Children's Literature

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  • Reskinned

    Scott Westerfeld
    20 Jul 2014 | 9:09 am
    Behold the new website, reskinned in honor of Afterworlds (which now has its own page at last). I hope you enjoy the new look. Let me know in the comments below if anything is broken anywhere, especially in the Forum. Next week I’ll be at San Diego Comic Con, so if you’re there come see my panel, Sunday at 1PM or come to my signing at the Mysterious Galaxy Booth (#1119) on Saturday, 1:00p.m. – 1:30p.m. If you’re in San Diego but not going to Comic Con, come see me at the The Yellow Book Road Bookstore, where I’ll be talking about Leviathan and Afterworlds. The Yellow…
  • Announcing Reading Matters 2015

    Read Alert
    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,…
  • Summertime books for middle school boys

    The Horn Book
    Joanna Lieberman
    29 Jul 2014 | 3:01 am
    Earlier this summer, my middle school colleagues and I worked on a curriculum project in our district’s comprehensive high school — a busy place during the summer. On one of those days, literally hundreds of our students lined up to participate in a teen summer job fair. As they patiently waited in line, they chatted with one another, checked their smart phones and listened to music. Only one brought a book. Now I am not so old-fashioned that I lament the time wasted on electronic devices “these days.” Rather, I worry about what happens to our young teens, particularly our boys, if…
  • Alice in Paris (with Madeleine and others)

    educating alice
    29 Jul 2014 | 2:59 am
    Just came across this remarkable movie featuring Ludwig Bemelman’s Madeleine as well as others from James Thurber, Crocket Johnson, and Eve Titus.
  • Review of Space Taxi: Archie Takes Flight

    The Horn Book
    Robin Smith
    29 Jul 2014 | 8:00 am
    Space Taxi: Archie Takes Flight by Wendy Mass and Michael Brawer; 
illus. by Elise Gravel Primary, Intermediate    Little, Brown    101 pp. 4/14    978-0-316-24319-3    $14.99 Paper ed.  978-0-316-24320-9    $5.99 e-book ed.  978-0-316-24321-6    $5.99 “Take Your Kid to Work Day” will never again be the same for Archie. He has been waiting “eight years, eight months, and eight days” for the big day. Waking up for work at midnight is not too unusual for a taxi driver like Mr. Morningstar, but little does Archie know that his plain old dad is in fact an…
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    The Horn Book

  • Review of Space Taxi: Archie Takes Flight

    Robin Smith
    29 Jul 2014 | 8:00 am
    Space Taxi: Archie Takes Flight by Wendy Mass and Michael Brawer; 
illus. by Elise Gravel Primary, Intermediate    Little, Brown    101 pp. 4/14    978-0-316-24319-3    $14.99 Paper ed.  978-0-316-24320-9    $5.99 e-book ed.  978-0-316-24321-6    $5.99 “Take Your Kid to Work Day” will never again be the same for Archie. He has been waiting “eight years, eight months, and eight days” for the big day. Waking up for work at midnight is not too unusual for a taxi driver like Mr. Morningstar, but little does Archie know that his plain old dad is in fact an…
  • Chicks ‘n ducks ‘n geese

    Roger Sutton
    29 Jul 2014 | 7:14 am
    We’re off tomorrow to spend a few days with the Sendak Fellows, Nora Krug and Harry Bliss, at a farm Maurice owned in upstate New York. (Why did he need a farm? Did he need a place to get away from it all from his place to get away from it all in the wilds of rural Connecticut?). The management tells me my job there is to “be Maurice,” but someone and his pal Wolfie are up in heaven laughing themselves sick at that suggestion. Instead, I imagine myself poking my head around easels, saying “perhaps a little more green there, Nora” or “Harry, you know,…
  • Summertime books for middle school boys

    Joanna Lieberman
    29 Jul 2014 | 3:01 am
    Earlier this summer, my middle school colleagues and I worked on a curriculum project in our district’s comprehensive high school — a busy place during the summer. On one of those days, literally hundreds of our students lined up to participate in a teen summer job fair. As they patiently waited in line, they chatted with one another, checked their smart phones and listened to music. Only one brought a book. Now I am not so old-fashioned that I lament the time wasted on electronic devices “these days.” Rather, I worry about what happens to our young teens, particularly our boys, if…
  • Reading about WWI

    Katie Bircher
    28 Jul 2014 | 8:30 am
    One hundred years ago today, the first shots of World War I were fired. These books about the WWI era — fiction and nonfiction for a range of ages — are all recommended by The Horn Book Magazine and The Horn Book Guide. Picture Books The text of Timothy Decker’s unusual picture book The Letter Home is a letter from a medic serving on the front lines during World War I to his young son back at home. A mood of sometimes ironic calm pervades both the spare, observant letter and the laconic black-and-white drawings, which depict the terrors of war in childlike terms: “Sometimes we…
  • Review of I Can Do It Myself

    Robin Smith
    28 Jul 2014 | 7:19 am
    I Can Do It Myself by Valorie Fisher; 
photos by the author Preschool, Primary    Schwartz & Wade/Random    40 pp. 7/14    978-0-449-81593-9    $17.99    g Tiny poseable dolls help young children celebrate the many concepts they need to learn. Fisher (Everything I Need to Know Before I’m Five, rev. 7/11) includes the basics for preschoolers and kindergartners: left and right; how to hold a pencil; writing numbers and letters; counting; recognizing shapes, colors, and patterns; and the basics of dressing and eating. Little plastic dolls and toys are photographed against…
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    Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast

  • Hey, my blog said it forgives me, and I’m back in(just in time for a week-long blog break, though) …

    27 Jul 2014 | 11:01 pm
    “‘Children, stand up.’ Mother smiled. They pushed their chairs back and stood up.‘This is your sister. … Loretta Mason Potts … but it’s not Potts any more.She has come to live with us—at last.’”   Granted, I’m not so sure what I did to my blog, but it’d had enough of my nonsense and packed its bags last week and went to some remote island resort — and without leaving me the keys. As I noted in yesterday’s quickie post (it had to be brief, lest the blog kick me out again), I just couldn’t get in to…
  • Blog Break

