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Viewing: Blog Posts from All 1553 Blogs, since 1/28/2008 [Help]
Results 42,176 - 42,200 of 526,417
42176. new york bound!

©the enchanted easel 2014
these two are off to the big apple...and i'm feeling a little bittersweet about it. kinda fell in love with these sweet little faces the last couple of weeks.

it's always such a bittersweet feeling when you let go of an original painting (for me, anyway). i don't know why...maybe because each one of them are like my babies (if i had them). i get so attached. however, nothing makes me happier than custom work and knowing that some sweet little child will be smiling for a long time to come. yep, that's the best part of my *job*...and i use that world very loosely as it NEVER feels like work to me.


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42177. The Benefits of Virtual Committees

Over the last few years many ALA divisions, including ALSC, have transitioned to having more committees, tasks forces and other groups operate primarily if not wholly via virtual methods. While ALSC continues to acknowledge the need for several committees to conduct much of their work face to face, several committees have successfully transitioned to entirely virtual, and all committees are encouraged to make use of ALA Connect and other tools to conduct some of their work.

The change toward more virtual work provides numerous benefits to individual members as well the organization and profession as a whole.

• Recruiting a wider pool of members and talent – Many current and potential members do not have the luxury of travelling to conferences regularly. This may be due to cost, family commitments, health restrictions, job restrictions or other possible reasons. Previously some members did not seek appointment or turned down opportunities due to conference attendance requirements. The opportunity to participate regardless of these obstacles provides many members a greater sense of involvement and allows more of ALSC’s many talented members to participate and contribute.

• Recruitment and retention of members – The ability to contribute also encourages more members of the profession to initiate or continue membership.

• Increased productivity – Committees designated as virtual conduct few if any meetings face-to-face but tend to meet frequently – at least once per month. The ability to meet virtually, usually via ALA Connect’s chat feature, enables committees to have brief meetings often as opposed to waiting until conference to meet. Many face-to-face committees take advantage of the ability to meet virtually between conferences as well. The frequent meetings keep projects moving forward and allow committees to accomplish more.

• Better attendance at conference sessions – Members of virtual committees who are able to attend conference will have greater flexibility to attend and present sessions rather than being tied to committee meetings. It also enables members greater flexibility to serve on multiple committees either within ALSC or across divisions by freeing up conference meeting time.

Many virtual chairs and members of committees have had positive experiences serving on virtual committees:

“As co-chair of the Great Websites for Kids Committee (2012-2014), my mission is to work with a committee of nine members in maintaining the ALSC Great Websites site. Working virtually, committee members are able to accomplish a rigorous amount of work while keeping strict deadlines. At the same time we have established an online rapport and have had the luxury of occasionally meeting each other in person at midwinter or annual conferences. Committee members have often remarked how they feel that this committee is particularly unique in that we have been able to accomplish so much each year.” Kimberly Grad, Brooklyn (NY) Public Library

Virtual committees have some unique challenges. One of the biggest concerns virtual committee members mention is the challenge of achieving the rapport and personal connection with each other that people develop during face-to-face interaction. The META team is always seeking advice and tips for virtual committees and maintains a Best Practices resource on the ALSC wiki. If you have a suggestion or success story about developing the connections between virtual teams to share, please send to Jill Bickford at bickford@wblib.org.

– JIll Bickford for the Metamorphosis Team Task Force

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42178. Wild Things! Acts of Mischief in Children's Literature by Betsy Bird, Julie Danielson and Peter D. Sieruta, 276 pp, RL: ALL AGES

Wild Things! Acts of Mischief in Children's Literature is a behind-the-scenes look at the grown-up aspects of writing children's books written by three children's book specialists, Betsy Bird, Julie Danielson and Peter D. Sieruta, who passed away in 2012. Having been a fan of the blogs of Betsy Bird (fuse#8, which was picked up by School Library Journal a few years ago) and Julie

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42179. Acorns

If you’ve an oak tree in your yard,
You might get clonked a bit too hard
By acorns which come raining down
As cooler weather comes to town.

The acorn, with its jaunty cap,
Won’t nail you with a gentle tap
But one that’s apt to leave you bruised
So Mother Nature stays amused.

Beware then of the sneak attack.
A gust of wind may cause a whack;
And only then you might dispute
That harm can’t come from something cute.

