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Apple went to court yesterday to appeal Judge Cote’s decision that found the tech company guilty of conspiring to fix prices for eBooks.
According to reports, Apple looked good in the courtroom. Fortune has more:
At times Judge Jacobs came close to suggesting that the government had prosecuted the wrong company. At the very least, he said, a horizontal initiative “used to break the hold of a monopolist” ought not be found to be illegal per se. He likened any collusive conduct on the publishers’ part to “mice getting together to go put a bell on the cat.”
The justices are now considering the appeal and could take up to six months to decide the outcome.
ALSC personal members are invited to participate in the 2015 Newbery Award selection process by submitting titles for consideration.
The Newbery Medal is presented annually to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children published in the United States during the preceding year. Honor books may be named.
“Distinguished” is defined as:
o marked by eminence and distinction: noted for significant achievement
o marked by excellence in quality
o marked by conspicuous excellence or eminence
o individually distinct
For more information about the award, including a full list of criteria, terms and definitions, visit the ALSC Website.
Reflect on the 2014 books that you have read which clearly meet the Newbery Award Criteria and submit for the committee’s consideration with the following information:
1) author, 2) title, 3) publisher, 4) a brief explanation as to why you think the book meets the Newbery Award Criteria, and 5) your name.
"Clifford The Big Red Dog" Creator Norman Bridwell Has Died by Carolyn Kellogg from The L.A. Times. Peek: "The first Clifford book was published in 1963. All told, there are more than 129 million copies of the many Clifford books in print in 13 languages. The character was also been the basis of an Emmy-award winning animated television show on PBS."
Obituary: Norman Bridwell by Shannon Maughan from Publishers Weekly. Peek: "Bridwell’s famous pup, introduced in 1963, was originally going to be called Tiny. But the author’s wife, Norma, suggested that the dog be named after her own childhood imaginary friend, Clifford."
See also Norman Bridwell Papers from de Grummond Children's Literature Collection at The University of Southern Mississippi.
At long last – despite the attempts at sabotage by and over the protests of the CIA, and notwithstanding the dilatory efforts of the State Department – the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence has finally issued the executive summary of its 6,300-page report on the CIA’s detention and interrogation program. We should celebrate its publication as a genuine victory for opponents of torture. We should thank Senator Dianne Feinstein (whom some of us have been known to call “the senator from the National Security Agency”) for her courage in making it happen.
We now know something about the Senate report, but many folks may not have heard about the other torture report, the one that came out a couple of weeks ago, and was barely mentioned in the US media. In some ways, this one is even more damning. For one thing, it comes from the international body responsible for overseeing compliance with the UN Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment – the UN Committee Against Torture. For another, unlike the Senate report, the UN report does not treat US torture as something practiced by a single agency, or that ended with the Bush administration. The UN Committee Against Torture reports on US practices that continue to this day.
Here are some key points:
The United States still refuses to pass a law making torture a federal crime. It also refuses to withdraw some of the “reservations” it put in place when it signed the Convention. These include the insistence that only treatment resulting in “prolonged mental harm,” counts as the kind of severe mental suffering outlawed in the Convention.
Many high civilian officials and some military personnel have not been prosecuted for acts of torture they are alleged to have committed. It would be nice, too, says the Committee, if the United States were to join the International Criminal Court, where other torturers have already been successfully tried. If we can’t prosecute them at home, maybe the international community can do it.
The remaining 142 detainees at Guantánamo must be released or tried in civilian courts, and the prison there must be shut down.
Evidence of US torture must be declassified, especially the torture of anyone still being held at Guantánamo.
While the US Army Field Manual on Human Intelligence Collector Operations prohibits many forms of torture, a classified “annex” still permits sleep deprivation and sensory deprivation. These are both forms of cruel treatment which must end.
People held in US jails and prisons must be protected from long-term solitary confinement and rape. “Supermax” facilities and “Secure Housing Units,” where inmates spend years and even decades in complete isolation must be shut down. As many as 80,000 prisoners are believed to be in solitary confinement in US prisons today – a form of treatment we now understand can cause lasting psychosis in as short a time as two weeks.
The United States should end the death penalty, or at the very least declare a moratorium until it can find a quick and painless method of execution.
The United States must address out-of-control police brutality, especially “against persons belonging to certain racial and ethnic groups, immigrants and LGBTI individuals.” This finding is especially poignant in a period when we have just witnessed the failure to indict two white policemen who killed unarmed Black men: Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner in New York City. Like many who have been demonstrating during the last few weeks against racially selective police violence, the Committee was also concerned about “racial profiling by police and immigration offices and growing militarization of policing activities.”
Why should an international body focused specifically on torture care about an apparently broader issue like police behavior? In fact, torture and race- or identity-based police brutality are intimately linked by the reality that lies at the foundation of institutionalized state torture.
Every nation that uses torture must first identify one or more groups of people who are torture’s “legitimate” targets. They are legitimate targets because in the minds of the torturers and of the society that gives torture a home, these people are not entirely human. (In fact, the Chilean secret police called the people they tortured “humanoids.”) Instead, groups singled out for torture are a uniquely degraded and dangerous threat to the body politic, and therefore anything “we” must do to protect ourselves becomes licit. In the United States, with lots of encouragement from the news and entertainment media, many white people believe that African American men represent this kind of unique threat. The logic that allows police to kill unarmed Black men with impunity is not all that different from the logic that produces pogroms or underlies drone assassination programs in far-off places, or that makes it impossible to prosecute our own torturers.
At 15 pages, the whole UN report is certainly a quicker read than the Senate committee’s 500-page “summary.” And it’s a good reminder that, whatever President Obama might wish, this is not the time to close the book on torture. It’s time to re-open the discussion, to hold the torturers accountable, and to bring a real end to US torture.
The Badger Knight (for ages 8 and up) by Kathryn Erskine
The year is 1346. Adrian is almost 13 years old but he isn’t like most other boys his age. He has Albinism, which means he has very pale skin and light hair and eyes. He has almost always been a small, sickly kid. The bullies in his English village call him “badger” because of the dirt he rubs under his eyes to stop the glare from his paper-white skin.
