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26. T is for The T.E. Lawrence Poems


When I first moved to Albuquerque nearly eleven years ago, one of the first things I did was join a narrative poetry writing group. I saw their notice seeking new members up at my local indie bookstore, and wanted to join on the spot. I called the listed number, talked to a very nice poet, and attended my first meeting several days later. It was a great group, even if I didn't know that much about narrative poetry at the time, other than having read Gaudete, the subject of my "G" post for the A-Z Challenge. 

Unfortunately, several months later the group was the target of a hostile takeover (bet you didn't know groups could fall prey to things like that) and almost overnight it became a . . . science fiction novel writing group! Huh?? I don't write science fiction. I needed a new group, and soon.

Except there were no other narrative poetry groups in Albuquerque. When I told a poet friend in Canada about what had happened and how much I wanted to learn more about the genre, she immediately sent me a very special gift: a copy of The T.E. Lawrence Poems by Canadian poet Gwendolyn MacEwan, a book my friend described as "narrative poetry at its best." She was right.

The T.E. Lawrence Poems is a fictional "autobiography" told in verse from the point of view of Lawrence of Arabia. This Lawrence isn't Peter O'Toole, and maybe not even the author of Seven Pillars of Wisdom, but he sure comes across as real. Reading this book is worse than having an endless bowl of Fritos--once I start, I can't put it down.

I have never been the type of person who can describe poetry very well. I use words like amazing, fantastic, beautiful, soul-stirring, but none of them say what I want to say about poetry. Maybe it's because I just don't know how you can write about poetry, except maybe to write another poem!

Which is what I did on a trip to Taos, New Mexico a few summers back. It started with a simple misunderstanding: During much of the trip I kept talking about how much I wanted to see all the places D.H. Lawrence had been while he lived in Taos. It wasn't until we were at the Mabel Dodge Luhan House that I realized with a jolt that my husband thought I'd been talking all this time about T.E. Lawrence. I was stunned. Sons and Lovers had NOTHING to do with camels. I had to process this in my art journal before I felt as if I'd fallen down the rabbit hole:

Lawrence in Taos

There were no deserts he could recognize;
His motorbike too small and industrial;
His politics unpopular;
His clothing suspicious.
Arrested over and over for assisting--they thought--Al Qaeda, 
He could not convince them he wasn't who they thought he was:
LAWRENCE OF THE INDIANS.
It was terrible how narrow their vision was
And how much he wanted to go home . . .


Whew, that felt better.

I hope you get a chance to read The T.E. Lawrence Poems one day. The copy my friend sent was a used edition, and I was lucky to get it. There are some pencilled annotations in the margins from previous readers, and whoever they were, they seemed to have enjoyed the book almost as much as me! 

Happy National Poetry Month, everyone, and I'll see you tomorrow with the letter "U."

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27. Rump (2013)

Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin. 2013. Random House. 272 pages. [Source: Review copy]

What a fun book! I really, really enjoyed Liesl Shurtliff's Rump which boasts of being, of course, the TRUE story of Rumpelstiltskin. From page one, Rump makes a delightful hero in this middle grade fantasy. Here's the first paragraph: "My mother named me after a cow's rear end. It's the favorite village joke, and probably the only one, but it's not really true. At least I don't think it's true, and neither does Gran. Really, my mother had another name for me, a wonderful name, but no one ever heard it. They only heard the first part. The worst part." Rump lives in a world where your NAME leads to your destiny, so, you can imagine that Rump struggles with what destiny has in store for him since it "blessed" him with a name like that. Rump is NOT friendless, however. His two biggest supporters are his Gran, who has raised him from his birth, and Red, his best friend and sidekick who has a Granny of her own in the forest. The situation is relatively bleak when the novel opens. Rump lives in a poor community that is easily oppressed by the king. The local miller dispenses food to the community based on how much gold the person (family) has contributed. So hunger is a part of life for many. One day, however, Rump discovers something in his Gran's woodpile: his mother's spinning wheel. His Gran is NOT pleased that Rump wants to keep it, to learn to use it. Rump gives it a try, and, he discovers the magic within. Yes, he learns he has the magic inside him to spin straw into gold. But what does NOT come naturally is the wisdom on when to use and when NOT to use magic. He has NOT learned that all magic comes with a price. That his oh-so-delightful talent might come with a big, big price that he won't want to pay.

