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Results 901 - 925 of 624,370
901. National Parks: Top 10 Kids’ Books

For those of you planning to take your kids to a national park in 2015, here are some excellent books you need to take along for the ride.

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902. What Are the Great Children’s Literature Writing Retreats?

This one’s for the writers, but could be of just as much use to those folks who want to be published authors and just haven’t gotten there yet.  In my time as a roving children’s librarian I’ve spoken at two different but enchanting writing retreats.  I should probably define my terms, though, so when I say “writing retreats” I mean places where authors, incipient and otherwise, pay a fixed amount to be inspired, edited, or taught by a knowledgeable staff.  Bonus points if there’s pretty scenery. Extra added bonus points if you get good food.

Recently I was speaking at one such retreat (to be named below) and it got me to thinking.  If you wanted to make a compiled list of all the children’s literary retreats in the States, where would you go?  Well, you’d go here since I’m going to start trying to compile such a list right now.

If you can think of any that should be added (and specifically target writing for kids and/or teens) mention them in the comments and I’ll include them.

Literary Retreats for Folks Who Write for Kids and Teens

Better Books Marin

Name: Better Books Marin
Location: Marin County, California? The website is a bit spotty on that point.
Who’s It For? The motto is, “A Craft-Based Workshop for Middle-Grade & YA Writers”.
What’s it like? This is a retreat for folks who want a good hands on learning and critique experience.  As you can see from this schedule, the days are rigorously planned out.  This is the kind of retreat where you get bang for the proverbial buck.


SCBWI Falling Leaves / Spring Leaves

Name: SCBWI Falling Leaves / Spring Leaves Retreat
Location: Silver Bay, NY
Who’s It For? The two retreats (Spring Leaves for the spring and Falling Leaves for . . . well, you get it) rotate genres.  So there’s a little something for everyone.
What’s It Like? Both SCBWI members and non-members are able to apply for this retreat.  Compared to some other retreats this is an affordable option.  Registration does not appear to be currently open for the next fall conference, but one suspects it’s just a matter of time before it opens up.

The Highlights Foundation

Name: The Highlights Foundation
Location: Honesdale, PA
Who’s It For? Boy howdy, you name it! Of all the workshops listed here, the Highlights Foundation’s is the one with the most workshops per year.  Everything from science writing and nonfiction picture books to early readers and first chapter books are covered.
What’s It Like? I’ve spoken twice at Highlights with a third engagement is coming up in two months. Basically it’s just lovely. Adorable tiny cabins. Amazing food. Great speakers. It feels more low-key than some of the other retreats, but honestly you can find the workshop that fits your style.

Oregon Coast Children’s Book Writers Workshop (OCCBWW)

Name: Oregon Coast Children’s Book Writers Workshop (OCCBWW)
Location: Oceanside, Oregon
Who’s It For? Everyone, insofar as I can tell. Anyone writing children’s books, anyway.
What’s It Like? This is the rare retreat where you can get actual graduate level course credits for taking the workshops and intensives on offer. Unlike other retreats this one makes no bones about what they hope to accomplish: “Getting attendees published is the end goal.” They do a lot of one-on-one coaching as well.

Picture Book Boot Camp

Name: Picture Book Boot Camp
Location: Phoenix Farm, Western Massachusetts (in the Northampton area, I believe)
Who’s It For? It’s described as a Master Class for working picture book authors.
What’s It Like? Well, this one’s much smaller and more personal than a lot of the other retreats mentioned here.  Authors Jane Yolen and Heidi Stemple started a boot camp at Jane’s 1896 Victorian farmhouse home in Massachusetts.  There appears to be a lot of close attention paid to the attendees (which cap off at 12).

The Speakeasy Literary Retreat

Name: The Speakeasy Literary Retreat
Location: Various. It moves around. Past retreats have been in San Francisco (2012), Fallen Leaf Lake (2013), and Portland (2014). The next one is slated for the Rivendell Writer’s Colony in Sewanee, TN
Who’s It For? That’s a bit unclear. To be a member of the Speakeasy Literary Society you must submit your application and be accepted. One assumes that folks who attend the retreats are also members.
What’s It Like? Informal and without an official schedule. As they (the Speakeasy Literary Society) say, “We have one mission: to encourage children’s publishing professionals to relax and commune in a variety of inspirational settings. Preferably with drinks.” Of the retreats listed in this post, this one’s probably the most laid back.

Whispering Pines

Name: Whispering Pines Writer’s Retreat
Location: West Greenwich, RI
Who’s It For? Hard to say. This is the rare retreat without a website. At the same time, with its connection to NESCBWI, it’s one of the most successful.
What’s It Like? Now in its 20th year, co-directors Lynda Mullaly Hunt and Mary Pierce are stepping down this year and will be replaced with Julie Kingsley and Cameron Kelly Rosenblum. Described as the kind of place where you “design your own retreat” but with plenty of speakers, games, and fun.  Liz Goulet Dubois has recapped several years’ worth of retreats, so you should be able to glean how they go.

Name: The Writing Barn
Location: Austin, TX
Who’s It For? Everyone. Juv and YA alike.  Picture books, novels, chapter books, you name it.
What’s It Like?  The brainchild of author Bethany Hegedus, it’s just the loveliest space.  Wild deer and foxes frolic about the cactus plants while inside the barn you’ve amazing and brainy folks talking about books left and right.  I’ve only spoken there once, but it was just the nicest time.  Busy?  Heck, yeah!  And fun.

I’ve heard a rumor that the Spruceton Inn, a bed and bar in the Catskills (run by Jon Scieszka’s daughter, the writer Casey Scieszka, and her author/illustrator husband Steven Weinberg) has the occasional writing and/or illustration retreat.  So far there’s nothing to confirm this online, but I know they’re game so if you writerly types want to do an official retreat, think about contacting them.

Sidenote: Laurel Snyder mentioned that, “The Hambidge Center for Creative Arts & Sciences isn’t just for kidlit enthusiasts but they WILL fund YA and kidlit projects, which not everyone does.”

Actually, author Laurel Snyder also pointed out to me that most retreats are of an unofficial nature.  As she put it, “I’m doing my third retreat this year, and all three have been DIY– a group of writers getting together in a house in the woods, just because they can!”  So in lieu of going to any of these magnificent places, consider renting a cottage for a week and inviting some pals!



