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1. The Tattered Prayer Book by Ellen Bari, illustrated by Avi Katz

When young Ruthie finds a tattered prayer book in a box of old photographs marked Germany in her grandmother's house, she gets quite a surprise.  The prayer book in written in Hebrew and German and had apparently been burned.  Even more surprising - her grandmother tells Ruthie that the book came from Germany and it belongs to her father.

When Ruthie asks her dad about it, he tells her that he was born and lived a happy life in Hamburg with his family, and with lots of cousins and friends.  But, when the Nazis took over the government in 1933, all that changed.  Soon, Jews weren't allowed in restaurants, movie theaters, libraries, schools.  Old friends became instant bullies.

Then, in November 1938, Nazis began a night of destruction, Kristallnacht, destroying Jewish business and synagogues, setting them on fire.  When Ruthie's dad saw what was left of his synagogue, he also saw burnt prayer books all over.  He reached for one and hid it in his coat - a reminder of the place where he had once been so happy.

One day, while he and his father were in a shop, Nazis came down the road probably to arrest the men.  Ruthie's Grandpa slipped out the back door, while her dad ran home to tell his mother what happened.  Days later, Grandpa came back home and told his family he had to leave, sailing for America with his son Fred.

Every night, her dad opened his burnt, tattered prayer book and prayed.  Finally, in June 1939, visas arrived for Ruthie's dad, mother and brother Sid.  Other friends and family members were leaving Germany, too, for Argentina and Israel.  Others, sadly, had to remain in Germany.

On board the ship, after the Sabbath candles were lit, Ruthie's dad showed the prayer book to his mother, expecting her to be angry, but she wanted it to be a reminder of the good life they had had in Germany and a source of strength for the future.

Recalling what happened so long ago in his life in Germany, after making such an effort to forget it all, Ruthie's father realizes how important that burnt, tattered prayer book had been to him and how much what it symbolized is an important part of himself.

The burnt prayer book is a symbol of both the happy, good life Ruthie's dad and his family shared before the Nazis came to power, and at the same time, the terrible years that followed.

Often, when we talk about the Holocaust, it is about the mass roundups of Jews, the death camps they were sent to, and the attempt to systematically destroy an entire race of people.  But nothing happens in a vacuum and neither did the Holocaust.  Between the years 1933 and 1938, Jews were subject to all kinds of degrading treatment by Hitler's henchman in the SA and the SS, and by ordinary citizens who turned their backs on friends overnight.

In The Tattered Prayer Book, Ellen Bari has written an informative, but gentle picture book for older readers (age 7+) about those deplorable years in a way that kids will definitely understand.  It is an ideal book for parents who wish to introduce their children about the Holocaust themselves before they learn about it in school.  Teachers, however, will also find it to be an excellent book for teaching the Holocaust, as well.

The illustrations by Avi Katz are done in sepia-tones that are reminiscent of old photographs and burnt paper, again reflecting that balance of good and bad times that the prayer book represents.

This book is recommended for readers age 7+
This book was sent to me by the publisher

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2. BilBOlbul Newsletter


 
NEWSLETTER 23/11/2014
  
 
 
BILBOLBUL 2014
 
Perchè non passare la domenica mattina visitando le mostre dei nuovi artisti presenti a BilBOlbul? Anche quest’anno il festival ha deciso di sostenere il loro lavoro: vincitrice del premio Coop for Words 2014, Serena Schinaia allestisce a Ram Hotel Deriva. All’Accademia di Belle Arti di Bologna è aperta invece la mostra Prime Visioni dedicata a quattro giovani autori e ai suoi lavori tratti dalle tesi di laurea: Vincenzo Bizzarri, Lorenzo De Luca, Elena Guidolin e Mattia Moro.

 
 
BILBOLZINE
 
Domenica 23 novembre dalle 14,30 alle 19, la piazza coperta di SalaBorsa si trasforma in BilBOlZine.

Un mercatino dove si potranno acquistare alcune autoproduzioni selezionate e legate agli artisti, italiani e internazionali, invitati al festival: L’Employé du Moi, Icinori, Oily Comics, Yellow Zine, Papier Gaché, Josephin Ritschel, Teiera.
 
 
ANNA E FROGA
 
Domenica 23 novembre alle 17 inaugura con una merenda alla Cineteca di Bologna la mostra Anna e Froga di Anouk Ricard.

L'autrice mette in scena le piccole cose del mondo dei bambini, calandosi perfettamente nelle loro passioni, nella noia da cui nascono le più incredibili scoperte, nei problemi giganteschi di cui la vita di chi è piccolo è costellata, attraverso le avventure di una bambina e una rana e dei loro amici,

Clicca qui per saperne di più.
 
 
DEFLORIAN DELUXE
 
Domenica 23 novembre alle 19.30 Anna Deflorian inaugura la mostra Deflorian Deluxe, progetto ad hoc di stanza a tema per l'hotel Al Cappello Rosso..

Clicca qui per maggiori informazioni.



 
 
BILBOLBUL CLOSING PARTY
 
Domenica 23 novembre, siete tutti invitati ad AtelierSi, per la festa finale di BBB14!
Alle 22, si aprirà l'asta degli originali donati a BilBOlbul dagli artisti ospiti, tra i quali le opere realizzate da Manuele Fior e Stefano Ricci durante la performance Il Battello Brillo che si è tenuta venerdì 21 presso AtelierSi.
Il ricavato andrà a sostegno del festival.

A partire dalle 23, musica a cura di Bologna Calibro 7 Pollici,100% original black music da vinile
 
 
MONARCH: REPLICA ANNULLATA
 
Ci spiace dover comunicare che la replica di Monarch di AkaB, prevista per il 28 e 29 novembre presso Maison22, è annullata.






 
 
BilBOlbul Festival internazionale di fumetto fa parte della
Rete dei Festival del Contemporaneo di Bologna

Future Film Festival: 1 > 6 aprile 2014 - futurefilmfestival.org :: Live Arts Week: 8 > 13 aprile 2014 - liveartsweek.it :: Angelica- Festival Internazionale di musica: 2 > 31 maggio 2014 - aaa-angelica.com :: Biografilm: 6 > 16 giugno 2014 - biografilm.it :: Gender Bender: 25 ottobre > 1 novembre 2014 www.genderbender.it :: BilBOlBul: 20 > 23 novembre 2014 - bilbolbulnet

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3. Evil Editor Classics



Guess the Plot

Soul Birds

1. Dulled by midlife failures, Homer and Bernice Byrd change their name and become a singing duo. They achieve unexpected fame and fortune, but in the end realize that they were happier when they were nobodies.

2. Each of us is accompanied, from birth to death, by a soul bird that sits on our shoulder, makes sarcastic cracks about us to all the other soul birds, and occasionally takes a crap on our Sunday best. That's about it, really.

3. Often seen as a bad racist joke, the crows from Dumbo have decided to make a comeback, and this time they're out for revenge. Known as the dreaded Soul Birds, this band of buddies will live up to their name as a murder of crows to regain their honor.

4. Okay, they aren't really birds, they're more like butterflies. People use them to send prayers to the gods. It's a pretty cool idea, but lately the system isn't working like it's supposed to, so as usual it's up to one unqualified female to step in and prevent an apocalyptic war.

5. When the dismembered body of former Laker Jeremiah Smitts is discovered in the speakers of his jazz club Soul Birds, homicide detective Zack Martinez knows two things. One, cutting up a body that big had to leave a mess somewhere, and two, he'd better wear his Dwight Howard jersey if he wants them to beat the Trailblazers tomorrow night.

6. When people die, their souls enter the bodies of birds, where they can soar to the heavens. Except for people who've been bad; their souls enter flightless birds, like ostriches and penguins. That's the belief system that has evolved on Earth by the twenty-fourth century. The plot is basically the war between flightless birds and the humans who want to eradicate them.



Original Version

Dear EE,

When Adwen attempts to permeate the home of a waiting girl she is forced away and lands on the sidewalk, momentarily powerless. [For starters, it's not clear whether "she" is Adwen or the waiting girl. By which I mean it's clear you mean Adwen, but "she" should refer to the most recently mentioned female singular entity.] [Also, "waiting girl"? Is that a waitress? Or a lady-in-waiting? Or just a girl who's waiting for something? If the latter, is she waiting for Adwen? If not, what is she waiting for, and if that's irrelevant, why call her a waiting girl?]

Adwen is the Corpreal of physical love and fertility. [The what? I, like Google, assume you misspelled "corporeal." If you made up the word, I recommend not using it in the query. Even if it's inaccurate, use "embodiment" or "goddess" or capitalize a known word like Minister, Custodian, Big Enchilada.] It is her duty to enter the rooms and fantasies of Thea's youth to awaken their sexual desires. [Ah, to have lived in a land where, as a teenage boy, I could look forward to the night Adwen permeated my house and awakened my sexual desires. One question: is she more like Betty or Veronica?] The God of All Things made it so when first man looked at first woman with lust in his eyes and first woman responded with a blush and a smile [and a can of mace].

Confused and scared she rushes to the home of her keeper, Brula, a woman whose magical knowledge is centuries old. [Her keeper? Wait, is this place a zoo?]

