The Girl from the Tar Paper School: Barbara Rose Johns and the advent of The Civil Rights Movement by Teri Kanefield Abrams. 2014 ISBN: 9781419707964 Grades 6-12 I received a copy of this book from the publisher. In 1950, fifteen-year-old Barbara Rose Johns was sick and tired of the horrible conditions she and other black students endured attending the Robert R. Moton High School.Add a Comment
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Blog: The Nonfiction Detectives (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: biography, history, women, Add a tag
1. Rebecca Hall is starring in the play Machinal which is loosely based on the life and death of murderess Ruth Snyder. I find it very interesting how journalist/playwright Sophie Treadwell wrote about Snyder in 1928: not in a biographical or chronological way but by breaking up her life into segments and looking into what would drive any woman of her times to murder her husband. Also crazy is that the newspapers ran pictures of Snyder as she died in the electric chair. I'm just not getting a warm fuzzy "good old days" feeling from that bit of information.
2. Quote from Hall: "It's primal," she says. "It was sort of a guttural scream (that) just tumbled out of the writer in response to anger and emotion to seeing that photo and following how this woman's mythology was built around this case."
3. The National Portrait Gallery has a new show: "American Cool" which includes portraits of Americans like Debbie Harry, Steve McQueen, Jimi Hendrix, Billie Holliday, John Wayne, Barbara Stanwyck and I could go on and on. (Joan Didion! Jackson Pollock! Duke Ellington!) You can see some of the portraits here. I want a coffee table book of this exhibition in the most absurd way.
4. And via Jenny D., Gary Panter on the NY Public Library: "But much more exciting to me is knowing that really deep scholarship is going on there, the real thing, human computers desiring to know, souls burning with curiosity in a place that they can't exhaust, that there is a deep life of the pursuit of knowledge happening on and on in that hive."
5. Finally, a movie report. I loved The Lego Movie ("Everything is Awesome!!!!") and Monuments Men (Bill Murray = amazing) and after watching Thor: The Dark World (on blu-ray) I am having a lot of feelings for Loki. I am still trying to process if I am under a spell or something....
[Post pic - I'm also addicted to a rewatch of WONDERFALLS. You should be too.]Add a Comment
Yes! I have two winners to announce today, both chosen by randomizer.org.
The winner of the ARC of The Eighth Day by Dianne Salerni is
Congratulations! And expect an email from me asking for your mailing address.
And now (drum roll, please...), the winner of the hardcover, which will be purchased and signed at Dianne's book launch in April, is
Congratulations! Sorry you have to wait a few weeks for your prize, but as soon as I can I'll mail it to you. And this way, you have time to let me know how you want Dianne to personalize it.
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Blog: I.N.K.: Interesting Non fiction for Kids (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: 2014 titles, middle grade, picture books, Susan E. Goodman, Add a tag
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Blog: Jo Knowles (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: monday morning warm-up, running for my life, Add a tag
Some of you know, the past few years I have been trying to be "a runner." Or jogger. Or, probably most accurately a plodder. Each year, I add a mile to my yearly goal and attempt it on my birthday in September.
My challenge: I live on a twisty, hilly dirt, and once winter sets in, it can be very difficult to run on, especially when we get a very snowy winter like the one we've had this year. The road narrows, it's icy, and it's really just not safe to walk on, much less run. In fact the last time I went for a walk I had a very graceless wipe-out.
But we've had a few warm days and the snow banks have receded and it looks like the ice is mostly gone. So today, it's time to get back out there. Last September, I was able to run 6 (very slow) miles. But I'm afraid after a few months of not running at all, I'm back to square one. This happened last year, too. It's a bummer.
But last week, in a moment of inspiration (and perhaps delusion), I downloaded the training schedule for the Couch to Half Marathon plan. I meant to do the Couch to 10K plan, but for "some reason" I clicked on the half marathon link instead. My goal is only to run 7 miles. But there's this little dreamer inside me that says, Maybe you could do more...
So it is 6:52 a.m. as I write this and the training schedule is staring at me with a photo of this very fit lady at the top running like the wind and even though I know I will never look like her, with my frumpy body and my slow shuffle, somehow I'm still inspired to try. Today is the day.
On a parallel line here, I have been in a bit of a writing slump. Specifically, with a book that was technically or maybe just theoretically due back in November. That was the date we chose for the contract but I have been silently hoping no one else will remember.
Because I still haven't managed to finish the very rough first draft.
Last year I took on a teaching position and I also began doing more speaking engagements and traveling to more conferences and I had revisions come in for another novel and... all this meant I kept getting interrupted. Every time I tried to get back into my work-in-progress I felt I'd slipped more and more behind.
Like my running, the days I could finally get out there I felt I'd lost so much I could barely make progress. It was getting more and more frustrating and stressful. Eventually it began to feel hopeless. Eventually I more or less stopped.
But that's not really an option, is it? To give up your goal, your dream, just because it seems too hard?
On Friday, I had finished my school visit duties for the week. I finished an essay I'd committed to. I was done with all my student packets. I had a full day to write. It was like looking at a flat, ice-free road on a perfect-weather day and just standing there thinking, This is probably going to hurt, but you've gotta start somewhere.
Sometimes, opening my file, or putting on my sneakers, is actually the hardest part of getting back to the task at hand. It's the final commitment to starting again. Starting from what feels like the bottom of a very steep hill. So I told myself:
Just write one sentence. It can be terrible.
So I wrote one terrible sentence.
And then I told myself:
Maybe you could do more.
So I tried.
And soon I'd written 500 words. And maybe not all of them were so terrible. I felt myself finally stepping back into the story.
Today, I will write 1,000 words.
I'm also going to find my running shoes, buried under piles of winter boots and mismatched winter clothes at the bottom of the closet. My instructions say to jog 30 seconds, then walk 60 seconds. Repeat until you've gone 2 miles. It doesn't sound so hard, when you break it up like that.
One sentence. 30 seconds. It's possible.
I know a lot of you struggle too, so I wanted to put this little phrase in your head this morning, just like it lodged itself in mine.
Maybe you could do more.
I'm pretty sure you can.
