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1. NEW COLLECTION - jessica wilde

Designer Jessica Wilde joined Not on the High Street earlier this year and has been busy developing a range which includes cushions, art prints, notebooks, gift cards and handmade jewellery. Featuring bright botanicals and quirky creatures Jessica took her inspiration from rural Shropshire and her hometown of Shrewsbury where her studio is currently based. The products - including these

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2. My Crazy Inventions Sketchbook: 50 Awesome Drawing Activities for Young Inventors by Andrew Rae & Lisa Regan, 128 pp, RL: 4

My Crazy Inventions Sketchbook: 50 Awesome Drawing Activities for Young Inventors by Andrew Rae and Lisa Regan is GENIUS! Rae has worked for many clients worldwide in advertising, print, publishing and animation and Regan is an accomplished author of children's non-fiction with over 300 titles to her name. The beauty of My Crazy Inventions Sketchbook is that it is more than a doodle book that will appeal to kids who may have never even considered inventing or designing something. This book is so engaging and inviting that readers will step outside the box or be inspired to step even further out, if they are already creatively inclined. Regan and Rae detail and bring to life a wide array of inventions from hundreds of years ago, like Leonardo daVinci's 1485 design for wings for humans to 21st century craziness like the man in Brazil who built a machine that changes from a van to a robot and back again in about two minutes. 

My Crazy Inventions Sketchbook is a great gift for a kid who is a tinkerer, doodler or both, but it is also a gentle guide for kids who might really feel a passion for invention. The "Getting Started" page takes this seriously and tells junior inventors to keep a notebook, always make sure you are not inventing something that already exists and to "learn to let go" when you are the only one who thinks your inventions is a winner.

My Crazy Invention Sketchbook introduces kids to actual inventions, from the useful to the life changing to the ridiculous then invites them to think up their own inventions along the same lines or principals or adapt and improve something that already exists. Inventors can invent something to help them practice their favorite sport, a faster method of long distance travel or ways to make a boat fly. They are invited to invent a toilet, a toy, a brand new candy and a better bed. They are also asked to customize a bike and accessorize a car. Leaning into the less than possible (but hey, who am I to say?) kids are also asked to design a shrinking machine and a device that would help you do your homework.

The final pages of My Crazy Invention Sketchbook introduces readers to the concept of patents and has a two page "Application for Patent of My Crazy Invention" that, while far from the real thing, is a great place for young inventors to organize their thoughts and get them on the page. Finally, a very cool certificate of patent makes up the last page of the book. My Crazy Invention Sketchbook is guaranteed to spark ideas and inspire creativity in any one, of any age, who opens the covers and starts turning pages!

Source: Review Copy

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3. #784 – Santa Clauses by Bob Raczka & Chuck Groenink

Last year, I was hospitalized from September until March and was unable to bring you this wonderful Christmas book from Bob Raczka and Chuck Groenink (Carolrhoda). I love this picture book and its illustrations of life at the North Pole–the simplified, down-to-earth version–and Santa’s poems, one haiku for each day, from December 1st to 24th. I am …

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4. Scotland and Kilts

Yes, they really do wear them here. I've been trying to collect random shots to prove it, which is actually rather hard to do as they are usually passing me on the sidewalk and I'm just not that fast with my camera phone. At any rate, I did collect a few. Here's my documentary of my first three months in Scotland, via kilts.
     The old men and wedding party members in kilts you might expect. I stopped both of these fine gentlemen on the sidewalk and took their pictures with permission. The first was heading to some sort of ceremony at a local, ancient church near Greyfriar's Pub. (I LOVED his bright yellow, purple, and blue - worn with pride!) The second gentleman was on Albany Street near our neighborhood. He was going to a wedding. You see a lot of that here - whole wedding parties wearing formal, matching plaids. It's quite a sight - so handsome! (And if you're really lucky you'll see the horse and carriage too - matching steeds in ostrich feathers - stunning!)

