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I just can’t get over the difference between these two covers for the same novel. The left one is the US version and the right is the UK version of Jill Shalvis‘ SECOND CHANCE SUMMER. Why do US titles love to feature hunky men on their covers while the British versions are much more magical and romantic? Personally, I much prefer the UK version. It is enchanting and so appealing to the eyes. But then again, I’m sure there are many readers out there who find the US version much more appealing.
Which one do you like? Which book would you gravitate towards?
And if you don’t judge a book by its cover and instead prefer to actually know what the book is about, here’s the summary of Shalvis’ latest release from Amazon:
Cedar Ridge, Colorado, is famous for crisp mountain air, clear blue skies, and pine-scented breezes. And it’s the last place Lily Danville wants to be. But she needs a job, and there’s an opening at the hottest resort in her hometown. What has her concerned is the other hot property in Cedar Ridge: Aidan Kincaid-firefighter, rescue worker, and heartbreaker. She never could resist that devastating smile . . .
The Kincaid brothers are as rough and rugged as the Rocky Mountains they call home. Aidan has always done things his own way, by his own rules. And never has he regretted anything more than letting Lily walk out of his life ten years ago. If anyone has ever been in need of rescuing, she has. What she needs more than anything are long hikes, slow dances, and sizzling kisses. But that can only happen if he can get her to give Cedar Ridge-and this bad boy-a second chance . . .
What do you do when you run into the man who broke your heart?
Lily’s been back in Cedar Ridge for less than ten minutes when she bumps into Aiden, the former love of her life. So much for sneaking back into town unnoticed. And thanks to frizzy hair and armfuls of junk food, she’s turning his head for all the wrong reasons.
No one knows why Lily is home after ten years, and she’s determined to stay no longer than the summer. But Cedar Ridge and Aiden have other ideas. As they set about persuading Lily to give them a second chance, she finds herself falling under the spell of the Colorado mountains … and the one man she could never forget.
Before speaking with Marijke Visser, Associate Director of the Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP), I honestly had very little knowledge of what exactly was involved with the duties of the Washington Office staff other than advocating on behalf of ALA and libraries in general. In my usual over-imaginative fashion, I envisioned their days spent in conference rooms filled with charts (as seen in The American President), having power lunches (image courtesy of West Wing), and standing up for libraries using some incredibly uplifting call-to-action speeches (think Braveheart). While I’m sure these moments exist (or at least some version of them), talking with Marijke about the structure of the Washington Office and some of the exciting projects staff are currently exploring broadened my view of their work and inspired me to advocate for our profession with a renewed Scottish-like vigor.
As Marijke explained, the Washington Office is separated into two distinct offices: The Office of Government Relations and the Office for Information Technology Policy. When I thought of the Washington Office, I associated it with direct lobbying on the hill; The Office of Government Relations is the group that works to follow and influence legislation, policy, and regulatory issues on the hill. The Office for Information Technology Policy works with a variety of groups, such as the Department of Education and the SEC, on outward facing issues, such as issues supporting a free and open information society.
One way that the Washington Office, particularly the Office of Government Relations, helps to inform and influence legislation and policy is by identifying and building champions on key issues. This is one way that Marijke highlighted for ALSC members to help and become involved. Creating and nurturing strong relationships between legislative members and local librarians can provide opportunities for librarians to bring attention to key issues impacting library services to children while legislative members build connections on a local level and gain a more direct understanding and/or experience of how issues like literacy, media mentorship, or the digital divide are directly impacting youth. One example Marijke provided of this concept is an interest in how the digital divide is impacting disadvantaged teenagers. The Washington Office was able to connect interested legislative members with local librarians in their service area to discuss how the digital divide impacts teenagers and how libraries are able to help bridge the economic gap for this population.
Towards the end of our call, Marijke explained the Office for Information Technology Policy’s Policy Revolution! Initiative. Funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, this initiative is in its second of three years. Described by Marijke as “shaking up how we do policy”, this initiative is designed to examine how libraries are branded to other organizations, look for more ways for their office to become proactive rather than reactive, and to build connections between agencies many people do not usually associate with libraries, such as HUD and Veterans Affairs. Ultimately the goal is to increase the perception of libraries as essential to policy and community conversations in a way that influences organizations to view library professionals as essential participants at the discussion table.
How does this apply to us? How can a little (seriously… I’m only 5’2”!) children’s librarian in Akron, Ohio stay current on legislative and policy issues? How can I best use this information to make a difference? Marijke suggested following the Washington Office’s blog, the District Dispatch. (http://www.districtdispatch.org/). You can sign up for news and alerts and locate a lot of other advocacy pages at http://www.ala.org/offices/cro/legislationandadvocacy/legislationandadvocacy. ALSC’s Everyday Advocacy website is essential for staying informed and inspired on all facets of advocacy. If you haven’t had a chance to check it out (what are you waiting for?!) you should stop what you are doing right now and visit it at http://www.ala.org/everyday-advocacy/. Also, reach out to your local, state, and national representation to share successes and challenges. While you may not need to directly advocate for an important issue today, building those relationships now may someday prove to be invaluable.
Libraries offer such a valuable service to the public, and librarians are consistently doing important work that directly improves the lives of children. I urge each of us (myself included) to remember the importance of our work on the toughest days and to channel our inner William Wallace (blue face paint is optional).
Today’s guest contributor is JoAnna Schofield, member of the ALSC Advocacy and Legislation Committee. JoAnna is a children’s librarian at the Highland Square Branch Library where she enjoys singing Laurie Berkner’s “I Know a Chicken” more than most people. She finds her greatest inspiration from her three rambunctious children, Jackson (5), Parker (4), and Amelia Jane (2). JoAnna can be reached at email@example.com. More than anything, she wants you to know if any information in this blog is not accurate, it is completely her misunderstanding and no fault of Marijke Visser. Marijke is truly lovely.
Today we're super excited to celebrate the cover reveal for THE YEARBOOK by Carol Masciola, releasing November 18, 2015 from Merit Press. Before we get to the cover, here's a note from Carol:
I’m so delighted to show off the cover of my novel, The Yearbook, which I think conveys the mood of magic and uncertainty I’ve tried to create in the story. Lola Lundy, the protagonist, is a teenager who seems to find a portal to the past among stacks of antique library books. The designers, Christina Riddle of Edgewater Graphics, and Frank Rivera, with FW Media, used an authentic 1920s photograph of a young flapper, combined with pastel toned bookshelves, to evoke the hazy backdrop where Lola’s story unfolds—is it real, or hallucinatory? The mirror effect Frank chose for the title lettering suggests, to me, the dual worlds of past and present fading into each other, and perhaps, as well, the not-always-clear line between reality and fantasy, sanity and madness. I could not have dreamed of a better visual expression of the novel!
~ Carol Masciola (THE YEARBOOK, Merit Press)
Ready to see?
Scroll, YABCers! Scroll!
Here it is!
*** If you choose to share this image elsewhere, please include a courtesy link back to this page so others can enter Carol's giveaway. Thank you! ***
by Carol Masciola
Release date: November 18, 2015
Publisher: Merit Press
About the Book
Misfit teen Lola Lundy falls asleep in a storage room in her high school library and wakes up to find herself 80 years in the past. The Fall Frolic dance is going full blast in the gym, and there she makes an instant connection with the brainy and provocative Peter Hemmings, class of ’24. His face is familiar, and she realizes she’s seen his senior portrait in a ragged old yearbook in the storage room.
By the end of the dance, Lola begins to see a way out of her disastrous Twenty First Century life: She’ll make a new future for herself in the past. But major mental illness lies in Lola’s family background. Has she slipped through a crack in time, or into an elaborate, romantic hallucination based on the contents of an old yearbook?
To learn more about this book and see our review, go HERE.
About the Author
Carol Masciola was born and raised in Ohio, one of five sisters, and graduated from Oberlin College, where she studied humanities and piano. She worked for 12 years as a newspaper reporter in Southern California and won the PEN/West award for writing in journalism. She has lived in Guatemala, Colombia, Jordan, Turkey, England, Spain and now lives in Geneva, Switzerland. She is also an enthusiastic writer of screenplays. The Yearbook is her first published novel.
Steven Paul "Steve" Jobs was an American pioneer of the personal computer revolution of the 1970s. Shortly after his death, Jobs' official biographer, Walter Isaacson described him as the creative entrepreneur whose passion for perfection and ferocious drive revolutionized six industries: personal computers, animated movies, music, phones, tablet computing, and digital publishing.
Steve Jobs was adopted to a family in Mountain View, California. While still in high school, Jobs interest in electronics prompted him to call William Hewlett of Hewlett-Packard to ask for some parts for a school project. Hewlett provided the parts and then made an offer to Jobs to intern at Hewlett-Packard for a summer. There, Jobs met Steve Wozniak, a talented and knowledgeable engineer five years older than the high school student. Their friendship would eventually be the foundation on which Apple was built.
Jobs dropped out of Reed College after one semester and went to work for Atari designing games. He carefully saved the money he earned while working at Atari so that he could take a trip to India and sate his bourgeoning interest in the spiritualism of the East.
