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1. Trends in Digital Publishing — Ebooks are Changing Publishing

Once, books were painstakingly copied by hand, then, in […]

The post Trends in Digital Publishing — Ebooks are Changing Publishing appeared first on aksomitis.com.

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2. Navigating a Debut Year: Public Life

                           All Over But the Shoutin' Wildflowers from Winter: A Novel A Lady Cyclist's Guide to Kashgar Circle of Secrets A Kingdom Strange: The Brief and Tragic History of the Lost Colony of Roanoke

I first ran this series five months after May B. hit the shelves. With Blue Birds releasing next week (!), it feels like the right time for me to revisit my Writer’s Manifesto — a list of things I’d like to focus on in my public, private, and writing life. 

This is not in any way meant to be preachy or condemning (please notice I’m directing all of this to myself). I have yet to figure everything out and am in many ways a pro at doing the exact opposite of what I know is best. Yet these are ideas I’ve circled back to again and again, things I know will ultimately benefit my career, my friendships, my writing and my life. I’d love to hear your thoughts below.

In my public life I will…
  • Be generous: In my interactions with others and in the way I conduct myself, I’d love to be known as generous. This doesn’t mean committing to every opportunity or request that comes. It means being warm, friendly, and supportive of the writing community and the publishers, teachers, librarians, booksellers and readers who make it all happen.
  • Speak well of fellow writers: Whether I know them personally or not. Whether I like their work or not. These people are my people. This is enough of a reason to speak kindly or not at all.
  • Conduct myself in a becoming way: While I can’t control what others think of me (more on that below), I can choose to present myself in a way I’m proud of, whether that be in person or through social media. I am in no way perfect, believe me, but I strive not to embarrass myself, the children I write for, or the people who publish my writing.
In my public life I won’t…
  • Add to or perpetuate gossip: In just these few months as a debut, I’ve already heard things about fellow authors that have broken my heart. Whether shared maliciously, as some sort of cautionary tale, or just for fun, it’s been more than I need to know. I refuse to participate in keeping the stories going, and I will ask you not share whatever it is you’ve heard about others with me.
  • Disparage others’ books, genres, or talents but will find value in what they create: For much of my life, I’ve been a self-proclaimed book snob. Many writers talk of becoming more and more critical as readers the longer they write. For me, some sort of weird opposite has happened. Because I know first hand of the hard work the writing life demands, I’m learning to appreciate books, topics, and styles I would have ignored years ago. The books I don’t connect with aren’t really my concern: they weren’t written for me. There is an audience for them somewhere.

The post Navigating a Debut Year: Public Life appeared first on Caroline Starr Rose.

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3. Four questions for Boehner, Bibi, Barack, and Biden

Tomorrow night’s appearance before a joint session of Congress by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin (“Bibi”) Netanyahu raises four important questions. 1. Should Speaker John Boehner have invited the Israeli Prime Minister to speak without first consulting with President Obama? Answer: No. As a matter of law, the Speaker had the authority to extend this invitation to the Israeli Prime Minister without consulting with the President. As a matter of policy, however, this was a bad practice.

The post Four questions for Boehner, Bibi, Barack, and Biden appeared first on OUPblog.

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4. Alex Morgan Lands Memoir Deal

Alex MorganOlympic gold medalist Alex Morgan has landed a memoir deal. Morgan (pictured, via) intends to write a book which will be suitable for a teen audience.

Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers will release Breakaway on June 2nd. Back in 2013 the company published Morgan’s middle-grade series, The Kicks.

Here’s more from the press release: “This inspirational memoir chronicles her path to success, including playing in the 2011 Women’s World Cup, winning gold in the 2012 London Olympics, and ranking as one of the national team’s top scorers. From her beginnings with the American Youth Soccer Organization to her key role in the 2015 Women’s World Cup, Alex shares the details that made her who she is today.”

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5. MARCH ADNESS! Round 1, Day 2

March Adness Continues. 

Vote for your faves in the comments. 
Use any criteria you wish.
I won't actually post your votes, 
as they might influence later voters, but I will compile them.
Once we're down to 32 ads, we'll start round 2.
Voting remains open on all games
until the entire round is posted.
Click on ads to enlarge them.


Game 5: Old Brit vs. Young Blonde

Game 6: Passengers vs. Decision

Game 7: Sales Kid vs. Bathroom Guy

Game 8: Classics vs. Masters

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6. A Reader's Slump

On my post for How Much of the Book Do You Read? this comment came up:

Bonnie @ A Backwards Story has left a new comment on your post "How Much of the Book Do You Read?": 
I try so hard to read a book all the way through--especially if I've bought it!
If it gets to the point where I'm just skimming to read and don't care and am not retaining what I've read, I'll stop. Every once in a while, I'll skip to the end to see if it gets better (And I never read the end first!).
Sometimes, it's hard to say if the book isn't for me, or if it's because I'm headed into a slump. I think I'm headed into a slump now. I didn't love a major YA title that many other people are loving and buzzing about. I put down two other books without finishing them for the moment because I wasn't enjoying them, and I've been looking forward to both. I picked up the one again two days ago and managed to finish it BUT didn't really enjoy it and I normally love the author! 
So am I slumping? Did I just have three not-me titles in a row? I don't know! 

