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1. Amsterdam Love

Have I ever said here on this blog how much I love Amsterdam?
Welll... a LOT! I am a city girl - I love to be able to step out of the door into the city buzz, but also that I know to find quiet places of the city. It's a small city, so it's quite common to run into people, like you do in small villages. The other day, I went for  run and almost bumped into my brother and my sister-in-law. It gave me a smile for the rest of my run.

The neighbourhood I live in, has great architecture, so just going for a stroll or a sketch outside nearby is a real treat.
These are two recent sketches I made during lunch breaks. Away from the computer and the home office, into sunny Amsterdam.

And what about all the bicycles in Amsterdam? Many people say it's the hardest thing to draw. But really, it's just shapes and lines in the end. I find it very meditative to sit down and peer at all those tangled shapes of the bunches bicycles that are randomly parked in Amsterdam. For the drawing below, I sat on a bench next to a herring vendor and his stall. I started out drawing my own bike, since I was sure nobody would remove it, then drew more bicycles in the background - sometimes I had to be quick, as the owner of one of the bicycles would unlock a bike and leave. But, as the herring vendor said, as he sat down next to me on the bench to chat and have a look at my drawing: "You could go on forever, they keep parking more and more bikes in front of you". True. It was a lovely sketchtime, and if I wouldn't have hd to leave for an appointment, I could have sat there for at least another hour. And buy a herring as a reward.
Of course I showed the herring vendor this drawing in my sketchbook:
'Lekker' means 'delicious'. 
His respond when seeing the drawing was: "Well that's a hundred percent solid". Glad we agreed.

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2. More sketchbook productivity….portrait of my son, lower...

More sketchbook productivity….portrait of my son, lower left, with ACTUAL quote…I don’t know where he gets this quips from, but lately he has me howling all the time. Must be the Calvin & Hobbes exposure, or WAIT - we are both Adventure Time junkies, could be that? I hope you have seen some of this brilliance already, I’m just now getting the memo.

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3. STEM and Nursery Rhymes #alsc14

The Sing, Talk, Read, Write and Play with Math and Science session focused on including STEM concepts in storytime. One of the biggest take aways is the fact that science and math concepts are not separate from early literacy, but a part of early literacy. Highlighting STEM in storytimes provides children with background knowledge. The more background knowledge a child has, the more likely he or she will recognize and understand concepts when reading.

The best part of this is that STEM is already present in many storytime classics, including nursery rhymes. Take, for example, the rhyme, Jack and Jill. This rhyme provides opportunities to discuss cause and effect, force and motion, the term crown, using a pail as a tool, and measuring volume with water.

Examine some of your favorite nursery rhymes. What STEM concepts can you find?

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4. A Bath Comics Event This November!

There is, apparently, an upcoming comics event in Bath.  No real info yet but when I get the info you'll get the info!

bath com and scifi logo copy

Saturday 1st & Sunday 2nd

November 2014


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5. more typography experiments….

more typography experiments….

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6. Interviewing Poets: Why and How

Please welcome Glenda Council Beall to the blog. She was inspired to write a guest post after reading Jeannine Hall Gailey’s post on poetry book reviews last month.

I really enjoy the guest posts on this blog, but they can only happen with your participation. If you have an idea, send it my way at robert.brewer@fwcommunity.com, and we’ll work to flesh it out. No idea is too big, too small, or too “out there.” Okay, maybe some are, but I won’t judge–and I’ll help you get it under control.


I enjoyed the recent post by Jeannine Hall Gailey about reviewing poetry books. Instead of reviewing poetry books, I like to interview the poet by e-mail. I write up the interview for our NCWN West blog or my own personal blog.

Readers get a more personal view of the poet, and I’ve found that today’s readers like to feel they know a writer or poet–know more than just what the blurbs on the book tell them. With social media, readers follow their favorite authors and become friends online.

Requesting an Interview

Karen Paul Holmes’ poetry book, Untying the Knot, reads almost like a memoir about the breakup of a thirty-year marriage. The honesty in the poems lends such depth that I wanted to know more and knew my readers would enjoy knowing more about this writer who openly conveyed her pain, her grief and sadness over the loss of her husband, loss of a family, and loss of three decades of what had seemed to be a good marriage.

I asked Karen for an e-mail interview and she was pleased to answer my questions. I believe that good writers must be willing to bleed on the page and that is why I was intrigued with this poet’s story. She held nothing back in her book and I knew she would do the same in an interview.

