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1. A Parent’s Guide To Writing Workshop

Back to School Night is around the corner! When it comes to writing workshop, what do we need families to know?

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2. The 2015 Taoyuan Illustration Exhibition











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3. Best Selling Middle Grade Books | September 2015

This month, Girl to Girl: Honest Talk About Growing Up and Your Changing Body (Chronicle Books), a must-have for every girl navigating her way through the preteen years, is The Children's Book Review's best selling middle grade book.

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4. pugs of the frozen north: helga hammerfest

Today's our official publication day for Pugs of the Frozen North!



With a dog sled team of 66 pugs, pug lovers will not be disappointed. But what about the other characters, which one is your favourite? Mine is Helga Hammerfest, a gentle giant of a women who's in tune with nature and instead of dogs for a sled team, has two polar bears named Snowdrop and Slushpuppy. She also has a luxurious beard, which comes in handy when the pugs get too cold:



When my co-author Philip Reeve and I were talking about characters we wanted in the story, Helga was top of my list. I'd set myself the #NonIdentikit challenge to draw attractive women who weren't beautiful in a Hollywood standards sort of way, and facial hair on women is such a taboo in our society. Which made me want to defy that standard, so I drew this girl:



I think this was Helga as a teenager, growing up in Anaktuvuk Pass, or whatever remote place she came from. After drawing that, I started making decisions about how the Helga in our book would look. Here's an early drawing I made of her for the book, in India ink and dip pen. (I'm tracing from the pencil drawning, on my light box. Helga's meeting Mitzi Von Primm, who very much plays up to fashion and finds Helga a bit disturbing:



When I first start drawing pages, they start as 'thumbnail roughs', which are small (but not quite as small as thumbnails, in this case). And then I move on to sketching it out in pencil, in the size I'm going to draw it for the book. (I drew most of the images at either 100% or 110% of their final printed size.) I sent scans of the pencil roughs to our editor, Clare Whitston, and our designer, Jo Cameron, to make sure that the drawings showed the right things and worked with the placement of the text.



Then I put the penciled page on my light box and trace over it with dip pen and ink. I have to be very careful not to smudge the ink! If I do, I can fix it later in Photoshop, but it takes time and is fiddly, and I like to get it right the first time if I can.



Next, I scan the ink drawing into my computer and open the file in Photoshop. I colour it using my Wacom pen. Here you can see the coloured layers under the ink! I'm only allowed to use black and one colour for the inside pages - blue - but I can use different opacities of the colour, which let me have darker and lighter blues, and a lighter shade of black (grey).



I e-mailed the picture file to Jo Cameron, and she placed the text around the picture and sent the book off to print. Huge thanks to our Oxford University Press team for all their work on this book! With our publisher Liz Cross, editor, head designer, design group, publicists, rights sales team, publicity tour coordinators, printers, it's quite a large team!



And big thanks to Stephen Holland, Page 45 owner, who's written an indepth review of Pugs of the Frozen North for his amazing blog! You can read about (and buy) the book from him online or in his Nottingham-based shop which sells comics and illustrated books.

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5. Cynthia Levinson's MY LIFE IN THE CIRCUS


MY LIFE IN THE CIRCUS
Cynthia Levinson

      You might remember, from the wonderful Broadway musical “A Chorus Line,” the song called “What I Did for Love.” Now that my second middle-grade nonfiction book is out, I think, “Oy. What I did for research.”
      Watch Out for Flying Kids! How Two Circuses, Two Countries, and Nine Kids Confront Conflict and Build Community (Peachtree Publishers) tells the stories of nine otherwise normal teenagers who, when they’re not going to school and taking selfies with their friends, perform in the circus. Five of them are (actually, were, since they’ve graduated) members of the St. Louis Arches, the top performing troupe of Circus Harmony in St. Louis, Missouri. The other four tumble, acro, juggle, wire-walk, contort, and do other crazy things with the Galilee Circus in northern Israel. In addition to being professional-caliber performers, what makes these kids remarkable is that they’re about as diverse a group of young people as you could fit into a single ring, which is where you can regularly find them. (The image to the right is of Cynthia learning the ropes - literally.)
      The St. Louis Arches featured in the book include two black kids from Ferguson-like neighborhoods and three whites, two of whom live in the western suburbs. The Galilee Circus is composed of two Israeli Arabs and two Jews, who live in villages only three miles yet a world apart. Both programs call themselves “social circuses” because they pursue social justice through circus arts.
      Every other year, this mélange of Christian, Muslim, Jewish, secular, English-, Hebrew-, Arabic-speaking, and one fully covered, hijab-wearing contortionist get together in one country or the other. The circuses’ partnership goes back eight years, and, by now, the troupers are accustomed to learning each other’s tricks, and living together and communicating despite the lack of a common language or cuisine.
     For an aging nonfiction writer who likes to delve deeply into her subject matter, however, it’s been a different story. There were no secondary sources. So, through the three years it took me to research and write Flying Kids, I conducted over 125 hours of interviews, which entailed
• staying with families and relishing Middle Eastern hospitality in the two Israeli villages, Deir al-Asad and Karmiel.
• staying with the circus director and relishing Midwestern circus hospitality in St. Louis
• hiring Hebrew and Arabic translators
• working out which telecommunications technology—Skype, text, email, FaceTime, Facebook, or telephone—each teen preferred and could get access to
• calling Israel at odd wee hours Texas-time, often to find out that my source was unavailable for various reasons, including Facebooking with their friends, which I could watch in real time while they ignored my frantic posts to them
• calling St. Louis, often to find out that my source was unavailable for various reasons, including losing cell phone privileges
• trawling the kids’ Facebook pages and YouTube channels, and
• groveling for family photos.
     Most ridiculous of all was trying out circus tricks. You can watch me make a fool of myself falling off of both a mini-trampoline and a globe.
      Then, there was the matter of figuring out how to write a book with nine main characters, multiple secondary characters, and two settings, one of which was, apparently, exotic. When I asked writer friends who have kids what they know about the Galilee, one said,
“I asked my neighbor's daughter, who is 13. Said she, ‘Isn't that where Puff the Magic Dragon lived?’"
Me: "I'm fairly certain he frolicked in Honah Lee."
Her: "'Well I know it has to be a place. I just don't know where. Probably, far, far away, like Florida.’”
      Also, there were the tribal politics in Israel and racial politics in St. Louis. Weaving the line of fairness to everyone while not losing readers in a morass of despairing historical events was as tricky as wire-walking. I sent so many pathetic, whiny messages to my editor about why I couldn’t possibly write the book that she sent me a copy of The Little Engine that Could.
      But, ultimately, I did write Watch Out for Flying Kids. My short-hand synopsis goes, “Ferguson gets together with the West Bank—and they juggle.” I hope you’ll delve into it and see what that means.

