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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Valentines Day, Most Recent at Top [Help]
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1. Valentine's Day storytime - love is in the air!

I've been goofing off for a few weeks, enjoying some family time while my oldest were home from college for the holidays.  Now it's time to get back to business.

Roses are red. 
Violets are blue. 
Here is advice 
I offer you:

Winter is dark; 
Weather is drear. 
But story time kids 
always bring cheer.

Valentine's Day - 
and books will delight. 
One happy child 
can banish the night.

© L Taylor

I tried something new today.  I put my favorite, rhyming Valentine's Day books for story time in a Riffle list that should allow for scrolling.  I'll put my favorite Valentine's Day rhymes and songs below.  Enjoy!

"A Kiss"  (a fingerplay, prop story, felt board, or song)

There's something in my pocket,
Could it be a moose?
Could it be a train with a bell and a caboose?
Could it be a snake or some sticky glue?
Right here in my pocket is a KISS from me to you! (blow kiss)

I have a photo of a moose glued to a popsicle stick, a train whistle, a bell, a plastic, jointed snake, and glue.  I pull them all out at the appropriate times.

Credit: King County Library System

A Valentine fingerplay:

Show children how to put the "heels" of their palms together and then curve fingers around , meeting on top to form a heart. The rhyme goes like this:

"I put my hands together,
this is how I start;
I curve my fingers right around
and I can make a Heart!"

Credit: Everything Preschool

"Skidamarink" or "Skinnamarink"
You can find this favorite online if you don't already know it.

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2. Happy Valentine’s Day y’all!

valentine bunny cupid450

Little known fact: The Easter Bunny moonlights, filling in for Cupid, to get some extra scratch.

He says, “They don’t call me Dead-Eye Cottontail for nothing!
(Actually, they don’t really call him that, shhhhhh.)

5 Comments on Happy Valentine’s Day y’all!, last added: 2/16/2014
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3. Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: February 14

Cybils2013SmallHappy Valentine's Day, International Book Giving Day, and Cybils Day! You can find the Cybils winners on the Cybils blog, in categories ranging from picture books to young adult fiction and non-fiction. This set of winners is the culmination of tons of work on the part of many bloggers, and is NOT to be missed. You can also find out where to get started for International Book Giving Day at Playing By the Book. Wishing you a wonderful, book-filled day!

TwitterLinksMeanwhile, here are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage.

Book Lists and Awards

At Stacked: A new #YAlit Mini-trend: Circuses http://ow.ly/tyZ4R

A Tuesday Ten: Speculative #kidlit with A Dash of Romance | Views From the Tesseract http://ow.ly/tyYVq

SLJ’s Battle of the Books’ Contenders Revealed | @sljournal http://ow.ly/tyZt9 #SLJBOB #kidlit

2014 American Indian Youth Literature Awards | @tashrow #kidlit http://ow.ly/twQb8

A roundup of best book lists for different types of readers from @catagator @bookriot http://ow.ly/3h9AMB

On the #cybils blog: The 2013 Cybils Winners Are Coming... http://bit.ly/LFiXo8

Common Core

Meet the Parents: Critical for Implementing the #CommonCore | @sljournal Editorial http://ow.ly/twPKg

New York teachers get five years to fully enact #CommonCore @NYDailyNews http://ow.ly/twPA5 via @PWKidsBookshelf

Diversity and Gender

2014 New Releases: More LGBTQ YA Fiction collected by @molly_wetta http://ow.ly/tumKV #yalit

Resources to encourage girls to be The Next Generation of Coders @oceanhousemedia via Jeff Berger http://ow.ly/tou7V

Black History Month: Strong Women for Strong Girls (a collection of biographies) | @ReadingTub http://ow.ly/totgb #kidlit

Mitali's Fire Escape: "Casual Diversity" Depends on the Unseen Work of the Author @MitaliPerkins http://ow.ly/tunDo


For the Love of Reading | The @bookchook on International Book Giving Day and Library Lovers Day http://ow.ly/tBcUE #literacy

Ibgd-blog-badge200pxMake Valentine's Day Sweeter with International Book Giving Day! says @BooksBabiesBows http://ow.ly/twZTD #kidlit

Love our Library Lollapalooza Honors Supporters and Raises Money, reports Cynthia Cheng in Santa Clara Weekly http://ow.ly/tBahd

Using the Olympics to help teach kids geography from @momandkiddo http://ow.ly/twZYi

Growing Bookworms

Using poetry to help kids learn to love reading, from @ReadingWithBean | "poetry is like a good fling..." http://ow.ly/tx0bX

Good stuff! The importance of the home/school partnership in raising readers by @carriegelson @KirbyLarson http://ow.ly/twQor

This made me think! | A Little Stone: The Rippling Repercussions of Bookshaming by Priscilla Thomas | @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/tuo2T

Ideas for using Environmental Print when raising readers @ReadingRockets via @librareanne | http://ow.ly/tqrld #literacy

On Reading, Writing, and Publishing

When Adults Read Books For Teens — @lizb | A reminder that "Books for teens are, well, for teens." http://ow.ly/tBrSE

Can Re-Illustration Ever Be Justified? asks @fuseeight (with examples) http://ow.ly/tx01w #kidlit

PercyJacksonPosterCovers for new paperback editions of @camphalfblood the original Percy Jackson series are being announced next week pic.twitter.com/GpM94gu7C5

Pretty neat! Awesome Visual Featuring The Most Popular Books of All Time @medkh9 http://ow.ly/ttJEb via @cmirabile


Another good post from @SensibleMoms | Kids Need the Word "No" | http://ow.ly/tumOI

Schools and Libraries

Mid-Continent Public Library Proves Summer Reading Programs Boost Student Achievement | @sljournal http://ow.ly/tBwJY

Good points | The trouble with calls for universal ‘high-quality’ pre-K @alfiekohn @washingtonpost http://ow.ly/tunbc via @FreeRangeKids

Teachers, "I would encourage you to keep in mind that some readers hate reading" by @booktoss @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/tumAR

Technology and Social Media

It's complicated | Five Myths About Teens, Technology, and Social Media | Peter Gray at Psychology Today http://ow.ly/tB6Lv

The Revenge of the Printed Book (why people, inc young people like books) @StephenMarche @esquiremag http://ow.ly/ttIGt via @cmirabile

How the 'Netflix of books' won over the publishing industry (Q&A) | Internet & Media @cnet http://ow.ly/ttHZE via @cmirabile

© 2014 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook.

