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1. Ruby Barnhill Cast as Sophie in The BFG Movie

Roald Dahl BFGRuby Barnhill, a newcomer English actress, will play Sophie in The BFG. This project marks the first time Barnhill will take on a feature part.

Steven Spielberg will take the helm of this Roald Dahl film adaptation as the director. Mark Rylance, a British theatre actor, has been cast in the titular role.

Here’s more from Deadline: “Published in 1982, The BFG is the story of a young London girl and the world’s only benevolent giant who introduces her to the beauty and peril of Giant Country. The two set off on an adventure (with the aid of the Queen of England) to capture the evil, man-eating giants who have been invading the human world. Spielberg is beginning production early in the New Year and Disney releases on July 1, 2016 in the U.S. EOne will bring it to the UK on July 22, 2016.”

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2. The Fifth Children's Poetry Festival in El Salvador

From the Macondo Newsletter

Edited by Reyna Grande


MACONDISTAS GOING ABROAD

Macondista Rene Colato Lainez recently visited his native country, El Salvador, as a featured author. Read about his visit!


The Fifth Children's Poetry Festival in El Salvador



by Rene Colato Lainez

As a child in El Salvador, I loved to visit the old National Library and read books. I would wonder about the authors whose books I would read. Where they nearby or did they live far away? Were they young or old? How could they have written all those wonderful words that I so enjoyed reading? 

Then one day, when I was living in Los Angeles, I saw on TV and read in the newspaper that an earthquake had destroyed the National Library. I was a sad to know that I was enjoying the public library in Los Angeles while the children in El Salvador no longer had a library, the place that I had loved to visit. 

Years later, the library in El Salvador was rebuilt in a place that used to be a bank and was named after the Salvadoran writer Francisco Gavidia.I wondered if one day, I would be able to visit this new library.



I never dreamed that one day I would, in fact, visit this library, and not as a patron, but as a featured author! I am so privileged that now as an author, I can go back every year to my native country and read my books at the annual Children's Poetry Festival in San Salvador which is hosted by this library.The festival is organized by Salvadoran children's book author Jorge Argueta and his wife Holly Ayala in San Francisco and author Manlio Argueta and the National Library in San Salvador. 



At the festival, the children were very excited to meet authors and poets. Some were local authors, such as Silvia Elena Regalado, Alberto Pocasangre, Jorgelina Cerritos, Ricardo Lindo and Manlio Argueta.Other authors came from abroad, such as Jorge Argueta, Mara Price, Margarita Robleda and myself.

Since some of my books are about Salvadoran children (Waiting for PapáRené Has Two Last Names, My Shoes and I and I am René, the Boy) I was able to connect with the children at the festival through my books. The children there could see themselves, their culture and their country in my books. I told them that dreams do come true. When I was a kid in El Salvador, I had two dreams: to become a teacher and to be an author. Now my dreams are a reality because I believed in myself, did my best and did  not give up. Children looked at me with sparkles of hope in their eyes. They told me that they will also reach for their dreams, and they were so proud to meet me. 

As the children were listening to my books, I could see my own reflection in their eyes. I could see the young boy who had loved visiting the library, enjoyed reading books and wondered about authors. 



The spirit of Macondo is to give back to our communities. I am so happy that I am giving "mi granito de arena" to the children of El Salvador. Many of these children are from rural areas where their parents work hard to provide for them and often there is not enough money to buy books or school supplies. 

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At the end the festival, each child received a festival tote bag with school supplies and gifts, and they also enjoyed a delicious lunch. I am so happy to instill in them the love of books!



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3. Norman Bridwell Has Died

Clifford the Big Red Dog 40th Anniversary EditionNorman Bridwell, the author and illustrator behind the Clifford the Big Red Dog series, has died. He was 86-years-old.

According to the press release, Bridwell created the beloved crimson canine character Clifford back in 1963. His first manuscript was rejected by nine publishers before Scholastic acquired it.

Throughout Bridwell’s fifty-year career, he produced more than 150 titles for this popular children’s book series. Two Clifford titles will be released posthumously: Clifford Goes to Kindergarten (May 2015) and Clifford Celebrates Hanukkah (October 2015).

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4. Protesting Injustice Then and Now

ferguson 2In August we wrote to you about the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Our publisher said then that the matter of representation was urgent; now, four months later, we see that urgency for what it is: a matter of life or death. Michael Brown’s name now sits alongside new names like Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, and Akai Gurley. How many more names will need to be added before things change?