Here's Cynthia's workspace. During this project she commandeered the dining room table.
Learn more about Cynthia and Watch Out For Flying Kids at her website: www.cynthialevinson.com.

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6. Eco kickstarter success.

Well usually I just just talk about me me me..
..well this is just a little bit me
and a lot about John K, Milenko and the great team at Strangeloop games:
The Eco Kickstarter actually made it- almost to its first stretch goal so far.
Which is great because so many good ideas sink without trace in this social media world- so to make funding is not to be sneezed at.
Well done you people!

Now of course the thing has to be worked on to completion- (but even as an awareness/publicity exercise i'ts a great result).

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7. कट्टी बट्टी नेताओ की

 

 

 

नेताओ की कट्टी बट्टी

                                 नेताओ की कट्टी बट्टी

कट्टी बट्टी नेताओ की

चुनाव आते नही कि दल बदल, रुठना मनाना और कट्टी बट्टी का दौर शुरु हो जाता है .. ऐसा ही  कुछ देखने को मिल रहा है बिहार चुनाव में … शायद यही राजनीति है और यही होती रहेगी …

 

कट्टी बट्टी नेताओ की

Samajwadi Party can be free from Janta Pariwar in Bihar poll – Navbharat Times

बिहार विधानसभा के चुनाव में सिर्फ पांच सीटें दिए जाने से नाराज समाजवादी पार्टी बड़ा फैसला ले सकती है। समाजवादी पार्टी के मुखिया मुलायम सिंह यादव ने गुरुवार को पार्टी मुख्यालय में बैठक बुलाई है, जिसमें बिहार चुनाव को लेकर चर्चा होनी है। कहा जा रहा है कि संसदीय बोर्ड जनता परिवार पर सीटों को बढ़ाने का दबाव डालेगा। अगर सीटें बढ़ाने पर बात नहीं बनी तो पार्टी खुद को बिहार चुनाव से अलग कर सकती है।

मिलीं ठुकराई हुई सीटें

बिहार विधानसभा चुनाव के लिए 243 सीटों पर चुनाव हो रहे हैं। इनमें जनता दल परिवार के अंग आरजेडी और जेडीयू ने खुद 100-100 सीटें ले ली थीं। 40 सीटें कांग्रेस को दी गई थीं। इनके अलावा बची हुई तीन सीटों के लिए जनता परिवार ने एनसीपी को चुनाव लड़ने के लिए आमंत्रित किया था, पर एनसीपी ने इन तीनों सीटों पर चुनाव लड़ने से मना कर दिया। यही ठुकराई हुई सीटों में लालू ने अपने हिस्से की दो सीटेें जोड़कर समाजवादी पार्टी को दे दीं। समाजवादी पार्टी इतनी कम सीटें मिलने से नाराज है।

मुलायम ने जताई थी नाराजगी

बिहार समाजवादी पार्टी के अध्यक्ष राम चंद्र यादव और प्रभारी किरनमय नंदा के अलावा समाजवादी पार्टी प्रमुख मुलायम सिंह यादव भी अपनी नाराजगी जता चुके हैं। पिछले सप्ताह हुई महारैली में मुलायम को जाना था, पर उन्होंने जाने से इनकार कर दिया। महारैली में सपा ने प्रतिनिधि के तौर पर मंत्री शिवपाल यादव को भेजकर खानापूर्ति कर खुद को अलग कर लिया। इसके बाद से लगातार किरनमय नंदा, पार्टी के महासचिव प्रो.रामगोपाल यादव के नाराजगी भरे बयान आ रहे हैं। इसके बाद ही संसदीय बोर्ड की बैठक बुला ली गई। Read more…

The post कट्टी बट्टी नेताओ की appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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8. Seventh Most Important Thing

Seventh Most Important Thing. Shelley Pearsall. 2015. Random House. 288 pages. [Source: Review copy]

 The Seventh Most Important Thing by Shelley Pearsall is loosely based on a true story. One of the characters in the novel was an actual person, an artist named James Hampton. An author's note tells more of his story. I do wish I'd known this at the start; that is one reason I'm beginning my review with this 'essential' information.

