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Results 6,526 - 6,550 of 461,466
6526. March 2014 Events

Hello! Wow February really is a short month.. I am not sure how it's already March but it is and with it come some really great book events. I don't know how many of these I (Thuy) will be able to make since a lot of them are in Redondo Beach or San Diego. Hopefully I can make the Holly Goldberg Sloan signing in Burbank though since it's right in my hood. We hope that you are able to get out to some of these events. As always, let me know if I've missed anything and I'll add it to the calendar. Happy reading!

Kasie West (Pivot Point) Shannon Messenger (Let The Sky Fall), Kiersten White (Mind Games)
Tuesday March 4, 2014 6pm
Barnes & Noble Oceanside
El Camino North Shopping Center
2615 Vista Way
Oceanside, CA 92054
event page

Brandon Sanderson
Launch party for Words of Radiance
Tuesday March 4, 2014 7pm
Mysterious Galaxy
7051 Clairemont Mesa Blvd Ste 302
San Diego, CA 92111-1040
event page

This is a numbered event – numbers for the signing line are free with the purchase of Words of Radiance from Mysterious Galaxy, starting March 4th at 10 AM when the book goes on sale. Come by the store or call us! Either way you will be covered for the event.

Brandon Sanderson
Words of Radiance
Wednesday March 5, 2014 7pm
Barnes & Noble Huntington Beach
Bella Terra, 7881 Edinger Ave. #110
Huntington Beach, CA 92647
714-897-8781event page

Holly Goldberg Sloan
I'll Be There, Counting by Sevens
Thursday March 6, 2014 7pm
Burbank Buena Vista Library Branch
300 N. Buena Vista St.
Burbank, CA

LAPL Teen Reading Author Reading Series
Maria E Andreu, Elana K Arnold, Scott Bly, Risa Green, Francis Sackett and host Edith Cohn
Saturday March 15, 2014
Playa Vista Branch, Los Angeles Public Library
6400 Playa Vista Drive
Playa Vista, California 90094
events page

Lauren Oliver 
Sunday March 9, 2014 2pm
Barnes & Noble
The Grove at Farmers Market
189 The Grove Drive Suite K 30
Los Angeles, CA 90036
event page
Shannon Messenger 
Let The Storm Break
(with guest host Kristen Kittscher)
March 13, 2014 7pm
Mysterious Galaxy
7051 Clairemont Mesa Blvd 
Ste 302
San Diego, CA 92111-1040
event page

Dan Wells & Robison Wells
(Ruins, Blackout)
Wednesday March 19, 2014 7pm

Mysterious Galaxy
7051 Clairemont Mesa Blvd
Ste 302
San Diego, CA 92111-1040

Brandon Mull
The Five Kingdoms
Wednesday March 26, 2014 7pm
Once Upon a Time Bookstore
2207 Honolulu Ave / cross street Verdugo Rd
Montrose, California 91020
event page

Jonathan Maberry
Code Zero
Sunday March 30, 2014 2:30pm
Mysterious Galaxy Redondo Beach
2810 Artesia Boulevard
Redondo Beach, CA 90278
event page

Save the Date
April 1 7pm - Ava Dellaria at The Grove
April 24 7:30pm Carrie Arcos at Skylight
April 26 5pm - Brandy Colbert at Skylight

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6527. A Snowy Day Read-Aloud!

[There is a video that cannot be displayed in this feed. Visit the blog entry to see the video.]

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6528. YA Novels Everyone Should Read

Young adult novels aren't just for kids anymore. 


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6529. Don't Forget the Databases

We are big believers here in using a variety of program types to fill out our dance card. By combining active, DIY and stealth/passive programs, we create time in our schedule to

  1. serve all ages 
  2. incorporate more outreach to schools and daycares
  3. do stronger collection development
  4. blue sky and write successful grants to support new initiatives
  5. provide time for CE time for staff (PLNs, webinars, in-person attendance and networking)

So just what are these program types?

Active programs can be simply characterized as programs a staff or volunteer present or lead: storytimes, afterschool workshops, parties based on book characters or popular subjects, STEAM

DIY programs can be thought of as times or spaces devoted to kids in the library that allow them independently to manipulate materials. Think of scavenger hunts, art and craft materials set out for kids to make things, Story Action Pods, imaginative play stations for any age.

Stealth programs are those that, once prepared by staff, are totally powered by the kids and families. They provide the reading or return visits to the library. SLP is a great example we all do. 1000 Books Before Kindergarten is another great example.

We keep track of how participation/attendance is in all the programs. How many kids used the story action pod (based on number of sheets of paper used); how many bags of legos were give out at check-out for Lego Tower Build; how many children attended storytime; how many return visits were made for 1000 Books Before Kindergarten this month? These stats help us stay informed of the usefulness of each effort.

We keep a fairly simple database of our programs and numbers to help us track participation. At some libraries, an excel spread sheet works; others use a paper copy. By keeping statistics on our programs – and referring to and studying them for patterns and trends - we make informed decisions on what programs should be continued, when to end programs and the types of programs that fit best within our budget, staff time and community needs. This analysis and evaluation becomes second nature and gives us the support we need to expand, delete or add programs based on hard facts rather than supposition.

