Children's Literature

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  • Dear Author, Whose Book I Read and May Have Negatively Reviewed, Your Anger Will Not Silence Me.

    Finding Wonderland: The WritingYA Weblog
    21 Oct 2014 | 3:36 pm
    By now, the flurry of comments on the Guardian essay of last week have turned into their own weather system. I won't link to or add to the storm, but should you want to sort of track the round-up, Leila has stood in the eye of the hurricane, Beth Revis has responded as an author, and Kelly Jensen has some good thoughts on blogger privacy. I was disappointed, though, to hear that a couple of bloggers are considering leaving blogging over this. I am... baffled. Okay, I know - I'm often baffled, but seriously, I don't understand. NOT that I don't get the fear that something like this could…
  • Pandora Jones: Deception by Barry Jonsberg

    ReadPlus Review Blog
    22 Oct 2014 | 12:59 pm
    Pandora Jones bk 2. Allen & Unwin, 2014. ISBN 9781743318126 (Age: 14+) Highly recommended. Thriller. Dystopian fiction. Pandemic. Survival. In Admission, the first in the series, Pandora has been admitted into The School, believing that her world had ended and that billions of people had died in a pandemic and the people at the school are the survivors that will enable the world to continue. In Deception, Pan teams up with Jen, a strong independent girl, to try and see if her fears that The School is betraying her and that her nightmares about everyone being dead have been implanted. Pan…
  • Here come the Yankees

    The Horn Book
    Elissa Gershowitz
    21 Oct 2014 | 9:44 am
    It’s not easy being a Yankees fan in Boston. Just ask my husband. Or Ben Affleck. (It’s ok, son. Let it out. We won’t judge. #dothprotesttoomuch) Here are three new children’s books that will have Yankees fans cheering. And not the Bronx cheer, either. Derek Jeter hung up his cleats earlier this year, and now he’s starting his own imprint. The Contract (written with Paul Mantell) is about a boy, named Derek Jeter, who chases his dreams of playing in the Major Leagues. According to an author’s note, it’s “based on some of my experiences growing…
  • Drawing Blind with Philip C. Stead

    Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast
    21 Oct 2014 | 11:01 pm
    “SEBASTIAN sat high on his roof—something he was never supposed to do.‘There is nothing to see on my street,’ he thought. ‘Nothing to see at all.’”(Click to enlarge)   Author-illustrator Phil Stead is visiting today to chat with me about his newest picture book, Sebastian and the Balloon, released by Neal Porter Books/Roaring Brook earlier this month. This is the story of a young boy who sets out on an adventure with “all the things he would ever need” and charts a course for the skies — in a balloon he’s built from his…
  • Review: Crossover

    A Chair, A Fireplace, & A Tea Cozy
    Liz B
    21 Oct 2014 | 1:00 am
    The Crossover by Kwame Alexander. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 2014. Reviewed from ARC.The Plot: Twelve year old twin brothers, Josh and Jordan Bell, are basketball players just like their father. And just like their father, they are GOOD.Josh loves basketball and words; he is the one telling the story, in a sequence of poems organized by sections as if it were a basketball game, starting with Warm Up, moving on to First Quarter, and ultimately ending with Overtime. His father loves music, giving Josh the nickname Filthy McNasty after a favorite song.His twin, Jordan, is JB, and loves…
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    The Horn Book

  • Here come the Yankees

    Elissa Gershowitz
    21 Oct 2014 | 9:44 am
    It’s not easy being a Yankees fan in Boston. Just ask my husband. Or Ben Affleck. (It’s ok, son. Let it out. We won’t judge. #dothprotesttoomuch) Here are three new children’s books that will have Yankees fans cheering. And not the Bronx cheer, either. Derek Jeter hung up his cleats earlier this year, and now he’s starting his own imprint. The Contract (written with Paul Mantell) is about a boy, named Derek Jeter, who chases his dreams of playing in the Major Leagues. According to an author’s note, it’s “based on some of my experiences growing…
  • Review of Into the Grey

    Deirdre Baker
    21 Oct 2014 | 9:30 am
    Into the Grey by Celine Kiernan Middle School, High School    Candlewick    295 pp. 8/14    978-0-7636-7061-0    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-0-7636-7409-0    $16.99 When their home burns down, twin teens Patrick and Dominick move with their family to the shabby seaside cottage where they usually spend summer holidays. Almost at once, Pat sees that Dom is being haunted by the ghost of a young boy, while Pat himself is visited by nightmares of a soldier drowning in the muddy trenches of World War I. Eventually Dom is utterly possessed by Francis, the ghost of a boy who died of…
  • Firebird: A Guest Post by Sam Bloom

    Sam Bloom
    21 Oct 2014 | 9:00 am
    Is it possible for a guy who has won three BGHB Honors, four Coretta Scott King Honors, and one Caldecott Honor (in 1998, for Harlem) to be underrated? Why yes, yes it is. Christopher Myers continues to fly under the radar every year when it comes to Caldecott buzz, but I’m guessing the real committee will take a good look at this one. Julie Danielson interviewed illustrator Myers and author/ballet dancer Misty Copeland at Kirkus a while back; it’s a great piece that is definitely worth a look. In it, Myers talks about how he decided on collage because it allowed him to “choreograph…
  • I don’t THINK anyone is trying to hunt me down

    Roger Sutton
    21 Oct 2014 | 8:27 am
    Last weekend my friend Lori was in town and we took the dogs for a walk in the schoolyard across the street. Three tween girls were hanging out on the jungle gym and as we passed they started whispering ostentatiously in our direction and laughing meanly. ‘Girls that age” said Lori, a middle-school math teacher in the Bronx, “are the worst.” That encounter stayed with me as I started exploring the saga of YA author Kathleen Hale and the Goodreads troll, which Hale described at great, great length in the Guardian. What did the editors think to let her go on for 5000…
  • Windows and mirrors book discussion

    Lolly Robinson
    21 Oct 2014 | 7:48 am
    Lauren had her first adolescent lit class last night at HGSE (Harvard Graduate School of Education). For last night’s class we talked about How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff. I love this part of a course when the students go from names and faces on a roster to real people with opinions about books. Lauren gave an excellent overview of literature for adolescents: the history, the jargon, the genres. For next Monday’s class the theme is Windows & Mirrors and they will all read Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. For their second book, they have a…
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    Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast

  • Drawing Blind with Philip C. Stead

    21 Oct 2014 | 11:01 pm
    “SEBASTIAN sat high on his roof—something he was never supposed to do.‘There is nothing to see on my street,’ he thought. ‘Nothing to see at all.’”(Click to enlarge)   Author-illustrator Phil Stead is visiting today to chat with me about his newest picture book, Sebastian and the Balloon, released by Neal Porter Books/Roaring Brook earlier this month. This is the story of a young boy who sets out on an adventure with “all the things he would ever need” and charts a course for the skies — in a balloon he’s built from his…
  • Seven Questions Over Breakfast with Stephanie Graegin

    21 Oct 2014 | 6:22 am
    Pictured above is the title page illustration from Nancy Van Laan’s Forget Me Not, released by Schwartz & Wade Books in August. This is the poignant and lovingly-rendered story of a young girl whose grandmother is experiencing significant memory loss. It slowly builds in the story — to the point where she is placed in an assisted living center, while her granddaughter watches with concern. The illustrations were rendered by my visitor today, Stephanie Graegin, pictured below. As you’ll read below, this is Stephanie’s fourth picture book. (Three were released last…
  • 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #402: Featuring David Mackintosh

    18 Oct 2014 | 11:01 pm
    (Click to enlarge) Happy Sunday, all … Right here over at BookPage, I reviewed Lucky from British designer and illustrator David Mackintosh, released by Abrams this month. Below, I’ve got some art from it, ’cause you know we just GOTTA take a peek inside the pages. (Click second image to see spread in its entirety)   (Click second image to see spread in its entirety)   “Leo says, In Hawaii, you drive around in golf carts and have spending money and drinks with fruit in them. And … There are erupting volcanoes there, with rivers of boiling lava and…
  • What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Jon Klassen

    17 Oct 2014 | 7:39 am
    “So they kept digging.”(Click to enlarge and see spread in its entirety)   “‘I have a new idea,’ said Dave. ‘Let’s split up.’ ‘Really?’ said Sam.‘Just for a little while,’ said Dave. ‘It will help our chances.’”(Click to enlarge and see spread in its entirety)   This morning over at Kirkus, I’ve got some good reads for Halloween — mostly picture books but a couple of books for older readers, too. That link is here. Since I wrote last week (here) about Mac Barnett’s Sam and…
  • The Coretta Scott King Awards Book Fair

    16 Oct 2014 | 7:31 am
    Ever heard of the Coretta Scott King Awards Book Fair? I hadn’t either till I took my children to one of these fairs in Nashville a few months back. Today at Kirkus, I talk to the Fair’s organizer, Collette Hopkins. She’s pictured above (second from the left) at this year’s Fair with Angelica Washington, author Sharon Draper, storyteller Mama Koku, and illustrator R. Gregory Christie. Collette talks about what the Fair is and how interested teachers and librarians can bring it to their city. That link is here. Image used with permission of Collette Hopkins.
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    Finding Wonderland: The WritingYA Weblog

  • Dear Author, Whose Book I Read and May Have Negatively Reviewed, Your Anger Will Not Silence Me.

    21 Oct 2014 | 3:36 pm
    By now, the flurry of comments on the Guardian essay of last week have turned into their own weather system. I won't link to or add to the storm, but should you want to sort of track the round-up, Leila has stood in the eye of the hurricane, Beth Revis has responded as an author, and Kelly Jensen has some good thoughts on blogger privacy. I was disappointed, though, to hear that a couple of bloggers are considering leaving blogging over this. I am... baffled. Okay, I know - I'm often baffled, but seriously, I don't understand. NOT that I don't get the fear that something like this could…
  • KidLitCon 2014: Further Thoughts (and Sketches)

    Sarah Stevenson
    20 Oct 2014 | 4:25 pm
    I meant to do this post last Thursday, but work spun dizzily out of my control, tossing me into a whirling black hole (do black holes whirl? I feel like they do) of getting-caught-up. Tanita's done some amazing posts with lovely photos of the KidLitCon last weekend, and while I can't compete with the photos (mainly because I forgot to take any...sigh) I do have a couple of quick sketches I did during sessions, which is a Thing I Do at Conferences when I'm not jotting notes. And I did jot notes, too, and was left with a lot of food for thought on blogging and on diversity.Charlotte of…
  • KidlitCon 2014: Notepad Forum, Part ii ~ The Weekend Word: "Appropriation"

    17 Oct 2014 | 3:45 pm
    This weekend's word is actually a phrase - Cultural Appropriation. I've blogged a bit about KidLitCon over the last week, and talked about how last weekend, Charlotte Taylor, our program director, came up with a great way to keep us thoughtful during those brief moments when people were at loose ends. She started a notepad conversation which was ongoing throughout the weekend, and one of the things on the pad was the somewhat plaintive question about how to judge cultural appropriation in fantasy. And the follow-up question someone else asked was even more direct: "Is using elements of…
  • KidlitCon, 2014: NOTEPAD FORUM, part i.

