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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Book Giveaway, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 675
1. Goddess Girls: Athena the Proud, Book 13 | Book Giveaway

Enter to win an autographed copy of Goddess Girls #13: Athena the Proud, by Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams. Giveaway begins April 24, 2014, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends May 23, 2014, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

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2. Burn Out, by Kristi Helvig | YA Book Giveaway

Enter to win a copy of Burn Out, by Kristi Helvig. Giveaway begins April 19, 2014, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends May 18, 2014, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

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3. Mighty Dads, by Joan Holub | Book Giveaway

Enter to win an autographed copy of Mighty Dads, story by award-winning author Joan Holub and illustrations by James Dean, creator of the bestselling "Pete the Cat" books. Giveaway begins April 15, 2014, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends May 14, 2014, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

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4. Happy Blogi-VERSE-ary!!!!!

Hip (to the 5th power) Hooray!
It’s our Blogiversary!!!!!
Our TeachingAuthors group blog has been teaching authors since April of 2009!

To celebrate the occasion, we’re celebrating you!  Enter our Raffle drawing to win one of FIVE Blogiversary Book Bundles – each bundle a set of five books hand-selected by a TeachingAuthor that includes at least one autographed TeachingAuthor book.  Check the end of this post for details.

But wait!
It’s also our Blogi-VERSE-ary, so smartly re-named by our reader Mary Lee of A Year of Reading, because we six TeachingAuthors chose to celebrate the occasion by reciting our favorite poem in honor of Poetry Month.

I suggested the idea once I read about the Poetry Foundation’s current Favorite Poem Project: Chicago which grew out of former Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky’s national Favorite Poem Project – Americans Saying Poems They Love which celebrates poetry as a vocal art. 

Poetry Foundation President Robert Polito shared in his project description that “a favorite poem can be a talisman or mantra, a clue, landmark or guiding star and dwells deep down in our psyches.”

Thank you for your interest in the Favorite Poem Project: Chicago. Check this page regularly to view the six videos in the series which will be release twice each week starting on Monday, April 14.Hana Bajramovic
"The Order of Key West" by Wallace Stevens
Naomi Beckwith
"The Children of the Poor" by Gwendolyn Brooks
Mayor Rahm Emanuel
"Chicago" by Carl Sandburg
Thank you for your interest in the Favorite Poem Project: Chicago. Check this page regularly to view the six videos in the series which will be release twice each week starting on Monday, April 14.Hana Bajramovic
"The Order of Key West" by Wallace Stevens
Naomi Beckwith
"The Children of the Poor" by Gwendolyn Brooks
Mayor Rahm Emanuel
"Chicago" by Carl
FYI: the Poetry Foundation, located in beautiful downtown Chicago, is an amazing resource – for writers and readers, for teachers, of course, but really-and-truly, for anyone human.
To plan a (highly-recommended) visit, click here.
To explore the children’s poetry resources, click here. 
Students can find recitation tips and look for poems here.
Teachers can learn all about Poetry Out Loud in the classroom by clicking here.
So you’re never without a poem nearby, click here to download the Poetry App.

The poem I chose to recite via SoundCloud (and – fingers-crossed – successfully uploaded to today’s post so you can hear it) is Robert Louis Stevenson’s MY SHADOW.

The poem dwells deep, deep, deep in my psyche, placed there by my mean-spirited third grade teacher Miss Atmore at Philadelphia’s Overbrook Elementary.  (Think every gruesome teacher Raoul Dahl created, to the max (!), down to the spit that sprayed the air when she’d lean in close to admonish a mistake.)

In between Halloween and Thanksgiving of that third grade year, each of us was to choose, memorize and then recite before the class eight lines of a poem.  I instantly knew the poem I’d choose.  I treasured my copy of A CHILD’S GARDEN OFVERSES.  How could I not choose my favorite poem, My Shadow? I loved the poem’s sing-song rhythms; I loved its playfulness. I even recall jumping rope while I recited the poem, practicing, practicing, practicing.  I so wanted to get it right.  Standing before my classmates in the front of my classroom, beside Miss Atmore seated dispassionately at her desk, demanded Courage and Moxie, both of which I lacked.

"My poem is My Shadow,” I bravely began, and Miss Atmore stopped me, cold, mid-sentence.
“Po-em is a two-syllable word, child!” she shouted. “How many times must I tell you all that?!  Now raise your head, start again and this time, for goodness sake, speak the words correctly!”
The rhythm of the lines ran away (probably scared); I mispronounced "India" as "Indian." All I could do was stare at the two shiny pennies that adorned my new brown loafers. 
But that failed recitation serves as a landmark. Thanks to Miss Atmore, I knew then and there that when – I – grew up to be a teacher someday, everything that Miss Atmore was, I would spend my lifetime making sure I wasn't.                                (IIllustration by Ted Rand)                                                                                                                                                                                                       
Ironically, when I was first trying my hand at writing for children, I wrote a poem entitled “P-O-E-M is a Two-syllable Word.” In time the title became a line in the first poem I ever sold, to Ebony Jr. magazine.  I’ve searched high-and-low for my copy so I might share the poem, but alas, no luck.  Even today, I can’t speak the word “poem” without enunciating clearly its two two-letter syllables.

           My Shadow by Robert Louis Stevenson
I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me,
And what can be the use of him is more than I can see.
He is very, very like me from the heels up to the head.
And I see him jump before me, when I jump into my bed.

