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Viewing: Blog Posts from All 1540 Blogs, since 4/24/2008 [Help]
Results 20,676 - 20,700 of 459,439
20676. It is not a Boring Book!

The Boring Book by Vasanti Unka (Penguin), 2013

Once there was a book
that no one ever read.

People who tried
to read the book
fell asleep.

The narrator tells us the book was too unexciting, dreary, dull, and boring - in very interesting type-face and clever lift the flap inserts, I might add. Then one day the words decided to escape and leap onto road signs, decorate pathways and roadways and even jump into ponds. The games they play are reflected in the word-play on the page (or little book). The type-face pictures are stunning. Find out what mischief the words get into, what the people do about it, and just how important words play in our world.

Teachers and parents could use this book in a multitude of ways. An English teacher (Primary and Intermediate) could use it for a starting point on the visual impact words make. Children could brainstorm noise words, silly words, brainy words (just like the characters do in the story). They could use words and type-face as a way to illustrate a page or poster. Kids could also make their own book - just like the one in the back of the book and write their own interesting story. In Social Studies a teacher could look at the impact that words and printing have played over the centuries.  In art students could make their own type-face word pictures. The book will generate much discussion.

Who should get this book? Kids - 4-12 years, parents, teachers and librarians. It is a book to treasure!

I was very excited by this book when I received it to review. I emailed author/illustrator Vasanti Unka straight away to invite her to exhibit in the What Lies Beneath Exhibition on at the moment at the National Library, 8 Stanley Street, Parnell. Vasanti Unka's exhibit begins tomorrow - 20th February - at the National Library. Pop in to see it and the four other exhibits on display. For more information about the What Lies Beneath Exhibition go to the What Lies Beneath blog. Teachers can download a teaching resource to go with 'The Boring Book' on the above blog.

Vasanti Unka designed books for publishing houses before illustrating children and adult books: Sari, Longing & Belonging, Frontiers & Dreams (won best Education Design at NZ Book Awards 2007), What is an Amphibian, What is a Bird, The family friendly gluten-free cookbook. She illustrated Kyle Mewburn's book 'Hill & Hole' which won the 2011 BPANZ design award (first children's book to do so). She has also illustrated and designed many front covers for books and magazines. This is the third book she has written and illustrated herself; the first two were two little craft books for children: Star Boy & Friends: How to make cool stuff from socks and gloves; and Weird Rabbit & Friends: How to make cool stuff from felt.

Reviewed by Maria Gill

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20677. Review of The Moon Sisters by Therese Walsh

An old friend of WOW, Therese Walsh, is releasing her second novel The Moon Sisters next month and you’re all invited to join the party. The Moon Sisters revolves around the complicated (aren’t they always?) relationship of two sisters. To celebrate the release we’re reviewing the book today and organizing "Everybody’s Talking about Sisterhood," a group blogging event, next month. Therese Walsh will be visiting The Muffin with a post about sisterhood on Tuesday, March 4. We’d also like to invite everyone out there to post their own thoughts, photos, poems, letters and poems about sisterhood.

If you’d like to participate, contact Jodi at Jodi@wow-womenonwriting.com to sign up by Friday, February 28. We’ll add your blog and link to the March 4 post on The Muffin and enter you and your followers in contests to win a copy of The Moon Sisters. Don’t miss a chance to share all the touching, drive-you-crazy, silly and unforgettable things you know about being a sister, whether it be a family sister or a friendship sister.

The Moon Sisters: A Novel

Hardcover: 336 pages (also available in e-formats)

Publisher: Crown (March 4, 2014)

ISBN-10: 0307461602

ISBN-13: 978-0307461605


After their mother's probable suicide, sisters Olivia and Jazz take steps to move on with their lives. Jazz, logical and forward-thinking, decides to get a new job, but spirited, strong-willed Olivia—who can see sounds, taste words, and smell sights—is determined to travel to the remote setting of their mother's unfinished novel to lay her spirit properly to rest.
Already resentful of Olivia’s foolish quest and her family’s insistence upon her involvement, Jazz is further aggravated when they run into trouble along the way and Olivia latches to a worldly train-hopper who warns he shouldn’t be trusted. As they near their destination, the tension builds between the two sisters, each hiding something from the other, until they are finally forced to face everything between them and decide what is really important.


As a fan of Therese Walsh’s first novel The Last Will of Moira Leahy, I’ve been eagerly awaiting Therese’s next novel. The Moon Sisters did not disappoint. For the first 100 pages or so I enjoyed the tale of two sisters unlike anyone I have ever met. They both seem to attract odd people and odd situations like flowers attract bees. Olivia revels in the weirdness of her life while Jazz fights it, trying to force her life—and everyone in it—to be “normal.”

But somewhere around page 100 things began jumping off the page at me. The tattoed man, the suicidal writer, the old train hopper, the woman who can taste words (it’s a long story that begins with the word synesthesia)…they all reminded me of people in my life. Despite all their quirkiness these were characters that felt so familiar because, when you strip away the oddness, they were all experiencing universal emotions we all know. I never thought I would be writing that a story that involves people fiddling on rooftops, fatal arson and a father who disowns his only child is, in one way or another, about every reader's life. The Moon Sisters is a novel that will surprise you, not once, not twice, but continually and keep you thinking about the characters and their choices long after you have read the last page.