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903. Plot or Pants? Interview with Bestselling Author Hugh Howey - @hughhowey - #WriteTip

Today it is my honor to have bestselling author, Hugh Howey on the blog to share his writing process and his thoughts on plotting vs. pantsing. 

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I do a bit of both. I plot out the general storyline (the beginning, middle, and end), but I allow the characters to bob and weave within that framework (even rewrite the story in some cases). I think overly plotted books can be a bit dry and overly improvised books can wander and have less than satisfactory conclusions.

Why do you prefer one to the other?

Plotting keeps me focused on where the story is heading. It keeps the book from stalling at the ¾ mark. Improvising is where the great twists and turns come from and how dialog leads to character discovery. My style is to employ both. And that’s not a cop-out; it’s very deliberate on my part to plot to a certain degree and let the story flow as well.

Do you think the pantser can exist without the plotter?

I don’t know how anyone writes a decent story without some form of plotting. I understand that some authors do this, but it baffles me.

Some writers say: ‘the road to hell is paved with good outlines.’ Thoughts?

I think you can spend too much time on an outline and stick to it even when a better plot reveals itself, yes.

Can you describe your outlining process?

I make a ton of notes. They are out of order and jumbled. And then I tease out what order things need to happen and cut and paste the notes to go with rough chapters. I start writing and encounter my notes as I go. I also jump around and write scenes out of order as they come to me and rearrange them as needed.

Do you consider yourself a Linear or Non-linear writer? And why?

It depends on the story. If it’s a single POV, I write linearly. Most of my early books were written this way. Several more recent books that I've written have involved jumping back and forth between characters, which means I often write chapters out of order to stick with one character, and then splice them together afterward.

Where do you get your best ideas for plots?

Observation. Watching the world spin. Reading the newspaper every day. I can find a story in the paper every single morning that could be spun into a novel or a short story.

If you do outline for a novel, how much time and research do you do before starting the actual writing of the novel?

Almost none. I sketch the plot and start writing. I do a lot of daydreaming and thinking when I’m away from the computer to prepare for the next writing session.

What is your process for exploring your characters?

This is a weird one for me, but characters just seem to happen. They reveal themselves almost fully formed. I think, if you absorb enough fiction in your life, it becomes easy to dream up fleshed-out characters.

Do you fill out character Bios/interviews for your main characters before writing their story?

Nope. Sounds like fun, though.

What is one writing book that you highly recommend?

Eats, Shoots, and Leaves.

Do you write a synopsis for each book before you write it?

No. I hate synopses. I loathe them. I find them impossible to write.

While you might start with an issue or theme in mind, themes will also develop or emerge as you write, so how important do you think “theme” is to your writing process?

Very important. I always have a theme I want to explore with any story. It’s one of the primary reasons I write.
Fun Bonus Questions

What book are you currently reading?

BAILOUT by Neil Barofsky

What’s your favorite movie or TV show?

Modern Family and Big Bang Theory

Favorite color?


Laptop or desktop?


Where can we stalk you online?

Official Website: http://www.hughhowey.com

Twitter name and URL: @hughhowey

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Author Bio:

Hugh Howey's Wool series became a sudden success in the Fall of 2011. Originally just a novelette, the demand from Amazon reviewers sent him scurrying to write more tales in this subterranean world. The resulting Omnibus has spent considerable time in the Amazon top 100, has been a #1 Bestseller in Science Fiction on Amazon, and was optioned by Ridley Scott and Steve Zaillian for a potential feature film. The story of its success has been mentioned in Entertainment Weekly, Variety, and Deadline Hollywood among many others. Random House is publishing the hardback version in the UK in January of 2013.

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He lives in Florida with his wife Amber and their dog Bella.    

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904. All Kinds of Writing

At Pub Crawl, we naturally focus on writing and publishing novels, but of course there are plenty of other careers out there for writers. Before I started writing young adult books, I was exclusively focused on science fiction and fantasy short stories — and I still manage to write at least a couple of those a year. Before short fiction, I was interested in writing screenplays and for television. Perhaps one day I will share my unproduced spec scripts for Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Voyager, and Nickelodeon’s CatDog: the first written works I completed, revised, and submitted. They were rejected, but they were important steps in building the discipline and persistence that serve writers so well.

Many working writers have a variety of projects; I’m currently freelancing, doing technical writing, marketing copy, blog posts, and articles while drafting my next book. My friends and colleagues write media tie-in novels for exciting properties like Star Trek and Star Wars, comic books for DC and Marvel, video games. I love writing YA, but it’s hard not to dream about those possibilities and hope for chances to branch out too. Fortunately, proven success in one written format often leads to opportunities in other areas.

I love films and TV so much (too much, my wife might say, as she scrutinizes my video collection), I would still love to work in that world one day, from a writers room or perhaps through the pages of a tie-in novel or a web series. It would be great to write video game scripts, or provide some of the in-world text to flesh out the setting and history. I want to write plays, too, even though I have no idea what that involves! I know those industries are probably not as glamorous as they seem from the outside, but neither is writing novels (shocking, right?), and I want to write so many more of those as well: middle grade, adult, horror, literary… you name it.

I think wanting to write in all these different media is about the appeal of storytelling. My motivation is to entertain people, and writing more broadly is just a way of reaching bigger audiences and engaging with them in new ways. My work was inspired by TV and movies and cartoons as much as books, so of course I want to try telling stories more visually. In fact, it’s all about trying something different, pushing out of the comfort zone, taking risks — and bringing together my diverse passions and interests into one amazing job that feels more like fun than work.

So aside from novels, what else do you write, or what would you like to write one day? Tell us in the comments below. Assume that anything is possible, because it is!

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905. Would You Read It Wednesday #174 - Poindexter's Particular Procedure For Cold Feet (PB) PLUS The April Pitch Winner!!!

Apparently, I have shopping all wrong.

Did you know you're not supposed to wait until you need something?

To me, that is brain-fizzingly stupid counter-intuitive.  Why, WHY? I ask, would you subject yourself to shopping when you don't have to?

(And yes, I realize that being a woman who does not enjoy shopping (unless it's for books or horse equipment) puts me in the minority, but if you had zero spare time and looked like a potato you wouldn't like it either!)

