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1. New Books and New Reviews

We have had a busy year so far we have released 15 books and we have seven more on the way. We appreciate all the comments from editors, reporters and bloggers. I have shared a few favorites here, enjoy!

 

Achoo_187Feathered Quill Book Reviews
“This is a fun book that will teach young children about pollen and why we need it. Of course many children who are allergic to some forms of pollen might not find it useful, but they will adore Baby Bear. He sneezes here and there throughout this highly informative book, one that makes it easy for children to understand the pollination process. The artwork is fun, vibrant and the picture book format makes it easy for even the most reluctant reader to learn some very interesting facts.”

 

AnimalMouths_187NSTA Recommends
“Teachers and their young students will eat this book right up! It offers K-3 students a unique and exciting opportunity to get an up close and personal view of the many types of animal mouths in nature. It stands out among other books of its type because of the stunning photographs and interesting descriptive text that conveys content information about the structure and function of animals’ mouths.”

 

Fibonacci_187Outnumbered 3 to 1
“This book is absolutely fantastic at teaching the basics of Fibonacci’s sequence to younger kids. So well laid out and with the perfect illustrations to accompany it. My oldest has always had a thing for math and she thinks this book is “so cool I can’t believe I’m learning this.”

 

PrimateSchool_187Goodreads Review
“Readers will quickly realize just how intelligent primates are and how they can grow bored easily with nothing to do. The photographs from various zoos in the United States feature some primates such as the golden lion tamarin and the white-cheeked gibbon that I have not often seen featured in nature books before. There are many shots of the animals and the zoo keepers hard at work–or play, depending on one’s perspective.”

 

ThisLand_187ACS Readers Haven
Catherine Ciocchi has written in rhyming cadence a sweet and simple geography lesson. Kids won’t even realize that they have just had a lesson in geography. This is educational entertainment done well.

 
 

WandrngWoolly_187Literary Classics
“This is a lovely book which incorporates learning about the Woolly Mammoth while teaching an understanding of the importance of staying close to an adult for safety’s sake. Gabriel has skillfully blended fact and fiction in this book which young boys and girls are sure to connect with on many levels. This book is highly recommended for home and school libraries and for classroom reading.”

Read more reviews by visiting each book’s homepage, and check out our upcoming books ready for reviewing this fall!

AmphbnReptile_187 HungriestMouth_187 LuckyLitter_187 SoundsSavanna_187 SparrowTrees_187 TheyJustKnow_187 TortoiseHare_187

 

If you would like to review an Arbordale book for your blog or magazine please leave a note in the comments.


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2. Disney Descendants Video Interview

Disney DescendantsMeet Cameron Boyce, Sofia Carson, and Booboo Stewart from Descendants

Attention villains and heroes alike! The new Disney Channel movie Descendants premieres Friday, July 31, at 8 p.m.! Are you excited to see what happens after “happily-ever-after?” Well, I got the chance to sit down with Cameron, Sofia, and Booboo and discuss their roles in the movie!

BOOBOO STEWART, DOVE CAMERON, CAMERON BOYCE, SOFIA CARSON, MITCHELL HOPE, SARAH JEFFERY

Image credit: Disney Channel/Jack Rowand

It was a blast getting to know Cameron, Sofia, and Booboo. I could see the camaraderie and friendship between them as they poked fun at each other and laughed together. They all reminded me in good, not evil, ways of their characters in Descendants. It was clear how much they loved creating this movie. Watch my exclusive videos with the stars below!

They started off with some words of wisdom about lessons fans can take away from Descendants. Apparently, this movie has a lot to teach you about growing up and becoming your own person.

Things became even more interesting when I asked what they wished they had known before filming the movie. Watch their funny responses here. Seems like Cameron Boyce did not like wearing that tight leather jacket!

Want to see more videos? Descendants stars reveal their favorite villains, other villain’s kids they would like to meet, glimpses into their own childhoods, second chances, and what it means to be the fairest of them all!

I could have hung out with these awesome stars all day, and I can’t wait to see Descendants! Leave a Comment about the interview and what about Descendants you’re most excited to see!

Megan, STACKS Intern

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3. New Magnus Chase Series from Rick Riordan

the sword of summerThe First Book in the New Magnus Chase Series Comes Out October 6, 2015!

If you are a Percy Jackson fan wondering what to read next, then Rick Riordan has just solved your problem! He is the author of the Percy Jackson series, and he is writing a NEW series about a NEW demi-god. Get ready to meet Magnus Chase!

Book #1: The Sword of Summer

Magnus Chase has seen his share of trouble. Ever since that terrible night two years ago when his mother told him to run, he has lived alone on the streets of Boston, surviving by his wits, staying one step ahead of the police and truant officers.

One day, someone else tracks him down—his uncle Randolph, a man his mother had always warned him about. Randolph starts rambling about Norse history and Magnus’s birthright: a weapon that has been lost for thousands years. And also, Magnus’ father was a Norse god.

But he doesn’t have time to consider it all before a fire giant attacks the city, forcing him to choose between his own safety and the lives of hundreds of innocents . . .

DUN DUN DUUUUNN! *dramatic sound effect*

Will you be reading this new series by the author of Percy Jackson, Heroes of Olympus, and Kane Chronicles? Leave a Comment!

Sonja, STACKS Staffer

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4. Entering the Zone: Psychologically Managing Impotence

premature ejaculation can make men very sadImpotence is among the greatest concerns encountering guys, specifically as we age, which is why we feel like it’s an extremely important subject to address. After a male has actually experienced erectile dysfunction when, it’s most likely he will certainly have anxiety concerning performing once again. ED can be an awkward as well as stressful encounter– even with the very best and most encouraging partner. There are always simpler remedies, like obtaining economical Viagra for your room concerns. Nevertheless, it’s beneficial to take a minute and get involved in the appropriate mood prior to climbing under the sheets.

