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1. Author Guest Post with Cornelia Funke


When I wrote my first book about MirrorWorld I thought it would be one journey. I should have known better! I thought the same about Inkworld – to find myself still writing that story six years later. To realize that these two worlds are indeed the same, just 500 years apart, bound by a book with silver covers, took me a few years too.


Which teaches one thing: stories don’t reveal their secrets easily. They are labyrinths that lure us in with a whisper to then distract and fool us, to lie and trap the writer who tries to find their heart. And the better we get in our craft the bigger the labyrinth grows!


I was in Moscow when I realized how big a labyrinth I had stumbled into through a mirror. I stood on the Red Square looking at St. Basil and its otherworldly towers when I suddenly got a glimpse at the Mirrors’ maker – and his involvement with this world. I rushed back to my hotel to write it all down. And then I lay in the dark, with Moscow’s golden roofs outside of my hotel window and thought: ‘Heavens! This will be a fairy tale journey around the world!’


When I wrote Book 1 – Reckless, as it is called in the US (I’ll soon re‐publish it under the original title Reckless: The Petrified Flesh) I was still on familiar ground. I wrote about a world inspired by the tales of my German childhood. Most of us associate the Grimms’ tales when we hear ‘Fairy Tale’. I decided to play with their motives in a world closely resembling ours around 1860, a time, when the modern times were born, with no chance of going back. But how would it change the world if there is old and new magic (as they call science behind the Mirrors)? What if all Fairy Tales were historical truth, preserving a long forgotten past?


The next step was to take the local origins of the tales seriously. No trolls outside Scandinavia, except emigrants. What are Heinzelmen called in France? Follets. And Hobs in Albion.

You see? I was lost behind the Mirrors as soon as I stepped through them!


The second book – Fearless in the US, Reckless: Living Shadows in most other countries – brought me to France. Where I met Bluebeards and learned a few things about giants, mal de mer and puss in boots. Those tales are still quite familiar to us, but the Golden Yarn‐ my third journey behind the Mirrors – led to lesser known tales. My heroes head East, to find creatures and treasures from Russian and Ukrainian tales, from Siberia and Kazakhstan. The tales I discovered for this book were mostly not familiar. They tasted of far away landscapes, of a Shaman tradition almost forgotten, they had powerful women characters in them, who probably once were goddesses….


The Golden Yarn is my most exciting adventure behind the Mirrors so far. But the next one is taking shape already in equally exciting ways. I am currently reading fairy tales from Japan and India, which make me feel as if I know nothing about this world!


I plan to travel to the Americas in Book 5 and to Africa in Book 6, but let’s see. Only the story knows where this will go. It enchants me with every step I take and every tale I read. It feels like exactly the right journey in a time when we realize every day how little we know about each other and how dangerous this ignorance and lack of understanding is.







The Golden Yarn
  1. By: Cornelia Funke

  2. About: Jacob Reckless continues to travel the portal in his father's abandoned study. His name has continued to be famous on the other side of the mirror, as a finder of enchanted items and buried secrets. His family and friends, from his brother, Will to the shape-shifting vixen, Fox, are on a collision course as the two worlds become connected. Who is driving these two worlds together and why is he always a step ahead?

    This new force isn’t limiting its influence to just Jacob’s efforts – it has broadened the horizon within MirrorWorld. Jacob, Will and Fox travel east and into the Russian folklore, to the land of the Baba Yaga, pursued by a new type of being that knows our world all too well.
  4. Release Date: December 1, 2015




One winner will receive a copy of The Golden Yarn, US only.


Entering is simple, just fill out the entry form below. During this giveaway, Cornelia Funke has a question for you to answer in the comments below for more chances to win his book! What folklore inspired the writing of this latest book in the MirrorWorld series?


*Click the Rafflecopter link to enter the giveaway*

a Rafflecopter giveaway





Cornelia Funke is a multiple award-winning German author, best known for writing the Inkworld trilogy as well as The Thief Lord. The Inkworld books, which have won the 2003 Mildred L. Batchelder Award as well as the 2004 and 2006 BookSense Book of the Year Children's Literature Awards, have gained incredible attention and Funke has been dubbed the "German J.K. Rowling” This November, she will launch her own publishing company, Breathing Books. She lives in Los Angeles, California.  

Learn more Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Pre-order


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2. Featured Trailer: The Tiara On The Terrace by Kristen Kittscher + Giveaway (US Only)

Happy December, YABCers!

Today we're super excited to celebrate the trailer for THE TIARA ON THE TERRACE by Kristen Kittscher, releasing January 5, 2016 from HarperCollins. Before we get to the cover, here's a note from Kristen:

When this hilarious secret footage for a marketing meeting for The Tiara on the Terrace leaked, Vroman’s bookseller Josh Crute helped me gather the lemons and make lemonade! Or should I say cake? (You’ll see…)
But in all seriousness: I am so excited to share this little digital short with you – and even more excited to sharing Young & Yang’s spy hijinks in The Tiara on the Terrace on January 5. I’m so proud of this book! 

~ Kristen Kittscher (THE TIARA ON THE TERRACE, HarperCollins)


Ready to watch?

Scroll, YABCers! Scroll!


































Here it is!











by Kristen Kittscher
Release date: January 5, 2016
Publisher: HarperCollins
ISBN: 9780062228000
About the Book


In this funny, clever novel, perfect for fans of Pseudonymous Bosch and Gordon Korman and a companion to The Wig in the Window, tween sleuths Sophie Young and Grace Yang go undercover at Luna Vista's Winter Sun Festival to catch a murderer before he—or she—strikes again.

