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20676. Sketchcrawl

At the moment, my online drawing course 'Just Draw It' is running with another lovely group of participants. In their introduction, some of them said they would love to get out on a sketchcrawl or do some urban sketching, but they're a bit intimidated by the idea of drawing in public.
So after a few weeks of drawing exercises and expanding their skills, I declared June 7 the Just-Draw-It-sketchcrawl-day. 
I invited all participants, whichever part of the world they are in, to join me and head out to draw!
Then afterwards, we would all share the results. Fun! These are my drawings of the day.

I visited my friend Yvonne. In March, she gave birth to her second son, and I hadn't even seen him yet! A beautiful baby boy. After a lot of catching up and chatting, we took out our sketchbooks and sat down in her garden (yup, sure, that also counts as urban sketching! why not?) and sketched. It was warm and sunny and it felt like summer. There was a certain quietness and zen feeling in the garden and we both really enjoyed filling our pages. 
Of course I did my daily selfie too. 

Back in Amsterdam, I sat on the terrace of a restaurant near by my house, to have a drink and dinner with my husband. Summer in Amsterdam feels like holiday - even in my own neighbourhood!



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20677. Whale Poacher Children's Book, A Sandy Grave Awarded Story Monster Approval


I'm tickled pink to announce my whale poacher children's book, A Sandy Grave has achieved the Story Monster Approval award!!! 

I'm doing the Snoopy Dance… 


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT:
Linda F. Radke, Five Star Publications, Inc.
Phone: 480-940-8182
E-mail: info@FiveStarPublications.com

Whale Poacher Children’s Book, A Sandy Grave Earns Story Monster Approval

CHANDLER, AZ (June, 2014) – The judges of the Story Monster Approved program, which recognizes accomplished authors in the field of children's literature have spoken, and A Sandy Grave by Donna M. McDine and illustrated by Julie Hammond has earned approval.   

Title: A Sandy Grave
Category: Chapbooks for Tweens
Author: Donna M. McDine www.donnamcdine.com
Illustrator: Julie Hammond www.juliehammondart.com
Hardcover ISBN: 9781616334543; 1616334541
Softcover ISBN: 9781616334550; 161633455X
eBook ISBN: 9781616334567; 1616334568 


About A Sandy Grave: The anticipation of summer vacation can put anyone in a great mood with the excitement of adventures to be had--especially at the beach. But what is a group of friends to do when they discover mysterious men poaching whale teeth at the beach?

About the Author: Donna McDine is a multiple award-winning children's author. She writes and moms from her home in the historical hamlet Tappan, NY. McDine is a member of the SCBWI and Family Reading Partnership. Learn more about McDine’s writing career at www.donnamcdine.comand www.donna-mcdine.blogspot.com.
The colorful, kid-friendly Story Monster Approved seal attracts the attention of young readers much more than a sticker intended for adult scrutiny. Kids know when they see the Story Monster Approved patch it means children their own age enjoyed the book and are recommending they read it, too. How do they know that? Because after books pass the first round of rigorous judging – which is done by industry experts, the books are then judged by a panel of youth judges who must also endorse the books before they can receive the official seal of approval.
"Who better to judge children’s books than the children who read them?” explains Linda F. Radke, president of Five Star Publications, Inc., the same company that launched the Dragonfly Book Awards program, now in its fourth year. "Judging these books gives children a wonderful sense of importance and responsibility. Some of our judging coordinators have told us that students who usually don’t enjoy reading or have difficulty reading have gotten a much-needed boost due to their judging responsibilities and have requested to serve as judges again."
Authors interested in having their books considered for Story Monster Approved designation should visit www.StoryMonsters.com and download an entry form. Books are divided into the following categories with distinctions made between fiction and nonfiction: Preschool to Kindergarten, Grades 1-3, and Grades 4-6.

###

Full Media Kit, Headshot, Book Cover Art and more are available upon request.
<!--[if gte mso 9]> Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE <![endif]-->

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Best wishes,
Donna M. McDine
Award-winning Children's Author

Connect with


A Sandy Grave ~ January 2014 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.

Powder Monkey ~ May 2013 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.

Hockey Agony ~ January 2013 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.

The Golden Pathway ~ August 2010 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.
~ Literary Classics Silver Award and Seal of Approval, Readers Favorite 2012 International Book Awards Honorable Mention and Dan Poynter's Global e-Book Awards Finalist













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20678. Freedom Summer and Black History

This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of Freedom Summer, a touchstone in the civil rights movement. The following nonfiction books highlight important turning points in African American history. And for more on Freedom Summer, read Kathleen T. Horning’s Five Questions interview with Don Mitchell (author of the new The Freedom Summer Murders, Scholastic, 14–17 years) along with Deborah Wiles’s picture book Freedom Summer (illus. by Jerome Lagarrigue, Atheneum, 5–8 years) and her novel Revolution (follow-up to Countdown, both Scholastic, 10–14 years).

rubin freedom summer Freedom Summer and Black HistoryFreedom Summer: The 1964 Struggle for Civil Rights in Mississippi by Susan Goldman Rubin provides a useful and informative look at the event’s organizers, the volunteers, the voter registration drives, etc. Rubin conducted many interviews, in person, by telephone, and by e-mail, with people who were directly involved, and their firsthand accounts—along with copious archival black-and-white photographs — bring the events to life. (Holiday, 11–15 years)

sheinkin port chicago 50 Freedom Summer and Black HistoryThe Port Chicago 50 was a group of navy recruits at Port Chicago in California doing one of the few service jobs available to black sailors at the beginning of the Second World War: loading bombs and ammunition onto battleships. When there was an explosion that left more than three hundred dead, fifty men refused to go back to work, occasioning a trial for mutiny. Steve Sheinkin’s 2014 Boston Globe–Horn Book Nonfiction Award winner The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights focuses the events through the experience of Joe Small, who led the protest against the dangerous and unequal working conditions. This is an unusual entry point for the study of World War II and the nascent civil rights movement. (Roaring Brook, 11–15 years)

