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HBO has unveiled its own trailer for the A Casual Vacancy mini-series. This show, based on J.K. Rowling’s novel, aired in the United Kingdom back in February 2015.
United States audiences will get to see this adaptation on April 29th and April 30th. Click here to watch the BBC One trailer. (via The Hollywood Reporter)
Greetings all! I come to you from Austin, Texas today, writing this in a dimly lit Hyatt hotel room. Let’s run down a few fun things that broke over the past 24 hours in the Entertainment world.
– Last night’s finale for The Walking Dead was surely another ratings smash, and will likely notch up another victory on par with Season 4’s 15.7 million viewer finale, Wrestlemania or no Wrestlemania. Those watching also got a taste of the upcoming spin-off series, (the unfortunately titled) Fear The Walking Dead, as AMC debuted a 15 second tease for the Los Angeles-based prequel:
The first season of the new series is set for six episodes, debuting this Summer, and there is already a second season commitment in place. Get ready for year-round zombie-based drama.
– Adam West and Burt Ward, while on a panel at Mad Monster Party in Charlotte, spilled the beans about a new project celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the 1966 Batman television series: an animated film! According to the pair, they’ll be reprising their iconic roles of Batman and Robin for (what is presumed to be a) direct to home media release in 2016.
Consequence of Sound got the footage of this surprising, yet very welcome announcement.
Did I ever tell you folks what a big fan I am of Jeff Parker‘s work on Batman ’66 and Batman: The Brave and the Bold?
– Lastly, hang onto your hats folks! We’ve got two fandoms converging this year, as the BBC has announced that Maisie Williams aka Arya Stark on Game of Thrones, will be appearing on Doctor Who this season/series.
In an announcement on the BBC website, showrunner Steven Moffat stated:
We’re thrilled to have Maisie Williams joining us on Doctor Who. It’s not possible to say too much about who or what she’s playing, but she is going to challenge the Doctor in very unexpected ways. This time he might just be out of his depth, and we know Maisie is going to give him exactly the right sort of hell.
Additionally, the same press release also detailed two more series episodes: “The Girl Who Died” written by new fan favorite Jamie Mathieson and Moffat and “The Woman Who Lived” by Catherine Tregenna (the first female writer of the Moffat era). Whether Williams will appear in those two episodes is not made clear based on this initial announcement.
(Venice, Italy) James Ivory was the inaugural guest at Crossroads of Civilization, Venice's International Literary Festival, which kicked off on March 25, 2015 at the Goldoni Theater. Ivory was a unique choice since he is, of course, a film director, responsible for such stellar films as A Room with a View
, Howards End
, and The Remains of the Day
which he created with his long-time partner, the producer Ismail Merchant and the Booker Prize-winning author, Ruth Prawer Jhabvala. Just those three Merchant-Ivory films were nominated for 25 Academy Awards, and won six.
Watching a Merchant-Ivory film is like having a weighty work of literature transformed into something more digestible, and Ivory gave the credit for that to Ruth. According to Wikipedia
, "Of this collaboration, Merchant once commented: 'It is a strange marriage we have at Merchant Ivory... I am an Indian Muslim, Ruth is a German Jew, and Jim is a Protestant American. Someone once described us as a three-headed god. Maybe they should have called us a three-headed monster!'"
James Ivory has such vibrant energy that I was stunned to discover he will be 87-years-old on June 7th. He is also a screenwriter; he would first write the screenplay and then give it to Ruth, who was a novelist as well as a screenwriter. Ivory said he never read the classics he should have read when he was a teenager, and that he had to read Howards End
by E.M. Forster three times because he "didn't get it." Ruth pressured him to make the film, insisting, "Let's climb that mountain."
The evening opened with a half-hour documentary called Venice: Theme and Variations
that Ivory wrote, photographed, produced and directed in the winter of 1952-53 for the thesis for his masters degree in cinema at USC with money his father gave him. He had no crew; he was just one person with a camera shooting wherever he could in Venice, and didn't include Titian or Veronese because the paintings were "too big."
He said he always had wanted to make a feature in Venice. He had the idea to set the Aspern Papers
by Henry James not in the 1880s but the 1950s, and to use the papers of Ezra Pound. He had already completed his first draft and sent it to Ruth when he fell down the stairs and broke both his legs. Then Ruth became ill. Unfortunately, the film never happened, but that is one movie I would have loved to see!Incroci di Civiltà 2015
presented 29 authors from 21 different countries, making Venice the literary Crossroads of Civilization from March 25 to 28. Inviting international writers to share their singular perspectives of the world adds zesty ingredients to the rich stew that is Venice.
Armenia, Belgium, Brazil, China, Colombia, Korea, Cuba, Denmark, France, Germany, Jamaica, Great Britain, Iran, Italy, Kenya, Holland, Poland, Portugal, Russia, United States, and Taiwan.
from ColumbiaMathieu Amalric
from FranceAna Luísa Amaral
from PortugalLi Ang
from TaiwanSascha Arango
from GermanyAntonia Arslan
from Italy/ArmeniaJerry Brotton
from Great BritainRoberto Costantini
from ItalyFrancesco Cataluccio
from ItalyPatrick Deville
from FranceDavid Foenkinos
from FranceStefan Hertmans
from BelgiumJames Ivory
from the United StatesBilly Kahora
from KenyaHanif Kureishi
from Great BritainLucio Mariani
from ItalyShara McCallum
from JamaicaKim Min-jeong
from KoreaMahsa Mohebali
from IranMark Mustian
from US/ArmeniaVladislav Otrošenko
from RussiaVíctor Rodríguez Núñez
from CubaTatiana Salem Levy
from BrazilMorten Søndergaard
from DenmarkAgata Tuszyńska
from PolandLudmila Ulitskaya
from RussiaTommy Wieringa
from HollandWu Ming 1
from ItalyXu Zechen
from ChinaClick to go to Incroci di Civiltà 2015
Ciao from Venezia,
CatVenetian Cat - The Venice Blog
आज सुबह पार्क मे धूमते हुए कुछ बच्चों को बतियाते सुना. वो गोविंदा, सैफ अली खान और अजय देवगुण के बारे में बाते कर रहे थे. अब मेरे दिमाग मे भी एक कीडा बैठा हुआ है कि कोई भी ऐसी छिपी प्रतिभा जो दुनिया के सामने न आई हो उसे सामने लाना है.. इसलिए सोचा […]
The post Article … Kids and their thinking appeared first on Monica Gupta.
A brief look at 'grams of interest to engage teens and librarians navigating this social media platform.
