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51. Mr. Tiger Goes Wild: Peter Brown

Book: Mr. Tiger Goes Wild
Author: Peter Brown (@itspeterbrown)
Pages: 48
Age Range: 3-6

Mr. Tiger Goes Wild is vintage Peter Brown (see my review of The Curious Garden). It's about how one person, by being true to himself, can make a difference, but also about the way that we all need to be part of a community. Pretty heady stuff for a picture book about a tiger heading out into the wilderness. 

Here's how it begins:

"Everyone was perfectly fine
with the way things were.

Everyone but Mr. Tiger.

Mr. Tiger was bored with always being so proper."

We see Mr. Tiger bored with his proper life, and his proper, tea-drinking neighbors. Gradually, Mr. Tiger starts to get a little wild. And then a little more wild. And just as he's starting to feel a bit lonely, he learns that his individualism has actually rubbed off a little bit. And everyone is better off. 

Brown's spare text pairs well with his ink, watercolor, and gouache illustrations. His color palette starts out muted, with the small, orange tiger standing out as the sole splash of color against a regimented backdrop. Gradually the tiger gets bigger, and the other colors get greener. The pictures when the tiger is out in the wilderness are reminiscent of the lush later pictures in The Curious Garden, full of plants, fish, birds, and waterfalls.  

Brown dedicates this book "for tigers everywhere", and it really is a book that will encourage people to let loose a bit of their inner wildness. There's a great scene in which Mr. Tiger leaps across the rooftops of a series of row houses. The text says, "His friends did not know what to think." But while some of them are thinking "Peculiar" and "UNACCEPTABLE!", others are thinking "Hmm" and "Wow". You can see him expanding people's viewpoints, though he doesn't realize this until the end of the book. 

I doubt that my three year old will get the larger point at all. But I still think that she'll laugh at the notion of the conservative Mr. Tiger busting out and becoming wild. As for me, I love the expressive faces of the other animals, the deadpan text, and, I must admit, the happy ending. Highly recommended, and sure to do well. 

Publisher:  Little, Brown (@LBKids)
Publication Date: September 3, 2013
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).

© 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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52. WordPress.com News and Numbers: The September 2013 Hot List

After a red-hot August of publishing news and impressive numbers, we wondered what was next for the WordPress.com community. Here’s a snapshot of September: You blew up the internet. Again. Month after month, we’re blown away by what you publish. Talk show host Matt Walsh‘s post, “Dear parents, you need …

11 Comments on WordPress.com News and Numbers: The September 2013 Hot List, last added: 10/9/2013
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53. Conversations About Community in 3rd Grade

A big theme in our Social Studies curriculum is Community.  I kicked off the study this week, I introduced the idea of community and the idea of learning community as an introduction to this yearlong study.  I wanted to have these conversations and this thinking started before we move into the content of local government, community resources, etc.  When we started our conversation, kids shared all they knew about community. I want them to understand the citizenship part of community--that everyone does his/her part and everyone works toward community goals while individuals still have more personal goals.  At the beginning of the conversation, kids seemed to know the content stuff of community (neighborhoods, parks, people, rules and laws) at a basic level which gave us a great start to our conversation.  Then we moved on.

I shared two pieces with the students that first day.  I wanted them to reframe their thinking a bit to think about what made a community work.  I told them I was going to share two pieces as part of our discussion about community and then we'd talk about how those tied in. I wanted them to use these as ways to add to their understanding of what makes a community.  These two pieces provided an amazing conversation about community and what it means to be part of a community.


Following this video conversation, I read the picture book The Little Hummingbird (Ann Marie) by Michael Nicoll Yahgulhanaas.  (Thanks Ann Marie Corgill for this recommendation!) This is a powerful story about a little hummingbird doing his part in the community.


These two pieces provided just the right stories for a great beginning conversation to add new thinking about their understandings of community.

The next day, we read What If Everybody Did That? by Ellen Javernick. This was a quick read that reminds us why we have rules by taking readers into different settings, thinking about not following a rule, and asking, "What if everybody did that?"  We then talked about all of the communities we are a part of and how each had their own goals, rules, etc. Kids mentioned school, sports teams, churches, neighborhoods, our city, etc.




On Day 3 of our conversation, I paired 2 other videos to share with students. I wanted to really focus on the idea of a Learning Community and how members of a community support one another.  This conversation also included goal setting.



We watched this amazing video from Pernille Ripp's 5th grade classroom: My Students' Classroom Vision. At the end of the clip, one of my students said, "I loved that video. It was the best." It was very powerful for them. We followed up with a conversation about being brave, being part of a learning community, individual goals, and community goals. I shared my own experiences--about how it was easy for me to meet a reading goal, as it was easy for me and I loved to read. But it was brave of me to set a running goal and to put myself out there when running was something I had to work hard at.  How the book I am writing is something that has been hard for me lately and it takes some brave to not just quit.  How when we know each others' goals (as in any community) it is easier to help each other meet them.   It was all very informal but thoughtful.  

I followed up with a clip of Kristin Chenoweth which I loved (I used the one with Kellee instead but like this one better.)


We talked about how Kristen Chenoweth was so good and how she celebrated this guest who was amazing. She cheered for her and was so happy that she was so amazing. How that says a lot about Kristen--she loves seeing others do well. Kids immediately talked about ways they support others and cheer them on when they are successful. They were as interested in Kristen as they were in the friends who must have been filming and wooohoooing throughout.

Finally, on Thursday I shared The Butterfly Video.  Thanks to Steve Peterson who shared this clip with me in a blog comment last week! It is brilliant and it fit in perfectly with the week's conversations.  Again, kids were glued.

Austin's Butterfly: Building Excellence in Student Work - Models, Critique, and Descriptive Feedback from Expeditionary Learning on Vimeo.

My favorite part of the follow-up conversation was the mention that, "Mrs. Christine, our art teacher would love this clip. Has she seen it?  I wonder if she has to do more than one draft? Does she get things right on the first try?"  We decided to email her the link to the video and our question right then. Of course she emailed back to let us know that, yes, she does many drafts for lots of things, even as an art teacher:-)

This week's conversations around community were really important for many reasons. I think the kids will understand the bigger communities of city, state, world, etc. because they have thought so much about their own communities. They understand that people make up a community and that our classroom is a community, a learning community.  They have a role to play in the community--for themselves and for the good of the group.

