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1. Agent Kaylee Davis Looking for New Writers

kaylee-davis-literary-agentKaylee Davis, Dee Mura Literary

Kaylee is actively seeking to build her client list in the genres of sci-fi, fantasy, speculative fiction, and young adult; bonus points if there are elements of steampunk, coming-of-age, urban fantasy, espionage, social commentary, or counter culture. Kaylee is drawn to exciting, thought-provoking stories with a fresh perspective that explores what it means to be human. She is happy to work with new and emerging writers.”

She received a B.A. in English Literature and a B.A. in Sociology from Miami University, and she is certified in Copyediting from Emerson College. Recognized for her obsessive-compulsive attention to detail and crazy-fast reading ability, Kaylee joined the Dee Mura Literary team as a professional copyeditor/proofreader, talent scout, and administrative assistant.

MG: I really gravitate to the more mature middle grade that is voice-driven and deals with bigger issues. I also like diverse, unique protagonists who take charge and push the story forward.

YA: Especially in contemporary and scifi, I love anything where unlikely allies join forces or where reluctant heroes come into their own. I’m a sucker for the moment when the protagonist discovers their personal story bleeds into a larger narrative, and they choose to do something about it. I adore when opposites attract, and when the unexpected happens.

NA: Anything that is more than just “steamier YA.”

Adult: I’d love to see an epic scifi that has wonderfully flawed characters, especially if there are multiple POVs and it’s not clear who to trust. Actually, that would appeal to me in any genre! I like ambiguous morals and characters who have their own codes. A contemporary with a strong romance thread that is commercial but still feels fresh and new. Anything that explores the nuances and complexities of a society or lifestyle.

How to submit: Please send your query with the author’s name and project title in the subject heading. Address Kaylee in your letter’s salutation so they query reaches her. Include the following embedded in the body of the email:

  • Short description of the project
  • Brief author biography, even if you have no previous publications
  • Synopsis
  • Sample writing: for fiction, the first 25 pages; for nonfiction, an excerpt of the proposal

Twitter! Follow @Kaylee_Davis_

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: Agent, Editor & Agent Info, Middle Grade Novels, New Adult, opportunity, Places to sumit, Young Adult Novel Tagged: Agent Wish List, Dee Mura Literary, Kaylee Davis - Agent

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2. Diversity in Children´s Books - Maeve Friel



I am sure that everyone reading this is aware that Guardian Teen Books recently celebrated a week focussing on diversity in books for children.
By diversity, they mean “books by and about all kinds of people… boys, girls, all different colours, all different races and religions, all different sexualities and all different disabilities and anything else you can think of – so our books don’t leave anyone out.”


Benjamin Zephaniah whose Terror Kid is the Guardian Teen Book Club choice says:
“I love diversity. I love multiculturalism… It makes Britain´s music interesting. It makes our food interesting. It makes our literature interesting and it makes for a more interesting country …   To me it’s not about black, white, Asian; it’s about literature for everybody.”

And there you have it: the criterion must be the quality of the literature. I see little value in writing or publishing books to satisfy some sort of quota to reflect the percentages of ethnic or racial populations or other minorities.






The Guardian published a list of 50 books chosen to represent all manner of cultural diversity, from the amazing Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman to Oranges in No Man´s Land by Elizabeth Laird.

Here are a few of my favourite books that are outstanding in every way and that also open windows on to different ways of seeing the world.

The Arrival, by Shaun Tan, is a wordless book about the experience of emigration/immigration, following the lonely journey of a man to a new country where everything is different and inexplicable. (He signed my copy when he spoke at a Children´s Books Ireland conference a few years ago and it is one of most treasured possessions.)
















Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi, is a graphic novel based on her experiences during the cultural and political upheaval of the Iranian revolution after the overthrown of the Shah.  This is a real eye-opener from the first pages showing tiny girls swathed in unfamiliar and unwanted veils in their school playground.















My Dad´s A Birdman, by David Almond, illustrated joyfully and colourfully by Polly Dunbar, is a terrific book about a young girl and her dad who is so overwhelmed with grief that he goes off the rails. It is suffused with love and tenderness and faith in the act of flying as Dad and daughter take part in a madcap and magical contest to sprout wings and fly across the river.  