Brula discovered a force that can compete with the God of All Things and someone is selling it to the humans. Brula thinks this new power is coming from The Fringe and Adwen should investigate. [Since when do Corpreals investigate anything? That's like if a powerful force were disrupting life as we know it on Earth, and we assigned the investigation to Kim Kardashian. Why doesn't the God of All Things send in a diplomat or a SEAL team or just make The Fringe evaporate? ]

The Fringe is a desolate place, devoid of magic. [Think Manitoba.] The people live there to escape the rule of the God of All Things and they don't welcome intruders, especially divine ones. Adwen's magic won't work and she won't be able to protect herself from their wrath. [So she has magical powers besides that of awakening sexual desires in youth?]

If Adwen chooses to go, she will be stripped of her powers but if she chooses not to, a war between humans and gods could erupt. [Are you declaring that if she chooses to go, the war won't erupt? Why is war any less likely to erupt if a powerless, unwelcome Corpreal enters The Fringe?] The God of All Things won't turn a blind eye to other forms of magic for long.

SOUL BIRDS is 80,000 words and is my first novel to see more then just the hard drive on my old laptop. [This one has seen the hard drive on my new laptop.] Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,


[Note from author to EE: The title comes from butterfly like creatures the gods and goddesses of Thea use to send messages to one another. When they land on someone the person is filled with a vision of the messenger. The soul birds are also used by humans to send prayers to the gods.]


Notes

Is this Fringe the same place as on the TV show, The Fringe?

Why would anyone suspect that the power great enough to compete with the God of All Things is coming from Manitoba?

What is Thea? A planet? Heaven? A place on Earth? These humans buying the powerful force: are they from Earth?

You spend so much time explaining what stuff like Corpreals and The Fringe are, there's not enough room to tell the story.

Your setup seems to be: When humans acquire power that can compete with the God of All Things, war seems inevitable. It's up to Adwen, the goddess of fertility, to find out how the humans are getting their power, and to prevent the war. But to do so, she'll have to enter the bleakest place on the planet, Manitoba, where no fertility goddess has ever been welcome. That leaves plenty of room to tell us what she discovers in Manitoba and what she plans to do about it, and who wants to stop her.


Selected Comments

BuffySquirrel said...So both girls and boys have their sexual desires awoken by a female embodiment of desire? And that seems reasonable to you?


Evil Editor said... It seems both reasonable and preferable to me.


TwiggyBUMPkins said...It almost seems to me like you are trying to write an excerpt (or several) from your book and cram as much information about the world as you can into it in the process. A query is not an excerpt, it is a description of the basics of the plot. The world itself is not necessarily important, though it does need to be clear whether this takes place in a fantasy land, on earth, or in the past/future. What a query needs to have is the plot laid out simply and in a way that makes the reader want to read more.


AlaskaRavenclaw said...In the penultimate sentence you want "than", not "then", but really you don't want that detail at all. Leave out anything not to your advantage.

The first sentence seems detached from the rest of the story and just adds to the confusion. And I'm feeling quite a bit of confusion. It wasn't till the third read-through that I realized Thea was a place, not a person. And is the God of All Things just plain God?

You're spending most of your time in this query trying to explain the rules of your world to us. I'd give that a sentence at most --if it can't be explained in a sentence leave it out-- and focus instead on your protagonist, what she wants to accomplish, and what obstacle prevents her from accomplishing it.


Kelsey said...As someone from Manitoba, touche! Just remember, we claim Neil Young.


khazar-khum said...Your author's note to EE sounds fascinating, a story I'd like to read. The confusing series of actions presented as a query are nowhere near as intriguing as that little blurb.


Jo Antareau said...The embodiment of desire sounds like she would have a pretty full diary, and possibly grateful for stumbling across one person whom she could not permeate. And I'm not quite sure what permeate means..

Start over. Read the query aloud. A few times.

BTW, all the GTPs featuring Zack Martinez make me smile. Does anybody have plans to give this guy his own book or series?


Evil Editor said...Some of the better Zack Martinez GTPs were collected in a post here: http://evileditor.blogspot.com/2009/08/zack-martinez-chronicles.html.

For longer Zack Martinez material, find your way in the archives to August 23, 2009 for 11 ZM stories, the result of a writing exercise.


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4. Book Review: "Graphic LA" by Robh Ruppel

At CTN Animation Expo I bought a copy of Robh Ruppel's new art book Graphic L.A., and want to share it with you.

Robh is one of those rare artists whose work spans imaginative and observational painting. He has worked as a designer for video games and films, and has taught at Art Center. He has also been a leader in digital plein-air painting.

While the book contains some landscapes, the bulk of the images are urban scenes. What I like most about his work is his ability to find beauty in commonplace scenes.

The book includes a mix of finished paintings, thumbnail sketches and step-by-step sequences. The sketches are in tone, most often in marker, while the colored finished paintings appear to be all digital.  

The sense of color and light in many of the painting is extremely evocative. 

Accompanying the images are helpful chunks of advice, such as "Reduce, refine, interpret." 
Before he commences a painting, he always explores the possibilities of the subject in two or three tones. "Good value design," he says, "is the clear simple arrangement of a few tones."

He says, "Searching out the composition should take as long as rendering the image. Ultimately, the staging is what tells the story."

The book is 144 pages, about 8x8 inches.
Book: Graphic L.A. by Robh Ruppel

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5. What Happens After They do Choose Life? The Adoption Incentive

   I am definitely not pro-choice. And I am not here to begin a debate with those who are. What I am upset about this morning is the fact that people have to tone down their wording and offer me a sweet sticker so the debate is not so heated. I am not worried if somebody hates me because I choose life over choice.

   What I am concerned about is this. Some of those women/girls who choose life over choice because of our "concerned" words go on to live in poverty because of their choices. And many "sweet" Christians who told them not to kill their unborn child tell them social services will help them with that child. It infuriates me.

   If you are holy enough to talk some poor young thing out of abortion, then be holy enough to help her find help from other HOLIES! Just my humble opinion. And also, if that beautiful woman decides to save the baby's life, but not keep the baby, where are you then? Holy person? I know there are plenty of people out there who are willing to literally snatch up those newborn babies and give them a wonderful home. But what about the children who have not been aborted and Mommy thought she could handle being a mommy but then couldn't? And now her four year old FAS is on her last nerve. She can't do it now. And the child goes to foster care- but us HOLIES are too BUSY to take the time and take a child into our own homes.

   Oh but Jae, you are being too judgmental. No I'm not. I'm keeping it as real as you folks who carry picket signs and run your mouths about saving that child's life. The invisible child in the picture above is just as invisible if mommy decides to choose life but then can't care for her child. So it's up to us to provide services beyond a sonogram to see her baby has fingernails. There need to be more places like Morning Center in Charlotte, NC.

   People need to also care about the kids who are at-risk and have been taken away from the mommies who tried.
   But that's not my calling, Mama Jae.
   Bull puckey.
   Get on your knees and pray.

   I love ya'll. I know I sound harsh right now. But when it comes to the fatherless, I have a burning passion. Orphans need good Christian homes where they are safe and loved, and never treated like they are a burden or a label. Even if they have a label.

   Not the world's best/sweetest adoption message. I know. But if we sugarcoat it and hand it out in the form of flyers and television ads people say, "Awe." and then accidentally throw away the telephone number.

   My final rant, and then I promise I will leave you alone today, if you are going to yell about the rights of the unborn child- make sure you care enough about that unborn life to go the extra mile. Don't just be another holier than thou voice shouting (or even whispering) in those young girls' lives. Be a beacon of light and hope that surrounds and comforts them through whatever decisions they make. Everybody screws up. Pray today and ask God to show you how to help. I promise, it will be a rough road for everyone involved. But it will be the sweetest thing you could ever do for a child. Jesus said when you offer even a glass of water to the littles, you won't lose your reward.

Thanks and God bless.
Jeannette

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6. The Sound of Steam

It’s cold outside, but from a dream
I wake up to the sound of steam.
The room is toasty, opportune
For staying in my snug cocoon.

The gentle hiss as background noise
My half-asleep self quite enjoys,
A remnant of when I was small,
My brothers sleeping down the hall.

To make the coming day seem rosy,
There is nothing near as cozy
As that warming welcome hiss,
Deceiving us that naught’s amiss.

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7. Elena Vanishing/Hope and Other Luxuries/Elena and Clare B. Dunkle (Chronicle Books): Reflections

A few years ago, in a novel called The Heart Is Not a Size, I wrote of Juarez, of a squatter's village, and of two best friends, Georgia and Riley, each of them navigating this foreign terrain while also navigating secrets. Georgia was privately negotiating anxiety attacks. Riley was declaring to anyone who asked (and Georgia, seemingly unwisely, had begun to ask) that she did not—absolutely did not—have an eating disorder, that she was not starving herself.

I wrote the book and created the characters because I understood both conditions all too well.

This coming spring, Chronicle Books will publish two companion books—true mother-daughter stories—about a young woman's struggle to stop hearing the hectoring internal voices that left her body starving, her heart working too hard, and her future imperiled. Calories were Elena's enemies. A bite of toast was a grave mistake. Numbers were everything. And Elena Dunkle was, in too many terrible ways, dying.