And I think it's a great question. Do you ever have a reader's slump? Those times when you seem to hate, or not like, or just are bored by everything you read?

Sometimes I think we need a change of pace and sometimes I think I read for my mood. I find that I read heavier things in the winter or crave classics (lately I've been craving both  Little Women and Pride and Prejudice). In the summer, I want a wonderful romance or a fast-paced suspense. Something quick and easy. When life is hard and busy and hectic and I want something that's going to easily take me away from it all. Other times I just need a good cry. In all of those cases where I need something from a book another genre isn't going to work. If I need a good cry, something light and funny is only going to aggravate me. 

But Bonnie, I've been there, I've been in a place where I'm fidgety and another book won't help. Is it a slump or just a reader feeling unsatisfied. 

I don't know the answer to your question. However, I would like to know if you ever finished and enjoyed those books.


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7. Face-Lift 1251

Guess the Plot

The Door

1. It's 2020, and the last living member of a seminal 60's rock group wants to go out with a bang.

2. One by one the members of the 1960s rock band "The Doors" are murdered. Seventy-year-old guitarist Robby Krieger is the last man standing. It's kill or be killed.

3. Alternate history in which Jim Morrison, instead of starting a band, goes on American Idol hoping for a solo career, but finishes ninth.

4. Cindy Sanders' garden is her pride and joy. Black spot, snails, and weeds are dealt with with ruthless efficiency. But when an enormous red door appears in her rose-bed, she isn't quite sure how to handle it. Especially as the door leads to an inter-dimensional hothouse full of brain-sucking slugs and elephant-sized greenflies.

5. Subject 00EG417 awakes locked inside a sterile white room. With no food or water, and needing medical attention, she must get out. But will she be any better off on the other side of . . . the door?

6. A former Wiccan turned prep school admin Chloe 'Rainbow' Rowe discovers that Fate closes one door to open another when she is forced to return to abandoned practices to fight off demons that try to take over the Holy Lady Prep School

Original Version

Dear Evil Editor

It’s been ninety-seven days since subject 00EG417 awoke from [in] her pod. Thousands of feet underground, locked inside a sterile white room, [waiting for the sun,] she is safe from the sickness above. The doctors that made her and the other engineered humans watch over her. [That sentence could mean the doctors and the other engineered humans are watching over her. If it read: The doctors that made her watch over her and the other engineered humans, there'd be no ambiguity.][Anyone who spends ninety-seven days watching someone in a sterile white room would have to be nuts. But then . . . People are strange.] 

Then the power goes off and the doors open like gapping [gaping] mouths, ready to swallow her up. She steps out into a white hallway and finds the others. [The others being subjects 00BS624, 00BP666, 00UV435, 00FH451, BH90210, and 00U2INXS.] They wait for doctors that never come. There is no food or water and one of the boys is vomiting blood. The sickness is here and they will die within days without help.

She steps into a labyrinth of laboratories, larger than she ever imagined. [That suggests she knows she's in a labyrinth of laboratories, but imagined it was a smaller labyrinth. How does she know it's a labyrinth of laboratories at all if she's never actually been outside her room? If I woke up locked in a sterile white room I'd assume I was in a psych ward or a weird prison, not a small labyrinth of laboratories.] In every abandoned and destroyed room she finds more dead. The doctors have been executed and they could be next. To survive, subject 00EG417 will have to find the door to the above [, break on through,] and face a world she knows nothing about. [Why does subject 00EG417 have to  do this? Can't all the subjects work together?] 

THE DOOR is a 60,000 word YA Sci-fi.

Thank you for your time and consideration. [The End.]


This didn't really light my fire. I mean, I want a query to touch me.

Seems kind of inefficient to keep these engineered humans thousands of feet underground for 97 days, but to not have any food or water there. Why are there no faucets for drinking and bathing? And a storeroom filled with food? Or at least a snack bar? Are there bathrooms? Don't the doctors need a bathroom occasionally?

I'm not clear on what an engineered human is. Were they engineered to be immune to the sickness? Because it doesn't seem to have worked.

You've basically set up the situation subject 00EG417 finds herself in. We want to know what her plan is and why it fails and what she does about that. What you've told us could all take place in the first few pages. I want to know what happens in the first 40,000 words.

There are few places on Earth that are thousands of feet below the surface. Just digging that far is hard enough without putting a large labyrinth of sterile laboratories down there. Of course anything's possible in science fiction, just hoping the book has an explanation for why they need these labs so deep.

Obviously we can't tell if a book has "white room syndrome" until we read the text, but declaring in the query that your character wakes in a sterile white room will convince some readers that it does. If you could describe the pod and tell us what's in the room and leave out that it's a white room, it might get you past those readers who will say Aha! White room syndrome! Next query.

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8. Three Questions with Henry Herz: Office Sushi, Advice For Aspiring Writers/Illustrators, and Monster Goose Nursery Rhymes

Henry Herz writes fantasy and science fiction for children with his two sons, and his first traditionally published picture book, Monster Goose Nursery Rhymes, launched from Pelican Publishing earlier this year. He is a SCBWI member and hosts a kidlit blog. You can find out more about Henry and his books: Birchtreepub.com - Blog - Kidlit Creature Week -Facebook - Twitter

Synopsis of Monster Goose Nursery Rhymes: Enter an enchanted land of mythical creatures where manticores reign and ogres roar. With a unique twist on traditional rhymes, Monster Goose Nursery Rhymes presents a darker approach to these childhood classics, and yet the sing-song nature of the poems renders them playful and jovial at the same time.

