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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: book news, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 833
1. A Glorious List of YA Apocalypse Books

I have a deep love for all books about the end of the world and the apocalypse. It’s exciting! I love the speculation of what could happen. Because zombies could totally happen. Or angels. Or destruction by walking trees. WHO KNOWS. Today I have a list of Young Adult books about the apocalypse and the end of the world. […]

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2. Double the Size, Double the Fun – Picture Book Reviews

If you’re looking for picture books exploring friendships of massive proportions, then these two latest delights are for you. Perfect for melting any sized heart!  Blue Whale Blues, Peter Carnavas (author, illus.), New Frontier Publishing, 2015.   On first glance, I noticed something different about Peter Carnavas‘ most recent creation compared to his previous works. […]

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3. Cybils Nominations, and Are Banned Books Passé?

Are yooouuuuuu ready to NOMINATE? ...for the Cybils Awards? Nominations are officially open to the public (that means YOU, readers) for ten categories of children's and young adult books. You have between Oct. 1-15 to nominate your favorite book in... Read the rest of this post

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4. The Book Brief: The Very Best New Release Books in October

  Each month we bring you the best new release books in our Book Brief. Get FREE shipping when you use the promo code bookbrief at checkout Fiction Books The Secret Chord by Geraldine Brooks This is a story about war, murder, sex, romance, betrayal and incest. King David is a man we think we […]

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5. The Book Brief: The Very Best New Release Books in October

Each month we bring you the best new release books in our Book Brief. Get FREE shipping when you use the promo code bookbrief at checkout Fiction Books The Secret Chord by Geraldine Brooks This is a story about war, murder, sex, romance, betrayal and incest. King David is a man we think we know […]

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6. Results of the Pay What You Want E-Book Experiment

A subliminal message about how much you would like to pay for each book. :)

A subliminal message about how much you would like to pay for each book. :)

A week ago, Diana and I decided to try an experiment: All the e-books in the Renegade Writer Store (except one) would become Pay What You Want, meaning you, the reader, decide what to pay for each one.

The minimum price was $1 because that’s the minimum my order processor allows. (And they do charge me for each download!)

The deal was this: We would try this experiment for one week, and if we liked how it turned out, we would keep this pricing structure.

Here are the results:

  • Around 330 writers took advantage of the Pay What You Want offer.
  • The average order was $6.50.
  • Sometimes an order was for a single book, but mostly they were for multiple products.
  • Many, many people scooped up every book we have at $1 apiece. (Now you need to READ them all, LOL!)
  • The lowest order amount was $1. The highest order amount was $30 (for multiple books). (That was pretty exciting!)
  • Most writers paid below retail for the books…but some paid around retail, and just a few paid higher! (And this is not a judgement in any way…readers paid what they could afford or according to how much value they thought the books would bring.)
  • We got orders from all over the world, including Canada, the U.S., Serbia, and Nigeria! (Discovered one reader from Serbia went to the same high school as our Serbian exchange student!)
  • Several writers emailed me to say they hope to make sales based on what they learned in our books, so they can come back and pay more for them. Aw! (I’m actually thinking about creating a way for writers to come back and add more to their payments if they feel they’ve gotten a ton of value from the books. :) )

So what’s the verdict?

Of course we, the authors, feel we deserve to be compensated well for the value we provide in our books. We worked hard on them, and they cost us beaucoup cash for design, editing and so on. I also pay the order processor, and need to pay for tech help—for example, I paid $500 to have the books pages set up, and another $500 to get them converted to PWYW.

And of course, these books are meant to get writers gigs and change their lives! We think that’s worth at LEAST the $5-10 most of the books were originally priced at.

On the other hand, once we eat the sunk costs, it costs us very little to provide these e-books.

AND…since our mission is to help as many writers as possible reach their freelancing dreams, having 330 people get their hands on our books is excellent news! We want to reach EVERYONE—including those who can’t yet afford to hire help, take classes, or buy full-priced books.

So…drumroll…we decided to keep the PWYW pricing structure!

That means from now on, YOU choose what to pay for each book, e-course book, and checklist…including Write Your Way Out of the Rat Race…And Step Into a Career You Love, which comes with a boatload of downloads (originally $9.99), The Renegade Writer: A Totally Unconventional Guide to Freelance Writing Success (also $9.99), and the Write for Magazines E-Course book (originally $29).

