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Results 1 - 25 of 16,122
1. Blue, Minnesota

After hearing my colleagues rave nonstop about Blue, Minnesota, I realized I better give it a read, and fast. Man, was I glad I picked it up. It absolutely blew me away! If I had nine lives, I would use each one to read this book again for the very first time. Books mentioned in [...]

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2. The Bologna Children's Book Fair

Entrance. This year's theme is Alice.
I'm in Bologna, Italy at the Bologna Children's Book Fair. Many folks on twitter have asked about the fair, especially as so many agents attend and tweet about it! -- so I thought I'd do a little post about what the heck goes on here.

First of all, there is the show floor - if you've ever been to a trade show like ALA or BEA you'll be familiar with the sight of row after row of booths filled with books from every publisher in the US. The difference with Bologna is, there are not only booths for every publisher in America... there are booths for every publisher in the entire world. Publishers get a chance to look at the best of the best, so that they might "buy in" books from other countries to add to their own lists. It's truly amazing and inspiring to see what is being published elsewhere.
Costumed characters must've been boiling!

Also, as with any convention center, you get the assorted giant characters wandering around, weird giveaways and photo ops, lousy food, temperatures that range from oven-blasting heat to ice cold in the space of a few yards, etc.

The second piece of the fair is the Art. There are art galleries, art prizes, and perhaps most striking, the Walls of Art. These are white walls surrounding the main hall, that get papered over by hopeful illustrators displaying their wares. By the end of the fair, these walls are so crowded with artwork that it is dripping all over the floor.

Day 1 - the walls are just starting to fill.
Day 2 - More art to come!
Now, the part of the fair that AGENTS think is the most important: Rights selling at the Agent's Centre. You'll recall this blog post from a few years ago explaining subsidiary rights in a nutshell -- well, the rights that agents are mostly here to sell are foreign/translation rights.

One side of the agent's centre
Agents and foreign rights managers each have an assigned table in the Agent's Centre. From about 9am to about 6, agents will sit at one of these 100+ tables taking meetings. Every half hour, a new meeting. Some agents' schedules are so intense that they don't even build time in for breaks... this was a bit of a problem this year, as we didn't have an Agent Restroom! ARGH. #bathroomgate #glamorous.

The goals of most meetings include networking and putting faces to names; learning about the market in a given country; and pitching, pitching, pitching. Agents are meeting mostly with foreign publishers and foreign co-agents, and talking about their own list based on what those people say they are looking for.

Not gonna lie - it's truly exhausting. Which is why tonight I stayed in my rental apartment rather than going off to party-hop or have a dinner out. Because tomorrow... it all begins again!

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3. Best Books of March 2015

March 2015: 9 books and scripts read

Knee-deep in rehearsals, I read a scant 9 books this month.

I enjoyed Alex as Well by Alyssa Brugman. I posted my review of the book here and at GuysLitWire.

I read and discussed The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon with a friend who had also read it - and then I recommended that she read Snowblind by Christopher Golden stat. Both of those books make me grateful for life and sunshine.

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4. Ball by Mary Sullivan

Winner of the 2014 Theodore Seuss Geisel honor award, BALL by Mary Sullivan is newly, perfectly available in board book format. Presented in a graphic novel style with multiple illustrations per page, BALL is a simple, yet highly entertaining and engaging story told with a single word - ball. With BALL, we get to spend the day with an enthusiastic, single minded dog who has a very rich,

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5. The Babies & Doggies book by John & Molly

Honestly, I should just type the name of this superb new book by John & Molly and leave it at that. The Babies & Doggies Book - it says it all. But there is an added brilliance to The Babies & Doggies Book that must be noted. As a parent and a bookseller, I have long known that babies LOVE looking at pictures of other babies. I have also long bemoaned the lack of quality board books with

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6. We All Looked Up

What would change if you knew an asteroid was going to hit the earth in six weeks? Wallach takes this premise and crafts it into an addictively readable and thought-provoking work that challenges you to really think about what matters to you. Love, high school, and possibly the end of the world: this is going [...]

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7. The Triumph of Seeds

With playful and elegant prose, conservation biologist Hanson takes on something so small but so powerful: the mighty seed. What begins as an exasperated attempt to break open a seemingly impenetrable seed shell leads to an in-depth exploration of the origins, functions, and human exploitations of these incredible little vessels of life. Books mentioned in [...]

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8. Such a Little Mouse

He's such a little mouse — what could he possibly see? The whole wide world, that's what. With big sweeps of soft color and spare, poetic words, Such a Little Mouse takes us on a sweet journey as our tiny hero gets ready for the winter. Books mentioned in this post

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9. The Fifth Heart

What do you get when you take Sherlock Holmes and make Henry James his sidekick, mixing reality, fiction, and mystery into a historical pastiche? An entertaining and brilliant adventure that fans of Dan Simmons will gobble up with glee! Books mentioned in this post

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10. Can’t and Won’t

Something interesting happens while reading Can't and Won't: you'll start to find meaning and nuance in even the most mundane of occurrences. That's the beauty of Davis's deceptively simple, frequently funny stories — they'll teach you to become more observant and to embrace our tendency as humans to overthink things. I guarantee you'll enjoy the [...]

