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1. Don't Judge A Book By Its Cover; or A Film!

I admit it.  I was wrong about the new film, Annie.  At first, I was upset when it came out.  I thought to myself why ruin a good thing? I vowed that I would not see it.  I kept that vow until I noticed that it was running on Stars cable network.  Reluctantly, I took a shot.  I also always believed that Little Orphan Annie should have red curly hair as the prototyped Annie.  However, they put a spin on things and added new songs.  They took the story and added a modern day spin that didn't hinder the movie from being good.  I only wish they would've titled it different. To keep the original Annie sacred, I feel that they should have titled it: Annette:  A new spin on Annie.  Otherwise, I felt it was a very good flick.  Cameron Diaz portrayed a good Miss. Hannigan.  I liked that they changed the name from Daddy Warbucks to Mr. Stacks.  I appreciated the character Annie to be spunky as the original movie portrayed Annie to be.  I was a true fan of the movie.  I remember going to see it and was mesmerized by the plot and music the first time.  Again, I felt mesmerized by this modern tale.  I can be quite a sap and by the very end of the movie, I was in tears.  They may have been happy tears, but they were tears.  So, I give the new Annie a thumbs up and would definitely watch it again.

        VERSUS          

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2. “Behind the Trees”

posted by Neil Gaiman


 I love my wife so much. This is an animation by animator Avi Ofer that uses a voice memo from Amanda's phone of a conversation she had with me while I was asleep. 

(I can have conversations while I am asleep, I am told). 

She found the message she had left on her phone for herself, whispered in a bathroom while I slept,  a year or so after she’d left it, and played it to me. I said it sounded like an animated film, and she agreed, and used her Patreon to make it happen…

Only watch it if you want to know what the inside of my head is probably like while I am asleep.


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3. Happy Birthday, Neville!

30th July marks the 35th birthday of Neville Longbottom, a character who shows that we can prove ourselves to have more strength and courage than we could ever know.

At first appearance, Neville was an unexpected Gryffindor, and his first few years at Hogwarts were riddled with mishaps. He made his entrance as a clumsy boy looking for Trevor – his toad – on the Hogwarts Express.

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He was almost a hatstall at the Sorting Ceremony (pleading with the Sorting Hat to be in Hufflepuff), he melted Seamus Finnigan’s cauldron in his first Potions class, and broke his wrist at his first flying lesson. His luck never seemed to improve, as he was relentlessly mocked and bullied by Draco Malfoy (who pranked him with the Leg-Locker curse in their second term). Even in his first year, however, Neville showed us his courageous side, as he challenged Malfoy (and then proceeded to single-handedly take on Crabbe and Goyle) at the Gryffindor vs Hufflepuff match:

‘Neville went bright red but turned in his seat to face Malfoy.

“I’m worth twelve of you, Malfoy,” he stammered.

Malfoy, Grabbe and Goyle howled with laughter, but Ron, still not daring to take his eyes from the game, said, “You tell him, Neville.” ‘

The Chamber of Secrets saw Neville fearing for his life, facing the prospect of a basilisk in Hogwarts. Though pure-blood, he feared that his squib-like tendencies would lead to him being a target. In one of Gilderoy Lockhart’s lessons he is hung up on a chandelier by his ears, and utters what came to be his most famous quote:

‘Why is it always me?’

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In his third year, Neville revealed in Remus Lupin’s Defence Against the Dark Arts lesson on boggarts that his worst fear was Professor Snape, leading into the great scene in which boggart-Snape emerges wearing Neville’s grandmother’s clothes.

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He attended the Yule Ball with Ginny Weasley in his fourth year, after being declined by Hermione Granger.

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Neville was a devoted member of Dumbledore’s Army in his fifth year, being one of the first to sign up. After we learned that his tortured parents were being treated in St Mungo’s, and that three of their torturers had escaped Azkaban, Neville improved his skills with the DA at a significant rate. He accompanied the trio to the Ministry of Magic to save Sirius Black, was captured and briefly endured the Cruciatus Curse under Bellatrix Lestrange, attempting convince Harry to hand over the prophecy. It is in The Order of the Phoenix that we learn that as both Neville and Harry were born at the end of July to parents who had escaped Voldemort three times, they were both in line to becoming the child Sybill Trelawney’s prophecy spoke of, but Harry had been ‘marked’ as Voldemort’s equal as a baby:

‘The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches… born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies… and the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not… and either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives… the one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord will be born as the seventh month dies’

Neville returned to Hogwarts in The Deathly Hallows, and re-started Dumbledore’s Army, rebelling against the Death Eaters (specifically the brutal Carrows):

‘Alecto, Amycus’s sister, teaches Muggle Studies, which is compulsory for everyone. We’ve all got to listen to her explain how Muggles are like animals, stupid and dirty, and how they drive wizards into hiding by being vicious toward them, and how the natural order is being reestablished. I got this one ((indicates to a large gash on his cheek)) for asking her how much Muggle blood she and her brother have got.’