Leave your work life outside of the bedroom

Have you ever before found yourself aiming to delight in something, but your mind insists on being a million miles away? If this is the case, I’m sure you have wondered how and if you can stop premature ejaculation from ever occurring. Well, we all know the anxieties of adult life– works, kids, costs– can usually sidetrack us from what’s right before us. This can be especially true in the bedroom. It’s easy sufficient to begin daydreaming regarding the project you have to turn into your manager in the morning, while you’re expected to be concentrated on your companion. Make it a habit to police your personal ideas throughout sex, or in the bedroom duration. By doing this, your mind will certainly identify the bedroom as a room for leisure, sleep, and also intimacy with your partner.

Good affirmation, for a firmer you

Think about duplicating everyday words of confirmation to on your own. Favorable affirmations are short, good keyword phrases that you duplicate to on your own over and over, in order to reveal adjustment in your life. If you were aiming to materialize better bed room efficiency, you might repeat phrases like “I am a sexually healthy and balanced and positive guy” or “I will have a firm erection!”.

Relax, do not do it … not yet anyway.

Prior to you choose to participate in sexual activity, aim to de-stress. There are plenty of methods to de-stress, as well as not everyone relaxes similarly. Cardiovascular exercise is one method of relaxation. It launches feel-good endorphins in the mind, as well as obtains blood moving through the physical body. Doing non-aerobic workouts like yoga, that need a lot of deep breathing as well as purpose, are another course to take. You can additionally try soaking in a warm bath-tub or spa. Or, you might trade massage therapies with your companion– which can function as a relaxer in addition to a catalyst for sexual activity.

Just what else can I do?

Take into consideration taking prescribed medication, and of course you will need to talk with your doctor if you decide to go this route. There are also topical sprays like promescent but read reviews first. Utilizing medicine for erectile dysfunction could relieve a few of the stress of trying to maintain an erection normally. For the best price Viagra, attempt browsing online. And one more point … relax!

More Info:

Best premature ejaculation tips

 …

The post Entering the Zone: Psychologically Managing Impotence appeared first on Health & Fitness Book Publishers.

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5. Harry Potter Would You Rather

Harry Potter StampHarry Potter Would You Rather

EnergeticGriffin20 posted this Harry Potter Would You Rather Quiz on the Harry Potter Message Board.

Would You Rather . . . 

  1. Be a Slytherin or Gryffindor?
  2. Be a Hufflepuff or Ravenclaw?
  3. Get stuck in the Chamber of Secrets for 10 minutes or get stuck in a closed room with Dementors for 10 minutes?
  4. Be Professor Dumbledore or Professor McGonagall?
  5. Be a Quidditch player or not?
  6. Study Charms or Potions?
  7. Have a detention with Professor Snape or Professor Umbridge?
  8. Live with Harry Potter your whole life or live with Hermione your whole life?
  9. Be a professor at Hogwarts or a student at Hogwarts?

Leave your answers in the Comments and go visit the Harry Potter Message Board to join the conversation.

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6. Roller Coaster Name Generator

roller coasterWhat’s Your Roller Coaster Name?

I’m a sucker for a great roller coaster ride. Did it leave me winded? Did I almost puke? Did my soul leave my body at least once? Did I scream, “WHY DID I AGREE TO GET ON THIS RIDE?!” If yes to all the above, that was the BEST RIDE EVER! I’m always the one saying, “That was terrifying! Can we do that again? Pretty please?”

The major bummer about roller coaster rides, though, is that there are always waiting lines for the good ones that go on forEVER. If you’re looking for a way to pass the time, we would like to unveil our extremely awesome Roller Coaster Name Generator!!! Extra extreme! Extra wild!

If you’re new to our name generators, have no fear. Here’s how this works: Find the first initial of your first name in the list below. That word is your roller coaster first name. Then look at the list of the months below and find the month of your birthday. That word is your roller coaster last name. For example, my name begins with an E and my birthday is in March, so my new roller coaster name would be Sky Fury!

  • A – Monster
  • B – Crazy
  • C – Battle
  • D – Air
  • E – Sky 
  • F – Haunted
  • G – Iron
  • H – Mystic
  • I – Parachute
  • J – Magic
  • K – Pirate
  • L – Power
  • M – Rocket
  • N – Storm
  • O – Whitewater
  • P – River
  • Q – Nitro
  • R – Lightning
  • S – Dragon
  • T – Cannonball
  • U – Extreme
  • V – Slingshot
  • W – Space
  • X – Wipeout
  • Y – Cosmic
  • Z – Avalanche
  • JANUARY – Adventure
  • FEBRUARY – Loops
  • MARCH – Fury
  • APRIL – Drop
  • MAY – Whip
  • JUNE – Escape
  • JULY – Flyer
  • AUGUST – Runner
  • SEPTEMBER – Express
  • OCTOBER – Boomerang
  • NOVEMBER – Racer
  • DECEMBER – Chariot

Don’t forget to share your new Roller Coaster name in the Comments section below!

See ya later,

En-Szu (a.k.a. Sky Fury)

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7. Spotlight On: REFORMA’S Children in Crisis Project

From time to time here on the LEE & LOW blog we like to shine a spotlight on organizations, companies, or projects that move us. Today we’re featuring a special project close to our heart: the Children in Crisis Project from REFORMA, the National Association To Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos.

Preparing books for donation (image from REFORMA website)

Last year, over 70,000 unaccompanied children crossed the Southern border into the United States. This is a true humanitarian crisis, with many of these children ending up in detention centers, awaiting immigration processing or deportation. They have few or no personal belongings, don’t know English, and have been separated from their families with no sense of if or when they will be reunited.

Oralia Garza de Cortes, Lucía Gonzalez, and Patrick Sullivan are three longtime members of REFORMA who were moved to help. They implemented the Children in Crisis project to solicit donations, purchase, and deliver books and backpacks to the children in detention centers. In the first phase of the drive, they raised enough funds and donations to deliver 300 books to children in the McAllen Texas Centralized Processing Center, and they have since delivered several hundred more. Currently they are coordinating donations of backpacks that will contain books as well as paper, pencils, erasers, crayons and a writing journal for children to use in their journey toward their destination.

