And I loved the book so much, I'm giving a copy away! Just fill out the rafflecopter below.
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?
Looking for books for tweens? ALSC recently announced the release of a Tween Recommended Reads booklist, intended to engage and encourage tweens to read throughout the year.
The Tween Recommended Reads list includes 25 titles chosen specifically to appeal to tweens and to encourage them to read. PDFs of the booklist are available online in full color and black and white and are free to download, copy and distribute.
A big thank you to the 2013 ALSC School Age Programs and Services Committee who put together this awesome list!Add a Comment
“Prancing With the Stars”
Why not hoof it on over here and check out what my fellow HoHoDooDa doodlers are doing today.
I'm sorry to say that I wasn't thrilled with Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. I found whatever I read about the book interesting enough to get me to pick it up, which is significant. I'm not a fan of romance, so they're always a hard sell for me. I did want to like it, the way I liked Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist. I ended up just reading a few chapters and jumping to the end.
I wouldn't even mention the book here, since I didn't finish reading it, but I just saw a fantastic discussion of Eleanor & Park in the comments section of a review at School Library Journal. The commentary is all respectful with lots of E&P love and some E&P reservations as far as the title being a Printz contender. There is also discussion of and comparison to other books.
A great read, whether you liked Eleanor & Park or not. If you haven't read the book, the discussion may convince you to give it a try.
The BookSeekers is geared specifically to finding children's books, specifically, in their words, "a discovery website for kids’ books which seeks to help you to navigate through the huge choice of books for kids – from toddlers to teens - to find the next great book to read".
As I've done in the past, I ran Howl's Moving Castle and The Book Thief through the engine.
For fans of Howl, BookSeekers recommends: Charmed Life. Which I feel is weaksauce, because A) only one title? and B) that one title is ALSO by DWJ?
For fans of The Book Thief, BookSeekers recommends: I Am the Messenger and Boy in the Striped Pajamas. Weak (same author) and barf (I understand why it came up, but man, I do dislike that book).
Anyway, I'll continue playing with it—it looks like there are other ways of using it and there are lots of booklists to comb through—and it's a pretty new site, so they'll probably continue to add to the database and tweak it and whatnot.Add a Comment
The story of the oldest known wild bird in the world. At 62+, she hatched a new chick in February, 2013. Read her remarkable story. A biography in text and art.
Once we finish a draft of a novel and start thinking about revising, there is hope. In her slim volume, Writing Past Dark: Envy, Fear, Distraction and Other Dilemmas in the Writing Life, Bonnie Friedman starts like this:
The happiest I’ve even been was departing before dawn to the bus station in Madrid. The tiny bread shop and the tobacconist were still dark. The wet pavement gleamed when a city bus heaved past. Ahead of me lay unknown towns and countrysides that matched names I knew only from a map, and a new friend who was herself departing just then from across Madrid clutching a plastic bag like mine that was filled, like mine, with an egg-and-potato sandwich and a tangerine. The world was doors opening in all directions. I felt free, and awake, and full of laughter. Writing has often been just like that for me.
It’s the feeling that we are at the top of our game and building on this solid draft, we can accomplish something unique, special, earth-shattering.
We need that hope at the beginning, or else we wouldn’t start. We know that it will be long and involved and at times discouraging to dig into this story and start messing with it. We know that the results are uncertain. We need that hope.
When Pandora opened the forbidden box, she released all the world’s evils. It sent the world into despair. But then, Pandora opened the box once more and found Hope waiting. Though Hope seemed weak, it was the strongest of the things released that day.
Optimism is a general outlook on life, or is based on positive thinking. Hope is an emotional response, in our case, the response to a specific task of recasting a story into a stronger form. It is based not on positive thinking: I know I can do this revision well. For me, it’s based on my hope that the writing process will come through for me again.
Despair has enough play in the life of a writer: witness the steady stream of rejection letters that we receive. It’s enough to send me into a writer’s block. But when I face my story, I forget all that. It belongs to the world of submissions and that’s not the world that concerns me when I?m revising. While revising, my loyalty is to the story, the characters, the language–what does this story need to come alive? How can I tell this now familiar story in the strongest way possible? I hope that the process will reveal the best way to tell this story.
