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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: nostalgia, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 39
1. Nostalgia


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2. Nostalgia




I don't like nostalgia unless it's mine. Lou Reed
Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/nostalgia_2.html
I don't like nostalgia unless it's mine. Lou Reed
Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/nostalgia_2.html

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3. Everything you know about the worst Star Wars movie is WRONG

open-uri20150608-27674-18l94wp_4d722fcdI guess there's a Star Wars thing this week? Oh what's the use. I don't think I've gone 10 minutes without hearing Sar Wars music, seeing Star Wars stars or a Force Awakens trailer for weeks. Like the rest of the world, I had a #StarWarsRewatch over the last week or so starting with the original trilogy and then the prequels, just to get in the mood for the new filme. And I discovered something very alarming.

3 Comments on Everything you know about the worst Star Wars movie is WRONG, last added: 12/17/2015
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4. All gone to look for America: Mad Men‘s treatment of nostalgia

The popularity of Mad Men has been variously attributed to its highly stylized look, its explication of antiquated gender and racial norms, and nostalgia for a time when drinking and smoking were not sequestered to designated zones but instead celebrated in the workplace as necessary ingredients for a proper professional life. But much of Mad Men’s lasting appeal lay in its complicated relationship with nostalgia.

The post All gone to look for America: Mad Men‘s treatment of nostalgia appeared first on OUPblog.

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5. A Blast from the Past: Big Little Books®...

Growing up, I remember having a good chunk of my bookshelf filled with Big Little Books®. Titles like Black Beauty, The Last of the Mohicans, Ivanhoe, Robin Hood and other classics entertained me throughout the late 60s and well into the 70s. They were the coolest books that snuggled nicely into the palm of my hand, and gave me such pleasure as a child. I literally lost myself in those books. Swimming with these nostalgic thoughts and feelings got me wondering how these fascinating and unique books started out. So…I did a little digging.

During the 1930s, as movies, radio, pulps, and comic strips developed, the Big Little Books® appeared on the scene. The product was small, stubby, thick, and inexpensive. The books drew much source material from motion pictures, radio, and comic strips and successfully competed with pulp magazines and comic books until the end of the decade. They served to promote films and radio programs and were produced in such quantities that they could be sold for a dime.

In 1932 the seemingly paradoxical term Big Little Book® was given to certain books published by the Whitman Publishing Company of Racine, Wisconsin. The term promised the buyer a great amount of reading material and pleasure (BIG) within a small and compact (LITTLE) book. These Whitman books set the standards for similar books, and Whitman's copyrighted description has become popularized in a generic way to umbrella similar books.










The first BLB, The Adventures of Dick Tracy, came off the presses just before Christmas in 1932. It
preceded the first true comic book by a year, and the subsequent BLB production spanned more than a half century. Within the span, there are historical patterns which clearly define three major periods of publication.

The Golden Age (1932 to mid-1938) is a description reserved for the most interesting, influential, and memorable production of the books. These were the true Big Little Books®. During this period, the effects of the depression were still being felt, and numerous publishers besides Whitman produced inexpensive BLB-type reading materials of great variety. In mid-1938 the two major companies, Whitman and Saalfield, made major changes in their trademarks (Whitman's Big Little Books® became Better Little Books® and Saalfield's Little Big Books® became Jumbo Books®).

The Silver Age (mid-1938 to 1949) produced a less innovative set of books. Their production was influenced by the growing comic book market and paper shortages during WWII. The number of competitive companies diminished. Only Whitman maintained a continuous output of books through the war years. It used the "flip-it" feature extensively to attract buyers, and as these years went by, the books gradually contained fewer and fewer pages. In 1949, the last Better Little Book®, Little Orphan Annie and the Ancient Treasure of Am (288 pages) was published.

The Modern Age (1950 to the present) is characterized by more than 40 years of sporadic and short-
lived attempts to revive the books in different forms and with different content: New Better Little Books® (1949-50); BLB TV Series® (1958); the hard cover 2000-Series (1967-68); the soft cover 5700-Series (1973-present). During this period, Whitman became subsumed under the auspices of the Western Publishing Company.


So if you’re wandering through a garage sale or flea market and happen to spot a Big Little Book® in a pile of dog-earred novels, do yourself a favor and buy it. It just may be the start of a beautiful relationship between a child you know, and the written word.

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6. California Raisins Set For Comeback In Live-Action/CG Feature (Exclusive)

We heard it through the grapevine...the California Raisins are headed to the bigscreen!

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7. Is Nostalgia the Next Big Thing?



If, like me, you enjoyed reading mystery stories such as Enid Blyton's Famous Five and Secret Seven and the Nancy Drew series you'll be pleased to hear that, according to a newspaper article I've just read, the trend apparently is going back towards traditional storytelling and the sort of books we liked to read as children are back in vogue.







This does seem to be the case, several of the books nominated for the Waterstones Children's Book Prize are mystery-based stories such as Murder Most Unladylike by Robin Stevens (5-12 age group) and Smart by Kim Slater in the Teen group. Of course, the theme's been given a fresh angle and modern mystery stories deal with topical issues. Smart for example investigates the death of a homeless man  and  although Murder Most Unladylike is set in a traditional boarding school and investigates the murder of a teacher it explores topics such as racism and same-sex relationships. All very modern.

Nostalgia has been popular for some time now. Items that my children played with such as Furbies, Pokemon cards and Tamagotchis are fetching incredible prices. Many toys such as Furbies, and even traditional toys from my childhood, have made a come back - modernised, of course.