After returning home from India, Jobs and Wozniak renewed their friendship. Jobs was shown a small computer that Wozniak had been working on as a hobby, but Jobs saw its potential immediately and persuaded Wozniak to go into business with him. In 1975, at the age of 20, Jobs went to work in his parents' garage with Wozniak working on the Apple I prototype.
The Apple I sold modestly, but well enough to be able to go to work on the Apple II. In 1977, the new model was put on sale. With a keyboard, colour monitors and user-friendly software, Apple became a success. The company made $3 million in their first year and had surpassed $200 million in their third.
However, in addition to the Apple III and its successor the LISA not selling as well as had been hoped and a marked increase in competition in the sale of PCs, 1980 saw Apple lose almost half of its sales to IBM. Things got worse for Jobs in 1983 when a fight with the directors got him kicked off the board by the CEO, John Sculley, whom Jobs himself had hired.
In 1984, as a response to the sharp decline in sales, Jobs released the Apple Macintosh which introduced the world to the point-and-click simplicity of the mouse. The marketing for the Mac was handled poorly and with a price tag of $2,500, it was not finding its way into the homes for which it had been designed. Jobs tried to repackage the Mac as a business computer, but without a hard-drive or networking capabilities, not to mention only a small capacity for memory, corporations were not interested. In 1985, without any power in his own company, Jobs sold his stock in Apple and resigned.
Later in 1985, Jobs began NeXT Computer Co. with the money he'd made from the sale of his stock in Apple. He planned to build a computer to change the way research was done. The NeXT computer, though complete with processing speeds previously unseen, unmatched graphics, and an optical disk drive, at $9,950 each, sold poorly.
Persistent after the failures of the NeXT venture, Jobs began toying with software and started to focus his attention on a company he'd bought from George Lucas in 1986, Pixar Animation Studios. Jobs signed a three-picture deal with Disney, and began working on the first computer-animated feature. Released in the fall of 1995, it had taken "Toy Story" four years to be made. But the work had been well worth it, the film was an incredible success. Pixar went public in 1996, and in one day of trading, Jobs 80% share had become worth $1 billion.
Apple was struggling, having failed to design a new Macintosh operating system, and the company only held 5% of the PC market. Days after Pixar went public, Apple bought NeXT for $400 million and renamed Jobs to the board of directors to advise Gilbert F. Amelio, the chairman and CEO. However, in March of 1997, Apple recorded a quarterly loss of $708 million, and Amelio resigned a few months later. Jobs was left in charge as interim CEO and it was up to him to keep the same company he had started and which had ousted him alive. So he made a deal with Microsoft. With an investment $150 million for a small stake in Apple, Apple and Microsoft would "cooperate on several sales and technology fronts", and Apple would be assured their continuation in the PC market.
Jobs also went to work improving the quality of the Apple computers. The introduction of the G3 Power PC microprocessor made the Apple faster than those computers operating on Pentium processors. Apple also turned its energies toward producing an inexpensive desktop, the iMac, that was another hit for the company. With Jobs once again in control, Apple was able to quickly turn itself around, and by the end of 1998, was bringing in $5.9 billion in sales. Jobs had returned to his first love, a little older and a little wiser. He had made Apple healthy again and returned it to a place where it was contributing new and innovative technologies to the computer world.
Right now, high school juniors all over the world are battling their way through college application essays. Some view this as a great way to ruin a good summer, but for others, it’s the excuse they’ve been waiting for to spend days curled around their laptops or notebooks, pouring their hearts onto the page. For these young writers, there are some exciting opportunities to delve deeper into their passion. If you are one of these writers, or if you know a teen who is passionate about writing, take a look at the events coming up this fall and in 2016 and mark your calendars!
Aside from the longer events in the link above, many communities have short writing workshops for teens through libraries, schools, or local writers’ organizations. Here in Houston, we have many such events. One organization here that offers the most classes for teens is Writespace. For instance, on August 6 & 13 from 12:30-3:00 PM, Writespace will be offering a class in two parts: Young Writers Fiction Workshop (Ages 14-19) with Sara Rolater.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, I’ve added a new section to my website to highlight writing conferences and camps for teens. While researching this, I came across a website devoted to teen writers, Teens Can Write, Too. These innovative young writers have teamed up with Chapter One to host their own one-day conference in Illinois. I won’t usually be posting one-day events that occur outside the Houston area; there are just too many! But I had to share this one. Here’s the deets:
Soon, I will be adding another page to my website that focuses on writing workshops for younger kids. Meanwhile, I will be adding local events of this sort to my regular Tuesday events post. And we have one this week!
In partnership with the City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance and Houston Public Libraries, WITS offers the Discovery Green Workshops—For one hour WITS writers explore imaginative writing exercises. WITS provides all necessary materials. No registration is required, and walk-ins are welcome.
Do you take your fiction with a side of aliens, superheroes, dragons, or witches? Then this is the workshop for you! This course will provide an overview of the SFF genre. Together we will consider those elements of writing which are crucial to crafting compelling speculative stories, such as building our own worlds, extrapolating the fantastic from reality, and creating compelling non-human characters. In addition to discussing classic and contemporary SFF works, you will participate in writing exercises and bring in your own work for critique. Come to class prepared to write and discuss, and by the end of the four weeks, you will have completed at least one SFF short story.
World Building is often classified as something exclusive to authors of speculative fiction but the truth is that every time a work of fiction is crafted, an entire world is written into being. While writers of fantasy and science fiction will also benefit from this workshop, writers of any genre stand to gain from examining the world in which their characters live and how they interact with it. Futurists look to tomorrow by examining society, technology, economics, environment, and politics, and in this workshop we shall look at the relationship between these topics as they relate to your plot and characters.
"Greetings from the Road"
The cover I did for Casey and April TMNT is out in the wild~!
If you hunt for it at the comic store, ask for the Casey and April Mini series #2 Subscription cover.
Today is the day for a brand new book. So stay awhile and have a look. We promise there's more in this post as well. But those are things we cannot tell.
Okay, that is silly, we know you know, too. Today we are sharing a book revew! It's from Oh the Thinks You Can Think and it's just down below. Go on, take a peek! No, not with your toe. Did you see? Did you see? What all those Thinks could be? Well don't stop there, we have more to share!
We have pictures and sayings and a special something you'll love (we bet)! It's a giveaway of What Pet Should I Get? Sorry we ruined that almost-surprise. But now it's time to show your eyes. Say eyes, eyes, my two eyes, I want to see YABC's surprise! So today is the day, you're off and away, to celebrate Seuss, the very best way!!
Oh the Thinks You Can Think!
Reviewed by Kayla King
Oh the Thinks You Can Think! is one of those lovely little children’s books that is able to cross time and space and years to mean just as much to the adults who read it. In this whimsical world filled with classic Dr. Seuss nonsense, there is a message that YOU CAN THINK! You can imagine, which means all of us, young or old, can think and wonder and imagine, too!
The illustrations within this book are just as fantastic as one would expect from Dr. Seuss. The colors range from the pinkest pinks to the bluest blues and even some pages shrouded in darkness. All at once, the pages are silly until suddenly, they become very serious. They tell us to “think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!”
Now, in a media-obsessed world, it’s nice to know that along with the tweets we can tweet there are also thinks we can think. Maybe some of those THINKS will exist in 140 characters or less. But maybe they will build the next wonder of the world or write the next great novel or save mankind with a tremendous thought ready to become a real-life Think.
Dr. Seuss’s Oh the Thinks You Can Think! is a tale that reminds us all that we have the power to create whatever we want using only our minds. It’s really that simple. And hey, if we can “think about Kitty O’Sullivan Krauss in her big balloon swimming pool over her house,” then the sky is the limit (for both Kitty and us, too!) and anything is possible!
So thank you Dr. Seuss, for teaching us that we can think and think and think and never run out of Thinks! Maybe they will become real and we can keep them close by. Maybe they will even become house pets! Who knows, right? We need only THINK!
All About Dr. Seuss!
Theodor “Seuss” Geisel is one of the most beloved children’s book authors of all time. His long list of awards includes Caldecott Honors for McElligot’s Pool, If I Ran the Zoo, and Bartholomew and the Oobleck, the Pulitzer Prize, and eight honorary doctorates. Works based on his original stories have won three Oscars, three Emmys, three Grammys and a Peabody. Geisel wrote and illustrated 45 books during his lifetime, and his books have sold more than 650 million copies worldwide. Though Theodor Geisel died on September 24, 1991, Dr. Seuss lives on, inspiring generations of children of all ages to explore the joys of reading. For more information about Dr. Seuss and his works, visit Seussville.com.
Now it's time for that brand new book! No need to wait, have a looK!
In the Fall of 2013, an original manuscript with accompanying sketches by Dr. Seuss, aka Ted Geisel, was discovered in the La Jolla, California home of the late beloved children’s author. That complete manuscript was for the picture book, WHAT PET SHOULD I GET?, andwill be published by Random House Children’s Books on July 28, 2015. It is the first original new Dr. Seuss book since the publication of the last book of Dr. Seuss’s career, Oh, the Places You’ll Go! in 1990. WHAT PET SHOULD I GET? captures the excitement of a classic childhood moment—choosing a pet—and features the brother and sister characters that Dr. Seuss drew in One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish.