In and out of hospitals. In and out of rehab. In and out of conversations with the family who loved her and the specialists who seemed incapable of hushing the terrible voices. In Elena Vanishing, a memoir written by Elena's mother, Clare Dunkle, and grounded in extraordinary medical records, journals, and conversations, Elena's story gets told in a high-velocity, present-tense voice. We see Elena's world. We hear the voices in her head. We rush headlong into an illness that may have a name but still remains, for every person afflicted, a mystery. Where does anorexia begin? How is it finally controlled? Where is the key that fits the lock, that stops time from running out?

You will read, your heart pounding. You will remember a version of someone you were, or someone you loved, or love still.

Ultimately, as Clare reminds the reader, "this isn't the story of anorexia nervosa. It's the story of a person. It's the story of Elena Dunkle, a remarkable young woman who fights her demons with grit and determination. It's the story of her battle to overcome trauma, to overcome prejudice, but most of all, to overcome that powerful destructive force, the inner critic who whispers to us about our greatest fears."

There is depth, beauty, horror, and beauty again in Elena Vanishing. You'll read it, as I did, in a single day. You will think not just about the story that got made, but the story as it was being made—this mother, this daughter, remembering together, writing together, reaching out to the world together.

And when you are done there is a book called Hope and Other Luxuries to turn to—Clare Dunkle's memoir about loving this vanishing daughter of hers. Both books are being released by Chronicle next May. Both were edited by Ginee Seo, who poured her heart into these true stories and, once again (in Chronicle fashion), broke new ground by deciding to publish both sides of a story about an illness that affects millions of people around the world.

I own, it seems, the first two signed ARCs of both books, for I met Clare and Elena at the Chronicle booth at NCTE yesterday morning. I would like to thank Chronicle, as I close this blog, for including me at this event, for making such a home for me, for extending your friendship so warmly. Ginee Seo, Sally Kim, Jaime Wong—you threw one heck of a party, you look so good surrounded by Chronicle blue, and I am so proud to be a Chronicle author (and a Tamra Tuller writer).

Deepest thanks to those who stopped by to say hello, who stood in line for One Thing Stolen, who came and surprised, who spoke with me over a delicious meal. Twenty-four hours at the National Harbor. Not to be forgotten. Nor are these two books, by a mother and daughter.

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8. Where There's A Will (1940)

Where There's A Will. Rex Stout. (Nero Wolfe #8) 1940. Bantam. 258 pages. [Source: Bought]

I always begin Nero Wolfe mysteries wanting to love them. I do love, love, love Archie Goodwin and Nero Wolfe. And I have certainly loved plenty of them in the past. Some more than others, of course. But at the very least, the mysteries generally serve as entertainment or distraction. Where There's A Will is not one of my favorites.

Wolfe and Goodwin are in need of clients, wealthy clients preferably. That isn't exactly unexpected. They almost always are in need of clients according to Goodwin. The book opens with the two meeting a family--dysfunctional family, don't you know?! This high-status family is in mourning. Three sisters (and their lawyers) come to Wolfe upset about their brother's will. Each had been under the assumption that they'd be left a million dollars each. They'd been left nothing, or almost nothing. They were disappointed, perhaps a bit ashamed at how angry they were. But the very fact that their brother's mistress received so very, very much is infuriating. Especially since he was married. The widow is outraged. Will Nero Wolfe go about trying to persuade this mistress woman to share the inheritance? Before that case gets a proper chance to be taken up, there comes a great shock. The brother's death was no accident. Someone murdered him. Now someone else in the family comes to Wolfe and begs him to take the case and solve the murder.

Can Wolfe solve the murder? Will Goodwin reach the same conclusion as Wolfe--in the same amount of time?

© 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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9. Photos from last weekend's events in NYC—Chris Van Allsburg & E.B. White

Last weekend was just a stellar one! I'm still wrapping my mind around it.

On Saturday, I had the pleasure of interviewing Chris Van Allsburg at the 92nd St Y. When the invite came in, I was already scheduled to be in California on that Friday to speak at the California School Nutrition Association's Conference. There was no way I was going to miss the opportunity to moderate a conversation with one of my literary heroes—and at such an iconic location, too! I flew a red-eye and made it to NYC on time. After only five hours of sleep on the plane, I managed to lead and nagging conversation on Mr. Van Allsburg's life and work. Here is a photo taken by the very talented Mike Curato:



The conversation was recorded and it will be published on the 92nd St Y podcast. More info as soon as I have it! (Spoiler alert: it got a little emotional at the end for everyone.)


On Sunday, I was at another iconic NYC venue—Symphony Space on Broadway. I hosted a fundraiser for First Book—Manhattan. It's an organization that is near and dear to my heart. Celebrated actors read the works of E.B. White, and it was...terrific! Not only did I host, but I also read the part of Wilbur. Was it intimidating to read alongside such giant talents? Well, when I first met everyone, it was during rehearsal. Imagine the shell shock of seeing Jane Curtin, David Hyde Pierce, Michael Potts, Naomi Watts and Live Schrieber walk onto stage with you? But they quickly put me at ease. David Hyde Pierce hit me on the shoulder, chuckled and said, "That was great!" after I read my first line. By the time the performance came along, all in trepidation had vanished, and I had a blast. The audio was recorded, and hopefully you will get to hear the inspired performances!





Check out more photos on Symphony Space's Facebook page here!

Here are a few of my favorite moments form the show:


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10. The importance of mentoring

Throughout my career, there have been many times when advice, support, and criticism were critical for my own professional development. Sometimes that assistance came from people who were formally tasked with providing advice; a good example is a Ph.D. advisor (in my case, John Aldrich of Duke University, who has been a fantastic advisor and mentor to a long list of very successful students). Sometimes that advice was less formal, coming from senior colleagues, other academics at conferences, and in many cases from peers. The lesson is professional advice and support — or to put it into a single term, mentoring — comes from many different sources and occurs in many different ways.

However, there is growing concern in political science that more mentoring is necessary, that there are scholars who are not getting the professional support and advice that they need to help them with career decisions, teaching, and the publication of their research. There are many good programs that have developed in recent years to help provide more mentoring in political methodology, for example the excellent “Visions in Methodology” program. And the Society for Political Methodology recently approved the foundation of a new professional award, to recognize excellent mentors. But more needs to be done to improve mentoring and mentoring opportunities in academia.

During the 2014 American Political Science Association conference, there was a very informative panel discussion, “How to Be a Good Mentee: Mentoring for Methodologists.” The discussion was chaired by Megan Shannon of the University of Colorado, and participants were Leslie A. Schwindt-Bayer (Rice University), Tiffany D. Barnes (University of Kentucky), and Brett Ashley Leeds (Rice University). I had an opportunity to listen to much of this panel discussion, and found it quite helpful.

After the conference I sent Leslie, Tiffany, and Ashley some questions about mentoring by email. Their responses are informative and helpful, and should be read by anyone who is interested in mentoring.

R. Michael Alvarez: How have you benefited from being involved in mentoring relationships?

Tiffany D. Barnes: I have benefited in a number of ways from being involved in a mentoring relationship. Mentors have provided me with feedback on research at multiple different stages of the research process. They have provided me with professional advice about a number of things including applying for fellowships and grants, marketing my book manuscript to university presses, and navigating the negotiation process at my university. My mentoring relationships have broadened my network of scholars with similar research interests and/or professional goals, which in turn have resulted in a number of different opportunities (e.g. coauthors, and invitations to participate in conference panels/round tables, mini-conferences, and edited volumes/special journal issues). Equally important, my mentoring relationships have resulted in a number of valuable friendships that make working in the profession more enjoyable.

Leslie A. Schwindt-Bayer: As a mentee, I really benefited from getting guidance, feedback, and research assistance from many different formal and informal mentors over the years. As a mentor, I get to give that back which is a great opportunity.

Brett Ashley Leeds: I believe fundamentally that no one figures everything out on his or her own. I know for sure that I did not, and I have had (and continue to have) a variety of mentors throughout my career. As a mentee, what I really value is knowing that I have people who respect me enough to tell me when I am wrong and to help me improve. As a mentor, I not only learn a lot from thinking intently about my mentees’ work and articulating my opinions for them, but I also get great personal satisfaction from the relationships that evolve and from helping others to succeed. It feels good to pay forward what has been done for me.

Woman looking away and smiling. © GlobalStock via iStock.
Woman looking away and smiling. © GlobalStock via iStock.

R. Michael Alvarez: Why has the issue of mentoring become an important topic of conversation in academia, and in particular, in political science?

Tiffany D. Barnes: Although it is well established that mentoring is an important aspect of professional development, it has recently become an important topic of conversation because academics have become aware that not all scholars have the same opportunities to develop mentorship relationships nor do they derive the same benefits from mentor relationships. In particular, women and minorities may face more challenges when it comes to identifying mentors in the field and they may not reap the same benefits (e.g. opportunities to collaborate, sponsorship) from mentorship relationships as men do. In the long run, this “mentor gap” may have negative repercussions for the retention and career advancement of some otherwise talented scholars.

If a scholar feels they would benefit by mentoring, how can they seek out a mentor? What should they look for in an appropriate mentor?

Leslie A. Schwindt-Bayer: Mentoring relationships can be both informal and formal. Informal relationships often emerge when scholars ask for advice and support from colleagues in their department, subfields, or various disciplinary organizations. Formal relationships sometimes emerge organically or at the initiative of a mentee or mentor, but they also can be entered into through a number of mentoring programs in the discipline. For women, the Visions in Methodology program offers a mentoring program through which mentees can ask to be paired with a mentor. They usually ask the mentee to suggest someone they would like to be paired with and then check with the suggested mentor about interest and availability. The Midwest Women’s Caucus has a mentoring program for women in any subfield. They ask individuals interested in mentoring and being mentored to volunteer to participate and then pair them by interest. Other organizations and groups probably offer similar programs.

