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1. Cynsational News & Giveaways

By Cynthia Leitich Smith
for Cynsations

Congratulations to Rebecca Van Slyke on the release of Mom School, illustrated by Priscilla Burris (Random House, 2015). From the promotional copy:

In this adorable kid’s-eye view of what would happen if Mom went to school, a little girl imagines Mom School, where all moms learn their amazing skills, like fixing a bike tire and baking cupcakes. 

With warm, funny illustrations and a fun role-reversal story in which moms act like kids, young readers will love imagining what would happen if their own moms went to Mom School.

More News & Giveaways

Heather Has Two Mommies Author Leslea Newman on New Edition & Reflecting Back by Katharine Whittemore from The Boston Globe. Peek: "The 2000 version, for example, included a long note to parents and teachers that recounts all the controversies surrounding the book. In the 2015 one, 'we made a conscious decision not to have a foreword or afterword,' says Newman. 'No explanation, no fanfare; it’s just a kids book about many kinds of family.'"

Why Does My Action Read Slow? by Deborah Halverson from Dear Editor. Peek: "The reader gave one bit of elaboration: 'Some of the paragraphs ‘feel’ long even though they aren’t.' I’m not sure what to do with that. Suggestions?"

About the Girls: Appropriate Literature by Elana K. Arnold from Stacked. Peek: "...it all happened. To a good girl with a mother who thought her daughter was protected. Safe." 

Picture Book Apps & The Vanishing Author by Sandy McDowell from Digital Book World. Peek: "Picture book apps often don’t even cite a writer. When they do, the author is likely the animator, designer or developer."

Leveling and Labeling: An Interview with Pat Scales by the ALSC Intellectual Freedom Committe from ALSC Blog. Peek: "...the practice of limiting students’ access to materials based on reading levels that infringes on students’ right to read. Unfortunately, this is common practice in many school libraries, and some public libraries feel pressured to implement such restrictions. Librarians serving children should evaluate how these systems are used and develop policies that promise free and open access to students of all ages."

Why Do We Need Diverse Books in Non-Diverse Schools? by Taun M. Wright from Lee & Low. Peek: "While equity and inclusion are necessary, especially for those of us too long without them, social change is more likely to happen when everyone understands how they will benefit directly from increased diversity and, what’s more, why their ability to embrace the benefits of diversity will be a key determinant of their future success."

Critique Etiquette: The Ultimate Guide for Giving & Receiving Feedback by Angela Ackerman from Writers in the Storm. Peek: "For this to work, a person must respect the other’s role, value the time and energy writing and critiquing takes, and follow through without letting emotions overrun good judgment or manners."

Children's Books Could Save the Independent Bookstore by Jonathan Brett from BRW. Peek: "Brick-and-mortar book shops that sell printed books are enjoying a resurgence in Australia just a few years after the rapidly expanding digital book sector threatened their very existence."

Texas Institute of Letters

The Best Books in Texas: Texas Institute of Letters Finalists Named by Michael Merschel from The Dallas Morning News. Peek: "The venerable Texas Institute of Letters has named finalists for its annual awards, which honor the state’s best writing."

Denton Record-Chronicle Best Children’s Picture Book: Pat Mora, I Pledge Allegiance, illustrated by Patrice Barton (Knopf); Arun Ghandi and Bethany Hegedus, Grandfather Gandhi, illustrated by Evan Turk (Atheneum); J.L.Powers, Colors of the Wind, illustrated by George Mendoza (Purple House).

H-E-B/Jean Flynn Best Children’s Book: Nikki Loftin, Nightingale’s Nest (Razorbill); Naomi Shihab Nye, Turtle of Oman (HarperCollins); Greg Leitich Smith, Little Green Men at the Mercury Inn (Roaring Brook).

H-E-B Best Young Adults Book: Claudia Guadalupe Martinez, Pig Park (Cinco Puntos); Katherine Howe, Conversion (Putnam's).

For Teen Writers & Artists

If Someone Only Knew from Never Counted Out. YA author e.E. Charlton-Trujillo Challenges At-Risk Youth to Write Their Stories for Each Other and Not as Suicide Notes. Peek: "Write an essay that answers this sentence: 'If someone only knew...' A selection of submissions will be published to the Never Counted Out blog. Select essays will be published anonymously in 2016 in a paperback anthology..."

 

Cynsational Screening Room

Check out the vivid, imaginative pop-up-book style trailer for Move Books' 2015 middle grade list.

 

Cynsational Giveaways


The winners of signed copies of Moonpenny Island by Tricia Springstubb (HarperCollins, 2015) were Kathleen in Missouri and Deena in New York.

The winner of The Dickens Mirror by Ilsa J. Bick (Egmont, 2015) was Alicia in Alabama.

Enter Diversity in YA's 2015 Anniversary Giveaway. Peek: "With generous donations from publishers and authors, we are thrilled to be giving away 100 books with main characters who are of color, LGBT, and/or disabled." Note: includes Cynthia Leitich Smith's Feral series (Candlewick, 2013-2015).

This Week at Cynsations


More Personally

A touch of spring beauty in Austin.