I love this one. I do. I love the narration. I love the storytelling. I love how the story was adapted and changed. I loved that magic had consequences. I loved seeing Rump grow and mature into Rumpelstiltskin.
© 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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28. A Painter's Sampler


Nowadays we might show a prospective client a folder of images on an iPhone. But in 1860, William Trost Richards (1833-1905) created this "Painter’s Sampler," to show what he could do.


Thirteen miniature canvases are mounted up together. They show a range of conventional landscape compositions. I can just image him saying... "I can paint you a Hudson River sunset, or a summer meadow, a nautical, or a cabin in the woods, or a forest interior...."
-----
This comes from a private collection and was exhibited at a Hudson River School exhibition called "American Scenery" at the Dorsky Museum of Art

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29. Pic Book Tips (borrowed but brilliant)….

I just read the end of the submission guidelines for an Australian/International Picture Book competition, and these TIPS were there.  Nothing new, but to read them all together is wonderful and possibly helpful to all.  Thank you Kathy Temean (Writing and Illustrating WordPress Blog- check out for contest guidelines).

and PRINT THESE….then place above your writing illustrating space… and remember!

PICTURE BOOK TIPS

Golden Rule: don’t use too much dialogue, text or description. Let the pictures do the talking—don’t say what the pictures can show. Cut and cull your text. Be ruthless! If your text is 400 words long, it should be vibrant and intensely edited.

Think carefully about rhythm and flow—this is one of the most common obstacles between a work-in-progress and a publisher-ready ms. Read the work out loud and listen to the way the words work together. ‘Hear’ the beat and flow as you read, and adjust words as necessary.

Don’t attempt rhyme. It is not popular with publishers but if you simply can’t resist, make sure it’s infallible. Two rhyming end-words do not a perfect rhyme make. Rhythm and beat is as important as word rhyme—in fact, even more so. Don’t create awkward sentences with odd word placement in order to make a rhyme; rewrite the entire stanza instead.

Look at your word usage and sentence structure. Is it dynamic and interesting? Does it pull the reader along and make them want to read more? or does the reader stumble or become confused? Does it delight? Does it sound good?

Never talk down to the reader. Use big words. Use unusual words. Use a unique voice. Don’t patronise and don’t explain. Never hammer readers with morals. If you simply must use them, thread them through the story in an imperceptible way.

Unless you want your book to appear like an information brochure, attempting to educate children on social, physical, emotional and mental issues and conditions needs to be done cryptically and cleverly. Add humour. Create an unexpected storyline that intimates things in a subtle way and you will have a winner with kids.

Think about the plot. A good story leads the reader through conflict to resolution in a Beginning Middle Ending way, or in a Cyclical way. Things HAPPEN. Showing someone going about their day and going to bed at night is not a story. It’s an account. Write a story, not an account.

Have a protagonist. Your protagonist, or main character, does not sit by and observe—they action, take part and instigate.

Think outside the square. Cover unusual topics, with untouched themes (avoid monsters, fairies, trucks, mud, grandma dying, rainbows, farmyard animals, dogs and other overdone topics). Use different writing voices and story structure. Do something DIFFERENT.

Think twice about supplying detailed illustration notes. Too many notes absolutely do hamper your text; rely on the reader’s ability to imagine what your words are showing. Only supply notes if the text is very cryptic and needs ‘explaining’, and even then—make notes extremely short.

Look objectively at your story. Is it clear and simple or cluttered and confused? Be wary of submitting something that is wrapped up in your own head and unable to be deciphered by someone else. This happens A LOT.

