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<<November 2014>>
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1. Do we care about children’s non-fiction?

One of my goals for 2014 was to review more non-fiction books for children. So far this year I’ve written 85 pieces on the blog, and 12 have been about non-fiction. Given that non-fiction makes up about 15% of high street children’s book sales in the UK, it seems appropriate that almost the same percentage of my reviews have been about non-fiction titles.


As I’ve increased the number of non-fiction books I’ve reviewed, I’ve had to think about slightly different issues from those which concern me when reviewing fiction/picture books:

  • Given how few children’s non-fiction books are reviewed, what responsibilities do I have to authors/illustrators and publishers of non-fiction?
  • How much does accuracy matter? To you? To me?
  • What do readers (you!) actually want from a non-fiction review and how does this differ from a review of a piece of fiction?

  • Sales of children’s non-fiction in the UK are booming; so far this year about 36% more children’s non-fiction titles have been sold on the high street as compared to last year. Several new imprints either dedicated to non-fiction or with non-fiction as a strong strand have launched in the last 18 months. Usborne – which is almost synonymous with children’s non-fiction here in the UK – has seen its profits jump this year, up 26% on last year.

    All this seems like great news for children’s non-fiction.


    Children’s non fiction rarely gets reviewed. Whether we’re talking about reviews in mainstream media, or by book bloggers, reviews of non-fiction for children and young people are few and far between generally speaking. Approximately 2% of the reviews of books for children and young people on the Guardian website in the last year were about non-fiction. Another broadsheet managed a 6% review rate. Look around the UK Child/YA bookblogging scene and you’ll see similar low levels of reviews.

    Why is this?

    One reviewer for a broadsheet told me that she just “doesn’t have time” to review non-fiction. I don’t know about you, but ‘time’ in my world ultimately often corresponds to ‘level of interest’. Another highly regarded mainstream media children’s book reviewer told me that for non-fiction to even get a look in, it had to be exceptional and innovative. I don’t think many reviewers of fiction only review novels or picture books which are ground-breaking. I’d argue that plenty of ‘good-enough’ (fiction) books for children and young people get review space. Is the bar set differently for children’s non-fiction?


    Perhaps another barrier to reviewing non-fiction books is our concerns as reviewers about being able to assess the accuracy of the books in question.

    In reviewing non-fiction titles I sadly come across errors far more often than I ever thought I would. And I have not once seen these errors mentioned in other reviews of the same books. Indeed, some of these books end up on award shortlists (I’ve seen this twice this year, on two different shortlists) and in eminent ‘Pick of the year’ lists. Is there a culture of silence surrounding mentioning errors? Is it that reviewers are not picking up on errors? Is it that reviewers are fearful of souring relations with authors, illustrators and publishers? Are we swayed more by looks than by content? Do we just find it easier to avoid non-fiction reviews altogether because then we don’t have to consider issues of accuracy?

    Accuracy of content really matters to me. When I review a non-fiction title I always fact check at least three randomly chosen facts from the book. Yes, this isn’t much, but it often gives me a rough and ready handle on the book. If with just three fact checks I can find an error…. what does that do to my trust in the rest of the book?

    Perhaps there’s a bigger question to ask here: Does factual accuracy actually matter?

    I firmly believe that children’s non-fiction is especially important in the age of Google; anyone can post anything on the net without it being checked whereas published books go through a system of checking, hopefully ensuring factual accuracy. But if books turn out not to be reliable, what advantages do they have over the internet? Maybe none, and yet I believe the physical book format is so important for encouraging quiet contemplation rather than quick-fix consumption, the sort of contemplation that is necessary for deeper understanding and the embedding of information. (When arguing for books over googling, I’d also highlight the attention authors pay to ‘readability’ of non-fiction books i.e. creating a pleasant reading experience. Books really can and do offer something different and potentially much better than at bunch a best of loosely curated articles online.)

    But, stepping back a moment, maybe factual accuracy just isn’t that important. One parent on twitter admitted to me that whilst accuracy was nice, it wasn’t as important as a book being inspirational and grabbing the child’s attention -that if a non-fiction book got her child excited about the topic in hand, factual errors wouldn’t stop her from buying it.

    I personally can’t accept this, at least when it comes to recommending books myself via my blog. I think we do a disservice to our children, and to everyone involved in creating children’s non-fiction if we throw our hands up and say “never mind” when it comes to errors. What do you think?

    I’ve read some thought provoking pieces this year about what to consider when reviewing non-fiction titles, for example this discussion of invented dialogue in picture book biographies and this one about accuracy in illustration in non-fiction titles, both by the inimitable Betsy Bird.


    Apart from general stances re factual accuracy, I’ve also learned that there are huge variations in the fact checking process for non-fiction books (in the UK). All the NF authors I’ve spoken to are proud of their rigorous fact checking. Some authors provide fully referenced texts, even if the references don’t make it into the final book. Some publishers never ask for referenced texts. Some publishers will employ a consultant or even two to fact check, as well as a literacy expert where appropriate. But this isn’t always the case. One prolific non-fiction author told me “accuracy is almost entirely in the hands of the author“; “Children’s non-fiction is in such a parlous state that some books don’t even have an editor.”

    Through talking extensively with NF authors and publishers I’m convinced they they are all dedicated to creating accurate, informative, enjoyable books, so why have I gone on so long about errors? Because I worry that silence about them – in reviews – and the processes by which they end up in print suggest that as a children’s book-buying, book-reading public we seriously undervalue children’s non-fiction.

    We undervalue them in terms of publishing time and resources devoted to them:

    Of course in a time of austerity we’re all subject to constraints, but from what I’ve learned this past year about children’s non-fiction, publishers’ time and budgets are being squeezed ever more tightly. There’s lots of pressure on getting books out there, sometimes without all the due care and attention they deserve. Yes, as a parent (and a reviewer) I want to see exciting, imaginative non-fiction, but style shouldn’t win out over substance.