What an invigorating weekend here on the Simmons College campus, as current students, alums, authors, illustrators, teachers, librarians, academics, booksellers, book lovers, etc., etc., etc., came together for the 2015 Summer Children’s Literature Institute: Homecoming. Some highlights are below, and in no particular order. We know. We tried to make it brief. But we just couldn’t. Sorry not sorry.
Though Michelle H. Martin, who’d taught the longer Symposium class, was unfortunately unable to attend the weekend Institute, Cathie Mercier, director of the Center for the Study of Children’s Literature at Simmons College, read a brief message from Michelle and then opened the floor to her students, who stepped up and opened the Institute with a glimpse into the work they’d done in her class. We heard astute comparisons between seemingly disparate books, and more about those books’ reflections of home. It was a reminder of the depth of analysis that’s common here at Simmons, and should have been required listening for anyone with any doubts that children’s literature is a serious field of study.
Bright and early on Saturday morning, Vicky Smith, children’s and teen editor at Kirkus Reviews, moderated a panel with illustrators Shadra Strickland, Hyewon Yum, and David Hyde Costello, citing images of home from each panelist’s work and asking about the thoughts behind the images. We learned that Shadra feels it’s important to show children of color in happy, whimsical settings; that Hyewon remembers leaving home to start school but now identifies more with the mother being left at home; and that David thought hardest about a minor character in Little Pig Joins the Band. All three illustrators’ work had enough images of home — some comforting and some unsettling — to drive home (ha!) the importance, especially in childhood, of having a familiar place to return to.
I attended several of the Master Seminars that were offered throughout the weekend. Lauren Rizzuto’s seminar examined the politics of sentiment in children’s literature, and the valuing of emotion both within texts and in response to texts. Amy Pattee borrowed Cathie’s impossible and totally unfair often-difficult exercise of asking those present to divide themselves into those who emphasize books and those who emphasize readers. From those perspectives, we examined some critically successful books and some that were popular in terms of sales, and discussed what each metric values. Jeannine Atkins shared some thoughts about what makes a verse novel work, offering specific, technical advice as well as larger observations. I left Lauren’s seminar feeling a bit more justified in my own feelings of affection toward literary characters; Amy’s with a greater understanding of how my bookselling past informs my thinking; and Jeannine’s with a few ideas of my own.
Joan Tieman, Susan Bloom, and Barbara Harrison at the post-lecture reception.
On Friday night Barbara Harrison and Gregory Maguire turned the Mary Nagel Sweetser Lecture into a two-voice, three-act play about a subject dear to many of our hearts: the Center for the Study of Children’s Literature at Simmons College. Harrison, the Center’s founder, and Maguire, its first graduate, performed the story of how they got here and how the Center developed. That story, of course, included quotes from quite a few children’s books, words that many of us at Simmons have heard echoing in our ears. Between that and the photos of some familiar faces in bygone years, it was quite the multimedia presentation, and struck a chord with many in the audience.
On Saturday night Jack Gantos gave the most straightforward presentation I’d ever heard from him. It took us back to his childhood home; climbed stairs and trudged through snow to his writing home at the Boston Athenaeum; and scrawled its way through his writing process, but there were no leaps this time to, say, a hypothetical mausoleum. Instead, he connected his thoughts back to the idea of home so relentlessly, the repetition was almost as big a joke as the other actual jokes peppered throughout the speech. Jack Gantos can home in on one idea…who knew?
On Sunday morning M. T. Anderson recalled his adventurous travels abroad, featuring miscommunications that resulted from his learned-from-opera French and a fight with feral cats over a poorly prepared chicken. He realized it might be easier to instead write about places he’d never seen and extrapolate based on books and maps, an epiphany that resulted in the highly creative version of Delaware that appears in some of his books. We were even treated to his rendition of Delaware’s anthem.
Roger Sutton talks with Bryan Collier.
Friday morning, Bryan Collier, in conversation with Roger — and both in snappy bow ties! — talked about his Maryland hometown (and the chicken farms that he knew were not a part of his future plans). Growing up he was an athlete but also an artist. He didn’t know any other artists, so he left home to find some. The prolific illustrator talked about the work ethic involved in creating art, and he compared creativity to a body of water: some people dip in a toe, some wade in, and others will “jump off a cliff, backwards.” “What do you do when you feel like you’re drowning?” asked Roger. “Trust it. Surrender,” he said. (And speaking of liquids: later I was sitting next to Bryan, in his slick beige suit, and terrified I’d spill my iced coffee on him. Didn’t happen. Phew!)
“Tall, dark, and handsome” Newbery winner Kwame Alexander.
Horn Book intern Alex introduced 2015 Newbery Award winner (for The Crossover, like I had to tell you that) Kwame Alexander to the crowd, forgetting the salient point — as the man himself was quick to point out — “Kwame Alexander is tall, dark, and handsome.” He is also an amazing speaker, as everyone who was at this year’s CSK Breakfast and Newbery-Caldecott Banquet already knows, both hypnotizing the audience with his confident flow of words and keeping them on their toes, with brains a-buzzing (there was some audience participation involved).
Rita Williams-Garcia. And yes she is (see quote above).
And how do you follow a speech that is by turns hilarious, heart-breaking, thought-provoking, swoon-worthy (those ladies at church never had a chance), eye-opening, electric, improvisatory…etc. etc.? First, with a standing ovation. Then with a talk by Rita Williams-Garcia, who talked to…herself. Williams-Garcia played the parts of both present-day Rita and thirty-three-year-old (“the age of Jesus”) Rita, discussing her work, her views, her past, future, and in-between times. She talked about the effect The Horn Book’s words had on her — “Rita Williams-Gracia may well turn out to be among the most prominent African-American literary artists of the next generation” — and her evolving thoughts on book awards, who-can-write-for-whom?, and the n-word. It was moving. And deep. And we don’t even mind that Big Ma wasn’t based on a real person.
Editor Neal Porter and artist Laura Vaccaro Seeger (whose art was on display in Simmons’s Trustman Gallery all weekend) took us, step by step, through her creative process — with the added bonus that we also got an illuminating glimpse into their working relationship. They shared (mostly late-night) emails, the journals in which Laura loosely brainstorms ideas (but retroactively goes back and gives tables of contents — she’s a born organizer, apparently), and how three of her picture books came to be: Green; a new book coming out this September called I Used to Be Afraid; and a work in progress, a companion to Green called Blue. As usual, their affection and respect for each other permeated the presentation, whether Laura was demonstrating the challenges of using die-cuts or Neal was exhorting the value of the printed picture book. To paraphrase: No one has yet come up with a more efficient format for telling a story in words and pictures than a picture book you can hold in your hand. It’s all about the page turns, and swiping through an e-book doesn’t provide that. (And his analogy — something about slapping an iPad with a dead fish in order to “page” through a picture book? — is pretty hard to get out of your mind.)
Molly Idle, an artist from age three.
Molly Idle doesn’t write presentation notes, but she doesn’t need to — charming, high-energy, and insightful, she captivated the crowd. (One tweet read, “I think everyone here has a crush on Molly Idle right now. I know I do” to which Molly herself replied, “It’s a mutual admiration society. :)” How great is that?) She talked about her trajectory from animation to illustration, how becoming an illustrator felt like a kind of homecoming, and the logistics of sharing studio space with her family. I was lucky enough to get to pick her brain about how illustration is like dance — “If you could just say it, you wouldn’t need to draw it!” — at dinner afterwards.
Moving from commune to commune during her childhood, Emily Jenkins (a.k.a. E. Lockhart) found home in books and in shared reading experiences that represented stability in her otherwise uprooted life. As a result of her nomadic upbringing, she came to believe that home is not a nostalgic place to return to (i.e., your parents’ house) but rather something you make for yourself every day. She went on to examine some fascinating examples of literary independent children, such as Pippi Longstocking and the Boxcar Children, and how they create home for themselves. Emily closed with a moving passage from her book Toys Come Home:
“Why are we here?” asks Plastic.
“We are here,” says StingRay, “for each other.”
Of course we are.
Of course we are here for each other.
Elaine Dimopoulos, debut author of fashion-meets-dystopian novel Material Girls, is really super smart. (She’s also a grad school classmate and good friend of mine, so I am probably a little bit biased. But even Emily Jenkins says Elaine is “crazy smart.”) Elaine discussed the ways that the traditional narrative structures of home–away–home (for younger kids’ fiction) and home–away (for YA) are no longer realistic, and offered some solutions to help writers get grown-ups out of the picture and allow child/teen characters some breathing room. Elaine also told us the story of how, as a Simmons grad student, she introduced speaker M. T. Anderson at the 2005 Summer Institute (and how it changed her life), as well as a little about being a Writer in Residence at the BPL.
And that was it! You know, just all that. There was a wrap-up by Cathie and Megan Dowd Lambert, and everyone went *home* (or wherever), recharged, refreshed, rejuvenated. For a recap in verse (and in homage), check out Shoshana’s “Good Night, Paresky Room.”
Tiny Dancer is an ACEO or "Artist, Cards, Editions, Originals" and the only rule for them is that they're 2.5" x 3.5". ACEO's can be any medium but just need to be that size. There are lots of ACEO sites. More of my artwork can be seen on my website and my Etsy shop
If you're a watercolorist or just someone who likes dappling in watercolor, and you would like to join this site and share your work, send me a link to your blog or website in a comment, and I'll add you to the site.