It's that time of year when public, school, and academic libraries start to feel the madness -- the book madness, that is! To coincide with the March Madness basketball tournament, many libraries are hosting their own tournament with brackets of books. Frequently called Literary March Madness or Book Madness, librarians pit books against one another and ask library users to vote for their favorite titles. The sky is the limit when it comes to organizing brackets as the examples below spotlight different genres or categories (teen books vs. banned books, humor vs. local writers), sports books in general, staff picks, or pit popular characters against each other. When it comes to the voting process, there is also a bit of variation with some libraries opting for traditional handwritten bracket sheets and others heading online via social media, Google forms, or Survey Monkey.
Is you library participating in the big book dance and hosting a literary tournament? We want to hear from you! How do you go about choosing which books to include? Do you set up the pairings yourself or are you a fan of an online bracket generator? Which method of submitting votes have you found works best for your teens? Do you change your categories from year to year to keep it interesting?
Have you come across a related Instagram post this week, or has your library posted something similar? Have a topic you'd like to see in the next installment of Instagram of the Week? Share it in the comments section of this post.
No time for new sketches this week, random sketchbooks instead
What not to do when using social media.
YouTube sensation Jenn McAllister (also known as JennXPenn) has landed a deal with Scholastic for a book called Really Professional Internet Person.
According to the press release, the 18-year-old internet star’s title will be “a personal and funny guide to creating successful online content and handling the pressures of internet fame.” It will contain pictures, screenshots, social media posts, and biographical stories.
Vice president and publisher Debra Dorfman negotiated the terms of the agreement. A release date has been set for September 2015. Click here to watch McAllister’s video announcement about this project.
American impressionist Walter Launt Palmer (1854–1932) was known for three themes: snowy forests, Venetian lagoons, and opulent interiors. To all three of those subjects he brought an evocative feeling for light and color.
An exhibition of Walter Launt Palmer at New York State's Albany Institute of History and Art
features all three of those themes. The show just opened and it will be up through August 16.
The museum has one of the largest holdings of his work, and they'll be showing oil and watercolor paintings, pastels, and drawings, as well as letters and photographs.
When he was just 24 years old, Palmer studied landscape painting with Frederic Church. He shared a studio with Church in New York City from 1878-1881.
Walter Launt Palmer made many trips to Europe. He met John Singer Sargent, William Merritt Chase, John Henry Twachtman, Robert Frederick Blum, and probably a lot of other guys with three names.
After seeing the young Sargent's sketchbooks, Palmer wrote home, "He is but 17 and has done a lot of work, very little in oil."
Palmer was the one who recommended that Sargent should study with Carolus Duran. Palmer was so impressed with the younger painter's bold and vigorous style that he tried a similar approach himself for a while.
Palmer's winter scenes were constructed with a combination of outdoor studies, photographs, and memory.
By: Nicole L.,
Head to either blog to find reviews as well as dozens of links to other blogs filled with reviews!
Since February, I've been reading up a storm! Earlier this month I gathered with the rest of my colleagues on the Maine Student Book Award Committee to create the Maine Student Book Award List for 2015-2016! This meeting, where we take a serious look at over a hundred books that made our "short" list, is the most thrilling meeting of the year! Eight librarians and four teachers discuss and laugh and agree and disagree on what we think are the best books for readers in grades 4-8. There is certainly a range of opinions to this end, which is what makes the list so diverse and special. And of course, it's for the kids!
Want to check out the list?
Books I've Recently Read:
Night Sky Dragons by Mal Peet & Elspeth Graham, illustrated by Patrick Benson
Candlewick Press, 2014
Recommended for grades 2+
Set in a han* on the Silk Road, young Yazul is at odds with his industrious father, who thinks Yazul should spend less time playing with his grandfather and more time being useful. But when bandits threaten the safety of the han, it is Yazul and his grandfather that save the han.
*a han was a place of safety on the Silk Road
Ice Dogs by Terry Lynn Johnson
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014
Recommended for grades 6+
I loved this survival story, even though I typically despise reading stories set in winter settings-I'm in Maine, winter can feel never-ending...
What to expect:
-Strong female protagonist
-Loss of a parent
Half a World Away by Cynthia Kadohata
Recommended for grades 4-8
This book burrowed deeply inside my heart. Jaden is a young boy from Romania, adopted by American parents when he was four. Jaden had plenty of time to grown without a bonded family, and the effects are lasting. When Jaden's parents are ready to adopt another child, Jaden has a mix of emotions that he can't put a finger on.
The family travels to Kazakhstan to adopt a baby. But "their" baby was given to another couple. The new baby they are urged to bond with seems vacant and not quite well. Jaden doesn't want to bond with the new baby, but he does befriend a four-year-old boy with some developmental disabilities. Does Jaden see himself in this young boy? Whether he does or not, Jaden bonds with the boy and begs for his parents to adopt this boy instead.
As a mother, this book hurt at times. I wonder how kids will experience it.
I'm Currently Reading:
Thanks for stopping by!
Unwrapping some cute quotes for you...
From the author of "The Kid Who Changed the World" comes the book -
"Henry Hodges Needs a Friend"
Authored by - Andy Andrews
Illustrated by - Colleen Madden
Ages - 4-8
Unwrapping the illustrations for you...
This book is written in rhyme and tells the story of a lonely little boy, named Henry, who lives in a very quiet town, at the very end of his street. He has no one to play with as no friends live near him and he doesn't like toys so he mopes around feeling isolated, sad and lost.
"Henry wandered outside To his old tire swing,Just to wonder what boredomThis new day would bring."
His parents decide to find the perfect companion for him...
"But his mother's eyes twinkled.'Don't worry. Don't fret.A friend's what you need,So a friend's what you'll get."
After searching around everywhere they finally discover the perfect friend, a dog, that Henry dubs "Hap".
"It's a nickname for Happy,And that's just what you'll be.You'll have a friend alwaysNow that you"re with me."
With the arrival of Hap into his life, heavyhearted Henry is changed forever. He and his new companion run and play exploring their world around them together and Henry is delighted with his new best friend . A shared life is a happy life.
The illustrator is fantastic and her pictures are full of imagination and wit which I just love. The message of book will resonate with any child who is feeling lonely and will encourage them not to give up because their new best friend could be just around the corner waiting for them just as Henry's was.
Unwrapping the author...
When I was a boy, I remember my father who was an engineer, reminiscing about the days before Auto-Cad. When actual draftsmen would layout the details of the factories. My dad would talk about how he could see a certain beauty in the way that the conduits and ducts would be organized. I was thinking […]
via Studio Bowes Art Blog at http://ift.tt/19ALKX4
The cover for Jonathan Franzen’s forthcoming novel, entitled Purity, has been unveiled on the Farrar, Straus & Giroux blog. We’ve embedded the full image above—what do you think?
This jacket was created by famed book designer Rodrigo Corral. FSG has scheduled the publication date for September 1st. (via BuzzFeed)
April is a fun month, the beginning of Mud Season here in central MA.
I've got a few appearances and lots of theater happening this month, all of which I hope you enjoy if you get the chance to pop by.