    We undervalue them in terms of public recognition of non-fiction authors:

    Non-fiction authors are the cinderellas of the book world. Sometimes it can even be hard to find out who the author was of a non-fiction book, with their name not appearing on the cover but hidden inside in small print. Non-fiction reviews are nearly always subject driven rather than author driven and non-fiction author events are proportionally far less common than fiction author events. If you’re not persuaded by my argument that we generally hold non-fiction authors in low regard just test yourself: How many children’s non-fiction authors can you name? And how many fiction authors?

    We undervalue them in terms of how much non-fiction authors are paid for the work they do:

    Typically such an author earns a flat fee of around £1000 per book (though offers of much less are not infrequent), and receives no % of any sales. I understand that this is significantly less that the typical advance paid to picture book authors (typically 1-4k), who also receive 3-5 % royalties from all sales.

    All this tells me that we don’t really value children’s non-fiction.


    So here’s my call to arms:

    Yes, let’s celebrate children’s non-fiction, the authors and the publishers who help bring adventures in the real world into the lives of our children and teenagers.

    Yes, let’s create lots more brilliant non-fiction books for children and young people, recognising that for many non-fiction is their preferred reading of choice. I’m definitely all for more creative approaches to non-fiction and a move away from the look-and-learn style fact books of old, but let’s not cut corners just for the sake of good looks. If you want to create great books you need great authors and illustrators who have been given the time, money and wider support necessary.

    Yes, let’s review more non-fiction for children and young people, but let’s not be afraid of reading it closely, reviewing it honestly, and starting debates about it.

    Yes, let’s get more great non-fiction into the hands of children and young people. What non-fiction will you be buying for presents this year?

    My thanks to all who discussed non-fiction reviewing, publishing, and related issues with me including Damyanti Patel, @ExploraBox1, Sue Cowley, Jonathan Emmett, @childledchaos, Polly Faber, Ian Manley, Cath Senker, Ali Baker, Brian Williams, Isabel Thomas, Ami Segna, Moira Butterfield, Charlotte Guillain, Stewart Ross, Brian Williams, Sean Callery and Nicola Davies. Thank you too to all who chose to remain anonymous. Of course, all opinions here are my own and do not necessarily represent those held by the authors, publishers, reviewers, or parents I spoke to.

    Whilst I’ve been somewhat critical in this post, just for the record, let me state how much I do value everyone working in the field of children’s non-fiction. All the industry insiders I have spoken to, from authors to publishers, are full of passion for non-fiction. They are all 100% committed to producing excellent non-fiction. My commitment to the field is hopefully demonstrated by the fact that for all of the month of November I’ve been co-ordinating an initiative which celebrates non-fiction for children and young people, National Non-Fiction November. You can find out more about the various events which have been held, and the articles many different people have contributed here, here, here and here, or by using the hashtag #NNFN on twitter.

    UPDATE: Whilst I did of course endeavour to have accurate facts in this post, one NF author has since contacted me to say that in their experience, rates for writing a non-fiction book are more like £1200 to £2200. The figure I quote above (£1000) was originally supplied by two different NF authors. If more NF authors would like to (anonymously) share their rates with me, then I could provide a more accurate picture.

    3 Comments on Do we care about children’s non-fiction?, last added: 11/27/2014
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    2. Chicanonautica: What Do You Want to Know?

    2014 just wants to keep on running me ragged. Things keep happening (besides the riots and the racial strife). Not only is the new Digital Parchment Services/Strange Particle Press ebook of Cortez on Jupiterorderable, but the press release is available, so you can read about the impending soft-cover edition, find out where to write about getting review copies, and read quotes of wild praise for the book.

    If that isn’t enough, Digital Parchment has started a new Ernest Hogan blog so they can promote their editions of my books. They also started an Ernest Hogan Tumblr. I’ll be posting stuff on both of them, so check ‘em out!

    Which brings me to the main subject of this post . . . the writer Nalo Hopkinson, who teaches at UC Riverside, sent me a direct message on Twitter (most of my sales and gigs these days come through the social media) asking if I would be willing to lead a workshop “on writing Latino-focused SF/F/H,” because “The community has been asking for it.” Ever the professional, I asked if it was a paying job, and it is, so it looks like in February 2015 I’ll be teaching a  master class (hey! I’m an expert in the field!) as part of their Writer’s Week. I will provide more details as I get them.

    2015 and February are coming at us fast. I need to think about it, and take some notes . . . I could fill the time with funny stories about my weird career, but since this is a university thing, I should probably ask the communitythat Nalo was talking about what theywant. I’m assuming that a lot of you aspiring Chicanonauts read La Bloga.

    So, what would you like to know about writing Latino-focused speculative fiction/fantasy/horror? Are there specific questions you’d like answered? Just what can I do for you?

    I’ll be waiting for your comments . . .

    Ernest Hogan has accumulated a lot of ancient Chicano Sci-Fi wisdom over the years. He’s willing to share it. Especially for money. Or food. Or cerveza. Oh yeah, feliz Día de Los Guajolotes.

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    3. PAPERCHASE - spora

    Very different from the above Snackpackers comes this more sophisticated range from Paperchase called 'Spora'. This mushroom inspired range comes in black and white with shots of orange and features on stationery and homewares. Besides the main mushroom print there are two complimentary patterns of stripes and spots. All available now at Paperchase,

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    4. Interview with Children’s Book Author – Rhonda Paglia

    It’s Author Interview Thursday and I’d like to thank you for stopping over today.Rhonda Paglia First of all, I’d like to wish all readers and fans of this blog based in the U.S., a very Happy Thanksgiving. I promise you’ll enjoy the spread laid out today. In the hot seat today is a wonderful lady who is fondly known as ‘Grammy Pags.’ I’ve been so inspired by her energy and passion for life in the lead up to today’s interview. She has so much to share with us today, so get into your most comfortable position and join me in welcoming Rhonda Paglia.


    Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and the first time someone complemented you on something you had written.

    Hi David, thank you for inviting me to be part of your Author Thursday Interview.  I’m honored, and congratulations on your new book, Billy and Monster’s Golden Christmas that is coming out soon!  Congrats!!!  You are prolific!!