    15 Oct 2014 | 1:14 pm
    Charlotte Taylor, our program director, has clear Leadership Skillz, and came up with a great way to keep us thoughtful during those brief moments when people were at loose ends. She put a note pad up in the foyer space of the library, right next to one of the (oddly hidden) bathrooms, and put pens out. Just... a blank piece of paper, and some markers. And she wrote, "Ask some questions!" or something to that effect. And the weird thing is, people DID. Charlotte may have asked the first one, to get us started, but then other questions - and answers - and arrows appeared. It was probably just…
  • KidLitCon, 2014: A Retrospective, Part I

    14 Oct 2014 | 4:40 am
    KidLitCon: Brought to you by these fine people.l-r: Maureen Kearney, seated. Standing, me (aka tanita), Jen Robinson, Charlotte Taylor, Melissa Fox, Reshama Deshmukh, and Sarah, aka aquafortis. Can't remember the last time I was more excited that an event was finally here, and was so relieved to have it over. I had fun - and I'm so grateful for the co-chairs and the support of a great programming team, but planning a Con can drive you crazy, if you're a bit obsessive and a worrywart. I probably also drove Charlotte, Reshama, Melissa, Jen and Sarah equally mad, but there you have it: it's what…
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    A Chair, A Fireplace, & A Tea Cozy

  • Review: Crossover

    Liz B
    21 Oct 2014 | 1:00 am
    The Crossover by Kwame Alexander. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 2014. Reviewed from ARC.The Plot: Twelve year old twin brothers, Josh and Jordan Bell, are basketball players just like their father. And just like their father, they are GOOD.Josh loves basketball and words; he is the one telling the story, in a sequence of poems organized by sections as if it were a basketball game, starting with Warm Up, moving on to First Quarter, and ultimately ending with Overtime. His father loves music, giving Josh the nickname Filthy McNasty after a favorite song.His twin, Jordan, is JB, and loves…
  • Yes, I Am Afraid

    Liz B
    20 Oct 2014 | 9:29 am
    Daily, I do certain things that in the book reviewing world are acts of courage.I use my own name.While I omit specifics about my work and family and home, I don't make up alternate facts to create a public persona that will offer me more protection.I use my own photograph, which means I am recognized in public.I use my own mailing address with publishers and agents and other professional contacts.Part of this is because I wanted to use what I do here, online, professionally, for writing and professional activities and programs and workshops.Part of this is because of cost: being on a tight…
  • New Post: Bling Ring

    Liz B
    16 Oct 2014 | 1:00 am
    The Bling Ring: How a Gang of Fame-Obsessed Teens Ripped Off Hollywood and Shocked the World by Nancy Jo Sales. It Books. 2013. Library copy. Inspired film by the same name.The Bling Ring.It's About: The true story of how, in 2008 - 2009, a bunch of teens broke into the homes of their favorite celebrities and stole clothes and jewelry. The Bling Ring explores who those teens were, how they planned the crimes, and how they were caught.The Good: Both the film and the movie view this series of home robberies as an opportunity to examine entitlement celebrity fan culture. The teens…
  • Review: Complicit

    Liz B
    14 Oct 2014 | 1:00 am
    Complicit by Stephanie Kuehn. St. Martin's Griffin. 2014. Reviewed from ARC from publishers.The Plot: Two years ago, Jamie's older sister was sent to juvenile detention. She'd burnt down a neighbor's barn, killing several horses and injuring a young girl who'd tried to save those horses.Rumors have always swirled around Cate: she was that type of personality, that attracted and repelled and fascinated. And now... now she's been released.Jamie is afraid, to be honest. He's put that all behind him, what happened with Cate. What she did. He's been seeing someone to help. He lost his best…
  • Review: Longbourn

    Liz B
    10 Oct 2014 | 1:00 am
    Longbourn by Jo Baker. Vintage Reprint, 2014. Personal copy.The Plot: The story of Pride and Prejudice, told from the point of view of the servants.Sarah, one of the housemaids, is the main character -- and as she works long days, doing the laundry, cleaning the house, doing whatever is required -- she has her own dreams, her own hopes, and her own loves.The Good: I was lucky enough to "discover" Pride and Prejudice on my own. I was in high school, it was a book on the shelf at home, I was bored with nothing to read. (Seriously, you want your kids to read? Have plenty of books at home and let…
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    educating alice

  • Holly Black and the Twelfth Doctor

    22 Oct 2014 | 1:40 am
    Holly Black has joined a stellar line-up of children’s authors (to name a few: Children’s Laureate Malorie Blackman, Patrick Ness, Eoin Colfer and Neil Gaiman) who have each crafted a short tale for every incarnation of the eponymous Time Lord. When the original run of e-books ended in November of last year Matt Smith was the incumbent Doctor but now acting heavyweight Peter Capaldi has taken on the role it seems apt that he should be featured in a story. Black’s story, Lights Out, is unique in many respects. She had the exciting but “super intimidating” task of penning an adventure…
  • A Westing Game Movie Directed by Neil Patrick Harris with a Screenplay by Gillian Flynn?

    18 Oct 2014 | 1:07 am
    What book would you most like to see turned into a movie? I have, for years, been a bit obsessed with “The Westing Game,” by Ellen Raskin. It’s a young adult murder mystery, about a group of residents in an apartment building, the death of a millionaire in a mansion nearby and their trying to solve clues left by the deceased to win his inheritance. Apparently it has already been made into a movie, but not by me! I’m dying to direct a really dark, moody version of it. Then I read that Gillian Flynn, of “Gone Girl” fame, loved this book growing up, as well. So now my infatuation has…
  • Frank Cotrell Boyce on the Importance of Story

    17 Oct 2014 | 1:55 am
    I love visiting schools. There’s a humbling, Homeric magic in the sight of a crowd of children sitting down waiting to listen to your story. A few months ago, however, a lovely young NQT stepped between me and that crowd and said: “Now we are very lucky to have Frank with us today. We’re going to use our Listening Skills (she touched her ears) to try and spot his Wow Words (what?) and his Connectives so that we can appreciate how he builds the story.” Imagine going on a date with her. “We’re going to have some proteins. Some carbs – not too many – and conversation. If you make…
  • A Victorian Wild Thing, Lewis Carroll

    14 Oct 2014 | 2:43 am
    I admit to a particular fondness for subversive books and so Betsy Bird, Julie Danielson, and Peter Sieruta’s Wild Things! Acts of Mischief in Children’s Literature would have been right up my alley even if I hadn’t known the three authors long before the book came into being. And so I was pleased as punch when Betsy and Jules invited me to answer a few questions about someone who created my favorite subversive book, Lewis Carroll. We know that you’ve done a fair amount of research on Alice in Wonderland in your spare time so let’s find out some stories folks…
  • Girl (AKA Lena Dunham) Wants to Make “Catherine, Called Birdy” Movie

    13 Oct 2014 | 2:15 am
    Lena Dunham discussed a wide array of topics with writer and author Ariel Levy during the 15th annual New Yorker Festival on Friday night, including her aspirations to turn Karen Cushman’s “Catherine, Called Birdy” into a feature film….”It’s a really interesting examination of sort of like coming of age and what’s expected of teenage girls,” Dunham said. “I’m going to adapt it and hopefully direct it, I just need to find someone who wants to fund a PG-13 medieval movie.” From Lena Dunham Wants To Turn ‘Catherine, Called…
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    Chicken Spaghetti

  • Libraries, Peanut Butter, and Bears

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

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

    14 Feb 2014 | 8:16 am
    Announced this morning: the Children's and Young Adult Bloggers Literary Awards, a.k.a., the Cybils. You'll find many ideas for good reading in the lists of winners.  Take a look.
  • Norman's Best Books of 2013

    5 Jan 2014 | 1:49 pm
    Today I'm turning over the space to my husband, Norman Trepner, an avid reader and an all-around good guy. Take it away, Norm. Susan Once again Susan has asked me to share with her Chicken Spaghetti friends my favorite books I’ve read this past year, and once again I’m more than happy to comply! Three of my top ten books were stories about teens and tweens. A Tale for the Time Being, by Ruth Ozeki, is the story of a 16 year old Japanese girl who writes in her diary about her 104-year old Buddhist nun great-grandmother, and the book also tells of a woman in a remote British…
  • Thank You, Readers

    26 Nov 2013 | 7:32 am
    In the book What W.H. Auden Can Do For You (Princeton University Press, 2013), Alexander McCall Smith writes,  "[The poet W.H.] Auden reminds us to be grateful, and that is something that we increasingly need to be reminded of in a culture of expectations and entitlement." McCall laments a consumerist culture in which we're pushed to complain rather than express gratitude. But "Why not say thank you?" McCall Smith asks. He goes on to say that Auden's work points us in a appreciative direction because the poems after 1940 "tend to be poems of celebration,…
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    Chasing Ray

  • Celebrating Ballou Sr High School's library dynamo

    21 Oct 2014 | 2:17 am
    We are often asked why we have chosen to stay with Ballou Senior High School for our annual book fair. Prior to Ballou, Guys Lit Wire worked with a group serving juvenile offenders in Los Angeles and two schools on reservations in Arizona and New Mexico. While we certainly were happy to help those folks and felt that our book fairs did a lot of good and were appreciated, when we first teamed up with Ballou we quickly realized we had found a special situation. Melissa Jackson, the Library Media Specialist, loves her job and her enthusiasm is quite infectious. A look at the library's facebook…
  • Lizzie Borden, kick ass monster killer

    13 Oct 2014 | 10:06 pm
    Cherie Priest takes on an infamous American crime with Maplecroft, the first in the new Borden Dispatches series. She plants the reader in Falls Church, Massachusetts as Lizzie and her sister Emma stubbornly remain, living down the infamy of Lizzie's trial following the murder of their father and stepmother. Lizzie still has her axe, everybody thinks she did it and an air of mystery surrounds the comings and goings of the two women in Maplecroft, their impressive home. Then a whole bunch of monster killing happens and readers realize that whatever Lizzie Borden did or didn't do in real life…
  • Whew....catching up!

    8 Oct 2014 | 5:29 pm
    After two quick trips to points both east and west, here is the current status of my reading life: 1. Lies in the Dust: A Tale of Remorse from the Salem Witch Trials by Jakob Crane/Art by Tim Decker. This graphic novel tells the story of Ann Putnam Jr., 14 years after the trials. Ann was one of the girls at the center of the accusations that led to the deaths of the so many. I never knew that she felt remorse--honestly I never thought too much about what happened to any of the girls. Crane does a great job of pulling readers in to Anne's adult (and that of the siblings she raises) and shows…
  • When Mother is Mad: Parents with mental illness in YA literature

    8 Oct 2014 | 5:06 pm
    TROUBLED TEENS have always been present in literature, long before the current crop of vampires and dystopian futures provided window dressing for their fears and struggles. Tales of addiction and separation, abuse and abandonment, have always been a staple of the young-adult publishing market, and their enduring appeal is easy to explain: young people are hyper-alert to injustice and pain. Not only do they have to get through every day (as we all do), but they often find themselves in powerless positions where their pain is discounted by the adults around them. Contemporary realistic fiction…
  • Chasing Dogs by Jeff Schultz

    8 Oct 2014 | 5:01 pm
    After more than 30 years of being the official photographer for the Iditarod, Jeff Schultz has accumulated 50,000 pictures on every aspect of the race. In his recent book, "Chasing Dogs," he highlights many of the more arresting images, providing readers with an inside look at the working mushers, dogs and volunteers who make the race a success. He also shares decades of memories, which include a lot of time in airplanes flying over the trail and one nearly fatal crash near Golovin. As he recounts in the book, Schultz has flown both with pilots who were dedicated solely to moving him along…
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    Books for Boys - Children's Adventure & Mystery Author Max Elliot Anderson

  • Remember Your hardy Boys & Nancy Drew?