My first book, DON'T LET THE PIGEON DRIVE THE BUS! was published 12 years ago on April 1st thanks to the efforts of my agent, Marcia Wernick, editor, Alessandra
YUM: Your Ultimate Manual for Good Nutrition. Daina Kalnins. 2008. Lobster Press. 192 pages. [Source: Review copy]
YUM is an informative nonfiction read for upper elementary and middle grade students. Its focus is on teaching young people the basics of nutrition, on how to be more aware of what they're putting in their bodies. It is not a diet book, a how
to lose weight book. If nothing else, the book will teach readers HOW to read food labels and basic definitions of key terms.
In the first chapter, the focus is on macronutrients: carbohydrates, fats, and protein. In the second chapter, the focus is on micronutrients: Vitamin A, Vitamin B, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Calcium, Iron, Zinc, Potassium, and Sodium. In the third chapter, the focus is on how the body digests food. In the fourth chapter, the author provides sample menus and recipes for breakfast, lunch, supper, and morning and afternoon snacks. In the fifth chapter, the practical advice continues on how to make changes and establish good habits. This last chapter covers a little bit of everything: food safety (how long to keep food, how to tell if food has gone bad, etc), grocery shopping, eating out, etc.
The book is written for kids and with kids in mind. The advice is specifically for what growing, active children need to be eating to be healthy.
Nutrition books can become dated quickly, this one isn't as up-to-date as I'd like. But it still has some good, basic information. One thing that makes it continue to be relevant is how reader-friendly it is.
My favorite chapter is probably the one on micronutrients. I loved learning what each nutrient does in the body, and which foods you should eat to get that nutrient.
© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews
Constance Wu, the lead actress from the Fresh Off the Boat TV series, took on First Book’s speed reading challenge. In the video embedded above, Wu reads aloud from Margery Williams’ The Velveteen Rabbit.
Wu (pictured, via) managed to recite 59 words in 10 seconds. Click on these links to watch speed reading attempts from author Mo Willems, two actors from the Agent Carter show, and two actors from the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. show.
By: Beth Kephart
Blog: Beth Kephart Books
(Login to Add to MyJacketFlap
, Corey McMillan
, Daniel Zalewski
, frontotemporal dementia
, Judith Scott
, Junior Fellows Program
, One Thing Stolen
, Penn Medicine
, The New Yorker
, Writing about Mental health
, Add a tag
Tomorrow evening I'll be down at Penn, at Kelly Writers House, participating in a 7-Up program that promises to be provocative. The theme is mental health and literature. The evening, a Junior Fellows Program, was knit together (so ably) by Hannah White. You can find more about the evening below, and of course you are welcome to come.
In trying to develop a presentation that fits within the given seven minute boundaries, I'm aware of all that I won't have time to say about the medical research and stories that have been released in the months after I finished writing One Thing Stolen,
a novel that has a rare neurodegenerative condition—frontotemporal dementia, primary progressive aphasia—at its heart.
(Generally speaking, FTD is a category of conditions brought on by the "progressive degeneration of the temporal and frontal lobes of the brain." Some patients afflicted with the "language subtypes" of FTD erupt with new artistic capabilities—a sign, it is thought, of a brain attempting to compensate for those parts of the brain that are no longer working as they once were.)
I would like, then, to summarize four key stories here—stories that validate the hope that readers will find in the final pages of Nadia's story.
In writing One Thing Stolen,
I grounded my hope in the work of (and email conversations with) Bruce Miller, MD,
who directs the UCSF Memory and Aging Center and whose work on FTD "emphasizes both the behavioral and emotional deficits that characterize these patients, while simultaneously noting the visual creativity that can emerge in the setting of FTD."
But in my novel, Penn doctors are at work as well, and just days ago, on March 20, Penn Medicine researchers announced, and here I'm quoting from the press release, the discovery that " hypermethylation - the epigenetic ability to turn down or turn off a bad gene implicated in 10 to 30 percent of patients with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and Frontotemporal Degeneration (FTD) - serves as a protective barrier inhibiting the development of these diseases. Their work, published this month in Neurology
, may suggest a neuroprotective target for drug discovery efforts."
Later on in the release, this quote from Corey McMillan, PhD, research assistant professor of Neurology in the Frontotemporal Degeneration Center
in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania: "We believe that this work provides additional data supporting the notion that C9orf72 methylation is neuroprotective and therefore opens up the exciting possibility of a new avenue for precision medicine treatments and targets for drug development in neurodegenerative disease,” says McMillan.
So all of that is number 1. Hope, again.
For number 2, I encourage you to read this deeply moving essay by Daniel Zalewski
in the March 30 issue of The New Yorker.
Titled "Life Lines," it traces the journey of a former New Yorker
illustrator whose brain, attacked by a virus, now lives in the ever-present now, most of her hippocampus destroyed. Researchers are studying her ability to learn and form memories within this new neuronal environment. There is hope there. There is also the prospect of new science.
Finally, for numbers 3 and 4, I encourage you to return to two blog entries posted earlier in this year. The first reports on Judith Scott
, a woman born profoundly deaf and with Down syndrome, whose artistic capabilities were unleashed late in life—that brain wanting art again. The second reports on the lawyer Patrick Fagerberg,
who was struck in the head at a music concert and diagnosed with traumatic brain injury. Here again the brain compensates and, in compensating, chooses art.
This—the compensating brain, the deep neuronal desire to make beauty out of chaos—is the theme of One Thing Stolen
, a book that takes place both in Florence, Italy, and on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania (and features some Penn students as key characters.) Some of what I'll briefly touch on during our 7-Up tomorrow night.
Hope to see you there.
WRITING ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH
Junior Fellows Program
6:00 PM in the Arts Cafe
As this years recipient of the Kelly Writers House Junior Fellows Prize, Hannah White
has undertaken a project to make the Writers House a space where we can talk about issues of mental health and illness from a writers perspective. In traditional "7-Up" style, seven different people (students, professors, community members) will each select and then write/speak about an important novel, short story, or poem dealing with issues of mental (in)stability. "Important" can mean anything here: personally important, culturally important, historically important, obscure but interesting, challenging to the traditional ideas of illness and wellness, etc. We hope that a wide range of perspectives and literary works will bring together seemingly disparate subsets of the wider community—and will also reveal plenty of interesting ideas about health, culture, relationships, and what is "normal."
- Ryan CambeThe Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
- Beth KephartOne Thing Stolen by Beth Kephart
- Devon O'Connor"Round Here" by Counting Crows
- Nick MoncyWinesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson
- Julie Mullany"Barbie Doll" by Marge Piercy
- Emily Sheera CutlerThirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
- Claudia ConsolatiMelancholia, directed by Lars von Trier
- Lance WahlertNarratives of suicide
- Michelle Taransky"Howl" by Allen Ginsberg
By: J. S. Watt,
Sometimes Princesses busy their lives with so much that it doesn't seem as if they have enough room or time for their own royal duties. They fill their time slots with the purposes and plans of others. They put off what they are called to do. And sometimes that causes a slip up in their understanding.