Conducting the Interview

I like to send the questions to the writer and let her answer when she has had time to think carefully about what she wants to say. If she chooses not to answer a question, that is fine. I am not an investigative reporter. My purpose is to recommend a book and an author to my readers, the same thing I would do if I were to write a review.

I post the interview with my questions and direct quotes from the poet. That way there is very little editing involved. It is raw and innocent of speculation as to what the writer wants us to know.

Here is an example of a candid response from my interview with Karen Holmes:

I didn’t set out to write those poems, nor most of the ones in Untying the Knot; they just happened. One of my friends said, “Oh now that you’ve had a tragedy, your poetry will get better.” I wince at that, but it’s probably true. My poems definitely got deeper emotionally and darker in tone. However, I also believe in trying to stay positive, so many poems have a positive spin. Some are even funny. Like I said, poetry was therapy.

In her own words, Holmes tells us more about her book and why we should read it than I could tell in a review. How can we find humor in this sad theme? The poet did use irony in a few poems, and, like the comedic actor in a drama, it helps move us along without breaking the spell created in this book.

Gracious Poets

For the past eight years, I’ve done e-mail interviews with a number of writers and poets, and I found them to be gracious and appreciative. Only one writer, Ron Rash, told me he would rather have a telephone interview than an e-mail interview and that was because he had trouble with his hands and limited his use of the keyboard.

You can read some of my interviews online. http://netwestwriters.blogspot.com/2010/01/writers-on-radio-with-joan-hetzler-host.html





glenda_council_beallGlenda Council Beall lives in Hayesville, NC. She is owner/director of Writers Circle Around the Table. She teaches writing in the community enrichment department at Tri-County Community College and began publishing poetry in 1996. Her poems have appeared in numerous print and online journals including Wild Goose Poetry Review, Appalachian Heritage, Main Street Rag, Journal of Kentucky Studies, Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, and plenty of other fine publications. Now Might as Well be Then, her poetry chapbook from Finishing Line Press is available on Amazon.com and from City Lights Books in Sylva, NC.

Find her online at www.profilesandpedigrees.blogspot.com and www.glendacouncilbeall.blogspot.com.

Read some of her interviews here:


Find more poetic goodies here:


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7. #alsc14 Inspired by Early Childhood Partnerships

Talk about inspiration! I attended a fabulous program, which highlighted a panel of early literacy librarian experts. They talked about their wide variety of experiences developing collaborative partnerships in their community. Here are 3 of my quick takeaways:

  • If you can train other community partners to extend your reach and support the goals of promoting literacy and school literacy, your impact multiplies.
  • Our role as early literacy advocates should be to partner with local social service agencies to work together to break the cycle of illiteracy. Seek out homeless shelters, food banks, and other childhood agencies and connect with their professionals.
  • Start up a conversation with parents and caregivers! Sometimes a quick 5-10 minute convo that includes a few early literacy tips is more meaningful and accessible to at-risk families, rather than offering librarian-led lecture style presentations about early literacy. Make it personal and get to know their children individually.

What tips do you have for maintaining successful and meaningful early literacy partnerships in your community?

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8. Let Your Light So Shine

Let your light so shine-

even when you feel dark inside.
Let your light so shine-
even when you feel down.
Let your light so shine-
even when all hope seems lost.
Let your light so shine-
when your faith feels weak.
Let your light so shine-
when your walk feels wobbly.
Let your light so shine-
when the world seems to cave in on you.
Let your light so shine-
when you think you can't go on.

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your father which is in heaven.- Matthew 5:16

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9. Ahoy Matey!

That's right tomorrow is the official 'talk like a pirate day'! So if you're looking to add more pirate to you day check out Victrica's site for lots of fun activities.  You can also view a good portion of the book here. Aaaarg!


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10. Poetry Competition: Gemini Magazine

Gemini Magazine is now accepting entries for its fifth annual Poetry Open competition.

Details at our website.

The grand prize is $1,000. Second place wins $100 and four honorable mentions will each receive $25. All six finalists will be published online in the March 2015 issue of Gemini.

The entry fee is $5 for each batch of three poems. 

Email and postmark deadline: January 2, 2015.

We are open to any type of poetry, any subject matter, any length. Scroll down the Poetry Open page to see the broad range of work from previous winners and finalists.

