Children's Literature

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  • What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week, Plus What I DidLast Week, Featuring Bénédicte Guettier,Patrick McDonnell, Daniel Salmieri, and Charlotte Voake

    Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast
    21 May 2015 | 11:01 pm
    – From Meet the Dullards(Click to enlarge spread)   – From The Skunk   “Unfortunately, an octopus is not a very suitable pet.You should see the mess he makes in the bathroom!”– From Melissa’s Octopus and Other Unsuitable Pets(Click to enlarge spread)   – From I am the Wolf … And Here I Come!   Today over at Kirkus, I write about the neatest picture book award you’ve never heard of, the Bull-Bransom Award from the National Museum of Wildlife Art. That link will be here soon. Last week I wrote (here) about four new…
  • AICL's Best Books of 2015

    American Indians in Children's Literature (AICL)
    6 May 2015 | 4:24 am
    In December of 2014, I made a list of books that I'd recommended in 2014. It was a list of books that were published in that year.This year I'm starting the Best Books of 2015 list today (May 6) and will update it as the year progresses. If you're looking over the list and want me to consider a book, do let me know!BOOKS BY NATIVE WRITERSComics and Graphic Novels:The Blue Raven written by Richard Van Camp, illustrated by Steven Keewatin Sanderson, published by Pearson.Picture Books:For Middle Grades:In the Footsteps of Crazy Horse written by Joseph Marshall III, illustrated by Jim…
  • Book & Me, Week 3

    The Horn Book
    Katie Bircher
    22 May 2015 | 11:17 am
    In case you missed them, here is the third batch of entries in Charise Mericle Harper’s original “Book & Me” comics series: #10: On productivity and the “dark forces of distraction” #11: Book’s stealth marketing scheme #12: Book believes in positive reinforcement #13: Gimme a B! Gimme an O! Gimme and O! Gimme a K! #14: Book needs famous friends Stay tuned for more adventures starring irrepressible Book and his creator! See all entries by clicking the tag book and me. The post Book & Me, Week 3 appeared first on The Horn Book.
  • 5&Dime Friday

    Finding Wonderland: The WritingYA Weblog
    22 May 2015 | 4:05 am
    Hello! I have lost time this week - I've been a day behind for the entire time, and I'm like, "It's Friday? Really?" This is the sad, sad result of going to meetings all week for various wonderful institutions - somehow this is the year of the Board. Next year WILL NOT BE. Trust me on this. Anyway! This is a really, really, REALLY quick five and dime -- the number of things I'm seeing on the web are adding up, and I've not spilled them in a long time! So, without further ado: Jo Gratz remains the coolest girl on earth. That is all. Didja notice Leila guesting away on Book Riot this past week?
  • Edwards Award: Winners!

    A Chair, A Fireplace, & A Tea Cozy
    Liz B
    20 May 2015 | 1:00 am
    So who has received the Edwards Award?The 2015 Winner is Sharon M. Draper. And yes, my fingers are crossed that I'll be able to attend the Edwards Brunch in June.And here is the list to previous winners:1988 S.E. Hinton1990 Richard Peck1991 Robert Cormier1992 Lois Duncan1993 M.E. Kerr1994 Walter Dean Myers1995 Cynthia Voigt1996 Judy Blume1997 Gary Paulsen1998 Madeleine L'Engle1999 Anne McCaffrey2000 Chris Crutcher2001 Robert Lipsyte2002 Paul Zindel2003 Nancy Garden2004 Ursula K. Le Guin2005 Francesca Lia Block2006 Jacqueline Woodson2007 Lois Lowry2008 Orson Scott Card2009 Laurie Halse…
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    The Horn Book

  • Book & Me, Week 3

    Katie Bircher
    22 May 2015 | 11:17 am
    In case you missed them, here is the third batch of entries in Charise Mericle Harper’s original “Book & Me” comics series: #10: On productivity and the “dark forces of distraction” #11: Book’s stealth marketing scheme #12: Book believes in positive reinforcement #13: Gimme a B! Gimme an O! Gimme and O! Gimme a K! #14: Book needs famous friends Stay tuned for more adventures starring irrepressible Book and his creator! See all entries by clicking the tag book and me. The post Book & Me, Week 3 appeared first on The Horn Book.
  • Week in Review, May 18th-22nd

    Katie Bircher
    22 May 2015 | 11:06 am
    This week on… Our 2015 Summer Reading recommendations are here! See what made the cut and download our pretty PDF for easy shopping/library-checking-out (or buy them from our online store)! From the May/June 2015 Horn Book Magazine Special Issue: Transformations: Book & Me comics by Charise Mericle Harper “What Makes a Good Fractured Fairy Tale?” by Lee McLain “Transformers: What Fairy Tales Tell” by Christine M. Heppermann Carol Weston Talks with Roger Reviews of the Week: Picture Book: Roger Is Reading a Book by Koen Van Biesen — and is that our…
  • Transformers: What Fairy Tales Tell

    Christine M. Heppermann
    22 May 2015 | 9:00 am
    I don’t retell fairy tales. They retell me. Over and over again they tell me who I am, how I feel, what I believe. This process of self-discovery happens every time I write a poem, but it seems to happen most acutely when I throw on Red Riding Hood’s cloak or pull up a chair to confront the Wicked Queen’s veracious mirror. Adopting a fairy-tale persona gives me permission to venture into the dark alleys of my mind that I would otherwise avoid. I’m undercover — it’s not me breaking all those rules! Except it is. In the tower and the castle and the cottage, I’m always there. In…
  • Book & Me | Comic #14

    Charise Mericle Harper
    22 May 2015 | 9:00 am
    Previous | Next (May 26) The post Book & Me | Comic #14 appeared first on The Horn Book.
  • Sago Mini Road Trip app review

    Katie Bircher
    21 May 2015 | 1:10 pm
    This weekend is Memorial Day weekend, and you know what that means: the beginning of road-trip season! Seems like a good time to check out Sago Mini’s Road Trip app (Sago Sago, December 2014) — especially since it’s currently free. You play as Jinja the cat, off to visit one of three friends (a dog, a bird, or a bunny) in locales (beach, big city, mountains, pyramids) which rotate with repeated uses. Pack clothes and travel necessities such as a dino inner tube, a goldfish in a bowl, a treasure map, wellies, a chocolate cake — you know, the essentials. Then choose your ride…
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    Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast

  • What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week, Plus What I DidLast Week, Featuring Bénédicte Guettier,Patrick McDonnell, Daniel Salmieri, and Charlotte Voake

    21 May 2015 | 11:01 pm
    – From Meet the Dullards(Click to enlarge spread)   – From The Skunk   “Unfortunately, an octopus is not a very suitable pet.You should see the mess he makes in the bathroom!”– From Melissa’s Octopus and Other Unsuitable Pets(Click to enlarge spread)   – From I am the Wolf … And Here I Come!   Today over at Kirkus, I write about the neatest picture book award you’ve never heard of, the Bull-Bransom Award from the National Museum of Wildlife Art. That link will be here soon. Last week I wrote (here) about four new…
  • Miss Hazeltine’s Home forShy and Fearful Cats

    20 May 2015 | 11:01 pm
    “Crumb lapped up every word. One day he hoped to find the courage to thank her.Still, he worried. Would he ever be brave?”   I’m following up my BookPage review of Alicia Potter’s Miss Hazeltine’s Home for Shy and Fearful Cats (Knopf, May 2015), illustrated by Birgitta Sif, with a bit of art from the book, as well as some early sketches from Birgitta. The review is here, and I thank her for sharing the images here today. Enjoy …   Early sketches(Click second image to enlarge)   “Soon more cats came to Miss Hazeltine’s home. And…
  • A Visit with Author-Illustrator William Bee

    18 May 2015 | 11:01 pm
    Where is Stanley going over there? COME BACK, STANLEY. Ah well. He has some mail to deliver, so he’s off. British author-illustrator and commercial designer William Bee visits 7-Imp today to share some images from two of his 2015 picture books. (Bee visited 7-Imp back in the day for one of my favorite “breakfast” interviews.) Migloo’s Day, released by Candlewick earlier this year (March), is a search-and-find adventure for young children. Migloo is a dog, and readers follow him throughout a day and busy, detailed spreads, as he explores his community. “There’s…
  • 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #432: Featuring Elly MacKay

