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<<May 2015>>
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1. एक था तोता

20150521_124342 20150521_124915 20150521_155610

भरी दोपहर बिल्ली से बचता बचाता एक नन्हा मिठठू मियां अचानक घर के भीतर आ गया. हमनें भी उनकी आवभगत शुरु कर दी पर जैसे ही थोडा ठीक महसूस किया होगा वो  कमरे की खिडकी पर बैठ कर टुकुर टुकुर बाहर ही ताकने लगे …

वो बाहर जाना चाह रहा था और  हम बिल्ली के डर के मारे उसे बाहर जाने  नही देना चाह रहे थे. पर उसका उदास चेहरा देख कर मन मे हमें ही दुख हो रहा था कि हम ही गलती कर रहे हैं बस  शाम होते ही हमने अनमने मन से  उसे आजाद कर दिया …

बस एक ही कामना है कि दुबारा से बिल्ली उनका सामना न हो !

The post एक था तोता appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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2. Last Call For Manuscript (and Portfolio) Consultations at the 2015 SCBWI Summer Conference!

The Conference consultations are an amazing opportunity.

Rather than the typical wait of months (or even longer!) and then not always even hearing what the editor or art director or agent thought (if it's a pass), this is a chance to get an industry professional (agent, editor, art director or published author or illustrator) to sit down with you for twenty minutes to give you an honest, professional appraisal of your work and discuss the first ten pages of your manuscript!

Note: The deadline for manuscripts is that they must ARRIVE in SCBWI's Los Angeles office ON or BEFORE Tuesday, MAY 26. Manuscripts received after THAT DAY cannot be accepted.

For illustrators, you can get a portfolio consultation (you just have to register and sign up for it by May 26, then you bring your portfolio with you to the conference.)

Are there success stories from the consultations, of agents and editors who've ended up signing projects from what they saw at the consultation? Yes. But even more than that, each consultation is a chance to get that honest feedback, and to grow as an author and/or illustrator. And we all need to keep growing as artists, no matter where we are in our careers.

And for everyone attending, you can sign up for a Social Media consultation with social media guru Greg Pincus.

You can read all about the consultations and their guidelines here.

Here's to the conference (and maybe a consultation, too) being a great experience to move your craft – and career – forward!

You'll find all the conference details and registration information here.

Illustrate and Write On,

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3. Emerson Book Club Recommendations: Great summer reading plans! (ages 9-12)

Emerson's fantastic book club met today for our Summer Reading Celebration and 45 kids came to the library to have lunch together, swap book recommendations and share their love for reading. We had such a fun time!

Our book club welcomes all 4th and 5th graders. All spring, we've been talking about books we've been reading and encouraging friends to read the books we've liked. We will hold our Mock Newbery Club again next fall, so we've been paying special attention to the books published in 2015. Here are the titles our students have recommended so far for consideration:
All the Answers, by Kate Messner
Blackbird Fly, by Erin Entrada Kelly
Blue Birds, by Caroline Starr Rose
The Detective's Assistant, by Katherine Hannigan
Echo, by Pam Muñoz Ryan
Fish in a Tree, by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
Gone Crazy in Alabama, by Rita Williams-Garcia
Honey, by Sarah Weeks
Listen, Slowly, by Thanhha Lai
My Secret Guide to Paris, by Lisa Schroeder
Neon Aliens Ate My Homework, by Nick Cannon
Nightbird, by Alice Hoffman
The Penderwicks in Spring, by Jeanne Birdsall
Pip Bartlett's Guide to Magical Animals, by Maggie Stiefvater and Jackson Pearce
Tiger Boy, by Mitali Perkins
The War that Saved My Life, by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Wish Girl, by Nikki Loftin
It was so much fun hearing kids share about why they'd recommend a book to friends. The books that are getting the most love right now are definitely The Detective's Assistant, Echo, Fish in a Tree, and Gone Crazy in Alabama.

