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Results 1 - 25 of 14,934
1. By hook or by crook

Here is a phrase whose origin seems to be known, but, as this does not mean that everybody knows it, a short discussion may not be out of place. I have such a huge database of idioms that once in six weeks or so I am seized with a desire to share my treasures with the public.

The post By hook or by crook appeared first on OUPblog.

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2. A tradition of classical architecture in California

Today, most people associate Southern California with images of palm trees, beaches, swimming pools, and the entertainment industry. If pressed to imagine an earlier era they might come up with “old” Hollywood, the Gold Rush, or even the mission era. But how much of the Golden State can be attributed to the ancient Greeks and Romans?

The post A tradition of classical architecture in California appeared first on OUPblog.

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3. An elusive quest for a recipe for success in economic development

For some decades before the turn of the Millennium, the growth prospects for most of the developing world looked extremely bleak. Income growth was negligible and poverty rates were high and seemed stubbornly persistent. Some even suggested that the barriers against development were almost insurmountable as progress in the already rich world was argued to come about at the expense of the poor.

The post An elusive quest for a recipe for success in economic development appeared first on OUPblog.

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4. On the finiteness of the atmosphere

I guess the funniest thing I ever saw was a person driving down the highway in a Toyota Prius smoking a cigarette with the windows closed. It was like they were telling me, “I respect your atmosphere but not mine.” That got me thinking, does human generated, gaseous, atmospheric pollution actually make up a significant part of the total atmosphere, and can it possibly affect it?

The post On the finiteness of the atmosphere appeared first on OUPblog.

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5. IBBY Review: Paperboy by Vince Vawter

Paperboy by Vince Vawter (Delacorte Press, 2014)

I Am Not My Disability: Outstanding Books For and About Young People with Disabilities

Every two years, the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) chooses outstanding books for and about young people with … Continue reading ...

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6. tuesday muffin

Rilla and Huck and a bug book

A lot of the replies to my blog-topics post asked for more glimpses of our tidal homeschooling days, especially how I work with my teens and my elementary-aged kids at the same time. So here’s a peek at a fairly typical Tuesday morning. The broad strokes—the basic rhythms—of our days stay consistent, four days a week (with one morning given to group piano and [for Beanie] literature classes). The details (what exactly we read, do, discuss, sing) vary, but the shape is the same—sort of like a muffin pan. Yeah, that’s it. Our days are like muffins, alike in shape, but we vary the recipe quite a bit. Make sense?

So—during high tide, we do lessons from 9 to noon, more or less. Noon to 1 is lunch and (often) a read-aloud. From 1-3 the younger kids get gaming time (iPad, Wii) and then they play outside most of the rest of the day. The older girls spend their afternoons reading, writing, gaming, walking, and whatever else they have on tap. I work (write) in the afternoons, and sometimes pop out to teach weekly classes to other homeschoolers. For example, I wrapped up a six-week poetry workshop yesterday with a lively group of boys who always keep me laughing. Love those kids.

Anyway, here’s our Tuesday morning.

9 a.m.
Beanie is outlining her Tempest paper for the weekly literature class I teach to her and a few friends.
Huck is playing with refrigerator magnets.
Rilla has drawn a scene from the story of Elissa of Carthage, and is now writing a description under the drawing, complete with Phoenician letters for the names.
Now Huck is noodling around on the piano.

9:15
Read Stone Soup to Huck. Rose stopped unloading the dishwasher to come listen—she says it’s one of her favorite stories from childhood.
While I read, Rilla finished her Elissa of Carthage passage. Beanie moved to another room for better concentration.

9:30
Rose finished the dishes and began making pretzel rolls for our teatime. Huck, Rilla, and I did our morning stretches and recitations. That word sounds so formal! What we do is quite casual. About four mornings a week, we gather in the living room for some singing, memory work, and movement games. It goes something like this:

—We move through a series of stretches (this is mostly for me) which include two planks. During the first plank, we skip-count by sixes; during the second, by sevens.

