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Back-to-school stories usually focus on what it's like to start school, but what happens to sibling's relationships when kids head off to the classroom? Lori Nichols' newest book provides a tender and charming look at how two sisters cope with the transitions when one of them heads off to school.
Maple & Willow Apart
by Lori Nichols
Nancy Paulsen Books / Penguin, 2015
Your local library
*best new book*
Maple and Willow have loved playing together all summer, but when it's time for big sister Maple to start school the transition is especially hard for Willow. "Home wasn't the same without Maple." And when she came home, Maple couldn't stop talking about her new friends. I adore how Nichols shows Willow's perspective, how she tells about her
new friend Pip -- an acorn-topped sprite she finds under a tree -- how she explores and finds things to do when Maple is away.
|"I had fun too," said Willow. "I played with Pip."|
I especially love how Nichols uses her delightful illustrations to develop the story, keeping the language spare. Each picture focuses on the children and their world, but there's enough space to let the reader imagine themselves as being there too.
|"And we have loud horns!"|
Nichols develops the relationship between Maple and Willow in perfect balance, moving back and forth from each sister's perspective, helping children empathize with both sister. You can see just how excited Maple is to start school, but also how much she misses her sister. And the ending still has me smiling, as the sisters come up with just the right solution.
|The next morning, Willow had a surprise for Maple.|
"Maple, Pip wants to go to school with you today."
Want more back-to-school books? This week I'm reviewing these new favorites:
Illustrations ©2015 Lori Nichols; used with permission from the publisher. The review copy was kindly sent by the publisher, Nancy Paulsen Books / Penguin. 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
The September/October issue of World Literature Today is now (partially) available online.
Completely available: the World Literature in Review-section -- i.e. the reviews, with lots of good coverage.
By: Sue Bursztynski,
I have just finished rereading Mary Renault's classic The King Must Die. I first read it when I was about eleven. I remember, because, having heard a radio play, I bought a copy as a birthday gift...and kept it, giving the birthday girl something else. My paperback is falling apart from so many readings over the years, so for this reread I bought an inexpensive ebook version.
For those who don't know about it, it's a novel about the mythical hero Theseus, written as a straight historical novel with just a touch of fantasy, a bit like Mary Stewart's Merlin novels - and even then, you ask yourself if this or that happened or not.
The title is based on the charming custom of ancient times in which the sacred king of a matriarchal society ruled for a year or seven or nine, then was killed, to make sure that the king was always young and strong and the crops would grow. Robert Graves and other scholars believed that this is where quite a lot of mythology comes from. (And if you ever read the very Stephen King-style novel Harvest Home by Tom Tryon, you'll find a sacred king thing happening in rural America)
And Mary Renault works it into her novel. Her Theseus is not a giant of a man as generally believed; if he had been, she argues, he would never have been chosen for the bull dance, which required dancers who were short, slim and agile. What he does have plenty of is brains.
He believes in his connection with the god Poseidon, even after he knows he was fathered by King Aigeus of Athens and that his ability to sense when an earthquake is coming is a family genetic thing on Aigeus's side, not because his father was a god. Because he believes this, he also has a strong sense of the king's duty to his people, including the possible duty to die for them - and that when the god makes this clear, the king needs to consent. If he hasn't consented the sacrifice means nothing.
So the stories about his adventures on the Isthmus of Corinth start with his being required to wrestle and kill the previous king of Eleusis - in mythology he's a bandit called Kerkyon, in the novel Kerkyon is the king's title, and when Theseus has defeated his predecessor he is Kerkyon.
This Theseus is cocky, assertive and likes women, plural. He falls in love, but that doesn't mean he's not going to sleep with captive women. It's one of the things a man does, as far as he is concerned. He doesn't mistreat them, though. He respects the gods of wherever he is, including the Goddess, but he's patriarchal to the core.
When he goes to Crete, he becomes close with his team, closer than siblings, and as their chosen leader he feels the same responsibility as he would for a kingdom.
To be honest, I wouldn't want to be married to this Theseus - he would insist on his right not only to sleep with whoever he wanted but have them around the palace - not mistresses, but women who do the housework and come to his bed when required.
But I would be more than happy to have him for my ruler. I'd feel safe. He would always put his subjects first.
This reread picked up a few things that I hadn't noticed last time I read it(not that long ago!) One was that there's a reference to the Thera explosion. The island is called Kalliste at the time, but it's Thera all right. There's a suggestion that this explains the earthquake that knocked out Knossos. I really must go back and reread that story!
Now I'm trying to decide if I'm going to reread The Bull From The Sea, which picks up just after the first novel and is, in a way, the second half of one book. It's so sad... Later, perhaps.
As I (tried to) explain last month, the one-time biennial author prize that was the Man Booker International Prize ate -- and transmuted into -- what used to be the annual book prize that was the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize (which no longer exists as such -- or rather exists pretty much unchanged (except there's now more prize money on offer) but is now called the 'Man Booker International Prize' ...).
Now: The Man Booker International Prize 2016 Judges Announced -- and a pretty impressive panel it is, chaired by Independent Foreign Fiction Prize-holdover Boyd Tonkin, and including Tahmima Anam, Ruth Padel, Daniel Medin, and, most impressively, David Bellos.
Of particular interest: Medin was a two-time Best Translated Book Award judge, and he's the first to serve on the juries for both of these leading translation prizes.
And of course it raises the question of whether Krasznahorkai's Seiobo There Below isn't the prohibitive favorite to take the 2016 Man Booker International Prize -- it won the 2014 BTBA (on which Medin served as one of the judges, as did I).
(It is presumably eligible, with official UK publication only coming this year; get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.)
One of the reasons they apparently ditched the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize and went all-in on the revised Man Booker International Prize was to take advantage of the brand recognition.
It's disappointing then to see that, aside from a more or less regurgitated press release mention at The Bookseller the announcement of the judging panel so far hasn't rated any major-press mention.
Sure, this isn't the most exciting news in the world -- but you'd (well, I'd) figure it would make for filler-material in the British papers at this relatively slow-news time of the year.
It's hard to imagine something won't pop up -- especially at The Independent, given the Tonkin connection -- but so far the Man Booker brand hasn't pulled its weight .....