Sophie Young and Grace Yang have been taking it easy ever since they solved the biggest crime Luna Vista had ever seen. But things might get interesting again now that everyone is gearing up for the 125th annual Winter Sun Festival—a town tradition that involves floats, a parade, and a Royal Court made up of local high school girls.

When Festival president Jim Steptoe turns up dead on the first day of parade preparations, the police blame a malfunctioning giant s'more feature on the campfire-themed float. But the two sleuths are convinced the mysterious death wasn't an accident.

Young and Yang must trade their high tops for high heels and infiltrate the Royal Court to solve the case. But if they fail, they might just be the next victims.
To learn more about this book and see our review, go HERE.

b2ap3_thumbnail_KristenKittscherJacketPhoto-1.jpgAbout the Author

KRISTEN KITTSCHER is the author of bestselling tween mystery The Wig in the Window (Harper Children’s, 2013) which garnered a starred review from School Library Journal and was on ten Best of the Year lists. A graduate of Brown University and a former middle school Enligh teacher, Kristen was named the James Thurber House Children’s Writer-in-Residence in 2014. She presents frequently at schools, libraries, and festivals and is active in promoting community literacy initiatives in Southern California, where she lives with her husband, Kai. When Kristen is not reading, writing, or teaching, you’ll find her spending time with friends or hiking in the foothills near Pasadena with her dog, Mabel. Visit kristenkittscher.comto investigate more about her and Young & Yang's next adventure, The Tiara on the Terrace or follow her on Facebook and Twitter (@kkittscher).


Twitter | Web | Goodreads | Facebook | Instagram


Giveaway Details

One winner will receive a copy of THE TIARA ON THE TERRACE. 

Entering is simple, just fill out the entry form below. Winners will be announced on this site and in our monthly newsletter (sign up now!) within 30 days after the giveaway ends.

During each giveaway, we ask entrants a question pertaining to the book. Here is the question they'll be answering in the comments below for extra entries:

What do you think about the trailer?

Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway:

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3. What's New in YA--December 1, 2015



Are you wondering what's new in YA today? Check out these wonderful new releases! 



For fans of Simone Elkeles and Courtney Summers, this haunting debut novel is about two teenagers battling their inner demons as they fall in love for the first time.

When Marion Taylor, the shy bookworm, meets sexy soccer captain Kurt Medford at a party, what seems like a sure thing quickly turns into a total mess. One moment they’re alone in the middle of a lake, igniting sparks of electricity. The next, they’re on dry land, pretending they’ve never met. But rather than the end, that night is the beginning of something real, terrifying, and completely unforgettable for them both.

As Marion and Kurt struggle to build a relationship from the fractured pieces of their pasts, every kiss they share uncovers memories both would rather keep buried. Marion desperately wants to trust Kurt and share the one secret she’s never told anyone—but some truths aren’t meant to be spoken out loud. Kurt is also still haunted by his mother’s death, by the people he hurt, and by the mistakes he can never take back.

Explosive together and hollow apart, Marion and Kurt seem totally wrong for each other—but could they turn out to be more right than they ever thought possible?






When sixteen-year-old Eden Munro agrees to spend the summer with her estranged father in the beachfront city of Santa Monica, California, she has no idea what she’s letting herself in for. Eden’s parents are divorced and have gone their separate ways, and now her father has a brand new family. For Eden, this means she’s about to meet three new step-brothers. The eldest of the three is Tyler Bruce, a troubled teenager with a short temper and a huge ego. Complete polar opposites, Eden quickly finds herself thrust into a world full of new experiences as Tyler’s group of friends take her under their wing. But the one thing she just can’t understand is Tyler, and the more she presses to figure out the truth about him, the more she finds herself falling for the one person she shouldn’t – her step-brother.

Throw in Tyler’s clingy girlfriend and a guy who has his eyes set on Eden, and there’s secrets, lies and a whole lot of drama. But how can Eden keep her feelings under control? And can she ever work out the truth about Tyler?

Did I Mention I Love You is the first book in the phenomenal DIMILY trilogy, following the lives of Eden Munro and Tyler Bruce as they try to find their way in an increasingly confusing world.






In early-nineteenth century Scotland, sixteen-year-old Josie, an orphan, is sent to live with an aunt and uncle on the rocky, stormy northwest coast. Everything and everyone in her new surroundings, including her relatives, is sinister, threatening, and mysterious. She’s told that Eli, the young man she’s attracted to, is forbidden to her, but not why. Spirited, curious, and determined, Josie sets out to learn the village’s secrets and discovers evil, fueled by heartless greed, as well as a ghostly presence eager for revenge. An author’s note gives the historical inspiration for this story.






Years before, a gateway opened between their world and ours. Sending one young woman through may be the key to survival for the kingdom of Fourline.

Strapped for cash, college student Natalie Barns agrees to take a job at a costume shop. Sure, Estos—her classmate who works in the shop—is a little odd, but Nat needs the money for her tuition.

Then she stumbles through the mysterious door behind the shop—and her entire universe transforms.

Discovering there’s far more to Estos than she ever imagined, Nat gets swept up in an adventure to save his homeland, an incredible world filled with decaying magic, deadly creatures, and a noble resistance of exiled warriors battling dark forces. As she struggles with her role in an epic conflict and wrestles with her growing affection for a young rebel, Soris, Nat quickly learns that nothing may go as planned…and her biggest challenge may be surviving long enough to make it home.






A world on the brink of war.

