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<<May 2015>>
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1. #BookADay: FOX AND SQUIRREL MAKE A FRIEND by Ruth Ohi (my sister!!), published by Scholastic Canada

#BookADay: FOX AND SQUIRREL MAKE A FRIEND by my awesome sis, Ruth Ohi (published by Scholastic Canada). This was a "Best Books" selection by the The Canadian Children's Book Centre and a "First and Best" Toronto Public Library Selection!

"Is there room for someone else in Fox and Squirrel's friendship? Fox and Squirrel are the best of friends. But when Yellow Bird comes along, he and Squirrel frolic high up in the treetops where Fox can't reach. Fox feels like Squirrel doesn't need him anymore. Can Squirrel help Fox see that there's room in their friendship for another?

The simple text and joyful art together deliver a heartwarming tale with a subtle but profound message about the strengths of friendship, loyalty, and acceptance."

More about my sister and her school visits: http://RuthOhi.com

More about the book: http://www.scholastic.ca/…/v…/fox-and-squirrel-make-a-friend

More info: Donalyn Miller's Summer Book-A-Day Challenge | Archives of my #BookADay posts

0 Comments on #BookADay: FOX AND SQUIRREL MAKE A FRIEND by Ruth Ohi (my sister!!), published by Scholastic Canada as of 5/25/2015 11:11:00 AM
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2. That kid

वो बच्चा …

कुछ दिन पहले दोपहर मे दरवाजे पर घंटी बजी. इतनी गर्मी में कौन आया होगा सोच कर मैं दरवाजा  खोलने गई तो देख दस बारह साल का एक बच्चा थैला लिए खडा था बोला आंटी जी धूप,  अगरबत्ती  लाया हूं ले लीजिए … मुझे शक हुआ कि भरी धूप में किसलिए … कही उसके साथ  कोई गिरोह न हो …मैने बहुत मना किया कि नही लेनी पर फिर भी छोटा बच्चा जान कर 20 रुपए की अगरबती ले ली. दो दिन पहले फिर घर की बैल बजी. बाहर गई तो वही बच्चा था. उसने फिर खरीदने के लिए जोर दिया उसने बताया कि उसके पिता शराब पीते हैं और मां घरों मे काम करती है और कमाई का कोई जरिया नही … मना करते करते भी  मैने इस बार 30 रुपए की धूप और अगर बती खरीद ली. पर मन में बार बार एक ही बात आ रही थी कि ऐसे लोगों की बात में कोई सच्चाई नही होती ..

आज किसी काम से  भरी दोपहर में मार्किट जाना पडा, ट्रैफिक की वजह से कार रेंग रेंग कर चल रही थी अचानक मेरा ध्यान एक दुकान पर गया. वही बच्चा वही थैला अगरबती बेच रहा था. आवाज तो सुनाई नही दे रही थी पर उसके हाव भाव से लग रहा था कि वो मिन्नत कर रहा है कि दुकान दार खरीद ले और कुछ ही देर में वो पसीना पोछता  चुपचाप सिर झुका बाहर आ गया. सामने का रास्ता साफ हो गया था इसलिए मेरी कार भी आगे बढ गई. रास्ता साफ था पर मेरे मन मे बहुत उथल पुथल चल रही थी.

बेचारा सच्चा था पर मैने विश्वास नही किया शायद इसलिए कि समाज मे बुराई इतनी बढ  गई है और हम उसमे इतने उलझ गए है कि सच्चाई और अच्छाई हमें दिखाई नही नही देती.. दिखाई देती भी है तो हमारा दिल उसे नही मानता

पर अब मुझे उसी बच्चे का इंतजार है वो आएगा तो मैं उससे खूब सारी धूप और अगरबती खरीदूगी …

The post That kid appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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3. The Importance of Wait Time and Think Time

how do you become the kind of teacher who leaves plenty of think time? How do you go from rapid-fire, to more thoughtful questioning?

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4. It's Monday! What Are You Reading?! 5-25-15

Thanks to our dynamic hosts: Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kelle at Unleashing Readers.
Head to either blog to find reviews as well as dozens of links to other blogs filled with reviews! 

Books I've Recently Read:

Chasing Freedom: The Life Journeys of Harriet Tubman and Susan B. Anthony-Inspired by Historical Facts by Nikki Grimes
Illustrated by Michele Wood
Orchard Books, 2015
Historical Fiction
56 pages
Recommended for grades 3-5

Beautiful paintings accompany short vignettes of Tubman's and Anthony's lives, coming together to form an imagined version of how the two powerhouse women might have passed a morning together in conversation. The reader will leave with an introduction to Tubman and Anthony, setting up readers for deeper understanding when confronted with heavier historical texts. 
The art is inspired by African patterns and American quilt designs, which were such an important symbol during the years the underground railroad ran.
I enjoyed this brief and informative story, and fully appreciated the visuals.

