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16801. The Prairie Thief in Paperback

The Prairie Thief by Melissa Wiley

Hurrah! I love it when a book comes out in paperback. Such a thrill to know it will reach a new audience. :)

Handy-dandy purchasing links for you, because I’m helpful like that:

AmazonB&NIndiebound

Do you know what I would love? If you happen to buy a copy (or if you have already purchased the hardcover) from your local indie, would you leave a comment to let me know the name of the bookstore? There are few things lovelier for a writer than knowing someone wandered into a bookshop and met your book on the shelf, and adopted it for keeps.

Here are some reviews:

“Wiley has created a charming, inventive tale that reads like a delightful mash-up of Little House on the Prairie and Tony DiTerlizzi’s ‘The Spiderwick Chronicles’ (S & S). Short chapters and the air of mystery and suspense keep the pages turning, and readers will be taken with Louisa, who is sweet and mild-mannered, yet has the strength to fight for what is right. The writing is breezy and lyrical…[a] top-notch story.” —School Library Journal

“Fans of the Little House books will recognize the setting and enjoy the fantastic twist. Stylized black-and-white illustrations capture key moments and add to the warm tone. The comedic, unexpected, satisfying conclusion hits just the right note. A pleasing folkloric/historical blend.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Wiley’s cleverly constructed story, which switches over to the circuit judge’s amusing perspective for a few chapters, is not only a fine tall tale but also gives some sense of nineteenth-century frontier life.” —Booklist

“Frontier fiction and folkloric fantasy are an unusual combination, but they actually blend remarkably well here, and Wiley does a fine job of staying true to the pioneer inflections of Louisa’s story while effectively integrating the magical brownie…The effective mashup of popular genres will make this a hit with a variety of readers, so try handing it to Little House fans and folktale-lovers alike.” —Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

“…a delight from start to finish.” —Jen Robinson’s Book Page

“Every now and then a book makes me miss having a class to read to. Some books absolutely beg to be read aloud. The Prairie Thief by Melissa Wiley is that kind of book….And then, the must of all musts for reading a story aloud… the language. The Prairie Thief is rich with gorgeous, evocative language that begs to be heard as well as read. We feel as though we’ve been transported back in time when we listen to expressions like, ‘He was wailing loud enough to curdle milk,’ or ‘Ye look like last year’s scarecrow.’ Even the simple ‘Balderdash!’ sounds better out loud. Wiley uses big words too—words that some kids will latch on to and roll around in their minds and mouths—like audacious, gesticulations, rapscallion, scrutinizing—they add to the mood and help us sink into this world.” —Writing on the Sidewalk

“Wholly delightful. I found it impossible to put down and read it in one great gulp. I don’t think I could have loved it more, had I read it as a child. The characters are lovely, each and all. The story, while never veering from the path to a happy ending, had plenty of dips and bobbles and surprises. I grinned my way through much of it, and am not ashamed to tell you my eyes filled with tears at the end. It’s wholesome without being smarmy, and fun without being arch.” —Salamander House

“…a mystical mystery not to be missed.” —the kids at Bookie Woogie

The Prairie Thief is a Junior Library Guild selection, an SCBWI Crystal Kite Member’s Choice Award nominee, and a Bravewriter Arrow selection. It is currently a nominee for New Hampshire’s Great Stone Face Children’s Choice Award. (Check out the rest of the books on that list, you guys—looks like some fun reading there.)

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16802. '"Big" is a Banned Word in Our Classroom...' Musings on Creative Writing and SATs - Cecilia Busby


I'm butting in here, slightly, as someone who's not normally a regular contributor to ABBA. But there are some things that have been brewing in my head for a while to do with writing in schools. The recent controversies over Michael Gove's new reforms, pushing yet more formal grammar down the throats of the nations primary school children, has caused them to boil over into a blog post. Luckily ABBA was at hand to give me an outlet!

When I was at primary school (a long time ago it seems now!) teachers regularly read stories to their class - lots and lots of stories - picture books, short stories, fairy tales, longer books over a week or more. Children learned the many ways of creative story-telling by listening to and living in these stories. And then they were encouraged to write their own, whatever and however they wanted – just stories. Glorious, creative, fun, mad, rambling stories, meant to be simply enjoyed.

One amazing afternoon, when I was eleven, the teacher from the other, companion class to ours read us the whole of Paul Gallico’s Snow Goose, start to finish. He had a soft Scottish accent and a wonderful reading voice, and the whole class spent that afternoon in a completely magical other place, of snow and bleak landscapes and tears. Every single girl in the class instantly fell in love with him, and I bet no one there has ever forgotten it.

We were not expected to critique these stories – we were never asked to identify the genre, or discuss the foibles of the main character, or identify the metaphors being used in the passage we’d just been read. That particular ruination of stories lay in the future, at secondary school. We were just allowed to enjoy them, absorb them, be inspired by them – and slowly learn how stories worked and what they did by listening and reading.

Gradually, children, as they read more, as teachers gently pointed out the need for full stops and capital letters, and encouraged correct spelling, produced more coherent, grammatical sentences, more sophisticated descriptions, richer vocabulary. But they did this at their own pace, in relation to the kinds of books they were reading, and as their own story dictated. My best friend and I went through an intensely poetical phase in the third year of junior school in which our writing was essentially nothing but strings of adjectives, each of us out-doing the other in flights of fancy (‘the white, pale, glittering diamond snow drifts gently, mounds of sparkling coldness heaped in silvery piles’…) 

My teacher was always nice about them. She was still nice when I became obsessed with Biggles, and everyone in my stories started ‘observing wryly’ or ‘laughing carelessly’ instead of ‘saying’ anything. She let me develop a writing style at my own pace, and in relation to what I wanted to say, and just enjoyed the roller-coaster ride – and as a result what I never, ever felt was judged against any kind of externally imposed standard. We were praised for the creativity we showed, for making the teacher laugh, for the ideas in our stories. We weren't told that our story had achieved a level 4A or 3B, and what we needed to do to get the next highest level was use more 'interesting words' and include several similes. At eleven I wouldn't have recognised a simile if it had come up and hit me on the head (and that's a personification of a simile, by the way, and so a kind of metaphor, as most eleven-year-olds would now be expected to tell you...) But I'm sure I used them, all the time - not consciously, to impress examiners, but joyously, because they enabled me to describe what I had in my head in exactly the right way.

What has happened in the intervening years is a kind of madness sparked off by an increasing tendency for the bureaucratic state to value surveillance over trust. Instead of assuming that professionals could be trusted,  the state started to ask for evidence that its practitioners were providing 'value for money' and the only evidence that seemed to 'count' was numbers. In education, this meant the National Curriculum, imposed standards, testing, and league tables. I have watched my children go through the primary system, one after the other, and for a while I trained to become a primary teacher myself. I now go into schools as an author. All those experiences have left me increasingly sad and angry at the effect that these changes have had on children's relationship to literature and writing.