These statistics not only inform us, our director and our board, but we also report out these numbers to the state library for the state annual report. Sadly, for a long time, although we did this mix of programs, only our active program statistics and SLP participation were reported to the state for the annual report. Winter reading program? Too bad? Lego Build effort - no way. Cookie Club? You dreamer! 1000 Books Before Kindergarten? Nope.

That was a problem. In our state youth librarians started working hard to change that dynamic. Our state library folks could see the efforts and time that went into DIY, reading programs beyond summer and passive programs that brought children and families into the library. They became champions of change in the reporting of youth program statistics. To get a peek at the results of that work in Wisconsin, check out this PDF of the new reporting system and definitions for programs.

Now ALL.THE.THINGS.COUNT. It makes it easier as a manager to justify our hard work. And it makes me glad we have our database of program stats for all types of programs that shows what happens when we reach outside the box of traditional programming and bring it to our community!

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6530. Simon & Schuster Launches Book-Dedicated Review Site & Daily Email

simonSimon & Schuster has created a new website and daily email dedicated to book reviews called Off the Shelf.

The site will publish an original book review or essay about a book every day. The site will feature books that were published at least one year earlier. They must also be currently available for purchase in some format.  The site will feature books from any publisher in fiction, nonfiction for both adult and young readers. Readers can sign up to receive the daily review as an email.

“With Off the Shelf, we aim to bring attention to books that were bestsellers you might have read or wanted to, books that you may have missed in the often overwhelming number of titles that get published every year, or simply books that have touched us as readers, left an indelible mark on us, and become friends that we revisit often,” explained Carolyn Reidy, President and CEO of Simon & Schuster, in a statement.

Simon & Schuster employees will be writing reviews, as well as occasional guest writers.

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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6531. I Miss This …


The boys act like they don’t like it, or get embarrassed, whenever we reminiscence about their childhood days, but they stick around to hear the stories. :-)

It snowed ya’ll! We had about 1/2 inch of ice first, then 3.6 inches of snow on top of that. And it’s cold, like FOUR degrees cold. This is pretty unusual for March – not so much the snow, though the snow we get is usually the big, fluffy, wet kind, but it’s terribly cold for this time of year. I heard on the radio this morning that we’re now the 10th area for the most snow this winter.


(Not. I hate snow/ice).

Anyhoo. School has been cancelled so Bran won’t have to drive to class in this. However – we’re all still going to work so … YAY.


Have a good Monday.

Filed under: At the Moment, Funny

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6532. 29 Myths on the Swinster Pharmacy

29 Myths on the Swinster Pharmacy by Lemony Snicket and Lisa Brownby Lemony Snicket, illustrated by Lisa Brown

published 2014 by McSweeney’s/McMullens

29 Myths on the Swinster Pharmacy by Lemony Snicket and Lisa BrownDo you know Because of Winn-Dixie? (Have I told you about the time I told Kate DiCamillo I wrote because of Winn-Dixie and obviously meant because of Because of Winn-Dixie but she cackled and my heart soared?)

Anyway. There’s a thing called a Littmus Lozenge. It’s a candy that makes you taste your sorrow and your sad and your sweet, all at once. Maybe it’s the thought of a lozenge sounding like something medicinal, or maybe it’s cause this pharmacy gave me both comfort and the heebie-jeebies, but reading this book felt a little like tasting a Littmus Lozenge.29 Myths on the Swinster Pharmacy by Lemony Snicket and Lisa BrownSomething unsettling hovers around this place, but it beckons me, too. And I’m not alone in that: those two myth-collectors/busters are at once intrigued and terrified.

It’s weird and charming and confusing and a head-scratcher all at once.

I think that’s exactly what makes it a successful story for kids. Everything doesn’t have to make sense. Offbeat is okay.

Because let’s face it: kid are weird and charming and confusing. They teeter in that fuzzy place between wonder and reality. This is a book that honors this and celebrates that. 29 Myths on the Swinster Pharmacy by Lemony Snicket and Lisa Brown29 Myths on the Swinster Pharmacy by Lemony Snicket and Lisa BrownIs it suspicious, a lady going in and coming out in the same outfit? No. Not necessarily. But see: you are an adult. You are past your prime of delighting in the bizarre and making sense or screwballs out of it. When you read this, rest in it. Let it catapult you from being a grownup. It’s good for you. And then share it with a kid. They’ll get it.29 Myths on the Swinster Pharmacy by Lemony Snicket and Lisa Brown29 Myths on the Swinster Pharmacy by Lemony Snicket and Lisa BrownPhysically, I love the compact trim size because it feels like a manual, like a notebook, like some peculiar pamphlet to some oddball prescription in the pharmacy. It’s like a secret. A hush.29 Myths on the Swinster Pharmacy by Lemony Snicket and Lisa Brown29 Myths on the Swinster Pharmacy by Lemony Snicket and Lisa BrownThen! The cover unfolds to show the depths of the Swinster Pharmacy. When you flip it over, there’s a map of the town. Don’t ask me why I didn’t show you that. Just trust me. (If you dare.)29 Myths on the Swinster Pharmacy by Lemony Snicket and Lisa Brownch

P.S. – Another numbered book I loved recently is How to Bicycle to the Moon to Plant Sunflowers, by Mordecai Gerstein. A total must read if you love quirk and lists like me.

