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Life was harsh for the country people who told this story to relieve the cruel reality of their daily existence.
Hansel and Gretel encounter abandonment, fear, hunger, cannibalism, and magic...they are lost in a cruel world of kill or be killed.
The children must rely on their own courage and ingenuity to survive and prevail.
Welcome to the world of the wonder tale.
Wonder Tales before the Grimms
During the reign of Louis XIV, cultural endeavors in all the arts were encouraged and highly regarded in the court of Versailles. Writers, including Moliere, Racine and Marais, were respected and often admired. Ideas were in the air in the salons of Paris and in the court itself.
Marina Warner, edited The Wonder Tales, Six French Stories of Enchantment, introducing the reader to the European birth of the fairy tale and making a case for calling then tales of wonder. Among the writers with stories included are Charles Perrault, Marie-Catherine D'Aulnoy and Henriette- Julie De Murat. Perrault was perhaps the most influential, if one considers the stories (from folk tales) he published under the title, The Tales of Mother Goose. These eight stories included Cinderella, Blue Beard, Little Red Riding hood, and the Sleeping Beauty in the Woods.
Here are excerpts from the Oxford University Press overview of the book...
"Once upon a time, in the Paris of Louis XIV, five ladies and one gentleman-- all of them aristocrats-- seized on the new enthusiasm for "Mother Goose Stories" and decided to write some of them down. Telling stories resourcefully and artfully was a key social grace, and when they recorded these elegant narratives they consciously invented the modern fairy tale as we still know it today."
Heroes and heroines are put to mischievous tests, and their quest for love is confounded when their objects of desire change into beasts or monsters. Still, true understanding and recognition of the person beneath the spell wins in the end, for after wonder comes consolation, and after strange setbacks comes a happy ending. In Wonder Tales, a magical world awaits all who dare to enter."
The illustration of Blue Beard is by Gustav Dore.
Good but Grimm Bedtime Reading
Mary Leland, in theIrish Examiner, has written a most insightful and interesting article on folktales and myths and the life and times of the Brothers Grimm. She also writes about Jack Zipes and the significance of his recent translation of the original version of Children's and Household Talesby the Brothers Grimm.
Here is an excerpt from the beginning of her excellent article:
"Many readers may argue with the poet Schiller’s assertion that ‘Deeper meaning resides in the fair tales told to me in my childhood that in the truth that is taught by life.’ Even so, perhaps those same readers will admit that the belief, quoted in Bruno Bettelheim’s master-work ‘The Uses of Enchantment’ (1976) has some validity.
They will certainly do so if they acknowledge the staying power of the fairytales told or read to them in childhood, and if they remember that strange hinterland in which mystery, search, loss, redemption and triumph still bring some imaginative consolation to the perceived injustices of the very young.
The fact is, as Jack Zipes discusses in his fascinating anthology, fairy tales incorporate the truth that is taught by life...."
The illustration of the Elves and the Shoemaker is by George Cruickshank.
The Grimm's Wonder Tales Sweep England in the Nineteenth Century
David Blamires, in a very comprehensive and rather scholarly article for Open Book Publishers, details the impact on readers in England of the Edgar Taylor translation (1823) of the Grimm's original Childrens and Household Tales. The article provides both overview and details of the English versions throughout the 18th Century. Blamires credits the illustrations by George Cruikshank as being very important to to wide popular acceptance.
"Without a shadow of doubt the single most important German contribution to world literature is the collection of traditional tales made by the Brothers Grimm and first published in two small volumes in 1812-15. It outshines Goethe’s Faust and such twentieth-century classics as Mann’s Death in Venice or Kafka’s The Trial by virtue of an infinitely greater readership. Not only have the tales been translated in whole or in part into virtually every major language in the world, but they have generated countless new editions and adaptations and become the cornerstone of the study of folktales not only in Germany, but throughout the world...
When Edgar Taylor made the first translation of the Grimms into English as German Popular Stories, translated from the Kinder und Haus Märchen, collected by M.M. Grimm, from oral tradition (London: C. Baldwyn, 1823), the fairytale as a genre was very much in the grip of the French. Of course, such truly English fairytales as ’Jack the Giant-killer’, ’Whittington and his Cat’, ’Tom Hickathrift’, ’Tom Thumb’ and ’Jack and the Beanstalk’ had circulated in chapbooks, but English tales were not systematically collected until later. It was the fairytales of Charles Perrault, Madame d’Aulnoy and Madame Leprince de Beaumont that dominated the scene..." The illustrations of Rapunzel and Cinderella are by George Cruickshank.
Born Without A Tail Returns
The enhanced second edition of Born Without A Tale, by C.A. Wulff will be published later this month by Barking Planet Productions. The book is a heartwarming life journey memoir by of Wulff's never ending rescues, healings, and adventures with a melange of dogs and cats.
Here's a description of the first edition from Amazon:
When your home has a revolving door for abused and abandoned animals, keeping pets takes on a whole new dimension! Sometimes hilarious, sometimes heart-rending, Born Without a Tail chronicles the true-life adventures of two animal rescuers living with an ever-changing house full of pets. The author takes us on a journey from childhood through adulthood, sharing tales, (mis)adventures and insights garnered from a lifetime of encounters with a menagerie of twenty remarkable animals.--
And here is an abridged sample of a review...there are many more on Amazon :
"I can't say too much about this book, it's more than a 'dog book' it's a people, animals, life book. I was hooked from the first page and read it straight through... The writer has a great way of drawing you in, making you at home in her world. Anyone who's ever had a heart dog, a misfit cat, ever been touched by the love of an animal should enjoy this book. It's a keeper." -- Bookpleasures.com
Lost Wonders Found In An Immersive Theatrical Experience
Imagine walking into a warehouse converted into an environment of wonder where you find clairvoyant ravens, a runaway princess, and elves with magic powers. I discovered all of this is happening in London when I read a recent post by Kristenin her Tales of Faerieblog. Here is an excerpt...
Reviewers seem overall very impressed with the play, especially the format. Instead of an audience sitting in chairs in an auditorium, they follow the characters through a large warehouse with different sections set up as each fairy tale. Props to the creators of this play for not only staying faithful to the Grimm fairy tales, but introducing audiences to lesser known tales, such as "Faithful Johannes" and "The Three Little Men in the Woods" (which seems to be the audience favorite)."
In the words of Philip Wilson (Director & Adapter) of this theater piece:
"I love the fact that, in German, these are known as 'wonder tales' rather than the more twee term 'fairy tales': and so audiences coming to the Bargehouse will find themselves plunged into a parallel universein which extraordinary adventures happen - and the darker side of these stories will come to light..."
Paws Giving Independence (PGI) is a multi-faceted, grass roots organization, located in Peoria, Illinois, that does wonderful work in providing service dogs for people with disabilities. Their dogs serve people ranging from the Jesse Brown Veteran's Hospital in Chicago to the Peoria Children's Home Youth Farm.
The photo on the left is of Monty, who recently had his first day of school with his new friend, the young girl in the photo. They are both in fourth grade. Monty now lives with her in her home, and they go everywhere, including the school bus, together.
Monty was trained by a Bradley University student as part of the Wags for Mags program, initiated by Paws Giving Independence (photo on the right).This ongoing program of student volunteers works directly with people and training the dogs for service. Anyone with a disability can apply for a PGI service dog. Saturday, June 6, 2015, is the day for PGI's Running With The Dogs Day.
Dogs As Healers in the Planet Of The Dogs Series
In the first book in the Planet Of The Dogs we are introduced to Bella, the healer lady of Green Valley. And it is through Bella that people have their first experience with dogs as healers...the first Therapy Dogs. Here is an excerpt...
"The next morning, just as daylight brightened their home, Tomas and his family had another visitor, Bella, the healer lady. Bella helped the people of Green Valley when they were having babies, or when they were sick. She had a large garden of flowers and herbs that she used when healing people. All the people in Lake Village, including Omeg, liked her and respected her. Bella had been dreaming of the dogs and understood the reason they had come to Planet Earth.
Before Bella reached the house, Robbie and Buddy, who now slept in the barn, sensed her arrival and ran up the road to greet her. The family was happy to see her and to find that she welcomed the dogs. They were surprised that Bella was so comfortable with Buddy, who lay at her feet while she sat at the table drinking a refreshing cup of mint tea. Bella had an even bigger surprise for everyone. She said, “From my dreams, I have learned that the dogs can help me in my work. I know they have the power of love and the power to help people heal,” she said. Tomas and Sara looked at her in amazement. Daisy and Bean were not so surprised. Then Bella said, “I want to take the little dog to visit Delia, the sad one...”
For sample chaptersfrom Planet Of The Dogs, Castle In The Mist, and Snow Valley Heroes, A Christmas Tale -- and more information about all of our Barking Planet books -- visit our Planet Of The Dogs website.
Free copies of the Planet of The Dogs book series for therapy dog organizations, individual therapy dog owners, and librarians and teachers with therapy reading dog programs...simply send us an email at email@example.com.
"In PLANET OF THE DOGS, Robert McCarty weaves an enchanting story that will delight the young reader as well as the young reader's parents or grandparents. Parents and grandparents should be forewarned, however, that their young readers will be pleading with them unrlentingly for a visit to Green Valley." Warner V. Slack MD, Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Father, Grandfather ..............................
All Barking Planet Productions Books are available on the internet at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and other booksellers -- as well as your local independent bookstore.
LitWorld and World Read Aloud Day
LitWorld brings literacy, reading, books, and empowerment to disadvantaged children.
LitWorld celebrated their annual World Read Aloud Dayon March 5th.
"World Read Aloud Day allows members of our year-round programs to invite more people into their literacy community and brings LitWorld’s messages to the rest of the world. World Read Aloud Day is now celebrated by over one million people in more than 80 countries and reaches over 31 million people online. The growth of our movement can be attributed in large part to our network of partner organizations and “WRADvocates” – a group of reading advocates and supporters taking action in their communities and on social media."
Visit their website and learn more about their wonderful work: LitWorld
The Wind In The Willows
"But Mole stood still a moment, held in thought. As one wakened suddenly from a beautiful dream, who struggles to recall it, but can recapture nothing but a dim sense of the beauty in it, the beauty! Till that, too, fades away in its turn, and the dreamer bitterly accepts the hard, cold waking and all its penalties."--Kenneth Grahame, The Wind In The Willows; Illustration, E.H. Shephard
I was drawn to read this book.
TheMotherless Child Projectis terrific and timely. The central character, Emily Amber Ross, a 16 year old girl, is bright, interesting, conflicted, and very likable. The fact that she lives in a home where there can be no mention of her mother and her childhood becomes a driving force in her life. The story builds into a suspenseful, compelling, poignant rush of events. The ending is exciting and satisfying. I would think that word of mouth will be significant. In addition to being an excellent, and meaningful read -- The Motherless Child Project would make a great YA crossover movie.
Laura Miller, in Salon, conducted an excellent interview with Maria Tatar on the occasion of the publication of The Turnip Princess. Here is an excerpt:
What do you in particular find so compelling about this form?
"What I really love about fairy tales is that they get us talking about matters that are just so vital to us. I think about the story of Little Red Riding Hood and how originally it was about the predator-prey relationship, and then it becomes a story about innocence and seduction for us. We use that story again and again to work out these very tough issues that we have to face. My hope is that this volume will get people talking about not just the stories and the plot but the underlying issues.
Milan Kundera has this quote in “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” about painting that goes something like: Painting is an intelligible lie on the surface, but underneath is the unintelligible truth. Folktales are lies, they misrepresent things, and they seem so straightforward and so deceptively simple in a way. It’s the unintelligible truth beneath that’s so powerful, and that’s why we keep talking about them. They’re so complicated. We have a cultural compulsion about folklore. We keep retelling the stories because we can never get them right." Illustration by Lancelot Speed
"He now felt glad at having suffered sorrow and trouble, because it enabled him to enjoy so much better all the pleasure and happiness around him;”
“It is only with the heart that one can see clearly, for the most essential things are invisible to the eye.” ― Hans Christian Anderson, The Ugly Duckling
Animated Movies and Inspiration from Tales of Wonder
Last year (2014), the Oscarfor the best animated film -- Frozen -- was "inspired" by Hans Christian Anderson's classic story, The Snow Queen. In addition to substantive story changes, this Disneyfantasy removes the dark fear and danger of the original and substitutes dazzling animation, fast pacing, and romantic gloss. Frozen has a sound track of soaring romantic music. the film also won an Oscar for best song:Let It Go.
Disney achieved their goal. In addition to recognition by their peers in winning the Oscars, the film has been extremely popular and made a great deal of money, grossing $1,274,219,009. That figure represents an incredible number of children and adults experiencing the Disney version of the story.
Here is an excerpt from Anderson'soriginal Snow Queen, which, unlike the film, I find permeated by a sense of the ominous, of danger and events beyond control...
"There stood poor Gerda, without shoes, without gloves, in the midst of cold, dreary, ice-bound Finland. She ran forwards as quickly as she could, when a whole regiment of snow-flakes came round her; they did not, however, fall from the sky, which was quite clear and glittering with the northern lights. The snow-flakes ran along the ground, and the nearer they came to her, the larger they appeared. Gerda remembered how large and beautiful they looked through the burning-glass. But these were really larger, and much more terrible, for they were alive, and were the guards of the Snow Queen... but all were dazzlingly white, and all were living snow-flakes."
Hopefully, many more children, having experienced the Disney version, will be drawn to read the original.
Illustration of the original Snow Queen is by Vilhelm Pedersen.
Little Red Riding Hood...There are many versions and many interpretations in film, TV, theater and illustration of Little Red Riding Hood. The story had a major role last year in Disney'sproduction of Into The Woods, a film inspired by a popular Broadway musical.
On a more modest scale, Cale Atkinson, a talented young Canadian illustrator, created a delightful short animated version (1:37) of Red Riding Hood on Vimeo.
Disney's Big Hero
This year, Big Hero 6 , also a Disney film, has won the Oscar for best animated film. This time , inspiration for the film was inspired by a Marvel comic story. The film is a significant departure from the original. Humor, imagination and outstanding animation bring Hiro, a brilliant teenage robotics inventor, Baymax his robot, and the fantasy future world of San Fransokyo to fun-filled life.
Disney, through the collaboration between Winnie the Pooh director Don Hall, and Chris Williams,director of Bolt, succeeded in adding charm and fun to the original premise; as a result, Big Hero 6 found a large audience worldwide: $546,225,000 (this figure will grow with winning the Oscar).
Cinderellaback and, once again, has a cruel stepmother ... If Kate Blanchett was my cruel stepmother, I would be most grateful if Helena Bonham Carter was my fairy godmother -- especially if Kenneth Branagh was my director. This comment is based on watching the trailer for Cinderella - the next Disney movie.
See for yourself: Cinderella Trailer...and listen to the soaring music.
The advance reviews suggest this Cinderella will please and delight young girls and their families. Personally, I'm still marveling at the movie created by Linda Woolverton, Robert Stromberg, and Angelina Jolie in Malificent, inspired by Sleeping Beauty.
Alison Flood writes about the drop in popularity of JRR Tolkien'sbooks in the UK in an article for the Guardian. The article suggest that movies have been a primary influence in the reading choices of UK students. Perhaps Peter Jackson's Tolkien-based films don't inspire readers. Here are excerpts...
"Annual What Kids Are Reading report sees dystopian fantasy and larger-than-life comedies dominate...
JRR Tolkien’sfantasy novels have been elbowed out of the annual lineup of the most popular books for schoolchildren by a deluge of dark dystopias and urban fantasies.
The seventh What Kids Are Reading report, which analyses the reading habits of over half a million children in over 2,700 UK schools, revealed today that Tolkien’s books have dropped out of the overall most popular list for the first time since the report began six years ago. In previous years, Tolkien’s titles have featured within the chart’s top 10 places, mostly among secondary-school children.
Instead, this year in secondary schools the most popular title was John Green’s tale of a heartbreaking teenage romance, The Fault in Our Stars, followed by two dystopian stories: Suzanne Collins’s Catching Fire, from the Hunger Games series, and Veronica Roth’s Divergent, set in a world where people are classified according to their personality traits...."
Nancy Houser posted an informative article in Way Cool Dogs on Separation Anxiety in Dogs. To people who don't know dogs, this may sound a bit over the top. Dog owners, however, will appreciate this fact-filled article.
"Separation anxiety in dogs is that dreadful moment as they fall apart in front of our eyes as we walk out the door, leaving them … alone. We could be be having a medical emergency, a day of shopping, a day of hard work, an exhausting afternoon at the grocery store … or maybe even a quick trip outside to check our mail. And truthfully, it does not matter. Every situation becomes a period of hell for dogs with separation anxiety, an animal who is a social animal that needs a lot of companionship.
Where and when we go does not matter; what matters is the fact that we are gone and they are not. They are at home, and alone. Mother Teresa once said, “The most terrible poverty is loneliness, and the feeling of being unloved.” She was speaking of humanity, of course, but current dog studies are proving that dogs not only have intelligence but similar emotions and emotional disorders as we do, and should be treated as such.
What is canine separation disorder?
According to dog experts, canine anxiety is divided into three different categories:
Canine separation disorder is considered to be one of the most common causes of behavioral problems in dogs..."
The article continues to analyze of canine anxiety disorders; Read more:Separation Anxiety. The illustration is by Nancy Houser
The Wonders of Reading for Children
An excerpt from Neil Gaimon's impassioned presentation on the importance of libraries, books and reading:
"There are no bad authors for children, that children like and want to read and seek out, because every child is different. They can find the stories they need to, and they bring themselves to stories. A hackneyed, worn-out idea isn't hackneyed and worn out to them. This is the first time the child has encountered it. Do not discourage children from reading because you feel they are reading the wrong thing. Fiction you do not like is a route to other books you may prefer. And not everyone has the same taste as you.
Well-meaning adults can easily destroy a child's love of reading: stop them reading what they enjoy, or give them worthy-but-dull books that you like, the 21st-century equivalents of Victorian "improving" literature. You'll wind up with a generation convinced that reading is uncool and worse, unpleasant..."
This link, Neil Gaimon, will take you to all of this excellent presentation as reprinted in the Guardian. Illustration of Tom Thumb by Alexander Zick.
“We read books to find out who we are. What other people, real or imaginary, do and think and feel... is an essential guide to our understanding of what we ourselves are and may become.” ― Ursula K. Le Guin
How To Greet A Dog...and How Not To Greet A Dog (or cat)....
Unlearn polite human greeting behaviors … greet a dog or cat safely...Here is an excerpt and link to an article by Anna Nirva...
Yesterday at the shelter where I volunteer, a group of new volunteers were being led through the dog kennel room as part of a shelter volunteer orientation tour. I was returning a dog to a kennel after a walk, and several of the volunteers left the group to investigate the dog as I was leading him toward his enclosure. Two well-meaning people quickly approached the young dog straight-on, with hands outstretched, staring directly into the eyes of the shelter dog. Chief, the dog, a young, sensitive coonhound mix, feeling threatened, immediately moved through the open gate to the back of the kennel with his tail tucked and head lowered. “What’s wrong with him?” one of the new volunteers asked.
I had just found the topic for my weekly post...
In the western world, we are taught at an early age to greet new people by approaching them with upright posture, looking directly into their eyes and offering a hand to shake or squeeze. It becomes second nature to us, so as a result, many of us animal lovers greet every living thing–except bugs–using those same “good manners.”...
We must UNLEARN that set of social rules to avoid frightening dogs, cats, and other animals... read it all on SunBear Squad
The illustration from Snow Valley Heroes, A Christmas Tale is by Stella Mustanoja-McCarty
" You think dogs will not be in heaven? I tell you, they will be there long before any of us." -- Robert Louis Stevenson
Top of the morning to you, froggies! I had one heckuva weekend, I tell you. Actually it was just one heckuva Saturday. First there was the opening of the new Bank Street Bookstore location here in NYC. I was one of the local authors in attendance and, as you can see from this photograph taken that morning, I was in good company.
At one point I found myself at a signing table between Deborah Heiligman and Rebecca Stead with Susan Kuklin, Chris Raschka, and Peter Lerangis on either side. I picked up the name tag that Jerry Pinkney had left behind so that I could at least claim a Caldecott by association. Of course that meant I left my own nametag behind and a certain someone did find it later in the day . . .
Then that afternoon, after wolfing down an Upper West Side avocado sandwich that had aspirations for greatness (aspirations that remained unfulfilled) I was at NYPL’s central library for the panel Blurred Lines?: Accuracy and Illustration in Nonfiction. This title of silliness I acknowledge mine. In any case, the line-up was Sophie Blackall, Brian Floca, Mara Rockliff, and her Candlewick editor Nicole Raymond. It was brilliant. There will perhaps be a write-up at some point that I’ll link to. I just wanted to tip my hat to the folks involved. We were slated to go from 2-3 and we pretty much went from 2-4. We could have gone longer.
I’ve often said that small publishers fill the gaps left by their larger brethren. Folktales and fairy tales are often best served in this way. Graphic novels are beginning to go the same route. One type of book that the smaller publishers should really look into, though, is poetry. We really don’t see a lot of it published in a given year, and I’d love to see more. The new Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award may help the cause. It was recently announced and the award is looking for folks who are SCBWI members and that published their books between 2013-2015. It makes us just one step closer to an ALA poetry award. One step.
How did I miss this when it was published? It’s a New Yorker piece entitled Eloise: An Update. It had me at “The absolute first thing I do in the morning is make coffee in the bathroom and check to see what’s on pay-per-view / Then I have to go to the health club to see if they’ve gotten any new kettlebells and then stop at the business center to Google a few foreign swear words.” Thanks to Sharyn November for the link.
Y’all know I worship at the alter of Frances Hardinge and believe her to be one of the greatest living British novelists working today, right? Well, this just in from the interwebs! Specifically, from agent Barry Goldblatt’s Facebook page:
BSFA and Carnegie Medal longlister Frances Hardinge’s debut adult novel THE KNOWLEDGE, about a London cab driver with a special license to travel between multiple alternative Londons, who, after rescuing a long-missing fellow driver, finds herself caught up in a widening conspiracy to control the pathways between worlds, to Navah Wolfe at Saga Press, in a two-book deal, for publication in Summer 2017, by Barry Goldblatt at Barry Goldblatt Literary on behalf of Nancy Miles at Miles Stott Literary Agency (NA).
Mind you, this means I’ll have to read an adult novel now. I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.
Speaking of England, I’m tired of them being cooler than us. For example, did you know that they have a Federation of Children’s Book Groups? A federation! Why don’t we have a federation? I’ll tell you why. Because we haven’t earned it yet. Grrr.
Ooo! A new Spanish language children’s bookstore has just opened up in Los Angeles. And here we can’t get a single bookstore other than Barnes & Noble to open up in the Bronx in English, let alone another language. This is so cool. Methinks publishers looking to expand into the Latino market would do well to court the people working at this shop, if only to find new translatable material.
Fancy fancy dancy dancy Leo Lionni shirts are now being sold by UNIQLO. Some samples:
Roxanne Feldman is one of those women that has been in the business of getting books into the hands of young ‘uns for years and years and years. Online you may recognize her by her username “fairrosa”. Well, now she has a blog of her very own and it’s worth visiting. Called the Fairrosa Cyber Library, it’s the place to go. However – Be Warned. This is not a site to merely dabble in. If you go you must be prepared to sit down and read and read. Her recent posts about diversity make for exciting blogging.
Me Stuff: Because apparently the whole opening of this blog post didn’t count. Now Dan Blank is one of those guys you just hope and pray you’ll meet at some point in your life. He’s the kind of fellow who is infinitely intensely knowledgeable about how one’s career can progress over time and he’s followed my own practically since the birth of my blogging career. If I appeared in Forbes, it was because of Dan. Recently he interviewed me at length and the post is up. It’s called Betsy Bird: From “Invisible” Introvert to Author, Critic, Blogger and Librarian. I feel like that kid in Boyhood with Dan. Really I do.
Fact: The Cotsen Children’s Library of Princeton has been interviewing great authors and illustrators since at least 2010.
Fact: Access to these interviews has always been available, but not through iTunes.
Fact:Now it is. And it’s amazing. Atinuke. Gary Schmidt. Rebecca Stead. Philip Pullman. It’s free, it’s out there, so fill up your iPod like I am right now and go crazy! Thanks to Dana Sheridan for the info!
The other day I linked to a piece on the term “racebent” and how it applies to characters like Hermione in Harry Potter. It’s not really a new idea, though, is it? Folks have always reinterpreted fictional characters in light of their own cultures. This year the publisher Tara Books is releasing The Patua Pinocchio. Now I’ve been a bit Pinocchio obsessed ever since my 3-year-old daughter took Kate McMullen’s version to heart (it was the first chapter book she had the patience to sit through). With that in mind I am VERY interested in this version of the little wooden boy. Very.
Ever been a children’s nonfiction conference? Want to? The 21st Century Children’s Nonfiction Conference has moved to NYC this year and it’s going to be a lot of fun. I’ll be speaking alongside my colleague / partner-in-crime Amie Wright, but there are a host of other speakers and it’s a delightful roster. If ever this has ever been your passion, now’s thWe time to go.
Diverse books for kids don’t sell? To this, Elizabeth Bluemle, a bookseller, points out something so glaringly obvious that I’m surprised nobody else has mentioned it before. I’m sure that someone has, but rarely so succinctly. Good title too: An Overlooked Fallacy About Sales of Diverse Books.
And speaking of diverse books, here’s something that was published last year but that I, in the throes of the whole giving birth thing, missed. The We Need Diverse Books website regularly posted some of the loveliest book recommendations I’ve ever seen. We’ve all seen lists that say things like “Like This? Then Try This!” but rarely do they ever explain why the person would like that book (I’m guilty of this in my own reviews’ readalikes and shall endeavor to be better in the future). On their site, the WNDB folks not only offered diverse readalikes to popular titles, but gave excellent reasons as to why a fan of David Wiesner’s Tuesday might like Bill Thomson’s Chalk. The pairing of Lucy Christopher’s Stolen with Sharon Draper’s Panic is particularly inspired. The covers even match.
I am ever alert to any appropriation of my workplace that might be taking place. Recently I learned that in the Rockettes’ upcoming holiday show there will be this set in one of the numbers. Apparently Patience and Fortitude (the library lions) will be voiced by (the recorded voices of) Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. I kid you not.
Years ago when I worked in the old Donnell Library I looked out the window of the Central Children’s Room to see three camels standing there chewing their cud or whatever it is that camels chew. They were with their trainer, taking a walk before their big number in the Rockettes’ show. The crazy thing was watching the people on the street. The New Yorkers were walking past like the it was the most natural thing in the world. This is because New Yorkers are crazy. When camels strike you as everyday, something has gone wrong with your life.
When actress Lena Dunham started talking in the news about how she wanted to turn Catherine Called Birdy into a film, I was intrigued. And apparently she’s not a fly-by-night children’s book lover either. All her tattoos are children’s literature inspired. Hearing this I figured she’d have the usual suspects. Eloise, sure. And she does have some normal ones like Ferdinand the bull and Olivia. But then she starts talking about her Little Golden Book tat (for Pals). The kicker, however, is the Fair Weather by Richard Peck tattoo. I think I’m safe in saying that this may well be the only Fair Weather tattoo in the history of the world. Now she’s created a documentary on Hilary Knight called It’s Me, Hilary. Some additional info:
Thanks to Michael Patrick Hearn for the link.
And now a lovely little video in tribute of my workplace. I do love that main branch. It would be awfully nice if a video like this was made of each of the branches as well. We have 86+ but boy would it be cool.
The art of the book trailer, and I would call it an art, requires a certain level of absurdity. After all, we’re talking about a video medium celebrating a literary one (by extension, my Video Sunday series is a regular exercise in peculiarity). So when a trailer comes along that is purposefully absurd and sets the correct tone (music, voiceover, visuals, etc.) it is worth highlighting. Behold Night Circus by Etienne Delessert. It works, man. It works.
The photo is of a statue of a woman who could recite (sing) 32,000 verses of poetry from the Kalevala, the Finnish national epic. Her name was Larin Paraske (1833-1904), one of the last Finnish Rune singer-storytellers. During the Finnish renaisance of the nineteenth century , artists, writers, and composers (including Jean Sibelius) listened to her interpretation of the Kalevala. The Kalevala was passed on for centuries by rune singers. In earlier times, there were hundreds of Rune singers in this land of lakes and forests.
Cinderfellas: The Long-Lost Fairy Tales
Here are excerpts from an excellent article about the soon to be published (February 24), The Turnip Princess. The article is a preview from the New Yorker of Franz Xaver von Schönwerth's "Lost" Fairy Tales. It was written by Maria Tatar, who also wrote the English translation of the new book.
..."Schönwerth’s tales have a compositional fierceness and energy rarely seen in stories gathered by the Brothers Grimm or Charles Perrault, collectors who gave us relatively tame versions of “Little Red Riding Hood,” “Snow White,” “Cinderella,” and “Rapunzel.” Schönwerth gives us a harsher dose of reality than most collections. His Cinderella is a woodcutter’s daughter who uses golden slippers to recover her beloved from beyond the moon and the sun. His miller’s daughter wields an ax and uses it to disenchant a prince by chopping off the tail of a gigantic black cat. The stories remain untouched by literary sensibilities. No throat-clearing for Schönwerth, who begins in medias res, with “A princess was ill” or “A prince was lost in the woods,” rather than “Once upon a time…”
This fascinating article continues, describing the cultural shifts that resulted in the softening of these folk stories, and noting many instances where stories that were originally about boys, became stories about girls.