The funniest thing about him is the way he likes to grow –
Not at all like proper children, which is always very slow;
For he sometimes shoots up taller like an india-rubber ball,
And he sometimes goes so little that there’s none of him at all.

He hasn’t got a notion of how children ought to play,
And can only make a fool of me in every sort of way.
He stays so close behind me, he’s a coward you can see;
I’d think shame to stick to nursie as that shadow sticks to me!

One morning, very early, before the sun was up,
I rose and found the shining dew on every buttercup;
But my lazy little shadow, like an arrant sleepy-head,
Had stayed at home behind me and was fast asleep in bed.

[Note: If you're receiving this post via email, here's the link to the Sound Cloud reading of Robert Louis Stevenson's My Shadow by Esther Hershenhorn ]

             * * * * * * * *
I offer at least five bundles of thanks to you, our readers, for embracing our blog, and to my fellow TeachingAuthors too – Jill Esbaum, JoAnn Early Macken, Carmela Martino, Laura Purdie Salas, April Halprin Wayland and currently in absentia but always in my heart, Mary Ann Rodman and Jeanne Marie Grunwell Ford, for embracing me.

I did indeed find that long-ago missing Moxie and each of you makes sure I maximize it bi-monthly.

Here’s to a month of poetic celebrations!

 Oh, and don’t forget to enter our BlogiversaryRaffle to win one of FIVE Blogiversary Book Bundles. 

Good Luck!

Esther Hershenhorn

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5. Total Eclipse of the Moon

redmoonTax day approaches – everyone's favorite day of the year. Tonight I plan to stay up past midnight and watch the day arrive. Not because I waited until the last minute to do my taxes (although there's that) but because tonight there will be a total lunar eclipse.

Most of North America will be able to see the eclipse and since the moon is close to full it should be pretty dramatic. Because of the timing of the eclipse, sunsets and sunrises in other parts of the world will make the moon look blood red. Kinda cool! If you have cloudy skies or too many city lights to see it, The Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles will broadcast the eclipse live starting at 9:45 p.m. PST.

This is also the last week of the blog tour for WISH YOU WEREN'T. Here are the planned stops.  

The Book Cellar: Erica posts an interview about my reading and writing habits.  
Books and Needlepoint: Kristi will post her review of Wish You Weren't.  

Book Loving Mom: Amy will post her review of Wish You Weren't.

I want to thank all of the bloggers who hosted me during this tour. Book bloggers are seriously the coolest people. They don't make money from this. They do it because they love books and I'm totally honored to have been part of so many awesome blogs.

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6. Wonders of Life: Exploring the Most Extraordinary Phenomenon in the Universe | Book Giveaway

Enter to win a copy of Wonders of Life: Exploring the Most Extraordinary Phenomenon in the Universe, by Prof. Brian Cox. Giveaway begins April 11, 2014, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends May 10, 2014, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

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7. Under the Egg, by Laura Marx Fitzgerald | Book Giveaway

Enter to win a copy of Under the Egg, by Laura Marx Fitzgerald. Giveaway begins April 9, 2014, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends May 8, 2014, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

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8. GoodReads Giveaway for Caught Between Two Curses

1655060_10202352586313888_1471055173_oEnter to win a print copy of my YA novel, Caught Between Two Curses, on Goodreads by clicking below.

Here’s what it’s about: Seventeen-year-old Julie Nigelson is cursed. So is her entire family. And it’s not just any-old-regular curse, either-it’s strangely connected to the famous “Curse of the Billy Goat” on the Chicago Cubs. Julie must figure out this mystery while her uncle lies in a coma and her entire love life is in ruins: her boyfriend Gus is pressuring her to have sex, while her best friend Matt is growing more attractive to her all the time. Somehow, Julie must figure out how to save her uncle, her family’s future, and her own love life-and time is running out!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Caught Between Two Curses by Margo L. Dill

Caught Between Two Curses

by Margo L. Dill

Giveaway ends April 21, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win


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9. Even Monsters …, by AJ Smith | Book Giveaway

Enter to win a copy of Even Monsters ..., by A.J. Smith. Giveaway begins April 6, 2014, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends May 5, 2014, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

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10. Puddle Pug, by Kim Norman | Book Giveaway

Enter to win an autographed copy of Puddle Pug, written by Kim Norman and illustrated by Keika Yamaguchi. Giveaway begins March 30, 2014, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends April 29, 2014, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

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11. The Mark of the Dragonfly, by Jaleigh Johnson | Book Giveaway

Enter to win a copy of The Mark of the Dragonfly, written by Jaleigh Johnson. Giveaway begins March 29, 2014, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends April 28, 2014, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

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12. "Winter Rain" (by Christina Rossetti) and a Water Can Be... Wrap-up

Happy Poetry Friday!

I first read this poem just last month at Keri Recommends, and I love it! I've been immersed in writing educator materials and creating videos for Water Can Be... the past couple of months, and this celebration of what water does for our world completely enchants me. (The three stanzas I highlighted in blue are my very favorite--in case you don't have time for a longer poem today:>)

    Winter Rain

    Every valley drinks,
        Every dell and hollow:
    Where the kind rain sinks and sinks,
        Green of Spring will follow.

