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Results 1 - 25 of 26,201
1. Reading Bingo Book Clue 16

Reading Bingo

Reading Bingo Day 4!

Congratulations to yesterday’s Reading Bingo winners!

Today is a new game of Reading Bingo with a new way to win. Today’s goal is to get a Z-shape on your Reading Bingo card

like this:Bingo Z shape

If you need a Reading Bingo card, click here for the Rules and Procedures

. Book clues 123456789, 10111213, 14, and 15 count for today’s game, so you can fill those in plus today’s book clue. It’s not too late to start playing so get out your Reading Bingo card and get ready for today’s book clue!

Book clue 16 is . . .Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone book cover illustrated by Kazu Kibuishi

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

by J. K. Rowling

If you have read this book, then choose the Bingo square it fits in and write in the title.

Check Ink Splot 26, the Message Boards, and your Profile shout-outs all day for more book clues. When you get the Z-shape on your card filled in, yell BINGO! in the Comments.

image from kids.scholastic.com— Sonja, STACKS Staffer

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2. Reading Bingo Book Clue 14

Reading Bingo

Reading Bingo Day 3 Continues!

Today’s game of Reading Bingo continues with another book clue. Did you get the H-shape on your bingo card filled in?

Book clue 14 is . . . .
Holes book cover

Holes

by Louis Sachar

If you have read this book, then choose the Bingo square it fits in and write in the title.

Remember, book clues 1

23456789, 101112, and 13 count for today’s game, so you can fill those in plus today’s new book clue. There will be one more book clue hidden on the Stack Back Message Board today. Go see if you can find it!

If you got it, then yell BINGO! in the Comments. If not, come back for more book clues and a new way to win tomorrow morning.

image from kids.scholastic.com— Sonja, STACKS Staffer

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3. Reading Bingo Book Clue 13

Reading Bingo

Reading Bingo Day 3 Continues!

GOOOOO, READING BINGO!

We’re at book clue 13 already! I can’t believe it! Have you gotten the H-shape BINGO yet? Tell us what titles you used!

Here’s our 13th book clue . . .

Dork Diaries:

Tales from a Not-So-Fabulous LifeDork Diaries: Tales from a Not-So-Fabulous Life by Rachel Renee Russell

Have you read this book? If so, choose the Bingo square

that it fits in and write in the title.

Two more clues are left for today’s Reading Bingo. Come back to Ink Splot 26 and check the Stack Back Message Board

 to find them later today!

Remember that book clues 1-12

also count in today’s game, so you can fill those in plus today’s clues. Can’t wait to see what cool books you’ve been reading!

Until next time!

image from kids.scholastic.com — En-Szu, STACKS Staffer

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4. Reading Bingo Book Clue 12

Reading Bingo

Reading Bingo Day 3 Continues!

Day three of Reading Bingo is well underway! Y’all are doing great! Ready for book clue 12? Here we go!

Book clue 12 is . . .
The Adventures of Captain Underpants

 by Dav Pilkey

The Adventures of Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey book coverBingo square

that it fits in and write in the title.

We’ve got three more clues today. Come back to Ink Splot 26 and also check the Stack Back Message Board

throughout the day to catch them!

Today’s shape is pretty awesome. Have you gotten Bingo yet? Remember, book clues 1-11

also count towards today’s game, so you can fill those in plus today’s book clues. When you get an H-shape, yell BINGO! in the Comments. See ya later!

image from kids.scholastic.com — 

En-Szu, STACKS Staffer

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5. The Oldest Living Things in the World

The Oldest Living Things in the World was a labor of love for artist and photographer Rachel Sussman—the project, to document and photograph continuously living organisms 2,000 years old and older, has been around in one form or another since 2004. The result is a stunning collection of images that function as much more than eye candy in the realm of flora and fauna—Sussman’s work quietly, and with unimpeachable integrity, makes a case for the living history of our planet: where we’ve come since year zero, what we stand to lose in the future if we don’t change our ways, and why we should commit to a more intuitive relationship with the natural world.

