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1. YouTuber Creates a Game of Thrones-Themed ‘See You Again’ Video

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2. Harry Potter Day! A Celebration of JK Rowling's Influence on Writers

Happy Potter Day!


July 31. Since 1997, it is the day that many fans worldwide have celebrated the birthday of a very special character and story. JK Rowling's imagination has touched thousands of lives and inspired millions to read.

But she also inspired writers. And it seems appropriate to us at Adventures in YA Publishing to celebrate on this day, which is also JK Rowling's 50th birthday, the influence she had on so many to create their own characters and envision their own worlds. We've gathered stories from many authors sharing how Harry and Jo influenced them. We hope you will enjoy these treasured inspirations and share your own in the comments.

But as it's Jo's birthday, let us also not forget the many charities she's sponsored. To give a present to a women who has given us so much would mean remembering Lumos (seeks to end institutionalized orphanages and place children in homes), or Gingerbread (provides help to one-parent families), or Book Aid International (works to provide libraries and books in Africa). Indeed, Jo gave so generously, that she was knocked off Forbes' billionaire list.

Happy Birthday Jo! May you have many more, and may we enjoy more fruits of your imagination.



How Harry Potter Influenced Me. A Birthday Celebration of JK Rowling's Influence on Writers!


-- Donna Hosie, author of The Devil's Intern, Website, Twitter
Like many authors, I started writing because of Harry Potter. During the years of release mania, I was lucky enough to be working on The Leaky Cauldron website, a fan site that J.K. Rowling actually named as her favourite. Warner Bros and EA Games asked me to be a fan consultant on some of their movie tie-in products and I would go along to the studios, interview the creative masterminds, see stills, props and conceptual artwork before anyone else, and generally geek out and yell "Expelliarmus" at unsuspecting Muggles!

I went from writing reports of my visits to writing fan fiction to writing my own time-travel novels. Eight years after 'The End', I'm an award-winning author. None of that would have happened without The Boy Who Lived. So Harry Potter literally changed my life.

And I'm still yelling "Expelliarmus"!



-- Claire M. Caterer, author of The Wand & The Sea, Website, Twitter

I can't say I've grown up with Harry Potter, because I was already grown when I started reading about him. But I will say my writing grew up--quite a lot. What I've taken from J.K. Rowling's example are two crucial points: complexity of character and complexity of plot.

Few things have moved me in literature more than the struggle of Severus Snape as the good and bad within him dueled for supremacy. When I sat down to write my first children's book, I knew I needed some characters who struggled within themselves the way Snape does, the way Harry does (forever wondering if he's somehow part Voldemort), the way Dumbledore does. "The world isn't split into good people and Death Eaters," as Sirius Black says.

And how could anyone not be awed and influenced by the intricacy of the Harry Potter plots? The gentle placement of symbols, especially those relating to alchemy and the elements, had a huge impact on me as I was planning THE KEY & THE FLAME series. JKR taught me to go back through the manuscript, deepen the work a little bit more, and then again, and yet again. I haven't mastered her methods yet, but I keep trying.



-- Lisa Gail Green, author of Soul Crossed, Website, Twitter

Harry Potter was so amazing that it actually delayed me from pursuing writing! I felt like nothing less was worthwhile, and that at the same time there was no way to reach that level of accomplishment. What cured me? I read Twilight. LOL!!! *ducks tomatoes*

Seriously though, HP is mastery at work. JK Rowling invited us into a world, as readers, that was as real as the one we live in, yet full of magic. Every detail, every character, a well-rounded masterpiece that fit together as a perfect puzzle. Not just that - but as a person she is an absolute inspiration. When I have trouble writing because of my toddler I think of her with the stroller in a cafe scribbling in a notebook and I have renewed determination.



 -- Gwynne Jackson, author of "Hans & the Best Day Ever" in Happily Ever Afterlife, Website, Twitter

Three points come to mind when I think of the influence JK Rowling and her Harry Potter books have had on my writing. The first is that being a visual writer is a very good thing. JKR has the ability to describe things just enough so that we can see them, but can still put our own spin on them. The most beautiful part of this is that she rarely overdoes it. Point #2 is in the way she buries clues deep inside her narrative. Sometimes these clues might not even be recognized as clues until four or five books later, but her consistency with them is outstanding. A name here, an attribute there, and three books later it's a major plot point. Some of these might have been planted in advance and others serendipitous, but in either case they're brilliant.

The biggest influence JKR's had on my writing is in the way she treats minor characters. I doubt there's a single character in any of the HP books where she doesn't know their story, their background, their motivations, their desires. This is what's fueled so much fanfiction based on her work: everyone loves a hero, but she makes the other characters so real and so multi-layered that as readers we can't help but want to make each of them the star. In real life we're all the center of our own universe. JK Rowling has created a world where that's also true for every one of her characters. It's my favorite thing about her writing, and something I always try to emulate.



-- Gwen Katz, represented by Thao Le, Website, Twitter

Hogwarts felt the size of a real school: Harry has a lot of acquaintances beyond his close friends, he isn't always in the same classes with his friends, and even in the later books, he sometimes runs into kids he doesn't know because they're in other houses and grades. Important roles like Quidditch team captain often fall to people outside the main characters, making them feel like real people with actual lives who don't cease to exist when Harry isn't around. Harry Potter encouraged me to set my books in large worlds where even minor characters feel like they are living real lives.

source

  -- Susan Sipal, author of A Writer's Guide to Harry Potter, Website, Twitter

I was already a writer when I first started reading Harry Potter to my son, but my writing took a turn after meeting The Boy Who Lived.  My son and I spent many hours together ferreting out JK Rowling's clues and trying to guess what would happen next. While he loved figuring out the meanings behind her mythical names, I got sucked into the many layers of subtext JKR wove into each adventure.

Rowling knew how to deeply engage her reader. She always gave the reader more...more delightful characters, more fantastic world building, and more deeply hidden mysteries and secrets. This depth and reader engagement is why Harry Potter spawned fanfiction, fanart, Wizard Rock, movies, and even theme parks. Seeking to understand her secrets, I developed a workshop analyzing Rowling's techniques for writers, and have enjoyed presenting it to fans who love Rowling's creations as much as I do. She has inspired me to, in any genre I write, always write below the surface and to seek the reader's engagement like Harry seeking the Snitch.


The love of a very powerful story can influence writers in the stories they tell for years to come. We thank all the authors for sharing their own encounter with The Boy who Lived.

Please, everyone, feel free to add in the comments your experience of how Harry Potter or JK Rowling influenced your writing. We'd LOVE to hear more stories!


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3. Harry Potter-Themed ‘See You Again’ Video Goes Viral

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4. Harry Potter Would You Rather

Harry Potter StampHarry Potter Would You Rather

EnergeticGriffin20 posted this Harry Potter Would You Rather Quiz on the Harry Potter Message Board.

Would You Rather . . . 

  1. Be a Slytherin or Gryffindor?
  2. Be a Hufflepuff or Ravenclaw?
  3. Get stuck in the Chamber of Secrets for 10 minutes or get stuck in a closed room with Dementors for 10 minutes?
  4. Be Professor Dumbledore or Professor McGonagall?
  5. Be a Quidditch player or not?
  6. Study Charms or Potions?
  7. Have a detention with Professor Snape or Professor Umbridge?
  8. Live with Harry Potter your whole life or live with Hermione your whole life?
  9. Be a professor at Hogwarts or a student at Hogwarts?

Leave your answers in the Comments and go visit the Harry Potter Message Board to join the conversation.

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5. J.K. Rowling Reveals New Details About Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

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6. Currencies in Literary Worlds: INFOGRAPHIC

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7. Least Favorite Good Character

Writing Prompt: Shout-outDebate: Your Least Favorite Good Character

There is a debate happening on the Harry Potter Message Board re: Who is your least favorite good guy? And TechnologyAthlete12 has some harsh words about Ron:

Ron. Yep I know a lot of you will be surprised but I just dislike Ron, as he is quite useless throughout the series other than the one time when he destroyed a horcrux. Other than that, all he does is take the female main character (Hermione Granger) as a wife and yeah. He really just slows things down, makes too much noise, and is too sensitive. I guess his family is okay as they help Harry quite a bit throughout the series, but Ron himself really does nothing. I guess he can be funny at times but that is the only positive thing that he does consistently throughout the series.

What do YOU think? Do you agree that Ron is useless? Who is YOUR least favorite good character? Tell us in the Comments!

