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Results 26 - 50 of 596,490
26. Lenny's Baby picture


Sometimes a character shows up with his own story to tell. Lenny must have one, because he won't leave me alone. I think he just loves to share.

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27. KidLit Author Events September 23-29

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September 21-27 is Banned Books Week, the annual celebration of the freedom to read! My childhood would have been grayer without so many of the books that were banned in other places, including CHARLOTTE’S WEB, WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE, A WRINKLE IN TIME, THE OUTSIDERS, and oh, OH!—THE CALL OF THE WILD, my all-time favorite book! Thank you to the librarians, teachers and parents who fought back!

September 27, Saturday, 9:30 AM- 5:00 PM
TweensRead Book FestivalTHE MISSING: REVEALED by Margaret Peterson HaddixBROWN GIRL DREAMING by Jacqueline Woodson
South Houston High School

3820 Shaver St, South Houston, TX
FREE! Register Online

An all-day celebration featuring keynotes with Jacqueline Woodson (BROWN GIRL DREAMING; Nancy Paulsen Books) and Margaret Peterson Haddix (THE MISSING series; Simon & Schuster). Topic panels include National Book Award winner William Alexander; Lou Anders, MG author, Hugo award winning editor and a Chesley Award winning art director; plus MG authors Jonathan Auxier, Varsha Bajaj, Megan Frazer Blakemore, Jessica Brody, Jennifer Brown, Matthew Cody, Stu Gibbs, Jimmy Gownley, S.E. Grove, Bruce Hale, Karen Harrington, Jennifer Holm, Jaleigh Johnson, Varian Johnson, Kirby Larson, M.A. Larson, Natalie Lloyd, Matt London, Megan Shull, Obert Skye, Greg Leitich Smith, Matthew Ward, Tom Watson, and Jennifer Ziegler.

September 27, Saturday, Noon-4 p.m. Ramos Family Writer's Workshop
Lone Star College-Montgomery Campus Building D-Theatre
3200 College Park Drive, Conroe, TX
The Ramos Family Writer’s Workshop for Children, Teens, & Adults!
Price: $20 online, $25 at the door; Register Online

The Ramos Family Writer’s Workshop for Children, Teens, & Adults features NY Time Bestselling Authors C.C. Hunter   & Dianna Love! Plus Children’s Authors Marie Elena Cortes & Kimberly Morris. All proceeds benefit the Montgomery County Book Festival-a 501c3 organization.

September 27, Saturday, 2:00 PM THE A-WORD by Joy Preble
Champions Forest Barnes and Noble
Joy Preble, YA Author

Joy Preble will be the guest author for the Banff School Book Fair. She’ll be talking about THE A-WORD and THE SWEET DEAD LIFE as well as her next novel which will be coming in 2015.

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28. Dav Pilkey Stars in a Banned Books Week Video

What is Dav Pilkey’s advice for expressing concern about a book? In the video embedded above, the creator of the Captain Underpants series live draws and explains that people should not impede others from accessing books regardless of whatever personal feelings they may have.

Pilkey hopes people will realize that widespread censorship is not the answer; the appropriate response is to remember this statement: “I don’t want my children to read this book.” What are your thoughts?

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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29. Ken Follett, Naomi Klein, & Hervé Tullet Debut On the Indie Bestseller List

Ken FollettWe’ve collected the books debuting on Indiebound’s Indie Bestseller List for the week ending September 21, 2014–a sneak peek at the books everybody will be talking about next month.

(Debuted at #1 in Hardcover Fiction) Edge of Eternity by Ken Follett: “Edge of Eternity, the finale, covers one of the most tumultuous eras of all: the 1960s through the 1980s, encompassing civil rights, assassinations, Vietnam, the Berlin Wall, the Cuban Missile Crisis, presidential impeachment, revolution—and rock and roll.” (September 2014)

(more…)

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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30. Strike Three (a post-apocalyptic novel) listing at Booklife (link)

Check out my Strike Three listing at Booklife (Publishers Weekly): http://booklife.com/project/strike-three-2292

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31. Alexander and the very questionable, how much exactly does this movie have in common with the book?












