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1. Writing in ... Indonesia

       At DeutscheWelle Monika Griebeler has a Q & A with Indonesian author Feby Indirani, Indonesian literature 'needs exposure to be noticed internationally'.
       Among her observations:

The infrastructure of the Indonesian publishing industry isn't yet fully developed. A potential market is there but the industry is still in a poor condition.
       She also notes:
But regardless of that, we still see gems of literature and popular writings that have both market success and good intellectual reception such as the works of Ayu Utami, Seno Gumira Ajidarma or Eka Kurniawan.
       As I've mentioned previously, this fall is seeing a double-dose of Eka Kurniawan in English, as two of his novels are being published in translation: Man Tiger, coming from Verso (see their publicity page, or pre-order your copy from Amazon.com), and Beauty is a Wound from New Directions (pre-order your copy from Amazon.com). Publishers Weekly has the early reviews -- here and here -- and they're both starred; fully on board the Kurniawan-bandwagon, they also have a Writers to Watch: Fall 2015 profile of him.

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2. Benjamin Bear in Brain Storms! by Philippe Coudray

Hopefully by the publication of Benjamin Bear in Brain Storms!, you know Philippe Coudray's creatively thinking bear and his forest full of friends. Benjamin Bear in Fuzzy Thinking, came out in 2011 and is now in paperback and Benjamin Bear in Bright Ideas! in 2013. If you have never had the pleasure of meeting Benjamin Bear on the page, quotes from these reviews create a perfect picture.

0 Comments on Benjamin Bear in Brain Storms! by Philippe Coudray as of 7/28/2015 3:40:00 AM
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3. Review: The Girl Who Could Fly by Victoria Forester

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

I read The Girl Who Could Fly because I received a copy for a blog tour.  I love middle-grade books, and since it’s been a while since I read one, I was excited to start this.  I loved the author’s voice, especially while Piper is still at the family farm.  She’s a surprise to her older, salt of the earth parents, and when the lively, happy Piper is born, they are taken aback.  They are, while not joyless folk, serious and dedicated to the land that has been in the family for generations.  They don’t need much and are content to get by, farming the land, tending their livestock, and fitting, uneventfully, into their community. 

Then along comes Piper.  She floats.  Her mother Betty immediately realizes that her daughter isn’t “normal.”  To a woman who embraces being normal and not tempting fate, who relishes doing things as they have always been done, Piper is an unexpected hiccup in her road of normalcy.  Betty decides that it’s best to keep Piper on the farm, homeschooled and doing her chores, so that the neighbors don’t start gossiping about them.  Piper upsets her plans one summer day, when she watches a momma bird push her babies out of the nest.  Piper wonders if she can fly too.  And once Piper sets her mind to something, nothing is going to get in her way until she accomplishes it.

An unfortunate event at the Fourth of July picnic, the first that Piper’s been allowed to attend, has disastrous consequences.  The entire community learns that Piper can fly.  Soon, the entire world knows.  When Dr Letitia Hellion and her crew from the top secret institute I.N.S.A.N.E. show up at the farm, promising to school Piper in her abilities, and to keep her safe, the McClouds have no choice but to let their daughter go with them.  What Piper finds isn’t exactly the paradise she’s been promised, but it takes the help of a mean supergenius to figure out that she’s actually a prisoner and not a student at the high tech facility in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by miles and miles of snow and ice. 

I loved Piper and Conrad.  Piper is completely guileless, the total opposite of Conrad.  Conrad is frustrated and just plain mean, and Piper’s happy  attitude grates on his last nerve.  He picks on her mercilessly, and Piper, who doesn’t have much experience in social settings, first tries to win him over, and when that doesn’t work, tries to ignore him.  Of course he gets her into trouble every chance he can, until one disturbing event makes Piper realize that all is not as it seems at the institute.  Conrad and Dr Hellion have been locked in a battle of wits for four years, and Conrad believes that with Piper’s help, he’ll finally get the best of her.

I liked how Piper fought to be true to herself, even at a terrible price to herself.  While she yearns to fit in, she begins to realize that being who she is is more important that being popular.  Her sunny disposition does endear her to others, regardless of how hard they try to resist.  I liked the message that being different isn’t bad, and everyone deserves a chance to be who they really are.