    20 Oct 2014 | 2:42 pm
    If you enjoyed the Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew when you were young, and want that same kind of reading experience for your children or grandchildren today, check out COVERSVIDEO
  • Working My Way Back

    16 Oct 2014 | 7:58 am
    Well, it's been a tough slog. This was my first major surgery so I didn't know exactly what to expect in the recovery and healing process. The early days had their ups and downs and my energy level still fluctuates. So far I haven't had any interest in writing, but expect that to come around in time.Yesterday I had an appointment with my surgeon for his follow-up and to have the stitches removed. Mine was the traditional, large incision for a burst appendix. He explained again, since the entire area was such a mess, filled with poisons and other nasty substances, that he felt it necessary to…
  • First Major Surgery Of My Life

    12 Oct 2014 | 10:07 am
    A week ago tomorrow - at 1 AM - I found myself in an operating room with a burst appendix. I spent 2 1/2 days in the hospital and have been recovering at home since.  The process has had its ups and downs, and at my age is slower than if this had happened in my teens or twenties when it usually occurs. This was my first major surgery, and it was done in the old school way of a large incision, so I don't have any other real-world experience with which to compare it.Hopefully I'll be back to causing trouble again real soon but I wanted everyone to know why it's been so quiet from this…
  • Understanding Today's Young Readers

    29 Sep 2014 | 4:44 pm
     Understanding Today's Young Readers - find my article in Valley Living Magazine, page 30 at Amazon Author Page
  • Mysteries & Adventures on Kindle plus Reviews

    22 Sep 2014 | 11:04 am
    Kids' middle grade mysteries and adventures on Kindle over 60 pages of reviews COVERSVIDEO
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    Wands and Worlds

  • Cybils Nomination Suggestions!

    15 Oct 2014 | 9:07 pm
    Wednesday is the last day for Cybils Awards nominations, and there are still eligible books that haven't been nominated that maybe should be considered. If you're looking for something to nominate, here are some suggestions that might jog your memory. See this post for information on eligibility and how to nominate.Young Adult Speculative FictionChasing Powerby Sarah Beth DurstISBN 978-0802737557Published today (October 14), but still within the eligibility window.Amazon linkHas now been nominated.The Truth Against the Worldby Sarah Jamila StevensonISBN 978-0738740584Amazon…
  • Calling all bloggers!

    25 Aug 2014 | 9:59 am
    If you blog about children's and/or YA books, whether on your own blog or a group blog, the Cybils Awards need you! We're currently accepting applications for judges for the 2014 Cybils Awards season, which will run from October 1, 2014 through February 14, 2015. It's a lot of work and takes up a lot of time, but it's oh, so worth it for a chance to read and discuss books with other like-minded bloggers. I've learned so much from my fellow judges in the years that I've been a judge, and some of them have become dear friends.I am again the Category Chair for YA Speculative Fiction, as I have…
  • Book Review: Chorus by Emma Trevayne

    13 Jun 2014 | 1:24 pm
    Chorus(Sequel to Coda)by Emma TrevayneNote: Chorus is the sequel to Coda, and this review will contain spoilers for Coda. If you haven't read Coda and want to avoid spoilers, you might not want to read this review. If you're looking for an awesome YA dystopian novel with a unique premise (controlling the population with addictive music) and a diverse cast, go forth and read Coda! You won't be sorry.Eight years have passed since Anthem led the movement to defeat the Corp and stop their use of mind-controlling music tracks on the population of the Web. During the battle, the Corp used Anthem's…
  • Book Review: Raging Star (Dust Lands Book 3) by Moira Young

    7 Jun 2014 | 6:07 am
    Raging Star (Dust Lands Book 3) by Moira YoungNew Eden is a paradise: a fertile land surrounded by post-apocalyptic wastelands. New Eden holds promise and hope for the future, and one man, DeMalo, who calls himself The Pathfinder, has a vision of leading humanity into that future. DeMalo feels that the future belongs to the strong, that only the strong and healthy can bring about a utopian future. In DeMalo's New Eden, those not strong and healthy enough to be among the chosen are either exiled, enslaved, or put to death.Saba and her friends, including her twin brother Lugh and…
  • The Stark Law (Game of Thrones)

    2 Jun 2014 | 4:08 pm
    The Stark Law: No two living Starks can ever occupy the same place at the same time.Corollary: If any Stark is approaching a location where another Stark currently resides, the resident Stark will either leave or be killed.
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    American Indians in Children's Literature (AICL)

  • K.V. Flynn's ON THE MOVE

    21 Oct 2014 | 5:38 pm
    There's a lot to like about K.V. Flynn's On The Move. As far as I know, Flynn is not Native. His main character, Callum, isn't Native either, but a Native kid named Obbie figures prominently in this middle grade story set in California. He's not the sidekick who will be the first to die. He's the real deal. That is, a Native kid who is grounded in his identity as a Native kid. It is a natural part of who he is--which is, one of several boys who hang out together. They are skateboarders.  In the first three chapters, we learn that Obbie is Native and that he spends his…

    21 Oct 2014 | 11:04 am
    Maira Kalman's Thomas Jefferson, Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Everything got starred reviews from Kirkus and Booklist. Horn Book noted its candor and substance, and The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books praised Kalman's candid discussion of Jefferson's contradictory views about slavery.Me? The title alone brought me up short. As far as I've read, no one else has noted the title.Apparently, the author, her editor and publisher, and obviously the reviewers, did not think how a Native person--especially one whose ancestor's were removed from their homelands--would…
  • Author Studies, Kathleen Hale, Native authors

    20 Oct 2014 | 1:45 pm
    Last week, the Guardian published an article by Kathleen Hale that detailed how she had stalked a blogger who wrote a negative review of her book. Understandably, the article prompted a great deal of conversation on social media, with many bloggers expressing fear about being stalked.Amongst the responses to Hale were ones that said that reviews are about books, not their authors, and that an author should not take reviews personally. A book, some say, stands alone. The author does not matter.I appreciate that response but am hitting the pause button. Here's why.Teachers assign author…
  • Carole Lindstrom's GIRLS DANCE, BOYS FIDDLE

    14 Oct 2014 | 11:53 am
    Sometimes I read a children's book and start digging in a bit to do a review, and I find that my heart is soaring, and that I'm sitting here with a grin on my face. That is how I feel, writing this blog post, about Carole Lindstrom's Girls Dance, Boys Fiddle. Her story is about a girl named Metisse who doesn't want to dance. She wants to fiddle! Here's the cover of the book:Her mom and dad, her brother, kids at school... they all tell her she can't fiddle. Girls, they say, have to dance. Her mom is teaching her how, and, gives her the shawl Memere (her grandma) wore when she first did…
  • THE GUARDIAN errs in its list of 50 best culturally diverse children's books

    14 Oct 2014 | 4:01 am
    Yesterday (October 13, 2014), The Guardian ran an article titled Diverse voices: the 50 best culturally diverse children's books.I don't know all the books on the list, but I do know two that shouldn't be on any list of culturally diverse books.Culturally diverse books must not have stereotypes!Amazing Grace is in the Early Years section of the article. Its selling point is its theme: "we can be anything we want to be." Many find that theme disingenuous. While we want to encourage children to persevere, we also must be mindful of realities. We live in racist societies. Studies show that…
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  • Sisters by Raina Telgemeier

    17 Oct 2014 | 9:21 pm
    When Raina was little, she begged her parents for a sister. She thought a sister would be the best thing the world.And then she got one.Fast forward a decade, when Raina, her siblings, and her mother take a road trip from San Francisco to Colorado for a family reunion. Headphones help Raina tune out her family's bickering and blathering. But when she blocks out the world, Raina runs the risk of missing important things happening around her. Road trips canbring out both the best and worst in people. Things along the way remind Raina of previous events, and the flashbacks add to the story,…
  • Poetry Friday: Good Hours by Robert Frost

    17 Oct 2014 | 6:01 am
    I had for my winter evening walk-No one at all with whom to talk,But I had the cottages in a rowUp to their shining eyes in snow.And I thought I had the folk within:I had the sound of a violin;I had a glimpse through curtain lacesOf youthful forms and youthful faces.I had such company outward bound.I went till there were no cottages found.I turned and repented, but coming backI saw no window but that was black.Over the snow my creaking feetDisturbed the slumbering village streetLike profanation, by your leave,At ten o’clock of a winter eve.- Good Hours by Robert FrostView all posts…
  • Courtney Sheinmel's Website

    16 Oct 2014 | 6:51 pm
    I'm super happy to reveal the new look of Courtney Sheinmel's website! Courtney is the author of My So-Called Family, Positively, Sincerely, All the Things You Are, and the Stella Batts series. Courtney's forthcoming young adult novel Edgewater, called a "YA Grey Gardens," will be available in 2015.Please visit
  • Wild Things! by Betsy Bird, Julie Danielson, and Peter D. Sieruta

    11 Oct 2014 | 3:32 pm
    If you are fond of anecdotes and children's literature, pick up WILD THINGS! Acts of Mischief in Children's Literature, written by Betsy Bird, Julie Danielson, and the late Peter D. Sieruta. Packed from cover-to-cover with funny stories and little known facts about famous authors, secret feuds, inspired illustrations, and classic characters, this is a great resource for readers and writers alike.This fun book contains true tales, the stories behind the stories. If you've read up on your favorite classic authors, you may already be familiar with some of these occurrences, such as the chapters…
  • Poetry Friday: For Women Who Are Difficult to Love by Warsan Shire

    10 Oct 2014 | 6:00 am
    You are a horse running aloneand he tries to tame youcompares you to an impossible highwayto a burning housesays you are blinding himthat he could never leave youforget youwant anything but youyou dizzy him, you are unbearable...-- There's more. Listen to the entire piece as performed by the author:If you can't see the video player above, you may watch video on YouTube or Vimeo.My favorite lines of the poem arrive at the end:you can’t make homes out of human beingssomeone should have already told you thatand if he wants to leavethen let him leaveyou are terrifyingand strange and…
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    Jen Robinson's Book Page

  • H2O: Virginia Bergin

    Jen Robinson
    21 Oct 2014 | 8:15 am
    Book: H2O Author: Virginia Bergin Pages: 336 Age Range: 12 and up Virginia Bergin's H2O is a young adult novel about an apocalypse that occurs when rain turns deadly, leaving only 0.27% of the population alive. I have mixed feelings about this book. I found the first-person narrator, Ruby, off-putting, and her chatty narrative style (with many diversions) annoying. And yet ... I couldn't put the book down, and consumed it in record time.  The plot of H2O carries echoes of various other apocalyptic survival stories (the loss of the immediate family, the quest to find a lost relative, the…
  • The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus: Jen Bryant & Melissa Sweet

    Jen Robinson
    20 Oct 2014 | 8:36 am
    Book: The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus Author: Jen Bryant Illustrator: Melissa Sweet Pages: 42 Age Range: 7 and up The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus is a picture book biography written by Jen Bryant and illustrated by Melissa Sweet. The publisher lists it for ages 7 and up, which seems about right to me. It's quite dense, and full of lists and historical tidbits that make it likely over the heads of younger readers. But for elementary age kids, and adults for that matter, particularly those who appreciate words and lists, The Right Word is simply a delight. This book made…
  • Sky Jumpers Book 2: The Forbidden Flats: Peggy Eddleman

    Jen Robinson
    17 Oct 2014 | 9:58 am
    Book: Sky Jumpers Book 2: The Forbidden Flats (iBooks link) Author: Peggy Eddleman Pages: 272 Age Range: 9-12 The Forbidden Flats is the second book in Peggy Eddleman's Sky Jumpers series (my review of Book 1 is here). Both books are set in a relatively near-term post-apocalyptic American West. One of the oldest adults remembers the pre-apocalyptic world, but most characters were born afterwards. Only small, spread out communities survive, with no means of communication between them. The Forbidden Flats begins with an earthquake, which sets off a reaction that threatens the survival of…
  • Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: October 17