marrin volcano beneath the snow Freedom Summer and Black HistoryAccording to Albert Marrin’s A Volcano Beneath the Snow: John Brown’s War Against Slavery, Brown’s raid at Harpers Ferry helped “set the stage for the Civil War.” The book begins with a chapter on Brown’s life, then takes a broader look at the history of slavery. The final chapter, “Legacy,” offers a brief commentary on Brown’s influence on the militant arm of the American civil rights movement. His violent actions raise an issue that still resonates today: to what extremes may a person go to change an unjust law? (Knopf, 11–15 years)

walker boundaries Freedom Summer and Black HistoryThe Mason-Dixon Line dates from colonial times: while the Calverts and Penns left England to found religiously tolerant colonies (Maryland and Pennsylvania, respectively), they feuded about the border’s exact location. The surveying team of Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon was hired in 1763 to solve the problem once and for all. In Boundaries: How the Mason-Dixon Line Settled a Family Feud & Divided a Nation, Sally Walker provides meticulous detail about surveying and about colonial-era sociopolitics. She ends with a discussion of the cultural relevance of the Mason-Dixon Line to the North and the South, and modern-day interest in the preservation of its history. (Candlewick, 11–15 years)

From the June 2014 issue of Notes from the Horn Book.

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20679. Poetry Competition: Tom Howard/Margaret Reid Poetry Contest

This is our 12th year. Top prize for a poem in any style: $1,000. Top prize for a poem that rhymes or has a traditional style: $1,000. Total prizes: $3,000.

Both published and unpublished work accepted. Winning entries published online.

Submit poems of any length by September 30. 

Fee: $16 for each entry of 1-2 poems.

Judge: Ellaraine Lockie.

See guidelines and past winners at our website.

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20680. To infinity and beyond!

Inquisitive intermediate readers travel into the great unknown with these four new sci-fi offerings (two of which are series openers) involving space exploration, inventions gone berserk, and UFOs.

mass space taxi To infinity and beyond!In Wendy Mass and Michael Brawer’s Space Taxi: Archie Takes Flight, eight-year-old Archie learns, on “Take Your Kid to Work Day,” that his plain old dad is in fact an interstellar taxi driver. Archie also discovers his destiny: he has the rare power to be a space taxi copilot. The entertaining plot moves right along, and Elise Gravel’s occasional black-and-white cartoon illustrations add to the fun. This is just the first adventure for Archie — here’s to more to come! (Little, Brown, 6–10 years)

smith little green men at the mercury inn To infinity and beyond!Aidan’s parents own the Mercury Inn, which boasts an ideal vantage point for space launches from the Kennedy Space Center on the Florida coast. During one such launch, a blackout interrupts the countdown, and a large, unusual aircraft glows and hovers above the motel. To figure out what’s going on, Aidan, his UFO-obsessed friend Louis, and odd young motel guest Dru Tanaka band together, staying one step ahead of the media, tourists, government agents, and UFO fanatics that swarm the Mercury. The twisty plot and engaging setting of Greg Leitich Smith’s Little Green Men at the Mercury Inn, along with Andrew Arnold’s retro cartoon spot art, work well with the wacky characters and situations. (Roaring Brook, 6–10 years)

shusterman teslas attic To infinity and beyond!In Tesla’s Attic, the first book in Neal Shusterman and Eric Elfman’s Accelerati Trilogy, fourteen-year-old Nick holds a garage sale of the attic junk in his new house, only to discover that Nicola Tesla himself made the items. Each one has a mysterious power; when a magnetic baseball glove begins yanking meteorites out of orbit, including one big enough to destroy the Earth, Nick and his friends must race to save humanity while avoiding a (nefarious) collection of self-proclaimed scientists called the Accelerati. Nick is a likable protagonist, and his strong narrative voice propels this humorous, well-paced action/adventure full of secret-society intrigue and quirky gadgetry. (Disney-Hyperion, 8–11 years)

pelletier summer experiment To infinity and beyond!The Summer Experiment by Cathie Pelletier takes place in rural Allagash, Maine, notorious (in real life, too) for its UFO sightings and alleged alien abductions. Eleven-year-old Roberta (Robbie) McKinnon and her best friend Marilee camp out on Frog Hill to investigate the weird goings-on for their school science project. Though much of the story is about the family dramas and school rivalries of ordinary small-town life, Pelletier keeps readers guessing throughout: is the town overrun by UFOs? Robbie’s sassy, humorous voice and wild schemes, along with the well-drawn secondary characters and vivid setting, keep things humming. (Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, 8–11 years)

From the June 2014 issue of Notes from the Horn Book.

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20681. Wellington boots


0 Comments on Wellington boots as of 6/9/2014 9:31:00 PM
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20682. Whale Poacher Children's Book, A Sandy Grave Awarded Story Monster Approval


I'm tickled pink to announce my whale poacher children's book, A Sandy Grave has achieved the Story Monster Approval award!!! 

I'm doing the Snoopy Dance… 


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT:
Linda F. Radke, Five Star Publications, Inc.
Phone: 480-940-8182
E-mail: info@FiveStarPublications.com

Whale Poacher Children’s Book, A Sandy Grave Earns Story Monster Approval

CHANDLER, AZ (June, 2014) – The judges of the Story Monster Approved program, which recognizes accomplished authors in the field of children's literature have spoken, and A Sandy Grave by Donna M. McDine and illustrated by Julie Hammond has earned approval.   

