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Results 7,951 - 7,975 of 229,756
7951. Spring 2015 YA Scavenger Hunt: And MEGA Giveaway!

Welcome to YA Scavenger Hunt, Spring edition! This 72-hour contest is a great chance to win lots of fabulous prizes (like the one below) and get access to exclusive content from each author as you hunt for clues. Add up those clues, and you can enter to win the Grand Prize--at least one signed book from each author on the hunt team!

How to Enter

  • There are 6 contests going on at the same time. Play this one, and then head over to the YA Scavenger Hunt to jump to the others.
  • All contests are open internationally. Anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian's permission to enter.
  • The content will only be available for 72-hours. You must gather ALL the information between 3:00 PM Eastern Time (noon Pacific) on 4/2/15 to 3:00 PM Eastern on 4/6/15.
  • The Grand Prize for each team is a book from every author on the team. (Team Blue, mine, will include both a signed Compulsion and an ARC of Persuasion hot off the press.)
  • The authors are hosting exclusive content for each other, and each post links to another post. Content includes deleted scenes, recipes, top ten lists, and much much more. (And did I mention individual giveaways in addition to the main prizes?)
  • To play a team, follow the links starting from this post and collect each author's favorite number. One number is hidden somewhere on each page.
  • Add up all the numbers and complete the entry form! Only entries that have the correct number and correct contact information will qualify.

    Ready to Play?

    Adventures in YA Publishing is excited to host Kate Brauning for the TEAM BLUE! 

    Kate is an author of young adult fiction and an editor at Entangled Publishing. HOW WE FALL is her first novel. Kate loves unusual people, good whiskey, dark chocolate, everything about autumn, bright colors, red maple trees, superstitions, ghost stories, anything Harry Potter, night skies, pie, and talking about books. She’s working hard on her next few novels, and if you see her, say hello, because she’d love to take you out for coffee and ask you what you’re reading. Or stop by her website and get more information.

    by Kate Brauning
    Entangled Teen 

    Ever since Jackie moved to her uncle's sleepy farming town, she's been flirting way too much--and with her own cousin, Marcus. Her friendship with him has turned into something she can't control, and he's the reason Jackie lost track of her best friend, Ellie, who left for...no one knows where. Now Ellie has been missing for months, and the police, fearing the worst, are searching for her body. Swamped with guilt and the knowledge that acting on her love for Marcus would tear their families apart, Jackie pushes her cousin away. The plan is to fall out of love, and, just as she hoped he would, Marcus falls for the new girl in town. But something isn't right about this stranger, and Jackie's suspicions about the new girl's secrets only drive the wedge deeper between Jackie and Marcus.

    Then Marcus is forced to pay the price for someone else's lies as the mystery around Ellie's disappearance starts to become horribly clear. Jackie has to face terrible choices. Can she leave her first love behind, and can she go on living with the fact that she failed her best friend?

    Buy It Now


    Did know know that Marcus's hot chocolate is a real, actual thing? He's usually drinking it or making it in How We Fall, and in an important scene between Jackie and Marcus, he teaches her how to make it. I didn't really intend to have it be a significant part of the story or his character, but once I realized it fit him so well, I just went with it!

    I think the subconscious reason I chose hot chocolate as a habit for him is that I’ve always had a minor war going on with cocoa mixes. They’re always too sweet and not dark enough for me, and I don’t like marshmallows (please don’t hate me). Several years ago, I started altering mixes, adding more cocoa, but soon gave that up and just figured out how to make my own. I make it strong, dark, and bittersweet– and nothing tastes more like fall to me.

    Want to make Marcus's Hot Chocolate? Here's how:
    Makes 1 serving.
    • Warm 1 ½ cups milk in a sauce pan on medium-high heat. (Use 2% or whole milk for richer hot chocolate.) 
    • When the milk starts to steam, whisk in 2 tablespoons dark cocoa and 1 tablespoon sugar. 
    • Turn the heat down to medium so the milk doesn’t scorch, and whisk constantly for about three minutes, until it looks smooth and not silty on a spoon. 
    • If you're increasing the number of servings, let settle briefly because there may be some cocoa in the dregs.
    • Add whipped cream, Kahlua, Irish Cream, hazelnut syrup, espresso, or chocolate chips for variety! Use almond milk for a nondairy option.
    If you want to win a copy of HOW WE FALL and all the other prizes, remember that my favorite number is 5 and add that to the other hidden numbers from the sites on TEAM BLUE for the secret number you'll need to enter.


    a Rafflecopter giveaway


    Ready for the next hidden number? Check out the next author, Heather Demetrios, the author of EXQUISITE CAPTIVE!

    Click here to continue.

    0 Comments on Spring 2015 YA Scavenger Hunt: And MEGA Giveaway! as of 4/2/2015 3:13:00 PM
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    7952. Book Beginnings - 4/3/15

    *Please join Rose City Reader every Friday to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. Please remember to include the title of the book and the author's name.  *Taken directly from Rose City Reader's Blog Page. 

    Also...a review and giveaway of DON'T TRY TO FIND ME at this link.

     This week's book beginnings comes from SECOND CHANCE FRIENDS by Jennifer Scott.

    Jennifer Scott is also the author of THE ACCIDENTAL BOOK CLUB and THE SISTER SEASON.

    "The breakfast rush at the Tea Rose Diner typically began at around 6:20 a.m., when the early risers came in for bagels and cream cheese to go, or  English muffins and jam to go."

    This isn't my normal genre of reading, but it is a pleasant read.


    Finished this book last week, but the review won't be up until April 7.  A few sentences from my review are below the book's cover.

    From my review:  

    ONE MILE UNDER took a few pages to get interesting, but once it gets going you won't want to put the book down. The ​detailed action was intense, and will have you feeling the fear and sharing the fear of the characters.  The book had me on the edge of my seat.

    Any reader who enjoys fast-paced, gripping, page-turning thrillers will definitely enjoy ONE MILE UNDER.
    What are you reading?

    0 Comments on Book Beginnings - 4/3/15 as of 1/1/1900
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    7953. Melissa Walker, author of DUST TO DUST, on

    What was your inspiration for writing DUST TO DUST?

    I have to admit to being inspired by the movie GHOST, and I longed to write a scene that really connected the spirit world with the real world, where two of the characters connect between dimensions. So there's a particular moment where Callie is swimming and Thatcher meets her out in the water — it's a nod to Swayze-Moore in Ghost, and it was really fun to write.

    What did this book teach you about writing or about yourself?

    I learned so much writing ASHES TO ASHES and DUST TO DUST, mostly that they are out of my comfort zone as they deal with ghosts and a world beyond our own. It was very hard for me to conceive of this other world, and I struggled through writing both of these novels. That said, I learned a ton about my own writing boundaries and how to push through them.

    What are you working on now?

    I'm back to writing a very fun Contemporary YA, plus working on two Middle Grade ideas--here's hoping they come together!


    Dust to Dust
    by Melissa Walker
    Katherine Tegen Books
    Released 5/5/2015

    Perfect for fans of If I Stay or Imaginary Girls, Dust to Dust is the mysterious, thoughtful, and poignant sequel to Melissa Walker's haunting and heartbreaking novel Ashes to Ashes.

    When Callie McPhee miraculously recovers from a tragic accident that should have taken her life, she thought her connection to the ghost world would be severed forever. And that she would never see Thatcher—the ghost she fell in love with in the hereafter—again. But when she receives unexpected signs from Thatcher, she's led down a dark road toward the angry souls who once tried to steal her soul's energy for another chance at life.

    Now Callie must prevent the real world and the spirit world from colliding, and that could mean saying good-bye to people she'd never imagined she'd lose.

    Purchase Dust to Dust at Amazon
    Purchase Dust to Dust at IndieBound
    View Dust to Dust on Goodreads


    Photo by Marcie HumeMelissa Walker is a writer who has worked as ELLEgirl Features Editor and Seventeen Prom Editor. All in the name o
    f journalism, she has spent 24 hours with male models and attended an elite finishing school for girls in New Zealand, among other hardships. She has written for many publications including Redbook, Glamour, New York, Teen Vogue, Family Circle and more (see samples of her magazine work). She is the co-founder of I Heart Daily with fellow ex-ELLEgirl Anne Ichikawa. It’s a daily newsletter about likable stuff.

    Melissa lives in Brooklyn and has a BA in English from Vassar College. She would tell you her SAT scores too, but, you know, the math part was hard. She loves meeting teenagers, and is game to speak at your library or school about writing, books, fashion, magazines or pop culture (but, you know, in a smart way).

    What did you think of our interview with Melissa Walker, author of DUST TO DUST? Let us know in the comments!

    Happy reading,

    Jocelyn, Martina, Jan, Shelly, Susan, Lisa, and Erin

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    7954. progressive poem 2015: line 3

    Welcome one and all to Day 3, Line 3 of this year's Progressive Poem, curated by Irene Latham.  I'm delighted to participate again this year! I note that as an ever-changing group, we seem to like to take big risks.  In 2012 we spilled our dreams in a spice-scented Moroccan market. In 2013 we danced and dangled under the Big Top of the Poetry Circus.  In 2014 we journeyed clutching sapphire eggs into the company of a blue-eyed friend.

    This year Jone and Joy have led us into the wild in so many interesting ways.  These long lines defy regular meter, don't demand rhyme, and give us a whole delta to explore.  I''m fascinated by the "she" who roams it, shoeless and netless.  Let her fend for herself,
    let her body be one with the landscape...

    She lives without a net, walking along the alluvium deposits of the delta.
    Shoes swing over her shoulder, on her bare feet stick jeweled flecks of dark mica.
    Hands faster than fish swing at the ends of bare brown arms. Her hair flows 

    I see that my blogwidth is not enough to contain these lines; can we break them for today?  Then it looks like this, and what is changed, do you think?
    She lives without a net, 
    walking along the alluvium deposits of the delta.
    Shoes swing over her shoulder, 
    on her bare feet stick jeweled flecks of dark mica.
    Hands faster than fish swing at the ends 
    of bare brown arms. Her hair flows

    Tomorrow Laura PS at Writing the World for Kids continues the poem, and I bet her blog is wide enough to hold the flow.  Not to get sedimental, but I just love this big ol' collaboration of poets...Go Us!