    26 Jul 2014 | 11:01 pm
    P.S. This includes next Sunday! I’ll be back after that, so as for you kickers, I’ll see you in two weeks.
  • Vanilla Ice Cream Before Breakfast

    23 Jul 2014 | 11:01 pm
    “It’s sometimes hard to come out from behind my stories and articulate reasons for things, as the stories are not written that way. I don’t go into them with a reason or issue — only that the characters will treat each other with respect and tolerance. And that their dogs can do anything they like around the house. The rest will hopefully follow.” Over at Kirkus today, I talk to author-illustrator Bob Graham, pictured here, whose books I consistently like. He chats with me about his newest book, Vanilla Ice Cream, coming from Candlewick in August, as well as what’s…
  • Wildness

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

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


    29 Jul 2014 | 10:56 am
    Pull up a chair, for an adventurous novel with a lovely fantasy feel. Skyships, blunderbusses and gale cutters give this the perfect pinch of steampunk, but doesn't get in the way of the narrative. Though the fine-print on the cover says this is a companion novel, you don't have to have read ILL-FATED for it to make sense - but afterward, you'll be eager to read it, and happy to find it comes in paperback, too. This novel reminds me of Shannon Hale's THE PRINCESS ACADEMY, with shades of other tales of adventurous girls - and, for some reason, Patricia McKillip books (though there is neither…
  • KidLitCon 2014 Still Wants YOU!

    Sarah Stevenson
    28 Jul 2014 | 4:03 pm
    Have you registered yet? No? Then go! I just did, and I couldn't be more excited about how plans are shaping up--we have a fantastic team of organizers who are setting up the program of events, including a couple of meet-and-greet opportunities for bloggers interested in face time with authors and illustrators, and a few really neat Skype conversations with presenters who couldn't make it in person.The call for proposals is still open, too--did you read Tanita's fantastic post over at KidLitosphere Central on "What Do We Mean When We Talk About 'Diversity'"? Thematic diversity, diverse reads,…
  • A Little Shout-Out to the Kidlit Con...

    26 Jul 2014 | 3:07 am
    "Difference. Unlikeness. Variety. Multiformity. Diversity. It’s not even really easy to define terms. When one person says “diverse” another person nervously hears race, or ethnicity, or gender. But diversity in children’s lit can be – and should be – all of those things, and more."A few months ago, a friend came to me to ask questions about race and ethnicity, in a way she feared she could never do in public, in person, with many of you. Was this friend right? Is diversity such a divisive, taboo topic that unless you're chanting "Yes! Yes! Go, Diversity!" and waving pom-poms and…
  • Interview with Sarah Beth Durst, author of THE LOST

    Sarah Stevenson
    24 Jul 2014 | 8:00 am
    We've interviewed versatile author Sarah Beth Durst before--the last time was when we talked to her about her fantasy novel Conjured. We are thrilled to have her back for another interview, because her latest book, The Lost, is a bit of a departure from the last few: it's got an adult character, and it's labeled as "an adult book with crossover appeal." Tanita and I were eager to ask Sarah about this one after we reviewed it in tandem a few months ago--what it was like writing a story that doesn't cleanly fall into the YA or MG category, how she sees the book's genre, and much more. Luckily,…

    23 Jul 2014 | 4:54 pm
    Summer reading - this is a shove-it-in-your-beach-bag book for sure. A quick, non-demanding novel which will leave you feeling a little leery, and carefully observing your friends. It's a tale of falsehoods and friendship in a tiny English beach town. The cover doesn't exactly match the reality as described in the novel, but it ups the drama. Enjoy! Summary: Sixteen-year-old Jess Tennant is accompanying her newly-divorced mother from their home in London to the tiny seaside town of Port Sentinel. There's nothing there for Jess -- all her friends, and her father are back in London -- but for…
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    A Chair, A Fireplace, & A Tea Cozy

  • Review: Second Star

    Liz B
    29 Jul 2014 | 1:00 am
    Second Star by Alyssa B. Sheinmel. Farrar Straus Giroux. 2014. Review copy from publishers.The Plot: Six months ago, Wendy's younger brothers disappeared. Everyone is convinced they are dead. Not Wendy. She doesn't care what the police, her parents, or her best friends think.John and Michael loved surfing; and when Wendy meets Pete, a surfer, her instinct tells her following Pete may lead her to her missing brothers. She'll do whatever it takes to find John and Michael, including leaving home to join Pete and his band of carefree surfers.The Good: Of course it's a retelling of Peter Pan!I…
  • KidLitCon 2014

    Liz B
    26 Jul 2014 | 9:35 am
    KidLitCon 2014!It's time for KidLitCon! Believe it or not, it's the 8th. Yes, the 8th!It will be held in Sacramento on October 10th and October 11th. I'm afraid that this year, I will be missing it, but I wanted to remind you all that it was happening and what you need to know.More information is at the Kidlitosphere website, at the KidLitCon webpage.KidLitCon is an independent event, volunteer run and organized. It floats around the country, which changes who, each year, are the volunteers putting it together. That means each KidLitCon is a unique experience. It also makes it that much more…
  • Review: If I Stay

    Liz B
    24 Jul 2014 | 1:00 am
    If I Stay by Gayle Forman. Dutton, a member of Penguin 2009; SPEAK, imprint of Penguin 2010. Review copy from publisher.The Plot: Mia is in a coma.There was a car accident.She can see what is happening around her, but she cannot interact. She is not dead but she is not alive.Her family is dead.It's all her choice, whether to stay with the living. But what will her life be like, if her family is gone?The Good: Confession: I did not read this when it first came out, in 2009. I skipped to the end of the book to find out her choice, then read other things.Then I saw the trailer. And Chloe…
  • TV Review: MTV's Finding Carter

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

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

  • Alice in Paris (with Madeleine and others)

    29 Jul 2014 | 2:59 am
    Just came across this remarkable movie featuring Ludwig Bemelman’s Madeleine as well as others from James Thurber, Crocket Johnson, and Eve Titus.
  • Coretta Scott King Book Awards

    26 Jul 2014 | 2:25 pm
    Over at the Nerdy Book Club today I’ve got a post highlighting this year’s Coretta Scott King award winners with the hope that it will help more learn about this important award.
  • José Manuel Mateo and Javier Martínez Pedro’s Migrant

