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<<August 2014>>
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Viewing: Blog Posts from All 1540 Blogs, since 2/23/2008 [Help]
Results 6,526 - 6,550 of 478,007
6526. कविता ( फिर कभी और सही)

कभी और सही …. (कविता)

कुछ अल्फाजों को मन के पिंजरे से आजाद तो करना चाह्ती हूं


डरती हूं

कोई इन्हे आहत न कर दे


पढ कर किसी के अश्रू न छ्लक जाए


चुरा कर कोई अपने ही पिंजरे मे कैद न कर ले

सोचती हूं

हर खुशी , गम , नाराजगी में बरसों से सहेजा है इनको

बहुत अजीज हो चुके हैं ये मेरे


एक टक निहार कर कैद ही रहने दिया


रोक लिया आज भी इन्हे उडान भरने से

कभी खुद ब खुद ही ढलक जाए तो अलग बात है


फिर कभी और सही ( मोनिका ग़ुप्ता)*

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6527. #ReadISLA Campaign

Hello Fellow YABCers!

I am BEYOND excited that YABC was asked to participate in the #ReadISLA campaign as we eagerly await, ISLA AND THE HAPPILY EVER AFTER, the third companion novel in Stephanie Perkins' ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS series!



From the glittering streets of Manhattan to the moonlit rooftops of Paris, falling in love is easy for hopeless dreamer Isla and introspective artist Josh. But as they begin their senior year in France, Isla and Josh are quickly forced to confront the heartbreaking reality that happily-ever-afters aren’t always forever.

Their romantic journey is skillfully intertwined with those of beloved couples Anna and Étienne and Lola and Cricket, whose paths are destined to collide in a sweeping finale certain to please fans old and new.



Help spread the word:

~ Announce your participation in the campaign by using the #ReadISLA hashtag and tweeting like an all-expense paid trip to Paris depends on it! (It doesn't, but let's pretend, okay? Okay.) And don't forget to tag @naturallysteph and @penguinteen in all your !!!!! excitement!

~  Pre-order your copy of ISLA AND THE HAPPILY EVER AFTER from one of the 55 independent bookstores and you could get a signed first edition + swag and tell everyone you know to do the same!

~ While you're waiting for the August 14, 2014 release, check out the ISLA AND THE HAPPILY EVER AFTER sampler.




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6528. Monthly etymology gleanings for June 2014, part one

By Anatoly Liberman

Baron, mark, and concise.
I am always glad to hear from our readers. This time I noted with pleasure that both comments on baron (see them posted where they belong) were not new to me. I followed all the references in Franz Settegast’s later article (they are not yet to be found in such abundance in my bibliography of English etymology) and those in later sources and dictionaries, and, quite naturally, the quotation from Isidore and the formula in which baron means “husband” figure prominently in every serious work on the subject. No one objected to the hypothesis I attempted to revive. Regrettably, Romance etymologists hardly ever read this blog. In any case, I have not heard their opinion about bigot, beggar, bugger, and now baron. On the other hand, when I say something suspicious or wrong, such statements arouse immediate protest, so perhaps my voice is not lost in the wilderness.

Thus, in one of the letters sent to Oxford University Press I was told that my criticism of the phrase short and concise “is not well taken,” because legal English does make use of this tautological binomial, along with many more like it, in which two synonyms—one English and one French—coexist and reinforce each other. What our correspondent said is, no doubt, correct, and I am aware of numerous Middle English legal compounds of the love-amour type. However, I am afraid that some people who have as little knowledge of legalese as I do misuse concise and have a notion that this adjective is a synonym of precise. Perhaps someone can give us more information on this point. I also want to thank our correspondent who took issue with my statement on the pronunciation of shire: my rule was too rigid.

As for mark, our old correspondent Nikita (he never gives his last name) is certainly right. Ukraine (that is, Ukraina) means “borderland.” In the past, the word was not a place name, and other borderlands were also called this. Equally relevant are the examples Mr. Cowan cited. I don’t know whether Tolkien punned on myrk-, but Old Icelandic myrk- does mean murk ~ murky, as in Myrk-við “Dark Forest” (so a kind of Schwarzwald) and Myrk-á “Dark River.”

Spelling and general intercourse.
I suspect that Mr. Bett (see his comments on the previous gleanings) is an advocate of an all-or-nothing reform. I’d be happy to see English spelling revolutionized, and my suggestion (step by step) is based on expedience (politics) rather than any scholarly considerations. When people speak of phonetic spelling, they usually mean phonemic spelling, so this is not an issue. But I would like to remind everyone that the English Spelling Society was formed in 1908. And what progress has it made in 116 years? Compare the two texts given below.

To begin with, I’ll quote a few passages from Professor Gilbert Murray’s article published in The Spectator 157, 1936, pp. 983-984. At that time, he was the President of the Simplified Spelling Society.

“There are two plain reasons for the reform of English spelling. In education the work of learning to read and write his own tongue is said to cost the English child [I apologize for Murray’s possessive pronoun] a year longer than, for example, the Italian child, and certainly tends to confuse his mind. For purposes of commerce and general intercourse, where the world badly needs a universal auxiliary language and English is already beginning in many parts of the world to serve this purpose, the enormous difficulty and irrationality of English spelling is holding the process back.…”

He continued:

“Now nearly all languages have a periodic ‘spring cleaning’ of their orthography. English had a tremendous ‘spring cleaning’ between the twelfth and the fourteenth century.… It is practically Dryden’s spelling that we now use, but few can doubt that the time for another ‘spring cleaning’ is fully arrived… It must not be supposed that the reformers want an exact phonetic alphabet…. What we need is merely a standard spelling for a standard language…. The ‘spring cleaning’ which my society asks for is, I think, quite certain to come; though the longer it is delayed the more revolutionary is will be. It may come, as Lord Bryce, when President of the British Academy, desired, by means of a Royal Commission or a special committee of the Academy. It may, on the other hand, come through the overpowering need of nations in the Far East, and perhaps in the North of Europe, to have an auxiliary language, easy to learn, widely spoken, commercially convenient, and with a great literature behind it, in a form intelligible to write and to speak.”

All this could be written today, even though with a few additions and corrections. English is no longer beginning to serve the purpose of an international language; it has played this role since World War II. We no longer believe that the desired “cleaning” is sure to come: we can only hope for the best.

Let us now listen to Mr. Stephen Linstead, the present Chair of the English Spelling Society, who said to The Daily Telegraph on 23 May 2014 the following: “The spelling of roughly 35 percent of the commonest English words is, to a degree, irregular or ambiguous; meaning that the learner has to memorise these words.” A need to memorize irregularity, he explains, “costs children precious learning time, and us—as a nation—money…. A study carried out in 2001 revealed that English speaking children can take over two years longer to learn basic words compared with children in other countries where the spelling system is more regular.”