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11. Performing artists

cardillo just being audrey Performing artistsCardillo, Margaret Just Being Audrey
Gr. K–3   32 pp.  HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray

Illustrated by Julia Denos. From Audrey Hepburn’s childhood in Nazi-occupied Europe, to a film career, motherhood, and role as UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, this picture book biography encapsulates Hepburn’s “certain something.” Cardillo’s prose is focused and elegant; Denos’s paintings perfectly depict the delicate beauty and iconic style of her subject. Author and illustrator notes detail the lasting influence of Hepburn’s achievements and charisma. Timeline. Bib.
Subjects: Individual biographies; Women—Biographies; Hepburn, Audrey; Women—Actors; Actors

cline ransome benny goodman and teddy wilson Performing artistsCline-Ransome, Lesa Benny Goodman & Teddy Wilson: Taking the Stage as the First Black-and-White Jazz Band in History
Gr. K–3   32 pp.  Holiday

Illustrated by James E. Ransome. Goodman grew up in Chicago, a working-class Jewish boy; Wilson lived in Tuskegee, Alabama, a middle-class African American boy. The story of how the two jazz musicians met and formed the Benny Goodman Trio (the “first interracial band to perform publicly”) is recounted in short bursts of text, almost like jazz riffs, accompanied by pencil and watercolor illustrations that capture distinctive moments. Timeline.
Subjects: Individual biographies; Wilson, Teddy; Goodman, Benny; Bands; Musicians; Music—Jazz; Race relations; Jews; African Americans

ko from iowa to broadway Performing artistsKo, Alex Alex Ko: From Iowa to Broadway, My Billy Elliot Story
Gr. 4–6   328 pp.  HarperCollins/Harper

Iowa native Alex Ko trained in gymnastics and competitive dance before focusing on ballet at his dying father’s insistence. Eventually, overcoming injury and financial struggle, Ko went on to star as Billy in Broadway’s Billy Elliot at the age of thirteen. Readers will find this look at the demanding process of making it onstage (and backstage) both insightful and inspiring.
Subjects: Individual biographies; Sports—Gymnastics; Iowa; Performing arts; Plays; Autobiographies; Theater; Dance

powell josephine Performing artistsPowell, Patricia Hruby Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker
Gr.  4–6   104 pp.  Chronicle

Illustrated by Christian Robinson. This distinguished biography conveys dancer Josephine Baker’s passion, exuberance, dignity, and eccentricity through words and pictures that nearly jump off the page. Powell doesn’t shy away from the challenges (including racism) Baker faced but emphasizes that Baker never let them overwhelm her joy in performing. Robinson’s highly stylized, boldly colored illustrations are at once sophisticated and inviting to young readers. Reading list.
Subjects: Individual biographies; Race relations; France; Women—Biographies; African Americans; Women—African Americans; Baker, Josephine; Dance; Women—Dancers; Entertainers; Women—Entertainers

robertson legends icons and rebels Performing artistsRobertson, Robbie, Jim Guerinot, Sebastian Robertson, and Jared Levine Legends, Icons & Rebels: Music That Changed the World
Middle school, high school   128 pp.  Tundra

In this oversize, weighty volume, music-industry-veteran authors offer collected anecdotal sketches, including personal memories, of twenty-seven music “risk-takers” such as Aretha Franklin, the Beatles, and Bob Dylan. Their meteoric careers, many touched by tragedy, are justly celebrated. A timeline of these artists’ first recordings (1925–1968) ends the book, which includes two CDs of sparkling audio quality with one iconic song by each artist.
Subjects: Collective biographies; Musicians; Music

From the September 2014 issue of Nonfiction Notes from the Horn Book.

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12. All about animals

disiena chickens dont fly All about animalsDiSiena, Laura Lyn and Eliot, Hannah Chickens Don’t Fly: And Other Fun Facts
Gr. K–3
   32 pp.  Little Simon

DiSiena, Laura Lyn and Eliot, Hannah Hippos Can’t Swim: And Other Fun Facts
Gr. K–3
   32 pp.  Little Simon

Did You Know? series. Illustrated by Pete Oswald. Each volume presents select trivia about a variety of creatures. For example, the peregrine falcon is the fastest animal on earth, diving at two-hundred miles per hour (from Chickens); and ants take about 250 one-minute naps a day (from Hippos). While the cartoon illustrations make no attempt to be accurate, they add even more humor to these jocular, enjoyable collections.
Subjects: Animal behavior; Humorous stories

jenkins animal book All about animalsJenkins, Steve The Animal Book: A Collection of the Fastest, Fiercest, Toughest, Cleverest, Shyest — and Most Surprising — Animals on Earth
Gr. 4–6   208 pp.  Houghton

