This month, Kelly shares the book Poem-Mobiles: Crazy Car Poems, by Patrick J. Lewis:
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This month, Kelly shares the book Poem-Mobiles: Crazy Car Poems, by Patrick J. Lewis:
If you appreciate children's literature and want to know the stories behind your favorite stories, pick up WILD THINGS! written by Betsy Bird, Julie Danielson, and the late Peter D. Sieruta. Packed from cover-to-cover with funny stories and little known facts about famous authors, secret feuds, inspired illustrations, and classic characters, this is a great resource for readers and writers alike. The authors - all three proud bibliophiles and bloggers - clearly had fun putting this book together.
Little Willow: This book is filled with anecdotes. Is anyone in your family a master of tall tales?
Betsy: In my family we've all had a predilection towards storytelling, but then I went and married a clear cut storyteller as well. Now I'm so steeped in them that it's only natural that a book like this would be the result. Here in New York City a children's literature gathering often involves members of the old guard (people who've been working in the field for decades) so you get all kinds of fascinating stories. Seems only natural that they should have ended up in a book at some point. As for me, I actually prefer to hear anecdotes to telling them, but some of them are just too good NOT to tell.
Jules: My family isn't necessarily filled with storytellers, but I'm fascinated by storytelling. In fact, I once took a grad course on the very subject, and I loved every second of it. For my final course project, I memorized every word of Rudyard Kipling's "The Elephant's Child." That is a wonderful story to tell. I no longer have it memorized word-for-word, but it'd probably not be that challenging to re-learn, since it's probably still hiding in the cobwebbed corners of my brain. "In the High and Far-Off Times the Elephant, O Best Beloved, had no trunk...." (I love that singular beginning.)
Little Willow: That's impressive. Did any of the real-life stories change how you viewed a particular author or book?
Betsy: Well, I don't think I'll ever look at The Cricket in Times Square the same way again. That's all I'll say.
Jules: There's a very tender story about James Marshall and his mother, a story that didn't make it into our book. We did, however, share it at the site, where we are sharing stories cut from our manuscript. I'm a big Marshall fan, but this made me want to learn even more about him.
Little Willow: How did the three of you come together to write this book? Who had the first inkling that you should and would write a book together?
Betsy: That was me. I had this notion that there were some pretty amazing bloggers out there and that their sites would naturally adapt into a book format pretty well. Ironically, of the three blogs that came together here (A Fuse #8 Production, Collecting Children's Books, and Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast) mine is probably the least book-worthy. But I've an eye for talent and these guys were talented. So I reached out to them and asked if they'd be keen to work together on something. As luck would have it, they were!
Little Willow: Describe the writing process. How did you divvy up tasks between the three of you?
Betsy: First we decided which chapters should be in the book. Then we pooled all the stories we wanted to tell. Once each story was slotted into the right chapter we assigned chapters. There was a lot of swapping of stories between chapters and a lot of rewriting and editing of one another. That may account for the single "voice" found in the book.
Jules: Yep, we each worked on assigned chapters and then passed them around. We made suggestions for editing, adding, deleting, you-name-it. At one point, Peter and I were working on the same chapter and didn't even realize it. So, we eventually merged what we'd written. Whew. That worked out well!
Little Willow: What's your favorite part about collaborations? What does working with others bring out of you?
Betsy: For me, it makes me more confident about the final product. When I write something entirely on my own I may love it but there will always be this little voice in the back of my head that says I could have done more. When I work with other people who are as smart as Peter and Jules, that little voice disappears. I can feel safe and secure in the knowledge that no matter how much I screw up, they'll be there to point me in the right direction. It's an enormous relief, I can tell you.
Jules: I learned so much more about writing, I think, just by watching Betsy and Peter do their thing. And when someone edits your work, you learn TONS. I feel like if I'm a better writer at the close of this project, it's thanks to them. I love collaborating. I mean, no one likes, say, those grad school projects where you're stuck with people who don't pull their own weight OR you're assigned to a topic you hate, but if I dig my partners-in-crime and I love the subject, I'd much rather work in a group.
Little Willow: As a kid, did you have any teachers, librarians, or booksellers that you went to regularly to get (and give) book recommendations?