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4. Valentine’s Day Writing + a Book Giveaway

Valentine's Day is on Friday! Consider doing a read aloud to inspire your students to write poems, comic books, or short stories they can give to a special friend or close family member in lieu of a box of chocolates. Here are five books that will inspire primary, upper elementary, and middle school writers to craft writing that expresses heartfelt emotions.

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5. A Few Valentine's Day Picture Books from Harper Collins

My three year old is getting excited for Valentine's Day. It is, after all, the next holiday coming up. And there will be chocolate involved. But in truth, much of her excitement was sparked by a box of Valentine's Day-themed picture books and early readers that Harper Collins sent us last week. They're not all my personal cup of hot chocolate, but my child is thrilled. 

Far and away the most exciting of the books for her is Pete the Cat: Valentine's Day is Cool, by Kimberly and James Dean. In this story, Pete initially thinks that Valentine's Day isn't "cool." However, encouraged by his friend Callie, he gets on board with using valentines to tell people how special they are. By the end of the book he's making valentines for the school bus driver and other people he encounters throughout his day. Pretty classic Pete the Cat storyline, all in all. But there is a pull-out poster, as well as stickers, and a set of tear-out valentine cards. This turned out to not be a great bedtime book, because my daughter was so excited by all of this. She just came in to my office needing help finding the cards, which I imagine she wants to give to her friends. I do like the "show people you appreciate them" message, delivered in a light-hearted fashion. 

My daughter also enjoyed Foxy in Love by Emma Dodd. We have not read Foxy, for which this book is a sequel. But the premise comes across fairly quickly. Foxy is a fox who can conjure things with a wave of his magical tail, though he doesn't always quite understand what his friend, a girl named Emily, wants from him. In Foxy in Love, Foxy comes across Emily as she is working on a valentine. He suggests that she draw what she loves in the card, hoping that she'll draw him. But instead, she focuses on things like balloons and rainbows. Not until the end of the book does Foxy finally tell Emily that "Valentine's Day is not about what you love... It's about who you love." Of course it all ends happily. Foxy's longing to be loved actually comes across in relatively subtle fashion throughout the book, and there is plenty of humor as he tries, with mixed results, to conjure the things that Emily wants (not tarts, hearts!). I think we'll keep this one in our arsenal. 

The first book that my daughter actually picked up from this box was Little Critter: Just A Little Love, an I Can Read book by Mercer Mayer. She adores Little Critter, and I've come to appreciate the humor in the differences between what he says is happening and what the pictures show. The expressions on the faces of the characters, particularly Mom and Dad, are often priceless (as when Dad looks rueful after Little Critter causes a flood in a gas station restroom). Just A Little Love is not actually a Valentine's Day book at all, though it certainly works for the season. Rather, the family members (pets included) have a series of mishaps as they set out to visit Grandma, who isn't feeling well. Each time someone ends up unhappy, someone else "gives him (or her) a little love." There's not enough of a storyline for this one to end up a favorite for us, I don't think, but one can't really argue with a book that makes us laugh, and in which family members console one another. 

It's Valentine's Day by Jack Prelutsky & Marylin Hafner is a level 3 I Can Read! book, full of love-themed poems. It's fairly text-dense, with a small illustration or two on each page. My daughter lost interest after the second poem. It's more a book for elementary school kids than preschoolers, it seems. But I thought that the poems, on subjects like how pets respond to receiving valentines, and how a child might be tempted to eat all of the chocolates that he bought for his mother, were clever and funny. This is a nice introduction to poetry for new readers, with colorful illustrations to make the book more accessible.

Love Is Real by Janet Lawler & Anna Brown is a picture book for the youngest listeners about all of the little things that people (well, animals doing human-type things) do that show their love for one another. Like this: "Love awakes... and helps you dress. Love will clean up any mess." These sentences are accompanied by three different images, each showing a different kind of animal parent helping his or her child (bunny, bear, fox). The same three families are followed throughout the book. The children sometimes are the ones who do things that express love. For us, this book skewed a bit young / sentimental. But the digital collage illustrations are fun. 

Finally, we read Tulip Loves Rex by Alyssa Satin Capucilli & Sarah Massini. Tulip Loves Rex is a picture book about a little girl who loves dancing, and dances everywhere, but has one unfulfilled wish. One day in the park she encounters a dog who, miraculously, loves to dance, too. And it turns out that this perfect-for-Tulip dog needs a home. I quite liked Massini's breezy illustrations, and I liked Tulip as a character, but the convenience of the ending felt a little flat for me. The parents "didn't mind a bit" bringing home a large stray dog from the park? Really? Perhaps I just don't want my daughter to get any ideas... 

All in all, though, these books are a welcome addition to our February reading.  Wishing you a happy run-up to Valentine's Day (or Balentine's Day, as it's called around here). 

© 2014 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook. This site is an Amazon affiliate. 

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6. Happy Valentine's Day!

 Given that the daughter is currently living at home, she was willing to help in cookie making this year. :-)

We tried some new things (with varied success) - these being chocolate-cherry chews -

-and these cookie 'lollies'. (These would be better given a second attempt. There is definitely a learning curve).

And what holiday is complete without a rainbow-unicorn?