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42180. The Darkness We Need To Make Visible - Lucy Coats

The sad suicide of Robin Williams last week has sparked another 'conversation' in the press and on social media about mental illness - and more particularly about the link between creativity and depression. 

I think this 'conversation' - and the dispelling of ignorance and myths about these conditions by those of us who are sufferers speaking out honestly - is very important indeed. It is, if you like, the inner and unseen darkness we need to make visible, which is why I have written before, both here and elsewhere, about my own battles with the Beast of chronic depression and how, in some of those darker moments, I turn to writing poetry as a way to battle the demons. Externalising them on paper is, for me at least, a way of dispersing some of their power over me. 

Sometimes, though, when the despair becomes a deep physical paralysis, even the act of writing a single word seems impossible, and it at those times that the 'world would be better off without me' thoughts creep in. To the 'well brain' this is inexplicable - but the 'well brain' of a depressive is not always in charge. That is what the people who accuse Williams of 'selfishness' need to understand. Suicide, where mental illness is concerned, is not a choice. It is the last, most desperate act of a despairing brain which just wants the demons to stop eating it.

When I was first officially diagnosed with depression, I had a deep need to find a way to understand it which avoided medical jargon (to which I am deeply allergic). Being a writer, I turned to other writers to see what their experiences were - and how they had coped. The first name which came up was William Styron, whose book, 'Darkness Visible', about his own journey through depression became my manual. The title comes from Milton's 'Paradise Lost'
'No light, but rather darkness visible served only to discover sights of woe'
Writing is, for the most part, a solitary profession. In my case, I mostly sit in a room, on my own, making stuff up and setting the visions that churn around in my head down on a screen. It is hardly surprising that, living as I do in a daily creative world where evil Egyptian crocodile deities demand human sacrifices, immortal beasts battle horrid heroes and skeleton dragons with flaming red eyes menace innocent children, my own mind should sometimes rise up against me.  

Every writer, whether with depression or without, will know that little nagging head voice which tells us that what we do is unutterably useless and pointless. Styron describes his thought processes 'being engulfed by a toxic and unnameable tide that obliterated any enjoyable response to the living world.' Reading those words was, for me, a recognition akin to a light being turned on in a dark room. When I first read Styron's book I did what I never do (being a respecter of the sanctity of the printed page). I underlined and made comments and wrote 'YES!!' in large capitals in many places. I have scribbled a lot more on it since. I felt as if, finally, I had found a fellow wanderer in an empty desert who could describe not only what and how I was feeling, but also do it in words simple and direct enough that others--those 'healthy people' on the outside of this condition--might be able to understand too. When Styron speaks of the 'weather of depression', I understand precisely what he means. For him its light is a 'brownout', for me a greyish fog impossible to see anything in except blurred shapes and outlines.

It's hard for me to describe how strengthening and comforting it felt to read something which made sense of my own experience, and which reminded me gently of how many other writers have been in the depths of the pit too. Shakespeare certainly understood it - how else would he have written Hamlet? Emily Dickinson, John Donne, Camus, Manley Hopkins, Beethoven, Van Gogh - these and so many more were troubled by the Beast, so I am in hallowed company when I travel through Dante's 'dark wood'. 

For now, I am in a stable place, where it is possible to 'riveder le stelle' - to 'behold the stars once more.'. But when the Beast visits again (as it inevitably will, because that is its nature) I will try to remind myself that I am not alone. 

Captain Beastlie's Pirate Party is now out from Nosy Crow!
"What right-minded child could resist his allure?" Books for Keeps
Lucy's brand new Website and blog
Follow Lucy on Facebook 
Follow Lucy on Twitter
Lucy is represented by Sophie Hicks at The Sophie Hicks Agency

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42181. Empathic Curiosity

Today, we wonder anxiously if digital media is changing our brains. But if there's any time in history when our mental operations changed fundamentally, it was 18th century Europe, and Britain in particular. During this period, a cognitive revolution took place, powered by an extraordinary new technology: the printing press. Gutenberg's contraption was a curiosity [...]

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42182. Ice Cream Personality Quiz

Ice creamWhat Ice Cream Flavor Are You?

