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Viewing: Blog Posts from All 1552 Blogs, since 12/19/2007 [Help]
Results 37,176 - 37,200 of 162,882
37176. " Woodland Nutcracker"

Our beautiful WoodlandNutcracker book, which was chosen as The Children's Picture Book of the year in 1999 by the Canadian Book Review Annual, was orphaned earlier this year when the publisher went out of business. We are fortunate to have obtained the remaining books from the publisher's warehouse, boxes of mint-new copies full of Christmas magic and adventure.

As with the earlier Woodland Christmas, the story was inspired by many camping trips and cottage visits in Canada's boreal forest, "far away from highways and city lights", where one can travel for days and not meet another human being or even a camera-shy bear. In a story that parallels the Nutcracker ballet, Clara is given a wonderful carved Nutcracker Bear who transforms into the dashing Nutcracker Prince. After settling a midnight battle with the field mice with a Christmas Eve truce, giving the hungry mice food for their families, Clara and Nutcracker fly away to the Ice Palace of the Great Bear, Ursa Major.

At the Great Bear's palace an international cast of bears performs for Clara - juggling pandas and trapeze artist koalas and more, plus some of her dearest woodland friends. I have made two posters from the illustrations, grizzly bear Mother Ginger with her junior hockey team, and the polar bear Yuk Tuk dancing to the strains of the Russian Dance, pictured below. For the purposes of the poster I have placed a copy of the book in her gracefully extended paw! 2 Comments on " Woodland Nutcracker", last added: 11/1/2011

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37177. Versatile Blogger Award

Thanks so much, Helen of Helen’s Book Blog! I saw this when you gave it to me weeks again and kind of forgot to ‘accept’. Sorry it took so long!

Here are  the rules:
  • Thank and link to the blogger who bestowed the award
  • Share seven random facts about yourself (see below)
  • Spread the love by passing the award to five other bloggers–and be sure to let them know
Random facts about moi??
1. I love snow. Doesn’t matter that I cannot drive it it.
2. I need to get my hair cut.
3. I enjoy watching Hart of Dixie, Castle, Food Network and cSpan
4. One of my favorite fruits is this delicious fruit that’s like a soft apple but I don’t know the name of it. It grows in southern Taiwan. I also like mangoes, lychee and peaches.
5. Carnations are my favorite flowers. Yes, I have very simple tastes!
6. I have never seen the Lion King movie.
7. I wish I had a scooter.
I’m passing this on to:
Vasilly at 1330v

Filed under: Me Being Me Tagged: award

3 Comments on Versatile Blogger Award, last added: 10/30/2011
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37178. Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, before and after

Re-posted from last Monday from the Blue Rose Girls blog.


As Grace mentioned, we're in Fresno together for the IBBY regional conference. They asked us to speak together about Where the Mountain Meets the Moon. To prepare, we dug up all of the old drafts of the novel, and also my editorial letters/edits (to my horror, I discovered that although I had saved the different drafts with my edits in Track Changes, I had neglected to save any of my editorial letters, as they had been in emails and not saved as separate documents. Luckily, Grace was able to find them in an old email account. Whew!)

Some of the fascinating (at least to us!) things we found:
The 1st draft was 22,859 words; the final draft was 42,840 words, almost twice as long!
The 1st draft had 26 chapters, and the final book had 48 chapters.
The green tiger was not in the original draft.
In the original draft, the parents didn't try to follow/find Minli.
In the original proposal, Minli was named "Cai" (and then "Kai").
The first working title was God of the West. The next title was Never-Ending Mountain.