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7. Valentine's Day Blog Hop

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Happy Valentine's Day to all my fellow YA & Mysterybook lovers.

In honor of Valentine's day, I am giving away an Ebook or paperback (You choose) of my new YA mystery novel, Unraveled.

Sixteen year old math whiz, Autumn, spends her days reading about serial killers and dreaming of becoming an FBI Profiler. She never dreams her first case will be so personal. Her world is shattered when she comes home from school and discovers her murdered sister’s body on the living room floor. When the initial evidence points to a burglary gone wrong, Autumn challenges the police’s theory because of the personal nature of the crime. Thinking that finding the killer will bring her family back together, she conducts her own investigation using her affinity for math and forensics, but her plan backfires and her obsession with the case further splinters her family.

When her investigation reveals the killer is someone she knows, Autumn offers herself up as bait and sets a dangerous trap to unmask his true nature and to obtain a confession for her sister’s murder

To win  just leave a comment with either your favorite YA or mystery novel and the author's name and I'll choose a winner at random on Feb 18th, so please include your e-mail..
Please visit my fellow Evernight Teen author's websites to win more prizes. Click the links below.

1 Comments on Valentine's Day Blog Hop, last added: 2/14/2013
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8. Forever Valentines: Zelda and Scott

<!--[if gte mso 9]> 0 0 1 358 2042 Overlook Press 17 4 2396 14.0 <![endif]--> <!--[if gte mso 9]> Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE <![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 9]>

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9. Valentine's Gift from Online Author Visits

Happy Valentine's Day!

Love is in the air, and Online Author Visits is celebrating with a contest that gives you the chance to win books not only for yourself, but also for your library! The winner will get to choose 3 books from among works by our incredible pool of authors, which includes Janet Lee Carey, Dia Calhoun, Deb Lund, Martha Brockenbrough, Joan Holub, Suzanne Williams, Lisa L. Owens, Claire Rudolph Murphy, and Trudi Trueit.

In addition, a collection of books will go to a U.S. library selected by the winner. There’s even an ARC (Advanced Reviewer’s Copy) in the mix from author and readergirlz co-founder Dia Calhoun, so don’t miss out!

Read the full report and find the entry form here.

LorieAnncard2010small.jpg image by readergirlz

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10. ~HaPpY HeArTs DaY~

Love, Pippa...and her *bear*y special Valentine :)


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11. The Yuckiest, Stinkiest, Best Valentine Ever

The yuckiest, stinkiest, best Valentine ever With a name like The Yuckiest, Stinkiest, Best Valentine Ever, you know it has to be good.

Title: The Yuckiest, Stinkiest, Best Valentine Ever

Author: Brenda Ferber

Illustrator: Tedd Arnold

Publisher/Date: Dial Books for Young Readers/2012

Valentine’s Day is next week and I have the perfect book for the occasion. Kids will fall in love with The Yuckiest, Stinkiest, Best Valentine Ever by Brenda Ferber. When Leon makes a Valentine to tell Zoey he likes her, the little heart-shaped card decides to make a break for it. He thinks love is yucky. He likes candy much better than love. So, the chase is on, down the street, past the boys, and the girls, and the teenagers until… Well, I won’t tell you the ending, but maybe, just maybe the Valentine will change his mind about love. This lively and hilarious picture book (with illustrations to match) reminds me of the story of the runaway gingerbread man who would chant as he ran, “Run, run as fast as you can! You can’t catch me, I’m the Gingerbread Man!” Well, we all know what happened to him. Thankfully, the Valentine got “caught” by something much less dangerous. Read the book to find out what.

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12. Valentines for Vermin: Love Poems for the Unloved

Looking for a fun writing activity that integrates well with Valentine's Day? Then look no further than Vulture Verses: Love Poems for the Unloved.

This book is a funny and fact-filled collection of "friendship notes" written to some of the most unlovable creatures one could imagine. Through her poems and accompanying facts, author Diane Lang helps us see that even bats, turkey vultures, spiders, skunks, and mosquitoes (to name but a few of the animal dignitaries) deserve some love.

The friendship note to the fly, for example, reads:

Oh fly, though no one seeks to ask,
Recycling is your secret task.
You eat the things that die or spoil
And make them part of growing soil.
So, though I shoo you from my plate, 
You're someone I appreciate!

Below that we read:

Flies are specialists at eating things that are dead and decaying, getting them ready to become part of new, healthy soil.

Lovely paintings by Lauren Gallegos illustrate each animal at its most industrious, making even the most scream-worthy of the lot seem noble, or, at the very least, tolerable.
  • The book closes with a request: "So many cards to write! So many animal friends! I may need some help. Do you know someone who is misunderstood? Will you help me write friendship notes, too?" Such a fantastic suggestion! Working in pairs or teams, students can research basic facts about other unloved animals that "scuttle, slither, buzz, and sting." Why are these creature seen as so horrible? What makes them worthy of our admiration? See if your students can write similar poems to change the loathsome to the lovable. Picture books such as Melissa Stewart's marvelous Animal Grossapedia will provide ample information and inspiration for even the most reluctant writers.
  • As an additional challenge, ask students to write the above poems in the first person, as if they are the animal. They must defend themselves to humans, and justify the "bad rap" which they've been given. Students could be further challenged to write these poems without naming themselves (the animal could be identified at poem's end or in the title alone). Students can then read the poems aloud, and classmates can guess the identity of the nefarious narrator.
  • What role do these animals play in other stories, whether fables, myths, or folktales? With what traits have they been branded? Have students create original fables using one of the creatures from Vulture Verses: Love Poems for the Unloved, or from their research project above. See my earlier post Animal Attractions for more ideas and suggested titles for fables.
  • Diane Lang uses fantastic vocabulary in both her poems and follow-up facts. Discuss some of these words and challenge students to define them, using context clues alone. Why did the author choose these and not their simpler synonyms? If students completed any of the above activities, ask them to revisit their writing to substitute words that are more exacting and creative for those which are overused or ordinary.
Do you have a favorite reading or writing activity to celebrate Valentine's Day? If so, please leave a comment below!