We can see that our educational system is making great strides: what used to take one year now takes two. Mr. Linstead says other things worth hearing of which I’ll single out the proposal. It concerns the formation of an international English Spelling Congress “made up of English speakers from across the world who are open to the possibility of improving English spelling and who would like to contribute to the difficulty of mastering our spelling system.” As I understand it, the reformers plan to pay special attention to organizational matters, rather than arguing about the details of English spelling. This looks like a rational attitude. The public is not interested in the reform. Nor did it show any enthusiasm for it in 1936. There were two letters to the editor in response to Professor Gilbert’s article, but both came from the members of the Society, that is, from the “choir.” If the Congress materializes, it should include a lot of very influential people (what about Lord Bryce’s idea?). Otherwise, we will keep talking for another one hundred and six years without any results.

Busy as a bee.
The public, as I said above, does not care about the reform, but it is greedy, covets monetary prizes, and sends children to a torture known as spelling bee. The hive originated in 1925. Here is a case of a bright thirteen year old boy. He speaks English (and to some extent two other languages, one of them learned at home) and is an avid reader. He made it to the semifinals but misspelled ananke (a useful word that reminds even the gods that doom is unavoidable—just what a young boy should keep in mind). I don’t know what he did wrong. Probably he assumed that the word was Latin and spelled it with a c, but alas and alack, it is Greek. For eight weeks a coach (another young student) used to work with the boy three times a week. What a waste! The boy said: “I was really nervous, because you really don’t know what word you were going to get. I wanted to make it farther. [However,] I was really pleased with how I did and how I placed.” I am afraid he will grow up knowing several hundred words he will never see in books and using really three times in two lines. Remembering the spelling of ananke will be the only reward for his efforts.

A snake in the slough of despond

A snake in the slough of despond. Image credit: A Cantil (Agkistrodon bilineatus) with a shed skin nearby at Little Ray’s Reptile Zoo. Photo by Jonathan Crowe. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 via mcwetboy Flickr.

I think society (society at large, not the Spelling Society) should do what administrators, masters of a meaningless jargon, call sorting out priorities, stop abusing children, forget the fate of the gods, and concentrate on the misery of the  mortals who try to make sense of bough, cough, dough, rough, through, and the horrors of the word slough.

To be continued next week.

Anatoly Liberman is the author of Word Origins And How We Know Them as well as An Analytic Dictionary of English Etymology: An Introduction. His column on word origins, The Oxford Etymologist, appears on the OUPblog each Wednesday. Send your etymology question to him care of blog@oup.com; he’ll do his best to avoid responding with “origin unknown.” Subscribe to Anatoly Liberman’s weekly etymology articles via email or RSS.

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The post Monthly etymology gleanings for June 2014, part one appeared first on OUPblog.

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6529. Cynsational News & Summer Hiatus

Austin's new boardwalk along Lady Bird Lake!
Compiled by Cynthia Leitich Smith for Cynsations  

Thanks so much for being a Cynsational reader! 

I appreciate your enthusiasm for and interest in the world of books for kids and teens.

Breaking news: Effective immediately, Cynsations is going on summer hiatus until September. 

In the meantime, you can keep up with children's-YA books news on my author facebook page and @CynLeitichSmith on Twitter.

See y'all in the fall!

More News

A Profile of Rita Williams-Garcia (Being Eleven) by K.T. Horning from The Horn Book. Peek: "Rita and I bonded over our mutual love of the Jackson 5. Nothing defined the era during which we were eleven better than the Jackson 5. We both remember the thrill of seeing them on TV for the first time in the fall of 1969." See also Five Questions for K.T. Horning on The Jackson 5.

On Leaving Space for the Reader by Celeste Ng from Glimmer Train. Peek: "There's a difference between leaving space for the reader to interpret and leaving the reader adrift."

Character Talents & Skills: Telling Lies by Angela Ackerman from Writers Helping Writers. Peek: "To become an adept liar, a person must learn how to exude confidence, keep a calm demeanor, and speak in a way that appeals to the target’s emotional sensitivities."

Learn more!
Book & Activity Suggestions to Match Your Summer Adventure: Ballparks by Jill Eisenberg from Lee & Low. See also Book & Activity Suggestions to Match Your Summer Adventure: Zoos.

Writing Real Characters Amid Terrible Violence: Tips from a True-Crime Writer by Dan Morse from Elizabeth Craig Spann. Peek: "To pull readers along for 300-plus pages, though, I needed detailed scenes that not only advanced the plot, but also built out very real characters."

Using Rejection as a Rung in Your Ladder to Success by Janet Fox from The Writing Barn. Peek: "Each rejection letter I received – and yes, they came back on paper in SASE’s – went into one of those narrow drawers, the middle drawer on the left. I decided that I would only quit trying to become a “real” author when I amassed enough rejection slips that the drawer would no longer close."

On Writing the Next Thing by Joy McCullough-Carranza from Project Mahem. Peek: "I’ve heard some people say they cannot focus on something new when they are anxiously awaiting responses from agents or editors. But I think that’s one of the two main reasons to work on the next one."

Infused by Donald Maas from Writer Unboxed. Peek: "How do we infuse every moment with unspoken awareness of the need that is pulling a character inexorably through the length of the story?"

Writing a Series: What I Didn't Know by Dianne Salerni from Crowe's Nest. Peek: "It wasn’t until I completed the editorial revisions for Book 1 and looked ahead to the submission deadline for Book 2 that it dawned on me how fast things were happening."

This Week at Cynsations

Cynsational Giveaways

The winner of Lupita’s First Dance/El primer baile de Lupita by Lupe Ruiz-Flores, illustrated by Gabhor Utomo (Arte Publico) was Johanna in Texas.

The winner of Daughters of Two Nations, by Peggy Caravantes, illustrated by Carolyn Dee Flores (Mountain Press) and Canta, Rana, Canta/Sing, Froggie, Sing by Carolyn Dee Flores(Piñata) was Katy in Texas.

The winners of Hung Up by Kristen Tracy (Simon Pulse) were Christina in New York and Robin in North Carolina. The winner of Kristen's Lost It was Alicia in Alabama.

The winner of Paint Me! by Sarah Frances Hardy (Sky Pony, 2014) was Donna in New Jersey.

More Personally

Last week's highlights included the Writers' League of Texas 2014 Agents and Editors Conference on June 28 at the Hyatt Regency Austin in Texas.