After sharing book recommendations, we took some time to write our own "to be read" lists. These lists help us look forward to the next book we want to read. It's a habit I want to instill in all my students. And so it was great to take a minute to write down our ideas and ask friends for recommendations.
We finished our celebration by taking "shelfies" -- pictures with our favorite books and with the books we want to read. It was a terrific celebration of our love of reading. Many thanks to Melissa Guerrette for her inspiring article on the Nerdy Book Club blog all about shelfies. I'm sure our sheflie celebration with get many many of our students talking about books they want to read.

Many thanks to all of the publishers who support our book club by sending us advanced copies. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books. Thank you for your support.

©2015 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

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4. Stephen Michael King’s Triumphant Trio

What is it about Stephen Michael King‘s illustrations that make his picture books so sublime? How can his drawings make us want to delve into those stories over and over again? Well, that’s just it! It’s the artwork that adds another dimension to those already meaningful stories, allowing us to dive right in with those […]

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5. Cartoon- Result

cartoon- result monica guptaजब पत्रकार Reporter  ने मौजूदा सरकार BJP  को लेकर उनके विचार जानने चाहे तो नेता जी का कुछ ये कहना था :)

The post Cartoon- Result appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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6. Brad Bird: ‘I Want to Do Another Hand-Drawn Animated Feature’

The "Iron Giant" director has revealed that he's not done yet with hand-drawn animation.

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7. Friday Feature: This Is Sarah

When Colin Leventhal leaned out his bedroom window on the night of May 12th and said goodbye to his girlfriend, he never expected it would be forever. But when Sarah Evans goes missing that night, Colin’s world unravels as he transforms from the boyfriend next door to the main police suspect. Then one year later, at her memorial service, Colin makes a phone call that could change everything. Is it possible that Sarah is still alive? And if so, how far will he go to bring her back?

I get up early to run, because it’s easier in the morning. There's no one up yet at five am, and the streets belong to me. I don’t even bring music anymore. I only want to hear the steady thwack of my sneakers on the pavement, the rustle of leaves in the breeze and the huff of air coming out of my lungs. It sets up a rhythm that allows my brain to shut off for a while so my mind stays empty.
Not thinking feels good. It’s one of the few things that still feels good.
            I crest the hill at the top of Cedarhurst and pick up speed going down. My lungs feel clean and clear, and I think about sprinting the last five or six blocks back to my driveway. My energy seems a little low, but I figured I can probably push it.
The sound of my feet hitting the pavement intensifies and I pump my arms hard, small tears forming in my eyes from the wind. I clear my mind. I am no longer Colin. I’m just muscle, tissue and bone; a complex and delicate machine pushing its way against gravity and inertia, covering distance on this rock floating in the darkness of an ever-expanding space.
            When Claire pulls her bike alongside me I nearly jump out of my skin. Where the hell did she come from? She pedals hard, riding off the seat, her blonde hair whipping back. She passes me and looks back and smiles. As the distance between us grows, I’m overcome with loss, and a sort of panic, like I need to catch up to her. I’m not sure what it is, but I watch her move away from me, her blonde hair streaming, her legs working the pedals and every muscle in my body screams to catch her.
Suddenly Claire is everything in the world, everything beautiful, alive, peaceful, and good, and it’s all getting away from me.
The farther she gets from me, the closer she gets to the monsters and all I want in the world is for Claire to always be safe.
Jesus Christ, I just want to be able to save one of them.
She looks back at me once and smiles before pumping the pedals again. In that moment, that small bright moment, her hair and her smile reflecting the early morning sun, she looks just like Sarah. Just like Claire looked that day in the hallway.
Suddenly I feel so hollow and empty, carved out like the husk of some dead cicada. I watch her get away from me and feel more lost than ever before. She rounds the bend and disappears from my line of sight, something inside of me snaps and I stumble forward. My feet now clumsy, my balance thrown off, until I stop, bent, heaving, coughing, spitting foam, my heart wild inside me. In my head, an image forms of Sarah when I made her laugh so hard she nearly choked on her sandwich at the diner.
That was Sarah.
Sarah and me, in a moment we won’t have again. A moment that was once real but now feels like it belonged to another life. Neither of us foresaw it ending this way.
The year before or the week before or the day before. We never saw it coming.
If I knew when she stood on that driveway, staring up at me, with me hanging out of the window looking down at her, if I knew, I would have told her everything.