Last week I attended a small gathering at the library to celebrate a local author's new children's book. She is also the illustrator of her book. I read the entire flyer for the book signing. All I saw was the word costume. So guess who throws on her tutu and tiara and does same for Princess Stinkerbell and treks across downtown Galax for an awesome afternoon event? Yep, that would be me. When we arrived there were costumes already there. PERIOD COSTUMES. Made especially for the event. Pioneer times, and Indian costumes. Yours truly nonchalantly sits down to a table with her blue and pink tutu and a tiara. Ugh. Lack of time to prepare properly has started wars, I am sure. But in the midst of my sweet little blunder, I am still a princess. Thank God for His covering grace and mercy.
Not many days before that (or maybe it was right after?) I had a dream. It was graphic, and details are not necessary. The basis of it was Princess Jae running around helping all the other pregnant ministries come to birth when I was in the labor (almost HERE) stages myself. Finally the nurse told me it was time and I had to stop helping everyone else because my baby was HERE.
I got the hint, Lord. It is time for me to put a stop to helping everyone else get their lives together. Their ministries- together. It is time for me to settle into my own calling and just give it all the push necessary... because it's time. Seriously time.
God has perfect timing, even if we as His children do not, my lovelies. Never forget that. If you do not remember anything else in your walk, remember this. Pray daily for God's perfect timing. He will direct your paths. And it all shall work out smoothly if you take the time to listen to His direction.
Have a wonderful week my little ones. And be blessed in Jesus' name.
Above Disney Cinderella tiara can be purchased on ebay.
4 soft sugar cookies.
Yes. Eye-catching and romantic. Love it!
Why I Wanted to Read This:
The synopsis was what it was all about. How could two teens, whose parents died in a car wreck when they were having an affair, find their way to each other? I was intrigued by this idea!
Here it is from GoodReads:
Abram and Juliette know each other. They’ve lived down the street from each other their whole lives. But they don’t really know each other—at least, not until Juliette’s mom and Abram’s dad have a torrid affair that culminates in a deadly car crash. Sharing the same subdivision is uncomfortable, to say the least. They don’t speak.Romance?:
Fast-forward to the neighborhood pharmacy, a few months later. Abram decides to say hello. Then he decides to invite her to Taco Bell. To her surprise as well as his, she agrees. And the real love story begins.
Yep. On every page!My Thoughts:
First of all, both of these characters are intriguing. They are two teens who have had a traumatic thing happen to them (Juliette's mom and Abram's dad were having an affair which came out when they were killed in a car wreck) and their parents are no help at all. Juliette's dad is barely functioning and Abram's mom is reliving her youth. They are just doing the best they can. But their best isn't not very good. Juliette, for one, is super controlling and closed off. She can't find her way to feeling anything. Abram is obsessed with Juliette from the get go, but it hadn't reached a creepy level yet. More like he wanted to be involved in her life because he had questions. But he had given up on things that used to make him happy because they reminded him of his father (like tennis).
This is a book where the main characters get together pretty early on, not romantically right away, but they forge a friendship early on. And it's like two drowning people clinging to a life raft. I am not sure how long their romance will last but its very clear they need each other. They help each other heal and start to look forward. They give each other purpose and that's what I loved. Abram is so good for Juliette and she helps him too. It;s a very sweet, nice little romance.To Sum Up:
Adored this story and romance. In my mind Juliette and Abram stay together for awhile and heal and grow and then separate when they are ready. It might not be the best relationship for longevity.
There is a new genre emerging..."New Adult" fiction for older teens aka college-aged readers. You never stop growing up, but little in the market seems to address the coming-of-age that also happens between the ages of Nineteen to Twenty-six. Life changes drastically once high school is over, you have college, first jobs, first internships, first adult relationships…Part of the appeal of NA is that the storylines are about characters who are taking on adult responsibilities for the first time without guidance from their parents. And the storylines generally have a heavy romance element.
Keep this in mind as you revise your wonderful story, New Adult books are mostly about that specific time in every person's life—the time when the apron strings are cut from your parents, you no longer have a curfew, you're experiencing the world for the very first time, in most cases, with innocent eyes. New Adult is this section of your life where you discover who you want to be, what you want to be, and what type of person you will become. This time defines you. This is the time of firsts, the time where you can't blame your parents for your own bad choices. An NA character has to take responsibility for their own choices and live with the consequences. Most storylines are about twenty-something (18 to 26) characters living their own lives without any parents breathing down their necks, and learning to solve things on their own as they would in real life. New Adult fiction focuses on switching gears, from depending on our parents to becoming full-fledged, independent adults.
I am a firm believer that if you’re going to write a certain genre that you should read it, too. So I’m going to recommend that you start devouring NA novels to get a real sense and understanding of the genre before you write one.
Here are some great recommendations: https://www.goodreads.com/genres/new-adult-romance and http://www.goodreads.com/genres/new-adult and https://www.goodreads.com/shelf/show/new-adult-romance
Just as YA is fiction about teens discovering who they are as a person, New Adult (NA) is fiction about building your own life as an actual adult. As older teen readers discover the joy of the Young Adult genres, the New Adult—demand may increase. This, in turn, would give writers the chance to explore the freedom of a slightly older protagonist (over the age of 18 and out of high school, like the brilliant novel, "BEAUTIFUL DISASTER" by the amazing talents of author, Jamie McGuire) while addressing more adult issues that early 20-year-olds must face.
Older protagonists (basically, college students) are surprisingly rare; in a panel on YA literature at Harvard’s 2008 Vericon, City of Bones author talked about pitching her novel, then about twenty-somethings, as adult fiction. After several conversations, Clare realized she had to choose between adults and teens. She went with teens.
Quote from the publisher, St. Martin’s Press: We are actively looking for great, new, cutting edge fiction with protagonists who are slightly older than YA and can appeal to an adult audience. Since twenty-somethings are devouring YA, St. Martin’s Press is seeking fiction similar to YA that can be published and marketed as adult—a sort of an “older YA” or “new adult.” In this category, they are looking for spunky but not stupid, serious but not dull, cutting-edge, supernatural stories.Quote from Georgia McBride, author (Praefatio) and founder of #YALitChat and publisher at Month9Books: "New Adult is a fabulous idea in theory, and authors seem to be excited about it. But in a world where bookstores shelf by category, to them, it is either Adult or Young Adult. Some booksellers even call their YA section “teen.” And when you have a character who is over a certain age (19 seems to be the age most consider the start of New Adult), it is received as Adult. In some cases, the designation by publishers causes more confusion than not.Let’s face it, YA is associated with teens, and at 19, most no longer consider themselves teens. So, it would support the theory of placing these “New Adult” titles in the Adult section. However, with the prevalence of eBook content, it would seem that the powers that be could easily create a New Adult category if they really wanted to...." There’s also a list on goodreads of New Adult book titles. These books focus on college age characters, late teens to early twenties, transitioning into the adult world.