Wonder by R.J. Palacio is the story of Auggie, a boy with a shocking facial disfigurement who is
starting 5th grade after years of home schooling: imagine how he is dreading it -  “I won´t describe what I look like. Whatever you´re thinking, it´s probably worse.




I would like to add two more joyful books to the mix:


From Tangerine Books, a wonderful picture book, Larry and Friends,  by Ecuadorian illustrator Carla Torres in collaboration with Belgian/Venezuelan writer Nat Jasper celebrating the modern melting pot that is New York.
Larry, the New York dog, holds a party for all his amazing immigrant friends among them Magpa the pig from Poland who became a tightrope artist, Laila the Iranian entomologist, Edgar the Colombian alligator street musician, Ulises, the Greek cook and  a host of other talented and tolerant newcomers to the city – all apparently based on real people and how they met up.  
The book project was successfully funded by kickstarter – see more about it here.


As you can see, the illustrations are divine - this is Layla, the Iranian entomologist who works at the museum.


And finally, another great classic is The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats (1963), possibly one of the earliest American picture books to feature a young African-American hero – although this is never mentioned in the text. It simply tells the story of a young four year old boy discovering snow in the city for the first time. 






www,maevefriel.com
www.maevefriel.com/blog
You can also find me on Twitter @MaeveFriel

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3. ‘Tis the Season for New Holiday Books

The end of summer means the beginning of searching for new holiday books to add to our collection. I usually order new Halloween and Thanksgiving books in September, and new Christmas and Hanukkah books in October (unless Hanukkah is unusually early, as it was last year). Any new general winter-themed books that are not about winter holidays are usually ordered in November or early December.

twas-nochebuena

(image taken from Roseanne Greenfield Thong’s website)

We have such a strong collection of excellent holiday books that any new book that I add to the collection is either something by a very popular author (Jan Brett) or offers something unique to the collection…characters of color, such as ‘Twas Nochebuena by Roseanne Thong or Thanksgiving stories that go beyond describing a shared meal with family, such as The Great Thanksgiving Escape by Mark Fearing.

jeremy_dreidel

We have plenty of Hanukkah books that explain the various activities of that holiday in simple picture book format, so I am always keen to find Hanukkah books that go beyond “we light the candles and spin the dreidel” basics. One of my favorite Hanukkah related books remains Jeremy’s Dreidel by Ellie Gellman for its touching and positive portrayal of a young boy and his father, who is blind.  Books that focus upon the religious origins of Christmas and Hanukkah are also very popular in our community, so Lee Bennett Hopkins’s latest poetry collection, Manger, should enjoy lots of checkouts this season. National Geographic’s Celebrate Hanukkah (part of its Holidays Around the World) is a striking look at how the holiday is celebrated worldwide.

Do you have any new holiday favorites this year, or any titles that you are eagerly anticipating? What Halloween books have been popular with your patrons this year? Talk about it in the comments!

 

 

 

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4. The King review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Dutch-writing Iranian author Kader Abdolah's The King, now also available in the US in an edition from New Directions.

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5. First Look: Marvel’s ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ Series

At New York Comic Con earlier this month, Disney-owned Marvel unveiled test footage from its "Guardians of the Galaxy" animated series, which will premiere in 2015 on Disney XD's Marvel Universe programming block.

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6. Author Interview with Helen and Lorri Carpenter

It’s Author Interview Thursday and I’m so glad you’ve joined me and my special guests today.HL Carpenter I got in touch with our special guests back in June and due to my schedule and theirs, we had to delay the interview but I’m so glad they’ll be sharing their journey as authors with us today. We get the special privilege of seating with a mother-daughter team who’ve found a unique way to combine their creative talents without ever having the local police come to break up a fight. They write in different genres and I was very impressed by their willingness to explore different channels to expose their books to a new audience. Pull your chair a little bit closer and join me in welcoming Helen adn Lorri Carpenter.

 

Can you tell us about the first time someone complimented you on something you wrote? 

It may not have been the first time, but we do remember a compliment we received from a reader in North Carolina who sent a greeting card via postal mail. He said that though he knew our story wasn’t true, he had found it laugh-out-loud funny, and he thought something like that could happen to anyone…and had in fact, happened to him.