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8. New Harry Potter Play to Open at London’s West End in 2016

rowlingBack in 2013, J.K. Rowling announced that she would be working on a Harry Potter-related play. Over on Twitter, the author announced that Harry Potter And The Cursed Child will open at London’s West End in Summer 2016.

BBC News reports that Rowling collaborated with Jack Thorne, a seasoned playwright, and John Tiffany, the director, to create this original story. She revealed that the tale being told in this theatrical production should not be considered a “prequel,” but it does feature an “untold part of Harry’s story.”

At this point in time, no announcements have been made as to who will play The Boy Who Lived. We’ve collected all Rowling’s tweets about this project in a Storify post embedded below—what do you think? (via BuzzFeed.com)

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9. J.K. Rowling on the Symbolism Behind Dumbledore and Hagrid’s Names

Pottermore Logo (GalleyCat)Five new essays were posted on the Pottermore website: “Alchemy,” “Vernon & Petunia,” “The Sword of Gryffindor,” “Extension Charms,” and “Hatstall.” Thanks to this new content, Harry Potter fans now know about the symbolism behind Albus Dumbledore and Rubeus Hagrid’s names.

SPOILER ALERT: If you don’t want to know more, you should stop reading now!

Entertainment Weekly reports that “Rubeus and Albus are derived from red and white, two colors that are traditionally associated with alchemy…Hagrid represents the red base metal, which is associated with warmth and wildness, while Dumbledore is more in line with gold and the color white, which is impressive and intellectual, but can also be detached.” Together, these two characters make-up the ideal father figure for The Boy Who Lived.

Throughout the year, J.K. Rowling has revealed several new details about the Harry Potter series (primarily through Twitter). Readers have been made aware of the existence of an American wizarding school, that Moaning Myrtle’s full name is Myrtle Elizabeth Warren, and that Fred Weasley’s death at the Battle of Hogwarts \"was the worst for\" the author. Do you have any other burning questions that you wish Rowling would answer? (via TIME.com)

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10. J.K. Rowling Reveals Why the Dursleys Don’t Like Harry Potter

Did you ever wonder why the Dursleys hated the Potters?

J.K. Rowling has released a new piece of writing on Pottermore.com, the home of all things Harry Potter, which gives some background. Here is an excerpt from the piece:

James was amused by Vernon, and made the mistake of showing it. Vernon tried to patronise James, asking what car he drove. James described his racing broom.

Vernon supposed out loud that wizards had to live on unemployment benefit. James explained about Gringotts, and the fortune his parents had saved there, in solid gold.

Vernon could not tell whether he was being made fun of or not, and grew angry. The evening ended with Vernon and Petunia storming out of the restaurant, while Lily burst into tears and James (a little ashamed of himself) promised to make things up with Vernon at the earliest opportunity.

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11. What?!? When!?!: Your Updated Comics Cinema Calendar, June 2015 Edition

Ant-Man ThorWe’re halfway through both the actual calendar, and the Summer blockbuster season (which started in May).  Even though it feels like a Friday night at the video store circa 1990, there have been some amazing movies released so far. Dinosaurs are battling robots for box office supremacy, and Pixar is once again at the front of Best Animated Feature Oscar speculation with “Inside Out”.

Here’s the latest movie schedule, culled from various sources… Not much to update, except for the Smurfs getting an actual title.  There will probably be more after San Diego and D23.

NOTE:  My colleagues have noted the confusion over Warner Brothers’ superhero schedule.

To be clear: past Suicide Squad, Warners Brothers/DC Entertainment has not matched announced movies with opening dates.

So, you will see a listing like:

Unknown 2018 Flash

and

3/23/2018 Untitled DC 

That does not mean that there are two movies scheduled, only that DCE is planning movies, and has claimed dates. Other news sites have linked titles to dates. This has not been officially announced or confirmed by Warner Brothers, and until I see official confirmation, will continue to list the names and dates separately. When do I expect to see that confirmation? Either at a shareholder’s meeting, or sometime in July or August, just like last year. Like last year, I expect Marvel, via D23, to make a bigger splash than DC, although DC could try to win Comic-Con this year, given Marvel Studio’s suspected absence.

Updates are in bold.  I have included links back to Box Office Mojo, which is the source of this data.


Date Title Studio
7/10/2015 Minions Universal
7/17/2015 Ant-Man Marvel
7/24/2015 Pixels Sony/Columbia
8/7/2015 Fantastic Four Fox
8/14/2015 Underdogs (2014) (Metegol) Weinstein
10/23/2015 Jem and the Holograms Universal
11/6/2015 The Peanuts Movie Fox
11/25/2015 The Good Dinosaur Pixar
12/18/2015 Star Wars: The Force Awakens Disney
2/12/2016 Deadpool Fox
3/4/2016 Zootopia Disney
3/25/2016 Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice DCE
5/6/2016 Captain America: Civil War Marvel
5/27/2016 X-Men: Apocalypse Fox
6/3/2016 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 Paramount
6/17/2016 Finding Dory Pixar
7/8/2016 ??? (Was Doctor Strange) Marvel
7/8/2016 Star Trek 3 Paramount
8/5/2016 Suicide Squad DCE
8/19/2016 Kubo and the Two Strings Focus/Laika
9/23/2016 Storks Warners
10/7/2016 Gambit Fox
10/7/2016 Monster High Universal
11/4/2016 Doctor Strange Marvel
11/18/2016 Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them Warners
11/23/2016 Moana Disney
12/16/2016 Rogue One Disney
12/25/2016 Nation Awakes Aamir Sajjad Ventures
1/13/2017 Power Rangers Lionsgate
2/10/2017 Untitled LEGO Batman Film Warners
3/3/2017 Untitled Wolverine Fox
3/10/2017 Captain Underpants Dreamworks
3/31/2017 Get Smurfy in 3D Sony
3/31/2017 Ghost in the Shell Disney
5/5/2017 Guardians of the Galaxy 2 Marvel
5/26/2017 Untitled LEGO Movie ? Warners
5/26/2017 Star Wars: Episode VIII Disney
6/9/2017 The Fantastic Four 2 Fox
6/16/2017 Toy Story 4 Pixar
6/23/2017 Untitled DC DCE
6/30/2017 Despicable Me 3 Universal
7/7/2017 Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales Disney
7/28/2017 Unititled Spider-Man Sony/Marvel
9/22/2017 Ninjago Warners
11/3/2017 Thor: Ragnarok Marvel
11/17/2017 Untitled DC DCE
11/22/2017 Untitled Pixar Animation Pixar
2/9/2018 Untitled Warner Animation Group Project Warners
3/9/2018 Untitled Disney Animation Disney
3/23/2018 Untitled DC DCE
5/4/2018 Avengers: Infinity War, Part 1 Marvel
5/18/2018 The LEGO Movie Sequel Warners
6/15/2018 Untitled Pixar Animation Pixar
7/6/2018 Black Panther Marvel
7/13/2018 Untitled Fox / Marvel Fox / Marvel
7/20/2018 Spider-Man (animated film) Sony
7/27/2018 Untitled DC DCE
11/2/2018 Captain Marvel Marvel
11/16/2018 Untitled WB Event Film Warners
11/21/2018 Untitled Disney Animation Disney
4/5/2019 Untitled DC DCE
5/3/2019 Avengers: Infinity War, Part 2 Marvel
5/24/2019 Untitled Warner Animated Film Warners
6/14/2019 Untitled DC DCE
7/12/2019 Inhumans Marvel
4/3/2020 Untitled DC DCE
6/19/2020 Untitled DC DCE
11/20/2020 Untitled WB Event Film Warners
Unknown 2016 Popeye Sony
Unknown 2016 Untitled Lego Movie Warners
Unknown 2017 Wonder Woman DCE
Unknown 2017 Justice League, Part One DCE
Unknown 2017 Lego Batman Warners
Unknown 2018 Flash DCE
Unknown 2018 Aquaman DCE
Unknown 2018 Lego Movie 2 Warners
Unknown 2018 HP: Fantastic Beasts Warners
Unknown 2019 Shazam DCE
Unknown 2019 Justice League Part Two DCE
Unknown 2020 Cyborg DCE
Unknown 2020 Green Lantern DCE
Unknown 2020 HP: Fantastic Beasts Warners
UNKNOWN The Amazing Spider-Man 3 Sony
UNKNOWN The Amazing Spider-Man 4 Sony
UNKNOWN Untitled Frozen sequel Disney
UNKNOWN Incredibles 2 Disney
UNKNOWN Cars 3 Disney
UNKNOWN Sinister Six Sony

 

5 Comments on What?!? When!?!: Your Updated Comics Cinema Calendar, June 2015 Edition, last added: 6/21/2015
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12. Thoughts on Theme by Claire M. Caterer + #Giveaway

I love theme. For me, it is the hub of the wheel around which the story turns...after you write a compelling story and discover what that theme is, that is. That's why I'm so happy to welcome author Claire Caterer to the blog today with her excellent insight on why theme matters and how to judicially weave it into our stories.