Above you can view a trailer for the book, which hints at the spectacular flora with which Sussman comes into contact: an 80,000-year-old colony of aspen in Utah and a 43,600-year-old self-propagating shrub in Tasmania, among them. Sussman continues to make a name for herself as part of a new wave of interdisciplinary artist-researchers, and was recently named a 2014 Guggenheim Fellow, as well as an inaugural Art + Technology Lab awardee from LACMA.

To explore a bit of the meaning behind the images in the book, here’s a brief clip from the Foreword, by science writer Carl Zimmer:

The durable mystery of longevity makes the species in this book all the more precious, and all the more worthy of being preserved. Looking at an organism that has endured for thousands of years is an awesome experience, because it makes us feel like mere gastrotrichs. But it is an even more awesome experience to recognize the bond we share to a 13,000-year-old Palmer’s oak tree, and to wonder how we evolved such different times on this Earth.

To read more about The Oldest Living Things in the World, click here.

To see sample images from the book, click here.

To visit the book’s website, click here.

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6. Lord & Lady Bunny: Almost Royalty: Review Haiku

Celebrate Shakespeare's
birthday in dramatic bunny
fashion. Pop-Tarts!

Lord & Lady Bunny: Almost Royalty! by Polly Horvath, illustrated by Sophie Blackall. Schwartz & Wade, 2014, 304 pages.

0 Comments on Lord & Lady Bunny: Almost Royalty: Review Haiku as of 4/23/2014 7:49:00 AM
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7. Reading Bingo Book Clue 11

Reading Bingo

Reading Bingo Day 3!

Congratulations to yesterday’s Reading Bingo Winners!

Have you been playing along with us? Today is a new game of Reading Bingo with a new way to win. Today’s goal is to get an H-shape on your Reading Bingo card

like this:Bingo H shapeIf you need a rules refresher or a Reading Bingo card, click here. Book clues 1234, 5678, 9, and 10 count for today’s game, so you can fill those in plus today’s book clues. It’s not too late to start playing so get out your Reading Bingo card and get ready for today’s book clue!

Book clue 11 is . . . .Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief book coverPercy Jackson and the Olympians

: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

If you have read this book, then choose the Bingo square it fits in and write in the title.

Check Ink Splot 26 and the Message Boards all day for more book clues. When you get the H-shape on your card filled in, yell BINGO! in the Comments.

image from kids.scholastic.com— Sonja, STACKS Staffer

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8. Reading Bingo Book Clue 9

Reading Bingo

Reading Bingo Day 2 Continued!

I hope your T-shape is almost all filled in on your Reading Bingo card because there are only a couple more book clues today!
Book clue 9 is . . . .
Heroes of Olympus: The Lost Hero book cover

Heroes of Olympus: The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan

If you have read this book, then choose the Bingo square

it fits in and write in the title.

Remember, book clues 1

234, 567, and 8 count for today’s game, so you can fill those in plus today’s new book clue. And, there is one more secret book clue on the Save the Planet Message Board, so you have another chance for Bingo today.

Did you get the T-shape on your card filled in? If you did, then yell BINGO! in the Comments. If not, you will have another chance tomorrow, so come back for more book clues and a new way to win tomorrow morning.

image from kids.scholastic.com— Sonja, STACKS Staffer

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9. Happy Earth Day from Lee & Low Books!

In an era of great global change, it’s more important than ever to take a moment today to think about how the Earth sustains us and how we can help to sustain it in return.

We asked author Jan Reynolds, whose work we have been showcasing throughout April here on the blog and whose travels have taken her from a hot air balloon over Mount Everest to the Sahara Desert, to share a few of her favorite photos and some thoughts on celebrating Earth Day:

I chose photos for Earth Day that aren’t big landscapes on purpose. We think of Earth Day as the Earth, pristine, something separate, while in reality…

Jan Reynolds with giraffe…the Earth is one big party with all kids of life on it, not just plant life and oceans. 

Jan Reynolds with monkeysWe are all a part of it, including man. 

BaboonsSo therefore, the baboon pics. Hoping we can see ourselves in the baboons, and vice versa.