We wrote back to express our appreciation for his card, and to tell him the story—which involved us getting locked out of the house and having to climb in through the bathroom window—was indeed true. We also admitted it was less funny at the time…

 

What can a reader expect when they pick up a book written by HL Carpenter?SkyHorse 3D Cover

We write sweet, clean stories the whole family can enjoy. We like to picture our readers snuggled under the bed covers or curled up on the couch or in a sunny window seat, lost in the world we’ve created.

We’re partial to strong, practical, intelligent female protagonists who have a steadfast friend or two with a sense of humor, and a supportive if exasperating family or family substitute. So those are things readers will find in most of our books too.

  

Helen and Lorri, you co-write books together. Can you tell us a unique challenge this situation presents and how you both overcome it? 

We write collaboratively and the challenge is what you’d expect—we sometimes get into disagreements because we each love our words. We find that a reasonable “cooling off” period helps eliminate most of the conflict.

Having a poor memory is useful too. :)

  

You’ve successfully written in different genres. Can you tell us the advantages and disadvantages of this? Cause for Murder Cover

We tend to get bored easily, so switching genres is a great way to keep the ideas and the words flowing. Another advantage is that there’s always something new to learn, because each genre has its own peculiarities. Hey, we resemble that remark! :)

Disadvantages include the problem of marketing. We’re readers too, so we understand the desire to know what to “expect” from a writer. On the other hand, as authors, we dislike being boxed in.

Some authors solve this problem by creating pseudonyms for different types of writing. We think keeping up with one persona is enough work, and we figure our readers are plenty smart. If we clearly label our stories, readers won’t be confused.

   

What have you found to be a successful way to market your books? 

Yeah. Marketing. The slow, one-reader at a time method seems to be our default mode. We’ve had the best results with guest posts like this one (thanks for the opportunity, David!) and old-school techniques like giving out bookmarks.

We’re trying new things, too—for example, we entered our cozy mystery, A Cause for Murder, in the new Amazon Kindle Scout program. The program is essentially crowd sourcing. That is, readers nominate books for a publishing contract. While there’s plenty of chatter about how the program might not be very beneficial for authors, we’re generally open to trying new things. We figure one of the perks of being an indie author is the opportunity to experiment with different venues and opportunities. So we read the contract and decided to participate.

Annnnnnddd…we’re pleased to announce the launch for A Cause for Murder is Monday, October 27!

An excerpt and an author interview will be available on Amazon that day. We’ll let you know how the “cozy” marketing experiment goes.

 

What three things should writers avoid when writing dialogue? Fyne Literature

“We’re not fans of fancy dialogue tags,” they said.

If “said” isn’t enough after dialogue, then something is wrong with the sentence. The reader should know what’s going on from the words, not because the writer has added a description of the way the words are supposed to sound.

Based on editing comments we’ve gotten, another thing to avoid is overuse of character names. “Not that we would know personally of course, David,” they said. :)

Finally, we think words no one actually ever uses outside of crossword puzzles should generally be avoided…unless your hero is a naturally pompous speaker. “I really must request elucidation on that prohibition,” the hero said.

  

I’m fascinated to know what your definition of success as an author is? 

Our definition changes. When we started writing, we thought finishing a complete manuscript (an entire book, whee!) meant success. Then we thought having an editor respond favorably to our query meant success. Once that happened, we thought being successful meant getting published.

Now…hmmm…let’s see… oh, yes! Reaching the bestseller list and having a book optioned for a movie is definitely success.

After that happens…well, we’ll create the next definition when we get there. :)

 

What book or film has the best dialogue that inspires you to be a better writer and why? SkyHorse Ad

Pretty much anything by Dean Koontz. His characters pulse off the page and his descriptions…well, we don’t have suitable words to express our admiration. Plus he’s funny!

  

Toy Story or Shrek? 

Toy Story. A sweet cowboy hero, what could be better?

  

What three things should a first time visitor to Florida do? 

Stop comparing Florida to the place you came from. Slather on buckets of sunscreen. Sit on the beach wearing a floppy straw hat and snooze.

For maximum enjoyment, do all three of those things at once.

  

What can we expect from HL Carpenter in the next 12 months?