After being physically punished for his efforts, the Ministry targeted Neville’s grandmother as a method of blackmailing him, however, she managed to escape capture. This led to plans to kill Neville after singling him out as ring-leader of the rebels, and then to his subsequent hiding in the Room of Requirement, a newly-turned hiding place connected to the Hog’s Head and Aberforth Dumbledore.

During the Battle of Hogwarts, Neville received orders from Harry to set killing Nagini – Voldemort’s horcrux – to their highest priority, which he later fulfilled due to having pulled Godric Gryffindor’s sword out of the Sorting Hat. Neville’s bravery in directly standing up to Voldemort and his followers not only proved him worthy of the sword, but also proved just how much of a Gryffindor he had become (and always had been!).

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Later in life, Neville became an Auror, then Professor of Herbology at Hogwarts. He married Hannah Abbott, and they now live together above The Leaky Cauldron. Like other members of Dumbledore’s Army, he has kept his enchanted D.A. coin as a badge of honour, occasionally showing impressed students.

J.K Rowling has said that Neville ‘finds happiness in his grandmother’s acceptance of him as a gifted wizard and as the new herbology professor at Hogwarts’. You can read more about his later life in Rita Skeeter’s Daily Prophet article on Pottermore here.

Join us in wishing Neville a very happy 35th birthday!

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4. More Than I Can Bear Wash Your Hands Baby Door Signs

MORE THAN I CAN BEAR Wash Your Hands Baby Door Sign 

Many people have been requesting that the More Than I Can Bear car seat sign be turned into a home / door sign. And since I got a little bit of extra time this week (I wrote two novels this summer —whew!), I got it done!

People generally want this for day care centers, hospitals or their nursery door. The sign measures 5.2 x 7.2 inches, is laminated and durable! Oh, and of course, handmade in Alaska, USA! Click here to check it out, and while you're there, take a look around! =)

More to come — stay tuned!

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5. Shoujo You Should Know: Full Moon o Sagashite

Magical girls have been a part of shoujo since nearly the beginning; stories of idols and other performers are almost just as old. Magical girls haven’t changed much over the years, but today’s idol shows like Love Live! are rather different when compared to works like Creamy Mami. Mitsuki of Full Moon o Sagashite (Searching for ... Read more

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6. An Underwhelmed/Meh Letter To Public Enemies by Ann Aguirre...

From Becca PUBLIC ENEMIES Immortal Game #2 by Ann Aguirre Hardcover: 320 pages Publisher: Feiwel & Friends (August 4th, 2015) Language: English Goodreads | Amazon In Book 2 of the Immortal Game trilogy, Edie must learn the rules of the game . . . and then play better than anyone else.Through a Faustian bargain, Edie Kramer has been pulled into the dangerous world of the Immortal Game, where

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7. Nowadays...

You may have been wondering why it's so quiet around here lately…


The answer is I've been hard at work! Above are my new postcards (created with my agents, ABLA). They're designed and printed in time for the SCBWI conference (aka #LA15scbwi), which kicks off tomorrow morning bright and early. It takes a good bit of preparation — new portfolio art, new postcards, new dummies or manuscripts.  New shoes!

Some people begin to prepare months in advance, but I couldn't. I have another project on the go, also demanding my 1000% attention. I'm working on my picture book for Nord Süd (North South Books): getting to know the characters ...

and playing around with the hero...
 ...with his eponymous green umbrella…

And above all, trying to get the visual narrative to work:
Here is the famous storyboard clothesline, with earlier versions of many of the spreads. Of course, by the time the book gets into print there will be more changes, revisions and endless effing tweaks.

So that's where I have been lately. This blog will probably stay quiet for a little while longer, but nowadays I can also be found on Instagram and even tweeting on Twitter.

See you all later — enjoy the summer!