The publisher provided a review copy of 29 Myths on the Swinster Pharmacy, but thoughts and love are my own.

Tagged: cover design, lemony snicket, lisa brown, scale, trim size

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6533. Authonomy and Avon First Lines Contest

AuthonomyThere’s a “first line” contest that could get writers a meeting with Avon editors in the HarperCollins offices—just go here. 

That’s a blog, and you post your line(s) in the comments.

The rules:

Entries can be a maximum of three sentences but no more than 100 words.

The competition will run from now until midnight BST the night of Sunday 23rd March. A shortlist of 10 will be announced 4th April and the shortlisted authors will be asked to submit a 1000 word synopsis by 22nd April. The final winner announced 5th May

The winning entry will be selected by a panel of readers at HarperCollins.

  • As well as the opening line, authors must post: their Authonomy screen name and the title of the book (in ‘quotation marks’).
  • The full or partial manuscript does not have to be on Authonomy to qualify for the competition, and new members are welcome to enter. If you want to enter and are not currently an Authonomy member then click here to open a free account.
  • All genres welcome.
  • We encourage authors to post just the opening line of their novel. However, to allow for the varied nature of opening lines, we will accept up to three sentences or 100 words (whichever is smallest). We reserve the right to remove entries that exceed this or are deemed ‘off topic’.
  • One entry per book. However, authors may submit multiple entries.
  • The competition is aimed at authors with either complete manuscripts or partial manuscripts with a full synopsis.

I’ve posted the openings from three of my novels. Just for fun, here’s what I used (a poll follows):

The air was as still as it was hot—only the whir of a grasshopper’s flight troubled the quiet. Jesse felt like an overcooked chicken, his meat darn near ready to fall off his bones. Mouth so dry he didn’t have enough spit left to swallow, Jesse croaked, “That guy tryin’ to kill us?”  The Summer Boy

The winter wind, called the Hawk by the people of this city, whips my long coat and thrusts icy talons under my dress, greedy for my warmth. Last I was here it was a lively summer breeze; now it’s a harbinger of death.  Finding Magic

Just after dark, death grabbed me by the tail. The moon was full, and the earthy scent of fall flavored a cool September breeze. My mind on a svelte little Siamese who was coming into heat, I trotted over a mound of fresh dirt, not an uncommon thing in a graveyard―and a hand shot up and grabbed my rear extremity.  The Vampire Kitty-cat Chronicles

Were any of these inviting enough for reading more? Please do the poll (you can choose more than one entry). Thanks.

Which opening(s) would lead you to read on? Multiple choices OK.

For what it's worth,


© 2014 Ray Rhamey

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Celebrate Read Across America Day TODAY

Grab your hat and read with the Cat in the Hat today, Monday, March 3, 2014, for the 17th annual Read Across America Day. The Seussical celebration kicks off a week of reading across the nation as NEA members gather students, parents, and community members together to share their love of reading.

For an extensive list of resources to make the most of reading in your classroom, library, or home, visit the NEA website.  

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6535. ComicsPRO 2014: Eric Stephenson and Julius Schwartz win Industry Appreciation Awards


The 2014 ComicsPRO meeting wrapped up on Saturday and retailer/reporter Matt Price has, as always, a fine recap of what went on. Among the doings, Image publisher ERic Stephenson won the Industry Appreciation Award, which is a leetle ironic since most of the industry definitely DID NOT appreciate much of what he said in his speech . But he’s a mover and a shaker and sometimes you can’t move things without shaking them up. Julius Schwartz won the memorial appreciation award, given for “indelible mark on the profession of comic book specialty retailing.”

In a statement Stephenson said “I’m honored to be the recipient of this year’s Industry Appreciation Award,” said Stephenson. “The retailers who make up ComicsPRO are among the industry’s very best and I think they do some very important work on behalf of comics and the Direct Market, so as awards go, I think it’s really cool.
“I also think that even though it’s my name on the award, it’s actually more of a testament to how far Image has come over the last few years, and that couldn’t have happened without the hard work and dedication of all the talented men and women at Image Comics. Jessica Ambriz, Emilio Bautista, Branwyn Bigglestone, David Brothers, Jonathan Chan, Jennifer de Guzman, Addison Duke, Monica Garcia, Drew Gill, Emily Miller, Patricia Ramos, Ron Richards, Kat Salazar, Jenna Savage, Tyler Shainline, Jeremy Sullivan, and Meredith Wallace don’t get enough credit for the incredible support they provide to all the creators Image works with, but I absolutely would not be able to do what I do without them.”

Reading Price’s report, this sounds like a strong meeting, with publishers like Papercutz and First Second showcasing work that is far outside the superhero mindset. Synamite, IDW and Dark Horse also announced projects like a 20th anniversary Hellboy initiative, IDW’s “Super Secret Crisis War!” cartoon crossover and Dynamite’s Queen Blood book. Diversity continues.

