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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: heroes, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 47
1. #805 – The Good Dog by Todd Kessler & Jennifer Gray Olson

The Good Dog Series: The Good Dog, #1 Written by Todd Kessler Illustrated by Jennifer Gray Olson Coralstone Press      10/26/2015 978-0-9898085-0-7 96 pages     Ages 3—10 “When little Ricky Lee finds a puppy on the side of the road, he takes him home and names him Tako. Ricky’s parents say that they …

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2. Poetry Friday -- The Belly of the Whale

Wikimedia Commons

Things to Do in the Belly of the Whale
by Dan Albergotti

Measure the walls. Count the ribs. Notch the long days.
Look up for blue sky through the spout. Make small fires
with the broken hulls of fishing boats. Practice smoke signals.
Call old friends, and listen for echoes of distant voices.
Organize your calendar. Dream of the beach. Look each way
for the dim glow of light. Work on your reports. Review
each of your life’s ten million choices.

If "the belly of the whale" is the point of no turning back in a hero's journey, then that is definitely what October is like in the classroom. Except I think someone forgot the supernatural aid...unless those are the literacy and numeracy coaches!!

I like the attitude of the speaker in this poem. If you've got to be in the belly of the whale, then at least you should kick back and rest...maybe even get a little work done!

Amy has the Poetry Friday roundup today at The Poem Farm, and remember, Jone will have the roundup on the 30th, not me.

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3. Review – The BAD GUYS Episode 1 by Aaron Blabey

Admittedly, I’m a picture book fanatic, but I’m also an Aaron Blabey fan so I wasn’t going to let a 137-page chapter book with colourless illustrations stop me from exploring it. In fact, it made no difference to my level of reading pleasure; ‘The BAD GUYS’ is highly interactive and witty and kind of like […]

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4. You Can Be a Hero

This year's Summer Reading Club theme is "Every Hero Has a Story".  And most libraries are using Superheroes to bring in kids.  It's such a kid friendly theme!

Not all heroes are super heroes.  Every one of us can be a hero - at least, sometime.  Doing the small things like smiling at someone who smiles at you - even when you feel grumpy - can feel heroic sometimes.

On Wednesday, I will tell stories about Every Day Heroes at a local library.  The audiences there are usually fairly young, so telling historic stories of heroes of the past may not work.  I want the children to see that simple things - telling the truth, picking up trash, being kind - can make the world a better place.

I decided to search for "simple ways to change the world" online and I got a lot of things like:
1. Be present.
2. Be grateful.
3. Be kind to yourself.

Hmmm, explaining gratitude to a 4-year-old is hard.  And these kids are as present as anyone can be.

But one simple action, Plant something, caught my attention.

So here are my 5 Simple Ways to Change the World:
1.  Keep your own space clean and neat.  (I don't follow this advice very well myself.)
    The world space belongs to us all so this includes your house and your neighborhood.
2.  Speak the truth.  Hmmm, this is never as easy as it seems.  People use their words so cleverly.  Use YOUR words for good.
3.  Smile.  Yep.  That.
4.  Plant something.  Grow something.  In a can on the windowsill - caring for a living thing is good   
for you and the plant will clean the air around it.
5.  Keep the peace.  It is so tempting to be hurtful when we feel down or when someone is hurtful to us.  If we can't find a way to bring peace to our attacker, we should just walk away from them.  I am talking about every day attacks, not life threatening events.

There you go.  Johnny Appleseed, Wangari Maathai, Elzeard Bouffier are all heroes who planted trees.   I think at least one of them should make it into my program.  I'll let you know how it goes.

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5. Universal Television to bring Heroes Reborn to Hall H


I gave up on Heroes long before the final episode of its fourth and concluding season aired, but I’ll always hold some level of goodwill for the initial spark of fun that its first year provided. NBC’s relaunch of the series with creator Tim Kring, Heroes Reborn, has some curious if the series may have a chance of recapturing the zeitgeist that it did in its inception.