The project is a moving illustration of how librarians essentially serve as caretakers of their communities, bridging the gap between resources and the people who need them. “As the immigrant child that I was, I remember that first librarian taking me to the Spanish section with three or four Spanish books. I hope every child will find that librarian, like an oasis in a desert,” said Lucía Gonzalez.

When asked why they felt that librarians should have a role in outreach to these children, Oralia Garza de Cortes said, “We reached out as a humanitarian cause, just something so overwhelming that we really had to come together to do something.”

Patrick Sullivan added, “It’s also a counterbalance to some of those xenophobic Americans. The initial reception that some of these people received . . . was depressing and doesn’t show how we are as Americans. Librarians reach out to their communities every day and this was something we had to respond to. ”

The process for getting the books into children’s hands was a challenging one, given detention centers’ heavy regulation and policing. The group made contact with the border patrol, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and even contractors in order to find a way to deliver the books. “The books were welcome, but the problem was getting in touch with the right people,” said Sullivan. They were prohibited from entering the detention facilities themselves to deliver the books.

Delivering books to a shelter. (image from REFORMA website)

“This is just mega gyms full of people lying on mattresses on the floor and there’s just no space,” said Garza de Cortes. “They are in these freezing warehouses and have no idea what’s happening. If they had a good book, that would take them along on their journey.”

Although it would be an added effort, the group decided to include bookplates in each donated book, an idea that came from longtime REFORMA member Sandra Valderrama.  “It was cumbersome, but to have the message in the book saying, ‘This is your book, and you’re free to take it wherever you want and it will give you light and be your companion,’ it was a very powerful message,” said Garza de Cortes.

Said Gonzalez, “For many of them this is the first book they own and it is a very unique experience.”

The group hopes the donated books will serve as the beginning, not the end, of children’s relationship with their libraries.  “What we’d like to do is interject ourselves to those kids who will eventually end up in the United States,” said Sullivan. “There are contacts that can happen that go beyond just the books. We’re trying to convey the idea that libraries are these free open places with lots of information.”

“The families need guidance,” said Gonzalez. “If they don’t have a place like the public library, where are they going to go? How are they going to get this information?”

Garza de Cortes, Gonzalez, and Sullivan were named 2015 Movers & Shakers by School Library Journal for their work. You can learn more about ways to help here.

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8. Meet August Maturo from Girl Meets World

Girl Meets World stars August Maturo as Auggie AUGUST MATURO from Girl Meets World (Auggie)

Q: Is there an actor or an actress that you would love to guest star on Girl Meets World?
August: I would say President Obama and the First Lady to guest star because I really want to meet them.

Q: Describe Sabrina and Rowan in real life.
August: Rowan is always hugging and kissing me, and whenever I’m in the hallway she just runs and grabs me and calls me her love. And Sabrina is just like a little bird singing in the halls always.

AUGUST MATURO in Girl Meets World

Photo credit: DISNEY CHANNEL/Kelsey McNeal

Q: Your birthday’s in August, right?
August: Yeah. That’s not why I’m named August. My mom was reading in the magazine that she saw . . .
Mom: Mariska Hargitay was talking about her son, August, who was just born.
August: And she was going to name me Ocean. And she saw that and she said, “I’m going to name my kid August.”
Mom: My husband’s a surfer and I wanted to name him Ocean, but I just didn’t have the guts because it was so different and everyone was giving me a hard time. “You can’t name your kid Ocean.” So then I said, “Ok, I’ll name this one August,” when I saw the name. But then when I found out I was having another boy, I’m like, “I don’t care what anybody thinks. I’m naming him Ocean. I like the name.” I’ll set the trend. I don’t need to follow a trend. I let Auggie pick through the names.
August: It was Ocean or Silas, and I picked Ocean. And she didn’t care. She just named him Ocean. Don’t think what other people think of you.

Q: What is the thing that you’re most proud about doing?
August: Being a big brother to Ocean, and taking care of him, making sure that he’s always safe so he can learn more life lessons.

Q: What has made you laugh really hard?
August: Oh, every single day, every single night, any time, Ocean. He always makes me laugh – his Vines, his everything, really funny. I just have him do things and I videotape him with my iPad for the movie and we do it and it’s just . . . funny.

Q: Obviously you love acting but would you like to be anything else when you grow up?
A
ugust: Yeah. I would like to be lots of things when I grow up. Oh, top two? I’ll say . . . world traveler and . . . singer.

Q: What kind of music do you like?
August: Sabrina Carpenter’s new album. It’s called Eyes Wide Open. Her album is really good.
Mom:  It’s great. What’s your favorite song on that one?
August: “Right Now”.

Q: During the breaks on Girl Meets World, do you hang out together?
August: In my dressing room, if Ocean was there, I would play with him. If not, I would just play with my cast mates if they’re done with school and they’re not in rehearsal or filming.

Q: Have you ever been bullied?
August: Well, this boy bullied me. His mom died. He was bullying me because I had a mom and he didn’t have a mom.
Mom: We think that’s probably why he was bullying. So we explained to Auggie why maybe this boy was doing that because he was still hurting about losing his mom.

Q: If you could have only one toy, one game, one book, what would you like?
August: I would like an iPad that has lots of apps. It has all the apps in the world. I could get to it quickly. I wouldn’t have to swipe up to turn it on. Its battery would never die. It would still be at 100% and the memory would never get full.

Q: What is your favorite TV show?
August: How It’s Made – it’s on the Science Channel – because I just want to see how everything works and how it’s made. I want to be a scientist when I grow up, too.

