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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: J.K. Rowling, Most Recent at Top [Help]
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1. Ian McEwan Delivers Commencement Address at Dickinson College

Atonement novelist Ian McEwan gave a commencement address at the graduation ceremony for Dickinson College’s class of 2015. McEwan spoke to the students about freedom of expression; he urged these newly minted graduates to do their part to preserve this important right. The video embedded above features McEwan delivering his speech.

Time.com has posted McEwan’s piece in its entirety. Here’s an excerpt: “It’s worth remembering this: freedom of expression sustains all the other freedoms we enjoy. Without free speech, democracy is a sham. Every freedom we possess or wish to possess (of habeas corpus and due process, of universal franchise, and of assembly , union representation, sexual equality, of sexual preference, of the rights of children, of animals—the list goes on) has to be freely thought and talked and written into existence.”

In the past, a great number of authors have delivered  moving commencement speeches. Coraline writer Neil Gaiman’s 2012 “Make Good Art” talk went viral. Harry Potter series author J.K. Rowling’s 2008 “Very Good Lives” talk has drawn more than 1.5 million views on YouTube.

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2. J.K. Rowling Reveals Moaning Myrtle’s Full Name On Twitter

rowlingHarry Potter series author J.K. Rowling has unveiled a surprising revelation on Twitter. When one fan, known as @HotmHayles, asked her about the full name of a minor (but memorable) character named Moaning Myrtle, Rowling responded: “Myrtle Elizabeth Warren.”

Rowling also shared that she did not name this character after the United States senator Elizabeth Warren. Below, we’ve collected several messages from Twitter in a Storify post.

Here’s more from Hypable.com: “This is the first time we’ve been told this particular fact about one of the series’ most annoying (yet oddly endearing) characters. Moaning Myrtle was born in 1929 and died in 1943, killed by the basilisk Tom Riddle set loose on the school. J.K. Rowling has previously stated that the character was Muggle-born, and that she was sorted into Ravenclaw House.” (via Entertainment Weekly)

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3. J.K. Rowling Mourns For Fred Weasley

rowlingThis year marks the 17th anniversary of the Battle of Hogwarts. In honor of this occasion, J.K. Rowling has decided to “apologise for one death per anniversary.”

SPOILER ALERT: If you don’t want to know more about Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows, you should stop reading now.

Over the weekend, the Harry Potter series author wrote an apologetic tweet for the loss of Fred Weasley. According to Entertainment Weekly, that character’s death “was the worst for” Rowling.

Earlier today, Rowling also shared some inspirational words and images to encourage one fan to not give up on the search for meaning. Below, we’ve collected several messages from Twitter in a Storify post. (via Mashable.com)

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4. May -- Opening Doors of Wonder, books, kids, dogs and movies

 

    Forbidden ForestCentaurs
   

Opening the doors to a child's imagination...

An 8 year old girl, after reading the first chapter in a manuscript, helped convince her father, the CEO of Bloomsbury, to publish Harry Potter. It had previously been rejected by eight publishers.

HgwrtsWinterThe Harry Potter book series that followed has found an enormous and passionate following around the world. The seven books in the series have been published in sixtyseven languages. The books have taken readers to Hogwarts and beyond, to a world of wizards, flying broomsticks, and magic wands ...a world of the imaginationThere are over 450 million books in print. There are eight movies that have translated the the books into fantasy adventure films with a worldwide gross of over seven and a half billion dollars... there are websites, games, theme parks, as well as a wide variety of merchandise.

The Harry Potter books were the catalyst for the major cross-over phenomenon of adults reading YA books, a change in the book buying  marketplace that continues to this day. 

And it all started with the imagination of J.K. Rowling -- and an 8 year old girl who liked to read, who helped open the doors to a world wonder, a world of fantasy, magic and imagination for millions of children, teenagers, moms and dads around the world.

The centaurs in the Forbidden Forest and the Hogwarts school are from the Harry Potter movies.

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JKRowlingGuardian "Many prefer not to exercise their imaginations at all. They choose to remain comfortably within the bounds of their own experience, never troubling to wonder how it would feel to have been born other than they are". J.K. Rowling,  Harvard Commencement Speech, 2008

 
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The Courage to Love...

Lev Grossman, journalist, critic, and best selling author -- Warp, Codex, and the Magicians series -- wrote a very personal, insightful and in-depth appreciation of the legacy of J. K. Rowling, the Harry Potter series, and the Deathly Hallows. It was published in Time  Here are excerpts...

"Deathly Hallows is of course not merely the tying up of plot-threads, it's the final iteration of Rowling's abiding thematic concern: the overwhelming importance of continuing to love in the face of death....


