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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: IRA, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 41
1. Creative Writing is Not Hot

Each year for the past nineteen years, the International Reading Association has published a list of What’s Hot and What’s Not in literacy education in their magazine, Reading Today. The list is based on… Continue reading

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2. Stuart Neville 3-for-2 offer

neville3for2banner

 

9780099535348The Twelve

I almost missed reading this book. Published in 2009 it has only just been releases here. I was reluctant to pick it up because “debut thriller of the year” gets thrown around a far bit and I am very skeptical. However in the case of THE TWELVE it is not marketing or publicity that has come up with the statement because it is more than true. This is not just one of the best thriller debuts of the last ten years; it is one of the best thrillers of the last ten years full stop.

THE TWELVE blends together seamlessly some of my favourite elements of crime fiction. It is political (without choosing sides), it is violent, it has heart and it is wickedly funny in places. It also reminds me of some of my favourite authors while being completely original. While reading the book Adrian McKinty, Ken Bruen and the DEXTER series all came to mind as well as the film THE DEPARTED and the TV series RESCUE ME.

The main character of the book is Gerry Fegan, an ex-IRA hit man who has just done a 9 and a half year stretch in Maze prison. Prison has changed him but not like you would think. Gerry is haunted by the crimes he has committed, literally. He is followed by twelve ghosts of people he has killed. He can see, hear and feel the ghosts all the time and they will not let him sleep. Even whiskey doesn’t help and Gerry is seen as a crazy drunk who talk to himself all day.

Gerry tries confessing to one of his victim’s relatives in an effort to free himself from these unwanted spirits but that only get him into trouble with his old bosses. But that’s when he finds out what his ghost want him to do, they want revenge. As Gerry counts down his ghosts, his actions threaten to tear apart Northern Ireland’s new found peace. This means he must be stopped, making this one hell of an explosive thriller.

Collusion

9780099535355OK so I thought THE TWELVE was freakin’ awesome but COLLUSION takes it up another notch. The now ghost-less (but still haunted) Gerry Fegan has escaped Northern Ireland to New York but his trail of destruction and its consequences still reverberates around Belfast. Interestingly Gerry takes a backseat in this book.  We’re introduced to Detective Inspector Jack Lennon (who happens to be the briefly mentioned ex-girlfriend of one of THE TWELVE’s main characters) and we meet an even more twisted hitman known as The Traveller.

I love when a series follows a non- linear path and at first you think COLLUSION is a Jack Lennon novel. But one of Lennon’s cases has links to what happened in THE TWELVE and when he learns his ex-girlfriend and estranged daughter were somehow involved he is determined to find out what happened. When those that survived THE TWELVE start turning up dead Lennon is put on a collision course with The Traveller who has been cleaning up loose ends.

The action is again incredible and the twists are devilish. With a title like COLLUSION you have no idea which side anyone is really on. All the elements that made THE TWELVE great are still here and I am still trying to catch my breath after the ending. Seriously if you love action/thrillers you HAVE to read Stuart Neville.

Stolen Souls

9781846554520Stuart Neville is fast becoming one of my favourite crime writers. THE TWELVE blew me away and COLLUSION was an excellent follow-up and now he continues the brilliance with STOLEN SOULS.

Jack Lennon again features and he is trying to balance the pieces if his life that are left in the aftermath of the last book. But the central character is Galya, an illegal immigrant from The Ukraine who has been deceived into coming to Ireland for work but the job she has been ‘sold’ into is not what she signed up for.

STOLEN SOULS is in essence a chase novel. The book opens with Galya having just killed a ‘client’. Unfortunately the ‘client’ is the brother of a very important and ruthless man. She must now out run his revenge but ends up jumping out of the fry pan into a very vicious fire.

Meanwhile Jack is left to clean up the trail of destruction and try and figure out what is going on. Neville again mixes up unpredictable action with both flawed and despicable characters. Get on the Stuart Neville bandwagon now because this guy is going to be huge.