I think the reason for this is because in our fast-paced, twenty four hour, high pressure society many people long for the simplicity of the past when children played in the streets with hooplas, footballs and skipping ropes or wandered the fields looking for adventures.  Nowadays most parents don't think it's safe to let their children out of their sight so most children are cooped up indoors playing on Ipads and computers. Small wonder that many people feel quite nostalgic about the past.

Mystery stories have always been popular, of course. A few years ago I wrote a detective series called The Amy Carter Mysteries for Top That Publishing.

They're quite popular with children in schools I visit and it's tempting to jump on the nostalgia bandwagon and write another detective series reminiscent of Enid Blyton's popular tales. With my luck though by the time I'd finished it the trend would have moved on and something else would be 'in vogue'. And guessing what the next Big Thing will be is pretty impossible.

What do you think? Is Nostalgia here to stay?



Karen King writes all sorts of books. Check out her website at www.karenking.net

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8. Happy Holidays, and a little nostalgia

I wanted to share this clip for a bit of nostalgia. I always loved The Snowman movie as a kid.

Hope you have a great holiday season, wherever you are... Be safe, healthy, and hang out with the people you love.

See you in 2015!





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9. From the Toy Box, Ltd Gallery  I’m so excited to announce...



From the Toy Box, Ltd Gallery 

I’m so excited to announce that I’ll be participating in Ltd Art Gallery Seattle’s show “From the Toy Box”. It’s my first piece in a gallery and I was lucky enough for Ltd to choose my illustration for the poster representing some really, really, REALLY awesome talent! I’m so honoured to be in this show amongst these fantastic artists. You can see the event here:http://www.facebook.com/events/769836919741028 and if you’re in Seattle and happen to go, I’d love to hear about it!



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10. What are they Missing?

Running under a beautiful sunrise recently, I recalled a fond memory of my oldest daughter. When she was pint-sized, we figured out that she had never seen a sunrise. I know that sounds impossible, but our property lies in a valley where trees filter the sun until it is mid-morning and by then, the spectacular colors of dawn have faded away.

To remedy this, I woke her very early and the two of us went to the top of our street with lawn chairs to watch the sun peek over the horizon. It took three attempts to get a masterpiece. I remember seeing her tired, little face come alive in awe of the burst of reds and purples in the sky.

Red_sunrise

Don’t you love watching someone enjoy beauty, nature, or art for the first time?

 

This got me wondering, “What else have my kids missed?”

I know there are plenty of great movies my kids have never seen because I am not allowed to suggest films since The Great Jumanji Debacle of 2005. I built that one up to my family when they were far too young and I totally forgot some extremely spooky scenes. My third child didn’t sleep for weeks and still has nightmares about monkey boys attacking her.

Being a child of the 70’s, I have tried to share some good music with them. While I love AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, The Doobie Brothers, Van Halen and KISS, my kids weren’t fond of ringing hell’s bells and didn’t seem to want to rock and roll all night.

There were other good things from the seventies, though? I could share something else.

Mood rings

Awkwardly short gym shorts

Rotary phones without speed dial

Disco

Hair parted in the middle with wings

Bell bottoms

Car windows with cranks

Vinyl records

Ice cream trucks

Black & White TV’s with 3 channels

 

I made a mental list of these things. Although each brings back some fond memories for me, most of them have been improved upon. My kids are experiencing better versions, which made my list no less nostalgic for me, but not full of things they are poorer for missing. Frustrated with my inability to come up with much, I settled on one thing that every child needs to experience and mine had missed – until now.

Mooning! They had never been mooned. Well, they hadn’t until I thought of it. I spent the better part of the rest of that Saturday surprising them all over the house. Full moons, partial moons, waning crescents. I got them over and over. I doubt my celestial display was as majestic as the sunrise my eldest enjoyed. They giggled at first, but soon tired of it, locked their doors, and left me alone to come up with something else to share. All I could think of was streaking, but felt like my wife would be vehemently opposed to that one.

So I think we are going to put the 70’s to rest around here and let my children’s vision recover. After all the mooning, number three is having Jumanji-like nightmares again.

 

 

Photo credit: “Red sunrise”. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons -

Filed under: Dad stuff

5 Comments on What are they Missing?, last added: 10/8/2014
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11. What are they Missing?

Running under a beautiful sunrise recently, I recalled a fond memory of my oldest daughter. When she was pint-sized, we figured out that she had never seen a sunrise. I know that sounds impossible, but our property lies in a valley where trees filter the sun until it is mid-morning and by then, the spectacular colors of dawn have faded away.

To remedy this, I woke her very early and the two of us went to the top of our street with lawn chairs to watch the sun peek over the horizon. It took three attempts to get a masterpiece. I remember seeing her tired, little face come alive in awe of the burst of reds and purples in the sky.

Red_sunrise

Don’t you love watching someone enjoy beauty, nature, or art for the first time?

 

This got me wondering, “What else have my kids missed?”

I know there are plenty of great movies my kids have never seen because I am not allowed to suggest films since The Great Jumanji Debacle of 2005. I built that one up to my family when they were far too young and I totally forgot some extremely spooky scenes. My third child didn’t sleep for weeks and still has nightmares about monkey boys attacking her.

Being a child of the 70’s, I have tried to share some good music with them. While I love AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, The Doobie Brothers, Van Halen and KISS, my kids weren’t fond of ringing hell’s bells and didn’t seem to want to rock and roll all night.

There were other good things from the seventies, though? I could share something else.

Mood rings

Awkwardly short gym shorts

Rotary phones without speed dial

Disco

Hair parted in the middle with wings

Bell bottoms

Car windows with cranks

Vinyl records

Ice cream trucks

Black & White TV’s with 3 channels

 

I made a mental list of these things. Although each brings back some fond memories for me, most of them have been improved upon. My kids are experiencing better versions, which made my list no less nostalgic for me, but not full of things they are poorer for missing. Frustrated with my inability to come up with much, I settled on one thing that every child needs to experience and mine had missed – until now.