    25 Jul 2014 | 1:46 am
    The recent attention being paid to the many young undocumented immigrants coming across our country’s southern border brings to mind the remarkable book, Migrant by  José Manuel Mateo’s and illustrated by Javier Martínez Pedro. This story of one young boy’s difficult migration from Mexico to the United States is one spectacular book. Beginning in a rural village, readers learn why the young boy’s mother makes the difficult decision to leave. Their father has already left and, when he stops sending money and she cannot find work locally, she decides…
  • Peter Pan Live

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

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

  • The Giant Squid, its first photographer & a writer's obsession

    28 Jul 2014 | 8:24 pm
    Preparing the Ghost by Matthew Gavin Frank is without a doubt one of the more unusual books I have read in a long time. Described as "an essay concerning the giant squid and it's first photographer" it is, in my mind, first and foremost a writer's book. (Not that the natural history isn't fascinating.) It's about a writer (Frank) obsessed with a Victorian era naturalist and photographer (Harvey Moses) who was obsessed with the Giant Squid which he famously photographed in Newfoundland in 1874. There is also much here about humanity's obsession with the Giant Squid and the vast amount of…
  • "But this summer is different."

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

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

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

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

  • Creating with Createspace: Print on Demand

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

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

    Arthur Slade
    28 Jun 2014 | 8:34 am
  • Whoa! Year three of selling eBooks to the world!

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

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

  • Church Bookstores Are On The Front Lines To Get Kids Interested In Reading

    29 Jul 2014 | 8:49 am
    How can church bookstores help to get middle grade readers, especially boys, interested in reading? Bookstore managers will likely agree that they stand on the front lines of this issue and are in the perfect position to reach out to children in their congregations. I would challenge managers and bookstore staff to take multiple steps to encourage boys to read.  ·         Stock the kinds of books kids like to read. Many churches today can be tempted to focus on adult books. This alone discourages young boys from visiting the bookstore. Churches…
  • What's the right length for middle grade books?

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

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

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

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

  • BEFORE WE WERE FREE, by Julia Alvarez

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

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

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

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

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

    28 Jul 2014 | 5:55 pm
    A tiny ray of hope appears inside me, the same way a little stream of light pours from the hallway through my bedroom door's keyhole at night.- from the novel The Junction of Sunshine and Lucky by Holly SchindlerFor similar ponderings, please check out Definitions of Hope, a series of hopeful musings from various authors and other artists.
  • Poetry Friday: Ozymandias by Percy Bysshe Shelley

    25 Jul 2014 | 6:00 am
    I met a traveller from an antique landWho said: "Two vast and trunkless legs of stoneStand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,Tell that its sculptor well those passions readWhich yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed:And on the pedestal these words appear:'My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!'Nothing beside remains. Round the decayOf that colossal wreck, boundless and bareThe lone and…
  • Poetry Friday: There are two things from Finding Ruby Starling by Karen Rivers

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

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

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

  • jack the castaway

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

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

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

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

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

  • The Way to the Zoo: John Burningham

    Jen Robinson
    29 Jul 2014 | 9:36 am
    Book: The Way to the Zoo Author: John Burningham Pages: 40 Age Range: 4-8 The Way to the Zoo by John Burningham is a picture book about a little girl named Sylvie who discovers a secret doorway in her bedroom that leads to a zoo. The animals are friendly, and sometimes Sylvie brings some of them back into her house. The small bear is cozy to sleep with, but the penguins make a splashy mess in the bathroom. And when Sylvie forgets to close the door to the zoo one day, chaos ensues.  The Way to the Zoo reminded me a bit of Barbara Lehman's Rainstorm, and a bit of Philip and Erin Stead's A…
  • KidLitCon Update!

    Jen Robinson
    25 Jul 2014 | 3:49 pm
    The 8th Annual Kidlitosphere Conference is rapidly approaching. KidLitCon is an annual gathering of children's and young adult book bloggers. It is incredibly fun, educational, and rewarding. This year, KidLitCon will be held in Sacramento, CA, at the Tsakopoulos Library Galleria, on October 10th and 11th. The theme is Blogging Diversity in Young Adult and Children’s Lit: What’s Next? As one of the organizers of this year's conference, I wanted to give you all a quick update of what's been going on with the KidLitCon planning.  My friend and KidLitCon14 co-chair (with Sarah…
  • Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: July 25

    Jen Robinson
    25 Jul 2014 | 9:23 am
    Here are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage. This week's topics include book lists, diverse books, ebooks, growing bookworms, events, KidLitCon, literacy programs, literacy research, schools, libraries, and summer reading. Book Lists and Awards Fun new #BookList from Stacked: Teenage Criminals #yalit A Tuesday Ten: Magical Time Travel in #kidlit | Views From the Tesseract A Tuesday Ten: Speculative #kidlit in which MAPS play a major role | Views From the Tesseract 2014 Amelia Elizabeth Walden Book…
  • Wild Things! Acts of Mischief in Children's Literature: Betsy Bird, Julie Danielson, Peter Sieruta

    Jen Robinson
    24 Jul 2014 | 8:36 am
    Book: Wild Things! Acts of Mischief in Children's Literature Authors: Betsy Bird, Julie Danielson, and Peter Sieruta Pages: 288 Age Range: Adult Nonfiction Wild Things! Acts of Mischief in Children's Literature is an insider's guide to the world of children's books and their creators, written by three well-known children's book bloggers. In the interest of full disclosure, I should note that I have known Betsy Bird and Julie Danielson since my earliest days of blogging. While we've only met face to face a few times, I've read their blogs for years, and been on shared mailing lists and the…
  • In the After: Demitria Lunetta

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

  • Tuesday evening

    29 Jul 2014 | 4:19 pm
    I have (yet again) been surprised to learn the power of lists.On Sunday, I spent about an hour assessing what I wanted to get done, and I made up two to-do lists for the week. The first is all about writing and writing-related business (they aren't the same thing, but are related). The second list is about everything else in life -- shopping, cleaning, etc.Yesterday, I operated off of those two lists. Sort of. I have one writing goal that involves me writing two poems (minimum) every day, and another writing-related goal that involves reading poetry every day. They can't really get…
  • ABOVE THE DREAMLESS DEAD: World War I in Poetry and Comics