As another Harry Potter fan, I've known Claire on Twitter for a while and am so glad she gave me an excuse in this post to include some Potter gifs! Her new book, The Wand and the Sea, releases in just a few days. Be sure to check out her giveaway for it at the end of the post!

Thoughts on Theme, a Craft of Writing Post by Claire M. Caterer


Hands down, this is the best question I’ve ever gotten from a student during a school visit:

How do you decide what your theme is going to be?

Bless those students! They learn all the right terms—character, setting, plot, denouement, and yes, theme. So they want to plug all those things into their stories. Just tell me where to put the theme, they say, and I’ll install it.

I’d like to say I had a crackerjack answer ready for this kid, but I stammered out some lame version of what I later thought hard about and decided to write down here. I have the feeling that kid will never read this, but at least he got me thinking.

How do you decide what your theme is going to be? Short answer: You don’t.

What the Heck Is a Theme?
Theme is the Big Idea of your story. It begins with a broad idea like unrequited love, corporate corruption, or good vs. evil. From there, the theme boils down into a statement or idea that the author is trying to make about that broad idea: Better to Have Loved and Lost Than Never to Have Loved at All. One Person Can Bring Down a Bad Company. Standing Together Against Evil Is Worth the Sacrifice. You get the idea. You might want to check out this handy list of 100 Common Themes here.

Why All Themes Sound Like Clichés
Themes are universal truths that everyone can relate to. Take Coming of Age, for instance. Everyone reading a COA book has either come of age, is going to come of age, or is in the throes of it as we speak. That doesn’t make it a bad theme; on the contrary, that makes it something your reader is sure to understand. The trick is to put your own twist to it. Have you ever thought about Gone with the Wind as a coming-of-age story? Scarlet grows up from a bratty, spoiled teenager to a grown woman who figures out some serious stuff. She may not ever face the popular clique in her twenty-first-century high school, but a lot of the lessons are the same.

Can You Have More Than One Theme?
Absolutely. Complex stories come at you with lots of different issues. In the Harry Potter series, a weak, good person takes on a supremely powerful evil force. (Same theme as the David and Goliath story, by the way, and Star Wars, and about a thousand others.) There’s some coming-of-age-ing going on too. There’s Professor Snape’s character arc, which is a Sacrificing All for Love theme. And several others as well.

The Trouble with Themes
All writers want their work to mean something, but if you’re looking for the theme while you’re writing, you’re doing something wrong. And if you decide what the theme is going to be before you start writing, you’re really doing something wrong.

Example: I’m going to write the story of Racism in the Deep South. Really? I’m already bored. It’s not that stories of racism can’t be interesting (The Help, To Kill a Mockingbird), but if you begin with that broad paintbrush, you’re likely to write something clichéd. Racism in the Deep South will have you trotting out all the well-worn tropes: the belittlement of some good-hearted but proud black woman; a girl getting pelted with tomatoes as she walks into an integrated school; a young man is threatened by a gang of whites. These things did happen and continue to happen, but with that giant billboard of THEME blinking in big neon lights over your computer, you’ll have a hard time making them unique.

Plot vs. Theme
Plot is closely related to theme, because once you summarize the plot, you often see the theme emerge. Corporate Corruption Nearly Proves the Downfall of a Young Idealistic Attorney (The Firm). Theme? It’s Okay to Break a Few Rules to Bring Down the Bad Guys. (Also known as The End Justifies the Means.) But again, if you come up with that tagline or summary first, you have to force characters and situations and settings into that mold. And in thinking up your characters, you’ll have to find the Evil Corporate Hotshot, the Idealistic Young Attorney, the Spunky Girlfriend Who Plays the Role of Conscience—ugh. I’m bored again. These are archetypes, not people.

So, What Do You Do?
Instead of searching out a tagline, plot summary, or theme, try writing a story about people first. Everyone’s different, and I know some people start with plot or setting, and I can’t argue with that. But character had better be close behind, because the best plot in the world can’t save a story peopled by cardboard cutouts. If readers can’t identify and engage with the characters, your big, deep theme won’t mean a thing to them. In fact, they probably won’t get far enough in the book to figure out what the theme is.

Find something compelling about your character in your story. Are you writing about someone who doesn’t fit in? That could be boring and faceless unless your character is Katniss Everdeen (The Hunger Games) or Harry Potter or Charlie from Perks of Being a Wallflower. Come up with that person, and even if the theme is common—the Lone Hero Makes a Stand or Good Conquers Evil—the story will be powerful.

So … How Do Decide What Your Theme Is Going to Be?
You don’t. Your theme picks you. You write the most honest, real, go-to-the-gut story you’ve got in you. You people it with complex characters. You put them in impossible situations. Then, when you’re all done, look around. The theme will emerge out of the story like one of those Magic Eye 3D pictures.

And Then What?
You can just leave it alone, but you can also play up your theme once you see it coming out in bits and pieces. You might play with symbolism, or plant foreshadowing that echoes the theme. Is that wand symbolic of Harry’s power? What happens when it breaks and he doesn’t have it anymore? Does it further his Coming of Age, or does it impede it? Spin out those threads to see where they lead. Don’t dress up your theme billboard in neon lights—no reader wants to be blinded by the Big Theme—but you might put a small spotlight on it here and there. Bring it into high relief in places, and then back off.

Let the theme arise naturally out of the people and their situation, not out of your brain. All life events have themes if you look for them, and your story, after all, is just that: A life. Or many lives. Leave the theme-chasing to the lit scholars and fifth graders. They’ll find it if your story resonates.


ABOUT THE BOOK:

http://www.amazon.com/Wand-Sea-Claire-M-Caterer/dp/1442457449/
A year has passed since Holly, Ben, and Everett discovered a fantastical realm called Anglielle, where magic is outlawed and those who practice it are hunted. Now, on their return, they find their friends imprisoned and the alliance scattered. Ruthless King Reynard and the sorcerer Raethius are determined to find the very Adepts they exiled in the first place—but why?

It’s up to Holly and the boys to sail to the Isle of Exile and find the Adepts first, but that means enlisting the help of the Water Elementals and a pirate captain with a private agenda. Everett is obsessed with a mysterious locket with a mind of its own, and somehow, no matter where they go, a sinister black-sailed schooner appears on the horizon. With no one to teach her, can Holly master Elemental magic in time to save the Adepts of Anglielle?

Amazon | Indiebound | Barnes & Noble | Books a Million

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Claire M. Caterer lives in the suburbs of Kansas City, where she spends most of her time writing down the adventures of her imaginary friends. She loves chocolate, dogs, and occasionally, chocolate dogs. The Wand & the Sea is a sequel to her first novel, The Key & the Flame.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads






a Rafflecopter giveaway


 -- posted by Susan Sipal, @HP4Writers

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13. Harry Potter E-Books Sale This July

Next month is Harry Potter’s birthday and to celebrate, Pottermore.com is running a special sale on e-books.

The site will be offering 25 percent off of the complete Harry Potter e-book collection at the Pottermore Shop.

Pottermore launched back in 2011 as the online destination for all things Harry Potter. Since then author J.K. Rowling has contributed new original writing including a history of the Quidditch Cup, as well as new details about the “Great Villain” Dolores Umbridge.

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14. J.K. Rowling on Gaining Admission to Hogwarts

Hogwarts (GalleyCat)Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling has become well-known for delighting her fans on Twitter. Over the weekend, one reader asked Rowling about how to secure a letter of admission to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

Rowling gave this reply: “All these people saying they never got their Hogwarts letter: you got the letter. You went to Hogwarts. We were all there together.” In a second tweet, she also quoted beloved Headmaster Albus Dumbledore: “Of course it happened inside your head, but why on earth should that mean it wasn’t real?”