Photo by Matt Price.

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6536. Mr Hublot wins Oscar

The Academy Award for best animated short film last night went to "Mr Hublot," which is available free on YouTube. (Direct link to video)

Mr HUBLOT ArtBook (the art of Mr Hublot) from MrHublot on Vimeo.
The film is about "a withdrawn, idiosyncratic character with OCD, scared of change and the outside world. Robot Pet's arrival turns his life upside down: he has to share his home with this very invasive companion."

The production took three years, a lot of which was spent in planning the world that surrounds Mr Hublot's little apartment. The entire city has a mechanical, steam-driven flavor, as if it's made of old toasters and adding machines.

It was created in 3D digital, but the look was inspired by the physical sculptures of Stéphane Halleux. Filmmaker Laurent Witz says: "We had to find the balance between the coldness of the industrial world and the warmth of stone, leather, and the Haussmann architecture."
See more preproduction art at Cartoon Brew
All images in this post are copyright ZEILT Productions and Stéphane Halleux

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6537. T'Kaiyah's Video Review of The Summer of Moonlight Secrets

T'Kaiyah, I discovered your video recently and loved it so much, I had to share it!

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6538. The Boy on the Wooden Box (2013)

The Boy on the Wooden Box by Leon Leyson. 2013. Simon & Schuster. 240 pages. [Source: Library]

Definitely loved this memoir! I would definitely recommend it to anyone interested in reading about the Holocaust. The story begins in the late 1930s in Poland, and continues on through the war to liberation. It is the story of a young boy and his family--many members were saved by Schindler, however, not all of them, for not all lived in the same community and had the same opportunities to come and work for Schindler. Still, it seems miraculous that so many of his immediate family WERE saved, and did survive the war despite all the horrors and hardships and unknowns. Leon Leyson's memoir is powerful and compelling, just what you'd expect. But it was also thoughtful and age-appropriate. It did a good job in providing details and experiences, grounding this very human story into history.

There was just something about it that I LOVED. 
He could reflect with love and affection on the people he loved and respected; he seemed to hold onto the good of his past, the little things and the not-so-little things that made his childhood what it was. He did this without negating the things that were painful and bitter and just as true. The narrative voice was so strong and wonderful in this one.

© 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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The recently-published FOUNDING MOTHERS, by Cokie Roberts, presents the incredible accomplishments of the women who orchestrated the American Revolution behind the scenes.

Founding Mothers

In this vibrant nonfiction picture book, Roberts traces the stories of heroic, patriotic women such as Abigail Adams, Martha Washington, Phillis Wheatley, Mercy Otis Warren, Sarah Livingston Jay, and others through their personal correspondence, private journals, ledgers and lists, and even favored recipes. The extraordinary triumphs of these women created a shared bond that urged the founding fathers to “Remember the Ladies.”

Here are some Common Core objectives that FOUNDING MOTHERS can help meet:

  • Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.
  • Describe the overall structure of events, ideas, concepts, or information in a text or part of a text.
  • Explain how an author uses reasons and evidence to support particular points in a text.

And here are some questions you can use and build on for a Common Core-ready lesson:

  1. How does the structure of nonfiction text affect how we understand the material? RI.5.5
  2. What composite structure does the author use to shape events, ideas, concepts and information? RI.5.5
  3. What is the author’s purpose for writing this book? Do you think the author is a reliable source? Discuss. RI.5.8, SL.5.1d, SL.5.4

We’ll be highlighting lots more titles and how they can be used to support the Common Core in the coming months, so be sure to check back often for our Common Core Spotlight feature!

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6540. YouTube Goodness: Talent, Structure, Steampunk and GUNS

I like to look for treasures on YouTube.

It's a bit like looking for treasures at the dump. The amount of junk one must sort through is appalling. Thank heaven for decent search engines.

I want to share with you now some of my favorite YouTube goodies that I found in the last month.

1. Howard Tayler on 'Who Needs Talent?'

This is only the first part. But watch all four parts. It completely changed the way I think about writing, 'talent', and what I have potential to do.

2. Dan Wells on 'Seven Point Story Structure'.

This is an AWESOME seminar that helped me a lot. I'm a budding outliner (I used to think I was a freewriter, but I think I'm changing with age) and having only ever freewritten my entire life, I was lost as to how to begin. This helped me through. First of five parts.

3. The Definition of Steampunk

Brilliant. Just brilliant.

4. World's Fastest Gun Disarm

Because maybe one of your characters needs to be able to do this. There are tutorials, but I'm fairly certain most of us can't be as fast as this dude.

Speaking of gun tutorials: do you have a character who needs to know how to intelligently use a firearm?

5. This guy has a channel with, like, 900 videos on how to shoot a gun, for newbies. He's got stuff from the difference between smoky and smokeless powder, to reasons why not to put your thumb behind the slide on a semi-automatic... which is what the next video is about. If you want details, this guy will give you details.

Hope something in this grab bag of a post was useful to you! Tell me about it in the comments, if you did.

