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Steven Spielberg served as a narrator for First Book’s “Share the Magic of Storytelling” piece. The video embedded above features references to Roald Dahl’s classic children’s book, The BFG.
Here’s more from a First Book blog post: “Disney has donated a record 50 million books to First Book. To celebrate this milestone, Disney, ABC and First Book invite you to join the fourth annual Magic of Storytelling campaign through March 31.”
Spielberg directed a film adaptation based on Dahl’s novel. The theatrical release date has been set for July 01, 2016. Click here to watch the first movie teaser.
Archie Comics COO Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa has agreed to write the script. He will serve as an executive producer along with Greg Berlanti, Sarah Schecter, and Archie Comics CEO Jon Goldwater.
Here’s more from the press release: “The show will focus on the eternal love triangle of Archie Andrews, girl-next-door Betty Cooper, and rich socialite Veronica Lodge, and will include the entire cast of characters from the comic books—including Archie’s rival, Reggie Mantle, and his slacker best friend, Jughead Jones. Popular gay character Kevin Keller will also play a pivotal role. In addition to the core cast, Riverdale will introduce other characters from Archie Comics’ expansive library, including Josie and the Pussycats.”
I'm back to loving my life in Indiana with a grateful heart. Here is one of the reasons why.
The DePauw University School of Music stages an opera production every year, and this year's selection is the 1998 opera by American composer Mark Adamo, Little Women. At a small liberal arts college like this, it isn't sufficient just to produce an opera. Oh, no. There must be all kinds of opportunities for campus-wide engagement with the piece.
Last fall the DePauw film series screened the 1994 film version of Little Women with Winona Ryder as Jo, which I was unable to attend as I was off campus in Boulder that semester. But last week I attended the talk by YA author Michaela MacColl about her fictional depiction of young Louisa May Alcott, The Revelation of Louisa May (hosted by the Putnam County Public Library, to get the larger community involved in all our Alcott enthusiasm). Next week I'm looking forward to a lecture by historian Robert A. Gross on Alcott's life and work situated within the history of her hometown, Concord, Massachusetts.
As I savored the campus's Little Women festival featuring the opera of Little Women, film of Little Women, recent historical fiction making use of Little Women, and scholarly lecture on Little Women, I asked myself, "Hmm. What is missing here?" Yes: reading the actual book of Little Women! So I organized a reading group sponsored by the Prindle Institute for Ethics. The reading groups meet in the evening by the beautiful fireplace in the Prindle's Great Hall; the Prindle purchases the books for all the participants as well as wine and an array of lovely snacks.
Our group, composed of faculty from Philosophy, French, History, English, and Classics, as well as staff from admissions, the university science library, and other campus units, met for the first time last week to discuss the first half of the text. Some had never read Little Women; others hadn't read it since childhood; some were reading it yet again as a beloved oft-visited friend. I did force everybody to postpone the topic we wanted to talk about most: should Jo have married Laurie?! That will be the centerpiece of next week's meeting on the final half of the book.
I chose for us the Norton Critical Edition of the text, so our third meeting will focus on selected scholarly and critical essays included there. Our final meeting with involve a Skype visit with one of the Norton Critical Edition's editors, the brilliant and generous Anne Phillips of Kansas State University. In between the second and third meetings, we'll have time to go together to see the campus production of the opera.
But here's the best part. Two of the students in my seven-person Honor Scholar course on "The Ethics of Story" are School of Music voice students, and both have roles in the opera: one as Laurie, one as Mr. March. This week the composer himself is here on campus doing intensive coaching of the students in their roles. "Laurie" invited me to come sit on his coaching session. He sang the role so beautifully and became Laurie so completely before my eyes that I was sure Mark Adamo would find no suggestions at all for improvement, but of course Mr. Adamo had suggestions on every syllable. It was fascinating to see such attention to the details of each breath, phrasing, and gesture.
Now "Laurie" and his real-life girlfriend who is playing Jo (!!!) are going to join us at the third meeting of the Little Women reading group to talk about their interpretative choices as they developed their roles.
This feels to me like everything a liberal arts education should be and offers to me every pleasure a professor at a liberal arts college could possibly dream of experiencing.
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Today we're super excited to celebrate the cover reveal for ECHO OF THE WITCH by Jen Wilde, releasing March 1, 2016 from Limitless Publishing. Before we get to the cover, here's a note from Jen:
I’m Jen Wilde, and I’m so excited to reveal the cover of...
