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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Ellen Potter, Most Recent at Top [Help]
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1. Moonbot Has Started to Develop Feature-Length Film Projects

The Oscar-winning Louisiana animation studio Moonbot recently announced that it is developing multiple feature-length film projects. It has acquired the film rights to two YA book series: the "Olivia Kidney" trilogy by Ellen Potter, which it plans to do as a live-action/animation hybrid; and "The Extincts" by Veronica Cossanteli.

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2. The Kneebone Boy

The Kneebone Boy by Ellen Potter tells the story of the Hardscrabble children, Otto, Lucia and Max, whose mother disappeared several years before the book begins.

The book is narrated by one of the Hardscrabbles but the narrator refuses to tell us which one. The oldest brother, Otto, has not spoken in years and wears a scarf all the time, winter, summer, day and night.  He looks different from his siblings, too, having blond hair while their hair is dark.  Perhaps, he is the narrator? 

Their father is an artist, painting the portraits of lesser aristocracy and fallen royalty.  He travels quite a bit but brings home the best sketches and wild stories of the people he meets.

One of the children intercepts a letter from an aunt they barely know threatening to do something if the father doesn't tell them the truth about their mother.  Then their father is called away to do another portrait and he sends the three children to spend time with this aunt.  But she is not expecting them and they are on their own.

Which turns out to be fine, actually.  These books are always far more satisfying if the children have to find their own way.  The aunt lets them stay in the "folly" or playhouse right outside Kneebone castle and it is here that they learn about the mythical Kneebone Boy. 

Every generation, the Kneebone family produces a child who is horribly deformed - or so it is told.  The castle is supposed to be abandoned but the Hardscrabbles know it is not and they are determined to save the Kneebone boy from isolation and deprivation.

The playhouse is huge - as big as a regular house - with gadgets and trickery galore.  And there is an ominous local who spends far too much time in the surrounding woods - as do Otto, Lucia and Max.

The ending ties everything up very neatly, and if I was ten or eleven or twelve, I'd accept it without question.  After all, parents do things for unfathomable reasons, right?  So, read The Kneebone Boy.  When you do, I'd like to know.  Did you even for one second, expect it to end the way it does?

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3. THE HUMMING ROOM Blog Tour

Ellen Potter's retelling of the classic The Secret Garden goes on sale this week: The Humming Room. To celebrate we put together a little blog tour! be sure to check out these blog tour stops for some Q&As with Ellen and guest posts written by Ellen, and find out more about Ellen Potter and the world she created in The Humming Room!

Monday 2/27  http://bunburyinthestacks.blogspot.com/

Tuesday 2/28  http://janasbooklist.blogspot.com/

Wednesday 2/29  http://www.missiontoread.com/

Thursday 3/1  http://redhousebooks.blogspot.com/

Friday 3/2  http://www.kidlitfrenzy.com/

Monday 3/5  http://www.greatimaginations.blogspot.com/

Tuesday 3/6  http://www.wordforteens.com/

Wednesday 3/7  http://vvb32reads.blogspot.com/

Thursday 3/8  http://www.thebookrat.com/

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4. Overweight and Invisible

Since I don’t do much with YA on a regular basis I don’t read the blog of The Book Smugglers as often as I would like, even though they’re some of the best in the biz.  Love their reviews.  Really top notch stuff.

Anyway, they recently reviewed a book called The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson and they got to talking about plus sized folks on covers.  The initial galley for Carson’s book featured a waiflike slip of a white girl when the character is supposed to be plus sized and dark-skinned.  Necessary changes were made to the final cover, but you still wouldn’t be able to tell the girth of the heroine from either of them.  The Book Smugglers end their review with, “Something we haven’t talked much about, however, is this concept of slenderizing a plus-sized character for a cover. We’ve seen it before in books like Everything Beautiful. Have you noticed any of this in your reading?”  Elizabeth Fama recommended a great Stacked piece on the subject from 2009 which I remember seeing some years ago that discussed this very thing.

I’ve been wondering about portrayals of overweight children in books for kids myself.  With obesity rates the highest they have ever been amongst our nation’s youth, ours is a country that doesn’t know how to deal with its large children.  Their portrayal in literature, therefore, is something to think about.  Usually, if you’re a kid and fat in a book then you’re a villain of sorts.  A Dudley Dursley or Augustus Gloop.  If, by some miracle, you’re the hero of the book that’s fine, but you’d better be prepared to disappear from your own cover.

So I tried to find representation of fat children on middle grade book covers.  Alas, these are the only books I was able to come up with, and as you can see they’re hardly ideal.  Let’s look at what book jackets tend to do to large kids.  As far as I can tell, these fall into three distinct categories: Inanimate Objects, Taking Advantage of Momentary Slimming, or Part of the Body.

