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1. 7 tips on getting your first freelance illustration project

Amy Ng blogs at Pikaland, a popular stop for illustration lovers, students and artists who are looking for answers on how to find a balance between art, creativity and commerce.

I have a lot of students who are graduating sidle up and ask me – very sheepishly – about how they could get their first freelance clients. They were told to create a snazzy portfolio, and to create works that would fill said portfolio up, but they didn’t know what to do beyond compiling their best work and sending them off to prospective clients and employers. What happened was a lot of waiting, rejection and a fear of hopelessness that followed. 

In my experience, a lot of first-time commissions come from word of mouth. When I first got started, I made sure to put the word out there that I was freelancing, and that if anyone needed a hand they can give me a call (or contact me via email.) But besides that, I find that being proactive about finding freelance work goes a long way – especially when you realize that those connections might take 2-3 years to fully materialize. It’s what has happened in my situation, and for many others too.

So here are few things that you can do right now:

1. Tell as many people as you can about what you do.

Spread the word that you’re freelancing around, to family, friends, even the neighbours. You may find at first that this will land you some pretty weird jobs and questions – stuff like “can you teach my kid how to draw?” It’s totally up to you to take it on, or not. I always say that it’s no harm at all, especially when you have nothing better to do – so why not flex your creative muscles and do your best – even if it’s something that you whipped up for the neighbourhood kindergarten?

2. Get your portfolio on different websites

The thing with illustration and art is that it’s hard to be found visually. And what that means is that people don’t go to Google, type in a few strings of words that describe what you do, and then be able to see your artwork among other artists (well the famous ones do, but only because they’ve built up a really big following!) So the next best thing is to put your work up in front of people who are already looking. And that means in places where they go to look. Places like Behance and Dribble. On Instagram (with the appropriate hashtags – not one made up by you!)

The caveat is that it might take some time for others to notice you, especially with all the great work out there; but it pays to be persistent. There might be a few art directors and clients who might be checking you out on those websites, but the timing is not right just yet.

3. Don’t just hang out with your illustration buddies from college or uni – make an effort!

Spread your wings out a little and go to where you’ve never been before! There is more to you than just your ability to draw – what other stuff do you like doing? What’s your other hobbies? Do you love reading? Join a book club! Do you love cooking? Join a community cook-out! The more people you reach out to that’s outside of your normal comfort zones, the better your chances of making new connections, which will ultimately help spread your name far and wide.

4. Constantly add new work to your portfolio

Slapping on a couple of pictures from your school days or previous college assignment does not mean that your portfolio is complete! Unless your work back then was really good, or it showcased what you are capable of right now, I’d suggest to leave it out. First impressions mean a lot, and if what you’re putting out there can only illicit a “meh”, it’s time for you to think of self-initiated projects that you can add to your portfolio. That’s right – there is no client involved (unless it’s imaginary, in which case it’s totally fine), no cheque waiting for you at the other end, and no assurance that it will amount to anything – not just yet. Do your best, take pride in your work and pick up that pencil because you want to better yourself, not just because there’s someone on the other end counting on you to do so.

5. Send an email to your favorite blogger

Back in the day, I get a lot of emails from graduating students and illustrators who were just starting out. And if their work catches my eye, I post it up on the Pikaland blog (though I rarely do this anymore because better platforms exist for that these days – Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, etc.) What I found out was that other blogs were checking out my blog to get news on the latest talent, and they picked up these artists too and featured them in their blog and magazines, which then helped these emerging artists gain a lot more buzz. So it couldn’t help to try – especially if you can identify with the audience of the blogger, and it’s a place where your work wouldn’t look out of place. Here’s a tip: don’t just aim for the big blogs – go for smaller, niche blogs too!

6. Be super nice to everyone and anyone

You’d think that being nice to people was a natural instinct – but sadly it isn’t! I’ve met my fair share of nasty and rude folks, but they’re thankfully far and few in-between. What I’m talking about is going above minding your P’s (please) and Q’s (thank you). Be genuinely interested in other people – listening to them, asking them helpful questions, thanking them for their time, etc – if you think that these gestures are unnecessary in the days of 140 character tweets, think again. If anything, it only serves to show how attentive you are, especially when others aren’t doing it.

7. Do your research

Look at artists who are in the same stylistic vein as yourself- see if they have a client list and see what companies or publications they have worked with. If their client list if full of, say, family and children’s magazines, you may get the hint that those markets would appreciate your work, too. Or you may be surprised to find that they are doing well in a market you never considered, and that can lead you to discover a bunch of potential clients that were previously off your radar. (This great advice is from Lauren Lowen!)

And there you have it! These are the things that I’ve personally done to get my name out there – and they’re virtually painless. All it takes is a bit of effort in the beginning, but when you’ve got your ball rolling, you’ll be able to see results very soon.

Good luck folks!

[Illustration by Catherine LePage]

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2. The real charm of imaginary numbers

Few elementary mathematical ideas arouse the kind of curiosity and astonishment among the uninitiated as does the idea of the “imaginary numbers”, an idea embodied in the somewhat mysterious number i. This symbol is used to denote the idea of , namely, a number that when multiplied by itself yields -1. How come?

The post The real charm of imaginary numbers appeared first on OUPblog.

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3. Completely Clementine - an audiobook review

Below is my review of Completely Clementine, as it appeared in the October 1, 2015, edition of School Library Journal.

PENNYPACKER, Sara. Completely Clementine. 2 CDs. 2 hrs. Recorded Books. 2015. $25.75. ISBN 9781490625225. digital download.