" ...Boy heroes clearly had a hard time surviving the nineteenth-century migration of fairy tales from the communal hearth into the nursery, when oral storytelling traditions, under the pressures of urbanization and industrialization, lost their cross-generational appeal. Once mothers, nannies, and domestics were in charge of telling stories at bedtime; it seems they favored tales with female heroines."
Tatar offers several examples of these changes. Here is her summary of a change in role that struck me as a vivid example, a precurser of the Princess and the Frog...
"Equally charming is the story about Jodl, a boy who overcomes his revulsion to a female frog and, after bathing her, joins her under the covers. In the morning, he awakens to find himself in a sunlit castle with a wondrously beautiful princess..."
Greater Understanding of Fairy Tale Magic
...Here at last is a transformation that promises real change in our understanding of fairy-tale magic, for suddenly we discover that the divide between passive princesses and dragon-slaying heroes may be little more than a figment of the Grimm imagination."
The illustration of Snow White is by Franz Juttner. The illustration of the Prince and the Frog is by Maxfield Parrish.
Tales Told by People
"...Von Schönwerthspent decades asking country folk, labourers and servants about local habits, traditions, customs and history, and putting down on paper what had only been passed on by word of mouth. In 1885, Jacob Grimm said this about him: "Nowhere in the whole of Germany is anyone collecting [folklore] so accurately, thoroughly and with such a sensitive ear." Grimm went so far as to tell King Maximilian II of Bavaria that the only person who could replace him in his and his brother's work was Von Schönwerth."
This excerpt is from an early Guardian article by Victoria Sussens-Messerer reporting on the discovery of a trove of "new Fairy tales" by Franz Xaver von Schönwerth
The illustration of Snow White is by Walter Crane.
The Original Tales of the Brothers Grimm
Jack Zipes has translated into English, for the first time, the original volumes (1812-1815) of folk and fairy tales collected by the Brothers Grimm.
Zipes, a pioneering scholar and prolific author of books relating to folk tales, fairy tales, legends and myths, has also written an insightful and informative article on the Brother's Grimm, their motivation, methodology, and the world in which they lived and worked. The article, The Forgotten Tales of the Brothers Grimm, was published in the The Public Domain Review. Here are excerpts...
"...Turning to the tales of the first edition the first thing a reader might notice is that many of the stories...were deleted in the following editions for various reasons, not because they were poorly told but because they did not meet some of the requirements of the Grimms...
...The second thing a reader might notice about the tales in the first edition is that most of them are shorter and strikingly different than the same tales edited in the later collections. They smack of orality and raw contents. For instance, Rapunzel reveals that she has become impregnated by the prince; Snow White’s mother, not her stepmother, wants to kill the beautiful girl out of envy...
...The literacy of the informants, however, did not diminish the folk essence of the tales that, as the Grimms and other folklorists were to discover, were widespread throughout Europe and told more often than not in dialect. The tales came to the tellers from othertellers, or they read tales, digested them, and made them their own. Indeed, we always make tales our own and then send them off to other tellers with the hope that they will continue to disseminate their stories...
And yet, the Grimms, as collectors, cultivators, editors, translators, and mediators, are to be thanked for endeavoring to do the impossible and to work collectively with numerous people and their sources to keep traditional stories and storytelling alive. In this respect their little known first edition deserves to be rediscovered, for it is a testimony to forgotten voices that are actually deep within us. Hence, the irresistibility of the Grimms’ tales that are really not theirs, but ours. "
The illustration of the wolf about to eat Little Red Riding Hood's grandmother is by Gustav Dore.
Grimm Legacies: The Magic Power of the Grimms' Folk and Fairy TalesbyJack Zipes was published in December, 2014 (Princeton University Press) as a complement to his translation of the Original Fairy Fairy Tales(above). Here is a review:
"In this landmark work of fairy-tale scholarship, Jack Zipes comes to grips with the multiple legacies of the Brothers Grimm in German and Anglo-American cultures. With nuance and inexhaustible insight, Zipes shows how mythmaking, marketing, hype, Americanization, the appeal of collective action, and utopian longing have sustained 'the magic spell' of the Grimms' tales throughout two centuries of use and abuse. Anyone seeking to understand the popularity of the Grimms' fairy tales or their richly diverse reception will do well to begin here."--Donald Haase, editor of The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Folktales and Fairy Tales
The Rune Singer Storyteller begins Poem 1 of the Kalevala...
"It is my desire, it is my wish to set out to sing, to begin to recite, to let a song of our clan glide on, to sing a family lay, The words are melting in my mouth, utterances dropping out, coming to my tongue, being scattered about on my teeth."
Translation by Francis Magoun from the Kalevala poems compiled by Elias Lonnrot (1802-1804)
The illustration is from a painting by Akseli Gallen-Kallela
Paws 4 Autism is "helping families help their kids connect to the world 4 Paws at a time."
The following excerpt is from the Planet Dog Foundation (PDF) which provided a Grant to help Paws 4 Autism fulfill their mission.
"Paws 4 Autism utilizes specially trained dogs to help children with autism and their families. The PDF grant will specifically fund the Canine Assisted Social Skills in Education Program (CASSIE) which provides social and communication skills training for individuals aged 6-14 who have autism...Paws 4 Autism is 100% staffed by volunteers."
World Read Aloud Day is LitWorld's Celebration of reading. In 2014, over 75 countries participated.
This photo is from Nepal
Every year, on the first Wednesday of March, World Read Aloud Day calls global attention to the importance of reading aloud and sharing stories.
"World Read Aloud Daymotivates children, teens, and adults worldwide to celebrate the power of words and creates a community of readers taking action to show the world that the right to literacy belongs to all people. By raising our voices together on this day we show the world’s children that we support their futures: that they have the right to read, to write, and to share their stories.
World Read Aloud Day allows members of our year-round programs to invite more people into their literacy community and brings LitWorld’s messages to the rest of the world. World Read Aloud Day is now celebrated by over one million people in more than 80 countries and reaches over 31 million people online. The growth of our movement can be attributed in large part to our network of partner organizations and “WRADvocates” – a group of reading advocates and supporters taking action in their communities and on social media. "
Here is the link for more information or to be a part of this wonderful event, LitWorld.
The photo on the lower left is from a World Read Aloud Day group in the Phillipines.
"When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me that any talent for abstract, positive thinking. Albert Einstein~(1879-1955)
The International Children's Digital Library (ICDL)
Free Children's Books on the Internet in a huge digital library. Many of them appear to be from another era. From their site...
"The ICDL has been visited by over three million unique visitors since our launch in November, 2002.
The ICDL collection includes 4619 books in 59 languages.
Our users come from 228 different countries.
Free access to high-quality digital books from around the world. Browse by age, genre, book length, character types, or even the color of a book's cover."
SurLaLune , Heidi Anne Heimer's website for Fairy Tales and Folklore is a veritable constellation of fairy tale books, information, annotations, illustrations, and links. Here is a excerpt from an article she posted on folklore, fairy tales and the oral tradition of storytelling.
"...Then there is the whole explanation of how folklore comes from oral storytelling tradition. Be aware that this website and most fairy tale studies deal with literary fairy tales, tales that are once removed from oral tradition, set down on paper by one or more authors. Once the story is written down, it becomes static in that version. It is no longer only folklore, but part of the world's body of literature. In contrast, the beauty of storytelling is how the same story is slightly different each time it is told, even by the same storyteller. Oral fairy tales are elusive creatures that folklorists study, record and try to trace through history. It is an invigorating field of study, but not the one I have pursued on SurLaLune. Note that sometimes the literary fairy tale came first and was then absorbed back into oral tradition, such as with 'Beauty and the Beast.'"...
The illustration of Rapunzel is by George Cruickshank. .....................
The Planet of the Dogs, as the Story Was First Told
Daisy and Bean,who lived on a farm near Lake Falls Village (on planet Earth), found themselves on the Planet of the Dogs. They were the first humans to be there. This was long, ago, before there were dogs on planet Earth.
They had been chosen as emissaries, to help with a transition -- the dogs had decided to come to earth to help people learn again about loyalty, courage and love. And they needed to learn how non-violent solutions could turn back invaders. .
The following excerpt takes place following a huge gathering of the dogs,who had come to hear the decision, by Miss Merrie, Queen of the dogs, and the Dog Council, about helping people on earth....
"Rex, a big shaggy dog -- bigger than Buddy, and very old -- then spoke. 'You must not tell anyone about visiting the Planet of the Dogs. People won’t believe you, and they’ll think that you aren’t telling the truth, or that it was just something you imagined. And some will become frightened and tell false stories about you. And this will interfere with our efforts to help people. You must keep your visit here a secret. Can you do that?' ”
Therapy reading dog owners, librarians and teachers with therapy reading dog programs -- If you email us at firstname.lastname@example.org , we will send you free readercopies from the Planet of the Dogs Series...Read dog books to kids and dogs.
The photo is of therapy reading dog Jezebell, seen here with a reading student friend. They were part of teacher Julie Hauck's pioneering Pages for Preston reading program for second and third graders in the Longfellow Elementary School, Sheboygan, WI.
Up On the Woof
"I’ve been accused of treating my dogs like children, but I honestly see that as more of a badge of honor than a criticism. After all, the more science learns about dogs, the more apparent it is that they are like children. They are as bright as any toddler, and because they are completely dependent on us, it means they stay babies all their lives. That means it’s our responsibility as pet parents to make sure their physical (food, water, shelter, safety, hygiene, play, medical) and emotional (love, encouragement, comfort) needs are met. It means teaching them, and seeing that their lives are enriched and that they are intellectually stimulated."
The excerpt above is by C.A. Wulff, from her Up On The Woofblog. Wulff is a dog loving animal advocate/activist; book reviewer and columnist (Examiner); yelodoggie artist; author of dog world books; and associate publisher at Barking Planet Productions.
In the Spring, Barking Planet Productions will publish an updated and revised edition of Wulff's fascinating memoir, Born Without a Tale.
Your off to great places,
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting,
So...get on your way! -Dr.Seuss
New Cinderella from Disney opens March 13.
Cinderella returns..Will it be Sugar Coated Survival Skills or will the spirit of Malificent return?
After the success of Frozen, which glossed over Hans Christian Anderson's Snow Queen, it's no telling. However, the director (Kenneth Branagh) is excellent, as is the cast (Kate Blanchett, Lily James, Helen Bonham Carter, Richard Madden).
Frozen, with its romantic music and sugar coated romance, is a favorite to win an Academy Award (February 22).
Lizzy Burns wrote a caring, thoughtful, and very lively blog defending little girls who like playing princess. Here is an excerpt...
"There is nothing wrong -- absolutely nothing wrong -- with your young child liking princesses. Any princess...I get annoyed at the gendering of toys and books -- Legos and science are for boys, feelings and dress up are for girls -- but that is because Legos and science and feelings and dress up are for any child, boy or girl, and problematic messages are sent by calling one "boy" and one "girl."
Princesses (especially pink sparkly princesses) can be problematic not because they are pink sparkly princesses but because what it means to be a princess, to want to be a princess, and how society views that, along with misunderstandings about the nature of play and imagination (and I'd add, that goes for children, teens, and grown ups.)
I'm not the first person to talk about princesses, what they mean, what they don't mean, and the depth and substance that is needed for the "princess talk..."
The Tin Man Returns in a theatrical perfomance piece invoving actors, puppets, a musical soundscape and innovative staging. Here is an excerpt from the New York Times Review by Laura Collins Hughes...
Led by a Tender Heart, Before It Is Ripped Out
‘The Woodsman’ Tells the Tin Man’s Tale
"Using words is dangerous in this eastern corner of Oz, yet sound is everywhere: the mournful music of a violin, the rasp of a witch, the spooky wind of the woods.
A movement piece with puppets, James Ortiz’s “The Woodsman” is an elemental reimagining of L. Frank Baum’s world of Oz. The spectacle is handmade, infused with breath and light... This is the Tin Man’s back story: how a regular human named Nick Chopper (Mr. Ortiz) came to be a rusting pile of metal in need of a heart. The story, laid out in a spare spoken prologue in this largely wordless piece, involves the witch who rules this part of Oz. Her only apparent vulnerability is an aversion to sunlight..."
"The Divergent series has sold 5 million booksand is regularly called 'the next Hunger Games' or 'the next next Twilight.'Interested in writing the next next next teen franchise? Here’s a step-by-step guide.
1. Start a blog. Early online readers got to watch Roth write Divergent, find an agent, and sell it to HarperCollins—all in real time on her website. By the time the book was published, “she was already a social-media phenomenon,” says editor Katherine Tegen.
Pro tip: Blog about lots of things! A list of non-writing topics mentioned on Veronica Roth’s blog: dead raccoons, traffic lanes, sweet-potato soup, spiders, a OneRepublic CD.
2. Don’t be afraid to be trendy. The Hunger Games was big at that point, but there were a couple other books that were on the cusp of the dystopian-sci-fi trend—Matched and The Maze Runner. But the timing just worked so that Divergent ended up...Read it all: Amanda Dobbins
"How to find the best vet for your poochis about providing the best care for your dog. Dogs have a way of working their way into our heart and becoming more than just an everyday pet. If you have a pet dog then the chances are that they have become a firm member of your family. For this reason alone you are going to want to make sure that they receive the best veterinary care, which involves the best choice of vet. You probably wouldn’t visit a doctor with a bad reputation, and you will want the same for your dog..."
Read more on Nancy Hauser's Way Cool Dogs: Best Vet
Motherless Child Project.
The voice of Emily Amber, a 16 year old girl in South Carolina, pulls you in. I rarely read YA books and I'm still in the process of reading The Motherless Child Project. However, I can report that a compellingmomentum drives this story. Here is an excerpt from early on in the book...
"...In my house, no one talks about anything concerning my mother, not dad, not Jon, Nicky nor me. The best way I can explain it is like this - when it's a fact in your life that your mother is MIA, and you know you'll never get anywhere by asking where she is because you tried numerous times with bad or worse results, you just move on with your life. What else can you do?..."
On Jan 29, Kaitlin Jenkins, posted an article on her blog, She Speaks Bark, about National Seeing Eye Dog Day. I found her article to be warm-hearted and informative. Here is an excerpt...
"Guide Dogs, or Seeing Eye Dogs as they’re often called, provide support and independence to visually impaired individuals. Often, the companionship of the seeing eye dogs allows a visually impaired person to take many of their daily tasks back into their own hands. Suddenly a world that was always limiting a person is once again re-opened, and they’ve got a constant companion who is looking out for them at all times. The partnership between a trained guide dog and their person is something to behold, and it’s something I’ve always found incredibly powerful and fascinating."
Her article led me to Guide Dogs for the Blind. This outstanding organization, located in San Rafael, CA, and Boring, OR, offers a lifetime of support to visually impaired people. In their own words...
"We are a passionate community that serves the visually impaired. With exceptional client services and a robust network of trainers, puppy raisers, donors and volunteers, we prepare highly qualified guide dogs to serve and empower individuals who are blind or have low vision. All of our services are provided free of charge; we receive no government funding."
Here is a link to their humorous guide to Blindness Etiquette video...I smiled, laughed and learned.
The photo of the woman and her dog is courtesy of Guide Dogs for the Blind
"She was made to work like a slave from morning to night. She had to get up at daybreak, carry water from the well, clean the fireplace and the fires, cook all the food and wash all the dishes. But that wasn't all, because the sisters did everything they could to make things worse for the poor girl...And when she was done at the end of the day, could she look forward to a comfortable bed? Not a bit of it. She had to sleep on the hearth, in among the ashes and the cinders..."
Cinderella - from Philip Pullman's Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm
A Dog's Life, Outside and Inside
Anna Nirva,in her Sunbear Squad blog, discusses how dogs are social animals who are happier, and usually healthier, when they live inside. There, they can be part of a pack (people are also members of their pack). Often, however, dog owners choose to keep their dogs outside and this can necessitate -- if humane conditions are to prevail -- the need for a proper doghouse. Here is a brief excerpt:
"If you must keep your dog outdoors, construct an excellent dog house and kennel based on considerations of your dog’s breed, age, health status, your climate and environment, and safety and health features. Schedule daily activities so that your dog doesn’t become depressed or frustrated, leading to difficult behaviors. Never chain your dog..."
Anna offers detailed, comprehensive, information and considerations ranging from the dog's physical limitations and the local environment to design features that will help the dog to stay safe and healthy. Here is a link to read it all: the Humane Dog House.
The illustration by Stella Mustanoja-McCarty is from Snow Valley Heroes, A Christmas Tale.
A man may smile and bid you hail Yet wish you to the devil; But when a good dog wags his tail, You know he's on the level. --Author unknown
It was an era that began with the turmoil of the Napoleonic wars. The years that followed were marked by internal conflict and political disagreement.
Life was hard. Wealthy land owners and nobility controlled nearly all of the land. Most people were farmers, living in rural areas. Books were few and few people could read them. Serfdom kept many people poor.
This was the time of the cumbersomeGerman Confederation, created by German princes to retain their control in a time of growing upheaval and conflict.
The shifting sands of power lay in 37 principalities and four cities. Uncertainty reigned.
Folklore and folk tales were an integral part of people's awareness. Forests played a major role in these stories. The forests were deep and often dangerous.
We know that stories -- folk tales -- were often told by country women when several gathered together in a neighbor's farm home while sewing, weaving and cooking.This was their social life. Perhaps men told these stories in markets, or taverns, or around a campfire.
The stories that were told were collected by the Brothers Grimm and remain today the foundation of our children's fairy tale literature.
Next month, on February 24, we will see the publication in English of over 70 tales collected in Bavaria by a contempoary of the Grimm Brothers, Franz Xaver von Schönwerth. The Grimm's admired Schönwerth and his work.
The collection is now entitled The Turnip Princess, The book has been translated by Maria Tatar, author of many books on children's literature, blogger (Breezes from Wonderland), and chair of the Program on Folklore and Mythology at Harvard.
The painting is by Jean- Francois Millet. The bookcover is by Walter Crane; the translation from German is by Lucy Crane.
The Stories Never End
“It has generally been assumed that fairy tales were first created for children and are largely the domain of children. But nothing could be further from the truth.
From the very beginning, thousands of years ago, when tales were told to create communal bonds in face of the inexplicable forces of nature, to the present, when fairy tales are written and told to provide hope in a world seemingly on the brink of catastrophe, mature men and women have been the creators and cultivators of the fairy tale tradition...."
Inevitably they find their way into the forest. It is there that they lose and find themselves. It is there that they gain a sense of what is to be done. The forest is always large, immense, great and mysterious. No one ever gains power over the forest, but the forest posses the power to change lives and alter destinies....”
The illustration is by Arthur Rackham
The above quotations are byJack Zipes, theauthor of many books on myths, folklore, and children's literature including The Brothers Grimm, From Enchanted Forests to the Modern World.
Recognized as a pioneer in the field of children's literature, Zipes latest publication is a translation of the first edition (1812-1815) of the The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm (see the Guardian article below). The first edition (Volumes One and Two), of 156 tales, had previously never before been translated into English. By the time of the Grimm's final edition in 1857, "immense changes had taken place".
The original edition of the Grimm's fairy tales incorporated oral tales, legends, myths, fables and pagan beliefs. The book was intended for adult readers. This edition is illustratrd by Andrea Dezso.
Writer for the Guardian create leading edge articles on fairy tales, folklore, and children's literature. Philip Oltermann recently wrote about von Schoenwerth, The Turnip Princessand Maria Tartar. Alison Flood wrote about Jack Zipe's translation of the first edition of the Brothers Grimm fairy tales: The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm.
Both of these books are major events in the world of folklore, fairy tales, and children's literature..
Illustration by Alexander Zwick
Here is an excerpt from Oltermann's article:Forgotten Fairytales Slay the Cinderella Stereotype...
The stash of stories compiled by the 19th-century folklorist Franz Xaver von Schönwerth – recently rediscovered in an archive in Regensburg and now to be published in English for the first time this spring – challenges preconceptions about many of the most commonly known fairytales...
Harvard academic Maria Tatar argues that they reveal the extent to which the most influential collectors of fairytales, the Brothers Grimm, often purged their stories of surreal and risque elements to make them more palatable for children.
“Here at last is a transformation that promises real change in our understanding of fairytale magic,” says Tatar, who has translated Schönwerth’s stories for a new Penguin edition called The Turnip Princess. “Suddenly we discover that the divide between passive princesses and dragon-slaying heroes may be little more than a figment of the Grimm imagination.”
Here is the headline from Alison Flood's article: Grimm Brothers’ Fairy Tales Have Blood and Horror Restored in New Translation....
The original stories, according to the academic (Zipes), are closer to the oral tradition, as well as being “more brusque, dynamic, and scintillating”. In his introduction to The Original Folk andFairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm, in which Marina Warner says he has “redrawn the map we thought we knew”, and made the Grimms’ tales “wonderfully strange again”, Zipes writes that the originals “retain the pungent and naive flavour of the oral tradition”, and that they are “stunning narratives precisely because they are so blunt and unpretentious”, with the Grimms yet to add their “sentimental Christianity and puritanical ideology”.
The Frog King or Iron Henry...an Excerpt from the new Jack Zipes translation of the Brothers Grimm...
"The princess became terrified when she heard this, for she was afraid of the cold frog. She didn't dare to touch him, and now he was to lie in her bed next to her. She began to weep and didn't want to comply with his wishes at all. But the king became angry and ordered her to do what she had promised, or she'd be held in disgrace. Nothing helped. She had to do what her father wanted, but she was bitterly angry in her heart. So she picked up the frog with two fingers, carried him upstairs into her room, lay down in her bed, and instead of setting him down next to her, she threw him crash! against the wall. "Now you'll leave me in peace, you nasty frog!"
"The fairy tale is in a perpetual state of becoming and alteration. To keep to one version or one translation alone is to put a robin redbreast in a cage. A fairy tale is not a text..."- Author Phillip Pullman
Wonder Tale...An alternative term for “fairytale” is “wonder tale”, from the Germanwundermärchen, which catches a quality of the genre more eloquently than “fairytale” or “folk tale” because it acknowledges the defining activity of magic in the stories. The suspension of natural physical laws produces a heightened and impossible state of reality, which leads to wonder, astonishment, the ’ajaib(astonishing things) sought in Arabic literary ideas of fairytale... An excerpt from How Fairy Tales Grew Up, by Marina Warner, author, critic, in the Guardian
A Fair Shake for Youth... uses therapy dogs to help disadvantaged children "build empathy, self-esteem and reduce bullying...
"31% of New York City youth are living in poverty - often facing challenges of inadequate housing, under-performing schools, violence and fractured families. Many kids see few possibilities for the future...
A Fair Shake for Youth partners with schools and community organizations to bring therapy dog teams to disadvantaged and vulnerable middle school-aged youth...The kids discover (the) social tools and build a view of themselves that enables them to envision greater possibilities for their lives...
Hands On and a Curriculum that Resonates
The Fair Shake program can be integrated into the school day, after school, weekend or summer camp programming. The ten-week curriculum includes hands-on work with the dogs and dog-related topics covered by speakers, demonstrations"...read more about this excellent, results-oriented program at Fair Shake
Video: See Fair Shake in action when Isabella and Samantha, two young girls, tell us, in their own words, of their experiences with the dogs and the Fair Shake for Youth program.
A Fair Shake for Youth has been the recipient of a grant from the Planet Dog Foundation
The following is by librarian Liz Burns, excerpted from her outstanding blog, A Chair, A Fireplace and a Tea Cozy
"I read for fun. Not for enlightenment, not to be a better person, not to learn about the universal human experience. I read to get scared, I read to fall in love, I read to feel less alone, I read for adventure, I read for so many reasons that all fall under.... because I want to.
And if that's why I read, why shouldn't that be OK for teens and kids?
Oh, I get that just like I have things to read with a purpose for work, they have things they have to read with a purpose for school. But that's not the only way or reason to read. And, especially outside the school environment, reading for fun, rather than reading "because", should be championed.
It shouldn't be a guilty pleasure.
It should just be ... a pleasure."
A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy was founded on April 2, 2005 with a welcome post that set forth a mission statement: to write about "story. Because it's all about story: the stories we tell, the ones we believe, the ones we read, the ones we watch. The ones we want to believe in; the ones we're afraid of. The stories we tell because we're afraid. While the majority of my posts are about children's and young adult books, I also write about television and film, sometimes adult books, as well as publishing and library news." - Liz Burns
In the photo by Susan Purser, Chase reads with his friend, therapy dog Rose
Aesop's Fables Never End
"No author has been so intimately and extensively associated with children's literature as Aesop. His fables have been accepted as the core of childhood readingand instruction since Plato, and they have found their place in political and social satire and moral teaching throughout medieval, Renaissance, and modern cultures...
...Fables have long ago escaped the confines of the nursery and the schoolroom. Their readerships have included parents as well as children, masters as well as slaves. rulers as well as subjects..."
Seth Lerer writing onAesop's Fables and Their Afterlives in his book,Children's Literature, A Reader's History From Aesop to Harry Potter
The Loyal Dog and Her Not-So-Loyal Owner
Ann Staub, a former vet tech, caring person, mother, and blogger on Pawsitively Pets (dedicated to all things animal), wrote a touching account of finding a lost dog, and the sad aftermath. Here is an excertpt and link:
My hopes and dreams of a spectacular reunion were destroyed with what I learned next. The family member I was helping didn't want the dog back. He "wanted his friends to adopt her from where ever she was at"...
There would be no reunion between loyal dog and not-so-loyal owner. And I find it both depressing and infuriating.
I'm not an emotional person. I don't get teary-eyed over things that most people do. Perhaps this is one of the "strengths" that allowed me to become a good veterinary technician. This, however, made me cry.
This dog was adopted from the animal shelter about 3 years ago. After about a year, those people no longer wanted her so my family member took her in. Now, he no longer wants her so someone else will take her. How many more times will she face this same situation? Will she be thrown out like trash again when she's old and sick?...This is a good dog and she deserves so much better than this.
So I guess it's up to the people who know better to educate those who don't. If you have a friend or family member that wants to get a new pet, tell them that pets are a lifelong commitment. Ask them if they are prepared to care for that animal during the entire duration of their life.
Here is a link to read the entire article and see photos...Ann Staub
LitWorld celebrated World Read Aloud Day with disadvantaged children in over 75 countries last year..." motivating children, teens, and adults worldwide to celebrate the power of words and creating communities of readers...showing the world that the right to literacy belongs to all people."
The photo was taken in Suriname.
KidLitosphere has helped many readers find their way to these pages. Here is an excerpt from their home page...
"Some of the best books being published today are children’s and young adult titles, well-written and engaging books that capture the imagination. Many of us can enjoy them as adults, but more importantly, can pass along our appreciation for books to the next generation by helping parents, teachers, librarians and others to find wonderful books, promote lifelong reading, and present literacy ideas."Here is a link to Kidlitosphere.
The illustration from Planet Of The Dogs is by Stella Mustanoja-McCarty
Our story begins long, long ago, before there were dogs on Planet Earth.
There was plenty of space in those days for people to settle and grow things. Many of the places where people lived were very beautiful. There were clear lakes and cool streams with lots of fish. There were fields and woods with game to hunt. And there were rolling hills and open plains with plants growing everywhere. Many people settled in these places of abundance and prospered.
And then, invaders came. Where once there had been harmony and friendship, there was now fear, anger, and unhappiness. Something had to be done -- but what could anybody do? No one knew it at that time, but help would come from the Planet of the Dogs.
Our books are available through your favorite independent bookstore or via Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Powell's and many more...
Librarians, teachers, bookstores...Order Planet Of The Dogs, Castle In The Mist, and Snow Valley Heroes, A Christmas Tale, through Ingram with a full professional discount.
Therapy reading dog owners, librarians and teachers with therapy reading dog programs -- you can write us at email@example.com and we will send youfree reader copies from the Planet of the Dogs Series...Read Dog Books to Dogs...
The map of Green Vally and the illustration of Stone City are by Stella Mustanoja-McCarty
"Any one of these books would make for a delightful—and one would assume cherished—gift for any child. All three would be an amazing reading adventure."Darlene Arden, educator, dog expert, and author of Small Dogs Big Hearts.
A Master of Childhood Dreams...His Stories never End Miyazaki Wins Again, After 11 Animated Features
Hayao Miyazaki was given an honorary Oscar on Nov. 8 at the Governors Awards ceremony, one that he can put on the shelf next to the statuette he won in 2003 when his masterpiece, “Spirited Away,” was named best animated feature...
What makes his films so memorable — from the great ones, like “Spirited Away,” which is a coming-of-age tale, and the ecological fables “Princess Mononoke” and “Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind,” to less profound but still captivating works like“Kiki’s Delivery Service” and the mesmerizing “My Neighbor Totoro” — is something that’s harder to label. You know it when you feel it: the mastery of tone and emotion, embodied in every gesture, expression, movement and setting, that give the films a watchfulness, a thoughtfulness, an unaffected gravity. To watch a Miyazaki movie is to remember what it was like to be a smart and curious child..."
The Hunger Games-Mockingjay Part One
This third episode of Hunger Games is relevant to disturbing real world events. Like like the to earlier films it is entertaining . However, this episode has more substance as Andrew Lapin writes in his excellent and thoughtful review for NPR, "all of these images have resonance in real events of this year." The film has grossed over $700 million worldwide thus far and still drawing audiences. Here is an excerpt from his Andrew Lapin's review:
"When producers were laying track for the Hunger Games series years ago, they couldn't have foreseen how discomforting author Suzanne Collins' descriptions of a war-torn authoritarian state would look on the big screen in 2014. In The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part One, Jennifer Lawrence witnesses and/or learns of: towns reduced to rubble, refugee camps next to mass graves, public executions of innocents with burlap sacks over their heads, law enforcement gunning down protesters in the street, and a military bombing a hospital filled with civilians. All of these images have resonance in real events of this year, generations before Collins predicted civilization would devolve into a regime that maintains control over its citizens with televised death matches..."