Where to Find Therese:




Don’t forget to sign up for Everybody’s Talking about Sisterhood by contacting Jodi at Jodi@wow-womenonwriting.com by Friday, February 28. We’ll send you information about The Moon Sisters and Therese Walsh as well as some images and fun links and quizzes you can share with your readers.

Join the conversation!

Jodi Webb is still toiling away at her writing in between a full-time job, a full-time family and work as a blog tour manager for WOW-Women on Writing. Right now she's looking for blogs to promote Theresa Walsh's novel The Moon Sisters and Sue William Silverman's memoir The Pat Boone Fan Club. You can contact her at jodi@wow-womenonwriting.com. For Jodi's take on reading and writing (no 'rithmetic please!) stop by her blog Words by Webb.

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20678. Day 19: Diane Browne

portrait.promo.formal smiling

Diane Browne has written over 40 stories/books. She has been published by Ginn in the United Kingdom; Harcourt Brace and Friendship Press in the USA; Heinemann Caribbean, Carlong Publishers, Arawak Publications, and the Ministry of Education in Jamaica.

She has been a visiting author for the Students’ Encounter Programme at the Miami Book Fair, and has presented papers on children’s literature at the National Association of Teacher’s of English, UK; the International Association of School Librarianship, the International Reading Association and the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. She has frequently participated as trainer/consultant in writing workshops for both writers of children’s fiction and textbooks, in Jamaica and the wider Caribbean.


My journey began when I was quite young; I loved books. I read the usual books, Bobbsey Twins, Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys as well as listened to Anancy stories. But I knew that I wanted someone
to write books about us, people who looked like us and lived like us. I longed for this. And then when my two girls were little, I realized that this person could be me. There was nothing for them to read that represented them. There was a particular Enid Blyton book ( a British children’s author) in which there was a golliwog, which was a doll depicting black people, a caricature really, and he was always the one giving trouble or getting into trouble. A subtle but significant message. My older daughter, was then only about eight, and she remembers feeling uncomfortable about this. Our story book heroes were still the golden haired girls and princesses. I had to write children’s stories so my children, all our children would have books reflecting positive images of themselves.

However, my journey is not only a story of my writing for children. It became a journey as a children’s writer with a passion for raising the consciousness, here and in the Caribbean region, of the importance of our own children’s stories to validate our children and their lives. Children must see themselves in books.

My actual writing journey began on a project for the Ministry of Education. The project was to write supplementary readers, the Dr. Bird Readers, for our government-run primary schools (elementary schools), which the majority of the children in the island attend. This was in the late 1970s early 1980s, and it was revolutionary. Story books which featured snow, ice skating, sledding and firesides and chimneys were presented as the norm for children, who lived in a country which was hot all year round, where beaches and palm trees and towering green mountains and tropical vegetation were what they saw. When our writing team went into schools to meet our target audience, we discovered that the children thought that all writers were either foreigners or were dead. The Dr. Bird books changed this. They are still in schools, and even now, I run into adults, a policeman, a nurse, who remember favourite books from that series. My most recent experience was last year with a team interviewing at risk youth, ages 15 – 20, all male. When asked what books they could remember reading, we got the not unexpected looks of astonishment. How could anybody expect them to remember a book? And then they began to recall books they had read in school and call out their names – books I had written.

I grinned with pleasure, as it dawned on them: “Is she write it?” (Amazement!) “Yes, is she write it!”

(Discovery): And I replied, “Yes, is me write it.” Creole is often used to express surprise, a familiarity one with the other. Grins and laughter all round. We were one in this delight of writing and reading our own stories. These were their story books. These are what they remember.

One of my picture story books produced by Heinemman Caribbean at this time was Cordelia Finds Fame
and Fortune. This was also published in the USA in a library series called Passports by Harcourt Brace and Company. Although I had only used Creole structures in the dialogue, and very modified ones, the American edition totally changed those so that a folk song in the book, the first line of which read , ‘Oh Cordelia Brown, whe mek you head so red?’, became ‘Oh Cordelia Brown, what makes your hair so red?’ Nonetheless, I was thrilled that there had been an American edition; at the recognition. And I was fortunate to be part of a Student’s Encounter Programme for the Miami Book Fair where we were able to sing the original version of that folksong.

Cordelia Finds Fame and Fortune, is about a little girl who is teased because she has red hair with dark skin, an anomaly. That was connected to my younger daughter’s experience, although I did not realize that that was my inspiration then. Our passions inform our writing journey even when we aren’t looking.

My journey has taken me from picture story books to ‘tween’ books, two Time Travel novels in which the protagonists go to historical events in our past,( because we can do time travel too just like people in big countries); and to my most recent book, a novel in the YA genre, Island Princess in Brooklyn, published by Carlong Publishers, Jamaica, 2011. Island-Princess-front.final


ISLAND PRINCESS IN BROOKLYN is a coming of age story of a 13 year-old protagonist, who reluctantly leaves her Granny with whom she has grown, to join her mother in Brooklyn. Princess has to adjust not only to a mother she barely knows, but also to a stepfather she never knew existed, a new country and a new school.

My connections with New York go way back. Most of my father’s family migrated in the 1930s and eventually lived in Jamaica, Long Island (which we always said, to differentiate it from our own Jamaica.)

Did this back story begin with my 15 year-old self who went to visit them, and had such a magical time discovering more family, and Radio City Music Hall, and the United Nations (where she planned to work when she grew up) that she fell in love with New York?

