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1001. My Thoughts On Herb trimpe

It was during a hot school Summer holiday that I was staying with my grandparents in Rackham Crescent, Lockleaze, Bristol. On this particular day I had decided not to walk up to Gainsborough Square to see what I might spend my money on.  I decided, instead, to walk down Sheldon Avenue because there was a newsagents tucked away round a corner.

The comic I got had a very exciting cover and certainly did not cost me the 1/- 9d on the cover.  I think I got it for about a shilling (after 1971 decimalisation that would be 5p!).  It was a copy of Marvel Super Heroes no. 16 (1967) and I am quite sure I bought the comic in 1971 now that I think of it.  We had all watched the Moon landing at my grandparents home in Sevier Street, St. Werburghs and they moved to Lockleaze a couple years later.

Wow. Comics really can bring back memories!

Anyway, the issue had Captain America and the Sub-Mariner and The Patriot and Black Knight.  What wasn't to like?  But that cover....and the story with great art by Herb Trimpe. I still have the comic and, boy, that cover still gets me and what a move by Marvel to have a World War 1 costumed hero!

Of course, a lot of fans remember Trimpe for Shogun Warriors -in a moment of insanity I gave these to my brother.  No idea what I was thinking!

It really was a lovely series and I still have fond memories of it.  Trimpe put that star touch to it.


Of course, Trimpe is known and loved for his seven years run as artist on The Incredible Hulk where writers often relied on his knowledge of the character -and Trimpe often had to go and draw an issue after only the briefest of story conferences!

And while reading a Hulk comic on a bus stop waiting for a bus heading towards Lockleaze I saw Jim Wilson, a young "Afro-American" who was the new Rick Jones side-kick to the Hulk.  Trimpe co-created Wilson who, as a character was just that to me but I had no idea introducing "black" characters was a big thing in the US.

Oh, now what was that other character Trimpe introduced to the comic world in his inimitable style? "Wolfie"? "Wolver"?  Oh -Wolverine!


But Trimpe also worked on the Godzilla comic.  Remember?


I'm just showing this next piece because I love it!

Oh, and of course, Mr Trimpe was also the artist who drew another major Marvel comics character (if badly used in recent years) and one especially remembered with affection by British fans as he was our first headlining British Marvel super hero -Captain Britain!

Check out the leaping, red-haired Nazi types of The Fourth Reich!
Herb Trimpe and the comics he drew bring a lot of memories back and I guess that's what happens if you are a comicker of my age rather than a comic book geek chic type with all the knowledge of a year or so.

Herb Trimpe may have died but his work and legacy NEVER will.

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1002. Your Favorite Cartoon Characters Just Got Fat (Gallery)

The obesity epidemic takes its toll on cartoon characters in a new book and exhibition.

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1003. #rockthedrop 2015!

Today's the day, rgz! It's time for Operation Teen Book Drop, 2015, also known as #rockthedrop. April 16th is YALSA's Support Teen Literature Day

Quick! Print out a bookmark below, created by Little Willow. Place it in a favorite YA book, and leave the novel in a public spot to be found. Tweet or post a pic at our facebook page with the hashtag #rockthedrop. Show your love for YA lit and brighten someone's day. 

Off you go! Be sneaky. Be creative. Have fun! Oh, and if you find a book, let us know that, too! Drop a note in the comments. Alrighty. GO!

LorieAnncard2010small.jpg image by readergirlz

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1004. BLUE BIRDS by Caroline Starr Rose

In Caroline Rose Starr's Blue Birds, the two main characters are Alis, an English girl, and Kimi, a Roanoke girl. Set in July 1587, Blue Birds is a Lost Colony story.

Alis and her family come ashore at Roanoke. Among them is Governor White and his daughter. She is pregnant with Virginia (Virginia Dare is widely recognized as the first English person born in what came to be known as the United States).They are in the fourth English group that Kimi's people interact with. Before them, we read, there were three other groups. The first one took two Native men back to England: Mateo (a Croatoan) and Wanchese (a Roanoke).

With Alis's group is Manteo. Having spent the last few months living in London, he dresses like English people but still has long hair. Alis thinks of him as "that savage."

Kimi watches Alis's group. She thinks of them as "strange ones." Some of her people think they are "spirits back from the dead" and others say that they have "invisible weapons that strike with sickness after they've gone." Kimi's father told her they were "people like us, only with different ways." But, her father is dead.

Dead? Yes. Soon, we learn that Kimi's father, Wingina, was beheaded by the second group of colonists, and that Wanchese (he's her uncle) killed the people in the third group.

Did you catch that? The English beheaded her father. Yet, she's going to befriend Alis.

Possible? Yes. Plausible? I don't think so.

Why does she do this? Because she's lonely.

See, her sister died of disease brought by those English.

Did you catch that?! Her sister's death is due to the English. But... she's going to befriend this English girl?

Possible? Yes. Plausible? I don't think so!

And... Alis. When they land, she finds the bones of a man. She worries they may be the bones of her uncle, Samuel. Soon after that, one of the Englishmen (Mr. Howe) is killed, adding to her fear of the Roanoke people. She imagines them, waiting. Watching. Yet, she, too, is lonely enough to move past her fears. Is that possible? Yes. It is plausible? I don't think so!

Human emotions aside, let's look at the some of the ways the Roanoke people think and live.