Fairy tales are combined in this Walt Disney adaptation of Stephen Sondheim's broadway musical hit...71% of the critics (Rotten Tomatoes) wrote favorable reviews. However, there were often reservations in the reviewer's responses.
"It is rated PG. But kids watching the film in my local theater seemed dampened by the mopey second half. They laughed at the cleverness of the first act, as well known storybook characters crossed into each other’s stories and interacted; still, it should be said that when it comes to clever fairy-tale mash-ups, “Shrek” does it better. But as for the second act’s dreary sharing of existential facts (regarding mortality, adultery, etc.), all in the name of growing-up and becoming undeceived, well, kids aren’t big on Weltschmerz. And that’s because, as James Barrie complained in “Peter Pan,” the young are gay and heartless."
Peter Jackson has had enormous box office success with films inspired by Tolkien's Middle Earth books. It seems, however, that Tolkien's ideas have again been overcome by Jackson's computer generated violence. Here is the opening of Andrew O'Hehir's review in Salon...
"Presumably everyone now understands that Peter Jackson’s bloated “Hobbit” trilogy has only an arm’s-length, tangential relationship with the classic children’s novel that J.R.R. Tolkien first published in 1937, essentially launching the epic fantasy genre that now dominates so much of popular culture...
And here is an excerpt from Nicolas Rapold's review in the New York Times....
"What this adaptation of “The Hobbit” can’t avoid by its final installment is its predictability and hollow foundations. It’s been said before, but Mr. Jackson himself is still haunted by the past: For all the craft, there’s nothing here like the unity and force of “The Lord of the Rings,” which is positively steeped in mythology and features (wonder of wonders) rounder characterization than the scheduled revelations on display here..."
Nancy Houser, has several posts on her Way Cool Dogs blog about puppies, from "Taming Puppy Aggresion" to "Wonderful Small Puppies for Children". Here is an excerpt and link from : 6 Incredible Reasons to Get a Rescue Puppy
"When you save a rescue puppy, you are saving its life. Many shelters have to put dogs to sleep because they can’t afford to keep them. When you decide to take a rescue animal home with you, you are giving it a second chance in life. Many rescue dogs used to have owners, but their owners treated them poorly or abandoned them. Pets deserve better than that. You have a chance to make a real difference to an animal’s life, and so you should take it..."
I haven't seen The Giver (released in theaters last year) nor read Lois Lowry's YA book, The Giver (1993). However, it was favorably cited by Jerry Griswold, Director of the National Center for the Study of Children's Literature, and author of Feeling Like a Kid, Childhood and Children's Literature. Therefore, I did some research...
I found enough information on the internet to be intrigued. The Giver is a different take on a dystopian future; relying more on concept than violence. The trailer and descriptions/synopsis provide a provocative look at a different approach to dystopia, quite at variance from the strife ridden simplicity of YA films like Divergent and the Labyrinth.
The book of The Giver was well received as a young adult book, winning a Newberry Award in 1994 as well as awards from the ALA, the NEA, and the School Library Journal. It has sold over 10,000 copies. The film, however, didn't fare well at the box office and has already been released as a DVD. Here is the Film Critics Consensus according to Rotten Tomatoes: "Phillip Noyce directs The Giver with visual grace, but the movie doesn't dig deep enough into the classic source material's thought-provoking ideas."
Empowerment for Animal Advocates in C.A. Wulff's Book
How to Change the World in Thirty Seconds, is empowering...it's the internet made easy, the internet as a tool, the internet as a dog's best friend... a book and a way to make a difference... for dog lovers, animal advocates and anyone who wants to make the world a better place.
Here is an unedited Amazon review excerpt by Johanna:"This is probably the best "how-to" book I have ever seen. It is written in a very conversational manner while being extremely educational. Along with giving step-by-step instructions on how to use each advocacy tool, Cayr gives some background on each website, organization, and group, and explains how each is set up and how the different helping processes work. She walks you through the necessary steps and gives tips...
Rocket Boy, the dog in the photo by C.A. Wulff, one of her pack of rescued dogs.
YA Book Preview of The Motherless Child Project by Janie McQeen and Robin Karr.
I don't often discuss YA books. However, I have long admired Janie McQueen's previous Magic Bookshelf books and I am currently reading (report coming in my next blog) her poignant new book The Motherless Child Project.
Meanwhile, I am posting an excerpt from Midwest Book Review:
"To say that The Motherless Child Project is a book about change and self-discovery would be doing it an injustice: it's so much more... Any teen reader looking for a powerful, compelling story--especially those who are motherless themselves, whatever the reason--will find The Motherless Child Project a powerful saga worthy of attention and acclaim."--
D. Donovan, eBook Reviewer, Midwest Book Review
Jingles...a book, a toy, and dog rescue
The Story of Jinglesis the first book in the newly launched Operation ResCUTE series. Each Book comes with a Stuffed Animal Set. And each purchase helps to rescue a dog!
Here's the review by C.A. Wulff in the Examiner...
"The book, authored by Jingles, is 24 pages long, with full color illustrations. It comes adorably packaged in a window box with a stuffed animal of Jingles and an “I am a ResCuter!” Operation ResCute sticker for the child. The second book in the series will feature a rescue dog named Tanner. Operation ResCute has a contest underway to find a third dog and his/her story.
Kids will love the book and the toy, and parents will love the message. Giving this as a gift will make you feel great, too, because 100% of the proceeds go directly to animal rescues."
The ResCUTE books and stuffed animals are not available in retail stores, but can be purchased on amazon and through the organization’s website."
The Hugging Bears (from the Guardian)
"Inspired by the delightful statue of two bears on display in Kensington Gardens in London, "The Hugging Bears" is the story of two bear cubs, Ruggley and Teddi, who live with their mother in the wintry wilderness. A sudden and violent encounter with humankind changes the cubs' lives forever.
Told with great simplicity and much heart by Carol Butcher, and featuring charming colour illustrations by Sue Turner, "The Hugging Bears" will be enjoyed by young children everywhere. The book also has a useful message about human's often unkind treatment of wild animals."
The profits from this book will go to the charity Happy Child International, which supports the street children of Brazil.
"Fences for Fidois a group of volunteers who get together to build fences for dogs in Oregon who are currently living out their lives on a chain. They do fundraisers and accept donations in order to make this work possible. On their facebook page, Fences for Fido share many inspirational photos and videos of the building process, and especially the happy dogs taking their first off-chain run in their brand new yard- always great! I love how this organization focuses on the positive aspects of what they are doing, and come from a non-judgmental approach. I believe these two things are the key to their success so far..."
The above information is from She Speaks Bark, Kaitlin Jenkins dog-loving blog. Kaitlin wrote about this being National Unchain a Dog month; as part of the article, she wrote about Fences for Fido. I, too, much admire the work they do, having previously written about them in this blog. Here is the link to read more of her excellent post about the wonderful work of Fences For Fido:KaitlinJenkins
Some me stuff to start us off. NYPL turned its handy dandy little 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing 2014 list into an interactive bit of gorgeousness. So as to help it along, I wrote a blog post on the library’s website (I have two blogs, if you want to get technical about it, but only one of them has my heart) with the following clickbait title: They Put THAT Into a Book for Kids?! Forgive me, oh blogging gods. I couldn’t help it. It was too much fun to write. Oh, and while we’re on the NYPL blogs, I really enjoyed Andrea Lipinski’s post about our old (and I mean OLD) Books for the Teen Age lists. How can you resist this cover, after all?
Recently I was alerted to two older but really fascinating links regarding ARCs (Advanced Readers Galleys) and their procurement and use in the book world. Over at Stacked Books one post discussed the current state of handing out galleys at large national conferences like ALA. The other one took the time to poll people on how they use their ARCs and what they do with them. Both make for magnificent reading. Thanks to Charlotte Taylor for the links.
It’s sort of nice when our reference librarians, both past and present, get a little acknowledgment for the super difficult questions they have to field. Boing Boing recently related a piece on some of the crazier questions the adult reference librarians have to field. Children’s librarians get some out there ones as well, but nothing quite compares to these.
Ah. It’s the end of an era, everyone. In case you hadn’t heard the ccbc-net listserv has closed its doors (so to speak) for the last time. Now if you’re looking for children’s literary listservs you’ve PUB-YAC and child_lit. Not much else to read these days, I’m afraid. Except bloggers, I suppose. *irony laden shudder*
I was over at Monica Edinger’s apartment the other day when she showed me this little beauty:
She’d already blogged a quickie review of it, so when the news came in that it won a UK Costa Award I had the odd sensation of being, if only momentarily, inside the British book loop. And if you looked at that cover and thought to yourself, “Gee, that sure looks like a WWI sequel to E. Nesbit’s Five Children and It” you’re sort of right on the money.
So I’m prepping my branches for some hardcore Día programs (El día de los niños/El día de los libros or Children’s Day/Book Day) by buying them lots of Día books. I go on the Día website to order off of the book lists they have there, and what do I find? Some of the coolest most up-to-date STEM/STEAM booklists I have EVER had the pleasure to see. They’re so good, in fact, that I had to alert you to them. If you’re looking for STEM/STEAM fare, search no further.
Pretty much off-topic but while strolling through Bryant Park behind the main library for NYPL, my boss and I came across the fountain back there. Apparently when the temperatures plunge they figure it’s better to keep it running rather than risk bursting the pipes. Whatever the reason, it now looks like this:
In the realm of “How crazy is this?” I have a whopper of a weirdo story. As you may or may not know, for many years I worked with the delightful Winnie-the-Pooh toys in the Children’s Center at 42nd Street. Because the toys originally hailed from Britain I become well and truly familiar with folks insisting that they be sent “home”. In fact, if you’d like to read the entire history of the British M.P. who made it her misbegotten mission, you can do so here. I hadn’t thought of the debacle in a while, until a most peculiar and bizarre piece ran in Newsweek. It is difficult to ignore a clickbait headline like Behind Bullet-Proof Glass Winnie-the-Pooh Is In Jail. Come again? Riddled with inaccuracies one Cole Moreton decided it would be a good idea to give the impression that the Winnie-the-Pooh toys are now housed in the “basement” of the Schwarzman building. By “basement” one assumes he means “ground floor” but from the piece you’d be convinced that they were stuffed in a dusty closet lit by a single lightbulb on a string. It is a shockingly poor piece of journalism (not a single NYPL employee is interviewed). If Mr. Morten had spoken to even a single person he might have scooped Time when they reported that Winnie might be making a visit to Britain in the future. Ah well.
In other news, my library’s President was recently interviewed by Humans of New York sounding the good sound byte. Go, Tony, go!
From time to time I do some freelance for the company Zoobean. They specialize in reader’s advisory and now, for the first time, they’ve paired with the Sacramento Public Library to use Beanstack, an advisory app for young children. Well played, y’all!
Christmas may be over but that doesn’t stop me for wanting things. Like this poster from Sara O’Leary’s upcoming picture book This Is Sadie, illustrated by Julie Morstad:
My reviewing took a bit of a header since the birth of kiddo #2 but I still engage. Just the same, I cannot say that I haven’t engaged in all the Top 20 Most Annoying Book Reviewer Cliches at one time or another. With the possible exception of “unflinching”. That one doesn’t come up when dealing with board books very often. (example: “Martin offers an unflinching look at a brown bear’s ursine strength, never hesitating from delving into what it is they truly do see”).
You know, folks, there are lists and then there are LISTS. And I’m not saying one is any better than another. Of course not. But when we look at lists of children’s books there’s only one that truly has my heart. Coming in at 103 years old this year, NYPL’s 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing list is one of the oldest (if not THE oldest) continually published children’s book lists in the nation. It is also the most beautiful. Doubt me? Then check out our 2014 edition.
You can see our interactive list of the 100 books here.
And here’s the cover of our list:
Shall I go on?
You like lists with diversity? Feast your eyes on what we chose. Recently the Center for the Study of Multicultural Literature released their Best Multicultural Books of 2014. We had eight of their titles on our list and included at least eight multicultural books that they did not. The recent list by Latinas for Latino Lit called Remarkable Latino Children’s Literature of 2014? We listed three of their seven titles and included at least three others that they didn’t mention (Saving Baby Doe, Caminar, and Viva Frida). Your move, New York Times.
You like lists that show a variety of books? The 100 Titles list is split into the following sections:
Picture Books (for children ages 2-6)
Stories for Younger Readers (for children ages 6-8)
Stories for Older Readers (for children ages 9-12)
Folktales and Fairy Tales
In short, ladies and gentlemen, it’s a tip top list. Sure, it’ll miss one or two of your favorites. But I guarantee you’ll see amazing books on there that you almost missed this year. Did you read Mikis and the Donkey? Did you almost fail to hear about Handle With Care? The best books aren’t necessarily the best known. If nothing else this list proves as much.
It was Charles Dicken's A Christmas Carol that transformed Christmas, first in Victorian England as the industrial age was barreling ahead, and then throughout Europe. Dicken's notion that the true Christmas spirit embodied caring and generouisity -- especially for those less fortunate -- influenced the thinking of multitudes and transformed the holiday.
The ancient orgins of Christmas and of Santa Claus have been traced to many cultures including Scandanavian (especially Danish), Germanic, Dutch and British.
The legend of Santa Claus, himself, was greatly enhanced by the poem A Visit from St Nicholas, written for his children, by the American, Clement Clarke Moore, in 1823.
Images by some of the great illustrators have deeply influenced perceptions of Santa and Chistmas. This is especially true for children. However, significant impressions in the minds of adults were also made by the Dicken's illustrations of John Leech (and later by Arthur Rackham) in Great Britain, and the yearly illustrations by Thomas Nast of A Visit From St Nicholasin the USA.
With the passing of time, the spirit of Christmas has changed. The idea of gifts for children, and then others, has evolved with stories, TV, films, merchants, and ceaseless marketing into an often overwhelming distortion of the original spirit of A Christmas Carol. But the spirit does live on.
A Christmas Carol
"Few works in the history of popular culture have had as much pronounced effect as Charles Dickens’s AChristmas Carol, first published in 1843. While Christmas Day had always been a sacred, solemn feast day within the Christian faith (just as the Winter Solstice had been in many pagan cultures before it), it wasn’t until the middle part of the 1800s that many began to see it less as a site of religious devotion than as a holiday to be celebrated, and to be celebrated most specifically through the act of giving. While A Christmas Carol didn’t spawn this tradition itself, it, more than any other force, popularized it throughout the western world. Through its powerful, secular story of redemption through charity and love, Dickens imparted to all that Christmas was a time to celebrate all that was worthwhile about the human race, most specifically our love for one another, and our compassion for those less fortunate."...
To read the rest of this excellent article by Jonathan Morris, theAntiscribe, follow this link It will take you to his comprehensive and instghtful article on the significance and lasting impact of Charles Dicken's and A Christmas Carol.Morris also provides, in this article, informed reviews of multiple film and TV versions of A ChristmasCarolthrough the years; he includes photos and video links.
This link will enable you to download/read the original version of A Christmas Carolby Charles Dickens"
This link will take you to the 1971 Annimated version of A ChristmasCarol produced by Chuck Jones, directed by Richard Williams, and with the voice of Alister Sim as Ebeneezer Scrooge. This is a classic and a favorite of Jonathan Morris:Annimated Christmas Carol
The top two illustrations on the left are by John leech. The illustration, on the right, is by Thomas Nast. The illustrator of the bottom left Christmas scene is unknown.
"I don't know what to do.' cried Scrooge, laughing and crying in the same breath; and making a perfect Laocoon of himself with his stockings. `I am as light as a feather, I am as happy as an angel, I am as merry as a schoolboy. I am as giddy as a drunken man. A merry Christmas to everybody. A happy New Year to all the world. Hallo here. Whoop. Hallo.' "--
A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens
A Foxwoods Holiday Celebration
This wonderful illustration is by Brian Fox-Patterson for a series of children's books by Brian and his wife, Cynthia. To see more of his delightful illustrations, visit Foxwood Tales Illustrations.
"Their first story was published in 1985, and seven more followed. Since then the series of eight children's books have become modern classics. Over 1.3 million copies have been sold across 18 countries." (Wikipedia) For summaries of six of the books, visit loveReading4Kids. A compilation of four of the Tales can be found in the book, A Foxwood Treasury.
I discovered the Foxwood Tales through the illustrations. I haven't read the books, but I wanted to share the superb illustrations.
"The year 2014 will see the 48th annual Kwanzaa, the African American holiday celebrated from December 26 to January 1. It is estimated that some 18 million African Americans take part in Kwanzaa.
Kwanzaa is not a religious holiday, nor is it meant to replace Christmas. It was created by Dr. Maulana "Ron" Karenga, a professor of Black Studies, in 1966. At this time of great social change for African Americans, Karenga sought to design a celebration that would honor the values of ancient African cultures and inspire African Americans who were working for progress.
Kwanzaa is based on the year-end harvest festivals that have taken place throughout Africa for thousands of years."...Kwanzaa ends with a feast and gift giving... Holidays are forever
“One can never have enough socks," said Dumbledore. "Another Christmas has come and gone and I didn't get a single pair. People will insist on giving me books.” ― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
The Spirit of Christmas Embodied in a Therapy Dog
This is about Susan and Rose. That's Rose in the photos. It is also about the thousands of therapy dogs bringing unconditional love to young and old. Susan Purser is a retired teacher and has been working for several years with Rose in schools , hospitals, nursing homes and hospices. These are Susan's comments about working with Rose.
“No matter who you are or why you do pet therapy, it is the dog that opens the door…doors that would otherwise be closed to a well meaning human...
“I consider myself a facilitator…if my dog could drive, she would not need me. Rose seems to enjoy seeing people multiple times and developing a relationship with the people… She is a working dog by nature and she just loves these jobs. I am constantly amazed at the doors that Rose opens…she goes to places I could never get without her…reaches beyond my reach, touches a person deeper than my touch. The restless or agitated patient who is calmed by Rose’s touch...the child in the classroom who won’t settle down and get to work but when Rose sits by them, they quiet right down and the hyperactivity seems to dissipate. The child getting excited about reading to Rose every week; they wouldn’t do that for me, but they do it for Rose...
It is their touch or look that gives people that inner peace when their world is shrinking or spinning so fast they have lost control. When doors begin the final closing, there is that one last smile, nod, a hand that reaches for a dog that allows some of them to say good bye and close their eyes in peace.” The photos of Rose are courtesy of Susan Purser.
The Gift of Reading from LitWorld
Here is a joyous video from Litworld, celebrating the joy of reading, the joy of being somebody, the joy of hope. LitWorld gives the gift of readingto disadvantaged and at-risk children around the world...and they do this not only during the Christmas season, but throughout the year!
LitWorld supports hopes, possibilities and lives in fourteen countries around the world! This link will take you to an interactive map of where Litworld works, from Columbia to India and from Kosovo to California. Interactive Map.
Interview With Santa
This interview was conducted as part of a program to determine the truth behind the incredible story of The Snow Valley Heroes....
Interviewer: Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions and clarifying things.
Santa: I’m happy that the story is finally coming out.
Interviewer: Is it a true story?
Interviewer: Why haven’t we known about it before?
Santa: I think it was lost in the mists of time…It took place hundreds and hundreds of years ago.
Interviewer: Is it true that there was to be no more Christmas?
Santa: I’m sorry to say that it’s true. Until the dogs arrived.
Interviewer: The dogs?
Santa: It was a surprise to all of us in Santa Claus village. None of us, and that includes all the elves,had even heard of dogs.
Interviewer: Is that because you were so far North and rather isolated?
Santa: Well, that and the fact that dogs has just started arriving on planet earth. Prior to that time, there had been no dogs on Earth.
Interviewer: Really! Where did they come from? And how did they find you?
Santa: They had started coming down from their own planet – the Planet of the Dogs. They came down to help people. Somehow, they had heard we were in trouble, and one day, there they were, just like that...
The illustrations from Snow Valley Heroes, A Christmas Tale, are by Stella Mustanoja McCarty
Free copies of Snow Valley Heroes, a Christmas Tale; Planet Of The Dogs; and Castle In The Mistare available for therapy dog owners and organizations, as well as librarians and teachers with therapy reading dog programs. Simply email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your postal address.
All of the Planet Of The Dogsseries of books are available through your favorite independent bookstore and online through Barnes&Noble, Amazon, and many other sources.
"Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. What if Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!"
―Dr Seuss, How The Grinch Stole Christmas
Finding Fido for Doglovers
"Finding Fido is a book that we believe each and every PetParent should not only read, but own. Finding Fido is a PetParent’s guide to: preventing the loss of their pets in the first place & also serves as a guide to PetParents for essential steps to recovering their pets if they ever are lost. If you’re a first time Pet Parent or a long time, seasoned Pet Parent, there are tips and tricks in here that will be helpful to you!...
As great as this book truly is, we’ve got one detail to share that completely sweetens the pot…the cherry on top if you will. All proceeds from the sale of Finding Fido are donated toward the Beagle Freedom Project" Kaitlin Jenkins- PetParent The cover design and content are by author and dog advocate C.A. Wulff
Holiday Season at the Movies
Fun stories.fantasy and imaginative annimation characterize the holiday movies for children...while dystopia, conflict and bloodshed continue to pour out of YA films.
My hope is that children will see the films intended for them, and stay away from the violence of current YA movies, designed, as Christopher Tolkien says below, as action movies for young people 15 to 25.
JRR Tolkien's son, Christopher, believes that the quest for commercial success by Peter Jackson and the movie industry has destoyed the essence of what his father wrote about the world of Middle Earth in the Hobbit books. Here are excerpts from a post regarding Christopher Tolkien's deep disappointment that appeared on Worldcrunch. The quotes by Tolkien are from an interview he gave to le Monde.
"Invited to meet Peter Jackson, the Tolkien family preferred not to. Why? 'They eviscerated the book by making it an action movie for young people aged 15 to 25,' Christopher says regretfully. 'And it seems that The Hobbit will be the same kind of film.'..
This divorce has been systematically driven by the logic of Hollywood. 'Tolkien has become a monster, devoured by his own popularity and absorbed into the absurdity of our time,' Christopher Tolkien observes sadly. 'The chasm between the beauty and seriousness of the work, and what it has become, has overwhelmed me. The commercialization has reduced the aesthetic and philosophical impact of the creation to nothing' "....
The illustration,"Bilbo comes to the Huts of the Raftelves, is by JRR Tolkien.
The Hobbit, Battle of the Five Armies, opens Dec 17. Here is a link to the trailer: Five Armies:
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay1
The story of the Hunger Games continues through the Holiday Season and beyond, with Mockingjay 1.It opened in late November and is off to becoming another huge financial success. Audiences seem to like the film despite the fact that many critics were dissapointed.
Here is an excerpt from the review in the Atlantic by Christopher Orr entitled, Hunger Games: Mockingjay1, Darker, More Relentles than Ever.
"Is the film a bit baggy in places? Sure. Might it have been better if they’d squeezed the whole book into one movie? Probably. Nonetheless, Mockingjay Part 1 is a fine entertainment, shot through with moments of surprising emotional impact."
The dystopian story appears to be a theme for success in today's YA film market. In reviewing The Maze Runner, Jack Cole wrote that The Maze Runner doesn't separate itself from its YA dystopian bretheren. Here is the headline and an excerpt from Cole's insightful review:In 'The Maze Runner,' the maze itself is a letdown and the film presents boring explanations to the plot's mysteries. By Jake Coyle, Associated Press.
Has a cottage industry ever sprung up as fast as the YA land rush brought on by "Twilight" and "The Hunger Games"? I'd like to use a mortal instrument to put an ender to this game. Please, giver me a break.
But to be fair, there isn't anything inherently wrong with "The Maze Runner," directed by special effects-veteran Wes Ball. It's just that it does so little to find its own path separate from its dystopia brethren. All of the recent young-adult formulas are adhered to here: the teenage rebellion against tradition, the coming-of-age metaphors, the heavy sequel-baiting.
Here is a link to the trailer for The Maze Runner. The film has grossed over one hundred million dollars and continues to play. It was not expensive to produce. There will be a sequel.
Movie Violence and Children...
I believe that films with relentless violence, surround sound, fearful images and often in 3-D, will disturb children. How many children, twelve and under, are seeing the current crop of violent dyustopian films?
I presume the producers of these films, and to a lesser extent, the writers of the book series on which they are based, see violence as an important aspect of marketing and audience appeal.
Perhaps, many young adult viewers, after watching the Hunger Games, are more appreciative of the world they live in and of the fact that they are not one of the 25 million refugee children across the world.
After reading Jerry Griswold's enthusiastic comments about The Giver in the Unjournal of Children's Literature, I decided to research the movie and write about it. The film was based on a controversial, but well received book by Lois Lowry.The book was published in 1993 and the movie was released in July, 2014. The Giverhad a different take on dystopia and the use of violence.
I have now decided to see the movie before writing further about The Giver. To be continued...
Into The Woods
Into the Woods, which seems to be a Disney family film for children, YA, and parents, is now opening on Christmas Day, 2014. The film's slogan, "Be careful what you wish for", relates to the witch, a central character, played by Meryl Streep. Music by Stephen Sondheim, adds to the story, as it did in the original long running Broadway production.
In the story, the witch uses her magical powers to teach lessons in living to Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Rapunzel and Jack and the Beanstalk. The original production was a big hit with audiences.
Opens Dec 18... Annie, a family movie, is based on the hit Broadway musical. The cast includes Jamie Fox, Quvenzhane Wallis and Cameron Diaz...Here is a summary from IMDB where you will also find more information, photos and trailers.
Annie looks joyous and entertaining in the trailer preview.
"Annie is a young, happy foster kid who's also tough enough to make her way on the streets of New York in 2014. Originally left by her parents as a baby with the promise that they'd be back for her someday, it's been a hard knock life ever since with her mean foster mom Miss Hannigan. But everything's about to change..."
Holiday Children's Movies Galore
Here are three more kid's films that look good in their trailers and have been generally well received by reviewers. I have previously posted good notices for the following recently opened movies: Box Trolls, Book of Life, and Hero of Color City --
Big Hero 6
Critics Consensus from Rotten Tomatoes : "Agreeably entertaining and brilliantly animated, Big Hero 6 is briskly-paced, action-packed, and often touching." In 3D. Now Playing. Box office: 200 million thus far. Here is the trailer for Big Hero 6 ...Looks like fun.
Paddington Review...Here is an excerpt from the 3 star review by Xan Brooks in the Guardian
"Paddington, directed by Paul King from the original Michael Bond stories, spins the tale of a small bear (voiced very ably by Ben Whishaw) weaned on marmalade jars and idealised notions of England. The film is as warm as an eiderdown and as fluffy as its feathers. Cast out of his forest home, Paddington hops a cargo ship and comes to London, where his decorous dreams bump up against modern reality"
Opening December 12. Here is the trailer: Paddington Adopted from a classic children's book.
Critics Consensus from Rotten Tomatoes: "Penguins of Madagascar is fast and brightly colored enough to entertain small children, but too frantically silly to offer real filmgoing fun for the whole family."
Christmas Lights Moving Through the Hills
A Holiday treat, and a wonder to behold, the moving lights are on hundreds of sheep, running in the darkness, guided by sheepdogs...this is a classic video...Moving Lights
From Rescue to Reading...A Holiday Salute
We Salute the Planet Dog Foundation for their years of support for "the exemplary work of non-profit organizations training and placing dogs working to help people in need all over the country."
Through the years, they have given over one million dollars; in 2014, alone, they have given over one hundred thousand dollars.
The photo is from Brigadoon Youth and Service Dog Programs in Bellingham,WA
Circling The Waggins at Christmas
Here is an an excerpt from the doglover's book, Circling the Waggins, by CA Wulff. The dogs seen in the ebook cover (below) are the current residents of the cabin in the woods wherein this saga of a life with rescued dogs takes place.
"I feel like we are haunted by the ghost dog of Christmas past.The season brings a million reminders of our Troll, a dog who had loved Christmas more than any other time of year. He would get excited at the first signs of holiday decorations, and his eyes would shine with a child’s wonder. On Christmas morning, he would race to be the first dog under the tree, to tear at the packages full of biscuits and rawhides. Each of the dogs would tear at a package, but Troll unwrapped with such gusto and fervor, that they would all abandon their presents to stand back and watch him, and then make off with whatever treats he had revealed."
CA Wullf also created the cover for her book.
Way Cool Dogs On Finding a Puppy That's Good for Kids
Choosing the right puppy is a critical decision...here is an excerpt from a helpful article on Way Cool Dogs.
"How do you choose a puppy that is good for your children? It is a question every parent should ask before deciding to adopt one of the small puppy breeds for their child. Toy puppies can make great companions for kids if they are chosen properly, and the child is trained to handle small puppies properly. And to be fair, a child is the only one who can keep up with the boost of energy that puppies seem to be born with!
The good news is that you have a variety of small puppy breeds to choose from: mini Yorkies, Maltese, Havanese, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and many others. Smaller dogs seem to be less intimidating around children. If the puppies are small, it doesn’t mean that they can’t be aggressive with children. You just need to be careful when choosing a perfect small puppy for your home...
The illustration, from Planet Of The Dogs, is by Stella Mustanoja McCarty
Sunbear Squad guides good hearted people like those who sent Sunbear this post....