The Witch's Boy by Kelly Barnhill
Algonquin Young Readers, 2014
384 pages
Recommended for grades 4+

A fellow blogging friend said to be patient with The Witch's Boy. I now know why. This story is slow in developing the reader's expectations-at least that is how I experienced it. I've got to be honest, this one let me down. I had such high hopes: Creepy title + Gorgeously dark and mysterious cover + Stellar online reviews = high expectations. I was let down in the way the story seemed to plod softly along. The opening of the book was also almost too much to bear, and I think adults should beware of which child they might be  recommending this book to, as the book begins with the scene of a drowning death of a young boy. The image of the mother holding her lifeless son hurt me, and I felt angry at the unexpected pain the book brought me.  There is so much to this story, I'm just not the one to do it justice. I'm sorry.

The Dungeoneers by John David Anderson
Walden Pond Press, 2015
448 pages
Recommended for grades 4-8

Full review to come closer to publication. I will say now: fans of Iron Trials and Harry Potter and The Ability, etc, will enjoy this story of kids being round up for an ability, then put to the test as they refine their skills. Hopefully the start of a new series!

I'm Currently Reading:

On Deck:

Thanks for stopping by!

0 Comments on It's Monday! What Are You Reading?! 5-25-15 as of 5/25/2015 9:41:00 AM
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5. New Voice: Stefanie Lyons on Dating Down

By Cynthia Leitich Smith
for Cynsations

Stephanie Lyons is the first-time author of Dating Down (Flux, 2015). From the promotional copy:

At Café Hex, Samantha Henderson can imagine being the person she really wants to be. 

It’s her place to daydream about going to art school and getting away from her politician father. It’s her place to imagine opening herself up to a new kind of connection, away from her family and the drama of high school.

Enter X—the boy she refuses to name. He’s older, edgy, bohemian . . . in short, everything she thinks she needs. 

Her family and friends try to warn her that there may be more to him than she sees, but still she stays with X, even as his chaos threatens to consume them both.

Told in waves of poetry—whispering, crashing—Dating Down is a portrait of exhilaration and pain and the kind of desire that drives a girl to risk everything.

In writing your story, did you ever find yourself concerned with how to best approach "edgy" behavior on the part of your characters? If so, what were your thoughts, and what did you conclude? Why do you think your decision was the right one?

I did struggle with how much to tell. My story is about a girl who spirals downward while in a bad relationship. It’s odd because—as far as the drugs and partying—I didn’t feel I needed to censor. But the sex, well, that was the part I wrote around for many edits until finally realizing it just wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t go there. So I did. And it hasn’t been a problem out in the real world with readers.

I guess my new mantra is anytime I take off my seventeen-year-old hat and put on my writer’s hat, I’m doing a disservice to the story.

As someone with a MFA in Writing for Children (and Young Adults), how did your education help you advance in your craft? What advice do you have for other MFA students/graduates in making the transition between school and publishing as a business?

My MFA made all the difference. I was a sponge while I was at Vermont College of Fine Arts. Time there is an endless source of creative inspiration and information: The lectures and discussions. Talking about books. Why you did or didn’t like a particular one. Turning something in on a monthly basis and knowing someone’s on the other side ready to read it and help you make it better.

All these things gave me “aha” moments. And the people I met were super talented and supportive. I didn’t just gain a degree, I gained lifelong writing friends.

As for advice for other MFA students making the transition, I’d definitely say, know that when you’re creating something that is the creative process. Once you create it and turn it over to an agent or editor that is the business process.

The creative process is personal. The business process isn’t. Learn to separate the two and you will have a much easier time.

Ruby is a vital part of the creative process.

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6. The Sound of Music Story

The Sound of Music Story: How A Beguiling Young Novice, A Handsome Austrian Captain and Ten Singing von Trapp Children Inspired the Most Beloved Film of All Time. Tom Santopietro. 2015. St. Martin's Press. 324 pages. [Source: Library]

I enjoyed reading Tom Santopietro's The Sound of Music Story. Did I enjoy each chapter equally? Probably not. But what I was interested in, I was REALLY interested in, and, I was fine skimming the rest.

The book focuses on several things: 1) the story of the actual von Trapp family, both before and after the Sound of Music, 2) the Sound of Music on Broadway (its creation, duration, etc.) 3) the filming and reception of The Sound of Music (focus on the directing, producing, filming, acting, costuming, etc.) 4) the legacy of the Sound of Music, five decades worth of trivia on the film and the soundtrack, etc.

I loved reading about the filming of the movie. I did. I loved reading about the filming of particular scenes and particular songs. It was just fun. There were chapters of this one that were just giddy-making.

Not all of the book was equally captivating to me. But I appreciated the thoroughness of it.

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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7. Happy Memorial Day!