On her latest win, Smith remained modest as ever, highlighting the brilliance of the actresses she was up against:
“Quite honestly, the things one was up against, it doesn’t seem fair,” she says. “Brooklyn [starring Saoirse Ronan], and 45 Years in which Charlotte [Rampling] was so terrific, and Sicario [with Emily Blunt], although I didn’t really get that…”
She puts on a Uriah Heep voice: “I just feel ever so ‘umble. It does seem awfully unfair and I can’t help feeling it’s because I am so old.”
The interview developed more on recent interviews about Smith’s early career conducted by LA Times (read here) and CBS News (here). Smith tells more about her portrayal of The Lady in the Van‘s Mary Shepherd in Nicholas Hytner’s West End production in 1999, alongside writer Alan Bennett:
“I was fascinated by the mystery of her,” says Smith. “And of Alan, the way he coped with it and put up with her. I don’t know who was the oddest. You just wonder where her head was. You think ‘confused’ but she was very clear in what she thought, trying to form these political parties and writing letters to [Seventies TV personality] Eamonn Andrews and all that.
“As I have got older I wonder how the hell she did it. Honest to God, the filming finished me off and that was sort of deluxe. The van was… cleansed from time to time.” She couldn’t have been the Good Samaritan Bennett was, she says.
A film was immediately mooted in 1999 — “the material is actually more filmic” — but for some reason was only made 15 years later. “Whether it was just that Alan decided he wanted to do it, or Nick nagged him, I don’t know,” says Smith. “It certainly wasn’t me! I didn’t go on about it at all. But I was very pleased to sort of finish her off in a way.”
The loss of Alan Rickman is also mentioned in the interview, along with the recent passing of Frank Finlay – another member of the first National Theatre company in 1962. Smith starred as Desdemona alongside Finlay (who portrayed Iago) in Laurence Oliver’s Othello:
“One night dear Frank came off stage and he flew to the prompt corner and started tearing at his eyes, like Oedipus,” she recalls. “I got very worried, and went over, and said ‘Are you all right?’. He had terribly bad sight, Frank, and was wearing contact lenses, which he never normally wore, and he said: ‘I’ve just seen Sir Laurence for the first time! And I never want to do it again.’”
She gives a husky laugh, then says: “You get a bit wobbly, you know, when you get to a certain age. It [mortality] seems to be too near.”
For the first time in her career, Maggie Smith has found herself a lot less busy, and whilst TheEvening Standard picks up on the fact that she hasn’t much relished the fame brought on by her roles in Potter and Downton, Smith still finds the quietness ‘weird':
Margaret Natalie Smith was born in Romford but moved to Oxford aged four, her father a pathologist and her mother a secretary who thought young Maggie would never work on stage “with a face like that”. Actually, Smith says, she benefited from not being a “juve”, or ingénue, and has worked constantly, though latterly she’s been stuck playing “’orrible old women”. This is the first time in her career that she hasn’t had a job to go to, “and it’s weird, because suddenly there is no shape to anything”.
On the prospect of taking up future work, Smith says ‘big TV shows’ are out of the option, but on a role in film, she retains her sense of humour and answers:
“I can’t think what the part would be, can you?” she says. “It’ll be another old bag won’t it, hurr-hurr-hurr.”
Smith tends to keep her personal life away from the press, but her spoke briefly about her marriages:
Smith was married to the fiery but rackety actor Robert Stephens for seven years and they had two sons, Toby Stephens and Chris Larkin, both actors “and both out in South Africa at the moment, can you believe, doing this thing called Black Sails, being piratical”.
After her divorce from Stephens in 1974 she married playwright Beverley Cross in 1975. He died in 1998; Robert Stephens had died in 1995. Smith says it doesn’t get any easier being on her own, especially when fans intrude. But she doesn’t think she’ll enjoy an autumnal romance like the one her friend Judi Dench is having: “No, I don’t think I would get that lucky. I don’t think I would find anybody who would come anywhere near Bev.”
Given how rare interviews with Dame Maggie are, we’re very lucky to have had so many recently! Read the rest of the interview here, and make sure you catch her latest award-winning performance in The Lady in the Van.
Gonzales gave this statement in the press release: “It’s an amazing opportunity and I’m thrilled to be taking on this new role. In today’s dynamic publishing landscape, Rodale has proven itself to be an industry leader at the forefront of redefining what it means to be a successful publisher. I’m looking forward to continuing to publish the biggest and best names in the wellness space and to creating even more inspiring and empowering products for our customers to engage with.”