Christmas Rescue of a Lost Rescue Dog
Are you ready for a sweet Christmas story about a little lost doggy? We were walking our two dogs a few days ago and saw a little scared pup that looked like a Shitzu/Llasa Apso mix. He was limping, his hair was shaved, he had no collar. We scooped the little guy up and brought him home with us. We drove to Petco and Petsmart to ask if they recognized him. No one did. So we had him scanned to see if he was microchipped. He wasn't. So we listed the little fella on Craigslist and a lost and found pup website also. No luck. We called around to a few vet clinics in our area ... to no avail. So we took care of this little lost boy in our home for a few days.
We named the little guy Buddy. He was so sweet. He stayed with us and my two little dogs who played and slept and ate along with him. He seemed to limp a little less as the days went by. We wondered how his life was before he met us. We wondered if he was limping because he may have been a caged dog used for breeding because he was not neutered. We wondered if he came from a loving home or an abusive home. We were getting worried after our fourth day of loving on the little guy...
It’s not widely known but here is a true fact about my current job – I don’t work in the big stone library with the big stone lions anymore. Surprising, right? I still have my job, it’s true. But about a year ago I was moved with the rest of my department to Long Island City where I’ve been happily ensconced ever since. I like LIC but I do occasionally miss working behind world famous felines.
Their official names are Patience and Fortitude, though they were originally named Lord and Lady Astor. That fact, as well as many others, can be found in the book Top Cats: The Life and Times of the New York Public Library Lions by Susan G. Larkin. It’s a book dedicated entirely to them but it’s hardly the only book to contain them. Over the years I’ve noticed many a children’s book that has made mention, even if it was brief, of the lions.
Up for debate is the book Library Lion by Michelle Knudsen. My system’s Library Shop does a swift business with that title even though it never directly references either Patience or Fortitude. However, that is not to say that the big stone fellows were not without influence on the title. Said Michelle recently:
“My dad likes to tell me about the first time we walked by the 42nd street library when I was little, when he pointed out the lions to me and I was immediately and thoroughly enchanted. I didn’t write my picture book Library Lion until many years later, of course, but I believe that initial connection between the lions and the magic of the library stayed with me and helped to inspire the story. Those majestic stone guardians were (and remain!) such a welcoming presence to all who wish to enter; I wanted to capture that feeling of welcome in my book, and it seemed only natural that the visitor in question should be a lion himself.”
On that note, here is a list (by no means exhaustive) of some of the children’s books that take a trip to NYC’s most famous library and its lions:
Coral Reefs by Jason Chin
What starts as a routine research trip in the Rose Reading Room of the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building turns into a raucous underwater adventure. If you’ve ever wondered what the main branch of NYPL would look like if whales crashed through its windows and the entire edifice sank to the bottom of the sea, now is your chance to find out.
Hilary and the Lions by Frank DeSaix, ill. Debbie Durland DeSaix
Patience and Fortitude get to star in their own picture book this time. When a visitor to the city loses her parents, she finds that at night those stalwart guardians of knowledge are willing to carry her back to the people she loves.
I’m Going to New York to Visit the Lions by Harriet Ziefert, ill. Tanya Roitman
Originally published in 2005 (before the Children’s Center at 42nd Street had a chance to move into its current location in 2008) the book isn’t entirely up-to-date on its library info. Apparently the whole building is gilded in gold and people “cannot take the books home”. Now with the addition of the children’s circulating collection, books can indeed be checked out of the ground floor location.
A Walk in New York by Salvatore Rubbino
Take a walking tour of the city and be sure you catch a glimpse of the front of the Stephen A. Schwarzman building when you do! You just can’t miss those lions.
Inside Outside Book of Libraries by Julie Cummins and Roxie Munro
Need I say more?
So fess up, folks. I know I’m missing stuff. Can you tell what it might be?
Is Panem modeled after ruthless dictatorships of the past?
Is the harsh world of the Grimm's more than a reflection of the past?
Does children's literature, in books and movies, bring the past into the present?
Can childhood stories open the doors of the mind to the present -- and the future?
High Stakes of YA Dystopia.
In earlier eras, there were adult works of literature set in dystopian milieus... they includeThe Trial, Brave New World, Animal Farm, 1984, Childhood's End, The Quiet Ameriican, The Naked and the Dead, A Rumor of War, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Farenheit 451, All Quiet On the Western Front, The Spy Who Came In From The Cold and many more.
To one degree or another, these books are classics. And like children's and young adult (YA) books of our current era, many were reinvented as theatre and movies.
Today, we seem to have a run of dystopian-centered books and films for young adults (YA). Many are in the form of a series and are followed by films -- also in series. The books, although some may be well written, do not pretend to be literature. Rather, the books, like the films, seem primarily designed to be popular and succeed in the marketplace.
Controversy has followed...most of the films are characterized by great violence; and they all seem to have teen age protagonists who are themselves commiting violence (usually for survival).
Crossover. I don't know if the term YA, and the definition (12-18 year olds) came from marketeers or librarians, or both. I do know that the lines have been blurred, with children and adults both crossing over into the realm of YA.
I doubt that there will be clear lines in the future. The finacial stakes are too high. YA books and movies are a multi -billion dollar business.
Personally, I don't care if adults read YA books. Hopefully, they do so with discernment.
I do care about the amount of over-the-top violence that children are subjected to in YA movies.
For any child, there is a huge difference in the impact found in the brief mention of Gretel pushing the murderous witch into the oven, when compared to the long, unrelenting, realistic, hardcore violence (supported by thunderous sound and music) of the Ring movies.
Hopefully, Alice In Wonderland, Winnie-the-Pooh, Snow White, HisDark Materials, Tales from the Brothers Grimm, and other classics -- themselves often fraught with danger, fear, and violent events -- will continue as the main source for bringing the past -- or the future -- into Children's minds.
Dystopia and the Grimms
The world of the Grimm's fairy tales is filled with fearful events, dark forests, curses by evil witches, and cruelty -- dystopia, but always relieved by magic, marvels, courage, beauty and happy endings...
"The unsparing savegry of stories like the Robber Bridegroom is a sharp reminder that fairy tales belong to the childhood of culture as much as the culture of childhood...they capture anxieties and fantasies that have deep roots in childhood experience"- Maria Tatar,The Grimm Reader: Classic Tales of the Brothers Grimm.
"It is worth noting that the lives of all people in the land of the Grimm's was in was in constant turmoil and change during the time that the Grimm's collected, wrote, and published their books." - Seth Lerer, Children's Literature, A Reader's History from Aesop to Harry Potter.
The illustration from The Robber Bridegroom is by John B. Gruelle
"'Well, dear little children. How in the world did you get here? Just come right in, and you can stay with me. You will come to no harm in my house.' She took them by the hand and led them into her house...The old woman had only pretended to be kind." - Hansel and Gretel meet the Wicked Witch
"For children in their most impressionable years, there is in fantasy, the highest of stimulating and educational powers." -Arthur Rackham
Kaitlin Jenkin's has two blogs, She Speaks Bark and Pet Parent.Kaitlin has a background of working in many dog related jobs, including foster care and 7 years as a shelter worker. She has two adopted dogs (seen on the left), Bear and Scooter. She recently wrote an excellent and informative review of C.A. Wulff and A.A. Weddle's book for dog owners, Finding Fido. Here are excerpts...
"The thought of Bear or Scooter going missing, or being stolen is one that I don’t let my mind entertain. To say I’d be devastated doesn’t even begin to cover it, and I know you all feel the same about your pets! Would you know what to do if your pet suddenly went missing? Where to begin? What to do first?
Finding Fido is essentially a Pet Parent’s guide to preventing the loss of a pet, as well as a guide on exactly what steps to take should that awful moment ever happen to you. Authors C.A Wulffand A.A.Weddle are the administrators of the Lost & Found Ohio Pets service and they collaborated on this helpful guide in order to address the sad reality of so many lost pets in America....
If our pets were to become lost, it would be absolutely devastating. We may not even be able to think logically in order to act effectively to work towards their return. That’s why this book is great- it’s literally a step by step guide to finding your lost pet. Full of resources for Pet Parents to utilize, and all at the turn of a page.
... I think that Finding Fido is a great read for all Pet Parents and pet lovers. If you’re a first time Pet Parent or a long time, seasoned Pet Parent, there are tips and tricks in here that will be helpful to you! Everyone should read the sections entitled ‘Before You Lose A Pet‘" ...
Adults Continue to Cross the Borders of Imagination Into Y.A.
As part of a post that I wrote in our September blog about the trend of adults reading Y.A. books, I quoted journalist (Atlantic, Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe) Ruth Graham'sarticle in Slate with this headline: "Read whatever you want. But you should be embarrassed when what you're reading was written for children."
Graham's article provoked substantial controversy including a very thoughtful rebuttal, in Hairpin, by journalist and author(Save The Date ) Jen Doll: The Trouble With Reader-Shaming: A Y.A.Book List Here are excerpts from Jen Doll's rebuttal:
"The great debate over whether grownups should read young adult literature—and further, what the nature of reading should be—has come up again, thanks to a piece in Slate telling adults they should feel ashamed about reading books for kids...
"What the piece itself rails against—that Y.A. offers pat, easy or at the very least "satisfying" solutions aimed at kids and doesn’t make adults think—could be said for the very type of internet writing it embodies. Here, precisely, is how you should feel, it says. Here are the answers, tied up in a bow: You be embarrassed for wasting your time reading Y.A., because Y.A. is not for adults, and you should be reading something appropriate to your age. It is easy and not challenging. You should not be "substituting maudlin teen dramas for the complexity of great adult literature." This is an argument that speaks from a place of truth and rightness, or at least, intends to; there is little room for nuance.
Yet, nuance persists. There are many, many factors that go into what makes something complex, great, or "appropriate to one's age," and most of all this depends on who is reading it—not based in age, because age categorizations do not always match prescribed reading levels; just ask any kid sneaking illicit tomes off her parents' bookshelf because all "her" books have already been devoured—but based in who that person is, what they want, and what they bring to the table..."
Update: Jen Dollis now writing a column of YA book reviews for the venerable New York Times: "Y.A. Crossover". The Times they are a changing. Congratulations, Jen Doll.
The Photo is of Ms Doll. The two books pictured are from Ms Doll's Y.A. Book List.
KidLitosphere is the best source that I have found for locating children's literature blogs. KidLitosphere has helped many readers find their way to these pages. Here is an excerpt form their home page..."Some of the best books being published today are children’s and young adult titles, well-written and engaging books that capture the imagination. Many of us can enjoy them as adults, but more importantly, can pass along our appreciation for books to the next generation by helping parents, teachers, librarians and others to find wonderful books, promote lifelong reading, and present literacy ideas."
Geno is retiring. An 8 year old German Shepherd, Geno is highly regarded by the Kane County Sheriff's Office for his loyalty, courage and intelligence. Here are excerpts from his bio as posted by the Sheriff's Office:
"Geno has served with the KCSO since 2009. Deputy Bill Gatske, Geno’s handler, has served with the KCSO for 15 years and Geno will continue to live with Gatske and his family in retirement. Over his career, Geno has... performed numerous dignitary and presidential protective sweeps and participated in sweeps before games at Soldier Field in Chicago along with conducting countless explosivedetection searches, suspect apprehensions and missing person searches. Geno may be most remembered, though, for his appearances with local area children where he taught the value of policing and reinforced the fact that law enforcement officers exists to serve their community"...
The cost of replacing Gino with his special skills in explosives detection, tracking, missing person searches, and more is very expensive. Once again, Planet Dog Foundation is providing support for a service dog. They have come together with theSpirit of Blue Foundation to award the Kane County Sherrif’s Office a $12,500 grant to acquire and train a new explosives detection K9 to replace the very special Geno.
The Planet Dog Foundation has awarded over a million dollars in funding to support dogs helping people in need.
“We dogs are happy and help each other because love is the most important part of our lives. When you give love,” she said, “You bring out love in others. If we come to Planet Earth, and people spend time with us, there will be fewer lonely people and more happy people.” - Miss Merrie, Queen of the Dogs
“But Mole stood still a moment, held in thought. As one wakened suddenly from a beautiful dream, who struggles to recall it, but can recapture nothing but a dim sense of the beauty in it, the beauty! Till that, too, fades away in its turn, and the dreamer bitterly accepts the hard, cold waking and all its penalties.” -- Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows Illustration by E.H. Shepherd
Snow Valley Heroes, A Christmas Tale at the Independent Publishers of New England Exhibits (IPNE)
If you are a New England librarian and headed to Boxborough, MA, for the NELAConvention (October19-21), we invite you to visit the Independent Publishers of New England (IPNE) exhibit where you will find Snow Valley Heroes, A Christmas Tale.
If you are a New England book lover and are headed to the Boston Book Festival (BFF) 0n October 25, we invite you to the Independent Publishers of New England (IPNE) exhibit where you will also find Snow Valley Heroes, A Christmas Tale.
Children's Literary Salon...New York Public Library
Saturday, November 1, 2014, 2PM, Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, South Court Auditorium...Speaker: Howard Scherry...Hosted by Elizabeth Bird
Margaret Wise Brown & Antoine de Saint-Exupery: Parallels in Their Life, Comparison in Their Literature...free admission
The Past is Always Present
UPDATE: Y.A. Distopian Movies Keep Coming -- And Making Money...Variations and Reinterpretations of Books of the Past by Movies are Omnipresent ...
No one is safe...not family, nor friends, nor any of the good folks in Katniss' "hometown" -- District 12. Empire. Oppression, and teen warriors again prevail as the Hunger Games story of resistance and survival continues. Dystopia will mean box office dollars when this third episode (there will be one more) of the Hunger Games, Mockingjay-Part1, opens in theaters worldwide, starting on November 19 -- November 21 in the USA.
For some perspective on the Hunger Games series, take a look at this review from Salon by Andrew O'Hehir "Whose Revolution Is It It?"
"Much of the genius of the “Hunger Games” franchise lies in its portrayal of a dystopian future society that lacks any specific ideological character. Panem, the deep-future dictatorship that has apparently replaced present-day America after an unspecified combination of civil war, social meltdown and ecological catastrophe, has the semiotic appearance of fascism – white-helmeted storm troopers and barbed-wire walls – but is really more like an old-fashioned feudal society, concerned entirely with maintaining its internal order. In reviewing the first “Hunger Games” movie, I observed that the relentless media onslaught of the Information Age has been rolled back, in author Suzanne Collins’ fictional universe, to one TV network and one reality show. Politics has been stripped down too: There is nothing except Empire and Resistance."
The Hunger Games Films have thus far grossed over 1.5 billion dollars
The critics were generally hard on Divergent, but the Box office has been excellent - over 288 million dollars thus far - and two sequels will follow. Based on a very popular Y.A. series by Veronica Roth. Here is an excerpt from a review by Brad Keefe in ColumbusAlive.
... “Divergent” is an adaptation of a popular young adult fiction trilogy featuring a smart, underdog heroine who fights against a corrupt power system in a dystopian future.
If you haven’t read the books, you’ll see “Divergent” as a convoluted “Hunger Games” knock-off. If you have, you’ll find the production values and performances are solid. But the movie is still convoluted.
In the crumbling ruins of a near-future Chicago, a post-war society has established peace by creating five “factions” of the population based on character traits (brains, brawn, compassion, etc.). Teens are tested for their aptitude in these fields, but they can choose their own faction (as long as they don’t mind leaving their family).
It’s like society based on a high-school clique system, so it resonates with teens (along with themes of non-conformity). And our heroine Tris (Shailene Woodley) embodies that moment of 'what do I do with my life' confusion." ....................................
Earlier this Fall, we had The Maze Runner, another YA movie set in a YA Dystopia. In less than a month, the Maze Runner has grossed over 83 Million dollars.
Also based on a successful book series (by James Dasher), it was described by Ben Kienigsberg in the International New York Times as a "perfectly serviceable entry in the young-adult dystopian sweepstakes. It combines elements of “Lord of the Flies” with the Minotaur and Orpheus myths, but it plays as something closer to “The Hunger Games” experienced through a dissociative fog. Much suspense comes from wondering which favored Hollywood twist the movie will employ...." .............................
Even if one adjustedthe figures for inflation etc, I doubt if the combined monies made by the books of Anderson, Dodson, St. Exuprey, the Brothers Grimm et al could compare with the box office receipts of these Y.A. movies.
More violence arrives in time for Christmas. The Hobbit, Battle of the 5 Armies opens on December 17. Here is a link to the trailer: Battle
If you've had enough of YA Dystopian Violence there is good news for children's films...
Boxtrolls is doing well and the Tale of Princess Kaguya, from Ghibli Studios is coming. Advance reports on Princess Kaguya suggest another outstanding film from the studio that gave us Howl's Moving Castle and Spirited Away.
Building Blocks in the past...Minecraft today and tomorrow
In case you were unaware of the scope of Minecraft, here is the opening of the excellent and comprehensive article by Stuart Dredge in the Guardian. The article is entitled: Minecraft movie will be 'large-budget' but unlikely to arrive before 2017. The article also contains videos that will take you into the digital world of Minecraft.
"What is Minecraft? It’s a game, obviously: one that its developer Mojang has sold nearly 54m copies of across computers, consoles and mobile devices so far.
But Minecraft is also an educational tool in schools through the MinecraftEduinitiative, and the driver for Block by Block, a partnership with the United Nations Human Settlements Programme to get young people involved in planning public urban spaces, starting with a pilot in Kenya.
Minecraft is also one of YouTube’s most popular video categories – right up there with music – fuelling hugely popular channels..."
Amazon-Hachette Battle Continues with Authors United
Power, money, books, writers and control are all involved as this battlle continues...Here are excerpts from a New York Times article by David Streitfeld.
"Amazon is at war with Hachette, and it sometimes seems as if it has always been that way.
As a negotiating tool in the battle, which is over the price of e-books, Amazon is discouraging its customers from buying the publisher’s printed books. After six months of being largely cut off from what is by far the largest bookstore in the country, many Hachette writers are fearful and angry. So...they are trying a new tactic to get the ir work unshackled.
Authors United, a group of Hachette writers and their allies, is appealing directly to Amazon’s board. It is warning the board that the reputation of the retailer, and of the directors themselves, is at risk.
UPDATE...This battle has expanded to include many prominent writers who are not published by Hachette. David Streifeld continues his coverage in what has become a series in the New York Times. Here is an updated excerpt...
"Now, hundreds of other writers, including some of the world’s most distinguished, are joining the coalition. Few if any are published by Hachette. And they have goals far broader than freeing up the Hachette titles. They want the Justice Department to investigate Amazon for illegal monopoly tactics..."
The Hero of Color City
This film opened in early October to mediocre reviews,but very young kids seem to like it.You be the judge. Here is the trailer: Hero of Color City
Complimentary Holiday Dog Books for Therapy Reading Dogs…
Christmas is coming and Barking Planet Productions is sending complimentary reader copies of ourholiday book,Snow Valley Heroes, A Christmas Tale, Volume 3 in the Planet of the Dogs series, to libraries and teachers participating in therapy reading dog programs and to therapy reading dogs owners and organizations.
To receive your copy, email us at email@example.com
Snow Valley Heroes, A Christmas Tale, is an illustrated first chapter fantasy-adventure book for children 6-12 and dog lovers of all ages.
Long, long ago, there were no dogs on planet Earth. It was during that time that two of Santa’s reindeer went missing and there could be no Christmas.
Far out in space is the Planet of the Dogs. Dogs have always lived there in peace and happiness.
When the dogs learned that there would be no more Christmas, they came down to planet earth to challenge the King of the North, free the reindeer from the Ice Castle, and save Christmas for children everywhere.
To read sample chapters, visit: www.planetofthedogs.net.
Insights on Visual Storytelling
Lizzy Burns is a proilfic, outspoken, caring and engaging blogger (A Chair, A Fireplace and a Tea Cozy )
She usually reviews YA booksand strongly supports those she likes. I'm interested in younger readers, however, I find her YA reviews to be insightful and very lively reading.
I have excerpted comments on her emotional response to the Y.A. book and movie, If I Stay, and her insights into visual storytelling...
"Here is the thing. I cried at the trailers for this film. I cried when I read the book. I knew all the plot points. There were no surprises. And yet...I cries through the whole film.
Because sometimes, it's not what happens. It's the emotional journey. And no matter how many times you go on that journey, it remains heart wrenching...
One thing I like about visual storytelling is it can show me things, reveal things, that I may not have picked up in the book. And yes, sometimes this is because of changes in the adaptation, but i t's often about staying true to the spirit of the book if not the text. So, for me, the movie made me understand more how Mia viewed her father leaving his band to pursue a job that was more stable as something he did because of her younger brother, Teddy -- never realizing it was also for her.
The movie is true to the book, but something happened at one point where I both feared and hoped that a change had been made and I said to myself, please please please even though there was no way, no way, and it was just like in the book BUT STILL MY FOOLISH HEART, IT HOPED...."
Here the link to her review/article of If I Stay. When she isn't blogging, Elizabeth Burns is the Youth Services Librarian for the New Jersey State Library Talking Book and Braille Center. Here is a link to her blog.
Nancy Houser has another excellent article that solves questions about feeding dogs and taking into account breed, age, health condition -- and she's not selling dog food, not pushing a brand. Here is an excerpt and a link:
"Dog diet is one of the most confusing aspects of taking care of your dog, a vital part of its care. Deciding on the correct dog diet and how to feed your dog is considered a highly complicated task.
Reading opens the doors that take the child beyond all borders.
From castles and great forests,
To ocean storms, island kingdoms,
Talking animals and magic stones.
From fear and darkness,
To light and peace.
For a child who has found the stories,
There are no borders to the imagination
. The illustration, The Defense of the Sampo, from the Finnish Kallevala, is by Akseli Gallen-Kallela ................................
Reimagining Mythology, Tolkien's Heritage and Movies
Peter Jackson has become the primary reinventor of J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle Earth Sagas. He has brought his vision of Tolkien to millions of people, young and old. His medium is film, and on December 17, 2014, the latest of his epicHobbitmovies, The Battle of the Five Armies, will thunder its way to movie theaters around the globe.
Tolkien, in turn, was inspired by and borrowed from mythology including Beowulff, the Norse Fables,and the Finnish Kalevala.
In the National Geographic News, Brian Handwerk, in an article entitled Lord Of The Rings Inspired by an Ancient Epic, wrote: "While the author's imagination was vast, Tolkien's world and its cast of characters do have roots in real-world history and geography, from the world wars that dominated Tolkien's lifetime to the ancient language and legends of Finland."
Tolkien, in his letters, said: "The germ of my attempt to write legends of my own to fit my private languages was the tragic tale of the hapless Kullervo in the Finnish Kalevala."
"After all, I believe that legends and myths are largely made of 'truth', and indeed present aspects of it that can only be received in this mode; and long ago certain truths and modes of this kind were discovered and must always reappear."
Tolkien also wrote that he was, in many ways, a Hobbit.
"Fairy tales since the beginning of recorded time, and perhaps earlier, have been a means to conquer the terrors of mankind through metaphor.”-- Jake Zipes, professor emeritus, University of Minnesota, translator, author of many books, including The Irresisitable Fairy Tale: The Cultural and Social History of a Genre. The illustration of Kullervo is by Akseli Gallen-Kallela
Adults Are Crossing the Borders of Imagination Into Teenland
In September, 2012,Bowker published the results of a survey that revealed that adults were buying YA (young adult) books in startling numbers. The article said that 55% of YA book purchases were by adults and 78% of those adults acknowledged that the books were for their own reading. The turning point was said to be the Hunger Games movie and the popular Hunger Games book trilogy.
Controversy has followed the article: should so many adults be reading books written for 12-17 year olds?
My interest is primarily in younger readers; however, it seems the age lines today are blurred for all. Movies seem to have precipitated the situation, and the children's market today also crosses into Teenland. How many kids today, who went to see films like E.T., Harry Potter, and the Lion King, are now going to the Hunger Games, Divergence and the Lord of the Rings Saga? I don't know the answer, but I do know their is a huge degree of difference in the violence quotient.
In defense of adults reading YA, there is respected YA Author (Cut, Purple Heart, Sold) Patricia McCormick:"Why are so many adults reading young adult books? No need to page Dr. Freud. This isn’t about the guilty pleasures of communing with one’s inner child...It’s because adults are discovering one of publishing’s best-kept secrets: that young adult authors are doing some of the most daring work out there. Authors who write for young adults are taking creative risks -- with narrative structure, voice and social commentary -- that you just don’t see as often in the more rarefied world of adult fiction."
Also defending YA books and encouaging adults to read them is popular YA author( Deviant, Orgins, Sleeping Beauty, Vampire Slayer) Maureen McGowan. She concluded her Kindle post with this thought: "I could list more reasons why I love YA but, bottom line, I’ve found most books in this category to be engaging, entertaining, thoughtful and well written."
On the other side of the controversy, journalist (Atlantic, Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe) Ruth Grahamcreated a firestorm when she wrote an article in Slate with this headline: "Read whatever you want. But you should be embarrassed when what you're reading was written for children."
Here are excerpts from Ms. Graham's article..."I know, I know: Live and let read. Far be it from me to disrupt the “everyone should just read/watch/listen to whatever they like” ethos of our era. There’s room for pleasure, escapism, juicy plots, and satisfying endings on the shelves of the serious reader... But if they are substituting maudlin teen dramas for the complexity of great adult literature, then they are missing something...
But even the myriad defenders of YA fiction admit that the enjoyment of reading this stuff has to do with escapism, instant gratification, and nostalgia. As the writer Jen Doll, who used to have a column called 'YA for Grownups,' put it in an essay last year, 'At its heart, YA aims to be pleasurable.'"
Pioneers In An Untrodden Forest
Seth Lerer points out that the comment, "We are pioneers in an untrodden forest" made in 1884 to his staff by James A.H. Murray, as presiding editor of the Oxford English Dictionary, also describes how the Grimms felt about their work in publishing their "nursery and household tales".
Lerer goes on to quote Wilhelm Grimm, who, in referring to these tales, wrote, "that these were the 'last echoes of pagan myths...A world of magic is opened up before us, one which still exists among us in secret forests, in underground caves, and in the deepest sea, and it is still visible to children...(Fairy tales) have existed among the people for several centuries.' And what we find inside those secret forests, caves and seas...(are) fairy tales full of families, full of parents who bequeath a sense of self to children, full of ancestors and heirs whose lives play out, in little, the life of a nation from its childhood to maturity."
The forest plays a very prominent part in the 1812 edition of the Grimm's tales as it did in the lives and imagination of people. Two thirds of the 210 tales take place in the forest. It is also worth noting that the lives of all people in the land of the Grimm's was in was in constant turmoil and change during the time that the Grimm's collected, wrote, and published their books. The quote, above, is from Seth Lerer's book, Children's Literature, A Reader's History from Aesop to Harry Potter.
The top illustration is by Julius Diez for Sleeping Beauty; the other illustration is by Hermann Vogel for the Three Little Gnomes in the Forest. Both tales are from the brothers Grimm 1812 edition of fairy tales.
“Grown-ups never understand anything by themselves, and it is tiresome for children to be always and forever explaining things to them” - Antoine de Saint-Exuprey
The True Magic of the Imagination
This was the headline on BREEZES FROM WONDERLAND, Maria Tatar's Internet forum for storytelling, folklore , and children's literature.
Ms Tatar wrote about a New York Times report, Harry Potter Casts a Spell for Tolerance. Written by Annie Murphy Paul, the article reports on a study that describes the "Potter Effect", citing it as an example of how reading can positively influence young minds regarding bigotry and intolerence...
"...The study, which will be published in a forthcoming issue of the Journal of Applied Social Psychology, concludes by noting that the Harry Potter novels may be especially effective at increasing the tolerance of their readers precisely because they concern themselves with made-up categories like Muggles and Mudbloods. More overt attempts to change readers’ views about real-life groups, Mr. Vezzali and his co-authors note, could prompt defensive or resistant reactions. By identifying with the fictional character of Harry Potter, and by drawing connections, conscious or not, between his treatment of people different from him and their own attitudes toward stigmatized groups, readers of these novels work their own kind of wizardry: the magic of the literary imagination."
Ms Tatar comments:"Is anyone surprised that children’s books, which often feature outsiders, quirky kids, adventurous orphans, and nomadic heroes turn us into more empathetic people in real life?"...she continues her comment with a related personal anecdote from her own childhood.
A long-time therapy dog owner, advocate, coordinator, and volunteer Nancy George-Michalson, sent us news of the latest Angel On A Leashevent to benefit the Ronald McDonald house in New York where children from around the world with cancer -- and their families -- come to stay when receiving hospital care..."Here a child with cancer plays and grows, surrounded by other children and families sharing similar experiences, supported each day by volunteer therapy dog teams waiting to meet and greet them as they return from a grueling day at the hospital. "
Ronald McDonald House New York - Angel On A Leash
3rd Annual “Family Fun Dog Walk”...a day to support therapy dogs and the courageous children who love them.
This fun-filled event is a 2k walk open to the public, with proceeds from funds raised going to support children battling cancer, and the therapy dog teams that bring smiles to their faces on a daily basis. There will be raffle baskets and prizes for the best dressed big dog and the best dressed little dog. Participants must be registered walkers and in attendance to win. David Frei and Cat Greenleaf will serve as the judges.
Date: Saturday September 20, 2014, Rain or Shine. Time: 10 AM-12PM. Location: Carl Shurz Park, East End Avenue, 84th St promenade entrance
"You can't stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.”
"Sometimes,' said Pooh, 'the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.”
“The things that make me different are the things that make me.”
A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh
Penguin U.K. will issue this month a fiftieth-anniversary edition of Roald Dahl’s “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” under its Modern Classics imprint. I find the cover design disturbing, inappropriate, and misleading.