    Follow along each day to see how our poem grows, and join Amy at The Poem Farm for a singable round-up this first Poetry Friday of National Poetry Month!

    2015 Kidlitosphere

    Progressive Poem

    1 Jone at Check it Out
    5 Charles at Poetry Time Blog
    7 Catherine at Catherine Johnson
    8 Irene at Live Your Poem
    9 Mary Lee at Poetrepository
    10 Michelle at Today's Little Ditty
    11 Kim at Flukeprints
    13 Doraine at DoriReads
    14 Renee at No Water River
    17 Buffy at Buffy's Blog
    18 Sheila at Sheila Renfro
    19 Linda at Teacher Dance
    21 Tara at A Teaching Life
    23 Tamera at The Writer's Whimsy
    26 Brian at Walk the Walk
    27 Jan at Bookseedstudio
    28 Amy at The Poem Farm
    29 Donna at Mainely Write

    0 Comments on progressive poem 2015: line 3 as of 4/3/2015 2:01:00 AM
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    7955. Perfect After All

    A glorious day in the playground,
    My grandson by my side,
    Seemed perfect but, in life, you know,
    Perfection’s oft denied.

    So walking home I noticed that
    An earring’d disappeared,
    A loss most likely permanent,
    Or that was what I feared.

    I twice went back, retraced my steps,
    Looked under slides and swings
    And tried to find the calm
    Which resignation often brings.

    Though days have passed, I thought I’d search
    Just one more time in case
    My missing earring would show up,
    An ending I’d embrace.

    So take a guess and you’ll be right –
     I found it on the ground,
    Beside the slide and where a million
    Footprints can be found.

    It isn’t shiny so it was
    A miracle for sure.
    To toddlers, birds and squirrels
    It had negative allure.

    But looking back upon that day,
    It felt just like a dream.
    Perfection, after all,
    Is more at hand than it may seem.

    0 Comments on Perfect After All as of 4/2/2015 10:37:00 PM
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    7956. Review: One True Heart by Jodi Thomas


    Don’t forget to enter for your chance to win One True Heart here

    May Contain Spoilers


    This is the first Harmony novel that I’ve read, and while I was a little worried about jumping on board so late in the series, I had absolutely no difficulty getting up to speed with the small Texas town.  For a small place, a lot goes on in Harmony!  There’s a mugging, sleuthing, a kidnapping, a rumored murder, and even a threat to national security!  One True Heart was pure popcorn, and I enjoyed my visit.  It was easy to get caught up in all of the activity, and the characters were a varied and likeable bunch.

    The story starts from Millanie McAllen’s POV.  She’s a wounded warrior returning to the States.  Having been wounded in the line of duty, she’s now laid up with a cast on her leg and the fear that she’ll never walk without a limp.  She knows her service days are over, and now she’s listlessly approaching her future.  Once she had her career path carefully mapped out, but one heroic act drastically changed the course of her life.  Returning to Harmony, Texas, the rural town she lived in until she was nine, and the place where many of her relatives still reside, she’s just looking for a place to heal and the quiet to figure out what to do next.

    She meets Drew Cunningham, and the two are inexplicably drawn to each other.  Drew is a victim of violence, too, and it’s rebooted his life as well.  After surviving a horrific episode five years ago in Chicago, he’s withdrawn into himself.  He is no longer comfortable in crowds, and the idea of putting himself out there fills him with anxiety.  Teaching part time a local college, he spends most of his time writing and wallowing in his own company.  He hasn’t been on a date in five years, but something about Millanie makes him want to come out of his shell.

    Drew and Millanie are the main couple.  Their relationship is constantly challenged by Drew’s PTSD and Millanie’s suspicions of  him.  She has one more task to perform for the government before her service days are over.  She’s been asked to search Harmony for a suspected terrorist, and Drew fits every point on the profile list.  Add in his reluctance to discuss himself or his past and you have one very torn Millanie.  Her gut tells her that Drew is exactly what he appears to be; a kind, gentle professor, but his silence when she asks him even the most innocent of questions point to a man with something to hide. 

    I had my doubts about the longevity of Millanie and Drew’s HEA, mainly because of their inability to communicate during most of the story.  My biggest disappointment was that he never did confide in her about his past and the reason he’s living in Harmony.  Millanie discovers the circumstances behind his silence by utilizing her Google-fu, and I just wish that they had discussed it with each other instead.

    There are three other characters who round out the cast.  Johnny Wheeler is a salt of the earth farmer, that is until he’s accused of murdering his wife.  Then he’s thrown in jail, and it doesn’t seem that he’ll ever get out.  Circumstantial evidence implicating him in another crime makes him look guilty as sin, and he despairs at ever being released. 

    While he’s in the slammer, there is one bright spot during his incarceration.  Fortune-teller Kare Cunningham knows he’s innocent (she saw it in his palm after all!), and she’s made it a one woman campaign to prove his innocence.  Kare comes across as a total ditz, but she’s really a genius.  I liked her the best, because she’s funny, compassionate, and quirky.  She doesn’t see Johnny as a romantic interest, much to his dismay, so he has a lot of work to do to convince her that they should be together.  Their courtship is very cute.

    Beau Yates is a up and coming country star, back in Harmony after his father has a heart attack.  Beau’s father rejected him and was enraged with his music.  Beau is hoping for a reconciliation, but not really expecting one.  While he’s in town, he runs into Trouble, the girl who made his youth bearable.  They would race down the back roads of  Harmony in her convertible, wild and free from their worries.  The adult Trouble, or Lark, has matured into a somber banker.  While their past meant a lot to Beau, he’s starting to doubt that it meant anything to Lark, and now all he wants is to leave town and get back into his life, and far away from his disappointment.

    Beau and Lark’s relationship didn’t work as well for me because we never get Lark’s POV.  If we had been able to peek inside her head, I might have understood some of her behavior better.  She’s like a yo-yo with her feelings for Beau, and I didn’t know why she wasn’t just melting all over this handsome, successful guy.  Then, after he practically manhandles her, he did earn himself some wariness from her, but I would have really liked to get her side of things.

    One True Heart packs a lot in to one book.  There’s something for everyone here.  You have a mystery, some suspense, three couples to fall in love with, and a whole bunch of meddling townspeople.  I found the ending jarringly abrupt, but otherwise, I enjoyed my visit to Harmony, Texas.

    If you are reading the series, which is your favorite book so far?


    Release Date: April 7  You can pre-order a copy at www.jodithomas.com

    Review copy provided by publisher

    From Amazon:

    New York Times bestselling author Jodi Thomas takes us back to Harmony, Texas—a small town where love blooms and secrets of the past threaten to alter the future…

    Millanie McAllen is always logical. But after returning to her childhood home, she learns that some things are beyond explanation—like her undeniable passion for Drew Cunningham…

    After finding success as a singer on the road, Beau Yates returns to Harmony to make peace with his dying father—only to find the woman he’s been dreaming of for years. But the secrets they discover might be too much for him to bear…

    When Johnny Wheeler is charged with his wife’s murder, he turns to the only person who believes he’s innocent. Fortune teller Kare Cunningham’s life has always danced around reality—but Johnny is able to ground her like no other…

    As their paths cross in new, captivating directions, the townspeople of Harmony need to learn to love and let go in order to live together in their little slice of heaven.

    About the Author:

    Jodi Thomas is the NY Times and USA Today bestselling author of 41 novels and 13 short story collections. A five-time RITA winner, Jodi currently serves as the Writer in Residence at West Texas A&M University in Canyon, Texas.

    Author Links:




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    7957. Here comes the YA Scavenger Hunt!

    Welcome to the YA Scavenger Hunt, Team Teal!!  

    If you've never done a scavenger hunt before then go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page to find out all about the hunt. There are Eight contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all! If you'd like to find out more about the hunt, see links to all the authors participating, and see the full list of prizes up for grabs, go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page.

    Directions: In this post somewhere, you will find my favorite number. Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on the teal team, and then add them up (don't worry, you can use a calculator!). At the very end of this post, you will find a link to the next blog where you will get more information on the hunt.

    Entry Form: Once you've added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form here to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.
    Rules: Open internationally, anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian's permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by DATE, at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.

    Welcome to my blog!

    If you don't know anything about me, I'm Ellen Oh, I write both YA and MG. My YA fantasy series is called The Prophecy Series and is about a girl with yellow eyes and a tiger spirit who may or may  not be the hero of legend.

     And the final book KING has just been released! Woot Woot!

    I am also founder and President of We Need Diverse Books, a lawyer, a college instructor and a mom of 3 awesome kids. For a longer bio which may or may  not be interesting to you, go here.

    If you are interested in finding out my secret bonus material, I'll give you a hint - it's an excerpt from a short story I did about when Kira was young and faced her first demon in the 7 kingdoms. It's a pretty cool short story and if you find the excerpt and like it, let me know in the comments here so I can work on releasing the whole story for you. But anyway, on with the HUNT!!

    Guest Author
    For this leg of Team Teal's hunt, I'm hosting Matthew Phillion, author of The Indestructibles series, which is seriously one of the coolest names for a series! So here's more about Matthew: 

    Matthew Phillion is a writer, actor, and film director based in Salem, Massachusetts. An award-winning journalist by trade, he has also appeared in feature films including the sci-fi romance Harvest Moon and the independent horror flick Livestock. His screenwriting and directing debut, the romantic comedy Certainly Never, premiered in 2013 at the Massachusetts Independent Film Festival, where it was nominated for five awards including best screenplay and best New England film. An active freelance writer and journalist, Phillion continues to write about both local issues and the medical industry. He is currently working on the third book in the Indestructibles series. 

    A solar powered girl. A ballerina vigilante. A boy with an alien living inside his brain. A werewolf with confidence issues. A girl with a black hole for a heart. Five teenagers, each with their own unique abilities, are gathered by veteran hero Doc Silence to become their generation's super-team. But when they find out someone else is building their own monsters to change the world, will the Indestructibles be ready in time? Or will their inexperience be their downfall? 

