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George Estreich’s collection of poems, Textbook Illustrations of the Human Body, won the Gorsline Prize and was published in 2004. A woodworker, fly-fisherman, and guitar player, he has taught composition, creative writing, and literature at several universities. He lives in Corvallis with his wife Theresa, a research scientist, and his two daughters, Ellie and Laura.
About the book:
When Laura Estreich is born, her appearance presents a puzzle: does the shape of her eyes indicate Down syndrome, or the fact that she has a Japanese grandmother? In this powerful memoir, George Estreich, a poet and stay-at-home dad, tells his daughter’s story, reflecting on her inheritance — from the literal legacy of her genes, to the family history that precedes her, to the Victorian physician John Langdon Down’s diagnostic error of “Mongolian idiocy.” Against this backdrop, Laura takes her place in the Estreich family as a unique child loved, like her sister, for everything ordinary and extraordinary about her.
My take on the book:
Occasionally I come across a book in which I struggle to find the right words to describe it in my review. There’s a variety of reasons I think for this. As a stay-at-home and work-at-home dad, sometimes it’s just plain fatigue. Other times I almost feel that anything I say won’t do the book the justice it deserves. George Estreich’s The Shape of the Eye is a perfect example of the latter reason.
On it’s most simply expressed level, I can definitely vouch that the book is extraordinary. Written and researched over the course of a decade, Estreich gives readers a touching and poignant perspective of life with a child with special needs. But it’s more than that. It’s a parenting book I would not hesitate to recommend to any parent, whether they have children with special needs or not (although I’m of the school of thought that ALL children have special needs, but I digress).
The Shape of the Eye is also an account of the history of Down Syndrome. Personally, after almost a decade of work with children with developmental disabilities, I was a bit embarrassed that I didn’t know the correct term is indeed Down and not Down’s Syndrome. I also didn’t realize I would have quite a visceral response to just reading the term “mongoloid” as it would almost make me sick to my stomach to think of the stigmatization associated with a word like that. Estreich provides readers with a look at how far society has come in dealing with individuals diagnosed with Down Syndrome, and while doing that inspired me to reflect on my own personal preconceptions, prejudices and attitudes about family, ethnicity and especially the “inheritances” I carry within me.
I think it’s important to note that my hope for readers is that they will appreciate The Shape of the Eye for another reason: because it comes from a dad. I think other dads, whether they have a child with a developmental disability or not (see my comment above), can especially appreciate Estreich’s search for answers and explanations as well as his sharing of the impact it’s had on his marriage and daughter Ellie. As readers, we’re done an incredibly service here and Estreich is to be commended for his courageous storytelling and for sharing his family with us.
The ULYSSES SEEN artist passes along a poster he made for a Philadelphia theater company. “Their programming this year includes an old Radio show (with local actors and a foley sound-effects artist) as well as a dramatic-yet-hillarious reading from TOMB OF DRACULA #10. Great fun for all ages and, as you can see, something I really enjoy taking part in,” Berry writes.
STATUS: The last 70 degree day. Okay, I'll admit it. I popped out early to play a round of really bad golf. The weather was beautiful. The company sparkling. Kristin shanked every shot into trees. Ah yes, I'm THAT horrible beginner on the golf course that you never ever want to play behind of.
What’s playing on the XM or iPod right now? THRILLER by Michael Jackson (I mean, duh, what else could possibly be playing on the iPod tonight.)
What's scarier than Halloween? Writers signing publishing contracts not fully understanding what they are signing.
I figured I'd devote this entry to scary clauses in contracts that actual writers have signed.
1. The option clause into perpetuity.
Such a monster! I've seen this in too many small publishing house contracts to count. Any decent option clause will allow the publisher a look at the next project (usually narrowed down to specific type and genre) and that's it. Unsuspecting writers have signed contracts where they literally have to show a publisher every work they do--even if the publisher doesn't want it. The clause obligates them to then show their next project, and then the next project and so on.