Mooning! They had never been mooned. Well, they hadn’t until I thought of it. I spent the better part of the rest of that Saturday surprising them all over the house. Full moons, partial moons, waning crescents. I got them over and over. I doubt my celestial display was as majestic as the sunrise my eldest enjoyed. They giggled at first, but soon tired of it, locked their doors, and left me alone to come up with something else to share. All I could think of was streaking, but felt like my wife would be vehemently opposed to that one.

So I think we are going to put the 70’s to rest around here and let my children’s vision recover. After all the mooning, number three is having Jumanji-like nightmares again.

 

 

Photo credit: “Red sunrise”. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons -

Filed under: Dad stuff

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12. Confession




classic-winnie-the-pooh 4_720x960

I do not want to read books written for teens.  I do not want to read new books.  I want to snuggle down with Winnie-the-Pooh and Uncle Wiggily.

 I want to revisit the flood in which Piglet is entirely surrounded by water and the boat made of an overturned umbrella.

I can not get interested in road trips made by fledgling adults, or the struggles of young people whose best friends have all moved away.  I want to to find Goldbug on every page.  I want to meet Anne Shirley again for the first time.

And I want to sail on the pirate ship with Obadiah, the Bold, chant "Not I!" with the dog and the mouse and the cat - or is it a rooster?

It is the waning of summer, a time of nostalgia and I want to go back, go back, go back to the first time I opened Little Men.

This, too, shall passToddlers turn to school children.  Tigers turn to butter and I will turn to new books some time.

But not right now.

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13. Illustrator & Creative Director Anna Bond

In the midst of a world grounded in digital technology, sometimes we need a reminder that good things can still be grounded in reality. This is why we still go visit galleries and museums to see artwork in person (a habit I’m still trying to get better at). This is why we still give each other greeting cards, or why our desks seem to collect countless post-its over time. It can be as simple as opening a letter or unwrapping a present–interacting with real material still matters. 

On that note, I’d like to introduce you to Anna Bond, owner and creative director of Rifle Paper Co.–an inimitable force in the stationery field and beyond.

While Anna now lives and works in Winter Park, Florida, she has roots in New Jersey and received a degree in graphic design in Virginia. After working as an art director and freelance illustrator for a couple years, she discovered (or rekindled, rather) her love for stationery design while illustrating some wedding invitations. As mentioned in her feature on The Every Girl, stationery was the optimal combination of graphic design and illustration that she had been searching for, and so she pushed onwards.

While there’s something to be said for art directing at 21, I admire Anna’s honest and expressive way of dealing with her expectations, realities, and how to improve upon them. She’s spoken before about the first launch of Rifle Paper Co.’s website, detailing product disasters, website crashes, international shipping issues, and taking turns panicking with her husband. Without sounding cruel or spiteful, it’s incredibly comforting to know that someone as ambitious and driven as Anna has screwed up before. And to me, there’s no better way to recover than by succeeding.

Nearly all Rifle Paper Co. products feature Anna’s hand-painted illustrations, which are often nostalgic in style with a pastel palette.

Some of Rifle Paper Co.’s selected clients and collaborative partners: Anthropologie (their very first!), Kate Spade New York, Hygge & West, Chronicle Books, AMC Mad Men, and Penguin Books. I think it’s important to note that the variety of clients reflects Anna’s ability to design for both traditional and modern brands, which can be difficult depending on one’s personal style.

Follow along with Anna and her husband Nathan’s exciting ventures at Rifle Paper Co.’s website, and take a peek at Anna’s portfolio here. You can also find her on Twitter. I particularly enjoyed her Day in the Life feature on Design*Sponge as well.

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14. Children’s Literature Online at a Glance: A Look Back at Friends Long Gone

So I was listening to an episode of Pop Culture Happy Hour the other day.  If you happen to unfamiliar with the show it’s just your basic pop culture based podcast where they dissect the trends and news of the day so you don’t have to.  In a recent episode called ‘Captain America’ And The Pitiless March Of Time a discussion was made of websites that have simply disappeared over the years.  The folks over at NPR were concerned about the fact that Television Without Pity is now defunct.  They mentioned how we live in this odd world where things we love and sites that once contained just loads of content can disappear in a day.  It got me to thinking.

I started A Fuse #8 Production as a blog on Blogger back in February of 2006.  At that time I had no idea what I was doing, stringing one word next to another, plucking weirdo news items from the ether, and generally reviewing anything I could get my hot little hands on.  I did a book review a day in my prime.  Now I’m lucky if I can get two out in a week!  That was when I caught some attention for starting a series called The Hot Men of Children’s Literature.  All in good fun, it got attention which was my ultimate goal.  Then SLJ picked me up and the rest is history.

So I took a trip back to my little old blog site and checked out the blogroll on the side.  The blogroll was something I maintained meticulously for a while.  There was even a moment when every day I would systematically check each and every blog there for news I could use.  Looking at it now, I see a lot of familiar faces who are still going strong, but they’re alongside folks I wish were still around.  If we pick a random number and say that the Kidlitosphere has been in existence for a decade, then maybe now is the time to tip our hats to those folks we miss.  In no particular order . . .

