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1. Book Blogger Hop - 3/6 - 3/12

 Question of the Week: 
 Do you think a book's title is important?

My Answer:

I do have to say YES to this question. 

A title as well as a cover pull me in, but on the other hand the book could have a fantastic title and cover and have bad content.  That usually does not happen too often, but I have experienced that.





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2. Creating Settings: Bringing the Sounds, Sights and Smells Home

Lisa Doan | The Children’s Book Review | March 6, 2015 When I began writing The Berenson Schemes, a middle grade series in which responsible Jack Berenson is repeatedly lost in the wilderness of foreign countries by his globe-trotting parents, I gave some careful thought to creating the settings. The books take place in the Caribbean, Kenya and […]

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3. The Berenson Schemes Series, by Lisa Doan | Book Series Giveaway

The Children’s Book Review | March 6, 2015 Enter to win all three Berenson Schemes books, written by Lisa Doan: JACK THE CASTAWAY, JACK AND THE WILDLIFE, and the newest release, JACK AT THE HELM. One (1) winner receives: All three Berenson Schemes books, written by Lisa Doan: JACK THE CASTAWAY, JACK AND THE WILDLIFE, and the […]

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4. The Joys of Reading through Windows

We all know that when it comes to stories, children need both mirrors and windows to understand their place in the wide world.

This never ending winter has given my life a different pace. Curtailed from Saturdays scheduled with errands and voice lessons, sewing lessons and play dates, my children and I have been reading aloud. They are both independent readers and have been for some time. My son is 16 and my daughter turns 11 this month but the joys of reading aloud are even richer than when they were little. Our options are more varied and their views of the world are wider. As librarians we have always known and advocated for reading aloud to older children but at least for me, making the time has been a challenge.

My pledge is that after the snow melts, I will still suggest and make space for Saturday morning readings that start our day with ideas, passion and a look into other worlds. This ability to glimpse into other worlds and gain greater empathy for others is the kernel of our concern and commitment to diversity in all its forms in our profession. While this is a personalized call to action and one I tend to avoid, having time to share books with my children in this amazing and profound way, reading aloud, makes me grateful for our public library and all its offerings. I really have everything I need in our literary backyard.

For our families, El día de los niños/El día de los libros (Children’s Day/Book Day), celebrates the stories in our communities. Our libraries are the perfect place of acceptance, inclusion and harmony. While we celebrate Día on one special day, April 30th, its name also stands for Diversity in Action and through this work, we reaffirm our daily commitment to ensure that all families have access to diverse books, languages and cultures. Without access to stories from other cultures, places and passions, we are a lesser world.

The post The Joys of Reading through Windows appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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5. Orhan Pamuk Q & A

       Orhan Pamuk (The Museum of Innocence, etc.) was at the Cairo Literary Festival a couple of weeks ago, and in Al-Ahram Weekly they have a Q & A Mona Anis and Youssef Rakha conducted with him there, Ottoman culture in disguise.
       Lots of interesting stuff -- including:

There are readers who are following my books, but say in the United States I am most famous for Snow, while they don't care about that book in China. They definitely care about My Name is Red there [...] These are issues I like, and these I think for example Chinese or Korean, Asian readers care about while American readers don't care much about the issues we have with individuality. American readers want to know about political Islam, or they care about My Name is Red in the sense of artists, drawing, they did this kind of miniatures, very interesting, but not as an issue of today. Or, for example, in Spain my bestselling book is Istanbul
       And, amusingly:
That's the problem with interviews. You do an interview and you define a certain situation that's resolved in two years' time, but 16 years later they're still quoting.

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6. Onesie Mumsie picture book - illustration process



I'm very excited to announce my second picture book, Onesie Mumsie (written by Alice Rex), is due for release April 2015. That's only a few weeks away!

Above is a video showing my illustration process in fast forward from pencil drawing to final colour illustration. The illustration took just under two hours to complete in real time. I scan my pencil drawings and watercolour washes, then complete the rest in photoshop using custom made brushes.

