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1. Xorandor review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Christine Brooke-Rose's 1986 novel, Xorandor -- apparently recently re-issued in a two-for-one volume (with Verbivore) by Verbivoracious Press (though I only have the original Carcanet edition (and what I really wanted was the Avon paperback ...)).

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2. Thomas-Mann-Preis

       They've announced that this year's Thomas Mann Prize will go to Jenny Erpenbeck (Visitation, etc.) -- though not yet at the official site, last I checked, so see, for example, the Boersenblatt report.
       She gets to pick it up on 17 September.
       The list of previous winners is a bit mixed (as indeed is the prize itself, which combined two previous prizes in 2010, and now alternates between being awarded on Lübeck and in Munich), but last year the (recently deceased) Lars Gustafsson got it, which was certainly also an excellent choice.

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3. 10 Problems Only People Who Play an Instrument Understand

10 Problems Only People Who Play an Instrument Understand

Do you play an instrument? Are you one of those fabulously talented people who can transform an empty room into an instant dance party? Well, we know it’s not easy being awesome, so this Top Ten List is for you! We’ve compiled a list of top 10 problems only people who play an instrument understand.

  1. Spit valves and emptying your spit. (Eww).
  2. What to wear to the band concert.
  3. Messing up your solo at the band concert!
  4. Your saxophone, backpack, and athletic gear take up an ENTIRE school bus seat.
  5. Saying this to your friends: “I can’t come over today. I have to practice.”
  6. Short nails (sorry violin players).
  7. When you have to rehearse a song that you hate over and over and over . . . and over again.
  8. A broken string at the worst possible time.
  9. When your little brother “practices” on your trumpet.
  10. Demands to perform at every family gathering.

What about you guys? Do you play an instrument? Let us know some of YOUR problems in the Comments below!

-Ratha, Writer

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4. करियर विकल्प , बच्चे और अपेक्षा के बोझ तले युवा

करियर विकल्प , बच्चे और अपेक्षा के बोझ तले युवा कुछ देर पहले सडक पर एक पिता शायद अपने छोटे से बच्चे को स्कूल छोडने जा रहे थे.बच्चा स्कूल नही जाना चाह रहा रहा था इसलिए रो रहा था और उसके पिता भी उसे गुस्से मे बोल रहे थे कि स्कूल नही जाएगा तो जमादार बन […]

The post करियर विकल्प , बच्चे और अपेक्षा के बोझ तले युवा appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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5. Geoff Dyer Q & A

       In The Hindu Tishani Doshi has a Q & A with author Geoff Dyer.
       Among his responses:

The real issue for me is not whether it's true or untrue in accordance with what actually happened. But it's to do with form and the expectation of what people give to a certain form.

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6. Wilder Times Ahead!

WilderBeverly Cleary                                           Ashley Bryan

Katherine Paterson                                  E.B. White

Donald Crews                                            Virginia Hamilton

Virginia Hamilton                                     Jerry Pinkney

What do all these talented people have in common?

They are just a few recipients of the Laura Ingalls Wilder award, presented  to “an author or illustrator whose books, published in the United States, have made, over a period of years, a substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children.” First given in 1954 to Laura Ingalls Wilder, the award was originally presented every five years and has evolved; it is now given annually.

What author or illustrator do you think has made their mark on American children’s literature?  The 2017 Wilder Committee is seeking your suggestions of  authors and illustrators to be considered for next year’s award. Has your favorite author been recognized already? Check out the entire list of previous Wilder medal recipients. If not, let us know who you are thinking of and why!

So what exactly does “substantial and lasting contribution” mean? According to the criteria, these books “occupy an important place in literature for American children and that over the years children have read the books and that the books continue to be requested and read by children.”  If you are detail-oriented or historically minded, you might enjoy exploring the definitions and criteria behind the awards.  In reviewing these specifications, I can see the well-thought out process behind the awards, and it makes me appreciate the procedures that have been developed. Interestingly, the Wilder Award can be awarded posthumously, and regardless of a person’s place of residence.

Please submit your suggestions via the form at http://www.ala.org/alsc/wilder-medal-suggestion-form. Note: The page can only be accessed by ALSC members—so you must be logged into the ALA website to view the form.