Great news! This week marks the release of Things I’ll Never Say: Stories About Our Secret Selves by Ann Angel (Candlewick, 2015)! The anthology includes my short story, "Cupid's Beaux," which is told from the perspective of the guardian angel Joshua from my Tantalize-Feral universe. Learn more and enter the giveaway from Cynsations. 

Congratulations to Katie Brown, recipient of the 2015 Cynthia Leitich Smith Mentor Award from Austin SCBWI. Peek: "Eleven finalists were chosen...2015 mentor Brian Yansky has announced Katie Brown as the recipient. Congratulations, Katie!"

Link of the Week: Personal Wholeness (Or Lack Thereof), Strife & Story from Marion Dane Bauer.

Personal Links:

Now Available!

More Personally

Now Available!

Cynthia will appear from April 14 to April 17 at the 2015 Annual Conference of the Texas Library Association in Austin.

Join Cynthia from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. May 2 at Saratoga Springs Public Library for a celebration in conjunction with Saratoga Reads! at Saratoga Springs, New York. Note: Cynthia will be presenting Jingle Dancer (2000), Rain Is Not My Indian Name (2001) and Indian Shoes (2002)(all published by HarperColllins).

Cynthia will serve as the master class faculty member from June 19 to June 21 May 2 at the VCFA Alumni Mini-Residency in Montpelier, Vermont.

Cynthia will speak from June 25 to June 30 on a We Need Diverse Books panel at the 2015 Annual Conference of the American Library Association in San Francisco.

Catch up with the Texas Sweethearts & Scoundrels!


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2. Pick of the Week for RUCKUS and This Week’s Topic

e95cc488e32409b0f9b4fc587ab4dcf8

Happy Illustration Friday!

We’re excited to announce this week’s topic, but first please enjoy the illustration above by Alison Kim, our Pick of the Week for last week’s topic of RUCKUS. Thanks to everyone else for participating. We hope it was inspiring!

You can also see a gallery of all the other entries here.

And of course, you can now participate in this week’s topic:

OUTSIDE

Here’s how:

Step 1: Illustrate your interpretation of the current week’s topic (always viewable on the homepage).

Step 2: Post your image onto your blog / flickr / facebook, etc.

Step 3: Come back to Illustration Friday and submit your illustration (see big “Submit your illustration” button on the homepage).

Step 4: Your illustration will then be added to the participant gallery where it will be viewable along with everyone else’s from the IF community!

Also be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter and subscribe to our weekly email newsletter to keep up with our exciting community updates!

HAPPY ILLUSTRATING!

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3. YALSA Tweets of the Week - March 27, 2015

A short list of tweets from the past week of interest to teens and the library staff that work with them.

Do you have a favorite Tweet from the past week? If so add it in the comments for this post. Or, if you read a Twitter post between March 27 and April 2 that you think is a must for the next Tweets of the Week send a direct or @ message to lbraun2000 on Twitter.

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4. An Interview with Amazon Best Selling Author Inger Iversen

BookBuzzr author Inger Iversen’s book – Inevitable: Love and War – recently hit the #1 spot on the Amazon. We reached out to Inger to learn more about her story.

The screenshot below was taken on Mar 05, 2015.

Inger Iversen's Amazon Book Rank

Tell us about your journey as an author so far.
When I started I didn’t think I would make a career out of being an author. Inger IversenI’d planned to write a book or two to supplement my income and have a hobby that would be a stress reliever after a hard days work. However, I soon realized that while I loved to write, it was also hard work and very rewarding. I started in 2011 when I wrote a very short prequel called, Goodnight Sam. I didn’t know much about the indie business back then, but I’d like to think that I have grown and come a long way. I went from writing a book in eighteen months to being able to write one in two weeks, I’ve learned how to brand and market myself, and I am doing much more than just supplementing my income these days.

What is the storyline of Inevitable?
Inevitable follows Teal and Trent to Maine for Katie and Logan’s wedding. Teal is a workaholic, a loudmouthed, takes no prisoners type who actually works in a prison. Trent is the proverbial boy from the wrong side of the tracks with a bad attitude and a good reason behind it.
Place these two in a stranded in a cabin for a few days and let the games begin…

Walk us through a typical day in your life.


Ha! I have a boring life! I only work six hours a night at my “day” job, so when I arrive at home at 6 a.m. I write. On a normal day I write from 7 a.m. to about 10 a.m. and then I sleep. I have such an odd schedule, but that makes for easy writing time. I wake up around 4 p.m. and write again until about 8 p.m. On this schedule I can write a novel in 14 days!

How do you divide your time between writing and promotion?
Dividing my time between writing and promotion one of the hardest aspects of the job. While I want to promote and get my work out to new readers, I have to write in order to make current readers happy and not waiting too long between novels. That is where BookBuzzr comes in. I use the Twitter Scheduler and Freado giveaways to promote and tweet about my novels. I use Facebook and Instagram on a daily basis. Actually, I feel like I spend 90% of my time on Facebook and about 10% writing!