Universal Television is going all in, bringing the new and returning cast members of Heroes Reborn to San Diego Comic Con’s Hall H for what’s sure to be a heavily discussed panel. Here’s their description of it:

Heroes Reborn
Sunday, July 12, 1:45-2:45 p.m., Hall H

From Tim Kring, who imagined NBC’s original critically-acclaimed “Heroes” series, comes “Heroes Reborn,” an epic 13-episode event series that chronicles the lives of ordinary people who discover they possess extraordinary abilities. Watch an exclusive extended trailer. Moderated by returning cast member Greg Grunberg, participate in a Q&A session with Tim Kring and the cast: Jack Coleman, Zachary Levi, Robbie Kay, Kiki Sukezane, Ryan Guzman, Gatlin Green, Henry Zebrowski, Judith Shekoni, Danika Yarosh and Rya Kihlstedt. (All subject to production availability.) Also learn about the digital prequel series and the video and mobile games.

Sundays are generally when SDCC is a good deal quieter after the strum and drang of Friday and Saturday’s onslaught of news and clips, so Universal may very well be in a good position to capture a few end of Con headlines.

1 Comments on Universal Television to bring Heroes Reborn to Hall H, last added: 6/18/2015
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6. #700 – Jars of Hope by Jennifer Ray & Meg Owenson – CBW Winners

Jars of Hope: How One Woman Helped Save 2,500 Children During the Holocaust

Written by Jennifer Roy
Illustrated by Meg Owenson
Capstone Press          8/01/2015
32 pages         Age 9—12

“Amid the horrors of World War II, Polish social worker Irena Sendler worked in the Warsaw Ghetto for Jews. When the Nazis began shipping Jews out of the ghetto in cattle cars, Irena started smuggling out babies and children to give them a chance to live. She hid babies in places like laundry piles, a carpenter’s toolbox, or a potato sack, and she helped older children escape through underground sewer tunnels. After the children were out of the ghetto, Irena found safe places for them with foster families or in convents. Irena kept records of the children she helped smuggle away and when she feared her work might be discovered, she buried her lists in jars, hoping to someday reunite the children with their parents.” [publisher]

Irena Sendler is one of the unsung heroes of World War II. She is not in history books and few know about her work. Jars of Hope begins with Irena as a young child, hearing words from her father that would stay with her forever. She asked her father,

“Are some people really better than others?”

Irena’s father replied,

“There are two kinds of people in this world, good and bad.
It doesn’t matter if they are rich or poor, what religion or race.
What matters is if they are good or bad.”

In World War II, the Jews were not the bad guys and Irena decided to help those that were suffering the most . . . children. With the help of some trusted friends, the group smuggled 2500 children out of the Warsaw Ghetto. One good example was Antoni, who was allowed to drive his truck in an out of the ghetto. Together, he and Irena smuggled babies out in the back of the truck. Many cried. Antoni had a unique solution: Shepsi. Shepsi, Antoni’s talented sidekick, rode along in the front seat of the truck. With one touch of his paw by Antoni, Shepsi began barking, drowning out the baby’s cries. Eventually Irena joined Zegota, a secret group of Polish adults who helped the Jews with aid and rescue. Zegota helped Irena place children in foster homes and convents, but that association also got her arrested.


The illustrations are emotional and stark, a reflection of the time, and yet beautiful. The images immerse readers into the 1940s and the realities of Irena’s work. I especially like the image of children climbing out of the sewer with only a flashlight shining down upon them as a guide. The young girl hoisting herself up onto the ground struck home, making the era come alive for me. The author includes an Afterword adding more about Irena’s life, a glossary, and an Author’s Note explaining why she wrote Jars of Hope.
What Irena Sendler went through to save so many others is beyond heroic. She put her life in danger every day, but thought nothing of it because others needed her help. Such a selfless spirit is rare. Irena dangerously kept a list of the children she rescued, believing every child deserves to know their real name—many received new, Catholic names upon rescue—and she wanted to reunite as many families as possible. The lists went into jars, and buried for safety.

Jars of Hope, and other books like it, should be in classrooms. Irena Sendler, her selfless aid of so many Jewish children is worth remembering. She is a hero, but much more than that, if there were just an appropriate word. Jars of Hope is a beautiful, dangerous story of hope at a time when all hope seemed lost, and of courage, in a time and place where courage barely survived. Jars of Hope is a must read for older children and adults. Jars of Hope also belongs in every school library.

JARS OF HOPE. Text copyright © 2015 by Jennifer Roy. Illustrations copyright © 2015 by Meg Owenson. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Capstone Press, North Mankato, MN.

Pre-order Jars of Hope at AmazonBook Depository— Capstone Press.