    Jen Robinson
    17 Oct 2014 | 8:03 am
    Here are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage. Please note that I am NOT sharing the many, many tweets that I posted during last weekend's KidLitCon. You can see those by following the #KidLitCon hashtag. Links to KidLitCon roundups from other people's blogs can be found on this Kidlitosphere Central post (which I will continue to update). I'm also not sharing here various links that I shared to posts with suggested Cybils nominations, since nominations for the Cybils Awards have closed. What I do have by way of links this week is many book lists, plus…
  • Unmade (The Lynburn Legacy Book 3): Sarah Rees Brennan

    Jen Robinson
    16 Oct 2014 | 9:13 am
    Book: Unmade (The Lynburn Legacy, Book 3) (iBooks link) Author: Sarah Rees Brennan Pages: 384 Age Range: 12 and up Unmade is the conclusion of Sarah Rees Brennan's Lynburn Legacy trilogy, following Unspoken and Untold. I read a lot of books, but the Lynburn Legacy series has stayed in my head more than most. I think this is due to a combination of Brennan's strongly rendered Gothic tone, and her deep characterization of primary and secondary characters. The Lynburn Legacy series is about a teen named Kami who lives in an English town historically ruled by the Lynburn family of sorcerers. When…
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    Writing and Ruminating

  • Good news Monday

    20 Oct 2014 | 9:16 am
    First, and most importantly, I hope that you receive some good news today, wherever you may be. I have an abundance of it today, though one piece I found out about on Friday evening. I am still so happy about it, though, that I am sharing it here.My chapbook, The Universe Comes Knocking, has been accepted for publication by Maverick Duck Press. Maverick Duck Press is a small press founded in 2005 to "give a voice to undiscovered talent in poetry." They specialize in small, limited-edition print runs of chapbooks, including those of some local poets I really admire, including Kendall Bell,…
  • Over at Guys Lit Wire

    15 Oct 2014 | 8:02 am
    I was late in getting my post for Guys Lit Wire up yesterday, so I don't want to be remiss in sharing it here. Especially since it's about meditation, a topic near and dear to me. The book I reviewed this month is Success Through Stillness: Meditation Made Simple by Russell Simmons. Yes, that Russell Simmons.I purchased my copy from Barnes & Noble, and was very glad to have done so. (It was a special preorder that came signed.)
  • Hoping for some good mail

    13 Oct 2014 | 2:36 pm
    Aren't we all? I'm sure I don't have to tell you what "good mail" is, but it does come in a variety of forms. Unexpected gifts or notes/letters/cards from friends and relatives are definitely up there. Also? Checks, or other versions of money. Who doesn't consider receiving money "good mail"? Also-also, acceptances for manuscripts or poems sent out into the world. Today, I sent a few poems out into the world. There are others already out there, of course, and I'm hoping for good news about them, rather than the alternative. (I've received some of those of late, but I try not to dwell on…
  • Creativity is a fickle thing

    11 Oct 2014 | 8:23 am
    At least sometimes. Mind you, I am firmly of the "show up every day and put in time and good things will happen in your work" camp, at least in principle, since I don't always manage to show up daily. But I set myself three modest goals for the month of October. They sound bigger than they really, are but they are to walk, write, and meditate each day in the month. To make it not such a big thing, I set myself a five-minute minimum for each of these things. I was aces at my goals for the first seven days. But by day seven, that five-minute minimum was starting to come into play on some of my…
  • Shakespeare: Original Pronunciation

    1 Oct 2014 | 2:01 pm
    My profound thanks to Jennifer Hubbard (writerjenn) for sending this video my way. In this presentation made available by Open University, father and son actor/scholars explain and demonstrate what Shakespeare's plays sounded like in Shakespeare's time. That is, they are fans of "op" or "original pronunciation", and are intent on sharing it with the world.Anyone who's read enough Shakespeare knows that there are words that obviously rhymed back in Shakespeare's time that no longer do, e.g., "proved" and "loved" at the end of Sonnet 116, which I've shared here several times before, including…
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    The Miss Rumphius Effect

  • Monday Poetry Stretch - Kodachrome

    20 Oct 2014 | 5:21 pm
    Over the last few weeks I have been scanning slides and revisiting old family photos. My uber-cute brother and sister are in the picture below! Don't you just love those Easter basket sunglasses?While immersed in this project I've been reminded me of a story NPR ran a few years ago about a photo historian who found an archive of more than 14,000 photos taken by Charles W. Cushman. Cushman began using Kodachrome soon after it came out and used it to capture the world in ways it had never been seen before. You can hear the story at The Found Archive of Charles W. Cushman.
  • Tuesday Poetry Stretch - Lipogram

    14 Oct 2014 | 8:00 am
    I looked back over the last month and realized I have failed to post a stretch for several weeks now. Mea culpa, mea culpa. If you only knew about all the crazy things happening in my life! Please forgive my absence here. I've missed writing with you! I have been working on a project with the Poetry Princesses that I hope will be unveiled in a few short weeks.That said, today I'm thinking about the lipogram. A lipogram is a piece of writing that avoids one or more letters of the alphabet. You can read more about lipograms at A.Word.A.DayHere is an example of…
  • Poetry Friday Is On!

    9 Oct 2014 | 9:01 pm
    Welcome friends to Poetry Friday! I'm thrilled to be your host this week. Today I'm sharing a bit of Robert Frost. He's the one poet I revisit every fall. Whether it's Gathering Leaves, Nothing Gold Can Stay, or After Apple Picking, Frost puts me in the mood for my favorite season.Octoberby Robert FrostO hushed October morning mild,Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;Tomorrow’s wind, if it be wild,Should waste them all.The crows above the forest call;Tomorrow they may form and go.Read the poem in its entirety.I'm rounding this one up old-school style, so please leave a note with a link to…
  • Poetry Friday - Zombie Poetry

    26 Sep 2014 | 5:45 am
    Yesterday at lunch my son and I were having a major discussion (that included math) over the check and tip. As I was explaining my thinking, the conversation took an unexpected turn.Son: Mom, did you just do all that math in your head?Me: Yes, I did.Son: Wow. If I were a zombie I'd totally eat your brain first.A strange compliment if I ever heard one, but I know exactly what his 13 year old mind was thinking!That conversation got me thinking about zombies and poetry. (Yes, I know my mind works in strange ways!) Did you know there was a book of zombie poetry?You can download a free sample. You…
  • Poetry Friday - Saved From the Discard Pile

    19 Sep 2014 | 4:38 pm
    I've frequented some library sales and second hand bookstores recently and have added some lovely titles to my poetry collection. Today I'm sharing two poems from the book Sweet Corn: Poems by James Stevenson.Screen DoorWhen fog blurs the morning,Porches glisten, shingles drip.Droplets gather on the green screen door."Look," they say to one another."Look how dry it is inside."LadderThe ladder leaning against the barnIs like the man who used to use it:Strong at the beginning,Okay in the middle,A few rungs missing at the end.Poem ©James Stevenson. All rights reserved.I do hope you'll take…
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        Poetry for Children

  • Memoirs in poetry

    Sylvia Vardell
    17 Oct 2014 | 5:56 am
    Congratulations to Jacqueline Woodson whose book, Brown Girl Dreaming, was just named a finalist for the National Book Award. You know how much I love this book and already featured Jacqueline in a Poet to Poet interview with Carole Boston Weatherford. But did I mention that I also find it so intriguing that a memoir-in-verse is getting all this recognition? I think that’s wonderful! And I loved how Jacqueline said, “This is how memory comes to me -- In small moments with all of this white space around them.” That seems to be true for many poets and I thought it might be…
  • Poetry for TEEN READ WEEK

    Sylvia Vardell
    13 Oct 2014 | 9:55 am
    In honor of Teen Read Week (Oct. 12-18), I’d like to promote this year’s selection of poetry for young adults. As usual, I find that about a third of each year’s list of poetry published for young people targets the teen audience and most of those are novels in verse. That’s true once again this year. I would also add that you’ll find some of the most risk-taking and inventive writing here, by a diverse crop of writers, too. I’ve written about many of the titles below in previous postings, but here’s a round up of all the teen poetry this year, as far as I know. And of course,…
  • Poet to Poet: Helen Frost interviews Chris Crowe

    Sylvia Vardell
    2 Oct 2014 | 12:06 pm
    Here's another installment in my "Poet to Poet" series of interviews between poets who write for young people. This time, Helen Frost interviews Chris Crowe about his new book just published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Death Coming Up the Hill. It's a historical novel in verse about a teenage boy who is navigating high school, first love, and parental conflict during the Vietnam War and it highlights issues of conflict, resistance, and racism. It's built entirely upon haiku poems with a total of 16,592 syllables, one syllable as a tribute to each soldier's death in 1968 during the…
  • ALSC Institute Wrap up: The Science of Poetry

    Sylvia Vardell
    26 Sep 2014 | 12:07 pm
    This time last week, I was attending the ALSC Institute in Oakland, California. It was a great event, well-organized by Nina Lindsay and her team, and full of super-librarians full of energy and enthusiasm and a bunch of great author talks. I was honored to present alongside the fabulous Janet Wong, Susan Blackaby, Alma Flor Ada, Isabelle Campoy, and Margarita Engle. Here are a few nuggets from our presentations on The Science of Poetry. Enjoy!First up, we're so thrilled to be featured on the ALSC Blog. Thank you, Jill Hutchison, for her wonderful summary of our Thursday session here and…
  • Poet to Poet: Carole Boston Weatherford and Jacqueline Woodson

    Sylvia Vardell
    18 Sep 2014 | 6:24 am
    Congratulations to Jacqueline Woodson who just made the “2014 Longlist for the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature” (again!) with her new book, Brown Girl Dreaming. Jacqueline was also kind enough to participate in my ongoing “Poet to Poet” interview series, too. Jacqueline Woodson is the award winning author of many amazing novels for young adults (Miracle’s Boys, Hush, If You Come Softly) and for the middle grades (Last Summer with Maizon, Feathers) and picture books for children (The Other Side, Each Kindness, Coming on Home Soon, Show Way) and so many…
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  • Guest Post: Carmen Oliver on Founding a Children’s-YA Author & Illustrator Booking Agency

    Cynthia Leitich Smith
    21 Oct 2014 | 7:49 pm
    By Carmen Oliverof The Booking Bizfor Cynthia Leitich Smith's Cynsations“I don’t believe in barriers…just fly your plane.”—Captain Nicole Malachowski from Tanya Lee Stone’s Almost Astronauts (Candlewick, 2009)Over the last eleven years, I encountered a lot of barriers.A lot of uncertainty.But during that time, it afforded me the opportunity to really focus on studying children’s literature and the publishing industry. I have volunteered and apprenticed in various leadership and communication roles with the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, the Writers’…
  • Guest Post & Interview: J.L. Powers & George Mendoza on Children's Book Illustration & Colors of the Wind

    Cynthia Leitich Smith
    21 Oct 2014 | 6:34 am
    By J.L. Powersfor Cynthia Leitich Smith's CynsationsWhat would your life be like if it felt like you were looking into a kaleidoscope every time you opened your eyes?What would it feel like to experience strange visions twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, even at night when you dream?That’s what happened to George Mendoza when he started going blind as a teenager.My first picture book, Colors of the Wind: The Story of Blind Artist and Champion Runner George Mendoza (Purple House Press, 2014), is a picture book biography about George Mendoza.When George was 15, he lost his central…
  • New Voice: David Zeltser on Lug, Dawn Of The Ice Age