I can already tell that these videos and books have made an impact.  They keep coming up in conversation and I imagine they will continue to. Just like Caine's arcade, I imagine a few will become anchors for the year. Glad we began our conversation like this and am looking forward to the way the conversation evolves over the next eight months.






3 Comments on Conversations About Community in 3rd Grade, last added: 9/17/2013
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54. Designing Principle #4: Community

DP 2_Community

Some stories are not about a single protagonist. Sometimes a group or community becomes the larger focus. Using a community as a designing principle is the fourth category in this series.

Give a Boy a Gun by Todd Struasser explores the complexity of a school shooting and could have been told from POV of the shooter, or a friend of the shooter, or a teacher. Instead Struasser lets an entire community tell this story: friends, parents, teachers, students, etc. In so doing, a portrait of the shooters and the events is constructed by the reader through snippets, interviews, and emails. The structure unveils the fragmentation and chaos of the event itself, and how hard it is to find a single truth of an event or person.

Helen Frost’s verse novel Keesha’s House also creates a portrait of a community, but in a different way. The story follows eight protagonists who become homeless.  Each character has his or her own arc, and is given one poem per chapter with which to tell his or her story. Frost’s creates unity between these eight individual stories with the use of a wheel chapter structure. At the core of each chapter is a theme, for example: “Why I can’t live at home,” and each poem of that chapter touches upon the theme in a way that is specific to each character. This structure unites an entire community of abandoned children.

Is your story about a community or ensemble of people? How might you use this to influence the structure of your story?

Up Next: Designing Principle #5 – Parallel Stories and Myth

Want to know more about designing principles? Try these links:


1 Comments on Designing Principle #4: Community, last added: 7/26/2013
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55. Designing Principle #4: Community

DP 2_Community

Some stories are not about a single protagonist. Sometimes a group or community becomes the larger focus. Using a community as a designing principle is the fourth category in this series.

Give a Boy a Gun by Todd Struasser explores the complexity of a school shooting and could have been told from POV of the shooter, or a friend of the shooter, or a teacher. Instead Struasser lets an entire community tell this story: friends, parents, teachers, students, etc. In so doing, a portrait of the shooters and the events is constructed by the reader through snippets, interviews, and emails. The structure unveils the fragmentation and chaos of the event itself, and how hard it is to find a single truth of an event or person.

Helen Frost’s verse novel Keesha’s House also creates a portrait of a community, but in a different way. The story follows eight protagonists who become homeless.  Each character has his or her own arc, and is given one poem per chapter with which to tell his or her story. Frost’s creates unity between these eight individual stories with the use of a wheel chapter structure. At the core of each chapter is a theme, for example: “Why I can’t live at home,” and each poem of that chapter touches upon the theme in a way that is specific to each character. This structure unites an entire community of abandoned children.

Is your story about a community or ensemble of people? How might you use this to influence the structure of your story?

Up Next: Designing Principle #5 – Parallel Stories and Myth

Want to know more about designing principles? Try these links:


0 Comments on Designing Principle #4: Community as of 7/24/2013 1:48:00 PM
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56. Penguin celebrates Independent's Day!

Who doesn't love moseying around bookshops? Perusing shelves packed with books, resting your weary limbs in the nearest and squishiest armchair, then leaving laden down with beautiful tomes to pore over when you get home. We're getting misty eyed at the thought of it.

Anyway, if you didn't know, today is July 4th. To many, it's Independence Day. To us, it's INDEPENDENT'S DAY (admire the subtlety of what we've done there folks. To read more about Independent Booksellers Week, head here.) We've taken a moment to praise the independent bookshop, and below are three examples of our favourites.

If you have a suggestion or would like to contribute to the blog, please tweet us or comment below. Tell us about your favourites, we want to hear about bookshops in farflung places, tiny bookshops that few people know about, or simply a bookshop you love to while away the hours in, wherever it may be. 

 

The Slightly Foxed Bookshop

123 Gloucester Road, London, SW7 4TE

020 7370 3503 | www.foxedbooks.com | @FoxedQuarterly

Slightlyfoxed1

After walking down Gloucester Road, I can’t imagine a sight more welcome than the dusty blue of the Slightly Foxed awning. If Gloucester Road is a cultural desert (and it is), then the Slightly Foxed Bookshop is an oasis.

Slightly Foxed published the first issue of their quarterly literary magazine in 2003, and in 2009 they took over the Gloucester Road bookshop. It’s an extension of the sensibilities of the magazine – they stock an eclectic selection of new releases, and all manner of second hand books. It feels as though they might operate nightclub style one in, one out policy – there aren’t shelves full of the latest bestsellers, but there’s one each of the new Pulp the Classics editions, and they sit in the window above Caitlin Moran, a James Bond novel, and Mark Mason’s Walk the Lines. Sure, it’s a motley crew, but one that completely makes sense. It reads like the rest of the collection; intelligent, witty, and clearly curated by people who love the books they stock. There’s a shelf full of Slightly Foxed hardbacks – searingly bright wibbalin encases some great writing. And with only 2000 of each title printed, they’re collectable as well as covetable.

Slightlyfoxed2

And downstairs! Oh, downstairs. If you’re a self-indulgent Penguin employee (and I definitely am) it’s well worth sitting at the bottom of the steps and looking through all the Penguin Paperbacks. Beyond that – as if you could need more – there are shelves and shelves of second hand and antique books – art books, biographies, travel and food writing. It’s all there, and it’s an abundance of quality and quantity.

I spent about half an hour at Slightly Foxed, just browsing. It was only when I left that I realised that the two people who worked there hadn’t interrupted once – I don’t think they cared at all whether we bought anything; they were just pleased to see people paying their books so much attention.

Slightly Foxed pitch their magazine as ‘the real reader’s quarterly’. The Slightly Foxed Bookshop is the real reader’s bookshop.

By Kirsty Taylor, Acting Assistant Editor | @EditorialGirls

 

Book & Kitchen

31 All Saints Rd, Notting Hill, London W11 1HE

07508 030 742 | http://bookandkitchen.com/ | @BookandKitchen

I only recently discovered Book & Kitchen whilst wandering around the streets just off Portobello Road one weekend. I have just moved into a new flat there and was trying to scope out the charms of the local area – not exactly challenging in Notting Hill, you’ll agree (yep, I’m already a smug West Londoner).