I think any writer can get out of this (and the court will rule in the author's favor) but probably not without some substantial cost and a good lawyer.
2. Low royalties based on net.
Don't get me wrong, having royalties based on net isn't necessarily egregious. It is when the publisher tries to pass off royalties based on net to be equivalent to royalties based on retail price. In other words, they offer they same as "standard" such as 10% to 5000 copies, 12.5% on next 5000, and 15% thereafter but it's based on net receipts.
Sounds good until you calculate the math. 10% of net equals about 5% of retail price. Not exactly the same thing so do your monster math.
3. Warranties and Indemnities clauses where the author is on the hook for all the costs.
The author should only be fully responsible if they are found guilty and in breach of this clause. I've seen clauses where authors are on the hook for the full cost of even an alleged breach and yet they have no say in the proceedings. Oi! Even Frankenstein got a better deal.
4. Joint accounting.
Publishers love joint accounting. That means they link the monies of multiple books together. In short, an author doesn't see a penny of royalties until ALL books in the contract earn out and only then are royalties paid. You might be waiting years and years to kill that zombie.
5. Unmodified competing works clauses.
If you aren't really really careful, you might be legally obligated to not pursue any other writing work until the books in your contract are out of print and the rights revert back to you.
This is definitely worst case scenario but depending on the language in the contract, you might have backed yourself into this corner. Talk about hamstringing your career as a writer.
For me, in this digital age, the above are way scarier than anything that might go bump in the night.
The No. 1 Car Spotter is set in an unnamed African village and follows a few months in the life of a young boy called Oluwalase Babatunde Benson, better known as No. 1.
In No. 1′s village no-one owns a car, but a road passes nearby and No. 1 and his grandpa spend so much of their time car-spotting that they can tell what car is approaching the village just by the sound its engine makes.
One day the village cart breaks, and so No. 1′s family is unable to take their goods to market. If the family cannot sell their palm oil, yams and mangoes there will be no money for pencils and shoes for school or kerosene for lamps.
As with the other tales from No. 1′s life in this book, ingenuity and community spirit combined with a good dose of humour come together in the solving of the problem of the broken cart. And whilst the precise nature of the situations No. 1 finds himself in may not be familiar to many young readers of The No. 1 Car Spotter (for example, what to do with wheelbarrows donated by an NGO), it is a testament to Atinuke’s storytelling skill that we are all drawn in and convincingly transported to No. 1′s village where it is simply a delight to be part of his extended family, full of love and care and laughter for the duration of our reading.
Good Luck Anna Hibiscus follows Anna and her family as they prepare for Anna’s impending trip to visit her grandmother in Canada for Christmas, whilst Have Fun Anna Hibiscus is all about Anna’s month in that snowy country, her first time abroad.
As with The No. 1 Car Spotter the short stories in each of these books have real heart at the centre of them. They are packed with unsentimental but fierce love, thoughtfulness and kindness, always mixed up with plenty to giggle about. All three books show us how lives and people c
When I think of books I'm grateful for Marcia Lynn McClure's books are tops on my list. If you're a follower of this blog you know I adore Marcia & her books. I stayed up way too late this weekend reading The Haunting of Autumn Lake. I loved this book but since it is a sequel it most definitely must be read after reading The Visions of Ransom Lake. So thanks to Marcia I have a signed copy of The Visions of Ransom Lake for giveaway.
A signed copy of The Visions of Ransom Lake by Marcia Lynn McClure.
The Visions of Ransom Lake by Marcia Lynn McClure
Youthful beauty, naïve innocence, a romantic imagination thirsting for adventure-an apt description of Vaden Valmont, who would soon find the adventure and mystery she had always longed to experience-in the form of a man. A somber recluse, Ransom Lake descended from his solitary concealment in the mountains, wholly disinterested in people and their trivial affairs. And somehow, young Vaden managed to be ever in his way-either by accident or because of her own unique ability to stumble into a quandary. Yet the enigmatic Ransom Lake would involuntarily become Vaden's unwitting tutor. Through him, she would experience joy and passion the like even Vaden had never imagined. Yes, Vaden Valmont stepped innocently, yet irrevocably, into love with the secretive, seemingly callous man-Ransom Lake. But there were other life's lessons Ransom Lake would inadvertently convey to her as well. The darker side of life-despair, guilt, heartache. Would Ransom Lake be the means of Vaden's dreams come true? Or the cause of her complete desolation?