Title: A Sandy Grave
Category: Chapbooks for Tweens
Author: Donna M. McDine www.donnamcdine.com
Illustrator: Julie Hammond www.juliehammondart.com
Hardcover ISBN: 9781616334543; 1616334541
Softcover ISBN: 9781616334550; 161633455X
eBook ISBN: 9781616334567; 1616334568 


About A Sandy Grave: The anticipation of summer vacation can put anyone in a great mood with the excitement of adventures to be had--especially at the beach. But what is a group of friends to do when they discover mysterious men poaching whale teeth at the beach?

About the Author: Donna McDine is a multiple award-winning children's author. She writes and moms from her home in the historical hamlet Tappan, NY. McDine is a member of the SCBWI and Family Reading Partnership. Learn more about McDine’s writing career at www.donnamcdine.comand www.donna-mcdine.blogspot.com.
The colorful, kid-friendly Story Monster Approved seal attracts the attention of young readers much more than a sticker intended for adult scrutiny. Kids know when they see the Story Monster Approved patch it means children their own age enjoyed the book and are recommending they read it, too. How do they know that? Because after books pass the first round of rigorous judging – which is done by industry experts, the books are then judged by a panel of youth judges who must also endorse the books before they can receive the official seal of approval.
"Who better to judge children’s books than the children who read them?” explains Linda F. Radke, president of Five Star Publications, Inc., the same company that launched the Dragonfly Book Awards program, now in its fourth year. "Judging these books gives children a wonderful sense of importance and responsibility. Some of our judging coordinators have told us that students who usually don’t enjoy reading or have difficulty reading have gotten a much-needed boost due to their judging responsibilities and have requested to serve as judges again."
Authors interested in having their books considered for Story Monster Approved designation should visit www.StoryMonsters.com and download an entry form. Books are divided into the following categories with distinctions made between fiction and nonfiction: Preschool to Kindergarten, Grades 1-3, and Grades 4-6.

###

Full Media Kit, Headshot, Book Cover Art and more are available upon request.
<!--[if gte mso 9]> Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE <![endif]-->

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Best wishes,
Donna M. McDine
Award-winning Children's Author

Connect with


A Sandy Grave ~ January 2014 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.

Powder Monkey ~ May 2013 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.

Hockey Agony ~ January 2013 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.

The Golden Pathway ~ August 2010 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.
~ Literary Classics Silver Award and Seal of Approval, Readers Favorite 2012 International Book Awards Honorable Mention and Dan Poynter's Global e-Book Awards Finalist













0 Comments on Whale Poacher Children's Book, A Sandy Grave Awarded Story Monster Approval as of 6/10/2014 3:57:00 AM
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20683. Today @KirkusReviews...

...I wrote about Lucy Saxon's Take Back the Skies: Take back the skies

A couple of weeks back, I put together a list of stories about airships. Included on the list was Lucy Saxon’s Take Back the Skies, which is one I’ve been looking forward to for quite some time. It’s about a girl who disguises herself as a boy and stows away on a smuggler’s airship to escape her abusive father and avoid an arranged marriage. Romance, steampunk adventure, and SAVING THE COUNTRY all figure in. Sounds fun, right?

Well.

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20684. Three Bird Summer: Sara St. Antoine

Book: Three Bird Summer
Author: Sara St. Antoine
Pages: 256
Age Range: 10 to 14

Three Bird Summer by Sara St. Antoine is a lovely book about the summer that a 12 year old boy spends at his grandmother's cabin on Three Bird Lake in Minnesota. It's a quiet sort of book about an introspective kid, but St. Antoine manages to touch upon the challenges families face as grandparents age, the aftermath of divorce, and the tentative first steps of boy-girl relationships. There's also a small mystery, and even a treasure map. It's a coming-of-age story, though without major drama. 

In truth, the subject matter of Three Bird Summer felt a bit ... familiar, with echoes of Cynthia Lord's Half a Chance and Karen Day's A Million Miles from Boston, and even Jeanne Birdsall's The Penderwicks at Point Mouette. Summer stories all, featuring kids of a similar age range. But the sheer beauty of St. Antoine's writing, as well as her choice to feature a male protagonist, make Three Bird Summer stand out. 

Adam is a fine narrator, a little geeky, a little lazy, and baffled by the behavior of girls. His initially reluctant friendship with new neighbor Alice, and the oh-so-gradual dawning of "more than friend" feelings, is utterly believable. Alice and her parents are, perhaps, a tiny bit too good to be true, but I love that she spent the previous summer at a science camp for girls, and that she chafes under the yoke of her over-protective parents. Adam's mother and grandmother are well-drawn, too, with flaws as well as surprises. 

Three Bird Summer perfectly captures the feel of a rustic summer lake house. Like this:

"Mom lingered in the kitchen while I hauled my duffel through the main part of the cabin, breathing in the familiar smell of wood paneling and fireplace cinders. Everything was in its usual place." (Page 10)

and

"A cool breeze crossed the water. It felt like the great North was barreling through me with my every breath. Here's what slipped away: schedules, bus rides, the stale smell of the school cafeteria, algebraic equations, Mom and Dad's phone arguments, girl talk, and Grandma's interrogations. Here's what I got in exchange: water sloshing slowly and steadily against the dock like the heartbeat of a great whale. A pair of black-and-white loons swimming into view. Fresh air and a lake that, right then, felt like it was all mine." (Page 16)

Reading the above passage, I could practically feel the tension leaving Adam's shoulders. Three Bird Summer is filled with passages that I wanted to save, long and short. Like this:

"Mom turned around and we began paddling again, but not in a getting-there sort of way -- more like a being-there sort of way." (Page 199)

For the rest, you'll have to read the book. Three Bird Summer is a book to read on your front porch on a warm summer day (or, even better, on a dock floating in a lake in your bathing suit). It's about growing up, the ways that family relationships change, and young love. It's beautifully written, with a strong sense of place, and well-rounded characters. While Three Bird Summer is clearly a book that will appeal to adult readers, I hope that kids find it and love it, too. Despite the male protagonist, Three Bird Summer certainly has as much appeal for girls as for boys. Recommended! 