The Girl Who Could Fly is a quick read, with action, adventure, and danger.  It’s also about learning to get along with others despite their differences, and the importance of being yourself.  I am looking forward to The Boy Who Knew Everything, because I enjoyed Conrad so much.

Grade:  B+

Review copy provided by publisher

About the book:


You just can’t keep a good girl down . . . unless you use the proper methods.

Piper McCloud can fly. Just like that. Easy as pie.

Sure, she hasn’t mastered reverse propulsion and her turns are kind of sloppy, but she’s real good at loop-the-loops.

Problem is, the good folk of Lowland County are afraid of Piper. And her ma’s at her wit’s end. So it seems only fitting that she leave her parents’ farm to attend a top-secret, maximum-security school for kids with exceptional abilities.

School is great at first with a bunch of new friends whose skills range from super-strength to super-genius. (Plus all the homemade apple pie she can eat!) But Piper is special, even among the special. And there are consequences.

Consequences too dire to talk about. Too crazy to consider. And too dangerous to ignore.

At turns exhilarating and terrifying, Victoria Forester’s debut novel has been praised by Stephenie Meyer, author of the Twilight saga, as “the oddest/sweetest mix of Little House on the Prairie and X-Men…Prepare to have your heart warmed.” The Girl Who Could Fly is an unforgettable story of defiance and courage about an irrepressible heroine who can, who will, who must . . . fly.

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4. Frisk Me by Lauren Layne Release Blast


Enter to Win a 
$50.00 Amazon eGift Card


FRISK ME
New York’s Finest #1
Lauren Layne
Releasing July 28th,2015
Forever Romance


After a photograph of Luc Moretti saving a tourist hits social media, he instantly becomes New York’s most famous and beloved cop. When a major network decides to run a special on the “American Hero,” Luc’s boss gives him no choice but to cooperate in the name of good exposure for the department. Luc doesn’t mind the celebrity status-what he does mind is the gorgeous brunette journalist who’s been assigned to follow his every move. Especially since she also happens to be the same knockout that rejected him rather publicly the week before.

Ava Sims is a woman who gets what she wants. And what she wants is to be CBC’s lead anchor-but to get there, she’ll need to nail the fluff piece on the playboy cop. Luc Moretti is everything Ava knows to stay away from: a stubborn charmer with a hero-complex. But the more Ava gets to know Luc and his oddball family, the more she realizes that beneath the swagger and the blue uniform is a complex man who makes her heart beat too fast. Soon, Ava’s doing the unthinkable, and falling for the best of New York’s finest …


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Lauren Layne is the USA Today Bestselling author of contemporary romance.
Prior to becoming an author, Lauren worked in e-commerce and web-marketing. In 2011, she and her husband moved from Seattle to New York City, where Lauren decided to pursue a full-time writing career. It took six months to get her first book deal (despite ardent assurances to her husband that it would only take three). Since then, Lauren’s gone on to publish ten books, including the bestselling Stiletto series, with several more on the way in 2015.
Lauren currently lives in Chicago with her husband and spoiled Pomeranian. When not writing, you’ll find her at happy hour, running at a doggedly slow pace, or trying to straighten her naturally curly hair.



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5. Seagull Books profile

       In Flight of the Seagull in The Caravan Anjum Hasan looks at: 'How an Indian publisher brought Europe home', profiling Seagull Books, the Naveen Kishore-led, India-based publisher that is one of the leading publishers of literature-in-translation (especially French and German) in English. (A lot of other publishers have great lists, but as far as number-of-(important-)titles go, it's really Dalkey Archive Press and Seagull way at the head of the pack.)
       A fascinating story -- and a wonderful success story.

       Lots of Seagull titles are under review at the complete review -- I wouldn't even know where to start -- and I hope you too are familiar with much of what they've published.

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6. Six Ways to Unleash the Magic of Subconscious Writing

In the language of a recent Suits episode, I'm a "grinder" rather than a "rainmaker." Writing doesn't come easily for me, and I spend countless hours staring at sentences and rewriting them fourteen times, only to discover that the first version was probably the best. I add layers, and subplots, and symbolism, and connect the dots through sheer hard grunt work.

Sometimes I hate writing.

But then there are the rare flashes of brilliance that I swear don't come from me. The moments of magic when there's a muse on my shoulder. Or a miracle. Or all of the above. That's the part of writing that makes the rest worthwhile.

We all want more of those creative insights, but how do we get them?