It is a challenge to imagine how the people of a culture not your own, of a time not your own would think of you. In this case, we have a not-Native writer imagining how Native people think about English people. A good many non-Native writers lapse into a space where we (Native people) are shown as primitive and in awe of Europeans who came to Native lands. We see this in Kimi (Kindle Locations 367-370):

The English have great power,
mightier than we have seen
in the agile deer,
the arrows of our enemies,
the angry hurricane.
Able to blot out the sun.
There's other things that bother me about Blue Birds. One of the stereotypical ways of depicting Native people is how quietly they move, not making a sound. Kimi does that. Another stereotype is the way that Kimi thinks of Alis's wooden bird. Kimi thinks it is Alis's power:
I imagine her cowering in her village
without her power.
I want to see
her weakness.
She comes from brutal people,
yet is as loving
with her mother as we are.
Can both things we true?
That passage in Blue Birds gets at the heart of what I think Caroline Rose Starr is trying to do. Have two girls come to see past differences in who each one and her people are, to the humanity in both. She's not the first to do this. Children's literature has a lot of historical fiction like this... Sign of the Beaver is one; so is Helen Frost's Salt. 

When the two girls come face to face, Kimi thinks of her dad and sister's death. In her language, she tells Alis "You have brought us sorrow." Kimi sees that Alis is frightened by her words and thinks that balance has been restored.

The balance has been restored?! I think that's too tidy.

There are other things that don't sit well with me... the parts of the story where Kimi has a ceremony, marking her passage from child to woman is one. The parts where the Roanoke's are dancing around the fire at night, preparing for attack? That just reminds me of Little House on the Prairie! Indeed, Alis's mom reminds me of Ma!

As the friendship between the two girls continues, they worry for each other's safety. Kimi gives Alis her montoac (power, pearls given to her in that womanhood ceremony). In the end, Alis goes Native. That is, she chooses to live with Kimi. And when the English return, she looks upon them, crouching behind some reeds as she watches them.

That ending--with Alis living with Indians--parallels a theory about what happened to that Lost Colony. In the author's note, Starr tells readers about the Lost Colony. I'm glad to see that note but the story she told? Overall, for me it does not work, and it makes me wonder about the motivation to create friendship stories like this? They seem so more idealized than anything that might really happen between children of peoples at war. And, given that these stories are told--not by Native people--seems telling, too. Borne, perhaps, of guilt? Or what? I don't know, really.

Starr's Blue Bird, published in 2015 by G. P. Putnam's Sons (an imprint of Penguin Group) is not recommended.

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1005. Putting it all together

Other than a few favorite story times that I repeat yearly, I always like to try something new. Similarly, I’m always interested in learning something new.  In February, I put it all together – mixing things that interest me with several of the library’s most wonderful assests –  technology, diversity, creative space, and kids.

I offer you the ingreadients for “Read, Reflect, Relay: a 4-week club”


  • 1 part knowledge from ALSC’s online class, “Tech Savvy Booktalker”ALSC Online Education
  • 1 part inspiration from ALSC’s online class, “Series Programming for theElementary School Age”
  • 1 new friendship spawned by networking and a love of nonfiction books
  • a desire to participate in the #weneeddiversebooks campaign
  • computers
  • books
  • school-aged kids#WeNeedDiverseBooks
  • space and time to create

Each club participant read a Schneider Family Book Award winner of her choice.  If you’re unfamiliar with the Schneider Family Book Award, I’ve linked to its page. Winning books embody the “disability experience for child and adolescent audiences.”

I asked each of the participants to distill the message of her book into a sentence or two – something that would make a good commercial.  Then I gave them a choice of using Animoto, Stupeflix, or VoiceThread to create a book trailer or podcast.  All three platforms were kind enough to offer me an “educator account” for use at the library.  Other than strict guidelines on copyright law and a “no-spoilers” rule, each girl was free to interpret and relay the message of her book as she pleased.

Coincidentally, after I had planned the club, I was chatting online with Alyson BeecherWe were both Round 2 judges for the Elementary/Middle Grade Nonfiction CYBILS Awards.  I had no idea that she is also the Chair of the Schneider Family Book Award Committee!  When I told her about my club, she immediately offered to Skype or Hangout with the club members.  We hastily worked out a schedule, and Alyson’s visit on the last day of the club was one of its highlights!

The girls ranged in age from 10 to teen.  I think you will be impressed with their creativity.

WordPress does not allow me to embed the actual videos and podcasts, but you can access them via the links below – or visit them on Alyson’s site where she was able to embed them.  Enjoy! :)

·        Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick (2012 winner, Middle School)  https://animoto.com/play/kUdNM1sa4fWKfZOXId63AQ

·      After Ever After by Jordan Sonnenblick (2011 winner, Middle School)   https://voicethread.com/new/myvoice/#thread/6523783/33845486/35376059

·    Anything but Typical by Nora Raleigh Baskin (2010 winner, Teen)  https://animoto.com/play/qFPwi1vYP1ha2FF0vVUuFg

·      Anything but Typical by Nora Raleigh Baskin (2010 winner, Teen) (another one)    http://studio.stupeflix.com/v/9GKeiQfgsj9Q/?autoplay=1

·      A Dog Called Homeless by Sara Lean (2013 winner, Middle School)    http://studio.stupeflix.com/v/DQ4tJG8mnsYX/?autoplay=1

If you’d like more information, or if you’d like to see my video booktalk (or adapt) my video advertisement for the program, just leave a message in the comments.  I’ll be happy to respond.

 *All logos used with permission and linked back to their respective sites.