    Cynthia Leitich Smith
    20 Oct 2014 | 6:33 am
    Curriculum ResourcesBy Cynthia Leitich Smithfor CynsationsDavid Zeltser is the first-time author of Lug, Dawn Of The Ice Age: How One Small Boy Saved Our Big, Dumb Species (Egmont, 2014). From the promotional copy: In Lug’s Stone Age clan, a caveboy becomes a caveman by catching a jungle llama and riding it against the rival Boar Rider clan in the Big Game. The thing is, Lug has a forbidden, secret art cave and would rather paint than smash skulls. Because Lug is different, his clan’s Big Man is out to get him, he’s got a pair of bullies on his case—oh, and the Ice Age is…
  • Cynsational News & Giveaways

    Cynthia Leitich Smith
    17 Oct 2014 | 6:37 am
    Scary & diverseBy Cynthia Leitich Smithfor CynsationsThirteen Scary YA Books: Diverse Edition from Lee & Low. Peek: "Halloween is right around the corner. There’s no better way to celebrate than by reading books that will scare you to pieces!"Green Earth Book Awards from The Pirate Tree: Social Justice and Children's Literature. Peek: "Part of this celebration included a donation of 10,000 environmental books to schools. Each year Green Earth Book Awards are given to books in five categories: picture book, children’s fiction and nonfiction, YA fiction and nonfiction."Talents and…
  • Guest Post: Simon Nicholson on An Alternative History & Investigator of Mystery

    Cynthia Leitich Smith
    16 Oct 2014 | 6:34 am
    Excerpt, educator's guide & more information!By Simon Nicholsonfor Cynthia Leitich Smith's CynsationsI was reading books about Houdini. It seemed to me one of the most exciting things about him was that, as well as being the world's most famous illusionist, he also devoted much of his life to doing battle against "magic".Enraged at the thought of ordinary people being exploited, he worked ceaselessly to expose fake séances, false mediums, Spiritualist hoaxes.With his stunts and de-bunking activities, the great Houdini sought to prove that man was master of his own fate, that no "magic"…
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    Read Alert

  • 2014 Inky Awards – The Winners

    Adele Walsh
    20 Oct 2014 | 10:32 pm
    The Centre for Youth Literature at the State Library of Victoria today announced the winners of 2014 Inky Awards – Australia’s only national teen choice literary prize. The Gold Inky is awarded to an Australian author and includes $2,000 prize money. The 2014 Gold Inky winner is: The First Third by Will Kostakis (Penguin). Life is made up of three parts: in the first third, you’re embarrassed by your family; in the second, you make a family of your own; and in the end, you just embarrass the family you’ve made. The Silver Inky is awarded to an international author. The 2014…
  • 2015: The Year Ahead in Youth Literature

    Adele Walsh
    12 Oct 2014 | 7:04 pm
    presents 2015: The Year Ahead In Youth Literature Tuesday 2 December, 6pm – 8:30pm The Courtyard, State Library of Victoria Cost: $18 per person Bookings: Book online or (03) 8664 7099 Are teen memoirs really the next big thing?  Will old favourites shock us with something terrifically new? The world of youth literature is an ever evolution place with many stories to be told.  Join a fabulous roster of publishers, literary organisations, and teen fiction fans for a fast-paced, sneak peek at the year ahead. Upcoming trends and interests for youth readers, projects, and programs will be…
  • 2014 Inky Awards Celebration

    Adele Walsh
    2 Oct 2014 | 5:32 pm
    Date: Tuesday 21 October 2014, 10:00am - 12:30pm Cost: $9.90 (teachers with a group of 10 students will receive one complimentary ticket) Bookings Book online 03 8664 7099 Venue: The Courtyard - Main entry, Swanston St   Australia’s top teen-choice book awards – the Inky Awards – are back! Join the celebration of great new books and young adult voices at the 2014 Inky Awards winners’ announcement ceremony. The Inky Awards are an annual literary prize for the best new Young Adult literature as chosen by teen readers, in two categories: the Gold…
  • The 2014 Inky Awards Shortlist

    Adele Walsh
    18 Sep 2014 | 5:28 pm
    The Inky Awards are for the best new young adult books, as voted for by teen readers. The Centre for Youth Literature is extremely proud to announce the 2014 Inky Awards shortlist. We had a fantastic team of teen panelists (to find out more about them, visit our judges page on Inside A Dog), who spent hours warring over their favourite Inky Awards longlisted books. Our judges took their responsibilities very seriously, and it was great to see such a considered and diverse discussion about books. Their dedication, passion, and enthusiasm resulted in a smashing selection. Drum roll…
  • 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,…
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    Esme Raji Codell
    28 Sep 2014 | 3:11 pm
    The Pilot and the Little Prince:  The Life of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry by Peter Sis (Farrar Straus Giroux). 

    Esme Raji Codell
    4 Mar 2014 | 3:41 pm
    My Teacher is a Monster!  (No, I Am Not.) by Peter Brown.  A boy with a penchant for irritating his teacher encounters her outside of school and finds her to be an entirely different creature.  Brown's pictures are funny and Ms. Kirby's illustrated metamorphosis into a human being is gradual and pretty darn great.  This book, despite it's laughs, has an unexpected depth and speaks volumes about teacher/student relationships; the only disappointment is that when Robert regresses into his bad behavior back in the classroom at the end of the book, Ms. Kirby is depicted as the…

    Esme Raji Codell
    28 Feb 2014 | 6:57 pm
    Firefly July:  A Year of Very Short Poems by Paul B. Janeczko, illustrated by Melissa Sweet.  Sun's a roaring dandelion, hour by hour.Sometimes the moon's a scythe, sometimes a silver flower.But the stars!  all night long the stars are clover.Over, and over, and over!- Robert Wallace, "In the Field Forever"What greater gift on the bookshelf than a perfect anthology of poems?  This lovely, over-sized tome of thirty six well-chosen treasures takes us through the wheel of the year with evocative and colorful full-edge mixed media. The only complaint might be wishing the…

    Esme Raji Codell
    21 Feb 2014 | 4:31 pm
    Aviary Wonders, Inc.:  Spring Catalog and Instruction Manual by Kate Samworth.  Extremely creative and extraordinarily gorgeous build-your-own-bird guide that painlessly introduces children to high-level science vocabulary and explores biology part by beautiful painted part, while quirky Q&A and assembly instructions also introduce readers to wonderful expository writing.   Teachers, this is an out-of-the-box mentor text, as children will enjoy creating their own catalogs and order forms for creatures that inspire them.  Imagination takes flight.Link for information;…

    Esme Raji Codell
    12 Feb 2014 | 6:41 pm
    Brother Hugo and the Bear by Katy Beebe, illustrated by S.D. Schindler.  Based on a real note found in a 12th century manuscript, a monk loses a library book when it is eaten by a bear, and makes penance by recreating the manuscript page by painstaking page.  But will the bear be waiting for another course?  An exciting read-aloud that teaches the process of how books used to be made, you don't have to be a bruin to find this book delicious.  I only wish the publisher had invested in a little illumination...ah, well, nothing a gold marker can't fix.Link for information;…
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    WordPress Tag: Children's Book

  • The Garden - Sunflower

    14 Oct 2014 | 5:30 am
    If you can find a ship sturdy enough to sail you across the starry skies, you may find yourself at the other end of the universe, in the smallest of galaxies named The Garden. A special wind blows through The Garden — one that fills the days with a warm breeze, the night skies with dancing colours, and hums a quiet hymn across the planets. Stars and moons and suns across the universe travel to this galaxy, seeking a stay in this magical place. At the far ends of this galaxy, wherever and whenever you may arrive, you will find The Gardener there. The Garden is under his care, but he…
  • Noozles is here!

    14 Oct 2014 | 2:35 am
    Now available on the iBookstore for your iPad.
  • Noozles the Cat Cleans Up

    14 Oct 2014 | 2:10 am
    A tale about a cat who can’t help but help, Noozles is here! Noozles can’t resist helping his family with all of their housework, follow him as he moves from one calamity to the next. The perfect book for children determined to assist with daily chores, Noozles will make everyone laugh and wince in equal measure. Follow the links on this page, or on the ‘Shop’ page to make a purchase or to get a free sample book for your iPad.  
  • Book Promotion: The Strawberry Garden by Lia Yaffe Talmor

    14 Oct 2014 | 1:00 am
    Today’s book promotion comes from Lia Yaffe Talmor and his book called The Strawberry Garden. If you like Children’s books, take a look below. You might just find another book for your “to read” pile!   Book: The Strawberry Garden Author: Lia Yaffe Talmor Genre: Children’s book, action and adventure,kids books   Publisher: Lia Yaffe Talmor Format: ebook Release Date: 5/26/2014   Summary: This children’s book is most suitable as a read aloud book for preschoolers or a self-read book for older children. A perfect bedtime story that expands children’s…
  • 999 Frogs and a Little Brother by Ken Kimura

    14 Oct 2014 | 12:16 am
    Title: 999 Frogs and a Little Brother  Author: Ken Kimura Publisher: North South Books Inc Published: 1st March 2015 Pages: 20 Rating: 4/5 What a delightful tale this is, beautifully illustrated and with lots to discuss. It tells the story of the last tadpole to develop legs and leave the pond befriending a young crayfish whilst the tadpole grows into a frog. The friendship between the two has benefits later – but you’ll need to read the story yourself to find out what happens! This story will be a great one to share with younger children and could easily be used in schools to…
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    School Library Journal

  • Rosen Publishing Acquires Nonfiction Children’s Publisher Enslow

    21 Oct 2014 | 8:27 am
    Today, Roger Rosen, CEO and President of Rosen Publishing. an independent educational publishing house serving Pre–K–12 in schools and public libraries, announced the acquisition of Enslow Publishers, Inc., which specializes in nonfiction books for children and young adults. From the release: Roger Rosen announced that he has acquired Enslow Publishers, Inc. Continuing operation of the company will be under Enslow Publishing, LLC. Over the years, Enslow’s award-winning titles have been recognized by organizations such as the American Library Association, the NAACP, the National Council…
  • Games Make Inroads into the Classroom

    Kathy Ishizuka
    21 Oct 2014 | 8:21 am
    Digital games are establishing a strong presence in K–8 classrooms, according to a study by the Joan Ganz Cooney Center and the Games and Learning Publishing Council. Almost three quarters of 700 U.S. teachers surveyed use digital games for instruction, and four out of five of those teachers reported that their students play games at school at least once a month, according to the study released October 20. From the release: Teachers who use games more often found greater improvement in their students’ learning across subject areas. However, the study also reveals that only 42 percent of…
  • The True Cost of Free Internet Services | Next Big Thing

    Christopher Harris
    21 Oct 2014 | 8:20 am
    In The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress (Putnam), the 1966 Hugo Award-winning science fiction masterpiece by Robert A. Heinlein, the economy of the moon colonies runs under a single key idea: “There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.” The statement refers to the historic practice of bars offering “free lunch” to patrons. The meal, however, consisted of salty foods, which encouraged more drinking. The Internet may seem like a free lunch. But it isn’t. At a recent Google Camp, I was surprised when a speaker said that she never pays for services online and wouldn’t recommend it. I…
  • SLJ Debuts ‘Fuse #8 TV’

    Kathy Ishizuka
    21 Oct 2014 | 7:12 am
    Betsy Bird has a TV show. Spinning off Bird’s blog “A Fuse #8 Production” on School Library Journal, “Fuse #8 TV” is a monthly webcast hosted by Bird—and the first episode is now available. Opening with a brief video starring Bird and fellow blogger Travis Jonker of “100 Scope Notes,” the first episode features Bird’s conversation—recorded live—with authors Kekla Magoon and Coe Booth and was sponsored by Scholastic. Next on “Fuse #8 TV”: a visit to the Eric Carle Museum as well as a “super secret” guest to be announced, says Bird. For more on the show,…
  • Q & A: Hervé Tullet on How He Works, Why He Got into Children’s Books, and His Mix It Up Tour