Read more »

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7. Harry Potter Would You Rather

Harry Potter StampHarry Potter Would You Rather

EnergeticGriffin20 posted this Harry Potter Would You Rather Quiz on the Harry Potter Message Board.

Would You Rather . . . 

  1. Be a Slytherin or Gryffindor?
  2. Be a Hufflepuff or Ravenclaw?
  3. Get stuck in the Chamber of Secrets for 10 minutes or get stuck in a closed room with Dementors for 10 minutes?
  4. Be Professor Dumbledore or Professor McGonagall?
  5. Be a Quidditch player or not?
  6. Study Charms or Potions?
  7. Have a detention with Professor Snape or Professor Umbridge?
  8. Live with Harry Potter your whole life or live with Hermione your whole life?
  9. Be a professor at Hogwarts or a student at Hogwarts?

Leave your answers in the Comments and go visit the Harry Potter Message Board to join the conversation.

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8. Hooper-Scharf -QRD?

No, no, no. It is NOT some sort of mental disorder. QRD is the site that interviewed me and I did promise that when the interview was published I'd let everyone know!

So here is the link:http://www.silbermedia.com/qrd/archives/74thooper.html

Have fun!

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9. The sea

0 Comments on The sea as of 1/1/1900
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10. India Vision 2020

ApJ by Monica gupta

 

India Vision 2020

अचानक कलाम साहब की खबर सुनकर ….. !!!! कलाम साहब से मैं बहुत बातो से प्रभावित थी. जिनमे से एक है उनकी अनमोल बाते… बहुत समय पहले मैने कही पढा था कि एक अच्छी पुस्तक हजार दोस्तों के बराबर होती है और एक अच्छा दोस्त पूरी की पूरी लाईब्रेरी होता है… बाद में मुझे पता चला कि ये तो कलाम साहब ने कहा है … तब से मैं उनके और भी विचार पढने लगी… कुछ विचार जो हमेशा जहन मे रहते हैं वो हैं …सपने वो नही जो नींद मे देखे जाए सपने वो हैं जो आपको सोने ही न दे… किसी को हराना बहुत आसान है पर किसी को जीतना बहुत मुश्किल … एक उन्होनें कहा था कि मां अपने बच्चे को किसी से भी नौ महीने ज्यादा जानती है क्योकि नौ महीने वो गर्भ में रहता है ऐसे न जाने कितनी अच्छी बातें हैं जो हम सभी के जहन मे सदियों तक रहेगी … आपको नम आखों से सादर नमन… (अगर आपको भी उनका कोई विचार बहुत अच्छा लगा हो तो जरुर शेयर कीजिए हम सभी के साथ .

 

Even In Death, Kalam Relied His Last Hopes on Students for Vision 2020 -The New Indian Express

The missile man might not be there anymore, but it is our duty to make his dreams live on. As a writer, his books be it ‘Wings of Fire’, ‘Ignited Minds’, or ‘India 2020’, all of them were dedicated to motivate India’s young minds. Everyone might feel that Mr Kalam has left a huge void that cannot be filled, but hypothetically Mr Kalam would want most of the young generation to fill that void. Across the nation and world, people are pouring their respects and tributes. Every young person should feel today that only hard work towards the ideal change Mr Kalam sought for 2020 would be the satisfying tribute of all.

Lesser Known Facts About Dr APJ Abdul Kalam

10 Golden Quotes by APJ Abdul Kalam That Sought to Motivate Students

‘People’s President’ Abdul Kalam No More   Read more…

आप हमेशा हमेशा हमारे जहन में रहेंगें ….

सादर नमन्

The post India Vision 2020 appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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11. Review: House Immortal by Devon Monk

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

I loved House Immortal.  I purchased it when it was an Amazon deal of the day, and I read it on the plane to Tampa two weeks ago.  Everything about it felt fresh and new, and I really liked Tilly.  I didn’t like the cliffhanger ending, but since I have the next book in the series cued up on my Kindle, the irritation didn’t last long.

Matilda Case has been living a low profile existence on the family farm, taking care of her senile grandmother, as well as the creatures her father stitched together.  Tilly herself is a galvanized, a being stitched together from bits and pieces.  When she was a child, she became ill and would have died if her memories hadn’t been housed in the stitched together body.  Now she’s hiding out on the farm, pretending to be human, while avoiding allegiance to any particular House.  In Tilly’s world, there are only twelve galvanized beings (thirteen, counting Tilly), they gave up their rights to be considered human to stop a war, and now they are possessions, fought over by the powerful Houses that rule a post-apocalyptic Earth.