 

Collecting Children’s Books

CollectingChildrensBooks 500x104 Childrens Literature Online at a Glance: A Look Back at Friends Long Gone

Well. . . maybe a certain kind of order.  Here’s the thing about that old blogroll of mine.  If you look at it today you’ll see it’s organized in a kind of haphazard method.  That’s because it’s in order of blogs I checked the most to the least (7 years ago . . don’t flog me if you’re low!).  And coming in at #5 was Peter Sieruta and his jaw-dropping Collecting Children’s Books.  I kid you not when I say that for a time Peter was the hardest working man in show business.  His sheer output put me to shame.  I’d mince about with a tiny post here and there and then he’d swoop in with his Sunday Brunch posts and just blow us all away with these insightful, clever, interesting looks into the history of children’s literature.  He was beloved of certain authors like M.E. Kerr, childhood heroes he connected with thanks to the age of the internet.  Peter was so amazing, in fact, that it seemed a bloody frickin’ shame that no one was paying him to do what he did so well.  So I reached out to him and Julie Danielson of Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast and proposed we all write a book together.  Turns out, I couldn’t have picked two better authors in all my livelong days.  Though our writing styles were diverse we were able to synthesize them into a single unified voice.  That book, Wild Things: Acts of Mischief in Children’s Literature comes out in August (we had to push back the pub date, which is why you’re not seeing it on your shelves this month) and is dedicated to Peter.  You see, after we had turned in our text, Peter passed away unexpectedly leaving a massive gaping hole in the children’s book blogosphere.  He was a kind and witty friend and from time to time I turn back to his old site just to see if there are any updates.  There never will be, but it does the heart good to check.

 

Just One More Book

JustOneMoreBook 500x151 Childrens Literature Online at a Glance: A Look Back at Friends Long Gone

On Saturday, April 19th at 2:00 p.m. I’m so pleased to announce that I’ll be hosting the Children’s Literary Salon Podcasting Children’s Books: Ins and Outs, Ups and Downs.  In it, podcasters Katie Davis (Brain Burps About Books), John Sellers (PW KidsCast), and Matthew Winner (Let’s Get Busy) will engage me in conversation about the world of children’s literary podcasting and their experiences with the form.  It’s bound to be a real thrill but it’s also important to remember that before any of these folks started in on the form there was one site that was your automatic go-to kidlit podcast.  Just One More Book was a Canadian creation, the brainchild of Andrea Ross and Mark Blevis.  For a time, it was really the only place to get good podcasting (unless, of course, you were a Harry Potter fan who subscribed to Pottercast).  Then personal problems arose.  Andrea was diagnosed with breast cancer and the site bravely chronicled her fight and recovery.  That was in 2009 and since that time there is the occasional podcast or video but for all intents and purposes the site is no longer updated.  Yet even in its defunct state I was happy to note that the Twitter feed of @JustOneMoreBook rakes in a whopping 6,549 followers.  You can bet I’ll be giving them a shout out at my next Lit Salon.

 

Big A little a

BigAlittlea 500x104 Childrens Literature Online at a Glance: A Look Back at Friends Long Gone

In an age of countless children’s literary blogs, with more and more cropping up every day, people forget that in the early days there just weren’t a lot of us hanging around.  You had your Tea Cozy and your MotherReader.  Your Educating Alice and your bookshelves of doom.  And then there was Big A little a run by Kelly Herold.  It wasn’t one of those big flashy blogs.  Instead, Kelly just provided really good, steady content for folks who were curious.  She had no problem interviewing Judy Blume one day and Mary Pope Osborne the next.  Sadly the site shuttered in 2009 and though she did try to do an alternate blog for a time it didn’t last.  Fortunately you can follow Kelly on Pinterest if you like, where she maintains four different boards.

 

The Edge of the Forest

EdgeoftheForest 500x88 Childrens Literature Online at a Glance: A Look Back at Friends Long Gone

Now my memory is a bit foggy on this one so folks who remember and worked on this will have to correct me when I get my facts wrong.  You see, in the early children’s literature days we had no idea what we were doing.  We knew we had to get organized in some way, so the Kidlitosphere Central was created, a wiki of reviews born, and the yearly Children’s Book Blogger Conference Kidlitcon established (not to mention the Cybils!).  On top of that, there was an idea of maintaining an online magazine with contributions from our community.  Called “The Edge of the Forest” it featured reviews of its own as well as articles and interviews.  Sadly it didn’t last and the site itself disappeared completely from the internet.  This is one of the rare cases of something children’s book blog related completely disappearing, reminding us that no matter how much content we may produce, it could all cease and desist tomorrow.  A blogger momento mori, if you will.

 

Editorial Anonymous

EditorialAnonymous Childrens Literature Online at a Glance: A Look Back at Friends Long Gone

Ah.  One of the great mysteries of the children’s book blog age.  Created in 2007 and continuing until its demise in 2011, no one ever knew who EA, as she/he was affectionately known, really was.  Many theories raged, and undoubtedly a number of editors of children’s books probably had to field questions from folks wondering if they were “the one”.  EA’s disappearance isn’t hard to explain though.  She (it’s probably a pretty safe bet to call EA a she) was snarky in the good sense of the word.  Suffering no fools she had a whip smart tongue and a great style to boot.  Undoubtedly someone somewhere figured out her secret and so she stopped posting entirely one day.  I harbor two fantasies about EA.  One is that someday she’ll write a book of her own (though she may easily have already done so) and that I’ll see it and recognize her style.  The other is that I’ll be in my gray later years, oh say 85 or so, and one day someone will call me up and say to me and me alone: “Editorial Anonymous was [enter name here]“.  It could happen.  A girl just has to have faith.