Grab all three books for $35.98 (rrp $19.95 each)

and don’t miss the new book in the series, The Final Silence out July 17

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3. International Reading Association: Favorite 2012 Nonfiction and Chapter Books

Couldn't resist posting this review author Lissa Price just shared with me. I've highlighted my favorite parts -- just because I can! Love it when someone truly understands what I've tried to do with a character and story.

Rose, Caroline Starr. (2012). May B. New York: Random House/Schwartz & Wade.

May BIn this novel in verse, because of her family’s financial needs, twelve-year-old May Betterly is sent to work for a newlywed couple on the Kansas frontier. But the Oblingers are having trouble from the start. Try as he might, Mr. Oblinger just can't please his bride who longs for the civilized life in Ohio. When she flees, he, in turn, goes after her but doesn't return. May is left to fend for herself with a limited amount of food and no one nearby to help. At first conscientious about doing her chores, May becomes less and less concerned with them until a blizzard traps her inside the house. The likeable, sympathetic May contends with hunger, boredom, a hungry wolf, and her own personal demons about her inability to read, having been encouraged by one teacher and shamed by another. When she finally makes her way out of the soddy, she knows that she can do anything and has become determined to live—or die—on her own terms. The book’s poetic lines evoke a strong sense of place, allowing readers to savor the prairie’s beauty and feel the bitter cold of the ever-present snow while pausing to admire the pioneer spirit of those who moved westward. By the time May finally opens that can of peaches she's been saving for so long, she knows that she has earned their sweetness. Readers will be forced to put themselves in May’s shoes while imagining what they would have done in her situation.
- Barbara A. Ward, Washington State University Pullman

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4. Registration Opened for International Reading Associatin Convention

Get Ready, Get Set, Get REGISTERED!

Registration for IRA’s 58th Annual Convention is officially open!

Join us in San Antonio, Texas from April 19-22, 2013 for four days of high-quality professional learning. Your registration grants you access to more than 500 sessions, including IRA’s widely popular Teaching Edge series. (Additional registration is required for the preconference Institutes on April 19th.)

You’ll also get:

  • Admission to General Session speakers Rick Riordan, LeVar Burton, Debbie Silver (just added!), and Mo Willems
  • Entrance to the Exhibit Hall—and the chance to get books signed by your favorite authors
  • The opportunity to network with more than 10,000 reading professionals from across the globe

Don’t delay—register NOW to get the best rates. And, because housing is available on a first-come basis, early registration means you’re more likely to get your top choice.

REGISTER TODAY!


WIN A NEW TABLET AND IRA E-BOOKS – JUST BY REGISTERING!

Mention promotional code AC13106* when you register on or before February 15, 2013 and you’ll be automatically entered to win a tablet! Then, outfit your new gadget with an assortment of IRA’s bestselling e-books, courtesy of a generous Amazon.com gift card.

Just another reason to REGISTER NOW!

*Prize package subject to change. Anyone who registers on or before February 15, 2013, 11:59 PM PST will be automatically entered to win. One winner will be notified by March 1, 2013.


Filed under: Opportunities, professional development Tagged: convention, IRA

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5. Nominate Your Favorite 2012 Book

Several months ago, the Pirate Tree Blog posted the 2012 Notable Books for a Global Society. As is often the case, while looking for something else, I came across the posting again. I looked over the list and wanted to grab several of them (all of them!) a blanket, and a cup of tea and just hide out! Take a look at this fabulous list! 

The Notable Books for a Global Society is compiled by the Children’s Literature and Reading Special Interest Group of the International Reading Association. Their mission is to “promote the educational use of children’s books by focusing on recently published children’s  literature, supportive professional books, issues relative to children’s literature, and current research findings.”