    28 Jul 2014 | 8:17 am
    Today is the centennial anniversary of the start of World War I, once known as "the war to end all wars." (If only.) It was 100 years ago today that Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg, were assassinated by a Serbian nationalist. As noted in this recent article in The New York Times, World War I may not have ended all wars, but it did change how they were fought. For one thing, it introduced the world to the use of chemical weapons; for another, it involved an enormous amount of soldiers from many countries. More than 8.5 million people died during the war, and…
  • It's a quiet Sunday afternoon

    27 Jul 2014 | 9:58 am
    I managed to get that chapbook I was talking about the other day submitted on Friday. Since then, I've done precious little writing-related stuff, which is about to change this afternoon.I have, however, enjoyed my time away from writing, by attending Friday night Shabbat services, spending the day at the beach with my sweetheart yesterday, and with his (and my pseudo-) grandchildren yesterday early evening, followed by drinks while watching the Phillies game, and by breakfast this morning with my two girlies, who are seldom in the same place at the same time these days. Later today there…
  • My thoughts on putting together a chapbook -- let me show you them

    24 Jul 2014 | 7:17 am
    This is what I have committed to completing by tomorrow. Mind you, this has been on my to-do list for something like six months now, and I have already spent hours and hours and hours over days and weeks and months on it. Here's what I have figured out about it.1. There's a certain amount of hubris to pulling together a chapbook. I mean, you have to assume that somebody might want to read it, right? And who am I to go about thinking I'm good enough to be read? (Hmm . . . maybe this should be there's a certain amount of self-loathing to pulling together a chapbook?) I feel like I'm constantly…
  • Woodland Litter Critters ABC by Patience Mason, illus. by Robert Mason

    23 Jul 2014 | 5:53 pm
    Patience Mason was kind enough to send me a copy of her self-published abecediary, Woodland Litter Critters ABC, which has one of the clearest alphabets, in both capital and lower-case letters, that I've seen in a while. Each page features different "litter critters", which are small creatures assembled by Patience from items she finds on her woodland walks -- what some people might consider cast-offs, or detritus, repurposed creatively by Patience and photographed by her husband, Robert. The very last page of the book includes some photos with diagrams that explain what some of the…
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    The Miss Rumphius Effect

  • Monday Poetry Stretch - Macaronic Verse

    28 Jul 2014 | 2:21 pm
    Back in 2011 we wrote poems in the form of macaronic verse. It's been a long time, so this seems like a good time to revisit the form. The Handbook of Poetic Forms defines macaronic verse in this fashion.Macaronic verse is a peculiar, rare and often comic form of poetry that sometimes borders on nonsense. It is a mixture of two (or more) languages in a poem, in which the poet usually subjects one language to the grammatical laws of another to make people laugh.Poetry Base describes macaronic verse this way.The definition is a poem in a mixture of two languages, one of them…
  • Poetry Friday - The Tide Rises, the Tide Falls

    24 Jul 2014 | 9:01 pm
    It's been one week since posting a poem about the sand, and I'm still dreaming of the sea.The Tide Rises, the Tide Fallsby Henry Wadsworth LongfellowThe tide rises, the tide falls,The twilight darkens, the curlew calls;Along the sea-sands damp and brownThe traveller hastens toward the town,      And the tide rises, the tide falls.Darkness settles on roofs and walls,But the sea, the sea in the darkness calls;The little waves, with their soft, white hands,Efface the footprints in the sands,      And the tide rises, the tide falls.The morning breaks; the steeds in…
  • Monday Poetry Stretch - Mask/Persona Poem

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

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

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

  • The Poetry Friday Party is HERE!

    Sylvia Vardell
    24 Jul 2014 | 6:30 am
    Welcome to the Poetry Friday party!Today is the perfect day to go public with our plans for our next installment in The Poetry Friday Anthology series! Drum roll…The Poetry Friday Anthology for CELEBRATIONS!We’ll be gathering poems related to more than 100 holidays (like Halloween and July 4th), occasions (like graduation and the first day of school), and odd and interesting events (like Left Handers Day or National Yo-Yo Day). Our audience will be young children and the librarians, teachers, and families who care for them. Once again, we’ll provide “Take 5” activities for every…
  • Painting the Poetry Landscape

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Announcing Reading Matters 2015

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

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

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

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

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

  • Little Athena and the Owls

    Dave Mottram
    21 Jul 2014 | 6:42 am
    Little Athena for Sketch Dailies topic last week.
  • Lost Creatures

    Frances Macaulay Forde
    21 Jul 2014 | 1:28 am
    Sorry, I’ve been distracted again with another DOT drawing challenge and been introduced to a
  • Exciting news!

    Two Mummas and a Bubba
    20 Jul 2014 | 11:46 pm
    You know what? I am a terrible blogger. Since our baby boy Maverick was born I have really neglected this blog. I would love nothing more than to share every exciting little moment we have with him, but timing just does not allow it! He is almost 6 months old! Can you  believe it? There is so much I want to share with you right now, however it will have to wait until another time. I have a real reason to blog to you today. I HAVE WRITTEN A BOOK! I have wanted to do a children’s book forever. I have self published and done it all my self over the last couple of months and it is now…
  • The Adventures of Zelda: Zelda Meets Peach

    20 Jul 2014 | 4:20 pm
    I am gearing up for the release of The Adventures of Zelda: Pug and Peach at the end of August, and I thought you might need to get in the Zelda spirit. Here’s the last chapter of the second Zelda book. More Zelda teasers and spotlights are coming to the blog over the next month. Get ready! Zelda Meets Peach After the incident with the fake pug, I am staying low key around the house. Honestly, I am a little embarrassed at my mistake. My family, on the other hand, is busy with activity. Hannah is covering boxes during the day and placing them under the tree. I notice Hannah and Nate…
  • Time to introduce your kids to caveman kids