In addition, Rowling also answered questions about Albus Severus Potter’s name and Draco Malfoy’s birthday. We’ve chronicled all of the exchanges in a Storify post embedded below—what do you think? (via BuzzFeed.com)

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15. Fusenews: Gravel in the bed

“If kids like a picture book, they’re going to read it at least 50 times, and their parents are going to have to read it with them. Read anything that often, and even minor imperfections start to feel like gravel in the bed.” – Mark Haddon

I’ve just returned from speaking at a magnificent writing retreat weekend at Bethany Hegedus’s Writing Barn in Austin, Texas.  That quote was one that Bethany read before Alexandra Penfold’s presentation and I like it quite a lot.  Someone should start a picture book blog called “Gravel In the Bed”.  If you need a good treat, I do recommend The Writing Barn wholeheartedly.  The deer alone are worth the price of admission.  And if you’ve other children’s book writing retreats you like, let me know what they are.  I’m trying to pull together a list.

  • I just want to give a shout out to my girl Kate Milford. I don’t always agree with the ultimate winners of The Edgar Award (given for the best mysteries) in the young person’s category but this year they knocked it out of the park. Greenglass House for the win!
  • As you know, I’m working on the funny girl anthology FUNNY GIRL and one of my contributors is the illustrious Shannon Hale.  She’s my personal hero most of the time and the recent post Boos for girls just nails down why that is.  Thanks to bookshelves of doom for the link.

Not too long ago I was part of a rather large gathering based on one of my blog posts.  The artist Etienne Delessert saw a piece I’d written on international picture books and how they’re perceived here in the States.  So what did he do?  He grabbed local consulates, flew in scholars, invited friends (like David Macaulay) and created an amazing free day that was hugely edifying and wonderful.  You can read the SLJ report We need more international picture books, kid lit experts say or the PW piece Where the Wild Books Are: A Day of Celebrating Foreign Picture Books or the Monica Edinger recap International Children’s Books Considered.  Very interesting look at these three different perspectives.  And, naturally, I must thank Etienne for taking my little post so very far.  This is, in a very real way, every literary blogger’s dream come true.  Merci, Etienne!

  • There’s a lot of joy that can come when when a British expert discusses their nation’s “forgotten children’s classics“.  The delightful Oxford Companion to Children’s Literature is out and its editor Daniel Hahn has recapped the books that he feels don’t get sufficient attention in Britain.  Very funny to see one of our American classics on this list (I won’t ruin which one for you).
  • How do we instill a sense of empathy in our kids?  Have ‘em read Harry Potter.  Apparently there’s now research to back that statement up.  NPR has the story.
  • Ooo. Wish I lived in L.A. for this upcoming talk.  At UCLA there’s going to be a discussion of Oscar Wilde and the Culture of Childhood that looks at his fairytales.  It ain’t a lot of money.  See what they have to say.
  • Because of I have ample time on my hands (hee hee hee hee . . . whooo) I also wrote an article for Horn Book Magazine recently.  If you’ve ever wondered why we’re seeing so many refugees from the animation industry creating picture books, this may provide some of the answers.
  • Over at the blog Views From the Tesseract, Stephanie Whelan has located a picture book so magnificent that it should be reprinted now now now.  Imagine, if you will, a science fiction picture book starring an African-American girl . . . illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon.  Do you remember Blast Off?

Of course you don’t.  No one does.  Stephanie has the interiors on her site.  And since the number of books that show African-American girls as astronauts are . . . um . . . okay, I’ve never seen one.  Plus it’s gorgeous and fun.  REPRINT REPRINT REPRINT!

  • Speaking of girls in space, I’ve never so regretted that a section was cut from a classic book.  But this missing section from A Wrinkle in Time practically makes me weep for its lack.  I WISH it had been included.  It’s so very horribly horribly timely.
  • As you’ll recall, the new math award for children’s books was established.  So how do you submit your own?  Well, new submissions for 2015 (and looking back an additional five years) will begin to be received starting June 1st. So FYI, kiddos.
  • Daily Image:

Know a librarian getting married?  Or an editor?  Or an author?  Gently suggest to them these for their registry.


Thanks to Stephanie Whelan for the link.

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16. May -- Opening Doors of Wonder, books, kids, dogs and movies

 

    Forbidden ForestCentaurs
   

Opening the doors to a child's imagination...

An 8 year old girl, after reading the first chapter in a manuscript, helped convince her father, the CEO of Bloomsbury, to publish Harry Potter. It had previously been rejected by eight publishers.

HgwrtsWinterThe Harry Potter book series that followed has found an enormous and passionate following around the world. The seven books in the series have been published in sixtyseven languages. The books have taken readers to Hogwarts and beyond, to a world of wizards, flying broomsticks, and magic wands ...a world of the imaginationThere are over 450 million books in print. There are eight movies that have translated the the books into fantasy adventure films with a worldwide gross of over seven and a half billion dollars... there are websites, games, theme parks, as well as a wide variety of merchandise.

The Harry Potter books were the catalyst for the major cross-over phenomenon of adults reading YA books, a change in the book buying  marketplace that continues to this day. 

And it all started with the imagination of J.K. Rowling -- and an 8 year old girl who liked to read, who helped open the doors to a world wonder, a world of fantasy, magic and imagination for millions of children, teenagers, moms and dads around the world.

The centaurs in the Forbidden Forest and the Hogwarts school are from the Harry Potter movies.

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JKRowlingGuardian "Many prefer not to exercise their imaginations at all. They choose to remain comfortably within the bounds of their own experience, never troubling to wonder how it would feel to have been born other than they are". J.K. Rowling,  Harvard Commencement Speech, 2008

 
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The Courage to Love...

Lev Grossman, journalist, critic, and best selling author -- Warp, Codex, and the Magicians series -- wrote a very personal, insightful and in-depth appreciation of the legacy of J. K. Rowling, the Harry Potter series, and the Deathly Hallows. It was published in Time  Here are excerpts...

"Deathly Hallows is of course not merely the tying up of plot-threads, it's the final iteration of Rowling's abiding thematic concern: the overwhelming importance of continuing to love in the face of death....


VoldemortHarrySo we have known for a while that Voldemort cannot love, that he has been spiritually ruined by his parents' deaths, and he will kill anyone to stave off his own death. Harry, though also an orphan, has found the courage to love. "Do not pity the dead, Harry," a wise man tells Harry in Deathly Hallows. "Pity the living, and, above all, those who live without love." Characterologically speaking, the greatest question that remains in Hallows might be whether Harry can do this — that is, whether Harry can find it in himself to pity the man who killed his parents..."

Grossman then writes of mixed feelings, including sadness, following the completion of Deathly Hallows, the final book in the series...

HarryThe sadness is more an instant nostalgia for the unironic, whole-hearted unanimity with which readers embraced the story of Harry. We did something very rare for Harry Potter: we lost our cool. There is nothing particularly hip about loving Harry. He's not sexy or dangerous the way, say, Tony Soprano was. He's not an anti-hero, he's just a hero, but we fell for him anyway. It's a small sacrifice to the one that Harry makes, of course, but it's what we, as self-conscious, status-conscious modern readers, have to give, and we gave it. We did and do love Harry. We couldn't help ourselves."

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ArmChairBooks2 Reading... 
"Losing one’s self is, after all, one of the rewards of reading. The opportunity to inhabit another self, to experience another consciousness, is perhaps the most profound trespass a work of literature can allow." - Eula Biss

 

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Opening the Door for Hermione 

"You really are the cleverest witch of your age"  HermioneWand

These are the words of Sirius Black, at the close of the movie Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. 

In the book, at this same moment, Sirius spoke to Harry, and says,"We'll see each other again. You are -- truly your father's son, Harry."

Seth Lerer, writing about Theaters of Girlhood in his history of Children's Literature, cites this telling movie moment as a "benediction of female accomplishment"... "this movie takes as its telos the authority of girlhood. It makes Hermione the real performer of the story: the stage manager of HermionePotionsLabmagic; the director of its time shifts, costume, and control.The film becomes a girl's film, one in which the female audience can find their affirmation. Yet the book remains, despite Hermione's obvious centrality, a story about men and boys: about Harry's search forfor his relationship to his dead father; about his need to find surrogates in Black, or Dumbledore."

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Harry's Destiny...