This thoughtful and coherent book begins with a survey of the animal kingdom, then covers “Family,” “Senses,” “Predators,” and “Defenses.” A section on “Animal Extremes” provides Guinness Book–type facts kids love, and the concluding section, “The Story of Life,” explores evolution. The paper-collage art throughout is taken from Jenkins’s many previous books; each image is recontextualized to serve the book’s purpose. Bib., glos., ind.
Subjects: Natural history; Animals

johnson Animal Planet Atlas of Animals All about animalsJohnson, Jinny Animal Planet Atlas of Animals
Gr. 4–6   128 pp.  Millbrook

Johnson, Jinny Animal Planet Wild World: An Encyclopedia of Animals
Gr. 4–6   132 pp.  Millbrook

These two different ways of organizing animals worldwide both begin with overviews of the animal kingdom; Atlas groups animals by continents and regions, Wild by five major types. Both books are lavish with photos, illustrations, and descriptive captions, and colored borders and headers keep things organized. Overlap is inevitable, but the writing is clear, intelligent, and unsensational. Atlas contains a glossary. Ind.
Subjects: Natural history; Encyclopedias; Animals

roop extreme survivors All about animalsRoop, Connie, and Roop, Peter Extreme Survivors
Gr. K–3
   32 pp.  Sterling

Stewart, Melissa World’s Fastest Animals
Gr. K–3
   32 pp.  Sterling

American Museum of Natural History Easy Readers series. From fastest runners and swimmers to deep-water and desert dwellers, these volumes present some extreme traits and habitats of animals ranging from the familiar (cheetahs, polar bears) to the unusual (giant tubeworms, microscopic water bears). The striking color photographs and astounding facts delivered via engaging prose (“It can grab an insect faster than you can blink your eyes”) will captivate beginning readers.
Subjects: Animals; Habitats; Animal behavior

ziefert does a bear wear boots All about animalsZiefert, Harriet Does a Bear Wear Boots?
Gr. K–3  
32 pp.  Blue Apple

Ziefert, Harriet Does a Beaver Sleep in a Bed?
Gr. K–3  
32 pp.  Blue Apple

Ziefert, Harriet Does a Camel Cook Spaghetti?
Gr. K–3  
32 pp.  Blue Apple

Ziefert, Harriet Does a Panda Go to School?
Gr. K–3  
32 pp.  Blue Apple

Ziefert, Harriet Does a Woodpecker Use a Hammer?
Gr. K–3  
32 pp.  Blue Apple

Think About series. Illustrated by Emily Bolam. These animal behavior/social studies hybrids follow a similar pattern. Silly animal questions (“Does a squirrel cook?”) and informative answers (“A polar bear sleeps on the snowy ground inside a den”) are followed by simple discussions of human customs. Bolam’s inviting illustrations make the most of the premise and reflect the text’s informal tone. Prompts for further investigation are appended.
Subjects: Clothing; Customs; Animals; Animal Behavior; Sleep; Cookery; Food; Schools; Tools

From the September 2014 issue of Nonfiction Notes from the Horn Book.

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13. Writing Competition for Anthology: Stories of Resilience

Family Shelter Service Writing Contest: "Stories of Resilience"

Wheaton, IL -- Family Shelter Service recently published a new book entitled Hope Grows Here, a compilation of stories and artwork by survivors of domestic abuse, available online through Amazon and CreateSpace.

In recognition of October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the greater community is invited to add their voices to this exploration through the "Stories of Resilience" contest. Submissions are being sought that reflect the broad impact of abuse — through stories, personal essays or poems. Submissions will be considered for Volume II of Hope Grows Here.

Bestselling author Adriana Trigiani, whose best-known books include The Shoemaker's Wife and Big Stone Gap, will judge the contest submissions.

The "Stories of Resilience" contest will offer a first prize of $500 and two second prizes of $100. Entries will be accepted through October 20th, 2014 and winners will be announced at an event on November 6th, 2014. For submissions and contest details, please visit our website.

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14. Happy to be connecting in Oakland #alsc14

Happy Hour at Institute

Enjoying happy hour on the patio at the Oakland Marriott (photo courtesy of ALSC)

Hello Institute goers! Thanks to everyone who joined us last night at the happy hour. We had great weather and even a chance to spend time outside on the patio.

If you weren’t at the happy hour, don’t worry. There are still plenty of opportunities to interact with your colleagues including the upcoming ALSC Connection events. At 12:15, we’ll be hosting a condensed, but exciting version of ALSC 101.

It sounds cliche, but getting to know people from across the country is a big part of the Institute. You never know who you’re going to meet! Personally, I’m really looking forward to the ALSC Connection and getting to know more about the people and representative of ALSC!