Selection and Criteria
Annually, a committee of the Children’s Literature and Reading Special Interest Group (CL/R SIG) of the International Reading Association selects 25 outstanding trade books for enhancing student understanding of people and cultures throughout the world. The committee reviews books representing all genres intended for students K-12. Information on the NBGS project, criteria for selection, committee roster, and lists of previously selected books are available on the SIG website.

Criteria
To be eligible for selection, a trade book must have been published in the United States for the first time during the year preceding a list’s publication. For example, to be eligible for the 2013 list, a book must have been published in the United States for the first time during 2012.

 Nominations are currently being accepted. Be ready to state your reason for nomination, including a multicultural or global component.

 


Filed under: Me Being Me Tagged: IRA, NBGS, Pirate Tree

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6. IRA 2012 Recap

I've just come home from my first International Reading Association convention, an annual event that draws teachers, librarians, and other bookish types to discuss literacy and teaching methods. It was a wondrous time!

Uma Krishnaswami, Kimberley Griffiths Little, Carolee Dean, Kersten Hamilton, Carolyn Meyer, Esther Hershenhorn
Lisa Schroeder, Caroline Starr Rose, April Halprin Wayland

On Sunday I was a part of an institute -- an intensive session that lasted from 9-5. The title of our panel was Rekindling the Reading Fire - Using the Story Strategies of Professional Authors to Inspire a Love of Reading and Writing, headed up by Carolee Dean. The session included panels on magical realism; plot, setting and story; verse novels; and historical fiction.

I also had the opportunity to meet fellow Project Mayhem author, Hilary Wagner, and my dear, dear author friend, Sheila O'Connor.
It was lovely to meet Random House Children's Books tireless sales and marketing team and a number of literature-loving educators as well as dozens of other authors I'd up to this point only known on-line or through their books.

My only regret is not having more pictures to share!

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7. Reading Aloud Builds Better Writers

I’m consulting in a local school today where I’ve been working with the staff since August rolling-out interactive read aloud.  Every two months the interactive read aloud text set reflects a particular social issue.  Today we’re preparing for the voice/silence text set, which teachers will begin in April.   Each teacher, in grades K – [...]

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8. Reading Aloud Builds Better Writers

I’m consulting in a local school today where I’ve been working with the staff since August rolling-out interactive read aloud.  Every two months the interactive read aloud text set reflects a particular social issue.  Today we’re preparing for the voice/silence text set, which teachers will begin in April.   Each teacher, in grades K – [...]

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9. STATEMENT IN OPPOSITION TO BOOK CENSORSHIP IN THE TUCSON UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT

 [Note: For a chronological and comprehensive list of links to AICL's coverage of the shut-down of the Mexican American Studies Department at Tucson Unified School District, go here. To go right to information about the National Mexican American Studies Teach-in, go here.]


________________________________________


At 8:00 AM, Mountain Standard Time, teachers who taught in the Mexican American Studies Department held a press conference where they read aloud the statement below. It is signed by national educational associations such as the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) and the International Reading Association (IRA):



STATEMENT IN OPPOSITION TO BOOK CENSORSHIP
IN THE TUCSON UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT
January 30, 2012

The undersigned organizations are committed toprotecting free speech and intellectual freedom. We write to express our deepconcern about the removal of books used in the Mexican-American Studies Programin the Tucson Unified School District. This occurred in response to adetermination by Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthalthat the program “contained content promoting resentment toward a race or classof people” and that “materials repeatedly reference white people as being‘oppressors….’ in violation of state law.” The books have been boxed up and putin storage; their fate and that of the program remain in limbo.

The First Amendment is grounded on the fundamentalrule that government officials, including public school administrators, may notsuppress “an idea simply because society finds the idea itself offensive ordisagreeable.” School officials have a great deal of authority and discretionto determine the curriculum, the subject of courses, and even methods ofinstruction. They are restrained only by the constitutional obligation to basetheir decisions on sound educational grounds, and not on ideology or politicalor other personal beliefs. Thus, school officials are free to debate the meritsof any educational program, but that debate does not justify the wholesaleremoval of books, especially when the avowed purpose is to suppress unwelcomeinformation and viewpoints.

