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1. Weekend Links: Great books for Banned Books Week

It may have started in late September, but Banned Books Week is already providing this busy readers with all sorts of new children’s book ideas!

Banned Books Week is the national book community’s annual celebration of the freedom to read. Hundreds of libraries and bookstores around the country draw attention to the problem of censorship by mounting displays of challenged books and hosting a variety of events. The 2015 celebration will be held September 27-October 3.

Banned Books Week

Banned Books Week was launched in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores and libraries. More than 11,300 books have been challenged since 1982 according to the American Library Association. Read more about Banned Books Week HERE.

We should have the right to think for ourselves #BannedBooksWeek:

I shared my own “banned book” experience on Thursday when I talked about the one and only time I “banned ” a book from my family’s bookshelf, and how I used the opportunity as a learning experience for everyone as well. I also whipped up my own Banned Books Week Booklist for everyone to enjoy as well.

Banned Books Week

In my weekly travels, I have also discovered even more book ideas, resources and booklists. Enjoy!

13 Banned and Challenged Books For Kids from No Time for Flashcards

banned books week

Even Children’s Books are Banned- Banned Book Week from Alohamora

banned books week

Free printable Banned Books Bookmarks from Classroom Freebies!

banned books bookmarks

What book is your favorite banned book?


Looking for better guide for successful homeschooling? The Waldorf Homeschool Handbook is a simple step-by-step guide to creating and understanding a Waldorf inspired homeschool plan. Within the pages of this comprehensive homeschooling guide, parents will find information, lesson plans, curriculum, helpful hints, behind the scenes reasons why, rhythm, rituals, helping you fit homeschooling into your life. Discover how to educate your children in a nurturing and creative environment.
The Waldorf Homeschool Handbook is a simple step-by-step guide to creating and understanding a Waldorf inspired homeschool plan. Within the pages of this comprehensive homeschooling guide, parents will find information, lesson plans, curriculum, helpful hints, behind the scenes reasons why, rhythm, rituals, helping you fit homeschooling into your life. Discover The Waldorf Homeschool Handbook: The Simple Step-by-Step guide to creating a Waldorf-inspired homeschool.
Waldorf Homeschool Handbook
Grab your copy HERE: The Waldorf Homeschool Handbook: The Simple Step-by-Step guide to creating a Waldorf-inspired homeschool. http://amzn.to/1OhTfoT

The post Weekend Links: Great books for Banned Books Week appeared first on Jump Into A Book.

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2. Strategies for Evoking Moonlight

"Khasra by Moonlight" is one of the original paintings in the exhibition "The Art of James Gurney"  in Philadelphia. 
Khasra by Moonlight by James Gurney, 12 x 18 inches, oil on board
To evoke the feeling of moonlight, I used the following six strategies, which I based on my own personal memories of observing moonlight, and my study of other artists whose nocturnes I really admire (especially Frederic Remington, Atkinson GrimshawJohn Stobart, and Frank Tenney Johnson):

1. Set up an overall temperature contrast between the orange torchlight and the cool blue-green moonlight.
2. Keep the chroma in the moonlight low--not too intense of a blue-green. Hint of blue in far distance.
3. Put a slight warm halo around the moon and edge-light the adjacent clouds.
4. Keep the key of the painting relatively high.
5. Suppress all detail in the shadows and put some texture and variety in the lights.
6. Introduce a gradual stepping back of value, lightening as it goes back to the far minaret.

Here's the quick (45 minute) maquette that I built for lighting reference. It didn't need to be beautiful at all, just any old blobs of modeling clay were all I needed.

I quickly discovered that I had to move the actual lighting position quite far to the left, much farther to the left than the position of the moon in the painting.