"J.K. Rowling never shies away from the great existential mysteries: death and loss, cruelty
and compassion, desire and depression. Harry  is anything but sheltered and protected from the evils of Voldermort. Think of those fiendish Dementors who are experts in making you HarryHermioneHogwartsOminouslose hope...The presence of loss and the threat of death perpetually hover over the boy magician and he becomes heroic precisely because. like his literary predecessors, he is destined for greatness even though he also possesses the weaknesses, failings, and vulnerabilities of all humans." -- 
Maria Tatar, writing about Theaters For The Imagination, in her book, Enchanted Hunters, The Power of Stories in Childhood. 

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YALECCClogoThe Mind of the Dog

Dog lovers find dogs to be quite special. Dogs are forgiving, affectionate, helpful, and unconditionally loyal.

Therapy dogs help people to heal from emotional problems and support people with physical problems. And they enable kids, helping them to learn to read.

Dog owners often feel that their dogs know what they are thinking.

How much of this is instinct, intuition, or conditioning? What is going on in the dog's mind? What are they thinking?

Yale University has established a Canine Cognition Center to better understand the dog's mind.Here is an excerpt from their website: 

YalecccDogBannerHuman"The Canine Cognition Center at Yale is a new research facility in the Psychology Department at Yale University. Our team of Yale scientists studies how dogs think about the world. Our center is devoted to learning more about canine psychology—how dogs perceive their environment, solve problems, and make decisions. Our findings teach us how the dog mind works, which can help us to better develop programs to improve how we train and work with our canine friends."

 Here is a link to an informative CBS documentary news broadcast on the research and goals of the Yale  Canine Center : Studying the Brain of Man's Best Fried. This video includes scenes where the research tests with the dogs is taking place.

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 Castle in the Mist is the second book in the Planet Of The Dogs Series...Here is an excerpt... "The trail became rougher and then, through the trees, CITM-Dogs in a snowy forest-blog sizethey saw the ancient castle of the Black Hawk warriors.  It was an awesome sight.  It had been built as a fortress castle long ago – before the memory of people could recall.  It was later abandoned and lay empty for hundreds of years until the forest people began to use it once again.  It was a large, solid structure with two towers rising above the walls.  The ancient stones rested on granite bedrock, and the back wall rose straight up from the vast waters of the lake.  As they approached, the sun was setting and mist was rising over the waters.  Soon, the mist would move over the land."

To read more, and for sample chapters from all the books in the series,visit our Planet Of The Dogs website.

We have free reader copies of the Planet of The Dogs book series for therapy dog organizations, individual therapy dog owners, librarians and teachers...simply send us an email at planetofthedogs@gmail.com. and we will send you the books,. 

Jordyn castleOur books are available through your favorite independent bookstore, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Powell's and many more...Librarians, teachers, bookstores...You can also order Planet Of The Dogs, Castle In The Mist, and Snow Valley Heroes, A Christmas Tale, through Ingram with a full professional discount.

 
The illustration from Castle In The Mist is by Stella Mustanoja McCarty. The photo is by C.A.Wulff.

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An Alternate Universe... The Harry Potter Legacy

Michiko Kakutani is a highly regarded book critic for the New York Times. Following the publication of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” the seventh and final book in the series, she wrote a review of the book and an affirmation of the Harry Potter Legacy.

Here are excerpts:

"It is Ms. Rowling’s achievement in this series that she manages to make Harry both a familiar
HarryHermioneDangeradolescent — coping with the banal frustrations of school and dating — and an epic hero, kin to everyone from the young King Arthur to Spider-Man and Luke Skywalker. This same magpie talent has enabled her to create a narrative that effortlessly mixes up allusions to Homer, Milton, Shakespeare and Kafka, with silly kid jokes about vomit-flavored candies, a narrative that fuses a plethora of genres (from the boarding-school novel to the detective story to the epic quest) into a story that could be Exhibit A in a Joseph Campbell survey of mythic archetypes.

In doing so, J. K. Rowling has created a world as fully detailed as L. Frank Baum’s Oz or J. R. R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth, a world so minutely imagined in terms of its history and rituals and rules that it qualifies as an alternate universe, which may be one reason the “Potter” books have spawned such a passionate following and such fervent exegesis. 

The world of Harry Potter is a place where the mundane and the marvelous, the ordinary and HarryRonOwlthe surreal coexist. It’s a place where cars can fly and owls can deliver the mail, a place where paintings talk and a mirror reflects people’s innermost desires. It’s also a place utterly recognizable to readers, a place where death and the catastrophes of daily life are inevitable, and people’s lives are defined by love and loss and hope — the same way they are in our own mortal world." 

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Celebrating Reading

 

 

OldLibrarySignLiz Burns, activist librarian, blogger ("its all about story"), book reviewer (YA and chhildren's books), and author (PoP Goes the Library) wrote a post about libraries and reading. Here is an excerpt:

"As libraries, especially public libraries, take a look at programs and resources and books within the context of the Common Core --

GlasgowLibraryManReadsRemember. We are more than the Common Core. We are also about escaping into literature. We are about the joys of getting lost in a book. We are about celebrating the act of reading for the sole reason that some of us like to read. Or, rather, love to read.


And that simple pleasure, well, sometimes, it does get attacked. Is the person reading the
right books? What are they learning from those books? Is it making them a better person? Is it Books3uplifting? Does it have a moral? Is deep reading going on? Is the reading being done the "right" way? Will this make someone a better employee? Is reading too passive? Isn't it better to be making something than reading? Isn't it better to be talking to people? Don't people have better things to do than read? Than read that book?

I think one of the wonders of libraries is that it is still a place for the person who loves reading. Libraries are more -- we are the sum of our parts, more than any one part of our mission. And part of that more is, and should continue to be, celebrating reading and being there for readers."

 


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Planet Dog Foundation  Has Awarded More than A Million Dollars in Grants to Therapy Dog Organizations...

Chicago's Canine Therapy Corps was one of the recipient organizations.  

CTCPhotoSteveGrubmanCanineTherapyCorpsThe Canine Therapy Corps (CTC), with over 100 volunteers, helps to heal and bring hope to children and adults with a wide range of difficult and painful problems including autism, cancer, PTSD, addiction recovery problems, emotional behavioral problems, rehabilitation and senior issues and more.

The kids and therapy dogs in this excellent CTC  video will touch your heart...the video includes interactions and healing moments with kids, dogs, therapists, parents and volunteers.

Here is their Mission Statement:

The Canine Therapy Corps...

CTC_Keshet_25Empowers and motivates individuals to improve their physical and psychological health and well-being by harnessing the human-animal bond;
Provides goal-directed, interactive animal-assisted therapy services, free of charge, using volunteers and certified therapy dogs;
Advances animal-assisted interventions through research and collaboration.

The group photo of CTC dogs is courtesy of Steve Grubman

 

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Imagine That

An Interview with Jack Zipes, By the Editors of Interstitial Journal, on how media and marketing have reduced the cultural value of Fairy Tales...

Here are excerpts:

..."The nineteenth century, especially in Europe and North America, became the golden age of fairy tale collecting that led to the foundation of folklore societies. By the twentieth century, the fairy tale and other simple folk genres began to thrive not only by word of mouth and through
OlPosterWizardOzMusical2print, as they had for centuries, but were also transformed, adapted, and disseminated through radio, postcards, greeting cards, comics, cinema, fine arts, performing arts, wedding ceremonies, television, dolls, toys, games, theme parks, clothes, the Internet, university courses, and numerous other media and objects. Among the modes of hyped advertising were posters, billboards, interviews, window dressings, department store shows, radio, tv, and Internet interviews, ads in newspapers, magazines, and journals, and all the other kinds of paratexts that accompany a cultural product. As I argued in my book Why Fairy Tales Stick: The Evolution and Relevance of a Genre... Hyping is the exact opposite of preservation and involves, as I have argued, conning consumers and selling products that have a meager cultural value and will not last. Some recent fairy tale films produced by the mainstream culture industry reveal how filmmakers and producers hype to sell shallow products geared primarily to make money. They use the mass media to exploit the widespread and constant interest in fairy tales that has actually deepened since the nineteenth century..."

The interview continues with examples of marketing compromises made to achieve financial success that blur or change the integrity of the original tales.  

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 A fairytale doesn’t exist in a fixed form... 