With apologies to Margaret Wise Brown, a recap of Homecoming inspired by the homiest book of them all.
In the Paresky room,
there were tweeting phones
and thought balloons
with pictures of
the places we’ve dwelt, and with whom.
There were dogs and bears,1 and familiar chairs,
and pulses2 that quicken at art, not at chickens.
Home, and publishing house,3
and a pig and his spouse,4
and a book-signing rush, and the impulse to gush,
and a dean in her teacher voice begging us, “Hush.”
Thank you room
with hallowed aura.
Thank you silent, dancing Flora.5
Thank you artists who fuss and fuss.6
Thank you authors who board the bus.7
Thank you Rita
and thank you Rita.8
Thank you fashion
and thank you passion.9
Thank you shelves
that locate selves.10
Thank you Jack, who kept to theme.11
Thank you Tobin’s Delaware dream.12
The stories of Simmons could fill quite a tome.13
We’re clicking our heels, for there’s no place like home.
1. and Laura Vaccaro Seeger
2. like Bryan Collier’s
3. such as Neal Porter Books
4. David Hyde Costello’s example of casual porcine diversity
5. created by the delightfully talkative Molly Idle
6. including but not limited to Hyewon Yum
7. led by Kwame Alexander
8. Rita Williams-Garcia, age 33, and Rita Williams-Garcia, age 58, who held an enlightening conversation
9. and thank you Elaine Dimopoulos, who has both
10. because, as Emily Jenkins put it, “Home is where you keep your books”
11. Jack Gantos brings home the record for use of the word “home.”
12. M. T. Anderson’s version of Delaware may have involved some imagination
13. Or a three-act play performed by Barbara Harrison and Gregory Maguire
“Every afternoon, as they were coming from school, the children used to go and play in the Giant’s garden. It was a large lovely garden, with soft green grass. …”
Because Lisbeth Zwerger has always been one of my favorite illustrators, including one of the artists who made me want to study children’s literature, and because seeing her artwork improves the very quality of my day (and yours, I hope), I have a bit of art today from Oscar Wilde’s The Selfish Giant, as illustrated by Zwerger.
Zwerger originally illustrated this story back in 1984, but Minedition has released a new edition (April of this year). In fact, it’s called a “mini-Minedition,” because the book has a tiny trim size.
“The Selfish Giant” is Oscar Wilde’s classic short story, first published in 1888 in Wilde’s own collection of original fairy tales, The Happy Prince and Other Tales. The story itself is a heavily didactic Christian allegory, all about a giant whose garden is visited by neighboring children, while the giant is away. The children play in the garden, unbeknownst to the stingy man (depicted as a very tall man in Zwerger’s version), and when he discovers them, he shoos them away — only to discover afterwards that his garden is dying. It’s a curious little fairy tale, and now I can’t help but think of Jacqueline Woodson’sBrown Girl Dreaming every time I read it. In her memoir, Woodson she writes about the impact this story made on her as a girl:
The first time my teacher reads the story to the class
I cry all afternoon, and am still crying
when my mother gets home from work that evening. …
(I hope that quote is accurate, as I loaned my copy of the book to a dear friend, but I am fairly certain, thanks to the internet, that the above is correct.)
Zwerger’s illustrations are restrained and lyrical and, as always, graceful. Here are a few more.
“The only people who were pleased were the Snow and the Frost. ‘Spring has forgotten this garden,’ they cried,’ so we will live here all the year round.’ The Snow covered up the grass with her great white cloak, and the Frost painted all the tree silver. Then they invited the North Wind to stay with them, and he came. …”
“And when the people were going to market at twelve o’clock they found the Giant playing with the children in the most beautiful garden they had ever seen. …”
“And the child smiled on the Giant, and said to him, ‘You let me play once in your garden, today you shall come with me to my garden, which is Paradise.’ And when the children ran in that afternoon, they found the Giant lying dead under the tree, all covered with white blossoms.”
At last, the long winding tale exhausts itself... leaving the theatre empty and the lights gone dim. To those valiant readers who wintered over and endured the endless gales of verbiage, I offer my gratitude. ------------------------------------------- Life on West 78th Street was sketched neatly along the lines of Stuart Little or some old Jack Lemmon movie. I remember watching all the people bustling off to work in the mornings... through the dappled morning sunlight of the trees. You could smell the perfume of the secretaries and hear the click of their high heels on the pavement. There was the Dublin Harp bar on 81st street in the evenings... quiet, tasteful... full of opera buffs.
And never a dull minute in New York City. New York always steals the show.
Like the night at 3 am to be awoken by jackhammering in the street directly outside the window. JACKHAMMERING at 3 am??? And then, when dawn finally broke, the guy in a hardhat poked up in his hole in the middle of the street... sipping his morning coffee and looking as much like a groundhog as a person!
Or the time in the middle of one of those monster snowstorms, when the city was buried under a mountain of impossible snow. Only in New York would you see the traffic cop struggling on foot from car to car, digging holes down into each mound of snow to find the windshield to put on a ticket for an ‘opposite side of the street parking’ violation!
The three strangest sights I ever saw in Manhattan:
1) Early one morning, I came climbing up the stairs from a subway to encounter a surreal street full of dusty elephants silently shuffling along down 34th street on their way to the circus. Never seen anything like that before or since!
2) One bright spring day around 57th street and Lexington I came across a city street gushing deep with crystal clear water. Instead of the usual asphalt there was a sparkling, foot deep fountain of clear water filling the entire street. It looked exactly like an alpine river from the Rockies had issued forth... unreal. The sunlight reflecting through the water was entrancing.
3) One day in Central Park I saw the only smoking jogger I’ve ever encountered. An elegant old queen with an ash tray in one hand was shuffling along in a purple velour jumpsuit. All the while with the most wicked sort of grin... he probably enjoyed being the only smoking jogger on planet earth. Only in New York.
Of course New York City had it's dark side...
I mean Manhattan is an exciting, but it’s tough to live there. New York was a world behind glass. You could look at treasures behind glass, but you can't touch them. The lure of the West Coast was calling. I suppose I needed a trip out of Manhattan by then anyhow, call it a vacation or whatever - but just staying there seemed too hard.
I guess I'm really a Westerner at heart. I have to have snow capped mountains in view.
We’d spend hours in the Museum of Natural History sitting in front of this one particular diorama with elk in the Flat Top Mountains in White River National Forest in Colorado. It almost hurt sometimes to sit there and just wish I could hear the river rustling and smell the sage and the campfire smoke. So we packed up and headed west. On the way we stopped for a much needed two week camping trip in the Rockies.
It was exactly what we needed to unwind and relax in the sun. Echo Park in Dinosaur National Monument... Rocky Mountain National Park... and we even made a point of searching out the exact spot of that museum diorama in the Flat Top Mountains in White River National Forest. We came close to the exact spot... but I think the artist must have fudged a few details, since we couldn’t get it to line up exactly.
We returned to New York the following September... but this time to Dobbs Ferry, in Westchester. It was quiet and leafy and much more live-able than Manhattan. That's where I put down roots as an illustrator, living in a wonderful old house built in 1840 overlooking the Hudson, with the most wonderful and eccentric landlord... a sculptor and art history professor and his wife, a photographer. But that's another story. It was the land of Sleepy Hollow, winding roads through the trees, historic estates of the robber barons, the Hudson River line to Grand Central.
But after four years in Dobbs Ferry, the West kept calling. I was homesick for snow capped peaks, rain forests, desert canyons, sagebrush, the cool green Pacific... for wild places without hardly any people. I dreamed of Seattle, the proletariat paradise... or so it seemed... sailboats, coffee shops, mossy sidewalks and ferns. I subscribed to a neighborhood Seattle paper, which is the worst possible thing to do when you're homesick.
Anyhow, by now I had an agent... and FedEx made it possible to live anywhere. So my New York days were over.
All in all I got to be all misty eyed and choked up when I think about New York City and how it makes the All American dream come true for ragged immigrants who arrive on her shores with no more than a dream. All those cliches about ‘If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere’ and ‘Welcome your homeless, your destitute and all that’- I loved every minute of it. I arrived destitute with my own little dream and some talent... and it all came true for me. Thanks Manhattan!
I'd been a New Yorker for 5 years... it was everything I'd hoped it would be. But things move on. Amazingly I haven’t been back once ever since, even though I left decades ago. I never seem to go back to places. Life got in the way. And, after 10 years I began to realize that they NEVER send illustrators on business trips. Never, Ever, Never. Did I mention they never send illustrators on business trips?
I've always envied people who get to go out in the world and travel as part of their work. I just stay at home and the work comes to me and I make my own little worlds. Of course since the internet arrived, it's all kind of one big electronic village.
I've heard people tell me that my editors and art directors will be glad to see me - but somehow I can only remember how when I was in NYC everyone was always too busy to see me or even remember who I was. So I've never gone back. I send postcards instead.
Anyhow, that was my tiny tale of triumph & tribulation... I'm sure everyone's got one that's just about the same, so thanks for reading mine!