Some popular authors of the NA category include:
- Jamie McGuire
- Jessica Park
- Tammara Webber
- Steph Campbell
- Liz Reinhardt
- Abbi Glines
- Colleen Hoover
- Sherry Soule
Would you buy New Adult books?
Does the genre appeal to you?
Does it sound better than YA (teen novels)?
Or are you happy with YA as it stands?
Do you consider YA to include characters that are over the age of eighteen?
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Last Friday, I wrote 4000 new words on my WIP novel. That’s a great day for me. But it was only possible because Thursday was a planning day.
When I work with students and teachers, I encourage lots of prewriting. My book, Writing for the Common Core, is essentially a book of prewriting activities. Here’s the thing: as professional writers, we know that our best writing comes with revision. That’s what students need to do, also: revise. However, that often devolves into merely copying a piece and cleaning up handwriting, especially in the lower grades. True revision, a re-envisioning of how to word something or the content to include/exclude, is hard to achieve in a 50-minute class.
Instead, I ask teachers to provide multiple prewriting activities. By giving students a rich and varied prewriting experience, they come to the first draft more likely to produce something worthwhile.
That’s what I did last Thursday, lots of prewriting.
Setting. One important thing for me was to locate my story on the slopes of Mt. Rainier. I used Google Earth to track the roads where my characters would be traveling. Using the program’s tools, I measured distances as the crow flies and distances along roads, so I knew how long each drive (and potentially chase scene) would take. I switched to the aerial view to look at the landscape–mostly wooded with some open areas.
Sensory Details. Once I knew where this section of the story would happen, I concentrated on the sensory details. What would they see, hear, touch, taste and feel? What would the day’s weather be like? Rainy, snowy, sunny, windy? Along with that, I thought about the mood of the events. Would the characters be frantic, excited, hopeful, angry, or bored?
Scenes. I also took time to sketch out the structure of a couple scenes. Scenes need a beginning, middle, end; add in conflict and a pivot or turning point; stir with some great emotional development. By planning ahead, I knew the general outline of what would happen.
Flexibility. With all the planning, though, I approached the writing with flexibility and let the moment carry the story forward. I “mostly” knew what I would write, but it always surprises me how much it changes and develops as I write. It’s never exactly what I planned; it’s usually better.
I’m not really an outliner; but I don’t write by the seat of my pants either. Instead, I need this half-way place, where I do rich prewriting activities and halfway plan, and then see where it all takes me. HOW you say something is everything. It’s not just what the story is or how well you plot. For me, the important thing is how you say it. What word choices do you make and why? What sentence structures and why? What pacing and why? The true writing happens when I write. But I love the prewriting because it enables me to get 4000 words done in a single day. Well, really, that was two days work: one to prewrite and one to write. Either way you count it, that was a couple great chapters to put behind me.
By Deborah Lytton
for Cynthia Leitich Smith
My new contemporary YA, Silence
(Shadow Mountain, 2015), is a story about a fifteen year old girl who has an accident that changes her life forever. The only person she can relate to is a boy who has his own tragic past. Out of tragedy comes true love.
I spent years writing Silence
, and the experience taught me several important lessons about being an author. It took me draft after draft (and many working titles) to find a way to tell the story. I think my agent has lost count of the number of drafts of Silence
she read. I even set the manuscript aside and wrote novels in between. But I kept coming back because the characters stayed with me.
The lesson I learned from this is to tell the story in my heart. So now if a manuscript of mine isn’t working, I try approaching it from another direction, turning it sideways or upside down, telling it in reverse order or through a secondary character’s point of view. But no matter what, I know the key is to trust my inner voice.Silence
is my second published book, but not my second novel. I wrote several novels before my first book was published and several novels before Silence
When each one of those other novels didn’t sell, I was really discouraged. I think anyone who has ever gone through the submission and rejection process can relate.
But I learned to turn the sting of rejection into a spark of inspiration through perspective. In focusing on writing rather than selling a manuscript, I recaptured writing simply for the love of writing.
When I wrote my first published book Jane In Bloom
, I didn’t know if anyone would publish a book about a forgotten sister, but I needed to tell her story.
, I once again found myself writing a book I wasn’t sure anyone would publish. But I wrote it anyway. That focus helped me lose myself in the story and simply write.
Finally, writing Silence
taught me to stay true to myself.
I had a vision of what kind of story I wanted to tell—a romance with clean content so my own daughters could read it. The characters would attend church, and they would volunteer to help others in need.
I knew there was a chance no one would want to publish a young adult book like this. But I also knew that I needed to be authentic and true to my vision. So I wrote the book the way I needed to write it. I didn’t hold back details because I thought someone might not like them.
Instead, I poured my whole self into the book. And my story did find a home after all, with Shadow Mountain.
So whatever you want to write, make sure it stays true to you. Don’t worry about editors and reviewers. Don’t hold back from storylines or characters because they might cause your book to be passed on by editors or because the book might be controversial when it is published. Just write the best book you can write because only you can write it.
I know that book will find a home.Cynsational Giveaway
Enter to win a signed copy of Silence
by Deborah Lytton
(Shadow Mountain, 2015). Author sponsored. Eligibility: North America. From the promotional copy:Stella is a vivacious teen with a deep yearning to become an accomplished Broadway musical star. Her dreams are shattered when a freak accident renders her deaf. Struggling mightily to communicate in a world of total silence, she meets Hayden who has such a pronounced stutter she can easily read his lips because he speaks so slowly. Communication leads to connection and an unexpected romance as they learn from each other and discover their own ways to overcome setbacks, find renewed purpose and recognize their true voice. a Rafflecopter giveaway
Welcome to the biggest book promotion event I’ve ever seen, let alone held! To celebrate the release of four new books in the Trifecta catalog on March 31st, we’re putting everything on sale. We’ve also asked several of our friends to join with us, making this an amazing event. Please scroll down through the entire post so you don’t miss anything!! Then, on March 31st, head on back to http://www.trifectabooks.com and check out the four new releases – their purchase links will be live. They are:
Captain Schnozzlebeard and the Singing Clam of Minnie Skewel Island
by Rebecca Blevins
Fire Gate (Shinehah Saga #1) and Crystal Gate (Shinehah Saga #2)
by Pendragon Inman
Nemesis: Knight (the Chess Quest series #2)
by Michael D. Young
Let’s start with some Trifecta books!
ten-year-old Andy moves from California to his new house in Colorado,
the last thing he expects is to meet a ghost named Annie.
has been living in that house for eighty years. Will Annie spook Andy
away? Or will the two find out that sometimes, the best of friends might
not be who you first expected?