Protests around the country remind us that we are not in a post-racial society, that inequality is still here. This can be a harrowing reminder, but it is also an important teachable moment for young people. How do we put current events in context and help young people engage in today’s big questions?

In difficult moments, books are often a good starting place for conversation. Books that touch on history can be read with fresh eyes in light of current events. For example, in Love to Langston, author Tony Medina describes when a seventh-grade Langston Hughes in 1914 peacefully protests his teacher’s segregation of black students to one row in the classroom. Even when he is expelled, Hughes fights for what he knows is right and his community joins beside him. The teacher is forced to integrate the classroom:

Jim Crow Row
from Love to Langston
By Tony Medina

In the seventh grade
in Lawrence, Kansas
the teacher puts all
us black kids in the same row
away from all the white kids

I don’t roll my eyes
or suck my teeth
with a heavy heavy sigh
and a why why why

I make signs
that read
that read

Jim Crow Row
Jim Crow Row
we in the Jim Crow Row

Jim Crow is a law
that separates white and black
making white feel better
and black feel left back

So we protest
with our parents
and let everybody
know about

Jim Crow Jim Crow
not allowing us
to grow

Jim Crow Jim Crow
don’t put us in a
Jim Crow Row

Whether it was this event or the lifetime of experiences of racism, Langston Hughes was profoundly transformed and wrote about and advocated for equality and justice throughout his life.

I, Too
By Langston Hughes
From the Poetry Foundation

I, too, sing America.

I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.

Tomorrow,
I’ll be at the table
When company comes.
Nobody’ll dare
Say to me,
“Eat in the kitchen,”
Then.

Besides,
They’ll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed—

I, too, am America.

How will today’s children be impacted and awakened as activists by images of and participation in the protesting in Ferguson, New York City, and around the nation? In what ways will this moment and experience affect our children’s lens by which they view the world and influence their life’s purpose or calling? What art will they create to express this moment and themselves?

A photo from one of the recent protests in New York City.

A photo from one of the recent protests in New York City.

Further reading:

Books on Protest:

 


Filed under: Educator Resources, Race Tagged: African/African American Interest, children's books, diversity, Educators, History, Langston Hughes, poetry, Power of Words, race, Race issues, racism

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5. Neil Gaiman Recites ‘Jabberwocky’ From Memory

Once again, Neil Gaiman agreed to perform a reading of a beloved children’s story for a Worldbuilders fundraising venture. The choices included Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak, ‘Jabberwocky’ by Lewis Carroll, Fox in Socks by Dr. Seuss, and Goodnight Moon written by Margaret Wise Brown and illustrated by Clement Hurd.

‘Jabberwocky’ received the most votes and the organization has raised more than $639,000.00. The video embedded above features Gaiman in the woods delivering a dramatic recitation of Carroll’s famous nonsense poem from memory—what do you think?

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6. ‘The Hobbit: The Complete Journey’ Fan-Made Trailer Goes Viral

To honor the release of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, film editor Joel Walden created a fan-made trailer called “The Hobbit: The Complete Journey.” The video embedded above has drawn more than 159,000 views on YouTube—what do you think?

New Line Cinema had originally planned to shoot a two-part Hobbit film adaptation. Many J. R. R. Tolkien fans have criticized Peter Jackson for stretching out The Hobbit story into a trilogy.

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7. Firefly Hollow-WIP

A sneak peak of the current project! See my post from December 2nd to see a screen shot of this piece in an earlier stage. Blogger still seems to be automatically auto correcting the color. If you are interested, the color looks more accurate on my professional Facebook page-Christopher Denise Illustrator.


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8. Stephen Colbert Dresses Up to Celebrate The Hobbit

In celebration of The Hobbit: The Battle of The Five Armies movie, The Colbert Report host Stephen Colbert dressed up as Bilbo Baggins, Legolas Greenleaf, and Gandalf the Grey for the cover of Entertainment Weekly. In the video embedded above, he talks about the experience.

Besides The Hobbit photos, this issue also features an essay where Colbert talks about his long-time infatuation with J.R.R. Tolkien’s books and an interview between Colbert and director Peter Jackson. Follow this link to watch a behind-the-scenes footage of the cover shoot.