After taking a digital photo of the maquette, in Photoshop I shifted the key toward blue-green, and I desaturated it slightly. The photo shows a lot of reflected light in the shadows, which I largely ignored. I would have played up that reflected light had I wanted to evoke daylight effects, where I might want to amplify the relatively weak reflected light.
"The Art of James Gurney" at the Richard Hess Museum at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia will be on view through November 16, and I will do a public presentation on October 29.
"Khasra by Moonlight" was first published in Dinotopia: Journey to Chandara
There's a discussion of architectural maquettes in my print book Imaginative Realism: How to Paint What Doesn't Exist and an exploration of moonlight in Color and Light: A Guide for the Realist Painter

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3. Listen to Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez’s ‘Locke & Key’ audio (comic) book for free right now

  Don’t have time to read the award winning horror best seller, Locke & Key, by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez?  The same company that brought you Jamal Igle’s Molly Danger audio book, AudioComics, adapted the New York Times best seller for Audible. I don’t feel comfortable calling this 13 1/2 hour full production an audio book […]

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4. Glimpse ( Senryu + Rhyme + Free Verse + Enclosed rhyme + Acrostic)

Unity of the souls,
Traditional, technical,
The city of hearts
Green grass and gushing wind, Murmuring lives, None is late, The moon is out and shining stars, A place of bliss, India Gate, Where silence screams aloud, Where people walk silently, Lotus Temple is the name, Where visitors sit gallantly, And that museum alive, Which showcases the science, Children visit are so often, Science museum checks the mind, Experiments and fun games, Students learn and play, Meditate with love & care, Fed up of the jibe? Then do visit Bangla Sahib, The soothing atmosphere And all the enthusiastic prayers,
you will not miss the styling, You may find the children smiling, When all the mist clears, Glimpse this is, Love is all around, In the midst of busy life, My word, you will find a big stadium, Pause! Feroz Shah Kotla is the name, Sure, you must have got the game, Energetic and enchanting is Delhi, Come on, decorate your frame.

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5. Sketchbook Exhibition at The Point

I've got a mini-exhibition of my sketchbooks this month at The Point gallery in Doncaster. On Tuesday, I travelled there for a meeting, to finalise which sketchbooks I am going to have on display and to install them. 

For now, it's only a small display: just 6 open books in neat glass cases, set into the wall of the gallery. I chose various contenders to show to the curator at the gallery. I also needed to test out which would fit best in the spaces, which are only 12 inches square, which meant neither small ones nor long ones would work. 

Luckily they were perfect for A5 books, of which I have quite a few. We chose a selection of different subjects, for visual impact, but also to get across the idea that you can sketch anything. I was keen to show work in various media too, because for me, sketchbooks are about experimentation and having fun, rather than creating predicable results.

It was lovely seeing the gallery. It's not somewhere I was aware of before they got in touch, which is shameful, given how close it is. The Georgian front belies a very modern interior. It's more than a gallery too: it's an arts centre, with music and dance studios, as well as a lovely cafe (which was very good value - lovely coffee for £1!)

If you are thinking of going to take a look, you have until October 21st.

There is also currently an Urban Sketching exhibition on, with drawings by artist Terry Chipp. There's free parking for 2 hours on the street outside the gallery too. What more could anyone want?

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6. 31 Days of Halloween: Inktober

Inktober isn’t part of Halloween, per se, but it is part of the season. The purpose of Inktober is to get artists drawing, with the goal one inked drawing a day. Jake Parker has a primer, with tools and suggestions here. And his own wonderful drawings. Here’s some Halloween appropriate drawings from Days 1-4 — […]

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7. My tweets

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8. Printable: Flourish & Bloom



This month I've invited good friend and talented designer Lisa Zainuddin from oxoloco.com to kindly contribute one of her lovely calligraphic pieces for the free printable that's available to subscribers of the monthly newsletter. What do you think of "Flourish & Bloom"? Absolutely delightful, right? Here's a shot of her work in progress ...




Lisa is also collaborating on the children's books with myself and brilliant author Jennifer Poulter, so you'll be hearing more of her as time goes by.