The post Putting it all together appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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1006. asking for what you want, getting what you want

banned books week poster before and after

This has been a heady National Library Week for many librarians I know and me in particular. There’s been a lot of online agita and, unlike the way these things usually go, some things wound up changing for the better. Here’s a list. Apologies if I link too much to facebooky stuff.

  1. Someone mentioned that they found Demco’s “Spanish” spine label a bit troublesome since it had a sombrero and a set of maracas (Mexican, not Spanish, and still stereotypical at that) and misspelled español (without the tilde). A few people complained to Demco. Demco listened, agreed, removed the items from their online store. Not all of their multicultural labels are perfect, but it was nice to be heard.
  2. ALA’s Banned Books Week poster which was put in the ALA Store this week got a lot of pushback. Does the woman look like she is wearing a niqab? What’s the poster trying to communicate? Andromeda spells out well what some of the issues with the poster are. People wrote to ALA. ALA listened. Took a while to respond. Came back with a few posts from the ALA Office of Intellectual Freedom
    1. Statement on the 2015 Banned Books Week Poster
    2. How Do We Design a Banned Books Campaign
    3. Response Concerning the 2015 Banned Books Week

    I particularly found some of the crosstalk interesting about whether objecting to a marketing poster was in the same family as objecting to something being in the library collection. I know we can be a mouthy contentious bunch, but given that, some of this discussion seemed to take place on new ground and it was curious to me how much my years in the MetaFilter trenches has helped me manage these sorts of discussions.

  3. Daredevil is a great show on Netflix about a blind superhero which did not have any descriptive audio which many found ironic. People complained. The Accessible Netflix Project started a petition. Netflix fixed it.
  4. After my last post about SpaceX, I decided to expand it into an article for Medium which I did with some nice photos and a lot of linking. A few days later, Flickr actually added an option for users to have public domain and CC0 licenses on their photos. This is, to me, a HUGELY great outcome. I wrote another short article about this.
  5. On a more personal note, Jason Goldman wrote a post on Medium to talk about how he was going to become the new White House Chief Digital Officer. I left a comment on that article talking about how part of getting people involved in civic engagement is helping them to trust the online world (i.e. doing the opposite of everything Healthcare.gov has done). This comment got a nod in Goldman’s next article now that he’s taken office. I am very very pleased about this.

Bonus link the #journalofneutrallibrarianship hashtag is a pretty good time if you like Twitter. And I wrote a nerdy article about research and Wikipedia that I think you might enjoy if you haven’t seen me blabbing about it all over the place for the past few days.

How to lie with Wikipedia

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1007. Red Berries, White Clouds, Blue Sky (2014)

Red Berries, White Clouds, Blue Sky. Sandra Dallas. 2014. Sleeping Bear Press. 216 pages. [Source: Library]

Tomi Itano is the heroine of Red Berries, White Clouds, Blue Sky. Her family is relocated during the war, the spring after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Her father was taken away--imprisoned--before the family was relocated. For Tomi who has always loved, loved, loved being American, this comes as a shock and disappointment. How could anyone not see how patriotic her family is? She adjusts as the whole family is forced to adjust. (The family, I believe, is relocated twice.) Readers meet Tomi, her older brother, her younger brother, and her mother. Readers get a glimpse of what life might have been like day-to-day for these families. The book is about how they all are effected personally and as a family. (It does change the family dynamics in many ways, especially once the father joins them again. For example, he comes home angry and bitter and stubborn. He does not like the fact that the experience has changed his wife, how she works now, how she teaches quilting, how she has a life outside the home.) I liked the book well enough. Part of me wishes, however, that the focus had been on the older brother Roy, or, equally on the older brother. I liked that he had a band. He ended up joining the army, and, his story would have been worth reading too, in my opinion.

Is Red Berries, White Clouds, Blue Sky my *favorite* book on the subject of the Japanese internment (relocation) camps? Probably not. I really love, love, love, Kathryn Fitzmaurice's A Diamond in the Desert. But even though I wouldn't rate it "a" favorite or "the" favorite, doesn't mean it's not worth reading. While both books could appeal to the same reader, that wouldn't always be the case. For example, Red Berries, White Clouds, Blue Sky features quilts.
© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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1008. IN A WORLD JUST RIGHT by Jen Brooks

Review by Leydy IN A WORLD JUST RIGHT by Jen Brooks Age Range: 12 and up Grade Level: 7 and up Hardcover: 432 pages Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (April 28, 2015) Goodreads | Amazon Imagination takes on new meaning for a uniquely talented teen in this debut novel that is a breathtaking blend of contemporary, fantasy, and romance. Sometimes Jonathan Aubrey wishes he

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1009. Book Review: The Most Dangerous Animal of All by Gary L. Stewart and Susan D. Mustafa

From Goodreads:
Soon after his birthmother contacted him for the first time at the age of thirty-nine, adoptee Gary L. Stewart decided to search for his biological father. His quest would lead him to a horrifying truth and force him to reconsider everything he thought he knew about himself and his world.

Written with award-winning author and journalist Susan Mustafa, The Most Dangerous Animal of All tells the story of Stewart’s decade-long hunt. While combing through government records and news reports and tracking down relatives and friends, Stewart turns up a host of clues—including forensic evidence—that conclusively identify his father as the Zodiac Killer, one of the most notorious and elusive serial murderers in history.