Did that girl reach out across the years to Princess? Or was the genesis of the back story more in the present? Some few years ago when my older daughter was in New York as her husband was doing a fellowship at a hospital in Brooklyn, I went up for the birth of my two grandchildren. And I fell in love again! Big time – with Brooklyn; the Brooklyn of migrant peoples and old-time houses turned into apartments buildings, laundromats where people who did not speak English helped you anyway, dollar stores, grandmas watching children in small front yards, old men sitting on steps in the sun. Different ethnic groups, all there working for the American dream; I saw their lives, our lives.

I was dizzy with joy! I would have written an ode to Brooklyn. Instead Princess McQueen turned up and said, ‘Tell my story’. I wrote in the first person, so it is Princess’ voice we hear. By the end of the story, Princess grows to discover that it may be possible after all to love both Jamaica and New York, that family, may not be perfect – but they are family.

This theme of migration is a part of the fabric of our lives. Everybody has family or knows of someone who has migrated to the USA, the UK or Canada. And therefore there is the social construct of the absent parent who has left children to make a better life overseas before sending for them. These
children left behind here are often called ‘barrel children’ because of the barrels of goodies sent home by the parent, ‘evidence’ of their love and success.

Many have told me how much they love this book; women from cultures as different as Puerto Rico and Uganda said it speaks to them of their lives, the dynamics of their families. They recognise the various levels in the story, including that of the women in a family. In this novel there are three pivotal female figures circling around one another, Princess, her Mum and Granny. As Princess’ Mum says about the relationship to Granny: She was my mother before I was your mother, she was my mother before she was your grandmother.

We all belong to each other. Nothing can change that.

However, the character who has the greatest impact on Princess’s coming to terms with her new life is an African American boy. I didn’t plan that; he just stepped forward and played that role.

In a way Island Princess in Brooklyn celebrates my father’s family and their journey. Interestingly
enough, Cordelia Finds Fame and Fortune celebrated the fact that fame and fortune can be found here
at home (no need to migrate). However, Princess is forced to migrate and forced to make a new life
or return home. Is this back story then part of the journey, a journey in which I am now able to look outwards from our island to our people overseas? This circle of family, of story, fills me with wonder.


“This delightful well-wrought novel . . . All the challenges of the young protagonist, who tells her story in the first person, are handled with emotional impact and veracity of experience. We are treated to the world as seen by the new migrant. It is a fresh and appealing point of view that makes for fast-paced reading that often melds the two countries . . . Browne builds a solid map of Jamaican culture and mores that her youthful migrant can use to comfort herself in the strange new situations she encounters without being obtrusive or in any way false or forced. This is one of the attractive features of the narrative, for the young protagonist becomes more and more appealing as she faces each challenge that comes her way.” Mary Hanna: Bookends, The Sunday Observer: Jamaica

“a delightful read” — Geoffrey Philp

Diane Browne has won awards for her children’s stories/books in Jamaica, including a prestigious Musgrave Medal for her contribution to the field of children’s literature from the Institute of Jamaica.

She also won the special prize for a children’s story in the Commonwealth, (a worldwide association of countries) from the Commonwealth Foundation, 2011.


I was inspired by the West Indian writers of adult fiction like Sir V. S. Naipaul, Samuel Selvon, Edgar Mittelholzer, John Hearne. They were telling our stories, stories I understood about people whom I recognised. This was the understanding and recognition in literature that I wanted to bring to our children. In contemporary children’s literature I was inspired by the American Judy Blume, especially her book Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, as she presents us with the multi-faceted characters of real young people; Tom’s Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce and Alison Uttley’s A Traveller in Time led me to a fascination with time travel, made me want to create time travel for my people. I suppose everything I read and liked, urged me onwards to create our own stories.


In the Caribbean we need more opportunities for publishing of children’s books, and more people buying books, but too often disposable income is limited. Moreover, foreign children’s books undersell local books because of their economies of scale. Nonetheless, I do not think that indigenous literature gets the support of our education institutions which our children and our countries deserve. I’m delighted that there are more and more African American children’s books. That these books, as well as Black British books are also available to us, is a good thing. They provide our children with images of children like themselves, even if there are cultural differences. What I would love to see is Americans being interested in children’s material from the Caribbean. The Brown Bookshelf by affording me the opportunity of writing this blog, has highlighted us, and I thank you.


I write as the spirit moves me, as the characters appear, as a story set in a place or time calls out to me.

I have no set pattern and often I’m thinking when next I’ll get the time to write while I’m doing other things. I usually write an entire story and then rewrite, edit, etc. over a period of time. If it’s a novel, the first draft is always done before I return to any specific thing within the story. Then I grow my story in layers.

Thank you so much, Ms. Browne! I love thinking of growing a story in layers. (*And* it makes me think of cake, which I also happen to love.) Readers, visit Diane Browne’s blog for more about her extensive work, and a wealth of resources on Caribbean children’s literature! You can also read an excerpt from ISLAND PRINCESS IN BROOKLYN over at Anansesem Magazine.

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20679. Lunar New Year Post # 7

i wanted to post something else tonight, but you'll have to forgive me, as the antibiotics i'm on is really wiping me out.  i just do not do well with medication, seriously.  so instead, i thought i'd freak you guys all out by showing you the covers of all the books i've done in the past ten years.  the really really sad part is, i think i'm still missing a few.  for any of you whom i've worked with, if i am missing an image, let me know and i'll yell at myself tomorrow.  how sad am i?