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7. The Poetry Seven Attempt Sestinas

This month my poetry sisters and I are working on writing Sestinas. It's a very difficult form to get the knack for, partly because the end words are extremely restricted. Each of the six-line stanzas use the same words in a spiral repetition. The best sestinas, IMO, tell a story. My favorite one is this by Elizabeth Bishop. Kelly has a wonderful explanation with tips on how to write one here.

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8. Classroom Slice of Life Story Challenge: Day 6 of 31

It's Day 6, Classroom Slicers!

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9. Travel to Idaho this Spring

There is always so much going on in the children's literature world in Utah, which is wonderful and fun. But you might look beyond your borders to see what's going on elsewhere. For example, Idaho. We're just up the road a ways. And we seem to become a fantastic venue for kid lit authors to visit. Just in the last few weeks, we've hosted Markus Zusak, Jennifer Neilsen, and next week will be Sherman Alexie plus Andrew Smith.

I'm most excited, of course, about our Boise SCBWI conference in April, which we co-sponsor with the Boise State University Dept. of Literary, Language, and Culture and the Idaho Chapter of the International Literacy Association (formerly the International Reading Association).

This year we have several amazing speakers, including Matt de la Pena, Suzanne Morgan Williams, Utah's own Kristyn Crow, agent Sean McCarthy, and a fantastic panel of local authors.

Our theme is diversity in children's literature, which is a super hot topic right now, and worthy of our attention and examination. This conference is for all  who are interested in kit lit, whether teachers, librarians, students, parents, and, yes, authors and illustrators.

You can find more information here: http://bit.ly/1ErbbGu

And to register, scroll down that page and click on the link, or here: http://idcclw.com/

Boise in the spring is a magical place, and taking the time to get away from home and focus on your craft is worth every moment.


By Neysa CM Jensen
SCBWI regional advisor for Utah/southern Idaho


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10. Toon Thursday Flashback Edition: Social Networking for Writers

Sadly, the passage of time has not made this one any less accurate... Happy Thursday! This work is copyrighted material. All opinions are those of the writer, unless otherwise indicated. All book reviews are UNSOLICITED, and no money has exchanged... Read the rest of this post

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11. Writing Nonfiction Using Fiction Techniques

People understand that it takes creativity to write fiction.  But many don’t understand that it also takes creativity to write nonfiction.   As a nonfiction author I write true stories-but they are still stories.  When teaching students or teachers how to write nonfiction, I explain it like this: 

I don’t create the facts,
I use the facts creatively. 

Nonfiction is based on facts found in primary source documents.  How an author uses those facts is what makes the difference between text that reads like a novel or a textbook.  The creative part of writing nonfiction is finding a way to keep the reader turning pages to see what happens next-and at the same time telling the story accurately.  To accomplish this goal, I use fiction techniques such as dialogue, sensory details, foreshadowing, pacing and all the rest. 

Let’s look at just one fiction technique I use in nonfiction books:  dialogue.  In my books, the dialogue comes from direct quotes from documented primary sources.  Teachers, students and readers can go to source notes in the back matter to see exactly where the quote was found. 

I’m often asked, how do I know
when to use a direct quote,
and when not to? 
 
I use a direct quote to accomplish one of three things:

1. To show characterization
2. To increase tension
3. To have greater impact


Below are a few examples from my books that demonstration how I used quotes as dialogue.  

 


To show characterization:


In one chapter of Fourth Down and Inches: Concussions and Football’s Make-or-Break Moment (Carolrhoda) I’m making the point about how football has become part of the American culture.  In this example, I quote Kevin Turner because it shows characterization of a passionate football player.   

“Kevin Turner, a former NFL player, still remembers the excitement of his high school football days. He recalls, “When I woke up on game day. I couldn’t wait until it was time for the kickoff. Wearing my jersey to school on game day was a big part of the experience. At game time, when I ran out on the field and heard the announcer call my name in the starting lineup, it was a rush, like nothing else. It was like having Christmas sixteen times a year. My parents were proud of me. Nearly everyone in our small town was cheering in the stands and spontaneously reacting to what happened on the fields. It was magical.”




To increase tension:


In this scene from Something Out of Nothing: Marie Curie and Radium (FSG), I am showing this famous scientist at a difficult moment in her life.  At the same time Curie was planning to build the Radium Institute, the shed where she and her late husband, Pierre, discovered radium was going to be torn down.   I quoted Marie Curie’s own words about how she felt about visiting the shed for the last time.   