Am I indulging in false hope? No. False hope would be based on laziness, unwillingness to try. I approach revision with an open attitude and try to find ways to work with the story better. I use a variety of writing strategies to find new ways into the story. I may fail, yes. But my hope is based on process, work, past experience of struggling through difficulties in telling a story.
Here is hope: When I look at my story I realize that there’s one more thing for me to try. Hope sends me forward into revision.
Nelson Mandela Cover - The New Yorker magazine has announced that the Nelson Mandela cover for its December 16, 2013 issue will feature artwork by Kadir Nelson, whose excellent picture book biography of Nelson Mandela was released in 2013. (Source: The New Yorker blog, 12/5/13)
The Latest Notable Book List - The New York Times has released its list of the Notable Children's Books of 2013. It's interesting to note that in the picture book category, not all of the books honored with one of The New York Times2013 Best Illustrated Children's Books Awards are on the Notable list, once again showing that different judges result in different results.
The Final Hunger Games Movies - If you've seen Catching Fire, the second movie based on Suzanne Collins' Hunger Game Trilogy, and are eager for the third, I wanted to let you know that the final movie, based on the third Hunger Games book, Mockingjay, will be divided into two parts, with Part I opening November 21, 2014 and Part II opening November 20, 2015. (Source: Cinema Blend: Mockingjay, Part I and Part II.
(Cover art courtesy of Scholastic)Add a Comment
It started as a family Christmas card photo by photographer Per Breiehagen and his wife Lori Evert. In 2007, the Minnesota resident’s family dressed their adorable three year-old daughter Anja in traditional Norwegian clothing such as Stakk dress from Ål, where Breiehagen was raised, reindeer shoes from the Sami people in Northern Norway, and an elf hat and took a series of photos that would change their lives forever. Based on overwhelming positive feedback from friends and family who received the Christmas card, Breiehagen expanded the project. His vision was to stage scenes the evoked the traditional folklore of Norway that he had grown up listening to. In addition to Anja’s captivating costume, Breiehagen attempted to make the photos as authentic as possible. He took Anja to beautiful outdoor winter landscapes in both Minnesota and Norway. Anja posed with actual reindeer in Norway and held traditional Telemark skis from 1840 the Breiehagen had sought out to use as photo props. As the scope of the photos became more fantastic, Breiehagen incorporated digital compositing to create scenes of the “little elf” meeting a polar bear in Antarctica and other fanciful imagery that could not be created without digital enhancements. The photos continued to gain popularity and were featured in several holiday advertisement campaigns, including one for Chicco, a popular baby product brand.
The photos took on a new life this year when Breiehagen and Evert created the picture book, The Christmas Wish. The book tells the story of a little girl who lives “in a place so far north that the mothers never pack away the wool hats or mittens.” The girl longs to be one of Santa’s elves. One day, she sets out on a journey through the great Northern wild to find Santa. Along the way she is helped by several animals including a cardinal, reindeer, polar bear, horse and musk ox. She also has a chance to see the Northern Lights. Eventually, she does find the man in the red suit and he flies her home on his sleigh. The true charm and magic of this book are the stunning photographs. Some of my favorites include one of Anja placing a note on the door of the Norwegian Sauna announcing her departure to find Santa, the three year old girl curled up next to a polar bear napping, and Santa’s sleigh flying over snow covered hills taking Anja home. With careful staging and digital enhancement, the winter scenes are stunning, the animals are beautiful and the young girl in the traditional Norwegian garb is irresistibly cute. This story is one that is sure to captivate the imagination of children this holiday season and leave parents a bit awe struck as well.
Posted by: Kelly
Super-short, and appeals to the same part of me that finds Ratchet & Clank hilarious:
(via SF Signal)Add a Comment
Now I know different. I know that all writers hear that voice. All of us. Here was my message to the 6th graders: All writers have an inner critic. Acknowledge yours. And KEEP WRITING.Add a Comment
So far, they've covered The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, The Art Forger, The Language of Flowers, Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald, and this month, they're working with John Green's Paper Towns.
It's a really cool concept, not just connecting art to books, but CREATING art that's inspired by books. Anyway, it's a cool website & a good resource, and a lot of the basic ideas could be easily incorporated into book groups (or classrooms), regardless of age level.