VoldemortHarrySo we have known for a while that Voldemort cannot love, that he has been spiritually ruined by his parents' deaths, and he will kill anyone to stave off his own death. Harry, though also an orphan, has found the courage to love. "Do not pity the dead, Harry," a wise man tells Harry in Deathly Hallows. "Pity the living, and, above all, those who live without love." Characterologically speaking, the greatest question that remains in Hallows might be whether Harry can do this — that is, whether Harry can find it in himself to pity the man who killed his parents..."

Grossman then writes of mixed feelings, including sadness, following the completion of Deathly Hallows, the final book in the series...

HarryThe sadness is more an instant nostalgia for the unironic, whole-hearted unanimity with which readers embraced the story of Harry. We did something very rare for Harry Potter: we lost our cool. There is nothing particularly hip about loving Harry. He's not sexy or dangerous the way, say, Tony Soprano was. He's not an anti-hero, he's just a hero, but we fell for him anyway. It's a small sacrifice to the one that Harry makes, of course, but it's what we, as self-conscious, status-conscious modern readers, have to give, and we gave it. We did and do love Harry. We couldn't help ourselves."

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ArmChairBooks2 Reading... 
"Losing one’s self is, after all, one of the rewards of reading. The opportunity to inhabit another self, to experience another consciousness, is perhaps the most profound trespass a work of literature can allow." - Eula Biss

 

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Opening the Door for Hermione 

"You really are the cleverest witch of your age"  HermioneWand

These are the words of Sirius Black, at the close of the movie Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. 

In the book, at this same moment, Sirius spoke to Harry, and says,"We'll see each other again. You are -- truly your father's son, Harry."

Seth Lerer, writing about Theaters of Girlhood in his history of Children's Literature, cites this telling movie moment as a "benediction of female accomplishment"... "this movie takes as its telos the authority of girlhood. It makes Hermione the real performer of the story: the stage manager of HermionePotionsLabmagic; the director of its time shifts, costume, and control.The film becomes a girl's film, one in which the female audience can find their affirmation. Yet the book remains, despite Hermione's obvious centrality, a story about men and boys: about Harry's search forfor his relationship to his dead father; about his need to find surrogates in Black, or Dumbledore."

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Harry's Destiny...

"J.K. Rowling never shies away from the great existential mysteries: death and loss, cruelty
and compassion, desire and depression. Harry  is anything but sheltered and protected from the evils of Voldermort. Think of those fiendish Dementors who are experts in making you HarryHermioneHogwartsOminouslose hope...The presence of loss and the threat of death perpetually hover over the boy magician and he becomes heroic precisely because. like his literary predecessors, he is destined for greatness even though he also possesses the weaknesses, failings, and vulnerabilities of all humans." -- 
Maria Tatar, writing about Theaters For The Imagination, in her book, Enchanted Hunters, The Power of Stories in Childhood. 

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YALECCClogoThe Mind of the Dog

Dog lovers find dogs to be quite special. Dogs are forgiving, affectionate, helpful, and unconditionally loyal.

Therapy dogs help people to heal from emotional problems and support people with physical problems. And they enable kids, helping them to learn to read.

Dog owners often feel that their dogs know what they are thinking.

How much of this is instinct, intuition, or conditioning? What is going on in the dog's mind? What are they thinking?

Yale University has established a Canine Cognition Center to better understand the dog's mind.Here is an excerpt from their website: 

YalecccDogBannerHuman"The Canine Cognition Center at Yale is a new research facility in the Psychology Department at Yale University. Our team of Yale scientists studies how dogs think about the world. Our center is devoted to learning more about canine psychology—how dogs perceive their environment, solve problems, and make decisions. Our findings teach us how the dog mind works, which can help us to better develop programs to improve how we train and work with our canine friends."

 Here is a link to an informative CBS documentary news broadcast on the research and goals of the Yale  Canine Center : Studying the Brain of Man's Best Fried. This video includes scenes where the research tests with the dogs is taking place.

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 Castle in the Mist is the second book in the Planet Of The Dogs Series...Here is an excerpt... "The trail became rougher and then, through the trees, CITM-Dogs in a snowy forest-blog sizethey saw the ancient castle of the Black Hawk warriors.  It was an awesome sight.  It had been built as a fortress castle long ago – before the memory of people could recall.  It was later abandoned and lay empty for hundreds of years until the forest people began to use it once again.  It was a large, solid structure with two towers rising above the walls.  The ancient stones rested on granite bedrock, and the back wall rose straight up from the vast waters of the lake.  As they approached, the sun was setting and mist was rising over the waters.  Soon, the mist would move over the land."

To read more, and for sample chapters from all the books in the series,visit our Planet Of The Dogs website.

