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1. when you can still call it yours

when it still belongs mostly to you and the handful of souls who have made time to read.

when it is as beautiful as this, all thanks to the design and editorial team.

before anything else can be said or done.

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2. Reality Star Jaime Primak Sullivan Inks Memoir Deal

SullivanReality star Jaime Primak Sullivan has landed a memoir deal with Simon & Schuster’s Touchstone imprint. Sullivan (pictured, via) has become well-known for starring in the Jersey Belle Bravo TV series and the “Cawfeetawk” digital series.

Author Eve Adamson will collaborate with Sullivan on this project. The publisher will release the book, entitled Saved by the Belles: The Southern Education of a Jersey Girl, in Fall 2015.

Sullivan gave this statement in the press release: “Growing up in Springsteen’s New Jersey, I thought I had life and love all figured out. It wasn’t until I fell in love with a Southern gentleman and moved my life to the Deep South that I learned the most important lesson of all: real women are a work in progress.”

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3. Fake Plots and Continuations Needed...


. . . for titles and opening in the queues.

More queries and openings needed too.

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4. How We Do Social Media

Social Media Nightmare © Sparky Firepants

If you arrived here from our seminar Debunking Social Media Myths, welcome! Thanks for being there for our lil’ ol’ seminar, we appreciate it.

If you found this by any other means, get out. Just kidding. You may have missed the seminar, but we’ll share the PowerPoint slide show online, along with the audio from the event. If you want to be updated with the link when it’s live, send us an email: sparky@sparkyfirepants.com

As we promised during the seminar, here is a short list of social media sites we use and how we use them. We acknowledge that our way is not THE way. You’ll find that things that work for us won’t work for you and vice versa. We think that’s just fine and dandy. Use this as a guideline and sally forth into Social Media Experiment Land.

From here on out I’m going to start abbreviating Social Media as SM. Cheese and crackers, that gets tiring to type.


FacebookFB monster

Let’s start with the most popular SM network out here right now. Jenni and I both use Facebook personally, Jenni being the more active one. Frankly, FB makes me crazy but Jenni has a super force field that allows her to peruse without clenched teeth and nightmares.

That said, so many people we know use FB regularly that we created a Sparky Firepants fan page (right here). We’ve been using it for several years, but our activity has tapered off in the past six months or so. The reason is that because of FB’s new algorithms, our customers just aren’t seeing our fan page posts in their feeds as well as they used to. The interaction was declining and we found we were working very hard to push those fan page posts in our FB friends’ faces. It just wasn’t effective anymore. If you were at our seminar, you remember how we talked about being where your customers are. For us, it’s not our fan page.

So, we post here and there to keep things active for those who really enjoy seeing us on FB. That’s about it.

Twittertwitter monster

This is my personal favorite. I’ve been active on twitter since 2007. For Sparky Firepants customers, we’ve found that Twitter is the numero uno place where our people hang out.

For the uninitiated, Twitter looks like a hugely random stream of meaningless thoughts and way too many links to click on. It looks daunting. It’s like a loud cocktail party where you don’t know anyone.

Take a deep breath. Very little of what you see in your twitter stream matters. Here’s a great tutorial of how to use Twitter.

Now, if you’re already tweeting like an eagle, here’s how we use Twitter. In two words, building relationships. Just like in the real world, it’s about making a real connection with your customers. Sparky Firepants has about 2,800 followers. It took about seven years to get that many. We estimate that we connect personally with about 10-20% of our followers over the course of a year. Some more than others, some not at all. The numbers are not the most important factor. What’s important.is how well you connect with real people on twitter.

Do we want more followers? Sure. We prefer to build that number organically. When you pay SM experts to get you thousands of followers instantly!, it will probably work. What you’ll get is a giant list of people who don’t know you or care about what you do, which is a waste of your tweeting time and marketing efforts.

LinkedInlinkedin monster

Fancy online resume. That’s how most people see LinkedIn. While your user profile is essentially your resume, there’s private messaging, articles, and groups you can be involved in.