I also read a portion of my first editorial letter for the book. As I mentioned at the panel, my letters with Grace tend to be a little more casual than to some other authors who I don't know as well. With Grace, I cut to the chase quickly--but I always start with praise! Here's a sampling:


So, I thought I'd get down in writing some of the things we discussed over the phone. But just to reiterate, I loved it. I think overall, it's extremely well crafted with a wonderful story arc. The novel is moving, magical, and engaging. I think this is in really great shape! I have a few main comments, most of which we've discussed:

1) The novel feels a little slight right now, and things overall feel a little too easy for Minli. I'd like to add at least one more big challenge for her, and also make a few of the existing challenges a little more difficult/drawn out. For example, she seems to find the King in The City of Bright Moonlight too quickly--she should struggle with this more. I like the idea you mentioned, of having her spend one night with the boy and the buffalo.

Overall, don't be afraid to put your characters in peril! I don't think I worried once about whether Minli would succeed in her quest, or feared for her safety or her life. This made for a comforting, pleasant read, but I think more conflict overall would go a long way toward making this more rewarding.


3) It's not believable that her parents would just wait around for her at home for her to come back--have one or both of them go after her? Or have them send someone else after her? If they do stay behind, you need a convincing reason why, and also her reunion with them at the end needs to be more dramatic. Wouldn't they cry? And what did they do while she was gone? Did they set up a shrine to her? Pray for her every day? Maybe they sent the old man selling the fish after her, or maybe a man from the village, or a kind traveler passing through?

It was interesting looking back at the publication history of this very special book--and we had fun telling the story, too. We should be on more panels together, don't you think?


If you're in the Los Angeles area tonight (Monday, October 24), head out to the Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore at 7:30 for Laini Taylor's signing of Daughter of Smoke and Bone. I'll be there.

2810 Artesia Blvd. Redondo Beach, California

Check out the glowing New York Times review
1 Comments on Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, before and after, last added: 10/31/2011
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37179. Josef Wilkon

I love the work of illustrator Josef Wilkon.

2 Comments on Josef Wilkon, last added: 10/31/2011
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37180. Week in Review


I finished up a couple of books this week, both with reviews to come in the next couple of weeks.

The Scorpio Trials by Maggie Stiefvater was fantastic. Her writing is just impeccable and beautiful. I liked this one much more than her "The Wolves of Mercy Falls" series and cannot wait to see what else comes from her pen (or keyboard as it probably may be).

I finished up Maine by J. Courtney Sullivan on audio and was really impressed by the narrator, Ann Marie Lee. Not the best book I've ever read (or listened to), but I enjoyed it.

I just started The Hundred-Foot Journey by Richard Morais for my book club meeting on Tuesday. It's a super slow read, only because of the amazing amount of detail put into describing the food and setting. So far, it's beautiful.


Have I mentioned that I'm blogging at another blog, as well as here? If you weren't already aware, I'm a bookseller at Hooray for Books! Children's Bookstore and we have a blog! I'm one of several contributors, so not every post is written by me, but you may see some similar posts between this blog and that one. Those would be mine :)

I would love it if you would check it out and spread the word. We don't have a whole lot of readers at this point, but definitely do have a lot of great books suggestions to share, covering genres from board books to adult titles. We have great choices for read alouds and storytimes, gift giving, and those special books to share one-on-one. Check it out!

This week, Baby Snow is the size of a butternut squash (about 2.5lbs and 15inches long). Seeing that description had me almost in tears (yeah, hormones), just because I can't believe I actually have a baby that big STILL INSIDE OF ME. Despite all of my doctor's telling me I could have a "normal" pregnancy, as a woman who has gone through a whole lot of bad stuff to get to this point, I am feeling incredibly blessed to have reached 29 weeks and the butternut squash stage. Keep on growing kiddo!

Aaron and I decided on a name this week. Hooray! We really thought we would be making delivery room decisions, but our list plan worked and last week got it down to three, finally making our decision just the other day. Can't let you in on it yet, but it's one we're sticking with :)

And speaking of names, this cool contraption will be going over our little one's crib in the nursery:

No, his name is not Ethan. My mommy brain hasn't kicked in that badly yet. It will be similar to this though, with a white rack and the blue and green letters. Buy your own here, on Etsy of course!