     I often see older men in full regalia on what seem like perfectly normal days.
Then there are the average kilt wearers - like Rugby players. These were walking in front of the College of Art on Lady Lawson.
And the random Scottish dude - wearing a kilt because, y'know, he's just Scottish and all that. This one passed me on the sidewalk on the way to school one day on Lothian Road.
I'm sharing these now because the weather has recently taken a turn and legs are obviously getting cold - on the men at least. I'm not seeing as many kilts as I did just a few weeks ago, although I still see plenty of heels and tiny pumps on the women. (How DO they do it!?)
     At any rate, I do love the kilts. Scottish men have great legs - and it takes a macho dude to make a skirt kilt look sexy. They all work it well. I enjoy the kilts - like this one spotted while heading home towards Broughton one evening.
Stan still says I'll have to bury him in one to ever see him in a kilt, but I'm still working on him...

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5. ‘Get Squirrely’ Trailer Gives Animation Fans What They Want: Shit Jokes!

How many scatalogical references can you fit into one trailer for a wholesome family film?

The post ‘Get Squirrely’ Trailer Gives Animation Fans What They Want: Shit Jokes! appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

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6. Working with Public Libraries: A Guide for Authors (Part Two of Two)

Julie here! I am so excited to share the second part of a guest post from YA fantasy author Kathy MacMillan. Kathy’s debut novel, Sword and Verse, will be published by HarperTeen/HarperCollins in January 2016. Kathy also has lots of experience working with  libraries, and she is back to share her insights with us! This is part two of two, so if you missed it, make sure you check out part one of Kathy’s tips for writers who want to work with libraries!
Kathy MacMillan author photo color 200x200dpi

In part one, we looked at book signings and other programs. But how do you pitch your program to a library?

Showcases: Some state and regional library associations run performer showcases, where local authors and performers who wish to present in libraries can share a brief taste of their programs (usually 10-15 minutes). Participating in a showcase is a great way to put your presentation in front of lots of librarian eyeballs (and sometimes school contacts as well). You will likely be presenting alongside magicians, mad scientists, and naturalists with adorable fuzzy creatures, so share the liveliest parts of your presentation!

No showcases in your area? Consider creating your own! Join forces with other authors, illustrators, or children’s performers and propose a free showcase session for your state or regional library conference. This is a win-win: you get to promote yourself, and the conference gets a free program. And of course, don’t forget to hand out bookmarks, postcards, or brochures with your contact and booking information!

What kind of program?: If you can tie your program into library initiatives, you will make it easier for librarians to say yes to booking you. Some major trends:

The Makerspace Movement: Providing hands-on spaces to create, with everything from 3-D printers and coding software to discarded books turned into art. This type of programming may be geared to children, teens, or adults. Check out this Library Journal article for an overview: http://www.thedigitalshift.com/2012/10/public-services/the-makings-of-maker-spaces-part-1-space-for-creation-not-just-consumption/

STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math): Public libraries are offering more programs with an explicit science focus, but they are also emphasizing the math, science, and technology elements found in traditional storytimes. This School Library Journal article gives a picture of what these programs look like: http://www.slj.com/2013/10/programs/full-steam-ahead-injecting-art-and-creativity-into-stem/#_

Early Literacy: This is not early reading – rather, it is the constellation of skills, such as print awareness, vocabulary knowledge, and the ability to apply real-world knowledge to a text, that prepares children for the tasks of reading and writing. Check out the American Library Association’s page on Early Literacy and Libraries for more information: http://www.ala.org/advocacy/literacy/earlyliteracy

A Word about Meeting Rooms: Library meeting rooms are often available for use by community groups. This can cause some confusion when writing organizations want to hold programs at the library. If you approach the library about “using the meeting room” for a program, you will likely be given the standard community group reservation policies, which often include a ban on selling anything during the program. However, if you approach the library requesting that it sponsor or co-sponsor a program, new doors are opened. When the library sponsors a program, book sales are usually allowed and the event will appear in the library’s publicity.