Have an ending. A PB ending needs to be shocking, surprising, funny, quirky or in some way resolving and/or related to the plot. Around sixty per cent of the ms endings we have seen are either non-existent, confusing or dull. Go out on a top note, not a kerplunk. A great ending demands a repeat reading—and that is exactly what you want.

Write your book for kids, not adults. If you hit the nail on the head for kids, most adults will love it, too.

Keep it simple.

REMEMBER WHO YOU ARE WRITING FOR!

picking books1

OK, this is my youngest granddaughter…a book lover already! Like my 8 year old granddaughter as well!


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30. Anthony Doerr: The Powells.com Interview

For months before I read it, coworkers would rave during meetings, send me glowing emails, or stop me in the hall to tell me how much they loved All the Light We Cannot See. We couldn't keep advance reader copies in the office for more than a few hours. I had long been a fan [...]

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31. Anybody want a peanut?

andre the giant Anybody want a peanut?We recently received the (adult) graphic novel biography Andre the Giant: Life and Legend by Box Brown (May 2014, First Second). As any Princess Bride fan will know, Andre the Giant is the professional-wrestler-turned-actor who played Fezzik in the movie.

Born Andre Rene Roussimoff, he grew up in rural Molien, France, where he was too large to ride the school bus and his father was friends with Samuel Beckett (who knew?). He moved to Paris, became a wrestler, went to Tokyo, and was diagnosed (in Japanese) with acromegaly (“He’ll age prematurely. His brow and jaw will grow more pronounced. His heart and organs won’t be able to keep up with his body. His joints, too. He’ll be a cripple. Then the doctor said he wouldn’t live past forty…”). He made his way to North America, wrestled professionally, drank a ton, got in a lot of fights, was kind of an ass (used the n-word against another wrestler; turned his back on his young daughter), and died at 46. There’s some hero worship on the author’s part (from the intro: “Andre the Giant represents all that is good in professional wrestling”), but the subject’s failings are never sugar-coated. Black-and-white panel illustrations depict all the rock-’em, sock-’em action.

The book is mostly based on anecdotes from friends and colleagues, and there’s a brief section on the Princess Bride filming. Christopher Guest — the six-fingered man — enjoys shaking Andre’s gigantic hand; Andre drapes his huge hand over Robin Wright/Princess Buttercup’s entire head to warm her up; director Rob Reiner balks at a giant $40,000 bar tab. Mandy Patinkin (Fezzik’s brother-from-another-mother Inigo Montoya) is blurbed on the book jacket: “A giant of a man in every way. I am thrilled to see his story finally told!” Princess Bride fans might— and ’70s- and ’80s-professional-wrestling fans will definitely — find a lot to like in this book.

share save 171 16 Anybody want a peanut?

The post Anybody want a peanut? appeared first on The Horn Book.

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32. Pilgrims Don't Wear Pink -- Stephanie Kate Strohm

Pilgrims don't wear pinkI hadn't read a straight-up chick-lit rom-com in ages, and I'd forgotten just how much fun they can be.

Despite the best efforts of her best friend to convince her to go to New York City with him while he interns at a teen fashion magazine, Libby Kelting is leaving Minnesota to spend the summer before her senior year in Camden Harbor, Maine, interning at the Museum of Maine and the Sea. She'll be wearing 1791-era garb, teaching young campers about the daily life of colonial Americans, and hopefully, in her off-time, spending time at the beach in one of the many (many, many, many) cute outfits that she's dragging halfway across the country with her.

Things she didn't count on: an enormously judgmental, slut-shaming roommate; a uniform for when she's not in costume; a super-hot sailor who spouts Shakespeare and looks VERY nice while chopping wood; getting roped into sharing EXTREMELY cramped quarters with a VERY irritating budding journalist who's on a ghost hunt.