Q. Could you please take a photo of something in your office and tell me about it?

I have a shelf in my office on which I display an assortment of toys and other creatively inspiring objects. In this picture, we see some two sets of O-no-sushi - darkly hilarious vinyl toys. Behind them are two empty soda cans: Stewie's Domination Serum and Whoop Ass energy drink (who doesn't occasionally need a can of whoop-ass?). Lastly, the small pebble is from the Waldon Pond made famous by Henry David Thoreau.

Q. What advice do you have for aspiring young authors and illustrators?

The following advice applies equally to authors and illustrators, young and old (I started my writing career after age 50).

Be tenacious!

1. Never stop honing your craft. Read lots of books. Just as a lion is the product of all the zebras it eats, an author or illustrator is the product of all the books he or she has read.

2. Never stop querying. Now, by that, I don't mean query continuously. What I mean is that even the best authors and illustrators get rejected. So don't let rejection demoralize you. Keep in mind that the publishing world is, in one sense, like dating. What appeals to one person doesn't work for another. Just as you don't stop dating because someone says "no", you don't stop querying because an editor or agent says "no". Remember, J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter was repeatedly rejected. That's like someone turning down a date from George Clooney or Angelina Jolie! The only way you can be stopped is if you give up. Keep on writing/illustrating and keep on querying!

Q. What are you excited about right now?

That's easy! My picture book, Monster Goose Nursery Rhymes, came out in February from Pelican. It's exactly what it sounds like - fractured nursery rhymes with human characters replaced by monsters. The artwork by Abigail Larson is stunning. And the book has garnered some lovely praise from kidlit luminaries like Drew Daywalt, Molly Idle, and Dan Yaccarino.


For more tips and interviews, see my Inkygirl Interview Archives.

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9. It's Dr. Seuss Day!

Did you know that? It is. A.K.A. Read Across America Day.

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10. Guest Post: Cecilia Galante on Where to Start Your Story?

Cecilia Galante
By Cecilia Galante
for Cynthia Leitich Smith's Cynsations

One of the things I’ve noticed my graduate creative writing students struggling with is where exactly to start in a book.

I’ve had two students fill up the first 40 pages of their novels with excruciating back-story details involving family history, blood-lines, place of birth, and so on.

Another one began her book with a five-year-old protagonist relaying her ideas on life, which might have worked if any of her musings had eventually found their way into her adult life. (They did not.)

The truth is, it is a very difficult process to figure out where in your character’s life you should start telling his or her story. But it’s not impossible.

Here are a few pointers that have helped me navigate this process in my own writing:

1. Don’t ever start at the beginning. Unless you’re writing a memoir, starting out with your character as a kid and then following them up through the teen years and into adulthood is not only boring, it’s missing the point of writing good fiction.

(Random House, April 28)
Most people don’t read books to learn how other people navigate their entire lives; they read books to learn how others navigate a certain part of their lives. The hell of eighth grade perhaps, or a loveless marriage. Don’t cheat your readers by weighing down enormous life experiences such as these other unnecessary ones.

Start right at the crux of things, where the details are the ugliest. The truest. Your readers will trust you right away.

2. Back off the back-story. Even if writers don’t start at the beginning of their characters lives, a lot of them still seem to think that they have to get into all their messy histories, as if apologizing beforehand for all the coming mistakes he or she is going to make.

Don’t fall into that sandpit. Not only will your reader get bored by all the unnecessary details, your story will stop dead in its tracks, which is certain death for both the reader and the writer.

That’s not to say of course, that you don’t need some back-story. Every character needs a little fleshing out when it comes to their pasts. But insert that kind of information sporadically, here and there in little fits and starts, especially when things come up in the present that remind the character of the past.

3. Write big. Right away.

All I knew, when I sat down to write my first book, The Patron Saint of Butterflies (Bloomsbury, 2009), was that I had a scene in my head that had to be put on paper. The scene involved a little boy whose finger was accidentally amputated in a door.

I could see this scene in my head. I could feel it. Taste it. I wrote it out in two days, flush with detail, pulsing with life. And from that scene, the next one came. And then the next, until, a year or so later, the book was finished.

But the finger amputation scene did not end up being the beginning of the book. In fact, it ended up being somewhere in the middle. But because I’d pulled up the anchor and started somewhere, the ship had been allowed to set sail.

Don’t get bogged down by the details of starting. Just start. And if you’re like me, start with something big. Something exciting. Something that makes you want to get back into the chair every morning and keep writing.

And one day, maybe much sooner than you think, you might find yourself climbing up on that deck to see something that looks very much like the end in the not so distant shore.

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11. S is for Story, True or Not

I join my fellow bloggers in welcoming award-winning nonfiction writer Carla Killough McClafferty to TeachingAuthors.com.

I write this post enormously grateful for how smart each fellow blogger has made me these past two weeks thanks to her posts that addressed the telling of our stories, whether true or not.