Giveaway Details: Open to US only Ends 11/14/11 To enter just follow this blog then fill out the form below.
There are a dozen other blogs participating in this hop, although I must put in a little disclaimer - I didn't realize when I signed up for this hop that some of the participating blogs are "adult" oriented and not "family friendly". With that warning the other stops can be found here: Livre De Amore - Books of Love Blog.
Abby Denson covers the half-shirted cute boys of the 80s, in a Tumblr blog that includes some horror icons like Udo Kier in BLOOD OF DRACULA and Johnny Depp in A NIGTHMARE ON ELM STREET. But here we see Corey Feldman from THE LOST BOYS, which as we revealed on Twitter today, we only saw for the very first time this weekend. Yes we had never seen “Death by stereo!” and the Two Croey’s greatest moments, as well as one of the most titanic assemblage of cute gothy boys in one film EVER. WHY DID WE WAIT SO LONG??!!?!??!?
I love to receive free books in the mail. Unlike most avid readers I don't have a huge personal library. I believe books should be read and then shared instead of sitting on a shelf collecting dust. This belief could mean free books for you.
Welcome to CouponCabin’s 25 Crazy Dayz of Giveawayz! This multi-blog event is hosted by Simply Stacie, Makobi Scribe and Sassy Mama in LAand is sponsored by CouponCabin. This is the biggest event the blogosphere has seen with over 400 giveaways each at $25 value or more plus a huge giveaway with some major prizes like a MacBook Air, iPad2 & Visa Gift Cards. You can find all the giveaways from the participating blogs by visiting the host blogs, Simply Stacie, Makobi Scribe and Sassy Mama in LA. Each host blog will feature a different set of giveaways for you to enter! No matter what type of coupon you're looking for, you'll find it and over 100,000 others at CouponCabin.coma leading destination for coupon codes, printable coupons, deals and more. Now with a new and improved grocery coupons section and the largest selection of coupon codes that are guaranteed to work, CouponCabin is the best place to start your search for savings. This holiday season, CouponCabin is dedicated to making holiday savings as easy as pie by bringing you the best deals for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. You can also download our CouponDetector and we'll let you know when the site you’re shopping has coupons and deals available. Never pay full price again with help from CouponCabin.com CouponCabin is giving away the following fabulous prizes:
Grand Prize: MacBook Air (11-inch, 128GB; ARV $1,199)
2nd Runner Up: iPad2 (16GB, with Wi-Fi +3G; ARV $629) & $200 Visa Gift Card
3rd Runner Up: iPad2 (16GB, with Wi-Fi +3G; ARV $629)
Hey! I am back from Quilt Market! Yes, I want to tell you all about my trip! I have so much to share. It only makes sense to split it up into several posts over this week! So today, I'm going to post about the Schoolhouses I attended.
What is a Schoolhouse, you ask?
At Quilt Market, there is a day of quick-hit small seminars which happen the day before the show floor opens. These are "Schoolhouses". Each seminar is called a "Schoolhouse". They are either 15- or 30-minutes long. The subject matter can be almost anything pertaining to the main themes that attendees of Quilt Market are interested in: new fabric lines featuring specific companies and/or specific designers, new patterns and projects, and anything pertaining to marketing and promotion of said products to help store owners to sell their wares. The Schoolhouses are hosted by the fabric companies, designers, or other companies be they selling patterns, crafts or other products. They are fun, informative and lively to attend!