All Avaline Hall wants is to enjoy her senior year at Blythewood Academy, the boarding school where she’s been trained to defend humankind from forces of dark magic. But when Ava is shown a glimpse into the future in the enchanted Blythe Wood, she discovers that the evil Judicus van Drood is rallying nations into a war that seems destined to destroy both the human and faerie worlds. Only Ava and her allies have a chance at stopping van Drood, but how many must die in the process? And how can Ava and the boy she loves be together when everything around them is falling apart?






From the author of the Escape from Furnace series, an explosive new horror trilogy about an ordinary American kid caught up in an invisible war against the very worst enemy imaginable.

There is a machine from the darkest parts of history, concealed in an impossible location, that can make any wish come true, and the only price you have to pay is your soul. Known as the Devil’s Engine, this device powers a brutal war between good and evil that will decide the fate of every living thing on Earth. When a 16-year-old asthmatic kid named Marlow Green unwittingly rescues an ass-kicking secret soldier from a demonic attack in the middle of his Staten Island neighborhood, he finds himself following her into a centuries-old conflict between a group of mysterious protectors and the legions of the Devil himself. Faced with superpowers, monsters, machine guns, and a lot worse, Marlow knows it’s going to be a breathless ride—and not just because he’s lost his inhaler along the way.






In the domed city of Evanescence, appearance is everything. A Natural Born amongst genetically-altered Aristocrats, all Ella ever wanted was to be like everyone else. Augmented, sparkling, and perfect. Then…the crash. Devastated by her father’s death and struggling with her new physical limitations, Ella is terrified to learn she is not just alone, but little more than a prisoner.

Her only escape is to lose herself in Nexis, the hugely popular virtual reality game her father created. In Nexis she meets Guster, a senior player who guides Ella through the strange and compelling new world she now inhabits. He offers Ella guidance, friendship…and something more. Something that allows her to forget about the “real” world, and makes her feel whole again.

But Nexis isn’t quite the game everyone thinks it is.

And it’s been waiting for Ella.






The Rules:

Don’t deceive me. Ever. Especially using my blindness. Especially in public.

Don’t help me unless I ask. Otherwise you’re just getting in my way or bothering me.

Don’t be weird. Seriously, other than having my eyes closed all the time, I’m just like you only smarter.

Parker Grant doesn’t need 20/20 vision to see right through you. That’s why she created the Rules: Don’t treat her any differently just because she’s blind, and never take advantage. There will be no second chances. Just ask Scott Kilpatrick, the boy who broke her heart.

When Scott suddenly reappears in her life after being gone for years, Parker knows there’s only one way to react-shun him so hard it hurts. She has enough on her mind already, like trying out for the track team (that’s right, her eyes don’t work but her legs still do), doling out tough-love advice to her painfully naive classmates, and giving herself gold stars for every day she hasn’t cried since her dad’s death three months ago. But avoiding her past quickly proves impossible, and the more Parker learns about what really happened–both with Scott, and her dad–the more she starts to question if things are always as they seem. Maybe, just maybe, some Rules are meant to be broken.







Freedom comes at a cost…

Ella was genetically engineered to be the perfect pet—graceful, demure…and kept. In a daring move, she escaped her captivity and took refuge in Canada. But while she can think and act as she pleases, the life of a liberated pet is just as confining as the Congressman’s gilded cage. Her escape triggered a backlash, and now no one’s safe, least

of all the other pets. But she’s trapped, unable to get back

to Penn—the boy she loves—or help the girls who need her.

Back in the United States, pets are turning up dead. With help from a very unexpected source, Ella slips deep into the dangerous black market, posing as a tarnished pet available to buy or sell. If she’s lucky, she’ll be able to rescue Penn and expose the truth about the breeding program. If she fails, Ella will pay not only with her life, but the lives

of everyone she’s tried to save…









Jacob Reckless continues to travel the portal in his father's abandoned study. His name has continued to be famous on the other side of the mirror, as a finder of enchanted items and buried secrets. His family and friends, from his brother, Will to the shape-shifting vixen, Fox, are on a collision course as the two worlds become connected. Who is driving these two worlds together and why is he always a step ahead?
This new force isn’t limiting its influence to just Jacob’s efforts – it has broadened the horizon within MirrorWorld. Jacob, Will and Fox travel east and into the Russian folklore, to the land of the Baba Yaga, pursued by a new type of being that knows our world all to well.






A year ago, Flynn Cormac and Jubilee Chase made the now infamous Avon Broadcast, calling on the galaxy to witness for their planet, and protect them from destruction. Some say Flynn’s a madman, others whisper about conspiracies. Nobody knows the truth. A year before that, Tarver Merendsen and Lilac LaRoux were rescued from a terrible shipwreck—now, they live a public life in front of the cameras, and a secret life away from the world’s gaze.

Now, in the center of the universe on the planet of Corinth, all four are about to collide with two new players, who will bring the fight against LaRoux Industries to a head. Gideon Marchant is an eighteen-year-old computer hacker—a whiz kid and an urban warrior. He’ll climb, abseil and worm his way past the best security measures to pull off onsite hacks that others don’t dare touch.

Sofia Quinn has a killer smile, and by the time you’re done noticing it, she’s got you offering up your wallet, your car, and anything else she desires. She holds LaRoux Industries responsible for the mysterious death of her father and is out for revenge at any cost.

When a LaRoux Industries security breach interrupts Gideon and Sofia’s separate attempts to infiltrate their headquarters, they’re forced to work together to escape. Each of them has their own reason for wanting to take down LaRoux Industries, and neither trusts the other. But working together might be the best chance they have to expose the secrets LRI is so desperate to hide.






First crush, first love, first kiss—Chloe must choose between her virtual almost-boyfriend and her best guy friend in this addition to the sweet and clean Flirt series.

