Children's Literature

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  • A List of Picture Books with Strong Rhyme and Rhythm

    The Book Chook
    11 Dec 2014 | 10:00 am
    A List of Picture Books with Strong Rhyme and Rhythmby Susan Stephenson, www.thebookchook.comStrong rhyme and rhythm in a children’s picture books is important for good reasons:Kids respond to rhyme and rhythm, done well. They are more likely to become engaged with a story that gets their fingers tapping and bodies jiggling.Strong rhyme and rhythm in a picture book helps kids memorise the whole or part of the book, an intermediate step along the road to reading. Repeated reading aloud of such a book over time is also helpful.Picture books with strong rhyme and rhythm lend themselves to…
  • The Book Chook’s Top Children’s Picture Books Reviewed 2014

    The Book Chook
    16 Dec 2014 | 10:00 am
    The Book Chook’s Top Children’s Picture Books Reviewed 2014by Susan Stephenson, Here is a Listly list of my top picks for children’s picture books I reviewed in 2014. I hope this will give you some guidance in choosing outstanding children’s picture books for your children/students. In my opinion, children’s picture books can be read and appreciated at any age. We're never too young or old to enjoy a great picture book! Some of the books on my list were published in Australia; some not. One thing I guarantee: they are all great choices to share with kids. I hope…
  • Week in Review, December 15th-19th

    The Horn Book
    Katie Bircher
    19 Dec 2014 | 1:53 pm
    This week on… Comics legend Stan Lee Talks with Roger Reviews of the Week Picture Book: Blizzard by John Rocco Fiction: Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel by Sara Farizan Nonfiction: The Next Wave: The Quest to Harness the Power of 
the Oceans [Scientists in the Field] by Elizabeth Rusch Read Roger: “Everything must change“ Out of the Box: “Chanukah at the Chorn Book“: Recommended Hanukkah books “Five questions for Lizzie Skurnick” (and we want to know, which All-of-A-Kind Family sister are you?) “The Dance Happy Project“…
  • What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Meilo So

    Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast
    19 Dec 2014 | 7:10 am
    “Blown by the wind, / water sails high. / Tumbling cloud plumes curl through the air. /Soplada por el viento, / el agua se remonta. / Volutas nebulosas ruedan por el aire.”(Click to enlarge spread)   This morning over at Kirkus, I write about some holiday picture books titles, what I think are some of the best of the season. It’s a Christmas miracle: LeUyen Pham has made me like “The Twelve Days of Christmas” again. That link will be here soon. Last week, I wrote here about Pat Mora’s Water Rolls, Water Rises (Lee & Low, October 2014), illustrated…
  • Monday Review: UNMADE (THE LYNBURN LEGACY #3) by Sara Rees Brennan

    Finding Wonderland: The WritingYA Weblog
    Sarah Stevenson
    15 Dec 2014 | 8:30 am
    Cool font, spooky like.Summary: Okay, so, I have read books 1 and 2 of The Lynburn Legacy and failed to write about those, so this is really a review of the entire trilogy. I know, I know; I really MEANT to write about them individually. But, what can you do? Anyway, I will, as per usual, try not to give too much away, but if you have a pathological fear of spoilers, I suppose you might want to just go read the books now. Right: for those of you who are still here! Unmade is the third book in this trilogy; Unspoken was the first, and Untold the second. In this story we meet…
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    The Horn Book

  • Week in Review, December 15th-19th

    Katie Bircher
    19 Dec 2014 | 1:53 pm
    This week on… Comics legend Stan Lee Talks with Roger Reviews of the Week Picture Book: Blizzard by John Rocco Fiction: Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel by Sara Farizan Nonfiction: The Next Wave: The Quest to Harness the Power of 
the Oceans [Scientists in the Field] by Elizabeth Rusch Read Roger: “Everything must change“ Out of the Box: “Chanukah at the Chorn Book“: Recommended Hanukkah books “Five questions for Lizzie Skurnick” (and we want to know, which All-of-A-Kind Family sister are you?) “The Dance Happy Project“…
  • Merry Bookmakwanzaakkah

    Katie Bircher
    19 Dec 2014 | 1:35 pm
    Miniature Classic Novels Book Necklace Charm: Garth Nix’s Sabriel by JaDaJewelry I know we’re in full holiday swing, but there’s still 1) time to think about bookish gifts to give your bookish loved ones and 2) time to hint about bookish gifts you’d like to receive yourself. Really, bookish gifts are great any time of year! I suspect I have successfully browbeaten my aunt into getting me a teeny-tiny Sabriel book pendant for Christmas. Not only does JanDaJewelry sell individual book pendants (Coraline! Fangirl! The Giver! lots of adult books too), you can also order a…
  • Gravity

    Lolly Robinson
    19 Dec 2014 | 9:00 am
    In the past, Jason Chin has added a fantasy element to his information books. In Redwoods, for instance, a boy in the city reads about the redwood forest and is transported there, returning to his urban reality at the end of the book. In Gravity, Chin has gone fully meta: the children we see are not reading about gravity, but the very book we are holding causes gravity to change around those children. On each spread, we see the book exerting its influence on a boy at the beach or, in a mystery-solving spread at the end, four girls at a lemonade stand. On each spread, the text is coming true…
  • Boxers & Saints: Author Gene Luen Yang’s 2014 BGHB Fiction Honor Speech

    Gene Luen Yang
    19 Dec 2014 | 8:00 am
    Thank you to the Horn Book and the Boston Globe. This is an incredible, incredible honor. Boxers & Saints is a two-volume graphic novel about the Boxer Rebellion, a war that was fought in China in the year 1900. On one side of the conflict were the Europeans, the Japanese, and the Chinese Christians. On the other side was a ragtag army of poor, starving teenagers from the Chinese countryside. These young people were supposed to be farmers, but there was nothing for them to farm because a drought had killed all their crops. They felt helpless and hopeless, and they were angry that the…
  • The Port Chicago 50: Author Steve Sheinkin’s 2014 BGHB NF Award Speech

    Steve Sheinkin
    19 Dec 2014 | 8:00 am
    A few years ago I was researching a book on the making of the atomic bomb, and my brother-in-law Eric, who loves wacky conspiracy theories, as I do, hit me with a great one. “You know when the first atomic bomb was tested, right?” he asked. “Sure,” I said, falling into his trap. “New Mexico desert, summer of 1945.” “That’s what they want you to think!” And he told me the theory: the first test was actually in a place called Port Chicago, California, in July 1944. Sounded crazy, but I’d never heard of Port Chicago. I couldn’t offer any kind of refutation. But later that…
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    Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast

  • What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Meilo So

    19 Dec 2014 | 7:10 am
    “Blown by the wind, / water sails high. / Tumbling cloud plumes curl through the air. /Soplada por el viento, / el agua se remonta. / Volutas nebulosas ruedan por el aire.”(Click to enlarge spread)   This morning over at Kirkus, I write about some holiday picture books titles, what I think are some of the best of the season. It’s a Christmas miracle: LeUyen Pham has made me like “The Twelve Days of Christmas” again. That link will be here soon. Last week, I wrote here about Pat Mora’s Water Rolls, Water Rises (Lee & Low, October 2014), illustrated…
  • The Many Sides of Santaand Some Art from Chuck Groenink

    18 Dec 2014 | 7:12 am
      Last week at Kirkus, I chatted here with children’s book author and poet Bob Raczka, so today I’m following up with some of Chuck Groenink’s illustrations from Raczka’s Santa Clauses: Short Poems from the North Pole, released by Carolrhoda Books in September. Groenink, as I mentioned in the column last week, is from the Netherlands but now lives in New York. I highly recommend exploring the art at his site or even his tumblr. If you subscribe to the Horn Book, you’ll recognize him from the cover art of the current issue. I’m tellin’ you what.
  • Traditional Tales with Bernadette Watts

    15 Dec 2014 | 10:01 pm
    I’ve got my work cut out for me this week and so my time today is limited, but here’s a quick post to share a few spreads from The Bernadette Watts Collections: Stories and Fairy Tales, coming to shelves in an English edition early next year (NorthSouth). If you’re up for some colorful, pastoral art—with some no-holds-barred drama to boot—you’re in the right place today. Watts, whose fairy tale art is well-known in Europe, was born in England in 1942 and still lives in the UK (and is still creating new stories). This collection of nearly forty…
  • 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #410: Featuring Chris Raschka

    13 Dec 2014 | 10:01 pm
    “And that is the very best sort of thing to be.”   I’ve got some illustrations today from Caldecott Medalist Chris Raschka, and I think taking a look at his artwork is pretty much always a good way to start one’s day. If You Were a Dog (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, September 2014) was written by Jamie A. Swenson and is an engaging title for very young children. Swenson introduces a series of animals, using the conditional if-you-were question — from dogs to dinosaurs and lots of other animals in between (including a human at the book’s close). The text…
  • What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Eva Eriksson

    11 Dec 2014 | 10:01 pm
    “Grump the tomte lived in the grounds of an empty cottage and every day, he slipped into the cottage through the cat flap. That’s how small he was. Real house tomtes are like that. They are small and quick and grumpy and they are always dressed in grey, apart from a pointy red hat. You hardly ever see them.”   This morning over at Kirkus, I spotlight Pat Mora’s Water Rolls, Water Rises, illustrated by Meilo So. That link is here. Last week I wrote here about Ulf Stark’s The Yule Tomte and the Little Rabbits (Floris Books), illustrated by Eva Eriksson and…
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    Finding Wonderland: The WritingYA Weblog

  • Monday Review: UNMADE (THE LYNBURN LEGACY #3) by Sara Rees Brennan

    Sarah Stevenson
    15 Dec 2014 | 8:30 am
    Cool font, spooky like.Summary: Okay, so, I have read books 1 and 2 of The Lynburn Legacy and failed to write about those, so this is really a review of the entire trilogy. I know, I know; I really MEANT to write about them individually. But, what can you do? Anyway, I will, as per usual, try not to give too much away, but if you have a pathological fear of spoilers, I suppose you might want to just go read the books now. Right: for those of you who are still here! Unmade is the third book in this trilogy; Unspoken was the first, and Untold the second. In this story we meet…

    12 Dec 2014 | 11:07 am
    The Pineapple Express, she is expressing, and, at least on TV, there is extreme weather and pouring, driving, spattering rain. Here at home, it's just... like... raining. Which sometimes, despite all drought-without-end claims to the contrary, it does. Anyway. When it rains, I just want to read, and fortunately, here I am, doing just that! Summary: The post-apocalyptic society has figured out a way to fix its problems with crime -- brain scans, to stop criminal behavior before it starts. While this does away with innocent until proven guilty, its' not as if there are courts and trials anymore…
  • Thursday Review: WHEN WE WAKE and WHILE WE RUN by Karen Healey

    Sarah Stevenson
    11 Dec 2014 | 8:30 am
    Summary: When We Wake--and the companion/sequel While We Run--are the newest spec fic/sci-fi books by Karen Healey, whose books The Shattering (reviewed here) and Guardian of the Dead (reviewed here) I really enjoyed. If you're already a Karen Healey fan like me, you won't want to miss this fast-paced, frightening, all-too-believable sci-fi adventure. CREEPY FROZEN FACE!!!We've all heard the half-joking references to cryonics—freezing someone's head or body and reviving them sometime in the future. In the world of these two books, cryonics isn't a joke. The beginning of the story takes…
  • 'Tis the Season to Go Shopping...