0 Comments on YouTube Goodness: Talent, Structure, Steampunk and GUNS as of 3/3/2014 9:44:00 AM
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6541. Ant and Honeybee: a Pair of Friends in Winter by Megan McDonald

Ant and Honeybee: a Pair of Friends in WinterI have to get one last winter book in before the season ends; not that I am trying to prolong the magic that has been the winter of 2014, but there are so many great stories for children about winter that I am always a little sad to see it go. This winter, Megan McDonald and G. Brian Karas teamed up to release the second book in the Ant and Honey Bee Series, A Pair of Friends in Winter. In this early chapter book, Ant wanders out one last time before hibernating for the winter to see his friend Honey Bee. Truthfully, Ant does not want to be alone and misses his friend. He arrives just in time because Honey Bee is in a sour mood and in need of cheering up. The two get into a better mood by creating a giant sandwich and eventually snuggle in together to hibernate through the winter.

This is a perfect pick for an emerging reader looking for a story with a hearty plot and manageable text. Unlike many early readers, the story is engaging for both children and parents. The illustrations enhance the text and add details for parents to enjoy, like a funny newspaper heading on Honey Bee’s newspaper that reads “Killer Bee Attack.” G. Brian Karas is a prolific children’s book illustrator as the creator of the illustrations for books such as Muncha! Muncha! Muncha! by Candace Fleming and Big Bad Bunny by Franny Billingsley. His style varies slightly, but always includes intriguing details that leave readers pouring over pages long after they have finished reading the text. If you can stomach one last book about winter this year, I would pick up this title! Or, maybe, save it for next season.

Posted by: Kelly

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6542. Crime Noir for Comics and Graphic Novels

Crime Noir is the most sophisticated, exciting, and dangerous comic book genre around. It is the highly stylized, modern version of such classic 1950s films as “The Maltese Falcon” and “The Asphalt Jungle”. Modern crime noir is exploding in popularity with movies such as “Batman Begins” and graphic novels such as Frank Miller’s “Sin City”. This genre focuses on the mean streets of the city and its amoral characters. Picture windswept streets, deep shadowy figures, reckless woman, men without conscience, reluctant heroes, and boulevards of fear. It’s the desperation of ordinary men, and the loneliness of the action hero. “Drawing Crime Noir” teaches the aspiring artist how to use all of the latest techniques and principles to create the moody world of crime noir. Extensive instruction is offered in the use of shadows to create intense comic book moods and suspense. And there’s more: the costumes of noir – the trench coats and sunglasses of the nihilistic characters: the mobbed-up politicians on the take; and the hit men who keep order; the sexy women who would just as soon kill you as kiss you; techniques for creating dark, brooding, costumed action heroes; and how to turn an ordinary comic book scene into a crime noir scene and how to draw the weapons that the criminals use to make crime pay. Strong, cutting-edge imagery shows artists how to make crime pay. Superstar Christopher Hart explores a new genre. It is perfect for anyone interested in drawing for comic books or graphic

Support Rabbleboy and get this awesome book on Amazon Drawing Crime Noir: For Comics and Graphic Novels

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6543. Packing for Mars

Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void Mary Roach

So, this is the first Roach I’ve read. She’s been on my radar forever, but I finally picked some up, and I’m very glad I did. Hilarious and smart writing about science-- sign me up. Packing for Mars is part astronaut history, part space travel technology, and part looking at what we’ll have to figure out what we need if we’re ever going to get to Mars (beyond Congress approving NASA’s budget.)

Along the way she explores the challenges of pooping in zero-gravity (apparently Gemini had a lot of, uh, fecal matter, floating around in the capsule with them) and how to design a really safe seat for take-offs and landings. Not to mention how to find appetizing food (turns out most early space food was designed by veterinarians) and how disorienting bobbing around in zero-gravity is (or how disorienting it is to have OTHER people bobbing by you). And she looks at the differences between a short 2-week max mission (like Gemini and Apollo) to months-long (like ISS stints) to the years it would take to get to Mars.

Very readable and enjoyable (I laughed out loud A LOT, even though I was often in public and got some looks) it’s also a great look at where we’ve been, where we could go, and why we should go there.

I highly recommend, and it is an Outstanding Book for the College Bound.

Book Provided by... my local library

Links to Amazon are an affiliate link. You can help support Biblio File by purchasing any item (not just the one linked to!) through these links. Read my full disclosure statement.

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6544. The nerdiest and weirdest moments at the Oscars

Well, the 2014 Oscars are history and the offensive Seth MacFarlane hosting era has been replaced by the bland Ellen Degeneres hosting era. In the Nerd Categories, FROZEN won best animated film, and Mr. Hublot by Laurent Witz and Alexandre Espigares (above) won Best Animated Short, a big upset for those who went with Torsten’s voting guide.This steampunky French offering looks great, though, but then so do all the nominees these days.

The SF film GRAVITY, a favorite at Stately Beat Manor, won best visual effects, cinematography (another snub for the great Roger Deakins!), editing, directing, score and the two twin sound awards, sound mixing and sound editing.

