You should all make sure you go.
If you’re planning to launch independent writing projects in your class during the final weeks of school, then you’ll most likely have several students who might want to write a book about a… Read MoreAdd a Comment
I apologize for not blogging more frequently! It's been a crazy busy month!
I had a fabulous time at the Gaithersburg Book Festival with Jessica Spotswood, author of Born Wicked. We talked about world building, outcast females, girl power, research and books we love. It was a great time!
As of November 20, 2012 (that is, Midnight Eastern Time tonight) I am closed to queries. I will reopen to queries January 7, 2013.
If I already have your work, you should hear from me by January 7. (That's the point of taking the break, I have to catch up!)
Via I'm pointed to Debra Kamin's report in The Tower, which claims that The Greatest Living Hebrew Writer Is Arab.
No, it's not an exposé revealing that, say, Amos Oz is actually Arabic (whatever that might mean ...); rather, she's making the claim for ... Sayed Kashua.
Second Person Singular-author Sayed Kashua is certainly an interesting young writer (emphasis on the young -- he has three books under his belt, but writing-wise still a long way to go), but let's be clear: he's not anywhere near the top of the Hebrew-writing pantheon. Like nowhere close (there are a lot of really good Hebrew-writing authors.)
Still, I do really like hearing this:
I have a very strange feeling that my fourth novel will start in Hebrew, and then it will turn into a mix of Hebrew and Arabic, and it will end with Arabic.That could be something ..... Read the rest of this post Add a Comment
In a 3/18/13 New Yorker “Talk of the Town” piece by Rebecca Mead resides this gem:
The books of Dr. Seuss, the pen name of Theodor Geisel, depend on what Donald Pease, a professor of English literature at Dartmouth, refers to in his biography of Geisel as “plausible nonsense.” “Children will grant you any premise, but after that—you’ve got to stay on the same key,” Geisel told one interviewer.
Yesterday they announced that Lydia Davis wins the Man Booker International Prize 2013, as she becomes the fifth winner of this biennial would-be Nobel alternative, awarded: "to a living author who has published fiction either originally in English or whose work is generally available in translation in the English language".
What stands out immediately, of course, is that this is now the third time in a row that the prize has gone to a North American author (after Alice Munro in 2009 and Philip Roth in 2011), and that four of the five prizes have gone to English-writing authors (longtime -- nearly a quarter of a century -- US resident Chinua Achebe took the prize in 2007, and only Ismail Kadare bucked what became the trend, in 2005). Obviously, written-in-English fiction has a home field advantage, exacerbated by the fact that there have never been clear guidelines as to who should be eligible -- recall that in 2005 judge Alberto Manguel 'lamented' that they couldn't consider the likes of Peter Handke, António Lobo Antunes, Michel Tournier, and Christa Wolf, among others, because not enough of their books were available in English (see my previous mention), yet this year authors such as Marie NDiaye and Intizar Husain made the cut, more than two of either's books in English translation you're unlikely to find in any bookstore in the continental US (or insular Britain).
I think Davis is a fine choice, but the Man Booker International Prize obviously has a serious identity problem on its hands. This choice already makes it hard for them to keep their international credibility, at least internationally; one more time down this road and they'll lose any remaining credibility -- which isn't the kind of pressure that should be hovering over any literary prize. For all the whingeing that goes on about the Nobel-awarding Swedish Academy and its predilection for obscure, non-North American authors: from abroad, this has got to look considerably worse.
It was an interesting group of finalists, with seven of the ten authors with books under review at the complete review -- though not, regrettably, Lydia Davis (though I am a fan). I guess I really will have to finally get around to putting up a review of the marvelous The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis -- but go ahead and get your copy first (really -- it's worthwhile); see the Picador publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.
Note also that the winner's name was leaked -- a Times of India report (since removed, but originally here; remnants visible here) had the report about three hours before the official announcement -- I'm curious to hear what happened there.
Forget all blog-related "schedules". I will post what I want when I want. This week's KBWT is KBWThursday. (I was off doing something else on Tuesday.)
Barefoot Books has been one of my favorite publishers since they arrived on the scene. Their folklore anthologies are attractive and fun to read. Barefoot Books is committed to providing colorful books that provide children with access to diverse cultures and activities.
Visit their Kids page to download craft activities, watch videos and listen to stories.
