characters in different ways. Caitlin Kelly, a budding painter, is sixteen and very fond of Daniel, the art teacher who has been renting her mother’s upstairs apartment for the last six years. Daniel has cystic fibrosis. At thirty-four he’s passed his doctor’s “expiration date” but refuses to give up on his art, his students, and, although he feels it’s remote, the possibility of finding love.

Yet the women in Daniel’s life unwittingly or overtly use food as a social weapon, their way of tending to him and claiming him as their own. His overprotective older sister, Denise, brings groceries every Saturday and throws away food that’s gone bad, even though he’s fully capable of doing this himself and has told her so. On Sundays, Caitlin’s mother, Maureen, invites Daniel to have supper with them. Through this ritual, Maureen can tend to him, like she’s done for others through the many charities she works for.

Over the course of the book, Caitlin’s friendship with him deepens, and the gift of food and care is a safe way to express her affection. She makes him brownies when he’s sick. She brings up the Tupperware containers of leftovers when he can’t come down for supper. She knows from all those meals that he hates broccoli. Along with their shared love of art, knowing what he likes and doesn’t is a way of connecting with him. Even though she cringes when women like her mother and Denise treat Daniel like some kind of freak because of his condition, she sometimes can’t see that she’s as proprietary as the rest of them. And in some ways, even more so.

One day, an interloper arrives, in the form of redheaded Bess, who is rather gaudy-looking, in Caitlin’s opinion. Intent on striking her own culinary bargain with Daniel, she knocks on their front door. She claims she’s one of Daniel’s private students, and wants to repay his generosity by making him dinner while he’s out. Caitlin, home sick from school that day, is feeling especially protective:

“I didn’t think he was taking private students anymore since school started,” Caitlin says.
Bess bites her lower lip. “Well, it’s not really a formal class.”
“I guess that’s why you don’t have a sketchpad.”
“Look.” Bess lets out her breath. Her hair looks wilty. There’s a smudge of mascara beneath her left eye. “I don’t want to get anyone in trouble. But I’ve got twenty dollars’ worth of free-range chicken, buffalo mozzarella, and organic vegetables in this bag. Maybe I could just put them in your refrigerator and come back later when Daniel is home?”
Caitlin considers this. If she takes the bag, Bess will have to come back to the Kelly’s apartment, exposing the woman to more germs she might take to Daniel. If Caitlin sends her away, maybe Daniel will be angry with Caitlin for not letting Bess just go upstairs in the first place.
“Wait here.” Caitlin sighs and fetches the key from the pantry closet.

Having let this interloper into Daniel’s kitchen, feeling in her gut that Bess is ultimately going to hurt Daniel, Caitlin tries to warn him. It doesn’t take, which leads her to make one very bad decision, and all the brownies and pot roast in the world might not be enough to fix what she’s done.

Thanks for coming back to share more food for thought, Laurie!

Laurie Boris is a freelance writer, editor, proofreader,
and former graphic designer. She is the author of two
novels, The Joke’s on Me (4RV Publishing, LLC, July
2011) and Drawing Breath (self-published, May
2012). She lives in New York’s lovely Hudson Valley
withher very patient husband, a commercial
illustrator. Learn more about Laurie at
http://LaurieBoris.com and her Amazon Author Page.

3 Comments on FOODFIC: Welcome Back Laurie Boris, Author of Drawing Breath, last added: 11/30/2012
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13. New Give-Away: Win New Coloring Book & Rainbow Bedbug

It's time to celebrate! Hurrah! The first Coloring Book in the Bedbug's Wonderful Wishes series is HERE! + the Rainbow-Colored Bedbug toy!  New Coloring Book + Rainbow Bedbug is a Hit With Kids   You Can Win the Coloring Book + Rainbow Bedbeg It's easy as 1-2-3 ... 1. Place a link to this site at any of your favorite social or bookmarking sites, such as Twitter, StumbleUpon,

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14. Stuck Walking the Duck

1 Comments on Stuck Walking the Duck, last added: 11/30/2012
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15. Thanksgiving

Nature. Beauty. Gratitude. by Louie Schwartzberg, a video prayer/poem, a Thanksgiving Day meditation.