Q: What do you do on your YouTube channel?
August: We do science videos. I have done “Rubber Egg and Chicken Bone”. It’s when you turn the egg – you don’t take the shell off, not hard boiled, just a regular egg – into rubber and a chicken bone, the leg, into rubber too. And you put them both in vinegar and the vinegar eats the calcium and it’s rubber.

We’ll do crazy science experiments, too. Ocean was saying, “Put this clay in a cup, mix it and put baking soda in it and it’s a weird experiment.”

Q: Do you have a favorite book now?
August: The Wayside School because it has lots of tales about the students and it’s really funny. It’s really funny.

Q: You actually read your scripts. When did you start doing that?
August: Yeah. I learned to read and write when I was two. I got a typewriter for Christmas and I can write notes and I’m going to write a script. I’m writing books too. I made my first book already. It’s called Uncle Cheese, and it’s about my uncle Steve. Because the three triplets that I have that are cousins can’t pronounce that so instead they call him “Uncle Cheese.”

Q: What grade are you in?
August: I’m turning eight this year. So I should be in third. But I’ve been in kindergarten for two years. I switched schools and they made me go back to kindergarten. Then I skipped second grade. When I’m going to turn eight I should’ve been in third grade, but in reality it’s fourth.
Mom: So he’ll be 16 when he graduates high school.

Q: Do you have advice for kids who might want to become an actor like you?
August: Get an agent and follow your dreams.

Interview by Marie Morreale

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9. Losing Weight The RIGHT Way – How to Find Health Through Balance

simple tips for getting healthyHere at the Health Book Publishers, we’re going to be covering a ton of great material, but most importantly, we’re going to focus on all of the ways that you can obtain a balanced AND health life. This can be done through a variety of different means and methods, and two of the most important factors are of course diet and excericse. So today we’re going to dive right into a couple of really quick tips on how taking just a couple of very little steps can generate a massive return when it comes to your overall health.

If you really stop as well as look around you, you will certainly discover that almost anywhere you transform you will certainly see an advertisement regarding a brand-new wonder healthy weight management diet regimen. Normally these programs inform you that if you use their system that you will see lead to 7 days. Actually some could even take the assurance even more and also guarantee weight management in also under three days. Extraordinary, or is it? To be sincere visitor these programs are existing to you a lot of the moments. I need to confess some will certainly provide on their promise to drop those additional pounds; nevertheless at what expense.

Generally your physical body will certainly require around 2000 to 2500 calories daily in order to preserve your current physical body weight. So normally if you were to minimize you calorie count then over time you will certainly slim down. Some diets might take this to the extreme in that they think that if you eliminate points like fats then you will certainly slim down. They achieve the wanted results however at a cost to your wellness. Additionally users of these so called healthy fat burning diet regimen programs often acquire the weight after they have actually finished the program.

A good healthy weightloss diet program will incorporate all food teams as healthy and balanced diet plans are based upon balance and also not on removal. As a result when thinking about going on a diet you must contact your medical professional to identify whether or a particular diet regimen is right for you. This will also aid to clear up any sort of complication that you may have concerning a specific diet regimen program.

In addition a good diet regimen will require that you do some quantity of workout daily as diet programs is more reliable when paired with workout. Most importantly when you decide on a diet plan program, stay with it. The majority of people make the blunder of going back to their unhealthy habits as well as wind up gaining back the weight or perhaps a lot more.

A lot more terrific health ideas coming soon … In the meantime, here’s a video clip to aid maintain you motivated!

The post Losing Weight The RIGHT Way – How to Find Health Through Balance appeared first on Health & Fitness Book Publishers.

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10. Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's LibraryNew Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library Book Trailer!

Have you seen STACKS Writer En-Szu’s awesome video for Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein? If you have ever thought about being trapped overnight in the coolest library in the world, watch this video!

Escape from Mr. Lemoncell's Library Video

Tell us what you think in the Comments! Are you already a fan of Mr. Lemoncello’s Library?

Sonja, STACKS Staffer

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11. Vegetarian Trivia Quiz

Trivia QuizKids Going Meatless: Interview and Trivia Quiz

We know a lot of you are curious about being vegetarian. I recently talked to a 7-year-old who gave up meat when she was 6, and here is her perspective:

Q: Why did you decide to become a vegetarian?
A: I don’t think it’s right to kill animals. It feels good because I love animals and don’t want to hurt them. It all started because I thought pigs were cute, when I was little.

Q: What foods do you choose to eat instead/ what are your favorite vegetarian alternatives?
A: Fake meat, rice tacos, and green beans. I also eat a lot of fruit, quinoa and cheese.

Q: What do your parents think?
A: They think I’m a picky eater and wish I would eat more vegetables. But they are proud of me.

Q: Do you miss eating meat?
A: No, because fake meat tastes like real meat. I just tried vegetarian breakfast sausage this weekend and loved it!

Pretty interesting, huh? Her parents are meat eaters, and always maintained a healthy diet through eating meat, so I thought it was pretty neat she reached this decision all on her own. Check out our quiz below for more vegetarian vision:

1. Name one thing a vegetarian would NOT eat.

2. What is a vegetarian called who ALSO doesn’t eat any animal products like eggs or dairy? Hint: it also starts with “veg.”

3. TRUE or FALSE. Ariana Grande, Debby Ryan, Demi Lovato, and Laura Marano are all vegetarians.

4. If you don’t eat meat, you might not be getting enough protein in your diet. Name a food you can eat that DOES contain protein.

Want to check your answers on the quiz? Look below…

1. Name something a vegetarian would NOT eat.
ANSWER: Any kind of meat like steak, hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken, fish, or basically any food that is an animal.

2. What is a vegetarian called who ALSO doesn’t eat any animal products like eggs or dairy?ANSWER: Vegan. A vegan doesn’t eat anything an animal produces. That means no cheese, milk, ice cream, or eggs. This is a much more strict vegetarian diet.

3. TRUE or FALSE. Ariana Grande, Debby Ryan, Demi Lovato, and Laura Marano are all vegetarians.
ANSWER: Absolutely true! Laura Marano even became the new face of the Humane Society’s Meatless Monday campaign, which encourages people to take a break from eating meat one day a week.