(And soon, very soon, I’ll be posting a meditation I created called Positive Thinking for Writers as a PWYW product. I wrote the meditation and it was produced and voiced by a former public radio reporter! It has everything…soothing music, nature sounds…IT’S AWESOME.)

Yep, you can get all these goodies for as little as a buck each.

Don’t have much cash? Pay the minimum. You’re rich? Pay more than retail and reap the karma that comes from covering a less advantaged writer.

Here’s where you can do that:


Please do spread the word to all your writing friends! You can post it on forums, share it on Facebook and Twitter, and let your writing groups know they can now get these helpful, valuable books for a minimum of $1 each. (BTW, we reserve the right to change our minds in the future…but for now we don’t foresee getting rid of PWYW.)

Here’s a tweet you can use if you like:

Renegade Writer e-books are now Pay What You Want…permanently! That means YOU choose what to pay! http://www.therenegadewriter.com/store/

Thank you, thank you for helping us make this experiment a success! We’re so excited to get our books into as many hands as possible!


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7. A beauty – Rich and Rare

There really is something for everyone in Ford Street Publishing’s latest collection of Australian stories, poetry and artwork for teens – Rich and Rare. With pieces from almost 50 fab authors and illustrators, including Shaun Tan, Judith Rossell, Susanne Gervay, Gary Crew, Justin D’Ath and Michael Gerard Bauer (to mention a few), the anthology delivers […]

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8. Review: Rogue (Talon #2) by Julie Kagawa

I absolutely fell in love with Talon by Julie Kagawa, as you might recall from this gushing review of mine last month. What’s not to love?! Dragons! Guns! Missions! The occasional delicious summery smoothie? Consider me 100% hooked. So of course I had to get my hands on the sequel: Rogue. And of course I must gush about […]

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9. Queensland Literary Awards 2015 – still time to vote

After its recent tumultuous history, the Qld Literary Awards are growing from strength to strength under the banner of the State Library of Queensland and a bevy of eminent sponsors. The 2015 shortlists have just been announced and the winners will be revealed at the Awards Ceremony on Friday 9th October in Brisbane. Some categories […]

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10. Review: Are You Seeing Me? by Darren Groth

Oh this book is utterly glorious! I picked up Are You Seeing Me? by Darren Groth on impulse and am totally glad I gave it a chance. This book is so special and I’m squawking with the effort of writing a review to give it justice! It’s about Australian twins, Justine and Perry (who has autism), who […]

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11. Poetry here and on the way

Australian readers overlook poetry to our loss. Fortunately there are a number of excellent publishers who publish poetry either exclusively or as part of their list. Many of our literary awards have poetry sections and these remind us that poetry deserves attention. The Queensland Literary Awards shortlist, for example, will be announced this Friday, 11th […]

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12. A Little Bittersweet

With excitement and more than a little sadness, the last Sir Terry Pratchett novel--featuring my favorite character arc with Tiffany Aching--has joined my TBR pile, loaned by a friend who said he cried during the very first scene. I predict some... Read the rest of this post

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13. Forces of Nature – Picture Book Reviews

The scent of Spring is in the air. But that’s not all that’s lifting us up. From the tiny details to the wider world, our environment has so much to offer. For different reasons, these following picture books discover beauty and how the elements of nature can capture our hearts and strengthen our human kindness. […]

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14. Australia Children’s Book Week 2015 YA Short List

I didn’t even realise the Australian Children’s Book Week awards were happening until I strolled into my library and ran face-to-face with the display. And better yet?! I’d read 5 out of 6 of the Young Adult short listed books! GO ME. (Clearly I’ve got monstrously good taste in books.) So obviously we need to have […]

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15. Interview (Part 3) With Ashley Hope Pérez, Author of OUT OF DARKNESS

Happy Monday! We're back again today with the final installment in our interview with the wonderfully articulate and interesting Ashley Hope Pérez, who has stopped by on her blog tour for her forthcoming novel Out of Darkness. The story is based on... Read the rest of this post

0 Comments on Interview (Part 3) With Ashley Hope Pérez, Author of OUT OF DARKNESS as of 8/31/2015 1:05:00 PM
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16. Review: I Kill The Mockingbird by Paul Acampora