Adrian has a sharp mind, and all he wants to do is go to war as an archer. This is not his father’s plan. Adrian can write, and Adrian’s father wants him to become a scribe. To Adrian, this sounds like the worst job in the world.
The Scottish invade near their home in England, and Adrian’s best friend Hugh joins his father on the battlefield. Adrian follows Hugh, determined to find his friend and participate in his glorious vision of warfare. As Adrian ventures through war-ridden England and Scotland, his voyage becomes a true knight’s tale.
But will Adrian even be able to find Hugh? The perils of war don’t exactly resemble what Adrian had pictured in his head. Will he make it home safely? Read the book to find out how this young knight’s adventure ends. Have you already read The Badger Knight? Leave your Comments in the section below!
Self-published author Graeme Reynolds had his book High Moor 2: Moonstruck removed from the Kindle store after a reader complained about the book’s use of hyphens.
The book had been out for 18 months now and had about 123 reviews at the time it was removed. Here is more from Reynolds’ blog:
Apparently Amazon had received a complaint from a reader about the fact that some of the words in the book were hyphenated. And when they ran an automated spell check against the manuscript they found that over 100 words in the 90,000 word novel contained that dreaded little line. This, apparently “significantly impacts the readability of your book” and, as a result “We have suppressed the book because of the combined impact to customers.”
The problem has since been resolved and his book is now back in the store.
This summer, Techie Boyfriend and I bought four acres of land for a little over three thousand dollars. Here is a picture:
The land has a nine foot swimming hole, a creek where crawfish live among the rocks, a babbling waterfall, and soft flat stones for hopping on. It has bigleaf maples, cedars, and ferns. It has deer and birds and bugs. And it was ours for less than the price of a used car.
I haven't gotten used to being a land owner yet. "I own this cedar," I think to myself, and the thought is uncanny and absurd. I walk around the land, experimenting: "I own this giant maple." "I own these boulders." "I own the ground this beetle burrows in."
If I wanted to, I could cut down the trees, rip out the ferns, squash the bugs, and sell the boulders to a landscaping company. If I wanted to, it would be within my legal rights to turn the place into this:
Or, with a few permits, into this:
I could go up there with a chainsaw this afternoon and lay waste to the place, and there would be nothing you could do about it except spit in my coffee the next time I stopped in at the local diner, or chain yourself to the last big maple and get hauled to jail. In other words, I am legally permitted to be a savage--even rewarded for it, if you consider the economic benefits I would gain from "developing" the land's resources. When it comes to these four acres of the biosphere, there is almost nothing forbidden to me, short of dumping gasoline in the creek and setting it on fire.
This, dear readers, is what they call a mindfuck.
A long, long time ago, all land was sacred land. There wasn't some land designated for "preservation" and some land designated for strip malls. It was all alive and rich with significance--you couldn't point to a single inch of the earth and say, "This part doesn't matter."
A thousand years ago, all art was sacred art. The Salish didn't have one type of dance they did for the gods, and another kind of dance for getting on TV. The Vikings didn't tell one kind of story to explain the origins of the universe, and another kind of story to make money. If someone sang, danced, or told a story, it was an act of communication with the divine--you couldn't point to a single moment of it and say "This part has no spiritual significance."
And I can't help but wonder what it means that we live in a world where you can buy a waterfall on craigslist, and sell your stories on the internet, and do your dances on TV. That our songs are no longer intended to make rain fall, our stories no longer function as thinly veiled maps of the underworld, and our land is a thing to be ransacked, paved over and ignored instead of a true and living friend.
And I wonder how much richer, how much more miraculous our work would be if we were audacious enough to reach past our industrial roles as producers of entertainment and act as if our stories mattered--not just on a human level, but for the benefit of all beings.
I think about the creek land often. It enters my thoughts the way a friend does whom you love dearly but don't see every day. I go out my front door and wonder what it used to be like here before someone decided this land was an appropriate place to cut down all the trees and build a town. Then I go back to my writing room and sit at my desk, wondering what I can possibly type on this keyboard to call the old songs and dances back again.
The act of developing the intellectual and moral faculties especially by education.
Expert care and training.
Enlightenment and excellence of taste acquired by intellectual and aesthetic training.
The integrated pattern of human knowledge, belief, and behavior that depends upon the capacity for learning and transmitting knowledge to succeeding generations.
The act or process of cultivating living material.
Here’s more from Merriam-Webster.com: “Culture is a big word at back-to-school time each year, but this year lookups extended beyond the academic calendar. The term conveys a kind of academic attention to systematic behavior and allows us to identify and isolate an idea, issue, or group: we speak of a ‘culture of transparency’ or ‘consumer culture.’ Culture can be either very broad (as in ‘celebrity culture’ or ‘winning culture’) or very specific (as in ‘test-prep culture’ or ‘marching band culture’).”
“Where’s Rockie? Is Rockie going to be here today? He’s so funny!” Preschoolers call out their excitement as soon as they see the puppet stage set up and ready for action. Rockie is the main character for our series of puppet shows about a raccoon and how he learns about his world. Each show is an original script, written by two librarians. It is usually based around a topic that is of some concern to young children—new baby, sharing, fears, exercising, learning to read, manners, moving, etc. Although the themes are somewhat serious, the antics of the puppets are always silly and broad, causing plenty of laughter as well as discussion.
The basic format is as follows:
Act One brings on Rockie and his friend(s). One librarian is working the puppets, the other is outside the stage, interacting with the puppets and encouraging the children to participate in the conversation. The “problem” is identified, there is some conversation, and the puppets exit.
The librarian reads a story related to the theme, followed by a movement rhyme.
Act Two brings back Rockie and pals. There’s more conversation and lots of silliness, such as a chase scene, a puppet that appears and disappears, bubbles or a water pistol, and a movement song that everyone joins in on. Then the puppets exit.
The librarian reads another story related to the theme, followed by a movement rhyme.