What are some of the things that you do to promote your book?
To promote my book I use Amazon giveaways, Freado giveaways and I use Bookbub, the Midlist and OHFB to promote. Those sites email my sales and deals out to their subscribers who are interested in receiving notifications about books and sales. I also hired a production company to create a trailed for my novel, Incarcerated. The biggest tool I use is Facebook. It is where the readers seems to be so it is where you will always find me!

How does BookBuzzr tie in to your overall marketing plan?
BookBuzzr is really helpful. I love the Tweet scheduler function and it is one of the reasons I choose BookBuzzr over other sites. I learned about BookBuzzr last year from Rachel Thompson of Bad Redhead Media and I have been using it every since.

Your book trailer for your other book Few Are Angels is of a very high quality. How did you get this book trailer made? What was its impact on book sales?
The book trailer for Few Are Angels has made a BIG impact on my career, boosted sales and reviews. Last year I attended a conference called, UtopYacon. This was a big step for my career. I attended a Marketing class and a ‘How to Utilize Facebook’ class. While there, I screened a short movie called, Avarice created by Timid Monster. Timid Monster is producer Dan Baker and director Rachel Taylor. They agreed to shoot a trailer for me and the experience was amazing. I picked actors and even co-wrote a script.

What’s the best part of your job as an author?
Hands down the best part about being an author is receiving emails and messages from readers about how my stories have touched their hearts. There is no greater reward.

In your role as an author, what are some of the activities that you need to do but dislike doing?
Ugh…research! I hate research! I just want to write and write, but there are those few times when I need to fact check. A recent example is in the final book of the Few Are Angels series, Eternal Light. I have to research medical techniques from 1666. I cannot tell you how boring it is to read over information about the crude and crazy medical techniques of that period.

What advice would you give to a new author?
I get asked this a lot and I have two gems that I love to share.
1. Never, ever and I mean never give up. You are your own worst critic, but you are also the only person who can tell your stories and readers want to hear them—trust me.
2. This isn’t a hobby. This is your business, your brand and your name. Readers will only respect it as much as you do. Treat it as if you love it because I know you do or you wouldn’t be here. I know it can be expensive, but always get professional editing, covers and formatting. Yes, some of use are multi-talented and can do some of these things, but if you can’t just let the professionals do it.

Note to Reviewers:
For a limited time, a free review copy (paperback) of Inger’s book Inevitable is available on Freado.com – http://www.freado.com/auction/4485/6666/inevitable-love-and-war
 

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5. Annual 2015: What To Do There -- And When You Come Home

This is a guest post from Susy Moorhead, a member of the Local Arrangements Committee for Annual 2015 in San Francisco.

You’ve decided to attend the annual conference this year! If you haven’t been before, and even if you have, you must be excited. Attending conference is a lot of fun but it is tiring and it can be overwhelming as well. Here are some tips to help you share what you learned once you get back to your home library.

  1. Pick up handouts from the programs you attend, note the exhibits that catch your eye and get information from those that you can, and ask for business cards from others in the library world that you want to start a network with. Building your professional network is one of the best opportunities of conference. Great ideas come from networking with your colleagues on a national level.
  2. Know that the ALA conference website is your friend. After conference, and sometimes before, you will be able to access slideshows from programs, people who present at programs, and an extensive vendor list.
  3. Be aware that there is no way you can take everything in that interests you at Annual. There will be some things that really excite you and those are the ones you should focus on. If it doesn’t really excite you it will be hard to implement when you get back home. Your excitement will be contagious to your colleagues. That said, if there is a colleague or friend who really wanted to attend but couldn't, it can't hurt to pick up an ARC specifically for him or grab an extra handout for her.
  4. Be ready to fall back in love. One thing I always take back to my library from any conference I attend is a sense of rejuvenation and renewal. I always regain excitement for what I do and I get a greater sense of the importance of libraries, librarianship, and library support positions in the greater world. Just bringing that invigorating feeling back is a wonderful result of attending a national conference.
  5. Once you get home be sure to write up a summary of what you did at Annual. You can share it with your supervisors to justify the time away from the library and to justify the funding that you receive to attend. It will also help to support conference requests you make in the future.
  6. Share what you learned with your colleagues in your library system or if you are a solo librarian with your regional or statewide colleagues. You will inevitably find others who share your passion in implementing what your learned. And you may find others that you didn’t know shared your interests!
  7. Consider writing something up for a regional or statewide organization publication or website. Tweet, Facebook, or get the word out on other social media platforms – you will probably find partners outside of the library too. If you blog, start blogging soon after you get home before you forget things or lose your notes. If you don't blog yet, doing a guest post at a blog you love (cough - YALSA has two) about a conference session is a great way to start!
  8. Know that seeing results of taking action won’t happen immediately. A lot of the programs and vendor wares you will see are the “future of libraries.” Work towards creating similar programs or offering similar services when you get back to your library. Put the seeds in to place and then work them in to your busy summers (and autumns!).

Have fun, and see you in a program or on the exhibit floor!