Learn more about Jars of Hope HERE.
Meet the author, Jennifer Roy, at her website:  http://jenniferroy.com/
Meet the illustrator, Meg Owenson, at her website:  https://meganowenson.wordpress.com/
Find more picture books at the Capstone Press website:  http://www.capstonepub.com/

Capstone Press is an imprint of Capstone.

Copyright © 2015 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved

Review section word count = 502

jars of hope

We have WINNERS!!

Children’s Book Week Winners

Monday – The Luck Uglies (Book #1) by Paul Durham & Pétur Antonsson
Winner:  Robin Newman

Tuesday – Butterfly Park by Elly MacKay
Winner:  Lauren Tolbert Miller

Wednesday – Dress Me! by Sarah Frances Hardy
Winner:  Susanna Leonard Hill

Thursday – Fork-Tongue Charmers (Luck Uglies #2) by Paul Durham
Winner:  Erik Weibel

Friday – FRED by Kaila Eunhye
Winners:  C. L. Murphy & Mike Allegra

Congratulations to all the winners!

Filed under: 5stars, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Middle Grade, Picture Book Tagged: Capstone, Capstone Press, courage, heroes, Jars of Hope, Jennifer Ray, Jewish children, Meg Owenson, selflessness, Warsaw Ghetto, World War II, Zegota

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7. More Wings!

Here's an illustration of "wings" I did for my Dover coloring book HEROES. 

Orville & Wilbur Wright
b/w line art by 
Steven James Petruccio

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8. Heroes of History, Part II

In an earlier post I shared how students used biography picture books to practice summarizing, recognizing opposing viewpoints, and citing textual evidence. Using the four-step process modeled there, students cut to the chase to tell what was "most needed to know" about their famous man or woman from history. So what's next?

Below I've shared some of the biography extensions and report options which students have completed over the years in my classroom. I'm sure you'll find a new one to try out!

Time Machine

As students read their biography, they take the usual notes, either on a prepared outline or free hand. When writing the report, however, the students pretend that they're able to travel back in time to interview this famous person. The most important details are then summarized in a question-answer format which reads in a more interesting way than a standard report. The paragraph students generated in the four-step summary process (above) serves nicely as the interview's introduction.

I've provided a sample of the interview format, but I highly encourage you to have students brainstorm their own interview questions as well. The brainstorming and sequencing process is an excellent introduction to the research process where students will need to formulate inquiries for themselves. Students will also discover that the unique experiences of any given person will in large part dictate the type of questions which should be asked. When reading Who Says Women Can't be Doctors? by Tanya Lee Stone, for example, one of my students was amazed to discover that Elizabeth Blackwell was turned down by twenty-eight different schools in her pursuit of attending medical school. "I think I would have quit trying after the first ten schools said no," the student remarked, and I wondered what Elizabeth Blackwell herself would have said to her in return.

Some years we presented these in a talk show format, with partners playing the role of interviewer, and other years students chose to dress as the person they were portraying. 


24 Ready to Go Genre Book Reports is a wonderful teacher resource full of ideas for responding to books, and one project from this resource which students have enjoyed is creating a journal.

When I first began teaching, I assigned students a similar journal format, requiring at least three entries that reflected events from the person's childhood or teen years, university or training years, and years of notable achievement. Additional entries could be written at students' discretion.

With the popularity of scrapbooking, students began asking if they could include artifacts in their journals. Projects soon included replica photos, sketches, tickets, maps, currency, and so on. The journal covers likewise became more creative, with students creating covers that resembled television sets, suitcases, trading cards, shipping crates, cars, space shuttles, hats, jerseys, and wanted posters. 

A wonderful set of biography books which rely upon a similar concepts of "snapshots" from a person's life is the 10 Day series by David Colbert, which so far includes books on Anne Frank, Abraham LincolnThomas Edison, Benjamin Franklin, and Martin Luther King, Jr. If all students in your classroom read the same biography or autobiography, they could likewise focus on the ten most pivotal days of that person's life, with students possibly pairing up and writing a first-person account of one of these days.

As mentioned above, the paragraph students generate in the four-step summary process can serve as an introduction to the diary, as the entries themselves may not provide ample information for some readers to understand the importance of the subject's achievements.

Made in Quotes Cover
Lessons Learned

One of my students' favorite parts of the Time Machine assignment (above) is when they, in the guise of their famous person, are asked to give advice to future generations. Putting themselves "into the shoes" of this famous person and distilling the experiences of a lifetime into a bit of sage advice is a difficult yet rewarding task.