Betsy: Nope. And what's more, I couldn't tell you single one of their names. That said, my mom worked in an independent bookstore in Kalamazoo, Michigan and she was always suggesting books or handing books to me. My Aunt Judy was the same, so that's where I found the bulk of my recommended literature.
Jules: I didn't read a TON when I was a kid, which is why I'm trying to get caught up now! I did have a high school English lit and drama teacher who really got me fired up about reading, and I'm still friends with her. She's one of those amazing teachers you'd like to clone.
Little Willow: What aspects of blogging do you find the most enjoyable?
Betsy: I think it's a combination of the pleasure of the regularity (I am required to blog four times a week on my site), the fact that I can highlight books, people, or events that may not be getting a lot of publicity (I always alternate big publishers with little publishers in my reviews), and the different ways in which I can make my opinions known.
Jules: Hands down, I love the community. I love getting to know those folks who are as passionate about children's lit as I am. It's even better when you get to meet them in person.
Little Willow: How has blogging has changed how you read and recommend books, and how you interact with readers and authors?
Betsy: Since I work for New York Public Library and blog for School Library Journal I see a LOT of books in a given year, but there's always this sense that I'm not seeing ALL the books. And boy howdy do I want to see absolutely everything. So blogging, for me, is a way of filling in the gaps. It also allows me to recommend sites to friends who are looking to specialize in certain areas.
Jules: Well, before blogging I rarely interacted with authors and illustrators, but since I do a lot of interviews, I talk to many of them now on a pretty regular basis. As for how blogging has changed my reading habits, I tend to have less time for novels (though I still read them as much as I can), since I'm blogging about picture books and illustration. But it's worth it. I love writing about picture books and art.
Little Willow: What books did you love as a child that you still love just as much today?
Betsy: I was recently weeding my bookshelves, so this question was already in my mind. On my part, I think I'll always love Edward Eager, E. Nesbit, Tasha Tudor's A Time to Keep, various Steven Kellogg titles, The Secret Garden, The Girl With the Silver Eyes, and any number of Apple paperbacks found via the Scholastic Book Fairs.
Jules: Shel Silverstein, the Grimm Brothers, Trina Schart Hyman, Maurice Sendak, Beverly Cleary.
Little Willow: Would you rather travel with Max to meet the Wild Things, or go with Harry Potter and attend Hogwarts?
Betsy: Hogwarts. Is there any question? I wonder about folks who would say Wild Things. You'd have to be a very particular kind of person, I suspect. For me, there's no contest.
Jules: The Wild Things, without any doubt. Because maybe perhaps possibly if Sendak is there, too, we can chat.
Little Willow: Would you rather visit Narnia or Never Never Land?
Betsy: That is a very hard question. I go back and forth. Narnia, I guess. Though they both dwell in very distinct metaphors. But I should like to see a faun, so Narnia wins.
Jules: You're going to think I'm just saying the opposite of Betsy now, just to mix things up, but honestly I'd go to Never Never Land. I want to meet Mrs. Darling first, though.
Little Willow: Would you rather have a sip at the tea party in Wonderland or snag a treat from Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory?
Betsy: Wonka. Admittedly, you'd never be entirely certain what the Wonka treat would do to you, but I also suspect that the food at that tea party can't be entirely hygienic (there's a dormouse in one of the teapots, for crying out loud!). Plus there's always a chance that Wonka will look like Gene Wilder and I've always had a hardcore crush on that guy.
Jules: Well, given the theme of my blog, I gotta attend the Mad Tea-Party, yes?
Little Willow: Would you rather have the job of The Giver or be the head gamemaker for the Hunger Games?
Betsy: I don't think I'm skilled enough to pass muster as a gamemaker. I suspect I'd construct some little landscape and forget to do something essential like install the video cameras. And I'm always telling and retelling stories of the past ad nauseum anyway, so maybe I'm halfway to Giver-ship already!
Jules: Oh, The Giver! Definitely that. I recently read that book again---this time I read it aloud to my daughters---and it blows my mind how good it is.
