I feel I have been a little remiss as one of my goals with this interview series over the past three years has been to highlight up-and-coming illustrators, who are not yet published but whom I want to get on … Continue readingAdd a Comment
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Blog: Miss Marple's Musings (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: Illustrators, Interview, 12x12, Carson Ellis., Dillweed’s Revenge, Florence Parry Heide, Gaugain, illustrator interviews, Julie Hedlund, kidlit411, picture books, Toulouse Lautrec, Yvonne Mes, Add a tag
Blog: Noblemania (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: Bill the Boy Wonder, book promotion, Add a tag
One of the things that Bill Finger, star of Bill the Boy Wonder: The Secret Co-Creator of Batman, was known for was including larger-than-life everyday objects in his scripts.
At BookExpo America 2010, I was thrilled to see a 10x10 foot typewriter in the booth of Abrams Books (to promote the book Monumental: The Reimagined World of Kevin O’Callaghan):
I contacted the Kevin, hoping there would be an opportunity to borrow/rent his titanic typewriter for a Bill the Boy Wonder promotional event in New York. While oversized cool, the typewriter alone would not be enough.
We’d need a Batman as well. And I knew just the one:
I didn’t hear back, and no such event materialized, but the vision persists in my mind. Add a Comment
Blog: Musings of a Novelista (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: Writer Journey, Add a tag
My vacation starts tomorrow!
I’ll be spending some time off the grid in the Caribbean for awhile. I’m taking LOTS of books with me to-be-read (TBR). Not sure if I’ll be able to read all of them between relaxing and being fabulous. Ha.
I don’t know about you but there are SO. MANY. BOOKS. I want to read. For this trip, I have a sort of science fiction theme going but I also have some fun fiction, craft, and memoir in the mix as well.
Here’s what I plan on taking with me on my trip:
In the After by Demitria Lunetta
Cress by Marissa Meyer
Lilith’s Brood by Octavia Butler
The Martian by Andy Weir
Redefining Realness by Janet Mock
Conversations with Octavia Butler edited by Conseula Francis
The Awesome Girl’s Guide to Dating Extraordinary Men by Ernessa T. Carter
The Authentic Swing by Steven Pressfield
Read any good books lately? Let me know about them so when I get back I can add them to my already growing, leaning tower of TBR books!
Blog: Emilyreads (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: adult, book crush, certain humiliation, fiction, graphic novel, haiku, kitsch, liked it, young adult, Add a tag
Why am I just now
discovering the awesomeness
that is S.G.?
The Adventures of Superhero Girl by Faith Erin Hicks. Dark Horse Comics, 2013, 112 pages.
Blog: print & pattern (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: DESIGNERS, GRADUATES, Add a tag
Graduate Collection is a retail concept, which works with the exciting design talent that emerges fresh from UK colleges. Graduate Collection was founded by British businessman Mario Forsyth and helps support new designers and turn their collections into reality, from manufacture through to marketing and retail, and placing them in their stylish online store. At Graduate Collection, all of theAdd a Comment
Blog: RabbleBoy (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: Book Reviews, find items, hidden object game book, Michael O'Mara, puzzle book, where's the zombie, where's waldo zombie style, work book, workbook, zombie, Add a tag
The fight for survival against zombies has begun! A thriller of a search book that is not for the faint of heart.
Readers will be amused, entertained, and terrified as they hunt for the family of zombies among the crowds. The virus is spreading and nowhere is safe. It’s a scramble for survival as the number of zombies grows with every turn of the page. From a hospital under quarantine and an underground bunker, to a White House evacuation and full-scale battle in the streets, zombie fans will love this scary and supernatural search book. With 10 specific zombies to spot in every scene, readers can follow the story from outbreak to apocalypse, with tons of dark detail and gruesomely funny illustrations on every packed page.
Get this book now on Amazon.com Where’s the Zombie?
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Blog: Bookshelves of Doom (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: Books - Juvenile, News, Add a tag
For Spring 2014, The Carle is creating a special exhibition to celebrate this new book. We will showcase the original work of the 14 published artists as well as a digital exhibition from friends from around the world.
We invite Artists of all ages to submit a digital image of an original work of art depicting your own favorite animal. Your submission will be available on a digital screen in our gallery from April 8-August 31 and will be included in an online exhibition that will live on our museum’s blog. Submissions will be accepted from now until August 1, 2014.
Thank you for your interest in this project. All royalties from What’s Your Favorite Animal?,published by Holt and Company, benefit The Carle and its educational programs!