So anyway, the point is, according to the experts (my daughters) you're supposed to shop on a regular basis.  And by "shopping", they mean wending your way through aisles and aisles and AISLES of clothing, at an excruciatingly slow pace (the shopping walk) with no plan to purchase.  No.  You are just keeping a weather eye out for something that might be useful at some point.  And if, for example, you should come upon the perfect little black dress, or the perfect cute boots, even though you don't need said item right then, you pounce on it and carry home your prize in triumph, now prepared for some future as-yet-unknown little black dress or cute boot event.

This is because (so I'm told) you can never find anything when you need it.  So you have to find it when you don't need it.

If you don't know you need it, how do you know you'll ever need it? I argue.  To which the answer is, you don't.


This shopping logic escapes me.

Anyway, you must absolutely not do what I do, which is wait until 5 minutes before you desperately need a dress for a friend's wedding or a child's graduation, frantically ransack every store in the mall, panic because nothing is suitable/nothing looks good/nothing is in your size/budget, and then buy something that makes you look like a potato in a camping tarp because you HAVE TO HAVE SOMETHING!  (Which you are then photographed in for posterity and vow never to wear again because seriously, what were you thinking???!!!)

Now.  The point of this lesson on shopping (aside from the public service to you, my peeps, who might benefit from my worldly experience and wisdom) is that one of the people who taught it to me has accidentally put herself in the same situation.  So this afternoon, after my school visit is over, I'll be at the mall while herself and her friend shoe shop for the prom.

(Being the fashion queen that I am, I suggested sneakers.  They're comfortable, and in a full length gown, whose going to see them?  That's just practical good sense!  Plus it renders a trip to the mall unnecessary!  A win-win!  But that opinion earned me the sympathetic poor-mom-she's-so-cute-when-she's-pathetically-cluelessly-hopelessly-fashion-challenged look.)

So if you need me this afternoon, I'll be in the tenth circle of hell mall :)

Now, I think it's high time we got around to some actual business!  What better to take our minds off the horror of shopping then to announce the results of the April Pitch Pick?

Are you ready?

The winner of the April Pitch Pick is Amelia!!! with her pitch for The Princess And The Pee!!!  Congratulations, Amelia!  Your pitch is on its way to editor Erin Molta for her comments.

And congratulations to our other pitchers who had wonderful pitches too.  I hope you all feel like winners just for taking the time to polish your pitch, put it out there, receive constructive feedback, and then make your pitch even better!  I am impressed every week with the quality of the pitches, and every month by how much people's pitches improve after feedback.

After all that excitement, I think it's fair to say we need Something Chocolate to calm our nerves :)  Today we have the lovely Teresa to thank for pointing us in the direction of Four-Layer Chocolate Birthday Cake with Ganache Filling and Nutella Buttercream Icing!  Swoon!

Since we really should have a birthday to go with our birthday cake, shall we celebrate with Stevie Wonder?  (Because yes, today is his birthday!)  It's also a popular day for Popes to be born (Innocent XIII and Pius IX!)

Go Wild! :)
Would it be wrong to sing, "Isn't she lovely..." with our mouths full of chocolate cake???  Or maybe Ebony And Ivory... the Saturday Night Live version with Frank Sinatra and Eddie Murphy impersonating Stevie is not to be missed :)

Whether or not you choose to sing with your mouth full, today's pitch comes to us from Linda who says, "I have been writing for over thirty years, as I held other positions including teacher, and mother to six precious children.  I especially like writing about people and have been published dozens of times in magazines and newspapers.  With my children grown, and more time available, I’m turning toward more serious writing.  Poindexter’s Particular Procedure for Cold Feet may be my first published book."  

You can find her online at:

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Poindexter's Particular Procedure For Cold Feet
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 3-8)
The Pitch: This play on the letter “P” pops the story along as it addresses the common childhood problem of cold feet.  Humor, kindness, and a bit of mystery are woven throughout, as young Evan’s mother creatively resolves the problem.

So what do you think?  Would You Read It?  YES, MAYBE or NO?

If your answer is YES, please feel free to tell us what you particularly liked and why the pitch piqued your interest.  If your answer is MAYBE or NO, please feel free to tell us what you think could be better in the spirit of helping Linda improve her pitch.  Helpful examples of possible alternate wordings are welcome.  (However, I must ask that comments be constructive and respectful.  I reserve the right not to publish comments that are mean because that is not what this is about.)

Please send YOUR pitches for the coming weeks!  For rules and where to submit, click on this link Would You Read It or on the Would You Read It tab in the bar above.  There are openings in October so you've got a little time to polish up your pitches and send yours for your chance to be read by editor Erin Molta!

Linda is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to singing Isn't She Lovely with my mouth full of chocolate cake because dang-it-all that sounds like a challenge I can't pass up.  For an encore, I will whistle My Cherie Amour with my mouth full of chocolate cake!  Feel free to join me! :)

Have a wonderful Wednesday, everyone!!!

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906. there, again, is the news: what is solid, standing, everpresent, ever true?

How difficult it is becoming for all of us to get up and go about our daily work. As if the ground isn't shaking beneath us. As if terror and its isms haven't edged too close. As if the farmers don't need rain. As if it not snowing, in May, in Wyoming. As if our friends were not on that Amtrak train that rode a curve too hard outside our city.

What are we to do with the news? How are we to live our own lives, tick and tock after our own ideas, stand for this or stand for that, prepare our defenses despite the fact that there is no defense against earth grind, cruelty, the drought within our skies?

What is solid, standing, everpresent, ever true? What matters, and what can we do?

I woke up to write a proposal for the 2015-16 Beltran Family Event. To sneak a line or two of a novel-in-progress onto the page. To get ready for the day's client interviews. To write the bills. The small, the daily, the mine, the one. Get up. Do it. Believe. But there, again, is the news.

6:10 now. The morning hours gone. Another day and in defense against the defenseless, I will pretty my garden, present a cake, send flowers to a friend, call my son and call my father. The things I still know how to do, in the face of too much news.