 

Uncommon Corps

UncommonCorps 500x178 Childrens Literature Online at a Glance: A Look Back at Friends Long Gone

Sometimes a blog goes away and you feel sad.  And sometimes they stop posting and you get a bit miffed.  When The Uncommon Corps was created in the wake of the early Common Core State Standards rollout I was thrilled.  With an illustrious group of authors at the helm this was slated to be THE #1 most important blog to talk about CCSS out there.  But as time passed it just couldn’t quite post regularly.  It was started in 2012 and continued through 2013 then died on the vine.  I do maintain a hope somewhere that someday it will be revived, but until then we’ll just have to be content with the archives, such as they are.

Of course there are other blogs that have been pertinent to our business over the years that I miss just as much as well.  Children’s Music That Rocks used to be my one and only source of great new children’s album reviews.  Golden Age Comic Book Stories showed as much classic children’s book illustration as it did comic book panels.  There are others too that just slowed down their postings to one or two a year.

So now that I’ve steeped you in my own unique brand of nostalgia, return the favor.  What are some of the sites you find yourself missing from time to time?

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15. Talking Donuts, Superheroes and Melancholy Lions

Years ago, when I was a young mother and babysitter, I rode the bus with my son and my young charge - everywhere.  What else do you do with two five-year-old boys with endless imagination and energy?  We rode downtown, to libraries, to parks, to the next town over, to visit friends.  We also walked and later, in the summer, we rode bikes.

Everywhere we went, we told stories.  After reading William Steig's The Amazing Bone, we came up with a story about a talking donut.  Every bus trip for a month or so, we added adventures about the donut and King Rupert, the donut's best friend. 

And then there were the tales of Llewellyn the Lion, who worked as a late night radio host and rarely went out in the day.  He rode a motorcycle and had a tab at the butcher's.  He lived in fear that people would realize that he was not just a gravelly voiced, hairy recluse but a lion - a real lion.  As time went on, Llewellyn told us of his friends - all graduates of the Philadelphia Zoo's secret Animal Intelligence project - and we met Llewellyn's teacher, Professor Freeman.  The animals were tricked into a reunion and were drugged and kidnapped to become stars in a traveling animal act.  Fortunately, one of Llewellyn's friends was a dainty gorilla.  Along with the Jaguar, ocelot, rhinoceros, several lions, a seal and a rhinoceros, they all managed to escape.

I wrote that story up and shoved it into the glove compartment of my old black Impala.  When the car broke down and we had it hauled to the junk yard, the story was lost forever.  The rhinoceros - or was it the seal? - was a poet and some of her poems were in that story.  They were haunting and surprised me.  Stories can be pieced together.  Poems evaporate.

And then there was Super Anders and his sidekick Critter Man.  These stories were made up bit by bit of the things that my boys suggested, cartoon characters that they enjoyed. Danny Dunn and his friends got tossed in there, too, since we read every Danny Dunn book we could find.  I liked these stories best of all.  The boys were always trying to save Little Annie, the Orphan Apple Selling Girl from danger.  But Little Annie just as often had to save our heroes.

I miss Llewellyn and his friends.  I miss Critter Man, who ba-a-a-a-rked!  And I miss King Rupert and his talking donut. 

Perhaps, I will ride the bus for nostalgia sake and remember small boys, stories and a time when I was young.

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16. Not a Review – A Reflection of An ANZAC Tale

An ANZAC TaleConfession: The day I received Working Title Presses’ latest release, An ANZAC Tale, I was assailed with nostalgia and immense trepidation.

How does one do justice to one of the most unjustifiable periods of human history? Ruth Stark and Greg Holfeld have done it and done it admirably well. The result is a meticulously researched and presented graphic picture book that possesses the unique duality of being both breathtakingly beautiful, and poignantly tragic.

It is almost that time of year when we gather as a nation to commemorate and reflect on one of the most fiercely contested campaigns of WWI, the battle of Gallipoli. But how does one pass comment on the interpretation of the tenacity, stupidity, bravery and strength of spirit of humanity without sounding trite or conceited? I wasn’t sure I could manage it as masterfully as the Stark Holfeld team. So I didn’t try.

Instead I revisited the tale, and with each turn of the page, was transported back to a time over two decades ago, when I gazed across the benign azure waters of Suvla Bay and ANZAC Cove, on the European side of Turkey’s Gelibolu Peninsular. Sunshine bronzed my already travel-tanned shoulders and the smell of the Aegean Sea filled my lungs. Nothing permeated the silence that engulfed us, not even the cry of sea birds. I stared at the impossibly steep cliffs looming up from the beach and shivered in spite of the heat.Landing spot ANZAC Cove

I remember standing in the trenches of The Nek and Second Ridge, shallow now, scalloped smooth by time. A pine scented breeze played about my neck. We stood unmoving, listening to it whisper through the pines; the sound of a thousand souls sighing around us. And tears seared my eyes, blurred my vision of the honey coloured earth as I struggled to imagine it stained vile by the colours of war and battled to comprehend the futility, the valour, the discomfort, and the stench of human corruption.

GeliboluWe were led about by our Turkish guide with quiet reverence, not because he thought we were special, but because we were Aussies. We had already earned his respect and our right to be there. We felt that as absolutely as the heat pulsating up from the baked earth.

I remember visiting Chunuk Bair, Lone Pine; standing in front of the walls of names, searching, too many to read through; I’ll be here all day, I thought. Compared to whom? I found a pine seed from that tree and slipped it into my pocket, (just as Ray did for his mate Wally). When the afternoon sun lost its sting, we slipped away quietly from the trenches and had Turkish Dondurma (ice-cream) to temper the memory of what we had seen and felt; acutely aware of enjoying a pleasure and a respite that would have been denied to the ANZACS.

