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1. Millie’s Book of Tricks and Treats Vol. 2 app review

millie tricks and treats menu Millies Book of Tricks and Treats Vol. 2 app reviewIntrepid adventurer dog Millie is back in Halloween-themed offering Millie’s Book of Tricks and Treats Vol. 2 (Millie Was Here series; Megapops, 2012).

Knock on each of ten front doors in Millie’s neighborhood to spin a game show–style wheel and receive either a video “trick” (e.g., “Millie Performs an Amazing Yo-Yo Trick,” “Millie Teleports All Over the Place”) or “treat” (spooky-fied bacon treats such as “Frankenbacon”). Judging from the not-too-scary decorations, it seems Millie’s neighborhood includes friendly families of werewolves, mad scientists, aliens, and vampires. A theremin-and-harpsichord waltz continues the Halloween-y mood. Every screen also offers a scratch-off picture of Millie modeling a different costume and a hidden sticker of a creepy-cute creature. Collect badges by finding all of the stickers and reading through the entire app. Each read-through offers slightly different content as the app cycles through a wide range of trick and treat videos and costumed Millie snapshots.

millie tricks and treats mad scientist door Millies Book of Tricks and Treats Vol. 2 app review

Trick-or-treat!

millie tricks and treats open door Millies Book of Tricks and Treats Vol. 2 app review

a trick: “Millie Knits You a Nice, Warm Sweater”

As in previous Millie Was Here apps, the humor lies in the juxtaposition of the off-screen narrator’s bombastic voice-over and the equally over-the-top title cards with Millie’s mundane doggy activities and interests. In the trick “Millie Turns into a Vicious Werewolf,” for instance, the small, snuggly dog looks up at a projected moon while a horror-movie-worthy wolf howl plays. Many of the videos show hands of human assistants offering treats and helping Millie perform her various tricks; the intentionally low-tech effects are part of the series’ considerable charm.

The navigation is straightforward — just forward and back buttons — and the app requires no reading. Music, narration, text highlighting, touch hints, and sticker hints may be turned on or off and volume may be adjusted (some of these settings are accessible from the navigation bar at the bottom of each screen, others in a parent-locked info section). A “bedtime mode” dims the screen slightly and disables the sticker hunt for a more soothing experience. Tips for keeping pets happy and safe on “Howl-o-ween” are appended.

Available for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch (requires iOS 6.0 or later); $0.99. Recommended for preschool and primary users.

share save 171 16 Millies Book of Tricks and Treats Vol. 2 app review

The post Millie’s Book of Tricks and Treats Vol. 2 app review appeared first on The Horn Book.

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2. A Fondness for Ghosts…

Ghost stories are an unusual taste for a six year old, but by this age Joan Aiken was relishing them: I had already read Ghost Stories of an Antiquary by M.R. James, and nearly died of delicious terror at “Oh Whistle and I’ll Come to You”. Searching for more fodder of a similar kind – […]

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3. professional news and thank yous

future - digital divide images

This title sounds fancy but mostly I needed to play catch-up and this seems like the best way to do that. Hi. In the past month I’ve done two public speaking type things that went well and some other stuff. I’ve been remiss in sharing them in a timely fashion. So now I’m sharing them in a list fashion.

  • I went to Mississippi for the MLA Conference which was a great time. I led a facilitated discussion pre=conference which is the first real time I’ve done something like that. You can read the slides here: The Digital Divide and You which includes input from the discussion part of the afternoon. I stuck around for the conference and was very glad I did. I put some photos up here. Thank you MLA, the Mississippi Library Commission and especially MLA President Amanda Clay Powers for showing me a good time.
  • VLA hosted a table at VT’s first annual ComicCon. This was a hugely fun event and terrific for library outreach. We had free stickers and reading lists, a display of banned graphic novels and people could get their photos taken in our “Vermont Comic Reader’s License” booth which netted a ton of delightful photographs (more on facebook). We also sponsored one of the special guests — Dave Newell, Mr. McFeely from Mister Roger’s Neighborhood) and he did storytime at the booth with puppets. I staffed the table one of the days. Such a good time. Huge shout-outs to other planners: Helen Linda, Sam Maskell and Hannah Tracy.
  • Another MLA! This time the Massachusetts Small Libraries Conference (also the “first annual”) and I was the keynote speaker talking about how to Future-proof libraries. A combination of talking about what the challenges and unique positions small and rural libraries are in as well as some ways to nudge people towards getting interested in the online world. Notes and slides here. Big thanks to the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners & the Massachusetts Library System.
  • I started writing for The Open Standard, Mozilla’s new online-writing thing. My first article, After Some Victories, the Time Has Come to Legally Define ‘Fair Use’, has been up for a while now. I’d love to know what you think.
  • Also I’m not sure if I was explicit in my “I’m moving on” post about MetaFilter but I’m still at least somewhat looking for work. I love Open Library and my local teaching but I’ve got a few more hours in my schedule and would be happy to do some more speaking, some consulting or some writing. I have a one-pager website that summarizes my skillset. Feel free to pass it along to people.