I’m very protective of my LinkedIn network. The only people you’ll see in my network (if we’re connected, that is) are people I’ve either worked with or know personally (and would recommend them for work in their field). While on Twitter I may connect with a lot of people I don’t even know, I keep my LinkedIn connections very tight.

LinkedIn groups are key for your business. Participating in a group that’s relevant to what you do makes you more visible than just putting up a profile. I’ve met a lot of great people, made new customers and learned from others in my career field through groups.

Instagraminstagram monster

Why eat when you just scroll through photos of what everyone else is eating? Instagrammers get a lot of flack for posting pics of every meal and multiple selfies a day, but it can really boost your online presence.

It’s the easiest marketing you’ll ever do. Hosting an event or just attending an event? Take photos, post to Instagram, add a hash tag that’s relevant to your business or event. Just one example.

Beyond posting your own stuff, you really need to be active in other people’s accounts. Favorite things you like, comment on posts, and share others’ posts with friends. That’s how you organically build a following. Like all SM and personal relationships, it’s not all about you.

But wait, there’s more!

So much more. There are new SM networks popping up almost every day. Like we covered in the seminar, we don’t think every network is right for us and one network could be perfect for you that we just don’t use.

I’m a tech geek and I like to experiment with new apps and networks all the time. That’s me. If that’s not you, then let it go. However, I will say that if you find your customers are talking about a new SM network, it’s probably in your best interest to at least check it out. Remember our social media marketing slogan:

Be where your customers are.

 

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5. Time Management Tips For Illustrators

In this video I share my strategies for getting it all done! I hope some of it might help you in your quest to take over the world with your art...or at least get more finished.

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6. Seiously? Is THAT All??

I got a comment from someone over on Face Book (forwarded by email) and it asked WHY I was not posting much on CBO?

I do not think Bob is a regular CBOer.  There have been 78 posts so far THIS month.  January.  How many posts have other comic media bloggers put up?

Greedy greedy little piggies!

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7. Case of the Velvet Claws (1933)

The Case of the Velvet Claws. (Perry Mason #1) Erle Stanley Gardner. 1933. Random House. 215 pages. [Source: Bought]

AUTUMN SUN BEAT AGAINST THE WINDOW. Perry Mason sat at the big desk. There was about him the attitude of one who is waiting. His face in repose was like the face of a chess player who is studying the board. That face seldom changed expression. Only the eyes changed expression. He gave the impression of being a thinker and a fighter, a man who could work with infinite patience to jockey an adversary into just the right position, and then finish him with one terrific punch.

The Case of the Velvet Claws is the first book in the Perry Mason series by Erle Stanley Gardner. Though it is unlikely that contemporary readers will be unfamiliar with Perry Mason, Paul Drake, and Della Street, this would have been their introduction to the world. There are plenty of establishing details and descriptions about these characters. Especially Perry Mason.

The book opens with a mystery woman seeking Perry Mason's help. She's married, and she was out on the town with another guy. This 'other guy,' whom she claims is just a friend, is a politician, a Congressman, I believe. They were together--at a club, at a restaurant?--when a crime was committed. Neither wants to be known as being there, being a witness, both are seeking to avoid all attention. But she fears that blackmail is certain, almost inevitable. She wants Perry Mason to handle it for her, for them both. The blackmail will come/does come from a tabloid-ish publication with a mystery-secret-owner. It is only after Perry Mason involves himself thus far, that he realizes that this owner is the husband of his client. Murder is inevitable. It is a Perry Mason book, after all. Who will be the victim? Who will be accused? How messy will it get?

I loved this one. I really loved it. It has a very different feel to it in a way. Most of the Perry Mason novels I've read were published a decade or two later. And, of course, I'm most familiar with the television show.