    16 May 2015 | 11:01 pm
    (Click to enlarge)   I love to see the paper-cut artwork of author-illustrator Elly MacKay, and I reviewed her newest book from Running Press, Butterfly Park, here at BookPage. It will be on shelves in June. Today, I follow up the review with some art from the book and a few other images Elly sent along. I thank her for sharing.   “And then there was her house, plain and gray like all the others. But next to it was a gate unlike any other. The girl repeated the letters. Suddenly, she felt very lucky!”(Click to enlarge spread)   (Click to enlarge)   In the…
  • What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week, Plus What I DidLast Week, Featuring Alexis Dormal and Olof Landström

    14 May 2015 | 11:01 pm
    – From Lena and Olof Landström’s Where Is Pim?   – From Dominique Roques’ Anna Banana and the Chocolate Explosion,illustrated by Alexis Dormal   This morning over at Kirkus, I’ve got a round-up of new picture books. That is here, and next week I’ll have some art from each book. Last week, I wrote here about Lena and Olof Landström’s Where Is Pim? (Gecko Press, April 2015), originally released overseas a couple years ago, as well as Dominique Roques’ Anna Banana and the Chocolate Explosion!, illustrated by Alexis Dormal and coming to…
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    Finding Wonderland: The WritingYA Weblog

  • 5&Dime Friday

    22 May 2015 | 4:05 am
    Hello! I have lost time this week - I've been a day behind for the entire time, and I'm like, "It's Friday? Really?" This is the sad, sad result of going to meetings all week for various wonderful institutions - somehow this is the year of the Board. Next year WILL NOT BE. Trust me on this. Anyway! This is a really, really, REALLY quick five and dime -- the number of things I'm seeing on the web are adding up, and I've not spilled them in a long time! So, without further ado: Jo Gratz remains the coolest girl on earth. That is all. Didja notice Leila guesting away on Book Riot this past week?
  • Toon Thursday Flashback: Game Shows for Writers

    Sarah Stevenson
    21 May 2015 | 8:00 am
    I was watching an episode of Chopped last night while making dinner, so it seems appropriate to revisit this one! And, never fear, I do have plans for actual NEW cartoons in the very near future, by which I mean sometime after this month which point I will also UPDATE THE ARCHIVE I've also been neglecting. Sigh. This work is copyrighted material. All opinions are those of the writer, unless otherwise indicated. All book reviews are UNSOLICITED, and no money has exchanged hands, unless otherwise indicated. Please contact the weblog owner for further details.

    20 May 2015 | 5:47 am
    I'd wanted to read this book for a long time because in my head I'd heard it was historical and was a story about a Chinese girl. Somehow, my mind equated "historical fiction" with an absolutely parallel true-to-life tale of someone back in time. I think a lot of people do that, almost expect a documentary novel, despite the word "fiction" tied up with the "historical," thus their hesitation to read historical fiction. I'm glad Stacey Lee remembered the fictional part. What's not fictional? That there were Chinese-American people in the U.S. in 1849. That there were African American people…

    19 May 2015 | 2:38 am
    Honestly? I did not see this one coming.Some of us in the kidlitosphere who have grown up in a faith have frequently bemoaned the scarcity of accurately, positively and creatively depicted faith in children's fiction. (Please note I said "faith" and not "Christianity.") I had just had a conversation with a fellow blogger about this very thing when I was approached by a small press to review their book. For some reason, I thought this was a poetic book, but soon discovered it's not quite poetry, nor, despite the artwork, is it quite a graphic novel. It's a cross between a parable and a…
  • Quick Monday Review: TANDEM by Anna Jarzab

    Sarah Stevenson
    18 May 2015 | 3:24 pm
    I'll admit two things first: 1) I put off reading this one for far too long, and 2) the first time I opened it and read the first few pages, I just wasn't immediately drawn in. There was a princess, and I had not assumed that there would be princesses in this book. THEN, the second time I picked it up, I kept reading, and realized that the princess in question was not simply a fairy-tale princess from some fantastical land, but in fact an alternate-universe version of the story's protagonist: Sasha Lawson, from Chicago, USA, Earth. Her analog is Princess Juliana of Columbia City, UCC, Aurora.
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    A Chair, A Fireplace, & A Tea Cozy

  • Edwards Award: Winners!

    Liz B
    20 May 2015 | 1:00 am
    So who has received the Edwards Award?The 2015 Winner is Sharon M. Draper. And yes, my fingers are crossed that I'll be able to attend the Edwards Brunch in June.And here is the list to previous winners:1988 S.E. Hinton1990 Richard Peck1991 Robert Cormier1992 Lois Duncan1993 M.E. Kerr1994 Walter Dean Myers1995 Cynthia Voigt1996 Judy Blume1997 Gary Paulsen1998 Madeleine L'Engle1999 Anne McCaffrey2000 Chris Crutcher2001 Robert Lipsyte2002 Paul Zindel2003 Nancy Garden2004 Ursula K. Le Guin2005 Francesca Lia Block2006 Jacqueline Woodson2007 Lois Lowry2008 Orson Scott Card2009 Laurie Halse…
  • Edwards Award: Selection, Administration, Publisher Solictation

    Liz B
    12 May 2015 | 7:02 pm
    And a little more about the Edwards Award, from the YALSA website.SelectionA committee of five, including the chair, will be responsible for the final selection of the recipient of the Award. Input may be solicited from the field, including librarians and young adults, but the selection will be made by the committee. Input should be received by the chair of the committee by November 1. The selection of the winner award will be made at the ALA Midwinter Meeting preceding the Annual Conference at which the award is to be presented.AdministrationThe five member selection committee is virtual and…
  • Edwards Award: Sponsor and Presentation

    Liz B
    6 May 2015 | 1:00 am
    And a little more about the Edwards Award, from the YALSA website.SponsorSchool Library Journal is the award's donor and funds the award and administrative cost. The recipient receives a cash prize of $2,000 plus an appropriate citation.PresentationThe award (cash prize and citation) will be presented to the winning author at the YALSA luncheon or other gala affair at the ALA Annual Conference. The author is required to attend the event to accept the award and to make a short acceptance speech.Currently, the presentation is made at a brunch during ALA. I've attended the event both as a lunch…
  • ASCLA Interface Interview

    Liz B
    5 May 2015 | 1:30 am
    One of the ALA groups I'm a part of is ASCLA, the Association of Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies.ASLCA's newsletter is Interface, available online. And I was highlighted in their recent Member Spotlight!So if you want to know about the library job that pays the bills, head over to the ASCLA Newsletter.Amazon Affiliate. If you click from here to Amazon and buy something, I receive a percentage of the purchase price. © Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy
  • Edwards Award: Criteria

    Liz B
    28 Apr 2015 | 1:00 am
    And a little more about the Edwards Award, from the YALSA website.Last time, the definitions pretty much set what authors are books are eligible. But what is the criteria to make a selection?CriteriaThe committee making its selection of nominees must be aware of the entire range of books for young adults and will take into account the following:Does the book(s) help adolescents to become aware of themselves and to answer their questions about their role and importance in relationships, society and in the world?Is the book(s) of acceptable literary quality?Does the book(s) satisfy the…
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    educating alice

  • In the Classroom: Letters to Alice and Others

    20 May 2015 | 6:00 am
    In my recent Horn Book Magazine article, “Alice, the Transformer” I described my approach to reading Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland to contemporary 4th graders. After finishing the book we always have a tea party and the children do some sort of response to the book. This year I invited the children to write to Lewis Carroll or one of their favorite characters in the book. The results were terrific. You can read a selection of the letters in their entirety here, but to give you a taste here are a few excerpts (frequently done in a font based on Lewis Carroll’s own…
  • An Ancient Prophecy That Tells of a Boy

    19 May 2015 | 2:18 am
    Now where have you heard that one before? Harry Potter? Anakin Skywalker? How about….
  • RIF’s 2015 Multicultural Booklist (Grades K to 5)