Act Three always offers either a resolution to the concern, or at least a conversation with Rockie (or whoever is experiencing the issue) and a promise to find a solution, based on the possibilities identified during the puppet show. For instance, in our show about getting a pet Rockie imagines having a porcupine, a monkey and a snake, each of which causes laugh-out-loud mayhem and chaos. He finally decides to get a book at the library to help him choose.
Each of the puppets has a distinct personality. Rockie is melodramatic, Zelda the Zebra is logical, Tembo the Elephant can be a bit grumpy. One of my favorites lately has been Dig the Squirrel, who is always digging, never paying attention, and just when he finally gets around to talking with the librarian he suddenly stops, looks out, yells, “Dog!,” and disappears. Kids think it’s hilarious, especially when a dog really does appear at the end and calls out, “Squirrel!”
The best part about Rockie Tales is that whatever we’re doing, the kids really listen and take the lessons to heart, while laughing and participating with the puppets. One mother said, “I could never get my son to follow best manners at the table, but after Rockie Tales, he was telling us how to behave!” Plus we’re demonstrating to care givers that the library has book resources to help with many of life’s challenges.
One script is here for you to review, but feel free to contact me if you need more examples or information. I hope you’ll try your own version of Rockie Tales; it is guaranteed to be a great way to teach as well as have fun.
Our guest blogger today is Heather McNeil. Heather is the Youth Services Manager at Deschutes Public Library in Bend, OR. She is the author of Read, Rhyme and Romp: Early Literacy Skills and Activities for Librarians, Teachers and Parents, as well as a professional storyteller and author of two collections of folklore. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note that as a guest post, the views expressed here do not represent the official position of ALA or ALSC.
If you’d like to write a guest post for the ALSC Blog, please contact Mary Voors, ALSC Blog manager, at email@example.com.
Three of us went in. Three of us came out. None even a shadow of who they once were.
When their car breaks down in the middle of nowhere, Dee, her boyfriend Luke, and Luke’s brother Mike, seek help in the nearby town of Purity Springs.
But as they walk the vacant streets, the teens make some disturbing discoveries.
The seemingly deserted homes each contain a sinister book with violent instructions on disciplining children. The graveyard is full of unmarked crosses. Worst of all, there’s no way to contact the outside world.
When Purity Springs’ inhabitants suddenly appear, Dee, Luke, and Mike find themselves at the mercy of Elijah Hawkins, the town’s charismatic leader who has his own plans for the three of them.
Their only hope for survival is Elijah’s enigmatic son, Joseph. And his game may be just as deadly as his father’s . . .
Lindsay: Creed is a psychological horror about three teens in upstate New York who find themselves at the mercy of a deadly cult, and their struggle to survive.
The setting of Creed is unusual. Would you tell us about it and what’s behind its inspiration? Are there any real life places that you might compare it to?
Trisha: Creed…or at least the start of it was a nightmare for me. I was on route to a concert with my sister and two of my childhood friends. We hit a deer and totaled our car, forcing us off the road.
Needing help, we wondered into a nearby town only to find it empty, emergency sirens blaring in the background. People had been there…recently. The car doors were open, there was food cooking on the stove, there was even a fire smoldering in the fireplace. It was like the townsfolk had just upped and vanished. What I could see were shadows, the outlines of people dancing behind the buildings. But I couldn’t get them to interact with me, couldn’t get them to even acknowledge my presence.
That’s when I woke up, heart pounding and irritated that my subconscious had left me suspended in a dream with no clue who or what was after me.
So in essence…Creed was my way of finishing that nightmare.
Lindsay: The inspiration came from a very vivid nightmare that Trisha had. Of course she immediately called me and freaked me out which led us both to think the same thing: We have to write this story.
I grew up in the Midwest, so Purity Springs looks like about three dozen small farming communities I grew up around. You know the look – flat land, roads that stretch for miles surrounded by fields of corn or soy. Yeah, that’s Purity Springs to me.
Describe your research for this book.
Lindsay (black jacket over white print) & Trisha (in red) at their book launch.
Trisha: Ah…the Internet is both an informative and invasive space, one that provided us with the foundation we needed to create the characters in Creed.
Creed is essentially a cult book, so we had to do a fair amount of research into not only the hierarchical structure of different cults but the mentalities of their leaders and followers.
We poured over interviews with individuals who had left cults, public documents surrounding investigations into their abusive practices, and their child-rearing believes. The research was both fascinating and heart-breaking.
Lindsay: We did a great deal of research into cult mentalities for Creed. For one, to create a convincing group of people we had to figure out the leader, Elijah and how he would operate. In addition, one of our characters – Joseph – grew up inside the cult, which makes his headspace a little trickier to get into without a lot of digging around.
Which character in Creed intrigued you the most and why?
Trisha: Dee. Hands down, Dee. I am not a plotter, but I do create rather detailed character maps. Before I even put pen to paper, I map out the emotional stage of my main character— their past, their present, even their future dreams come into play.
When I choose my main character, I am purposefully picking the character who will struggle the most…who has the most to lose in that setting.
Dee is a foster kid with a history of abuse both in and out of the system. She has trust issues, has an entire history she refuses to speak of never mind relive.
Forcing her into this cult, connecting her abusive past to the current practices of the town, forcing her to place her trust in a stranger...all that goes against every instinct…every lesson life has taught her. That’s what makes her character so fascinating to me; the constant internal struggle that has her questioning her every decision.
Lindsay: For me, Joseph hands-down. Joseph is one of those characters who exists in the gray spaces between good and bad. Like the Doctor in Frankenstein (1818). He might do some unsavory things, but it’s tricky to label him one way or the other because his motives complicate things. He’s a product of his circumstances, and that isn’t a simple thing to toss into one category or another.
Creed is receiving rave reviews with a just a few polarized opinions about the religious aspects in the books. What role does religion play in the novel?
Trisha: I think by default, Creed is going to rub some people the wrong way. I mean it is nearly impossible to write a book about a cult without delving into the religious foundation of their existence. That said, I don’t think religion is at the heart of the story.
When I set out to co-author Creed, I was more interested in exploring the darkness that surrounds us every day, the evil that lurks within a chosen few and their dark past and tortured existences. The cult setting was truly just the avenue I used to explore the darker side of humanity.