I Kill the Mockingbird by Paul Acampora is a gloriously witty and murderous book and I can’t love it enough! It’s a book about books (bookception!) and how can an avid bookworm not love and adore that?! If you geek out over books and authors — this was built specifically for you. Obviously it’s about the infamous To Kill a […]

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17. The Book Brief: The Very Best New Release Books in September

Each month we bring you the best new release books in our Book Brief. Get FREE shipping when you use the promo code bookbrief at checkout Fiction Books Sweet Caress by William Boyd The new William Boyd is simply sublime. Sweet Caress tells the story of photographer Amory Clay and her tumultuous life over the […]

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18. Review: Sweet Caress by William Boyd

The new William Boyd is simply sublime. Sweet Caress tells the story of photographer Amory Clay and her tumultuous life over the course of a tumultuous century. Interspersed with photos from key periods in Amory Clay’s life Boyd will have you almost convinced that his novel’s protagonist and narrator is real and existed. Amory Clay […]

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19. Interview: Monica Brown on Her New Book Maya’s Blanket

monica brown

Out this September from the Children’s Book Press imprint of LEE & LOW, Maya’s Blanket/La manta de Maya puts a child-focused Latino spin on the traditional Yiddish folk song “Hob Ikh Mir a Mantl” (“I Had a Little Coat”) about a piece of fabric that is made into smaller and smaller items. We interviewed author Monica Brown about how she’s been inspired by the book.

1.     What inspired you to write a children’s book based on the Yiddish folk song “Hob Ikh Mira Mantl”? 

I’ve always loved the idea song, which is as much about creativity as it is about recycling and creating something from nothing. The song has inspired several books, in fact, and still inspires me. I often draw on my cultural heritage for inspiration, and Maya’s Blanket/La manta de Maya is no exception, paying homage to different aspects of my Jewish and Latina identity. It celebrates the two languages I speak, side by side on the page, along with a history of multigenerational storytelling passed down from both sides of my family.

I love the message of the song–that an object can be transformed again and again, and ultimately into something intangible and lasting through effort, creativity, and imagination. I like the idea that we can extend the life of things we love—with our own two hands or our imagination.

2.     Did you have a favorite lullaby that your parents sang to you growing up? What about a lullaby that you sang to your daughters?

My mom sang me wonderful songs in Spanish. As a child I loved in particular Tengo una muñeca vestida de azul, which translates into I have a doll dressed in blue. When her granddaughter and namesake Isabella was born, my mother, Isabel Maria, made up a special song for her. It started with this line “Isabelita, Chiquita bonita de mi Corazon” and ended with “Corazon de melon!”  It was a silly sweet line, but I’ve forgotten the lines in between, and now my mother is gone.

As a child, my only babysitters I knew were my tías and my Nana, my paternal grandmother, who taught me to embroider and sew.  I stayed overnight at my Nana’s often and when I did, “the sandman” would visit us at night. For those who don’t know, the Sandman myth, which originates in Europe, is of a character who sprinkles sand on children’s eyes, bringing them happy dreams. My Scottish and Italian Nana would be sure the sandman visited each night. If I behaved just okay during the day the sandman would sprinkle regular sand on my forehead to help me fall asleep. If I was good, I would get silver sand, and if I was very, very good, I would get gold sand sprinkled on my forehead. I could feel the different types of sand as my Nana’s hands smoothed across my forehead, hair, and closed eyes.maya's blanket

3. Do you have an object today that’s your “Maya’s blanket,” i.e. that you are continually finding new uses for and don’t want to part with?

As an adult I have more of a subject than an object, and it is the subject of childhood memory. I think I became a children’s writer so I can go back and be in that moment of childhood innocence to remember what it feels like to be comforted by a beloved grandmother or my mother, to remember those minutes and hours, forever gone, of days spend with my Nana, who patiently taught me to embroider, and to sew and stitch or my mother, who shared story after story of her childhood in Northern Peru, and her dreams and her art.

I’ve never used an electric sewing machine, but thanks to my Nana I’ve still managed to stitch and mend and sew my daughter’s things—even a Halloween costume or two with those basic stitches my grandmother taught. I have my Nana’s sewing basket still, just as I am surrounded by my mother’s paintings each time I pick up a pen or open up my computer to write.

5. MAYA’S BLANKET provides an important message about recycling! Do you have any tips on how people can be more eco-friendly?