—Practice the Shakespeare speech or poem we are currently memorizing. Huck, Rilla, and I learn these all together, and usually the older girls wind up knowing them too, because they’re hearing us recite them all the time. This year, I’ve been using Ken Ludwig’s Midsummer Night’s Dream passages from How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare. I had already had Pucks “merry wanderer” speech in mind for Huck and Rilla to learn this year—I earned a small scholarship for performing that one during college, so I’m extra fond of it—when I read the Ludwig book (last summer) and decided his approach meshes perfectly with mine. So: this year they’ve learned “I know a bank where the wild thyme grows,” the merry wanderer monologue, the “Lord what fools these mortals be” speech, and now we’re working on Puck’s final speech (“If we shadows have offended”).

—Then we sing an assortment of memory songs and folk songs. Today it was: U.S. Presidents song; United States song; Horrible Histories English Monarchs song. Yesterday was the same lineup plus Skye Boat Song—a family favorite. This is an informal (meaning not planned-in-advance) part of our day, and basically I just starting singing things and the kids join in. Our Presidents and States songs come from an old Singin’ Smart cassette (cassette!!) I bought back when Jane was little, circa 1999. I wish I could find the booklet—there were some other useful tunes in there. I remember the melody for the U.S. Capitals song and have been meaning to print up a list so my littles can learn to sing along. I’m a big fan of music for anything requiring rote memory. We lean heavily on Schoolhouse Rock around here. Last year our mornings were dominated by French songs, as you may recall.

—This week I started Huck and Rilla on the Latin vocabulary chants from Latin for Children Primer A. We are not doing the workbook—just the rhythmic vocab chants: amo, amare, amavi, amatum and so on. Again, this was something that worked really well with my older set and is a solid, painless way to implant a bunch of Latin roots. We also enjoy my friend Edith Hope Fine’s Cryptomaniacs workbook (Greek and Latin roots)—Rilla will be using that steadily next year.

10 a.m.
Rose’s rolls are in the oven. She’s playing piano. Beanie is doing German on Duolingo. I send the littles outside with a snack.

10:15
Rose heads to her room to maybe do some math? She’s taking business math this year. Yesterday we slogged through the compound interest chapter together. I know you’re jealous. Beanie’s studying geometry, which I find much more entertaining.

I call Huck and Rilla back inside for some history. I read them the Elizabethan Era chapter from A Child’s History of the World—Walter Raleigh, Roanoke, Shakespeare. Long side-discussion of tobacco was sparked by a mention in the chapter. Also a lot of discussion about Roanoke because who isn’t fascinated by that story? I mention to Rose (who is back, checking on her rolls) that Gwenda Bond has a YA novel about Roanoke she might enjoy. This reminds us we need to return some books to the library.

10:45(ish)
Rilla has done a little Math-U-See, and Huck and I had an impromptu chat about the short E sound. He is reading incredibly well these days, devouring Boxcar Children books with ease. I picked up an easy spelling workbook a couple of weeks ago and pull it out occasionally to talk about sounds with him. Rilla is the first of my kids to need some deliberate, steady spelling instruction (she’s using a Spelling You See book this year and really enjoying it because it came with a set of erasable colored pencils, which (art supply) is the key to her heart. With Huck, age 7, I’m now casually pulling out some light spelling games to help him start making those phonics-y connections.

Okay, so that was going on but only for a few minutes, and now Rose’s pretzel rolls are ready. We hurry to the table to enjoy them while they’re warm. Tuesday mornings are our Poetry Teatime—which for us generally means Something Rose Baked and a glass of milk. I usually grab our battered Favorite Poems Old and New and read six or seven poems. Not a week goes by that they don’t beg for their favorite, To My Son Thomas…some days I have it in me, and other weeks I’m not up to the performance. When you do that poem, you gotta DO that poem. 🙂

11:10
Huck and Rilla have gone off to play together. This usually means I will find my bed turned into a fort later. Last week, it became some kind of Monkey Kingdom and I had stuffed primates hanging from the miniblind cords all week.

Time for some history with Rose and Beanie. Today was a selection from Don’t Know Much About American History, one of several books we rotate through. Charles Lindbergh, mostly.