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8. #718 – Marvelous Cornelius: Hurricane Katrina and the Spirit of New Orleans by Phil Bildner & John Parra

cover
Marvelous Cornelius: Hurricane Katrina and the Spirit of New Orleans

Written by Phil Bildner
Illustrated by John Parra
Chronicle Books      8/04/2015
978-1-4521-2578-7
44 pages     Age 3—5

“In New Orleans, there lived a man who saw the streets as his calling, and he swept them clean. He danced up one avenue and down another and everyone danced along—The old ladies whistled and whirled. The old men hooted and hollered. The barbers, bead twirlers, and beignet bakers bounded behind that one-man parade. But then came the rising Mississippi—and a storm bigger than anyone had seen before. Phil Bildner and John Parra tell the inspirational story of a humble man, and the heroic difference he made in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.” [inside jacket]

Review
Marvelous Cornelius, the person, embodies the best of us. Day-to-day he performed his job—one many would consider unglamorous—with dignity, enthusiasm, and a spirit of giving to those he served. People responded positively to this larger-than-life man. Kids enjoyed his spirited antics. When disaster struck in the name of Hurricane Katrina, this French Quarter-New Orléans resident went to work cleaning up his city with the same joyousness as before, only this time, the residents responded not only with enjoyment to see their local “hero,” but pitched in following his lead. Together—including many volunteers from outside of New Orléans—Marvelous Cornelius led his neighbors in cleaning up their beloved city. Just as he did on his daily job, Marvelous Cornelius helped keep New Orléans clean, for he was a garbage man by trade; garbage man extraordinaire.

s2With the use of many writing techniques—alliteration, repetition, and exaggeration—author Bildner keeps the story lively. Children will enjoy Cornelius Washington’s story of how an ordinary citizen can help keep their city or town upbeat, their neighbors friendly and joyous, and their streets clean, making for a wonderful place to live.

Marvelous Cornelius_Int 2At times, the illustrations  portray Marvelous Cornelius as a literal giant emphasizing his larger-than-life persona. He becomes more realistic when portrayed with the residents he served. I would have liked to have seen a more multicultural representation of the residents of New Orléans, though artist Parra may have decided to show a true representation of the resident’s Cornelius Washington actually served. Of note: the illustrations do show a multicultural people once the city is swept clean of the “gumbo of mush and mud.”

s1The art is a delight with its rustic feel and animations of Cornelius “Tango-ing up Toulouse” and “Samba-ing down St. Peter.” I loved the changing text size and font when Marvelous Cornelius sang out his familiar calls:

“WOO! WOO! WOOOOO! WOO! WOO! WOOOOO!”
“RAT-A-TAT-TAT RAT-A-TAT-TAT
“HOOTIE HOO! HOOTIE HOOOOO! SHOWTIME!”

Marvelous Cornelius_Int 3

At story’s end, the author writes more about New Orléans, its people, and Hurricane Katrina (which brought major devastation to this coastal city). Bildner also delves into his writing style, saying his use of alliteration, repetition, and exaggeration helped him write Cornelius Washington’s story as a folktale, similar to that of John Henry. Together with artist Parra, Bildner has succeeded in writing a story every child should read and will most definitely enjoy. Teachers can find many lessons in Mr. Washington’s story of an average person who rose to heroic heights simply by doing his best every day.

MARVELOUS CORNELIUS: HURRICANE KATRINA AND THE SPIRIT OF NEW ORLEANS. Text copyright © 2015 by Phil Bildner. Illustrations copyright © 2015 by John Parra. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Chronicle Books, San Francisco, CA.

Purchase Marvelous Cornelius: Hurricane Katrina and the Spirit of New Orleans at AmazonBook DepositoryiTunes BooksChronicle Books.

Learn more about Marvelous Cornelius: Hurricane Katrina and the Spirit of New Orleans HERE.
Find a Common Core-Aligned Teacher’s Guide HERE.


Read more about Katrina’s Children HERE.
Watch the full length video Katrina’s Children free HERE.

Meet the author, Phil Bildner, at his website:  http://philbildner.com/
Meet the illustrator, John Parra, at his website:  http://www.johnparraart.com/
Find more picture books at the Chronicle Books website:  http://www.chroniclebooks.com/

 

Copyright © 2015 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved

Full Disclosure: Marvelous Cornelius: Hurricane Katrina and the Spirit of New Orleans, by Phil Bildner & John Parra, and received from Chronicle Books, is in exchange NOT for a positive review, but for an HONEST review. The opinions expressed are my own and no one else’s. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


Filed under: 5stars, Children's Books, Favorites, Historical Fiction, Library Donated Books, Picture Book Tagged: alliteration, Chronicle Books, community spirit, Cornelius Washington, exageration, folklores, Hurricane Katrina, John Parra, joy, Katrina's Children, Marvelous Cornelius: Hurricane Katrina and the Spirit of New Orleans, Phil Bildner, repetition, writing technique

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9. Grow






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10. Italian Ices

A friend in the hospital
Made a request
When the topic of
What I could bring was addressed.