4. If you don’t eat meat, you might not be getting enough protein in your diet. Name a food you can eat that DOES contain protein.
ANSWER: Dairy, nuts, beans, soy, and tofu to name a few!

What about you guys? Is anyone out there vegetarian? Or do you prefer to maintain a healthy and good diet through eating meats? Let us know YOUR thoughts in the Comments below!

-Ratha, STACKS Writer

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12. 8 Books to Celebrate International Friendship Day

August 2nd - also known as International Friendship Day- is almost here. (I know, summer is going by WAY too fast).

In honor of International Friendship Day, break out your half of your friendship heart necklace and take some time to remind others how much they mean to you.  If you’re unable to make plans to enjoy each other’s company, a simple gesture, such as a card or hand-written letter, will certainly make them feel loved.

Better yet, say it with a book! Reading books about friendship gives Internationalyou an opportunity to talk about the characteristics of a good friend, and seeing others from diverse backgrounds sharing and being kind to each other positively affects how children will interact and treat others.

Here are 8 books that celebrate friendship and some fun activities to make International Friendship Day a memorable one.

The Hula-Hoopin’ Queen

Juna’s Jar

Up the Learning Tree

David’s Drawings

First Come the Zebra

The Can Man

Rainbow Joe and Me

The Legend of Freedom Hill

  1. Make a Friendship Card

One of the simplest and most appreciated gestures is to make someone a card to let them know you’re thinking of them. Receiving anything heartfelt in the mail is a rare and welcomed occurrence these days.

  1. Make Friendship Bracelets

You don’t need to go to summer camp to make these! They make great gifts and they’re also fun to make.

  1. Do a Random Act of Kindness

International Friendship Day isn’t just about your closest friends. Reach out and be a friend to others.

  1. Write a friendly letter

Whether it be a close or new friend-near or far- taking the time to write a letter shows how much you care.

veronicabioVeronica has a degree from Mount Saint Mary College and joined LEE & LOW in the fall of 2014. She has a background in education and holds a New York State childhood education (1-6) and students with disabilities (1-6) certification. When she’s not wandering around New York City, you can find her hiking with her dog Milo in her hometown in the Hudson Valley, NY.

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13. Perfect Planet Writing Prompt

Writing promptDescribe Your Perfect Planet!

Even if you’re not an intergalactic space traveler yet, that doesn’t mean you can’t go exploring with your mind. So we want to know . . .

If you discovered the most perfect planet in the universe, what would be on it? What would it look like, smell like, taste like? What would you do if you could spend an entire day on your perfect planet?

I know what my perfect planet would be like. My perfect planet would look a lot like Earth, but way better. It would be super-duper green, just green fields for miles, and amazing forests, and breathtaking waterfalls and lakes. And it would be full of the friendliest, cutest animals (all vegan, of course, because it’d be stressful if they ate each other), and with trees that produce the most delicious fruit in the world . . . . regular fruit, but also fruit that tastes like pizza! And sushi! And hamburgers! And the bugs would all be very pretty, too, and not scary-looking or vicious. No mosquito bites on this planet! When the wind blows — only a gentle breeze — it would sound like an orchestra of tiny bells playing my favorite songs. There would be perfect sandy beaches where it never gets too hot, and even on the snowy mountain tops it would never get too cold. I would never need to wear more layers than a sweater over my t-shirt! It would always be perfectly sunny during the day and cool at night. The water running through the rivers and streams would taste pure and sweet, and nothing on the planet would be poisonous. The air would be ultra-fresh and randomly smell like cookies baking (the best smell in the universe)!

Let’s hear what your perfect planet would be like. Share your dream planet’s description in the Comments below!

En-Zsu, STACKS Writer

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14. Gamer’s Guide to Pretty Much Everything

Cameron Boyce and Sophie reynolds in Gamer's Guide to Pretty Much EverythingNew Disney XD Show Gamer’s Guide to Pretty Much Everything

Popular YouTube Personality Stampy Cat Guest Stars!

The dizzying global spectator sport of professional video gaming is captured in a new show Gamer’s Guide to Pretty Much Everything starring Cameron Boyce (from Jessie and Disney’s Descendants), premiering Wednesday, July 22 at 9:30 p.m. ET/PT on Disney XD.

GAMER'S GUIDE TO PRETTY MUCH EVERYTHING

Image credit Disney XD/Craig Sjodin

Cool and charismatic Conor gains notoriety as “KidFury,” a professional video game player, but he suffers a devastating thumb injury that forces him out of the glamorous pro gaming world. After years of being tutored on the international pro circuit, he begins high school for the first time and meets 3 fellow gamers, Franklin, Wendell, and Ashley. They team up to form the first ever gaming league at their school, and together they learn that building lasting friendships in the real world is more important than accumulating high scores in the digital one.

In the premiere episode, Conor desperately wants to get his pro card back, so he recruits Franklin, Wendell, and Ashley to play the game for him. However, a failed attempt to ditch school early to practice the game lands the foursome in detention with the toughest teacher in the school. The team must find a way to escape detention before the online gaming tournament begins if Conor has any hope of returning to the pro gaming circuit. Stampy Cat makes a cameo in this episode as the announcer for the pro gaming tournament.

Will you be watching this new show? And also, how dumb are they to try to sneak out of school early?? They deserve to get in big trouble for that! Tell us what you think in the Comments! And take the personality quiz to find out what kind of gamer YOU are!

Sonja, STACKS Staffer

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15. New Spring and Fall Releases from LEE & LOW BOOKS and Tu Books!

Summer is here in full force. It’s the perfect time to curl up pool- or beachside with a good book! Look no further than our new spring and fall releases!

Finding the Music/En pos de la música

When Reyna accidentally breaks her abuelito’s old vihuela, she travels around her neighborhood trying to figure out how to repair it. In the process, she discovers her grandfather’s legacy. Written by Jennifer Torres and illustrated by Renato Alarcão.

