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1. Support Robison Wells, Author of YA nove, VARIANT with ALTERED PERCEPTIONS

People who follow my personal blog may remember that in 2011 I shared some truths about myself when I posted about YA author Robison Wells, author of VARIANT. (That blog post is reposted below.) He had just shared publicly about his mental... Read the rest of this post

0 Comments on Support Robison Wells, Author of YA nove, VARIANT with ALTERED PERCEPTIONS as of 4/23/2014 8:43:00 PM
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2. What is Theme?

Question: I've read that theme can be an opinionated message or a one-word concept that the story explores. Which one is it? For example, is revenge a

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3. Chance portrait



In need of a motivational boost I was going back over my old sketchbooks to see how much (if) my drawings have improved. The sketchbook my hand landed on happened to contain some cafe sketching from three years ago to the day. Here's a spontaneous portrait I found of a gentleman from Rockhampton who I got chatting with. I remember not liking this drawing very much at the time. But funnily, when I stumbled upon it a second time I felt it was one of the more inspired pieces amongst a lot of pretty bad drawings.

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4. Helicopter in the Sky

Helicopter in the sky,
Looking like a dragonfly,
Skims along through cloud and air
In search of landing who knows where.

Whirring blades are all a’blur;
From below, we’d all concur
How it resembles, in its flight,
An insect waiting to alight.

Yet instead of seeking nectar,
It’s an accident detector
Or a taxi for commuters
On their iPhones or computers.

Helicopter in the sky,
Seeing you, I wonder why
With all that space that you must cover,
Sometimes you just sit and hover.

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5. #544 – There’s a Mouse Hiding in this Book! by Benjamin Bird

mouse hiding book.

There’s a Mouse Hiding In This Book! (Tom and Jerry)

by Benjamin Bird

Capstone Young Readers             8/01/2014

978-1-62370-125-3

Age 4 to 7          32  pages

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“This Tom and Jerry interactive picture book holds a surprise on each page! Where is Jerry hiding? On the title page, on the back cover, or somewhere in between? Little readers will howl with delight each time they open the covers and try helping Tom find the mischievous mouse. Perfect for story time. A light, quirky “meta-fictional” picture book series using the well-known, timeless characters of Tom and Jerry. Young readers will whoop with delight at the story and artwork, but parents and caregivers will also appreciate the humorous and gentle introduction to the process of reading and the parts of a book.”

Opening

“LOOK. That no-good mouse Jerry is ruining my book! Come on, help me catch him.”

The Story

Tom, the cat from Tom and Jerry™ is trying to write a book. Problem is Jerry, the little grey mouse from the cartoon duo, is wreaking havoc on every page. Tom is out to catch the little villain—wait, Jerry the villain. Well it seems Jerry is the troublemaker and Tom is only trying to write a book. Your role, should you choose to accept it, is to assist Tom in capturing Jerry. Your job: just do what Tom tells you to do and be very fast. That’s it!

Review

I laughed aloud when reading There’s a Mouse Hiding in this Book! First, there is the history of Tom and Jerry going after each other, every Saturday morning, and poor cat Tom never getting one over on Jerry, the resourceful mouse who loves tormenting Tom. As hard as Tom tries, whatever he tries, it returns to him twice his intended result. For example. Tom has Jerry cornered immediately after you join in the chase. Entering the dark mouse hole, you cannot see a thing, but you know Jerry is in there. Listening closely, you can hear him breathing. The light pops on. Run! Run! Run! It’s not Jerry . . . it’s that big bulldog, and he has huge canines. Quickly, quickly, turn the page!

That might have been too close for comfort, but Tom is not discouraged. Stick with him and you’ll find a surprise inside every spread, but will you ever find Jerry? There’s a Mouse Hiding in this Book reminds me of Press Here, the picture book with colored dots on every page, the number of which changed depending upon what you did in the previous spread. Shake the page and the dots fall out. Slide the book to the right and the dots on the left move to the right. There is a review of Press Here here.

2nd

Instead of moving around dots, Tom is trying to catch Jerry by setting up traps. Tom carefully sets mousetraps then you turn the page to see Jerry trapped, but instead, something goes wrong, terribly wrong. Tom needs you to do something quickly to get him out of this mess. The surprises are hilarious. Kids of all ages will laugh aloud until their stomachs ache. I know, because I did. To further tickle your funny bone, There’s a Mouse Hiding in this Book is one book from a series of, currently, 4 books.