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Veronica Bartles and family are due to move back to Maryland this August. While on a trip back to Maryland to check on their home, Veronica discovered some pipes had burst. There was water damage to the entire house, and it was overtaken with mold. The insurance company won’t cover any of the damage because the damage wasn’t found soon enough, voiding the policy.
Veronica Bartles has been a vital part of our local chapter of SCBWI for the last few years. She and her family are facing not only a move but an enormous financial responsibility in repairing their home. On their own. Emily Moore has arranged an auction to raise money for the Bartles family, and I’ve donated an ARC of Blue Birds and a finished copy of Over in the Wetlands. Opening bids start at $10. If you are a writer, there are a variety of other items that will interest you, from critiques to phone consultations with writers and agents.
Emotional wounds hold incredible power, steering a hero’s motives, actions, and beliefs. They damage their sense of self worth, filter how they view the world, and dictate how they interact with other people, making it harder for them to achieve their goals. So what exactly is a wound?
An emotional wound is a painful past event so emotionally damaging that it changes who your character is. This negative experience triggers a psychological reaction: the need to protect oneself from further emotional hurt. This need is so great that behaviors change, new negative traits (flaws) form as the character dons emotional armor to create a wall between himself and others. The idea of experiencing this kind of emotional trauma again becomes a deep fear, one he will do anything to avoid.
Because wounds act as a devastating emotional blow caused when one is in a vulnerable state, they often involve the people closest to the protagonist. Family or caregivers, lovers or friends. Betrayals, injustice, neglect, isolation or disillusionment are all common themes that lay fertile ground for hurt, mistrust and the desire to avoid situations where that same pain might reoccur.
Like in real life, characters suffer many different smaller wounds throughout their lives, but the “wounding event” that factors into your character’s internal arc should be symbolic of the false belief they must reject in order to become whole once more. This false belief is known as “the Lie” the character believes about themselves as a result of the emotional wound. Let me show this through an example.
Let’s say our main character is Tim, a teenager who was turned over to Foster Care at age ten (Wound). His parents were alcoholics and neglectful. As a result, when he enters the foster system, he is mistrustful, uncommunicative and moody. Because of his parents’ abandonment, he believes that he’s defective, that he’s not worth loving (The Lie he believes about himself because of the wound).
Tim stays with families who provide the essentials to live but no love or affection. This suits him after what he went through. He keeps his emotional armor on, keeping people at a distance, because he’ll just be moving on in a month or year, and getting attached means getting hurt. However, as Tim is fostered out for the fourth time, something changes. His foster family shows genuine interest in him and they work at trying to pull him out of his shell. There is another child there, a foster child who was adopted the year before. Hope enters the picture…could this somehow be different?
At this point, Tim must make a CHOICE (as all protagonists must.) If he continues to keep his emotional wall in place (using his flaws of mistrust, moodiness and an uncommunicative nature to keep people from getting close) he will not forge a bond that will make him part of the family. But if he is able to move past his wound (fear of neglect/abandonment) and open up to this family to receive and give love, he might at long last get his happy ever after.
This is what character arc is all about: growth. Learning to let go of the past, learning to see The Lie for what it is, and moving forward free from one’s fears. Once a character can let go of the past, they can find the strength to achieve their goals, finding happiness and fulfillment.
Are you wondering what's new in YA today? Check out these wonderful new releases!
From critically acclaimed writer Paul Griffin comes a fast-paced young adult novel about five very different teens lost at sea with no one to count on but each other.
Matt and John are best friends working out in Montauk for the summer. When Driana, JoJo and Stef invite the boys to their Hamptons mansion, Matt and John find themselves in a sticky situation where temptation rivals sensibility. The newfound friends head out into the Atlantic after midnight in a stolen boat. None of them come back whole, and not all of them come back.
*To see reviews and find links to buy this book, goHERE!
What do you do with your last day on earth?
Just over twenty-four hours are left until an asteroid strikes North America, and for Emerson and everyone else who didn’t leave, the world will end. But Emerson’s world already ended when she ran away from home. Since then, she has lived on the streets, relying on her wits and on her friend Vince to help her find places to sleep and food to eat.
The city’s quieter now that most people are gone, and no one seems to know what to do as the end approaches. But then Emerson and Vince meet Carl, who tells them he has been granting people’s wishes — and gives them his wallet full of money.
Suddenly, this last day seems full of possibility. Emerson and Vince can grant a lot of wishes in one last day — maybe even their own.
*To see reviews and find links to buy this book, goHERE!
Lesson #1: You come for me, I come back even harder for you. Fair exchange. No robberies.
Isis Carter got schooled early on in surviving the streets. When some girls put a beatdown on her, she took back what was hers. When her brother was killed and her mom, Queenie, bailed, Isis fought to stay strong. And when her dad abandoned her for his new family, sixteen-year-old Isis buried the hurt by looking out for herself—and hookin’ up with bad boy Fresh…until a run-in with the law shatters Isis’s world and threatens to destroy her future.
Now the only person Isis can rely on is herself…until her secret crush K-Rock steps in. But when Isis lets her guard down, will she be given a second chance to get her life straight or will it cost her everything?
*To see reviews and find links to buy this book, goHERE!
This electrifying conclusion to the Nevermore trilogy takes one last trip to the dream world of Edgar Allan Poe to reveal the intertwined fates of Isobel and Varen.
The boundaries which divide Life from Death are at best shadowy and vague. Who shall say where the one ends, and where the other begins? —Edgar Allan Poe
The fine line between life and death blurred long ago for Isobel Lanley. After a deadly confrontation with Varen in the dreamworld, she’s terrified to return to that desolate and dangerous place. But when her nightmares resume, bleeding into reality, she is left with no choice. Varen’s darkness is catching up to her. To everything. Threatening to devour it all.
Isobel fears for her world. For her sanity and Varen’s—especially after a fresh and devastating loss. To make matters worse, the ghostly demon Lilith wants Varen for her own, and she will do anything to keep him in her grasp—anything.
Can Isobel ever find her happy ending? Worlds collide and fates are sealed in this breathtaking finale to the Nevermore trilogy.
*To see reviews and find links to buy this book, goHERE!
Two sisters. A war. And the wish to end regret. . . . The magical, evocative follow-up to The Fire Wish.
The war: The lies that started the conflict are in the open now, but the war between the humans and the jinn is as bitter as ever—and becoming far more treacherous.
The sisters: Najwa and Zayele have just learned they’re half-jinni, half-human twins. Najwa is now the jinni representative at the human palace, working to bring peace. But her new role comes at a price—she’s no longer allowed alone with her cherished Prince Kamal. And as Zayele adjusts to life among the jinn, she discovers that she’s a magus, one of the most powerful jinn in the Cavern. Suddenly, she’s thrown into special training, and the strongest young men in the army are competing to be paired up with her.
The wish: Once again, Zayele makes a wish. A wish that she doesn’t think can possibly go wrong. A wish that neither sister could imagine would change the outcome of the war.
*To see reviews and find links to buy this book, goHERE!
In an abandoned house, the ghosts gather. They argue, they laugh, and they tell their stories. Some tell their own stories, some tell stories they have heard elsewhere. Some of them are true, some are not. But each tale draws you closer.
One by one, the storytellers depart, until suddenly it’s just you and the narrator, alone in the dark…
*To see reviews and find links to buy this book, goHERE!
If there are any new YA books we missed, let us know in the comments below, and we'll add them to the list!
You are looking at one of my favorite series. I just love the Airborn series by Kenneth Oppel. I booktalk them, I re-read them, I have them displayed in prominent places in my library. When I have a reader looking for something different I hand them one of these books. But here's where it ends. I have tried and tried to read other books by Kenneth Oppel and I just can't get into them! It makes me so sad because I really love Airborn--I adore Matt Cruse and the story line is very cool. By the third book the romance it super sweet. This is an awesome series. I really wish I could get into a few of his other series.
Has this happen to you? Is there an author that has one book or series you love but other books that you haven't gotten into?
The Book of Lost Tales. J.R.R. Tolkien. 1983/1992. 345 pages. [Source: Library]
Did I enjoy reading The Book of Lost Tales, Part One? Yes and no. I'll try my best to explain why. First, The Book of Lost Tales traces Tolkien's writings about Middle Earth from the very beginnings. Many of these stories and poems (yes, poems) date from around the first World War. Tolkien sets up a framework for his fantasy stories. A man, Eriol, stumbles across The Cottage of Lost Play, and, meets a bunch of storytellers essentially. Tolkien's mythology is at its earliest and in some ways its weakest. It was interesting to read these early pieces, in a way, to see the origins of what would become a great fantasy. And a handful of these stories can be seen--to a certain degree--in what would be published as The Silmarillion. I'll be honest though, I preferred the more-polished stories of The Silmarillion. One does learn that Tolkien kept working and working and working and working on some of these stories. That this mythology was always a work in progress. From the first version of the story to the latest version of the story, they'd be BIG changes. Other stories he edited or rewrote perhaps only two or three times, and then almost sort of forgot about. Some stories he never finished at all. I believe there is at least one unfinished story in The Book of Lost Tales. Since I've started reading the introduction to the Book of Lost Tales, Part Two, I might be slightly confused. But. Generally speaking, what readers are being "treated" to is fragments, captured moments of his early writings.