Quotes:
Perry Mason continued to speak, slowly and forcefully, yet without raising his voice. “All right,” he said, “I’m different. I get my business because I fight for it, and because I fight for my clients. People that come to me don’t come to me because they like the looks of my eyes, or the way my office is furnished, or because they’ve known me at a club. They come to me because they need me. They come to me because they want to hire me for what I can do.”
Perry Mason made a gesture with his shoulders. “Why should I care if she makes it easy for me?” he asked. “She’s the one that’s paying for my time. Time is all I’m investing.” Della Street said, slowly: “Are you sure that time is all you’re investing?” “Why not?” “I don’t know,” she said, “the woman’s dangerous. She is just the kind of a little minx who would get you into some sort of a jam and leave you to take it, right on the button.” His face didn’t change expression, but his eyes glinted. “That’s one of the chances I have to take,” he told her. “I can’t expect my clients to be loyal to me. They pay me money. That’s all.” She stared at him with a speculative look that held something of a wistful tenderness. “But you insist on being loyal to your clients, no matter how rotten they are.” “Of course,” he told her. “That’s my duty.”
“To your profession?” “No,” he said slowly, “to myself. I’m a paid gladiator. I fight for my clients. Most clients aren’t square shooters. That’s why they’re clients. They’ve got themselves into trouble. It’s up to me to get them out. I have to shoot square with them. I can’t always expect them to shoot square with me.” “It isn’t fair!” she blazed. “Of course not,” he smiled. “It’s business.”
“When you’re representing clients, Della,” he said, “you can’t pick and choose them. You’ve got to take them as they come. There’s only one rule in this game, and that is that when you do take them, you’ve got to give them all you’ve got.”

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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8. NFL Reads: INFOGRAPHIC

If you don’t care much for football but want to do a crash course before this weekend’s Superbowl party, Ninja Essays has an infographic for you.

The NFL Reads graphic outlines a number of influential books written about football, any of which could help increase your understanding of the game. Check it out:

You want to impress your friends with your insight and interest in the game? The first thing you need to do is understand the rules. No one likes people who interrupt the fun with silly questions. Once you learn the basics, you can research the history of different teams and impress everyone with random facts.

We’ve got the entire infographic for you after the jump.NFL-Reads-by-NinjaEssays

 

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9. How to make feathery palm fronds

Palms 1-01aThe palm fronds on this tree were created with a double art brush technique in Adobe Illustrator. I posted a video for you to see what I mean. Go to: Feathery Palm Fronds

      

Related Stories

 

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10. CBO Comic Strip: First Time In OVER 60 years -Slicksure Returns!

Harry Edgar Banger was a Platignum and Golden Ages -even Silver age- comic creator.  Like others he had to write his scripts and draw them.  Humour was his mainstay but with Slicksure he tried to combine humour and serious story-telling such as in the later.......The Terror Of Grimstone Castle!!




You can see that here:

http://britishgoldenagecomics.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/slicksure-terror-of-grimstone-castle.html

For more on Banger (pronounced as in "Danger"):

http://www.lambiek.net/artists/b/banger_edgar_h.htm

And now, in 2015, a previously untold story of Slicksure while on a case in the United States brought to you by the much revived STRANSKY & LABATT!!!
 

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11. Del campo socio-urbano al visual: La periferia como espacio simbólico-cultural

Eder Castillo: Mecánica Nacional (vista exterior) Artistas/Videos: Jason Mena: Fault Line (línea de falla), Eder Castillo: Mecanica Nacional, Karmelo Bermejo: -X, Guillermo Vargas “Habacuc”: Persona sin educación formal caminando con zancos hechos de libros apilados, Nadia Granados “la Fulminante”: La Fulminante Detonando Montreal / Cabaret Callejero, Victor Hugo Rodriguez “Crack”: Planas, Andrea Mármol: Otros Paramos / Julia, Jorge Linares: Trafico Aéreo Las [...]

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12. Mike Lemanski Update

Mike Lemanski

New site + work to boot from grain edit favorite Mike Lemanski.