For decades, the Zodiac Killer has captivated America’s imagination. His ability to evade capture while taunting authorities made him infamous. The vicious specificity of his crimes terrified Californians before the Manson murders and after, and shocked a culture enamored with the ideals of the dawning Age of Aquarius. To this day, his ciphers have baffled detectives and amateur sleuths, and his identity remains one of the twentieth century’s great unsolved mysteries.

The Most Dangerous Animal of All reveals the name of the Zodiac for the very first time. Mustafa and Stewart construct a chilling psychological profile of Stewart’s father: as a boy with disturbing fixations, a frustrated intellectual with pretensions to high culture, and an inappropriate suitor and then jilted lover unable to process his rage. At last, all the questions that have surrounded the case for almost fifty years are answered in this riveting narrative. The result is a singular work of true crime at its finest—a compelling, unbelievable true story told with the pacing of a page-turning novel—as well as a sensational and powerful memoir.
Very well-done.  I suggest getting this in print or ebook format as opposed to audio because some of the best evidence presented here is shown explicitly in ciphers and codes created by the Zodiac Killer.  The visual impact played a big role in convincing me that the author is probably correct in assuming that his biological father is the Zodiac Killer.  Was I convinced enough to find him guilty in a court of law?  Probably not - there's definitely room for reasonable doubt.  But I was convinced in my own mind that he is most likely correct in his assumptions.  The authors do a great job of presenting their evidence and backing it up with facts.

Entertainment Value
If you're a fan of true crime, this is a must read.  I think it can cross over, however, to fans of mysteries and thrillers as well.  It reads like a novel and will certainly keep your interest.  It's also not presented in the sensationalized way that true crime is generally perceived as embodying.

If you loved Serial, you will love this book.  It's a great story and has all the same conflicting information and subtle clues that could point in any number of directions.  And, like Serial, it has a somewhat open ending that allows the reader to decide how well Stewart has made his case.  There are entire Reddit forums devoted to this story and, if you enjoy the book, they're perfect for some internet rabbit holing.

Thanks to my local public library for providing me with a copy of this one!

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1010. Patty Jenkins signs on as Wonder Woman director


Sometimes truth really is stranger than fiction.

Just two days ago, we were discussing how similar Michelle MacLaren‘s exit from the Wonder Woman feature film was to Patty Jenkins parting ways with Marvel over Thor: The Dark World.

Today, the studio found their replacement for MacLaren: Patty Jenkins (per THR). The director, best known for the 2003 film Monster, who was originally slated to be the first female director in the current Marvel Studios canon (Lexi Alexander directed 2008’s Punisher: War Zone) will now do the same for the DC movie slate.

Congrats to Jenkins, and I look forward to finally seeing what she can do in this kind of blockbuster sandbox. Here’s hoping Marvel Studios finds a brand new name to throw in the mix for Captain Marvel. There are lots and lots of great female filmmakers out there.

Wonder Woman, which will likely be talking tiger sidekick free, is slated to open in 2017 and star Gal Gadot, who will make her debut as the character in next year’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

Jenkins is repped by CAA, Anonymous Content, and Jackoway Tyerman.

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1011. Tampa

This blistering excavation of the mind of a pedophile is absolutely riveting. Celeste Price becomes a teacher and carefully arranges her life in order to continuously have a fresh supply of young boys on hand. Her entire life revolves around her anticipatory, and then eventual, conquests, and her introspection never once goes beyond her insatiable libido. [...]

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1012. Musical Instruments to Make with Your Children

NOTE: Today’s post is for the letter “M” as part of the Blogging A to Z Challenge.


Kids love to make music! They can make music out of almost anything, but if you give them an instrument to play, they can put on a real show for you. Here are four easy instruments you can make with your children.

1. Drum

Start with an empty coffee can and remove the lid.

Cut a piece of construction paper big enough to cover the sides of the coffee can. Decorate one side of the construction paper with stamps, coloring, glitter – anything to make it fun. Now tape the construction paper around the can so the design is on the outside. You can put the lid back on and that can be where you drum. Another idea is to turn the coffee can upside down and drum on the aluminum bottom of the coffee can.

No drum is complete without drumsticks! Wrap some fabric around the end of two dowels to make two drumsticks. Try drumming the sticks on the lid and on the bottom to see what different sounds you can make.

2. Kazoo

You will need an empty toilet paper tube, wax paper, a rubber band and a pair of scissors.

Cut a piece of wax paper large enough to cover one of the ends of the toilet paper roll. Attach it to one of the ends of the roll with the elastic band. With the end of your scissors, make a small hole in the roll close the end that is covered with wax paper.

To play the kazoo, just hum into the open end and enjoy the music.

3. Tambourine

You will need two aluminum pie tins or thick paper or plastic plates. Punch holes through the rim of one of the plates all the way around. Use the first paper plate as a pattern to mark where to put holes on the second plate. Now make holes in the second plate, too.

Decorate the bottoms of the plates. Fill one plate with buttons, beans, popcorn kernels, or anything else that makes noise when rattled. Put the plates together and attach them by tying ribbon or string through the holes. Lace the plates together.

To make music, simply shake the tambourine.

4. Comb Buzzer

There is nothing easier to make or more fun to play than a comb buzzer. All you need is a pocket comb and a piece of tissue paper.

Fold the tissue paper over, so it covers both sides of the comb, on the side that has the teeth. To play, put the side with the teeth in your mouth and hum through the tissue paper.

Your kids will enjoy making these instruments for you and they will enjoy playing them even more. So sit back and enjoy the concert!

