Children's Literature

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  • Week in Review, February 23rd-27th

    The Horn Book
    Katie Bircher
    27 Feb 2015 | 2:25 pm
    This week on… March/April 2015 Horn Book Magazine preview March/April 2015 editorial: “The Difference That Made Them” From the March/April issue: Vaunda Micheaux Nelson’s HBAS 2014 keynote speech “Mind the Gaps: Books for All Young Readers” Reviews of the Week: Picture Book: Smick! by Doreen Cronin; illus. by Juana Medina Fiction: Tales of Bunjitsu Bunny by John Himmelman Nonfiction: One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of the Gambia by Miranda Paul; illus. by Elizabeth Zunon App: Metamorphabet Read Roger: “SO gay“: our…
  • 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #421: Featuring Bryan Collier

    Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast
    28 Feb 2015 | 10:01 pm
    “But first I needed an instrument. The great thing about music is that you don’t even need a real instrument to play. So my friends and I decided to make our own.”(Click to enlarge spread) It’s the first Sunday of the month, which means I normally feature the work of a student or debut illustrator. I’m breaking my own 7-Imp rules today, however, to … well, not do that — simply because I like this book and want to show you all some spreads from it. This won’t be on shelves till mid-April. Forgive me for posting about it a bit early, but hey,…

    Finding Wonderland: The WritingYA Weblog
    27 Feb 2015 | 11:59 am
    "Have you ever had the feeling that you aren't the main character in the story of your life? That you fill a more minor role - supporting cast, maybe, comic relief, or even antagonist? If that is true - if you aren't the big deal in the story of your life, if your whole purpose is to act as a foil or a catalyst for someone else - then maybe it doesn't matter what you do. Or what you don't do. Maybe all that matters is what others do to you." - INFANDOUS, by E.K. Arnold, from an Advanced Review Copy. Infandous is an old, old word from the Latin infandus, which straight up means abominable.
  • Short Review: Blood of My Blood

    A Chair, A Fireplace, & A Tea Cozy
    Liz B
    25 Feb 2015 | 1:00 am
    Blood of My Blood (I Hunt Killers) by Barry Lyga. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. 2014. Review copy from publisher. Sequel to I Hunt Killers and Game.The I Hunt Killers series is the story of  Jasper Dent, son of the infamous serial killer Billy Dent. It asks the question -- is the son condemned to follow in the footsteps of his father? If nature (the son of a killer) and nurture (raised by his father to hunt and kill) conspire to create a path for a child, will the child follow that path? And what is the cost of not doing so?What I…
  • Not-What-You-Think-You -Know German Fairy Tales

    educating alice
    26 Feb 2015 | 5:54 am
    She immediately owned up to her evil intentions, and the prince rewarded her by running her through with a sword. A few years ago there was excitement about a “new” trove of Germany fairy tales collected by one Franz Xaver von Schönwerth. They’ve now been organized and edited, translated, and illustrated in a new edition, The Turnip Princess and Other Newly Discovered Fairy Tales.  A handful of them are already available online to read including “King Goldenlocks,” “The Wolves,” and “In the Jaws of the Merman.”    Emphatic, direct,…
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    The Horn Book

  • Week in Review, February 23rd-27th

    Katie Bircher
    27 Feb 2015 | 2:25 pm
    This week on… March/April 2015 Horn Book Magazine preview March/April 2015 editorial: “The Difference That Made Them” From the March/April issue: Vaunda Micheaux Nelson’s HBAS 2014 keynote speech “Mind the Gaps: Books for All Young Readers” Reviews of the Week: Picture Book: Smick! by Doreen Cronin; illus. by Juana Medina Fiction: Tales of Bunjitsu Bunny by John Himmelman Nonfiction: One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of the Gambia by Miranda Paul; illus. by Elizabeth Zunon App: Metamorphabet Read Roger: “SO gay“: our…
  • Editorial: The Difference That Made Them

    Roger Sutton
    27 Feb 2015 | 12:00 pm
    Inadvertently or not, ALA heeded the call of the zeitgeist when it honored six books (out of ten in toto) by people of color in the 2015 Newbery and Caldecott medals and honors, announced last month at the Midwinter conference in Chicago. The winners were Kwame Alexander (African American) for Newbery and Dan Santat (Asian American) for Caldecott; the honor recipients included women of color Jacqueline Woodson for the Newbery and Yuyi Morales, Jillian Tamaki, and Lauren Castillo for the Caldecott. This is all wonderful news. Yet another honoree represents diversity of a different kind: Cece…
  • Horn Book Magazine – March/April 2015

    Horn Book
    27 Feb 2015 | 9:00 am
    Table of Contents Features “Mind the Gaps: Books for All Young Readers” by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson Creating a demand for more good books featuring diverse characters. “Five Gay Picture-Book Prodigies and the Difference They’ve Made” by Barbara Bader From Sendak to dePaola. Columns Editorial “The Difference That Made Them” by Roger Sutton Diversity of all stripes. The Writer’s Page “Ex Libris” by Meg Wolitzer What libraries have meant in one writer’s life. Sight Reading “Designing Woman” by Leonard S. Marcus The achievement…
  • Diverted: A Bostonian dystopia

    Shoshana Flax
    27 Feb 2015 | 8:00 am
    It was dawn. It was time for the Waiting. Three hundred thousand were Waiting. Some waited for Buses, some waited for Trains that would become Buses. Some tried different routes, and some gave up hope and called Ubers. But many remained. Most remembered the days before The Big One. The days when roads had lanes in two directions. The days when, with a glance at a watch and perhaps a touch of an app, they could predict when their journeys would end. But remembering didn’t help. Remembering didn’t raise the wind chill, or lower the mountains so you could see what was coming, or add…
  • Picture books and early readers | class #2 2015

    Lolly Robinson
    27 Feb 2015 | 3:06 am
    Now that our first class is done, we can move on to some in-depth reading and discussing. Last week we got our feet wet with two picture books, one a classic and the other a wordless exploration of culture. For our second class on March 5, we will read two more picture books, two easy readers, and one book about how art works: Mr. Tiger Goes Wild by Peter Brown That New Animal by Emily Jenkins, illustrated by Pierre Pratt There Is a Bird On Your Head! by Mo Willems Ling and Ting: Twice As Silly by Grace Lin Picture This by Molly Bang We hope you will join our online pre-class discussion by…
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    Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast

  • 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #421: Featuring Bryan Collier

    28 Feb 2015 | 10:01 pm
    “But first I needed an instrument. The great thing about music is that you don’t even need a real instrument to play. So my friends and I decided to make our own.”(Click to enlarge spread) It’s the first Sunday of the month, which means I normally feature the work of a student or debut illustrator. I’m breaking my own 7-Imp rules today, however, to … well, not do that — simply because I like this book and want to show you all some spreads from it. This won’t be on shelves till mid-April. Forgive me for posting about it a bit early, but hey,…
  • What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,Plus What I Did Last Week,Featuring Luc Melanson,Christopher Silas Neal, and Stephanie Yue

    26 Feb 2015 | 10:01 pm
    “… I said we should have a funeral. Rosario just smiled.He didn’t seem very sad, but I know he loved that tree.”– From Charis Wahl’s Rosario’s Fig Tree, illustrated by Luc Melanson (Groundwood, March 2015)   “S n a p! Someone else is faster!Down in the dirt, a smooth, shining garter snake crunches on supper.”– From Kate Messner’s Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt, illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal(Chronicle, March 2015)(Click to enlarge spread)   “Every morning in summer, one … two … three!
  • A Moment with Emily Gravett’s Art — and Sketchbook

    26 Feb 2015 | 10:27 am
    Last week, I talked over at Kirkus with poet and author A. F. Harrold about his children’s novel, The Imaginary, released overseas last year but coming to American shelves in early March from Bloomsbury. That conversation is here. Today, I’m following up with some of Emily Gravett’s art from the book, as well as some peeks into her sketchbook for this one. (That’s an early sketch pictured above.) I thank her for sharing. Enjoy the art.   Some of Emily’s Early Sketches:   (Click above image to see sketchbook page in full)   (Click to enlarge)  …
  • Seven Questions Over Breakfast with Ethan Long

    24 Feb 2015 | 7:06 am
    Author-illustrator Ethan Long likes a good breakfast, such as Belgian waffles with strawberries and whipped cream and lots of bacon. But overall, he tells me, “these days, since I am a 46 year old man and I can get chubby pretty easily, I make it a point to consume a bowl of oatmeal with walnuts and raisins and a glass of orange juice every morning.” I’m going to say we splurge this morning during our breakfast interview and have some of those Belgian waffles. One must always splurge. Plus coffee. Gotta have coffee. As you can see, if you scroll down to the bibliography at…
  • 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #420: Featuring Zachariah OHora

    21 Feb 2015 | 10:01 pm
    I’ve got a review over at BookPage of Ame Dyckman’s Wolfie the Bunny, illustrated by Zachariah OHora and released this month by Little, Brown. That review is here, and today—with thanks to OHora—I’ve got some dummy samples, alternate covers and endpages, character studies, and final art to share with you. Let’s get right to it …   First Character Studies   Dummy samples(click each one to enlarge)   Alternate Covers and Endpages (Click to enlarge) (Click to enlarge) (Click to enlarge) (Click to enlarge) (Click to enlarge) (Click to…
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    Finding Wonderland: The WritingYA Weblog


    27 Feb 2015 | 11:59 am
    "Have you ever had the feeling that you aren't the main character in the story of your life? That you fill a more minor role - supporting cast, maybe, comic relief, or even antagonist? If that is true - if you aren't the big deal in the story of your life, if your whole purpose is to act as a foil or a catalyst for someone else - then maybe it doesn't matter what you do. Or what you don't do. Maybe all that matters is what others do to you." - INFANDOUS, by E.K. Arnold, from an Advanced Review Copy. Infandous is an old, old word from the Latin infandus, which straight up means abominable.
  • 10½ Questions with Reshama Deshmukh, creator of THE PIED PIPER

    Sarah Stevenson
    26 Feb 2015 | 10:00 am
    One of the big draws of KidLitCon is getting a chance to meet your fellow bloggers, find out what their interests are, and discover where they intersect with yours. As you may know by now, here at FW our main focus is on Young Adult fiction, with an emphasis on diverse speculative fiction and graphic novels and, a bit more secondarily, the odd Middle Grade book which catches our attention. We aren't experts in MG anything, which is why we're excited to feature a change of pace today and interview our fellow KidLitCon co-organizer Reshama Deshmukh of the blog Stacking Books. She's a fellow…
  • A Cybil's Bookmark: SALVAGE by ALEXANDRA DUNCAN

    24 Feb 2015 | 10:34 am
    This book is a 2015 Cybils Award YA Speculative Fiction Finalist. This is a review by a finalist judge, so will focus more directly on summary. We hope you pick up this Cybil nominee, read, and enjoy! Summary: Sixteen-year-old Ava is a dichotomy - living in a polygamous, patriarchal, rigidly gender-divided, hunter-gatherer tribe-style life... on a deep-space merchant trading ship called Parastrata. She's different from everyone else in her crewe as it is, because her father was from Mumbai, so her hair is black, not red like the rest, but her stepmother bleaches it, so she'll fit in. The "so"…
  • Cybils Finalist Review: THE DUMBEST IDEA EVER! by Jimmy Gownley

    Sarah Stevenson
    23 Feb 2015 | 8:00 am
    Summary: This book has got a great title. Rest assured the premise lives up to the promise. This was one of my personal favorite titles from this year's excellent crop of Cybils graphic novel finalists. The autobiographical story of how the author decided to become a cartoonist and start drawing comics, The Dumbest Idea Ever! is also one of the funniest books ever--Jimmy is a relatable narrator who endures the usual bumbling toward adolescence that anyone who has ever been a tween will recognize.Peaks: Creative kids and teens in particular will really relate to Jimmy's story. For the sake of…
  • Odds & Book Ends: Five & Dime Friday, Procrastination Edition

    20 Feb 2015 | 10:42 am
    Yes, I am the big nerd who occasionally has themed bookshelves. In my house. Because, apparently I am a pretend librarian. Happy Friday, kids! I'm here because I'm procrastinating. Knowing that, I'm going to keep this short... but I did want to pop in today and say hello. AF and I quietly celebrated ten years here on our blog this month, and both of us are a little sad because we pathetically are overbooked and can't really do much about it. Oh, well! Throw some confetti for us. ♦ Let's kick off this blitzkrieg of links and nonsense with a bit of BOOK NERDDOM, as Mother Reader wins 2015…
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    A Chair, A Fireplace, & A Tea Cozy

  • Short Review: Blood of My Blood

    Liz B
    25 Feb 2015 | 1:00 am
    Blood of My Blood (I Hunt Killers) by Barry Lyga. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. 2014. Review copy from publisher. Sequel to I Hunt Killers and Game.The I Hunt Killers series is the story of  Jasper Dent, son of the infamous serial killer Billy Dent. It asks the question -- is the son condemned to follow in the footsteps of his father? If nature (the son of a killer) and nurture (raised by his father to hunt and kill) conspire to create a path for a child, will the child follow that path? And what is the cost of not doing so?What I…
  • Short Review: Unmade, The Lynburn Legacy Book 3