    Mahnaz Dar
    20 Oct 2014 | 11:45 am
    Author and illustrator Hervé Tullet, who resides in Paris, rarely fails to impress. Innovative and original, his books include the recent Mix It Up (Chronicle, 2014), a fascinating look at color; the vibrant I Am Blop! (Phaidon, 2013); and Help! We Need a Title (Candlewick, 2014), Tullet’s deconstruction of the concept of the book. His titles not only entertain children for hours—they are also thought-provoking works of art that encourage kids and adults alike to reconsider their assumptions of what a picture book can be. To promote Mix It Up, Tullet has taken his genius to the road, and…
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    A Fuse #8 Production

  • The 9th Annual Carle Honors – 2014

    Elizabeth Bird
    22 Oct 2014 | 1:00 am
    Traditionally I tend to attend the Carle Honors secretly pregnant.  I’m not sure why this is but at least twice I have walked about, discretely refusing any and all alcoholic beverages.  One of those times I’d discovered the pregnancy mere hours before the event. No hidden incipient heirs were on display this time around, and that suited me fine.  But what are The Carle Honors, precisely?  Well, they’re best described as an annual benefeit gala for The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art.  As their little program says, “At the heart of The Carle Honors is a…
  • Announcing the Debut of Fuse #8 TV

    Elizabeth Bird
    21 Oct 2014 | 1:00 am
    Got me a blog. Got me a library job. And now I’ve got me a TV show. Sorta kinda. The nice folks here at SLJ took a gander at that little Newbery/Caldecott pre-game/post-game show I created with Lori Ess last January (and I just rewatched the post-game show which I would like to play at my funeral someday) and decided to give me a little airtime. Announcing the debut of Fuse #8 TV! Here’s the official description: Fuse #8 TV is a monthly webcast hosted by A Fuse #8 Production’s Elizabeth Bird featuring interviews with notable authors of literature for children and young…
  • Press Release Fun: Hervé Tullet – The Exhibit

    Elizabeth Bird
    20 Oct 2014 | 3:18 am
    My 3-year-old daughter is currently an Hervé Tullet fan, but not in the sense you might think.  It’s not Press Here that strikes her fancy (though she enjoys it well enough) but his board books with Phaidon.  Who knew?  Now there’s an exhibit up over in Brooklyn I need to take her to. Brooklyn Public Library Hosts sole United States exhibition of  Hervé Tullet’s art running through February 1, 2015 at BPL’s Central Library    WHERE: Central Library, 10 Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn, NY 11238 WHO: Best-selling children’s author and…
  • Video Sunday: Meet Jbrary for All Your Hand Rhyme Needs

    Elizabeth Bird
    19 Oct 2014 | 1:00 am
    So here’s the deal.  In libraries nationwide there are systems where trained children’s librarians are a scarcity.  There are any number of reasons for this.  It could be that the city or system is low on funds and isn’t hiring.  It could be that there isn’t a reliable library school in the state.  Whatever the case, just because a branch or a library doesn’t have a children’s librarian that doesn’t mean there isn’t a need for storytimes.  It’s not like people stop having kids just because there isn’t any programming for them…
  • Fusenews: “Red Nine doth here stand by”

    Elizabeth Bird
    15 Oct 2014 | 1:00 am
    Me stuff.  You have been warned.  So the first thing to know today is that this coming Saturday I’ll be speaking at the Eric Carle Museum about Wild Things: Acts of Mischief in Children’s Literature.  It will prove to be an amusing talk and if you live in the area I’d desperately love it if you could attend.  I’d like to see your smiling faces, rather than the sea of empty chairs that greets me whenever I close my eyes and imagine worst case scenarios.  It will be at 1 p.m.  In other news, the panel I conducted on Native Fiction was summarized at Tu Books as well…
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    Michael Gerson: Most Recent Articles and Archives

  • For the GOP, Senate control could be a doubled-edged sword

    Michael Gerson
    20 Oct 2014 | 5:27 pm
    On the theory that chickens should not only be counted before they hatch but also killed, let us consider the downsides for Republicans of winning both houses of Congress. This hypothetical now seems the most likely outcome, according to the various poll aggregators we now treat as oracles. The Post Election Lab, striding furthest out on the ice, puts the odds of a GOP Senate takeover at 93 percent. Read full article >>
  • Ebola challenges America’s ability to adapt

    Michael Gerson
    16 Oct 2014 | 5:42 pm
    In any health care setting, it is wise to listen to the nurses, who see all. Their reports from Dallas about the initial procedures used in treating Thomas Eric Duncan are appalling. Safety suits with exposed necklines left nurses to cover skin with tape. When tape is removed, it abrades the skin. One health expert I consulted described this practice in dealing with Ebola as “moronic.” Read full article >>
  • U.S. isolation is bad policy, even if Americans say they want it

    Michael Gerson
    13 Oct 2014 | 5:20 pm
    The value of U.S. foreign policy conducted by majority vote — which might have resulted in a Nazi-occupied London — is once again evident. In 2013, 52 percent of Americans agreed that their country should “mind its own business internationally.” (In 1964, the figure was 20 percent.) This robust consensus for disengagement was soon followed by the rapid expansion of the Islamic State in a vacuum left by U.S. inattention, and then by an outbreak of Ebola in West Africa that should have been confronted months earlier with larger resources. Read full article >>
  • A question of leadership

    Michael Gerson
    9 Oct 2014 | 5:05 pm
    Disloyal or not, former defense secretary Leon Panetta has delivered a root-and-branch critique of President Obama’s approach to the Middle East. In his new book, “Worthy Fights,” and in surrounding interviews, Panetta contends that the White House was “eager to rid itself of Iraq”; that in 2011 an agreement to preserve American influence in that country was allowed to “slip away”; that this outcome endangered Iraq’s “fragile stability”; and that he warned the White House this might result in “a new haven for terrorists to plot attacks against the U.S.” Panetta argues…
  • Ethical choices surround a potential Ebola vaccine

    Michael Gerson
    6 Oct 2014 | 5:17 pm
    Here is what officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health have been telling us: America has some Ebola infections (and is likely to see more), but America does not have an Ebola outbreak, which is extremely unlikely in a health system capable of basic public health measures (such as isolation and contact-tracing). Read full article >>
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  • The Lost Planet by Rachel Searles

    21 Oct 2014 | 4:59 am
    This debut novel, first in a projected series, is just the ticket for Star Wars fans. Are there still Star Wars fans around these days? Like Trekkies? Tell me that Trekkies still exist. Anyway, The Lost Planet opens with our amnesiac hero recovering from a nasty head wound. He doesn’t know where he is or who he is. However, a somewhat damaged memory chip embedded under his scalp (ouch!) indicates that his name might be “Chase Garrety”. The only thing he remembers, sort of, is a message: “Guide the star.” What does it mean? Who is he really? And is someone trying…
  • Dreamer Wisher Liar by Charise Mericle Harper

    20 Oct 2014 | 5:54 am
    Ashley is mad and sad and and jealous and worried and grumpy. Her best friend, Lucy, is moving away at the end of the summer, and now Lucy is going away to summer camp—without Ashley. What’s more, Ashley’s mom wants her to spend the next few weeks babysitting the seven year old daughter of an old friend. The seven year old, Claire, shows up with a list of “surprise” stuff to do (Ashley hates surprises) and with an over-powering extroverted Pollyanna personality (Ashley is more of a melancholy introvert). It’s going to be the worst summer ever. Then, Ashley…
  • Book News

    18 Oct 2014 | 5:52 am
    I’m participating in Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon this Saturday, the 18th. However, for me it will be more like a 15-17 hour readathon. I don’t stay up late on Saturday night because it’s very worshipful to fall asleep in church on Sunday morning. So, I’m planning to be reading from 7:00 a.m. on Saturday morning until maybe midnight, at which time I will turn into a well-read pumpkin. And the rest of the family is going camping, so I can read to my heart’s content. UPDATE: I’m about to start my readathon at 8:00 AM, an hour late, since I had trouble…
  • Aviary Wonders Inc. Spring Catalog and Instruction Manual by Kate Samworth

    18 Oct 2014 | 5:48 am
    Not for the usual picture book crowd of preschoolers and early readers, Aviary Wonders is beautiful, funny, and carries a good message without beating it into the ground. The lavishly illustrated book is the work of a fine artist. But to whom would I recommend it? Artists. Bird-lovers. Environmentalists. Fan of steampunk sci-fi and robotics? Teens. Maybe middle schoolers. Definitely adults who fall into the first three categories. I just don’t know if that’s going to be a wide enough audience to make the book a success, which is a shame. It ought to be seriously considered for the…
  • Saturday Review of Books: October 18, 2014

    17 Oct 2014 | 5:49 pm
    “A good book is the precious life-blood of a master spirit, embalmed and treasured up on purpose to a life beyond life.” ~John Milton © 2010 世書 名付, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio 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 formal sort of thing. You can link to your thoughts on a particular book, a few ideas inspired by reading the book, your evaluation, quotations, whatever. Then on Friday night/Saturday, you post a link here…
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    Ally Carter

  • Embassy Row ARC Giveaway #3

    20 Oct 2014 | 6:19 am
    Hi Everyone! Who is ready to Win an Advanced Reading Copy of All Fall Down, Book 1 of the Embassy Row Series? For your third chance to win an ARC of All Fall Down head over to Ally’s Instagram Page, Contest Rules: To be entered into the contest you must  do 3 things on Instagram: 1. Post a picture of the All Fall Down book cover (like the one above) 2. Tag @theallycarter, #AllFallDown #EmbassyRow 3. Comment on Ally’s post regarding the contest. Winner will be picked randomly in 48hours! And that’s it. Next Monday we will run a whole new contest…
  • Christmas in October!

    Ally Carter
    14 Oct 2014 | 5:00 am
    Hi everyone! Ally here, and today I’m going to tell you a story. You see, last December I had just turned in the first draft of ALL FALL DOWN to my editor, and I had a little time off while I waited for Editor David to read the draft and tell me what I needed to work on in draft 2. So I did what any self-respecting person does when they are faced with a few free days in December: I put on my stretchy pants and fuzzy socks and proceeded to watch about 200 cheesy holiday made-for-TV movies. You know the ones? Where the plunky heroine and hunky hero trade barbs and banter under mistletoe…
  • Embassy Row ARC Giveaway #2

    13 Oct 2014 | 6:29 am
    Hi Everyone! Who is ready to Win an Advanced Reading Copy of All Fall Down, Book 1 of the Embassy Row Series? For your second chance to win an ARC of All Fall Down head over to Ally’s Tumblr Page. Contest Rules: To be entered into the contest you must REBLOG today’s Tumblr post! You may add your own comment on Tumblr if you like but not necessary. Winner will be picked randomly in 48hours! We have a winner! Congratulations cchcutie you are the winner! And that’s it. Next Monday we will run a whole new contest (with all new rules) on one of the other social media sites. Good…
  • Embassy Row ARC Giveaways

    6 Oct 2014 | 5:14 am
    We promised we would have some awesome contests and giveaways and they are all starting NOW!!! We have 4 Advanced Reading Copies of All Fall Down!! And 4 Different contests to win them! Over the next few weeks we will be posting contests on all of Ally’s Social Media Outlets:  Tumblr, Instagram, Facebook, and Here on the Blog! That’s 4 Chances to Win an ARC of All Fall Down, Book 1 of the Embassy Row Series! We have a winner! Congratulations Arianna! Arianna Gomez says: October 6, 2014 at 11:44 am (Edit) I started reading Gallagher Girls when I entered middle school. I finished…
  • Magnificent Monday is BACK!!!!