Penguin sales rep Jill Bailey, Macmillan sales rep Gillian Redfern & author Greg Leitich Smith

Austin SCBWI RA Samantha Clark, author Shana Burg & newly agented Vanessa Lee

With Brian Yansky & Cyndi Hughes

Author & WLT Programming Director Jennifer Ziegler with Greg

Thanks also to the YA Book Club at Cedar Park (Texas) Public Library! I greatly enjoyed our conversation about Feral Curse (Candlewick, 2014)!

The links lingering on my mind is Tim Tingle's keynote at the 2014 American Indian Youth Literature Awards by Debbie Reese from American Indians in Children's Literature and Capaciousness (re: Kate DiCamillo's ALA speech) by Teri Lesesne from The Goddess of YA Literature.

Personal Links

Find signed copies of my YA novels at Barnes & Noble in Round Rock, Texas!

Cynsational Events

Research for Fiction, Non-fiction and Historical Fiction Writers from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 13 at The Austin Centre (3809 South 2nd St.) from Austin SCBWI. Speakers authors Cynthia Levinson and Greg Leitich Smith, author-librarian Jeanette Larson and Carolyn Yoder, senior editor at Calkins Creek Books, the U.S. history imprint of Boyds Mills Press, and senior editor at "Highlights."

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6530. 2013 Writing Goals: Hit, Miss, or Somewhere In Between?

July’s the month I take a blogging sabbath. Throughout the course of the month, I’ll re-run some oldies but goodies. Enjoy!

I thought it would be fun to look over the goals I set for my writing this year, to see what worked and what didn’t. And in light of this recent discussion on author output, comparison, and finding peace with my own creative processes, the timing felt right.

At the end of last year, our SCBWI-NM monthly schmooze focused on personal writing goals. During that session, I took a one-page calendar and marked out school holidays, family vacations, and other important dates I knew in advance. And then I aimed high.

Here’s what I wanted to tackle in 2013:

  1. research for a new picture book
  2. twelve new picture book manuscripts (!!!)
  3. six months of research for a new novel
  4. three months of drafting this new novel
  5. blog/reading goal: re-read The Complete Journals of Lucy Maud Montgomery, Volumes I-V and write about it here

 Author Chris Eboch led a second schmooze discussion in July about reassessing our goals. I noticed a few things:

  1. I was already waaay off on the picture book goal.
  2. Due to some wonderful news, I needed to change my novel goals.
  3. This was all A-okay.

One of the best things I got from Chris’s talk was information on author Kristi Holl’s Rx for Writers: Managing Your Writing Space and Your Writing Time (a free mini e-book).

Kristi talks about four terms that are key to a writer’s success:

  • DREAMS: not under your control
  • GOALS: under your control
  • SUB-GOALS: specific to-do steps under each goal
  • HABITS: daily practices that support your sub-goals

The distinction between what an author can control and what she can’t is key.* For example, while aiming to nab an agent is wonderful, it’s a dream, not a goal. But there are steps (sub-goals) a writer can take to do all that is in her control in this regard, from completing a manuscript, working with critique partners to revise it, taking advantage of contests or grants that might give feedback on her work, researching agents for the best fit, writing and evaluating a query letter, and finally sending it out.

A dream that wasn’t in my control changed the course of some of my writing goals this year. Some goals, such as the twelve picture books, were way off track.

Here’s what I actually did in 2013:

  1. research for a new picture book
  2. two new picture book manuscripts
  3. four months of research on a new novel
  4. one month drafting this new novel
  5. work on first and second-round edits for Blue Birds
  6. blog/reading goal: met! Plus I read the new(ish) LMM biography, THE GIFT OF WINGS by journal co-editor, Mary Rubio

 Over all, I’m pleased with this year’s work. As for next year, I’ll consider re-visiting some of those picture book ideas, work on my novels within my editor’s time table, flex when surprises come, and keep re-assessing what’s best for my work and me.

Do you set writing goals? How have you fared this year?



*Unless you’re a local superstar author who recently shared with me she likes to set goals like “I’ll sell two novels and one picture book this year”…and does just that!


The post 2013 Writing Goals: Hit, Miss, or Somewhere In Between? appeared first on Caroline Starr Rose.

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6531. Reading Rainbow Team Raises $5M+ on Kickstarter

LeVar Burton (pictured, via) and his collaborators have raised $5 million in 35 days.

In addition to crowdfunded money, actor Seth MacFarlane has agreed to donate $1 million which brings the total to more than $6 million. Now that the campaign has ended, the Reading Rainbow team plans to establish a Reading Rainbow digital library (for the web, mobile devices, game consoles, and Over the Top boxes) and allow 7,500 classrooms to access this library free of charge.

24 hours after the Kickstarter venture launched, supporters had pledged more than $1 million. Follow this link to watch Burton’s reaction video towards the first million. What do you think?


New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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6532. Cute reviews!

I just love this cute review at Muff and Teacake,

"At the moment the bedtime routine with my daughter frequently seems to be spent in the company of a very cute squiggly mammoth! My daughter loves her latest book, Little Lou and the Woolly Mammoth by Paula Bowles.  I must admit to being just a little captivated too… "

And Nayu's Reading Corner

"Lou rarely sits still, both the story and the illustrations have a sense of activity and moving about which readers might want to act out. Lou's expressions match a child's innocent curiosity as she follows the wool. I joined her in being scared of he mammoth, but not for long because something happens to make it utterly adorable and had me squeeing with delight. I want a woolly mammoth like it is at the end! And I'd like a book 2 which is sort of hinted at on the last page."

And Read it Daddy

We won't spoil the twist in this yarn-entwined tale but it's rather lovely, in fact the whole book has that warm fuzzy cuddly feeling about it - a bit like a gigantic woolly mammoth in fact. Just never feed it dustballs otherwise you'll never get rid of it :)
Charlotte's best bit: The mammoth first appears, and he's HUGE! Eek! A little bit daunting for a little girl 

Daddy's Favourite bit: Warm, fuzzy, charming and funny - and celebrates a child's endless curiosity perfectly 

Thanks guys for the kind words, glad you're all enjoying Little Lou and the Woolly Mammoth :)

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6533. The Secret To Writing Stronger Feature Articles

When Esquire asked Gay Talese to write a piece on Frank Sinatra in 1965, he didn’t want to do it. Everyone seemed to be writing about Sinatra. But the (now legendary) writer reluctantly took the assignment, traveling to Los Angeles only to find that he couldn’t even get an interview—Sinatra wasn’t feeling well. Talese remained in L.A., hoping the crooner might recover and reconsider, and he began talking to many of the people around Sinatra—his friends, his associates, his family, his countless hangers-on—and observing the man himself wherever he could. In time he found that Sinatra’s illness wasn’t killing his story; it was the story. In April 1966, Esquire ran what editors continue to say is one of the best pieces they’ve ever published: “Frank Sinatra Has a Cold.” (You can still read the full story today, at esquire.com/features/esq1003-oct_sinatra_rev_.)