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907. SURTEX 2015 - promo flyers

Here are some more beautiful flyers from studios and designers to look out for if you are lucky enough to be off to Surtex this week. First up is the brilliant Lemon Ribbon (above) in booth 717 who will have lots of new artworks that cover Baby to Teen, Boys and Girls for all surface pattern products. And below another great UK studio : Jane Mosse Designs in booth 723, In booth 633 : Foliage

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908. Power Words in Your Content Marketing

Power Words to Make Your Promo Succeed Guest Post by Will Newman Let me start by apologizing to you. I'm going to talk to you about something I talked about a couple of years ago. Not the same words, but the same ideas. Today we're going to chat about verbs … and how the verbs you use can make or break promotional writing. Let's start by recalling briefly the 4-Ps:

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909. #thewritebook toolkit: a whole comics lesson in videos!

Guys, this is exciting! Booktrust have worked with me to come up with a whole online class on how to make comics! I'm always wishing I could get around to more schools, so this is a huge help. There are four videos: how to make a character, tips on making comics, a walk-through where kids can make a comic along with the video, then a fun song at the end, inspired by the comic character.

The video editor has expertly paced the tutorial so teachers can use it in the classroom. But I think people at home can get a lot out of it, too: kids or grownups! You can watch the videos on the website here.

Here's the second video, so you can get a taster. Kids find making comics fun, but it also focuses them on learning how to make a story very clear to a reader. When I lead kids in Comics Jams, I often see them coming to grips with the idea that it's not enough to have a story in their heads, but that they have to give enough clues on the paper for someone else to understand the story without them hovering nearby, explaining it. They partly learn that by drawing the comics, but also by being given someone else's comic, and seeing why it might be difficult to work out what's happening. Learning how to express a series of thoughts clearly is a great concept lesson that applies to any form of communication.

You can find some more tips on leading Comics Jams over on my Jampires website with David O'Connell (who does great workshops). The Write Book site went live yesterday and a few people have already spotted it and seen its potential. Yay!

And you know how I'm always banging on about us needing an online comics database? Well, it looks like something's starting to happen! Check out this Booktrust Bookfinder on the website. For people who have no idea what kind of comics to give kids of various ages, this could be super-helpful. It's by no means a comprehensive list, and people can question the age ranging but it's a great start, and user-friendly. I'm always meeting teachers who want to do more with comics but they don't know much about them and need help.

On the Bookfinder, you can find out about my Vern and Lettuce comic book:

You can even download some pages, so you can get a feel for what kind of comic it is!

I'm really excited about this Write Book teacher toolkit; I think it could become a sort of TED Talks about children's books, with good resources just clicks away from the videos. I know kids get a HUGE amount out of it when I lead them in Comics Jam sessions, and I really hope people will use and share these videos.

And explore the other resources on the site! You can watch videos by Tony Bradman on rewriting fairy tales and Laura Dockrill's tips on writing and keeping a notebook. If you use our videos to come up with something creative, we'd love it if you'd share them with us! You can tweet them (or get someone to help you tweet them) to @Booktrust, using the hash tag #thewritebook. (And include me - @jabberworks - I'd love to see your comics!)

Big thanks to Anna McKerrow and the Booktrust team for making this happen!

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910. Spotlight and Giveaway: Once Pure by Cecy Robson

This morning I have an excerpt for Once Pure by Cecy Robson, as well as an awesome giveaway!

Once Pure
Shattered Past # 3

By: Cecy Robson

Releasing May 19, 2015



She bears the scars of the past. He blames himself for things he can’t control. Their defenses are up, but in Cecy Robson’s latest Shattered Past novel—perfect for fans of Monica Murphy and J. Lynn—true love lands a knockout punch.

Sofia Tres Santos remembers a time before her life went sour, before her innocence was ripped away, before she began punishing herself with risky behaviors and unworthy men. Now, at twenty, she just hopes she’s ready to rebuild some of what she lost. One way or another, it always comes back to her childhood friend and longtime crush, Killian O’Brien.

As strong as Killian is, Sofia has always been his one weakness. He knows Sofia has suffered and wants to ensure she’s never hurt again—not like before, and definitely not under his watch. When Sofia agrees to work at his mixed martial arts gym, Killian seizes the opportunity to help and protect the sweet girl he’s always cared for. And yet, as he trains Sofia to defend herself using his hard-hitting MMA techniques, he’s drawn to the vulnerable beauty in ways he never expected.

As Sofia grows stronger, she also grows brave enough to open herself up to love. And along the way, she challenges everything Killian believes to be true, showing him that no matter how much he dominates in the ring, the real battle is fought in the heart.

Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2015/02/once-pure-shattered-past-3-by-cecy.html

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23834613-once-pure?from_search=true
Goodreads Series Link:

Buy Links: Amazon | B & N | iTunes | Kobo | Publisher

Author Info

Cecy Robson is the New Adult author of Once Perfect, Once Loved, and Once Pure and the award-winning author of the Weird Girls urban fantasy romance series. A self-proclaimed professional napper, Cecy counts among her talents a jaw-dropping knowledge of useless trivia, the ability to make her hair big, and a knack for breaking into song despite her family’s vehement protests. A full-time writer, registered nurse, wife, and mother living in the Great Northwest, Cecy enjoys spending time with her family and silencing the yappy characters in her head by telling their stories.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads


Killian poked his head into the office one afternoon. “One of the boys is going for a coffee run. You want a latte or whatever that shit’s called?”

I giggled. Killian knew only one type of coffee: black. And even that he didn’t drink. “No, I’m good.”

“How about lunch?” He gave me a one-shoulder shrug when I raised my brows. “I ordered you a steak from Geno’s in case you were hungry. It should be here soon.”

A cheesesteak from Geno’s? Killer yum. “I’d love one. Thank you.”?

“I told them no peppers.” He smiled. “You never liked peppers, right?”?

He remembered. “No. Not on steaks.” I reached for my money. “Let me give you a few bills.”?

“Don’t. I got it.”

I watched him leave in time to hear his sister, Erin, better known as Wren, enter the gym. I hadn’t seen her since the winter, but I heard her thick Philly accent loud and clear. “Hey, Kill. Did you order cheese fries? I’m starvin’.”

“You just got here!” Kill called from the front.?

“That don’t mean I ain’t starvin’.”?

She strolled in, tossing her gym bag on the empty chair in front of me. “Hey, Sofe. How’s it going, kid?”?

“I’m all right. You?”

“Shitty. I think I’m getting my period.” Her two braids hung like thick black rope against her breasts. She rummaged through her bag and stood with a huff when she didn’t find what she was looking for. “Hey, you got any tampons on you?”?

