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Results 1 - 25 of 374
1. ‘The Spirit of the Baobab Tree: Bridge to a Forgotten Past’ by Dionne Champion

MWD Article: The Spirit of the Baobab Tree: Bridge to a Forgotten Past

Dionne Champion, Founder and Art Director of DancExcel and co-author of The Spirit of the Baobab TreeThe Spirit of the Baobab Tree (Xlibris Corp., 2008) … Continue reading ...

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2. The National Education Association's digibook about Education Support Professionals

The National Education Association just published a digibook about Education Support Professionals. Learn about what everyone does for the whole child, and read some great stories of magic happening in all corners of our schools. I am proud to have contributed an article on what I see happening in the schools that I visit.

Find the link to the free book here!

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3. Article …. Drive

Drive …. कुछ देर पहले एक मोटरसाईकिल वाला अपनी बाईक को एक किनारे पर लगा कर मोबाईल पर बात कर रहा था. बहां से तीन लडकियां जा रही थी उसे देख कर मुंह पर हाथ रख कर हसंने लगी और बोलने लगी ये बदलने चले हैं समाज को … by chance मैं वही खडी थी.. … Continue reading Article …. Drive

The post Article …. Drive appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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4. Seeds of Inspiration: Books for Children and Young Adults about Wangari Maathai

'Seeds of Inspiration: Books for Children and Young Adults about Wangari Maathai' - Mirrors Windows Doors article

Wangari Maathai - photo credit: Martin RoweWhat better way to introduce MWD’s new theme, ‘Branching Across the … Continue reading ...

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5. Entertainment Weekly's list of 50 Books Every Kid Should Read

Entertainment Weekly just released a list of 50 Books Every Kid Should Read. As I read the list, I kept thinking, "That's interesting," as in it was interesting to see what was included and what was not. For example, I was incredibly happy to see The Phantom Tollbooth, the All-of-a-Kind Family books, and The Book Thief on the list. Then there are some titles that I wouldn't have included, but that's just me. I'd be interested to hear what books on this list my fellow bloggers and loyal readers have read, and what books they would add to the list. Please leave your comments below so we can discuss.

Here is the list as presented by Entertainment Weekly. Note: The print article has the byline "by Chris Lee" while website says "by EW staff."

If the title is italicized, then I've read it.
If the title is bold and italicized, then I strongly recommend it.

Ages 3-5
Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans
Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
Bread and Jam for Frances by Russell Hoban
- All of the Frances books are cute. My favorite Hoban story is Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas.
Strega Nona by Tomi dePaola
The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg - This story is special to me.
The Mitten by Jan Brett

Library Lion by Michelle Knudsen
The Lion & the Mouse by Jerry Pinkey

Ages 6-8
The Story of Babar by Jean de Brunhoff
Charlotte's Web by E.B. White
The Ramona series by Beverly Cleary
- I have read every single Ramona book, and all of the books that take places on Klickitat Street!
A Bear Called Paddington by Michael Bond
Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig
- Very precious to me.
Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold
The Magic Tree House series by Mary Pope Osborne - I've only read a few
The Arrival by Shaun Tan - I think this is the wrong category for this book; it is a wordless graphic novel, and Tan himself differentiates it from children's picture books
Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney</i> - I've only read a few

Ages 9-11
The Black Stallion by Walter Farley
All-of-a-Kind Family by Sydney Taylor - Wonderful books!
The Borrowers by Mary Norton

Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell
James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl - I prefer Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster - So awesome.
Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls

D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths by Ingrid & Edgar D'Aulaire
Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh
From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg
Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret. by Judy Blume
Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor

The Adventures of Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey
Holes by Louis Sachar
Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis
A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket - I've only read a few
The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo
One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia
Wonder by R.J. Palacio

Ages 12+
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis - My favorite in the series
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle</b>
The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson - Tears.
The Giver by Lois Lowry - So much better that the companion books that followed it.
The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

Monster by Walter Dean Myers
Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak - TEARS.
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Smile by Raina Telgemeier
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
- I prefer Looking for Alaska.