To take writing. In the attempt to codify and externalise the standards that children could be judged by, academics and policy-makers took the processes that happen as children develop their writing skills (development of wider vocabulary, greater use of figurative language, more accurate grammar, better spelling) and made them explicit teaching goals which were then  tested. Inevitably, with schools and children then judged by these tests/standards, teachers were forced to make explicit to their pupils the grounds on which they had succeeded or 'failed' to reach certain levels; to drill them in the 'right' techniques to do well in the tests. This is even considered by Ofsted to be good teaching practice - woe betide a teacher who doesn't put the 'learning goal' clearly on the board for each lesson, or whose pupils don't know exactly what level they are working at and how to get to the next rung of the ladder.

The example that really brought this process home to me happened when I was visiting a year 6 class in a small village primary in Devon a few months ago. Talking about the characters in my book, Frogspell, I read out a description of Sir Bertram Pendragon, 'a gruff, burly knight with a deep voice and a large moustache' who also happens to enjoy whacking his enemies with his 'big sword'. 'Can I just stop you there?' said the teacher. 'The word "big" is one of the banned words in our classroom. What do you think of that?'

I was temporarily speechless. I recovered enough to make it quite clear that I didn't think any word should be banned, and that sometimes 'big' was exactly the right word for the job you wanted it to do, but it made me think anew about the results of a testing regime that gives higher marks to the use of more complex vocabulary. The inevitable end point is that children are told not to use the word 'big' if they can possibly shoehorn in 'enormous', 'gigantic', extraordinarily excessive' or 'mountainous'.

The result is that writing, for children in primary schools - especially at the upper levels - is now a very much more conscious activity. Their heads are full of instructions: use 'interesting' words; use similes and metaphors and personification; use commas and semi-colons if you can; never, ever use the word 'big'. That they manage to find any joy at all in writing in the face of these multiple goals to aspire to and pitfalls to be avoided is a tribute to their irrepressible creativity and passion.

I recently read a lovely piece about writing by a fellow social anthropologist, Tim Ingold.
The full text is here: http://www.dur.ac.uk/writingacrossboundaries/writingonwriting/timingold/

Ingold bemoans the universal use of the computer for university students' essays, and writes about how he encourages his students to put pen to paper, and feel the flow of writing as a flow, from brain to hand. Writing is not a technical fitting together of ready made bits and pieces in a way that will gain approval from an examiner/teacher, it is a craft. It's more akin to carving a knotted piece of wood than putting together an IKEA flatpack. Ingold likens it to hunting - you don't go from A to B in a straight line: 'To hunt you have to be alert for clues and ready to follow trails wherever they may lead. Thoughtful writers need to be good hunters.'

Introduce the computer, and its associated cut-and-paste techniques, Ingold argues, and immediately 'students are introduced to the idea that academic writing is a game whose primary object is to generate novelty through the juxtaposition and recombination of materials from prescribed sources'. This is word-processing rather than writing, and, as he says, it 'is a travesty of the writer's craft.'

The National Curriculum, and SAT tests, seem to me to have done the same thing to primary children's writing. They are being taught that writing is a process of exemplifying one's mastery of certain 'techniques', juggling and fitting together approved words and phrases like a puzzle (like a pre-designed Lego set). That we are teaching youngsters at this boundlessly creative age that writing is a kind of engineering makes me want to weep.

Of course, there are still many, many great teachers out there, who inspire and encourage their pupils, and read to them, just as I was encouraged, inspired and read to. But they do it not against a background where their judgement is key, but against one where they themselves are judged and tested, and often found wanting. Gove's 'reforms' look set to exacerbate this problem, and increase the number of demoralised teachers found wanting because they haven't drilled their pupils sufficiently in the recognition of gerunds and participles, or made it sufficiently clear that 'big' is a banned word.

I'd like to end with a suggestion. There' a great scheme out there, called Patrons of Reading. The website is here:
http://www.patronofreading.co.uk/
The idea is that a local author links with a primary school and makes a relationship with them over a year, encouraging reading, encouraging writing, and generally being a kind of 'reading mascot'. I think it's a brilliant way to bring the experience of real writers into schools in a more long-term way than  just a single 'author visit'. I'm currently touting my services to my local primaries. And maybe if it takes off, there'll be a few more people out there giving children permission to use the word 'big', if the word big fits the bill.


Cecilia Busby was trained as a social anthropologist; she now writes for children as C.J. Busby.

http://www.frogspell.co.uk/ ("Great fun!" - Diana Wynne Jones; "packed with humour" - The Bookseller)

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ceciliabusby

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/CJBusby/509258069106074?ref=hl

Thanks to Joan Lennon for letting me take her ABBA slot for my musings!


12 Comments on '"Big" is a Banned Word in Our Classroom...' Musings on Creative Writing and SATs - Cecilia Busby, last added: 9/6/2013
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16803. History, Repeated: Two Views on The Wars of the Roses

We all know that history is written by the victors, but the matter doesn't end there.  History is also written by the powerful, the educated, the privileged.  By people who toe--and sometimes the ones who shape--the party line.  People of the wrong gender, race, class, or nationality not only don't get to write history, they often don't even get to appear in it.  It's one of the tasks of

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16804. a sketch to go with a short story called, Too Many Bobs.


Too  Many Bobs, written and illustrated by J.D. Holiday

2 Comments on a sketch to go with a short story called, Too Many Bobs., last added: 9/6/2013
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16805. Attention


"The greatest compliment that was ever paid me was when one asked me what I thought, and attended to my answer."

Henry David Thoreau, naturalist and author (1817-1862)

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16806. THE DAY THE CRAYONS QUIT (PICTURE BOOK)

PICTURE BOOK
THE DAY THE CRAYONS QUIT by Drew Daywalt, illustrated by Oliver Jeffers (Philomel)


Duncan receives a series of letters from disgruntled crayons.  Red crayon feels overworked, even doing the lion's share on holidays (Valentine's Day hearts and Santa suits), and blue needs a break from coloring-in entire oceans.  A slightly OCD purple crayon requests that Duncan colors inside the lines (for a change).  Some crayons feel like they are not meeting their full potential:  grey can do more detailed jobs, not just elephants and humpback whales; black is good for more than outlines; yellow and orange have an ongoing conflict over the color of the sun; pink has a grievance about gender bias (ever hear of a pink dinosaur, already?!) and peach doesn't appreciate being peeled.  Green remains calm and satisfied ("I...wish to congratulate you on a very successful 'coloring things green' career so far").  Like any good leader, Duncan takes all feedback into consideration, and the story culminates in a vibrant double-page spread in which all the hues get their dues.