    Yet a lapse of weeks
        Buds will burst their edges,
    Strip their wool-coats, glue-coats, streaks,
        In the woods and hedges;

    Weave a bower of love
        For birds to meet each other,
    Weave a canopy above
        Nest and egg and mother.

    But for fattening rain
        We should have no flowers,
    Never a bud or leaf again
        But for soaking showers;

    Never a mated bird
        In the rocking tree-tops,
    Never indeed a flock or herd
        To graze upon the lea-crops.

    Lambs so woolly white,
        Sheep the sun-bright leas on,
    They could have no grass to bite
        But for rain in season.

    We should find no moss
        In the shadiest places,
    Find no waving meadow grass
        Pied with broad-eyed daisies:

    But miles of barren sand,
        With never a son or daughter,
    Not a lily on the land,
        Or lily on the water.

--by Christina Rossetti

Isn't that amazing? And here I am reading this poem aloud:

And this is the final day of our weeklong celebration of Water Can Be... here on Teaching Authors. Thanks for letting me share so much! If you're interested in book trailers, the teaching guide, reviews (it got starred reviews from Kirkus and Publishers Weekly--my first stars ever!), etc., just check out the Water Can Be... page on my website. And don't forget to return to Monday's post to enter our giveaway for a personalized copy of my book. Just click on the Rafflecopter widget at the bottom of that post. Good luck!

Teacher and poet Mary Lee Hahn at A Year of Reading has today's Poetry Friday Roundup--enjoy!

--Laura Purdie Salas

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13. So You Think You Babysit Monsters? (The Abercrombie Family Business: Totally True, Tir Griffin Story #1) | Book Giveaway

Enter to win an autographed copy of So You Think You Babysit Monsters? (The Abercrombie Family Business: Totally True, Tir Griffin Story #1), written by Leslie A. Susskind. Giveaway begins March 26, 2014, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends April 25, 2014, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

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14. It Begins!

Today starts the blog tour of awesome around the internet. Twelve stops, twelve chance to win a copy of WISH YOU WEREN'T and astronaut ice cream – yum!

Here's where you'll find me this week:

Monday: Mundie Kids (I'm guest posting about -- you guessed it -- wishing on stars!)
Wednesday: Cover2Cover (This time I'm talking about other ways to wish)
Wednesday: The (Mis)Adventures of a Twenty-Something Year Old Girl will be posting a review Friday: Sher A. Hart will have a book review

In addition to the tour, I'm thrilled that the esteemed Middle Grade Ninja will be featuring me this week on his amazing blog. Tuesday he'll do his Book of the Week review of WISH YOU WEREN'T and on Thursday, I'll be answering his famous 7 Questions Interview. If you're a writer and you've never visited the Middle Grade Ninja, do yourself a favor and go now. He's got interviews with agents, editors and writers like Sara Crowe, Tina Wexler, Kendra Levin, Lynne Reid Banks and Ingrid Law. Seriously cool interviews I'll be rubbing shoulders with!

If you're looking for more chances to win, the contest is still open over at Literary Rambles. You can win a copy of the book, a wish token and a pocket watch just like the one Tör uses to manipulate time in WISH YOU WEREN'T. (Although I don't guarantee that this watch will have the same magical properties as Tör's!)

Whew! It's going to be a busy week! I hope I'll see you around the web!

And just in case you forgot, you can always get your very own copy of WISH YOU WEREN'T from these magnificent retailers :)
Amazon   |  Kobo  |  B&N  |   Smashwords  |   Solvang Book Loft

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15. How I Became a Teaching Author (+ Giveaway)

When I was a kid, I had no thought of being an author OR a teacher! As the youngest of four girls, I was always one of the students when we played school. As I think of my sisters, Miss Trunchbull comes to mind—ha! I never ever got to be the teacher! (On the plus side, this helped me become an early and voracious reader). And while I loved to read, it never occurred to me that real people wrote all those books I devoured.

With my big sisters, Janet (left), Gail (center),
and Patty (right). I'm the peanut in front.

When I started college, I planned to be a veterinarian. My first creative writing class killed that plan, and I knew I would do something with books, reading, and writing. That something turned out to be LOTS of things.

First, I became a magazine editor. When the publication was sold, I decided to try teaching (I was certified for Secondary English). I taught 8th-grade English for two years, and it was exhilarating, exhausting, and life-changing. I knew I did not have the stamina to stay in it for the long haul and try to be an amazing teacher while dealing with administration, assessment (even back then!), politics, and parents. But I loved my 8th graders and their wild creativity—and the books we were constantly reading.

Our two daughters, ca. 1998
A seed was planted. I wonder what it would be like to write kids’ books?

Then my husband and I moved to Minnesota. While doing freelance writing for grown-ups, I held part-time jobs over the years as a copyeditor, a personal care assistant for young adults with disabilities, a teacher in our school-age latchkey program, etc. When we had kids, the thousands of books we read with them nourished that seed and helped it grow: I want to write books for kids.

So, of course, I joined SCBWI and set to work learning how to do that. In October of 1999, I went to a local SCBWI conference, where two editors from educational publishers spoke. Because I was conference volunteer, I got to be one editor’s helper and I got a manuscript critique with the other. I ended up writing books for both companies.

BookSpeak! Poems About Books
(Clarion, 2011)
I had been submitting (bad) picture book manuscripts and magazine stories for a couple of years. I had a few children’s credits, but I really wanted to write a book. So when Jill Braithwaite (who was an editor at Lerner at that time) asked if I would be interested in writing an upper-elementary biography, I said, “Sure!”