As I read Mary Ann’s, April’s, Bobbi’s and JoAnn’s posts, all I could think about was the tiny blue Post-It Note I’d affixed long ago to my first desk-top computer: “It’s the STORY, stupid!”

We are, as Kendall Haven wrote, story animals; we are, as Lisa Cron tells us, wired for story.

This truth both grabbed and guided me while writing – forgive the coincidence – S IS FOR STORY: A WRITER’S ALPHABET (Sleeping Bear Press).
I’d originally titled this abecedarian book W IS FOR WRITING.  Brainstorming with my CPS Alcott School fifth graders helped me choose writing-associated words to represent the letters A through Z.  But even once I fine-tuned those choices to ensure they totally embraced the writing information I needed and wanted to share, I knew those twenty-six words in no way told a story.

And they needed to, if I was to pull in readers and keep them turning the pages.

My fifth-grader Alberto said it best.  “You should change the title,” he boldly advised me.  “W IS FOR WRITING sounds like a textbook.  I’d never want to buy it.  But if you call it “W IS FOR WRITER,” he added, “I’ll think you wrote a book about me.”

Alberto wanted hard facts, inspiration and encouragement.  But most of all, he wanted – and expected – a story about writers with which he could connect.

So here’s what I did to tell that story:

(1)   First I thought about my take-away, what I wanted my reader thinking when he closed the book – i.e. writers are readers!  

(2)   Next I thought about what I wanted my reader thinking while he was reading my descriptive and explanatory poems and sidebars – i.e. young writers and award-winning authors share the very same writing process!

(3)  I then made sure the true facts I chose to include - about children’s books, about children’s book authors, about the writing process– served as concrete details that supported my story's take-away’s.

(4)  Finally, I did my best to create a narrative arc, addressing the reader while moving him from the all-encompassing people, they and their in the beginning alphabet pages….

to the inclusive we,us and our in the middle pages

 to the focused you and your in the final pages.

Thanks to Alberto, my twenty-six letters told a story - of a writer's life and process, A through Z.

Happy STORY-telling!

Esther Hershenhorn

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Book News

New Swedish & Finnish Co-Editions for I Love Rabbits
Published by Caterpillar Books.

One Little baby written by Richard Dungworth and published by Puffin Books has been selected for the 2015 edition of the Imagination Library Programme in the UK.

I was thrilled to receive a letter from Dolly Parton telling me the great news! Dolly started the Imagination Library in Sevier County, TN in 1995. The Imagination Library promotes early childhood literacy by providing free age appropriate books from birth to age 5. To date 63,000,000 books have been mailed to kids in the USA, Canada, UK and Australia.

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13. Artist Agreement Signed for Dee and Deb, Off They Go - Kindergarten First Day Jitters

Lovely note from illustrator, Jack Foster! 
Thanks Jack! 
It's an honor to have you illustrate my latest book!

Illustrator, Jack Foster and I had the lovely opportunity to meet in-person at the Guardian Angel Publishing gathering in St. Louis the fall of 2010. I can hardly believe so much time has gone by!

When the opportunity came along with my fifth children's book and it was time to submit my illustrator choices to GAP, Jack Foster was my number one choice. His illustrating style is quite unique. Going away from my four early reader picture books, to a picture book for kindergarten and below I knew immediately Jack was the illustrator I wanted. Lucky for me, Jack accepted the assignment. Thanks a bunch, Jack!

I can hardly wait to see this story come to life! It's a tribute to my lovely fraternal twin sister and our first day of kindergarten when we were separated for the first time.

Enjoy some of Jack's illustrations at... http://jacktoon.blogspot.com/

Thanks for visiting!


Best wishes,
Donna M. McDine
Multi Award-winning Children's Author

Ignite curiosity in your child through reading!

Connect with

A Sandy Grave ~ January 2014 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ 2014 Purple Dragonfly 1st Place Picture Books 6+, Story Monster Approved, Beach Book Festival Honorable Mention 2014, Reader's Favorite Five Star Review

Powder Monkey ~ May 2013 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ Story Monster Approved and Reader's Favorite Five Star Review

Hockey Agony ~ January 2013 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ New England Book Festival Honorable Mention 2014, Story Monster Approved and Reader's Favorite Five Star Review

The Golden Pathway ~ August 2010 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ Literary Classics Silver Award and Seal of Approval, Readers Favorite 2012 International Book Awards Honorable Mention and Dan Poynter's Global e-Book Awards Finalist

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14. An evening in conversation with Anthony Horowitz OBE and Sir Trevor McDonald

Join us for an evening in conversation with two of Britain’s most respected personalities as Anthony Horowitz OBE and Sir Trevor McDonald take the floor.
Guests will be able to listen to Anthony reading an exclusive extract from his next James Bond novel (due for publication in September) as he discusses his writing and other topics of interest with Sir Trevor, followed by a Q&A session open to all.
This will be an extremely entertaining event guaranteed to provide guests with a memorable evening. Tickets cost £30 and all proceeds from the night will support Kidscape’s vital anti-bullying work.

Date: Thursday 16th April, 6-8pm
Venue: Westminster Foundation, 70 Grosvenor Street, London W1K 3JP
Tickets: £30
Please note that this event is open to people over the age of 13.