  1. You like to eat your ice cream . . . A) atop a warm piece of apple pie. B) from a waffle cone. C) in a giant sundae. D) from a cup.
  2. Your favorite topping is . . .  A) whipped cream and a cherry. You’re so classic! B) rainbow sprinkles! You love some extra color and crunch.  C) hot fudge. Extra chocolate, please! D) chocolate crunchies. Yummy and sophisticated!
  3. If an avalanche of ice cream were coming right at you, you would . . . A) drizzle chocolate sauce onto it from an airplane. B) sculpt it into beautiful shapes. C) dive right in and eat your way out of the ice cream rubble.  D) practice snowboarding tricks off the chocolate chunk cliffs!
  4. Choose a vacation destination.  A) London. B) New York. C) Florida D) California.
  5. If you drove an ice cream truck, the song it would play is . . .  A) “Classic” by MKTO. B) “What Makes You Beautiful” by One Direction
. C) “Happy” by Pharrell Williams. D)”“Really Don’t Care” by Demi Lovato.
  • Your favorite summer footwear is . . . A) tennis shoes. B) barefoot. C) flip-flops. D) fancy sandals.
  • Choose a dessert besides ice cream.  A) Sugar cookies. Simple but delicious! B) Cupcakes. Do we have funfetti sprinkles? C) Brownies. Bring on the chocolate! D) Thin Mints. Can I have a glass of milk, please?
  • The word that describes you best is . . . A) kind. B) curious. C) cheerful. D) edgy.
  • Ready to find out what ice cream flavor you are? Count up your answers to find out!

    If you answered mostly A’s: You are vanilla bean!
    Cool, traditional, and always one of the most popular – that’s you! There’s no drama when it comes to you, which makes you an incredible friend to have! You are a warm and comforting friend, and you get along with everyone.

    If you answered mostly B’s: You are rainbow sherbet!
    You’re adventurous and curious about everything, and you’ve got a great head on your shoulders! You’ve got an exotic flair, and people are always interested in learning more about you. You always know how to keep friends entertained, and you have a brilliant creative spark!

    If you answered mostly C’s: You are chocolate fudge brownie!
    You are totally decadent – hanging out with you is like living in the lap of luxury. You live life to the fullest, and you know that chocolate is the best way to cheer up anyone who’s down. Nobody can resist your generous and cheerful personality!

    If you answered mostly D’s: You are mint chocolate chip!
    You’re a little different, and most importantly, you are super-refreshing. You are calm, refined, and always keep your cool. Don’t forget the chocolate chips – you’ve got a bit of an edgy side as well, and it’s part of what makes you so interesting!

    —Marisa, STACKS Intern

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    42183. Displaying Multicultural Books: The Magic of Windows and Mirrors

    I've often suggested that booksellers and librarians play around with "windows and mirrors" when it comes to displaying multicultural books. They can place such a title on a shelf of diverse reads for readers looking for windows into another world, or for children hoping to see their particular ethnic/racial experience reflected in a story. In the past, this kind of display was the only way I might see one of my books face out in a library or bookstore, or featured online.

    These days, in a practice that's becoming more common, a multicultural book is displayed with other titles around a "mirror" theme common to all children.

    For example, my novel Rickshaw Girl might be placed on a shelf beside other fiction for children with Asian settings and protagonists. It might also be displayed as it is here, at Graves Memorial Library in Kennebunkport, Maine, as part of a collection called "Young at Art: Picture Books and Novels Featuring Young Artists." This display about art includes several other titles that may or may not be "multicultural."  Any reader who wants a story featuring a protagonist who is a young artist will be offered my story. That reader may or may not find her ethnicity reflected in my book, and it may or may not provide her with a first window into Bangladesh. An adult gatekeeper has guided her to a list of books where she will see her love of art reflected, but the rest of a story's mirror/window magic will be between her and the book, where it belongs.

    Another example is my book Secret Keeper, which in the past has been featured as a title about India. Recently, however, I found it on a Minnesota's Hennepin County Library list called "YA Books For Tomboys: young adult novels featuring characters that love sports, love to get dirty, hate pink, and don't want to be 'ordinary' girls." There's my "multicultural" novel, rubbing elbows with the likes of Little Women, Hunger Games, and Island of the Blue Dolphins. Again, a reader who likes strong female protagonists will be offered my book, and the other mirrors and windows offered in the story—if she chooses it—is up to her.

    Gatekeepers, take a look at your lists and displays with fresh eyes. Then have some fun playing around with new windows and mirrors themes to lead young readers to multicultural books. I'd love to hear about your creative lists and displays.