    Sarah Stevenson
    8 Dec 2014 | 11:30 am
    ...and there's very little I personally hate MORE than "going shopping," especially when it's the season of Everybody Shopping. Shopping online, therefore, is kind of what saves me during this time of year. I just made my first holiday purchase this morning and that reminded me to remind YOU: you can benefit the Cybils Awards just by doing your Amazon shopping, if you click through using one of the Cybils Amazon links from their website (see this Cyber Monday post from the Cybils blog).You don't even have to buy the book in question! You can buy some other book. Or a plant. Or a big-screen…

    5 Dec 2014 | 1:58 am
    It's a blustery, rainy day, and I have hot tea and lemon and have just finished a novella I've been looking forward to for weeks. All is well in the Wonderland treehouse, people. Happy, happy times. I'm generally not attracted to prequels as much as I am to sequels, and, as I said when I joined the cover reveal for ROSE EAGLE, this is the prequel to KILLER OF ENEMIES that you didn't know you needed. I was jonesing for a sequel pretty hard, but KoE was such a perfect book that I decided to suck it up and (hope for a movie and) live with its singular perfection. UNTIL I FOUND OUT THAT THERE IS…
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    A Chair, A Fireplace, & A Tea Cozy

  • Review: The Astronomer Who Met The North Wind

    Liz B
    19 Dec 2014 | 1:00 am
    The Astronomer Who Met The North Wind by Kate Hall. Book Smugglers Publishing, 2014. Review copy from publisher. Short story.The Plot: The Astronomer Who Met the North Wind, a short story, is part of the Fairytale Retellings series being published by Book Smugglers Publishing. As you've probably guessed from the title, it's a retelling of The Princess Who Met the North Wind.An astronomer and his wife have a daughter, Minka. Minka's parents go on scientific expeditions; during one, when Minka is six, her mother gets ill and dies.Afterwords, her father is very protective of her, including his…
  • Review: Brown Girl Dreaming

    Liz B
    16 Dec 2014 | 7:00 pm
    Brown Girl Dreamingby Jacqueline Woodson. Nancy Paulsen Books, published by the Penguin Books. 2014. Reviewed from ARC.The Plot: Woodson uses poetry to tell the story of her childhood, growing up in the 1960s and 1970s. She was born in Ohio; moved to South Carolina; and later to New York City. It's a story of Woodson growing up, and learning more about the world around her, and learning how to process that world using words and stories.The Good: First, yes, this book is wonderful. Perfect. Amazing. I was so, so happy to see it selected as the National Book Award Winner for Young People's…
  • Howdy, Teen Librarian Toolbox Readers!

    Liz B
    15 Dec 2014 | 1:00 am
    This past week, I was honored to be included in Teen Librarian Toolbox's 12 Blogs of 2014!They say some lovely things about me and my blog, starting with "Liz Burns’ blog is one that I can always count on for it’s insight, pointed opinions balanced with diplomacy, and palpable love for her subject matter."What a lovely holiday present!So, hello to those readers who found their way from Teen Librarian Toolbox; and Tea Cozy readers, please add Teen Librarian Toolbox to your blog reading!Amazon Affiliate. If you click from here to Amazon and buy something, I receive a percentage of the…
  • Over at SLJ: The YALSA YA Lit Symposium 2014

    Liz B
    9 Dec 2014 | 1:00 am
    Over at School Library Journal, I have an article up: Five Things to Love about the YALSA YA Lit Symposium.Can you guess the five things?One is the opportunity to present. This year, I was on a panel -- and here's a photo of me on the panel looking oh so serious. Thanks to @meghuntwilson for the photo.Also pictured: E.M. Kokie (Personal Effects, Candlewick, 2012); Swati Avasthi (Chasing Shadows, Knopf, 2012), Steven Brezenoff (Guy in Real Life, Balzer & Bray, 2014) and E.M. Kokie (Personal Effects, Candlewick, 2012); along with Andrew Karre, editorial director at Lerner Publishing Group.
  • Peter Pan, the Original Bad Boyfriend

    Liz B
    7 Dec 2014 | 11:00 am
    I love Peter Pan.I remember watching the televised Mary Martin version as a child; the first Broadway show my grandparents took me to see was the 1979 revival of the Broadway show.I watched those as a child and saw magic of Peter Pan as a child: the wonder, the adventure, the fear and avoidance of what growing up would mean. That Peter was played by a woman barely registered in terms of text or subtext.Growing older, growing up, meant learning more about Peter Pan and J.M. Barrie, the man who invented him. I'm not going to get into that -- there is plenty out there about it. While the…
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    educating alice

  • A New Short Story from Philip Pullman and Some News about The Book of Dust

    17 Dec 2014 | 2:00 am
    I was very excited to read about a new short story by Philip Pullman, featuring the nefarious and fabulous Mrs. Colter, that is being released today in the UK as an exclusive. Audible US has informed me that “The Collectors”will be available for those of us on the other side of the pond on January 12th. Until then we will have to make do with the below tantalizing excerpt read by Bill Nighy. But wait, Pullman fans, there’s more; this in the Guardian article about The Book of Dust: He said today: “It’s three pages longer this morning than it was this…
  • Neil Gaiman Does Jabberwocky

    14 Dec 2014 | 2:32 am
  • In the Classroom: This Blog’s on a Top Ten List!

    13 Dec 2014 | 2:26 am
    Thank you, Teachability Lounge‘s Mary Graham, for including this blog among your “Top Ten Teacher Blogs.”  With all the blogs now out there, I sometimes wonder how many teachers read this one. After all, I’m pretty eclectic. So, I was thrilled with this affirmation.
  • Corporate Storytelling

    13 Dec 2014 | 2:19 am
    Andrew Linderman tries to teach people how to find that balance. A story coach, he works with companies including American Express, PBS and Random House, charging $1,800 to $3,500 for workshops and $500 to $5,000 for one-on-one training (less for nonprofits and start-ups). For $40, you can also take one of his two-hour classes,Storytelling for Entrepreneurs. “The specifics of storytelling are relatively easy to articulate,” he said. “It’s the nuances that make a story distinct.” Ah, Random House — the irony!  From “Storytelling Your Way to a Better Job or a Stronger…
  • Ten (or so) Great 2014 Kid Books for Gift-giving

    10 Dec 2014 | 9:39 am
    I have read and loved a ton of books this year; among my many favorites are the following suggestions for great gifts this holiday season. 1, For a book that will be fun for a wide range of middle-grade readers and is also a great book to read aloud as a family, check out Jennifer L. Holm’s The Fourteenth Goldfish. This deceptively spare book (comes in at just under 200 pages) packs quite a punch. It offers a clever take on a trope that is not unfamiliar in children’s books — that of an older person suddenly contending with being young again. In this case it is the…
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    Chicken Spaghetti

  • Brown Girl Dreaming

    19 Dec 2014 | 12:13 pm
    I usually have a couple of books going at once, and I love it when they talk to each other. Virginia Woolf asks, in Hours in a Library, a series of questions about contemporary authors’ works, issues that make their work appeal to us as much as the classics. “...What do they see of the surrounding world, and what is the dream that fills the spaces of their active lives? They tell us all these things in their books.” It’s as if Woolf knew I was reading the memoir Brown Girl Dreaming (Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin Random House, 2014), a children’s title by Jacqueline Woodson. Her dream,…
  • The Best Children's Books of 2014: A List of Lists and Awards

    30 Nov 2014 | 12:54 pm
    A roundup of the year-end "best of" lists and children's literature prizes. Most of the books on these lists were published in 2014; a few lists include titles from prior years, too. I will update this page regularly, so if you see something not mentioned here, give me a holler in the comments or on Twitter @Susan_Thomsen. Comments are open but moderated, due to spam woes. See also the lists for 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, and 2008.  ©Susan Thomsen, 2014. The blog Largehearted Boy maintains a huge list of all the online "best books" lists. The English…
  • Dept. of Still a Ways to Go

    24 Nov 2014 | 5:52 am
    [Gillian] Flynn: I would love it if I could do an event without a very well-meaning man telling me, "I don't normally read books by women." Do you get that? [Cheryl] Strayed: All the time. [...] From "Gone Girls, Found," Cara Buckley's interview with Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl) and Cheryl Strayed (Wild), in the New York Times, Sunday, November 23, 2014.
  • Libraries, Peanut Butter, and Bears

    1 Oct 2014 | 10:17 am
    School has started, and with it, I'm back in the classroom once a week, reading to second graders. So far we have read these picture books: Tomás and the Library Lady, written by Pat Mora and illustrated by Raul Colón. A friendly bookseller at Manhattan's charming La Casa Azul recommended this one, which is sprinkled with Spanish words. Tomás, the child of migrant Texas farm workers, find a place of refuge in an Iowa library and enjoys the attention of two mentors in the "library lady" and his grandfather. It's based on the childhood experiences of Tomás Rivera,…
  • Second Grade: Thumbs Up for "The Incredible Book Eating Boy"

    13 Jun 2014 | 8:36 am
    Another June, another school year coming to a close. Up here in New England we keep 'em in class until almost the end of the month. I've been a volunteer classroom reader for a while now, and I love it, even the unpredictable nature of the last few weeks of the academic year. I read in the afternoon, and sometimes the second graders are almost sleeping, exhausted from the heat (no a.c. at this school) and other times they are buzzing around the room like bees in a hive. They are always ready to listen to a read-aloud, though. Earlier this week I shared Oliver Jeffers' picture…
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    Chasing Ray

  • Vango Book 1: Between Sky and Earth - a grand epic tale

    19 Dec 2014 | 8:21 pm
    It is not often that I come across a grand tale that unfolds over decades and includes adventure across the land and sky, the pounding drums of war, religion, politics, romance, fast cars, fast boats, the love of a parent to a child, and characters who sweep you along with their words, actions and heart. Frankly, it's almost exhausting to list all the parts of Vango: Between Sky and Earth that I enjoyed. Vango takes place in Europe between the two world wars. Written by Frenchman Timothee de Fombelle and translated by Sarah Ardizzone, there is a rhythm and tempo to the language that speaks to…
  • Going Over by Beth Kephart & wondering why we don't have more Cold War novels for teens

    16 Dec 2014 | 1:46 am
    Set in 1983 Berlin, Going Over is a combination of romance and coming-of-age that dwells a lot more with the fallout of the Cold War than just about any book I have read for teenagers. It works because the plot is driven less by the international politics of containment then the angst of Ada, 16, and Stefan, 18, who are separated by the Berlin Wall. They don't have hopes of changing the world, they'd just like to hang out together when they want to which is not easy with all the concrete and guns between them. Basically, Stefan's got to go over the wall. Before we get to the adventure aspect…
  • Round-up of recent reads

    15 Dec 2014 | 9:46 pm
    Capsule reviews on several recent reads for those looking for a recommendation or two: Young Woman in a Garden by Delia Sherman. This is the first short story collection from this prolific and outstanding fantasy author. Sherman is tough to pin down; her stories (and novels) are sly and wink a bit at expectations. Sometimes the fantasy elements are barely there--a whiff of a ghost story perhaps as in the title story, or suburban witchcraft in "Walpurgis Afternoon". The point is not always even the fantasy, as significant as it might be to the plot, but rather the characters and the setting…
  • "It has to start with the art"

    12 Dec 2014 | 12:18 am
    This book comes with a certain amount of baggage because Amanda Palmer, of the largest Kickstarter ever, of the viral TED talk, of the marriage to Neil Gaiman and the punk cabaret sound and the look that no one completely understands, is a person who carries a lot of baggage. Some folks love her and some folks hate her and some folks won't be able to set aside comments they might have read online or things they heard about her when considering her book. But they should, because it's really something special. The Art of Asking is about Palmer's experiences as a creative person and how she has…
  • Meg Wolizter's Belzhar and the enduring Sylvia Plath

    11 Dec 2014 | 9:16 pm
    I surprised myself the first time I read The Bell Jar by falling hard for Sylvia Plath's autobiographical novel of a young woman in New York City and the fallout of her stressful summer. It was thus the Plath angle that sparked my initial attraction to Meg Wolitzer's Belzhar but that ended up being a way more complicated novel than I expected (with a truly amazing twist). Introspective Jam Gallahue is a classic Plath heroine. Severely depressed over the death of her boyfriend Reeve, Jam has been sent by her parents to a "therapeutic boarding school" in Vermont. Selected for enrollment into a…
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    Arthur Slade: The YA Fantastical Fiction Guy

  • Hootsuite

    Arthur Slade
    4 Dec 2014 | 5:52 am
    I rarely rave about products, but I must say Hootsuite just keeps getting better and better. If you're one of those social media crazies like me...well, you have far too much to keep track of. But allows me to track my Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram...(actually the list goes on) all at once. And it's allowing me to write this blog directly to my Blogger account. So I'm just testing it out. I get no money from Hootesuite. In fact I'm paying them for a pro account. But it really is saving me time... End of product placement portion of this…
  • Last Minute Ideas