If your child likes the Elmo series, Please Do Not Open this Book, by Jon Stone or Press Here by Herve Tullet, your child will like There’s a Mouse Hiding in this Book! I also think parents who grew up with this Saturday morning comic duo will also love this book. Just seeing these characters was a delight. For the best experience, buy or borrow the physical copy of There’s a Mouse Hiding in this Book rather than an eBook.

There is nothing better than actually turning those pages, slowly lifting until colors appear and then, even slower, looking for Jerry, but he is not on the page. Tom is there and he is yelling for your help. Laughing you take your time, looking at the mess Tom created by not thinking things through, and then you comply. Will there be another surprise? Will Tom be building another mouse-catching trap? Can Tom draw Jerry out from his hiding place?  Will Jerry finally appear in the book, ready to goad Tom as only Jerry knows how to do? There is only one way to find out. Get your hands on a copy of There’s a Mouse Hiding in this Book, and be prepared to laugh yourself silly.

.1st

THERE IS A MOUSE HIDING IN THIS BOOK. Text and illustrations copyright © 2014 by Turner Entertainment Company. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Capstone Young Readers, an imprint of Capstone, North Mankato, MN.

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cat chasing me through bookdont' give book a bowl of milknot a piece of cheese

 

The series (L to R) A Cat Is Chasing Me Through This Book! — Don’t Give This Book a Bowl of Milk! — This Book Is Not a Piece of Cheese!

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Learn more about this Tom and Jerry™ series HERE.

Pre-Order any of the series at AmazonB&NBookDepositoryCapstoneyour local bookstore.

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Turner Entertainment Company website:    http://www.turner.com/

Capstone Young Readers website:    http://www.capstoneyoungreaders.com/

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mouse hiding in book


Filed under: 5stars, Favorites, Picture Book, Series Tagged: "meta-fictional" picture book series, Benjamin Bird, Capstone Young Readers, cat and mouse games, children's book reviews, picture books, Tom and Jerry™, Turner Entertainment Company

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6. Improving My Good Book Average

At last, I have made it through the Slough of Despond and have landed myself in a couple books that really caught my interest. Okay, Slough of Despond is a bit extreme. The set aside Prose book and the disappointing Cantor book were more like a slightly squishy ground that got my shoes muddy. But the ground has firmed up and I am happily striding along first enjoying Don’t Let Me Be Lonely and now embarking on The Flame Throwers by Rachel Kushner. I just started it a couple days ago and have been reading a little every night which means I’m at page 45. But it has been a good 45 pages! I like the style and the story is going somewhere even if I don’t know where that somewhere is.

Have you read the book? So far there are two narratives. It begins with WWI in 1917. A man named Valera is cutting a motorcycle headlamp off the bike of his dead friend who had just slammed into a tree in the woods because he was going too fast and lost control. The headlamp was salvageable, the bike, not so much. The pair are in the cycle battalion and had fallen a bit behind their squadron. Up comes a German soldier and Valera beans him in the head with the motorcycle lamp.

And then we get a chapter in 1975 and we meet Reno, a young woman and artist riding her Valera motorcycle to the Salt Flats in Nevada to participate in time trials there and at the same time create what she hopes will be some interesting Land Art. It is an exhilarating chapter, first as she speeds down the highway and then later as she speeds across the salt flats at 148 miles and hour. On a motorcycle. But before we know exactly what happens we are back to Valera in 1917 who then flashes us back to his childhood in Alexandria, Egypt and a bit later to 1912 Rome where he is about to finish his university degree and where he rides his first motorcycle.

Kushner is thus far showing herself to be skilled at pacing and character development, letting Reno and Valera reveal who they are through their actions and thoughts. No paragraphs long info-dumps telling the reader about them or having some other character tell us. Nope, it is character development as it should be, a gradual getting-to-know-you.

I have no idea what the book is about. I have read good things about it without managing to retain any sort of plot summary and I have avoided reading the synopsis on the dust jacket. All I know is that I am a happy camper at the moment. Amazing what a couple good book can do for a person.


Filed under: Books, In Progress

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7. Rebellious reading and other audiacious acts

If you were trying to support and encourage a young environmentalist, feminist or …anarchist (!) what books would you suggest for them?

I might give the newly re-issued Barbapapa’s Ark, or the simple but very effective What are you playing at?

Or if you were simply looking for a great read for your kids about making the world more peaceful and fairer where would you turn?

I might suggest The Arrival or The Island.