Even though that was by far NOT my first choice.

And thus began my history of writing children’s books. To date, I have written about 110 nonfiction books for the educational market, 12 poetry collections, and two rhyming nonfiction books.  In fact, my newest book, Water Can Be..., comes out on April Fool's Day, and we're doing a giveaway of it here on TeachingAuthors.com! You can enter using the Rafflecopter widget at the end of the post. Enter through April 1, 2014, the pub date of Water Can Be...!

Water Can Be... comes out on April 1!
One of my biggest surprises has been how much I get to still teach. I teach adult writers through conferences like SCBWI’s, the 21st-Century Children’s Nonfiction Conference, and the Loft Literary Center’s Children’s and Young Adult Literary Festival. I have taught in-person and online classes on writing for children, finding publishers to submit your work to, and more. A colleague, Lisa Bullard, and I also mentor children’s writers through Mentors for Rent, an hourly-based critique and coaching service for children’s writers.

At a school visit in 2013

I also get to present to educators and librarians, which I love! I’m usually spreading poetry joy—in fact, in a couple of weeks, I’m going to present at the UNLV conference. I can’t wait. Presenting through IRA, ALA, and NCTE have been highlights for me.

And I get to connect to kids, too, through elementary author visits and young authors conferences. I have a blast getting kids excited about reading, writing, and poetry. And I don’t have to assess them or do any of the other ongoing tasks teachers have to keep up with.

A Leaf Can Be... (Millbrook, 2012)
Don’t get me wrong, teaching is still hard work! But it’s immensely satisfying, too. I look at how much public speaking I do now and think, Wow. Not bad for someone who was so terrified of public speaking I put it off until I was a senior in college! (Though I was not quite as bad as my best friend, who had to calm her nerves with a glass of wine before our 8 a.m. speech class on presentation days.)

My work as a teacher and an author are entwined in my mind. I can’t imagine one part of my career without the other. If I weren’t a writer, I obviously wouldn’t be invited to speak to teachers and writers and students. But if I didn’t do the teaching, I do think my writing would suffer. Getting out there and being in schools, with kids, helps me stay in touch with kids’ real lives today, especially now that my own two are officially adults—gulp.

And…that’s probably more than you ever wanted to know about my writing journey!

--Laura Purdie Salas

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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16. How to Lose a Lemur, by Frann Preston-Gannon | Book Giveaway

Enter to win a copy of How to Lose a Lemur, by Frann Preston-Gannon. Giveaway begins March 22, 2014, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends April 21, 2014, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

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17. Whaley’s Big Adventure, by Alexander Luke | Book Giveaway

Enter to win a copy of Whaley's Big Adventure, written by Alexander Luke and presented by award-winning author and grandmother Carole P. Roman. Giveaway begins March 20, 2014, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends April 19, 2014, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

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18. Grimmtastic Girls by Suzanne Williams & Joan Holub | Book Series Giveaway

Enter to win autographed copies of the first two books in the brand new series, Grimmtastic Girls, written by Joan Holub & Suzanne Williams. Giveaway begins March 18, 2014, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends April 17, 2014, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

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19. National Bullying Prevention Month, Book Giveaway, Birthday Sale, and Poetry Friday!

National Bullying Prevention Month

As April and Mary Ann have pointed out in their moving and helpful posts, October is National Bullying Prevention Month. Resources for parents, teachers, students, and communities are available at PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center.

Wednesday, October 9, is Unity Day, when people who care will wear orange to show their support. More information is on UNITY DAY, 2013's Facebook page.

When I started exploring what to write about for this post, I began (as I often do) with a search on the Milwaukee Public Library's web site. The subject "Bullying" brought up 53 categories of books about bullying, including Bullying in Schools, Bullying Juvenile Fiction (477 titles!), and Bullying Prevention Juvenile Literature.

Overwhelming, isn't it?

I decided to focus on one classic book, Bootsie Barker Bites by Barbara Bottner, illustrated by Peggy Rathmann. I've always liked the satisfying way the young narrator triumphs in the end.

At first, her mother tells her she has to play with Bootsie. When the girl resists, her mother tells her she has to "learn to get along with all kinds of people."

When the poor girl "can't stand it anymore" and shouts, her mother looks surprised. (Ack. How clueless can we parents be sometimes?) The girl goes to her room to think over her response to her mother's suggestion that she tell Bootsie she doesn't want to play that game.

A light bulb flashed when I reread the book after seeing what an expert on disruptive behavior said in April's post:
  1. Bullies pick on people who are weaker than they are.
  2. You need to stand up to a bully.
  3. Be empathetic.
  4. Create clear boundaries.
In her room, the girl in Bootsie Barker Bites invents her own creative way to handle the situation. She stands up and looks Bootsie in the eye. She's not exactly empathetic, but empathy is a lot to ask of a kid who's been tormented. She does create a clear boundary by refusing to play along with the bully's demands. What's satisfying about the conclusion is that she solves the problem for herself. I love books that inspire kids to take control when they need to. How I wish all bullied kids could find one book or person or piece of advice that would empower them to stand up for themselves. I hope these resources help.

Book Giveaway

Enter by October 9!
Check out the details in April's September 27 post for the Teaching Authors Book Giveaway, featuring The Kite That Bridged Two Nations by Alexis O'Neill.