    Arthur Slade
    11 Sep 2014 | 9:07 am
     So this is my second day in the office as WIR at the Regina Public Library (WIR stands for writer in residence--I like the acronym…it sounds like things are whirring around me). I’m here every Wednesday from 1-9 PM. My day started out with the two and a half hour trip from Saskatoon. This is office time, too, because I listen to audiobooks as I travel. Today’s book was a BBC version of the Foundation trilogy by Isaac Asimov. It…ummm…sounds very ‘70’s at times but certainly captured my attention and is classic science fiction. I was reminded that when Asimov pitched this…
  • Creating with Createspace: Print on Demand

    Arthur Slade
    18 Jul 2014 | 10:38 am
        I've been curious about Createspace's print on demand book publishing options for some time now (It's just one of the many arms of the Amazon). Since my novel Megiddo's Shadow was out of print in the US, I decided to use it to try out Createspace. It is a relatively easy way to self publish a book. All you need is a Word file. They provide a template that I just copied and pasted my novel into (there were a few hours of fussing a fidgeting to get things right, but I expected this).The actual book cover design system is also very easy to use. They have a variety of covers…
  • A Hobbit Quiz

    Arthur Slade
    28 Jun 2014 | 8:35 am
  • A Game of Thrones quiz

    Arthur Slade
    28 Jun 2014 | 8:34 am
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    Books for Boys - Children's Adventure & Mystery Author Max Elliot Anderson

  • Blog of the Year - Please Vote

    15 Dec 2014 | 11:15 am
    Please VOTE - My middle grade adventure & mystery book bolg is up for blog of the year at Book Fun Magazine. Look in the right margin and scroll down to my name and picture. Fun MagazineMagazine centered around Reading Groups, giveaways, stories and testimonies. Launches in September. This group is for suggestions and comments for the magazine…BOOKFUN.ORG
  • INTERVIEW by Prolific Author Bill Myers

    8 Dec 2014 | 7:00 am
    This interview originally appeared in Book Fun Magazine How long have you been blogging, MaxMy first post was in January of 2007. At that time I’d had a few action-adventures and mysteries published for young readers. Why did you begin blogging?Other writers talked about how we needed to have blogs in order to connect with our readers. And this was before social media had arrived. So, along with my website, I began blogging. Posting on my blog allowed me to put out timely information without having to wait for someone else to update my website. And it gave people an opportunity to…
  • 3 Dec 2014 | 6:53 am

    3 Dec 2014 | 6:53 am
    Please take a second and join my Facebook Fan Page for future updates and information on middle grade mystery & adventure books a Profile PicturePhotos or logos work bestAdd a Cover PhotoGive your Page personalityAdd Contact InfoHelp people find you easilyChange CoverUpdate Profile PictureMax Elliot AndersonAuthorLikedFollowingMessageMore options
  • Exciting Middle Grade Books for Christmas

    26 Nov 2014 | 8:16 am
    A good time to consider these adventures & mysteries for #middlegrade readers this Christmas
  • Somebody Stole My Dog!

    11 Nov 2014 | 12:39 pm
    Somebody Stole My Dog! A true story in the Nov. issue of Book Fun Magazine, page 52. You can preview the first 20 pages or subscribe at:
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    American Indians in Children's Literature (AICL)


    19 Dec 2014 | 4:17 pm
    One of the main characters in Eoin Colfer's The Reluctant Assassin (Disney-Hyperion, 2013) is a 16 year old girl named Chevron Savano who is kind-of-sort-of an FBI agent (p. 21-22):At five foot six she was a little short for an FBI agent, but she was lithe and fast, with a delicate oval face and the glossy black hair typical of Native Americans. That "glossy black hair" that is "typical" of Native people? Well.... it is typical of the stereotypical image of Native people. As such, it is our first clue that Colfer's character is, well, a bit more of a white man's Indian than a real Native…
  • A Remembrance of Choctaw Writer, Greg Rodgers

    18 Dec 2014 | 5:32 pm
    Choctaw writer and storyteller, Greg Rodgers, passed away last night.Greg Rodgers1968-2014Several years ago at a conference, Tim Tingle introduced me to Greg. Like Tim, Greg was a Choctaw storyteller. Tim was excited by the work Greg was doing. Back in April of this year, I celebrated the publication of Greg's Chukfi Rabbit's Big Bad Bellyache: A Trickster Tale. It is a great story. Here's the cover:Reading it was a delight. I wanted others to read it, too. When the We Need Diverse Books team was preparing for its summer reading series, I made sure Greg's book was part of it. Here's…
  • Neal Shusterman's UNWHOLLY and UNSOULED

    17 Dec 2014 | 7:06 pm
    On September 25, 2014, I uploaded my review of Shusterman's short story, UnStrung. It is part of his UnWind Dystology, set in the future, after a civil war.In UnStrung (published in 2012), most of the action takes place on an unnamed "Hi Rez" reservation. "ChanceFolk" live there. They are rich, as opposed to "Low Rez" tribes that didn't spend/invest their money well. We learn that Indigenous peoples are called ChanceFolk instead of Indians and that some people call them SlotMongers (yes, that is seen as a slur).The civil war was fought over abortion. The outcome was that abortion was…
  • A CHILDREN'S GUIDE TO ARCTIC BIRDS by Mia Pelletier, illustrated by Danny Christopher

    14 Dec 2014 | 7:50 am
    When my daughter was in college, one of the elective courses she took was about birds. It contrasted with the readings she was doing in philosophy and history. For years we'd talked about philosophy and history. Talking about birds, however, was new. She learned a lot of fascinating information that she passed on to me.I was reminded of that as I read A Children's Guide to Arctic Birds, written by Mia Pelletier and illustrated by Danny Christopher. Here's the cover:And here's a page from inside:See that gorgeous art? That's one of the strong points of this nonfiction book, but so are the…

    11 Dec 2014 | 3:50 pm
    The setting for Erika Wurth's Crazy Horse's Girlfriend is Idaho Springs, Colorado. The characters in her story all feel real. Their stories, their lives? Real. Something seemingly simple, like this line, for example, is like an echo:He came in for some coffee and asked me what tribe I was and we got to talking.By echo, I mean that reading Wurth's writing sounds like listening to a Native person. The main character of Crazy Horse's Girlfriend is a 16 year old girl named Margaritte. As the story opens, Margaritte and her cousin, Jake, are at a party. Two guys laugh when Jake says he…
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  • Poetry Friday: The Graveyard by Caitlyn Siehl

    19 Dec 2014 | 6:01 am
    In the graveyard of our hands,we are bringing each other back to life.In the graveyard of our hands, we are digging up the funeral andburying it again, fresh and unmourned.Take me to the mausoleum wherewe first learned how to tiptoe overghosts and then make it sing.Make the place talk like a fable.Teach me how to be brave.Teach me where to put the time that doesn’t heal so that it can never find me again...- The Graveyard by Caitlyn Siehl - Click here to continue reading the poem!View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.Learn…
  • Poetry Friday: A Zoo of Human Emotion by Caitlin Siehl

    12 Dec 2014 | 6:00 am
    A zoo of human emotion. Anger is sleeping in its exhibit, and the security guard warns you not to tap the glass. Across the way, in a different exhibit, you can’t see inside, but a sign is hanging up that reads: "Do not feed the loneliness."- Caitlyn SiehlView all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.Learn more about Poetry Friday.
  • Poetry Friday: Piano by D.H. Lawrence

    5 Dec 2014 | 6:01 am
    Softly, in the dusk, a woman is singing to me; Taking me back down the vista of years, till I see A child sitting under the piano, in the boom of the tingling strings And pressing the small, poised feet of a mother who smiles as she sings. In spite of myself, the insidious mastery of song Betrays me back, till the heart of me weeps to belong To the old Sunday evenings at home, with winter outside And hymns in the cosy parlour, the tinkling piano our guide. - Piano by D.H. Lawrence - Read the full poemView all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.View the roundup schedule at A Year…
  • Best Books of November 2014

    1 Dec 2014 | 8:26 pm
    November 2014: 11 books and scripts readRecommended for TweensThe Swap by Megan ShullRecommended for Teens and AdultsGirl Defective by Simmone HowellAfterworlds by Scott WesterfeldNon-Fiction PickNormally, This Would be Cause for Concern: Tales of Calamity and Unrelenting Awkwardness by Danielle Fishel
  • Poetry Friday: Egyptian Serenade by George William Curtis

    28 Nov 2014 | 6:01 am
    Sing again the song you sungWhen we were together young-When there were but you and IUnderneath the summer sky.Sing the song, and o'er and o'erThough I know that nevermoreWill it seem the song you sungWhen we were together young.- Egyptian Serenade by George William CurtisView all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.Learn more about Poetry Friday.
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    Jen Robinson's Book Page

  • Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: December 19

    Jen Robinson
    19 Dec 2014 | 8:08 am
    Here are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage. It's a bit of a light installment this week, but does include the usual array of book lists. I also have a few links on the Cybils awards, diversity, growing bookworms, gift ideas, and the Kidlitosphere. Thanks for reading! I'll be taking next weekend off for Christmas, but expect to be back with a new link roundup soon afterwards. Book Lists Top 20 Books of 2014: 20-16 according to @100scopenotes + @MrSchuReads #kidlit Top 20 Books of 2014: 15-11 from @100scopenotes + @MrSchuReads…
  • Have You Seen My New Blue Socks? Eve Bunting & Sergio Ruzzier

    Jen Robinson
    18 Dec 2014 | 8:34 am
    Book: Have You Seen My New Blue Socks? Author: Eve Bunting Illustrator: Sergio Ruzzier Pages: 32 Age Range: 3-7 Have You Seen My New Blue Socks? is a highly read-aloudable picture book by Eve Bunting and Sergio Ruzzier. It's the story of a little green duck who, as the title would suggest, is unable to find a new pair of blue socks. He knows that he put them somewhere nearby, but can't remember where. He asks various friends for help, but no one knows. Until a helpful peacock finally spots a glimpse of a blue sock.  The beauty of this book is that way that Bunting channels Dr. Seuss in…
  • Growing Bookworms Newsletter: December 17

    Jen Robinson
    17 Dec 2014 | 10:57 am
    Today I will be sending out a new issue of the Growing Bookworms email newsletter. (If you would like to subscribe, you can find a sign-up form here.) The Growing Bookworms newsletter contains content from my blog focused on children's and young adult books and raising readers. I currently send the newsletter out every two weeks. Newsletter Update: In this issue I have seven book reviews (mostly picture books, plus a couple of early middle grade novels), a post about my daughter's latest literacy milestone, and two posts with literacy and…
  • 9 Years of Blogging at Jen Robinson's Book Page

    Jen Robinson
    17 Dec 2014 | 7:55 am
    Difficult as it is to believe, today marks my 9 year anniversary of blogging at Jen Robinson's Book Page. Over the past nine years I have shared approximately 2950 posts, including 1043 reviews. Which sounds like a lot, but it works out to about 6.3 posts/week, of which 2.2 were reviews. The rest of the posts have been some mix of literacy links and news releases, milestones regarding my daughter's pathway to literacy, and general tips for growing bookworms. [I've also shared some 15,500 tweets in the 5.5 years that I've been on Twitter, which is rather frightening.]…
  • Iggy Loomis, A Hagfish Called Shirley: Jennifer Allison

    Jen Robinson
    16 Dec 2014 | 8:09 am
    Book: Iggy Loomis, A Hagfish Called Shirley Author: Jennifer Allison Illustrator: Michael Moran Pages: 202 Age Range: 7-9 I enjoyed Jennifer Allison's first book about Iggy Loomis, and was happy to accept a copy of the second book in this entertaining illustrated chapter book series. This review will contain spoilers for the first book.  The Iggy Loomis books are narrated by an elementary school age-boy named Daniel Loomis. At the start of this second book, Daniel has a best friend named Alistair who is an alien in disguise. An incident in the first book led to Daniel's…
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    Writing and Ruminating

  • An acceptance? For me?