It wasn’t the best because Sinatra was the subject. It was the best because Talese had put the work in, paid attention, and gone beyond an article about a man everyone knew of. He’d found a story.

To write a strong feature it’s not enough to just give the facts. Your piece must have the most essential element in any story: It must be a story.

In nonfiction, like fiction, what readers need more than anything is a reason to care, to want to know what happens next, how it will all turn out. Readers want stories. And stories are driven by tension. It’s your job to give it to them.

First you have to find it. Then you have to tell it.

Training Your Ear for Tension

Stories are everywhere if you learn to look. Sometimes you have to search, and sometimes you just need to pay closer attention to what’s in front of you. Here are some ways to find them.

Think of the whole story. When approaching a new story, look beyond the newsworthy item that led you there. It’s easy to be distracted by what’s happening on the surface. But think about all that might have led to that moment. What might seem to you like a boring ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new business may really be the culmination of a lifelong dream for the owner. An ordinary high school graduation could be a moment of triumph for a student who overcame great obstacles to hold her diploma. A story about a sports team that wins (or—think of the tension—loses) a championship isn’t about that one game. It’s about an entire season, possibly longer. In the end, it might not be about a game at all.

Listen … to everyone. When reporting, don’t just listen for people to confirm what you already think the story is. Seek to be surprised. Probe into people’s lives and listen to the small details. Let them jabber away. If the tension is not obvious from the start, it often shows itself through an offhand comment or some seemingly trivial fact. Uncovering those means talking not just to the big players in the story, but to everyone you can.

I woke up one morning to discover that a well-known local panhandler had died. Ray was known for changing into three different suits throughout the day as he wandered downtown Flint, Mich., begging for money, giving hugs and proposing marriage. I thought his eccentricities were enough to write about—and really, they would have made a fine article. But I couldn’t help wondering if there was more to Ray’s story. I walked around downtown, asking people who’d known him to share their thoughts and memories. Those bits of information and anecdotes created a mosaic of Ray that brought him to life—and they also led me to Joshua Spencer, a local businessman who had been especially kind to Ray, even driving him to the doctor. I wondered: What does a sick and lonely man talk about with one of the few people he trusts? And that’s when I found the real story. It opened like this:

[Ray] would sometimes tell him during their phone conversations, always between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m.—a limit Spencer had to set. It came up during their many lunch dates or when [Ray] would stop into Spencer’s downtown ad agency or when Spencer would drive him to doctor’s appointments. [Ray] would tell him what worried him most—that the people who he stopped on the street every day, women he’d propose to, all the people he had special names for, the people who would wave hello or blow him off, did not love him as much as he loved them.

Do you see it there? Tension.

Find the scenes. Once you’ve established the tension that drives the story, it’s your job to explore the telling moments and turning points in the story, bringing them to life for your reader. Stories are told through scenes, and it’s through scenes that tension emerges, grows and is resolved.

It’s always best if you can be on the scene while a story is in progress. But sometimes you can’t be there, just as Skip Hollandsworth could not time travel to 1946 for his recent Texas Monthly feature “Hoop Queens,” about the first generation of a dominant women’s college basketball team. Hollandsworth opened the story by showing the now-elderly first generation of players in the stands at a recent game. He then went back in time to the exact, tense moment when one of those female players had the guts to ask for more practice time on the court. It was the scene that had lead to their current legacy:

One day after practice, Redin noticed a group of coeds standing by the gym door. They were members of the Wayland Girls Basket-ball Club, which played a handful of games each year against nearby high schools and junior colleges. A young woman swallowed nervously and told Redin that the Girls Basket-ball Club would like more practice time at the gym. They also wanted to play more games against better opponents.

And who, exactly, would you want to play? Redin asked.

Well, said the young woman, maybe you could help us schedule games against some of those AAU teams.

Redin stared at the group, not sure how to respond. “I finally said, ‘Girls, this is Wayland Baptist,’ ” he told me. “ ‘We don’t really play AAU teams at Wayland Baptist.’ ”

The scene reads effortlessly, and yet with a closer look it’s clear Hollandsworth had to ask a lot of questions to get what he needed for these brief sentences. The player “swallowed nervously,” showing us the tension. By getting his sources to relay past dialogue, Hollandsworth was able to show the information as well as tell it. And because he was able to find the real root of his story, all the details about who the girl basketball players were before the team started—who they played, how much, the year it all started—become more than just information to his readers. They now mean something.

Ask the most important question. Everyone has a story. Everyone wonders what will happen next in their lives and how it all will turn out. In fiction, editors often ask, “What’s at stake?” That’s the question that drives the best factual reporting, too. Think: What will happen or would have happened if? Ask people about it. Ask what they think about and what they’re worried about. Often, those answers—and not all the surface facts so many reporters are obsessed with—are your stories. They are the core your facts stick to, your editor’s reason to take interest in acquiring your piece, your reader’s reason to care.

Telling the Story

Journalists are taught to put the most important information at the top of a story because they have to assume many readers won’t stick around till the end. But if you’re going to go beyond straightforward reporting and become a truly great feature writer—a storyteller—your job is to keep them reading. You have to seduce them, keep them engaged and make it all pay off.

Some people reject the idea that all stories must follow the old formula of having a beginning, middle and end, arguing that a story can begin in the middle or end at the beginning. Fair enough. Another way to think about a feature story, then, is this: Seduction, Development, Payoff.

Seduction. In fiction, readers go in knowing there will be tension, and this is almost always established early: Nick Carraway watches a mysterious neighbor named Gatsby reach for a green light. Harry Potter is the boy who lived. Good stories seduce their readers with a hint, a promise of all that’s yet to come, the reason they should stick around.

So it is with nonfiction. Let’s revisit the Sinatra piece by Talese. The story is approximately 15,000 words long—about a quarter of a short novel—and yet the tension is established in the first few paragraphs. Talese sets a tense scene in the first paragraph, showing Sinatra sitting in a bar, and in the next paragraph, shown here, he reveals the tension that will drive the rest of the story.