    Click here to buy Matthew's book. For more information on Matthew click here. And check out Matthew's cool bonus materials below.


    Prologue: Post-apocalyptic

    Jane Hawkins landed in the remnants of a flattened city block, a gray landscape that used to be the City’s financial district. Now it was a dusty moonscape of crumpled buildings and powdered concrete, a desolate wasteland where living people used to thrive.

    Jane, the hero known as Solar, looked up at the overcast sky, glad she’d spent time above the cloud cover soaking up the sun’s rays. She could hear the enemy’s approach, the whine of mechanical parts and heavy clunking of robotic footsteps.

    I’m getting too old for this, Jane thought, taking in the ruins of the city she had spent a lifetime defending. Every time she came back here something new had been destroyed. Her team knew something existed here, in the corpse of the City, some clue that would help them defeat their nemesis, but that enemy seemed to know this as well and defended the vacant landscape with a ferocity they saved for nowhere else. It had become bad enough that even Titus’s werewolf commandos couldn’t return here for fear of never going home. Only the powerhouses, like Jane, could explore the City, and every time she came back some new threat awaited her.

    She heard robotic joints whir and some sort of propulsion engine roar, and the first of the robots was upon her. Jane was ready, though, and met the flying machine with a fist engulfed in white-hot flames. Her hand melted through the robot’s head, tore into its torso, her impossibly strong fingers closing around its wiry guts and tearing them out. Another robot joined the first, a mottled mash-up of scavenged parts with eyes glowing neon green, and Jane smashed it into pieces using the body of its fallen comrade as a blunt weapon.

    “What’s happening out there,” Titus’s growling voice said into Jane’s earpiece.

    “They’ve got robots,” Jane said.

    “New robots or old robots?”

    “Old robots with new tricks,” Jane said. “Nothing I can’t handle.”

    “Get on out of there,” Titus said. “It’s not worth it. We’ll try something stealthier next time.”

    Jane finished off the second robot with a boot crushing its chassis and headed toward one of the last buildings still standing in the district. It had once been home to a huge data storage company. Titus and Neal, the team’s sentient Artificial Intelligence program, had found hints that some sort of clues about the power source their enemy used to keep so many of their weapons running might still remain there, some clue about how to get past their defenses.

    “I’m right there, Titus,” Jane said. “I’m going in.”

    Then she heard the footsteps. No simple robotic grinding this time, real footsteps, big ones, the sort that shake the ground. Jane waited, looking into the dusty, sooty distance as a huge silhouette started to coalesce.

    “Oh come on,” Jane said.

    “We’re coming in to help you,” Titus said.

    “No,” Jane said. “There’s nobody there who can help.”

    “We’ll scramble Straylight.”

    “Tell Straylight to stay put,” Jane said. “I got this.”

    Then she saw the massive shadow reach back an arm the length of a city bus and wallop the building, huge mechanical fingers tearing into the structure and driving it into the ground, a child smashing a sand castle in petty rage.

    “Oh now I’m mad,” Jane said.

    “Tell me that boom wasn’t our target,” Titus said.

    “I’m changing targets,” Jane said.

    She started running, her boots crunching on the gravel and broken glass beneath her feet. The robot turned its massive, neon green eyes her way, its mouthless face passive and inexpressive as it raised both arms toward her.

    Jane launched herself from the ground, a human missile, enveloped in radiant light as she let the solar power she’d soaked up all day flow through her. One fist forward, aiming her flight as she had done since she was a teenager, making her a living bullet, her other arm cocked back, fist clenched. The robot put up a hand to grab her, or to stop her, but Jane tore through it like a marathoner ripping through a finish line, as if the metal were tissue paper and she continued on, shattering the giant mech’s head with one swing of her fist.

    The hulking monstrosity collapsed to the ground, an almost comical crash, its body stiff as a board. Still airborne, Jane saw another robot on its way. This one had a mouth. That mouth had teeth like a shark’s.

    “Titus, I’m going to be a while,” Jane said. 

     To keep going on your quest for the hunt, you need to check out the next author! NK Traver.

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    7958. Man Derastel

    Why Don't Industry experts Discuss The Recommendation On Employing A Carpet Cleanser On This Page?
    What exactly is the first thing you gaze at if you get into an area? If you said your rugs and carpets, you probably have issues. When carpeting are in great shape, you seldom see them and you can try other things. Working with a specialist upholstery cleaning firm can definitely conserve the lifestyle of the rugs and carpets. Use these tips to have the expertise as inconvenience-totally free as you can.
    Check with any organization you are interested in what strategy they prefer to clean up carpets. Should they use a mobile more clean, it could be less efficient than employing an extraction strategy. Because of this you need to contact someone else when the stains you possess within your carpets and rugs seem like they may need a lot of support.
    If you wish to overcome the odours if you are cleaning, add more cooking soda for your handbag. Preparing soda pop will assist you to counteract a number of the odours you will get inside your case like dog your hair and aged food. This will help to sense much more comfortable and sanitary if you want to dispose the travelling bag.
    Make certain you obtain a professional clean for the rug at least once every year. This will likely make sure that you are getting all of the dirt, dirt and grime and microorganisms your standard vacuum could not achieve. Right after a skilled nice and clean, your rug will appear just like you just acquired it new.
    Often times, carpet cleaning businesses are experts in other professional services like grout, porches and patios. Often they are going to clean your furniture in the event you check with. A nearby cleanser could also supply washing solutions to your furniture or mats.
    You don't would like to endure by means of having to pay extra money just to repair mistakes produced by a carpet cleaners assistance that doesn't complete the task. As an alternative, you need to get everything done the first time in the correct selling price. Keep in mind every thing you've study to enable you to have the correct choice.
    Łeb żwir kamień

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    7959. Happy Poetry Month!

    April is National Poetry Month, and this year marks the first I really, truly feel like I'm putting my best foot forward and getting involved in the whole Event Thing. I'll be writing up an article for my freelance gig at A Place for Mom on seniors,... Read the rest of this post

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    7960. YA Scavenger Hunt Spring 2015 - GOLD TEAM!

    Hi! P. J. Hoover here, author of the dystopian/mythology YA novel, SOLSTICE (Tor Teen, June 18, 2013) and the MG novel TUT: THE STORY OF MY IMMORTAL LIFE (Starscape/Macmillan, September 2014), and I'm crazy excited to host this stop for the YA Scavenger Hunt! 

    (and p.s. I'm so excited that I'm giving away a copy of TUT below, so make sure to check it out!)

    Hi! Thanks for visiting!

    This tri-annual event was first organized by author Colleen Houck as a way to give readers a chance to gain access to exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors...and a chance to win some awesome prizes! At this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each author, you also get a clue for the hunt. Add up the clues, and you can enter for our prize--one lucky winner will receive one signed book from each author on the hunt in my team! But play fast: this contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online for 72 hours!

    Go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page to find out all about the hunt. There are EIGHT contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all! I am a part of the GOLD TEAM--but there are also a bunch of other colored teams for a chance to win a different sets of books!

    If you'd like to find out more about the hunt, see links to all the authors participating, and see the full list of prizes up for grabs, go to the YA Scavenger Hunt homepage.


    Directions: Below, you'll notice that I've listed my secret number. Collect the secret numbers of all the authors on the gold team, and then add them up (don't worry, you can use a calculator!). 

    Entry Form: Once you've added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form here to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify. 

    Rules: Open internationally, anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian's permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by April 5th, at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered. 


    Today, I am hosting HOLLY BODGER on my website for the YA Scavenger Hunt!

    Hi, Holly!

    Holly Bodger has a BA in English literature and has spent her entire career in publishing. She is an active member of Romance Writers of America and is a 2013 Golden Heart finalist in the Young Adult category. She lives in Ottawa, Canada. 

    You can find out a ton more about Holly on her website!

    And if her book sounds like something right up your alley (which of course it does), you can buy it here!


    ABOUT 5 to 1:
    In the year 2054, after decades of gender selection, Koyanagar–a country severed from India–now has a ratio of five boys for every girl, and women are an incredibly valuable commodity. Tired of wedding their daughters to the highest bidder and determined to finally make marriage fair, the women of Koyanagar have instituted a series of tests so that every boy has the chance to win a wife. But after fighting so hard for freedom against the old ways of gender selection, these women have become just as deluded as their male predecessors. Sudasa Singh doesn’t want to be a wife and Kiran, a boy competing to be her husband, has other plans as well. Sudasa’s family wants nothing more than for their daughter to do the right thing and pick a husband who will keep her comfortable—and caged. Kiran’s family wants him to escape by failing the tests. As the tests advance, each thwarts the other until they slowly realize that they might want the same thing. This beautiful, unique novel is told from alternating points of view—Sudasa’s in verse and Kiran’s in prose—allowing readers to feel both characters’ pain and grasps at hope.

    The exclusive content is awesome! 
    It's an exclusive look at Kiran's first chapter, available for 72 hours only ! Follow the link to read, and Enjoy! :)



    And don't forget to enter the contest for a chance to win a ton of signed books! To enter, you need to know that my secret number is 13. Add up all the secret numbers of the authors on the gold team and you'll have all the secret code to enter for the grand prize!


    To keep going on your quest for the hunt, you need to check out the next author!




    In celebration of the Scavenger Hunt, I'm offering up a copy of TUT: THE STORY OF MY IMMORTAL LIFE (Starscape/Macmillan, September 2014) here (US only).

    It's easy to win! Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below.

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Good luck, and may all your reading be enjoyable!


    You’d think it would be great being an Egyptian demigod, but if King Tut has to sit through eighth grade one more time, he’ll mummify himself.

    Granted the gift of immortality by the gods—or is it a curse?—Tut has been stuck in middle school for ages. Even worse, evil General Horemheb, the man who killed Tut’s father and whom Tut imprisoned in a tomb for three thousand years, is out and after him. The general is in league with the Cult of Set, a bunch of guys who worship one of the scariest gods of the Egyptian pantheon—Set, the god of Chaos.

    The General and the Cult of Set have plans for Tut… and if Tut doesn’t find a way to keep out of their clutches, he’ll never make it to the afterworld alive. 