"Like a mother tongue, the stories are acquired, early, to become part of our mental furniture
CoverCottageintheWoodsCatherineCoville(think of the first books you absorbed as a child). The shared language is pictorial as well as verbal, and international, too. Such language – Jung called it archetypal – has been growing into a common vernacular since the romances of classical antiquity and the middle ages – Circe from the Odyssey and Vivienne from Morte d’Arthur are recognisable forerunners of fairy queens and witches, and the sleeping beauty herself first appears in a long medieval chivalric tale, Perceforest. A fairytale doesn’t exist in a fixed form; it’s something like a tune that can migrate from a symphony to a penny whistle."

 This is an excerpt from Marina Warner’s Once Upon a Time: A Short History of Fairy Tale 

 

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The New Edition of Born Without A Tail

In her original book, Born Without a Tail, C.A. Wulff chronicles the true-life adventures of two animal rescuers living with an ever-changing house full of pets. She takes us on a journey from childhood through adulthood, sharing tales, (mis)adventures and insights garnered from a lifetime of encounters with a menagerie of twenty remarkable animals.

BwatcoversThe new edition also has a prologue about Wulff's journey into advocacy; and, it also has several additional photos. Here’s what some readers have said about it:

 “I can’t say too much about this book, it’s more than a ‘dog book’ it’s RocketatOUACStore
a people, animals, life book.
I was hooked from the first page and read it straight through, and have re read it since, enjoying it just as much the second time around.  Anyone who’s ever had a heart dog, a misfit cat, ever been touched by the love of an animal should enjoy this book. It’s a keeper.
 

“A collection of funny and heartwarming tales that shaped the life of a young animal advocate. Inspiring and written from the heart.“ I was touched by this account of love, friendship, responsibility and true selflessness. If you love animals you will not be able to put this book down.“ .

The book covers and the photo of Rocket are by C.A. Wulff.

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LogoBetterLumos is part of J.K. Rowling's effort to make the world a better place. Her focus is on children and poverty. She is the founder of Lumos, one of several charities she supports. Here are excerpts from the Lumos website:

Across the globe 8 million children are living in institutions that deny them individual love and care. More than 80% are not orphans. They are separated from their families because they are poor, disabled or from an ethnic minority. As a result, many suffer lifelong physical and emotional harm. 

Urban slumMeanwhile, the numbers of children in so-called orphanages continues to rise in areas outside Europe. Lumos has now begun work in the Latin American and Caribbean region. We have started in Haiti, where approximately 30,000 children are currently living in almost entirely privately funded orphanages. Once again, we find the familiar ratio of 80% non-orphans, and recognize the driving force of poverty. 

Lumos has a single, simple goal: to end the institutionalization of children worldwide by 2050. This is ambitious, but achievable. It is also essential. Eight million voiceless children are currently suffering globally under a system that, according to all credible research, is indefensible. We owe them far, far better. We owe them families.

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WCDogsLogo

Nancy Hauser's Way Cool Dogs has two new articles with excellent guidelines for people thinking of getting a dog. One article is an overview, dealing primarily with breed and size...Here is an excerpt from the second article:

 "All dogs need a certain amount of affection, attention, grooming, mental stimulation and physical activity. But different dogs need different levels of each, and should match that of their owner. For example, do you want to brush your dog or have the time? Are you going to be at work most of the day, and have a dog sitter rounded up to care for your pet while you are gone? These things all need to be well-thought out at all dogs are different with different needs."
 
Both articles will link you to the very helpful Dog Breed Selector.

Abc-animals-animated
 
Way Cool Dogs also offers: ABC Animals-Animated Flashcards where you can record your own voice or sounds. This is from their site:
 

"It’s finally here – our ABC Animals – Animated Flashcards mobile app for iOS!Image is in WCD folder in Blog Material)

ABC Animals – Animated Flashcards is an animated flashcard app for iPhone and iPod with 52 beautifully illustrated animations of adult and baby animals. Featuring phonics and a slideshow! Record you own voice and sounds and download free coloring pages!"

 

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 The Power of Illustration at the Eric Carle Museum EriccarleMusem-logo

UliShulevitz

If you have an interest in the power of illustration to ignite children's imagination, and you'll be in New England in the coming months, consider visiting the  Eric Carle Museum in Amherst, MA. where multiple exhibits are taking place.

 
AliceBolamEricCarleMuseumChildren's memories of early books have often been enhanced by
illustrations of worlds of wonder. As an adult, the mind still carries images from these early journeys. Historians attribute much of the great success of Taylor's versions of the Grimm's Tales in early nineteenth century England to the illustrations of George Cruikshank.
 
The Eric Carle Museum is featuring exhibits by four outstanding artist/illustrators: Alice Bolam Preston (1888-1958);  Eric Carle ; Uli Shurevitz; and Gustav Dore. 
 
Many of Dore's illustrations are considered to be pioneering classics. Here is an excerpt from the museum's website regarding Dore and his
influence on modern illustrators:

 
DoreRedRidinghood2"Sleeping Beauty,' 'Little Red Riding Hood,' and 'Beauty and the Beast.'  Doré’s timeless illustrations are presented in this exhibition along with the works of contemporary children’s-book illustrators. Allowing for a side-by-side comparison, the influence of Doré becomes apparent in the works of famous contemporary illustrators like Jerry Pinkney, James Marshall, and Fred Marcellino..." 
 
The Eric Carle catipillar logo is by Eric Carle; the flying boat illustration is by Uli Shurevitz; the fairy in the garden illustration is by Alice Bolam Preston; and the Little Red Riding Hood illustration is by Gustav Dore. They are all part of the Eric Carle Museum exhibits. 

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        AdspringreadsPOD2012  

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       The Planet Of The Dogs series is in China

        HBG

The Chongxianguan Book Company in Beijing has published the
complete Planet Of The Dogs series in China. They have translated the text and produced new illustrations (above) and covers. On the left, are illustrations from the Chinese books. On the right are illustrations from the English version. Deanna Leah of HBG productions introduced the books to our Chinese publishers.You can visit the Chinese web page for Planet Of The Dogs through this link: CHINA 

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  GirlDogWomanBookNew York City R.E.A.D.  Update

Intermountain Therapy Animals have been responsible for developing R.E.A.D. programs and training more than 3000 registered therapy reading dog teams in the USA, Canada, Europe and beyond to South Africa. European countries include Italy, Finland, France, Sweden, Slovenia and Spain. All of  this since 1999.

New York City has a growing and vital program, New York Therapy Dogs R.E.A.D.®, under the direction of Nancy George-Michalson. Here, in her words, is a brief summary of their activities ...

"Our ITA R.E.A.D. teams are being placed in a variety of schools and the NY Public Libraries working with children with Autism, ESL students and developmentally and emotionally challenged children as well as children who are just curious about reading to a therapy dog. The response from the staff and families has been remarkable."

If you have a dog, live in the NYC area, and have considered therapy reading dog work, click the link above. Or, you can write directly to Nancy at NGM-ART@nyc.rr.com

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"If you must keep your dog outdoors, construct an excellent dog house and kennel based on considerations of your dog’s breed, age, health status, your climate and environment, and safety and health features. Schedule daily activities so that your dog doesn’t become depressed or frustrated, leading to difficult behaviors. Never chain your dog.

It is now a well-established fact that dogs are social, pack-oriented animals who thrive on human companionship and are happiest while living indoors as part of the family. When you bring a new dog into your family, the dog learns to view your family members and your other pets as his or her pack.

Everything proceeds well as long as your dog is content with his or her place in the pack. Many behavior problems can be avoided with a little extra effort or training to make the dog comfortable with this position. CITM-Children in he castle-blog size

The most devastating thing the leader of a pack can do is to isolate an individual from the pack to solve a problem; different problem behaviors will likely arise. The dog might become profoundly depressed or anxious. Nuisance barking is common among dogs kept outdoors. Also, a lonely, isolated dog might disassociate from the family pack and cease to be watchful or protective of the family. You must schedule daily play time or take daily walks. Engage in a new activity with your dog such as nose work."

Anna Nirva, editor and prime mover on Sunbear Squad, continues this post with detailed, comprehensive considerations and guidelines for creating a Humane Dog House.

The illustration, from Castle In The Mist, of the children and the dog, is by Stella  Mustanoja Mccarty.

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"Dogs have given us their absolute all. We are the center of their universe. We are the focus of their love and faith and trust. They serve us in return for scraps. It is without doubt the best deal man has ever made." -- Roger Caras
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17. J. K. Rowling News

rowling130More Proof That J. K. Rowling ROCKS!