My friend Monica Leeis a designer with Timeless Treasures. She did a Schoolhouse about smart and effective ways to use Social Media in your promotional arsenal. It was not only educational, but extremely entertaining! Monica showed that she is a natural in front of a crowd. I even learned a few things while also chuckling my way through her often-humorous delivery. Her latest collection with Timeless is adorable! Check out her blog to get more visuals on her collection!
This year I outsourced the pumpkin carving to the entlings and we ended up with some sort of symbol of the Horde? from World of Warcraft and a face from Minesweeper? I'm clueless.
I obviously need to reawaken my inner reading theme pumpkin carver next year. In the meantime, check out David LaRochelle's stunning work.
But we maintained our tradition of asking trick or treaters to name a favorite book before we doled out the treats. When the parents accompany the children there is general approval of this question. It is very fun to hear a dad ask, "which one of the books we've been reading do you like right now?" to his little one.
I was interested in the mother, carrying and a candy bag on behalf of her 14 year old daughter who was "home passing out candy" for her while she accompanied the younger siblings about the neighborhood. Could she have some candy for her daughter? She said her daughter liked, "mysteries, not the old ones but those new ones." Have a Kit Kat, lady.
Still, most of the kids were fairly cheerful about the question. More than one recalled "oh, I remember this place from last year."
Book titles mentioned in return for Reeses Peanutbutter Cups this year included:
Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Harry Potter were the big winners this year. George Washington's Socks Percy Jackson The Bible Happenstance Found Monster High Agatha Christie Alvin Ho Cats to the Rescue Warriors Short Life of Bree Twilight Skeleton Creek Hunger Games (many) Green Eggs and Ham Eragon Lord of the Rings Judy Moody Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can you? Everybody Poops Island Cinderella Cat in the Hat FlyGuy Barbie books SpongeBob Chronicles of Vladimir Looking for Alaska (now THAT was interesting. From a very tall and deep voiced group) 1984 Wake Bad Girls Don't
Touch immortality and go down in literary history! Several critically acclaimed, bestselling authors are auctioning off character names to benefit Kids Need to Read, a national nonprofit foundation that promotes childhood literacy and addresses the crisis in library funding that currently exists in the United States.
If you are one of the winning bidders, you will have a character named after you in an upcoming young adult novel by one of the following participating authors: Becca Fitzpatrick (Hush, Hush; Crescendo), Shannon Hale (Princess Academy, The Goose Girl), Brandon Mull (Fablehaven, Beyonders), Janette Rallison (My Unfair Godmother, Slayers), Kiersten White (Paranormalcy, Supernaturally), and Robin Brande (Evolution, Me & Other Freaks of Nature; Doggirl).
Should you win one of the auctions, the author agrees to use your name in an upcoming book. The character that is bestowed with your name may be a secondary or minor character, may have villainous tendencies, or may die at some point in the book or series. The character may have many or very few of your actual characteristics. The author is simply using the name for a character, not transporting your personality into the book. Also, editors have veto power over any name. (So if your name is Ima Jockstrap, you might be out of luck.) If an editor vetoes your name, you will be entitled to a full refund from Kids Need to Read.
The Kids Need to Read Literary Immortality Auction has started and will end Thursday, November 3, 2011. There are separate auctions for each author. Bidders can bid on multiple auctions.
I up and saw something pretty amazing last Thursday night. It wasThe Original Art Exhibitionin New York City at the Society of Illustrators, featuring genuine artwork from lots of the very best children’s book illustrators in the business. Trust me. As every artist on the planet will tell you, no matter how beautifully the artwork in a book is reproduced, the original art is soooo much better and richer and juicier. So blog readers, if you’re anywhere even vaguely near the vicinity of 128 East 63rd Street, you are hereby invited to take a gander….this show will be hanging out on the walls over there until December 29th and then the whole thing will disappear.
In this digital age, free or almost free access to (mostly bad or boring) art is becoming the way of the world. Who wants to pay actual money when you can get pix for next to nothing, even if they’re full of, um, pap? And who knows how long we’ll be able to hold real books made out of real paper in our hot little hands?