In seeking a mentor, either formally or informally, you should think about exactly what you want out of the relationship. Are you looking for someone to provide you with general guidance about the profession or are you seeking someone who is willing to read your work from time to time and talk through research challenges when you come across them? Are you in your first year out, feeling lost, and needing help getting back on track or are you close to tenure and looking for guidance on how to navigate the process? Do you want a mentor whose style is to give “pep talks” or “straight talk?” Knowing what you want out of the relationship will help you identify the right person for the job.

Tiffany D. Barnes: Scholars who want to find a mentor can look for a mentor by signing up for a formal mentor match or by identifying someone in the profession who shares similar research interests or professional goals.

A formal mentor match is good option for identifying someone who is interested in serving in a capacity as a mentor. Typically the mentor program will ask you questions about what you are looking for in a mentor relationship, your research interests, your rank, and your professional interests. The program will try to match you with a mentor based on this information. If you are paired with someone through a program, you can be confident that your mentor wants to help you. These relationships can be very valuable, but, as with all mentor-mentee relationships, it requires initiative on the part of the mentee. It is the mentee’s responsibility to drive the mentor-mentee relationship. Mentees should identify why they want a mentor and reach out to the mentor and ask for help in areas where they can benefit the most. One criticism of formal matching programs is that they may not always result in the best “fit.” Even if you do not think the match is the best fit, there are still a number of benefits you can derive from the relationship. Your research interests do not have to perfectly overlap for you to benefit from the relationship. Indeed, most successful scholars have a wealth of information, advice, and perspective to offer junior colleagues. It is up to the mentee to identify areas where your needs or interests intersect with the mentor’s strengths, experiences, and interests — and to capitalize on these opportunities.

A second option is to develop a more informal mentor relationship. To do this, mentees should identify someone in the field who has similar research interests or professional goals. Mentees should identify different opportunities to get to know scholars with similar interests and try to develop these relationships from there. For example, you may have the opportunity to establish relationships with scholars when you present research on the same panel, when someone shows interest in your work by offering comments or questions about your research (or vice versa), or even when you have the opportunity to bring a guest speaker to your university. By following up with people after the initial meeting and/or taking them up on their offer to read and comment on your research, you can begin to establish relationships with them. These relationships may take time to develop and they may be difficult establish if you are new to the profession or do not know many scholars in your field. Finally, when attempting to establish more informal mentor relationships, it is important to be self-aware. Some people will show interest in you and be eager to get to know and help you, others will not, and no one is obligated to do so. Respect people’s rights to not be interested in you and try not to take it personal.

Brett Ashley Leeds: My view is that it is less important to find one person that can be identified as “a mentor” and instead to focus on finding mentoring, even if it comes from a variety of people. I encourage scholars to identify people who have skills, abilities, and/or information that they think would be useful to them– basically people they would like to emulate in particular areas of their work. Approach these folks politely in person or by email (for instance, asking to have coffee at a conference) and ask questions. Some will not be responsive, but many will be responsive and helpful. Follow up with those who are helpful. In some cases a relationship will develop.

R. Michael Alvarez: What are the most important “dos” and “don’ts” for a scholar who is in a mentoring relationship?

Brett Ashley Leeds: Since below I cover some tips for mentors, here are some tips for mentees: (1) Figure out what it is you want to know/learn. Think of both specific and general questions so you are prepared to ask when the opportunity arises. (2) Recognize the time and costs of what you ask and make things as easy as possible for your mentor by reminding him/her of past interactions and explaining the specific feedback you are looking for. (3) Understand that ultimately you are responsible for your own decisions. Ask your mentor to explain why he/she believes a particular action/approach is best, and for major decisions, seek advice from multiple people. (4) Let your mentors know about the outcomes. For example, if a mentor helps you with a paper, send a note when the paper is accepted for publication.

Leslie A. Schwindt-Bayer: For mentees, be assertive and discuss with your mentor when your relationship begins just what you each want from the relationship and are willing to commit to it. If you need something from your mentor, don’t wait for him/her to reach out to you. Email, call, or arrange to meet with your mentor at a conference. Since the mentee is the one who needs the mentoring relationship the most, the mentee needs to take the initiative to ask for help or guidance from the mentor.

Tiffany D. Barnes: Establish clear expectations and boundaries. Tell your mentor what you are hoping to get out of a mentoring relationship, and don’t be afraid to ask your mentor for help in areas where you could benefit the most. That said, it is important to acknowledge that your mentor may not always be willing or able to help you in the ways you want. Respect these boundaries and do not take them personal.

When establishing boundaries, it is important to respect your mentor’s time and to be cognizant and courteous with the time you ask of your mentor. For example, if your mentor agrees to meet with you for half an hour, pay attention to the time and wrap up your meeting in a timely manner. Your mentor will likely appreciate not having to cut you short, and, if they know you respect their time, it may make them more likely to make time for you in the future.

Don’t expect any single mentor to fulfill all of your mentoring needs. Different people, depending on their experience and expertise, have different things to offer. Try to identify the areas where your mentor is most likely to be of help to you and build on these strengths. Along these same lines, although your mentor likely gives great advice, you cannot expect them to have the answer to all of your questions. It is important to weight their point of view carefully and to seek out a number of different perspectives.

Seek to develop a number of mentoring relationships. It can be useful to have mentors within your own department, in your university (but outside your department), and in the discipline more broadly. Moreover, it is often just as useful to develop relationships with senior mentors, as it is to develop relationships with peer mentors.

Student With Teacher In Class.  © monkeybusinessimages via iStock.
Student With Teacher In Class. © monkeybusinessimages via iStock.

R. Michael Alvarez: What are the responsibilities of a mentor?

Brett Ashley Leeds (1) Create an environment in which you can provide effective constructive criticism. This tends to require first establishing an environment of mutual respect. (2) Know what you know and what you don’t, and know that your experience is not universal. (3) Always explain why you are giving the advice you are giving and be willing to consider alternatives. (4) Recognize that in the end, your mentee should make his/her own decisions and may not always take all of your advice. (5) Recognize how important your opinion may be to your mentee; wield this power responsibly.

Tiffany D. Barnes: A mentor should establish clear boundaries with their mentee. Be honest and upfront the role you are and are not willing to play as a mentor. Be clear about your time constraints and the amount of time you are willing to commit to your mentee.

Leslie A. Schwindt-Bayer: If it is a formal mentoring relationship, make sure you and your mentee establish ground rules at the beginning about what each of you wants from the relationship and are willing to give to it. Don’t commit to something you aren’t willing to follow through with and be sure to follow through with whatever you commit to do for your mentee. If you can only commit to an hour of time twice a semester, that is fine, but make sure your mentee knows that and agrees that it is sufficient for him/her. If you are willing to provide general guidance but don’t want to read/comment on your mentee’s work, that is fine. But, again, make sure your mentee knows that from the beginning. Keep in mind that your mentee may place very high value on your advice and guidance so give it carefully.

R. Michael Alvarez: What are the personal and professional benefits of being a mentor?

Leslie A. Schwindt-Bayer: Too numerous to list in a short response!

Brett Ashley Leeds: It has often been said that one only really knows something when she can teach it to others. Mentoring gives me an opportunity to clarify and articulate my views on professional issues and research in a way that I otherwise might not. I frequently learn in the act of mentoring. The main benefits, however, are personal, and come from the satisfaction of helping others to achieve their goals and the feeling of paying forward what has been done in the past for me.

R. Michael Alvarez: How can professional organizations (like the Society for Political Methodology) facilitate professional mentoring?

Brett Ashley Leeds: The most important thing that professional organizations can do is provide opportunities that encourage interaction among scholars who don’t already know one another, and particularly between junior and senior scholars. Small conferences, dinners, and receptions help a lot with this. Poster sessions in which junior scholars are matched with senior discussants also help.

Tiffany D. Barnes: In my experience professional organizations play both, an important formal and informal role in facilitating professional mentoring.

Professional organization can formally facilitate mentoring relationship by matching mentors with mentees. I have two different successful mentoring relationships that were products of mentoring matches. This is a great way to help young scholars identify someone in the profession who is willing to serve as a mentor.

Professional organizations can also facilitate mentoring by simply providing both professional and social opportunities for junior scholars to meet likeminded senior (and junior!) colleagues. By becoming involved in professional organizations that align with your professional interests you will establish relationships with colleagues in your field. Most of these relationships will emerge naturally and develop slowly over time. Although you may not formally call the individuals you meet here “mentors,” they will become an important part of your mentoring community.

Leslie A. Schwindt-Bayer: One of many ways is a formal mentoring program. The Visions in Methodology mentoring program is a fantastic example, but it is only for women. This is a very positive feature of the program because women in a field with a small representation of women face different and sometimes more challenging sets of obstacles than men. However, plenty of men in the field would also benefit immensely from mentoring and so offering a similar program for men or a program that is open to both women and men, if it does not already exist, would help to facilitate formal professional mentoring in the methods subfield.