    20 Jul 2014 | 4:03 pm
    Home was a beautiful place, around the cave everything was green A long time ago before planes and trains and before buses and bicycles. Even before we rode horses. During a time when everybody walked, “Rock Thrower” and his older sister “Little Leaf” lived with their family in a cave. Their home was on the side of a hill overlooking their beautiful valley. In their little family there was Grandpa and Grandma along with three uncles and two aunties. There were many little children with their own mothers and fathers. It was a big happy family all living together in the safety of the…
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    School Library Journal

  • Pennridge School District Loses Elementary School Librarian for Upcoming School Year

    29 Jul 2014 | 12:59 pm
    Pennsylvania school districts have seen librarian cuts, and it’s not only the  Allentown School District (as previously reported in May 2014 by SLJ) where librarians are on the chopping block. On June 10, after much deliberation, Pennsylvania’s Pennridge School District announced their decision to finalize a budget plan—proposed by the schools’ superintendent—to reduce school librarian positions from 10 to nine for the 11 schools in the district that serve approximately 7,000 students. Back in late April, elementary librarians in the district were informed the proposed 2015…
  • ‘Evil Librarian’ Meets ‘Leroy Ninker’ at Candlewick| Fall 2014 Preview

    Rocco Staino
    29 Jul 2014 | 10:53 am
    At the Candlewick Fall Preview. Photo by Rocco Staino. Librarians have to wonder what’s in store for them when they arrive at a publisher’s preview and encounter editors wearing devil’s horns. That’s what happened at the Candlewick Fall 2014 preview in June, where the publisher promoted their feature book, Michelle Knudsen’s attention-grabbing Evil Librarian (Sept.). Described as Buffy the Vampire Slayer-meets-Glee, with a super hot male librarian who is a demon in disguise, this paranormal romance will attract both librarians and teens. Libraries also made an appearance at the…
  • A Signature Style: Picture book author Byron Barton on developing his craft | Up Close

    Kiera Parrott
    29 Jul 2014 | 9:00 am
    The iconic colors and shapes of Byron Barton’s picture books and board books are staples in libraries and early learning environments. From trucks and buses to dinosaurs and astronauts—and now several interactive apps—Barton has been creating engaging stories for the youngest learners for 45 years. His latest picture book, My Bus (HarperCollins, 2014), which recently earned an SLJ Star, features his signature bright, bold illustrations with a bevy of simple concepts perfect for the growing minds of toddlers and preschoolers. SLJ caught up with the prolific author to chat about his art,…
  • East Hampton Library Addition Opens After Long Struggle and Lawsuit

    Rocco Staino
    28 Jul 2014 | 3:03 pm
    At the June 21 ribbon cutting of the East Hampton Library; Board Members (l to r): Maureen Egen, Gail Parker, Brooke Kroeger Goren, Charlie Soriano, Robert A.M. Stern (architect), Bruce Collins, Dennis Fabiszak (library director), Tom Twomey, Alec Baldwin, Don Hunting, Sheila Rogers, and Debbie Walter. All photos courtesy of Richard Lewin. The new children’s addition of New York’s East Hampton Library had its official opening on June 21 after several contentious years fraught with zoning deputes, heated exchanges between village officials, and a lawsuit that went to the New York State…
  • Eight Apps to Support Early Reading and Writing | Cool Tools

    Richard Byrne
    28 Jul 2014 | 2:35 pm
    As we all know, it’s never too early to encourage reading. I regularly Skype with my two young nieces, who live 1,200 miles away. The four-year-old shares her current bedtime book with me, and shows me the words she can recognize in it. While reading in person with a child is best, these apps and sites also help very young students get excited about learning to read and write. Building Language for Literacy (Scholastic) offers three nice little language activities, designed for preK and kindergarten students. Leo Loves to Spell! asks students to help a lobster named Leo identify the first…
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    A Fuse #8 Production

  • Fusenews: Hear the beat, of literary feet.

    Elizabeth Bird
    29 Jul 2014 | 1:00 am
    Hi ho.  Time to round-up what Jules and I have been up to over at our Wild Things blog (book promotion for bloggers means more blogging, you see).  Here’s the long and short of what you may have missed: Wacked out 1970s picture books. Maurice Sendak’s actual first book (and it’s not what you think). Blueberry cheesecake and how it applies to Newbery and Caldecott acceptance speeches. Thoughts inspired by what may well be the most misguided celebrity children’s book we’ve heard about in years. Why did Robert McCloskey leave the field early? Perhaps Maurice…
  • Press Release Fun: A Conference on Censorship and a Call for Proposals

    Elizabeth Bird
    28 Jul 2014 | 1:00 am
    CALL FOR PROPOSALS Call for Proposals Outlawed: The Naked Truth About Censored Literature for Young People Arne Nixon Center for the Study of Children’s Literature Henry Madden Library at California State University, Fresno April 10-12, 2015 While most people are familiar with attempts to censor children’s and young adult literature, the problem of censorship continues to provoke many who believe that children and adolescents benefit from considering diverse viewpoints and cultural experiences. In recent years, many examples of children’s and young adult literature—including The…
  • Video Sunday: The Butterknife Thief

    Elizabeth Bird
    27 Jul 2014 | 1:00 am
    Okay . . . soooooooo this.  Look at this, oh ye children’s librarians.  Breathe this.  LIVE this!  Become this. So naturally I had to find out who she is.  Go to YouTube and she has numerous videos under the moniker OoeyGooeyLady.  Almost all her videos date back two years.  Real name?  Lisa Murphy.  And as you might expect, she has a whole web presence as well.  Certainly those videos, the hand rhymes ones, are invaluable for children’s librarians.  There are other good ones there too.  Here’s a different one of her videos on respecting kids. Kinda sorta could…
  • Review of the Day: The Madman of Piney Woods by Christopher Paul Curtis

    Elizabeth Bird
    25 Jul 2014 | 1:00 am
    The Madman of Piney Woods By Christopher Paul Curtis Scholastic ISBN: 978-0-545-63376-5 $16.99 Ages 9-12 On shelves September 30th No author hits it out of the park every time. No matter how talented or clever a writer might be, if their heart isn’t in a project it shows. In the case of Christopher Paul Curtis, when he loves what he’s writing the sheets of paper on which he types practically set on fire. When he doesn’t? It’s like reading mold. There’s life there, but no energy. Now in the case of his Newbery Honor book Elijah of Buxton, Curtis was doing gangbuster work. His blend…
  • Press Release Fun: Announcing the Ninth Annual Carle Honors