Meanwhile I'm back at college and the workload is pretty intense at the moment. I'll be posting pages from the sketchbooks here as I go along, as well as at the new site for my persona as children's book illustrator Mariana Black! It's all a bit confusing right now but I'm sure I'll get everything sorted out eventually, though some lines may remain blurred forever - I don't quite have a problem with that though.

As always, the monthly illustrated quotes are available as free printables exclusively to the subscribers of the Floating Lemons monthly newsletter. Click HERE to sign up for it.Have a lovely week! Cheers.


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9. Satisfying Endings

Your ending should wrap up the story in a way that resonates with your readers.


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10. Celebrating World Teachers’ Day on Two Writing Teachers #WorldTeachersDay

October 5 is World Teachers' Day. Thank you, teachers, for all you do!

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11. Somehow neither of them ended up biting the other.

Somehow neither of them ended up biting the other.

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12. Grave News

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13. Small is Beautiful

The last few weeks have given me a chance to celebrate and network with librarians working in small libraries at two special events that reminded me again of my abiding respect and enthusiasm for those working in libraries serving small communities.

In September, I was one of the teaching facilitators for an intensive three day Wisconsin Youth Services Leadership Institute. Twenty-five library staffers involved with youth work, almost all from small libraries, were selected from over sixty applicants.

At the beginning, many felt that they didn't deserve to be called librarians because they lacked a master's degree. Over the course of the three days, through workshops on history, advocacy, leadership and more; through many individual and group conversations and expressions of mutual support for each other; and through some eye-opening goal setting, all the participants claimed their title as librarians and leaders doing great things for their communities in libraries.

Then I attended the recent Association of Rural and Small Libraries conference. I had long heard that this was one of the best library conferences out there and I can't disagree. Fifty-nine break-out session presentations; five major speakers at meals throughout the 2.5 day conference; and plenty of support for everyone to network and talk together during breaks, dine-arounds and receptions. The organizers made sure everyone felt welcomed.

I heard over and over people talking about colleagues they met from all over the country with similar situations (both triumphs and tears) and how great it was to touch base and connect. The focus on issues and concerns specific to the those working in small libraries had alot of meat for people from larger libraries and I found myself tugged between many great sessions scheduled opposite each other (eight programs per time slot!!).

Perhaps my favorite part was how many presenters were from small libraries sharing their expertise. It was great to hear new voices and ideas and perspectives and worth the price of admission. When I go to conferences, I love to hear from people working in many different library situations and my favorite panels are those that are made up of voices from multiple libraries of various sizes and regions.

As a longtime freelance storyteller in my state, I had the opportunity to go to many, very small libraries over the years. Each time I learned some new cool idea, some tip or trick, an arrangement of collections or services that was, well, completely brilliant. The creative librarians at many of these libraries became my role models, my go-to inspiration and pals.

Their work was echoed again in these two conferences and reinforces one of my deep and abiding beliefs. We are all librarians - regardless of education, all community advocates, all dedicated altruists who believe in the power of reading to change lives and that librarians from medium and large libraries have a TON to learn from our colleagues in small libraries.

Small is beautiful!

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14. Happy Birthday Professor McGonagall

Today we celebrate Professor Minerva McGonagall’s 62nd birthday. Professor McGonagall now serves as the Headmistress of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. She succeeded the position from her good friend, Albus Dumbledore, after the position was held briefly by fellow colleague, Severus Snape. Previous to obtaining this elite position, Professor McGonagall taught Transfigurations and was the head of Gryffindor House.

After tragic incidents in her early life, and the loss of her dear husband, like many other characters (Harry included), Minerva found her home at Hogwarts. She deeply cared for her students and their well being. Ever loyal to her Quidditch team, she was known–on the rare occasion–to buy Gryffindor Quidditch players broomsticks.