Gr 2–4—Clementine faces a host of rising fourth-grader issues as the school year ends. She’s feuding with her father over his refusal to become a vegetarian like the rest of the family, she can’t bring herself to say goodbye to her third-grade teacher, and the family’s new baby is due soon and they haven’t even chosen a name yet. Picking the baby’s name should be easy, but her other problems are more serious. She’s avoided her teacher and given her dad the silent treatment for so long that she begins to regret it—but it’s so hard to stop! Clementine and her friends sometimes exhibit the concerns of adults (school friends worry about future wedding plans), but Clementine’s steadfast good nature and silliness are endearing and relatable. Jessica Almasy narrates, bringing infectious enthusiasm to Clementine’s usually upbeat and slightly sassy personality. Other character voices are clearly defined, with Clementine’s parents sounding especially authentic. VERDICT Fans of the series and kids ready to move up from Junie B. Jones will enjoy. [“This last title in the popular and laugh-out-loud chapter book series is a must-have for library collections": SLJ 2/1/15 review of the Disney-Hyperion book.]

 Copyright © 2015 Library Journals, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc.
Reprinted with permission.


The review was edited slightly and did not include the following:
Jessica Almasy narrates all of the Clementine books. A New Yorker herself, she sounds more Southern Californian than befits Clementine’s Boston environs, but she brings infectious enthusiasm to Clementine’s usually upbeat and slightly sassy personality. 

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4. Telling and choosing our own stories

For this year’s Boston University/Boston Green Academy Summer Institute (which I’ve blogged about before), we decided to change up our usual routine of reading one book, and this year we chose two – Darius and Twig by Walter Dean Myers and Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson.

Our essential question for our rising ninth and tenth graders was about how much we determine our own lives and how much they are determined by others’ expectations of who we will be. I wasn’t sure going into the two weeks how well our books would play together, but I needn’t have worried. These two books about writers were rich ground to explore in our time together.

myers_darius & twigOur students were anxious to find out what would happen to Darius and Twig, the writer and the runner, who face challenges as they navigate coming of age in a world that is far from perfect. (I miss Walter Dean Myers already so much and his wonderful stories of our imperfect world.) Even the most reluctant readers this summer had thoughts about these two characters and the choices they made. And our some of our students found that kinship that happens sometimes with characters whose backgrounds related to their own.

woodson_brown girl dreaming_170x258Then, we began to write our own stories, and we turned to Jacqueline Woodson to teach us how. And she’s a great teacher. Somehow, in her beautiful, sparse vignette poems, our students found inspiration and ideas. But it was more than that – I think her poems became a permission slip of sorts to tell their own stories and to experiment with images and tones to craft their memories into words. I’ve usually had experiences where students have been intimidated by poetry, but that didn’t happen with BGD. Instead, our writers dove right in to writing their own experiences as poems.

All in all, the two books we chose for this year’s essential question fit together after all, and I’ve gotten interested in book pairs that allow us to focus on a theme when reading and can also serve as writing models. I’d love to hear if others have tried this or have pairs that worked well!


The post Telling and choosing our own stories appeared first on The Horn Book.

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5. The post you've been waiting for--THE NEVERSEEN PRE-ORDER GIVEAWAY!!!!!

It's here! It's here! It's finally here!!!!


Now that we're three weeks away from the launch of NEVERSEEN (*flails and hyperventilates*), it's time to make sure you guys have a chance to get some goodies! Thank you all for waiting so patiently.

(And warning: this is a long post with LOTS of important information, so make sure you read it all carefully so you don't miss your opportunity)

Some of you know how this works, but just in case you're new here, this giveaway is my way of trying to make up for the fact that it's impossible for me to tour to every city. If I could figure out a way to teleport, I'd meet each and every one of you in person. But since I can't, I like to make sure you all at least have a chance to get some of the fun things I give out at signings. So everyone who pre-orders a copy of NEVERSEEN before the cut-off date (11/2/15) AND fills out the form at the end of this post*, will get this awesome NEVERSEEN swag mailed directly to them:

In case you can't tell from the picture, you'll get:
One hand signed, limited edition "Iggy has the Blues" postcard art print
One hand signed NEVERSEEN bookplate
One Neverseen symbol sticker
One Black Swan sticker

And yes, EVERYONE who pre-orders the book and fills out the form before the cutoff date will get that!!!!!

*cue infomercial announcer voice*

But wait--there's more!

 I will also choose twenty (20) of you at random and give you this: (yes, in *addition* to the other swag!)

And again, in case you can't tell, that is:
One character art postcard (which is two-sided, by the way--but I can't show you the other side yet because some of the amazing character art has yet to be revealed)
One shiny alicorn button (the same alicorn buttons I'll be giving out at my launch party)

You don't have to do anything special to enter for the extra goodies. I'll choose the winners randomly from all the people who fill out the form for their swag. So that's the only requirement: you must fill out the form at the end of this post. Which of course means you also must pre-order a copy of NEVERSEEN

And because I like to keep things simple, I'm not requiring proof of purchase. If you say you bought it, I trust you. I'm counting on you guys to be honest. But remember, lying makes Dex come up with mean pranks to play on you--meanwhile honesty makes Fitz and Keefe invite you to play base quest with them! :) I also won't be announcing the winners of the additional goodies. If you win the extra swag, you'll find out when your prize arrives in the mail.

I'm also willing to mail the prizes anywhere--even internationally. And it doesn't matter if you pre-order an eBook or a hardcover. As long as it's NEVERSEEN, it counts. And you can buy your copy anywhere books are sold. Of course I recommend shopping local from your favorite indie and supporting a local business. But it's up to you where you want to shop. (and scroll down for one more option before you make your decision)

I also know lots of you pre-ordered yours months and months ago. (which is so incredibly awesome, btw.) And if that's the case, you can definitely still fill out this form and get your free swagBut if you haven't bought it already, you must pre-order your copy before 11:59 pm (pacific time) on 11/2/15 AND fill out the form before then. After that I'll close the form and there will be no more ways to enter.