I snagged my bag from the floor. “I’m not sure, let me look.”?

“Thanks. This womanly shit blows, you know? But I suppose if it’s all a part of me

squeezing out a few puppies one day, it’s worth it, right?”?

“Mmm.” I couldn’t squelch my smile. I liked Wren. While “dainty” and “girlie” would be the last words I’d use to describe her, she’d always been kind in spite of her tough-girl persona. As the only girl in a household of six boys, she hated pink, hated dolls, and hated lip gloss. The only things she liked were cars and kicking ass. I wondered if she realized how stunning she was. Traffic seemed to stop when she strutted down the street, but she never seemed to notice. Wren was just Wren. It was one of her many qualities that made her so endearing.

I passed her what I had.?

“Thanks, Sofe.” She jerked her chin. “So Finn tells me you’re doing Kill.”?

I think my jaw fell somewhere near my feet. “N-no. I’m not, I swear.”?

She shrugged and tucked the tampon into the strap of her sports bra. “It’s nothing to be ashamed of. He’s a good kid—like you, you know?”?

Help me, Jesus. “H-how’s it going down at the auto dealer?”?

“Oh, it’s awesome. Sold more F-150s last week than those fucktard pricks I work with.”


“Totally. You lookin’ for new wheels? I can get you a sweet deal. All last year’s models are going on sale in two weeks.” She held up two fingers for emphasis. “Two. Time’s tickin’, Sofe.”

“Ah, no. I can’t afford that now, but thanks.”

“All right.” She pointed at me. “You change your mind, you tell me. I watch out for those from the old neighborhood.”

“Thank you.”

Wren cocked her head as she took in the floral sundress I was wearing. She wore tight, tiny shorts that showed off her abs and long, muscular legs. The only skin I exposed was on my arms, face, and ankles. “You look real nice, Sofi. Too nice. You sure you’re not banging my brother?”

I buried my face in my hand. “Yes. I’m sure.”

“’Cause Finn said—and granted Finnie tends to exaggerate the truth—that Kill was all, like, into you. Then again, he has been since even before he got pubes.”

If Wren was trying to offer me a compliment it didn’t feel like one. “We’re not having sex,” I assured her. I squirmed when she continued to watch me. “So, what are you up to?”

“Teaching kickboxing and self-defense to a bunch of stay-at-home moms. Pissed me off, though, one came in all big and pregnant. I was like, yo, you can’t be coming in here all big and pregnant. You know that crazy-ass bitch with her crazy-ass hormones accused me of discriminatin’ against her?”


“Totally. And you know what happened?”?

I shook my head.?

“She broke her water.” Wren hooked a thumb behind her. “Right there on the mat next to the Octagon. Killian was all pissed and made me clean it up, can you believe that shit?”?

I blinked back at her. “Ah, no.”?

“Swear to God. Almost threw up doin’ it, too.”?

Finn knocked on the door. “Wren. Your class is ready.” He frowned at her shoulder. “Why the hell do you have a tampon tucked in you bra?”?

“I think I’m getting my monthly.”?


She tossed the tampon in her bag and headed out. At five feet eight she was just two

inches shorter than Finn. Both had been the runts of the O’Brien clan. She clapped her hands together as a group of women gathered along the wall where a row of heavy bags were lined up. “Hey, listen up, ladies. Youz were all pathetic last time. Don’t be pathetic. It don’t pay to be pathetic when some asshole with a knife comes after you—”

A little boy about six ran out from nowhere, jetting in circles around Wren. She grabbed him by the collar of his T-shirt. “Hey. You see me talkin’ here?”

The kid nodded.?

“You see me teaching a class?”

He nodded again.?

“Then what the hell are you doing?”?

The kid blinked up at her. “I got ADHD,” he answered.?

“No one here gives a shit, kid.” She glanced up. “Who does this kid belong to?”?

A woman in very unforgiving spandex tossed her bag against the wall and kicked off her sneakers. “Sorry, Wren. My ma couldn’t take him so I had to bring him to class. Sauron, get your ass over here.”

The kid resumed his circle sprints around Wren the minute she released him. “Sauron?” Wren asked. “You seriously named your kid Sauron, Gloria? Do you wonder why he’s fucked up?”

Gloria threw up her hands. “Don’t get me started. It was my ex’s idea. Sauron! Get over here before I take away your iPad!”

Wren rolled her eyes. “Christ,” she spat. “Okay, ladies, twenty kicks—ten each leg—let’s go. Sauron, you grab a bag, too.”

Sauron pointed to himself. “Me?”

“Yeah. With a name like you got you’re gonna get your ass kicked. Might as well learn to defend yourself. Let’s go, ladies, come on!”

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911. Glass Slippers Interview

BookwormFairy31 avatarHey! BookwormFairy31 here. I wanted to interview Ella from “Glass Slippers.” Ella, come out here!

Ella: Oh, hi Destiny.

Me: My writer name is Destiny. So, Ella, were you surprised when your aunt Cora told you about your power?

Ella: I was stunned but I made a limo out of my car and created an iPod 8 out of thin air.

Me: Do you like Will? *smiles sheepishly*

Ella: Why did you ask me that?!

Me: Sorry! Sorry! Sheesh.

Me: What do you like best about Jessica?

Ella: I guess that she’s honest and caring, same as her sister Madilene.

Me: What do you hate about Alexa?

Ella: What’s not to hate? She’s a huge jerk. She’s even mean to her own kids!

Me: Can I bring someone else up?

Ella: Sure.

Me: Will, come up here!!

Will: Umm . . . hi.

Me: So you ran into Ella at the dance. What did you think of her when you first met?

Will: I thought she was nice . . . and clumsy.

Ella: Hey! I was pushed.

Will: Sorry. I didn’t know.

Me: Umm . . . let’s stop this right now before there’s a fight.

*Ella creates Will’s worst nightmare in the background.*

Me: Cut! Cut!

*Camera goes black.*

To find out more about BookwormFairy’s version of Cinderella, read the story here.

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912. From Library Desk to Library Shelf: My 10-Year Path to Publication

We're delighted to have Augusta Scattergood kicking-off our new Author Spotlight Blog Series.