Just a few blocks away
There’s a stand that sells ices,
Both water and crème-style;
Each flavor entices.

The weather was hot
And it started to rain
But I made it to Ralph’s;
I’d not visit in vain.

With two scoops in the dish
That my friend likes to get,
I walked quickly so they
Wouldn’t melt or get wet.

Though the bag fell apart,
I accomplished my goal
As my friend ate the ices
I hoped would console.

Such a small thing for me,
The most easy of chores
But a mountain for someone
Who’s stranded indoors.

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11. Friday Feature: Trail of Secrets Cover Reveal


This week the cover of Trail of Secrets by Laura Wolfe was revealed. Check it out:

Trail of Secrets, by Laura Wolfe
Fire and Ice YA (Coming August/September 2015)

Spending three weeks of her summer at the elite Foxwoode Riding Academy in northern Michigan should have been one of the happiest times of sixteen year-old Brynlei’s life. But from the moment Brynlei arrives at Foxwoode, she can’t shake the feeling she’s being watched. Then she hears the story of a girl who vanished on a trail ride four years earlier. While the other girls laugh over the story of the dead girl who haunts Foxwoode, Brynlei senses that the girl—or her ghost—may be lurking in the shadows.

Brynlei’s quest to reveal the truth interferes with her plan to keep her head down and win Foxwoode’s coveted “Top Rider” award. To make things worse, someone discovers Brynlei’s search for answers and will go to any length to stop her. As Brynlei begins to unravel the facts surrounding the missing girl’s disappearance, she is faced with an impossible choice. Will she protect a valuable secret? Or save a life?

Age level:  13-18
www.AuthorLauraWolfe.com

Check out the trailer:


Want your YA, NA, or MG book featured on my blog? Contact me here and we'll set it up.

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12. Stonewall: Breaking Out in the Fight for Gay Rights

Stonewall: Breaking Out in the Fight for Gay Rights   by Ann Bausum Viking-an imprint of Penguin, 2015 ISBN: 9780670016792 Grades 9-12 The reviewer received a copy of the book from the publisher. Ann Bausum is known for writing nonfiction books about civil rights and social justice. Her latest book for teens, Stonewall: Breaking Out in the Fight for Gay Rights, describes how the Stonewall

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13. Movies and Writing and Front Sight, Oh My!

Since I last posted (pretty much a month ago exactly) I have seen two movies in theaters, written about three quarters of the first half of a novel, remembered how much I enjoy baseball, started watching Avatar, and signed up for hand-to-hand combat classes at Front Sight.

What's... Front Sight, precious, eh? What's Front Sight?

For all y'all who don't know what Front Sight is, basically it's a gun school. You go there, they teach you how to safely use/carry firearms, so you don't go out literally half-cocked and accidentally cause mayhem rather than assistance.
That could be awkward.

It teaches you how to be a responsible gun owner. MmmHmmm.  Anyhoozle, so I'm signed up for the hand-to-hand combat part of it (because it is my first time and I'm a little intimidated at the idea of doing guns first) and I shall be heading down to Pahrump tomorrow - along with my sister Amanda, and our "sister/friend" Sammi. I am trying to figure out how to wear pants. As I am strictly a shirt and skirt kind of girl, pants are a whole 'nother kind of ballgame. But one simply cannot wear skirts to a martial arts type of setting. Awkward.
Unless, of course, you're Golden Sparrow.

I saw MINIONS and ANT-MAN.

I gotta say, I was a little disappointed with the Minion movie. I enjoyed the bits with the actual minions, but there was some stuff in there that I thought was totally unnecessary and inappropriate for kids - such as that disgustingly overweight sumo wrestler wearing next to nothing and leaving NOTHING to the imagination. The Cat did not approve. Also, I kind of would have preferred that the Minions met Gru earlier, and worked together to bring down the baddie Scarlet, even though Sandra Bullock voiced Scarlet and I could just "see" her getting into the role. I felt they could have done MORE with the movie, but instead relied on people being such fans of the minions they would overlook some loose plotting.

There really was some funny stuff, like Stuart and his fire hydrant:

But overall, I thought it could have been fabulous rather than just good.