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20680. 4 Crazy Important Stretches for Runners: Hamstrings, hips, glutes, and psoas

For once my running cartoons will be used and I’m deathly serious. Stretching, Runners, is no joke. I used to HATE stretching, I’d do it begrudgingly, but ever since my little revelation in Boulder I’ve pulled a total 180.

Now it’s good too because I don’t have a little bit of guilt writing about and telling runners just how crucial stretching is. I’m practicing what I preach, yo.

Areas that rank most common across the board for running injuries and the areas that runners are notoriously tight in are: the hamstrings, glutes, hips and groin region, and the psoas. I took my cartoons and put together a quick stretching routine that you REALLY should be doing as much as possible. Like daily…I’m doing them daily, so now I can say, fully absolved of any lingering guilt, that you should do the same. ;)
[Click to enlarge so you can read text...but please respect a starving artist's work, you can always purchase prints, contact: cait@caitchock.com]
4 important stretches for runners
More posts on flexibility HERE
And a post on WHY flexibility will make you faster HERE

1) How often do you stretch? Be honest. ;)
2) What’s one of your tightest areas?
Hamstrings and adductors.
3) What’s something you kinda feel a bit of guilt about when you tell others to do it because you don’t always follow that advice yourself?

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20681. Happy Release Week to Elana Johnson

 About ELEVATED: The last person seventeen-year-old Eleanor Livingston wants to see on the elevator—let alone get stuck with—is her ex-boyfriend Travis, the guy she's been avoiding for five months.

Plagued with the belief that when she speaks the truth, bad things happen, Elly hasn’t told Trav anything. Not why she broke up with him and cut off all contact. Not what happened the day her father returned from his deployment to Afghanistan. And certainly not that she misses him and still thinks about him everyday.

But with nowhere to hide and Travis so close it hurts, Elly’s worried she won’t be able to contain her secrets for long. She’s terrified of finally revealing the truth, because she can’t bear to watch a tragedy befall the boy she still loves.

Buy Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes | On Goodreads

Praise for ELEVATED:
"ELEVATED will take you on an emotionally gripping journey through the highs and lows of first love."
~Carolee Dean, author of Take Me There and Forget Me Not

"Poignant, raw, and intense, ELEVATED is a novel that will grip your heart and linger in your mind long after you turn the last page."
~Stasia Ward Kehoe, author of Audition and The Sound of Letting Go

About Elana Johnson: Elana Johnson’s work, including Possession, Surrender, Abandon, and Regret, published by Simon Pulse (Simon & Schuster), is available now everywhere books are sold. Her popular ebook, From the Query to the Call, is also available for free download, as well as a Possession short story, Resist. School teacher by day, Query Ninja by night, you can find her online at her personal blog or Twitter. She also co-founded the Query Tracker blog, and contributes to the League of Extraordinary Writers.

Social Media LinksWebsite/Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Tumblr | Wattpad | League of Extraordinary Writers | WriteOnCon | Elana on Goodreads:

My Review: Elly has several deep issues she’s been dwelling on. She has an ex-boyfriend she doesn’t want to talk to. She feels responsible for a horrific accident her best friend went through…there’s more, but I don’t want to become spoilerish. She has to face things head on when she’s stuck in an elevator with Travis, her ex. Talk about tension!

I adore novels-in-verse, so I was ecstatic when I received an ARC of Johnson’s ELEVATED. It’s a great addition to this genre and style. The author is skilled in verse and knows how to write a superb YA contemporary book.

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20682. And the Name of My Street Team Is...

Thank you so much to everyone who suggested names for my Street Team and/or voted on the names I posted last Wednesday. I really appreciate all your help. And a huge thank you and much virtual chocolate to those of you who signed up to be part of my Street Team. You all are seriously awesome and I owe you big. If you didn't sign up and would like to be part of my Street Team, you can do so here

Okay, so last Wednesday I posted the following possible names:
The Hashtags (Suggested by Karen Rock)
Kelly's Minions (Suggested by Giedre Sliumba)
Kelly's Corner (Suggested by Beth Consugar)
Hashway's Heroes (Suggested by Richard Alan Scott)
Kelly's Coven (Suggested by…um, me)
Kelly's Krusaders (Suggested by Faith Sullivan)
Supernatural Squad (Suggested by…um, me again)

Well, it was a close race. The Hashtags, Kelly's Krusaders, and Kelly's Coven were almost tied for most of the voting. But two pulled ahead. It came down to The Hashtags and Kelly's Coven.

Winning by 2 votes—yes, it was that close!—is:

I love it! Okay, so I suggested it. What I should say is that I love that so many of you also loved the name. But…I promised the winner a free book and since I can't gift a book to myself (well, I could but that's just weird) I'm gifting the runner-up. Karen Rock, you've won a copy of any one of my books you'd like. Congrats!

So, what do you think of my Street Team name and the button I made for the Street Team?

*Those of you who signed up to for Kelly's Coven, you'll be getting your welcome newsletter this evening. I'm going with newsletters to avoid sending mass emails.

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20683. The Very Hungry Caterpillar 45th Anniversary Giveaway

2014 marks the 45th anniversary of Eric Carle’s pre-school classic, The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Celebrate Very Hungry Caterpillar day by entering to win this beautiful prize pack and sharing this wonderful tale with a friend. Giveaway begins February 19, 2014, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends March 18, 2014, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

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20684. Will the Book Biz Follow the Way of Music?