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913. (Not) the Zweig brothers

       Eminent historian Peter Gay ( Fröhlich) passed away yesterday; see, for example The New York Times' obituary.
       While I've read a couple of his works -- long. long ago -- what came immediately to mind when I heard the news was his 1983 review of Ronald Hayman's Brecht in The New York Times Book Review, where he offered a parenthetical 'correction':

Cool and generally competent (the author's most egregious slip is having Stefan Zweig make a speech in East Berlin in 1948, six years after his suicide in Brazil; he obviously had his brother, Arnold, in mind)
       I still remember my teenage-shock -- that a scholar of this stature, and a publication such as The New York Times Book Review, could slip so in (semi-)correcting slippage .....
       True, Stefan Zweig had long been eclipsed, and has only recently been revived, while Arnold only intermittently registers in English at all (Overlook re-issued The Case of Sergeant Grischa just over a decade ago; see their publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk, while Freight Books did bring out his Outside Verdun (to little notice) last year; see their publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk). Nevertheless, if you're aware of them -- as Gay seemed to be, to the extent that he recognized Stefan was long-dead in 1948, and Arnold the obvious Zweig giving speeches in post-war East Berlin -- you surely should -- indeed: must be aware that they were not in any way related. (A letter to the editor from a relative of Arnold's clears things up.)
       It was a disillusioning moment for me -- haunting me still, even three decades on.

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914. 2015 Cardiff Independent Comic Expo

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915. Off-site library storage

       So here's one of the odder library-stories I've come across: the town of Westport, Connecticut, apparently shelled out $7 million for 'Golden Shadows' (now called 'Baron's South'), the 23-acre property of Baron Walter Langer von Langendorff, in 1999 (hey, a bargain, apparently: "down from its original $11.5 million asking price").
       Despite the huge investment, they don't seem to have done much with the property (yet), including with the house (which, though unoccupied, "retains the baron's influences, especially his predilection for pink"), but at some point they gave the Westport Library permission to store some of their excess inventory there.
       It seems, however, the library went a bit overboard: as Anne M. Amato now reports in the WestportNewss, Towering stacks of library books blamed for Baron's mansion damage, as:

the storage has taken over the entire place.

"Every room, including the bath tubs, are filled with books," said Suggs, a member of the RTM's Library, Museum and Art Committee
       (Pro-tip: when the books wind up in the bathtub you know you've gone too far.)
       Since the structure wasn't designed for book-storage, it's not surprising that, for example:
Among the problems caused to the former mansion by the heavy accumulation of stored materials is the collapse of the dining room floor
       This is a great story on so many levels. First off, what local library has a seven million dollar storage facility ? (Okay, a lot of that valuation is probably the land, but still.)
       Among the nice, not-fully-explained oddities about the story:
Suggs began looking into the matter several months ago after receiving a complaint from a constituent about the possibility that the library has been dumping books in its trash bin. "From there, we discovered this problem," he said.
       Still, I 'm just happy the library is holding onto the books (though it would probably be preferable if they were actually accessible, not boxed away).
       And, of course, you have to love the attitude:
She said "a new library with a lot of storage space would solve the problem."
       Wouldn't it though ? And they had seven million to spend on the still undeveloped property more than fifteen years ago, surely they have a couple of million they could spend on more library space ..... Read the rest of this post

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916. Retail and the royals

With the arrival of little Princess Charlotte of Cambridge earlier this month, retailers will have inevitably experienced an influx of customers purchasing commemorative memorabilia and other royal baby related souvenirs. The UK economy is expecting a huge boost with the excitement generated by the new baby. With the Monarchy estimated to be worth £44 billion, we take a brief look at four ways the Royal family has given the UK’s economy a much needed lift in the past.

The post Retail and the royals appeared first on OUPblog.

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917. SURTEX 2015 - irene chan

Irene Chan will be at Surtex in booth 222. Irene was born and raised in Hong Kong but went to the US to study when she was 18 and is now based in Atlanta, GA. She received her BFA in graphic design from the Savannah College of Art & Design and has had a successful career in multiple disciplines in design. More recently she has been expanding into illustration and art licensing and her

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918. My Summer Wish List

Olaf, in Disney’s Frozen, is famously and surprisingly infatuated with all things summer. Children’s librarians, on the other hand, seem a natural fit to be preoccupied with these warm months ahead. As our busiest time of the year is on the horizon and our summer reading program begins in just a few short weeks, I’ve created my own wish list of my hopes and dreams for this year’s summer reading program. While it would be nice if our programs and prizes brought in the kids in droves just like that Disney blockbuster hit, I’m setting my sights on more realistic milestones to gauge the success of our program. So without further ado, here’s my summer reading wish list for 2015.

Marketing Magic   

(Image provided by Thinkstockphotos.com)

(Image provided by Thinkstockphotos.com)

We’ve always targeted the schools with summer reading publicity, assemblies, appearances on morning announcements, and promotional summer reading DVDs.  This year the print publicity students receive not only highlights our upcoming programs but also includes a reading log for children to record their reading over the summer.  In previous years, we’ve required participants to wait to begin the summer reading program until the children or their adults receive the reading record in person in the library.  By providing kids with the reading records early while they are still in school, we hope this will jump start their reading. As children will have their physical record in hand, this will hopefully serve as an encouragement and reminder to their parents to bring their kids to the library to collect their prizes. My first wish is that our enhanced promotional efforts with the schools increase our overall participation.

Older and Involved

Our children’s summer reading club begins for children from birth through fifth grade, with those children who have completed fifth grade having the option of completing the children’s program or joining the teen summer reading club instead. Unfortunately, we’ve observed less interest and participation with those kids in the children’s program once they have reached the upper elementary grades.  Our programs on superheroes and spy camps should be hits with the older kids, but we also hope some of the other changes we have implemented, such as adding a pick a prize option to allow children some variety with choosing their prizes and a wider selection of books for children to choose from when they receive their third prize, will add appeal to the older end of our age range. My second wish is that all our children, regardless of their age, are enthusiastic and engaged with our program this summer.