In Lessons Learned, students generate eight to ten tips that their hero might pass on to future generations. The advice can be published as beautiful quotes, using a quote making site such as Quozio, Quotes Cover, ReciteThis, or ProQuoter.

Here, the four-step biography summary is used as an introduction piece that acquaints the reader with the giver of wise counsel. The quotes themselves can be printed, or embedded into a Google Slides or similar sharing platform.


Since most students best understand a biography in strict chronological order, creating a timeline would be a good way for them to explain and illustrate important life events.

For creating an online timeline, I highly recommend Hstry.co, which I discussed at length in a previous post. Check out that post to see how easy it is to get started with Hstry.

Telescoping Story

Telescopic Text allows writers a chance to share a story just one bit at a time, while revealing small and large thoughts alike in a measured manner. You can best understand this site by checking out the site creator's example. To see how a text is entered and edited, and to see a pretty impressive Telescopic Text created by a seven year-old, check out the video below.

Students could use this site to create a slowly expanding narrative of their hero's life. What's great about the site is that it encourages elaboration, a tough topic to teach students who are often trying to write as little as possible.

Caveat: Students should register for their own accounts and learn the difference between saving and publishing (saving allows for future edits; publishing does not).

Newspaper Clipping

A newspaper clipping describing an important event from a person's life is a terrific way to get students to focus upon what really merits attention. The Fodey Newspaper Generator provides a very short format clipping (about 1000 total characters), which is just enough to provide facts without the clutter of details. The clipping to the right, for example, was created in response to A Nation's Hope: The Story of Boxing Legend Joe Louis, written by Matt De La Peña and illustrated by Kadir Nelson. While the picture book chronicles Louis' rise as a fighter, the newspaper clipping captures just a highlight of that life.

This newspaper generator (which I found at the Learning Never Stops blog) allows for more space and also an image, but fills in the rest of the front page with two nonsense articles. Students would need to screen shot and crop out the other articles if they didn't want them to show.

In addition to a stand-alone activity, the newspaper clipping could also be used as an artifact in the Journal assignment above (some students have also used the movie clapboard generator at the Fodey site for their journal project). 

He Said, She Said 

I previously discussed Google Story Builder in another blog, and I'm still a fan. It's a very neat way to show differing points of view. Take a second to check out my review.  

Here's a short Google Docs Story I created after reading Mary Walker Wears the Pants: The True Story of the Doctor, Reformer, and Civil War Hero, written by Cheryl Harness and illustrated by Carlo Molinari. Note that activist Mary Walker disagrees with what a fabricated nemesis named "Nathan Properbody" has to say.  

Students can create both sides of such a fictional dialogue, or two students can take on opposing roles and write from each viewpoint. The process will need some trial and error, and the resulting pieces can't be long, but it's a very different type of writing requiring some critical and creative thinking.

Looking for more tech tools to assess student learning? Be sure to check out this collection of over thirty of the best free sites I've found to assess students at all stages of learning process.

0 Comments on Heroes of History, Part II as of 4/2/2015 1:29:00 AM
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9. A SUPER Writing Contest for Kids

If you are in grades 3-6, you can enter the BE A SUPER HERO, READ! contest sponsored by Capstone Publishing and DC Comics. All you have to do is write about a super hero in your life--a real one, that is.

Winners get an exclusive tour of DC Entertainment Offices, a tour of Warner Brothers Animation Studio, and a set of Capstone Man of Steel chapter books.

Who is the Wonder Woman or Man in your life? Write about him or her and you may have the chance for some SUPER prizes.

0 Comments on A SUPER Writing Contest for Kids as of 3/7/2013 4:44:00 PM
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Join the Party! Jeff Gunhus is wrapping up a 3 week tour with a Twitter Party on Friday, December 21 from 6 pm to 8 pm EST Use the hashtag #JackTemplar to join the party. Missed the tour? Check out the entire tour schedule for great reviews, guest posts, and interviews!…………………………………………. MONSTER HUNTERS ~~AND ~~ [...]