Part 1 of a 2-part interview with Harry Potter author J. K. Rowling appeared on the Today Show this morning. There is good news and bad news. The bad news for Harry Potter fans is that she said she is definitely not working on another Harry Potter book. “Harry Potter 8, as in what happened next to Harry, Ron and Hermione — I don’t think that’s going to happen.” Oh well . . .

But the good news is pretty amazing! J. K. Rowling has started a charity called Lumos. (Awesome name, right?) According to the Lumos website, the goal is to eliminate all orphanages and replace them with “community based services that provide children with access to health, education and social care tailored to their individual needs.”

As you probably know, Lumos is the spell to make light, so this name has a special meaning. This charity will help bring the problem of orphanages to light, and hopefully inspire people to change that system. And it will also be a light of hope to the children living in them and can hopefully make their lives much better.

In the Today Show interview, J. K. Rowling said, “I definitely will write for children again, ’cause I love writing for kids. So that will definitely happen, and that will sit comfortably alongside this work [Lumos]. And maybe I’ll get to read that new work to some of these children.”

Did you even need more proof that J. K. Rowling is a goddess? Well, there it is! Do you love her even more now? Leave your reactions in the Comments!

Sonja, STACKS Staffer

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18. Fusenews: Spring is here, spring is here / Life is skittles and life is beer

  • The weather!  She has warmed here in NYC!  The crocuses and daffodils and purple flowers that I can never identify are blooming in my front yard.  The birds are singing and there are buds on the trees.  Tis spring spring spring!  To celebrate, we begin today with a poetic celebration of baseball (a very spring thing) written by none other than my father.  You may have known that my mother was talented in this manner.  So too mon pere.  Enjoy!
  • News That Did Not Make a Sufficient Splash in America: How is it that we are not ALL aware that over in Bologna the small Brooklyn publisher Enchanted Lion Books won the prize for Best Children’s Publisher of the Year in the U.S. category?  I do not recall seeing this in my PW Children’s Bookshelf (though perhaps I missed it) nor on my tweets.  Come on, people!  Big time honor here and it couldn’t have gone to a nicer company.  Well done!
  • There are few things the British like more than rereleasing new Harry Potter covers.  They just revealed the new Jim Kay cover and while it does resemble some of the European covers I’ve seen, I think it is the very first time I’ve ever seen a hog associated in any way with Hogwarts.

Harry’s hair is actually messy!  And here is a nice interview with the artist in question.

  • I say this in all sincerity: The Bay Area Children’s Theatre may be the coolest theater of all time.  Yes, I love the New Victory Theatre in here NYC and my heart will always have a soft spot for Children’s Theatre Company of Minneapolis, but check out this upcoming season.  It was Rickshaw Girl that drilled it all home for me.  Rickshaw Girl!  That would work brilliantly on the stage.
  • This one’s interesting.  There’s an extension (I think they’re called extensions, though I’m a little hazy on that point) that once installed on your computer allows you to browse Amazon.com and see the availability of the items there in your local library.  The applications, should they get out, could be enormous.  Using an online retailer to search your local library (which could be useful if your library’s search engine is archaic).  Curious how people feel about this one.  It’s called Library Extension.
  • We’ve seen books written by children reach various levels of popularity over the years.  Swordbird, Eragon, She Was Nice to Mice, etc.  And we’ve seen celebrity children’s books flood our shelves whether we want them or not.  Now the two have come together with an upcoming release and it’s . . . um . . . well, it’s kind of the ULTIMATE celebrity child author of all time.  This I’ll pass on, though.
  • What kinds of children’s books would you like to see?  Where are your pet personal gaps?  Marc Aronson begins the conversation.
  • Daily Image:

I don’t usually show tweets that amuse me, but this one had me laughing aloud in public for days.

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19. Fusenews: Starring the World’s Creepiest Cat in the Hat!

  • Here in New York we’re getting very excited.  The 90-Second Film Festival is coming!!  And soon too!  Here’s a PW interview with James Kennedy about the festival and for those of you in the NYC area you can see it at NYPL on Saturday, March 7th at 3:00 p.m. In fact, now that I think about it, you could begin your day at NYPL at 2:00 p.m. at my Children’s Literary Salon Blurred Lines?: Accuracy and Illustration in Nonfiction.  We’ll be hosting Mara Rockliff (author), Brian Floca (author/illustrator), Nicole Raymond (editor), and Sophie Blackall (illustrator/author) as they discuss the responsibility of an illustrator when working on a piece of historical nonfiction for kids and whether or not words garner closer scrutiny than pictures.  Should be a fabulous day.
  • We all know on some level that when a book is adapted into a movie the likelihood of the strong female characters staying strong is negligible.  There are always exceptions to the rule, but by and large it’s depressing not to be more shocked by the recent Cracked piece 6 Insulting Movie Adaptations of Strong Female Characters.  I was very pleased to see the inclusion of Violet from A Series of Unfortunate Events too.  Folks tend to forget about her.
  • At the beginning of February I had the infinite pleasure of hosting a Children’s Literary Salon at NYPL on Collaborating Couples.  I invited in Ted & Betsy Lewin, Andrea and Brian Pinkney, and Sean Qualls and Selina Alko.  You can read the PW round-up of the talk here, but before we hit the stage I had to ask Sean about this incident that occurred involving his book with Selina, The Case for Loving and W. Kamau Bell’s treatment at Berkeley’s Elmwood Café.  We didn’t touch on it during our talk since it wasn’t pertinent to this particular discussion, but if you haven’t read the article I suggest you give it a look.
  • If I’m going to be honest about it, this perfectly encapsulates what I’ve always personally felt about the Elephant and Piggie books.  This is because growing up I was the child that wanted everyone and everything in the universe to pair up.  Sesame Street fed this desire to a certain degree but the only time Mr. Rogers got close was during the opera episodes.  And don’t even get me STARTED on Reading Rainbow (no sexual tension = no interest for 4-year-old Betsy).  Hence my perverse desire to see Gerald and Piggie become a couple.  I know, I know.  Clearly I need help.
  • Moomins!  Ballet!  Moomins in ballet!  Sorry, do you need more than that?  Thanks to Marci for the link.
  • It’s fun to read this look at the Mary Poppins Hidden Relationships Fan Theory, but I’ve a bone to pick with it.  Correct me if I’m wrong but doesn’t the book of Mary Poppins make it very clear that yes indeed Mary Poppins WAS Bert’s nanny back in the day?  Or am I just making stuff up?  I thought this was cannon.  That other stuff about Bert’s relationships is particularly peculiar as well.

Perhaps you feel, as I do, that you’ve read every possible Harry Potter related list out there devised by the human brain.  Still and all, while I had seen a bunch of these, there are still some lovely surprises in the BuzzFeed list 21 Times “Harry Potter” Was the Cleverest Book Series Ever.

Speaking of Harry Potter and BuzzFeed, new term alert: Racebent.  Didn’t know it, but this piece has actually convinced me that it is entirely possible that Hermione Granger isn’t the white-skinned schoolgirl she’s often considered to be.  Recall if you will that it was only ever made explicit that Dean Thomas had dark skin when the Harry Potter books were brought over to America (a fact that is not usually mentioned in these stories).

  • Oh, what the heck.  May as well get as Harry Potterish as possible today.  Look!  Cover animations!
  • For years I’ve yearned to go to TLA (the meeting of the Texas Library Association).  State library meetings are always fun, but Texas takes their own to another level.  So far I haven’t had an excuse, but I was reminded of this desire recently when I read the rather delightful piece on how an abandoned Texan Walmart got turned into the ultimate public library.  McAllen?  You’re good people.
  • Let It Be Known: That every author and illustrator out there that makes school visits on a regular basis should take a very close look at Nathan Hale’s School Visit Instructions and replicate PRECISELY what he has done on their own websites.  Obviously you cannot all draw so in terms of visuals he has you beat.  However, this information is perfect and you could certainly write it down in some form yourself.  Let it also be known that his upcoming book about Harriet Tubman, The Underground Abductor, is AMAZING.  Here’s the cover:

  • David Wiesner created an app?  Yep, pretty much.  It’s called Spot and it is now on my To Buy list.
  • Oh!  I don’t know if any of you folks actually know about this.  Were you aware that there is a major children’s book award out there for math-related titles?  Yep, there is.  It’s called the Mathical Award and it’s a project that has come out of a collaboration between The Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI) and the Children’s Book Council (CBC).  Those of you producing such books should look into it.  Could be very very useful to you.
  • Daily Image:

I’ve been meaning to get back to work on updating my post of the Complete Listing of All Children’s Literature Statues in the United States for a while here.  There are definitely some sections that need work.  However, one image I will not be adding is this statue of what might be the world’s creepiest Cat in the Hat.  Not because I don’t like him (oh, I do, I do) but because it’s on school rather than public property.  That doesn’t mean I can’t share him with you anyway, though.