Birthday Sale

Besides being Unity Day and the last day of the Book Giveaway, October 9 is my birthday—mine and my twin sister Judy's, that is. I'm celebrating with a Birthday Sale: Order Write a Poem Step by Step from Lulu.com  through Wednesday and save 20%! Here's a poem from the book, written by a third grader in one of my poetry workshops. This is what today looks and sounds like in Wisconsin.


A big flash of light and a BOOM!
Drip drop drip drop.

Melanie Gilmore, Grade 3

Poetry Friday

Today's Poetry Friday Roundup is at Dori Reads. Enjoy!

JoAnn Early Macken

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20. Read a Book. Stop a Bully.

Meet 11-year-old Jack.
He’s funny. He’s inventive. He has a rich and loving family that includes his very busy Mum, his rather odd Nana, his sort-of-stepdad Rob and his sister Samantha.   
He likes everything most boys his age do, whether they live in the U.S. or Australia: going to school, learning, hanging out with his friends.
How perfect his Life would be if only his classmate George Hamel vanished!
Alas, a lame joke on Jack’s part led to George calling him a “Butt head.” Once the whole school joined in, Jack’s school days spelled D-A-N-G-E-R.

Jack shares his plight in the award-winning I AM JACK, a rite-of-passage children’s book in Australia lauded as “accessible and hilarious…an absolute must.” Published in the U.S. by KaneMiller in 2012, School Library Journal called I AM JACK “a solid addition to the growing collection of books about bullying.”
Jack’s first engagingly-told novel was adapted into a successfully-touring play in Australia and will begin its U.S. run in 2014.
His second and third novels include ALWAYS JACK (which deals with cancer in families) and SUPER JACK (which deals with blended families.)

Now meet Jack’s creator, Susanne Gervay, the award-winning, Order of Australia for Literature author whom I proudly call friend, colleague and SCBWI Kin. (Susanne serves as the Regional Advisor for SCBWI’s Eastern Australia and New ZealandChapter.)

Jack, it turns out, was based on Susanne’s real-life son Jack.

“When I discovered that Jack was being bullied, I fulfilled my Jack's worst nightmare. Yes, I went up to the school. Yes, he was scared. Yes, the school acted. Yes, the bully was called up.
It took six months for things to really change. Eventually my Jack worked through the bullying with the support of family, friends, the school. By the end he felt good about himself, had great friends, loved his school, did his school work, played soccer and learnt that society can be a fair place.”

Susanne shared with me an email that followed her recent school visit to a multicultural state school, the Bankstown Public School in Sydney.  Here’s what Akila in 5p posted on the class blog:

“At first if someone calls you names like Bumhead (poor Jack) it's funny, the next time it's just nothing, a million times feels like ok you can stop now and a jillion times equals AHHHHHH I had enough!" Remember what Susanne Gervay said. Teasing is not bullying. Bullying affects you in a different way. It makes you scared. We can help stop bullying in many ways! You've got to give a helping hand and help someone else in trouble. And remember George Hamel? Well I remember Susanne saying that he had supporters which can happen here too. Bullying can happen at anytime and anywhere. If you're bullied then tell somebody. Your family and friends are there to love and help you so appreciate that!”
Exploring the website for National Bullying Prevention Month, sponsored by Pacer, I was taken with the Pacer Center tag – “Champions for Children with Disabilities.”
“Disables,” I said to myself. “That’s what bullying – in any form, does.  It DIS-ables the victim.”
But as Jack says in the KaneMiller book sticker that introduces this post,
reading stops a bully.
Reading EN-ables – the victim, the aggressor, the observer – to take action.
Or at least it can and should, with the right book.

I applaud MaryAnn and April for sharing their vulnerability so honestly in last week’s posts, and in the books and poems they write.
I applaud Susanne Gervay for doing the same in I AM JACK.

Marian Dane Bauer spoke the Truth in WHAT’S YOUR STORY?: we need to put our own stories in the stories we write if they’re ever to resound in our readers’ hearts, if they're ever to enable them to do what needs doing.

go read a book and stop a bully!

Esther Hershenhorn

Don’t forget! The October 9 deadline looms for our Book Giveaway of Alexis O’Neill’s newest book The Kite That Bridged Two Nations.

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21. Everyone's Talking About Sisterhood (and The Moon Sisters book giveaway)

The Moon Sisters is about will-o-the-wisps, trainhopping, and unrealized dreams…but mostly it’s about sisterhood. So we’re celebrating the release of this novel by gathering some of our favorite bloggers to share their take on sisterhood. First up is Therese Walsh, author of The Moon Sisters, who is visiting The Muffin to tell us about sisterhood in her family.

Sisters Forever: Aimee, Therese, and Heather

On Sisterhood

by Therese Walsh

I have two beloved sisters, both younger, and our interactions with each other—the good, the bad, the ugly, the beautiful—are all reflected in the story of The Moon Sisters. They’ve also helped to create some of the most memorable moments of my life.

I was eight when my first sister was born, and shortly thereafter—which trying to figure out the mechanics of a diaper—I stepped away from the changing table and my sister rolled over (a new trick!) and fell onto the floor. She wailed as I panicked. I lied to my mother about what had happened until guilt got the better of me, and then I fessed up and apologized.

Earliest lesson: Sisters can get you into trouble.

Also: Never step away from a changing table.