See the article/list in image form at Dave Roman's Tumblr or click through the gallery at the Entertainment Weekly website.

Want to check out my top book picks for kids? Here you go:
So You Want to Read YA?
Middle School Must-Haves
Funny Fiction for Kids
Favorite Picture Books
Favorite Beginning Readers
Coming-of-Age Novels aka Bildungsromans
Tough Issues for Teens
...and all of my booklists plus my best of lists, which I post once a month and once a year.

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6. Writing honestly from your true passions

The myth that publishers have stacks of manuscripts  and that writers have to line up in a long queue was deflated by Jennifer Bacia during her talk at the Gold Coast Writers Association meeting . ‘Actually, that is not the case’ she stated. According to Jennifer, publishers are always looking for something that will make […]

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7. Google’s New and Innovative Technologies

IT Forum Gold Coast (ITFGC) is the best place to network with industry peers, potential clients and employers.  The Federal, State and local Governments give well-deserved recognition to ITFGC for being an active voice of the IT industry on the Gold Coast and Brisbane. Being a member gives you an unprecedented opportunity to stay informed […]

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8. So You Want to Read YA?

Kelly from the Stacked blog rounded up a bunch of bloggers, booksellers, and librarians and asked them to list the YA novels they'd recommend to someone who is just starting to dip their toes in the waters of the Young Adult bookshelves. When she asked if I'd like to kick off this round, I replied, "Twist my arm!" Here are a dozen books to get you started.

Body Bags by Christopher Golden begins with the line: "It was a beautiful day to grow up." Body Bags is the first in a line of ten novels - collectively known as Body of Evidence - which follow Jenna Blake as she begins college and starts working as an assistant at the Medical Examiner's office. I highly recommend this series. Both adults and teenagers will discover plenty to relate to and enjoy in this line. Readers will find Jenna visiting crime scenes and autopsy rooms nearly as often as she's in her dorm. Her relatives, friends, and studies factor into the books just as much as serial killers and detectives.  Throughout the series, Christopher Golden - and, later, collaborator Rick Hautala - created characters who are believable but anything but cookie-cutter. The quality of Body Bags is above and beyond most suspense novels, and it continues throughout the series, versus other series which lose the momentum after a few books, or series in which the books become carbon copies. If you enjoy medical thrillers with great characters, especially if you watch(ed) television series such as CSI or Profiler, or read or watch Rizzoli & Isles, then you need to read these books right now. You won't be sorry.
Read my review of the book, and the entire series.

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart is, dare I say, a coming-of-age story. It's not about breaking the rules, nor it is about controlling others. It's about daring: daring to be yourself, daring to stand up for yourself, daring to step outside of your comfort zone, daring to change the world. This novel possesses all of the elements necessary for a good bildungsroman, following the protagonist's journey through her formative years. Both snarky and serious, this History is written by the victors: the memorable narrator and the author. Frankie is smart, grounded, and direct, but she also has a quirky side. Author E. Lockhart (The Boyfriend List, Dramarama) writes with heart and authentic feeling. History has an incredible conclusion, and Frankie becomes a remarkable young woman.
Read my full-length review of the book.

The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen is about grief, acceptance, and everything in-between. It's about running - running for fun, running out of fear, running from yourself, running from the truth. It's also about to-do lists, kitchen messes, and really good waffles. It's about long conversations and comfortable silences. It's about forever, which is yesterday, today, and tomorrow - and forever is never long enough. Dessen is always good, and this is Dessen at her best.
Read my reviews of all Sarah Dessen's novels.

Deb Caletti writes really fantastic realistic novels. My favorite Caletti novel to date is The Nature of Jade, about an overachiever who has developed panic disorder. Jade doesn't know yet that she wants something more out of life - and that she is about to meet someone that will change her life.
Read my reviews of all of Deb Caletti's novels.

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson is an absolute staple of modern YA fiction. This story is an example of how to use first-person narration to connect readers to a largely silent and introverted protagonist - and how to reveal things slowly, to connect actions and emotions. This book is gritty and real without being gritty for the sake of it. Often imitated, never replicated, this book is what inspired the wave of YA books that tackle tough issues.
Check out my Speak playlist.