Partnering with Other Community Organizations: Bring extra value to your program by brainstorming ways to connect with schools, community groups, and local businesses. Erin Hagar, author of Julia Child: An Extraordinary Life in Words and Pictures (Duo Press) had a group of middle school students perform a skit about the famous chef at one of her signings. Find local businesses related to your book’s topic and ask them to help get the word out to their customers about your event, through print or social media. If you are traveling some distance for the event, offer a discount if the librarian helps connect you with local schools willing to host a presentation on the same day. Invite the local independent bookseller to sell books at your program. If you’re not sure where to start in contacting these local groups, ask your librarians – providing those resources is their job, after all!

Swag and Selling Books: The number of books you sell can vary wildly from library to library, and you can’t necessarily judge the effectiveness of the program by the number of books sold. Depending on the location, audience, and timing of your program, the audience may not be in the frame of mind to purchase a book. (Case in point: When my nonfiction book, Little Hands and Big Hands: Children and Adults Signing Together (Huron Street Press) came out, I did a mini-storytime featuring American Sign Language to promote it. In libraries where the program was scheduled in place of the regular weekly storytimes, I sold few books – often the parents would tell me that they hadn’t even brought their wallets, because they were in storytime-attendance mode.)

Make sure you have bookmarks or postcards to hand out to each attendee with information about your book and your website. That way, there is a chance that person may purchase the book later (or at least leave the bookmark on a restroom counter and someone else will see it!)

It’s important to clarify whether books can be sold during the event, and if so, who will be responsible for bringing and selling them. The Friends of the Library may be on hand to sell books, or the library may have a pre-existing relationship with a local independent bookseller.

If the library expects you to handle book sales, bring a friend or family member to handle sales so you can focus on signing, or contact a local bookseller yourself. Don’t forget to account for sales tax, and to report your direct sales as required by your state. The Small Business Association has a handy guide for collecting and reporting sales tax here: https://www.sba.gov/blogs/sales-tax-101-small-business-owners-and-online-retailers

Making the event go smoothly: Communication is key! Confirm the event in writing. If you set up the event with a central coordinator, then call the branch where you will be presenting a day or two before the program and find out who your in-person contact will be. Make sure that person knows when to expect you and has your cell phone number to contact you en route if necessary. This day-before call seems like a small thing, easy to overlook, but it is HUGE for creating rapport with your host and showing your professionalism.

During the event itself, be a good guest. Don’t be a diva, and communicate clearly about what you need for the program to go smoothly. Understand that your host may not be able to stay in the room the entire time because the library is short-staffed, or someone is vomiting in the children’s department, or there is a crisis at the circulation desk. (There’s always an adventure happening in a public library!)

Afterwards, send a thank you note to your host as well as to the contact person. Post pictures from the event on your website and social media and tag the library. (Do not post any photos that show faces of attendees unless you have their written permission!)

Keep a record of the staff you work with at each library, so that, when your next book comes out, you can send a personal note – and perhaps secure another invitation to present!

Other Ways to Connect With Public Libraries

Getting the library to carry your book: Most libraries have centralized Materials Selection specialists who develop the collection based on reviews, the library’s budget, and community needs. Even if your book is published by a major publisher and is reviewed in national journals, it’s a good idea to reach out to your local libraries and let them know that you live in the area.

If your book is published by a smaller press, or if you are self-published, then you may have a tougher time. Libraries rely on review sources such as Booklist, School Library Journal, and Publishers Weekly, and if you don’t have trade reviews to show them, they may not consider purchasing your book. Many libraries have established a process for local authors to submit one or more copies for the materials selectors to review.

Patrons can also request that the library carry certain books, and the more requests the library gets, the more likely it is to purchase the material. Enlist the aid of your supporters to make these requests at their local libraries.

Public libraries can be an author’s best friend! I hope these tips have given you some ideas on how to start connecting with libraries far and near.

Got more tips for working with libraries? Share them in the comments!

Sword And Verse cover

KATHY MACMILLAN is a writer, American Sign Language interpreter, librarian, founder of The Sweet Sixteens (www.thesweetsixteens.com) and avowed Hufflepuff. Her debut young adult novel, Sword and Verse, is an epic fantasy that explores questions of power and prejudice. Find her at www.kathymacmillan.com and on Twitter at @kathys_quill.