2 Comments on Week in Review, last added: 10/30/2011
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37181. Resident in the Doghouse

For the next month, I will be taking up residence on the CYL's web site, Insideadog, as this month's Writer In Residence. I'm thrilled to bits and looking forward to it. I've been attending Booktalkers for quite a few years now, so the Centre for Youth Literature has come to mean a lot to me. It has been the place where I've spent a lot of wonderful evenings, caught up with teacher-librarian friends and met/discovered writers - and the great thing is, it all counts as PD for work purposes! Yay!

Now, at last, I'm being recognised as a writer myself, many thanks to Adele Walsh, who, in her earlier incarnation as the blogger at Persnickety Snark, gave my book Crime Time such a fabulous review.

I might not have time to do as many posts here while I'm over at "the Doghouse", but please do follow me over there - join, even! Insideadog is a great web site for anyone interested in children's and YA books - students, teachers and just plain booklovers - and it has become a lot better over the last couple of years.

See you all there!

2 Comments on Resident in the Doghouse, last added: 10/31/2011
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37182. Sunday Salon: Week In Review #43

What I Reviewed At Becky's Book Reviews

Frankenstein. Mary Shelley. 1818. Oxford World's Classics. 250 pages. 
The Wikkeling. Steven Arntson. Illustrated by Daniela J. Terrazzini. 2011. Running Kids Press. 235 pages.
Jake Ransom and the Skull King's Shadow. James Rollins. 2009. HarperCollins. 400 pages.
Jake Ransom and the Howling Sphinx. James Rollins. 2011. HarperCollins. 370 pages.

© 2011 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

2 Comments on Sunday Salon: Week In Review #43, last added: 11/1/2011
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37183. Here's to the Professor! (Tolkien, of course)

This is the edition I bought from the Monash bookshop
I wrote the below for my Goodreads comment and then thought - why not put it on my blog as well? This book makes my heart swell. It's a beautiful, beautiful book. Tolkien put his heart and soul into writing it and I'm not surprised it has reached so many other hearts.

I have to be honest. It took me a while to get into this, originally. I bought it when I was at university because everyone, staff and students alike, was saying, "You HAVEN'T read Lord of the Rings?" I got about halfways through, but never finished it.

Then, one summer, I went on holiday. I was tired. I didn't want to go do touristy things - I just wanted to lie on the beach and read. I took along Fellowship of The Ring - and suddenly, I was caught up, swept away by the narrative and the characters. I finished the entire book when I got home and have read it six times since then and would be re-reading it again, except for all the review copies and books I have to read for my library. It's because of this book that I'm very picky in my fantasy reading; anything that has on the cover a comparison to LOTR is immediately dropped back on the bookshop shelves. NOTHING is anything like it, though some have tried. It has become comfort reading for me. When I'm tired and stressed and need to be reminded that an ordinary person can be a hero too, I pick this up again and, as I go through it, mutter, "Oh, good, this is the chapter where they meet Aragorn...where they reach Rivendell ... where Eowyn disguises herself and goes with the army..." and enjoy it all over again.

When I hear some currently-big-name writer having a go at this book at a writers' festival, I think, "If your novel is still being read and loved fifty or sixty years from now, then you can comment, mate!"

2 Comments on Here's to the Professor! (Tolkien, of course), last added: 10/31/2011
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37184. NaNoWriMonday (1)

Word Count: 0/50000
Day: -1/30
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Like many other bloggers, I am participating in this year's National Novel Writing Month for the first time. I thought it would be fun to touch base each week and see how everyone is progressing.

NaNoWriMo doesn't officially kick off until tomorrow, and we're not allowed to begin writing yet -- but I know there's a lot of plotting and outlining and brainstorming going on! I've been doing lots of research on the fey for the novel I'm planning (I loooove the fey). It's an idea I've had floating around in my head for a while, but it's evolved so much since then that it's hardly recognizable as the original idea! Just last night, I completely changed the arc of the plot -- but I'm really satisfied with where it's going now.