Publisher: Candlewick (@Candlewick)
Publication Date: May 13, 2014
Source of Book: Review copy from the publisher

FTC Required Disclosure:

This site is an Amazon affiliate, and purchases made through Amazon links (including linked book covers) may result in my receiving a small commission (at no additional cost to you).

© 2014 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook

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20685. Graphic novels for middle schoolers

From poignant historical fiction to introspective coming-of-age tale, hilarious space caper to action-packed superhero story, four new graphic novels for middle-schoolers showcase the range of the graphic novel format.

faulkner gaijin Graphic novels for middle schoolersIn Gaijin: American Prisoner of War, thirteen-year-old Koji Miyamoto is living in San Francisco with his (white) mother when Japan attacks Pearl Harbor. Despite being only half-Japanese, Koji is forced to relocate to the Alameda Downs Assembly Center across the bay. There he wrestles not only with his father’s temporary absence from the family but also with a gang of boys in the camp who constantly bully him — for being a gaijin, a foreigner. Through astute choices of medium, color, and composition, author/illustrator Matt Faulkner creates a vivid and compelling internment-camp drama for young readers. (Disney-Hyperion, 11–14 years)

tamaki this one summer Graphic novels for middle schoolersEvery summer Rose Wallace and her parents go to their cottage on Awago Beach. But this year Rose starts to feel too old for the activities she used to love — and, at times, even for her younger (and more childish) friend Windy. Meanwhile, Rose is caught up in the tension between her parents and fascinated by adult behaviors the local teens are trying on. In This One Summer, author-and-illustrator cousins Mariko and Jillian Tamaki examine the mix of uncertainty and hope that a girl experiences on the verge of adolescence. Dramatic purple-blue ink illustrations capture the raw emotional core of this story set at the beginning of the end of childhood. (Roaring Brook/First Second, 11–14 years)

maihack cleopatra in space Graphic novels for middle schoolersYanked from first-century B.C. Egypt to the Nile galaxy thousands of years in the future, Cleopatra (quick with both a quip and a ray gun) is hailed as a messiah destined to crush the evil Xerx. Author/illustrator Mike Maihack’s Cleopatra in Space: Target Practice portrays a time-warped Egypt in crisp line art, muted jewel tones, and striking perspectives that create riveting panels featuring futuristic pyramids and a flying-sphinx motorbike. After Cleo single-handedly vanquishes mummy robots and tosses out another one-liner (“Let’s wrap this up”) readers will be clamoring for more of Maihack’s dynamic illustrations, campy humor, and, of course, more Cleo. (Scholastic/Graphix, 11–14 years)

yang shadow hero Graphic novels for middle schoolersWorld War II–era cartoonist Chu Hing reportedly wanted his comic superhero the Green Turtle to be Chinese; not surprisingly for the time, his publishers balked. Now seventy years later, author Gene Luen Yang and illustrator Sonny Liew vindicate Hing in The Shadow Hero, which imagines the Green Turtle as “the first Asian American superhero.” Hank wants to lead a quiet existence in the Chinatown of noir-ish (fictional) San Incendio. But his mother has higher aspirations for Hank: she wants her son to be a superhero. Humor, strong characters, and cracking good action — plus a nuanced portrayal of Chinese American culture — keep the requisite trials and tribulations of the superhero-in-training fresh. (Roaring Brook/First Second, 11–14 years)

From the June 2014 issue of Notes from the Horn Book.

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20686. The Church of Science Fiction




Back in January, having imbibed too many book reviews and flame wars, I spouted on Twitter: "Most critical writing could be summed up as, 'My god is an awesome god! Your god sucks.'" That especially seems to be the case with so much writing about science fiction, which is less rigorously analytical than it is theological.

Let's look at two examples.

Adam Roberts's new Guardian essay on science fiction and politics reminded me of a provocative essay in the current issue of Science Fiction Studies, "Fascism and Science Fiction" (JSTOR) by Aaron Santesso.

Here, I'm not going to wrestle with their arguments so much as speculate (perhaps irresponsibly, erroneously, ridiculously) on what itch such arguments scratch, because though I am skeptical of the overall thrust of both pieces, I don't find either to be especially bothersome. As I read each, I realized that I didn't understand the desires and assumptions that motivated them, because they are the desires and assumptions of a religious denomination I don't adhere to. I've explored and dabbled with various sects of the church of science fiction since childhood, and a part of me still very much wants to be a believer, but I just can't make the proper leaps of faith. Call me Doubting Matthew.

To show the theological import of the two essays, we'll have to look first (briefly, inadequately) at how they argue their cases. Let's start with Roberts. A key sentence:
Asking whether SF is "intrinsically" leftwing or rightwing is dumb, since literatures are not "intrinsically" anything. But I'm tempted to thump the tub nonetheless.
"This is dumb, but I will do it." I admire the honesty. This is a leap of faith admitted boldly and in the open.