Arthur T. Owens is the hero of The Seventh Most Important Thing; the book is a coming-of-age story set in 1963. Arthur has not been having an easy time of it, life has not been the same for him since his father died. And one day he loses it. He sees "the junk man" walking down the street pushing his cart full of junk, and the man is wearing his father's hat. He picks up a brick, takes aim, and hits him. Fortunately, it hits him on the arm and not in the head. James Hampton is "the junk man" and he urges the court to show Arthur mercy, and sentence him to community service. His community service will be working for "the junk man." Arthur has a list of SEVEN items to collect each Saturday. And the list is the same week to week. To collect these items, he'll need to walk the streets and neighborhoods picking up trash and even going through people's trash. It won't be easy for him, especially at first, to lower himself like that. But this process changes him for the better. And there comes a time when readers learn alongside Arthur just what "the junk man" does with his junk. And the reveal is worth it, in my opinion.

The Seventh Most Important Thing is definitely character-driven and not plot-driven. It's a reflective novel. The focus is on Arthur, on his family, on his new friendships and relationships, on the meaning of life. I liked the characters very much. The story definitely worked for me.

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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9. Library of America profile

       In Humanities -- the magazine of the (American) National Endowment for the Humanities -- David Skinner recounts some of the history of the launched-with-the-help-of-an-NEH-grant Library of America, in Edmund Wilson's Big Idea: A Series of Books Devoted to Classic American Writing. It Almost Didn't Happen, providing some interesting background.

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10. लडाई झगडे

लडाई झगडे

दो दिन पहले भावना मिली. भावना हमेशा के लिए दिल्ली रहने चली जाएगी. असल मॆ, उसका अपने पति से लडाई झगडा चल रहा है. कारण इतना  है कि  वो नौकरी करना चाह्ती है जबकि पति चाह्ते हैं कि बेटा अभी छोटा है इसलिए अभी बच्चे पर पूरा ध्यान दे और घर सम्भाले.  

घर पर रह कर जो भी काम करना चाहे कर सकती हैं नेट और वाई फाई की भी सारी सुविधाए घर पर थी. चाहे तो घर पर ही छोटा सा आफिस भी बना सकती है. कभी कोई रोक टोक नही थी. ये बात तो भावना भी मानती है पर ना जाने किसलिए अपने सातंवी क्लास में पढने वाले बेटे को छोड कर हमेशा के लिए जाना चाह रही है. इसी सिलसिले में मेरे पास भी आई थी. मैने भी उसे बहुत समझाया. जाने के बाद बच्चे पर क्या बीतेगी कौन करेगा उसकी देखभाल. इस बात का भी हवाला दिया. पर शायद वो मन बना चुकी थी. आज, अभी थोडी देर पहले वो घर पर आई और रोने लगी.

मेरे पूछ्ने पर उसने बताया कि आज उसने एक गाजियाबाद मे रहने वाले बच्चे की खबर पढी. बच्चे की मम्मी दुबई नौकरी करने चली गई थी. पति बीमार रहता और बच्चे अपनी नानी के घर रहते. वो बच्चा कक्षा नौं में पढता था. माता पिता के बिखराव से लडाई झगडे से बहुत दुखी था और अपने जन्मदिन से एक दिन पहले 13 साल के शानू ने  वट्स अप पर अपना प्रोफाईल फोटो डाला और खुद को श्रधांजलि दी और फांसी लगा ली. बच्चा अपने माता पिता के अलगांव से बेहद दुखी था. उसे उस फांसी में अपना बच्चा नजर आया. वो ऐसा कभी नही होने देगी इसलिए उसने मन बना लिया है कि घर पर ही रह कर कोई काम शुरु करेगी पर बेटे की परवरिश पर पूरा ध्यान देगीं. इतने में भावना के पति भी आ गए.

मै चाय बनाने के बहाने वहां से बाहर चली गई. दोनों की बातचीत हुई और शायद दोनों ने एक दूसरे से माफी भी मांगी. हमने बिल्कुल चुपचाप चाय पी और जाते जाते एक बार फिर वो भावुक हो गई. मैने उसके गाल पर प्यार से चपत लगाई और बोली बस … वरना अब मैं भी रो दूंगी… दोनो अपने घर चले गए एक आशा के एक उम्मीद के साथ .. मुझे खुशी इस बात की हुई कि बेशक दर्दनाक खबर ही सही पर उसे पढ कर भावना का मन पसीज गया और एक और बच्चा मरने से बच गया.

वैसे आपसी लडाई झगडे में कई बार अहम इतना आगे आ जाता है कि हमारी आखों में पट्टी सी बंध जाती है और हमें कुछ नजर नही आता. जबकि ये फैसले बहुत सोच समझ कर लेने होते हैं.. इसलिए अगर आपके मन में या आपके किसी जानकार के मन में भी कुछ ऐसा चल रहा है तो उन्हें एक बार समझना और समझाना आपका फर्ज बनता है कोई भी कदम उठाने से पहले एक बार अपने मासूम बच्चे की ओर एक बार जरुर देख लेना कि आपके इस लडाई झगडे में मासूम क्या कसूर …थोडी सी समझदारी से काम लेने से बिखरता घर बच सकता है.