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9. Does Amelia Bedelia Frighten You?

Amelia BedeliaWhen bibliophiles think of horror, typically names like Stephen King, Anne Rice, and R.L. Stine come to mind. How about Peggy ParishDorkly.com editor-in-chief Andrew Bridgman and comics creator Andy Kluthe collaborated on a parody piece starring Amelia Bedelia.

Many children’s literature fans will fondly recall Parish’s lovable goofball maid “drawing the drapes,” “dressing the chicken,” and “dusting the furniture.” The ”Why Amelia Bedelia Is Literally The Most Terrifying Character Ever” piece features antics that include “making the bed,” “throwing a baby shower,” and “having a brainstorm session.” What do you think?

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10. Kids Read ‘Little Humans’ Book Out Loud: VIDEO

What happens when you give a Humans of New York book to a group of kids? The video embedded above features “little humans reading Little Humans.”

The Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group released Brandon Stanton’s book back in October 2014. Click here to watch a 92Y video to learn more about this project.

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11. Choosing the World Our Students Read

13089CT01.tifteaching toleranceEmily Chiariello is a Teaching and Learning Specialist with Teaching Tolerance. She has 15 years’ experience as a classroom teacher, professional development and curriculum designer in public, charter and alternative school settings, as well as with non-profit organizations. She holds a master’s degree in philosophy and social policy and is certified in secondary social studies.

Here she discusses Teaching Tolerance’s new curriculum tool, “Project Appendix D,” that empowers educators to identify texts that both meet the demands of the Common Core Standards and reflect the world in which our students live. This blog post was originally posted at the Teaching Tolerance blog.

Teaching Tolerance image (2)

by Emily Chiariello

Does the Common Core limit what texts teachers can use? While many people think so, we don’t. Teaching Tolerance believes it is possible—and important—to choose texts that are both rigorous and relevant. Read on to learn about a new approach to text selection: Appendix D: A Tool for Selecting Diverse Texts. This exciting project goes beyond the resources offered in Appendices A and B and offers a new world of possibilities within literacy instruction.

Appendices A and B

Teachers are expected—per the CCSS’s Appendix A—to select more complex texts, teach more nonfiction and ask more text-dependent questions. But do they feel less empowered to choose readings about social justice or to locate texts that reflect the identities and histories of their students and communities? We’re concerned the answer is yes. We know that teachers want texts that mirror their students’ lives. And to achieve equitable outcomes, the Common Core must be implemented in culturally responsive ways that address social emotional learning as well as academic goals. Yet, this kind of implementation is not happening in most districts.

At first glance, one might think that the “Reader and Task” portion of the text selection model in Appendix A makes room for culturally responsive instructional decisions. Instead, there’s only a brief and bland mention of “reader variables”—motivation, knowledge and experiences—ultimately eclipsed by the other two measures: hard Lexile scores (quantitative) and subjective interpretations of meaning and purpose (qualitative).

pull-quoteAnd then there’s the stark imprint of privilege found in the gaps and silences of Appendix B, a list of “text exemplars” that meet the aforementioned approach to text complexity, quality and range. Too many publishers—and districts, too—have interpreted the text exemplars listed in Appendix B as a required reading list.

Woefully few examples of cultural relevance can be found in “Common Core-aligned” materials and trainings, including Appendix B. Jane M. Gangi, professor of education at Mount Saint Mary College, has analyzed Appendix B and found that, of the 171 texts recommended for children in K-5, only 18 are by authors of color, and few reflect the lives of children of color and children in poverty.

Appendix D

We believe that educators—teachers, librarians and literacy specialists—who work in classrooms every day are in the best positions to identify texts that engage diverse students.

That’s why we’re excited to share our new project: Appendix D: A Tool for Selecting Diverse Texts. Traditionally, tools that support text selection have focused on quantitative and qualitative measures only. But Appendix D promotes a multi-dimensional approach to text selection that prioritizes complexity as well as critical literacy and cultural responsiveness.

Appendix D empowers educators to rely on their knowledge of their students, rather than a prepopulated lists of titles, when selecting texts. The tool walks users through four distinct—but interconnected—text-selection considerations: complexity, diversity and representation, critical literacy, and reader and task. And it’s an editable PDF, allowing folks to document, save and share their text-selection process. (Be sure to download to unlock the editing capabilities.)