In a very insightful New Yorkerarticle entitled, Meant For Kids, Margaret Talbotwrote about this cover, and the cross over book market. Here are excerpts:
"Why did the cover of a novel about five kids and a wonderful—if admittedly bizarre—candy-maker look like a scene from ‘Toddlers & Tiaras’? Commenters on Penguin’s Facebook page called it ‘creepy,’ ‘sexualized’ and ‘inappropriate garbage'... It seems likely that the Modern Classics cover of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” is an example of a new trend: enticing older readers to buy books intended for children and young adults by publishing them with covers that look sophisticated. Read it on the subway, read it in a bar—no need to feel sheepish..."
How do you explain loyalty to children? Does loyalty have a place in the world outside? Is it a virtue? Does loyalty bring trouble and problems? Or is it rewarding?
Does loyalty have a beginning and an end? Where can a child find examples of loyalty that they can experience and understand? In stories? In daily life? In computer games?
Dogs offer a wonderful way for a child to understand loyalty. Dogs are the embodiment of loyalty and a story with dogs can illustrate loyalty...
Suppose it is long, long ago...A sister and brother, are on a journey that will take them home. They have stopped for the night and are sleeping at a campsite in the woods. They have been riding on horseback, accompanied by two soldiers who are believed to be loyal to their father, and by their two dogs.
Betrayal...But the men are not loyal. They are traitors and the children find that they have been kidnapped. The children's dogs appear to be dead.
Thus begins a hard journey for the children, through the mountains to the land of the Forest people. There the children are imprisoned in an old castle. Their father cannot rescue them, because he does not know where his children have been taken. The children are dismayed and frightened.
Loyal Dogs...Until one cold foggy night, with the forest and the castle enveloped in mist, the sound of howling dogs is heard by the imprisoned children. Their dogs, their loyal dogs, have found them. Hope returns. And thus unfolds the story of the Castle In The Mist .
The illustrations above , from the book Castle In The Mist, are by Stella Mustanoja-McCarty
The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.”
"You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself Any direction you choose."
Borders Of The Imagination
The Boxtrolls are coming...
Alan Snow, author, designer, and illustratorcreated a 501 page illustrated fantasy story book, Here Be Monsters.I haven't seen the book, except on the Internet, but it looks rather amazing. This month , on the 26th of September, Laika Studios, creators of the excellentCoraline movie, will bringBoxtrolls, their reimagined film version of Here Be Monsters, to movie theaters. The trailer (link below) is very enticing. The stop-motion annimation looks to be riding the borders of imagination.
Five Canine Heroes Receive Recognition and Rewards
I belatedly learned about these meaningful Awards. Here is an excerpt from the article by Cheslie Pickett in the Canine Chronicle that tells the story...:
"The AKC® Humane Fund announced today the winners of the 15th annual AKCHumane Fund Awards for Canine Excellence (ACE). These awards honor five inspirational dogs that have made significant contributions to their communities and truly exemplify the power of the human-canine bond. One award is presented in each of the following five categories: Exemplary Companion, Uniformed Service K-9, Search and Rescue, Service and Therapy dog. This year’s winners include a faithful companion that saved her owner from a bear, a heroic K-9 (Bruno) that took a bullet in the line of duty, an international search and rescue traveler, a blind therapy dog bringing comfort to abused children and ACE’s first mixed breed winner, a service dog to a U.S. veteran raising awareness of the profound impact service dogs can have on trauma survivors." I found the summaries of each award winner to be rather awesome; each is shown in a photo, including the blind recued therapy dog.
The photo is of Bruno ("who took a bullet in the line of duty") and officer R.J. Young
Books to Have and to Hold
Author, journalst and Yale Professor, Verlyn Klinkenborg, wrote about the difference in reading an ebook as opposed to a physical book Here are excepts...
"I finish reading a book on my iPad — one by Ed McBain, for instance — and I shelve it in the cloud. It vanishes from my “device” and from my consciousness too. It’s very odd.
When I read a physical book, I remember the text and the book — its shape, jacket, heft and typography. When I read an e-book, I remember the text alone. The bookness of the book simply disappears, or rather it never really existed. Amazon reminds me that I’ve already bought the e-book I’m about to order. In bookstores, I find myself discovering, as if for the first time, books I’ve already read on my iPad.
All of this makes me think differently about the books in my physical library. They used to be simply there, arranged on the shelves, a gathering of books I’d already read. But now, when I look up from my e-reading, I realize that the physical books are serving a new purpose — as constant reminders of what I’ve read. They say, “We’re still here,” or “Remember us?” These are the very things that e-books cannot say, hidden under layers of software, tucked away in the cloud, utterly absent when the iPad goes dark.
This may seem like a trivial difference, but that’s not how it feels"...
Planet Of The Dogs Is In China The publishers, Chongxianguan Books of Beijing, have created new illustrations and covers. The stories remain the same.
Complimentary copies of the English version of the award-winniong Planet Of The DogsSeries are available for therapy reading dogowners and organizations. Write us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Simple Ways to Test Dog Intelligence
Here's an excerpt from Nancy Houser's outstanding blog for dog owners (and dog lovers).
As well as being ‘man’s best friend’, dogs with excellent dog intelligence are capable of performing some pretty amazing feats. We’ve all heard stories about our canine companions alerting their masters to fires. Or, protecting their owner from an attacker or intruder. And then there are those who are visually impaired who rely on ‘seeing eye dogs’ in order to go about their daily lives. A dog’s intelligence is measured by its ability to think and problem solve...Here is a link to read it all: Dog Intelligence The illustration by Stella Mustanoja McCarty is from Snow Valley Heroes, Vol 3 in the Planet Of The Dogs Series
Sponsors of Banned Book Weekinclude the American Library Association, the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, the American Society of Journalists and Authors, the Association of American Publishers, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, the National Association of College Stores, the National Coalition Against Censorship, the National Council of Teachers of English, PEN American Center and Project Censored.
Thoughts on the Borders of the Imagination
"We don’t need a list of rights and wrongs, tables of dos and don’ts: we need books, time, and silence. Thou shalt not is soon forgotten, but Once upon a time lasts forever.”
"After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.”
“There are some themes, some subjects, too large for adult fiction; they can only be dealt with adequately in a children’s book.”
Phillip Pullman, Author of His Dark Materials (trilogy), Fairy Tales from the BrothersGrimm and many more.
Empowerment Through Rescue
by CA Wulff
There’s a saying in rescue that saving one dog won’t change the world, but it will surely change the world for that one dog. Except that just isn’t true. The truth is that saving one dog most certainly changes the world. It changes everything.
First, it changes YOU, because once you save an animal it awakens an empowerment in you. You come to realize that you can affect change wherever you apply yourself. Secondly, it changes the world for that animal, who has been given a second chance at life…and there is nothing more joyous and grateful than an animal who has been saved. They become loving and faithful companions. They protect and comfort their families.
They teach the children in the family to love and respect animals. They bring hours of joy and laughter to their people keeping them healthier in body, mind and spirit.
And there is always the possibility that a dog you save will become a service dog, or a therapy dog or a search and rescue dog. There’s no way to measure the impact you can have by advocating for just one animal.
"I wonder if I've been changed in the night. Let me think. Was I the same when I got up this morning? I almost think I can remember feeling a little different. But if I'm not the same, the next question is, "Who in the world am I? Ah, that's the great puzzle."
-Lewis Carrol, Alice In Wonderland
A Rescue Story from the Rescue People at Sunbear Squad
Meet "Muddy Puppy," named because he was found in a muddy ditch in the pouring rain. Hit by a car and with two painfully broken back legs, someone did care enough to try to protect him from the driving rain with an old jacket. But not enough to offer him relief from his painful suffering and overwhelming fear. Instead they just drove off leaving this 4-month-old puppy to slowly and painfully die all alone. All hope gone...Visit Sunbear Squad and read the upbeat ending to this story from Oklahoma Beagle Rescue
What should you do, what can you do, if you see an injured dog or one in distress? You can be prepared...Sunbear Squad offers guidelines, wallet cards, and information.
"A dog teaches a boy fidelity, perseverance, and to turn around three times before sitting down -- Robert Benchley
"The authors of books for children enchant us with clarion calls that transport us to desinations in the mind, turning us into adventurous hunters, even when we are sitting still, not moving an inch." --Maria Tatar, Enchanted Hunters,The Power of Stories In Cildhood
My Neighbor Totoro (illustration above) is from the enchanted world of the great Japanese story teller and film director, Hayao Miyazaki.
"When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast" -the Queen in Alice In Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
Newly Discovered Fairy Tales are Coming
Lost, but now found, Franz Xaver von Schönwerth's trove of fairy tales have been translated by Maria Tatar, and will be available as the Turnip Princessat the end of February, 2015.
"With this volume, the holy trinity of tellers of fairy tales—the Brothers Grimm, Charles Perrault, and Hans Christian Andersen—becomes a quartet. In the 1850s, Franz Xaver von Schönwerth traversed the depths of the Black Forest and scaled the heights of the Bavarian Alps to record fairy tales, gaining the admiration of even the Brothers Grimm. Most of Schönwerth’s work was lost—until a few years ago, when a researcher unearthed thirty boxes of manuscripts in a municipal archive in Germany.
Now, for the first time, Schönwerth’s lost fairy tales are available in English. Violent, dark, and full of action, and upending the relationship between damsels in distress and their dragon-slaying heroes, they bring us closer than ever to the unadorned oral tradition in which fairy tales are rooted, revolutionizing our understanding of a hallowed genre."
In 1885, Jacob Grimm said this about von Schönwerth: "Nowhere in the whole of Germany is anyone collecting [folklore] so accurately, thoroughly, and with such a sensitive ear." The collection includes versions of Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Rumplestiltskin and tales completely new to us.
The translator, Maria Tatar teaches folklore, children's literature, and German cultural studies at Harvard University. She chairs the Program in Folklore and Mythology. Among her books are two that I can recommend witout reservation: Enchanted Hunters, the Power of Stories in Childhood and TheAnnotated Classic Fairy Tales. Her blog is Breezes from Wonderland. Ms Tatar lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
The illustration for Briar Rose (Cinderella) is by Arthur Rackham.
“If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.”...Albert Einstein
The Doors of Enchantment
The Brothers Grimm, J.K. Rowling, and Linda Woolverton all have something in common...they have reached the hearts and minds of millions of children (and adults) around the world.
Woolverton is a master of reinterpreting stories, staying true to the essence of the original, and transforming them into remarkable movies. She also guides her scripts -- maintaining their integrity and originality -- through the multiple processes and inputs that are part of theatrical movie making. Few writers, female or male, have had the ability to do this successfully. And Linda Woolverton's films are both creative and as well as box office successes.
In a candid interview with Aaron Couch in the Hollywood Reporter regarding the writing ofMaleficent, Ms Woolverton said that even after rewriting the script a 100 times, she still choked up when she came to the kiss scene where Maleficent awakens the sleeping Aurora. I don't know if this was a true manifestation of passionate involvement in the script, however, when Couch asks her other questions in this and in her Indiewire interview (below), she is disarmingly candid and straightforward.
What were some of your big challenges when you were approaching this?
The biggest challenge was how to make a villain into a protagonist. How on earth was I going to justify that this woman would curse a baby? (Laughs.)
Where did that motivation start?
We based this on the Disney movie, not the fairy tale. I was looking at that scene, and I had done some research, and the biggest surprise is that she's a fairy, not a witch. I've always wanted to do a dark fairy story. Then I watched that scene where she curses the baby, and I'm thinking "well if she's a fairy, where are her wings?" Suddenly it was "boom. Lightbulb. Oh! It's the wings!" Then I worked backward from there to create the Stefan relationship. (for those who haven't seen the film, Stefan's horrendous behavior unleashes the dark side in Maleficent).
Adapting Fairy Tales for a New Generation
I found fascinating insights into Ms Woolverton and her work in an excellent interview by Susan Wloszczyna inIndiewire . Here are brief excerpts:
SW: "Did turning a villain into the central figure in Maleficent present a greater challenge? There is a reason that she is often ranked high among the popular villains in Disney lore. Even Angelina Jolie, who never warmed to the princess characters, has said the evil fairy was her favorite with her wicked sense of fun and serene elegance.
LW: It was very difficult to turn a villain into a hero and yet keep her a villain...I had to figure out what possibly could have happened to her to make her want to hurt an innocent baby. Something that would equal that act. In the animated movie, she had no wings. She just threw her robes open like wings. I thought, 'Is that it? Did someone take her wings?' They stole her soul and her heart had to turn cold. I knew that was the right answer. We depicted it in a way that is horrible, yet you can tolerate it and still feel it. Angelina does a great job in portraying her anguish.
SW: Yet some critics are simply interpreting her need to avenge as simply the act of a woman scorned.
LW: That is part of it. She did love him.
SW: This is a PG film. Was there concern that this scene and a few others might be a bit much for young children?
We really didn't think that so much. It is wings, nothing that any of us have. We didn't cut off her legs. We killed Mufasa in The Lion King. We killed Bambi's mother. The world is an intense place. Storytelling helps children to be strong. Hansel and Gretel is about eating children. Fairy tales have never shied away from that..."
Among Linda Woolverton's achievements: Beauty and the Beast(1991) including the Tony Award winning stage musical version; co-writer of the Lion King (1994), for film and stage; Alice InWonderland (2010), directed by Tim Burton; and, Maleficent(2014). Maleficenthas currently grossed over $739,000,000. Here is a lnk to the trailer that focuses on Maleficent's wings: Maleificent
Ms Woolverton's next Disney film is her version of Lewis Carrol'sThrough the Looking Glass.
August 26 is the 10th annual National Dog Day. Founded in 2004 by pet lifestyle expert and author Colleen Paige. National Dog Day was created to celebrate dogs of all types, from the mutts to the purebreds, the companion animals to working dogs. It is hoped that the day will encourage dog ownership of all breeds and embrace the opportunity for all dogs to live a happy, safe and ”abuse-free life.”
National Dog Day is against BSL (Breed Specific Legislation). Dogs should not have to lose their lives because of the atrocities they have been forced to endure at the hands of man. It’s a reminder to adopt from rescues or shelters where millions of dogs are euthanized each year because they are unwanted. And if you must buy, instead of buying from pet stores, backyard breeders, the internet, newspaper ads and puppy mills, buy only from a verified reputable breeder.
People who are not dog owners are encouraged to donate $5 to their local shelter on National Dog Day.
In celebrationof this wonderful recognition of dogs and what they mean to us in our lives,
Among the array of many fascinating Dog related articles on Way Cool Dogs, Nancy Houser has posted regarding developments in the latest studies of the effects of dogs on children with cancer. Over 13,000 children in the USA are diagnosed with cancer annually. Here is an excerpt:..
..."The latest Vanderbilt University clinical trial on dog therapy-childhood cancer is accompanied by a grant from Thompson, to determine whether therapy dogs actually help young cancer patients. Saliva from the dogs are tested in addition to testing of the children, in order to track the dog-patient relationship.
According to Medical MedScape, 'It really promises to be a landmark study,' said John Payne, chair of the board at the American Humane Association, which is running the trial, with funding from the Pfizer Foundation and Zoetis..."
I believe the work done by LitWorld in bringing the gift of reading to disadvantaged children around the world is wonderful. I highly recommend a visit to their website. Meanwhile, here is an excerpt from a message by LitWorld founder, Pam Allyn: "
"...We started LitWorld with a small LitClub in Kibera (A Nairobi slum), and since then, LitWorld has grown to countries, cities, and towns around the world. The LitClub – a safe, nourishing space for reading, writing, speaking, listening, and viewing – is our model for what the world should look like: a promise to all children that their voices can and should tell the future..."
Imagine being a woman unable to communicate with your service dog to the point where you have lost the independence that you had once gained with your dog.
ONI - A New Development
The Planet Dog Foundation (PDF) has made a grant to Educated Canines Assisting with DisabilitiesECAD, a multi-faceted service and therapy dog organization, to pursue the development of an imaginative solution to the problem caused by speech problems and service dogs. This innovative pilot project is called Operation New Initiative (ONI) and will use iPads and Tablets to communicate with the service dogs.
ECAD has a perfect candidate, Lois, for their beta effort. Lois is "a 60 year old woman who, because of the effects of Muscular Dystrophy, has such weakened vocal chords that she can no longer verbally communicate with her service dog. The goal is to train and place the first successful dog through ONI with Lois, to enable her to go back to the independence she once knew."
PDF statement: "Operation New Initiative will explore the use of modern technology (i.e., iPads or Tablets) to enable adults and children who have impaired verbal abilities, or who are non-verbal due to Autism, to communicate commands to service dogs via images that are sound activated on the iPad. The Plant Dog Foundation grant will fund the acquisition of the iPads and the software necessary, and the training of instructors to train the dogs to respond to commands generated on the tablet.
Planet Dog Foundation(PDF)
"PDF Has contributed over $1,000,000 to support: Therapy dogs. Service dogs. Search & rescue dogs. Bomb sniffing dogs. Police dogs. In fact, The Planet Dog Foundation celebrates all "working" dogs that are enhancing and saving human lives. They do this by supporting innovative, respected and effective non-profit organizations that work tirelessly to raise, train and place the dogs."
The funds come fromPlanet Dog, which sells high quality products (all guaranteed) to dog owners.
Many PDF benefeciaries have been featured in this blog. We salute PDF, ECAD and all the service and therapy dog organization who continue to make life better on this planet.
Alice will dance in New York
In Christopher Wheeldon's wonderful version of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
The Joyce Theater Foundation and the National Ballet of Canada have announced that they will present the New York premiere of Wheeldon's Alice's Adventure in Wonderland . Set to an original score by Joby Talbot and with costume and set designs by Bob Crowley, the production of the Lewis Carroll classic is scheduled to run from Sept. 9 to 14 at the David H. Koch Theater in Lincoln Center. Mr. Wheeldon’s interpretation of “Alice” had its premiere at the Royal Opera House in London in 2011. A film was made of the original production.
Here is a link to one minute and thirteen seconds of this lauded reimagining of Alice
Therapy Reading Dogs...Children on the Road to Reading...Our Beginnings
Our invovement with therapy reading dogs has expanded to all kinds of therapy and service dog prograns and activites. It began simply, in 2008, when I learned about and became involved with teacher Julie Hauk andPages for Preston
"I am a third grade teacher in Sheboygan, WI, and I have developed a Therapy Dog Reading program for second and third graders at Longfellow Elementary School. The program's name is Pages for Preston, after my own therapy dog. We have read Planet of the Dogs during our reading time with the dogs and my students are absolutely enthralled with the book! I was in awe at their eagerness to learn about the characters and events in the story. Watching the students read about Miss Merrie and Lucy while reading to therapy dogs was a full circle moment for me."
This was the beginning of my awareness. Thanks to Julie Hauk, since starting with Pages for Preston six years ago, we have been supporting therapy reading dog owners and organizations with complimentary books, and by sharing their stories on this Barking Planet blog.
Hansel and Gretel are running through the woods...
Children can read the story of Hansel and Gretel and, if they visit England's Lake Country, they can see them running through the woods in Lancaster's Williamson Park.
Clare Brennan in a Guardian article wrote"Hilltop, woodland and lake are the perfect setting for ZosiaWard's vivid retelling of multiple fairytales...Hansel and Gretel may get top billing at the Dukes' annual outdoor production, but they are not alone. Threaded through the main story are shreds from seven fairytales, three classic children's films and one nonsense poem. Part of the fun of this show is spotting these, as you follow the abandoned twins up hill, down dale and through mysterious, wooded glades...The setting is magnificent: a hilltop memorial, swards of grass, copses and a lake. During the interval, people sit and watch the sun slip into Morcambe Bay; it is a drama in itself..."
Mary Laura Philpott wrote a warm family story in the New York Times:
And Then The Dog Died: Things You Can't Plan For When Planning a Move.
Here's an excerpt:
When planning my family’s move to Nashville from Atlanta, one of the things I put a lot of thought into was creating a sense of consistency in order to manage how much change and disorder our children would experience this summer. I read somewhere that children need to know they can rely on some things to stay the same, even when a big transition comes along.
I know, I know. Makes about as much sense as a “birth plan,” doesn’t it?...Read it all:Philpott
The New York Public Library for the Performing Artswill host a Sesame Street themed exhibition called "Somebody Come and Play."
This multimedia exhibit was organized to give fans a behind-the-scenes look at the show and celebrate its 45 years of great success. It will run from September 18, 2014 through January 31, 2015. Visitors will not be charged an admissions fee.
Our experience at Barking Planet has been that NYPL creates wonderful exhibitions.
Also from NYPL, an invitation from librarian Elizabeth Bird..."NYPL's Children's Literary Salon is pleased to announce our next event on Saturday, September 6th at 2:00 p.m.
Personal Passions and Changes in Nonfiction for Children and Teens
Author, professor, speaker, editor and publisher by turns, Marc Aronson's love of nonfiction and his conviction that young people can read carefully, examine evidence, and engage with new and challenging ideas informs everything he does. Join us for a conversation about the changing role of nonfiction for youth, and the special challenges and advantages of this one-of-a-kind genre.
This event will be held in the Schwarzman Building at 42nd Street and 5th Avenue in the Berger Forum on the second floor. No reservations are necessary."
We publish four books by C.A. Wulff. But...who is she, beyond living in a house in the woods with rescued dogs and a varying group of other saved critters during 25 years plus of multifaceted active pet rescue...
She is an accomplished writer, artist and animal advocate. She has written three books about her true-life adventures living with an ever-changing house full of pets: Born Without a Tail, and Circling the Waggins, and Parade Of Misfits. She has also writtenHow to Change the World in 30 Seconds, A Guide to Animal Advocacy Using the Internet as a Tool; and Finding Fido, a handbook for dog owners who have lost their dogs or other pets.
Wulff also writes an Animal Book Review column for the Examiner, and the Cleveland Pets Examiner; She is a contributing editor to the animal advocate organization AnimalsVote. Her dog news and advocacy blog is Up on the Woof. The dogs that here are from her yelodoggie art work: yelodoggie . She is also an Associate Publisher of Barking Planet Productions. She attributes her love of animals to having been raised by Wulffs. I have no idea what she does in her spare time.
1,000 DOGS PLUNGING INTO PIRATES COVE AQUATIC PARK
Date and Time: September 6, from 9am to 3pm.
Pirates Cove 1225 West Belleview Avenue Littleton, CO 80120 USA
If you are in Littleton, or anywhere nearby, take the
Doggie Plunge at Pirates Cove Aquatic Center. Take the plunge with hundreds of four legged swimmers living it up, splashing and smiling in the last of the summer sun!
Throughout the day join hundreds of families enjoying food trucks, doggie activities and so much more!
This is a benefit for nonprofit Freedom Service Dogs of America, tickets $15...
"Freedom Service Dogs... enhance the lives of people with disabilities by rescuing dogs and custom training them for individual client needs. Clients includechildren, veterans and active duty soldiers, and other adults. Their disabilities include Autism, Traumatic Brain Injury, Cerebral Palsy, Spinal Cord Injuries, Muscular Dystrophy, Multiple Sclerosis, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)." Visit their website: www.freedomservicedogs.org
A dog is lying by the side of the road...What do I do? What are my options? I want to be helpful, but this is all new to me... For answers, examples, true stories and more, visit Sunbear Squad...Let the experience of compassionate dog lovers guide you. Here's the Link: SunbearSquad -
"To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring, it was peace." - Milan Kundera
There was a time when I worked in the main branch of NYPL with the big old stone lions out front. No longer. These days I work at BookOps, a dual entity that encompasses both NYPL and Brooklyn Public Library. And in my workplace there is a great and grand and massively impressive sorting machine. It’s very Charlie and the Chocolate Factory-esque. I give tours of it all the time. It sorts and assigns all the holds and returns of the system, so you know it’s gotta be cool. Now, thanks to drone technology, you get to see not just where I work (visually stunning this part of Long Island City is not) but the kickin’ sorting machine as well. Feast your eyes!!
In 1996 a bunch of Monty Python guys made The Wind in the Willows. It gets better. Steve Coogan was Mole. Stephen Fry was The Judge. This is not to be confused with a very similar looking version starring Matt James in 2006, of course. Still I’m quite shocked I hadn’t seen it until now. Fortunately there is such a thing as YouTube. Here’s part one:
Thanks to Tom Angleberger for the link.
I sort of adore kids. Allie Bruce at Bank Street was kind enough to show a bunch of them rewriting Battle Bunny / The Birthday Bunny (a book born to be taken and adapted) in their own unique visions.
They do love their poop.
Man. It’s a bummer when someone popular online has your name. It’s even more of a bummer when they’ve rabid fan bases. Meghan McCarthy created a short film to separate her from the other Meghan McCarthys. Can you blame her?
For the record, the only Betsy Birds I know of out there are an Arizona artist and a Muppet. The day I beat that Muppet in Google search results was a happy one indeed.
And for our final off-topic video. This one’s almost on-topic Remember the film Hook? With its Peter Pan link? And the character of Rufio? Well I can’t say this any better than i09 did, so I’ll just quote them verbatim: “Baby Rufio Cosplay Validates The Entire Concept Of Procreation”.
Linda Woolverton is a writer, mother, and wife who also owns five dogs. She is an extremely talented and inventive screenwriter. She has written scripts for Disney that have captured the interest of hundreds of millions of people around the world. She has done this by reimagining and reinventing fairy tales and myths while retaining essential elements of earlier versions.
Her current success story began after college when she formed her own children's theater company, playing in a variety of venues in northern California, and working as a writer, director and performer. She later worked as a secretary, a substitute teacher, and from 1986-1989, she wrote several animated television series.
She also wrote YA children's books. She used one of them, Running Beforethe Wind, to help convince Disney of her writing talent.
Her films have brought billions of dollars to Disney.
Among her achievements: Beauty and the Beast(1991) including the Tony Award winning stage musical version; co-writer of the Lion King (1994), for film and stage; Alice InWonderland (2010), directed by Tim Burton; and, Malificent (2014).
Maleificenthas currently grossed over $660,000,000.
Ms Woolverton's next Disney film is her version of Lewis Carrol's Through the Looking Glass, scheduled for release in 2016.
Here is a link to an entertaining video trailer for Maleficent focused on Reimagining Sleeping Beauty. In the trailer, Ms Woolverton describes Maleficent as a "reinvention".
The Road Goes On Forever...
Sleeping Beauty, a fairy tale from earler centuries, and also known as Briar Roseby the Brothers Grimm and Charles Perrault, became Maleficentin today's movie version.
What are the enduring qualities of this story and other classic fairy tales? What are the special qualities that causes kids, young adults, and their parents to respond through the centuries?
These were among the ideas considered in a New York Times editorial, Throw Out the Rules! Read a Fairy Tale. Written by Verlyn Klinkenborg (author, cultural analyst, and Yale University professor). This unusual topic -- for a Times editorial -- was inspired by Phillip Pullman's retelling of fifty of his favorite stories by the brother's Grimm. Here is an excerpt:
"And that is the fun of going back to the Grimms. The stories veer vertiginously. There is no narrator to complicate things. They occur in a landscape whose every feature is instrumental to the plot. A castle appears if a castle is needed, a dock if a princess is going to sea. There is never weather for weather’s sake. Everyone has a terrible memory and a dim understanding of consequences. Emotions are powerful but simple — envy, love, selfishness. It is a world where boasting and cleverness can make a tailor a king."
"The Fairy tale is...a transcription made on one or more occasions of the words spoken by one of many people who have told this tale. And all sorts of things, of course, affect the words that are finally written down...The fairy tale is in a perpetual state of becoming and alteration. To keep one version is to put a robin redbreast in a cage." Phillip Pullman in his introduction to Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm
The illustration is by Walter Crane.
"What he wanted to do was to distil what he saw as the narrative story, the myth, of the English heroes in epics, romances, legends, dream visions, chronicles – Beowulf, Sir Gawain, Sir Orfeo, English Arthuriana (Wace, Layamon, Malory), Pearl, Patience, Purity, The Battle of Maldon – and works that may have influenced or impacted on these English works, especially the Volsunga Saga, the WelshMabinogion, and Finnish folk-myths found in the form of the Kalevala."
Dr. Jane Chance, an authority on medieval mythography, writing about Lord Of The Rings in an exceptional National Geographic
"National Dog Day is celebrated August 26th annually and serves to help galvanize the public to recognize the number of dogs that need to be rescued each year...Founded in 2004 by pet lifestyle expert and author Colleen Paige, National Dog Day was created to honor dogs more than we currently do, to give them "a day", to show deep appreciation for our long connection to each other -- for their endearing patience, unquestioning loyalty, for their work, their capacity for love and their ability to impact our lives every day in the most miraculous ways..."
Kids Reading to Shelter Dogs and the Nebraska Canine Connection
The photos tell the story.
They were taken at the Nebraska Humane Society as part of their Camp Kindness Program for kids 6-12. I learned about this wonderful program from author CA Wulff (we publish her books*) on her excellent website for dog lovers,Up On The Woof.
Here is an excerpt fromher blog:
"The program is not just helpful to improving the skills of young readers, but to the animals who find themselves in this loud and strange environment. A camper’s story helps them feel calm, noticed, and less lonely; giving them some loving companionship. Pam Wiese of NEHS says that any shelter can offer therapy reading to their animals for next to nothing. All that is needed are some 5 gallon buckets (turned upside-down for seats) and a box of books. Children don’t need to come into physical contact with the animals, (and therefore avoid any potential risks) but can sit outside the kennel cages, still providing focus and comfort to the animals."
Here's a comment by Mom Jennie Wright " Our son is doing this and he is loving it! He loves animals but dislikes reading! Best way to get him to read! Thank you for offering this program!