School officials have insisted that the bookshaven’t been banned because they are still available in school libraries. It isirrelevant that the books are available in the library – or at the localbookstore. School off

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10. Interactive Charts

Taking Kristi Mraz‘s chart-making course at the July Writing Institute was so helpful to me.  Kristi really got me thinking about having a take away item (made with a post-it note) that you can hand to kids if they need a reminder to do something.  In addition, she encouraged the use of illustrations on charts.  [...]

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11. Poetry Friday -- No Words To Describe

There are no words to describe
what I failed to capture
in 119 photographs


The sky was so blue
The cactus were so surprising and alien
The art was such a contrast


It was 85 degrees and crystal clear on Ash Wednesday
The blooms and bees and hummingbirds were filled with exuberance,
not mourning


I needed sunscreen, a hat,
shade, and water;
the desert did not need me at all




The round up this week is at Mommy's Favorite Children's Books.

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12. President Obama Embraces the Defined Contribution Paradigm

By Edward Zelinsky

Many important decisions are embedded in the federal budget proposed by President Obama. Among these are the President’s embrace of the defined contribution paradigm. That paradigm promotes retirement savings through individual accounts such as IRAs and 401(k) accounts.

The Internal Revenue Code currently provides a savers’ income tax credit for lower income individuals who contribute to IRAs and 401(k) accounts. The Obama budget proposes to expand this credit and make it refundable. In addition, the Obama budget proposes to establish administrative infrastructure in the Department of Labor as the first step toward requiring employers without pension or profit sharing plans to enroll their employees in workplace IRAs.

Together, these two proposals commit the Obama Administration to the existing system of individual accounts as the prime means of encouraging private retirement savings.

Some observers had predicted a retreat from individual accounts in light of the Crash of 2008 and the consequent decline of most participants’ 401(k) and IRA balances. However, the Obama budget indicates that such a retreat is, so far at least, not occurring. Indeed, the Obama budget, if adopted as proposed, commits the federal government even more deeply to the individual accounts of the defined contribution paradigm.

Something similar happened after the fall of Enron. Enron’s demise devastated the 401(k) accounts of many Enron employees who held large quantities of Enron stock in such accounts. Some observers predicted that this debacle would force reconsideration of the individual accounts of the defined contribution paradigm. But, like Holmes’s dog that did not bark in the night, no such reconsideration occurred.

Similarly, the Obama budget signals that, in the wake of the Crash of 2008, the federal government remains committed to individual accounts for retirement savings. President Obama proposes to double our bet on IRAs and 401(k) accounts, both by enriching the tax-subsidy for low income persons who contribute to such accounts and by making such accounts universal in the workplace.

This decision puts President Obama in potential conflict with his allies in the union movement. Today, the last bastions of the traditional defined benefit plan are the unionized work forces of state and local governments. Taxpayers thus find themselves paying taxes for lucrative defined benefit plans for unionized state and local employees. And now the Obama budget makes clear to these taxpayers that their retirement savings future is financing their own 401(k) accounts — even as these taxpayers fund often rich defined benefit pensions for government employees.

President Obama has not embraced President Bush’s rhetoric about an “ownership society.” However, there is in substance great continuity in the retirement savings policies embodied in President Obama’s budget and the prescriptions of the Bush Administration. The Obama budget, by expanding the savers’ income tax credit and moving toward universal IRAs in the workplace, embraces the defined contribution paradigm.


Edward A. Zelinsky is the Morris and Annie Trachman Professor of Law at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law of Yeshiva University. He is the author of The Origins of the Ownership Society: How The Defined Contribution Paradigm Changed America.

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13.

We are at IRA Minneapolis this week. We've got author signings at our Red Brick Learning booth all three days--come by booth 1526 and say hi!