Did you know that a movie adaption of Judith Viorst's classic picture book, Alexander, and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, is on the way to your theaters October 10th? While the film definitely deals with a boy named Alexander who is having a rotten day, from the previews, it is obvious that whoever wrote this film took some liberties with the script.  Sure, it appears that Alexander's day begins badly, with gum stuck in his hair, but after that, who knows how much of the movie will stay true to the book?


Of course, this isn't a huge surprise. Most movie adaptions make changes to the original. Some are good, some make little sense. Of course, the big challenge in adapting a book like Alexander, is that the book is only 32 pages long! In order to make a feature length film, the story would need some extra scenes, and with Steve Carell playing Alexander's dad, some of the best scenes may not even center around Alexander himself!


Of course, this is not the first time a picture book has been adapted into a very different movie.



Audiences loved Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, when it came to theaters, but while the movie was a madcap adventure dealing with a crazy scientist who creates a machine that makes food fall from the sky, but Judi Barrett's book has little resemblance to the movie.


Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, the picture book, is a quiet story about a grandfather who tells his grandchildren a tall tale about a town where the weather blows in as breakfast, lunch and dinner.







Maurice Sendak's classic picture book, Where the Wild Things Are, tells the story of Max, who goes wild while wearing a wolf suit. His behavior frustrates his mother, who sends him to bed without supper. Max's room turns into a forest with a river, and he sails to an island of "Wild Things" who make him their king. 


The movie, Where the Wild Things Are, shares this plot, but the Wild Things themselves often seem more moody than wild. Some people really loved this movie, and it was beautiful to look at, but it has been hotly debated as to whether the film had the kid appeal that the book continues to have.


What picture books would you love to see on the big screen? If you were to write the script, would you change anything?


-Posted by Miss Jessikah





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32. Tuesday's Question- When Are You Most Like Yourself?


Hello and welcome to Tuesday's Question
 

Tuesday’s Question is as old as this blog, which I started writing sometime in 2007, thinking it would be a great way to get to know more about the people reading my blog. But, within a short period of time, I realized my readers answers were just the icing on the cake, because after I started visiting their blogs, I learned more about them, and as a result stumbled upon valued friendships, and that can't be bad-

I know you already know what Tuesday's Question is this week, but I'm going to repeat it anyway-

When Are You Most Like Yourself?  I can't wait for your answer, but, I'll go first-

I am most like myself when I'm writing, visiting my son, and spending time with friends. Although, I'm also feel more like myself when I'm reminded of who I am, which happens when I'm in the presence of exquisite, expansive, and astonishing places on earth, because they inhibit the largest life on our planet, they stimulate my imagination and encourage my soul.

For instance, hearing silence although you're sitting in front of a roaring coastline, or stretched out on a bed of clover with birds gossiping about, and then staring into a black sky at universal diamonds, our stars, which give us light, sound, knowledge, love, peace, that only our souls hear, when we are are still enough to listen to silence.   

Alright, I may have fallen in too deep....sorry. But, it's still your turn....:)

When Are You Most Like Yourself?  And you can answer with one word or one sentence.

Thank you for visiting A Nice Place In The Sun, and for reading Tuesday's Question.


 We look forward to reading your answers- I will reply to each answer, but unfortunately, I have days when I cannot get back to you quickly. Therefore, if my reply is belated, I assure you your answer is important to me, and it will be acknowledged- Thank-you for your patience.
                                                       
                                                       

 And all comments are appreciated... as well as encouraged- Just kidding. (But, not really.)                                                   
Have a day that makes you feel full of joy~


                                                    










                                                 


 

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33. Lee & Low’s Favorite Banned Books

Banned Book Week started yesterday.

For those of you who don’t know,

“Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Typically held during the last week of September, it highlights the value of free and open access to information. Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community –- librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types –- in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.” –American Library Association

Here at Lee & Low Books, we’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite banned/challenged titles (in no particular order).