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11. Why is Veterans Day important?

image from Heroes by Ken Mochizuki and Dom Lee

image from Heroes

This Sunday is Veterans Day, a national holiday to honor veterans, servicemen and servicewomen who fought or are currently fighting in armed services. Originally named ‘Armstice Day’ on its creation in 1919 by President Wilson, the day was dedicated to “the heroism of those who died in the country’s service” and celebrated the WWI victory which allowed America to bestow peace  and justice to other nations. In the aftermath of World War II, which caused the largest mobilization of soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen in the history of the nation up until that point, and America’s participation in the Korean War, Congress amended the day to be called ‘Veterans Day’ on  June 1, 1954. Veterans Day would fall annually on November 11th and be a day to honor American veterans of all wars.

Quiet Hero: The Ira Hayes Story

image from Quiet Hero: The Ira Hayes Story

When I was younger, I associated Veterans Day with a day off from school or work and gave the actual veterans little thought. However, Veterans Day is so much more than that. It is a day to celebrate and honor those that have fought for the liberties and rights that we Americans are so lucky to have – including the right to vote, which so many Americans exercised this week. With their service and their lives, the heroes who have fought in wars past or present have given us an invaluable gift that we should take a moment to seriously acknowledge and appreciate. Countless men and women have selflessly given us so much and it’s crucial to not forget that.

To read more about veterans and their honorable and heroic contributions, check out Heroes by Ken Mochizuki and Dom Lee and Quiet Heroes by S.D Nelson.

Filed under: Holidays Tagged: Dom Lee, Heroes, Ira Hayes, Ken Mochizuki, November 11th, Quiet Hero, Veteran's Day

1 Comments on Why is Veterans Day important?, last added: 11/13/2012
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12. Latest News from Moonlight Ridge

Kindlers and Nookers take note!

I'm so happy to announce that my beautiful new VHP edition of Sweet Music on Moonlight Ridge is now available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

My new publisher, Vanilla Heart Publishers, have done such a great job! If you like mysteries, nature trails, Southern folk tales with a generous helping of humor and supernatural happenings, you'll love  the adventures of Lily Claire and Willie T. in the woods of Alabama.

From a family background filled with haunting images and delicious mirth, a couple of eight-year-old adventurers discover their own world of mischief, music, and magic in a special place called Moonlight Ridge.

Follow these two witty and wise youngsters as they find out that sometimes the greatest treasures are found in the most amazing and unexpected places.

5 Comments on Latest News from Moonlight Ridge, last added: 9/8/2012
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13. Wow of a launch results in 3 titles in reprint already!

Andrea has gotten it spectacularly right! The CEO of Tell Me a Story launched 10 new titles on 30th June, this year. I was privileged to be guest speaker at an event that had even seasoned politicians, Ian Rickuss, MP Lockyer, and Steve Jones, Mayor, Lockyer Valley Regional Council,  commenting on attendance numbers!

Assembled authors, illustrators and guest panelists with Andrea Kwast

Muza Ulasowski [Panelist] and Guest Speaker, J.R.Poulter

The audience was rapt. I have seldom been at a publishing event where everyone’s eyes shone! Andrea has the  devoted support of her very wide community of readers and growing. She also has the  good fortune to have a very devoted group of assistants in administrator, Rel, and local photographer and budding author herself, Jenni Smith.

Research and innovation, preparedness to think out of the box, are hallmarks of Andrea and her team. She believes stories are lurking everywhere and it just takes the right determination, editing and dedication to bring them out. That she is succeeding over and above expetaction is more than demonstrated by the sellout and reprint, within the first few weeks since the launch, of no fewer than 3 titles!

Hearty Congratulations Andrea and Team and to all her authors – keep writing!

Click to view slideshow.
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14. Ian Beck, Award Winning Illustrator, Describes the Creative Process as Bestselling Author

Ian Beck on Visualizing the Characters in his YA novels,  

Hi Ian,

Hearty congratulations on the release of your two new YA novels, both in the one year! That is some achievement! I’m fascinated by  how you come up with such a range of amazing and vastly different characters and all so vividly drawn.  

Do you ‘see’ with your illustrator’s eye, the characters before you flesh them out? What part of the author is still the illustrator? Does the  novel roll out in movie sequence in your mind?

Firstly, the characters in “The Hidden Kingdom” [see review below]-  

What was the origin of Prince Osamu, the arrogant prat turned soldier king?

The whole book started with a single  sentence.  I wrote it for inclusion in a book which was intended to kick start ideas in children and encourage their own writing . The original sentence went something like, ‘The Prince woke to the howling of wolves’, and I thought, ‘well I would like to write that story myself and see what happens’, and so my Prince was the first settled character around which the story built. I imagined him as  a pampered princeling in a fairy tale forced to confront something very big but I wasn’t sure what it might be at the beginning of the process.