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14. Authors galore

Here are a couple of quick photos from yesterday before I dash out the door.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic The world-renowned Minneapolis Sisters of the Book Shirt showed up in Wintergirls shirts and brought one for me!

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Then Jordan Sonnenblick stopped by to say hello.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic I signed books with Jane Yolen and her son Adam Stemple, and Steve van der Ark.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic And was on an awesome panel with John Green, David Yoo, Adam Sanchez, and Sean Beaudoin.

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15. These Straps Are Cutting Into My Shoulders!


I've spent the last two full days walking around IRA Minneapolis (with about 9,000 teachers). I've gone to quite a few sessions, gotten some books signed, and explored the enormous exhibit hall. I'm tired. It's wonderful! But I'm tired.

I didn't go expecting to pick up books. But when you're surrounded by books, well...you know what a writer does! So after two days, I have about 4 bags full of catalogs, freebie books and ARCs, and books I bought. Not to mention promo items, like posters and buttons (except for the cool Name Your Rock Band wheel poster craft--for the fabulous Blue Lipstick--that I had to abandon--it was thicker stock and just wouldn't stay rolled up).

My feet, back, and shoulders feel like I've been tossed into a rock tumbler and left there for a few days.

So, here's my public vow. When I go to ALA in July, I will not pick up any of the hundreds of exhibitor bags to fill with goodies. I will not. I will not.

Probably.

(Recap of IRA coming next week once I have time to recover!)

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16. Last Day on the Road!

I'm off to the airport to go HOME!!! And this time I get to STAY home for two months!!

::dances around hotel room:::

Here are the final pics from the IRA conference.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Ambassador Scieszka was in the house.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic So was Ashley Bryan.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic And Sharon Draper!

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Who can resist a photo with Skippyjonjones?

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Penguin publicity people in Skippyjonjones regalia.

And the highlight of the day for me.... drum roll

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Katherine Paterson!

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17. Follow the Dialogue

Tomorrow morning in Reading Workshop, I’ll be teaching a lesson with the following teaching point: Readers keep track of who is speaking in a text, regardless of whether or not there are dialogue tags. The reason they do this is so they always know who is speaking. I’m going to be using two passages from The [...]

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18. Adventures at the IRA Convention


That's the International Reading Association, by the way, not the Irish Republican Army nor an Individual Retirement Account, both of which Google thinks I'm interested in. As if I'm part of a violent activist group (I'm a reading fanatic, but not violent) or have the money for retirement. Ha!

Anyway, the big convention was just here in Minneapolis, and I went. Tomorrow I hope to post about what authors can accomplish by attending this huge event, but today, I'll just share pix of the event and some of the authors I heard speak or went to signings.

Here's me and Joyce Sidman:



Click here to see the full album (19 pix).

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19. Heard at IRA


I'm still processing all my notes and such from IRA! Here are a few gems from the author sessions I went to.

Megan McDonald: Her dad threatened to rip out the very last page of any book brought to the dinner table! [As a fellow reader-at-the-table, I admired the seriousness of that threat!]

Elise Broach: The main challenge of Masterpiece was how to make the two characters, a boy and a beetle, communicate and have an equal relationship.

Tracie Vaughn Zimmer: In poetry, "Content should be master over form!"

The art in Steady Hands has some of her belongings photographed in it. Her dad’s welding gloves, lace from her [I think] wedding dress, a key from her grandparents’ home, etc.

On forcing students to revise poetry: "Poetry is short, so revision isn't tragic."

Paul Janeczko (on A Foot in the Mouth: Poems to Speak, Sing and Shout): The editor first suggested a book of poems for kids to memorize. Janeczko said, “I don’t think so.” Ended up with these poems that are fun to say and MAYBE memorize, if you read them enough.

Chris Raschka (at the end of summarizing his artistic method): “And if it doesn’t work, I throw it away and try again.”

Teacher Nicola Turner and poet Joyce Sidman (who both said so many wonderful, useful things about teaching poetry, but I'm no longer sure who said what!): “Poets bring opposites together in a way that makes perfect sense.”