Monday Morning Warm-Up:
Write to the prompt: "Maybe I could do more..."
Blog: Karen Cioffi Writing for Children and More (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: blog post formats, blogging, content marketing, online marketing, Add a tag
It’s a content marketing fact: Blogging is one of the most effective authority building, credibility building persuasive, and money-making marketing strategies. This being the case, it means you need to regularly post content to your blog. It may be multiple times a day, once a day, three-times a week, once a week, or once a month. No matter what, you need to post to your blog on a regularAdd a Comment
Blog: Beth Kephart Books (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: A.S. King, children's book world, K. M. Walton, YA Writers, Add a tag
In Philadelphia, at an NCTE cocktail party, there she was (What are you drinking? This is what I'm drinking.). On an asphalt drive in Orlando (I'm heading that way? You heading this way?). We took an epic drive across our sweet PA together. I found her flocked by loving fans in Boston (twice). At Chester County Books, at Children's Book World, at events large and small—there was Amy. She gives good readings. She gives thrilling talks. Ask any librarian at the fated event in western PA. I leapt to my two well-heeled feet. (Tears in my eyes.)
Today is Amy's birthday. Today we're celebrating this fearless writer with the legions of fans whose books have earned enough stars to fill a separate galaxy, whose talks get people going, whose very personage wakes up a room. A few days ago she wrote a blog post called "Who's Afraid of A.S. King" that is so smart, so unafraid, so laying it on the line that it deserves many second readings.
Here's what we don't need in The Land of YA: Writers Who Write To Pre-Package-able Themes. Writers Who See Writing As A Halfway Step Toward Bigger Things. Writers Who Religiously Reproduce The Formula—Their Own Or Someone Else's.
A.S. King has never pre-packaged, gone halfway, fit a formula, and we love her for that. Check out that blog post. Check out her books. And wave her a happy birthday for me.
Pictured above: Yours Truly, A.S. King, and K.M. Walton, at Children's Book World.
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Blog: Sharon Ledwith: I came. I saw. I wrote. (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: Book Blog Tour, Faery Swap, Middle Grade Author, Middle Grade fantasy, Susan Kaye Quinn, Add a tag
A couple of other Printz honor titles I really appreciate include E. Lockhart’s The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau Banks and Deborah Heiligman’s Charles and Emma: The Darwins’ Leap of Fate.
Kelly Jensen has worked as a teen and youth librarian in Illinois and Wisconsin since 2009, which is when she began blogging about books and reading at stackedbooks.org. She also writes at Book Riot (www.bookriot.com), and she's had her writing featured in VOYA Magazine, The Horn Book Magazine, School Library Journal, BlogHer, as well as The Huffington Post. She has a degree in English, writing, and psychology from Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa, and she earned her masters in information studies at the University of Texas in Austin. Her first book, The Real Deal: A VOYA Guide to Contemporary Fiction for Young Adult Readers will be published this summer by Voya Press. Add a Comment
Blog: Manga Maniac Cafe (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: Fantasy, Magic, Review, Korea, Mythology, Young Adult, Add a tag
I loved this book! Gilded is a fun fantasy based on Korean mythology, and it has a ton of action, death-defying fight scenes, and even a little romance. Protagonist Jae Hwa Lee is not a shrinking violet; she is out there giving back as well as she gets. I think I enjoyed the book so much because Jae Hwa doesn’t wait for a guy to save her (though one does help her throughout her adventures), and because it takes place in South Korea. There aren’t enough books with Asian settings, so I am eager to try each one that I discover. The fact that I had such a great time reading this is like winning the lottery.
After moving to Seoul with her father, Jae Hwa discovers, much to her dismay, that her family is cursed. Descended from Princess Yuhwa, the oldest daughter of each generation has been stalked, wooed, and killed by Haemosu, a Korean demigod. He is still smarting after Princess Yuhwa’s rejection, and he won’t rest until he has his revenge. That, unfortunately for Jae Hwa, means that she and everyone she loves is in grave danger of being abducted by Haemosu and trapped in his otherworldly kingdom.
Jae Hwa is a black belt, as well as a skilled archer. It’s a good thing she is, because she needs every advantage if she’s going to escape from Haemosu’s clutches. She’s also suffering from a lot of pent up angry. Since her mother’s death, things just haven’t gone right for her. Her father works all he time, and how she’s been uprooted from her home and her friends. She doesn’t feel like she fits into her new surroundings, and she just wants to go back home.
Then her grandfather tells her that the only way to save herself and her new friends is to leave the country, so she begs for her father to send her back to the States. He flatly refuses, and tells her that her grandfather has lost his mind and believes in fairy tales ever since the disappearance of his sister, Sun. When she meets her aunt, Eun, her father forbids his sister from discussing the crazy story fabricated by their father about the disappearance. Wow! Talk about being in denial! Jae Hwa’s father would have saved everyone so much heartache if he had just opened his mind – as well as his eyes- and accepted that things just weren’t right with their family.
Of course Eun ignores the order, and begins to teach Jae Hwa how to defend herself from Haemosu. She is warned to never let him touch her, because that will put her under his power. While on a school ski trip, the unthinkable happens, and Jae Hwa is taken by Haemosu to his kingdom. Only her stubbornness saves her from getting stuck there and being Haemosu’s latest trophy bride. As they continue to battle, Jae Hwa’s learns that she has powers of her own, and she is going to go down fighting.
Jae Hwa’s only challenge is not being whisked away by a mythical demigod; she must also train to protect herself, while keeping up with massive amounts of homework. Good luck trying to have normal friendships, too! With spiritual beings constantly tampering with her life, she just doesn’t have time to hang out and go shopping or catch the latest movie releases. And that cute boy in her class? Forget that! How can she possibly concentrate on dating someone when all she wants is to go back to LA? Oh, yeah – and stay alive!