    And one more time...


    To keep going on your quest for the hunt, you need to check out the next author!

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    7961. The Environmental Book Club

    The 2015 Green Earth Book Award shortlist was announced last month by the Nature Generation.  Winners will be announced on Earth Day, April 22.

    And in other environmental booky news, I stumbled upon a review of a book called Violet Mackerel's Natural Habitat by Elanna Allen at Chapter Book Chat. I'll look for it.

    By the way, I found that Chapter Book Chat post at the March Carnival of Children's Literature.

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    7962. Giveaway: One True Heart by Jodi Thomas

    This morning I have a note from Jodi Thomas, as well as a giveaway for her latest release, One True Heart.  This is Book 8 in the Harmony series, and I’ll have a review later this morning.

    From Jodi Thomas:

    Welcome to ONE TRUE HEART. Like waiting for fine chocolate, this book is one you will not want to miss.  For me the story is always about the people and I loved writing this story.  This one started at a real place I know well, the Amarillo airport where one night a man and a woman meet by accident.  She’s exhausted and on crutches.  He offers her a ride to Harmony.  She’s a trained soldier and sees this professor type in glasses as no threat.  Only, while she sleeps, he steals a kiss.

    When he drops her off at Winter’s Inn, the bed and breakfast, the inn keeper thinks he’s staying the night.  For the first time in years, Drew is tempted to get involved.

    When you step into ONE TRUE HEART you’ll step into Harmony where the lives of the people in the town blend together.  You’ll meet Millanie McAllen and Drew Cunningham.  Both hiding out from life for different reasons.  In their love story the gentle, loving man wins out.  As they face the truth about real love they also must both face their fears.

    Drew, who is always organized and calm has, what he believes, is the craziest sister on the planet.  She dances in the moonlight and tells fortunes.  In her first session with Johnny Wheeler, he’s arrested for killing his ex-wife.  Kare knows Johnny didn’t do it.  She didn’t see murder in his lifeline.  Johnny thinks she’s nuts, but she’s determined to help him even if she has to draft her big brother to help.

    Another story threads its way through the book.  Beau Yates comes back to town for a few days.  He’s a successful singer in Nashville, but deep down knows that all his love songs are about one girl.  He doesn’t even know her name, he simply calls her Trouble.  She used to pick him up after work.  She’d every dream he’s ever had about love.

    I love it when new readers find me for the first time.  It’s like I’m brand new, and they just discovered a Jodi Thomas book.  Then after they read one, they check my website or Amazon and discover they have many more to read.  I get a real shot of sunshine when they write or call.  It is kind of like the feeling you get when an old friend from the past calls.  For a moment, you’re sixteen again and giggling.

    So, whether you’re a first time reader of a Jodi Thomas book or you’ve been with me through them all, I want you to know that you are the reason I write.

    With love,

    Jodi Thomas




    US addresses only, please

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

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    7963. Teaching “Main Idea” Through Picture Books by Renee Kirchner

    Renee Kirchner
    by Renee Kirchner
    Teaching Tips Contributing Editor


    Learning how to identify the main idea and supporting details is an important reading skill that children must develop. It helps them to create meaning as they read. Teachers can use a variety of strategies to explain main idea. Basically, the main idea is the main reason the story was written. For example, the main reason for going to an amusement park is to ride the rides and have fun. A child might eat some yummy food like cotton candy or hot dogs at the amusement park, but that wasn’t the main reason for going.

    Every story has a main idea. Sometimes the main idea can be found in the first sentence of the story and sometimes it is found in the middle of a story. Tell children to think of the 5 W’s, who, what, when, where, and why to help them look for the main idea. All stories have supporting details that are related to the main idea. There could be just a few supporting details or many.

    There are many fine examples of picture books that you can use to main idea. Read some of the stories listed below and ask children to try to tell you the main idea. It might be helpful for children to have a visual. Draw a daisy on the board and put the main idea of a story into the center of the flower and write the supporting details on the petals. Ask them to do the same when choosing the main idea from other stories.

    Picture books to teach main idea:
    Thanksgiving is Here! By Diane Goode
    August 2003, HarperCollins Publishers

    Main idea: The main idea in this story is that a grandmother and a grandfather are hosting a warm family gathering.

    Supporting Details:
    1) A stray dog shows up to the party (but tell children that the story is not about a dog). 2) One of the guests brings a gift to the host and hostess of the Thanksgiving dinner.
    The Great Kapok Tree by Lynne Cherry
    March, 1990 Harcourt Children’s Books

    Main Idea: The Kapok Tree is important to many rain forest animals because it is their home.

    Supporting Details:
    A man falls asleep while trying to chop down the tree.
    A butterfly whispers in his ear.
    The rain forest has three layers: a canopy, an understory, and a forest floor.
    Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes
    September 1996, HarperCollins Publishers

    Main Idea: The little mouse, Chrysanthemum, loves her name.

    Supporting Details:
    The students in class all have short names
    The students tease Chrysanthemum about her name
    The teacher is named after a flower too.


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    7964. Harold Speed, "Drawing" / Preface and Intro

    Today is Friday, the first gathering of the GJ Book Club. Each week we'll be looking at a new chapter of Harold Speed's classic The Practice and Science of Drawing (Dover Art Instruction), starting with the Preface and Introduction.

    The following numbered paragraphs combine citations of key points in italics, followed by a few of my own remarks. Your thoughts are most welcome in the comment section of this blog. If you would like to respond to a specific point, please precede your comment by the corresponding number.

    1. "The Practice and Science of Drawing"

    Baked into the title is the classic dilemma of art instruction. Do you teach the practice or the science? The technique or the theory? The methods or the principles? The hand skills or the thinking behind them? Harold Speed aims to address both. Note: earliest editions of the book reverse the order thus: "The Science and Practice of Drawing."

    Pages from J.D. Harding's "Lessons on Art

    2. "...the drawing masters of our grandmothers and still dearly loved by a large number of people. No good can come of such methods, for there are no short cuts to excellence."

    Speed is probably referring to the drawing manuals of J.D. Harding (1798–1863), such as "On Drawing Trees and Nature." Harding's how-to-draw books were immensely popular throughout the 19th century. Typically his books present the student with a series of drawing lessons, beginning with geometric solids, and graduating to commonplace forms like buckets or stairs or rocks. It's kind of a recipe for drawing, but not a bad one for beginners, in my opinion. I think Speed wants his students to dig beyond these drawing formulas. He proposes to achieve it by examining more fundamental principles. He's also interested in the student acquiring the "artistic" sensibilities of rhythm and unity, regardless of the forms he or she is drawing.

    3. ".... having passed through the course of training in two of our chief schools of art..."

    The two schools he is alluding to are the Royal College of Art (where he started out in architecture) and the Royal Academy Schools. He also won a traveling scholarship to Belgium, France, Italy and Spain. Source: Burlington.

    4. "the long uphill road that separates mechanically accurate drawing and artistically accurate drawing."

    The academic education one would have found in the 1890s in England and continental Europe might have seemed superficially similar. Students worked from the cast and from the model in both traditions, but there were differences. According Speed, the English school was more concerned with observationally accurate drawings, while the French schools were more "interpretive" or "artistic."

    Does anyone know at which ateliers in France or Europe Mr. Speed studied, and what the prevailing sensibilities were in those schools? Also, does anyone know which teachers he would have had at the Royal College of Art and the Royal Academy? Maybe one of our atelier experts can explain more about the specific differences between the English and French schools in the 1890s.

    5. To many in this country modern art is still a closed book.

    Modernism's assault on the ramparts of art-thinking was far along in 1917, when Speed's book was published. Europe was torn by the Great War. Russia was in the midst of its revolution. The Edwardian world, with all its assumptions about the nature and purposes of art, was collapsing like an ornate marble edifice. Speed, it seems, is trying to examine his assumptions about art and to remain open-minded.

    Contents of Speed's 1936 book What is the Good of Art?

    By 1936, when he wrote is much lesser-known book "What is the Good of Art?," The world of art around him must have seemed to have gone completely off the rails. "We have no tradition to guide us," he says in Drawing, almost in desperation.

    Speed's later books were even more philosophical, as if he was trying to work out an understanding of modernism that he could reconcile with his academic training. The 20th century illustrator and book author Andrew Loomis went through a similar evolution in his books as he went from "Fun With A Pencil" to "The Eye of the Painter." Loomis's earliest books are basic and practical, and as time went by, his books grappled more and more with serious and philosophical topics.

    6. Where formerly the artistic food at the disposal of the student was restricted to the few pictures in his vicinity and some prints of others, not there is scarcely a picture of note in the world that is not known to the average student....It is no wonder that a period of artistic indigestion is upon us."

    Wow, what would he make of the massive availability of art on the Internet?

    7. The position of art to-day is like that of a river...

    As I understand his whole metaphor, he's saying that we can't discard history and start all over again, nor can one pretend to be naive and see like a child again.


    8. The real matter of art lies above and beyond the scope of teaching.

    Speed is aware of the blood-draining effect of too much cold analysis. He recognizes the mystery of intuition, and the idea that in a good painting, a higher power seems to flow through an artist. With a tip of the hat to the infinite, he wants to proceed to the practical matters of the book. But he gives us this introduction to provide an aesthetic context to the material that follows. Encompassed in this section of the book is his search for a definition of Art.

    9. Variety of definitions of art

    Speed summarizes several classic definitions of art, and ends up favoring that of Leo Tolstoy. I also love Tolstoy's definition, which hinges on the artist intentionally transmitting a felt emotion to the viewer. The great thing about that definition is the way it includes virtually every form of art, including music, painting, dance, and storytelling, but it excludes things like wallpaper or architect's blueprints.

    If you would like to read the full text of Tolstoy's famous essay, it's available on Archive.org, and it's a good read, despite his bashing of opera at the beginning.

    10. Each art has certain emotions belonging to the particular sense impressions connected with it.

    Speed introduces his notion of "rhythm," for want of a better word, to encapsulate the abstract visual power of painting and drawing. He's talking about the effect of the design of the picture, apart from the representational subject matter. Speed was influenced by the English art critic Walter Pater (1839-1898), who said, "All art constantly aspires towards the condition of music." Speed points out that the abstract power of painting contains qualities that are unique to our visual life, and perhaps distinct from other art forms that appeal to other senses.