I’m also thankful that my children introduced me to Of Monsters and Men.

Happy Thanksgiving!


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16. in which Aunt Beth wins a game of Sorry

The fine young gent pictured here is very smart.  He can put puzzles together with a snap of a hand, program computers in several languages, build the computers he programs, ace the essay part of the SAT tests, judge high school debate contests, and climb mountains with boulders on his back.

His sister, the beautiful blonde, studies physics at an Ivy League, dances ballroom (yep, it apparently runs in the family), poses as a hand model for her uncle (we owe her), and knows the names of all stars and all planets in all universes. 

Neither of them, however, could beat me at a game of Sorry.

I will never let them forget it.

3 Comments on in which Aunt Beth wins a game of Sorry, last added: 12/2/2012
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17. I'm thankful for the books, but would be even more thankful for time to read them in!

Happy thanksgiving, all those celebrating.  Of course I'm thankful for the standard things of thank-filling-ness, but what's really on my mind is books.  Because today I had to move a tbr pile that was on the card-table in the still unfinished dining room, so that we could do more wall-papering, and this particular tbr pile (a mere baby of a pile, with only 26 books) is now under an end table in the living room. 

I have too many tbr books.  I thought about counting them today, but couldn't, because the wood rack that normally goes in the hall is in the downstairs bathroom, because the piano, that normally goes in the dining room, is in the hall, and the wood rack is blocking access to the bookshelves (that hold the bulk of my tbr pile) that have taken the place of the bathtub, that had to be taken out before we could renovate the dining room, since the people that had installed it had knocked one of the dining room walls out in order to fit it in (there was a bathtub holding box cupboard sticking into the dining room).

To make a long story short, I couldn't count my tbr books.

Which is probably a good think, because the overwhelming-ness of their quantity might have made me less thankful that I have so many books to read.

16 years ago, I had nothing to read.  It was a desert of re-reading, an anxiousness of not having another book on hand when I finished what I was reading.  Then I joined an online discussion group of fans of UK girls school stories, and that was good.  My sister is also on that list, and she would bring me piles of the books she'd heard about there, and it was very exciting to have new authors to collect and enjoy, and when we went to England to see my husband's family, I'd come home with lots of books.

However, the problem with vintage authors is that they are mostly dead, and so are not writing more books.  My sister had fewer books to bring me.  We stopped going to England as much.   I was worried.

But then came blogging, with all the books that came my way not just from publishers, but from the recommendations of all the like minded readers!   And then came the joys of Interlibrary loans, and Used Book Sale Finder.  Then came one particular library book sale of tbr doom--a nearby library was moving, and was selling off all their older children's and YA books for ten cents each.  I only spent about fifteen dollars....And on top of that, I run my own library's booksale, so I'm the first one to see all the donated books...and like cute little kittens, some of them just have to come home with me.

So yes, I am thankful that I will never go book hungry again.  But I'd be really thankful if the dining room was finished, so that I'd actually have more time to read....

3 Comments on I'm thankful for the books, but would be even more thankful for time to read them in!, last added: 12/2/2012
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18. Challenge Completed: European Reading Challenge

I signed up for the five star (deluxe entourage) level of Rose City Reader's European Reading Challenge. I read twelve books.

1) His Name Was Raoul Wallenberg: Courage, Rescue, and Mystery During World War II. Louise Borden. (Sweden OR Hungary; NONFICTION)
2) My Family for the War. Anne C. Voorhoeve. (England OR Germany)
3) All Our Worldly Goods. Irene Nemirovsky. (France)
4) In the Garden of Beasts. Erik Larson. (Germany; NONFICTION)
5) Between Shades of Gray. Ruta Sepetys. (Lithuania)
6) Breaking Stalin's Nose. Eugene Yelchin. (Russia--Soviet Union)
7) Mascot: Unraveling the Mystery of My Jewish Father's Nazi Boyhood. Mark Kurzem. (Latvia/Belarus; NONFICTION)
8)  Smuggled by Christina Shea. (Romania/Hungary)
9) The Lost Wife by Alyson Richman (Czech Republic)
10) The Gathering Storm by Robin Bridges (Russia and Montenegro)
11) Gods and Warriors. Michelle Paver. (Greece)
12)  The Flight of Gemma Hardy. Margot Livesey. (Scotland/Iceland)

© 2012 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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19. A Day to Be Thankful

Happy Thanksgiving!