I’m blogging at Books & Such today. Here’s a preview:
One of the recurring themes of this blog is how publishing is evolving, and you probably know that for the last few years, people have been comparing our current situation to the music industry’s revolutionary changes over the last fifteen years. If we’re smart, the wisdom goes, we’ll carefully study how things have gone in that medium and see what we can learn from it. I’ve read many articles that astutely point to things that have worked and things that didn’t for the big record labels; analysis of mistakes that were made; and how that industry has adapted to changing technology which has in turn changed consumers’ buying patterns.
There is much that can be learned and applied to the book business, but I’ve been concerned lately that some people seem to be taking the analogy too far. There are too many ways that books are not like music, and if we slavishly try to incorporate the lessons the music biz has learned, we’re going to end up in big trouble. Many of the strategies that are now working in music won’t work in books—we need to creatively think up our own solutions!
Here are a few of my thoughts:
The music business has always been driven by live events.
For thousands of years before recording even existed, music was performed and enjoyed live. It makes sense that many of the answers for the music industry lie in the better exploitation of live music; not so in books. The book business has never been driven by live events, and I doubt it ever could be.
CLICK HERE to read the rest of the post at Books & Such.


The post Will the Book Biz Follow the Way of Music? appeared first on Rachelle Gardner.

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20685. Gold Medal Winter Book Review


Gold Medal Winter (for ages 10-14) by Donna Freitas

“It’s called the Kiss and Cry for just this reason — it’s the place where you potentially experience the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat, all caught on camera for the world to see.”


Discovered by Olympic gold medalist Lucy Chen at age ten, Esperanza Flores has a natural talent for figure skating. Now at sixteen, Espi has earned a spot on the U.S. Olympic Team! A Dominican-American Cinderella story, dubbed Spiñorita, she is “America’s hope for gold at the Olympics.”

Being a new member of the Olympic team isn’t easy. She must work hard on her routine perfecting a secret trick – a quadruple Salchow which has never been attempted at an Olympic event by a female. There are also her teammates Stacie and Meredith, who make it clear that they don’t like her. And then, there are the boys . . . A gorgeous ice prince named Hunter is vying for her attention, but Espi can’t help but be drawn to a sweet and shy hockey player named Danny.

Does Espi land the quadruple Salchow? Can she choose between Hunter and Danny? Most importantly, does she win a gold medal? If you are loving the Sochi Winter Olympics

, then read Chapter 1 of Gold Medal Winter and see if you get hooked.

If you could pick an Olympic sport to compete in, what would it be? Comment below!

—Elysse, STACKS Writer

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20686. My very own room

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Review by Ariadna Sánchez

Abraham Lincoln was a great man with a strong spirit. On January 1, 1863, President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation that declared forever free those slaves within the Confederacy. Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States. His legacy will last forever, and it will be an inspiration to new generations of Americans. To learn more about Lincoln and the rest of the US presidents visit 

Speaking of freedom, today’s book review presents a very unique experience where a little girl wants to have a special place where she can be herself.

My very own room is a fascinating story written by Amada Irma Pérez and with attractive illustrations by Maya Christina Gonzalez.

The book is a beautiful childhood memoir of Amada Irma Pérez. By sharing her adventures through her book, the author allows us to learn about her family’s struggles and her love for books. The story portrays a nine year old Mexican American girl who is tired of sharing a room with her five little brothers. The girl wants to have her very own room. She wishes for a place where she could let her imagination fly.

The house has 2 bedrooms and one bath, and it’s always noisy and crowded.  Relatives and friends coming from Mexico to look for a job in the United States are always coming in and out. One day, the girl discovers a storage closet and decides to use it as her own place. However, her mother did not agree with the idea of using the storage closet as her own room. The girl was determined to have her own room, so she convinced her mother to allow her to use the storage room as her own room. The entire family helped to empty the storage closet and convert it into a nice and cozy bedroom.

Visit your local library this afternoon and check out more stories by Amada Irma Pérez and Maya Christina Gonzalez.  Remember reading give

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20687. Would You Read It Wednesday #122 - Diary Of A Slinky Kid (PB)

Well, folks, I don't want to brag, but I think it's fair to say I took holding stuff to a whole new level at the video shoot on Monday.

I held a light AND a dimmer switch AT THE SAME TIME!

I know.

It boggles the mind.

Next time I say I can't multi-task, please remind me of my obvious talent in that area.  I know it will be a great comfort to me :)

Speaking of talent (like how smoothly I segued?) it is my pleasure to announce the winner of the December/January Pitch Pick!

And the winner is...

BETH!!! with her pitch for Tomboy Rules: Blossoms Are Always Prepared!

Congratulations on a wonderful pitch, Beth!  It is already in editor Erin Molta's inbox, so I'm sure you will hear from her shortly :)

And congratulations as well to our other 4 pitchers - Rena, Joy, Kirsten, and Stacy - for their terrific pitches!  Great work, everyone!

I'm feeling a little calorically depleted after all that cheering, and I think we all know the best way to deal with that... :)  Something Chocolate, anyone?

Even though it's morning here, somewhere in the world it's later than that, so today our Something Chocolate shall be chocolate soup - perfect for any meal... or snack...! :)

From the Soup Chick (recipe included)
Today's pitch comes to us from Julie G.  With her background in pediatric nursing, Julie Anne Grasso spent many years literally wrapping children in cotton wool. Every day she witnessed great resilience from the tiny people she cared for, which inspired her to write stories about a little girl elf just like them in The Adventures of Caramel Cardamom Trilogy. After participating in Tara Lazar’s PiBoIdMo in 2013, Julie has been furiously developing her picture book manuscripts. She lives in Melbourne Australia with her husband Danny and their little elf Giselle.