    Okay, a few facts about me:

    • I’ve been married to my sweet husband, Tony, for 41 years.  We have three grown children, five adorable grandchildren, and little Yorkie-poo named Bella.  She’s my shadow.
    • I’m a retired elementary teacher, [I taught 26 years], and now I’m a Grammy babysitter, a flower planter, a musician, a tap dancer, and a self-published children’s author.
    • I have received a great deal of praise for the first book I released to the public: “The Little Lambs and the Very Special Mission.”
    • I must add that growing up, I had NO confidence in my writing! NONE! ZIPPO! My writing was so bad that in 7th grade, when our English teacher gave us a story writing assignment, my mother ended up red-lining and rewriting everything I had written.  I would have gotten an F on my story, but she earned an A.  I was so embarrassed. I couldn’t look at my teacher for the rest of the year.  It was awful!  I was living a lie every day I walked into his class.  Thankfully, I’ve come a long way in my writing confidence.


    What can a reader expect when they pick up a book written by Rhonda Paglia? Rhonda Paglia Book Signing

    I’m still in the process of learning and developing my “niche.”  I’m just writing for fun.  I have learned a lot in the last two years, and I’m getting and understanding the process more.  My hope is that readers will enjoy my stories and come away with a little glow in their hearts and a little tickle in their tummy.

    I want kids to learn something and to stretch their imaginations and creativity.  For example, in my crazy little book, Doonsey’s Beach Adventure, the Great Rescue, kids will find a hero in Doonsey.  They will also learn about his new friends, the “Beach Buddies.”  Our family went on a vacation to the beach.  We “met” Doonsey there.  Then I started seeing faces in the sand that were made out of the shells and stones.  My granddaughter, Sofie, and I started making a bunch of faces and the “Beach Buddies” were born!  We used shells, stones, crab claws, and other items we found on the beach.  The “Buddies” ended up as characters in the first Doonsey book and they will reappear in Book 2.  Kids can learn to make their own Buddy characters with  things they find in nature, not just stones and shells.


    What role would you say social media plays in building an author’s platform and have you found it helpful in marketing your books? 

    I’m new to the “book business” too, but everything I’ve read, indicates that Social Media has a huge impact on getting your name “out there.”  So I tweet, toot, blog, Facebook, website, and get Linkedin, as often as possible, but always feel behind.  It’s a time issue for me, as I’m sure it is for most authors.

    Is marketing on Social Media helpful?  Who knows?  I’ve sold books on line, but most of my sales success has been one-on-one, face-to-face, book signing events.  It’s fun too!


    What in your opinion makes a great children’s book? 

    This is a tough one, so my answer is simple.  A GREAT book has ALL the pieces: characters, plot, setting, illustrations.


    What were some of your favourite books as a child?

    The Little Golden Books series, Caps for Sale, Country Mouse and City Mouse, Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves, and all of the classic fairy tales.  I read the Wizard of Oz until the pages were falling out.  Our nearest library was miles away, but every once in a while, we were allowed to buy a comic books at the grocery story.  I loved the adventures of Little Lulu, Dot, and Casper the Friendly Ghost.  And then there is dear Dr. Seuss.  When his books became available, I loved them.  Later I branched out to the Nancy Drew mystery series and some biographies, but mostly, I loved the books that would send me away on adventures.


    What book or film has the best dialogue that inspires you to be a better writer and why?Rhonda Paglia Books

    Dr. Seuss.  I love the freedom of his language usage.  I love the rhythm and cadence of his words.  I love his stories, characters, and how he moves the plot.  Such fun and imagination!  I will never be a Dr. Seuss, but with my musical background, I find myself using rhythm and rhyme when it’s appropriate.  In my yet to be released book, “Grammy’s Rockin’ Color Rap-a-licious Rap” – Grammy’s looks prim, proper, and sophisticated, but she’s really a closet rocker!


    How do you reward yourself once your book is published? 

    I’m still very new at all of this – and currently, I’m self-published.  However, the fact that my ideas and my works are in my hands, in a form, that I can share with others, is a huge reward.  Like, “Phew!  I did it!”  The “no confidence – non-writer – F’s on story-getter – me” is now writing and publishing stories.  I never thought that would happen – certainly not the 7th grader sitting in English class lying to my teacher about a paper my mother wrote for me!  #Iamwriting!  That’s a biggie reward!

    I wrote “Doonsey’s Beach Adventure, the Great Rescue” and created a companion coloring activity book for my grandchildren.  It was a Christmas surprise last year.  My heart just beamed!  Not only did I write a story and publish it for them; I got to be around to read it to them and get their reactions.  Big time reward!


    Toy Story or Shrek?

    Toy Story.  I love the characters!!  I love seeing the toys come to life, organizing themselves, tackling problems. Great fun!   I grew up in the country.  We didn’t have any close neighbors.  My friends were at school, a distance away.  I would have LOVED for my toys to come to life, be my “real” friends, and have merry adventures with them.  So definitely, Toy Story!


    What three things should a first time visitor to Pennsylvania do? Grammy reading Doonsey to O, Ro, & So 12-26-2013

    1.  Visit Amish Country.  Lancaster, in northeast, PA, and Volant and New Wilmington in northwest PA, where I live, near, would be a cultural experience.  It’s hard to believe that we have communities within our modern society that can exist and thrive without electricity and all the conveniences that the rest of us can’t live without!  If you visit the Amish area, many of the locals have little shops in or near their farms.  Visitors can purchase colorful handmade quilted items, homemade pastries and canned goods, plants, beautiful handmade furniture, and get your horse’s harness repaired at the same time!
    2. Pymatuning Lake.  I grew up there, so I’m a little prejudiced.  Pymatuning Lake is located in northwestern PA on the border of PA and Ohio.  It is located within Pymatuning State Park and is the largest man-made lake in Pennsylvania.  The lake is 18 miles long and has over 26 square miles of lake surface.  In 1931, when my dad was 9 years old, he and my grandfather attended the ground breaking ceremonies for the lake.   They saw the first shovel full of dirt removed that would later become Pymatuning Lake Reservoir.  If you are an outdoors person, you can swim, hike, camp, fish, go boating, picnic, and explore.  But make sure you don’t miss the Pymatuning Spill Way.  That’s where you get to feed the fish!  There are so many, the duck’s walk on their backs!!
    3.  Pittsburgh, PA. It’s a cultural hub for all the arts and it’s the home of our three major league sports teams, the Steelers, the Penguins, and the Pirates.  The Strip District is in downtown Pittsburgh and is a great market place filled with lots of people, cooking street vendors, markets with fresh produce, restaurants, places to shop, and the home of the Mancini breads and the Primanti Brothers’ famous super stuffed sandwich with French fries.  Oh, and if you listen carefully, you’ll pick up some of the famous Pittsburghese language!  Fun!