The Individual Impact            

(Image provided by Thinkstockphotos.com)

(Image provided by Thinkstockphotos.com)

It’s easy to be sucked in by the numbers and get stuck on those statistics.  This year, my greatest wish is that I am able to see the individual connections we make with children. I hope I observe how our summer reading participants relate to the books they are reading and how reading resonates in their lives.  Even with the hustle and bustle of the summer, I hope we all can take just a moment and acknowledge how our summer reading reaches each and every one of our participants, instead of rushing from one group to the next. My greatest wish is that I remember that this individual impact is what our work is all about.

My summer wish list includes my hope that our promotional materials increase our participation, that our older kids are as excited about our program as their younger siblings, and that we are all able to stop and recognize the summer reading program’s individual impact on our participants.  I hope at the beginning of the fall it will be evident that these wishes came to fruition, and if they didn’t, we’ll develop new goals in mind to enhance our program in 2016.  What does your wish list for your summer reading program include this year?  Please add your wishes in the comments below!


The post My Summer Wish List appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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919. Advice to Get You Through the Query Trenches and Beyond by Chris Ledbetter

Chris Ledbetter is a man who's paid his writing dues. A friend of many of us here on the blog, Chris is well known in Twitter writing circles for always providing a helpful link to great topics of interest for writers of all stripes, and supportive RTs to new and old authors alike. Having spent his fair share of time in the query trenches and now the joys (and struggles) of a newly published author, he's learned a lot about what makes a book shine and a writer tough, and he's here to share with us some of the nuggets he's panned along the way. Take it away, Chris.

Advice to Get You Through the Query Trenches and Beyond: A WOW-Wednesday Post by Chris Ledbetter

My writing ego has been bruised and battered on this crazy journey. But calluses have now formed where I’ve punched my way through the wall the way even dripping water on a stone can bore a hole. Persistence is key, yes. But smart persistence is even better. I hope what I offer is a way to work smarter. I raise a glass to all those who came before me and showed me the value of intelligent effort.

1) Read to Succeed:

Read in the genre in which you wish to write. Read to discover the accepted norms and the rule breakers. Read to find out what you like and what you don’t. Read to discover what you can offer that will be distinct from the current voices. The worst thing is thinking you have this uber original story only to find out it’s been run through and no editors will ever buy it again.

But then, also read craft books and articles. I hate to say it, but you could get an MFA’s worth of craft information on Pinterest. You really can’t read enough craft posts.

2) Don't Go it Alone:

Join supportive organizations like SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) or an appropriate group to your genre. And go to conferences. I’m constantly learning about worldbuilding, dialogue, structure, etc. ((And put yourself out there. My very first conference, I signed up to read my first five pages aloud... to complete strangers. And while you're at it, enter contests and workshops like the First Five Pages workshop run by this blog. I'm a proud graduate of this workshop. I also am a proud graduate of the Nevada SCBWI Mentor Program. These have been invaluable to me.))

Find a good group of critique partners who don’t hold punches. It may hurt to get your work torn apart by your critiquers, but as long as it’s leveled constructively, you’ll learn and grow… and be closer to the brass ring.

3) Flex Some Bility with Your Writing Schedule:

My time is so disjointed that I typically find whatever time I can to get my butt-in-chair. When I first began writing, I wrote everything longhand and transcribed it later. I love the flow of longhand. There’s a certain freedom to it. The blood seeps from my soul a little easier.

Now, more often than not, my best drafting time is 4am in the morning. That’s the only time that my house is completely quiet. And now, I draft straight to computer to save time. I’ve been reading articles about drafting faster, so I’m going to try some new techniques with my next story. I’ll save my report about their effectiveness for a later date.

The most important aspect of writing and revising is filling that page. It doesn't matter how fugly your first draft is... or even your second. Give yourself permission to suck. Because you can't edit or revise an empty page.

4) Getting Hit in the Feels & Facing Your Fears:

My fears are the same as any other writer… any artist… my greatest fear is that no one will like my work. Or worst, they’ll hate it. The amount of time that we spend on our projects is enormous. Our stories are aptly compared to children.

If your child comes home from school and says he or she has been bullied, you get hit in the feels. You feel all the pain in an amplified state. It’s no different with our literary babies. But at the end of the day, you have to write the book that you would read and hope that your own enthusiasm catches fire.

5) When You're Ready to Give Up, Write Another Story

There have been a few times when I really and truly felt like hanging up my pencil. None of my stories were being accepted by agents or publishers. I had told the best stories I knew how to tell. And what’s worse, I knew that it wasn’t necessarily that my writing was bad. The stories I’d written just weren’t saleable at the time I’d written them. So I changed my focus, wrote something new, and still got rejected.

I told myself that I had one story left in me to try to woo the traditional publishing market. And once I’d finished the story, even it kept meeting wall after wall. Until, lo and behold, a small publisher decided to give me a shot. And the story Evernight Teen accepted was DRAWN. And then unrelated to that, I also signed with my agent Ella Kennen shortly thereafter regarding a totally different story.

So keep plugging away. Keep punching the wall. Bandage yourself up and pour yourself a drink if you must, but keep fighting.

6) Approach Reviews with an Analytical Mind:

I probably shouldn’t read reviews, but I do. I may yet get to a point when I don’t read them. Good or bad, though, I like the more descriptive ones that really get into the meat of what they liked and/ or didn’t like. This might sound crazy, but I learn a great deal from detailed reviews. Even from reviews that I read for other authors’ books.

From my own personal experience in disliking certain books despite their being wildly popular, I know that my stories won’t reach everyone. And that’s all right, too. My hope is that if someone dislikes my stories, that they engage a scholarly, constructive tone in their review versus a vitriolic diatribe. The latter is unhelpful.

About the Book:


Caught between the sweltering fall landscape of Wilmington, NC beaches and southern illusions and expectations, all sixteen year-old Cameron Shade thinks about is art. That, and for Farrah Spangled to view him as more than just a friend. Cameron longs to win her heart through art.

After several warm interactions with Farrah, including painting together at the beach, Cameron discovers just how complex Farrah’s life is with her boyfriend and her family. Following a tense run-in with Farrah’s father, she forbids Cameron to ever speak to her again, but Cameron’s convinced there’s more behind the request.

To impress Farrah with a last-ditch effort, Cameron sketches her portrait. But the sketchbook he uses hides a dark secret. Farrah’s now in grave danger because the sketch he drew of her siphons her real-life’s soul into the sketchbook. Cameron now has twenty days to extract Farrah. To save her, he must draw himself into the book.