11:45
I go grab a sweater from my room. Sure enough, every pillow in the house is piled high. I send Huck and Rilla to get their shoes on. Rose and Beanie are at the piano again, working out a duet—Beanie began taking violin lessons a few months ago and likes to try to work out simple accompaniment to the pieces Rose is working on for piano class.

Everyone piles into the minivan for a quick library run. We have a million things to return. Rilla found a new graphic novel, Jellaby: The Lost Monster, that looks fun. Rose recommended Sarah Zettel’s Palace of Spies for Beanie—a YA historical novel I read for the 2014 CYBILs and passed along to Rose when I finished.

12:30
Home for a late lunch. I forgot to read our chapter of From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler! I’ll have to try to squeeze it in after dinner. This is because—in an unprecedented development—I went into Scott’s office (aka our boys’ bedroom) to give him a package that had arrived, and I stretched out on the bed just for a second and fell asleep. I never nap.

1:05
I guess I napped. Scott is amused. I’m totally discombobulated. Wonderboy is just arriving home from school and the littles are already deep into Terraria. Jane is pinging me from college. My afternoon has begun.

Palace of Spies by Sarah Zettel Jellaby The Lost Monster by Kean Soo Greek and Latin for Cryptomaniacs by Edith Hope Fine How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare by Ken Ludwig Blackwood by Gwenda Bond Stone Soup by Marcia Brown Don't Know Much About History by Kenneth C. Davis From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler Favorite Poems Old and New

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7. Review: Barbara Yelin’s ‘Irmina’ shows how history destroys us in little ways

Quiet and brooding, while still warm and with a great delicacy, Barbara Yelin’s Irmina takes the author’s own discovery of her grandmother’s World War II era diaries and letters, and applies the resulting biography to higher philosophical heights that really concern the way any of us encounter the world. Irmina is a young German girl […]

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8. Spiritual awakening in Alcoholics Anonymous

Alcoholics Anonymous has provided millions of people with a chance at recovery from addiction. There is one aspect of membership for some members that most people, even addiction specialists, are not aware of, namely, the remarkable transformation that many AA members call a spiritual awakening. It’s a remarkable phenomenon for anyone interested in social science on the addictions.

The post Spiritual awakening in Alcoholics Anonymous appeared first on OUPblog.

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9. A tap dance quiz for National Tap Dance Day

25 May is National Tap Dance Day, commemorating tap dance, our earliest American vernacular dance form and a national treasure. My tap teacher Charles "Cookie" Cook, the famed member of the Copasetics Club, used to say that if you can walk (or even snap your fingers or toes to the rhythm), you can (tap) dance, thus making all of us tap dancers. But how how many notable tap dancers can you name?

The post A tap dance quiz for National Tap Dance Day appeared first on OUPblog.

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10. World Turtle Day: a reading list

World Turtle Day is celebrated on 23 May every year since its inception in 2000. The American Tortoise Rescue sponsors this day of awareness to bring attention to one of the world’s oldest reptiles, and encourage humans to help in the conservation and protection of these grand animals. In honour of these grandiose creatures, we have compiled a reading list of biology titles and articles that have helped to further research into the conservation biology of all chelonians.

The post World Turtle Day: a reading list appeared first on OUPblog.

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11. Veepstakes 2016: A Reality Check

Who will Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump–the Democratic and Republican Party’s likely nominees for president, respectively–pick as their vice presidential running mates? Let’s start here: It probably won’t matter much. Or, we should say, it probably won’t matter in terms of deciding the election. It could matter a great deal, however, in terms of what comes after the election. Allow us to explain.

The post Veepstakes 2016: A Reality Check appeared first on OUPblog.

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12. Making Space

One of the joys of writing is reading—soaking up words, absorbing sentences, inhaling paragraphs, stanzas, lines, metaphors, rhymes—and over the years I’ve watched as books in our house have piled into stacks on nightstands and tables, on the floor and on bookshelves, especially in my office. Most of the time I’m too busy writing (and reading) to notice the quantity of books that I’ve

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13. Christian theology, literary theory, and sexuality in the ‘Song of Songs’

hy were Christian theologians in the ancient and medieval worlds so fascinated by a text whose main theme was erotic love? The very fact that the 'Song of Songs', a biblical love poem that makes no reference to God or to Israelite religion, played an important role in pre-modern Christian discourse may seem surprising to those of us in the modern world.