Why Baku and the Snow Maiden? Is this a tip of the hat to the Brothers Grimm with their tales of transformation and  tragic love, thinking particularly of The Little Mermaid, but with role reversal?

Not quite, Baku and the Snow Maiden were in a separate book, based on a Japanese myth story.  It was only after working on both discretely for  a few months that I realised in a flash of inspiration, (which now seems obvious but didn’t at the time), that they belonged in the same book as Prince Osamu.

Lissa, the warrior maid, is a thoroughly modern miss.  What were her antecedents?

I think Lissa is to me quite clearly based on the character and beauty of Zhang Zi Yi in the film Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, that is exctly how I saw her  in my mind, fiery and difficult, but dedicated to the saving of the Prince even though she begins the story despising his weakness.

Secondly, the lead roles in the very visually realized, “The Haunting of Charity Delafield” [see review below]-

Charity Delafield, is a quintessential heroine for a disaffected generation. The working woman’s children, tossed from home to childcare, child care to school and back and never long enough in one place to identify with it as ‘home’, whom I suspect ask ‘Who is Mum? Is she really the hollow eyed lady who picks me up late afternoon/early evening, rushes me through dinner to bed and pulls me out in the morning, drives me and drops me off with a stress fraught kiss and a wave?’  Charity is a brave new kind of heroine, finding her way, finding herself. In a seemingly disaffected world.  What inspired her?

Charity began life as picture book idea. I had drawn some rough sketches of a girl in a long red coat out in the snow in an old fashioned formal garden. I liked the place and time of the story, the only difficulty was that there was no story. At about the same time my daughter started leaving notes for the Fairy she believed to be in the house and I started to leave replies in minute hand writing, which developed into a nice game. I mentioned them to my agent and she thought it might be worth developing as a book. My editor at Random House, Annie Eaton, always liked the initial drawings and would occasionally enquire if I had done anything with them. After I had finished the Tom Trueheart books, I finally saw a way to develop the story as a novel with the girl in the red coat in the garden. It went through three very different drafts before it was finished.


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15. Writing to David Bowie

When I write Berlin for Tamra Tuller at Philomel—when I steal the time, when I shake the hours down and claim a few as my own (give me time, give it to me)—I am writing this song.  I am dancing to this song.  I am my long-ago self, in love with David Bowie and this very particular tune.

Today in the foggy dark I wrote a snatch of a scene.

I cannot tell you how much more alive I feel when I write.

6 Comments on Writing to David Bowie, last added: 3/20/2012
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16. How not to do a Book Launch?!

When Jenny Stubbs, Festival Coordinator Extraordinaire, told me I had a slot to launch ”All in the Woods” I was ecstatic! It was my first book to be published in the UK and a launch venue at the Ipswich Festival of Children’s Literature, Woodlands, was almost too good to be true. Jenny facilitated a link to Aleesa Darlison who agreed to MC. BRILLIANT! What could go wrong?

The Ipswich Festival is always an exciting event! It is held at Woodlands, a stunning, heritage listed venue set amongst rural fields, magnificent trees and rolling hills – what a setting for a launch! The lead up to the day, Tuesday, 13th September 2011, was a real buzz! Then the unthinkable happened… The weekend before, my throat started to get that irritating little scratch and that niggly cough that sometime precedes worse. Sunday night it started to hit! Laryngitis!

Friends, good friends can be the saving of such worst case scenarios. I spoke (whilst I still had a voice) to Tara Hale, who designed the promo poster, would she be Guest Artist “Pink” the possum [cousin of "Ink" the animal hero of my book]. Next I contacted  Nooroa Te Hira, he has worked as a tour guide so I knew he would ace a reading of my book. Then I rang Christian Bocquee and asked would he help with nitty grittys like directing teachers and students to seats, distributing prizes and being event photographer! Bless them, they all ‘volunteered’ unstintingly!

Result? Fun, fun, fun!  We had a ball, the book launch was a total success! The author having to use copious amounts of sign language but, hey, she has 5 kids so she speaks the  lingo with hands and fingers! :)

You can see some of the fun in the gallery below. [Sadly, Pink, being a nocturnal creature, was shy of the  camera flash and hid!]