Further Reading and Resources:

Don’t miss our Pinterest board of recommended books about Earth, the Environment, and Human Impact:

Screen Shot 2014-04-22 at 12.04.16 PM

Raising Global Citizens: Jan Reynolds Author Study

Teaching Geo-Literacy Using the Vanishing Cultures series

Where in the World? Using Google Maps to explore the Vanishing Cultures series


Filed under: Curriculum Corner, Holidays Tagged: common core, Earth Day, environment, environmentalism, informational text, nonfiction, photos

0 Comments on Happy Earth Day from Lee & Low Books! as of 4/22/2014 3:41:00 PM
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10. Reading Bingo Book Clue 8

Reading Bingo

Reading Bingo Day 2 Continues!

Howdy, y’all! Welcome back to Reading Bingo. We’re almost at clue number 10! Print your own Bingo Card and join us!

Here’s book clue 8 . . .

The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe

 by C. S. LewisThe Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis book cover

Have you read this book? If so, choose the Bingo square

that it fits in and write in the title.

Two more clues are left today! Check Ink Splot 26 and the Save the Planet Message Board

throughout the day to catch clues 9 and 10.

Remember that clues 1

23456, and 7 count for today’s game as well, so you can fill those in plus each new book clue. And, of course, let us know when you get today’s T-shape. Yell BINGO! In the Comments (and list the book titles on your card, too). Can’t wait to see who gets Bingo!

image from kids.scholastic.com — En-Szu, STACKS Staffer

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11. Reading Bingo Book Clue 7

Reading Bingo

Reading Bingo Day 2 Continues!

Lucky number 7 already!

Here’s your 7th book clue . . .

Spirit Animals: Wild Born

Spirit Animals: Wild Born by Brandon Mull book cover

Have you read this book? If so, choose the Bingo square

Three more clues will appear on the STACKS today, so check Ink Splot 26 and the Message Boards often to catch them! Remember that clues 1

2, 345, and 6 also count for today’s game, so you can fill those in, too.

Let us know when you get today’s T-shape. Yell BINGO! in the Comments. See ya in a few!

 — En-Szu, STACKS Staffer Add a Comment
12. Reading Bingo Book Clue 6

Reading Bingo

Reading Bingo Day 2!

Congratulations to yesterday’s Reading Bingo winners!

. . . all scored Bingo yesterday!

Today is a new game of Reading Bingo with a new way to win. Today’s goal is to get a T-shape on your Reading Bingo card like this:

Bingo T shape

click here for the Rules and Procedures

. Book clues 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 count for today’s game, so you can fill those in plus today’s book clue. It’s not too late to start playing so get out your Reading Bingo card and get ready for today’s book clue!

Book clue 6 is . . . .
Fantastic Mr. Fox book cover

Fantastic Mr. Fox

by Roald Dahl

If you have read this book, then choose the Bingo square it fits in and write in the title.

Check Ink Splot 26 and the Message Boards all day for more book clues. When you get the T-shape on your card filled in, yell BINGO! in the Comments.

image from kids.scholastic.com— Sonja, STACKS Staffer

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13. Reading Bingo Book Clue 4

Reading Bingo

Reading Bingo Day 1

We are playing Reading Bingo on the STACKS all week long, and we want YOU to join! If you need a Reading Bingo card, click here for the Rules and Procedures

. Book clues 1, 2, and 3 count for today’s game, so you can fill those in plus book clue 4. It’s not too late to start playing, so get out your Reading Bingo card and get ready for a new book clue!

Book clue 4 is . . . .Time Warp Trio book cover by Jon Scieszka

The Time Warp Trio: Knights of the Kitchen Table by Jon Scieszka

If you have read this book, then choose the Bingo square it fits in and write in the title.

Check Ink Splot 26 and the Message Boards

all day for more book clues. When you get 5 in a row, yell BINGO! in the Comments.

image from kids.scholastic.com— Sonja, STACKS Staffer

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14. Reading Bingo Book Clue 3

Reading Bingo

Reading Bingo Day 1 Continues!

Oooh, we’re at clue 3 already!

BINGO, is just around the corner (sort of)!

Here’s clue 3 . . .
Dear Dumb Diary: Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jim Benton
Dear Dumb Diary book cover


Have you read this book? If so, choose the
Bingo square
that it fits in and write in the title.