Chloe has the best almost-boyfriend ever. Trevor is smart, talented, witty, and good-looking. Basically, he’s the perfect guy for her—except for one tiny detail. He lives hundreds of miles away. Chloe met Trevor at music camp when they were kids and was so excited when they reconnected in an online music forum a few months ago. And they’ve been flirting non-stop ever since.

Chloe’s boy-crazy best friend Vanessa thinks it’s the most romantic thing she’s ever heard, though her other best friend, Kazuo, isn’t so sure. Turns out Kaz actually has a crush on her! Chloe can’t imagine her life without him, but she’s never thought of him that way. Still, Kaz talks Chloe into giving him a chance and going to the big school dance together. Chloe is almost ready to agree when she gets the most amazing news—Trevor is coming for a visit!

But when Trevor shows up, things don’t go quite as well as Chloe was expecting, and by the time she realizes her old camp buddy has changed—and that he might not be Mr. Perfect (for her) after all—Kaz has already asked Vanessa to the dance. Did Chloe just miss her chance at true love?






If there are any new YA books we missed, let us know in the comments below, and we'll add them to the list! 



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4. Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town


Poor, misguided folks. They missed the whole point. Lot’s of unhappiness? Maybe so. But doesn’t Santa take a little bit of that unhappiness away? Doesn’t a smile on Christmas morning scratch out a tear cried on a sadder day? Not much maybe. But what would happen if we all tried to be like Santa and learned to give as only he can give: of ourselves, our talents, our love and our hearts? Maybe we could all learn Santa’s beautiful lesson and maybe there would finally be peace on Earth and good will toward men._Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town_ Movie

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5. भ्रष्टाचार

भ्रष्टाचार ईमानदारी गई तेल लेने … अभी कुछ देर पहले एक परिचित मिले. तनाव में लग रहे थे पूछ्ने पर बताया कि बुरा हाल है इन सरकारी विभागों का. मैनॆ भी हां मे हां मिलाई और कारण पूछा तो उन्होने बताया कुछ काम था विभाग में चाहता था कि तुरंत हो जाए इसलिए आफिसर को […]

The post भ्रष्टाचार appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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6. Believe in the Magic of Christmas -Send someone a magical Christmas card and matching Postage Stamp

Add a little bit of magic to Christmas by sending someone one of these sweet Christmas cards, and matching Christmas postage stamps. 

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7. BLP OPENS Banner

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8. Interview with Dicksy Wilson and D.B. Sanders

book bites for kidsListen to Book Bites for Kids on Tuesday, December 8th at 2:30 central time when authors Dicksy Wilson and D. B. Sanders will talk about their new book, A Caterpillar, a Bee, and a VERY Big Tree.

To listen to the live show on December 8th, at 2:30 central, just go to www.bookbitesforkids.com.

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9. Petrol

Petrol Petrol सस्ता हुआ है शापिंग तो बनती है ना

The post Petrol appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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10. The Good Gift - a bookwraps

Everyone needs a best-est friend.  What is that you ask? It is someone you love being with, playing with, and simply just hanging around with.  Today's great book shares the value of friendship and how true friendship will always put a smile on your face and warmth in your heart. 


Authored by Michele Toland

Illustrated by Marianella Aguirre

Unwrapping the illustrations... I love them... take a peek!

About the book...

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11. Alive by Scott Sigler

Random House, 2015

Em woke up panicking in the dark.  She doesn't know where she was, doesn't know who she is, doesn't know why she is here.  Frantic, she broke out of the coffin she was in to find even more coffins in the same room. 
Some survived, others didn’t.  Those who did survive have five things in common:   

The last thing thing remember is their age: 12 years old
They are all wearing the same uniform, now too short on their grown bodies
Today is their birthday
They only know their last name (because of a label on the caskets)
They are all branded with a unique circle on their foreheads.

Savage.  Spingate. Bello. O’Malley. Yong.  Aramovsky.

The survivors find their way out of the enclosed room they came from only to find themselves in another terrifying mystery.  Outside, there is death and complete destruction.  Nothing is alive as they look at their escape route – a long hallway to nowhere containing other halls and rooms filled with the same details as the one they escaped.  Only no one in those rooms survived.  Then begins their walk to find their way out. 

Questions and memories begin to start conversations.  They remember vague things like their parents, a particular food, or a talent they possess but have no idea how.  The biggest question looming is who could possibly want to bury them alive for years and try to keep them alive?  They have so many things in common, but commonality doesn’t always weave a perfect pattern.

Long hallways and five strangers begin to strain their tenuous hold with each other.  Who can they trust?  Who should they follow?  Which one is dangerous?  But more importantly, where can they find food and water? 

Scott Sigler knows how to grab readers’ attention and hang it by a thread.  The readers follow these survivors on their harrowing journey knowing only what they know.  There is no omniscient perspective allowing the reader to know more, which makes this book such a suspenseful thrill ride.  We are more like the tail end of the line, watching what happens next, and what the reader does see are the personalities of each survivor coming more into focus.  One is the leader, the other is the lieutenant; the others are followers, willing or not.  It’s not until the reveal that the reader finally understands what is happening and why survival is so important.  The first chapter will grab you, the next ones will keep you in the story.  And then BOOM….realization finally happens and you’ll race to the end to find out the final ending.  First in a trilogy. 
Recommended upper JH/HS

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12. दिल की बात

दिल की बात पिछ्ले सप्ताह मेरी सहेली मणि के अंकल की अचानक तबियत खराब हो गई शायद हार्ट अटैक था. उन्हें तुरंत दिल्ली लेकर जाना पडा. मैं, जब मणि के घर मिलने गई तो वो बेहद उदास थी. मैनें समझाया चिंता मत कर. इस पर वो मुझे बोली कि तू हमेशा कहती है कि जो […]

The post दिल की बात appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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my MOST FAVORITE month of the year!!!

each day a piece of art will be offered at a DISCOUNTED price. ORIGINALS, 40% off. PRINTS, 30% off....for ONE DAY ONLY. my shop will host the FEATURED piece of the day with the DISCOUNT already added to the listing price (NO COUPONS NEEDED).