And there's no limit on how many swag packs you can get--as long as you buy the corresponding number of books. So if you buy five books, you can get five swag packs. Just make sure you tell me how many copies you bought so that I know how many swag packs to send you.

Also: since I'm leaving for tour before this contest even ends, there *will* be a delay on when your swag gets mailed to you. But I PROMISE I'll have them all in the mail before November 30th. (most likely much sooner). Sorry for the small wait, I can't mail stuff while I'm traveling.

(And by the way--if you haven't checked to see if I'm touring in your area, see my events page HERE. I hope I'll get to meet at least some of you!)

One final thing to keep in mind--since this is the point where many of you start panicking and emailing me saying BUT WHAT IF I'M NOT ONE OF THE LUCKY 20 WINNERS??????  I REALLY REALLY REALLY WANT THE SPECIAL POSTCARD AND ALICORN BUTTON!!!!!! And in the past, I haven't had much I could tell you except, "sorry, it's all up to chance." But this year, the awesome people at Changing Hands Bookstore have helped me come up with a solution. 

So here's the deal: if you really really really want the extra postcard and the alicorn button (plus the other swag)--and can't make it to my launch party on 10/30 (or my Changing Hands event on 11/10)--there IS a way to guarantee you'll get them. If you buy your copy of NEVERSEEN through Changing Hands, they'll send you all the swag I've mentioned in this post, except the signed book plate, since your book will actually come hand signed by me. Changing Hands will ship anywhere--even internationally (there IS a shipping fee. You can call them for an estimate). And here's the important part--and it's a little confusing so make sure you read it carefully: If you decide to buy your copy of NEVERSEEN through Changing Hands in order to get the special goodies, you should NOT fill out the form below. Go to Changing Hands website HERE (or call them--they're super friendly) and order NEVERSEEN before 7pm (pacific time) on Tuesday, November 10th (yes, you also get a few extra days. They'll take orders until my event). And that's it. That's all you have to do. Changing Hands will take care of the rest and when your book arrives--voila! Awesome swag!  Another advantage to this: this is the only way to have your book personalized to you. I know I used to personalize all the bookplates, but that's gotten WAY too time consuming. So if you want a personalized, signed book--AND all the fun goodies I'm giving away--Changing Hands is the only way to go. But again, you HAVE to buy your book from them.

Um........... I *think* that covers everything--but if I missed something, feel free to ask in the comments. (note: I will only answer questions posted in the comments on my website. If you're reading this on Goodreads or any of the other places it feeds out to, make sure you go to shannonmessenger.com to ask your questions)

And .... I guess that's it. Though I do want to once again thank all of you for incredible support. It has been absolutely AMAZING watching this series grow, and it wouldn't be happening if you weren't  telling your teachers and friends, and posting your edits on instagram, and sending me your fan art, and all of the other amazing things you guys do. Keep it up--its working!

Only three weeks left until NEVERSEEN--EEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Okay, here's the form you need to enter, and if for some reason it doesn't load, click HERE to find it)

*Please note: you must be 13 years or older to fill out this form. If you're not, please have your parent or guardian fill it out for you

Loading... Read the rest of this post

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6. KidLit Author/Illustrator Events Oct. 13-20

There’s lots going on this week, but I particularly hope you can all come to Blue Willow Bookshop on Saturday for local librarian Sara K. Joiner‘s launch of her debut middle grade novel, AFTER THE ASHES. See you there!

As always, please check the sponsoring bookstore or organization’s website for the most up-to-date information! Here’s what’s going on:

OCTOBER 13, 20, 27, and NOVEMBER 3, TUESDAYS, 7:00-9:00 PMWritespace
How to Make the Most of a Moment: A Fiction Workshop, with Marian Szczepanski
COST: $95 – $125

Everyone loves a car chase. Or avalanche. Or any rapid-fire action that causes readers to turn pages at warp speed. But sometimes fiction needs to get out of the express lane and allow readers to dwell in—and savor—the moment.

Pace matters when it comes to fully engaging a reader. As the driver of the car that is your story or novel, you decide when it’s time to take a deep breath and slow down. Decelerating from the speed of light to a leisurely stroll, however, shouldn’t cause your narrative to stall. Quite the opposite. If handled correctly, moments of reflection, remembrance, decision-making, and flat-out awe can fuel your plot with greater complexity, enhance your characters with greater depth, and increase overall tension.

Blue Willow Bookshop
Lincoln Peirce, MG Author/Illustrator

Cartoonist/writer and New York Times bestselling author Lincoln Peirce will discuss and sign his new book for kids, BIG NATE: WELCOME TO MY WORLD  . Aspiring cartoonist Nate Wright is eleven years old, four-and-a-half feet tall, and the all-time record holder for detentions in school history. He’s a self-described genius and sixth-grade Renaissance Man who lives with his dad and older sister and enjoys pestering his family and teachers with his sarcasm.

In order to go through the signing line and meet Lincoln Peirce for book personalization, please purchase BIG NATE: WELCOME TO MY WORLD from Blue Willow Bookshop. At the time of your purchase, Blue Willow Bookshop will issue a signing line ticket that indicates your place in line. Your book and signing line ticket can be picked up at the event.