Gilded is like a Korean comic in prose. Jae Hwa faces one challenge after another, all while trying to do what’s best for her family and friends. She wonders if she should just give up and go to Haemosu, but then she realizes that the deadly cycle of the curse will continue, and more helpless girls will meet their doom in Haemosu’s kingdom. I didn’t like her at first, but as she begins to find herself, and feel comfortable in her own skin, she becomes a very likeable young woman. She is tasked with an impossible job, and as Haemosu keeps getting the best of her, she despairs at ever breaking the curse. She makes some really dumb decisions, but with so many lives at stake, it’s easy to forgive her for not always displaying good judgment.
If you enjoy fantasy or stories based on mythology, chances are you will also enjoy Gilded. The setting and unrelenting action scenes made this book for me.
Release date: Mar. 1, 2014
A Korean god. An ancient curse. Can she escape becoming GILDED?
A girl with a black belt and a deadly proclivity with steel-tipped arrows discovers an ancient Korean god has been kidnapping the first-born daughters of her family for generations. And she’s next.
Sixteen-year-old Jae Hwa Lee is a Korean-American girl with a black belt, a deadly proclivity with steel-tipped arrows, and a chip on her shoulder the size of Korea itself. When her widowed dad uproots her to Seoul from her home in L.A., Jae thinks her biggest challenges will be fitting in to a new school and dealing with her dismissive Korean grandfather. Then she discovers that a Korean demi-god has been stealing the soul of the oldest daughter of each generation in her family for centuries. And she’s next.
But that’s not Jae’s only problem.
There’s also Marc. Irresistible and charming, Marc threatens to break the barriers around Jae’s heart. As the two grow closer, Jae must decide if she can trust him. But Marc has a secret of his own — one that could help Jae overturn the curse on her family for good. It turns out that Jae’s been wrong about a lot of things: her grandfather is her greatest ally, even the tough girl can fall in love, and Korea might just be the home she’s always been looking for.
Ebook: ASIN: B00FN2KR3K
“An amazing contemporary fantasy that explores the vast legends of Korea, this richly detailed novel kept me turning the pages well into the night. Jae Hwa starts off as a strong character and ends as a noble one, using both her brains and her brawn to win the day–she’s exactly the kind of girl YA literature needs.”
~from Beth Revis, NY Times Bestselling author of Across the Universe series
“Farley brings South Korea’s fascinating culture and mythology into vivid detail in this shining debut, and Jae is a compelling heroine. An exotic, thrilling read, GILDED had me utterly entranced!”
~from Jessica Khoury, author of ORIGIN and VITRO
CHRISTINA FARLEY, author of Gilded was born and raised in upstate New York. As a child, she loved to explore, which later inspired her to jump on a plane and travel the world. She taught at international schools in Asia for ten years, eight of which were in the mysterious and beautiful city of Seoul, Korea that became the setting of Gilded. Currently she lives in Clermont, FL with her husband and two sons—that is until the travel itch whisks her off to a new unknown. Gilded is her first novel. For more details, check out her website at www.christinafarley.com. Christina holds a master’s degree in education and has taught for eighteen years. She is represented by Jeff Ourvan of Jennifer Lyons Literary.Add a Comment
Blog: Caroline by line (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: books and reading, encouragement, the writing life, Add a tag
Making art now means working in the face of uncertainty; it means living with doubt and contradiction, doing something no one much cares whether you do, and for which there may be neither audience nor reward…Making the work you want to make means finding nourishment within the work itself.
One of the basic and difficult lessons every artist must learn is that even the failed pieces are essential. People who need certainty in their lives are less likely to make art that is risky, subversive, complicated, iffy, suggestive, or spontaneous. What’s really needed is nothing more than a broad sense of what you are looking for, some strategy for how to find it, and an overriding willingness to embrace mistakes and surprises along the way. Simple put, making art is chancy — it doesn’t mix well with predictability.
Uncertainty is the essential, inevitable, and all-pervasive companion to your desire to make art. And tolerance for uncertainty is the prerequisite to succeeding. …Fears about yourself prevent you from doing your best work, while fears about your reception by others prevent you from doing your own work.
Artists get better by…learning from their work. They commit themselves to the work of their heart, and act upon that commitment. So when you ask, “Then why doesn’t it come easily for me?”, the answer is probably, “Because making art is hard!” What you end up caring about is what you do, not whether the doing came hard or easy.
The post Quotes from ART AND FEAR: OBSERVATIONS ON THE PERILS (AND REWARDS) OF ARTMAKING appeared first on Caroline Starr Rose.Add a Comment
Blog: Emilyreads (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: adult, book crush, certain humiliation, dirty parts, fiction, great jacket, haiku, hipster, liked it, Add a tag
Lonely hearts, fallen
heroes, and sad sacks get prime
Nine Inches: Stories by Tom Perrotta. St. Martin's Press, 2013, 256 pages.
Blog: OUPblog (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: *Featured, America, Art & Architecture, Arts & Leisure, History, Politics, Social Work, farm security administration, federal art project, federal music project, federal theater project, gutzon borglum, New Deal, Sheila Collins, When Government Helped, works progress administration, Add a tag
By Sheila D. Collins
Writing in the New York Times recently, art critic Holland Cotter lamented the fact that the current billionaire-dominated market system, “is shaping every aspect of art in the city; not just how artists live, but also what kind of art is made, and how art is presented in the media and in museums.” “Why,” he asks, “in one of the most ethnically diverse cities, does the art world continue to be a bastion of whiteness? Why are African-American curators and administrators, and especially directors, all but absent from our big museums? Why are there still so few black — and Latino, and Asian-American — critics and editors?”
It wasn’t always like this. During the 1930s under the New Deal, the arts were democratized, made accessible to ordinary people who lacked the means to buy paintings worth hundreds of thousands of dollars or to attend Broadway shows at over $100 a ticket. The New Deal’s support for the arts is one of the most interesting and unique episodes in the history of American public policy.
The federal arts programs initiated in the 1930s were intended to alleviate the economic hardships of unemployed cultural workers, to popularize art among a much wider segment of the population, and to boost public morale during a time of deep stress and pessimism, or as New Deal artist Gutzon Borglum remarked, to “coax the soul of America back to life.”
The best known of all the programs that were enacted during the Depression was the WPA (Works Progress Administration) Art Project. It consisted of four distinct projects: a Federal Art Project, a Federal Writers’ Project, a Federal Theatre Project, and a Federal Music Project.