Find This Is Sarah on Amazon.

Want your YA, NA, or MG book featured on my blog? Contact me here and we'll set it up.

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8. Smile

Mona Lisa, Mona Lisa
Men have named you
You're so like the lady with the mystic smile
Is it only cause you're lonely
They have blamed you
For that Mona Lisa strangeness in your smile

Do you smile to tempt a lover, Mona Lisa
Or is this your way to hide a broken heart
Many dreams have been brought to your doorstep
They just lie there, and they die there
Are you warm, are you real, Mona Lisa
Or just a cold and lonely, lovely work of art

Nat King Cole //  Mona Lisa

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9. Dragons, Library Holds, and Biking

cover artI finally finished A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin yesterday. I am glad it is finally over. I’m not going to do a full write-up of it because it is the fifth book in a series and frankly, I found it full of bloat and, while better than book four, still not great. In fact, I am not certain I will read the Winds of Winter when it finally comes out. Of course if people I trust read it and tell me how good it is I will probably cave in and read it, but otherwise, I’m burnt out. The thing has become so fragmented with a gazillion different storylines going on that it feels out of control and out of focus.

So there.

I know you have been wondering about my library hold situation and the resolution I made at the beginning of the year to keep my hold requests down to no more than five at a time. I had been doing so well and feeling so proud of myself. I got cocky. And of course I slipped.

Currently I have only one book checked out from the library, Lumberjanes, and one waiting for me to pick up, The House of Paper. But then there are eight hold requests. Only eight though, that’s not bad, right? One of them will be coming up to my turn very soon, When Mystical Creatures Attack! by Kathleen Founds. The rest I have a little wait for – I am 120 in line for The Buried Giant by Ishiguro but only third in line for Molecular Red by McKenzie Wark. There is a good time spread between the two. Granted the rest of my requests I am twenty-something in line, but still they won’t all arrive at once (Hahahaha!). So even though I went over my self-imposed five hold requests limit it isn’t terrible, not like when I had close to twenty hold requests out at once, right? And it’s not like I’ve gone completely crazy with new hold requests. I’m still in control. Yes, yes I am. I am absolutely certain of it. Yup. In complete control.

On a side note, I went on my first group bike ride last night. It is a women-only ride that leaves from a nearby bike shop. I was nervous, let me tell you. The route was to be rolling hills and since it is a no-drop ride (the group stops and waits for those falling behind) I was terrified I would be the one everyone was stopping to wait for. Since I had never ridden with other people before I had no idea how my fitness level would compare. Turns out I didn’t have a thing to worry about. My fitness level is just fine and I am not too bad on hills.

There were ten of us and I had a blast. Most of us had not gone on this particular group ride before so no one really knew anyone which meant no one got left out socially. And because of the hills I got to practice shifting on Astrid, something I haven’t done much of because I haven’t had to. And I discovered a lovely sound, the sound of a group of strong women on bikes coming up to a stoplight and all of us clipping out (unlocking our shoes from the pedals) and then clipping back in when we start again. I don’t know why I like the sound so much but I do. Maybe it’s because I am making it too as part of a group. At any rate, I will be riding out again next Wednesday so chances are good that unless the weather is bad and the ride gets cancelled, I will not be posting on Wednesday nights through the end of summer. I’ve got a bike to ride!

Filed under: biking, Books, Library Tagged: Dance with Dragons, Game of Thrones, George R.R. Martin

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10. Perfect Picture Book Friday - A Special Occasion

Today is a special day, so I'm going to depart slightly from my usual Perfect Picture Book post and tell you a (very condensed :)) story.