In addition to reading Tolkien's own work, one also is privileged to read Christopher Tolkien's commentaries on the stories included. At first I had my doubts that commentaries would be interesting. But I can say that without the commentaries, the stories themselves wouldn't make much cohesive sense. So I was quickly proven wrong!
But as interesting as I found it. (And I didn't mind the poetry, by the way) I can't say that I "loved" it or found it wonderful or thrilling. I'm undecided on if I'll continue on with Book of Lost Tales Part Two.
This book needs to be in every classroom and library in the world. This is a heart-breaking but very inspiring story of a little Pakistani girl named Malala who was called by God to make a difference in the world. In her country the Taliban...
"A group of fundamentalist Sunni Muslim militants living today mostly between Afghanistan and Pakistan. The word Taliban means 'students' in Pashto, a name used because many of the original members studied in Pakistan reglious schools called madrassas."
...terrorized the citizens and forbade girl's the right to have an education.
"But the Taliban leaders who controlled the area were against letting girls go to school. They declared that females should be separated from the males. They wanted to outlaw education for girls. They also tried to force woman to wear garments called burqas to cover their entire bodies and faces."
Malala and her father defied their orders but daily the Taliban grew stronger and imposed more rules on the oppressed, terrified people. Their threats did not stop the father and daughter. They spoke to clubs, wrote letters to newspapers, and called journalists about their plight. Could it get any worse, this bullying and intimidation by the Taliban? Would girl's be banned for going to school and learning forever? Would Malala and her dad's lives be in danger because of their resistance to the Taliban orders?
Malala would not be silenced and was asked by the BBC to blog about the schools closing and the girls being banned from attending. She was defiant and adamant not to give up her mission and that her voice would not be silenced even though there was incredible danger all around her.
Unfortunately one day while on her school bus men from the Taliban came on board, demanded to know who Malala was, and then shot her in the face believing this would silence her once and for all. But fortunately she did not die. She was quickly transported to a local hospital by the bus driver and then because she was in such serious condition had to be airlifted to England for more intensive specialist care and many, many surgeries.
Malala survived her terrible, frightening ordeal and because of her bravery and unbroken spirit to carry on with her message of hope for children to receive an education around the world...
"On July 12, 2013, she delivered a speech before world leaders at the United Nations. "
Malala become the co-recipient of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize for her struggle against suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to an education. She now lives in Birmingham, England and she and her father continue to speak out.
She also started an organization to fund education in countries like Pakistan. She promises to continue to work toward 'peace in every home' and 'education for every boy and every girl in the world.' This book is excellent and I highly recommend it.
About the author...
Rebecca Langston-George is a middle school language arts teacher who also trains teachers in writing instruction. Her articles, poetry and puzzles have appeared in many children’s magazines. When she’s not at the keyboard Rebecca volunteers for the local chapter of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). She is also a past president of the Kern Reading Association. The granddaughter of a fabulous flapper, Rebecca lives in Bakersfield, California.
Read on and read always! It's a wrap. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Did you know I used to play piano? Yup - ten years of lessons. But it's been about 15 years since I've had the chance to play. Here at Hollins, President Gray was kind enough to loan me a book of music - Clementi's Sonatinas, which I grew up playing. It was hard to find a window, but I finally did and I played Clementi for about a half hour. The truth is, I was horrible. But the good news is I didn't forget everything and enjoyed myself immensely. I wonder if I'll have access to pianos in Edinburgh? CLICK HERE for more coloring pages! 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.
Here's my updated SCBWI Conference Advice post for first-timers (as well as a challenge for the many-timers):
If you're a conference newbie who is nervous, I encourage you to browse my SCBWI Conference Newbie comics. I created these when I was a nervous newbie as well! So many people think I'm an extrovert, but I'm actually very much an introvert and was terrified (to the point of sweating palms, pounding heart, hating the idea of having go up and introduce myself over and over) about attending my first regular SCBWI conference back in 2009.
(Edit re: above comic: I did end up meeting Jay at the conference and he was really nice! And he didn't mention his Amazon ranking EVEN ONCE! Heh.)
Don't get offended or disheartened if people you've met before don't remember you.
This is something I've learned from both sides. As a 2nd- and 3rd-timer (and so on), I've sometimes gone up to a person or group I've met and had my confidence deflated when it becomes clear they don't remember me at ALL from the previous year. My inner reactions ranged from embarrassment, humiliation, irritation, frustration and even brief anger ("I guess I'm just NOT IMPORTANT enough for xxx to remember!! Hmph.").
Having attended many times now, I've learned the following:
- I'm terrible at remembering people unless I've had multiple conversations or interactions with the same person.
- Even then, especially if I'm tired or am in a noisy crowd (remember what I said earlier about being an introvert?) or have met many new people in a row just before, I may still forget having met someone before.
I still accidentally re-introduce myself to people whom I've met before, sometimes whom I've met EARLIER IN THE CONVENTION. I'm always horribly embarrassed when this happens.
Make sure your name badge is easily visible.
As Lee Wind points out in his helpful SCBWI blog post, having your name badge visible even at dinner or drinks afterward is an obvious visual clue to others that you're part of the tribe, and helps them remember your name as well. You can stash a few business cards in the back so they're handy.
Also, when I approach someone whom I've met before but with whom I don't have constant contact, I usually try saying something that will help remind them of our mutual context, or remind them of having met at xxx. Until I'm sure they actually do remember me, I try very hard NOT to put them on the spot (e.g. I don't say, "So, what did you think of my most recent post?" etc.).
When someone does this to me (subtly or unsubtly :-) setting the context and helping me remember), I immediately feel more at ease with them and am more likely to want to chat with them in the future.
Another tip: if someone DOES remember you, never assume that they're up-to-date on all your exciting news. I've had the occasional person react badly when they realize I'm not aware of their new book ("?? But I posted it all over Facebook!") I never assume anyone reads all my posts or keeps up with all my news. People have busy lives and different priorities.
Something else I've learned: even so-called Big Name authors, illustrators, editors, art directors and agents can be insecure. I am faaaar from being a Big Name, but having had a bit more experience at conference-going now, I also realize how some of the Big Name types who seemed standoffish to me actually weren't.
Be gracious, be forgiving and try very hard to assume the best about a person rather than the worst.
And I apologize ahead of time if I don't remember your name or re-introduce myself. :-\
And here some tips for first-timers who feel nervous about attending for the first time, or are normally very shy or introverted and dread the idea of having to meet a lot of new people:
1. Be brave and make the first move. You'd be surprised at how many other attendees feel exactly the same way as you do. Introduce yourself to people you sit beside, stand in line with, notice standing alone.
2. TAKE BUSINESS CARDS. Yes, even if you aren't published yet. We're all going to meet a lot of people over the weekend, and taking away a business card from an encounter or introduction will help the people you meet remember you. If you're an illustrator, take postcards or make sure a sample of illustration style is on your business card.
3. Be sociable. Don't just attend the keynotes and scheduled workshops. Check out the informal activities listed in your program, like Yoga with Lori Snyder, the LGBTQ Q&A, the Illustrator Social, Nonfiction Social, International Member Social, Peer Group Critiques with Jim Averbeck, and Saturday night "Sparkle & Shine" gala. Also keep an eye on conference Twitter chat, where some meetup planning might happen ("Hey, who wants to chat? I'm in the lobby").
4. Have realistic expectations. Don't expect to be "discovered" at the conference. Instead, set achievable goals. These can be as specific as "I'm going to introduce myself to agent xxxx sometime during the weekend" or as vague as "I'm looking for inspiration to get back on track with my book" or even just "To try having some fun at the conference and then see what happens." I think of this type of event as planting seeds. There's no guaranteed outcome, but you never know what might come out of all those seeds you're planting as you meet people, attend talks, watching and listening and chatting.
My own conference seeds have blossomed, directly or indirectly, into: friendships, invitations to speak at events, book contracts, publishing industry info that helped guide my career decisions, learning about new techniques and tools, helping others get published, and SO much more. I continue to plant seeds, because I want to keep growing as a writer and illustrator, plus I'm also well aware how quickly the industry can change.
5. In my experience, you're much more likely to meet new people if you're alone. If you're always chatting and hanging out with the same person or people, you're not as approachable. I'm not saying that you SHOULDN'T hang out with people you like, of course! Just keep in mind that as a group, you're probably not going to meet as many new people as someone who is by themselves.
6. If you're on Twitter, write your Twitter handle on your name badge somewhere.
But most of all: TRY TO HAVE FUN.
***** A CHALLENGE TO THE "MANY-TIMERS" OUT THERE ****
Try to remember what it was like when you attended your very first event, or how insecure you felt in the beginning. Then make it a personal challenge to find at least one lost-looking or nervous conference newbie who is sitting or standing alone. Introduce yourself, chat with them, find out what they're working on, perhaps (if appropriate) offer some advice.
Hugely grateful to Hobart Rowland at Main Line Today for including One Thing Stolen in the Big Summer Read edition of his magazine. And happy to be spending time there with my friends Kelly Simmons and Daniel Torday.
Stephen Guise is the author of the new book How to Be an Imperfectionist, and I was excited to be able to interview him for The Renegade Writer…because we writers often let perfectionism keep us from getting out work out there.