Memorial Day

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8. Rook by Sharon Cameron

<!--[if gte mso 9]> Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE <![endif]-->

Scholastic ,2015

It was known as Paris in the past.  Today, it’s called the Sunken City where two classes live.  Those that live the Upper City have the most splendid views as well as the prestige and money that accompanies their class.  The Lower City is plagued with poverty and filth but is also the stage for the Razor, a contraption that beheads those of criminals or even wealthy family who go against the dictatorship of Allemande, a man small in stature but larger than life.  Beside the Razor is the Tombs, where those awaiting death stay until summoned up by the evil LeBlanc, who is in charge of ensuring Allemande’s rule. 

But little do they know Le Corbeau Rouge, also known as The Red Rook, has just entered the city…
Meanwhile, across the sea is the Commonwealth, where those who have enjoy a more pastoral life live.  Sophia Bellamy has just entered the room, awaiting her Banns and the man she is to wed, a certain Monsieur Hasard, who catches the attention of all of the ladies in the room, except her.  But she knows she must in order for her home to stay in the family.  She will not be the ruination of her father and her brother Tom. 

But she is hiding a secret most people don’t know.  Lady on the outside, Red Rook on the inside…
Wherever they live, everyone lives in a world of no technology, where they watch as more and more useless satellites fall from the skies.  The world has gone back to the simpler days of non-mechanized work, where most people are back to an agrarian lifestyle.  The world is now a place where plastic sells high on the black market and a can with the strange word "diet" is sought after by collectors of the old world.  

There are things that haven't changed though.  Greed, the need for power, tyranny, murder and war are still part of the landscape, and one that the evil LeBlanc intends to see to the end.  The only obstacle is the Red Rook. LeBlanc pulls no stops when it comes to crippling Sophia, but she does have a back-up plan in place, or does she?  Are those working with her for or against her?  

Sharon Cameron writes a dystopic novel set in future Paris with all the  regale of the Revolution of its past in an excellent combination.  People in ball gowns from the 1700s are still mystified by modern things of today's world, all set in a future that is as rich and full as the story itself.  What is also unique about this novel is that Cameron parallels her newest novel to the classic, The Scarlet Pimpernel by weaving it into the story in subtle ways.  Sophia is a strong female character who knows to rely on herself first while Rene Hasard, her betrothed, shares the same characteristics with a twist of slyness.  If you have been looking for a great dystopia read, pick up this historical dystopia in all of its glory, romance, triumphs and downfalls. It will not disappoint.

Booktrailer by author: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GlSDsV8SuMs

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9. Instagram of the Week - May 25

A brief look at 'grams of interest to engage teens and librarians navigating this social media platform.

This week we're looking at two popular hashtags that you can use to connect with patrons and other libraries around the world. Started by the Bernardsville Public Library in Bernardsville, New Jersey, the #libraryinmyhand hashtag is a way to show patrons all of the library resources that can be accessed from mobile devices in the palm of their hands. Based on the #instainmyhand pictures that are popular in Japan, the PicsArt Photo Studio app is used to layer a transparent screenshot of the library's website, databases, or social media pages on top of a photo of a hand. Although only in use for two weeks, the #libraryinmyhand hashtag has already been used by public, school, and academic libraries worldwide.

A second popular hashtag is #librariesofinstagram which serves as a way for libraries using the social media platform to unite and showcase their institutions. This hashtag is used on everything from photos of the library building itself, programs, collections, displays, games and trivia, and fundraising campaigns.

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10. The Glorious 25th Of May! Terry Pratchett's Night Watch

Truth! Justice! Freedom! And a hard boiled egg! (And no, I'm not going to say, "Make that two hard boiled eggs" - different universe)

Just now, I finished rereading Terry Pratchett's Night Watch. It's one of the later City Watch novels. It's one if my favourites. And it occurred to me that this is "the glorious 25th of May" as mentioned in the book,so what better day to post about it? 

In this one, Sam Vimes, Commander of the Cory Watch, is without the backup of his loyal crew, Carrot, Angua, Cheery Littlebottom, Detritus and so on, because he has been thrown into his own past. He does, mind you, have Fred Colon. Nobby Nobbs is there, but he's a child, who's carved himself a police badge from soap. Still, he's useful. The future zombie Reg Shoe is alive. There's a rebellion growing in the city against the current Patrician(Vetinari, the future Patrician, is still a student at the Assassin's Guild, though he plays a very important role in the story, as does his aunt, presumably the one mentioned in Guards!Guards!). The History Monks are around - and I had just been rereading  Thief Of Time, in which you first met Lu Tze, the old monk who exhorts you to remember Rule 1(beware of skinny old men) and follows the Way of Mrs Cosmopolite. Vimes is thrown into the past while chasing a genuinely evil murderer, and realises that if he doesn't mentor his young self and take part in things happening in thus history, he may never make it back at all to his wife, his about-to-be-born child and his friends - and the murderer is right at home in the scary old times of Ankh-Morpork.

As I said, one of my favourites and there's a delightful adaptation of Rembrandt's painting on the cover.