So, why a tool and not a list? There are commendable lists out there. Gangi and the Collaborative for Equity Literacy Learning (CELL) assembled an alternative list of multicultural titles, but they are not leveled for teachers to assess text complexity. Others, like publishers LEE & LOW, work to bring more diversity and representation into classroom libraries, and to the task of text selection. However, none of the lists we’ve investigated encompass texts that are both culturally relevant and meet the Common Core’s requirements for complexity. And, unless it is dynamic, any list of diverse books is only as diverse as the person—or people—who made it.

We hope the TT community will use Appendix D to help us grow a dynamic and diverse list of texts based on the four considerations and on the diverse needs of our students. We’ve started with the titles currently found in Perspectives for a Diverse America, our new anti-bias curriculum. In the months to come, as you use the Appendix D tool in your own practice, think of which complex, culturally relevant titles you think your fellow social justice educators would want to know about—and be on the lookout for an invitation to submit your texts to the ever-growing, ever-changing TT community list!

Paulo Freire wrote that, when we read words, we read the world. Don’t we owe it to our students to consider them when choosing those words?Gracias


Filed under: Common Core State Standards, Educator Resources, ELL/ESL and Bilingual Books, Guest Blogger Post, Race Tagged: CCSS, children's books, close reading, diversity, Educators, ELA common core standards, multicultural books, Reading Aloud, reading comprehension

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12. Interview with Nancy Viau and The Kid Lit Authors Club!

I first met Nancy Viau at a workshop she presented for the NJ chapter of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Conference in 2011.  Her middle grade book SAMANTHA HANSEN HAS ROCKS IN HER HEAD (Amulet 2008) had been published.  She, along with some fellow authors, were talking about their books and the group they’d formed called the Kid Lit Authors Club. Here’s Nancy:

First give me some of your own background and how you came to be a children’s book author.
I started writing down ideas and creating silly rhymes when my youngest was about three. I wasn’t sure what to do with the picture books (I use that term loosely because they weren’t even close to being picture books!) that rolled out of my head onto paper, so I joined SCBWI and sat in many, many sessions where I soaked up info on how to write, what to write, and where to send manuscripts. Early on I had success with Highlights, Highlights High Five, Babybug, Ladybug, etc. but no picture book acceptances. A friend encouraged me to write for an older audience so for a while I wrote Op-Ed articles for the Philly Inquirer, popular anthologies, and a mish-mash of parenting magazines. An idea for an older character lead to my middle-grade novel, Samantha Hansen Has Rocks in Her Head, and even after that was published, I never let go of the dream to be a picture book author.

Where and when did the idea for KIDLIT AUTHORS CLUB originate? What’s the philosophy/premise behind the group?
A year after my middle-grade novel came out (2009), I came to the realization that it’s not easy to promote a book and get author gigs. Publishers do not do a lot (*sigh), especially if your book is not a best-seller. Another author, Keri Mikulski, and I thought it might be a good idea to band together with a diverse group of picture book, middle-grade, and young adult authors to help spread the word about our titles. We wanted a book-signing or a general visit to be fun and interactive, an event the entire family could enjoy, and that we could enjoy, too. We wanted to make an irresistible buzz for our books, and never again find ourselves sitting alone at a book signing.           KidLit-logo jpeg

How many members and from what genres?
Membership fluctuates every year, but we try to keep a balance between PB, MG, and YA. Some years we have 20; sometimes we have as many as 26. We try not to go over 25 or 26 because what happens then is that people step back and let a select few do the work. We all work to find opportunities for signings and presentations by reaching out to librarians, booksellers, teachers, conference directors, festival organizers, and others.

How has being a member of the group changed the way you present and promote your books? What are the advantages of such a group?
I feel like I have a marketing team behind me. Whereas I am one individual who may find a way to promote my books, with the KidLit Authors Club behind me, I have 20+ others who are also promoting my books. Sure, I still do events by myself, but at those events I talk up members’ books, and hand out the club’s bookmarks and marketing materials. We share the love. Big time. A picture book author may come across an event suitable for YA authors and will pass it along. A middle-grade author may find an opportunity to appear on a panel, but picture book authors are needed as well. Voila, we’ve got that! We provide a multi-author resource for bookstore owners and conference or festival organizers looking to fill program spots.