Click here for more information and tickets

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15. Eternas Virtudes

Algumas poucas imagens selecionadas dentre as artes que fiz para a obra de Ana Maria Machado "O Livro das Virtudes para Crianças", da editora Nova Fronteira. Editora: Leila Name.

Reparou na primeira e segunda imagem, a textura "enferrujada" de fundo?
É feita jogando sal sobre a aquarela ainda úmida no papel.
Experimente! Fica bem bacana.

Agora o Cri-cri, personagem que aparecia como auxiliar de leitura:

E a Traça Aurelina:

É possível contratar minhas imagens já publicadas para sua revista, blog, livro, capa de CD/DVD, cartaz, aplicativo, camiseta, decoração, etc. 

Muitas de minhas obras eu já recuperei os direitos de reprodução e você poderá utilizá-las por um valor bem menor do que se pedisse uma criação inédita.

O fato destas artes estarem ligadas à obras literárias de grande relevo agrega um grande valor comercial às mesmas, valorizando seu produto junto ao público que ama artes e livros.

Entre em contato e vamos negociar!

Clique aqui no link e inscreva-se 
em minha página de Face Thais Linhares 
para receber informes e artes.

Viva o livro!

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16. Adventures in Outreach: Pick a Project

Volunteers from a partner organization help students with college applications.

Volunteers from a partner organization help students with college applications.

Last week we talked about finding your perfect community partner, the one who can make all your dreams come true. Once you’ve met a few potential partners and really gotten to know them, you may be ready to choose one and move forward on a shared program or project.

As you’re working with the partner to formulate the project, here are some questions to consider.

1. Do the partners play equally important roles?

This could shake out lots of different ways. Maybe you provide the space, the pizza, and the marketing, and the partner provides the expertise. Maybe you’re creating all of the program content, and the partner is bringing the audience. (Although ideally, you’d probably want to check in with the partner to make sure your content is relevant. If you can create the content collaboratively, even better.)

What matters most is that roles are clearly defined and both sides are making significant, meaningful contributions. If that isn’t happening, you may be doing something cool, but it’s not a partnership.

2. Does the project deliver something important to both partners?

Just as both partners have to put something in, both have to get something out. Outcomes should be clearly stated and deliver something that each side needs to further its mission. For the library, outcomes will often be concerned with promoting equity.

3. Does the project have an end point?

It took me a while to realize how important this is. Even if a project is relatively small and low-impact, set a firm date to pause and examine how things are going. If things are going really well, pat each other on the back and agree about how awesome you are. Make minor adjustments if necessary, then dive right back into it.

If things are not going so well, or if circumstances have changed for one of the partners, you’ll be glad to have a built-in opportunity to make big changes, start all over, or quietly pull the plug. Even in this worst case scenario, you'll have learned something valuable that you can bring to your next partnership.

4. Do the partners agree about how the project will be evaluated?

What are the top priorities? What kind of evaluation tool will you use: pre- and post-tests? Surveys? Interpretive dance?*

Who will design the tool? If you can, work with the partner to create evaluation tools collaboratively or, even better, empower the youth themselves to design the tools and evaluate the program.

And one last tip: Write it all down! We use a Memorandum of Agreement form to make sure that everyone knows what’s up with a new project. Better to tackle misunderstandings before you begin than in the middle, when it’s hard to adjust expectations, or at the end, when disappointment or resentment may have set in. Communication is key throughout the process, but good communication late in the game can’t make up for a lack of it up front.


*Note: Don’t use interpretive dance.

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17. Celebrate Music in Our Schools Month with Drum-Inspired Books

March is Music in Our Schools Month. In support of music programs, music educators, and wiggling students trying to sneak a beat, we are celebrating (global) Music in Our Schools Month with DRUMS!

Drums!Book recommendations:

Questions during reading:

  • How can drums help people communicate? What can someone communicate through a drum?
  • How do you think the musician(s) in this book wanted their music to make people feel?
  • Is the drum a central part of this story or community? Why or why not? How would the story be different if another instrument were used, such as a guitar or flute?
  • What words in the text describe how the drum sounds?
  • Bring in other images of drums from around the world or compare two or more books featuring drums: What are the features of a drum? What do drums around the world have in common? How are drums unique from other instruments? What materials are best for making drums? What geometric shapes are best for making drums?


  1. If you read more than one book featuring a drum: Post a world map and note which countries drums are found.
  2. Have students research the particular type of drum featured in the book. What materials are used for this type of drum? What characteristics does this type of drum have and what is special about the design? Is this drum used everyday/casually or for special holidays/significant times? What country or region does it originate? What genre of music is the drum used in today? Who are some famous drummers who use this kind of drum?
  3. Set up a listening station devoted to music including drums. Provide a range of musical genres. Leave covers available for students to explore. After students have an opportunity to listen to different kinds of music featuring or including drums, encourage students to share their reactions in writing. What images did the music bring to them as they listened with their eyes closed? What did they imagine as they heard the drums?
  4. Encourage students to make their own drum in class or at home. Students can make their own drums out of coffee cans, cylindrical oatmeal boxes, or plastic deli containers. Supply different materials (plastic wrap, paper, foil, etc.) for covering the opening so students can hear a variety of different sounding drums. Which ones make metallic sounds, loud sounds, soft sounds, sweet sounds, deep sounds? How can you make the sound change?