    15 May 2015 | 1:18 am
    I am so honored that RIF (Reading is Fundamental) has selected Africa is My Home for their 2015 Multicultural Book list.  For it they’ve done this wonderful guide for parent, families, and teachers for the book. Thank you so so much! Our 2015 Multicultural Book Collection includes 39 children’s books specially selected to encourage children’s interest and learning in a broad range of topics, from science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM) to history and social studies. The Collection also emphasizes multiculturalism and diversity in its books’ content,…
  • CLAT: Level III Children’s Literature Application Test

    11 May 2015 | 1:16 am
    My partner in crim — fellow test creator Roxanne Feldman reminded me of the CLAT: Level III Children’s Literature Application Test we created some years ago for the Horn Book Magazine.  Go do it and then come back and let us know in the comments how you did….go on. Don’t worry — it is tongue-in-cheek and fun. Here are the beliefs we articulated when we created the test in 2007 along with notes from me about how they look in 2015. Never assume. Every year we interact with children new to us, children we already know, remixed classes of those children, and a…
  • Alice, the Transformer

    7 May 2015 | 2:15 am
    Check out my latest article in the May/June Horn Book, “Alice, the Transformer.” I had fun looking at the ways the little girl has been constantly reinvented over the 150 years of her literary existence. The whole issue, by the way, is great!
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    Chasing Ray

  • Elena Vanishing

    19 May 2015 | 10:50 pm
    Published in conjunction with Clare Dunkle’s Hope and Other Luxuries, Elena and Clare Dunkle’s Elena Vanishing is a memoir about battling anorexia. Told primarily from the perspective of Elena, starting when she was 17, it is a graphic depiction of the inner fight that occurs when suffering from the disorder. Reading this book is a visceral experience; but it presents a few challenges as well, most notably whether it is the voice of Elena or Clare that comes through on the page. Hope and Other Luxuries presents a straightforward chronology of the events during Elena’s…
  • Hope and Other Luxuries

    18 May 2015 | 12:43 am
    Fantasy writer Clare Dunkle’s new nonfiction book gives everything away with it’s subtitle: Hope and Other Luxuries: A Mother’s Life with A Daughter’s Anorexia. It is clear that this is a book that is going to put readers through the emotional wringer as Dunkle records every second from the period “before”, when her family was happy and healthy and into the long nearly interminable journey to “after” as first one daughter struggles with depression and then another nearly dies fighting anorexia. At more than 550 pages, this book is not for the…
  • Some really excellent food writing

    6 May 2015 | 2:13 pm
    I am certain that in a previous life I loved cooking. I’m certain that I was one of those people who threw ingredients into a pan with abandon and created great and wholesome dishes that were the envy and delight of many. (Cue image of Meryl Streep from “It’s Complicated”.) (Don’t mock me for liking this move. It’s Meryl-freaking-Streep. I get to love it without shame.) I am certain that in some parallel dimension I am an excellent cook. Enter Tod Davies and Jam Today, Too. Following up on Jam Today: A Diary of Cooking With What You’ve Got, this new…
  • Admiralty Islands, 1944

    4 May 2015 | 1:09 am
    Pete Hurley, WWII, 1944 This is my grandfather, Pete Hurley, during WWII in the Pacific. He was a member of the SeaBees – the USN Construction Battalion who built and maintained airports, runways, etc. on the islands during the war. He’s about 28 in this picture. My grandfather died a few days before my 5th birthday but I have some huge memories of him. He was not a big man, but had a very big personalty. More than anything, he embodied all the classic characteristics of the Irish Mick – fair skinned, fair haired, blue-eyed, a great dancer and storyteller, talented in a…
  • 2 gorgeous pictures books from Enchanted Lion

    22 Apr 2015 | 10:20 pm
    I am consistently impressed with the picture books published by Enchanted Lion Books. Most recently I received copies of Beastly Verse by Joohee Yoon and The World in a Second by Isabel Martin with illustrations by Bernard Carvalho. The Yoon book is the more traditional—a poetry collection that includes works from Lewis Carroll, William Blake and Laura E. Richards. Here’s a bit of “The Yake” from Hilaire Belloc: As a friend to the children commend me the Yak, You will find it exactly the thing; It will carry and fetch, you can ride on its back, Or lead it about with a…
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    Arthur Slade: The YA Fantastical Fiction Guy

  • 10,000 Copies Sold! Now I Can Retire

    Arthur Slade
    1 May 2015 | 8:24 am
    Well, my total eBook sales across all platforms is now 10, 016 copies. I'm happy to have reached this magic milestone and have now ordered a yacht for my backyard. All hands report on deck! Or perhaps I should write about about how to sell ebooks for the YA and Children's market. It could be titled: How To Sell 10,000 Copies in Fifty Months!All kidding aside I'm glad that this ebook adventure has been (sometimes) a tidy little addition to my regular income. All of the books that I'm selling are either out of print editions that I've re-issued in various countries or collections of new work…
  • Hootsuite

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

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

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

    Arthur Slade
    28 Jun 2014 | 8:35 am
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    Books for Boys - Children's Adventure & Mystery Author Max Elliot Anderson

  • Release Announcement – Captain Jack’s Treasure

    16 May 2015 | 10:14 am
    Late last year, the publisher of my Sam Cooper Adventure Series informed me they would no longer be publishing books. That’s the bad news. The good news is the series is being picked up by Elk Lake Publishing. Captain Jack’s Treasure is book #2 in the Sam Cooper Adventure Series for middle grade readers - 6 books will be released in this series.Synopsis_________________________________Captain Jack’s Treasure            Sam Cooper lives right near the ocean, on the Treasure Coast of Florida. All he’s ever heard about since he moved…
  • Lost Island Smugglers released by Elk Lake Publishing

    10 May 2015 | 5:43 am
    Release Announcement – Lost Island SmugglersLate last year, the publisher of my Sam Cooper Adventure Series, informed me they would no longer be publishing books. That’s the bad news. The good news is, Elk Lake Publishing has picked up the series and now released the first book. Lost Island Smugglers is book #1 in the Sam Cooper Adventure Series for middle grade readers - 6 books will be released in this series.Synopsis_________________________________Lost Island Smugglers          Sam Cooper had only recently moved to Florida when he met Tony…
  • BLOG OF THE MONTH at Book Fun Magazine

    6 May 2015 | 3:07 pm
    This site was just voted BLOG OF THE MONTH at Book Fun Magazine. Find out more about this excellent magazine, and read an article about my books at
  • Special Announcement from Chestnut Publishing Group

    2 May 2015 | 11:34 am
    Chestnut Publishing GroupApril 30 at 9:41am · Chestnut Publishing is very excited to announce that we will soon be publishing Max Elliot Andersons' short stories for children which will be co-authored by Larry Swartz. Max's short stories collection titled "Tree Forts, Pigtails, Pollywogs and More” contains seventeen short stories that young readers are sure to love. Larry Swartz, who is an instructor in literacy as well as dramatic arts at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto will provide Response Activities that connect to current curriculum…
  • Middle Grade Book Trailers

    26 Apr 2015 | 11:29 am
    One of the many elements provided to help promote my middle grade action adventures & mysteries, I've produced a number of video book trailers.Catch all the excitement and see what young readers are talking about.The Accidental Adventures - Coming July 2015 Rampage of The White Wolf Island Smugglers Woods Poachers Jack's…
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    Wands and Worlds

  • Game of Thrones: Thoughts about Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken (Spoilers)

    18 May 2015 | 10:20 am
    Last night's episode was a real downer. My first reaction was, "Well, that was depressing," but as I think about and process it, I have some different thoughts. There will spoilers here, so if you haven't watched the episode yet, I recommend you leave now.As a clarification, I've only read the first two books in A Song of Ice and Fire, so I can't discuss this episode in relation to the books. However, since the showrunners have made it clear that they aren't strictly following the books anymore, I don't think it's overly relevant.I think the key to understanding this episode is the title,…
  • Book Review: An Ember in the Ashes

    5 May 2015 | 12:25 pm
    An Ember in the Ashesby Sabaa TahirTold in alternating stories of two main characters on opposite sides, An Ember in the Ashes is a suspenseful exploration of the effects of violence on both the conquered and the conquerors. Set in a Rome-like fantasy world, the Scholars are a subjugated people under the rule of the Martials. Laia is a Scholar living with her brother and grandparents. When her brother is arrested on suspicion of being a member of the resistance, and her grandparents are killed violently by Martial soldiers, Laia runs away in fear. To atone for her cowardice, Laia sets out to…
  • So you want to write a children's book?