Lindsay: Religion in the novel is always an interesting question because Creed truly isn’t intended to be a commentary on any particular religion or even organized religion in general. It plays a role because these cults do exist and have existed in different parts of the world for years and that’s what makes it so scary. If you take the religion out, it’s really just about what happens when a person in a position of power begins to believe they are omnipotent and abuses it. Do you think a world like Purity Springs exists or could exist? Why? Are there aspects of our society that lend itself to the events in this book?
Trisha: Absolutely….if not the town, than the people. There is a line in the book that I think answers this question perfectly:
“My father told me not to be fooled, that the devil had two faces —one charming and meant to draw you in, the other full of sinful pride.”
The seemingly innocuous people who we pass every day and never give them a second glance, the sweet neighbor next door who is living a double life…it is those people I tied to capture in Creed.
Lindsay: Ah, I might have accidentally answered this a little in the question above. But I’ll take this answer a slightly different route.
Yes, I see aspects of our society that lend themselves to the events in Creed. Every time you hear something terrible in the news about an authority figure - someone people trust and follow – it changes my perception of them and their private life whether I want it to or not.
This makes me think of Creed. Elijah Hawkins positions himself as taking care of others and protecting them, but once you begin peeling back his layers the truth is revealed and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen something like this in real life.
Describe a place, person or event that terrified you as a child.
Yeah…so I still might have a slight aversion to closets.
Who am I kidding? I still can’t sleep with the closet door open.
Lindsay: Gladly. I was always terrified by my grandmother’s basement. It was one of those places that just reeked of scary things – it smelled like dirt, was dark twenty-four hours a day and had one of those giant coal-burning furnaces stuffed in the back of it. I always had the unsettling sensation that something bad happened in there…even as a small child.
What draws you to YA horror fiction?
Trisha: I was deathly afraid of the dark when I was a kid. I used to check under the bed every night and refused to sleep without the hall light. My older brother used to tease me, say it wasn’t the monsters under the bed that I should be worried about, rather the ones lurking in the closet.
We were stupid, bickering kids back then, but years later, with a lifetime of experiences behind me, I finally got what he meant. There are no paranormal creatures in my manuscripts. No fangs, no claws, no mist as I like to say. It’s not because I don’t love a good fanged monster, but because I believe the darkness that surrounds us every day is scarier.
Lindsay: Well, the easy answer is that I love to be scared!
Well, let me add a caveat to that…I love what I call “safe fear”. So, the fear you feel in the movie theater, or curled up on your couch, or in bed reading a scary book. That fear is fun and exhilarating and nothing like real fear if you actually perceive yourself to be in danger. That’s why I like YA horror fiction.
When writing YA horror fiction, are there any lines you won’t cross with this genre?
Trisha: Hmm…I don’t think there is a thread or plot point I would avoid exploring so long as it is true to the character and his/her struggle. I don’t add things for shock factor, but I am not one to pull my punches either
Lindsay: Any lines we won’t cross. Hmmm.
Well, Trisha and I would probably be hard-pressed to kill any animals in our books. We’re both big animal lovers. But everyone and everything else is fair game.
Tell us about your journey in writing this book. How is writing as a team different than writing solo?
Trisha: Writing is a lonely process. You spend days, months, sometimes years in your own head, dreaming up characters that nobody but you can hear.
Co-authoring takes some of the isolation away. There is another person who is as intimately connected to the characters as you, who hears their voices and knows their plight.
I wouldn’t say my “solo” writing process is different – I’m still drawing out character maps, still fleshing out back-stories and constantly trying to find ways to inflict more pain on my characters -- but it is definitely a more secluded process. Equally fulfilling, just quieter.
Lindsay: And as for writing as a team – it’s very different, but works amazingly well for us. Trisha and I have very similar writing styles and tastes and therefore it’s an adventure to team up on a book. Is it challenging sometimes? Sure. But overall, it’s a phenomenal experience and hey – two sets of eyes is better than one!
What essential things have you learned about writing in the last year? What have you learned from each other?
Trisha: I have learned that plotting is a necessary evil. When I wrote Creed and The Secrets We Keep (FSG, 2015), I was a total panster. I had solid start and a general idea of where I wanted the book to end, but everything in the middle…the wide open space.
Now that I am writing proposals for option books, I learned to make friends with dreaded outline. I don’t like it – outlining scenes and chapters doesn’t jibe with my writing process – but I understand its necessity and plow my way through it.
As for what Lindsay has taught me…she taught me to let go. I’m the kind of person who will revise a book to death, obsessing over it. Without her, I’m not sure I’d ever let a manuscript leave my computer. I’d still be sitting her staring at a dozen finished projects, tweaking perfectly fine sentences. In a way, she gives me the confidence to hit the “send” button.
Lindsay: I’ve learned better dialogue from Trisha for sure. She’s really a master at authentic and effortless dialogue and that’s something I’ve always had to work on.
And essential things I’ve learned about writing…I’d have to say I’ve learned to write the book I want to write. Creed wasn’t the easy book to write because it’s a challenging sell. It pushes the limits of YA fiction with some of it’s themes and for that reason, I think if Trisha and I had backed down and written something a little “safer” our path might have been simpler. But I think writing the book we wanted to write and writing it our way is ultimately what made it a good book.
Can you tell us about any upcoming novels, together or separately?
On the co-authored front, Sweet Madness, a YA Historical Horror about the Lizzie Borden murders, drops August of 2015 with Merit Press. Hardwired, a stand-alone YA thriller that navigates that blurry line between nature and nurture, drops fall of 2015 with Flux.
Karen Rock is an award-winning YA and adult contemporary author. She holds a master’s degree in English and worked as an ELA instructor before becoming a full-time author. With her co-author, Joanne Rock, she’s penned the Camp Boyfriend series with Spencer Hill Press under the pseudonym J.K. Rock. She also writes contemporary romance for Harlequin Enterprises.