12 days of Christmas? nah. 25 ***DECEMBER DISCOUNT DAYS***, here we come! :)

kicking it off with this little lovely....

{told ya i LOVE DECEMBER...;)}

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14. Meet Dicksy Wilson and D.B. Sanders

Dicksy Wilson and D. B. Sanders

Meet the Authors of a Caterpillar, a Bee, and a VERY Big Tree

Dicksy Wilson was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma and grew up in the 70’s and 80’s with some really great parents and a pretty cool little brother. She always enjoyed writing as a child and would sometimes write puppet skits for her and her brother to perform for their parents. After she had children of her own, she thought it would be fun to write a children’s book. One day while she and her brother were watching the kids swim, she came up with the line, “In a quiet backyard quite a bit like your own… a little green caterpillar crawled all alone.” This line later became the opening line of their book, A Caterpillar, A Bee and a VERY Big Tree. Soon after, she and her brother began collaborating on their book, which would take several years to complete. Dicksy lives in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, with her daughter Hannah, who is a senior in high school, her husband Scott, and her dog, Nash. Her son, Hayden, is grown and married, and has a child of his own.

Growing up in Tulsa, Oklahoma in the 70s and 80s, D.B. Sanders had an early interest in art. Beginning with a love of cartoons, he started designing his own comic book characters at the age of 10. By his early teens, he became increasingly aware of his ability to draw in his own unique style. After obtaining his degree in art, he has utilized his passion for multiple artistic endeavors. This is his first children’s book to co-author and illustrate. Sanders lives in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma with his wife, Ashley and their children: Zach, Zoe and Leaf. More art can be found on Facebook at “The Art of D Sanders”.

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New Faces

Brighton Faces

Breakfast Faces

Busy with lots of fun projects that I'd love to share but they all have to stay under my wooly hat for the moment!

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16. "Time To Hi-BRR-nate"

Hidden Picture Puzzle for Highlights High Five Magazine
by Patrick Girouard

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17. A Caterpillar, a Bee, and a VERY Big Tree

caterpillarA Caterpillar, a Bee and a VERY Big Tree is the story of a little green caterpillar named Gus. While out on a stroll, Gus meets Shoo Bee, a bee who suffers from pollen allergies! Gus and Shoo Bee become fast friends, and when a storm threatens to send all the other caterpillars tumbling from the great tree, they team up to save the day. With help from wise Councilor Cricket, an Army of Ants and several fire flies – the friends are able to not only work together, but also teach a great lesson on what it means to be different and the way that we are all unique.

When they got the idea for Gus, they decided that this was their chance to teach share with readers how to:
• Develop courage to overcome obstacles;
• See the value in true friendship;
• Understand that everyone is different and differently abled;
• Value teamwork;
• Be aware of the value of communication;
• and Cherish diversity.

A Caterpillar, a Bee, and a VERY Big Tree is available at amazon.com.

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18. 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway Extravaganza - Day 1

Welcome to YABC's first annual 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway Extravaganza! We're featuring some of the hottest titles of the year--perfect for the book lover on your holiday list!--with exciting prize packs every day for the first twelve days of December. Each giveaway will run for seven days. Giveaways are US only due to publishers' rights restrictions in other territories. 

Are you ready to see the FABULOUS prize pack of books for today's giveaway? 

This prize pack of best selling YA titles is brought to you by the wonderful people at Random House Children's Books. Click on each cover to learn more about that title and then enter the giveaway at the bottom of the page.

Good luck, and be sure to come back tomorrow for another 12 Days of Christmas giveaway!


PRIZE PACK from Random House Children's Books





Enter by clicking the Rafflecopter link below. Good luck!


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19. Patalosh and Exploring the Great Pyramid

Orion explores the Great Pyramid in Africa.

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20. Soldier, Gaunt Soldier: Peter Watkins' The War Game

Today, we have a guest blog from Simon Bestwick to celebrate the launch of his novel Hell's Ditch, which is available either from Amazon or direct from the publisher Snowbooks. For the next seven days you can get the hardback or the ebook at a discounted price over at the Snowbooks website.

Anyway, here be the Bestwick's post:

Soldier, Gaunt Soldier: Peter Watkins' The War Game

As a writer your work’s the sum of your experiences: all you’ve seen and done, and the stories that have reached you. One that reached me, and shaped my novel Hell’s Ditch, was Peter Watkins’ The War Game, a film made for the BBC in 1965.
The War Gamewas Watkins’ second British film, and his last. Its original broadcast was cancelled by the BBC under pressure from the Ministry of Defence. Watkins, disgusted, left the UK, first for America – where he made the equally unsparingPunishment Park – before settling in Sweden. Despite winning the 1966 Best Documentary Oscar, the film wasn’t shown on British TV until 1985, when it was finally screened as part of a season commemorating the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

