Children's Literature

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  • Poetry Friday: There are two things from Finding Ruby Starling by Karen Rivers

    18 Jul 2014 | 6:03 am
    There are two things:True things.And lies.When you figure outwhich is whichit's like you are on the insideof the balloonlooking out,seeing the pin coming toward youin the sunlightbut not being ableto move away.Or maybe,the thing isthat all of us are two people:the one insidethe balloon.And the oneholding the pin.This poem is featured in the epistolary novel Finding Ruby Starling by Karen Rivers. Though the majority of the story is conveyed in letters and emails, one of the characters, Ruth, has a poetry journal hosted on tumblr - which, as of this posting, is not an active account in real…
  • The Skeleton Pirate

    the excelsior file
    david elzey
    25 Jul 2013 | 11:15 am
    by David Lucas Candlewick Press 2012 The unbeaten Skeleton Pirate who refuses to accept defeat is beaten not once but twice in this quirky picture book. The Skeleton Pirate knows one thing: that he will never be beaten, and will fight to the, uh, death to prove it. But when a band of pirates chains him up and throws him over board... he still will not accept defeat. rescued by a Mermaid he is
  • And straight on ’til morning

    The Horn Book
    Katie Bircher
    22 Jul 2014 | 10:41 am
    The other day my friend’s four-year-old daughter asked me, “Guess what I wished for?” I was a little nervous about this — after all, isn’t it bad luck to tell others your wish? — but she insisted. “A puppy? A pony? A baby elephant?” “No, it wasn’t an animal at all. It was the second star to the right!” I didn’t follow this logic, so she patiently(ish) explained, “I wished to go to Neverland!” Well, obviously. What a dumb grown-up moment. Brand-new musical Finding Neverland, based on the 2004 Johnny Depp movie about…
  • Wildness

    Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast
    21 Jul 2014 | 11:01 pm
      I don’t have art for you all today, but I will later this week. This is just a quick post to, once again, point you all to the Wild Things! site. My co-author and I are still sharing stories over there, ones cut from the original manuscript of our book, and we will have a story-a-day until publication on August 5th. (We’re even going to have some fun with author videos after that.) Yesterday, we had a short post about the precocious ones of children’s lit. (Can you guess what Maurice Sendak’s first illustrated title was? It may not be what you think.) That link…
  • So, is Duchovny's book a picture book? :snort:

    Finding Wonderland: The WritingYA Weblog
    22 Jul 2014 | 11:38 am
    ©2012, Debbie Ridpath Ohi. P.S. - Don't miss Liz Garton Scanlon on BookPeople, Austin's blog today. Good stuff! This work is copyrighted material. All opinions are those of the writer, unless otherwise indicated. All book reviews are UNSOLICITED, and no money has exchanged hands, unless otherwise indicated. Please contact the weblog owner for further details.
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    The Horn Book

  • And straight on ’til morning

    Katie Bircher
    22 Jul 2014 | 10:41 am
    The other day my friend’s four-year-old daughter asked me, “Guess what I wished for?” I was a little nervous about this — after all, isn’t it bad luck to tell others your wish? — but she insisted. “A puppy? A pony? A baby elephant?” “No, it wasn’t an animal at all. It was the second star to the right!” I didn’t follow this logic, so she patiently(ish) explained, “I wished to go to Neverland!” Well, obviously. What a dumb grown-up moment. Brand-new musical Finding Neverland, based on the 2004 Johnny Depp movie about…
  • Board Book Roundup: Summer 2014 Edition

    Elissa Gershowitz
    22 Jul 2014 | 9:20 am
    This column is part of a series of recommended board book roundups, formerly published twice a year, now published every season. You can find the previous installments here. Don’t miss Viki Ash’s primer “What Makes a Good Board Book?” from the March/April 2010 Horn Book Magazine. Baby Animal Farm by Karen Blair Candlewick    18 pp. 4/14    978-0-7636-7069-6    $6.99 Blair, doing her best Helen Oxenbury impersonation (successfully!), depicts a gaggle of cutie-patootie toddlers (accompanied by a puppy and one of the kids’ teddy bear) visiting a farm populated by baby animals:…
  • Review of Like No Other

    Elissa Gershowitz
    22 Jul 2014 | 8:00 am
    Like No Other by Una LaMarche Middle School, High School    Razorbill/Penguin    347 pp. 7/14    978-1-59514-674-8    $17.99    g How’s this for a meet cute? New York teens Devorah and Jaxon get stuck in a hospital elevator during a hurricane. Though their encounter is a fairly brief one, it’s also intense, and both come away with that love-at-first-sight feeling. Here’s where things get complicated. Devorah is a Hasidic Jew, and a frum one at that (“basically the Yiddish equivalent of ‘hopeless goody two-shoes’”). Jaxon is black. They live in present-day Crown…
  • Yaqui’s text set

    Christina Dobbs
    22 Jul 2014 | 3:01 am
    Since I wrote recently about using a text set built around the idea of respect and the title Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass by Meg Medina, a few people have asked what other texts we used alongside it. Our* essential question was “What makes someone worthy of respect?” We were aiming for a set that spanned genres, and so the resulting set was both too big to use in our short time but also made of texts that weren’t only from the YA world. It included the some of the following: Poems like “The Ballad of the Landlord” by Langston Hughes and “Ex-Basketball…
  • Kidlit crafts

    Katie Bircher
    21 Jul 2014 | 9:30 am
    Lately I’ve been drooling over the craft tutorials at EPBOT: Geekery, Girliness, and Goofing Off, another blog written by Jen Yates, mastermind behind the genius and hilarious Cake Wrecks. (If you’re not familiar with Cake Wrecks, start with “Grammar geeks, UNITE!” and gorgeous children’s lit cakes.) EPBOT is pretty much what it sounds like from the subtitle: tutorials for geeky, non-geeky, and home decor DIY projects; links to other geeky content (check out this Hobbit-themed birthday party); ooh, shiny! jewelry pictures; and cat pictures. In other words,…
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    Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast

  • Wildness

    21 Jul 2014 | 11:01 pm
      I don’t have art for you all today, but I will later this week. This is just a quick post to, once again, point you all to the Wild Things! site. My co-author and I are still sharing stories over there, ones cut from the original manuscript of our book, and we will have a story-a-day until publication on August 5th. (We’re even going to have some fun with author videos after that.) Yesterday, we had a short post about the precocious ones of children’s lit. (Can you guess what Maurice Sendak’s first illustrated title was? It may not be what you think.) That link…
  • 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #391: Featuring Barbara McClintock

    19 Jul 2014 | 11:01 pm
    Author-illustrator Barbara McClintock is here today to talk about creating the artwork for Beverly Donofrio’s Where’s Mommy?, released in March by Schwartz & Wade, which Kirkus calls “irresistible.” This is a companion book to Mary and the Mouse, the Mouse and Mary, released back in ’07. Those of you familiar with the first title will know that Maria is Mary’s daughter, and Mouse Mouse is Mouse’s daughter. In this new book, Maria and Mouse Mouse are (separately) looking for their mothers, their experiences and goings-on fully parallel, as…
  • What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Matt Phelan

    18 Jul 2014 | 6:16 am
    Anyone else remember Loretta Mason Potts, written by Mary Chase and originally published in 1958? That’s (mostly) the subject of my Kirkus column today, as the book was just reissued by The New York Review Children’s Collection. That link is here. Last week, I chatted (here) with author-illustrator Matt Phelan about his 2014 projects, Burleigh Mutén’s Miss Emily (Candlewick), released back in March, and his own picture book, Druthers (also from Candlewick), coming in September. (Pictured above is an early sketch from Druthers.) Today, we’ll look at a bit of art from each…
  • Flop Sweat and Butt Trampolines

    17 Jul 2014 | 7:33 am
    This week over at the Wild Things! site, my co-author and I are doing the following: Taking a look at the phenomenon that is the author school visit — the good, the bad, and the ugly. (You’ll see, if you read this post over at Wild Things!, that the title of this post today here at 7-Imp tips its hat to that.) Asking whether or not Beatrix Potter really yelled at young children. (The Horn Book’s Lolly Robinson gives us the low-down.) Udder Indecencies of one sort or another; or, The Saga of the Unobtrusive Monster Penis (pictured above). Tomorrow, we’ll have a post…
  • Seven Questions Over Breakfast with Lisa Brown

    15 Jul 2014 | 6:29 am
    It’s a sort of miracle that this breakfast interview is even happening, since both author-illustrator Lisa Brown and I are not morning people. Oh wait, right. It’s a cyber-breakfast, but still … If it were a real, face-to-face breakfast, you can bet that we’d be having our chat over an afternoon snack, despite the name of this blog. Another thing we share in common? A deep and abiding love for coffee (which certainly helps make our mornings easier), so I’m glad she was willing to come have pretend coffee with me today so that we could see lots and lots of her…
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    Finding Wonderland: The WritingYA Weblog

  • So, is Duchovny's book a picture book? :snort:

    22 Jul 2014 | 11:38 am
    ©2012, Debbie Ridpath Ohi. P.S. - Don't miss Liz Garton Scanlon on BookPeople, Austin's blog today. Good stuff! This work is copyrighted material. All opinions are those of the writer, unless otherwise indicated. All book reviews are UNSOLICITED, and no money has exchanged hands, unless otherwise indicated. Please contact the weblog owner for further details.
  • 5&Dime Friday: Serious as an Art Attack!

    18 Jul 2014 | 11:48 am
    OH, my word, it's the weekend -- and it makes us want to flee! Anywhere! Well, anywhere there's water and sun, probably. Or, barring that, lovely rain, and a good bookstore with a nice coffee shop. And tights. Even if we can't pop off to Futurama in 3D, we can still find some awesome change in the couch cushions for the weekend. Dig in! ♦ For all that speculative fiction exists entirely in our imagination, there's a serious lack of ... extensions on the imaginations of some. I think Ebony Elizabeth at The Dark Fantastic calls it "the imagination gap" -- that point of failure, that last…
  • A Little of This, A Little of That...

    Sarah Stevenson
    17 Jul 2014 | 11:04 am
    I haven't done a links roundup in a while. That's mainly because I'm so far behind on my e-newsletters and other online reading that I've got an enormous backlog to go through. I put all that stuff in a separate email folder and instead of making me feel organized, it ends up languishing in there for months, making me feel guilty. So periodically I open up a few and find out what I've been missing, and now I'll share a few links with YOU in case you also missed them. Enjoy!Ilsa J. Bick Talks with Read Roger in a VERY interesting interview for Horn Book, including some teasers about her next…
  • BOOM: And we are LIVE!

    15 Jul 2014 | 2:07 pm
    Registration is OPEN. Call for session proposals is OPEN. The 2014 Kidlit Con, BLOGGING DIVERSITY: WHAT'S NEXT?, to be held at the stunning Tsakopoulos Library Galleria in Sacramento, California, October 10-11 is only EIGHTY-SEVEN DAYS AWAY.Rumor has it that some pretty superb panels and some wonderful authors have already indicated that they'll be coming. What about YOU?Do you have something to share -- or are you wanting to attend to listen and learn?Do you have questions, opinions, and friends with whom you've been discussing issues of diversity, difference, how to talk about it, how to…
  • Can You Quantify Successful Writing Style?