    11. There seems to be a common centre in our human life.

    Speed speaks to the universal human emotions and experience expressed in art.

    12. The visible world is to the artist, as it were, a wonderful garment, at time revealing to him the Beyond, the Inner Truth there is in all things.

    This notion goes all the way back to Plato, and can be found in the writings of the American Transcendentalists. I recommend, for example, Asher B. Durand's essay "Letters on Landscape Painting," which presents similar ideas about landscape painting.

    13. Beauty is a state of mind.

    Speed regards beauty not so much as a particular arrangement of proportions or a particular kind of object, but rather a state of mind in the observer which allows him or her to find rhythm in anything. He criticize artists "whose vision doesn't penetrate beyond the narrow limits of the commonplace."

    Thus, finding beauty in the subject is not the same as altering it to meet some ideal formula. Instead, the artist must cultivate the feeling in the heart, and use the tools of the trade to put that feeling on canvas — while still painting the subject accurately.

    14. Art for art's sake or art for subject's sake?

    The former is be the guiding idea of the Aesthetic movement, which was in full swing in the opening years of the 20th century. Speed strikes a reasonable middle course between the two classic art theories. He faults paintings that calls attention to surface technique, and he also dismisses the other extreme: artists so caught up in their subject matter that they create only "painted symbols."

    15. It also serves to disturb the 'copying theory.'

    Speed ends his introductory essay with an admonition to his readers not to fall into the common pitfall among academic students of his time, and perhaps now, to copy the outer surface of things, while missing the more elusive qualities of life and rhythm.
    I invite you to add your comments, as much as possible keyed to the numbers.
    The Practice and Science of Drawing is available as an inexpensive softcover edition from Dover, You can also get the book fully illustrated and formatted for Kindle. Or you can read it online in a free Archive.org edition. Finally, there's a Project Gutenberg version

    There will be additional discussions and postings related to the GJ Book Club on:
    Allen Morris's Facebook Group Page
    Pinterest page by Carolyn Kasper.
    GJ Book Club Facebook page  organized by Keita Hopkinson

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    7965. above all else, these things I seek

    I went away to celebrate my birthday—up the Delaware River, on the New Jersey side, in the town made famous by Elizabeth Gilbert. I wore funky boots and worried about nothing and bought the coolest felt coat for close to nothing, gifts for a friend, a brass feather for my hair. Walking and walking beside my husband, who had surprised me with Frenchtown, who understood my deep need to be elsewhere.

    These few things, while I was gone:

    One Thing Stolen was named an April Editor's Pick by Amazon and a Top 14 YA April book by Bustle. I am grateful and humbled.

    Galleys for Love: A Philadelphia Affair arrived. This book becoming a real thing, then. More gratitude.

    The German edition of You Are My Only showed up in a white box. It is always deeply interesting to see a story remade in another language, announced to the world with a new image. I'm grateful for Hanser's faith in the novel.

    I had many thoughts while I was away about what really matters, what makes me happiest. Family. Friendship. Time. Peace. These things I seek, above all else. You can make something special without spending lots of money. You can say love without wrapping it in a bow. You can look ahead and worry less. I keep getting better at that. Family. Friendship. Time. Peace.



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    7966. Book Blogger Hop - 4/3 - 4/9

     Question of the Week:

    Is there one book you will NEVER forget?

    My Answer:

    This is a difficult question, and I have to name TWO books.

    The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton 

    Shadow of The Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon.

    These have been on my never-forget list for at least ten years.  :)

    What about you?  

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    7967. On Writing: “Are You Jigsaw Jones?”


    I love this illustration by Jamie Smith from one of the Jigsaw Jones books. I mean, the glove looks like it might have been drawn by an Englishman, which it was, but the spirit is right. I am very grateful that Jamie illustrated so many books in the series; he was, I think, exactly right.

    And, yes, I’m glad to see my love of baseball creep into another book.


    Scan 5


    On school visits, readers often as if I am a particular character.

    Am I Eric in Bystander? Jude in Before You Go? Am I the great detective Jigsaw Jones? Or the mouse in Wake Me In Spring?

    (Okay, no one has ever asked that last question. And the answer is: no, I am not the mouse in Wake Me In Spring! Yes, we both have beady little eyes and whiskers, but beyond that the similarities are purely accidental.)

    Back to the Jigsaw question. No, I’m not Jigsaw Jones. It’s rare for any character to fully stand in for the author. But, of course, there are elements of my life and personality — most definitely exhibited in Jigsaw’s sense of humor — in that character. And there are trappings of my childhood in his world.

    Like me, Jigsaw is the youngest in the family. Like me at that age, Jigsaw’s grandmother lives with him. And like me, the boy loves baseball.

    It was easier to write that way, more natural; I intimately knew those feelings.

    But as I’ve grown as a writer, especially from my early days in college, I’ve learned how to distance myself from my characters. The writing, in my case, has become less autobiographical and more fully its own creation. The characters seem to stand and move around on their own two feet, acting according to their own (fictional) inner compasses. I don’t ask what I would do; I ask what they might do. At the same time, parts of my life, my world, leak into everything. How can it be any other way?

    Art by Jeffrey Scherer.

    Art by Jeffrey Scherer.

    Anyway, I didn’t expect to write this muddled post today. I mostly wanted to share my excitement about the coming baseball season. I am coaching again this year, a really nice group of 15-year-old boys. We’ll play a travel season and enter some tournaments. My 10th-grade son, Gavin, will be playing JV baseball. It’s an impressive accomplishment; not so easy to make those teams in our town. And last but not least, my heart is filled with hope about my beloved New York Mets.

    Dare I say it? I think they might actually be good this year.

    I often sign copies of Six Innings the same way. “Dream big, and swing for the fences!”

    Is there any other way to play?


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    7968. Stargate:SG-1: The beginning of the series (link)

    From Tor.com, enjoy STARGATE REWATCH The Stargate Rewatch: SG-1 Season One

    Why aren't they rerunning this from the beginning?!  (They can skip the end.  [I had high hopes for the incoming characters that I loved in Farscape]).

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    7969. 7 Things I Betcha Don't Know about Paul B. Janeczko

    Howdy, Campers!  Be sure to enter our Paul Janeczko BRAND NEW Poetry Book Give-Away (details below).

    Happy Poetry Friday (today's host link is below)...and happy

    In honor of USA's annual poetry jubilee, I've invited someone to climb into the TeachingAuthors' treehouse who looks a lot like my co-op roommates in the 1970's.

    Who? Why Paul B. Janeczko, that's who--magnificent poet, poet herder, anthologist, author, speaker, teacher, compassionate human and all-round cool guy. (Does this sound a little too fan-girl-ish? Full disclosure: my poems appear in five of Paul's anthologies.) Here's a previous TeachingAuthors post about his beautiful, multi-star-reviewed collection illustrated by Melissa Sweet, FIREFLY JULY--a Year of Very Short Poems.  (And here are all the TA posts which include the tag "Janeczko".) 

    Years ago, I was invited to shadow Paul when he visited schools in Southern California.  Paul's a masterful and charismatic teacher, and he spreads poetry like Johnny Appleseed spread his you-know-whats. Paul's collections of poetry and his anthologies make poetry enjoyable and do-able. (

    Paul B. Janeczko and April Halprin Wayland 
    ha ha ha

    Howdy, Paul! How did you become interested in writing?
    I got interested in writing when I was a 4th or 5th grader. Not by writing poems or stories, but by writing postcards and sending away for free stuff. I’d see these little ads in my mother’s Better Homes and Gardens: “Send a postcard for a free sample of tarnish remover.” I had to have it! I had nothing that was tarnished or would ever be tarnished, but I had to have it.  It was the first time that I really wrote for an audience. And I knew I had an audience: I’d send off a postcard and get a free packet of zucchini seeds.

    From postcards to post graduate...how did you officially become a TeachingAuthor? That is, tell us how you went from being an author to being a speaker/teacher in schools, etc, if this was your trajectory.
    Actually, for me in was more of a coming back to where I started. I started out as a high school English teacher. Did that for 22 years. During that time, I published 8-10 books, but I decided that I’d like to have more time to write. So, when my daughter, Emma, was born in 1990, I became a mostly-stay-at-home parent. Emma was with me a couple of days week and in child care the other days, and that’s when I did my writing and started doing author visits. So, in a lot of ways, it was a very easy transition for me.

    I've seen the map, Paul--you're been to a gazillion schools.  What have you noticed as you visit schools is a common problem students have these days? 
    One of the main problems that I see is not so much a “student problem” as a “system problem,” and that is that most schools to not give writing the time it needs to have a chance to be good. The time pressure on teachers is enormous, notably when it comes to “teaching for the test.” So, teachers are, first of all, losing time to the actually testing, but they are also losing time prepping their kids for things that they do not necessarily believe in.

    Can you hear our readers murmuring in agreement? But--how can you address this?
    Because it is a systemic problem, there’s little I can do about as a visiting writer. However, I make it clear to the teachers and the students that our goal in the workshop is not to create a finished poem. That will take time. What I do, however, is usually get the kids going on a few different poems and get the teacher to agree that he/she will spend class time working on those drafts.

    You say you get the kids writing poems.  Would you share one of your favorite writing exercises with our readers?
    More an approach than an exercise: I like to use poetry models when I work with young readers. I try to show them poems by published poets, but also poems by their peers. When you’re in the 4th grade, Emily Dickinson or Robert Frost may not impress you, but reading a poem by another 4th grader may be just the motivation that you need. And before I turn the kids loose to write, we read the poem, and I give them the chance to talk about what they notice in it. Then we do something a group rough draft so they can begin to see the writing process in action. Then it’s time for them to write. (Readers, Paul has agreed to elaborate on this when he comes back here on Wednesday, 4/8/15 and gives us step-by-step instructions.)