We have free reader copies of the Planet of The Dogs book series for therapy dog organizations, individual therapy dog owners, librarians and teachers...simply send us an email at planetofthedogs@gmail.com. and we will send you the books,. 

Jordyn castleOur books are available through your favorite independent bookstore, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Powell's and many more...Librarians, teachers, bookstores...You can also order Planet Of The Dogs, Castle In The Mist, and Snow Valley Heroes, A Christmas Tale, through Ingram with a full professional discount.

 
The illustration from Castle In The Mist is by Stella Mustanoja McCarty. The photo is by C.A.Wulff.

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An Alternate Universe... The Harry Potter Legacy

Michiko Kakutani is a highly regarded book critic for the New York Times. Following the publication of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” the seventh and final book in the series, she wrote a review of the book and an affirmation of the Harry Potter Legacy.

Here are excerpts:

"It is Ms. Rowling’s achievement in this series that she manages to make Harry both a familiar
HarryHermioneDangeradolescent — coping with the banal frustrations of school and dating — and an epic hero, kin to everyone from the young King Arthur to Spider-Man and Luke Skywalker. This same magpie talent has enabled her to create a narrative that effortlessly mixes up allusions to Homer, Milton, Shakespeare and Kafka, with silly kid jokes about vomit-flavored candies, a narrative that fuses a plethora of genres (from the boarding-school novel to the detective story to the epic quest) into a story that could be Exhibit A in a Joseph Campbell survey of mythic archetypes.

In doing so, J. K. Rowling has created a world as fully detailed as L. Frank Baum’s Oz or J. R. R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth, a world so minutely imagined in terms of its history and rituals and rules that it qualifies as an alternate universe, which may be one reason the “Potter” books have spawned such a passionate following and such fervent exegesis. 

The world of Harry Potter is a place where the mundane and the marvelous, the ordinary and HarryRonOwlthe surreal coexist. It’s a place where cars can fly and owls can deliver the mail, a place where paintings talk and a mirror reflects people’s innermost desires. It’s also a place utterly recognizable to readers, a place where death and the catastrophes of daily life are inevitable, and people’s lives are defined by love and loss and hope — the same way they are in our own mortal world." 

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Celebrating Reading

 

 

OldLibrarySignLiz Burns, activist librarian, blogger ("its all about story"), book reviewer (YA and chhildren's books), and author (PoP Goes the Library) wrote a post about libraries and reading. Here is an excerpt:

"As libraries, especially public libraries, take a look at programs and resources and books within the context of the Common Core --

GlasgowLibraryManReadsRemember. We are more than the Common Core. We are also about escaping into literature. We are about the joys of getting lost in a book. We are about celebrating the act of reading for the sole reason that some of us like to read. Or, rather, love to read.


And that simple pleasure, well, sometimes, it does get attacked. Is the person reading the
right books? What are they learning from those books? Is it making them a better person? Is it Books3uplifting? Does it have a moral? Is deep reading going on? Is the reading being done the "right" way? Will this make someone a better employee? Is reading too passive? Isn't it better to be making something than reading? Isn't it better to be talking to people? Don't people have better things to do than read? Than read that book?

I think one of the wonders of libraries is that it is still a place for the person who loves reading. Libraries are more -- we are the sum of our parts, more than any one part of our mission. And part of that more is, and should continue to be, celebrating reading and being there for readers."

 


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Planet Dog Foundation  Has Awarded More than A Million Dollars in Grants to Therapy Dog Organizations...

Chicago's Canine Therapy Corps was one of the recipient organizations.  

CTCPhotoSteveGrubmanCanineTherapyCorpsThe Canine Therapy Corps (CTC), with over 100 volunteers, helps to heal and bring hope to children and adults with a wide range of difficult and painful problems including autism, cancer, PTSD, addiction recovery problems, emotional behavioral problems, rehabilitation and senior issues and more.

The kids and therapy dogs in this excellent CTC  video will touch your heart...the video includes interactions and healing moments with kids, dogs, therapists, parents and volunteers.

Here is their Mission Statement:

The Canine Therapy Corps...

CTC_Keshet_25Empowers and motivates individuals to improve their physical and psychological health and well-being by harnessing the human-animal bond;
Provides goal-directed, interactive animal-assisted therapy services, free of charge, using volunteers and certified therapy dogs;
Advances animal-assisted interventions through research and collaboration.

The group photo of CTC dogs is courtesy of Steve Grubman

 

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Imagine That

An Interview with Jack Zipes, By the Editors of Interstitial Journal, on how media and marketing have reduced the cultural value of Fairy Tales...