Please share your ideas with us!

Happy reading,

Robin L.  Gibson, 2017 Wilder Award Committee member, Westerville Public Library, Westerville, Ohio

The post Wilder Times Ahead! appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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7. SURTEX 2016 - lilla rogers

Carolyn is of course one of the designers with the Lilla Rogers Studio and in this post we have a few more fab artists who will be represented by Lilla at Surtex. Here are beautiful flyers from Sarah Walsh, Flora Waycott, Zoe Ingram, Rachael Taylor, Hsinping Pan, Rebecca Bradley and for the first time the 2015 Global Talent Search winners Clarice Gifford, Katie Vernon, and Kate Mason. Lucky

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8. Free e-book for May: Ebert’s Best

9780226048901 (1)

Our free e-book for March is Ebert’s Best by Roger Ebert. Download your copy here.

***

Roger Ebert is a name synonymous with the movies. In Ebert’s Bests, he takes readers through the journey of how he became a film critic, from his days at a student-run cinema club to his rise as a television commentator in At the Movies and Siskel & Ebert. Recounting the influence of the French New Wave, his friendships with Werner Herzog and Martin Scorsese, as well as travels to Sweden and Rome to visit Ingrid Bergman and Federico Fellini, Ebert never loses sight of film as a key component of our cultural identity. In considering the ethics of film criticism—why we should take all film seriously, without prejudgment or condescension—he argues that film critics ought always to engage in open-minded dialogue with a movie. Extending this to his accompanying selection of “10 Bests,” he reminds us that hearts and minds—and even rankings—are bound to change.

***

To read more about books by Roger Ebert published by the University of Chicago Press, click here.

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9. SURTEX 2016 - courtney keller

Our final Surtex artist today is Courtney Beth Keller who will be attending for the first time with the Finch & Foxglove art collective.  Courtney works under the studio label one little printshop and will be heading to Surtex next month with a full book of collections and patterns. She feels there is so much to learn and explore; and is incredibly inspired and thrilled to be invloved. Courtney

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10. So Many Children!


A hidden picture page for Highlights Magazine. Can you find eight objects?
by Patrick Girouard

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11. Coloring Page Tuesday - Piggie and Charlotte

     What is a piggie's favorite book? Charlotte's Web of course! (Well, maybe not the opening.)
     CLICK HERE for more coloring pages!
     CLICK HERE to sign up to receive alerts when a new coloring page is posted each week and... Please check out my books! Especially...
my debut novel, A BIRD ON WATER STREET - winner of six literary awards. Click the cover to learn more!
     When the birds return to Water Street, will anyone be left to hear them sing? A miner's strike allows green and growing things to return to the Red Hills, but that same strike may force residents to seek new homes and livelihoods elsewhere. Follow the story of Jack Hicks as he struggles to hold onto everything he loves most.
     I create my coloring pages for teachers, librarians, booksellers, and parents to enjoy for free with their children, but you can also purchase rights to an image for commercial use, please contact me. If you have questions about usage, please visit my Angel Policy page.

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12. ‘Kung Fu Motion Visualization’ by Tobias Gremmler

Motion capture data of martial arts performances reinterpreted into abstract forms and expressions.

The post ‘Kung Fu Motion Visualization’ by Tobias Gremmler appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

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13. Inspiration

I find inspiration in a lot of forms. I love to watch movies and binge watch shows. I enjoy music and listen to podcasts. I love walking outside and focusing on little things, for example, a flower or a bee. This is what inspires me. Another thing that inspires me is my teachers. One specific […]

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14. New Site!

Welcome to my new site, which I built myself using Headway Themes and WordPress. Please check back as I unveil a new shop and new artwork.

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15. SOL Tuesday + a Donation Update

Last year we opened a Cafe Press store for people interested in buying some Slicer swag.  We received our commission from our store a couple of weeks ago and recently made another donation… Continue reading

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16. Heraldic bits. 14/100 #100daysofoilcrayon #the100dayproject...