The post Christian theology, literary theory, and sexuality in the ‘Song of Songs’ appeared first on OUPblog.

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14. BookCon 2016 was a hit….will there be even more of them in the future?

Speaking of ReedPOP, BookCon, the festival of literary superstars that owes more to Comic-Con than to a book faire, was held as a one day event following this year’s BEA (Book Expo America) in Chicago. According to PW’s Claire Kirch, it was a hit: The biggest complaint from attendees at this year’s BookCon literary fanfest […]

2 Comments on BookCon 2016 was a hit….will there be even more of them in the future?, last added: 5/21/2016
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15. Interview with Author Bridgette R. Alexander

Author Bridgette R. Alexander reflects on the mystery genre, her first book in a new series, Southern Gothic, and the influential impact of librarians and libraries. I received a complimentary copy of Southern Gothic: A Celine Caldwell Mystery in preparation for this interview.

How would you describe your novel Southern Gothic: A Celine Caldwell Mystery?

It’s intriguing. It’s passionate. It’s a contemporary urban Nancy Drew meets The Da Vinci Code. Southern Gothic introduces the reader to Celine Caldwell and the world of fine arts. Celine attends a private school on the Upper East Side, but more importantly has an internship in the Archives Department of the mighty Metropolitan Museum of Art, where her life suddenly changes with an explosive uncovering of an art theft; and in which her mother, the powerful curator of modern art at the Met, is accused of stealing paintings from her upcoming exhibition.

(Photo provided by Susan Raab, Raab Associates, Inc.)

(Photo provided by Susan Raab, Raab Associates, Inc.)

How did the idea of the character Celine Caldwell develop? What inspired you during your writing process for Southern Gothic?

I wanted to bring children and young adults into the high-end world of fine art. I had studied art history as well as worked as a professor of art history. I’ve been in the art world for over fifteen years in various capacities. Throughout my years in the visual arts, I’ve always dreamed of sharing a lot of what I’d experienced with younger people. The art world has been very, very good to me; and I’ve always wanted other people to experience the same as I, or actually even better than I have, experience. So I created a character, a girl born in the world of art whose life would be deeper and richer for the reader to explore the inner workings of an encyclopedic art museum, a world-class auction house, and give them the experience of spending time in the homes of private art collectors; all the while seeing these worlds through the eyes of Celine, a young, fresh, impressionable person.

Some reviewers have compared Celine Caldwell to a modern Nancy Drew. How would you describe her to the librarians interested in sharing your book with young readers?

She’s curious. She’s intrepid. She’s a never-back-down type of girl, yet at the same time, she is very vulnerable. She has a high emotional I.Q., and at the same time, she’s very much like the modern day teen.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art plays a central role in Southern Gothic. What is your background with this famous institution?

While still an undergraduate in college, I took about a year off to get a job and save money to return to school. I didn’t want to incur a lot of debt. I moved to New York City and took a job working for a non-profit organization called Emmaus House of Harlem. I worked for the founder and director, the late David Kirk. At Emmaus House I taught a G.E.D prep course and a lifestyle class for residents. These were formerly addicted individuals who through Emmaus House would be returning to their homes and families with employment training, education and life skills. I’d been working there for about a month and the first Saturday the residents were allowed to have their children visit them for the weekend. The children would spend the afternoon into early evening reconnecting with the parent(s).

I was struck after that first Saturday with wanting to provide resources for those children, so they would have a different future than their present lives. I came up with an idea to create what I would later call an arts-integrated curriculum for those children. I connected the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s education department told them I was interested in connecting them with the Met program by getting a lot of materials and access to the Museum for me and for the children. That was my first public art education course.

What has been the most surprising feedback you have received from a reader about your book?