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Ross Collins is a prolific illustrator (and author) of picture books, chapter books and novels for kids. His newest picture book, The Elephantom, is a huge hit in the U.K. and it's been adapted into a
play by the Royal National Theater that's also a huge hit! After reading The Elephantom, I can see why.
The narrator of The Elephantom, a very cute little girl - Collins has a way with
The Jozi Book Fair will be held from 11 – 13 September on Wits Campus with the theme Children’s Literature and Childhood. SCBWI will have a stand and some of our members will be hosting events. See www.jozibookfair.org.za
Authors and illustrators of children’s books who are members of SCBWI are invited to exhibit their books, promotional material or artwork (space permitting). In exchange, they
By: Clare Hanson,
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The ‘Africa Rising’ narrative means different things to different people. Yes, Africa has performed better in the last decade. But views diverge on the drivers of growth and on its sustainability, and on whether this growth will translate into structural transformation.
The post Industrial policy in Ethiopia appeared first on OUPblog.
Blog: Ink Splot 26
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If you like the Bad Kitty chapter books by Nick Bruel, try these other funny books about mischief and mayhem for ages 7-9.
Franny K. Stein, Mad Scientist Book #1: Lunch Walks Among Us by Jim Benton
Mad scientist Franny is having trouble making friends at her new school, so she begins to experiment with fitting in. The result of her experiment is not so great though. You could even call it . . . monstrous.
Dragonbreath by Ursula Vernon
Danny Dragonbreath and his iguana best friend, Wendell, attend the Herpitax-PhibbiasSchool for Reptiles and Amphibians, and deal with bullies, bad grades, nerves of steel, and of course, fire breath. See also the other books in the Dragonbreath series.
Great Critter Capers: The Great Hamster Massacre by Katie Davis
After years of begging their parents for pet hamsters, Anna and Tom’s beloved pets mysteriously die! Anna and Tom begin a humorous murder investigation throughout their neighborhood. See also the other books in the Great Critter Caper series.
Geronimo Stilton Book #1: Lost Treasure of the Emerald Eye by Geronimo Stilton
Search for buried treasure, uncover a great pyramid of cheese, and uncover haunted cats with famed mouse reporter Geronimo Stilton and his sister Thea. See also the other books in the Geronimo Stilton series.
Babymouse Book #1: Queen of the World! by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm
Meet the wildly imaginative Babymouse as she rocks out, camps out, and breaks hearts. See also the other books in the Babymouse series.
Stink Book #1: The Incredible Shrinking Kid by Megan McDonald
Judy Moody’s little terror of a brother now has his own series full strange antics, from getting free candy to super stinky sneakers. See also the other books in the Stink series.
Cat Diaries: Secret Writings of the MEOW Society by Betsy Byars, Betsy Duffey, and Laurie Myers
At the annual gathering of the MEOW society, cats of all kinds gather to tell cat stories. Find out the stories of Chico, the smallest cat in the world, a Pirate Cat, and Georgio the chef cat.
Dog Diaries: Secret Writings of the WOOF Society by Betsy Byars, Betsy Duffey, and Laurie Myers
It is the first annual meeting of the WOOF Society, a yearly storytelling extravaganza where dogs from all over the world gather to share funny diary entries from their ancestors.
Chi’s Sweet Home by Kanata Konami
In this adorable manga, Yohei and his family learn how difficult it is to keep their mischievous kitten a secret from their landlords. See also the other books in the Chi’s Sweet Home series.
Binky the Space Cat by Ashley Spires
Binky prepares for his first trip into space, but begins to worry how his humans would protect themselves if he left for good. See also the other books in the Binky Adventure series.
Golden Hamster Saga Book # 1: I Freddy by Dietlof Reiche
Intelligent golden hamster Freddy aspires to escape captivity and to become an independent and civilized creature.
Fashion Kitty by Charise Mericle Harper
After a stack of fashion magazines falls on Kiki Kitty’s head while she is blowing out the candles on her birthday cake, Kiki turns into Fashion Kitty, a feline superhero who saves other kitties from fashion disaster.
Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White
A pig named Wilbur befriends a spider named Charlotte, who tries to convince the farmer that Wilbur is no ordinary animal.
Amanda, STACKS Writer
May Contain Spoilers
I’m late to the Mercy Thompson band wagon. I don’t know why I avoided the series, but I just didn’t find them appealing, despite the kickbutt covers. Then I started reading the Alpha and Omega series, and I decided to give them a chance. I think a big stumbling block for me was the 1st person POV, which isn’t my favorite (I am learning to appreciate it, though). However, after listening to part of the audio book, I jumped to an ebook copy during last week’s marathon of pre-surgical appointments. The audio book was very entertaining, but not practical to listen to in either the doctor’s office or the hospital, and that is the only reason I switched versions. I highly recommend the audio book if that is your preferred reading method.
I loved Mercy. She’s a a Walker, and she shapeshifts into a coyote. Her ability to shift in not linked in any way to the cycle of the moon. She was raised by Bran’s pack after her mother, scared and not quite sure what to do with a shapeshifting daughter, gave her to the werewolves with a plea for help. Living with the wolves gave her a backbone, because they are constantly on the edge of violence and aggression, and it also gave her a very clear picture of how to behave when around them. Though she was raised by the pack, she wasn’t part of the pack, and she wasn’t compelled to follow Bran’s orders. So, to say that she’s a strong and independent, and certainly not a pushover, is somewhat of an understatement.
Mercy lives in Washington, where she runs an auto repair shop. Her life takes a turn for the chaotic when Mac, a young werewolf, turns up at her door, looking for work. Mercy senses that there’s something off about him, and her instincts prove correct. When the alpha of the local pack is attacked and his daughter is kidnapped, Mercy suddenly has her hands full. She fears a traitor in the pack, and with no other options, takes the grievously wounded alpha, Adam, to Bran to help heal him. Then Mercy, Adam, and Samuel are in full out pursuit of Adam’s attackers. Adam wants his daughter back, and he won’t let anyone stand in his way.