    18 Dec 2014 | 6:58 am
    Well, I'm not going to say they shouldn't have! I'm very pleased to tell you that I've had a poem accepted by Poet Laureate Kenn Nesbitt for inclusion in a forthcoming anthology, One Minute Till Bedtime. My "Baseball Season" will be part of the mix, and I couldn't be more chuffed.
  • Getting ready for Chanukah

    15 Dec 2014 | 3:24 pm
    It's beginning to look a lot like latkes . . . at least here at my house. Tonight's mission is to make a batch to freeze so I can reheat them on Saturday. I like them best fresh (who doesn't?), but since I'll be making latkes using something like 10 pounds of potatoes to make batches of latkes. (My sweetheart and I are hosting a Chanukah party this weekend, and latkes are the centerpiece of any Chanukah celebration, so lots of latkes are required.)Of course, there's been a lot of cleaning going on around here, to say nothing of some redecorating done throughout the fall. The redecorating and…
  • What I've been up to

    3 Dec 2014 | 1:35 pm
    One thing I've been up to is running back and forth to UMass in Amherst for purposes of transporting my younger daughter, Maggie, to Newark airport and then back. I've been tuckered out as a result, hence the paucity of posts.Another thing I've been doing is reading through stacks of poetry collections for the CYBILS awards. So many great possibilities, it really does become difficult to weed things down to a short list, but since that is my job as a panelist, I am doing it. I've also been reading books. Not that I'm not usually reading something, but last Friday I sat down and read a novel…
  • This just in: Another First Folio has been found in France

    26 Nov 2014 | 9:11 am
    My, but that was a lot of alliteration in one title. But it is true: A library in Saint-Omer, near Calais, recently discovered that the old edition of Shakespeare's plays that they have, which is missing a few pages, including the title page, is, in fact, a First Folio.For those of you bewildered by what that means, it's the earliest known edition of Shakespeare's plays, published after Shakespeare's death and edited by fellow actors of the Bard's. The publication of the First Folio led to the Second Folio (which had some differences), but the fact that the plays were collected and published…
  • The thing about autoimmune diseases is . . .

    24 Nov 2014 | 3:46 pm
    The thing about autoimmune diseases is that you can just never tell what's going to happen next. Turns out I've now got something called "inappropriate tachycardia", which is a fast heartbeat that doesn't seem to be caused by a problem with my actual heart. And it might be a side effect of the drug I take for my rheumatoid arthritis, so now I have to not take it for a couple weeks to see if my heartbeat drops back into normal ranges. Time will tell.Also? Sometimes you can tell what will happen next. Last Friday, my daughter Maggie left for Italy. She goes to school in Massachusetts, and had…
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    The Miss Rumphius Effect

  • Poetry Friday - Snowy Owl Near Ocean Shores

    12 Dec 2014 | 4:18 pm
    If you know OWL MOON by Jane Yolen, you'll want to follow along with Owl Count 2014, which begins at midnight on December 14th. Heidi Stemple will be live tweeting (perhaps on this occasion it should be called hooting) @heidieys and reporting on the Facebook page. In honor of the count, I'm sharing this lovely poem.Snowy Owl Near Ocean Shoresby Duane NiatumA castaway blown south from the arctic tundrasits on a stump in an abandoned farmer’s field.Beyond the dunes cattails toss and bend as snappyas the surf, rushing and crashing down the jetty.His head a swivel of round…
  • Monday Poetry Stretch - 13 Ways of Looking at Winter

    8 Dec 2014 | 5:50 am
    This weekend I was savoring Wallace Steven's wonderful poem, Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird. I began to think that looking at winter in this way might be an interesting thing to do. Now, you don't need to come up with 13 stanzas of your own. Perhaps we could write this as a modified renga, each contributing a verse or two.Here is the stanza I'm starting with (I think).IShort dayslong nightsthe coldest of seasonsheralds the approaching lightHowever you want to approach it, the challenge this week is to write a few stanzas (or more!) about winter. I hope you'll join me.
  • Poetry Friday - Winter Nights

    5 Dec 2014 | 5:40 am
    Mother nature hasn't decided what the weather will be, with 70 degree days followed by 40 degree days. I'm enjoying advent and the slow approach of winter. Here's an old poem (late 16th to early 17th century) for the season.Winter Nightsby Thomas CampionNow winter nights enlarge      The number of their hours,    And clouds their storms discharge      Upon the airy towers.    Let now the chimneys blaze              And cups o'erflow with wine;    Let well-tuned words amaze      With…
  • Monday Poetry Stretch - Pleiades

    30 Nov 2014 | 9:01 pm
    Invented by Craig Tigerman, the editor for the online poetry journal SOL Magazine, the pleiades is a 7-line poem in which each line begins with same letter as the first letter in the one-word title. There are no rhyme or meter requirements for a pleiades, though some have suggested the lines be limited to six syllables.You can read more about this form at Super Forty and The Poets Garret.I hope you'll join me this week in writing a pleiades. Please share a link to your poem or the poem itself in the comments.
  • Monday Poetry Stretch - Etheree

    23 Nov 2014 | 9:01 pm
    An etheree is a poem of ten lines in which each line contains one more syllable than the last. Beginning with one syllable and ending with ten, this unrhymed form is named for its creator, 20th century American poet Etheree Taylor Armstrong.Variant forms of the etheree include the reverse form, which begins with 10 syllables and ends with one. The double etheree is twenty lines, moving from one syllable to 10, and then from 10 back to one. (I suppose a double etheree could also move from 10 syllables to one, and then from one back to 10.)You can learn more about the etheree at The Poets…
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  • 150 Ways to Give a Book

    9 Dec 2014 | 6:24 am
    I realize I haven't been posting, but it wouldn't feel like the holidays if I didn't update and share my traditional 150 Ways to Give a Book. They are all MotherReader-approved titles — i.e., Good Books. There are a lot more choices for younger kids, as that’s the group we adults most fear disappointing with giving “only” a book. And picture books are kind of easier to do. After the book and gift selections, I’ve also included ways to wrap a book, and book-themed gifts to include for a variety of ages. There are a few new 2014 titles mixed in with older ones — though…
  • Cybils 2014

    18 Sep 2014 | 11:41 am
    The last couple of weeks, I've been doing much of my kidlitosphere work behind the scenes selecting the judges for this year's Cybils awards. I'm very excited to introduce the panels for Fiction Picture Books, and we're going to have a great time sorting through over two hundred expected nominations to bring you the best titles. Get in your nominations and make us work for it! I just wanted to say that if you weren't selected this year as a Cybils judge, don't take it personally. Please understand that the category chairs balance a lot of factors in putting together panels that can represent…
  • Back to Basics

    10 Sep 2014 | 6:54 am
    This past Saturday I staffed my library's booth at the local fall festival. I have two takeaways from the experience. One, never to accept the booth location downwind from the barbecue. It's hot and you'll be soooo hungry. Two, children do not know nursery rhymes. Or kids songs. Or much about books. To encourage visitors to our booth, we had a trivia game to win a free book from our book sale donations. Given that we had brought a very very lot of books, we were very very disposed to the kids answering correctly. This turned out to be harder that expected.The five year old who didn't know the…
  • Back to Work

    3 Sep 2014 | 9:18 am
    I didn't intend to take a summer-long blog break. It just sort of happened. Some part of it can be attributed to a big life change of sending my eldest to college. I will admit that I spent time sort of staring at her as if she were a great work of art. And really, it's not far from the truth. But my girls didn't dominate my attention in the way they did when they were children - negotiating playdates, refereeing squabbles, fixing snacks, and making endless trips to the pool. They were self-sufficient. The eldest with her job and college-bound friends. The younger with music/theater classes…
  • Booktalking Season

    18 Jun 2014 | 1:18 pm
    Last year I was so organized that I shared my booktalks online, while this year I've been lucky if they are mentally rehearsed before I go into the school. I've had a lot on my mind. But whether or not I have a graduating senior or need to plan the Girl Scout bridging ceremony for over a hundred girls, our booktalking season is upon us. Quite late this year as our kids are still in school. In fact, that senior doesn't even get to do the graduating part until June 23rd. Crazy, right? It's especially frustrating as other high schools were done yesterday, but we all have to take our turn with…
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        Poetry for Children

  • New NCTE Poetry Award winner: Marilyn Singer

    Sylvia Vardell
    12 Dec 2014 | 9:34 pm
    I posted this information on Twitter the moment it was announced and followed up on Facebook, but forgot that I should also feature the news on my blog—oh the woes of managing multiple social media platforms! So, in case you haven’t heard, it was announced at the recent conference of the National Council of Teachers of English that Marilyn Singer is the next recipient of the NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children. The NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for ChildrenThis award for poetry for children is given by the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) every two…
  • MANGER by Lee Bennett Hopkins

    Sylvia Vardell
    5 Dec 2014 | 11:09 am
    At my house tomorrow it is Nicklaus Day (St. Nicholas Day) and we celebrate with stockings and treats—a fun preview of the Christmas celebrations to come. It’s a perfect moment to celebrate a new book from Lee Bennett Hopkins, Manger (Eerdmans, 2014). Beginning with gorgeous endpapers, we journey through fifteen beautiful double-page spreads each featuring a lyrical poem from an animal’s perspective about the arrival of Jesus as a baby in the manger. Beautiful pictures, beautiful poetry, beautiful moments to savor. And it’s not just an artful, contemplative book, it’s also very…
  • YALSA Poets: The Movie

    Sylvia Vardell
    29 Nov 2014 | 4:00 am
    Just a few weeks ago, I was at the YALSA Symposium in Austin TX-- such a great event. I was lucky to gather a fantastic panel of poets and authors (Janet Wong, KA Holt, Michael Salinger, Sara Holbrook, Guadalupe Garcia McCall, and Jacqueline Woodson) all talking about their work and reading and performing excerpts. I was able to videotape a few nuggets to share with you here. Enjoy!K A (Kari) Holt talking about her new novel in verse, Rhyme SchemerWe gave audience participants a sample page from Rhyme Schemer-- where the protagonist, Kevin, takes a page from an "old" book and turns it…
  • A poem for Black Friday

    Sylvia Vardell
    28 Nov 2014 | 4:00 am
    Last week I was at the NCTE conference (so fun!) presenting alongside Janet Wong and Eileen and Jerry Spinelli on the topic of kindness. Here's a tiny glimpse of our session-- a video of Eileen reading her original poem, "Get a Life" from The Poetry Friday Anthology (K-5). It's perfect for this crazy Black Friday, too.And here is the text of the poem:Get a Life    by Eileen SpinelliThere are books to read.And birds to feed.And awesome facts for learning.There are yards to weed.And friends in need.And dreams to set us yearning.There are trails to hike.And films to like.And stories…
  • NCTE CLA Master Class: Poetry Across the Curriculum

    Sylvia Vardell
    21 Nov 2014 | 5:00 am
    While attending the NCTE conference, I’ll also be participating in the annual “Master Class” coordinated by the Children’s Literature Assembly of NCTE (such a great organization). The focus is poetry across the curriculum and I’m responsible for the social studies area. I’ll be sharing sample poems, teaching tips, and activity suggestions. Sharing poetry in the context of social studies is a natural given the topics that make up this content area. The National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) Curriculum Standards quickly reveal the poem connection possibilities with Thematic…
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  • Cynsational News & Giveaways

    Cynthia Leitich Smith
    19 Dec 2014 | 6:55 am
    By Cynthia Leitich Smithfor CynsationsJan. 27 Designated Multicultural Children's Book Day by Claire Kirch from Publishers Weekly. Peek: "The mission of MCCBD, co-founders Wenjen and Budayr explained to PW, is to “not only raise awareness for the kid’s books that celebrate diversity, but to get more of these types of books into classrooms and libraries."Diversity in Single Serving Slices by Day Al-Mohamed from Disability in Kidlit. Peek: "People are perceived as being gay or autistic or black and usually one of those identities is the 'defining' one. If we are already seeing the 'real…
  • Guest Post & Giveaway: Jennifer Wolf Kam on Words from the Past