    Sarah Stevenson
    14 Jul 2014 | 5:39 pm
    "Needs more adjectives."I ran across an interesting news item in the Writer's Chronicle March/April issue entitled "Scientific Study Claims Ability to Predict Best-Selling Novels." Yes, I will admit there is a small part of me which is intrigued by the idea that such a thing is even quantifiable in any meaningful way. Using a computer algorithm that took into account various factors like writing style, storyline, and novelty (begging the question of how the heck do you get a computer program to analyze these in the first place? Or are there humans inputting those variable factors and then the…
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    A Chair, A Fireplace, & A Tea Cozy

  • TV Review: MTV's Finding Carter

    Liz B
    22 Jul 2014 | 1:00 am
    New teen show alert! MTV's Finding Carter! MTV, Tuesday, 10 p.m.Carter is out one day, having fun with her friends, as one will. Which includes breaking into a carousel, as one will. The police come and bring everyone to jail. Carter is the cool one, shrugging it off as no big deal. Except, when her friends are released into their parents' custody, her mother is no where to be seen.Instead, Carter is taken aside by the police and it's patiently explained to her how her photo and fingerprints were entered into the system. Carter isn't fazed, since she has no priors.What the police tell…
  • Flashback June 2012

    Liz B
    17 Jul 2014 | 1:00 am
    A look back at what I reviewed in June 2012The Silence of Our Friends by Mark Long and Jim Demonakos. From my review: "Houston, 1968. Two stories are intertwined; the story of a white family and a black family. Jack Long is the race reporter for the evening news. Larry Thompson is a local activist and college professor. They reach out and develop a friendship, based in part because both realize that “men of conscience have got to get together . . . , or nothing is going to change."Gilt by Katherine Longshore. From my review: "England, 1539. Kitty Tylney and Cat Howard are two…
  • Review: And We Stay

    Liz B
    15 Jul 2014 | 1:00 am
    And We Stay by Jenny Hubbard. Delacorte Press, Random House. 2014. Review copy from publisher.The Plot: January, 1995, and Emily Beam has just started at the Amherst School for Girls to finish her junior year. Before this she went to her local high school, and she isn't going to talk about why she is now in this boarding school in Massachusetts.It was because of a boy. Not just any boy, her boyfriend. And the gun he took to school. And what happened. And why.The Good: "Before Boston, before ASG, Emily had wanted nothing more than to be loved by a boy. When she was fourteen, sixteen, she…
  • Echo Company

    Liz B
    8 Jul 2014 | 1:00 am
    Great news!The Echo Company books by Ellen Emerson White are available to buy!White wrote these books back in the early 1990s, under the name Zach Emerson.The Echo Company books are set during the Vietnam War, told from the point of view of a young soldier, Michael Jennings. A follow up book, The Road Home, is about a young nurse Michael meets and is about both Rebecca's time in Vietnam and her homecoming. I wrote a pretty in-depth look at these four books, as well as a couple others that refer to the characters in these books, in my 2007 post, Ellen Emerson White: Vietnam.At the moment they…
  • TV Review: AMC's Turn

    Liz B
    4 Jul 2014 | 1:00 am
    This past week's viewing obsession has been AMC's historical drama, Turn, about the spies of the American Revolution.I am so happy to find out that this has been picked up for a second season, because while a lot happens in the first season, the upcoming seasons are the ones that will be about John Andre and Benedict Arnold. (Let's be clear: historical fact doesn't count as spoilers, OK?)What the first season does spectacularly is examine the formation of the spy ring. Oh, yes, it's fictionalized and adjustments have been made for making this a visual story. (For more on the real history…
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    educating alice

  • Peter Pan Live

    19 Jul 2014 | 3:29 am
    I’m very curious about the December 4th NBC live production of Peter Pan (with the just-announced Christopher Walken as Captain Hook).  I grew up with the yearly Mary Martin version (first broadcast in 1960) and, as a result, know the songs inside and out. I wonder, will they have Peter played by a woman as is usually the case with this particular version of Barrie’s story? And then there is that very problematic Tiger Lily American Indian story line. How are they going to make that acceptable for audiences today? If you want a taste of the 1960 Tiger Lily, here she is as…
  • Putting a Stop on the Middle Grade Novel’s Increasing Girth

    15 Jul 2014 | 1:27 am
    Travis Jonker has a manifesto: All Middle Grade Novels Should Be 192 Pages. No Exceptions.  I like it. A lot. But still do have an exception.  Here’s my comment on his post: Yes!!! I am with you on this with a caveat (see below). I have always tried to keep my read-alouds (to my 4th grade class) to as close to 200 pages as possible, but it has become harder and harder to stick to that what with many terrific mg books being way more than that. (One of my favorites from last year — Kathi Appelt’s True Blue Scouts — is 352 pages. On the other hand, Jennifer Holm’s…
  • My Life as an Illustrator (Culminating in Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland)

    11 Jul 2014 | 4:34 am
    I started out wanting to be a children’s book illustrator. As a child I was celebrated for my art work, starting in high school I began creating my own illustrations for some of my favorite books and stories, and in college I was an art major, focusing on printmaking. At that time the most scathing criticism was that your work looked  “illustrationy.” And so I did beautiful minimalist engravings and etchings in class and did my illustrations at home, careful to not let anyone in my printmaking world know about them, especially not the instructors — renowned artists…
  • Reading Rainbow, The Doors, and Jimmy Fallon

    9 Jul 2014 | 1:47 am
    This is awesome (and from 2012 — how did I miss it?). Via Elizabeth Law.
  • Walter Dean Myers: There’s Work to Be Done

    5 Jul 2014 | 3:36 am
      I believe in families, in the strength of families, and that the strength of a people can be determined by the strength of the families within that people. In December of 2015 the black family will have been established legally in the United States for 150 years. It was December, 1865, that the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery became part of the United States Constitution. What I proposed to my family was an exhibit, to run in the fall of 2015 outlining the trials and triumphs of the American black family in documents…. Slave documents would constitute the first part of the…
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    Chasing Ray

  • "But this summer is different."

    23 Jul 2014 | 1:47 am
    The graphic novel This One Summer by cousins Jillian and Mariko Tamaki is one of those books that really requires a teen sensibility to fully appreciate. Adults can certainly read it (and enjoy it) but I think if you are a 12 or 14 year old (girl especially) then This One Summer would have special appeal. The set-up echoes the plots of many other summer novels from the past: Rose and her parents arrive at their cabin in Awago Beach for their annual vacation. Windy and her mother and grandmother are nearby, just as they are every year. Rose and Windy are set for some familiar hijinks: hanging…
  • Longmire + some Charles de Lint-like fantasy = Deborah Coates' "Strange Country"

    21 Jul 2014 | 1:51 am
    Hallie Michaels first appeared in Deep Down as an Afghanistan vet who returned home to South Dakota after the unexplained death of her sister. Hallie was unusual not in that she had been injured while serving in the US Army but because she actually died--for 7 minutes--and came back. In South Dakota she found her father, a childhood friend and an attractive man in the person of Deputy Boyd Davies. She also found out that her sister shouldn't be dead, that there were mysterious forces at work in her hometown and magic was in the air. Oh, and Hallie was in the middle of everything. In Wide Open…
  • Ancient Oceans of Central Kentucky

    18 Jul 2014 | 12:29 am
    Oh, this is such a bleak book. It feels small to write that because I don't think bleakness is truly appreciated anymore. We get our heartstrings tugged so frequently, so casually by many authors. What David Connerley Nahm does with Ancient Oceans of Kentucky is much more than convenient sadness as a plot point though. He takes sorrow to a whole other level and infuses this novel with so many careful layers of emotion that you feel drained by the end. This is bleakness of the Scottish moors in a 19th century novel kind of sadness and the fact that it takes place today in Kentucky is just…
  • A must buy picture book!

    14 Jul 2014 | 3:31 pm
    Clotilde Perrin uses a smart idea to show how similarly people live around the world in this stunning (stunning!!!) picture book. Starting at 6AM in Dakar, Senegal, she takes young readers into the lives of children on six continents as they eat, drink, go to school, play and sleep all at the same hour of the day. So, while a child is waking up in Senegal, another is sound asleep in Brazil. This helps get the notion of time zones into the heads of early readers (and Perrin's informational notes at the end help as well.) Mostly though, while At the Same Moment Around the World is an…
  • Unmentionables by Laurie Loewenstein

    11 Jul 2014 | 2:36 am
    This was a surprise! Unmentionables begins with a bit of a bang as main character Marian Adams presents a speech to the fine Midwestern folk of Emporia on the impossibility of women's undergarments. In 1917 this is indeed an "unmentionable" topic and yet as Marian speaks, it makes perfect sense--women are literally being dragged down to the ground by the clothing society requires them to wear. How can they ever succeed? How they can achieve anything when it takes so much simply to move around? Marian's comments are received differently by those in attendance, although as part of the weeklong…
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    Arthur Slade: The YA Fantastical Fiction Guy

  • 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
  • Whoa! Year three of selling eBooks to the world!

    Arthur Slade
    13 Feb 2014 | 9:36 am
    A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...well back on February 5th of 2011, I launched my novel DUST as an ebook.    I just wanted to experiment with this new fangled book form called Electronic-Books-That-Aren't-Printed-On-Paper! Read about the beginnings here:  beginning. By this time last year I'd sold 8406 copies of my ebooks. This year my grand total is 9383 books. That's less that 1000 books sold in this last twelve months. In the business we call that a big drop off in sales. I see this as a sign that the sales in the ebook world has slowed down (at…
  • Modo Graphic Novel Kickstarter

    Arthur Slade
    17 Oct 2013 | 6:03 am
    Well, we're kicking off our second crowdfunding campaign for Modo: Ember's End. And after just over twenty four hours we've already raised half our funds. Whoa! Feel free to join the team.   The book is inspired by my Hunchback Assignments series--steampunk set in the wild west. Honestly, we can't wait to get this book out. The artwork that Chris has been cooking up has been just excellent along with the work of our two colourists... Here's a sample:Did I mention we can't wait to get this book done? I do feel like a kid again working on this story. And that's a good thing.Take care…
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    Books for Boys - Children's Adventure & Mystery Author Max Elliot Anderson

  • What's the right length for middle grade books?

    17 Jul 2014 | 4:17 pm
    What's the right length for middle grade books? See page 164 in Book Fun Magazine - subscription is FREE Fun Magazine - July 2014 Book Fun MagazineWhere Book Fun Begins
  • Does your church have a library and/or bookstore?

    13 Jul 2014 | 12:30 pm
    It's an honor to have my middle grade mysteries and adventures profiled in a feature article in the summer issue of Church Libraries. If we want adult readers in the future, we have to hook them when they're younger. If you have an opportunity to mention this to the people in charge at your church it would be appreciated. Thank you.Max Elliot Anderson
  • Are shorter books better books for kids?

    6 Jul 2014 | 4:38 am
    Is shorter better for young readers?  This article explores the best book length for kids, especially middle grade readers. Find it in the July issue of Book Fun Magazine, page 164.
  • The Secret of Gradmother'sGrandfather Clock

    30 Jun 2014 | 9:11 am
    Book # 3 in a brand new series, The Accidental Adventures of Kurt Benson and His Fiends, Riley and Jordan, has been sent to the publisher, Elk Lake Publishing. It's called,                                                            The Secret of Grandmother's Grandfather Clock.          This book will soon join the first two installments of the series, The Cat Burglars and Funny MoneyMystery…
  • Just An Ordinary Tent, Right? Feed the Imagination in Children.