In Haaretz Zvi Bar'el reports (a bit melodramatically ?) that Egypt's songs of revolution have given way to a literature of despair.
A lot of the article focuses on the to-do around minister of culture Alaa Abdel-Aziz, rather than 'the literature of despair' (which I'd love to hear more about ...).
Our children are fascinated by the world around them, soaking up information about so many different things. I clearly remember how excited my daughter was to learn that birds, snakes and crocodiles are all oviparous, or egg-bearing animals. We can foster this sort of enthusiasm by reading aloud picture books that delve into different nonfiction topics. As the Common Core standards state in ELA Standard 10,
"Children in the early grades (particularly K–2) should participate in rich, structured conversations with an adult in response to the written texts that are read aloud, orally comparing and contrasting as well as analyzing and synthesizing, in the manner called for by the Standards."Lucy Calkins develops this idea further, writing in her Curricular Plan for the Reading Workshop,
"One cannot stress enough the importance of reading aloud. You will want to read aloud to teach children discipline-based concepts that are integral to social studies and science.You’ll also read aloud to create a sense of community and to show children why people love to read. And you’ll read aloud to teach children vocabulary and higher-level comprehension skills. As you conduct a read-aloud session be sure that it includes opportunities for accountable talk." grade 2, page 6Common Core IRL: In Real Libraries, we would like to suggest two excellent nonfiction picture books all about frogs that we like to read aloud to students. These books will have different language and text features than those we provide to children to read independently. They might use more figurative language, longer sentences, higher vocabulary. But they will engage students, laying important background for their own reading, and lead to many discussions about these interesting animals.
Frog SongThis gorgeous picture book explores eleven different frog species from around the world, from Australia to Borneo to Chile. Each spread focuses on a different species, with a wonderful illustration and an engaging description that focuses on one interesting aspect of that species. Guiberson uses descriptive text to hook readers:
by Brenda Guiberson
illustrated by Gennady Spirin
Henry Holt / Macmillan, 2013
read aloud: grades 1-3
independent reading: grades 4-5
Lexile 950 AD (adult directed)
your local library
"In Chile, the Darwin's frog sings in the beech forest. Chirp-Chweet! The male guards 30 eggs in the damp leaves for three weeks. When the tadpoles wiggle, he scoops them into his mouth. Slurp! They slither into his vocal sacs, where he keeps them safe and moist for 7 weeks. Then he gives a big yawn, and little froglets pop out."This book would work very well as a read aloud for 1st through 3rd grade, either to a whole class or a small group. Older children might love reading this as they explore different types of frogs, but I really see this as working best as a read aloud. Guiberson ends the book with an interesting summary of the different species, and a note about how frogs are in trouble from environmental pressures or pollution. I do wish that she included a map identifying where the different species live, providing that geographical context for young readers.
Hip-Pocket PapaSandra Markle and Alan Marks have teamed up to write several engaging narrative nonfiction books about animals throughout the world. These books follow one animal, telling the story of that animal's life. Readers can clearly identify the beginning, middle and end of the story, much like they do in fiction.
by Sandra Markle
illustrated by Alan Marks
read aloud: grades 2-4
independent reading: grades 4-5
Lexile 1060 AD (adult directed)
your public library
"Finally, the eggs hatch!The jelly surrounding them turns to liquid -- a birth puddle for the twelve teeny, tiny tadpoles, swimming up and out onto the surface of the forest floor. Her job done, the female crawls away. The male stays. He has an even bigger job to do."Alan Marks' detailed, realistic watercolor-and-pencil illustrations are perfect for showing to a whole group. The rich colors and close-up scenes draw readers into the forest setting, focusing close up on the tiny frogs and the miniature drama happening each moment. The only problem I had is really getting a sense of the true size of the frogs. Since narrative nonfiction books usually do not have text features like diagrams or labeled illustrations, readers must use the descriptive text to figure out this information.