If he fails… they both die.

Amazon | Goodreads

About the Author:

Chris Ledbetter grew up in Durham, NC before moving to Charlottesville, VA in 11th grade. After high school, he attended Hampton University where he promptly "walked-on" to the best drum line in the CIAA. And, without any prior percussion experience. He carried the bass drum for four years, something his back is not very happy about now.

After a change of heart and major, he enrolled in Old Dominion University and earned his degree in Business Administration. He's worked in various managerial and marketing capacities throughout his life. While teaching high school for six years in Culpeper, Virginia, he taught business management, business law, marketing, and sports marketing. He also coached football.

As a self-described, young reluctant reader, he writes young adult stories specifically to reach other reluctant readers. As a participant in the prestigious Nevada SCBWI Mentor Program, he was blessed to be mentored by Suzanne Morgan Williams, 2012 SCBWI member of the year.

He now lives in Wilmington, NC with his family, including three cats.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads

-- posted by Susan Sipal, @HP4Writers

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920. SURTEX 2015 - rachael schafer

It has been a dream goal of designer Rachel Schafer to get her work to Surtex and this year she has with her new agents Astound in booth 250. Designs will include works like her 'Tivoli Gardens' collection (above) inspired by her recent trip to Copenhagen. Rachel went freelance in 2012 and since then, her focus has been branding work, illustration, lettering and pattern design.

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921. Valerian and Laureline From Comic Book To Animated Series To Movie


I think that, if you've ever read Valerian and Laureline you will know why it is so loved.  In the innocent days when I read Zack comic in Germany I thought it was a German comic strip.  I got more educated when I began getting Small Press publications from Germany -particularly Zebra which had a strong connection with the creators.

Valerian and Laureline books from Cinebook The 9th Art (whom I hope take full advantage of the movie news!) I've looked at can be found here:

Heroes Of The Equinox

On The False Earths

Ambassador Of The Shadows

Birds Of The Master

The Land Without Stars

Now, weirdly, those are all I can find on CBO though I am positive I've reviewed volumes 1-4, too.  But take a look.

 If your local comic shop doesn't stock Cinebook titles then it's a real loser shop -go somewhere with taste, but in case even your local book store has none of these books (you may well be the two comickers in Antarctica!) go to the Cinebook site:http://www.cinebook.co.uk/

There was an animated series planned for 2007 but I don't think was ever shown on English language TV -correct me if I am wrong.  I wasn't too keen on the "big eye" look but the clips I've seen were interesting.

But I have to admit that I am excited that Besson is involved with this movie project and, despite all the criticism over the years, I have always maintained that The Fifth Element will one day be seen as a classic sci-fi/fantasy movie (rather like Mystery Men ought to be recognised one day as a great comic book movie -as Raw! was a great pro wrestling spoof movie).

If anyone can make this movie and be true to Pierre Christin and Jean-Claude Mézières creations it has to be him.  All I need now is a Sub-Mariner movie!

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922. SURTEX 2015 - jill mcdonald

Jill McDonald will be showing at Surtex for the 11th year in booth 610. Jill will have lots of bright, fun art for children and babies, and she loves to add a gentle touch of education to a lot of her art as well as a bit of a story line. This lends itself nicely to product development as there are lots of directions to spin off from each piece. In June Jill will also be exhibiting at the

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923. The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake by Robin Newman and illustrated by Deborah Zemke, 38 pp, RL 2

The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake by Robin Newman and illustrated by Deborah Zemke is a fantastic new book from Creston Books, a homegrown publisher of books printed in America that launched in Fall of 2013. Of course I love a good story, but I also love a beautifully made book and all of Creston's books fit this bill, as you can glimpse in the photo below, and by taking a look inside The

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924. RUMP by Liesl Shurtliff

I chose RUMP by Liesl Shurtliff as our last read aloud of third grade.  We may fit one more in but it is doubtful. RUMP has been one of my favorite read alouds of all time. I was worried that it would be too complex for 3rd grade but they LOVE it and it is bringing together so much they understand about story.

Before we started RUMP, we read several picture book versions of Rumplestiltskin. (This fabulous advice from Colby Sharp:-)  Some of the versions were fun. Others were a bit scary. Some of the movie versions we watched were a bit creepy. The kids loved the conversations around the similarities and differences in this stories.  But Rumplestiltskin as a character was pretty much the same--a not so nice, magical creature who is out for himself.

So much of 3rd grade is learning to read complex books, learning to look beyond the surface and to infer a bit more than what is on the page.  So much is learning to know characters beyond a few descriptors. What do they do and why do they do what they do? How do they change over time?  What do they learn from their problems?

The year has also been about connecting stories in a way that helps you understand better.  Noticing the ways that stories connect and characters remind you of other characters. It has been about thinking about what you can expect from a story because of its genre, author or topic. And it's been about the fun in changing your thinking in the midst of reading once you learn more about a character.

So, this book has been perfect t to tie all of our conversations together and to think more deeply about a character we thought we knew well enough. We are learning that perspective matters and the conversations around this book have been such fun!

Before we started the book, we previewed together and listed those things that we expected as readers as well as questions we had:

We also created a chart of Rumplestiltskin's character traits-what do we know about this character and how might our thinking about him change as we read this story?  Our original thinking is on the left and we are filling in the right side when we realize something different.

Because Liesl Shurtliff is so brilliant and clever as a writer, the class is having great fun noticing little details in the book that may refer to another fairy tale they know or something from the original tale that they may have forgotten.  So much fun discovering not only Rump's perspective of all that happened but also in discovering the brilliance of this author, who is new to them.

As we get ready to think about our summer reading, I am sure many of my kids will want to read Liesl's newest book, Jack.  I know I am anxious to read it.  (And I am very excited that Liesl will be at NERDCAMP this summer!)

If you want to learn a bit more about Jack and the 3rd book that is coming next year, you can read an Interview with Liesl Shurtliff on The Nerdy Book Club site.

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925. Cartoon- Reporters

cartoon earthquake by monicaएक खबर के पीछे जिस तरह से मीडिया पड जाता है उससे बात एक ही बात दिल मे आती है कि बचाओ  … कोई इन खबरिया चैनलों के रिपोर्टरों से बचाओ …

The post Cartoon- Reporters appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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