Sinatra had been working in a film that he now disliked, could not wait to finish; he was tired of all the publicity attached to his dating the 20-year-old Mia Farrow, who was not in sight tonight; he was angry that a CBS television documentary of his life, to be shown in two weeks, was reportedly prying into his privacy, even speculating on his possible friendship with Mafia leaders; he was worried about his starring role in an hour-long NBC show entitled Sinatra—A Man and His Music, which would require that he sing 18 songs with a voice that at this particular moment, just a few nights before the taping was to begin, was weak and sore and uncertain. Sinatra was ill. He was the victim of an ailment so common that most people would consider it trivial. But when it gets to Sinatra it can plunge him into a state of anguish, deep depression, panic, even rage. Frank Sinatra had a cold.

There’s no point in holding back at the beginning. You can ease into the tension with a scene, as Talese does, or you can jump into it with the first line, but the tension—the reason we should care—must be there from the start, giving your readers a reason to keep going, to wonder what will happen next.

Development. Once you’ve convinced your readers to hang around, they’re ready for the rest of the story.

The best devices to keep them interested are all those scenes you found in your reporting. Talese would map out his stories and then try to make each point he needed to make—to insert each fact the reader needed to know—through scenes. Sometimes you can’t make the story entirely out of scenes, or there may be exposition that just needs to be there. Scenes, however, can still drive the way the story unfolds.

Look for the different milestones in your own story, the highs and lows the key players go through that define their journeys. Let those moments, those key scenes, drive the story forward, and your reader along with it.

Payoff. Stories have endings. They’re the answer to that what if question implied by the tension.

Sometimes the tension is not yet resolved in life, but the story must, of course, end on the page. That’s no problem. Those can be the best endings.

For a long time I’d been wanting to write a story about an iconic grouping of pictures of old regulars at a well-known bar in downtown Flint, but I wasn’t sure how to do it—until the day I heard the owner was thinking of having the pictures retaken. I’d found my tension: What would happen to the old pictures? Who would replace these fixtures? I gathered all my scenes and “characters,” but by the time I was done reporting, the old pictures were still up there. And so instead of trying to resolve the tension, I let it hang:

[If the owner] ever decides to put up a new Big Bar in the Sky, it will have to be somebody.

The only question is who.

In the meantime, Curnow and other members of the new generation have the pictures to look at—the heroes and mysterious people who sat in the seats before them. People who may be sitting at the next table, older versions of the people above. An unknown figure slumped over the bar. A woman staring past the camera. The man laughing at a joke we’ll never hear, holding a glass he’ll never put down.

A final thought on tension: Although it’s the key driver of the best feature articles, sometimes the tension just isn’t there. And if you force it, your readers will know. So don’t. You still may have a fine article on your hands. But never forget that tension is often so tied up in everyday life that it seems invisible—except to the writer with the skills to discover it, mine it and tell it.

Scott Atkinson is a features writer for The Flint Journal and teaches writing at the University of Michigan–Flint.

Thanks for visiting The Writer’s Dig blog. For more great writing advice, click here.


brian-klems-2013Brian A. Klems is the online editor of Writer’s Digest and author of the popular gift book Oh Boy, You’re Having a Girl: A Dad’s Survival Guide to Raising Daughters.

Follow Brian on Twitter: @BrianKlems
Sign up for Brian’s free Writer’s Digest eNewsletter: WD Newsletter

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6534. From Communism to Capitalism

Just out from Bloomsbury, Michel Henry's From Communism to Capitalism: Theory of a Catastrophe (translated by Scott Davidson):

Both a unique witness of transformative events in the late 20th century, and a prescient analysis of our present economic crises from a major French philosopher, Michel Henry's From Communism to Capitalism adds an important economic dimension to his earlier social critique. It begins by tracing the collapse of communist regimes back to their failure to implement Marx's original insights into the irreplaceable value of the living individual. Henry goes on to apply this same criticism to the surviving capitalist economic systems, portending their eventual and inevitable collapse.

The influence of Michel Henry's radical revision of phenomenological thought is only now beginning to be felt in full force, and this edition is the first English translation of his major engagement with socio-economic questions. From Communism to Capitalism reinterprets politics and economics in light of the failure of socialism and the pervasiveness of global capitalism, and Henry subjects both to critique on the basis of his own philosophy of life. His notion of the individual is one that, as subjective affect, subtends both Marxist collectivism and liberalism simultaneously. In addition to providing a crucial economic elaboration of Henry's influential social critiques, this work provides a context for understanding the 2008 financial shock and offers important insights into the political motivations behind the 'Arab spring'.

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6535. Fun and Loathing in Las Vegas (with apologies to Hunter S. Thompson)

We were somewhere around a fake white naked statue (or maybe it was a faux Roman mural or an ersatz Egyptian barge) on the edge of Caesars when the lack of sleep began to take hold. I remember saying something like “I feel a bit light-headed; maybe you should take another look at your phone…it must be just past that guy in the diaper or the lightly clad girl dancing in a cage over there…” And suddenly we were outside and there was a terrible roar all around us and the sky was full of what looked like huge white wet sheets, all swooping and screeching “Do It” and diving around  the taxi, which was going about a hundred inches an hour what with the Celine Dion concert getting underway.  And a voice was screaming: “Holy Jesus! What are these goddamn people?”

Then it was quiet again.  My colleague had taken her sensible sweater off and was pouring green tea from her flask down her gullet. “What the hell are you yelling about?” she muttered, staring up at the sun with her eyes closed and covered with pink publisher swag sunglasses.  “Never mind,” I said and grabbed my Iphone to do a quick Instagram before aiming us toward the not-the-Eiffel-tower Tower.  No point mentioning the sad women selling bottles of cold water, I thought. The poor thing will see them soon enough.

It was almost five, and we still had more than a hundred casinos to go.  They would be tough casinos.  Very soon, I knew, we would both be completely twisted. But then there was no going back and no time to rest. We would have to tough it out. The 2014 ALA Annual Convention Exhibits were already open and, for good or ill,  we had  to get there to get to grab as many ARCs as our rolling carts could hold.

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6536. Book review: Andrew Wyeth: Looking Out, Looking In

Andrew Wyeth (1917 - 2009), Wind from the Sea, 1947, 18 1/2 x 27 9/16 in. 

Andrew Wyeth's tempera painting Wind from the Sea was a recent gift to the National Gallery of Art, and it's now the centerpiece of an exhibit at the National Gallery through November 30, 2014.

I haven't seen the exhibition, but I have a copy of the catalog, which is called Andrew Wyeth: Looking Out, Looking In.

The book and the exhibit include some of Wyeth's landmark paintings, such as Spring Fed.