The post The importance of mentoring appeared first on OUPblog.

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11. Characters are Key

Your book might have the best hook in the world, but it won't be published without well-written characters.

http://taralazar.com/2014/11/06/piboidmo-day-6-sudipta-bardhan-quallen/

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12. At the Reading Market in advance of Thanksgiving, in today's Philadelphia Inquirer

Oh, that Philadelphia Inquirer. Oh, Kevin Ferris and your design team. You make waking up every fourth Sunday such a pleasure. Thank you for the glorious celebration of the Reading Market in today's Inquirer. I loved writing this piece and taking those photographs. I love being a Philadelphian.

The story can be read in its entirety here.

This essay is one of three dozen that will appear in LOVE: A PHILADELPHIA AFFAIR, due out from Temple University Press next fall. More on that here.

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13. I Could Have Been At Home Watching The Rugby!

 
 So, I got up, tidy myself and packed up all the books ready to get the bus to the event.  Miserable and depressed.  But the bus was running on time and the rain stopped.

YAY! It might just turn out to be a good day after all.

I turned up at just after 0900 hours and walking from the bus stop approached the hotel.  Immediately obvious was that there was absolutely no indication that there was an event on let alone an "International Book Fair and Comic Expo" -and no "meet-and-greeters" as you usually get at these events -in the past there have been people standing in the foyer waiting to point you in the right direction with a cheery "hello".

I looked around.  Nothing.  I approached the very polite and smiling receptionists who were more than happy to give me directions to the event.

So I got into the lift and headed for the fifth floor.  I kept thinking "Chandeliers! Chandeliers!"

Why was I thinking that?  Well, regular CBOers will remember that for one of the last good (well signed) Expos held in the Mercure, the Small Press Expo got a big room with chandelier style lights.  Never thought I'd see the SP in a fancy room.  So I was hoping that it was the same room.  It was.


And there was no one I recognised. Would this be a repeat of my disasterous Comics and Small Press event in October?  No. I said "Hello" to the two young guys from Bath on the table next to me.  Hands were shaken a few jokes spouted and that was it. So I set up the table -more books than space and walked around and there were a few more "hellos" -later from Simon Wyatt, Jason Cardy, Steve Tanner -and a lot of Welsh attendees.

With no exhibitor badges -just a coloured plastic sticker- it would have been hard to know who a good few of the people were....had I not done what I usually do: check all the exhibitors/guests blogs and websites during the week so I knew who was where and did what.

Wow. I thought "This should be good" but wanted to check the place out.

Had a nice chat with one of the hotel staff in the foyer and asked about signs for the event?  I was told "I think that is up to the organisers."  Fair enough.  Went for a quick look outside to return to the event and prepare for the thronging masses.

I found a rather worrying brown envelope on my table and the only words written on it were "Terry Hooper".  Breaking into a cold sweat I got a "How do you fancy a trip to East Germany?" flash-back. I could have swooned when I found that it was two books from Time Bomb Comics' Steve Tanner!



 THAT banner was just too scarily predicting what was to unfold.
 
Decided to double-check the table (as my old teacher drummed into us:"Never enter a room without knowing that you CAN exit it alive!") and then off to relieve Bladderking.  On my return I found a rather up-tight former hipster wannanbe who really should have pulled to the curb and taken a polaroid.  Yes, Darron Ralph Maffaking Hildegarde Northall had arrived.


Northall: "Just how come you got a red sticker and I got a yellow one, hey?  What's that supposed to mean -I'm inferior to you, hey? Hey??!!"    Once I explained that it was either a yellow sticker or walk around in his underpants all day he calmed down.

Oh! Funny story....well, more like embarassing really.  The young lady who came up to me and put the sticker on my shirt to show I was an exhibitor (the organisers knew me and I was standing there with a name tag and Black Tower logo behind an exhibitor table....meh).  I said -you'll have hysterics here- "Does that mean if I'm seen without the sticker I get tackled and thrown out by security?"  Young lady: "That would be me"   Now, she was wearing a red sweater.  She was security (!) so I reposted: "Red security sweater. Wow. Hopw brave!" (I was making a Star Trek reference there, right?)  I got THE blankest look in return.  "It's a Star Trek reference -security man in red sweater always gets killed?"  There was not the slightest breeze but the tumble weeds that rolled by.  A "Oh right." and that was it.


 Morning at the expo....don't be fooled -all these people are exhibitors!

Anyhow, the rakish Northall asked where the various events were and talks.  Nothing was well sign-posted and let me tell you even reviews from businessmen refer to how confusing the corridors are in the hotel -at one expo I ended up with three frightened expoers in a lift in the basement. I think my maniacal laugh when the lift doors opened revealing the basement might have unnerved them.

 Note to self: Do not wear a side cash pouch and camera pouch under you top because you like like a pregnant ferschlugginer!  And, yes, that little red square above the t-shirt log IS my event 'ID'!

Below: Ahh, the view.  Windows are sealed to prevent expo exhibitors jumping...well, me in particular!
Well, this was an "International Book Fair and Comic Expo" but there was one guest from the US(?) who I had never heard of before and he and his friend were sat behind a table away from everyone else looking very bored and not getting much attention.  I really felt sorry for him.   That was it.

 Afternoon: Hello! It's kicking off -two kids and their dad!  No, those other people are still the exhibitors.


 From the Black Tower table.  Yes, quite a few empty tables.  And those folk in the background are, again, exhibitors -we could all get up, walk around and talk and be confident that no one would be at our tables. This really was very, very depressing.

Below: Northall -"Okay take a photo and I'll smile just this once 'for the team'!"
 A quick re-arranging of the table just to keep us busy. Oddly, people would stop for a second or so and not even engage in conversation but walk off.  But I'll put that in perspective by saying I counted ten or twelve people who came into the room and most seemed to know people there.

From what I could see Paul Grist was not doing a great deal....

Damn that banner again -just wiping my face in it!


 Damn my camera for malfunctioning again.  I only got this one of Steve Tanner at the Time Bomb Comics table.  Okay, he at least sold something but he had driven all the way from Birmingham and been stung by the hotel parking fee of £12.50!  "What?!" you may be shouting.  I did.  An exhibitor at an event at the hotel had to pay £12.50 to PARK a car there.

That was just plain disgusting. I wonder how many people attending conferences at the hotel pay full whack to park their car?  That alone would make me never ever recommend the Mercure Holland to anyone as a conference or event venue.



 Steve is a very nice man who works hard to promote and sell his books.  Okay, so do I BUT he had travelled all the way to Bristol and had to drive all that way back.  He explains that he never has high expectations so if it isn't a good day well you can't be disappointed.

Still, as I explained to someone yesterday evening, being stung to park at an event and then really just sit about or chinwag was really bad.



Plenty of stand-up signage outside the hotel.  Usually you see signs placed out by the pavement for events.

Now, you might ask why this event was not attended by any international publishers?  I purchased a lot of books because I planned professionally for a big event.  Northall's constant "You've got too much stuff! Too many books!" was annoying but he would be right if I was the sort of person who was a dilettante.  Small Press event or a big event I treat it professionally.  I take stock so that people do not just see horror comics or super hero or whatever.

I am just glad that lulu.com somehow fouled up my order for the four prose books which would have cost me over £150.00.  I was mad that I never had the books for the event but had I then I would have been Hulking out!

WHY was there no exterior signs pointing out that an "international book fair and comic expo" was being held?  According to the organisers the hotel said there could be but then told them they could not.  If this is true then I suggest the organisers contact the company running the hotel and demand a partial refund. 


Read this from the Hotel website:


"Mercure Bristol Holland House Hotel & Spa is a luxury hotel situated in Bristol's city centre. This stylish hotel blends sophisticated meeting and conference facilities with 275 spacious bedrooms, the chic Phoenix restaurant and bar, 14 beauty treatment rooms and fitness suite with a 14m pool.

A focal point for events and business meetings in the city, Mercure Holland House provides state-of-the-art conference and banqueting facilities. The 12 luxurious suites have the flexibility to comfortably cater for intimate meetings of eight or conferences of up to 220 delegates with the added bonus of a dedicated lounge and break-out area.

Through the hotel’s Meet with Mercure offer, all delegate packages include free Wi-Fi and LCD projector plus inclusive refreshments from mid-morning breaks to afternoon tea.

The hotel’s conference and events team is enthusiastic and professional, tailoring conference arrangements to the individual customer's needs, resulting in a superlative service in luxurious surroundings. Conference organisers can be assured that whatever the event, a conference or meeting suite is available to suit their needs. Enhanced by its central location and sheer style, the hotel is the obvious choice for high profile events."

Now, I pass this hotel almost every day and I have seen stand-up signs and pointer arrow signs for events outside it.  It is quite a common sight there and you find out a lot about what is going on in the City from these.  It makes no sense that the hotel which had signage for comic expos in the past should suddenly disallow any.

The bonus event publiciser has always been the cosplayers -Abe The Alien, Star Wars troopers and so on as well as people giving out flyers.  Nothing here.

A couple quick emails and I found out that none of the Bristol comic shops had been asked to put up a flyer -they have done with the old Comic Expo.  None were invited to take part in the event.  To which I can only respond ?!?!!

So the main publicity for the event -2-3 times a week for the last couple months has been CBO.  Nothing on other comic blogs (unless you can point me in the direction of one that did mention it?)