WILD THINGS! Acts of Mischief in Children's Literature by Betsy Bird, Julie Danielson, and Peter D. Sieruta is now available at a bookstore near you.
Attack! Boss! Cheat Code! A Gamer’s Alphabet — written by me, with illustrations by Joey Spiotto — will be published this fall. It’s pretty obvious what letters A, B, and C are for, but what about the rest of the alphabet?
Our publisher, POW!, will be giving away one advance copy of the book for every letter between D and Z. How do you win one of those copies? Just guess correctly what one of those letters stands for.
But you better do it quickly, because we’ve gotten to Z and so we’re wrapping things up today. In Attack! Boss! Cheat Code! A Gamer’s Alphabet, what gaming term is represented by Z? As a clue, here’s a bit of Joey’s art for the final letter:
You can share your guess in the comments of this post, or via email, or by tweeting at me. Then POW! and I will draw one correct guess at random and get in touch with the random-correct-guesser for mailing info.
But remember: Get those guesses submitted in the next couple of days. Good luck, and thanks for playing!Add a Comment
Creative Odyssey Enterprises and Africa House Announces Its Debut Heart of a Woman African-American Emerging Women Writers 40 and Over Writers Residency Program in Gallatin, TN for October 2014.
application instructions are here.
Several lucky women will be selected to receive a two-week writing fellowship, which includes free room, board and meals, and various other perks, as they spend 14 lovely days of uninterrupted time to create, while relaxing in an historic, elegant, harmonious mansion; nestled in the gloriously plush landscaped beauty of nature and copious verdant meadows; to stimulate the muse and allow the recipients time and space to engage in creative revelry as they write, stretch their imagination, begin a new project, or to continue and complete an ongoing project.
Africa House is an elegant, expansive, historic mansion in Gallatin, TN, built on more than 30 acres of gorgeous landscape, and boasts 16,330 square ft., of luscious living. This is an elite setting where dignitaries, ambassadors, corporate leaders and other luminaries have stayed as guests of Dr. Arikana Chihombori and her husband, Dr. Nil-Saban Quao.
Africa House with its spirit of Ujamma (collective work together), also welcomes and promotes the spirit of Ubuntu (humanity working toward a common goal). Thus, we are very pleased to add the creative fervor of a variety of writing energies from several very talented emerging women writers 40 and over; to build yet another portal which supports the creative spirit in the literary arts.
Heart of a Woman's annual commitment is to develop an excellent venue, in which talented African-American Emerging Women Writers 40 and Over, can thrive, create and ultimately complete projects; once they've been granted an opportunity to devote a significant amount of uninterrupted time and concentration toward working on a particular literary project. This necessary respite affords a writer the luxury of solitude, to ruminate with their muse, conjure up new works or continue with works-in-progress; which may not be as easily accomplished while maintaining a full life of marriage with children, or single parenting, grand parenting, or full-time employment.
Our ultimate goal is to provide a dream-come-true atmosphere, conducive to creating the kind of solitude that evokes inspiration, and allows each writer the freedom to connect with the passion of her muse, in a fuller, deeper experience; which encourages exploration of one's truest voice.
CONSEQUENCE magazine, the literary magazine addressing the culture and consequences of war, is currently accepting submissions of fiction and poetry for its Spring 2015 issue. All submissions must be received by October 1st.
Guidelines for submitting can be found on our website.
CONSEQUENCE magazine, the literary magazine addressing the culture and consequences of war, announces the 2014 Consequence Prize in Fiction. The winning story will be published in the Spring 2015 issue and the author will received a cash prize of $250.
Submissions for the contest must be received by October 1st. Please visit our website for submission guidelines.
Terra Elan McVoy is a book hero in my neighborhood. Not only has she helped run the Decatur Book Festival (next weekend!) and our local children's bookstore, Little Shop of Stories, I've had the great pleasure to watch her writing career take off and blossom into a book-a-year phenomenon. So, I'm thrilled to help promote her latest (6th) novel, IN DEEP. Terra stopped by to talk about it...
BENJAMIN SALTMAN Poetry Award.
Deadline: August 31, 2014.
Final Judge: Douglas Kearney.