    1 Apr 2015 | 7:09 am
    As a publisher, I subscribe to a lot of book publishing and marketing newsletters. Yesterday, I received the following email from two of those newsletters:Ever wanted to write a children’s book?If so, publishing your work as an e-book on Amazon’s Kindle platform is a great way to go – and now is a great time to get started.The children's e-book market is up 475% this year alone, which makes it one of the fastest-growing book categories on Amazon.Plus, once you know a simple formula, children’s books are one of the easiest types of books to write.To discover how to get started writing…
  • Book Review: Smek for President

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

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

  • Indian-as-spirit in SMEK FOR PRESIDENT by Adam Rex

    7 May 2015 | 12:20 pm
    Earlier this year, I did an analysis of the Native content in Adam Rex's The True Meaning of Smekday. I found the ways that Rex used Native characters and history to be troubling. Some see his parallels to colonization of Natives peoples as having great merit, but the story he tells has a happy ending. The colonizers (aliens called Gorgs from another solar system) do not succeed in their occupation of Earth. They are driven away.Some people also think Rex cleverly addressed stereotypes in the way that he developed "the Chief" in that story, but I disagree, especially given many things he…
  • AICL's Best Books of 2015

    6 May 2015 | 4:24 am
    In December of 2014, I made a list of books that I'd recommended in 2014. It was a list of books that were published in that year.This year I'm starting the Best Books of 2015 list today (May 6) and will update it as the year progresses. If you're looking over the list and want me to consider a book, do let me know!BOOKS BY NATIVE WRITERSComics and Graphic Novels:The Blue Raven written by Richard Van Camp, illustrated by Steven Keewatin Sanderson, published by Pearson.Picture Books:For Middle Grades:In the Footsteps of Crazy Horse written by Joseph Marshall III, illustrated by Jim…

    5 May 2015 | 1:24 pm
    Joseph Marshall III is an enrolled member of the Sicangu Lakota (Rosebud Sioux) tribe. Born and raised on the Rosebud Sioux reservation, he is the author of several books about Lakota people. Last year, I read his The Journey of Crazy Horse: A Lakota History. I highly recommend it. In 2011, Marshall's book was selected for the One Book South Dakota project. Over 2400 Native high school students in South Dakota were given a copy of it. How cool is that? (Answer: very cool, indeed!)Yesterday, I finished his In the Footsteps of Crazy Horse. First thing I'll say? Get it. Order it now. It won't…
  • Richard Van Camp's THE BLUE RAVEN

    2 May 2015 | 1:51 pm
    New this year (2015) is Richard Van Camp's graphic novel, The Blue Raven. Illustrated by Steven Keewatin Sanderson, the story is about a stolen bicycle, and, healing. Here's the cover:The bike, named Blue Raven, belongs to a kid named Benji. He comes out of the library (how cool is that?) and his bike is gone (not cool!). Trevor, the older brother of a kid in his class, sees Benji and offers to help him find the bike.This isn't just any bike (no bike is, really), but this one? Benji's dad gave it to him when he moved out of their house.When Benji was born, his dad called him Tatso…
  • HUNTERS OF CHAOS by Crystal Velasquez

    2 May 2015 | 10:14 am
    Anytime someone writes a book--yes, even a work of fiction--that gets basic facts about Native people wrong, it is going to get a 'not recommended' from me.It doesn't matter, to me, how well-written the story might be and it doesn't matter if the book itself has a protagonist or a cast of characters that are from a marginalized group or groups. Nobody in a marginalized group should be expected to endure the misrepresentation of their own people for the sake of another group. And, all readers who walk away with this misrepresentation as "knowledge" are not well served, either.So, let's take a…
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  • Poetry Friday: Someday from The Game of Love and Death by Martha Brockenbrough

    22 May 2015 | 6:15 am
    You are the moon And I am the seaWherever you are You've got pull over meThe whole of the sky Wants to keep us apart The distance is wearing A hole in my heartSomeday your moonlightWill blanket my skinSomeday my wavesWill pull all of you inSomeday I promiseThe moon and the seaWill be togetherForever you and me.- from The Game of Love and Death by Martha BrockenbroughThis song is written by one of the main characters in the novel, and performed as a duet by the two protagonists.View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman. View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading. Learn more…
  • All the Rage by Courtney Summers

    16 May 2015 | 1:55 pm
    Courtney Summers' latest novel All the Rage begins in third-person narrative, detailing what happened to a girl at a party - at a table - in a truck - at the hands of the boy she thought she liked. Within three short pages, we learn this all happened a year ago, that this is a flashback, as we abruptly shift to first-person narrative and are brought into the here and now, where and when something has taken place that makes same girl feel even more ashamed and lost.The action then shifts back in time two weeks and goes from there. Just two few weeks. Less than half a month. Not a lot of time,…
  • Read Between the Lines by Jo Knowles

    16 May 2015 | 11:36 am
    A boy with a broken finger who quietly suffers under the weight of his father's cruel words. A girl desperate to fit in. The teenage boy who dates a girl in public and a boy in private. A young man who is counting the days until he's 21. A teacher struggling to get her students' respect.Read Between the Lines by Jo Knowles tells all these stories and more. The book contains ten short stories total, with each character's tale roughly 40 pages long. The storylines overlap and connect, woven together by setting - all of the stories take place in the same town, on the same day - as strangers,…
  • Poetry Friday: Acquainted with the Night by Robert Frost

    15 May 2015 | 6:00 am
    I have been one acquainted with the night.I have walked out in rain - and back in rain.I have outwalked the furthest city light.I have looked down the saddest city lane.I have passed by the watchman on his beatAnd dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain.I have stood still and stopped the sound of feetWhen far away an interrupted cryCame over houses from another street,But not to call me back or say good-bye;And further still at an unearthly height,One luminary clock against the skyProclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right. I have been one acquainted with the night.- Robert FrostView all…
  • Poetry Friday: The House and the Road by Josephine Preston Peabody

    8 May 2015 | 6:00 am
    The little Road says, Go, The little House says, Stay: And O, it's bonny here at home, But I must go away. The little Road, like me, Would seek and turn and know; And forth I must, to learn the things The little Road would show! And go I must, my dears, And journey while I may, Though heart be sore for the little House That had no word but Stay. Maybe, no other way Your child could ever know Why a little House would have you stay, When a little Road says, Go.- The House and the Road by Josephine Preston PeabodyView all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.View the roundup schedule…
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    Jen Robinson's Book Page

  • Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: May 22

    Jen Robinson
    22 May 2015 | 8:11 am
    Here are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage. Topics this week include Children's Choice Book Awards, the Cybils Awards, the Edwards Award, book lists, summer reading, growing bookworms, diversity, gender, reading, ebooks, 48 hour book challenge, Judy Blume, parenting, Pippi Longstocking, schools, and libraries.  Awards The 2015 Children's Books Ireland Book of the Year Awards @tashrow| kudos to @OliverJeffers  #kidlit 5 Reasons Why the Children’s Choice Book Awards Are Better than the Oscars (+ other awards) @BookishHQ…
  • Four Recent Chronicle Kids Picture Books that I Enjoyed

    Jen Robinson
    21 May 2015 | 7:45 am
    I've fallen behind on my picture book reviews of late. So I've decided to try something new. I'm going to do small round-up posts featuring my favorites of the titles that I've received from various publishers. First up was Kane Miller. Second was Eerdmans Books for Young Readers. Today I am featuring four titles from Chronicle Kids. 1. Stella Brings the Family, written by Miriam B. Schiffer and illustrated by Holly Clifton-Brown. Stella Brings the Family is about a little girl who has two dads who is worried about being "the only one without a mother at the (class) Mother's Day party." Her…
  • Growing Bookworms Newsletter: May 20