ANT-MAN, however... yeah, I liked Ant-Man. Instead of being like the Avengers (WHICH I ADORE, BY THE WAY! IN CASE YOU THOUGHT I DIDN'T), Ant-Man sort of goes back to the "simple" Marvel movies, focusing on small but important bad guys, and instead of saving the world focusing more on just bringing down the single villain. Plus, Scott Lang (Ant-Man himself) was freakin' hilarious, and his stupid criminal friends were adorable idiots. The script was spot on, and I surprised myself by actually liking Michael Douglas. Normally, I don't like anything about him, but he was a really good character in the movie and I quite liked him. So, I would recommend you watch Ant-Man, but I would advise you to wait on Minions until it comes out on DVD. :-)
It was brilliant, you guys! I love Marvel.

As for my writing, I'm knocking out the first half of my novel quite rapidly. It's going to be told from two points-of-view, but since the timeline is a little "weird" for one character, I'm having a hard time switching back and forth, so I'm doing one character at a time, and I'll fit them together later. (All hail the revision process!) Besides, the second half will need a bit more research into the landscape, and mapping out the world being travelled. So, I'm procrastinating on the part. But the completed project will be great, I promise!


That's all for now. Hope y'all have a great day!

God bless!

The Cat
Byebyebyebyebyebyebyebye!!!!!!!!!!


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14. Avoiding the Word "Very"

There are many ways to prune all those "very" appearances from your manuscript.

http://writerswrite.co.za/45-ways-to-avoid-using-the-word-very

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15. Pick of the Week for NATURE and This Week’s Topic

naturegrid72nowm

Happy Illustration Friday, fellow creators!

We’re ready to announce this week’s topic, but first please enjoy the wonderful illustration above by Jessica Roux, our Pick of the Week for last week’s topic of NATURE (you can get a print here). Thanks to everyone who participated with drawings, paintings, sculptures, and more. We love seeing it all!

You can see a gallery of ALL the entries here.

And of course, you can now participate in this week’s topic:

GROW

Here’s how:

Step 1: Illustrate your interpretation of the current week’s topic (always viewable on the homepage).

Step 2: Post your image onto your blog / flickr / facebook, etc.

Step 3: Come back to Illustration Friday and submit your illustration (see big “Submit your illustration” button on the homepage).

Step 4: Your illustration will then be added to the public Gallery where it will be viewable along with everyone else’s from the IF community!

Also be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter and subscribe to our weekly email newsletter to keep up with our exciting community updates!

HAPPY ILLUSTRATING!

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16. Trust Your Writing--Trust Your Readers

At around the 2:45 mark of the video of Norm MacDonald roasting Bob Saget, he tells a ridiculous joke about Saget looking "like a flower...yeah, a cauliflower" and he then repeats and somewhat explains the joke. Not a stand-up comedian, it is my determination that MacDonald does this repetition/explanation to hammer home just how absurd this joke (and the others in this fantastic routine) was. In other words, he HAD A REASON to do so.

Maybe my biggest recent pet peeve in reading is when an author does NOT trust their own writing, or apparently believe that their reading audience is of a junior high school level or below. After writing a beautiful passage, with a nice subtle point to it, they'll follow that passage and period up with the explanation. WHY??? Why not trust that you've made the point with your writing? Why not believe that the person reading your work has the ability to piece together what you've sewn?

I'll show no example of this as it would be incredibly rude, but I think it's something younger writers especially should pay attention to--TRUST YOUR WRITING//TRUST YOUR READERS--it will make your work stronger.

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17. Of Purpose, Audience, and Language Guides


There are lots of reasons that the University of New Hampshire, where I'm currently working toward a Ph.D. in Literature, should be in the news. It's a great school, with oodles of marvelous faculty and students doing all sorts of interesting things. Like any large institution, it's got its problems (I personally think the English Department is underappreciated by the Powers That Be, and that the university as a whole is not paying nearly enough attention to the wonderful programs that don't fall under that godawful acronym-of-the-moment STEM, but of course I'm biased...) Whatever the problems, though, I've been very happy at the university, and I'm proud to be associated with it.

But Donald Trump and Fox News or somebody discovered a guide to inclusive language gathering dust in a corner of the UNH website and decided that this was worth denouncing as loudly as possible, and from there it spread all over the world. The UNH administration, of course, quickly distanced themselves from the web page and then today it was taken down. I expect they're being honest when they say they didn't know about the page. Most people didn't know about the page. The website has long been rhizomatic, and for a while just finding the academic calendar was a challenge because it was hidden in a forest of other stuff.