(I mean, I think a lot of storytimes already incorporate themed crafts, as do book groups for younger readers. And way back when, I always did a craft with my high school book group, too, but somewhere along the way, I stopped. I'll have to Bring It Back when I get a high school book group up and running at my new library.)Add a Comment
From Publishing Perspectives:
It’s not just the fact of censorship — it’s more the way the censorship works. Speak to any bookseller – and, sadly, there aren’t many in Doha – and they all tell you the same story. At the moment, retailers have to submit one copy of every title they receive to the Ministry of Culture for approval, even if the same book has already been approved for another retailer. It’s an Orwellian situation that is not without a comic side. “We’re still waiting for clearance for The Gruffalo even though it’s for sale elsewhere,” said Richard Peers-Weaver, Purchasing Manager of WHSmith, with a weary smile. “We have around 70% of our stock still tied up at the Ministry awaiting approval. It’s very frustrating, particularly when we have customers coming in and expecting to see certain things.”
If nothing else, click through to see the picture of the Doha skyline: it's VERY cool.Add a Comment
Then again, I love gingerbread so much that I don't see why it should just be a seasonal treat!
Anyway, here's the Instructables link.
(via mental_floss)Add a Comment
So, Thomas Nelson Page was apparently a Lost Cause-er. Gross. I’m glad I didn’t love Santa Claus’s Partner. I mean, it’s fine. It’s a nice, workmanlike Christmas story with no indication that the author was super into slavery. It just doesn’t make me want to read others of Page’s books, which is nice because I wouldn’t want to give Dead Thomas Nelson Page the satisfaction.
Also, while I’m not actually going to spend this review referring to the main character by Benedict Cumberbatch names, well…I want you to know that I could. Because his name is Berryman Livingstone, and if Butterfly Creamsicle is close enough for the internet, then Berryman Livingstone is, too.
I’m also not going to refer to him as Ebenezer Christmascarol, but that’s what he is. His Bob Cratchit is John Clark, his senior clerk, who has eight kids and an invalid wife. His Ghost of Christmas Past is himself.
Livingstone keeps all his clerks late on Christmas Eve mostly because he’s forgotten it’s Christmas Eve, but also because he’s an asshole. He doesn’t have that first excuse for stopping kids in the street from sledding or knocking over a beggar on his way home, and, you know, he doesn’t think he’s a bad guy, he’s just massively self-centered and thinks having a lot of money means he can do whatever he wants. So, again, an asshole.
Once he’s home, he has a bit of an existential crisis, brought on by a headache and no dinner and the realization that his parents were much nicer than he is. He gives himself a short guided tour of his past and comes out of it a better person, but before embarking on his new life as a decent person, he has to earn the approval of Clark’s daughter Kitty, who hates him.
Kitty is maybe six, and was probably my favorite part of the story — instead of being saccharine and cute and angelic, she’s just very, very serious in that way that kids often are. She gives the impression of taking Livingstone on trial, and not being terribly impressed with him. And it’s easy to sympathize — I wasn’t terribly impressed with him either. I did enjoy the way everythign fell into place for him at the end, though. There’s a bit where he realizes that he actually does have friends, he just hadn’t realized it because he was viewing everyone’s behavior through the lens of being a dick.
Basically, Santa Claus’s Partner ticks all the boxes — Christmas spirit, Unity of Christmastimes, small children, a faint whiff of romance. I just might have liked it more not knowing that the author was nostalgic for slavery.
Nurture a child's interest and talent for writing this holiday season with one of these items. Look for a chance to win one of these five items by reading the giveaway information at the bottom of this blog post.Add a Comment
You don't usually put books in stockings but Kevin Guilfoile's A Drive Into the Gap is so reasonably priced ($6.95) and such a compact size (69 pages) that it fits perfectly into the stocking-stuffer category. It's also bloody brilliant, so a nice surprise to share with the reader in your life who likes books about fathers and sons, baseball, writing or heartfelt real-life mysteries. Special bonus if they know who Roberto Clemente was.
Basically, anyone who enjoys a good story which, in this case, also happens to be true.