    With a background in teaching, can you give us a few tips on capturing a child’s attention and relaying a moral lesson?

    Phew – that’s a big question!!  I may not answer your exact question, but here’s what came to mind as I reflected on it.

    • Make learning fun!  When kids are engaged, they will take more ownership for their own learning.
    • Help kids develop confidence!  I had very little confidence as a kid – all the way through adulthood.  I recognized this weakness in myself, so I made it a goal to try to help develop confidence in my own children and my students.  Kids have vivid imaginations.  I’ve found that if kids can tap into their own creativity and develop ideas – without judgment – they will develop more confidence.
    • Teach tolerance!  Everyone, kids and adults, all of us, have gifts and talents.  Our interests and abilities vary.  We are not the same.  I believe that we have all come here to share our gifts and talents, and to share our differences.  How boring we would be if we were all the same!!  Each one of us is an integral piece of a gigantic universal puzzle.


    What do your grandchildren think of Grammy Pags the Author? Storytime with Grammy Pags

    Our grandchildren are young – ages 7 to 1.5.  The younger ones don’t know what an author is.  However, our oldest grandson, Orion, totally gets it!  Orion was the inspiration for the story, “Three Little Gnomes and a Boy Named Orion.”   The story has changed from the original version I wrote in 2009.  It’s longer and beautifully illustrated by Ratna Kusuma Halim of Indonesia.  I had a book launch birthday party for “The Three Little Gnomes” book and Orion came to the event and signed books too!  He was a star for the day and loved it!!


    What can we expect from Rhonda Paglia in the next 12 months? 

    Writing, writing, writing!


    Where can readers and fans connect with you?  Thank you for asking.  Here’s the contact info for GRAMMY PAGS STORIES


    Any advice for authors out there who are either just starting out or getting frustrated with the industry?Leana's book signing 2

    1. Have fun!  Do what you love!
    2. Frustration is part of the game.  Figure out why you are doing what you do, then figure out your goals, the reach for them.  What happens if you don’t reach?  A big NOTHING!   But if you reach, anything can happen!
    3. The kid’s book market is crazy huge.  Try to find your niche.  I’m still searching for mine!
    4. Write what you like and HAVE FUN!  For me, that’s my goal!  Girls just want to have fun!!  Well, this Grammy just wants to have fun too . . .  and maybe give my readers a few smiles!!

    Wow! Thanks for sharing with us today Rhonda. I love the fact that you’ve been honest and just loving the journey. I love your advice about writing what you like and having fun. Rhonda and I would love to hear any questions or comments you may have. I hope her zest for life has been an inspiration for you as it has for me. Remember to share this interview on social media using the social buttons and grab one of Rhonda’s books at the link below

    Rhonda Paglia Books on Amazon


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    5. ‘One Minute on Earth’ by John Jones

    Watch 'One Minute on Earth,' a short film by John Jones.

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    6. Happy Thanksgiving! Now Go Listen to a Podcast

    Joyeux Turkey Day, my fellows!  Between bites of sweet potato and rolls, perhaps it might do the soul good to listen to a l’il ole podcast that’s actually a bit perfect for the day.  The “original” Thanksgiving was between Pilgrims and Native Americans, or so we were taught in grade school, yes?  Well perhaps we should do away with the myths and listen to some American Indians today in one of my Children’s Literary Salons.  Normally they’re not recorded but Cheryl Klein and her husband James Monohan turned one such Salon into a podcast.  Here’s Cheryl’s description of it:

    In happier news, the recording of the Native American Young Adult literature panel at the New York Public Library is now available here: http://www.thenarrativebreakdown.com/archives/698. Joseph Bruchac (author of KILLER OF ENEMIES), Stacy Whitman, Eric Gansworth (author of IF I EVER GET OUT OF HERE), and I had a terrific conversation (moderated by Betsy Ramsey Bird) about finding Native authors, the editor-author relationship across cultural lines, creating authentic covers, and the many pleasures of Native YA books. Please listen! ‪#‎Weneeddiversebooks‬

    Go!  Enjoy!  You’ll feel happy you did.  They were an impressive crew and kept me on my toes.

    TheNarrativeBreakdown aPodcastforWriters Banner 500x194 Happy Thanksgiving!  Now Go Listen to a Podcast

    share save 171 16 Happy Thanksgiving!  Now Go Listen to a Podcast

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    7. ABCs and 123s

    There’s never a shortage of new alphabet and counting books. When I order new alphabet and counting books (or any concept book), I look for unique presentations of very common concepts. Alphabet and counting books range from the very simple to complex and creative story lines. My recent favorites include the following:


    Baby Bear Counts One

    (image from Simon & Schuster website)

    Baby Bear Counts One (and its predecessor, Baby Bear Sees Blue) stars an endearing and realistically illustrated cub who counts his fellow creatures preparing for winter.  If a hibernation/migration story time or display is in your near future, make sure you include this one. Both Baby Bear books are rarely on our shelves for very long!