Sunday Shopping

Evie and her grandma go shopping every Sunday. They put on their nightgowns, open up the newspapers,  and turn on their imaginations. Written by Sally Derby and illustrated by Shadra Strickland.

Poems In The Attic Text here

A young girl finds her mother’s poems written when her mother traveled around in a military family. The young girl writes her own related poems. Written by Nikki Grimes and illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon.

Ira’s Shakespeare Dream

Ira Aldridge dreamed of acting in Shakespeare’s plays. Because of a lack of opportunity in the United States, Ira journeys to England to pursue his dream of becoming an actor. Written by Glenda Armand and illustrated by Floyd Cooper.

Maya’s Blanket

Maya has a blanket stitched by her Grandma. The blanket later becomes a dress, a skirt, a shawl, a skirt and a headband. This story is inspired by the Yiddish folk song “Hob Ikh Mir a Mantl” (“I Had a Little Coat”). Written by Monica Brown and illustrated by David Diaz.

New from the Tu Books imprint:

Ink and Ashes

Claire Takata discovers her deceased father’s connection to the yakuza, the Japanese mafia, and puts her and her family’s lives in danger. Written by Valynne E. Maetani.

Trail of the Dead

In this sequel to the award-winning Killer of Enemies, Lozen and her family, on the run from the tyrants who once held them hostage, embark on a journey along a perilous trail once followed by her ancestors, where they meet friends and foes alike. Written by Joseph Bruchac.

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16. Two Authors Share Their Favorite Tools to Plot a Story

new visions award winnerThis year marks our sixteenth annual New Voices Award, Lee & Low’s writing contest for unpublished writers of color.

In this blog series, past New Voices winners gather to give advice for new writers. This month, we’re talking about tools authors use to plot their stories.

Pamela Tuck, author of As Fast As Words Could Fly, New Voices Winner 2007

One tip I learned from a fellow author was that a good story comes “full circle”. Your beginning should give a hint to the ending, your middle should contain page-turning connecting pieces, and your ending should point you back to the beginning.

The advantage I had in writing As Fast As Words Could Fly, is that it was from my dad’s life experiences, and the events were already there. One tool that helped me with the plot was LISTENING to the emotions as my dad retold his story. I listened to his fears, his sadness, his excitement, and his determination. By doing this, I was able to “hear” the conflict, the climax, and the resolution.

One major emotion that resonates from my main character, Mason, is confidence. I drew this emotion from a statement my dad made: “I kept telling myself, I can do this.” The challenging part was trying to choose which event to develop into a plot. My grandfather was a Civil Rights activist, so I knew my dad wrote letters for my grandfather, participated in a few sit-ins, desegregated the formerly all-white high school, learned to type, and entered the county typing tournament. Once I decided to use his typing as my focal point, the next step was to create a beginning that would lead up to his typing. This is when I decided to open the story with the idea of my dad composing hand-written letters for his father’s Civil Rights group. I threw in a little creative dialogue to explain the need for a sit-in, and then I decided to introduce the focal point of typing by having the group give him a typewriter to make the letter writing a little easier. To build my character’s determination about learning to type, I used a somewhat irrelevant event my dad shared: priming tobacco during the summer. However, I used this event to support my plot with the statement: “Although he was weary from his day’s work, he didn’t let that stop him from practicing his typing.” His summer of priming tobacco also gave me an opportunity to introduce two minor characters who would later add to the tension he faced when integrating the formerly all-white school.

The second step was to concentrate on a middle that would show some conflict with typing. This is when I used my dad’s experiences of being ignored by the typing teacher, landing a typing job in the school’s library and later being fired without warning, and reluctantly being selected to represent his school in the typing tournament.

Lastly, I created an ending to show the results of all the hard work he had dedicated to his typing, which includes a statement that points back to the beginning (full circle).

Although the majority of the events in As Fast As Words Could Fly are true, I had to carefully select and tweak various events to work well in each section, making sure that each event supported my plot.

Jennifer Torres, author of Finding the Music, New Voices Winner 2011

I’m a huge fan of outlines and have a hard time starting even seemingly simple stories without one. An outline gives me and my characters a nice road map, but that’s not always enough. Once I had an outline for Finding the Music, it was really helpful to visualize the plot in terms of successive scenes rather than bullet points. I even sketched out an actual map to help me think about my main character Reyna’s decisions, development and movement in space and time.

Still, early drafts of the story meandered. There were too many characters and details that didn’t move the plot forward. When stories begin to drift like that, I go back to my journalism experience: Finding the Music needed a nut graph, a newspaper term for a paragraph that explains “in a nutshell” what the story is really about, why it matters. Finding the Music is about a lot of things, but for me, what it’s *really* about is community—the community Reyna’s abuelo helped build through this music and the community Reyna is part of (even though it’s sometimes noisier than she’d like). I think Reyna’s mamá captures that idea of community when she says, “These are the sounds of happy lives. The voices of our neighbors are like music.”

Once I found the heart of the story, it was a lot easier to sharpen up scenes and pull the plot back into focus.

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17. Book Wars: The Giver vs. The List

Book warsBook Wars: The Giver vs. The List

My Book War is between two books that I truly enjoyed: The Giver by Lois Lowry, and The List (for ages 12 and up) by Siobhan Vivian. I would compare a book to the Harry Potter series, but I don’t think anything in this world could be as great as the Harry Potter books! So on to my Book War!