Here are excerpts:

..."The nineteenth century, especially in Europe and North America, became the golden age of fairy tale collecting that led to the foundation of folklore societies. By the twentieth century, the fairy tale and other simple folk genres began to thrive not only by word of mouth and through
OlPosterWizardOzMusical2print, as they had for centuries, but were also transformed, adapted, and disseminated through radio, postcards, greeting cards, comics, cinema, fine arts, performing arts, wedding ceremonies, television, dolls, toys, games, theme parks, clothes, the Internet, university courses, and numerous other media and objects. Among the modes of hyped advertising were posters, billboards, interviews, window dressings, department store shows, radio, tv, and Internet interviews, ads in newspapers, magazines, and journals, and all the other kinds of paratexts that accompany a cultural product. As I argued in my book Why Fairy Tales Stick: The Evolution and Relevance of a Genre... Hyping is the exact opposite of preservation and involves, as I have argued, conning consumers and selling products that have a meager cultural value and will not last. Some recent fairy tale films produced by the mainstream culture industry reveal how filmmakers and producers hype to sell shallow products geared primarily to make money. They use the mass media to exploit the widespread and constant interest in fairy tales that has actually deepened since the nineteenth century..."

The interview continues with examples of marketing compromises made to achieve financial success that blur or change the integrity of the original tales.  

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 A fairytale doesn’t exist in a fixed form... 

"Like a mother tongue, the stories are acquired, early, to become part of our mental furniture
CoverCottageintheWoodsCatherineCoville(think of the first books you absorbed as a child). The shared language is pictorial as well as verbal, and international, too. Such language – Jung called it archetypal – has been growing into a common vernacular since the romances of classical antiquity and the middle ages – Circe from the Odyssey and Vivienne from Morte d’Arthur are recognisable forerunners of fairy queens and witches, and the sleeping beauty herself first appears in a long medieval chivalric tale, Perceforest. A fairytale doesn’t exist in a fixed form; it’s something like a tune that can migrate from a symphony to a penny whistle."

 This is an excerpt from Marina Warner’s Once Upon a Time: A Short History of Fairy Tale 

 

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The New Edition of Born Without A Tail

In her original book, Born Without a Tail, C.A. Wulff chronicles the true-life adventures of two animal rescuers living with an ever-changing house full of pets. She takes us on a journey from childhood through adulthood, sharing tales, (mis)adventures and insights garnered from a lifetime of encounters with a menagerie of twenty remarkable animals.

BwatcoversThe new edition also has a prologue about Wulff's journey into advocacy; and, it also has several additional photos. Here’s what some readers have said about it:

 “I can’t say too much about this book, it’s more than a ‘dog book’ it’s RocketatOUACStore
a people, animals, life book.
I was hooked from the first page and read it straight through, and have re read it since, enjoying it just as much the second time around.  Anyone who’s ever had a heart dog, a misfit cat, ever been touched by the love of an animal should enjoy this book. It’s a keeper.
 

“A collection of funny and heartwarming tales that shaped the life of a young animal advocate. Inspiring and written from the heart.“ I was touched by this account of love, friendship, responsibility and true selflessness. If you love animals you will not be able to put this book down.“ .

The book covers and the photo of Rocket are by C.A. Wulff.

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LogoBetterLumos is part of J.K. Rowling's effort to make the world a better place. Her focus is on children and poverty. She is the founder of Lumos, one of several charities she supports. Here are excerpts from the Lumos website:

Across the globe 8 million children are living in institutions that deny them individual love and care. More than 80% are not orphans. They are separated from their families because they are poor, disabled or from an ethnic minority. As a result, many suffer lifelong physical and emotional harm. 

Urban slumMeanwhile, the numbers of children in so-called orphanages continues to rise in areas outside Europe. Lumos has now begun work in the Latin American and Caribbean region. We have started in Haiti, where approximately 30,000 children are currently living in almost entirely privately funded orphanages. Once again, we find the familiar ratio of 80% non-orphans, and recognize the driving force of poverty. 

Lumos has a single, simple goal: to end the institutionalization of children worldwide by 2050. This is ambitious, but achievable. It is also essential. Eight million voiceless children are currently suffering globally under a system that, according to all credible research, is indefensible. We owe them far, far better. We owe them families.

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WCDogsLogo

Nancy Hauser's Way Cool Dogs has two new articles with excellent guidelines for people thinking of getting a dog. One article is an overview, dealing primarily with breed and size...Here is an excerpt from the second article:

 "All dogs need a certain amount of affection, attention, grooming, mental stimulation and physical activity. But different dogs need different levels of each, and should match that of their owner. For example, do you want to brush your dog or have the time? Are you going to be at work most of the day, and have a dog sitter rounded up to care for your pet while you are gone? These things all need to be well-thought out at all dogs are different with different needs."
 
Both articles will link you to the very helpful Dog Breed Selector.