And if you haven't entered yet, be sure to get in on the raffle for one of three animal picture books happening on this blog (scroll to the bottom of that page).

7 Comments on Valentines for Vermin: Love Poems for the Unloved, last added: 2/19/2013
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13. Books about love to share

We're not big on Valentine's Day in our house ((commercialism and all that), but that doesn't mean we don't like to celebrate the season of love with a few special books. 

We've had more than a few books on loving each other come our way in the past few months, but these are the two Elliott has really gravitated towards. They've moved into the daily reading rotation and they're ones I actually enjoy reading over and over again. Definitely can't say that about every book we read.

A Kiss Means I Love You by Kathryn Madeline Allen and photographer Eric Futran is our new favorite book to read each night before putting E to bed. He really loves the close-up photographs of kids showing different emotions and types of body languages and I liked the quick bit of rhyming text that allows for quick page turns. With a 14-month-old we can't linger on the pages or he's over the book in about 3 seconds. 

The photos are excellent and really convey the emotion they're exhibiting on each page. It's going to be a great resource in teaching body language and how we use our faces to show how we're feeling. A new gem for our bookshelves and a great pick for librarians and teachers looking for toddler story time reads. Large page spreads and one sentence text makes for a great story time book for this age level. 

A Kiss Like This by Mary Murphy is just one of those cute books you don't mind reading over and over, (much like Murphy's I Kissed the Baby that we loved so much a couple of months ago). Each page spread features a pair of animals giving each other smooches, requiring the reader to lift a flap to see exactly how it's done. Giraffe kisses are tall, bee kisses are fuzzy and buzzy, etc. 

Elliott loves anything with a flap, but he especially loves Murphy's illustrations. He traces his finger down the elephant trunk and around the fish fins -- so adorable! It's a great book for one-on-one time with your kids, especially at this time of the year. (Elliott likes the mouse kisses best of all)

Thanks to Albert Whitman and Candlewick for the review copies!

1 Comments on Books about love to share, last added: 2/12/2013
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14. Anna Karenina’s happiness

It’s Valentine’s Day on Thursday, so let us celebrate the happiness of brief, all-encompassing love. We’ve paired a scene from the recent film adaptation of Anna Karenina, currently nominated for fours Oscars, with an excerpt of the novel below. In it, Anna and Vronsky discuss the happiness of their newfound love.

IT was already past five, and in order not to be late and not to use his own horses, which were known to everybody, Vronsky took Yashvin’s hired carriage and told the coachman to drive as fast as possible. The old four-seated hired vehicle was very roomy; he sat down in a corner, put his legs on the opposite seat, and began to think. A vague sense of the accomplished cleaning up of his affairs, a vague memory of Serpukhovskoy’s friendship for him, and the flattering thought that the latter considered him a necessary man, and above all the anticipation of the coming meeting, merged into one general feeling of joyful vitality. This feeling was so strong that he could not help smiling. He put down his legs, threw one of them over the other, and placing his arm across it felt its firm calf, where he had hurt it in the fall the day before, and then, throwing himself back, sighed deeply several times.

‘Delightful! O delightful!’ he thought. He had often before been joyfully conscious of his body, but had never loved himself, his own body, as he did now. It gave him pleasure to feel the slight pain in his strong leg, to be conscious of the muscles of his chest moving as he breathed. That clear, cool August day which made Anna feel so hopeless seemed exhilarating and invigorating to him and refreshed his face and neck, which were glowing after their washing and rubbing. The scent of brilliantine given off by his moustache seemed peculiarly pleasant in the fresh air. All that he saw from the carriage window through the cold pure air in the pale light of the evening sky seemed as fresh, bright and vigorous as he was himself. The roofs of the houses glittered in the evening sun; the sharp outlines of the fences and the corners of buildings, the figures of people and vehicles they occasionally met, the motionless verdure of the grass and trees, the fields of potatoes with their clear-cut ridges, the slanting shadows of the houses and trees, the bushes and even the potato ridges—it was all pleasant and like a landscape newly painted and varnished.

‘Get on, get on!’ he shouted to the coachman, thrusting himself out of the window; and taking a three-rouble note from his pocket he put it into the man’s hand as the latter turned round. The coachman felt something in his hand, the whip cracked, and the carriage rolled quickly along the smooth macadamized high road.

‘I want nothing, nothing but that happiness,’ he thought, staring at the ivory knob of the bell between the front windows of the carriage, his mind full of Anna as he had last seen her.

‘And the longer it continues the more I love her! And here is the garden of Vrede’s country house. Where is she? Where? Why? Why has she given me an appointment here, in a letter from Betsy?’ he thought; but there was no longer any time for thinking. Before reaching the avenue he ordered the coachman to stop, opened the carriage door, jumped out while the carriage was still moving, and went up the avenue leading to the house. There was no one in the avenue, but turning to the right he saw her. Her face was veiled, but his joyous glance took in that special manner of walking peculiar to her alone: the droop of her shoulders, the poise of her head; and immediately a thrill passed like an electric current through his body, and with renewed force he became conscious of himself from the elastic movement of his firm legs to the motion of his lungs as he breathed, and of something tickling his lips. On reaching him she clasped his hand firmly.

‘You are not angry that I told you to come? It was absolutely necessary for me to see you,’ she said; and at sight of the serious and severe expression of her mouth under her veil his mood changed at once.

‘I angry? But how did you get here?’

‘Never mind!’ she said, putting her hand on his arm. ‘Come, I must speak to you.’

He felt that something had happened, and that this interview would not be a happy one. In her presence he had no will of his own: without knowing the cause of her agitation he became infected by it.

‘What is it? What?’ he asked, pressing her hand against his side with his elbow and trying to read her face.