I gave a really quick “How to do an elevator speech” talk after lunch at MLA (the one in MA, not the one in MS) and it was really fun. All librarians should practice their elevator speeches. Here’s my one slide from that talk. You can probably get the gist of it.

how do to an elevator speech in one slide

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4. Two Thousand and Fifteen

 

Something I drew for this week's Spoonflower challenge to design a 2015 tea towel calendar. I'm planning to print up a few of these and will have them in the shop right after Thanksgiving.

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5. SILK festival 2014, skudeneshavn, norway

Hello from Skudeneshavn in Norway! I've been doing intensive school visits today and Stuart's been traipsing about town, and we're both crashing in our guesthouse lounge having a rest before the official SILK Festival Opening Ceremony this evening.



We're staying in the same town I visited in February, Skudeneshavn, and it's great getting a chance to show Stuart around. (And if you're a burglar in England reading this, we have a big, scary German looking after our flat, so don't get any ideas.) We're staying at the guesthouse on the far right:



So here was my first visit this morning, to Grindhaug Primary School, where I showed the 11- and 12-year-olds how I made the Jampires picture book with David O'Connell (and the original comic book that inspired it). I led the group in drawing their own Jampire, then we talked about our favourite foods and designed creatures that could steal other food - Pizzapires, Chocopires, Spareribpires, etc. Then we used our characters to write stories in a big Comics Jam! Everyone finished with a four-panel comic, but each panel was drawn by a different person, so no one knew how their story would turn out. (When I explained about the word 'jamming' meaning something other than sticky fruit spread, they all knew the Bob Marley song, so that was good.)



And here's the second group, same ages, at Norheim Primary School!




I had a few minutes before all the kids were assembled when I could draw this poster for them:



Big thanks to everyone who looked after me for the day, including John Rullestad (not pictured here), Head of the Department of Culture, Jan Arve Hveding (who popped in to say hello), the culture coordinator (let me check her name!) and Head of Karmøy libraries Hanna Mulelid.



After Hanna drove me back to Skudenshavn, Stuart and I retired to the festival Green Room, where we found Norwegian writer Arne Svingen, who'd joined us at dinner the previous evening. Arne writes spooky books, mostly for older children, but all sorts, and does lots of school visits. He gave me a big list of Norwegian illustrators that I want to look up (I don't really know anything about Norwegian illustrators yet), and hopefully post links here. Here are a few, for starters, if you want to peek at their work:

* Ragnar Aalbu
* Stian Hole


* Øyvind Torseter
* Svein Nyhus
(More later!)



Speaking of spooky, I was a bit nervous of sitting in these two chairs in the Green Room; they looked like they might be alive.



But other than that, he Green Room's awfully cosy. I rewarded myself for the school visits a bit too thoroughly with lovely CAKE.



Okay, here are a few of the Comics Jams, in case anyone from the school is checking to see if their work got onto my blog! (And if you look here on my website, you can read a comic I made recently and find more comics here.)



A lot of the kids had never made any comics, so I was impressed with how well they did. Also, notice that they are in English. *gape* I hate to say this, but Norwegian kids write almost as well in English as a lot of the English children I've worked with.















And I'll include a few more Skudeneshavn photos, just to help me remember this place; it's awfully pretty.



Last night we had a music concert in a little house that wasn't a pub, exactly, but had the same nice feel to it.



And when we went for dinner at Smiå restaurant, the downstairs was packed with guys from this ship:





Another shot of our lovely guest house:



More news soon!

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6. Lola

This is the time of year where things get  little stretched and a bit schizophrenic as the different categories of making collide. I'll just check in for some show and tell.
 