    23 Jun 2014 | 5:55 pm
    Looks like nothing more than a simple tent in the back yard, right? Well, this is no ordinary tent. A few days ago, I did set it up in the back yard, but first let me tell you a little more about this tent.A few years ago, I had the opportunity to shoot a feature film in New Guinea. We moved right out into the jungle and set up our campsite next to the people living along the Sepik River...big mistake! We should have paid more attention to the fact that all the village people built their houses high up on stilts.Then the rains came late in the middle of our first night.Next…
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    American Indians in Children's Literature (AICL)

  • BEFORE WE WERE FREE, by Julia Alvarez

    22 Jul 2014 | 1:40 pm
    Among the projects I'm doing this summer is a do-it-yourself paint job of the exterior of our house. On days when it isn't too hot or humid, I enjoy being out there, scraping paint and listening to an audiobook.Today, I started listening to Julia Alvarez's Before We Were Free. Published in 2002 by Knopf Books for Young Readers, it won the Pura Belpre Award in 2004.Chapter one opens with this:"May I have some volunteers?" Mrs. Brown is saying. We are preparing skits for Thanksgiving, two weeks away. Although the Pilgrims never came to the Dominican Republic, we are attending the American…
  • Gary Paulsen's MR. TUCKET

    22 Jul 2014 | 7:57 am
    A reader of AICL wrote to ask me about Gary Paulsen's Mr. Tucket. I read a copy of the book via the Internet Archive. Here's my notes, summarized by chapter. Sometimes I put my comments in italics beneath each chapter. This time, you'll find my thoughts on the book in the THOUGHTS at the end of the summary of chapters.First, though, let's look a bit at Gary Paulsen. He's a prolific author and quite well known for Hatchet and the sequels to it The Hatchet series is also known as Brian's Saga, because the protagonist is a kid named Brian who survives a plane crash, alone, in the…

    19 Jul 2014 | 5:39 pm
    In the last few days, I've been looking at picture books about Christopher Columbus. Peter Sis did one, titled Follow the Dream: The Story of Christopher Columbus. Sis has won a lot of major awards for his work in children's literature, but none (that I know of) for his biography of Columbus.Published in 1991 (likely timed to coincide with the 500 year 'anniversary' of Columbus landing in the New World), the reviewer at Publisher's Weekly called it flat, while the one at Kirkus called it uncontroversial, and the reviewer at School Library Journal said to "make room on your crowded…
  • Picture Books about Christopher Columbus

    18 Jul 2014 | 9:10 am
    Earlier this week, a colleague wrote to me about a new picture book about Christopher Columbus. This morning, I was e-talking with Annette Wanamaker, editor of Children's Literature in Education, about an article in CLE about Columbus! I read it right away.In "The Columbus Myth: Power and Ideology in Picturebooks About Christopher Columbus," Christina M. Desai shares results of her analysis of depictions of Columbus in picturebooks published since 1992. She looked at a representative sample of over 30 books and found that little has changed. Native peoples are still being misrepresented…
  • E.B. White "Did you ever see an Indian..."

    13 Jul 2014 | 6:43 am
    A few days ago (June 11) was E.B. White's birthday. Most people know--and love--Charlotte's Web and Stuart Little. Do you remember his reference to Indians in Stuart Little?It is that part where he's fixed up a birchbark canoe and plans to take Harriet out for a ride in it. There's a string tied to it, though, that he can't untie. He's really annoyed. Harriet says they could go anyway and let the string drag behind them. Stuart is not keen on that at all. On page 122, he says:"Did you ever see an Indian paddling along some quiet unspoiled river with a great big piece of rope dragging…
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  • Poetry Friday: There are two things from Finding Ruby Starling by Karen Rivers

    18 Jul 2014 | 6:03 am
    There are two things:True things.And lies.When you figure outwhich is whichit's like you are on the insideof the balloonlooking out,seeing the pin coming toward youin the sunlightbut not being ableto move away.Or maybe,the thing isthat all of us are two people:the one insidethe balloon.And the oneholding the pin.This poem is featured in the epistolary novel Finding Ruby Starling by Karen Rivers. Though the majority of the story is conveyed in letters and emails, one of the characters, Ruth, has a poetry journal hosted on tumblr - which, as of this posting, is not an active account in real…
  • Poetry Friday: If I can stop one heart from breaking by Emily Dickinson

    11 Jul 2014 | 6:05 am
    If I can stop one heart from breaking,I shall not live in vain;If I can ease one life the aching,Or cool one pain,Or help one fainting robinUnto his nest again,I shall not live in vain.- Emily DickinsonView all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.Learn more about Poetry Friday.
  • Poetry Friday: Fear is like a mountain by Lisa Schroeder

    4 Jul 2014 | 6:00 am
    Fear is like a mountain,looming largein the background,taunting you with itsmagnificence.It seems so muchbigger than you,and the thought ofclimbing it,of overcoming it,seems impossible.But it is not youagainst the mountainThe mountain doesnot exist simplyto make youfeel small.It exists for purposesbeyond yourunderstanding.To climb it is simplyto take one stepand then anotherstep and thenanother step;a walk uphill.It is all in howyou look at it.And when you reachthe top, there is no moremountain.Only a view thattakes your breathaway.- from the book The Bridge from Me to You by Lisa…
  • Best Books of June 2014

    1 Jul 2014 | 8:21 pm
    June 2014: 18 books and scripts read Recommended for ages 11 and upThe Summer I Saved the 65 Days by Michele Weber HurwitzSummer State of Mind by Jen CalonitaInfinite Sky by C. J. FloodThe Secret Hum of a Daisy by Tracy HolczerRecommended for ages 14 and upEverything Leads to You by Nina LaCourWe Are the Goldens by Dana ReinhardtNon-Fiction PickMaking Your Life as an Artist by Andrew Simonet
  • We Are the Goldens by Dana Reinhardt

    1 Jul 2014 | 7:46 pm
    What do you do when you think the person you love the most is about to make a terrible decision?And what's more devastating: discovering what she's done or realizing you don't know her as well as you think you do?The most important person in Nell's life is her older sister, Layla. Less than 2 years apart, the girls are thick as thieves - or, at least, they were. When Nell begins her freshman year of high school, she is excited to be sharing the halls with her best friend, Felix, and her awesome sister, who's a junior. But gradually, it becomes clear to Nell that…
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    the excelsior file

  • jack the castaway

    david elzey
    9 Jul 2014 | 7:03 pm
    by Lisa Doan Darby Creek / Lerner  2014 Smart kid, dumb parents, and a menacing whale shark! What more could a kid want from a book?  Jack is a sheltered kid on the cusp of puberty living with his Aunt Julia safely in Pennsylvania. Or at least he was living safely until his Aunt met with misfortune and Jack was forced to call his world-traveling parents home from their latest scheme,
  • I Am Rosa Parks

    david elzey
    17 Jun 2014 | 1:41 pm
    I am Rosa Parks By Brad Meltzer Illustrated by Christopher Eliopoulos A whitewashed (ahem) picture book biography of the famed Civil Rights icon. Parson Weems would be proud. Now that we have Phillip Hoose’s Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice out in the world I feel it is incumbent on anyone treading toward teaching kids about the Civil Rights do so with a more open understanding
  • The Skeleton Pirate

    david elzey
    25 Jul 2013 | 11:15 am
    by David Lucas Candlewick Press 2012 The unbeaten Skeleton Pirate who refuses to accept defeat is beaten not once but twice in this quirky picture book. The Skeleton Pirate knows one thing: that he will never be beaten, and will fight to the, uh, death to prove it. But when a band of pirates chains him up and throws him over board... he still will not accept defeat. rescued by a Mermaid he is
  • if you want to see a whale

    david elzey
    10 May 2013 | 7:32 am
    words by julie fogliano pictures by erin e. stead. roaring brook press 2013 a very old school picture book poetic in word and image now this is what i’m talking about. the title is the premise a set of instructions for what you need to do in order to see a whale it starts with a window and quickly moves to a landscape of the mind the text and instructions more of a tone poem told legato
  • status not so quo

    david elzey
    18 Apr 2013 | 7:20 am
    There's reading, and there's writing, and there's blogging about reading and writing. I haven't been doing enough of any of these lately. Actually, I have been reading. Quite a lot, and much of it kidlit. I keep meaning to come here to the ol' blog-a-roo and load up what I've been reading but... And while I've been incredibly busy with a number of writing projects I still don't feel like I'm
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    Jen Robinson's Book Page

  • In the After: Demitria Lunetta

    Jen Robinson
    21 Jul 2014 | 3:13 pm
    Book: In the After Author: Demitria Lunetta Pages: 464 Age Range: 13 and up In the After is the first of a two-book series by Demitria Lunetta (the second book was just released, though I haven't read it yet). In the After is set in the wake of a world-wide apocalypse caused by an invasion of predatory, man-eating creatures. 17-year-old Amy has lived for three years in hiding, alone except for the company of Baby, a young girl she rescued from a grocery store. Amy and Baby live in silence, for fear of drawing Them. They use sign language to speak, and have never even heard one…
  • Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: July 18

    Jen Robinson
    18 Jul 2014 | 9:21 am
    Here are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage. Topics this week include authors, book lists, the Cybils, common core, aging, ebooks, apps, growing bookworms, kidlitcon, reading, writing, play, schools, libraries, and summer reading. Books and Authors Stories from authors about school visits "gone terribly wrong" at Wild Things blog  @SevenImp @FuseEight 75 Years Old, Still Showing off her Scar, fun details about Madeline from @SevenImp + @FuseEight at Wild Things blog  Book Lists and Awards…
  • I Didn't Do My Homework Because... Davide Cali

    Jen Robinson
    17 Jul 2014 | 8:49 am
    Book: I Didn't Do My Homework Because ... Authors: Davide Cali & Benjamin Chaud  Pages: 44 Age Range: 6-9 I Didn't Do My Homework Because ... is a celebration of the ingenuity of childhood. On the first page, a teacher asks a child: "So why didn't you do your homework?" On subsequent pages, he shares a host of creative excuses, like: "An airplane full of monkeys landed in our yard"; and "Some escaped convicts from the local jail hid in my bedroom and wouldn't come out."  Each excuse is accompanied by a humorous illustration. In the prior example, we see the…
  • Growing Bookworms Newsletter: July 16

    Jen Robinson
    16 Jul 2014 | 2:58 pm
    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 currenty send the newsletter out every two weeks. Newsletter Update: In this issue I have four book reviews (picture book and young adult), two posts with links that I shared on Twitter recently, and an announcement about a post that I did at The Nerdy Book…
  • The Registration Form for KidLitCon14 is Now Live!

    Jen Robinson
    15 Jul 2014 | 2:13 pm
    It's here! Time to register for the 2014 Kidlitosphere Conference, otherwise known as KidLitCon14. You can find the registration form at the Kidlitosphere Central website. Registration will be open until September 19th, but there is no need to delay.  Many thanks to this year’s Registration Coordinator, Maureen Kearney from Confessions of a Bibliovore for creating the registration form, and managing the registration process.  If you blog about children's and/or young adult books, or you write children's or young adult books, or you just care about…
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    Writing and Ruminating

  • Working on poetry this week

    22 Jul 2014 | 4:13 pm
    Well, mostly. Yesterday, I put in my proposals for next spring's New England SCBWI conference. And I had a small editorial project land on my desk, so I attended to that as well. But for the rest of this week, I'll be working on poetry -- the writing, typing, and editing thereof.I'm putting together a possible chapbook to submit for consideration at a small local press, and I'm working on a very personal poem for my sweetheart, who has a birthday this weekend, and I'm working on a bunch of other poems.And next week, I'm probably switching my primary focus back to picture book revisions. Of…
  • Why is it so hard to own the good stuff?