You can find her around the web at:

Website: www.julieannegrassobooks.com

Blog: http://www.whenigrowupiwannawriteakidsbook.blogspot.com.au/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Julie-Anne-Grasso-books/287496411357122

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Jujuberry37

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Diary Of A Slinky Kid
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 3-6)
The Pitch: Herman wishes he was just like everyone else, but as his mum points out, “There’s no escaping your genes.” Sure, he has the right number of fingers and toes, but when all the other kids are gazing at their belly buttons during gym class, Herman is hiding his coil shaped middle section under his t shirt. 
You see, Herman comes from a long line of Slinky’s. When just another day at school turns into a daring rescue mission, Herman reluctantly reveals his slinky status to save the day. His mother’s words ring in his ears, and for the first time, Herman is glad of it. He finally finds his place in the world.
So what do you think?  Would You Read It?  YES, MAYBE or NO?

If your answer is YES, please feel free to tell us what you particularly liked and why the pitch piqued your interest.  If your answer is MAYBE or NO, please feel free to tell us what you think could be better in the spirit of helping Julie improve her pitch.  Helpful examples of possible alternate wordings are welcome.  (However, I must ask that comments be constructive and respectful.  I reserve the right not to publish comments that are mean because that is not what this is about.)

Please send YOUR pitches for the coming weeks!  For rules and where to submit, click on this link Would You Read It or on the Would You Read It tab in the bar above.  There are openings in March (which at this point is not that far away!) so polish up your pitches and send yours for your chance to be read by editor Erin Molta!

Julie is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to telling you that coincidentally I am a guest on Julie's blog today.  And look at that!  I just told you!  So there wasn't a very long build up of anticipation.  But I hope you will have a build up of anticipation between right now this very second and when you click over to Julie's blog to visit and say hi and see what tomfoolery we are up to over there! :)

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone! :)

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20688. What I read today


I’m not going to have time to write anything thinky in the next couple of weeks, but I thought I might try jotting down a few quick reading notes each day, just to keep the blog warm.

Last week I decided to try something new: instead of reaching for my phone and checking my mail when I wake up, I’m reaching for my phone and reading a book. My boys wake up très early and get to watch TV for 30 or 40 minutes before Scott and I drag ourselves out of bed. Usually I use that time to doze, and then check in on everything that’s piled up in my inbox during the East Coast’s head start on the day. But I’m always grumping about not having enough time to read—I fall asleep three pages in, every night—so I thought I’d give a morning reading session a go. It’s been quite nice. I have eleventy-thousand books queued up, so naturally I decided to reread Middlemarch. (I’ve given up trying to figure out my capricious reading whims anymore. If a book insists it wants to be read, I read it.)

This is my third trip to Middlemarch. Read it first the year between college and grad school, when I was working as a publicist for my undergrad alma mater’s drama department and trying to fill in gaps my English degree hadn’t. Loved the novel, had trouble settling on anything else for a long while after. Reread it a few years ago—I could check my archives here to find out when—and loved it even harder. And now here I go again. Why is it I’m hollering at Dorothea every time and yet she still goes and marries him?

So anyway, this morning it was a chapter and a half of Middlemarch (enter Fred Vincy, munching on a grilled bone).

Later: the first section of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight with Rose and Bean.

Poem: “The Summer I Was Sixteen” by Geraldine Connolly.

After lunch: a couple of chapters of Helene Hanff’s Underfoot in Show Business, which is making me deliriously happy.

Assorted articles online.

No picture books! Made a Staples run in the early afternoon that ate up our Rillabook window.

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20689. Tippy and the Night Parade by Lilli Carré

Tippy and the Night Parade is the debut children's book from interdisciplinary artist and illustrator, graphic novelist and animated filmmaker Lilli Carré. Carré's illustrations have appeared in the New Yorker, the New York Times and the Best American Comics and on her very cool tumblr page, Moving Drawings, and now she joins the TOON Books family with this fantastic easy reader.

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20690. How does a Badger get to Carnegie Hall?

posted by Neil Gaiman

Last year I was asked if I wanted to be my favourite literary character for an exhibition at the Oxford Storytelling Museum. I chose Badger, from The Wind In The Willows, for my own reasons.

After I had had my photo taken as a Badger, by eminent photographer Cambridge Jones,  Philip Pullman stopped by for tea, and it wasn't until much later I realised that I was still made up as a badger when we spoke. (You can hear us talk about it, and many other things, on this "in conversation" at the Oxford Playhouse.)

If you want to know what my reasons for being a Badger were, or who Mr Pullman was dressed as in his photograph, you will need to visit the 26 Characters Exhibition at the Storytelling Museum, in Oxford, between the 5th of April and the 2nd of November, where you can learn about all of us, and see me as Badger, Terry Pratchett as William Brown (from Just William) and the rest of us. All the information you could need about it is at http://www.storymuseum.org.uk/26Characters


Today the Audie Award nominations for Best Audiobook were announced: I was thrilled to see that my reading of The Ocean at the End of the Lane is nominated for two awards (Fiction and Narration by the Author or Authors), delighted that Ellen Kushner and Delia Sherman's The Fall of the Kings, in which I perform, and which is part of the Neil Gaiman Presents line was nominated for two awards (Audio Drama and Multi-Voiced Performance) and I was cock-a-hoop when I saw that John Hodgman was nominated for Solo Narration - Male for Robert Sheckley's Dimension of Miracles, another of the Neil Gaiman Presents books, and one I'm really proud of having brought into the world...