And if I were looking for more thought provoking books (as indeed I always am), I’d turn to the Little Rebels Children’s Book Award. Now in its second year, this is an award for radical fiction for children aged 0-12. Last year’s winner was the marvellous and moving Azzi in Between by Sarah Garland (my review can be found here), and this year’s winner will be announced in just a couple of week’s time.

The books shortlisted for this year's award

The books shortlisted for this year’s award

The books, authors and illustrators in the running of the Little Rebels Children’s Book Award 2014 are:

  • The Promise by Nicola Davies, illustrated by Laura Carlin
  • After Tomorrow by Gillian Cross
  • The Middle of Nowhere by Geraldine McCaughrean
  • Moon Bear by Gill Lewis
  • Real Lives: Harriet Tubman by Deborah Chancellor
  • Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty, illustrated by David Roberts
  • Stay Where You Are and Then Leave by John Boyne
  • I recently put a pretty tricky question to those authors who made it onto the shortlist:

    If it were possible with a wave of a wand what would you change about the way the world works, to make it either more inclusive, less discriminatory, or a place which was more just and equitable?

    Here’s how they replied…

    Nicola Davies
    Tricky. I have one practical thing and one that you really would need a magic wand for. The practical one is to make sure that every girl on the planet gets and education; women with confidence, education and power are the single biggest force for change.

    And the magic wand one is to give all bankers, politicians, drug lords…all those in positrons of power over others to see the consequences of each of their actions on the wider world, as clearly as a movie and to feel them, as physical pain. I think that might be really helpful.

    Deborah Chancellor
    This one’s easy. I’d make sure half the people in every single profession were women. With my magic wand, fifty percent of all politicians, judges, business chiefs, religious leaders, generals (etc) would be female. Without a doubt, the world would be a fairer, more inclusive and generally more harmonious place. Perhaps one day we’ll make this utopia happen, but we’re still a long way off.

    Andrea Beaty
    I would create shoes that would transport people into the lives of others to show how their actions and attitudes affect other people. Many of the world’s problems would quickly straighten out if people who take advantage of others or inflict suffering upon others would have to walk a mile in the shoes of the people they disrespect, harm, or disregard. Perhaps Rosie Revere could invent the walk-a-mile shoes. She is very clever! Until we have walk-a-mile shoes, though, we have literature. It lets us each see the world through other people’s eyes. To walk a mile in their shoes. It gives us empathy. And that is more powerful than any magic wand.

    An interior spread from Rosie Revere Engineer

    An interior spread from Rosie Revere Engineer. Click for larger image.

    Gillian Cross
    If I could take one action to make the world fairer and more equal I would make education available and affordable for all children across the world, especially girls.

    Gill Lewis
    I would wave wand to enable us to be able to change our skin with people and animals…to walk a mile in their shoes…or hooves!

    In Harper Lee’s story, To Kill a Mockingbird, Atticus gives Scout a piece of moral advice;
    “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view…until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”

    Most prejudice or discrimination is born of ignorance, indifference and fear of the unknown. To truly understand another’s situation is to live their life, to see the world from their point of view. I would extend this to animals too, for us to live an animal’s life; to live as elephant, an eagle or a honeybee and to be able to see the adverse effects we humans have on the natural world and to understand the consequences of our actions.

    Unfortunately we don’t have magic wands, but we have the next best thing…books!

    Books transport us into other worlds and give us some insight and understanding of others’ lives.

    Until I find that magic wand, I’ll keep reading and writing books!

    ************

    Unfortunately Geraldine McCaughrean and John Boyne were not able to take part; I would have been very interested to hear what they might have chosen to do with a wave of a wand.

    And as for me? What would I magic up? I found myself nodding wildly at all the responses above, but if I were to offer something different here’s what I might conjure up: If looking just at the bookworld, I’d get rid of gendered marketing and watch with great interest to see how it shakes up (or otherwise) book sales. On a bigger scale, I’d ban private car ownership, and invest massively in public transport. It would do wonders for not only environmental health, but also personal well being I believe. And if I could move mountains, I’d change how economies work so they don’t have to be predicated on consumption.

    What would you do with a wave of your wand to make the world a better place?

    If you are after further interesting reading matter to foster your own little rebels, you might enjoy looking through this list of books for children and young people as compiled on the Marxist Internet Archive. “Some of these books were written to be expressly radical, and others need a stretch to find political implications.” Thanks go to Betsy Bird for alerting me to this bibliography.

    Little Rebels Children’s Book Award
    is given by the Alliance of Radical Booksellers and administered by Letterbox Library and the winner will be announced at the London Radical Bookfair on May 10th 2014.