    Liz B
    23 Feb 2015 | 1:00 am
    Unmade (The Lynburn Legacy Book 3) by Sarah Rees Brennan. Random House. 2014. Sequel to Unspoken and Untold. Review copy from publisher.I feel like I can't talk too much about the plot in Unmade because I don't want to spoil new to the series readers; and I don't want to spoil those who haven't read the final book yet.Short version: Kami Glass discovers that magic is real and her small English village is the center of a war involving powerful witches. And I use the term "war" deliberately, because important things are at stake. Lives are at stake.
  • Review: Kingsman

    Liz B
    14 Feb 2015 | 2:35 pm
    Some folks went to see the Fifty Shades of Grey movie this weekend.I went to see Kingsman: The Secret Service, taking my niece and nephew (ages 14 and 12).It was so much fun! Kingsman is about an independent spy agency, Kingsman, and how a street-smart kid is recruited to be a part of a group that so far has been strictly upper upper class.What makes Kingsman entertaining are the performances and the action sequences. It's also got humor and fun references to other spy films or tropes.Colin Firth is "Galahad" (all of the Kingsman Knights have names from the round table; the head of the…
  • Review: Ida M. Tarbell

    Liz B
    28 Jan 2015 | 1:00 am
    Ida M. Tarbell: The Woman Who Challenged Big Business--and Won! by Emily Arnold McCully. Clarion Books, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 2014. Library copy.It's About: Ida M. Tarbell, born in 1857, who became one of the first American journalist and also helped found investigative journalism. Her noteworthy articles included a biography of Abraham Lincoln, and an expose of John D. Rockefeller and his company, Standard Oil Trust.The Good: I really enjoyed learning about Ida M. Tarbell, whose name seemed vaguely familiar from history class.I was impressed with Ida's many accomplishments and…
  • Review: Home Cooking

    Liz B
    20 Jan 2015 | 1:00 am
    Home Cooking: A Writer in the Kitchen (Vintage Contemporaries) by Laurie Colwin. Illustrations by Anna Shapiro. Personal copy: Vintage, 2010. Originally published in 1988.It's About: Part memoir, part cook book.The Good: I read Colwin's Happy All the Time around when it first came out -- and it's stuck with me all these years. Since I was only in early high school at the time I read it, I thought that Happy All the Time, and Laurie Colwin herself, was my book, my discovery. While I bought a new copy when Vintage did its 2010 reissues, I still haven't brought myself to read it: would it…
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    educating alice

  • Not-What-You-Think-You -Know German Fairy Tales

    26 Feb 2015 | 5:54 am
    She immediately owned up to her evil intentions, and the prince rewarded her by running her through with a sword. A few years ago there was excitement about a “new” trove of Germany fairy tales collected by one Franz Xaver von Schönwerth. They’ve now been organized and edited, translated, and illustrated in a new edition, The Turnip Princess and Other Newly Discovered Fairy Tales.  A handful of them are already available online to read including “King Goldenlocks,” “The Wolves,” and “In the Jaws of the Merman.”    Emphatic, direct,…
  • Africa is My Home: How One 5th Grade Teacher Taught It

    24 Feb 2015 | 2:38 am
    This past fall I received an email from a teacher who was using Africa is My Home (as of today in paperback!) with her 5th graders. She wrote: My name is Keren Lilu; I am a 5th grade teacher at the Blue School in lower Manhattan.  Our big study for the year is the Harlem Renaissance/Civil Rights movement, with the essential questions centered around power: how does power emerge- is it inevitable?  Who decides who has power?  How do we empower ourselves in the face of injustice?  We actually began the year looking at slavery as a historical context to ground the rest of our study in, and…
  • Celebrating The Bank Street Book Store

    22 Feb 2015 | 3:06 am
    There are two major independent children’s bookstores in New York City’s borough of Manhattan, the downtown Books of Wonder and the uptown Bank Street Book Store. Both are important and wonderful to visit, each offering distinctive sensibilities. Today I want to celebrate The Bank Street Book Store, an important part of the venerable Bank Street College of Education, an institution that started  downtown on Bank Street (thus the name), but long ago moved uptown to 112th Street where it still is. As for the bookstore, it began in a tiny lobby space in the college…
  • Philip Pullman Said Yes

    16 Feb 2015 | 2:13 pm
    I love comics, and I have considered at least three proposals to turn HDM into a graphic novel. I haven’t said yes yet because I wasn’t happy with some aspect of what was being suggested – the length, or the writer, or the artist, or something else. If the right combination of writer (because I haven’t got time to do it myself) and artist comes along, backed by a publisher who will give the project enough space, then I’d be delighted to say yes. (In answer to a 2010 question about when and if there might be a graphic novel.) Well, it seems Philip Pullman finally said yes.
  • Coming Soon: Rebecca Stead’s Goodbye Stranger

    10 Feb 2015 | 2:56 am
    Rebecca Stead started out quietly in 2007 with her first book for children, First Light. Her second, When You Reach Me, started out quietly too, but the decibels went up when it won the 2010 Newbery award. These were followed by Liar & Spy,  also a solidly middle grade title that made a loud splash by winning the 2012 Guardian Children’s Book prize. With three fine books under her belt, the question is: what will the next one be like?  My answer (in a vague spoiler-safe way):  just as good as the previous ones.  Coming out this summer, Goodbye Stranger is everything…
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    Chasing Ray

  • The book you write when you find out your great great grandmother is a ghost

    26 Feb 2015 | 11:11 pm
    Now this is a book on family history you don't find too often! Hannah Nordhaus has roots that go far back in New Mexico history and her great great grandparents owned one of the finer homes in Santa Fe. Now a hotel (and out of the family's hands), the hotel has been famously haunted for decades supposedly by Nordhaus's gg grandmother, Julia Schuster Staab who died in 1896. American Ghost is the story of how the author went looking for Julia, both her ghost and her truth. German Jews who relocate to Santa Fe is a pretty interesting family history without much added to it, but Nordhaus finds…
  • The Eterna Files

    23 Feb 2015 | 7:44 pm
    Leanna Renee Hieber is an author who I find both wildly appealing and sometimes frustrating. I read and enjoyed very much one of her previous series which began with The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker. Her gaslamp fantasies excel at world building and have beguiling characters placed in intriguing and challenging situations. Sometimes though, I feel overwhelmed by so many people and so many things going on. It's not that the plots are dense but rather somewhat frenetic. This is not a bad thing but can be exasperating (at least for me). But it doesn't keep me from going back for…
  • "An aristocratic family, a high-society scandal and an extraordinary legacy"

    23 Feb 2015 | 7:09 pm
    Because I continue to have an unquenchable attraction to big sweeping biographies of dysfunctional British families (I have no idea where this came from), I was delighted to have The Mad Boy, Lord Berners, My Grandmother and Me by Sofka Zinovieff arrive at my door. (How in the heck Harper Collins knew I would want this book I will never know.) Set in the period between the wars and forward (although there is some discussion of WWI as well), The Mad Boy tells the story of Lord Berners, one of those spectacularly unusual Brits (they dyed the birds at his estate in pastels as decorations!!!!) of…
  • Ships on ice

    19 Feb 2015 | 10:16 pm
    From Gizmodo: Three U.S. Navy icebreakers pushing an iceberg out to sea to clear a channel leading to McMurdo Station, Antarctica, 29th December 1965. The ships are, left to right: the USS Burton, USS Atka and USS Glacier. I am endlessly fascinated by ships and ice - no idea why but it explains why I loved that Polar Literature course in college so much. (Follow the link for more wicked cool pics!)
  • My great great aunt Ernestine and her secret British husband

    17 Feb 2015 | 9:17 pm
    Of my great grandmother Julia's three younger half sisters, Ernestine seemed to be the least mysterious. She was born in NYC in 1895, eventually married a man named "Mac" MacLeod and moved to Santa Barbara where they bought and ran a motel. I knew they were in California in the early 1930s as my great uncle Robie made a rather crazy motorcycle trip cross country then to visit them in a story I heard many many times. We have a few pics from that trip. And my mom remembered visiting the MacLeods in the 1950s, and we also have pictures of that. Aunt Tina and Uncle Mac did not have children and I…
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    Books for Boys - Children's Adventure & Mystery Author Max Elliot Anderson

  • NEWS! A 6 Book Contract Signed

    21 Feb 2015 | 9:09 am
    NEWS!  NEWS!  NEWS!6 Book Contract SignedA contract has been signed to publish six books at Elk lake Publishing. The publisher will re-release the first three books in the Sam Cooper Adventure Series:1. Lost Island Smugglers2. Captain Jack's Treasure                &3. River RampageThis is being done because the original publisher has decided to cease operating in publishing. Under the Elk Lake banner, each book will get a new look on its cover.Then, three more books are planned for the series. The…
  • Update on the Sam Cooper Adventure Series

    13 Feb 2015 | 12:36 pm
    The publisher for the Sam Cooper Adventure Series has decided to close up shop. Our original agreement called for six books. Three were published: Lost Island Smugglers, Captain Jack’s Treasure, and River Rampage. A manuscript for the fourth book in the series, This Property is Condemned, was submitted but not published.I’m happy to report that a new publisher is planning to re-publish the first three books and then complete the six book series. Expect a more formal announcement on that soon.Book Trailers for this SeriesLost Island SmuggglersCaptain Jack's TreausreRiver RampageThis…
  • Darrell Waltrip - Keynote Speaker at the National Prayer Breakfast

    11 Feb 2015 | 12:35 pm
    This is excellent. We've all heard and seen the negative reporting from the National Prayer Breakfast.Many know I'm a huge NASCAR fan - although my driver, Jeff Gordon is retiring after this season. Watch and listen to what NASCAR's Darrell Waltrip said as the keynote speaker at the breakfast. Elliot Anderson
  • In Honor of President Ronald Reagan's 104th Birthday

    6 Feb 2015 | 11:42 am
    As we mark President Ronald Reagan's 104th birthday on February 6, I'm transported back to a day during the fall of 1990. At that time I had the unique opportunity to spend much of a day with him as he visited his boyhood home in Dixon, Illinois. This turned out to be the last time he would visit there.The original video is now housed at the Reagan Presidential Library in California. The following pictures were shot off of my TV screen from a VHS copy of the original material so the quality is diminished.Along with the rest of the video crew, we were given Secret Service clearance for…
  • 2015 Update - Adventures & Mysteries for Young Readers

    9 Jan 2015 | 10:58 am
    How were the Christmas and New Year’s holidays for you? We had a great time at the Anderson House. With granddaughters who are 2 ½ and 3 years old. Christmas was especially fun this time.During the school year, I normally keep the 2 ½ year old, Olivia, at least 10 days per month since our daughter is a teacher. So I was provided with a substantial break while school was out. This open time was used to complete the first draft of a 61,000 word manuscript for middle grade readers. It’s a murder mystery, complete with courtroom drama, which will be somewhat of a departure from most of the…
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    Wands and Worlds

  • Book Review: Smek for President

    26 Feb 2015 | 12:03 pm
    Smek for Presidentby Adam RexScience fiction for kids is rare enough; truly funny middle-grade science fiction is even rarer. In fact, off the top of my head I can only think of one book in the hilarious middle-grade science fiction genre: The True Meaning of Smekday. Now that number has doubled, with the publication of a worthy sequel, Smek for President.If you haven't read The True Meaning of Smekday, why not? Go forth and read it now! It's a great road-trip buddy comedy about a girl and an alien on the run from the evil alien overlords.Beyond this point there will be spoilers for the…
  • 2014 Andre Norton Award Nominees

    20 Feb 2015 | 10:27 am
    The 2014 Nebula Award nominees have been announced, and with it the nominees for the Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy. The Nebula and Andre Norton awards are given by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. Two of the Andre Norton nominees were also Cybils Awards finalists: Salvage, by Alexandra Duncan, and Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future, by A.S. King. As a Cybils judge, I read both books and they're both excellent, although very different, books. I've also read Love Is the Drug, by Alaya Dawn Johnson, and loved that one as well.Here's the…
  • Book Review: The Last Wild/The Dark Wild

    13 Feb 2015 | 8:17 am
    I read both of these books together, so I'm going to do what I rarely do and review them together. If you haven't read the first book, you might want to stop after my review of The Last Wild, because my review of The Dark Wild will, of necessity, have spoilers for the first book.The Last Wildby Piers TordayIn a dystopian future, all animals have died out from an illness called "red-eye" that mutated to spread throughout the animal populations. The only animals still living are a few hardy species like cockroaches. Even the bees are dead, which means that there are no more food crops. The only…
  • Don't overlook these books!