The winner of the 2014 Benjamin Saltman Award will be announced in 2015. Established in 1998, in honor of the poet Benjamin Saltman (1927-1999), this award is for a previously unpublished original collection of poetry. Awarded collection is selected through an annual competition which is open to all poets. This year’s final judge will be Douglas Kearney. Award is $3000 and publication of the awarded collection by Red Hen Press.
Entry fee is $25.00. Name on cover sheet only, 48 page minimum. Send SASE for notification. Entries must be postmarked by August 31.
Go here for more information.
Thanks to my sister for recommending this book to me. SUCH a good story. What made the book for me: the main character, Catherine. She is entirely believable, funny and flawed, and I fell in love with her right away. HIGHLY recommended.
Here's a great interview with Cynthia Lord about Rules on Cynsations, where she talks about having a son with autism and how she wanted to explore the unique dynamics that exist in a family that has a child with severe special needs. Rules was her first published book!
You can find out more about Cynthia at her website: http://cynthialord.com/rules.html
I recently bought her newest book, HALF A CHANCE, and can't wait to read it!
More about the book on the Scholastic website: http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/bookwizard/books-by/cynthia-lord
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I have a question for you (I have only read so far back on your blog posts, so I apologize if you have addressed this farther back) regarding anonymity. My first novel that I am working on right now is a bit like Grisham, Crichton, and King having an orgy produced love child with Veronica Mars, including Big Themes about free will, power structures, Biblical metaphors, neuropsychogy, feminism and the nature of creative vs destructive genius all wrapped up in the palatable presentation of a suspense novel from a female perspective (with a tiny bit of sarcastic comic relief interspersed throughout to play with the tension - I have been writing/performing stand-up comedy for 2 years).
I would love to write across genres as I have always been a fan of horror, scifi, fantasy, and suspense. I also would like to avoid fame as long as possible so that I may continue to interact with real humans in order to continue widening my reality tunnel so I can understand as many diverse perspectives as possible.
Would a literary agent take on a writer who has the desire to avoid fame under one name, instead preferring to write under a variety of names, or is the publishing industry as such that they rely on the Cult of Personality to sell books?
I have found that people only pay attention to the message for so long before they begin deifying the messenger instead. I would rather people understand the complex scientific and philosophical concepts I am translatong into more common language through metaphor while enjoying the entertainment aspects instead of just blindly worshipping a favorite author. I am aware that it may sound like hubris to imagine myself as a literary rock star, but I have confidence in my wisdom and understanding of humanity and my ability to convey that in various metaphorical languages for wide audiences.
Given that I would like to remain relatively unknown for as long as possible, should I go the literary agent/publishing house or the self publishing route?
Thanks in advance and I hope that wasn't a duplicate question.
In the first autumn of World War I, a German infantryman from the 25th Reserve Division sent this pithy greeting to his children in Schwarzenberg, Saxony.
11 November 1914
My dear little children!
How are you doing? Listen to your mother and grandmother and mind your manners.
Heartfelt greetings to all of you!
Your loving Papa
He scrawled the message in looping script on the back of a Feldpostkarte, or field postcard, one that had been designed for the Bahlsen cookie company by the German artist and illustrator Änne Koken. On the front side of the postcard, four smiling German soldiers share a box of Leibniz butter cookies as they stand on a grassy, sun-stippled outpost. The warm yellow pigment of the rectangular sweets seems to emanate from the opened care package, flushing the cheeks of the assembled soldiers with a rosy tint.
German citizens posted an average of nearly 10 million pieces of mail to the front during each day of World War I, and German service members sent over 6 million pieces in return; postcards comprised well over half of these items of correspondence. For active duty soldiers, postage was free of charge. Postcards thus formed a central and a portable component of wartime visual culture, a network of images in which patriotic, sentimental, and nationalistic postcards formed the dominant narrative — with key moments of resistance dispatched from artists and amateurs serving at the front.