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    8. On BookExpo and diversity.

    At Book Riot:

    This utter lack of diversity is gross. It is inexcusable. And it is really, really embarrassing. Book Expo America is the industry’s flagship event, and the statement it is making on the industry’s behalf is that we believe that what readers–the kind of devoted, passionate readers who fork over thirty dollars to spend a summer Saturday in a convention center–want out of a book event is an all-white, heavily celebrity line-up.

    Blerg.

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    9. A Future That Is Not Dystopian

    Mike Stellar: Nerves of Steel by K. A. Holt is a nominee this year for Connecticut's Nutmeg Award, which is how I found out about it. It was on the Nutmeg Shelf at my local library.

    Nerves of Steel is a mystery in a science fiction setting that is more Jetsons than Hunger Games. Mike Stellar is suddenly hauled off on a space mission by his parents who were accused of being responsible for the failure of an earlier trip into the great unknown. Right away Mike thinks there's something odd going on. In traditional kid story fashion, he is all over it.

    I found Mike Stellar: Nerves of Steel slow getting going. And slow in other places. I hate to admit it, but I found the plot confusing in places, too. But there came a point when I did think that child Gail would have bought into a kid being able to save the day, no matter how improbable.

    As Charlotte of Charlotte's Library said of this book when it was published, "This probably isn't a book that will appeal to grown-up fans of science-fiction, for whom the plot and its concomitant technology might seem simplistic. But, since they aren't the target audience, so what." Well, maybe I shouldn't say "As Charlotte...said" because I didn't find the plot simplistic. But you get what I'm going for here. This book isn't for people like me.

    A big plus: Civilization hasn't fallen in this book. Oh, my gosh, I am so tired of post-apocalyptic misery.

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    10. Reading Bingo Book Clue 14

    Reading Bingo

    Reading Bingo Day 3 Continues!

    Today’s game of Reading Bingo continues with another book clue. Did you get the H-shape on your bingo card filled in?

    Book clue 14 is . . . .
    Holes book cover

    Holes

    by Louis Sachar

    If you have read this book, then choose the Bingo square it fits in and write in the title.

    Remember, book clues 1

    23456789, 101112, and 13 count for today’s game, so you can fill those in plus today’s new book clue. There will be one more book clue hidden on the Stack Back Message Board today. Go see if you can find it!

    If you got it, then yell BINGO! in the Comments. If not, come back for more book clues and a new way to win tomorrow morning.

    image from kids.scholastic.com— Sonja, STACKS Staffer

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    11. The story of pizza - really!

    I have a deep appreciation for family food traditions. From my mother's side (Irish American) we don't have many. (The most enduring is easting Entenmann's Coffee Cake which I don't think really counts but we love it.) On my father's side (French Canadian) there are many because he was a great cook and my memere was as well (especially baking). But in terms of ethnic food, I don't know that anyone really sees something and yells "Oh, look! French Canadian food!" (If you can name any French Canadian food other than syrup right now, you deserve an award.)

    About now you probably understand that I spent a large part of my childhood wishing I was Chinese, Mexican or Italian solely for the food.

    All of this explains why when I received a copy of the picture book Pizza in Pienza by Susan Fillion, I was delighted by each and every page. It's a very simple story about a girl in Pienza, Italy, who takes readers through her day and across her town. Along the way she shares her love of pizza, ("Even while I'm eating spaghetti, I'm dreaming about the next pizza pie."), and her research into the history of pizza which, as we know it, comes from Naples, Italy. The story comes around to America, where the first pizzeria opened in NYC in 1905 and the final spreads show people enjoying pizza both in the U.S. and Italy which is all kinds of wonderful.

    Everyone would like to be a member of the ethnic group that invented pizza, don't you think?

    Fillion both wrote and illustrated Pizza in Pienza and the illustrations are large and colorful, with a folk art feel. The story reads as a picture book travel essay and the dual text, with a single line on each page in both English and Italian, fits well in this narrative design. In the final pages the author includes a pronunciation page, a history of pizza and a recipe for Pizza Margherita (including the dough).

    This is a decidedly quiet book but it provides a nice lesson about a well known topic while introducing a foreign country in a very accessible way. (That's the part that will appeal to folks looking for educational reads.) For me, it was quite reminiscent of all those delightful Italian memoirs for adults (paging Frances Mayes). It's one of the better ways to bring Italy home to kids and it will likely also spur them to appreciate their pizza even more which is always a good thing. Call this one a nice delightful and tasty trip for younger readers. :)

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    12. The Enchanted Garden - A Mother's Day Gift


     I'm always searching for the perfect Mother's Day gift.  
    Something thoughtful and meaningful.
    ... yet useful all year long. 