But I love pretty much anything of Terry Pratchett's and I love this universe because, unlike many other fantasy writers, he doesn't waste time on long lost princes and elves going on a quest. Well, there  is a long-lost king, but he's a cop first and foremost and uninterested in taking the throne, even if he admitted he knew what he was, which he doesn't. And there are elves, in the Witches novels, but they aren't Galadriel or Legolas, they're lunatics who would rather kill you than look at you. And as someone who reads her folklore I can tell you he has it a lot more right than those authors who fill their books with twinkling glamorous fairies. And yes, there are wizards, but they like their huge meals and long snoozes and have no interest in going on quests. 

What I love is that his heroes are ordinary people. They're Mums and Dads running an all night Klatchian takeaway shop or farming in the Ramtops or having a fight with the neighbours. And in Ankh-Morpork, they enjoy their unofficial street theatre, and Ankh-Morpork has long ago stopped fighting other city-states and started selling them stuff. Any barbarian invader who tries to take over finds himself leaving with cheap wine and a purple straw donkey and a lot less money than when he arrived.

I love it all! So, raise your glass of whatever and drink with me to Freedom, Truth, Justice and a Hardboiled Egg!

And to the wonderful, much-mourned Terry Pratchett.


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11. Pay it Forward with Shirley Harris Slaughter

Check out Crazy! Hot! And Living on the Edge! by Shirley Harris Slaughter for Pay It Forward Week!

Check out author Shirley Harris Slaughter about her book Crazy! Hot! And Living On The Edge! on Stories From Unknown Authors http://blogtalkradio.com/storiesfromunknownauthors 
This was a great show and a good book.

Crazy! Hot! And Living On The Edge!

Imagine experiencing emotions that have you questioning your sanity. Your body gets overheated at the least bit of excitement and you scramble to find a fan or some air. Or you find yourself in the throes of a panic attack and can’t understand how to shut it off, so you are filled with anxiety wondering when the next one is coming. What if every time you take a drug you experience side-affects that you are warned about on the label? The title was conceived in my mind after I thought over all the situations I had found myself in, getting out of them, and the affect all of this had on my overall physical and mental well-being. Crazy! Hot! And Living On the Edge!! Is the True Story of My Upside Down Life!

  • Paperback: 84 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (April 3, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1508952507
  • ISBN-13: 978-1508952503

About the Author

Shirley Harris-Slaughter’s first book highlights her passion for history which led to her first published work, Our Lady of Victory, the Saga of an African American Catholic Community. But she wouldn’t have been able to write that book had she not had the presence of mind to conquer the health crisis she found herself in. She is an advocate for natural health and healing. Any problem that she had to face, she found her way out of it through sheer determination and a miracle. This led to her second book CRAZY! HOT! AND LIVING ON THE EDGE!! Harris-Slaughter saw a void that needed to be filled; and so she decided to share her experience. Harris-Slaughter has been active in her community by supporting candidates for elected office, and voting in every election. She served on the Oak Park School Board. She is an advocate for children and mentored four freshmen girls in the Winning Futures program. She is an active member in her church and she belongs to the Rave Reviews (Virtual) Book Club. She married her best friend Langston and they share a blended family. “We are as different as night and day and yet we are so much alike in many ways. We made it through thirty-two years!” Shirley Harris-Slaughter is available for speaking engagements. Contact Email Address: sharrislaughter@gmail.com 

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12. If You Have A Comics Collection -How MANY Do You Have ....

...And More Importantly: How OFTEN Do You Read Them?

 Well, since I did the post about the tidy-up in Room Oblivion things have moved on. Books have more-or-less been put into order on the shelves.

This was the old look:

Then a query was raised about Why are my comics not all bagged?:

But I've seen, over the last few days, several bloggers display their collection in the very over-priced comic boxes and Mylar bags, but also as stacks in comic shop bags.  I know there are the lucky ones with a big living area, small room or even secured garage-cum-man den but that's the exception.

I started reading comics when I was 4 or 5 years of age thanks to Ma and Bill (my grandparents). I do not have all those old comics because of various reasons but as I never had a permanent place to live until I hit my 40s my comics were all over the place -but in rudimentary bagging.

Comics and comic annuals go back to the 1940s and there are series I want to re-read if and when I ever get the chance to 'retire' (or go senile which is a form of retirement -perhaps wander the streets with my underpants over my long johns and a table cloth around my neck as I go worrying "hoodies"....no. That's my current hobby).  Silver Age Sub-Mariner, Silver-Bronze Age Avengers, Dr Strange and, of course, those wonderful small company titles like MF Enterprises Captain Marvel.

Above:someone else's collection!

Here is the thing, though: I have thousands of comics that I have not read since the 1980s, 1990s or even 2000-2010. Some of them were great reads at the time when Marvel and DC had maybe 14-18 main titles a month.  Mini series or maxi series were extras.  A lot of the comics after 2000 I have little interest in since by that time continuity had ceased to exist with both Marvel and DC.  And with Disney owning Marvel continuity does not matter -the dollar is the be-all and end-all.