And so Roberts leaps and thumps:
Conservatism is defined by its respect for the past. The left has always been more interested in the future – specifically, in a better future. Myriad militaristic SF books and films suggest the most interesting thing to do with the alien is style it as an invading monster and empty thousands of rounds of ammunition into it. But the best SF understands that there are more interesting things to do with the alien than that. How we treat the other is the great ethical question of our age, and SF, at its best, is the best way to explore that question.
This is a straightforward version of dogma offered by more abstruse, monkish scholars such as Darko Suvin, Fredric Jameson, and Carl Freedman (the holy trinity of Marxist SF critics). Against these ideas, Santesso addresses the tendency to see SF as inherently progressive, or to define "good SF" as SF that agrees with the (Marxist) reader's ideology:
So the critical argument, as it stands, is that the “generic tendency” of sf is progressive, that its themes are naturally progressive, that its structures are naturally progressive. I suggest, in response, that the claims one can make about the inclinations of a genre if one concentrates on certain strands and tendencies of the tradition are limited only by the strands and tendencies chosen. Over the remainder of this essay, I will argue that certain other strands of sf—since sf as a whole (encompassing everything from cyberpunk to military science fiction, at the very least) is indeed hardly politically unified—can be recognized as anything but “naturally” progressive, instead being more strongly allied with fascist politics. Furthermore, certain foundational tropes and traditions of the genre carry the DNA of fascism, as it were, to the extent that even liberal, progressive authors working within the genre’s more refined strains often (inadvertently) employ fascistic tropes and strategies. These tropes and strategies interrupt and disappoint certain ideological expectations advertised as, or assumed to be, native to the genre.
Both writers explicitly recognize that this search for one, true SF is a fool's errand, but both play the fool — Roberts admittedly, Santesso more circumspectly, but just as strongly. They are defenders of the faith.

Santesso's essay does a good job of delineating fascist tendencies within particular stories and types of stories. His essay seems to me to be a useful beginning, a sketch of analytical possibilities that would benefit from being expanded, and Santesso's careful definition of the term "fascism" certainly allows readers to expand the ideas themselves. (A good companion to Santesso's work is Barton Paul Levenson's "The Ideology of Robert A. Heinlein" in NYRSF 118, April 1998, which similarly applies a relatively precise definition of fascism to specific texts.)

Santesso's final paragraph is dense, but it's worth working through:
Given his influence on progressive sf criticism, we may give the last word to Jameson, and in particular his celebration of the Brechtian notion of plumpes Denken (“crude thinking”), which he defines as the postulate that even the most subtle, academic, or experimental “neo-Marxist” works must contain a core element of “crude” or “vulgar” Marxism in order to qualify as “Marxist” at all. Jameson alludes to plumpes Denken in order to make a point about science fiction: “Something like this may have its equivalent in SF, and I would be tempted to suggest that even within the most devoted reader of ‘soft’ SF—of sociological SF, ‘new wave’ aestheticism, the ‘contemporaries’ from Dick to the present—there has to persist some ultimate ‘hard-core’ commitment to old-fashioned ‘scientific’ SF for the object to preserve its identity and not to dissolve back into Literature, Fantasy, or whatever” (Jameson 245). Might it also be the case that the fascist energies and ideas of pulp sf are precisely the kind of identity-confirming “core” or definitional element that makes it possible to speak of “science fiction,” even when discussing literary, progressive sf? It is understandable that progressive critics would wish to distance themselves from both the aesthetics and the politics that accrued to a generation of stories featuring scenarios of the Golden Races vs. the Scaly Ones variety. But to deny that politics altogether, to claim that it belongs only to the past, is to evade a serious investigation of what makes the genre work, what gives it its identity and indeed its appeal. It is, ultimately, a denial of “science fiction” itself as a genre worthy of discussion, for surely the point of genre criticism is to identify and trace the various constitutional energies, themes, and plots that animate a form and in doing so account for all its variant strains and trends, not just the ones that accord well with a narrow set of critical pieties. To speak of “science fiction” at all is to admit to certain links and ideological ties that go beyond subject and setting, leading readers and critics into unexpected places and opening up unexpected connections. One cannot simply disown unwanted relatives or pretend not to recognize their features when they pop up in later generations. It is, indeed, precisely those ancestral presences—sometimes odd, sometimes eccentric, sometimes distasteful—that give science fiction its remarkable diversity and continuing vitality.
I'm not entirely convinced by many of the premises here*, but I'm fascinated by the continuing appeal of the desire not simply to define science fiction, but to define it toward a particular ideology, even when the writer knows and admits that this is a simplification or just "dumb".

The assertion that "good" science fiction is, in the view of Roberts et al., "progressive", is a statement that serves to set up criteria for true faith and for apostasy. (It's analogous to the use of the term "literature" to mean "that writing which I value and consider worth study".) Such a desire is similar to the one that propels people to claim that science fiction began with Mary Shelley or Newton or Lucian or Gilgamesh or the Big Bang, all of which are also ideological claims to an origin story that suits the storyteller's self-conception (or, if not outright self-conception, then at least the theological denomination they have chosen to associate with).

The stories told of science fiction are stories that reflect well on the storyteller. If the storyteller is an avid reader of science fiction, then the story is one that justifies that reading. Often, it's the fannish story of SF being somehow at the heart of literature, and therefore worthy of respect and study and love (as opposed to the "mundane" literature of a false church). Sometimes, it's a story of SF being the superior denomination. (My god is an awesome god!) One is not just a reader of science fiction, but a proud reader.

Adam Roberts's Guardian piece is perhaps best described as an example of faith-based writing. Lots of people of faith have written brilliantly, have done great things in the world, etc., so I don't mean this as a condemnation, and Roberts is particularly clear-eyed about his faith. He may be proselytizing, but he's perfectly aware that that's what he's doing. He's like a Campus Crusade for Christ guy standing out in front of the library, randomly accosting people with, "Hey, do you have a minute for Jesus? Jesus is cool!"

Aaron Santesso's essay is a useful corrective to the faith-based initiatives of the One True Church of SF missionaries (for instance, it would be interesting to read Santesso's approach to Iain Banks alongside Roberts's), but Santesso ends up giving in to the theological impulse himself by offering a story of original sin. Perhaps we could call it a Calvinist approach to SF dogma. He gives us an Old Testament sort of god, all grumpy and authoritarian and given to genocides, while Roberts sees science fiction more as a hippie Jesus. This unites the two essays, for Santesso has faith that science fiction can achieve its own new testament, and Roberts seems to think it already has.