    This year, I've put together a package of my favorite cards for Mother's Day at a 
    very special price.   $16.95 for 10 note cards and envelopes, plus my newest addition, 
    a "Sleeping Baby Mermaid" postcard.

    The Enchanted Garden - A Mother's Day Gift of 10 NoteCards and a Bonus Post Card
    a $23.97 Value

    Free Upgraded to Priority Mail (*in the USA) with any additional purchase
    your package will come ready to open as a gift with special starry tissue
    and a few tiny extras added in as a bonus treat, for a limited time!


    www.beckykelly.com/shop



    www.PeriwinkleSky.Etsy.com

    Gift Card Set

    10 pretty note cards!
    Your Special Gift Set of 10 cards and envelopes comes tied with a pretty ribbon
    plus you will receive a bonus card of my newest "Sleeping Baby Mermaid" Postcard

    blank inside sz 4.25 X 5.5

    1. sleeping fairy in phlox- dark hair
    2. dreaming fairy on a mushroom
    3. mermaid in blue
    4. blond hair/sleeping fairy in phlox
    5. fairy walking through the poppies
    6. Circle of friends
    7. Fairy with the umbrella
    8. reach for the stars
    9. girl looking out the window (2 cards)
    10. ***Additional Bonus***    Baby Mermaid Post Card (PostCard)

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    13. People in Glass Houses Should Drink Tea - Hiroshi Sugimoto's First Architectural Project in Venice



    (Venice, Italy) Le Stanze del Vetro, or The Rooms of Glass, sent over this press release about Hiroshi Sugimoto, the renowned Japanese photographer -- who also designs architecture -- and his project that will open during this year's International Architecture Exhibition. As usual, it is so clearly written that I will let them speak for themselves -- I have added the images except for the one at the top. It sounds like an impressive event!

    A joint project of Fondazione Giorgio Cini
    and Pentagram Stiftung


    Le Stanze del Vetro

    Venice, Island of San Giorgio Maggiore

     

    Glass Tea House Mondrian
    by Hiroshi Sugimoto


    Japanese artist Hiroshi Sugimoto's first architectural project in Venice, designed for Le Stanze del Vetro on the Island of San Giorgio Maggiore.


    On June 6th, the “Glass Tea House Mondrian” will open to the public on the Island of San Giorgio Maggiore in Venice. The “Glass Tea House” is a temporary pavilion designed by the Japanese artist and photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto as part of the activities of Le Stanze del Vetro. Hiroshi Sugimoto is known worldwide for his black-and-white photographs, and for the first time ever he is to design an architectural building in Venice.

    The “Glass Tea House Mondrian” is a project by Le Stanze del Vetro which was made possible thanks to the support of Sumitomo Forestry Co. Ltd., and Fondazione Bisazza, in collaboration with Asahi Building-Wall Co. Ltd. Special thanks to Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia for lending archaeological artefacts and to Cattaruzza Millosevich Associated Architects for having overseen each phase of the design and construction of the pavilion.

    Appropriate Proportion by Hiroshi Sugimoto
    Concurrent with the opening of the “Glass Tea House Mondrian”, the Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa will host  an unprecedented retrospective exhibition of Hiroshi Sugimoto’s architectural photographs at the Palazzetto Tito: this exhibition, together with the "Glass Tea House Mondrian” at Le Stanze del Vetro, will place this world-famous artist and his commitment towards the built environment at the center of the Venice art scene this season, befitting the new expanded format of the Architecture Biennale.  

    The “Glass Tea House Mondrian” is a new initiative from those organized so far by Le Stanze del Vetro, broadening its horizons, and involving internationally renowned artists to plan and design an architectural pavilion in the area in front of Le Stanze del Vetro, following the example of the “Pavilion Series” of the Serpentine Gallery in London.

    The “Glass Tea House Mondrian” by Hiroshi Sugimoto is inspired by pre-modern abstraction, as perfected by Sen no Rikyû, in the Japanese tradition of the tea ceremony. The Pavilion consists of two main elements, an open-air landscape and an enclosedglass cube. The landscape (approximately 40 meters long and 12.5 meters wide) follows a path along a reflecting pool leading the visitor to a glass cube (2.5 x 2.5 meters), inside which the traditional Japanese tea ceremony will be performed regularly.