But, oddly, the one that put the biggest smile on my face was learning that I was nominated for an Audie Award as the narrator of someone else's book: The Dark, by Lemony Snicket is nominated for best children's book up to the age 8. I don't read other people's audio books, and I always say no when asked, but, unfortunately, Mister Snicket knows exactly where the bodies are buried, and he has photographs and mummified hands for souvenirs. Also, the book was very short: six minutes, altogether.

I have won Audie Awards over the years, and been nominated for more, so I do not mind whether I win or lose, but hell, it's fun to be nominated.


Just a reminder: I'm really not doing Social Media currently. Even the little blitz of posts of links to ticket info on performances of THE TRUTH IS A CAVE IN THE BLACK MOUNTAINS this morning was automated -- I plugged them into WhoSay the night before, which then sent them to Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook and Google + as the tickets went on sale.

You can find out where I'll be and what I'm doing at Where's Neil: http://www.neilgaiman.com/where/ and it's worth checking back on it, as things get added.

For those of you who missed it:

June 25th, I'm onstage with THE TRUTH IS A CAVE at the Warfield - with the amazing FourPlay string quartet, and pictures by (and, in person) Eddie Campbell.

Location: San Francisco, CA
Wednesday, 8:00-10:00pm

Showtime: 8:00 PM
Doors open: 7:00 PM
Ages: All Ages

Advanced Ticket Prices*: $40.00
Day of Show*: $42.00
* Service and handling fees are added to the price of each ticket

The Warfield
982 Market Street
San Francisco, CA 94102

While on June 27th we do it again onstage at the Carnegie Hall in New York:

Location: New York, NY
Friday, 8:00-10:00pm

Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
Carnegie Hall
881 7th Ave
New York, NY 10019


Ticket prices from $39-$129.

Then we go to London and do it there on July 4th and 5th... http://www.barbican.org.uk/music/event-detail.asp?id=16044

Let's see. I should answer a question. It's been ages:

our name is Ina and Simen we go on Gausel skole.Her school Harvi a literacy project and we have been asked to ask a writer about this: what did you read when you were 11-12 years old?
please reply instantly.

With Kind Regards Ina and Simen :-)

I read anything I could get my hands on. At that age I was particularly obsessed with Michael Moorcock and Harlan Ellison, Ursula K. LeGuin, Roger Zelazny and Samuel R Delany, but I would read anything, and I did.

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20691. NEW SEASON - kauniste

Finnish label Kauniste have some lovely new products for this spring.including this cute zoo tea towel design by Matti Pikkujämsä. They also have some great new cards and bags by Hanna Konola and much more. Scroll down to see more new arrivals by jenni Rope and Hannele Äijälä. See much more in the Kauniste shop online here.

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20692. Industry Promotions


This cold winter season,“Tree: Winter” was illustration sent in by Patricia Pinsk. She is an artist who resides in Vancouver BC. Patricia works in water colour, ink, digital photography, coloured pencil and collage. You can see  her portfolio at http://www.jacketflap.com/profile.asp?member=ppinsk .

Here are some of people in the industry who have recently gotten promoted:

Congratulations to everyone!

Sara Sargent has joined Simon Pulse as editor. Previously she was an associate editor at Balzer + Bray.

At William Morrow, Kate Nintzel has been promoted to executive editor.

At Candlewick, Mary Lee Donovan has been promoted to editorial director.

Annie Kelley has returned to Schwartz & Wade Books as senior editor. Previously she was youth editor at Booklist.

At Inkwell Literary Management, Allison Hunter and Lauren Smythe have both been promoted to agent.

At The Experiment, Nicholas Cizek and Molly Cavanaugh have both been promoted to associate editor.

Talk tomorrow,


Filed under: Agent, Editors, Kudos, Publishing Industry Tagged: Annie Kelley, Inkwell Literary, Mary Lee Donovan, Patricia Pinsk, Sara Sargent

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20693. JAPANESE - moments de presse

Presse is a Japanese website and store featuring is a mix of vintage and more modern pieces from Scandinavia. The striking yellow and black tableware (above and below) is Oiva Kestit from Marimekko. Scroll down for more pieces picked out from the moments de presse website.

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20694. DEATH SWORN by Leah Cypess {Book Review}

DEATH SWORN by Leah Cypess Death Sworn #1 Hardcover: 352 pages Publisher: Greenwillow Books (March 4, 2014) Language: English Mark on Goodreads Buy on Amazon When a young sorceress is exiled to teach magic to a clan of assassins, she will find that secrets can be even deadlier than swords. From the critically acclaimed Leah Cypess comes a dangerous and eerie fantasy about murder, shocking

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20695. INDIGO PARIS - soizic gilibert

Also showing at Indigo Paris this week is Soizic Gilibert on stand 5U47. Soizic is a French creative, stylist, textile designer for home and fashion, illustrator and engraver who works as a freelancer for many brands. Here are some examples of her work and you can see more online here at her studio website Cosmic Zoo Atelier.

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20696. new jungle with old stories

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20697. Messing About With Ancient History - Lucy Coats

Sticklers for historical accuracy may, possibly, want to look away from this post, as there will be talk of meddling and messing. You have been warned!