What is the main idea of each book?The List is about the prettiest and ugliest girls in each grade of high school, according to an anonymous list hanging up all around the school. The book explores what life is like for each of the girls on the list. My favorite part of the book was being able to put myself in the ugly girls’ shoes. I enjoyed looking at what life would be like if I were considered the ugliest girl in my grade. I liked it because it not only shows the girls’ struggles, but how they deal with all of it. A girl who is named the Ugly One in the grade decides to not shower, change clothes, or be nice the entire week leading up to homecoming. She thinks that if people already think she is ugly, she can just live up to her image. Another girl is physically attractive and popular, but is named the ugliest because she is a mean person and is ugly on the inside. A freshman is very nervous about what her boyfriend might think about her being labeled as ugly. Her nickname is “Dan the Man” because she is masculine and a great swimmer. She looks to her boyfriend for support, but in the end, they break up. I really like this book because it shows how people see themselves as opposed to how others see them. It also shows how some people are strong and others are weak. The ending was very shocking . . . but I do not want to spoil the book for anyone who wants to read it. It is a relatable book that I think girls especially will enjoy.

The Giver is about a strange community where there is no freedom, no love, no emotion, no color, and no choice of anything. The main character, Jonas, is assigned to be the Receiver of the town, and the Giver has to give him memories of happiness, hope, sadness, disgust, and feelings of the past. Jonas decides that everyone else should feel emotions too, and he comes up with a plan with the Giver to escape the community and leave everyone with the memories he has received. My favorite part of the story is learning about the memories Jonas is taking in. Sometimes he learns about taking sleds down hills and sunny beaches in the summertime. Other times, though, he learns about horrible sunburn, war, and even death. He is stuck with the memories of everyone in the community; the good and bad memories make their way to him. I like learning what is in these memories because it shows everything that the community has chosen to lose and leave behind.

Do I recommend these books?
I do! I recommend both books, but to different audiences. The List is more focused towards girls who like mysteries. The Giver would be equally enjoyable to boys and girls who like imaginative stories about different ways the world might be.

Which book did I like better?
I liked The List better. Both books are excellent, but I felt more in tune with The List because it seems like something that could really happen. The Giver is a little too far-fetched for me, and confusing at times. However, it is definitely worth reading. Make sure to read both of these amazing books! And if you love The Giver, you should try these readalikes!

Grace, Scholastic Kids Council

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18. Soar with Reading: An Open Letter to Jet Blue

Literacy/kidlit folks: please take a minute to read, sign, and share this open letter to Jet Blue about their new Soar with Reading program.  This is a promising pilot program that aims to encourage literacy by placing book vending machines in low-income areas of Washington, DC. Sadly, the selection of books lacks diversity, and only four out of the initial selection of books reflect diverse authors or characters. Author Zetta Elliott, with help from the community, has researched and written an excellent letter to Jet Blue. Please read and sign the letter here, then share it with your networks.

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19. July STACKS Star

Stacks starsMeet BookwormFairy31!

This month, our STACKS Star is BookwormFairy31.

This awesome star loves to bike, dance, and swim. Her favorite subject is writing and she is aspiring to become a famous author one day. (Did you know she is currently writing her own series as we read and type?) When she is not writing, you can also find her reading books or eating her favorite snacks which include chocolate, french fries, and peanut butter cookies.

Would YOU like a chance to become the next STACKS Star? All you have to do is answer the questions below and I will pick one random user to be featured in the August STACKS Blast newsletter. Don’t forget to update your profile and avatar to make it look your best!

  1. What is your STACKS screen name?
  2. What is your favorite book genre and why?
  3. If you could be any fruit in the world, what would you be and why?
  4. If there was one thing you absolutely could not live without, what would it be?
  5. If you could give one gift to every child in the world, what would it be?

To get you all inspired, here are my answers:

  1. CleverPiglet15
  2. My favorite book genre is sci-fi/fantasy because I love all unicorns, dragons, and fairy tales.
  3. If I could be any fruit in the world, I would be a durian! It’s an Asian fruit that is spiky and hard on the outside, but soft and pretty on the inside. Some people don’t like it because they say it smells but I love it anyway because I think it’s delicious and I don’t mind being different.
  4. I could absolutely not live without a pen because I always need to write things down whether it’s my thoughts, things I need to do, letters to people, and pretty much everything.
  5. I wish I could give every child in the world my/their favorite book. Growing up, I used to always read and reread my favorite childhood book. I remember flipping through the pages, reading the words, and then looking for the details in the illustration. It was my favorite thing to do and it never got old!

Leave your answers in the Comments. I can’t wait to see your answers so start typing away!

Sandy, STACKS Staffer

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20. Underdog Kids Karate Movie

Underdog KidsIf you like karate movies, then check out this inspiring, action-packed comedy, Underdog Kids (rated PG)coming July 7 on DVD. The film stars Adam Irigoyen (from Shake It Up! and Wizards of Waverly Place), Ryan Potter (from Big Hero 6 and Supah Ninjas), and Cade Sutton (from Kirby Buckets).

When the struggling Mid-City Community Center’s karate team loses their instructor a week before the big tournament, former MMA champ Jimmy “The Lightning Bolt” returns to his old neighborhood and reluctantly agrees to train the misfit bunch. Despite the struggles they face, the washed-up fighter and group of urban underdogs bravely take on the undefeated Beverly Hills Junior National Karate Team in the ultimate karate showdown at Nationals, and learn confidence, courage and honor along the way.

Watch this video from the Underdog Kids DVD to see the difference between the Beverly Hills team and the misfit underdogs! Can you guess which team is which?

Do you practice karate? What do you think of this new movie Underdog Kids? Leave your thoughts in the Comments!

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21. Quark Dog Create a Caption

Create a CaptionCreate a Caption for Quark the Dog!

Quark sure is one excited golden retriever! I think he is in his kitchen trying to beg for some crispy bacon!

Quark Golden Retriever Dog

Here is my caption: “Bacon, bacon, I smell bacon. There’s only one thing that smells like bacon, and that’s BACON!”

What do YOU think Quark would be saying if he could talk? Write your own caption in the Comments!

Amanda, STACKS Intern

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22. New York City Teachers: How Do You Discover Diverse Literature For Your Students?