To read more about this program and how it can be adopted and funded by shelters nationally, read Up On The Woof. We are donating a set of the Planet Of The Dogsseries to Camp Kindness.
CA Wulff's books include Born Without a Tail, Crcling The Waggins and Finding Fido. She is associate publisher at Barking Planet Productions.
The Planet Of The Dogs Book Series
“It was wonderful to witness my students applying character lessons from the books in their own peer interactions…my students love them…(these books) are great motivators to encourage young people to read”… Julie Hauck, third grade teacher, Sheboygan WI, creator of Pages for Preston, a pioneer therapy reading dog program.
Librarians, teachers, bookstores...Order Planet Of The Dogs, Castle In The Mist, and Snow Valley Heroes, A Christmas Tale, through Ingram with a full professional discount.
Our books are available through your favorite independent bookstore or via Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Powell's and many more...
Therapy reading dog owners, librarians and teachers with therapy reading dog programs -- you can write us at email@example.com and we will send you free reader copies from the Planet of the Dogs Series...Read Dog Books to Dogs....
The photo, above, of the Pages for Preston classroom reading session is courtesy of teacher Julie Hauck.
The Planet Of The Dogs Series is now in China Our Chinese publisher, Beijing Chongxianguan Books Co, Ltd,g, has created new illustrations for Chinese children...
Balance between audience sales and creative effort is a never ending quest. The influence of customer data analysis on the books, films, videos, and games for kids, the YA market, and adults is growing all the time.
Andrew Leonard decribed the situation in this excellent article for SALON:
How Netflix is Turning Viewers into Puppets
"I hit the pause button roughly one-third of the way through the first episode of “House of Cards,” the political drama premiering on Netflix Feb. 1. By doing so, I created what is known in the world of Big Data as an “event” — a discrete action that could be logged, recorded and analyzed. Every single day, Netflix, by far the largest provider of commercial streaming video programming in the United States, registers hundreds of millions of such events. As a consequence, the company knows more about our viewing habits than many of us realize. Netflix doesn’t know merely what we’re watching, but when, where and with what kind of device we’re watching..."
Question: Does this mean that violence will continue to overcome content? Perhaps Peter Jackson, who has become Tolkien's movie storyteller, has the answer.
The illustration by Darth is courtesy of theAtlantic, a great source of information on this and related issues.
Tornadoes Hit Farmhouse, Shelter, and Gardens of Way Cool Dogs
I have long been a fan of Nancy Houser's Way Cool Dogs website for the never ending flow of quality information, news and insights for dog lovers. Alas, mother nature, in the form of tornadoes, brought destruction to her area of Nebraska. Here's an excerpt from her report...
"On Saturday evening, June 14, 2014, the Wilcox area … where we live … was hit during the evening by three tornadoes in the area and a high straight wind of over 90 mph. The first thing I noticed was when our large wheel barrow soared by the front of the house into the corn field on our west side, and we could not see in front of our hand.
It was as if our world was wrapped in a gray cellophane with high winds drowning everything around it. We could not even hear the emergency sirens coming from Wilcox, about one-quarter mile from us. But a preliminary count of 9 tornadoes landed that night, from Wilcox-Hildreth-Minden area on northward, leaving a trail of damage that resembled a war zone...
There are many reasons why I love my dog, starting with the massive amounts of unconditional love my dog has for me. In fact, unconditional love is a key word in every relationship, whether it involves your partner or your pet. I went out and did a little researching on dog love,, while listing reasons that work for me and the girls. Enjoy!..
Read all of this delightful post by clicking the title link above. Nancy took the photo of her dog, Joyful Jasmine.
Measuring Canines and Cancer...Nancy has also posted regarding a pioneering scientific study at Vanderbilt University that is studying the effect of therapy dogs and children with cancer (over 13,000 children diagnosed with cancer every year in the USA). Here is the link: Children's Cancer and Canine Connection.
If ever there is tomorrow when we're not together... there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we're apart... I'll always be with you.” ...A.A. Milne
Always # Like A Girl
I found this important, eye-opening video on Maria Tatar's Breezes fromWonderlandblog. The video deals with self esteem, puberty, and being a girl.
"The story of the child is the story of literature itself: of finding characters that fit your mold; of telling tales about yourself to audiences skeptical or censoring; odealing with parental stricture, pedagogic task, and social expectation in ways that preserve the inner self while at the same time keeping on the mask of conformity.
Girls and boys do it differently, but what their stories always tell us is that childhood is an age of the imagination, and that every time we enter into fiction, we step back into a childhood of 'what if' or 'once upon a time'."
Seth Lerer in his book, Children's Literature, A Reader's History from Aesop to Harry Potter. The illustration is by Arthur Rackham.
Book War Intensifies
David Streitfeld writes in the New York Times...
"The confrontation between Amazon and Hachette is growing louder and meaner, as the combatants drop all pretense that this is a reasonable dispute among reasonable people...
For more than six months, Amazon has been trying to wring better e-book terms out of Hachette. The publisher, which is the fourth largest in the United States and whose imprints include Little Brown and Grand Central Publishing, is energetically resisting.
Amazon has responded by delaying shipments of Hachette books and making it harder for customers to order them. Hachette authors have responded by publicly excoriating Amazon.
With its newest proposal, Amazon is trying to break the impasse by getting Hachette’s writers to switch allegiances"... Here's the link to read it all: Book War
Wags for Mags
PGI"Wags for Mags" is a student-led organization at Bradley University that has teamed up with Paws Giving Independence to train service dogs to assist those with disabilities. "Wags For Mags" was launched in 2012 to involve students with the service dog training process.
Paws Giving Independence (PGI) was started 5 years ago by Donna Kosner, a third grade teacher, her daughter, Michelle, a physical therapist, and her daughter's best friend, Brandi, an ER nurse. At that time, both Michelle and Brandi were students at Bradley University.
PGI is training and providing service dogs free of charge to people with a variety of disabilities ; they are also providing support to encourage independence. PGI also educates the public to the benefits of service dogs and a great many of their dogs come from shelters and rescue groups.
We salute the growth, dedication and life changing work of PGI. Visit their site: PGI
Here's a heartening video of PGI working with three disadvantaged 3 kids: PGI Video
Start Reading to Children at Birth! In an article by Motoko Rich in the New York Times, 62,000 pediatricians advocate early reading to nourish the brain...Here are excerpts:
"In between dispensing advice on breast-feeding and immunizations, doctors will tell parents to read aloud to their infants from birth, under a new policy (from) the American Academy of Pediatrics ...
With the increased recognition that an important part of brain development occurs within the first three years of a child’s life, and that reading to children enhances vocabulary and other important communication skills, the group, which represents 62,000 pediatricians across the country, is asking its members to become powerful advocates for reading aloud, every time a baby visits the doctor.
'It should be there each time we touch bases with children,' said Dr. Pamela High, who wrote the new policy. It recommends that doctors tell parents they should be 'reading together as a daily fun family activity” from infancy'"...The illustration is by Arthur Rackham
KidLitoSphere..."is the go-to site if you are looking for blogs focused on children's or YA literature...Here's an excerpt from their website that sums it up:
"The 'KidLitosphere' is a community of reviewers, librarians, teachers, authors, illustrators, publishers, parents, and other book enthusiasts who blog about children’s and young adult literature. In writing about books for children and teens, we’ve connected with others who share our love of books. With this website, we hope to spread the wealth of our reading and writing experience more broadly."
The Beagle Freedom Projecthas an important mission... In their own words: "The Beagle Freedom Project is a mission to rescue beagles used in animal experimentation in research laboratories and give them a chance at life in a loving forever home."
CA Wulff alerted me to this special video of their latest success:Beagle Freedom Project TEX-MEX Rescue - July 8th 2014
"We must fight against the spirit of unconscious cruelty with which we treat the animals. Animals suffer as much as we do. True humanity does not allow us to impose such sufferings on them. It is our duty to make the whole world recognize it. Until we extend our circle of compassion to all living things, humanity will not find peace."
—Albert Schweitzer, "The Philosophy of Civilization" -
I found this quote on Sunbear Squadwhere guidlines, free wallet cards, and "how to" save a dog in distress information are available at no cost for all good people.
"Sir, he's a good dog, and a fair dog; can there be more said?" William Shakespeare. The Merry Wives Of Winsor
The Return of Sleeping Beauty -- Dollars for Disney
Maleficent, the Disney reinterpretation of Sleeping Beauty is a wonderous hit with audiences with over $458,880,000 in worldwide ticket sales after only three weeks... despite mixed reviews...
Here are excerpts from four different reviewers. Two are negative, two are positive; however the audience response has been excellent.
Maleficent, is not small in the traditional sense, but rather in the increasingly common contemporary sense: yet another in a string of gazillion-dollar special-effects extravaganzas grafted onto flimsy, nonsensical scripts and featuring an array of two-dimensional performances...Alas, Disney’s subversive retelling of its own 1959 animated classic Sleeping Beauty is an utter mess. At once overblown and under-baked, the movie is a morally and tonally confused collection of sequences that never cohere into a compelling story. --Chruistopher Orr, The Atlantic
At least Disney was smart enough to cast Jolie. She has a genuinely heroic presence. If only the movie were equal to it. Grade: C+ (Rated PG for sequences of fantasy action and violence, including frightening images.) -- Peter Rainer, the Christian Science Monitor
I totally get why many of my fellow critics are giving “Maleficent” mediocre grades: It’s a stylistic mishmash, and almost everything in it resembles one or another of the numerous fantasy movies and TV series of the last 15 years. But Disney’s target audience for this picture is not middle-aged journalists. It’s tween and early-teen girls who are ready to move half a click upward from “Frozen” and “Brave,” along with their moms. That audience is going to beabsolutely thrilled by this slightly subversive fable of revenge and female solidarity – I cannot wait to take my 10-year-old daughter — and truth be told, a lot of the brothers, boyfriends and dads who claim they don’t want to come along will enjoy it a lot too. Andrew O'hehir, Salon
Illustration by Paul Woodroffe
"The formula works. It worked with "Wicked" on stage and it worked with "Frozen" on film —
tilting the storytelling prism so that a new angle on a well-known fairy tale appears in the light. The strategy depends on humanizing characters formerly known as evil, so that another tale of conflicted impulses emerges from the story we know, driven by female antagonist/protagonist hybrids who aren't bad, just misunderstood.
So it goes with 'Maleficent,' the Disney corporation's bombastic, moderately entertaining explanation of why the "queen of all evil" from its 1959 animated "Sleeping Beauty" got that way, and why she wasn't, really...This is almost entirely Angelina Jolie's show. "
Here is a link to the trailer... Step into the world of Maleficent.
Fairy-tale translations...Always Fast and Loose
We are reminded in the following excerpt from an article/review by Maria Tatar that Maleficent -- Disney's "reinterpretation" of Sleeping Beauty -- is a current example of a long standing tradition...
"Translators of fairy-tale collections have always played fast and loose with the rules of their craft. The “television and pornography” of an earlier age (as John Updike tells us), fairy tales migrated into the nursery during the nineteenth century, and no one objected when they were edited, adapted, bowdlerized, and cleaned up to suit the younger crowd. The Brothers Grimm did some of that tidying up on their own in six successive editions of the tales, cutting out a story called “Hans Dumm” (in which a young man impregnates women just by looking at them) and removing any causal connection between Rapunzel’s twins and the prince’s visits up to the tower. “A fairy tale is not a text,” Philip Pullman reminds us in his “Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm”—it is always mobile and magnetic, picking up bits and pieces of its cultural surround..."
Canines for Servicegives rescued dogs a new life, training them as service dogs for people with disabilities. Based in Wilmington, NC, they have developed a program that benefits the dogs, those who train them, and the disabled people who become the beneficiaries of having a custom trained service dog...Canines for service describes decribe their approach in this way...
"Triple Win philosophy- Rescuing shelter dogs, rehabilitating military prisoners and revitalizing wounded and injured Veterans."
Dogs trained for veterans by military prisoners
If you were to visit the Naval Consolidated Brig Charleston, you would find prisoners training the dogs. "The training of a Canines for Veteransservice dog takes about one year. Rescue dogs are trained by military prisoners and will learn over 90 commands including basic obedience, intermediate skills like retrieving items and advanced skills such as opening doors."
Dogs for all disabled vets...Canines for Veterans
"Service members or Veterans with a disability including mobility limitations, traumaticbrain injury or post-traumatic stress disorder are invited to apply for a Canines for Veterans service dog. We serve Veterans from all branches of the Armed Forces. Active duty service members may be eligible for a service dog only if they can no longer be deployed. Canines for Veterans does not charge a fee for the service dog...Team training, when a client is partnered with their service dog, is done on an individual basis, not in a group. Why? Because every clients' needs are different and it is better for the client to work with them individually."
We salute Canines for Service founder Rick Hairston, and the over 500 annual volunteers who provide these wonderful life changing service dogs to the disabled.
“There are some themes, some subjects, too large for adult fiction; they can only be dealt with adequately in a children’s book.” -- Phillip Pullman prolific author of classic children's books including an updated version of Grimm's Fairy Tales.
Planet Of The Dogs
Our story begins long, long ago, before there were dogs on Planet Earth.
There was plenty of space in those days for people to settle and grow things. Many of the places where people lived were very beautiful. There were clear lakes and cool streams with lots of fish. There were fields and woods with game to hunt. And there were rolling hills and open plains with plants growing everywhere.
Many people settled in these places of abundance and prospered. At first they had small gardens. As villages and towns continued to grow, more seeds were planted until the fertile land was often covered with corn or rice or wheat or vegetables....
And then there came a time when the abundance and happiness found on Planet Earth were threatened by people like the warrior tribes of Stone City. They had forgotten how to love. They took food, coins and beautiful objects from people and often hurt them. Their numbers began to grow and soon they were taking the homes, land, and farms where peaceful people lived.
Where once there had been harmony and friendship, there was now fear, anger, and unhappiness. Something had to be done -- but what could anybody do? No one knew it at that time, but help would come from far, far away, from the Planet of the Dogs.
Our books are available through your favorite independent bookstore or via Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Powell's and many more...
Librarians, teachers, bookstores...Order Planet Of The Dogs, Castle In The Mist, and Snow Valley Heroes, A Christmas Tale, through Ingram with a full professional discount.
Therapy reading dog owners, librarians and teachers with therapy reading dog programs -- you can write us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will send you free reader copies from the Planet of the Dogs Series...Read Dog Books to Dogs....The photo is courtesy of Pat Christiansen, Therapy Dogs United; scroll down to read more about this wonderful therapy dog organization.
The book cover and illustration are by Stella Mustanoja-McCarty.
Any one of these books would make for a delightful—and one would assume cherished—gift for any child. All three would be an amazing reading adventure.Darlene Arden, educator, dog expert, and author of Small Dogs Big Hearts
Wonders from the Secret Forests...
Wilhelm Grimm noted that these (fairy tales) were the "last echoes of pagan mythes." He went on:" A world of magic is opened up before us, one which still exists among us in secret forests, in underground caves, and in the deepest sea, and it is still visible to children". And what we find inside these secret forests, caves, and seas is not just a poetical heritage, but a personal one as well. For fairy tales are full of families, full of parents who bequeath a sense of self to children, full of ancestors and heirs whose lives play out, in little, the life of a nation from childhood to maturity. -
Seth Lerer, in the chapter Straw into Gold from Children's Literature, A Reader's History from Aesop to Harry Potter
The illustration is by George Cruickshank.
Parents worry too much about what children read
said Judy Blume -- a wonder in her time and still going strong -- in an article in The Telegraph By Hannah Furness, Arts Correspondent...here is an excerpt.
"Blume, now 76, has sold more than 80 million books worldwide and her work has been translated into 31 languages.Her novels, which confront issues of teenage sex, racism, divorce, bullying, puberty and masturbation, were considered shocking at the time, and are remembered by a generation of women for teaching them the facts of life.
She told the audience that parents should be less concerned about the suitability of their children's reading material, concentrating more on simply getting them to love books...
'A lot of people worry much too much about what their children are reading,"'she said.
'A lot of people will want to control everything in their children's lives, or everything in other people's children's lives.
'If a child picks up a book and reads something she has a question about, if she can go to her parents, great.
'Or else they will read right over it. It won't mean a thing.
'They are very good, I think, at monitoring what makes them feel uncomfortable. If something makes them feel uncomfortable they will put it down.' "
Way Cool Dogs is filled with information, insights and dog news... here is an excerpt from an article on...
Traveling With Your Dog: Five Tips for a Safe, Fun Trip
Like many people, you may view your pet as a part of the family that can’t be left behind when you go on vacation, and the good news is its a very workable idea to travel with a dog. The key to making any vacation enjoyable for both dogs and humans is preparation....
“Weeds are flowers, too, once you get to know them."
Sometimes,' said Pooh, 'the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.
“I think we dream so we don’t have to be apart for so long. If we’re in each other’s dreams, we can be together all the time.”
Circling the Waggins by C.A. Wulff
More than twenty years of performing pet rescues could wear anyone down. Especially when the pets that end up being permanent residents in your home are the most irascible, insane and ridiculously un-adoptable pets known to man. Circling the Waggins follows two middle aged women as they maneuver through one unexpected pet debacle after another in a rugged and isolated cabin in a National Park. They emerge from a dark and difficult time as they discover that even the tiniest of lives is precious; heartache and joy go hand-in-hand, and love is an eternal circle of wagging tails.
The photo is of three of the characters you will meet in the book. You will also meet humans and other critters in the eternal circle of wagging tails. Dog Lovers -- Read the reviews on Amazon.
What kind of reader were you as a child? And what were your favorite childhood books?
"I was a fanatical escapist reader, as I am now a fanatical escapist writer. I always had a book with me, no matter what, on the bus, in line for the movies. I still love to read the same books I loved as a child. Anything written by Edward Eager, especially “Half Magic”; the Borrowers series; “Mary Poppins.” Grimms’ fairy tales, so psychologically true a child reader intuits their deeper personal meaning. Those fairy tale themes are at the heart of many of my own books."
“The Museum of Extraordinary Things”will not disappoint readers longing to be swept up by a lavish tale about strange yet sympathetic people, haunted by the past and living in bizarre circumstances." Katherine Weber in her NY Times book review
China...June is the month for Planet Of The Dogs In China
Our Chinese publisher, Chongxian Books Co. LTD, has announced that the Planet Of The Dogs is being released this month in mainland China.
The color illustration (above) is from the Chinese version. New illustrations were produced for all the Planet Of The Dogs books
Does your dog make you laugh ? If so, you may want to look at the study by Robin Valeri, Department of Psychology,St. Bonaventure University, on the "Relationship between Pet Ownership and Laughter". The study includes cats and is based on research and substantial data.
Therapy Dogs United ...where the wonders of the canine connection never cease
Therapy Dogs United (TDU) provides healing help and loving canine connections to thousands of people in Northwestern PA, and Western NY. They offer a full range of therapy dog services ranging from releaving lonliness in nursing facilities to programs that help children with autism, Downs syndrome and other difficult disabilities.
Who do they serve?
Here is an excerpt from the TDU website...
"Our dedicated team of certified volunteers work hand-in-hand with medical, educational, and social service professionals or one-on-one with patients to provide therapeutic and physical therapy. TDU makes daily visits to schools and learning institutions, book stores, homeless shelters, senior and nursing communities, hospice facilities, family service organizations, reading clubs, rehabilitation centers, and beyond... We (also) visit hospitals, rehabilitation facilities, homeless shelters, and homes for youth at risk..."
Here is the link to see the wonderful Therapy Dogs United dogs at work with young and old: TDU VIDEO
"Why it's simply impassible!
Alice: Why, don't you mean impossible?
Door: No, I do mean impassible. (chuckles) Nothing's impossible!”
Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass
Educating Alice: A dedicated teacher is disturbed...
Monica Edinger is a dedicated , book loving teacher. Here is an excerpt from her blog, Educating Alice (link below), regarding her concern for the mediocre teaching materials she found on the Achieve the Core website.
As a teacher in a private school I am not currently required to follow the Common Core State Standards. That said, because I am a teacher, I am following closely the discussion about them, their implementation, issues, and so forth. One resource I’ve come across is the Achieve the Core website created byStudent Achievement Partners, who describe themselves as '….a non-profit organization working to support teachers across the country in their efforts to realize the promise of the Common Core State Standards for all students.'...
I decided to check out a few of the ELA/Literacy “Common Core-aligned sample lessons with explanations and supporting resources.” And the ones I looked at were so full of problems that it made me wonder who is vetting them as worthy of teacher use.
One that I looked at particularly closely is on Charlotte’s Web. (I came across it by looking through their lessons for fourth grade. I can’t link to it directly, I’m afraid, as it takes you to a word document of the lesson.) Because I feel I’m pretty expert at the teaching of Charlotte’s Web, I was curious about the lesson they had on the book. And I found it very problematic. The questions seem to suggest it is a play version of the book, but no reference for it is cited. No edition of the book or play is given although there are page numbers given for various questions. The level of questioning is simplistic, surprising given the desire of the Common Core creators to make experiences with reading more complex and rigorous. Since I feel White’s book is a wonderful one to use with children as an entry into close reading, the lack of it and very low-level engagement recommended in this particular lesson was something I found despiriting. It looked similar to the many poor lessons about the book I have seen over the years.
What should you do, what can you do, if you see an injured dog or one in distress?
For answers, examples, true stories and more, visit Sunbear Squad...Let the experience of compassionate dog lovers guide you...free Wallet Cards & Pocket Posters, Informative and practical guidance...Visit SunBear Squad
"Man himself cannot express love and humility by external signs so plainly as does a dog, when with drooping ears, hanging lips, flexous body, and wagging tail, he meets his beloved master." Charles Darwin (1809-1882)
Honestly, I don’t quite know why I even bother doing Fusenews posts on Saturdays. As you might suspect, my readership dips considerably when the weekends hit, but an old Fusenews post is like a week old fish. Time does it no favors. As such, I shall cut through my seething envy of everyone at BookExpo this week (honestly, why are you folks having SO much fun anyway?) and pretend that Maureen Johnson’s tweets about how bad the coffee is there will convince me that it’s not that interesting anywa . . . wait a minute . . . they’re giving away copies of that Scieszka/Biggs early reader series in the Abrams booth?!?! WAAAAAAHHHHHH!
New Site Alert: We begin with the big, interesting, important news. Phil and Erin Stead aren’t just Caldecott Award winners. No siree bob, they also happen to be innovative interviewers. Having just started the site Number Five Bus Presents (I approve of the title since it fits in nicely with 7 Impossible Things Before Breakfast, A Fuse #8 Production, and 9 Kinds of Pie . . . we just need a blog that uses the number 6 to fill in the gap), the two are conducting a series of conversations with book makers. There will be 9-12 episodes per “season”. So far they’ve spoken with Eric Rohmann (consider this your required reading of the day) with many more interviews on the way. You can read the reasons why they’re doing this here. Basically it boils down to them wanting to connect to fellow book makers in what can often be a lonely field. If I were a professor of children’s literature, I would make everyone in my class subscribe to this site. Many thanks to Jules for the tip!
About a month ago I was at an event where a venture capitalist with an interest in children’s literature was asking how much money a new children’s book prize should pay out. “$20,000? $30,000?” he ventured. We all sort of balked at the amounts, assuring the man that any author would be grateful for $10,000, let alone a larger amount (the authors in the room, as you might imagine, were gung ho for the original mentioned amounts). Meanwhile, had I but known, the people at Kirkus were debating the self-same thing. Only when they came up with their brand new book prize monetary amount, they decided to play for keeps. On October 23, 2014 some amazingly lucky children’s or YA author will win a $50,000 (you read that number right) prize for their book. All it needs to have done is receive a star from Kirkus to be eligible. The initial announcement in The Washington Post made the big time mistake of saying that the youth award would only go to YA. Happily, the subsequent Kirkus announcement clarified that this was not the case. Man. I really really want to be on that jury someday. The power!
Just a reminder that the Kids Author Carnival will be up and running here in NYC today (Saturday). Got no plans at 6 tonight? Now you do.
Aw, what the heck. Need a new poster for your library? How bout this?
Sure, the blog post Trigger Warnings for Classic Kids Books is amusing, but I would bet you dollars to donuts that at least half of these “objections” have been used in legitimate attempts to ban or remove from shelves these books somewhere, sometime.
I did not know that Sun Ra and Prince were both influences on Daniel Handler but when said, it makes a certain amount of sense. PEN America’s biweekly interview series The Pen Ten recently interviewed the man and justified my belief that the most interesting authors are the ones that don’t give the same rote answers in every single interview they do. Of course good questions help as well.
In L.A.? Wish you were in New York attending BookExpo? Wish you had something in your neck of the woods to crow about? Well, good news. If you haven’t heard already, the Skirball Cultural Center is featuring the show The Snowy Day and the Art of Ezra Jack Keats from now until September. Lucky ducks.
Speaking of BookExpo (and is there anything else TO speak of this week?) I was much obliged to the folks at Shelf Awareness for their #BEA14: Pictures from an Exhibition post. From that amazing diversity panel at SLJ’s Day of Dialog to singing sensation Michael Buckley and the Amazing Juggling Authors to James Patterson’s $1 million given out to bookstores (way to go, Watchung Booksellers!) it’s a great post.
Adult authors that write books for children are hardly new. They’re also rarely any good. Sorry, but it is the rare adult author that finds that they’re a natural in the children’s book realm as well. There are always exceptions (heck, Neil Gaiman won himself a Newbery so howzabout THEM apples, eh?) and one of them might be Jo Nesbø. Over at The Guardian, Nesbø discusses how he decides in the morning whether or not to write his gritty adult crime thrillers . . . or the fart books for kids. Frankly, I’ll always be grateful to Nesbø because of the day I was sitting at the reference desk in the Children’s Center at 42nd Street and a group of young female Norwegians came in asking for Norwegian children’s authors. Thank goodness for Nesbø and Peter Christen Abjorsen.
Somewhat along the same lines, this has very little to do with anything (to the best of my knowledge the only children’s book she ever penned was The Shoe Bird) but if you have not already read Eudora Welty’s New Yorker application letter, you’re welcome. Suddenly I want to see the biopic of her life with the character of Eudora played by Kristen Schall. Am I crazy?
It took them a bloody long time but at long last the Bologna Children’s Book Fair has announced when the 2015 dates will be. So . . . if anyone feels like sponsoring me to go I wouldn’t, ah, object or anything. *bats eyelashes charmingly*
A library can lend books. It can lend tablets. It can lend laptops even. But lending the internet itself? NYPL is currently doing just that (or is about to). In this article you can see that, “The goal of this project is to expand the reach and benefits of free access to the Internet provided by The New York Public Library (NYPL) to underserved youth and communities by allowing them to borrow portable WiFi Hotspot devices from their local libraries for a sustained period of time.” We’ll just have to see how it works out, but I’m intrigued.
Tell me this isn’t awesome:
As you can see, this is a selection of animal sounds found in the Orbis Sensualium Pictus (or The World of Things Obvious to the Senses drawn in Pictures), also known as the world’s oldest children’s picture book. And if you can read through it and not suddenly find the song “What Does the Fox Say?” caught in your head then you’re a better man than I. Thanks to AL Direct for the link.
When I read the i09 piece 10 Great Authors Who Disowned Their Own Books I naturally started thinking of the children’s and YA equivalents. So far I can think of at least one author and one illustrator off the top of my head. The author would be Kay Thompson of Eloise. The illustrator I’ll keep to myself since he’s still alive and kicking. Any you can think of?
“In France, I can publish a funny picturebook one month and a YA novel about revenge porn the next.” Maybe the best thing I read all day. Phil Nel directed me to this absolutely fascinating piece by Clementine Beauvais called Publishing Children’s Books in the UK vs. in France. Just substitute “UK” for “US” (which isn’t that hard) you’ll understand why this is amazing reading. Obviously there are some difference between the UK and US models, but they share more common qualities than differences. Thanks to Phil Nel for the link!
How many illustrators sneak pictures of their previous books into other books? Travis Jonker accounts for some of the titles doing this in 2014. Along the same lines, how many authors put in in-jokes? It was my husband who pointed out that Jonathan Auxier put a sneaky reference to his blog The Scop into The Night Gardener this year. Clever man.
In this fascinating article that moves through children's literature and cultural myths ranging from Gretel and Red Riding Hood to Katniss Everdeen and Lady Gaga, MariaTatar explores the evolution of the female archetype today. Here are excerpts.
"We’ve come a long way from what Simone de Beauvoir once found in Anglo-European entertainments: 'In song and story the young man is seen departing adventurously in search of a woman; he slays the dragons and giants; she is locked in a tower, a palace, a garden, a cave, she is chained to a rock, a captive, sound asleep: she waits.' Have we kissed Sleeping Beauty goodbye at last, as feminists advised us to do not so long ago...
Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy and Suzanne Collins’s “Hunger Games” series have given us
female tricksters, women who are quick-witted, fleet-footed, and resolutely brave... they are not just cleverly resourceful and determined to survive. They’re also committed to social causes and political change...
The female trickster has a long and distinguished lineage...Many of our female tricksters—often new inflections of the ones we know from legends and fairy tales—have complemented their
arsenals of verbal weapons with guns and steel.Little Red Riding Hood has been revisited again and again in recent years. The girl in red, often positioned as a seductive innocent who courts the predator as much as she fears him, is no longer a willing victim. When Buffy, from the popular nineties TV series “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” dresses up as Little Red Riding Hood for Halloween...