Once, when that same sister was older, she took our youngest sister’s favorite pair of pants and drove them to an embankment and threw them into a stream. Our youngest sister had been driving her crazy for one reason or another, and retaliation had seemed a good option at the time. But somehow, some way, my youngest sister knew—just knew—that our middle sister had taken the pants. Not only that, she had a feeling where those pants had ended up. She actually found them, filthy, wet, at the bottom of the ravine.

Lesson: Sisters know things. Don’t try to prevent this knowledge.

Life with sisters is made up of a million little moments when you’re all living together under the same roof. Waiting together for the ice cream truck. Trying to cheer one another up with crazy antics like dancing stuffed animals. Food experimentation. Secret-telling. Talk of love and sex and politics and health and family and life and death. Everything. Secrets are rare, and the bond can be extraordinarily strong, even when sisters are miffed with one another.

Honesty—it’s the way of sisters, even when it causes conflict.

Now that we’re all grown, we’re just as close as ever. Maybe closer. We’ll never again wonder if that missing CD is in someone else’s bedroom or what happened to that pair of pants!

Last summer I had a health scare, which thankfully turned out just fine. While one sister, in town, visited with me and soothed with face-to-face contact, my other sister, from away, communicated by phone and sent a constant stream of positive thoughts in my direction. Both strengthened me during one of the most tenuous times of my life.

Sisters can be maddening and nosy, and supportive and loving. My sisters are a vital part of my bedrock, and my life with them has helped to define me in complex and significant ways.

Do you have a sister story to share? I’d love to hear it.

About The Moon Sisters

In The Moon Sisters, her second novel, Therese Walsh wanted to write about one sister’s quest to find will-o’-the-wisp light, which was her mother’s unfulfilled dream. Also called “foolish fires,” these lights are sometimes seen over wetlands and are thought to lead those who follow them to treasure. Despite the promise, they are never captured and sometimes lead to injury or even death for adventurers who follow them. The metaphor of that fire – that some dreams and goals are impossible to reach, and that hope itself may not be innately good – eventually rooted its way into deeper meaning as the Moon sisters tried to come to terms with real-world dreams and hopes, and with each other, in their strange new world.

Olivia and Jazz Moon are polar opposites: one a dreamy synesthete, able to see sounds and smell sights and the other controlling and reality driven. What will happen when they are plunged into 24/7 togetherness and control is not an option? Will they ever be able to see the world through the other’s eyes and confront the things they fear the most? Death. Suicide. The loss of faith and hope. Will they ultimately believe that life is worth living, despite the lack of promise?

The writing of The Moon Sisters was a five year journey and at times author Therese Walsh felt like it was her own “foolish fire.” But remember, some fires are worth the chase!

Hardcover: 336 pages (also available in e-formats)
Publisher: Crown (March 4, 2014)
ISBN-10: 0307461602
ISBN-13: 978-0307461605

Read a review of The Moon Sisters on the Muffin here.

***** BOOK GIVEAWAY *****

Thanks to Therese who is giving away a print copy of The Moon Sisters. Just enter the Rafflecopter form below to be entered in the drawing.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Want more chances to win? Visit all the other bloggers talking about sisterhood today to enter.

Who else is talking about sisterhood?

The blogs listed below have all decided to share their stories, essays, poems, photos, or other means of creative expression on the topic of sisterhood. We really have no idea what bloggers will come up with, but we can't wait to find out! So check out the blogs listed below and see what they're up to!

Lit Ladies

Deal Sharing Aunt

The GaGa Sisterhood

The Unfaithful Widow

Caroline Clemmons

A Ponderance of Things


Laurie Here

Thoughts in Progress

Me and Reading

One Sister’s Journey

Words by Webb

Mother-Daughter Book Club

Vickie S. Miller

One Writer’s Journey

Renee’s Pages

Cassandra M’s Place

A Book Lover’s Retreat

Brooklyn Berry Designs


I Love to Read and Review Books!

Traveling with T.

0 Comments on Everyone's Talking About Sisterhood (and The Moon Sisters book giveaway) as of 3/4/2014 5:28:00 AM
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22. Blog Book Tour: Secrets, Spies and Sherlock - Includes book giveaways

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Welcome to Day 9 of the SECRETS, SPIES & SHERLOCK BLOG TOUR, featuring two exciting new middle grade mystery series: Sherlock, Lupin & Me: The Dark Lady by Irene Adler and Secrets & Spies: Treason by Jo Macauley. Each stop on the 2-week tour will feature fun posts and a chance to win a set of finished copies of the books!  Today’s post features The Dark Lady by Irene Adler.

I have been a Sherlock Holmes fan ever since I was ten years old, and have read several spin-offs that focus on his housekeeper, Mrs. Hudson, or his assistant, Dr. Watson. What is interesting about Sherlock, Lupin and Me: The Dark Lady is that we get to meet a very young Sherlock, who is just starting to develop the skills that will serve him so well when he becomes a detective. I greatly enjoyed reading this title and look forward to seeing what Sherlock and his unconventional friends get up to in the next book in the series. The publisher is offering readers the opportunity to win one set of the books: Sherlock, Lupin & Me: The Dark Lady and Secrets & Spies: Treason. All you have to do is send me an email at: editor (at) lookingglassreview (dot) com to be entered in the drawing. U.S. readers only please. You an earn additional opportunities to win books by following Capstone on FacebookBelow is my review of the book. 