"Ere Time began, from flaming Chaos hurl'd Rose the bright spheres, which form the circling world; Earths from each sun with quick explosions burst, And second planets issued from the first. Then, whilst the sea at their coeval birth, Surge over surge, involv'd the shoreless earth; Nurs'd by warm sun-beams in primeval caves Organic Life began beneath the waves.
"First Heat from chemic dissolution springs, And gives to matter its eccentric wings; With strong Repulsion parts the exploding mass, Melts into lymph, or kindles into gas. Attraction next, as earth or air subsides, The ponderous atoms from the light divides, Approaching parts with quick embrace combines, Swells into spheres, and lengthens into lines. Last, as fine goads the gluten-threads excite, Cords grapple cords, and webs with webs unite; And quick Contraction with ethereal flame Lights into life the fibre-woven frame.— Hence without parent by spontaneous birth Rise the first specks of animated earth; From Nature's womb the plant or insect swims, And buds or breathes, with microscopic limbs.
Some may call this work didactic, but I think it's a fine early effort at using poetry to make science accessible to the average citizen.
I do hope you'll take some time today to check out all the wonderful poetic things being shared and collected byKimberley Moran at Written Reflections. Happy poetry Friday friends!
It’s nonfiction Friday and we are featuring two new books that launched this week. Mammals by Katharine Hall and Sharks and Dolphins by Kevin Kurtz!
Written for young nature enthusiasts the Compare and Contrast Book series takes children into the wild with beautiful photographs and simple text to explain complicated concepts.
Author Katharine Hall began the series with Polar Bears and Penguins showing children that these animals live at opposite ends of the earth. Then she dove into plant life with Trees and flew to the sky with Clouds. Hall set her sights on slithering and slimy creatures comparing the similarities and differences in Amphibians and Reptiles even introducing the field of herpetology to young readers. This week Mammals joins the lineup comparing animals that live on land and in the sea along with two-legged and four-legged animals.
Teaming up with Hall, aquatic educator and expert Kevin Kurtz joined the Compare and Contrast Book series releasing Sharks and Dolphins this week. The no-nonsense facts will help young readers understand that although both of these animals live in the salty ocean each has a different way of life.
Extend the learning with great activities in our Teaching Activities Guide. This, along with author interviews and more information about the series is available on each book’s homepage. Visit Mammals or Sharks and Dolphins to learn more.
Win your very own copy of each of these books on Goodreads!
Tomorrow will be frigid Or at least that's what they say, With wind chills on the minus side - An indoor-staying day. But then on Tuesday, temps will rise To 52 degrees, Allowing all the icy spots To rapidly unfreeze. I never know which jacket Is appropriate to wear In this topsy turvy weather, Once considered very rare. When unpredictable's the norm What's surely come to pass Is, like Alice, we have ventured forth Beyond the looking glass.
The "grand finale" of the 2016 Sydney Taylor Book Award Blog Tour is a virtual panel discussion amongst the various winning authors and illustrators. As always, this roundup is hosted by Barbara Krasner at The Whole Megillah.
The participants made comments about the experience like "Always inspiring to be included in a group of such accomplished, thoughtful authors and illustrators!" (Leslie Kimmelman), "It's wonderful to read all the blogs!" (Kathy Kacer), and "It has been an honor and a privilege getting to know all of you. See you in Charleston!" (Heidi Smith Hyde). We hope to see you as well, dear reader, in Charleston at the51st Annual Association of Jewish Libraries conference where the Sydney Taylor winners will receive their awards!
A young adventurer who trekked into the Amazon with two friends and a guide, Ghinsberg’s expedition soon took a dangerous and deadly turn. The Discovery Channel included Ghinsberg’s story in a docudrama series: I Shouldn’t Be Alive.
The psychological thriller is set to be directed by Greg McLean (Wolf Creek), and Justin Monjo is in charge of the script. Dana Lustig, Gary Hamilton and Mike Gabrawy will co-produce alongside director McLean, with Todd Fellman as executive producer.
Screen Australia and Screen Queensland have supported development and invested in the project, which is eyeing a shoot later in 2016 in Australia, among other locations.
“We’re extremely excited about Daniel Radcliffe joining the cast of Jungle,” says Gary Hamilton, managing director of Arclight Films. “He has an enthusiastic global fan base, a wide range as an actor as evident by his diversity of roles and is known for picking out unique and interesting projects.”
Dan is has favoured darker genres after his involvement in the Potter films. The Woman in Black, Kill Your Darlings, Horns and Victor Frankenstein all show Radcliffe’s talent for picking diverse characters to portray, and his latest appearance in Swiss Army Man (which received mixed reviews) depicts his venturing into more ‘unique’ independent films.