Pros:

  • Oh, where to start? I cackled all the way through this one. For instance:

    "Listen, Garrett—"
    "Why do you keep saying my name like it's in air quotes?" he interrupted.
    "What are you talking about?" I snapped.
    "You keep saying 'Garrett' like it's 
    allegedly my name."
    "Maybe because it's not a name, but a small Parisian attic where writers live?"
    "Oh, as opposed to a brand of canned pumpkin owned by the Nestle corporation?" he shot back.
    We glared at each other.


    Ahahahahahaha. Anyway, she and Garrett are very obviously well-suited to each other, and their sparring is just as entertaining as their inevitable lurrrve-falling. Also, Libby's campers are HILARIOUS. 
  • Libby is a genuine history nerd, and as her focus is on fashion and the domestic arts, there are LOADS of interesting factual tidbits. Also, she's a wonderful example of a character who is a 'girly-girl' AND whip-smart, so yay to Strohm for that. Bonus: When it comes down to it, Libby is perfectly capable of fighting her own battles. Literally. So yay to Strohm for that, too!
  • Along those lines, there are some great threads about being judgemental/making assumptions about people: because Libby is interested in fashion and in boys, her roommate immediately jumps to the conclusion that Libby is an airheaded moron with red bottomosity. At the same time, Libby judges Garrett for his love of science fiction, so no-one is entirely without fault in that departmentwhich is good, because few people are!

Cons:

  • Cam and most of the rest of the dudebros are totally two-dimensional stereotypes. And actually, Libby's bestie Dev is also pretty two-dimensional, but I gave him a pass because he was rad.

Nutshell:

PINK-LOVING GIRLS CAN BE SMART, TOO!, or,

Behind the scenes of Austenland, starring YA characters.

Either way, GIVE ME THE SEQUEL RIGHT NOW.

_______________________________________________

Book source: ILLed through my library.

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33. NYPL Reveals 2014-2015 Cullman Center Fellows

nypl logoThe New York Public Library’s Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers has revealed its fellows for this coming fall.

The list includes fifteen writers including novelists, historians and non fiction writers. The novelists include: Keith Gessen, Ayana Mathis, Jordi Puntí, and Justin Torres. The historians include: Deborah Coen, Kim Phillips-Fein, and Steven Pincus.The non-fiction writers include: Jon Lee Anderson and Megan Marshall. The fellows were chosen from a group of 288 applications from 24 countries around the world.

“I am tremendously proud to welcome the Cullman Center’s new class of Fellows to The New York Public Library,” stated Tony Marx, NYPL’s President. “The Cullman Center offers these talented individuals access to our world-renowned collections within an environment that inspires and supports their exciting work. I congratulate the new Fellows and look forward to seeing the unique and creative ways they engage with our collections.”

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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34. Book Trailer: Don't Call Me Baby! by Gwendolyn Heasley

Compiled by Cynthia Leitich Smith
for Cynsations

Check out the book trailer for Don't Call Me Baby! by Gwendolyn Heasley (HarperTeen, 2014). From the promotional copy:

All my life, I've been known as the girl on that blog.

Do you know what it's like for everyone to think they know you because of what they read on some stupid website? My mother has been writing an incredibly popular, and incredibly embarrassing, blog about me since before I was born. The thing is, I'm fifteen now, and she is still blogging about me. In gruesome detail.

You can read my life as my mom tells it on mommyliciousmeg.com. But this story is my actual life and about what happened when my BFF Sage and I decided to tell the real truth about our lives under a virtual microscope. Thanks for reading . . . Just don't call me Babylicious.

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35.



Every week someone asks me what stylus I'm using for drawing on my iPad - so I made a video about it!

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36. 8 is enough



Whirlochre commemorates the occasion.


This interview with John Grisham, produced by ril for anniversary #3, never gets old.


Today Only! PDF file of Evil Editor's The History of the World in Tweets, absolutely free! 
Just email request to evledtr@gmail.com.  

Offer expires when I get sick of sending it.