CalArts student Tom Law has an idiosyncratic sense of design and movement, which comes through clearly in his graduation short This Actually Happens A Lot. The short attempts to find a visual solution for representing a character’s social anxiety and insecurity, which Law achieves by tweaking the rules of gravity. We featured Tom’s self-portrait timelapse piece I Always Look Angry in a 2011 installment of Animated Fragments.Add a Comment
The clip above is an animation-related outtake from the new Mel Brooks documentary Make a Noise which debuted earlier this week on PBS. In the clip, Brooks talks about the genesis of Ernie Pintoff’s Oscar-winning short The Critic:
This wasn’t the first time Pintoff had collaborated with a Jewish comedian. An earlier film he’d made, The Violinist (1959), featured the voice of Carl Reiner:
Neither of the shorts, however, can live up to Pintoff’s greatest collaboration with a Jewish actor—Flebus—the 1957 Terrytoons short that featured the vocal stylings of the inimitable Allen Swift.
(Thanks, Rogelio Enrique Toledo, via Cartoon Brew’s Facebook page)
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The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Ricardo Güiraldes' 1926 Argentine classic, Don Segundo Sombra: Shadows on the Pampas.
This is one reason I love going to used bookstores -- for finds like this. I paid a dollar for this 1948 volume (list price: one shilling and sixpence). Back then it was the first book by a Latin American author to make the Penguin Books paperback series (as volume 638). Nowadays -- well, you can find it if you seek it out, but otherwise you're unlikely to stumble across it.
Sure, it's not a book you need to stumble across -- but it's an interesting and not insignificant work, and certainly anyone who reads Argentine fiction should be familiar with it (as all the authors of those books they're reading are).
The Guardian prints an edited version of Atiq Rahimi's keynote speech to the Edinburgh World Writers' Conference which I mean(t) to point you to -- but they note that 'the full transcripts of all the speeches' are available at the Edinburgh World Writers' Conference site and I can't believe I've never seen this trove.
Yes, there's not just Rahimi's speech in full but, for example, all the keynote speeches on The Future of the Novel, and sure I'd like to comment on the Rahimi and some of the others but who cares what I have to say -- if you haven't seen this stuff just dive in there -- a holiday weekend is approaching in the US, right ? well, this seems a good site to explore in that time -- I think that's what I might be doing.
Although it might not feel like it, spring is here. One of my favorite springtime stories to share is Fran’s Flower. In this story, a little girl finds a plant and decides she wants to make it grow. Unfortunately, she decides it needs food and feeds it a piece of cheeseburger, some spaghetti, ice cream and even a chocolate chip cookie. Of course, this doesn’t help the plant grow and fed up with the flower she throws it out the door. Once outside, the flower gets all the things it needs, and it grows! The colorful illustrations add to the fun. Before you start planting, share this one along with The Carrot Seed by Krauss.
Posted by: Liz
A new Lazy Ladybug Adventure has arrived! Author/illustrator Jack Tickle brings back our Ladybug friend as she desperately tries to learn how to fly. She keeps zigzagging, tumbling, and wobbling into the other animals, but monkey encourages her to give it another try.
As with What Goes Up by Paula Bowles, we see another book from tiger tales that spreads the word: practice makes perfect. Vibrant colors, zany antics, engaging words, and a silly story will encourage youngsters ages 3 – 7 to read this book often. What Tickle does very well with this book is provide a teaching point that is hidden by the zaniness of all the crazy things that happen as Ladybug learns to fly. I also love Tickle’s big and bold artwork.
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Tiger Tales (March 1, 2013)
I received a free hardcover of this book from the publisher. This review contains my honest opinions, for which I have not been compensated in any way.
Authors Sudipta Bardhan and Kami Kinard gave a workshop at the New England SCBWI Conference in April. I had SCBWI member, Karen Calloway ask me why I never put up anything about the New England SCBWI Conference a few days before it was held in April. I told her I would be glad to share her experience on my blog, since I know the New England Chapter does a great job with their conference. Karen put the conference to verse. Here it is:
It was late Sunday night when my friend Christi and I returned to our homes in western Maine. We had journey for twelve hours round trip to attend the New England SCBWI Art of Craft conference in Springfield, MA. We were bleary-eyed and exhaus-ted, but euphoric.
To say that my writing will be forever changed would be an understatement, but rather than write a long piece about every workshop I attended, who taught it, and what I learned, I offer the following verses.
What SCBWI Can Do if I Let It
All my stories, every one,
the old, reworked, or just begun,
seemed more than perfect, skilled and deft,
yet somehow I was always left
with angst, confusion, doubt, and so -
off to a conference I did go.
It grew my brain and filled my heart-
an end, a middle, a whole new start.