Having read the first two Alpha and Omega books, it was great fun to have someone else’s perspective of Bran and the other wolves. Again, because Mercy isn’t part of the pack, she doesn’t necessarily jump at his every command. She and Bran’s son, Samuel, also have a bittersweet history. When Mercy was a teen, she loved Sam with all her heart. Now that she’s an adult, she questions his motives for his interest in her. When he gives indications that he wants to pick up where they left off, she’s not so eager to go along with him. Adam adds to the tension between Mercy and Sam, because he thinks of her as his. So, while these two tough, dominant wolves are posturing and trying to prove who’s the boss, Mercy doesn’t really have much time to spare for either of them. One fear I have in future installments is that the love triangle will drag out, and I hate love triangles. I think Adam is the wolf for her, and she needs to realize that sooner rather than later.
Part of the reason for the conflict in this book is Bran’s intention to make the existence of werewolves common knowledge. As with in Hunting Ground, not everyone is on board with his decision. This causes a lot of grief for Mercy. Soon, not only are renegade wolves involved, but so is the local nest of vampires. I love the world building in the series. There are all kinds of paranormal creatures, some known to the general public, some still keeping a low profile and trying to blend in with the humans. While Mercy is certainly a strong, powerful woman, many of the beings around her are doubly so. I like that that Mercy is often outgunned, and that she has to rely on guts, brains, and pure old-fashioned luck to get herself out of some the messes she winds up in. The world feels very believable, especially the pack politics and pecking order. Even though Mercy is outside of that, it still affects her, and how she relates to other beings she encounters.
Now I am hooked on two Patricia Briggs’ series, and I’m looking forward to getting to know all of the characters better. If you haven’t given them a try yet, I highly recommend both the Mercy Thompson and the Alpha and Omega series.
Grade: B / B+
Review copy borrowed from my local library
Mercy Thompson’s life is not exactly normal. Her next-door neighbor is a werewolf. Her former boss is a gremlin. And she’s fixing a VW bus for a vampire. But then, Mercy isn’t exactly normal herself.
Following on from the phenomenally brilliant The Day The Crayons Quit comes the sequel. The crayons are back…and they are still not happy. This time around Duncan has to deal with the lost and forgotten crayons. The broken, chewed and melted crayons. And they are all, quite rightly, even more upset! http://www.boomerangbooks.com.au/Day-the-Crayons-Came-Home/Drew-Daywalt/book_9780008124434.htm FREE Shipping. Save […]
I'm thrilled to share that A Bird on Water Street has been nominated for Tennessee's Volunteer State Book Award for the Middle School Division (Grades 6-8). The award is co-sponsored by the Tennessee Association of School Librarians (TASL) and the Tennessee Library Association (TLA). In 2016 and 2017, teens across Tennessee will be reading my book. In May of 2017, they will vote on their favorite title. The book with the most votes will win the award. You can learn more about the Volunteer State Book Award by visiting TASL's web site at http://www.tasltn.org/vsba. Woohoo!!!
I attended Kathleen Tolan’s “Once You Have Taught Workshops for Years, How Do You Go from Good to Great? Tap the Power of Peer Conferring and Supporting Student Independence and Goal-Setting.” Workshop at… Continue reading
By: Betsy Bird
Blog: A Fuse #8 Production
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By Kenneth Oppel
Illustrated by Jon Klassen
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
On shelves October 6th
Oh, how I love middle grade horror. It’s a very specific breed of book, you know. Most people on the street might think of the Goosebumps books or similar ilk when they think of horror stories for the 10-year-old set, but that’s just a small portion of what turns out to be a much greater, grander set of stories. Children’s book horror takes on so many different forms. You have your post-apocalyptic, claustrophobic horrors, like Z for Zachariah by Robert C. O’Brien. You have your everyday-playthings-turned-evil tales like Doll Bones by Holly Black. You have your close family members turned evil stories ala Coraline by Neil Gaiman and Wait Till Helen Comes by Mary Downing Hahn. And then there are the horror stories that shoot for the moon. The ones that aren’t afraid (no pun intended) to push the envelope a little. To lure you into a false sense of security before they unleash some true psychological scares. And the best ones are the ones that tie that horror into something larger than themselves. In Kenneth Oppel’s The Nest, the author approaches us with a very simple idea. What if your desire to make everything better, everyone happier, released an unimaginable horror? What do you do?
New babies are often cause for true celebration, but once in a while there are problems. Problems that render parents exhausted and helpless. Problems with the baby that go deep below the surface and touch every part of your life. For Steve, it feels like it’s been a long time since his family was happy. So when the angels appear in his dream offering to help with the baby, he welcomes them. True, they don’t say much specifically about what they can do. Not at the beginning, but why look a gift horse in the mouth? Anyway, there are other problems in Steve’s life as well. He may have to go back into therapy, and then there are these wasps building a nest on his house when he’s severely allergic to them. A fixed baby could be the answer to his prayers. Only, the creatures visiting him don’t appear to be angels anymore. And when it comes to “fixing” the baby . . . well, they may have other ideas entirely . . .
First and foremost, I don’t think I can actually talk about this book without dusting off the old “spoiler alert” sign. For me, the very fact that Oppel’s book is so beautifully succinct and restrained, renders it impossible not to talk about its various (and variegated) twists and turns. So I’m going to give pretty much everything away in this review. It’s a no holds barred approach, when you get right down to it. Starting with the angels of course. They’re wasps. And it only gets better from there.
It comes to this. I’ve no evidence to support this theory of mine as to one of the inspirations for the book. I’ve read no interviews with Oppel about where he gets his ideas. No articles on his thought processes. But part of the reason I like the man so much probably has to do with the fact that at some point in his life he must have been walking down the street, or the path, or the trail, and saw a wasp’s nest. And this man must have looked up at it, in all its paper-thin malice, and found himself with the following inescapable thought: “I bet you could fit a baby in there.” And I say unto you, it takes a mind like that to write a book like this.
Wasps are perhaps nature’s most impressive bullies. They seem to have been given such horrid advantages. Not only do they have terrible tempers and nasty dispositions, not only do they swarm, but unlike the comparatively sweet honeybee they can sting you multiple times and never die. It’s little wonder that they’re magnificent baddies in The Nest. The only question I have is why no one has until now realized how fabulous a foe they can be. Klassen’s queen is particularly perfect. It would have been all too easy for him to imbue her with a kind of White Witch austerity. Queens come built-in with sneers, after all. This queen, however, derives her power by being the ultimate confident. She’s sympathetic. She’s patient. She’s a mother who hears your concerns and allays them. Trouble is, you can’t trust her an inch and underneath that friendliness is a cold cruel agenda. She is, in short, my favorite baddie of the year. I didn’t like wasps to begin with. Now I abhor them with a deep inner dread usually reserved for childhood fears.