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37. Amazon Chooses ’100 Books to Read in a Lifetime: Mystery & Thriller’

gone girlGone Girl: A Novel by Gillian Flynn; The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown; L.A. Confidential by James Ellroy and The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammet are among Amazon’s list of 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime – the Mystery & Thriller Edition.

The list was put together by Amazon Books’ editorial team. Follow this link to explore their recommendations. You can also check out Amazon’s list of 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime list here.

“There are many different kinds of books that fall under the mystery/thriller umbrella – from police procedurals to murder mysteries to spy thrillers,” explained Sara Nelson, editorial director of Amazon.com in a statement.  ”When we were compiling our list of 100 Mysteries & Thrillers to Read in a Lifetime, we wanted to be sure to include books from all of those sub-categories. The team had plenty of lively arguments, several passionate filibusters, and a number of voting sessions before we came up with the final list.”

 

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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38. #whylib - My journey into librarianship...


<!--[if gte mso 9]> Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE <![endif]-->

Andy Plemmons started a campaign for School Library Month and asked librarians to share their story of why they become a librarian, which is a great idea!  I’ve read so many and all are not only inspiring, but gives a personal glimpse into the lives of some people I only know online.  I wanted to share my story as well.  


There were two factors that made me love books, reading and libraries.  The first  factor was that I lived in the middle of nowhere near the small town of Fredericksburg Texas.  Nowhere was named Morris Ranch and although I had fun playing in the creeks, old buildings and open spaces, there were many times when I stayed at home reading.  The second factor was that I grew up in a large family with strained finances.  Reading was one of those things considered both a recreation and better than that, it was FREE. 


To say I’ve known since I was a child I was going to be a librarian is an understatement.  While my sisters played with Barbies I would beg them to play library with me.  I would set up a table, and grab as many books in the house as I could (to make displays) and my sisters would check out books, “read” them, and bring them back.  And guess who was behind the circulation desk?  Yep….me.  The library was definitely embedded in my life.  During the week when my sisters and I had piano lessons, we would walk from the elementary school to the public library to wait until it was our turn. 

But it was the summers when I sought out the library the most.  I grew up without air conditioning, and the Fredericksburg Public Library was the only place I knew that was cool, quiet and filled with books.  I loved the smell of the building, looking up things in the card catalog, the children’s room, and getting my first library card with a metal embossed number on it. I even pretended it was my house, finding all the secret nooks and crannies and building my dream home in my mind. 


As I grew older, I still sought out the library as a safe haven not only in town but at school too.  Today, I am proud to admit I am a nerd, but back then as a teen, that wasn’t the case.  I was quiet, didn’t have many friends and was picked on.  So when I discovered how to live vicariously through a book, I tore through as many as I could.  In an age (mid 1980’s) when there was very little YA fiction, I read Terry Brooks, Stephen King, Anne Rice, James Michener and anything non-fiction…the bigger the better.  This also helped in my English classes as well as the SAT, where my score was so high, I didn’t have to take freshmen English in college (I consider myself a living statistic of how libraries with certified librarians directly influence academics and test scores).   


After high school, I went on to college where I had the chance to discover my  extroverted side.  I didn’t have time to visit the library anymore, and the passion subsided. I graduated with a double major in English and history and became a certified teacher, never knowing there was such a thing as a masters in library science.  So I felt like I found my niche in teaching English at the high school level, and with that, I found my reading passion again.  I also now had an audience of 14-18 year olds that I had the potential to make readers out of as well.  We read the classics and short stories out of the textbook, and I tried my hardest to make the pages come alive. I knew I hit the mark when most of the freshmen class went to see Luhrmann’s Romeo+Juliet together and could quote most of the movie. Then research time rolled around, and an epiphany happened….