    21 Jul 2014 | 8:47 am
    I'm not talking about money or about actual possessions, here. I'm talking about personal accomplishments. And maybe you have better self-esteem than me, and this won't make any sense to anyone else, but why is it so hard to register and take pride in one's own accomplishments and successes?I've been thinking about this in the abstract for more than two weeks, and been mulling this blog post for more than two days, and I'm still not certain I can articulate this well, but I hope you'll let me try. What follows is not intended as anything like a brag, but more like a reality check, as I hope…
  • I love good news, don't you?

    20 Jul 2014 | 12:34 pm
    Last week, I received my contract for two poems that are going to appear in the forthcoming National Geographic's Book of Nature Poetry, edited by J. Patrick Lewis. To say that I'm excited is a gross understatement, especially since National Geographic's Book of Animal Poetry (in which my poem, "Sea Jelly", appeared) was so gorgeous!And on Friday, I got an acceptance from U.S. 1 Worksheets for a poem, which will appear in their yearly journal next spring.Color me happy!
  • Where I was for last week's Revision Camp

    15 Jul 2014 | 8:56 am
    I was in Louisville, KentuckyI would say I neglected to mention that I was away from home during last week's Revision Camp, but that would be a falsehood. Why advertise that your house is unoccupied, save for a not especially fierce housecat? My sweetheart was attending a Tai Chi Symposium, learning from five Chinese Grandmasters in each of the five major styles of tai chi (Chen, Sun, Wu, Wu/Hao, and Yang, for those who keep track of such things), so I went along for the ride and the hotel stay and, as it turned out, the bourbon.We had a very nice, albeit smallish, room in the historic…
  • An update on Revision Camp

    11 Jul 2014 | 8:51 am
    Yesterday afternoon, I finished the draft of the picture book I was talking about in yesterday's post about the revision process and how long it takes. I was completely happy about it, and celebrated with a drink at dinner and everything.Of course, today I am wondering whether I want to leave it the way it is, in a first-person telling, or switch it to third person and assign character names. But that is the way these things go. And I will probably try it and see how I like it either way.Plus I still have full book dummies to do for this picture book and the other one I mentioned, which is…
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    The Miss Rumphius Effect

  • Monday Poetry Stretch - Mask/Persona Poem

    21 Jul 2014 | 5:26 am
    In my Poetry Friday post I shared a poem from the book DOGS AND DRAGONS, TREES AND DREAMS by Karla Kuskin.Published in 1980, Kuskin wrote:An Introduction Children May Feel Free To IgnoreThe double purpose of this introduction is to bring together poems I wrote for children between 1958 and 1975 and to discuss the process of introducing poetry to children.Throughout the book the poems are prefaced with insights into the nature of reading, writing, and appreciating poetry. Here's an example.As you read a poem aloud listen to the sounds of the words. They have infinite variety. There…
  • Poetry Friday - Sitting in the Sand

    18 Jul 2014 | 8:52 am
    Last week I left Virginia and made the long road trip to NY. Ten+ hours in a car is not my idea of fun. However, getting home is always lovely. I had a nice visit with my mother, who happens to be celebrating her 85th birthday today, and my brother and his family. I drove home earlier this week in what at times were torrential downpours.My trips to western NY always include a trip to Lake Ontario to walk on the pier. I take my mother with me and push her in her wheelchair. These walks are quite nostalgic, as she tells me all about growing up in the town of Summerville on the lake.I'll be…
  • Monday Poetry Stretch - Faith and Hope

    7 Jul 2014 | 6:13 pm
    I love the poems that were shared as part of last week's stretch to write about America. I understand the sentiments of both pride and disappointment. What came out in some of the comments and conversations I had afterwards is that even though we are discouraged, we have not lost hope.A few years back when I traveled to China, I decided to get a tattoo to commemorate my trip. I knew exactly what I wanted. This is my tattoo.Traditionally, Chinese characters were read from top to bottom and right to left. However, in modern times the western approach to reading from left to right and top to…
  • Monday Poetry Stretch - America Is ...

    30 Jun 2014 | 6:07 am
    Last week my Thursday class focused on using primary sources, interpreting documents and analyzing art and photographs. We also looked at the book THE ART OF FREEDOM: HOW ARTISTS SEE AMERICA, by Bob Raczka. Using very simple text and art from the likes of Georgia O'Keefe, Thomas Hart Benton, John Trumbull, Stuart Davis, and more, Raczka provides an introduction to the things that make us American. In pictures and words America is depicted as hard work, jazz, baseball, freedom, and more.This book got me thinking about the stretch this week. Since the 4th of July is Friday, this seems like a…
  • Poetry Friday - Wildflowers

    27 Jun 2014 | 6:26 pm
    At the end of each week I head to church to practice the music I'll be singing on the weekend. I could probably lead most of these songs in my sleep, but I feel better about croaking out songs at 8:30 on Sunday morning when I've had a bit of rehearsal.This time of year my favorite thing about visiting the church is Father George's garden. Right now it is filled with gorgeous wildflowers. Seeing them today reminded me of this poem.Wildflowersby Reginald GibbonsColeridge carefully wrote down a whole page of them, all beginning with the letter b. Guidebooks preserve our knowledgeof their hues…
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        Poetry for Children

  • Painting the Poetry Landscape

    Sylvia Vardell
    17 Jul 2014 | 9:13 pm
    During my recent trip to Las Vegas for the American Library Association conference, I stopped by the ALA Bookstore to look for the latest installment of The Newbery & Caldecott Awards: A Guide to the Medal and Honor Books (2014 Edition) just published by ALA. Why?Because I wrote the opening essay for this guide! I was so honored to be invited to contribute that essay-- the only such piece in a book that focuses on thoroughly describing each of the award and honor books for these two prestigious awards. It's been 25 years since Paul Fleischman's book Joyful Noise won that Newbery…
  • Walter Dean Myers, Poet

    Sylvia Vardell
    11 Jul 2014 | 7:17 am
    Poetry by Walter Dean Myers"Summer" from Brown AngelsAs you've probably heard, the great Walter Dean Myers passed away recently and his impressive and significant body of work has been recognized far and wide-- as it should be. His mastery of every genre was amazing and I would like to take a moment to highlight his POETRY for young people, in particular. I was fortunate enough to feature him in my "Poetry Round Up" at the annual conference of the Texas Library Association in 2005. Hearing a poet read his/her own work aloud is the ultimate treat and Walter's reading was such a perfect…
  • Poetry for the 4th of July

    Sylvia Vardell
    30 Jun 2014 | 10:30 pm
    Celebrating the 4th of July evokes thoughts of summer vacation, family time, fireflies and fireworks, etc. Here is a sampling of poetry books on these topics and more (taken from my book, The Poetry Teacher's Book of Lists).Poetry Books for the Fourth of JulyAda, Alma Flor. 1997. Gathering the Sun. New York: Lothrop, Lee, & Shepard.Alarcón, Francisco X. 1998. From the Bellybutton of the Moon and Other Summer Poems/Del Ombligo de la Luna y Otros Poemas de Verano. San Francisco: Children’s Book Press.Appelt, Kathi. 2004. My Father’s Summers: A Daughter’s Memoirs. New York: Henry…
  • ALA Poetry Blast 2014

    Sylvia Vardell
    26 Jun 2014 | 10:30 pm
    The next Poetry Blast will be held at the annual conference of the American Library Association in Las Vegas on Sunday, June 29 (3:00-4:30pm) in the PopTop Stage of the Convention Center. It's a fantastic event hosted by Barbara Genco and Marilyn Singer and I have never missed it-- until now. :-(  Unfortunately/fortunately, I have a conflict this year (and am receiving an award at the same time), so I won't be able to report on it as I usually do. But I thought I might post a little plug here anyway featuring the names and works of the poets who will be presenting there. Poets:Joan…
  • First Day of Summer

    Sylvia Vardell
    20 Jun 2014 | 6:19 am
    Tomorrow, Saturday, June 21, is officially the first day of summer! Here's a poem to celebrate from The Poetry Friday Anthology.Family Vacation   by Allan WolfI started packing Mondaywhen I gathered up my shirts.My sister packed away a blouse,a hairbrush, and three skirts.Daddy packed his razorand his woolen dress-up slacks.Mother packed her flowered dressand a box of crunchy snacks.  We gathered up a couple lampsand a box of dictionaries,we even took Sir Williamand Bernice, our pet canaries,the sofa and the kitchen sink,my old, stuffed Teddy Bear,the television,…
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  • Cynsational News & Summer Hiatus

    Cynthia Leitich Smith
    2 Jul 2014 | 5:48 am
    Austin's new boardwalk along Lady Bird Lake!Compiled by Cynthia Leitich Smith for Cynsations   Thanks so much for being a Cynsational reader! I appreciate your enthusiasm for and interest in the world of books for kids and teens.Breaking news: Effective immediately, Cynsations is going on summer hiatus until September. In the meantime, you can keep up with children's-YA books news on my author facebook page and @CynLeitichSmith on Twitter. See y'all in the fall!More News A Profile of Rita Williams-Garcia (Being Eleven) by K.T. Horning from The Horn Book. Peek: "Rita and I…
  • New Voice: Jennifer Mathieu on The Truth About Alice

    Cynthia Leitich Smith
    1 Jul 2014 | 6:01 am
    By Emma Kate Tsai for Cynthia Leitich Smith's CynsationsJennifer Mathieu is the first-time author of The Truth About Alice (Roaring Brook, 2014). From the promotional copy:  Everyone knows Alice slept with two guys at one party. When Healy High star quarterback, Brandon Fitzsimmons, dies in a car crash, it was because he was sexting with Alice. Ask anybody.Rumor has it Alice Franklin is a slut. It’s written all over the “slut stall” in the girls’ bathroom: “Alice had sex in exchange for math test answers” and “Alice got an abortion last semester.” After Brandon…
  • New Voice: M.K. Hutchins on Drift

    Cynthia Leitich Smith
    30 Jun 2014 | 6:04 am
    By Cynthia Leitich Smithfor CynsationsM.K. Hutchins is the first-time author of Drift (Tu Books, 2014). From the promotional copy: Tenjat lives on the shores of Hell, an ocean filled with ravenous naga monsters. His island, a massive Turtle, is slowed by the people living on its back. Only those poor enough to need children to support themselves in old age condescend to the shame of marriage. Tenjat is poor as poor gets, but he has a plan. Can Tenjat discover his sister’s secrets in time? Will the possibility of love derail all his plans for a richer, marriage-free life? Long-held…
  • Cynsational News & Giveaways

    Cynthia Leitich Smith
    27 Jun 2014 | 6:14 am
    Compiled by Cynthia Leitich Smithfor CynsationsGet It Write This Summer from Nerdy Chicks Rule Summer School 2014. Peek: "Kidlit Summer School is a four week writer’s workshop that will run from July 21 through August 15. Because we (Kami (Kinard) and Sudipta (Bardhan-Quallen)) both enjoy teaching writing classes, we wanted to find a way to offer craft-based writing advice on a particular topic each summer. Our 2014 course is going to focus on writing great characters."Saying Something Simple by Mary Kole from Peek: "Why do we have to twist ourselves into sentence pretzels and…
  • Guest Post: Janci Patterson on Writing Contests

    Cynthia Leitich Smith
    26 Jun 2014 | 6:34 am
    Follow @jancipattersonBy Janci Patterson for Cynthia Leitich Smith's CynsationsI heard about the Utah Arts Council Original Writing Competition from one of my grad school professors. This was in 2007--I’d been writing novels for seven years. I had five novels drafted and had been sending books out for years and receiving form rejections.So when I heard about the Young Adult Novel category, I didn’t have high hopes. But my policy was to send things out because books that sit in drawers don’t get published (or win awards), so I shipped off the manuscript, made a note in my…
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    Read Alert