Heraldic bits. 14/100 #100daysofoilcrayon #the100dayproject #makeartthatsells #matsbootcamp2016 #lisafirke



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17. SURTEX 2016 - carolyn gavin

I am continuing with Surtex posts this week as we look at who will be showing what in New York at surface designs' top showcase this month. First up we have Carolyn Gavin who will be showing her latest and most fabulous design work with Lilla Rogers in booth 220. Carolyn creates the best painterly florals and is a wiz with colour so if you are visiting the show you will not want to miss her

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18. FAN MAIL WEDNESDAY #229: About Those Crazy Names

 

postalletter-150x150

 

Here’s one from the Sunshine State!

-

Dear Mr. Preller,
 -
My name is Nicolas.  I am 8 years old and I am in 3rd grade at ____  Elementary School in Miramar, FL.  I am writing to tell you that I really liked The Case of The Sneaker Sneak.  This is the third Jigsaw Jones book I have read because I really like Jigsaw Jones.
 -

51Xxdj8lrdL._SX335_BO1,204,203,200_Jigsaw is a lot like me.  He and I both like mysteries.  We like to solve puzzles.  I also like that Jigsaw plays sports.  I play sports too.  I play soccer, although I like to watch football like Jigsaw plays with his friends in the book. My family likes to watch and play football on Thanksgiving every year just like they do in the book.  I could really picture myself playing with those kids.  I think it is great how Mila and Jigsaw are always able to find clues to solve mysteries and help others.

One question I have for you is where do you come up with all the unique names of the characters in the book?  Do you know people named Solofsky, Pignattano, or Copabianco?  Do you have friends with nicknames like Bigs or Stringbean?

I really enjoy the Jigsaw Jones books and can’t wait to read the next one in my collection.

Sincerely,

Nicolas

I replied:

Dear Nicholas,

Thanks for your terrific letter. I am so glad that you are enjoying the series. I just wrote a new one, The Case from Outer Space, and it will be out in the Spring of 2017 — less than a year away! (You can click here to read a sample chapter. Or not! It’s a free world here at Jamespreller.com.)
 
I’ve never really thought about it before, but I guess you are right. I do put some unique names in the books. Joey Pignattano came directly from my love of the NY Mets. When I was your age, the Mets won a World Series in 1969, and one of their coaches was named Joe Pignatano. I changed his name slightly by adding an extra “t,” and that was that. Copabianco came from a girl I knew in college. It was just one of those long Italian names that musically rolls off the tongue. I did not know anyone named “Bigs” or “Stringbean,” but I did have a friend that we called “Wingnut” because of his large ears. 
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The books in the Jigsaw Jones series have been a little hard to find lately, because they are in the process of moving from one publisher (Scholastic) to another (Macmillan). Hopefully there will be more available next Spring, with all new covers. Look for them where fine books are sold.
 
Keep reading, Nicholas, and I’ll keep writing! And if you ever feel up to it, you might enjoy checking out my “Scary Tales” series. They are not much harder to read than Jigsaw, but you do have to be the sort of kid who likes creepy, suspenseful stories. 
 
My best,
 
James Preller
P.S. For a lot more background on The Case of the Sneaker Sneak, click here — you won’t regret it!

 

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19. Reading Like a Writer, Step-By-Step: Teaching Writing with Mentor Texts

This week at Two Writing Teachers will be sharing ideas about teaching writing with mentor texts: from published books, to student work, digital media, to teacher-created texts. This blog series will inspire you to dive in and find the perfect texts to learn from with your students.

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20. Stay Private! Be sure to cross all your t’s and dot your i’s…

Living in a time of unprecedented information surveillance, also lends itself to an unbelievable amount of information privilege for much of the “democratized” world. We feign emotions with character smiley faces and iconography as our communications float rapidly over a network of intangible speeds, sometimes coated with an algorithm of encryption and sometimes, not. Identity is, at best, both catastrophic and creative. So as we celebrate and converse about National Privacy Week, it is sort of interesting to think about privacy, not only in the way we might shroud our communications, but also in terms of economics, commodity and modality.