 
This birdie is going into the Holiday Sale, I'm kind of attached to her...

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7. New ‘Paddington’ Trailer Reveals More CG Grotesquerie

New "Paddington" trailer; more CGI Paddington grotesqueness.

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8. Chapter Titles

Your chapter titles can do more than just announce the next pages of your book. 

http://www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com/2014/09/chapter-titles.html

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9. Zag Studios Sets Up Shop In L.A. To Produce Animated Features

Zag Animation Studios is a new feature animation outfit that plans to release two family-oriented films per year—one fully-CGI and one live-action/CGI hybrid—beginning in 2017.

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10. R.L. Stine Writes a Scary Short Story On Twitter

1257831Goosebumps series author R.L. Stine wrote a scary story called “What’s In My Sandwich?” on Twitter.

Below, we’ve collected all the tweets that make up the short story in a Storify post embedded below—what do you think?

Tomorrow, Stine will unveil another short fiction piece entitled “Let’s Make a Trade” on Wattpad for the “The R.L. Stine Fill In The Fear Contest.” (via BuzzFeed)

(more…)

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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11. Watch for It: One Thing Stolen

Thank you, Chronicle Books and Beth Kephart, for preparing to release another of Beth's beautiful novels into the world!



The book itself is a nest of treasure with rich imagery, lyrical language, metaphor, and winged flights through the city of Florence. Nadia is trapped in theft, a loss of words, and a loss of reality while she repeatedly loses consciousness during her family's relocation in Italy. And there is a boy, a boy whose hair glows, who leads her through the streets of Santa Croce, and there is a best girlfriend, who will give all to find him again for Nadia, never losing hope for her.

Keep this one in mind, readergirlz. You'll have a wait for its release. But isn't Beth always worth it?

One Thing Stolen
by Beth Kephart
Chronicle Books, April 7, 2015

LorieAnncard2010small.jpg image by readergirlz

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12. Monster of the Week: Thursday!


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13. D.C. Isn’t That Exciting A Town, But The Hirshhorn Museum’s New Director Has Big Plans

hirshhorn-master495

“I hope this means we are able to come up with another kind of new bold vision that has the potential to be a real game-changer in terms of contemporary art and the way technology impacts contemporary art.”

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14. Book Review: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Other Stories by Washington Irving

From Goodreads:
Perhaps the marker of a true mythos is when the stories themselves overshadow their creator. Originally published under a pseudonym as The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent., The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Other Stories gave America its own haunted mythology. This collection of larger-than-life tales contains Washington Irving’s best-known literary inventions—Ichabod Crane, the Headless Horseman, and Rip Van Winkle—that continue to capture our imaginations today. 
To be fair, I have to start this review by saying that the marketing and blurbs for this one are a bit on the misleading side.  It was pitched as a "riveting must-read for fall" and as the basis for the tv show Sleepy Hollow.  So that appealed to me, as well as the idea that these stories form the foundation for what would become American short story writing.  It turns out that even the words "other stories" are a bit off the mark.  This is actually largely a collection of essays centering around Irving's travels in England.  It does contain "Rip Van Winkle" and "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" and one or two other actual stories, but it's almost exclusively travelogue and commentary on mores and literary themes in the early 1800s than it is short stories.

That said, I thoroughly enjoyed the read, as you'll see in my review below. I just think that if you choose it based on the creepy cover, the comparison to the tv show, and the idea of early American short stories, you may be disappointed by what makes up the majority of the book.

Writing
Obviously, Irving is considered a classic in American literature for a reason.  I was very impressed with how engaging his writing was and how accessible and intriguing the stories were, given that the time during which they were written.  As with any collection, there were stories and essays I enjoyed more than others, but I found them all to be remarkable time capsules describing how people lived, celebrated, and mourned in the 1800's.

Entertainment Value
Again, as I realized these were mostly essays, I worried I'd become bored.  I was surprised to find how perfectly apt many of his comments on society and particularly literature were for the modern day.  There's a great essay where he imagines a conversation with an ancient book in an old library that I felt like I might hear on any of the book-related podcasts I listen to.  And I was shocked by his essays on American Indians and their treatment by white settlers.  I was amazed that people were realizing so early that they were facing serious abuses, and also saddened to see how little was changed in the way they were treated, despite essays like Irving's.