An Illustration I made for the TCNJ Cookbook:

                                            © 2012 Maria Madonna Davidoff

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20. Book List: Post-US Trip

In honour of my time in the US for both YALSA’s YA Literature Symposium and YALLFest, I have put together a book list covering the books that most piqued my interest. Some are yet to make their way onto shelves, some have been available for some time. But all have great stories to tell…

Just One Day

Gayle Forman (January 6, 2013)

When sheltered American good girl Allyson ‘LuLu’ Healey first meets laid-back Dutch actor Willem De Ruiter at an underground performance of Twelfth Night in England, there’s an undeniable spark. After just one day together, that spark bursts into a flame, or so it seems to Allyson, until the following morning, when she wakes up after a whirlwind day in Paris to discover that Willem has left.

Over the next year, Allyson embarks on a journey to come to terms with the narrow confines of her life, and through Shakespeare, travel, and a quest for her almost-true-love, to break free of those confines.

Gayle Forman was a superstar at the YALLFest – I maintain she should have won the Golden Pie award. If I Stay and Where She Went are great favourites of mine and I cannot wait to be introduced to her new characters (who continue in the companion novel, Just One Year.)

Random House


Andrew Smith (2013)

Ryan Dean West’s life is complicated. He’s a fourteen year old junior at Pine Mountain, a boarding school for rich kids. He’s stuck rooming with the biggest jerk on the rugby team in the dorm for miscreants and troublemakers. And he’s totally in love with his best friend, Annie, who thinks of him as a little kid.

As Ryan Dean tries to get a handle on school, life and rugby, he finds himself muddling through a lotof decisions, and making some major mistakes along the way. But nothing can prepare him for what comes next. And when the unthinkable happens, Ryan Dean has to find a way to hold on to the important things – no matter what.

One of the best covers I’ve ever seen. Ever. Having heard Smith talk about this upcoming release I also know that Winger is an illustrated novel and at points has the narrative told through haiku. It sounds like really exciting step in cross-medium YA storytelling.


All Good Children

Catherine Austen

It’s the middle of the twenty-first century and the elite children of New Middletown are lined up to receive a treatment that turns them into obedient, well-mannered citizens. Maxwell Connors, a fifteen-year-old prankster, misfit and graffiti artist, observes the changes with growing concern, especially when his younger sister, Ally, is targeted. Max and his best friend, Dallas, escape the treatment, but must pretend to be “zombies” while they watch their freedoms and hopes decay. When Max’s family decides to take Dallas with them into the unknown world beyond New Middletown’s borders, Max’s creativity becomes an unexpected bonus rather than a liability.

This dystopian tale came highly recommended during the Dystopian panel I attended at the Symposium’s pre-conference. What sold me? A world with an inoculation for bad behaviour….need to read.

Orca Publishers

Life as We Knew it

Susan Beth Pfeffer

Miranda’s disbelief turns to fear in a split second when a meteor knocks the moon closer to the earth. How should her family prepare for the future when worldwide tsunamis wipe out the coasts, earthquakes rock the continents, and volcanic ash blocks out the sun? As summer turns to Arctic winter, Miranda, her two brothers, and their mother retreat to the unexpected safe haven of their sunroom, where they subsist on stockpiled food and limited water in the warmth of a wood-burning stove.

Another strong recommendation from the librarians that surrounded me during the Dystopian panel. It was mentioned often enough, with significant fervour, that it’s zoomed up my TBR pile.


Almost Perfect

Brian Katcher

Logan Witherspoon recently discovered that his girlfriend of three years cheated on him. Since then–much to his friends’ dismay–he has been depressed, pessimistic, and obsessed with this ex, Brenda.

But things start to look up for Logan when a new student breezes through the halls of his small-town high school. Tall, unconventionally pretty, and a bit awkward, Sage Hendricks somehow appeals to Logan even at a time when he trusts no one. As Logan learns more about Sage, he realizes that she needs a friend as much as he does, if not more. She has been home schooled for several years, and her parents have forbidden her to date, but she won’t tell Logan why. The mystery of Sage’s past and the oddities of her personality intrigue Logan, and one day, he acts on his growing attraction and kisses her. Moments later, however, he wishes he hadn’t. Sage finally discloses her big secret: she’s actually a boy.