Houston YA MG Writers at Writespace

YA/MG meetings are held the third Saturday of the month at Writespace. Join us for discussions of writing craft and the business of publishing books for young readers. This month’s topic is TBA.

Blue Willow Bookshop
Sara Joiner, MG Author

Local author Sara Joiner will discuss and sign her debut book for kids, AFTER THE ASHES. In 1883, on the island of Java in the Dutch East Indies, thirteen-year-old Katrien Courtland is determined to prove Darwin’s theory of natural selection. When Krakatau suddenly erupts, Katrien knows her only hope of survival is to flee the jungle with the one person she vowed never to befriend.

In order to go through the signing line and meet Sara Joiner for book personalization, please purchase AFTER THE ASHES from Blue Willow Bookshop. At the time of your purchase, Blue Willow Bookshop will issue a signing line ticket that indicates your place in line. Your book and signing line ticket can be picked up at the event.

Johnston Middle School, 10410 Manhattan Drive, Houston
Stefan Pastis, Cartoonist

Inprint Cool Brains! Presents bestselling author and syndicated cartoonist Stefan Pastis. Mr. Pastis will share his fourth book in the popular TIMMY FAILURE series, TIMMY FAILURE: SANITIZED FOR YOUR PROTECTION, for ages 8 -12. After his presentation, he will take questions from the audience, followed by a book sale and signing*, giving fans a chance to visit with him. Books will be available for sale at the event through Blue Willow Bookshop.

OCTOBER 19, SATURDAY, 12:00am-11:59PM
Read Across the Globe
Volunteer Opportunities Available

READ ACROSS THE GLOBEJoin The Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation, Deloitte LLP, Points of Light, Volunteer Houston, and The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo  and more as they team up to break the Guinness World Record for the number of children read to within a 24-hour period. The current world record is 238,000 children, and this year’s goal is to smash it by reading to 300,000 children across the globe!

OCTOBER 20, TUESDAY, 7:30 PMRWA-Logo-200
Bay Area RWA
Kirkmont MUD Building, 10102 Blackhawk Road
Dawn Temple: Writing Contests: Giving, Getting and Appreciating Good Advice

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7. Bread News

bread cartoon by monica gupta

bread cartoon by monica gupta

Bread News

Bread News ya Bad News

Thank God !!! कल जब सुधीन्द्र कुलकर्णी जी की स्याही पोतने वाली खबर आनी शुरु हुई तो राहत की सांस ली कि चलो भई, न्यूज चैनल वालो का ध्यान तो हटा बीफ़ टाईप खबरों से … क्योकि अब नवरात्रि शुरु हो गए हैं और इस तरह की खबरों से जी खराब हो जाता है. आज सुबह गर्मा गर्म चाय और ब्राउन ब्रैड नाश्ते में लेते हुए टीवी पर खबरे चला ली और खाते खाते देख कर सोच रही थी कि आज तो सारी pure veg.यानि शुद्द शाकाहारी न्यूज ही होंगी.

वैसे ब्रेड की कितनी तरह की हो गई है ना . पहले ब्रैड मतलब ब्रैड होता था पर आज मल्टी ग्रेन ब्रैड, आटा ब्रैड  , गार्लिक ब्रैड, वाईट ब्रैड, सैंडविच ब्रैड, और चाय का भी यही हाल है. ब्लैक टी, लैमन टी, ग्रीन टी, हर्बल टी, पोदीना टी, जैसमीन टी, और आधा कप टी ह हा हा !!! मैं सोच ही रही थी कि  तभी अचानक एक खबर ने फिर होश उडा दिए. खबर है कि ब्राउन ब्रैड में जिंदा चूहा मिला और दिल्ली के एम्स अस्पताल मे उस ब्रैड पर तीन साल का प्रतिबंध लगा दिया है. हे भगवान !! फिर से non veg खबरें !!आज से ब्राऊन ब्रैड क्या सभी किस्म की ब्रैड खानी बंद !!!


AIIMS bars breadmaker for 3 years after live rodent found inside sealed packet : Mail Today, News – India Today

Imagine you’ve opened the sealed packet containing your favourite brown bread and a rat jumps out. Too bizarre to be true? That is just what happened at country’s premiere All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), where thousands of patients get admitted for treatment daily. A live rat was found inside the sealed packet of Brown-Hi Fibre bread manufactured by M/s Bonn Nutrients. The medical institute has now banned the bread maker for three years.

Bonn Nutrients produces a variety of food products including breads, biscuits, cakes and cookies that are not only sold in India but in international market as well. Mail Today tried to contact the bread division manager of the company, but there was no response to our query sent via e-mail.

The Bonn sliced bread is served to patients admitted in various wards of the hospital, including patients who have undergone surgery and those suffering from severe infections. According to doctors, consumption of rodent-infected food could normally lead to allergy, fever, diarrhea, and even cause blood infection and meningitis.

AIIMS Medical Superintendent (MS) denied having any information about the incident. However, a senior doctor claimed the incident indeed took place and the bread packet with the rat inside it was noticed by alert AIIMS staff.

On September 24, the medical institute issued a notice in which it mentioned the incident and barred Bonn Nutrients from supplying any orders for a period of three years. Mail Today has a copy of the notice served to the manufacturer.

“A live rat was found on 29.07.2015 in the sealed packet of Brown-Hi Fibre Bread Slice manufactured by M/s Bonn Nutrients Pvt. Ltd and the company has failed to submit satisfactory reply to the showcause notice dated 09.09.2015,” the notice says.

“The company has also failed in keeping ‘Good Manufacturing Practice’. The quality wing of the company has failed in detecting such incident before the supplies are packed in cartons,” says the notice issued by AIIMS. Via indiatoday.intoday.in

वैसे ऐसा कैसा हो गया ?? बेहद हैरानी का विषय है !!!