Overall
While it wasn't at all what I was expecting, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed reading this collection.  Irving reminded me of an early Bill Bryson, and I think those interested in society at that time will be fascinated by this collection.  That said, there are only a few actual short stories and they contain less creep than the cover and blurbs imply.  I'd recommend it more to those who are interested in travelogues or the time period than I would to those looking for a thrill.

Thanks to Penguin for providing me with a copy to review!

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15. How Do We Revive A Language When There Are No Native Speakers Left?

tongva

“It’s hard to find information on Tongva. There are no audio recordings of people speaking the language, just a few scratchy wax cylinder recordings of Tongva songs. There are additional word lists from scholars, explorers, and others dating from 1838 to 1903.”

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16. Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz: ‘As my mother always taught me, perfect is the enemy of good.’

CristinHave you ever written a scary story? In honor of the Halloween season, we are interviewing horror writers to learn about the craft of scaring readers.

We sat down with writer Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz (pictured, via) to discuss her new biography, Dr Mütter’s Marvels: A True Tale of Intrigue and Innovation at the Dawn of Modern Medicine. This book explores the life of Thomas Dent Mütter who is arguably one of the most eccentric medical innovators in history; his namesake museum in Philadelphia has long been considered a hot spot for horror fans. Check out the highlights from our interview below…

Q: How did you land your first book deal?
A: I had put together a proposal for my book, Dr Mütter’s Marvels, and friend of mine — who had very successfully sold his debut novel to Random House — asked if he could show it to his agent. I thanked him but explained how it likely wasn’t a good idea. That my weird and fairly grotesque book was very different than his pop culture-infused sci-fi novel, and therefore his agent likely wouldn’t be interested in my proposal. My friend said, “Cristin, if your friend who just sold his novel to Random House asks if he can show your proposal to his agent, that answer is Yes! Thank You! and that’s it.”

(more…)

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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17. Every Story Is an Escape Story

Escape Title shotHere’s a story theory of mine worth checking out:

http://writetodone.com/facts-of-fiction/

…published today on the Write to Done website.

I mean it when I say, “Check it out.” The next film you see or novel or read, examine it for the escape story it most probably is.

And if you’re writing a story, see if your protagonist isn’t escaping from some kind of prison. Of the different kind of escapes possible, one of them is the key to writing fiction that gives readers their money’s worth.

I’d love to hear your thoughts once you’ve read the post. You can comment here below, or on the Write to Done site.

I’m living in both locations for a few days.

Cheers.

PJ

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18. Bookstore MFA

new-directions-poetry-pamphlets

“At some point, it’s just you and the poems. You haven’t been told to read a poem, you haven’t been assigned a poem to critique, you haven’t been told a book’s really great, so you’re just picking up books that either speak to you or don’t. You’re just looking through book after book after book trying to find something engaging.”

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19. Creating Beautiful Chalkboard Posters for FREE!

oh yeah....I'm all into this (right now. I'm sure I'll find something else later in the week to play with)

I LOVE posting pics of cool quotes on Twitter so I went to Google images to find one and I saw this AUDACIOUS chalkboard poster.

When I went to the site, of course they were for sale on Etsy, and I thought, "No way!  I'll learn how to do it on my own!"

So I cheated a little and found some hints and tricks from other sites and blogs and then just played around with it for awhile and waa-lah!  You too, can makes these fabulous posters from scratch to share, tweet, blog, or post on your website.  All you need are a couple of great quotes (there are billions online) and start creating!;

First, you have to find a chalkboard background.  If using a Creative Commons website, make sure you add the attribution at the bottom of the background.  Here's one from Alice Keeler on Flickr:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/alicegop/13318243535/in/photolist-4U2LU1-6WB15Q-4nnLFX-6WwZF2-6WB16f-6WwZEv-64jkeP-iezaRh-7Nwmv-6SRSMe-9jQxWq-mhTtNx-mhVm7A-8H4sE5-8H4sNq

There are other ways to create chalkboards as well.  If you want a simple black background, create one in powerpoint and save it as a .jpg  My favorite is going to www.picmonkey.com   Go to design, then click on textures and there's are two chalkboard backgrounds you can use.  Canva canva.com has a background as well.

Second, it's time to start looking for some fonts you can use.  I really like dafont.com  There are several that would work including Sketchblock, Blackboard, or Chalk Hand Lettering.  You can also just choose which ones tickle your fancy.  Another MUST font to download would be Dingbats. These will be used for decorating your chalkboard.