I was gearing up to go to the library to teach students how to use the Readers’ Guide to Periodical Literature (if you don’t remember those, you missed out!) when the librarian told me I couldn’t use the library because I wasn’t signed up for it.  This was in a junior high/high school situation located in a small town where I was the only high school English teacher.  Well, I used the library anyway.  Little to none of the students ever used the library because of the negative connotation associated with it, which both angered and saddened me. Then BOOM!!!My passion for libraries came back with a vengeance and I decided I could be a librarian and make a difference!  So off I trotted to Sam Houston State University, where I received a masters in library science in 2000. 


I became the librarian at that school and made some major changes.  When bond money came through, the district built two new libraries (one elementary, the other at the JH/HS) and I cut my librarian’s teeth through many experiences from opening and moving a new library to learning how to work with elementary aged children as their librarian.  I got to work with other districts who didn’t have a librarian on record and continued to create relationships with the students.  Out came the cobwebs and in came couches, technology, YA books, and open doors. 


I chose a great time to become a librarian too.  The year 2000 ushered in a lot of technology, including social media and web tools I had never heard of before.  It was also a time when computers were constantly changing, along with the cell phone (anyone ever own a bag phone?).  Not only did I embrace the changes, but it embraced me back.  And as they say, the rest is history….
 
I still go back to where it all started – my hometown library – and see that while it has changed throughout time on the inside, it continues to be nostalgic and safe. Now, as part of the profession, I find myself looking into the future and cannot WAIT to see the changes, with the reassurance of a constant – relationships.  Change is scary but having a constant helps ease that fear.  SO glad I grew up the way I did and had those influences!  Now I get to go work at my passion every day and make the library and librarianshipjust as important as the classrooms on campus. 

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39. Reading Bingo Book Clue 12

Reading Bingo

Reading Bingo Day 3 Continues!

Day three of Reading Bingo is well underway! Y’all are doing great! Ready for book clue 12? Here we go!

Book clue 12 is . . .
The Adventures of Captain Underpants

 by Dav Pilkey

The Adventures of Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey book coverBingo square

that it fits in and write in the title.

We’ve got three more clues today. Come back to Ink Splot 26 and also check the Stack Back Message Board

throughout the day to catch them!

Today’s shape is pretty awesome. Have you gotten Bingo yet? Remember, book clues 1-11

also count towards today’s game, so you can fill those in plus today’s book clues. When you get an H-shape, yell BINGO! in the Comments. See ya later!

image from kids.scholastic.com — 

En-Szu, STACKS Staffer

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40. Earlier this week @KirkusReviews...

Fates...I wrote about Lanie Bross' Fates:

Ten years ago, Corinthe made a huge mistake. Since then, she’s been exiled from her sister Fates, living on Earth among the humans. To earn her way back into the good graces of the Unseen Ones and be allowed to return home, she is tasked with helping humans achieve their destinies: whether that means facilitating meet cutes, making someone late for work, preventing an accident, saving a life...or ending one.

(I couldn't post the link earlier due to the Typepad debacle.)

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41. Using Postcard Mailings at Sub It Club - I'm interviewed!


Today, I'm also at Sub It Club - a blog about breaking into the Kidlit Biz. Dana Carey (France's SCBWI Illustrator Coordinator) asked me about sending promotional postcards to get children's book illustration work. (She also gave a lovely shout-out to A BIRD ON WATER STREET.) If you're looking to break into children's book illustration, she asked some pretty in-depth questions, which I think you'll find helpful. So, I hope you'll GO READ!!! (CLICK HERE or the image above.)

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42. The Oldest Living Things in the World

The Oldest Living Things in the World was a labor of love for artist and photographer Rachel Sussman—the project, to document and photograph continuously living organisms 2,000 years old and older, has been around in one form or another since 2004. The result is a stunning collection of images that function as much more than eye candy in the realm of flora and fauna—Sussman’s work quietly, and with unimpeachable integrity, makes a case for the living history of our planet: where we’ve come since year zero, what we stand to lose in the future if we don’t change our ways, and why we should commit to a more intuitive relationship with the natural world.