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7. Walking and Talking With . . . Dav Pilkey

Such a treat! So I’m finally reading Steve Sheikin’s latest nonfiction work, Most Dangerous, and then out of the blue he sends me the latest in his “Walking and Talking” series. Dav Pilkey, Mr. Captain Underpants himself, is today’s subject. Fun Pilkey Fact You Never Knew: He has exquisite taste in cakes. True fact!


Thanks once again to Steve for allowing me to showcase his work.  For previous entries in the “Walking and Talking” series, please be sure to check out the following:


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8. Kangaroos Cancan Cafe Re-Opens for Business!

Yes, Julia Jarman and I have been campaigning to get Kangaroo's CanCan Cafe back in print (Julia has done most of the work to be fair), and the great news is, we succeeded!

Hachette have done a print run of 1000 copies - not many, but if they sell, they have promised more. So, to help keep the cancan alive, you know what you have to do!

Our book was originally published by Orchard Books, but this new edition is being put out by Hodder, publishers of Class Two at the Zoo, Class Three all at Sea and the new Class One Farmyard Fun, which I am working on right now. Both Orchard and Hodder are part of the bigger Hachette and it seemed more streamlined to have all our books under the same umbrella.

I am delighted to have this one back. It's always been one of my favourites for reading aloud in schools. I shall get my feather bower out again and dust off my cancan CD. Let the dancing begin! 

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9. Korrektur-Verlag

       In the Neue Zürcher Zeitung Ingeborg Waldinger profiles (in German) the wonderful-sounding Thomas Bernhard-devoted (really devoted ...) Korrektur-Verlag -- quite an impressive undertaking.

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10. Sally Ride: a photography of America’s pioneering woman in space by Tam O’Shaughnessy

Sally Ride: a photography of America’s pioneering woman in space Tam O’Shaughnessy Roaring Brook Press. 2015 ISBN: 9781596439948 Grades 6-12 I received a copy of this book from the publisher This review reflects my own opinion and not that of the 2015 Cybils Committee. The story of Sally Ride is lovingly shared by her friend and life partner, Tam O’Shaughnessy. The two met when

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11. Monday Poetry Stretch - Gogyohka

Gogyohka (go-gee-yo-ka) is  a verse form that was developed in Japan by Enta Kusakabe. It is meant to be a freer verse form than the tanka. A gogyohka is a five line poem in which each line is comprised of a single phrase.

You can learn more about this form and read some examples at Ben Johnson Poetry FormsGogyohka (5-Line Poetry) and Writer's Digest.

I hope you'll join me this week in writing a gogyohka. Please share a link to your poem or the poem itself in the comments.

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12. Literary criticism, East African style ?

       In the Daily Nation Chris Wanjala is disappointed with where literary criticism (and hence, apparently, literature itself) seems to be headed in East Africa, explaining: How literature is dying in the hands of young people writing on pornography.
       Oh, yes, oh dear ... that must be the problem ..... Read the rest of this post

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13. BLUE PRINT SHOW - new york

These flyers have come in from design studio Pomelo & Pomelo who will be at Blue Print II which runs from this Wednesday to Friday, December 2-4 in New York. Following their success from the first Blue Print in May, owner Abby Zweifel set straight to work on new collections to present at the December Blue Print show. Using her signature bright colors and intricate line work, Abby has created

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14. Why Writers need R&R…

Recently, my hubby and I just got back from vacation. We went on a Caribbean cruise for our 30th Anniversary—a trip that had been on our bucket list for such a long time. We also spent a couple of nights in New Orleans—love the energy and party atmosphere down there! This was also the first long vacation we took together (read: no kids in tow) in twenty-five years. Um, yeah. You read that right. Twenty-five years? That’s like 175 in dog years!