As a teacher, I always think the place to begin with is education and The Environmental Protection Agency has a website with lots of resources for children, parents, and especially teachers: http://www2.epa.gov/students. I also love that the Sierra Club has a student coalition for high school and college students that trains and connects young environmental activists: http://www.sierraclub.org/youth. Finally, well, I want to give a shout out to my fellow writers by highlighting Authors for Earth Day: http://www.authorsforearthday.org, a group that supports conservation through literacy.

It is my hope that children and the adults in their lives can become more aware and conscious of the challenges using our natural resources responsibly, and looking to for more creative solutions to persistent problems.

About the Book:

Maya's Blanket CoverMaya’s Blanket/ La Manta de Maya
by Monica Brown, illustrated by David Diaz
Out September 2015
Ages 5-9 ~ 32 pp. ~ bilingual
Learn more about the book here.

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20. Books about the English language with a dash of humour

Being a booklover and an avid reader, I occasionally enjoy reading and learning more about the English language. I’ve read some great books on the topic over the years and thought I’d share some of them with you below. Let’s start with two Australian books for those with a general interest in the origins and future direction of our […]

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21. 5 YA Books You Can Read In A Day

Reading an entire book in a day is basically living the dream. And while I’m quite the reading hooligan and often read a book a day, I particularly like books that I can whip through in a few hours. (I don’t know about you, but gargantuan books terrify me. Holding a 600-page weapon in your hands? Um, pass.) […]

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22. Ellie Royce makes History with ‘Lucas and Jack’

Along with a staunch group of Australian literary professionals, Ellie Royce is a strong advocate for promoting encouragement for families to connect with older generations, share love and facilitate the power of memory. Her latest picture book is one in a line up, not only involved in initiatives to create awareness of ageing people and […]

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23. Freya Blackwood Blitzes the CBCA Awards

In an unprecedented achievement, illustrator Freya Blackwood has won three of the five categories in the 2015 Children’s Book Council of Australia awards. In the past few years Freya has generally been shortlisted two or three times but this year all of her shortlisted books are winners. Her partnership with incomparable children’s writer, Libby Gleeson […]

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24. Review: The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes

Well, just WOW. I did not expect to be terrified absolutely witless while reading this. BUT I WAS. This book is wonderful and addictive and…frightening.  If you need me, I shall be the one rocking in the corner giving random pterodactyl screeches from the trauma. True story. The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes is about […]

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25. How a Writing Contest for Students is Changing the Immigration Narrative

LEE & LOW BOOKS has two writing contests for unpublished authors of color: the New Voices Award, for picture book manuscripts, and the New Visions Award, for middle grade and young adult manuscripts. Both contests, which are now open for submissions aim to recognize the diverse voices and talent among new authors of color who might otherwise remain under the radar of mainstream publishing.

In this guest post, we wanted to highlight another groundbreaking writing contest that’s bringing attention to marginalized voices and fostering a love of writing in students: the Celebrate America Writing Contest run by the American Immigration Council. Coming into its 19th year, the Celebrate America Writing Contest for fifth graders has been bringing attention to the contributions of immigrants in America through the eyes and pens of our youngest writers.

In this guest post, Claire Tesh, Senior Manager of Education at the American Immigration Council, discusses the mission of the Celebrate America Writing Contest and how it has helped to shape the immigration narrative.claire tesh

It is impossible to escape the negative vitriol and hateful rhetoric around the issue of immigration that dominates the headlines, talk radio, popular culture, and in some cases the dinner table. In an effort to educate children and communities about the value of immigration to our society The American Immigration Council teams up with schools and community groups to provide young people the resources and information necessary to think critically about immigration from both a historical and contemporary perspective, while working collaboratively and learning about themselves and their communities.

The American Immigration Council developed “Celebrate America,” an annual national creative writing contest for fifth graders, because they are at the age where they are discovering their place in the world both locally and globally. They are also finding their own voice, opinions and ideas through writing, creating and sharing.   Students at this age start making sense of current events; they have a better working knowledge of basic history, and have a sense of global awareness.

Thousands of Entries

“Celebrate America” began 19 years ago with just a couple dozen entries. Today it has grown to over 5,000 entries annually! Since 1997 a total of close to 75,000 students have participated in two dozen cities, in nearly 750 schools and community centers across the nation.