The store has a strange but balanced composite of aesthetics; bright contemporary colours and modishly upholstered armchairs share space with a fully functioning vintage typewriter and record player whose needle wobbles and crackles over an old vinyl.

Bookandkitchen1

The spirit and energy is immediately evident, not only from the décor, but the staff as well. Book & Kitchen’s owner and front of house, Muna Khogali, is super friendly and passionate about what she’s doing and could no doubt hand sell every book in the store with her enthusiasm. Plus she’ll also make you a coffee and a slice of cake downstairs! When was the last time that happened when you were browsing in [name redacted for legal reasons]. That’s the ‘kitchen’ bit in the name by the way, just in case, you know, you were thinking they also sold splash backs and graphite worktops.

What I like most is that the books are allowed to showcase themselves. There are no shouty sales promotions or merchandising that makes you immediately aware of the publishers (yes, I fully realise the hypocrisy here). It is assumed that you know what you are looking for, and if not, you are given as much time as you need to discover something new. 31 All Saints Rd, W11. Be about it.

By Joe Yule, Marketing Executive | @Joe_Christmas

 

Pages of Hackney

70 Lower Clapton Road, Hackney, London E5 0RN

020 8525 1452 | http://pagesofhackney.co.uk/ | @pagesofhackney

A little like Joe (see above), when I first moved to the part of London I now call home, I spent (and still spend) an inordinate amount of time wandering about the place, often lost. It was on one of these adventures that I stumbled across Pages of Hackney. Attractive exterior: check. Local notices in the window: check. Wonderful assortment of books, old and new, plus small dog: check. It is a proper book shop.

Pages front

If, like me, you're interested in London's history, especially the local stuff, there is so much to sink your teeth into. The history books are right in front of you when you go in, and you can find pretty much everything there. I recently bought a great little book on Blake's London by Iain Sinclair, and a copy of Craig Taylor's brilliant Londoners for a friend. There are lots of more obscure titles too, but I won't bore you with them all, you'll have to go and check the selection out yourself.

Finally, get thee to the basement (a treasure trove of vast proportions) and hats off if you can resist the lure of classic Penguin books and vintage Marvel comics. They run great events in there too. Before I descend into even more hyperbole, here's why Pages gets my vote:

1. It smells right. New and old book smell = nice.

2. It's quiet, calming and no-one bothers you if you just want to get your head down and browse (but people are friendly and suitably informed if you fancy a chat).

3. Did I mention Merlin the dog?

Merlin14

By Natalie Williams, Digital Marketing Executive | @natalie_rw

It would be remiss to talk about independent bookshops without mentioning the Paris institution that is Shakespeare and Company. Here's a post on our On the Strand blog from last year that you may find interesting.

Finally, for our London followers, here's a handy map to the great and good of London's independent bookstores. Enjoy, and happy Independents Day! #independentsday

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57. Writers' Associations

State-by-state listing of writing groups. 

http://www.squidoo.com/localwritersassociationsbystate

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58. Our first ever Penguin Chat with Beautiful Creatures authors!

On Sunday 27th January 2013, we launched the first Penguin Chat (#PenguinChats) with Margaret Stohl and Kami Garcia, authors of the fabulous Beautiful Creatures series. #PenguinChats was launched to offer the chance to get an author's undivided attention on Twitter - to ask them any burning questions you just needed to get off your chest.

The Beautiful Creatures Penguin Chat lasted 30 minutes, and so many of you participated that Margaret and Kami couldn't even answer all the questions in time! We really wanted to share some of the questions and answers for you, so we created a Storify to capture just some of the conversation.

PenguinChats with Beautiful Creatures authors  Margaret Stohl and Kami Garcia  with tweets  · PenguinUKBooks · Storify

 

Watch this space for more #PenguinChats coming soon - we'll annouce the latest over on the #PenguinChats blog page, so do keep checking back.

In the meantime, did you take part in the Beautiful Creatures Penguin Chat? We'd love to hear what you thought. And, if you have any suggestions for who you'd like to have a Penguin Chat with, let us know in the comments below.  

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59. Living Well in the Classroom

Last week I found myself reading through The Community Review, which is the Jewish newspaper for Greater Harrisburg. Rabbi Akiva Males of Kesher Israel Congregation wrote a tribute to teacher Victoria Soto who… Read More

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60. 365 Days, 52 Weeks: A Look at Blogging in 2012

At the end of November, we gave shout-outs to bloggers and artists who participated in month-long projects like NaBloPoMo and NaNoDrawMo. As 2012 comes to a close, we also want to highlight writers and photographers who challenged themselves all year — who posted each day or each week, or have established an ongoing project on their sites.

These bloggers caught our attention:

Jump For Joy!

Jump For Joy!

JUMP FOR JOY! Photo Project

An inspiring international project focused on play, fun, and the positive in our lives, JUMP FOR JOY! presents Eyoälha Baker’s vision of a world united by our expression of joy. Eyoälha has taken nearly all the images on her blog — with the exception of the photos of her. Her jumping subjects are captured in locations around the world: at the beach in Kauaiat a park in Vancouver, or even between city skyscrapers . . . while holding a ninja sword! We love how she showcases the beauty of the human spirit — in mid-air.

A Year of Reading the World

In 2012, writer and editor Ann Morgan planned to read her way around as many of the globe’s 196 independent countries as she could, sampling one book from every nation. The result? Her thoughtful, sophisticated blog, A Year of Reading the WorldIn each post, she focuses on a particular book and digs into the country’s history and culture. Recent places included EthiopiaGuinea-Bissau, and the Maldives.

Hope Street

Hope Street

Hope Street

Kurt Blumenau’s grandfather kept month-to-month calendars — 15 years’ worth! — on which he recorded significant events that affected him, such as the flight of Apollo 17.

These calendars remain in Kurt’s family, and each Monday on his blog, Hope Street, Kurt picks an interesting calendar entry and writes something about it. ”It might be a reflection on my grandfather’s life,” writes Kurt, “or my family’s history and tradition . . . or American life of the 1960s and 1970s . . . or my own life today.”

The blog celebrates his grandfather and family and is a unique, thoughtful project of personal and American history.

Sketches From Memory

We admire the sketch-a-day regimen of comic artist Chuck Cottrell. Chuck posts simple sketches to mini comic strips, mostly in black and white (with some random yet effective bursts of color). We recommend you dive in, as he lets readers in to his personal world — including sharing stories of married life — in a fun, candid way.