  1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee – banned for use of racial slurs and profanity.
  2. Harry Potter (series) by J.K. Rowling – banned for depictions of witchcraft and wizardry/the occult.
  3. the absolutely true diary of a part-time indianThe Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie – banned for racism, sexually explicit language, and profanity.
  4. The Kite Runner by Khaleid Hosseini– banned for depictions of homosexuality, profanity, religious viewpoints, and sexual content.
  5. Our Bodies, Ourselves by Boston Women’s Health Book Collective – banned for language and “promoting homosexuality.”
  6. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck– banned for profanity and sexual references.
  7. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’engle – banned for offensive language and use of magic.
  8. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury – banned for language. a wrinkle in time
  9. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck – banned for profanity, racial slurs, and “blasphemous language”,
  10. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley – banned for sexual content.
  11. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky – banned for drug usage, sexually explicit content and unsuited to age group
  12. Summer of my German Soldier by Bette Greene – banned for language and racism.
  13. The Giver by Lois Lowry – banned for “religious view point, suicide, unsuited to age group, and sexually explicit content.”
  14. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins – banned for “violence, sexually explicit content, and being unsuited to the age group.”
  15. Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich– banned for “drugs, inaccurate, offensive language, political viewpoint, and religious viewpoint”
  16. The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things by Carolyn Mackler – banned for “offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group.”the earth, my butt, and other big round things

Here are some other resources for Banned Book Week:

ALA: Frequently Challenged Books of the 21st century

Banned Books that Shaped America

Book Challenges Suppress Diversity


Filed under: Book Lists by Topic, Lee & Low Likes Tagged: Banned Book Week, Book Lists by Topic, books, Censorship, diversity issues, Harper Lee

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34. Cause to celebrate?

stormcenter Cause to celebrate?If it’s time for Banned Books Week it’s also time for my annual bucket ‘o scorn for ALA’s  cynical exercise in spin. Like Bette Davis in Storm Center, “I’m tired. I’m tired and beaten. There’s no use pretending.” Now Davis, playing a beleaguered librarian trying to uphold the freedom to read in McCarthy’s America, was truly fighting the good fight (too bad she didn’t have a good script, though; the young boy driven mad by Red-baiters and setting fire to the library was a Bit Much). ALA, on the other hand, has simply set up its usual straw men in the form of its dramatic list of “top ten most frequently challenged books.” (The Association recorded 307 challenges in all but does not say how many challenges each book had.)

What bothers me most is the conflation of “banned” and “challenged.” Banned means the book has been removed from a library (or restricted therein), or–and less definitively to my mind–from a required or suggested reading list. Challenged means a citizen or group has ASKED a library in a “formal, written complaint” to restrict or remove a book from a library (or from a required or suggested reading list). There’s a big difference. Wouldn’t you like to know how many of these challenges resulted in banning? Beyond anecdotal evidence about some of them, ALA doesn’t tell us.

These “formal, written complaints” are generally done at the library’s behest on a form issued by that library as directed by its collection policy. Why do we get so bent out of shape when people actually use it? The answer is–and here’s the cynical part–that we don’t get bent out of shape at all, instead using these challenges to revel in our sense of cultural superiority and to raise a fund-raising alarum. No wonder ALA finds book banning something to “celebrate.”

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The post Cause to celebrate? appeared first on The Horn Book.

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35. The Late Scholar (2014)

The Late Scholar. Jill Paton Walsh. 2014. St. Martin's Press. 368 pages. [Source: Library]

I enjoyed The Late Scholar enough while reading it, for the most part, but the more I think about it, the more disappointed I am. I have liked or enjoyed Jill Paton Walsh's sequels to Dorothy Sayer's Lord Peter mysteries. The Late Scholar is set in the 1950s. (I'm not sure if it's early, mid, or late 50s. But Queen Elizabeth is on the throne, I believe.) The novel opens with the Duke of Denver (aka Lord Peter Wimsey) learning that he is a Visitor at Oxford. He is being called upon to settle a dispute among the fellows. The person--ultimately one of many suspects, I suppose--who initially requested his interference comes to regret it. Lord Peter is thorough. He doesn't want to just cast a vote on a controversial topic without any thought. He wants to study the situation, learn both sides, draw his own conclusions about what is best. The dispute is about selling a medieval book to get the money to buy land next door that has come up for sell. Is land more valuable to the college than one book in the library? Or is the ancient book more valuable to the college than a piece of real estate? It wouldn't be a mystery book if it didn't turn to violence and murder. Lord Peter, Harriet Vane, and Bunter must follow all the clues to catch a murderer or two.