As the lead on the contest since 2006, I have read thousands of entries and have attended numerous events featuring the writers. It is difficult to pick just one example, but in 2008 the winning entry America is a Refuge really showed how much a 10-12 year old can comprehend about the issue. That year, the winner, Cameron Busby, explained to a reporter from the Tucson Citizen that “I want to be a horror writer when I grow up,” and in order to tell the story of America being a place people come to be safe and thrive, he used bits and pieces of some of his classmate’s true horror stories of their own or their family member’s immigration journeys. This excerpt shows the young writer’s entry and how he made sense of injustice and how America has always been a nation symbolic as a beacon for hope:

A small child holds out a hoping


a crumb of bread,

or even a penny just to be fed

Hoping America is a refuge. A 

child weeps over her mother’s 

lifeless body,

the tears streaming down her


Praying America is a refuge.

Part of the reason why it’s a popular contest is because it fits neatly with the fifth grade curriculum and it is easy for teachers to implement by offering timely lessons and expository learning opportunities from classroom visits by experts to interactive web-based games. The contest is unique in that it allows for any written work that captures the essence of why the writer is proud that America is a nation of immigrants and students can express themselves through narrative, descriptive, expository, or persuasive writings, poetry, and other forms of written expressions. The teaching and learning opportunities the contest brings to both the classroom and the community has made it very popular and most teachers who participate do so year after year.In the Classroom

Monica Chun, a teacher from Seattle who has participated in the contest for several years and whose student, Erin Stark, was a national winner in 2013, starts the assignment by asking students to ask their relatives at home a question: “Who was the first person in our family to come to America?” No matter what ethnicity or how recent or distant a family’s arrival be, every student is going to have a unique answer to this question.

Involving the Community

”Celebrate America” encourages youth, families and surrounding communities to evaluate and appreciate the effects of immigration in their own lives. The unique contest includes the following components:

  • Immigration attorneys or trained volunteers visit classrooms, whether in person or virtually. The visitors give short presentations about the history of American immigration and the contributions immigrants have made over the years;
  • Teachers complement the contest by implementing lessons about immigration, social justice and diversity into their curriculum;
  • The American Immigration Council provides classrooms with innovative, relevant, and interactive lessons and resources;
  • Communities organize events, naturalization ceremonies and other celebrations to showcase the local winners;
  • The winning entry from each locale is sent to the national office and judged by well-known journalists, immigration judges and award winning authors;
  • The winning entry is read into the Congressional record, a flag is flown over the Capitol in the winner’s honor and the winner reads their entry at a 700+ person event that celebrates immigration; and
  • In the submissions the youth voice brings hope that there will be solutions to the immigration debate.

The American Immigration Council believes that teachers, parents, and students are essential to building a collective movement toward a better future: in our classrooms, in our schools, and in the larger society.   With the community’s engagement, educators, parents and students can help bridge this divide and approach the issue of immigration with intelligence and empathy.

american immigration council

Contest Impact

The contest has an impact not only in the schools and communities that participate, but also in the halls of Congress. Each year when the winning entry is read into the Congressional Record, it is rewarding to know that our leaders are hearing words of wisdom from a young person who has big ideas and who has chosen to use their voice to invite others to learn about immigration and to celebrate America’s diversity.

When the winning entries are read to new citizens at naturalization ceremonies or at dinner galas in communities of all sizes, almost every attendee has tears in their eyes because the young readers are speaking from their hearts and they represent the future. Each and every year the young writers continue to surprise us with the depth and empathy in their writings whether it is their common sense solutions to an immigration system or the story of their own immigrant background. Any writer, no matter how old and how experienced, should look at these entries to get a sense for authentic voice and various styles of writing. The thousands of students who submit to the contest get recognized in their communities and the affect is exponential because students start in the classroom and their voice continues to be shared within their schools, within their communities and beyond.

The students participating in “Celebrate America” are America’s future citizens, voters, educators and activists and it is truly an honor to shape the contest so that it provides some of the tools to think critically about immigration and to learn to explore the economic and moral effects of immigration policy as they engage in the public debates. But, today as we try to navigate the complicated maze that is immigration law and policy, it is through their incredible choice of words, that they are our guides, our teachers, and our voices of reason.

For further information on eligibility and submission process:

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