और फिर मैं भी उस खबर को गूगल सर्च करने लगी जिसमें बच्चे ने खुदकुशी की थी…!!

 

Student gives tribute himself on WhatsApp before committing suicide – Navbharat Times

पुलिस सूत्रों से मिली जानकारी के अनुसार, सोमवार देर रात जीटीबी हॉस्पिटल से पुलिस को सूचना मिली थी कि एक लड़के को मृत हालत में हॉस्पिटल लाया गया था, उसने फांसी लगाकर जान दी है। सूचना मिलते ही पुलिस मौके पर पहुंच गई और शव को पोस्टमॉर्टम के लिए भिजवाया। पूछताछ में खुलासा हुआ कि मृतक लड़के का नाम शानू है। वह अपने बड़े भाई शिखर के साथ वैशाली, गाजियाबाद में रहने वाले अपने नाना-नानी के पास रहता था। वह वहीं के एक पब्लिक स्कूल में नौंवी क्लास मेंपढ़ता था, जबकि उसका भाई दसवीं क्लास में पढ़ता है। स्कूल में खेलते समय उसके पैर में फ्रैक्चर आ गया था। इस कारण वह 19 अगस्त को अपने बड़े भाई के साथ कबीर नगर गली नंबर-4 में रहने वाली अपनी मौसी के घर आया हुआ था।

पुलिस को यह भी पता चला कि शानू के पैरंट्स अलग-अलग रहते हैं। वह इस बात को लेकर भी परेशान रहता था। उसने इसका जिक्र वॉट्सऐप पर भी किया था। बताया जाता है कि उसकी मां पैसे कमाने के लिए दुबई चली गई। पिता अक्सर बीमार रहने लगे। लिहाजा वे दोनों भाई अपने नाना-नानी के पास रहने लगे। परिवार वालों ने पुलिस को बताया कि शानू पढ़ाई में बहुत तेज था। Student gives tribute himself on WhatsApp before committing suicide – Navbharat Times

लडाई झगडे पर अगर आप भी अपना कोई अनुभव सांझा करना चाहे तो बताईएगा हो सकता है आपकी आप  बीती सुनकर किसी की जिंदगी बदल जाए…

The post लडाई झगडे appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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11. Kurdish writing

       At Your Middle East Aras Ahmed Mhamad has a Q & A with Kae Bahar on Breaking new ground with Kurdish literature.
       As Mhamad explains:

While Kurdish language has two major written and spoken dialects, it also has numerous sub-dialects such as Kelhuri, Hewrami, Zazaki, and Leki. Moreover, Soranis use Arabic script whereas Kurmajis use Latin script. The division of Kurdistan has not only affected the geopolitics of the Kurdish land, but it also negatively influenced its literature and language.
       No wonder Bahar wrote his novel in English .....
       (Get your copy of Letters from a Kurd at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.)

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12. Spotlight and Giveaway: Broken Play by Samantha Kane

 
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BROKEN PLAY
Birmingham Rebels #1
Samantha Kane
Releasing Sept 1st, 2015
 
 
Perfect for fans of Shayla Black and Lexi Blake, the deeply sensual new Birmingham Rebels series introduces an unforgettable team of chiseled football gods—and the daring, provocative games they play behind closed doors.
Birmingham Rebels offensive linemen Beau Perez and Cass Zielinski are inseparable, on and off the field. Cass, the captain with the cowboy swagger, is a loose cannon. Beau, the veteran tight end, is cool under pressure. And ever since they were caught on tape in a steamy threesome, their exploits have fueled more than a few tabloid headlines—and naughty fantasies.

Marian Treadwell knows all about the video. And now that she’s the Rebels’ new assistant offensive coach, she can’t look at Beau and Cass without picturing their hard, naked bodies—with her pressed in between. Marian would like nothing more than to indulge those impulses, but she knows better than to get too close to her players, a bunch of adrenaline-fueled alpha males who don’t always follow the rules.
Just the thought of sharing the gorgeous yet guarded Marian drives Cass wild. At first, Beau isn’t sure she’s right for them . . . and lately, all he desires is a little alone time with Cass to explore their new intimacy. But it’s only a matter of time before Cass breaks through both of their defenses. Because when seduction is the game plan, he always plays to win.
Broken Play is intended for mature audiences.
 
EXCERPT:

“Get. In. Here.” Marian spoke in that one-word-sentence staccato that had become so popular on television and that she’d sworn she’d never imitate. Now she knew it wasn’t a choice. She was simply so mad she couldn’t get more than one word out at a time. Beau didn’t argue. He simply slid sideways in through her office door, past where she stood holding it. She started to close it, but a hand grabbed it from the hallway and pushed it open again. Cass. Of course. “Can’t I even yell at him without your presence?” she asked coldly.

“Nope. Team captain. Got to be here.” Cass turned and closed the door behind him, then leaned against it, his arms crossed, that damn cowboy hat in one hand.

“Fine,” Marian said. “Since you piss me off, too, you can share the punishment.”

“I don’t take punishment,” Cass said, his usual charming smile gone as he gave her a heated stare that made sweat pop out along her spine. “I give it.”