Paintings were given to government offices, while murals, sculptures, bas relief, and mosaics were seen on the walls of schools, libraries, post offices, hospitals, courthouses, and other public buildings. Over the course of its eight years, the WPA commissioned over five hundred murals for New York City’s public hospitals alone. Among the now well-known artists supported by these programs were painters such as Thomas Hart Benton, Jackson Pollack, Willem de Kooning, Raphael and Moses Soyer, and the sculptor, Louise Nevelson.
The print workshops set up by the WPA prepared the ground for the flowering of the graphic arts in the United States, which until that time had been limited in both media and expression. Moreover, since prints were portable and cheap, they became a vehicle for broadening the public’s understanding and appreciation of the creative arts.
Some 100 community art centers, which included galleries, classrooms, and community workshops, were established in twenty-two states–but particularly where opportunities to experience and make art were scarce. Through this effort individuals who may never have seen a large painted scene or a piece of sculpture were given the opportunity to experience not only a finished work of art but to participate in the creative process. In the New York City area alone, an estimated 50,000 people participated in classes under the Federal Art Project auspices each week. According to Smithsonian author, David A. Taylor, “the effect was electric. It jump-started people beginning careers in art amid the devastation.”
The Federal Writers’ project provided employment and experience for editors, art critics, researchers, and historians, a number of whom later became famous for their novels and poetry, such as Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison, Studs Terkel, and Saul Bellow. They were put to work writing state and regional guidebooks that were to portray the social, economic, industrial, and historical background of the country. These guidebooks represented a vast treasury of Americana from the ground up, including facts and folklore, history and legend, and histories of the famous, the infamous, and the excluded. There were also seventeen-volumes of oral histories of the last people who had lived under slavery. An additional set of folklore and oral histories of 10,000 people from all regions, occupations, and ethnic groups were collected and are now held in the American Folklife Center of the Library of Congress.
The Federal Theatre Project was the first and only attempt to create a national theatre in the United States, producing all genres of theater, including classical plays, circuses, puppet shows, musical comedies, vaudeville, dance performances, children’s theatre, and experimental plays. They were performed wherever people could gather—not only in theaters, but in parks, hospitals, convents, churches, schools, armories, circus tents, universities, and prisons. Touring companies brought theater to parts of the country where drama had been non-existent, and provided training and experience for thousands of aspiring actors, directors, stagehands, and playwrights, among them, Orson Wells, Eugene O’Neill, and Joseph Houseman.
The program emphasized preserving and promoting minority cultural forms. At a time of strict racial segregation with arts funding non-existent in African American communities, black theatre companies were established in many cities. Foreign language companies performed works in French, German, Italian, Spanish, and Yiddish.
The Federal Theatre Project also brought controversial issues to the foreground, making it one of the most embattled of all the New Deal programs. Its “Living Newspaper” section produced plays about labor disputes, economic inequality, racism, and similar issues, which infuriated a growing chorus of conservative critics who succeeded in eliminating the program in 1939.
The Federal Music Project employed 15,000 instrumentalists, composers, vocalists, and teachers as well as providing financial assistance for existing orchestras and creating new ones in places that had never had an orchestra. Many other musical forms—opera, band concerts, choral music, jazz, and pop–were also performed. Most of the concerts were either free to the public or offered at very low cost, and free music classes were open to people of all ages and abilities.
In addition to the arts programs, the Farm Security Administration’s photography program oversaw the production of more than 80,000 photographs, as part of the effort to make the nation aware of the plight of displaced rural populations. These images–produced by photographers such as Walker Evans, Gordon Parks, and Dorothea Lange helped humanize the verbal and statistical reports of the terrible poverty and turmoil in the agricultural sector of the economy and brought documentary photography into the cultural pantheon of the nation.
Between 1933 and 1942 ten thousand artists produced some 100,000 easel paintings, 18,000 sculptures, over 13,000 prints, 4,000 murals, over 1.6 million posters, and thousands of photographs. Over a thousand towns and cities now boasted federal buildings embellished with New Deal murals and sculpture. Some 6,686 writers produced more than a thousand books and pamphlets, and the Federal Theatre Project thousands of plays. More than the quantity of the output, however, is the way in which these programs shaped Americans’ understanding of who they were as a people and their country’s possibilities. Before the New Deal, the notion that government should support the arts was unheard of, but thanks to the New Deal, art had been democratized and, for a time, de-commodified, made accessible to the great majority of the American people.
Perhaps Roosevelt himself best summed up the significance of the New Deal arts programs:
A few generations ago, the people of this country were often taught . . . to believe that art was something foreign to America and to themselves . . . But . . . within the last few years . . . they have discovered that they have a part. . . . They have seen in their own towns, in their own villages, in schoolhouses, in post offices, in the back rooms of shops and stores, pictures painted by their sons, their neighbors—people they have known and lived beside and talked to. . . some of it good, some of it not so good, but all of it native, human, eager, and alive–all of it painted by their own kind in their own country, and painted about things that they know and look at often and have touched and loved. The people of this country know now . . . that art is not something just to be owned but something to be made: that it is the act of making and not the act of owning that is art. And knowing this they know also that art is not a treasure in the past or an importation from another land, but part of the present life of all the living and creating peoples—all who make and build; and, most of all, the young and vigorous peoples who have made and built our present wide country.
New Deal support for the arts had coaxed the soul of America back to life, but we are in danger of losing it again. Under the obsession with deficits, arts programs in the public schools are being cut, federal funding for the arts has dropped dramatically, and even private funding has been reduced. Without art, we are ill-equipped as a people with the collective imagination that is needed if we are to resolve the enormous challenges that confront us in the twenty-first century. Who or what will there be to coax this generation back to life?
Sheila D. Collins is Professor of Political Science Emerita, William Paterson University and editor/author with Gertrude Schaffner Goldberg of When Government Helped: Learning from the Successes and Failures of the New Deal. She serves on the speakers’ bureau of the National New Deal Preservation Association, the Research Board of the Living New Deal and the board of the National Jobs for All Coalition, is a member of the Global Ecological Integrity Group and co-chairs two seminars at Columbia University.