    0 Comments on Displaying Multicultural Books: The Magic of Windows and Mirrors as of 8/18/2014 8:17:00 PM
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    42184. Trailer Tuesday: Mortal Heart, Rumble, Mockingjay and more

    Hello and happy Tuesday, everyone. It's been a while since we had a Trailer Tuesday. Did anyone see The Giver yet? I haven't had a chance to go out and see it but I am hoping to get to it soon. I hope you enjoy this week's trailers!

    Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers doesn't come out until November but I am soooo excited for it! I was lucky enough to grab an ARC at ALA this summer and am saving it to be read closer to the release date. I like this trailer. It's not too cheesy and I think the actor fits the part pretty well. Her sword skills look a little off but I am assuming she's not a real weapons expert in real life so I'll let it slide.

    Rumble by Ellen Hopkins - I have actually  never read an Ellen Hopkins book (sorry, I know, I know). I have no idea what this book is about but the trailer is intriguing. I like the music used in it, too. 

    Messenger of Fear by Michael Grant - I like how dark and creepy this story looks. However, the blond has terrible hair. I am pretty sure it's a wig.

    Mockingjay teaser trailer - This trailer looks pretty awesome. I have to hand it to Jennifer Lawrence, too. She's turned a really whiny (to me) character into someone I actually want to root for. Natalie Dormer's hair is badass, too.

    The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies - I love the LoTR and Hobbit movies so I am inclined to like this trailer. I know a lot of people find these movies to be rambly and long, but I love them and love being in that world. Looks like there is going to be an epic fight in the last film. I am really sad that this doesn't come out until December. :(

    Horns stars Danielle Radcliffe in the movie adaptation of the novel by Joe Hill. This looks really strange and trippy. I am interested to see how Radcliffe performs outside of the Harry Potter world. I watched The Woman in Black a couple of years ago and liked it. It's good t see him more projects. He has a rom-com called What If coming out later this year as well.

    What do you guys think of these trailers? Which book or movie are you most excited about?

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    42185. Back to School...

    It's that time of year, again. The first day of school starts this week for a lot of area schools. To get back in the groove, I'm reaching for my copy of Cool Dog, School Dog written by Deborah Heiligman.

    Tinka is a cool dog, a school dog, a breaking all the rules dog. A hall dog, a ball dog, a crash-into-the-wall dog.
    Join Tinka, a dandy, sandy Golden Retriever, as she unexpectedly visits her owner at school and helps his class learn to read. Bright illustrations rendered in acrylic paint add to the excitement in this playful back-to-school story about a boy and his "loves-to-hear-a-book" dog.
    The author and illustrator of Cool Dog, School Dog have donated this book to the Worldreader program.

    "Tinka" wants to play but it's a school day.

    "Tinka" attends class.

    Best wishes to all, who are starting or returning to the classroom. Have a great year!

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    42186. Law careers from restorative justice, to legal ombudsman, to media

    What range of career options are out there for those attending law school? In this series of podcasts, Martin Partington talks to influential figures in the law about topics ranging from restorative justice to legal journalism.

    Restorative Justice: An interview with Lizzie Nelson

    The Restorative Justice Council is a small charitable organisation that exists to promote the use of restorative justice, not just in the court (criminal justice) context, but in other situations of conflict as well (e.g. schools). In this podcast Martin talks to Lizzie Nelson, Director of the Restorative Justice Council.


    Handling complaints against lawyers: An interview with Adam Sampson

    In this podcast, Martin talks to Adam Sampson, Chief Legal Ombudsman. They discuss the work of the Legal Ombudsman, how it operates, the kinds of issue it deals with, and some of the limitations the office has to deal with matters raised by dissatisfied clients.


    Reporting the law: An interview with Joshua Rozenberg

    Joshua Rozenberg is one of a very small number of specialist journalists who cover legal issues in a serious and thoughtful way. He has worked in a wide variety of media, including the BBC, The Daily Telegraph, and The Guardian. In this interview, he describes how he decided to become a journalist rather than a practising lawyer and comments on the challenges of devising ways to enable legal issues to be raised in mass media.


    Headline image credit: Law student and lecturer or academic. © Palto via iStockphoto.

    The post Law careers from restorative justice, to legal ombudsman, to media appeared first on OUPblog.