My brief sojourn to Gelibolu makes me no more of an expert on the event and the place than the next Aussie backpacker. Yet it has created an indelible memory with which An ANZAC Tale resonates profoundly.Ruth Stark

The enormity of the ANZAC’s story is handled with remarkable lightness of touch and told by Ruth Stark with a respectful, quintessential Aussie jocularity. It is never sentimental or laboured but simply follows best mates Ray Martin and Wally Cardwell as they experience the first landing at ANZAC Cove on the 25th April 1915. What followed became a battle of endurance and wits sadly resulting in thousands of deaths on both sides.

RoosThe popular comic-style graphic format is dominated by the illustrations of Greg Holfeld that are brutally faithful to the moment without depicting gratuitous guts and gore. The last charge in particular rips with chaotic movement, terror and finality but not in a way that traumatises the reader.

Ruth Stark and Greg HolfeldWally, Roy and their new, fortune-seeking mate, Tom, head an anthropomorphic cast of Aussie characters. They are buck Roos, who rub shoulders with Kiwis (the birds) and various other national fauna. The Drill Major is a raucous bossy cockatoo. Egyptians are depicted as cats. Wily and resourceful magpies represent enterprising privates and Johnny Turk is portrayed as the ‘black eared’ caracal lynx, from the Turkish word karakulak. This cat is described as being fiercely territorial which accurately translates to the Turks’ indomitable fighting spirit.

An ANZAC Tale not only chronicles a significant period of history difficult for young people to fathom in a way that they (young boys and reluctant readers in particular) will find enthralling and exciting but also takes us on a deeply moving journey (tears were never far away for me) through the vagaries of Australian society in the early twentieth Century and the complexities of warfare. All this is brilliantly supported with maps, notes and a timeline.

‘Why would any Australian want to come to Gallipoli?’ Ray asks Tom as they evacuate under the cover of darkness on the 18th of December 1915. You don’t need to turn the last page to find the answer to that poignant question, but you’ll be touched when you do.Bugler

If you haven’t yet been or are unlikely to get the family to Gallipoli any time soon, An ANZAC Tale is an outstanding armchair substitute. Beautifully bound and twice the length of a normal picture book, it will appeal best to older aged primary children and those who’d rather reflect than analyse.

Working Title Press 2013 Available now

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17. Reflections, Accomplishments & Hopes for a New Year

It's that time of year when we take a hard look at what we've done and assess how we want to improve and move forward. This is something I'm doing constantly, but it does seem important to take a moment to write it all down, especially since I feel like I have learned a lot about myself this year, and especially this past month or two.

I started out 2012 miserable and full of self-doubt. It was a long-time coming. These feelings had been building for a couple of years, so I declared 2012, the year of re-evaluation. I had to figure out what made me happy. More specifically, I had to figure out if writing still made me happy or if I was done, ready for a complete change of career and life focus.

I went back and forth, up and down about this. I'd spend a month deeply in love with storytelling and then three months hating every word I wrote or hating myself for writing. I felt like I'd finally gotten on the right track again in September and then had an absolute breakdown, my biggest crisis of faith yet in November, which I documented in this piece for Rookie--possibly the best, most honest, real and in-the-moment piece I've written for Rookie.

In July, I decided to go back to therapy for the first time in roughly nine or ten years. I was deeply depressed and anxious, especially about writing, and I couldn't do the re-evaluation thing on my own. It was one of the best decisions I've ever made. Not only did I benefit personally, I figured out a lot about my own writing. I put all the writing tips I gleaned from my therapist in this YA Outside the Lines post.

Perhaps the most important of those tips was be grateful for and recognize my accomplishments, big and small. So here's what I've done in 2012

  • Knitted one hat and one scarf for my mother, and one hooded baby blanket for my friend's first child. Started my first knitting project for myself, a skirt.

  • Taught 16 students in a Young Adult Fiction class at Columbia College and read well over 1000 pages of their work.
  • Grew lettuce, strawberries, tomatoes, green beans, many varieties of peppers, many types of herbs, quite a few flowers.

  • Made countless vegan meals, tried and even invented several new recipes.
  • Got my eleventh tattoo. (It's Latin for "breathe.")
  • Joined my local library board.
  • Tended bar three nights a week and briefly made a tumblr about my adventures.
  • Visited my favorite place on earth, Seattle.

  • Saw (and met!) Mark Lanegan (whose music inspires my writing big-time), as well Garbage, Social Distortion, and several amazing bands (and legends like Iggy Pop!) at Riot Fest.
  • Hosted a college friend for about half the year and went on adventures with her like to my first Renaissance Faire.

  • Visited with several other friends from out of town, reconnected with my childhood best friend/sister after she moved back, spent as much time as I could with my amazing teenage niece who is my heroine, and made the ultimate birthday package for my BFF to celebrate eighteen years of friendship.
  • Went to my first Comic Con where I met people like the stars of one of my all-time favorite shows, Twin Peaks.

  • Went to my first RT convention, participated in a panel about boundaries in YA and in Teen Day. Met Francine Pascal, author of the Sweet Valley series that ruled my childhood.


  • Watched the last five seasons of Buffy for the first time, all five seasons of Angel for the first time, and most recently, watched all of the first season of Game of Thrones in 3 days.
  • Turned old t-shirts into new shirts, and in one case, a dress.