“I made my last pilgrimage there, alas, alone.  On the blackboard there was still the writing of him who had been the soul of the place; the humble refuge for his research was all impregnated with his memory.  The cruel reality seemed some bad dream; I almost expected to see the tall figure appear, and to hear the sound of the familiar voice.”


 


To have greater impact:

Varian Fry, an American journalist, volunteered to go to Marseilles, France, in 1940 to rescue refugees from the Nazis.  This scene from In Defiance of Hitler: The Secret Mission of Varian Fry (FSG), is about the moment he arrives in the city.  Fry wrote about this moment, so I chose to quote the entire segment exactly as he wrote it because his own words had greater impact than if I had paraphrased what happened.   

“’Aha, an American,’ he said in a gravel-rough voice.
“Yes,” I said, trying to keep my voice calm.
“Marseilles is like your New York City at rush hour, eh?”  he said, smiling. 
I smiled back.  “Quite a mob,” I said. 
“Refugees.  Pouring down from the north,” he said.  “We would like to pour them back.  But the Boches [Germans] have occupied Paris.  So the refugees all run to Marseille to hide, or maybe sneak across the border.  But they won’t escape.  Sooner of later we arrest all the illegal ones.”  He smiled again. 
“Too bad for them,” I said.
“Too bad for them; too bad for us!”  He gave me my passport.  Enjoy your stay in our country,” he said.  “But why you visit us at this unsettled time, I don’t know.”
His eyes narrowed, and I thought he looked at me suspiciously.  But as I went out through the gate, I decided it was my imagination.  He knew nothing of the lists in my pockets, nor did he know I had come to smuggle out of France the people whose names were on those lists.”





All three at once:

Many times, one quote like the example below accomplishes all three goals of characterization, tension and greater impact at the same time.  The following section from The Many Faces of George Washington: Remaking a Presidential Icon (Carolrhoda) shows Washington in the days leading up to the historic crossing of the Delaware.  
  
“The Continental Army was in real trouble. At the beginning of the war, most soldiers had enlisted for short periods of time. Now that things were going badly, they left as soon as their enlistment commitment expired. At the beginning of December 1776, about half of Washington’s men went home.  He knew that the enlistment for many more would expire at the end of the month. General Washington had to do something fast to raise the moral of his men, or he would soon have no army to lead. David Ackerson, one of his commanders, recalled seeing General Washington at this time saying, “he was standing near a small camp-fire, evidently lost in thought and making no effort to keep warm . . . His mouth was his strong feature, the lips being always tightly compressed. That day they were compressed so tightly as to be painful to look at.”


 
When writing nonfiction, when you use quotes and how you use them makes all the difference. 

Carla Killough McClafferty

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12. Perfect Picture Book Friday - Tuesday Tucks Me In: The Loyal Bond Between A Soldier & His Service Dog

Well, guess what?

After a (very!) brief foray into the 20s, we're back to zero degrees!  But at least it's not (currently) snowing :)  And it's not BELOW zero!  It's important to keep sight of silver linings :)

Thank goodness for Perfect Picture Book Fridays, where we can enjoy lots of great titles and ignore the weather!

My choice for today is on a more serious topic, but the book is well written - on a level that kids can understand and appreciate without it being scary/upsetting in any way - and I hope you'll enjoy it and find it a useful addition to your libraries.


Title: Tuesday Tucks Me In: The Loyal Bond Between A Soldier And His Service Dog

Written By: Luis Carlos Montalvan & Bret Witter

Photographs By: Dan Dion

Roaring Brook Press, May 2014, Nonfiction

Suitable For Ages: 4-8

Themes/Topics: service/therapy animals, military life, photographic book, love, nonfiction

Opening: "In the morning, every morning, my friend Luis wakes up to . . .   this."


Brief Synopsis: After tours in Iraq left him wounded and distressed, Captain Luis Montalvan returned home to a life he was no longer comfortable living.  He reached a point where he was afraid to leave his apartment.  But a service dog named Tuesday changed everything for him.  Tuesday helps Luis with daily tasks, and he calms and comforts Luis by always being there for him.  Tuesday has made it possible for Luis to live a rewarding life.