As I said, I'm not separate from all this myself, even if I don't understand the fundamentalists and evangelicals. In many ways, I admire and even envy them their leaps and faiths. Perhaps their dogma is more honest than my anti-dogma, which is little more than the habitual uttering of, "Yes, but—" I have my own gods, my own idols and rituals and sacred texts. In that way, perhaps personal taste is always religious, always faith-based. Despite all attempts to figure out the empirical (or ideological) engines of taste, the explanations remain inadequate against the mysteries. Perhaps our passions are not only best expressed but best maintained through expressions of ecstasy. Perhaps faith is the best way to organize our desires, to give meaning to our pleasures and displeasures.

I'm a doubter, and so always and forever chained to maybe and perhaps...

Perhaps your god is an awesome god. Or, perhaps life is richer and more coherent if we believe in a god (or pantheon) that is an awesome god, regardless of whether such a belief itself is rationally justifiable. Maybe we need more tub thumping dumbness, more leaps of faith. Maybe...

Or maybe it's your god that sucks.

---------------------------------
*
My own proclivity is to view SF as a set of discourses sustained and propagated by a network of discourse communities, all of which can and should be historicized — a position certainly not opposed to Jameson or Santesso, but oblique to them.

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20687. How Diverse Were This Year’s Tony Awards?

Last year, we shared an infographic and study on diversity (or the lack thereof) in the Tony Awards and theater. Here’s what it looked like:

Tony Awards Infographic

An interview with award-winning writer, actor, and filmmaker Christine Toy Johnson illuminates some of the challenges that actors of color often face on and off Broadway:

No Asian American female playwright has ever been produced on Broadway. Ever. . . . I believe that the only way we’ll see our roles increase is if more of our stories are produced (written by and/or about us), and/or if more playwrights/directors/producers are open to having people of color play non-race specific roles they write/direct/produce.

The reality is that on Broadway, we are often relegated to the supporting roles (which are often great, but still!), and with all the other things I’ve mentioned above, I believe, unfortunately, that the chances of an Asian American actor starring in a Broadway production are slim. There is also a vicious circle of producers wanting actors with TV and film notoriety to star in their Broadway shows, but because of the unevenness of access/opportunity in TV and film for actors of color, there aren’t as many TV and film “stars” of color to come take Broadway by storm.”

Last night marked the 68th annual Tony Awards so we thought we’d check in and see how the awards fared this year, diversity-wise. Of the six major categories above, two Tonys went to people of color:

Audra McDonald: Best Actress in a Play Tony for “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill”

Kenny Leon: Best Director of a Play for “A Raisin in the Sun”

The biggest news is that Audra McDonald has made history by winning her sixth Tony for acting, the most ever. Those wins include Tonys in all four major acting categories. In an industry that has, statistically speaking, not been very inclusive historically toward women and people of color, her win is especially poignant.

Audra McDonald in her Tony-winning role as Billie Holiday in

Audra McDonald in her Tony-winning role as Billie Holiday in “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill”

Congratulations to Ms. McDonald and the rest of the winners! Hopefully the year to come will bring an even greater diversity of talent, both onstage and behind the curtain!

 

 


Filed under: Diversity, Race, and Representation, Lee & Low Likes, The Diversity Gap Tagged: diversity gap, diversity in Hollywood, infographics, Tony Awards

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20688. Playwright Competition for Undergrads: Bill Hallberg Award for Creative Writing

The East Carolina University English Department has created the Bill Hallberg Award for Creative Writing, a rotating genre prize open to undergraduate writers who attend universities in NC, TN, VA, and SC. This year, the award of $500 will be given for two one-act plays or a full length play.

A staged reading of the play(s) will be performed at East Carolina University with the playwright attending (expenses paid.)

Submissions must be accompanied by a letter of recommendation from an instructor at the student's school.

DEADLINE: November 15, 2014. NOTIFICATION: January, 2015. PERFORMANCE: Mid March, 2015.

Send entries electronically to Robert Siegel:

siegelrATecuDOTedu (Change At to @ and DOT to . )

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20689. Writing Competition: Autumn House


The 2014 Autumn House Poetry, Fiction, and Nonfiction Contests ​

Postmark deadline: June 30. The winner in each genre will receive book publication, a $1,000 advance against royalties, and a $1,500 travel/publicity grant to promote his or her book.

For our 2014 poetry contest, the preliminary judge is Michael Simms, and the final judge is Alicia Ostriker.
 
For fiction, the preliminary judge is Heather Cazad, and the final judge is Sharon Dilworth. 
For nonfiction, the preliminary judges are Michael Simms and Heather Cazad, and the final judge is Dinty W. Moore.

Congratulations to our 2013 winners:
Poetry: Danusha Laméris, The Moons of August
Fiction: Tom Noyes, Come by Here
Nonfiction: Adam Patric Miller, A Greater Monster
See our complete contest guidelines at our website.

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20690. Kindle Used to Swear in U.S. Ambassador

Suzi LeVine, the US Ambassador to Switzerland & Liechtenstein, became the first ambassador to be sworn in with a Kindle. In her swearing in ceremony last week, LeVine placed her hand on an eBook edition of the U.S. Constitution stored which was opened on a Kindle. U.S. Embassy London tweeted the event: A very 21st century swearing in; @AmbSuzi becomes the 1st U.S. Ambassador to take the oath over an electronic device. pic.twitter.com/5E4bjIRQ2x — U.S. Embassy London (@USAinUK) June 2, 2014 Levine still received her oath in print form, as you can see from her tweet below: My oath... pic.twitter.com/UWG8XNvTXN — Suzi LeVine (@AmbSuzi) June 1, 2014 (Via The Washington Post).

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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20691. Christina Magnussen AKA Gala

Christina Magnussen on grainedit.com

 Christina Magnussen is an Oslo-based illustrator and designer. Along with Hans Christian Oren, she was a founding member of the prolific and much-loved Oh Yeah Studio. In 2013 she went on to establish Gala, an illustration agency that that uses analog and digital techniques to thoughtfully push the boundaries of the medium.