I, however, did know about the page. In fact, I used it with my students and until today had a link to it on my Proofreading Guidelines sheet. It led to some interesting conversations with students, so I found it a valuable teaching tool. I thought some of the recommendations in the guidelines were excellent and some were badly worded and some just seemed silly to me, like something more appropriate to an Onion article. ("People of advanced age" supposedly being way better than any other term for our elders reads like a banal parody of political correctness. Also, never ever ever ever call me a "person of advanced age" when I become old. Indeed, I would like to be known as an old fart. If I manage to achieve elderliness — and it is, seriously, a great accomplishment, as my amazing, 93-year-old grandmother [who calls herself "an old lady"] would, I hope, agree — if I somehow achieve that, then I will insist on being known as an old fart. But if you would rather be called a person of advanced age rather than a senior or an elder or an old fart, then I will respect your wishes.)



The extremity of the guide was actually why I found it useful pedagogically. Inevitably, the students would find some of the ideas ridiculous, alienating, and even angering. That makes for good class discussion. In at least one class, we actually talked about the section that got Donald Trump and Fox and apparently everybody else so upset — the recommendation to be careful with the term "American". Typically, students responded to that recommendation with the same incredulity and incomprehension that Trump et al. did. Understandably so. We're surrounded by the idea that the word "American" equals "United States", and in much usage it does. I sometimes use it that way myself. It's difficult not to. But I also remember a Canadian acquaintance when I was in college saying, in response to my usage, "You know, the U.S. isn't the whole of North America. You just think you are." Ouch. And then when I was in Mexico for a summer of language study, at least one of our teachers made fun of us for saying something like, "Oh, no, I'm not from Mexico, I'm from America!"

We don't have another good noun/adjective for the country (United Statesian is so cumbersome!), and the Canadians can say Canadian and the Mexicans can say Mexican and so we kind of just fall back on American. And have for centuries. So it goes. But it's worth being aware that some people don't like it, because then as a writer or speaker you can try to be sensitive to this dislike, if being sensitive to what people dislike is important to you.

This and other recommendations in the guidelines lead to valuable discussion with students because such discussion helps us think more clearly about words and language. The guide had some helpful guidance about other things that people might take offense to, whether the gentle, somewhat mocking offense of my Canadian acquaintance and Mexican teachers, or more serious, deeper offense over more serious, deeper issues.

It all comes down to the two things that govern so many writing tasks: purpose and audience. (When I'm teaching First-Year Composition, I always tell them on the first day that by the end of the course they'll be very tired of hearing the words purpose and audience.) If your purpose is to reach as wide an audience as possible, then it's best to try to avoid inadvertently offending that audience. Just ask anybody in PR or marketing who didn't realize their brilliant idea would alienate a big, or at least vocal, section of the audience for whatever they were supposed to sell. Ultimately, you can't avoid offending everybody — indeed, it's hardly desireable, as some people probably deserve to be offended — but what offends different people (and why) is useful knowledge, I think. In any case, it's much better to be offensive when you're trying to be offensive than when you're not trying to be and discover much to your surprise, embarrassment, and perhaps horror, that you actually are. (As we used to say [before we were people of advanced age]: been there, done that.)

Advice about inclusive language is similar to advice I give about grammar and spelling errors. All of my students should know by the time they've had me as a teacher that the prohibitions against such things as splitting infinitives or ending sentences with prepositions or starting sentences with conjunctions or any number of other silly rules are just that: silly. They often lead to bad writing, and their usefulness is questionable at best. However, I think every writer should know and understand all the old and generally silly prohibitions. Why? Because you will, at some point in your life, encounter someone who really, deeply cares. And you should be able to explain yourself, because the person who really, deeply cares might be somebody you want to impress or convince about something.

In fact, that's why I give my students my long and probably very boring proofreading guide. I want them to impress me, and I don't want my pet peeves about language and usage to get in the way. (No matter how anti-hierarchical we all might want to be, ultimately I'm the guy responsible for my students' grades, and so it's in their best interests to know what my pet peeves are.) They can dismiss my pet peeves as silly or irrelevant if they want, but they can't say they don't know what they are. Indeed, if I say to a student, "Why did you use 'he/she' when my proofreading guidelines specifically say I would prefer for you not to use that construction in my class," and they respond with a thoughtful answer, I may not be convinced by their logic, but I will be impressed that they gave it thought; if, on the other hand, they respond, "Oh, I didn't read that, even though you said it was important and could affect our grade," then I will not be impressed, and my not being impressed may not be a good thing for their grade. Such is life.