Well, first, as we mentioned, we’re excited to announce our cozy mystery, A Cause for Murder, will launch in the new Amazon Kindle Scout program on Monday, October 27!

Here’s an exclusive sneak peek at the cover. An excerpt and an author interview will be available on Amazon at launch on Monday, and readers can vote to nominate A Cause for Murder for a publishing contract.

We also have a middle grade novel featuring a ghost that will be ready by year end. And we’re working on another young adult fantasy and a series of themed short stories that will be finished in 2015.

We have a busy year lined up!

 

Where can readers and fans connect with you?Carpenter Country

You’ll find us in Carpenter Country, a magical place that, like our stories, is unreal but not untrue. We invite you to visit http://www.hlcarpenter.com/ and sign up for our newsletter to keep up with what’s happening in Carpenter Country.

Or you can catch up with us at

Amazonhttp://www.amazon.com/HL-Carpenter/e/B007SHS9LA/

Goodreadshttp://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5820921.H_L_Carpenter

Google+https://plus.google.com/102212877836673370583/posts

Pinteresthttp://www.pinterest.com/hlcarpenter/

 

Any advice for authors out there who are either just starting out or getting frustrated with the industry? 

You’ll probably hear about the difficulty of breaking into today’s overcrowded market and the impossible odds of ever reaching the best-seller list. Those things are true.

So what?

The market has always been overcrowded and the odds have always been impossible. You can’t win the lottery if you never buy a ticket.

 

Thanks for being with us today Helen and Lorri. I’ve been inspired by the nuggets of wisdom you’ve shared with us today. I also applaud your efforts to try different paths and enjoy the journey along the way. I hope you’ve gained something from my interview with Helen and Lorri. You can share this interview on various social platforms by clicking one of the links below. We’d also be happy to entertain any questions, comments or differing points of view you may have.

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7. The Soccer Players

With Henry in my arms, we watched
The soccer players kick.
He laughed at every move they made -
Deliberate or quick.

He couldn't understand, of course,
(He's thirteen months  of age)
So what got to his funny bone
Is really hard to gauge.

What seems to me quite ordinary,
Filtered through his eyes,
Becomes a new adventure
Filled with magic and surprise.

So as we watched, his all-out giggles
Filled me with delight.
The time I spend with Henry
Makes the world seem fresh and bright.

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8. URBAN OUTFITTERS - uk and eu

And finally today I am back at Urban Outfitters in the UK and Europe to see what patterns are available. This tribal feather print caught my eye along with some geometric fashion prints.

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9. Quote of the Week: Elizabeth George

Elizabeth George Quote


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10. What? There's A Percy Jackson Problem?

In The Percy Jackson Problem in The New Yorker, Rebecca Mead discusses the old "so-long-as-the-kiddies-are-reading-they-will-move-on-and-up" strategy vs. the old "you-can't-start-'em-on-Shakespeare-too-young" theory. According to Mead, Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson books fall into the first category. Ouch.

Mead finishes her essay speculating about what will happen if reading books like Percy Jackson doesn't lead to young minds moving onward and upward to eagerly sucking up the Assigned Book List. "What if instead of urging them on to more challenging adventures on other, potentially perilous literary shores, it makes young readers hungry only for more of the palatable same?"

I have no problem with palatable. We live in a free country, kids! Go rogue with your reading!

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11. J.K. Rowling dispels rumors on Twitter

J.K. Rowling took a writing break today to make a short visit to Twitter, her first since unleashing a riddle upon her followers. She tweeted this morning to dispel any rumors of her partying it up in a London bar, as she celebrated handing in a “romance novel” to her publishers. J.K. Rowling denied being finished with any projects, or that she was even working on a romance novel. She joked that she was “rock and roll” and did like to enjoy a drink even when she hasn’t finished a book, as it is her right to do so. The “Rowling stone,” as one follower punned, said:

 

There’s a story in today’s Mail that I was in a London bar on Monday ‘celebrating’ handing in a ‘romantic novel’ to my publishers…

1) I haven’t handed in ANY kind of novel to my publishers. I’m only half way through my current book. 2) It isn’t a ‘romantic’ novel.