The post Bread News appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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8. Joy Laforme

Raspberry+PickinJoy Laforme is a textile artist and illustrator based out of New Jersey. Her work is heavily influenced by spending time in the garden with her mother, as well as her mother’s love for American folk art. This sentiment certainly shines through in her whimsical body of work. Each piece in her portfolio is warm with nostalgia and feels like walking through a lush wonderland of botanicals, fruits and birdsongs. Joy uses a combination of media including gouache, acrylics and digital illustration. She has worked for many clients including Macy’s, Galison, Artfully Walls, Oopsy Daisy and Target. 
Conversational+-+Watering+Cans 8-HoneyBee-Garden-Lavender 1-Main

You can connect with Joy via Instagram, Twitter or Pinterest.

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9. The Multicultural Children’s Book Day Review Blogger Sign-up is OPEN!


Review Bloggers! We Need YOU! MCCBD 2016 Review Blogger Sign-up is OPEN!
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Our 2015 event was wildly successful and thanks to 9 co-hosts and 2 Co-founders, the event generated 26 million social media shares over a span of 7 days during the Multicultural Children’s Book Day celebration. In 2016, we expect far more of a reach, response and success… and here’s why:

• For MCCBD 2016, we have a very special Classroom Reading Challenge planned that will target and engaged 200 classrooms in reading diverse books. (more details to come!)
• We are adding more Co-Hosts who will bring with them a significantly enhanced social media reach.
• We have hired Susan Raab of Raab Associates to do our PR for six weeks leading up to January 27th, Multicultural Children’s Book Day

With the 2015 event, we had 175+ blogs participating and each blogger was matched with an author or publisher. These bloggers received a multicultural children’s book to review on their blog. They day of the event (1/27/2015) everyone linked up their blog post on a Linky on the MCCBD site to create a giant reading resource for parents, teachers and librarians.

We expect the number of participating review bloggers to grow this year. We can’t predict and exact number, but we won’t be surprised if we get 300 to 400 bloggers this year! Not sure how it all works? Go HERE and get the scoop.

Please note-Our Author Sponsorships are a very affordable $65 and sign-up is as simple as going HERE and choosing the Author Sponsor option. Again, it’s a very effective way for author’s to get recognition and raise awareness for their diverse children’s books.

Please direct questions and inquires to Project Manager Becky Flansburg at Becky@AudreyPress.com

That being said, we are excited to announce that the sign-up for review bloggers for MCCBD 2016 is OPEN!

***Review Bloggers-Sign up below! (Sign-up is open until December 31, 2015. There are no guarantees everyone will be matched with a book donator)


The post The Multicultural Children’s Book Day Review Blogger Sign-up is OPEN! appeared first on Jump Into A Book.

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I don't often get a chance to read a book before my librarian friends hit it. True fact: they are some voracious people with a book. I saw a couple reviews for this going by in my blog and Twitter feeds, and did my best to not see them until I had... Read the rest of this post

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11. Arabia: ancient history for troubled times

In antiquity, ‘Arabia’ covered a vast area, running from Yemen and Oman to the deserts of Syria and Iraq. Today, much of this region is gripped in political and religious turmoil that shows no signs of abating.

The post Arabia: ancient history for troubled times appeared first on OUPblog.

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12. A Chekhovian view of privacy for the internet age

Defining “privacy” has proven akin to a search for the philosopher’s stone. None of the numerous theories proposed over the years seems to encompass all the varied facets of the concept. In considering the meaning of privacy, it can be fruitful to examine how a great artist of the past has dealt with aspects of private life that retain their relevance in the Internet age.

The post A Chekhovian view of privacy for the internet age appeared first on OUPblog.

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13. Deutscher Buchpreis

       The imitation-Man Booker German Book Prize has established itself as the most prestigious German ... uh, book prize (though its €25,000 prize isn't even the richest German book prize whose winner was named in the last week -- that would be the Wilhelm Raabe-Literaturpreis, which announced last week that Clemens J. Setz will get their €30,000-payday (albeit only 1 November, at the official ceremony)) and they've now announced that Die Erfindung der Roten Armee Fraktion durch einen manisch-depressiven Teenager im Sommer 1969, by Frank Witzel, takes this year's prize.
       I just got my (print) copy a few days ago, and I have to say it looks damn good (and massive -- 800+pp) -- lots of playful variety (including chapters in dialogue, a Marat/Sade-variation, a chapter in the form of a questionnaire -- and a fourteen-page index), which all looks like it's right up my alley. It was already high on the get-to list, but it's moved even higher now.
       See also the Matthes & Seitz publicity page.

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14. Should we ‘consent’ to oral history?

All of those presidential candidates who promise to change the world on “my first day in office” have a lot to learn about the federal government’s glacial pace. The government does tend to do the right thing, so long as you have the patience to wait a few years (or decades).

The post Should we ‘consent’ to oral history? appeared first on OUPblog.

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15. Spotlight and Giveaway: Nowhere to Hide by Lindsay McKenna

Enter to Win a
$100.00 VISA eGift Card

Lindsay McKenna
Releasing Oct 13th, 2015
Blue Turtle Publishing

Lia Cassidy left the Army scarred physically and emotionally after a vicious attack by two fellow soldiers. She turns to helping others, working at a Delos Home School Charity in Costa Rica that provides schooling for children. But when the deadly drug lord, La Arana, attacks the school, Lia finds herself on the run for her life. The only person she can trust is the ex-SEAL sent to protect her.