When she's not writing, Karen loves scouring estate sales for vintage books, cooking her grandmother's family recipes and hiking. She lives in the Adirondack Mountain region with her husband, daughter, and two Cavalier King cocker spaniels who have yet to understand the concept of "fetch" though they know a lot about love.
Norman Bridwell, the author and illustrator behind the Clifford the Big Red Dog series, has died. He was 86-years-old.
According to the press release, Bridwell created the beloved crimson canine character Clifford back in 1963. His first manuscript was rejected by nine publishers before Scholastic acquired it.
Throughout Bridwell’s fifty-year career, he produced more than 150 titles for this popular children’s book series. Two Clifford titles will be released posthumously: Clifford Goes to Kindergarten (May 2015) and Clifford Celebrates Hanukkah (October 2015).
You are an Elf on the Shelf and you’ve been picked up by a famous celebrity to roam around his or her house at Christmas time. But what the celebrity doesn’t know is that you’ve been hired by The National Enquirer gossip magazine to find dirt on that celeb. You are a week in and you report back to the editor at the magazine about what you’ve learned.
The Great Recession of 2008–09 badly shook the global market, changing the landscape for finance, trade, and economic growth in some important respects and imposing tremendous costs on average citizens throughout the world. The legacies of the crisis—high unemployment levels, massive excess capacities, low investment and high debt levels, increased income and wealth inequality—reduced the standard of living of millions of people. There is an emerging consensus that global economic governance, as well as national policies, needs to be reformed to better reflect the economic interests and welfare of citizens.
Global recovery is sluggish and the outlook uncertain. The economies of the Eurozone, which may have fallen into a “persistent stagnation trap,” and Japan remain highly vulnerable to deflation and another bout of recession; in the advanced economies that are growing, recovery remains uneven and fragile. Growth in emerging and developing economies is slowing, as a result of tighter global financial conditions, slow growth of world trade, and lower commodity prices. Because consumption and business investment have been tepid in many countries, the gradual global recovery has been too weak to create enough jobs. Official worldwide unemployment climbed to more than 200 million people in 2013, including nearly 75 million people aged 15–24.
Professor Roubini, one of the few economists who predicted the 2008 crisis, has argued that the global economy is like a four-engine jetliner that is operating with only one functioning engine, the “Anglosphere.” The plane can remain in the air, but it needs all four engines (the Anglosphere, the Eurozone, Japan, and emerging economies) to take off and stay clear of storms. He predicts serious challenges, including from rising debt and income inequality.
Relatively slow growth in the advanced economies and potential new barriers to trade over the medium term have significant adverse implications for growth and poverty reduction in many developing countries. Emerging economies, including China and India, that thrived in recent decades in part by engaging extensively in the international economy are at risk of finding lower demand for their output and greater volatility in international financial flows and investments. A combination of weaker domestic currencies against the US dollar and falling commodity prices could adversely affect the private sector in emerging economies that have large dollar-denominated liabilities.
Rising inequality is holding back consumption growth. The ratio of wealth to income, as well as the income shares of the top 1% of income earners, has risen sharply in Europe and the United States since 1980, as Professor Piketty has shown.
The ratio of the share of income earned by the top 10% to the share of income earned by the bottom 90% rose in a majority of OECD countries since 2008, a key factor behind the sluggish growth of their household consumption. During the first three years of the current recovery (2009–12), incomes of the bottom 90% of income earners actually fell in the United States: the top 10%, who tend to have much lower propensity to consume than average earners, captured all the income gains. In developing countries for which data were available for 2006–12, the increase in the income or consumption of the bottom 40% exceeded the country average in 58 of 86 countries, but in 18 countries, including some of the poorest economies, the income or consumption of the bottom 40% actually declined, according to a report by the World Bank and IMF.
Some signs of possible relief may lie ahead. In September 2014, leaders at the G20 summit in Brisbane agreed on measures to increase investment infrastructure, spur international trade and improve competition, boost employment, and adopt country-specific macroeconomic policies to encourage inclusive economic growth. If fully implemented, the measures could add 2.1% to global GDP (more than $2 trillion) by 2018 and create millions of jobs, according to IMF and OECD analysis. (These estimates need to be treated with caution, as the measures that underpin them and their potential impact are uncertain, and the nature and strength of the policy commitments vary considerably across individual country growth strategies.)
Another potential sign of hope is the sharp decline in the prices of energy, a reflection of both weaker global demand and increased supply (particularly of shale oil and gas from the United States). The more than $40 a barrel decline in Brent crude prices is likely to raise consumers’ purchasing power in oil-importing countries in the OECD area and elsewhere and spur growth, albeit at considerable cost (and destabilizing effects) for the more populous and poorer oil exporters. It could also be a harbinger of energy price spikes down the road, as the massive investments needed to ensure adequate supplies of energy may not be forthcoming as a result of their unprofitability at low prices.
Major global challenges have wide-ranging long-term implications for the average citizen. By 2030, the world’s population is projected to reach 8.3 billion people, two-thirds of whom will live in urban areas. Massive changes in the patterns of energy and resource (particularly water) use will be needed to accommodate this 1.3 billion person increase—and the elevation of 2–3 billion people to the middle class.
A citizen-centered policy agenda would need to reform national economies to spur growth and job creation, placing greater reliance on national and regional markets and the sustainable use of resources; emphasize social policies and the economic health of the lower and middle classes; invest in human capital and increase access to clean water, sanitation and quality social services, including a stronger foundation during the early years of life and support for aging with dignity and equity; improve labor market flexibility to employ young people productively; and enhance human rights and the freedom of people to move, internally and internationally. These policies would need to be complemented by policies that use collective action to mitigate risks to the global economy.
To prevent another global crisis, there is an urgent need to strengthen global economic governance, including through global trade agreements that favor the bottom half of income distribution; reform of the international monetary system, including the functioning and governance structure of the international financial institutions; encouragement of inclusive finance; and institution of policies to discourage asset bubbles. To achieve sustainable growth, all countries need to remove fossil fuels and other harmful subsidies and begin pricing carbon and other environmental externalities.