And 3) (brace yourselves) I sometimes have a drink even when I haven’t finished a book. Yes, that’s how rock and roll I really am.

well you are a Rowling Stone…. That was a horrid pun, wasn’t it?

 · 17h

. One of my old classes (when I was teaching) used to sing the theme from Rawhide at me. The memory still makes me laugh.

Back to work now. See you when I’ve finished something X

 

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12. URBAN OUTFITTERS - rude

London-based design company Rude, renowned for its distinctive use of colour, text and pattern, have collaborated with Urban Outfitters on a number of new products, Rude was started in 1999 by illustrators Rupert Meats and Abi Williams who began printing their own books, stationery and homewares after becoming disillusioned with the graphic design industry. This new range is exclusive to Urban

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13. Hazel Edwards discusses collaboration and controversy

On the day that prolific Australian author, Hazel Edwards was honoured with an Order of Australia Medal for services to literature, her latest young adult novel was receiving a very different distinction at the other end of the country. Hazel Edwards has written more than 200 books, including the hugely popular Hippopotamus picture book series, […]

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14. Polizzotti on translating Modiano

       Mark Polizzotti -- translator of the forthcoming Yale University Press three-in-one collection by newly crowned Nobel laureate Patrick Modiano, Suspended Sentences (see their publicity page, or pre-order your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk) -- writes on Quiet Resonance: Translating Patrick Modiano at the YUP weblog, Yale Books Unbound.

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15. Feedback Request


The author of the query featured in Face-Lift 1118 has posted what I assume is a new version in the comments there. Check it out.

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16. Oh, the Places You’ll Run

You can take running anywhere and you can let it take you everywhere.

runner in london

Running will open you up to an entire new world…
…a new community. Friendships, relationships, instant connections. “I’m a runner too.”

The lessons you learn as a runner apply to all areas of life. It will make you stronger.
Physically. Mentally. Emotionally. Tougher.

Being a runner means you will DREAM. Not with eyes closed, but rather with eyes squinted thought beads of sweat.

Running will take you to new places both literally and metaphorically. It will SHOW you new places within yourself.

Oh, that places you’ll run. #ohtheplacesyoullrun

——–
UPDATE!!! Do not fret, the Arty Runnerchick is still alive and kicking. I’ve been working on quite a few exciting projects which I will be sharing with you soon!

While that means I haven’t been able to update the blog as frequently as I’d like, I AM updating my INSTAGRAM page daily…so be sure to follow me there to catch everything there first! I’m also on Twitter :)

In case you’ve not checked it out, I’ve got new articles published on the WRITING page, particularly a lot under the RunBlogRun section.

There is also new art available on the ART page.

Keep running, My Friends, and talk soon!!

Also be sure to SHOP EZZERE! :)
ezzere running

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17. Suzanne Bloom Loves Fab Goo Taffy

Author/Illustrator Suzanne Bloom

Author/Illustrator Suzanne Bloom

Suzanne's Newest Book

Suzanne’s Newest Book

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please welcome back author/illustrator Suzanne Bloom for week three of what will be a four-part series designed to encourage new and aspiring picture book authors as they navigate the perilous path to publication. 

Today’s topic is Rejection, with a capital “R”. If you’ve already been sending out submissions and have received rejection letters (or e-mails) back, it’s a major letdown. I’ve been there. I’m still there. But as cold as the rejection feels, you must try try try not to take it personally. I know you poured your heart and soul into your story. But always keep in mind that publishing is a business and publishers are companies. And just like any company, publishers must make money in order to stay in business. Since publishing companies receive hundreds of submissions each month and thousands per year, and they cannot publish them all, they are very selective and choose what they believe has the potential to make money. That doesn’t mean your story wasn’t good. It just means that it wasn’t right for that publisher. Even veteran authors still get rejections.

Several years ago, when I was feeling particularly bummed over yet another rejection, I asked an anonymous editor if editors realized they hold authors’ dreams in their hands. I don’t remember what the response was, but I have since come to realize that it is not the responsibility of editors or agents to make my dreams come true. So don’t get mad, get motivated. And above all, don’t give up. If you’ve made your story the absolute best is can be, send it out again. I wonder what Suzanne does when she receives a rejection letter? Let’s ask. 