    The glass cube will host two visitors at a time together with the tea master, while spectators can watch the ceremony from outside the glass cube. Original tea utensils for the “Glass Tea House Mondrian” were designed by Hiroshi Sugimoto and fabricated by traditional artisans in Kyoto.

    Lightning Fields by Hiroshi Sugimoto

    Useful information
    Production:
    Le Stanze del Vetro – Fondazione Giorgio Cini and Pentagram Stiftung
    Title
    Glass Tea House Mondrian
    Date
    Opening on June 6, 2014
    Times
    10 am – 7 pm, closed on Wednesday
    Location
    gardens in front of Le Stanze del Vetro
    Address
    Isola di San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice
    Tickets
    free admission
    Original tea utensils for the “Glass Tea House Mondrian” were designed by Hiroshi Sugimoto and fabricated by traditional artisans in Kyoto:
    Shuji Nakagawa / Nakagawa Mokkougei Shiga Studio
    Takahiro Yagi / Kaikado
    Supervised by So’oku Sen/Mushakoji-Senke Tea School
    In cooperation with Kyoto University of Art & Design
    Ciao from Venezia,
    Cat
    Venetian Cat - The Venice Blog

    0 Comments on People in Glass Houses Should Drink Tea - Hiroshi Sugimoto's First Architectural Project in Venice as of 4/23/2014 7:45:00 PM
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    14. Free excerpt: The Chance You Won't Return, by Annie Cardi

    The Chance You Won't Return by Annie Cardi Chapter Sampler by Candlewick Press

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    15. Reading in Public

    You may have read about how I'm easily distracted when I read.  So how does it make any sense that one of my favorite places to read is in crowded places? I love going to restaurants, parks, malls, bookstores, libraries, coffee shops, the beach, the pool, or other places where there are tons of people who are chatting and going about their business.  (I swear, the people at my local Potbelly

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    16. sketch dailies Loch ness monster

    A selfie at the Loch... Timing is everything.




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    17. The Mormons and Me

    I spent two years with Mormon people, with Mormon books, and embraced by Mormon history to write American Crucifixion: The Murder of Joseph Smith and the Fate of the Mormon Church. People constantly ask me: Well, what did you think of them? What were the Mormons like? I respond that I started this project mildly [...]

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    18. Science/Social Studies Poetry Pairings - Geography

    I have been teaching a course on integrating science and social studies for several years now. While I often get puzzled looks from folks when I try to explain the rationale behind this, the elementary teachers I work with recognize that this makes perfect sense. There is tremendous overlap between the science and social studies curriculum, particularly with respect to the topic of geography. 

    Today's book pairing will help readers look at the world through the eyes of both scientists and geographers.

    Poetry Book
    A World of Wonders: Geographic Travels in Verse and Rhyme, written by J. Patrick Lewis and illustrated by Alison Jay, is a collection of poems about explorers, places on the map (Sandwich Islands, Italy, Angel Falls, Mount Everest etc.), the globe itself (latitude v. longitude, equator and the poles), earth science topics (aurora borealis, San Andreas fault, stalactites v. stalagmites), and many other things. It opens with a poem entitled Places and Names: A Traveler's Guide, in which a number of cities and sites with interesting names are named. The poem concludes in this way.
    Thousands of spaces are places to be--
    Discover the World of GE-OG-RA-PHY!

    Travel by boat or by car or by plane
    To visit East Africa, Singapore, Spain.
    Go by yourself or invite a good friend,
    But traveling by poem is what I recommend.
    This is a wonderful book for introducing a mix of geography topics, as well as science topics like biomes, ecology and natural resources. Here's an example of a science-oriented geography poem.
    How a Cave Will Behave 
    Take a look at these cone-like formations,
    And remember, wherever they're found,
    A stalactite drips down from the ceiling.
    A stalagmite grows up from the ground.
    Poems ©J. Patrick Lewis. All rights reserved.

    There are also a few poems that encourage readers to think about their impact on the earth. The last poem entitled Walk Lightly asks that we make the Earth our companion.