Ian Spagnolo Photography

Outdoor landscapes. Dramatic long exposure shots of the sea. Light painting sessions. Follow photographer Ian Spagnolo‘s “365 Project” to sample his work, especially if you enjoy seeing a photographer play around with exposure, light, and other elements. Ian is from Coffs Harbour, a coastal city in New South Wales, Australia, which means he certainly won’t run out of stunning subject matter to shoot.

52 Brand New

52 Brand New

52 Brand New

For 2012, the personable blogger behind 52 Brand New promised to try 52 new experiences with her children, from tasting new cuisines to attending a family yoga class to collecting rocks. In each “new experience,” she includes playful Polaroid-style images and links to other experiences her family has undertaken, as well as external resources offering ideas for family activities. 52 Brand New is a fresh, creative take on a parenting blog.

Instamatic Gratification

A daily photoblog, Instamatic Gratification succeeds because of its simple and focused approach: one image per day. (We also love the daily quotes that accompany each photograph.) In January 2010, Caryn launched the blog and successfully posted 365 images in that first year. In 2011, she wasn’t quite as diligent, so this year, she decided to challenge herself once again. She writes: “I’ve come to realize that, for me anyway, quantity (or rather the consistency of daily practice) is the surest and most direct route to quality.” We totally agree!

Dar’s 52 Mondays Blog

Dar’s “52 Mondays” project compiles photographs as well as her thoughts on nature, art, education, creativity, and more — a space in which she can share her ideas in one place. We appreciate her weekly dedication to “make Mondays more marvelous,” and think her approach is inspiring.

Since the New Year is just around the corner, we encourage you to start your own 365-day or 52-week project in January. If you have big, exciting plans for your site in 2013, let us know in the comments.

Happy New Year!


11 Comments on 365 Days, 52 Weeks: A Look at Blogging in 2012, last added: 12/31/2012
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61. Freshly Pressed: Four Friday Faves

No more of this “waiting until the end of the month” nonsense to see what was hot on Freshly Pressed! To keep our Freshly Pressed editors’ picks, um, fresh, we’ll highlight a few of our (and your) favorite posts here every Friday.

If One More Woman Complains About the Size of Her Body . . .

Caitlin Kelly’s post on Broadside hit a nerve with hundreds of you.

Whining about weight teaches the girls in our lives, who look to us their role models, that this is just what women do, that focusing miserably and endlessly on our individual body size and shape is our most pressing issue as women — instead of political and economic issues that affect us all, size 00s to 24s,  like paid maternity leave or better domestic violence protection or access to birth control and abortion.

Caitlin’s post racked up the Likes, but also spawned some fascinating conversation in her comments section. We loved seeing your responses as much as we enjoyed reading this no-holds-barred post in the first place.

My Life, Plan B (or what to do when life doesn’t go as planned)

Photo from http://callmeshebear.wordpress.com

Mama Bear, the blogger behind Call Me She Bear, is almost 40 years old, and coming to terms with the fact that her life hasn’t turned out quite the way she’d been planning.

(I’m sure none of us can relate, right?)

What’s Mama Bear’s Plan B? Actually:

“Plan B is not a plan at all. It’s more of an intention. It’s an intention to let go of the tight grip on my big expectations, take things one day at a time, do what’s in front of me to the best of my ability, and trust that the blur coming up for me on the horizon will become clear to me and worthwhile when I get there.”

The gorgeous photos accompanying the post pushed it over the top. We can’t wait to read about how Plan B works out.

“I’m Spiritual, Not Religious”

We had a feeling some great conversation would come out of this post, and we weren’t wrong. After all, it’s hard to imagine that a bunch of opinionated bloggers wouldn’t have something to say about this:

To claim to be spiritual and not religious is like claiming to have taken a swim without getting wet. Anyone who embarks on anything spiritual will either receive the religious tradition from which it comes, or create their own religious tradition in the attempt to understand and practice it.

Not everyone agreed with blogger Eric’s take, but the discussion was both thought-provoking and civil — the very best of what the WordPress.com community is about.

Hanging Up the Tutu

Becca at 25toFly had quite the cheering squad among fellow bloggers this week, and when we read this post about her journey to find her life’s passion and re-define herself after leaving a career in dance, we understood why.

I had become the one thing that I had almost forgotten I’d sworn not to be, Miss play-it-safe.  Sure, I’d find a job. That job would pay well enough for me to live as comfortably as I always have. People would see me as “successful,” but I wouldn’t stop thinking, “Is this it?” I would eventually become that forty-year-old woman still bragging about how many pirouettes she could do twenty years ago while shamefully dodging conversation about her soul draining day job.

Her new direction? Writing. You think it’s a good choice, and so do we.

Thanks to everyone who sent us recommendations this week — you introduced us to a bunch of great bloggers, some of whom have since been featured on Freshly Pressed. Keep it up! You can tweet links you love to us @freshly_pressed. (And be sure to follow @freshly_pressed to see all your fellow bloggers’ picks, even those that don’t make it to the Freshly Pressed page.)


13 Comments on Freshly Pressed: Four Friday Faves, last added: 12/15/2012
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62. A national tragedy impacts all of us.

I don’t want to imagine receiving an automated phone call from my child’s school telling me there has been a shooting there.  That’s what happened today in Newtown, CT after a gunman entered… Read More

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63. "moon and stars"

... was the title of The Arts Center's entry in the local Christmas Parade this year. Every year it comes together beautifully in the end, what a lot of fun!



it rolled part of the way, and "floated" the rest. Hey, that's me...

"geodesic sphere" made entirely of recycled newspaper and masking tape

all ready to go!

decorated with tinsel and glow sticks, filled with balloons.
 Some of them popped en route and sounded like firecrackers.



0 Comments on "moon and stars" as of 12/7/2012 8:09:00 PM
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64. Freshly Pressed: Editors’ Picks for November, Part I

Smart and timely commentaries from events in the Middle East to Hurricane Sandy. Honest, beautifully written reflections on life, culture, and one’s place within it. Original photography and stunning photo essays, from one’s neighborhood to another’s faraway travels. Simply put, November’s Freshly Pressed posts impressed us. Here are some standouts:

Okay, so I noticed the conflict . . .