Brian Katcher was the author panellist for the LGBTQ panel, The Invisible Minority. He spoke about the spark that ignited this title’s concept, the research he underwent, the award he won for it (2011 Stonewall Book Award) and how many students cannot find it as it is blocked on school servers…. I’ve ordered it and should be reading it very soon.


Ask the Passengers

AS King

Astrid Jones desperately wants to confide in someone, but her mother’s pushiness and her father’s lack of interest tell her they’re the last people she can trust. Instead, Astrid spends hours lying on the backyard picnic table watching airplanes fly overhead. She doesn’t know the passengers inside, but they’re the only people who won’t judge her when she asks them her most personal questions . . . like what it means that she’s falling in love with a girl.
As her secret relationship becomes more intense and her friends demand answers, Astrid has nowhere left to turn. She can’t share the truth with anyone except the people at thirty thousand feet, and they don’t even know she’s there. But little does Astrid know just how much even the tiniest connection will affect these strangers’ lives–and her own–for the better.

Confession…I’ve never read King’s work. I have heard of her, of course. And yet, the situation never seemed to present itself. While I did not hear her speak at the Symposium, I am mad keen to read this Printz Honor title.


Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty

Greg Neri (illustrated by Randy DuBurke)

In August of 1994, 11-year-old Robert “Yummy” Sandifer—nicknamed for his love of sweets—fired a gun at a group of rival gangmembers, accidentally killing a neighborhood girl, Shavon Dean. Police searched Chicago’s southside for three days before finding Yummy dead in a railway tunnel, killed by members of the drug gang he’d sought to impress. The story made such an impact that Yummy appeared on the cover of TIME magazine, drawing national attention to the problems of inner city youth in America.

Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty relives the confusion of these traumatic days from the point of view of Roger, a neighborhood boy who struggles to understand the senseless violence swirling through the streets around him. Awakened by the tragedy, Roger seeks out answers to difficult questions—Was Yummy a killer or a victim? Was he responsible for his actions or are others to blame?

Graphic novel with gritty subject matter and yet aimed at teens? I am in! Yummy also won the 2011 Coretta Scott King Award (among MANY others) if you require further endorsement. Urban YA is not a genre that I am all that familiar with and my recent jaunt to the US has definitely provided a list of authors I need to read immediately.


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21. Animal Careers and Carers; Kathy Wyatt, obedience trainer

Kathy Wyatt is a trainer at the Community Dog Club in Mornington, VIctoria (Australia). I took my Harry there when he was newly adopted, as although I've had dogs all my life, I knew that a little dog who'd had three homes in his first year of life, and had been badly abused in the first, was going to need extra care and understanding. I was very impressed with what I learned, and would recommend it to anyone with a new dog, whether a puppy or a mature rescue dog.

(Harry and I are going back to the club tomorrow to talk about Rainbow Street Pets. I hope our behaviour reflects all we learned together!)

How would you describe the work of an obedience trainer (if that's the correct term)? 

At a Community dog club, we don't train the dogs, we train the owners how to manage their own dog.  
The aptly named Lucky, looking very happy in his new home
What was the path - or the passion(!) -  that led you to it?
I adopted a dog from the RSPCA, an adult dog that had not had any training.  I took him along to classes, we both learnt a lot, and then I became an instructor myself.

What is the best, and the worst thing about it? Or the strangest?
The best thing is when people take the classes seriously, practise at home, and the improvement is obvious in a short time. It is a bit frustrating when they don't - they assume a weekly class will do the job, and it doesn't. Dogs often do strange things - you can only laugh at them!

Photo copyright Tim Marchington 
Did you have pets as a child?
Yes - guinea pigs, budgies, cats, dogs at various times. 

Does your  present dog have a story?
The dog I have now I got as a puppy from a breeder.  The only eventful time was when he was very sick after chewing and swallowing bits of a toy - thanks to the vets at The Animal Emergency Centre, and Pet Insurance, he pulled through.
What would your pet tell us about you?
I'd like to know what he thinks - I suspect that between sleeps he only thinks about what the next food will be, or when the next walk will be.