  • Celebrated my third wedding anniversary in Portland, Oregon. We also visited the gorgeous Oregon coast and met up with one of my best writing buds, Tara Kelly, who took this photo of us.
  • Nursed my elderly cat/best friend of 17 years, Sid, for several months and then said a sad but beautiful farewell to him the weekend after Thanksgiving and wrote him a tribute.
  • Wrote 17 columns for my local newspaper, the Forest Park Review.
  • Wrote 20 essays, some deeply personal, others pure fun, for Rookie as well as countless reviews of books, movies, TV shows, music, hot chocolate, candy, and electronic items that do and should exist.
  • Wrote my first essay for Ms. Fit Magazine, a real world feminist fitness magazine that will debut in January of 2013.
  • Made zines with my niece and her BFF at a Rookie Road Trip event.
  • Took part in an amazing reading to celebrate the release of ROOKIE YEARBOOK ONE.
  • Did a vlog to celebrate the release of the DEAR TEEN ME anthology, which features my letter to my teenage self about an abusive relationship.
  • Researched (both by visiting the library and sneaking into a cemetery after hours) and wrote my first short story in umm... eight years? It's a ghost story--my personal twist on a local urban legend about a hitchhiking phantom flapper--which will come out next October in an anthology called VERY SUPERSTITIOUS published by Month9Books.
  • Went on a writing retreat in Arizona.

  • Wrote about 50,000 words of one YA novel (ie. the Modern Myth YA)
  • Wrote about 60,000 words of another YA novel (ie. the Contemporary YA)
Yeah, looking back, even though I often beat myself up for not doing enough... that's a lot of stuff! Sure, I wish that total of 110,000 words could have been on one novel so I could feel like I finished a big project this year. And of course what I really wish is that "sold a book" could be one of the bullet points, but I worked hard and I have to be proud of what I have accomplished and the difficulties like losing Sid that I got through.

I guess the biggest question is what came of my self/life evaluation in the year of evaluation?

Ultimately, I've decided that while writing doesn't always make me happy and the current state of my career (or more specifically the way I've had to cobble together way too much work that pays way too little to support my writing habit), writing will always be a part of my life. I'm hoping that 2013 will bring adjustments and changes that will make me happier. The biggest one is that my husband and I are hoping...or at this point PLANNING to move to Seattle in summer of 2013. I need a fresh start in a place that I actually like. I grew up in Chicago and came back for school, but then got stuck here. It's not where I feel like I belong. I'm hoping that going where I feel like I do belong will shake things up a bit. It will definitely mean a job change. Bartending has its moments and it did inspire an entire (though as of yet unsold) book, but like all service industry jobs it can be really draining and demeaning. I have discovered a love of teaching this year and especially a love of writing for and connecting with teenage girls via Rookie. I'm hoping to find a job that incorporate both of those things--maybe some sort of after school arts program for young people that I can teach in. I'm not sure what is out there, but I'nm hoping to find something, and it may be a full-time something meaning novel writing will have to fit in other places in my life. I want to have nights to read and spend time with my husband, weekends to go on adventures with him. That will be the priority once we move out west. 

Writing for Rookie is my other big priority. It doesn't pay much, but every piece I craft for them, I put my heart and soul into the same as I have my novels. I'm able to write incredibly personal things and I feel like I'm a part of the type of publication I'd been dreaming of since I was thirteen years old. Rookie readers are my audience, always have been, and I'm so grateful to have the opportunity to share my words and stories with them.

As for my fictional stories, my novels, my career as Stephanie Kuehnert, YA author (or just author in general), I still hope and dream and work my ass off in hopes that 2013 will be the year it relaunches. (13 is my lucky number after all.) I'm taking much needed time off until after the New Year, but then I will get back back the Contemporary YA and I hope to finish it in a month or three. After that, I will return to and reevaluate the Modern Myth YA. Maybe I'll press on with it as it is, maybe I'll re-write it again, or maybe I'll decided it needs a different form--a TV pilot instead of a book, perhaps. 

I'm not setting deadlines or making specific goals. I just want to keep doing what I've been doing--finding the faith and the drive to keep writing and enjoy writing each day that I sit down to do it. To treasure life's sweet moments, to find something to be grateful for every day.

Oh and I think I might sign up for a spinning class....

What about you? What were your accomplishments big and small in 2012 and what are you hoping to do in 2013?

7 Comments on Reflections, Accomplishments & Hopes for a New Year, last added: 1/9/2013
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18. Illustration Friday: Shades



I live in a small room on the bay large enough only for myself and my cat. The wallpaper is a lovely pattern, although quite faded. It reminds me of my Grandmother's old china pattern.
The furnishings are sparse. A cot that was meant to hold someone much smaller than myself, an old ladderback chair and one electrical outlet which sits unused.
There's a tiny window that overlooks the bay. I'm so grateful for that window! No matter how small my world is inside, that little window lets in light and hope and a promise of better days. If I were to put shades on my little window to the world I would miss so much.
So very, very much indeed.


acrylic paint, pencil, patterned paper and imagination :)

Go to Illustration Friday to see other entries from around the world!


16 Comments on Illustration Friday: Shades, last added: 3/20/2012
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19. More Nostalgia

I was going through some old photographs, as dads do, and this one stopped me. Certainly not because it’s good photo, badly composed, poor choice of location, it was the first time in a long time I handled a camera. When taken at Art Center College my daughter was spending nearly as much as I due to a sudden change of circumstances. Though I think for her it was a positive experience. Guess not all of my recollections there were negative.


1 Comments on More Nostalgia, last added: 12/12/2010
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20. Why I Built the Boogle House

by Helen Palmer with photographs by Lynn Fayman Random House / Beginner Books  1964 A boy trades up from a turtle to increasing larger pets, building and modifying homes for them, until finally he has a house big enough for a Boogle. (What's a Boogle?) It starts with a turtle, a pet this boy has always wanted.  He builds a house for it to live in out of wood.  The next day the turtle has run

1 Comments on Why I Built the Boogle House, last added: 4/5/2011
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21. A Stranger Comes to Town...