One day this is all going to implode and I'd guess within the next 4 years, maybe sooner. The rot has already set in.  You see, everyone over-excited about Avengers: Age Of Ultron and I've now noted ten negative reviews such as Bounding Into Comics:"Age Of Ultron: Worse Than A Star Wars Prequel?"

Captain America, Ultron and Iron Man from Avengers: Age of Ultron
Wow.  Apparently it only made around $191.3 million dollars on opening weekend.  Disney execs must have been jumping from windows.  That was sarcasm by-the-way.

It is quite noticeable that more and more bloggers are now calling it "Disney" not "Marvel"...oh, it finally sank in.  But while the die-hard Marvel fans will hail anything -even Tony Stark's nail clippings- as a huge success it is very obvious that more negativity is creeping in.

DC are not exempt as, even before the movies are released they are getting negative responses for all sorts of silly reasons.  Okay, that may be DCs fault because it has dragged its heels -rather than base movies on established characters -say, Smallville, which movie goers would probably be familiar with- they are dragging things out.  "Suicide Squad -has anyone seen the stills from that? Its like a cosplayers lineup" (sic). The most positive comments surrend, as I mentioned before, Harley Quinn's spray-on shorts.

And...WHOA! Even the TV series that "made comic book geek chic" -The Big Bang Theory is getting unprecedented criticism.  "Kaley Cuoco's acting stinks. She ought to be replaced!"  "Kaley Cuoco shortened her hair. Bimbo!" and Cuoco was previously untouchable.  Even the other characters -or, rather, the actors- are getting negativity.  One TV pundit in the US claimed the series was still popular but had lost that "geekster following"!
Look on Ebay and elsewhere and you will find a heck of a lot of comics from the last 4-5 years on sale. Shop owners never ever declare these things publicly (they fear for their business after all) but it seems more and more of the newer readers are trying to sell their books back to shops.  Yes, after 4-5 years some are realising that comics are NOT going to make them rich. The huge financial outlay in comic storage boxes, Mylar bags and...seriously..."reading gloves" (condoms for comic reading!) is a lot and their comics value has increased by....00.0%

I've seen two comic geek chic types who spent up to $120.00 on a "Rocket Raccoon first appearance" title (seriously, again, go online and see just how many 'first appearances' it is claimed he had!) write that the best offer they had when trying to sell the books on (now there was a sincere interest in comics) was "$20 ****** bucks!" (I was going to tell him he needn't include the "$" sign if he was going to write "bucks" but...).

Comic shops are not going to buy back comics they know they cannot sell or if they can it's only in the $1 box.  One stated "It's a buyers market" then added "Customers buy we sell. We don't buy back!"  I have now heard of two long time customers in comic shops in the US who had no real interest in the new Secret Wars series -the store owner offered issues 1 and 2 "If you don't like them then okay -bring 'em back and I'll put them in the remainders box".....in one case at least -they ended up in the remainders box (the other guy paid half price "out of loyalty"!!!!).

Having spoken to people who attend comic conventions from Finland to the USA there is one thing they hate as traders -Cos-players.

I really like cos-players and thought that my own observations that they never buy comics -they'll take the freebies-  was isolated.  However, time and time again I hear "Cos-players never buy books. They are not there for that!" followed by "Events support them so they ought to support the industry!"

Every cos-player I have chatted to does the whole thing for fun.  It's a social thing.  Decades ago you wanted to meet people and feel one of the gang you joined cycling clubs that went on weekend tours (VERY big in "the olden days"!), or you became a bird-watcher or...or...okay, train-spotters with a real interest in the engineering and so on maybe.  But bus-spotting?!!  Seriously, Bristol at weekends seems to be full of them -note books and pens ready, cameras on tripods or cameras with telephoto lenses. I mean, okay, as kids we used to spot car licence plates -not so many cars and in some cases those notes even helped the police!  But buses......

Anyway, check out You Tube videos of cos-players and it is not about the comic it is about the look of a character and how they have designed and put together a costume.  And meeting up with like-minded people.  I am NOT going to go into the more seedy side of why some female cos-players are involved because they are the exception -I think roped off sections for "more adult posing" says it all.

One day, cos-playing will be the main event with comic selling as a rather quaint aside.

TV and movies make big money.  Comics to a lesser degree.  The fact that "The Big Two" are desperately recycling ideas and really have no respect for fans -watch Tom Brevoort for Marvel Disney announce things -he is not even hiding the fact that selling and YOU buying are all that matters.  After all, he's already publicly hatte eine Scheiße over Marvel legendary creators Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and others that followed because they were "not as sophisticated at story telling" as the regurgitating new bloods -check the Ultimate Avengers animated movie extras: it's there.