Nancy Viau and Alison Formento, members of the Kid Lit Authors Club

Nancy Viau and Alison Formento, members of the Kid Lit Authors Club

What advice would you give other writers looking to collaborate and form a similar club?
Find others who enjoy getting the word out about their own books, but would be open to helping others do the same. Get together and hash out a plan of action. A marketing group made up of authors can take many forms. Look at groups such as the Liars Club or the “Class of” groups that started with the Class of 2k7 and continued on with the Tenners, Elevensies, and so on. I saw how successful my class was–the Class of 2k8, but felt that limiting a group to authors of novels was not in our best interest. Members of our club all benefit when seasoned authors mentor debut authors, older titles are mentioned in the same breath as current ones, and new titles are celebrated and given a presence.

Any final thoughts?
Working with a group of wonderful people who have the same passion and vision as you is priceless. (I sound like a MasterCard commercial…) It’s really hard being an author—harder than most people think, but it’s much more enjoyable when you don’t have to go it alone.

http://www.kidlitauthorsclub.com
Making every event a celebration of children’s books!     

Some Kid Lit Club Authors

Some Kid Lit Club Authors

Nancy Viau
Nancy Viau is the author of City Street Beat, Storm Song, and Look What I Can Do! (nominated for the 2014-2015 Keystone to Reading Book Award). Her middle-grade title, Samantha Hansen Has Rocks in Her Head, was published in 2008. Viau enjoys presenting assembly programs and writing workshops, and along with the young writers she meets, she finds inspiration in nature, travel, and her job as a librarian assistant.
Website: http://www.NancyViau.com

Facebook: Nancy Viau
Twitter: @NancyViau1


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13. Spic-And-Span! Lillian Gilbreth’s Wonder Kitchen – Perfect Picture Book Friday

Title: Spic-And-Span! Lillian Gilbreth’s Wonder Kitchen Written by: Monica Kulling Illustrated by: David Parkins Published by: Tundra Books, 2014 Themes/Topics: women industrial engineers, inventor, psychologist, Lilian Moller Gilbreth Suitable for ages: 7-11 Biography, 32 pages Series: Great Idea Series Opening:  The first page is a beautiful … Continue reading

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14. Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!!

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!!

I hope your tables are crowded with the people you love, and your plates are full of delicious dishes. May a Thanksgiving Turkey arrive in time for cleanup duty.  On Black-Friday and Cyber-Monday, may you find outstanding deals and rarely need to plop down any dollars, euros, or other currency. And on Saturday, may The Ohio State University surpass the 20 point lead they currently have over the University of Michigan. Whomever decides those leads will find they are wrong when the spread is closer. This rivalry will kick butt until the final bell, buzzer, or whistle blows.

Mostly, have  a joyful holiday weekend.

Quick note: I am still in the rehab hospital, but the hip aspiration (after four cancellations), was finally performed. The collected fluid looked good, but could still grow on one of those red plastic dishes, keeping me in this place another 8 weeks. There are a couple of other problems sticking their ugly heads up, yet the doctors are top-notch and all the problems will be gone before a new hip arrives. Mostly, they make me tired, frustrated, and missing home more than ever. But I have faith that once my surgeon returns next week, the news will be good and a new hip will find its way to me the following week. It looks like I will make it home by the first of the year, though I am going to work hard to make that sooner. I would love to be home for Christmas. I think I will make myself a ring/chain calendar to help get through the remaining days.

Have a Wonderfully Happy Thanksgiving!

[Picture a beautiful turkey here. I do not have access to a scanner.]


Filed under: Children's Books

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15. LOVE 'em with BOOKS



GO ON. . . I DARE YOU!
Love 'em with BOOKS this Holiday Season.


2
BOOKS that make terrific Holiday Gifts.
Now ON SALE @ Amazon


*Trial by Walkabout
is a great Aussie outback adventure--
a multicultural tale of sibling rivalry, aboriginal culture, danger,
and Dreamtime pirits--plus a friendship between two young teens

*Ruthie and the Hippo's Fat Behind--
a rhyming story that tells how sudden BIG changes
can turn a sweet girl into a brat!
(parent teacher guide included)

************************

 JUST PUBLISHED (soft cover)


Dreamtime Man
For young and old alike. . .
My rhyming tale, based on Australian history, shows how Aboriginals
survived the arrival of the white man, and eventually created
 a place for themselves and their culture
in the present day.