When the head of one of the Houses, Slater Orange, of House Orange, learns about Tilly, he’s sure that his mind and memories can be stitched into another body, too.  With Quentin, Tilly’s genius brother, a prisoner in his House, he’s racing against time to see his dream realized before the disease ravaging his body kills him. With Tilly’s life hanging in the balance, Quentin is reluctantly forced to cooperate with Slater.

Tilly has been worried about Quentin. He hasn’t been home in years, and she hasn’t heard a word from him.  When the peace of the farm is shattered by the arrival of Abraham, one of the galvanized, she’s forced to leave her home and pledge to a House.  Otherwise, because she doesn’t have any rights under the law, the Houses will fight for her and she could end up with any of them.  Determined to make the best of a bad situation, Tilly has decided to use her new connections to locate her missing brother.

That’s the basic plot, and I don’t want to give away any more details.  I enjoyed the pacing and the characters.  Tilly is one tough, independent woman, and she doesn’t let anyone intimidate her.  Because she has the strength of a galvanized, she’s doesn’t back down from confrontations.  She’s also basically immortal, which also gives her confidence in tense, life-threatening situations.  I guess if I was that hard to kill, as well as that valuable, I wouldn’t be a pushover, either.

There are some light romantic elements between Tilly and Abraham.  Abraham also serves as a mentor as Tilly negotiates the confusing new world she’s become enmeshed in.  I liked the concept of these powerful, immortal beings that are also powerless in the society they live in.  Abraham brokered the peace to end the war, convincing the other galvanized to give up their rights under the law to prevent the slaughter of more humans.  Some of the galvanized are not in good situations and they are mistreated by their current contract holders.  Once they sign a contract with a House, the word of the House leader is law, and they have to follow whatever orders they are given, whether they agree with them or not. 

If I have one complaint about the story, I thought that the pacing got bogged down a little near the end.  I didn’t care about another roll call of the galvanized and their accomplishments; I wanted to find out what happened to Quentin and Abraham.  Otherwise, I thought House Immortal was exciting, suspenseful, and creative.  I can hardly wait to crack open Infinity Bell, the next book in the series.

Grade:  B+

Review copy purchased from Amazon

One hundred years ago, eleven powerful ruling Houses consolidated all of the world’s resources and authority into their own grasping hands. Only one power wasn’t placed under the command of a single House: the control over the immortal galvanized….

Matilda Case isn’t like most folk. In fact, she’s unique in the world, the crowning achievement of her father’s experiments, a girl pieced together from bits. Or so she believes, until Abraham Seventh shows up at her door, stitched with life thread just like her and insisting that enemies are coming to kill them all.

Tilly is one of thirteen incredible creations known as the galvanized, stitched together beings immortal and unfathomably strong. For a century, each House has fought for control over the galvanized. Now the Houses are also tangled in a deadly struggle for dominion over death—and Tilly and her kind hold the key to unlocking eternity

The secrets that Tilly must fight to protect are hidden within the very seams of her being. And to get the secrets, her enemies are willing to tear her apart piece by piece.…
FIRST IN A NEW SERIES!

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12. Lucas (Le Beau Series book 5 K.I.S.S. Book 1) Cover Reveal

0 Comments on Lucas (Le Beau Series book 5 K.I.S.S. Book 1) Cover Reveal as of 7/28/2015 8:04:00 AM
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13. Draw Tip Tuesday: Water Soluable Ink Painting!

Welcome to Draw Tip Tuesday!

Last week we made this sketch, and used this fineliner with soluble ink. Today we will need water and a brush.


   Want more videos? Subscribe to my Youtube Channel!

0 Comments on Draw Tip Tuesday: Water Soluable Ink Painting! as of 7/28/2015 2:30:00 AM
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14. A Dr. Seuss Celebration for What Pet Should I Get?

It is the release day for the newer-than-new new book from Dr. Seuss, What Pet Should I Get?