Andy & Annie series by author Jenni James and illustrator BC
Sterrett is like Diary of a Wimpy Kid meets Junie B. Jones with a
paranormal twist. Your young reader will love getting to know these
characters and going with them on amazing adventures!
You can purchase A Ghost Story for Kindle here and print here. Special event price: .99!
Andy and Annie are back at it again. This time, they’ve decided to
conquer the bullies who like to tease Andy for wearing green shirts.
Annie uses her magical ghostly powers for good in this funny early
reader story. She decides it’s time the school learns that wearing green isn’t mean—it’s cool! Join Annie and Andy on an adventure that will change even the toughest of hearts, and maybe even make the principal happy, too.
You can purchase Greeny Meany for Kindle here. Special event price: .99!
When nerdy eighth-grader Rich Witz unwittingly becomes a paladin, a white knight in training, he is thrust into a world where flunking a test can change the course of history, and a mysterious bully is playing for keeps with his life.
Rich’s grandmother leaves him one thing before disappearing for
good—a white chess pawn with his initials engraved on it. The pawn marks him as the next in an ancient line of white knights. He must prove himself in a life-or-death contest against his nemesis, a dark knight in training. With the ghost of an ancestor for his guide, he has seven days to complete four tasks of valor before his nemesis does, or join his guide in the realm of the dead.
You can purchase Paladin: Pawn for Kindle here or for Nook here. Special event price: .99!
Young Adult Contemporary Fiction
is Cami’s escape from her dark home life. It’s the only thing that
gives her hope – until she meets Adam Black. A talented dancer in his
own right, he asks Cami to be his partner, and she gains strength and
confidence as he unlocks whole new possibilities for her.
When Cami’s abusive mother overdoses and her already-broken family falls to
pieces around her, dancing with Adam helps Cami pull through. But he has
secrets of his own, and someone wants him found at any price. Cami gets
dragged into a web of danger and deceit. Now she must make a choice
between familiar darkness and uncertain light.
You can purchase Dancing with Black for Kindle here and in print here. Special event price: .99!
Mattie’s smart and she’s in line for a college scholarship, but she’s
not exactly the most popular person in school. When the hot and hunky
guys at the women’s convention bread booth give out free samples to all
the cutest, trendiest girls in the room, they overlook her. It’s just
proof that she’s not worth their attention—she’s not a free bread girl.What she really wants is to date Travis Banks, her high school’s
soccer king. But he just can’t see past her clumsiness and frizzy hair
to the real Mattie underneath, and sometimes, she can’t either. What’s
it going to take for Mattie to find the free bread girl within?
You can purchase Free Bread Girl for Kindle, Nook, and print. Special event price: .99!
Does true love really prevail?All
Lilly Price has ever known is living in the shadow of her widely
successful foster family. But when a twist of fate deals Lilly the hand
of Harrison Crawford, the most popular guy in Bloomfield, NM, everything
flips upside down.Sean Benally is a hard worker, he’s funny,
he’s generous, and he’s kind. He’s also the most amazing guy Lilly has
ever known. And she’s totally fallen in love with him. But he’s her
foster brother…Now she must choose between the unavailable love of her life—or the guy who promises to be available forever.
You can purchase Mansfield Ranch for Kindle here and print here. Special event price: .99!
Young Adult Fantasy
A black dragon hovered outside of Newtimber.
Sianna rubbed her eyes, but the dragon was still there, clutching a
round object that looked like a spotted egg. And then the egg fell,
hitting the ground like an atomic bomb, sending out waves of a
slow-moving fog that distorted everything it touched.
citizens of Newtimber change. Griffins. Vampires. Zombies.
Creatures from the myths of every culture come to life through the
people. Even Sianna changes, her skin becoming stone hard, and
she gains the ability to travel from the human realm into the dimension
of the fae to battle the evil bent on taking over the world.One person to
heal a family, a town, and save the world. It seems an impossible task,
but with the help of her new friends, it could happen. Right?You can purchase Newtimber: Fractured
for Kindle here
, Nook here
, and print here
. Special event price: .99!
lives her nightmares every night. While other teenagers are
dreaming of boys or traveling to exotic places, she must run a staircase
with no beginning or no end, or a terrible debt will never be paid.
Just before her seventeenth birthday, the dreams change. She is no
But her nightmares don’t end when she wakes up. Her stepmother and
stepsisters threaten to ruin everything she holds dear. She must protect
the secret that both she and her father have magic or they will use it
to their advantage.
As Sydney learns to control her magic, what seemed impossible
before—escaping her stepmother and those ever-present stairs—is now at
her fingertips. When she learns the ultimate plan of her evil captor,
Sydney must stop her at all costs, or she will forever be trapped inside
You can purchase Endless for Kindle here and for print here. Special event price: $3.99 – going to .99 on the 31st!
had it with her life. Six siblings in an overstuffed house are enough
to drive anyone crazy, and sometimes she dreams of escaping to some
fantasy world. When she suddenly wakes up to find herself being kissed
by a strange—but very handsome—prince, Jenny knows her life just got a
lot more exciting. Now stuck in a medieval land of castles and royalty,
when Jenny learns that the queen has agreed to marry her off to the
prince, it’s time to take matters into her own hands. She goes on a
quest to find out who dragged her to this time while trying to keep from
falling in love with either of the boys vying for her attention.
Genevieve has only known life under her mother’s rule. She wants to do
more than go to battle or deal with suitors. She wakes to find herself
in a new world filled with gadgets, electricity, and moving carriages.
She finally has the freedom to be who she wants to be with a family who
cares deeply for her and a boy worth any sacrifice. It’s more than
everything she always wanted.
As Jenny and Genevieve settle into their new lives, they face an unknown
evil which threatens everything they care about and makes them face
tough questions—like who they are and what they really want their lives
You can now purchase The Princess and the Prom Queen for Kindle here and print here. Special event price: $2.99 – going to .99 on the 31st!
Realistic Women’s Fiction
only been a year since her divorce, so why would Jane Adamson do
something as stupid as attempt to date again? Wasn’t her marriage
scarring enough? The answer was simple—her kids. They worried about her
and wanted to see her happy again.
She needed to be happy . She needed to learn to trust again and feel pretty again and human again.
As a mom of five, it was too easy to hide herself away and focus just on her kids. Who needs men, anyway?
Jane in part one of a six-part journey of self-discovery, conquering
the past, understanding love, and most importantly … healing, as she
finds the woman she once was.
You can purchase Drowning for Kindle here. Special event price: .99!
Sweet and Clean Romance Collection
Love Notes#1. Elahna Nezario gave up her musical dreams to help run the Queen of
Hearts, her mother’s chocolate shop, after her sister’s sudden death.