    Nonfiction Picture Book
    Hottest, Coldest, Highest, Deepest, written and illustrated by Steve Jenkins, is a book that examines extremes in the natural world, such as the highest mountain (based on elevation), longest river, place with the most extreme tides, the driest place on earth, and more. Here's how it begins.
    If you could visit any spot on earth, where would you go? What if you wanted to see some of the most amazing natural wonders in the world? 
    There are deserts that haven't seen rain in hundreds of years, and jungles where it pours almost every day. There are places so cold that even in the summer it's below freezing and spots where it's often hot enough to cook an egg on the ground. There are mountains many miles high and ocean trenches that are even deeper. You can find rivers thousands of miles long and waterfalls thousands of feet high.
    Jenkins grabs readers from the first page and makes them want to know about them. On every double-page spread that follows is a statement of fact, an inset map showing location, a bit of informational text, and some other graphic to help readers visualize and better understand the information. Here's an example.
    The world's highest waterfall is Angel Falls, in Venezuela. It is 3,212 feet high.
    This text is accompanied by a small map and globe with a red dot highlighting the falls. The facing page contains this statement.
    Angel Falls is more than seventeen times higher than Niagara Falls (180 feet), in New York State. Victoria Falls, in Zimbabwe, Africa, carries ore water than any other waterfall. It is 355 feet high.
    Text ©Steve Jenkins. All rights reserved.

    That's a lot of information packed into a few sentences. What ties all these ideas together is the final graphic that shows a height comparison of Angel Falls, Victoria Falls, Niagara Falls, and the Empire State Building. Placing these side-by-side shows just how high Angel Falls really is.

    Okay, time for a little quiz. Do you know...?
    • the name of the world’s most active volcano?
    • the height of the tides in the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia, Canada?
    • the depth of the deepest spot in the ocean?
    • the location of the hottest spot in the world?
    • the location of the oldest and deepest lake in the world?
    The answers to these questions and more can be found in Jenkins' handsomely illustrated book. There is no back matter in this volume, but the final page does include a world map that pinpoints the 12 locations described. 

    Perfect Together
    Both Lewis' poems and Jenkins' pages on extremes lend themselves to mapping activities. I highly recommend a permanent board (or a trifold if you lack space) with a world map in which students can place push pins or "markers" to identify locations studied. This works not only for these books, but also for places identified in current events and others books students read.

    I also recommend laminating the map or placing a layer of plastic over it so that students can label and color areas of the map. For example, Jenkins writes about the hottest spot on the planet. Lewis has a poem entitled 136ºF in the Shade that describes the hottest day ever recorded in history. Lewis also offers up a rhyming couplet describing the size of the Sahara Desert and a poem on the Mohave Desert. While reading these poems, students can research other deserts of the world and color all of them on the laminated map. From here they'll be able to draw some conclusions about the characteristics of deserts and the geographic features they share.

    Both of these books offer up a wealth of information that can and will keep students occupied over the course of the year. Just imagine what you can do if you devote one day a week to these kinds of geography/science activities.

    For additional resources, consider these sites.

    0 Comments on Science/Social Studies Poetry Pairings - Geography as of 4/24/2014 12:35:00 AM
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    19. Back from CTN

    Just get back home last night, have a great time at CTN Road Trip and a fun visit to LA, best part is get to catch up with all my friends down south.  Here are some quick sketches from CTN ^____^

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    20. Cullman Center fellows

           The New York Public Library has announced the 2014-2015 Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers Fellows -- a sweet deal offering: " a stipend of up to $65,000, an office, a computer, and full access to the Library's physical and electronic resources". They were selected: "from a pool of 288 applicants from 24 countries" and include Keith Gessen (for work on a novel, Russia) and Jordi Puntí (for work on a novel, The Century of Mr. Cugat, "inspired by the life of the musician Xavier Cugat").

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    21. Stoker & Holmes

    It took me a long, long time to finish The Clockwork Scarab by Colleen Gleason.  But now the foundation has been set and I look forward to more of this partnership between the sister of Bram Stoker and the niece of Sherlock Holmes.
     

    Gleason set herself a monumental task.  Not only did she need engaging characters who somehow embodied their family traits, but Gleason created a steampunk London that outlawed electricity and was built on three levels with steam powered elevators between.  AND she incorporated a 21st century time traveler. 

    Young ladies of society are taking their own lives - or so someone wants the police to believe.  Somewhere near each corpse, or in the victim's belongings, a scarab mechanism is found, causing Irene Adler, -yes, THAT Irene Adler - who works at the British Museum, to call on Mina Holmes and Evaline Stoker for help in hunting down this connection. 

    The atmosphere of suffrage unrest and Egypt-mania that existed in Britain at the end of the 19th century is the perfect breeding ground for this mystery.  

    What will Evaline and Mina tackle next?  Will their 21st century visitor find a way home?  And the character they know as the Ankh, just who was she - or he?  Wait for the next book to find out.