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1013. Julia Pohl-Miranda upped at Drawn & Quarterly


In a move that will surprise no one, Julia Pohl-Miranda has been promoted Director of Marketing at Drawn & Quarterly, where she will continue to oversee day-to-day publicity operations, author tours, festivals and events, and remain a calm and encouraging presence at D&Q’s booth wherever she goes. A graduate of McGill University, Pohl-Miranda started as a marketing intern for joined D&Q in 2008, while progressing to publicity assistant and editorial marketing manager before reaching her current title.

“Everyone who knows Julia knows that Julia is awesome,” said Peggy Burns, D+Q’s Associate Publisher in a statement. “She is beyond a team player, she is always up for anything and is incredibly smart. I thank my lucky stars for her every day!”

To which we can only add, hear hear!!!

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1014. Poetry Friday: Coming Awake by D.H. Lawrence

When I woke, the lake-lights were quivering on the wall,
The sunshine swam in a shoal across and across,
And a hairy, big bee hung over the primulas
In the window, his body black fur, and the sound of him cross.

There was something I ought to remember: and yet
I did not remember. Why should I? The running lights
And the airy primulas, oblivious
Of the impending bee - they were fair enough sights.

- Coming Awake by D.H. Lawrence

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.

Learn more about Poetry Friday.

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1015. At Literacy Partners Gala, Bestselling Authors Share Personal Stories

Barbara-Taylor2Liz Smith, the “patron saint of literacy,” was unable to host Tuesday night’s gala at Cipriani in New York for Literacy Partners, the organization she helped found in 1974. Though Smith felt under the weather, her fellow board of directors, as well as honorees Robert Thomson and Barbara Taylor Bradford (pictured, at right), along with writers Tom Brokaw and Ali Wentworth (pictured, below), aptly filled in for her. Resilience emerged as the recurring theme of the evening, much like Smith herself.

Literacy Partners student Matthew Brown represented one of the evening’s highlights. The 75-year-old detailed his lifelong struggle to read, which he overcame with the organization’s help. He then sang his own resounding rendition of the Sinatra hit, “My Way,” to a standing ovation.


Taylor Bradford received the Lizzie award for her devotion to literacy in the U.S. and the U.K. She spoke about her prolific writing career, starting at a regional newspaper in England. “I had a little bit of toughness, even at age 16,” she said. By age 20 she headed to Fleet Street, and never forgot the lessons of needing to answer the \"who, what, where, when and why’s.\"

Thomson was honored for his philanthropy and commitment to the literacy cause, and joked that he also wants “numeracy partners for fiscally challenged executives.” On a more serious note, he spoke about the challenges that those who can’t read face every day, when words become enemies, leading to social isolation. “No one among us can always find the right words. Cracking the code of language is crucial,” he added.

Thomson also piqued the audience’s curiosity by bringing a book to the stage that he said was Harper Lee’s much anticipated ‘prequel sequel’, though it turned out to be her bestseller, To Kill A Mockingbird. “I’ve read the manuscript, and I think it will resonate,” he told the crowd.

Brokaw and Wentworth read passages from their upcoming books, both due out later this spring. Wentworth’s tale, Happily Ali After, describes humorous scenes from her life based on well-known sayings. She disagrees with the famous Love Story quote about never having to say you’re sorry. “Love has always meant saying I’m sorry repeatedly,” she said. An example: when her family planned a trip to Spain but upon arrival at JFK airport discovered that their girls’ passports had expired.

Brokaw’s forthcoming memoir, A Lucky Life Interrupted, recounts his deeply personal journey battling multiple myeloma, a treatable but incurable form of cancer. He spoke about first experiencing symptoms and then being diagnosed at the Mayo Clinic. “I went from the delusion of being ever young. It was a way of life that I couldn’t believe was slipping away from me,” he said. He ended on a more upbeat note now that his cancer is in remission, citing “renewable cycles of life.” The book concludes with these words: \"Life–what’s left–bring it on.”

(Photos courtesy of Billy Farrell Agency)

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1016. NPM Project: Jumping Into Form - Sonnets

Oh sonnet ...

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace.
I love thee to the level of every day’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.

Do you recognize the lines above? They come from Sonnets from the Portuguese (this is 43) by Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

The sonnet is a fourteen-line lyric poem that originated in Italy and slowly made its way across Europe and to England. Sonnets were first written as love poems. The type of sonnet, Petrarchan (Italian) or Shakespearean (English) generally determines the structure and rhyme scheme. Before we get into the "rules" and specifics, let's start with a some words about the sonnet.

In That Book of Dad's 
I Borrowed

chapter two was about the sonnet.
Man, those made me want to go back to
haiku. Like a burger with everything on it,
sonnets are packed with roses and dew,
summer days, tender breaths, rocks and rills
(whatever rills are), and tons of wimpy guys
who apparently thought it was a thrill
to sit around with some sheep and sigh
about everything. I'm not that lame.
I'm just a former baseball whiz who'd like
to do what I used to do. Again.
Even if it means getting called out on strikes.
Sorry, Will, the sonnet's not for me.
Baseball's my love—not some thou or thee.

It Took Forever

to write that, and it isn't very good.
I finished, though, because I might be
skinny and sick but I'm not a quitter.

Man, sonnets are hard: counting
syllables in every line, trolling
for rhymes.

But it's really cool how everything fits
into fourteen little lines.