Relatedly, there's a Harriet the Spy Turns Fifty (FIFTY!) exhibit coming up, and I'm thinking that a trip is very definitely in order for that one.Add a Comment
Blog: The Fourth Musketeer (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: biography, picture-book, women's history, Add a tag
Patricia Polacco is one of our great contemporary picture book authors, and specializes in picture books with serious content such as racism, disabilities, and even cancer, making them appropriate for older elementary school readers. In her newest book, which fits in perfectly for Women's History Month, she explores the girlhood of one of the most famous female figures of the 19th century, Clara Barton.
Clara was the fifth child to be born into the Barton family in Massachusetts, and with her mother in ill health, she was virtually raised by her siblings, particularly her older brother Davie, whom she adored. Joyous illustrations in Polacco's signature style show Davie showing Clara how to ride on a horse while she flings her arms in the air in delight. She helped Davie with his chores on the farm, and had an immediate affinity for nature and particularly with animals. But she had a speech impediment that made her shy and afraid of people; because no one understood this sort of problem in that day, her older sister punished her for not speaking correctly. School was a nightmare for her, and finally her parents agreed she could be taught at home. Even as a young girl, Clara had healing hands and neighbors let her treat their farm animals. When Clara's beloved brother Davie breaks both legs in an accident, she becomes his nurse and with her coaxing, urges him back to health, giving him the courage to try to walk again.
This is a touching introduction to a famous woman from history from a unique perspective--her love for her brother. Children will be able to easily identify with Clara's inhibitions, her love for nature, and animals, and her desire to help her brother heal. An author's note tells more about Barton's career as a teacher, nurse, and founder of the American Red Cross. In an intriguing author's note, we learn that Patricia Polacco herself is distantly related to Clara Barton, on her mother's side of the family, and they own a vase which is reputed to once have belonged to Clara Barton herself.
See Mary Ann Scheuer and Louise Capizzio's post on Kidlit Celebrates Women's History Month for more great suggestions on how to pair this book with other resources on Clara Barton. Add a Comment
Blog: A Fuse #8 Production (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: Best Books, Best Books of 2014, Reviews, Reviews 2014, 2014 fantasy, 2014 middle grade fiction, 2014 reviews, 2015 Newbery contender, abrams, Amulet Books, historical fantasy, Jonathan Auxier, middle grade fantasy, middle grade historical fantasy, Patrick Arrasmith, Add a tag
For whatever reason, 2014 is a dark year in children’s middle grade fiction. I speak from experience. Fantasy in particular has been steeped in a kind of thoughtful darkness, from The Glass Sentence and The Thickety to The Riverman and Twelve Minutes to Midnight with varying levels of success. And though none would contest the fact that they are creepy, only Jonathan Auxier’s The Night Gardener has had the chutzpah to actually write, “A Scary Story” on its title pages as a kind of thoughtful dare. A relatively new middle grade author, still young in the field, reading this book it’s hard to reconcile it with Auxier’s previous novel Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes. It is almost as if Mr. Auxier took his whimsy, pulled out a long sharp stick, and stabbed it repeatedly in the heart and left it to die in the snow so as to give us a sublimely horrific little novel. Long story short this novel is Little Shop of Horrors meets The Secret Garden. I hope I’m not giving too much away by saying that. Even if I am, I regret nothing. Here we have a book that ostensibly gives us an old-fashioned tale worthy of Edgar Allan Poe, but that steeps it in a serious and thought provoking discussion of the roles of both lies and stories when you’re facing difficulties in your life. Madcap brilliant.
Molly and Kip are driving a fish cart, pulled by a horse named Galileo, to their deaths. That’s what everyone’s been telling them anyway. Living without parents, Molly sees herself as her brother’s guardian and is intent upon finding a safe place for the both of them. When she’s hired to work as a servant at the mysterious Windsor estate she thinks the job might be too good to be true. Indeed, the place (located deep in something called “the sour woods”) is a decrepit old mansion falling apart at the seams. The locals avoid it and advise the kids to do so too. Things are even stranger inside. The people who live in the hollow home appear to be both pale and drawn. And it isn’t long before both Molly and Kip discover the mysterious night gardener, who enters the house unbidden every evening, tending to a tree that seems to have a life of its own. A tree that can grant you your heart’s desire if you would like. And all it wants in return? Nothing you’d ever miss. Just a piece of your soul.