I learned about metaphor, arc and rhyme,
character changes, voice sublime,
facebook, blogs, critiques and wine,
and illustrations I wish were mine,
indie publishing (self-help advice),
poetry, picture book (word-count precise),
young adult, middle grade, theories, craft . . .
new information to polish my draft,
authors, artists, new-found friends,
editors, agents, and newest trends.
Keynote speakers Lin and Creech
convinced me (again) that I must reach
to do my best upon this stage-
word by word and page by page,
for books are within me, daring, wild.
They will stir the heart of a waiting child.
Genre, genre, wish I might
have the wish I wish tonight . . .
to be courted by publishers, one, two, three,
considered a “find” by the industry.
Then certainly, surely, my luck will have flipped.
Perhaps even Spielberg will ask for the script?
It was awesome. Wished you were there. Maybe you were.
Hazel Mitchell and Dawn Metcalf showing off the doodles they did on their book table. I am not sure, but I think they auctioned it off at the end of the conference.
Thank you Karen for sharing, hope you keep the motivation you found and attend more SCBWI events.
On 9-10 May 2013, we had a fantastic workshop facilitated by Joan Rankin. We each received a file containing a number of exercises. On day 1 we drew with pencil. We shared and discussed the work. And worked some more! Joan inspired us with her "Hat story". To be continued ....Add a Comment
The North Carolina Press Foundation is offering four of Artie’s serial stories to Newspapers in Education (NIE) newspapers across the United States. This year’s theme is Dig into Reading. In addition to the NIE, the foundation will also be offering Artie’s work to libraries and other newspapers throughout the United States. To read the stories please click on the NC Press Foundation link listed above.
Two of Artie’s children’s books will be featured on Ameba TV beginning this summer. Based in Canada, Ameba TV is presently streamed worldwide in million of homes.
Ameba TV’s rich, diverse content library delivers thousands of hours of educational, preschool, musical, and multilingual programming to children ages 2 to 12. The popular children’s streaming TV service features award-winning shows, like WordWorld, The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That, BusyTown Mysteries, and Ruby Skye PI.
More to come!
View from a Zoo – Bored with her life, a housecat seeks out adventure in this new fully illustrated picture book coming in the summer of 2013. Written by Artie, the book is being illustrated by the incredibly talented Indian artist Sunayana Nair Kanjilal. More to come as the book’s release date gets closer….
COPYRIGHT © 2013 ARTIE KNAPP
Use of any of the content on this website without permission is prohibited by federal law
While I can’t show you Robert Byrd‘s gorgeous interior art for Africa is My Home, I can show you the cover in the following book trailer. (And if you are at BEA, do stop by the Candlewick Press booth for a more comprehensive look or, even better, come to my Thursday 3:30 signing of F&Gs of the complete 64 page book.)
Literary snobs annoy me. They annoy me a lot.
I tire of the idea that the only "serious" writers are the ones writing literary fiction.
I tire of the idea that I am less real as a writer or work less hard or am somehow less important because I write books for teenagers.
And I think it is absolutely absurd when people say things like "That isn't what literature is about."
Like, the only stories of worth have to examine the human condition and be about death and some middle-class white bloke wandering about doing nothing for four hundred pages (as written by some narcissistic middle-class white bloke).
About 90% of the time when I read a critically-acclaimed, award-winning novel I am just baffled. (Generally of the books-for-adults variety. I usually like the YA award winners.)
A great deal of literary fiction seems to be about literary fiction which, to me, is very odd. It's like an entire genre of in-jokes.
I dislike the idea that all the important stories must be depressing. I think that literature can and should be about a lot of things. Entertainment and comfort and whatever it is the reader wants out of it. I don't know, I think there's enough depressing in the real world without every novel of "value" (how do we ascribe this value? how does this work?) being so incredibly depressing.
I think the idea of "serious" and "non-serious" writers is stupidly linear. (Maybe I should add "unserious writer" to my bio. I'm not sure I could ever be, or be considered, a "serious" writer.) I am, however, very uncool and not really part of any literary scene and likely not a future award-winner, so perhaps I am not the best person to listen to.
To sum up:
1. I have forgotten how to write blog posts.
2. People who talk about "serious" fiction are irritating.
3. Lots of novels are important and have value and bring people joy and make them think! Stories, I love them all! Stop acting like your genre is by default superior to mine!