People in general love Celine Caldwell, but what I’ve been the most surprised by is the reaction about how much they have been excited to learn about art and its history. I say surprised, even though I am an art historian, because I never want to be heavy-handed or didactic as a scholar. I want people to be enthralled and engaged by the world Celine lives in and a major part of that is fine arts – the paintings on the walls and the experiences she has. I want people to be excited and inspired…that seems to be happening!

Has your book been marketed to a target audience? Would you consider this book to be a young adult novel that appeals to older children as well?

Certainly. Southern Gothic and the Celine Caldwell Mystery Series are targeted to people between the ages of 12 and 18 years old. Although, we’re finding a good number of readers that are much older than teens, from 21 on up. Southern Gothic has a great deal of elements in it that can be highly appealing to young adults – they can absolutely connect to the protagonist, Celine Caldwell a girl trying the best that she can to navigate herself in the world that her parents placed her in once they got divorced. She also has such a loyal and strong group of friends, and I think that is an element of the story resonates with a lot of readers. Additionally, there are several other aspects to Celine’s life that I believe readers connect with; such as her forging her independence and gaining her own voice in her work as an intern at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. That job offers Celine the opportunity to move about the world within the museum as well as meeting the people that she will encounter in her quest to discover the truth to solve the mystery in the story.

Why is the mystery genre relevant to children and teens? What connected you to this genre as a writer and what does its future look like to you?

I think children and teens connect to the mystery genre because there are a lot of unanswered questions that by the time you reach 10, 11, 12 or 13, you begin to seek out answers to. For me, it seems like a perfect fit. For me, mysteries represented the very nature of life itself. There is the beginning where you are met with some ease and then suddenly, a bit of an upheaval comes along and sort of unhinge everything. With that comes a discovery, a renewal…it’s utterly remarkable. I’ve always loved the thrill of mysteries and knowing that with everything in life, you have to go beyond the surface.

For children and teens, mysteries are a great genre. In your early years of life, you accept what’s been presented to you; as you get older, you start to question – or, at the very least, you realize that there is a much larger world outside your home and neighborhood and you’re beginning to be exposed to bits and pieces of that larger world. Mysteries are at once exciting and scary, just as life is for young people discovering the bigger world for the first time.

What should the role of children’s librarians be in encouraging children and youth to explore various genres and subjects?

That’s a great question. The librarians I was fortunate to have growing up as an early and teenage reader, engaged me by drawing on various interests I had in subjects and showing me how to explore those subjects through the books they’d find for me. I think it’s vitally important for a librarian to be the guide, to introduce new, exciting, scary, different subjects; and many types of books to children and young adults. The role of librarians can be a lot more fluid than an actual teacher. The librarian has the space and hopefully, the inclination to be the conduit between a child and the world.

How has your experience in libraries influenced your life as a reader and author? 

(Photo of Bridgette R. Alexander Photo by Sophy Naiditch)

Photo of Bridgette R. Alexander
(Photo by Sophy Naiditch)

Where the classroom introduced me to the world, the library became a guide helping me to navigate the world. The main Chicago Public Library back in the late seventies and early eighties was on Michigan Avenue occupying the same building as the Encyclopedia Britannica. I spent a great deal of time reading almost every book I could read. I attended, Whitney Young Magnet High School (during the same years as our first lady Michelle Obama). I had an amazing Economic and Society teacher, Mr. Minkoff.

In this class, he taught us about the development of and the histories of the stock market and US industries, such as the railroads and banking; and we learned about early wealthy American families such as the Vanderbilts, Rockefellers, etc. He talked about these subjects in such an exciting way that it captured me wholeheartedly.  I would ask him a thousand and one questions about these people and, at one point, he suggested I go to the library — not the school’s library, but the main public library in Chicago. So I did. Sharing with the librarian there what I was looking for, she asked me why was I interested in those people and in that time period. I told her. And she led me to the library stacks and particularly to the areas where books on these subjects were and pointed to about five or six different titles and said, “here the world is yours.”

From that day on and for about another three to four years, I read everything about American industrial might. Later, I added in almost every biography of the Kennedys and all the individuals of the American political movements. I read so much and received so much guidance from the Chicago Public librarians at the main branch, that by the time I arrived at college, what I had read served as a strong foundation for my studying art history, philosophy and also some political science. In Chicago, we also have the cultural center that’s a part of the Chicago Public Library system. The Cultural Center houses everything in the arts: music (both popular and classical), visual arts, dance, opera; you name it – and biographies of artists and historiographies of genres. I devoured it all.