For a time, the book this most reminded me of was M.P. Kozlowsky’s little known Juniper Berry, a title that could rival this one in terms of creepiness. Both books involve trees and wishes and souls tied into unlawful bargains with dark sources. There the similarities end, though. Auxier has crafted with undeniable care a book that dares to ask whether or not the things we wish for are the things best for us in the end. His storytelling works in large part too because he gives us a unique situation. Here we have two characters that are desperately trying to stay in an awful, dangerous situation by any means necessary. You sympathize with Molly’s dilemma at the start, but even though you’re fairly certain there’s something awful lurking beneath the surface of the manor, you find yourself rooting for her, really hoping that she gets the job of working there. It’s a strange sensation, this dual hope to both save the heroine and plunge her into deeper danger.
What really made The Night Gardener stand out for me, however, was that the point of the book (insofar as I could tell) was to establish storytelling vs. lies. At one point Molly thinks seriously about what the difference between the two might be. “Both lies and stories involved saying things that weren’t true, but somehow the lies inside the stories felt true.” She eventually comes to the conclusion that lies hurt people and stories help them, a statement that is met with agreement on the part of an old storyteller named Hester who follows the words up with, “But helps them to do what?” These thoughts are continued later when Molly considers further and says, “A story helps folks face the world, even when it frightens ‘em. And a lie does the opposite. It helps you hide.” Nuff said.
As I mentioned before, Auxier’s previous novel Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes was his original chapter book debut. As a devotee of Peter Pan and books of that ilk, it felt like more of an homage at times that a book that stood on its own two feet. In the case of The Night Gardener no such confusion remains. Auxier’s writing has grown some chest hair and put on some muscles. Consider, for example, a moment when Molly has woken up out of a bad dream to find a dead leaf in her hair. “Molly held it up against the window, letting the moonlight shine through its brittle skin. Tiny twisted veins branched out from the center stem – a tree inside a tree.” I love the simplicity of that. Particularly when you take into account the fact that the tree that created the leaf may not have been your usual benign sapling.
In the back of the book in his Author’s Note Auxier acknowledges his many influences when writing this. Everything from Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes to The Sketch-Book of Geoffrey Crayon Gent. by Washington Irving to Frances Hodgson Burnett’s simple only on the surface The Secret Garden. All these made sense to me (though I’m not familiar with the Irving yet) but I wondered if there were other ties out there as well. For example, the character of Hester, an old storyteller and junk woman, reminded me of nothing so much as the junk woman character in the Jim Henson film Labyrinth. A character that in that film also straddles the line between lies and stories and how lying to yourself only does you harm. Coincidence or influence? Only Mr. Auxier knows for sure.
If I am to have any kind of a problem with the book then perhaps it is with the Irish brogue. Not, I should say, that any American child is even going to notice it. Rather, it’ll be adults like myself that can’t help but see it and find it, ever so briefly, takes us out of the story. I don’t find it a huge impediment, but rather a pebble sized stumbling block, barely standing in the way of my full enjoyment of the piece.
In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, J.K. Rowling offers some very good advice on dealing with uncertain magical beings. “Never trust anything that can think for itself if you can’t see where it keeps its brain.” Would that our heroes in this book had been handed such advice early in life, but then I guess we wouldn’t have much of a story to go on, now would we? In the end, the book raises as many questions as it answers. Do we, as humans, have an innate fear of becoming beholden to the plants we tend? Was the villain of the piece’s greatest crime to wish away death? Maybe the Peter Pan influence still lingers in Mr. Auxier’s pen, but comes out in unexpected ways. This is the kind of book that would happen if Captain Hook, a man most afraid of the ticking of a clock, took up horticulture instead of piracy. But the questions about why we lie to ourselves and why we find comfort in stories are without a doubt the sections that push this book from mere Hammer horror to horror that makes you stop and think, even as you run like mad to escape the psychopaths on your heels. Smart and terrifying by turns, hand this book to the kid who supped of Coraline and came back to you demanding more. Sweet creepy stuff.
On shelves May 20th.
Source: Galley sent from publisher for review.
Like This? Then Try:
- Juniper Berry by M.P. Kozlowsky
- Coraline by Neil Gaiman
- The Mostly True Story of Jack by Kelly Barnhill
- The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place: The Mysterious Howling by Maryrose Wood
- The Boneshaker by Kate Milford
Professional Reviews: A star from KirkusAdd a Comment
My YA novel is a story about how the 14 year old narrator along with her mother, escapes from her abusive father. The father tracks them down and eventually kills the mother and rapes the narrator leaving her for dead. The story is really about how she recovers from this violence. My question: how much of this do I mention in the query. Is giving away the entire plot a bad idea?