She greatly assisted Harry Potter in the battle of Hogwarts, and fought for her school and her home. Minerva has shown great strength, great courage, fabulous teaching skills, and hidden under sharp wit, motherly love for her students.

Please join us in wishing Minerva McGonagall a very happy birthday!


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15. What is your favourite Shakespeare adaptation?

In anticipation of Shakespeare celebrations next year, we asked Oxford University Press and Oxford University staff members to choose their favourite Shakespeare adaptation. From classic to contemporary, the obscure to the infamous, we've collected a whole range of faithful and quirky translations from play text to film. Did your favourite film or television programme make the list?

The post What is your favourite Shakespeare adaptation? appeared first on OUPblog.

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16. Cozy (The Long Version)

When the air has a chill
We up north know the drill
And can remedy that in a snap;
For when chattering cold,
What’s more precious than gold
Is a blanket or quilt on your lap.

An alternative call
Is a sweater or shawl
Which can also accomplish the same.
Ditto flannel or fleece,
Though the fashion po-lice
May not care that mere warmth is your aim.

It’s exceedingly clear
When those chills disappear
You’ll feel cozy and sheltered and snug;
And it’s hard to improve
On that coziness groove –
It’s like giving your insides a hug.

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17. Where next? New politics, kinder politics and the myth of anti-politics

For many commentators the 2015 General Election was the first genuinely ‘anti-political’ election but at the same time it was one in which the existence of a major debate about the nature of British democracy served to politicize huge sections of society.

The post Where next? New politics, kinder politics and the myth of anti-politics appeared first on OUPblog.

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October 4, 2015

Dear Bonnie Bader, Grosset & Dunlap, and Penguin Young Readers Group,

Your book, Who Was Christopher Columbus, published in 2013, has major errors in it (p. 4, Kindle edition):

The error is in that last line that reads "Christopher Columbus had discovered a new world." Maybe you think that the sentence before it makes it ok because it tells readers that no one in Europe knew about this land. It doesn't make it ok. Later, you tell readers he discovered an island he named Dominica. And that he also "discovered the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico" (p. 72-73 in Kindle version). Simply put, you can't discover something that someone else already had. With this book, you're misleading children. You're mis-educating them.

Your Who Was Christopher Columbus is loaded with other problems, too. My suggestion? Withdraw it from publication.

My suggestion to all the people who already bought Bader's Who Was Christopher Columbus? Do not use it with young children. Instead, write to Penguin and ask for your money back, or, use it with older children and adults in a text analysis activity. Read what Bader wrote, and compare it to other sources. A great set of resources for this activity is at the Zinn Education Project website. Another excellent resource is Rethinking Columbus.

You, Ms. Bader, and your editors at Grosset & Dunlap (it is an imprint of Penguin), can do better. I hope you do. Recall the book. Refund the money parents, teachers, and librarians spent on it, too.

And do better.

Debbie Reese
American Indians in Children's Literature

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19. अंधविश्वास और हम

अंधविश्वास और हम superstition photo

अंधविश्वास और हम

 एक आंटी फेसबुक पर सारा दिन लगी रहती हैं. कल बहुत उदास सी मिली. पता लगा कि उनकी बेटी को डेंगू हो गया  है वो उदास इसलिए थी कि कल फेसबुक पर उनकी जानकार ने एक देवता की तस्वीर शेयर करने को कहा था कि शेयर करो कृपा बरसेगी पर उन्होने नही की शायद इसलिए बेटी को … !! अरे!! ऐसा नही होता मैने कहा इसी बीच उनके बेटे ने दूसरी लैब से टेस्ट करवाया तो टेस्ट नैगेटिव आया. तब जाकर उनकी जान मे जान आई.

वैसे हम भी कमाल के अंधविश्वासी होते हैं. दादरी के अखलाक की खबर( टाईम्स आफ इंडिया) के मुताबिक कि अखिलेश यादव उनके गांव न जाकर उस परिवार को लखनऊ इसलिए बुलाया कि अंधविश्वास है कि जो सीएम नोएडा का दौरा करता है उसे चुनाव में जीत नही मिलती. अरे !! हार या जीत अपने किए कर्मों से मिलती है ना कि दौरा न करके !!