Abc-animals-animated
 
Way Cool Dogs also offers: ABC Animals-Animated Flashcards where you can record your own voice or sounds. This is from their site:
 

"It’s finally here – our ABC Animals – Animated Flashcards mobile app for iOS!Image is in WCD folder in Blog Material)

ABC Animals – Animated Flashcards is an animated flashcard app for iPhone and iPod with 52 beautifully illustrated animations of adult and baby animals. Featuring phonics and a slideshow! Record you own voice and sounds and download free coloring pages!"

 

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 The Power of Illustration at the Eric Carle Museum EriccarleMusem-logo

UliShulevitz

If you have an interest in the power of illustration to ignite children's imagination, and you'll be in New England in the coming months, consider visiting the  Eric Carle Museum in Amherst, MA. where multiple exhibits are taking place.

 
AliceBolamEricCarleMuseumChildren's memories of early books have often been enhanced by
illustrations of worlds of wonder. As an adult, the mind still carries images from these early journeys. Historians attribute much of the great success of Taylor's versions of the Grimm's Tales in early nineteenth century England to the illustrations of George Cruikshank.
 
The Eric Carle Museum is featuring exhibits by four outstanding artist/illustrators: Alice Bolam Preston (1888-1958);  Eric Carle ; Uli Shurevitz; and Gustav Dore. 
 
Many of Dore's illustrations are considered to be pioneering classics. Here is an excerpt from the museum's website regarding Dore and his
influence on modern illustrators:

 
DoreRedRidinghood2"Sleeping Beauty,' 'Little Red Riding Hood,' and 'Beauty and the Beast.'  Doré’s timeless illustrations are presented in this exhibition along with the works of contemporary children’s-book illustrators. Allowing for a side-by-side comparison, the influence of Doré becomes apparent in the works of famous contemporary illustrators like Jerry Pinkney, James Marshall, and Fred Marcellino..." 
 
The Eric Carle catipillar logo is by Eric Carle; the flying boat illustration is by Uli Shurevitz; the fairy in the garden illustration is by Alice Bolam Preston; and the Little Red Riding Hood illustration is by Gustav Dore. They are all part of the Eric Carle Museum exhibits. 

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        AdspringreadsPOD2012  

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       The Planet Of The Dogs series is in China

        HBG

The Chongxianguan Book Company in Beijing has published the
complete Planet Of The Dogs series in China. They have translated the text and produced new illustrations (above) and covers. On the left, are illustrations from the Chinese books. On the right are illustrations from the English version. Deanna Leah of HBG productions introduced the books to our Chinese publishers.You can visit the Chinese web page for Planet Of The Dogs through this link: CHINA 

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  GirlDogWomanBookNew York City R.E.A.D.  Update

Intermountain Therapy Animals have been responsible for developing R.E.A.D. programs and training more than 3000 registered therapy reading dog teams in the USA, Canada, Europe and beyond to South Africa. European countries include Italy, Finland, France, Sweden, Slovenia and Spain. All of  this since 1999.

New York City has a growing and vital program, New York Therapy Dogs R.E.A.D.®, under the direction of Nancy George-Michalson. Here, in her words, is a brief summary of their activities ...

"Our ITA R.E.A.D. teams are being placed in a variety of schools and the NY Public Libraries working with children with Autism, ESL students and developmentally and emotionally challenged children as well as children who are just curious about reading to a therapy dog. The response from the staff and families has been remarkable."

If you have a dog, live in the NYC area, and have considered therapy reading dog work, click the link above. Or, you can write directly to Nancy at NGM-ART@nyc.rr.com

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"If you must keep your dog outdoors, construct an excellent dog house and kennel based on considerations of your dog’s breed, age, health status, your climate and environment, and safety and health features. Schedule daily activities so that your dog doesn’t become depressed or frustrated, leading to difficult behaviors. Never chain your dog.

It is now a well-established fact that dogs are social, pack-oriented animals who thrive on human companionship and are happiest while living indoors as part of the family. When you bring a new dog into your family, the dog learns to view your family members and your other pets as his or her pack.

Everything proceeds well as long as your dog is content with his or her place in the pack. Many behavior problems can be avoided with a little extra effort or training to make the dog comfortable with this position. CITM-Children in he castle-blog size

The most devastating thing the leader of a pack can do is to isolate an individual from the pack to solve a problem; different problem behaviors will likely arise. The dog might become profoundly depressed or anxious. Nuisance barking is common among dogs kept outdoors. Also, a lonely, isolated dog might disassociate from the family pack and cease to be watchful or protective of the family. You must schedule daily play time or take daily walks. Engage in a new activity with your dog such as nose work."

Anna Nirva, editor and prime mover on Sunbear Squad, continues this post with detailed, comprehensive considerations and guidelines for creating a Humane Dog House.