Jordan Sonnenblick: “What boy readers are most looking for is authenticity and story.”

Annie Barrows (on creating realistic chapter book characters): “My 7-year-old daughter wanted a mirror rather than a window.”

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20. 9 THINGS I LOVED ABOUT IRA (A countdown to a reading explosion!)

9. Words, words, words
Being a logophile and lover of books since elementary school, I enjoy being around words and those who like words – readers, writers, critics, fans. And I get jazzed whenever I’m with a group of people who are as concerned and connected with literacy as the IRA crowd. Sitting at one of the convention cafes with a hot chocolate or walking through the exhibit hall, overhearing bytes of conversations about kids and reading and “reading assessment” and “instructional strategies” made me realize at once that I had found my people.

8. Sign Time
On the third day of the conference I had the opportunity to autograph books at the Red Brick Learning booth. Red Brick is the classroom division of Capstone Publishers, so it was a natural fit for me to sign there and meet with those teachers who actually use my books in the classroom. What a thrill to hear about kids getting excited about the Library of Doom, or one of my Superman stories, or even the book I wrote for Picture Window, If You Were A Palindrome. (I always wished I had one of those names that was a palindrome, like Bob or Otto!)



7. The Red Brick booth
The booth looked great! Colorful book covers, eye-popping posters hanging against the black backdrop, and cool videos playing on a monitor.



6. Jon Scieszka
Yes! I was able to meet him – the Ambassador of Books for Boys. He is one of my all-time heroes. A funny, humble, and creative guy who never stops inspiring people to read and to write. And I like his hairstylist. In fact, I think he and I have the same one.


5. The Food.
Just kidding. Although I did share a lunch outdoors with Joan Berge, the president of Capstone Fiction, on one of those glorious spring Minnesota afternoons. Azure sky, puffy clouds, bright sunshine, and a humidity-free 70 degrees. Like a day at the lake, right?

4. Standing Room Only
I co-presented a workshop on graphic novels in the classroom with Dr. Stephen Sargent from Northeastern State University in Oklahoma. Stephan is a brilliant professor of reading and literacy and was a great partner to work with (and had some excellent hand-outs, btw). The two of us had been told to expect between 25 and 30 participants. We had 72! The graphic wave continues to roll!
And I received great feedback on some of our Graphic Revolve retellings, like Swiss Family Robinson. It’s amazing how a even single illustration can provoke so much thought and delight and discussion!
3. Swag
Lots of free posters, banners, books, bookmarks, and giveaways. I had fun handing out our Stone Arch DC Superhero poster and the one on the Power of Reading. The graphic of the four Recon Academy teen heroes looks appropriately high-tech and tough.

2. Invisible Creatures
The one major element of the crowd that you couldn’t see, but definitely made their presence known each day – the kids! That’s why we were all there. To get kids reading better, reading more, and reading for pleasure. There was enough energy and creativity at the Minneapolis IRA conference to explode in a cloud of literacy that would cover the country. I think it’s begun.

1. Blast off!

--Michael Dahl
Editorial Director

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21. Terrorism: How to Respond

Richard English is Professor of Politics at Queen’s University, Belfast, and author of the award-winning books Armed Struggle: The History of the IRA and Irish Freedom: The History of Nationalism in Ireland. He is also a frequent media commentator on terrorism and political violence. His latest book, for OUP, is Terrorism: How to Respond, in which he argues that the post 9/11 War on Terror has been a spectacular failure because politicians have ignored the lessons of the past. Drawing on over twenty years of conversations with terrorists themselves, he offers a practical approach to solving the problem of terrorism.

After the jump is a video of Richard English talking about the book, filmed by Meet the Author.

Click here to view the embedded video.

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22. How should we respond to terrorist violence?