 

 

 

Mike Lemanski

 

Mike Lemanski

Mike Lemanski

Mike Lemanski

 

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13. *FREE* Printable Valentine's Day card

Hey there, friends! I have a fun, free, printable Valentine's Day card to share with you today. I've been wanting to create something with a vintage typewriter image for awhile now and I finally did it. This card was created as part of a challenge with my awesome blog group, We Love to Illustrate Studio. There are other free downloads available over there, so check those out, too!

By clicking on Download Here, below this image, it will open up in a separate window, with a high res image in a greeting card format. It fits into a A6 envelope.

 

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14. Postcards and the 10%

POSTCARDS

Our SCBWI Carolinas Challenge will be four postcard submissions in 2015. But are they worth it. All the prep work, designing, creating, ordering and then of course- add stamps and address them. 

But Deb Johnson, a wonderful artist and one of our SCBWI C Working Illustrators Network [WIN] Coordinators found and posted this great article from Giuseppe Castellano, designer and Art Director at Penguin Random House. Ten percent, yes I needed that, oh how I needed that. I'll get right on it.

                                                  " Yes silly, just ten percent, ha, ha."

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15. Storytelling

Skip over to the Storytelling Page for news of our Winter events!!!

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16. Waiting on Wednesday: Beastkeeper

So in my renewed determination to keep up with my blogging, I am back today with a Waiting on Wednesday post.  Yay!

Beastkeeper by Cat Hellisen
About the Book (copy from Goodreads.com): "Sarah has always been on the move. Her mother hates the cold, so every few months her parents pack their bags and drag her off after the sun. She’s grown up lonely and longing for magic. She doesn’t know that it’s magic her parents are running from.
When Sarah's mother walks out on their family, all the strange old magic they have tried to hide from comes rising into their mundane world. Her father begins to change into something wild and beastly, but before his transformation is complete, he takes Sarah to her grandparents—people she has never met, didn’t even know were still alive.
Deep in the forest, in a crumbling ruin of a castle, Sarah begins to untangle the layers of curses affecting her family bloodlines, until she discovers that the curse has carried over to her, too. The day she falls in love for the first time, Sarah will transform into a beast...unless she can figure out a way to break the curse forever."
So unless you couldn't tell from the description, I'm pretty sure this is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast.  And you know I love fairy tale retellings.  But I like the way this one has scrambled it around a bit with the girl turning into the beast.  Sounds like it will be good.  :)

You don't have to wait too long to read Beastkeeper, since it will be released on February 3, 2015.

Currently available for pre-order at Amazon.com in Hardcover and Kindle
Add to your Goodreads shelf
Check availability on Paperbackswap.com

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17. Self-Published Bestsellers List

Maude by Donna Mabry continues to lead the Self-published Bestsellers List this week.

To help GalleyCat readers discover self-published authors, we compile weekly lists of the top eBooks in three major marketplaces for self-published digital books: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords. You can read all the lists below, complete with links to each book.

If you want more resources as an author, try our Free Sites to Promote Your eBook post, How To Sell Your Self-Published Book in Bookstores post and our How to Pitch Your Book to Online Outlets post.

If you are an independent author looking for support, check out our free directory of people looking for writers groups.

Amazon Self-Published Bestsellers for the Week of January 28, 2015

1. Maude by Donna Mabry: “In 1906, I was barely over fourteen years old, and it was my wedding day. My older sister, Helen, came to my room, took me by the hand, and sat me down on the bed. She opened her mouth to say something, but then her face flushed, and she turned her head to look out the window. After a second, she squeezed my hand and looked back in my eyes.”

2. Stepbrother Untouchable by Colleen Masters: “Calling Nate Thornhill a rich, cocky, arrogant asshole would be an understatement. He also happens to be stunningly handsome, popular, intelligent, and captain of both the Crew and Lacrosse teams at UVA. I hate him for thinking he’s untouchable—not because he’s a narcissistic, privileged, borderline-misogynistic heartbreaker—but because he’s right.”

3. One Night Stand by J.S. Cooper: “It was only supposed to be one night! We met at a wedding. He was hot. And I’d been in a year’s drought.”