    0 Comments on Law careers from restorative justice, to legal ombudsman, to media as of 8/19/2014 5:57:00 AM
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    42187. A Possible New Reading Plan For Serials

    Roger Sutton recently had a post at Read Roger in which he expressed frustration over reading books and finding out, without warning, that they aren't complete. They're the first in a serial. Oh, yes. I've had that happen so many times. He concludes, "Thank goodness Tolkien had already finished The Lord of the Rings before I got to the end of The Two Towers and “Frodo was alive but taken by the enemy.”

    I didn't have that experience with The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place: The Interrupted Tale by Maryrose Wood. I had that experience with The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place: The Mysterious Howling, which was the first book in this serial. The Interrupted Tale is the fourth. I've liked them all, but The Interrupted Tale took a long time to get into. These books have a very distinctive voice, one I enjoy, but it's not a very natural one.

    I enjoy binge-reading adult mystery series. While I was reading The Interrupted Tale, I started thinking that binging might be the way to read serials, too. How great it would have been if I could have read all The Incorrigible Children books one right after another. There would have been no "getting to know you" period for each book. I could have just lived in the serial.

    So what do those of us who enjoy binge-reading a serial after it's concluded or a series after there's plenty to binge on need to do? As Roger pointed out, we often don't know that a book we're reading isn't a complete story. Once we've accidentally stumbled into a serial, do we just put reading the rest on hold for years until the serial has been completed? And when we are aware of a "new trilogy," do we avoid it and make a list for sometime in the future?

    Hmm. Perhaps I'll have more on this in the future. 

    0 Comments on A Possible New Reading Plan For Serials as of 8/18/2014 10:19:00 PM
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    42188. Agent Looking to Build List

    Leon Husock – Associate Agent at L. Perkins Agency.

    leonlperkinsPrior to joining the L. Perkins Agency, Leon was an associate agent at Anderson Literary Management. He has a BA in Literature from Bard College and attended the Columbia Publishing Course.

    Leon is actively building his client list.

    He has a particular interest in science fiction & fantasy, young adult and middle-grade novels filled with strong characters and original premises, but keeps an open mind for anything that catches his eye. 

    He is also looking for historical fiction set in the 20th century, particularly the 1980s or earlier.

    He is not interested in non-fiction at this time.

    Email: leon@lperkinsagency.com

    Follow him on Twitter: @leonhusock

    How to submit:

    Please email a query letter containing the following:

    • brief synopsis
    • Your bio
    • The first five pages from your novel or book proposal in the body of your email.

    Please keep in mind:

    • Attachments will not be opened unless specifically requested.
    • We only accept email queries. We do not accept queries by snail mail, phone or social media. All snail mail queries will be discarded unopened.
    • Please only query one agent at this agency. They will only consider one manuscript from one writer at a time to one agent at a time. If you have written more than one manuscript, choose the one you think is the most promising and pitch that. Do not pitch them all.
    • We have a strict NO MULTIPLE SUBMISSIONS policy within the agency, so please be sure to only submit to one of us. (Though simultaneous submissions to other agencies are expected.) We work together closely, often passing projects along to other members of the team.

    Send to leon [at] lperkinsagency.com.

    Talk tomorrow,


    Filed under: Agent, Editor & Agent Info, Middle Grade Novels, opportunity, Places to sumit, Young Adult Novel Tagged: Agent looking for MG and YA, Agent Looking to Build List, L Perkins Agency, Leon Husock, Sci-fi and fantasy and historical

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    42189. It’s Tuesday! Write your Slice. Share your Link. Give your Comments.

    Please write your Slice of Life Story, share your link, and give at least 3 comments to other Slicers.

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    42190. Homer Henry Hudson's Curio Museum

    Author and illustrator Zack Rock has a terrific new book coming out today, 'Homer Henry Hudson's Curio Museum'published by The Creative Company...
    zack rock 8zack rock 7zack rock 6zack rock 5zack rock 4zack rock 3zack rock  2zack rock 1…check out Zack's blog here and read an interview with him over at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast...

    0 Comments on Homer Henry Hudson's Curio Museum as of 8/19/2014 4:03:00 AM
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    42191. It’s Tuesday! Write your Slice. Share your Link. Give your Comments.

    Please write your Slice of Life Story, share your link, and give at least 3 comments to other Slicers.

    Add a Comment
    42192. Roanoke Colony.

    "Bear Song" historical fiction about the Roanoke Colony.