  • Announcing Reading Matters 2015

    Adele Walsh
    9 Jul 2014 | 5:47 pm
    It’s that time again on the youth literature calendar – Reading Matters 2015 is in production! Reading Matters is a national celebration of youth literature taking the audience on a journey into fiction, graphic novels, poetry, gaming and prose. Dates:   28 May – 2 June 2015 in Melbourne; then touring. There are six key components to Reading Matters 2015: National conference for youth literature professionals and advocates. Publishing Expo, pop-up bookshop and author signings. Schools program in Melbourne. Public events program in Melbourne. Victorian tour: regional public,…
  • OUT LOUD 2014 – Teen Poetry Slam Competitions (Workshops Available)

    Adele Walsh
    25 May 2014 | 9:00 pm
    Out Loud is a teen performance poetry event coordinated by Australian Poetry and has been a massive success at the Melbourne Writers Festival in recent years. OutLoud is unique because it’s a team event.  Each member relies on the others to get the best out of their original poetry and everyone contributes to the amazing result. Last year’s winners were Braemar College, and it’s worth taking a couple of minutes to see their astonishing performance. In 2014 the OutLoud Competition is being supported by the City of Melbourne Arts Program, which has allowed us to expand the…
  • The Dromkeen Medal: Call for Nominations

    Anna Burkey
    13 May 2014 | 10:59 pm
    The Dromkeen Medal: Call for Nominations The State Library of Victoria, home to the Scholastic Dromkeen Children’s Literature Collection, is pleased to be coordinating the national Dromkeen Awards, comprising the Dromkeen Medal and the Dromkeen Librarian’s Award. The Library is currently calling for nominations for the Dromkeen Medal. The Dromkeen Medal is bestowed annually in recognition of outstanding contributions to Australian children’s and youth literature, and was established in 1982.  The Medal was previously awarded by the Courtney Oldmeadow Children’s Literature…
  • Event: Loyal Creatures with Morris Gleitzman

    Adele Walsh
    4 May 2014 | 5:40 pm
    The Centre for Youth Literature and Penguin Teachers’ Academy present Tuesday 10 June, 10am – 11am Wednesday 11 June, 10am – 11am The Courtyard, State Library of Victoria Cost: $7.70 per person Bookings: Book online (Tues/Wed) or (03) 8664 7555 Beloved children’s writer Morris Gleitzman has been making Australians laugh and cry for many decades. Gain insight into his newest title, Loyal Creatures, with a special stage performance, followed by a question session with Morris Gleitzman that will further explore the experience of one brave Lighthorseman and his horse during…
  • Children’s Book of the Year Awards 2014

    Adele Walsh
    7 Apr 2014 | 7:14 pm
    This morning the Children’s Book Council of Australia announced the 2014 shortlists and notables in each of the categories. Early Childhood Eve Pownall Younger Reader Older Reader Picture Book Titles from the 2013 calendar year are nominated by their publishing houses and each of the state judges are whisked away for days until they decide each of the winners, honours, shortlists and notable lists. The Older Reader category (aka Young adult) notable list features thirteen Australian authors of YA fiction. Congratulations to the six talented authors gracing the 2014 CBCA Book of the Year…
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    WordPress Tag: Children's Book

  • Baby Bettys: The Punkydoos Take the Stage (Blog Tour & Giveaway!)

    12 Jul 2014 | 9:00 pm
     I was thrilled to be included as a stop on this blog tour!  Thanks Disney Hyperion!  This book was perfect for the baby bettys!!  If you have a little one in your life, they need this book on their shelf!  Check out our review below and be sure to enter the giveaway to win a copy of the book!  Title & Author: The Punkydoos Take the Stage by Jennifer Jackson  Illustrator: Dan Andreasen  Publisher: Disney Hyperion, 32 pages  Details: Ages 3 – 5 Yrs; $17.99  Release Date:  July 1, 2012  Source: Publisher  Amazon  |   Goodreads  |  Jennifer…
  • Book for Book, Review for Review!

    Nae's Nest
    12 Jul 2014 | 2:51 pm
    Check out the brand new group for those in need of book reviews, promotion, informative discussions and a little bit of fun. Amy, the group leader is dedicated and ambitious. My first post to this group is not only to introduce myself, Amy and the group but to share some of my ideas and tools that have been helpful to me. I focus on reviews. There are a couple of things I have noticed. It is much easier to receive reviews: 1. when you are willing to give reviews. 2. when you follow, like and seek out fellow authors 3. when you are active in social media groups via posts, likes and comments…
  • Hanging With Satchmo

    12 Jul 2014 | 8:48 am
    In 2007 I visited the Louis Armstrong House Museum for what I assumed would be my first and only time. Only, something happened. I fell in love. Not just with Louis, but with the story of how a world-renowned legend came to call this modest brick house in the working class neighborhood of Corona, Queens “home.” He spent nearly thirty years there with his fourth and final wife, Lucille. After taking the tour, I went back to Beacon, NY and knocked out my own version of the story. I envisioned it as an interactive children’s e-book, and titled it Satchmo: King of Queens. It was met with…
  • Fish!

    12 Jul 2014 | 4:13 am
  • Going to the Dentist

    12 Jul 2014 | 3:19 am
    Can’t believe that I need to start thinking about this! How am I going to introduce Dentist ap
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    School Library Journal

  • Folklore and fantasy thrive in “Midwinterblood”| Audio Pick

    23 Jul 2014 | 6:00 am
    Sedgwick, Marcus. Midwinterblood. 5 CDs. 5:49 hrs. Listening Library. 2014. $45. ISBN 9780553552133. digital download. Gr 9 Up–Midwinterblood is comprised of seven vignettes, with settings ranging from the future to Viking times and a variety of characters, including vampires, ghosts, and humans. Common to all the stories is the Scandinavian island, Blessed; a mysterious dragon orchid; and Eric and Merle, who play different roles in each story. This unusual book for teens (many of the stories feature adult characters only) goes backwards in time, beginning with a story that takes place in…
  • Middle Grade Fiction Giveaway; Conference With Service to LGBTQ Youth Focus | SLJTeen News

    23 Jul 2014 | 3:00 am
    “True Confessions” Giveaway Middle graders, even if they are not middle children, will identify with Charlie, the so-called confessor in Maria T. Lennon’s Confessions of a So-Called Middle Child. She used to be a mean girl in order to hang with the popular crowd, but is trying hard to navigate middle school’s social minefields without causing harm. Readers will relate to her struggle to do the right thing when it might cost her popularity, and stardom. Here’s a way to have something fresh for kids the first week of school. HarperCollins is going to pick five winners…
  • Guadalajara | Consider the Source

    Marc Aronson
    22 Jul 2014 | 1:42 pm
    Guadalajara International Book Fair, 2013 How can we bring high quality Spanish-language books into American libraries? Here’s one answer: I recently spent an afternoon with Kay Cassell. a fellow professor at Rutgers, and Linda Goodman of Bilingual Publications. Linda helps connect librarians in the United States with books written in Spanish from around the world. Kay and I were meeting with her to plan a trip to the Guadalajara International Book Fair for our students. Earlier this year, Thom Barthelmess told me that his students at Dominican University would be going to Guadalajara as…
  • Art Heist Capers, Super-Powered Fantasies, and Creepy Horror Tales | What’s Hot in YA

    Shelley Diaz
    22 Jul 2014 | 1:26 pm
    With works by heavy hitters such as Scott Westerfeld, Gregory Maguire, Andrew Smith, Katherine Paterson, Garth Nix, Jacqueline Woodson, and Maggie Stiefvater, this month’s column is chock-full of upcoming YA and nonfiction titles that will have teens adding to overflowing TBR piles. There’s something below for reluctant readers (Peter Jay Black’s Urban Outlaws), history buffs (Timothée De Fombelle’s Vango), aspiring actresses (Dahlia Adler’s Behind the Scenes), wannabe scientists (Sandra Markle’s The Case of the Vanishing Little Brown Bat ), and Game of…
  • University of Illinois and Freedom to Read Foundation Offer Intellectual Freedom Course

    22 Jul 2014 | 7:36 am
    Professor Emily Knox will be teaching the “Intellectual Freedom and Censorship” course that is part of an effort through the Freedom to Read Foundation and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. All images courtesy of UIUC. From August 26 until October 10, 2014, the Graduate School of Library and Information Science (GSLIS) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) is teaming up with the Freedom to Read Foundation (FTRF) to offer an online course called “Intellectual Freedom and Censorship,” through the foundation’s Judith F. Krug Memorial Fund. This will…
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    A Fuse #8 Production

  • Theatrical Reviews: The Snow Queen

    Elizabeth Bird
    23 Jul 2014 | 1:00 am
    I was trying to remember the last theater review I wrote for this site.  At first I thought it might be the review I did way way back in the day for the staged adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s Coraline where the main character was played by a heavyset middle aged woman (it worked quite well, thank you very much).  Then I remembered that I did write up the Matilda musical when Penguin was kind enough to offer tickets to local librarians.  Still, that was over a year ago and my theater going has shriveled in the wake of my increasing brood.  What would it take to get me back in the swing…
  • Cover Reveal: The Whisper by Aaron Starmer

    Elizabeth Bird
    22 Jul 2014 | 1:00 am
    When I originally read The Riverman by Aaron Starmer this year it blew me away. I couldn’t think of anything to really compare it to. Entirely original, wonderful and strange, it has remained quite clear in my memory ever since. Yet I was shocked when I learned that it was just the first in a trilogy. At first I couldn’t reconcile the first book with a second in my brain. Yet as time passed I found myself really and truly wanting to see where it would go. It’s as if my entire interpretation of the first book hinges on the second. Well, I am pleased and honored to present to…
  • Review of the Day: Princess Sparkle-Heart Gets a Makeover by Josh Schneider

    Elizabeth Bird
    21 Jul 2014 | 1:00 am
    Princess Sparkle-Heart Gets a Makeover By Josh Schneider Clarion (an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) $16.99 ISBN: 978-0-544-14228-2 Ages 3-7 On shelves now Sometimes I’ll just sit back and think about how the advent of the internet has affected literary culture. I don’t mean book promotion or reviews or any of that. I’m talking about the very content of books themselves. On the one hand, it accounts for the rise in Steampunk (a desire for tactile, hands-on technology, gears and all). On the other, it has led to a rise in books where characters make things. So why, you may be…
  • Video Sunday: “Leave out that Oxford comma”

    Elizabeth Bird
    20 Jul 2014 | 1:00 am
    I had the pleasure of seeing just the most delightful show the other day.  The Snow Queen’s run is ending, but you can at least enjoy this little number from it.  It’s been caught in my head all week.  I bestow that honor now upon you. New York News And the award for best set design in a book trailer goes to . . . Mildly miffed that this trailer came out in February but that I only found it now, though. And now the Weird Al video that shall outlive him thanks to English teachers around the world.  They shall play it from now until the internet burns down to a dark, black piece…
  • Fusenews: The Snow Queen – There Can Be Only One