Worldwide surveys show that citizens everywhere are becoming more aware and active in seeking changes in the global norms and rules that could make the global system and the global economy fairer and less environmentally harmful. This sense is highest among the young and better-educated, suggesting that over time it will increase, potentially leading to equitable results for all citizens through better national and international policies.
Headline image: World Map – Abstract Acrylic, by Free Grunge Textures. CC-BY-2.0 via Flickr.
Former wrestler Jesse Ventura is suing publisher HarperCollins for defamation of character.
Ventura asserts that the memoir American Sniper by the late Navy SEAL Chris Kyle contains a derogatory story about the former Minnesota Governor that Ventura claims never took place. He’s already won a lawsuit against Kyle’s estate.
The new lawsuit says the publicity and controversy “generated by the false and defamatory story about Ventura substantially increased sales of ‘American Sniper,’ thereby generating millions of dollars in revenues and profits for Harper Collins.”
“American Sniper” has been turned into a movie directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Bradley Cooper with a limited release in theaters on Dec. 25. There has been no indication that the incident involving Ventura is included in the movie.
There’s always lots of interesting research going on in the field. To help you stay current, the Research Committee has compiled a short annotated bibliography of recent and ongoing research that offers a lot of food for thought.
Merga, M. K. (2014). Are Western Australian adolescents keen book readers?. Australian Journal Of Language & Literacy, 37(3), 161-170.
This study examines Western Australian teenagers’ reading habits and attitudes toward reading.
Valdivia, C. & Subramaniam, M. (2014). Connected learning in the public library: an evaluative framework for developing virtual learning spaces for youth. Public Library Quarterly, 33(2). 163-185.
Many youth services librarians aspire to create virtual spaces at their libraries that encourage youth participation, engagement and new media literacy development. This article presents an evaluative framework to aid youth services librarians in achieving this mission of providing informal learning opportunities through virtual spaces. The framework is designed to be used at any point in virtual space development.
Vickery, J.(2014). Youths Teaching Youths. Journal of adolescent & adult literacy(1081-3004), 57 (5), p. 361.
An exemplar study of teens in an interest-driven learning environment situated within the context of youth mentorship. This study builds on the "Connected Learning" framework that Ito and Martin outline in Connected Learning and the Future of Libraries Young Adult Library Services , Vol. 12, No. 1, Fall 2013.
Zickuhr, K. (2014). Teens and Tech: What the Research Says. Young Adult Library Services 12.2 : 33-7. ProQuest. Web. 13 Nov. 2014.
An article that summarizes the latest and most cited research related to teens, tech use, and libraries. It includes centerpieces such as the Pew Internet Research report. A good overview for the busy YA librarian.
Research in progress:
Take a look at this study in progress. Remember, these are preliminary results, but further information from this research will be quite interesting!
By December 1914 the Great War had been raging for nearly five months. If anyone had really believed that it would be ‘all over by Christmas’ then it was clear that they had been cruelly mistaken. Soldiers in the trenches had gained a grudging respect for their opposite numbers. After all, they had managed to fight each other to a standstill.
On Christmas Eve there was a severe frost. From the perspective of the freezing-cold trenches the idea of the season of peace and goodwill seemed surrealistic. Yet parcels and Christmas gifts began to arrive in the trenches and there was a strange atmosphere in the air. Private William Quinton was watching:
We could see what looked like very small coloured lights. What was this? Was it some prearranged signal and the forerunner of an attack? We were very suspicious, when something even stranger happened. The Germans were actually singing! Not very loud, but there was no mistaking it. Suddenly, across the snow-clad No Man’s Land, a strong clear voice rang out, singing the opening lines of “Annie Laurie“. It was sung in perfect English and we were spellbound. To us it seemed that the war had suddenly stopped! Stopped to listen to this song from one of the enemy.
“We tied an empty sandbag up with its string and kicked it about on top – just to keep warm of course. We did not intermingle.”
On Christmas Day itself, in some sectors of the line, there was no doubting the underlying friendly intent. Yet the men that took the initiative in initiating a truce were brave – or foolish – as was witnessed by Sergeant Frederick Brown:
Sergeant Collins stood waist high above the trench waving a box of Woodbines above his head. German soldiers beckoned him over, and Collins got out and walked halfway towards them, in turn beckoning someone to come and take the gift. However, they called out, “Prisoner!” A shot rang out, and he staggered back, shot through the chest. I can still hear his cries, “Oh my God, they have shot me!”
This was not a unique incident. Yet, despite the obvious risks, men were still tempted. Individuals would get off the trench, then dive back in, gradually becoming bolder as Private George Ashurst recalled:
It was grand, you could stretch your legs and run about on the hard surface. We tied an empty sandbag up with its string and kicked it about on top – just to keep warm of course. We did not intermingle. Part way through we were all playing football. It was so pleasant to get out of that trench from between them two walls of clay and walk and run about – it was heaven.
The idea that football matches were played between the British and Germans in No Man’s Land has taken a grip, but the evidence is intangible.
The truce was not planned or controlled – it just happened. Even senior officers recognised that there was little that could be done in this strange state of affairs. Brigadier General Lord Edward Gleichen accepted the truce as a fait accompli, but was keen to ensure that the Germans did not get too close to the ramshackle British trenches:
They came out of their trenches and walked across unarmed, with boxes of cigars and seasonable remarks. What were our men to do? Shoot? You could not shoot unarmed men. Let them come? You could not let them come into your trenches; so the only thing feasible was done – and our men met them half-way and began talking to them. Meanwhile our officers got excellent close views of the German trenches.
Another practical reason for embracing the truce was the opportunity it presented for burying the dead that littered No Man’s Land. Private Henry Williamson was assigned to a burial party:
The Germans started burying their dead which had frozen hard. Little crosses of ration box wood nailed together and marked in indelible pencil. They were putting in German, ‘For Fatherland and Freedom!’ I said to a German, “Excuse me, but how can you be fighting for freedom? You started the war, and we are fighting for freedom!” He said, “Excuse me English comrade, but we are fighting for freedom for our country!”
It should be noted that the truce was by no means universal, particularly where the British were facing Prussian units.