    5 Jan 2015 | 9:00 am
    I love the seven books my panel selected as the finalists for YA Speculative Fiction. I'm really proud of our shortlist as a representation of the best YA Spec Fic books of 2014. However, there are always the ones that got away, the ones that didn't quite make it. When seven people are deliberating, compromises have to be made, and sometimes, no matter how passionate you are about a book, you can't convince your fellow judges. Here are some of the 2014 Cybils nominees that I loved, but which didn't make the cut as finalists: Divided We Fall Trilogy: Book 1: Divided We Fall Trent ReedyThis is…
  • Cybils Awards 2014 Finalists!

    4 Jan 2015 | 7:21 pm
    The 2014 Cybils Awards finalists have been announced! The Cybils Awards, now in our 9th year, recognize the best children's and YA books of the year as defined by our primary criteria: kid appeal and literary merit. We are an adjudicated award, and our judges are all bloggers specializing in children's and YA literature. Our lists are a great resource for anyone looking for the best children's and YA books. Check out the full finalist announcement at this link..I serve as a judge in the YA Speculative Fiction category, where I'm also Category Chair. I'm excited to share our seven excellent…
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    American Indians in Children's Literature (AICL)

  • Seed beads, Indian Camps, and Black Indians in Cynthia Leitich Smith's RAIN IS NOT MY INDIAN NAME

    27 Feb 2015 | 6:04 am
    A request for a blurb about a favorite book with a Native teen character prompted me to re-read Cynthia Leitich Smith's Rain Is Not My Indian Name. I've recommended it several times, here on AICL and elsewhere, but I haven't done an in-depth review essay about it yet.Smith is a citizen of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. "Citizen" means that she is amongst the people the Muscogee Nation counts as a citizen. Their page on Citizenship has a lot of useful information.A lot of people don't know that each Native Nation has its own way of determining who its citizens or tribal members are. A lot…
  • CAMP CREEPY (NANCY DREW AND THE CLUE CREW) by Carolyn Keene and Macky Pamintuan

    23 Feb 2015 | 5:34 am
    A teacher wrote to me, asking for books about Taos Pueblo. I know about Clark's Little Boy With Three Names but haven't read it yet, so went looking to see what is out there.No surprise that I found a lot of older books with hostile and savage Indians, but I also found Camp Creepy in the Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew series. As of this writing (Feb 23 2015) there are 41 books in this series of books for children in elementary grades.Here's the synopsis from the Simon and Schuster website:In Camp Creepy, the girls take a school trip to Taos, New Mexico! A classmate’s uncle has opened a…
  • A BOOK OF AMERICANS by Rosemary Benet and Stephen Vincent Benet

    22 Feb 2015 | 11:35 am
    Woah!That is my thought as I sat down to share some photos of pages from Rosemary Benet and Stephen Vincent Benet's A Book of Americans. I have no memory of how it came to be in my house. I probably got it at a yard sale or used book store.Anyway--it came out in 1933 from Farrar and Rinehart. As I flipped through it, I thought it'd be an interesting blog post, so I took some photos. You'll understand why I wanted to share them. They are not the reason for the "Woah!" at the top of this post.Here's the end papers as you open the book:Here's the first page of the table of contents:Here's…
  • Books Not Yet Read/Reviewed at AICL

    21 Feb 2015 | 7:18 am
    With this post, I'm pointing to a list of books I started on Google Drive. It is an effort to keep track of all that is out there, by Native and non-Native writers and illustrators. The list has columns for author(s), author's Native Nation, illustrator(s), illustrator's Native Nation, book title, publisher, year of publication, and date added to list. The far right column is where I'll add the date if/when the book is reviewed here at AICL.You'll probably look at it and be surprised that, for example, there is no review at AICL of Bruchac's Children of the Longhouse. The reality? Not enough…
  • Pamela Penza's review of Tricia Stirling's WHEN MY HEART WAS WICKED

    20 Feb 2015 | 11:23 am
    Last year, Pamela Penza wrote to me about Nick Lake's There Will Be Lies. Pam is a young adult librarian and blogs at Pamelibrarian. I read her review of There Will Be Lies at Goodreads and then got a copy of the book and eventually posted my review.A few weeks ago, I met Pam in person at ALA. Here we are:Earlier today, Pam tweeted frustration with an Indian Princess in a book she reviewed. I asked her for details and she pointed me to her review. I read her review, and decided to share part of it here, with the intent of telling you that you ought to follow Pam's blog. I'm very glad…
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  • Best Books of February 2015

    28 Feb 2015 | 3:08 pm
    February 2015: 42 books and scripts readPicks of the MonthBeyond the Parallel (Parallelogram #4) by Robin BrandeBacklash by Sarah Darer LittmanThe Apartment screenplay by Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond
  • Poetry Friday: Breaghy by George William Russell (A.E.)

    27 Feb 2015 | 8:33 am
    When twilight flutters the mountains over, The faery lights from the earth unfold: And over the caves enchanted hover The giant heroes and gods of old. The bird of æther its flaming pinions Waves over earth the whole night long: The stars drop down in their blue dominions To hymn together their choral song. The child of earth in his heart grows burning, Mad for the night and the deep unknown; His alien flame in a dream returning Seats itself on the ancient throne. When twilight over the mountains fluttered, And night with its starry millions came, I too had dreams: the songs I have uttered…
  • Poetry Friday: The farthest thunder that I heard by Emily Dickinson

    20 Feb 2015 | 6:02 am
    The farthest thunder that I heard Was nearer than the sky, And rumbles still, though torrid noons Have lain their missiles by. The lightning that preceded it Struck no one but myself, But I would not exchange the bolt For all the rest of life. Indebtedness to oxygen The chemist may repay, But not the obligation To electricity. It founds the homes and decks the days, And every clamor bright Is but the gleam concomitant Of that waylaying light. The thought is quiet as a flake,- A crash without a sound; How life's reverberation Its explanation found!- Emily DickinsonView all posts tagged as…
  • Poetry Friday: When I go to orchestra rehearsals by Barbara Newhall Follett

    13 Feb 2015 | 6:01 am
    When I go to orchestra rehearsals,there are often several passages for theTriangle and Tambourine together.When they are together,they sound like a big piece of metalthat has broken in thousandthsand is falling to the ground.- Barbara Newhall FollettView all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.Learn more about Poetry Friday.
  • Interview: Una LaMarche

    8 Feb 2015 | 12:02 am
    The 2015 Sydney Taylor Awards were recently announced, and Like No Other by Una LaMarche received an Honor in the Teen Readers category. The book was also named a Publishers Weekly Best Book of Summer 2014, a 2014 Junior Library Guild Selection, and a Summer 2014 Indie Next List Pick, among other accolades.When I interviewed Una as part of The Sydney Taylor Book Award Blog Tour, here's what she had to say about love stories, teen stories, and true stories.What inspired you to write Like No Other?I knew I wanted to write a love story, I knew I wanted to set it in Brooklyn (where I grew up…
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    Jen Robinson's Book Page

  • Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: February 27

    Jen Robinson
    27 Feb 2015 | 7:55 am
    Here are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage. Topics this week include book awards, book lists, the Cybils Awards, diversity, growing bookworms, book-related events, publishing, ebooks, schools, and libraries.  Awards How cool! There's a new Mathical prize in children’s literature, focused on books involving math via @FuseEight The 2014 Andre Norton Award Nominees for #YALit Science Fiction + Fantasy have been announced, says @SheilaRuth Our own @MotherReader was incl in @mental_floss list of 23 Weird Awards…
  • Literacy Milestone: Transcribing Her First Song (+ Keeping a Diary)

    Jen Robinson
    26 Feb 2015 | 3:34 pm
    My daughter, who will be five in just over a month, loves to make up songs. She's been doing this for a few months now, dancing around the house singing about birds or spring or pizza or whatever happens to be on her mind. Sometimes it's actually hard to tell which are songs she's learning at school and which are songs she's made up (there seems to be some overlap).  Today, for the first time, she came to me with her little Hello Kitty diary and a pink pen and asked me to transcribe the words of her newest song. There are two verses, with a refrain in the middle that goes "Oooh oooh…
  • Bear Hug: Katharine McEwen

    Jen Robinson
    26 Feb 2015 | 8:50 am
    Book: Bear Hug Author: Katharine McEwen Pages: 32 Age Range: 3-7 Bear Hug by Katharine McEwen is a cozy, collage-illustrated book that uses a year in the life of a young bear to illustrate the seasons. The bear gets ready for winter and finds a companion. The two bears hibernate, and, in spring, emerge with a cub. The family spends time doing bear things during spring, summer, and fall, and then, once again, the bears start to get ready for winter.  Bear Hug is a quiet tale that would make a soothing bedtime book. McEwen's prose is somewhat advanced, suitable for parents reading aloud…
  • Children's and YA Books I Have Shared with My Husband

    Jen Robinson
    25 Feb 2015 | 8:12 am
    In my review of The Living by Matt de la Peña, I mentioned this: "as soon as I closed the book I said to my husband "You have GOT to read this" (something I reserve for only a select few titles each year)." My husband doesn't read nearly as many books as I do, so I reserve the cream of the crop (and the more exciting/action-packed titles) for him. My longtime blogging friend Susan Stephenson from The Book Chook said that she would be interested to know what other books I had passed on. She suggested that this might make a good blog post. So I discussed this with said spouse. We couldn't…
  • Blown Away: Rob Biddulph

    Jen Robinson
    24 Feb 2015 | 8:38 am
    Book: Blown Away Author: Rob Biddulph Pages: 40 Age Range: 4-8 Blown Away by Rob Biddulph is a delightful new picture book chock-full of amusing details. Penguin Blue tries to fly a kite one day, but the wind sweeps him away. Various friends try to grab hold, but they end up pulled along. Eventually, they leave Antarctica and land on a tropical island. It takes ingenuity for the travelers to find their way home. Blown Away is a great book to read with preschoolers. There are participation opportunities, as when the text asks: "Who's good at blowing?" and the listening child has the chance to…
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    Writing and Ruminating

  • Copernicus - a Poetry Friday post

    27 Feb 2015 | 9:42 am
    Two weeks from today is the launch of my first-ever chapbook, The Universe Comes Knocking: poems, which is being published by Maverick Duck Press. Here's one of the poems that will be inside that collection:CopernicusFixed like a newel post for years,how jarring it must have beenthat first day Copernicus set the Earth in motion,flinging it round the sunin an elliptical trajectory,tilting it like a wind-up top on an invisible axis,twirling it like a spindle, stormclouds gathering like so much wool.Did he explain to his housekeeper what he had done, or did he leave her standing puzzled by the…
  • What I'm up to

    26 Feb 2015 | 8:22 am
    It's nearly March, and as it turns out, March is going to be a busy sort of month.For one thing, I'm still in the midst of doing The Artist's Way, plus I'm doing an online art course with Tracy Verdugo, and I'm also doing a "reclaiming your health" meditation course online. For another, I've been selected to participate in this year's March Madness Poetry challenge over at Think Kid Think. I'm a #13 seed in the Humor bracket (a designation for purposes of having a "region" name only). For still another, I've gone and signed myself up to participate in Reading for Research Month, which I have…
  • Short but sweet poem for Poetry Friday

    20 Feb 2015 | 2:35 pm
    Just for you, a short original poem.Rain falls in dropletsMorning brings dewEach snowflake's differentLike unique youTo see other Poetry Friday posts, click the box below:
  • About living with pain

    19 Feb 2015 | 3:32 pm
    I was at the rheumatologist's today, and quite enjoy seeing my nice, young doctor, who is smart and helpful (and a bit cute, actually). I was in a good mood, chatting and so forth. Fortunately, he is a good doctor, so he didn't take this to mean anything other than that I was in a good mood. At least, not once he started checking my joints and I yelped when he pressed on my feet and ankles, and then he checked my trigger points for fibromyalgia, which were all a dull roar and not too reactive until he hit the ones at the small of my back.And it occurred to me then that something I read that…
  • Baby, it's cold outside

    18 Feb 2015 | 3:01 pm
    And no, I'm not recommending the date rape song. It's just really cold out. And about to swing far, far lower.I am a bit cranky about it. I don't really mind the cold, since we have a cozy house, but tomorrow is my day to meet Angela De Groot for shared writing time and I have had to cancel because extreme cold causes (a) joint issues for me and (b) cold-induced asthma. So I will be staying home rather than driving to Panera to write with my good friend. I recognize that this is a first-world problem, and have been thinking quite a bit about the folks and animals who don't have heat or cozy…
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    The Miss Rumphius Effect

  • Poetry Friday - A Miracle for Breakfast

    26 Feb 2015 | 9:01 pm
    Next week the Poetry Seven will share the sestinas we have been working on. This is a tough, tough form. While writing, I looked for good examples for inspiration. The poem A Miracle for Breakfast by Elizabeth Bishop is probably my favorite. In the video below you can hear it read and reflect along with Michael Joyce, Professor of English at Vassar, on the poem's meaning.I do hope you'll take some time to check out all the wonderful poetic things being shared and collected today by Heidi Mordhorst at my juicy little universe. Happy poetry Friday friends!
  • Monday Poetry Stretch - Karanamala