    Cynthia Leitich Smith
    18 Dec 2014 | 6:07 am
    Meeting young writers at The Voracious Reader.By Jennifer Wolf Kamfor Cynthia Leitich Smith's CynsationsIn the spring of 1981, Space Shuttle Columbia completed a successful orbital mission around the Earth, my hometown New York Islanders won the Stanley Cup and eight-year-old me wrote my first fan letter. It was not a letter to Shaun Cassidy or Scott Baio, or any other Tiger Beat sensation.I’d just read The Little Leftover Witch, and my letter was to its author, Florence Laughlin.Writers were (still are) my rock stars.After reading this wonderful book I knew I wanted to be a writer. I…
  • Guest Post & Giveaway: Dana Walrath on Writing from the Marrow

    Cynthia Leitich Smith
    17 Dec 2014 | 6:02 am
    By Dana Walrathfor Cynthia Leitich Smith's CynsationsMy first novel, Like Water on Stone, just came out (Delacorte, Nov. 2014). Of course, I’m smiling. The cover and interior of the book are beautifully produced. I’ve poured my soul into it.“What’s it about?” people ask me.When I tell them, “It’s the story of three siblings who survive the Armenian genocide of 1915 with the help of the guardian spirit of an eagle,” I’ve learned that I better get my smile under control.Genocide and smiles do not go together.And yet I know that “smile-worthy” hope and the power of the…
  • In Memory: Norman Bridwell

    Cynthia Leitich Smith
    16 Dec 2014 | 2:44 pm
    By Cynthia Leitich Smithfor CynsationsNorman Birdwell, Creator of "Clifford The Big Red Dog" Dead at 86 from The Martha's Vineyard Times. Peek: "In 1962 Mr. Bridwell found himself having to support a wife and infant daughter on extra money he picked up doing freelance artwork. He considered supplementing his income by illustrating picture books.""Clifford The Big Red Dog" Creator Norman Bridwell Has Died by Carolyn Kellogg from The L.A. Times. Peek: "The first Clifford book was published in 1963. All told, there are more than 129 million copies of the many Clifford books in print in 13…
  • New Voices Interview: Trisha Leaver & Lindsay Currie on Creed

    Cynthia Leitich Smith
    16 Dec 2014 | 6:35 am
    By Karen Rockfor Cynthia Leitich Smith's CynsationsFrom the promotional copy of Creed by Trisha Leaver and Lindsay Currie (Flux, 2014):Three of us went in. Three of us came out. None even a shadow of who they once were.When their car breaks down in the middle of nowhere, Dee, her boyfriend Luke, and Luke’s brother Mike, seek help in the nearby town of Purity Springs. But as they walk the vacant streets, the teens make some disturbing discoveries. The seemingly deserted homes each contain a sinister book with violent instructions on disciplining children. The graveyard is…
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    WordPress Tag: Children's Book

  • How Santa met the ELFs by Ben Dasaro

    11 Dec 2014 | 11:00 pm
    Title: How Santa met the ELFs   Author and Illustrator: Ben Dasaro Publisher: Smith Publicity Published: November 24th, 2014 Rating: 4/5 I highly recommend this beautifully illustrated book That takes a totally different look At how Santa helped Extraterrestrial Life Forms live here And how they helped him and his reindeer To make each Christmas special for me and for you By making our hopes and dreams to come true If ever you’ve wondered just how he can travel around And cover such great distances over the ground You’ll learn in this book that Santa helped others and how They help him…
  • Awesome Mini-List of Children's Fiction from IFWG Publishing Australia

    Gerry Huntman
    11 Dec 2014 | 10:05 pm
    We are proud of our children’s and young teen fiction, and given the proximity of Christmas, we suggest you have a look at some of our selection of children’s books and consider them for gifts. Pre-Teen A Magpie Called Will by Peter Rondel (illustrated by Frances Hutt) Michael befriends a magpie that is smarter than he is. The magic of Merlin The Magician reaches across the years to the present day, and suddenly, the two worlds are joined by the magpie’s secret. Beautifully illustrated, suitable for ages 8 to 12. Paper Magic written and illustrated by Jeffery E Doherty The…
  • Hold the Press: Runaway Smile is out!

    Nicholas C. Rossis
    11 Dec 2014 | 10:00 pm
    You may remember how Runaway Smile is published in Greece under the auspices of a traditional publis
  • The Elf Bully: Beanie Begins

    11 Dec 2014 | 7:03 pm
    The prequel to Katrina Hardin’s “The Elf Bully,” is hot off the presses and now available for Amazon Kindle! It was a pleasure to illustrate this additional chapter to this children’s series, which champions the value of reading. Download a copy today! Hankering for a hardcover? Look no further.
  • Santa's Snow Cat

    sabina ayne
    11 Dec 2014 | 5:07 pm
    Santa’s Snow Cat Sue Stainton, author Illustrated by Anne Mortimer Katharine Tegen Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, 2001 Snow Cat is Santa’s favorite cat and she travels with him everywhere – especially on Christmas Eve. One Christmas Eve she becomes enchanted by the lights in the city below and accidentally falls from the sleigh. She falls into the streets of New York City and in searching for her own Santa she comes across many “nearly” Santas and being frozen and tired, she gives up hope. Main characters – Snow Cat, pure white cat with beautiful jade…
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    School Library Journal

  • Far-Out Science Fiction | SLJ Spotlight

    19 Dec 2014 | 6:00 am
    Whether it’s fighting for interstellar peace, falling in love with a time traveler, or trying to rescue your family (and spacecraft) from the clutches of outerspace baddies, the protagonists in these sci-fi titles are down-to-earth teens who readers will root for whole-heartedly. Check out these out-of-this-world YA novels. Arnett, Mindee. Polaris. 432p. HarperCollins/Balzer & Bray. Jan. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062235626; ebk. $9.99. ISBN 9780062235640. Gr 9 Up –Picking up where Avalon (HarperCollins, 2014) left off, this novel has Jeth Seagrave, along with his newly discovered…
  • E-Rate Win for Schools and Libraries: Modernization Order Brings Another $1.5B

    Carolyn Sun
    18 Dec 2014 | 11:04 am
    December 11 marked a triumphant day for both champions and beneficiaries of high-speed Internet access in all schools and libraries across the United States when the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted (3-2) to pass the latest E-Rate Modernization Order. The long-awaited update includes a provision to inject an additional $1.5 billion to the E-Rate funding cap, raising the yearly budget to $3.9 billion. “ALA has long advocated for a permanent increase to the program and to get $1.5 billion is truly historical,” says Marijke Visser, associate director at the Office of Information…
  • Timing Is Everything | Consider the Source

    18 Dec 2014 | 8:02 am
    Marc Aronson with Susan Bartle Timing Is Everything Anyone who has followed this column, or has heard me speak, knows that I’m in the cheering section for the Common Core English Language Arts State Standards. But speaking as an advocate for the standards, I have a serious concern. I’m hearing mixed messages about the assessments that raise a question on which librarians must take a stand. Background Many states have moved from the implementation phase of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) to assessment. In general, states are using tests crafted by one of two groups: the Partnership…
  • Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site | Touch and Go

    Daryl Grabarek
    18 Dec 2014 | 7:40 am
      Screen from ‘Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site’ (Oceanhouse Media) Lichtenheld You don’t have to go far to find a truck or construction site enthusiast in the under-five crowd. Since it was published in 2011, Sherri Duskey Rinker’s picture book Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site has been a favorite with this group. Now it’s an app. The app version ofSherri Duskey Rinker’s popular picture book/bedtime story Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site  (Chronicle, 2011; PreS-K) has been faithfully reproduced in Oceanhouse Media, Inc.’s…
  • SLJ’s Top 10 DVDs 2014

    Kent Turner
    17 Dec 2014 | 2:53 pm
    Of the more than 250 DVDs reviewed last year, the following are memorable works that will enhance curricula with their strong educational and entertainment appeal. Diverse in every sense of the word—both in format and in subjects addressed—these are can’t-miss DVDs that have a place in every collection, but, most importantly, they’re all exceptional productions. Given that cost is a constant consideration in collection building, two epic-length selections below are a librarian’s bargain: top quality at a reasonable price. There were plenty of rich programs about the environment to…
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    A Fuse #8 Production

  • Librarian Preview: Harper Collins (Spring 2015)

    Elizabeth Bird
    19 Dec 2014 | 1:00 am
    Oh, it’s a big one.  A big honking preview, this is.  Yes indeed, folks, Harper Collins is in town and they’ve a mess of good looking books just aching to arrive on your shelves.  Now the last time I attending a preview for HC I was massively pregnant with back pain to match.  This time around, in comparison, I was positively lithe, leaping from table to table as the editors showed us their pretty baubles.  Here then is an encapsulation of some of the goodies that will be hitting shelves nationwide fairly soon.  To wit: Table One At these librarian previews we the MLIS…
  • Fuse #8 TV: The Grolier Exhibit and Author Jennifer Niven!

    Elizabeth Bird
    18 Dec 2014 | 1:00 am
    I think I’m beginning to get the hang of this! Yes, we’ve yet another Fuse #8 TV episode today and this time we’ve worked out some of the kinks. No more with the herky jerky videos at the start! Instead, I take you on a lovely little tour of the current Grolier exhibit of children’s literature. Then it’s interview time with YA author Jennifer Niven of the much lauded All the Bright Places. Enjoy previous episodes of Fuse #8 TV here thus far!  Thanks to Random House Children’s Books for sponsoring this latest episode of Fuse #8 TV!
  • Announcing NYPL’s 2014 100 Books for Reading Sharing List!

    Elizabeth Bird
    17 Dec 2014 | 1:00 am
    You know, folks, there are lists and then there are LISTS.  And I’m not saying one is any better than another.  Of course not.  But when we look at lists of children’s books there’s only one that truly has my heart.  Coming in at 103 years old this year, NYPL’s 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing list is one of the oldest (if not THE oldest) continually published children’s book lists in the nation.  It is also the most beautiful.  Doubt me?  Then check out our 2014 edition. You can see our interactive list of the 100 books here. And here’s the cover…
  • Newbery / Caldecott 2015: Final Prediction Edition

    Elizabeth Bird
    15 Dec 2014 | 1:00 am
    And thus, we end. Though, with such a late ALA Media Awards announcement this year (Monday, February 2nd!) my predictions are coming a bit early in the game.  Still, it’s not as though I’ll be seeing much that’s new between now and 2/2.  I have watched with great interest the discussions on Heavy Medal and Calling Caldecott.  I’ve discussed and debated the contenders with folks of all sorts.  I’m eyeing the Mock Caldecotts and Mock Newberys with great fervor as they post their results (and I’m tallying them for my next Pre-Game / Post-Game Show). …
  • American Cover Reveal: Cuckoo Song by Frances Hardinge

    Elizabeth Bird
    11 Dec 2014 | 1:00 am
    Consider, if you will, the strange relationship that exists between a book jacket created in America vs. a book jacket created in the United Kingdom. Both are appealing to an audience that speaks primarily English.  But the perception of what will sell/appeal in one country can vary widely from that of another.  Over the years I’ve seen a whole host of British covers translated (so to speak) for Americans, and American covers translated for the British.  Today we’re going to look at a couple of these and then I shall reveal a new book jacket that makes me inordinately,…
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    Michael Gerson: Most Recent Articles and Archives

  • A global conspiracy of health

    Michael Gerson
    18 Dec 2014 | 5:12 pm
    In the category of stunning, heartening, woefully underreported good news: In 2000, an estimated 9.9 million children around the world died before age 5. In 2013, the figure was 6.3 million. That is 3.6 million fewer deaths, even as the world’s population increased by about 1 billion. Read full article >>
  • It’s time for a politics of repair

    Michael Gerson
    15 Dec 2014 | 4:57 pm
    The just-ending 113th Congress was not, by most measures, productive. But its endgame was at least instructive.As a trillion-dollar omnibus spending bill trundled into law, the populist wings of both political parties declared themselves both revolted and in revolt. The bill, complained Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), “does nothing, absolutely nothing, to stop President Obama’s illegal and unconstitutional amnesty.” “Who does Congress work for?” asked Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) . “Does it work for the millionaires, the billionaires, the giant companies with their armies of lobbyists…
  • Jonathan Gruber reveals the arrogance of liberals