Sherlock, Lupin and Me: The Dark LadySherlock, Lupin and Me: The Dark Lady 
Alessandro Gatti
Translated by Chris Turner
Illustrated by Iacopo Bruno
For ages 9 to 12
Capston Press, 2014, 978-1-62370-040-9
It is summer and Irene Adler is delighted when her father decides that Irene and her mother should spend the summer months at the seaside resort of Saint-Malo. After an uncomfortable six-hour carriage ride from Paris, Irene is eager to explore her new surroundings. Though her mother expects her to help with the unpacking, Irene manages to slip away from her summer home and finds herself near the walls of the town, which is where she meets a tall thin boy who is reading a book. Though he is initially rather rude, the boy, Sherlock, intrigues Irene, and she makes an effort to get to know him. It is soon clear that he is rather unusual, and though he is socially awkward, he is interesting.
   When Mr. Nelson, the Adler butler, appears on the scene, Sherlock agrees to help Irene “escape” and invites her to meet his friend, Lupin. Not wanting to have to go home to help with the unpacking, Irene happily agrees. Soon she, Sherlock, and Lupin are in a little row boat in the harbor and they are heading for an old deserted mansion called Ashcroft manor, where they have a grand time getting to know one another.
   Irene has such a wonderful time that she does not care when she is punished that evening, and she doesn’t think twice about joining her two new friends the next morning. They go back to Ashcroft Manor and spend the day there. As they walk home they look down at the beach and see that the body on a person is lying on the sand. Sherlock goes to examine the man and determines that he is dead. The dead man has no form of identification on his person, though Sherlock does find a piece of paper in one of the man’s pockets. The words “The sea will wash away my guilt” are written on the piece of paper, which suggests that the man took his own life. Just then Irene notices that a hooded figure is watching them, and the three young people decide that they had better get away as quickly as possible.
   The next morning everyone in Saint-Malo is talking about the “castaway” that was found on the beach. No one seems to know who he is, and the three young people start speculating about him. Did he die of natural causes, did he commit suicide, or was he murdered? Who was he? Without really planning out what they are going to do, Irene, Sherlock, and Lupin start trying to find out who the man was and why he ended up dead on the beach in Saint-Malo. After a valuable diamond necklace is stolen from the home of Lady Martigny, even more rumors fly around town. Was the Rooftop Thief responsible and was the theft somehow connected to the dead man? Irene and her new friends cannot resist trying to find the answers to these questions.
   In this fascinating book readers who enjoy mysteries will meet a young Sherlock Holmes, his one true love Irene Adler, and Arsene Lupin, who later in life becomes a famous “gentleman thief.” It is interesting to see how their first adventure together sets the stage for the lives that they will have as adults. What makes this book special is that it captures the essence of the late 1800’s, when the story is set, taking readers into the past and giving them a memorable reading experience.

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The History of the Mystery
1841 - Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” is generally thought to be the first modern detective story in the English-speaking world. His protagonist, C. Auguste Dupin, created the template of eccentric genius that detective stories are modeled on to this day. In these stories, the main objective is the emotionless pursuit of truth — usually discovered by a mysterious method known only to the brilliant detective, combining observation and logical deduction. “Rue Morgue” is narrated by Dupin’s roommate, a frame narrative that will be familiar to fans of Sherlock Holmes, whose own stories were recorded by his roommate and friend Dr. John Watson.

1853 - Charles Dickens dabbled in detective fiction with one of the (many) subplots in Bleak House, surrounding the murder of a lawyer and a variety of suspects in disguise. Dickens was writing another detective novel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, when he died – leaving it incomplete.
1859 - Wilkie Collins, whom Dickens mentored, is known as “the grandfather of English detective fiction” for The Woman in White, considered the first great mystery novel. T.S. Eliot went so far as to credit the detective genre to Collins instead of Poe for his 1868 novel The Moonstone. The Moonstone featured many details that went on to become staples of the genre: a famous professional sleuth, hapless local police, crime scene reconstruction, red herrings and the final plot twist.

1868 — Émile Gaboriau began developing this tradition in the French-speaking world with Monsieur Lecoq. The titular character is a master of disguise, a trait Sir Arthur Conan Doyle relied upon heavily for Sherlock Holmes, and also became the first fictional detective to meticulously scrutinize the crime scene for clues that others may have missed.

1887 — In “A Study in Scarlet”, Arthur Conan Doyle introduced Sherlock Holmes, drawing on the foundations laid down by the mystery writers before him. Doyle’s consulting detective was influenced by Dupin and Lecoq — uncovering case-breaking clues by noticing minute details, using the art of deduction and even forensic science at a time when the field was just beginning to mature.
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In fact, Dr. Edmond Locard, who established the first crime lab in 1910, became known as the “Sherlock Holmes of France” for developing the fundamental rule of forensic science: “Every contact leaves a trace.” This principle is the forerunner of the scenes we see in modern police procedurals when detectives scour the crime scene for hair, fingerprints, clothing fibers, and the various traces of DNA criminals inevitably leave behind.