The Alison Rules by Catherine Clark. Wow, wow, wow. After her mother passes away, Alison is reluctant to confide in anyone other than Laurie, her long-time best friend. She pulls away from pretty much everyone else and decides to quietly lives by the rules she's made for herself. Read it, then share it.
Read my full-length review of The Alison Rules.

I Am the Messenger by Marcus Zusak, which you should go into completely spoiler-free, so I'm not going to tell you anything about it. Go read it, and when you're done, tell me what you think, because you will definitely have a reaction to how this story unfolds and how it turns out.
Check out my interview with Marcus Zusak - and then read The Book Thief.

Feathered by Laura Kasischke tells the story of two best friends who travel to Cancun for Spring Break. After an auspicious start, the unexpected happens, and their dream vacation turns into a nightmare which they can't simply escape by waking - which, perhaps, they cannot escape at all. Feathered wonderfully captures that feeling of freedom one gets while far from home, when it's possible (easier?) to be uncharacteristically impulsive. Fueled by the toxic intensity of perfect strangers, fast friends, and foreign cultures, the girls find themselves in an extremely dangerous situation, and, in the blink of an eye, everything changes. Every high school student who is planning a big-deal trip for Spring Break (or for any break) needs to read this book - and so do their parents, teachers, and chaperones. So do writers who aspire to craft stories with alternating points of view.
Read my full-length review of the book.

Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan is not your typical boy meets girl story. Sure, it starts when boy meets girl - but then boy asks girl to pretend to be his girlfriend for the next five minutes, and girl agrees. Over the course of one night, two perfect strangers fall in and out of love with life, music, friends, cars, food, the city, and maybe - just maybe - each other. This book definitely popularized multiple narrators in modern YA fiction.
Read my review of Nick and Norah - Check out my own Infinite Playlist

Cracked Up to Be by Courtney Summers shows that sometimes, what you don't do can be as consequential as what you do. Parker was a good girl. A nice girl. A cheerleader. A straight-A student. Then something happened. Something which changed Parker completely. Something she wishes she could change. Her mood, her grades, and her spirits have all plummeted. Haunted, Parker is no longer the girl she once was - and she doesn't want to be, not anymore. Courtney Summers' debut novel is not to be missed. When the characters speak, they sound authentic: some kids swear and some kids laugh while others toss out a word or two while swallowing down what they really want to say. Adult readers will quickly be transported to the halls of high school and feel as if they never left. Pick up Summers' other novels while you're at it, but start with this one.
Read my review of the book.

The Fallen by Thomas E. Sniegoski led the pack of immortal/angel fantasy/action stories that now line the YA shelves. The premise: Aaron has always known that he was adopted, but he never suspected he was half-angel - or that he could be a hero in the ultimate fight between good and evil. Fun fact: Before he portrayed Stefan Salvatore in The Vampire Diaries, Paul Wesley starred as Aaron Corbet in the film adaptation of Fallen - and Bryan Cranston from Breaking Bad played Lucifer!

Check out the Fallen website.

Looking for Alaska by John Green has energized a new generation of readers, writers, and all kinds of people searching for their great perhaps. It's thought-provoking, poignant, and lovely. Please read it.
Here's my Looking for Alaska playlist.

For those of you dropping by Bildungsroman for the first time, welcome! I'm Little Willow. Here's a quick intro to me and this blog: In addition to being a bookseller, blogger, and writer, I'm also an actress, singer, and webdesigner. I always have a script or a book in my hands and a song in my heart. I primarily review YA novels, hence the blog name:

Bildungsroman: A novel whose principal subject is the moral, psychological, and intellectual development of a usually youthful main character. (dictionary.com)

Looking for additional YA staples and recommendations? Click through the blog and the corresponding archive for reviews, exclusive author interviews, and more. I have a slew of booklists I hope you'll check out, including:

Tough Issues for Teens

Coming-of-Age Novels

Transition Times / Set in School

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9. Diana Wynne Jones Blog Tour

Last year, we lost acclaimed fantasy author Diana Wynne Jones. To honor her life and her legacy, Penguin Books and Firebird have organized a blog tour, which I'm honored to be a part of today.