There were a few things that felt a bit off, that kept this one from feeling like a genuine, authentic Lord Peter/Harriet Vane mystery. I allow some change would be natural enough. Two decades would change a person, would change a couple. But the changes in a way have a very surface feel to them. I'm not sure the characters have the depth that they need, they are very much reliant on familiarity with the original.

I have not reread the whole (original) series, but, Lord Peter seems changed and not always for the better. I could not show you a passage where Lord Peter reveals a personal faith in God. But I have a feeling I would have remembered if Lord Peter revealed a cold mockery for Christianity and/or stated openly and unashamedly that he did NOT believe in God. There were a few uncomfortable scenes in Late Scholar where Peter's atheism comes to light, I suppose. It was done in an almost ha, ha, don't be silly, of course I don't believe in God kind of way. It just struck me as wrong. I'm not saying that I consider Lord Peter evangelical. But. I always got the impression that he believed there was a God, that at the very least he was agnostic. The reason this strikes me as wrong is that Dorothy Sayers was a Christian, she wrote Christian books. I've read some of her theological essays and they are quite good. I just don't see HER Lord Peter being one to make light of or mock Christianity or the Bible or the fundamental belief that there is a God. Of course times have changed. Decades have passed since his creation, so maybe modern readers assume that naturally Lord Peter is "smart enough" to have outgrown any idea of God.

© 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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36. Gelar Pulau Terbaik di Asia Jatuh Kepada Bali

Pulau Bali kembali meraih penghargaan sebagai Pulau Terbaik di Asia 2014 versi majalah pariwisata internasional, "Travel+Leisure".

pantai kuta bali
Pantai Kuta Bali
Wakil Gubernur Bali, I Ketut Sudikerta mengatakan bahwa penghargaan tersebut sebagai bentuk kepercayaan dunia internasional atas komitmen Pemerintah Provinsi Bali bersama dengan pelaku pariwisata dan masyarakat di dalam memajukan pariwisata di Pulau Dewata.


"Kita harus bangun destinasi yang bagus, benahi destinasi yang sudah ada, ciptakan keindahan Bali dan melestarikan budaya serta peran keamanan," kata Sudikerta ditemui usai menerima komponen pelaku pariwisata yang tergabung dalam Gabungan Industri Pariwisata Indonesia (GIPI) Bali di Denpasar, Sebagaimana dilansir Kompas.com selasa (23/9/2014).

Dia menjelaskan bahwa upaya tersebut diharapkan bisa meningkatkan kepercayaan dunia internasional terhadap perkembangan pariwisata Bali yang berdampak terhadap pembangunan Pulau Dewata.
taman ujung bali
Taman Ujung Bali
Informasi dari laman "Travel+Leisure", Pulau Dewata menempati posisi pertama pulau terbaik di Asia dan menjadi satu-satunya pulau di Asia yang masuk ke jajaran 10 besar pulau terbaik dunia.

Di jajaran 10 besar tingkat dunia, Bali menempati posisi kelima dengan perolehan nilai sebesar 86,82 setelah Pulau Santorini di Yunani, Maui dan Kauai di Hawaii dan the Big Island juga di Hawaii, Amerika Serikat.

Pada laman tersebut juga disebutkan bahwa perolehan nilai didapatkan dari para pembaca majalah pariwisata itu melalui quisioner yang telah disebarkan mulai 2 Desember 2013 hingga 31 Maret 2014.

Penilaian tersebut berdasarkan pada sejumlah kategori di antaranya pemandangan alam dan pantai, aktivitas wisata, makanan dan restoran, hingga masyarakat. 

Jati Luwih Bali
Pulau Dewata menempati posisi pertama secara berturut-turut sejak tahun 2009, 2010, dan 2011. Urutan kedua pada tahun 2012 dan ketiga tahun 2013. Situs "Travel+Leisure" juga menempatkan Bali sebagai "Hall of Fame" karena masuk di 10 besar selama enam tahun berturut-turut.