I mentioned earlier that the horror in this book comes from the idea that Steve’s attempts to make everything better, and his parents happier, instead cause him to consider committing an atrocity. In a moment of stress Steve gives his approval to the unthinkable and when he tries to rescind it he’s told that the matter is out of his hands. Kids screw up all the time and if they’re unlucky they screw up in such a way that their actions have consequences too big for their small lives. The guilt and horror they sometimes swallow can mark them for life. The queen of this story offers something we all can understand. A chance to “fix” everything and make the world perfect. Never mind that perfect doesn’t really exist. Never mind that the price she exacts is too high. If she came calling on you, offering to fix that one truly terrible thing in your life, wouldn’t you say yes? On the surface, child readers will probably react most strongly to the more obvious horror elements to this story. The toy telephone with the scratchy voice that sounds like “a piece of metal being held against a grindstone.” The perfect baby ready to be “born” The attic . . . *shudder* Oh, the attic. But it’s the deeper themes that will make their mark on them. And on anyone reading to them as well.
There are books where the child protagonist’s physical or mental challenges are named and identified and there are books where it’s left up to the reader to determine the degree to which the child is or is not on such a spectrum. A book like Wonder by R.J. Palacio or Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper will name the disability. A book like Emma-Jean Lazarus Fell Out of a Tree by Lauren Tarshis or Counting by 7s by Holly Sloan won’t. There’s no right or wrong way to write such books, and in The Nest Klassen finds himself far more in the latter rather than former camp. Steve has had therapy in the past, and exhibits what could be construed to be obsessive compulsive behavior. What’s remarkable is that Klassen then weaves Steve’s actions into the book’s greater narrative. It becomes our hero’s driving force, this fight against impotence. All kids strive to have more control over their own lives, after all. Steve’s O.C.D. (though it is never defined in that way) is part of his helpless attempt to make things better, even if it’s just through the recitation of lists and names. At one point he repeats the word “congenital” and feels better, “As if knowing the names of things meant I had some power over them.”
When I was a young adult (not a teen) I was quite enamored of A.S. Byatt’s book Angels and Insects. It still remains one of my favorites and though I seem to have transferred my love of Byatt’s prose to the works of Laura Amy Schlitz (her juvenile contemporary and, I would argue, equivalent) there are elements of Byatt’s book in what Klassen has done here. His inclusion of religion isn’t a real touchstone of the novel, but it’s just a bit too prevalent to ignore. There is, for example, the opening line: “The first time I saw them, I thought they were angels.” Followed not too long after by a section where Steve reads off every night the list of people he wants to keep safe. “I didn’t really know who I was asking. Maybe it was God, but I didn’t really believe in God, so this wasn’t praying exactly.” He doesn’t question the angels of his dreams or their desire to help (at least initially). And God makes no personal appearance in the novel, directly or otherwise. Really, when all was said and done, my overall impression was that the book reminded me of David Almond’s Skellig with its angel/not angel, sick baby, and boy looking for answers where there are few to find. The difference being, of course, the fact that in Skellig the baby gets better and here the baby is saved but it is clear as crystal to even the most optimistic reader that it will never ever been the perfect baby every parent wishes for.
It’s funny that I can say so much without mentioning the language, but there you go. Oppel’s been wowing folks with his prose for years, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a cunning turn of phrase when you encounter it. Consider some of his lines. The knife guy is described like “He looked like his bones were meant for an even bigger body.” A description of a liquid trap for wasps is said to be akin to a, “soggy mass grave, the few survivors clambering over the dead bodies, trying in vain to climb out. It was like a vision of hell from that old painting I’d seen in the art gallery and never forgotten.” Or what may well be my favorite in the book, “… and they were regurgitating matter from their mouths and sculpting it into baby flesh.” And then there are the little elements the drive the story. We don’t learn the baby’s name until page 112. Or the very title itself. When Vanessa, Steve’s babysitter, is discussing nests she points out that humans make them as well. “Our houses are just big nests, really. A place where you can sleep and be safe – and grow.”
The choice of Jon Klassen as illustrator is fascinating to me. When I think of horror illustrations for kids the usual suspects are your Stephen Gammells or Gris Grimleys or Dave McKeans. Klassen’s different. When you hire him, you’re not asking him to ratchet up the fear factor, but rather to echo it and then take it down a notch to a place where a child reader can be safe. Take, for example, his work on Lemony Snicket’s The Dark A book where the very shadows speak, it wasn’t that Klassen was denying the creepier elements of the tale. But he tamed them somehow. And now that same taming sense is at work here. His pictures are rife with shadows and faceless adults, turned away or hidden from the viewer (and the viewer is clearly Steve/you). And his pictures do convey the tone of the book well. A curved knife on a porch is still a curved knife on a porch. Spend a little time flipping between the front and back endpapers, while you’re at it. Klassen so subtle with these. The moon moves. A single light is out in a house. But there’s a feeling of peace to the last picture, and a feeling of foreboding in the first. They’re practically identical so I don’t know how he managed that, but there it is. Honestly, you couldn’t have picked a better illustrator.
Suffice to say, this book would probably be the greatest class readaloud for fourth, fifth, or sixth graders the world has ever seen. When I was in fourth grade my teacher read us The Wicked Wicked Pigeon Ladies in the Garden by Mary Chase and I was never quite the same again. Thus do I bless some poor beleaguered child with the magnificent nightmares that will come with this book. Added Bonus for Teachers: You’ll never have to worry about school attendance ever again. There’s not a chapter here a kid would want to miss.
If I have a bone to pick with the author it is this: He’s Canadian. Normally, this is a good thing. Canadians are awesome. They give us a big old chunk of great literature every year. But Oppel as a Canadian is terribly awkward because if he were not and lived in, say, Savannah or something, then he could win some major American children’s literary awards with this book. And now he can’t. There are remarkably few awards the U.S. can grant this tale of flying creepy crawlies. Certainly he should (if there is any justice in the universe) be a shoo-in for Canada’s Governor General’s Award in the youth category and I’m pulling for him in the E.B. White Readaloud Award category as well, but otherwise I’m out to sea. Would that he had a home in Pasadena. Alas.