And the book, which was illustrated by wonderful watercolourist Linda Gunn? It had been a truly international effort – written by an Aussie, illustrated by an American and published by a Brit! The icing on the cake was a nomination for the OPSO Award!

Here is a recent review by Kathy Schneider!

Where can you get it? Here!

Tara Hales'  Promotional Poster for "All in the Woods 0 Comments on How not to do a Book Launch?! as of 2/3/2012 4:20:00 AM
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17. The Stray – Your feedback is actively solicited! :)

The Stray.

Please leave a comment or like – I won’t be upset if you do both!

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18. “All in the Woods” first review through and first from the USA

“With sensitive and humorous prose, J.R. McRae tells a story of family life, love, and acceptance with beautiful illustrations by Linda Gunn. When Pete finds a furry hero, Ink, to solve his dinnertime woes, a nosey neighbor jumps to conclusions that enlarge as Pete’s grandpa comes to visit. When Mrs. Allan’s mother-in-law, Nanny, and Pete’s grandpa take off for an early-morning drive, the assumptions increase until Ink and Grandpa solve the mystery. Perfect for young readers, this book speaks of a boy and his grandpa, a mother defending her son from gossip, and the surprise of love at any age.”  ~Janice Phelps Williams, author, illustrator www.janicephelps.com

Promotional poster, by Tara Hale, for “All in the Woods”, Pixiefoot Press, 2011

2 Comments on “All in the Woods” first review through and first from the USA, last added: 7/11/2011
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19. JAPAN – New Rising Sun anthology – to be an e-book – Poets, writers, artists

This  fundraising anthology is to be an e-book – poets writers, artists, please give of your talents to help the Japanese peope in their hour of need!

The link : http://booksthathelp.org/

New Sun Rising
Stories for Japan

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20. Giant Steps to Change the World


Giant Steps to Change the World by Spike Lee & Tonya Lewis Lee, illustrated by Sean Qualls

This is a book filled with inspiring people that show children that everyone has the ability to be a hero.  The book contains examples of people who stood up for others, worked with a passion and vision, honored deep values, and led the world to a new place.  Among the heroes on the pages are Langston Hughes, Harriet Tubman, Mother Teresa, and Neil Armstrong.  It is a great mix of male and female and different races.  The heroes will inspire young readers to take that first step to follow in the giant steps that their heroes left behind.

Qualls’ illustrations are amazing.  Done in acrylic, gouache, pencil and collage, the images are bold and strong.  Some are so powerful, they stay with you after closing the book, like the black and white image that represents Harriet Tubman and moves from dark to light.  The illustrations have clear lines, deep colors, and convey the essence of that hero to great effect.

Unfortunately, the text written by the Lees is less successful.  The heroes they have selected are an incredible group of people.  It is the words themselves that fall flat, often being too verbose and roundabout for a children’s picture book.  I was also disappointed that there was not a list of the heroes anywhere in the book with more information.  Readers can look at the endpages of the book to see a quote from each hero, but no further details are given.  That’s just not enough information for young readers.

An inspiring book despite some issues, this book would pair well with President Obama’s Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters.  Appropriate for ages 7-9.

Reviewed from copy received from Simon & Schuster.

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21. Opportunity for writers


This anthology, to be published by Cinco Puntos Press in
2011 or 2012, will explore all angles of children’s and
teenagers’ experiences in war. The core of the book will
be personal essays, memoirs, journalistic accounts, and
historical narratives, both previously published and
original pieces. It may also include photos, artwork,
posters, and other debris that depicts the effects of war
on children and teens. Though the book will be primarily
non-fiction, we may include some fiction, and we are willing
to consider pieces about both current and past wars. “War”
is defined liberally to include both “official” declared
wars as well as secret, unofficial wars, such as those carried
out by governments on civilians in places like Chile, Argentina,
and Zimbabwe. All submissions, queries, and suggestions should
be sent to J.L. Powers at [email protected] by June
1, 2011.

NOTE: While the guidelines do not state the payment rate, I
spoke with Jessica Powers, editor of the anthology, and the
payment is $200 per story accepted.

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22. The Oxford Comment: Episode 2 – GEEKS!

In the second episode of The Oxford Comment, Lauren Appelwick and Michelle Rafferty celebrate geekdom! They interview a Jeopardy champion, talk sex & attraction with a cockatoo, discover what makes an underdog a hero, and “geek out” with some locals.