I don’t believe all nonviolent options for peace are exhausted, and I don’t accept that the killing of Hamas operatives is ever so imperative that targeting errors resulting in the death of innocent civilians should be tolerated.

Image from Circles in the Sky

Nora, a graduate student in Haifa, Israel, writes about her work and experiences in the Middle East at Circles in the Sky. Her commentary, original photography, and on-the-ground observations from an afternoon of demonstrations in Jerusalem’s Old City caught our attention.

Moms Don’t Forget

My punishment was her face. The hurt in her eyes. That moment when I knew that I was no better than any of them because the first time I had the opportunity to be shitty to someone else to fit in, I took it. Even though I knew it was wrong.

“Even after twenty years, her mom ignored my friend request.” This opening line of Rachelle’s post, “Moms Don’t Forget,” pulls us in. In this coming-of-age piece, she recounts a time at a summer cheerleading camp when she helps play a joke on another girl — just to become a “mean girl” for a day. We love Rachelle’s strong voice, and the very relatable story she tells.

Himachal Pradesh — The Final Images

Nomad RussRuss Taylor’s photo essay of Himachal Pradesh, India, really moved us, and we know you’ll enjoy his full-size images documenting daily life in the Ropa Valley. We’re especially drawn to the vibrant wall colors and details in each shot and the warm, welcoming faces captured in his portraits. What a treat to see life through his lens!

Interested in more photography? Be sure to also check out Jenna Pope’s powerful photo essay of the Breezy Point neighborhood in New York City. She compiles images of the devastated area 15 days after Hurricane Sandy struck the East Coast. 

Conformity’s Critical “Eye”

“I want to belong,” pleads a woman whose face is swathed in bandages. “I want to be like everybody.”

Nearly all of us do at one time or other. The desire to fit in can exert a seemingly irresistible force. “Conform or be cast out,” Geddy Lee sings in the Rush song ”Subdivisions.” The question is, how far will we go to do so? What will it cost us? And what happens if we fail?

We read a variety of entertainment reviews and analyses — for books, movies, TV shows, and the like. Paul’s focus on “The Eye of the Beholder,” an episode of The Twilight Zone, has it all: a recap with just the right amount of detail, and his own commentary seamlessly weaved in. The tightly focused post comments on something larger and universal: the desire to fit in, “to live a life in which you are merely an interchangeable cog in a vast wheel.” In short, this Shadow & Substance post is smart pop culture commentary.

Dating in the Dark

Even nearly two weeks after Hurricane Sandy unleashed her fury, the Garden State is still struggling to recover. And let me tell you: Living without power for that long will quickly make you appreciate the little things.

Ruth RutherfordAt I Kissed My Date Goodnight, Ruth shares her thoughts on faith and chronicles her experiences in the 30-something dating scene. In this post, she spends time with her family in the dark, without electricity, and ponders things in life that have become too complicated, like dating. “Grab a lantern and meet during a power outage,” she suggests. Engaging and entertaining, “Dating in the Dark” is a nice introduction to Ruth’s writing.

On Thursday, we’ll highlight more notable picks from the Freshly Pressed bunch in November. 

In the meantime, read the latest Freshly Pressed picks; check out our writing challengesphoto challenges, and other blogging tips and inspiration at The Daily Post; visit our Recommended Blogs; and browse the most popular topics in the Reader.

For editorial guidelines for Freshly Pressed, read: So You Want To Be Freshly Pressed.


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65. Illustrators on WordPress.com

November was a busy month! Not only did bloggers and writers churn out pages for NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) and NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), but illustrators and artists also took part in NaNoDrawMo, which challenged participants to produce a minimum of 50 new works between November 1 and 30.

In honor of NaNoDrawMo, we’ve highlighted some illustrators and sketchers in our community. Take a look:

Photo courtesy of Pete Scully.

Pete Scully

Currently in Northern California, Pete Scully sketches the world as he sees it — and his visions are unique, intricate, and oh-so-fresh. (His sketches above prove this, don’t you think?) We love Pete’s style, as seen in his drawings of pubs, bookstores, and urban neighborhoods. Browse his sketchbook images of San Francisco, London, and more; and be sure to follow along on his NaNoDrawMo journey. His black-and-white header adds a personal touch, and his substantial blogroll of fellow artists is worth checking out.

Pete’s blog uses Twenty Twelve, an elegant, readable theme that’s fully responsive — content looks great on any device. If you’re curious to see how other artists use this theme, check out cartoonist Chuck Cottrell’s blog Sketches from Memory and follow along on his Sketch a Day series. (He’s also participating in NaNoWriMo. That’s dedication!)

Paula Knight

You’ll find art projects, sketchbook pages, and works in progress on Paula Knight’s blog. What we love best is that we get the sense of an artist at work — series of sketches, quick doodles in spiral notebooks, commentaries on older drawings, and personal reflections. Be sure to check out her comics, which comment on fertility and childlessness. Also a writer, Paula has published children’s books and is currently working on a graphic novel for adults called The Facts of Life.

Paula’s blog uses Twenty Eleven, the third most popular theme on WordPress.com (and our default theme in 2011). Versatile and full of features, Twenty Eleven is a tried-and-true theme on which you can experiment with various post formats, a light or dark color scheme, and different layouts. For more inspiration, check out how cartoonist and writer Ulises Farinas uses Twenty Eleven as well — the Brooklyn-based artist creates imaginative, super-detailed worlds of heroes and beasts. 

Our Process

For a dose of politics, current events, education, and culture with your artwork, don’t miss the comicsportraits, and maps of Aaron Guile. Aaron’s visual style is very distinct, and his commentary is sharp. Unlike the other illustrators in this list, Aaron doesn’t use much color. He eschews color for bold, black on white illustrations that convey potent ideas.

Aaron’s blog uses Forever, a simple and modern theme originally created with weddings in mind. But, as you can see, Forever works with different kinds of content — it’s really up to you to transform a theme into something that works for you!

The Town Mouse

Avid drawer and architectural historian Joanna Moore compiles drawings created on location — if you’re in London, you may find her sketching frantically on a street corner. Check out her mixed media drawings of Gothic cathedrals and sketches of castles, or browse her category archives at the top of her front page.

Joanna’s blog uses Imbalance 2, a modern, sophisticated theme that can easily turn your blog into a professional portfolio or online magazine. Imbalance 2 is also appropriate for collaborative projects — check out Illo Confidential, a group blog of about 20 illustrators.