Children’s books come with lessons pre-installed for their young readers. Since we’re dealing with people who are coming up in the world and need some guidance, the messages tend towards the innocuous. Be yourself. Don’t judge a book by its cover. Friendship is important. Etc. The message behind The Nest could be debated ad nauseam for quite some time, but I think the thing to truly remember here is something Steve says near the end. “And there’s no such thing as normal anyways.” The belief in normality and perfection may be the truest villain in The Nest when you come right down to it. And Klassen has Steve try to figure out why it’s good to try to be normal if there is no true normal in the end. It’s a lesson adults have yet to master ourselves. Little wonder that The Nest ends up being what may be the most fascinating horror story written for kids you’ve yet to encounter. Smart as a whip with an edge to the terror you’re bound to appreciate, this is a truly great, truly scary, truly wonderful novel.
On shelves October 6th.
Source: Galley sent from publisher for review.
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Professional Reviews: A star from Kirkus,
11 Experiments That Failed
by Jenny Offill & Nancy Carpenter
I can't wait to start celebrating failure with a new group of fifth graders.
I can't wait to ask them these questions as they work:
Did you have to change your plans?
Did you fail?
Did you struggle?
Did you get a new idea?
Did you cooperate?
Did you listen?
Did you share?
Did you think?
Did you solve a problem?
Did someone help your thinking along?
I can't wait to share this book with them, and talk about a character who designs and conducts completely original experiments that mostly seem sure to fail right from the outset.
Connecting to the character in this book, I can't wait to share about the 15 year-old Iowa boy who is running for president, and who is the most successful independent candidate since Ross Perot
. Last time I checked, there's no way a 15 year-old can be elected president.
So, why bother performing experiments that are sure to fail?
Make a point.
Get one step closer to an experiment that won't fail.
Discover something new.
Tell a story.
Sue Morris @ KidLitReviews
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One of the newer ways for self-publishing authors to get their books out is to start a Kickstarter fundraising campaign. I have helped to fund a couple of these ventures, but never tried to help a book by posting about it here at Kid Lit Reviews.
Well, today I am actually going to do just that. Traditionally published children’s author, Chuck Whelon (Dover Publications, Simon & Schuster, Michael O’Mara Books, SKODA Man Press), and winner of the 2002 Web Cartoonists’ Choice Award for Best Fantasy Comics (The Weird Worlds of Pewfell Porfingles), is publishing a story/puzzle book called Wizard Pickles (which will be reviewed soon). Here is the Kickstarter video about Wizard Pickles:
Wizard Pickles tells the story of young Mazie Pickles and her Aunt Wilma. Aunt Wilma works as a wizard at the local castle. Well, she did, until angering Queen Blackthorne, who is set to award the Golden Cup at the annual Picklefest. For one, Aunt Wilma has lost her wand, which was found by pickle gnomes. The pickle gnomes had a glorious time using the magical wand to reek havoc throughout the village. Now, Mazie needs to help her aunt retrieve the wand before anything worse should happen (hint: it does!)
Every page in Wizard Pickles is filled with different picture puzzles for readers to solve. They range from simple search-and-find activities to muddling mazes, cryptic codes, and complex logic problems that will keep you baffled for many hours of puzzling fun! More than a puzzle book, Wizard Pickles contains a mystery story that runs throughout the whole book.
Chuck is looking for a total of $1000, meager by Kickstarter standards. The campaign is open until September 17th and offers many perks to those who pledge from $5 to $500.
What I have always liked about Kickstarter book campaigns is the opportunity to help wonderful authors and books you can believe in, and help the book travel from conception to publication. As with Wizard Pickles, most book campaigns give you enough information that you can discern the story and the illustrations, getting a good idea if this is a book you would want your children or students to read. For a small $5—less than a cup of Starbucks coffee—you can help a deserving author’s dream come true.
Here are the Fund “Rewards”
Pledge of $5 or more – a PDF eBook of Wizard Pickles
Pledge of $20 or more – the above, plus a Hardback edition of Wizard Pickles (PDF offers endless solving of the puzzles!)
Pledge of $35 or more – all the above, plus your name (or any name you choose) on the Dedication page of Wizard Pickles
Pledge of $50 – all the above, plus a copy of Chuck’s original game Legitimacy* (Minion Games $40.00)
The “rewards” increase from there. To see them all, and to read more about Wizard Pickles and Chuck Whelon’s plans for publication, go to the Kickstarter link below:
Chuck explained to me that many publishers loved Wizard Pickles, but when the book got to the marketing department, they had a difficult time categorizing his book and this makes any traditional publication all but dead. So Chuck did what any author who truly believes kids will love their book does: He found a way to get it published.
“The kingdom of Legitimant is in turmoil. The old king has died, leaving no legitimate heir… He has, however, left several illegitimate ones.
“Since you were an infant, your mother has told you of the royal blood that runs in your veins. Now the time has come for you and your trusty animal sidekick to set out on an epic quest to fulfil your destiny and claim the throne that is your birthright.
“Whether you choose to follow a path of righteousness or use every dirty trick in the book, you’ll need nerve, cunning and just a little luck as you assemble an assortment of strange creatures and magical objects to out-maneuver and overpower your rivals and prove that you are, indeed, the one true heir of Legitimacy!” [website]
Legitimacy is a fast-paced board game for 2—6 players, who fight to claim their birthright as heir to the throne of a magical kingdom.
Chuck explains the game’s creation like this,
“I created and designed the game as a showcase for my illustration and graphic design skills, and as something strategic and fun to play with my 8 year-old son which would not give me a competitive advantage!! It is fun to play and has a unique mechanic where your character can switch from being good to evil, or vice-versa.”
Chuck Whelon is a proficient author and illustrator of many children’s books, comics, and games. Below is a sampling.
Traditionally Published by Chuck Whelon
Where’s the Penguin (in multiple languages)
Word Play: Write Your Own Crazy Comics (also many other editions)
What to Doodle?
Create Your Own Monsters Sticker Activity Book
The Comic Book Guide to the Mission
. . . and many more, including
Games Published by Minion Games
Those Pesky Humans
. . . and many more
Comic Book Series
⇓⇓⇓⇓⇓⇓⇓Now you have the total scoop!⇓⇓⇓⇓⇓⇓⇓
HELP WIZARD PICKLES MAKE IT TO PUBLICATION.