Image courtesy of The Cozy Little Book Journal
This book seems geared toward the classroom.  Naturally, one leans toward comparisons of this book to the successful proletariat uprising of Doreen Cronin's CLICK, CLACK, MOO: COWS THAT TYPE, and this title also finds a comfortable company in the cubbyhole of books written in letter/correspondence form (a la Mark Teague's popular lengthy picture book LARUE series), though personally, its zany, bantering voice and sense of fun is a closer cousin in spirit to Laurie Keller's THE SCRAMBLED STATES OF AMERICA. Jeffers' illustrations are simple and scribbly, representing the unseen Duncan's artistic zeal and a nice accompaniment to the handwritten letters on opposite pages.  While letter-writing and persuasive writing models are both very valuable content for teachers, the voices in this book at times practically holler for a home-made reader's theater, complete with construction-paper cones hats to identify the crayons.  Also not to be overlooked is the V.I.P. (very important potential) for teaching P.O.V. (point of view), and children may enjoy writing their own letters or replies from the vantage of crayons or other inanimate objects, either merry or misanthropic.  This title has come under some scrutiny for characteristics attributed to the colors; again, a teachable moment to which children can be major contributors.  Whether analyzing the text, using it as a prompt for writing or a discussion on group dynamics, reconstructing its delivery into literary performance or just enjoying the good humor, its hard not to come away from this creative book one of the sharper crayons in the box. (6 and up)

Also of interest:
MY BLUE IS HAPPY by Jessica Young, illustrated by Catia Chien (Candlewick).  An art teacher friend of mine came to me last spring with a pile of required assessments in which she was supposed to determine if her students correctly corresponded color and mood (i.e. red = angry).  She was chagrined, explaining that response to color was not a thing to be graded, but rather, "different colors meant different things to different people."  If you agree with that statement, this is a good book for you.  For some people, brown may be a plain paper bag.   For others, it is chocolate syrup being squirted on to chocolate ice cream, or a piece of earth waiting to be gardened.  For some, yellow may be "cheery...like the summer sun," but to the little girl in the book, it is "worried/Like a wilting flower/And a butterfly caught in a net."  When I first saw this book, I confess that I thought, "Oh, sighhh, another 'color' book, some knock off of Seuss' MY MANY COLORED DAYS," but I was wrong. Besides being heaven-sent for a bedtime story, a library circle or for a gentle introduction of metaphor in a classroom, this work is oddly subversive (maybe the book creators know it, see the little girl winking on the cover?), and surprisingly evocative, both in its beautiful language and Chien's washy spreads (already a huge fan of this illustrator since she decorated Dashka Slater's THE SEA SERPENT AND ME).   Blue, in this case, is definitely happy, embracing out-of-the-box thinking and the collapse of cliché, this returns proprietary rights to the reaction of color--and the world-- back to individuals, where it arguably belongs.  Sorry, test designers.  (4 and up)

This post is dedicated to the Chicago Public School art teachers and school librarians who were displaced/lost their jobs this year.  Thank you, your work is still so very important.  Trust you will find your place in the world of working with children again and soon.  Thank you to everyone who supports the arts and literacy in the public schools. 

Links are provided for informational use.  Don't forget to
support your local bookseller.
More Esmé stuff at www.planetesme.com.

2 Comments on THE DAY THE CRAYONS QUIT (PICTURE BOOK), last added: 9/5/2013
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16807. A Pragmatic Yoga And Writing Practitioner

Today while on Feedly my eye was caught by Writing/Yoga Connection at Writers' Rumpus. This is an elegant essay by Carol Gordon Ekster in which she compares two of her loves, writing and yoga. With both "growth is measured in minute increments" and "Both passions take years to master." So true, so true.

Gordon Ekster treats yoga much as I would meditation, though that isn't at all unreasonable, since meditation is one of the branches of yoga. This suggests she does a much better job of unifying her yoga practice than I do mine. In my universe, there is yoga, and there is meditation. She is also far more spiritual about both yoga and writing than I am. I tend to be practical rather than spiritual.

While reading Writing/Yoga Connection, I thought of Elizabeth Grace Saunders' essay Letting Go of Perfectionism in Manage Your Day-to-Day. In it she writes about creative perfectionists and creative pragmatists. She uses the terms in relation to the way perfectionism can hinder people getting work done. To me, creative pragmatism is more of a world view. I almost always have some kind of practical use in mind for the things I take on, creative or otherwise.

For instance, like Gordon Ekster, I maintain what I think of as a practice for both yoga and writing. With yoga, I'm not interested in captivating my body or connecting myself to my soul, the way she is. While I've been dabbling in yoga for around thirteen years, I've been maintaining a short, nearly daily practice for two or so for one major reason--pain management. I'm trying (and, for the most part, succeeding) to control osteoarthritis. I've got a pragmatic goal. I have an intention, but I'm probably not using the word the way yogis and meditators do.

Writing goes back to grade school. I don't write for joy, but because it is what I do. If something is part of your identity, it is functional. I think in terms of writing almost all the time, seeing around me things I can take from other fields--business, martial arts, management, even engineering, right now--to apply to mine. You might say that I'm a taker, a user. I tend to feel, as Nora Ephron's mother did, that "everything is copy." At least, everything is something I can apply somehow.

I totally follow Gordon Ekster's argument that there is a connection, or, maybe, a similarity of some sort, between  yoga and writing. But, then, as I said, I find connections between writing and everything. My pragmatism leads me to glean, to collect from everywhere.

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16808. The Benefits of Creating a Group Blog

Some of the Lit Ladies at a retreat
You are currently reading a group blog--did you know that? Basically, it's a blog that a group of writers post on, instead of just one blogger who might every once in a while have a guest blogger. Recently, my critique group started a group blog, and I am super excited about it. The six of us call ourselves "The Lit Ladies." Each of us has a pen name on the blog from Baby Boomer Lady to Busy Lady. Then there's me--Sandwich Lady.

Our names tell a little about what we'll blog about on our given day. I'm blogging about being a member of the sandwich generation. One of our members is Little Lady; she's blogging about being the youngest in our group, a senior in high school. If you want to check out our blog and see how we set it up, please do! We are currently having a contest to win Claire Cook's latest book, Time Flies.

In just the few short weeks since our blog has been live, I've realized the benefits of being a part of a group blog. Here are a few ah-ha moments I've had.