For the vast majority of the participants, the truce was a matter of convenience and maudlin sentiment. It did not mark some deep flowering of the human spirit, or signify political anti-war emotions taking root amongst the ranks. The truce simply enabled them to celebrate Christmas in a freer, more jovial, and, above all, safer environment, while satisfying their rampant curiosity about their enemies.
The truce could not last: it was a break from reality, not the dawn of a peaceful world. The gradual end mirrored the start, for any misunderstandings could cost lives amongst the unwary. For Captain Charles Stockwell it was handled with a consummate courtesy:
At 8.30am I fired three shots in the air and put up a flag with ‘Merry Christmas!’ on it, and I climbed on the parapet. He put up a sheet with, ‘Thank you’ on it, and the German captain appeared on the parapet. We both bowed and saluted and got down into our respective trenches – he fired two shots in the air and the war was on again!
In other sectors, the artillery behind the lines opened up and the bursting shells soon shattered the truce.
War regained its grip on the whole of the British sector. When it came to it, the troops went back to war willingly enough. Many would indeed have rejoiced at the end of the war, but they were still willing to accept orders, still willing to kill Germans. Nothing had changed.
Judy Blume has revealed the title and release date for her forthcoming adult novel. Alfred A. Knopf will release In the Unlikely Event on June 02, 2015.
BuzzFeed has posted the cover for this book—what do you think? People magazine reports that the book “focuses on an ensemble of family and friends across three generations.”
According to Blume’s website, the inspiration for this story comes from “a series of passenger airplanes crashed in Elizabeth, New Jersey within a three-month period in 1951–1952.” This real-life tragedy has inhabited a place in Blume’s mind since she was a teenager.
Lisa Thomas has been promoted to SVP & Editorial Director at National Geographic Adult Books.
In her new role, Thomas will oversee the editorial direction and creation of all adult book titles at the publishing house. This includes travel and guidebooks. In addition, she will also be working to expand the imprint’s international readership, as well as grow its eBook list.
Thomas will report directly to Chris Johns, Chief Content Officer, at National Geographic Adult Books.
Thomas has worked in the book division of National Geographic for the past 14 years. In her previous role as senior editor, Thomas edited titles including: The Blue Zones, National Geographic 125 Years, and In the Footsteps of Jesus. Prior to joining National Geographic, she worked as an editor at Time Life Books.
Literary agentStephen Barbara will move from Foundry Literary + Media to InkWell Management.
Barbara devoted six years of his career to Foundry. His start date at InkWell is scheduled for January 05, 2015.
Barbara’s full roster of 50 clients will follow him. Some of the authors that Barbara represents includes Rooms authorLauren Oliver, renowned children’s book illustrator Ricardo Cortés, and Edgar Award winner Jack Ferraiolo.
Looking for charming Hanukkah stories to share with your family? Well some of my authors can help you with that...
BEAUTIFUL YETTA'S HANUKKAH KITTEN by Daniel Pinkwater, illustrated by Jill Pinkwater, is a cuddly and funny holiday story for all ages to appreciate. This is the follow-up to BEAUTIFUL YETTA, THE YIDDISH CHICKEN, in which the title bird escapes from certain doom to the enchanted world of Brooklyn, NY. Now Beautiful Yetta the (Yiddish-speaking) Chicken has made her cozy home among the (Spanish-speaking) Parrots of Brooklyn. She is like their mother. This little family is doing pretty well, even on cold winter nights. But during a snowstorm, Yetta happens upon something very strange -- a tiny ginger kitten! OY! Cats are no good for birds! But this little kitty definitely needs some warmth and love. Maybe the neighborhood Grandmother can help... at least with feeding everyone yummy latkes. Yay! Autographed copies of BEAUTIFUL YETTA'S HANUKKAH KITTEN available now at Oblong Books.
SIMON AND THE BEAR: A HANUKKAH TALE by Eric A Kimmel, illustrated by Matthew Trueman: Before Simon sails to America, he promises his family that he will get a job and send for them. Simon's mother knows he will need a miracle, so she reminds him to celebrate Hanukkah wherever he may be. Little does either of them know that this task will be more complicated than she could have imagined... This fanciful Hanukkah tale-like none you've ever read before-celebrates eight miracles: family, friendship, hope, selflessness, sharing, faith, courage, and love. A retelling of the ancient Hanukkah story is included on the last page.
Now in Paperback:HANUKKAH BEAR by Eric A Kimmel, illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka: This is the tale of Bubba Branya, a little old lady who can barely see but makes the very best latkes in town. Her rabbi comes to visit, and he brings his gigantic appetite. . . and mumbly voice. . . and growly tummy . . . and furry face. . . uh-oh! Comedy ensues as the dynamic duo of granny and the bear play dreidel, light the menorah, and of course, enjoy plenty of yummy latkes. Kimmel's classic story is the perfect match for Mike Wohnoutka's warmly glowing new illustrations; this one is sure to delight not only little ones, but the whole family.
And a classic:HERSHEL AND THE HANUKKAH GOBLINS by Eric A Kimmel, illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman: The Caldecott Honor winning classic is celebrating it's 25th anniversary with a new edition! This is the somewhat scary and totally unforgettable tale of the ingenious Hershel, who rids a village synagogue of goblins by cleverly outwitting them.
You know, folks, there are lists and then there are LISTS. And I’m not saying one is any better than another. Of course not. But when we look at lists of children’s books there’s only one that truly has my heart. Coming in at 103 years old this year, NYPL’s 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing list is one of the oldest (if not THE oldest) continually published children’s book lists in the nation. It is also the most beautiful. Doubt me? Then check out our 2014 edition.
You can see our interactive list of the 100 books here.
And here’s the cover of our list:
Shall I go on?
You like lists with diversity? Feast your eyes on what we chose. Recently the Center for the Study of Multicultural Literature released their Best Multicultural Books of 2014. We had eight of their titles on our list and included at least eight multicultural books that they did not. The recent list by Latinas for Latino Lit called Remarkable Latino Children’s Literature of 2014? We listed three of their seven titles and included at least three others that they didn’t mention (Saving Baby Doe, Caminar, and Viva Frida). Your move, New York Times.