Prints are available of her work at Society6 and the Oh Yeah Studio shop.

 

Christina Magnussen on grainedit.com

Christina Magnussen on grainedit.com

Christina Magnussen on grainedit.com

 

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20692. Gaijin: American Prisoner of War written and illustrated by Matt Faulkner

Koji Miyamoto, 13, his American mom and Japanese dad have been living a quiet life in San Francisco.  But when the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 all that changes immediately.  Koji secretly fears his father may have been part of the attack since he was in Japan when it happened taking care of his sick father.  At school, he is picked on by a group of bullies, the trolley operator won't let him on the board and the government has taken away the family radio, insinuating that all Japanese are spies.

Finally, Koji's mom receives a letter saying that he is to be sent to a "relocation camp" which is nothing more than the Alameda Downs, a former racetrack.  His mother decides to go with him, but because she is white, not Japanese, she and the camp commander become friends.  Koji, who is called Gaijin (outsider) by the other Japanese boys finds himself getting bullied by them.  After getting caught fighting, an elderly old family friend man, Yoshi Asai,  takes Koji under his wing.  But after the two create a Victory Garden, the bullies go after it night after night.

Koji finds himself getting more and more angry as the days go by, at the government for putting them in horse stables and then treating them like they are all criminals; at the bullies for making him feel like he doesn't belong anywhere.  Pretty soon a rift develops between Koji and his mom, fueled by the bullies repeatedly calling her the camp floozy.

The bullies set up all kinds of dangerous tasks for Koji to do with the promise of belonging as his reward.  As the tasks get riskier, Koji faces the possibility of being sent to a very unpleasant correction facility alone.  Is his desire to belong or his anger so great that his is willing to risk that fate?  Or can the gentle elderly Mr. Yoshi Asai help keep Koji from getting into more trouble?

Gaijin: American Prisoner of War is based on a true story from author/illustrator Matt Faulkner's family, as he explains at the end of the story, making it personal and affecting.  Using the graphic novel format, allows the reader to see the anger, confusion, fear, all the understandable feelings of a young man forced to live the way the Miyamoto's were, and being treated like an enemy alien because of his race, not his citizenship.

The illustrations are done using watercolor and gouache in rich vibrant colors very reminiscent of the early 1940s.  Gouache is the perfect medium for this graphic novel, with its large bold energetic  images, sometimes only one to a pages, other times as many as five.  Much of the story comes through the illustrations, with little text but together they really capture every humiliating element of the internment of the Japanese in WWII.

The more I read graphic novels, the more I appreciate them.  When they are done well, as Gaijin is, they can be a way of introducing difficult topics to young readers and may serve as a way to interest reluctant readers.  

Another excellent book about this still not widely known about part of American history.

This book is recommended for readers age 9+
This book was bought for my personal library

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20693. Call for Submissions: Siren

Siren is an online zine looking for artists of all genres who create new, edgy, and experimental work. We want work that pushes boundaries, that surprises in terms of structure and content, that provokes a visceral response. We want to be shocked. We want to blush. We want art that is provocative, raw and beautiful. We want art with wings, teeth, claws.

We welcome submissions from artists of all genres. This includes, but is not limited to, poets and writers of all genres, audio/visual and graphic artists, video and film makers, dancers, performance and spoken word artists, musicians, installation and fine artists, and photographers.

The submission deadline for our summer issue is June 30, 2014. To submit, send an email to:

sirenwebzineATgmailDOTcom (Change AT to @ and DOT to . )

with the type of submission and your last name in the subject line. Please include your contact information, a short bio, and your submission in the body of the email.

Our guidelines are as follows:

Poetry – 3 poems max. 
Prose – 1500 words max. 
Audio/Visual Media – 3 to 5 minutes max. 
Visual Art – 3 images max.

As an online zine, your work will be free to all who visit the site. You retain all rights to your work. For more details, please visit our website.

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20694. To sleep, perchance to dream

A lyrical bedtime reverie; an open-only-at-night library run by a little librarian; a toddler’s pre-dawn escapades; and a kooky bedtime cruise: four new picture books help smooth the way from daytime activity to bedtime quiet.

zoboli big book of slumber To sleep, perchance to dreamSimona Mulazzani’s lush folk art in cozy nighttime colors lends a magical, drowsy atmosphere to Giovanna Zoboli’s The Big Book of Slumber, a large-format ode to the joys of dreamland. Translated from the Italian, soothing rhyming couplets are full of rhythm and repetition: “Mouse ate her apple and read her nice book. / Who else is sleeping? Just take a good look.” Appealingly drawn sleeping arrangements include some captivatingly out of the ordinary: Hippo sleeps on a sofa, giraffes in sleeping bags, and seals in armchairs propped up in the trees. (Eerdmans, 2–5 years)

kohara midnight library To sleep, perchance to dreamWelcome to The Midnight Library, written and illustrated by Kazuno Kohara, a friendly spot for animals from “all over the town” to “find a perfect book.” A little-girl librarian and her three owl assistants cheerfully bustle around the packed bookshelves, where small dramas are happily resolved alongside library business-as-usual. This dream of a library is designed with lots of reading nooks, comfy chairs, lanterns, and trees. The gentle story and vibrant compositions have an old-fashioned sensibility and simplicity that capture the enchantment of the middle-of-the-night goings on. (Roaring Brook, 2–5 years)

sakai hannahs night To sleep, perchance to dreamHannah’s Night by Komako Sakai begins enticingly: “One day when Hannah woke up, she was surprised to find that it was still dark.” Hannah’s day holds all sorts of surprises — because it’s still the middle of the night. Everyone else is asleep, so she eats cherries from the refrigerator; then, emboldened, Hannah gleefully borrows all her sound-asleep sister’s best stuff and takes it back to her own bed to play with. Sakai is a master at capturing toddlers’ body language and expressions, and her brief text clearly telegraphs the freedom Hannah feels on this toddler-sized adventure. (Gecko, 2–5 years)