I'm working steadily through my inventory of requested full manuscripts and proposals. I was very smugly pleased with myself that I had read and replied to almost everyone by the end of 2013. There were three leftovers, two of which were revised after the initial request.
Revised after the initial request means I requested the manuscript, got it and then the author sent me a new and improved version.
That happens more than you think, and I'm actually ok with that up to a point.
Here's what that point is: when I've read the manuscript.
Sometimes authors have major revision epiphanies while I've got their manuscript here in the reading stack. If they want to revise, I'm very glad to read the very best work the author has to offer. I simply replace the new manuscript with the old, and that's that.
But each manuscript has a number (which is how I keep track of order received, not by date.)
When I read and reply with a "sorry, not for me" sometimes authors revise and want to send the revision back. I usually give it one more shot. One more shot means I read about the same number of pages I read the first time. If it doesn't knock my sox clean off on that second read, well, that's the ball game.
At that point that's two turns on the dance floor, and I want to remind you there are at a minimum ten people waiting in line behind you. (Today there are 27 but that's a bit higher than normal.) People who are just as eager to trip the light fantastic with me. People who've been waiting almost as long as you have.
Time to move on.
What does that mean for you? Querying too soon is a very real problem. It's worse for the writers who have a concept I love and who can string sentences together. Those novels get requests. If the novel isn't ready, oops.
How do you know if your novel is ready? This is where beta readers and crit partners are worth their weight in gold. You need to start connecting with people long before YOUR ms is ready. You don't start by asking someone to crit your work. You start by helping someone else with theirs.
There are a lot of agents out there but the good ones have very very limited reading time. Make sure you're ready for the Big Dance when the music starts to play.
This music of course
Blog: RabbleBoy (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: Book Reviews, Void, comic book, dystopia, futuristic, Glen Brunswick, graphic book, image comics, Non-Humans Volume One, preview, rabbleboy, review, Runaway American Dream, Trade Paper back, Whilce Portacio, Add a tag
Los Angeles, 2041 – it’s twenty-six years after a NASA probe brought back a strange disease causing many of our familiar toy-like objects to come to life. This is a new world order where cute and fearsome creatures fight for their right to exist in a world that fears them! It’s Blade Runner meets Toy Story in Non-Humans!
Get a copy of Non-Humans Volume 1: Runaway American Dream TP on Amazon.com and help support Rabbleboy.com
- Series: Non Humans (Book 1)
- Paperback: 120 pages
- Publisher: Image Comics (October 15, 2013)
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Blog: The Bookshelf Muse (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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People, I am soooo chuffed about today’s post. We have two guests here to talk about a topic that can’t be discussed enough, in my opinion: how to reach readers. I have only recently met Katrina, but Fiona and I met eons ago at Critique Circle. She was one of my first ever critiquers, and her work. is. amazing! She always has great advice to share, and today’s sampling is no exception…Courtesy of ReneS @ Creative Commons
I must say, I (actually, we because my good friend Katrina is also here) am absolutely thrilled to be invited over for a guest post today on Writers Helping Writers, and I’m looking forward to talking to you all in the comments section! I wanted to talk about a topic concerning each and every writer, no matter their genre: reaching readers. This is something I think every writer worries about in today’s oversaturated market. With so many books, video games, movies, and technological advances out there now, every writer has to fight for their corner of the market.
It occurred to me lately when talking to a fellow writer that authors often focus on promoting their books, their stories, and themselves. But is that what a reader truly wants? Of course, yes, you want to build your brand, get known, and sell your books, but that isn’t truly what will connect you to readers. If you want to connect with readers (and thus the market) then you need to dive into the reading community and discover what it is they love/hate/don’t care about in the book world.
Recently, Katrina and I decided to set up a debate website – a place where readers can come and debate about literary topics from all genres, including other book related topics. Why did we do this? Because if you don’t invite the reader in and give them a chance to air their views about topics they care about and you don’t listen to what they have to say, how are you supposed to reach your target audience when you write your books? How are you supposed to know the market? And I know the word market strikes terror into all writers, but it’s nothing more than readers and what they like to read, and thus, buy. Not as scary as it sounds.
So what is the key to getting that agent, landing that book deal, or hitting the bestsellers list? Write a good book people want to read. That’s what they tell you. Sounds mysterious, elusive, and out of reach. Of course, there are those who just intuitively know how to do it (and to those people I take my hat off), but for the rest of us mere mortals, there are concrete steps we can take to break this down so we can achieve the same ourselves. Now, assuming you have honed the technical side of your craft (since you’re here at Writers Helping Writers, I’m guessing you have already!), let’s look at what you can do to make sure your work hits the mark:
- Find a way to get in touch with readers who read the type of books you read. Don’t just hit up the writing websites. Go and find fan sites (a treasure trove of information) and search out online clubs.
- Look on Goodreads and Amazon, etc., and read the reviews. Actually READ the reviews. Then read the book. And see how the reviews stack up against the books. We’re always told to read widely in our given genre by agents and editors. But we’re not told about this gem: if we read books, then carefully read their reviews, that information can teach us a lot about what the reader wants. Trust me, it does.
- Search out other interests within your target audience. Amazon is amazing for this. Pick a book you think is in the same vein as yours. Then scroll down to see what books the customers who bought this book have also bought. Learn what ticks people’s like list and you’ll start to see how your book fits in, too (or doesn’t—and this can help just as much as knowing if it does fit in, because rewriting is always a wonderful thing).
- Pool resources. We all have writer friends and critique partners. But when it comes to research we tend to close ourselves off a little. Talk with each other, and half the workload.
- Book club. I know, I know. Old fashioned. But so valuable.
- Ask. Yes. That simple. Ask readers. Whether you are commenting on a blog, on twitter, on Facebook, wherever, it doesn’t matter; the concept is the same. Ask people what they like to read. When someone says they loved or loathed a book, ask them why.
There are a lot of different avenues for meeting and talking with readers, but sadly, as writers, we tend to block ourselves off to the writers-only community. And yes, writers are readers too and you should never deny yourself access to the writers’ world. But if you don’t reach out to the thousands of other readers out there, then you’re missing a huge opportunity to build your knowledge of the market.