I pretty much know the plot of my novel, but I still have something kind of important to do before the month officially begins: Choose a name for the heroine!

Credit: http://www.advancedanime.com/displayimage.php?pid=304601

She has silver eyes and blond hair, and is fierce with a sword.

None of the names I've narrowed it down to seem quite right. She's fey, so I wanted something a little different: Aurora, Luz, Luce, Regan, Aspen, Bryony, Dahlia, Branwen, Thalli, Wick, Thalia, Aemilia, Lichen, Aurelia, Ella, Nissa.

Decisions, decisions! What do you think? Do any of those names seem like a good fit? Do you have another suggestion? (Thanks to everyone who made suggestions on Twitter!)

I'm also using Evernote to keep track of my notes and ideas, and MS Word for the writing. I tried out Scrivener and yWriter, but I just don't understand them -- where do you do the actual WRITING within those programs? Maybe I'm just missing something.

A lot of authors have great writing advice out there. Each week I'll share some links to tips I found particularly insightful.
  • Laini Taylor (Daughter of Smoke and Bone) has an entire site devoted to each step of the writing process, and her advice (like her writing) is spectacular. I highly recommend you take a look at this: http://notforrobots.blogspot.com/
  • Natalie Whipple (Transparent) provides some great tips on first drafting and silencing your inner editor that is especially apropos for NaNoWriMo: http://betweenfactandfiction.blogspot.com/2009/10/tips-for-first-drafting.html
  • 13 Comments on NaNoWriMonday (1), last added: 11/1/2011
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37185. the view from sunday

{a sunday writing prompt. If you feel so inclined, link to your own "view from sunday" in the comments, so we can all be inspired!}

3 Comments on the view from sunday, last added: 11/2/2011
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37186. Costumez

 Well it's that time of year again.  You know, that time of year when you realize that Halloween is actually TOMORROW and you haven't got a costume yet, so you go to the store to look for a costume and what you actually find is a costumez.

You've seen costumez before.  You probably just thought the costume store got their shipment mixed up with Victoria's Secret.
 Fairiez costumez
 Devilz costumez

 Hermionez Grangerz costumez
 Cheerleaderz costumez  (That's not actually a costume!!)

 It's, like, all the stores will sell.  I'm very much against costumez.  And I would love to say it's for some noble moral reason, but it's not.  I'm opposed to costumez because I'M ANNOYED!!  WHY DO BOYS GET ALL THE AWESOME COSTUMES???!?!?

 However I've always believed in expressing my opinions in very peaceful and democratic ways.
 So this year, I've put a pretty awesome plan in action that will eliminate costumez altogether!!

It goes something like this:
 I discreetly hide somewhere at a costume party.
18 Comments on Costumez, last added: 11/2/2011
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37187. Author Signing - Laini Taylor at Book Soup

Last week frootjoos, friend Kate and I attended the Laini Taylor signing at Book Soup in Hollywood. Frootjoos and I are big fans of Laini's last book, Lips Touch Three Times and were excited to see that she was coming to town to promote her new book Daughter of Smoke and Bone.

There was a good crowd at the store. I'd say 30 - 40 people, though I am terrible at people counting so let me know if I am way off, frootjoos.  Laini is sweet and funny and totally passionate about her work. She also has awesome pink hair.  She talked about being a perfectionist and how it is hard for her to write the first draft of a book. She spoke a little bit about how Daughter of Smoke and Bone came to be. She was working on a sci fi book when the idea for Daughter of Smoke and Bone came to her. And even though she wanted to stop and start the new book, she made the decision to finish the sci fi book even though she didn't think it was very good and would probably never see the light of day.

making a bit of a funny face here. :)

talking with the hands

Then Laini read an excerpt from the book which involved essential and non-essential parts. If you've read the book, you know what I'm talking about. If you haven't, well, you'll find out. :) We topped off the night with chili dogs and fries across the street. Yum! I am so glad we were able to make this event. Below are a few more pics we took throughout the night. Enjoy!