It's kind of like packing a lunch box,
getting in way more good stuff
than I thought I could.

Poems ©Ron Koertge. All rights reserved.

These two poems are from Shakespeare Bats Cleanup by Ron Koertge. Kevin Boland (known to his baseball-playing buddies as Shakespeare) is sidelined by mono and must spend time at home resting and recuperating. What's a boy to do when he's told he's sick and can't play the sport he loves? His father, who is a writer, hands him a marble composition notebook and says, "You're gonna have a lot of time on your/hands. Maybe you'll feel like writing/something down." Soon after this Kevin takes a book about poetry from the den and secrets it away to his room.
It feels weird smuggling something about
poetry up to my room like it's the new
As Kevin recovers from mono he writes about the death of his mother, girls, baseball, the past, and the struggles of a typical teenager. The poems take a variety of forms, including sonnet, couplet, free verse, elegy, pastoral, pantoum, and more. One of the things I love about this book is Kevin's perspective on writing and poetic forms, particularly the sonnet.

So how is a sonnet structured? First, most are composed of 14 lines and written in iambic pentameter. Iambic pentameter is the meter pattern of syllables. An iamb is a foot (two syllables in this case) that are unstressed/stressed in pattern. Since the prefix pent- means five, iambic pentameter is a line consisting of 5 iambs. It is stressed in this fashion:

da DUM | da DUM | da DUM | da DUM | da DUM

Italian Sonnet
  • The Italian sonnet is divided into an octave (8 lines), followed by a sestet (6 lines).
  • The rhyme pattern for the octave is a-b-b-a, a-b-b-a. For the sestet the pattern can be c-d-e-c-d-e OR c-d-c-c-d-c.
  • The transition from octave to sestet usually contains a turn.
English Sonnet
  • The English sonnet is composed of three quatrains and a final couplet.
  • The rhyme pattern is a-b-a-b-c-d-c-d-e-f-e-f-g-g
  • The turn in this version comes with the final couplet.
A Wreath for Emmett Till (2005), written by Marilyn Nelson and illustrated by Philippe Lardy, is a heroic crown of sonnets, or a sequence of 15 sonnets that are interlinked like a normal crown of sonnets, except in the heroic crown the last sonnet is made entirely from the first lines of the previous 14 sonnets. One of the things that makes this heroic crown such an achievement is the the last sonnet is also an acrostic poem, in which the first letters of each line spell out the phrase “RIP Emmett L. Till.”

The poems in this crown are not easy to read. They are unsettling, shocking, and sad, but this is an important event in the history of our nation that needs to be told again and again. The book ends with a short biography of Emmett Till, extensive notes on the 15 sonnets, and an artist's note. The tempera illustrations by Philippe Lardy quietly reflect the themes and moods of the sonnets.

One of the sonnets in this crown is written from the perspective of the tree witnessing the lynching, and echoes some of the sentiments expressed in Paul Laurence Dunbar's poem The Haunted Oak.

Pierced by the screams of a shortened childhood,
my heartwood has been scarred for fifty years
by what I heard, with hundreds of green ears.
That jackal laughter. Two hundred years I stood
listening to small struggles to find food,
to the songs of creature life, which disappears
and comes again, to the music of the spheres.
Two hundred years of deaths I understood.
Then slaughter axed one quiet summer night,
shivering the deep silence of the stars.
A running boy, five men in close pursuit.
One dark, five pale faces in the moonlight.
Noise, silence, back-slaps. One match, five cigars.
Emmett Till's name still catches in the throat.

Poem ©Marilyn Nelson. All rights reserved.

You can listen to an interview with Marilyn Nelson on NPR and hear her read the entire poem. If you are interested in using this book in he classroom, you can download a teacher's guide from Houghton Mifflin.
The Emily Sonnets: The Life of Emily Dickinson (2012), written by Jane Yolen and illustrated by Gary Kelley, is a sequence of sonnets that together tell the story of Dickinson's life. Written in the voices of Dickinson, her dog, sister, and others, each poem lovingly points back to the words used in Dickinson's own works. Back matter includes detailed information about the context of the poems and includes interesting and endearing anecdotes to accompany each sonnet.

Here are Yolen's words from the Author's note about the collection.
In this book of sonnets about Emily's life, I have given each poem a title and an indication as to the speaker, whether Emily herself, her sister Lavinia (Vinnie), her niece Martha (Mattie), her mentor/friend Thomas Wenworth Higginson, an unknown critic, or me (JY). I have tried to tell the truth of her life, but as Emily said: "Tell all the Truth but tell it slant—/Success in Circuit lies ..."

The Brick House (Emily Speaks)

No house in town was built of brick
Except the one that bore me.
The roof was slant, the walls quite thick.
My mother did not adore me.
My father's smiles were rare and swift,
A grimace more than joy.
I was the second child, a gift;
The first one was a boy.

We two, like sailors in a storm,
Clung desperate to each other,
Trying to stay safe and warm,
Small sister to big brother;
He strove so hard my life to save
From drowning in that icy wave.

Poem ©Jane Yolen. All rights reserved.

It's rare to find sonnets in poetry for children, so I have one more title to recommend.
Shakespeare's Seasons (2012), created by Miriam Weiner and illustrated by Shannon Whitt, is an introduction to Shakespeare that combines snippets of his verse (mostly sonnets) accompanied by illustrations that span the seasons of the year. Back matter includes a short note about Shakespeare and his work. Here is an excerpt.
The way people speak to each other has changed a bit since Shakespeare's time. This is why some of the words in this book—words from his sonnets and plays—may sound funny to you. But listen carefully and you can enjoy the music of his words, and the pictures they create in your mind.
The book opens with the season of summer and these lines.