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15. Fun and Loose Illustrations by Clair Rossiter

jean tinguely

buck-pal4 one_461 two_461

Clair Rossiter Website >>

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16. Top Ten Tuesday (10): Top Ten Characters Who Are Fellow Book Nerds

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. This week, the theme is “Top Ten Characters Who Are Fellow Book Nerds” and we’re happy to be participating!     For this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, Jamie explains that “book nerds” can include a variety of things – people who work at bookstores! people who are aspiring writers! – so I’m also working with this broader definition for my list today. 1. Jane Eyre from Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë: One of my all-time favorite novels! As you might remember, the book opens with Jane trying to read Bewick’s History of British Birds stealthily in the windowseat and getting caught at it by her awful cousin John Reed. 2. Catherine Morland from Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen: Catherine’s love for Gothic novels – particularly Ann Radcliffe’s – causes her to suspect that Northanger Abbey holds deep dark secrets at every turn.... Read more »

The post Top Ten Tuesday (10): Top Ten Characters Who Are Fellow Book Nerds appeared first on The Midnight Garden.

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17. Why Writers Should Be Imperfect: An Interview with Stephen Guise [Podcast & PDF]

ImperfectionistCoverStephen Guise is the author of the new book How to Be an Imperfectionist, and I was excited to be able to interview him for The Renegade Writer…because we writers often let perfectionism keep us from getting out work out there.

In this interview, you’ll learn:

  • The difference between chance and failure
  • How confidence = comfort
  • Why quantity is more important than quality
  • The perceived benefits of perfectionism
  • How setting the bar low can actually help you get more freelance writing jobs
  • Why partial success is still success
  • What’s better…thinking or acting?
  • Much more!

You can download the PDF transcript here and download the sound file here (which has my awesome new intro music!).

StephenGuiseAlso…when I asked Stephen for a “cover image,” he misunderstood and sent me a headshot. I decided I’m totally going to include it as eye candy for the ladies!

Enjoy — and feel free to pass these files around to your writer friends!

P.S. Carol Tice and I are offering the audit version of our 4-Week J-School RIGHT NOW! Cart closes on July 30, which is two days from today. Want to gain the skills and confidence to land — and write — lucrative article assignments? Check out the success stories from our previous students on the J-School page. Work at your own pace…your access never ends!

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18. AW15 PREVIEW - paperchase : nordic nights

Our second sneak peak at a Paperchase Autumn Winter 2015 collection is 'Nordic Nights' a wintery woodland print that will tie in nicely with Christmas products as well. Featuring a Scandinavian style print inspired by the nature of Norway with Polar Bears, Moose, Foxes, and Owls. There design comes in full colour and monotone versions along with a complimentary geometric stylised grass design.

0 Comments on AW15 PREVIEW - paperchase : nordic nights as of 7/28/2015 4:32:00 AM
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19. Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes by Eleanor Coerr

Wow! It’s week NINE of the Book-Jumper Summer Reading Series! NINE…..where did time go this summer?

As you many already know, this series is my way of inspiring parents who are looking for creative ways to keep their kids reading this summer. All of the books I am jumping into feature protagonists are girls or women and most of our showcased authors are women as well.

I will be offering up a combination of themed weeks, great novels, booklist giveaways, and blog post recaps so be sure and stop by to discover more wonderful ways have A Bookjumper Summer while Exploring Our World and Beyond!

Book-Jumper summer Reading

This week I am jumping into another delightful book from another female author. Eleanor Coerr was a Canadian-born American writer of children’s books, including Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes and many picture books. She was born in Kamsack, Saskatchewan, Canada, and raised in Saskatoon. Sadly, Eleanor passed away in 2010 but her legacy lives on in the wonder books she has written including Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes.

The story goes that Eleanor revisited Hiroshima i 1963 and saw the statue of Sadako in the Hiroshima Peace Park. Impressed by the stories she heard about Sadako’s talent for running, courage when faced with cancer, and determination to fold one thousand paper cranes, Eleanor was inspired to find a copy of Kokeshi, Sadako’s autobiography. The book inspired her to create a biography of Sadako Sasaki, on that American children could read and enjoy.

Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes has been translated into many languages and has moved both children and adults to write plays, perform ballets, compose songs, and collect money for peace statues-all celebrating Sadako and her wish for peace. Eleanor has visited schools all around the world encouraging her audiences to work for a nonviolent world. Folded cranes are everywhere, and always underneath the statue of Sadako in Hiroshima’s Peace Park. SOURCE.