Other than that, perhaps what this year’s Oscars will be remembered for is Degeneres ordering three pizzas and handing out slices to the front row of Hollywood superstars. I thought this bit was excruciating, and it resulted in horrible things like this:
People do not watch the Oscar to see Brad Pitt eating pizza just like the rest of us! They watch them to see movie stars looking supernal and glamourous. All I could think was grease spills on Vera Wang, and that is not a pleasant thought. Plus, what if someone didn’t want to eat their pizza? Did they just put the plate under their chair and have to sit there with cold pizza underfoot? Ugh.

To take your mind off that, here is a picture of Chris Hemsworth and Charlize Theron looking supernal and glamourous. Not eating pizza.


Other odd moments:

Pharrell’s hat is really a thing now.

John Travolta was concentrating so hard at keeping his hair on that he called Idina Menzel by the name “Adele Dazi.”

Liza Minelli hug-bombed Lupita Nyong’o.

Benedict Cumberbatch proved he is the king of Tumblr by photo bombing U2.

And then there was the Steve McQueen/John Ridley feud. Neither the winning director of 12 Years a Slave, McQueen, not the winning screenwriter, Ridley, thanked each other, and they avoided one another on stage. McQueen’s half hearted clapping when Ridley won—and Ridley’s look of disdain as he passed McQueen—was brutal.

Ridley—who spent some time writing comics, including The American Way for Wildstorm—is known as an opinionated guy. According to Nikki Finke, the feud stems from a disagreement over the credits for the screenplay.
Oh well, let’s forget about unpleasantness and think about how we can get Joseph Gordon Levitt and Emma Watson to star in a comic book movie together.

13 Comments on The nerdiest and weirdest moments at the Oscars, last added: 3/5/2014
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6545. Kate Sessions: The Tree Lady of San Diego (ages 5-10)

Growing up, I used to think that our outlook on life was shaped (in part) by the landscape you saw driving to work or school. I felt so lucky to drive through open, grass-covered hills dotted with oak trees. I immediately felt a kinship to Kate Sessions, when I read The Tree Lady, by H. Joseph Hopkins. It's a wonderful picture book biography that shows a woman taking action to improve her environment.

The Tree Lady:
The True Story of How One Tree-Loving Woman Changed a City Forever
by H. Joseph Hopkins
illustrated by Jill McElmurry
Simon & Schuster, 2013
ages 5 - 10
your local library
*best new book*
From the publisher's description:
After becoming the first woman to graduate from the University of California with a degree in science, Kate Sessions took a job as a teacher far south in the dry desert town of San Diego.
Kate decided that San Diego needed trees more than anything else. So this trailblazing young woman single-handedly started a massive movement that transformed the town into the green, garden-filled oasis it is today. Now, more than 100 years after Kate first arrived in San Diego, her gorgeous gardens and parks can be found all over the city.
Sessions was determined to pursue her passion and find solutions to problems she saw. She was a trail-blazer thinking about sustainability, important issues especially in California. Want to learn more? I especially liked Lisa Taylor's review over at Shelf-employed.
Kate Session arrives in San Diego
Balboa Park, San Diego, 1915
Do you want to share more with kids? I think they'd be interested in this video from the San Diego Historical Society.

The San Diego History Center also has more information on Sessions and Balboa Park.

The review copy was kindly sent by the publishers, Simon & Schuster. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books (at no cost to you!). Thank you for your support.

©2014 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

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6546. Women's History Month Book Review: Florence Nightingale, by Demi (Henry Holt, 2014)

Women's History Month began on Saturday, March 1.  You can learn more about outstanding children's books on women's history by following the 4th annual group blog which I co-organize with fellow blogger/librarian Lisa Taylor, Kidlit Celebrates Women's History Month, Once again we will feature posts from distinguished authors, illustrators, librarians and bloggers, and we invite you to participate in the conversation.  This year's contributors will include authors Tonya Bolden, Sandra Neil Wallace and Gretchen Woelfie, librarian Penny Peck, and many others.  In addition to the blog, you can also access our content on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest.  While new content is published only in March, the blog is available all year long as a resource for librarians, parents, and educators.  Please join us in our 4th annual celebration!  

Here at the Fourth Musketeer I will also be highlighting books about women in history this month.  Today I will be reviewing Demi's newest book on Florence Nightingale.  Demi has published over 150 books during her long career, many of them large format biographical picture books aimed at elementary school-aged students.  In addition to their informative text, Demi's biographies showcase her unique artistic style, which features a strong Asian influence, traditional materials, intricate patterns, and vibrant, glowing colors.
When I was a girl in the 1960's and '70's, Florence Nightingale would have been one of the only women from history you would have been likely to find a book on in the children's biography section of your local library, although I would be reasonably certain that I could not have found a biography as beautifully illustrated as this new one.  On the end pages and title page, we see Florence as the iconic Lady of the Lamp.  The book unfolds in a traditional linear narrative, beginning with Florence's birth and girlhood.  She was born into a very wealthy British family, where she had all the advantages of an upper class upbringing.  But her interest in nursing and helping others began at a young age; Demi shows us Florence as a little girl playing hospital with her dolls.  Her interest in nursing intensified on a family trip to the Continent when in addition to seeing the tourist sights, she visited hospitals and charities.  Her parents were opposed to her becoming a nurse, but eventually relented when they saw her commitment.  

