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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: New York, Most Recent at Top [Help]
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1. Books Strengthen Family Bonds

DSC00616Lydia sat with her two children in the waiting room. Her eldest read aloud from his new book, pausing every now and again to teach his mother and younger sister how to say the words in English. His little sister beamed with pride when he let her turn the page.

Andrea Gatewood of the Nassau County (NY) Department of Health knows that providing new books to families like Lydia’s leads to priceless interactions. For the past ten years, she and her colleagues at the Nassau County Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Program have been giving books from First Book to the local low-income women and children they serve.

Traditionally, WIC programs supply women who are pregnant or recently gave birth and children up to age five found to be at nutritional risk with supplemental foods, health care referrals and nutrition education. But at five WIC sites in Nassau County, families also receive colorful new books.

teen parenting program 3“The books from First Book teach children how to count, the alphabet, the importance of family, other languages, colors, different foods and incentives to promote physical activity,” said Andrea. “They strengthen family bonds, promote diversity and improve literacy.”

Andrea takes great care in selecting books that are both engaging and culturally relevant as nearly 100 percent of the children she serves come from minority households.

“We have distributed books at Christmas, Halloween and to kick off the school year. Our goal is to reach as many children as possible,” Andrea shared. “The partnership between First Book and WIC has allowed thousands of children to receive brand new books and will have a lasting impact on an individual and community level.”

Over the past ten years, the Nassau WIC Program has received approximately 20,000 books from First Book, thanks to grant funding made possible by members of the First Book – Long Island volunteer chapter and the Guru Krupa Foundation. The Foundation, based in Jericho, New York, funds initiatives related to education, health and basic sustenance of underprivileged children in India and the United States, and has helped First Book provide more than 51,000 books to children in need in the greater New York and Los Angeles areas in the past two years.

DSC00612“We at Guru Krupa Foundation believe that education is a cornerstone for future success in life,” said Mukund Padmanabhan, president of the Guru Krupa Foundation. “Supporting initiatives that bring the benefits of education to underprivileged children can lead to enormous future dividends, not only for the children but to society.”

Join the Guru Krupa Foundation in supporting program leaders like Andrea by making a gift to First Book. Just $2.50 provides a brand-new book to a child in need.

The post Books Strengthen Family Bonds appeared first on First Book Blog.

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2. Start Spreading the News Little Elliot Big City by Mike Curato is Coming in Late August!


New York New York



They say if you can make it in New York you can make it anywhere.  Well Little Elliot Big City  by Mike Curato is about to take over New York.   Little Elliot is an elephant who is trying to make his home in the big city.  However, being small makes it hard for him to do everyday city things.  He even gets ignored when he tries to buy a cupcake.   Then he meets a mouse who is facing the same problem.  Elliot knows just the right thing to help the mouse.  The next day the mouse is able to help Elliot.   In helping each other they become friends.

Here's to Elliot's success in the Big City starting August 26! 
Go Elliot!
Check out the upcoming book trailer below. 

As they say in New York First Come First Serve.   I missed out on the official blog tour, but I did get a review copy so check out these other blogs for prizes during the tour.  From Mike Curato site- 
Elliot and I have been lucky enough to make a bunch of new friends who are super excited about Little Elliot, Big City. Some of them happen to be some pretty awesome bloggers who are each going to have a special Elliot post the week of the book release, August 26th! Not only will you learn some cool stuff about Elliot’s journey to your bookshelf, you might even win a free give-away! Be sure to check out the blogs on the dates below to find out how you can get a free copy of Little Elliot, Big City, a limited edition tote bag, and stickers!
LITTLE ELLIOT BLOG TOUR
Tuesday, August 26           Librarian in Cute Shoes | @utalaniz
Wednesday, August 27     Teach Mentor Texts | @mentortexts
Thursday, August 28         Read. Write. Reflect. | @katsok
Friday, August 29               Kit Lit Frenzy | @alybee930
Saturday, August 30          Daddy Mojo | @daddymojo
Sunday, August 31             The Trifecta:
Sharp Reads | @colbysharp
Connect. Read. | @mrschureads
Nerdy Book Club | @nerdybookclub
Monday, September 1      Miss Print | @miss_print
Also, be sure to tune into the Let’s Get Busy podcast on August 26th for a full hour-long interview!!

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3. PRINTSOURCE 2014 - flyers

Tomorrow sees the opening of the Printsource trade show in New York when many top studios and designers will offer their latest portfolio prints to buyers. A few flyers for the show came into P&P so here are some names to look put for if you are attending the show. Starting with Paper & Cloth in booth A5 and as you can see below they have some fabulous new designs to showcase. Below : Jane

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4. Memorial Day and the 9/11 museum in American civil religion

By Peter Gardella


Unlike the 4th of July with its fireworks or Thanksgiving with its turkeys, Memorial Day has no special object. But the new 9/11 Museum near the World Trade Center in New York has thousands of objects. Some complain that its objects are for sale, in a gift shop and because of the admission fee. Together, the old holiday and the new museum show what has changed and what remains constant about American civil religion.

For a century after Memorial Day began, it had its own date, May 30. That was lost in 1968, when Congress passed a law moving Memorial Day to the last Monday in May. Rather than interrupting the week whenever it falls, as July 4th still does, Memorial Day became the end of a long weekend. A search for Memorial Day parades finds as many parades happening on Sunday as on Monday. Some happen on Saturday.

These parades are not nearly as important as they were in the decades following World Wars One and Two, when veterans were much more numerous than they are now. The unpopularity of Vietnam also hurt Memorial Day parades. In my childhood, all grammar school children in my town marched on Memorial Day, but now even high school bands march reluctantly. Having parades to honor war dead came to seem to be celebrating war, and after Vietnam celebrating war was unacceptable. Memorial Day was once called Decoration Day, a day for visiting and decorating graves, and this quieter ceremony persists. On Memorial Day, the president still lays a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and a small crowd gathers for a speech.

Memorial Day Flagged Crosses, Waverly, Minnesota. By Ben Franske (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Memorial Day Flagged Crosses, Waverly, Minnesota, by Ben Franske. CC-BY-SA-3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

But the site of the World Trade Center drew large crowds in the first weeks after the attack. The 9/11 Memorial has been drawing millions since it opened in 2011, and the new Museum will draw millions more. It will become a pilgrimage site of American civil religion.

As Mayor Bloomberg said at the dedication ceremonies, the site of the World Trade Center will join Gettysburg, Pearl Harbor, and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial as a “sacred marker” and a “solemn gathering place.” The word “sacred” was used by many at the dedication, and this sense of being set apart marks the sites of civil religion. The word “solemn” was identified more than a century ago as an aspect of religious feeling by the psychologist and philosopher William James. Expressions of religion involve solemnity, respect for what is held sacred, even when triumphal pride or ecstasy may also be expressed. Such solemnity can be felt at older sites of American civil religion, like the Capitol or the White House, the Washington Monument, and the memorials to Lincoln and Jefferson. The new Martin Luther King Memorial continues a mood of solemnity combined with triumph. It’s a place where clean white stone invokes eternity.

But the 9/11 Memorial belongs to another tradition, finding the sacred in dirty objects. Twisted beams of steel and mangled fire trucks dominate a seven-story atrium. More intimate objects, like displays of sweatshirts that were for sale on that day, now covered in ash, and shoes worn by survivors as they fled the Twin Towers, and melted fax machines and rolodexes, are displayed under glass to help visitors identify with the human victims and their suffering. Voices from last cell phone calls can be heard. This power in everyday objects has appeared before in memorials to the Holocaust and in the museum on Ellis Island. Leaving objects on graves and memorials is new to American civil religion, but it is a practice with old roots, seen on the graves of slaves in the South and in the tombs of Egypt. Visitors to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial surprised groundskeepers by leaving objects at that memorial when it opened, and people left objects along the fences that separated the streets of New York from Ground Zero in the months after September 11.