But really my purpose here was just to say that despite all the horrible things said about that poor little language guide, I will miss it. True, it shouldn't have looked so official if it were not (I, too, thought it was pretty official, though clearly it was not binding and was little read). The UNH statement is wrong, though, when it says, "Speech guides or codes have no place at any American university." I don't like the idea of speech codes much, either, because speech codes sounds punitive and authoritarian, but guides — well, I like guides. Guides can be useful, especially if you're feeling lost. As a university, we're a big place full of people who come from all over the country and the world, people who have vastly different experiences, people who use language in all sorts of different ways and have all sorts of different feelings about the languages we use. It can be helpful to know that somebody might consider something offensive that I've never even given a second thought to, and helpful to know why that is, so that I can assess how much effort I want to put into rethinking my own language use. The guide to inclusive language had its flaws, certainly, but it was a useful jumping off point for conversation and education. I'll continue to have similar conversations with students (my own proofreading guide has plenty in it to talk about and debate), and will continue to think such conversations are not about somehow curtailing speech, but are in fact about freeing it by empowering speakers to be more aware of what they say and how the words they use affect other people.

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18. This Bird Has Flown

Bram Stoker had this to say about Chicago: It, “neither fears the devil nor troubles its head about him and all his works.”  So in light of my recent move, and in celebration of this (my first day), I offer the following to you:

Goodbye Library

(With profuse apologies to Margaret Wise Brown, who would find it hilarious that a NYPL children’s materials specialist was referencing one of her books)

Goodbye, branches 89

NYPLBranches
Goodbye, pretty Lego lions

LegoLions

Goodbye, Winnie. Goodbye, Pooh

Camera- Leaf Aptus22/ Hasselblad H1 Color space-ProPhotoRGB Date- 4/10/08

Camera- Leaf Aptus22/ Hasselblad H1
Color space-ProPhotoRGB
Date- 4/10/08

Goodbye, toys (still missing Roo)

Winnie-the-Pooh

Goodbye, Mary Poppins umbrella

MaryPoppinsUmbrella
Goodbye to this striking fella

Andersen

Goodbye, Plaza and Eloise

EloisePortrait
Goodbye, statue no one sees

AliceStatue2

Goodbye, Children’s Lit Salon

LitSalon
Goodbye, tourists from Milan

eurotrash

Goodbye, Peter. Goodbye, Willie.

WhistleWillieStatue
Goodbye, Kid Lit Drink Nights (really!)

KidlitDrinkNight

Goodbye, overpriced Bemelmans Bar

bemelmans
Goodbye, not having to own a car

subwayalice

Goodbye, Beauty

Beauty
Goodbye, Truth

Truth

Goodbye, Times Square ads uncouth

TimesSquare

Goodbye, Fortitude (on right)

Fortitude
Goodbye, Patience and goodnight

patience

Goodbye, city. This Bird is gone

B.Bird
Hello, gorgeous Evanston!

EvanstonPublic

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19. Jurassic World sequel possibilites (link)

Yes, there's a sequel on the way--no title yet--and here are some fun possibilities from Tor.com: Jurassic World 2

I'd like to see Jeff Goldblum in it too.

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20. Caine Prize follow-up

       The Caine Prize for African Writing is the leading African short story prize, with a solid track record.
       In the Daily Trust Nathaniel Bivan now looks at the Literary Journey of 5 Nigerian Caine Prize Winners.

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21. Funny Tweets on What NOT To Say To A Writer

Entertainment Weekly has gathered some wacky and wild tweets from writers on the maddening things people say to them about writing. Joanne Harris, author of Chocolat, kicked off the trend when her hashtag #TenThingsNotToSayToAWriter caused a hilarious uproar on literary Twitterverse, July 28, 2015, with other writers following up with their own funny and awful things they've been told.

A few highlights from the Entertainment Weekly article:

S.E. Hinton@se4realhinton: I thought you were dead. #TenThingsNotToSayToAWriter

Harlen Coben@HarlenCoben:
Eye surgeon: I'm thinking of writing a novel!
Me: Cool, I'm thinking of doing eye surgery!
#TenThingsNotToSayToAWriter

I've been having fun adding my own #TenThingsNotToSayToAWriter tweets:

"You still haven't written that novel about the mating habits of orangutans I told you to write?"  #TenThingsNotToSayToAWriter

"You really write poetry? Really? No kidding! Does it rhyme?" #TenThingsNotToSayToAWriter

"Hey, wasn't your short story about the hermaphrodite nun who longed to sing in The Sound of Music really about you?" #TenThingsNotToSayToAWriter

"It would be really far out to write a novel about Pluto with you."  #TenThingsNotToSayToAWriter

"Why don't you get a real job?"  #TenThingsNotToSayToAWriter

Feel free to share your own humorous #TenThingsNotToSayToAWriter both on Twitter and in my comments section below.