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6. Upcoming ALSC Online Education – April 2015

ALSC Online Education

ALSC Online Education (image courtesy of ALSC)

April is coming up and ALSC has a bundle of great learning opportunities. From online courses to webinars, ALSC has a learning choice that fits your budget!

Online Courses

Explore new ideas and great library thinking with ALSC online courses! ALSC is offering four great options including three CEU-certified courses. All courses are offered asynchronously (self-directed) meaning you won’t need to logon at a specific time. Learn new youth library-specific skills at a pace that’s comfortable and convenient. Courses start Monday, April 6, 2015.

Webinars

Because life in a library moves fast, ALSC webinars are the perfect solution for someone who wants and needs educational information but doesn’t have a lot of time or resources.  These short (one to two hour) interactive sessions taking place in Adobe Connect give librarians and library support staff the opportunity to learn right at their desks.

April

Be a Winner: Inspired Youth Grant Writing (Part I)
Thursday, April 2, 2015, 3 pm Eastern/2 pm Central

Be a Winner: Inspired Youth Grant Writing (Part II)
Tuesday, April 21, 2015, 12 pm Eastern/11 am Central

May

Celebrating with Poetry Snapshots
Thursday, May 7, 2015, 3 pm Eastern/2 pm Central

Archived Webinars

Missed a webinar you wanted to attend? Don’t worry! ALSC presents archived versions of webinars, which are offered at a discounted price. Archived webinars cost only $25. Please note that recorded versions are not available until all of the live sessions of that webinar have taken place.

The post Upcoming ALSC Online Education – April 2015 appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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7. TURNING PAGES: MURDER MOST UNLADYLIKE by ROBIN STEVENS

I am ALL about the mysteries, and it's kind of all over the board - adult fiction, YA fiction, and now MG. I heard about this mystery series by an American woman raised in England last year from The Book Smugglers, and to be honest, I got tired of... Read the rest of this post

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8. Out and About with Carla in Miami



One of the great parts of being an author is speaking to audiences about my books.   While I enjoy every group, some are extra special.  Recently I had the opportunity to travel to Miami, Florida, to share my book In Defiance of Hitler: The Secret Mission of Varian Fry.  This book is about Varian Fry, an American journalist who volunteered to go to Nazi controlled France in 1940 to order to rescue (mostly) Jewish refugees whose lives were in danger.   This true story of one man who believed he could make a difference is filled with intrigue and danger.  Ultimately, Varian Fry rescued more than 2000 people.  Yet few Americans have ever heard his name.


   
I was invited by the Holocaust Memorial Miami Beach to share the work of Varian Fry as part of Holocaust Education Week.  They asked me to speak to three different audiences.   The first night, I presented my program for the public at the Holocaust Memorial.   It was an honor to speak about rescue during the Holocaust at a place dedicated to the memory of so many who were not rescued.  Every Holocaust Memorial is different, and here the centerpiece is the massive statue of a hand reaching toward the sky with human figures huddled around the bottom.  The sculpture is powerful and moving.  It says so much-silently.   In the audience that night, listening to my program were Holocaust survivors and the descendants of some who had been killed at Auschwitz.


       
The next morning I spoke to university students at Miami Dade College.  Many in the audience – including one of the administrators – had come to American as refugees.  As I shared about the refugees of 1940 leaving their homes, these young adults understood the concept in a much more personal way than my usual audience does.


 
In the afternoon, I presented my program to students at a private Jewish high school.   These modern American students carrying their backpacks entered the room and chatted as they took their seats.  While relating the work of Varian Fry, I told them about several people who helped him.  One of them was a seventeen-year-old boy named Justus Rosenberg.   He was their age and his life was in danger because he was Jewish.   Rosenberg survived but countless other teens didn’t.
 
I shared the work of Varian Fry with three different audiences in Miami.  Each one was very special.
  
Carla Killough McClafferty


We are currently running a giveaway for IN DEFENSE OF READ-ALOUD that ends at midnight on April 1.  (CORRECTION NOTE:  There was a typo in an earlier post that said the end date was April 6.  The correct end date is April 1.)  For more details see Esther Hershenhorn’s post:    
http://www.teachingauthors.com/2015/03/a-two-for-price-of-one-interview-with.html

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9. What kind of Prime Minister would Miliband make?

Ed Miliband spent a year-and-a-half in the Cabinet between 2008 and 2010, and spent more than five years working as an advisor in the Treasury before he entered parliament in 2005. If he does become Prime Minister after May 7th, then, he will start the job with far more familiarity with government at the highest level than some of his recent predecessors, not least Tony Blair and David Cameron.

The post What kind of Prime Minister would Miliband make? appeared first on OUPblog.

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10. Author Andrea Hannah Answers Questions on Ask a Pub Pro

Welcome to our monthly Ask a Pub Pro feature where a publishing professional answers readers and writers' questions regarding the stories they love or their work in progress. This month, Andrea Hannah, the critically acclaimed author of Of Scars and Stardust joins us to answer questions on insta-love, incorporating unusual elements, and writing high action.