Links To Resources: Facts About Service Dogs for Kids; Wayside Elementary Schools Special Needs Awareness Program (SNAP) (video); discuss how animals make you feel and what they do for you.


Why I Like This Book:  Every day, men and women risk their lives overseas for our freedom and way of life.  When they return home, it is often difficult to readjust, and to carry on with a life so at odds with what they've seen and survived.  This book gives kids a glimpse of the difficulties a soldier might face upon coming home at an appropriate and accessible level.  It also shows how the love and care of a therapy animal has the power to change a life.  It's written from the point of view of the dog, which makes it friendly and non-threatening.  For kids who have a relative or family friend who is a veteran, this book could be very helpful in understanding what they might be going through and in opening a discussion.  For any child, this book can encourage empathy and understanding.

For the complete list of books with resources, please visit Perfect Picture Books.

PPBF bloggers please be sure to leave your post-specific link in the list below so we can all come visit you!  I can't wait to see what books you're sharing this week!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!  Maybe Springing forward will give Mother Nature the hint! :)


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13. Kidlit Celebrates Women's History Month Year 5!

It's March again, and that means that Lisa Taylor of Shelf-employed and I are once again co-curating Kidlit Celebrates Women's History Month, a celebration of books for young people which celebrate notable women. Despite the progress that has been made, schools still spend comparatively little time on women throughout history; fortunately many books have been published for young people of all ages on a range of fascinating figures which can be used by teachers to supplement the curriculum or by parents at home. I hope you will check out this year's blog contributors, who include everyone from African-American ballerina Misty Copeland to award-winning nonfiction writer Sue Macy. You can "follow" the blog, subscribe by e-mail, and also follow the posts on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest, if you prefer!  A complete list of this year's contributors is available on the blog as well.

If you're in the Los Angeles area, I believe you can still order tickets for the 35th anniversary celebration of the National Women's History Project, which will take place on Saturday, March 28 at the Autry Museum and offers the chance to meet the 2015 honorees. It's a terrific opportunity to celebrate women's history with others.

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14. Follow Friday Four Fill-In Fun - 3/6/15

Feeling Beachie 

Love this meme....I hope you can join in the fun.  

Each week, Feeling Beachie lists four statements with a blank for you to fill in on your own blogs.  

The statements:
  1. Having too____makes me_____
  2. When it is____, I _____
  3. Chocolate is ________
  4. How do you feel after______
My Answers: 
1.  Having too much sleep makes me even sleepier.

2.  When it is summer, I love to sit on my back porch and read.

3.  Chocolate is something everyone needs.

4.  How do you feel after a nice hot shower on a cold day? 












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15. Review of the Day: Lost in NYC by Nadja Spiegelman

Lost in NYC: A Subway Adventure
By Nadja Spiegelman
Illustrated by Sergio García Sánchez
TOON Graphics (and imprint of RAW, Jr.)
$16.95
ISBN: 978-1935179818
Ages 8-12
On shelves April 14, 2015

While I’m aware that public transport was invented to meet the very real needs of urban commuters, when you’re the parent of a city child you can be forgiven for taking an entirely different view of things. Simply put: subways were created for the sole purpose of amusing children. How else to explain the fun maps, bright colors, and awe-inspiring bits of machinery? We already knew that kids loved trains. Now put those trains underground. That’s just awesomeness redoubled. Here in New York City a certain level of excitement about subway trains is almost required of our kids. Yet when it comes to books about the subway system, it’s often disappointing. Either it’s too young, too old, or like Count on the Subway by Paul DuBois Jacobs it gives the subway lines the wrong colors. Sure Subway by Christoph Niemann is the gold standard, but what can you offer older metro fans? Lost in NYC by Nadja Spiegelman hits that sweet spot for the 6-10 year old crowd. Visually stunning (to say nothing of its accuracy) with abundant factual information wriggled into every available crevice, you don’t have to be a New Yorker to enjoy this book (though, boy, does it sure help).