These days, the trickiest of them all may be Lady Gaga... Lady Gaga draws us out of our
comfort zones, crosses boundaries, gets snared in her own devices. Shamelessly exploitative and exploratory, she reminds us that every culture requires a space for the disruptive energy of antisocial characters. She may have the creativity of a trickster, but she is also Sleeping Beauty and menacing monster, all rolled into one."
Maria Tatar chairs the program for folklore and mythology at Harvard University. She is the editor of the excellent Enchanted Hunters, the Power of Stories in Childhood.
The Illustration Of Red Riding Hood in bed with the wolf is by Dore...
In recent times, many versions of the fairy tales of old have been made for film and TV. Producers of these retold versions of Little Red Riding Hood have been inspired by the early versions of the Brothers Grimm and Charles Perrault with the ominous forest, the dangerous wolf, and the innocent young maiden. These retellings have often been heavily influenced by the quest for commercial success, and the reults have been decidely mixed. Often banal or cliched, they are examples of how commerce as well cultural change affects the retelling of fairy tales.
Here is a link to the trailer of the 2011 Movie film, Red Riding Hood
And here is an excerpt and a link to Roger Ebert's laugh out loud review.
"Of the classics of world literature crying out to be filmed as a sexual fantasy for teenage
girls, surely "Red Riding Hood" is far down on the list. Here's a movie that cross-pollinates the "Twilight" formula with a werewolf and adds a girl who always wears a red hooded cape...
What this inspiration fails to account for is that while a young woman might toy with the notion of a vampire boyfriend, she might not want to mate with a wolf. Although she might think it was, like, cool to live in the woods in Oregon, she might not want to live in the Black Forest hundreds of years ago because, like, can you text from there?
"Red Riding Hood" has the added inconvenience of being dreadfully serious about a plot so preposterous, it demands to be filmed by Monty Python..."
Like Mr Ebert, most critics gave the film a negative review. According to Rotten Tomatoes, the audience rating was 39%.
A sensual intepretation of Little Red Ridin Hood from 1997 is found in this short film by David Kaplan adopted from Conte De LA Mere Grande...music by Debussy...the wolf moves like a seductive spirit of the forest...soft black and white images and a clever Red Riding Hood...
Roald Dahl wrote his own version ofLittle Red Riding Hoodin the form of a
humorous,tongue in cheek poem. This is how it begins...
"As soon as Wolf began to feel That he would like a decent meal, He went and knocked on Grandma's door. When Grandma opened it, she saw The sharp white teeth, the horrid grin, And Wolfie said, "May I come in?" Poor Grandmamma was terrified, "He's going to eat me up!" she cried. And she was absolutely right. He ate her up in one big bite. But Grandmamma was small and tough, And Wolfie wailed, "That's not enough! I haven't yet begun to feel That I have had a decent meal!" He ran around the kitchen yelping, "I've got to have a second helping!"...
The image above is from a fun film made of Dahl's Red Riding Hood poem using stop-motion puppets. The imaginative creators, Hannah Legere and Andrew Wilson, certainly caught the spirit of the Dahl poem. Link here to this delightful film version of Roald Dahl's poem...
The dog lover in the photograph is Roald Dahl.
Artists and Illustrators...
14 different artist's versions of Red Riding Hood are posted on the Art of Children's Books blog site..here is an excerpt from their introduction...
"Folk tales and fairy tales are at the top of the list when it comes to vintage children's books. The Brothers Grimm* folk tale,Little Red Riding Hood, has been a beloved and enduring story. Originally titled Little Red Cap, the story has a strong lesson. Since it's publication, Little Red Riding Hood has been illustrated by many artists over the years. Here is just a sampling of the different artistic interpretations of Little Red Riding Hood."
Book cover by Andrea Wisnewski...*The original version was published by Charles Perault.
The Forest and Imagination... The influence of the forest on the imagination will always be with us, especially in legend, folk tales and children's stories. Innumerable film and TV versions, including many annimated cartoons, of Little Red Riding Hood will continue to be made. And wonderful writers like Roald Dahl in the past, and Philip Pullman in the present, will continue to find the forests of fairy tales a timeless setting for timeless stories.
The illustration is by Arthur Rackham...if you look closely, on the path beneath the huge tree, you will see red Riding Hood and the wolf.
Reading for Pleasure...opening the imagination, opening the mind...
Reading for pleasure puts children ahead in the classroom, according to a UK study of the reading behavior of appoximately 6000 young people. Here are excerpts from a report that reaffirms the value early reading and bedtime stories.
"Children who read for pleasure are likely to do significantly better at school than their peers, according to new research from the Institute of Education (IOE).
The IOE study, which is believed to be the first to examine the effect of reading for pleasure on cognitive development over time, found that children who read for pleasure made more progress in maths, vocabulary and spelling between the ages of10 and 16 than those who rarely read...
...Children who were read to regularly by their parents at age 5 performed better in all three tests at age 16 than those who were not helped in this way."
The research was conducted by Dr Alice Sullivan and Matt Brown; To read the article, visit Pleasure Reading
The Doors that Rose opens...
myself a facilitator…if my dog could drive, she would not need me. Rose seems
to enjoy seeing people multiple times and developing a relationship with the
people… She is
a working dog by nature and she just loves these jobs. I
am constantly amazed at the doors that Rose opens…she goes to places I could
never get without her…reaches beyond my reach, touches a person deeper than my
touch. The restless or agitated patient who is calmed by Rose’s
touch...the child in the classroom who won’t settle down and get to work but
when Rose sits by them, they quiet right down and the hyperactivity seems to
dissipate. The child getting excited about reading to Rose every week;
they wouldn’t do that for me, but they do it for Rose. Lying with a dying
patient who will smile, close their eyes and stroke her with a peacefulness
that is so precious…I know I could not enter that person’s space without
Rose…it really is all about occupying part of someone else’s space for just a
short time be it in a school, home or hospital...”
teacher, Susan Purser, and her Australian Cattle Dog, Rose, have been very
active as a therapy dog team for several years in Sarasota, Florida.
Paws Giving Independence
Paws Giving Independence is a recpient of a 2013 Planet Dog Foundation Grant.Planet Dog has this year donated $71,500 in new grants to 16 non-profit dog organizations..."The PDF grants will help fund assistance dog, therapy dog and search and rescue programs across the country and support a wide variety of non-profit programs that are helping children and adults with physical and developmental disabilities; injured service members; natural disaster survivors and many more people in need..."
"Paws Giving Independence is an all-volunteer organization that saves dogs from area shelters, trains them to be service/companion dogs, and places the dogs, free of charge, with those in need.
Their Saving a Life to Change a Life project identifies suitable dogs in shelters and trains them to meet the specific needs of people with disabilities. They train dogs to open doors, pick up dropped objects, turn lights on and off, and other ways to assist in independence. In addition, they train dogs to alert for epileptic and diabetic seizures, and psychological assistance for military veterans with PTSD. PDF funds support veterinary care, special prosthetics and balance equipment and training."
Paws Giving Independence was founded in 2008 by 3 Bradley University students who recognized the marvelous healing capabilities of dogs.
for Dog Lovers and decent people...
Here's a Goodreads review that strikes home and makes sense for dog lovers and decent people...Passionate dog rescuer, animal rights advocate and author.C.A. Wulff wroteHow to Change The World in 30 Seconds...
"At first i started reading this book as an animal rescuer myself. But as i started to go
through all of the information in the book i realized that this book is a GREAT informative guide for people who have just dipped their toes into the realm of rescue. It is laid out in a way that focuses on an audience that may, or may not have already heard of some of the ideas. This way a novice rescuer can understand it, but the veteran rescuer isnt just wading through either. I saw several options that were detailed out even for someone in rescue many years. So really what im saying is.. it doesnt matter if you are new or old to it, this can give you great ideas, starting points and explanations for why so many rescuers are able to save lives on click at a time."
Here is a link to the full review by Sylence of How to Change the World in 30 Seconds, in Goodreads...
Much has been writtenof the importance of childhood experiences with books...books that meant a lot to an individual as a child and where the memory of the book remains important in their adult life. Here, thanks to Monica Edinger's Educating Alice blog, are excerpts from a rather fascinating converstion by two of the most prominent, respected, and imaginative writers of children's and YA literature...
"Gaiman talked about reading the Mary Poppins books when he was six or seven and how they helped form whatever worldview he had as a kid. 'The idea that the world is incredibly unlikely and strange secret things are always happening, that adults don't really explain to you, or in fact, that adults may be oblivious to'...
''His (Gaiman's) wonder was infectious as he recalled discovering the library when he was very
young and having that incredible feeling of power; discovering the card catalogue in which you could actually look up subjects like witches or robots or ghosts; or you could just take down books and read the interesting ones. Both authors talked about discovering American comic books and marveled at the speed in the stories, the size of them, with Gaiman adding, "Everything was alien, everything was equally as strange and unlikely, so skyscrapers, and pizza and fire hydrants were just as alien to my world as people in capes flying around..."
Monica Edinger, a fourth grade teacher, and a passionate advocate of the wonders and benefits of children's literature, has a very lively and informative blog: Educating Alice . Her new book, Africa Is My Home, is receiving excellent reviews.
Here are excerpts from her blog ;
The Unjournal of Children's Literature
The “un” movement is an intriguing one. Until recently I had only heard about it in terms of unconferences, participant-driven events such as this one. But now there is another sort of un-thing, an unjournal. Created by children’s literature graduate students at San Diego State University, the inaugural issue of The Unjournal of Children’s Literature is up and ready for viewing, reading, and responding. Gorgeous to look at, clearly designed in terms of navigation, fascinating in terms of content, this is one elegant web publication.
And from an article on kids, books and reading: "Reading to me is many things and so I think we teachers need to provide many different experiences with reading and books. My fourth grade students read all sorts of material on their own, for themselves, for all sorts of reasons..."
Here are videos from Peple Animals Love (PAL), based in Washington DC, that document the wonderful work that their volunteers and their dogs perform. Click this link: PAL
Fairy Tales as the Last Echoes of Pagan Myths...
Seth Lerner, in writing about the orgins and history of fairy tales and folklore, points out that Wilhelm Grimm, at the time the Grimm brothers books were being published in 1812 and 1815, wrote that fairy tales were the "'last echoes of pagan myths'. He
(Grimm) went on:"A world of magic is opened up before us, one which still exists among us in secret forests, in underground caves, and in the deepest sea, and it is still visible to children.(Fairy tales) belong to our national poetic heritage..."
Lerner sees even more significance in Fairy tales. He goes on to point out that "what we find inside these secret forests, caves, and seas is not just a poetic heritage, but a personal one as well. For fairy tales are full of families, full of parents who bequeth a sense of self to children, full of ancestors and heirs whose lives play out, in little, the life of a nation from childhood to maturity..."
Seth Lerer is Dean of Arts and Humanities and Distinguished Professor of Literature at the University of California at San Diego. The quotes and ideas above are from his informative and insightful book, Children's Literature, A Reader's History from Aesop to Harry Potter
NYPL's Children's Literary Salon is pleased to announce our event on Saturday, October 12th at 2:00 p.m.
The ABC of It: Curator Leonard S. Marcus in Conversation
Join Bank Street’s Center for Children’s Literature, Interim Director Jenny Brown as she interviews historian and critic Leonard S. Marcus about his current NYPL exhibit and the importance of children’s literature as a whole.
This event will be held in the South Court Auditorium in the main branch of New York Public Library.
The film is part of a planned series featuring the author of the magical book, Newt Scamander. Rowling published a book by the same name in 2001. She had this comment on her Facebook page:
"Although it will be set in the worldwide community of witches and wizards where I was so happy for seventeen years, ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ is neither a prequel nor a sequel to the Harry Potter series, but an extension of the wizarding world..." Here is the link: JKRowling
Dogs in the Forest...
The forest plays a very important role in the Planet Of The Dogs Series. Here is an excerpt from Castle In The Mist...
continued to lead the soldiers deeper into the woods. Soon, it began to snow, slowly at first, and
then, the wind increased and the snow was everywhere. It became very difficult to see very far. The leader of the soldiers told his men that
they were to follow him. They were
returning to the castle.
walking through the snow when one of the men, who was an experienced forest
guide, said to the leader, “With respect sir, but I don’t think we are going in
the right direction.” The leader was about to answer him when howling
started. It seemed to come from all
directions. Then the leader spoke, “You
will follow me, I am certain that this is the way.” They continued on through the swirling snow,
unable to see, and surrounded by howling dogs..."
Here is an excert from a review:"Do you
think it is possible for dogs to stop war? Author Robert J. McCarty has created
a charming fantasy-allegory that can be read and understood on at least two
different levels…a story about dogs who come from another planet to help people
on earth. But under the surface are the
important messages of friendship, love, loyalty, and how to overcome evil with
good…Castle In The Mist will keep you turning the pages to find out what
Wayne Walker reviewing Castle in the Mist
for Stories for Children Magazine, the Home School Book Review and the Home
School Buzz wrote:
The Canadian Service Dog Foundation trains and provides service dogs for a wide variety of human needs and services. They provide a wide range of vital services,,,ten major humanitarian objectives are listed on their website. Here are the first two:
"To improve quality of life for Canadians through the use of service dogs, assistance dogs, therapy dogs and emotional support animals. Provide opportunities, resources, and support through the use of trained service dogs for Canadians living with psychiatric disabilities so as to allow for greater functional independence, sufficient to make healthy choices and lead active lifestyles."
To support past or present military personnel, emergency service workers, and related professionals dealing with operational stress injuries through the use of specially trained service dogs.
Here is a link to learn more about their wide reaching canine services for people: CSDF Services
Read sample chapters of all the books in the Planet Of The Dogs series by
Our books are available through your favorite independent bookstore or via Barnes Noble, Amazon, Powell's...
Librarians, teachers, bookstores...Order Planet Of The Dogs, Castle In The Mist, and Snow Valley Heroes, A Christmas Tale, through Ingram with a full professional discount.
Therapy reading dog owners, librarians and teachers with therapy reading dog programs -- you can write us at email@example.com and we will send you free reader copies from the Planet of the Dogs Series...Read Dog Books to Dogs....Ask any therapy readingdog: "Do you like it when the kids read dog books to you?"
And Now -- for the First Time -- E Books of the Planet Of The Dogs Series are coming on KDP Select...
Planet Of The Dogs will be available October 1...Castle In The Mist will be available on October 15 and Snow Valley Heroes, A Christmas Tale, on November 15...in time for the Holiday Gift Season...
Any one of these books would make for a
delightful—and one would assume cherished—gift for any child. All three would be an amazing reading
Arden, educator, dog expert, and author of Small Dogs Big Hearts wrote:
"We are excited to announce that Barking Planet Productions is publishing a new book by C.A.Wulff.
"Finding Fido" will be available for purchase at amazon.com on September 30. "Finding Fido" is a handbook every pet owner will want to have in their library.
Between 3 and 4 million pets are put to death in shelters across the U.S. every year. Some of
them are owner surrenders, some are impounds, but the vast majority of them are missing or stolen pets.
C.A. Wulff and A.A.Weddle, the administrators of the service Lost & Found Ohio Pets, have compiled a guide to address this sad reality. ‘Finding Fido’ offers tips for preventing the loss of a pet; advice for what to do with a stray pet you’ve found; and a step-by-step plan in case the unthinkable happens, and you lose a pet.
This is an instructive and important tool every family with a dog or cat should have on hand… just in case.
A Dog Health Update: here are excerpts from an article on Giardiasis – Parasitic Diarrhea in Dogs, Cats and Humans...The microscopic parasites known as Giardiasis are the most common intestinal parasites to be found in humans, dogs and cats. A protozoan parasite infection, it is the cause of a very serious diarrheal illness in the intestinal areas, known to be highly contagious but not lethal. However, it is a parasite that can be transferred across species — from person-to-person or animal-to-person... The most popular locations for this parasite are on surfaces or within soil and food.However, drinking water and recreational water that has been contaminated with feces (poop) from infected humans or animals are the most common methods of transmission. This includes untreated or improperly treated water from lakes, streams, or wells...
Here's the link to read this comprehensive, informative article: Way Cool Dogs
New England Conferences-Book Shows in October for
Independent Bookstores and Libraries
As members of the Independent Publishers of New England (IPNE), we will be exhibiting Circling the Waggins and Snow Valley Heroes, A Christmas Tale at the New England Independent Booksellers Association (NEIBA),October 6-8, in Providence, RI and the New England Library Association(NELA), on October 20-27, in Portland, Maine.
"Dr. Seuss books, those whimsical, mischievous, irresistibly rhymey stories that have been passed down in print to generations of readers, are finally catching up with digital publishing...
The Dr. Seuss canon will be released in e-book format for the first time, beginning later this month, his publisher said on Wednesday, an announcement that could nudge more parents and educators to download picture books for children...picture books have lagged far behind(adult fiction) . Several publishers said e-books represent only 2 to 5 percent of their total picture book sales, a number that has scarcely moved in the last several years.
But the release of the Dr. Seuss books, still hugely popular after decades in print, could move that number higher. The e-books will be available on color tablets, including the iPad, Kindle Fire and Nook HD. The first titles to be released, on Sept. 24, include “The Cat in the Hat,” “Green Eggs and Ham,” “There’s a Wocket in My Pocket!” and “The Lorax” (featuring an environmentally conscious character who might be happy about the announcement)."
''The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea In a beautiful pea-green boat, They took some honey, and plenty of money, Wrapped up in a five-pound note.''
Click here for information and videos of COROMANDEL , byTrevor Bachman's... Here is an excerpt from their site...A" vibrant musical odyssey for children and adults, Coromandel is a journey through the mind of poet Edward Lear"...playing in New York City in early October..." a fusion of rock, jazz, bluegrass, tango, musical theatre, and classical sounds makes for a diverse, delicious, and sonically satisfying evening. Told with a whimsical simplicity that appeals to children of all ages..."
"We must fight against the spirit of unconscious cruelty with which we treat the animals. Animals suffer as much as we do. True humanity does not allow us to impose such sufferings on them. It is our duty to make the whole world recognize it. Until we extend our circle of compassion to all living things, humanity will not find peace."
—Albert Schweitzer, "The Philosophy of Civilization" -
Oh, so very much has gone on this week! Where to begin? What to do? Well, for starters, NYPL released a handy dandy list to accompany their current exhibit The ABC of It: Why Children’s Books Matter. I helped make said list, which is officially called 100 Great Children’s Books, 100 Years. So, two things. #1: We didn’t say “best” or “most popular”. We just said great. These are great books. Hard to argue with that. And #2: It’s just the stuff published in the last 100 years. So before you get your knickers in a twist, there is a reason The Secret Garden, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland are nowhere in sight. NYPL even lets you buy the books in little packages by age level or the whole kerschmozzle at one time. Groovy.
In conjunction with the exhibit and the list, the library brought over Judy Blume and Eric Carle. So, naturally, when a photograph was to be taken I wedged myself between the two of them. I intend to blow it up, crop it, and then in fifty years claim to my grandchildren that we were all bestest buddies and this was taken mere moments before we stepped out for some pie.
And now, on the depressing side of things, Gary Soto explains why I haven’t seen a new children’s title come out of him since I got my library degree. I just completely missed that entire Marisol debacle. In 2005 I was a newly minted librarian. Seems a bit unfair that I just missed the output of Soto. So come on, man! That was basically a decade ago. Time to do with the typey type.
More with the me stuff. Rob Smith was kind enough to interview me for his podcast The Interactive Teacher. Now the podcast is up and running and you can hear me yammer from here to Sunday, should you chose to do so. If you follow this link you’ll find that the written recap isn’t strictly what I’ve said, but it comes close. Thanks for chatting with me, Rob! Good stuff.
I don’t care that it’s YA. I think I’m still going to have to read this when galleys become available. If only because the last name of the heroine is Gumm. Cute.
I know Banned Books Week is over but I just wanna say one thing. Anything that uses rollergirls can only be a force for good. In my next life, I’m coming back as one of them. I ain’t kidding.
Note to Self: Create place on website where you can include amazing examples of programs that folks have done in conjunction with Giant Dance Party. Today’s example, Ms. Helen N. Hill and the AMAZING ideas she came up with after reading my book. This completely and utterly rocks. Thank you, Helen!!!
Speaking of GDP, do you happen to live in NJ? Anywhere near Montclair? Wanna see me dance like a fool and read my book? Watchung Booksellers is hosting l’il ole me this coming Saturday morning at 10:30. Please come!
Do you instead live on the other side of the country entirely? Say, around the San Francisco area? Then why don’t you consider heading on over to Booksmith on Saturday, October 20th at 2 p.m.? Apparently Julie Downing (Spooky Friends) and Lisa Brown (Vampire Boy’s Good Night) will come together to tell Halloween stories and draw pictures of the kids that attend in costume. Now there’s an offer you can’t refuse.
Haven’t a clue where my Aunt Judy found this or even who it’s by. All I know is I love it.
All right. Me stuff off the bat. I was recently asked to moderate a panel of authors for the Children’s Media Association. The panel consisted of Ame Dyckman, Joanne Levy, Katherine Longshore, Elisa Ludwig, Lynda Mullaly Hunt, and Sarvenaz Tash. During the course of the evening it was suggested that we perform a Giant Dance party. Joanne was kind enough to edit the footage and the results . . . well, here you go. I’m the one in the middle, for the record.
In other news, NYPL recently turned my Children’s Literary Salon that featured Leonard Marcus talking about the current NYPL exhibit The ABC of It: Why Children’s Books Matter as interviewed by Jenny Brown into a Google+ Hangout. Here is the gist of it. You’ll probably want to start watching after the 5 minute mark. Unless you like watching empty chairs. In which case, go crazy.
It’s worth it for the info on the ivory umbrella handle info alone.
And since I’m on a roll with the NYPL events, any interest in hearing Leonard Marcus interview Judy Blume and Eric Carle at the same time? Hit the 9:50 mark on this l’il ole video and it’s all yours.
Okay. Now it’s time to acknowledge that Halloween is nigh. Scaredy Squirrel created a PSA / book trailer. Pretty good, though I’m amused that Scaredy is still drilling home the fear of apples. In the history of man I’m pretty darn sure no one ever actually put a razorblade in a fruit. That was a myth. Ah well. Scaredy wouldn’t care. It’s still a potential threat.
In other book trailer news, this one’s pretty cute. Let’s hear it for effective Flash animation paired with music that bloody gets caught in your brain.
For 102 years, NYPL has consistently been producing the same list highlighting some of the best books for kids in a given year. Now we’re pleased to announce our 2013 list and all the myriad titles it holds. Admit it. This is one of the most gorgeous covers on a booklist you ever did see, isn’t it?
It’s been a good week and it’s only Thursday! I’ve cooed and oohed and aahed over NYPL’s 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing 2013 list before. Nothing new to say . . . or is there? I don’t suppose you happened to see NPR’s interactive booklist consisting of their Best Books of 2013 (in a rare moment of bliss, I like all their children’s book choices though some diversity wouldn’t have been out of place). Well, NYPL took one look at that list and thought, “Heck. We can do that.” And so they did! Meet the Interactive Books List of NYPL. It’s gorgeous. It’s user friendly. It’s the only place you can find animated Melissa Sweet. Overall, I rather love it. Hope you do too.
In other best book news, Colby Sharp and Donalyn Miller teamed up at BuzzFeed and produced a list of 20 of the Best Children’s Books 2013. And AGAIN I like all the choices. Do you know how rare this is? Extra points for including Donner Dinner Party. Love that thing. Love anyone who includes it on a list.
Having trouble keeping track of all the Best Of lists out there? Mr. Schu’s your man. Thanks to him, we now have a nicely compiled 2013 Best Books Lists posting. It’s very attractive. Of course, if you want the most complete listing out there, there’s no better place to go than Chicken Spaghetti. The information is AMAZING over there.
A lot has been said lately about how big Best lists of children’s books this year have neglected to include any Latino characters (NPR and The New York Times most notably). Perfect timing then for the 2014 Reading Challenge suggested by Latin@s in Kid Lit. Take a look at the guidelines and join, but seriously? One book a month? I think you can handle that. They even have some suggestions to start you off (yay, Nino!).
And, of course, if you read only one Best list, read the 100 Scope Notes highly hilarious Year in Miscellanea. Plus he mentions my superfluous little cupcake. Quoth he it’s, “the Axl Rose Hair Metal hair of picture book cover cupcakes.” You’re just going to have to read his piece to understand what that means.
Tempted to see Saving Mr. Banks in the theater this holiday season? Feel free but be aware that the film may be throwing P.L. Travers under the bus in the process. A great piece from Jerry Griswold, former Director of the National Center for the Study of Children’s Literature.
Anyone who has ever attended one of James Kennedy’s 90-Second Newbery Film Festivals will attest that they are a bundle of fun. Just the most delightful little films, created by kids, turning Newbery winners into concise 90-second films. Some are, understandably, better than others but there’s nothing cooler than sitting in a theater next to a kid who gets to see their film projected on a big screen for the first time in their young lives. Want to join in? The deadline for the next 90-second films is January 20th. So get cracking, young geniuses! For lots more information about the events and the showings, go here.
Awww. This is so sweet. Over at Mocking It Up, Rebecca did me a solid and created this simply gorgeous infographic on the books that are topping the Mock Newbery lists around the country (she compiled results from 19 different Mocks). That’s a ton of work but the results are simply gorgeous. Wowzah! Well done, madam.
The boundaries shift and change as children grow with the winds of time.
Children's stories, fables and mythology open doors to both the real world and to the world of fantasy and imagination.
Fairy tales have been retold and endured through many cultures. Aesop's fables have been part of children's literature for over 2000 years.
This blog is dedicated to the power of story and the worlds of wonder and imagination that are the world of children's literature. And to therapy dogs, that help reluctant children banish fear of reading
The illustration from Miyazaki's Howl's Movin g Castle
Litworld opens the doors of possibilities in life to disadvantaged youth through books, reading, mentors, and guidance.
LitWorld celebrated World Read Aloud Day on March 5.
Lit World is bringong litereracy, books, and empowerment to underprivileged children in Ghana,India, Haiti, Kenya, Kosovo, Nepal, Pakistan, Peru the Phillipines, Rwanda, Uganda, and the USA.
More than 793 million people are illiterate worldwide. Two thirds of these are women.
LitWorld places a special focus on young women and girls ages 10-14
"LitWorld’s strength-based model of social emotional learning fills a critical gap in education... LitClub and LitCamp curriculum cultivates core strengths that inherently exist within each child. The LitWorld 7 Strengths – Belonging, Curiosity, Kindness, Friendship, Confidence, Courage, and Hope – are ideas that are key to building resilience."
Barking Planet salutes LITWORLD and their founder and leader Pam Allyn for their wonderful work.
Pam Gaber and her therapy dog, Gabriel, began working together in 2000 in the Crisis Nursery, a shelter for abused children in Phoenix, Arizona. Gabriel had an immediate positive impact on frightened, withdrawn children. This was the beginning of Gabriel's Angels. During his 10 years of service as a Delta Society registered therapy dog, Gabriel visited over 5,000 abused, neglected, and at-risk children.
The organization has continued to grow since that time. Gabriel's Angels now serves 13,00 children a year through over 115 agencies through over 150 volunteer Pet Therapy teams. Teams visit each participating agency on a consistent schedule to build trust, empathy and respect in the children.
Here's a Link to a video that will take you into the world of abused children and the wonderful work accomplished by Gariel's Angels' therapy dog teams.
This dog is a genius...
His name is Mr. Peabody and he is winning at the box office.
Mr. Peabody, the most accomplished dog in the world, inventor extradinary, and his adopted son, Sherman, use their time machine for extraordinary adventures...
Dreanworks has a big hit, based on a dog as a parent to a miscievous boy and their travels on the winds of time...past, present and future.
Meanwhile,Frozen has earned over 396 millon dollars; and The Hunger Games, CatchingFire, has earned over 424,000,000 dollars.
Reworking the Hunger Games with a book and a movie sequel...
Here are excerpts from reviewers of the movie and the book...
Divergent was first published in 2011 and written by the then 22 year old Veronica Roth. The book made the best-seller lists the first week it was published in 2011 and has sold over 11 million copies. Like Hunger Games, it became a trilogy. Here is an excerpt from an insightful review by Susan Dominus, in the New YorkTimes
"...though Roth’s “Divergent” is rich in plot and imaginative details, it suffers by comparison with Collins’s opus. The shortcoming would not be so noticeable were there less blatant overlap between the two. Both 'Divergent' and 'The Hunger Games' feature appealing, but not conventionally pretty, young women with toughness to spare. Both start out with public sorting rituals that determine the characters’ futures. And both put the narrators in contrived, bloody battles that are in fact competitions witnessed by an audience. Even the language sounds familiar..."
Here are excerpts from incisive movie reviews by Manhola Dargis in the NY Times and Ty Burr in the Boston Globe...
…"Veronica Roth, who wrote the book “Divergent” and its two hot-selling follow-ups, tends to avoid mentioning “The Hunger Games,” but the similarities between these young-adult juggernauts are conspicuous in the extreme. “The Hunger Games” is a dystopian tale set in a postwar North America divided into 13 districts; “Divergent” is a dystopian tale set in postwar Chicago divided into five factions. Each series pivots on a gutsy teenage heroine who fights to the death like a classic male hero..."
“Divergent” is almost good enough to make you forget what a cynical exercise it is on every possible level. The original 2011 young adult novel by Veronica Roth — reasonably engrossing, thoroughly disposable — reads exactly like what it is: an ambitious young author’s attempt to re-write “The Hunger Games” without bringing the lawyers down on her head. The folks at production company Summit Entertainment are happy to turn the book into a movie because it allows them to crank up the franchise machinery that has worked so well for “Hunger Games,” “Twilight,” and the “Harry Potter” films, only without the bother of creating something fresh." Here is the Link to read all of Ty Burr's review:Globe
Here is the link to the action filled trailer for Divergent
Divergent sold $56 million in tickets for its first weekend...the YA market speaks!