REVIEW SNIP:

SAMPLE from Book REVIEW on Penny's Reviews and Chat:
http://pennyreviews-chat.blogspot.com/
"I'm a great, and long time fan of Margot Finke’s children’s stories, as you know. I’m completely enthralled with this new one, Dreamtime Man. It is absolutely one of her best. It’s in rhyme and powerfully relates the stories of ancient Australian aboriginal tribes who used to roam the wild, untamed lands of Australia. Her word pictures are perfect jewels."
 
**The illustrations, by Ioana Zdralea, are amazing.

 This SUPER Review is a huge thrill!!

**You can also LISTEN to me read the story HERE

Soft Cover $9.49 on AMAZON
Not on Sale. . . but worth every penny!



******************************

Books for Kids - Skype Author Visits
Manuscript Critiques


******************************















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16. Constable & Robinson Publishes ‘The Very Hungover Caterpillar’

hungover caterpillarConstable & Robinson, a division of the Little, Brown Book Group in the U.K., has published a parody of The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle.

According to BuzzFeed, The Very Hungover Caterpillar stars an over-inebriated father. The protagonist turns to a number of hangover foods and cures to help with his ailment.

Writers Josie Lloyd and Emlyn Rees collaborated on the story for this adult-themed picture book. Artist Gillian Johnson created the illustrations. What do you think?

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17. Chris Colfer to Work On Multiple New Book Projects

201575_215x340Glee star Chris Colfer has landed a deal with Little, Brown Books for Young Readers for several new projects. Editorial director Alvina Ling will continue to work with Colfer on his manuscripts.

According to The Associated Press, Colfer plans to write two more installments for the Land of Stories middle grade series. Book four will come out in July 2015 and book five will follow in July 2016.

Colfer has also agreed to create two picture books set in the Land of Stories universe. He will also be working on a new young adult novel that stars “a young actor and his fans on ‘a once-in-a-lifetime cross-country road trip.’”

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18. John August to Script ‘Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark’

Scary StoriesJohn August has signed on to write the script for a film adaptation of Alvin Schwartz’s Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark.

August frequently collaborates with Tim Burton. Two of those movies were created for child audiences, The Corpse Bride (2005) and Frankenweenie (2012). At the moment, no director has been hired for this project.

Here’s more from Deadline: “The three-book children’s series that’s sold more than 7 million copies worldwide began with 1981′s Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark, continuing with More Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark (1984) and Scary Stories 3: More Tales To Chill Your Bones(1991). The collection of folk tales and urban legends also memorably haunted generations of youngsters with its surreal and nightmarish illustrations by award-winning artist Stephen Gammell.”

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19. My Euphoria at Discovering Anaphora: by Beth Ferry

The Use of Literary Devices in Picture Books: Part 1        Beth_Ferry_photo
by Beth Ferry

As parents, we are constantly teaching our children about the world: rules, facts and essential life truths such as: Be kind. Be patient. Bees sting. Eat your vegetables. Don’t eat the sand. Say please and thank you. Don’t step on that ant. As they grow older, teaching can morph into school related lessons: spelling tools, vocabulary words, and math tricks such as Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally. As they grow even older, teaching becomes somehow more life affirming: Don’t drive and text. Be kind. Be true to yourself. Do your best. Hold your head up high. High school only lasts for four years.

In return, our children teach us how to be patient and forgiving. How to be creative and inventive. How to be happy. Watching them grow and learn has taught me a lot about myself, and I am a better person because I am a parent. But it is a rare event that I learn something academically new from my children. There are plenty of instances where I’ll encounter something I absolutely once knew, but have lost on the journey to adulthood, like, you know, the sum of interior alternate angles or how to balance a chemical equation. My college major was English after all. So imagine my surprise when, while reading aloud my new work-in-progress, my teenage son says “That’s anaphora.”

Stop the merry-go-round. What is he saying? Is it Latin? Text-talk? A new girl in his class? He explains it is a literary device he is learning about in AP English concerning rhetoric. What? He shows me his list of literary terms and I suddenly morph into a kid in a candy shop, marveling over this plethora of devices that I am unconsciously using and about which I have heard nary a whisper. I scurry off to devour this list, to taste each device and explore my own skill in using such lofty literary language without even knowing it.