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date.
                                                                              Sonnet 18, 1-4

Most excerpts shared are four lines or less, though the longest quote is eight lines. Shakespeare's words, paired with Whitt's lovely images, make the language and ideas easily accessible for children. If you haven't seen this title, take a quick look at the images from the book at Shannon Whitt's web site.

If you are ready to tackle reading and/or writing the sonnet with your students, here are some helpful resources.
That's it for the sonnet. I'll be back tomorrow with another form.

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1017. Susana Ferreira Wins NYU’s Matthew Power Literary Reporting Award

Journalist Susana Ferreira has won New York University’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute’s inaugural Matthew Power Literary Reporting Award.
The Carter Institute established the award last fall in remembrance of the late journalist Matthew Power. The $12,500 award is given “to a young journalist researching an important story that illuminates the human condition.” Ferreira spent four years in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, where she was a correspondent for Reuters and served as a freelancer for Time, CBC Radio, PRI’s \"The World,\" the Wall Street Journal, France 24, and the Guardian.

“Many inspired proposals were submitted to us, but hers was particularly original and stood out as the sort of thing Matt might have done,” stated Professor Ted Conover of the Carter Journalism Institute, a friend of Power’s who coordinated the judging. “We hope that funding this kind of work will help to keep his spirit alive.”

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1018. Cartoon- Breaking news

cartoon - braking news‘प्यार  का नाम जेहन में आते ही आँखो में गजब सी चमक फैल जाती है, सच पूछिए तो प्यार का इजहार करने के लिए लोग किसी विशेष दिन का इंतजार नहीं करते और ना हीं प्यार किसी विशेष दिन का मोहताज है, लेकिन पश्चिम सभ्यता के बढ़ते प्रचलन से वेलेनटाईन डे युवाओं के दिल में विशेष जगह लेता जा रहा है. इस दिन के चलते युवा अपने को बेहतर दिखाने के लिए और लडकियों को लुभाने के लिए महंगे महंग़े उपहार देते है और इस सप्ताह को मनाते मनाते आखिरी दिन बेचारे भिखारी बन जाते हैं और न्यूज चैनल को मसाला मिल जाता है कि कल तक का जैंटलमैन आज भिखारी बन गया है !!!

The post Cartoon- Breaking news appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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1019. Books to Forge Friendships

CML TeensThere’s very little for kids to do in the town of Bluefield, West Virginia. But once a week, eighteen students from different walks of life gather to talk about books.

Suzette Sims, the program services coordinator at the Craft Memorial Library, organized the book club a few years ago. It started with three middle school students and has since grown in size and friendship.

But the library doesn’t have money to buy books. When the book club had just three members, they could obtain books through interlibrary loan.  Now, the program has grown and the book club needs almost twenty copies of books per week to keep it going – an almost impossible task.

Through First Book, Suzette can find enough copies of the books her students love to read.  The students debate, learn and forge friendships.

CML Teens2“This is somewhere they can meet and see their friends once a week,” says Suzette. “It’s a mix of the groups. Some are friends, some didn’t know each other beforehand.”

Along with providing a safe and supportive environment, Suzette hopes to give her students the opportunity to discover their interests and passions.

“The more I can show them about different things – science, art, books – the more they’ll be able to figure out what they’re interested in and what they want to do,” explains Suzette. “I have a lot of hope for these kids. They have such a spark in them – if they want to, they can go anywhere.”

The post Books to Forge Friendships appeared first on First Book Blog.

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1020. Day 8 – Helping Herbie Hedgehog Virtual Tour

Today is Day 8 of the 10-day virtual book tour for Helping Herbie Hedgehog by Melissa Abramovitz.


Read a review of the book on today’s stop on the tour:

Day 8 – Helping Herbie Hedgehog

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1021. Archive of Recorded Poetry and Literature

April is National Poetry Month and I have neglected to say anything about it thus far. Well, I am about to fix that.

The Library of Congress today launched the Archive of Recorded Poetry and Literature. There are fifty recordings available at the moment and it will be added to every month.

The LOC is digitizing its collection of nearly 2,000 recordings of poets and prose writers who participated in events at the library. Most of the recordings are on magnetic tape reels and until now have only been available by visiting the library.

Among the items available at launch is Robert Frost being interviewed by Randall Jarrell in 1959 and the Academy of American Poets’ 35th anniversary program from 1969 that included readings by Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell. That is just the tip of the iceberg. It is a true treasure trove.

This is why I love the internet. Go now, explore the archive and enjoy.

Filed under: Poetry Tagged: Elizabeth Bishop, Library of Congress, Robert Frost

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1022. Who is Lady Thor? Find out as soon as someone spoils it


Who is the woman who’s had the power of Thor for the last few months? Is she Angela? Is she Brunhilde? Is she Katie Sackhoff? Is she a horrible lie sent by feminizes to destroy men’s enjoyment of life, love and laughter? Is she a symbol of Marvel trying to appeal to a wider demographic and sell more books?

Who knows, but in May we will FINALLY KNOW THE ANSWER!