When you have a father that moves your family all over the country, it can be easy to disconnect from the places you briefly live. So when Pablo enters Mr. Bartle’s class on the first day of his new school, he rebuffs cheery Alicia’s attempts at friendship. On this particular day the class is taking a field trip to the Empire State Building. Pablo learns about the subway system that will take the class there alongside everyone else, but when he and Alicia are inspecting a map on the subway he’s briefly confused and takes her with him onto the express 2 train and not the local 1. Now separated from their class, the two kids start to fight and next thing you know they have to find their way back to their classmates entirely on their own. Backmatter and a Bibliography of other subway resources appear at the end.

I’m an adult so after reading this story several times you know whom I feel most sorry for? The teacher, Mr. Bartle. Here the man is, taking his class on a routine subway trip, and along the way he loses two of them at the very first stop. A common New Yorker nightmare is the idea that you might lose your child on the subway. Yet in Spiegelman and Sánchez’s hands it’s a nightmare turned into an adventure. It’s the same reason From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler continues to be read. For children, the thought of being independent in a city as vast as NYC is as enticing as it is horrific. Spiegelman does give Pablo a native guide for the first part of his journey, but pretty soon they two are separated and he has to make his way on his own to his group. This is by no means an interactive book, but I had to withhold a scream when Pablo jumped the 7 train at 42nd Street. He’s lucky he asked for traveling advice as early as he did, else he would have ended up in far distant Queens relatively quickly.

Spiegelman’s writing holds up for the most part. It’s a slim story, clocking in at a mere 52 pages which is only slightly more than your average picture book. Some of that is rounded out with the backmatter too. Filled with history and brimming with photographs, engravings, and other stunning images, Spiegelman outdoes herself with the information found there. For certain subway buffs, the info included (with sections like “Why Are There No H, I, K, O, P, T, U, V, W, X, or Y Trains?”) will be particularly pleasing. However, when we look at the story in this book by itself, it does come to a rather abrupt halt. Pablo spends the greater part of the story declaring that he doesn’t need friends. He parts from Alicia on angry terms, yet when the two are reunited they act like the best buddies in the world. I wasn’t quite sure where the switchover on this relationship occurred. Otherwise, everything seems pretty certain and consistent.

Not all subway books are created equal. I remember years ago encountering a NY subway picture book where a normally elevated stop was pictured in the book as underground. Certainly the cover of this book gave me hope. It seemed to be acknowledging from the get-go that the 1 and 2 trains both stop at 96th, 72nd, and 42nd Street (we will ignore the peculiar inclusion of a “33” since we can assume artist Sergio Garcia Sánchez meant 34th Street). As it happens, Mr. Sánchez is a resident not of one of the five boroughs but of Spain. You wouldn’t know it. The New York found within these pages feels so real and so contemporary that I have difficulty understanding that I’m not going to run into the man on the street when I leave for work tomorrow morning. Artists could learn a thing or two from his attention to detail. From the color of the painted columns to the diversity of the city streets, this is indeed the New York I know and love.

The design of Lost in NYC is also a delight to the eyes. Good graphic novels for children are rare beasties. Half the time you’re left wondering if the editors or artists ever took the time to look outside the standard panel format. If Mr. Sánchez feels inclined to use panels in this book, you can bet it’s a strategic decision. The very first page is almost entirely open, only settling into panels when the kids are approaching the rigid format of a school setting. As the teacher, Mr. Bartle, begins to introduce subway history, we see the characters on a massive topographic map. It’s a visual approximation of the cut-and-cover technique used to create subways in a city chock full of hardened bedrock. Once the kids go underground the panels shift to full two-page spreads, and lots of individual vertical panels like the cars on a subway train. When called upon to render the city blocks in such a way where you can see the characters all converge on the Empire State Building from different directions, the artist either shrinks the buildings and blows up the characters, or he overlaps a subway map onto a street map and you can see the kids meet up that way. Then there are the perspective shifts. The view up into the Empire State Building, a wall or two cut away so that you can get a visual sense of some of the seventy-three elevators in the building, is dizzying. I can say with certainty that even if a child were incapable of reading English (or Spanish, since this book is being simultaneously translated) they would still be able to be moved and stirred by this story.