  • Other members can help you with tech problems. I had never used this version of Wordpress we are using, and I couldn't figure out how to get the cute photo with my headline on the home page. I put my problem out to the other members of my critique group (we also have a private Facebook group for discussions), and immediately they told me what I forgot to do. So, instead of spending hours on this, I had my problem solved in minutes with my fellow bloggers.
  • Your content is fresh, and it's not sucking up all your writing time. We have six bloggers! We are each blogging between two and four times a month. We are all working on finding guest bloggers or authors to interview or contests to hold. With your own blog, it's all you. If you don't blog for two weeks because your mom is in the hospital, your content is stale. With the group blog, everyone pitches in and helps keep the content fresh.
  • All bloggers have different contacts. Six bloggers means that many more people announcing posts on social media and even talking about the blog with their friends and family! We are getting new people on our blog that we might not have each known individually. This widens the audience for anything that we are trying to promote.
  • Blog costs can be split! So far, we don't have much cost. But if we do incur any, it can be split SIX WAYS instead of one person paying for everything. 
  • It creates a community. We were already close. Critique group members often are. But I feel like this blog and our Facebook group have brought us even closer. It's fun to read what each other posts and to keep track of what's going on in everyone's lives in-between critique group sessions! 
What do you think? Would you like to be a part of a group blog? Are you? If so, what's the benefit for you? 

Margo at a book signing
Margo L. Dill is the author of Finding My Place: One Girl's Strength at Vicksburg and blogs as the Sandwich Lady on The Literary Ladies blog.  

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16809. Pavlovian

When Pavlov was ringing a bell,
Some saliva his dogs would expel.
   And just like that drool
   I’m a Words with Friends fool,
For its music makes me want to spell.

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16810.

LATEST NEWS

A new short story by Artie was published this month titled Summer at the Drive-in. To read the story on the Teachers.net Gazette, please click on the image below.

Drive-in image

The North Carolina Press Foundation is offering four of Artie’s serial stories to Newspapers in Education (NIE) newspapers across the United States. This year’s theme is Dig into Reading. In addition to the NIE, the foundation will also be offering Artie’s work to libraries and other newspapers throughout the United States. To read the stories please click on the NC Press Foundation link listed above.

vfaz cover

View from a Zoo – Bored with her life, a house-cat seeks out adventure in this new fully illustrated picture book coming in September. More to come as the book’s release date gets closer.

COPYRIGHT © 2013 ARTIE KNAPP

Use of any of the content on this website without permission is prohibited by federal law


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16811. The Tension of Unfulfilled Disaster

the-spectacular-now-book-imageI recently saw an advanced screening of the film The Spectacular Now. This honest and moving film is based on Tim Tharp’s YA novel (which also happens to be a National Book Award Finalist). The story follows Sutter Keely (Miles Teller), a high school senior determined to live in the present and forget the future, as he stumbles from one good time to the next. With a flask in one hand and his happy-go lucky attitude in the other, Sutter gets involved with the sweet and shy, Aimee (Shailene Woodley). But disaster is coming … because who can live in the present moment forever?

I’m going to try really hard not to spoil this movie (because you really should go see it). But what I want to talk about is the film’s uncanny ability to build tension based on the audience’s expectation of impending disaster… and then, never fulfilling that expectation.

Spectacular now movie

Let me give you an example: If I show you a character who’s an alcoholic and then I hand that character the keys to a fancy new car, what do you expect to see happen in the next scene?

A car crash of course.

This is a classic example of reader interaction. Readers love to guess what is going to happen next. It builds tension. It gets the reader involved as a participant in the story. It’s fun to wonder what will come next! But a great story doesn’t usually fulfill that expectation. It exceeds it. This is where crazy plot twists come from. The reader thinks a plot will go one way, and then — BAM! — it zags in a whole other direction. What a thrill!

Only, The Spectacular Now doesn’t really do that either.

It doesn’t try to up the ante with a new twist or an even bigger payoff. In fact, the film doesn’t like to payoff the viewer’s expectation at all. Sure, this sounds absolutely frustrating, but in actuality it’s surprisingly fulfilling and honest. Because how often does disaster really strike in our lives? Yes, we are always afraid of it (and that’s the exact expectation the story is playing on), but I bet most of us would agree that our lives are never as intense or dramatic as a film or novel. It’s the fear of what’s coming that scares us. And that turns out to be the primary tension of the movie. Disaster is hanging out there, somewhere in the future, but the future is what the protagonist is trying so hard to avoid. It’s brilliant, and at the same time, there’s something insanely dramatic and fascinating in Sutter’s ability to avoid it!

I wanted to bring this up because I feel like stories far too often choose the dramatic disaster. This is particularly hard to avoid when films overwhelm us with explosions and fights to the death. But I think there’s room to make writing choices without the spectacle. Choices that can be just as powerful. Choices that might actually be more honest and fulfilling because they don’t “go there.” I feel like so much of our lives (our real lives, not fictional character lives) are built on the tension of unfulfilled promises and that space between living in the now and looking toward the future. That feeling – that’s what The Spectacular Now so beautifully captures. And frankly, its one of the best films I’ve seen in a long time.

Go see it.

Spectacular Now


2 Comments on The Tension of Unfulfilled Disaster, last added: 8/22/2013
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16812. Little Lost Peep

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For our next Sporadic Summer Blog, we board our time machine and head back to visit a blog that ran in November 2008.

Why? Because zillions (or four) of people have been asking me, "Where's Peepy? We haven't seen her in a while." And the answer is, she is at the spa. However, millions (or three) people have also asked, "Have you ever lost Peepy?"

 photo IMG_1487.jpg

Well. Yes. Here's what happened, way back then . . .

Here is the last know photo of Peepy before she went missing at the New York Public Library last week . . .
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I didn't discover her gone until after I met up with author Eric Luper and Betsy Bird, Ultimate Blogger and Effervescent Children's Librarian. Betsy had kindly offered to let us see the BRAND NEW Children's Center before it was open to the public. Peepy was most pleased to be invited, too.

Here's Betsy . . .
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But when I went into my bag to bring Peepy out . . . SHE WAS GONE. MISSING. VANISHED!!!!

I was so sad. I wanted to cry. Really.

Still, I went ahead and saw the most marvelous children's library, but honestly, I was missing my Peep the entire time knowing how much she would have loved this . . .
Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket

I had to stop and reflect at the display case that housed the Original Winnie-the-Pooh, since I myself have the second largest collection of Poohs in America. (Mine are housed in the White River Pooh Museum in Canada.)
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Pooh was not there. And Peepy was not with me. I was depressed.

After our tour, I told Eric that even though it was raining and dark, I JUST HAD TO FIND MY PEEP. She could be ANYWHERE, but I HAD TO TRY.

So we raced back out to the lions who stand guard outside the library . . . but no Peep.

Recently, when I read Eric Luper's blog, author Greg Neri posted this . . .
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It was a false lead.

Anyway, Eric and I ran up the stairs into the Main Entrance of the Library and LO and BEHOLD and OMG!!!!

There, in the grip of a Security Guard was some bright YELLOW THING. He was squeezing it over and over and over again . . . like it was a HAND EXERCISER!!!