I bought A Drive Into the Gap after reading Walter Biggins' review at Bookslut. It's about Guilfoile's father, who has Alzheimer's, and the mystery behind the bat that Clemente used for his 3,000 hit. It's also a bit about baseball, which Guilfoile's father worked in, and storytelling - especially about mythic moments - and about how Barry Bonds is a jerk. (I knew it!!!) (Okay this is only a couple of pages in the book but still, I KNEW IT!!!)
It's just a lovely little book, a quick but thoughtful read, and something different from standard stocking fare.
I also recommend some of the Field Notes notebooks as unexpected gifts. They are surprisingly addictive - you wouldn't think little notebooks would be so useful in the electronic age but they are. I love mine and use them to keep track of the different writing projects (big and small) that I'm involved in, as well as the standard daily "To Do" list.
Oh - and put some pens in the stockings! These are SEVEN YEAR pens and they are very reasonably priced and super cool. Pens are always good for the stocking. (I always put in scratch-off lottery tickets and coffee cards too.) (Oh and magnets which are always a good thing!) (And bookmarks!!!!) (And I buy an issue of a magazine that I think my husband would like but hasn't picked up.) (This doesn't fit in the stocking, but I put it underneath it.)
Hmmmm, what else? Oh - I also always put in Burt's Bees lip balm because, well, you can never have enough lip balm in the winter.
I love stocking stuffers. They make me happy. :)Add a Comment
Roshi Fernandez on Maya Angelou at NPR:
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I had entered the second year of the six years when I didn't speak of the-thing-that-happened-to-me-when-I-was-11, and I was looking for explanations of that thing. And I was looking for ways to introduce the subject to my parents, so they would say, "Oooh, I understand," in an unemotional, chatty way, and we could get thatthing out into the open.
In Maya Angelou, I found some answers. Reading I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings explained more to me than the Harold Robbins and Jackie Collins novels that we passed around the classroom ever did. Maya Angelou told me quite clearly — your body is yours.
I love running, but what I DON’T love is running in the cold. Truthfully, I don’t harbor ANY fantasies for a white Christmas (or any day for that matter) for the sheer fact that running outside in the snow, in the cold, in the windy, etc. is not cool. Winter is pretty in a snow globe when when you’re a runner actually out there in that flurry…it aint pretty.
When winter comes around, I layer up, and then do all I can to manage the nose situation…
I present my latest Runner’s Strip Cartoon Movie Short: “Cold Weather Running”
I hope you’re packing tissues or hands are as fleet as your runner feet!
1) Would you rather run in the cold or the heat?
2) How do you stay warm and safe during winter?
3) Do you enjoy your white winters if you live in a state that typically gets them?
Add a Comment
Since I'm going to miss the annual discovery of awesomeness in YA romance this year, I put the call out on Twitter for reader favorites in YA romance this year, and promised to compile them all. Here's a selection of those recommended, and please, add your 2013 favorites in the comments if you'd like! Feel free to share what you loved and why you loved it, and help others discover the best of 2013 YA Romance.
Happy Horse Healthy Planet provides phone and on-farm consultations on every equine topic includingAdd a Comment
You know it’s winter when you have to put a sticker on your microwave to warn everyone in the house that they need to turn off the portable heater in the office before using.
Because if they use the microwave the same time the portable heater is on, we’ll blow a fuse.
Yes – we live in an old house.
As of November 20, 2012 (that is, Midnight Eastern Time tonight) I am closed to queries. I will reopen to queries January 7, 2013.
If I already have your work, you should hear from me by January 7. (That's the point of taking the break, I have to catch up!)
The Wigglers have been in their new home for a little over a week and I can report that they have settled in nicely. Bookman puts food scraps in an old margarine container — coffee grounds, potato peels, banana peels, apple bits, carrot bits, broccoli bits, you get the picture — puts a lid on the container and every three or so days I open the wiggler bin and bury the scraps. When I move the bedding aside to put the scraps under it I generally disturb a few wigglers which is the only way I know they are alive. Even Houdini must be happy since he has not tried to make a second escape.