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15. College Student Writer Scholarships: SCBWI Summer and Winter Conferences

Each year the SCBWI sponsors two student writer scholarships to the Summer and Winter Conferences for full-time university students in an English or Creative Writing program.

This is an invaluable opportunity for young writers! We are now accepting applications for the 2015 SCBWI Winter Conference in New York, February 6-8.


–Full tuition to main conference events including keynotes and breakout sessions. (Award does not include travel or hotel expenses.)

–Exclusive exposure to industry professionals at the conference.

–An SCBWI Conference advisor to help navigate the jammed-packed weekend.


NY Conference: Admission to the Writers’ Plot Intensive or Writers' Roundtables event.

Deadline: December 8, 2014


1. You must be at least eighteen years old to apply.

2. All full-time students enrolled in an accredited educational institution are eligible to apply.


One winner will be chosen from a graduate or doctoral program and one winner will be chosen from an undergraduate program.

Applicants are required to submit:

–Short cover letter stating why you want to attend the conference and a synopsis of your work.

–Five-page sample of a manuscript

–Copy of your student ID

–Letter of recommendation sent directly from a professor at your university.

Applications MUST BE electronically submitted as ONE PDF to:

kaylaDOTheinenATscbwiDOTorg (Change AT to @ and DOT to . )

Letters of recommendation can be sent separately as a Word document.

Applications will be judged by a panel decided by SCBWI.

In the event that a recipient cannot attend for any reason, the grant committee should be notified as soon as possible. The scholarship may, in that event, be awarded to another applicant. The grant is not transferrable and cannot be postponed. SCBWI reserves the right not to award the scholarship in any given year.

Questions? Contact the Grant Coordinator, Kayla Heinen

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16. Free Samples of NBA’s Longlist for Fiction

The National Book Foundation has revealed its Longlist for the 2014 National Book Award for Nonfiction for the National Book Award (NBA).

Below, we’ve collected free samples of all the books on the longlist for your reading pleasure. The finalists will be announced on October 15. Here’s more from the release:

The Fiction Longlist includes one book by a National Book Award Winner, two by former National Book Award Finalists, one by a National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 author, two by Pulitzer Prize Winners, and one by an author best-known as the lyricist and musician for the band The Mountain Goats. The backdrop of war and imagined dystopia is a focus of five of the ten. Three are collections of short stories, two of which are by first-time authors. (more…)

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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17. Short Story Competition: InkTears


Now open for entries.
Deadline: 30 November 2014
Type: Short story (UK + International)

Winner: £1,000
Runner-up: £100
4 x Highly Commended £25

All prizewinners will have their story published to the InkTears Readers and their Bio published on the InkTears website. Full results will be announced by 30 March 2015.

Fee: £6.00.

Length:1000-3500 words, any theme and open to age 18+.

NB: stories may have been previously published or unpublished – see website Rules 2 and 3 on our website for full details and how to enter.

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18. After-school activities

barnhart dazzling card tricks After school activitiesBarnhart, Norm Dazzling Card Tricks
Gr. 4–6   32 pp.  Capstone

Barnhart, Norm Marvelous Money Tricks
Gr. 4–6   32 pp.  Capstone

Edge Books: Magic Manuals series. Accessible step-by-step instructions, clear demonstrative photographs, and “what you need” sidebars teach readers to master simple but impressive magic tricks with cards or money. Tips for performing the tricks effectively and smoothly in front of an audience are worked into the narrative. These books will be appealing and useful for anyone interested in magic.  
Subjects: Games, magic, and riddles

bolte oil paints After school activitiesBolte, Mari Oil Paints
Gr. 4–6   32 pp.  Capstone

Bolte, Mari Watercolors
Gr. 4–6   32 pp.  Capstone

Snap Books: Paint It series. These useful books familiarize readers with two types of artists’ paints. There’s a bit of history (oil paints were first used in the 1300s), a little chemistry (watercolors contain pigments mixed with gum Arabic), information on surfaces and brushes, and much about techniques and effects. Step-by-step projects that are not overly complex will nevertheless challenge and satisfy dedicated art students. Reading list.
Subjects: Visual arts; Painting

brown little golden book sof jokes and riddles After school activitiesBrown, Peggy The Little Golden Book of Jokes and Riddles
Gr. K–3   24 pp.  Golden

Illustrated by David Sheldon. “Why did the girl throw the clock out the window? To see time fly!” These mostly familiar standards may be new to beginning readers, who will enjoy learning and sharing them. Humorous color illustrations fit the mood and match the subject.
Subjects: Games, magic, and riddles; Jokes


hamen how to analyze the films of the coen brothers After school activitiesHamen, Susan E. How to Analyze the Films of the Coen Brothers
Middle school, high school   112 pp.  ABDO