There are reasons that these literary devices exist. It is because they work. The use of these devices makes writing stronger, more lyrical, more beautiful. Without even knowing it, I bet you will find your work peppered with polysyndeton, anadiplosis and euphony. Here are some of my favorites:

Alliteration. This one you will know as it is very common in picture books. I love alliteration and I’m sure you are familiar with the repetition of similar sounds in the beginning of successive words. I use them a lot in titles such as Stick and Stone or Pirate’s Perfect Pet.

Anadiplosis. This is the repetition of the last word of the preceding clause in the beginning of the next sentence. So it is almost like a word-segue between sentences. It’s hard to do, but very effective. The most recent and perfect example I can think of comes from the lyrics to the song “Glad You Came” by The Wanted:
Turn the lights out now
Now I’ll take you by the hand
Hand you another drink
Drink it if you can

Anaphora. This device is like alliteration but involving words instead of sounds. It is the repetition of a word or phrase at the beginning of every clause or sentence. The opening of A Tale of Two Cities is the perfect example: It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness. . . It was the epitome of anaphora.

Anastrophe. Using this device allows the order of the noun and adjective to be reversed – think Yoda. It is also knows as hyperbaton, from the Greek meaning ‘transposition’. Poe uses this device to great effect, “Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing.”

Assonance. Like alliteration, assonance repeats sounds, but the sounds produced by the vowels only, such as “purple curtain”. In the same vein, consonance is the repetitive use of the consonant sounds, usually at the end – stuck, streak, luck. You probably use both of these without even knowing it.

Beth will return with MORE LITERARY DEVICES next month.  Rest assured…there are LOTS more!

Beth Ferry lives and writes near the beach. Her debut book, Stick and Stone, will be released on April 7, 2015 by HMH. Land Shark (Chronicle) will be released in Fall 2015 and Pirate’s Perfect Pet (Candlewick) follows in Fall 2016.  stick and stone cover


3 Comments on My Euphoria at Discovering Anaphora: by Beth Ferry, last added: 11/18/2014
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20. THE MAGIC TREE is available for preorder!



Just a quick post to let you know that a book I illustrated this past summer, The Magic Tree, is now available for pre-order on Amazon! If you are looking for a cute book to help boost your child's self-esteem, this would be it!

This children's book is also written by Dr. Michal Noah, best-selling author of "A-Z The Universe in Me"!

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21. Disney Unleashes Trailer For ‘Cinderella’ Movie

Disney has unleashed a new trailer the live-action Cinderella film adaptation. Thus far, it has drawn more than 50,000 ‘likes” on Facebook.

The video embedded above offers glimpses of Helena Bonham Carter as the Fairy Godmother, Cate Blanchett as the Evil Stepmother, and Lily James in the titular role. This movie is scheduled to hit theaters on March 13, 2015. (via BuzzFeed)

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22. Books to Celebrate and Teach about Adoption

Adoption image

National Adoption Day this November 22 and National Adoption Month this November afford a time to share experiences and reflect on families. Whether you have students who have been adopted or are part of a family considering adopting a child into your home, all children can benefit from learning about adoption. Children are very curious about each other’s families, quick to categorize into groups, and intent to define what makes a family, well, a family.

Picture books provide a medium to discuss, celebrate, and learn about adoption and exploring the definition of “family.”

Book recommendations:

Bringing Asha Home

Journey Home

The Best Thing

Chinatown Adventure

Discussion Questions during and after reading:

  • What does “family” mean to you? How might the word mean something different to people?
  • What does it mean to be adopted? What might be some challenges for a family with an adopted child or for a child who is adopted? What might be some benefits for a family who adopt a child or for a child who is adopted?
  • How is this character’s family similar to and different from your own family?
  • How do this character and family share and have fun together? What do you enjoy doing with your siblings and family members?
  • How does the character feel at the beginning, middle, and end of the story? How does the main character change from the beginning to the end of the story?
  • How would you describe this character’s relationship with his/her parent in the story?

Activities:

  • Learn more about the country from which the character is adopted. On which continent is the country located? What countries border this country? What language is spoken there? How many people live in that country? Who are some famous people from that country? Find a recipeof a food from this country to make.
  • Share and reflect on this list of famous adoptees or adopters from TeacherVision by Beth Rowen.
  • Draw a family portrait of your own family.
  • Write a paragraph describing what makes your family unique and why you are proud of your family.