Laini has a great smile and the best shade of pink hair.

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37188. The Alphabet of Obsoletes

3 Comments on The Alphabet of Obsoletes, last added: 10/31/2011
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37189. my voodoo princess

Add caption

5 Comments on my voodoo princess, last added: 11/2/2011
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37190. Another Revisitation

Roses in Copper; 12 x 12 o/c

2 Comments on Another Revisitation, last added: 10/31/2011
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37191. Some Of The Best Advice For Marriage

My sister in law gave me some of the best advice I have ever been given on how to be happily married. At the time she gave it to me she had not even been married yet, and is also almost 15 yrs. younger than me. So what was this advice? She told me to accept my husband who he was.

Now I don't know about you, but as a woman that was SHOCKING to me. Try not to improve the man I was going to spend the rest of my life with?

We had many years of fighting and trying to figure out how to get along. We tease now that the only reason we don't fight like we used to is because we are just too tired and old to fight anymore. But the truth is I kept hearing those words, "Let him be him." The more I tired to back off and try to understand why he said or did certain things the more I began to understand and appreciate him. In fact, it was only then did I realize how really funny and wonderful my husband was. That he actually could handle life on his own without my input and that he was a better human in ways I had never thought to be. Seems I'm not always right! Go figure?!

 Have you heard?  Jack Sprat could eat no fat. His wife could eat no lean. And so between the two of them, they licked the platter clean. Or even the saying  "opposites attract"?

Recently we have been stocking our new camp trailer, getting it all supplied with the necessary equipment needed for our new adventures. My husband was looking for the camping fold out table, when he asked me where it was. I replied, "you mean that one we won at the company Christmas party yrs ago. The one we never even used yet?" He says "yeah".  I had to remind him that HE HAD GIVEN IT AWAY!  As we continued to look for things I had to keep reminding him that he had gotten rid of the items he was looking for.

Now instead of getting upset about having to go out and buying these things again, I stopped and thought about who he was. He was a man who came from a home were his mother kept everything, and things where not always put away or even kept in an organized way. Me? I had a mother who NEVER kept ANYTHING! She didn't even have knick-knacks in our home because they were considered clutter. So for me I keep things around like the camping stuff because even though we don't use it everyday, I know we will use it when we go camping. But when my husband decides to clean  he starts throwing everything away.

This made me realize we really balance each other out. He keeps me from collecting too much, and I help him have more toys and things to play with. LOL.

So you see, if I tired to make him change to my way, we'd probably need a bigger house, and garage. But, if he tired to change me, he'd have no toys and things to play with.

Being opposites is a good thing for us. We compliment each other, we keep each other balanced, and definitely we keep each other guessing.

2 Comments on Some Of The Best Advice For Marriage, last added: 11/1/2011
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37192. What I Keep in My Whisper Jar - Guest Post by Carole Lanham

What I Keep in My Whisper Jar by Carole Lanham

Through the garden gate was the hump of an old cat grave and Penny told us to tap our foot on it three times for luck so that’s exactly what we did, tap tap tap, until all the luck was gathered up - luck, in this case, revolving entirely around the hope that we might find the dead body of our elderly neighbor still lying on the floor, or maybe catch a glimpse of a real living ghost.  “Don’t open that thing yet,” Penny said, as we tromped over the paint-peeled hatch of a cyclone cellar on our way to the creepy house.  “Let’s save it for last.”

Penny was the girl who lived down the street and while I can’t recall whose idea it was to go inside the scary house, I was all for seeing it – every cobweb, every shadow, every bone.  There’s nothing like a good old-fashioned scare!