Sadako

Book Review from Hannah Rials
There are many beautiful stories created in this world—stories of love or peace. The story of Sadako Sasaki is a story of love, peace, and hope. Sadako is the best runner in her class, and her greatest wish is to be the best runner in her entire school and to make the junior high team. She is a very superstitious girl who believes strongly in the power of lucky signs—a spider crawling across the floor, a cloudless sky, and paper cranes.
Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes
            Sadako lives in post-World War II Hiroshima, Japan, every day experiencing the effects of the atomic bomb dropped on the city. People are mutilated, and many are now suffering through the “atom bomb disease,” also known as Leukemia. Everyone thinks, especially the children, it won’t happen to me. I’m healthy. I’m strong.
            Sadako is practicing her most favorite activity in the whole world when the dizziness starts, and never gets better, until one day it is all too much to handle. Sadako is admitted to the Red Cross hospital where she is poked and prodded until it becomes routine. Her friends and family visit her every day.
            One day, her best friend Chizuko brings her a beautiful treasure—a golden paper crane. She tells Sadako that if she can fold 1,000 paper cranes, she will get better and live to be an old, old woman. So Sadako sets out, and her older brother hangs the hundreds of cranes from the ceiling of her quiet hospital room, always holding onto the hope that she will recover.
Sadako
Sadako’s story does not have what everyone would call a happy ending. But everyone who reads her story grasp the hope and love that this dear child felt in a bleak post-war time. Her story is simple and beautiful. I was very much moved by Coerr’s writing. I felt the love and the pain, the strength and the hope. There are always two sides to a story. There is always a consequence to every action. We live in trying times, and history is not a vision of peace and tranquility. But if we hope for peace, and show our love, we can make a difference. Sadako and the testament that she has left in Hiroshima demonstrate that.
Sadako
Something to Do
1.    In the back of Eleanor Coerr’s book, she gives easy to follow, step by step instructions on how to make paper cranes like Sadako.
paper cranes
2.     Every year during Japan’s memorial peace day, every one comes out and places floating lanterns in the river. Go HERE to learn how to make your own floating lanterns.
            Sadako
3.     Sadako loved her good luck signs. Here are some more to keep your eye out for:
  • Rainbows
  • Crickets
  • If a ladybug lands on you
  • Finding a four-leaf clover
  • A head’s up penny
Sadako good luck signs
What are your good luck signs?
 ***

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The post Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes by Eleanor Coerr appeared first on Jump Into A Book.

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20. Step-by-Step: How to Draw Hands


I have finally tackled the remaining teaching-drawings for the book. The publisher calls them step-by-steps and some of them are exactly that, like the one I did on using colour as a framework. There's also one on 3 stages of drawing eyes. 


However, quite a few of the so-called step-by-steps are not actually a series of stages, but sets of little graphic features, to help explain how to draw certain aspects. Since hands are always so tricky, I thought I would do some teaching-drawings, looking at how you can use the position of the knuckles to help judge whether you are getting things right or not.


It's a trick I always use. Though the knuckles are staggered, rather than in line, the shape you get when you join them up is echoed in the next set of knuckles, as well as the finger ends. This helps you get finger length right - another thing that is easy to misjudge.



I sketched three line-drawings, (actually, I drew 5: the other 2 were a bit rubbish). I tried to get really different poses. Then I placed a bit of tracing paper over each sketch and circled the knuckles in a coloured pencil. As soon as I joined them up and then drew in the finger-end line, I knew the drawings would work really well.


I scanned both drawings and tracings, then put them together in Photoshop. 


Job done.

The rest of the spread on How to Sketch Hands uses drawings from my archive of sketchbooks to talk through some other ways of thinking about the various problems, including creating montage sheets, drawing just hands, over and over for practice. This is useful for stopping you getting frustrated when people move. It's also good for making the individual sketches seem less 'precious', so you are less inclined to worry if they go a bit skew-whiff here and there:


It's a great way to pass the time on a train. Try using a couple of different coloured pencils, to stop things getting too confused. 


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21. Russian history that you must read

I rarely say this, but you have to read this book. Symphony for the City of the Dead: Dmitri Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad by M.T. Anderson is the kind of history writing that teachers dream about it. It’s factually accurate, for westerners covers a little known period of history, is passionately written and filled with riveting prose. Simply put, this is the book you have to read if you want to understand modern Russia.

Have I persuaded you yet?