In the past, vacations were usually centered around family. We journeyed to our cottage with our son or camped up north with our daughters. Ah, the good old days of black flies and mosquitoes! That said, when you own a vacation home, you really become popular to family, friends, and long-lost relatives, especially in the hot, summer months. But when it’s time to pull in the boats and docks or put away garden furniture for the colder seasons, you can’t see their butts through the dust. Wink.

My writing seemed to flow with the seasons too. I’d wrap up stories and schedule a pile of blog posts by the end of June in anticipation for school wrapping up, the hot weather, and onslaught of summer guests. Although I loved seeing family and friends, it wasn’t much of a ‘vacation’ for me. You know what I mean. Someone has to cook, clean, fetch drinks, feed the pets, wash the clothes, grocery shop while others are sitting on the dock, sunning themselves with a cold one. By mid-October, I was finally back in my writing groove, working on the next novel, doing research, or picking up where I left off with my story. Oh, and don’t forget about all the book promotion and marketing an author has to do. No wonder many writers burn out!

I believe 2015 was my turnaround year—click HEREto read the full story. Every writer needs a year that shakes up things like one of those snow globes until everything settles and you can see clearly. What I saw was one stressed-out author who barely kept it together. We writers can only do so much. We need down time just as much as a doctor or accountant or a plumber. Vacations are meant to recharge us, take us away from our same old routines. We all need a period of renewal to calm our minds and rejuvenate our bodies. Play time is just as important as work time, even if you can get away for only a few days.

I found it - the 7th Arch of Atlantis!
Since I’ve returned, I feel renewed and relaxed, and certain things don’t bother me as much. I even unplugged from my phone during the entire seven day cruise. Egad! And you know what? Life went on, and the world didn’t stop turning because I wasn’t tweeting or sharing. Being away from my keyboard also gave me a fresher perspective on my work-in-progress too, and I was able sit down with no distractions and make a plan for the rest of the year. I’d forgotten why I started writing in the first place—yes I want to supplement my income (what writer doesn’t?), but also want to follow my dream, and do what makes me happy. And isn’t that why we’re all here on Earth in the first place?

So what about you? Do you have any plans for a vacation in the future? Are you ready to unplug and relax? Would love to hear your comments! Cheers and thank you for reading my blog!

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15. More French 'books of the year'

       Another French publication gets in on the 'books of the year'-game, with Le Point announcing Notre palmarès des 25 livres de l'année 2015
       It's largely made up of the predictable usual suspects: Sansal's 2084 (which will surely be on absolutely every one of these lists), the Houellebecq, prize-winners by Binet, Énard, and de Vigan, etc. Okay, there's that Boris Johnson, too -- didn't see that coming ..... Read the rest of this post

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16. Wine and DNA profiling

In ampelographic collections, about ten living plants of each grape variety or clone are kept alive for future studies or plantings, which requires a large amount of time and money. Yet, in every collection we estimate an average of 5% of labelling errors. They can now be identified with DNA profiling and duplicates can be eliminated, thus saving time and money.

The post Wine and DNA profiling appeared first on OUPblog.

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17. ‘The Good Dinosaur’ Underperforms At Holiday Box Office

Adusted for inflation, "The Good Dinosaur" is Pixar's weakest launch ever at the box office.

The post ‘The Good Dinosaur’ Underperforms At Holiday Box Office appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

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18. So many things…….

Lots of things to recommend that caught my eye in recent days. Have a look:

1. As it is the holiday gift giving season and whether or not you are shopping for yourself or others, I recommend you check out my friend Liz’s blog where she is reviewing not only YA titles but also a lot of mighty fine romances for adult readers. I guarantee you will find some books to buy there (and I second her recommendation of author Tessa Dare).

2. Jenny Davidson’s blog is another I highly recommend. I’ve mentioned it here before but if you haven’t checked it out, please be sure to do so. Not only do you get a ton of great reading recs of all kinds of books, you also gets links to tons of fascinating articles/sites online.