In this interview, you’ll learn:
The difference between chance and failure
How confidence = comfort
Why quantity is more important than quality
The perceived benefits of perfectionism
How setting the bar low can actually help you get more freelance writing jobs
Also…when I asked Stephen for a “cover image,” he misunderstood and sent me a headshot. I decided I’m totally going to include it as eye candy for the ladies!
Enjoy — and feel free to pass these files around to your writer friends!
P.S. Carol Tice and I are offering the audit version of our 4-Week J-School RIGHT NOW! Cart closes on July 30, which is two days from today. Want to gain the skills and confidence to land — and write — lucrative article assignments? Check out the success stories from our previous students on the J-School page. Work at your own pace…your access never ends!
Wow! It’s week NINE of the Book-Jumper Summer Reading Series! NINE…..where did time go this summer?
As you many already know, this series is my way of inspiring parents who are looking for creative ways to keep their kids reading this summer. All of the books I am jumping into feature protagonists are girls or women and most of our showcased authors are women as well.
I will be offering up a combination of themed weeks, great novels, booklist giveaways, and blog post recaps so be sure and stop by to discover more wonderful ways have A Bookjumper Summer while Exploring Our World and Beyond!
This week I am jumping into another delightful book from another female author. Eleanor Coerr was a Canadian-born American writer of children’s books, including Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes and many picture books. She was born in Kamsack, Saskatchewan, Canada, and raised in Saskatoon. Sadly, Eleanor passed away in 2010 but her legacy lives on in the wonder books she has written including Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes.
The story goes that Eleanor revisited Hiroshima i 1963 and saw the statue of Sadako in the Hiroshima Peace Park. Impressed by the stories she heard about Sadako’s talent for running, courage when faced with cancer, and determination to fold one thousand paper cranes, Eleanor was inspired to find a copy of Kokeshi, Sadako’s autobiography. The book inspired her to create a biography of Sadako Sasaki, on that American children could read and enjoy.
Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes has been translated into many languages and has moved both children and adults to write plays, perform ballets, compose songs, and collect money for peace statues-all celebrating Sadako and her wish for peace. Eleanor has visited schools all around the world encouraging her audiences to work for a nonviolent world. Folded cranes are everywhere, and always underneath the statue of Sadako in Hiroshima’s Peace Park. SOURCE.
Book Review from Hannah Rials
There are many beautiful stories created in this world—stories of love or peace. The story of Sadako Sasaki is a story of love, peace, and hope. Sadako is the best runner in her class, and her greatest wish is to be the best runner in her entire school and to make the junior high team. She is a very superstitious girl who believes strongly in the power of lucky signs—a spider crawling across the floor, a cloudless sky, and paper cranes.
Sadako lives in post-World War II Hiroshima, Japan, every day experiencing the effects of the atomic bomb dropped on the city. People are mutilated, and many are now suffering through the “atom bomb disease,” also known as Leukemia. Everyone thinks, especially the children, it won’t happen to me. I’m healthy. I’m strong.
Sadako is practicing her most favorite activity in the whole world when the dizziness starts, and never gets better, until one day it is all too much to handle. Sadako is admitted to the Red Cross hospital where she is poked and prodded until it becomes routine. Her friends and family visit her every day.
One day, her best friend Chizuko brings her a beautiful treasure—a golden paper crane. She tells Sadako that if she can fold 1,000 paper cranes, she will get better and live to be an old, old woman. So Sadako sets out, and her older brother hangs the hundreds of cranes from the ceiling of her quiet hospital room, always holding onto the hope that she will recover.
Sadako’s story does not have what everyone would call a happy ending. But everyone who reads her story grasp the hope and love that this dear child felt in a bleak post-war time. Her story is simple and beautiful. I was very much moved by Coerr’s writing. I felt the love and the pain, the strength and the hope. There are always two sides to a story. There is always a consequence to every action. We live in trying times, and history is not a vision of peace and tranquility. But if we hope for peace, and show our love, we can make a difference. Sadako and the testament that she has left in Hiroshima demonstrate that.
Something to Do
1. In the back of Eleanor Coerr’s book, she gives easy to follow, step by step instructions on how to make paper cranes like Sadako.
2. Every year during Japan’s memorial peace day, every one comes out and places floating lanterns in the river. Go HERE to learn how to make your own floating lanterns.
3. Sadako loved her good luck signs. Here are some more to keep your eye out for:
In the language of a recent Suits episode, I'm a "grinder" rather than a "rainmaker." Writing doesn't come easily for me, and I spend countless hours staring at sentences and rewriting them fourteen times, only to discover that the first version was probably the best. I add layers, and subplots, and symbolism, and connect the dots through sheer hard grunt work.
Sometimes I hate writing.
But then there are the rare flashes of brilliance that I swear don't come from me. The moments of magic when there's a muse on my shoulder. Or a miracle. Or all of the above. That's the part of writing that makes the rest worthwhile.
We all want more of those creative insights, but how do we get them?
I read The Girl Who Could Fly because I received a copy for a blog tour. I love middle-grade books, and since it’s been a while since I read one, I was excited to start this. I loved the author’s voice, especially while Piper is still at the family farm. She’s a surprise to her older, salt of the earth parents, and when the lively, happy Piper is born, they are taken aback. They are, while not joyless folk, serious and dedicated to the land that has been in the family for generations. They don’t need much and are content to get by, farming the land, tending their livestock, and fitting, uneventfully, into their community.
Then along comes Piper. She floats. Her mother Betty immediately realizes that her daughter isn’t “normal.” To a woman who embraces being normal and not tempting fate, who relishes doing things as they have always been done, Piper is an unexpected hiccup in her road of normalcy. Betty decides that it’s best to keep Piper on the farm, homeschooled and doing her chores, so that the neighbors don’t start gossiping about them. Piper upsets her plans one summer day, when she watches a momma bird push her babies out of the nest. Piper wonders if she can fly too. And once Piper sets her mind to something, nothing is going to get in her way until she accomplishes it.
An unfortunate event at the Fourth of July picnic, the first that Piper’s been allowed to attend, has disastrous consequences. The entire community learns that Piper can fly. Soon, the entire world knows. When Dr Letitia Hellion and her crew from the top secret institute I.N.S.A.N.E. show up at the farm, promising to school Piper in her abilities, and to keep her safe, the McClouds have no choice but to let their daughter go with them. What Piper finds isn’t exactly the paradise she’s been promised, but it takes the help of a mean supergenius to figure out that she’s actually a prisoner and not a student at the high tech facility in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by miles and miles of snow and ice.
I loved Piper and Conrad. Piper is completely guileless, the total opposite of Conrad. Conrad is frustrated and just plain mean, and Piper’s happy attitude grates on his last nerve. He picks on her mercilessly, and Piper, who doesn’t have much experience in social settings, first tries to win him over, and when that doesn’t work, tries to ignore him. Of course he gets her into trouble every chance he can, until one disturbing event makes Piper realize that all is not as it seems at the institute. Conrad and Dr Hellion have been locked in a battle of wits for four years, and Conrad believes that with Piper’s help, he’ll finally get the best of her.
I liked how Piper fought to be true to herself, even at a terrible price to herself. While she yearns to fit in, she begins to realize that being who she is is more important that being popular. Her sunny disposition does endear her to others, regardless of how hard they try to resist. I liked the message that being different isn’t bad, and everyone deserves a chance to be who they really are.
The Girl Who Could Fly is a quick read, with action, adventure, and danger. It’s also about learning to get along with others despite their differences, and the importance of being yourself. I am looking forward to The Boy Who Knew Everything, because I enjoyed Conrad so much.
Review copy provided by publisher
About the book:
You just can’t keep a good girl down . . . unless you use the proper methods.
Piper McCloud can fly. Just like that. Easy as pie.
Sure, she hasn’t mastered reverse propulsion and her turns are kind of sloppy, but she’s real good at loop-the-loops.
Problem is, the good folk of Lowland County are afraid of Piper. And her ma’s at her wit’s end. So it seems only fitting that she leave her parents’ farm to attend a top-secret, maximum-security school for kids with exceptional abilities.
School is great at first with a bunch of new friends whose skills range from super-strength to super-genius. (Plus all the homemade apple pie she can eat!) But Piper is special, even among the special. And there are consequences.
Consequences too dire to talk about. Too crazy to consider. And too dangerous to ignore.
At turns exhilarating and terrifying, Victoria Forester’s debut novel has been praised by Stephenie Meyer, author of the Twilight saga, as “the oddest/sweetest mix of Little House on the Prairie and X-Men…Prepare to have your heart warmed.” The Girl Who Could Fly is an unforgettable story of defiance and courage about an irrepressible heroine who can, who will, who must . . . fly.
I loved House Immortal. I purchased it when it was an Amazon deal of the day, and I read it on the plane to Tampa two weeks ago. Everything about it felt fresh and new, and I really liked Tilly. I didn’t like the cliffhanger ending, but since I have the next book in the series cued up on my Kindle, the irritation didn’t last long.