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    22. Österreichischer Staatspreis für europäische Literatur

           The Austrian State Prize for European Literature, which they've been handing out since 1965, has a pretty solid list of winners -- pretty much an all-star roster of Eurtopean writers --, and they've announced that the 2014 prize will go to Ljudmila Ulitzkaja (i.e. Людмила Улицкая, i.e. Ludmila Oulitskaïa, i.e. Liudmila Ulítskaya, i.e. Ludmila Ulitskaya ... oh, for god's sake ...).
           The only Ulitskaya title under review at the complete review is Daniel Stein, Interpreter; The Big Green Tent ("An absorbing novel of dissident life in the Soviet Union" -- sigh ?) is due out late this year from Farrar, Straus & Giroux; pre-order your copy from Amazon.com.

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    23. Book Review:

    • Age Range: 5 - 7 years
    • Grade Level: Kindergarten - 2
    • Series: Quincy the Horse Books
    • Hardcover: 40 pages
    • Publisher: Pathfinder Equine Publications (March 15, 2014)
    • Language: English
    • ISBN-10: 0981924042
    • ISBN-13: 978-0981924045

    Description:

    In Quincy’s third adventure, Quincy and Buck, Quincy tries to overcome his fears about “surprises waiting for horses out on the trail” by going on his first trail ride. Quincy’s main concern is the wild animals he might meet but the real challenge turns out to be another horse. Buck, the horse he hopes will be his trail buddy and guide him, turns out to be a bully who is dangerous! Quincy learns some important things about dealing with a bully.

    My Thoughts...

    Quincy and Buck is a children's picture book that will be enjoyed by horse lovers, young and old alike. In this book in the series, Quincy has been sheltered inside his corral and is afraid to venture into the desert trail rides. He's anxious and fearful of the unknown, and of what could happen 'out there' with wild animals. Then one day his owner, Cam, takes him out to ride in the company of Cathy and her horse, Buck. Quincy is hopeful, thinking that Buck might guide him and become his mentor. Instead, Buck is a bully. Quincy not only ends up learning how to deal with bullies, but he also realizes that everybody is afraid at one point or another, and that he can be just as brave as anybody else.

    This is a book with a lovely and important message. The prose is 'quiet' in tone, and beautiful, and the earthly, western-like illustrations complement the story well. Besides issues of bullying, it deals with themes of overcoming fear. I enjoyed reading this book and can whole-heartedly recommend it, especially for children who love horses. 

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    24. Mankato Area High School Cycling

    Just have to say....
    I had a BLAST tonight at Franklin School. I met some excited young cyclists who will join the local cycling team.
    Singletrack High is so much fun. I made me want to just get out and ride right now, but it's late and dark and cold and windy. I'm hoping that it will be nicer in the morning, and maybe I can sneak in a ride before school.
    Thanks Mike Busch and Matt Busch and Jenna and Justin Reinhardt from Nicollet Bike for all making this happen!

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    25. 30 Days: "Master of Masters" by Mattie Noall


    Master of All Masters
    By Mattie Noall

    Prologue

    He was doomed.  There was no way around it.  As Kenneth hunkered in the roots of a large tree a million thoughts tumbled around in his head.  He should not be in this situation.  It had been a mistake.  One big stupid mistake.  He was the very best spy the king had.  He knew how to get out of situations that no one else could get out of; they didn't give him the nickname of Speed for nothing.  Yet here he was.  He was trapped.  Eventually the enemy would find him, they would torture him to try and win his secrets.  He couldn't give them to them.  No matter what they did to him he could not give those things to them.  He knew too much.  He could hear enemy soldiers closing in on him.  They had dogs.  He had only managed to evade dogs a few times.  It usually ended up with him rolling in some unmentionable substance.  He had looked for some means of escape.  He had tried to find something to use.  This was the cleanest and smallest grove of trees he had ever seen.  It was the only thing this close to the enemy castle.  And he had had to hurry too much.  He'd been sloppy.  He should not have gotten into this mess.  He had gotten a tip from an informant.  He had trusted the informant only because he was recommended by another well trusted informant.  When the price was too steep and the timing all wrong he should have seen it.  But he had trusted too far and he was getting too old for this stuff.  He knew better but now he was going to be caught and he was sure that the two informants were going to have a big fat purse for this.  He should have trusted his gut like he usually did.  So much for well-laid plans.  

    0 Comments on 30 Days: "Master of Masters" by Mattie Noall as of 4/23/2014 8:11:00 PM
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