Whenever someone asks what a nice girl like me is doing writing horror stories, I laugh like butter wouldn’t melt in my mouth, wipe my hands on my apron, and offer them a homemade cookie.  I have a strong tendency to deny all association with the dark figures who turn up in my work.  I want to pretend I don’t know those crazy characters in the least.  Then I remember about the haunted house in the neighborhood where I lived when I was a little girl.  Truth is, I went through that garden gate once and tapped my foot on the old cat grave, hoping with all my heart to find something scary and grim.  I was four years old at the time and I brought my two year old sister along with me.  Even though I had yet to begin kindergarten, I already understood that someone must always be along for the ride.

I can’t remember the names of all the kids who were with me that day but bits and pieces of our adventure have followed me down the road of life in the form of clothes-less hangers jangling in empty closets and bare nails poking from scuffed walls.  There were ghosts in that house to be sure, though they were not see-through spirits of the usual moaning variety.  Rather, they were dents from coffee table legs engraved in the carpet, and cabinet doors that opened on shelf-paper stained with the rings of vanished Comet cans.   A dead body would have been one thing, but I had probably never seen a room without furniture before and all that abandoned space was somehow more frightening than the thought of my body keeling over dead.  What happened to the old guy’s shoes, I longed to know?  Where was the refrigerator where he kept his milk?  And where was his milk?  He’d been scrubbed and swept and dusted away so thoroughly that there was nothing left to see.

I have no idea what the other kids were feeling but I’m guessing it must have spooked them too.  We ran from room to room expectantly only to stop and turn in slow circles, looking.

3 Comments on What I Keep in My Whisper Jar - Guest Post by Carole Lanham, last added: 11/1/2011
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37193. Marvelous Middle Grade Monday - A Ghost Story that's not just for Halloween! AND pics of Richard Peck visit AND a giveaway!

Whew!  That's a lot to pack into a blog post.  But I'll try to do it all as briefly as possible so you can get on with your day.  Oh, and Happy Halloween.  Feels more like December here in the Northeast US!  Hope y'all didn't lose power.

First, the MMGM feature:  LIESL & PO by Lauren Oliver, illustrated by Kei Acedera (9780062014511, HarperCollins, October 2011, for ages 8 to 12).

Source: advanced reading copy from publisher

Synopsis (from Indiebound): Liesl lives in a tiny attic bedroom, locked away by her cruel stepmother. Her only friends are the shadows and the mice—until one night a ghost appears from the darkness. It is Po, who comes from the Other Side. Both Liesl and Po are lonely, but together they are less alone.

That same night, an alchemist's apprentice, Will, bungles an important delivery. He accidentally switches a box containing the most powerful magic in the world with one containing something decidedly less remarkable.

Will's mistake has tremendous consequences for Liesl and Po, and it draws the three of them together on an extraordinary journey.  

Why I liked it:  The writing is gorgeous (which one would expect from Lauren Oliver); the language is luminous and lovely.  And the story is moving.  It reads like a fable or an original fairy tale (the plot hinges on several amazing coincidences). And despite the gloominess of the subject, there is quite a bit of humor. This is a very unusual ghost story because it's more about loss and grief and finding unexpected friendships than about scaring the reader.  In fact, Po is my favorite character.  It's nearly impossible to say much more about this book without spoiling the plot.  Just go read it!

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday is the brainchild of Shannon Whitney Messenger (and if you haven't congratulated her yet on her amazing book deal, hop on over there). Other regulars include (but are not limited to):

Shannon O'Donnell at Book Dreaming (and go congratulate her on her agent!)
Myrna Foster at The Night Writer
Sherrie Petersen at Write About Now 
Natalie Aguirre at Literary Rambles
Brooke Favero at Somewhere in the Middle
Deb Marshall at Just Deb
Barbara Watson at Novel and Nouveau
Anita Laydon Miller at her middle grade blog
Michael G-G at Middle Grade Mafioso
Pam Torres at  18 Comments on Marvelous Middle Grade Monday - A Ghost Story that's not just for Halloween! AND pics of Richard Peck visit AND a giveaway!, last added: 11/3/2011
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37194. New Release Roundup: October 9 - November 5, 2011

A weekly feature I started to showcase the exciting new releases hitting shelves this week.