Questions have been raised about the stress on objects in the new museum. Some think that unidentified human remains should not be in the same building as a museum visited by tourists. According to some family members of victims, the gift shop profits from the deaths of their loved ones to support the salaries of administrators. Some object to the cafe. Even more object to the $24 admission fee. One answer might be to keep the gift shop and cafe but to eliminate any admission fee, following the examples of Smithsonian and National Park Service sites, some of which also contain human remains.

Many new forms of American civil religion stress death and the ancestors, not God and the future. The new museum goes down into the earth to bedrock, rather than rising toward heaven. Like the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, which follows the line of its landscape and honors the dead, and the Pearl Harbor Memorial, which centers on the sunken wreck of the U.S.S. Arizona and the dead that it contains, the 9/11 Memorial and the 9/11 Museum both emphasize descent. In the Memorial, cascades of water, the largest man-made waterfalls in the world, flow from bronze parapets etched with the names of the dead into the former footprints of the Twin Towers. The sound of the water cancels street noise. The sight of the water falling into the squares at the center of each footprint suggests the underworld journey.

But next to the Memorial and Museum rises the spire of One World Trade Center, the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere. This pairing echoes the rise of the Statue of Liberty, next to the buildings of Ellis Island where immigrants were examined and sometimes rejected. However much expressions of American civil religion change, they still affirm personal freedom, the triumph of the human person over all difficulties, and even over death.

Peter Gardella is Professor of World Religions at Manhattanville College and author of American Civil Religion: What Americans Hold Sacred (Oxford, 2014). His previous books are Innocent Ecstasy (Oxford, 1985), on sex and religion in America; Domestic Religion, on American attitudes toward everyday life; and American Angels: Useful Spirits in the Material World. He is now working on The World’s Religions in New York City: A History and Guide and on Birds in the World’s Religions (with Laurence Krute).

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The post Memorial Day and the 9/11 museum in American civil religion appeared first on OUPblog.

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5. Two Shall be Born

I mostly avoid reading Marie Conway Oemler books I haven’t read before — I dread the point at which there won’t be any left I haven’t read. So I’ve been putting off reading Two Shall Be Born for, like, five years at least.

I don’t know if it was worth waiting for. I don’t, at this point, expect any book of hers to live up to Slippy McGee or A Woman Named Smith, and this one certainly doesn’t. But that’s not to say it isn’t pretty interesting and weird, and that’s all I really want, I guess.

I don’t want to say that this is Marie Conway Oemler’s Ruritanian romance, although it has a bit of a flavor of that. And I’m not sure if I want to say that this book is Mary Roberts Rinehart-ish in the same way that Slippy McGee is Gene Stratton Porter-ish, but there were moments when it seemed to have more in common with Rinehart than with Oemler’s other work. I only recognized Oemler in flashes — the disheveled single-mindedness of an artistic genius, the hero who looks like “a young god with good morals,” anything relating to what Irish people are like.

The premise of the book is, I suppose, about people falling in love at first sight. Fortunately, that’s not actually what the book is about. Countess Marya Jadwiga Zuleska’s love interest doesn’t even appear until what feels like more than halfway through the book, but apparently isn’t quite. Really it’s Marya Jadwiga’s book, but I didn’t feel like I got to know her as well as I got to know anyone in A Woman Named Smith or Slippy McGee or evenThe Purple Heights.

Marya Jadwiga is the daughter of a famous scholar and Polish patriot who apparently functions as some kind of spymaster for a Polish independence movement. Everything he has, he contributes to this movement — including his daughter, who he educates so as to make her as useful as possible to him. It’s not really clear exactly what that education consists of, or how he intends to use her, but I think the book would have been so much better if it had been. Anyway, we never really find out what he meant to do, because his impending death and the pressure exerted on him by Russian and German agents force him to change his plans and send Marya Jadwiga to America.

I mean, other stuff happens first. But I don’t really know how to get into it without spoiling the grisliest axe murder I’ve read since The After House, so.

Once she gets there, there’s a little bit of a Samuel Hopkins Adams in The Flagrant Years vibe, and once we’re introduced to Brian Kelly there’s a bit of a Samuel Hopkins Adams in general vibe, neither of which upset me. Brian’s story gives us a little of the character makeover thing — he’s had a fight with his rich dad and run off to become a policeman, and of course he learns to be a very good one. But, as with Marya Jadwiga, I wished more time had been spent on the learning part. If not the traffic policeman stuff, more than a few vague hints about other, more exciting police work would have been appreciated.

Brian and Marya Jadwiga meet one evening after Marya Jadwiga stabs someone (yeah, it’s pretty cool) although they’ve already seen each other and fallen in love at first sight at that point. Brian brings Marya Jadwiga to his boarding house, and the final turns of the plot take place there, among the friends he’s made. But the two of them, having gotten the falling in love part out of the way at the beginning, don’t seem to have much to say to each other.

It’s as if, having already fallen in love, they don’t need to get to know each other. And that’s what I hate about stories where people fall in love at first sight, because the getting to know each other part is the best part, and I don’t understand why anyone would want to skip past it. Especially Marie Conway Oemler, who’s so, so good at having her characters enjoy each others’ company. I mean, Sophy and Alicia. The Author and anyone he appreciates properly. Armand de Rancé and Slippy McGee. There’s no pair of characters in Two Shall be Born that made me feel like just seeing them interact was enough, except maybe the Kelly siblings. Some of that might be because it’s meant to be a very serious book, with attempted rape and beheadings and people watching each other die, but Oemler wasn’t really a serious story kind of author.

I did enjoy Two Shall be Born. I just think Oemler could have done something batter. I mean, that, and I wish I could read A Woman Named Smith or Slippy McGee for the first time again.


Tagged: 1920s, adventure, marieconwayoemler, new york, poland

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6. Author Interview with Jamee-Marie Edwards

It’s Author Interview Thursday… Yes! I have to admit that I had a low period earlier on this year due to some issues with my illustrator and a potential book deal that got put on ice for the meantime.Jamee-Marie Edwards However, following my visit to the London Book Fair (and you can read all about it here) where I met quite a few famous authors and attended some world class seminars, I’m happy to say that my enthusiasm and passion for writing and growing my self publishing business has been rekindled. Something that has greatly benefited from this renewed passion is Author Interview Thursday! It has been an absolute pleasure meeting and interviewing the featured guests every Thursday. I learn so much and I hope you do too. It was such a delight getting to know our featured author today. I found the story regarding her inspiration for storytelling very inspiring. She has written and acted in several theatre productions. I love the fact that she delights in bringing out the unique talents and gifts in her students, clients and readers. With the months of May and June themed as  National Teen Self-Esteem and National Child Awareness Months respectively, I believe she’s the perfect author to kick us off for the month of May. So without further ado, please join me in welcoming Jamee-Marie Edwards.

 

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and the first time someone complemented you on something you had written?

My passion for storytelling was inherited from my grandfather since childhood. I remember him taking me out (as part of my family’s tradition) to watch the planes take off and land on the weekends. As I sat on the hood of his car, he would amaze me with stories from his childhood. There was always an exciting story to be told in his company.  With that being said, I thought it would be fitting to use Jamee-Marie Edwards as my pen name in honor of the literary seeds my grandfather James Edward Lawrie planted in my life.

As I matured, I acquired a passion toward health, the sciences and the arts. I truly feel blessed and thankful to have such a rewarding career, which has allowed me to combine all of my passions into one. Educating children about living a healthy lifestyle through the arts (storytelling, dramatic presentations) is one of my dreams that has finally been actualized. I am currently employed in the health office of Allen Christian School located in Queens, N.Y. and recently obtained my Masters in Public Health with a concentration in Health Promotion and Education. The Media/Television Production teacher at my alma mater high school, Hillcrest H.S., was the first person to say those infamous words to me “You Got It!” This came after my group performed a skit I wrote about challenges travellers face at an airport. The teacher and the class got plenty of chuckles out of that one.

 

What can a reader expect when they pick up a book written by Jamee-Marie Edwards?

As an author/health educator/science buff/animal lover, my books are typically fables which encompass health, character development and science related themes such as self-esteem, healthy lifestyles and animal kingdom basics. Overall, I write from the heart with a purpose to take readers on a journey filled with colourful illustrations and entertaining dialogue from fun loving characters who depict real life situations, lessons and resolutions.