अंधविश्वास और हम




The post अंधविश्वास और हम appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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20. Philosopher of the month: Karl Marx

This October, the OUP Philosophy team are highlighting German social and political theorist Karl Heinrich Marx (5 May 1818 – 14 March 1883) as their Philosopher of the Month. Known as the founder of revolutionary communism, Marx is credited as one of the most influential thinkers for his theoretical framework, widely known as Marxism.

The post Philosopher of the month: Karl Marx appeared first on OUPblog.

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21. Contemplating the change in season, in today's Inquirer

In today's Philadelphia Inquirer, I'm remembering a recent day spent alongside my father, at Longwood Gardens. We made our way to the meadow. We stood on the cusp of a season. We thought about the summer we had shared packing up his beautiful home, and about all that might come next.

That story can be found in full here, along with an invitation to join me and Marciarose Shestack at the Free Library of Philadelphia this coming Wednesday evening, at 7:30, as we talk about our love for this city.

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22. ‘The Obvious Child’ by Stephen Irwin

Somebody broke the girl's parents. The rabbit was there when it happened. It was an awful mess.

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23. Tell Us Something True/Dana Reinhardt (you're. going. to. love. it.)

We returned from a rain-soaked Shenandoah Valley to a northeaster being chased by a possible Category 4. But I had places to be. Third and Spruce, for a conversation. Up near the Art Museum, to visit with a friend.

I had places to be, and I was saturated. I was a walking puddle, a character from a Peanuts cartoon.

I had two things in my bag, in my long walk from damp to embarrassing. One of them was Dana Reinhardt's oh-so-perfect forthcoming novel (I apologize in advance that you will have to wait for it until next spring), Tell Us Something True (Wendy Lamb Books, Random House Children's Books).

May I preface this by saying that I have enormous respect for Dana Reinhardt—as a writer, as a person. Despite her impressive breadth as an author, her astonishing talent with character, story, and sentences, and her cache of awards, you will not find her out there on the circuit showboating. You will not hear her raising toasts to herself.

So 1)  I'm predisposed to love Dana Reinhardt, and 2) I felt hugely blessed to receive an early copy of her book. But 3) Even I could not imagine how utterly un-put-downable this new novel is. About a teenage boy who is dumped by a girl and finds himself (on his long walk home) standing before a fading sign—black words on white: A SECOND CHANCE.

This dumped kid, River: He feels he needs a second chance.

And so he enters into this community of teens who are struggling to break free of one kind of addiction or another. He feels at peace. It's his turn to talk and he fables up something. He confesses that he is addicted to weed. It's not true. It's not even close to true. But if River holds onto (then embellishes) this ready myth, he'll always have a chair in this circle.

He wants a chair in that circle.

This is the premise of Dana's book. But Dana never barters with mere premise. She is a storyteller with a heart, a writer (and a mom) who understands that characters make for story, not theses. That the honorable thing to do with a novelistic set-up is to find out who lives inside the chosen frame. Who really lives there. What they think. How they hope. How they screw up. How they take first steps toward forgiveness. How they continually readjust the way they see the world and themselves.

There's not a single throw-away character in Tell Us Something True. No cardboard constructions representing An Idea. There are best friends, an adorable half sister, good parents, white neighborhoods, Mexican ones, missed buses, the romance of imagination. There's humor and infinite humanity. There's line after line of prose so good I kept pumping my fist, and let me tell you something: I didn't want this book to end.

I despair, sometimes, at the YA category. At trends that suffocate original impulses. At books that sell on the basis of a hook and authorial ambition (and little else). At copy cat voices. At plot-point checklists. At self-serving declarations. At marketing machines.