We are the sandcastles.
Life is the sea.
In the end each wave strips everything away.
I had a dream on Sunday of a giant cloud of fire spreading on the horizon- like a pyroclastic cloud- but fire. I could see how fast it was travelling and I knew we had to find shelter but of course there is none. But what is interesting is how real the vision was-considering I haven't seen anything like it really.
Like when I was about 4 having a dream of waking up and going to the front glass door and seeing the skeleton of a horse walk up stop and look at me then keep going- but very real and I remember it still,
I think I might have sleepwalked as a child which could explain why walking to the door was so real- doesn't explain the dead horse or how I could know what its skeleton looked like.
Or when I was twelve- a dream of a nuclear strike on a city- I and everyone killed but transformed into points of light in a kind of 'out of phase'/'out of plane' view of the destroyed city- and these strange creatures hoovering up the 'souls'. But they were not angels or devils,not a religious vision - but weird sort of energy vampire things that fed on suffering or life energy- like parasites that provoke war in our world so they can feed.
But again very real. (Unlike the usual sort of dream which I normally sabotage mid dream by realising they're not real.)
I'll post some more work in progress.
Possibly once I finish these last books I can rebuild my web presence, my blog, and my social life as I have neglected my friends and people I'd hoped to befriend as I've staggered to the finish line the last 8 months.
Actually sometimes when I'm drawing in public people ask if I was always good at it. Having found the drawings of mine that my mother had conscientiously hoarded the answer is "No", and possibly "never", but a constant has been the drive to keep going. that seems to be all there is.
It looks like it was all good until about 5 yrs old .........then this patch until now. When I start my own stuff again I will try to regain what I lost when I was 5
Avenger (Halflings Novel, A), by Heather Burch
Black Helicopters, by Blythe Woolston
Dear Life, You Suck, by Scott Blagden
Going Vintage, by Lindsey Leavitt
If You Find Me, by Emily Murdoch
Impostor, by Jill Hathaway
Period 8, by Chris Crutcher
Shadow on the Sun, by David Macinnis Gill
Wasteland (Wasteland - Trilogy), by Susan Kim and Laurence Klavan
Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass, by Meg Medina
You Know What You Have To Do, by Bonnie Shimko
New paperbacks (that I've read):
A Touch of Scarlet, by Eve Marie Mont:
Emma's narration never really gels into a consistent, believable voice. She ranges from snarky-casual to super-duper stiff and formal (with the occasional infodump), and there's a lot of telling rather than showing, especially when it comes to the interactions and relationships between the characters. Michelle's storyline (along with the student protest and the alternaprom and the end of Dr. Overbrook's arc) never completely integrates with the rest of the story, and so it feels at best, like it should have gotten its own book, and at worst, extraneous. (And, in terms of plotting, very afterschool-specially.)
The Immortal Rules (Blood of Eden), by Julie Kagawa:
Like so many Mysterious Vampire Heroes before him, [Kanin} is cold and aloof, but betrays his carefully hidden feelings through regular Eyebrow Quirks and Faint Smiles. He’s fond of long-winded exposition, tortured by a guilty past, doomed to forever obsess about righting the wrongs he’s done, says things like “My road must always be traveled alone,” and probably wears a lot of black silk shirts.
Masque of the Red Death, by Bethany Griffin:
While the atmosphere really is wonderfully done—Araby's narration fittingly shares that muffled, deadened quality—and I very much appreciated Griffin's writing, I can't say that Masque of the Red Death was an entirely enjoyable read. (Which isn't necessarily a necessity in a book, of course. But, you know. It's a factor in recommending it to other people.)
The Selection, by Kiera Cass:
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America is infinitely slappable, as are BOTH love interests. (Duh. OF COURSE Maxon falls for her, so there's a love triangle!) The characters act more in keeping with what is convenient for the storyline—for instance, when America tries to warn Maxon about the super-duper bitchitude of one of the other contestants, he pulls the I'M ROYALTY AND YOU'RE NOT, THEREFORE YOU CAN'T TALK TO ME LIKE THAT routine, even though up until then, he'd sought out her opinion about stuff like that—than with their own personalities, and most of America's major decisions seem to be based more on who she's angry with at the time than in any sort of logic.