    Backseat_chronicle books

    (image from Chronicle Books website)

    I’ve read enough “A is for” alphabet books that new ones really need to offer something different in order for us to add it to our collection. Backseat A-B-See offers so much to many groups of young readers: those learning the alphabet and those obsessed with all things car-oriented. Teaching the alphabet through the use of road signs is a genius idea; the bold and uncluttered illustrations makes this ideal for those too young to truly learn the alphabet (I recently bought this for my newborn niece!).

    count_monkeys_author site

    (image from Mac Barnett website)

    Books that offer opportunities for audience interaction are always hugely popular. The wacky humor in Count the Monkeys makes this a great read aloud for children who already have the basics of counting down to a science. Counting these monkeys is indeed tricky, as they are easily scared by any number of things (including lumberjacks).

    z is for moose_zelinsky site

    (image from Paul O. Zelinsky website)

    Z is for Moose is not your basic “A is for apple” picture book. This hilarious story about a moose with its nose out of joint when “M” in the letter pageant stands for “mouse” instead of “moose” teaches lessons of cooperation and sharing without being preachy in the slightest.


    What are your favorite unique alphabet or counting books? Share in the comments!

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    8. PAPERCHASE - boutigue

    It is of course Thanksgiving Day today in the USA so lots of our American readers will be busy spending time with family. So its appropriate that my Paperchase post today features an american designer Anna Bond of the Rifle Paper Co. whose designs are stocked by Paperchase. The above card is taken from the Rifle website and the snaps below were from the boutique gift room at the Paperchase AW14

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    9. Prim Kitty

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    by Langston Hughes
    I am so tired of waiting,
    Aren’t you,
    For the world to become good
    And beautiful and kind?
    Let us take a knife
    And cut the world in two—
    And see what worms are eating
    At the rind. 
    For Ferguson and us all.

    0 Comments on BOBBEE BEE:I AM TOO TIED, TO BE TIED!!! as of 11/27/2014 6:28:00 AM
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    11. Oscar-Contender Signe Baumane On Why Animation Beats Live-Action for Some Stories

    Signe Baumane talks about why animation was a better choice than live-action for her feature film debut "Rocks in My Pockets."

    0 Comments on Oscar-Contender Signe Baumane On Why Animation Beats Live-Action for Some Stories as of 11/27/2014 12:44:00 AM
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    12. You Just Don’t Get It

    Do you ever feel like kids just aren’t getting “it?” You look at what they are doing but the “what” isn’t telling you anything. Try looking below the surface to the find the… Continue reading

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    13. Artist of the Day: Vincent Djinda

    Today we look at the work of Vincent Djinda, Cartoon Brew's Artist of the Day!

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    14. The history of the newspaper

    On 28th November 1814 The Times in London was printed by automatic, steam powered presses for the first time. These presses, built by the German inventors Friedrich Koenig and Andreas Friedrich Bauer, meant that newspapers were now available to a new mass audience, and by 1815 The Times had a circulation of approximately 5,000 people. Now, 200 years later, newspapers around the globe inform millions of people about hundreds of topics, from current events and local news, to sports results, opinion pieces, and comic strips. The Times, along with many other newspapers, is now available online, on desktops, mobile phones, and tablets, with a circulation of over 390,000 people. Newspapers themselves date back further than November 1814, to the early 17th century when printed periodicals started replacing hand-written newssheets and the term ‘newspaper’ began to make its way into common vernacular. These first newspapers are defined as such because they were printed and dated, had regular publication intervals, and contained many different types of news. As the technology of printing improved, the spread of newspapers to more and more people grew – it may be said that as the physical printing press was invented, ‘the press’ as an entity came into being.

    To celebrate this milestone in newspapers and printing we’ve brought together a reading list of free content across our online resources. Below you can discover more about the history of printing, its influence on society, how computers are used in the newspaper industry today, and much more:

    What News?’ in The Invention of the Newspaper: English Newsbooks 1641-1649 by Joad Raymond
    How did we find out about news before the newspaper? Before the publication of the newsbooks, the inhabitants of early-modern Britain had to rely on gossip, hearsay, occasional printed pamphlets and word-of-mouth to get to grips with what was going on outside of their communities. When newsbooks, the precursors to the modern-day newspaper, began to be printed in Britain in the 1640s, this, however, began to change. This chapter examines not just the literary and historical merit of these publications, but also analyses what they reveal about a burgeoning, British print culture.

    Koenig’s 1814 steam-powered printing press. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

    Printing and Printedness’ in The Oxford Handbook of Early Modern European History, Volume 1 (Forthcoming) by James Raven
    From Gutenberg’s printed bibles in 1438 to the advent of newspaper printing in the 17th century, the social, economic, and political implications of newspaper production and circulation transformed early modern Europe into a more socially aware society. The introduction of new typographical styles allowed for a more accessible and inclusive written history, contributing to a rise in European literacy no longer restricted to the upper classes. Raven tracks the impact of this evolving “print culture” on job creation and industrialization, demographic variation and new literary forms, and geographical innovations resulting from periodical dissemination.

    Uses of Computing in Print Media Industries: Book Publishing, Newspapers, Magazines’ in The Digital Hand: Volume II: How Computers Changed the Work of American Financial, Telecommunications, Media, and Entertainment Industries by James W. Cortada
    The rise of the computer has been a relatively sudden and recent one, and yet has changed almost every facet of our daily lives – from how we entertain ourselves, to how we communicate with each other, and much more. One field in which computers have come to reign supreme is the workplace, and this chapter examines the huge impact they have had on the world of print media industries, including book, newspaper, and magazine publishing.

    Gossip and Scandal: Scrutinizing Public Figures’ in Family Newspapers?: Sex, Private Life, and the British Popular Press 1918-1978 by Adrian Bingham
    Our attitudes towards celebrities, and how they are reported in the news media, have changed drastically throughout the last century. During the time of Edward VIII’s affair with American socialite Wallis Simpson in the 1930s, the press – in marked contrast to how they would have reacted today – remained silent. Things began to change in the 1950s, however, as a market developed in Britain for sensational and scandalous stories featuring the celebrities of the era. This chapter then analyses the relevance of the Profumo Affair which broke in 1963, as an example of the increasing invasive investigations undertaken by the industry.