Giving away the entire plot is a terrible idea.
The purpose of a query letter is to entice an agent to read more, not tell the entire story. If you tell the entire plot, I have no incentive to to read more.
And, I must caution you that your email reveals a bigger problem than how much plot to reveal. You need to be very very careful how you couch the backstory.
When I read your question for this blog post, I felt like I'd been smacked in the face by the violence.
And while violence IS a part of YA books, and certainly a part of the books on my list, it's violence in context. You've given me no context here. Of course, that wasn't your purpose, your question is about how much plot to reveal.
BUT if you start your query with how you started this email, it will be a problem. Remember, YA is in many ways about the feelings and emotions of the characters, not what happens. You don't have any of that in the email.
There's a brilliant piece in Issue 59 of Tin House magazine** called The Soundproof Room by Lacy M. Johnson. Read that to see how she brings the reader in, beguiles the reader into caring very deeply about what happens. This is a heart wrenching excerpt of a memoir. If you'd queried me to read it in bald-faced terms, I would have said no, but once I started, there was simply no putting it down.
**If you don't subscribe, your library probably does. Add a Comment
Every story needs a protagonists, but it doesn't always need an antagonist.
Blog: A Year of Reading (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: guest reviews, science fiction, Add a tag
I really loved the book Life on Mars by Jennifer Brown. When I first saw the book I thought it will be a non-fiction book but when I started reading it I figured out it was fiction. This book is about a boy named Arcturus Betelgeuse Chambers, most people call him Arty. Arty was named after the Alpha star in the constellation Bootes. The Alpha star is the brightest star in the constellation. All of the Chambers family is named after stars. Arty’s sister Cassi is named after the star Cassiopeia. But Cassiopeia dosen’t like being called by her name she likes to be called Cassi.
Arty has been working on something to connect to Mars, and find Martians. The machine he has been working on is called CICM, it stands for Clandestine Interplanetary Communication. Arty and his friend Tripp thinks that Arty’s next door neighbor, who they call “ Mr. Death,” is a zombie, because every night he goes behind their house in his black hoodie with his trash bag and a box and comes out in the morning.
Aunt Sarin has to stay with Arty and his sisters while their parents go to search for house in Las Vegas (A really bright city where you can’t see stars because of the light pollution.) But when Aunt Sarin has to go to the hospital because she is having a baby, Arty has to stay with Mr. Death.
Arty discovers that Mr. Death loves space just like he does, and they become friends. Arty and Mr. Death work on CICM together and decide to name it HUEY instead of CICM. Arty soon discovers a terrible secret about Mr. Death.
Blog: Great Kid Books (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: ages 5-8, ages 8-12, nonfiction, picture books, read-alouds, Women's History Month, Add a tag
"What do you mean, they didn't write much about women? That's so unfair!"Emily, age 10
Founding MothersRoberts begins this picture book with letter explaining to readers how she came to write this book. It's a wonderful way to begin, because it personalizes the story for children, explaining why Roberts felt it was so important to write this and share these women's stories.
Remembering the Ladies
by Cokie Roberts
illustrated by Diane Goode
your local library
"I don't remember ever being taught anything about the women who lived at the time the thirteen American colonies decided to break from Britain and build a country. I knew nothing of the mothers, wives, sisters, daughters and female friends of the men who wrote the Declaration of Independence, fought in the revolution, created the Constitution, and formed our first government."Roberts profiles ten women who were influential in the founding of the country, whether directly through their own writing or actions, or indirectly through the men they supported. She writes of Deborah Read Franklin, who ran her husband Ben Franklin's businesses in the States while he was in England. Goode's illustrations are lively and engaging, as you can see below.
A Year of Reading, describes how she might use the book:
"Even just the conversation about what makes a person influential would be fascinating, as would a discussion of the problem of how to know historic women deeply when they often did not leave a trail of primary source material for historians to study."Roberts' writing is clear and concise, providing just enough information to pique children's interest. At times, I wish that she had shared more about where she found her information, or perhaps just a few more quotes from the women themselves. But I can understand how this might have weighed down the text too much. It's a delicate balance. Kids who are interested in learning more will definitely be interested in checking out the websites listed in the back.
For students who are interested in women's lives during this period, definitely check out the Colonial Williamsburg web site. Kids will like their new article "Martha Washington and 4 great 18th century women you've never heard of." I especially like their profiles of different women who lived and worked in Williamsburg, shedding light on the different roles and activities of a range of social classes.
Do you like sharing nonfiction picture books with children? Definitely check out the weekly feature over at Kid Lit Frenzy, hosted by Alyson Beecher.