I got a couple more seed catalogs in the mail during the week. One of them was page after page of tomatoes. I had no idea there were so many varieties. It was rather overwhelming. I finally couldn’t take it anymore and tossed it in the recycling bin. We buy tomato plants in the spring, usually heirloom varieties, because it is so much easier. In Minnesota the growing season is not long enough and if I were to start my own tomato plants from seed I would have to do it in the middle of March. I have done it before, many years ago when heirloom varieties were hard to come by, but that has changed, thank goodness. It was during one of those years that I discovered I am very allergic to tomato plant sap. After handling several plants without gloves, potting them up, my hands and arms broke out in hives so badly I had to take steroids for a week and was out sick from work for a couple of days. So now I only handle tomato plants with gloves on, or better yet, let Bookman take care of it.
The other catalog was marvelous. It had all kinds of the usual garden veggies in it but it also had four or five pages of dried beans. I got so excited, I can grow my own garbanzo beans! But really, we use so many of them it isn’t practical. Nor would it be practical to do pinto beans or kidney or white or navy beans or any bean that is easily bought at the market. It’s all those other beans I’ve never heard of before that I was drooling over — painted pony, appaloosa, calypso, Jacob’s cattle, ying and yang — don’t those sound fantastic? I figure I’ll try two, maybe three varieties. I have a few months to mull over which ones those will be.
In thinking about next year’s vegetable garden and what we want the garden to be as a whole, Bookman and I decided that we will make two or three large raised beds for the annual veggies and the rest of the garden will be turned over to mostly perennial edibles and other plants. The reason we decided on this is because the annual veggie beds get dug in so often, disturbing the soil ecosystem, that it is best to keep them contained in a more controlled area instead of spread out all over the garden. In many of the permaculture books I’ve been looking at all the home garden plans have a designated annual vegetable area. So we are going to do it too. The beds will be in a completely different area of the garden than where we have been growing veggies. The raised beds will be closer to the compost pile and the rain barrel, making less work in their upkeep in the long run. We are going to do two, possibly three big beds. Maybe not all next year when we will do at least one, but that is the eventual goal. I am very excited about this as well as the polyculture planting scheme we will be using. But more on that in the spring!
I forgot to mention last week we had an animal visitor to our house. One evening when Bookman was working the closing shift I was curled up reading. I heard a noise in the kitchen and thought the cats were batting around a toy and had run into the dinner table leg or something. But then the noise came again and it sounded like a bucket being tipped over. I got up expecting to see that the cats had gotten into something only to find them both glued to the sliding glass door onto the deck. I looked out the window with them and there, right on the other side of the glass, was a possum! Bookman had left the recycling bucket out on the deck with paper and empty cat food cans in it. The possum must have been out scavenging and, even though the cat food cans are rinsed out, must have smelled them in the bucket. It had knocked the bucket over against the window so it couldn’t get into it and was trying to figure out how to turn it around. I turned on the outdoor light thinking it would scare the possum away but it didn’t even flinch. So the cats and I stood there watching the critter who finally gave up and ambled off into the darkness.
I returned to my book and a few minutes later Bookman arrived home. I heard him in the front yard yelling, “get out of here cat!” And then a sound of surprise. When Bookman came through the door a few seconds later I asked him if he met our possum visitor. Yup. He had seen it in the shadows and thought it was a cat but realized when it didn’t scamper off that it was no cat but a possum. We’ve seen raccoons but not possums around the neighborhood. I don’t know where our possum visitor lives or how far they range in search of dinner, but it has not returned as far as we know. Still, it was an exciting visit!
From their website:
Scarlet Voyage is a young adult fiction imprint dedicated to providing original stories with a strong voice and an independent spirit. From literary to contemporary romance to crime thriller—across all genres—our books embody our passion for authentic and compelling stories that reflect and explore the lives of young adults. Our mission is to create books that take readers on a voyage and will leave them burning for more.
In the River Darkness: ALTERNATING NARRATORS! LOVE TRIANGLE! (<--I'm guessing here, but the description sounds pretty clear.) LOTS OF SEKRITS!
Freak City: Romance about a boy who falls in love with a deaf girl and starts to explore deaf culture & community.
What We Did for Love: WWII? I think?
Code Name Komiko: Sixteen-year-old violin prodigy moonlights as cyber-investigator.Add a Comment