 

Congratulations on the publication of your first children’s book ‘But I Am a Cat!’ Can you tell us where the idea for this book came from and what you hope the reader takes away after reading it?But I Am a Cat

Thank You David!

In the scheme of life, we all wonder, “Where do I fit in?”  I wanted to create a playful, but meaningful story that gives children, and even adults, a lesson on what it truly means to be “comfortable in your own skin.” It is my desire that “But I Am a Cat!” will inspire readers to discover, embrace, and celebrate their unique gifts, talents, and abilities.  The book was also written to fuel a child’s interest in the sciences, as it presents a fascinating look into the basics of the animal kingdom, giving children new insights on the habitats of some of their favorite animals.

 

You’ve written several stage plays and acted in quite a few. How did this help or hinder when you were writing your children’s book?   

My theatrical background proved to be very beneficial in my endeavor as an author. This especially holds true in the area of character development. As an actor and writer, you must “know your character” (i.e. their objectives, style, mannerisms, etc.). The goal is to make your characters believable and relatable.

 

Can you tell us how you worked with your illustrator to ensure that your vision was conveyed through the illustrations in the book? 

I was very fortunate to work closely with an illustration coordinator throughout the entire process. Before the process began, we had several conversations to ensure I was matched with an illustrator that best suited my vision. In addition, I was able to incorporate pictures of my cat Mason (who is the main character) and other animals I desired. Each sketch had to be approved by me, down to the vivid coloring of the illustrations.

 

What have you found to be a successful way to market your books?Mr. Cat and Mr. Bird

As an indie author, marketing can be one of our greatest challenges. I have found that social media has played an integral part in marketing my book. I also participate in various events— schools visits and health fairs, to market myself. I always have promotional items such as business cards, bookmarks and pencils on hand to help get my name out and build my brand. Book giveaways/contest are also beneficial.

 

What were some of your favourite books as a child?

The Little Engine That Could” is without a doubt my favourite book of all times. Although I owed a copy of the book, my mother told me I was adamant about taking the book out with each library visit. I also loved reading anything by Dr. Seuss, Don Freedman’s Corduroy, The Nursery Rhymes Classics as “Jack and Jill” and “Humpty Dumpty”, “Curious George” and “Uptown, Downtown” to name a few.

 

What book or film has the best dialogue that inspires you to be a better writer and why? 

“I think I can, I think I can, I thought I could, I thought I could!” are the infamous words of the Little Engine. I realize words have the power to change a person’s life, be an Inspiration to others.

 

Toy Story or Shrek?Jamee-Marie Edwards Reading

Hmmm, this question is a toss-up considering the fact that, I am truly a kid at heart and I can appreciate all animations with positive themes. I am also chuckling as I read this question because I do have a closet full of my childhood toys and books.  However, if I must choose, I would have to say Shrek. As stated by Jeffrey Katzenberg (Shrek’s producer) the theme of the movie is ‘there is something wonderful about us all.’ As a facilitator of self-esteem workshops, I realize the importance of instilling a positive self-image into children, teens and adults alike. My choice is also in honor of May being National Teen Self-Esteem Month.

 

What three things should a first time visitor to New York do?

Choosing only three things to see from the city that never sleeps was definitely a challenge. However, I did manage to narrow the plethora of activities and sights the Big Apple has to offer to: Times Square where the infamous New Year’s Eve Ball is dropped. The bright lights and fan-fare especially at night is a must see. Of course, NYC is also known for its stunning productions on Broadway. Lastly, what would a trip to NYC be without a visit to Central Park? From the gardens, to the infamous fountain that is often seen on the big screen and the surrounding attractions as FAO Schwartz (toy store), the park seems endless and a venture through it is worth the trip. In addition, if I may sneak in another one, Rockefeller Center during the Christmas holiday season. The tree lighting is amazing!

 

What can we expect from Jamee-Marie Edwards in the next 12 months?

“But I Am a Cat!” is the first of the character development “I Am” series. So the next installation is in the works. Of course, there is always another skit or play waiting to be birthed. I would also like to venture into the Young Adult world.

 

Where can readers and fans connect with you?Mr. Cat and Mr. Turtle

I would appreciate and love to connect through

My website -  www.maeinspireu.com  (may inspire u)

Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/jameemarie.edwards

Facebook Author Page - https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jamee-Marie-Edwards-Author/435774816492157?ref=hl

Twitter -  @JMarie_Edwards

Instagram -  JAMEE_MARIE_EDWARDS

Link to IPAD Application - https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/but-i-am-a-cat!/id815125891?ls=1&mt=8

I am also on Linkedin.

 

Any advice for authors out there who are either just starting out or getting frustrated with the industry?Melissa and Gabby2

Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” I hold this eloquent statement close to heart and love to share with students during school visits. I believe it can be inspirational to adults alike. Continue to BELIEVE in your dream of becoming an author and surround yourself with people who are pursuing or have pursued the same dream. I have joined countless writing groups/forums/associations as a support system to exchange ideas and to give and receive encouragement and inspiration. Remember tomorrow is another day and another chance. So many people give up too easily and are closer to their dreams than they think. Keep pushing! #dream #believe # create # succeed

David, this was truly an honor!  I greatly appreciate the opportunity to share and all that you do to encourage and inspire others. Continued blessings always!

 

The pleasure was all mine Jamee-Marie and it was such a joy to have you today. I really found the story of how your grandfather inspired the desire in you to write and tell stories very uplifting. It really goes to show that as children book authors, we really are in a privileged position to inspire the next generation. Jamee-Marie and I would like to hear any questions or comments that you may have regarding our interview. So do leave your comments in the box below and remember to share this interview on your social network.

Jamee-Marie’s Page on Amazon

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7. Eddie Red Undercover: Mystery on Museum Mile: Marcia Wells

Book: Eddie Red Undercover: Mystery on Museum Mile
Author: Marcia Wells
Illustrator: Marcos Calo
Pages: 256
Age Range: 9-12 (lightly illustrated middle grade)

Mystery of the Museum Mile is the first book of the new Eddie Red Undercover series by Marcia Wells. Eddie Red is a code name for Edmund Xavier Lonnrot, a sixth grader with a photographic memory and the ability to draw (well) anyone he has seen. When Eddie's talents are inadvertently discovered by the New York Police Department, he is hired to help on a special case involving art theft. He's only supposed to visit some museums and draw the people he sees, under the guidance of a grouchy but protective cop named Bovano. But of course things get more complicated, and more dangerous, than that. 

So, ok, there are a couple of points here requiring suspension of disbelief. The NYPD hiring an 11-year-old? Said 11-year-old's parents going along with it? The photographic memory AND drawing skill? But personally, I found it well worth letting those points go and enjoying the ride.

Edmund (or Eddie Red, as you may prefer to think of him) is a solid character. Smart, sure, but realistically insecure about it. Loyal to his best friend, who has pretty serious OCD. Eddie breaks the rules in order to learn more about the case, but he's nervous about that. He's not your young James Bond, able to do everything. He's more your regular kid who has one particular skill. He desperately wants to solve the case so that he can make enough money to remain in his private school. 

Eddie is also pretty matter-of-fact about being a young African-American male in the city. The color of his skin isn't a big deal, but it's not glossed over, either. It's an integral part of who he is, and who his parents are. This, together with his white friend Jonah's quirks, makes this a mystery that should feel relevant to a wider range of kids than many. Eddie does have a very mild love interest, which didn't really feel necessary to me, but there's not enough to it to be off-putting for younger kids. 

The mystery involves following clues, putting things together, and applying a bit of geometry (Jonah is helpful here). A fair number of scenes take place in Jonah and Eddie's school for gifted kids, which I found interesting. 