4. Departure by A.G. Riddle: “Harper Lane has problems. In a few hours, she’ll have to make a decision that will change her life forever. But when her flight from New York to London crash-lands in the English countryside, she discovers that she’s made of tougher stuff than she ever imagined.”

5. Stepbrother Billionaire by Colleen Masters: “I’ve hated him since middle school. The effortlessly popular, lacrosse superstar, beautiful, blue-eyed nightmare Emerson Sawyer. Funny thing is, he didn’t even know I existed until our senior year, when his mom started hooking up with my dad.”

6. 50 Fitness Tips You Wish You Knew by Derek Doepker: “I wrote “50 Fitness Tips You Wish You Knew” because I’ve seen so many people needlessly struggle to stay healthy and fit because they don’t understand a few simple insights.”

7. Dare (Brothers of Ink and Steel Book 1) by Allie Juliette Mousseau: “Josh North – a risk-it-all bad boy – sexy dirty talker – bad ass defender and UFC’s Light Heavyweight Champion— is about to meet his match. Sophie Garner is a single mom who’s been raising her daughter on her own, fighting for both of their lives ever since going into hiding to escape her abusive husband.”

8. Kaleidoscope Hearts by Claire Contreras: “He was my older brother’s best friend. He was never supposed to be mine. I thought we would get it out of our system and move on.”

9. Fall by Cora Brent: “I was a lost girl, a child bride. Now, to most people I appear to be just an average college student. They would never guess my strange history. But secretly I’m still held down by my past. I cannot bring myself to trust men.”

10. A Shade of Vampire 9 by Bella Forrest: “Derek will rip Caleb’s heart out the moment he lays eyes on him for what he’s done. Rose is convinced that the vampire is innocent. But my daughter has been fooled. Nobody but Caleb could have stolen away our dear friend.” 

Smashwords Self-Published Bestsellers for the Week of January 28, 2014

1. Health Promotion Pathways: Applied Activities for the Collegiate Classroom By Jennifer J. Edwards, Ph.D.

2. Neuropsychopharmacology By Nicoladie Tam, Ph.D.

3. Research Methods: Functional Skills By James H Cauraugh

4. Strong Brains, Sharp Minds: The Definitive Guide to the MINDRAMP Method For Brain Health & Mental Development By Michael C. Patterson

5. Negotiating for Success: Essential Strategies and Skills By George J. Siedel

6. Digital Media Skills By Donna Eyestone

7. Economics for Smart Citizenship By Mikel Cohick

8. Nonprofit Animal Law By Russ Mead

9. The First Book of Michael By Syl Mortilla

10. Lady Master Pearl – My Teacher By Peter Mt. Shasta

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18. Emma Watson to star as Belle in Disney’s Live-Action “Beauty and the Beast”

Rumors have been flying around for the past couple of years–is Emma going to play a princess on screen, or is she not? The question has been up in the air for quite a while. Yesterday, the question was answered. Emma Watson tweeted a couple of lyrics from from the opening song to Disney’s Beauty and the Beast as the news broke: Emma Watson will be playing the role of Belle in Disney’s new live-action movie of it’s hit cartoon classic. The studio announced yesterday that filming is anticipated to begin later this year, according to the Wall Street Journal. The Wall Street Journal wrote:

 

Watson has been cast as Belle, the studio announced yesterday, the book-loving prisoner of the titular Beast’s castle in the tale as old as time. Production on the film is anticipated to begin later this year, and it is set to be directed by Bill Condon (“Dreamgirls,” “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Parts 1 and 2?).

Disney’s original 1991 animated version of the French fairy tale, which was first spun off into a Broadway musical in 1994, featured three Academy Award-nominated songs by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman (“Beauty and the Beast” took home the Oscar for Best Original Song in 1992). Upon posting the news of her casting on her Facebook page, Watson said she couldn’t wait to start singing Menken and Ashman’s famous tunes.