It took Marian a moment to get past the images that flashed through her head at that outrageous claim. “On the field, not in my office,” she said a little unsteadily.

“Anywhere I choose,” Cass told her calmly.

“Maybe I should go,” Beau said from behind her.

Marian jumped and spun around to face him. She hadn’t been paying attention. She couldn’t believe she’d let him flank her like that.

“Settle,” Cass said quietly but firmly. “There’s no threat here.”

“You just made threats,” she countered, backing up until her back hit the wall a few feet off to Cass’s left.

“No,” he said, the charm back in his voice, a sexy little drawl making it sound like Naw. “Those were promises.”

She actually felt a bead of sweat slip down her cleavage, and she shivered.

“Stop it,” Beau said. “You’re scaring her.” She glanced at him and he looked a little sad, his eyes big and golden brown, and soft with some emotion she couldn’t name. Instinctively she knew he wasn’t the threat here, which threw her into confusion. Wasn’t he the one in charge?

“I’m not scared,” she said. It was a knee-jerk reaction, something she’d said so often in the past few years—to others and to herself—that it was second nature.

Cass sort of rolled himself along the wall toward her until he was leaning over her, not quite pressed against her, his hands on either side of her head, one still holding his hat. “Good,” he said, his voice rough and heavy with wanting. “I don’t want you scared.”

She was breathing too fast. “Move your arms,” she said, and she winced at the panic in her voice.

“Cass,” Beau said. She saw his hand on Cass’s shoulder and her heart nearly beat out of her chest. She had to put her hand up to her chest and press against it to make sure it didn’t.

“You know I’d never hurt you,” Cass said softly. He turned and tossed his hat onto the couch, against the opposite wall. Then he dropped both arms to his sides. He didn’t move back, though. He stayed close enough that she could feel his heat and smell his cologne and a hint of his sweat and deodorant and laundry detergent and shampoo, all the things that combined to be Cass’s scent. She hadn’t realized she knew his smell so well. It was an odd thought and made her frown at him. He frowned back. “Don’t you?” he asked.

It took a moment to remember what he’d said. “Yes.” She did know it. But that didn’t make her heart slow down, because she wasn’t afraid of him. She was afraid of herself, and what she’d let him do if she let go.

“Yell at me.” Beau’s soft words were lost in Cass’s gaze for a second and then they sank in.

“I should,” she said, standing straighter and tugging on the hem of her shirt nervously. “What in the hell do you think you were doing out there?” She pushed on Cass’s chest, but he wouldn’t budge, so she stood on tiptoe and glared at Beau over his shoulder.

“Speaking my mind,” Beau said. He walked over and dropped down on the couch, easily within her sight, making sure not to crush Cass’s hat. “It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to do that.”

“So you decide to do it on my watch?” Marian said in a strangled voice. “Gee, thanks.”

“On your watch?” Beau asked, obviously getting angry. “Now you’re my babysitter, too? Jesus, how many do I need?”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Cass said, turning to glare at Beau, hands on his hips.

“Don’t try to distract me with a lovers’ quarrel,” Marian warned them. “I’m still pissed about Beau’s big mouth.”

Cass slowly swung his head back around and pinned her to the wall with his stare. He had the bluest eyes, and they could go cold and hard as fast as they could turn hot and heavy-lidded. “Lovers’ quarrel?” he asked quietly. Too quietly. Marian tried to slide sideways along the wall, out of his reach.

“That’s right,” she said, full of false bravado. She thought for a second that this must be what the canary felt like before the cat pounced.

Suddenly Beau laughed loudly, a harsh bark that sounded more incredulous than amused. It broke Cass’s stare and Marian quickly moved over to lean against her desk, facing them on more solid ground. “What’s so funny?”

“We”—he gestured between him and Cass—“are not lovers. We’re friends and we fuck women together. That’s it.” He didn’t sound happy about it. Or was he unhappy that people thought they were?

“Beau.” This time it was Cass trying to yank on the leash with a warning in his voice.

“Forget it,” Beau said flatly. “I’ve come out of my shell today. I’m not crawling back in.”


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Samantha Kane lives in North Carolina with her husband and three children, two boys and one girl. With a master’s degree in American history, she spent seven years as a high school history teacher before becoming a full-time writer and mom.


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13. Best Young Adult Books with Pat Schmatz, Author of Lizard Radio

It’s a tough assignment, and the best I can do is choose five YA books that, if I were shipwrecked today, I’d want with me.

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14. Legendary Disney Actor Dean Jones Dies At 84

And another one goes...https://uk.movies.yahoo.com/post/128246388481/legendary-disney-actor-dean-jones-dies-at-84



ben-arnold:

Dean Jones, the actor who helmed a wealth of classic Disney movies from ‘The Love Bug’ , ‘Herbie Goes To Monte Carlo’ and 'That Darn Cat!’, has died aged 84.


He had been suffering from Parkinson’s disease.


Jones, also starred in 46 films over a prolific acting career, including titles like 'Jailhouse Rock’, with Elvis Presley, 'Under The Yum-Yum Tree’ with Jack Lemmon, 'Beethoven’, 'Blackbeard’s Ghost’, and 'Clear And Present Danger’.

It was after serving in the Navy during the Korean War that he took to acting, working at a local theatre in Buena Park, California.