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    42193. Back to school: easing your kindergarten worries (ages 4-7)

    Are you getting nervous about the beginning of the school year? Will your child be able to make the transition to a new school, new teacher, new friends? There's nothing like the nervous excitement of the first day of school. Some kids are raring to go, while others are tentatively clinging to their parents. Whatever the case, try out these two new favorites to add some humor as you read about the first day of school.

    Planet Kindergarten
    by Sue Ganz-Schmitt
    illustrated by Shane Prigmore
    Chronicle, 2014
    Your local library
    ages 4-7
    “The countdown started. Dad and I checked the plans for my next big mission… I am ready to explore: Planet Kindergarten!”
    Planet Kindergarten, click to enlarge
    Starting school is certainly exciting, but it can also be nerve-wracking. One imaginative little kid knows it might be just like blasting off into outer space. There are strange routines, new crewmembers, and you might even get a bit homesick.

    Bold colors and a retro-style amp up the humor in this fun twist on getting used to a new school. You can definitely tell that Shane Prigmore has an animator's background -- check out his blog to see some of the fun inspiration he used in developing the artwork for this.
    Planet Kindergarten, click to enlarge
    I just love the way Ganz-Schmitt captures the joyful chaos of kindergarten. Share this with any kindergarten teacher, and she/he will love the line, "Gravity works differently here. We have to try hard to stay in our seats. And our hands go up a lot."
    Mom, It's My First Day of Kindergarten!
    by Hyewon Yum
    Farrar Straus Giroux / Macmillan, 2012
    Your local library
    ages 4-7
    In a delightful turning of the tables, a five-year old boy can’t wait to start kindergarten and his mom is anxious about his going to a new school.
    “Will you be okay in the big kids’ school? You’re still so little,” she frets.
    “Mom, don’t worry. I’ll be fine, I am already five!” he declares as he dashes off to school. 
    The boy is full of confidence -- I just love the way that Hyewon Yum shows this visually, with the kindergartner big and bold, and his mom small and blue. Until he peeks inside the classroom door ... and the roles reverse again.

    Enjoy this video to get a sense of this delightful story and artwork:

    I hope your little ones come home declaring, "Kindergarten is awesome!!!" The review copies were kindly sent by the publisher, Chronicle Books and Macmillan. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books. Thank you for your support.

    ©2014 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

    0 Comments on Back to school: easing your kindergarten worries (ages 4-7) as of 8/19/2014 3:33:00 AM
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    42194. How to keep my villian's status as the main antagonist clear?

    Ok, so, here is the premise for my story... Young man (yes, man, not boy) who is training to become a great warrior, is suddenly orphaned after his family

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    42195. Should Criticism Sting?

    Michael Sedano

    La Bloga’s Saturday columnist Rudy Ch. Garcia reviewed Boy Zorro and the Bully (El Niño Zorro y el Peleón). Published in English and Spanish, Rudy calls it “a Latino book” on how to handle bullying, finding Boy Zorro on the whole worthwhile. Click here to read the review and Comments from Rudy's July 26 column.

    The publisher and author wrote back, objecting to calling Boy Zorro "a Latino book, arguing that "using Spanish merely makes the topic accessible to more readers". Author, Kat A. expresses restrained anger when she avers,

    Rudy. Rudy. Rudy. You practically missed the book altogether. Starting with the misclassification of it as “A Latino Book”. This is a book about “Bullying”. You made it a book about Latinos and then used the book as a platform to go off into different tangents about race, skin color, lack of female representation…are you helping or hurting those who actually do something

    The publisher, Katherine Del Monte, focuses on the positive messages the book conveys, only once tangentially acknowledging Garcia’s critique that illustrations paint everyone except one kid and the principal pink.

    Mr. Ramos, the principal, does the right thing, stays strong, and all outcomes are favorable – no matter their skin color or race.

    The author and publisher’s responses reflect one of those hard facts of writing: once the writer has sent the piece “out there,” it belongs to the reader. And the critic.

    Sadly, "criticism" has come to mean its lowest common denominator, fault-finding and punishment, so people hate criticism. Maybe it's part of the national character, to take critique as a personal affront.

    To be criticized is good. In its most exalted form, criticism compares a concept of perfection to the work at hand and declares how the piece at hand measures up to perfection. Most literary criticism reflects versions of the latter. It shouldn't sting. Indeed, it's an honor to be compared to perfection.