    Jen Robinson
    20 May 2015 | 10:35 am
    Today, I will be sending out a new issue of the Growing Bookworms email newsletter. (If you would like to subscribe, you can find a sign-up form here.) The Growing Bookworms newsletter contains content from my blog focused on children's and young adult books and raising readers. I usually send the newsletter out every two weeks. Newsletter Update: In this issue I have two children's book reviews (both picture books) and two posts with mini-reviews of several titles each (from Eerdmans and Kane Miller). I also have one post describing my…
  • Wish: Matthew Cordell

    Jen Robinson
    19 May 2015 | 7:58 am
    Book: Wish Author: Matthew Cordell Pages: 48 Age Range: 3-5 Matthew Cordell's Wish is a lovely little picture book about an elephant couple longing for a baby. They plan for the baby, but when he doesn't arrive, they are sad. They attempt to go on with their lives, but their happiness is dulled. Until the fabulous day when their wish is granted, and the baby arrives.  The trying for and arrival of the baby are conveyed in a highly abstract manner. The elephants build a boat and go out to sea and wait for the baby to land in their boat. When he does come, he arrives in his own…
  • Literacy Milestone: Her First Visit to a Little Free Library

    Jen Robinson
    18 May 2015 | 1:05 pm
    This weekend my daughter visited her first Little Free Library. Actually, it was my first visit, too, though I had seen various photos. Last week I saw an LA Times article by Carolyn Kellogg about a children's book drive by Little Free Libraries. As my daughter's bookshelves (not to mention my own) have been a bit overloaded, I suggested to her that we pick out some books to donate. She was thrilled with this idea. We spent a couple of days intermittently going through a subset of her books and selecting those that were donation-worthy. Her first pick to be jettisoned was The Book with No…
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    Writing and Ruminating

  • In Memoriam

    20 May 2015 | 7:21 am
    The world is slightly less bright today, having lost one of its lights. My fun-loving friend, Kevin Slattery (you may know him as "Slatts", if you've been around LiveJournal for a long while) has moved on to other (and I hope, more peaceful) shores. I am glad we got to keep him so long, and sorry it couldn't be longer, but I'm glad he did things on his own terms. May his memory be a blessing.Here's a poem I wrote for Kevin a while back, after his cancer diagnosis. It's the penultimate poem in my chapbook, The Universe Comes Knocking.Let's Make It a Long Goodbyefor KevinThe kind they have at…
  • A Poetry Friday interview with Kendall A. Bell

    7 May 2015 | 3:44 pm
    Today, an interview with South Jersey poet Kendall A. Bell, whose work has been most recently published in Melancholy Hyperbole and First Literary Review-East. He was nominated for Sundress Publications' Best of the Net collection in 2007, 2009, 2011, 2012 and 2013. He is the author of sixteen chapbooks. His current chapbook is "Siberia". He is the founder and co-editor of the online journal Chantarelle's Notebook, publisher/editor of Maverick Duck Press (MDP) and president of the Quick And Dirty Poets. His website is Tell me a bit about yourself and how you got into…
  • Untitled pantoum by Kelly Ramsdell Fineman

    30 Apr 2015 | 6:40 pm
    This month, my poetry sisters and I were up to pantoums, a Malaysian form which I explained here. If you've been able to read blogs this week (and really, if you haven't, I totally understand), you may have seen one I wrote that draws attention to the horrifyingly high suicide rate among U.S. veterans.Today's is not about that, but is about time. In addition to writing a pantoum, the goal was to use either the word "certainties" or "flight", or both. (I only used the first.)There are no certainties in life,though death and taxes come to all.Do not go gently into that good night--Is that the…
  • National Coin Week news

    28 Apr 2015 | 1:49 pm
    Last week was National Coin Week in the United States (and yes, it's a real thing!). And my poem, "Pocket Change", was featured over at Sylvia Vardell's blog, Poetry for Children, complete with recitation of my poem in English by four kids, and in Spanish by another two. My thanks to Amelia, Ahouefa, Charoudin, and Emily for their awesome job reciting the poem in English, and to Gilvanice and Shiomara for their excellent job reciting it in Spanish, and to their teacher, Cynthia H., who made the film in the first place! I hope you'll check out Sylvia's post, but here's the full video:And in…
  • Twenty-two a day

    27 Apr 2015 | 1:50 pm
    That's the average number of suicides by U.S. veterans, according to a 2013 report. Twenty-two men and women who served the United States as members of the military take their own lives daily, unable to cope with things after returning home. I didn't know that, and even if I knew the numbers were high, I didn't have a context until April 18th, when I was at Stockton University for a poetry writing workshop with Peter Murphy and his writing organization. That's where I noticed the small American flags planted in front of the students' center. You can read a bit about their project and…
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    The Miss Rumphius Effect

  • Monday Poetry Stretch - Abandoned Barn

    17 May 2015 | 9:01 pm
    On a drive in a rural county this week I saw several abandoned buildings. Those sights got me thinking about this week's writing prompt. I don't often use photos for stretches, largely because Laura has been doing this for years so fabulously with her 15 Words or Less prompt.However, I couldn't get those images out of my mind, so this week I offer a photo as a prompt. I won't hold you to a word count or form, so feel free to explore.Abandoned Barn Photo by Roger H. Goun, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution LicenseIf you are interested in photos to inspire your poetry,…
  • Monday Poetry Stretch - Chueh-chu

    10 May 2015 | 9:01 pm
    Forgive me for being a bit late today. I normally write these posts on the weekend, but this one was filled with graduation activities. So, after a day of meetings, my 21st year at the university comes to a close and I finally have some time to call my own ... until summer school starts next week. Well, enough about me, let's get on with this week's stretch!I am still reading and pondering the forms in Robin Skelton's The Shapes of Our Singing: A Comprehensive Guide to Verse Forms and Metres from Around the World. Here is the poem Skelton wrote for this form and his explanation of…
  • Poetry Friday - IF ...

    7 May 2015 | 9:01 pm
    Graduation weekend is upon us at the University of Richmond. I always find this a bittersweet time.  While I am happy to have successfully navigated another academic year, I am saddened to say goodbye to the many students I have forged bonds with in their time here. In the spirit of commencement, new beginnings, and endless possibilities, I am sharing this poem and dedicating to all the students graduating this weekend, especially those in my corner of the world.If—by Rudyard KiplingIf you can keep your head when all about you       Are losing theirs and…
  • Monday Poetry Stretch - Burns Stanza

    3 May 2015 | 9:01 pm
    When I interviewed J. Patrick Lewis last month (read it here) he said in response to a question on forms he wanted to try, "I’m endlessly working my way through Robin Skelton’s indispensable The Shapes of Our Singing: A Comprehensive Guide to Verse Forms and Metres from Around the World. For any poet eager to experiment, there is a surprise on every page." That was endorsement enough for me, so I ran out and bought a copy. I am still reading my way through it, but I thought this was as good a time as any to try out something new.Here's what Skelton says about the Burns Stanza.The Burns…
  • Poetry Seven Share Pantoums

    30 Apr 2015 | 9:01 pm
    During the month of April the Poetry Seven spent their time working on the pantoum. Here is a description of the form.The pantoum is a poem made up of stanzas of four lines where lines 2 and 4 of each stanza are repeated as lines 1 and 3 of the next stanza. The final stanza of a pantoum has an interesting twist. Lines 2 and 4 are the same as the 3rd and 1st of the first stanza, thereby using every line in the poem twice. Keep in mind that this form of poetry is of an indefinite length. It could be 3 stanzas, 4 stanzas or 20! (Adapted from The Teachers & Writers Handbook of…
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  • Tenth Annual 48 Hour Book Challenge