If you were an animal, what would you be?
I wouldn't mind being a pampered pooch!

Any advice for people wanting a pet?
Don't get a puppy from a pet shop.  Be sure you are ready for the commitment, and choose the type, size and breed that fits in with your lifestyle. If you get a dog, get Pet Insurance.

Favourite animal books?
Recently I've enjoyed Spencer Quinn's detective books written from the point of view of Chet the dog ("Dog on It" is the first in the series).

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22. Picture Book Month: Cats

I love Christopher Denise's depiction of kittens in David Elliott's Knitty Kitty which fits today's Picture Book Month theme of cats:

Happy Thanksgiving to all those celebrating!  We're heading off to dinner soon, but in the meantime we were able to enjoy a Thanksgiving rainbow:
Rainbows are an incredibly common occurrence here.  I think I've seen more rainbows in the year and a half we've lived here than I had in my entire life before!

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23. Reflection

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24. Books in the future by Keren David



One over-flowing bookshelf..
My house is full of books. Seven bookcases, over-stuffed and spilling over. Bags of paperbacks waiting to go to the charity shop.

 In the attic there are three packing cases full of books that went into storage in 1999 when we moved to Amsterdam, and haven’t been unpacked since we returned. They’ve been joined by other boxes of books that we don’t want to throw out, but had to be moved when we tried to impose order. Sometimes I feel as though the books are breeding, multiplying silently, taking over the house by stealth.

I doubt my children will have a house like this. Their books will live in e-readers and tablets. Reading will be more private, more portable. Their homes will be a lot tidier, and moving will be considerably easier.

Choosing books will be different too. They'll have fewer opportunities to browse in shops and libraries. Instead, expertise and criticism will move online.  If the kindle charts are anything to go by, then books will be sold for pennies, with authors hoping to make money by selling in bulk.

Some of these things worry and frighten me -  as a writer.  I hate the idea of books ceasing to exist as physical entities. Yet, as the owner of an e-reader, I prefer having books that I can find and carry around. I think my house would be a nicer place to live in without toppling piles of books in every room.

And I’m excited by the possibilities that e-books can bring. I love the idea of adding music, film, information, interviews and other extras to my books. I’m intrigued by the idea that a  basic book might sell for £1, but the enhanced version would be sold (perhaps to existing fans) for a higher price.

Lydia Syson’s excellent debut, A World Between Us, published by HotKey is the first example I’ve seen of the books  that I dream of. It’s an epic romance set against the backdrop of the Spanish Civil War. (I should declare an interest here, Lydia and I belong to the same writing group and I consider myself a proud auntie to her love-crossed characters, Felix, Nat and George)
The paperback is a thing of beauty, with its 30s poster style cover. But the enhanced ebook is really special. It contains fascinating background information about the rise of the Blackshirts in London, the International volunteers who fought in Spain,interviews with Lydia,  historians and (very movingly) a veteran.  It’s interesting, educational and it offers  much more than is possible in a conventional book. It's a format that fits historical books perfectly, but could be applied to many others.
Try it, think about how the concept could be used for the books you write, and the books you love, and some of your fears about the future might just fade away.


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25. Lenovo ThinkPad Twist

Lenovo ThinkPad Twist is an option for you gadget lovers who like practicality.
ThinkPad design with a unique Twist combines tablet and notebook an added value, you do not need to carry two favorite gadgets, but enough to bring the ThinkPad Twist gadget to do the job.

Although a relatively small overall size, but the ThinkPad screen that has width of the screen 12.5 inch HD IPS display with Touch Sensor, still looks relieved. Supported by a body designed with Magnesium alloy material strong but lightweight and the screen is coated Corning ® Gorilla ® Glass makes the ThinkPad Twist capable of outdoor use.
With the ability to be a tablet or notebook, you can customize the way it works as needed, to record using a stylus, then you just change it to tablet mode by folding, want typing, then you just replace the laptop mode unfolded.
Lenovo ThinkPad Twist
Lenovo ThinkPad Twist

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