Stay tuned–we’ve got two more clues coming your way today! Check Ink Splot 26 and the Message Boards throughout the day for more clues. See ya in a bit!

image from kids.scholastic.com — En-Szu, STACKS Staffer

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15. Revisiting Norman Maclean

9780226500270

The Daily Beast recently dredged the archive of zeitgeist-engaged writings as a feature for its recurring column “The Stacks.” What they turned up was novelist Pete Dexter’s wickedly astute profile of Norman Maclean—his first publication for a national magazine when it ran in the June 1981 issue of Esquire—and a piece of writing that is equal parts discomfiting and elegiac, not unlike the work of one Norman Maclean.*

*Caveat: I realize it is part of my job to endorse Norman Maclean, but this is wholly sincere. Maclean’s fascination with toughness was couched under two veils of redemption: his prose is pained in its evocation of loss and its struggle to both narrate and literate the tragic confines of human behavior; and what comes through a work such as Young Men and Fire (which is a World Book Night selection this April 23rd), is the bored patience and cautiously learned excavation of a natural teacher, of someone who cares to rescind the relationship between art and life, and then recast it in a more vigilant if forgiving light. That book is spectacular.

Anyhow, Dexter’s profile is weird and narratively disjointed—it reads like a Barry Hannah short story without the lustful reproach and booze, which I think Maclean would probably appreciate. It’s not a coincidence that Dexter went on to renown as a fiction writer. It’s very much worth reading.

Elsewhere, we recently saw a testament to Maclean’s stature as a teacher: Justice John Paul Stevens did a Q & A with the New York Times and proclaimed Maclean—once a professor who taught a course in poetry at the University of Chicago, in a town he would love all his life—”the teacher to whom [he] is the most indebted.”

To read more about the work of Norman Maclean, click here.

 

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16. Reading Bingo Book Clue 2

Reading Bingo

Reading Bingo Day 1 Continues!

Woohoo, Reading Bingo!

Ready for clue 2?

Here it is . . .

The Giver by Lois Lowry

The Giver by Lois Lowry book coverBingo square

that it fits in and write in the title.

Stay tuned–we’ve got three more clues coming your way today! Check Ink Splot 26 and the Message Boards throughout the day for more clues. See ya in a bit!

image from kids.scholastic.com — En-Szu, STACKS Staffer

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17. Just One Year: Review Haiku

Oh, Willem -- you're like
a Manic Pixie Dream Boy
in five languages.

Just One Year by Gayle Forman. Dutton, 2014, 352 pages.

0 Comments on Just One Year: Review Haiku as of 4/21/2014 7:43:00 AM
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18. Reading Bingo Starts Today!

Reading Bingo

Reading Bingo Day 1

Here is everything you need to get started playing STACKS Reading Bingo.

Rules and Procedures:

  1. Print your Bingo card.
You can print as many Bingo cards as you want.Reading Bingo card
  • Easy Bingo: If you have read any books that fit in any of the squares, you can write them in. For example, A1: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. You will have to report the titles for each square to prove that you have Bingo.  If you want an extra challenge, skip this step and go to step 3.
  • CHALLENGE Bingo: When we announce a book title on the STACKS, check your Bingo card and see if that book fits in any of the squares. Write down the book title in the proper square. This is harder because you can only use the books that we call out.
  • Each square must be a different book title. No repeating the same book!
  • You must have read the book OR are currently reading the book.
  • Every day, the way to win will be different, so you could get Bingo every day. The way to win today is to get 5 squares in a row either horizontally, vertically or diagonally. Tomorrow, it will be different!
  • When you get Bingo, yell it in the blog Comments and tell us which books you put in which squares. (A1: book title, A2: book title . . .)
  • The first book clue is . . . .The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm book cover

    The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm by Nancy Farmer

    If you have read this book, then choose the Bingo square it fits in and write in the title.

    Check Ink Splot 26 and the Harry Potter Message Board

    all day today for more book clues. When you get 5 in row, yell BINGO! in the Comments. Good luck!

    image from kids.scholastic.com— Sonja, STACKS Staffer

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    19. Where the North Sea Touches Alabama

    Where the North Sea Touches Alabama is a strange book—I’ve been describing it to strangers (note the relationship between adjective and noun) as an ethnography of mourning, but really it’s a peculiar hybrid of sociological exegesis, lyric essay, and phantasmagorical travelogue. I believe author Allen C. Shelton might consider it a novel, just as Walter Benjamin certainly must have plucked a term from the atmosphere to describe the Arcades Project as he carried its pages in a suitcase like fake currency.