Screen Shot 2015-02-27 at 12.35.04 PMFor further reading on music and books:

Book and Activity Suggestions to Match Your Summer Adventure: Outdoor Summer Concerts

img_1587Jill Eisenberg, our Senior Literacy Expert, began her career teaching English as a Foreign Language to second through sixth graders in Yilan, Taiwan as a Fulbright Fellow. She went on to become a literacy teacher for third grade in San Jose, CA as a Teach for America corps member. She is certified in Project Glad instruction to promote English language acquisition and academic achievement. In her column she offers teaching and literacy tips for educators. 

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18. Instagram of the Week - March 2

A brief look at 'grams of interest to engage teens and librarians navigating this social media platform.

This week we're focusing on school libraries and media centers. From board games to book dominos and book clubs to volunteer opportunities, school libraries can provide a place for students to have fun and unwind during free periods or before and after school. Prominent displays are one way to grab students' attention and connect them with books and library services with which they may unfamiliar. Book themed bulletin boards can also call attention to library materials or can drum up interest for upcoming events.

We've included a few examples below, but we want to hear from you! Do you offer before and after school programs for your students? What's the coolest display you've put together? Which bulletin board theme has been most popular? Do your teens give you input or decorate for you?


Have you come across a related Instagram post this week, or has your library posted something similar? Have a topic you'd like to see in the next installment of Instagram of the Week? Share it in the comments section of this post.

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19. Book Birthdays!


Happy birthday this week to four YA novels!

PAINLESS (Albert Whitman & Co.) by S.A. Harazin

THE STORY SPINNER (Simon & Schuster) by Becky Wallace

DEAD TO ME (Disney Hyperion) by Mary McCoy

MOSQUITOLAND (Viking Penguin) by David Arnold

PAINLESS by S.A. HarazinPAINLESS: A first kiss. Falling in love. Going to prom. These are all normal things that most teenagers experience. Except for 17-year-old David Hart. His life is anything but normal and more difficult than most. Because of the disease that wracks his body, David is unable to feel pain. He has congenital insensitivity to pain with anhydrosis–or CIPA for short. One of only a handful of people in the world who suffer from CIPA, David can’t do the things every teenager does. He might accidentally break a limb and not know it. If he stands too close to a campfire, he could burn his skin and never feel it. He can’t tell if he has a fever and his temperature is rising. Abandoned by his parents, David now lives with his elderly grandmother who is dying. When David’s legal guardian tells him that he needs to move into an assisted living facility as he cannot live alone, David is determined to prove him wrong. He creates a bucket list, meets a girl with her own wish list, and then sets out to find his parents. All David wants to do is grow old, beat the odds, find love, travel the world, and see something spectacular. And he still wants to find his parents. While he still can.

THE STORY SPINNER: THE STORYSPINNER by Becky WallaceIn a world where dukes plot their way to the throne, a Performer’s life can get tricky. And in Johanna Von Arlo’s case, it can be fatal. Expelled from her troupe after her father’s death, Johanna is forced to work for the handsome Lord Rafael DeSilva. Too bad they don’t get along. But while Johanna’s father’s death was deemed an accident, the Keepers aren’t so sure.

The Keepers, a race of people with magical abilities, are on a quest to find the princess—the same princess who is supposed to be dead and whose throne the dukes are fighting over. But they aren’t the only ones looking for her. And in the wake of their search, murdered girls keep turning up—girls who look exactly like the princess, and exactly like Johanna.

With dukes, Keepers, and a killer all after the princess, Johanna finds herself caught up in political machinations for the throne, threats on her life, and an unexpected romance that could change everything.

DEAD TO ME: Don’t believe anything they say.”

Those were the last words that Annie spoke to Alice before turning her back on their family and vanishing without a trace. Alice spent four years waiting and wondering when the impossibly glamorous sister she idolized would return to her–and what their Hollywood-insider parents had done to drive her away.

When Annie does turn up, the blond, broken stranger lying in a coma has no answers for her. But Alice isn’t a kid anymore, and this time she won’t let anything stand between her and the truth, no matter how ugly. The search for those who beat Annie and left her for dead leads Alice into a treacherous world of tough-talking private eyes, psychopathic movie stars, and troubled starlets–and onto the trail of a young runaway who is the sole witness to an unspeakable crime. What this girl knows could shut down a criminal syndicate and put Annie’s attacker behind bars–if Alice can find her first. And she isn’t the only one looking.

MOSQUITOLAND by David ArnoldMOSQUITOLAND: I am a collection of oddities, a circus of neurons and electrons: my heart is the ringmaster, my soul is the trapeze artist, and the world is my audience. It sounds strange because it is, and it is, because I am strange.

After the sudden collapse of her family, Mim Malone is dragged from her home in northern Ohio to the “wastelands” of Mississippi, where she lives in a medicated milieu with her dad and new stepmom. Before the dust has a chance to settle, she learns her mother is sick back in Cleveland.

So she ditches her new life and hops aboard a northbound Greyhound bus to her real home and her real mother, meeting a quirky cast of fellow travelers along the way. But when her thousand-mile journey takes a few turns she could never see coming, Mim must confront her own demons, redefining her notions of love, loyalty, and what it means to be sane.


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20. News flash

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21. Happy Read Across America Day! Oh The Place’s We’ve Gone

“You’re never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read with a child.”