Inanimate Objects

By far the most popular solution.  On the YA end of things it’s almost de rigueur.  On the children’s side it’s less common but not entirely unheard of.

Larger Than Life Lara by Dandi Daley Mackall

Here we had a book about a confident, well-adjusted girl who was also fat.  And here we have a book cover of a dress, with no girl in sight.  Yes, it refers to the plot, but still . . .

Slob by Ellen Potter

Owen, the hero of this book, is a big guy but you wouldn’t know it from looking at the cover of the book.

11 Comments on Overweight and Invisible, last added: 9/30/2011
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5. “Bystander” Named to Ballot of 2012 Charlotte Award Nominees

This is amazing good news. Great news, in fact. I’m happy and proud to say that my book, Bystander, is included on the ballot for the 2012 New York State Reading Association Charlotte Award.

To learn more about the award, and to download a ballot or bookmark, please click here.

The voting is broken down into four categories and includes forty books. Bystander is in the “Grades 6-8/Middle School” category. Really, it’s staggering. There are ten books in this category out of literally an infinity of titles published each year. You do the math, people.

For more background stories on Bystander — that cool inside info you can only find on the interwebs! — please click here (bully memory) and here (my brother John) and here (Nixon’s dog, Checkers) and here (the tyranny of silence).

Below please find all the books on the ballot — congratulations, authors & illustrators! I’m honored to be in your company.

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GRADES pre K-2/PRIMARY

Bubble Trouble . . . Margaret Mahy/Polly Dunbar

City Dog, Country Frog . . . Mo Willems/Jon J Muth

Clever Jack Takes the Cake . . . Candace Fleming/G. Brian Karas

Lousy Rotten Stinkin’ Grapes . . . Margie Palatini/Barry Moser

Memoirs of a Goldfish . . . Devin Scillian/Tim Bower

Otis . . . Loren LongStars Above Us . . . Geoffrey Norman/E.B. Lewis

That Cat Can’t Stay . . . Thad Krasnesky/David Parkins

Turtle, Turtle, Watch Out! . . . April Pulley Sayre/Annie Patterson

We Planted a Tree . . . Diane Muldrow/Bob Staake

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GRADES 3-5/INTERMEDIATE

The Can Man . . . Laura E. Williams/Craig Orback L

Emily’s Fortune . . . Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

Family Reminders . . .

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6. The (Re)Invention of Non-Fiction

What am I reading now? The Danger Box by Blue Balliett
 

Non-fiction has a bad wrap. The genre has been categorized as, quite simply, boring, and rightly so. For years, the approach has left much to be desired. Alas, that has all changed.

The credit for this shift goes to a handful of innovative minds. A select few that dare to think outside the box and, by doing so, they have done what their predecessors didn’t. They made children’s non-fiction fun.

An ingenious formula that includes creativity and imagination has led throngs of young readers, and me, to their books. Of course, these innovators took advantage of colour and graphics, who wouldn’t. But, most importantly, they offer the reader the opportunity to participate. To be part of the learning process as a driver and not a passenger. That, my dear readers, deserves our recognition!

Don’t miss these exceptional titles:

How to Build Your Own Country by Valerie WyattKids Can Press

Learn to Speak Music by John Crossingham | Owlkids Books

Spilling Ink: A Young Writer’s Handbook by Anne Mazer and Ellen Potter | Flash Point


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7. Spilling Ink

When two outstanding writers put their heads together and come up with a young writers handbook, it pays to listen to what they have to say whether you’re a young writer seeking advice on a story or an older writer (who has left your teen years far behind) in need of a brush-up course to remind you why you started writing in the first place.The two writers are Anne Mazer (author of over forty

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8. Writing Inspiration

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to win a copy (hot off the presses!) of Spilling Ink by Anne Mazer and Ellen Potter. Thanks ladies! While it's a writers guide for YOUNG writers I immediately found useful and insightful advice. Quite frankly, I think I would be intimidated by an 'adult' writing book. And who doesn't love every drawing Matt Phelan does? I took this to a doctor's appointment and was REALLY disappointed that I didn't have more time in the waiting room. Once I dig deeper, I'd love to do a longer review. In the meantime, just check it out yourself!
With writing on my mind, I found the early reader above offering me another nudge toward writing. Catina (that would be the cat character) writes every night but only desires fame from her pursuits. Turns out, she's a lousy writer and after a 3 part act, it resolves with the message that you should do what you love and happiness will follow.And of course I loved their little flawed friendship as well as the soft, charismatic illustrations. I think as long as your mind is open and close to good material, you'll find the inspiration you need.