She took a few steps in silence to gather courage, and then suddenly stopped.

‘I did not tell you last night,’ she began, breathing quickly and heavily, ‘that on my way back with Alexis Alexandrovich I told him everything … said I could not be his wife, and … I told him all.’

He listened, involuntarily leaning forward with his whole body as if trying to ease her burden. But as soon as she had spoken he straightened himself and his face assumed a proud and stern expression.

‘Yes, yes, that is better! A thousand times better! I understand how hard it must have been for you’ he said, but she was not listening to his words—only trying to read his thoughts from his face. She could not guess that it expressed the first idea that had entered Vronsky’s mind: the thought of an inevitable duel; therefore she explained that momentary look of severity in another way. After reading her husband’s letter she knew in the depths of her heart that all would remain as it was, that she would not have the courage to disregard her position and give up her son in order to be united with her lover. The afternoon spent at the Princess Tverskaya’s house had confirmed that thought. Yet this interview was still of extreme importance to her. She hoped that the meeting might bring about a change in her position and save her. If at this news he would firmly, passionately, and without a moment’s hesitation say to her: ‘Give up everything and fly with me!’ she would abandon her son and go with him. But the news had not the effect on him that she had desired: he only looked as if he had been offended by something. ‘It was not at all hard for me — it all came about of itself,’ she said, irritably. ‘And here …’ she pulled her husband’s note from under her glove.

Click here to view the embedded video.

‘I understand, I understand,’ he interrupted, taking the note but not reading it, and trying to soothe her. ‘I only want one thing, I only ask for one thing: to destroy this situation in order to devote my life to your happiness.’

‘Why do you tell me this?’ she said. ‘Do you think I could doubt it? If I doubted it …’

‘Who’s that coming?’ said Vronsky, pointing to two ladies who were coming toward them. ‘They may know us!’ and he moved quickly in the direction of a sidewalk, drawing her along with him.

‘Oh, I don’t care!’ she said. Her lips trembled and her eyes seemed to him to be looking at him with strange malevolence from under the veil. ‘As I was saying, that’s not the point! I cannot doubt that, but see what he writes to me. Read—’ she stopped again.

Again, as at the first moment when he heard the news of her having spoken to her husband, Vronsky yielded to the natural feeling produced by the thoughts of his relation to the injured husband. Now that he held his letter he could not help imagining to himself the challenge that he would no doubt find waiting for him that evening or next day, and the duel, when he would be standing with the same cold proud look as his face bore that moment, and having fired into the air would be awaiting the shot from the injured husband. And at that instant the thought of what Serpukhovskoy had just been saying to him and of what had occurred to him that morning (that it was better not to bind himself) flashed through his mind, and he knew that he could not pass on the thought to her.

After he had read the letter he looked up at her, but his look was not firm. She understood at once that he had already considered this by himself, knew that whatever he might say he would not tell her all that he was thinking, and knew that her last hopes had been deceived. This was not what she had expected.

‘You see what a man he is!’ she said in a trembling voice. ‘He …’

‘Forgive, me, but I am glad of it!’ Vronsky interrupted. ‘For God’s sake hear me out!’ he added, with an air of entreaty that she would let him explain his words. ‘I am glad because I know that it is impossible, quite impossible for things to remain as they are, as he imagines.’

‘Why impossible?’ said Anna, forcing back her tears and clearly no longer attaching any importance to what he would say. She felt that her fate was decided.

Vronsky wanted to say that after what he considered to be the inevitable duel it could not continue; but he said something else.

‘It cannot continue. I hope that you will now leave him. I hope …’ he became confused and blushed, ‘that you will allow me to arrange, and to think out a life for ourselves. To-morrow …’ he began, but she did not let him finish.

‘And my son?’ she exclaimed. ‘You see what he writes? I must leave him, and I cannot do that and do not want to.’

‘But for heaven’s sake, which is better? To leave your son, or to continue in this degrading situation?’

‘Degrading for whom?’

‘For everybody, and especially for you.’

‘You call it degrading! do not call it that; such words have no meaning for me,’ she replied tremulously. She did not wish him to tell untruths now. She had only his love left, and she wanted to love him. ‘Try to understand that since I loved you everything has changed for me. There is only one single thing in the world for me: your love ! If I have it, I feel so high and firm that nothing can be degrading for me. I am proud of my position because … proud of … proud …’ she could not say what she was proud of. Tears of shame and despair choked her. She stopped and burst into sobs. He also felt something rising in his throat, and for the first time in his life he felt ready to cry. He could not explain what it was that had so moved him; he was sorry for her and felt that he could not help her, because he knew that he was the cause of her trouble, that he had done wrong.

‘Would divorce be impossible?’ he asked weakly. She silently shook her head. ‘Would it not be possible to take your son away with you and go away all the same?’

‘Yes, but all that depends on him. Now I go back to him,’ she said dryly. Her foreboding that everything would remain as it was had not deceived her.

‘On Tuesday I shall go back to Petersburg and everything will be decided. Yes,’ she said, ‘but don’t let us talk about it.’

Anna’s carriage, which she had sent away and ordered to return to the gate of the Vrede Garden, drove up. Anna took leave of Vronsky and went home.

A classic of Russian literature, this new edition of Anna Karenina uses the acclaimed Louise and Alymer Maude translation, and offers a new introduction and notes which provide completely up-to-date perspectives on Tolstoy’s classic work.

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15. Share the Love! Books = Valentines

Share The Love!

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16. Happy Valentine's Day!

HIGHLIGHTS magazine has a Valentine's Day challenge for you with a special hidden picture, "Cupid's Target Practice." Can you find all the objects? The picture makes for a fun coloring page as well. Enjoy!

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17. You Wrote...a Love Story?