***Stop by Unconventional Librarian tomorrow for the last stop on the SECRETS, SPIES & SHERLOCK BLOG TOUR and another chance to win!***
Secrets, Spies & Sherlock Blog Tour Schedule:
February 24th: The Dark Lady at The Write Path
February 25th: Treason at I Read Banned Books
February 26th: The Dark Lady at Buried in Books
February 27th: Treason at Loves2Read
February 28th: The Dark Lady at Akossiwa Ketoglo
March 3rd: Treason at GeoLibrarian
March 4th: The Dark Lady at Bookshelf Banter
March 5th: Treason at Candace’s Book Blog
March 6th:  The Dark Lady at Through the Looking Glass
March 7th: Treason at Unconventional Librarian

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About Sherlock, Lupin & Me: The Dark Lady by Irene Adler:
While on summer vacation, little Irene Adler meets a young William Sherlock Holmes. The two share stories of pirates and have battles of wit while running wild on the sunny streets and rooftops. When Sherlock's friend, Lupin, joins in on the fun, they all become fast friends. But the good times end abruptly when a dead body floats ashore on the nearby beach. The young detective trio will have to put all three of their heads together to solve this mystery.
About Secrets & Spies: Treason by Jo Macauley:
Fourteen-year-old Beth Johnson is a talented and beautiful young actress. She is also a spy. The year is 1664, and Charles II is on the throne, but all is not well in the bustling city of London, and there are those who would gladly kill the king and destroy the Monarchy. One morning, a mysterious ghost ship drifts up the Thames. Sent to investigate by the King's Master of Secrets, Alan Strange, Beth quickly finds herself embroiled in a dangerous adventure. Will Beth be able to unravel the plot to kill the King before it's too late?

0 Comments on Blog Book Tour: Secrets, Spies and Sherlock - Includes book giveaways as of 3/6/2014 7:28:00 AM
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23. Krog the Frog Prince by Janet C. Smith | Book Giveaway

Enter to win an autographed copy of Krog the Frog Prince, by Janet C. Smith. Giveaway begins March 12, 2014, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends April 11, 2014, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

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24. Friday Speak Out!: Writing Exercises to Feed a Starving Muse (and Book Giveaway!)

by Jessica Bell

I don’t believe in writer’s block. Well, not entirely. I do believe that we run out of ideas or inspiration on occasion, but I honestly think that’s a result of a starving muse.

What do I mean by “starving muse”?

Sometimes, when you are working on one particular manuscript, your brain becomes lazy or trained to think a certain way. It slips into the routines and personalities of what you believe your characters to be, and creates, what I like to call, an inspiration shield. This means that you could be cutting yourself off from new creative stimulation that could improve your work, and help grow new ideas.

If you think you have a starving muse, here are a three writing exercises that might provide it with some nutrients.

Exercise One

Think about the person you are in love with. If you are not in love with anyone, think of someone you love unconditionally, such as a parent, sibling, child, or pet. Write a scene between you and this person that illustrates the extent of your love through action. You must not use the word love at all, any synonyms of love, or any declaration of your feelings. The reader must see that you love this person from the way you behave. Avoid clichés such as cheek stroking, and looking longingly into one’s eyes. Use at least one simile/metaphor in your scene that relates to smell. Use 1st person, past tense. Write no more than 1000 words.

Exercise Two

Write a one-page memoir from the point of view of an inanimate object. Don’t think about it too long. Just choose the first object that comes to mind. Think about its function. Does it need another object, or a living being, in order to efficiently serve its purpose? If so, what kind of relationship would this object have with this other object/living being, and how would that relationship shape the object’s life? Try to avoid giving the object supernatural abilities. Be as realistic with it as possible, but be sure to give it a “voice.”

Exercise Three

Step one: Grab a newspaper (or your iPad!) and open to a random page. Read the first headline that catches your eye. Write it down. Do not read the article.

Step two: Write a fictional article with the same headline. If you know the real story from the news, choose another one. If you know every single story that has been in the news lately, make up your own headline.

Step three: Use the people mentioned in your article, and the things that happened to them, or the events they are associated with, to write a short story or vignette. Try to “show” as much as possible.

Have random writing exercises ever helped you overcome the elusive writer’s block? If so, how? If not, why do you think that is?

***** BOOK GIVEAWAY*****

Jessica is excited to give away a free copy of her writing skills book, Writing in a Nutshell: Writing Workshops to Improve Your Craft to one lucky winner! Please fill out the Rafflecopter form below and leave a comment for a chance to win. Open internationally. Winner is chosen randomly and announced within the widget on March 21.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

* * *

Jessica Bell, a thirty-something Australian-native contemporary fiction author, poet and singer/songwriter/ guitarist, is a the Publishing Editor of Vine Leaves Literary Journal and the director of the Homeric Writers’ Retreat & Workshop on the Greek island of Ithaca. She makes a living as a writer/editor for English Language Teaching Publishers worldwide, such as Pearson Education, HarperCollins, MacMillan Education, Education First and Cengage Learning.


Would you like to participate in Friday "Speak Out!"? Email your short posts (under 500 words) about women and writing to: marcia[at]wow-womenonwriting[dot]com for consideration. We look forward to hearing from you!


0 Comments on Friday Speak Out!: Writing Exercises to Feed a Starving Muse (and Book Giveaway!) as of 3/14/2014 4:33:00 AM
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25. Willow-Mia Pig, 1 in 100 Million, by Nancy A. Bolanis | Book Giveaway

Enter to win a copy of Willow-Mia Pig, 1 in 100 Million, written by Nancy A. Bolanis and illustrated by Donna Secour. Giveaway begins March 16, 2014, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends May 15, 2014, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

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