So what was so shocking?
Like Watkins’ first film, Culloden, (1964) The War Game is shot in a documentary style, narrated mostly by Michael Aspel, a TV presenter who became notable hosting game shows and This Is Your Life but was, at that time, best known as a newsreader. Its topic was nuclear war.
The film depicts the possible consequences of a nuclear attack on Britain. There are vox pops from men and women in the street, statements from churchmen, philosophers, politicians, doctors and nuclear strategists on the morality, nature and effects of nuclear war, all of this intercut with the film’s ‘live’ action: dramatisations of the events that precipitate the attack, followed by an unflinching portrayal of the attack itself and its effects.
The narration is cool and clinical, never emotive. At this distance, Aspel’s voice calmly tells us, the heat wave is sufficient to cause melting of the upturned eyeball, third degree burning of the skin and ignition of furniture.
In contrast, Watkins depicts the holocaust that follows in graphic detail: firestorms sweep the bombed cities, rendering firefighters’ attempts to combat the devastation futile. The attack’s victims suffer horrendous body burns. With doctors unable to treat more than a fraction of cases, the worst-injured patients are placed in a ‘holding section’ to die untreated; later, armed police officers end their suffering with a gunshot. A glassy-eyed civil servant explains how they’re keeping the wedding rings of the dead to identify them, showing the camera a bucket half-full of jewellery. A doctor calmly describes the symptoms of radiation sickness, and then those of scurvy (since most survivors, he points out, will be unable to obtain Vitamin C.)
And it doesn’t end there. The narration cites the aftermath of the bombings not only of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but of Hamburg, Dresden and Tokyo. Many survivors are listless, apathetic zombies. Thousands more will suffer PTSD (as we’d call it now) from what they’ve gone through; vastly exceeding any resources available to treat them, most will be permanently traumatised.
But the child survivors, staring emptily into the camera to say “I don’t want to be nothing,” in dead, lifeless monotones, are the most chilling prospect of all: subject to such trauma in their formative years, many may go on to develop terrible character disorders. These are the inheritors of the world the nuclear bomb has left.
If the conclusion of The War Game reminds us that what we have seen has not been real, it’s scant reassurance: It is now possible that what you have seen happen in this film may already have taken place before the year 1980. Even knowing, as we do now, that it didn’t, is limited comfort when you remember that those weapons – and the possibility of their use – still exists.
Watkins set out to show that Britain was both hopelessly ill-informed on nuclear war’s nature, and hopelessly unprepared to cope with its effects – indeed, that its effects would be so devastating that no preparation would prevent the slaughter, devastation and eventual social collapse that the film shows. The official reaction to the film showed he’d touched a real nerve.
The War Game is up there with the similar-themed Threads as one of the most terrifying, dread-making films I’ve seen. It probably helps if you were born before 1980 and can remember the grim Mexican stand-off of the Cold War, but I defy anyone to watch it without a chill seeping into their bones.
The fear of nuclear war haunted my childhood; it fed into Hell’s Ditch and the world it’s set in. In particular, with The War Game, Watkins’ vision of the psychological trauma wrought by the conflict helped shape the book. The world of Regional Command Zone 7, Attack Plus Twenty Years, is a haunted one. All those who remember the time before are surrounded with its ruins, unable to forget, dogged by the ghosts of those they’ve lost; those who’ve grown up in the devastation have been made cruel and pitiless by it. And there’s no way back.
Forget Sawor Hostel, Insidious or Sinister: if you really want to be terrified, watch The War Game.
Simon Bestwick is the author of Tide Of Souls, The Faceless and Black Mountain. His short fiction has appeared in Black Static and Best Horror Of The Year, and been collected in A Hazy Shade Of Winter, Pictures Of The Dark, Let’s Drink To The Dead and The Condemned. His new novel, Hell’s Ditch, is out on 1st December.

       You Tube clip from The War Game

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21. Happy Winter!

This Land Is Your Land by Catherine Ciocchi, published by Arbordale Publishing, and illustrated by me, Cathy Morrison
December's theme is WINTER! So here's a wintery scene from This Land Is Your Land which came out early 2015. The author is Catherine Ciocchi and the book is about exploring the Earth with land forms.

A hill slopes up above the ground.
The rounded top looks like a mound.
Rolling hills are what you see
when they are in a group of three.

Happy Winter and thanks for taking a look! There's more work on my Studio With A View Blog.

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Working on fantasy seascape
with mermaids riding sea-horses
at the Creative Wellness Center this summer.

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23. Press Tv

Press Tv एक जानकार मार्किट मे मिले कार के आगे पीछे  PRESS का स्टीकर लगा रखा था. मुझे बडी खुशी हुई अरे वाह !!! प्रैस ??? कौन सा चैनल ??? इस पर वो मुस्कुरा कर बोले अरे कोई नही !!! वो तो Press  लगा कर थोडा सहारा मिल जाता है पुलिस ज्यादा छानबीन नही करती… और […]

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24. Pre-#NY16SCBWI Interview: Agent Sarah Davies Talks to Team Blog's Martha Brockenbrough

And the first of our pre-conference faculty interviews is in (and it's awesome!)

Agent Sarah Davies talks with Martha Brockenbrough about middle grade fiction, what makes books "saleable," and when a writer can know their book is ready to submit.

Their interview is packed with great advice and suggestions, like,

"focus on developing the two big ‘C’ words — Concept and Craft." 


"Don’t be frightened to be radical — rewriting can be far more powerful than tweaking, as it allows you to pull in fresh thinking in the strongest possible way so the new draft feels fully coherent."

Sarah Davies will be on faculty at the #NY16SCBWI conference, giving a breakout workshop Saturday morning and afternoon, "Saleable and Memorable Middle Grade Fiction," and participating in the Sunday main stage panel, "Acquisitions Today: Opportunities and Challenges."

You can see Sarah in person and learn from all the amazing faculty (and fellow writer and illustrator attendees) by joining us at the 17th Annual SCBWI Winter Conference in New York. Registration and details here.