Okay, just hear me out. I know romance isn't my typical fare. It is Valentine's Day and even though I don't write a lot of love stories, love is pretty great when you find it. "The Last Time" is being featured as the Valentine's Day special for BigWorldNetwork.com, which is a great digital content distributor of ebooks and audio books. You can listen to an audio version done by myself, or read it digitally. It is a modern fantasy tale, which I promise involves no sparkly vampires or werewolves.

Check in next week for my first contest with "The Canticle Prelude". Five books up for grabs!

A happy Valentine's Day, everyone. May you find love, or grow the love you have already found.


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18. Comfort food

By Georgia Mierswa

This Valentine’s Day-themed tech post was supposed to be just that—a way to show that all that sexy metadata powering the Oxford Index’s sleek exterior has a sweet, romantic side, just like the rest of the population at this time of year. I’d bounce readers from a description of romantic comedies to Romeo and Juliet to the three-act opera Elegy for Young Lovers, and then change the Index’s featured homepage title to something on the art of love to complete the heart shaped, red-ribboned picture.

I didn’t do any of these things. I got distracted. As it turns out, searching the word “chocolate” (“It is not addictive like nicotine but some people, ‘chocoholics’, experience periodic cravings”) reveals a whole smorgasbord of suggested links to delectable food summaries and from my first glimpse at the makings of a meringue, I was gone—making mental notes for recipes, stomach rumbling, eyes-glazing over. Mmm glaze.

In the end, my “research” was actually quite fitting to the season. Because, really, when it comes to Valentine’s Day in the 21st century, only a handful of things are reliable and certain—and almost all of them are made with sugar.

Best Mouthwatering Dessert Descriptions

Best Quote About Doughnuts…or Anything

“When Krispy Kremes are hot, they are to other doughnuts what angels are to people.”
– Humor writer Roy Blount Jr, New York Times Magazine

Best Etymology Entry

  Snack was originally a verb, meaning ‘bite, snap’. It appears to have been borrowed, in the fourteenth century, from Middle Dutch snacken, which was probably onomatopoeic in origin, based on the sound of the snapping together of teeth… The modern verb snack, ‘eat a snack,’ mainly an American usage, is an early nineteenth-century creation.

Top 5 Favorite Random Food Facts

  1. Attempts to can beer before 1930 were unsuccessful because a beer can has to withstand pressures of over eighty pounds per square inch.
  2. Brownies are essentially the penicillin of the baking world.
  3.  Boston is the brains behind Marshmallow Fluff.
  4. There is such a thing as the “Queen of Puddings” …and it sounds amazing:
  5.   Pudding made from custard and breadcrumbs, flavoured with lemon rind and vanilla, topped with jam or sliced fruit and meringue.
  6. Cupcakes are known by some as “fairy cakes”.

Best Relevancy Jump

The overview page for “cake”….

  Plain cakes are made by rubbing the fat and sugar into the flour, with no egg; sponge cakes by whipping with or without fat; rich cakes contain dried fruit.

….leads to a surprising related link: “Greek sacrifice”

  Vegetable products, esp. savoury cakes, were occasionally ‘sacrificed’ (the same vocabulary is used as for animal sacrifice) in lieu of animals or, much more commonly, in addition to them. But animal sacrifice was the standard type.

The Entry I Wish I Hadn’t Found:

  Flaky crescent-shaped rolls traditionally served hot for breakfast, made from a yeast dough with a high butter content. A 50‐g croissant contains 10 g of fat of which 30% is saturated.

Best Food-Related Band Names

Best Overall Summary of What Food Is

  Food is a form of communication that expresses the most deeply felt human experiences: love, fear, joy, anger, serenity, turmoil, passion, rage, pleasure, sorrow, happiness, and sadness.

Georgia Mierswa is a marketing assistant at Oxford University Press and reports to the Global Marketing Director for online products. She began working at OUP in September 2011.

The Oxford Index is a free search and discovery tool from Oxford University Press. It is designed to help you begin your research journey by providing a single, convenient search portal for trusted scholarship from Oxford and our partners, and then point you to the most relevant related materials — from journal articles to scholarly monographs. One search brings together top quality content and unlocks connections in a way not previously possible. Take a virtual tour of the Index to learn more.

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Image credit: Croissants chauds sortis du four. Photo by Christophe Marcheux/Deelight, public domain via Wikimedia Commons

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19. Valentine’s Day serenades

By Alyssa Bender

Love is in the air at Oxford University Press! As we celebrate Valentine’s Day, we’ve asked staff members from our offices in New York, Oxford, and Cary, NC, to share their favorite love songs. Read on for their selections, and be sure to tell us what your favorites are too. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Owen Keiter, Publicity
All-time is impossible, so…“Girlfriend” by Ty Segall is a feat of simplicity. Ty manages to stuff the headlong rush of a new, young, senseless love into about two breathless minutes. Nobody’s getting excited about the caveman-ish lyrics, which are almost incomprehensible anyway, but that’s not the point. The point is: when Ty hollers “I’ve got a girlfriend/She says she loves me,” you can tell it’s got him feeling like nothing can touch him.

Click here to view the embedded video.

For those having less pleasant Valentine’s Days: “Lipstick Vogue” by Elvis Costello. This Year’s Model is the Bible of those who are mistrustful of sex and love; “Lipstick Vogue” contains gems like “Maybe they told you were only one girl in a million/You say I’ve got no feelings; this is a good way to kill them.”

Lana Goldsmith, Publisher Services
My actual favorite love song right now is “Crazy Girl” by Eli Young Band. I love this song because I feel like I live it all the time. It’s easy to feel insecure or unappreciated, but this song shakes you by the shoulders and reminds you that you’re the greatest thing that ever happened to somebody.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Purdy, Director of Publicity
When you are single and in your 40s love has come and gone enough that I find it hard to narrow my choice down to just one favorite love song. I have three that make me wistful for another lover, and maudlin for love and lovers long lost:

Nina Simone’s “Do I Move You” is a bluesy jazz plea for recognition from some indifferent lover that is at times sultry, needful, demanding and lustful.