We'd love to have you send in your questions for next month's column. Please send questions to AYAPLit AT gmail.com and put "Ask a Pub Pro Question" in the subject line. If your question is chosen, you'll get to include a link to your social media and a one to two sentence (think Tweet size) blurb of your WIP.

Come on! Get those questions in!

Author Andrea Hannah Answers Questions on "Ask a Pub Pro"


1) I've known a couple of writer friends who have designed unusual elements into their stories, elements they thought helped make the story fresh and unique. But then reviewers would complain that these elements were weird or poorly researched because they didn't understand it. Is it better to avoid any element that's not commonly known so that you don't throw the reader off? Or is this just a problem with some reviewers and not the general reading public? (asked by Sara from TX)

Andrea responds: You can’t write to avoid criticism. Trying to dodge critique will drive you bonkers and cause you to lose an important piece of yourself within your story. Also, where would we be without Harry Potter’s Polyjuice potion, or the Hunger Games’ tracker jackers? Fresh, unique elements are both fun and necessary in story-telling, and world-building would be a lot less fun without them.





That being said, everything in your story needs to have a purpose, one that can’t possibly be replaced by another element. Example: We need that Polyjuice potion in HP, because without it we lose the scene where Harry and Ron sneak into the Slytherin common room, which is critical to the overall narrative. We need those lethal tracker jackers in HG, because they are the catalyst that allow Katniss to get some leverage by grabbing the bow and arrow, and demonstrates Rue’s loyalty to her.


When you’re developing your unique elements, make sure to clearly establish the function and rules of those elements (Ex: we knew right off the bat that the Polyjuice potion had an expiration time) and that it’s clear within the narrative why those elements were essential to those characters, and that their choice to use or destroy them is in line with their character. And above all else, stay true to who your character is, the world they inhabit, and who you are as a writer.

2) I've heard writers say that in high intensity/high action scenes that you decrease the level of detail. I've also heard the opposite, that you should show more detail as if things are happening in slow motion. What do you think? (asked by Anonymous)
image credit

Andrea responds: I think it’s a combination of both. Firstly, if you’re writing from a first person POV, that means you’re writing every scene as if we’re experiencing in real time, with your character. If your character is in the midst of kicking some butt, they probably aren’t stopping to notice the color of the sky or the flecks in their attacker’s eyes. It’s called mimic writing, and it’s where you mimic the actions of the writing through the length of your prose. High action usually means short, clipped sentences. Think of how you’d talk if you were out of breath.

But what really brings an action scene to life is the specific details you do choose to incorporate, not the amount. Choose your details carefully to convey as much about the scene as you can in a powerful way. The spots of blood dotting his chin. The crumpled patch of grass where his sword fell. Really be there, and observe the details in your scene. Then bring us with you!


3) I've heard a lot of people complaining about the insta-love in a lot of young adult books. Yet readers seems to really want the romance to heat up quickly. How do you incorporate the romance without making it insta-love? (asked by Renee in NC)

Andrea responds: I don’t think insta-love is the problem, especially since we’re writing about and for teens, and sometimes, this is how they fall in love (and adults, too)! I think readers are generally sick of feeling that insta-love is used as a plot device instead of an actual experience the character is going through. Look, people fall in love in all sorts of ways in all sorts of timeframes, and all are plausible. When you’re writing your characters, just make sure you know who they are, if it would make sense for them to have that kind of reaction to another human being, and stay true to that. Your readers will be able to feel the genuineness of your characters, and they’ll appreciate your writing for it.


About the Author:


Andrea Hannah lives in the Midwest, where there are plenty of dark nights and creepy cornfields as fodder for her next thriller. Her critically-acclaimed debut novel, Of Scars and Stardust, was published by Flux in October 2014. She graduated from Michigan State University with a B.A. in special education. When she’s not teaching or writing, she spends her time chasing her sweet children and ornery pug, running, and dreaming up her next adventure. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram @andeehannah, and at www.andreahannah.com

Website | Twitter | Goodreads

About the Book:


www.amazon.com/Of-Scars-Stardust-Andrea-Hannah/dp/0738740829/
After the attack that leaves her little sister, Ella, close to death in a snowy cornfield, Claire Graham is sent to live with her aunt in Manhattan to cope. But the guilt of letting Ella walk home alone that night still torments Claire, and she senses the violence that preyed on her sister hiding around every corner. Her shrink calls it a phobia. Claire calls it the truth.

When Ella vanishes two years later, Claire has no choice but to return to Amble, Ohio, and face her shattered family. Her one comfort is Ella’s diary, left in a place where only Claire could find it. Drawing on a series of cryptic entries, Claire tries to uncover the truth behind Ella’s attack and disappearance. But she soon realizes that not all lost things are meant to be found.


Amazon | Indiebound | Goodreads



-- posted by Susan Sipal, @HP4Writers

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11. Fatherhood and mental health

When people think about depressed parents, it’s almost instinctive to think about post-partum moms. Certainly, post-partum depression is a serious issue, but my co-author Garrett Pace and I wanted to go one step further. We asked if moms and dads are at similar risk for depression based on the kinds of parental roles they take on (like a step-parent or residential biological parent).

The post Fatherhood and mental health appeared first on OUPblog.