    22 Feb 2015 | 9:01 pm
    In the book Leap Into Poetry: More ABCs of Poetry, written and illustrated by Avis Harley, you'll find descriptions and examples of many different poetic forms. This week I want to try writing a poem that uses karanamala. Here's how Avis defines it.Karanamala: word repetition from one phrase to another, linking the ideas together.Here is an example.KatydidKaty-DID-katy-DID, how did it begin,your summertime magical musical din?egg to larva and dream the songlarva to adult and make it strongadult to wings and shape the artwings to rubbing and play their partrubbing to song then fiddle…
  • Monday Poetry Stretch - Monometer

    15 Feb 2015 | 9:01 pm
    In the book Leap Into Poetry: More ABCs of Poetry, written and illustrated by Avis Harley, you'll find descriptions and examples of many different poetic forms. This week I want to try monometer. Here's how Avis defines it.Monometer: a poem in which each line contains only one stress.Here is an example.MosquitoToo nearmy earI hearthat hum;Ms. M.has cometo dine.How fineher whine.She singswith wingsthen stings!Poem ©Avis Harley. All rights reserved.I hope you'll join me this week in writing monometer. Please share a link to your poem or the poem itself in the comments.
  • I Heart Cybils Winners

    14 Feb 2015 | 10:53 am
    The long awaited day is finally here. Get thee to the Cybils and check out the winners in 13 different categories, including poetry, book app, speculative fiction, and more. Congratulations to all!
  • Poetry Friday - Birthday Lights

    13 Feb 2015 | 6:25 am
    On Monday my son will celebrate his 14th birthday. Please allow me to indulge for a moment and show you how much he's grown, while I have a good cry over how fast these years have flown by.1st Birthday4th Birthday13th BirthdayMonday is also my brother's birthday, but I don't think he'd appreciate me broadcasting his age. Suffice it to say he's my BIG brother. Here's a photo of the two of us on one of his birthday celebrations many moons ago. He's all about the cake while I'm mugging for the camera.Today I'm sharing early birthday wishes, love, and a silly poem in their honor.Birthday Lightsby…
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        Poetry for Children

  • Poet-a-Palooza for SCIENCE!

    Sylvia Vardell
    13 Feb 2015 | 7:08 am
    I'm so excited to report that the amazing Renée La Tulippe from the fabulous No Water River site is featuring The Poetry Friday Anthology for Science today-- complete with videos of seven poets reading their poems from the anthology. If you haven't ever visited No Water River, do it now. Here's the link!I'll wait. She is really creating a rich resource that supports poetry sharing and teaching. I especially love the video component-- so fun for kids (and adults!). Here's a link to my previous post about "How to use NoWaterRiver in the classroom. She is also a poet herself,…
  • Poetry = Newbery

    Sylvia Vardell
    2 Feb 2015 | 8:48 am
    It was so exciting to be in the audience when the awards were announced this morning and POETRY books were at the top of the list!The Newbery award went to... The Crossover by Kwame Alexander!Which was also recognized with a Coretta Scott King author honor awardYou'll find the guide for this book here.In the 83 years of Newbery history, the award has gone to a book of poetry FOUR times  (A Visit to William Blake’s Inn, Joyful Noise, Out of the Dust, and Good Masters! Sweet Ladies), so it's especially exciting to see a book of POETRY get this recognition.Newbery honors: Brown Girl…
  • Notable (Poetry) Books for a Global Society 2015

    Sylvia Vardell
    30 Jan 2015 | 6:45 am
    Just this week the IRA (now ILA) committee (for CL/R) announced its latest list of "Notable Books for a Global Society." I was so pleased that they included 8 poetry books on their list of 25 titles published in 2014. Let's see which ones they highlighted, shall we? CaminarHarlem HellfightersSilver PeopleVoices from the MarchBrown Girl DreamingLike Water on StoneThe Red PencilA Time to DanceThe pdf of the annotated list complete with book covers here:I noticed that these are all novels in verse (except Harlem Hellfighters Which is lovely, but where are the anthologies that…
  • Happy Puzzle Day!

    Sylvia Vardell
    29 Jan 2015 | 4:51 am
    The word is out...Our next installment in The Poetry Friday Anthology series will be published in March! And to whet your appetite for The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations, here is the poem for January 29 (today!):And here are the Take 5! activities that accompany this poem: Sample puzzle from National Hold up a single piece from a (jigsaw) puzzle and ask children to guess what it is from. Then read this poem aloud slowly.2. Invite everyone to join in on the final line (“a puzzling scene”) while you read the poem aloud again.3. Just for fun,…
  • Poet to Poet: Jane Yolen and Lesléa Newman

    Sylvia Vardell
    23 Jan 2015 | 6:56 am
    I'm pleased to post another installment in my ongoing "Poet to Poet" series in which one poet interviews another poet about her/his new book. This time it's Jane Yolen and Lesléa Newman who have very generously volunteered to participate.  Lesléa has a powerful, heartbreakingly beautiful new book out just now, I Carry My Mother, a work for adults that has crossover appeal for teen readers too. Jane Yolen hardly needs an introduction, but I'm often surprised to find that people don't know about all the POETRY she has published. Her poetry for children…
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  • Cynsational News & Giveaways

    Cynthia Leitich Smith
    27 Feb 2015 | 6:10 am
    Discussion GuideBy Cynthia Leitich Smithfor CynsationsCongratulations to Nikki Loftin on the release of Wish Girl (Razorbill, 2015). From the promotional copy:   Annie Blythe is dying, but she can give Peter Stone the strength to live.Peter Stone’s parents and siblings are extroverts, musicians, and yellers—and the louder they get, the less Peter talks, or even moves, until he practically fits his last name.When his family moves to the Texas Hill Country, though, Peter finds a tranquil, natural valley where he can, at last, hear himself think. There, he meets a girl his age: Annie…
  • 2015 SCBWI Europolitan Con: Publisher Greet Pauwelijn of Book Island

    Cynthia Leitich Smith
    26 Feb 2015 | 6:29 am
    Greet PauwelijnBy Mina Wittemanfor Cynthia Leitich Smith's Cynsations  Greet Pauwelijn is publisher with Book Island, as well as a translator.True to Book Island's bold dream of enriching children's and adults' lives in the English- and Dutch-language market, she publishes children's books in English and Dutch.She does this by bringing unique stories from Europe to the shores of New Zealand, then using only the best talent to translate, design and print beautiful high-quality books.Book Island books are available in New Zealand, Australia, the UK, Ireland, Belgium and The Netherlands.
  • Hollins Launches Margaret Wise Brown Prize in Children’s Literature

    Cynthia Leitich Smith
    26 Feb 2015 | 6:21 am
    The annual award will showcase the best picture book manuscript as selected by a panel of judges and will be among the few children’s book honors with a cash prize.Roanoke, Va. – Hollins University is paying tribute to one of its best-known alumnae and one of America’s most beloved children’s authors by establishing a literary award in her name.Presented annually beginning in 2016, the Margaret Wise Brown Prize in Children’s Literature will recognize the author of the best text for a picture book published during the previous year.Winners will be given a $1,000 cash prize, which…
  • Guest Post & Critique Giveaway: Heather Demetrios on The Hope You Hold: A Character-Centered Approach To Plotting Your Novel’s Ending

    Cynthia Leitich Smith
    25 Feb 2015 | 7:01 am
    Heather DemetriosBy Heather Demetriosfor Cynthia Leitich Smith's CynsationsSometimes it can be helpful to think about endings when you’re at the beginning of the process—not plotting the ending, but doing a bit of free, no-holds-barred thinking about your character’s emotional inner journey and where you hope she goes.This is what you write towards, that hope you have for her in your heart. Your plot is moving toward something, a climax that, especially in YA, results in some sort of self-discovery on the protagonist’s part, a revelation about the world and their place in it.In real…
  • Giveaway: Feral Pride Releases: All Tantalize-Feral Universe Novels Now Available

    Cynthia Leitich Smith
    24 Feb 2015 | 6:30 am
    By Cynthia Leitich Smithfor CynsationsToday's release of Feral Pride means all of my Tantalize-Feral universe novels are available from Candlewick Press. While all the books can stand alone, there's likely best appreciated in concert.This finale unites protagonists of the two series and brings back a number of other fan-fave characters.What's more today's paperback release of Feral Curse by Candlewick means that all but that last book in the series are available in paperback from Candlewick (plus, they're all available in e-format and most are available on audio).Then there are the three…
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  • The 2014 Cybil Awards Are Here!

    14 Feb 2015 | 5:17 pm
    Huzzah! The 2014 Cybils Awards have been announced over at Cybils Central Headquarters! Awesome apps, books, graphic novels are all there for you reading pleasure. The work of all the readers, panelists and judges who weighed, evaluated, and debated the merits of each title that was nominated is so greatly appreciated by all lovers of children's and YA literature.
  • Paris to the Pyrenees

    15 Mar 2014 | 1:59 pm
    A grown-up bookParis to the Pyrenees: A Skeptic Pilgrim Walks the Way of Saint James by by David Downie, Pegasus, 2013.  ISBN: 978-1605984322 I am interested in spiritual/pilgrim walks so I was happy to find this memoir. It is a useful and entertaining as a travelogue/virtual vacation. I liked the accounts of where they visited and what they ate, especially the food.  The challenges of finding shelter and food in the small towns, somewhat off the other more heavily traveled pilgrim route, were not issues I would have considered. Perhaps it was because I listened to the book instead…
  • Babymouse -- The Game

    8 Nov 2013 | 1:30 pm
    Swerving back into my blog with the great news that Babymouse is now a Word Puzzle Game! Available at Google Play Store and soon on iTunes.Play the Pop the Pic Babymouse -Word Puzzle Game based on the popular Babymouse kids comic book series. Reveal the comic book pictures piece by piece and try to guess the word. If you liked 4 Pics 1 Word, you'll love this new Pop the Pic word puzzle game.  Kids love Babymouse star of the popular, award-winning, hilarious, pink graphic novel series showcasing the trials and tribulations of elementary school. The sassy mouse with attitude to spare…
  • KidLitCon Austin, TX

    8 Nov 2013 | 1:07 pm
    As an early member of the Kidlitosphere I have tried when possible to attend the annual KidLitCon in the different parts of the country.This year, joy and rapture, the meeting is in my almost backyard.  Looking forward to it!!  Texas bloggers, c'mon over!Registration is HERE.
  • 12 Apr 2013 | 3:56 pm

    12 Apr 2013 | 3:56 pm
    Fun to follow the epic battle between Snow White and Bilbo Baggins raging in a hashtag war now on Twitter for the  MTV Movie Award for Best Hero 2013. Here is the reason to #votebilbo
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    School Library Journal

  • Growing Up in a Cult | SLJ Spotlight

    27 Feb 2015 | 6:00 am
    There’s been such a rise of young adult novels set in cultlike environments that, however queasy-making, has been difficult to ignore. The teens in the following works grapple with coming of age in restrictive communities and must eventually choose between forging their own path or holding onto the beliefs they’ve long-treasured. From Lisa Heathfield’s debut novel to acclaimed author Pete Hautman’s latest offering, these titles explore ideas of faith, family, and freedom with honesty and respect. Fixmer, Elizabeth. Down from the Mountain. 276p. ebook available. Albert Whitman. Mar.
  • March 2 Is Seuss Day | Touch and Go

    Daryl Grabarek
    26 Feb 2015 | 7:40 am
    Each year, in celebration of Dr. Seuss’s birthday on March 2, we offer reviews of Seuss apps published during the previous 12 months—and check to see if we might have missed a few earlier titles. Oceanhouse Media (OM) is the place to go if you are looking for any of Geisel’s books in digital. To date, OM has published dozens of Seuss and “Dr. Seuss Learning Library” titles for iOS, Android, and other devices. Earlier round-ups of Seuss apps have included Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss! and The “Very Serious” Nonsense of Dr. Seuss. And FYI, the Dr. Seuss Camera…
  • Librarians and the Changing Job Market | Consider the Source

    Marc Aronson
    26 Feb 2015 | 7:22 am
    Did you see the fascinating graphic in the New York Times article by Gregor Aisch and Robert Gebeloff  titled, “The Changing Nature of Middle-Class Jobs?” The graphic focuses on American jobs that pay $40–80,000 a year (adjusting to the current value of a dollar) and presents, occupation-by-occupation, the gender makeup of that workforce. It also examines whether the number of jobs in various categories have grown or declined between the years 1980-2012. The overall message is hardly news—traditionally male industrial work is rapidly declining, while work that is significantly female…
  • Coming in March: “A Crossover Year”

    Kathy Ishizuka
    26 Feb 2015 | 4:00 am
    “The announcement of the Youth Media Awards is always a high point of the year,” writes Nina Lindsay in our March cover story. “But something ticked up a notch on February 2, 2015. When I tried to explain it, I found myself breaking into tears. I was not alone. The emotional response that day, while focusing on different aspects of the award outcomes, seemed to stem from a single current. What was it?” Lindsay, children’s services coordinator for the Oakland (CA) Public Library, who writes, with Jonathan Hunt, the SLJ blog Heavy Medal, unpacks this special awards season in “A…
  • Heroic Reads: Supporting Collaborative Summer Library Programs | Focus On

    25 Feb 2015 | 2:07 pm
    This year, summer reading participants all over the country will explore the ways in which “Every Hero Has a Story.” In libraries, heroic journeys can be found on every shelf, from epic fantasies to realistic family dramas. The hero is one of the oldest and most familiar protagonists to children and, indeed, to stories. Throughout history, humans have venerated and honored their heroes, be they Odysseus on his legendary voyage in long-ago Greece or the first president of the United States, a mere 200 or so years past. Heroic stories have taken many forms, and the summer reading theme is…
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    A Fuse #8 Production

  • Video Sunday: La la la!