In the early 19th century, the postal system was financially demanding for some people [not unnecessarily unlike today] *and* was the scarcity of paper. Tom Standage writes in the Victorian Internet [1998]: “In the nineteenth century, letter writing was the only way to communicate with those living at a distance. However, prior to 1840, the post was expensive. Postal charges grew high in England due to the inflationary pressure of the Napoleonic Wars. Different from the way mail operates today, the burden of payment fell to the receiver, not the sender; prepayment was a social slur on the recipient. One had to be financially solvent to receive a letter. If the recipient could not afford to pay for a letter, it was returned to sender. Any reader of Jane Austen’s Emma (1815) knows that to save costs, cross writing was common — a writer turned his or her letter horizontally and “crossed” (or wrote over) the original text at a right angle rather than use an additional sheet of paper. Folded letters with a wax seal may look quaint, but like cross writing, this was also a pre-1840s cost cutting measure since that same missive, posted in an envelope, would receive double charge.”

A cost-cutting measure indeed, however, and not insignificant it created a system of visual encryption one might employ for secrecy, but also as a device of post-modernity and compositional ingenuity. In 1819, John Keats constructed a crossed letter discussing both the merit of prescriptive living for labor workers, only to be written over at an angle by his poem, Lamia, about a man who falls in love with a snake disguised as a woman. “The non-linearity of meaning is generated as an excess against the unidirectional drive of information, like the snakes that weave around the staff of a caduceus or the turbulent wake of a forward-moving ship; meaning is the snake and the wake of information.” [1] Quite a metaphor to create, as a perception of romanticism, in era of rapid change.  Sound familiar? When in doubt, think smart, choose privacy.

We have a suite of 19th century letters in our collection of cross-writing, or “cross-hatching,” check out the images:

[cross-writing] [cross-writing] [cross-writing]

#chooseprivacy

[1] Livingston, Ira. Arrow of Chaos: Romanticism and Postmodernity.

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21. Let them eat cake


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22. Crawling!

She’s been able to maneuver
And to turn herself around,
Scooting backwards on the carpet
As a way of gaining ground.

Also, rocking back and forth
While on her knees she’s seemed to nail
But our efforts to encourage
Her to crawl all seemed to fail.

‘Til today! I saw the video
And there before my eyes,
Hadley crawled to reach some playthings,
Such a wonderful surprise!

Guess the easy days are over;
There’s a world she must explore
But mobility means babySITTING
Days are nevermore!

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23. Animal Groups from National Geographic Kids




One of my students checked out Animal Groupsby Jill Esbaum from the library a few weeks ago. When I flipped through it, I knew it was a book I'd want for the classroom. There was just enough text on a page for my students to move beyond merely reading facts.  Plus I loved the umbrella that pulled this book together--the things we call groups of different animals.

When I spent a bit more time with the book, I realized that this would also be a great mentor text for informational writing. I am always struck by the quality of the writing in many of the NG Kids books.  The writing in this book can definitely be used to study the craft of nonfiction and each page is a short enough piece to be used on its own in a mini lesson for this study.

The word choice is what stood out to me at first.  The vets the author chooses are great for helping kids choose specific verbs in their writing. Lines like "parents dive for dinner" and "Flitting through sunshine" are on each and every page. Are there are also phrases that will give kids options for nonfiction writing beyond just writing facts. The page on sea otters starts out "The ocean is a perfect playground for sea otters...." and "They hang upside down, wings folded, awaiting the warmth of the morning sun."

As readers, the book is organized in a way to support readers--good headings, Did You Know? boxes with extra information, a map at the end of the book, and a list of animal groups not included in the main text.

This book is filled with interesting information and great nonfiction writing. I think kids will love it as readers and also as growing writers.   So glad to have a copy for the classroom!  It looks like Jill Esbaum has several other nonfiction books and I am definitely going to check them out as I think her writing is great for middle graders to study and learn from!

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24. Book Review: Capture by Dr. David Kessler

Capture: A Theory of the Mind

Why do we think, feel, and act in ways we wished we did not? For decades, New York Times bestselling author Dr. David A Kessler has studied this question with regard to tobacco, food, and drugs. Over the course of these investigations, he identified one underlying mechanism common to a broad range of human suffering. This phenomenon—capture—is the process by which our attention is hijacked and our brains commandeered by forces outside our control.