Hotcharchitpotch

Gareth Cotter serves up wonderful sketches, illustrations, and comics that show his passion for architecture. His drawings inspired by a fall trip to Gdansk, Poland, are worth noting, as well as this comic/graphic story about a “cyclical city.” We’re waiting to see what whimsical little world he’ll illustrate next.

Gareth’s blog uses Blogum, a clean and minimalist theme — with a touch of modern — that lets you focus on your content. Its simplicity allows for images and illustrations to take center stage. 

Easily Emused

How can you not enjoy the drawings at Easily Emused? They’re colorful and quirky, and complement the blogger’s musings perfectly. (Read “Earring Aids,” a recent post about piercing one’s ears — it’s a nice mix of storytelling and illustration.)

This blog uses Balloons, a lighthearted theme that effortlessly creates a playful mood.

Creative Stuff

Photographer and student Jessie Vittoria loves to draw, and she uses Creative Stuff to compile her illustrations, greeting card designs, comics, and doodles. Her artwork is airy and playful — you can see this right away in her blog’s header image. We like how she keeps it simple and makes her different types of artwork easy to find, and how she uses built-in features to add color and draw visitors to her popular content.

Jessie’s blog uses Yoko, a theme that’s simple and elegant, yet customizable. We asked Jessie about the features she uses.

Talk a bit about the features you use to make your blog look the way it does.

The full-size images in my posts allow viewers to see my art without having to click another link, while the slideshows present smaller, less prominent images. For example, I use the slideshow to quickly give an idea of a certain type of drawing. I really like the images in my sidebar; I am a very visual person, and for an illustration blog, it makes sense for users to click on images — rather than text — to navigate the site.

Why did you choose Yoko as your blog’s theme? What features do you like in general?

I was looking for a simple way to display my art with easy navigation, and Yoko seemed to have everything I was looking for. The sidebar makes it easy to find specific pages. I can display my work in the header to immediately show visitors what I do as an artist — even before they click on my posts. I also like the scroll-and-load feature – you don’t have to click “next” to view older posts. Overall, I like how clean the theme is, which doesn’t take away from the art itself.

Want more?

Looking for more advice on how best to showcase your art on your blog? Head on over to The Daily Post for our Q&A with two illustratorsThomas James and Mark Armstrong — who share their design tips.


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66. Personalize Your Online Home with a Custom Domain

A domain name is a name used to identify a website on the Internet. Your blog’s domain name is like your mailing address: it lets people know where to find you — and all the cool content you create!

At WordPress.com, every site has an example.wordpress.com address, which is the default address you get when you sign up. But you may notice that some sites have custom domains, such as example.com, instead of example.wordpress.com.

Did you know you can get a unique web address for your blog?

Is a custom domain right for you? Consider these questions:

  • Are you interested in using your blog to promote your work, brand, or organization?
  • Would you like to print your blog address on items like business cards?
  • Do you plan to have multiple email addresses on the same domain?
  • You may already customize your theme, colors, and fonts — so, why not your URL?

Owning your domain name personalizes your own cozy corner of the Internet, helps to build your presence across the web, and distinguishes your work within your niche, field, or industry.

So, how do you select a domain name?

Think about and choose a domain name that best reflects your content. Below, we’ve gathered tips and examples of sites on WordPress.com to inspire you.

Keep it simple. At My Hands Made It, DIY blogger and bridal gown designer Veronica shares wedding projects and crafty tutorials. Her name includes a simple phrase and evokes actions that reflect her content. In general, avoid names that are too long — more than four words may be a mouthful.

Zoom in and be specific. My Travel Blog. All About Baking. Thoughts on Writing. On Politics. We have a basic idea of what these blogs are about, but the names are general and don’t really intrigue the reader.

Include words that are essential to your focus. Gavin, the blogger at Make a Powerful Point, is obsessed with PowerPoint and uses it to communicate and instruct. The word “point” in his name refers not only to PowerPoint, but his consulting work in marketing and business strategy.

Combine words that encapsulate you. Cathy at Mathbabe focuses on mathematics and statistics. The artist and mother behind Doodlemum combines illustrations and sketches with posts on her family. The folks at Salt Gypsy showcase cool, handmade products for female surfers. All of these names fuse or invent words that describe what these blogs are about.

(You may notice that the custom domain Mathbabe ends in .org. You can register and map a domain ending in .com, .org, .net, or .me through WordPress.com.)

Use common phrases…with a twist. Play around with well-known expressions. Swap words with one another. Kiss My Spatula, a well-designed blog about food, is a playful take on a familiar phrase.

Consider literary devices. Remember when your English professor taught you about consonance, which is the repetition of consonant sounds? The “s” sound in Kiss My Spatula sounds swell, doesn’t it? And what about alliteration, or the repetition of a particular letter at the beginning of words? Raising My Rainbow, a blog about a gender-nonconforming five-year-old, is appropriate and easy to remember.

Celebrate double meanings. My blog’s name, Writing Through the Fog, refers not just to my city, foggy San Francisco, but also my interests in elusive themes of memory, home, and adulthood — all of which put me in a haze.

Make us curious. The incompleteness of the blog name An Afternoon With… is brilliant! In each post, Michael photographs a different person in their own space, among their own things. The added ellipsis (in his header only) is also effective; it builds anticipation in readers who are visiting the blog for the first time.

Finally (and most importantly), confirm your spelling. When you register and purchase a domain name, you are purchasing that exact domain name with that exact spelling. If you make a mistake, you can cancel a domain within 48 hours of purchase, but it’s best to be extra careful from the start to avoid the headache of a misspelled domain altogether.

But what if the domain name I want to use is not available?

New York City-based photographer Matt shares his passion for abandoned architecture at his blog, After the Final Curtain. Matt’s blog on America’s grand, bygone theaters is focused and specific, but the evocative name attracts more than just people who visit for his images of ruins. If you have been to the theater, or have watched film or TV scenes set on a stage, the closed curtain at the end of a performance is a familiar motif. His blog name not only reflects his content — it’s memorable, too.

But when Matt began the process of choosing a domain name, his first choice wasn’t available. He wanted his name to have a theatrical term in the title, but the first domain name he wanted, “Curtain Call,” was already taken. A friend then suggested “Final Curtain,” and he added the rest.

So, just because your blog’s current address is mysite.wordpress.com doesn’t mean the domain mysite.com (or mysite.org, mysite.net, or mysite.me) will be available. Check to see if your domain name is taken.