    Elizabeth Bird
    1 Mar 2015 | 1:00 am
    Morning, folks.  We’ve a good store of goodies this morning, and I’m pleased as punch to give them to you.  First up, a short film.  A very short film, actually.  I’ve spoken in the past on how Hollywood views children’s writers and the creation of children’s books.  This film seems to believe that children’s books in general are being urged to be “darker”.  Even picture books.  An odd sentiment, but there you go. Thanks to Stephanie Whelan for the link! So, First Book is doing something called the Speed Read Challenge.  It’s being…
  • Bring It Back! Out-of-Print Crimes Against Humanity: Adios, Oscar

    Elizabeth Bird
    27 Feb 2015 | 1:00 am
    Let’s try something a little new.  I’m only human.  I like to rant and rail about various children’s books being lamentably out-of-print as much as the next guy.  But I also acknowledge that in the current publishing state in which we live it is simply not possible to keep all books in print. That said, there really are a couple books out there that I think deserve another chance at life.  Now I’ve done variations on this kind of post before.  Last year I wrote the piece Baby, Remember My Name: Picture Book Gems of Years Past.  In 2010 there was also Two Down!
  • The Official CBC Bookmark Reveal

    Elizabeth Bird
    26 Feb 2015 | 1:00 am
    WHAT TIME IS IT, AMERICA!!!????!!! If you answered that it was time for Children’s Book Week, you’d almost be right.  Actually, Children’s Book Week (now in its 96th year) isn’t until May 4th – 10th.  In preparation, I have a bit of a treat planned.  On Sunday, April 26th at 2:00 p.m. the following program will be taking place at NYPL: Children’s Literary Salon: Children’s Book Week – Its Past, Present, and Future Established in 1919, Children’s Book Week is the longest-running national literacy initiative in the country. Join…
  • Review of the Day: My Near-Death Adventures by Alison DeCamp

    Elizabeth Bird
    25 Feb 2015 | 1:00 am
    My Near-Death Adventures (99% True) By Alison DeCamp Crown Books for Young Readers (an imprint of Random House) $16.99 ISBN: 978-0-385-39044-6 Ages 9-12 On shelves now Children’s historical fiction novels often divide up one of two ways. In the first category you have your important moments in history. In such books our heroes run about and encounter these moments by surprise. Extra points if it happens to be a Great Big Bad Moment in history as well. Then in the second category are the books that have opted to go a more difficult route. They may be well grounded in a time period of the…
  • Fusenews: Starring the World’s Creepiest Cat in the Hat!

    Elizabeth Bird
    23 Feb 2015 | 1:00 am
    Here in New York we’re getting very excited.  The 90-Second Film Festival is coming!!  And soon too!  Here’s a PW interview with James Kennedy about the festival and for those of you in the NYC area you can see it at NYPL on Saturday, March 7th at 3:00 p.m. In fact, now that I think about it, you could begin your day at NYPL at 2:00 p.m. at my Children’s Literary Salon Blurred Lines?: Accuracy and Illustration in Nonfiction.  We’ll be hosting Mara Rockliff (author), Brian Floca (author/illustrator), Nicole Raymond (editor), and Sophie Blackall (illustrator/author) as they discuss…
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    Michael Gerson: Most Recent Articles and Archives

  • Scott Walker and judging the faith of another

    Michael Gerson
    26 Feb 2015 | 4:56 pm
    When Scott Walker pronounced himself agnostic about President Obama’s patriotism and Christian faith, it must have seemed like a clever formulation. “I’ve never asked him, so I don’t know,” he said. And about Obama’s Christianity: “I’ve never asked him that.” Read full article >>
  • In much of the world, the survival of newborns cannot be taken for granted

    Michael Gerson
    23 Feb 2015 | 5:16 pm
    DAR ES SALAAM, TanzaniaAt a health center here, a young woman is in the recovery room after a Caesarean section. A nurse takes the newborn to a table for cleanup. We (a group organized by the Center for Strategic and International Studies) are allowed to enter and see the child. But she starts struggling for breath. Three more nurses enter. One briefly applies bag-and-mask ventilation. Yet the infant’s breathing grows weaker and weaker as she turns a horrible shade of gray. Read full article >>
  • Taming big government by proxy

    Michael Gerson
    16 Feb 2015 | 4:39 pm
    For the six years of the Obama presidency, or perhaps the last 35 years since Ronald Reagan’s election, American politics has been dominated by a debate on the size and role of the federal government. This argument, while intense and consequential, has often lacked one element: actual knowledge about the size and role of the federal government. Read full article >>
  • An appeal for ‘patient pluralism’

    Michael Gerson
    12 Feb 2015 | 5:48 pm
    The rapidity of progress by the gay rights movement — from Stonewall to likely Supreme Court vindication of gay marriage in a historical blink — is causing a series of social and legal tensions.It has left some recently evolved politicians looking cynical (see David Axelrod’s account of President Obama’s convenient malleability on marriage). It has left some conservative politicians appearing fidgety and anxious to change the subject. It has turned the taking of wedding photos and the baking of wedding cakes into unexpected cultural controversies. Is there a constitutional right to…
  • Step up the war against ISIS, not the rhetoric against Islam

    Michael Gerson
    9 Feb 2015 | 5:35 pm
    Days after the video appeared of a Jordanian pilot horribly burned to death by an Islamic State death squad, President Obama told the National Prayer Breakfast that all faiths can be “twisted and misused in the name of evil” and that terrorists who profess “to stand up for Islam” are, in fact, “betraying it.” Critics found Obama’s timing offensive and his message about Islam naive: He should avoid moral equivalence, stop playing the theologian and recognize that Islam has a unique problem with violence and extremism. Read full article >>
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  • Happy Birthday, Monsieur Montaigne

    28 Feb 2015 | 4:37 am
    Michel de Montaigne, b. 1533. Advice for bloggers from Montaigne: Don’t discuss yourself, for you are bound to lose; if you belittle yourself, you are believed; if you praise yourself, you are disbelieved. When I am attacked by gloomy thoughts, nothing helps me so much as running to my books. They quickly absorb me and banish the clouds from my mind. It is more of a job to interpret the interpretations than to interpret the things, and there are more books about books than about any other subject: we do nothing but write glosses about each other. It is good to rub and polish our brain…
  • Saturday Review of Books: February 28, 2015

    27 Feb 2015 | 4:47 pm
    “Books are the carriers of civilization. Without books, history is silent, literature dumb, science crippled, thought and speculation at a standstill. Without books, the development of civilization would have been impossible. They are engines of change, windows on the world, ‘lighthouses’ (as a poet said) ‘erected in the sea of time.’ They are companions, teachers, magicians, bankers of the treasures of the mind. Books are humanity in print.” ~Barbara Tuchman Welcome to the Saturday Review of Books at Semicolon. Here’s how it usually works. Find a book…
  • Happy Birthday, HWL

    27 Feb 2015 | 4:24 am
    “The student has his Rome, his Florence, his whole glowing Italy, within the four walls of his library. He has in his books the ruins of an antique world and the glories of a modern one.” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, b. 1807. It Is Not Always May: “Maiden, that read’st this simple rhyme, Enjoy thy youth, it will not stay ; Enjoy the fragrance of thy prime, For O ! it is not always May !” Paul Revere’s Ride: “In the hour of darkness and peril and need, The people will waken and listen to hear The hurrying hoof-beats of that…
  • Showers of Blessing

    25 Feb 2015 | 4:18 am
    I am taking a blog break for Lent, but I thought I’d share some of my old posts from years gone by. I’ve been blogging at Semicolon since October, 2003, more than eleven years. This post is copied and edited from February 18, 2005: It was supposed to rain this afternoon here in Houston. No rain, however, and no one is disappointed. We can always count on having rain sometime soon, probably more rain than we want. It rains frequently in Houston. In San Angelo where I grew up, it was a different story. We appreciated rain. Not far from the house where I grew up, there was a huge…
  • Happy Birthday, Mr. Grimm

    24 Feb 2015 | 3:51 am
    Wilhelm Carl Grimm, b. 1786. While he and his brother Jacob were in law school, they began to collect folk tales. They collected, after many years, over 200 folk tales, including such famous ones as Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, Hansel and Gretel, The Bremen Town Musicians, and Rumpelstiltskin. Both Wilhelm and Jacob were librarians. Here’s a Canadian website with stuff for children: games, coloring pages, animated stories, etc. True story: I once worked in the reference section of a library in West Texas. We often answered reference questions over the phone. One day a caller asked…
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    Holly Black

  • More Tour

    13 Feb 2015 | 10:34 am
    Hey, all! I am in Mexico, starting a new project, but I thought I would go online and let you know where I am going to be as of NEXT WEEK. For more information on any of these, please go to the appearances section of my website:February 20th - 22ndMythic Worlds Convention and MasqueradesDoubletree by Hilton18740 International Blvd, Seattle, WA 98188There is a Special Guest Discount Code for my readers: MW15HB20Use the Discount Code to get 20% off a Mythicworlds Ticket when you purchase from HERE.February 23rdSigning 7-9PMUniversity Place Library (Pierce County)3609 Market Place W., Suite 100,…
  • Darkest Part of the Forest January Tour

    19 Dec 2014 | 1:34 pm
    So before it's all holiday all the time, I wanted to post the final piece of the how-to-get-a-copy-of-Darkest-Part-of-the-Forest puzzle: my Book Tour dates. This time it's mostly going to be East Coast (and Seattle!) and I will be in New Jersey where I haven't been in a while. If you're in the area, you can come and I will personalize a copy of Darkest Part of the Forest just for you and we can talk about books, faeries, fairy tales. I will tell you secret things, sign with fancy pens, and give you presents. Come!However, if you can't come to an event and you want to…
  • 9 Dec 2014 | 6:17 am

    9 Dec 2014 | 6:17 am
    If you want to take a look at some of my new faerie book, The Darkest Part of the Forest, you can now download the first seven chapters for your eReader:For Kindle, go here.For iTunes, go here.For Nook, go here.For EPUB, go here.For Google, go here.And as a reminder, if you like what you read and decide to pre-order DPotF from these indie bookstores, you'll get a free signed bookplate and poster.Or if you'd just like a signed copy, you can pre-order one from Barnes & Noble or from any of the bookstores I'll be visiting on tour (tour dates/stores coming soon.)I hope you like…
  • Pre-order Campaign for Darkest Part of the Forest

    5 Dec 2014 | 11:23 am
    My new faerie book, The Darkest Part of the Forest, comes out on January 13th and to celebrate, we’re giving away signed bookplates and a limited-edition poster with every pre-order in participating stores.For a lot of years, readers have been asking me for a new faerie book, so I am very excited to finally be able to give you one. I hope you fall in love with these characters the way that I did. If you’d like to read a little bit from the book, you can read this excerpt .Note: Not all stores take online preorders. But when ordering online (or over the phone or in person)…
  • Where I Will Be Until the End of the Year (Maybe Near You)

    20 Nov 2013 | 3:43 pm
    So I have a couple of events before the end of 2013 and hope I'll see you at one of them.SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 23rdMiami Book Festival1:30-2:30 pm YA PANEL Room 8201I will be presenting The Coldest Girl in Coldtown on a YA panel alongside Kami Garcia, Lauren Oliver and Alex Flinn. Each of us will get about 20 minutes to speak about their own work, then there will be a joint Q&A. 2:30-3:30 pm YA PANEL SIGNINGAfter the presentation, all authors will be led to a nearby autographing area to sign books for readers.SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 24thMiami Book Festival1:30-2:30 pm MIDDLE GRADE PANEL Room…
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    Ally Carter

  • Magnificent Poll Monday

    23 Feb 2015 | 6:59 am
    Hi Everyone! Ally and I know that her fan base is always changing and evolving. So, today we would love to find out a few things about you. Questions: What’s your favorite t.v. show? Who’s your favorite band? What’s your favorite type of social media? Favorite food trend? Favorite movie? What activities are you involved in? We can’t wait to read you answers! Have a good week! xoxo, Shellie   The post Magnificent Poll Monday appeared first on Ally Carter.
  • UK Fan Announcement

    20 Feb 2015 | 5:16 pm
    To all the UK and Ireland Fans @AllyCarterUK is giving away even more nail packs! Just Tweet us your photo of #AllFallDown to get one! Have a good weekend! xoxo, Shellie & Ally The post UK Fan Announcement appeared first on Ally Carter.
  • Cliffhangers vs. Game Changers (and the ending of ALL FALL DOWN)

    Ally Carter
    19 Feb 2015 | 10:51 am
    So ever since ALL FALL DOWN (Embassy Row 1) came out a few weeks ago, I’ve been hearing a lot of people talk about the massive “cliffhanger” that the book ends on. Except … To be perfectly honest, it isn’t a cliffhanger. A cliffhanger means that characters are in imminent peril (hanging off a cliff). I can even go with those who say a cliffhanger means that a book/movie/tv episode ends at a point of maximum suspense with the central questions of that book/film/tv episode being unanswered. I am not opposed to cliffhangers—and I don’t see the term as an insult! But I do think that…
  • Magnificent President’s Day!