The first postcards were permitted by the Austrian postal service in 1869 and in Germany one year later. (The Post Office Act of 1870 allowed for the first postcards to be sold in Great Britain; the United States followed suit in 1873.) Over the next four decades, Germany emerged as a leader in the design and printing of colorful picture postcards, which ranged from picturesque landscapes to tinted photographs of famous monuments and landmarks. Many of the earliest propaganda postcards, at the turn of the twentieth century, reproduced cartoons and caricatures from popular German humor magazines such as Simplicissimus, a politically progressive journal that moved toward an increasingly reactionary position during and after World War I. Indeed, the majority of postcards produced and exchanged between 1914 and 1918 adopted a sentimental style that matched the so-called “hurrah kitsch” of German official propaganda.
Beginning in 1914, the German artist and Karlsruhe Academy professor Walter Georgi produced 24 patriotic Feldpostkarten for the Bahlsen cookie company in Hannover. In a postcard titled Engineers Building a Bridge (1915), a pair of strong-armed sappers set to work on a wooden trestle while a packet of Leibniz butter cookies dangle conspicuously alongside their work boots.
These engineering troops prepared the German military for the more static form of combat that followed the “Race to the Sea” in the fall of 1914; they dug and fortified trenches and bunkers, built bridges, and developed and tested new weapons — from mines and hand grenades to flamethrowers and, eventually, poison gas.
Georgi’s postcard designs for the Bahlsen company deploy the elegant color lithography he had practiced as a frequent contributor to the Munich Art Nouveau journal Jugend (see Die Scholle).In another Bahlsen postcard titled “Hold Out in the Roaring Storm” (1914), Georgi depicted a group of soldiers wearing the distinctive spiked helmets of the Prussian Army. Their leader calls out to his comrades with an open mouth, a rifle slung over his shoulder, and a square package of Leibniz Keks looped through his pinkie finger. In a curious touch that is typical of First World War German patriotic postcards, both the long-barreled rifles and the soldier’s helmets are festooned with puffy pink and carmine flowers.
These lavishly illustrated field postcards, designed by artists and produced for private industry, could be purchased throughout Germany and mailed, traded, or collected in albums to express solidarity with loved ones in active duty. The German government also issued non-pictorial Feldpostkarten to its soldiers as an alternate and officially sanctioned means of communication. For artists serving at the front, these 4” x 6” blank cards provided a cheap and ready testing ground at a time when sketchbooks and other materials were in short supply. The German painter Otto Schubert dispatched scores of elegant watercolor sketches from sites along the Western Front; Otto Dix, likewise, sent hundreds of illustrated field postcards to Helene Jakob, the Dresden telephone operator he referred to as his “like-minded companion,” between June 1915 and September 1918. These sketches (see Rüdiger, Ulrike, ed. Grüsse aus dem Krieg: die Feldpostkarten der Otto-Dix-Sammlung in der Kunstgalerie Gera, Kunstgalerie Gera 1991) convey details both minute and panoramic, from the crowded trenches to the ruined fields and landmarks of France and Belgium. Often, their flip sides contain short greetings or cryptic lines of poetry written in both German and Esperanto.
Dix enlisted for service in 1914 and saw front line action during the Battle of the Somme, in August 1916, one of the largest and costliest offensives of World War I that spanned nearly five months and resulted in casualties numbering more than one million. By September of 1918, the artist had been promoted to staff sergeant and was recovering from injuries at a field hospital near the Western Front. He sent one of his final postcard greetings to Helene Jakob on the reverse side of a self-portrait photograph, in which he stands with visibly bandaged legs and one hand resting on his hip. Dix begins the greeting in Esperanto, but quickly shifts to German to report on his condition: “I’ve been released from the hospital but remain here until the 28th on a course of duty. I’m sending you a photograph, though not an especially good one. Heartfelt greetings, your Dix.” Just two months later, the First World War ended in German defeat.
The post Dispatches from the Front: German Feldpostkarten in World War I appeared first on OUPblog.
I have another whirlwind moment to share.
After I turned this blog back on yesterday I felt the need to get away for a while. To draw near to the Lord. And as I pulled out of the drive it was very obvious there was a power struggle going on. I could feel it in the air. As if there is a battle heading up in huge proportions. I felt as if I were in the middle of it.
I got a milkshake and I did a once through of the thrift shop- went on my way praying over a bed (frame) that would cost about one tenth of the one I had dreamed up in my head for her majesty's birthday present in two weeks. I prayed it would still be there when I had money in hand, and the price would be down to one I feel comfortable paying for a used item.