Richard English was born in 1963 in Belfast, where he is Professor of Politics at Queen’s University. He is a frequent media commentator on Irish politics and history, and on terrorism, including work for the BBC, ITN, Sky News, NPR, Newsweek and the Financial Times. His latest book is Terrorism: How to Respond, which draws on over twenty years of conversations with terrorists themselves, and on analysis of a wide range of campaigns - Algeria, Bader Meinhof, The Red Brigade, ETA, Hezbollah, the IRA, and al-Qaeda - to offer both an authoritative, accessible analysis of the problem of terrorism, and a practical approach to solving it. In the original post below, Professor English lays out what he sees as the seven key elements in responding to terrorist violence.

This summer’s fatal terrorist attacks in Afghanistan, Spain and Iraq in their various ways reflect a paradoxical reality: despite the unprecedented efforts made since 9/11 to combat terrorist violence, the terrorist problem remains at least as prevalent as it was before the commencement of the ‘War on Terror’.

Indeed, the situation has in some ways grown worse. The number of terrorist incidents recorded globally in 2001 was 1732. By 2006 – five years into the War on Terror – the figure had risen to 6659. The monthly fatality rate from terrorism in the years immediately preceding 9/11 was 109; in the five years after 9/11, the monthly death-toll from terrorism rose to 167 (and this excluded deaths from attacks in Afghanistan and Iraq – with those included, the monthly death-toll rose to 447).

Of course, there are no easy solutions to the terrorist problem. The longevity of this form of violence is a testament to that. But this long history of terror is, perversely, a tremendous resource as we seek to deal with this global, murderous challenge. For we do, in fact, have a huge body of experience to draw on as we consider how best to deal with the terrorist threat. There are – or should be – a long list of ‘known knowns’ in terms of what we should and should not do about terrorism.

The difficulty tends to be this: each state faces each its own new terrorist crisis in effectively amnesiac fashion. Depressingly for those of us who research the history of terrorism, the same mistakes tend to be made each time, as though the lessons required re-learning. I remember a conversation with a scholar in Washington DC in 2006, in which I suggested that the US might have learned far more than it apparently had about how to deal with terrorism, from historically-informed scrutiny of what other states had been through. ‘Ah, but we have to see our own crisis as exceptional,’ I was told. This is, perhaps, true enough as a depiction of prevalent opinion. But it is no less depressing, and damaging, for that.

In 2003 I published a history of the IRA. At that time, the IRA was in the process of leaving history’s stage just as the post-9/11 crisis meant that terrorism itself was becoming a global preoccupation as never before. So it seemed worthwhile to try to set out the lessons of history – Irish, but also drawn from other settings – in a systematic and accessible way, to try to address the problem of what we should do when the next terrorist crisis strikes.

My argument as a result of that process is that we can only effectively respond to terrorism if we learn the lessons of terrorism’s long history, but that we can only learn those lessons if we adopt a proper means of explaining terrorism, and that we can only explain it if we are honest and precise about exactly what terrorism is in the first place. So, what is terrorism? Why do people resort to terror? What can we learn from terrorism past? How should we respond?

The seven key elements in a response to terrorist violence, as I see them, are:

First, learn to live with it. Politicians have all too often tried to give the impression of a resolve to uproot terrorism altogether, which is self-defeating and unrealistic. Individual terrorist campaigns will come to an end, terrorism itself will not, and our best approach is to minimize and contain it.

Second, where possible, address the root causes and problems which generate awful terrorist violence. This will not always be possible (neither the goals of the Baader-Meinhof group nor of Osama bin Laden could be delivered). But there are moments in history when effective compromise can be reached, normally after terrorist groups themselves recognize that their violence is not bringing anticipated victory, and that a turn to more conventional politics makes sense.

Third, avoid an over-militarization of response. There is an understandable temptation after terrorist atrocities to respond with military muscle, and this can have beneficial effects. It has also, on very many historical occasions, back-fired, with rough-handed military action and occupation stimulating that very terrorism which it was intended to stifle.