After an unfortunate run-in with Elahna’s childhood crush, owner of the
Dolce Theater, not only do her dreams surge back to life, but so does
You can purchase Hearts in Harmony for Kindle here. Special event price: .99!
Love Notes #2. Meredith Aaron lost all hope for love after a car accident put her in a
wheelchair. Who would want her, broken as she is? After her brother
tells her to save a dance for him at his wedding, she decides to somehow
learn how to dance on the only legs she has left—her wheels.
You can purchase Waltzing on Wheels for Kindle here and Nook here. Special event price: .99!
Love Notes#3. Camille Clark spends her time bringing light to the memorable moments of
Dolce—playing her harp at weddings, anniversaries, and even funerals.
She can’t help but wonder if someone will ever play for her. Will the
dark secrets of her past come to Dolce and ruin her future? Or will she
find her soul mate and finally walk down that aisle?
You can purchase Healing a Broken Harp for Kindle here and Nook here. Special event price: .99!
Main Street Merchants #1. Bridal consultant Laurie Fletcher spends all her time helping others
prepare for the most special day of their lives. Logan Reese is easily
the most irritating man on the planet, and for some reason, he’s made
annoying Laurie his mission in life. Will true love ever come Laurie’s
way, or is she doomed to watch others get their happily ever after while
she sits on the sidelines?
You can purchase And Something Blue for Kindle here. Special event price: .99!
Main Street Merchants #2. Cynical Morgan learned at an early age that life is just plain hard.
She’s decided that no one could possibly fall in love with her – all the
good guys want perfect girls, and with her messed-up family, she’s
anything but perfect. But then along comes the guy who falls
head-over-heels in love with her just as she is and helps her find the
bright side of life – and a second chance for perfection.
You can purchase For Love or Money for Kindle here and Nook here. Special event price: .99!
Main Street Merchants #3. Even though Cara has lost her childhood weight and is now composing her
own music, she can’t see her own beauty and she has no confidence in her
talent. A bumpy relationship with her mother certainly hasn’t helped.
Only the right guy can help her see inside herself to the amazing person
who has always been there, and to mend her frayed family ties in the face of her greatest sorrow.
You can purchase Five Golden Rings for Kindle here and Nook here. Special event price: .99!
Main Street Merchants #4. Quinn spends all her time managing D’Angelo’s Bakery – so much time, in
fact, that she rarely does anything else. When things get tough for the
bakery’s owner and she’s needed more than ever, dreams of romance and a
family of her own fly out the window – but then along comes someone who
shows her just how sweet life can be.
You can purchase Just Desserts for Kindle here and Nook here. Special event price: .99!
Main Street Merchants #5. Regan spends her days working in a bookstore and her nights reading. She
goes on grand romantic adventures in her head . . . but not in real
life. That all changes when someone sweeps her off her feet and carries
her up a mountain.
You can purchase Between the Lines for Kindle here and Nook here. Special event price: .99!
And now for some books from our friends! Authors are listed alphabetically by last name.
Big dreams take strength and determination.
dream is on the verge of becoming a reality. Lockhart Sanctuary, a
refuge for abused and confiscated cats, is what Cami has worked for her
entire life. But a dream that big requires a daily commitment. Cami
yearns for someone to share the dream with, and knows everyone in town
thinks Alex is the perfect man for the job. There’s one problem. She
wants fireworks with every kiss, not just friendship with a hint of
Sometimes what you wish for is closer than you think.
Alex Reynolds shares Cami’s passion for the sanctuary, and as the head
ranchhand, spends every day helping her dream come true. He longs to
tell Cami she’s held his heart since childhood, but losing a lifetime of
friendship is a big risk to take. Being by Cami’s side at the sanctuary
is better than letting go, but Alex knows someday he’ll want more.
Risk losing everything or fight for the dreams to come true.
The sanctuary is put in jeopardy when ignored threats take a deadly turn.
Cami and Alex must each choose to stand and fight, or lose everything
they dream of. Purchase here. Special promotional price: .99!
A Secret to Save Them All . . .
It was whispered years ago that when a pirate cursed a Philippine village with langbuan, or flying undead, a boy received a secret that would protect him from certain death. But even armed with a secret, can anyone survive the undead for long?
Seventeen-year-old Antonio Pulido has never known a time when the langbuan didn’t roam the streets every Ghost Moon Night, killing anyone in their path. He works hard to protect his family and the girl he loves from the deadly attacks, but he wants them stopped once and for all. Can Antonio uncover the decades-old secret and will it help him defeat the langbuan? Or will Ghost Moon Night come again and take someone he truly cares about? It falls on Antonio to save his village, but time is running out. The next Ghost Moon Night is nearly here and Antonio knows this is his last chance to destroy the undead and end their reign of terror — or die trying. Purchase here. Special promotional price: .99!
When she was
nine-years-old, Katie knew she wanted Chris to give her her first kiss. It
wasn’t because she was in love with him (no way, he was her best friend!
Besides, she was in love with his fourteen-year-old big brother), it was
because she could make him do anything she wanted.
didn’t really mean anything. After all, it was only a kiss.
started to change. They grew up. They parted ways and went to different high
schools. Then other girls and other boys—well, just one particular boy—came
into the picture, throwing their lives upside down.
Told from the alternating points of view of Katie and Chris, this love story between
two best friends will tug at your heartstrings and leave you thinking about how
the simplest things mean so much. Purchase here. Special promotional price: .99!
Parkview Manor has a secret, and
eighteen-year-old Cynthia is curious!When
Cynthia Holt takes a job at a former sanitarium, now operating as an assisted
living center, she instantly discovers something more is occurring than simply
providing the elderly with housing and care. Something very strange is going on
behind the locked door of Room 913!
she is warned to stay away from the room and to not discuss it or the occupant
with her co-workers, she is even more intrigued – and suspicious! Letting her
curious nature guide her, she immediately begins asking questions. When she
finds that Room 913 has been closed off; locked and sealed for many years, her
curiosity turns to concern. Though rumors abound, no one seems inclined to talk
about it.Not giving up so easily, Cynthia
persists in her pursuit until she finds out the truth – or does
she? Purchase here. Special promotional price: .99!
BFFs are matchmaking geniuses. They schemed to get Ginnie’s widowed dad to fall
in love with Tillie’s divorced mom. Then Ginnie stumbled upon her late mom’s
journals, making life totally awesome sauce … until her dad confiscated the
Ginnie is counting on Tillie’s help to make Dad change his mind, but Tillie’s
not sure the ghost of Ginnie’s mom will make a good addition to their new
family tree. When a blast from the past shows up and makes Tillie go
nutburgers, Ginnie is torn between helping her BFF and having her questions
answered. Purchase here. Special promotional price: .99!