This is it! The answer you’ve all been waiting for! The identity of Thor, Goddess of Thunder, finally revealed! Who is this mysterious heroine with the might of Mjolnir in her hands? The question will finally be answered this May in the blockbuster THOR #8 – from the critically acclaimed creative team of Jason Aaron and Russell Dauterman! As the final battle with the Destroyer reaches its climax, Thor and Odinson call in a little backup. Amid the fire and the fury of battle, questions will be answered. A surprising return! Guest stars galore! And a last page that will send shockwaves through the Marvel Universe! Don’t miss the comic that will have the world talking when THOR #8 comes to comic shops and digital devices this May!

THOR #8 (MAR150723)
Written by JASON AARON
NYC Variant by MIKE MAYHEW (MAR150724)
FOC 04/20/15, ON-SALE 5/13/15




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1023. Watch The U.S. Trailer for Ghibli’s ‘When Marnie Was There’

U.S. audiences get to enjoy a new Studio Ghibli film in theaters for potentially the last time.

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1024. Entertainment Round-Up: A new Flash Gordon on the way, Batman v Superman trailer event, and the final Studio Ghibli trailer?


Happy New Comic Book Day, here’s your Wednesday round-up of Entertainment related goodness:

– Fox is well on their way to pulling together a new Flash Gordon big screen adventure, and to do so, it looks like they’re turning to their current hit maker Matthew Vaughn, who successfully breathed new life into the X-Men franchise and made a nice little mint with Kingsman: The Secret Service. The current script is coming by way of former Star Trek 3 scribes J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay.

It’ll have to go a long way to unseat the 1980 cult classic in the minds of many fans though, I wish them the best of luck! On the other hand, it won’t be hard to better the 2007 television adaptation that starred Smallville‘s Eric Johnson.

– Following on the heels of the trailer event for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, it looks Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is getting something similar, as the trailer for the new film will apparently be shown in select theaters across the country on April 20th. We know that the first five seconds will debut online tomorrow, and will probably pop up everywhere you turn. But for the full trailer, you’ll have to wait until next Monday, but as with the Star Wars trailer, the full thing (which has been reported to be about 2 minutes long) will surely pop up online the same day as it debuts in theaters. Hopefully not in the middle of the night like a certain Aquaman photo.

– Speaking of trailers, here’s the latest and possibly last one from Studio Ghibli for When Marnie Was There (via USA Today) which hits LA and NY starting May 22nd and rolling out across the country afterwards:

This is the second, and final Ghibli film for Hiromasa Yonebayashi (The Secret World of Arrietty), who left the studio at the end of last year. Here’s the official synopsis:

Sent from her foster home in the city one summer to a sleepy town by the sea in Hokkaido, Anna dreams her days away among the marshes.  She believes she’s outside the invisible magic circle to which most people belong – and shuts herself off from everyone around her, wearing her “ordinary face.”  Anna never expected to meet a friend like Marnie, who does not judge Anna for being just what she is.  But no sooner has Anna learned the loveliness of friendship than she begins to wonder about her newfound friend…

Based on the novel by Joan G. Robinson, When Marnie Was There is the newest film from Studio Ghibli, and the second feature film by Hiromasa Yonebayashi, the director of The Secret World of Arrietty.

Hopefully someone will pick up the torch at the studio soon, but with Hayao Miyazaki retired (for now) and Isao Takahata maybe not far behind him (or not?), things look a bit grim in that regard.


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1025. Review: Archie Gets to the Choppa in Archie vs. Predator #1

Archie vs. Predator #1



Story: Alex de Campi

Pencils: Fernando Ruiz

Inks: Rich Koslowski

Colors: Jason Millet

Letters: John Workman

Publisher: Dark Horse Comics



Man, comics can be a crazy thing sometimes. Remember when the Punisher swapped complexions with Wesley Snipes, or when Wonder Woman worked at a Taco Whiz? The spirit of new ideas can sometimes bring about the strangest bedfellows. It’s that same spirit that brought Archie Comics and Dark Horse together to publish the grudge match of the century, Archie vs. Predator.

Writer Alex de Campi opens the series with an actually feasible scenario where the paths of Riverdale’s most popular teens cross with the galaxy’s most feared game hunter. This first issue is Archie gang heavy as we join them on their Spring break vacation to a tropical island. As you know, a Predator only needs extreme heat and raging conflict to enjoy a vacation and no one has more angst than teens. AvP #1 reinforces the notion that there’s no bigger fight than two ladies squabbling over the same man. As Betty and Veronica have a tiff that cuts their vacation short, they’ll bring Riverdale back more than just a souvenir keychain.


The script is fun, full of zingers, and all the Jughead buffet loving goodness Archie comics are known for. AvP’s premise is surprisingly concise; instead of going off the rails with impossibility, the story actually feels like a plot from a Predator movie staring teenagers.

Fernando Ruiz’s pencils are full of cartoony heavy lines and over the top expressions. In short, it’s pop art at its best. Even the Predator looks pretty darn cute, which shouldn’t be a word normally used to describe him, but it fits here. For anyone thinking the Archie brand wouldn’t allow for the right level of gore; rest assured you’ll see the blood and guts in this opening chapter. Combine the illustration of these pages with solid color work by Jason Millet and a superb lettering design by John Workman and the book visually equates to smooth Saturday Morning fun.

Archie vs. Predator pulls the series back from the notion of “how can this be possible,” to damn I need to read this book. If the remaining issues ramp up the action on the set-up in found in these pages then it’s definitely one any reader can get behind.


Dear Dark Horse, I need an Arnold or Danny Glover cameo in this series. Thanks.


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