Even a small $5 pledge goes a long way in this Kickstarter book campaign!
Book size: 17″ x 11″ — 26 pages (12 full-color spreads)
Wizard Pickles Kickstarter Campaign Link:
Read more about the Kickstarter Campaign: https://www.patreon.com/cartoon?ty=h
Here area few ways you can connect with Chuck Whelon.
Linked In: https://www.linkedin.com/in/whelon
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Chuck-Whelon/e/B0036Q6OQO
Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators: http://www.scbwi.org/members-public/chuck-whelon
National Cartoonists Society: http://www.reuben.org/members/
Comics Sites: http://www.stripamatic.com/~pewfell/whelon/ — http://www.pewfell.com/ — http://comicfury.com/comicprofile.php?url=pewfell — http://tapastic.com/chuck
Ask Chuck any question you might have: email@example.com
Copyright © 2015 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved
Full Disclosure: Text and illustrations of Wizard Pickles copyright © 2015 by Chuck Whelon, and received from Author/Illustrator/Publisher, Check Whelon for promotional purposes.
Filed under: Author Spotlight
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Tagged: Chuck Whelon
, traditionally published children's author/illustrator
, Wizard Pickles
क्या आप जानते है कि पहले समय में लोग चुटिया क्यों रखते थे या कान छिदवाने से क्या लाभ होता है या जमीन पर बैठ कर खाना खाने से क्या फायदा होता है या घर पर तुलसी लगाने का कोई फायदा है या नही… आईए जाने इसी से जुडी कुछ बातें और उसके पीछे छिपे वैज्ञानिक तर्क ….
क्या आप जानते हैं कि कान छिदवाने की परम्परा के पीछे क्या वैज्ञानिक तर्क है. वो ये हैं कि कान छिदवाने से सोचने की शक्तित बढ़ती है। डॉक्टरों का भी मानना है कि इससे बोली अच्छी होती है और कानों से होकर दिमाग तक जाने वाली नस का रक्त संचार नियंत्रित रहता है।
माथे पर कुमकुम या तिलक लगाने का भी वैज्ञानिक तर्क है और वो ये कि आंखों के बीच में माथे तक एक नस जाती है और कुमकुम या तिलक लगाने से उस जगह की ऊर्जा बनी रहती है। माथे पर तिलक लगाते वक्त जब अंगूठे या उंगली से प्रेशर पड़ता है, तब चेहरे की त्वचा को रक्त सप्लाई करने वाली मांसपेशी सक्रिय हो जाती है। इससे चेहरे की कोशिकाओं तक अच्छी तरह रक्त पहुंचता है.
भारतीय संस्कृति के अनुसार जमीन पर बैठकर भोजन करना अच्छी बात मानी जाती है।
वैज्ञानिक तर्क के अनुसार जमीन पर बैठ कर भोजन करने से, आलथी पलती मारकर बैठने से जोकि एक प्रकार का आसन है. इस पोजीशन या आसन में बैठने से मस्तिाष्क शांत रहता है और भोजन करते वक्त अगर दिमाग शांत हो तो पाचन क्रिया अच्छी रहती है। इस पोजीशन में बैठते ही खुद-ब-खुद दिमाग से एक सिगनल पेट तक जाता है, कि वह भोजन के लिये तैयार हो जाये।
हाथ जोड़कर नमस्ते करने के पीछे भी वैज्ञानिक तर्क है वो ये कि जब सभी उंगलियों के शीर्ष एक दूसरे के संपर्क में आती हैं और उन पर दबाव पड़ता है। एक्यूप्रेशर के कारण उसका सीधा असर हमारी आंखों, कानों और दिमाग पर होता है, ताकि सामने वाले व्यक्तिर को हम लंबे समय तक याद रख सकें। वैसे दूसरा तर्क यह भी कह सकते हैं कि शैक हैंड के बजाये अगर हम नमस्ते करते हैं तो सामने वाले के शरीर के कीटाणु आप तक नहीं पहुंच सकते। अगर सामने वाले को स्वाइन फ्लू भी है तो भी वह वायरस आप तक नहीं पहुंचेगा। जोकि फायदेमंद ही रहेगा.
अक्सर भोजन की शुरुआत तीखे से और अंत मीठे से किया जाता है और इसके पीछे वैज्ञानिक तर्क यह है कि तीखा खाने से हमारे पेट के अंदर पाचन तत्व एवं अम्ल सक्रिय हो जाते हैं। इससे पाचन तंत्र ठीक तरह से संचालित होता है और खाने के अंत में मीठा खाने से अम्ल की तीव्रता कम हो जाती है। इससे पेट में जलन नहीं होती है।
सुबह उठकर सूर्य को जल चढ़ाते हुए नमस्कार करने की परम्परा के पीछे भी वैज्ञानिक तर्क ये है कि
पानी के बीच से आने वाली सूर्य की किरणें जब आंखों में पहुंचती हैं, तब हमारी आंखों की रौशनी अच्छी होती है।
पुराने समय में ऋषि मुनि सिर पर चुटिया रखते थे। कई बार आपको पंडित लोग आज भी चुटिया लिए मिल जाएगें. इसका वैज्ञानिक तर्क ये है कि जिस जगह पर चुटिया रखी जाती है उस जगह पर दिमाग की सारी नसें आकर मिलती हैं। इससे दिमाग स्थििर रहता है और इंसान को क्रोध नहीं आता, सोचने की क्षमता बढ़ती है।
व्रत रखने का बहुत क्रेज है लेकिन इसके पीछे भी वैज्ञानिक तर्क ये भी है
व्रत करने से पाचन क्रिया अच्छी होती है और फलाहार लेने से शरीर का डीटॉक्सीफिकेशन होता है, यानि उसमें से खराब तत्व बाहर निकलते हैं। शोधकर्ताओं के अनुसार व्रत करने से कैंसर का खतरा कम होता है। हृदय संबंधी रोगों, मधुमेह, आदि रोग भी जल्दी नहीं लगते। तुलसी के पूजन को अहमियत देने के पीछे भी वैज्ञानिक तर्क ये है कि
तुलसी इम्यून सिस्टम को मजबूत करती है। अगर घर में पेड़ होगा, तो इसकी पत्तिकयों का इस्तेमाल भी होगा और उससे बीमारियां दूर होती हैं।
क्या आप जानते है … आपको कैसा लगा अगर आपके पास भी कुछ बताने को तो जरुर शेयर करें …
The post क्या आप जानते हैं appeared first on Monica Gupta.