I was fairly surprised that Anderson would be the one to write a book like Symphony as it is straight-up history and built around an adult protagonist (composer Dmitri Shostakovich). Anderson is a great writer, but still, for all that he has written historical fiction in the past,  this title does not give him the room to manufacture drama. He had to follow the story exactly where it took him and let it tell itself as events occurred. As a Russian story set first in the time of the last tsar and then under Lenin and Stalin, there is a lot of politics and some of the pages are far less gripping than others. But Anderson is patient and smart and so exceedingly skilled that he makes the machinations of the Soviet state in the Russian breadbasket during the 1920s read as incredibly exciting.

I don’t know how he does it, I just know that he does and you have got to read this book.

Dmitri Shostakovich was one of Russia’s great twentieth century composers and his symphony for Leningrad, written when the city was under siege from Germany during WWII, had a powerful impact on the world. (The Siege of Leningrad lasted two and half years and was the longest siege in history.) But Anderson goes far beyond the story of Shostakovich and that particular symphony; he gives readers an indepth look at Russian history from the February and October revolutions of 1917, to the rise to power of Vladimir Lenin, the later rise to power of Josef Stalin and the devastation of the dreadful policies of the 1920s and ’30s which caused the deaths of millions of Russians, the destruction of the Russian economy and almost the end of the Russian military.

It’s everything you ever wanted – and needed – to know about modern Russian history through the lens of one amazing Russian man.

The text is peppered with photos and quotes from the diaries and letters of various Russian citizens, from activists to poets, writers and Shostakovich’s fellow composers and musicians. Everyone contributes something to telling this story and they give it the sort of gravitas and power that the subject demands. Readers will walk away from Symphony not only know vastly more about Russia, but more importantly, about the Russian people themselves.

M.T. Anderson has created a modern masterpiece with Symphony for the City of the Dead. It should be read by anyone over the age of 13 who has an interest in Russia, WWII or history in general. Adults will get as much from this book as teenagers and really everyone – everyone – should read it. This is a life changing book and I can not stress enough how really and truly good it is. Bravo, Mr. Anderson, Bravo!

Crossposted from Guys Lit Wire.

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22. Co-op Truck

"Co-op Truck," black and white gouache, 5 x 8 inches.
I have a half hour while they unload the food co-op truck, so I set up my sketchbook on a garbage can. The driver waits in the shade, leaning against the truck.


The preliminary drawing has accurate measurements, but it is very rough and incomplete, just a map of the big shapes.


I lay a light wash over most of the scene (lighter than it appears here), using some warm and cool colors from my watercolor set. This is to lower the tone just a bit from white so that I can come back up to white with the gouache.

I begin to define the dark values. I want to push the values to very light and very dark, not too many middle tones.


The driver comes over to take a picture of the sketch with his cell phone.


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23. Coloring Page Tuesday - Piano Playing Tiger

     Did you know I used to play piano? Yup - ten years of lessons. But it's been about 15 years since I've had the chance to play. Here at Hollins, President Gray was kind enough to loan me a book of music - Clementi's Sonatinas, which I grew up playing. It was hard to find a window, but I finally did and I played Clementi for about a half hour. The truth is, I was horrible. But the good news is I didn't forget everything and enjoyed myself immensely. I wonder if I'll have access to pianos in Edinburgh?
     CLICK HERE for more coloring pages!
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my debut novel, A BIRD ON WATER STREET - winner of six literary awards. Click the cover to learn more!
     When the birds return to Water Street, will anyone be left to hear them sing? A miner's strike allows green and growing things to return to the Red Hills, but that same strike may force residents to seek new homes and livelihoods elsewhere. Follow the story of Jack Hicks as he struggles to hold onto everything he loves most.
     I create my coloring pages for teachers, librarians, booksellers, and parents to enjoy for free with their children, but you can also purchase rights to an image for commercial use, please contact me. If you have questions about usage, please visit my Angel Policy page.

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24. What Pet Should I Get?, by Dr. Seuss | Book Giveaway

Enter to win a copy of What Pet Should I Get?, by Dr. Seuss! Giveaway begins July 28, 2015, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends August 27, 2015, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

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25. Spotlight and Giveaway: And Then He Kissed Me by Kim Amos

This morning I have an excerpt and giveaway for And Then He Kissed Me by Kim Amos!