Another classic by Ms. Simone, “Turn Me On,” is a simile-saturated reminiscence of a lover gone too long and the heightened anticipation of his/her return.

Finally, there is Miss Etta James’s version of “Deep in the Night.” Etta’s mournful moan reminds me how love can come to plagues one’s every thought and action:

Read a book and I think about you
Put it down and I think about you
I make some coffee and I think about you
Wash up the cup and I think about you
Wind the clock I think about you
Turn on the light and I think about you
Then I punch the pillow and think about you

Anwen Greenaway, Promotion Manager, Sheet Music
“True Love” by Cole Porter is one of the most memorable songs in the 1956 film High Society, starring Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly, and Frank Sinatra. When I was a child my Dad had an old vinyl record of the film soundtrack. I remember being mesmerized by the film stills on the LP cover and listening to the record over and over at Christmas. It’s the soundtrack of all my childhood Christmases, a beautiful song, and unashamedly sentimental — what’s not to love about that?!

Click here to view the embedded video.

Flora Death, Editorial Admin Assistant, Sheet Music
“So In love” by Cole Porter, from Kiss Me Kate, because it’s gloriously melodramatic and haunting, and has wonderful lyrics like all Cole Porter’s music.

Emma Shires, Editorial Assistant, Sheet Music
Marvin Gaye’s “How Sweet it is to be Loved by You” is so fun and upbeat. I love putting it on when I’m cooking, really turning up the volume, and dancing round the kitchen like a mad thing.

Ruth Fielder, Sales Administrator, Sheet Music
Biffy Clyro’s “Mountains” is my all-time favorite love song because it represents the ugly and beautiful sides to being in love, and therefore, for me, this song paints a more realistic picture: This being that most of the time love is a selfish act, but on occasion love itself as a thing of togetherness and intimacy; that ultimately nothing can tear you apart.

Jeremy Wang-Iverson, Publicity
“Laid” is a very sly love song by the British band James. The best line is the women’s clothes/gender roles couplet (if not the kitchen knives and skeeeeeewers) rather than the famous opening verse unfit for the OUPBlog. I sang this song, including the falsetto ending, COUNTLESS times with my friend Clara, who is now the history editor at NYU Press, when we were both assistants, as there wasn’t much to do in Princeton except go to the Ivy on Thursdays for karaoke and $1 beers. I hadn’t heard the song in ages until this past December at The Archive, a bar around the corner from our offices on Madison Avenue, and the television jukebox was playing, improbably, “The Best of James.” My friend and colleague Owen, the bassist for the great new band Journalism, said “The Best of James?? What the hell is James?” Probably for the best…

Matt Dorville, Online Editor, Reference
“The Book of Love” by The Magnetic Fields is a favorite of mine that is very apropos for a publishing house blog and one that I find myself singing all too often. It is from 69 Love Songs, an ambitious, and somewhat cheeky, look at love from The Magnetic Fields. If you haven’t listened to the album, I highly recommend it. It contains songs that are bittersweet, tender, pithy and catchy as hell. They’re not all winners, but the ones that are will make you smile all day.

Alana Podolsky, Publicity
“Tere Bina” composed by A. R. Rahman, lyrics by Gulzar is my favorite. Meaning “Without You”, “Tere Bina” is the great A.R. Rahman’s composition for the Hindi film Guru (2007) starring Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai, Bollywood’s Brangelina. Rahman’s score derives from Sufi devotional music and is paired with Gulzar’s simple lyrics, creating a song that will resonate with any heartsick romantic no matter your language background. The cherry on top: the film’s dance sequence.

Kimberly Taft, Journals
My favorite love song is “At Last” by Etta James. I think it’s great because of her powerful vocals and the accompanying instruments. It’s truly a classic and I’m sure will be around forever.

Jessica Barbour, Grove Music/Oxford Music Online
I’m Your Moon” was written by Jonathan Coulton in reaction to Pluto’s demotion from planet to dwarf planet by the International Astronomical Union. Coulton, stating that Pluto clearly must have found this “very upsetting,” wrote a love song to the slighted celestial body from the point of view of Charon, one of Pluto’s moons. (You can watch another live video in which Coulton tells the whole backstory here.) Pluto is only twice as big as Charon, and they orbit a point between each other instead of Charon circling Pluto the way our moon orbits around the Earth. And they’re always facing each other as they orbit, like two people doing this. Coulton says on his blog that he was just thinking about Pluto when he wrote it. But the way Charon sings about how the rest of the world doesn’t really understand them, encourages Pluto to stay true to itself, and promises that they’ll always have each other no matter what—what else can you ask for in the perfect love song?

Click here to view the embedded video.

Anna-Lise Santella, Grove Music and Oxford Reference
Back when we were dating, my husband and I used to hang out at Cafe Toulouse in Chicago where the great jazz violinist Johnny Frigo used to play with Joe Vito on piano. We loved the way he played “A Fine Romance.” If we had to pick something to be “our song,” that would be it. When it came time to picking a song for the first dance at our wedding, that was the first thing that came to mind. Then we looked at the lyrics — which are the opposite of a love song:

A fine romance, with no kisses
A fine romance, my friend, this is
We should be like a couple of hot tomatoes, But you’re as cold as yesterday’s mashed potatoes….

Not a song with which to celebrate the start of a marriage. The song was written by Jerome Kern for the movie Swing Time, starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. Fortunately, the movie also includes one of the great love songs of all time, “The Way You Look Tonight.” We picked that instead. And we asked Johnny Frigo to play at our wedding. It was perfect. It’s one of the great romantic songs:

Some day, when I’m awfully low,
When the world is cold,
I will feel a glow just thinking of you And the way you look tonight….