    Murder is my meat: the ethics of journalism’ in Journalism: A Very Short Introduction by Ian Hargreaves
    Journalism in all forms, including newspapers, must intrinsically be truthful and accurate. Without either of these the trust of the journalist or newspaper is undermined, so codes, laws, and standards have been put in place in order to eliminate serious misconduct. This chapter reflects on the UK phone-hacking scandal and considers the ethical issues that surround journalism today.

    Clicking on What’s Interesting, Emailing What’s Bizarre or Useful, and Commenting on What’s Controversial’ in The News Gap: When the Information Preferences of the Media and the Public Diverge edited by Pablo J. Boczkowski and Eugenia Mitchelstein
    With the advent of the internet and mobile devices, how does society now read newspapers? With the increasing digitisation of news content, we are starting to consume and interact with news stories in different, complex ways. Taking a closer look at the data behind our interaction with online news content, this chapter analyses what might make us click on an article, and why we might comment on one, whilst emailing another to friends or family.

    Headline image credit: Newspaper stack. Image by Ivy Dawned. CC-BY-SA 4.0 via Flickr.

    The post The history of the newspaper appeared first on OUPblog.

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    15. Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!!

    Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!!

    I hope your tables are crowded with the people you love, and your plates are full of delicious dishes. May a Thanksgiving Turkey arrive in time for cleanup duty.  On Black-Friday and Cyber-Monday, may you find outstanding deals and rarely need to plop down any dollars, euros, or other currency. And on Saturday, may The Ohio State University surpass the 20 point lead they currently have over the University of Michigan. Whomever decides those leads will find they are wrong when the spread is closer. This rivalry will kick butt until the final bell, buzzer, or whistle blows.

    Mostly, have  a joyful holiday weekend.

    Quick note: I am still in the rehab hospital, but the hip aspiration (after four cancellations), was finally performed. The collected fluid looked good, but could still grow on one of those red plastic dishes, keeping me in this place another 8 weeks. There are a couple of other problems sticking their ugly heads up, yet the doctors are top-notch and all the problems will be gone before a new hip arrives. Mostly, they make me tired, frustrated, and missing home more than ever. But I have faith that once my surgeon returns next week, the news will be good and a new hip will find its way to me the following week. It looks like I will make it home by the first of the year, though I am going to work hard to make that sooner. I would love to be home for Christmas. I think I will make myself a ring/chain calendar to help get through the remaining days.

    Have a Wonderfully Happy Thanksgiving!

    [Picture a beautiful turkey here. I do not have access to a scanner.]

    Filed under: Children's Books

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    16. Day 27 - Crustaceans

    studying crustaceans in my sketchbook

    studying crustaceans in my sketchbook
    Day 27
    Topic - crustaceans

    The past few days I've tried to go beyond my original challenge and show more finished illustrations instead of just studies. With all the visual research I've done the last month I'm starting to get quite a few fun ideas. I thought it would be more interesting to see the results of my research rather than the research itself. I was hoping to show another finished piece today but I underestimated how hard it is to come up with something finished every day. Anyway I hope you find something of value in seeing my studies.

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    17. Happy Thanksgiving – Inspiration & Winners

    Michelle Henninger sent this illustration in to help us celebrate Thanksgiving. Michelle prefers a traditional approach of pen/ink, and watercolor: with a touch of digital thrown in for good measure. She is a member of the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, she was a New England SCBWI Ann Barrows Illustration Scholarship recipient. She was the first 2014 featured illustrator on Illustrator Saturday. She is represented by Christina Tugeau at CATugeau.

    by Eileen Spinelli

    Thank you for the world–still sweet.

    Thank you for the food we eat.

    Thank you for the honeyed sun

    that spoons its light on everyone.

    Thank you for the leaves that fall

    in glowing piles near the wall,

    for kindness in a stranger’s face

    and every unexpected grace.

    Thank you for the starry dark,

    for children laughing in the park,

    for cozy towns and sleepy farms,

    for dreamers, dancers, babes in arms.

    Than you for all hearts that sing

    of hope in spite of everything.

    Fall Favorites
    by Carol Murray

    Pumpkins, round, upon the ground,

    and children playing ball,

    Scarecrow tips his tattered hat,

    and waves to one and all.

    Sleek black cats on fuzzy mats,

    reclining, large and small,

    and every size has starlit eyes,

    like diamonds at The Mall.

    Wine is chilled, and home is filled

    with friends, both short and tall.

    Hooray! Hooray! Thanksgiving Day.

    Favorite things of Fall.
    by Carol Murray

    A Thanksgiving Toast

    Here’s to years of happiness

    and months of sunny skies,

    To weeks of reaching mountain peaks,

    and days of caring eyes,

    To hours of hope and tenderness,

    and minutes of delight,

    On second thought, we wish you love,

    We’re giving thanks tonight.

    Thank you to Michelle, Eileen, and Carol for sharing their work to help us celebrate Thanksgiving. Hope everyone enjoys the day.


    Darlene Beck-Jacobson won Gayle Aanensen’s book BETTER THAN GOLD.

    Joanne Roberts won SPAGHETTI SMILES by Margo Sorenson.

    Congratulations! Winner please send me your addresses so they can be sent out.

    You may wonder why I did not post the poems for the Thanksgiving Poem Contest yesterday. That is because Carol Murray was the only one to send in a poem for the contest and the default winner. Thank you Carol.