    Elizabeth Bird
    18 Jul 2014 | 1:00 am
    Howdy do.  As per usual I’m going to direct you this morning to that lovely little Wild Things website where Jules Danielson and I have been posting the stories that got cut from our upcoming book Wild Things: Acts of Mischief in Children’s Literature.  If you haven’t already seen them you might like to read some amusing stories about: - Some Madeleine facts you may not have known, two straight lines and all. - The downside of owning your own tropical island, even if you DID do all the art for The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. - The story I was MOST sorry to cut. War of the…
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    Michael Gerson: Most Recent Articles and Archives

  • Lois Lowry’s ‘The Giver’ makes one serious summertime movie

    Michael Gerson
    17 Jul 2014 | 5:49 pm
    In 1993, Lois Lowry wrote a slim book for youth about totalitarianism, euthanasia, suicide, sexual awakening and infanticide. “The Giver” created a blooming genre — the dystopian youth novel — and considerable controversy. Some parents wanted the book banned from schools, thus unintentionally re-asking the book’s central question: How comprehensively should children (and other humans) be protected from risk and pain? Read full article >>
  • Corrupting citizens for fun and profit

    Michael Gerson
    14 Jul 2014 | 5:08 pm
    Two of the larger social trends of our time — the growth of payday gambling and the legalization of marijuana — have two things in common: They are justified as the expansion of personal liberty, and they serve the interests of an expanding government. Read full article >>
  • The tea party risks scaring away voters

    Michael Gerson
    10 Jul 2014 | 4:56 pm
    A few recent developments have revealed the tea party temperament in its most distilled, potent form. Former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin called for the impeachment of President Obama on the theory that his border policies are “the last straw that makes the battered wife say, ‘no más.’ ” Excavating the layers of mixed metaphor — the straw that broke the camel’s back is somehow causing an abused woman to surrender in Spanish — Palin demands the ousting of an American president on the constitutional theory that “enough is enough.” Read full article…
  • The divided states of Obama

    Michael Gerson
    7 Jul 2014 | 5:33 pm
    The headline — “Poll: Obama worst president since World War II” — was both provocative and misleading. The Quinnipiac University survey did, indeed, place President Obama at the top of the worst since FDR. But this was largely a measure of partisan concentration. Republicans were united in their unfavorable historical judgment of Obama. Democrats divided their votes (and would insist, I’d imagine, that they have more options to choose from). Read full article >>
  • Declaring equality and living equality are two different things

    Michael Gerson
    3 Jul 2014 | 5:27 pm
    On July 9, 1776, when the Declaration of Independence was publicly read to the citizens of New York City — “We hold these truths to be self-evident ” — they responded by decapitating an equestrian statue of King George III, cutting off his nose and placing his head on a spike outside a tavern. Metal from the statue was later turned into 42,088 bullets, intended, by one account, “to assimilate with the brains” of the British. Read full article >>
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  • Pawn in Frankincense by Dorothy Dunnett

    22 Jul 2014 | 9:36 am
    The fourth book in Dorothy Dunnett’s historical series Renaissance man, Francis Crawford of Lymond, aka Comte of Sevigny, takes the characters, especially Lymond himself, to a new level of complexity and human triumph over adversity and suffering. And at one point in the story, we are informed or perhaps reminded that Lymond is only twenty-six years old. He’s already survived more than most men three times his age, even in the adventurous Renaissance times in which he lives. In this book, Lymond manages to escape a couple of assassins disguised as nuns, imprisonment in a North…
  • The Great Greene Heist by Varian Johnson

    21 Jul 2014 | 9:05 am
    “Varian Johnson lists his inspirations for this book as Ocean’s 11, The Westing Game, Sneakers, The Thomas Crowne Affair, and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.” I would, guessing, add the movies Star Wars and The Sting, not to mention a few pick-up basketball games along the way, but I could be mistaken about those particular influences. Jackson Greene has reformed, changed his ways, and sworn off all scheming, finagling, conning, and pranking. When the girl you like (Gaby) sees you brush lips with another cutie and totally misinterprets the situation, and when the principal…
  • The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer

    19 Jul 2014 | 5:06 am
    Georgette Heyer, besides authoring several Golden Age of detective fiction mysteries, also wrote romance novels and according to Wikipedia “essentially established the genre of Regency romance.” During her career,she published over thirty Regency novels, for a period of her life publishing one mystery/thriller and one romance per year. The Grand Sophy, one of those Regency novels, was published in 1950. It’s the story of a rather indolent and somewhat impecunious family, Lord and Lady Ombersley and their several children, including the eldest, Charles, who has become…
  • Saturday Review of Books: July 19, 2014

    18 Jul 2014 | 3:21 pm
    “I read books in all the obvious places—in my house and office, on trains and buses and planes—but I’ve also read them at plays and concerts and prizefights, and not just during the intermissions. I’ve read books while waiting for friends to get sprung from the drunk tank, while waiting for people to emerge from comas, while waiting for the Iceman to cometh.” ~Joe Queenan Welcome to the Saturday Review of Books at Semicolon. Here’s how it usually works. Find a book review on your blog posted sometime during the previous week. The review doesn’t have to be a…
  • Summer Reading and Book News

    18 Jul 2014 | 3:17 pm
    New from Sarah Clarkson at Thoroughly Alive: is both a literary online resource, and the home of a new publishing imprint, Storyformed Books. We’ll be republishing excellent out-of-print classics, releasing new fiction by contemporary authors, and publishing a series of essay collections on reading and imagination. My book, Caught Up in a Story, written largely to explain the Storyformed worldview, is the first to release with the imprint. We’ll follow it soon with Just David, one of the favorite children’s classics of my childhood. I love book lists. If you have a…
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    Ally Carter

  • San Antonio, baby!

    Ally Carter
    21 Jul 2014 | 9:35 pm
    Hi everybody! I should be packing. No. Seriously. I leave tomorrow, and I have no idea what I should wear or take. And shoes! The shoe question is always a BIG one! Where am I going? Well, regular blog readers will hopefully remember that I am attending the Romance Writers of America Annual Convention in San Antonio. If you live in the San Antonio area, please try to come by for the first night of the conference! The Literary Autographing is free and open to the public. It takes place Wednesday, July 23 at the Marriott Rivercenter Hotel. Click here for complete information. Some things you…
  • Magnificent Monday

    21 Jul 2014 | 8:19 am
    Hi Everyone! I just wanted to take today’s post to remind every one of all the ways you can interact with Ally! See her in person at RWA Literacy Autographing this Wednesday, July 23, in San Antonio, TX!!! Ally truly does her best to stay in touch with readers. You can keep up with her on all of these sites, her official Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, and Twitter pages. And don’t forget we still post your Fan Art on Fan Art Friday’s on her Tumblr page and you can send your artwork to! What is your favorite way to keep up with Ally? Have a good…
  • Magnificent Monday

    14 Jul 2014 | 8:14 am
    Hi All! So I got to read book one of Embassy Row this weekend!!!! This is the BEST and WORST part of my job. I get to read Ally’s stuff in advance but then I don’t have anyone to talk to about it with! I can’t wait for all of you to get to read it because I know you are going to LOVE it. Also, I know we are going to have some super fun stuff leading up  to its release! I will have to stay in my house and not to talk to anyone because I am bursting with Embassy Row information. I CAN’T WAIT FOR WINTER TO GET HERE!!! I know we just really got into summer here in the…
  • Letter to Baby Author Me…revisited

    Ally Carter
    12 Jul 2014 | 9:20 pm
    Hi everyone! Doing a retro-throwback post today! Because, you see, in a few weeks I’m going to be giving a speech at the Day of YA Pre-Conference at the Romance Writers of America Convention in San Antonio. (And, don’t forget, I’ll also be signing in San Antonio on July 23. If you live in the area, please come by!) So that has got me to thinking about this post that I wrote a couple of years ago. It was true then. It’s true now. And I hope you like it! Ally STUFF I WOULD (AND WOULDN’T) TELL BABY AUTHOR ME IF I COULD GO BACK IN TIME: A list by Ally Carter -First and…
  • Magnificent Monday

    7 Jul 2014 | 9:55 am
    Hi Everyone! I hope everyone had a great weekend! I hope all the Ally Carter fans here in the US had a great July 4th weekend! My family and I celebrated with a classic American cookout and fireworks at the end. How about you? How does your family celebrate July 4th? If out of the US what holiday do you love to celebrate in your country? Do you like hotdogs, hamburgers, or something else? Fireworks? Just watch them? Shoot them off? Totally avoid them? Can’t wait to read all your responses!   xoxo, Shellie P.S. Thanks to everyone who participated in last weeks giveaway! Stay posted…
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    Justine Larbalestier

  • Next on BWFBC: Patricia Highsmith’s Carol/Price of Salt (1952)

    17 Jul 2014 | 8:33 pm
    The next book for Kate Elliott and mine’s Bestselling Women’s Fiction Book Club is Patricia Highsmith’s Carol. The book was originally published under the title Price of Salt and under the pseudonym Claire Morgan as a Bantam paperback original in 1952. It sold extremely well and become a lesbian classic. Highsmith didn’t publicly admit the book was hers until the 1980s. This lovely article by Terry Castle at Slate gives some more context for the book. It’s one of my favourite Highsmith novels and the one least like her other books. No one’s murdered, there…
  • Guest Post: YA From a Marginalized Young Adult’s Perspective

    11 Jul 2014 | 12:47 am
    A few weeks back @bysshefields was being really smart on twitter about being a young adult excluded from conversations about Young Adult literature. This is something that has often annoyed me, that the go-to “experts” on the genre for the mainstream media are almost never young adults themselves, that we only rarely hear from the people at whom the category is purportedly aimed. I asked Bysshe if she would write a guest post on the subject for my blog and happily she said yes. All the words below are hers: ——– My name is Bysshe and I’m a 19 year old…
  • Melbourne Book Launch + BWFBC

    1 Jul 2014 | 4:32 pm
    I’ll be launching Razorhurst in Melbourne next Tuesday. Details below: Would love to see all you gorgeous Melbournites there! Yay, Batmania! The Sydney launch went marvellously well. Thank you, so much to everyone who attended. I was overwhelmed. Kate Elliott and I held the June book club over on Kate’s blog. We discussed the marvellous The Street by Ann Petry. This month’s book is Patricia Highsmith’s The Taste of Salt/Carol the first lesbian bestseller in the US with [redacted because SPOILER]. We’ll be discussing it on the last Monday (US)/ Tuesday (Australia)…
  • Razorhurst Book Launch This Thursday + Liar in Brasil

    22 Jun 2014 | 6:32 pm
    This Thursday at 6:30PM in the glorious city of Sydney the wonderful Melina Marchetta will be launching my new book, Razorhurst. Here’s hoping you can attend. I have SO MUCH to say about this book. It was some of the most fun research I’ve ever done. Razors! Women mobsters! Walking every street of Surry Hills, Darlinghurst, Kings Cross! Wearing 30s clothes! Studying enforcers!1 In other also super exciting news Liar is now available in Brasil under the title Confesso Que Menti. Here’s what it looks like: Hope my fans in Brasil like it even though it’s very different to…
  • Razorhurst Book Launches in Sydney and Melbourne

    31 May 2014 | 5:30 pm
    My latest book, Razorhurst, is almost a reality. In just a few short weeks it will be available for purchase in both Australia and New Zealand. There will be rejoicing at, not one, but two launches. The first is in sunny Sydney: For cutting and pasting purposes: Thursday 26 June at 6:30PM Launched by the fabulous Melina Marchetta Kinokuniya Level 2, The Galleries, 500 George St, Sydney, NSW I’m very excited to be launching my first solely-set-in-Sydney book in my hometown of Sydney. The second launch will be in lovely Melbourne which I ardently hope will be super cold because…
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    Scott Westerfeld