Third, find the platform you want to use. I use Powerpoint, but if you know of something else, you can do that as well.  You can absolutely design it completely in PicMonkey (which I did with this one) and use your own fonts.  You can also use Canva, but the fonts are set on it.  Whatever you choose, you're going to have fun!

Fourth, Think outside the box.  The one I created above is pretty simple, but think about the different colors you could use for text, more elaborate shapes you could use as well as the massive amount of other sites out there.

And that's it.  Setting the entire thing up will be the longest part, but after that, the sky's the limit! Have fun and chalk to your heart's content.  Best part of it all?  You don't have to slap the erasers on a tree outside and get chalkdust up your nose, in your clothes, drying out your skin...ahhhhh school days!



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20. A School Behaves Like An Orchestra, And An Orchestra Behaves Like A School

nyphil

“Both initiatives underscored the extent to which the difficulties facing classical music in the 21st century are forcing venerable institutions to adapt, if not reinvent themselves.”

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21. Harper Teen Hardovers Giveaway! (4 Books!!)

Hold on to your britches! Thanks to Harper Teen I have a pretty amazing stack of hardcovers to pass on to one of you! Feel free to flail, and praise my extreme generosity! :P I know you're all dying to get your hands on these beauties, but sadly, only one of you will win. Who will it be? Only time will tell. One week to be exact. SO GET THEE BUSY! Enter below. Yes I do check ALL THE

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22. Announcing the Ultimate Guide to Picture Book Submissions!

I’m thrilled to announce that  my good friend and colleague, author and 12X12 Picture Book Challenge Founder Julie Hedlund, and I have officially launched our new course, The Ultimate Guide to Picture Book Submissions!

Julie and I have poured everything we know about writing query letters and the process of submitting picture books into this course. We are proud to say it is a one-stop-shopping source for EVERYTHING a picture book author needs to know about submitting picture books successfully to agents and publishers.

In fact, we guarantee that every possible question about the picture book submissions process is answered in this course. How can we make that promise? Because if anyone purchases the course and finds, after going through all the material, that a question they have is NOT answered, we’ll both answer the question AND add it to the official FAQs.

And for this weekend only, we are offering an early-bird special of $50 off the retail price of the course, bringing it down from $197 to $147. (That’s actually $3 less than my professional Query Critique service… and in true “teach-a-man-to-fish” fashion, empowers picture book authors to polish their own queries with confidence forever more.) In addition, those who purchase the course before the early-bird deadline expires will receive a BONUS gift – our comprehensive list of publishers that accept un-agented picture book submissions.

This is NOT a mere ebook, but a complete soup-to-nuts resource for crafting flawless submissions to land an agent or a book contract. Those interested can take a short video tour of everything that’s in the course HERE.

(But remember – the early-bird offer expires at midnight on Monday, November 3.)

To your submissions success!

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23. Scary Stories for Beginning Readers

Alvin Schwartz's Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark have raised goosebumps in many a child. (The truly spooky illustrations by Stephen Gammell add to the shiver factor.)  But Schwartz also compiled two collections of scary stories for those just learning to read.

In a Dark, Dark Room introduces beginning readers to scary men with long teeth, a ribbon-wearing girl with a secret, and a driver passing a cemetery who stops to pick up a young boy on a rainy night, among others.














Ghosts! continues the shivery suspense with stories about spirits from another realm. In the collection a boy and a girl explore an abandoned house, a cat haunts a pet shop, and a teeny tiny woman takes a set of teeny tiny teeth from a grave.















Both books are a delight, and it's a matter of personal taste which books' illustrations you prefer. Dirk Zimmer illustrations for In A Dark, Dark Room are deliciously eerie, while Victoria Chess's chubby ghosts are more funny than frightening.

And if you'd like to hear "The Green Ribbon," one of the stories from In a Dark, Dark Room, then click here.

Happy Halloween!

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24. ‘Boo!’ by Adam Fisher

A ghost possesses a pumpkin for a little Halloween fun.

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25. ‘Maggie’ Narrator Tavia Gilbert Earns AudioFile Earphones Award

Superstar audiobook narrator Tavia Gilbert has won yet another prestigious AudioFile Magazine Earphones Award — her fifth! More great news: Her performance of Maggie Vaults Over the Moon has been recorded and is now in post-production, almost ready for release! … Continue reading

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