    Elizabeth Bird
    24 Jul 2014 | 1:00 am
    Media Alert For Thursday, September 18th 2014 Contact: Alexandra Pearson 212.255.8455/ Ninth Annual Carle Honors Celebrating Early Literacy and the Art of the Picture Book 2014 gala to fête author/illustrator Jerry Pinkney and other luminaries in the field   On Thursday, September 18, hundreds of children’s book artists, authors and advocates will come together to celebrate The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art’s ninth annual Carle Honors at Guastavino’s in New York City. This benefit gala will honor five individuals who have been instrumental in…
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    Michael Gerson: Most Recent Articles and Archives

  • The GOP is suddenly the party of reform

    Michael Gerson
    28 Jul 2014 | 4:56 pm
    Former British prime minister Tony Blair came to prominence in the 1990s as an expert in political renovation, transforming the Labour Party from a creaky, socialist relic to a modern, center-left, governing institution. Before Blair, Labour had not won back-to-back victories in a hundred years. Blair secured three. Read full article >>
  • Lois Lowry’s ‘The Giver’ makes one serious summertime movie

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

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

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

    Michael Gerson
    7 Jul 2014 | 5:33 pm
    The headline — “Poll: Obama worst president since World War II” — was both provocative and misleading. The Quinnipiac University survey did, indeed, place President Obama at the top of the worst since FDR. But this was largely a measure of partisan concentration. Republicans were united in their unfavorable historical judgment of Obama. Democrats divided their votes (and would insist, I’d imagine, that they have more options to choose from). Read full article >>
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  • Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere by Julie T. Lamana

    29 Jul 2014 | 2:35 pm
    I thought Zane and the Hurricane, fiction set in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, was kind of intense for middle grade, but Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere takes intense and tragic to another level. It’s not gruesome or gratuitous, but people do die. Some middle grade readers might find the book quite upsetting. That said, this book does do a good job of showing how an ordinary day can turn into horror and tragedy in very little time. Along with the characters in the book —ten year old Armani, her little sister Sealy, Memaw, the twins, and the rest of the extended…
  • Saturday Review of Books: July 26, 2014

    25 Jul 2014 | 4:58 pm
    “The aura of a book I have yet to read, with its promise of rapture, surprise and edification, might be even more powerful than the aura of a book I have read, enjoyed and duly forgotten.” ~Jeff Salamanacters 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,…
  • 50+ Nonfiction Books for 50 States

    25 Jul 2014 | 4:19 pm
    I found this list of 51 adult nonfiction selections, one for each state in the union and D.C.,, interesting but rather slanted toward the liberal (Obama’s book for Hawaii and Biden’s memoir for Delaware?) and the trendy and lurid (lots of drug memoirs and true crime). Maybe “Flavorwire has dug up some of the best nonfiction about specific American locations — in this case, our 50 states — and found 50 books that will shed light on every corner of the country,” but maybe there are better nonfiction books for at least some of the states. So I thought, why not come up…
  • Ollie and the Science of Treasure Hunting by Erin Dionne

    23 Jul 2014 | 7:58 pm
    This 2014 middle grade adventure is a companion novel to the author’s Moxie and the Art of Rule Breaking, a book I read and enjoyed last year when it came out. In this “14 Day Mystery” Moxie’s friend Ollie steps up and becomes the featured character and detective and lead treasure hunter as he searches for pirate treasure at his Wilderness Scout camp. There’s danger, boy pranks, camping stuff, and island adventure. Ollie goes to Wilderness Scout camp to get himself out of the media spotlight after his and Moxie’s solving of the (in)famous Gardner art heist.
  • Pawn in Frankincense by Dorothy Dunnett

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

  • Jenny Lewis On World Cafe

    29 Jul 2014 | 7:08 pm
    For the U.S. release, singer-songwriter John Grant fashioned English lyrics to go with the Icelandic musician's melodies. For our Vintage Cafe today, Ásgeir sings live in the World Cafe studios.» E-Mail This
  • Senate Approves $8 Billion Transportation Package

    Alan Greenblatt
    29 Jul 2014 | 5:00 pm
    The federal highway trust fund will run short of money starting this week unless Congress acts. But the Senate's bill differs significantly from what the House passed last week.» E-Mail This
  • The Hidden Costs Of Fighting Polio In Pakistan

    Jason Beaubien
    29 Jul 2014 | 4:30 pm
    The effort to end polio is taking a toll on Pakistan's already overstretched health system. With more children dying of measles and diarrhea, some question whether the focus on polio is worth it.» E-Mail This
  • Israeli Bombing Ruins Gaza's Only Power Plant

    Alan Greenblatt
    29 Jul 2014 | 4:28 pm
    Israel broadened its bombing campaign on Tuesday, bringing the Palestinian death toll above 1,200. Brief hope for a cease-fire was quickly dashed.» E-Mail This
  • McDonald's Responsible For Treatment Of Workers, Agency Says

    Alan Greenblatt
    29 Jul 2014 | 3:19 pm
    The National Labor Relations Board has found that McDonald's shares responsibility for working conditions at its franchised restaurants. The company will fight the ruling.» E-Mail This
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    Ally Carter

  • Magnificent Monday

    28 Jul 2014 | 7:16 am
    Hi Everyone! I hope all of you that got to go to RWA Literacy Autographing had a great time! And for those of you who didn’t get a chance to go we are going to mix it up a bit here on the blog and give away another author’s book! So here is your chance to win…The Camelot Code by Mari Mancusi! Just post in the comments if you have ever been to a book signing and who it was with, or if not, who you would like to meet in person to autograph one of your books! Good Luck! I will pick a winner randomly in 48 hrs. U.S. residence only. Please check back here for winner…
  • San Antonio, baby!