  • Reskinned

    20 Jul 2014 | 9:09 am
    Behold the new website, reskinned in honor of Afterworlds (which now has its own page at last). I hope you enjoy the new look. Let me know in the comments below if anything is broken anywhere, especially in the Forum. Next week I’ll be at San Diego Comic Con, so if you’re there come see my panel, Sunday at 1PM or come to my signing at the Mysterious Galaxy Booth (#1119) on Saturday, 1:00p.m. – 1:30p.m. If you’re in San Diego but not going to Comic Con, come see me at the The Yellow Book Road Bookstore, where I’ll be talking about Leviathan and Afterworlds. The Yellow…
  • On Tour in 2014 (Updated)

    25 Jun 2014 | 11:37 am
    With Afterworlds coming out, I’ll be traveling and making appearances all year long. The tour in September and October isn’t set yet, but here are a few places I’ll definitely be: Comic Con San Diego, CA July 24-27 Signing at the Mysterious Galaxy Booth (#1119) Saturday, July 26 1:00p.m. – 1:30p.m. My books will be on sale there too! “What’s Hot in YA?” panel Sunday, July 27 1:00p.m. – 2:00p.m. Room: 25ABC Signing afterward in the Sails Pavilion: AA09 02:30 PM – 03:30 PM The Yellow Book Road Bookstore Just me, talking about Leviathan and…
  • Donate to Young Writers

    16 Jun 2014 | 8:20 pm
    As you guys know, I’ve been matching donations to NaNoWriMo’s Young Writers Program. Today, Tuesday June 17, is the best time to donate, because folks who donate between noon and 1PM US Eastern (9AM-10AM Pacific) will be automatically entered to win one of five signed copies of Afterworlds. That’s right, you get to read it NOW. The YWP is revamping their website, refreshing their already excellent (and free!) curriculum guides for schools who participate in Nano, and expanding their outreach to correctional facilities, halfway houses, and juvenile detention facilities. Click…
  • Afterworlds Trailer

    3 Jun 2014 | 7:01 am
    Here is the trailer for my next novel, Afterworlds: Click here to see it bigger. Enjoy!
  • Afterworlds Trailer on io9

    30 May 2014 | 7:04 am
    The trailer for my next book, Afterworlds, will premier on io9 sometime today! (When, exactly? That’s a secret!) It will appear right here later tonight. Update: Click here to see it on io9. My two events at BEA today (Friday, May 30) are: The Craft of Writing Panel Me with Brandon Mull, Kiera Cass, and Amy Ewing. Uptown Stage, Javits Center 2:00 – 2:30PM Afterworlds Signing S&S booth #2638-9, Level 3 3:45 – whenever 150 copies are gone. Hope you guys like the trailer! In the meantime, check out my HUGE BANNER at BEA:
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  • Gifts on a road trip

    22 Jul 2014 | 9:34 pm
    Why do children grow older so fast? I have unearthed an embarrassing number of books, mostly children’s, that I had stashed away to give people in place of flowers and stuff. They last so much better than flowers. Or chocolate, or wine. Last better than the children, too. Or perhaps I mean they last better than childhood. The children are still here. Just older. As for giving English language books to Swedish children, there is a thin line between the books being too childish or the English too hard. If I can’t give these books to someone now, it’ll have to be the…
  • Potty

    21 Jul 2014 | 9:21 pm
    They are, when it comes to royal princes. After The Queen’s Knickers (how very dare they?) and The Royal Nappy, Nicholas Allan has come up with The Prince and the Potty. Now, do we have a royal baby birthday coming up, or not? (It’s today.) It stands to reason that a boy who had to have a royal nappy must be equally regal in the potty department. There are lots of potties. Some are better than others. But when you are out representing great-grandma you can occasionally be caught short, in which case any potty will do. Even an ordinary one. Michael Rosen has been known to be…
  • Those who have nothing

    20 Jul 2014 | 9:42 pm
    To continue with my book-eating shark topic, I was reading Den luttrade bibliotekarien’s blog and what she gave up on reading. Like many others, she has only more recently begun allowing herself to give up on books. It made me think of what we used to say back in the late 1960s; ‘eat up’ and think of the poor starving children in Biafra. Not quite sure how me stuffing myself with food I didn’t want, was supposed to help those with no food. Reading to the end could almost be the same idea. You should be grateful you have a book, however bad or boring it might be,…
  • Books I have eaten

    19 Jul 2014 | 9:33 pm
    I mean read. Of course I do. The thing is, I have been let down twice in a row here, and I have nothing for you. Put one book on hold, and put one book down. Although not literally. I just saw no point in continuing. So while I swelter in the summer weather, I can only offer you teeth. Not reviews.
  • Some Edinburgh trams for you

    18 Jul 2014 | 9:26 pm
    What enabled us to waste all that time on the coffee with the ridiculously large dollop of whipped cream for the Resident IT Consultant, was the fact that he insisted on getting to the airport the long way round. I mean, why spend 30 minutes when you could make it last almost two hours? So, we got the train and then got on the famous Edinburgh tram. Which is now actually running. It can’t have taken them more than ten years to build. It’s a very strange feeling to look down the tram tracks and see an actual live tram coming towards your stop. Almost as if you were in Manchester,…
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    Confessions of a Bibliovore

  • Book Review: While We Run by Karen Healey

    19 Jul 2014 | 12:01 pm
    Book: While We RunAuthor: Karen HealeyPublished: 2014Source: ARC from a friendIn 2127, Tegan Oglietti is a symbol of hope for the world. The first girl ever to wake from cryonic suspension, she tours internationally, along with her boyfriend, Djiboutian music sensation Abdi Taalib. They're fundraising for the Ark Project, a spaceship that will take cryonically frozen humanity to the stars.Except that it's all a lie.Captured by the government shortly after the events of When We Wake, Tegan and Abdi are held prisoner, subject to brutal physical and psychological torture if they don't do and say…
  • Book Review: Temple Grandin by Sy Montgomery

    12 Jul 2014 | 11:23 pm
    Book: Temple Grandin: how the girl who loved cows embraced autism and changed the worldAuthor: Sy MontgomeryPublished: 2012Source: Local LibraryTemple Grandin was different from every other kid she knew. She could zero in on the tiniest details, but missed the subtleties of body language. Things that didn't faze them caused her intense distress, but she could work all night and day on her out-of-the-box inventions. Her mom and friends knew that she would grow up to be something special - but what?If you were to ask the average person on the street to give the first name that they associated…
  • Book Review: The Fire Horse Girl by Kay Honeyman

    5 Jul 2014 | 8:42 pm
    Book: The Fire Horse GirlAuthor: Kay HoneymanPublished: 2013Source: Local LibraryJade Moon is the unluckiest zodiac combination for a Chinese girl: a Fire Horse. Stubborn, argumentative, hot-tempered, a Fire Horse girl is a curse on her family because she can never conform to the ideals of Chinese womanhood. And nobody in Jade Moon's household or village will ever let her forget it.When a handsome young man named Sterling Promise offers her and her father the chance to go to America, Jade Moon thinks it's a new chance at a life she never could have lived in China. But a long sea voyage ends…
  • Reading Roundup: June 2014

    1 Jul 2014 | 10:32 pm
    By the Numbers Teen: 13 Tween: 7 Children: 0 Sources Review Copies: 4 Purchased: 1 Library: 12 StandoutsTeen: TIE While We Run by Karen Healey The link leads to my 48-HBC entry, which kinda says what needs to be said. Until the full review goes up, anyway. To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han When all her old love letters go out to the boys who were never supposed to see them, Lara Jean deals with the consequences. Equally as interesting, at least to me, was the subplot about her trying to step into her older sister's mother-figure shoes and keep the family together. Tween: Ask My…
  • Book Review: Revenge of the Flower Girls by Jennifer Ziegler

    28 Jun 2014 | 9:36 pm
    Book: Revenge of the Flower GirlsAuthor: Jennifer ZieglerPublished: 2014Source: review copy from publisher via NetGalley.comTriplets Dawn, Delaney, and Darby are shocked to learn that their adored big sister, Lily, is getting married to her dull, allergy-ridden, armadillo-looking boyfriend, Burton. Disaster! Calamity! Unthinkable! They just know that it will be the biggest mistake of Lily's life.Burton is booooring. His favorite president is Franklin Pierce. He got them sparkly buzzing toy cats meant for six-year-olds. He looks like an armadillo. Worst of all, he doesn't make Lily happy, they…
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    ReadPlus Review Blog

  • The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet by Bernie Su and Kate Rorick

    23 Jul 2014 | 7:47 am
    Simon and Schuster, 2014. ISBN: 9781471123221. Recommended for readers 15+. Based on the Emmy Award-winning YouTube series The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, a modern day depiction of the Pride and Prejudice story. The enigmatic Elizabeth of old becomes a twenty four year old grad student, Lizzie Bennet, who is still living at home along with her two sisters - beautiful Jane and reckless Lydia. The absence of the superfluous two Bennet sisters is indicative of the style of the book. Lizzie records her reflections on life for her thesis project and posts them on YouTube, turning the Bennet sisters…
  • Workshopping the heart: New and selected poems by Jerri Kroll

    23 Jul 2014 | 7:46 am
    Wakefield Press, 2014. ISBN 9781743051283. (Age: Upper secondary students) Well recommended. This caressing, probing, melodic and challenging volume of stream of consciousness poetry invites the reader to participate in the wealth of variety encompassed here. The subjects are wide and varied, from 'Death as Mr Right' to 'Indian Movies', 'Monster Love', 'House Arrest', 'The Mother Workshops' and 'New Poems' Each poem invokes a particular personal memory and emotion in the reader. It's a sensitive and challenging way to look at human relationships. 'House Arrest' is such a surprise but so…
  • Supertato by Sue Hendra

    23 Jul 2014 | 7:45 am
    Simon and Schuster, 2014. ISBN 9780857074478. (Age: 3-5) Recommended. Humour, Wordplay. Another in a line of books by Sue Hendra, using words as a ploy to make the readers laugh, will appeal to a younger audience, just coming to grips with language an its many uses and meanings. The preceding titles, Barry the fish with fingers, Norman the slug with the silly shell amongst others are laugh out loud stories that will engage their readers. When mayhem occurs in the supermarket late one night, the carrot, broccoli and cucumber call on Supertato for help. He quickly appraises the situation…
  • Let's play by Gabriel Alborozo

    23 Jul 2014 | 7:41 am
    Allen & Unwin, 2014. ISBN 9781743316283. (Ages: 2-8) Recommended. Picture book. Let's Play is a delightful introduction to many of the instruments that make up the orchestra. Hosted by a moustachioed, music loving maestro, a group of delighted children discover the sounds and colour of orchestral music. Starting with black and white line drawings of our bespectacled, baton wielding teacher and the children, each instrument is introduced and played with the sound represented by shapes and colour to the entertainment of the children and who dance and join in playing. From the bright yellow…
  • Too hot for spots by Mini Goss

    23 Jul 2014 | 7:38 am
    Allen and Unwin, 2014. ISBN 9781743435410. Recommended for children aged 3+. Too Hot for Spots is a lovely picture book with bright, real life photos to help tell the story. Barry and Stella are dogs and in this story they are taking turns to be the doctor or the patient. The story is told through a conversation between the two characters and will be a great book for parents to read with their children. The images have all the tools a doctor needs and are great discussion points. It would also be a good story to use during oral language in a reception class. Kylie Kempster
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    I'm Here. I'm Queer. What the Hell do I read?