Maybe a Fox
by Kathi Appelt and Alison McGhee
Intermediate, Middle School Dlouhy/Atheneum 261 pp.
3/16 978-1-4424-8242-5 $16.99 g
e-book ed. 978-1-4424-8244-9 $10.99
Eleven-year-old Jules, a budding geologist, and her twelve-year-old sister Sylvie, the fastest kid in school, live with their father in rural Vermont. Because the girls’ mother died when Jules was small, her memories, frustratingly, are dim. She does remember the awful sight of their mother collapsing onto the kitchen floor, and then six-year-old Sylvie sprinting as fast as she could to get help, but it was too late. And now Sylvie is the one who has disappeared: one morning before school she takes off running in the woods and never comes back; they think she tripped into the river and was swept away. At the same time, a fox kit, Senna, is born, with the instinctual desire to watch over and protect Jules. Because foxes are considered good luck, Jules’s occasional glimpses of Senna bring her some peace. A catamount, too, is rumored to be in the woods, along with a bear, and at book’s climax, the human, animal, and (most affectingly) spirit worlds collide and converge. This is a remarkably sad story that offers up measures of comfort through nature, family, community, and the interconnectedness among them. The sisters’ best friend, Sam, who is himself grieving for Sylvie and desperately longs to see that catamount, is happy to have his brother Elk home from Afghanistan, but Elk’s own best friend Zeke didn’t return, leaving Elk bereft; he and Jules mourn their losses in the woods. Zeke’s grandmother is the one to whom Sylvie ran when their mother collapsed and who now brings soup for Jules, and for her kind, stoic, heartbroken father. A good cry can be cathartic, and this book about nourishing one’s soul during times of great sadness does the trick.
February 2016 Notes from the Horn Book: 5Q for Tanita S. Davis, more YA about families facing serious situations, apps to take preschoolers through the day, nonfiction sports picture books, plucky fantasy protagonists
Yes, we are finally returning to "Witch Castle" and here is the complete record so far, for your enlightenment and for mine.
King Bronty and Prince Podoee finally left the pirates of the "Scurvy Shark" and took off in their little boat, the "Dino Flyer" with a promise to their father to be careful.
Today I have collected that story so far to bring us all up to date!
I hope you enjoy this blog. I truly enjoy making "King Bronty"! "King Bronty" is drawn on paper then transferred to bristol board using tracing paper and a carbon-like paper. The transferred drawing is then inked in black lines with either ink and a brush or a brush pen or a Sharpie marker.
Next, I use combinations of Crayola Markers, Pitt Artist's Markers, Prismacolor Markers, gouache paint and colored pencils. Then, of course, I scan each page, re-size it and post the strip for you to enjoy!
Please use the little PayPal button below to support "King Bronty" with any amount you wish.
Do you plan on celebrating Valentine’s Day this weekend?
The New York Public Library team created a map of fictional romances set in New York City. According to the organization’s blog post, a group of book experts shared some of “their favorite romantic scenes that take place in the city.”
This interactive map features several well-known spots such as The Museum of Natural History, The Strand bookstore, and the 7 train. Some of the books that provided these locations include The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion, Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart, and The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith. Follow this link to view the map.
Lisa Lucas has been appointed executive director of The Board of Directors of the National Book Foundation, the organization responsible for the National Book Awards.
Lucas will succeed Harold Augenbraum who revealed that he was stepping down last March.
Lucas will become the third executive director in the Foundation’s history.
Lucas comes to after serving as publisher of Guernica, a non-profit digital magazine focused on art and politics. Prior to Guernica, Lucas served as director of education at the Tribeca Film Institute.
The executive search firm Spencer Stuart conducted the search for Lucas and a search committee of the National Book Foundation Board oversaw the process. This team included: chairman David Steinberger, the board’s vice chair Morgan Entrekin, CEO and Publisher of Grove Atlantic; Reynold Levy, President of The Robin Hood Foundation; Carolyn Reidy, President and CEO of Simon and Schuster; Calvin Sims, President and CEO of International House; and Strauss Zelnick, founder of Zelnick Media Capital.
“We went through an exhaustive search process,” stated David Steinberger, president and CEO of The Perseus Books Group and Chairman of the National Book Foundation, “and we could not be more pleased with the outcome. Lisa Lucas is a dynamic leader who has served as a passionate advocate for literature and has built an impressive track record of accomplishment in the not-for-profit world across theater, film and literature.”