It can be challenging to create an inclusive book collection or curriculum. For even the most committed and informed teachers, there is a diversity gap in children’s literature. In addition, there are also the issues of support from colleagues and administrators, time (and money) for discovery, and acquiring best practices.

For those in New York City education, here is an opportunity to share your experiences teaching and searching for culturally relevant and responsive curriculum and books!

Snapshot_20140113Dr. Marilisa Jiménez-García from the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College, CUNY is gathering information about diversity in children’s and young adult literature from the perspective of Literature and Language Arts instructors in New York City public schools. Take her ten-minute survey here.

The goals of the survey are to understand how educators learn about books in their professional development and to find better ways to connect educators to diverse teaching materials.

A message from Dr. Jiménez-García:

Your perspective as a practitioner is important to creating a productive dialogue about today’s Language Arts classroom. I want to learn about your experiences as a teacher in NYC public schools teaching literature in classrooms. 

How are you and your students exposed to diverse stories, authors, and characters? What are some resources that would help you increase the kind of diversity your students receive in literature instruction? What development opportunities would you like to participate in that would enrich your experience as a NYC teacher?”

diverse books teacher surveyDue date: September 15, 2015

Time: Ten minutes

Eligibility:

  1. You must be a current New York City public (district or charter) school teacher
  2. Your area of instruction must be Literature/Language Arts/English and/or English Language Learner instruction

Survey link here.

Responses are confidential and will be used in a larger study on diverse books in schools that Dr. Jiménez-García is doing as a National Council for Teachers of English (NCTE) Cultivating New Voices Among Scholars of Color Fellow. She can be reached at @MarilisaJimenez.

For further reading on Dr. Jiménez-García’s work:

 

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23. The Freedom Principle

9780226319308

This past weekend, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago launched the exhibition The Freedom Principle: Experiments in Art and Music, 1965 to Now, co-organized by Naomi Beckwith and Dieter Roelstraete. An easy explication for the impetus behind the show takes the viewer to the South Side of Chicago in the 1960s, where African American artists and musicians grappled with new language and forms inspired by the black nationalist turn in the Civil Rights movement. I’m plucking that line from the jacket copy, but the show (and its associated book) goes beyond [its important] cultural inventory and instead repositions the wide-ranging experimental works and the community of artists who made them in one particular canon to which they have long-belonged: the history of avant-garde collectives engaged equally in art and social justice.

You can view sample pages from the book here.

From a very brief description via the Art Newspaper:

This year, the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), an avant-garde jazz collective founded on the South Side of Chicago, celebrates its 50th birthday. Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art is joining the festivities with the exhibition The Freedom Principle: Experiments in Art and Music, 1965 to Now. Hingeing on the themes of improvisation, experimentation and collectivity, it looks at the 1960s avant-garde African-American arts scene of the South Side, including the AACM and visual art collectives such as the African Commune of Bad Relevant Artists ­(AfriCOBRA) and art that responds to and continues this legacy.

And from a more fleshed-out version at the MCA Chicago’s website:

The exhibition, which takes its title from a 1984 book by Chicago jazz critic John Litweiler, showcases the multifaceted world of the black avant-garde in Chicago during the 1960s alongside a selection of contemporary artists’ interpretations of this heritage. It includes works of music and art from, among others, AACM-founder, pianist, and painter Muhal Richard Abrams; Art Ensemble of Chicago bandleader Roscoe Mitchell; and AfriCOBRA cofounders Jeff Donaldson, Jae and Wadsworth Jarrell, Barbara Jones-Hogu, and Gerald Williams. Archival materials—brochures, banners, photographs, posters, sheet music, record covers—provide a rich context for the exhibition. Recent works by artists such as Terry Adkins, Nick Cave, Renée Green, Rashid Johnson, Lili Reynaud-Dewar, Cauleen Smith, and Stan Douglas present an ongoing intergenerational conversation about experimentation, improvisation, collective action, and the search for freedom. Working together across multiple platforms, Catherine Sullivan, George Lewis, Charles Gaines, and Sean Griffin are collaborating on an opera, to be presented on the MCA Stage, and on a related installation within the exhibition.

Long story, short: the sample pages are tantalizing, because the show is quite stunning in its breadth and depth. If the art, images, marginalia, and artifacts gathered here don’t immediately grab you, then, I just don’t know. You should go back and read George E. Lewis’s communal history, A Power Stronger than Itself: The AACM and American Experimental MusicAnd then think to yourself: I wonder how this looked. And felt. And how it worked. And what it all means now.

Read more about The Freedom Principle here.

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24. SPONSORED POST Kart Kingdom

Kart KingdomThis blog post is sponsored by PBS Kids.

Come one, come all to KART KINGDOM!

There’s an exciting new world of adventure and fun waiting to be explored! In Kart Kingdom, the new game from PBS KIDS, you can create your own character and build your very own kart. Once you start playing, you can begin to unlock new worlds, gadgets, and prizes! Meet new friends and explore the world together. kart kingdomIf you’re lucky, you might run into some of your favorite PBS KIDS characters like Team Wild Kratts and Odd Squad!

Play for FREE on pbskids.org and start your quest today!

Here’s what our kart looks like. Tell us about yours!

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25. A Sense of the Infinite(ly) Old Author Photo, and Book Tour News

Hello friends! 

It seems I have agreed, against my better judgement, to appear IN PERSON at the following events in Beaverton, Portland, Seattle, Bainbridge Island, and Bellingham. Help me get through this! Show up and set off the fire alarm so I can get out of it---or better yet, let's fake a kidnapping. Please? I'd owe you one...

If you *would* like to fake-kidnap me from my own book reading, the following poster will be of no assistance in identifying me, because my author photo was taken when I was 23:



I am now a wizened old 29-year old with three books under my belt; I have to admit the process has aged me. Here is an updated photo:
Hilary T. Smith, YA author
Looking forward to meeting some of you. Bonus points if you show up wearing a PEE SISTERS headband.

Best wishes,

Hilary


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