I shouted (in the library), "THAT'S MY PEEP! YOU HAVE PEEPY!!! THAT'S MY PEEPY!!!"

I think I scared him. But I didn't care. It was PEEPS!!!!
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The guard, the nice one holding her, not the mean one who was using her for exercise equipment, said that someone found her leaning against a wall. (Thank you kind stranger for rescuing Peepy.)

I was soooooo relieved. I always knew that the library was full of happy endings. And for Peep and Moi, it was just that.
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(Peeps is refusing to say what happened. Whether I lost her, she ran away, was kidnapped, or whatnot. But I know I'll get it out of her eventually. Also, I must note that I now have a very humbled Peep.)


===========================

Oh, look! If you'd like an autographed book, order from Vroman's, tell them who you'd like me to sign it to, and they will mail it to you!"

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16813. Monday Review: A CORNER OF WHITE by Jaclyn Moriarty

Reader Gut Reaction: You all must know by now that I'm a huge Jaclyn Moriarty fan. Even as her books get more surreal (The Murder of Bindy Mackenzie) and more magical-realistic (The Spell Book of Listen Taylor) I'm willing to go along for the ride,... Read the rest of this post

4 Comments on Monday Review: A CORNER OF WHITE by Jaclyn Moriarty, last added: 9/6/2013
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16814. Use Setting to Deepen Readers' Appreciation Of Your Protagonist's Character Emotional Development

A story is about a character transformed over time by the dramatic action.

To make this character transformation more dramatic, great writers convey who the character is within the safety of a world that is familiar to her before thrusting her into a new world. The ordinary world gives the reader insight into the values, background, and habits of the protagonist (or lack thereof).



Usually the protagonist has a life before the story begins, although some stories such as Ursula Hegi’s Stones of the River begin on or nearly at the protagonist’s birth. The reader, in the first part of the story, gains a sense of the main character’s framework of relationships and the degree to which she’s governed by them. This gives the reader a starting point from which to evaluate the emotional change in the protagonist as she is forced to break away and rely on herself in the middle of the story.

In her usual life, customs, dogma, rules, and regulations come from outside the protagonist. They often form a kind of inner protection for her.

In the middle of the story when this protection is stripped away, she becomes vulnerable.

If we grasp the comfortable, safe, and well-fed environment the protagonist has always known, it’s easier for us to sympathize when she wonders why she left it in pursuit of a solitary, difficult, and dangerous new world.

Exercise:
Cut out a magazine picture that represents the setting of the protagonist’s ordinary world (her house, community, country, planet, depending on the needs of your particular story). If you can’t find something suitable, draw one or use a photo of a place you know that embodies the qualities you envision for your protagonist’s home, neighborhood, community, and so on. Affix this visual representation of your main character’s usual world above the beginning section of your plot planner to stimulate ideas.
(Excerpt from The Plot Whisperer: Secrets of Story Structure Any Writer Can Master.)


*****SPECIALS*******

1) Track Your Plot at the Scene Level Webinar
Learn to Maximize the 7 essential plot elements in every scene (one of 7 essential plot elements in every scene is CONFLICT) from the comfort of your own home.

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Knowing what to write where in a story with a plot reinforces daily writing practice and allows for more productivity in your writing. Whether writing a first draft or revising, if you falter wondering what comes next in a story with a plot, follow the prompts inThe Plot Whisperer Book of Writing Prompts: Easy Exercises to Get You Writing.

Today, I write.

To familiarize yourself with the basic plot terms used here and in the PW Book of Prompts:
1) Watch the plot playlists on the Plot Whisperer Youtube channel.
2) Read The Plot Whisperer: Secrets of Story Structure Any Writer Can Master
3) Fill out the exercises in The Plot Whisperer Workbook: Step-by-Step Exercises to Help You Create Compelling Stories
4) Visit:
Blockbuster Plots for Writers
Plot Whisperer on Facebook
Plot Whisperer on Twitter
Plot Whisperer on Pinterest

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16815. The Tension of Unfulfilled Disaster

the-spectacular-now-book-imageI recently saw an advanced screening of the film The Spectacular Now. This honest and moving film is based on Tim Tharp’s YA novel (which also happens to be a National Book Award Finalist). The story follows Sutter Keely (Miles Teller), a high school senior determined to live in the present and forget the future, as he stumbles from one good time to the next. With a flask in one hand and his happy-go lucky attitude in the other, Sutter gets involved with the sweet and shy, Aimee (Shailene Woodley). But disaster is coming … because who can live in the present moment forever?

I’m going to try really hard not to spoil this movie (because you really should go see it). But what I want to talk about is the film’s uncanny ability to build tension based on the audience’s expectation of impending disaster… and then, never fulfilling that expectation.

Spectacular now movie

Let me give you an example: If I show you a character who’s an alcoholic and then I hand that character the keys to a fancy new car, what do you expect to see happen in the next scene?

A car crash of course.

This is a classic example of reader interaction. Readers love to guess what is going to happen next. It builds tension. It gets the reader involved as a participant in the story. It’s fun to wonder what will come next! But a great story doesn’t usually fulfill that expectation. It exceeds it. This is where crazy plot twists come from. The reader thinks a plot will go one way, and then — BAM! — it zags in a whole other direction. What a thrill!

Only, The Spectacular Now doesn’t really do that either.

It doesn’t try to up the ante with a new twist or an even bigger payoff. In fact, the film doesn’t like to payoff the viewer’s expectation at all. Sure, this sounds absolutely frustrating, but in actuality it’s surprisingly fulfilling and honest. Because how often does disaster really strike in our lives? Yes, we are always afraid of it (and that’s the exact expectation the story is playing on), but I bet most of us would agree that our lives are never as intense or dramatic as a film or novel. It’s the fear of what’s coming that scares us. And that turns out to be the primary tension of the movie. Disaster is hanging out there, somewhere in the future, but the future is what the protagonist is trying so hard to avoid. It’s brilliant, and at the same time, there’s something insanely dramatic and fascinating in Sutter’s ability to avoid it!

I wanted to bring this up because I feel like stories far too often choose the dramatic disaster. This is particularly hard to avoid when films overwhelm us with explosions and fights to the death. But I think there’s room to make writing choices without the spectacle. Choices that can be just as powerful. Choices that might actually be more honest and fulfilling because they don’t “go there.” I feel like so much of our lives (our real lives, not fictional character lives) are built on the tension of unfulfilled promises and that space between living in the now and looking toward the future. That feeling – that’s what The Spectacular Now so beautifully captures. And frankly, its one of the best films I’ve seen in a long time.

Go see it.

Spectacular Now


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16816. The Enchanter Heir Tour! How to Order Signed Books!