Above you can view a trailer for the book, which hints at the spectacular flora with which Sussman comes into contact: an 80,000-year-old colony of aspen in Utah and a 43,600-year-old self-propagating shrub in Tasmania, among them. Sussman continues to make a name for herself as part of a new wave of interdisciplinary artist-researchers, and was recently named a 2014 Guggenheim Fellow, as well as an inaugural Art + Technology Lab awardee from LACMA.

To explore a bit of the meaning behind the images in the book, here’s a brief clip from the Foreword, by science writer Carl Zimmer:

The durable mystery of longevity makes the species in this book all the more precious, and all the more worthy of being preserved. Looking at an organism that has endured for thousands of years is an awesome experience, because it makes us feel like mere gastrotrichs. But it is an even more awesome experience to recognize the bond we share to a 13,000-year-old Palmer’s oak tree, and to wonder how we evolved such different times on this Earth.

To read more about The Oldest Living Things in the World, click here.

To see sample images from the book, click here.

To visit the book’s website, click here.

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43. What was the inspiration for the title of your WIP?


Titles are tricky.

A great title can catapult a book, a bad title, well, the worst are probably just dull.

How did you think of the title of your WIP or last project?

My current WIP is untitled, but I named Jacob Wonderbar after my favorite coffee drink at Philz. Coffee wins again.

What about you?

Art: Don Quixote in the library by Adolf Schrödter

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44. Creating a Creative Movement in Education

I love any and all TED talks given by Sir Ken Robinson. Take a look at his latest one about education and creativity and I think you’ll understand why:

And if you liked that one, check out this earlier talk that’s still my favorite, on how to nurture creativity.

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45. Clint Smith Uses Spoken Word Poem ‘Memoir’ For Activism

What are your thoughts on immigration reform?

Clint Smith, a poet and a high school English teacher, decided to express his opinion in a poem. The video embedded above features Smith delivering a performance of “Memoir.”

In a Q&A with Food Politic, Smith talked about his inspiration for this piece: “‘Memoir’ wasn’t something I thought about until I had a student that said, ‘It doesn’t matter if I have a 4.0 and 2400 on my SATs. I don’t have a social security number so I can’t go to school.’ My poetry is me trying to reconcile my own life and opportunities I’ve had with opportunities my students aren’t given and how profoundly unfair that is.” What do you think? (via UpWorthy)

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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46. Goodreads Giveaway! Win a signed paperback of Tales of Ever!

You don’t want to miss out on this one!

Win a signed print copy of Tales of Ever!

Enter now!

(USA and CAN only) Ends May 4th 2014

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Tales of Ever by Jen Wylie

Tales of Ever

by Jen Wylie

Giveaway ends May 04, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win


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47. Current Scratch: Join Us, Opportunities, Vote Now, & Tips for Reading Poetry

In light of poetry month, here's a little treat! I'm not claiming to be a poet, but it was fun anyways! 
 
Beauty and the Hiss
Across the vast Brazos Valley, fields of wildflowers attract the human eye. Like bees to honey, we're drawn to it. Beauty. Canvasses of bluebonnets, paintbrushes, winecups, and more, we long to frolic and dance upon nature's palette. And while we may fall prey to nature's alluring spells, amongst the wildflowers, a slithering creature dwells. It hisses. It strikes. It slides. It glides. Remember, you're in charge of saving your hide! So, while you're out enjoying nature's bliss,
listen & beware of the dreadful hiss!

JOIN US
 
Poetry Slam, 10 a.m. April 30, Barnes & Noble, College Station, TX.  Take time this month to create a new poem or revise some old ones using the word prompts below. Then join us at 10 a.m. Wednesday, April 30, in the College Station Barnes & Noble for the slam. Also come early for gentle critique at 9:30 a.m. and/or stay around as the discussion continues over lunch. Join us!