    The book considers the tragic life and death of the artist Patrik Keim, a friend of the author’s, and a theoretical muse or Betelgeuse ostensibly traveling between this world and another. That’s the stuff of Western philosophy in the wake of Hegel, or a battered Platonic ideal we repeat to ourselves—the absolute idealism that marks being as an all-inclusive whole: not subject without object, and vice-versa. Shelton takes on this canon—Marx, Foucault, Weber, and especially, Benjamin—and arrives at someplace not entirely recognizable. Maybe that’s because the rest of the landscape he renders—via an epistolary immersion in northeastern Alabama—is so unavoidably specific. Anyhow: not to give too much away. The above trailer should be enough to get you started—like the book, it’s a well-made and unconventional narrative.

    And to conclude, from an equally strange—lyrical, inculcating even—review of the book by Daryl White from Paste magazine:

    My inner Walter Mitty belongs to a small collective of social science writers.

    We call ourselves the Professors Higgin. We commiserate, critique and urge each other to confess our literary sins, our endless little murders of the English tongue. We comprise a teacher, a pragmatist, a printmaker, a contrarian, a recovering atheist, an agnostic, a believer with no object of belief, a jaded millenarian, a Luddite, a backsliding Marxist and, depending on academic circumstances, either an anthropologist or a sociologist—an erstwhile Whitman’s Sampler.

    We help each other, endlessly contradict, chide, commiserate and condemn colleagues’ writing. We laugh at our phobias, strain for 12-step clarity and all too rarely acknowledge the debt we owe our students. With ease, we blame them for our petty insanities, resent their ability to absorb our time and in the end know our better selves in their reflections.

    We read Where the North Sea Touches Alabama in sustained awe. Inspired. Heartened. Daunted.

    To read more about Where the North Sea Touches Alabama, click here.

     

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    20. From the short story: The Boy In The Leaves by J.D. Holiday

    The Boy In The Leaves


    from Short Stories and Other Imaginings for The Reading Spot


    by J.D. Holiday


    All Rights Reserved


    Copyright 2014 by J.D. Holiday
    The Boy  In The Leaves B&W FINISHEDFinal 3-25-13  JDHOLIDAY


    A small boy laid there, motionless. Unlike the leaves around him he lay undisturbed by the wind gust.


    Max stepped away. It was just a little kid. He looked asleep, his dark skinwas a shade of blue and purple, almost translucent. Thin parchment spanning a fragile frame.


    The boy wore black jeans and an orange T-shirt with a ‘Save The Oceans’ logo across his chest. A crusted gash was on his forehead. Any time now he’d move, open his eyes and jump up, laughing.


    “He’s dead,” Tony said again, this time contemptuously, his eyes wells of tears.


    Max’s chest felt crushed like the time he’d fallen on his back from the school yardjungle gym and he couldn’t pull air in. He managed to say, “Maybe he’s not.”


    Tony shook his head. “The little piss head. Dumb shit! He didn’t do whathe should have and now he’s dead. Stupid kid!”


    Max stared at the kid. For a moment he sawTonylying in the boy’s place.Max choked. “He’s sick or something.” He hedged closer and squatted down, hesitantly touching the boy’s face. The skin was unusually cold, and the cheek dented in easily, like clay. Max jumped back falling on his backside.


    “He’s dead. Can’t you see that cut on his head? They smashed him with something.Hard!” Richie loudly told him, his hands clutched at his side.


    “No. Maybe it was an accident. Or a car hit him.”


    “Grow up, Max. It happens,”Tony said softly now, grabbing Max’s sleeveand jerking him to his feet. “We have to tell.”


    On his feet again, Max let Tony continue pulling him toward his own house. At the front door Tony using his key, lead Max inside.