Dr. Seuss Birthday

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss. I’ve always felt him to be a personal friend. Green Eggs and Ham was the first book I ever read, well recite. I probably could recite it before I could read it.

Oh, the Places You’ll Go when you read! March 2, 2015 is NEA’s Read Across America Day and this year, the book is the Seuss classic, Oh, The Places You’ll Go.

NEA’s Read Across America is an annual reading motivation and awareness program that calls for every child in every community to celebrate reading on March 2, the birthday of beloved children’s author Dr. Seuss.

A Look At Our Friend Dr. Seuss

Brilliant, playful, and always respectful of children, Dr. Seuss charmed his way into the consciousness of four generations of youngsters and parents. In the process, he helped millions of children learn to read.

Dr. Seuss was born Theodor Seuss Geisel in Springfield, Massachusetts, on March 2, 1904. After graduating from Dartmouth College in 1925, he went to Oxford University, intending to acquire a doctorate in literature. At Oxford, Geisel met Helen Palmer, whom he wed in 1927. Upon his return to America later that year, Geisel published cartoons and humorous articles for Judge, the leading humor magazine in America at the time. His cartoons also appeared in major magazines such as Life, Vanity Fair, and Liberty. Geisel gained national exposure when he won an advertising contract for an insecticide called Flit. He coined the phrase, “Quick, Henry, the Flit!” which became a popular expression.

Geisel developed the idea for his first children’s book in 1936 while on a vacation cruise. The rhythm of the ship’s engine drove the cadence to And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street.

During World War II, Geisel joined the Army and was sent to Hollywood where he wrote documentaries for the military. During this time, he also created a cartoon called Gerald McBoing-Boing which won him an Oscar.

The Cat in the Hat Is Born

In May of 1954, Life published a report on illiteracy among schoolchildren, suggesting that children were having trouble reading because their books were boring. This problem inspired Geisel’s publisher, prompting him to send Geisel a list of 400 words he felt were important for children to learn. The publisher asked Geisel to cut the list to 250 words and use them to write an entertaining children’s book. Nine months later, Geisel, using 225 of the words given to him, published The Cat in the Hat, which brought instant success.

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize in 1984 and three Academy Awards, Geisel authored and illustrated 44 children’s books. His enchanting stories are available as audio cassettes, animated television specials, and videos.

While Theodor Geisel died on September 24, 1991, Dr. Seuss lives on, inspiring generations of children of all ages to explore the joys of reading.

(Courtesy of Random House)

Oh,The Places We’ve Been

We do a whole lot of global reading around here as well as take some incredible reading adventures. To celebrate one of our favorite authors today we’re reading around the world and sharing all the places we’ve been. Here are some of our most popular book reviews and book jumps that have taken us all over the world.






Native American lands




So read loud, read strong but mostly Read together Across America!!! Or a very special place of your choosing. Happy Read Across America Day


READY GO! ‪#‎readyourworld‬ ‪#‎readacrossamerica‬

Take the pledge http://www.nea.org/grants/ReadAcrossAmericaPledge.html

More info from NEA about Read Across America http://www.nea.org/grants/886.htm

Read Aloud.org launches their big campaign too this month Join us! http://www.readaloud.org/

The post Happy Read Across America Day! Oh The Place’s We’ve Gone appeared first on Jump Into A Book.

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22. The Last List Blog Hop & Giveaway: THE ETERNITY KEY by Bree Despain

Welcome to the Last List Blog Hop! From Cuddlebuggery: As most of you know, Egmont recently closed its doors, leaving its YA and MG’s List authors in a bad situation. Anyone who knows anything about publishing knows that this is a huge blow to the authors and the books they’ve worked so hard on. We thought to ourselves, what can we do to help? And maybe some of you are doing the same.

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23. So, you think you'd like to make some money?

A recent comment on an earlier blog post about how money flows to writers prompted this blog post.  This is a refresher course in how that "big book deal" actually translates to your finances.

For the ease of discussion, I'm going to use ball park, round numbers as the advance amount.

When your brilliant and sharkly agent sells your book she calls you up and you both whoop with joy. Then you get down to brass tacks on how much that offer is for:

$10,000 per book for a two book deal.  That means the offer is for $20,000 (2 books x $10k each)

When the contract is negotiated and signed, you'll get a check for a partial amount of that. Depending on how the payout is structured on the contract it could be:

1. 1/2 on signing, 1/2 on delivery
2. 1/2 on signing, 1/2 on publication

3. 1/3 on signing, 1/3 on delivery, 1/3 on publication

4. 1/4 on signing, 1/4 on delivery, 1/4 on publication, 1/4 on paperback pub.

The HIGHER the advance amount for each book, the more splits you're likely to have.

Using our $10K book, here are the numbers:

1. If it's half on signing, half on something else:
 $10,000 divided by two payments =$5,000 for the on signing payment.
Less: 15% for your brilliant, sharkly agent is minus $750.

Total to you for for Book One on signing is $5000 minus $750 which is $4250.

BUT, there's more!  You ALSO receive the on-singing payment for Book#2.

Thus the check you get for on signing is $8500.  ($4250 for each of two books!)

The next payment you see is $4250 (Book 1, less commission) either on delivery or on pub
depending how your contract payout is set up.