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 I look forward to meeting you all as I travel around the country, schlepping books, bookmarks temporary tattoos, and other swag. One of the best parts of this job is meeting readers and other booklovers including booksellers, fellow authors, and librarians!

If I'm not coming to your "neck of the woods" as my mother would say, fear not! If you'd like to pre-order a signed copy of The Enchanter Heir, contact my local indie, The Learned Owl, and they will fix you right up. Info is here Please let them know on the order form to whom you'd like it personalized.



Austin, TX
Austin Teen Book Fest
Saturday, September 28, 2013
The Austin Convention Center,
500 E. Caesar Chavez St.
Austin, TX 787011485
austinteenbookfestival.com
See 40 awesome authors of books for teens!

College Station, TX
Author Appearance and Signing
Barnes & Noble Booksellers
Sunday, September 29, 2013, 4 p.m.
711 Texas 6 Business  
College Station, TX 77840
(979) 764-8955

Houston, TX
Author Appearance and Signing
Blue Willow Bookshop
Monday, September 30, 2013, 7 p.m.
14532 Memorial Drive
Houston, TX 77079
Phone: 281.497.8675

Salt Lake City, UT
Author Appearance and Signing
The King’s English Bookshop
Tuesday, October 1, 2013
1511 South 1500 East
Salt Lake City, UT 84105
801-484-9100

Provo, UT
Author Appearance and Signing
Provo Public Library
Wednesday, October 2, 2013, 7 p.m.
550 N University Ave  Provo, UT 84601
(801) 852-6650



Los Angeles CA Area
Author Appearance and Signing
Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore
Wednesday, October 3, 2013, 7:30 PM
2810 Artesia Blvd., Redondo Beach, CA 90278
 310-542-6000 

Portland, OR
Wordstock
Saturday, October 5,  2013
Oregon Convention Center
777 Northeast Martin Luther King Junior Boulevard
Portland, OR 97232
(503) 235-7575

Seattle, WA
Author Appearance and Signing
Third Place Books
Monday, October 7, 2013, 7 p.m.
17171 Bothell Way NE, Lake Forest Park, WA  98155

Minneapolis, MN
Author Appearance and Signing
The Red Balloon Bookstore
Wednesday, October 9, 2013, 6:30 pm
891 Grand Ave  St Paul, MN 55105
(651) 224-8320
www.redballoonbookshop.com/


Cincinnati, OH     
Books By the Banks
Saturday, October 12, 2013, 10 am to 4 pm
Duke Energy Convention Center
Cincinnati, OH

Hudson, OH
Author Appearance and Signing
The Learned Owl Bookshop
Tuesday, October 15, 2013, 6-8 p.m.
204 N Main St  Hudson, OH 44236
(330) 653-2252



Wooster, OH
The Buckeye Bookfair
November 2, 2013, 9:30 to 4 p.m.
Fisher Auditorium, OARDC Campus, Wooster, OH


Charleston, SC
YALLfest
Saturday, November 9, 2013
Blue Bicycle Books, the American Theatre, Charleston Music Hall, Upper King Street, Charleston, SC
Dozens and dozens of your favorite YA authors eating pie and talking books!

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16817. Release of "How I Paint Dinosaurs"



Today I'm proud to announce the release of my first art instruction video. Here's a trailer to tell you about it. (Direct link to YouTube trailer)



How This Video Came to Be
Over the last few years, three different art video companies have asked to film my working methods, but I turned them all down because I wanted to learn how to do it myself. That way, I felt I could deliver a better result to you.

That's why it took a while to produce this and bring it to market. I had to learn a lot first. I wanted to shoot detailed video coverage of the entire process, not just one or two days of it, and I knew that an outside team couldn't do that if they just dropped into the studio for a short period of time. 


What's in the Video
The video follows the making of these two paintings from start to finish over a two month period from assignment to delivery. It covers the research, thumbnails, maquettes, line drawing, color planning, priming, and the final oil painting. 

I know not everyone is into dinosaurs, but if you paint any kind of imaginative realism, I think you'll find the method helpful. I have more videos in the pipeline about plein-air painting in watercolor and casein, which I'll tell you more about later.  

"How I Paint Dinosaurs" runs about 53 minutes, short enough to watch multiple times, but long enough to cover everything. I tried to apply everything I learned from your 81 comments to my post asking you what you like (and don't like) in an art video.
  

Reviews
“Any artist who has been treated to James Gurney’s previous books will be delighted with his newest offering, How I Paint Dinosaurs, an over-the-shoulder look at how this remarkable dinosaur artist achieves not only realism but a true sense of drama in portraying these animals for National Geographic Magazine and others. Gurney not only knows dinosaurs but is a master painter of light and shadow, and he shares his techniques in an easily understandable and informal way. I learned much from watching this.”
---Mark Hallett, paleoartist

“What do Leonardo Da Vinci, Charles R. Knight, and Jim Gurney have in common? True art, texture, and no photo manipulation software. Who needs a time machine to see life in the Mesozoic? Just let Jim paint it for you. Here is how True Magic is done. Now it is your turn to learn to make magic.”
Michael K. Brett-Surman, PhD., co-editor of The Complete Dinosaur (Life of the Past)

How to Order
The DVD is currently available at Kunaki.com, where you can order directly and have it shipped to you. (International customers, please remember, it's region-encoded NTSC for U.S.A and Canada.)

You can also preorder the DVD from Amazon.com. I just set up the page there, and they'll have copies soon.

At Gumroad where you can download a video file right now. (Edit: I would like to sincerely thank all of you who have added a little extra to your Gumroad payment. I really appreciate it!)

Paypal customers can also get the digital download at Sellfy (link to product description page) by clicking on this button: buy


25 Comments on Release of "How I Paint Dinosaurs", last added: 9/6/2013
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16818.

Today i begun to process all the happenings in my life after i found and trusted GOD. But instead of being consoled or at peace, i become confused ,shocked and speechless. I just could not understand the whys and hows, it was as if the very things i called miracles in my life were just not fit to be described as such…they were more then miracles.
Then fear caught my heart, for nothing made sense anymore.
So i have come to the conclusion that no one can really understand the mind of GOD.


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16819. Four years Pink

Here are two things that have changed since the publication of Pink in 2009:

1. I used to be a bit nervous about saying that, at the beginning of the book, Ava has a girlfriend. I got some disapproving looks from teachers, especially at religious schools. Students would giggle and whisper. One girl loudly informed me that it was “gross”. Not anymore. Four years later, and nobody blinks. It’s just part of the story. Nothing unusual. This is a really, really good thing.

2. Four years ago, when I held up Pink, boys would wince. And girls would say “I like that cover”. Now, instead of mentioning the cover, boys and girls alike (but mostly girls) squeal IS THAT A QUOTE FROM JOHN GREEN ON THE COVER!???