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11. Powell’s Q&A: Jon Ronson

Describe your latest book. So You've Been Publicly Shamed is a book about the savage renaissance of public shaming that we've decided for some insane reason to inflict upon ourselves in this social media age. All my books are about crazy cruelty. But usually — as with my book Them — the crazy cruel people [...]

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12. Rutabaga the Adventure Chef #1 by Eric Colossal, 128 pp, RL 3

Rutabaga the Adventure Chef by Eric Colossal began life as an online and is now available in book form and in full color (although I couldn't find any color images to share here...)! I absolutely love the character of Rutabaga and the world that Colossal has created for him to wander in. When we first meet him, he is trekking through the wilds with a huge pack on his back (it turns out to

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13. #tothegirls




From author Courtney Summers:

"I write about girls.

"I write about girls because every girl deserves the opportunity to pick up a book and see herself in its pages.

"I write about girls because girls, and their stories, matter.

"It's my way of letting them know.

"On April 14th, 2015, please join me in telling the girls you know - and the ones you don't - that they are seen, heard and loved. Share advice, be encouraging. Tell us about or thank the girls in your life who have made a difference in yours. Use the hashtag #ToTheGirls along with your personal message of support and encouragement on Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, Instagram, or the social media platform of your choice."


For more information on how to participate visit summerscourtney.tumblr.com/tothegirls and share the campaign via Thunderclap.

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14. Tin Men by Christopher Golden


Christopher Golden's novel Tin Men will be hitting stores this June - and it's going to hit hard. While I can't say much for the sake of spoilers, I can tell you the mini-summary that the publisher is offering:

Brad Thor meets Avatar in this timely military thriller for the drone age, which spins the troubles of today into the apocalypse of tomorrow. A rocket ride of a read packed with high action, cutting-edge technology, and global politics, Tin Men begins with the end of the world as we know it and takes off from there.

I love sci-fi stories that are based in science and technology, stories that present us with possible, plausible situations that stir up society as we know it. Hello, Black Mirror. Oh, how I adore thee, Twilight Zone. And you all know how much I love Christopher Golden's writing. So of course I can't wait until Tin Men is released - even though I hope none of them attack my home.

Bonus points for those willing to discuss the various Cybermen storylines from Doctor Who with me. Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Tin Men by Christopher Golden will be available June 23rd, 2015. Check out the awesome reviews it has received. (Yay, Publishers Weekly!)

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15. Alex As Well by Alyssa Brugman

In Alyssa Brugman's thoughtful novel Alex As Well, the teenaged title character often feels like two people - one female, one male - trapped in the same body.

There's nothing like feeling uncomfortable in your own body. For Alex, the struggle is constant. Alex was born intersex, having physical characteristics of both genders. Doctors could not identify Alex as male or female. Alex's parents selected a gender-neutral name for their baby and were made to monitor their child's behavior and report back to doctors, who decided Alex's tendency to be more aggressive than passive indicated the child was more masculine than feminine - and so Alex was raised as a boy.

Now Alex is in high school, and she has found the strength within to tell her parents that she would rather identify as a girl. Her father splits; her mother falls apart. Alex stands her ground and starts making decisions for herself. She leaves her all-boys school and enrolls in a new school as a girl. She finds new friends, including a girl she gets a crush on and a boy who gets a crush on her. Though she enjoys their friendship, she cannot bring herself to tell them - or anyone at her new school - the truth about her condition, and fears the day that someone or something will reveal it.

The novel is told from Alex's first-person point of view, which occasionally has her talking to her masculine self, her inner twin, who often taunts her and points out the physical differences between her - them - and her peers. Posts from Alex's mother's blog, placed between chapters every now and then, shed light on her struggle to raise her child, revealing facts about Alex's condition and upbringing and the mom's attempts to assist and accept her. The blog posts help make the mother seem a little less harsh, a little less hysterical, and a little more human than she would be had the blog not been included.

To date, I've read four Alyssa Brugman novels - Finding Grace, Walking Naked, Being Bindy, and Alex As Well - and I've enjoyed them all. Brugman creates protagonists driven by personal matters who have yet to realize something about themselves. Her realistic storylines draw in readers and her frank storytelling takes them straight to the heart of the matter.

Looking for more intersex representation in the media? The MTV series Faking It features an intersex character named Lauren. Learn more in Emily Quinn's letter and her video with Bailey De Young (Lauren), which shares some facts about the condition, including this: Being born intersex is almost as common as being born a natural redhead.