    29 Sep 2014 | 6:38 am
    Hi Everyone! It’s Shellie here and I am back!! I missed you guys! It has been about 4 weeks since I have posted and fall is in full gear around here. So what has been going on in the past couple of weeks? What has everyone been up to? We have a ton of things in the works here at Ally Carter HQ and I cannot wait to start some great contests for All Fall Down! xoxo, Shellie   The post Magnificent Monday is BACK!!!! appeared first on Ally Carter.
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    Among Amid While

  • Conflux 10 appearances

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

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

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

    Among Amid While
    2 Dec 2013 | 11:41 pm
    I know, it's outlandish. But it's true. Me and Hilary. And, erm, 150 other authors/books. I am celebrating now, in the expectation of its not getting any further. We'll find out in April.
  • Not one, not two, but THREE reprints!

    Among Amid While
    27 Oct 2013 | 1:08 pm
    The Wagga residency was two weeks of energetic writing and leisurely exploring the very green countryside in that part of the Riverina, with Griffith Agricultural Show and Junee's Broadway Museum being highlights. Wagga's Museum of the Riverina was beautifully and professionally curated, too, but I also like a collection that's just everyone's old stuff piled into rooms with assorted labels (or
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    Justine Larbalestier

  • Accompanying Scott on his tour of the USA

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

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

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

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

    2 Sep 2014 | 1:21 pm
    The distinction between Real Life and the internet is frequently made. Particularly by people for whom the internet is not a big, or in some cases any, part of their social lives. But the internet is not on a different planet. It’s right here on Earth it was created by people and is made up of people just like Sydney or New York City or Timbuktu. The internet is a huge part of my life, and has been since the early 1990s, when I was first introduced to the weird and wonderful World Wide Web. Oh, the glory of it. I remember my very first email address. Hard to believe now, but back then…
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    Scott Westerfeld

  • Still on Tour

    10 Oct 2014 | 8:10 am
    I’m still on tour for Afterworlds, because touring is fun. If you live in San Jose, San Francisco, or Boston, you can come see me this week! And in November I’ll be in Toronto and Charleston, SC. Just check out my Appearances page for details. For the rest of you, here are some amusing photos from tour. This is evidence of studious reading: Here’s what an audience looks like when you’re giving a presentation. In no way intimidating! This is one I took for my upcoming Tumblr, IndieBookstoreBathrooms: It’s always great to see Midnighters tattoos: Holly Black and…
  • Afterworlds Spoiler Thread

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

    18 Sep 2014 | 7:59 am
    I knew those creeps at the Committee to Protect YA would hit me sooner or later, but I didn’t think they’d hit me this hard: Click here for bigger.
  • What Are Novels? (HTWYA 3)

    15 Sep 2014 | 7:18 am
    This is an excerpt from a work in progress called How to Write YA. It’s a companion to my next book, Afterworlds about a young novelist living in NYC. Afterworlds launches Sep 23 in NYC, and you can pre-order it at the bottom of this page. Also, I’m on tour soon! Click here for dates. What Are Novels? I’m not going to talk much about the history of the novel. Your local high school, university, bookstore, and library all have departments devoted to that subject. If you want to be a novelist, you should be reading lots of novels, new and old. Go do that. Keep doing it your…
  • What Are Stories? (HTWYA 2)

    12 Sep 2014 | 12:57 am
    Between now and November, I’m posting excerpts from a work in progress called How to Write YA. You can’t buy it yet, but you can preorder Afterworlds, my book about a young novelist living in NYC, on the bottom of this page. What Are Stories? Okay, it’s time to get to the writing advice part of this book. Almost. First we must talk about stories. Like, what are they? Stories are a technology. They’re a tool, one invented to inform, persuade, and entertain other humans. This technology is very old, probably created not long after humans came up with language itself.
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  • Dragons at Crumbling Castle

    21 Oct 2014 | 9:18 pm
    It was touch and go with the glacé cherries. But four hours before I learned that every house has a packet somewhere, we re-acquired a tub of cherries. Phew. Terry Pratchett’s youthful short stories, as collected in Dragons at Crumbling Castle, just prove that he has always been what he is. Only he was younger once, but then that is an affliction we have all suffered from. I admit, I was worried that someone, somewhere was scraping the barrel, and that I’d not like this book so much. I’m sorry, I occasionally get very crazy notions. Won’t happen again. There are…
  • To be more right than others

    20 Oct 2014 | 9:15 pm
    Honestly, I prepared last Wednesday’s blog post because I liked the list of books and its ethos, but basically I was being lazy. I imagined the list would pass silently by most of you. But oh no. When you least expect it, trouble brews. And it brewed pretty stormily, too. Because two of the books celebrating diversity were ‘only spouting stereotyping.’ In this case of Native Americans (and I don’t know if this is the acceptable term, but it was used by my attackers), and no one could have been more surprised than I was. The authors, on the other hand, were not. They…
  • Night Runner

    19 Oct 2014 | 9:46 pm
    Tim Bowler’s latest book, Night Runner, is absolutely normal, by which I mean it’s got none of the supernatural that he is so well known for. It was almost a relief. Sometimes I’d rather be scared by ordinary decent mean-ness than by the inexplicable. And you certainly are in this book. Tim has come up with some really nasty characters in Night Runner. Zinny knows his parents are involved – probably separately – in some funny business. He just doesn’t know quite what. His mum seems to be having an affair, and his dad is never at home, and when he is, he is…
  • Kalmar and me

    18 Oct 2014 | 9:21 pm
    Meet Kalmar, Ivar’s second cousin. Actually, I’m not sure it is Kalmar. That might have been the Habitat cousin once removed. But a witch has to call her shelves by name, so they will be be Kalmar. They came from the Coop in Sweden, and travelled here in that fateful VW van I’ve mentioned before. The one so full of wardrobes  – and shelves – that we thought it’d never make it. Ivar is the current IKEA ‘equivalent,’ which used to be called Ingo. It’s hard to keep up with these booky boys, who can’t all be Billy. I preferred Kalmar…
  • Bad(diel and) Bookwitch

    17 Oct 2014 | 9:55 pm
    There’s no point in trying to play it safe, as has become obvious in the last few days. A couple of weeks ago I referred obliquely to a celebrity children’s book. I was asked to do an interview with the author, but on second thoughts I decided against, because he didn’t have time to take part in this publicity the way I’d like. I knew next to nothing about David Baddiel, so had nothing bad to say. Or good. After googling him, I found him to be a pleasant looking man, and as he has previously written a few adult novels, I’m thinking he might not be a bad author,…
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    Confessions of a Bibliovore

  • Have You Nominated for the Cybils Yet?

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

    1 Oct 2014 | 7:50 pm
    By the NumbersTeen: 10Tween: 3Children: 2SourcesReview Copies: 10Library: 3StandoutsTeen: Sway by Kat SpearsI really liked this examination of a morally grey kid with a surprisingly good heart.Tween: My Year of Epic Rock by Andrea Pyros (link goes to my review)It's a tale as old as time - dumped by your BFF on the first day of seventh grade. Luckily for Nina, there's nowhere to go but up from here.Children: Thursdays with the Crown by Jessica Day GeorgeThe third adventure for the royal family finds them far from home and trying to work out what really happened hundreds of years before. You…
  • Cybils Eve

    30 Sep 2014 | 11:30 am
    Guess what!Go on, guess!Okay, fine, I'll tell you. Starting tomorrow through October 15, you get to nominate books for the Cybils! The world's only Children's and YA Blogger award opens its nomination period tomorrow, in thirteen categories from picture books to YA fiction, from book apps to poetry.Anybody can nominate, and the books can be anything published in English in the US or Canada in the past year.  Remember, each book (or app) can only be nominated by one person. So if you're going in, take at least a few faves in each category with you.  More info here: Nominating for the…
  • Book Review: Nothing Special by Geoff Herbach

    20 Sep 2014 | 8:33 pm
    Book: Nothing SpecialAuthor: Geoff HerbachPublished: 2012 Source: Local LibraryThings look pretty sweet for Felton Reinstein. He's big and strong and has football coaches from schools all over the country panting after him. He has a beautiful girlfriend, good friends, and a brother who idolizes him. But he has a secret, and here it is.He's a mess.He hates the scouts and the attention, even while he loves football (well, any kind of athletics). His girlfriend has mysteriously stopped talking to him, as has (less mysteriously) his best friend, and his little brother is just off the rails…
  • The Cybils Judges - Including Me!

    17 Sep 2014 | 4:21 pm
    YOU GUYS.I'm pleased as heck to share the news that I've been picked to be a Round 1 judge for the Cybils in the YA Speculative Fiction category.What does that mean, exactly?It means that from the beginning of the nomination period on October 1st, through the selections of the finalists that go live on New Year's Day, I'll be reading YA  fantasy and sci fi until my eyeballs fall out. I'll be stalking my library catalog, I'll be hunting down books at the store, I'll be stalking the ebook sales. But Bibliovore, I hear you say. Isn't that what you do anyway?Yes, but I get to discuss…
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    ReadPlus Review Blog

  • The wild one by Sonya Hartnett

    22 Oct 2014 | 1:01 pm
    Ill. by Lucia Masciullo. Penguin/Viking, 2014. ISBN 9780670076970 (Age: 4+) Recommended. Environment, Generations, Childhood. Charlie loves going into the woods to meet his friend, the wild one, his inner self. He whiles away the days, climbing trees, running through the woods, kicking up the leaves, catching tadpoles. When Charlie goes home, wild one stays behind. Eventually Charlie must go to school, and gradually his days are filled with learning, with mathematics and science and astronomy. Charlie hopes that he has not forgotten his wild self and next time they meet he tells him that he…
  • Pandora Jones: Deception by Barry Jonsberg

    22 Oct 2014 | 12:59 pm
    Pandora Jones bk 2. Allen & Unwin, 2014. ISBN 9781743318126 (Age: 14+) Highly recommended. Thriller. Dystopian fiction. Pandemic. Survival. In Admission, the first in the series, Pandora has been admitted into The School, believing that her world had ended and that billions of people had died in a pandemic and the people at the school are the survivors that will enable the world to continue. In Deception, Pan teams up with Jen, a strong independent girl, to try and see if her fears that The School is betraying her and that her nightmares about everyone being dead have been implanted. Pan…
  • The Secret Abyss by Darrell Pitt

    22 Oct 2014 | 12:55 pm
    A Jack Mason Adventure Book 2. Text, 2014. ISBN 9781922147967 Recommended for readers from 11 years of age. Jack Mason, Scarlet and Mr Doyle are back for their second mysterious adventure. This time they are on the trail of a prison escapee, the world's most evil killer, the Chameleon. In a world filled with huge Metrotowers, giant metropolis', polluted cities and a sky teeming with airships, steam cars and giant monuments, the three adventures follow the villain across the Atlantic and set out to thwart the plot to kill the President of the United States. Charles Ashgrove the evil rich…
  • The Party by Gabriel Evans

    22 Oct 2014 | 12:53 pm
    Woodland Whiskers series. Five Mile Press, 2014. ISBN 9781760060992 (Ages: 2 - 6) Recommended. It was Saffron's birthday and she woke bright and early. The little mouse was excited. The party is a beautifully drawn short story that evokes memories of the Peter Rabbit books I was read as a child. It has a delicate way of presenting the story and characters in both text and picture. Questions can immediately be asked by a child reader as to which mouse is which and the flowing text slowly answers the inquisitive reader. Along the way a young reader is also drawn to each page by the little lift…
  • Noni the pony goes to the beach by Alison Lester

    22 Oct 2014 | 12:51 pm
    Allen & Unwin, 2014. ISBN 9781743311141 (Age: pre school) Recommended. Animals, Beach, Friendship. Friendly Noni loves going to the beach when it is sunny, and takes her friends, Dave the dog, Coco the cat, and the ladies next door. At the beach the cows love standing in the water up to their knees, Coco who doesn't like to get wet, snoozes in an old fishing net strung between the branches of a tree, while Dave dives like an arrow into the sea. They all frolic with the seagulls, and watch the dolphins, eventually coming together to build a sandcastle in he shape of a boat. Coco sleeps on…
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    I'm Here. I'm Queer. What the Hell do I read?