    Talk tomorrow,


    Filed under: authors and illustrators, Contest, Holiday, inspiration, Poems Tagged: Better Than Gold, Carol Murray, Eileen Spinelli, Happy Thanksgiving, Spaghetti Smiles, Thanksgiving Poem Contest

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    18. PAPERCHASE - snackpackers

    Paperchase week continues today with a design range for the young and young at heart called 'Snackpackers'. This is one of the cute style collections that Paperchase do so well featuring kawaii style characters. A lion flies around the world in a balloon meeting animals and foods from different countries. Snackpackers is a full collection with lots of products including as you would imagine

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    19. SAV5 vector presets experiments

    Experimenting with various vector based presets
    looking for both a natural media appearance and something different

    The detail here shows off a few of the presets effects

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    20. French best of the year lists

           There's already been a flood of US/UK 'best of the year' (and the like) lists, but these aren't nearly as popular (or premature) abroad.
           One that's been around for a while is Lire's top twenty -- the best book in a variety of categories -- and they've now announced Le palmarès des 20 meilleurs livres de l'année selon la rédaction de Lire.
           Their book of the year is Limonov-author Emmanuel Carrère's Le Royaume (about which I continue to harbor doubts -- but it looks like I'll have to have a look at it, when/if I can get my hands on a copy; see also the P.O.L. publicity page).
           They named James Salter's All That Is the best foreign novel (get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk), and Nii Ayikwei Parkes' Tail of the Blue Bird was named best foreign first novel. A Tanizaki was named best audiobook ....

           Le Point is the other periodical out with a(n early) top-of-the-year list -- again headed by the Carrère: Le palmarès "Le Point" des 25 livres de l'année. Salter makes their top 25, too (as does Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch -- a best foreign novel finalist on Lire's list). Of course, Hillary Clinton's Mémoires make Le Point's top-25 too, so .... forget that ?

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    21. Did You See This On Google News? Amazing!

    [Click on the headlines for links!]

    Al Jazeera publishes a web comic, and it’s not what you expect!

    Two Harris County (Texas) District Attorney employees were indicted by a grand jury for stealing evidence and selling it online!

    The case that landed both men in jail began in May 2012, when they were assigned to investigate attorney Anthony Chiofalo, who embezzled about $9 million from his client, a company that manufactures heavy cranes.


    In October 2012, Blevins sold thousands of dollars worth of rare comic books to a dealer in Chicago who later discovered they were the same items purchased by Chiofalo from an online auction house.

    An attorney representing the company Chiofalo had worked for learned about the comics and recognized the name of the seller: Harris County DA’s investigator Lonnie Blevins.

    The FBI arrested Blevins in February 2013 – about two months after he left the district attorney’s office. Federal prosecutors said he “cooperated substantially” in their inquiry.

    Braina signing 225x300 Did You See This On Google News?  Amazing!arnes & Noble offers signed books as door busters on Black Friday!

    Here’s the link showing all of the titles!  Wimpy Kid!  Smile!  American Gods!  Amulet!  Timmy Failure!

    Raina Telgemeier has posted scenes of her massive signing schedule on Facebook, where she signed eleven packages of book pages over ten days with twelve Sharpies.  The pages were then shipped to Asia, where they were bound into the books.  All in top secret mode.

    Dunno if President Bush did the same, or if he went to an undisclosed location and signed the actual copies of his book.

    How Did A Cartoonist for the National Lampoon and Playboy Get Hired To Draw One Of America’s Most Iconic Comic Strips?!?

    …and why was he fired six years later?  Comic Book Resources has the secret history!

    Obligatory Hyperbolic Press Release Of The Day

    …with qualifications.

    “Since we created the Safe Ship & Zip boxes, the damage rate has dropped to nearly zero,” said Drucker. “And, we’ve received lots of e-mails from customers thanking us for making opening boxes so easy.”

    “We’ve shipped comic books to 117 countries, and our damage rate is among the lowest in the comic book business,” said [CEO Jim] Drucker. “So, if you buy comic books online, or are looking for comic books for sale, you don’t have to worry about shipping damage at NewKadia.”

    [I did a sample search on their website.  They have a copy of “Superman Meets The Quik Bunny”, so it seems like a decent site.]

    A New Comic Con Is Announced In Asia!

    In a briefing today, Al Ahli Holding Group (AAHG) chief executive officer Mohammed Khammas said the company will hold the Asia Pop Comic Con 2015 in the Philippines.

    The annual event features international brands in comics, animation, toys, music and movies, and Manila’s hosting will mark the United Arab Emirates-based conglomerate’s investment in the Philippines.


    Established in 1977, AAHG’s businesses range from real estate to construction, engineering and infrastructure, retail and trading, technology and logistics, lifestyle and fitness, entertainment, as well as hospitality.

    The conglomerate operates in 25 countries and has a 5,000-strong workforce.

    …And You Can Have A Coffee While You Wait For It To OpenSweet Purple Potato Latte 300x199 Did You See This On Google News?  Amazing!

    Those are not the only pleasant surprises you’ll find upon entering Subspace Coffee House, though. Living up to the establishment’s moniker, the three-year-old coffee shop is divided into diverse, uniquely designed sections—“subspaces,” if you will—that, when taken together, deliver a one-of-a-kind cafe experience for K-Pop fans, pop culture geeks, office workers, and social media enthusiasts alike.

    They specialize in latte art… using the foam to make an illustration, as seen here.

    Thor is also proud of the fact that, as geeks and fans themselves, they can get pretty much any latte art request right, with minimal to zero questions and at no extra cost. “Our coffee is good, but our strength is really our latte art—we transport people to different locations by personalizing their coffee.” From comic book characters to TV shows to K-Pop bands, Subspace’s artists have got latte art down to a science. “[Our regulars] know that when they come in, we ‘get’ it. No need to explain what they want us to draw on their coffee. No questions asked, we get it.”

    Another School Library Gets Boys To Read, in Fayettville, North Carolina

    In the “Guys Read” program, students are paired with mentors who read with them and try to introduce them to the joys of the printed page. Many of the mentors are South View High School students.

    Baldwin librarian Jennifer Scott said boys were singled out for the mentor program because they tend to read less than their female counterparts. Particularly at the fourth-grade level, Scott said, boys tend to drift away from reading.


    Scott said the program attempts to identify books that 9- and 10-year-old boys might like.

    “They like graphic novels. They don’t want books that don’t have pictures,” she said. “They don’t like made-up stories. If they do come to the library, they spend their time in the nonfiction section.”

    The school advertised the mentoring program and partnered with South View High School. Many of the mentors are ROTC students looking to earn community volunteer credits, but other people from the community have volunteered to help.