farrell thank you octopus To sleep, perchance to dreamFor those who’d rather embark on silly bedtime adventures, Thank You, Octopus by Darren Farrell is a hilarious nautical comedy of errors. “Bedtime, ahoy,” Octopus declares. His young shipmate isn’t thrilled. Doting Octopus knows that a warm bath, jammies, and a favorite story can help make the transition easier, and he’s prepared — in theory. He talks the bedtime talk, but his best intentions wildly miss their mark. A “nice warm bath” sounds lovely (“Thank you, Octopus”), but a page-turn shows Octopus and boy headed into a huge vat of egg salad. “Gross! No thank you, Octopus.” Farrell’s detailed cartoon illustrations cleverly foreshadow the antics. (Dial, 3–6 years)

From the June 2014 issue of Notes from the Horn Book.

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20695. Call for Poetry Submissions: Women Made Gallery Literary Series

Theme: Boxes
Date: Sunday, August 3, 2014/ 1:30 – 3:30 p.m.
Place: 685 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago IL


We are seeking work that addresses the theme from any or all ways you can imagine, i.e. Container and contained, categories, black box, Cornell boxes, boxed in, outside the box, gifts and deliveries, Inclusion & Exclusion.

Selections will be made with an eye to assembling a program that represents a diversity of poets, styles, and approaches to the theme.

Selected poets MUST be available to read in person. Please send 4 – 6 poems on the theme ALONG WITH a 50 to 75 word bio, IN THE BODY OF AN E-MAIL to:

galleryATwomanmadeDOTorg (Change AT to @ and DOT to . )

by June 15, 11:59 p.m.. We will make every effort to inform those chosen of our decision by June 30. Although we can't afford to pay readers, this is a great opportunity to sell books and read with other talented people in a very special environment.

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20696. makes me happy - succulents!


Working in the field of art licensing means that I need to keep a lot of the work I'm doing a secret, until it is licensed and out in the stores on products. That means a lot of time can go by, from the finished art and when I can share it. So, my little blog is often neglected because I can't really share what I want to share. Therefore, I decided to start a regular (hopefully, weekly) feature called Makes Me Happy, so I can post on a timely basis and also share things that I like and of course, things that make me happy. There will be posts about trending topics in the illustration and fashion worlds, posts showcasing other artists work that I admire, posts about color palettes that are swoon worthy and posts that are just fun, happy things.

With all the bad news in the world, sometimes you just need to take some time to focus on happy things and happy thoughts. I hope the things that make me happy will make your day a little bit happier, too!

My first Makes Me Happy post is all about Succulents! Here are some fun photos and illustrations of wonderfully, unique succulents. To see these photos on a larger scale, find the links to their web pages and get more succulent love, visit my Pinterest Succulent page.  http://bit.ly/Txlqpr

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20697. Book Group Skype Visits for A BIRD ON WATER STREET

I just did a Skype visit with a book group in Blue Ridge, Georgia. Hi Michelle Moran (host and owner of the best restaurant in Blue Ridge - Harvest on Main), Pam, Gail, Louisa, Sheila, Louise, and Carol Crawford (my host for the Blue Ridge Writers Conference). It was great to talk to you all! Carol is 2nd from left Michelle is 3rd, and I think Pam is second from the right. I'm not sure who is who otherwise, but I sure did enjoy saying "hi"!

     I'm happy to do 20-minute Skype visits (or Google Messages visits - or whatever your preferred tech) for free with your book group too - give me a holler! elizabeth at dulemba dot com

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20698. A Book of Sleep by Il Sung Na

Book of SleepHave you ever wondered how animals sleep? For many little ones, it will be a surprise to find out that some animals sleep standing up, and some animals sleep in the daytime, and some animals sleep alone and some sleep in a group, and some even sleep with one eye open. Even though this book doesn’t have many words, it doesn’t need them to move the story along. I think this book would be a perfect story to read at bedtime with its peaceful illustrations and simple message, but it also lends itself to fun conversation too. Sleep tight!

Posted by: Mary


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20699. Samuel Beckett Manuscript to be Exhibited for One Day

The University of Reading will display the hand-written manuscript for Murphy, Samuel Beckett’s first published novel, for one day this week at the Museum of English Rural Life. The university, which owns the world's largest collection of resources relating to Samuel Beckett, acquired the edition last year from a private collector. The manuscript is made up of six notebooks and is a very different version than the book published in 1938. Here is more about the event: "The Murphy notebooks will be on public display on 11 June 2014, from 12.30 to 7pm at the Museum of English Rural Life, as part of Universities Week 2014. This will be as part of the Research showcase on the creative industries. The event will showcase how the University of Reading’s world-leading research feeds into the UK’s creative economy, with emphasis on theatre and film. Fore more details, please visit our Universities Week 2014 pages." (Via The Guardian).

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20700. From the Editor — June 2014

sutton roger 170x304 From the Editor — June 2014On May 31st, I announced the winners of the 2014 Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards at the BookExpo convention in New York. The awards will be bestowed at a ceremony on October 10th at Simmons College; the next day brings the Horn Book at Simmons Colloquium, “Mind the Gaps: Books for All Young Readers.” The colloquium will feature BGHB honorees and others in a day’s discussion of what’s missing or scarce in contemporary books for young people, and how some of these gaps might be closed. We will tell you more about our plans for the day as they develop, but early-bird registration for HBAS (with a complimentary ticket to the BGHB awards the night before) is now available.

roger signature From the Editor — June 2014

Roger Sutton
Editor in Chief

From the June 2014 issue of Notes from the Horn Book.

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