Here are a few snippets, to give you a feel for Wells' writing:

"People always ask how to spell my name. It's European and looks pretty unusual, but it's easy to pronounce: Lawn-rot. Some family down south owned my ancestors back in the slave days, and the name stuck." (Page 16)

"I try to follow. Sadie, our cat-who-may-be-an-evil-overlord-in-disguise, heads me off. Leaping in front of the kitchen door, she arches her back in a ripple of fur and hisses." (Page 39)

"He remains standing, staring out the window. He has quite a pasta/beer belly packed onto his tall body. This man is what my mother would call a touch cookie. Only he's more like a tough loaf of old and angry Italian break, with too much garlic mixed in." (Page 53)

There are also occasional full-page illustrations, representing Eddie's drawings of important characters in the story. Calo's pencil (charcoal?) sketches are a bit professional to actually be created by a sixth grader, but they are a nice addition to book, fleshing out Eddie's talent and giving readers a glimpse of the characters. 

All in all, Eddie Red Undercover: Mystery on Museum Mile is a nice addition to the ranks of middle grade mysteries. I look forward to Eddie's further adventures. Recommended!

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (@HMHBooks)
Publication Date: April 1, 2014
Source of Book: Review copy from the publisher

FTC Required Disclosure:

This site is an Amazon affiliate, and purchases made through Amazon links (including linked book covers) may result in my receiving a small commission (at no additional cost to you).

© 2014 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook

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8. House thoughts, and some unanswered questions on art and commerce

posted by Neil Gaiman
It's a very strange process, moving into a new house. In my case, the worst of the moving in has been done. Now all that remains is details, hundreds upon hundreds of details. Details and details and details and, occasionally, small disasters. Yesterday, the heating stopped working. The heating stopped working because there was two inches of water in the cellar, because a water treatment pump could not keep up with the combination of rain and snowmelt that was already filling all the drains, and so backed up. I have good friends and they made everything okay, with pumps and knowledge of fixing things.

(I do not really have a lot of fixing things knowledge. And while you may want to read a book by me, you do not want me to put up your shelves. Trust me on this.)

I went into New York overnight, finished writing a very much overdue introduction in my hotel room, emailed it off moments before I fell asleep, had a Really Cool Secret Meeting this morning, and am typing this on the train back, the Hudson river grey and, on the far bank, distant leafless hills and cliffs. I want Spring to begin.

I'm currently pondering whether or not to write a short story for a company. They've asked me to write one. I can write whatever I like, as long as I put their product in it and do not show their product killing people horribly, or even nicely. It would be a fun, interesting project that would pay well.  To make things more interesting, I've already mentioned their product in a novel, I like their product, and I can see where the story would go.

But I'm not sure. I'm going back and forth on it.

I loved doing last year's project for BlackBerry, mostly because it felt like they were a patron of the arts. They gave me a very open brief ("What would you like to do on social media?") and let me go off and do it. They gave me a BlackBerry, and I promised I'd use it for a year. They made short films which I loved, about writing and inspiration and creation.

(And I just noticed that the BlackBerry Keep Moving videos have become unlisted on YouTube, so here they all are, for in case anyone needs them. The fourth is my favourite.)



(As a note here: when the year was up, I wanted to stay with BlackBerry as a phone platform. I really liked it, and kept finding myself frustrated when I'd use iPhones or Android phones, but I was grumpy about the lack of apps. They gave me a Z30. It's a wonderful phone (here's the USA Today write up.) But y'know, like they said in the USA Today review, no Yelp and no Netflix.

But then, a couple of weeks after I got the Z30, they released the latest operating system, 10.2.1, which also now natively runs Android apps. I archives on my old Android phone any Android apps I wanted on the Z30, bluetoothed them over to the BlackBerry, installed them, and now use Yelp and Netflix and Audible and such with abandon.)

But the BlackBerry project, while it was done for and with the assistance of BlackBerry, never meant I had to put a BlackBerry into a story. Which made me happy. Now I'm trying to figure out why that would have felt like crossing a line in the way that the Nokia phone (which, if I were writing it today, would be an iPhone) in the first chapter of American Gods does not. And what that line is. And why it troubles me.

...

Getting ready for the Art Speigelman conversation at Bard on Friday. We plan to talk a whole lot.

The Symphony Space "Selected Shorts" night on May 7th has now sold out. The only other event I'll be doing in New York this year is the Big One -- the Carnegie Hall event on June 27th. (You do not want to miss this: it's the same thing that sold out Sydney Opera House, with FourPlay String Quartet and me).

Which reminds me. One final TRUTH IS A CAVE.. night has been added to the world. Edinburgh, Sunday July 6th. As they say on their website:

Created for Sydney's renowned Graphic festival, this haunting tale of adventure, revenge and treasure, told as a hybrid between a storyteller, an artists and an Australian string quartet is playing five performances only - Carnegie Hall in New York, the Warfield in San Francisco, two sold-out shows at London's Barbican, all leading up to this very special night at Usher Hall.

Here's the Usher Hall tickets link.


Ayelet Waldman asked me if I could mention that she has a new book out, and I will, and not just because I have not yet written my speech for her daughter Rosie's Bat-Mitzvah: It is called Love and Treasure. That's the Amazon link, and here's the Indiebound.

...

oops. This sat on my computer for 36 hours. In the meantime, Spring has definitely sprung. Deer are frisking through the woods and platoons of wild turkeys are self-importantly strutwaddling up and down the drive. I hope Spring heard me grumbling, and decided it was time to turn up.






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9. Maggie Soars to NY State Indoor with Warsaw Club Vaulters

WARSAW, New York – Storybook heroine Maggie Steele will be traveling to the New York State Indoor meet this weekend with eight vaulters who are ready to soar. State qualifiers from the Warsaw Pole Vault Club (PVP) received copies Maggie … Continue reading

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10. Wanted: A Husband

So, here is a thing that could pass for a description of a book, or possibly a Hallmark Christmas movie, minus the Christmas:

A girl manufactures a fictional fiancé to show up her dismissive roommates. She tells them she’s getting married the day after their double wedding. When she gets on the train for the country retreat she’s planned for her “honeymoon,” she discovers that her friends and their husbands are on the same train, because the friend who lent her his farmhouse has also lent them houses on the same property. She talks the nearest man into impersonating her fiancé, only to find that he’s her crush, disguised in order to avoid the man who’s trying to serve him with a subpeona.

Weirdly, those are the parts of Wanted: A Husband that I didn’t like. Also, that is just the second half of the book. The first half is a makeover book, and I kind of love it.

The heroine is Darcy Cole, a graphic artist living in an apartment with two other girls, Maud and Helen, both of whom have recently become engaged. Darcy is the cranky, dull, disheveled one. She receives no male attention, ever, and doesn’t seem likely to, which is why the opening of the book finds her at the door of her friend Gloria Greene. Gloria is an actress, and a generally pretty awesome person, and, after warning Darcy that it’s not going to be easy or cheap, she offers to make her over.

I love makeover books, I guess. And this — well, it’s Samuel Hopkins Adams. And there’s a grumpy trainer. And Darcy becomes nicer as she becomes more physically fit. The whole sequence is so deeply appealing to me that I don’t know what to do with myself. Mostly I just wish there was more detail.

Once Darcy’s new good looks and attractive personality are faits accomplis, Wanted: A Husband loses momentum. I mean, the fake engagement scenario is fun, for sure — see Patricia Brent, Spinster — and I understand that the whole first half of the book is setup for it, but maybe that’s not where the book wanted to go. And it’s not just my partiality for the makeover section — both halves of the book would have been better if they’d had more space to move. Almost every plot point would have been better for being expanded upon. Still, it’s a delightful, Samuel Hopkins Adams-y romp, and it’s full of bits that couldn’t have been improved upon, like Maud’s fiancé’s appreciation of Darcy, Gloria’s dislike of Maud and Helen, and Jack Remsen and Tom Harmon’s defeat of the subpoena-server. And honestly, I  almost never think the second half of a book lives up to the first half, or that a book I like wouldn’t have been even better if it was more detailed, so maybe it’s just me.