There are still brilliant illustrators out there who are passionate about using their brains, honing their skills, and inventing something unique, long-lasting, luminous, and memorable with their own two hands. And this show proves it.
If you’re one of the lucky ones, illustrating books is among the most interesting jobs you can ever imagine. Why settle for an ordinary livelihood if you can do work you love in the arts? Oh. Did I say “work?” My bad. Despite the long hours and labor-intensive requirements, illustrating books somehow feels a lot more like play to me. (And besides that, you don’t have to drive in rush hour traffic to get to, um, work…)
Preaching-to-the-choir, get-on-your-high-horse type of news:
We dumb down our culture in the worst possible way when we ignore the arts. We put ourselves at risk of losing the very same kinds of creativity that can make us shine. We lose our ability to enrich our day-to-day lives in substantive ways and even—or especially—to have some fun.
Let’s take a quick trip backwards to the days when boatloads of people from around the world began to wander onto these shores. To make a better life for themselves and their families, the rules used to be as follows:
The first generation to come to America had to do hard manual labor to make sure that their children got a good education.
The second generation got the good education so they could become business owners or doctors or lawyers or scientists or engineers.
That way, the third generation could afford to reach the True Summit of Civilization by going into the arts if they were so inclined. I have absolutely nothing against hard manual labor. I have absolutely nothing against becoming a professional. But Choir, let’s make sure the arts survive and grow, OK?
Sicilee Kewe is popular, shallow, and self-centered. Maya Baraberra is hip, social-conscious, and Sicilee's biggest rival. Waneeda Huddlesfield is lazy, bored, and sluggish. These three girls all attend Clifton Springs High School, but they have nothing in common except that each of them wouldn't be caught dead joining the Environmental Club. And who can blame them? The president of the club is Clemens Reis, who is known for his weird impassioned speeches about saving some centuries-old trees, and the principal has all but disbanded the club, saying it either needs to find new members or call it quits. All this is about to change, however, thanks to Cody Lightfoot. Cody is new in town, and his good looks, easygoing demeanor, and kindness to everyone, regardless of social status, makes Sicilee, Maya, and Waneeda all fall instantly in love, and suddenly they, and many others of their female classmates, have joined the Environmental Club for a chance to get to know Cody better. What ensues is a hilarious competition where each of the three girls is suddenly desperate to prove how Green she can be, an experience which just might lead to greater life changes than any of the three anticipates. The Crazy Things Girls Do For Love is one of the most unique contemporary YA novels I have read. I haven't read anything else by Dyan Sheldon, so I don't know if this is just her style, but I really loved the way she used shifting points of view to tell this story. Though the book does focus mostly on the three main characters and their circles of friends, it's also a story about how one student, and one club, change one particular high school. Because of that broad focus on the school as a whole, it was really effective to use the narrative as a kind of camera, panning the halls and zooming in on the significant moments in the day-to-day lives of each clique.
I also thought Sheldon did a wonderful job of portraying three unique characters with distinct characteristics. Sicilee, Maya, and Waneeda do somewhat represent typical high school stereotypes, and at times, certainly, the text pokes fun at them in a satirical way, but each girl also proves to be more than the sum of her respective cliches, especially as the story progresses toward the very satisfying ending.
Dyan Sheldon has a great ear for teen humor as well, and this book made me laugh quite a bit, particularly early on when the characters and situations are first established. Her tone borders on sarcastic, and creates this environment where we can look critically at every character and experience in the story to understand the greater things that are happening. At every point, the reader knows better than the characters, which makes the book work on a number of levels, and makes the reader feel connected to the story in a different way than in most YA books. I felt like I was a student at Clifton Springs, observing everything that was happening from the sidelines, and commenting on the trials and tribulations of the popular and unpopular alike.