About three times everyone went quiet as a raffle or something else was shouted out by the organisers.  Please bear that in mind for a paragraph or so.

By 1430 hours (2.30pm to you lot) Northall was talking me out of committing suicide using the sharp edge of a Black Tower book ....I looked around and people were packing up!!   People were saying they were going by 1500 hrs.  The event started at 10:00 hours which was a mistake -Mid-day would have been better -still six hours to trade.

But there was no trade.

I think Steve Tanner packed up just after 15:00 hours but by 16:00 hours, with two hours still to go others were packing up.  If it had not been for the pally atmosphere it would have been more depressing. At just after 16:00 hrs I noticed the organisers had packed up and gone.  No announcement.  Nothing.  I tried to find them and asked one of the hotel staff "They've just gone" was the reply I received.

WHAT???????

As everyone else packed up and left I made sure that my table was still fully set up.  I'm not a comic dilettante and I paid for a table until 18:00 hours (6pm) and that was it.  But someone had turned the air-conditioning units from warm to cold.  Cold air was flowing quite happily.  A very old and cynical trick to clear a venue.

 I think it was after  17:00 hours (5pm) that I packed up and Northall and I left a deserted event room.

I was told "Oh, the organisers mum felt a bit unwell so they left".

Unfortunate but I have been involved in setting up events since the 1970s, from early computer events, business marts and even comic events. I have never ever heard of an organiser just leaving their exhibitors like idiots at an event.  An announcement that someone was ill? No problem -just tell exhibitors how to contact you in an emergency and you certainly HAVE to be there to see the event draws to a close and thank exhibitors for coming.

This was probably the worst organised event I have ever been to. No real publicity outside of a Face Book page and blog and CBO, of course.  NO "international book fair" -everyone I spoke to there were Small Pressers either using one Print On Demand company or another. And all the guests announced for the cancelled "Booked!" event that were supposed to be at this re-scheduled event?  None.

But then the most galling email ever from the organisers:

"Firstly may I say a big thank you to you all for the support you have given to this venture.  The room looked great and I thought the atmosphere was very friendly and pleasant. 
 
I can only apologise for the lack of support from the general public although the few that did attend really enjoyed their time there. However, I don’t know what more I could have done in advertising the event and felt that the hotel could have given a more prominent pointer to the fair.  That said I expect that as this event coincided with the big comic expo at Birmingham NEC that many of our likely customers were there instead of in Bristol" 
 
Let me just say that comic fans and people in Bristol have always -ALWAYS- been very supportive of comic events in the City.  It is why the Bristol Comic Expo used to be the "must go to event" of the year (see my announcement in the next posting).  To seriously write  "lack of support from the general public" and give that as an excuse and not expect a Bristolian to get very very angry..... 
 
THE PEOPLE AND COMIC FANS OF BRISTOL NEEDED TO KNOW THERE WAS AN EVENT IN ORDER FOR THEM TO SUPPORT IT!

This was basically a very poorly organised comic mart and not a big international book fair or comic expo.  Arts and craft, Small Pressers and a couple fellas selling comics.  

Back Cover Promotions failed to deliver the event promised.  Okay, first time events CAN be quite messy but this is the first one where I've heard exhibitors politely -and not so politely- state that they would never attend the event again.

There were months in which to contact bloggers, comic shops, arrange flyers to distribute -music shops in Bristol and gaming stores have been more than happy to do this in the past.

If you are an underdog then Bristol is the place to get support but if you blame your failure on Bristolians the hackles WILL rise.
 
From now on, when I book a ticket with events -who ALWAYS have tones of things you have to agree to- I am going to stipulate that if an event is badly organised or publicised resulting in something like this debacle, I at least get my table money back.

Next year I am seriously thinking and costing going to Steve Tanner's new Birmingham convention.  Today I am just tired and very annoyed.  The only thing that saved the day (and no sells so I'm down £400 this year) were the exhibitors who actually made me laugh and smile.

It was a VERY long day.

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14. Weekend Links: Discovering Our World

So far this month has been jam-packed with insightful education, Booklists, Activities and Resources for Kids and parents interested in raising global citizens.  I would like to share them this weekend as my Weekend Links Round-up. Enjoy!

JIAB favorite Marie’s Pastiche and family is in the midst of a virtual travel to West Africa. This sight has delighted me all month with wonderful posts sharing info about this country, their culture, the festivals, cook and eat traditional foods, learn of traditional handicrafts with hands on exploration and many activities. This week she had a wonderful post on Anansi Stories – Trickster Tales from West Africa.

Anansi button Collage

Crystal’s Tiny Treasures offered up a wonderful Native American Book inspired review and giveaway and an excellent link-up!

Feel like learning about  The Dances of India? Check out this post at Crafty Moms Share: Dances of India Book Review

Bharatanatyam_21

Home School Life Journal spent some time this week exploring Western India with a yummy recipe and some breathtaking images.

img_7239

Mommy Maleta has a post as well that is near-and-dear to my heart: Exploring Lebanon

exploring Lebanon

 

As you all may know, November is Native American Heritage Month and Leanna from All Done Monkey created a wonderfulChildren’s Books about the Cherokee booklist.

Children's Books About the Cherokee | Alldonemonkey.com

 

FREE GIFT FROM JIAB!

“Conditions of the Heart” is a FREE kids activity book filled with fun activities & crafts that teaches values and conduct. Grab your copy HERE:

Conditions of the Heart

Need gift ideas for Christmas? Give the gift of education and guidance with Donna Ashton’s The Waldorf Homeschool Handbook Now available through Audrey Press Books!

The Waldorf Homeschool Handbook

The post Weekend Links: Discovering Our World appeared first on Jump Into A Book.

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15. Books for Teachers - Winners


I had such a great response to the drawing for books for teachers and school librarians, that I decided to draw TWO names.


(I don't know how to center this dang video....)





Winner #1: Janet Cimmino (I don't have your email address but will mail the books)

Winner #2: Betsy Murphy

I'll email y'all.

AND, I'm saving the other entries for a future drawing.

Thanks to everyone.

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16. 5 Ways to Differentiate Assignments & Tasks: Part 2

Differentiated, or tiered, assignments provide students opportunities for individual understanding and growth in learning. differentiation part 2 copyActivities, projects, and tasks that educators create for their students can be used with flexible groups to address common learning needs.

Based on students’ diverse needs, educators differentiate by manipulating one or more of the following: content (what students learn), process (how students learn it), and product (what students create to demonstrate their learning).

Within those three domains, educators can differentiate based on challenge, complexity, resources, process, and product. We will tackle 5 ways to differentiate assignments using the Adventures Around the World series by Ted and Betsy Lewin.

Differentiate by Challenge Level:

We use Bloom’s Taxonomy as a guide to develop instructional tasks with differing degrees of challenging demands. Based on the rigor and complexity of what is being taught, we can design and categorize assignments using the following classifications from Bloom’s levels of higher thinking: recall, understand, apply, analyze, evaluate, and create.

Example: Top to Bottom: Down Undermain_toptobottom_cover

Recall: List the different types of wildlife that live in northern and southern Australia, and classify them as mammals, reptiles, birds, amphibians, or fish.

Understand: Identify and explain the adaptations of the platypus or echidna in their habitats.

Create: Design a new Australian animal incorporating the characteristics of two animal classifications (mammal, reptile, amphibian, bird, fish) and a written explanation supporting your reasons.

Differentiate by Complexity:

Increasing the complexity of an assigned task involves differentiating the content, or an introductory vs a more advanced activity focus. This involves strategically developing learning objectives and understanding what students should be able to do. Again, Bloom’s Taxonomy can help guide the development of least, more, and most complex tasks for your students.

In the following example, all of the students are required to write an informational essay, but the lens of their research differs in complexity.

Example: Horse Song: The Naadam of Mongoliamain_horsesong_pb_cover

Least complex: Write an informational essay about the tradition of the Naadam horse racing in Mongolia.

More complex: Write an informational essay about the tradition of the Naadam horse racing in Mongolia and evaluate the pros and cons.

Most complex: Write an informational essay about the tradition of the Naadam horse racing in Mongolia and determine your opinion, presenting a convincing argument either for or against the horse races.

Differentiate by Resource:

Differentiating by resource should be approached with thoughtful consideration of students. This requires thinking about their reading strengths and needs, as well as students’ interest in and prior knowledge about a topic. Differentiating by resource may involve selecting supplementary reading materials, such as articles, magazines, and primary documents, and using visual aids, including videos, charts, and graphic organizers. Offering all students opportunities to engage with different resources and assigning age-appropriate materials to groups of students supports collaboration and inclusion of readers of all levels.

Example: Gorilla Walkmain_gorillawalk_cover

Lower-level readers: Provide supplementary informational texts or materials about the endangered mountain gorilla on a lower reading level, such as a pre-reading guide/outline for Gorilla Walk, an audio recording of Gorilla Walk to listen to as students read along, or a graphic organizer to record notes as students read.

Advanced readers: Provide challenging supplementary articles or texts about the endangered mountain gorilla or animal habituation and critical-thinking questions to answer as students read the text.

Differentiate by Process:

When students are expected to achieve similar outcomes, such as understanding new vocabulary words, teachers often differentiate assignments by how students will achieve expected learning objectives. Therefore, how students engage with the content involves considering how challenging and complex the process or strategy is for the student, as well as offering varying and supplementary resources.