Hermansson, Casie How to Analyze the Films of Clint Eastwood
Middle school, high school   112 pp.  ABDO

Essential Critiques series. These volumes introduce cinematic criticism, provide summaries of the filmmakers’ famous works, and offer lightly annotated essays modeling the application of criticism through different approaches. Each book leads readers through key steps of analysis and encourages readers’ own critiques. Featuring the work of currently popular directors enlivens these suitable overviews of film interpretation and essay construction. Reading list, timeline, websites. Bib., glos., ind.
Subjects: Visual arts; Coen, Joel; Coen, Ethan; Eastwood, Clint; Writing; Motion pictures

kidd go After school activitiesKidd, Chip Go: A Kidd’s Guide to Graphic Design
Middle school, high school   160 pp.  Workman

Kidd makes graphic design immediate and accessible to middle schoolers and up by posing questions and answering them in engaging ways. The first four chapters — “Form,” “Typography,” “Content,” “Concept” — tackle design essentials and some advanced ideas. The final chapter presents “10 Design Projects.” The book’s inside back cover provides resources including websites, museums, and design organizations.
Subjects: Visual arts

From the September 2014 issue of Nonfiction Notes from the Horn Book.

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19. Middle Grade Novel Fellowship: Eldin Memorial Fellowship

Eldin Memorial Fellowship

Christine Elizabeth Eldin (1966-2012) was an aspiring middle grade author. Her passion for learning, and for sharing her knowledge with young people, inspired her to earn a master's degree in education and dedicate her life to writing young adult literature. She co-founded "Book Roast," an online book promotion site that spotlighted the recent releases of dozens of authors. She also maintained a popular blog and actively supported her community of fellow writers. She was a loving mother, sister, and daughter, and a dear friend to many.

Chris left this world too soon when her life took a tragic turn. Her gentle soul, creative spirit, and generous heart will forever be remembered by the many people whose lives she touched and inspired. *

The Christine Eldin Memorial Fellowship ("Eldin Fellowship") has two purposes:
1. Honor the memory of Chris Eldin.
2. Provide recognition and financial assistance to an unpublished middle grade fiction writer whose work-in-progress reveals potential for a successful writing career.

The Lascaux Review will host an annual contest to choose a "best" middle grade novel work-in-progress, along with a short list of finalists, among entries submitted. The contest will be conducted initially in 2014 (for award of the 2015 fellowship) and scheduled annually thereafter. A middle grade novel is understood to mean a work of fiction, typically a chapter book, for readers between the ages of eight and twelve.

Any unpublished middle grade manuscript, in whole or part, for which no publication contract exists at the time of submission, is eligible. Only English language submissions will be considered.

Contestants cannot be previously published in middle grade book-length fiction. Other types of previous publications are allowed. Previously self-published works are allowed. Contestants may be of any nationality and reside anywhere.

Judging takes place in two stages. In the first stage contestants submit the first 5000 words of their manuscripts, along with a synopsis. The synopsis may be of any length not exceeding 2000 words, and it should describe the entire story, including how it ends. Contestants submit digital files (doc, docx, pdf, rtf, etc.) via Submittable. The entry fee is $10. Readers selected by the Eldin Fellowship committee will choose the finalists.

In the second stage, a judge selected by the Eldin Fellowship committee selects a winner.

The first year's fellowship is $1000 and a trophy. The first year's judge is Louise Hawes.

Deadline for submissions is 31 December.
For more information contact:

lascauxreviewATgmailDOTcom (Change AT to @ and DOT to . )

To submit to the contest, click on the following link.

To contribute to a fundraiser presently underway, visit Indiegogo.

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20. Careers and community helpers

buckley the arts Careers and community helpersBuckley, A. M. The Arts
Middle school, high school   112 pp.  ABDO

Freese, Susan M. Fashion
Middle school, high school   112 pp.  ABDO

Hamen, Susan E. Engineering
Middle school, high school   112 pp.  ABDO

Lusted, Marcia Amidon Entertainment
Middle school, high school   112 pp.  ABDO

Inside the Industry series. Each book describes four careers; for example, Arts covers artist, dancer, photographer, and curator. Readers learn what each job entails (e.g., “What Is an Artist?”) and what they can do to prepare for these competitive professions (“Would You Make a Good Artist?”). The somewhat bland texts, accompanied by young-person-heavy stock photos, could be useful as general introductions to the title careers. Reading list, websites. Glos., ind.
Subjects: Occupations and Careers; Artists; Dance; Photography; Museums; Fashion; Clothing; Engineering; Performing arts

curtis animal helpers Careers and community helpersCurtis, Jennifer Keats Animal Helpers: Wildlife Rehabilitators
Gr. K–3   32 pp.  Sylvan Dell