About AND THEN HE KISSED ME

Five years ago, Audrey Tanner flung caution to the wind and herself into the arms of an emerald-eyed bad boy biker she met at the White Pine Asparagus Festival. Two blissful weeks together convinced her that Kieran Callaghan was The One-until The One blew town without a word, leaving her brokenhearted. Now, starting a new job at the new Harley Davidson showroom, Audrey is floored to meet her new boss: Kieran. He’s still hot as hell, but she won’t fall for his sexy smile again. This time, she’s calling the shots.

Kieran never thought he’d return to White Pine, Minnesota, much less see Audrey again. Gorgeous and smart as ever, she’s just as irresistible as he remembered. She still doesn’t know why he had to leave-or that he’s missed her every day since. But he can’t deny he wants more than the no-strings fling Audrey proposes. As things between them heat up, Kieran must choose between the secret he’s sworn to keep and the woman he never stopped loving.

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1LbHPNI
B&N: http://bit.ly/1LaPHCq
iTunes: http://apple.co/1HwZYVV
BAM!: http://bit.ly/1KSZsUL
Goodreads: http://bit.ly/1V7mgEL

About Kim Amos

A Midwesterner whose roots run deep, Kim Amos is a writer living in Michigan with her husband and three furry animals.

http://www.kimamoswrites.com/

https://twitter.com/@KimAmosWrites

https://www.facebook.com/KimAmosWrites

EXCERPT:

In one smooth motion, he scooped her off the Harley and into his arms. He shook his head when he saw her getting ready to protest. “You yell or whine, and I’ll carry you outside and lock the doors on you. You stay quiet, we can talk in the back room. Agreed?” He saw an angry muscle working in her jaw, but she nodded nevertheless.

And then, just like that, Audrey Tanner was back in his arms.

He’d been so sure that he’d be able to return to White Pine and avoid his past altogether. So how he came to be carrying part of it in the form of Audrey Tanner, how her arms came to be looped around his neck, how her smell was everywhere, intoxicating him as he stormed toward the back room, was a turn of events he could never have predicted. It was also a dangerous set of circumstances, and he never should have let it get this far.

He had a job to do, dammit. He was here to build on his future—not relive the past

When he reached one of the back offices, he kneed the door open, then placed her roughly on the floor. She stumbled a little in the heels, but righted herself, glaring at him. He was about to tell her to change clothes and get out of the dealership, when he heard a pop. Something on the bustier came loose—he wasn’t sure what—and before Audrey could stop it, the front panel covering her chest slid downward. Her mouth made a horrified little O as her breasts sprang from their constrictive covering. Her nipples pebbled at the sudden exposure to cool air. Kieran got a hungry eyeful before Audrey scrambled to cover herself with a mortified, “Oh!”

Instinctively, he reached forward to help her. “I’m so sorr—” he started before she swatted his hand away.

“Stop it!” she cried. “Get back!”

Just then, Fletch Knutson walked through the office door, and pulled up short. His neat moustache twitched. His ice blue eyes flicked back and forth between them. “What in holy hell is going on here?”

“It’s nothing,” Kieran said, stepping away from Audrey.

Fletch’s face was bunched with concentration, trying to make sense of what he was seeing. His gaze settled on Audrey.

“Did he hurt you?”

Audrey clutched the broken bustier to her chest. “No, of course not,” he interjected. “It was just an accident.”

“I’m waiting for her to answer,” Fletch said.

Audrey’s knuckles whitened around her handful of clothing. He realized right then that she held all the cards. Her hand trumped his.

She could take him down with a smattering of words, could pretend like this had been more than it was and put his job at risk. Kieran forced his breathing to be steady—in and out, calm like it wasn’t the last play of the game—and tried to remember that the woman he’d lost his heart to five years ago had a blazing white soul, the stark opposite of his black one. She wasn’t like him, she wasn’t always calculating how to turn the odds in her favor.

Audrey had been so kind, so willing to trust him and believe the best. But even her shining golden goodness—her love for her friends and family and her hometown, her faith in the people around her—couldn’t lighten the darkness inside him, even though five years ago he’d wanted it to.

Underneath the makeup, Audrey’s face was pale. “No,” she said, “he didn’t hurt me. It’s just a misunderstanding.”

Kieran let out a breath he didn’t know he was holding.

“But I’d appreciate it if you’d tell him that he can’t fire me. I need this job.”

 

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