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12. Apply to Host the 2016 Arbuthnot Lecture with Pat Mora

Pat Mora Arbuthnot Lecturer

Pat Mora will deliver the 2016 Arbuthnot Lecture (image courtesy of Pat Mora)

ALSC and the 2016 May Hill Arbuthnot Lecture Committee are proud to announce the opening of the application to host the 2016 event featuring award-winning children’s book author and pioneering literacy advocate Pat Mora.

The Arbuthnot Lecture is an annual event, announced at the 2015 ALA Midwinter Meeting, in which an author, critic, librarian, historian or teacher of children’s literature presents a paper that makes a significant contribution to the field. A library school, department of education in a college or university or a children’s library system may be considered. The lecture is administered by ALSC.

Applications are due Friday, May 15, 2015. Information about host site responsibilities is included in the application materials. The lecture traditionally is held in April or early May.

In January, Pat Mora was selected by the Arbuthnot Lecture Committee to speak in 2016. “Mora’s commitment to literacy for all children of all backgrounds motivated her to found El día de los niños/ El día de los libros (Children’s Day/Book Day), or ‘Día,’ a celebration of children, families and reading. This flourishing family literacy initiative culminates annually on April 30,” stated 2016 Arbuthnot Committee Chair Julie Corsaro.

Born and raised in El Paso, Texas, Mora grew up bilingual and bicultural. With degrees in English and speech, she was a teacher and university administrator before writing children’s books. Known for her lyrical style, Mora’s poetry and prose have won numerous awards, including a 2005 Belpré Honor Medal for text for “Doña Flor: A Tall Tale of a Giant Woman with a Great Big Heart,” published by Knopf Books for Young Readers, and illustrated by Raul Colón. Her generosity for sharing bookjoy, the phrase she coined for the power and pleasure of words, led Mora to launch “Día,” which will observe its 20th anniversary in 2016.

ALSC established this lecture series in 1969, with sponsorship from Scott, Foresman and Company (now Pearson Scott Foresman) in honor of author May Hill Arbuthnot. The lectureship, now funded by the ALSC May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture Endowment, has the distinction of featuring many notable authors, critics, librarians, historians, and teachers of children’s literature from various countries. Past lecturers over the decades have included Mary Ørvig, Leland B. Jacobs, Virginia Hamilton, Maurice Sendak, and Richard Jackson. Brian Selznick will deliver the 2015 Arbuthnot Honor Lecture on Friday, May 8, 2015 at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library at the DC Public Library.

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13. Free First Five Pages Workshop Opens on April 4!

The First Five Pages March Workshop has come to an end.  This talented group worked so hard on their revisions, and it showed! And they provided great feedback and support to each other, as well. A big thanks to our guest mentor, Patricia Dunn and our guest agent mentor Kimberly Brower, who both gave great comments and suggestions, and of course to all of our fabulous permanent mentors!  

Our April workshop will open for entries at noon, EST, on Saturday April 4, 2015. We'll take the first five Middle Grade, Young Adult, or New Adult entries that meet all guidelines and formatting requirements.  Click here to get the rules. I will post when it opens and closes right here, and on twitter (@etcashman), with the hasthag #1st5pages.

In addition to our talented permanent mentors, we have the wonderful Becca Puglisi as our guest mentor.  Becca has helped countless writers with her books, website and workshops. I always have her books with me when I write and revise, they are so helpful! And we have my agent, the lovely Amaryah Orenstein of GO Literary, as our guest agent mentor. Amaryah is an editorial agent with great insight and suggestions. So get those pages ready!

April Guest Mentor - Becca Puglisi
Becca Puglisi is passionate about learning and sharing her knowledge with others. This is one of her reasons for writing The Emotion ThesaurusThe Positive Trait Thesaurus, and The Negative Trait Thesaurus. Her website, Writers Helping Writers, is a hub for all things description, offering tons of free resources to aid writers in their literary efforts. A member of SCBWI, she leads workshops at regional conferences and teaches webinars online.

April Guest Agent Mentor - Amaryah Orenstein
Amaryah Orenstein is the founder of GO Literary.  Amaryah has always loved to read and provide editorial advice and, as a literary agent, she is thrilled to help writers bring their ideas to life. She is particularly drawn to narrative non-fiction and memoir but enjoys any book that connects the reader to its characters and evokes thought and feeling. Amaryah began her career at the Laura Gross Literary Agency in 2009 and, prior to that, she worked as an Editorial Assistant at various academic research foundations.


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14. Collecting and evaluating data on social programs

On 31 December 2014, Ron Haskins of the Brookings Institution wrote a compelling op-ed piece in the New York Times entitled, “Social Programs That Work.” Haskins shared the need for our nation to support evidence-based social programs and abandon those that show small or un-enduring effects – a wise idea.

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15. Looking back at Typhoid Mary 100 years later

Typhoid Mary Mallon is one of the best known personalities in the popular history of medicine, the cook who was a healthy carrier of typhoid fever, who spread illness, death, and tragedy among the families she served with her cooking, and whose case alerted public health administrations across the world to this mechanism of disease transmission.