Appealing close-up photos of wild animal orphans being fed and cared for by specially trained people show how injured or abandoned creatures can thrive with extra intervention. The goal is to reintroduce them into the wild once they are physically fit. Large photos without busy backgrounds and limited text target younger audiences. Appended activities include more detailed information about caring for injured wildlife.
Subjects: Occupations and careers; Wildlife rescue; Animals

goldish doctors to the rescue Careers and community helpersGoldish, Meish Doctors to the Rescue
Gr. 4–6   32 pp.  Bearport

Goldish, Meish Firefighters to the Rescue
Gr. 4–6   32 pp.  Bearport

White, Nancy Paramedics to the Rescue
Gr. 4–6   32 pp.  Bearport

White, Nancy Police Officers to the Rescue
Gr. 4–6    32 pp.  Bearport

Work of Heroes: First Responders in Action series. This well-organized series explores the education, specialized training, and daily responsibilities of the featured first responders. Photographs capture the action and enhance the accessible texts, which include details about routine as well as extraordinary incidents, notable rescues, and firsthand accounts. Rescue fans will find much to pore over in these engaging and age-appropriate volumes. Reading list, websites. Bib., glos., ind.
Subjects: Occupations and careers; Police officers; Doctors; Hospitals; Medicine; Firefighters

oxlade firefighters Careers and community helpersOxlade, Chris, and Thea Feldman Firefighters
Gr. K–3   32 pp.  Kingfisher/Macmillan

Kingfisher Readers series. Thirteen two-page chapters introduce newly independent readers to components of firefighters’ jobs, addressing procedural variations and lesser-known aspects such as service at airports and on “fire engines at sea.” Bright, action-filled stock photos are strategically positioned to illustrate new information and support in-text explanations of subject-specific terms (breathing apparatus, hydrants, nozzle). Fact boxes appear throughout. Glos., ind.
Subjects: Occupations and careers; Firefighters; Fire

rhatigan people you gotta meet before you grow up Careers and community helpersRhatigan, Joe People You Gotta Meet Before You Grow Up: Get to Know the Movers and Shakers, Heroes and Hot Shots in Your Hometown
Gr. 4–6
   128 pp.  Charlesbridge/Imagine

Each section in this guide introduces an everyday “difference-maker” and offers strategies for how to meet one locally along with questions to ask and websites to visit; interviews and mini profiles conclude some chapters. The subjects (judge, crafter, “someone from a different religion”) are a random assortment and the design is rather busy, but the energetic tone sets this title apart from other community-helper books. Ind.
Subjects: Occupations and careers; City and town life; Community helpers; Work

From the September 2014 issue of Nonfiction Notes from the Horn Book.

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21. 2015 Summer Poetry Residency: Poetry Center, University of Arizona

2015 Summer Residency Contest

Judge: Eduardo C. Corral

Since 1994, the Poetry Center’s Residency Program has offered writers an opportunity to develop their work. Beginning in Summer 2014, the Poetry Center will award one residency each summer for one poet to spend two weeks in Tucson, Arizona developing his/her work. The residency includes a $500 stipend and a two week stay in a studio apartment located within steps of the Center’s renowned library of contemporary poetry. The residency is offered between June 1 and August 31.

Deadline: December 15, 2015

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22. Disasters

goldsmith bombs over bikini DisastersGoldsmith, Connie Bombs over Bikini: The World’s First Nuclear Disaster
Middle school, high school   88 pp.  Twenty-First Century

This book offers a riveting tale of the aftermath of U.S. nuclear weapons testing in the Pacific. The tests themselves and the lives of the Marshall Islanders directly affected by the resulting radiation contamination are described in engrossing detail. Sidebars, quotes from primary sources, and period photographs supplement the informative and thought-provoking narrative. Reading list, websites. Bib., glos., ind.
Subjects: Modern history; Disasters; Marshall Islands; Atomic bomb; Nuclear weapons; Pacific

hopkinson titanic DisastersHopkinson, Deborah Titanic: Voices from the Disaster
Gr. 4–6   290 pp.  Scholastic