Suzanne, how do you handle a rejection letter? How about 5, 15, or 25?

It’s really hard to believe that 15 someones don’t love your story as much as you do, isn’t it? Is it time to put that story away for a while or forever? Let it rest and get to work on something else. After a month or so look at it again with fresh eyes. This also applies to harsh critiques. Several of my stories (which are brilliant, according to me) shall never see the light of day. I came across a mock “rejection” letter which said, “We’re sorry to say that due to the number of similar rejection letters we have received, we cannot accept your rejection letter at this time. Good luck placing your rejection letter elsewhere.” Alas, I have paraphrased and I don’t know the source.

Love the mock rejection letter and the advice! Listen to Suzanne, picture book writers, she knows what she’s talking about. 

Of course, sometimes the feeling of rejection comes in the form of a harsh critique from an agent, editor, or even a critique group member. Again, it’s hard not to take the criticism personally, especially when we’re proud of the work we’ve done. I can tell you that I am always surprised when I get a harsh critique. How could they possibly find fault in my story. But now I understand that there’s always room for improvement. Remember too, that you don’t have to make changes to your story based on critiques. You don’t have to agree with every thing that’s said. But keep in mind that agents and editors are professionals and usually know their stuff, and if you should happen to get a critique from one, I recommend you at least consider their suggestions to improve your work. 

And let me add, that I would be lost without the help of my critique group, Picture Me Published (PMP). It is invaluable. My stories have improved astronomically thanks to the thoughtful suggestions of my three groupmates, Sarah, Jess, and Brooks. I highly recommend joining a group. Don’t worry if it doesn’t feel right, you can always politely drop out and search for another. My first group didn’t work out (not for lack of trying), but it’s okay because PMP is a perfect fit for me. 

Suzanne, how should we handle a harsh critique?

In the privacy of your own space, dance like Rumpelstiltskin: stomp, gnash, holler and fume. Whew, take a breath and revisit the story and the critique…not necessarily at that moment – when you’re ready to hear and evaluate the suggestions. What rings true? What holds back the story? I thought “Fab Goo Taffy” was the best name ever for the candy that was traded for a time machine. My wise editor said it wasn’t insect-centric enough for my ant eating characters (A Mighty Fine Time Machine). Certain that there was no substitute, I stewed and fumed, until I came up with Buggy Bon-Bons. It’s so hard to defend an idea without sounding defensive. And even when we’re certain each of our words is precious and perfect, there is always room for rumination and possibly improvement. But here’s the biggest question: Are you willing to make changes for the good of the story?

Please come back next week for the fourth and final installment of my “Suzanne Bloom” series, in which I ask Suzanne how to combat writer’s block, what an editor means when he/she tells you your story is too quiet, and how to keep from getting discouraged. I can’t wait!

{Suzanne Bloom At Work In Her Studio}

{Suzanne Bloom At Work In Her Studio}

Suzanne Bloom was born mid-century in Portland, Oregon, which accounts for her love of overcast days. She moved to Queens, New York in time to finish kindergarten. Her first book We Keep a Pig in the Parlor was published in 1988. She has authored and illustrated many more books since then including The Bus for Us (2000) and the popular Goose & Bear series, which includes A Splendid Friend Indeed, Treasure, What About Bear, Oh! What A Surprise!, Fox Forgets, and her latest, Alone Together. She has been given a Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Award and has been selected for the Texas 2×2 list of 20 best picture books (twice). She currently lives in upstate, New York with her husband in the house they built 34 years ago, down a dirt road and on a hillside. She has two grown sons, one cat, and one dog. To learn more about Suzanne, please read the interview I did with her back in 2010, or check out her website: www.suzannebloom.com


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18. Neustadt Festival

       The Neustadt Festival -- culminating in The Tuner of Silences-author Mia Couto picking up the 2014 Neustadt International Prize for Literature -- started yesterday; see the full program.

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19. COMPETITION! ASK a question to WIN!