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22. Juan Gabriel Vásquez 'By the Book'

       The New York Times Book Review has Juan Gabriel Vásquez (The Informers, etc.) answer this week's 'By the Book' Q & A.
       Like so many prominent foreinh-language-writing authors, he has also translated works into his mother tongue -- and one of the questions they ask him is: "Has translating changed your approach to reading fiction in translation ?" I realize the column is about reading, but of course the really interesting question is how it's affected his writing. (As longtime readers know, I'm a big proponent of writers at least dabbling in translation -- as far too few US/UK authors of fiction do ...).)
       Some interesting answers, though -- worth a look.

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23. Detroit Drunken Historical Society Celebrates Detroit's 314th Birthday

Last Saturday the Detroit Drunken Historical Society celebrated Detroit's 314th Birthday and as part of the celebration, Corktown Studios hosted a pop-up silent art auction. The exhibition featured local Detroit artists who were asked to take inspiration from an 1883 book, " The Legends of le Detroit " described by the organizers as " a compilation of myth and lore from Detroit's French era." I was fortunate to be able to participate. The party was a blast, the people and art were great, and as an added bonus, my piece sold! I took a little creative liberty and just wanted to present the fact that French Fries come from France and Detroit loves them!








http://leglessmermaid.blogspot.com


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24. Crayons, paper, pencils…

Super Turtle (photo by Paige Bentley-Flannery)

Super Turtle (photo by Paige Bentley-Flannery)

Capes are flying in the air at the Deschutes Public Library!

Crayons, paper, pencils are scattered around the room, children are sitting on the floor sharing stories and ideas.  The theme, Super Animals!  What is your Super Animal?  What is your Super Animals’s super power? How will it save the day?

Super Speeding Turtle (photo by Paige Bentley-Flannery)

Super Speeding Turtle (photo by Paige Bentley-Flannery)

As part of  the summer reading program, “Every Hero has a Story,”  children of all ages have been creating Super Animals and bringing them to the library to share.  I love hearing about their super animal power! The Super Turtle is speedy.   The Super Elephant has super water powers and the Super Rainbow Puppy makes mean people nice.  Every day, I receive a new piece of art.  This makes me smile all day long.  The children’s enthusiasm when they share each super animal power and how they will save the day is amazing.  I also love hearing how they created each piece.  Did they use glue? Magazine cut-outs? Paint?  Found objects? Nature? One child created a Super Rainbow Puppy and included flowers, leaves and grass on her canvas.

Super Bunny (photo by Paige Bentley-Flannery

Super Bunny (photo by Paige Bentley-Flannery

One child added beads for eyes and a pipe cleaner for the mouth-Super Bunny!

I hosted weekly summer school visits and after hearing a silly story, learning about a new section of the library and checking out books, children created their own Super Animal at the library.  After, the art committee added foam core to each art piece, making them easier to hang in the meeting room.

The call out in the library event guide was open to everyone in any art form and in any size.  What other animals will appear? Maybe a HUGE Super Giraffe?

Super Rainbow Puppy (photo by Paige Bentley-Flannery)

Super Rainbow Puppy (photo by Paige Bentley-Flannery)

 

The art work goes up Saturday, August 1st and will be on view in the library meeting room the month of August.  We will also be part of the 4th Annual Friday Art Stroll, handing out popsicles while families, children and everyone enjoy looking at the children’s super animals pieces.  You can also create your own Super Animal with chalk outside the meeting room.  Super Bird to the rescue!

Super Bird! (photo by Paige Bentley-Flannery)

Super Bird! (photo by Paige Bentley-Flannery)

 

I look forward to doing more art programs in the library and having art work displayed throughout the library.

Where do you display your art work in the library?  Do you have an art or craft room? Please share in the comments below.

Explore a few art inspired picture books for your next art program at the library.  Draw! Paint! Create! 

Paige Bentley-Flannery is a Community Librarian at Deschutes Public Library. For over fifteen years–from Seattle Art Museum to the New York Public Library to the Deschutes Public Library-Paige’s passion and creative style for art, poetry and literature have been combined with instructing, planning, and providing information. Paige is currently serving on the ALSC Notable Children’s Book Committee, 2015 – 2017. She is a former Chair of the ALSC Digital Content Task Force and member of the ALSC Great Websites Committee.

The post Crayons, paper, pencils… appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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25. Amazon Credits Begin to Appear After E-Book Settlement

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