    Michael Gerson
    11 Dec 2014 | 5:32 pm
    Jonathan Gruber — the source of more smoking guns than the battle of Gettysburg — recently appeared before a hostile House committee. The good professor, you might recall, is an MIT economist who played a significant (and paid) role in producing and defending the Affordable Care Act. He also later admitted, in an astonishing variety of settings, that the law was written in a “tortured way” to hide tax increases and other flaws. “Lack of transparency,” he cheerfully conceded, “is a huge political advantage. And basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever,…
  • Releasing the Feinstein report is an act of exceptional recklessness

    Michael Gerson
    8 Dec 2014 | 4:57 pm
    With the release of the Feinstein report on CIA interrogations of high-value terrorists a decade ago, let’s consider the situation of intelligence personnel who have been involved, not in that program but in drone strikes against terrorists, conducted in a variety of countries around the world.Read full article >>
  • Treatment of AIDS will require targeting the regions and populations most affected

    Michael Gerson
    1 Dec 2014 | 5:44 pm
    My college roommate — the most immediately likable person I’ve ever met, a man who would now be such a present to the world — died of AIDS at the age of 30. Back then, people with the disease did not so much die as fade, becoming gaunt and ghostly images of themselves, as the virus gradually destroyed enough T-cells to cut their ties with the flesh. Metaphors don’t really capture the horror. Declined? Withered? At any rate, he died.Read full article >>
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  • Oh, the Thinks You Can Think, or Strange Creatures of the Imagination in Speculative Fiction

    20 Dec 2014 | 4:36 am
    Your assignment: Draw a world that contains many or all of these creatures as imagined by you. You get extra points if you can name the 2014 speculative fiction Cybils nominees that feature each one of these weird and fantastical creatures. You get even more credit for naming a qualifying imaginary being from 2014 middle grade speculative fiction that I neglected to add to the list. Albino Ackaway. Albino witch. Alien Tremist. Ashari haldani. Augmented actualizers. Aviars (bird people). Ax-wielding Feuerkumpel. Bad-tempered great grey hippokamp. Black-eyed terragogg. Bog Noblins (semi-aquatic…
  • Saturday Review of Books: December 20, 2014

    19 Dec 2014 | 8:09 pm
    “Live always in the best company when you read.” ~Sydney Smith SATURDAY December 27th, will be the annual special edition of the Saturday Review of Books especially for book lists. You can link to a list of your favorite books read in 2014, a list of all the books you read in 2014, a list of the books you plan to read in 2015, or any other end of the year or beginning of the year list of books. Whatever your list, it’s time for book lists. So come back on Saturday the 27th to link to yours. Welcome to the Saturday Review of Books at Semicolon. Here’s how it usually works. Find…
  • Christmas in Virginia, 1864

    19 Dec 2014 | 4:36 am
    From Charlie Skedaddle by Patricia Beatty: “Charley volunteered, ‘On Christmas Day at home we go to Mass and then give each other presents. After that we o visiting people we know, and we always have a real fine Christmas dinner when we can afford to have one, roast goose or roast beef.’ ‘Do tell! All those goings-on in one day! Malindy wouldn’ like hearin’ that about the goose. We don’t fuss so much here in the hills, but we do eat a good supper, and we sing some, and outside a feedin’ the livestock we don’ do no work. I ain’t got…
  • Christmas in France, c. 1930

    17 Dec 2014 | 4:10 am
    From Noël for Jeanne-Marie by Françoise Seignobosc: “Listen, Patapon,” says Jeanne-Marie. “Noël is the birthday of the little Jesus.” “And there is something more about Noël. If you are very good, Father Noël brings you presents. He comes in the night. No one sees him, no one at all. I put my wooden shoes near the chimney and Father Noël fills them with presents. You will see, Patapon, you will see . . .” Unfortunately, Patapon is Jeanne-Marie’s pet sheep, and sheep have no wooden shoes to place beside the chimney for Father Noël to fill with…
  • 12 Book Lists from 2014

    16 Dec 2014 | 6:34 am
    I will round up the bloggers’ book lists at my Saturday Review of Books on December 27th, the day after Christmas, giving everyone plenty of time to post their lists. Also, on the day after Christmas I’ll start posting my several lists of favorites and books I’m looking forward to reading in 2015. In the meantime, the other end of the year book lists are already starting to multiply. I have a love/hate relationship with lists of “best books” or “favorites”, mostly love. But it is frustrating to see how many books there are that I would love to read…
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    Stories from NPR

  • Before Google ... Who Knew?

    Linton Weeks
    20 Dec 2014 | 8:11 am
    Search engines come and go, but the reference librarian abides.» E-Mail This
  • Despite Its Beauty, Cuba Isn't Quite Ready For Tourists

    Scott Simon
    20 Dec 2014 | 7:56 am
    When NPR's Scott Simon has visited Cuba, he saw two economies — one for tourists and one for residents. He reflects on whether the thaw between the U.S. and Cuba can really transform that country.» E-Mail This
  • Hollywood Pros Fear A Chilling Effect After Sony Bows To Hackers

    Nathan Rott
    20 Dec 2014 | 7:53 am
    Some in the entertainment industry are wondering if they'll have to be careful now about the stories they tell or the jokes they make in the wake of Sony's withdrawal of The Interview.» E-Mail This
  • Limericks

    20 Dec 2014 | 7:38 am
    Bill reads three news-related limericks: Snack Attack Prevention; A Martian Belch; Kringle's Informal Wear.» E-Mail This
  • Not My Job: Comedian Jenny Slate Gets Quizzed On Jennifer Lopez

    20 Dec 2014 | 7:38 am
    Slate has rocketed to fame with her online film series Marcel the Shell with Shoes On and the movie Obvious Child — but there are some other famous Jennifers out there ...» E-Mail This
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    Holly Black

  • 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…

    10 Oct 2013 | 10:06 pm
    At last, I am pleased to bring you the Sarah Rees Brennan and Holly Black UK Tour:Thursday 31st October - Sunday 3rd NovemberWorld Fantasy Conventionin BrightonMonday 4th NovemberDark Mirrors: Gothic Fiction with Holly Black and Sarah Rees BrennanWhere: Foyles, Charing Cross Road, London WC2H 0EBWhen: 6.30pm-7.30pmTickets: Free, but booking is essential. To book tickets, call020 7437 5660More info: we journey to dark places with two of the biggest names in teen fantasy. The walled citiesknown as Coldtowns are the hellish…
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    Ally Carter

  • Magnificent Monday Christmas Giveaway

    15 Dec 2014 | 6:53 am
    Hi Everyone! Today we have a wonderful giveaway, a chance to win TWO ARC’s of All Fall Down! One for you to keep and one for you to give to someone else! Contest Rules: To be entered into the contest you must comment who you would give the second book to! WE HAVE A WINNER!!! CONGRATULATIONS KELSIE! Kelsie says: December 15, 2014 at 4:53 pm (Edit) I would give the other book to my best friend who is just as big as fan as I am and Is super psyched for the Embassy Row Series!! Kelsie, please send me your mailing address to!   Good Luck! xoxo, Shellie  …
  • Heist Society UK Sale

    Ally Carter
    10 Dec 2014 | 9:16 am
    Hey UKers! Did you know that the Heist Society eBook is on sale today for just £0.99? Well, it is. And I’m super excited about it. Hale, people. You can own Hale for £0.99. Get your copy today.   -Ally PS: I’m still writing Embassy Row 2. Today there will be bloodshed. The post Heist Society UK Sale appeared first on Ally Carter.
  • Magnificent Giveaway Tuesday!

    9 Dec 2014 | 10:03 am
    Hi Everyone! Well I know you are used to hearing from me on Mondays, but yesterday my internet was down so I couldn’t post until I got into the office today! However, my misfortune is your gain because Ally just returned from her New York trip and she brought back a signed copy of My True Love Gave To Me and we are GIVING ONE AWAY! The copy up for grabs is signed by 10 of the 12 authors!!!! Congratulations Pavement Artist! You won! Submitted on 2014/12/09 at 8:54 pm As cheesy as it is, I love all the chick flick holiday movies that come on hallmark and lifetime… Please send me your…
  • A Roundup of Awesome

    Ally Carter
    2 Dec 2014 | 10:50 am
    Hello, all! Ally here! I’m sorry I’ve been a little MIA lately. Things have been super busy as I try to finish writing Embassy Row 2 and prepare for the launch of Embassy Row 1, ALL FALL DOWN. What all does that entail? Well, the writing part involves a lot of . . . writing. And thinking that I should be writing. And feeling like a really terrible person when I’m not writing. But I have to take a break from the writing and the not writing and the writing-related guilt to remind you guys of a couple of very cool things that are coming up!   1.  If you are in the New…
  • Magnificent Monday

    1 Dec 2014 | 8:32 am
    Hi Everyone! I can’t believe it is DECEMBER! Today I am busy putting up all my Christmas decorations and watching all my favorite Christmas movies. Do you have a favorite Christmas or Holiday movie? Favorite Christmas music? In addition to getting my house ready for Christmas we have so many things going on at Ally Carter HQ! Happening Now: Ally Ambassador program Sign up here(or here if you’re a UK resident!) December 4th: See Ally in New York at the Tribeca Barnes & Noble for a signing with some of the other authors of My True Love Gave To Me: Twelve Holiday Stories. January…
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    Among Amid While

  • The new national Book Council—get angry, get typing

    Among Amid While
    15 Dec 2014 | 3:31 pm
    Remember our Prime Minister being applauded for promising a new national Book Council at his Awards ceremony last week? Looks as if it’s going to be funded by a cut to the Australia Council of $2 million a year for three years.  To make clear what this means: Ozco’s literature funding has been steady at around $4 million per annum for a ridiculous number of years, apart from a short-lived
  • Sea Hearts and The Night Guest win the Barbara Jefferis Award

    Among Amid While
    6 Nov 2014 | 1:02 pm
    I'm really pleased to announce that Sea Hearts is joint winner, with Fiona McFarlane's The Night Guest, of the Barbara Jefferis Award for "the best novel written by an Australian Author that depicts women and girls in a positive way or otherwise empowers the status of women and girls in society".      The award was given at a lovely event last night hosted by the Australian Society of Authors in
  • Conflux 10 appearances

    Among Amid While
    26 Sep 2014 | 6:54 pm
    I appear to be taking a year off from this blog. Which is long enough to have to re-learn how to get into it. Way to complicate things, Google and Blogger.      Anyway, I'm breaking radio silence to bring you my schedule for next weekend's appearances at Conflux 10 in Canberra, where I am really pleased to be Guest of Honour, alongside Alisa Krasnostein.      Here's what I'll be doing on the
  • 2013 in review: an out-and-out skite

    Among Amid While
    22 Dec 2013 | 5:29 pm
    My four Aurealises, and my Horror-Awards-bestowing  gloves I've been meaning to compile a list of all the Sea Hearts/ Rollrock achievements, and the end of the year provides a neat excuse, as well as the time, of course *waves cheerily to the day job*. So here we go. Some of this is from last year, but I wanted all the glory in one place, so forgive me if it gets repetitive. Also, if anyone
  • Meanjin Tournament of Books...