A month after we got married, I ran into Johnny playing a Columbus Day gig in Daley Plaza in Chicago. I reminded him who I was and told him how much we’d enjoyed his playing at our wedding. “Great night, great night,” he said. “And you weren’t so bad yourself.”

Click here to view the embedded video.

Your Oxford-Approved Playlist:

Alyssa Bender joined Oxford University Press in July 2011 and works as a marketing associate in the Ac/Trade and Bibles divisions. Read her previous blog posts.

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Image Credit: scanned from period card from ca. 1910 with no notice of copyright via Wikimedia Commons

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20. A Valentine’s Day Quiz

It’s that time of the year again where the greeting cards, roses and chocolates fly off the shelves. What is it about Valentine’s Day that inspires us (and many of the great literary authors) to partake in all kinds of romantic gestures?

This month Oxford Reference, the American National Biography Online, the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, and Who’s Who have joined together to create a quiz to see how knowledgeable you are in Valentine traditions.

Do you know who grows some of the most fragrant roses or hand-dips the sweetest treats? Find out with our quiz.

Your Score:  

Your Ranking:  

Answers to all these questions can be found using Oxford Reference, the Oxford DNBWho’s Who, and the American National Biography Online. Both Oxford Reference and the Oxford DNB are freely available via public libraries across the UK. Libraries offer ‘remote access’ allowing members to log-on to the resources, for free, from home (or any other computer) twenty-four hours a day.

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21. Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day!

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22. happy valentine’s day y’all!

valentine bunny cupid450

Little known fact: The Easter Bunny moonlights the rest of the year for some extra scratch.

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23. Do We LOVE Writing? Reflections on Cupid's Holiday

Cupid's Arrow in South Beach by Nan Palmero
Cupid is a symbol of Valentine's Day that we all recognize. According to Roman mythology (and the version you happen to read), Cupid, the Roman god of Love, can shoot his arrow through your heart and cause you to fall hopelessly in love with another person. Sometimes, this can work out great--if the other person loves and adores you in return. If not, you're basically cursed and walking through your life like a zombie, looking for some relief from your broken heart.

And then there's this LOVE we all say we have for writing. . .

When you're with a group of writers or on a writing blog, you will often see statements such as, "I fell in love with writing at a young age and haven't been able to stop." or "Writing is my greatest passion." or "If I can't write, I don't want to live." or simply, "I love to write." But is this relationship that we have with writing love? Is it good--this overwhelming desire that we have to put words on a page? This desire that causes us to feed our children lunchmeat for dinner or tell our husbands to get the cereal box out of the pantry if he's hungry? How about our house--super dust bunnies, anyone? How long has it been since you took a shower? Come on, you can be honest with us. We understand.

I'm not sure if you can call this relationship that we have with writing LOVE. My theory is that each one of us was once an unsuspecting, innocent, normal, clean person with regular hobbies and passions; and then all of a sudden, this little winged creature, Cupid, shot us with his arrow. And the scholars have gotten it totally wrong all these years--Cupid's arrows do not make you fall hopelessly in love with another person. No, they make you fall desperately "in love" with writing.

And it doesn't even seem to matter if writing has loved us back or not--as a matter of fact when we have some success: a contest win, a published book, a contract for a newspaper column--we become more and more obsessed with our computers, journals, and notebooks. My husband actually calls my computer my fourth child--there's my stepson, my daughter, my dog, and my computer.

So on this day when we celebrate LOVE, try to find some time away from the keyboard and pen and hug a human (or animal!) you love today. Maybe even bake him or her a cookie or remember to call the Chinese place to order some dinner. Then tomorrow, go back to writing--our passion, our obsession. After all, it's not our fault--it's Cupid's. That's what I plan to tell my family the next time I throw a loaf of bread on the table and a package of deli ham.

Margo L. Dill is the author of Finding My Place: One Girl's Strength at Vicksburg and teaches classes on children's writing in the WOW! classroom.

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24. Happy Valentine's Day

A little quick painting to celebrate the season!
And of course a little Ultimate Sinister concept painting showing the heartbreak of jilting...

Life can be full of disappointment in the world of The Ultimate Sinister,,,

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25. Love or Romance? by DL Larson

Happy Valentine's Day!
Today is the day the flower shops become over-crowded, Hallmark makes a mint on greeting cards and men everywhere try not to panic for waiting to the last minute to buy something for their loved one.  Women struggle with what to do as well.  Sending cards to friends is expensive, treats for the kiddies is not really healthy or wise, yet candy companies keep pushing out the gaily wrapped packages and it's just too hard to resist.  Then there's the adorable stuffed animals and the silky see-throughs.  The hustle becomes over-whelming and one wonders if this is just a ploy to boost the economy! At the end of the day some want to collapse while others get dressed up for an evening out.

Whatever you choose to do, take a moment to relish the many blessings in your life. Don't fret over the bills or laundry or deadlines.  Take a deep breath.  Smile, relax, and acknowledge the love in your life.  Love of friendship, love of family, love of that special someone.  The many layers of love blend together like the pedals on a flower.  The love in our life is a bouquet in itself.  Breathe it in and enjoy.

How will you show your love this Valentine's?

My sweetie and I are leaving for a few days.  We plan to stroll through the Auto show in Chicago, have dinner at an Italian restaurant and thank our lucky stars we didn't decide to take a cruise this year.  The Carnival Cruise Line being towed back to Mobile has sewage issues and other hygiene problems to deal with. I feel awful for these folks who had planned a romantic get-away only to have to endure this hardship.
Hopefully the cruise line will make up for their nightmarish vacation.

So will you relax at home?  Go out with friends or loved ones?  Is Valentine's Day special for you or just another day?

Til next time ~
DL Larson

PS: I've been informed I misquoted last week.  "Endeavor to persevere," is from the movie The Outlaw Jose Wales, not Jermiah Johnson!  Geesh!  How could I make such a blunder?  Thanks for setting me straight!

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