3. Just finished reading Outwitting History: The Amazing Adventures of a Man Who Rescued a Million Yiddish Books and I can not recommend it enough. If you enjoy reading cultural history titles at all, and regardless of whether or not you are Jewish (I’m not), you will find the story of Aaron Lansky and how he tracked down and saved Yiddish books (creating a book center to preserve and share them) to be absolutely riveting. Lansky is a great writer and he combines a ton of anecdotes with a lot of intriguing history around the Yiddish language and how it was developed. Great stuff.

4. This also caught my eye–Baby Birds: An Artist Looks Into the Nest by Julie Zickefoose. This oversized nature book is not due out until April 2016 but an advanced copy came my way and it is one to keep an eye out for if you are a bird lover (or artist). The author digs deep into natural history, references her daily diary and observations and complements the text with some truly lovely full color illustrations of (of course) baby birds.

5. And for Cyber Monday, we have reopened the Book Fair for Ballou High School Library for the day! If you have some time in the midst of your holiday shopping, please take a look at the Ballou wish list and send a book or two their way. Your generosity would be most certainly be very much appreciated.

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19. Kitty Café

Youth service librarians live and breathe the ALA marketing campaign of Libraries Transform. Childhood is the most epically transformative time for human beings. However, none of these thoughts were in my mind when the Nebraska Humane Society agreed to be part of a Cat Café event at our library. Instead, I was focused on how incredibly fun this community partnership would be.

It wasn’t until during the event, when I went into the room to get some video footage, that I fully comprehended that lives were going to change that day. This realization was triggered by seeing a woman sitting on the floor playing with one of the kittens while inquiring about the adoption process. I became emotional because families were going to be created or enlarged at this event.

Later, while looking through social media I came across an update to the Nebraska Humane Society’s Facebook post about the program. Christina Kadlec, the woman whom I had observed earlier, shared that she had adopted two of the kittens from that morning’s Kitty Café event; what she wrote had me in tears. I reached out to Christina and asked her to more fully tell her story, and she graciously agreed.

Over the past two years I lost both of my best friends: Bearcat who was with me for 17 years, and then 18 year-old Marbles. To say I was heartbroken would be a gross understatement. My cats had been comforting me through almost all of life’s challenges. Coming home to an empty apartment was a very hollow feeling.

The morning of the Kitty Café, I had been battling with myself as to whether or not I would visit the Humane Society that day. I saw the post for the event on Facebook and I was captivated by the fuzzy dilute tortie in the pictures. I decided I would head out to Gretna, if for no other reason, to play with the kittens and enjoy their antics.

Upon arriving at the Kitty Café, I hung back and let the kids enjoy the kittens for the most part. However, it so happened that the fuzzy gray tortie and I ended up playing together quite a bit. Her sister, a gray tabby, also made me smile with her outgoing, fearless sense of adventure. I talked to NHS staff at the event about adoptions and arranged to come see “the girls” after the event.

Needless to say, when I visited them later that day, it was love. We completed the adoption process late that afternoon.

I’m so happy to come home to my playful, lively kittens! They cannot replace my previous cat friends, but they provide a needed salve for the cracks of my broken heart. Every day we learn a little more about each other and everyday they become more a part of my home. I am so grateful to Nebraska Humane Society & Gretna Public Library for giving me the opportunity to find my girls, Abigail & Zoe.

Click to view slideshow.

Photos courtesy of Christina Kadlec

After reading about the impact that this event has had on the lives of one woman and two kittens, please seriously consider creating your own Cat Café at your library. It’s a magical event that can transform the lives of both people and animals in your community.


Photo credit: Jennifer Lockwood

Photo credit: Jennifer Lockwood

Today’s guest blogger is Rebecca McCorkindale. Rebecca is Gretna Public Library’s Assistant Director/Creative Director, oversees the daily operations of the Children’s Library, and serves as the 2016 Chair of the School, Children’s, and Young People’s section of the Nebraska Library Association. For more information about Rebecca and her work, visit her blog hafuboti.com or email her at hafuboti@gmail.com.

Please note as a guest post, the views expressed here do not represent the official position of ALA or ALSC.