Cav Jordan is strong, honorable and gorgeous…and intrigued by Lia. He knows she has suffered pain in her past, and he is determined to break through her barriers and earn her trust. But as Cav slowly chips away at the walls Lia has built, ghosts from her past threaten to destroy their fragile relationship.

Amazon | B&N | iTunes | Kobo

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Lindsay McKenna lives her life as a risk taker, and it shines through the books she loves to write: romance, adventure and suspense. She started writing at age thirteen and continues to hone her writing skills to this day. She sold her first romance novel in 1981. The rest is history.
Because she went into the military, this experience became the backbone of her writing—she is credited with writing the first military romance novel (Captive of Fate, 1983, Silhouette Special Edition) and has created a thriving sub-genre within the romance field! As a New York Times Best Selling author, she has sold 23 million books and in 32 foreign languages in her career thus far. Her many experiences in the U.S. Navy are backdrop for her understanding of the military in general, and also her very successful Morgan’s Mercenaries, which is an ongoing series in Silhouette to this day! Forty-five books strong!
Lindsay has gone Indie in 2015 and has created a new family saga on par with Morgan’s Mercenaries It is known as the DELOS SERIES. There will be paperback and eBooks created under Blue Turtle Publishing, her company for her fans. Readers who love Morgan and his family are bound to fall in love with the Culver family. Delos is romantic suspense, which Lindsay is well known for. It took her five years to create and bring DELOS to her readers. It was worth the wait, but we’ll let you decide that.

Lindsay loves to hear from her readers and loves to know what they’d like to see her write next. Stay up with the latest on the Delos Series here. Please visit her Web site at www.lindsaymckenna.com. And be sure to sign up for her free quarterly newsletter. It contains exclusive content found nowhere else on the Net. Plus, giveaways and other surprises, to her loyal and faithful subscribers!

Grab a FREE Ebook copy of 
The Prequel Novella to NOWHERE TO HIDE

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16. Teen Programming: Building Teen Futures with Community Partnerships

In our last Teen Programming post, we outlined the importance of outreach and how to integrate it into your programming arsenal. Since “outreach” can translate to a wide range of ideas and actions, narrowing it down will help you take your next step towards effective methods of community engagement. This is where partnerships come in! This, however, opens a whole new can of worms. How does one establish positive community partnerships? How do you ensure that your goals aren’t lost in translation? How do I secure beneficial opportunities for teens through partnerships?

When I first began working in my position, I was immediately overwhelmed by the need my community has for the library and its community organizations. During my first few months, I had grand plans to “do it all” and open up so many more opportunity and learning experiences for my community’s teens. What actually happened was that I got burned out and became discouraged. I realized very quickly that I was not going to be able to accomplish many of my goals alone. I needed support from others who were positioned in the community to help me achieve what needed to be done.

So let’s break it down. YALSA’s Future of Library Services report states that today’s teens need libraries to connect them to other community agencies, but how do you establish these connections? Network, network, network! This may sound simple, but community leaders need to know who you are. Start by attending committee and board meetings to get a sense of the issues and climate of your community. PTO (Parent Teacher Organization) meetings are another community body that is important to engage with as they are directly connected to the teens that your services will affect. Are there task forces or coalitions that are specifically directed at alleviating a specific need? Don’t be hesitant to insert yourself into the community conversation because you have your library’s resources to back you up. As a library representative in the community, you are an integral voice in the larger network of organizations that are committed to improving the lives of teens. Pinpoint individuals whose resources are in line with your goals and begin a dialogue with them.

When starting this dialogue, how do you make sure that your goals don’t get lost in translation? Communication is so important when you are making efforts to partner with an outside agency. Before any communication begins, make sure that you have your goals and plans clearly defined. What is it that you want to accomplish? What role do you see this partnering organization offering? Additionally, offer your resources and begin a dialogue about how this partnership would benefit both organizations mutually.

How do you make sure that your partnerships bring beneficial opportunities to teens? Last month we discussed ways to discover your community through outreach. During this discovery process, locate areas that your community needs more from your library. Is there a group that’s being under-served? Who can help you bridge that gap? A few months ago, I recognized a gap in the services that we were offering. At the time, we had reached out to just about every group of teens to make sure that our programs and services were reaching our diverse teens’ needs. However, we hadn’t reached out to teen survivors of domestic violence. I made a connection with the director of a local organization that acts as a transitional agency for teens and families who are leaving abusive situations. They offer temporary housing, counseling, and resources to help them take control of their futures and I wanted the library to be a part of this transition. My goal in partnering with this organization was to bring enriching programs to the teens at this facility, as they might not have access to these opportunities during this transitional period of their lives. Upon meeting with the director, my goals were clearly defined and I listened as she described how our organization could benefit these teens. We agreed upon a plan and programs were implemented at their location. We also offered books from our collection that we had discarded. We wanted to give the teens that she serves the opportunity to continue reading since many of them were temporarily not in school. This partnership was a simple way of offering integral library services to a new demographic while still connecting to the larger community.

Ultimately, libraries must work with partners to alleviate their community’s needs. Start small, make connections, and be diligent about following through. YALSA’s Futures Report pinpoints the shift that libraries are experiencing in the 21st century. We have gone from quiet, solitary locations that provided relatively uniform services to spaces, both physical and virtual, that offer a broad range of resources that empower teens and grow their skills, interests, and goals. Partnerships are integral to meeting this standard because they allow us to continue to broaden the services we offer, bridge gaps in your community, and build a better future for teens.

What are your partnership success stories? How do you bridge the gap in your community with partnerships?