He made his debut on Broadway in 1960 alongside Jane Fonda in the play 'There Was A Little Girl’, later appearing in Stephen Sondheim’s 'Company’.

After inking a deal with MGM, he then embarked on a movie career in 1956, and would go on to star with Frank Sinatra in 'Never So Few’, Fonda once again in 'Any Wednesday’, and Gregory Peck and Danny DeVito in 'Other People’s Money’.


He also played the evil vet Dr. Herman Varnick in 'Beethoven’ in 1992.


Jones was inducted into the Disney Hall of Fame in 1995.

He is survived by his three children and wife, former actress Lory Patrick.

Tempus fugit

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15. Written and Drawn by Liniers


I never want to pander [to] or patronize kids. They aren’t idiots.
They’re just below eye level.”


 

This morning over at Kirkus, I talk to Argentine cartoonist Ricardo Siri, otherwise known as Liniers. We talk about a few things, including his newest book, Written and Drawn by Henrietta.

That link will be here soon.

Until tomorrow …

* * * * * * *

Photo of Liniers taken by Nora Lezano and used by his permission.

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16. Ghosts

Ghosts by Sonia Goldie and Marc Boutavant

by Sonia Goldie and Marc Boutavant (Enchanted Lion, 2013)

If you listened to my conversation with Matthew Winner and Julie Falatko on the Let’s Get Busy podcast this week, you might have heard me say something like, “the books keep coming.” 

It’s true, and this book is a perfect example of that. I’m a big fan of the books Enchanted Lion makes, and this one is two years old in America, and I just stumbled across it recently. Better late than never, right?

So, these ghosts.

The front endpapers here show a small spot illustration of a sheeted, ball-and-chained spook. On the title page, another ghost confronts him with disbelief in his ghost-ness, and the story is off. The two, a self-proclaimed ghost and a maybe-ghost, star in a series of pictures where the real ghost explains the reality of ghosts.

They don’t only inhabit creepy places, and they don’t drag around the old ball and chain.

And they definitely don’t go around saying, “Boo…Boo…Boo” all day.

No.

These ghosts are different.

Ghosts by Sonia Goldie and Marc Boutavant

They live in your kitchen. See the name of this ghost, spelled out by the items on the shelf? The Ghost of the Kitchen is clumsy, spilling poofs of flour and traipsing through spilled milk. And he really likes angel food cake and creamed rice. He’s up there on your light, judging you as you snap some peas.

Ghosts by Sonia Goldie and Marc Boutavant

This one wakes at night, scatters your clothes around, and makes your toys sing. He’ll slither into your teams and nightmares, and disappear in the morning.

Ghosts by Sonia Goldie and Marc BoutavantThe Ghost of the Parents’ Bedroom does not like messes as much as his nighttime friend. But I don’t think he’s as intimidating or successful either.

(Also, I do think that’s a dirty magazine under the bed, no?! Maybe something worth hiring a ghost to protect? Maybe the first I’ve ever seen in a picture book!)

Ghosts by Sonia Goldie and Marc BoutavantGhosts by Sonia Goldie and Marc BoutavantThe Ghosts of the Attic and Gray Days are my favorites. The one in the attic is ‘wrinkly yet twinkly’ and ‘likes to spend his time remembering the good old days.’ He smokes a ghost pipe, reads old newspapers, and listens to scratched records. He scares spiders away by wearing silvery scarves.

And the Ghost of Gray Days is a lumbering fellow, joined by a driving slug and an elephant carrying a plate for an umbrella. Of course.

The details in these pictures is astounding. Each spread has quirky spooks and spooky quirks, and each of these ghosts has enough character to erase that old, boring ball and chain.

Perfect for anyone who likes mini-stories, visual feasts, and the fun of being scared.

ch

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17. Dmitry Bykov Q & A

       At Russia Beyond the Headlines Olga Mamayeva has a Q & A with Russian author (and visiting lecturer at Princeton) Dmitry Bykov.
       Some interesting responses -- and title-suggestions, including re. the Russian view of the United States:

In modern literature, the prevalent image of the USA derives from Anatoly Ivanov's novel The Eternal Call (written in 1971-76).
       This has been translated -- but the Progress Publishers (i.e. Soviet) edition isn't too readily available; get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.

       Dmitry Bykov's own Living Souls has been published by Alma; see their publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.

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18. “Lord of Lowbrow” Artist The Pizz 1958-2015

From hifructose.com where you will find more art samples:http://hifructose.com/2015/08/31/lord-of-lowbrow-artist-the-pizz-1958-2015/

by CaroPosted on 

The art world’s heart has a hole in it today.


 “The Pizz” (a.k.a. El Pizzo a.k.a. Stephen Pizzurro), the self-described Lowbrow artist who evolved into a celebrated influence to a generation of artists, has left us. He was only 57. Born in 1958 and raised in a large Italian family in Orange County, California, The Pizz grew up creating art – he once said that he began drawing since he had a pen in his hand.

He caught his first big break working on Rat Fink comics for his personal inspiration, cartoonist Ed “Big Daddy” Roth, before going on to design cover art for punk label Sympathy for the Record Industry, and eventually entering the gallery world with fellow notable artists like Robert Williams.


With his signature dark glasses and a most impressive “fuzzy chin”, The Pizz was a familiar figure at openings and events. He even made appearances on reality TV and in film documentaries, including Flake and Flames (2013) and The Treasures of Long Gone John (2006).