Emma Watson wrote:

I’m finally able to tell you… that I will be playing Belle in Disney’s new live-action Beauty and the Beast! It was such a big part of my growing up, it almost feels surreal that I’ll get to dance to ‘Be Our Guest’ and sing ‘Something There’. My six year old self is on the ceiling – heart bursting. Time to start some singing lessons. I can’t wait for you to see it. Emma xx

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19. Photo: Pause

9865894413_b7b19fc318_b

Slow down.

Savor the little moments.

Turn off the distractions.

Listen.

What do you hear?

What do you see?

Breathe.

Appreciate.

We took this photo in a Vancouver park while we were waiting to board our cruise ship to Alaska. Kevin took this photo because he’s way better at spotting abstract moments than I am.


Filed under: Cruise 13

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20. a method to my madness...

i always love seeing how other artists come up with their masterpieces...from the moment of conception to the finished product. 
so, i thought i'd share my 3 step process...from the tiny, super tight little thumbnail to the full size sketch (same size as the canvas) to the completed painting.
{such royal treatment for a princess...;)}
step 1
super tight little thumbnail

step 2
full size sketch

step 3
finished painting

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21. New Trailer Unleashed For The DUFF Film Adaptation

A new trailer has been unleashed for The Duff film. The video embedded above offers glimpses of Bella Thorne as Madison, Robbie Amell as Wesley, and Mae Whitman in the titular role.

Author Kody Keplinger made her authorial debut with this young adult novel back in September 2010. CBS Films has scheduled the movie release date for February 2015.

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22. Sure Signs of Crazy by Karen Harrington

Continuing on my quest to find books for my soon to be nine-year old niece, I read Karen Harrington's Sure Signs of Crazy last week. While I enjoyed the book a lot and recommend it for the over ten crowd, I think I'm going to hold off my girl until she's a wee bit older.

Protagonist Sarah is 12 and new in town. She and her father move around a lot as Sarah's mother was the object of a notorious trial and is now committed to a mental hospital. Her father was also tried but found innocent; he still struggles a decade later to cope and while a loving father, definitely self-medicates with alcohol.

In the course of one summer, Sarah fulfills an English assignment by writing letters to Atticus Finch, crushes on the college boy across the street (we've all been there) and builds up her courage to challenge the family secrets. She's smart and funny and determined which makes for a great protagonist. Most interestingly though, considering her family drama, Sarah is also very easy to identify with and I'm sure many young readers will like her a lot.

For my purposes though, I think the alcohol and the reasons behind her mother's trial, are just too much for my particular nine-year old. At least a year, maybe two and she will be ready. I'll be keeping Sure Signs of Crazy for the future.

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23. Comic Cover

via Illustrations and Comic art http://ift.tt/1DaQWtW



Wild Blue Yonder featuring my cover~!

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24. Margaret Bloy Graham Has Died

9780060268657Children’s books illustrator Margaret Bloy Graham has died. She was 94 years old.

Graham became well-known for collaborating with Gene Zion, a writer and her husband, on the Harry the Dirty Dog picture book series. She went on to work on projects with other writers and author her own books. Altogether, she earned two Caldecott Honors for All Falling Down and The Storm Book.

Here’s more from School Library Journal: “Though Harry remains Graham’s most well-known collaboration, it was far from her only one. Her illustrations for legendary children’s book author Charlotte Zolotow’s The Storm Book (Harper, 1951), a gentle look at a child’s first thunderstorm, won her a Caldecott Honor. A versatile artist, she also provided the illustrations for renowned poet Jack Prelutsky’s humor collection Pack Rat’s Day (Macmillan, 1974), while in the 1980s, she collaborated with longtime friend and Little Bear author Else Holmelund Minarik on What If? (1987) and It’s Spring (1989, both Greenwillow).”

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25. TURNING PAGES: I'LL MEET YOU THERE, by HEATHER DEMITRIOS

out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there.When the soul lies down in that grass, the world is too full to talk about. Ideas, language, even the phrase each otherdoesn’t make any sense. - RumiThere's a... Read the rest of this post

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