Once upon a time, I had a house full of babies - diaper-clad, chubby-limbed, crawling, walking, running, climbing, lap-snuggling, bedtime-reading, dressing-up, imagining, adventuring, singing, dancing, laughing, mile-a-minute children who filled our home with energy, love, and joy.

And they did what kids will do.

In what feels like a heart beat, they grew up.

This weekend, we will celebrate not one, but two graduations.

While they mark wonderful new beginnings, they also mark the end of an era, and it's making me a wee bit nostalgic.

So I want to share a special Perfect Picture Book Collection - a round-up of the family favorites that made up so many happy hours of reading at nap time and bedtime, on rainy afternoons or long car drives, with parents, grandparents, and older siblings - a little glimpse of those golden childhood years which seem to have flown by far too quickly.

(Many have been reviewed for Perfect Picture Books and link to their reviews on the blogs of the wonderful PPBF bloggers who shared them.  And a few I realized, had been reviewed at one time, but the links are no longer active - so they could be done again :))

Goodnight Moon

Dear Zoo

Each Peach Pear Plum

The Itsy Bitsy Spider

The Cat In The Hat

The Cat In The Hat Comes Back

Green Eggs And Ham

Go, Dog, Go! (was reviewed but link is no longer active)

One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish

Make Way For Ducklings (was reviewed but link is no longer active)

Blueberries For Sal (was reviewed but link is no longer active)

Harry The Dirty Dog

Bedtime For Frances (whole series)

Madeline (whole series) (has been reviewed twice but don't have links on hand)

Curious George

All The Places To Love

The Camel Who Took A Walk

Mike Mulligan And His Steam Shovel

George And Martha (whole series)

The Story Of Ferdinand

Flap Your Wings

Contrary Bear

Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon (has been reviewed but don't have link on hand)

Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse

Julius The Baby Of The World


Cowgirl Rosie And Her Five Baby Bison

The Giant Jam Sandwich

The King, The Mice, And The Cheese

The Best Nest

The House On East 88th Street (whole series)

Mole Music

Of course there were many others, but those are some of the tried-and-true, beloved by all the kids regardless of age, stage, or gender, that were read over and over so often that I used to be able to recite many of them by heart.  If you're looking for a list of best books to give as a baby gift, or just want a field-tested group of favorites, I highly recommend all of the above :)

Today's picture-book-aged kids likely have a different set of favorites, but I'm curious: how many of these are on your list of family favorites?

This weekend's graduations are scheduled for the same day... same time... different states, which means neither child will have her whole family in attendance, and none of us will be able to attend both milestone moments (which, as you can imagine, is causing a great deal of heart wrenching.)  It also means that in order to attend at least part of each child's momentous occasion, there will be a lot of traveling, so please forgive me if I fail miserably to visit your blogs and read your choices this weekend.  I will try to catch up next week!

For the complete list of books with resources, please visit Perfect Picture Books.

PPBF bloggers please be sure to leave your post-specific link in the list below so we can all come visit you!

Have a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend, and enjoy whatever events you may have planned, or just happy time with your families!

Happy beginning of summer :)

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11. Pack out your trash!

This box is full of trash, not crackers. True story.

This box is full of trash, not crackers. True story.

I’m going to make a movie reference. It’s a bad one. Ready?

In Star Trek VI, Kirk, Spock and Bones are camping in Yosemite on shore leave. In the morning, they’re called back to the ship suddenly, cutting their (weird) joint vacation short, and Kirk sighs, “Pack out your trash.”

Pack out your trash.

So now I not only just outed myself as a Trekkie, but as a person who gets geeked out at environmental catch phrases. Oh, shut up. You love that crying Indian.

I’m not embarrassed (well, maybe a little – I think only seventeen people have even seen that movie, much less quoted from it). As an environmentalist, I love this phrase. I was taught at an early age to take my trash with me, to throw it away in a bin instead of littering. Most people are, I believe. It was sandwiched between “Wash your hands before dinner” and “Stop licking the dog!”