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25. Kevin Henkes Talks with Roger

kevin henkes twr

Talks with Roger is a sponsored supplement to our free monthly e-newsletter, Notes from the Horn Book. To receive Notes, sign up here.

kevin henkesYou ask some very great writers and illustrators about how they do what they do, and it can seem as much a mystery to them as it is to you. But Kevin Henkes is one of the most astute and articulate observers of his own artistic choices I have ever met, and it was a pleasure to talk to him about the creation of his latest picture book, Waiting.

Roger Sutton: This is probably the fourth or fifth picture book I’ve seen this year about waiting, and I want to know: What’s in the water?

Kevin Henkes: I don’t know! But in my work life, waiting has been very big. My next book is called When Spring Comes, illustrated by my wife, Laura Dronzek. It was originally called Waiting for Spring, and the word wait is in it seven times, which is quite a lot for a picture book. Then after that I have a picture book coming out called Egg, and the word waiting is in that one seventeen times. Children spend a lot of their time waiting. They wait in line. They have to wait their turn. They wait for their birthdays, holidays, weekends, the end of the school day. They seem to be waiting quite a lot, so I thought it would be a good idea for a book.

RS: How do you handle waiting in your own life? Are you good at it?

KH: If I’m working on a book and it’s going well, that’s a real anchor in my life and it makes everything else okay, including waiting. And I do love the time between when I’ve finished a book and when that book comes out in print. I use that time to come up with an idea for the next book, so I don’t mind it being stretched out. I know some people ache to see their book after they’ve finished the art, but I enjoy that lovely stretch of waiting. It’s a year, usually.

RS: Your work is done. It’s out of your control at that point.

KH: And it hasn’t hit the world yet, so it can still be the lovely thing that I think it is.

RS: Waiting can be nice if it’s something nice that you’re waiting for, like your little guys in this book, the pig with the umbrella waiting for rain. She knows it’s going to rain eventually, and she likes rain. It’s always good to have something to look forward to.

KH: I was at a bookstore in Minnesota, and the bookseller who introduced me said to the group of children sitting on the floor, “This book is about waiting. Does anyone like waiting?” One lone hand went up, a little girl about six who said, “I love waiting.” I noticed her throughout my presentation, because she was very present. If I said something that was mildly funny, she laughed hysterically. She was there. Then I noticed her again near the end of the signing line.

RS: Waiting.

KH: Waiting. And then she got to the table. She put her arms on the table. She leaned in to me. She narrowed her eyes, and said, “Okay, I changed my mind. I do not like waiting.”

RS: How do you prevent a book that is about anticipation — and now of course I’ve got that damn ketchup ad in my head — do you remember that, with the Carly Simon song?

KH: Yes.

RS: When a book is about anticipation, and the setting is essentially a tableau that doesn’t change, how do you prevent it from being static? Did you have to think about how to keep it dynamic?

KH: No, I thought, how do I keep this clean and simple? It was a conscious choice to not show a child in the illustrations. I wanted to keep it simple in its design, universal in its scope. There are no references to a home other than the window. There’s no wallpaper, no floor, no carpet, no furniture. At one point I toyed with the idea of having either the tail of a dog or a cat, or a dog or a cat itself coming in and out, but a lot of the work was just scaling back. I pictured this as a book in which the reader and the listener would have a lot to talk about. Where do you think the elephant came from? Or who do you think put the gifts on the windowsill? Is someone moving the figurines?

RS: You know, I do have to ask about that elephant. Jumped or pushed?

KH: I think it was an accident with the child owner. I was at the Brooklyn Book Festival, and a person came up and asked, “So, did the elephant die? Isn’t that dark for a children’s book?” And I said, “Well, no. It’s a broken figurine.” Children are people, and people deal with all kinds of loss. Some children deal with huge losses. Even if they haven’t, they’ve dealt with a popped balloon or a dropped ice-cream cone. And I think that children are good at taking from a book what they need, or not taking what they don’t need. If you’re a child who has suffered a big loss, you might interpret that spread differently than a child who has not.

RS: Or if you’re a black-hearted Irishman like me, you think the owl pushed him off the ledge.

KH: Someone else asked, “On the page where the elephant arrives, why does the pig have a come-hither look?”

RS: Wait, I have to look.

KH: I said, “Really?” This person had a whole scenario.

henkes_waitingRS: It is amazing what you can do to express motive and emotion with the placement of those little dots for eyes.

KH: Yes. The book started because I began going to my local clay studio in 2006. I make little animal sculptures. I have many of them in my studio. One day I looked at the ones on the windowsill, and they really seemed like they were looking out the window, waiting. Originally I thought I would use my figurines and photograph them, but I decided that I’m much better at drawing and painting than I am at sculpting. And actual figurines would be fixed in a certain way, and I wanted to be able to at least change their eyes or the tilt of their heads.

RS: You do a really great job of having them retain their figurine nature, but giving them just enough movement to provide a story and emotions.

KH: That was tricky. I didn’t want them to be moving all over the place as if they were living, breathing beings, but I did want them to have enough life to make the story work. Some move more than others.

RS: When creating the groupings, was it in your mind that someone was moving them or that they were moving themselves?

KH: Oh, I always imagined a child who owned them and loved them playing with them. I guess there is always that question of what happens when you turn the light off.

RS: It’s kind of like that old science-fiction story, where people realize they’re just bugs and that someone’s controlling them from above.

KH: That whole idea plays into this story, I think. One could interpret this book many different ways.

RS: The toys are never described as waiting for their owner. It’s not a toy longing to be played with. They have each other.

KH: And it’s not a toy longing to become real.

RS: Right.