While I was in London with the publisher of my Sketching People book, we sorted out various other jobs, as well as photographing all the demos I showed you last time.
One task I had deliberately left until the end was selecting images to use for the chapter headers. Most of the pages in the book have 6 - 8 sketches per spread, but at the start of each chapter, I can have one sketch taking up a whole spread.
I'd created a shortlist and emailed it down in advance. It was tricky, because only landscape or square format sketches would work across the double-page spread, but an awful lot of my sketches are portrait format. Moira, my designer, printed my various suggestions out on mock layouts, to see how different possibilities might look:
It was a difficult decision, but easier with other people's input. In the end, none of the ones in the photo above made the grade. You'll have to wait and see what I chose!
There was also another photography job to get sorted. One early section of the book looks at which art materials are most suitable for location-sketching and give tips for travelling light. So, I took all my gear with me and Phil took photos of every single item in my sketching kit. I love this picture of my grubby paint palette:
It feels good to have such a monster project wrestled into submission.
Enter to win a copy of Chasing Secrets (Wendy Lamb Books, August 2015), written by Gennifer Choldenko.
Giveaway begins August 26, 2015, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends September 25, 2015, at 11:59 P.M. PST.
This morning I have an exclusive excerpt for Loving the Chase by Sharla Lovelace. I also have an awesome giveaway, so please enter below!
Exclusive Excerpt: Loving the Chase by Sharla Lovelace
Maddi kissed him. Out in the middle of a thunderstorm, soaked to the skin, she leaned in and planted a kiss on him that flipped back time and stopped it simultaneously. Suddenly Zach didn’t care about the rain or the mud in his hair or the puddle seeping through his jeans. All he cared about was keeping Maddi Hayes’s mouth on his.
Cradling her head in his hands, he pulled her in, searching her mouth, tasting her, taking all he could before she changed her mind. Before she remembered for both of them why they couldn’t do this.
His tongue slid over hers as he dove deeper, needing more, needing her. Then she gave a little moan in his mouth, making him nearly blind with need. God help him, this was actually happening. This was Maddi, losing herself in his kiss, her hands going into his wet hair, pulling him impossibly closer. Zach obliged, pulling her body to him until she was straddling him, her arms wound around his head in desperate desire. His hands pressing her tightly against him as he kissed her as deeply and thoroughly as he could. Making love to her mouth, feeling—fuck—feeling too damn much as things he couldn’t afford to feel came rushing to the surface. A burn hit him in the gut and the chest and the eyes at the same time, and he forced himself to pull back, kissing her face, trying to breathe. Tasting salt.
He opened his eyes to look into hers. They hadn’t made it far, and the light from the porch still made it possible to see the rivulets of water running down her face. But tears? Hell they might have been his. She gripped his face and pressed her forehead to his, pulling every ounce of gut-wrenching control from him. Someone had to think. Someone that wasn’t him.
“Maddi,” he breathed as lightning flashed overhead and thunder cracked over them.
“I know,” she whispered against his lips.
“You—you have to stop us,” Zach said against hers, his hands on her ass, pulling her against him and then sliding up her back. “God help me, I don’t think I can.”
She moved her hips against him as his hands roamed, and took a shaky breath as her fingers tangled in his hair. “I can’t, Zach,” she said. “I know I should, but I—” Her lips pressed against his face, raining kisses along his eyes, his temple, breaking his self-control and sending him into the place just under her ear that he miraculously remembered her liking. “I can’t stop touching you,” she breathed.
About the Book
Author: Sharla Lovelace
Title: Loving the Chase
Release Day: August 25, 2015
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Charming, adventurous Zach Chase has always craved the spotlight, and now he’s on the hunt for publicity for his family’s storm-chasing business. So when a reality TV network approaches him with the idea for a show profiling their work, he can’t resist. But the last person he expects to walk into the meeting is the former love of his life.
Production assistant Maddi Hayes was once engaged to Zach—until she was almost killed by a tornado he was out chasing. She walked away from her fiancé and their future together, convinced she’d always come second to his dangerous career.
Dreading the show and anxious over working so closely with Zach, Maddi also knows this project could mean big things for her career. If only Zach weren’t still so infuriating…and so infuriatingly sexy. Can they finally let go of their stormy past? Or will the passion still raging between them win in the end?
Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Loving-Chase-Heart-Sharla-Lovelace-ebook/dp/B00TKQD1EC
Sharla Lovelace is the bestselling, award-winning author of The Reason Is You, Before and Ever Since, Just One Day, Don’t Let Go, and Stay with Me, as well as the Heart of the Storm series. She writes stories about small-town love filled with warmth and humor. Being a Texas girl through and through, she’s proud to say she lives in southeast Texas with her retired husband, a souped-up golf cart, and two crazy mutts. She loves connecting with readers and is available by Skype for book club meetings and chats. For a list of her events and to sign up for her monthly newsletter, see her website at www.sharlalovelace.com.
Author’s Social Media Links
Website – http://sharlalovelace.com/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/sharlalovelace
Twitter – https://twitter.com/sharlalovelace
Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5020278.Sharla_Lovelace
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Newbery Honor–winning author Gennifer Choldenko deftly combines humor, tragedy, fascinating historical detail, and a medical mystery in this exuberant new novel, Chasing Secrets.
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We're excited to welcome to the blog today USA Today
and New York Times Bestselling
author Wendy Higgins. Sweet Temptation
, the companion volume to her acclaimed Sweet Evil series releases next week and has been called sensual and swoon-worthy.
(It's Kaidan's story, so be prepared for LOTS of wonderful swoon!) Also keep an eye out for her upcoming fantasy duology The Great Hunt
Between short turn-around deadlines and young children, she knows a thing or two about managing writing time. Read on to find out how she carves it out of her busy days.
WRITING OBSTACLES – DEFEATING THE TIME MONSTER
by Wendy Higgins My primary obstacle is, and always has been, time.