Fourth, recognize that high-grade intelligence is the most effective resource in combating terrorist groups. From 1970s Germany to 1990s Northern Ireland there have been many cases where intelligence has decisively aided the constraining of terrorist campaigns.

Fifth, adhere to orthodox legal frameworks and remain wedded to the democratically produced framework of law. All too often the Abu Ghraib pattern has been evident, with the state transgressing the line which distinguishes its own legal activity from illegal brutality: such transgressions tend to strengthen rather than undermine terrorist violence.

Sixth, ensure the coordination of security, financial, technological and other counter-terrorist efforts, both between different agencies of the same state, and between different states allied in the fight against terrorist violence.

Seventh, maintain strong credibility of public response. Any resort to implausible caricatures of one’s enemies will prove counter-productive among that constituency which is potentially supportive of terrorist violence but likely – if presented with credible alternatives – to recognize the futility as well as the appalling bloodiness of terrorist action.

All of the above points were ignored during the post-9/11 response of the War on Terror, and each of these errors has made our current position more difficult.

0 Comments on How should we respond to terrorist violence? as of 8/20/2009 2:48:00 AM
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23. Gail Carson Levine at IRA Conference!

Next week (May 8-11) we’re off to another conference: the International Reading Association Annual Convention in sunny Orlando!  We have a stellar line-up of authors and illustrators – for a complete list of authors and signing times, click here.

One such author is Gail Carson Levine, author of some of the best-known books in children’s literature, such as ELLA ENCHANTED and WRITING MAGIC.  She’ll be featured on a panel called “Engaging Readers K-5″ with Kristin Clark Venuti, Laurie Friedman, and Ethan Long.  The fabulous Kate Messner will be moderating.  If you’ll be at the conference, this panel will be on Tuesday, May 10 from 11:00am-12:00pm.

Gail will also be signing her new book, A TALE OF TWO CASTLES, from 12:30-1:30 after her panel.  In its starred review, Kirkus said that this is a “thoroughly delicious romp” and we couldn’t agree more.  Stop by booth #1220 and say hi to Gail!

We hope to see you in sunny Orlando!

Additional resources:
ELLA ENCHANTED discussion guide
A TALE OF TWO CASTLES book trailer
WRITING MAGIC discussion guide

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24. Dan Gutman’s My Weird Classroom Club

My name is Dan Gutman, and I love teachers and librarians!

Hey, the most amazing thing in the history of the world just happened.  But I’m not going to tell you what it is.   So nah nah nah boo boo on you.

Okay, okay, I’ll tell you.

I had to wait a million hundred years, but HarperCollins just started the My Weird Classroom Club!  It’s a club for classrooms, and it’s about My Weird School, so it has the perfect name.

My Weird Classroom Club is full of teaching guides, activity sheets, puzzles, games, comics, checklists, cards, Mad Libs, and other awesome stuff you can use in your classroom to get your kids excited about reading.*

“WOW!” (that’s “MOM” upside down)  This is the greatest day of my life.  If you ask me, HarperCollins should get the No Bell Prize.  That’s a prize they give out to people who don’t have bells.

The My Weird Classroom Club is cool.  So don’t be a dumbhead.  Go to www.myweirdclassroomclub.com today and  see it live and in person.

If you don’t, I’ll be so upset that I’ll have to go to Antarctica and live with the penguins.

*It’s gonna sell a lot of books too!  What a scam!

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25. IRA Conference

We’ve just returned from the IRA conference in sunny Orlando!  We’re still getting our feet back under us and assure you that we’ll get back to our regularly scheduled programming soon.  In the meantime, though, here are a couple of highlights from our booth at the conference:

Happy 15th Birthday to the adorable Biscuit!

Attendees received a free My Weird School book when they signed up for Dan Gutman’s My Weird Classroom Club.

Thanks to all the teachers, librarians, and media specialists who made the IRA conference such a great time!

More pictures coming soon…

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