KH: Probably in the child owner’s eyes, they are real.

RS: I want to talk for a minute about my particular obsession with picture books, which is page turns. When you’re creating a book, when are you thinking about the page turns of the finished book?

KH: I always write the words first. I get them to the point where I think they’re perfect, and then I dummy, cut up the words and start playing around with them. That might be the point where I really see the physical page turns, but I’m already thinking about page turns when I write.

When I’m writing — and particularly when I was writing this book — I wanted there to be a real pattern to the words. In the beginning I’m playing with the pattern. “When the moon came up, / the owl was happy. / It happened a lot. / When the rain came down, / the pig was happy. / The umbrella kept her dry.” It sets up a series. After the characters are introduced, there’s the section where we’re getting more information about their lives. “Sometimes one or the other of them went away, / but he or she always came back. // Sometimes they slept. / But mostly they waited. / Sometimes gifts appeared.” So you have sometimes, sometimes, sometimes. And then to heighten that little series, once, and it’s big: “Once a visitor arrived…” When I wrote the line “They saw many wonderful, interesting things…” I remember thinking, oh, this is my chance to have a wordless section. Trying to decide how many wordless pages there would be and how the pages would play against one another—that was a long, hard process of decision-making.

RS: One thing I love about this book is that it keeps confounding us as to, well, what kind of book it is, exactly. Do you know what I mean?

KH: Oh, I do. Most of my books are about something small writ large: girl has purse, wants to show it to the world, and has to wait. The waiting again. When I decided that I wanted this book to be about waiting, I didn’t want it to just be about a child or a character waiting for something. I wanted it to be bigger than that. I was thinking about the changing of the seasons, the wonder of nature, sudden sadness and disappointment, those unexpected moments of joy or sadness that crop up while you are waiting for something. And I wanted it to be big enough to include birth and death.

RS: Ah, so the elephant does die.

KH: Well, of course that’s what I was thinking about. And with the matryoshka cat at the end, it’s birth.

RS: But it’s never a “you’re getting a baby sister” book either, though.

KH: No. Although — so far I’ve read it about twenty-five times across the country, from New York to California. With the elephant, there’s usually a collective “awww.” And with the cat, there’s usually an “aaahh.” But one little boy — he was about three — grabbed his head and said, “Oh, no. Not more babies!” I overheard someone saying he had newborn twin siblings at home. It was poignant and funny and I loved it. And again, it made me think everyone sees what they see. It might not be what I intended at all. But waiting for a baby is another big wait.

RS: This book swims against the tide of thinking we need a lot of action, that we need a child or at least personified animal characters. We need a big plot. I wouldn’t say yours is a particularly plotted book in the way we traditionally think of those.

KH: I would agree, but I would also say I think there is a lot going on.

RS: There’s a ton going on.

KH: For a young child, there’s a lot to talk about. I recently spent some time with my niece’s two-year-old daughter. I’m amazed at her ability to imagine and play with just about anything. And at her willingness to stay on one page of a book and really talk about it with an adult who’s asking questions. I think of this book as being pretty packed. I was a little surprised when I read a couple of reviews — which have been lovely — that said not much happens. I think a lot happens.

RS: But it’s not happening in a traditional plot trajectory.

KH: I’ll give you that.

RS: Do you think, as you’re creating a book for young children, about how it’s going to be read? Do you assume the kid is looking at it by him or herself? Do you assume an adult and a child together?

KH: I hope it works all ways. With this book I was thinking about an adult and a child, and thinking about an adult asking certain questions. But I think a child could do that on his or her own as well. I also wanted there to be a lot of space between the words, between the sentences, between the thoughts. I give space to the reader or listener to fill it in. I think that’s important. Even in books without pictures, I think we need a space between chapters. We need a space between paragraphs sometimes. It can be really powerful. What you leave out can be pretty dynamic.

RS: There’s so much mystery in this story. How did these particular figurines get there? Are they toys? Are they alive? What’s going on with them? Is there anybody else in the world besides them? I think you echo that mysteriousness by giving lots of room around each picture, around each sentence. Don’t you think that, visually, that encourages someone to wonder?

KH: I do. I used white space with this book in a way that I never have before. Both with the words — space between the words, the sentences — and the white space with the design of the book. And yet I wanted it to be very grounded. I wanted the illustrations to work together. I think of them as being echoes of each other. When I introduce each of the characters, there’s a double-page spread. “The owl with spots was waiting for the moon. / The pig with the umbrella was waiting for the rain.” And then: “The rabbit with stars / wasn’t waiting for anything in particular. / He just liked to look out the window and wait.” He’s in the lower right-hand corner of the right-hand page. When the cat comes, and the text goes through the whole series of questions — “Was she waiting for the moon? / No.” And then when I say, “She didn’t seem to be waiting / for anything in particular,” I’ve echoed the position of the rabbit. It creates a rhythm. There’s a reason to it. That part of bookmaking is what I love most. Thinking everything through and making it work together in a certain way.

RS: And then making all that work disappear.

KH: Yes. There’s that great M. B. Goffstein quote from her picture book An Artist: “You should work and work until it looks like you didn’t have to work at all.”

A spread that really pleased me when I came up with it was one of the wordless ones — the one where on the left-hand side of the page is the window with frost and on the right-hand side are the fireworks. I remember thinking the fernlike pattern of the frost was a great way to segue into the feathery nature of the fireworks. One is natural, and one is not. There’s a similarity, but there’s a tension. You could compare it; you could contrast it. You could talk about it; you don’t have to talk about it; you don’t even have to notice it, but I did, and that’s what matters. Those are the kinds of things that, when they happen, I think: I love my job.

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