The review copy was kindly sent by the publishers, Harper Collins. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books (at no cost to you!). Thank you for your support.
©2014 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books Add a Comment
Blog: Cait's Write... (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: Cartoons, comics, food, nutrition, recovery treatments, running, Add a tag
Us runners sure do a number on our poor tummies. All the pounding, up, down, fast, jiggling, jiving…if our stomaches and intestines could speak I can only imagine the expletives they’d be yelling at us!
Actually, those stomaches and intestines of runners DO speak…just with things much more powerful, dare I even say explosive, than words. Yes, runners and their guts are stuck in a state of ongoing negotiations.
“PLEASE behave for my long run, preeeettty please!!” the runner’s silent prayer before heading out the door.
Runners plan their foods accordingly, learn from trial and error, we do our best to set ourselves up to avoid a stomach related attack but sometimes it feels like we’re in some kind of peace-treaty contract negotiation House of Cards style.
Those runner guts are testy, moody, volatile. Sometimes there is just NO pleasing them despite what feels like us doing our best to abide by the ‘rules’.
Today let’s talk about those post-run, especially post-workout tummies and guts. After all that jiggling and jiving lots of runners complain of feeling nauseous, that food is the LEAST appealing thing in the world, and sometimes runners actually struggle to keep food down.
The issue is that runners ALSO know how incredibly important refueling your body and muscles is within the first 30 minutes of finishing your workouts. In order to maximize your recovery (upwards of 60% better) so you can come back stronger, it really is crucial to find something, anything that will get into your system and STAY there.
This is an occasion where liquids can be a runner’s best friend. If you struggle with keeping actual food down due to an upset stomach after your runs and hard workouts take it to the liquids. Recovery drinks and smoothies can get you those essential protein amino acids and carbs to repair those muscles.
Recently Clif sent me a care package, among the bars (which I already knew I liked and enjoy), they introduced me to their recovery and electrolyte drinks. I hadn’t tried either of those so was interested to test them out.
Clif Protein Recovery Drink
I sampled the Orange Mango and really liked it. I tried it mixed in with a smoothie (berries and other fruit) and I also tried it just mixed with water. It’s sweet but not overpoweringly so, and plenty tasty on it’s own just with the water.
Each pack has 170 calories and 10 grams of protein. If there was anything I would change or suggest it would be if there were more grams of protein. Ideally, post-run and post-workout you want at least 25 grams of protein. But other than that, I really liked this one…it also comes in Chocolate and while I didn’t try this flavor, really I’ve not met something chocolate I don’t enjoy.
Clif Electrolyte Hydration Drink
These little guys come in tiny sleeves and are really easy to carry around and stash in a bag. I tried the Cranberry Raz and it was a win in the taste department. The thing with hydration for runners is this is an ALL DAY thing, you need to continually be drinking water and fluids…not just right before or after your runs.
I’ve also explained a lot how crucial it is to drink not JUST water, but to find electrolyte replacement drinks to ensure your balances there are correct. Especially with the potassium and sodium. So this is why the market for electrolyte drinks has exploded the past few years. Taste-wise Clif nailed it. The only recommendations I have is that they offer a few with less calories…one pack is 80 calories because it also contains the simple sugars.
If you’re actually RUNNING (ie: part of your marathon training fueling strategy) you DO need that quickly digested glucose. But, if you’re not and you’re just needing the electrolytes the extra carbs and calories may not be what you need.
Thank you, Clif, for sending me these to test out and review!! All their products are available online and I’ve seen them in lots of stores too.
Soooo, while I STILL feel entitled to complain and be irked at my stomach any and every time it causes me trouble…on some level, when I imagine the bumping, jumping, jiving, and all that other stuff it has to put up with I can kinda sympathize with it for putting up with me as much as it does!
Treat your stomaches with care, Runners!
1) If you’ve had a dialogue with your stomach how did it go? Do you say a little hope/prayer before long runs?? haha.
2) Something you’ve learned about running and nutrition lately?
3) Have you tried either the Clif Recovery or Electrolyte Drinks?