Comics are seen as secondary and not that important as anything other than movie fodder.  The chic-sters -well, the brighter ones- are realising this.  There is going to be a massive comics glut on the internet and shop owners are advising those wanting to get rid of their books to "sell them on Ebay!"

We need to get back to the old comic mart days.  A day long event where comickers come to buy old comics and where cos-players or over priced toy merchandise are secondary.

For me, I have those thousands of comics I no longer read.  I would love to sell them off and get the money -AND the much needed space.  However, I know that is unlikely because the market is not there. 

An offer from a deal for a book that I know in its condition is worth £50-60.00 of "I can give you £5.00 but there is no guarantee I can sell it" is an insult.  I check out dealers, I know people who use these comic dealers and they tell me the prices asked by those dealers.  That book I was offered £5.00 for? The dealer was so certain I was going to take his offer (!) that he contacted someone I know who emailed me to say he had been offered the book for...£75.00.  The dealer did get back to me by phone and tried everything to get back book -all of that month's Marvel comics AND £10.00.  He certainly did not like my "No".

But look at your comic collection and ask yourself how many of the books you read more than once. What do you expect from your collection -it will never earn you enough to retire on- as the years go by? A yard sale? Thrift store donation? I know that when I croak mine will probably -likely- be sold off for what can be got and the rest trashed or burned.

Comickers tend to buy, read and store.  I don't think I've ever met a real comicker who ever thought beyond that.

Depressing, isn't it?  Believe me, no one is more depressed about it than me...other than the cupboards.

Here's a thought, though: Hong Kong produced huge numbers of comics but you try finding comickers today in Hong Kong who have knowledge of Manhua pre 2000s or 1990s.  The same in Singapore where I was astounded on forums to learn I was the only one who knew of 1980s Singaporean comics!

Buy and read and keep comics you love and read more than once.  In forty years time someone is going to be writing: "Where the hell did these mountains of comics from the early 2000s originate?!" and that after he picked up a pack of 50 comics for $10.......


Comic Book collection


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13. Today's chapter of the 'Busy Drawers For Fun Club'

In today's chapter of the 'Busy Drawers For Fun Club' I'm drawing a farm. This is about as close as I'm going to get to illustrating a scene from Charlotte's Web - so I quite enjoyed it. The girl reminded me of Fern. I just wished the script called for Wilbur - since I do love drawing pigs. In fact my nickname as a stout young lad was 'Pig'.

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14. our lady of the bogus wifi

Here's a drawing based on a medieval painting at the Städel Museum in Frankfurt. Great museum! I wasn't so taken with their modern art, but the old stuff was grand.

(Here's our lady peeking at the original painting.)

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15. I Love My Pet Elephant - a bookwrap


Authored by Lauren Micchelli and illustrated by Thomas Barnett 

Ages 3- 6

Unwrapping the illustrations....

Unwrapping the book's story...

     What a fun book to share with your little one.  The characters are adorable and the message is positive and full of love. Please trust me, after it's read to your child ... forget the dog or cat ... she will want a pet elephant of her very own, just like Pete.   

     The antics and adventures that these two share proves beyond a shadow of a doubt how special their friendship is.  The book is written in rhyme and each page naturally flows into the next.  The sweet couple share feeding, bath, and play times that radiate pure bliss and happiness.  They are inseparable and you know by their facial and body responses, the feeling is mutual.  

     I especially love when she rides around on his back after coming home from school for snacks and she sleeps on his head because the bed is too small for both of them to fit.  I know you will be charmed by the colourful expressive illustrations that portrays the love between a cute little girl and her BFF elephant, her Pete.  I highly recommend this book for you to check out.

About the author...

Lauren Micchelli is a newly published author, having penned her first book in 2014. She has since continued the Snootzytime Adventures of Maddie and Murphy series, and went on to publish A Day Of What Ifs and I Love My Pet Elephant.

Lauren Micchelli grew up in West Caldwell, New Jersey and currently resides in northern New Jersey.

Read on and read always!

It's a wrap.

Contact me at storywrapsblog@gmail.com

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16. An Inclusive Summer Reading 2015 List for Kids and Young Adults

Early in 2015, Edith Campbell invited a handful of colleagues who share a passion for children, literacy, and diversity to work with her on a Summer Reading list. She invited us to suggest titles we had read and wanted to recommend. As conversations took place, the focus of the list became clear.

Books we recommend are ones written or illustrated by Native Americans or writers/illustrators of color. We want readers to become familiar with the names on the list and their creative work. As you'll see, not all the books are stories about Native Americans or People of Color, and some are ones in which characters are LGBTQIA or disabled.

Photo by Edith Campbell
As you look over the list, you'll see it is divided into three categories: picture books, middle grade, and young adult. Though we didn't compile the titles using a checklist, we ended up with a list that includes contemporary and historical fiction. There's speculative fiction and nonfiction as well. Some are new, and some are older. The list includes a graphic novel, too. Some titles are from major publishers, some are from small publishers, and some are self-published. And, some are available as audiobooks or e-books.