The Chronicles of Chrestomanci series by Diana Wynne Jones involve parallel universes, magic, and cats. Is it any wonder that I promptly read the first four books one after the other, many years ago? Diana often wrote about parallel universes, a subject I often like in fiction, be it in novels, in films, or on TV. (Can you imagine seeing her books in the home Walter and Peter Bishop of the TV show Fringe? How cool would that be?)

When I first read The Dalemark Quartet, I was curled up in a chair at my mom's workplace, patiently waiting for her shift to end. (This was a common occurrence, my reading and waiting.) The Dalemark Quartet transported me into a world of music and spies.

I recently asked other bloggers and authors what their favorite Diana Wynne Jones books were, and here's what they said:

My favorite Diana Wynne Jones book is] FIRE & HEMLOCK - I'll be posting about it (here) but mostly the message of finding your way & being brave.

- Colleen Mondor, author of The Map of My Dead Pilots

I don't even know where to begin! Here's the very long post I wrote when she died. And here's probably the most question-answering quote (okay, two paragraphs) out of it: "But reading DWJ's writing is different than reading other brilliant writers, too. Other brilliant writers, I read and think, "What an amazing book, I will never be able to write anything that good, I should just give up now." With Jones, I read and ... don't think anything about how my abilities compare to anyone else's at all. Instead, the floodgates of my imagination open, and I am suddenly seeing stories in everything again, hearing characters come to life in my head, THINKING LIKE A WRITER instead of like a wannabe-writer. I connect to her odd outlook on the world. It makes me feel like I have something worth writing about after all.

See, here's the difference between her and most people. See, most people will sit around a living room and maybe notice a unique piece of artwork, the brand name of the TV, whatever. An observant person might look at a pile of cushions on a chair and say, "Hey, that chair looks like it has a face." An IMAGINATIVE person (I dare put myself in this category) might say, "and it looks EXCEEDINGLY bad-tempered and grouchy for a chair." But DIANA WYNNE JONES would look at that chair and say "I AM SO WRITING A STORY ABOUT HOW THAT BAD-TEMPERED CHAIR PERSON COMES TO LIFE AND WREAKS HAVOC!" and we end up with the first story in her Stopping for a Spell collection. NOBODY ELSE WOULD HAVE WRITTEN THAT STORY. BUT SHE DID BECAUSE SHE'S AWESOME."

Technically, I discovered her three times. Apparently I read The Lives of Christopher Chant as a child but then forgot about it entirely until I picked it up again as an adult and realized I'd read it before. Then, as an adult, I read The Tough Guide to Fantasyland and loved it. But I remember looking at the name "Diana Wynne Jones" and feeling that it was one of the most famous names in the world of fantasy lit, so therefore I assumed I must have read SOMETHING by her in my life, but I couldn't remember what. Then, when House of Many Ways came out, I kept reading all these glowing reviews that kept referring to the ever-well-loved Howl and I said "Who IS this Howl and why have I not read anything about him before?" so I checked out Howl's Moving Castle and fell immediately deeply in love. With Sophie, actually. Halfway through Castle In the Air (which I naturally picked up next) I already decided I'd found a new Favorite Author Ev

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10. Another Guys Lit Wire Book Fair for Ballou High School

In May of 2011, GuysLitWire held a book fair for Ballou High School in Washington, D.C. At that time, there were over 1,200 students enrolled in that school, and only 1,150 books in their library - less than one book per student.

Now you can help Ballou for the holidays! Here is the direct link to the wish list at Powells: http://bit.ly/GLWBookFair

Additional instructions from Colleen, who runs GLW and set up these book fairs:

Once you have made your selections head to "checkout" and you will be prompted to inform Powell's if the books were indeed bought from the wishlist. This lets the store know to mark them as "purchased" on the list. After that you need to provide your credit card info and also fill in the shipping address.