    Among Amid While
    2 Dec 2013 | 11:50 pm all about watery themes this year, so the shortlist is very blue, except where it's green or black. And wonder of wonders, Sea Hearts (a) is on it and (b) has made it through the first round.
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    Justine Larbalestier

  • 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.
  • The Habit of Getting Ideas and Turning Them into Story

    17 Sep 2014 | 1:26 pm
    I no longer dread the question “Where do you get your ideas?” That’s because I finally figured out the answer. Don’t get me wrong I’ve answered it a million times over my more than ten year career as a writer. I’ve nattered on about brain monkeys, ends of rainbows, stealing ideas from Maureen Johnson, ideas not being that important, blah blah blah. The actual answer does not involve light bulbs or muses or brain monkeys or Maureen Johnson. Well, not directly. My true answer involves lots of work. I apologise for the lack of glamour. Here’s what I…
  • No More Bestselling Women’s Book Club This Year

    11 Sep 2014 | 2:46 pm
    Apologies to those reading along with us but alas, travel, deadlines, and sundry other things have crashed down upon Kate Elliott and I and we will not be doing the book club for the next few months. We hope to resume next year. In the meantime you can find our discussions of the books we’ve already read here. Thanks to all who’ve been taking part. We’ve learnt a lot.
  • Books That Changed Me

    6 Sep 2014 | 4:02 pm
    Today the Sydney Morning Herald is running my entry in their long-running Books That Changed Me series. I struggled mightily to get it down to four. Especially as they initially told me I could name five. There are too many books that have changed me! Too many books that I love with every fibre of my being! The four that made the cut: Kylie Tennant’s Foveaux (1939) is a novel that reads like history. Like geography. Almost geology. It’s slow, there’s no plot to speak of, it’s everything I don’t like about literary novels. I love it. Tennant lays bare Surry Hills…
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    Scott Westerfeld

  • Hanukwanzamas Deals

    16 Dec 2014 | 5:17 pm
    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 edition of Afterworlds on its shelves now. The extra material is one of the chapters that Darcy discarded after receiving her editorial letter. (So it’s part of Darcy’s…
  • 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,…
  • Single Limited Viewpoint

    2 Nov 2014 | 11:17 am
    This is an excerpt from a work in progress called How to Write YA. It’s a companion to my current book, Afterworlds, about a young novelist living in NYC. There’s more info on this page, and you can listen to me talking about Afterworlds here on Wisconsin Public Radio. Point of View Point of view is hard. It’s complicated, subtle, and confusing, and POV failure is one of the most common reasons why agents and publishers cast aside submissions half read. To make things worse, a lot of the writing advice on the subject is unhelpful or downright wrong. Much of the terminology…
  • Still on Tour

    10 Oct 2014 | 8:10 am
    The Afterworlds tour is pretty much over, except for my visit to Toronto, Canada and YallFest in Charleston, SC. (See my Appearances page for details on those.) For the rest of you, here are some amusing photos from tour. This is evidence of studious reading: Here’s what an audience looks like when you’re giving a presentation. In no way intimidating! This is one I took for my upcoming Tumblr, IndieBookstoreBathrooms: It’s always great to see Midnighters tattoos: Holly Black and Cassandra Clare were also on tour at the same time, so they left me and Justine friendly notes in…
  • Afterworlds Spoiler Thread

    22 Sep 2014 | 9:02 pm
    It’s that time again: A TIME OF SPOILAGE. Use the comment thread of this post to discuss all that happens in Afterworlds. If you haven’t read the book, however, it might be wise to NOT LOOK AT THE COMMENTS. Don’t forget what happened to this person back in May of 2006. I quote from the famous Specials spoiler thread: oh god, i read the spoiler section before i read the book. i would have read the book by now but the bookstore doesn’t have it in yet! i got the first two before the sale date. why can’t i do that now!? crap i can’t believe i read the spoiler section . . .
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  • Let there be light. And heat. And possibly food.

    19 Dec 2014 | 9:37 pm
    The kale quiche (I know, that’s not kale soup. I will get to the soup later) was barely started, but started enough for it to be annoying, when the lights went. And the oven and the iPod in its dock and the heater in the ‘Ice Cube’ and lots of other electrical goods. The Resident IT Consultant had phoned ahead to ask for coffee to be made, and I assumed it was the coffee-maker at fault. But when he got in and had to find the torch (very conveniently placed behind a Christmas card so he couldn’t see it) and go and peer at the fuse box in the garage, it wasn’t…
  • The Nights Before Christmas

    18 Dec 2014 | 9:35 pm
    This gorgeous, large volume of collected Christmas classics, illustrated by Tony Ross, contains 24 stories, poems and extracts from wellknown books. As anyone can work out from that – apart from me, initially – you have one thing to read for every night through December. In other words; the best kind of advent calendar. There’s material you will already know, and hopefully brand new reads as well. I used to read The Little Match-Seller over and over as a child. It’s so very sad. And then there are things I didn’t know at all, like the fact that Christina…
  • Mind Blind

    17 Dec 2014 | 9:24 pm
    This thriller by Lari Don just can’t end well. And in a way that’s a very good thing, because life isn’t like that. All you as the reader can hope for is ‘not too bad.’ At times I didn’t think that was going to be possible, either. Lucy’s sister Viv has just been murdered. While he didn’t actually kill her himself, Ciaran caused Viv’s death, and it was his family who killed her. Actually murdered her. They seem like a bunch of psychopaths, and what they can do is read minds. That makes hiding from them or deceiving them well nigh…
  • Newbies no more

    16 Dec 2014 | 9:57 pm
    I was thinking when compiling my best of 2014 list the other day, how fast authors ‘grow up.’ In February 2007 when I started this Bookwitchery business around half of the people on that list were not published authors. Michelle Magorian has been at it for a long time now, although she is not the little old lady she was expected to be even back in the 1980s. Carl Hiaasen has written for a while, too. Eoin Colfer, sort of. And as I said, many had not been published. It’s rather nice how fast you can grow fond of someone’s writing, and how quickly you find you have read…
  • I knew that. I think

    15 Dec 2014 | 9:35 pm
    Things tend to get done when Son is around. He won’t tolerate the slow pace at which the old people do what they need to do. (I mean, I obviously didn’t get any of my other things done, but at least a fair few of the house move related jobs got tackled. Head on, at a speed to make us oldies feel giddy.) So my lone trolley has been joined by quite a few items. No more trendy minimalism, but still acceptably nice. Anyway, I thought while we had the whirlwind with us I’d mention my idea of setting up the old DVD-player to play R1 DVDs, while the other box takes care of the…
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    Confessions of a Bibliovore

  • The Bibliovore is in Your Ears!

    19 Dec 2014 | 6:53 pm
    Or I will be.Smart Bitches, Trashy Books is one of my very favorite non-kidlit book blogs, and I am a devoted listener to their weekly podcast as well. Awhile ago, blogger/host Sarah Wendell put out a call for kidlit recommendations. Not only was I all over that, much of her audience was as well. She was reading kidlit booklists for months.When she asked for possible interviews, I put my name out to her, and to my great excitement, she said yes! We talk about everything from picture books up to YA, and everything in between.You can hear the podcast, which is almost an hour long, at the Smart…
  • Reading Roundup: November 2014

    1 Dec 2014 | 10:06 pm
    By the NumbersTeen: 11Tween: 1Children: 1 (Still reading for the Cybils! A note about my numbers: this is books finished, not books half-read and set down.)SourcesReview Copies: 4Library: 8StandoutsTeen: Evil Librarian by Michelle KnudsenWith a title like that, I gotta love it. I also loved the snarky narration, the musical-theater subplot (turned out demons love the show Sweeney Todd) and the fact that Cynthia gets her crush's attention and he turns out to be capital-A Awesome.Tween/Children: Pack of Dorks by Beth VrabelOkay, this was the only book this month that I marked tween or…
  • Book Review: To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han

    15 Nov 2014 | 2:00 pm
    Book: To All the Boys I’ve Loved BeforeAuthor: Jenny HanPublished: 2014Source: Local LibraryLara Jean Song has loved many boys, but never one who’s loved her back. She formed a habit of writing a goodbye letter to each boy and hiding it in her treasured hatbox as she gets over them.Suddenly the letters disappear, sent out to the boys who were never supposed to see them. Lara Jean finds herself facing the consequences of her own emotions for the first time. The most horrifying consequence is that one of the letters went out to Josh, her next-door neighbor, and also her big sister’s…
  • Reading Roundup: October 2014

    1 Nov 2014 | 9:09 pm
    By the NumbersTeen: 16Tween: 1Children: none(All Cybils reading, all the time!)SourcesReview Copies: 7Library: 9StandoutsTeen: Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie StiefvaterThe story of Blue and her raven boys continues to unfold at a leisurely pace, though there's progress toward the climax that devoted readers of this series have been dreading for three books now. Tween: The Islands at the End of the World by Austin AslanThough the character is stated to be seventeen, she read younger to me. Kids who can handle rough and tough survival stories will be drawn to this. Like Mike Mullins in his…
  • Have You Nominated for the Cybils Yet?

    12 Oct 2014 | 3:35 pm
    Because today is the Very. Last. Day.If you're not sure what to nominate, check out some of the posts on, where people have gathered lists of the books they would like to see nominated and would have nominated themselves except they already nominated one because it's sooooo haaaard to choooooose!
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    ReadPlus Review Blog

  • Once upon a Christmas compiled and edited by Beattie Alvarez

    17 Dec 2014 | 4:40 pm
    Christmas Press, 2014. ISBN 9780992283858 (Age: 9+) This is a collection of Christmas stories, poems and illustrations, dedicated to Santa Claus. With contributions from many of Australia's well known and best loved authors like Duncan Ball, Ursula Dubosarsky, Vashti Farrer, Kate Forsyth, Pamela Freeman, Susanne Gervay, Juliet Marillier and Sophie Masson, and illustrations by a variety of artists, this is a wide ranging collection of memoirs about Christmas, some folktales and poetry. Those looking for stories that celebrate the birth of Christ will find only a few references to this event,…
  • The Walled City by Ryan Graudin

    17 Dec 2014 | 4:38 pm
    Indigo, 2014. ISBN 9781780621999 Not suitable for younger readers. In the brutal, lawless Walled City, violent criminals are in control whilst broken, lost souls such as street children try to survive anyway they can, living in filthy squalor and being wary of everyone. Most of the story centres upon a brothel owned by a vicious gang who press young girls into sexual slavery. Accordingly, the subject is grim with women being forcibly detained, savagely beaten, sexually assaulted and prostituted for the profit of the gang's leader. The violence and competition for survival on the streets is…
  • The Tree House by Toni Brisland

    17 Dec 2014 | 4:36 pm
    Ill. by Michele Gaudion. Little Steps, 2014. ISBN 9781925117011 (Age: K - 3) Teresa and Emma are sisters and best friends and Emma's greatest wish is that her profoundly disabled sister could run on rainbows and do the things that she can, like climbing trees. So she asks Daddy and Grandpa to build a treehouse instead. But while they do that there is an accident which puts Teresa in hospital and changes the plans dramatically. This is a sensitive family story that gives children with disabilities like Teresa's, or their sisters, an opportunity to see themselves as characters in a story. While…
  • Rory and the Monstersitter by Rosie Reeve

    17 Dec 2014 | 4:12 pm
    Bloomsbury, 2014. ISBN 9781408845516 (Age: Preschool - Yr 2) Rory the Monster loves to cook and he's always creating new and interesting recipes using whatever ingredients he has to hand - bats, bugs, anything is likely to end up in the mix. One evening, his parents decide to go on a dinner date, hiring an enormous hairy monster to look after Rory, Fangus, Lily and Baby Grub. The monster sits himself down in front of the television ignoring what the children are up to in the kitchen and then outside. Their tummies are rumbling so while their parents are enjoying a delicious dinner at the…
  • My Little Star by Mark Sperring

    17 Dec 2014 | 4:05 pm
    Ill. by Nicola O'Byrne. Bloomsbury, 2014. ISBN 9781408849613 (Age: Preschool - K) 'When the day is done and sleeps draws near When the moon's aglow and stars appear I'll whisper something crystal clear Words just meant for you hear'. Mem Fox once said that the bedtime story routine is like 'drawing the curtains on the day' and this lovely lullaby-esque is the perfect story to finish off and share a kiss goodnight. With soft, gentle illustrations, animal mothers look up and share their love with their babies. Lions, giraffes, koalas, even penguins show that the bond between mother and child is…
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    I'm Here. I'm Queer. What the Hell do I read?

  • And That's 2014!