The Native writers and illustrators we included on the list are Wesley Ballinger, Eric Gansworth, Cheryl Minnema, Cynthia Leitich Smith, and Tim Tingle.

We are Edith Campbell, Sarah Park Dahlen, Sujei Lugo, Lyn Miller-Lachmann, Debbie Reese, and Ebony Elizabeth Thomas. We aren't an organization. We are six people who read and talk about books with each other and on social media.

We are sharing the list as widely as possible across media platforms to reach as many people as possible. We hope you'll order these books if you don't already have them, and, we hope you'll feature them in your summer programming and year-round, too.

On Facebook:

At Edith Campbell's blog, Crazy QuiltEdi

At Nathalie Mvondo's blog: Multiculturalism Rocks

At Lyn-Miller Lachmann's blog: 

At Debbie Reese's Tumblr:

On Nathalie Mvondo's account at Pinterest, we divided the books into three lists:

You can download a pdf and take it with you to the store or library:
The annotated list is 16 pages long.
The list of titles (without annotations) is 6 pages long.

In whatever way you prefer, we hope you read and share the list with family, friends, and at your local library, too! Meanwhile, we'll be reading and thinking about our 2016 list. 

Last road trip I took, I listened to the audiobook of Gansworth's If I Ever Get Out of Here. Hearing Gansworth read it, different parts of the story jumped out at me. I was surprised to find myself tearing up at some parts. As I head out later this week on a road trip, I'll finish listening to X: A Novel by Ilyasah Shabazz and Kekla Magoon. It will probably end up on the 2016 list we put together. 

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17. Behind the Book AND Five Questions for Megan Morrison, author of GROUNDED: THE ADVENTURES OF RAPUNZEL

Megan Morrison and I met in 2003, via our mutual friend Melissa Anelli of the Harry Potter fan site The Leaky Cauldron, and I read an early draft of Grounded in 2004. I liked its characters and action a lot -- Rapunzel descending from her tower against her will, and traveling across the land of Tyme with a thief named Jack -- but to my eye, it didn't have enough emotional and world-building depth to elevate it from "cute and smart" to "real and meaningful," and I thought Meg could do more with it. So I told her that, in a three-page editorial letter, and offered to look at a revision when she was ready.

I did not think at the time--and nor did Meg--that this readiness would take eight years. But when she contacted me about the ms. again in 2012, she said that she had rewritten the book, "revised the rewrite, plotted the entire series in detail from back to front, and then revised it again. . . . Though the plot sounds similar to what it was, the book is very different, with a cast of characters who are fully realized and motivated, including the peripheral characters, who don't come to the fore until later books in the series. I love it and believe in it." I had never forgotten Grounded--and in fact had been hoping for this e-mail for eight years--so I asked to see it again.

And this time, I loved it and believed in it too, as Meg was 100% right in her estimation of her revised novel. I adore fairy tales in part because the transformations they contain speak to some of our deepest human stories and relationships, and my favorite retellings round out those transformations with complex psychology and world-building, while honoring the readerly pleasures of wonder or romance or connection at their heart. The new Grounded kept all the charm of Rapunzel and Jack's banter and the cleverness of the land of Tyme, whose history, geography, and even the resulting economics and sociology have all been fully thought through. But it achieved the reality and deeper meaning I'd been hoping for, thanks to Rapunzel's complex relationship with her Witch, whom she truly loves, and who has good reason to keep her in the tower; and Rapunzel's own process of growing up, finding out hard truths, and yet moving forward into wholeness. The book made me laugh, it made me cry, it made me intensely happy as a reader; and since it came out earlier this month, both Meg and I have been delighted by its critical reception -- including two starred reviews! -- which has praised both its many pleasures and that emotional depth. (It's also an Amazon.com Best Book of the Month for May.) Publishing it has reminded me yet again:  Good things come to editors who wait.

Four more notes, before I share Meg's Five Questions:

  • You can actually see a rare scene of the editor and author at work, sort of, in Melissa Anelli's Harry, A History. Page 79 documents a writing weekend among the three of us that took place at my apartment, where Meg was working on Grounded, Melissa was writing for the Leaky Cauldron, and I was editing A Curse Dark as Gold by Elizabeth Bunce, another great fairy-tale retelling. (And also making pancakes.)
  • This entire series of five-question posts was actually inspired by Meg herself, as she's written "Five Reasons to Read _________" posts like this one on her blog for years. 
  • Meg wrote about her side of this story at Literary Rambles and in this interview, which also reflects on her experience as a Harry Potter fan and a fanfiction author.
  • And Meg and her friend Kristin Brown, who's a professional geographer, talk about their collaboration in creating "plausible geography" for Tyme in this fascinating interview.
Five Questions for Megan Morrison

1.      Tell us a little bit about your book.

It’s the story of Rapunzel – the hair, the tower, the witch – except that my Rapunzel loves her tower and doesn’t want to leave it. She has everything she wants and thinks she is the luckiest person in the world. Until things go wrong, and she learns otherwise.