The illustration, from Castle In The Mist, of the children and the dog, is by Stella  Mustanoja Mccarty.

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"Dogs have given us their absolute all. We are the center of their universe. We are the focus of their love and faith and trust. They serve us in return for scraps. It is without doubt the best deal man has ever made." -- Roger Caras
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5. Eddie Redmayne May Star in the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Movie

Fantastic BeastsRumor has it that Eddie Redmayne “is the favorite” for the role of Newt Scamander in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. According to Variety, Warner Bros. has not yet made an official offer to the Oscar-winning actor.

Filmmaker David Yates, the director behind four installments of the Harry Potter film franchise, will take the helm on the first Fantastic Beasts movie. Author J.K. Rowling will serve as both the screenwriter and a producer.

Here’s more from the article: “Set in New York roughly seven decades before Harry Potter’s saga starts, Fantastic Beasts is based on the Hogwarts textbook of the same name and follows the adventures of its author, Newt Scamander. Scamander is described as a magiczoologist, which in the Harry Potter realm is a person who studies magical creatures. Besides Scamander, there are four other main roles — two American girls and two American boys — that the studio is currently looking to cast.” (via GeekNation.com)

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6. J.K. Rowling to Light Empire State Building on Thursday

Author J.K. Rowling will light the Empire State Building purple, blue and white in honor of 8 million children living in orphanages this week.

The ceremonial lighting represents the official colors of Lumos, a non-profit dedicated to children living in poverty founded by Rowling in 2005. The purpose of the lighting is to “help shed light on the 8 million children around the world who are needlessly separated from their families due to poverty, disability, disease and conflict and placed into institutions and so called ‘orphanages’, which significantly affect all aspects of child development and their future life chances.”

The event will take place on Thursday, April 9th at 12 p.m. and will mark the US launch of the non-profit. Rowling will be joined by Lumos Chief Executive Georgette Mulheir.

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7. The Book Thief Voted Most Popular Book in Australia

Book Thief CoverWhat’s the most popular book in Australia?

According to the results of Dymocks Bookstore’s booklover’s 101 survey, that honor belongs to Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief. More than 15,000 bibliophiles participated in this survey.

Here’s more from The New Daily: “This year 17 Australian books made the list, including AB Facey’s A Fortunate Life and Anh Do’s The Happiest Refugee…Ms Higgins said 35 books on the list have been made into successful films – including the recent Hollywood hit Fifty Shades of Grey.” We’ve linked to free samples of the top ten books below.

Free Samples of Australia’s Top 10 Favorite Books

01. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

02. Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen

03. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

04. Magician by Raymond Feist

05. The Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien

06. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

07. The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien

08. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

09. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

10. The Harry Potter series by J.K Rowling

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8. Philip W. Errington On J.K. Rowling’s Four ‘Daily Prophets’

harry potter logoWhat did the man behind J.K. Rowling: A Bibliography 1997-2013 dig up? In an interview with Entertainment WeeklyPhilip W. Errington revealed that J.K. Rowling created four special pieces of Harry Potter universe content early on in her career.

Errington explained: “She actually wrote four editions of The Daily Prophet, the newspaper within the Wizarding World, which were printed and distributed by Bloomsbury to the Harry Potter Fan Club. Those four issues are entirely by her. So if you were looking at the author’s work, you would know that between the American publication of The Sorcerer’s Stone and the English publication of The Prisoner of Azkaban, she wrote two issues of The Daily Prophet. Between Azkaban and Goblet of Fire, she wrote another version of The Daily Prophet.”

In the last few months, Rowling herself has unleashed several new pieces of Harry Potter-related writing on the Pottermore website. Fans have been treated to essays and stories about potions master Severus Snape, antagonist Draco Malfoy, villainous bureaucrat Dolores Umbridge, singer Celestina Warbeck, and the final match of the Quidditch World Cup 2014.

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9. HBO Unleashes Trailer For A Casual Vacancy Mini-Series

HBO has unveiled its own trailer for the A Casual Vacancy mini-series. This show, based on J.K. Rowling’s novel, aired in the United Kingdom back in February 2015.

United States audiences will get to see this adaptation on April 29th and April 30th. Click here to watch the BBC One trailer. (via The Hollywood Reporter)

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10. Toni Morrison On Failure

morrison, toniAward-winning novelist Toni Morrison has contributed a piece to NEA Arts Magazine. For this issue, every article focuses on the topic of “failure.”

Morrison (pictured, via) feels that “as a writer, a failure is just information. It’s something that I’ve done wrong in writing, or is inaccurate or unclear. I recognize failure—which is important; some people don’t—and fix it, because it is data, it is information, knowledge of what does not work. That’s rewriting and editing.”