And one thing that hasn’t changed:

I get more fan mail about Pink than all my other books put together. I’ve received so many emails from people (young and old) who say that Ava’s experiences spoke to them, and made them feel braver, or less alone, or prouder about being a nerd. And I’m so grateful for those emails, and so very glad that the book is reaching new readers, and that people are still enjoying it.

Buy Pink in Australia

Buy Pink in the US

Buy Pink in the UK

 

photo

 

 

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16820. Attention


"The greatest compliment that was ever paid me was when one asked me what I thought, and attended to my answer."

Henry David Thoreau, naturalist and author (1817-1862)

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16821. BACK TO SCHOOL with The Texas Sweethearts & Scoundrels

Back to school is the favorite time of year for some of the Sweethearts. New beginnings and ALL those school supplies!  Our reports on What We Did Over the Summer are in the News & Updates section. We were busy!
  
We are all scheduling school and library visits for the Fall and looking forward to cooler weather. Check out our news or the calendar sections on our websites to find out where we'll be this fall.  And think about inviting us to your community!  
 
NEWS & UPDATES
  
NEWS FROM JEANETTE LARSON
Jeanette was the keynote speaker for the first South Texas Library Mini-conference, Down in the Valley, in McAllen. The Mini-Conference was attended by more than 100 school and public librarians. In addition to being the keynote speaker, Jeanette presented information on developing a multicultural collection during a break-out session.  
 
Both Jeanette and Don were honored to have their books, HUMMINGBIRDS: FACTS & FOLKORE FROM THE AMERICAS and IT JES' HAPPENED: WHEN BILL TRAYLOR STARTED TO DRAW, named to the list of four finalists for The 2013 Writers' League of Texas Book Awards.  The winner will be named in September.

The Westbank Library will host Jeanette on Wednesday, September 4 at 6:30 p.m. She'll be talking about birding and nature photography.

Later in September Jeanette will travel to Florida to present a workshop for librarians on behalf of the Northeast Florida Library Information Network on September 23. Librarian in-service presentations are a lot of fun!  
 
   
NEWS FROM K. A. HOLT
  
K. A. Holt is very excited to announce a new book deal! HOUSE ARREST is a middle-grade novel in verse which tells the story of a boy whose baby brother is perilously ill. Choosing to take matters into his own hands leads our protagonist into all sorts of trouble, which he must now make reparations for over the course of one very tumultuous year. This is a moving, transformative novel which you won't want to miss. HOUSE ARREST was acquired by Tamra Tuller at Chronicle and will be hitting shelves in Fall 2015.
  
NEWS FROM JESSICA LEE ANDERSON  

Jessica Lee Anderson had a wonderful time at a writing retreat this summer with fellow Sweethearts Jo Whittemore, K.A. Holt, and P.J. Hoover, along with a fun group of other Texas authors. 


Check out the Featured Sweethearts section to see what else Jessica did this summer!  
  
NEWS FROM P. J. HOOVER  

P. J. Hoover is thrilled with the positive feedback being received for SOLSTICE. Booklist calls SOLSTICE "...a debut novel that consistently delivers...".

In addition, SOLSTICE has been named to the  2013 ABC Best Books for Children list by the American Booksellers Association
  
The release of P. J. Hoover's debut young adult novel, SOLSTICE has kept her busy this summer! P. J. kicked off the release with a party on the actual summer solstice at her house, celebrating not only the release of the book, but the fact that she finally got around to remodeling her kitchen! 

Continuing on in celebrating the release of SOLSTICE, P. J. signed books in Chicago at this year's ALA conference. After ALA, P. J. had bookstore readings/signings at Hooray 4 Books in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia, Barnes & Noble in The Woodlands, Texas as well as Barnes & Noble in Tysons Corner, Virginia, Alamosa Books in New Mexico, and Murder by the Book in Houston, Texas.

P. J. is looking forward to a busy fall with school visits and appearances at the Cedar Park Teen Book Club, the Austin Teen Book Festival, the NASA Young Adult Book Club, bookstore signings in Austin, Houston, and San Antonio, as well as panel presentations at the Texas Region 3 and Region 12 Librarian conferences. 

NEWS FROM DON TATE       
  
National Book Fest 2013 HOPE'S GIFT, a book illustrated by Don Tate, will be featured at the 2013 National Book Festival! The book will be on display with an exhibit that shows the history behind the story, at the Pavilion of the States, Discover Great Places Through Reading. Pretty cool!  
  
IT JES' HAPPENED: WHEN BILL TRAYLOR STARTED TO DRAW will be featured at the Folk Art Museum in NYC. On September 21, Don Tate will discuss his book and lead a Family Day activity at the museum. During the event, Don will also launch a new Bill Traylor arts curriculum to be used in museums and classrooms. The curriculum, created by award-winning educator Kelly McConnell, will feature a narrative lexicon, a pictograph diary, and an activity for story constructions. The guide will be available soon as a free download on Don's website.  
  
In July, Don was pleased to serve as an Author-Illustrator In Residence and lecturer at the Vermont College of Fine arts. 
  
Don's newest book publishes this month! THE CART THAT CARRIED MARTIN, written by Eve Bunting, is a unique retelling of Martin Luther King Jr.s funeral, focusing on the cart used to transport his coffin through the streets of Atlanta, Georgia, fromEbenezer Baptist Church to Morehouse College.  Described by Kirkus as, "[an] affecting snapshot of a tragic day."     
  
Don recently signed on to illustrate a second book written by Chris Barton', a picture book biography called WHOOSH! LONNIE JOHNSON'S SUPER STREAM OF IDEAS, about the Tuskegee-educated inventor, entrepreneur, and NASA engineer whose knowledge of fluid dynamics led to the invention of the Super Soaker. Look for the book in 2016!
 
Don is offering special pricing -- up to half off -- for school visits during  August and September 2013, for schools near Austin, San Antonio, Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston.  Contact Don with inquiries. 
 
Don's first school visit of the 2013-'14 year will kick off in a two-day visit in Naples, Florida! Don still offers special reduced pricing for school visits during the month of August and September, to schools in Austin, Houston, San Antonio, Dallas/Fort Worth areas. Contact Don directly for more details: http://dontate.com/contact/.  
  
"Don Tate approaches the content of his lively presentations from both an illustrator's and author's perspectives, his school visits offer a solid integration of the Common Core Curriculum Anchor Standards for reading, writing, and speaking & listening, all of which are annotated, aligned, and available for review." --- Debbie Gonzales, Educator
  
 
  
FEATURED SWEETHEARTS 

Our featured Sweetheart is a little different this time. Over summer vacation, Jessica Anderson and her husband, Mike, became the proud parents of Ava. Our youngest sweetheart was born on August 8, weighing 8 pounds and 5 ounces and measuring in at 22 inches long. Congratulations to Jessica and Mike. 
 