  • Gender 101, Episode #27 Redux: Emmi's Gender Non-Conforming Heroes

    Lee Wind, M.Ed.
    22 Oct 2014 | 3:03 am
    Benji (a.k.a. Lucy) continues the conversation about Gender with Emmi...You can find out more about Julia Serano at juliaserano.comThanks Lucy and Emmi!You can see the original posting here.Namaste,Lee
  • GSA Mondays: A Great Quote On Race from Professor Dorothy Roberts

    Lee Wind, M.Ed.
    20 Oct 2014 | 2:51 am
    Professor Dorothy Roberts"We need to definitively reject the myth that human beings are naturally divided into races and instead affirm our shared humanity by working to end the social injustices preserved by the political system of race."- Dorothy E. Roberts is The George A. Weiss University Professor of Law and Sociology and Raymond Pace and Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander Professor of Civil Rights at the University of Pennsylvania. This quote was from page 14 of the Summer 2014 Penn Arts and Sciences Magazine, and I thought it was brilliant, inspiring, and a great catalyst for…
  • 3 Cubic Feet: A Novella about a Gay Teen in Missouri

    Lee Wind, M.Ed.
    17 Oct 2014 | 7:43 am
    3 Cubic Feet by Lania KnightTheo Williamson lives in Springfield, Missouri, an oppressive town hostile to change – no place for a gay teenager. His family has good intentions, but Theo’s father is recovering from a car accident, and his stepmother won’t give him a moment to himself. And Theo has guy problems–the closeted older man he seduced wants nothing to do with him, and Theo’s best friend Jonathan isn’t interested in anything more than friendship. When Jonathan’s father turns violent, Theo must decide just how far he is willing to go for love.Three Cubic Feet was a finalist…
  • Gender 101, Episode #26 Redux: Meet Emmi

    Lee Wind, M.Ed.
    15 Oct 2014 | 3:03 am
    Our Gender-Queer friend Lucy (a.k.a. Benji) introduces us to another wonderful Gender Queer community member, Emmi!I'm delighted to meet Emmi, and look forward to the discussions ahead.Here are the comments from the original posting:ivanova said...Way to go, Emmi! That was expressed so well. I love "Gender 101."April 18, 2012 at 10:36 AM Joanna said...Thanks, Emmi, I am so enjoying this series - every episode!April 19, 2012 at 10:32 AM Namaste,Lee
  • October is LGBTQ History Month!

    Lee Wind, M.Ed.
    13 Oct 2014 | 3:00 am
    I'm so excited that it's another month jam-packed with amazing LGBTQ people from history!The 2014 list covers the Famous:Tallulah Bankhead! Freddie Mercury! Lord Byron!The Agents of Change:Ivy Bottini! Natalie Barney! Margaret Cho!And people I'm just learning about:Faisal Alam! Bernice Bing! Michael Callen!And many more...Check out the great resources (especially the pdf biographies of each of the 31 featured people in history!) at the equality forum's lgbt history month website.And happy LGBTQ History Month!
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    Literacy, families and learning

  • Six Good Reasons Why Family Conversation is Still Important

    Trevor Cairney
    14 Oct 2014 | 4:20 am
    Have you noticed how when people under the age of 35 eat out, they usually do so with their smart phones on the table or in their hands, with sideways glances to share posts, funny videos, pictures and so on. While there's talk going on it's quite different. Conversation happens, but it is mediated by smart phones.More worrying than the above scenario is that when families eat out often the adults talk and the kids play with the smart phones. While I know adults need to talk without kids, when families get together over a meal it's a precious times for lots of things to occur.Above: Not all…
  • How do I know if my preschool child is ready for school?

    Trevor Cairney
    4 Oct 2014 | 3:05 pm
    This is a revised version of a post I wrote last year.I am asked constantly by parents of preschool children how they will know if their preschool children are ready for school. At back of this is their concerns about what they should do before they start school. People ask, should I:"Make sure they know their sounds before schools?""Teach them the letter names?""Teach them to write their name?""Make sure they can write neatly?""Teach them to read some simple words?""Teach them about numbers?"While the above are genuine questions about knowledge children will eventually need, most overlook…
  • 10 Great New Picture Books for Younger Readers

    Trevor Cairney
    24 Sep 2014 | 7:02 pm
    It has been about four months since I did a review of the latest picture books to land on my desk. I have so many wonderful books piling up I thought it was time to give the first of several updates. In this post I've chosen 10 books that have been published in 2014 that are worth reading to and with children.1. 'Vanilla Ice Cream' written and illustrated by Bob Graham (Walker Books)Bob Graham is one of Australia's finest authors and illustrators of picture books. With the familiar sharp lines, watercolour and simple yet very expressive characters he follows a wild sparrow’s journey. A…
  • Literature on Civil Rights for Younger Readers

    Trevor Cairney
    14 Sep 2014 | 11:27 pm
    This past week Ruby Bridges celebrated her 60th birthday. It is 54 years since Ruby famously became the first African American child to attend a desegregated former all-white elementary school in the American South.Ruby Bridges was born in Mississippi on September 8, 1954. That year the United States handed down its landmark decision ordering the integration of public schools. Previously black students were not allowed to attend the same schools as white children.Ruby had grown up on a farm that her grandparents sharecropped.  But her father heard that there were better opportunities for…
  • Why Older Kids & Adults Need Picture Books & Graphic Novels

    Trevor Cairney
    5 Sep 2014 | 6:46 pm
    This is a revised version of a post that I wrote almost two years ago. Once again I want to pick up on my previous comment that many parents move their children on from picture books far too quickly. Even many teachers encourage their children to 'move on' to chapter books almost as soon as they become proficient and fluent in reading. I've always felt that this was a bad idea, for a range of reasons, that all stem from four myths that drive this well-motivated error.Myth 1 - 'Picture books are easier reading than chapter books'. While some are simple, they can have very complex vocabulary,…
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    The Book Chook

  • Children’s Book Review and Activities, The Storm Whale

    21 Oct 2014 | 11:00 am
    Children’s Book Review and Activities, The Storm Whale by Susan Stephenson, www.thebookchook.comThe Storm Whale is a children’s picture book written and illustrated by Benji Davies, and published by Simon and Schuster, 2013. You might recall I promised a review of The Storm Whale earlier this month when I reviewed On Sudden Hill. I’ve also added some activities below that might help parents, teachers and librarians extend the literature experience for The Storm Whale. From the publisher: Noi and his father live in a house by the sea, his father works hard as a fisherman and…
  • Children’s iPad App, Miximal

    19 Oct 2014 | 11:00 am
    Children’s iPad App, Miximalby Susan Stephenson, www.thebookchook.comA while ago, I saw that Miximal, a variation of the flip-book game we used to play as kids, was free for a time. So I downloaded it to see if it was something I could recommend here at The Book Chook. It is! While I advocate that young kids not spend too much screen-related time, Miximal is one of those apps that’s perfect for when your preschooler or Kinderkid wants a “turn” on the iPad. Basically, it’s a digital toy. The screen is divided into three and children can swap heads, upper bodies and lower bodies with…
  • Creating with Kids and Apps

    16 Oct 2014 | 11:00 am
    Creating with Kids and Appsby Susan Stephenson, I love to find ways for children to think creatively and express themselves. If I can find an activity that combines technology with creating something, I’m also pleased. That’s because I believe not only in limiting screen time for children, but encouraging them to use screens creatively where possible. In today’s post, I’ve gathered together all the apps (iPad and one Mac app) that I’ve tried out and reviewed so far that have potential for children to create something. Whether the creation process involves…
  • Children’s Book Review, Lucas and Jack

    14 Oct 2014 | 11:00 am
    Children's Book Review by Susan Stephenson, www.thebookchook.comLucas and Jack is a children’s picture book written by Ellie Royce, illustrated by Andrew McLean, and published by Working Title Press, 2014. From the publisher:Every week Lucas's mum visits Great Grandpop at the nursing home. And every week Lucas waits for her outside. Waiting is boring! Until Lucas meets Jack. A book to bridge generations.I always appreciate finding gentle, understated children’s picture books. Royce presents us with a young character, Lucas, who like most kids thinks he has nothing in common with the older…
  • Bringing the Wow Factor to Reading

    12 Oct 2014 | 11:00 am
    Bringing the Wow Factor to Reading - Inspiring a Love of Literatureby Amie ButchkoI have loved literature since I was in the 3rd grade and learned how to write a haiku. My teacher truly encouraged me and what a difference that made, as any child shines in the light. I just knew words were for me. There have been few things in my life that have inspired me more than this love of words. In college, I studied Christina Rossetti, Ezra Pound, Dylan Thomas and T.S. Elliot. I delighted in Shakespeare’s Othello and in Poe’s The Raven. I marveled at how symbolisms of religion, fertility, death and…
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    Gail Carson Levine

  • Out With the Old... Or Not

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

    1 Oct 2014 | 5:43 am
    First a little lovely news: Writer to Writer, From Think to Ink (based on this blog, for any of you who don't know) has been chosen by the discerning people at the Junior Library Guild as one of their selections when it comes out, and both Publisher's Weekly and Kirkus will soon be giving the book lovely reviews. Publisher's Weekly calls the book "valuable," and Kirkus says it's "comprehensive."Onto this week's post. On July 23, 2014, Penelope wrote, I've been having a really hard time with my endings. I'm doing a redo of a fairy tale and I'm split on the ending. What I originally…
  • When Bad Things Happen to Good Characters

    17 Sep 2014 | 5:17 am
    On July 23, 2014, Lex from Bohemia wrote, I am having a hard time entering into a scene I know will be difficult for my characters. I'm shying away from it because it is what needs to happen, but I'm afraid to do it to my characters. Any thoughts? How do you prepare yourself to write the hard stuff?J. Garf responded with: I don't know of a way to prepare necessarily, but there's a chapter about it called "Suffer!" in Mrs. Levine's book Writing Magic. In it she talks about how if you're cruel to your characters, your readers will care more about them and how it's going to end. I tend to be a…
  • The Passivity Solution

    3 Sep 2014 | 5:14 am
    This week we start the many questions that came in when I asked for help restocking my list. Thanks again for the big response! The first one came from Michelle Dyck on July 23, 2014: This last week I've been reading over a novel I wrote three years ago. It's book two in a series, and when I wrote it, I thought it was fabulous. Not anymore! The thing is chock full of inconsistencies, plot holes, convenient solutions, and leaps of logic (all of which I plan to fix).But one problem that's bugging me is how passive my two MCs are. In book one, they take charge and go on a quest to save a nation.
  • What's funny

    20 Aug 2014 | 5:55 am
    On July 13, 2014, Writer At Heart wrote, I'm having problems with my MC. I feel as though she isn't very developed. How do I get around to do this? Maybe it's because I don't think that she has a great sense of humor.carpelibris responded with these questions: Why doesn't she have a sense of humor? Is she overly serious? Socially awkward? Too literal-minded? The reason might give you clues to her personality.Is she in a situation where humor's important? Why? How does she respond? What problems does this cause for her?And Writer At Heart answered, No, she's not overly serious or any of that…
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