Melissa Jackson, LIBRARIAN
Ballou Senior High School
3401 Fourth Street SE
Washington DC 20032
(202) 645-3400

It's very important that you get Melissa's name and title in there - she is not the only Jackson (or Melissa) at the school and we want to make sure the books get to the library.

The bookfair will run through November 28th, 2011.

Whether or not you can donate to this event, I hope you are moved to check in with your local school libraries and public libraries and see if they need your help. The American Library Association (ALA) standard is 11 books per student. Donate new or old books to help the libraries near you not only reach that standard, but exceed it!

Also donate your time and energy: become a library volunteer! Help shelve books on the weekend. Sell used books at their book sales. Read books during storytime. Become an afterschool tutor or literacy buddy. Share the love of reading!

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11. Dreamy Plaid Noir: The Paintings Of Kris Knight

Contributed by Owen Schumacher

Who are these moody 20-somethings lazing around an icy North American wilderness, and why do I find them so fascinating?

The truly odd and delicate paintings of Toronto-based artist Kris Knight are a decidedly strange brew: vague David Lynchian narratives, evocative teenage poutiness, boo!-inducing landscapes, aesexual things that go bump in the night—heck!—even cable-knit sweaters. But as the first guy to pour maple syrup on his breakfast links came to find out, weird combos are often, surprisingly or not, the most interesting of all. Kris' paintings have that "syrup on sausage for the first time" effect.

So before we take in any more of Knight's maple leaf mysteries, be sure to follow the man's wonderful Flickr stream. See you at the abandoned cabin!

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12. L Filipe dos Santos: Quick And Purty

Contributed by Owen Schumacher

What do you do when you find an amazing artist like L Filipe dos Santos (or Corcoise, as he seems to prefer), but almost everything written about him is in Portuguese? Answer: You let his amazing art do all the talking for you.

Still, before you take in Dos Santos' elegant, fast-and-loose drawings, be sure to follow his blog—on which he thankfully writes in Portuguese and English—as well as his Flickr stream.

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13. Spooky Oldies From Reynold Brown

Contributed by Owen Schumacher

As we draw ever closer to the creepiest night of the year, it's only fitting to recall the classic horror movie posters of Reynold Brown. Aside from covering a lot of the silly schlock films of the '50s—Tarantula and I Was a Teenage Werewolf, anyone?—Brown also illustrated a number of noirish paper back covers, too, like author Erle Gardner's Silent Cover (1948) and Martha Albrand's After Midnight (1951).

Oh, and he also did the Ben-Hur poster—which to me is hands-down one of the great movie posters of all time. Just look at that epic, stony title ascending to the heavens. It stirs the soul!

Anyway, let Reynold give you some campy thrills this Halloween season. And as you wait for trick or treaters to ring the doorbell, cue The Time Machine on NetFlix while you're at it. The Eloi can't defeat the Morlocks on their own.
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14. The Brush Behind Your Favorite Films: Drew Struzan

Contributed by Owen Schumacher

Quick! What's your favorite '80s movie? There's a pretty good chance veteran illustrator, Drew Struzan, painted the poster for it. Besides being the go-to guy for all the legendary Star Wars posters—the imagery of which seemed to be seared onto our childhood minds with a hot iron... in a good way!—he also covered basically every other movie you liked, too. And aside from being a force in Hollywood's art department, he's done a ton of publishing and packaging graphics, as well. I oughta know: I played his version of Clue when I was younger. Hey, it's still in the closet! Some things are too dear to be sold on eBay.

Anyway, sit back, relax in your office chair and take a stroll—a figurative one: don't leave me now—through some of yours and my more youthful favorites.

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15. Writers Connect article

Forgot, (well I didn't really forget ... it came out while I was on part one of the road trip) to drop this link up to an article that I wrote for the Spring 2011 edition of the UTS Alumni newsletter Writers Connect.

Chris Cheng on the changing face of publishing as we know it. The interactive, electronic medium opens up a whole new world for authors and readers.
Read more…

Here it is:
https://www.alumni.uts.edu.au/Document.Doc?id=61 or click on the graphic above.