    They softly moved through the silent house to the kitchen in back, bright light from the many windows illuminating their way. Nothing was ever out of place there. Alwaysa bleachy smell in the air as if someone wiped off everything to disinfect and kill all the germs before they contaminated the inhabitants of the house. This house gave Max the creeps. There was something missing from it. What it was Max knew well, though things have changed since his stepfather now sucks it all up in their family. There was no love and what was there, felt like old toast taste; brittle, crackly and harsh. Most times Max could get Tony to come over to his house and hang out.When Max was here though, at Tony‘s, he felt it. Something always spooked him, only worse this time. Finding the boy did it, never having seen someone dead before.


    He could almost see Tony getting beaten up here. Marus broke Tony‘s leg with thebaseball bat Tony usually kept leaning inside the garage door. Tony said he was batted to short stop, the patio doors calling him out. His parents told people he’d fallen from a backyard tree. Afterwards, Tony put the bat through the lattice work decorating the front porch, out of sight under the stairs so Maris couldn’t use it again.


    Copyright by J.D. Holiday 2014

    0 Comments on From the short story: The Boy In The Leaves by J.D. Holiday as of 4/17/2014 3:05:00 PM
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    21. Celebrity Earth Day!

    Earth from space photo

    How celebrities observe Earth Day

    Earth Day is on its way! Are you ready? What are YOU doing for Earth Day on April 22? We asked Disney stars like Ross Lynch, Olivia Holt, and a bunch of others what they did last Earth Day (and every day) to stay green. You might be inspired!

    ROSS LYNCHAUSTIN & ALLYTEEN BEACH MOVIEMAIA MITCHELLBLAKE MICHAELDOG WITH A BLOGCHLOE AND HALLE BAILEYCAMERON BOYCEJESSIECALUM WORTHYKICKIN’ ITA.N.T. FARMLAB RATSGOOD LUCK CHARLIESHAKE IT UPlove our planet EVERY DAY!

    image from kids.scholastic.com— En-Szu, STACKS Staffer

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    22. The Imaginary Veterinary: Review Haiku

    Coolest internship
    ever. But watch out for those
    Welcome Wagon-eers!

    The Imaginary Veterinary #1: The Sasquatch Escape and The Imaginary Veterinary #2: The Lonely Lake Monster by Suzanne Selfors, illustrated by Dan Santat. Little Brown, 2013, 240 pages.

    0 Comments on The Imaginary Veterinary: Review Haiku as of 4/18/2014 7:23:00 AM
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    23. Ask an Editor: Villain POVs

    Stacy Whitman photo

    Stacy Whitman is Editorial Director and Publisher of Tu Books, an imprint of LEE & LOW BOOKS that publishes diverse science fiction and fantasy for middle grade and young adult readers. This blog post was originally posted at her blog, Stacy Whitman’s Grimoire

    I have to admit, I really hate reading villain POVs. There are so few villains that have any redeemable qualities, and especially starting a book out with the villain’s point of view when they’re murdering and/or plundering just makes me go, “Why do I want to read this book, again?”

    This is actually one of the things I hated most about the famous adult fantasy series Wheel of Time, though I love the series in general: I hated the amount of time spent on this Forsaken’s love of naked mindless servants, and that Forsaken’s love of skinning people, or whatever. Yeah, yeah, I get it, they’re irredeemably evil. Get back to someone I’m actually ROOTING FOR, which is why I’m reading the book!

    Vodnik sketch

    Vodnik, the villain from Bryce Moore’s novel Vodnik

    Sometimes it’s important to briefly show the villain’s point of view to convey to the reader some information that our hero doesn’t have, but I find more and more that my tolerance for even these kinds of scenes is thinning fast. Too often it’s a substitute for more subtle forms of suspense, laying clues that the reader could pick up if they were astute, the kind of clues that the main character should be putting together one by one to the point where when he or she finally figures it out. Then the reader slaps their own forehead and says, “I should have seen that coming!”

    It’s a completely different matter, of course, when the whole point is for the “villain” to simply be someone on another side of an ideological or political divide where there are no true “bad guys.” Usually this happens in a book in which your narrators are unreliable, which can be very interesting. Often the villain is the hero in their own story, which is far more interesting than a “pure evil” villain—in Lord of the Rings, Sauron is much less interesting than Saruman. Sauron is the source of pure evil, but Saruman made a choice—he thinks, well, evil will win anyway, I might as well be on top in the new world order. There are complications to his motivations.