A librarian there gave me access to listening to old recordings of Leo Bernstein, Barbra Streisand, even Annie Lennox long before she became a member of the Eurhythmics. Another time in Mr. Minkoff’s class, we had to watch a CBS broadcast mini-series starring Henry Fonda, called “Gideon’s Trumpet” by the author Anthony Lewis. We had to write a paper about the television movie, which was based on the US Supreme Court case that ruled criminal defendants had a right to an attorney even if they could not afford it. Well, back to the library I returned to find out everything I could about this landmark case, and this time in the law section of the library.

The library has been and still is an integral part of my intellectual life!

What inspired you to write a series? What additional projects are you working on at this time?

My desire is to explore with readers the full spectrum that is the arts – visual art and culture, opera, the ballet and symphonies. Currently, I am preparing to release the second book in the series, Sons of Liberty; the third book in the series, Pasha will follow. Then I have a lot of ideas for the next nine books to follow that. Also, starting next month in June, I will be on a multi-city book tour that begins in Beverly Hills, California and then moves up the coast to Northern California. And in August I will be launching the Celine Caldwell Arts Council, which is a national initiative that I’m very excited about.

Thank you for sharing details of your new book and the role libraries and librarians have played in your life!

The post Interview with Author Bridgette R. Alexander appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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16. New ALSC Summer Reading Lists Available

Download the new ALSC Summer Reading lists (image courtesy of ALSC)

ALSC’s Quicklists Consulting Committee has updated our Summer Reading Lists with new and exciting titles!

The lists are full of book titles to keep children engaged in reading throughout the summer. Four Summer Reading book lists are available for Birth-Preschool, K-2nd, 3rd- 5th and 6th-8th grade students.

Each list is available here to download for free. Lists can be customized to include library information, summer hours and summer reading programs for children before making copies available to schools and patrons.

Titles on the 2016 Summer Reading List was compiled and annotated by members of ALSC’s Quicklists Consulting Committee.

Image courtesy of ALSC

The post New ALSC Summer Reading Lists Available appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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17. ‘Belladonna of Sadness,’ 1970s Anime Erotica Masterpiece, Gets A U.S. Theatrical Release, Blu-Ray, and Art Book

Forty-three years after its release, one of the weirdest Japanese animated features is receiving its due recognition in the United States.

The post ‘Belladonna of Sadness,’ 1970s Anime Erotica Masterpiece, Gets A U.S. Theatrical Release, Blu-Ray, and Art Book appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

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18. Finding Wild


It's release day for Finding Wild!

Written by Megan Wagner Lloyd, published by Knopf Books for Young Readers and illustrated by me, it was a joy to illustrate. Thanks so much also to editor Julia Maguire and Nicole Gastonguay for the terrific art direction.

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19. Review: Mabrook! A World of Muslim Weddings by Na’ima B. Robert and Shirin Adl

Mabrook! A World of Muslim Weddings,written by Na'ima B Robert, illustrated by Shirin Adl (Janetta Otter-Barry Books, Frances Lincoln, 2016)

Mabrook! A World of Muslim Weddings
written by Na’ima B Robert, illustrated by Shirin Adl
(Janetta Otter-Barry … Continue reading ...

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20. Best Books of April 2016

April 2016: 7 books and scripts read

Genre Fiction Pick
The Demonists by Thomas E. Sniegoski

YA Fiction Pick
Essential Maps for the Lost by Deb Caletti

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21. April Showers: The Sweet Rain of Books

Hi, folks. Today I'm putting my writer hat aside and my creative hat too. I'm placing that reader hat on my head. Here I'm going to talk about something I don't chat about much.  I love to read. I read every day of my life. I mark off the days to a book I want to read is ready to be published. My live revolves around stories, true and fiction. There is nothing that waters my life more than books.