Hopkinson provides young readers with a basic introduction to the event without overdramatizing, drawing unwarranted conclusions, or prolonging the ordeal. Her “characters,” real survivors whose voices relate many of the subsequent events, include crew members as well as travelers in first, second, and third class. Appended material includes chapter notes, sources, archival photos, and short biographies of those mentioned. Timeline. Bib., glos., ind.
Subjects: Modern history; Titanic (Steamship); Disasters; Shipwrecks

rusch eruption DisastersRusch, Elizabeth Eruption!: Volcanoes and the Science of Saving Lives
Gr. 4–6   76 pp.  Houghton

Scientists in the Field series. Photographs by Tom Uhlman. This terrific series installment features the dedicated geologists of the Volcano Disaster Assistance Program, which provides technical expertise in eruption prediction. The portrayal of scientific investigation is exceptional: scientists build and monitor equipment, interview residents, and collect ash and rock samples. Photographs not only feature awe-inspiring shots of volcanoes but also depict human vulnerability to these natural disasters. Bib., glos., ind.
Subjects: Earth science; Natural disasters—volcanoes; Scientists

rustad hurricanes DisastersRustad, Martha E. H. Hurricanes
Gr. K–3   32 pp.  Capstone

Smithsonian Little Explorer series. Lots of photographs, diagrams, and charts support a brief, accessible text to introduce hurricanes, their behavior and characteristics, and the destruction they cause. A world map covers different hurricane seasons, and “famous” storms are briefly profiled. The back matter includes “Critical thinking” questions designed (“using the Common Core”) to encourage further exploration of the topic. Reading list. Glos., ind.
Subjects: Earth science; Natural disasters—hurricanes

sheinkin port chicago 50 DisastersSheinkin, Steve The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights
Middle school, high school   190 pp.  Roaring Brook

The Port Chicago 50 was a group of black navy recruits assigned the dangerous job of loading bombs onto battleships. When an (inevitable) explosion left hundreds dead, fifty men refused to go back to work, occasioning a trial for mutiny. An unusual entry point for the study of WWII and the nascent civil rights movement. Photographs are helpful, and documentation is thorough. Bib., ind.
Subjects: Modern history; United States Navy; Trials; Mutiny; California; African Americans; History, Modern—World War II; Sailors; Prejudices; Race relations; Civil rights

From the September 2014 issue of Nonfiction Notes from the Horn Book.

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23. Work in Progress: the Color Birds series

I have been striving over the past few months to bring the line quality and strong value structure out of my sketchbooks and up onto large panels. 

There are many parts to this translation: there's the obvious one of scale, but also of media. Panel versus paper. More viscous and opaque acrylic paint versus flowing and semi-transparent ink. Color versus grayscale.

I'm pushing my skills but also my eye: looking to see how two different approaches might please me for the same reason(s). Looking to see how an effect in one medium can be achieved in another. 

Trying, too, to quiet the voice that criticises my paint handling technique, or my fondness (dependence) on LINE. (Meta question: is loving line in painting like loving narration in a stage play?)

Here are three of the four planned pieces, in their in-progress state:

Color Birds: Blue. Acrylic on panel, 24 x 18 inches, © 2013 by Lisa Firke. This was the first in the series, and done over a year ago, but I couldn't master the same hand to keep going until now.

Color Birds: Blue. Acrylic on panel, 24 x 18 inches, © 2013 by Lisa Firke. This was the first in the series, and done over a year ago, but I couldn't master the same hand to keep going until now.

Color Birds: Green. Acrylic on Panel, 24 x 18 inches, © 2014 by Lisa Firke. Finding my way back into this groove.

Color Birds: Green. Acrylic on Panel, 24 x 18 inches, © 2014 by Lisa Firke. Finding my way back into this groove.

Color Birds: Red. Acrylic on panel, 24 x 18 inches, © 2014 by Lisa Firke. This one is shown at a much earlier stage of completion than the other two, but shows how I am working this vein.

Color Birds: Red. Acrylic on panel, 24 x 18 inches, © 2014 by Lisa Firke. This one is shown at a much earlier stage of completion than the other two, but shows how I am working this vein.

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24. Cybils Judges Announced!

And I'm one of them! I've been a part of this annual award for four years now, and it never gets old. I'm looking forward to reading and discussing some fabulous easy readers and beginning chapter books in the months to come. Nominations start on October 1st, so mark your calendar and get ready to submit your favorite books.

And a big round of applause for all the judges who donate a huge amount of their time to this worthy endeavor.

For more info on the Cybils and a list of the judges, click here.

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25. "Though what I wanted most to do was not think about it just for a little while, try to let my mind..."

“Though what I wanted most to do was not think about it just for a little while, try to let my... Read the rest of this post

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