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17. AJL Reads! A Virtual Jewish Book Discussion

Please join the Association of Jewish Libraries for a book discussion about the adventurous Jewish historical novel THE WAYWARD MOON by Janice Weizman on Sunday, October 18, 2015at 9pm Eastern/8pm Central/6pm Pacific Time via call-in show. We'll discuss the book by phone, and record the discussion for those who miss it.

Call (724) 444-7444 and enter the Call ID 139461to participate! The discussion will last approximately one hour.

This is Association of Jewish Libraries' first experiment with a virtual book discussion event. Please spread the word and please join us on Sunday to make it a success! Don’t worry if you haven’t read the book yet – the discussion will be a good introduction that will make you eager to read it afterwards.

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18. Coloring Page Tuesday - Ghost With a Pumpkin

     Halloween is coming! Even here in Edinburgh, window displays are filled with orange pumpkins, fall leaves, and reminders of harvest and the changing season. I love this time of year! Although they aren't as big into the pumpkin carving as we are in the US (which I hope to introduce to at least a few friends).
     CLICK HERE for more Halloween-themed coloring pages!
     CLICK HERE to sign up to receive alerts when a new coloring page is posted each week and... Please check out my books! Especially...
my debut novel, A BIRD ON WATER STREET - winner of six literary awards. Click the cover to learn more!
     When the birds return to Water Street, will anyone be left to hear them sing? A miner's strike allows green and growing things to return to the Red Hills, but that same strike may force residents to seek new homes and livelihoods elsewhere. Follow the story of Jack Hicks as he struggles to hold onto everything he loves most.
     I create my coloring pages for teachers, librarians, booksellers, and parents to enjoy for free with their children, but you can also purchase rights to an image for commercial use, please contact me. If you have questions about usage, please visit my Angel Policy page.

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19. HOW TO SWALLOW A PIG-a new book by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page

I love Steve Jenkins and Robin Page so I didn't really even have to open this new book (How to Swallow A Pig: Step By Step Advice from the Animal Kingdom) by this pair before I decided we needed it for our classroom.  I don't have one book by Jenkins that I don't find fascinating (and I think I have them all!).  He is not only brilliant in the way that he shares information so that kids understand it but his organization and design for each book is amazing to me. I remember reading his book Down, Down, Down: A Story to the Bottom of the Sea and being intrigued by how he got the idea to focus and organize a book by going further and further below sea level to see what was there.

I am just as intrigued with this book. It's actually a How-To book which I find rather amusing.  Each two-page spread teaches the reader how to do something that animals can do.  The introduction to the book is great. Jenkins says, "So, you want to learn how to swallow a pig. You've come to the right place. Follow these step-by-step instructions, and soon you'll acquire the dining skills of a large snake..."  He goes on to tell readers that there are other great skills to learn too.

Each 2 page spread focuses on a skill that readers can learn-For example, "Crack a Nut Like a Crow" and "Spin a Web Like a Spider" are two of my favorites.  Jenkins takes a step by step look at how these things are accomplished and breaks them down into a set of how-to directions.  Such a creative way to share this information.

I learned a great deal reading this book I think kids will enjoy the format (and as always, the art too!).  It is a book that can be read from cover to cover. But it is also one that can be used in pieces--each two-page spread stands alone so each can be studied and discussed separately too. A good one for nonfiction book talks I think!

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20. The Otter, the Spotted Frog and the Great Flood Book Review & Extension Activity

Over the years my family has enjoyed reading a variety of “great flood” tales from our local Blount County Library. This month found us enjoying the Creek Indian version called, The Otter, the Spotted Frog and the Great Flood by Gerald Hausman and beautifully illustrated by Ramon Shiloh.

The Otter the Spotted Frog and the Great Flood

In this version, spotted frog announces to the world that a great flood is coming which will destroy all of their homes. All of the animals ignore spotted frog’s warning, except an otter named Listener.

Ridiculed by all the other animals, Listener heeds spotted Frog’s warnings and begins to build a raft to try and survive the coming flood.

Wisdom Tales

As the story progresses and Listener survives the flood, he learns via a mosquito and a fish about his future wife who becomes “First Woman”.

Listener the Otter, and First Woman the mosquito turned fish, both become the first two-legged beings to walk on earth.

From that time on, the earth was good to them and they always listened to Spotted Frog, who everyone knew was the frog who saved the world by singing.

Our family and friends alike have greatly loved this book. First because the story is told brilliantly by Gerald Hausman. It uses simple and concise language while sharing the story in a simple manner. Also part of this storytelling adventure are the exquisite paintings and illustrations of Ramon Shiloh. There is a nice even flow between story and text forming a single cohesive unit of storytelling magic.

wisdom tales

This beautiful book is one we will come to again and again.

Something To Do

Discover the Creek Indians

Knowing very little about the Creek Indians we decided to spend some time on the internet to learn more about them. The Creek Indian Nation is named after the Ocmulgee Creek in Georgia. They originally called themselves Isti or Istichata, but began to identify themselves as Muskogee soon after Europeans arrived.

The Creeks live in the Georgia, Alabama and Florida and are part of the Seminole people. To learn more about them and their culture have a look at these websites.

Native American Facts for Kids

Want to know more Creek Stories and Myths have a look here.

Just like Otter we thought building a raft was a really good idea. We got our inspiration here.

duct tape raft  duct tape raft 2

Duct tape raft 3

We are VERY proud to announce that, for the 3rd year, Wisdom Tales Press is a Platinum Sponsor for the upcoming Multicultural Children’s Book Day!! We are incredibly honored to have them (and our other sponsors-more details to come!) on board to help us spread the word on the importance of getting multicultural books into the hands of young readers. More details on MCCBD 2016 sponsorship can be found HERE.