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16. New Picture Book for Easter: P. Zonka Lays an Egg by Julie Paschkis

P. Zonka Lays an Egg, by Julie Paschkis (Peachtree Publishers, 2015)P. Zonka Lays an Egg
by Julie Paschkis
(Peachtree Publishers, 2015)

A gorgeous new picture book for Easter, about a hen who lays no ordinary eggs but colourful, patterned ‘pysankas’ – … Continue reading ...

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17. Whatever After #7: Beauty Queen

whatever after Book #7Special STACKS Cover Reveal

We are so excited to introduce the enchanting new book in The New York Times bestselling Whatever After series by Sarah Mlynowski. Are you ready to see the cover of Beauty Queen? Royal drum roll, please . . . Whatever After: Beauty Queen

What do you think? Rather beautiful, right?! Tell us in the Comments below, and for more Whatever After fun, help Abby play dress up as she falls into a fairy tale.

Whatever After follows the adventures of siblings Abby and Jonah, whose magic mirror leads them into different fairy tales, where hijinks and hilarity ensue! This time, the magic mirror sucks Abby and Jonah into the story of Beauty and the Beast. When Jonah picks a rose from the Beast’s garden, he messes up the story. Abby and Jonah better get creative and save this fairy tale, before things get pretty ugly.

Read a sample excerpt here!

Beauty Queen is available wherever books are sold April 28, 2015.

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18. Where does the word cyber come from?

Does the word cyber sound dated to you? Like the phrases Information Superhighway and surfing the Web, something about the word calls one back to the early era of the Internet, not unlike when you ask a person for a URL and they start to read off, ‘H-t-t-p, colon, forward slash…’

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19. Affirmative action for immigrant whites

In mid-February the Public Broadcasting Service aired a four-hour documentary entitled The Italian Americans, an absorbing chronicle of one immigrant group’s struggles and successes in America. It has received rave reviews across the country. For all its virtues, however, the film falls short in at least one important respect.

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20. Taking Things Apart* (*No reassembly required.)

We enjoy making things in the Children’s Room.  Catapults for rubber band balls and elaborate paper airplanes. Colorful chemical reactions. Louise Nevelson-inspired shadow boxes. Hand-sewn pillows stuffed with lavender.  Even sushi and super delicious doughnuts topped with cinnamon sugar.  But as delightful as we’ve found stirring, stitching, and sculpting–and designing projectiles of all shapes and sizes–we’ve recently discovered how much fun we can have unmaking.

For a recent pTaking Things Apart 1rogram we called “Taking Things Apart* (*No reassembly required.),” we collected old computer system units that we begged from a university IT department, where offices constantly update and swap out their CPUs.  With a few screwdrivers and pliers from around the library and a few others brought in from home, we set up the computers on card tables and gathered fourth to sixth graders in small groups around each unit.  And then we asked them to find out what’s inside.

This wasn’t an electronic scavenger hunt–we provided no specific objectives or procedure to follow.  We talked about safety, though, and reiterated our goal to disassemble the computers, not to break them.  (There’s a reason we didn’t give them hammers, after all.)  Because the power sources can occasionally hold a dangerous charge even after unplugging the computers, we showed the kids how those components are labeled and instructed them not to touch the batteries.  As they got further into the guts of the machines, we came around and removed the power sources ourselves.  And we’re proud to report zero electrocutions.

Once they pried open the computer casings, the kids required no additional prompting to explore the electronics.  They delicately unscrewed hard drives, unhooked data cables, and plucked segments froTaking Things Apart 2m the motherboard.  Many of the larger pieces have their own serial numbers, and when students wondered about the purpose of a part, we offered them a (functioning) computer to enter the number and read about the component’s use.  And they cooperated!  Passing around the tiniest screwdrivers and holding sections steady for each other, they rooted around in the guts and held out their micro-trophies for everyone else to admire.  “Can I keep this part?” one asked, over and over.   “What about this?  I want to take this piece home with me.”  (No one took anything.  Everything went to hazardous waste at the dump the following week.)

Near the end of the program, one girl who had spent half an hour dismantling a DVD drive plopped into her seat.  As I scooted over to check in with her, she set her tools down and yelled: “This is so much fun!”  So, we had no projects to take home.  And we spent the hour deconstructing and not creating.  But we definitely made a good time.

Robbin Ellis Friedman is a Children’s Librarian at the Chappaqua Library in Chappaqua, NY, and a member of the ALSC School Age Programs and Services Committee. Feel free to write her at robbin@chappaqualibrary.org.

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21. Heroes of Social Work

Few professions aspire to improve the quality of life for people and communities around the globe in the same way as social work. Social workers strive to bring about positive changes in society and for individuals, often against great odds. And so it follows that the theme for this year's National Social Work Month in the United States is "Social Work Paves the Way for Change."

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22. Outcomes-Based Planning Discussion at the YALSA Board Meeting on Friday at Midwinter 2015

Throughout the YALSA Board meeting at Midwinter, the Board discussed some of the possible changes YALSA needs to make so that the organization can grow and change its strategic plan to reflect the Futures Report. In order to incorporate outcomes-based thinking into the strategic planning process, several things must be decided relating to the future direction of YALSA. What do we really want YALSA to look like in the future?