Demi's text and artwork show Florence's career progressing from working at a hospital for indigent women to her groundbreaking work nursing soldiers in the Crimean War, where she arranged for patients to get healthy food and water and stressed the need for cleanliness.  We see Florence wandering the wards at night with her lantern, earning her nickname, The Lady with the Lamp.  

Florence worked herself to exhaustion and suffered ill health later in her life.  Nonetheless, she continued to work for the poor and downtrodden in society, and inspired the founding of the International Red Cross.  

Demi's book not only provides an outline of Florence Nightingale's remarkable life but also considers her legacy as an extraordinary woman in history.  Back matter includes a timeline and suggestions for further reading.

This slim but powerful volume is a must for school and public libraries. 

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6547. Mini Review: Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

I have been so lucky lately and have had quite a few books mailed to me.  It's great because I have been trying not to request ARCs so these are surprise books, which is even better.  I just am not finding the time to read some of them, so I brought them to my school and handed them out to a few of my most avid readers with the exception that they write me a mini review when they are finished.

One of my favorite sixth grade readers, Alena, chose Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge.  Here's what she thought:

A charming and exciting twist on Beauty and the Beast as well as love and destiny.  I couldn't put it down.  Each page had me under a captivating spell.  Readers of Throne of Glass will love this book!  I can't wait to read more from Rosamund Hodge.

If that doesn't make you want to read it, I am not sure what will!

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6548. New Voice: Varsha Bajaj on Abby Spencer Goes to Bollywood

Discussion Guide
By Cynthia Leitich Smith
for Cynsations

Varsha Bajaj is the debut novelist behind Abby Spencer Goes to Bollywood (Albert Whitman, 2014). From the promotional copy:

What thirteen-year-old Abby wants most is to meet her father. She just never imagined he would be a huge film star—in Bollywood! 

Now she's traveling to Mumbai to get to know her famous father. 

Abby is overwhelmed by the culture clash, the pressures of being the daughter of India's most famous celebrity, and the burden of keeping her identity a secret. 

But as she learns to navigate her new surroundings, she just might discover where she really belongs.

How did you discover and get to know your protagonist? How about your secondary characters? Your antagonist?

I wanted to write a book that I would have liked to read when I was twelve and I loved books with a sense of humor which I could connect with emotionally. ASGTB is a fun journey, but at the heart of the story is a father-daughter relationship. Abby is a teenager defining her cultural identity.

Starring Liv Tyler
I was watching an interview with Liv Tyler (actress) and she shared that she didn’t know Steven Tyler was her father till she was a pre-teen.

It set me thinking.

What if a girl discovered that her absent father was a celebrity in another country/culture? The premise intrigued me. A Bollywood star is the epitome of celebrity in India, and I thought what if my protagonist discovers that her father is the equivalent of Brad Pitt in India.

It was a happy coincidence that I grew up in Mumbai, on a street, where some of my neighbors were Bollywood directors and stars. In fact one of my childhood friends starred in a Bollywood movie.

My family also hosted international students during my late teen years. I therefore witnessed teenagers from the West navigate cultural differences in India. I have also been seen the reactions of my own American born teenagers to Mumbai and India.

Journey stories, like The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot (HarperCollins, 2000) have always drawn me in, maybe because I love to travel.

The idea of taking the reader on a fun journey to Mumbai with my protagonist was simultaneously daunting and appealing. From these cumulative experiences, Abby Spencer was born.

Abby had to have spunk, to make that journey and own it. A sense of humor, and adventure and fun are also handy when visiting a new country. She had to be intelligent so she could be receptive to a foreign culture and sensitive so she could deal with being in a country with vast disparities between people.

I did not gloss over some of the harsher realities of Mumbai and neither did I want to skimp on the playful, glamorous aspects of Abby’s setting.

Striking a balance at times felt like walking on a razor’s edge.

Varsha & Cynthia Leitich Smith
Creating the cast of secondary characters was not as difficult once I knew Abby. I loved Grandma Tara, and I hope the reader will too. Rani, who is an actress and Naveen’s girlfriend, was a bit over the top, till the scene when she goes shopping with Abby. Shaan and Shiva were both Abby’s friends but in starkly different ways and help Abby on this journey.

Abby’s imaginary string quartet reflected her moods. In the first draft of the novel, it did not go to India with her. I missed it and so wove it as a theme through the story. The city of Mumbai is also a secondary character.

The antagonists in this story are the circumstances and the foreign culture and city that Abby has to adapt to. Neither parent is clearly to blame. The media/paparazzi that stalk her father are obstacles to Abby wanting to get to know him without prying eyes.

As a contemporary fiction writer, how did you deal with the pervasiveness of rapidly changing technologies? Did you worry about dating your manuscript? Did you worry about it seeming inauthentic if you didn't address these factors? Why or why not?

I did use existing technologies to allow my protagonist to “see” her father. Abby’s first introduction to her father is over Skype and I did worry about the device dating the book.

On the other hand, it would have felt forced and unreal to have Abby merely talk to her father who lives in India over the phone.