At that time, Lowbrow Art was just a bubbling underground art scene and today works by The Pizz are considered as one of the original sources of “cartoon expressionism”, inspiring waves of artists to build upon. Artists like The Pizz, Coop, Anthony Ausgang, and many others drew from the well of hot-rod influenced Kustom Kulture, surf, skateboarding, tattoo, underground comics, Beatnik and tiki styles and brought it to galleries like La Luz De Jesus as fine art like no other. For over 20 years, The Pizz’s brutal, colorful, and enthralling graphics presented a surreal alternative to our consumer-driven pop culture.


Using the sensibility of cartoons, his paintings pop with the things he loved: eye-catching pinups, pimps, perverts, pirates, post-apocalyptic demigods, motorcyclists and fast cars. Dedicated to an art form that was generally frowned upon by society, he helped to create a new genre of imagery that was undeniably interesting; unapologetically presented to a myriad of folks from all walks of life, not just the pedigreed elite. As he said, “It’s a tumultuous adrenaline-soaked hellride of a lifetime leaving a mountain of debris and unspeakable carnage in its wake. Yeah, it’ll scar your fragile psyche for miles into the hereafter.”






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19. Grumbug! by Adam Stower

When you’re already giggling just eleven words into a story, you know you’re on to a very good thing.

grumbugAnd so it is with the delicious child- cake-eating-troll-quest to save a lost little sister that is Grumbug! by Adam Stower (@Adam_Stower).

Dolly, blissfully unaware of any danger that might be lurking out there, has wandered off. We have to keep our fingers crossed that she hasn’t ended up at the home of the “biggest, meanest, grumpiest and greenest troll of them all“, the troll which has all others quaking in their boots: GRUMBUG!

Determined to find her, and in the sure belief that anything can be sorted out with a jolly nice slice of cake, big brother Oliver and his old (blue) friend Troll set of to bring her back home.

Grumbug - LayoutsUK5.indd

Oliver seems utterly oblivious to the ominous signs that are all too obvious to us readers and listeners as we follow Dolly’s tracks further and further from safety. And just as the tension has been ratcheted up as far as we can take it… a gloriously theatrical page-turn has us all relishing in the relief, laughing as we realise we’ve been holding our breath.

Grumbug - LayoutsUK5.indd

But then comes a twist in the tale that makes for a particularly enjoyable readaloud (especially if you love a bit of acting it out or making silly voices) before we all find out whether or not cake really can save the day.

Grumbug!‘s encouraging message that bravery and kindness are able to solve all sorts of problems is delivered with bags of humour, in text, in pictures and in the interplay between the two of them, making this a book which remains a delight to read time and time again. (In fact, once you know all the surprises, they become even more enjoyable.) Then there are the little details which might only come to you after several readings; Check the endpapers for clues as to what you could find…

Delightful characterization, an upbeat take on life and – yes – plenty of cake make this a marvellously happy read, despite the looks of anxiety on the book’s front cover. I loved Troll and the Oliver enormously, and this second book with the same characters is a worthy successor. Here’s hoping Oliver and Troll with be back for a third outing to make us giggle and fill us with delight.

Grumbug - LayoutsUK5.indd

As I would so very much enjoy reading this book to a classroom of kids I wanted to come up with an activity which could be replicated fairly easily for 30 or so kids to join in with. I designed a simple mask (ideally to print onto card), which can be customised for either Troll or Grumbug.

You can download the mask (A4, pdf) here.

A bit of paint, some glue, tissuepaper and a few pipecleaners later…

makingmasks

…and here we have Troll…

troll

And here we have GRUMBUG!

grumbugcake3

And here we have Dolly and Oliver and one ENORMOUS cake. Has Grumbug eaten that slice of cake or is he going to gobble up the kids?

grumbugcake2

Whilst making our masks we listened to:

  • Raised By Trolls by Key Wilde & Mr Clarke
  • Grieg’s March of the Trolls
  • Hello Dolly performed by Louis Armstrong
  • Other activities which would go well with reading Grumbug! include:

  • Creating a cafe role play area.
  • Making a chef’s hat
  • Creating your own family or class’s cake recipe book, packed with favourites contributed by everyone. You could even use it to fundraise so you could invite Adam Stower to visit your school!
  • If you liked this post you might like these others of mine:

  • Making animal masks for a ball
  • A wolf mask for a very funny story by former Children’s Laureate Michael Rosen
  • Cat masks and hair bands and a book review in rhyme
  • masksroundup

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    Disclosure: I received a free review copy of this book from the publisher.

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    20. Illustrator and Designer Nikolay Volevski

    Screen Shot 2015-09-01 at 12.09.03 PM Screen Shot 2015-09-01 at 12.07.45 PM Screen Shot 2015-09-01 at 12.07.10 PM Screen Shot 2015-09-01 at 12.06.38 PM Screen Shot 2015-09-01 at 12.08.30 PM

    Nikolay Volevski Website >>

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    21. A Well-Earned Rest (well sort of...)


    John and just got back on Sunday, from a smashing week away. We rented a static caravan on a tiny farm in the Lake District, to coincide with the deadline for my sketching-people book. I thought it would be great to get it all done and then go away, feeling cleansed. 