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16. Elena Dolgova: From Russia With Love

Contributed by Owen Schumacher

Lithe, frisky, and rich as a Fabergé Egg, the work of glamourpuss Russian illustrator, Elena Dolgova, is truly as lighthearted as it is elegant. All the scenes and figures seem to gleam like silverware for the Czar's table setting. Intricate tea services, tapestries and vampish royals keep appearing and reappearing, with a constant underpinning of mischief and frivolous fun. This stuff is regal!

For more of Elena's plush portfolio, visit her Behance profile or personal blog. Now enjoy the choice petit fours below.

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17. July 2011 Edition of Guardian Angel Kids Ezine is Online

Hi All,

I’m happy to announce that the July Edition of Guardian Angel Kids Ezine is now online. This month’s theme is Outer Space. So if you or your little ones would like to see some great stories, poetry and articles (or even some online games created by yours truly), please visit http://guardian-angel-kids.com/. The full media release is below.


CONTACT: Donna McDine, Editor-in-Chief, Guardian Angel Kids Ezine

Email: submissions@guardian-angel-kids.com

Website: http://guardian-angel-kids.com/

For Immediate Release

Children's Ezine Guardian Angel Kids: Swirls through Outer Space - July 2011


The unknown and intrigue of outer space is a delightful way to engage our

youngsters in the planets beyond Earth. To watch the amazement flash over

their faces and their onslaught of questions to follow is a splendid way to

explore space from the pages of Guardian Angel Kids Ezine.

We are proud and thrilled to share with our readers the July issue of

everything "outer space" and all its amazement through poetry, stories, and

articles at

http://www.guardian -angel-kids. com.

Please feel free to drop Editor-in-Chief, Donna McDine an email at

submissions@ guardian- angel-kids. com and let them know what you think of

Guardian Angel Kids and what you'd like to see in the future. They aim to


Letter from the POETRY editor: Donna J. Shepherd

Featured Books:

Video Special Feature: Sparkie: A Star Afraid of the Dark by Susann Batson

What if the Moon written and illustrated by Tracy Ahrens

Children's poetry, SHORT STORIES, and articleS:

"I Spy Wishes," by Corinna M. Johnson - sparkles with vivid imagery.

"Out of this World," by Abigail Charles - swirls you through outer space on

an alphabet adventure. Clara Smith's illustration will leave your young

muses wanting to learn more about the wonders of outer space.

"The Star Way," by Sandie Lee - like us stars are all different and go

through many stages in their lives. Share this wonderful article with your

young muses and learn about the life cycle of a star.

"An Orbiting Laboratory," by Lee Rosenfield - learn how a space station

stays "afloat" and how the astronauts live aboard the space shuttle in this

intriguing article of an orbiting laboratory.

"The Greatest Gift You Can Give Your Child," by Nicole Weaver - as parents

we must prioritize our time, so we can stay engaged in our children's

emotional and educational growth. Learn important tips to implement in your

child rearing.


Whispering Wally written and illustrated by Kevin Scott Collier

I Can't See, But I Can Imagine, a musical picture book by Patricia Bennett

Wilson. Illustrated by Sharon Bean. Video Produ

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18. Sneak Peak – Sprouts Magazine

Can pick up a copy at the conference. If you receive this by mail. We are waiting for it to come back from the printers.

Talk Tomorrow,


Filed under: authors and illustrators, children writing, How to, magazine Tagged: Articles, Children's Publishing Information, Illustrations, Sprouts Magazine

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19. Let the Countdown to National Poetry Month Commence!

April is National Poetry Month, or as I call it ’round these parts, National (Book Spine) Poetry Month. I actually do the air parentheses and everything. Last year, inspired by the amazing work of Nina Katchadourian, I tried my hand at creating a book spine cento. Here were the results:

I also encouraged all comers to give it a shot as well, and was amazed by what I saw.