At the end of the day, writing is designed to touch a reader’s heart or life in some profound way. Taking the time to learn what they care about (or don’t) will pay dividends when it comes time to write or revise your work.
Fiona McLaren is agented for her YA novels by Jamie Bodnary Drowley of Inklings Literary Agency, and works full time as a freelance writer, ghost writing books and writing articles, short stories, short scripts, and much more. She is the co-founder of the DEBATE IT! website, where readers discuss literary topics close to their hearts. She would love it if you came to debate with everyone over there! She can also be found blogging at The YA Bookcase and YATopia. You can also find her on Twitter.
Katrina is represented by Jamie Bodnar Drowley of Inklings Literary Agency for her adult sci-fi novel. By day, she’s a mild mannered accountant, but, by night, Katrina is an active writer, critique partner, and intern. As a co-founder of the DEBATE IT! website, Katrina works with Fiona to encourage healthy debate and conversation between readers of varying genres and styles.
Blog: andrepace (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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In case you missed it, a quick recap of the past week on WordPress.com.Add a Comment
Blog: Manga Maniac Cafe (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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[Manga Maniac Cafe] Good morning, Pip! Describe yourself in five words or less.
[Philippa Ballantine] Optimistic, determined, sociable, happy traveller.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Weather Child?
[Philippa Ballantine] Weather Child is a historical fantasy, set in New Zealand of the 1920s and 30s. It is the story of a pair of people, who are one of the magicians in New Zealand. It takes in many years, as Faith and Jack must discover a grand conspiracy to use the magicians.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you share your favorite scene?
[Philippa Ballantine] My favorite scene is where Faith, the Weather Child, summons the storm, and accidentally targets the wrong person. It is the moment she meets Jack, and she makes quite the impression.
Turning his head, Jack saw that the darkness was gone, and that the far end of the room once more was visible. Obviously his unwelcome guest had chosen flight in those moments before bedlam.
Staggering to his feet, fighting all the time against the wind, Jack saw something that certainly didn’t happen in the city every day. Hanging in the swirling centre of the mini tornado, only ten feet away in mid-air two stories up, was a girl. In an instant he had summed her up; not beautiful, but striking, with strong cheekbones, and full determined lips. Her hair was long, brown angry curls, and her dress was in danger of being ripped apart by the force of the powers she commanded.
He had no doubt that she was holding the reins of this tumult. Even as Waingaio told him that, Jack had confirmation; the young woman’s eyes were clear orbs of gold. It was the one sure sign that the human was no longer in control, but had surrendered to the leech.
Those terrifying eyes flickered over the scene; taking in the tied forms, the dropped heads, and the man standing in the midst of it all with a bared blade.
“Oh dammit…” Jack said, realising the instant her eyes turned back to him exactly what this looked like. This was one woman that he didn’t want to have angry with him. A pity he comprehended that a moment too late.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What gave you the most trouble with the story?
[Philippa Ballantine] Writing the story wasn’t the hard part. Finding someone to publish it was. My agent pitched it to New York houses, but time and time again she was told ‘Americans don’t want to read stories set in NZ’. Being the determined type I set out to prove them wrong by publishing it myself.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What’s one thing you won’t leave home without?
[Philippa Ballantine] My cellphone! I need it for writing down sudden ideas, communicating with my family back in New Zealand, or just searching for answers to those tricky questions about movies my husband always tends to ask me.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name three things on your desk right now.
[Philippa Ballantine] A Jaeger toy from Pacific Rim, a microphone for podcasting moments, and a giant fluffy cat.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you could trade places with anyone for just one day, who would you be?
[Philippa Ballantine] I would love to swap places with Sir Patrick Stewart, just so I could hang out with Sir Ian McKellan…he looks like a lot of fun.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] You have been granted the use of one superpower for one week. Which power would you choose, and what would you do with it?
[Philippa Ballantine] Much like Faith, I would love to control the Weather. I am pretty sick of snow right now! It would also be nice to able to guarantee the weather you get for any events. I could certainly make money securing the right weather conditions for brides!
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are some books that you enjoyed recently?
[Philippa Ballantine] I love Scott Lynch’s The Lies of Lock Lamora, and I just finished Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?
[Philippa Ballantine] Oh so many ways. You can find my webpage pjballantine.com. I am on Twitter as PhilippaJane and we have a Facebook page for our steampunk series https://www.facebook.com/TheMinistryOfPeculiarOccurrences
About the book:
The Awakened Epoch
Genre: Historical Fantasy
Publisher: Imagine That! Studios
Date of Publication: 1st March 2014
Word Count: 105,000
Cover Artist: Alex White
Never alone. Never apart.
They are the Awakened, a unique breed of people in a remote corner of the world. Faith is one of these gifted carriers of the Seraphim; and in return of her unconditional love, her Seraphim grants her powers of incredible potential.
But not all carriers embrace their blessing.
Jack loathes being an Awakened. He never asked for it, his Seraphim keeping him alive even in spite of his desire to die. Not even a great war could rid him of this curse.
Now a magician of incredible ability and a walking dead man must find a way to work together to save the Seraphim. Someone covets the power of the Awakened, and will not stop until that power belongs to him.
About the Author:
New Zealand born fantasy writer and podcaster Philippa (Pip) Ballantine is the author of the Books of the Order and the Shifted World series. She is also the co-author with her husband Tee Morris of the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences novels. Her awards include an Airship, a Parsec, the Steampunk Chronicle Reader’s Choice, and a Sir Julius Vogel. She currently resides in Manassas, Virginia with her husband, daughter, and a furry clowder of cats.
The train squealed as they landed on the narrow walkway between the final car and the coal wagon. Faith managed to catch herself before rolling off, but her hat came loose and was lost into the dust.
Scrambling up, they could see over the pile of coal the pale and astonished face of the engineer. He was taking in the fire and the creature that he could obviously see. He disappeared back again. The train sped up and Wirimu and Faith were forced back into the ruined carriage by the swaying of the train.