Tagged: 1920s, new york, samuelhopkinsadams

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11. Also Known As: Robin Benway

Book: Also Known As (AKA Series)
Author: Robin Benway (@RobinBenway)
Pages: 320
Age Range: 12 and up

I quite enjoyed Robin Benway's first novel, Audrey, Wait! When I heard that her newest book featured a 16-year-old female spy, well, of course I was intrigued. Also Known As proved to be the perfect read for my trip back from Austin last week. 

Also Known As features Maggie, a talented safecracker who works with her parents for a shadowy spy organization called The Collective. The 200 members of The Collective, including Maggie's family, travel around the world righting wrongs, through not necessarily legal means (e.g. safecracking). When Maggie gets her first real assignment, however, she finds herself in particularly dangerous territory: a private high school in New York City. Her task is to befriend a cute boy named Jesse, before Jesse's dad can publish a news story about The Collective. Maggie's mission is to gain access to the dad's computer, and find information about who might have leaked the story. But what seems simple enough becomes complicated when (you knew this was coming), Maggie develops personal relationships with a couple of the teens that she encounters. And spies are not supposed to make friends, let alone fall in love. 

What I liked best about Also Known As was Maggie's voice. She reminded me a bit of Ananka, the primary narrator for the Kiki Strike series, but with more of a sarcastic streak. She discusses spying matter-of-factly, like this:

"The first rule of being a spy: Listen. Our family friend Angelo always says that a good spy never asks questions, that people will always tell you what you need to know." (Page 4)

"Personally, I would have rather jimmied the lock open because hi, let's play to our strengths, but my parents are always about doing things the simple way. It gets annoying sometimes, I can't lie." (Page 7)

She's just plain funny, too:

"When I was five, I had to leave a princess-style canopy bed behind in Sydney, and I'm not exaggerating when I say that it was tragic. I think I'm still grieving for that bed." (Page 21)

(Giving herself a pep talk about starting high school for the first time) "You could eat those kids for breakfast. You won't, though, because that would be cannibalistic and wrong." (Page 31)

See? I could go on all day, but I think you get the idea. There are a couple of strong supporting characters, too. Roux, Maggie's first-ever same-age friend, is impressively complex. A former mean girl turned school pariah, Roux has wealthy but neglectful parents. A grumpy doorman is her only real authority figure. She drinks too much, and isn't above turning to prescription meds to help cope with her issues. (Content advisory here, though Maggie steers clear of these substances.) 

Maggie's other friend is Angelo, an older man who has been a mentor to Maggie's family for as long as she can remember. He is cryptic about his past, but always gentlemanly and supportive. Bonus points for the way Benway reveals, casually, mid-way through the book that Angelo is gay (through a reference to falling for someone on a case early in his career). Angelo sets up meetings with Maggie by leaving her little sketches of the places that they are supposed to meet, which I loved (sketches not shown). 

So, fun premise, solid characters, and fast-paced plot (especially later in the book). All excellent. I was less thrilled with the love story between Maggie and, well, no need for spoilers. There's a bit more description of kissing than I personally needed (though nothing further than kissing). And also quite a bit of conversation along the lines of "you and me against the world", "no one else understands me", etc. I think this will probably all work for the target audience, of course, but I personally would have had a bit less love story and a bit more spying. 

That minor quibble aside, I enjoyed Also Known As, and look forward to reading the next book in the series, Going Rogue (which I luckily have, though it's not due out until January). Also Known As is a light-hearted story featuring a teen girl spy who, in addition to having adventures, has to cope with protective parents and the challenges of fitting into the high school shark tank. Something for everyone, I'd say! Recommended for library purchase, especially at the high school level. A great follow-on to the Kiki Strike books, aimed at a slightly older audience.

Publisher: Walker Children's Books (@BWKids)
Publication Date: February 26, 2013
Source of Book: Bought it on Kindle

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This site is an Amazon affiliate, and purchases made through Amazon links (including linked book covers) may result in my receiving a small commission (at no additional cost to you).

© 2013 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook

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12. My Trip to Mood (and other NYC Sites Along the Way)


Yes, I really went to MOOD last week! And in New York too! Which I guess is only momentous if you are, like me, a total Project Runway fan. In case you're not a fan or have no idea what I'm talking about, I promise that I did take advantage of touring other New York sites, too.

At the moment, though, I'm still a little breathless, and not just from wheeling my suitcase through the airport. It all happened so fast, and there was so much to take in, and there's so much I want to say about the trip . . .  where to start?

How about at the Metropolitan Museum of Art where I saw the Egyptian collection:


This was particularly special for me as Egyptian antiquities were the inspiration for my book The Great Scarab Scam. Added bonus: some great ideas for future pottery and ceramic work:


It was also a thrill to see the samurai collection at the museum because it's the basis of my current National Poetry Month project on Japan. (Samurai armor has always intrigued me; so much so that I used it in a section of Overtaken):


And it felt very elegant (if not a little dangerous) to be served a Metropolitan Martini on the museum balcony while a string quartet played in the background:


Unforgettable: walking through Greenwich Village and bumping into Pillow Fight Day. (Or that's what I thought it was. I could be wrong; maybe Rizzoli's ran out of signed copies of Overtaken?)


Seeing the ice skating rink at Rockefeller Center was a big highlight too; especially as when I went back there the next day the maintenance crew was a) closing the rink for the spring/summer season, and b) retrieving the biggest, goldest, bling-iest bracelet ever from a flower pot as I watched with great surprise and interest. I did my best to refrain from insisting it was MINE: "Yes, Officer, I was right here on this very spot only yesterday. Honest."


And of course there was the totally unexpected river taxi ride that just happened to go to my hotel while passing the local statuary:


But on the very last day of all, after the Guggenheim (Solomon R. in the guidebook), Central Park, Fifth Avenue, and more pasta than I'm sure is legal, all my dreams came true and I went to MOOD! I played with Swatch! I pulled his ears! (I don't think you're really supposed to pull his ears, but he didn't seem to mind.)


Swatch refusing a signed copy of Overtaken:


In case you're interested, that's the inside of my coat on the chair along with the Mood bag holding the fabric I bought (see top photo again) as well as an amazing sketchbook called a Fashionary. Each page of this nifty little book has 3 templates of "models" you can draw the clothes on whenever you're seized by the muse: A dress just like the Empire State Building! A cape made from faux Central Park squirrels! The possibilities are endless and might even land you on Project Runway one day.

So, yes, I had a really, really good time. And I finally understand all those I-heart-New York souvenirs because you can't not love New York. Now all I need is a nap and time to design some pants for Swatch in my Fashionary. Catch you all later.


Tip of the Day: Be spontaneous--take a risk. I hadn't made serious plans to go to New York; it just sort of happened. Which also means I had no itinerary whatsoever, and it couldn't have worked out better. Just like writing and artwork, once you dive into a project, you can work out the details later. The important thing is to go there. Bon Voyage!











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13. Dear Enemy (1915)

Dear Enemy. Jean Webster. 1915. 236 pages.

Dear Judy:
Your letter is here. I have read it twice, and with amazement. Do I understand that Jervis has given you, for a Christmas present, the making over of the John Grier Home into a model institution, and that you have chosen me to disburse the money?

I liked Daddy-Long-Legs. But I LOVED Dear Enemy. Sallie McBride, a friend first introduced in Daddy-Long-Legs, has at the request of her friend taken leadership of the John Grier Home. So much work, so much responsibility, is it even something that she wants to do short-term? Yes, she's agreed to it. But it was in the moment. She wanted to show her politician boyfriend that she COULD do it if she wanted to do it. That it wasn't because she wasn't CAPABLE that she was hesitating. But now that she's there, now that she's seen all those children that NEED, always need, need, need. What has she gotten herself into?! And the people she has to work with?! Readers get to know all the details through her correspondence...

There are two men in Sallie's life. The first is the politician, Gordon Hallock, who is willing to indulge Sallie's ambitions for a while at least until she's ready to admit she's ready to settle down and be his wife. (He's very generous to the John Grier Home.) The second is a (Scottish) doctor, Robin McRae, who is the physician for the orphanage. Sallie and the doctor don't always get along, in fact, they argue quite a bit. Both tend to be passionate and opinionated. But there are times when they don't argue, times when they're on the same side. There are times her 'dear enemy' is her closest friend....