Sementara itu Ketua GIPI Bali, Ngurah Wijaya mengatakan bahwa penghargaan tersebut selain menjadi kebanggaan tetapi juga kewajiban pemerintah, masyarakat dan pelaku pariwisata untuk mempertahankan budaya. "Untuk mempertahankan pariwisata, budaya juga harus dipertahankan," kata Ngurah Wijaya.

pantai soka bali
Pantai Soka Bali

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37. My Thoughts: Open Road Summer by Emery Lord

4 soft and spicy frosted gingersnaps.

Cover Love:  It's pretty good but a pretty typical contemporary romance cover.

Why I Wanted to Read This:
I had an egalley of this that expired last spring but I was in the mood for a contemporary romance.  So I checked it out from my public library before I went on a weekend vacation and whipped right through it.  Here's they synopsis from GoodReads:
After breaking up with her bad-news boyfriend, Reagan O’Neill is ready to leave her rebellious ways behind. . . and her best friend, country superstar Lilah Montgomery, is nursing a broken heart of her own. Fortunately, Lilah’s 24-city tour is about to kick off, offering a perfect opportunity for a girls-only summer of break-up ballads and healing hearts. But when Matt Finch joins the tour as its opening act, his boy-next-door charm proves difficult for Reagan to resist, despite her vow to live a drama-free existence. This summer, Reagan and Lilah will navigate the ups and downs of fame and friendship as they come to see that giving your heart to the right person is always a risk worth taking. A fresh new voice in contemporary romance, Emery Lord’s gorgeous writing hits all the right notes.
Romance?: Yes.

My Thoughts:
This was not a deep romance, but not too light and fluffy either.  Reagan had a lot to figure out in her life.  She was a very likeable protagonist, until the typical misunderstanding late in the book.  Then she reverted too much into the whiny, "he did me wrong" type of YA romantic lead that drives me nuts.  Luckily the author didn't keep her that way for long.

I adored Matt and Dee (that is what Reagan calls Lilah).  Reagan has a lot of support in her life and the drama that she is trying to escape from is very much of her own making.  But, she does recognize that for what it is and knows she needs to fix that part of her life.  Dee is a great best friend and never pushes Reagan to the side for her fame.  She always there to help out or just be someone to lean on.  She is practically perfect.

And Matt is an amazing book boyfriend.  So sweet and earnest, but with a few of his own demons he is struggling with overcoming.  Reagan and Matt are very good for each other.

One of my favorite scenes, the kind that brought tears to my eyes, is one between Reagan and her step-mother at the end of the book.  I think it was just what Reagan needed to put her past finally behind and take steps towards her future.

To Sum Up:  I am going to buy this for my library.  There are a few mature things for middle school readers, but there is a lot that can be learned by a protagonist like Reagan.  Mostly that you can overcome your past.  It doesn't have to always define you!

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38. John Green Partners With Bill Gates For a Clean Water Fundraising Campaign

John Green & Bill GatesAuthor John Green has partnered with other writers in the past. His newest collaborator isn’t a writer; it’s Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates.

According to Time, Green has launched a campaign on water.org with a fundraising goal set at $100,000. This will help thousands of people in Ethiopia gain access to clean water.

Should Green and the “nerdfighter” community prove successful, Gates has pledged to match the amount. Gates announced on Twitter that he was “happy to help reduce world suck!”

(more…)

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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39. Review

There is a review of "the Second in line" in the podcast, comics for grownups": http://comicsforgrownups.tumblr.com/post/98148891466/episode-41

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40. Cover reveal: the Princess Academy series

In honor of the 10th anniversary of Princess Academy and the upcoming publication of the third book in the trilogy, Bloomsbury has redesigned the jackets in this series, with artwork by Jason Chan. I'm excited to reveal them here at last!

PrincessAcademyPB_final

PalaceOfStonePB_003

PrincessAcad_ForgottenSisters_cata2

The Forgotten Sisters pubs in hardcover March 3, 2015, with the rejacketed paperbacks of the first two at the same time. The first review is in, a starred review from Booklist!

"On the day that Miri is to return to her beloved Mount Eskel, she is summoned by King Bjorn of Danland, requesting her to travel to outer-territorial Lesser Alva where she is to tutor three royal sisters. If the King of Stora chooses one to marry, war will be prevented, and it’s up to Miri to succeed. Unhappy but dutybound, Miri accepts the task, only to meet three wild girls who spend their days wrestling on the floor and hunting and fishing in the swamp. ...Action packed and wellpaced, the story’s depth incorporates artful negotiation, the importance of education, and citizens’ equality and rights. This final installment of The Princess Academy trilogy certainly leaves room for more books if Hale were so inclined. Won't she reconsider?"