He’s also filled the book with inside jokes. I was so pleased that I took time to read the “Behind the Scenes: Sergio and the Cop” section at the back of the book. In it, Sergio describes a time he visited NYC and was photographing all the details at the 96th Street subway stop when a cop started paying a little too much attention to him. As a result, if you look in the book you can find Sergio and the cop on “virtually every spread.” Once you see it, it cannot be unseen. It also creates a kind of touching secondary story as the two go from antagonists to, finally, taking a selfie together.

Accuracy in illustration, even (or should I say especially?) in fictional stories, is imperative. You have to make the reader inhabit the setting presented, and the best way to accomplish this is through rigorous research and skill. Mr. Sánchez has both and by pairing with Nadja Spiegelman he may well earn himself an Honorary New Yorker decree. Though filled to its gills with accurate Manhattan details, you don’t have to live anywhere in the five boroughs to recognize the fear that comes with having to navigate an unfamiliar public transit system. Particularly if you’re just a kid. An adventure tale wrapped around a nonfiction core of subways subways subways. What’s not to love?

On shelves April 14th.

Source: Final copy sent from publisher for review.

Like This? Then Try:

Professional Reviews: Kirkus

Interview: Comic Book Resources spoke with Nadja Spiegelman and she reveals a lot of behind-the-scenes information about the book.

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16. African literature at American universities

       A couple of weeks ago Yale professor Wai Chee Dimock wrote about A Literary Scramble for Africa, occasioned by the annual MLA-centered hiring-ritual.
       Dimock reported that:

To our surprise, almost one-third of the people we ended up interviewing were again working on Africa, and not even the usual suspects: Chinua Achebe, J.M. Coetzee, Nadine Gordimer. The field seems to have grown up overnight and turned into something no one had foreseen. Here and there we ran into some vaguely familiar titles -- Ngugi wa Thiong'o's Wizard of the Crow, NoViolet Bulawayo's We Need New Names, Helon Habila's Oil on Water -- but, for the most part, people were writing about authors we had never heard of: Senegal's Boubacar Boris Diop, Tanzania's Ebrahim Hussein, Congo's Sony Labou Tansi, Uganda's Monica Arac de Nyeko, Mozambique's Mia Couto, Malawi's Shadreck Chikoti.
       You may have heard my anguished cries -- though at the time I only tweeted a few initial reactions. But it's good to see that there's now a more comprehensive, measured response: Aaron Bady writing about Academe's Willful Ignorance of African Literature -- well worth a look.
       The PEN World Voices festival (NYC; 4-10 May) this year is 'On Africa' -- with at least one of these 'authors we had never heard of' in attendance (Boubacar Boris Diop); I'm curious to see whether this helps raise the African profile.
       I'm embarrassed about many lacunae at the complete review (though often it is more a case of not enough -- applicable to almost all categories -- than none at all), and the sampling of African literature under review is certainly among them. And yet: familiarity just with the reviewed-here titles -- limited though the selection is -- could have saved Dimock some ignorance-embarrassment. Which is, in itself, sad: what you find here really doesn't even scratch the surface -- and at least in academia they should be aware of far more.

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17. Never hurts to be prepared: Saint Patrick's day "test run" #leftfieldnyc #trickers #greenshoes #long

Never hurts to be prepared: Saint Patrick's day "test run" #leftfieldnyc #trickers #greenshoes #longwingboot #menshoes #menstyle #menswear #shoeporn #saintpatricksday by yolowastaken
11024150_1563727800576989_1673943988_n.jpg

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18. Book Beginnings - 3/6/15


*Please join Rose City Reader every Friday to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. Please remember to include the title of the book and the author's name.  *Taken directly from Rose City Reader's Blog Page.

***************
This week's book beginnings comes from A KILLING AT THE CREEK by Nancy Allen.

"The bloody, yellow school bus wound through the hills of the Missouri Ozarks in the early dawn of a June morning. The blood inside the bus pooled under the driver's feet, trickled in the aisle, drained out the back exit, and ran over the rear bumper."

Catching your eye?  :)

**********

This book is one I finished last week wanted to share again this week.

My review is up TODAY, March 6. It is the top post on my blog for the day.