I found Dear-Enemy to be giddy-making! I really loved this book.

Her description of the doctor:
Usually, he's scientific and as hard as granite, but occasionally I suspect him of being quite a sentimental person underneath his official casing. For days at a time he will be patient and kind and helpful and I begin to like him; then without any warning an untamed wild man swells up from the innermost depths, and--oh, dear! the creature's impossible. I always suspect that sometime in the past he has suffered a terrible hurt, and that he is still brooding over the memory of it. All the time he is talking you have an uncomfortable feeling that in the far back corners of his mind he is thinking something else. But this may be merely by romantic interpretation of an uncommonly bad temper. In any case, he's baffling. (144-5)
Her description of the politician:
There is no doubt about it, Gordon is the most presentable man that ever breathed. He is so good looking and easy and gracious and witty, and his manners are impeccable. Oh, he would make a wonderfully decorative husband! But after all, I suppose you do live with a husband. You don't just show him off at dinners and teas. (164)
Read Dear Enemy
  • If you liked Daddy-Long-Legs
  • If you like epistolary novels
  • If you like romance or historical romance
© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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14. Affected by Hurricane Sandy? First Book Can Help You Get New Books.

First Book and Hurricane Sandy relief

Click here (or on the flyer above) to sign up! Feel free to share this link, or download the graphic and share.

 

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15. The Skype Ranter

It just occurred to me that I could draw the person I'm Skyping while they rant on unawares.
Pen and ink 15cm x 10cm. Click to enlarge.

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16. Gerard Wolfe at the Tenement Museum

Thirty years after the first edition was published, Synagogues of New York’s Lower East Side: A Retrospective and Contemporary View, Second Edition (Fordham University Press) was released earlier this year. The author Gerard Wolfe shows how the Jewish community took root on the Lower East Side of Manhattan in the late 19th and early 20th century by focusing on these beautiful buildings and houses of worship. It was Dr. Wolfe’s walking tours on the Lower East Side early 1970’s that led to the renovation of many synagogues in the neighborhood, including the Eldridge Street Synagogue. The Tenement Museum on Orchard Street hosted Dr. Wolfe for a signing and launch event for the book on 19 November 2012. These photos were taken from that event, and a visit to the Museum of Jewish Heritage earlier that day.



Gerard R. Wolfe, Ph.D., is an architectural historian and former professor and administrator at New York University and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He was the first to offer historical/architectural walking tours of the Lower East Side, beginning in the early 1970s. He is the author of The Synagogues of New York’s Lower East Side: A Retrospective and Contemporary View, Second Edition.

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17. New Books for Victims of Hurricane Sandy

You can help provide new books to children affected by Hurricane Sandy.As first-responders are working to provide these families with electricity, water, and other critical resources, First Book—in partnership with our local volunteers and partners—is raising funds to restock school and home libraries. After distributing more than 5 million books in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, we know new books can be valuable lifelines for those whose worlds have been turned upside down.

Your help will ensure that children in need will have new books — stories at bedtime, the chance to be transported to another world, and the opportunity to return to normalcy.
Click here to donate
Every $2.50 you contribute will provide a new book to a child affected by the storm.

Your impact will also be DOUBLED as each gift of $2.50 will be matched by an additional book from First Book’s publishing partners.

0 Comments on New Books for Victims of Hurricane Sandy as of 11/2/2012 9:40:00 PM
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18. Librotraficante in New York Guest Post. La Bloga Represents in Brooklyn.



Rich Villar adjust the mic for Librotraficante and banned book author, Martín Espada 






The Decisive Act: On Orwell, Arizona, and 50 For Freedom
by Rich Villar, special to La Bola


They didn't show up, and I shouldn't be surprised.  A press release was generated, an email address and phone number was distributed, the messages went to the right people, and my phone didn't ring, and no messages hit my inbox.  None of them showed up, and I suppose I shouldn't be surprised, because there are always more important things to be discussed, like Mitt Romney's ignorance about the physics of airplane cabin pressure, or striking football referees, or the technical specs behind the iPhone 5.

There will be no articles written, no reporting, no witness from the press (except for what we do on our own, clearly).  They've got to report on the Presidential election, and the issues surrounding our economy, and health care, and illegal immigration.  No time for a bunch of rabble rousers talking about banned books, books you can still buy on Amazon.  Because if you can still buy things on Amazon, then all is well.

Did you know that Amazon once bannedGeorge Orwell's 1984 and Animal Farm?  Of all the books to ban.  Supposedly it was a dispute over rights, but it led to a massive outcry—similar, it could be said, to the outcry over Tucson's book ban.  But it's okay, Amazon said at the time, because it offered refunds to the buyers.  Point being, the technology to control what you read exists.  Point being, if Arizona had known this sooner, perhaps they wouldn't have to physically remove any books from the classroom.

Let's be clear.  The issues in Arizona are only peripherally about books.  Though it should be said, the first thing you do—if your aim to disappear a nation—is to throw their literature in the trash.  Burn it, ban it, box it, just don't read it.  And so they did just that, Arizona: they banned the books, and they boxed the books, and they made the Mexican-American Studies program in Tucson disappear, along with their teachers, along with any mention of it in the schools.  Ah, but they told us, they reassured us, that the books are not banned.  They just can't be used to teach Mexican-Americans about being Mexican-American.  And they told the rest of their teachers, that any attempt to teach any of the banned literature, all 80 titles on the list (it should scare you, to death, that there's a banned books list, and that it used to be a curriculum), could result in their termination, should any complaint about their rabble-rousing content be raised by a concerned parent.  Or, anyone, really.

This is where the story ended, even after Tony Diaz and the group Librotraficante had the audacity to quote the law in public, show its unconstitutional application toward one group of people, report to us the students' discontent, and organize a series of panels and lectures around the years-long battle between Arizona and the teachers, which is still ongoing in the courts.  They told us about the school district suing the former teachers for damages.  They told us about the threats to other people's jobs, to keep them in line, to silence them.  And they (meaning Luis Urrea) told us about the Orwellian implications of banning books, unbanning Shakespeare, and rewriting history, and covering themselves in doublethink and Newspeak.

Aurora Anaya-Cerda, owner of La Casa Azul Bookstore welcomes the SRO crowd, along with Rich Villar
We gathered, though the press did not, last Friday at the 50 For Freedom of Speech reading, because this is not simply about banning books.  Banned author Martín Espada knows that; which is why, when I asked him to do the reading, he brought himself from Amherst, Masschusetts, on his own dime, to be with us, the very night before another reading in Boston.  And banned author Luis Urrea knows that; that's why he drove straight to La Casa Azul from the airport when Tony Diaz made the call.  (And Tony flew up from Houston himself.)  It's about freedom, the fundamental right to know that down is down, and up is up, and that 2 + 2 = 4. 
Sergio Troncoso, Tony Díaz, Martín Espada, Melinda Palacio, Luis Alberto Urrea

What do you think it means when a government entity does not want you to read a book called 500 Years of Chicano History?  Do you honestly believe it has anything to do with the ideology of the authors?  Has anyone in the state of Arizona actually met these authors on the banned list?  They are not concerned with how well the students do in school.  They've admitted that much: despite the success of the program in sending children to college, the program was cancelled anyway.  The state of Arizona is concerned with what, and how, children learn in school.  But it is not the facts they're concerned about, specifically.  It's the narrative they're worried about.  The story.  They are concerned, as Big Brother was concerned, with controlling the past; as Orwell points out to us, whoever controls the past controls the future.

The United States has a past that it would like to forget.  The United States has, in its past, summarily executed brown people, Hispanics and Latinos from every walk of life.  The trouble for Arizona, and everywhere else, is that there are history scholars, activists, students, thinking people, some with U.S. college educations, who had the audacity to write textbooks, and to think to themselves the following: Hispanics and Latinos did not drop from the clear blue sky, or from some mystical war-drawn border.  In Arizona, we're actually learning the same story again, about whitewashed history, and changed facts, and misleading narrative.  We're learning about context, the same kind of context that created activists like Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr., Cesar Chavez, Pedro Albizu Campos, Lolita Lebron, and James Baldwin, who was also banned in Arizona.  Today, it's Mexican-Americans.  Take you pick as to who's next.  Who's due, as it were.  Where the fire will be next time.