But I also believe there’s more to it than just not littering. Not littering is admirable, but I believe we need to think further.

I like to think that when we visit a place, we should leave it better than we found it. Not just Yosemite or the beach, I mean places like airports, malls, Disneyland, Starbucks. Sure, people get paid to clean up our messes. That’s one way to think of it. “Let someone else take care of it,” we tell ourselves. After all, we’re busy, We are Important. We don’t get paid to pick up trash. I mean, aren’t there, like, workers for that?

There’s no immediate reward for this. It’s, just like, work, Dude. Yeah, I know. You’re thinking, Who needs more work? And who needs this kind of guilt? I already struggle with that whole should-I give-that-homeless-lady-a-dollar thing. Now this?

Well, poor you. So much to think about. You can’t keep up! Who will take over for Letterman? Does Khloe Kardashian wear Spanx? Does my Uber driver know I’m completely shit-faced?*

Get over yourself. Pick up some goddamn trash for a change. Get off your ass and make a difference for once. Not because it’s better for the planet and society. Do it because I said so.

*Yes, your driver can smell you.

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12. What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week, Plus What I DidLast Week, Featuring Bénédicte Guettier,Patrick McDonnell, Daniel Salmieri, and Charlotte Voake

– From Meet the Dullards
(Click to enlarge spread)


– From The Skunk


“Unfortunately, an octopus is not a very suitable pet.
You should see the mess he makes in the bathroom!”
– From
Melissa’s Octopus and Other Unsuitable Pets
(Click to enlarge spread)


– From I am the Wolf … And Here I Come!


Today over at Kirkus, I write about the coolest picture book award you’ve never heard of, the Bull-Bransom Award from the National Museum of Wildlife Art. That link will be here soon.

* * *

Last week I wrote (here) about four new picture books — Sara Pennypacker’s Meet the Dullards, illustrated by Daniel Salmieri (Balzer & Bray, March 2015); Mac Barnett’s The Skunk, illustrated by Patrick McDonnell (Roaring Brook, April 2015); Charlotte Voake’s Melissa’s Octopus and Other Unsuitable Pets (Candlewick, April 2015); and Bénédicte Guettier’s I am the Wolf … And Here I Come! (Gecko Press, January 2015). Today, I follow up with art from each book. (Note: Sorry about the lines in the art from Guettier. Those lines indicate the gutter of the book.)

Enjoy the art …


Art from Sara Pennypacker’s
Meet the Dullards,
illustrated by Daniel Salmieri:


“After they finished painting the room, Mr. and Mrs. Dullard tried not to look at the walls. But it was no use—they were completely mesmerized.
All day long, the Dullards watched the paint dry.”

(Click to enlarge spread)


(Click to enlarge)


“That night, Mr. and Mrs. Dullard fell asleep right away,
secure in the knowledge that their children were perfect bores.”

(Click to enlarge)



Art from Charlotte Voake’s Melissa’s Octopus
and Other Unsuitable Pets


“Sometimes he’s upstairs …
and he ends up downstairs by mistake.”

(Click to enlarge)



Art from Mac Barnett’s The Skunk,
illustrated by Patrick McDonnell:


(Click second image to see spread in its entirety)


(Click second image to see spread in its entirety)



(Click second image to see spread in its entirety)



Art from Bénédicte Guettier’s I am the Wolf …
And Here I Come!



* * * * * * *

I AM THE WOLF … AND HERE I COME! First American Edition published in 2015 by Gecko Press USA. Illustrations reproduced by permission of the publisher.

MEET THE DULLARDS. Copyright © 2015 by Sara Pennypacker. Illustrations copyright © 2015 by Daniel Salmieri. Illustrations reproduced by permission of the publisher, Balzer & Bray/HarperCollins, New York.

MELISSA’S OCTOPUS AND OTHER UNSUITABLE PETS. Copyright © 2014 by Charlotte Voake. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA on behalf of Walker Books, London.