MIST OF MIDNIGHT by Sandra Byrd.  An alluring, gothic mystery.




 ***************
What are you reading?









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19. Tag Galaxy Weather Studies

At this time of year, weather is the perfect multidisciplinary study. Weather is on everyone’s minds, whether you’re facing winter storms or signs of spring. There are perfect literature options like mythology about weather gods or parables and poems about the wind, plenty of science topics connect with weather and each one brings in math, and weather phenomena have inspired music, too.

Here’s a lesson that makes a great introduction to any unit on weather.

Visit Tag Galaxy to begin. You’ll have a place to type in your first word: weather.

tag-galaxy1

Soon you’ll see a swirling collection of planets labeled with related words.

tag-galaxy4

Click on the “sun” to see images from FlickR brought together to create an amazing graphic.

tag-galaxy5 tag-galaxy6

You can bring in more images, and you can also explore each of the “planets” in this way, discovering more words and more images. You can click on any picture to see it more closely — here’s a beautiful image from “rain”:

tag-galaxy7

Tag Galaxy can be mesmerizing, and it rewards exploration. Show it first on your class projector and let everyone ooh and ahh for a while. Then let students explore the tool on their own computers.

Here are some ideas of what to do next:

  • Have students list the words they find that relate to weather. Let students write individual words on cards or cut outs and hang them from the ceiling or post them on a bulletin board.
  • Ask students to choose a word and then an image to use as a writing prompt. There are thousands of choices, so everyone should be able to find something inspiring.
  • Making a globe from photos in real life would be a big job, but you can make a smaller version easily. Have students print out, draw, and/or cut out pictures of weather. Use a round template to make circles from the pictures, and then a triangular template to fold in the edges. Connect the edges to form a sphere, as shown for the “Disco Ball” ornament at this paper craft page.

At this point, your class should be excited about weather and ready for some learning!

The post Tag Galaxy Weather Studies appeared first on FreshPlans.

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20. TEXTILES - natasha marshall

Natasha Marshall and Neil Fullerton first launched their textile studio Natasha Marshall Ltd at 100% Design in 2009.  Their initial fabric and wallpaper collections combined Natasha’s expertise in textiles and Neil’s skills in graphic design to produce designs, which embodied their signature simple, modern, graphic feel.  These designs were then distributed under license for the next four

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21. Ancillary Sword

I loved Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie so much I was a little worried that I might be disappointed by Ancillary Sword. I began reading, holding back just a little, expecting disappointment and not wanting to invest too much but before I knew it I was in deep and happy as a clam. When I turned the last page I didn’t want it to be done. More please! There will be more. In October Ancillary Mercy will be published. I fear that will be the conclusion to the story and I will be bereft.

Ancillary Sword picks up right where Ancillary Justice left off. Breq, who is an ancillary and used to be a ship called Justice of Toren, has been given the command of Mercy of Kalr. She was given the command by the Lord of the Radch herself. Mercy of Kalr no longer has an ancillary crew, though the previous ship’s captain required all her crew to behave as if they were ancillaries. An ancillary is basically a human who has been implanted with all kinds of equipment and forced to become part of the ship’s AI. The ancillaries are soldiers but also the eyes and ears and mobile bodies controlled by the ship.

Breq in the singular is rather lonely. She could become an ancillary of Mercy of Kalr but she would then no longer be Breq. Because Breq used to be an ancillary she can communicate with Mercy of Kalr in a very different way than a human captain would be able to. All of the humans on the ships have implants that gives the ship access to their eyes and ears as well as their body’s functioning (heart rate, blood pressure, etc). The job of the ship AI is to take care of her humans. Because Breq is an ancillary, the ship can actually show her what the crew is doing through their eyes and ears. It is a small comfort to the lonely Breq.

Mercy of Kalr is sent to guard Athoek Station. On this station is the sister of the lieutenant Breq loved when she was Justice of Toren. So there is an interesting plotline there. We also have Lieutenant Tisarwat who is brand new and only seventeen, assigned to the ship by the Lord of the Radch. But Breq figures out pretty fast the Tisarwat is actually an ancillary of the Lord of the Radch and the ancillary bits are not working out so well in that body. There is also another ship, Sword of Atagaris which does still have ancillaries. The Radch empire is falling apart and there is a question about whose side Sword of Atagaris and her captain is on.