I'm not a high brow reader.  I occasionally read a book that is called literary fiction, but most of the time, I like children's books and genre fiction, most of all historical, historical romance and science fiction.  I occasionally binge on non-fiction.  I have had entire decades devoted to mysteries and thrillers.  I never like horror. I like the classics and read one or two a year. I read a few fantasies every year too. Occasionally, I just like an author and I read every thing they have ever written.

In books, I have lived thousands of lives. I faced thousands of problems. I've inhabited the lives of  so many and I am so much more this.

 I feel like I've survived the Battle of Talavera in 1800s Spain, and at the same time, the intrigues of Russian noblemen is the times of Peter. The history of the Netherlands for thousands of years boils in my blood. I've seen the pyramids built and inhabited huts with my fellow slaves. I lived in the bogs of Ireland thousands of years ago struggling against my harsh gods. The stories of ages inhabit my soul.

I've felt Mr. Darcy's pride and Elizabeth Bennet's prejudice. I've been with Jane and heard Edward's mystic cries through time and space.  I've survived bombings while working with my true love.  I've been broken to shards and found love with someone also as broken as me. I've missed huge swaths of life, frozen with fear, and found the fortitude to love again. So many stories.

I've traveled to the far reaches of the galaxy. I've fought aliens, terra-formed planets, and discovered the ruins of ancient species. I've been sold into slavery and been rescued by an intergalactic cop. Apocalyptic nuclear winters, jungle green worlds, the harsh conditions of Mars, I've lived in a myriad of unique environments, survived, thrived and sometimes died. Like the intense electromagnetic radiation of the sun, the heart of all life. Speculative stories have transformed me.

I've sat on the bones of dead children waiting for rescue from a white mouse. I've had my memories stolen from me and forged a new life. My puppy fell out of an airplane once! Oh, one of my best friends is spider and I might be some pig. I care too much and call it love.  I've opened my heart and believe that someone will come. I am stronger than I think, and I may not belong in the zoo but there is a place for me.  I like your hat, I understand the price, and know stories are light in this dark, dark, world.

Books water the soul. They expand horizons and open my eyes to the distance shores.  They encourage me to be more, to accept myself and others, and believe in happiness with good things beyond the bright light of last moments on Earth.

Pick up a book and read till your heart is content!

Next week a new series starts. Exciting news! A guest blogger will usher in the month of May with Bloom! Excellent author Alexandria La Faye will be here! If you don't know her  books already, please check her out!!! Edith Shay! Strength of saints!  Strawberry Hill!  So many fab stories. www.facebook.com/alafayeauthorwww.alafaye.com, a@alafaye.com

Here is a doodle.



Here is a quote for your pocket. 

Stop being so fruitlessly busy and dream. Use your imagination. Reach out into the unknown and dream of how you can enlarge your experience and improve your mind and your soul and your world. Mary Balogh

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22. Review: The Mouse Who Saved Egypt by Karim Alrawi and Bee Willey

The Mouse who Saved Egypt, written by Karim Alrawi, illustrated by Bee Willey (Tradewind Books, 2011)

The Mouse Who Saved Egypt
written by Karim Alrawi, illustrated by Bee Willey
(Tradewind Books, 2011)


One day in Ancient … Continue reading ...

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23. Diverse Children’s Books Link-Up – 7 May

DiverseKidLitMirrors Windows Doors is one of the hosts of the new Diverse Children’s Books meme. Find out all about it below – and be sure to join in, both by adding a post to the linky and by exploring the riches those links … Continue reading ...

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24. Monday booknotes

Ingredients of a typical day in my house

Ingredients of a typical day in my house

Thanks to everyone for the comments on last week’s post. It was fun to see what you’d like to hear more about. I think I take some of those topics for granted and assume people are tired of hearing me chatter about tidal homeschooling and whatnot. 🙂 I really appreciate your feedback and look forward to diving into the topics you raised.