Example: Elephant Questmain_elephantquest_cover

Vocabulary words: delta, protrude, submerge, matriarch, bounding, intent, emerge

  • Frayer Model: Students will use the Frayer model to: define the word in their own words, list essential characteristics of the word/concept, and provide both examples and nonexamples.
  • LINCS strategy: (on an index card)

L: List the word + definition

I: Identify a reminding word

N: Note a LINCing story

C: Create a LINCing picture

S: Self-test

Differentiate by Product:

When students are all provided with the same materials, educators may decide to differentiate the assignment by outcommain_pufflingpatrol_covere, or what students are expected to be able to do in order to demonstrate gained knowledge. Differentation by product is valuable in encouraging student success and practice in other areas of thinking and learning.

Example: Puffling Patrol

Visual/Spatial: Create an informational video advertisement persuading people to join the Puffling Patrol on the island of Heimaey.

Verbal/Linguistic: Create an informational brochure persuading people to join the Puffling Patrol on the island of Heimaey.

For further reading on differentiation:

  • 5 Harmful Differentiation Myths: Part 1
  • Heacox, D. (2012). Differentiating instruction in the regular classroom: How to reach and teach all learners. Minneapolis, MN: Free Spirit Publishing, Inc.

Veronica SchneiderVeronica has a degree from Mount Saint Mary College and joined LEE & LOW in the fall of 2014. She has a background in education and holds a New York State childhood education (1-6) and students with disabilities (1-6) certification. When she’s not wandering around New York City, you can find her hiking with her dog Milo in her hometown in the Hudson Valley, NY.


Filed under: Common Core State Standards, Educator Resources Tagged: Educators, ELA common core standards, literacy, teaching resources

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17. Challenge Completed: Vintage Mystery Bingo

Host: My Reader's Block (Sign-Up Post; Review Links)
Dates: January - December 2014
Requirements: Golden Card (mysteries published before 1960) Silver Card (mysteries published before 1989) I will be signing up for the GOLDEN CARD level.
Required Books: At least six (one bingo); two bingos encouraged (12 books)

First Bingo (Diagonal)

  1. Read One Book With a Color in the Title:  Red Mystery by A.A. Milne. 1922.  [August]
  2. Read One Book With A Number in the Title: Second Confession by Rex Stout. 1949. 
  3. Read One Book With An Amateur Detective: The Law and the Lady. Wilkie Collins. 1875
  4. Read One Book With A Professional Detective: In the Best Families by Rex Stout. 1950
  5. Read One Book Set in England: Franchise Affair by Josephine Tey. 1948
  6. Read One Book Set in the U.S. And Be A Villain by Rex Stout. 1948.
Second Bingo (Bottom Row)
  1. Read One book Set in the Entertainment World: Dancers in Mourning. Margery Allingham. 1937 [October]
  2. Read One book With A Woman in the Title: Miss Pym Disposes by Josephine Tey. 1946.
  3. Read One Book That Involves a Mode of Transportation: The Singing Sands. Josephine Tey. 1953. [September]
  4. Read One Book Outside Your Comfort Zone: Brat Farrar. Josephine Tey. 1949 (because there are horses)
  5. Read One Book That You Have To Borrow Free Space: READ A BOOK BY AN AUTHOR YOU'VE READ BEFORE : The Daughter of Time. Josephine Tey. 1951 [August]
  6. Read One Another Book Set in the U.S.: Where There's A Will by Rex Stout (November)


© 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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18. The top 10 graphic novels of 2014



Via the Washington Post

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19. Nobel's library

       The official Nobel Prize site continues to impress with the wealth of information available on it. Okay, I don't really need to know the contents of each and every of the Menus at the Nobel Banquet 1901-2013 -- but I do like stuff like that catalogue of Alfred Nobel's Private Library
       Given the criticism the literature prize gets -- especially for its early choices -- it's interesting to see what Nobel had in his own library -- and revealing that, for example, he had a tidy Tolstoy collection (much of it in Russian, no less) but not a volume by the first Nobel laureate, Sully Prudhomme (a prize Tolstoy could -- and arguably should -- have won).
       First off, the Nobel winners -- a mix of the predictable (Nordic) ones and a few of the early stand-outs: Nobel's collection included works by: Henrik Pontoppidan (1917), Carl Gustaf Verner von Heidenstam (1916), Paul Heyse (1910), Selma Lagerlöf (1909), Rudyard Kipling (1907), and Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson (1903). (It makes me wonder yet again about the now-forgotten Verner von Heidenstam, whose citation reads: "in recognition of his significance as the leading representative of a new era in our literature" -- what era was that ? But Nobel had a bunch of his work, and he was translated into English back in the day.)
       The only surprising missing laureate-name is Knut Hamsun, whose work was already fairly well-known before Nobel's death.
       An interesting mix of other titles, too: no Dickens, for example, but Edward Bulwer-Lytton's notorious (for its: "It was a dark and stormy night ..." opening) Paul Clifford, and overall really quite a decent literary collection (in an impressive selection of languages).
       (Also good to see: Karl Gutzkow's Die Ritter vom Geiste -- one of those big German books Arno Schmidt introduced me (and so many others) to (as noted also, of course, in my Arno Schmidt: a centennial colloquy).)

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20. A Few Sketches From CTN


I'm at CTNx right now in Burbank and what a weekend! Aside from total retina melt down from seeing so many of my hero's artwork and hanging out with legends in the business I got to co-teach a class with Jake Parker for SVS - How to get a traditional look in your digital work.  It's so important to hide some or all of your process. Your "paint alchemy" fosters curiosity and intrigue...being multi faceted keeps your audience tuned in and guessing.

I watched a bunch of panel discussions and talks by animation pros - the Reel FX team that produced THE BOOK OF LIFE was the highlight for me - what a charismatic group! Great movie too! Here are some of my doodles...can't wait for next year!



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21. What's on Reader's Minds?

Hey, everyone – this is Becca, with a new post we are doing here on Adventures in YA Publishing, called What's on Reader's Minds?Once a month, I send an email out to bloggers, asking them to tell me what's been on their mind lately. Sometimes they even post a segment from a discussion they've had on their blog recently, and then I post their answers right here! Want to be a part of our book blogger panel? Leave your blog name and contact details in the comments below! We’d love to have you! 


**

"I've been thinking a lot about the publishing industry the past few months. It's so much bigger and more complicated than I'd known as a non-blogging reader! I've also been thinking about the people I've met within the industry and how wonderful they are. So I started a new series called What I Think Of When I Think Of... to help untangle the knot that is publishing companies and their imprints and also to call out some of the fantastic people I've met through my contacts as a blogger."





***

"What is the worst thing that could happen while you read? Your M.C. make you want to punch walls? You have a weird back and forth narration going on? Or perhaps M.C. has perished and your now trailing their ghost? None of these things are as bad as the dreaded Insta- love triangle!! *duh duh dummmmm*. This is the absolute most common of the hated trend in Y.A. Or in any literature for that matter....but why? What do we have against these 2 cliches? They drive the story well and make things a hell of a lot more interesting. Are we so cynical as readers that we hate to see people In love? What's with all the hate...when it comes down to love?"

--Britt @ Please Feed the Bookworm, Twitter: @kalebsmome



***
Meg on (Shipping) tropes I'm over/can't get enough of:

"Spoiler alert: I am framing this in terms of both YA-focused books and TV (including the 100
because apparently that's all I can talk about now). 

I am sick to death of these "nice guy" love interests that put the MC on a pedestal and fall in love with the idealized version of her. (I'm looking at you Finn/Stefan/Angel.) These guys all have created fictionalized ideas of what she is in their heads that they never totally let go of. The problem is, these creations aren't real people. Real people are flawed and surprising. Ideals are set in stone. It's an insidious trope because all of these guys are the good guys and are, arguably, encouraging the MC to become the best version of themselves. It's easy to see why people root for them. Unfortunately that best version isn't based on reality and when the MC fails to live up, the nice guys can't accept that. They often end up holding the reality of the MC against them. 

And I'm not saying all nice guys are bad. Levi from Fangirl is probably one of the nicest fictional love interests ever written and he is absolutely fantastic. The difference is he sees Cath. He doesn't come into the relationship with a fortified idea of who she is. He actually gets to know her in real time. Ditto Cricket with Lola in Lola and the Boy Next Door. He grew up with her, he's seen her at her best and her worst. He knows her for who she is from interacting with her and getting to know her. Not following her around like a puppy (at best, a stalker at worst) and observing. 

As Spike said to Buffy:

I've seen the best and the worst of you, and I understand, with perfect clarity, exactly what you are. 

That is what I ship and why I end up shipping the Bellamys, the Damons and the Spikes. These guys see the MC. They actually hate the pedestal version of the MC. Then when they see who she really is beneath the hype and end up over throwing their preconceived notion, they connect to the real person they've come to know.  (Well done) hate to love is such an infinitely more interesting trope to me because there are so many more layers to it. I'd also like to point out that all of these guys encourage the best in their love interest but they do so in a way that recognizes what the love interest's best self actually is, not what they think it should be. They don't tell them who to be, they tell them they know they can be the best of who they are. That is a ship trope I will never get over. 

Thus endeth the ramble."