Movies inspire mock weapons for 8-12 year old girls
"Heroines for young girls are rapidly changing, and the toy industry — long adept at capitalizing on gender stereotypes — is scrambling to catch up.
Toy makers have begun marketing a more aggressive line of playthings and weaponry for girls — inspired by a succession of female warrior heroes like Katniss, the Black Widow of “The Avengers,” Merida of “Brave” and now, Tris of the book and new movie “Divergent” — even as the industry still clings to every shade of pink...
The premier of the movie “Divergent” this weekend is only adding to the marketing frenzy around weapon-wielding girls. A Tris Barbie doll, complete with her signature three-raven tattoo, is already for sale on Amazon...
All of this is enough to make parents’ — particularly mothers’ — heads spin, even as they reach for their wallets. While the segregation of girls’ and boys’ toys in aisles divided between pink and camouflage remains an irritant, some also now wonder whether their daughters should adopt the same war games that they tolerate rather uneasily among their sons...
Five Hundred New Fairy Tales and a "harsher dose of reality"...
The headline and the article that appeared in the Guardian proclaimed that 500 new fairy tales had been discovered in Germany... a collection of fairytales gathered by historian Franz Xaver von Schönwerth that had been locked away in an archive in Regensburg for over 150 years.
This was in March 2012. However, I was unaware of the discovery that these tales existed until I recently read the following in Maria Tatar's children's lierature blog, Breezes from Wonderland
"Returning to blogging after I finish translating The EnchantedQuill, an anthology of nineteenth-century fairy tales collected by Franz Xaver Schonwerth.Once you read these stories, you will abandon any ideas about the literary transmission of fairy tales–these are tales in the raw, not cooked to suit the tastes of the literate..."
Reading this led me to read Ms Tatar's New Yorker article entitled, Cinderfellas: The Long-Lost Fairy Tales,
.Here are excerpts from this informative and compelling article::
"Bavarian fairy tales going viral? Last week, theGuardian reported that five hundred unknown fairy tales, languishing for over a century in the municipal archive of Regensburg, Germany, have come to light. The news sent a flutter through the world of fairy-tale enthusiasts, their interest further piqued by the detail that the tales—which had been compiled in the mid-nineteenth century by an antiquarian named Franz Xaver von Schönwerth—had been kept under lock and key. How astonishing then to discover that many of those “five hundred new tales” are already in print and on the shelves at Widener Library at Harvard (where I teach literature, folklore and mythology) and at Yale, Stanford, and Berkeley.
Schönwerth—a man whom the Grimm brothers praised for his “fine ear” and accuracy as a collector—published three volumes of folk customs and legends in the mid-nineteenth century, but the books soon began gathering dust on library shelves...
Schönwerth’s tales have a compositional fierceness and energy rarely seen in stories gathered by the Brothers Grimm or Charles Perrault,..Schönwerth gives us a harsher dose of reality than most collections..."
Here is the link to read more of this fascinating and informative article: Tatar
The illustrations, from the top down, are by Warwick Goble, Arthur Rackham, and George Cruikshank.
I don't want to mislead our blog readers about non-violence in a violent world. But perhaps in our Planet Of The Dogs series they will see something of the possibilities for non-violence in the the "real" world, as the dogs, with their unconditional courage, loyalty, and cleverness overcome invaders, swords, and warriors on horses...and bring peace to the land.
Newgrange- where time stands still
Newgrange rests on a hill in Ireland.
It was in place 3000 years before Christ, a thousand years before Stonehenge, and 500 years before the pyramids.
In Ireland, it is known as a Thin Place...
Author Bonnie McKernan writes of Thin Places on her blog..."where time stands still, beauty enthralls, the bigger picture is glimpsed...
Do you remember that stretch of road or river or mountainside you immediately felt a connection to? A place where the draw was so visceral it elicited a feeling of peace and excitement concurrently? It might have resulted from sensory delights like the sun on your face, fresh air in your lungs, a spectacular vie w—or from a scene that stirred your imagination or recharged your faith. However this attraction defined itself, you were thoroughly transfixed, wanting to stay longer and feel more.
Early Celtic Christians once called such experiences thin places, where the veil between the natural world and spiritual realm seems especially transparent—where time stands still, beauty enthralls, the bigger picture is glimpsed… where one feels closer to an omnipresent God..."
In a future blog, I will write more of Thin Places and the myths, folklore and fairies of Ireland.
Here is a link to see a brief National Geographic video on Newgrange.
The importanceof children's books in opening the mind to the door of life and the world of imagination is beyond measure. The importance of a dog in the life of a child is also beyond measure. It was from thoughts like these that the Planet OfThe Dogs Seriesevolved - Read Sample Chapters at: Planet Of The Dogs
Fairy tale legends often have a timeless quality...
Boy, Snow, Bird...Snow White for Adults
Helen Oyeyemi has transformed Snow White into a critically acclaimed book for adults that deals with timeless questions, identity and mystery. Here is an excerpt from a top flight reviewer, YVONNE ZIPP, fiction critic for the CS Monitor
"Helen Oyeyemi upends the whole Snow White story, tossing out apple, dwarves, glass coffin – and replacing them with an unsettling book that casts a spell of its own...
As with her fairy tale counterpart, Boy Novak (a young woman) is fond of her own reflection.“Nobody ever warned me about mirrors, so for many years I was fond of them, and believed them to be trustworthy,” says Boy, who would gaze into them, kissing her reflection or setting two mirrors opposite one another to create an endless series of reflections.
Her daughter and stepdaughter have the opposite problem: Sometimes their reflection doesn’t show up at all.
All three women learn the ways that mirrors can lie during the course of the story, most of which is set in the 1950s in a fictional Massachusetts town called Flax Hill. The novel hinges on several plot revelations, which I am not going to spoil. This is one book where I would recommend you not read anything in advance, even the back cover: Just go buy it."
Illustration for the Grimm's Snow White by Walter Crane.
"Someday you will be old enough to read fairy tales again."- C.S. Lewis
Therapy reading dog owners, librarians and teachers with therapy reading dog programs...You can write us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will send youfree reader copiesfrom the Planet of the Dogs Series.
Read sample chaptersof all the books in the Planet Of The Dogs series by clicking here:Sample Chapters
Our books are available through your favorite independent bookstore or via Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Powell's, the Book Depository and...
Librarians, teachers, bookstores...Order Planet Of The Dogs, Castle In The Mist, and Snow Valley Heroes, A Christmas Tale, through Ingram with a full professional discount.
"As a parent and a teacher, therefore, I argue for the continuance of books in an age marked by visual technology. There remains nothing like the feel of a book in the hand, nothing like the security offered by a book in the bed ( an experience recorded in the West from at least the twelth century)...If there is a future to children's literature, it must lie in the artifacts of writing and the place of reading in the home. To understandthe history of children's literature is to understand the history of all forms of literary experience."-
Seth Lererwriting in "Children's Literature, A Reader's History from Aesop to Harry Potter".
National Puppy Day was March 23..."a day to celebrate the magic and unconditional love that puppies bring to our lives. It’s also a day to help save orphaned puppies across the globe and educate the public about the horrors of puppy mills, as well as further the mission for a nation of puppy-free pet stores. While National Puppy Day supports responsible breeders, it does encourage prospective families to consider adoption as a first choice"...To read more, visit the site of Colleen Paige, who founded National Puppy Day nine years ago.
Circling the Waggins
Have you ever wondered what sort of chaos ensues in a home full of rescue pets? Author C.A. Wulff lets readers experience the surprises, the laughter, and the wonder of it all in her book “Circling the Waggins; How 5 Misfit Pets Saved Me from Bewilderness”, a personal account of just such a household.Wulff’s pack of dogs, cats and mice all have unique personalities, some of them intriguing, nearly all of them challenging – even for a veteran of rescue! Circling the Waggins examines the bonds we create with pets, no matter how big or small, and how our pets affect and enrich our lives.
Wulff’s honest story recounts the ups and downs of letting furry family members into our hearts. Circling the Waggins is available in print and for kindle.
"Imagine having a mother who worries that you read too much. The question is, what is it that's supposed to happen to people who read too much? How can you tell when someone's crossed the line." ”
Helen Oyemeni, Boy, Snow, Bird ...........................
Podcasting at the Children's Literary Salon
The New York Public Library annouces their next Children's Literary Salon to be held on Saturday, April 19th at 2:00 p.m.: The Topic is Podcasting Children’s Books: Ins and Outs, Ups and Downs
These fascinating discussions are lively, informative and free...This event will take place in the Stephen A. Schwarzman building (the main branch of New York Public Library) in the South Court Auditorium.
Here's another excellent article for dog lovers at Way Cool Dogs...
Six Reasons Why You Should Adopt A Dog From A Pound
You should adopt from a dog pound — whether it is a nearby dog shelter or your local pound — as it is one of the best ways to acquire a new and loyal companion. Unfortunately, many people opt to purchase their dog from breeders or pet stores, which often get their dogs from puppy mills and other unlicensed breeders.
Many dogs in a dog pound remain homeless and are often put down due to overcrowding. If you’re thinking about getting a dog, consider the following reasons for adopting a mixed breed from a dog shelter or dog pound:
Mixed breeds are healthier dogs
Mixed breeds are, in general, far healthier and longer lived than purebred dogs. Many purebred dogs are prone to diseases caused by genetic vulnerabilities which have been aggravated through centuries of inbreeding. A mixed breed is far less... Read about all six reasons at this link: WCD
The illustration is by Stella Mustanoja McCarty from Castle In The Mist
Thanks to the BBC, an audio version of Kenneth Grahame'sThe Wind in the Willows is available to all -- at no charge. This link also offers several other free recordings of enduring children's stories.
The classic story of Mole, Ratty, Toad and Badger is told in 10 episodes and read by Bernard Cribbins. The reading is delightful, very British, and accompanied by music and sound efects. Lesson plans and discussion ideas for educators, home schoolers, and librarians accompany the audio readings.
Bringing the World of Reading to Kids
Two hard working women believers in the canine conection organized and continue to guide Nor'wester Readers. Wendi Huttner, a mom and a breeder/ trainer of Labradors, and Deborah Glessner, dog lover and retired librarian. A grass roots, hands on organization, Nor'wester is a vital part of their Pennasylvania community in bringing the world of reading to kids.
Here are some of the Nor'wester Canine Book Buddies, volunteer therapy reading dog teams participating in the Northampton Township Library program. "Several Nor'wester Readers teams volunteered at the Expressions Day Camp, a camp for boys and girls (age 4-18) with high functioning autism, Asperger's Syndrome, non-verbal learning disabilities, and other types of social challenges.
The Book Depository
Free Worldwide Shipping of the Planet Of The Dogs Series
Free Worldwide Delivery The Book Depository (Guernsey) is an international bookseller shipping our books free of charge, worldwide, to over 100 countries. By working with various world postal authorities and other carriers, we are always looking to add more countries to this list.
All books available to All: Currently, The Book Depository is able to ship over nine million unique titles, within 48 hours, from our fulfilment centre in Gloucester, United Kingdom. This figure is increasing every day. Apart from publishers, distributors and wholesalers, we even list and supply books from other retailers.
“There is no psychology in a fairy tale. The characters have little interior life; their motives are clear and obvious.” Phillip Pullman in his Introduction to Fairy Tales from the Brother's Grimmm
What should you do, what can you do, if you see an injured dog or one in distress?
For answers, examples, true stories and more, visit Sunbear Squad...Let the experience of compassionate dog lovers guide you...free Wallet Cards & Pocket Posters, Informative and practical guidance...Visit SunBear Squad
Therapy reading dogs are helping millions of kids to loose their fear of reading and opening the door to a world of imagination and learning
We believe that dogs can also teach kids about unconditional love...
Kids can learn about courage and loyalty from dogs.
Dogs have healing qualities that reach people of all ages.
These incredible abilities of dogs are the foundation for the Planet Of The Dogs Series
Aesop and the magic of words...
The magic of words for children has been part of children's lives since Aesop, over 2,500 years ago.
"Ever since there were children, there has been children's literature. Long before John Newbury established a first press devoted to children's books, stories were told and written for the young, and books originally offered to mature readers were carefully recast or excerpted for the young, and books originally offered to mature readers were carefully recast or excerpted for youthful audiences. Greek and Roman educational traditions grounded themselves in reading and reciting poetry and drama. Aesop's fableslived for two millennia on classroom and family shelves..." -excerpted from SethLerer's book, Children's Literature, A Reader's History from Aesop to Harry Potter.
600 Fables and the Creative Tradition
Laura Gibbs, author, blogger and scholar, has translated 600 of Aesop's Fables into English. The first translation from ancient Greek to English was published by Caxton in 1484. This excerpt is from Gibbs' blog...
" As folklore, Aesop’s fables are always shifting and changing in their various retellings, and the images used to illustrate the fables, just as much as the words, are part of that creative tradition. The images are not simply extras added on to the story. Instead, these images can contribute their own distinctive elements to that endless mix-and-match process by which new versions of the fables are created — a process which has kept the Aesop’s fable tradition going strong for three thousands years, and counting."
It seems remarkable to me that probably everyone visiting this blog has read or heard, at some time in their life, Aesops fables.
The website, Aesopica, offers Laura Gibbs' translations of 600 of Aesop's Fablesin English...plus Aesopin Latin and Greek. Aesop lives on.
"No act of kindnessss, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”
―from the Lion and the Mouse, Aesop ................................
Aesop and ASAP...a pun/smile posted by Pigeon Weather Productions
"This reminds me of a short-lived series I did some time ago called ASAP’s Fables:A dog was wandering in the woods when he came across a bear. The dog said to himself, I’d better get out of here ASAP!"
Paws For People
Paws for people is dedicated to helping people in need. These excerpts from their website can only outline the wonderful work they do.
"PAWS for People is a nonprofit 501(c)3 pet therapy organization that recruits, trains, certifies, and places therapy teams in over 150 sites in Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and New Jersey...
Whether it be helping a child with autism learn new social skills, aiding an injured youngster with physical therapy, comforting a hospice patient, distracting a child during chemotherapy treatment, assisting a struggling reader, or being a familiar reminder to an Alzheimer’s patient, a visit from a PAWS’ therapy team makes a difference."
The therapy team in this photo is one of over 350...Paws for People was founded in 2005 by Lynne Robinson after 23 years as a public school teacher.
To see a first hand video example of this program at work, let Jen Delgado, librarian at Mote Elementary school in Wilmington, DE, show you the Paws for People Program bringing the joy of reading to fourth and fifth graders. Here is the link: Paws for Reading
The Treasure Trove Continues
Big Box Office Bucks are expected in May from new movies with versions inspired by classic children's literature. and sucessful YA books. Meanwhile, the movie versions of Divergent, Mr Peabody and Frozen -- the reimagined version of Hans Chrisitian Anderson's The Snow Queen -- continue their International popularity.
Combined, they have grossed over one and a half billion dollars.
Coming in May...
OZ revisited on May 9
Sony is releasing an animated version of a return to OZ entitled:
Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return.
The film is based on the book Dorothy of Ozby Roger Stanton Baum, great grandson of L. Frank Baum, the author of the original Wonderful Wizard of Ozbook.
Maleficent opens May 30...This version ofSleeping Beautyis unlike the sweetness and light Disney movies that prevailed for many years...there is a darkside in this film from the Magic Kingdom...not unlike the darkside that prevailed in the earliest versions of the story.
Before the Brothers Grimm rewrote the tale as written in the 17th century by Basile and Perrault, it included the story of the Prince's cannibalistic mother and her suicide leap into a vat filled with reptiles and snakes. I doubt if Disney will go that far, but the trailer is dark, forboding, and has very engaging graphics...more wonders of computer graphics.
If you follow this link to the trailer, you will see for yourself: Maleficent.
The illustration above of Sleeping Beauty and her Prince is by Henry Meynell Rheam.
No Magic Words for this Snow White
Angelin Preljocajhas created a modern dance-ballet based on the fairy tale of SnowWhite. Here are excerpts from Gia Kourlas' review, Trying to Outrun Age, in Spiky Heels, in the New York Times...
"A staggering lassitude defines this production of nearly two hours, presented by the Joyce Theater Foundation. Created in 2008, “Snow White” features a Prince (Sergio Diaz), but Mr. Preljocaj’s (pronounced prel-zho-KAHJ) sinister tale has less to do with true love than jealousy, or what the French choreographer has termed the Snow White complex: women who refuse to look their age...
Snow White, it turns out, is not as pure as the driven snow, as a seduction scene with the Prince proves. (In case you’re confused, she knew him long before taking a bite of the poisonous apple.) Her stepmother, the Queen (Anna Tatarova), appears as a dominatrix in thigh highs and spiky heels; it’s the Halloween parade, not couture..."
This link will take you to a ten minute excerpt of the dance wherein the prince awakens Snow White from her sleep: Snow White
The Planet Of The Dogs series is going to China
The revised publicatrion schedule by the Beijing Chongxianguan Book Company for the Chinese versions of The Planet Of The Dogs Seriesis for the latter part of May. The illustrations have been redone for the Chinese market. Our thanks to Deanna Leahof HBGwho represents the foreign rights for our books. She introduced our books to, and contracted with, our Chinese publishers.
The Magic of Words...Phillip Pullman
I adored Superman,” Pullman tells us, and, as a boy, he was “intoxicated,” “enthralled” and “dizzy with passion” while reading his graphic adventures. Then came Batman and the beginning of the storytelling instinct. The young Pullman did not want to be Batman, but, rather, write about him. Years later, he read Miltonand became aware, like other synesthetes, that words had “weight and colour and taste and shape as well as meaning.” That was when he began to play with words, like “a little child putting coloured marbles into patterns. - Maria Tatar, reviewing Pullman's Twice Told Tales in the New Yorker
Circling The Waggins...
Here is the Amazon review (unedited) by Bob Tarte, author of the delightful "Kitty Cornered," "Enslaved by Ducks," and "Fowl Weather"...Read more reviews and a synopsis...Here is the link: Circling The Waggins
"There's a lot more to living with dogs than wet noses and going walkies. Cayr Ariel Wulffentertainingly chronicles the rocky flip side of pet care in "Circling the Waggins," a heroic tale of triumph over turmoil and exhaustion. Wulff and her companion Dalene take in the misfits that have defeated lesser souls, including genius behemoth Waldo - a 75-pound golden/boxer mix with equal parts brains and brawn - an exuberant but mentally challenged Shih-tzu/Chihuahua named Rocket Boy, plus three more dogs, aging cats, and way too many accidentally acquired pet mice. Despite the challenges presented by this demanding and eccentric crew, Wulff's chronicles may still send you to the animal shelter to do a bit of rescue on your own. You'll want to reap the rewards of love and joy which "Waggins" so beautifully describes.
PAL...People and Their Dogs Helping Others
A PAL Reprise
We first learned of PAL (Washington,DC)and the wonderful work they do, through Ginny Rawls a Young Adult Librarian, in Alexandria, VA. This excerpt from the PAL website describes their work..."Compassionate and friendly pet owners visit with their dogs, bringing joy to people in mental institutions, assisted living, nursing homes and homeless shelters. Libraries and schools are always eager to help children gain a love of reading, to introduce young readers to learning with creative methods. The Pet volunteers visit libraries and schools for avariety of reading with dog programs..."
Here is an excerpt from the information sent by Librarian Ginny Rawls...
"In our central library we have the Paws to Read program for kids in grades 1-6. Currently, we have 4-5 dog volunteers who come twice a month with their humans to listen to the kids read. The children are excited, happy, and love reading to dogs.
Sometimes, they want to expose the dog to their favorite stories or have asked if it's ok to read to them about cats and tigers. I tell them that it's a good idea for dogs to know as much about cats as possible. Sometimes, they do read about dogs, though. I display several dog books in our storyroom during the program and each dog has a bookmark with a photo and information about the dog breed, favorite foods, activities, and the dog's favorite book..." The photo of the Cub Scounts and the therapy reading dogs was taken by PAL volunteer, Tracy Baetz
It was a cold, dark night when the howling dogs awakened Prince Ukko from his sleep. It was a sound he had never heard before, and caused a cold feeling of fear to move through his body. After a few minutes, the howling stopped, but now Prince Ukko was unable to sleep...
Our books are available through your favorite independent bookstore or via Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Powell's...
Librarians, teachers, bookstores...Order Planet Of The Dogs, Castle In The Mist, and Snow Valley Heroes, A Christmas Tale, through Ingram with a full professional discount.
Therapy reading dog owners, librarians, teachers and organizations with therapy reading dog programs -- you can write us at email@example.com and we will send youfree reader copiesfrom the Planet of the Dogs Series...Read Dog Books to Dogs....Ask any therapy reading dog: "Do you like it when the kids read dog books to you?"
"The little reed, bending to the force of the wind, soon stood upright again when the storm had passed over." - Aesop
We received this important notice from Elizabeth Bird of the NYPL's excellent Children's Literary Salon announcing their next free event on Saturday, May 3rd, at 2:00 p.m.
The Phantom Tollbooth: Beyond Expectations
Join us for a screening of the stellar documentary The Phantom Tollbooth: Beyond Expectations, presented by editor and director Hannah Jayanti. Through interviews, animation and archival materials, the documentary traces the friendship between author Norton Juster and Pulitzer Prize-winning artist Jules Feiffer, and the wit and wisdom of the novel over half a century. The documentary runs at 56 minutes. There will be a Q&A with Ms. Jayanti after the showing.
This event will be held in the South Court Auditorium in the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building (the main branch of NYPL on 42nd Street & 5th Avenue).
PLEASE NOTE: ATTENDANCE IS ON A FIRST COME FIRST SERVED BASIS. WE CAN ONLY ACCOMMODATE 175 ATTENDEES FOR THIS EVENT. WE ARE NOT TAKING RSVPS. PLEASE COME ON TIME IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO SECURE A SEAT... If you have any further questions do not hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This photo by Annof her dog dog, Shiner, accompanied by her warm review (and Giveaway) of Planet Of The Dogs, truly brightened my day. Shiner is reading Planet Of The Dogs, and Ann reports that, "After reading through the book a little, Shiner informed me that she'd most like to visit Biscuit Town on the Planet of the Dogs...
Planet Of The Dogs is a fictional story perfect for young readers and adults alike...The main characters in the story are two children - Daisy and Bean. They even get to travel to the Planet of the Dogs themselves. I personally think it would be awesome if such a world did exist. I'd love to visit some of the places in the book. There's Shepherd Hill, Poodletown, Retriever Meadows, Muttville, Hound Dog Hamlet, and Shaggy Corners...
Simply put, there is a lot that us humans can learn from our furry canine companions. This book is great at showing just how compassionate dogs really are."
Ann Staub, after working five years as a veterinary technician, retired to be a full time mom (two daughters), dog and pet owner, and blogger.
E Book Comprehension Study
This excerpt is from Annie Murphy Paul'sMotherlodearticle,
Students Reading E-Books Are Losing Out, Study Suggests
"While young readers find these digital products very appealing, their multitude of features may diffuse children’s attention, interfering with their comprehension of the text, Ms. Smith and the Schugars found. It seems that the very “richness” of the multimedia environment that e-books provide — heralded as their advantage over printed books — may overwhelm children’s limited working memory, leading them to lose the thread of the narrative or to process the meaning of the story less deeply...
More on Books and Ebooks ...excerpted from Bookkends in The New York Times, in a Q and A with author Moshin Hamid...How Do E-Books Change the Reading Experience?
..."I crave technology, connectivity. But I crave solitude too. As we enter the cyborg era, as we begin the physical shift to human-machine hybrid, there will be those who embrace this epochal change, happily swapping cranial space for built-in processors. There will be others who reject the new ways entirely,...
In a world of intrusive technology, we must engage in a kind of struggle if we wish to sustain moments of solitude. E-reading opens the door to distraction. It invites connectivity and clicking and purchasing. The closed network of a printed book, on the other hand, seems to offer greater serenity. It harks back to a pre-jacked-in age. Cloth, paper, ink: For these read helmet, cuirass, shield. They afford a degree of protection and make possible a less intermediated, less fractured experience. They guard our aloneness. That is why I love them, and why I read printed books still."
Mohsin Hamid is the author of three novels: “Moth Smoke,” a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award; “The Reluctant Fundamentalist,” a New York Times best seller that was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and adapted for film; and, most recently, “How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia.”
"I was so excited to hear that this book was being written. After purchasing it I sat down & read the whole thing the same night. This book is a great read for anyone who is into animal rescue or anyone who is just an animal lover who feels like there is nothing they can do. VERY informative & VERY well written. I will be keeping this book close by to refer back to for the amazing resources. One person CAN make a difference!"
How To Housebreak Your Dog Without Breaking Your Home
Though it may not seem like it sometimes, especially when they are a puppy, dogs have a natural instinct to keep their living space clean — especially in close headquarters. Learning how to housebreak your dog with some help from you, through patient and gradual housebreaking, will help your dog learn happily how to do their business outside. This will not only improve the health and happiness of your dog, but also preserving the cleanliness of your home. The housebreaking process can be a messy business—expect several accidents to happen before your puppy or dog gets it—but it doesn’t have to destroy your home or your relationship with your dog....Here is the link to read it all: Housebreak
"We must fight against the spirit of unconscious cruelty with which we treat the animals. Animals suffer as much as we do. True humanity does not allow us to impose such sufferings on them. It is our duty to make the whole world recognize it. Until we extend our circle of compassion to all living things, humanity will not find peace."
—Albert Schweitzer, "The Philosophy of Civilization" -
I found this quote on Sunbear Squadwhere guidlines, free wallet cards, and "how to" save a dog in distress information are available at no cost for all good people.
"MY father was a St Bernard, my mother was a Collie, but I am a Presbyterian. This is what my mother told me. I do not know these nice distinctions myself." -- Mark Twain (1835-1910)
Giving birth! All the kids are doing it these days. And you know what giving birth means, right? It means having a little extra time to blog and get my non-work related projects done. Though, naturally, I wrote 50% of this post a day ago and then must have failed to save the darn thing. *sigh* C’est la vie, kids.
I was called upon recently to speak with a writer from the National Endowment for the Arts. The topic? Why Children’s Books Matter. Done in conjunction with Leonard Marcus’s exhibit at the main branch of NYPL I answer all sorts of questions. Mind you, it was a oral interview so I wasn’t able to parse my own speech. Read it and you’ll get a real sense of what it sounds like to talk to me (weirdo grammar and all).
Let’s talk exhibits again. This time, those in Chicago. Particularly those in Chicago involving Edward Gorey. You lucky midwesterners. Thanks to Mr. Schu for the link.
And going back to the topic of NYPL, I recently interviewed middle grade author Claire LeGrand. Claire is the organizing genius behind the upcoming Kids Authors Carnival happening this month on the 31st. Talking with me, she answered some of my questions about the carnival, the authors who will be there, and where the idea came from in the first place.
Summer Reading is coming up. Want a reading list for your kids? ALSC came up with this one and it’s rather nice.
Hat tip to Travis Jonker for the hat tip to my book (co-written with Jules Danielson and Peter Sieruta). It’s coming out in August fer sure, fer sure, and Travis included it in his 10 to Note Summer Preview 2014. Thank you, man!!
Oh, I rather love this. 25 Movie Cameos by the Authors of the Original Books. Because there are children’s book adaptations included that I never knew about. Michael Morpurgo? Louis Sachar? They forgot Wendy Orr in Nim’s Island, Brian Selznick in Hugo, and David Levithan and Rachel Cohn in Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist but no one’s perfect. Love the snarky comment about Stephenie Meyer, by the way. Thanks to Cynthia Leitich Smith for the link.
Woo-hoo! The next Kidlitosphere Conference (the greatest, biggest, best conference of children’s & YA literature bloggers) is nigh. Nigh, I sez, nigh! The focus is on diversity, the location is Sacramento and the guests include everyone from Shannon Hale to Mitali Perkins. Don’t miss it.
New Podcast Alert: Little, Brown & Company’s School & Library division has their own podcast channel? Well, who the heck knew? Not I, said the fly. And then there’s the podcast Dear Book Nerd which appears to have some connection to the great and grand Brooklyn children’s librarian Rita Meade. I am so out of it.
Kids aren’t reading! No way, no how, not happening. Unless of course they are. Common Sense Media recently decided that kids weren’t reading anymore and they went and made a huge deal about it. Two alternate takes on the study are worth noting. The first is from Forbes. The second, from Liz Burns. And quite frankly, I probably don’t have to tell you that it’s Liz’s take that I prefer.
Nothing I love more than a new children’s book prize. Particularly when I get to help to narrow down the contenders. The New York Historical Society was looking for great books of American history, either fiction or nonfiction for kids. The winner? The Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine. She gets a $10,000 prize and is the inaugural winner. Check out the other finalists here and an interview with Kristin about the book here.
The big news last week, aside from the birth of my baby Bird, was the Rush Limbaugh win at the Children’s Book Choice Awards. It wasn’t a surprise but it did make for some good think pieces. And Travis Jonker, bless his soul, rounded them up for you. Amusingly, I had to miss the banquet because of back pain. Had I attended I not only would have gotten to see that particular person give a speech but there was a fire scare that made everyone go outside. Methinks this was not the worst year to miss.
It was St. Martin’s Press that advertised this one originally. I don’t know where they got it, but it’s such a brilliant display that I just had to share it with you. Libraries and other bookstores take note (and copy at will!).