Click here to view the book spine poetry gallery

Let’s kick off National Poetry Month in style. Create your own book spine poem, snap a picture, and send it my way (scopenotes (at) gmail (dot) com) or post it to your blog and let me know. Starting tomorrow, I’ll post one of my book spine centos every Friday for the month of March. On Friday, April 1st, I’ll post a gallery with all of the entries I receive from you.

Here are my tips for creating a book spine cento

  1. Check out last year’s book spine poem gallery for inspiration.
  2. Get to  a place with plenty of books. A library works nicely. Or a large home collection.
  3. Start looking at titles, and see what strikes you. Arrange and rearrange in your head. The best part of this type of poetry is the fact that you don’t know where you’ll end up.
  4. Have a pencil and paper with you to write down titles that stand out – you can refer back to them later.
  5. Don’t be afraid to use the library catalog to look up titles with specific words or phrases that fit.

Do you want to try book spine poetry with your students during April? I’ll post a second gallery on April 1st exclusively for student poems, and add to it for the entire month.

Click here to view last year’s awesome student book spine poetry gallery

So create your own, send it my way, and see your work in these here pages on April 1st.

I can’t wait to see what you come up with.

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20. Poetry Friday: The Genius

On April 1st, I want to kick off National Poetry Month with the bang it deserves.

But I’m gonna need your help.

I’ll post a new book spine cento here every Friday in March. On Friday, April 1st I’ll put up a gallery with your submissions. Click here for more information on creating your own book spine poem.

Give it a try, snap a photo, and send it my way (scopenotes (at) gmail (dot) com) or post it to your blog and let me know.

Here’s my first March poem:

Be sure to check out the Poetry Friday roundup at The Small Nouns.

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21. Poetry Friday: Odd Smell

April 1st is a mere two weeks away, bringing with it the glory that is National Poetry Month. On that day I’ll be hosting a gallery of book spine poems (or centos) submitted by you. Interested in getting in on the action? If you give it a try, take a picture and email it to me (scopenotes at gmail dot com) or post it to your blog and let me know.

For those who want to try it with kids, I’ll also put up a students-only gallery on April 1 and add to it for the entire month.

How do you create a book spine poem? Click here to read my tips.

I’m posting a new cento of my own every Friday until April 1, and today is no exception. Here goes:

Be sure to check out the Poetry Friday roundup at Liz in Ink.

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22. Poetry Friday: The Mix-Up

On the first day of National Poetry Month (April 1st), I’m hosting a gallery of book spine poems (or centos, if you want to get technical) submitted by you. If you give it the ol’ college try, take a picture and post it to your blog, or send it my way via email (scopenotes (at) gmail (dot) com). Click here for some tips on creating your own. If you try it with kids, send those in too – I’m also putting up a gallery of student work on April 1st, which I’ll add to for the entire month.

In preparation for the big day, I’m posting a new book spine cento every Friday in March. I used books from my daughter’s library for today’s entry, and it’s one of my favorites. Best read by two voices – one voice for the first three lines, another for the last two:

Be sure to check out the Poetry Friday roundup at a wrung sponge.

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23. Barcelona!

Please read my feature travel article about Barcelona in Image Magazine! Click on current issue. My article is on page 56.


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24. Topic Doesn’t Matter

Have you run out of fresh ideas for stories or articles? Are you hanging from the last knot at the end of your rope? What are you going to do?

There’s an easy answer to that last question. Sometimes it’s not the lack of material out there for a writer to use. It is everywhere. Resetting your mental perspective on ideas could sweep a multitude of viable avenues onto your storyboard.

Hunting for Stories

Find a newspaper or tackle Yahoo! News feeds and see what you can find. Here are ten possible idea sparkers found in less than fifteen minutes.

1.      Elizabeth Taylor

2.      Japan’s earthquakes

3.      Earth’s axis

4.      Housing slump

5.      Pennies saved

6.      Control tower scare

 7.      Volcano in Africa

8.      Skin care for guys

9.      Another oil slick hits LA coast

10.   Sports themes–Michael Jordan 

Have News, Now What?

On the surface these all seem uninteresting. How could any of them spark ideas that haven’t been done to death?

Let’s see what could come of them with a bit of thought expansion.