    You're so productive, Paul! What else is on the horizon for you?
    I am finishing an anthology of how-to poems, which will be published in the spring of 2016, with the illustrator to be determined. And I have 3 non-fiction books lined up for the next three years. Little Lies: Deception in War will be a fall 2016 book. The two after that will be Phantom Army: The Ghost Soldiers of World War II and Heist: Art Thieves and the Detectives Who Tracked them Down. And I’m mulling a book of my own poems. Nothing definite on that project.

    WOWEE Kazowee, Paul!  

    Since it's Poetry Friday in the Kidlitosphere, would you share with our readers?

    This is poem that I wrote for a book of poems and illustrations that marked the 200th anniversary of the White House.

    Mary Todd Lincoln Speaks of Her Son’s Death, 1862
    by Paul B. Janeczko

    When Willie died of the fever
    Abraham spoke the words
    that I could not:
    “My boy is gone.
    He is actually gone.”

    The word was a thunder clap
    deafening me to my wails
    as I folded over his body
    already growing cold.

    The word was a curtain
    coming down on 11 years,
    hiding toy soldiers,
    circus animals,
    and his beloved train.

    The word was poison
    but poison that would not kill
    only gag me with its bitterness
    as I choked on a prayer for my death.

    Abraham spoke the words
    that I could not:
    “My boy is gone.
    He is actually gone.”
    And I am left 
    with grief 
    when spoken
    shatters like my heart.

    poem © Paul B. Janeczko 2015 ~ all rights reserved

    Incredibly haunting, Paul. Thank you so much for climbing up to our treehouse today!  
    And readers: remember, we're in for TWO treats:
    (1) Enter below to win an autographed copy of Paul's newest anthology, his (gasp!) 50th book, Death of a Hat, illustrated by Chris Raschka.  You can enter between now and 4/22/15 (which just happens to be TeachingAuthors' 5th Blogiversary!)

    a Rafflecopter giveaway(2) Paul is coming back this Wednesday to this very blog to explain how he teaches on his poetry writing exercise.  Thank you, Paul!

    (P.S: Every April I post original poems. This year's theme is PPP--Previously Published Poems and you can find them here.) 

    Thank you, Amy of the Poem Farm for Hosting Poetry Friday today!

    posted poetically by April Halprin Wayland and Monkey--who offered lots of ideas today...

    0 Comments on 7 Things I Betcha Don't Know about Paul B. Janeczko as of 4/3/2015 6:19:00 AM
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    7970. Teaching Cause and Effect with Picture Books by Renee Kirchner

    Cause and effect relationships are a basic part of the teacher curriculum for elementary aged children. Young children need to learn the basics of cause and effect to understand how the world works. Simply put, cause and effect is a relationship where one thing causes something else to happen. For example, if we play in the mud, we will get dirty. Playing in the mud is the “cause,” and getting dirty is the “effect.”

    Picture books can be a useful tool for teaching the concept of cause and effect. Rather than listening to a lecture, children can enjoy a story and learn something at the same time. Before reading a picture book to your children, tell them to listen for key words such as, because, so, if…then, as a result of, etc. These types of words can usually be found in a story that has a cause and effect relationship.

    There are three basic types of cause and effect relationships: stated cause and effect relationships, unstated cause and effect relationships, and reciprocal cause and effect relationships. For each type of cause and effect relationship, there are picture books to teach the concept. Here are some great examples to use with your students:

    I. Stated Cause and Effect Relationship (it is clearly stated in the story).

    The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown

    Each time a young bunny imagines running away from home, his mother is right behind him. If he becomes a fish, the mother will become a fisherman so she can catch him. The mother rabbit loves her bunny so much that she will follow him no matter where he goes.

    II. Unstated Cause and Effect Relationship (children will have to read between the lines)

    Tops and Bottoms by Janet Stevens

    This is the story of a lazy bear and a clever hare. They are putting in a garden and the hare is doing all of the work. The clever hare tricks the bear into choosing either the tops or bottoms of the plants they harvest. When the bear chooses the tops of the plants, the hare plants carrots and other root vegetables. When the bear chooses bottoms, the hare plants lettuce, and other vegetables that grow above the ground. This book teaches that if you are lazy you will not reap any rewards. Children will have to read between the lines because the cause and effect relationship is not spelled out.

    Legend of the Persian Carpet by Tomie de Paola

    When a precious jewel is stolen from the palace of King Balash, he is very upset. He loved to go into the room in the palace with the jewel because it was filled with light. Many people try unsuccessfully to solve his problem until a peasant boy is able to help him.

    III. Reciprocal Cause and Effect Relationship (One effect will cause a second effect and so on).

    If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff

    This is a classic cause and effect story where one actions leads to another action and then another. If you give a mouse a cookie, he will need a glass of milk to go with it. The story gets sillier and sillier before it circles back around to the beginning again. It ends on the same note that it began with the mouse asking for a cookie.

    The Day Jimmy’s Boa Ate the Wash by Trinka Hakes Noble

    Jimmy and his class go on a field trip to a farm. The children think the field trip is very dull until Jimmy pulls out his boa constrictor and then all kinds of chaos ensues.

    Picture books can be used very effectively in the classroom to teach a number of reading skills. Once you start studying picture books there is no end to the classroom uses you will find for them.

    0 Comments on Teaching Cause and Effect with Picture Books by Renee Kirchner as of 4/2/2015 2:28:00 PM
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    7971. Perfect Picture Book Friday - Flap Your Wings

    Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, Everyone!

    Since it's technically Spring, and since Sunday is Easter, I chose a book about an egg :)  It is another older book - almost 20 years older than last week's older book! - but it is one of my All Time Favorites!

    Flap Your Wings
    Written & Illustrated By: P.D. Eastman
    Random House, 1969, Fiction
    Suitable For: ages 3-8
    Themes/Topics: assumptions, non-traditional family, unconditional love, responsibility
    Opening: (this is actually the first three pages.)
    "An egg lay in the path.
    A boy came down the path.  He saw the egg.  "Someone might step on that egg and break it," he said.
    He looked around.
    He saw flamingos and frogs, and turtles and alligators.  "Whose egg is this?" he called.  But no one answered."

    Brief Synopsis:  A little boy finds an egg.  He doesn't want it to get damaged, so he looks around until he finds the nest and carefully puts it back.  When Mr. and Mrs. Bird come home, they are surprised to find an egg in their nest... it wasn't there when they left!  But Mr. Bird says that if an egg is in their nest it must be their egg, so they must take care of it.  So they do... with very surprising results!

    Links To Resources:  Ideas And Activities For Guided ReadingIncubation & Embryology Activities, use with An Egg Is Quiet (from PPBF link list), talk about what kind of animals, insects and reptiles lay eggs and how the eggs are the same and different.

    Why I Like This Book:  This book is fun to read as a picture book, but is also an I Can Read type book that is very accessible to new readers.  The pictures are delightful - Mr. and Mrs. Bird's expressions are very entertaining.  But I really love the story because it doesn't go where you would expect.  It's funny.  And it's a great example of what agents, editors and reviewers mean when they talk about re-readability.  This book delighted me as a child, and delighted my children in their turn.  I've read it so many times that even now, years since I last read it to my kids, I can recite almost the whole book.  It's fun every time :)

    If you get a chance to read it, I hope you like it as much as I do!

    For the complete list of books with resources, please visit Perfect Picture Books.

    Before we head off to our weekends, I just want to share a little housekeeping note for those of you who are new to Perfect Picture Book Fridays:

    Perfect Picture Books are more than just reviews.

    The thing that sets Perfect Picture Books apart is the resources.

    It is our goal to make it easy for parents, teachers, and homeschoolers to expand on the use of picture books.

    Essentially, we're handing them a great picture book and one or more activities they can use with it ready-made.

    The resources you provide may be online links, but they don't have to be.  Many PPBF bloggers think up GREAT activities and discussion questions and recipes and games etc...

    The crucial thing is that the book you post must have at least one good resource to expand on its use at home and/or in the classroom in order to be added to the comprehensive list.  And the resource must be ready to use - by which I mean, saying a book can be used for finger rhymes or a math activity doesn't help a parent or teacher who doesn't know any finger rhymes or math activities, so please tell us which finger rhyme and how to do it, or provide a specific math activity, etc.  Thank you so much!

    PPBF bloggers please be sure to leave your post-specific link in the list below so we can all come visit you and see what terrific books you've chosen this week!

    Have a lovely weekend, everyone, and Happy Easter and Happy Passover to those who celebrate!

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    7972. Comment on Generic Description by Top Picks Thursday 04-02-2015 | The Author Chronicles

    […] items. Posey of Cool Cats Writers shares 10 tips to write stronger sentences, Mary Kole warns of the dangers of generic description, Fiona Quinn wants us to get swordplay details right, L.Z. Marie lists the real comma rules, and […]

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    7973. April - The Power of Films, kids, books, and dogs


      Mockingjay teaser comic con

    People around the world know this face and know her story.

    She is Katniss Evergreen, heroine of The Hunger Games films, adapted from a series of very popular YA novels. Set in the future, they are stories of survival and danger.

    The Hunger Games films, three at this point, have a huge worldwide audience with ticket sales approaching 2.5 billion dollars. This represents an incredible number of people -- young adults, adults, and, I fear, children. And like all successful films, their stories will live on, beyond the big screens, on CDs and TV. And the original novels will be read by still more young adults -- and adults.

    Mockingjay 1, the third and latest in the series, is more mature in its content and execution (thankfully) as it portrays people trapped in a dystopian world dominated by an inhumane dictator -- not so far removed from real world events.



    Cinderella2015posters-Today, it is the face of Disney's sugar-coated Cinderella reaching huge numbers of children and adults around the world with lovely color and costumes, sweeping music, and a happy ending to delight any little girl -- and apparently, the little girl's mother as well. Magic, and rags to riches are back in this sugar coated version adapted from the Cinderella wonder tales of the past. In the first two weeks following the film's opening, it has grossed over $330 million worldwide. 

    Disney Polishes Its Glass Slippers

    Both Manohla Dargis (NY Times) in the USA, and Guy Lodge (Guardian) in the UK, had insightful and amusing comments in their reviews of Cinderella. Here are excerpts.....