I've been mixing ancient history with geography for years - first with Atticus the Storyteller, in which my sandal-making hero visited all the places where the Greek myths were said to have taken place, then with Coll, a young bard travelling round Celtic Britain. The thing about ancient history, though - especially as far back as I like to travel - is that there's a lot of wriggle room, because there aren't that many verifiable facts. Also, my heroes were made up, so I could do what I liked, take them where I wanted to, as long as what facts I did use were as authentic as possible.

This time round it's been a bit different. I've been writing about a real character - probably one of the most famous women in ancient history. Everyone knows Cleopatra, right? Wrong. They think they do, because so much has been written about her - but most of that information came from the Romans, and those 'his-stories' were written well after she died. I say 'his-stories' for a reason. The writers were men - and they had an agenda. Cleopatra was a powerful woman, and the Romans didn't care for powerful women at all - they found them threatening. Thus the legend of the exotic seductress witch/siren was born - after all Cleopatra couldn't possibly have been intelligent and clever all on her own, could she? Or so the Romans thought, and they were the victors here, so they wrote the history which future generations have believed ever since.

I wanted to tell a different story - a story which no one had told before - a story about an intelligent, educated young Cleopatra before she ever became queen, before she entered onto the stage of world history. Surprisingly little is known about that younger period of her life - and that gave me the freedom to mess about a bit, to speculate, to research my socks off and then shake the few historically accurate scraps of fact around and come up with a 'what-might-have-happened' story of my own. Being me, I also wanted to throw the myths of Ancient Egypt into the mix - the gods and goddesses of the Ennead and the Ogdoad. That's the book I've just finished - and I'm just about to start writing the second of 'my' Cleo's adventures. However, before I started, I took a short break to catch up on my huge TBR pile. Bear with me here - it is relevant to the messing with ancient history theme!

The first book on the pile happened to be Jamie Buxton's Temple Boys, which comes out on 27th February from Egmont - I'm lucky enough to have been sent an early copy.  Like me, Jamie Buxton is a digger and delver into the territory of long ago (his imaginative riff on the Arthur legend, I Am the Blade and Heartless Dark are favourites of mine), so I took one look at the cover and the blurb - a gang of boys, Romans, a magician - and dived right in. Just my sort of thing, I thought, and it was - only the 'magician' wasn't at all what I was expecting.

Jamie Buxton has gone several notches above me here when it comes to writing about someone famous. He's taken the Biggest Historical Character of Them All - the one pretty much everyone in the whole world knows about - and told his (or should I say His?) story from the point of view of a small beggar boy on the streets of Jerusalem. What is more, he's done it in a way which made me think once again about how history is perceived by the generations of the future - and about how the facts of that crucial 'what-really-happened' story slip and slide through the backward-looking lens that is our past.

Temple Boys is based around a story about one man which is told around the world every single day - a story which has become a faith for millions. People everywhere wear the story's symbol around their necks. I know this story backwards. I know how it begins, how it ends, who the characters are, what each of them does - and yet in storytelling wizard Jamie's extraordinarily capable hands, the story of Flea and Yeshua became for me a totally new and thrilling tale which I couldn't bear to put down for one minute.

This is what truly compelling history - ancient or otherwise - for children should be. Not something dry and dusty in an old, forgotten tome, parading fact after boring fact, but something which grips the mind and makes the heart thud with excitement or fear, sadness or joy. I believe that the spell really good storytelling casts over us all is the way to pull children and teenagers into the past and make it come alive for them.  If I, as a writer, have to mess about with history a bit to make that happen - well, I'll take a few roars of disapproval from the sticklers for every young person who has told me that Atticus was the book which made them choose to study Classics or Ancient History at university. I think it's a price worth paying, and I hope that both Jamie's meddling with Yeshua/Jesus and my own with Cleopatra (when she comes in 2015) will infect lots of young readers with the history bug - preferably for the rest of their lives!

Lucy's new picture book, Captain Beastlie's Pirate Party is now out from Nosy Crow!
"A splendidly riotous romp…Miss the Captain’s party at your peril." Jill Bennett
"An early candidate for piratey book of the year." ReadItDaddy blog
Bear's Best Friend is published by Bloomsbury  
"Coats's ebullient, sympathetic story is perfectly matched by Sarah Dyer's warm and witty illustrations." The Times   
Lucy's latest series for 7-9s, Greek Beasts and Heroes is out now from Orion Children's Books. 
Lucy's Website
Follow Lucy on Twitter

Lucy is represented by Sophie Hicks at Ed Victor Ltd

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20698. Workshop: School visits and entertaining children/adults

Joan Rankin will facilitate the workshop. Venue: Johannesburg (address to be sent to respondents) Date: Wednesday 5 March 2014 Time: 10:00 - 15:00 Cost: R80 SCBWI members, R150 non-members RSVP: By 28 February to Jenny at SCBWI.SA.Gauteng@mweb.co.za Have you been invited to do a school visit, run a workshop? Joan will talk about some of the school visits she’s done and some of the antics

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20699. Nearly Ready To Lauch - It's A Ruff Life

At It's A Ruff Life we are so excited.  We've just seen the next new book covers and they're, to put it into Bella's own words BELLATASTIC!  They are so exciting and fun just like the first one.  It's a Ruff Life - (children;s action and adventure, secret agent novel for 8 years and over)

If you haven't got your download yet - then go and get it while it's on SALE.   It won't stay at less than a dollar for much longer.  http://amzn.to/MteqX2  in the UK go here http://amzn.to/1j5t6a8

Here's what other's are saying about us 

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20700. Induction

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