Later in the story, Abby wants to introduce her beloved Grandma Tara to her mother and again she turns to Skype. Both times Abby does think/feel that Skype falls short and is two dimensional, but she appreciates its ability to connect the people she loves who live in different continents.

Abby also does a web search for her father and it felt natural. I had to in fact explain why she had not done so sooner.

Contemporary fiction cannot help being dated by the time in which it is written, but I hope that it is part of its charm.

I recently re-read Little Women by Louisa May Alcott which was first published in 1868, and it engaged me all over again. It is so important that the characters and their emotions are real and timeless. The other aspects are secondary when the characters are authentic.

How have you approached the task of promoting your debut book? What online or real-space efforts are you making? Where did you get your ideas? To whom did you turn for support? Are you enjoying the process, or does it feel like a chore?

I became a part of the Class of 2k14, and they have made the process much less daunting. Not being very tech savvy, I am so in awe of their talents. I have learned so much from them.

It has been a cohesive, fun and supportive group. It has made the process less lonely. It’s been interesting to see the difference in how a range of publishers promote books and writers.

Cynsational Notes

Varsha with fellow Class of 2k14 author Kristin Rae
Varsha signs Abby Spencer Goes to Bollywood for Greg Leitich Smith.

See more photos from Varsha's launch party on March 1 at Blue Willow Bookshop in Katy, Texas at Cynthia Leitich Smith's official author facebook page.

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6549. Monday Poetry Stretch - Dogs!

I've been reading Mary Oliver and any other dog poetry on can get my hands on. This weekend I read this gem at American Life in Poetry.

Dog in Bed 
by Joyce Sidman

Nose tucked under tail,
you are a warm, furred planet
centered in my bed.
All night I orbit, tangle-limbed,
in the slim space
allotted to me.

If I accidentally
bump you from sleep,
you shift, groan,
drape your chin on my hip.

Read the poem in its entirety.

It hasn't been a week yet, but I'm particularly inspired by the newest addition to our family. Say hello to Hemingway.

He's very sweet and in need of lots of love and affection. He'll get all of that and then some! Right now we're just trying to put some weight on his skinny frame. His hips and ribs are visible, but we'll have him right as rain in no time.

Since I'm home today for another snow day (this makes 9 so far this year!), I'm reading and writing do poetry. Won't you join me this week? Please share a link to your poem or the poem itself in the comments.

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6550. The Gaied Decision: a rare victory for tax sanity in New York

EZ Thoughts

By Edward Zelinsky

In a unanimous decision, New York’s Court of Appeals, the Empire State’s highest court, recently held that John Gaied was not a New York resident for income tax purposes because he had no New York home.

Mr. Gaied was domiciled in New Jersey and had a business on Staten Island to which he commuted daily. He purchased a multi-family apartment building near his business in New York, both as an investment and to house his parents who lived in the building’s first floor apartment.

New York’s tax commissioner claimed that this Staten Island building made Mr. Gaied a New York resident for tax purposes. The New York Tax Appeals Tribunal and the New York Appellate Division affirmed the commissioner’s determination that this building constituted Mr. Gaied’s “permanent place of abode” in New York – even though Mr. Gaied personally did not lived there.

The good news is that Mr. Gaied ultimately prevailed. The bad news is that he had to fight his way to New York’s highest court to prevail. As that court held, “in order for a taxpayer to have maintained a permanent place of abode in New York, the taxpayer must, himself, have a residential interest in the property.” Since it was Mr. Gaied’s parents who lived in the first floor apartment, not Mr. Gaied himself, he was not a New York resident for tax purposes.


Mr. Gaied’s lawyer, Timothy P. Noonan of Hodgson Russ, LLP, is entitled to be proud of this victory for tax sanity in New York. The problem is that such sanity is all too rare. Mr. Gaied had to go to New York’s highest court to establish the common sense proposition that a “place of abode” is a location at which the taxpayer actually lives.

Unfortunately, the kind of irrationality manifested by New York’s tax commissioner in Gaied is endemic to New York’s tax system. Consider, for example, New York’s insistence that the modest beach house owned and used by Mr. John J. Barker for a handful of vacation days each year transforms Mr. Barker into a New York resident, even though his permanent home is in Connecticut. Or consider New York’s “convenience of the employer” doctrine under which New York taxes the income earned by nonresident telecommuters on the days such telecommuters work at their out-of-state homes and don’t set foot in the Empire State. There is much that is irrational and self-destructive in New York tax policy.

Governor Cuomo has eloquently proclaimed that New York can no longer be “the tax capital” of the United States. The Governor is right. Hopefully, Gaied will signal to New York’s policymakers the need to reform New York’s self-destructive approach to personal income taxation. Repairing New York’s definition of residence and abolishing the “convenience of the employer” doctrine would be good places to start.

ZelinskiEdward A. Zelinsky is the Morris and Annie Trachman Professor of Law at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law of Yeshiva University. He is the author of The Origins of the Ownership Society: How The Defined Contribution Paradigm Changed America. His monthly column appears on the OUPblog.

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Image credit: A section of the New York City. © diane39 via iStockphoto.

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