    19 May 2015 | 2:04 pm
    Hard to believe, but we're up to the Tenth Annual 48 Hour Book Challenge, and with year ten, we're going back to basics. While I have loved past experiences of reading for RIF and in solidarity with WeNeedDiverseBooks, this time it's a simple weekend, bookish, get-together. While some will skip sleeping for the readathon, only twelve hours are needed to be an official participant of the 48HBC. So, you can do this. The rules below are to help both you (how does this work again?) and me (please link to your blog or I can't find you!). It's all on the honor system and it's all for fun. The…
  • Save the Date: 48 Hour Book Challenge

    15 May 2015 | 6:53 am
    What better way to come back to blogging from my accidental sabbatical than by announcing the dates for the Tenth Annual 48 Hour Book Challenge! We're going a touch later in the month of June than in previous years, but still before the ALA Conference. Hopefully everyone will be done with school and ready to relax with a bit - or a lot - of reading. It will be a low-key affair, but even the most casual of gatherings needs some established rules - that's why we don't double-dip our chips at parties - so those will go up on Monday. If you are too excited to wait, they will look remarkably…
  • Festivus: The Airing of the Grievances

    23 Dec 2014 | 9:00 am
    Yes, it’s Festivus, the holiday for the rest-of-us, and now is the time for the airing of the grievances. You have free space in the comments for whatever is getting in your craw. I’ll start:The director who didn't give my daughter the part she totally should have had. Still mad.My mom - who doesn't read this blog - calling with problems that I can do nothing about from two hundred miles away. Misplaced keys? Can't program the phone? Lost the cat leash? Maybe try calling a local friend, neighbor, or my brother who lives in the same city. Aging, like in general. My friends and I are…
  • 150 Ways to Give a Book

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

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

  • Poet to Poet: Holly Thompson interviews Margarita Engle

    Sylvia Vardell
    22 May 2015 | 7:16 am
    I'm pleased to post another installment in my ongoing "Poet to Poet" series in which one poet interviews another poet about her/his new book. This time it's Holly Thompson and Margarita Engle who have very generously volunteered to participate. Both of these women write verse novels (and other works) that explore the intersection of the cultural and the personal. Holly Thompson is a poet and author who originally hails from Massachusetts, but lived in Japan for 20 years and writes about this cross-cultural, inter-cultural experience in sensitive and thoughtful…
  • The Symbiosis of Science and Poetry

    Sylvia Vardell
    15 May 2015 | 8:20 am
    Janet and I were so thrilled to get an article published in the latest issue of ALSC's Children and Libraries. The focus is on science and poetry and begins like this:Sometimes unlikely partners can benefit each other in surprising ways. For example, dogs offer protection and companionship to humans, who in turn provide food and shelter for dogs. This “give-and-take” relationship is called symbiosis, referring to relationships that have mutual benefit. That’s true for the disciplines of science and poetry, too. Science is rich in content and poetry offers powerful language;…
  • Celebrating World Red Cross Day

    Sylvia Vardell
    8 May 2015 | 6:21 am
    Today, May 8, is World Red Cross Day and of course we have featured it in our new book, The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations. Our featured poem, "Look for the Helpers," is by Michelle Heidenrich Barnes and it's a lovely, sensitive poem that helps children focus on the helping nature of this important organization-- and how they can help right where they are. In addition to writing this beautiful poem, Michelle created a video too! And even got the Red Cross organization involved! She has posted it on her blog today too, so check out her poem video HERE. It's a wonderful way…
  • May 4-8, 2015 Celebrating Teacher Appreciation Week

    Sylvia Vardell
    1 May 2015 | 4:00 am
    Yes, April 2015 is over now, but that doesn’t mean we’re “done” with poetry! Not in my corner of the cybersphere!  First, I have one more video created by my hard-working graduate students. This one is by Jennifer M. and she has taped two young boys reading “A Teacher Knows” by Eric Ode (pronounced O-Dee) in celebration of National Teacher Appreciation Week. They are absolutely adorable and they taught me something I’ve never noticed before—that understanding poetry is in the EYES, not just the VOICE. When you watch these boys, you can really tell they GET it! And it’s…
  • Celebrating Poem in Your Pocket Day

    Sylvia Vardell
    30 Apr 2015 | 4:00 am
    Today is also "Poem in Your Pocket Day" and the perfect moment to encourage kids to find a new or favorite poem, copy it on an index card, and keep it in their pockets to enjoy and savor all day long (and beyond)!  And of course we have a pocket poem in our new CELEBRATIONS book! And who wrote it? My fantastic friend and collaborator, Janet Wong! Here it is in both English and Spanish.You'll find heaps more poems in the form of Pocket Poem cards at our Pinterest page HERE.And Melissa R. has videotaped a young reader performing the poem, too, complete with voiceover while she's eating and…
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  • Cover Reveal & Interview: Author Ashley Hope Pérez & Editor Andrew Karre on Out of Darkness

    Cynthia Leitich Smith
    23 May 2015 | 6:43 am
    By Ashley Pérez and Andrew Karrefor Cynthia Leitich Smith's CynsationsFrom the promotional copy of Out of Darkness (Carolrhoda Lab/Lerner, Sept. 2015): New London, Texas. 1937. Naomi Vargas and Wash Fuller know about the lines in East Texas as well as anyone. They know the signs that mark them.“No Negroes, Mexicans, or dogs.”They know the people who enforce them.“They all decided they’d ride out in their sheets and pay Blue a visit.”But sometimes the attraction between two people is so powerful it breaks through even the most entrenched color lines. And the consequences can be…
  • Cynsational News & Giveaways

    Cynthia Leitich Smith
    22 May 2015 | 6:56 am
    By Cynthia Leitich Smithfor CynsationsCheck out the cover for Borrowed Time by Greg Leitich Smith (Clarion, Nov. 2015). From the promotional copy:In this exhilarating time-travel adventure and sequel to Chronal Engine, Max Pierson-Takahashi and his friend Petra find themselves whisked back to the treacherous, dinosaur-packed Cretaceous Period.Soon they discover they have more to worry about than dinosaurs when they encounter a girl from the 1920s with a revolver and one thing on her mind—to avenge the death of her father, Isambard Campbell, whom she believes was killed by Max.Meanwhile,…
  • Guest Post: Amy & David Axelrod on The History of Magic & The Bullet Catch: Murder by Misadventure

    Cynthia Leitich Smith
    21 May 2015 | 6:26 am
    See facebook page, excerpt  & educator guide.By Amy Axelrod & David Axelrodfor Cynthia Leitich Smith's CynsationsWhen we began, we knew that we wanted to write a novel about a down-and-out magician during World War I.We knew the setting would be New York City and that this washed-up magician, who we named Barzini, would be involved with a roster of famous illusionists of the time. And finally we knew we would have a young protagonist, named Leo, whose life would serendipitously change from being a petty criminal to a stage magician.Both of us had interest in the history of stage…
  • Guest Post & Giveaway: Sarah Frances Hardy on Writing a Companion Picture Book

    Cynthia Leitich Smith
    20 May 2015 | 6:32 am
    By Sarah Frances Hardyfor Cynthia Leitich Smith's CynsationsMy third picture book Dress Me! (Sky Pony, 2015) is a companion book to last year’s release Paint Me! (Sky Pony, 2014).When I was thinking about what my next submission to Sky Pony would be, I sifted through my pile of finished, sort-of finished, and not-at-all finished manuscripts.I had a longer manuscript for a dress up book that was giving me trouble, but I liked the concept of a girl trying on different outfits and personalities, so I talked through it with my agent.She suggested that I keep the “me!” theme going and write…
  • Giveaway: The Neptune Challenge by Polly Holyoke

    Cynthia Leitich Smith
    19 May 2015 | 6:36 am
    By Cynthia Leitich Smithfor CynsationsEnter to win a signed copy of The Neptune Challenge by Polly Holyoke (Hyperion, 2015) along with a glass dolphin pendant and earrings. From the promotional copy:Genetically engineered to survive in the ocean, Nere and her friends are recovering from their long, treacherous journey to refuge and settling in at Safety Harbor. Despite its name, plenty of dangers still lurk just outside the colony's boundaries.When two among them are kidnapped, the remaining Neptune kids and their loyal dolphins must set out on a mission even more perilous than their…
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    WordPress Tag: Children's Book