What do you think of the covers?

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41. Hiring an Editor

Is it necessary for you to have your manuscript professionally edited before submitting? 

http://www.adventuresinyapublishing.com/2014/07/should-you-hire-editor-before-querying.html

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42. MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!

I know, I'm early this year, but MY CHRISTMAS BOOK COMES OUT TODAY!!!!!


I've always loved this song, and my kids all know it by heart.  So it was a natural that I'd be illustrating it someday!  The book just came out today, but maybe do your shopping a little bit early! And if you leave a comment or contact me through my website, I'll put you on the mailing list for a christmas card, taken from images in the book!

Here's the STARRED review from Publisher's Weekly:
«THE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS
LeUyen Pham. Doubleday, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-385-37413-2
Pham brings an international scope to this traditional holiday song. A youthful couple, donning their Christmas finery, lead a playful dance through the song’s cumulative lyrics as the boy tries to wrangle each unwieldy gift for his girl. Pham’s (A Piece of Cake) eye for detail is evident as she showcases varieties of French hens, geese, and swans, but her paintings truly shine in the depiction of maids, lords, drummers, and ladies who hail not just different countries, but varied periods in history. Milkmaids from Africa, Europe, Asia and beyond greet the children; a Peruvian pan flutist rubs shoulders with a Scottish bagpiper; and so on—it’s nothing short of a global postcard. Musical notation and a note about the song’s origins are included, and readers are invited to locate all 78 gifts. Ages 3–7. Agent: Linda Pratt, Wernick & Pratt. (Sept.)
Reviewed on 09/12/2014 | Details & Permalink

And for those who've been talking about diversity in books, this one's got in spades.  My 8 maids, 9 ladies, 10 lords, 11 pipers, and 12 drummers all hail from around the world!

There will be a special book event for this one on November 23rd, where I'll be holding a crafts event to make ornaments from the book.  It'll be at Folio Books in Noe Valley, San Francisco, starting at 3 pm.  More details to come!


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43. Back to School


There's just something about new stationary. Going back to school used to mean all those fun new things - new peachy folders (with that eternal sports design in a yellowy tone), new pencils and a new blue canvas snap-ring binder. Now it mostly just means a new computer class for my kids. But these critters are having fun regardless. They probably like that new school smell as much as I did.

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44. Literary Arts Has Acquired the Wordstock Festival

wordstockLiterary Arts, Inc. has acquired the Wordstock Festival.

The nonprofit organization plans to devote the next three years to overseeing an annual literary festival as its pilot project. Wordstock will be re-launched on November 07, 2015 at the Portland Art Museum. Powell’s Books will serve as a community partner for this.

Here’s more from the press release: “Wordstock began in 2005 and is the largest celebration of literature and literacy in the Pacific Northwest. Each year, the festival brings together thousands of readers and hundreds of small presses, independent publishers, nonprofits, and independent booksellers, along with 150+ authors.”

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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45. Princess Leia commission piece


Below is a quickie watercolor demo:

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46. Review of Nest

ehrlich nest Review of NestNest
by Esther Ehrlich
Intermediate, Middle School    Lamb/Random    330 pp.
9/14    978-0-385-38607-4    $16.99
Library ed.  978-0-385-38608-1    $19.99    g
e-book ed.  978-0-385-38609-8    $9.99

In this debut novel set in the late 1960s, Naomi “Chirp” Orenstein’s sixth-grade teacher tells her, “Your mom is a very lucky lady to have such a responsible girl.” Chirp is very responsible, but her mother is feeling anything but lucky. She’s been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and sinks into a severe depression, ultimately committing suicide. It’s an overwhelmingly sad story, but the sadness never feels gratuitous, only immutable, just like the Cape Cod seasons and the ebb and flow of life in Chirp’s beloved salt marsh. Ehrlich’s characters are all fully developed: the dancer mother in anguish over not being the parent she wanted to be; the psychiatrist father’s well-meaning but hapless response to the situation; and — most of all — Chirp’s best friend Joey, who has his own issues at home. Chirp’s first-person voice is believable; her poignant earnestness is truly heartrending. Ehrlich writes beautifully, constructing scenes with grace and layers of telling detail and insight. She offers Chirp (and readers) no trite and tidy resolutions, just a dawning understanding that her “nest” of family, friends, and salt marsh will give her the support and sustenance she needs to move forward.