    16 Feb 2015 | 6:42 am
    Hi Everyone! I hope everyone here in the U.S. is enjoying their day off! I am watching cartoons with the kids and baking some cinnamon rolls and enjoying seeing the small dusting of snow we got. It is the perfect day to stay inside and read a book or re-read your favorite Ally Carter book! And how about a FREE Ally Short Story?!?! Just click HERE and head over to Amazon for the FREE download. Want to see Ally in person? Here are next month’s tour stops: March 7, 2015 Irving, TX North Texas Teen Book Festival   March 14-15 Tucson, AZ Tucson Festival of Books I hope everyone has a…
  • Magnificent Monday Free Download

    9 Feb 2015 | 7:15 am
    Hi All! Big News! There is a FREE Download of a short story all about Grace!! Just click HERE and head over to Amazon for the FREE download. Anybody can read Kindle books—even without a Kindle device—with the FREEKindle app for smartphones, tablets and computers. Enjoy! Shellie   The post Magnificent Monday Free Download appeared first on Ally Carter.
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    Justine Larbalestier

  • Why I’ve Been Quiet

    3 Feb 2015 | 2:34 pm
    Short answer: pneumonia. Longer answer: mycoplasma pneumoniae Apparently there’s a fair amount of it going around in Sydney in summer right now. So unjust. My bout was nasty and not short and my recovery is slow and annoying. Thus my silence online. I am now behind with everything and I have a rewrite due so my focus is on recovering and finishing the book. That’s why I’m not responding to emails and tweets etc.1 Being so sick reminded me—once again—that we build our worlds as if everyone is able bodied all the time—yet nobody is. Even if you’ve never…
  • On Sexism and Awards

    12 Jan 2015 | 12:23 pm
    If you’re a man and you write a realist YA novel you’re more likely to win an award for it than a woman is. Big claim I know. Here’s some evidence about the awards side of the equation, an examination of most of the big awards in the Young Adult genre since 2000, compiled by Lady Business.1 They looked at not only US awards but the big Australian, Canadian and New Zealand awards too. Here’s where I’m going by my own experience, i.e., yes, it’s anecdotal evidence. I believe the majority of authors published by mainstream YA publishers are women. Despite…
  • Last Day of 2014

    30 Dec 2014 | 4:22 pm
    The year is practically over so here I am again with my annual recap of the year that was as well as a squiz at what’s gunna happen in 2015.1 Books Out in 2014 This was my first year with a new solo novel since 2009. Five years in between solo novels!2 I was nervous but it seems to have gone quite well. Razorhurst was published in July by Allen and Unwin in Australia and New Zealand. The reviews have been blush-making. Including being named a book of the week by the Sydney Morning Herald, of the month from Readings Books and making Readings’ top ten YA books of the year and top 50…
  • So-called Writing Facts

    30 Nov 2014 | 7:32 pm
    Here are two “facts” about writing I’ve been hearing lately that I must beat until their stuffing falls out and their non-factness is apparent to all.1 1. On average published authors write 2-3 novels before publication. Um, what? How was such a statistic arrived at? Where does it come from? Why is everyone repeating it? Oh, who cares. It’s irrelevant. It does not matter how many novels other authors wrote before they were published. It has no effect on you. I wrote two novels before I was published. Scott sold the first one he finished. I know of authors who wrote…
  • Accompanying Scott on his tour of the USA

    5 Oct 2014 | 6:31 pm
    I’ve not been blogging much because I’m accompanying Scott on his Afterworlds tour. So far we’ve been to Raleigh, Lexington, Louisville, Philadelphia, Washington DC, St Louis, Chicago and Milwaukee. And there’s much more to come. Check out the rest of the tour here. I’d be delighted to sign anything you want signed but mostly I’m just happy to say hi and chat. We’ve had many adventures so far including staying in what I swear was a haunted hotel. Uncannily cold temperatures? Check. Eerie cold winds that came rushing out of the elevators/lifts? Check.
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    Scott Westerfeld

  • Zeroes Cover!

    19 Feb 2015 | 8:41 pm
    Here is the cover for Zeroes! Click here for a description of how Zeroes came about, and what it’s about. (Superpowers! Lashings of superpowers, each one more super than the last!) I am unusually proud of this cover, because I made more of a contribution than usual. Authors do get a say in their covers, sometimes. But it’s not like we’re graphic designers, so nobody has to listen to us. In this case, though, I got lucky. My designer, the lovely Regina Flath, had sent us all an early version of the spray paint design. It was definitely moving in the right direction, but we…
  • Afterworlds Paperback Cover

    5 Feb 2015 | 4:01 pm
    Behold, the cover for the Afterworlds paperback! We figured we would go for a change. I really like the background, to go with the gray afterworld in Darcy’s book, and how it contrasts with that splash of color that is NYC. And, as with the first cover, the teardrop is a great symbol for the novel as a whole. Check it out:
  • Zeroes

    30 Jan 2015 | 11:10 pm
    My next book comes out September 29, 2015. Eight months from now! It’s called Zeroes. Like heroes, but not. It’s about six kids with superpowers that kind of suck. It’s the first of a trilogy. I wrote it with Margo Lanagan and Deb Biancotti, two Australian writers who are close friends of mine. We were all keen to make our writing a more social process, so we started meeting at a pub every Thursday, where we talked about superpowers and how to make them fresh and interesting. For us anyway. Two years later, Zeroes is the result. Collaborating on a novel with other writers…
  • Hanukwanzamas Deals

    16 Dec 2014 | 5:17 pm
    UPDATE From now till January 4, the UK e-book of Afterworlds will be available for £1.49. Click here to buy it from Amazon. Or here to but it from Sainsbury’s. END OF UPDATE Greetings from Sydney. I’ve been here for a month now, recovering from the Afterworlds tour and putting the finishing touches on my next novel. (The title, etc. of this book is secret now, but much will be revealed early next year.) In the meantime, and with due deference to the season, here are a couple of cool items to compliment your Hanukwanzamas haul: Barnes & Noble has a signed and bonus content…
  • Tour Is Done

    11 Nov 2014 | 8:12 am
    My twenty-city, three-country, back-breaking tour for Afterworlds is done! Now I can go back to that other job I have. Which is, um . . . writing. Yeah, that’s it. A few notable things: My next graphic novel project has been announced on io9! (More on this here soon.) The New York Times gave me a great review, which contained this marketing-department-happy-making pull-quote: “‘Afterworlds’ is a wonderful book for any young person with an interest in growing up to be a writer.” Though I would add the words or who is already a writer. Because it’s November,…
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    deborah wiles: field notes

  • winter work

    Debbie Wiles
    2 Feb 2015 | 6:27 am
    My life as a writer is punctuated by bouts of teaching. Sometimes, when the teaching comes thickly into my life, my life as a teacher is punctuated by bouts of writing... (continued after these photos):                            I'm a writer who also teaches writing, something of a rarity in the school visit world. I decided fifteen years ago, when I started this gig professionally, to teach when I went into schools, to try and make the day as meaningful and useful to teachers as possible, to have fun with students but…
  • this morning's mail

    Debbie Wiles
    1 Feb 2015 | 12:40 pm
    Story connects us in ways we will never know. This just in: here is a letter passed on to me from a friend who gave REVOLUTION to her 73-year-old aunt in Texas. It now becomes a primary source document for future researchers. Just as important, it serves to show how a heart becomes awake and aware in the world. I was the storyteller for Mary, and now Mary is the storyteller for me. This is how it works. I am grateful. xo Debbie ============January 23 Oh, Sally,Thank you so much for making me aware of Revolution. It has unleashed a torrent of conflicting emotions and memories in me, none of…
  • the characters of fall

    Debbie Wiles
    25 Jan 2015 | 10:29 am
    From bound manuscripts to the National Book Award dinner, from home to far away, from family to friends to strangers to new friends, from schools to conferences, from high to low, from hard work to a few lazy days... ... fall was full of characters. FULL. It was insane. It was marvelous. I saw old friends, made new friends, and learned so much, teaching and speaking, and sitting around a kitchen table with apple pie and noodles for dinner, talking into the night with good friends, talking about loss and love and carrying on.I saw all three grandgirls, celebrated birthdays. Repaired a leaky…
  • revolution, everywhere

    Debbie Wiles
    10 Nov 2014 | 7:45 am
    One week in the life, and what a week. Monday I started out for North Carolina, with REVOLUTION, and Sunday night, last night, I sat in the tutti-fruitti chair at home in Atlanta, with Masterpiece Theater and my phone, watching and texting along with my Mississippi cousin, Carol, a long-standing tradition. Some of the life between those two moments is captured below in phone photos -- I miss my camera! But I did not miss my friends. They were right there, all along, right beside me, as you will see, accompanying me and championing me and coaxing me forward, in person and online, and certainly…
  • picture stories

    Debbie Wiles
    20 Sep 2014 | 8:34 pm
             An afternoon drive out of Atlanta, a patriotic rest stop, a Confederate flag flying over the Columbia, South Carolina Statehouse, an arrival at Mama's house on John's Island.O Charleston, O Youth, O History of Long Ago. The marsh, the swamp, the salt, the breeze. Falling in love with the sousaphone player in the high school marching band who would grow up to be the piano man who would lure me to Atlanta, where I've lived these past ten years.Yesterday we traveled, like we often do, to the place where we fell in love and parted from one another for…
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  • The well-travelled library bed

    28 Feb 2015 | 9:06 pm
    I spoke too soon. It could be that Son would quite like the hifi somewhere in that room. The – ahem – library-cum-guestroom-cum-firstborn’s bedroom. We’ll have to see. The much-thrown-about bed has been slept in. It’s the one Son adopted from some people in the Wirral a few years ago, which – on arrival in Edinburgh – proved too large to go down into the tenement basement flat, and which instead was walked round half the block, taken into the tenement opposite, through and out into that ‘garden’ and chucked over the fence into…
  • Almost there

    27 Feb 2015 | 9:15 pm
    And here they are, the ‘final’ shelves with actual books on them. Son is coming to inspect ‘his’ room, and the question is whether he will approve. Or will he notice there is no space for his hifi? I mean, who cares? Who in their right mind would use a large machine to listen to music? We also need to get our three-book joiner to come and secure the whole shebang to the wall. Or else we could have a repeat of that time over twenty years ago when Son reckoned these shelves looked like ladder… The crash was very loud. Luckily both Son and the shelves and the…
  • On editors

    26 Feb 2015 | 9:41 pm
    The frequency with which I mutter things like ‘the editor should have caught that’ is increasing. From reading only for pleasure, it seems I can no longer ignore what should have been fixed before that book made it out into the world. And I rarely blame the author, now that I’ve discovered editors. But they are only human. And sometimes young, and new to the job. Someone needs to show them the ropes. These days it appears as if rope-showing is increasingly rare in the workplace. Thank god for Anne Rooney. I’d happily have her show me any kind of rope she can think of.
  • Triggers

    25 Feb 2015 | 9:51 pm
    Whenever I think of the run-up to my interview with Debi Gliori (almost six years ago!) I feel ashamed. Ashamed, because she wanted to feed Son and me, and I gave her a very long list of what not to give me. In a way it doesn’t matter. As I made clear last week, I can always not eat the chocolate dessert, but it’s easier not to in a restaurant where I won’t worry too much about anyone’s hurt feelings. But I know that if I’ve slaved over a hot stove to cook something for a visitor, and it turns out to be the one exact thing they simply can’t eat, we’d…
  • Murder Most Unladylike

    24 Feb 2015 | 9:43 pm
    Who doesn’t like a good murder set in a girls’ boarding school in the 1930s? I mean, it ticks a lot of my boxes. What about you? 13-year-old students Daisy and Hazel set up detective agency Wells&Wong at Deepdean school, and it’s not long before ‘luck’ strikes, when their science teacher Miss Bell is found dead. Only for a while though, as the body disappears pretty swiftly and no one knows Miss Bell is a bit more dead than the head teacher makes out she is. Daisy is rather bossy, not to mention fearless, while Hazel, who comes from Hong Kong, is more…
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    Confessions of a Bibliovore

  • Book Review: Fairest by Marissa Meyer

    21 Feb 2015 | 12:32 pm
    Book: FairestAuthor: Marissa MeyerPublished: 2015Source: Local LibraryPrincess Levana has always been overlooked. The second daughter of the Lunar royal house, scarred and ugly, overshadowed by the glittering heir, she yearns for oh so many things. She wants her thoughts and ideas to be taken seriously by the court. She wants people to admire her the way they admire her sister Channary. Most of all, she wants Evret Hayle, the handsome royal guard, to look at her the way she looks at him - with love and longing.She gets her chance when Evret's wife dies in childbirth, and she takes it,…
  • Book Review: Evil Librarian by Michelle Knudsen

    14 Feb 2015 | 11:41 am
    Book: Evil LibrarianAuthor: Michelle KnudsenPublished: 2014Source: Local Library Cynthia doesn’t want much out of life, really. She wants the school production of Sweeney Todd to be the best ever. She wants super-cute Ryan Halsey to notice her. She wants to get through Italian class. Now there’s something else to add to that list. She wants her best friend to stop acting like a zombie space cadet around the new librarian. Sure, he’s young and hot, but he’s still an adult and a teacher. Eww. And now Annie is swearing that she’s in love with him. Cyn knows there’s something…
  • 2015 Youth Media Awards: Newbery! Caldecott! Printz! All of the Shiny Medals!