Curious to hear how other WordPress.com bloggers chose their domain names? We also talked to Sarah at Where’s My Toothbrush? and C.J.’s Mom at Raising My Rainbow about how their names came about — head on over to their Q&A on The Daily PostChoosing the Perfect Blog Name: Two WordPressers Share Their Secrets, for more insights and tips on the process.

Ready for your own unique web address?

There are two steps required to use a custom domain, and you can take care of both steps at WordPress.com:

  1. Register the domain to establish your ownership of the domain.
  2. Map the domain to link the domain to your WordPress.com site.

In step one, you register and purchase the address example.com. In step two, you tell example.com to point to your WordPress.com site. Your old address at example.wordpress.com will still work, but we’ll automatically redirect traffic from your old address to your new one.

Registering and mapping a .com, .org, or .net domain through WordPress.com starts at $18.00 per domain and per year, or $25.00 per domain and per year for a .me domain. For $8.00 more, you can make the domain registration private.

You can also use a domain you’ve registered elsewhere (through a site like GoDaddy or Network Solutions) with your site here at WordPress.com. Mapping a domain you’ve registered elsewhere costs $13.00 per domain, per year.

For more details, read our Domains page on our support site.

When you’re ready to purchase, visit our Custom Domains upgrade page in our WordPress.com Store and click Get a Domain to get started.

If you’re looking to supercharge your blog in one step and purchase all of our upgrades at once — a custom domain, HD video uploading, font and color customization, no ads, and extra storage space — take a peek at our Pro Bundle upgrade.



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67. Vintage Ayres {2007}: The Heart of It All

I’m smiling at the phrase Vintage Ayres. It’s a little bit of a smirk because, really, am I old enough to qualify as vintage? Maybe not. But definitely so in blog years. I… Read More

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68. Introducing Anassa Publications, LLC


I have been a busy little writer and have now added publisher to my growing list of titles. I am the proud co-founder of Anassa Publications, LLC!
It all started with a desire to give the Rocky Mountain Women Writers the opportunity to become published in a compilation. I wanted to give back to the hard-working, dedicated writers who make an effort to help our fellow members and writing community. The idea to put together a collection for the RMWW had been brewing for years, I just wasn’t sure exactly how to piece it all together.
After self-publishing a book for my son, I was inspired to go ahead and begin with the process of creating an anthology that would showcase the works of the Rocky Mountain Women Writers. I teamed up with my good friend, fellow author and RMWW member,Diana Dolan, and together we made it happen!
Diana and I had a vision for a company that would help communities thrive and give writers an authentic publication experience  - thus, Anassa Publications, LLC was born!
We are currently accepting submissions for our first project titled,  Anything Prose…and Poetry, too!an anthology that will give special recognition to the Rocky Mountain Women Writers. If you are interested in contributing a story, (or two!), please check out our SUBMISSION GUIDELINES.
The submission deadline for theAnything Prose anthology is September 30th. I hope that you’ll consider sharing your stories with us!
Be sure to check out our website www.AnassaPublications.com, as we will be announcing exciting news and projects in the coming months.
Happy Writing!


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69. Nonfiction for Kids

If you write nonfiction, you'll want to join the Yahoo group, NF for Kids. 

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/NFforKids/

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70. art camp



Here's a peek at yesterdays "shadow play" art camp


first articulated movable puppets

an interpretation of Ann Wood's horses

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71. Flower Mandalas



This is from day two of 'Mirrors and Mandala's". We spent the first day working on mirror symmetry, and moved on to rotational symmetry yesterday. Making flower Mandalas (in traditional groups of four) takes a lot of negotiation and compromise, as well as a good eye for color. Bravo!
Today we will be doing some print making and making our own kaleidoscopes.

raw material

petals sorted by size and color


final mandala 1

mandala 2

mandala 3

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72. morning news





Clemson, and The Arts Center were on the morning news (again) this morning.
 It started at 5am (yes, I know) but it was fun to see a different crowd, and hang out downtown. 
We organized the chalk paint street painting and brought out the head of "Arty" from the christmas parade. I'm already thinking about ideas for our entry in this years holiday parade. Giant stars maybe.........?

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73. Las Comadres conference in October

I’ll be at this conference, and hope you can make it as well! Info below is from the press release:

Las Comadres to Host October Conference for Latino Writers

Day-Long Event to Offer Experts, Insight into Publishing Industry Opportunities

New York, NY; July 26, 2012 – Las Comadres Para Las Americas, the national Latina organization, will present a day-long conference on October 6 for Latino writers seeking more access into the publishing industry.

Comadres and Compadres Writers Conference will be held at Medgar Evers College, CUNY, Brooklyn. Joining La Comadres as collaborators are the National Black Writers Conference, the Center for Black Literature, the Foreign Language Department and the Latino American Association, Full Circle Literary, Marcela Landres, and Scholastic, with support from the Association of American Publishers.

Through the workshops, panels and other sessions, writers will gain an insider’s perspective into how to best navigate the challenges and opportunities of the industry.
A highlight of the day will be a full schedule of one-on-one meetings for writers with agents and editors. Participants currently include Johanna Castillo, Vice President & Senior Editor/Atria, Simon & Schuster: Jaime de Pablos, Director/Vintage Español, Knopf Doubleday Group; Adriana Dominguez, Agent/Full Circle Literary; Mercedes Fernandez, Assistant Editor/Dafina Books, Kensington Publishing; Sulay Hernandez, Editor/Other Press; Cheryl Klein, Executive Editor/Arthur A. Levine Books; Selina L. McLemore, Senior Editor/Grand Central Publishing; Christina Morgan, Editor/Harcourt Houghton Mifflin; Lukas Ortiz, Managing Director/Philip G. Spitzer Literary Agency, Inc.; Diane Stockwell, Founder/Globo Libros Literary Management; and Stacy Whitman, Founder and Editorial Director/Tu Books.
Scheduled panels will examine magazines and literary journals, genres, poetry, children’s/young adult writing, fiction, non-fiction, publicity and self-publishing. There will also be a session for authors to pitch their work and get instant feedback as well as an agents/editors panel.