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47. Creation A Watched Pot Within Me

A hangover aside from researching this essay on Daphne du Maurier: In one of her letters to her publisher, she was updating him on how her novel was going and said something like, “Creation boils within me.” She was not a grandiose kind of writer, and in the context of the letter it reads like she was just truly taken up with the exhilaration of what she was working on. It’s become one of my favorite things to say lately when I’m working on the book and padding around the house in my yoga pants or standing at the sink eating peanut butter from the jar and hoping the UPS dude can’t see me when he comes onto the porch to drop off a package. Creation Boils Within Me. Creation A Watched Pot Within Me. Creation At A Low Simmer Within Me. Etc. etc.

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48. The Red Pencil, by Andrea Davis Pinkney






We begin with Amira's 12 birthday.  She is finally old enough to wear a toob yet young enough to enjoy her Dando lifting her to the sky.  Amira lives on a farm in South Darfur surrounded by friends and family, but changes are afoot.  Amira's best friend Halima and her family are packing their things and moving to the city.  They say the city has more opportunities.  Amira wishes she could go with them to Nyala and attend the Gad Primary School with Halima.  Amira is not so sure about her Muma's old fashioned ways.

                  "She does not like the idea of Gad,
                    or any place where girls learn
                    to read
                    or write,
                    in Arabic or English
                    or think beyond a life
                    of farm chores and marriage." (p. 13 arc)

Soon, the extra chores of 12, missing Halima, and trying to solve the ongoing bickering between her father and villager Old Anwar seem anything but troubling.  The relative peace of her village is shattered when the Janjaweed  attack, changing Amira's very existence.

Amira and the other survivors must pick up the pieces and leave the ruins of the village to find safety.  Their trek takes them to the refugee camp Kalma - the Displaced People's Camp.  Amira doesn't like this space surrounded by fences and barbed wire.

                    "Everywhere I look,
                      I see
                      people, people, and more people.

                      I'm glad to stop walking.
                      I'm glad we have finally reached who-knows-where.
                      But already I do not like this place." (arc p. 139)

It would be easy enough to give up in such a desperate place with no real end in sight.  Amira and her family have lost so much.  But when Amira meets Miss Sabine and is given a gift of a red pencil she discovers some things about herself, her family and those on the journey with her.

Written in free verse, The Red Pencil is a story of family and loss and hope.  It was eye opening for me on a number of levels.  One is that it is so easy for me not to see what is happening in the world from my perch here in NYC.  The horrors of Darfur in the early 2000s seemed so far away in time and place that I wonder how many people in North America are aware of what was happening.  I find myself very impressed with the deftness of Andrea Davis Pinkney's hand when it came to writing the passages dealing with the violence.  She truly tells the story from a 12 year old's point of view, and the free verse format allows for silences that speak volumes.  The illustrations by Shane W. Evans are playful within this serious book and somehow bring a feeling of safety to the pages.

A must read for librarians, teachers and students.


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49. The Ship of Brides by Jojo Moyes

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THE SHIP OF BRIDES by Jojo Moyes

 

1946. Four women from Australia are bound for England along with 650 other war brides on the HMS Victoria. This ship is not only transporting brides, but naval officers as well. Rules of honor, duty, and separation are strictly enforced but what happens within the confines of this ship will leave a lasting impact on all of their lives. A gorgeous historical novel told from the point of view of four unforgettable women; pregnant Margaret, wealthy Avice, teenage Jean and quiet Frances. Frances was by far my favorite character but I was fascinated by all of the women Jojo Moyes created. The Ship of Brides is based on real events, women traveling great distances by sea to meet up with their GI-husbands, most leaving their entire family behind for men they barely knew. Jojo Moyes is steadily becoming one of my favorite authors and the stories she weaves are absolutely stunning in detail with honest characters, captivating plots, and superb writing.