I’m coming up bust on the most pressing question, though—details on the washi tape in that photo. I can’t remember where it came from! I’ll see if I can track it down. 🙂

Ace the Very Important Pig by Dick King-Smith The Gammage Cup by Carol Kendall  The Whisper of Glocken by Carol Kendall

I finished reading Ace, the Very Important Pig to Huck and Rilla last week. They really enjoyed it, although they didn’t find it quite as engrossing as our last pig book, Charlotte’s Web. I mean, it’s kind of hard to compete with Charlotte. But Ace is fun and funny and was a lighthearted, enjoyable read. It works really well as a readaloud, too, which can’t be said about every good book. It’s a funny thing that some truly wonderful books just don’t take off when I try to read them aloud. That happened with The Gammage Cup, which is a huge favorite with my older kids—all of Carol Kendall’s books are winners. For sheer enjoyability, her writing style ranks up there with L. M. Montgomery and Elizabeth Goudge, as far as I’m concerned. Delicious prose and endearing, quirky characters. But…I think the very thing that makes her prose so magical—long, complicated sentences with rich description, and a lot of interior life for the characters—renders it difficult to the listening ear.

My older girls tore through Gammage and its sequel, The Whisper of Glocken, on their own. (The Firelings is my personal favorite of Kendall’s books, but I think my girls would vote for The Gammage Cup.) But as excited as I was to begin reading it to Huck and Rilla, and as excited as Rose and Beanie were for them to experience it, we bogged down after a couple of chapters. Then came a busy week and we didn’t make time for it at all, which is generally a good indicator that I haven’t picked the right book. It doesn’t happen often, but it does happen, and I never have qualms about abandoning a book that isn’t making them beg for more. I’d rather they read it alone, later, and really enjoy it. I’m sure that’s what will happen with Gammage, because it’s so darn good.

Anyway, long story short (ha!), we had fun with Ace—lots of great voice fodder among the animals. Yesterday I again faced the exhilarating, momentous decision of The Next Book. I mean, this is just a huge event in my life, over and over. 🙂 My next read, our next read—oh the agony of decision!

I didn’t dither overlong this time around…a particular favorite had been on my mind, and it’s one I’m not sure I ever read aloud to the other kids. I think most of them beat me to it.

Actually, I’ve always thought of this as sort of a private book, one meant for solo immersion. But…it felt right. Huck may be a little young to care much about the quest Claudia is going to undertake. But he’s into it so far—the big sister/little brother dynamic, the exciting running-away plan, Jamie chewing up Claudia’s instruction note and having his teeth turn blue. Rilla, of course, is enchanted. Running away to an art museum (as Jamie ungrammatically puts it, to Claudia’s disgust)—well, if Rilla could live anywhere but home, an art museum would likely be her pick. She’s impressed with Claudia’s good sense.

I had to decide whether to let Rilla meet the Met as I did, through this book, or to show it to her on YouTube. Would a glimpse of the vastness of the building and the extent of the collection enhance her mental picture of Claudia and Jamie’s adventure, or  is it better to create that picture completely in your own imagination? If you’ve not been to Manhattan yourself, I mean. In the end, conversation made the choice for me. We finished our chapter today and Rilla had questions, and next thing you know we were all watching Sister Wendy tour the museum.

I haven’t been to the Met since the 90s. I’m a bit NYC homesick now.

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25. Now Faster and Easier to Use: Your First Book Marketplace

fbmp

Drumroll please… Today, we introduce to you the newly redesigned First Book Marketplace.

Updated with your needs in mind, your First Book Marketplace is now faster and simpler to use. Powerful new search capabilities and an improved navigation menu make it easy to find the great books and educational resources you’ve come to expect from First Book. And now you can access them all from the palm of your hand — the entire site is mobile friendly!

For years, you’ve generously shared the needs facing your classrooms and programs. Your feedback directly influenced every improvement and enhancement you’ll experience on the upgraded site.

On top of the books and learning tools you love, you’ll also find specially-curated collections on popular topics like family engagement, character development, health and wellness, and diversity. First Book’s entire inventory, including school supplies, technology, digital learning materials, basic needs items and educational activities is more accessible than ever before.

Stay tuned all week as we share videos on how to use some of the great new features of your First Book Marketplace. Start here by learning how to navigate and search the newly designed site:

The post Now Faster and Easier to Use: Your First Book Marketplace appeared first on First Book Blog.

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