 

*************************************

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16822. Conventional Print Publishing or Electronic Device Book App?

Why App Developers Need to Be Looking Long and Hard at the Children’s Book Market

Wikipedia reports according “to an IDC study from March 2011, sales for all e-book readers worldwide rose to 12.8 million in 2010; 48% of them were Kindle models, followed by Barnes & Noble Nook devices, Pandigital, Hanvon and Sony Readers (about 800,000 units for 2010).” In 2012, the study shows that e-book sales slumped with a “26% decline worldwide from a maximum of 23.2 million in 2011. The reason given for this alarmingly precipitous decline is the rise of more general purpose tablets that provide e-books along with other apps in a similar form factor.”

Enter 2013: General purpose tablets, like the iPad, continue to offer more engaging and interactive experiences for the reader. As parents continue to streamline their own book purchases onto these types of devices—it’s no surprise that their children will expect to access their books similarly. App developers need to stop and take notice that there is an existing and increasingly popular book app market for parents looking to educate and entertain their children in much more visually engaging ways.

Before a developer can begin to tap into this market, they should understand four important things first:

• Understand that the market already exists: Legions of unpublished children’s book authors are looking to get their literary works published conventionally or digitally. It’s a crowded marketplace, coupled with significant barriers breaking into conventional print. If developers can figure out how to publish, distribute and market books so these unique “voices” can be heard, they’ll be onto something big. You can find these unpublished authors on Twitter in droves searching through hashtags like #picturebooks #kidlit #childrensbooks #author, etc.

• Understand the need for creative people to help successfully deploy a book app: Developers will need quality authors, illustrators, copyrighters, animators, stock music houses and voiceovers, not to mention a creative director with graphic designers at her fingertips who can pull all of those contributions together seamlessly. If you bypass any one of these things, your app may come up short. Remember, parents expect a professionally published book, just as they expect the same when they pick up a book for their children at Barnes & Noble. The only difference is that they expect an “experience” with a book app.

• Understand that the market is evolving and changing: Be prepared to keep on your toes. Already some book apps have cropped up that look something more like a Disney/Pixar movie production. Constantly improve and nurture your network of contributors and stay nimble with the changing publishing market. Make sure you understand that a few years ago, kids were snuggling up next to their parents to have a book read to them when their parents were ready to take the time to sit down with them. Today’s kids are getting their books on demand and being read to by professional narrators, when mom’s lap isn’t available, and they are reading right from the comfort of their own electronic devices.

• Understand the conventionally printed book isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Real books belong on shelves in libraries and in homes, and kids will always need them and should have access to them. It will be a sad day if electronics replace them altogether. Book apps are a vertical market to the conventionally printed book. Lines don’t need to be drawn in the sand about which is better.

Tonia Allen Gould is the producer and author of Samuel T. Moore of Corte Magore, published by Skies America (July, 2013) an electronically published book app, available in the App Store on iTunes, and is also available by audio on CD Baby, Amazon, iTunes, and other outlets. Gould creatively directed and hand-picked the celebrity talent to make this eBook/app an engaging experience for children ages four to eight-years-old, leading up to the animation where Skies America Publishing Company picked up the project and launched it on iTunes. The app was art directed by “Mr. Lawrence,” the voice of Plankton and an original storyboard director of SpongeBob SquarePants, and illustrated by Marc Ceccareli, another SpongeBob storyboard director. It was narrated by two-time Marconi Award nominee, and a top radio personality and broadcaster in the country, Mr. Steve McCoy. The original musical score was produced by country artist, Robby Armstrong. Gould is available for consulting projects and can be reached via http://www.toniaallengould.com, or at toniaagould@icloud.com.


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16823.

Today i begun to process all the happenings in my life after i found and trusted GOD. But instead of being consoled or at peace, i become confused ,shocked and speechless. I just could not understand the whys and hows, it was as if the very things i called miracles in my life were just not fit to be described as such…they were more then miracles.
Then fear caught my heart, for nothing made sense anymore.
So i have come to the conclusion that no one can really understand the mind of GOD.


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16824. Jump Forward

Question: Is it a sound idea to start off a novel with an event then flash forward several years? If it is, is here a reliable way of showing that a significant

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16825. Read & Romp Roundup -- July 2013


June and July have been super busy months for me and my family. We just finished a cross-country move -- from the Washington DC Area to the San Francisco Bay Area -- a couple of weeks ago. Unpacking is taking forever, but as you can see from the photo above, I do have my priorities straight!

Our 6-year-old and 8-year-old girls have their chapter books shelved in their bedside tables, so this whole bookcase in their room is reserved for picture books. We even have a whole shelf devoted to dance-related picture books, including a nonfiction section!

So, I know I am late again this month, but at least I have our move as a good excuse this time. Hope you enjoy the July roundup!


Veronica at Love & Life & Learning reviews the picture book Hop! Plop! by Corey Rosen Schwartz and Tali Klein. By the title of this book, which is about an elephant and a mouse finding a way to play despite their size difference, I imagine it is full of movement!


Angela at OMazing Kids has two posts for us this month. In her first post, she features her five favorite books for inspiring kids creativity with art and movement. Maybe you recognize some of the book covers from the image above? But either way, check out Angela's post to see why she picked the books she did!


In Angela's second post at OMazing Kids, she features The Pout-Pout Fish and its sequel The Pout-Pout Fish and the Big-Big Dark, both by Deborah Diesen and Daniel Hanna. As usual, Angel is full of great ideas for using these books in kids yoga classes and speech-language therapy sessions. See how she suggests using them to infuse lessons about the power of attitude, words, and friendship!


At Stacking Books, Reshama reviews a picture book biography about another form of movement -- swimming! America's Champion Swimmer by David Adler and Terry Widener tells the story of Gertrude Ederle, who attempted multiple times to swim the English Channel more than 75 years ago. Make sure to read Reshama's review, but it looks like you will have to read the whole book to find out if Gertrude was successful!


To celebrate National Dance Day on July 27,  Joy at the School Library Journal shared a list of 12 books "to inspire and inform young dancers and celebrate the joy of movement." A fabulous and well-rounded list for preschoolers through middle-graders!


In response to the School Library Journal's list, Teresa at A Rep Reading published her own list of dance books to celebrate National Dance Day. The post includes a sneak peek into My Friend Maya Loves to Dance by Cheryl Willis Hudson and Eric Velasquez. It also includes some of my favorite picture books!


Last month, I announced the start of a new series by the Library as Incubator Project called Book to Boogie, which pairs great picture books with movement and dance activities for preschool story time. The most recent Book to Boogie post was on How to Be a Cat by Nikki McClure. Amy from Picture-Book-a-Day wrote the post!

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