2.      If this book had a theme song and/or a spirit animal, what would it be and why? 

I actually have a whole playlist for Grounded. It’s here on Spotify.

If I were to choose just one song, it would have to be “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” (Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell). This is Witch’s promise to Rapunzel: that she will allow nothing to divide them – that she’ll rescue her from anything. It’s a very different song at the beginning of the book than it is at the end.

3.      Please name and elaborate upon at least one thing you learned or discovered about writing in the course of creating this book.

Sometimes, the idea for a story will come before the writer is ready to meet it. That doesn’t mean that the writer should stop writing or give up on the idea, but it means that the story won’t mature until the writer does. I had the idea for Grounded long before I was equipped to write it well. Life experiences – in particular becoming a mother and a teacher – were necessary. Not that those particular experiences are prerequisites for writing. Far from it. They were just necessary for me. They changed me in big, important ways, and strengthened me as both a storyteller and as a professional. My work ethic and my openness to criticism are vastly improved over what they were ten years ago. I have hardened and mellowed both, in the ways that I needed to. 

4.      What is your favorite scene in the book?

Rapunzel’s conversation with Witch at the end.

That’s a hard question, though. Whenever Rapunzel and Jack are talking to each other, I am delighted.

5.      What are you working on now?

The second book in the Tyme series! A different fairy tale, set in the same world. Many characters who appear in Grounded will show up again. 

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18. Happy Memorial Day!

Today we honor our fallen heroes. Here's a coloring page to help you do it:

There's also one for soldiers in other countries - our friends and allies. Color the flag to fit your nation. Let's remember those who fought for our freedom today.

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19. Thank You to the People who Google plussed Mr Brown's new book!

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20. On Writing

red branches

You have to give yourself permission to [write badly] because you can’t expect to write regularly and always write well.
— Jennifer Egan

The post On Writing appeared first on Caroline Starr Rose.

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21. Winner of The Wisdom of Merlin

Hope everyone is enjoying Memorial Day Weekend. It's been lovely weather here in Pennsylvania the last four or five days. Without further ado, I'll get to the good stuff.

According to randomizer, the winner of the giveaway of a hardcover copy of The Wisdom of Merlin and a paperback of the updated version of The Hero's Trail is...

Michael G-G

Congratulations, Michael! Expect an email from me asking for your mailing address. I'll get these out to you ASAP.

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22. Doable: the girls' guide to accomplishing just about anything by Deborah Reber

Doable: the girls' guide to accomplishing just about anything by Deborah Reber Simon Pulse. 2015 ISBN: 9781582704678 Grades 10 thru adult I borrowed a copy of this book from my local public library I’ve been taking a class in Leadership; it’s really a course in Coaching. I took it with the intention of becoming a more effective manager at work, but also a supportive friend and mentor

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23. An Inspiring Weekly Digest You NEED to Know About!

This is your brain.

And this is Maria Popova who will gladly pick it each and every Sunday morning if you register to receive Brain Pickings, her weekly free website digest that I promise you offers unlimited inspiration to keep you keepin’ on – personally, professionally and any way you need to. 

Ms. Popoval, “a cartographer of meaning in a digital world,” continues to offer visitors to her website “an inventory of cross-disciplinary interestingness, spanning art, science, design, history, philosophy and more.” 
The Sunday digest offers the week’s most “unmissable” articles.

Here’s who and what came my way last Sunday, May 17:

Wendell Berry on How to Be a Poet and a Complete Human Being 

The Heart and the Bottle (by Oliver Jeffers): A Tender Illustrated Fable of What Happens When We Deny Our Difficult Emotions   

The Magic of Moss and What It Teaches Us About the Art of Attentiveness to Life at All Scales

I owe fellow writer and friend Ellen Reagan untold thanks for first connecting me to
what’s now my weekly dose of inspiration, insights and mind-whirling knowledge I never even knew I needed to have.

WOW’s!” and sighs and smiles and “I didn’t know that’s!” usually punctuate my first reading of the digest.
At the end of the day, I return to save/copy to my journal particularly relevant and/or meaningful quotes and lines  - about life, love, children, work, writing, disappointment, joy, wonder, marriage, you-name-it.
Throughout the week that follows I find myself forwarding at least one article or quote to someone I care about.

You can listen here to Maria Popova talk about how and why she created Brain Pickings.
You’ll be so happy she did.

And do subscribe to the weekly digest. 
You’ll be so happy you did.

Happy Brain Pickings!

Esther Hershenhorn

You can also savor Maria Popova's delicious and nourishing fare via Facebook and Twitter.
(www.facebook.com/brainpickings.mariapopova/Brain Pickings @brainpickings

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25. Mervyn Morris @ Liberty Hill Great House

Drawing Room Project

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