In Capture, Dr. Kessler considers some of the most profound questions we face as human beings: What are the origins of mental afflictions, from everyday unhappiness to addiction and depression—and how are they connected? Where does healing and transcendence fit into this realm of emotional experience?

Analyzing an array of insights from psychology, medicine, neuroscience, literature, philosophy, and theology, Dr. Kessler deconstructs centuries of thinking, examining the central role of capture in mental illness and questioning traditional labels that have obscured our understanding of it. With a new basis for understanding the phenomenon of capture, he explores the concept through the emotionally resonant stories of both well-known and un-known people caught in its throes.

The closer we can come to fully comprehending the nature of capture, Dr. Kessler argues, the better the chance to alleviate its deleterious effects and successfully change our thoughts and behavior Ultimately, Capture offers insight into how we form thoughts and emotions, manage trauma, and heal. For the first time, we can begin to understand the underpinnings of not only mental illness, but also our everyday worries and anxieties.Capture is an intimate and critical exploration of the most enduring human mystery of all: the mind.
I'm going to preface my review by just saying that I don't love this cover or the subtitle.  The cover is just generic and the subtitle doesn't do the book's topic justice.  I probably wouldn't have picked it up without having read the description, which is a shame because the book is actually right up my alley.

Writing
Yes, yes, yes!  Science and psychology writing exactly the way I like it - tons of examples and studies all backed up with excellent references and footnotes.  There are close to 300 pages of text and over 100 pages of footnotes and citations, which is just heaven.  I'm still making my way through the notes and making a list of further reading that I want to do.  Along with the meticulous research, the author also writes in a way that is easy for the casual reader - you won't need to be a scientist or psychologist to understand the concepts being presented.

Entertainment Value
Again, based on the subtitle I never would have guessed it, but this book completely hooked me by focusing on a topic that I've long been interested in but have never found explored the way I wanted.  The connection between genius and madness has been something that has fascinated me since college, but I struggled in finding a more psychological examination of the subject.  While this book isn't written to directly address the topic, by the end of the introduction I was hooked.  I'm thrilled to report that this answered a lot of my questions about the topic or at least addressed the ideas surrounding both genius and madness.

Overall
If you're a fan of science and/or psychology writing this is a great one to read.  I think it's also good for anyone who struggles with anxiety or depression or any other mental illness.  It's less of a "how to" and more of a "how your brain works", which I find extremely helpful.  It's not fiction and it's not a super fast read, but it's worth it.

Thanks to TLC for having me on the book tour.  Click here to see the other stops on the tour!


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25. Children’s Literary Salon: The Art of Enthusiasm

We’re just hitting it out of the park now.  Fast on the heels of our last Salon with Jeanne Birdsall and N.D. Wilson (info below), this coming Saturday I managed to bring together the three kings of children’s book social media.  Behold!

Screen Shot 2016-05-02 at 10.09.33 PM

If you’d like to watch the discussion live, tune in 2:00 CST here.  And if you live in the area, you simply have to come.  Never before have these three been interviewed at the same time by . . . uh . . me.  Or possibly anyone else (note to self: check if this is true).

Curious about Travis Jonker’s picture, by the way?  As I recall it was made for him by video and film director Michel Gondry.  You can read Travis’s piece about it here.  John’s is by Dan Santat.  I’m going to need to ask Colby who did his.

By the way, did you miss our last Salon last Saturday when Jeanne Birdsall and N.D. Wilson spoke on the topic of how their personal belief systems inform their writing?  Good news!  Not only did I record the, quite frankly, killer talk but the sound quality was a lot better than last time.  Here’s the timeline of the video:

  • At 0:00 Nate is running a bit late but since it was a live feed I wanted to keep folks watching in the loop.
  • At 2:36 Jeanne Birdsall and I have a finger puppet show as we wait for Nate to show up.  I have flashbacks to my sock puppet interview from 8 years ago.
  • At 3:30 the talk begins.
  • And at 12:45 I tilt the screen back a bit so that it doesn’t look like our heads are all scraping the ceiling.

Enjoy!

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