Subscribe and review this podcast on iTunes!

Featured in this podcast:

Jesse Sheidlower, Editor-at-Large (North America) of the Oxford English Dictionary, author of The F-Word

*     *     *     *     *

Matt Caporaletti, “Advertising Account Supervisor from Westwood, NJ,” Jeopardy champion

*     *     *     *     *

David P. Barash and Judith Lipton authors of Payback: Why We Retaliate, Redirect Aggression, and Take Our Revenge

*     *     *     *     *

Scott T. Allison and George R. “Al” Goethels, authors of Heroes: What They Do and Why We Need Them. Check out their heroes blog!

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23. DONATE FORTS - 1,111 Books for 11/11

The publisher of the Forts series, CANONBRIDGE LLC is working alongside the SOLDIERS' ANGELS charity and has reduced the cost of the book in hopes that you'll purchase, donate, and get it in the hands of the soldiers overseas. This is not only for Forts, but some of their other titles as well.

If you're interested, click the words CANONBRIDGE LLC for more details.

See how easy I made that for you?

Go me!


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24. The Hero Project: A Children’s Literary Perspective

In the last few weeks, my husband has been working on something he’s calling The Hero Project.  The concept is simple.  Matt is searching for the universal structure that underlies all heroic myths.  He started out by reading Joseph Campbell’s The Hero With a Thousand Faces but says that in terms of myths, “I started to disagree with Campbell. Most heroic myths don’t actually lay out a roadmap the reader can follow to solve his own problems. In fact, many myths imply the opposite. The message is: ‘Don’t try this at home.’ Most mythological heroes are not average people who rise to do extraordinary things. Instead they’re jerks who get special dispensation from the gods. When you read a lot of different mythologies side by side, a certain message starts to become clear: These guys were anointed by the gods to do this stuff, and you weren’t, so don’t get any ideas.”

So he began thinking it through with posts like Can Heroes Really Start at Zero? and Do Heroes Need Special Skills?

All this led in the end to the creation of the Nine Types of Heroes.  Check it out:

You’ll have to read his post on the subject to see examples of this.

Now Matt showed this list at a gathering of children’s literature types, and together they convinced him of two additional categories for this list: The Holy Fool and The Book Taught Amateur.

It all got me to thinking about how these types of heroes appear in children’s literature.  Though Matt is using a lot of these types from his screenwriting perspective, overlap into the children’s literary sphere isn’t difficult at all.  You just have to tweak certain elements to something a little less adult.  So let’s take a gander at what each type of hero would entail in the world of books for youth.  Consider the word “job” to mean “school” a lot of the time, and you’ll see why I slot folks in one category or another.

1: The Pro At Work:

  • Most qualified person who is doing their job in their element:
  • Example: Kiki Strike, Europe from The Monster Blood Tattoo books, Katsa from Graceling (at least at the novel’s start), and a host of other capable folks.

2. The Fish Out of Water:

  • Qualified and on the job, but out of their element:
  • Examples:  I might put Claudia of From the Mixed-Up

    12 Comments on The Hero Project: A Children’s Literary Perspective, last added: 8/19/2010
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25. Ten CC's of Books for Boys

Looking for a way to get your boys reading? Look no further than the book recommendations below, sorted into "10 CC's" guaranteed to inject some enthusiasm for reading!

1. Curious Critters

Boys love to read about animals, the stranger the better. What's really terrific is that so many animal picture books are written using nonfiction text conventions such as a glossary, index, text boxes, captions, boldfaced and italicized words, appositives (for defining words in context), and headings and subheadings. Boys who frequently read these books will later find content area texts easier to navigate.

So which critters to include? Insects and predators lead the list, although mythological creatures are also popular. Boys tend to leave books about horses, dogs, and cats to the girls. A great example of this critter category is Predators, one of Simon and Schuster's Insiders Series. Photographs, photo-realistic close-ups, and cool cut-aways give boys an unparalleled look at some of nature's most awesome hunters.

2. Caped Crusaders

Superheroes embody many of the traits that boys admire. What schoolboy hasn't dreamed of living dual lives? Superheroes, with their awesome powers and identity struggles, continue to be popular with boys right up through middle school. From classic superheroes such as Batman to newer, more unlikely protagonists such as Jeff Smith's Bone 1 Comments on Ten CC's of Books for Boys, last added: 3/29/2010
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