Blog: Carrie Jones (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: twitter, Add a tag
- Tue, 20:02: My Very First Blog Post from 2005 - PLEASE DO NOT READ IT IF YOU ARE EASILY OFFENDED! http://t.co/V1i2tx5FKj
Blog: Karen Cioffi Writing for Children and More (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: freelance writing, manuscript formatting, writing advice, Add a tag
By Karen Cioffi I was recently asked to look over a children’s fiction picture book manuscript. This was not a paying job, just a favor. The ‘new to writing’ authors, who are both health care professionals, had already been calling major publishers to find out submission requirements. They were told their manuscript would not be looked at without an agent. So, they went to the library toAdd a Comment
Blog: Pub(lishing) Crawl (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: Writing Life, Adam Silvera, Amie Kaufman, Biljana Likic, E.C. Myers, Erin Bowman, JJ, Joanna Volpe, Jodi Meadows, Jordan Hamessley London, Julie Eshbaugh, Kat Zhang, Susan Dennard, Writing, Add a tag
Jordan Hamessley London
and the Pub(lishing) Crawl Gang!
About three months ago, I had a life change. I left my job at Grosset & Dunlap at Penguin to become an Editor at Egmont USA. It was a very exciting move for me, if a bit scary. Grosset had been my first publishing job and my first “real job” out of college. I had a ton of memories there and it felt like my second home.
When I arrived at Egmont in December, I was thrilled to begin working on a new list and with a new team, but I realized something was missing. Now, this may sound crazy, but hear me out.
My desk at Grosset had been very lived over the course of my five years there, I had acquired numerous action figures, plush toys, photos, and trinkets from my authors. When I got home from my first day at Egmont, I knew I needed to bring in the little things that would make my desk feel like “home” again. What are those things?
Well, my Benjamin Linus bobblehead, of course.
And my paper machete, inspired by an amazing typo written by one of authors (attempting to spell papier mâché) and what I use on particularly intense edits!
At last, my workspace was complete!
My journey to complete my new workspace made me wonder where all of the other Pub(lishing) Crawl members do their work. Here’s a sneak peek at where they write/agent/and sell their books!
The Pub(lishing) Crawl team is a great example of how everyone has a different place where they work. What makes your workspace unique and special to you?
Jordan Hamessley London is an Editor at Egmont USA, where she edits middle grade and YA. Her current titles include Isla J. Bick’s new series, The Dark Passages (#1 White Space), Bree DeSpain’s new series Into the Dark (#1 The Shadow Prince), and more. Prior to Egmont, Jordan worked at Grosset and Dunlap, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers where she edited Adam-Troy Castro’s middle grade horror series Gustav Gloom, Ben H. Winters and Adam F. Watkin’s series of horror poetry Literally Disturbed, Michelle Schusterman’s I Heart Band series, Adam F. Watkins’s alphabet picture book R is for Robot and more. When not editing, Jordan can be found on twitter talking about books, scary movies, and musical theater.Add a Comment
Blog: Liz's Book Snuggery (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: 3-5, 5-8, African-American History, Picture Books, Way Back Wednesday, Women's History, Marybeth Lorbiecki, Sister Anne’s Hands, Wendy Bopp, Add a tag
Sister Anne’s Hands
By Marybeth Lorbiecki; illustrated by Wendy Bopp
March is Women’s History Month and March 8th through 14th is the first ever National Catholic Sisters Week that is intended to celebrate the generations of sisters who have taught in schools, served in nursing homes, orphanages and hospitals throughout the United States. Generally they were the glue that, in many ways, held the institution of the Catholic Church together seamlessly. And they did this all with a quiet determination and dedication with little recognition other than the conviction that their lives and the thousands they touched, were a testament to the faith they believed in. Sadly their numbers are dwindling as young people choose other avenues of service.
All of this put me in mind of a wonderful picture book I remember called, “Sister Anne’s Hands” by Marybeth Lorbiecki with illustrations by Wendy Bopp.
Sister Anne is an African-American sister teaching in a parochial school in the 60’s. Her teaching and storytelling methods are inventive and interesting as Wendy Bopp’s illustrations portray Sister Anne’s students held in rapt attention when she speaks. Just imagine how hard that was to pull off with 50 something children in an average class at that time! The picture book’s story is told through the eyes of young Anna, a student in Sister Anne’s class who is confused when she overhears her parents say, “I don’t know how a woman of her color is going to survive.”
Sister Anne confronts the concrete meaning of that overheard phrase when a paper airplane sails through the air in her classroom with the following words written on it:
Roses are red.
Violets are blue.
Don’t let Sister Anne
Get any black on you.
The racial slur from a young unformed mind, obviously influenced by others, has Sister Anne react with a calm demeanor as she says she “needs quiet time to think about this.”