You like lists that show a variety of books? The 100 Titles list is split into the following sections:
Picture Books (for children ages 2-6)
Stories for Younger Readers (for children ages 6-8)
Stories for Older Readers (for children ages 9-12)
Folktales and Fairy Tales
In short, ladies and gentlemen, it’s a tip top list. Sure, it’ll miss one or two of your favorites. But I guarantee you’ll see amazing books on there that you almost missed this year. Did you read Mikis and the Donkey? Did you almost fail to hear about Handle With Care? The best books aren’t necessarily the best known. If nothing else this list proves as much.
Have you seen the Seinfeld episode where George accompanies his girlfriend to a funeral?
It’s post-wake and everyone’s at her parent’s place noshing on hors d’oeuvres and sipping punch. George finds himself in front of the potato chips, so he takes one, sinks it in the dip, takes a bite, and dips the chip again; much to the annoyance of his distraught girlfriend’s brother.
A knock-down, drag-out fight ensues before the very upset girlfriend kicks George out.
I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m a double-dipper.
And why not? It’s the only way to really enjoy that French onion dip and get the most mileage out of your chip.
Freelancers should be double-dipping too. Not their chips (unless they’re into that sort of thing), but their writing.
Double-dipping is a golden opportunity not enough freelance writers take advantage of.
So how does double-dipping work in the freelance writing world? Here are five easy ways.
1. Sell reprints.
It’s been published once, why can’t it be published again?
How to do it: The first thing you want to do is make a list of publications that cover the topic of your article. Then, check out their website and writer guidelines to see if they accept reprints. If you’re not sure, ask. Send the editor a friendly email telling them about your article and why you think their readers would be interested. Ask if they’d like to purchase it as a reprint.
Not all publications accept reprints…but that doesn’t mean you can’t reuse old content.
How to do it: First, find a market that covers your topic. Go back to your research notes and interview transcripts, and write a pitch that covers a different angle of the story with publication #2’s audience in mind. If you quoted someone in the first article, paraphrase in the new one. Where you paraphrased, use quotes. Include information that didn’t make it into the original article.
Keep in mind: You may want to consider doing some additional research in case things have changed, or find one or two additional sources. But the work load is going to be a lot less than what it was the first go-around. Only this time you stand to earn the same amount of money… maybe even more!
3. Send pitches in batches.
When you come up with a brilliant idea, don’t save it for just one publication – share the love! There are tons of publications with audiences that would love to know more about the topic you’re pitching. It’s just a matter of re-framing each pitch to fit a variety of publications.
How to do it: Let’s say you’ve got a great story idea about traveling with babies. Of course parenting magazines would be interested, but so would travel publications, women’s glossies, maybe even custom publications for baby product companies. As you’re doing your initial research and collecting sources, think about what these various audiences would want to know and how/why they could use this information. Tweak each pitch to suit each market.
Keep in mind: Unlike the tactics above, here you’ll be writing completely different queries and completely different articles for each publication. While parents would want this information to help them in their travels, a pediatrician might want this information to help her advise parents who wish to travel with their little ‘uns. A women’s magazine might want to provide tips on how to have a smooth flight for travelers finding themselves on a plane with a baby. The difference is, you do the research once and get multiple articles out of it.
4. Send simultaneous queries.
The idea here is to send the same query for the same idea to editors at multiple publications. When you send out a query, you could wait months — or even a year — only to have the editor respond with a resounding “no.” Sometimes editors take a really long time to respond to queries…if they reply at all. Rather than wait around for them to get back to you and risk having your idea become stale or already-been-done, cast your net wide and find that article a home ASAP.
How to do it: This one’s easy — find a bunch of publications that fit your topic, write one query, and send it out to editors at all of those publications.
Keep in mind: You may have more than one publication show interest in the article. However, you cannot sell the same article to more than one publication. In this case, it’s a first come, first served thing. But don’t let those other publications go home empty-handed. Offer them the same story, but from a different angle. Or pitch them a few similar ideas instead.
5. Once you’ve got ‘em, keep ‘em.
The thing about queries is they can get a “yes” or a “no” or be met with silence. There’s not much you can do about the third instance, but you can turn a “no” into a “yes.”
How to do it: An editor might turn you down for a number of reasons: the timing’s off, someone else has already covered it, they’re not interested in the topic, they’re having a bad day… But just because they say “no” to one idea doesn’t mean they’ll say “no” to another. If they’ve emailed you back, you’ve got their ear. So take advantage by replying with a “Thank you for getting back to me. I completely understand. Perhaps [insert new idea here] would be a better fit?”
Keep in mind: That you suck as a writer or the editor hates your guts is rarely if ever a reason for a rejection. Odds are the rejection is based on factors you have absolutely no control over. If you get a response, thank them, tell them you get it, and offer up a new idea. This shows that you’re persistent and not just a one-idea dude. Then send the rejected query somewhere else.
When you have a chip — er, idea — get the most mileage you can out of it by double dipping, and you’ll get more assignments (and more money) with less work.
Tiffany Jansen is an American freelance writer and translator in the Netherlands. She is also the author of an award-winning children’s historical fiction series. You can find out more about her at www.tiffanyrjansen.com.
P.S. Carol Tice’s and my next Article Writing Masterclass starts in January, and we have THREE editors on board to critique your homework assignments and answer your questions: Current editors from Redbook and FSR (Full Service Restaurant) Magazine, and a former Entrepreneur editor. In this 10-week class, you’ll gain the skills and confidence to land lucrative article-writing gigs. Learn more and read raves from students on the Article Writing Masterclass website.
Unbroken byLaura Hillenbrand leads Apple’s Top Paid iBooks in the U.S. for the second week in a row.
Apple has released its top selling books list for paid books from iBooks in the U.S. for week ending December 15, 2014. Wild by Cheryl Strayed is No. 3 and Gillian Flynn‘s Gone Girl is No. 3 this week.
We’ve included Apple’s entire list after the jump. (more…)