    …And A High School Teacher In Red Bank, New Jersey, Teaches Comics

    Red Bank Regional High School teacher Sara Van Ness, who has published books on graphic novels, has turned her interest in the art form into a popular course at the high school.

    “Graphic novels combine both visuals and the written word, so the reader is really participating in the meaning making process,” Van Ness said. “The kids not only have to interpret the words, but also the pictures and the interaction of the two. So it’s sometimes a more challenging reading experience for students, which is not the perception we have of graphic novels of: ‘Oh, they’re just for kids’ or ‘Oh, they’re easier text to read.'”

    Discover The Secret Comic Book Origin Of An Art Book Publisher!

    You started selling books very young. What were you into then?

    I was interested in one particular comic book artist who made the Donald Duck series: Carl Barks, who is one of the great American 20th century art geniuses, and he’s still totally underappreciated. I thought I was the only one collecting comic books, but I learned that others did the same but much older than me — people who were looking to buy back the lost dreams of their childhood. So I started dealing when I was still in school; I had a little mail-order business when I was 14. I have this DNA for what a collector needs or loves. What we wanted to do later on with our books was create the ultimate fetish items for the collector.

    Read the entire interview to discover an exclusive announcement!  (And if you’ve been good this year, Santa might bring you this.)

    A Crowdfunded Comic Teaches Indian Children About The Law

    Kanan and Kelly Dhru still have the wide-eyed enthusiasm characteristic of fresher law students. The sisters are on a mission to foster a new generation of kids who will grow up to be socially responsible adults aware of the laws that govern them. To this end, they plan to release a series of comic books called ‘Lawtoons’.

    The first volume, which was released earlier this month, is titled “A Song for Everyone” and deals with topics like the Right to Equality and Freedom of Expression. The initiative has been successfully crowd-funded, with a total of 2.75 lakhs being raised for the first volume alone.

    [Now if only someone in the U.S. could produce a comic on how Grand Juries work…]

    “Batman and Robin” Meets “Batman Forever” or “Chill.”

    Comics Artwork From Boris Karloff’s Cousin Sells For $485,500 in France

    Some 400 lots of comic art were sold at the auction in Paris on Saturday, Artcurial said, with the highest price fetched by a Tintin strip from “The Castafiore Emerald”, signed by its creator Herge, going for 404,500 euros.

    You can see the results at Artcurial’s website.  Search for Sale 2666, held 22 November 2014.  Or view the 244-page catalog here!

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    22. Thanksgiving Day Parade Trivia ANSWERS

    Thanksgiving Trivia QuizRead the answers to our Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Trivia Quiz.

    To get you in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I posted a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Trivia Quiz! Did you gobble up the questions, and spit out the answers? Or did it give you indigestion? (I hope not!) Without further ado, check out the answers below:

    Thanksgiving Day Parade

    Photo by Sachyn Mital

    1. Which city is the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade held in? ANSWER: New York City. It starts at 77th St./Central Park West and ends at 34th St. in front of Macy’s . . . (of course).
    2. Who is always on the LAST float in the parade? ANSWER: B) Santa Claus! Every year since 1924 Santa and Mrs. Claus close the parade.
    3. Which book character will be a balloon in the 2014 parade? ANSWER: A) Greg Heffley! Although I would like to see Slappy one year . . . 
    4. Macy’s symbol is a red _________. ANSWER: Star.
    5. The Radio City _________ also perform a famous holiday dance number in the parade. ANSWER: Radio City Rockettes.
    6. Which character has never been a balloon in the parade? ANSWER: D) Elsa from Frozen. Although Idina Menzel (the actress who does Elsa’s voice) is set to perform this year!
    7. Which float has been in the parade for 40 years straight? ANSWER: A) Sesame Street!
    8. In 1997, several balloons had to come down due to high winds and safety concerns during the parade. Which balloon caused the most serious damage? ANSWER: A) The Cat in the Hat. The balloon was as tall as a 6-story building, and was careening out of control before it crashed into and broke the arm off a lamp post at 72nd St. Those winds can be hazardous!

    Hope you enjoy the parade and turkey today! Gobble, gobble.

    Ratha, Stacks Writer


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    23. Why art matters - Lily Hyde

    They can’t put on plays in the evening in Donetsk, because of the curfew. They have had to hang a sign on the theatre entrance saying ‘Please don’t bring weapons with you’ – but not everyone obeys. The stage is not just their calling anymore; it is literally home. The actors are living in the playhouse, because their houses have been destroyed by shelling or are on the frontline. 

    One recent Sunday afternoon they performed Chekhov. The sound of shelling roared from the suburbs, but inside the theatre a string quartet played Bach to the pre-performance crowd. The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He maketh me down to lie in green pastures A frock-coated actor shepherded his flock into the darkened auditorium, leaving behind all the troubles and dread for two brief hours, two magical hours made of lighting and costume and make-believe – and words, words, Chekhov’s wry, witty, warmly humane war of words. That, to set against the real war outside.

    Afterwards in the dressing rooms, where actors live now with their children in a world of mirrors and make-up, where jars of home-made gherkins jostle with tubes of facepaint, we drank to peace. And to art, to theatre and literature and music, all those hopelessly fragile, endlessly enduring things. 



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    When someone comes at you with a gun, despite the fact that you’ve done nothing, he tells you, suffer peacefully. Pray for those who use you despitefully. Be long-suffering. And how long can you suffer after suffering for four hundred years?”Malcolm X: The White Man sold your history(1962)

    0 Comments on BOBBEE BEE:NO JUSTICE; NO PEACE!! as of 11/27/2014 1:02:00 AM
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    25. A look at Thanksgiving favorites

    What started as a simple festival celebrating the year’s bountiful harvest has turned into an archetypal American holiday, with grand dinners featuring savory and sweet dishes alike. Thanksgiving foods have changed over the years, but there are still some iconic favorites that have withstood time. Hover over each food below in this interactive image and find out more about their role in this day of feasting:

    What are your favorite Thanksgiving dishes? Let us know in the comments below!

    The post A look at Thanksgiving favorites appeared first on OUPblog.

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