  • Stand Tall! by Cheri J Meiners

    15 May 2015 | 12:01 am
    Title: Stand Tall! A Book about Integrity (Being the Best Me! series) Author: Cheri J Meiners Illustrator: Elizabeth Allen Publisher: Free spirit Publishing Published: May 15th, 2015 Rating: 4/5 Like “Forgive and Let Go!” this book is another title in this series ‘Being the Best Me!’ which is aimed at youngsters aged 4 to 8 years old. In this book children are encouraged to try to do what they know is right, despite peer pressure and temptation to do otherwise.Again, there are a variety of situations cited and discussed with illustrations that enhance the understanding of events…
  • Nobody! by Erin Frankel

    15 May 2015 | 12:00 am
    Title: Nobody! A Story About Overcoming Bullying in Schools Author: Erin Frankel Illustrator: Paula Heaphy Publisher: Free Spirit Publishing Published: May 15th, 2015 Rating: 5/5 Thomas is being picked on by Kyle. Kyle is doing this several times on purpose and Thomas really wants him to stop because it is making him feel worthless, like a nobody. The story tells of some of the things that Kyle does and says to Thomas. Eventually, Thomas realises that he has supportive friends and adults, that he really does have his own talents and that he is somebody. This is a great, well illustrated…
  • Forgive and Let Go! by Cheri J Meiners

    15 May 2015 | 12:00 am
    Title: Forgive And Let Go! A Book about Forgiveness (Being the Best Me series) Author: Cheri J Meiners Illustrator: Elizabeth Allen Publisher: Free spirit Publishing Published: May 15th, 2015 Rating: 4/5 Aimed at youngsters aged 4 to 8 years old, this book tries to help children understand that when someone does or says something wrong to them, forgiving them doesn’t change what happened but it can change themselves. It encourages children to choose to be kind to each other and seek the good in others rather than holding grudges or negative attitudes. There are a variety of situations cited…
  • Happy Book Birthday to Me, Happy Reading to You...

    Michelle R. Eastman
    14 May 2015 | 3:58 pm
    WARNING-Shameless Plug to follow… I’m celebrating the 6 month birthday of my first published children’s book. The whole experience has been more than a bit surreal. I never dreamed I’d see my self-published book on the shelves of libraries and bookstores, let alone that people would ask me to sign copies. I also never thought I’d come up with another idea for a book. But, Kevin Richter and I are currently working on book #2 in what has now become a series of Dust Fairy books. Needless to say, I am blessed. The star of our newest book is Absolutely Aggie. She…
  • Kanye West's "Bound 2" Converted into a Children's Book

    Ty Sechler
    14 May 2015 | 11:54 am
    Illustrator, Zak Tebbal, recently decided to convert Kanye’s popular “Bound 2″ song into a book for children.  This way you can decipher the story to your kids in an appropriate “G-rated” way.  Unfortunately, this isn’t currently a real thing, but hopefully we’ll see it on bookshelves soon. There was also a Book of Yeezus recently published (more info here):         [usatgallery]
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    School Library Journal

  • Hands-on Projects and Titles that Celebrate Maker and Latino Cultures | Libro por libro

    Tim Wadham
    23 May 2015 | 6:00 am
    A scene from Newbery Honor winner Margarita Engle’s Drum Dream Girl.Illustration by Pura Belpré Award winner Rafael López. Imagine that you are entering a library with a brand-spanking-new maker space. This same library has a largely Spanish-speaking clientele. It features a glass-enclosed area formerly used as a computer lab. The space is flexible, with furniture designed to be easily movable and to accommodate multiple stations. To celebrate the new configuration, the library has decided to host a community Maker Faire. Families are invited to partake in an all-day immersion of maker…
  • Pictures of the Week: Author Gabrielle Balkan Wows Librarians at Quarto Fall Preview

    22 May 2015 | 1:13 pm
    On Wednesday May 13, Quarto Publishing USA presented its fall titles during its first-ever librarian preview, calling attention to its new nonfiction imprint, Wide Eyed Editions. On hand was author Gabrielle Balkan, whose book The 50 States, state-by-state look at the United States, is one of the latest offerings from the imprint.   Author Gabrielle Balkan discusses her writing process.   (From l. to r.) Michelle Bayuk, associate director children’s book marketing, publicity, and social media at Quarto Publishing Group USA; author Gabrielle Balkan; and youth materials…
  • How to Run a Library Volunteer Program that Students Love

    22 May 2015 | 6:00 am
    Dartmout Middle school students Payton and Aidan delete and recatalog old reference books. The bell just rang for the start of school at Dartmouth (MA) Middle School, and I’m still taking off my coat. Fifty to 60 students are about to flood into the library to print schoolwork, look for books, hang out, and play computer games for 15 minutes before the Pledge of Allegiance signals the start of homeroom. No worries. The lights and computers are on and the circulation desk computer is ready to go, thanks to the Leconte sisters, student volunteers who let themselves in each morning. Reilly, in…
  • Mathical: A New Book Award Honors the Magic of Mathematics

    Marc Aronson
    21 May 2015 | 4:53 am
    What subject area is the ugly duckling of your library? The one that doesn’t get much attention, isn’t seen as appealing or as much fun as the other sections—but just may be as attractive and exciting? I bet I know: math books. I’m talking about those titles that approach the topic as fresh and interesting—and as alive as the latest sports result. If math titles are your ugly duckling, I have a solution—a way to free those titles to flock with the other swans. Just last month a new prize was announced: Mathical Books for Kids from Tots to Teens. I can’t say I love the name, but…
  • Charged! From Atoms to Electricity | Touch and Go

    Daryl Grabarek
    21 May 2015 | 4:50 am
    At this point we’re playing catch-up with Kids Discover; the developer has produced more than two dozen apps based on single issues of the magazine by the same name. While we have reviewed many of their productions, we’re still working our way through their list. The two apps reviewed today are introductions to foundational science topics studied at one point or another during every student’s career. For those living in the tri-state New York area, Ted Levine from Kids Discover will be presenting with author/illustrator Roxie Munro on “The Digital World of E-books,…
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    A Fuse #8 Production

  • Press Release Fun: The 2015 Anne Izard Storytellers’ Choice Awards

    Elizabeth Bird
    22 May 2015 | 3:47 am
    The Anne Izard Storytellers’ Choice Awards Committee is pleased to announce the recipients of the 12th biennial Awards.  The awards will be presented in a ceremony on Tuesday, June 16, 2015, at the White Plains (New York) Public Library. The program is open to the public. The Anne Izard Storytellers’ Choice Award was established in 1990 by librarians, storytellers and educators in Westchester County, New York, to honor Anne Izard, an extraordinary librarian, storyteller, and Children’s Services Consultant in the Westchester County Library System. The Award seeks to bring the…
  • Fuse 8 TV: Geoff Rodkey and Reading (Too Much) Into Karen Katz

    Elizabeth Bird
    21 May 2015 | 1:00 am
    And a happy Thursday to you all.  It’s May 21st and that means another episode of Fuse #8 TV is up and running.  As per usual I kick the whole kerschmozzle off with a new edition of “Reading (Too Much) Into Picture Books”.  Though I had a recent request to tackle The Giving Tree, I couldn’t find an adequate hook.  Until I do, I find that the board book Subway by Anastasia Suen (illustrated by Karen Katz) has a spy thriller vibe going on just below its seemingly innocuous surface.  Doubt me?  Check it out. As for our special guest, I was pleased as punch to speak…
  • Fusenews: “Someday I’ll go to Winnipeg to win a peg-leg pig”

    Elizabeth Bird
    19 May 2015 | 1:00 am
    When two people sent me this link I assumed that everyone must have already seen it. But when it didn’t show up on PW Children’s Bookshelf I decided that perhaps I might have a scoop. At the very least, it appears that when people think Nick Cave meets Dr. Seuss, I’m the logical person to send that link to. And they’re right. I’ve been hoping for years that some karaoke bar I wander into might have “Red Right Hand” on the roster. So far it hasn’t worked out but I live in hope. Thanks to Stephanie Whelan and Marci for the link. Good old Kelly…
  • Review of the Day: Billy’s Booger by William Joyce