A chance to WIN a copy of Ursula Dubosarsky’s ‘The Terrible Plop‘, AND YOU can ask her a question in an exclusive interview, to be featured on the Boomerang Books Blog! To win: 1. Head to My Little Story Corner and LIKE the page. 2. Find the Competition post, pinned at the top of the […]

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20. URBAN OUTFITTERS - usa

Whilst on the subject of Urban Outfitters I thought I would have a look and see what was happening at the separate website for Urban Outfitters in the USA. I was pleased to find lots of colourful prints including this bright peacock 'woodland garden' shower curtain and wall art by Lotta Kuhlhorn.

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21. Book Review: Dojo Daycare


I've been meaning to share this gem of a picture book for some time. Dojo Daycare, written and illustrated by Chris Tougas is published by Owlkids Books


There is so much to love in this smart, modern, and funny rhyming picture book. It is paced beautifully and you can feel the tempo pick up and then settle down for the ending. I found the framework of the dojo daycare and sympathetic storyline toward the 'master' really inventive. My kids (5 and 3 years old) love rereading to follow the smaller details and mini-plots. 


You can track each ninja and their ninja pets at home, the bear as he gets pulled apart (and see where he ends up!), and my kids' favorite part - see the little green fluff coming from one little ninja. Yup. It's a silent but HILARIOUS surprise when you figure out how that last fight starts. 

I was given a review copy by the publisher, but my words and opinions are my own.

0 Comments on Book Review: Dojo Daycare as of 10/22/2014 7:39:00 PM
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22. Artist of the Day: Gyimah Gariba

Today we look at the work of Gyimah Gariba, Cartoon Brew's Artist of the Day!

0 Comments on Artist of the Day: Gyimah Gariba as of 10/23/2014 12:32:00 AM
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23. Book Wars: Harry Potter vs. Percy Jackson

Book warsBook Wars: Harry Potter vs. Percy Jackson

Attention all fantasy readers! You’ll want to get in on this week’s book war, because I will be comparing two of the most popular fantasy series there are: Harry Potter vs. Percy Jackson & The Olympians.

People have been saying for years that the two series are similar in character and plot, but I’m about to take a deeper look to find out. So, are you a Potterhead or are you a Demigod? Can you be both?

Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief book coverTo begin the comparison, let’s start with the two main protagonists. Harry and Percy are both unlikely heroes with difficult backgrounds. Harry’s parents were killed when he was just a baby, and he was forced to live with his horrible Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon and his vile cousin, Dudley. Percy was raised by his mother and his awful step-father, Gabe Ugliano. Both children were bullied because they were weak and scrawny and no one really cared about them.

Harry and Percy also share some similar traits. Harry and Percy both have a “saving people thing” because they always want to help someone in danger. They are also known to be witty and sarcastic, but incredibly loyal to their friends.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone book cover illustrated by Kazu KibuishiFinally, Harry and Percy are the “Chosen One” and the “Child of the Prophecy” meaning that they are the only people who can save the world because of a prophecy written about them.

Now let’s compare some of the other characters.

The main female protagonists, Hermione Granger and Annabeth Chase, are both the most intelligent characters in each series. They always know the answer for everything and always have a plan, but Annabeth is more of a warrior than Hermione.

And let’s not forget about the lovable best friends. Ron Weasley and Grover Underwood are the two main characters’ best friends. They are similar in that they are both easily scared, funny, and have a love of food. The only difference would be the fact that Grover has goat legs . . .

And, of course, we have the villains. There are the main bad guys, Lord Voldemort and Kronos, and also the conflicted henchmen, Draco Malfoy and Luke Castellan.

Another similarity in the series would be the plot. Both books are about two children who become heroes and have to save the world. They both involve a prophecy, magic, and myth.

So what do you think? How similar are these two series? And are you a fan of HP or PJO? Leave your opinion in the Comments.

Izzy, Scholastic Kids Council

PS. Emma Rose weighs in on the debate in her video. Ari is also a PJO fan. He says, “The books are exciting. It is fun to see Greek Mythology come alive in the present day. Percy, the son of Poseidon, must learn to survive and protect both the mortal and the immortal worlds.”

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24. Jay Asher Discusses Thirteen Reasons Why | 50 States Against Bullying

A conversation between Jay Asher and Trudy Ludwig the 50 States Against Bullying tour, bullying, teen suicide and how to create kinder and more caring communities.

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25. Honored

to have been included in Kortney’s “Women Who Inspire” series at One Deep Drawer. So kind!

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