***

"I've recently discovered a new blog (Notebook Sisters) and Cait wrote a post about how we should stop Apologizing on our blogs. I've actually been in the process of writing the same post. I swear the girl has been shuffling around in my brain! This is something that's been bugging me for a long time, and every time I see a new post where someone is telling the world sorry for their blogging choices, it makes me want to shake someone. NOOOOO!!!! Don't do it! You can read more on my blog here."


--Andye @ Reading Teen, Twitter: @ReadingTeen


***
Sound off below! What's been on YOUR mind lately?

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22. Bristol Comic Expo No More

For those who attended Mike Allwood organised Bristol International Comic Expos you will know they were the events of the year.  Comic stars and personalities and fans flocked to them.

Fallen Agel Media took over the event and in the first year it nose-dived. Second year....very bad.  Well, I have been asked about 2015s event.

After the way I was treated I withdrew my support for the event clearly and publicly.  That writ, I have to announced that three traders who normally attended the event have been told there is no longer a Bristol Comic Expo.  I can seriously write that "For the first time since last century (!) there will be no Comic Expo in Bristol in May or any other month of 2015".

That is just sad.

But I never attended 2014s and had no plans for 2015 anyway.

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23. Ursula K. LeGuin at the National Book Awards

Ms. LeGuin wowed the audience at the recent National Book Awards - it's worth your time to watch (click the image to go watch at NPR):

CLICK HERE to see PW photos of the night's banquet, including authors with their editors.

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24. Sublime Canova - Revival of the Famed Sculptor in Venice

George Washington by Antonio Canova
(Venice, Italy) I was astonished to learn that Antonio Canova, the renowned sculptor from the Veneto, had been commissioned to create a sculpture of George Washington by the North Carolina General Assembly back in 1816 for their State House when the Carolinians were feeling euphoric after the War of 1812. Thomas Jefferson himself urged that Canova, whom he considered the greatest sculptor in the world, create the neoclassical statue, which was brought to the United States on a war vessel, and arrived in Raleigh on December 24, 1821. Canova's depiction of Washington as an enlightened Roman general became "the pride and glory" of North Carolina, attracting visitors from near and far to their state capitol, including Washington's close friend, Lafayette.

Canova had never met George Washington, so he was sent a bust and a full-length portrait; the portrait never arrived, so Washington's body was left to Canova's imagination. Canova's instructions were that the style should be Roman, the size somewhat larger than life, and the attitude to be left to the artist. According to North Carolina Digital History, Countess Albrizzi described the statue in "The Works of Antonio Canova:"

If to this great man a worthy cause was not wanting, or the means of acquiring the truest and most lasting glory, neither has he been less fortunate after death, when, by the genius of so sublime an artist, he appears again among his admiring countrymen in this dear and venerated form; not as a soldier, though not inferior to the greatest generals, but in his loftier and more benevolent character of the virtuous citizen and enlightened lawgiver.

Unfortunately, the original statue was destroyed in a fire in the State House on June 21, 1831. North Carolina tried to replace it, to no avail. Then, in 1908, it was discovered that the original plaster model that Canova used to create the Cararra marble statue was in excellent condition in the Museum and Gipsoteca Antonio Canova in Canova's hometown of Possagno, a village in the former Republic of Venice, not far from Asolo in the foothills of the Venetian Alps. Diplomatic inquiries were made to see if a copy could be made from the original cast. On March 5, 1908, the Mayor of Possagno replied:

As a special favor, and making an exception to the rule 
that forbids the reproduction, the Administration of this
town has decided to permit the copy of the statue of
George Washington by Canova, of which a very fine
original model exists in this museum. Such concession has
been made with a view to paying a tribute of homage to
the great man who was the first President of the United
States, and to increase the admiration for the genius of
the celebrated artist who is a glory to our country. 

The Italian government itself then got involved, and decided that the King of Italy would present the replica to the North Carolina Historical Commission as a gift.  The replica of the original cast arrived in Raleigh in January, 1910, almost 100 years after the General Assembly decided to commission a statue of the Father of our Country. But it was not until 1970 that a marble replica by the Italian artist Romano Vio was completed, which is what stands in the rotunda of the capitol building in Raleigh, North Carolina today.

Replica of Canova's George Washington statue by Romano Vio
An interesting historical note: when the statue was first commissioned back in 1821, the Veneto was part of the Kingdom of Lombardy-Venetia, a separate part of the Austrian Empire. However, Canova was then based in Rome, which was part of the Kingdom of Italy. Napoleon had conquered the Veneto in 1805-1806 and made it part of the Kingdom of Italy. But the Veneto refused to live under French-Italian rule, and revolted. The Congress of Vienna in 1814-1815 gave the Veneto to the Austrian Empire. Venice then revolted against Austria in 1848, briefly establishing the Republic of San Marco until it surrendered to the Austrian Empire after 17 months. Finally, after the battle of Vittorio Veneto in 1918 during World War I, the Veneto became part of the Kingdom of Italy. So, there was a lot of diplomacy required to get the statue in the first place, and then again to acquire the plaster cast almost a century later.

I called the Museum and Gipsoteca Antonio Canova to see if the original model is still there. I spoke to Giancarlo Cunial of the Fondazione Canova, and he assured me that not only was the original model there, they also had three smaller plaster molds that Canova had created, one of which was George Washington in the nude! Mr. Cunial informed me that although Canova had created the Washington statue while in Rome, the original models were now in Possagno, and since the marble statues were created from the original models, what they had in their museum was most precious of all.


Which brings us to SUBLIME CANOVA, a work in progress. On November 18, 2014, there was a press conference at the Museo Correr to announce the collaboration between the Civic Museums of Venice Foundation, the Venice Foundation, the American Friends of Venice Foundation and the French Committee to Safeguard Venice to shine the spotlight on Antonio Canova, considered to be the greatest neoclassical European artist who ever lived. SUBLIME CANOVA is part of an overall project to transform the Correr Museum in Piazza San Marco into the Great Correr. The works of Canova will be restored, and the rooms of the museum arranged to highlight the celebrated sculptor from the Veneto, who died in Venice in 1822, just shy of his 65th birthday.

Daedulus and Icarus by Canova (1779)
The Comité Français pour la Savegarde de Venise has been around for years; they are responsible for restoring the Salla da Ballo inside the Correr, and the fine restoration of the apartments of my favorite empress, the feisty Elisbeth "Sissi"of Austria, who lived here in Venice when it was under Austrian rule -- as well as many other projects. And the prestigious Venice International Foundation was founded way back in 1966, after Venice's great flood, and is responsible for the restoration and preservation of a long list of works. It is headed by the universally-respected Franca Coin, who was here on behalf of the organization. But I was not aware of the American Friends of Venice, which is new, founded in 2012, and is the New York base of the Venice International Foundation. According to their website, their mission is:

Friends of Venice Italy is a non-profit organization that operates to raise funds for Venice. Founded in 2012, it selects and supports some of the charitable activities proposed by The Venice International Foundation, with particular reference to the Civic Museums Foundation of Venice in its work to preserve and enhance the art of Venice and its cultural heritage. As stated in a declaration signed by the president of the Civic Museums Foundation of Venice, Friends of Venice Italy is in charge of representing and promoting its cultural activities in the United States of America.
Friends of Venice Italy aims to preserve and enhance Venice’s identity, respecting the social and environmental sustainability of the city in order to guarantee the link between past present and future, to promote cultural exchanges, to communicate and share ideas and knowledge, to offer new opportunities for research and cultural production, and to attract new talent and resources.


After learning about Canova's statue of George Washington, it is fitting that the American Friends of Venice focus their efforts on SUBLIME CANOVA. They've got some distinguished people on the Advisory Committee, including Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, Bobby Kennedy's oldest daughter and JFK's niece, which makes the project an interesting circle between the Veneto, France and the US. 

Psyché Revived by Cupid's Kiss by Canova
Antonio Canova's work is in nearly every important museum on the planet, from the Louvre to the Hermitage, the Metropolitan Museum of Art to the Kunsthistorisches. Even though he was based in Rome, Canova's heart remained in the Veneto; he returned every year to his beloved village of Possagno. He died in Venice in 1822. He is buried in the Temple of Canova in Possagno, but his heart, literally, is here in Venice, in the monument based on the design Canova created for the great Venetian artist, Titian, inside the Frari.

Canova Monument - Frari 
The original plaster model for the Washington statue which is preserved in the Gipsoteca Canova in Possagno bears this inscription:

"Giorgio Washington al Popolo degli Stati Uniti 1796: Amici e concittadini…" which translates to "George Washington to the People of the United States 1796: Friends and fellow citizens…"

Apparently that inscription was not on the marble statue that arrived in Raleigh, North Carolina on Christmas Eve December 24, 1821. I wonder what George Washington would say to the People of the  United States of America today.

Ciao from Venezia,
Cat
Venetian Cat - The Venice Blog

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25. 'Grow'vember day 23 - T Rex

tyrannosaurus rex anatomy studies


Day 23
topic - Tyrannosaurus rex

To feather or not to feather? I heard in a radio show that more has been learned about dinosaurs -since- the film Jurassic Park than in all the time before the film! The bottom image shows my preliminary studies, mostly from the above mentioned film, and from Walking with Dinosaurs the puppet show. The uppermost image was a test to see what I'd learned from the reference material.

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