Having worked with outcomes-based planning in a school setting for several years, we were very pleasantly surprised to hear a number of board members relate their experiences with outcomes-based planning at their libraries. I think that everyone understood that this type of planning serves to focus the activities of an organization to attain measurable results. To that end, the YALSA board can look forward to many fruitful discussions between now and annual conference in San Francisco as we define and refine our goals and intended outcomes.

Is outcomes-based planning something new to you? IMLS has a section of their website that explains the process and why it is beneficial for libraries to use it. If you have more questions about outcomes-based planning and YALSA, feel free to contact Board members Vicki Emery or Carrie Kausch. Contact information can be found on the YALSA website.


Vicki Emery and Carrie Kausch

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23. Fusenews: In which I find the barest hint of an excuse to post a Rex Stout cover

  • I’ve been watching The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt recently.  So far the resident husband and I have only made it through two episodes, but I was pleased as punch when I learned that the plot twist in storyline #2 hinged on a Baby-Sitter’s Club novel.  Specifically Babysitter’s Club Mystery No. 12: Dawn and the Surfer Ghost.  Peter Lerangis, was this one of yours?  Here’s a breakdown of the book’s plot with a healthy dose of snark, in case you’re interested.
  • And now a subject that is near and dear to my heart: funny writers. Author Cheryl Blackford wrote a very good blog post on a comedic line-up of authors recently presented at The Tucson Festival of Books. Mac Barnett, Adam Rex, Jory John, Obert Skye, and Drew Daywalt were all there.  A good crew, no?  One small problem – we may be entering a new era where all-white male panels cannot exist without being called into question.  Indeed, I remember years ago when I attended an ALA Conference and went to see a “funny authors” panel.  As I recall, I was quite pleased to see the inclusion of Lisa Yee.  Here, Tucson didn’t quite get the memo.  The fault lies with the organizers and Cheryl has some incisive things to say about what message the attendees were getting.
  • Speaking of Adam Rex, he’s got this little old major feature film in theaters right now (Home).  Meanwhile in California, the Gallery Nucleus is doing an exhibition of Rex’s work.  Running from March 28th to April 19th, the art will be from the books The True Meaning of Smekday and Chu’s Day.  Get it while it’s hot!
  • Boy, Brain Pickings just knows its stuff.  There are plenty of aggregator sites out there that regurgitate the same old children’s stuff over and over again.  Brain Pickings actually writes their pieces and puts some thought into what they do.  Case in point, a recent piece on the best children’s books on death, grief, and mourning.  The choices are unusual, recent, and interesting.

Chomping at the bit to read the latest Lockwood & Company book by Jonathan Stroud?  It’s a mediocre salve but you may as well enjoy his homage to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.  Mind you, I was an Hercule Poirot fan born and bred growing up, but I acknowledge that that Doyle has his place.  And don’t tell Stroud, but his books are FAR closer to the Nero Wolfe stories in terms of tone anyway.

Over at The Battle of the Books the fighting rages on.  We’ve lost so many good soldiers in this fight.  If you read only one decision, however, read Nathan Hale’s.  Future judges would do well to emulate his style.  Indeed, is there any other way to do it?

You may be one of the three individuals in the continental U.S. who has not seen Travis Jonker’s blog post on The Art of the Picture Book Barcode.  If you’re only just learning about it now, boy are you in for a treat.

“Really? Rosé?”

That one took some thought.

  • Daily Image:

And now, the last and greatest flashdrive you will ever own:

Could just be a librarian thing, but I think I’m right in saying it reeks of greatness.  Many thanks to Stephanie Whelan for the link.

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24. Enemies Yay

EnemiesYay_MouseBear

Enemies Yay is the collaborative work of Laura Blythman and Pete Cromer – both of whom also create incredible colorful work of their own.  Utilizing paper cuts adorned with neon color palettes and patterns, this collaborative collection packs a real punch. With equal parts playfulness and detail, it’s hard not to spend hours looking at each piece, there always seems to be more to discover in their work, which often features quirky characters and lush florals. Their work is a testament to the magic that can happen when you collaborate, and it’s exciting to see what will become of the duo next! Be sure to check out their instagram where they share news and sales of their prints!

EnemiesYay_Forest_Bear EnemiesYay_Happiness EnemiesYay_LetsInviteEveryone EnemiesYay_Lovers EnemiesYay_MAgic EnemiesYay_Poster EnemiesYay_StreetPeople fluer_cushionsPost written by Bryna Shields.

 

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25. What is Corporate Social Responsibility?

What is Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) all about? Companies appear to be adopting new attitudes and activities in the way they identify, evaluate and respond to social expectations. Society is no longer treated as a ‘given’, but as critical to business success. In some cases this is simply for the license to operate that social acceptability grants. In others, companies believe that favorable evaluations by consumers, employees and investors (who are, after all, members of society) will improve business performance.

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