This review was cross-posted at GuysLitWire.

Related posts at Bildungsroman:
Tough Issues for Teens Booklist
Finding Grace by Alyssa Brugman

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16. Poetry Friday: A tourist (Sidewalk Poetry)

A tourist
in the cathedral
of your silence
I am reverent
for all the wrong reasons

This is one of many poems imprinted on the sidewalk in St. Paul, Minnesota:



The St. Paul project has inspired a similar Sidewalk Poetry project in Cambridge.

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.

Learn more about Poetry Friday.

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17. Flora and the Penguin by Molly Idle

Two years ago I fell in love with Flora, her flippers and her fantastic dance with a flamingo. I was thrilled to learn when author and illustrator Molly Idle had a second dance - I mean book - in the works. Idle follows up the fabulous, Caldecott Honor winning Flora and the Flamingo with Flora and the Penguin.  For this outing, it's wintertime and Flora has some skates to put on. Idle

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18. Telephone by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Jen Corace

Telephone, written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Jen Corace (two of my absolute favorites) is one of those books that makes you wonder why no one has jumped on this idea before. It's also one of those deceptively simple picture books that has so much more going on. Taking the old game that kids still love to play as inspiration, Barnett sets the story in motion when a mother pigeon

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19. The Island of Dr. Libris by Chris Grabenstein, 235 pp, RL 4

Back in 2013 I read and loved Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein. Besides being a book about books, which of course I adore, Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library is written in a style that will attract a wide range of readers, from the avid to the unsure. In The Island of Dr. Libris, Grabbenstein once again creates an everyman main character, astutely weaving in

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20. Where is Curious George? A Look-And-Find-Book - Around Town

I am a huge fan of look-and-find books, especially if they are geared towards the preschool crowd. Good look-and-find books at this level seem to be hard to find, but Curious George? Where is Curious George: Around the Town, which follows Where is Curious George?, are perfectly geared toward the toddler crowd. And who doesn't love Curious George?  Each page has rhyming couplets that sets

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21. March 2015 New Release: LIARS, INC. by Paula Stokes


--> Are you a fan of twisty mystery and endearingly flawed main characters and lying liars and psychological suspense? LIARS, INC. by Paula Stokes may be your new fave. Get on this!

It all starts with one little lie…

-->Max Cantrell has never been a big fan of the truth, so when the opportunity arises to sell lies to his classmates, it sounds like a good way to make a little money and liven up a boring senior year. With the help of his friends Preston and Parvati, Max starts a business providing forged permission slips and cover stories for the students of Vista Palisades High. Liars, Inc. they call it. Suddenly everybody needs something and the cash starts pouring in. Who knew lying could be so lucrative?

When Preston wants his own cover story to go visit a girl he met online, Max doesn’t think twice about hooking him up. Until Preston never comes home. Then the evidence starts to pile up—terrifying clues that lead the cops to Preston’s body. Terrifying clues that point to Max as the murderer.

Can Max find the real killer before he goes to prison for a crime he didn’t commit? Paula Stokes starts with one single white lie and weaves a twisted tale that will have readers guessing until the explosive final chapters.

“Even the keenest mystery buffs will be hard-pressed to predict the book's finale, which packs quite the emotional and physical punch. Captivating to the very end.”
--Kirkus Reviews, starred review

or Wherever Fine Books are Sold

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22. The Book That Refused to Write Itself

I first heard of Fritz Haber in 1998, when I caught a snippet of a TV documentary about 20th-century scientists. The camera zoomed in on an image of a bald man in a military uniform, a pair of pince nez clamped to the bridge of his nose. He looked like a stereotypical German nationalist circa [...]

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23. A Little Life

In an alternate universe, A Little Life would be the love-child of Hanya Yanagihara and Donna Tartt, and this is a beautiful thing. The story setup is reminiscent of The Secret History, but the language and themes are all Yanagihara. Spanning five decades, this is a hefty novel at 700 pages, but one that you [...]

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24. The Fairy-Tale Handbook: An Interactive Adventure Through the Magical World of Fairy Tales by Libby Hamilton, illustrated by Tomislav Tomić

The Fairy-Tale Handbook: An Interactive Adventure Through the Magical World of Fairy Tales is the work of illustrator Tomislav Tomić, contributor to the fantastic StoryWorld series of detailed cards that encourage creativity and storytelling in kids and adults, and Libby Hamilton, contributor to the encyclopedically awesome The Monstrous Book of Monsters. The Fairy-Tale Handbook: An

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25. Selfies, Memoir, and the World Beyond the Self

When I was a teenager in Colorado during the late '90s, I liked to climb 14ers — 14,000-foot mountains. I'd often hike with friends, and at the top we'd take a photograph of ourselves standing on the summit. We'd set the camera on a rock and use the timer function, or, if another hiker happened [...]

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