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

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

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

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

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

    28 Jul 2014 | 6:56 pm
    Welcome to July’s Bestselling Women’s Fiction Book Club in which we discuss Patricia Highsmith’s The Price of Salt/Carol. It’s original title was The Price of Salt and that’s what some editions in the US still call it. In Australia and the UK it’s called Carol. That’s how I think of it because that’s the edition I first read and fell in love with in my early twenties. This is the first book we’ve discussed that one of us knows really well. I’m a huge Highsmith fan. Have read everything she’s published as well as all the…
  • Writing Goals: Reduxing the Redux of the Redux

    23 Jul 2014 | 1:42 pm
    This post is a thing that I do every so often. It started in 2006 when I posted my writing goals. I updated it in 2008 with the publication of How To Ditch Your Fairy and then again in 2009 after Liar came out. And then in 2012 in anticipation of the publication of Team Human. These goals of mine are not stuff like Become NYT Bestselling Author or Win Nobel Prize.1 Winning prizes, making bestseller lists, having your books turned into genius TV shows are not things anyone can control,2 but I can control what I write. Not only can I control that, I do control that. So that’s what my…
  • Next on BWFBC: Patricia Highsmith’s Carol/Price of Salt (1952) (updated)

    17 Jul 2014 | 8:33 pm
    The next book for Kate Elliott and mine’s Bestselling Women’s Fiction Book Club is Patricia Highsmith’s Carol. The book was originally published under the title Price of Salt and under the pseudonym Claire Morgan as a Bantam paperback original in 1952. Although it did not sell well as a hardcover it sold nearly a million copies as a Bantam paperback and become a lesbian classic. Highsmith didn’t publicly admit the book was hers until the 1980s. This lovely article by Terry Castle at Slate gives some more context for the book. It’s one of my favourite Highsmith…
  • Guest Post: YA From a Marginalized Young Adult’s Perspective

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

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

  • Reskinned

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

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

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

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

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

    28 Jul 2014 | 9:29 pm
    The Resident IT Consultant wanted to go on a train. A narrow gauge one. And then I said I didn’t. I said I didn’t mind being parked somewhere for the duration. After a few false starts when he suggested silly places to put me, he found the Stockholm botanic gardens. (My search criteria said somewhere with benches to sit on and access to toilets. You know, just in case.) Bergianska Trädgården seemed to tick both boxes (never let it be said I demand a lot). So off we went and he dumped me and departed for his train. I sat on benches until the yellow orangery café opened, where I…
  • The RCL

    27 Jul 2014 | 9:43 pm
    Yesterday I saw the Retired Children’s Librarian. That is a phrase I have so far been unable to say on this blog, which makes it noteworthy. Saw her the day before as well. And before that it had been eight years. Bookwitch is only seven, which is why I’ve never said it on here. The RCL doesn’t travel much these days, and I find that the town where she now lives is – quite frankly – on the wrong side of the country. It is far and it is not on the railway. That’s where the Resident IT Consultant comes in, because he can be made to drive witches to places not…
  • Zeki Loves Baby Club

    26 Jul 2014 | 9:14 pm
    How to sing an Irish baby song in Urdu. I was a lazy mother. Taking Offspring to playgroup was intended to take a load off me, for a couple of hours. The other children were meant to entertain, and so were the adult playgroup leaders. Here, in Zeki Loves Baby Club, the lovely parents all join in and play and sing with their child. True, the presence of the other babies means Zeki enjoys his Wednesdays, but there is a lot of adult playing and singing. It’s a very sweet book, with quite irresistible illustrations. It makes you want to go to this baby club, where children and adults…
  • The ferried witch

    25 Jul 2014 | 9:28 pm
    Friday was Furusund day. Well, Furusund morning, anyway. Furusund – which features in Evert Taube’s songs, as well as having been the holiday home of Astrid Lindgren – was smaller than expected. Nice, but there was no ‘downtown’ Furusund to speak of. You sit there looking at the sailboats, when along comes a monster boat. And when we had looked our fill at Furusund, the Resident IT Consultant – with little consideration for lunch – drove us to Kapellskär, which is near-ish, and where the big monster boats to Finland and Åland depart from. There…
  • Old times

    24 Jul 2014 | 9:24 pm
    How old I felt! How old I am! (It’s really others who are too young.) We stopped for lunch at a railway station. Ex-station. Very lovely. Even the toilet was lovely, and the camera came out. (No, you can’t see.) They had ancient milk bottles of the kind I used to buy when I was a tiny witch-let. I mentioned this to the girl in the café. ‘Yes, someone told me it was in the 1950s’ she said. ‘1960s’ I replied, trying not to sound cross. But what’s in a digit? It was all long ago. They had a train in the garden. (Well, actually I’m thinking…
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    Confessions of a Bibliovore

  • Book Review: The Lost Girl by Sangu Mandanna

    26 Jul 2014 | 5:07 pm
    Book: The Lost GirlAuthor: Sangu MandannaPublished: 2012Source: Local LibraryEva has always known that her life doesn't belong to her. She is an echo. Like the backup of a hard drive, her sole purpose is to absorb all the details of another girl's life, so that if that first girl dies, she's on hand to step in.But Eva wants her own life, not Amarra's. She wants to create art, she wants adventures that haven't already happened to somebody else, she wants to love the boy she picks and not the one Amarra loves. Then Amarra dies, and Eva must travel from England to India to take her place. The…
  • Book Review: While We Run by Karen Healey

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

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

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

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

  • An unsentimental bloke: The life and work of C.J. Dennis by Philip Butterss

    29 Jul 2014 | 7:06 am
    Wakefield Press, 2014. ISBN 9781743052877. (Age: 17+) Recommended. These days, readers are likely to encounter the verse of C.J. Dennis in one of his poems for children. However, nearly a century ago, many Australians only needed to hear the line, 'Er name was Doreen', to recall The songs of a sentimental bloke, a narrative poem that sold over 100,000 copies in its first five years of publication. Philip Butterss has explored the life and works of the poet and discovered a gifted but troubled man whose 'larrikin verse' captured the spirit of his age. The result is not only a detailed account…
  • American Savage by Matt Whyman

    29 Jul 2014 | 7:04 am
    Hot Key Books, 2014. ISBN 9781471400698. In this sequel to The Savages the family has moved to the US to avoid discovery of their cannibalism. Mother, Angelica has become a fitness fanatic while father Titus is putting on weight - 'it is inevitable that meat sourced from these parts would carry a little extra fat' p11. Son Ivan tries to fit in by joining the football team at school but he is not good at it and is being bullied while the vegan lodger Amanda is having trouble finding work. The other members of this tight knit family are the kindy aged Katya and grandfather Oleg all of whom have…
  • Juicy juicy green grass, and other fun songs by Peter Coome