But then along comes Dana Reinhardt, who writes character and considered plots, who quietly, then boldly escalates her ideas, who gets you all caught up inside the family of action, who leaves you running from place to place in a storm, desperate to return to her story.

Tell Us Something True is hope; it is humanity; it offers a master class in ultimately accepting our own impossible imperfections. Original, funny, wrenching, real, and intelligently surprising, it's bound to endure. It might even heal the many cracks between us.

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24. Zombie Boy

People often ask me, "What do you do to pass the time up there in New Hampshire?"

Well, when we're not cavorting with moose, celebrating the glories of our granite, and generally living free before we die, some of us make silly movies.

One that I was involved with is called Zombie Boy, which was written and directed by my friend Jamie Sharps. Against all odds, it now has distribution via MVD Media. It should be coming to various streaming platforms soon, and you can order the DVD from most of the places online where you'd order DVDs. (Here's the Amazon link, for instance.) There are even rumors of it showing up in some brick-and-mortar stores.

It's a spaghetti-western-style comic adventure involving people who've been zombified by a green serum. It's not a B movie, it's (intentionally) a Z movie. ("Z for zombie, yeah!" I hear somebody say...) We didn't have much money, and it took a couple years to get it all filmed and then another year to do post-production.

And yes, I am Zombie Boy. 

I've done lots of theatre acting (not so much in the last decade, for various reasons), but had mostly avoided film acting until Jamie called me up and asked me to play the role. I don't like watching myself, don't even like pictures of myself, so I never ached to be a movie actor. One of the prime attractions of theatre for me is that I don't have to see my performance. I said yes to Jamie because it sounded like fun, and he promised it would only be a few weeks of work. It was often fun (and sometimes not; those contact lenses are awful), but it definitely took longer than a few weeks. We spent most of one summer working on it, had a few days of filming that fall, then filmed for a few more days the next summer.

Despite my dislike of looking at myself, I don't mind watching this performance. Partly, that's because it's so over the top. I shamble, mug, and grunt for an hour and fifteen minutes. I watch the movie and I don't see me, so it's not discomforting. It's just some weird guy.

But also, for what it is, I think Zombie Boy is a pretty good movie. The genius of it is that it embodies its concept completely — from start to finish, it's a super-low-budget romp made by people who wanted to do nothing more than make a super-low-budget romp. There's a guy wearing a tattered bear-skin coat and not much else. There are incompetent ninjas. There's a doctor who speaks like a Werner Herzog version of the Swedish Chef. Why? Why not?

I can't tell you how many times I've watched the movie, from looking through the footage when we shot it to helping Jamie with a little bit of the editing to watching it at the local premiere (in the theatre where as a kid I first saw Raiders of the Lost Ark and the first three Star Wars movies, among others, so it was quite a thrill) to showing it to various friends and family members. When I got the finished official DVD the other night, I sat down and watched it again from start to finish, for the first time just on my own. I had intended to watch only five or ten minutes to see how it looked in the MVD version. But I watched the whole thing. Partly because it was fun to see everybody again, fun to remember some of the amusing and/or arduous moments on set, but mostly just because it's great, stupid fun. Sure, there are awkward moments and clumsy moments, but that's part of what this movie is, part of the joy of it. There are also moments that are just ridiculously funny, and there's an energy to the whole that is infectious.

Well, I'm not going to review a movie I starred in (much as I'd like to, because after all, the political ontology the film limns is— okay, I'll stop). There's plenty that could be said about Zombie Boy. But perhaps nothing needs to be said. It is what it is, and, for me, what it is is something I'm thrilled and proud to have been part of.

After the premiere, a friend of mine slapped me on the back and said, "No matter what else you do, they're going to put Zombie Boy on your gravestone." I'm okay with that.

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25. Archie the Daredevil Penguin

I adore this little book trailer about a penguin who longs to fly. Has anybody seen the book yet? (Click the image to watch on YouTube.)

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