Back in 2010, I visited the barn at Kuerner's Farm, where he painted the studies for the painting in 1967. It was fun to compare the painting with reality. Wyeth had a way of starting with an ordinary motif and transforming it in little ways to make it more mysterious.

The book is 10 x 11 inches, and clocks in at 192 pages. It includes many paintings that I hadn't seen before, such as Quaker.

It also includes a lot of quicker sketches and studies in watercolor that haven't been exhibited or reproduced before. This collection excludes the figure, making it quite different from Wyeth's other themed show on his Helga works.

The text is what you would expect from two museum curators. They place his work in the context of his times, and make authoritative allusions to contemporaries like Charles Sheeler and Edward Hopper. But they also serve up a lot of of marshmallowy sentences, such as: "Like the windows that so often framed them, the figures that populate the worlds of their paintings were permeable thresholds where self and other converged and diverged." 

To get into Wyeth's head, I'd recommend Andrew Wyeth: A Spoken Self-Portrait, which is made up of of Wyeth's own quizzical reflections about life and art, recorded over many years by his friend Richard Meryman.

Fortunately the second half of this new book reproduces all of the 60 paintings that are in the show, and they're reproduced full page and without verbal adornment.
Book: Andrew Wyeth: Looking Out, Looking In
Exhibition through Nov. 30 at the National Gallery: Andrew Wyeth: Looking Out, Looking In

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6537. TURNING PAGES: SOPHIE, IN SHADOW, by Eileen Kernaghan

This book is heartily recommended to anyone re-reading A PASSAGE TO INDIA this summer (hi, Lissa!), and to anyone whose childhood summers included Kipling's KIM, which is worth a re-read this summer as well. This book is for anyone who fears that... Read the rest of this post

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6538. Tim Tingle's keynote at 2014 American Indian Youth Literature Awards

On Sunday, the American Indian Library Association (AILA) presented its 2014 Youth Literature Awards in Las Vegas, Nevada at the annual meeting of the American Library Association. Choctaw author Tim Tingle was the keynote speaker at the event.

Tingle's How I Became A Ghost won the middle school award. I could not be in Las Vegas but have been following happenings there via social media. On Monday,  American Libraries Magazine posted an article about the AILA event. In it, Michele LeSure included an overview of Tingle's remarks:

Tingle spoke about the trials his family endured being discriminated against for being Choctaw tribal members, and the importance of documenting these types of stories. He said the recent decision to revoke trademark rights to the Washington Redskins team name and logo gives Native Americans a big opportunity to raise these types of issues in public discourse, so “we will never be ghosts.”

Tingle's Saltypie recounts some of that discrimination his family experienced. His note to teachers in that book is exceptional. In his books, Tingle brings forth difficult moments in history in which Native peoples were discriminated against. How I Became a Ghost is about the Trail of Tears, and House of Purple Cedar opens with the burning of a Native boarding school in which Choctaw girls were burned to death. Though we would correctly assume that the characters in his stories would be bitter, they aren't. They recognize the humanity in all people, including those who hurt them. Tingle is a master at giving us history in a way that lets us examine brutality and compassion.

Tingle's keynote remarks indicate his courage in taking up current examples of that discrimination. Specifically, he addressed the Washington football team's racist name. He is absolutely right in saying that the public discourse on mascots creates an opportunity for us to examine all misrepresentations of Native people. One of those misrepresentations is the thought that we no longer exist. Here's a couple of tweets that captured more of Tingle's remarks:

Get his books for your classroom, school, or home library. And get them from small bookstores, too! When you booktalk or introduce them, you can say "Tim Tingle is Choctaw." That two letter word (is) will go a long long way at helping your students and patrons correct the misinformation they may carry about us as being extinct.