Toss into all this the continuing questions of identity that began in the first book. But add in another question — what is justice and what does it mean?

‘What is justice Citizen? […] We speak of it as though it is a simple thing, a matter of acting properly, as though it’s nothing more than an afternoon tea and the question only of who takes the last pastry. So simple. Assign guilt to the guilty.

Of course it is never simple and perfect justice can never be truly dispensed.

The writing is great. The pacing excellent. Since Breq can see and hear through the eyes of her crew (they have no idea she can do this) the perspective is constantly changing but is never confusing. It works really well for keeping all the balls in the air and all of the plotlines moving ahead together at the same time, there is no “meanwhile back at the ranch” kind of thing. Leckie does a good job of giving depth to even minor characters. And it’s just an all around great romping story. Ancillary Justice won a Hugo and a Nebula. Ancillary Sword is currently up for a Nebula. I can hardly wait for Ancillary Mercy!


Filed under: Books, Reviews, SciFi/Fantasy Tagged: Ann Leckie, Imperial Radch Series

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22. Icefall by Matthew J. Kirby, 336 pp, RL 4

Icefall by Matthew J. Kirby winner of the 2012 Edgar Award for Best Juvenile Mystery. And, while this award is well deserved,  Icefall is so much more than a mystery - it is a coming of age story and a story within a story as well, with memories coming together to create something greater than the mystery itself. In fact, Icefall reminds me of Shannon Hale's Newbery Honor winning Princess

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23. Friday Feature: Don't Forget To Breathe



Sixteen-year-old Leocadia arrives home from school to find her mom’s bloody body. Unaware that the killer still lingers, she rushes to her mother’s side, only to be grabbed from behind and then everything fades to black.

After a year of retrograde amnesia and battling personal demons, Leo’s dreams are getting worse—she’s starting to remember. More bodies are discovered and they seem to be oddly linked to her mom’s unsolved homicide.

When Leo allows her friend, Henry to drag her into the haunted Lucien Mansion, misty ghosts appear, ghosts that just might lead to her mother’s murderer.

Will Leo let her memories threaten her into a relapse or, will she fight to find her mother’s killer – only to become his next victim?

Anyone else in love with this cover? I am!

Excerpt:
Moonlight played tricks with my eyes as we circumvented gravestones like an obstacle course, and pluming fog licked our legs as misty ghosts danced on marbleized stones. My breath shuddered as Henry bypassed me, leading the way. “Hurry—” he whispered and nudged my shoulder.
I picked up the pace and cranked my head to the left. Dark moving shapes appeared in the distance and moaning floated past my ears, probably the wind or just my imagination? Goose flesh pebbled my skin as I stumbled over an urn. Henry lugged me up urging me on.
“What are we running from?” I gasped quietly so not to wake the dead. 
“Them—over there.” Henry jerked his chin, the lenses of his glasses captured raining moonbeams. “I think it’s cops.”
His hand reached back, palm up. I latched hold. “Why would police be patrolling the cemetery?”
We whipped around a mammoth tombstone, a squared foundation for a glorious angel. He halted and threw me unceremoniously to solid concrete. My heartbeat migrated up my esophagus. Henry covered my mouth with his hand. “Sh-h...don’t breathe so loud.”
My pumping lungs slowed as I stabilized my swallows of air. Henry squashed his body into mine. A tad too close. His speedy heartbeat harmonizing with my own while cold leached into my back. I cringed at the discomfort of my head pressed between his chest and the stone. 

Buy it on Amazon.


You can find Cathrina here:


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

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24. thesolsticedance.wordpress.com

Hi everyone,

I've decided to create a separate blog dedicated to my Moonflower and the Solstice Dance project.  From now on, I'll post separately at http://thesolsticedance.wordpress.com.  I'll still post here about that project and others, and I'll occasionally copy those posts in bulk over here, too, but that will be the separate site listed on the Kickstarter campaign.  I hope you'll join me at the new site!

Saskia

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25. Day 6 of the March SOLSC! #SOL15

Write. Share. Give.

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