If you’d like to write a guest post for the ALSC Blog, please contact Mary Voors, ALSC Blog manager, at alscblog@gmail.com.

The post Kitty Café appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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20. The need for immediate presidential action to close Guantanamo

Despite promising at the start of his presidency to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, President Obama has yet to exercise the clear independent authority to do so. In a recent Washington Post op-ed, 2009 White House counsel Gregory B. Craig and Cliff Sloan, special envoy for Guantanamo closure 2013 and 2014, urged President Obama to abandon trying to get Congressional approval.

The post The need for immediate presidential action to close Guantanamo appeared first on OUPblog.

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21. Monday Mishmash 11/30/15

Happy Monday! Monday Mishmash is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing what's on your mind. Feel free to grab the button and post your own Mishmash.

Here's what's on my mind today:
  1. Out of the Ashes Edits  I'm working on my edits for Out of the Ashes, the second book in the Into the Fire trilogy, which comes out in February. :)
  2. Client edit  I have a new editing client and I'll be working on her book for the next two weeks.
  3. Free Monthly Newsletter  My newsletter goes out tomorrow. If you aren't signed up to receive one but would like to, click here.
  4. Jamberry FB Party  I'm hosting a Jamberry FB party this week. There are tons of nail wraps to be won. If you'd like to be added, let me know.
  5. School Visit  I'll be visiting a fourth grade class on Friday to talk about how an idea becomes a book. I'm really looking forward to it.
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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22. THREE New Release Giveaways plus Author Interviews for 11/30 - 12/6

As November draws to a close it's hard to believe the final month of 2015 begins tomorrow! There are a lot of fantastic books releasing this month, including NOT IF I SEE YOU FIRST, ALL WE LEFT BEHIND, and VIRTUALLY IN LOVE, of which we are giving away a copy each.

Happy Reading!
Lindsey, Martina, Sam, Jocelyn, Erin, Lisa, Shelly, Susan, Elizabeth, Kristin, Sandra and Anisaa

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23. December Sweepstakes

sweepstakes_1Attention, all Klutz fans! The December STACKS Blast Giveaway is a good one! This month, you can enter for a chance to win a Klutz prize pack including 3 Klutz activity books.

But, here’s the thing. You can ONLY enter if you subscribe to the STACKS Blast Newsletter. So first, you sign up for the newsletter. Then you must wait until December 15 when Hooray! the STACKS Blast will arrive in your e-mail inbox. Hurry up and open it! Inside, you’ll see a special section for the STACKS Giveaway. That’s where you enter. OK? Don’t forget to sign up for the STACKS Blast Newsletter and enter the sweepstakes. Good luck!

— Sonja, STACKS Staffer

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24. November Mosaic

November is always such a gallop, what with mammo/onco appointments, parent conferences, report cards, 5th grade concert...but lookie there...I took time for a coloring page at The James, a concert at Natalie's, a bonfire,  and a bike ride before NCTE, plus a lovely afternoon at the Audubon Metropark as our Black Friday #OptOutside after NCTE. And of course, NCTE was all kinds of loveliness in the middle of all that other craziness!

You can see the images in this mosaic on Flickr here.

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25. Got Back Into... The Ranger's Apprentice Series

Well, I've had some RA novels on my iPad for a while now, and what with having just downloaded the prequel, I thought it might be time to finish the last of the original books. I'm now reading The Emperor of Nihon-Ja, then I will read The Lost Tales. After finishing some Brotherband books(spinoff series) and reading a reference to something that  happened in Lost Tales, I thought it was definitely time!

I love these books. They aren't just exciting adventures, they're funny. The author has a lot of fun poking his tongue out at some of the tropes of fantasy. And strictly speaking, there isn't any fantasy in these books, apart from the fact that they're set in a universe other than ours. There's no magic! Forget it. If a bunch of guys and girls who have adventures and use their brains isn't good enough for you, perhaps better to go and find a real fantasy series. The rest of us will continue to read and laugh and cheer for our favourite characters.

More anon, when I've read the prequel.

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