If Chicanos have a context, and a history, before the advent of white supremacy, before the advent of European conquest or Pax Americana, there might be a reason for them to walk a little straighter, to understand their histories in context, to see themselves in a continuum from Aztlan, to zoot suits, to The House on Mango Street.  500 years ago, Chicanos existed.  Africa existed.  Latinos existed.  They had just different names.  When will we learn these names?

And when will the media learn to write long pieces about the systemic dismantling of civil rights?  When will they show up to poetry readings by authors on the banned list, in community spaces like La Casa Azul bookstore, in other states besides Arizona and Texas?  When will they tell you about Latinos uniting against their own genocide?  When will they tell you about the counterspells being cast by poets and writers, the ones who still believe in language, and history, and meaning, and roots?

Maybe when they find themselves being downsized, or commanded what to say, by their bosses, by their governments, by financial concerns.  Maybe that day is already here.

What's left for us, poets, Latinos, is to wake up and understand what is happening, to understand it in the context of lightning-fast information being passed and passed over.  We have to speak, and we have to speak often, in new ways and old ways, to keep these fights fresh.  And we must always be ready to tell the world our history, never tiring of the truth, never weary when people tell you they don't get it.  Never scared when the media doesn't show up.
Rich Villar at La Casa Azul (Luis Urrea posing for another photo in background)

And we have to remember love:  that's what was present in massive amounts last Friday at the Casa Azul, and in many places around the country, reading banned literature out loud, casting counterspells into the universe to reverse the trends, defy conventional wisdom, and survive the way we always have.  We have to remember love because our children thrive on it, because we thrive on it, because we will not become automatons unless we allow ourselves to be.  We have to remember love, because love banishes indifference, and because love will keep us rooted, our histories intact, our people whole.

Remember love, now and until the day you die, by reading every book that the state of Arizona tells you not to.  Read them, and quote from them, and steep your children in them.  Love every day, and do not give in to indifference.

While you're at it, write some of these things down.

"To mark the paper was the decisive act."

–George Orwell, 1984



***

Some of Melinda's photos from last weekend's Brooklyn Book Festival

Melinda Palacio works the crowd at the Brooklyn Book Festival

Lucrecia Guerrero, Luis Alberto Urrea, Melinda Palacio, Toni Margarita Plummer, and Reyna Grande at the Brooklyn Book Festival

A trip to Brooklyn would not be complete without a walk across the  Brooklyn Bridge. 

Melinda Palacio and Reyna Grande sightsee.
Toni Margarita Plummer and Melinda Palacio


La Bloga's Melinda Palacio will make a return trip to New York for the Las Comadres y Compadres Writers Conference, Saturday, October 6 in Brooklyn, NY. Don't miss the poetry panel moderated by Rich Villar.

Bloguero Garcia en Albuquerque mañana

LaBloga-ero Rudy Ch. Garcia will do a reading & signing of his Chicano fantasy novel tomorrow Sat. Sept. 29th at 2:00pm in the National Hispanic Cultural Center, 1701 4th St. SW, in Albuquerque. Please inform anyone you think might be interested. The Closet of Discarded Dreams on sale for $16. (NHCC contact Greta Pullen 505-724-4752)



2 Comments on Librotraficante in New York Guest Post. La Bloga Represents in Brooklyn., last added: 9/28/2012
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19. Whether Big House or Small Press

 

I’m using yesterday’s topic of borrowing and lending to another level today. For those who’ve worked their way into the publishing business in the past few years, the preconceptions of what it means to be a writer have learned the new definition. They’ve also learned about the new work ethic of writers.

Today’s Writers

Writers shamelessly promote their work, and the work of others, everywhere they can because their careers’ futures depend on that promotion. Also, the big publishing houses today simply don’t have the promotion budgets they had in the past.

Other writers encourage us to guest blog on their sites, whether for self-promotion to a new audience or for a new book recently released. Guest blogging can also be used to promote a new voice/viewpoint about a specific topic being discussed. Either way, both the borrower of the audience and the lender of said viewers come away with something needed.

For the first time in centuries, writers are taking charge of their own livelihoods in the business. Many independent-thinking writers, who created their own presses, have turned their backs on the major publishing houses. They no longer consider it wrong to go without an agent. These career-oriented writers have changed the face of the industry in the past decade.

Small presses, POD’s and eBooks are making profits harder to come by for the big boys right now.

Future Possibilities

Whether I give information out for free, or I receive such information for free is irrelevant to the overall picture. The reason I can say that is because it’s beginning to look like the industry will soon be owned by the writers themselves in some respects.

Blogs and newsletters written by and for writers are created every day. They cover all the genres, and they take no prisoners. Whatever a writer wants to know is out there. Surfing and search engines make it impossible to overlook much that’s available.

When you consider that writers, editors, bloggers, along with magazines are ranking websites, newsletters, etc. on a regular basis, the built-in watchdogs guarantee that a careful user is safer from publishing scams than they used to be.

As encouragement, universities across the country are making free writing courses available by the dozen. Paid courses are also easily found and evaluated as to viability to the particular writer and well and skill set desired. And if a writer is determined, she can take an MFA degree online, or as a low-residency program from numerous colleges across the nation.

Advertising and promotion is easy to come by. Small, writer-controlled, publishing houses are moving in to entice new writers and secure established ones. A combo house—one which publishes both eBooks and POD simultaneously can take a well-written manuscript and turn it out to the public in a matter of only a few weeks/months instead of one to two years as happens with the big publishers. The lead time depends on the editing necessary for the manuscript and the dedication of the publishing staff.

Many of these same small presses use talented editors, promotion—including trailers and online, and help with marketing after the release of the book.

Building Publishing’s Future

Whether the new face of publishing comes at the expense of the major houses around the world isn’t the question. We should be asking if we want to

4 Comments on Whether Big House or Small Press, last added: 3/8/2012
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20. New York Fun – Surtex 2012

After months of prep work, Surtex 2012 is history.  It was a great time of meetings, and visiting with other artists.  It almost feels like a dream now that it is over.  I am filled with ideas and hope for the future!

Here is a picture of Margaret Anastas, my editor at Harper Collins, me, and Annie Stone, Margaret’s assistant.  It was so fun sitting at Harper C. and visiting with everyone who worked so hard on Peepsqueak and his promotion.  I do love my HC family.  They had a nice breakfast for me and we all met in the Harper Collins library. I wish I had a picture of Jeanne Hogle.  She was my graphic designer.  She escaped the room before I could snap her picture.

After our meeting, I packed up 30 books and headed to the Javitz Center in a doozy of a rainstorm!  I LOVED that cab driver for picking me up!!

Messing around with my friends Jane Shasky and Megan Halsey during my Peepsqueak book signing at Surtex. Everyone was in such a good mood!

Here is my teeny tiny room at the Best Western.  I was surprised at how small it was, but in the end, it was cozy and I was so glad I stayed there. It was a good retreat after a busy day.

Can’t forget my sweet agent Alicia Dauber. She had everything running smoothly!

Outside my window all the horse drawn carriages were lining up.  New York is so full of LIFE!

As amazing as the big city is, it is always nice to come HOME!   I had to get my zinnias planted!!  Now it is back to work for the next show!


Filed under: Just for fun, Kicking Around Thoughts, Peepsqueak!, Traveling Time, Work is Play....? 2 Comments on New York Fun – Surtex 2012, last added: 5/30/2012
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21. Cooper’s Pack Travel Guides by kyle & groot

 5 Stars All ALASKA: Cooper visits Alaska with the help of his new friend and guide, Kodi the Moose. Follow the two on their Ultimate Alaska Adventure as they explore Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan. From the Mount Roberts Tramway and the Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau, to Skagway’s White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad, and finally [...]