I began my first book, Sweet Evil, when my son was nine-months-old (still waking during the nights) and my daughter was three and a half years old. In case you’ve never had a baby or toddler, let me just tell you straight up—those suckers keep you busy nonstop. And when you have a husband who works 12-hour shifts and is too exhausted to help you clean most days, it feels like you’re on your own. The house and errands and children and other responsibilities don’t leave much wiggle room for mommy to enjoy me-time. Writing was a long lost dream that I never thought I’d pick up again. There was simply no time.
Being busy is an obstacle for all writers, not just moms. Maybe you’re a student with tons of homework and after school activities. Or maybe you work a full time job and sit in traffic every morning and evening. Making time to write can seem overwhelmingly impossible. Here’s the thing nobody wants to hear…sometimes the only way to make time for writing is to give something up, something you enjoy but is not absolutely necessary. When my story idea hit me in full force the summer of 2009, that’s exactly what I had to do. Guess what I gave up? Television. I know, that’s a biggie. I was spending approximately 3 hours every night after the kids went to bed sprawled out like a zombie watching reality cooking shows with my husband. It was glorious. But my desire to write that story was even stronger than my desire to veg.
So, my Edinburgh Fringe theatre reviews are ready to be posted! They’ll come as often as I can, but I have a lot of school work to do, plus I’m doing work experience at a law firm and ugh travelling is tiring. They’ll come though. And book reviews will resume shortly, and maybe some other things. Thanks for sticking around!
Title: Secret Shakespeare (A Shakespeare play, but I can't say which one)
Writer: William Shakespeare
Director: James Farrell & Emma Sampson
Performed by: The Handlebards
Major cast: Calum Hughes Mcintosh, Callum Brodie, Tom Dixon, Paul Moss
Seen at: ...somewhere pretty.
Review: The Handlebards are four actors who have been cycling up from London to Edinburgh, carrying their costumes and props, and stopping every so often to perform a show. Secret Shakespeare is where the audience joins them to meet up in the city centre, get given bikes, ride out about 5 miles-ish, and then enjoy the show. I'm not allowed to tell you much about the play in specifics, due to the secret thing, but I'll say what I can.
The ride was easy, even for someone who hasn't ridden for years, and led by professionals. We cycled through parts of the city I probably would never have seen if I'd spent all my time in the centre, so that was nice.
The location was beautiful. Beautiful behind the audience, beautiful behind the stage, it was a great place to be. It's an open air show, with tents providing the wings and gazebos for the audience to sit under. Oh, and the rain wasn't too bad!
When they said what play they were doing, I was very happy. I hadn't seen it before, but I was familiar with the storyline.
I love the puppetry. It's first used to illustrate the exposition speech, which was very useful because it is a confusing set up. It's later used to represent characters in some scenes where there's meant to be more than four characters on stage. Other ways of getting around the "only four actors" thing includes holding out key identifying costume pieces, audience participation, and plates.
The multiroling is superb. All four actors have to switch costumes and characters very very quickly, sometimes speaking back to themselves. Costume, voice, and movement changes make clearly defined characters. I really enjoyed the characterisation, especially of the women.
I did find it going a bit too fast in places, and I'm not sure if it's because of the Handlebards format or the writing. Probably both. Despite this, I really enjoyed the show.
Overall: Strength 5 tea to an inventive take on an old play, and a great evening out.
Creator: Live Life Happy, © 2013, Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0
I’ve recently changed jobs, moving from one public library to another 25 miles east. The new-to-me position is in a different city, with different coworkers, different policies and procedures, and a different organizational culture. It’s the same kind of job that I did previously, but in a different setting.
Changing jobs is frequently included in the lists of most stressful life changes. This most recent move has me thinking about compiling a list of tips for myself and others who may change positions, either within their current organization, or shifting to a role at a different institution. I’ll start with several that are somewhat specific to Youth Services, and we’ll see what you think too in the comments.
My list of things to consider for Youth Services Librarians (ok, and others) when changing jobs:
- Compile favorite program ideas (e.g. story time themes and extenders, past successful elementary and family events, and teen programming ideas that you don’t want to forget). Also while working on the programming idea list, save bookmarks of favorite places to visit online when creating new programs, so they available and ready when needed.
- Save work-related contacts to be imported into the new e-mail system – especially the local performer and vendor contact information if you’re not moving far. Also get the personal contact information for your colleagues if you want to keep in touch. (I forgot to do that last bit when I changed jobs most recently.)
- Purge the documents and files that you’ve been saving – you know which ones I’m talking about. Changing jobs is a good time to declutter.
- Put things in writing for the person who will be taking on your responsibilities – best practices, your planning notes, even a To-Do list. (I’ve written about this before.) Make the task delegation easy for your supervisor by creating a list of your current responsibilities.
- Be ready, willing and open to see new ways of conducting library services. You have your way of doing things (and you might think it’s the best way), but it’s not the only way to be successful.
- Remember that there will be things left undone at the previous job – that’s just how it goes.
Have you changed jobs recently? What are other things to consider? This could also be addressed from the perspective of a team that is taking on a new member. What are good tips to help new coworkers feel welcome?
Claudia Wayland is the Youth Services Manager at the Allen Public Library in Allen, TX and Adjunct Professor at the University of North Texas College of Information. She was a participant in this year’s TLA TALL Texans Leadership Institute, and is a member of the ALSC Managing Children’s Services Committee.
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I’ve been a fan of the TED Talks since the inception and one day I need to go see one of these talks in person.
I love how you can always learn new things and discover new ideas so I wanted to share a few of my favorites:
Susan Cain: The Power of Introverts
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: The Danger of a Single Story
Isabel Allende: How to Live Passionately — No Matter Your Age
Louie Schwartzberg: Nature. Beauty. Gratitude.
Maya Penn: Meet a Young Entrepreneur, Cartoonist, Designer, Activist
If you love TED talks, you might also like the TED Radio Hour podcast, which takes a collection of similar TED Talks to create a theme and then digs deeper into the idea.
Do you have any favorite TED talks? If you do, please share! I’m always on the lookout for more.
By: Jerry Beck,
Blog: Cartoon Brew
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The rarely-seen 42-year-old classic will be distributed theatrically and on Blu-Ray.