Morrison also shares her thoughts on “recognizing when something isn’t working,” “learning not to overdo it,” and “stumbles along the way.” Many writers have publicly expressed similar opinions on failure including Harry Potter series author J.K. Rowling, Fight Club novelist Chuck Palahniuk,  and Trigger Warning writer Neil Gaiman. How do you deal with failure?

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11. J.K. Rowling: A Bibliography Released

Thinking of doing a PhD on Harry Potter? Bloomsbury Academic has just released the text you’ll need for your studies.

J.K. Rowling: A Bibliography 1997-2013 by Philip Errington is a complete bibliographic text on Rowling’s writing. It includes: “details of each edition of all her books, pamphlets and original contributions to published works, there is detailed information on the publishing history of her work, including fascinating extracts from correspondence.”

“As someone who respects comprehensive research, I am in awe of the level of detail and amount of time Philip Errington has dedicated to this slavishly thorough and somewhat mind-boggling bibliography,” Rowling commented on the book in a statement.

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12. How Would Hermione Granger Have Fared as the Chosen One?

What if Hermione Granger had been named The Chosen One? BuzzFeed has created a video (embedded above) called “If Hermione Were The Main Character In Harry Potter”—it has drawn more than 680,000 views on YouTube.

Many of the characters within the Harry Potter universe enjoy a fiercely loving loyal fan base including the sharp-tongued matriarch Molly Weasley, the surprisingly brave Neville Longbottom, and the greatly misunderstood Severus Snape. Who’s your favorite character from J.K. Rowling’s beloved book series?

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13. J.K. Rowling Sends a Heartwarming Letter to a Harry Potter Fan

rowlingHave you ever received a heartwarming letter from one of your favorite authors? J.K. Rowling bestowed such a gift to one Harry Potter fan last summer.

The bibliophile, a Scottish resident named Johnnie Blue, shared Rowling’s letter with BuzzFeed. Blue confessed that reading it brought tears to his eyes.

Here’s an excerpt: “What you say about Harry helping you at what was clearly a dreadful time in your life means more to me than I can easily express. I freely confess that I loathe bullying and the way it is still so often ‘handled’ in schools. Your experience is shocking and disturbing and that you have turned out to be a compassionate, moral, highly motivated person is high testimony to your courage. Gryffindor for you, my lad…” (via Refinery29)

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14. Harry Potter Fan Creates Video On Severus Snape’s Life Story

Who’s your favorite character in the Harry Potter series? The video embedded above, created by YouTube user kcawesome13, shines the spotlight on Professor Severus Snape. It features his most prominent scenes from “the Harry Potter film series in chronological order.” SPOILER ALERT: If you have not read J.K. Rowling’s beloved children’s books series, you should not watch this piece! (via BuzzFeed)

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15. Famous Writer Flowchart: INFOGRAPHIC

Electric LiteratureDo you aspire to become as recognized and powerful as J.K. Rowling? The Electric Lit team has created an infographic to help people try to answer this question: “Am I a Famous Writer Yet?

Those who go through this flowchart will encounter scenarios such as “I have many followers on social media” and “sobbing uncontrollably in a bathroom.” We’ve embedded the full infographic below for you to explore further—what do you think?

famous writer

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16. Oyster Forms Partnership With Pottermore

HP on OysterOyster has established a new agreement with Pottermore.

Subscribers now have access to all seven installments from the Harry Potter series and the three titles from the “Hogwarts Library”. In honor of this occasion, young adult author Lauren Oliver has penned an essay for The Oyster Review on the influence J.K. Rowling has had on her.

Here’s more from the Oyster blog: “Make sure your Oyster app is updated to version 1.9 and ¾ (you can get it on the App Store and Google Play), and then open a Harry Potter title to get the full effect. Once inside, rather than one of Oyster’s reader themes, choose one of the new ‘House Themes’—with designs inspired by Gryffindor, Slytherin, Ravenclaw, and Hufflepuff—or tap the Sorting Hat icon to have one selected at random. Then dive into a custom reading experience inspired by your favorite Hogwarts House.”

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17. Exploring the Careers of Famous Authors: INFOGRAPHIC

author careers blinkboxWhich authors do you admire most? The team at blinkbox books has created an infographic that examines the careers of several famous authors including J.K. Rowling, Stephenie Meyer, Meg Cabot, Stephen King, and Haruki Murakami. For each author that is listed on this image, their “breakthrough” novel is highlighted.

Both Douglas Adams and J.R.R. Tolkien hit it big with their debut novels, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and The Hobbit: There and Back AgainF. Scott Fitzgerald became well-known at age 30 for his third book, The Great Gatsby, while Leo Tolstoy achieved great success at age 42 with his sixth title, War & Peace. We’ve embedded the full infographic below for you to explore further—what do you think?

blinkbox books author careers infographic

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18. Inspiring Quotes From Children’s Books: INFOGRAPHIC

hp quoteWhich children’s do you find moving? The team at Quotery.com has created an infographic called “20 Inspiring Children’s Book Quotes.”