THE SKUNK. Copyright © 2015 by Mac Barnett. Illustrations copyright © 2015 by Patrick McDonnell. Illustrations reproduced by permission of the publisher, Roaring Brook Press, New York.

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13. Ella Incognito

A warmup painting from this morning, before jumping into the thick of things.

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14. How Do Award Judges Feel About the Books They Were Unable to Honor?

Best YA and Middle-Grade novels selected by Pete Hautman. His latest book is Eden West, the story of a boy growing up in an isolated doomsday cult in Montana.

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15. In Sync

In married life, I really think
It helps a lot to be in sync
For if your wavelengths seem to match,
There won't be holes you'll have to patch.

Your lifestyle choices should agree
Though even that won't guarantee
Smooth sailing in the years ahead
(Which most expect when they are wed).

When differences at times appear
And one of you've slipped out of gear,
You've got to find a middle place
Which both of you will then embrace.

For big decisions must be shared;
Together, then, you'll be prepared
To fact the future as a team.
(It's not as hard as it may seem.)

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16. मैनेंजमैंट फंडा

article- monica guptaदैनिक भास्कर अखबार

Funda February 1 2013   BY  N Raghuraman

Resilience is a law of nature

Recently I went for a condolence. The family had suddenly shrunk from four members to three. But that one member who is no more today was enough to create a situation of a “band baaza bharat” everyday. All three members would be talking about the fourth member all the time. The conversations include where is she, hope she is not doing any masti, why she is so silent, what has been cooked for her, had she gone to her toilet or not, who will take her for a walk etc. Every human being will be talking about this member who is more than a human being and an apple of everyone’s eye.

The casual and sick leaves of the three were consumed only when this member was falling sick. In fact she was such stress buster at home no one else fell sick other than herself. All three members never grumbled to take leave to take care of this fourth member when the later used to fall ill.

That member who died was their 12-year-old female member of the family and a loyal companion was a watchman also. Nobody dared entered their house in their absence. It was a tiny brown and gold colour Pomeranian who used to run around the house all the time carrying something from somewhere to the main hall to attract to the attention of her masters.

Masters either used to pet and pat her for the job well done or would say that she should not carry that particular item hence forth. She understood every instruction and every word of her multiple masters.

Since last three months, she was very quiet, not eating food, not greeting people, no sniffing any new comer and his belongings. The house had become dead by and large. First they thought it is her general sickness. As the situation did not improve they tried different doctors, then they took her to the best of the doctors, every part of her body was scanned, nothing came out of those scanning.

Then they took her to the best of the animal hospital India can offer—Tata’s animal hospital at Parel in Mumbai found the reason for her inability to eat food. Her pancreas was strangulated by an organ growth which is not allowing the food to go. She was operated upon and found the growth is huge like a tumour but only thing is that the doctors at that time were not aware that it was cancerous or not.

She used to silently cry. The corners of the brown dog’s eyes were slowly getting black with flowing water. Doctors told the family that she is going through a terrible pain. They could not see her in pain and they requested the doctors not to treat her and allowed her to die.

I came back from the condolence and logged on to my computer. Cartoonist Monica Gupta from Sirsa, Haryana, had posted on her facebook page a picture of dry Tulsi plant, that she forgotten to water due to heavy winter. It became dry and there was not a single leaf. She decided to bring new sapling that evening to change. But the bad weather did not give her the courage to touch the mud. So she left the pot as it is.

Three days later when the weather subsided, she suddenly saw little green leaves spurting from the dried stems at different places. She was happy that the plant had come back to life. She immediately went to water the plant and feed with some manures. And she was happy she did not kill the plant three days before thinking that it died.

I don’t know why the dog came to my mind. Had they not stopped the treatment the chances of it coming back to life was there or not, I have no clue. Only doctors are the best advisors. But it certainly occurred to my mind. I clicked ‘like’ on Monica Gupta’s post, the first of that kind of an activity in my social networking life.