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6539. Sumatra: Brain Fever

I chalk it up to heat-induced temporary insanity. It could happen to any Canadian crossing the equator. I had a strong desire to make my way to Germany, dye my hair orange and drum for a punk band which specialized in industrial music. The desire passed as the bus followed the road through the lush jungle vegetation past rice paddies and wilted looking livestock. When I thought about summoning enough energy to listen, I was convinced I could hear the plants grow in the humidity. The whole island was a hothouse. The single minded bus driver seemed to be the only one expending energy as he missed pedestrians, livestock and other vehicles, leaned on the horn. We were used to the danger by now. A sort of fatalistic resignation takes over on breakneck bus rides through the countryside of Sumatra. It was too hot to care. We had left the craziness and heroin of Penang behind. The sweat dripped off of our noses. Everyone on the bus, even the natives, had a worn out, washed out look. We were travelling from Medan, where the ferry from Penang had taken us, down the spine of Sumatra to Lake Toba, thence to Padang, about halfway down the island, on the coast. In Padang we spent hours at the consulate waiting to get our visas renewed because it was cheaper there than in Bali. Of a dozen uniformed clerks, two were reading, the rest inspected the Western girls or stared into space, a paper clip twisting in their fingers. When they did stir to attend the sweating crowd of travellers they wanted to first see proof that you had a return ticket. It’s the only legal way to enter Indonesia. It didn’t matter that we’d entered days before at Medan. The passports and applications lay in a pile on a desk. They didn’t have to worry about an overwhelming influx of immigrants heading south since the island of Java is the most thickly populated place on earth, but it was one way for the government to get money from travellers. A Japanese girl told Joyce that she had tonsilitis and that they didn’t have toilet paper even in hospitals in Padang. Seventy-five cents for dormitory beds at the local hostel. Officially marrying before getting to Asia saves a lot of problems. Single women are targets. At Lake Toba, we recovered from the bus ride during which it was too hot to sleep. The soaking heat deprived us of every traveller’s last resort, the final escape from the tedium and discomfort ... sleep, oblivion. There, time stood still, then went backward. We had landed in a timeless, primitive existence. Surrounded by the jungle and jungle sounds. Old men wailed their night songs in the dark. It sounded like a Tarzan movie. Wild boar lived in the jungle, endangered humans occasionally, provided meat and tusks more often. Snakes and mongooses and their spirits were part of the diet and the mythology. Ancient Sumatran devils caused poor sleep, restless dreams. All the dwellings had horned roofs which intruded, then dominated. A reminder that no matter what it was like in the outside world, this was here and now. This primitive existence was the present. Reality. No luxuries, no concrete, no advanced plumbing or electricity. Rats made nests in the roof so when you woke up into the flickering darkness from a dream of ancient enemy skins hanging by the fire, you could hear them running along the rafters over your head. You could see their shadows on the thatched roof when the candle light caught them. Sleep again became a refuge along with a short prayer for the balance of rats. We finally boarded a freighter, in Padang, the cheapest way to travel from Sumatra to Java. The beginning of our sea voyage was normal. We watched the port, then the island of Sumatra fade into the distance behind us and with it, the confusion and brain fever. Deck space, a place to sleep beneath the canvas strung across the deck for protection from the sun and rain, was what we paid for. Two big, deeply tanned Aussies who were obviously used to the sea and travelling by sea, probably lived by the sea, told us they had accompanied fishermen from an island near Bali on an early morning trip. They witnessed, then tried, the eating of the raw hearts of the fish they caught. They found it to be a life giving experience with aphrodisiac powers. Meals were cooked in the tiny galley below deck; a green vegetable which had obviously been boiled, over a bed of rice, on a tin plate. Tasteless but necessary to settle the queasy stomachs everyone felt The sea looked calm enough. But a rhythmic sway began to get to everyone. Coconut oil smoke made it worse. Even the regular crew and the Aussies were hit by sea sickness. They laughed and made wise cracks between spews. The rest of us weren’t so lighthearted about it. Soon there were travellers and crew members staggering to the rail to vomit over the side. The unwary ones stood downwind from others puking over the side near the front, got splashed. One grain of rice, well soaked in the stomach’s digestive juices, inadvertently snorted while vomiting, causes untold misery in the nasal passage and a long lasting, unpleasant reminder of how sick you really were. Finally, that particular movement of the ship passed and so did the seasickness. The travellers and crew wobbled about unsteadily for a while, then settled down. No one offered the travellers rice after that. Our diet became the fruit we had brought on board with us. We settled down on the deck, tried to sleep through the hot days and windy nights. Serge from France, tanned dark brown, curly hair down past his shoulders, wispy goatee, regained his happy smile as he recovered form the seasickness. He wore a sarong like a native, always carried a flute attached to his backpack. Everyone commiserated with him when we found out he was on his way back to France to fulfill his military obligations. He had been drafted. These were his last few days of freedom. He had made his choice. He was tempted to keep travelling, but he knew that eventually he’d want to return to France. The army was one step above jail. He couldn’t go back on the run. He was a proud Frenchman, but that had nothing to do with the government’s army. His ideas and life were far from conformity, uniformity, the military. One night, in a Tull like performance, he started playing. Under the canvas, starry night above, the sea breeze blowing his hair in time with the tempo of his song, Serge captivated everyone. All the travellers stopped talking or sat up to look and listen, even some crew members, smoking by the dark rail, paid attention. He started in the familiar pose which we had all adopted... leaning, laying back against our packs and bedrolls, then he seemed to find something as he played the first few, hesitant notes. He stood up, still playing. His flute came alive. His song gained and lost volume and speed as he breathed life into it. It wasn’t recorded, probably forgotten even by Serge, a few days later. There was the soft soughing of the ship as it made its way through the water, the sea breeze in the wires, occasionally something would flap in the southern night wind. The notes of Serge’s flute seemed to linger and then be snatched away by the other sounds. His eyes closed, Serge stood and played to the night, to his humble companions, listened to the sounds around him and echoed them. He didn’t stand on one leg, but he carried us all away as he talked to the wind in its own language. Selamat Jalan...Good Journey. A fitting Indonesian goodbye to Sumatra. Then someone told us that we were passing Krakatau which erupted in 1883 killing thousands of people. It was just a lump on the horizon from the deck of the ship. A famous volcano which the world knew about because of the tragedy. Later that day, we landed in Djakarta.

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6540. Illustrator: Travis Lampe

1 flort04 travis_hydrablogflort03

What has a nose like a light switch, looks as though it escaped from a mid-century storybook, and is either weirdly endearing or actually sort of hideous depending on your point of view? A clue, you say? OK, well it probably also has bandy shoelace arms, and looks like it should be jigging up and down hypnotically in time to a crackly jazz soundtrack.

Give up? Why, it’s a character by Travis Lampe! Obviously. And there are plenty of them to see in his portfolio, so head on over and have a look. You will see eloquently executed editorial illustrations aplenty, plus a gallery of personal paintings featuring black and rubbery nightmare trees playing out their unsurprisingly problematic relationship with lumberjacks. Smashing!

In case you missed the link earlier, his website is here.

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6541. Evil Editor Classics

Health Department

Click strip to enlarge.

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6542. Tip for aspiring writers & illustrators: find a different way to tell or show your story, avoid the obvious.

2014 07 02 WilliamKass

When I especially enjoy reading a book or fall in love with a particular illustration, it’s usually because the author or illustrator manages to convey an emotion, scene or story in an unusual way, that spurs me to look at the world a little differently.

I try to remember this when writing and illustrating. It's one of my goals when I create found object art, trying to avoid the obvious.

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6543. Introducing BookPeople’s Modern First Library

Modern First LibraryI wrote in my newsletter last week about my new project with BookPeople. “Our hope,” I wrote, “is that by leveraging the longstanding popularity of Margaret Wise Brown, for instance, Modern First Library will get more great new books representing an increasingly broad swath of our society into more homes and into more readers’ hands. If this grassroots approach works, we hope that other booksellers will emulate it in their own communities and that it will encourage publishers to create and support more books reflecting the diversity in our world.”

Today, I’m pleased to share the Austin indie bookseller’s blog post officially launching the initiative:

Under the banner of this program, we will be featuring a broad range of books, new and old, that we think belong on the shelves of the very youngest readers.

BookPeople is committed to helping all kids find books that broaden their idea of what’s possible, provide fresh perspectives, and open windows to new experiences: all the things that great children’s books always do. And because we live in the vibrant, global society of the 21st century, our book suggestions have been purposefully designed to reflect the diversity of that experience. After all, a child’s first library offers his or her first glimpses of the world outside the family’s immediate sphere, and we think that view needs to reflect a reality that’s broad, inclusive, and complex, just like the world we all live in.

Please have a look at what BookPeople’s children’s book buyer has to say about Modern First Library, and stay tuned for guest posts on the subject by Austin authors Cynthia Leitich Smith, Don Tate, Liz Scanlon, Varian Johnson, and me. In the meantime, check out the Modern First Library starter sets — the folks at BookPeople have worked hard to put those together, and it shows.

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6544. My tweets

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6545. The Chocolate Challenge Stops at Jump Into a Book

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I’ve been TAGGED! Jump Into A Book is part of the CHOCOLATE Challenge! The goal of The Chocolate Challenge is to pair books with chocolates. YUM! A hug thanks to the ever-sweet Felicia from Stanley and Katrina for nominating me for this challenge :)

Books Picks

Of course I would be remiss if I didn’t mention The Ultimate Guide to Charlie and The Chocolate Factory enhanced digital ebook!