1.      Elizabeth Taylor—everyone talks about her beauty, her film career, etc. On the non-fiction side, experts will comb through everything in her life for their fodder. On the fiction side there is much to think about. Here was a young girl who was beautiful, with violet eyes, who loved to act. She was given that chance and excelled.

But, what could have happened to her without that chance? What could a beautiful young girl, without such talent, experience during her teen years? What if she really preferred a career behind the spotlight—say, as a set designer? Her talent could be in art. Such scenarios abound.

2.      Japan’s earthquakes—tons of ideas come from this news. Of course, there’s one aspect that many wouldn’t use. This goes along with #3 in our list. (Underlying info revealed that when the big quake hit Japan, three things happened which explain the destruction. One: the area of the quake dropped the landmass approximately two feet in altitude, two: Japan’s landmass was drawn 6.5 inches closer to the United States, and three: the quake caused an axial shift of the Earth.

Those facts hold significant ideas in their grip. Non-fiction possibilities: what impact may these geological realities warn us about, interv

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25. London Calling: Sharing the Love of Jack London

When I was seven years old, I got in trouble for using the word "suicide" in the classroom.

I was in third grade. My class was instructed to write a short biography about an author of our choice. It seemed like a straightforward assignment with simple instructions: we were to include the date and location of the author's birth, the date and location of the author's death, and interesting details about the author's childhood, adult life, and notable works.

I chose Jack London, an author whose books I'd been exposed to from a young age, thanks to my mother. Even though I was a young female cat owner living in a moderate and modern climate, Call of the Wild and White Fang had transported me to a world filled with snow, dogs, and adventure. (To this day, I can't see a Siberian husky without thinking of Jack's books!)

I followed my teacher's instructions and wrote what I thought was a great paper. However, my teacher found the paragraph about his death to be too controversial to discuss in the classroom, since I mentioned that some people thought he might have committed suicide, accidentally or on purpose, due to the amount of pain he was in. Poor Jack. The thought of it made me so sad. When the teacher tried to hush me, I explained that I had done my research, and I stood by my paper.

Years later, the new book series The Secret Journeys of Jack London by Christopher Golden and Tim Lebbon gives me the opportunity to introduce Jack's works to a new generation of readers. That makes me very happy.

I recently asked some friends and fellow authors two questions. Here are their answers.

What's your favorite Jack London book?
What was the first Jack London book you ever read?

I read Call of the Wild when I was seven, on a flight back to the East Coast with my dad. No one believed I read it myself, but it had dogs in it. I would -- and will -- read anything with dogs in it. A lot of the book was over my head, especially the dialect. But it was the book that turned me into a reader, and I remain a huge Jack London fan to this day.

- Martha Brockenbrough

As a kid I remember hearing that The Call of the Wild had inspired an Idaho Falls resident, Wilson Rawls, to write Where the Red Fern Grows. Now there is a statue at the Idaho Falls Public Library of the boy from Rawls' book and his two dogs and somewhere it says "Dreams Can Come True." I read Call of the Wild in my English class which met in a wood saw shop at my junior high. I sat at the table saw. I'd briefly taken in a stray St. Bernard when I was six and I loved reading about Buck's adventure. The world felt so severe. I loved it.

- Kristen Tracy

To Build a Fire scarred me for life. I remember reading that short story and knowing the guy was going to die and being thoroughly depressed about it. HATED it! Ha!

Right now I'm reading The Road, London's book about traveling cross country and learning tramp ways. I'm finding it very interesting (and basically no one has ever heard of it) so I would say as far as historical writing, this has been a quite worthwhile read. Plus no dogs die, which is something to consider when you pick up a London book! Ha!

- Colleen Mondor

I remember reading Call of the Wild in elementary school and being horrified at some of the cruelty. Even so, I became captivated by the Iditarod and wanted to mush. A few years ago, I did just that in Canada. The exhilaration of heeding my own call of the wild stays with me today...even if my sled overturned. The dogs barked so loudly when I crashed into the snow, and I've often wondered if they were really just laughing at me.


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