This book was published in the UK last year, but the US edition comes out on December 13, 2011. I received an ARC of the book from Candlewick, and I've been offered the opportunity to give away four more ARCs to four lucky Secrets & Sharing Soda readers! To win your own ARC of <
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I've been fiddling with the sestina as of late and having difficulty, so I thought a three word prompt might inspire me a bit. Since I'm still thinking fall, here are the three words I have been working with.
Your challenge this week is to use these three words in a poem. Leave me a note about your poem and I'll share the results later this week.
At last! The season for previews has begun yet again! And as of right now I am (checks watch) four previews behind.
Guess we better get started then. If you want to read a recap of this same preview done already (and on time) though, check out this Early Word post by Lisa Von Drasek.
This Fall I’ve been hurry scurrying to each preview in a whirlwind gust of bad timing. Either I’m entering late or I’m leaving early. The Penguin preview was no exception. With only a little time to spare before I conducted that day’s storytimes at my own branch, I burst in, grabbed a muffin, hit a chair, hyperventilated for precisely 3.8 seconds, and then ZOUNDS! We were off!!
First up . . .
Grosset & Dunlap
Who surprised me by being the first imprint of the day (a fact that got me in trouble later, but the less said about that the better). I had little time to be surprised when I saw which editor would be speaking to my table. It was Editorial Assistant Karl Jones. I may have seen Mr. Jones around and about before. He’s been with Penguin little over a year, after all. At this time, however, all I could see was the man’s mustache. It was, to be blunt, epic. I’m a huge mustache fan over here. If I had my way every man I know would sport a handlebar (and maybe a monocle too, if I’m pushing my luck). Though not precisely a handlebar, the mustache of Mr. Jones kept me thoroughly enthralled for the better part of his presentation. Fortunately I had the wherewithal to keep notes all the while.
If the kids in your library system are anything like my own then there’s just something about that Who Was? series that makes them happy. I don’t know if it’s the bobblehead portraits on the covers, the reading level, or the interior illustrations but the kiddos are kooky for these things. Looking at the full list of subjects I see that they’ve covered almost all the bio basics. Seems the only folks left at this point that get regularly assigned are Helen Keller and Matthew Henson. At least three titles in 2012 are coming out in Spanish this April (Martin Luther King, Jr., Sacagawea, and a Thomas Edison that out of the corner of my eye keeps looking like James Dean). This January Babe Ruth is joining the ranks in Who Was Babe Ruth? by Joan Holub. Cover illustrator Nancy Harrison has really gone to town too. The man’s multiple chins are on full display. I suspect my Yankee loving patrons (this is New York after all) will snap it up right quick.
I’ve a girl in the children’s bookgroup I run who only wants to read books of the girly girl persuasion. If it’s got a cheerleader on the cover, she’s interested. As a result, I try my darndest to steer her towards similar books that have a little more meat and a little less glitter. Elizabeth Cody Kimmel is now coming out with a series in the vein of Luv Ya Bunches or The Babysitters Club that follows four new friends as they work together on a school magazine. The series is called Forever Four and the first two books in the series should be out this January.
Item Description: Everyone loves Ellie McDoodle! And here's your chance to WOW one of your favorite young readers. Author and illustrator Ruth McNally Barshaw is offering three signed paperback books of the popular Ellie McDoodle series with one-of-a-kind doodles added, plus, as a bonus, original art signed by the amazing Ruth herself. Will ship in time for Christmas (U.S. addresses only).
About Ellie McDoodle:
Her real name is Eleanor McDougal. Her friends call her Ellie McDoodle because she's always doodling in her sketchjournals. She spies on people and carries a sketchjournal EVERYWHERE.
She keeps track of everything including games, crafts, ideas, pranks, people, animals, nature... you name it, it's in her book and Ellie has an opinion on it.
Would you like to peek inside her sketch diary? Here's your chance! Ellie's the star of some cool books.
This is only a preview of one of the many amazing items I'll be featuring at my LIGHT UP THE LIBRARY auction 11/7 - 11/18. And I've got something for everyone. To learn more, please stop by my auction website at http://lightupthelibrary.blogspot.com.