Via Tempest Bradford I read the call for stories for a proposed anthology called Dark Tales of Lost Civilizations. The title and description are utterly screaming out for submissions filled with casual, ignorant, and textually-inherited exoticization and racism.

The "lost race / lost civilization / lost world" story derives from an imperialist history and view of the world, but at its most benign it's a version of the old "a stranger comes to town" story, with the stranger as the explorer and the town as the "lost" place. ("Lost" only to the stranger; to the inhabitants, it's been there all along and this "lost" talk is very odd, though maybe helpful if you're seeking to build a tourist industry.)

On Twitter, Cheryl Morgan wonderfully suggested, "What you need is an anthology full of brown people discovering the lost society of the USA. Gods of Mt. Rushmore?" David Moles said he'd already written that story with one of his Irrational Histories: "9th baktun, 9th katun, 2nd tun (AD 615)". I piped in suggesting Zakes Mda's Cion, a marvelous book about a South African who comes to the U.S. in 2004 and discovers it to be full of strange rituals and bizarre, fascinating people.

And then I thought of a few more such stories, and came up with a potential and vastly incomplete reading list for potential contributors to Dark Tales of Lost Civilizations, should they desire to try to avoid unfortunate implications in their stories. So, in addition to David's story and to Cion, I would suggest...

Lists can get overwhelming, so I'll stop there, with five books of fiction and five of nonfiction. Any one of those books would be informative for somebody trying to write about strangers and towns, I think, and a few of them together might create some interesting resonances.

I'm pretty ignorant of Asian fiction and histories, so that's an obvious lack in the list.

2 Comments on A Stranger Comes to Town..., last added: 6/26/2011
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22. Ypulse Essentials: Blockbuster’s Movie Pass, More Nickelodeon Nostalgia, Books On-Demand

Blockbuster is back and ready to battle Netflix and Qwikster (with Blockbuster Movie Pass, a service that lets users stream content and rent movies and games-by-mail. Unlike Netflix which has split into two companies, the Blockbuster Movie Pass will... Read the rest of this post

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23. Reader thanks from my childhood autograph book: Ray Bradbury

RayBradbury sm

I recently came across my childhood autograph book, and the recent #readerthanks posts on Twitter inspired me to share this page.

I always loved reading, but it wasn't until I read Ray Bradbury's Dandelion Wine that I became aware of style in writing. I'm generally a fast reader, but for Ray Bradbury's books I slowed way down so I could savour the language. Reading Ray Bradbury's books also helped me get hooked on sf/fantasy early on.

Note re: autograph page. For every autograph I received, I found a image of the author, researched and typed up a bio, and also wrote out the author's name by hand in calligraphy.

Another gem in my autograph book: a manually typed note from Stephen King! With corrected typos, even! I'll have to share that in a future post.

In case you're wondering how Ray Bradbury ended up sending me his autograph... When I was hoping to get someone's autograph, I wrote to the publisher with my request and a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply. I was SOOOOOOOO excited when I got replies!

0 Comments on Reader thanks from my childhood autograph book: Ray Bradbury as of 1/1/1900
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24. Ypulse Essentials: Facebook Puts Users’ Political Views On A Time Square Billboard, Blogging Is Therapeutic For Teens, More 90s Nostalgia

What matters most to young people in the 2012 election? (Facebook is calculating this in its new campaign “What Matters Most” where users rank the top three issues that are most important to them and their picture and thoughts can be featured on... Read the rest of this post

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25. The 54th Academy Awards


The only Oscars ceremony that had a specific effect on my life happened thirty years ago, when I was six years old. It was the 54th Academy Awards, and On Golden Pond was our local hero, having mostly been filmed about ten miles away from my house. Everybody I knew seemed to have at least a little connection to it somehow, or claimed to. At six years old, I didn't really understand what any of it meant, but I knew how much the adults seemed to care, and how special the moment seemed to them. The movie immediately became an indelible part of my life.

If that had been it, I'd look back on the 1982 Oscar ceremony with the sort of gauzy nostalgia that fills the movie. But Ernest Thompson won an Oscar that night for adapting his play into a screenplay, and I've known Ernest now for an amount of years neither of us will admit to, and worked with him on numerous local projects. We have really different aesthetics, and I love that — he's been at times the ideal teacher, editor, and director for me because he would never approach a story the way I do, and vice versa. He's intimidatingly smart and articulate, and so better than anybody I've ever met at steering me away from self-indulgent flourishes. (Ernest's commentary track on the anniversary edition DVD of On Golden Pond is a gem, and gives a good sense of his tell-it-like-it-is personality.)

Golden Pond is as close to a part of my DNA as a movie can be, and it's a film that is sacred to folks around here, because Squam Lake still looks quite a bit like it did in the movie, and plenty of people remember seeing Henry Fonda, Jane Fonda, Katharine Hepburn, and Dabney Coleman around town.

I hadn't paid much attention to what the other nominees were that year until recently. If I remembered anything, it was that Chariots of Fire won for Best Picture and Ernest beat Harold Pinter for Best Adapted Screenplay (Pinter's adaptation of The French Lieutenant's Woman verges on genius, finding cinematic/dramatic ways to replicate the novel's very novelistic complexities of narrative and structure, making an "unfilmable book" into a generally interesting film. I'm glad Ernest won, though.) But though 1981 was hardly an annus miribilis for cinema, there was some interesting work released that year. Among the movies not getting major notice from the Academy, there was Fassbinder's Lola and Lili Marleen; Blow OutCoup de Torchon; Escape from New York 2 Comments on The 54th Academy Awards, last added: 2/27/2012
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