RULES for the Poetry Slam

Our goal is to provide a professional setting for members and friends to present their work. To that end, the following rules will be enforced.

1. The poems must be for children or teens—rated PG-13 or less (look it up).

2. Besides stating your name and the age level and genre of your poem, no other commentary will be allowed during your reading. You may only read your poem(s).

3. You will have 5 minutes. Several short poems within the time span will be allowed. You will receive a one minute warning and a 30 second warning. The time-keeper will stop you at 5 minutes even if you are in mid-word. (Practice timing yourself.)

4. The first 12 poets to sign in will read. (Assuming 5 min. per person. If there's time before the end of the hour, we can do more.)

5. Each poem must include at least four words from the list below. Have fun!

PROMPT LIST

Include at least four words from the following list in each poem presented. Plural forms are allowed.

1. bluebonnet
2. brazos
3. chupacabra
4. family
5. football
6. heat
7. sno cone (counts as one word)

Come early for gentle critique at 9:30 a.m. and/or stay around as the discussion continues over lunch.
 
Children's Book Lit. Club
 
This month, we will discuss PROTECTING MARIE by Kevin Henkes at our meeting next Thursday, April 24, 4:30-6 p.m. in the ArtsCenter on Dartmouth. Please bring a picture book by Henkes to share as well.
 
OPPORTUNITIES
 
May 13, 2014, 7:00-8:30 p.m. Don't miss this great opportunity to participate in a SCBWI webinar on craft! Click on the link below to find out all the details.
 
A chance for picture book submissions, folks! Meegenius Accepting Manuscripts
 
VOTE NOW!
 
 
TIPS ON POETRY READING
 
Are you crafting your poem for our poetry slam on April 30th? Need a few tips for reciting your poem out loud? Voice, physical presence, and more! This link has it all... Poetry Out Loud.
 
The views expressed here are my own, and not necessarily those of the SCBWI.
 
 
 
 
 
 

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48. 2 new paperbacks


The House at the End of Hope Street by Menna Van Praag was absolutely charming. I don't always love magical realism, because it's rarely done well, but this one (along with those by Sarah Addison Allen) was an exception. 


The story of Alba Ashby, a young PhD student at Cambridge, and the house she falls in love with at 11 Hope Street. She has 99 nights to stay in the house and change her life. Many women from the past have entered the door and allowed the house to work its magic on them and they went on to have incredibly successful lives -- Agatha Christie, Dorothy Parker, and Florence Nightingale to name a few. Alba quickly learns, if her life is to actually be changed, this is the place to do it. 

While reading this one, I felt transported to 11 Hope Street. The writing is fantastic and I loved the premise of the plot. It was truly a charming novel and one I'll happily recommend to all readers, even those who aren't typically into magical realism. 


I also wanted to make a brief mention of the paperback release of one of my favorite books of last year, Looking for Me by Beth Hoffman. I raved about this book back in May and now it's available in paperback. If you haven't read it yet, grab a copy now -- it's a sweet, fun read with quirky, well-developed characters and lots of Southern charm.  I'll be gifting this one to a few of my favorite moms for Mother's Day! 

Thanks to Penguin for the review copies!

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49. Africa is My Home: Interview with Deborah Kalb

I had fun doing an interview with Deborah Kalb and it is now on her blog here.


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50. Envelope Art

This year I am creating original sketches on all of my orders going out through Etsy. If even just an ACEO (2.5x3.5 inch print) is purchased, the customer will receive an original sketch on the envelope.

With a new baby I don't get a lot of time to just sketch, this has been a great way to get some sketching in while at the same time treating my customers with something special.

My customers mean a lot to me and this is one way I can show them. 

These sketches are not scanned in and saved, or reproduced. They are sketched, photographed for my own documentation, and then mailed off. Who knows, maybe one of them will become a painting some day. Now wouldn't that be fun! :)





 Visit my Facebook Page for a current album of envelope art!
Album here: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10152367583837472.1073741828.50735862471&type=3


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