Wisdom Tales Press

***Some of these links are affiliate links. I was given a copy of this book for review. The opinions expressed are purely my own.

Follow me on Pinterest!
Follow Valarie Budayr @Jump into a Book’s board Jump Into a Book Kidlit Booklists on Pinterest. Follow Valarie Budayr @Jump into a Book’s board A Year In The Secret Garden on Pinterest.

Do your young readers love nature and all of nature’s critters? Experience the magical story of a family of foxes that took up residence right in the front yard of the author and publisher, Valarie Budayr. The Fox Diaries: The Year the Foxes Came to our Garden offers an enthusiastically educational opportunity to observe this fox family grow and learn together.

The Fox Diaries

From digging and hunting to playing and resting, this diary shares a rare glimpse into the private lives of Momma Rennie and her babies. Come watch as they navigate this wildly dangerous but still wonderful world. Great to share with your children or students, The Fox Diaries speaks to the importance of growing and learning both individually and as a family unit. It is a perfect book for story time or family sharing. Not only can you read about the daily rituals of this marvelous fox family, there is an information-packed resource section at the end of the book that includes lots of facts and even a few “fox movies” that you can enjoy with your family. Grab your copy of this beautiful and inspiring book HERE.

The post The Otter, the Spotted Frog and the Great Flood Book Review & Extension Activity appeared first on Jump Into A Book.

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21. Cos-players: THIS is why I love Them!

Man, they get better and better....Hulk a bit of a let down though...?

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22. My tweets

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23. A session life for me: Studio musicians and London’s popular music industry in the 1960s

The popular music industries of the 1960s produced thousands of recordings with each studio relying on an infrastructure of producers, engineers, music directors, songwriters, and, of course, musicians. In recent years, documentaries have introduced us to instrumentalists and singers who formed the artistic backbones of America’s major studios.

The post A session life for me: Studio musicians and London’s popular music industry in the 1960s appeared first on OUPblog.

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24. Happy Book Birthday to The Rose Society by Marie Lu!

An off-schedule post yet again as we celebrate the book birthday of one of our distinguished alumni, Marie Lu! The memory of our distinguished alums still echo in our hallowed halls, and it’s only right to raise a toast to their new releases!

The Rose Society

The Rose Society

Once upon a time, a girl had a father, a prince, a society of friends. Then they betrayed her, and she destroyed them all.

Adelina Amouteru’s heart has suffered at the hands of both family and friends, turning her down the bitter path of revenge. Now known and feared as the White Wolf, she and her sister flee Kenettra to find other Young Elites in the hopes of building her own army of allies. Her goal: to strike down the Inquisition Axis, the white-cloaked soldiers who nearly killed her.

But Adelina is no heroine. Her powers, fed only by fear and hate, have started to grow beyond her control. She does not trust her newfound Elite friends. Teren Santoro, leader of the Inquisition, wants her dead. And her former friends, Raffaele and the Dagger Society, want to stop her thirst for vengeance. Adelina struggles to cling to the good within her. But how can someone be good, when her very existence depends on darkness?

Happiest of book birthdays to Marie Lu’s The Rose Society! If you love immersive high fantasy, morally grey protagonists, villain stories, then you’ll definitely have something to love in Marie’s work. But don’t just take our word for it: check out these great reviews!

★ A tightly woven tapestry of a story that ensnares even as it disturbs.

Booklist, starred review

★ Lu constructs a fascinating triangle of opposing forces seeking power, and the ensuing twists and epic battles leave many dead, broken, or forever changed.

Publishers Weekly, starred review

Original and sobering, Adelina is an antihero of nigh-unremitting darkness: an unusual young woman in the mold of such archetypes as Lucifer, Macbeth, and Darth Vader.

Kirkus Reviews

Teens will be fascinated to watch the main character descend into villainy and revel in it.

School Library Journal

Doesn’t this sound AMAZING? We think it’s pretty fitting Marie wrote a villain book, as she wrote a lot about villains for us here at PubCrawl. :)

Buy a copy here today! And to celebrate, we are giving away ONE HARDCOVER COPY OF THE ROSE SOCIETY TO ONE LUCKY WINNER! (Sorry, US only!)

Comment with your favourite villain, tweet, add to your Goodreads page! Giveaway ends October 20, 2015.

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25. Happy Halloween, Witch's Cat by Harriet Muncaster

Last year I reviewed Harriet Muncaster's enchanting picture book, http://www.books4yourkids.com/2014/10/i-am-witchs-cat-by-harriet-muncaster.html"target="_blank">I Am a Witch's Cat
, in which our narrator has a unique perspective on her world, one that allows her to see everything as a magical experience. Equally magical are Muncaster's illustrations, which are 3D sets made from paper and other materials that she photographs. The combination of the story and the illustrations is perfect! 

In Happy Halloween, Witch's Cat! the narrator tells us that Halloween is coming.

Preparations are made. A costume needs to be chosen! At the costume store, the little Witch's Cat tries on lots of costumes but something is always wrong - too slimy, too frilly, too tangly. Nothing feels right so they head home for supper then prepare for the Halloween party that night. Just in time, the narrator has the perfect idea - she will be a witch and her mom will be a special witch's cat!

The story in Happy Halloween, Witch's Cat! is a simple one, but there is so much going on in the detailed illustrations, readers will pore over every page.

Be sure to visit Harriet Muncaster's blog, Victoria Stitch where she shares the creation process, from sketches to set building, along with Celestine, a fairy doll that Muncaster has been dressing, creating props for and taking pictures of all over the world for at least the last three years!

Source: Review Copy

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