Keynote speaker is author and television personality Sonia Manzano. Having originated the role of “Maria” on Sesame Street, Manzano wrote two children’s books, No Dogs Allowed (Simon and Schuster, 2004) and A Box Full of Kittens (Simon and Schuster, 2007), and will have her first YA novel, The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano, published by Scholastic in Fall 2012.

Registration for writers and vendors is now open for the conference.

Las Comadres is a nationwide grassroots-based group of Latinas launched informally in 2000 in Austin, TX. The national networks, created in 2003, have grown to over 100 US cities. Its 15,000 strong membership keeps Latinas connected via email networks, teleconferences, and monthly potluck events in individual cities. In conjunction with the Association of American Publishers, it sponsors a national book club promoting the work of Latino authors and encouraging literacy. The National Latino Book Club is currently celebrating its fourth year

Originally published at Stacy Whitman's Grimoire. You can comment here or there.

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74. Freshly Pressed: Editors’ Picks for August 2012

In August, WordPress.com bloggers hit us with their best: Smart takes on the month’s biggest stories. Thoughtful musings on culture. Photographs and art that bring the world to life.

The following ten picks represent what Freshly Pressed is all about: original content that engages readers, timely posts that contribute to a larger discussion, and personal writing that resonates with others. Enjoy!

Glimpses of Iran

This photo essay documents quiet, unexpected moments of daily life in Iran and captures the delicious details and textures of Yzad and elsewhere. The collection of six photographs illustrates quality over quantity—each image is strong, well-composed, and tells its own story.

Frankie V. Debra, Roe V. Wade: Patricia Heaton’s Two Famous Moms, and Can You Still Be a Feminist If You’re Anti-Abortion?

“But I’m still happy to be in their gang, because we don’t all have to think the same.”

This post examines hot-button topics—abortion and feminism—through an original and nuanced discussion of actress Patricia Heaton. We are impressed with the blogger’s honesty, respectful but confident voice, and willingness to ask questions; these elements encourage readers to comment and join the discussion.

Thinking of New Orleans

“Why do we turn to these stories? For shelter. We need an explanation, because “It happened for no reason at all” is somehow too horrifying to face.”

In this reflection on Hurricane Katrina, writer/photographer Kim weaves thoughts on Louisiana, loss, and the film Beasts of the Southern Wild. We especially like her musings on how we create stories to cope, and to make sense of why things happen in the world. Her gallery of evocative images of New Orleans complements the piece.

Armstrong Is Probably Guilty, But It Is Definitely Meaningless

“This whole long, sordid episode ends in two competing realities. The first is that Armstrong – despite his protests – likely is guilty. The second is that doesn’t matter if he is.”

After introducing the story on Lance Armstrong’s battle with the US Anti-Doping Agency, Mark presents an opinionated yet fair take on doping in cycling (and touches on other sports, too). He admits he is not an Armstrong fan, which further illustrates a balanced approach to the issue.

Authors Behaving Badly: The Seedy Underbelly of Reviewing

“As a writer, I’m not comfortable with the idea of someone writing a review of my book if they haven’t read it. I’m not writing so people can pat me on the back, I’m writing because I have stories I want people to read.”

Here, Jo offers her thoughts on an interesting publishing story: an entrepreneur who set up a business in which authors pay him to write a positive review. Solidly written and thorough, the post leads to a discussion for both writers and readers alike. We like how she asks questions at the end to help launch a healthy debate.

Republican Todd Akin: Don’t Worry, You Won’t Get Pregnant From Rape

“The point is, this is a decision that most deeply affects the victims of rape; those victims have to live with the outcomes of that decision as well as the effects of the crime itself; and those women should be allowed to make the decision that is best for them.”

August saw no lull in controversy in the news, and WordPress.com bloggers confronted these issues head on. A post tackling a hot-button issue can become polarized—even angry—but this take on Todd Akin’s statement on rape is at once passionate and professional.

Lie to Me: Five Lies I’m Proud of Telling My Kids

“Actually, Timmy, there’s a really, really good chance that you won’t be an astronaut. Considering your complete inability to understand long division, you’re probably going to sell cars when you grow up. Now let’s talk about Santa Claus.”

Readers enjoyed this tongue-in-cheek list about the lies one father tells his kids. Whether or not you are a parent, you can relate to this lighthearted post, and will likely recall your own childhood and wonder: did my parents lie to me?!

Rethinking Sleeping Beauty

“Before she pricks her finger, she hesitates, her hand outstretched, but then at Maleficent’s urging, she finally touches the spindle. I’ve always preferred to think that she did it on purpose, not just because she was under a spell. I like to see it as an act of rebellion, a refusal to go from Briar Rose to Aurora quite yet.”

We like how Melissa uses a childhood tale to express ideas about coming of age. Musings are particularly resonant when a writer takes something familiar—such as the story of Sleeping Beauty—to illustrate observations on a more personal level. As a result, she engages with her readers, who have made their own connections through her insights.

When Saturday Mornings Meant Something

Cartoons – the word, the concept, the feeling, the religion — is dead.  Dead and obsolete like the Gothic-arched mouse hole where Jerry took refuge.  Drowned in a sea of endless animation.”

This homage to old-school Saturday morning cartoons left readers swimming in a sea of nostalgia. He-Man! Dungeons and Dragons! The shows of Hanna-Barbera! The sharp and entertaining commentary and palpable passion for the subject contribute to this well-received post.

For Neil.

“Rest in peace other Neil.”

We’re always on the lookout for original artwork: illustrations, paintings, sketches, and more. Shortly after learning of Neil Armstrong’s death, (another) Neil shared an illustration celebrating the famed astronaut. The piece is just as much about Armstrong as it is about the artist himself, and this makes the post timely as well as touching.

What do you think about these selections? Were there other Freshly Pressed posts that stood out this month?

If you’re looking for more, peep the latest posts on Freshly Pressed; check out our writing challenges, photo challenges, and other blogging tips and inspiration at the Daily Post; visit our Recommended Blogs; and browse the most popular topics in the reader.

For editorial guidelines for Freshly Pressed, read: So You Want To Be Freshly Pressed.


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75. Blogger Award

Recently my blogging buddy, Cecelia Lester, passed along to me and a few other bloggers the Liebster Award. I am such a forget ninny sometimes that I forgot the thank her for that. So, A BIG THANK YOU! to Cecelia for honoring me as one of her favorite bloggers. You can read Cecelia's beautiful, sincere devotionals at her blog, Following My King. Her heartfelt words often reach out across

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