    Tu Books author Bryce Moore (Vodnikrecently reviewed the first Captain America movie and had this to say about how a character becomes evil, which I think is apropos to this discussion:

    Honestly, if writers spent as much time developing the origin and conflicted ethos of the villains of these movies, I think they’d all be doing us a favor. As it is, it’s like they have a bunch of slips of paper with different elements on them, then they draw them at random from a hat and run with it. Ambitious scientist. Misunderstood childhood. Picked on in school.

    That’s not how evil works, folks. You don’t become evil because you get hit in the head and go crazy. You become evil by making decisions that seemed good at the time. Justified. Just like you become a hero by doing the same thing. A hero or a villain aren’t born. They’re made. That’s one of the things I really liked about Captain America. He’s heroic, no matter how buff or weak he is.

    This is, perhaps, the best description of why villain POVs bug me so much: because they’re oversimplified, villainized. And for some stories, I think villainization works, but I don’t want to see that point of view, because it’s oversimplified and uninteresting. When it’s actually complicated and interesting, then it becomes less “the villain” and more nuanced—sometimes resulting in real evil (after all, I doubt Hitler was an evil baby; he made choices to become the monster he became) and sometimes resulting in a Democrat instead of a Republican or vice versa—ideological, political differences between (usually) relatively good people.

    But there’s a line for me, generally the pillaging/raping/murdering/all manner of human rights abuses line, at which I’m sorry, I just don’t care about this guy’s point of view. The equivalent of this in middle grade books—where pillages/murders/rapes are (hopefully) fewer—or young adult books is the pure evil villain who’s just out to get the main character because the villain is black-hearted, mean, vile, what-have-you. Evil through and through, with no threads of humanity. (Though honestly if he’s killing people “for their own good” to protect a certain more nuanced human viewpoint, I generally still don’t want to see that from his POV.)

    What’s the line for you? Do you like villain points of view? Do you feel they add depth to a story? At what point do you think a villain POV goes from adding nuance or advancing the plot to annoying?

    Filed under: Publishing 101, Tu Books Tagged: ask an editor, fantasy writing, Notes from the Editors, writing advice, writing resources, writing tips

    4 Comments on Ask an Editor: Villain POVs, last added: 4/21/2014
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    24. 2014 International Book Industry Excellence Awards

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    Last week, we were humbled to learn that we received the inaugural International Academic and Professional Publisher Award from the London Book Fair, among a ridiculously esteemed group of nominees across multiple categories. The award, part of a new industry-wide pool of honors, furthers the LBF’s mission to “celebrate the role of the book and the written word at the heart of creative content across all formats.”

    More from the press release:

    These unique new awards, celebrating achievement across the entire business of publishing, will provide a truly global industry vision.  They represent the UK’s recognition of international publishing industry excellence, and take place within the calendar’s most important global publishing event.

    LBF and The Publishers Association have selected an group of UK  judges, working at the heart of each category, whose international or discipline-specific expertise qualifies them to judge their peers’ work.

    For a full list of winners, visit Publishing Perspectiveswho mention in their write-up of the awards ceremony:

    The global book industry saw the birth of something new on Tuesday night, something that will surely grow to become a fixture on the international publishing calendar, something that seemed so right one wondered why it had never existed before.

    Again, we’re humbled and honored—congrats to the other winners and all the nominees (excitedly: a truly global list).

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    25. Three Ways to Teach Etched In Clay by Andrea Cheng

    Jill_EisenbergJill Eisenberg, our Resident Literacy Expert, began her career teaching English as a Foreign Language to second through sixth graders in Yilan, Taiwan as a Fulbright Fellow. She went on to become a literacy teacher for third grade in San Jose, CA as a Teach for America corps member. She is certified in Project Glad instruction to promote English language acquisition and academic achievement. In her column she offers teaching and literacy tips for educators.

    1. Teaching Students About Narrator Bias

    Etched In Clay is a compelling case study for narrator bias and trustworthiness. The text structure with 13 narrators and its economy of words make Dave’s story captivating, especially to middle grade Etched in Clay written and illustrated by Andrea Chengstudents who are beginning to engage with primary sources from the period of American slavery. Students can analyze how each speaker’s social experiences, status, motivations, and values influence his/her point of view, such as evaluating the poems of the slave-owners who would have had a vested interest in popularizing a particular narrative of slavery.