Funda is that life is resilient. Give it a chance and it will make every effort to repair itself and bounce back. Every creature or life inherently possesses the power of resilience. 

रधु रमन जी ने अपने  इस लेख में  Face book https://www.facebook.com/linkmonicagupta पर छ्पे एक लेख का जिक्र किया … मेरे लिए बहुत खुशी और आश्चर्य का विषय था …

The post मैनेंजमैंट फंडा appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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17. Cartoon Brew Launches 2015 Animation Oscar Tracker

What animated shorts and features are contending for an Oscar this year?

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18. (Another) Mafhouz literary prize ?

       AUC Press have been awarding a Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature since 1996, and it has a good track record (with the winning titles translated into English).
       Now, apparently, as Ahram Online reports, Egypt might launch Naguib Mafhouz literary prize -- "an international literary prize named after Egyptian novelist and Nobel laureate Naguib Mahfouz".
       With the ministry of culture doing the considering one has to wonder what kind of prize this might turn out to be -- state authorities rarely excel in the cultural-awards department (though there are exceptions -- see the Austrian State Prize for European Literature, for example). And the culture minister was consulting with Gamal El-Ghitany about this, so maybe they can come up with a decent concept.

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19. illustration friday~pet

slow and steady
11x14 acrylic on canvas
©the enchanted easel 2014
an adorable little sea turtle...the perfect pet for a beautiful pink haired mermaid.

{this piece, a commission for last year and one of my favorites to date. it's the pink hair...;)}


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20. Translation pitching

       As part of European Literature Night, English PEN are having ELN VII: The Translation Pitch, and at PEN Atlas Rajendra Chitnis and Rosalind Harvey 'discuss their experiences of shortlisting for this year's ELN Translation Pitch event', in Lost and Found: Shortlisting for the European Literature Night Translation Pitch 2015.
       Interesting to get some background -- and the selected projects sounds pretty interesting. And I'm pleased/amused to note that I reviewed one of the finalists -- Разруха ('Ruin') by Vladimir Zarev (now being presented in Angela Rodel's translation) -- some six years ago.

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21. Happy Birthday, John Flanagan!

My original plan was to do an "on this day" post, and there have been some interesting events in history on May 22( the Greeks beat the Persians, it was the start of the Wars of the Roses - even if you don't know what those were, I bet you'll know Game Of Thrones, which was inspired by them). And there were some interesting birthdays, such as Laurence Olivier and that awful man Richard Wagner.

But when I went looking for writers, I discovered that the wonderful John Flanagan celebrates his seventieth birthday today!

I remember hearing him talk about his first Ranger's Apprentice novel at a centre for Youth Literature event. Hmm, I thought, sounds interesting, but I didn't check it out for a while after that.

When I finally did get around to it, I was sorry I hadn't read the books earlier.

The Ranger's Apprentice, in case you haven't read these books, is a delightful series set in an alternative Middle Ages. In this world, women can do a lot of things they couldn't do in our world at that time and people drink coffee and tomatoes are around in "Europe".  And a boy called Will, who is small and really not much good at fighting gets a job as an apprentice to Ranger Halt, who is a likeable rogue, who managed to start up a program for breeding ponies for his colleagues in the Rangers by stealing some breeding stock from this world's Mongols.

There is a spinoff series set in Skandia, this world's Viking lands, about a bunch of boys nobody picked in the annual Brotherband trials, but who ended up winning the competition because their leader, Hal, is smart and an inventor.

The books are funny and serious at the same time and both series suggest that you don't have to be a big hulking knight to make it in the world (though Will's best friend is a big hulking knight, Horace).

Raise your mug of coffee to John Flanagan, creator of this delicious universe! And, sorry, Americans, he's ours! An Aussie!