    29 Jul 2014 | 7:00 am
    Ill. Danielle McDonald. Scholastic, 2014. ISBN 9781743620648. (Age: 3-6) Picture book, Songs, Humour. Four songs, Juicy juicy green grass, The silly postman, Tadpole blues and Red says stop are included in this brightly illustrated and attractive book for pre- school children. Accompanied by a CD with Peter Coombe singing these songs, they will be able to be preformed easily by a group of younger children or used as a sing a long. The first song, Juicy juicy green grass bemoans the fact that the grass has now died, and the sheep singing the song is waiting for its source of nourishment to…
  • Friday Barnes 1: Girl Detective by R. A. Spratt

    29 Jul 2014 | 6:58 am
    Random House Australia Children's, 2014. ISBN: 9781742759623. (Age: 10+) No doubt you would all be familiar with the wonderful world of Nanny Piggins. Now R. A. Spratt introduces us to a new character, Friday Barnes, who I am certain will prove every bit as popular as the porcine prima donna. Friday Barnes is a Matilda-esque child, thoroughly neglected by her remote scientific parents - the surprise and unplanned child after a neatly organised delivery of four older siblings. Left basically to her own devices for eleven years, Friday is an exceptionally intelligent girl who has read…
  • Rory and the Monstersitter by Rosie Reeve

    29 Jul 2014 | 6:57 am
    Bloomsbury, 2014. ISBN 978140884551.   Highly recommended for readers aged 5+, young children with an adult, and independent readers aged 7+. Rory and the Monster Sitter had me smiling and if Rory's mum and dad ask you to babysit then say no! Rory and the Monstersitter is a lovely picture book about a young monster, Rory, who loves to cook. When his parents go out, Rory has the chance to cook something (or someone) new for dinner. The babysitter? The pictures are detailed, the characters funny and the story short. It would be a great story to read to children in the classroom and use to…
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    I'm Here. I'm Queer. What the Hell do I read?

  • A great quote from Hanne Blank's "Straight: The Surprisingly Short History of Heterosexuality"

    Lee Wind, M.Ed.
    28 Jul 2014 | 9:20 am
    "I have no deep personal attachment to labeling myself in terms of sexual orientation, nor do I have the sensation of "being" heterosexual or homosexual or anything but a human being who loves and desires other human beings. I have been romantically and sexually involved with people of a variety of biological sexes and social genders over the course of my adult life. When pressed, I am most likely to declare my "sexual identity" as "taken.""- Hanne Blank, from page xiii of the introduction toI thought that was fascinating!Namaste (the light in me recognizes and acknowledges the light in every…
  • If I Lie - A Girl, A Marine, And A Secret's Terrible Cost

    Lee Wind, M.Ed.
    25 Jul 2014 | 3:05 am
    If I Lie by Corrine JacksonCheater. Traitor. Slut.Quinn’s done the unthinkable: she kissed a guy who is not Carey, her boyfriend. And she got caught. Shunned by everyone she knows, Quinn loses her friends, her reputation, and her identity. Because Carey’s not just any guy—he’s a Marine who’s serving overseas, and beloved by everyone in their small, military town.But Quinn didn’t cheat. She could clear her name, but that would mean revealing secrets she’s vowed to keep—secrets that aren’t hers to share. So she stays silent, and she waits for Carey to come home.Then Carey goes…
  • Gender 101, Episode #14 Redux:

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

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

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

  • Getting Boys Excited About Reading: Ideas & Resources

    Trevor Cairney
    25 Jul 2014 | 5:02 am
    Well-known Australian writer Paul Jennings was asked by a grandmother one day at a signing to write something in it for her grandson "...that will make him want to read the book". He wrote "When you finish this book your grandmother will give you $20!" This isn't my perferred strategy but Paul felt it would work! There are other ways.We've known for years that girls make a faster start in reading in the early years. In the last 30 years the gap between the literacy achievements of boys and girls has widened in favour of girls. Professor William G. Brozo who is co-author of the book 'Bright…
  • Corporal Punishment in Schools: Can it be Justified?

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

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

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

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

  • Children’s Book Review and Activities, Jeremy

    29 Jul 2014 | 12:00 pm
    Children’s Book Review and Activities, Jeremy by Susan Stephenson, www.thebookchook.comWith Children’s Book Week fast approaching in Australia, there’s still time to buy or borrow this wonderful short-listed children’s picture book! Jeremy was written by Chris Faille, illustrated by Danny Snell, and published by Working Title Press (2013). There are Teacher Notes to accompany it. From the publisher:When tiny Jeremy falls out of his nest and is brought home by the family cat, he is only a few days old. Luckily, Jeremy is a fighter. As the weeks go by he grows stronger and stronger,…
  • Children’s iPad App, Curious Ruler

    27 Jul 2014 | 12:00 pm
    Children’s iPad App, Curious Rulerby Susan Stephenson, I’ve been impressed so far with Curious Hat’s apps, so I jumped at the chance to check out Curious Ruler, a measuring app. From the developer:With Curious Ruler, children can explore and measure objects around them and learn about sizes, units of measure, and proportions. Simply pick a known reference object in Curious Ruler, place it side-by-side next to the object you want to measure and snap a photo.Curious Ruler measures the object and compares their relative sizes. The interaction is limitless, fun and…
  • The Power of Being Punny

    24 Jul 2014 | 12:00 pm
    The Power of Being Punny by Susan Stephenson, www.thebookchook.comKids love puns. Okay, they may groan over Dad's puns, but they usually think their own are hilarious. Why not capitalise on this and suggest your kids/students try some activities based around puns? Observing and discussing puns is a great way for children to practise inferring, a vital comprehension skill. (If you want to find out more about inference, check out my article, Helping Kids to Infer. )What is a pun exactly? Different people seem to mean different things by it, but one simple definition I like is "a play on words".
  • Children’s Book Review, The Fantastic Jungles of Henri Rousseau

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

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

  • Defined by decisions

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

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

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

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

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