“He’s not going to risk stopping in Paraparaumu,” Wirimu yelled over the screaming of the wheels. “He’ll push on to Shorecliff where there is a police presence.”
It made sense, and Faith was thankful for the quick thinking of government employees. Glancing behind her, Faith knew they couldn’t be far from the tunnel.
“You go unhook the back carriages from this one,” she instructed Wirimu. “I can’t risk an all-out battle with so many civilians. I’ll hold her off. Quick, there’s a tunnel.” Mid sentence she had already delved into her magic, Hoa leaping to aid her. The wind began to scream even louder than the train. It filled her with satisfaction and completeness just as always. When it was in her, she was more than just human; she was the living, breathing embodiment of nature’s might.
Seeing the oncoming darkness and feeling the wind begin to batter at the sides of the train, Wirimu didn’t ask any further questions. He dashed back along the now pitted and ruined first class carriage, just as the train plunged into the darkness of the tunnel.
Time slowed. It wasn’t a trick of Faith’s perception or magic; she sensed that immediately. The train was slowly shuddering, where as mere moments before it had been bucking like a wily rodeo horse. Only two remaining lights at the far end of the carriage gave any illumination, but it was enough.
Not even a small woman could have stood atop the roof of the train as it passed into the tunnel, so when the creature appeared in the window to one side of Faith, she was not surprised. The claws that had been twisted from the girl’s once charming little hands were locked around the melding of the window without any apparent difficulty. The golden eyes peered in at Faith with burning fury, but she had the real impression it was not staring at her, so much as through her to the seraph within.
The moment, trapped in amber, passed. Faith heard an almighty clank as the back end of the train fell away. The engine, stoked to full capacity, leapt forward eagerly, but like the well-seasoned traveller she was, Faith managed to keep her feet.
While her attacker shot a glance back, distracted perhaps by losing its audience, she threw the wind at it. The glass exploded and the walls of the carriage bulged as the might of a Wellington southerly wind confined in a small space smashed at that which Hoa found hateful. It pummelled the creature with broken glass, and then, with the full force of a gale. The glaring gold eyes flared wide, but whatever dwelt inside was still beholden to the demands of the real world. The claws scrambled on the side, but couldn’t hold forever.
The long dead girl’s voice howled in anger, before the wind picked up the creature and smashed it against the last few feet of the tunnel.
Tour Wide Giveaway
3- Winner’s choice print or ebook copy of Weather Child by Philippa BallantineAdd a Comment
Blog: Carrie Jones (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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Blog: WOW! Women on Writing Blog (The Muffin) (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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LeeAnne wants her readers to know that she is thrilled that “Geepus” has made the WOW! Top Ten and that this flash fiction is a preview of her dystopian dark comedy to be completed by Summer 2014. (Muffin readers, you can read LeeAnne's award winning story by clicking right here.) If any agents out there would like to learn more about Beck Carter and her evil GPS, LeeAnne would be glad to oblige.
When the author isn’t secretly writing stories and poetry, she serves as an Energy Policy wonk who writes respectable things like conference presentations, public relations copy, and super-cheesy environmental ads with baby ducks and terrible puns.
Again, she thanks the wonderful WOW! readers and judges whose lit-love keeps her motivated even on the dreariest autumn days in the Pacific Northwest!
WOW: Congratulations, LeeAnne, in winning third place in the WOW! Flash Fiction contest. What made you want to enter your story, "Geepus," in the contest?
LeeAnne: Hmmm. I suppose I was inspired by the neurotic potpourri that intoxicates many writers, a heady blend of boredom, validation-seeking, guerrilla test marketing, masochism, and a touch of schmaltzy greeting-card-esque hope. I had a good feeling about "Geepus" and wanted to see if others felt the same way. It makes me truly happy to see that it was well-received.
WOW: Your story is wonderfully funny (great last line!), and in your bio, it states, "This flash fiction is a preview of her dystopian dark comedy to be completed by Summer 2014." Can you tell us a little more about the novel-length work?
LeeAnne: Thanks for the kind words—truly! I’m so glad you liked the last line. My husband and I actually debated whether adding “smart ass machine” at the end was overkill. Glad I kept it there!
My novel Geepus is a dystopian parody, the bastard child of Ghost World and Brave New World with a snarky dose of 1984 added in to lighten the mood. It follows Beck, a teenage journalism drop-out who would have been the height of alt-rock, badass coolness in the 90s. In the 2045 Surveillance State, she’s considered dangerous and out of line. Beck skulks around her family’s vacant farm and tries to “rage against the machine.” She soon finds herself sucked head first into a world of skeevy reality stars, crooked cops, perky anarchists, scary psych exams, and a post-apocalyptic Seaside run by a woman who suspiciously resembles Snookie. Oh, right—
Beck’s also pretty sure her State mandated GPS is trying to kill her…
WOW: Sounds very intriguing! What made you want to write dystopian and/or comedy?
LeeAnne: It’s only now occurring to me that I wrote a comedy. I mean, yeah, I use the label, but honestly the book just came to m,e and I wrote from my heart—which is troubling if you think about it. It means deep down, I am a dark, cynical lady.
As for the dystopia—a colleague and I were driving to a conference, and the GPS kept giving us bad directions. Finally it told us to “pull to the side of the highway and proceed to our destination.” It sounded ominous. Shortly after that, my Geepus struck again and drove me in circle through this tiny town nestled in the Cascade Mountains. It was about 11pm, and no one was on the streets. It was creepy as hell, and I am not kidding, I turned on the radio and the old song “Flying Dutchman” came on the air. So that inspired the evil GPS. From there, it was just a matter of deciding what genre worked best. Dystopia seemed like a good fit, especially if you pay too much attention to the news…
WOW: Maybe it is time for you to get a new GPS! (smiles) How do you manage the balance between your full-time job writing "respectable things" and your love for writing poetry and fiction?
LeeAnne: I have no choice, really. Words are my oxygen. I write for business because I can use my words to affect change and convince others to enact good policy that helps the environment. I write at home, curled up in bed with my laptop to detangle all the hopes, frustrations, and snarky thoughts lurking around my brain. That way, I can be the calm, seemingly perky and optimistic go-getter I look like to the untrained eye.