    A reader or critic comes to a title with her or his own expectations for the book and reads it through the lens of expectation, plus one’s capacity for the writer’s style and invention. In writing the critique, the critic will say what he or she likes, what he or she doesn’t like, and offer qualitative observations related to the work.

    In Rudy's critique, he likes Boy Zorro for its critically important message. His enthusiasm is tempered by ways the book could do a better job for its readers.

    Whatever the assessment—love it, hate it, wish it was something else—it belongs to the critic and reflects that critic's sensibility. A work “means” what the reader says it means, regardless of the author’s or publisher’s intent. We do, of course, share a language, so most of the time, we "get" one another. But now and again a Boy Zorro comes around, where critique and intent rub each other the wrong way.

    Favorable or not, taking into account a critic's observations--Rudy's expectation that illustrated children's books reflect a child's world by featuring diversity in gender and skin colors--won't diminish established intentions but certainly enhances the likelihood a future book will attract wider readership and more favorable critical responses.

    0 Comments on Should Criticism Sting? as of 8/19/2014 4:05:00 AM
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    42196. Afternoon Sketch Gone Too Far

    Yesterday I started sketching for fun - a little line here- little line there - another character - wouldn't it look better with some value? - hmmm little more value....ok - I'm going to have to color this. So I lost a day (today) but had fun finishing this one! Available as a print here!

    0 Comments on Afternoon Sketch Gone Too Far as of 8/18/2014 8:41:00 PM
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    42197. 5th Blogaversary Giveaway

    I've been blogging on and off since 1998. It's been such a fun and fulfilling part of my life and though I slow down now and then, I never really stop, and probably never will.

    Some big things happening on this, the 5th anniversary of my current blog, Read Now Sleep Later:

    1) We are going to be switching over to a new blog! readnowsleeplater.com will remain where it is for now, but new posts will only appear on readnowsleeplater.org, so update your bookmarks! We have a new Twitter @rnslbooks, but Facebook and Email followers, no need to switch :) 

    2) CleverBee began as a group blog experiment with posts written by myself, Alyson Beecher from Kid Lit Frenzy, and David Yenoki from davidyenoki.com. I've decided to continue on my own, and Read Now Sleep Later will still cover book reviews, events, and giveaways. However, I'll also be blogging about other things I think are cool or interesting under the CleverBee banner. Interested? Click "CleverBee" on the menu above.

    3) Giveaways! Oh my gosh so many giveaways. Thanks to all of our followers, new and old, for reading and following our blogs.

    Enter with the Rafflecopter widgets below, depending on where you are. Please read our contest policy if you enter any of the giveaways.

    Giveaway #1

    For our US followers, we have $100 worth of books from the oldest children’s bookstore in America, Once Upon a Time Bookstore (winner’s choice)! Make sure you follow them on Twitter and Facebook

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Giveaway #2

    For our non-US followers, we have $50 worth of books from Book Depository (winner’s choice)!

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Giveaway #3

    Open to all Etsy shop followers anywhere in the world, 36 Book Geek buttons (a random selection) from my Etsy shop!

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Giveaway #4

    Open to all school- or library-affiliated US blog followers, a 10-pack of Live to Read posters (16" x 24")! Keep one for yourself and give the rest of them away to your students, friends, colleagues. (Or keep them all for yourself; we won’t tell!)

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Good luck, and thanks again for your loyalty! We love you!

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    42198. New Nancy Drew Covers

    The other day I was doing some book shopping at Target to get a few new releases to have ready on the first day of school.  While I was there I saw two books that stopped me in my tracks.  The new Nancy Drew reissues. 

    I did not buy them right away.  But, I took a picture and went home and reflected on the picture.  By the time the evening rolled around I knew THEY HAD TO BE MINE.  I could just see them displayed on my bookshelves.

    I love the colors.  I love, love the fonts.  I love the illustration of the fashionable young detective.  I love the label thingy on the side.  

    I have a crush on whomever designed these!!

    Had you seen these yet?  What do you think?  What is a favorite re-issue cover of yours?

    (I think these are amazing and just a home run.  So much better then the supposed reissue of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which I am still hoping is a joke).

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    42199. World building: planets and cultures (link)

    Check out my world building article here: Straight On Until A New Planet

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    42200. GET EVEN (Don't Get Mad) by Gretchen McNeil {Review}

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    0 Comments on GET EVEN (Don't Get Mad) by Gretchen McNeil {Review} as of 8/19/2014 12:09:00 AM
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