In The Darkest Hours of Addiction, A Light Shines
one LDS woman’s husband flies off to Mexico to meet another woman, she
sells his stuff and starts a new life. To support her three children,
she guts part of her home to start a preschool and rents out another two
life is soon filled with new friends and activities, but the new
friends bring problems of their own. Is hope and healing possible as
they strengthen one another and rely on the Lord? And will romance
blossom again for Jessica?
is a story of love and friendship loaded with drama, inspiration,
romance, and the tenacity of three young women who find their strength
in the Lord. Purchase here. Special promotional price: .99!
The only thing she stands to lose are her shoes.
Cinderella is an ordinary teenage girl, with an
extraordinary name. But because of that
name, she and her cousins, Belle, Aurora, Ariel, and Snow White suffer years of
torment from their peers. Then as the
girls enter high school and the enticing world of dating, a life-altering
decision must be made. Is it finally
time to stop fighting, and surrender to the fairy tale clichés that have been
holding them back? By embracing their
names, the girls discover an inner-strength they never knew existed. And by
putting everything they have on the line, maybe, just maybe they will discover there
really is such a thing as ‘happily ever after’. Purchase here. Special promotional price: .99!
Bracken is a
typical teenage boy, more interested in the angles of the girl’s exposed
back teasing him from the seat ahead of him than in anything the
geometry teacher could present. His life is filled with school, video
games, and thoughts of girls, not necessarily in that order. Life just
flows along uneventfully and unacknowledged, like the electricity that
courses through the power lines — until PF (Power Failure) Day. On PF
Day, the sun strikes Bracken’s world with an unseen surge of
electromagnetic fury, which cripples power stations and burns
transformers to crispy nuggets of regret.
one in Bracken’s world had ever thought about how much they depended on
electrical power, but now, without it, they are plunged into survival
mode. Bracken soon realizes how lucky he is to live on a farm in the
Midwest. What seemed like a dull and backwards life before is now the
greatest chance for survival in what seems like a powerless world. Food,
water, and heat are readily available, although hard work is required
to make use of them. Bracken and his family must learn to survive like
their ancestors, who settled their land. Purchase here. Special promotional price: .99!
eight parade floats explode during the annual Fourth of July
celebrations, Agent Chris Harmer must find who planted the bombs before
the terrorists strike again. His troubles aren’t isolated to terrorism.
Chris falls in love with the FBI’s feisty psychiatrist, Alexis Osborne.
She won’t commit to someone who doesn’t share her religious values, and
Chris has no desire to convert. Purchase here. Special promotional price: $.99!
At forty years of age, I was impoverished and severely addicted to
tobacco cigarettes. I could not even afford a decent birthday gift for
my dear friend Cathy I had met online years earlier. In this book, I
tell the story of how my friend turned my makeshift present for her into
a gift of life for me. I tell how I overcame my addiction gradually. I
share tips, photos, and more! If you have ever said, “I wish I could
quit smoking,” or “I wish I could cut back,” I hope you will read this
book. Purchase here. Special promotional price: .99!
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Betty Bunny Loves Easter
By Michael B. Kaplan; illustrated by Stephane Jorisch
The picture book reflects, in a certain sense, the culture and attitudes of the time in which it was written. Its art and narrative are born of an age that speaks to that generation of readers – and many times, thank goodness, beyond. You have only to look back on the Caldecott Award winners and Honor Books that began in 1938 to the present day to see proof of that reality.
If you have the time, it’s pretty interesting to see the evolution of childhood reflected in these charming books. And sometimes, it’s even a bit unsettling to see the culture of today reflected in, and through the eyes of a child in the current crop of picture books.
Enter Betty Bunny. There is no doubt that she is an independent, challenging handful who has a mind of her own. No problem there. It’s a good thing to be independent, curious and push the limits of the status quo – at times. Betty is all of those things. A bit on the high energy, overactive range of normal, Betty is consumed with whatever new experience comes her way, whether it be shopping, chocolate cake, playing soccer, admitting mistakes, or here, in her latest adventure, taking on the tradition of egg gathering at Easter – as a competition.
Betty may typify the average young person today who is on a learning curve when it comes to adjusting expectations with reality.
Betty is determined to BE the Easter Bunny when she grows up. Sweet.
Betty sees endless days of coloring eggs, consuming chocolate and carrying chock full baskets! She is gently reminded by her mom that the specialness of anything is BECAUSE it is not the everyday. No convincing this hare, via mom’s hint.
A determined Betty avers that “I always find the most eggs..” But this year, she is quick on the uptake as she notices the help she is receiving from her family members, nudging undiscovered eggs her way. Hey, Betty! You really are beginning to notice things and an awareness of the larger reality is important. You are growing up; as she instantly insists on solo egg gathering.
But there’s the rub. For Betty, left to her own devices comes up empty and declares in high dudgeon that “Easter is yucky.” “I hate Easter.” Whoa, Nellie er Betty!
Her parents come to the rescue, reminding Betty that they are proud of her independence in wanting to find her OWN eggs and therefore will mean so much more – even if it’s only a trio of eggs. Praise from parents is good – for really important things that mean something.
Okay. Did our bunny heroine really learn anything? Maybe. But what did she learn? When her mom finds her rifling through her purse toward the close of the book in order to find funds for a BIGGER basket next year, she is told that she has to ask permission first. So Betty, the feisty finagler, replies with a smirk, “If I ask, you’ll just give it to me. It means so much more if I find it myself.” Cute.
Turning the logic table on her mom, I am fairly itching to see the imaginary page AFTER this picture book denouement. Does Betty’s behavior have any consequences? And, what will she learn from this episode, if it does not? That, to me, is the bigger question.
Redirecting children’s behavior to better choices is part of the value learning curve of childhood.
The ending of this book put me in mind of a children’s TV host long gone, named Soupy Sales. On his January 1st 1965, Channel 5 morning children’s show, he jokingly told his young listeners to go into mom’s purse and dad’s wallet. “Take those little green pieces of paper with the pictures of men in beards, and mail them to me.” Many moms and dads were sleeping in from night before New Year’s Eve parties. Soupy asked the kids to send those “pieces of paper” to him. Result? Complaints flooded in, and some to the FCC about teaching kids to steal. And a 2-week suspension was the result. And when he returned, his popularity was bigger than ever!
Now, let me be very clear on this point, I am in no way suggesting this picture book is in any way akin to Soupy’s request, but its ending is not cute by half.
Young readers see themselves in picture books many times – the good and the not so good; and that’s great. Life is for children, after all, learning about the journey through their mistakes and successes.
But just perhaps, we may want to at least have our parent/child tete a tetes in picture books, end on a note that doesn’t allow the child to have the final say as to what THEY feel is acceptable behavior – when it’s not. Not in a picture book or in real life.
I love you, Betty; truly I do. And that is why we’re going to have a little chat, sweetie, about you and mom’s purse. I’ll talk and you listen – for a minute.