    Manohla Dargis 

    "Why Cinderella, why now? If you’re the Walt Disney Company the answer can only be: Why CinderellaRackhamnot? She may not be a princess (yet!) and the story may have been told innumerable times, but there’s gold in those glass slippers no matter how many miles they have on them. The cinema pioneer Georges Méliès told her story in 1899, perhaps for the first time on screen, and she recently popped up in Disney’s live-action adaptation of Stephen Sondheim’s “Into the Woods.” ...

    In traditional iteration after iteration, the story of Cinderella is also that of mothers — dead, cruel and magical — who loom over this quintessential dutiful daughter far more than any man. One mother abandons Cinderella, leading the way for a second mother to torment her, who in turn opens the door for a third mother to come to the rescue with a wave of her wand. "

    Guy Lodge

    "Perky Pretty Cupcake of A Fairy Tale"

    06_cinderella_-_aschenputtel"Here’s a question for an enlightened-age Cinderella. If every woman in the land gets to try on one blasted glass slipper for a shot at Prince Charming’s hand in marriage, why does the wicked, widowed stepmother never have a go? Is she too old? Too ugly? Too imperfectly coiffed? None is an accusation you could fairly level against Cate Blanchett’s splendid Lady Tremaine. A tart-tongued beauty with a traffic-stopping wardrobe inherited from the personal archives of Edith Head – not to mention an evident knack for hosting a mean poker party – she’s plainly the biggest catch in the entire kingdom.

    Blanchett is certainly the best thing in Kenneth Branagh’s perky, pretty, lavender-scented cupcake of a fairytale adaptation – the first in what looks to be a series of live-action Disney updates of their own animated classics. (Beauty and the Beast, starring Emma Watson as Belle, is already in the works.) "

    To see the Disney world of Cinderella enchantment for young girls, click here: Cinderella ---

    Personally, I  much prefer films like Howl's Moving Castle, Coraline or Malificent.


    Fairy Tales as Family Tales

    VictorianFamily"Now throughout history, parents no doubt have had affection for their children...But what has changed by the later eighteenth century is the idea of affection as a defining criterion for family goodness... Scholars have long recognized the ways in which the Grimms calibrated their tales for these emerging middle-class audiences; they pared away some of the coarseness of the folk idiom, shaped particular motifs to literary expectations, and added layers of Christian morality or proverbial wisdom to enhance their practical didactic value. Whatever rusticity remains in their tellings is a highly stylized one.

    In such contexts of class and culture, fairy tales raised serious philosophical questions: was love something that you learned as a parent, or was it something inherent in giving birth? Could someone love a child that was not their own?..."

    Seth LererChildren's Literature, A Reader's History from Aesop to Harry Potter. 


    NPR OnPointCinderella, Ever After (And After, And After, And After)

    NPR's On Point, hosted by Tom Ashbrook, featured a very lively discussion of Cinderella and the staying power of the story. Ashbrook's  guests included scholar/authors Maria Tatar and Jack Zipes, as well as Peggy Orenstein, author of Cinderella Ate My Daughter




    The DELMARVA Search and Rescue Group (SAR) is a "professional, volunteer organization comprised of military, fire/rescue, medical/EMS, police/corrections, and civilian trained responders all working towards one goal...to preserve life when the odds are stacked against the victim." The SAR DelMarVaSARvolunteers practice and train in the woods, marshlands and on water. 
    Dogs are an integral part of their search and rescue work.

    The Planet Dog Foundation (PDF) recently gave $60,510  in grants to a variety of Assistance/Service Dog Organizations, Therapy Dog Organizations, and SAR Organizations.

    The DELMARVA SAR was one of the organizations selected to receive a grant from the Planet Dog Foundation. Here is the PDF's description of the purpose of the grant: 

    "DELMARVA Search and Rescue Group is a professionally trained search and rescue team composed of thirty volunteers with ground, canine, and equine search and rescue management expertise. The PDF grant will fund the training of 7-10 of their dogs in advanced air-scenting capabilities. An air-scenting dog is called upon to search an area of 40-160 acres to either locate a missing individual or eliminate the territory from further search."




    More Movies -- dystopia returns with Insurgent  

    Insurgent, the second movie -- and book --  in the very successful Divergent Series is big at the box office, if not with the critics. With worldwide box office sales of more than $112 Million in the first two weeks of its release, the film may well equal or surpass the $288 million to date of Divergent (released in March 2014).

    Insurgent3This fantasy sci-fi story takes place in a post-apocalypse walled Chicago. Here are excerpts from two incisive reviews: 

    Movie Talk  Jason Best: 

    "There’s a tad more visual flair and a tad more violence in the second installment of The Divergent Series based on young adult novelist Veronica Roth’s bestselling trilogy, yet Insurgent still looks like an anemic Hunger Games clone...Roth’s Divergent world is so ridiculously complicated and unconvincing that the plot becomes snagged at every turn, the characters tangled in knotty exposition. "

    NY Times   Manohla Dargis

    WoodleyBurningCity"Tighter, tougher and every bit as witless as its predecessor, 'The Divergent Series: Insurgent' — the second segment in the cycle — arrives with a yawn and ends with a bang. In between, bodies run, leap and fall amid nuzzling lips, blasting bullets and periodic story turns that make the movie a modest cultural artifact if one largely devoid of aesthetic interest."

    Here is the trailer for Insurgent 

    You Tube carries a video series entitled Everything Wrong... Everything Wrong With Divergent In 16 Minutes Or Less is a video satirizing the original Divergent using scenes from the movie and ironical humor. 



    The Power of Film...The Power of Music in Film

    DreamworksLogoWhen reading a book, a child's imagination is stimulated by the words, the descriptions and ideas that come from the words -- and perhaps some illustrations. When a child enters a movie theater, and experiences a movie, they are enveloped by images (many from computer animation), sound effects, and music. The power of music in films is extremely important in the total impression made on the child and their imagination.

    Here are links to music tracks that quickly illustrate the power of music in film. They are quite different in approach.



    Harry Potter



    The White God

    White GogDogMovie

    Dog Lovers...I haven't seen the film White God -- but I will...

    To understand why I say this, I suggest first taking a look at the trailer: White God...And then reading this excerpt from the NY Times review by Manohla Dargis

    WhiteGodGirlDogOnHill"The hand that feeds — and also brutalizes — is righteously bitten in “White God,” a Hungarian revenge fantasy that’s like nothing you’ve seen on screen before. The story is as simple as a parable, a campfire story, a children’s book: A faithful animal, separated from its loving owner, endures, suffers, struggles and resists while trying to transcend its brutal fate. The director, Kornel Mundruczo, has said that he was partly inspired by J. M. Coetzee’s devastating novel “Disgrace,” but the movie also invokes haunting animal classics like 'Black Beauty' and 'The Call of the Wild'.”


    Logofull bp Logo2_flatPreferredBorn Without A Tail

    C.A. Wulffs updated version of this wonderful book is now available on Amazon

    When your home has a revolving door for abused and abandoned animals, keeping pets takes on a whole new dimension! Sometimes hilarious, sometimes heartbreaking, this is the account of one woman's journey with an ever-changing
    house full of pets that led her to animal advocacy. These true-life tales, (mis)adventures and insights garnered from a lifetime of animal encounters from childhood through adulthood, will warm your heart.

    Here's an ABwtcoversamp_sm (2)mazon review:

    "Those of us who have taken in unwanted or neglected/abused animals know the satisfaction of helping innocents have safe and fulfilling lives, but not everybody is able to articulate the trials and tribulations, the frustrations and the joy associated with such efforts. The author does a good job of relating her experiences with animals in need in a way that captures a reader's interest, expresses her emotional investment in the animals and somehow avoids sanctimony..."

    Look Inside the Book on Amazon and see for yourself...



    Hopeful News for Shelter Dogs 


    The real estate firm, Coldwell Banker has partnered with Adopt a Pet  and pledges to find homes for 20,000 shelter dogs each year. 

    ColdwellAdoptAPetThe potential of their Homes for Dogs program is enormous when one considers the fact that they have about 3000 offices in almost 50 countries and territories.  

    Adopt a Pet is a non-profit organization that has over 1,000 people per hour running a search on their site while looking for a pet. Their site offers a wide range of information, sourced for practical guidance and pet health care. 




    Books Will Open  A Child's Mind --  If They Can Read.

    LitWorld has the Passion, Experience, Programs and People to bring reading to children New yorkaround the world. Here are a few facts from their website

    "Reading is a basic human right that belongs to all people. The mission of LitWorld is to empower children to reach their full potential...Today one in ten people around the world cannot read or write and 57 million children never have the chance to go to school....
    LitWorld keeps growing. We serve only the most underserved in the poorest communities around the world, from the United States to Kenya, from the Philippines to Haiti..". 

    Reading...what was reading, what is reading to all of us? Here is a link to a heartening LitWorld video that made me aware and grateful for the gift of reading: LitWorld

    The top photo was taken in Nepal. The photo on the bottom is from New York City.


    Dogs in the Legendary Kathmandu


    Kathmandu , Nepal, was once the place to go for young alternate lifestyle backpackers. Times have changed, and although the city remains a center for ancient spiritual traditions, it is also the densely populated capital of an extremely poor country. A few years ago, there were 20,000 street dogs living in this city of one million people. Street dogs with rabies had become an enormous problem, with over 200 deaths a year, many of them children. 

    The Kat Centre 

    KatCetreJan_SalterA dedicated dog lover, Jan Salter, has made huge progress in solving the street dog problem by establishing and operating the  Kathmandu Animal Treatment Centre,  known locally as the the KAT Center, where  dogs are rescued; and The KAT Centre's staff spays and vaccinates them and provides treatment for injured and sick animals. They also have educational programs that teach children and adults about animal welfare. For more information about the dedicated workers at the Kathmandu Animal Treatment Centre, and the wonderful changes that have taken place, take a look at these well done videos:  

    Here is Video of the KAT Centre founder Jan Salter , taking you to see the Centre and the rescue operation facility and explaining the many facets of their work. 

    Here is another perspective on Katmandu and the KAT Center from 2011, featuring many street scenes.