    2 Feb 2015 | 9:28 am
    John Newbery Medalfor the most outstanding contribution to children's literatureThe Crossover - Kwame Alexander(H) El Deafo - Cece Bell(H) Brown Girl Dreaming - Jacqueline WoodsonRandolph Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished American picture book for childrenThe Adventures of Beekle: the unimaginary friend - Dan Santat(H) Nana in the City - Lauren Castillo(H) The Noisy Paint Box: the colors and sounds of Kandinsky’s Abstract Art - ill. Mary GrandPre, written by Barb Rosenstock(H) Sam and Dave Dig a Hole - ill. Jon Klassen, written by Mac Barnett(H) Viva Frida - Yuyi Morales(H) The…
  • Reading Roundup: January 2015

    1 Feb 2015 | 7:23 pm
    By the NumbersTeen: 9Tween: 4Children: 3SourcesReview Copies: 7Library: 6StandoutsTeen: Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie PerkinsThis is what a relationship story looks like, as opposed to a love story. Perkins explores how a relationship changes and impacts the people in it, particularly their flaws and screw-ups. Tween: Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline WoodsonI've been over the written-in-verse thing for awhile, but this one (and The Red Pencil, mentioned below) were exceptions. Woodson takes us through her young life, with all its trials and joys, in a story worthy of the…
  • Reading Roundup: 2014

    1 Jan 2015 | 9:58 am
    By the NumbersTeen: 127Tween: 36Children: 27SourcesReview Copies: 78Purchased: 7Library: 81StandoutsTeen: The Drowned Cities (chosen in January)"Wrenching, harrowing, violent, and for me, totally unputdownable. Even though it was a terrible world, I kept wanting to crawl back into it and find out whether Mahlia and the others were going to save their lives or their souls." (Link goes to my review, which finally went up last week.)Tween: The Swift Boys and Me by Kody Keplinger (chosen in April)"One tumultuous summer changes all the things eleven-year-old Nola has always taken for granted. Some…
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    ReadPlus Review Blog

  • Never tickle a tiger by Pamela Butchart

    27 Feb 2015 | 6:09 am
    Ill. by Marc Boutavant. Bloomsbury, 2015. ISBN 9781408839034 (Ages: 3+) Highly recommended. Energetic Izzy is always on the move, always shuffling and jiggling, squirming and twitching, wriggling and fiddling. She fiddles at home, she knots Grandma's knitting, and as for parties she brings in the jelly jiggling on her head. When Miss Potterhurst her class teacher bravely takes her students to the zoo, she warns Izzy to behave. Does young Izzy listen? Of course not, she runs from one animal exhibit to another, stroking the snake behind the glass, bothering the bear and tapping the giant…
  • Alice-Miranda at the palace by Jacqueline Harvey

    27 Feb 2015 | 6:04 am
    Alice-Miranda bk 11. Random House Australia, 2015. ISBN 9780857982728 (Age: 8-11) Highly recommended. Mischief and mayhem, parties and plots, spies and surprises are all wonderfully woven threads in the latest and much anticipated Alice-Miranda novel. Queen Georgiana's celebrating her silver jubilee at Evesbury Palace and Alice-Miranda's family and friends are all invited. The prologue introduces the intrigue, a mysterious man in a bowler hat receives a folder with instructions to kidnap someone close to the queen. Meanwhile, after the last assembly of the term, annoying Caprice overhears…
  • Budinge and the Min Min lights by Uncle Joe Kirk with Greer Casey and Sandi Harrold

    27 Feb 2015 | 5:56 am
    Ill. by Sandi Harrold. Scholastic, 2015. ISBN 9781743628577 (Age: Preschool and primary) Recommended. Aboriginal themes. Min Min lights. The Min Min lights is a recurring theme in many stories and tales told of the Outback and is sometimes seen as a harbinger of something sinister in Aboriginal culture. In this one, Budinge fishes at the waterhole each evening, but one night is frightened by a light he sees in the trees. His grandmother has told him that if he did not behave then the light would take him away. He runs from the light, but as he runs the light divides into two, then it grows…
  • Moon at nine by Deborah Ellis

    26 Feb 2015 | 7:31 am
    Allen & Unwin, 2015. ISBN 9781760111977 (Age: 14+) Recommended. Same sex relationships, Iran, Historical novel, Prison. Fifteen year old Farrin goes to an elite school in Tehran, one her mother also attended as a young woman, but she is ambitious and smart and does not want to be part of the afternoon tea group her mother attends with her friends. It is 1988, and the country is at war with Iraq, which supported by the USA, is trying to take over the country now that the Shah has been deposed and the Ayatollah Homeini is in power. But her parents are not happy with this situation. At school,…
  • Speedy Spy by Susannah McFarlane

    26 Feb 2015 | 7:19 am
    EJ Spy School. Scholastic Australia, 2015. ISBN 9781921931987 Recommended for readers from 6-8. Susannah McFarlane's series EJ Spy School is a wonderful introduction to chapter books for younger readers. They show a young Emma Jacks training to be a SHINE agent. Speed is the key to this adventure, the SHINE spy school is testing her skills and abilities, there are mazes for her to solve, tests to pass, all timed by the agency. Every Emma Jacks' adventures begin with a message on her special spy watch, then she rushes off to the girls' toilets at school. In the last cubicle on the right,…
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    There's a Botticelli Angel Inside, Snapping Beans:

  • via Publishers Weekly: Interlude Press Launches YA Imprint

    24 Feb 2015 | 4:18 pm
    Interlude Press, founded in 2014 as a boutique publisher of LGBTQ romantic fiction, is launching Duet, a young adult fiction imprint representing LGBTQ characters. I'll be hoping especially for queer characters of color, and trans characters.
  • My disability has a new name: SEID

    22 Feb 2015 | 10:29 pm
    Something stunning happened recently in the world of CFIDS/CFS/ME. The NIH, the CDC, and the Dept of Health and Human Services (and more) had asked the Institute of Medicine to look into the evidence base of this illness. They have now come out with a smashing report. Please read this brief report on their findings and recommendations. Even shorter, a few key facts they want people to know. If you'd like to see more, like the public release video and/or links to other parts of the report, go here.The IoM comes down for a narrower definition and a new name. As a person who's had this illness…
  • "Mom, It's Time We Had the Talk."

    18 Feb 2015 | 12:55 pm
    My friend Amanda MacGregor is talking to her 8 year old, Callum, about sex, on a podcast called The Longest Shortest Time. 22 minutes, worth every minute.
  • "Mental health medications are not your enemy" by Amanda MacGregor

    1 Feb 2015 | 7:48 pm
    Mental health medications are not your enemy by my friend Amanda MacGregor at SLJ's Teen Librarian Toolbox. This article is about The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand, but it's relevant to other books too, and to life overall. Please read it.
  • Jacqueline Woodson's Brown Girl Dreaming

    15 Jan 2015 | 5:01 pm
    Jacqueline Woodson's memoir Brown Girl Dreaming is wonderful. Wonderful. Go read it.
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    I'm Here. I'm Queer. What the Hell do I read?

  • The Purim Superhero: A Jewish-Holiday Themed Picturebook With A Two-Dad Family... And A Nice Story About Being True To Yourself (And Still Being Super!)

    Lee Wind, M.Ed.
    27 Feb 2015 | 3:05 am
    The Purim Superhero by Elisabeth Kushner, Illustrated by Mike ByrneNate loves aliens and he really wants to wear an alien costume for Purim, but his friends are all dressing as superheroes and he wants to fit in. What will he do? With the help of his two dads (and his big sister) he makes a surprising decision.With Purim a week away, it's great to add this title to my list of picture books I wish had been read to me when I was a little kid! Especially as it's been touted as "the first LGBT inclusive Jewish children’s book in English!" Add your review of "The Purim Superhero" in comments!
  • Grasshopper Jungle - A Bi Teen Accidentally Unleashes The End Of The World

    Lee Wind, M.Ed.
    25 Feb 2015 | 7:34 am
    Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew SmithAustin is in love with his girlfriend, Shann, and his best friend Robby, which is totally confusing -- but his bigger issue is the end of the world, which he and Robbie sort of unleashed... In the form of six-foot tall praying mantise soldiers... who only want to have sex and eat.Which, when Austin thinks of it, isn't all that different from what human teens want...Anyway, it's the end of the world, and Austin's decided to record it all for history.This dark comedy was the Fiction winner of the 2014 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, as well as a 2015 Printz…
  • First Gay Hug (A Homophobia Experiment)

    Lee Wind, M.Ed.
    23 Feb 2015 | 3:00 am
    I thought this was really cool. Watch. Discuss. Engage...*** UPDATE SAT FEB 28, 2015 ***It would have been nice if the makers of "First Gay Hug" had been more upfront about it being a work of fiction. My appreciation to Janice who shared this in comments. And yes, check out the actress speaking out video here.
  • When Everything Feels like the Movies - flamboyant Jude likes to raid his mother's closet and wants Luke to be his date to the Valentine's Day dance

    Lee Wind, M.Ed.
    20 Feb 2015 | 3:05 am
    When Everything Feels Like The Movies by Raziel ReidSchool is just like a film set: there's The Crew, who make things happen, The Extras who fill the empty desks, and The Movie Stars, whom everyone wants tagged in their Facebook photos. But Jude doesn't fit in. He's not part of The Crew because he isn't about to do anything unless it's court-appointed; he's not an Extra because nothing about him is anonymous; and he's not a Movie Star because even though everyone know his name like an A-lister, he isn't invited to the cool parties. As the director calls action, Jude is the flamer that lights…
  • Sam Smith Shares Some Serious Wisdom in His Grammy Acceptance Speech

    Lee Wind, M.Ed.
    18 Feb 2015 | 3:03 am
    Check this out:Here's the best part:"...I just want to say that before I made this record, I was doing everything to try to get my music heard, I tried to lose weight, and ... I was making awful music. And it was only until I started to be myself, that the music started to flow and people started to listen, so thank you guys for accepting me to be just me. Thank you!"- Sam Smith, on winning Best Pop Vocal Album at the 2015 Grammy Awards.And if you want to see an example of how sometimes hard things create beautiful art, check out how Sam thanks his ex in his speech accepting the Grammy for…
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    Literacy, families and learning

  • 8 Wonderful New Books with the Theme of War

    Trevor Cairney
    22 Feb 2015 | 3:42 pm
    The theme of 'war' is a very common one whether in adult books or those for children and young adults. Typically, these books focus on the impact of war on children's lives and families. As many nations around the world remember various key centenary dates relating to World War I there seem to be many new and varied books addressing this theme for children. What I like about the collection of books that have come across my desk in recent months is the complexity of the stories that a told and the effort to apply new lenses to an old theme. I have reviewed them below in appropriate age order.
  • Making Homework More Relevant and Useful for Learning

    Trevor Cairney
    12 Feb 2015 | 3:40 am
    The vexed question 'Is homework useful?' is never far from conversations between parents about school, or between teachers when discussing parents. Like every teacher I have felt the pressure of parents wanting their children to do more homework. In spite of this I have never been a fan of most of the homework I see in the primary years of schooling (age 5 to 12 years). Yes, homework does have a place, but not the exalted place that many parents want to give it.Why you might ask?  1. Because the vast majority of homework is banal and features drill of things that contribute little to the…
  • Oral & Repeated Reading is Important and Can be Fun

    Trevor Cairney
    2 Feb 2015 | 1:46 am
    1. Oral reading is important. Why? It's an important skill for lifeIt helps teachers and parents to observe and make 'visible' children's reading processesIt helps to develop reading fluency and support vocabulary developmentIt can help us to assess reading progress and diagnose difficulties I've written about oral reading before covering a variety of topics, including:How to listen to children reading (HERE & HERE),The importance of reading to and with children (HERE), andReaders' Theatre (HERE).Teachers have known for a long time that oral reading can be a valuable instructional…
  • Starting School: Is there a perfect age?