Matilda Case has been living a low profile existence on the family farm, taking care of her senile grandmother, as well as the creatures her father stitched together. Tilly herself is a galvanized, a being stitched together from bits and pieces. When she was a child, she became ill and would have died if her memories hadn’t been housed in the stitched together body. Now she’s hiding out on the farm, pretending to be human, while avoiding allegiance to any particular House. In Tilly’s world, there are only twelve galvanized beings (thirteen, counting Tilly), they gave up their rights to be considered human to stop a war, and now they are possessions, fought over by the powerful Houses that rule a post-apocalyptic Earth.
When the head of one of the Houses, Slater Orange, of House Orange, learns about Tilly, he’s sure that his mind and memories can be stitched into another body, too. With Quentin, Tilly’s genius brother, a prisoner in his House, he’s racing against time to see his dream realized before the disease ravaging his body kills him. With Tilly’s life hanging in the balance, Quentin is reluctantly forced to cooperate with Slater.
Tilly has been worried about Quentin. He hasn’t been home in years, and she hasn’t heard a word from him. When the peace of the farm is shattered by the arrival of Abraham, one of the galvanized, she’s forced to leave her home and pledge to a House. Otherwise, because she doesn’t have any rights under the law, the Houses will fight for her and she could end up with any of them. Determined to make the best of a bad situation, Tilly has decided to use her new connections to locate her missing brother.
That’s the basic plot, and I don’t want to give away any more details. I enjoyed the pacing and the characters. Tilly is one tough, independent woman, and she doesn’t let anyone intimidate her. Because she has the strength of a galvanized, she’s doesn’t back down from confrontations. She’s also basically immortal, which also gives her confidence in tense, life-threatening situations. I guess if I was that hard to kill, as well as that valuable, I wouldn’t be a pushover, either.
There are some light romantic elements between Tilly and Abraham. Abraham also serves as a mentor as Tilly negotiates the confusing new world she’s become enmeshed in. I liked the concept of these powerful, immortal beings that are also powerless in the society they live in. Abraham brokered the peace to end the war, convincing the other galvanized to give up their rights under the law to prevent the slaughter of more humans. Some of the galvanized are not in good situations and they are mistreated by their current contract holders. Once they sign a contract with a House, the word of the House leader is law, and they have to follow whatever orders they are given, whether they agree with them or not.
If I have one complaint about the story, I thought that the pacing got bogged down a little near the end. I didn’t care about another roll call of the galvanized and their accomplishments; I wanted to find out what happened to Quentin and Abraham. Otherwise, I thought House Immortal was exciting, suspenseful, and creative. I can hardly wait to crack open Infinity Bell, the next book in the series.
Review copy purchased from Amazon
One hundred years ago, eleven powerful ruling Houses consolidated all of the world’s resources and authority into their own grasping hands. Only one power wasn’t placed under the command of a single House: the control over the immortal galvanized….
Matilda Case isn’t like most folk. In fact, she’s unique in the world, the crowning achievement of her father’s experiments, a girl pieced together from bits. Or so she believes, until Abraham Seventh shows up at her door, stitched with life thread just like her and insisting that enemies are coming to kill them all.
Tilly is one of thirteen incredible creations known as the galvanized, stitched together beings immortal and unfathomably strong. For a century, each House has fought for control over the galvanized. Now the Houses are also tangled in a deadly struggle for dominion over death—and Tilly and her kind hold the key to unlocking eternity
The secrets that Tilly must fight to protect are hidden within the very seams of her being. And to get the secrets, her enemies are willing to tear her apart piece by piece.… FIRST IN A NEW SERIES!
"Co-op Truck," black and white gouache, 5 x 8 inches.
I have a half hour while they unload the food co-op truck, so I set up my sketchbook on a garbage can. The driver waits in the shade, leaning against the truck.
The preliminary drawing has accurate measurements, but it is very rough and incomplete, just a map of the big shapes.
I lay a light wash over most of the scene (lighter than it appears here), using some warm and cool colors from my watercolor set. This is to lower the tone just a bit from white so that I can come back up to white with the gouache.
I begin to define the dark values. I want to push the values to very light and very dark, not too many middle tones.
The driver comes over to take a picture of the sketch with his cell phone.
This morning I have an excerpt and giveaway for And Then He Kissed Me by Kim Amos!
About AND THEN HE KISSED ME
Five years ago, Audrey Tanner flung caution to the wind and herself into the arms of an emerald-eyed bad boy biker she met at the White Pine Asparagus Festival. Two blissful weeks together convinced her that Kieran Callaghan was The One-until The One blew town without a word, leaving her brokenhearted. Now, starting a new job at the new Harley Davidson showroom, Audrey is floored to meet her new boss: Kieran. He’s still hot as hell, but she won’t fall for his sexy smile again. This time, she’s calling the shots.
Kieran never thought he’d return to White Pine, Minnesota, much less see Audrey again. Gorgeous and smart as ever, she’s just as irresistible as he remembered. She still doesn’t know why he had to leave-or that he’s missed her every day since. But he can’t deny he wants more than the no-strings fling Audrey proposes. As things between them heat up, Kieran must choose between the secret he’s sworn to keep and the woman he never stopped loving.
In one smooth motion, he scooped her off the Harley and into his arms. He shook his head when he saw her getting ready to protest. “You yell or whine, and I’ll carry you outside and lock the doors on you. You stay quiet, we can talk in the back room. Agreed?” He saw an angry muscle working in her jaw, but she nodded nevertheless.
And then, just like that, Audrey Tanner was back in his arms.
He’d been so sure that he’d be able to return to White Pine and avoid his past altogether. So how he came to be carrying part of it in the form of Audrey Tanner, how her arms came to be looped around his neck, how her smell was everywhere, intoxicating him as he stormed toward the back room, was a turn of events he could never have predicted. It was also a dangerous set of circumstances, and he never should have let it get this far.
He had a job to do, dammit. He was here to build on his future—not relive the past
When he reached one of the back offices, he kneed the door open, then placed her roughly on the floor. She stumbled a little in the heels, but righted herself, glaring at him. He was about to tell her to change clothes and get out of the dealership, when he heard a pop. Something on the bustier came loose—he wasn’t sure what—and before Audrey could stop it, the front panel covering her chest slid downward. Her mouth made a horrified little O as her breasts sprang from their constrictive covering. Her nipples pebbled at the sudden exposure to cool air. Kieran got a hungry eyeful before Audrey scrambled to cover herself with a mortified, “Oh!”
Instinctively, he reached forward to help her. “I’m so sorr—” he started before she swatted his hand away.
“Stop it!” she cried. “Get back!”
Just then, Fletch Knutson walked through the office door, and pulled up short. His neat moustache twitched. His ice blue eyes flicked back and forth between them. “What in holy hell is going on here?”
“It’s nothing,” Kieran said, stepping away from Audrey.
Fletch’s face was bunched with concentration, trying to make sense of what he was seeing. His gaze settled on Audrey.
“Did he hurt you?”
Audrey clutched the broken bustier to her chest. “No, of course not,” he interjected. “It was just an accident.”
“I’m waiting for her to answer,” Fletch said.
Audrey’s knuckles whitened around her handful of clothing. He realized right then that she held all the cards. Her hand trumped his.
She could take him down with a smattering of words, could pretend like this had been more than it was and put his job at risk. Kieran forced his breathing to be steady—in and out, calm like it wasn’t the last play of the game—and tried to remember that the woman he’d lost his heart to five years ago had a blazing white soul, the stark opposite of his black one. She wasn’t like him, she wasn’t always calculating how to turn the odds in her favor.
Audrey had been so kind, so willing to trust him and believe the best. But even her shining golden goodness—her love for her friends and family and her hometown, her faith in the people around her—couldn’t lighten the darkness inside him, even though five years ago he’d wanted it to.
Underneath the makeup, Audrey’s face was pale. “No,” she said, “he didn’t hurt me. It’s just a misunderstanding.”
Kieran let out a breath he didn’t know he was holding.
“But I’d appreciate it if you’d tell him that he can’t fire me. I need this job.”
In Flight of the Seagull in The Caravan Anjum Hasan looks at: 'How an Indian publisher brought Europe home', profiling Seagull Books, the Naveen Kishore-led, India-based publisher that is one of the leading publishers of literature-in-translation (especially French and German) in English.
(A lot of other publishers have great lists, but as far as number-of-(important-)titles go, it's really Dalkey Archive Press and Seagull way at the head of the pack.)
A fascinating story -- and a wonderful success story.
Lots of Seagull titles are under review at the complete review -- I wouldn't even know where to start -- and I hope you too are familiar with much of what they've published.
The infrastructure of the Indonesian publishing industry isn't yet fully developed. A potential market is there but the industry is still in a poor condition.
She also notes:
But regardless of that, we still see gems of literature and popular writings that have both market success and good intellectual reception such as the works of Ayu Utami, Seno Gumira Ajidarma or Eka Kurniawan.
As I've mentioned previously, this fall is seeing a double-dose of Eka Kurniawan in English, as two of his novels are being published in translation: Man Tiger, coming from Verso (see their publicity page, or pre-order your copy from Amazon.com), and Beauty is a Wound from New Directions (pre-order your copy from Amazon.com).
Publishers Weekly has the early reviews -- here and here -- and they're both starred; fully on board the Kurniawan-bandwagon, they also have a Writers to Watch: Fall 2015 profile of him.
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