    To see the unromantic busy urban life: Central Kathmandu 2013   


    Castle In The Mist is the second book in the Planet Of The Dogs Series...Here is an excerpt...

    CITM-blog size-382KBPrince Ukko’s face suddenly became red and he could barely speak.  “What is that?” he demanded.

    He pointed to a dense cluster of tall pines on the edge of the forest.  Walking slowly out of the mist was Tok, a son of Rex, and the biggest dog to come down to planet Earth. His long winter fur of brown and white made him appear even bigger. His head was raised.  He looked directly at Prince Ukko as he slowly walked to the center of the open space in front of the castle.  There he stopped, raised his head and howled.  And when he did, the voices of all the dogs from Snow Valley, hidden in the misty forest, howled at the same time.

    Ukko, watching in horror, turned to Narro, and growled, “Stop them.  They must be stopped.”

    To read more, and for sample chapters from the series -- Planet Of The Dogs, Castle In The Mist, and Snow Valley Heroes,  A Christmas Tale -- and for more information about all of our  books -- visit our Planet Of The Dogs website.

    We have free copies of the Planet of The Dogs book series for therapy dog organizations, individual therapy dog owners, and librarians and teachers with therapy reading dog programs...simply send us an email at planetofthedogs@gmail.com. and we will send you the books.




    Far from Bedtime Reading

    More from Mary Leland's excellent, informed article/review in the  Irish Examiner regarding the themes and significance of Jack Zipes  recent translation of the Grimm's Original Fairy Tales and Zipes' Grimm Legacies. The Magic Spell of the Grimms’ Folk and Fairy Tales, Princeton 2014

    GrimmBrothers"Ancient as they may be, many of the stories we still relish today took as their themes the abiding issues of parent and child disputes, social inequalities, hidden talents, sibling rivalry, the defeat of evil and the reward of virtue, malice and its unmasking, the helplessness of the young — especially young women — the abuse of power and the triumph of kindness.

    When such ingredients of mysticism, of animal transformation, of witchcraft, sorcery and miracle and even in some charming cases a strong sense of fun are added to this catalogue of recognisable conflicts. the unifying purpose behind the work of Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm becomes more obvious.

    These topics in one way or another are common to mankind’s experience of life: they unite us all. Or they did so once...

    So be warned: adults who remember their own affection for fairytales will enjoy this book, but its contents are often far from bed-time reading and very far from Disney, Pixar and Ladybird."


    Three-million-dogs-logoDog Lovers -Have you heard of 3 million dogs?

    Their site looks lively, diverse, and rather unusual in content.

    Check out this video ...



    CustomLogoNakedTruthThe Arne Nixon Center explores Censorship in young peoples books, April 10-12, seeking to explore the many ways in which censorship affects reading choices for young people. 

    "The Arne Nixon Center for the Study of Children’s Literature in the Madden Library at Fresno State will conduct a conference on censorship April 10 -12, 2015. “Outlawed: The Naked Truth About Censored Literature for Young People”


    Terrific Line Up Of Speakers at this Free Event at the New School, New York City

    NewSchoolWhereTheWildThingAreIf you are interested in children's literature and will be in the New York City area April 18, check out this link: Where the Wild Books Are  

    "Join critics, authors, illustrators, publishing professionals, and educators from Europe, the United States, and beyond as they introduce audience members to a diverse array of important picture books published in France, Switzerland, Italy, Germany and Japan. Take part in a lively exchange on the ethical, commercial, and aesthetic dimensions of the evolving global publishing scene."

    Location:The Auditorium at 66 West 12th Street, Alvin Johnson/J.M. Kaplan Hall 66 West 12th Street, New York, NY 10011


    Dogs, Humans and Health


    How to Recognize the Benefits of the Dog-Human Relationship

    CITM-Raku and the girl-blog sizeThis article features a wealth of information from Way Cool Dogs on an illustrated chart...

    "How to recognize the benefits of the dog-human relationship offers-up more and more information on how to make humans healthier. The following infographic shows what areas are involved in this bonding relationship between dogs and humans (cancer, lower blood sugar, reduce anxiety, etc.)."   

    Read more: Way Cool Dogs


    The illustration by Stella Mustanoja-McCarty is from Castle In The Mist. 


    The Painted Pilgrim 

    A new children’s book, The Painted Pilgrim, shines a light on the dog adoption process and shows us why we should take care of dogs of all sizes, shapes, colors, and breeds.

    “Some five million dogs will enter a shelter this year and 3.5 million will not make it out,” notes author and animal photographer Ms. Dale Ryan.  “I hope my book inspires more dog adoptions, especially of dogs that aren’t perfect or pure breeds, such as mutts, less favored breeds, or those with a disability or perceived shortcoming.” PaintedPilgrimCover

    C.A. Wulff reviewed the Painted Pilgrim in the Examiner under the title, Would You Adopt a Pink Dog?. Here is an excerpt from her review:

    "For animal rescuers who wonder where the next generation of animal advocates and activists will come from, books like Dale Ryan’s The Painted Pilgrim may be the answer. Education is the key to ensuring that the message of responsibility and compassion stays alive. Pellegrino is a pink dog who finds himself in the care of the Give Me Shelter animal rescue. Zuki is the shelter director, and she recognizes how special Pellegrino is immediately..." 

    Read all of Wullf's review in the Examiner 


    Anderson"Where words fail, music speaks” 

    “He now felt glad at having suffered sorrow and trouble, because it enabled him to enjoy so much better all the pleasure and happiness around him;”  

    “When we get to the end of the story, you will know more than you do now...” 

    Hans Christian Anderson



    There is a largely unsung  group of dedicated animal lovers who are saving dogs as you are reading these words...Volunteer Animal Rescue Drivers... Sunbear has all the information on what is happening in volunteering, what it takes to qualify and more...

    To read this engaging and informative article follow this link: Rescue 


    "Ever wonder where you'd end up if you took your dog for a walk and never once pulled back on the leash?"-- Robert Brault




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    7974. Social Media Marketing – When You Need to Hit the Pause Button

    Business is no longer 9 to 5 or even 7 to 7. It at times feels like it’s round the clock. The reason? The 24/7 of social media. Keeping your brand in constant visibility, trying to fight through all the other internet noise, and keeping up with communications and networking, can be time consuming and draining. To take a breather, you can put your social media postings and communications

    0 Comments on Social Media Marketing – When You Need to Hit the Pause Button as of 4/3/2015 5:57:00 AM
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    7975. Teaching Personification with Picture Books – This Week’s Teaching Tip by Amy M. O’Quinn

    Can a little house on a hill smile happily while watching the sun and moon and stars all through the changing seasons?

    Can a little train engine talk herself into pulling a bunch of heavy cars up a steep hill by repeating, “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can?”

    Can letters of the alphabet race to the top of the coconut tree?

    Sure they can—if the writer uses a literary technique called personification!

    Personification means giving human traits (qualities, feelings, actions or characteristics) directly to a non-living object. For example, the trees were dancing with the wind, the pot of soup bubbled merrily on the stove or the sun peeked over the hill. Obviously, trees can’t really dance, pots can’t be merry, and the sun doesn’t have eyes to peek over the hill. But what great descriptions for a reader to picture in his mind!

    Many times an author will use this literary technique to add more fun, drama, sparkle, excitement, or interest to a story or to convey a certain mood. And because we are people, it is easier for us to relate to the object or to an idea that is being personified because we understand and identify with the human attributes that are being portrayed.

    It’s all about exposure! We expect a person with a well-rounded education to be able to recognize the most common elements on the periodic table or name the capitals of major countries. So should he have a basic working knowledge of common literary terms or techniques such as personification, onomatopoeia, oxymoron, anthropomorphism, alliteration, etc. You can find the definitions of all these terms and more at MrBrainman. But learning these things can be a gradual process, and we can begin exposing our children to the terms and techniques while enjoying a good book together.

    Parents can easily introduce the technique of personification when it occurs in picture books. Just have the child identify things that a non-living object simply cannot do. An object cannot act or feel like a real person—so that’s called personification. This is a great activity and one that can be handled naturally when talking about what can be real and what is pretend. The child probably won’t remember the term “personification” after just one introduction, but a base of knowledge is being built one term at a time. Again, it’s all about exposure! And I can almost guarantee that even a very young child will recognize when an inanimate object has been given human qualities! Children find such things to be very silly—and very fun!

    Virginia Lee Burton was a master at using personification in her picture books. Who can possibly forget The Little House, Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, or Katy and the Big Snow? Watty Piper’s The Little Engine That Could and Don Freeman’s Corduroy books are also classics in this technique. But there are many other picture books as well that can be used for teaching about personification.

    Below is a great starting list. So check out these titles, and discover the fun of personification in picture books!

    The Barn by Debbie Atwell
    Best Loved Doll by Rebecca Caudill
    The Caboose Who Got Loose by Bill Peet
    Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin, Jr.
    Corduroy books by Don Freeman
    Hitty: Her First Hundred Years by Rachel Field
    Jennifer and Josephine by Bill Peet
    Katy and the Big Snow by Virginia Lee Burton
    The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper
    The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton
    The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge by Hildegarde H. Swift & Lynd Ward
    Little Toot by Hardie Gramatky
    Maybelle the Cable Car by Virginia Lee Burton
    Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel by Virginia Lee Burton
    Miss Hickory by Carolyn Sherwin Bailey
    Raggedy Ann Stories by Johnny Gruelle
    Rikki-Tikki-Tavi by Rudyard Kipling
    Smokey by Bill Peet
    The Tree That Would Not Die by Ellen Levine
    The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams


    Amy M. O’Quinn is a pastor’s wife and former schoolteacher-turned-homeschool mom of six. She is also a freelance writer who enjoys jotting down ideas around the fringes of family life. She specializes in non-fiction, and her work has been published in various educational and children’s magazines. She is also a product/curriculum/book reviewer for The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, a regular columnist for TEACH Magazine, and a member of SCBWI. The O’Quinns live on the family farm in rural south Georgia. You can find Amy at her new writing site/blog, amyoquinn.com. Or visit her personal blog, Ponderings From Picket Fence Cottage.


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