Further reading about adoption:

Jill EisenbergJill Eisenberg, our Senior Literacy Expert, began her career teaching English as a Foreign Language to second through sixth graders in Yilan, Taiwan as a Fulbright Fellow. She went on to become a literacy teacher for third grade in San Jose, CA as a Teach for America corps member. She is certified in Project Glad instruction to promote English language acquisition and academic achievement. In her column she offers teaching and literacy tips for educators. 


Filed under: Common Core State Standards, Educator Resources, Holidays and Celebrations Tagged: Adoption, children's books, diversity, Educators, holidays, multicultural books, Multiracial, Reading Aloud, reading comprehension, Transracial adoption

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23. Living in my Illustrations

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Being an illustrator is great fun.  Why?  Because you can use your imagination to go places you’ve never been and do things you’ve never done. For instance, I have always wanted a log cabin up in the mountains.  As a teen, I used to imagine having a studio up a flight of wooden steps to a big room. It would have rafter ceilings and a window seat for me to look out of.  It would be warm and cozy and I could sit and do my art all day long near a roaring fire in the wood stove.

When I began thinking of places for my character Burl the bear to live in, I made it just like “I” wanted it!  Warm and inviting!  When you walk through the doorway of my story, you will find a home that lives in my imagination. It will be a place that I love and I will revisit it many times as the story progresses. I must be passionate about what I draw or it becomes listless and boring. This process is what makes a story believable.

My experience tells me that children notice the tiniest of details.  I did a school visit after Peepsqueak was published by Harper Collins Publisher.  I read the book to the children and then we talked.  Through out the story there was another story going on in the book. It was a little tiny mouse who appeared on many of the pages.  The children did not miss it. They even commented on the mouse as I read to them.  I let them in on a little secret.  I named the mouse Elliot.  When I told them his name they all squealed with delight and pointed to the cutest little boy in their classroom who was named Elliot!   He was beaming.  Suddenly he became part of the story. He was so happy!

These are the things that make a story magical in the eyes of children and adults alike.  Its also why I continue creating images.  I love seeing characters develop.   I love finding their voices. .. what they are like… what they like to do.  It does not stop when I leave the studio.  I think about them all the time, until I finally know how they would react in any given situation. That way they become very believable creations and loved by all.

Stay posted,  Burl and Briley are growing on my heart daily.  I can hardly wait to illustrate the books that are in my mind!


Filed under: how to write, My Characters

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24. Small Town Council in Poland Bans ‘Winnie-the-Pooh’ From Playground

Winnie the Pooh 200The town council of Tuszyn, Poland have banned Winnie-the-Pooh from a local playground. The politicians who made this censorious decree first examined A.A. Milne’s famous bear when they were trying to appoint a famous character as the face of this public space.

This group found Pooh’s lack of pants and questionable gender to be offensive and “wholly inappropriate for children.” All four Winnie-the-Pooh short story collections feature illustrations by artist E. H. Shepard; Shepard’s artwork consistently depicts Pooh not wearing pants.

Here’s more from the The Independent: “The meeting of officials was sneakily recorded a councillor and leaked to local press, according to The Croatian Times. One unnamed councillor can be heard discussing Pooh’s sexuality, arguing that ‘it doesn’t wear underpants because it doesn’t have a sex’ before another, Hanna Jachimska starts criticising Winnie the Pooh author AA Milne.” (via Jezebel)

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25. New James Patterson Children’s Book Inspires Animated Web Series

Collective Digital Studio will develop a five-part animated web series inspired by James Patterson’s forthcoming book, House of Robots. The story follows a fifth grader named Sammy and his robot named E (which stands for “Error”).

Here’s more from the press release: “It was never easy for Sammy Hayes-Rodriguez to fit in, so he is less than thrilled when his genius mom insists he brings her newest invention to school: a walking, talking robot he calls E—for ‘Error.’  The web series brings to life several scenes from the book as Sammy discovers the amazing secret E holds that could change him and his family forever…if all goes well on the trial run!”

The video embedded above features the House of Robots book trailer. The first episode will debut on the FЯED YouTube channel on November 28th. Each subsequent installment will be posted on Fridays.

Chris Grabenstein, Patterson’s collaborator for the I, Funny and Treasure Hunters series, served as the co-author for House of RobotsJuliana Neufeld, the artist behind the Treasure Hunters series, created the illustrations for this new project. Little Brown Books for Young Readers will publish the book on November 24th.

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