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22. The Meursault Investigation review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Kamel Daoud's The Meursault Investigation, due out soon from Other Press (in the US) and Oneworld Publications (UK).
       This variation-on-Camus (The Stranger/The Outsider (with a dash of The Fall, for good measure)) is surely one of the most-anticipated translations of the year -- and it will undoubtedly sell like hotcakes (and quickly become a college-course-staple). Racking up literary prizes left and right -- most recently: the prix Goncourt du Premier Roman -- this is bound to get a great deal of attention in the English-language press as well (beyond what's already out there, like Adam Shatz's recent profile in The New York Times Magazine).

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23. Character "mouthing" words

Hi. I was wondering, if a character mouths or silently says something, should it be in quotations? Or italicized? Thank you. Answer: My personal inclination

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24. Pick of the Week for PET and This Week’s Topic


It’s Illustration Friday!

We’re excited to announce this week’s topic, but first please enjoy the illustration above by Oriol San Julián, our Pick of the Week for last week’s topic of PET. Thanks to everyone else for participating. We hope it was inspiring!

You can also see a gallery of all the other entries here.

And of course, you can now participate in this week’s topic:


Here’s how:

Step 1: Illustrate your interpretation of the current week’s topic (always viewable on the homepage).

Step 2: Post your image onto your blog / flickr / facebook, etc.

Step 3: Come back to Illustration Friday and submit your illustration (see big “Submit your illustration” button on the homepage).

Step 4: Your illustration will then be added to the participant gallery where it will be viewable along with everyone else’s from the IF community!

Also be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter and subscribe to our weekly email newsletter to keep up with our exciting community updates!


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25. Book Review: Get in Trouble by Kelly Link

From Goodreads:
 In “The Summer People,” a young girl in rural North Carolina serves as uneasy caretaker to the mysterious, never-quite-glimpsed visitors who inhabit the cottage behind her house. In “I Can See Right Through You,” a middle-aged movie star makes a disturbing trip to the Florida swamp where his former on- and off-screen love interest is shooting a ghost-hunting reality show. In “The New Boyfriend,” a suburban slumber party takes an unusual turn, and a teenage friendship is tested, when the spoiled birthday girl opens her big present: a life-size animated doll.

Hurricanes, astronauts, evil twins, bootleggers, Ouija boards, iguanas, The Wizard of Oz, superheroes, the Pyramids...These are just some of the talismans of an imagination as capacious and as full of wonder as that of any writer today. But as fantastical as these stories can be, they are always grounded in sly humor and an innate generosity of feeling for the frailty--and the hidden strengths--of human beings. In Get in Trouble, this one-of-a-kind talent expands the boundaries of what short fiction can do.
One of my regrets is that when a book is this well written and this enjoyable to read, I have less to say about it than if I had issues.  My reviews for amazing books are always much shorter than my reviews for bad books.  That said, this is gonna be super short.  It's amazing.  Exactly the kind of short story I love to read.  Echoes of Karen Russell and George Saunders all over the place, but still in her own unique voice.  I can't get enough of this type of short story - based in reality and focused on every day emotions and situations but always with a bizarre, sometimes magical, twist.  It's just beautifully done and full of gorgeous language, but never too wordy or descriptive.

Entertainment Value
Again, I couldn't put it down.  I loved every story in here.  I started to try to list my favorites and realized that I just can't - I felt like every story in here was a winner.  Once again, not much to say beyond the fact that I found it enthralling and enchanting.

In 2008 I gave Link's collection Stranger Things Happen.  My preferences have evolved dramatically since then, beginning with my reading of Tenth of December two years ago, so I immediately placed a hold on this and Link's other collections.  I'm anxious to see how my response will differ now from eight years ago when I criticized it for being "weird".  Now that "weird" is one of my go-to indicators of a good book, I think I'll be re-rating it on Goodreads.

I think this one is going to appeal to those who like the works of Russell and Saunders, to fans of magical realism, to fans of the weird and twisted, and to those who love a well-written short story.  Avoid if you're looking for real-life situations, but give it a try if you're interested in real-life feelings but can take a bit of the weird along with it.

Thanks to NetGalley for providing me with a copy to review.

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