WOW: Writing is saving your personality, then! (laughs) Your bio sounds like you are possibly on the search for an agent? What's this process been like?
LeeAnne: Truth be told, I haven’t sought one out yet. I want to get my novel looking its Sunday best. That means, I’ll add in a little more glue and duct tape before I send it out to prospective agents. In the meantime, I’ve had a lot of peer-review on several critique sites (more test marketing) and have had an editor work with me on the first two chapters to weed out any particularly annoying habits I might have. I had an ellipsis exorcism performed that makes the piece a great deal more enjoyable. That said, by Summer/Fall, I will likely start pursuing agents in earnest. Of course, if someone approached me sooner, I would gladly speed up the process. I’m in this to win this, man.
WOW: Those ellipsis can often be hard to get rid of! Any words of encouragement for writers reading this interview?
LeeAnne: Finding your voice as a writer is one of the most magical feelings in the world. It takes time; but if you listen very carefully, you’ll hear the little throb inside your gut that whispers to you as you drift off to sleep. That’s the voice that you have to harness. Once you do, the words come so much easier. So as they say in Finding Nemo, “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming.” (It helps if you picture that in a sing-song voice). Seriously though, treat your words as an extension of yourself, keep building, keep growing. If you do, you’ll have something beautiful to show for it.
WOW: Thanks, LeeAnne, for the fun interview. Best of luck to you in your agent search and with your future works! Add a Comment
Blog: Noblemania (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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Bill Finger died on January 18, 1974, in New York City.
The main mind behind Batman received no obituary in the New York Times.
Or anywhere else.
Except in The Amazing World of DC Comics #1:
And who says an obituary must be published immediately after a passing?
Therefore, some time ago, I proposed to, I think, the New York Times and to the Huffington Post that I write Bill’s obituary to be run now.
I am not suggesting a standard obit but rather a feature presented as an obit with an intro explaining that an actual obit should’ve run 40 years ago and this is a humble attempt to rectify that oversight. It is unthinkable now that someone of his cultural significance could die with no fanfare.
Because it’s Batman, and because Batman fans are passionately frustrated by Finger’s neglect, and because Batman is a New York story, I am confident that this particular approach would get a lot of attention—considerably more than a straightforward article. How often do you see a “posthumous obituary” (you know what I mean)?
I’ve long dreamed of seeing an obit for Finger in the NYT, the paper of the city in which he radically changed pop culture...
I did not hear back. Add a Comment
Blog: Shannon Whitney Messenger (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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Whew, last week was a WHIRLWIND, thanks to the launch of LET THE STORM BREAK (and yes, that pun is very much intended). If you missed the contest I'm hosting to celebrate, make sure you check it out HERE.
But enough Shameless Shannon Self Promotion. For today, I've put together another quick MMGM shout out, this time for THE SHADOW THRONE, by Jennifer Nielson
- Claire Caterer joins the MMGM fun with a feature on MOON OVER MANIFEST. Click HERE to welcome her to the group.
- Barbara Watson has feels for AFTER IRIS! Click HERE to see why.
- Annie McMahon is cheering for VIRGIL CREECH TAKES A SWEEP AT REDEMPTION. Click HERE to see her review.
- Jenni Enzor is spreading some love for both WHEN YOU REACH ME and FIRST LIGHT. Click HERE to see both features.
- Media Sharif has chills for ICE DOGS. Click HERE to see why.
If you miss the cutoff, you are welcome to add your link in the comments on this post so people can find you, but I will not have time to update the post. Same goes for typos/errors on my part. I do my best to build the links correctly, but sometimes deadline-brain gets the best of me, and I'm sorry if it does. For those wondering why I don't use a Linky-widget instead, it's a simple matter of internet safety. The only way I can ensure that all the links lead to safe, appropriate places for someone of any age is if I build them myself. It's not a perfect system, but it allows me to keep better control.
Thank you so much for being a part of this awesome meme, and spreading the middle grade love!
Blog: Through the Looking Glass Book Review (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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I don't know why, but for some reason I did not encounter this classic book when I was a child, and it has taken me a ridiculously long time to get around to reviewing it. I am delighted that did, because reading about poor Alexander's dreadful day makes even the worst of my days seem positively fabulous. This book also happens to be wonderfully funny, which is a huge added bonus.
0 Comments on Picture Book Monday with a review of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day as of 3/10/2014 7:12:00 AM
Blog: An Illustrator's Life For Me! (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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SketchCrawling is an idea I introduced to SCBWI back in 2010, when I was keynote speaker at the 10th anniversary conference. I talked about it in my speech, because sketching is a key part of how I keep my love of what I do alive, despite it having been my job for 30 years now.
Blog: Quiverfull Family (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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Our family has been personally blessed by the work of the Carriers and their faith-based parenting resources at Values Driven Family. This homeschooling family is also involved in church planting and support in Kenya and they need to renew their license to minster there. It will cost $6,500, and they need to raise funds!
They have put together a bundle of all their e-resources on parenting and homeschooling and pulled together a great group of free e-titles as free bonuses - all for $10.00 from March 10th-16th! The Carrier’s titles are worth almost $70 and the bonus titles are worth more than $70! Pretty good deal, AND you get to support their ongoing work in Africa!
We’ve been blessed by the opportunity to contribute one of the free bonus titles: our full length copywork book (worth $4.95) from our family business – Bogart Family Resources - Copying the Poems: The Voice of Spring – HWT 3-A. This title is our beginner level of Handwriting Without Tears-style cursive. It includes the complete text of three well-known poems and four scripture passages that focus the heart and mind on the delight that God brings to the hearts of man-kind when new life springs forth from the earth He has created. Includes 25 lessons with three full poems and KJV Bible verses in HWT-style cursive. Features regular 3/16?, two-line style; line-by-line models; pictures to color; and room for drawing.
Please take a look and consider supporting the ongoing work of this homeschooling family of ten in Africa! You’ll be getting a great deal on their edifying resources (and some great homeschooling resources) at the same time!Add a Comment
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