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22. Once Upon a time In Buffalo…

Once Upon a time…

First Book travelled to the faraway land of Buffalo. Upon our arrival at the warehouse, we were astonished to find a field of presorted pallets, lined up in rows and labeled with fancy signs. They were the most beautiful pallets we had ever seen! 

Before we could blink an eye, we were escorted to a table of sweets and coffee. While choosing which donut to eat first, volunteers flocked around us, begging to be put to work.

Over the next three days, 300,000 books went to 65 local organizations and 333 nationwide, via 118 volunteers fed by about a million donuts. 

As the last books rode off into the sunset, in a poof of volunteer magic (aided by 5 brooms and 3 dustpans) all the evidence of the distribution disappeared. As we frolicked off, the only evidence of our adventure is now scattered throughout the land, as children receive books of their own and live happily ever after.

The End.

 

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23. Sketch for today - moving house

Sketch for today 
... thinking of friends who are moving, always a stressful time ...


Toodles!

Hazel

4 Comments on Sketch for today - moving house, last added: 7/9/2012
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24. Review: A Long Way From You by Gwendolyn Heasley

 

Title: A Long Way From You

Author: Gwendolyn Heasley

Publisher:  Harper Teen

 

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

For too long, Kitsy has had to satisfy her dreams of becoming a real artist by giving her friends makeovers before prom. So when her best friend Corrinne’s family offers to sponsor her for a summer art course in New York City, Kitsy bids a temporary good-bye to Texas to say hello to the West Village.

Between navigating the subway and the New Yorkers—namely, the Art Boy who has a nice trick of getting under her skin—Kitsy knows that this summer is going to be about a lot more than figure drawing.

Review:

When I saw that Gwendolyn Heasley had a follow up to Where I Belong, I was quite excited to read it.  I enjoyed her first book, and found myself overcoming my initial dislike of Corrinne as she matured into a more compassionate human being.  At the start of her story, she is spoiled, over-indulged, and not likable.  Not at all.  But as her family’s financial circumstances deteriorated, she was forced to take a long look at herself and decide whether she wanted to continue being a selfish, immature person.  Unfortunately, the Corrinne that we meet in A Long Way From You is sadly similar to the Corrinne at the beginning of Where I Belong.  Her New York friends, obviously, were not good for her personality, but I digress.

In this outing, Kitsy is the star, and I never had a problem liking her.  Kitsy is bubbly and fun, despite her difficult home life.  Her mother is not an ideal caregiver, and Kitsy is the adult in their house.  She cares for her younger brother,  as well as her mother, cooking, cleaning, and keeping everything running as smoothly as a teenager in charge of a household can.  She is the breadwinner, and her checks from her job at Sonic keep the lights on and food on the table, but just barely.  Kitsy has so many dreams, too, but as shackled as she is to the well-being of her family, it is unlikely that she will ever see them realized. 

When Corrinne’s family volunteers to sponsor her in New York City so she can attend summer art school, it’s a dream come true.  Though she’s excited to attend, the reality of leaving her brother in their mother’s questionable  care is almost enough to keep her home in tiny Broken Spoke, Texas.  There are so many things that can go wrong during her absence, and her mother is so unreliable.  When she is accepted into the summer art program, it’s with a great deal of trepidation that she accepts the plane ticket to NYC, and her summer of adventure.

I was under the mistaken impression that this is a romance.  It’s not, not really.  This is the story about a young woman who is given the chance to discover who she is, away from the stifling expectations of her small town.  Nobody knows Kitsy in NYC, and she loves the freedom that brings.  She can become anyone she wants to be, without her mother’s failures to hinder her.  She isn’t expected to be anyone’s steadfast girlfriend, or the level-headed older sister who has been given far too many responsibilities for far too long.  I loved reading along with Kitsy as she rebels against the perfect girl she is supposed to be.   When she meets a handsome guy who is just as interested in art as she is, she looses her sense of caution and takes risks and c

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25. The Giant and how he Humbugged America - a review

Murphy, Jim. 2012. The Giant and How he Humbugged America.  New York: Scholastic.
(Advance Reader Copy supplied by the publisher)

While many of us are most familiar with Charles Dickens' use of the noun humbug as used by Ebeneezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol, "Bah! Humbug!" where it is used to mean "nonsense," humbug is also a verb.

humbug: (verb) deceive, hoax, to engage in a hoax or deception
First known use of humbug 1751
(from Merriam-Webster online)

The Giant is a story of how one man cooked up a scheme to humbug an entire nation.

By his own account, Jim Murphy originally toyed with the idea of telling the tale of the Bernie Madoff investment scandal, but decided that not enough time has passed to interpret the scandal objectively and completely.  How then to tell a true and cautionary story of greed, excess, and gullibility?  Why via the Cardiff Giant, of course!  The Giant hoax began in earnest on a morning in October, 1869, on "Stub" Newell's farm in the small New York hamlet of Cardiff, when workers digging a well uncovered a stone body.  Was it a petrified man, an ancient statue, proof of biblical giants?  Scientists, reporters, scholars and average citizens flocked to Cardiff in droves to decide for themselves. 

Demand was so great to see the statue while it was still in its hastily constructed home in upstate New York,
that the New York Central Railroad had trains stop for ten minutes near the hall so riders could run in for a quick view.
Eventually, the statue was moved in a specially-constructed wagon and toured the country.  Accounts of the Cardiff Giant appeared in newspapers throughout America.  Learned men debated competing theories about the giant's origin. 


An October 1869 photograph showing the Cardiff Giant being exhumed.
 This media file is in the public domain in the United States.
This applies to U.S. works where the copyright has expired,
 often because its first publication occurred prior to January 1, 1923.
See this page for further explanation.

They need not have debated.  The truth of the giant's origin was already known, but known only to Stub Newell and his several accomplices.  It was a steadily growing hoax of gigantic proportions.

It is difficult today to understand the immensity of the "giant" hoax of 1869, but to place it in perspective, consider these numbers.  The US Census of 1870, (one year after the "giant" was first "found"), lists the population of the United States at just over 38 million. According to accounts in the book, an estimated six million people paid to view the famous Cardiff Giant, about one sixth of the entire population of the United States!  Add in visitors to the several "fake" giants that appeared later, and the number is likely even higher.  It is estimated that the architect of the scheme made the equivalent of nearly a quarter million dollars in today's money; and he owned only an "interest" in the Cardiff Giant.

So shady and complex were the financial machinations and deals involved with this deception, that "The Cast of Characters" which begins the book numbers sixty-six, and is peppered with names that will be familiar to many, including P.T. Barnum and "Boss" Tweed.  Most of the cast were unaware that theirs were just bit parts in a monumental drama.  In the end, fortunes were made and lost, lives were enriched and ruined, and in one tragic instance, a life was taken.  Jim Murphy takes the reader deftly through the biggest swindle of its time.

Interestingly, some of the repercussions from the great hoax were beneficial - the birth of  new professional associations including the American Medical Association, peer-reviewed journals, graduate programs to better train experts in various fields, and a reforming spirit in everyday Americans.

Told in twelve chapters from "The Discovery" to "The Final Resting Place," The Giant is a fascinating look at many aspects of history through the lens of one "giant" swindle.  Entertaining and impossible to put down, readers will be both impressed and apalled by the complex manuevers of the hoax's mastermind. (No spoilers here, you'll have to read it to find his identity.)  A large number of period photos, posters and handbills are included, adding much to the story.

Also included are meticulous Source Notes, a Selected Bibliography, and a summary of other famous hoaxes.  The Index and Photo Credits were not included in my Advance Reader Copy, but will be in the final version, due on shelves in October, 2012.

With many schools moving to a national core curriculum with a heavy focus on informational texts, The Giant should be on the "must buy" list of school media specialists.  What better way to teach critical thinking than to pore through the anatomy of one of America's most famous hoaxes!


Another review @
A Fuse 8 Production

Note:
I saw the Cardiff Giant at the Farmer's Museum in Cooperstown, its final resting place, when I was visiting the Baseball Hall of Fame.  I only wish I had read the book first!

Nonfiction Monday is at Books Together this week.  Stop by.

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