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9. Review of the Day – Spilling Ink: A Young Writer’s Handbook by Anne Mazer and Ellen Potter

Spilling Ink: A Young Writer’s Handbook
By Anne Mazer and Ellen Potter
Illustrated by Matt Phelan
Roaring Brook Press (a division of Holtzbrinck Publishing)
$17.99
ISBN: 978-1-59643-628-2
Ages 9-12
On shelves now


I was child writer. Which is to say, I was one of those kids who wrote endless stories between the ages of nine and fourteen or so. Of these stories, I finished only one. And I remember taking a writing class over a summer once that I enjoyed, but otherwise I didn’t have a lot of direction when it came to my writing. I dabbled a bit in high school, but for the most part my creative side floundered for many years before getting a bit of a revivification in adulthood. So it’s impossible for me not to wonder how all of that might have been different had I encountered a book like Spilling Ink: A Young Writer’s Handbook as a child. As far as I can tell, there wasn’t anything like Anne Mazer and Ellen Potter’s book back in the 80s or 90s. For that matter, there hasn’t been much like it in the 2000s or 2010s! Mazer and Potter have essentially come up with a juvenile-friendly version of Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird. I don’t invoke that standard of inspirational writing lightly when I compare it to this book, either. Though there might be the occasional detail I’d expand upon or move about in this title, for the most part Spilling Ink is the perfect book (or gift, for that matter) for any child who dabbles in putting their words in other people’s heads.

Kids may know author Anne Mazer best from her [title: The Amazing Days of Abby Hayes] series. Ellen Potter, on the other hand, is better known for the Olivia Kidney series or her individual books like SLOB. Now these two authors have joined forces to provide their young readers and incipient writers with a bit of guidance. Spilling Ink: A Young Writer’s Handbook splits into three neat and tidy sections: “Part I: Ready, Set, Go!”, “Part II: Crafting Your Story”, and “Part III: The Writer’s Brain”. Within those sections, the authors discuss everything from voice and revision to writer’s block and writing partners. The result is an exhaustive but not exhausting series of practical points of advice for kids interested in becoming that most glorious of occupations: writers.

Mazer and Potter work as well as they do together partly because their written voices meld well and partly because they consistently make good points. For example, right from the start they make it clear that in your book the main character is going to have to want something. I can’t tell you how many published children’s books I read where the characters noodle about, not wanting anything in particular while interesting things happen to them. Some adult writers could benefit from the advice in this story, I think. Another good point is made about making sure your title matches your text. You don’t want a funny title on a serious book, a

4 Comments on Review of the Day – Spilling Ink: A Young Writer’s Handbook by Anne Mazer and Ellen Potter, last added: 6/21/2010
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10. “Bystander” Nominated for the 2011-12 Oklahoma Sequoyah Book Award

I’m happy to report that my master plan for world domination is well under way.

Yes, I’ve got Vermont!

Yes, Kentucky too!

And now, at long last, Oklahoma is mine! All mine!

BWA-HA-HA-HAAAA!

Three states down, 47 to go. I feel like Alf Landon in the 1936 elections, staring up at the big board as the electoral vote trickled in. How’d that work out for old Alf, I wonder?

Answer: He lost to FDR, 8 electoral votes to 525.

This Alf might have fared better.

Seriously, what an honor to be nominated. It’s so great when you throw a book out into the world and something positive bounces back. (Imagine, I just griped about this the other day.)

I received an email from Christopher Elliott, which said:

Congratulations!! You have been nominated for the Oklahoma Library Association’s Sequoyah Book Award. The Sequoyah Book Award program is one of the most prestigious of the state student choice awards in the nation.

<snip>

I am pleased to notify you personally that your book “Bystander” has been nominated for the 2011-2012 Intermediate Masterlist. I am attaching a list of this year’s nominees. You have been nominated for the 2011-2012 program that will be promoted from May 2011 until the voting deadline of March 31, 2012. Votes will be counted in early April, 2012 and the winning author(s) will be notified by April 30, 2012.

The OLA Conference will be held either late March or early April 2013. If your book is selected as a winner, I look forward to contacting you to arrange for your trip to Oklahoma to accept the Sequoyah Award from Oklahoma students.

Here is a list of the Nominations for the 2011-2012 Intermediate Award. Remember the students of Oklahoma will choose the winner.

Chasing Lincoln’s Killer, James Swanson
Darkwood
, M.E. Breen
Watersmeet,
Ellen Abbott
The Girl Who Threw Butterflies
, Mick Cochrane
Closed for the Season,
Mary Downing Hahn
The Brooklyn Nine,
Alan Gratz
Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice
, Phillip Hoose
The Amaranth Enchantment,
Julie Berry
Positively

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