I was just minding my own business.
No, not for a bed.
For the Lord.
I turned onto the main street, and I began to go up the hill by the hospital (on my way to the river to be alone with the Lord). As I began to accelerate up the hill, a trucker pulled up in the left lane (had his left turn signal on, so I thought, Okay?!). I was in the right lane.
Something said to give that truck the once over so I could identify it. Couldn't figure out why I need to do that, until it began to pull over into the right lane (left turn signal still blinking).
He didn't even see me.
He kept pulling into my lane where I was.
Fear and anger almost overcame me.
Finally there was a parking lot right across from the hospital.
Submissions Call: Iron Horse Literary Review's Bedroom Issue
Deadline Sept. 19, 2014
This February, the movie adaptation of 50 Shades hits theaters, and in response to it and our strong belief that sex can be written so much better, we're putting together the Iron Horse Literary Review Bedroom Issue. We're asking serious writers to take an artistic look at love, intimacy, and the complications of sex. Send stories, poems, and essays that capture private moments and use them to narrate the power of human experience.
Send work between August 18th and September 19th.
We pay $100 per prose piece, $40 per poem/short-short. Learn more about the journal here.
Written and Illustrated by Stefan Page
Chronicle Books 3/04/2014
Age 1 to 3 14 pages
“TO MARKET! TO MARKET! We are on our way! Visit local farmers, fill baskets with fresh fruits and vegetables, and then head home to coo a healthy feast all with your goodies from the farmer’s market!”
“To market, to market, we are on our way.”
What little one does not like going to the store with mom and dad? Farmer’s Market takes young children to an open farmer’s market where they can pick out the day’s groceries from assortment of fine stalls with fresh fruit and vegetables. Start at the dairy and pick up eggs, milk, and a slab of cheese. Next pick out fresh vegetables like lettuce, radishes, onions, celery, and potatoes. Now add those fruits. Choose from tomatoes, strawberries, blueberries, black berries, mushrooms, and kiwi. With a full basket you are ready to head home.
“To kitchen, to kitchen, we, chop, stew,and bake.”
All that is left now is to wait for our feast and watch Daddy ice the cake. Ready? Let’s eat!
Farmer’s Market is a nice board book for younger children interested in grocery shopping, food, or spending time with mom and dad on errand—this time grocery shopping. The view is that of the child as seen in the line waiting for something, the view is of adult legs and hands holding shopping baskets. Oddly, none of the people with stalls to sell food from have a smile. Their looks are one of disinterest.
The pages are thicker than normal so little fingers have a much harder time tearing them. The pages also have a nice finish that let’s things like peanut butter and jelly wipe off the surface without leaving a stain. And the book is the perfect size (6” x 6”) for little ones to carry and read.
The illustrations in Farmer’s market are basic, making it easier for young kids to understand and know what is illustrated. Each spread has a basic color in the background, such as yellow, green, and orange. The items pictures are large and easy to recognize. Kids will enjoy finding the item you ask them to find, or simply pointing to each and telling you hat it is. They could also then find the same item in your refrigerator or the next time you go to the grocer.
Young children will enjoy reading Farmer’s Market with mom and dad. It can prepare them for an actual trip or help them understand what each item you buy looks like. I think this is sturdy little book for little fingers can help kids learn about basic food, grocery shopping, and enjoying the entire process—especially the cake Dad is icing. Farmer’s Market is Stefan Page’s debut. Also available to enhance the child’s experience are a Farmers’ Market Mobile
and ABC Flash Cards. (images below)
“To table, to table, it is time to dig in!”
WE’RE GOING TO THE FARMER’S MARKET. Text and illustrations copyright © 2014 by Stefan Page. Reproduce by permission of the publisher, Chronicle Books, San Francisco, CA.
Learn more about Farmer’s Market HERE.
Copyright © 2014 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews
In your pitch, you need to give the concept of your book.
Here is a recent job I completed illustrating a series of music books for upper grades.
This trailer just left me cold. You impressed or excited? meh.Add a Comment