    Lee Wind, M.Ed.
    19 Dec 2014 | 3:05 am
    A Highlight of 2014: Me and Mr. Snow White, as portrayed by Captain Lucky at BentCon 2014What a year...A year of hard stuff (the passing of my mother)good stuff (getting an agent)and lots of great books - more than 60 new LGBTQ kid and teen books! (just check out the lists in the left-hand column!)We celebrated 17 days of LGBTQ Russian History (to counter-program the homophobia of the Sochi Olympics) and were inspired by songs, videos, and even Bar Mitzvah speeches!We interviewed editors, re-ran the first 35 videos in our Gender 101 series, and blasted past one million page-loads,…
  • Gender 101, Episode #35 Redux: Lucy, Nenu, Emmi and BJ on Misconceptions About Being Gender Queer

    Lee Wind, M.Ed.
    17 Dec 2014 | 3:03 am
    In this last of the Redux episodes (new episodes debuting in 2015!) Lucy (a.k.a. Benji), Nenu, Emmi and BJ discuss some of the misconceptions they've faced being Gender Queer...My thanks to Benji, Nenu, Emmi and BJ for sharing so honestly.You can check out the original post here.
  • Some Good News About The Olympics

    Lee Wind, M.Ed.
    15 Dec 2014 | 3:00 am
    Could we see this at the next Olympics? This not-at-the-Olympics gay kiss between Kseniya Ryzhova and Tatyana Firov was to protest Russia's anti-gay laws prior to the Sochi Olympics earlier this year. As reported last week (including this article in The New York Times), The International Olympic Committee has just,"approved the rewording of its Principle 6 on nondiscrimination to include sexual orientation — a move that followed the controversy over Russia’s law against gay “propaganda” ahead of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi."As the group ALL OUT cheered in an e-mail blast on…
  • If You Give A Gay Mouse A Cookie - A Zine That I Wish Had Been Read To Me When I Was A Little Kid

    Lee Wind, M.Ed.
    12 Dec 2014 | 3:05 am
    "If You Give A Gay Mouse A Cookie: A Fable About Mice, Baked Goods and Civil Rights" by Celeste Christie and Steve Damewood, writing as Art For A Democratic SocietyThe "If you give a mouse a cookie" storyline made so famous and successful by Laura Numeroff gets a civil rights spin in this "If You Give A Gay Mouse A Cookie" 'zine, where a human character explains why "Allowing gay marriage would be a disaster!" by sharing what happens if you give a gay mouse a cookie... It could lead to all kinds of things, like..."If Women start questioning traditional gender roles they will want jobs and…
  • Gender 101 Episode #34 Redux: Lucy, Nenu, Emmi and B J on the "T" in GLBT

    Lee Wind, M.Ed.
    10 Dec 2014 | 3:03 am
    Our Gender-Queer friend Lucy (a.k.a. Benji) talks with Nenu, Emmi and B J about how Transgender and Gender Queer people are treated within the "Gay Community," both by individuals and organizations. It's a fascinating discussion...My thanks to Lucy, Nenu, Emmi and B J for sharing so openly about their experiences!You can find the original posting here.
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    Literacy, families and learning

  • Great Educational Toys for Children: Ideas & Guidelines

    Trevor Cairney
    11 Dec 2014 | 11:59 pm
    This is my fifth annual post on choosing great toys for kids. That is, toys that teach, challenge, stimulate and encourage creativity and learning.I've outlined before some basic principles for choosing toys which stress that children don't need expensive toys to learn. We know that play in and of itself, stimulates learning, problem solving, language development, creativity and so on (see for example my post 'The importance of simple play' here). In short, many activities require few or no bought materials.As well, even a single purpose toy that brings great pleasure, but doesn't teach a…
  • Three Simple Picture Books for Preschoolers at Christmas

    Trevor Cairney
    7 Dec 2014 | 10:44 pm
    My last post featured 26 wonderful books to share at Christmas. Within days of completing the post I discovered three more new books that are worth mentioning.  You can read my previous post HERE.The additional books are for younger children and fit into two of the previous categories that I described. The first is clearly in the 'Books that relate closely to the biblical story of Jesus' Birth' while the other two are stories based on 'Christmas Traditions'.1. 'The Christmas Rose' by Wendy Blaxland & illustrated by Lucy Hennessy (Walker Books)This is a beautiful story that tells of…
  • 26 Great Children's Books to Share at Christmas

    Trevor Cairney
    30 Nov 2014 | 2:48 pm
    I've done a number of posts on children's picture books for Christmas on this blog. As teachers and families approach Christmas you might like to consider the many books that can be shared. In this revised version of an earlier post I feature 26 books that are quite varied. Some of the books are quite faithful to the traditional Christmas story, while others are based on elements of the Christmas story or themes from biblical teaching on Jesus life, including love, devotion, kindness, forgiveness and sacrifice. Here are some of best examples that you can find. Many of these books can be used…
  • Using imaginative storytelling with young children

    Trevor Cairney
    20 Nov 2014 | 2:58 am
    From a very early age, children begin in varied play situations to experiment with story using the springboard of literature, song, film or even real-life accounts. My youngest granddaughter Lydia has been fascinated by story since her first year of life. At dinner this evening she wrapped a piece of lettuce around her fork and the newly created 'butterfly' was having a long conversation with her knife. She was oblivious to others at the table as she was lost in her storytelling. It seems that they were in fact two butterflies sharing just one set of wings. She has just turned three and…
  • Raising Chickens: The Power of Experience for Learning

    Trevor Cairney
    11 Nov 2014 | 12:54 pm
    The benefit of 'hands on'!I have written previously about the 'The Language Experience Approach' (LEA) to literacy on this blog (here) and how direct and personal experience is a key method for rich learning to take place (here).Some of my grandchildren are experiencing this in a very special way right now as they raise four chickens. There are four children in the family and four chickens. Every day brings new observations, discoveries, investigation and research as they feed, hold and simply watch their development day by day. Questions are asked constantly as changes occur in the chickens.
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    The Book Chook

  • Thanks, and Looking Back to October, November, December, 2013

    18 Dec 2014 | 10:00 am
    Thanks, and Looking Back to October, November, December, 2013 by Susan Stephenson, www.thebookchook.comThe Book Chook will be taking a break from today. I want to thank the many people who inspire The Book Chook: the publishers who send books, the publicists who share my enthusiasm for great children’s literature, the authors and illustrators who join forces to produce little pieces of perfection. My heartfelt thanks too, goes to those who subscribe to The Book Chook - the wise ones who share my love of children’s literacy, literature and learning, and who believe like me that learning…
  • The Book Chook’s Top Children’s Picture Books Reviewed 2014

    16 Dec 2014 | 10:00 am
    The Book Chook’s Top Children’s Picture Books Reviewed 2014by Susan Stephenson, Here is a Listly list of my top picks for children’s picture books I reviewed in 2014. I hope this will give you some guidance in choosing outstanding children’s picture books for your children/students. In my opinion, children’s picture books can be read and appreciated at any age. We're never too young or old to enjoy a great picture book! Some of the books on my list were published in Australia; some not. One thing I guarantee: they are all great choices to share with kids. I hope…
  • October - December 2014 Children’s iPad App Reviews

    14 Dec 2014 | 10:00 am
    October - December 2014 Children’s iPad App Reviews by Susan Stephenson, www.thebookchook.comI've discovered it's useful to my readers not only to have access to my app reviews, but to have access to reviews according to theme, or in other groups. Accordingly, I've begun a periodic but regular feature where I curate and share my own app reviews and articles.Last year, I did a big round-up of my 2013 iPad app reviews and articles. Earlier this year, I gathered my reviews from January to March 2014 into one post, April to June in one post, and July to September into one post. Today I’m…
  • A List of Picture Books with Strong Rhyme and Rhythm

    11 Dec 2014 | 10:00 am
    A List of Picture Books with Strong Rhyme and Rhythmby Susan Stephenson, www.thebookchook.comStrong rhyme and rhythm in a children’s picture books is important for good reasons:Kids respond to rhyme and rhythm, done well. They are more likely to become engaged with a story that gets their fingers tapping and bodies jiggling.Strong rhyme and rhythm in a picture book helps kids memorise the whole or part of the book, an intermediate step along the road to reading. Repeated reading aloud of such a book over time is also helpful.Picture books with strong rhyme and rhythm lend themselves to…
  • Magpie Baby – a Musical Storybook for Kids

    9 Dec 2014 | 10:00 am
    Magpie Baby – a Musical Storybook for Kids by Diana WestonHarry is 13 months old. He has just learnt to walk. He heads straight for the CD player and presses (correctly) the ON button. The music is Magpie Baby: A Childhood Suite by Nadje Noordhuis from Blue Skies, Magpies and Goldfish. (His mother has played this CD a few times already). Harry jigs up and down to the music. He’s obviously enjoying it. What’s the significance of this?At age two and a half he not only turns on the CD player but employs all the actions each song calls for: 'sleeping', wobbling his head, running vigorously…
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    Gail Carson Levine

  • Thoughtses!

    10 Dec 2014 | 6:47 am
    First off, very exciting! Here’s a link to the beginning of the audio version of Writer to Writer: At the end, it moves on to another excerpt from a different book. Of course, you can keep going or stop. Hope you enjoy!On July 26, 2014, Angie wrote, I have a question that pertains both to dialogue and relationship development. I have two taciturn characters who have to spend quite a bit of time together, and are untrusting of each other for a while. The result is that they are both…
  • Smile Induction

    26 Nov 2014 | 8:50 am
    My best wishes to all of you who are bravely writing away on you NaNoWriMo projects. Hope it’s going along swimmingly!For any of you in my neck of the woods, I’m going to be part of a kids’ book author panel and then a signing on the evening of Monday, December 8th, from 6:00 to 7:30 at Fox Lane Middle School, 632 South Bedford Road, which is in Bedford, New York. If you can come, I’d love to meet you!Also, at the suggestion of Lydia S. last week on the blog, we’ve added a new feature right to the right of these words: FOLLOW BY EMAIL, which will let you know about blog updates, if…
  • Picky, Picky

    12 Nov 2014 | 5:38 am
    In July, this question came from Leah on the website: What is the right kind of details? Which details are important and which not so much?I talk about this in Writing Magic, so if you have the book you may want to look at Chapters 8 and 20. For now, let’s start with what a detail is, which is slippery, like most matters in writing.I’d say that a detail is any snippet that conveys information. Sometimes whatever that is may not seem like a detail. Suppose, for example, our MC is Candace whose birthday is today. Her mother comes into her bedroom to wake her up, bearing a big gift-wrapped…
  • Mama Mia!

    29 Oct 2014 | 5:49 am
    For those of you who are about to dive into NaNoWriMo, all my best wishes! Don’t forget to eat and sleep and read this blog!I look forward to meeting one--carpelibris!--or more of you this Saturday in Albany, New York!Now, imagine fanfare, a trumpet blowing, confetti. See it first here: the final cover for Stolen Magic!I think it's appealing and inviting, just what we want a cover to be.And on to the post. Two related questions came in over the summer. On July 23, 2014, Elisa wrote, What do you do with parents? I mean, I write from the perspective of children and teens--for the most…
  • Out With the Old... Or Not

    15 Oct 2014 | 5:12 am
    First off, I’ll be signing books from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm on November 1st at the book fair in Albany, NY. The event is at the Silipigno Athletic Facility, 140 Academy Road. If you are going to be in the area, I’d love to meet you.On to the post. On July 23, 2014 Bibliophile wrote, Does anyone else ever cringe when looking at stuff they wrote ages ago? I was rereading the one 'book' I ever finished writing and just started to die inside. The heroine gives in to the hero too easily, there is no real main conflict and the magic I use is not only cliche, but has no rules. The romance in…
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    TR - Blog for Books, Reviews, Opinion and discussion

  • 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…
  • Review of Judas Iscariot - traitor or a misunderstood man ?

    imTabula rasa
    14 Sep 2014 | 5:59 am
    . Judas The Betrayer I have grown up reading several documented histories about the rise of Christianity, the evolution of Son of Nazareth from the outcast to the glorified god who suffered for our sins. There has been books on him, some sneering, some speculative, Some pious ..The common theme in most of these book was a round condemnation of Judas, those that did not engage in downright denunciation elevated him to a status of Saint. Throughout this process, there has been one and only one thought scrolling in my mind. What would Judas say for himself? This book by Archer in collaboration…
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