Co-created by myself and and the insanely talented Roscoe Welply, this enchanting ebook has a Wonka-like World that leaps from the pages, and coaxes the reader to immerse themselves in the adventures that await them at the Chocolate Factory. The book allows the audience to experience the magical world of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and join in the fun of the crazy racing Oompa Loompas, creating Gobstopper Gum and Chocolate Rivers, handmade Willy Wonka hats, and so much more.

The Ultimate Guide to Charlie


Chocolate Covered Pretzels

Salty and Sweet like past guest blogger Thaleia’s Chocolate Covered Pretzels!



The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn

The Kissing Hand


This book makes me feel warm and cozy, just like the Unconventional Librarian’s amazing Hot Chocolate Recipe. YUM.

hot chocolate recipe


He believed that he could bring relief from drought & hunger to his people.The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind 

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

This books makes me feel bold and strong-just like the bold dark taste of dark chocolate with sea salt





It’s Mine by Leo Lionni.”On the island lived three quarrelsome frogs named Milton, Rupert, and Lydia. They quarreled and quibbled from dawn to dusk.”


Seriously, when I eat Dove Milk Chocolate, I want to scream, ‘It’s MINE!!! {but I don’t}

Dove Milk Chocolate bar


This book always giving me mad cravings for a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup! Chris Robertson’s I’ll Trade my Peanut-Butter Sandwich.


who’s next on the Chocolate Challenge?


Rebecca Flansburg of Frantic Mommy, Queen of the Kingdom of Tired
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The post The Chocolate Challenge Stops at Jump Into a Book appeared first on Jump Into A Book.

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6546. Seek and Find Picture Books

Recently I've noticed some books appearing on my library shelf that have a great seek and find feel to them. Seek and Find books are always popular, but sometimes it can be hard to find something new after my kids have gone through all the Where's Waldo books for the hundredth time. These might be a bit easier than finding Waldo in a sea of people, but they're still a lot of fun!

The Bear's Song by Benajmin Chaud

What a fun book! This is an oversized picture book that is one you will want to pour over the pages with. Papa Bear goes looking for Little Bear and they wind up in the city and then at the opera house. The details in each picture are fantastic-I wanted to look at everything that was happening with all the characters. Each scene has multiple stories happening all at once and it's fun to see what the surrounding characters are up to. The book is also a seek and find as the reader is looking for Little Bear and the bee he is chasing on every page (and he's not always easy to spot!)

A delightful book that is perfect for a lapsit reading with preschoolers and up.

Otto and his dad are driving into the city and there's so much to see and do. This is more of a seek and find and look at the pictures book than a book with much plot or story. It's very reminiscent of Richard Scarry's Busytown books-(in fact there's even a nod to Richard Scarry and Huckle-see if you can spot it!) The fun part of the book is that there's so much to see each time you pour over the pages you're sure to spot something new. Then when you've reach the end, turn it around and head home with Otto. I love the suggestion on the back to follow along the path with your own toy cars-the oversized board book format makes it perfect for that and it's a great way to encourage storytelling in young readers. 

The illustrations might be a bit busy for some kids-there's a lot going on and it made me a bit dizzy looking at it all! But if you can handle a lot of motion and busyness in the pages, you're sure to have fun spotting the various characters, cars, and stores that pop up along the way. 

A young boy is looking for his pet dragon all throughout the city. This one combines a counting book with a search and find. I have to say that even though the dragon is huge and you would think he'd be easy to spot, I had to scan the pages to find him a few times! Steve Light blends the dragon into the illustrations so well that he becomes part of each picture-he's a fountain at the zoo or hiding underground. The books is done is pen and ink drawings and it's masterfully illustrated. The detail is fantastic. The book is drawn almost entirely in black and white and as the numbers go up, so does the number of illustrated items that are featured in color. I also love the illustration of the dragon breath coming up through the manhole covers as the author mentions in his bio that was what his father told him the steam was when he was a child. This is very creative book that is meticulously drawn and a great way to combine a seek and find format with counting. 

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6547. My Thoughts: After the End by Amy Plum

3 chocolate chocolate chip cookies.

Cover Love:  Yes.  I think this cover is eye catching and because it raises questions that make you want to read the book.

Why I Wanted to Read This:
The synopsis!  It sounded so good.  Here the synopsis from GoodReads:

World War III has left the world ravaged by nuclear radiation. A lucky few escaped to the Alaskan wilderness. They've survived for the last thirty years by living off the land, being one with nature, and hiding from whoever else might still be out there.
At least, this is what Juneau has been told her entire life.
When Juneau returns from a hunting trip to discover that everyone in her clan has vanished, she sets off to find them. Leaving the boundaries of their land for the very first time, she learns something horrifying: There never was a war. Cities were never destroyed. The world is intact. Everything was a lie.
Now Juneau is adrift in a modern-day world she never knew existed. But while she's trying to find a way to rescue her friends and family, someone else is looking for her. Someone who knows the extraordinary truth about the secrets of her past.
Romance?: Yes.

My Thoughts:
For some reason this book didn't really work for me.   I found it pretty slow moving and I didn't feel the chemistry between the main characters.  However, I wanted to keep reading it because I really wanted Juneau to meet up with her clan and get some answers from the adults.  Unfortunately it ended before that happened.  I am not really sure that I will keep reading to hear the answers that Juneau is looking for.

Despite all that I will be buying it for my library.  I think this is a book that middle grade readers will love.  There is so much to think about as this story progresses--why this group of people chose to move to Alaska, why they lied to their children, what is up with Juneau's eye, why does Miles dad want Juneau so bad, etc...  I think this would be a GREAT book to read for a middle school book club and will probably try to do that this next year.

To Sum Up:  I think this will be big with its intended audience and will be buying a few copies for my library.  It will be fun to booktalk this one in the fall.

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A while back, I read Donalyn Miller's READING IN THE WILD: The Book Whisperer's Keys To Cultivating Lifelong Reading Habits. I enjoyed it so much that I just bought THE BOOK WHISPERER. The books are geared toward educators, but there is so much great info and inspiration for those who help create books for young people. I'm going to be gradually incorporating some of Donalyn's suggestions into activity sheets I create for my FOR THE LOVE OF READING page as well as bonus material for my book projects.

You can find more info about Donalyn Miller and her books at Bookwhisperer.com, and you can follow her on Twitter at @donalynbooks.

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6550. No comment(s)

My comment-moderation system is down, so the comments you’ve been leaving aren’t showing up. Sorry about that! I’ll have it fixed soon, I hope. In the meantime, please feel free to tweet at me or contact me through older-fashioned means.

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