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50. The Science of Slimy Things

A few months ago, one of my frequent program-goers made a request: Would I please be able to offer a program that includes slugs, one of his favorite animals? I was inclined to agree to the challenge, even before said child had his mother email me a photo of him with his three pet slugs. How’s a librarian to say “no” to that?

I gave some thought to how I could meet the “slug” challenge while also closing out a season of many science-themed programs. I decided to return to a favorite concept with school-agers—slime—and explore it from two different perspectives: animal biology and physics. Thus “The Science of Slimy Things” was born.

A Slug Science information slide, slide and photo by Amy Koester

A Slug Science information slide, slide and photo by Amy Koester

The program was divided roughly into two parts, the first considerably less messy than the second. We opened with an exploration of slugs—pictures, how they move, their scientific names, how they differ from snails, and the purpose of their slime. Happily, the non-fiction stacks had plenty of resources to support this exploration.

Then we got hands-on with slug slime. No, not real slug slime, as I don’t have regular access to the potionmaster’s storecupboard. Instead, I had prepared some gelatinous, fibrous slime (recipe below) the morning of the program and brought it with me to the library. It sat in the staff fridge with a note saying “NOT Jello—Do NOT eat!” until program time. Once we had talked about slugs, I doled out scoops of the orange goo on paper plates for each of the attendees. I provided them with popsicle sticks and index cards to use to explore and manipulate the slime, but many of them opted just to use their hands. I’m sure none of us are surprised.

Slug slime, photo by Amy Koester

Slug slime, photo by Amy Koester

When everyone felt that, having tested its viscous properties, they had had a good play with the slug slime, we scooped it all back up into the plastic container. After a brief stop in the restroom to wash hands, we all trooped outside to the library’s patio for the really messy activity of the program.

Our second exploration of slime was oobleck, that substance owing its name to Dr. Seuss. I had some sample oobleck to accompany the intro to this type of slime. We discussed how oobleck is a non-Newtonian fluid—that is, it has properties of both a solid and a liquid depending upon the force being exerted upon it. To demonstrate, I set a toy farm animal on top of a pool of water (it sank) and then on top of the pool of oobleck (it sank, albeit more slowly). With a minimal amount of pressure acting against the oobleck, it acts like a liquid. To demonstrate how it acts like a solid, I used a mallet as my tool. First, I slammed the mallet into the pool of water; it splashed magnificently. When I raised the mallet to slam it onto the pool of oobleck, many of the kids leaned backward in expectation of a colossal oobleck splatter. Instead, there was none; the sudden strong force of mallet against oobleck caused the oobleck to act like a solid. Cue the pronouncements of “How cool!”

After making sure the kids had retained the term “non-Newtonian fluid,” I split everyone into groups to make their own oobleck. It was a messy, experimental process, as kids had to fiddle with the balance of ingredients in their slime (recipe below). Once they all had slime, the patio was a mess of kids scooping up oobleck, rolling it into a ball in their hands, and then letting it drip through their fingers. (I am happy to report that it rained a LOT the day after the oobleck project, which had left the outdoor patio quite covered in dried slime.)

When kids had had enough of the messy oobleck, I handed out empty prescription containers so that kids could take a bit of slime home with them. Kids bottled it up, then went their merry way to wash hands.

My program-goer who requested the slug aspect of the program said he was very happy with how the program had turned out—he liked getting to play with slug slime, and the oobleck was a great surprise as well. Talk about enjoying the finer things in life.

The Recipe for Slug Slime:

  • 7 cups water
  • 10 tsp Metamucil powder

Pour the water into a stovetop-safe saucepan, then stir in the Metamucil until dissolved. When the mixture is dissolved, turn on the burner to medium-high heat. Heat the mixture for 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently, until it reaches your desired consistency. The mixture will be gelatinous and gloopy. Let cool before handling.

The Recipe for Oobleck:

  • 1 to 2 cups cornstarch
  • 1 cup water

Pour 1 cup of the cornstarch into a mixing bowl. Slowly add in the water, gently stirring with a spoon or with hands. Keep adding water until the oobleck starts to thicken; you’ll know it’s ready when you tap on it and it hardens. If the oobleck is too runny, add more cornstarch; if too thick, add more water.

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