And Sister Anne opts to react to the racial discrimination in her young charges by informing them of her own experiences and heritage that causes some parents to withdraw their children from the class. But the children who remain are the fortunate ones. They are the recipients of the wisdom and talented teaching of a wonderful young woman who has an innate love for the young minds that come into her sphere for one special year. Young Anna in Sister Anne’s Hands and it seems, the author herself are both lucky enough to have come under the influence of a dedicated sister whose persona is only symbolic of the thousands like her. Wendy Bopp’s beautiful art work coupled with Ms. Lorbiecki’s view on a very contemporary issue of the 60’s is beautifully executed.
And in that same vein, this book put me in mind of a sister I once met that recently passed away. She became the teacher of a young African-American student named Clarence Thomas; the very same Clarence Thomas that went on to become a Supreme Court Justice. Her dedication to the teaching of young African American students at a time in our country’s history when it was, to say the least, frowned upon, was both heartfelt and heroic. This sister, and others of her order put the education of ALL children first. Her core belief, put into action, was that every student deserved to have an equal chance at reaching his or her goals and her entire life was in the service of that belief.
So to ALL the Sister Annes of this world, and especially to the sister that I just mentioned, “Thank you! For the world will not see your like again.” And by the way, I had a Sister Anne-like teacher too!Add a Comment
Top London store Liberty have released their new season fabrics with a gorgeous range of spring summer 2014 designs. Petals and blooms are a big trend so there are plenty of floral fabrics available by the metre for sewing projects of all kinds. Here are some of my choices but lots more are available online here.Add a Comment
Blog: CHEMERS GALLERY (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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At Chemers Gallery, it's all about the art, but we bet you didn't realize that we consider the framing to be a part of that! Custom framing is an art form in itself, and we strive to create just the right tone to fit not only your artwork but your life as well.
We love it when new mouldings are introduced - our imagination runs wild with the sheer scale of possibilities that open up. Over the years we've seen trends come and go and return once again. We've also seen some crazy ideas that just might work. (Remember when we brought badass to the OC??)
We're always searching for the latest and greatest trends to share with you, and we were shell-shocked with how gorgeous this one is! That's right, a veneer of mother-of-pearl shell creates soft translucence in three finishes and sizes. Available in shimmery white, champagne gold and, well, think of a glistening sea urchin for the third color! You'll just have to see what we're talking about in person. Perfectly elegant for bridal portraits and vanity mirrors and absolutely adorable for baby snaps, these frames are sure to make a splash.
Elegant and stately, they make us think of manor homes, men's smoking rooms and natural history museums. Thoroughly suited for antique prints including botanical and Audubon style, the depth of color lends a richness to the presentation and elevates your art to the next level.
What's old is new again - the "reclaimed" wood look has been reclaimed in today's shapes and colors! Rustic with a modern twist, these beautifully textured mouldings look like they've led former lives as wine barrels, barn siding, and factory flooring. Clean lines fit in with the current feel for simple shape and form. We can see these frames on folk art and seascapes, giving a real period look to the finished product.
vibrantly playful frames keeping pace! New on the scene are acrylic mouldings that can be easily personalized in more than 80 colors to exactly fit your style. Choose a glossy or frosted finish in single, double and now, even triple color - patterned frames are also available! Vivid hues provide a real pop of personality. The possibilities are endless to turn your treasures into a work of art that's as unique as you are.
We continue on with our color trends to an unlikely material for picture framing - painted welded steel! Cool and modern with an industrial edge, these new frames are surprisingly versatile, fit for anything from movie posters and abstracts to the more traditional "slice of life" and even plein air. Scrubbed & sanded antiquing keeps the look from being too finished. Available in as many color combinations as you can imagine, we dare you to try this look out!
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Blog: educating alice (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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It is the 6th year of the BoB and we’ve already had smashing decisions from three terrific judges along with clever graphics again from SLJ’s art director Mark Tuchman, smart commentary from kid commentator RGN, and wonderful responses from our loyal followers. Be sure to check it out!
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Blog: A Patchwork of Books (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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I don't even have a recent picture of him for this post. That's how behind I am.
If we were having coffee... I'd tell you all about my hatred of winter. I used to LOVE winter. Fall and winter were always my favorite seasons growing up in snowy Upstate NY, but as I've grown older, I realize that my moods are definitely associated with the seasons and I need sunshine. I may hate the humidity of summer, but the days staying lighter longer and more sunshine than clouds definitely helps keep me in my usual cheerful form. It's supposed to be 70 today and high 20's tomorrow, so really, March can just go away.
If we were having coffee... I'd probably talk about my fear of this Dave Ramsey Financial Peace class we're starting next week. It's going to be intense. Anyone else take it?