The next payment is on delivery or on pub of Book 2, and that's another $4250.  And this is where things get tight. If D&A is delayed, or publication is moved, you might go a year between these payments.

I've seen all those things, and other calamities as well,  happen.

Here are some other things that can muck up the works:

You sign a three book deal, but you can't deliver the third book for some reason.

In this case, you have to return that on-signing payment you got for Book#3, way back when you signed the contract.

And here's the kicker: we don't return the commission. You're on the hook for the entire amount.

Generally we can negotiate with the publisher about this, but this is something to remember when you're planning your finances.  Don't spend the money received on a book you haven't written. Better to drop that in a savings account or a interest bearing instrument until you know for sure you get to keep it.

Obviously this is more important for big ass deals of $100K/book than it is for $10K/book.

This also applies to translation and audio deals. 

(Generally, you don't have to give the money back if the publisher cancels the book.)

Here's another thing to remember: the advance money may be the only money you see on a book. The higher the advance, the more that has to be earned before royalties are paid. Royalties are paid to the author ONLY when the book has earned back the money paid out on the advance. I rep books that have never earned out, and some that earned out within weeks.  You might guess that the lower advance ones earned out faster--that's not always the case.

The next thing to remember is that the money from the publisher is all taxable. When you start your writing career, you're esssentially starting a small business.  You'll need to file a Schedule C with your income tax forms, showing how much you earned and how much you spent. It's entirely possible you'll spend more than you earned. That's one (of many!) reasons you keep very good records and don't get cutesy with your deductions.  The IRS looks askance at people who deduct their living room couch as "home office" even if that's where you do your writing. Also deducting trips to France as "research"is a really good way to get a second set of eyeballs on your tax return.  You want to be careful, and follow the law scrupulously here. A good tax preparer is essential.

And you'll pay tax on the money as you receive it, so that first big chunk o'advance: you'll pay tax on all of that, even though it's income on a book that isn't written yet.

Very few writers are living on what they make publishing books.

Any questions? Fire away in the comments column.

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24. The Fault in Our Stars Movie Screenwriters to Re-Unite

Looking For Alaska 10th AnniversaryThe screenwriting duo behind The Fault in Our Stars movie, Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber, will re-unite for the Looking For Alaska film adaptation. In addition to writing the screenplay, they will also serve as executive producers for this project.

The author, John Green, announced the news on his social media accounts. The Facebook post has drawn more than 49,000 “likes.”

Here’s more from The Hollywood Reporter: “Green’s debut novel Looking for Alaska hit shelves in 2005 and went on to win the Michael L. Printz Award in 2006. Paramount scooped up the rights in 2005, but the studio waited to move forward on the project until after Fault became a massive success.” (via Entertainment Weekly)

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25. A Dragon's Guide to the Care and Feeding of Humans -- Part I

A Dragon's Guide to the Care and Feeding of Humans by Laurence Yep & Joanne Ryder, with illustrations by Mary GrandPre (for ages 8 to 12, Crown Books for Young Readers/Random House, March 10, 2015)

Source: hardcover copy from the generous authors

Synopsis (from the publisher): Crusty dragon Miss Drake has a new pet human, precocious Winnie. Oddly enough, Winnie seems to think Miss Drake is her pet--a ridiculous notion!

Unknown to most of its inhabitants, the City by the Bay is home to many mysterious and fantastic creatures, hidden beneath the parks, among the clouds, and even in plain sight. And Winnie wants to draw every new creature she encounters: the good, the bad, and the ugly. But Winnie's sketchbook is not what it seems. Somehow, her sketchlings have been set loose on the city streets! It will take Winnie and Miss Drake's combined efforts to put an end to the mayhem... before it's too late.

Why I recommend it: First, full disclosure. Once upon a time, in the late 1970s, I worked as an assistant to a young editor named Joanne Ryder in a major NYC publishing house. (I was "the other Joanne".) Fast forward a few years. I moved back to Pennsylvania, worked in a library, got married and became a mom. Joanne Ryder moved to California and married Newbery-honor-winning author Laurence Yep. Of course, Jo is also an award-wining author, with more than 70 books to her credit.

We haven't seen each other in ages, but I still correspond with her and we're Facebook friends. I miss seeing her in person (someday, Jo, someday), but reading her books is the next best thing. When I read in PW that Joanne and Larry were writing a book together for the first time, I begged for an arc. They did better than that. They sent me a signed, personalized hardcover. Woo hoo!

Of course, I worried. What if I didn't like it? How would I tell my old friend? Well, you can put your mind at ease, readers, because this book is adorable. It has everything you want in a modern-day fantasy for younger readers: humor, magic, and lots and lots of heart. Plus, not one but TWO spunky heroines. Miss Drake and Winnie made a formidable team. I love a dragon that drinks tea, uses a cell phone, and reads fashion magazines so she'll dress smartly when she changes to human form. And I love that Winnie isn't afraid of Miss Drake or any of the other fantastical creatures they confront.

Bonus: This book is the first in a planned series.

Favorite quote: A day at the fair could leave a dragon feeling two centuries younger.

Readers, be sure to come back next week for Part II -- an exclusive guest post from Laurence Yep and Joanne Ryder, plus a giveaway!

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