    Using multiple perspectives to tell the story of one life is a striking display of how events can be interpreted and portrayed by different positions in the community. Students face the task of examining the meaning and nuance of each narrator (13 in total!) and what they choose to convey (or don’t).

    Discussion questions include:

    • Why might the author choose to share Dave’s story using multiple speakers? How do multiple narrations develop or affirm the central idea?
    • How do the author’s choices of telling a historical story in present tense and first person narration affect our sympathy toward the narrators and events in the book?
    • Select a poem, such as “Nat Turner,” and defend why the author chose a particular narrator to tell that event or moment. How would the event and poem be different if another, like Reuben Drake, had told it?
    • Are there narrators the readers can trust more than others? Why or why not? What makes a narrator (un)trustworthy? How is each narrator (un)reliable? Why might one of these narrators not tell readers the “whole” truth? Does having more than one narrator make the story overall more reliable? Why or why not?
    • How does a narrator’s position in society or in Dave’s life affect what he/she knows? How does the historical context affect what a narrator may or may not know and his/her reliability? How can readers check a narrator’s knowledge of facts?
    • What is the motivation of each narrator to share?
    • Does this alternation between narrators build compassion or detachment for Dave in readers? How so?
    • Why is it important to learn the history of slavery from slaves themselves?
    • Compare and contrast the conditions of slavery from Dave’s point of view and Lewis Miles.
    • How do the slaveholders depict the relationships with their slaves? How do the slaves depict their relationships with the slaveholders?
    • Compare Dave and Lewis Miles’ perceptions of the Civil War.
    • Consider whether Dave and David Drake should be considered one perspective or two.
    • Contrast how each narrator feels about antebellum South Carolina.
    • Who might be the audience the narrators are telling their version of events to (themselves, God, a news reporter, etc.)? Are they the same? Why is intended audience important to consider?
    • Argue whether 13 points of view flesh out this figure or make Dave and his life even more elusive.

    2. Poetry Month and Primary Sources

    As “Primary Sources + Found Poetry = Celebrate Poetry Month” suggests, the Library of Congress proposes an innovative way to combine poetry and nonfiction. Teaching With The Library of Congress recently re-posted the Found Poetry Primary Source Set that “supports students in honing their reading and historical comprehension skills by creating poetry based upon informational text and images.” Students will study primary source documents, pull words and phrases that show the central idea, and then use those pieces to create their own poems.

    This project not only enables teachers to identify whether a student grasps a central idea of a text, but also encourages students to interact with primary sources in much the same way as Etched In Clay’s Andrea Cheng. When researching Dave’s life and drawing inspiration for her verses, Andrea Cheng integrated the small pieces of evidence of Dave’s life, including poems on his pots and the bills of sale.

    3. Common Core and the Appendix B Document

    Many middle school educators are currently using Henrietta Buckmaster’s “Underground Railroad,” a recommended text exemplar for grades 4-5, and Ann Petry’s Harriet Tubman: Conductor on the Underground Railroad and Frederick Douglass’s Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass An American Slave, Written by Himself, recommended text exemplars for grades 6-8 in the Common Core State Standards’ Appendix B document.

    Educators can couple Etched In Clay with those texts to involve reluctant or struggling readers, prepare incoming middle school students, and scaffold content and language for English Language Learners. Additionally, Andrea Cheng’s biography offers educators an inquiry-based project for ready and advanced readers to analyze “how two texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take” (CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.9).

    For a more inclusive, diversity-themed collection of contemporary authors and characters of color, check out our Appendix B Diversity Supplement.

    Further reading:

    Andrea Cheng on Writing Biography in Verse

    A Poem from Etched in Clay


    Filed under: Curriculum Corner Tagged: African/African American Interest, appendix b, CCSS, close reading, common core standards, Educators, ELA common core standards, History, National Poetry Month, poetry, reading comprehension, slavery

    0 Comments on Three Ways to Teach Etched In Clay by Andrea Cheng as of 4/19/2014 9:09:00 AM
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