  • Gender 101, Episode #14 Redux:

    Lee Wind, M.Ed.
    23 Jul 2014 | 3:03 am
    This post was originally published on Oct 19, 2011.So this past weekend I did my Smashing Stereotypes workshop at the Los Angeles Models of Pride conference, the largest queer and allied youth conference ever - with over 1,100 young people attending, and separate tracks for parents and educators. My workshop went great - overflowing the seats available, and we all had a great shared experience.It was an amazing day (I kept thinking how this would have rocked my world when I was a teen) - and at the lunchtime resource fair, I ran into a good is a super resource.One of my…
  • Progress: A Shout out to People Magazine's May Profile of "Online Dating's Most Wanted: Sexiest Singles Alive!"

    Lee Wind, M.Ed.
    21 Jul 2014 | 9:43 am
    Amid all the challenging news of the summer, this piece in People Magazine (you can see the online version here) made me ridiculously happy...Four of the seven online dating sites profiled included men looking for men or women looking for women. And out of the nineteen people profiled and shown, seven were out and looking for their Lesbian, Gay or Bi special someone...I'm certainly not looking (love you, husband!) but I keep thinking how this would have ROCKED MY WORLD as a teen. To see these people proudly looking for love - the kind of love I so deeply and secretly yearned for - and to have…
  • Archenemy - Teen Girl Soccer and Unrequited Love

    Lee Wind, M.Ed.
    18 Jul 2014 | 3:05 am
    Archenemy by Paul HoblinAs a defender for the Fraser High girls soccer team, biracial Addie used to be ready for anything. There was no play she couldn't shut down. But now the biggest threat on the field is one of her teammates . . . who is also Addie's former best friend. When Eva Riley moved to town, she and Addie became super close. They even came out to each other, about liking girls... But when Eva wanted to be more than "just friends," Addie put soccer first instead.Suddenly Eva's sending Addie mean notes. Then she's screwing up Addie's plays. After a while, Addie's not sure she even…
  • Gender 101, Episode #13 Redux: Presenting & Passing

    Lee Wind, M.Ed.
    16 Jul 2014 | 3:03 am
    Join me as I continue the conversation with Benji, my gender-variant friend, as we dive into the issues of "presenting" - as cis or trans or other, and "passing" - being perceived as non-queer when you are queer. We even play with the lexicon, minting some new words to describe love:You can get those "Legalize Trans" t-shirts Benji mentioned here.I'm learning so much from these discussions (I'd never even heard of Queer Femme before.) Fascinating stuff!Thanks, Benji.Namaste,LeeYou can check out the original post here.
  • George Takei's fascinating talk: "Why I love a country that once betrayed me"

    Lee Wind, M.Ed.
    14 Jul 2014 | 3:00 am
    This TEDx talk by George Takei is really powerful - and it made me even more proud to, like him, work towards a better America.Thanks, George!
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    Literacy, families and learning

  • Corporal Punishment in Schools: Can it be Justified?

    Trevor Cairney
    17 Jul 2014 | 6:04 am
    Kevin Donnelly, the co-chair of the Australian Federal Government's national curriculum review has backed the use of corporal punishment for ill-disciplined children in schools as long as the local school and community supports it. Not surprisingly, there has been widespread comment in Australian media. I'm old enough to have experienced 'corporal punishment' in the school. In fact as a young child I had been caned 39 times by the time I reached 3rd grade. I have interesting memories of it. First, my most vivid recollection is of the keen rivalry I had with another boy who was caned almost as…
  • 20 Great Travel Games for Children (& Adults)

    Trevor Cairney
    10 Jul 2014 | 2:39 am
    I've done posts on travel games for children before and now seems a good time for another. In Australia most schools are closed for a short winter break and in the Northern Hemisphere it's the long summer break. There is a good chance that many readers will find themselves in cars or buses with children at some stage.While these days we have videos in cars, ipods for personalized music and varied tablets that allow children to play games individually, no trip would be complete without some group games. Don't avoid them! They're fun and they teach!Above: Photo courtesy of the Australian…
  • Experiencing Poetry Rather Than 'Torturing' It!

    Trevor Cairney
    3 Jul 2014 | 6:54 pm
    I've written before about the power of poetry (HERE) and regularly review good poetry books on this blog. Poetry is to be read, listened to, experienced and enjoyed. It can amuse, entertain, challenge, teach and change us. Our aim as teachers and parents should be to seek to share good poetry often, and help children to 'experience' poems as significant literary and life events. Ariel Sacks recently wrote a great post in which she reminded us of this simple truth. In response to the post one of her readers in turn reminded us of Billy Collins great poem on poetry (William Collins was Poet…
  • Why dialogue is important to comprehension development

    Trevor Cairney
    25 Jun 2014 | 8:03 pm
    This is a reprise of a post I wrote in 2011, which was based on an idea I first devised in the 1980s. Back then I was challenging teachers to consider the importance of what I called 'Text Talk'. I wrote about it at the time in a number of publications, including my book 'Teaching Reading Comprehension: Meaning Makers at Work' (Continuum). I was trying to challenge teachers to consider using more than just the classic IRE form of questioning. The Initiate-Response-Evaluate (IRE) approach is probably the most common approach to comprehension. Typically, the teacher leads a discussions and asks…
  • Getting Children of All Ages Excited About Shakespeare

    Trevor Cairney
    15 Jun 2014 | 4:00 pm
    I've written previously on this blog about the value of Shakespeare for children of all ages, even primary school children (HERE). I grew up in a home where books weren't read to or with me, so reading was not a pleasurable pursuit at home. So there was little chance that I was ever going to meet Shakespeare until forced to read it at High School. What a terrible way to be introduced to some of the world's greatest literature.  I found English classes boring and seemingly unrelated to my life.  Not surprisingly, I found Shakespeare's plays remote and of little interest. And yet…
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    The Book Chook

  • Children’s Book Review, The Fantastic Jungles of Henri Rousseau

    22 Jul 2014 | 12:00 pm
    Children's Book Review by Susan Stephenson, www.thebookchook.comWhen I was a teen, I discovered that I loved naive art. To this day I am unsure why. I love the simple, whimsical view of life such illustrations depict, the way they offer a child-like perspective on what they portray. In Rousseau's case, I adored the colour, the vibrancy and the fantastical landscapes. So it was with excitement and keen anticipation that I received my review copy of The Fantastic Jungles of Henri Rousseau. Written by Michelle Markel, and illustrated by Amanda Hall, it was published by William B. Eerdmans…
  • April - June 2014 Children’s App Reviews and Articles at The Book Chook

    20 Jul 2014 | 12:00 pm
    April - June 2014 Children’s App Reviews and Articles at The Book Chookby Susan Stephenson, www.thebookchook.comLast year I did a big round-up of my 2013 iPad app reviews. Earlier this year I gathered my reviews from January to March 2014 into one post for ease of browsing. Today I’m rounding up my app reviews (mostly iPad, with one Mac app) and an article about apps for digital storytelling - all published between April and June 2014. Today I’m doing this in style with the help of a Listly gallery. The Gallery option that comes with Listly Pro means I get to embed the list I created on…
  • Last Minute Ideas for Children’s Book Week 2014

    17 Jul 2014 | 12:00 pm
    Last Minute Ideas for Children’s Book Week 2014 by Susan Stephenson, www.thebookchook.comAs usual, although I published a huge list of ideas and activities to help celebrate Children’s Book Week 2014, I’ve come across more wonderful ideas. I’m publishing them here in the hope it will help you and your kids connect to reading! If you missed the free PDF quizzes I created for Children’s Book Week, scroll down to find them here. Find another class to connect with via the Book Week for Beginners Wiki. Consider swapping book reviews, Skyping for a book chat, sharing class blogs, even…
  • Children’s Book Review, A New Friend for Marmalade

    15 Jul 2014 | 12:00 pm
    Children's Book Review by Susan Stephenson, www.thebookchook.comI’ve previously reviewed A Year with Marmalade so I was delighted to see Marmalade the cat was back in a new children’s picture book. A New Friend for Marmalade was written by Alison Reynolds, illustrated by Heath McKenzie and published by Five Mile Press (2014). This is a story about friendship. It’s about accepting new friends, even when they do things a little differently from you.It’s a story about facing danger which can be overcome with just a little co-operation.And it all revolves around a special little cat…
  • Helping Kids to Infer

    13 Jul 2014 | 12:00 pm
    Helping Kids to Infer by Susan Stephenson, www.thebookchook.comThere’s something in all of us that loves to follow clues and solve problems. Kids are no different, and it’s easy to capitalise on this when teaching them to make inferences. Inferring is vitally important in helping kids to make sense of what they read.When we infer, we actually read what’s not there! We read between the lines and work out what’s implied in a text. For example, we might make connections with our own lives to infer what a character’s feelings or motives might be, or predict what will happen next in a…
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    Gail Carson Levine

  • Defined by decisions

    23 Jul 2014 | 5:01 am
    Before the post, this is a call for questions. My long list is running down. I know I don’t add every question that comes in to my list. Some I don’t have a lot to say about, or I may have answered something similar recently. But if there’s anything about writing that plagues or confuses you or that you’ve always wondered about, this is a good time to ask. Poetry questions also welcome.On April 5, 2014, Farina wrote, If you have a character's, well, characteristics down in a description of him, can you give some advice for then writing that person in their own character, showing off…
  • Subplots and Slow-Cooking Romance

    9 Jul 2014 | 5:04 am
    On March 29, 2014, maybeawriter wrote, I noticed that I tend to rush through subplots. For example, in one story, I have my two MCs falling in love. They meet the first day, then they're already friends with hints of romance by the end of the second. I know shared life-threatening experiences tend to help people bond quickly, but it seems somehow too fast to me. In the same story, I have a (fundamentally good) character who considers himself a super villain, and I think he abandons his life philosophy too quickly. I think both subplots need to be slowed down. Any thoughts on how to pace…
  • Deadly but likable hero

    25 Jun 2014 | 7:18 am
    Here–ta da!–is the reveal of the cover for Writer to Writer, from Think to Ink:And here’s the new cover for Writing Magic:On March 23, 2014, Kenzi Anne wrote, So I have a predicament... The villain in my story needs to lose, and I was initially going to have him die. Unfortunately, I need the heroine of my story to be the one to defeat the villain, but I'm not sure how to do that without having my heroine outright kill the villain herself. I feel like she wouldn't be much of a hero since killing really isn't moral or likable for a heroic character...any thoughts?Elisa opined, Well,…
  • Memorable moments

    11 Jun 2014 | 5:17 am
    We’re in primrose and rhododendron heaven at our house. The primroses are like flower fireworks: one tier of flowers opens, then the next above it. If you’d like to see, just click on David’s website on the right.And there seems to be a new promotional thing in the publishing world: the cover reveal. I had never heard of it, but now I’m involved. Writing Magic is getting a new cover to go with the forthcoming Writer to Writer, and I will reveal both–ta da!–the next time I post, and you will be among the first to see Eliza’s great subtitle as it will appear.Now for this week’s…
  • Otherworldly and unique

    28 May 2014 | 7:09 am
    On February 9, 2014, Michelle Dyck wrote, I've been working on a fantasy series for several years now. (And book one has undergone massive changes and rewrites, which means that the following books will need the same once I get back to them!) The majority of the series takes place in another world. Anyway, I've been wondering about whether my main "good guy" nation is unique enough... vivid enough... real enough. This would be an easier problem to fix if I was in the beginning stages of writing about it -- but I'm not. Does anyone have any tips for making an otherworldly culture and geography…
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