    Trevor Cairney
    23 Jan 2015 | 1:48 am
    One of my daughter's on her 1st dayI last wrote about this topic in January 2014 when one of my grandchildren was starting school for the first time. In Australia most of our schools are returning next week and many children will start school for the first time.  I can't remember my first day at school, but I can still remember the mix of emotions that my wife and I experienced when we sent our two daughters off for their first day of formal schooling (this was some time ago). The starting age in Australia varies from state to state. In NSW any child may commence school if they turn five…
  • The Book is Not Dead! 6 reasons why the paper book is still loved

    Trevor Cairney
    14 Jan 2015 | 3:42 pm
    An article in the latest edition of the Financial Times has shared some startling data about book sales in the last year. While the hype for the last three years has been that paper book sales will continue to dive at the expense of eBooks, and that book stores and traditional publishers face extinction, these views might well have been premature. Indeed, they might even be wrong!Here are some of the highlights of the article:1. Publishers and book chains in the US, UK and Australia have all celebrated some of their strongest sales figures for some time with rises of up to 5% in December.2.
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    The Book Chook

  • Children’s iPad App, Superhero Comic Book Maker

    1 Mar 2015 | 10:00 am
    App Review, Superhero Comic Book Maker by Susan Stephenson, www.thebookchook.comSuperhero Comic Book Maker - by Duck Duck Moose grabbed my attention because I love to find ways for children to create. I especially enjoy discovering tools that help kids tell a digital story. I’ve previously reviewed the Duck Duck Moose app, Chatterpix Kids. From the developers: MAKE A COMIC BOOK:
- 27 background scenes: skyscrapers, space ship, the moon, wild west and more- 170+ animated stickers with sound effects
- 29 crayons and 29 colored pencils
- Drag and drop multiple scenes to create a comic…
  • Let’s Celebrate World Storytelling Day

    26 Feb 2015 | 10:00 am
    Let’s Celebrate World Storytelling Day by Susan Stephenson, As I mentioned in A List of Book-related Special Days, World Storytelling Day will soon be here. Celebrated on March 20 each year, World Storytelling Day is a wonderful opportunity to immerse our kids in storytelling activities.I love what storytelling offers children, and believe it should be a tool in every parent and teacher literacy toolbox. It’s an activity we humans have been fascinated with since we lived in caves, and sat around a fire making up tales about the mastodon that got away. Some kids…
  • Children’s Book Review, Sally Snicker’s Knickers

    24 Feb 2015 | 10:00 am
    Children's Book Review by Susan Stephenson, www.thebookchook.comSally Snicker’s Knickers is a children’s picture book written by Lynn Ward, illustrated by Anthea Stead, and published by Walker Books Australia, 2014.  I’ve previously reviewed Ward’s The Big Beet. From the publisher: There's something very special about little Sally Snickers, for Sally never wears a hat, she'd rather wear her knickers!Perfectly pitched at early primary.Introduces concepts of going to school, friendship, being different and belonging in an engaging way.Fun rhyming text.Sally doesn’t just love…
  • A List of Book-Related Special Days for Kids

    22 Feb 2015 | 10:00 am
    A List of Book-Related Special Days for Kidsby Susan Stephenson, www.thebookchook.comI know my Teacher Librarian friends look for one list of special days worthy of celebration in the library, or indeed across the school. I know many parents who love to celebrate book-related days as a way of constantly keeping the family focus on books. I know teachers, desperate to encourage kids to love reading, who use special days as a way to sneak some book-related fun into a timetable overly dominated by testing. So here’s my gift to you all! I’ve been compiling a list of days/weeks/months where…
  • Let's Write Short Autobiographies with Kids

    19 Feb 2015 | 10:00 am
    Let’s Write Short Autobiographies with Kidsby Susan Stephenson, Tight writing is something every author aims for (or should!) I love writing activities for kids with limited word counts not only because it helps develop the skill of writing succinctly and thoughtfully, but also because it looks achievable to kids. It’s not daunting, even for reluctant writers. I’ve written several articles here at The Book Chook about such short writing activities:* In Visual Storytelling, I explained my own process of telling a digital story in five frames, with a frame being an…
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    Reading Rumpus

  • Author Spotlight: Lynda Mullaly Hunt of One for the Murphys and Fish in a Tree

    Cheryl Vanatti
    17 Feb 2015 | 4:53 pm
    Today I had the great fortune of meeting Lynda Mullaly Hunt as she so kindly had breakfast with our Sunshine State Young Readers Book Club. Her upcoming book looks wonderful (and especially appropriate for my struggling readers!).  It is called Fish in a Tree. I will discuss it first and then add a small review of her first book, One for the Murphys.Here is the publisher's synopsis: "The author of the beloved One for the Murphys gives readers an emotionally-charged, uplifting novel that will speak to anyone who’s ever thought there was something wrong with them because they…
  • 2014 CYBILS Announced

    Cheryl Vanatti
    15 Feb 2015 | 7:37 pm
    I am a little out of sorts because I did not get to participate in the CYBILS this year. But, here is a nice link to them, with a wish that I can have more time next year!Here are the 2014 CYBILS winners!-------------------- That's all folks! -------------------- © 2007-2015 Cheryl Vanatti for
  • Bigfoot is Missing by J. Patrick Lewis and Kenn Nesbitt with illustrations by Minalima

    Cheryl Vanatti
    27 Jan 2015 | 2:36 am
    Bigfoot is Missing! is an interesting poetry addition all about Cryptozoology… Bet you don’t know what that means!The poems are short and sweet, in some instances not like poetry at all (in a good way!). The illustrations are big and colorful advertisement-style graphics that seem to be looking for eighteen mythical beasts of yore. The brevity of word and gargantuan color makes for a nice balance. The end pages are short definitions of each mythical beast that will leave young readers headed to research more about them.Writers Lewis and Nesbitt have both been Children’s Poet…
  • Ivan: The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla - a must for all elementary classrooms & libraries

    Cheryl Vanatti
    25 Jan 2015 | 1:59 pm
    When you start to read Ivan: The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla, if you have already read The One and Only Ivan, you are going to tear up on the first page because you already love Ivan and know his fate. I am obsessed with The One and Only Ivan and have been since I had the chance to read it before release and then again when it won the Newbery. The nonfiction picture version doesn't disappoint with the true tale of Ivan. It is (once again) told with an even hand, one where humans make mistakes and humans fix mistakes. It also contains a special magic that only…
  • Little Bird by Germano Zullo with illustrations by Albertine: A very special little book

    Cheryl Vanatti
    18 Jan 2015 | 2:38 pm
    I usually write about children's books on Reading Rumpus. Sometimes I drop a few teaching ideas, but mostly this is simply a place to chronicle children's literature that I find interesting for one reason or another. I read a lot more books, A LOT more, than I ever could write about here. Every once in awhile, I get my hands on a book that is so profound it transcends the stigma of being labelled a "children's" book (boy, is that a post for another soap box sort of day). Those books become our classics. They are this:  and this:and all of those shiny medal ones we cherish. But…
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    Gail Carson Levine

  • Pain! Agony!

    18 Feb 2015 | 6:23 am
    First off: a reminder about my appearance on Woozworld on February 21st from 1:00 to 2:00 PM. I’ll be there in the form of an avatar (with gray hair and gray-green eyes--and the resemblance ends there), answering advance questions and questions that crop up at the time. If you participate, I’ll meet you through your avatar, but we probably won’t recognize each other in the actual universe. My hesitations about the event are that it may be too young for many of you, and (the more serious hesitation) that you have to join Woozworld to participate. Please discuss this with your parents…
  • Smooth sailing

    4 Feb 2015 | 7:39 am
    Before the post, this news: On Saturday, February 21st at 1:00 PM, there will be a virtual launch party for Writer to Writer, which will run for an hour on Woozworld. HarperCollins has set this up and I've never done it before, but I'll be there answering questions. I'm a newbie, so I don't know what it will be like. There's an avatar who sort of looks like me in a funhouse mirror kind of way (minus the wrinkles). It may be a bit young for many of you, but if you're interested in ways that publishers promote books these days, this will be an example. I'm hoping that we can interact a bit and…
  • Setting Wake Up

    20 Jan 2015 | 9:00 pm
    On August 15, 2014, carpelibris wrote, Anyone have the opposite problem: livening up a story that takes place on a single, rather ordinary location?Let’s break this into two pieces, the ordinariness and the unmoving-ness of the setting and start with the first.Pick the most boring, most blah place in your life that you can go to right now. Your assignment, as soon as I tell you to, is to take yourself there.Right now I’m in my most boring space, a Metro North train rattling toward New York City, where I often write the blog. I’m not talking about my fellow passengers, who often aren’t…
  • Vive la difference!

    7 Jan 2015 | 5:23 am
    I’m putting two related questions and accompanying comments together in this post. On August 2, 2014, F wrote, I've found that over the course of all my stories, my characters seem to repeat a lot of the same kind of traits. Whilst I do sometimes feel like they're independent and distinguishable and have their own voices, I feel like their personalities boil down to be very similar, not to mention that these personalities seem to have, at their core, an enlarged aspect of my own (I guess I rely on writing what I can identify with).Although my characters aren't carbon copies of me (thank…
  • Hooray for Quests!

    24 Dec 2014 | 8:13 am
    First off, the big news: Writer to Writer is OUT--RELEASED--PUBLISHED!!! It came out yesterday. Some of you are in it–no last names, of course. Thanks to you all for making this blog a great, helpful, safe place for writers, and for making this book possible.Second off: Ho! Ho! Ho! Happy holidays, and best wishes for great writing in 2015!This question came into the website late in July from  Writer At Heart: What are you supposed to do when all of your stories seem to repeat? Like, I've had this GREAT idea for a girl going on quest, but all of my other stories seem to copy this idea.
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    TR - Blog for Books, Reviews, Opinion and discussion

  • Perceptions or Changing hues of beauty

    imTabula rasa
    26 Feb 2015 | 10:41 pm
    The delicate shells lay on the shore; The bubbles of the latest wave Fresh pearls to their enamel gave; And the bellowing of the savage sea Greeted their safe escape to me.  I wiped away the weeds and foam, I fetched my sea-born treasures home; But the poor, unsightly, noisome things Had left their beauty on the shore, With the sun, and the sand, and the wild uproar.  The lover watched his graceful maid, As 'mid the virgin train she stayed, Nor knew her beauty's best attire Was woven still by the snow-white choir.  At last she came to his hermitage, Like the…
  • The Little Lady bug - Poem Review

    imTabula rasa
    25 Nov 2014 | 9:36 pm
    A few days back, I had an opportunity to read a delightful poem based on the need for friendship.At first I thought that this was a simple children's poem guaranteed to capture their heart's but a slower re-reading made me realize that it is a poem that holds meaning to adults too. Reviewed (click the link below)The Lady Bug
  • Huckleberry Fin - Review of the book

    imTabula rasa
    25 Nov 2014 | 5:33 am
    Huckleberry FinnSummary: Huckleberry is a story about a vagabond  with a heart of gold. His kind and brave deeds earn him praises from the community and two kind hearted ladies adopt him with the intention of providing him a loving house,education and  good life.This attempt at turning him into a gentleman  does not sit well with Huckleberry  but manfully bears it UNTIL the advent of his mean father who wants to usurp his money but Huckleberry preempts his scoundrel father's moves by transferring all his wealth to Judge Thatcher! Quivering in rage at being baulked…
  • Heidi - A celebration of Relationship

    imTabula rasa
    22 Oct 2014 | 5:13 am
    HEIDISummary:Heidi is a story of an orphan girl who is sent to her reclusive grand father who has cut himself off from the rest of the community. It is a story of how unconditional love wins over the curmudgeon Old man and how Heidi's innocence and naivete wins over and ushers in changes in the lives of people she encounters.Review As a girl growing up in a small town , Heidi was given to me as part of summer vacation present to ward of infinite boredom. To say that I fell in love with the book would be an exaggeration. I thought it was a completely boring book!! It lacked action, adventure…
  • 50 Shades of Grey - Without Substance but full bodied

    imTabula rasa
    15 Oct 2014 | 1:02 am
      SummaryAnastasia Steele is a college student, graduating virgin fresh  to face the onslaught of the not so virgin world.  She meets Christian Grey, Young and dashing  CEO  who has a mesmerizing effect on her, he comes with a dark secret though. Anastasia soon discovers that the spell of hypnotism works both ways and that Christian Grey is susceptible to her charms too. Soon there begins a torrid affair with Anastasia discovering the dark secret of Christian Grey whom she has come to love whole heartedly.Will this secret part them forever or bring them…
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