    Unfortunately, my publisher was behind schedule with the last stage of the book, so things didn't quite work out as planned. I was still getting pages coming through to work on, right up to the last minute. Even then, my designer didn't manage to get it all to me in time, so there were still a few spreads left hanging...


    I felt okay about it though, because the delay was not my fault, so we went away on schedule and left it all behind. It was great actually, because there was no signal where we were, so I couldn't even get emails. Enforced relaxation.


    Except, I don't really do relaxation, as such. I can't sit and chill: I have to be doing something. Which is why I had packed about 6 different sketchbooks and all my painting and drawing kit. The plan was for John to go out walking, while I sat on various hills and did my thing. Sometimes we went off for the day together, doing walks with lots of quickie sketching stops, where I whipped out my trusty Inktense watercolour pencils and waterbrush:



    The weather forecast was pretty appalling (especially for a sketching week): torrential rain for at least half the time and some really gusty winds. In the end though, we were really lucky. Most of the torrents happened during the evening or overnight. 



    We even got a couple of days of gorgeous sunshine. Much of the time though, I was wrapped up in layers, hunkered down against the wind. August in England! The dodgier days made for more dramatic skies though:


    I never cease to be amazed by the Lake District - so gorgeous. It can be crazy-busy at peak period, but it depends where you go: we were tucked away in the western Lakes, near Coniston, and it was wonderfully peaceful:



    I will show you some more later, but I really have to get back to work now as I am off to Denver VERY soon!

    0 Comments on A Well-Earned Rest (well sort of...) as of 9/3/2015 2:51:00 AM
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    22. My tweets

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    23. IKEA - new catalogue

    At the end of August an Ikea catalogue always comes through the letterbox and gives me the perfect excuse to see whats new in their textiles and prints. The first things to catch my eye are some fun bedding designs created by Edholm and Ullenius on the theme animals and music. Above and below is Flickoga followed by Silveroga which both co-ordinate with shaped cushions called Thorine.

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    24. Agent Alex Barba of Inklings Literary and How to Earn Major Points on Submissions

    Alex Barba is an agent at Inklings Literary Agency. She joined Inklings after a stint as a literary consultant in New York City, having scouted the U.S. book market for film & TV clients and foreign publishers. Prior to that, she spent time in Los Angeles as an editor at a digital magazine, and doing story development on scripts with a literary management company.





    What is it about a manuscript that excites you? 
    Voice, pacing, compelling characters, unique storyline ... a writing style that is so smooth & digestible that I get completely pulled into the pages and forget I'm reading at all.
    What is on your wishlist? 
    I am looking for grounded contemporary YA, or a clever re-telling/re-spin of an old classic (a la Ella Enchanted, Gail Carson Levine). Some recent specific wishlist items: stories about girls who are uncertain of themselves coming into their own, stories about young performers (actors, singers, dancers), positive (non-angsty) stories with nerdy girl or boy characters, empowered girl protagonists in general, compelling stories of first love.
    Are you an editorial agent? 
    I look for projects that are polished as-is, but I am not averse to editing - if I find something I totally love but that just needs a few tweaks, I'll offer representation with the author's understanding that we'll do some editing before submitting!
    Character, world, or plot? 
    All of the above! But characters are what make me truly fall in love with a ms.
    What advice do you have for writers getting ready to query you? 
    Make sure you know what I'm looking for - and read the query directions on our website! Follow it to a T - that'll give you major points!

    0 Comments on Agent Alex Barba of Inklings Literary and How to Earn Major Points on Submissions as of 1/1/1900
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    25. Owl Diaries by Rebecca Elliott: short chapter book with big appeal (ages 6-8)

    Young children who are just ready to move beyond "beginning readers" need short chapter books with big appeal. These readers, often in 2nd grade, are still developing their reading stamina. Our students are loving Owl Diaries, a new series with big kid appeal.

    Eva's Treetop Festival
    Eva Sees a Ghost
    Owl Diaries series
    by Rebecca Elliott
    Scholastic, 2015
    Your local library
    Amazon
    read an excerpt
    ages 6-8
    When Eva gets a diary, she is sooo excited. She is so happy to tell all about her life at school, her best friend Lucy. Eva is a cheerful little owl, who acts and talks just like a bubbly little 7 year old girl. Eva begins by introducing herself, and this helps young readers build a sense of her world. Every page has drawings and only one or two short paragraphs.
    "Hello Diary, My name is Eva Wingdale."
    Eva is always full of ideas and enthusiastically pursues them. In the first book, she decides that her school should have a spring festival and undertakes planning it all by herself. In the second story, she's sure that she sees a ghost but is frustrated when no one will believe her. In both stories, Eva works to build her friendships and figure things out in a satisfying way.
    "My very BEST friend in the whole owliverse is Lucy Beakman."
    Rebecca Elliot's charming artwork is definitely the highlight. Eva and her friends have big, expressive eyes. The colors remind me of just the sorts of clothes that so many kids pick on their own. The text is simple to read, a bit on the overly cute side, but appropriate for the audience. 

    The perfect audience for this short chapter book are kids who have moved beyond Henry and Mudge, but are not quite ready for the Magic Treehouse or the Rainbow Fairy books.

    Illustrations ©2015 Rebecca Elliott. The review copy was kindly sent by the publisher, Scholastic. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books. Thank you for your support.

    ©2015 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

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