Once again, I haven't done one of these since everything got so crazy at the beginning of October. I'm going to provide dates and links for all the backlisted releases, and do this week's releases like I normally do.

October 10

October 11

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37195. Can you drive a stick?

Happy Halloween!

thanks to Kari Dell, 
the source of many things that make me laugh.
Read her blog here.

13 Comments on Can you drive a stick?, last added: 11/1/2011
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37196. Two in Time for Halloween

Never Kick a Ghost: And Other Silly Chillers
by Judy Sierra
illustrated by Pascale Constantin
Harper, 2011
review copy provided by the publisher

Three short stories, a hand-clapping rhyme and a trio of funny gravestone epitaphs make this a fun book for beginning readers. Of note is the last page -- "Where The Stories Came From." It's never too early for readers to learn that stories might have traceable sources. Judy Sierra has a PhD in folklore, so it probably never occurred to her NOT to include the sources for these stories/rhymes!

 Zombie in Love
by Kelly DiPucchio
illustrated by Scott Campbell
Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2011
review copy provided by the publisher

Mortimer the Zombie is doing his best to attract a sweetheart for the Cupid's Ball. Somehow, nothing he tries is very successful. (Could be his rotting face and his falling-apart body...) Optimistically, he puts an ad in the paper for a date and shows up at the ball. Just when Mortimer is about to give up, a drop-dead gorgeous girl shows up. Yes, that kind of drop-dead.

A very punny book that I can't wait to share with the Zombie-obsessed student in my class!

1 Comments on Two in Time for Halloween, last added: 10/31/2011
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37197. 24 Hours of Halloween: Hipster Ghost Rider

201110310314 24 Hours of Halloween: Hipster Ghost Rider

On a fixie by Tony Goins. More Ghost Riders in the link.

1 Comments on 24 Hours of Halloween: Hipster Ghost Rider, last added: 10/31/2011
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37198. The way dancers tell stories

We escaped the snow and headed for the city, where our friends Julia and Gene were celebrating their 70th birthdays in classic (elegant) Julia and Gene style.  She hails from the United Kingdom, he from the midwest.  She's a sprite of a thing; he tips his head, ever so slightly, to pass through doorways.  She's a sociologist and he's a statistician.  Together they remind those of us lucky enough to know them that love is not a formula.  It is what happens in the blink of an eye (they knew at once, they say of each other).  It is what endures.

At this party of friends, family, colleagues, we sat among dancers.  Jan, Lana, Scott, Tirsa, John, Inna, and Julia herself (Miss Cristina was also among us, looking lovely), to be precise.  We were privileged amateurs among impeccably attired super stars (and I do not exaggerate; Jan and Lana will soon be appearing in a major movie alongside actors such as Robert De Niro and Bradley Cooper; Scott was once the nation's mambo champion).  We were also quite simply friends among friends.

What perpetually interests me about dancers is how smart they are, how diversified their interests, how capable of telling stories with far more than words. That angling of a shoulder speaks volumes, for example, as does the slight, purposeful turn of the head.  Jan raises his eyebrow, and his opinion is known.  Lana reports on science with the blue light of her eyes.  John brings mischief to his laugh; there is an emphatic grace in Inna's hands; Tirsa moves her wrist and her whole arm sparkles; Cristina is perpetually, stunningly alive; and there's that thing Scott does when he's telling a story, which is to lean in and then lean back, wait for the pulse.  Dancers hardly need words at all when they are telling their stories. 