Here's to more reviews later in the week, I hope!
Blog: The Bookshelf Muse (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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Today we’re welcoming bestselling author and brilliant writing coach James Scott Bell to Writers Helping Writers. James has created a unique writing method that solves the “plotter or pantser” dilemma when it comes to structuring a novel, so please read on!
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I’ve been studying plot and structure for over twenty-five years. Plot was something I did not understand when I started out. I thought writers just sat down at the typewriter (you can read about the typewriter on Wikipedia!) and an intricate story just flowed out of their fingertips. I’d been told you can’t learn to write fiction. You either had this inherent talent or you didn’t.
I believed that for years.
But then one day I decided I would try to learn even if I failed. I had to try. I wanted to write that much. And slowly, through immersion in the craft and daily practice, I started to get it. Then I got published and started to teach it. I love this craft of ours, and love helping other writers.
I’ve written maybe fifty novels (not all of them published!) and I’ve written them in all different ways. I’ve “pantsed’ my way to completed book (no outline or planning) and I’ve outlined others. I’ve done it in between, too. So I know full well the strengths and weaknesses of every approach.
I’ve also been amused by some of the vehement arguments by proponents of a particular method.
But now, finally, I have come up with way that will bring calm and singing to this whole discussion. I do hope I’m on the short list for the Nobel Peace Prize next year.
What is this novel approach? (Pun intended). Well, it’s a method. In this method you don’t start at the beginning and pants your way through. Nor do you start with the ending and outline the whole doggone thing.
You actually start from the middle.
That’s what I said—the dead center of your novel. Because it is here, in what I call “the mirror moment,” that you discover, truly, what your novel is really all about.
Not only that, but if you nail your mirror moment, you immediately deepen the entire book in a way that will impress agents, editors and readers alike. And even yourself.
Here’s how I discovered it:
A couple of years ago I decided to study what some writing teachers call the “midpoint.” I never considered it that important, because Act 2 is really about peaks and valleys and increasing danger anyway. And as long as I was writing scenes that were related to the story question, the middle of the book would unfold naturally.
In researching the topic, I discovered there was no agreement on what the midpoint was supposed to do. So I took some of my favorite movies and books and went right to the smack-dab middles and rooted around. What was going on here?
What I found literally knocked my socks off. (Yes, I actually had to go around my house picking up my socks, so revelatory was this).
What I discovered was that the true midpoint was not a scene at all—it was a moment within a scene. And that very moment, if properly rendered, clarified the entire story.
It’s about the Lead character, taking a long, hard look at himself (as in a mirror). He asks, Who am I? What have I become? Who am I supposed to be? An example is the classic film Casablanca. In the dead center is that moment when Ilsa comes to Rick after closing time, to explain about why she left him. He’s drunk, and basically calls her a whore. She cries and leaves. And Rick buries his head in his hands. The rest of the film is about what kind of man Rick will be.
Or, the mirror moment is when the character realizes that the odds are so great he’s probably going to die. This is the very middle of The Fugitive. Dr. Richard Kimble realizes every police officer and fed in the country is after him. He can’t possibly survive.
Now, if you are intentional about what this moment is in your own book, it will illuminate everything for you. The writing will be more unified and organic. If you’re a panster, you’ll be guided on what to pants next. If you’re an outliner, it will help you revise your outline.
In this book, I explain how to do that, no matter what kind of writer you are—pantser, plotter or tweener.
Also included in the book are five of my best tips for becoming a more productive and effective writer of fiction. Think of those tips as the “Just wait! There’s more!” part of the infomercial. If I could include a juicer with this book, I would. Or that thing that makes bacon bowls.
Instead, I offer to you, my fellow writers, the Write From The Middle Method. It works for me and I do believe it will for you.
I have James’ new book on my kindle…do you? If you like, put it on your GoodReads list.
Also, Becca is goofing off over at The Writing Nut today, so indulge your inner voyeur as she shows the world her personal writing space!
LAST CALL: March 13th is fast approaching! Becca and I are running our popular Using Nonverbal Communication to Wow Readers Webinar at WANA International on Thursday at 8:00 PM EST we’d love for you to join us. This 1 1/2 hour session will lead you through the many different ways to express emotion, and help you utilize what you already know to write compelling scenes. If your characters seem to always be shrugging, frowning or smiling because you get stuck on how to describe feelings in a fresh way, this webinar is for you.
The post James Scott Bell: The “Write From The Middle” Method appeared first on WRITERS HELPING WRITERS.Add a Comment
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