These beautiful words come from a variety of titles including Roald Dahl’s Matilda, J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan, and J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter & The Sorcerer’s Stone. We’ve embedded the full infographic below—what do you think?

Children’s book quotes.
Courtesy of: Quotery

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19. Little, Brown, and Company to Publish J.K. Rowling Harvard Speech as an Illustrated Book

Back in 2008, J.K. Rowling delivered a commencement speech at Harvard University. Little, Brown and Company plans to publish it as an illustrated book.

The release date for Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and The Importance of Imagination has been scheduled for April 14, 2015. Joel Holland has signed on to create the artwork for this project.

According to the press release, “sales of Very Good Lives will benefit both Lumos, a charity organization founded by J.K. Rowling, which works to transform the lives of disadvantaged children, and university-wide financial aid at Harvard University.” The video embedded above features Rowling’s full speech—what do you think?

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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20. J.K. Rowling to Share Christmas Surprises on Pottermore This Month

pottermoreHarry Potter fans are getting a nice gift this Christmas. Author J.K. Rowling is giving out holiday surprises this year on the website Pottermore.com, a destination for all things Harry Potter.

From December 12-23, the site will be releasing a new surprise every day at 8am EST. Among the gifts on the list include new writing from Rowling. The site is running a social media campaign on Facebook with the hashtag #PottermoreChristmas where can check in for daily updates.

Here is more from Pottermore’s emails:

A Wonderland of New Writing by J.K. Rowling
From Florean Fortescue’s ghost plot to J.K. Rowling’s thoughts on the sneaky Slytherin Draco Malfoy, there’s a wealth of writing to discover.

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21. My Writing and Reading Life: Romina Russell, Author of Zodiac

Romina Russell is a Los Angeles based author who originally hails from Buenos Aires, Argentina. When she’s not working on the ZODIAC series, Romina can be found producing movie trailers, taking photographs, or daydreaming about buying a new drum set. She is a graduate of Harvard College and a Virgo to the core.

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22. J.K. Rowling’s Crime Novels to be Adapted For TV

cuckooJ.K. Rowling is going to see her first adult fiction novel, The Cuckoo’s Calling, adapted into a television series for BBC.

The book, which was published under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith, is the first novel in the Cormoran Strike series of detective novels published last year. It was followed by The Silkworm in 2014.

J.K. Rowling tweeted the news today.

My friend @RGalbraith‘s first novel is going to be a TV drama on @BBCOne. He’s very excited, but expressing it with characteristic silence.

— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) December 10, 2014

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23. J.K. Rowling Shares New Severus Snape Story On Pottermore

Snape Riddle

Harry Potter enthusiasts will be counting down the 12 days of Christmas with new stories on Pottermore. Over at the Pottmore Insider blog, fans were tasked with cracking a riddle (embedded above) about “a house in Spinner’s End” to unlock the first piece. Perhaps J.K. Rowling decided to continue challenging her fans with Ravenclaw-style puzzles as she did on Twitter earlier this year.

SPOILER ALERT: If you don’t want to know more, you should stop reading now!

(more…)

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24. J.K. Rowling Confirms That a Jewish Wizard Has Attended Hogwarts

.@benjaminroffman Anthony Goldstein, Ravenclaw, Jewish wizard.

— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) December 16, 2014

Has Hogwarts School of Witchcraft & Wizardry ever admitted a Jewish student? Yesterday, J.K. Rowling confirmed that the answer is “yes.”

In response to a fan’s message on Twitter, the Harry Potter series author revealed that a Jewish wizard named Anthony Goldstein belonged to Ravenclaw house. We’ve embedded the tweets above—what do you think?

In addition to coming to her fans rescue via social media, Rowling has been a busy bee with adding new content on Pottermore. For the past few days, several new details about Potions Master Severus Snape has been unveiled. (via BuzzFeed)

SPOILER ALERT: If you don’t want to know more, you should stop reading now!

(more…)

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25. The World’s Greatest Storytellers: INFOGRAPHIC

World's Greatest Storytellers

Who would you name as the world’s greatest storyteller? The team at Raconteur.net interviewed 500 authors, journalists, editors, students, media experts, and marketing professionals to try to uncover the answer to this question; the data was collected into an infographic.

The ones that made it into the top six include five British writers and one American horror master: William Shakespeare, J.K. Rowling, Roald Dahl, Charles Dickens, Neil Gaiman, and Stephen King. Follow this link to view the full infographic.

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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