Many thanks to Paula Wiley for bringing him to my attention.  Wowzah.

 

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9 Comments on Fusenews: Starring the World’s Creepiest Cat in the Hat!, last added: 2/26/2015
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20. How Would Hermione Granger Have Fared as the Chosen One?

What if Hermione Granger had been named The Chosen One? BuzzFeed has created a video (embedded above) called “If Hermione Were The Main Character In Harry Potter”—it has drawn more than 680,000 views on YouTube.

Many of the characters within the Harry Potter universe enjoy a fiercely loving loyal fan base including the sharp-tongued matriarch Molly Weasley, the surprisingly brave Neville Longbottom, and the greatly misunderstood Severus Snape. Who’s your favorite character from J.K. Rowling’s beloved book series?

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21. 29,000+ Harry Potter Fans Deem Severus Snape to be a Hero

Potions Master Severus Snape

BuzzFeed conducted a poll asking its readers to vote on this question: “Is Snape Actually A Hero?” More than 29,000 fans cast their votes as “yes.”

Arguably, the most enigmatic character in the Harry Potter universe is Professor Severus Snape. Many would actually describe him as an anti-hero.

What’s your opinion about the famed potions master? Click here to watch a fan-made video about the character’s life story.

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22. What?!? When!?!: Your Updated Comics Cinema Calendar, March 2015 Edition — Now With More Frozen!

frozen-fever-elsa-anna

This icy force both foul and fair has a frozen heart worth mining.

Well, I had hoped to wait until May before updating my movie calendar, but then Bob Iger had to go and hold an annual shareholder’s meeting for Disney.

…which means that all sorts of stuff got announced, so here’s the latest.

NOTE:  My colleagues have noted the confusion over Warner Brothers’ superhero schedule.

To be clear: past Suicide Squad, WB/DC Entertainment has not matched announced movies with opening dates.

So, you will see a listing like:

Unknown 2018 Flash

and

3/23/2018 Untitled DC 

That does not mean that there are two movies scheduled, only that DCE is planning movies, and has claimed dates.  Other news sites have linked titles to dates.  This has not been officially announced or confirmed by Warner Brothers, and until I see official confirmation, will continue to list the names and dates separately.  When do I expect to see that confirmation?  Either at a shareholder’s meeting, or sometime in July or August, just like last year.  Like last year, I expect Marvel, via D23, to make a bigger splash than DC, although DC could try to win Comic-Con this year, given Marvel Studio’s suspected absence.


Updates in BOLD.

5/1/2015 The Avengers: Age of Ultron Marvel
6/19/2015 Inside Out Pixar
7/10/2015 Mininons Universal
7/17/2015 Ant-Man Marvel
7/24/2015 Pixels Sony/Columbia
8/7/2015 The Fantastic Four Fox
8/14/2015 Underdogs (Metegol) Weinstein
10/23/2015 Jem and the Holograms Universal
11/6/2015 The Peanuts Movie Fox
11/25/2015 The Good Dinosaur Pixar
12/18/2015 Star Wars: The Force Awakens Disney
Unknown 2015 Popeye Sony
 —
Unknown 2016 Untitled Lego Movie Warners
2/12/2016 Deadpool Fox
3/4/2016 Zootopia Disney
3/25/2016 Batman v Superman DCE
5/6/2016 Captain America: Civil War Marvel
5/27/2016 X-Men: Apocalypse Fox
6/3/2016 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 Paramount
6/17/2016 Finding Dory Pixar
7/8/2016 ??? (Was Doctor Strange) Marvel
7/8/2016 Star Trek 3 Paramount
7/22/2016 Power Rangers Lionsgate
8/5/2016 Suicide Squad DCE
8/5/2016 Untitled Smurfs Movie Sony
8/19/2016 Kubo and the Two Strings Focus/Laika
9/23/2016 Ninjago Warners
10/7/2016 Gambit Fox
10/7/2016 Monster High Universal
11/4/2016 Doctor Strange Marvel
11/18/2016 HP: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Warners
11/23/2016 Moana Disney
12/16/2016 Star Wars: Rogue One Disney
 —
Unknown 2017 Wonder Woman DCE
Unknown 2017 Justice League, Part One DCE
Unknown 2017 Lego Batman Warners
2/10/2017 Untitled Warner Animation Group Project Warners
3/3/2017 Untitled Wolverine Fox
3/10/2017 Captain Underpants Dreamworks
4/14/2017 Ghost in the Shell Disney
5/5/2017 Guardians of the Galaxy 2 Marvel
5/26/2017 Untitled LEGO Movie Warners
5/26/2017 Star Wars: Episode VIII Disney
6/2/2017 The Fantastic Four 2 Fox
6/16/2017 Toy Story 4 Pixar
6/23/2017 Untitled DC DCE
7/7/2017 Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales Disney
7/28/2017 Unititled Spider-Man Sony/Marvel
11/3/2017 Thor: Ragnarok Marvel
11/17/2017 Untitled DC DCE
11/22/2017 Untitled Pixar Animation Pixar
 —
Unknown 2018 Flash DCE
Unknown 2018 Aquaman DCE
Unknown 2018 Lego Movie 2 Warners
Unknown 2018 HP: Fantastic Beasts Warners
2/9/2018 Untitled Warner Animation Group Project Warners
3/9/2018 Untitled Disney Animation Disney
3/23/2018 Untitled DC DCE
5/4/2018 Avengers: Infinity War, Part 1 Marvel
5/25/2018 Untitled Warner Animated Film Warners
6/15/2018 Untitled Pixar Animation Pixar
7/6/2018 Black Panther Marvel
7/13/2018 Untitled Fox / Marvel Fox / Marvel
7/27/2018 Untitled DC DCE
11/2/2018 Captain Marvel Marvel
11/16/2018 Untitled WB Event Film Warners
11/21/2018 Untitled Disney Animation Disney
 —
Unknown 2019 Shazam DCE
Unknown 2019 Justice League Part Two DCE
4/5/2019 Untitled DC DCE
5/3/2019 Avengers: Infinity War, Part 2 Marvel
5/24/2019 Untitled Warner Animated Film Warners
6/14/2019 Untitled DC DCE
7/12/2019 Inhumans Marvel
 —
Unknown 2020 Cyborg DCE
Unknown 2020 Green Lantern DCE
Unknown 2020 HP: Fantastic Beasts Warners
4/3/2020 Untitled DC DCE
6/19/2020 Untitled DC DCE
11/20/2020 Untitled WB Event Film Warners
 —
UNKNOWN Untitled Frozen sequel Disney
UNKNOWN Sinister Six Sony

 

2 Comments on What?!? When!?!: Your Updated Comics Cinema Calendar, March 2015 Edition — Now With More Frozen!, last added: 3/13/2015
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23. YouTuber Creates a HarryPotter Meets Friends Mash-Up Video

Could you ever picture the Harry Potter series as a “a lighthearted comedy?” BuzzFeed reports that a Tumblr user who calls himself Jeremiah Rivera created the “Friends Intro Harry Potter Edition” video.

The video embedded above has drawn more than 627,000 views on YouTube. It features scenes showcasing The Boy Who Lived, Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger, Neville Longbottom, Luna Lovegood, and Ginny Weasley. (via BuzzFeed)

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24. Harry Potter-Themed Parody of ‘Uptown Funk’ Song Goes Viral

Could you ever imagine Lord Voldemort as a pop star? A YouTuber who calls himself KFaceTV created a Harry Potter-themed parody of the song “Uptown Funk.”

The video embedded above features “Dark Lord Funk” performed by He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named and his band of Death Eaters; it has drawn more than 316,000 views. Click here to watch the original music video with the Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars’ track.

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25. Do you know your Potter from your Paddington?

The last three decades have seen arguably the most fertile periods in the history of children’s literature, across the field. The phenomenon that is Harry Potter, the rise of YA, and books that tackle difficult subjects for younger readers are just a few examples of the material included in the new edition of The Oxford Companion to Children’s Literature by Daniel Hahn.

The post Do you know your Potter from your Paddington? appeared first on OUPblog.

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