When it was time to dance, we danced, easy with the songs that Julia and Gene had chosen on a ballroom floor laid for our feet. The rumba, the cha-cha, the salsa, the foxtrot, the bolero, the waltz, back to the foxtrot.  Those dancers know how to move, and they swept us into their graces, and later, around midnight, when we walked the streets of Philadelphia at their side (among Halloween ghouls and ghosts and vampires), I thought of how it must be to move through the world like that—so full of sway and suggestible spine. 

My husband and I woke in a room downtown this morning, headed to the Reading Market for breakfast, went up to the Art Museum and walked our favorite wing. I took a photograph, then, of this Renoir painting, because this gorgeous child is not speaking, not a word, and yet she's full of story.  Julia and Gene, thank you for giving us such a rich and memorable evening on a weekend of historic weather.  We will remember it always with fondness.

4 Comments on The way dancers tell stories, last added: 11/1/2011
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37199. WIZARD 101 FAN ART

I adore this picture my daughter made in honor of Wizard 101 (which you should all play along with your kids...)

ZACHARY DRAGONBLADE (my son's avatar)

Happy Monday! Hope your week is great :)

4 Comments on WIZARD 101 FAN ART, last added: 11/1/2011
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37200. SundayMorningReads

I’ve found a few great shares on the Internet!

  •  LobsterBoy blog is introducing librarians to the new book  Into the Trap by Craig Moodie by offering them the chance to win four live lobsters delivered fresh to your home on New Year’s Eve! Of course I’m ruining my chance of winning this great meal by sharing, but anything for my readers!
  • This morning, Debbie Reese shared information about Inhabit Media, an Inuit owned publishing company which publishes fiction and non-fiction for children and adults. They also publish a couple of magazines!
  • Google Reader is changing. At first, I was afraid it was going to disappear, but if I’m reading correctly it will simply lose networking features which are duplicated on Google+. This is fine with me because I don’t tend to use the networking features on Reader. I simply use it as an aggregator. Read more about the changes here.

Each year, my school district requires everyone to state and develop two professional goals. This helps me focus what I’m doing and not get quite so overwhelmed with all that needs to be done. One of my goals this year is to find ways to use the media center/library to improve reading. This is a bit of a leap from the traditional role of libraries where we simply seek to build a lifelong love of learning. I think that being in a schools where so many students are reading 2 or more years below grade average, it would be irresponsible not to step up to do more to teach reading.

Of course I provide some professional literature for teachers and encourage them to bring classes to get books. I teach library skills, introduce new books and even buy hi/low materials, but there has to be more. I’ve read about elementary librarians who read aloud books that demonstrated various consonant/vowel patterns, but that’s elementary. I’d like to find what else I can do.

One thing I am doing is putting reading levels on books. In my book talks I plan to review how to select books and talk about reading levels.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 4 Battle of the Labyrinth   3.3  (grade level)

The First Part Last  4.6

Ghetto cowboy 4.0

Bronxwood 4.0

Guantanamo Boy 7.0

I am j  4.9

Calebs war 4.0

Dreams of significant girls 4.0

Iron knight 5.0

Saint Louis Armstrong beach  4.1

Monster   5.1

This thing called the future 4.1

Camo girl 3.7

Locomotion 4.7

Marcelo 4.7

He forgot to say goodbye 3.3

American born Chinese 3.3

Crank 4.3

Shine coconut moon 5.0

Stringz 4.9

What I’m finding is that very few YA books are written above the 5th grade reading level.

To me, this is a bigger concern than the violence many are addressing in YA books. How are we preparing students for college materials or work place readings above this level? If books are written at these low levels of vocabulary you have wonder about the complexity of the themes and situations, particularly with growing movements to incorporate more YA into the curriculum rather than ‘classics’.

I did find TeacherLibrarian online to provide material on this topic. I took particular note of the article “Supporting Literacy Needs

3 Comments on SundayMorningReads, last added: 10/30/2011
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