    Elizabeth Bird
    18 May 2015 | 1:00 am
    Billy’s Booger: A Memoir (Sorta) By William Joyce Moonbot Books / Atheneum Books for Young Readers (an imprint of Simon & Schuster) $17.99 ISBN: 978-1442473515 Ages 4-7 On shelves June 2nd The fictionalized picture book memoir is a fairly new creation, when you get right down to it. It’s not as if Sendak was telling tales about a little boy in Brooklyn or Margaret Wise Brown was penning nostalgic stories of a girl in a Swiss boarding school. But somewhere during the latter part of the 20th century, the form sort of took off. Tomie dePaola typified it with books like Oliver Button Is a…
  • In Search of the Elusive Lesbian Mom

    Elizabeth Bird
    14 May 2015 | 1:00 am
    On a typical day at work I might be called upon to come up with a list of children’s books pertaining to one topic or another.  Recently I decided to pull together a GLBTQ list for grades K-3 and one for grades 4-8.  Easy peasy.  I know a lot of the books, both old and new, and putting them together is a breeze. The picture book list wasn’t all that hard.  Books with two dads are pretty easy to locate (the 10th anniversary of And Tango Makes Three, the upcoming Stella Brings the Family, and so on and such).  Thinking up moms . . . that was a little harder, but eventually I…
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    Michael Gerson: Most Recent Articles and Archives

  • In just five weeks, Hillary has had a lifetime quota of scandals

    Michael Gerson
    21 May 2015 | 5:31 pm
    Irecall the moment when the press finally turned against Bill Clinton. In 1998, I was a junior writer at U.S. News & World Report, then (for the children in the audience) an actual, physical weekly magazine, useful for pressing leaves or as packing material. When the word came that there was a blue dress stained with actual, physical, genetic evidence, it was the consensus of veteran journalists along the hallway that Clinton was gone, gone, gone, through either resignation or impeachment. Clinton had, as A.M. Rosenthal of the New York Times later wrote, “gambled the moral, political…
  • How Republicans should respond to the Iraq question

    Michael Gerson
    18 May 2015 | 4:07 pm
    The exhausting, occasionally horrifying experience of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars still makes it difficult for political figures to say obvious things about the past. At the time, almost everyone supported the Afghanistan invasion — as close to a unanimous national decision as we’ve seen since Pearl Harbor. At the time, based on judgments by the intelligence community about Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction, a solid, bipartisan majority favored intervention in Iraq — a majority broad enough to include then-Sen. Hillary Clinton. Yet just about no one would have supported…
  • Corporate irresponsibility over GMOs

    Michael Gerson
    14 May 2015 | 5:21 pm
    Pass any Chipotle these days — and it is my gastronomic preference to pass rather than enter — and you will see signs claiming credit for removing ingredients that contain GMOs (genetically modified organisms) from the menu. It is the first big chain to do so, and probably not the last. The business press has pronounced it “a savvy move to impress millennials” and a “bet on the younger generations in America.”Read full article >>
  • The violent narrative of religious rivalry

    Michael Gerson
    11 May 2015 | 5:27 pm
    The sign of a first-rate intelligence, according to F. Scott Fitzgerald, is “the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.” When it comes to Islam and blasphemy, many Americans are having trouble accepting even consistent ones.Read full article >>
  • Politicians must get bolder about treating America’s urban problems

    Michael Gerson
    4 May 2015 | 4:10 pm
    Police and prisons are the successful answer to a rather narrow question: Can overwhelming force and routine incarceration bring temporary order to impoverished and isolated urban communities? Baltimore in the early 2000s answers in the affirmative. By 2005, a city of about 600,000 people recorded more than 100,000 arrests. Violent crime declined (for this and other reasons). In the process, however, the local government undertook a comprehensive level of police supervision.Read full article >>
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  • Saturday Review of Books: May 25, 2015

    23 May 2015 | 7:36 am
    “‘When you open a book,’ the sentimental library posters said, ‘anything can happen.’ This was so. A book of fiction was a bomb. It was a land mind you wanted to go off. You wanted it to blow your whole day. Unfortunately, hundreds of thousands of books were duds. They had been rusting out of everyone’s way for so long that they no longer worked. There was no way to distinguish the duds from the live mines except to throw yourself at them headlong, one by one.” ~Annie Dillard Welcome to the Saturday Review of Books at Semicolon. Here’s how it…
  • Pilgrim’s Inn by Elizabeth Goudge

    18 May 2015 | 7:00 pm
    I am so enjoying my discovery and exploration of Elizabeth Goudge’s novels. In February I read The Dean’s Watch, and I wrote that it might the best book I read this year. I read The Rosemary Tree last summer–and relished the author’s insight into human psychology. I also read Gentian Hill in 2014, and I put it on my list of ten best adult fiction books I read last year. Charlotte of Charlotte’s Library has recommended Valley of Song to me, and many, many readers have recommended Ms. Goudge’s children’s fantasy The Little White Horse. I think Goudge is…
  • Saturday Review of Books: May 16, 2015

    16 May 2015 | 8:34 am
    “A great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading.” ~William Styron Welcome to the Saturday Review of Books at Semicolon. Here’s how it usually works. Find a book review on your blog posted sometime during the previous week. The review doesn’t have to be a formal sort of thing. You can link to your thoughts on a particular book, a few ideas inspired by reading the book, your evaluation, quotations, whatever. Then on Friday night/Saturday, you post a link here at Semicolon in Mr. Linky to the specific…
  • Vanishing Grace by Philip Yancey

    15 May 2015 | 10:21 am
    I guess I wanted just one valuable takeaway nugget of truth or advice or wisdom from Mr. Yancey’s meditation on the dearth of grace in our world and even in our churches, and what I got was a meditation on the lack of good news of grace in our culture and in our churches. Expectations meet sad reality. “What ever happened to the good news?” “Why does the church stir up such negative feelings?” “How can Christians make a positive, grace-filled difference in a world of desperate need?” Rod Dreher talks about his Benedict Option. I feel as if I’m…
  • Twelve Bright Trumpets by Margaret Leighton

    14 May 2015 | 5:31 pm
    Published in 1942, this collection of twelve stories illuminates various events and eras during the time we call the Middle Ages. The first story takes place in Roman Britain about 400 A.D., when the Romans were withdrawing their legions from their colonial possessions in order to defend Rome itself from the barbarians. In the story, a ten year old Celtic boy, Gaius, is awakened in the middle of the night when his village is attacked by Northern pirates, Picts and Scots. He attends a meeting of the Celtic chieftains in which they learn that the Romans who have been their defense are leaving,…
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    Ally Carter

  • Magnificent Poetry Monday

    Ally Carter
    18 May 2015 | 7:02 am
    Hi Everyone! We are going to do something FUN today! Ally was sent this really cool poem made from lines from All Fall Down. My mother’s killer A needle in an international haystack A guy who knew what he was doing He was Caucasian Six one or two Do you really believe that’s true? A long list of people who have told me I am delusional Tired of feeling helpless All Fall Down It is a style called Found Poetry. Found Poetry Definition: Found poetryis a type ofpoetrycreated by taking words, phrases, and sometimes whole passages from other sources and reframing them as poetryby making…
  • Magnificent Graduation Giveaway!

    11 May 2015 | 8:56 am
    Hi Everyone! Since Graduation Season is upon us, I thought it would be a great time for a GIVEAWAY!!! What are we giving away you ask? How about a signed Ally Carter book of your choice for you and a special graduate in your life!!!! That’s right you get 2 Ally Carter books signed, one to keep and one to gift. To be entered into the giveaway just reply in the comments who you would give your second book to. WE HAVE A WINNER!!! CONGRATULATIONS TAYLER! Tayler Clements says: May 11, 2015 at 9:48 pm (Edit) I’d give it to my beat friend Taylor. She got me started with Ally Carter so it’s…
  • Ally’s Live Chat

    8 May 2015 | 5:42 am
    Hi Everyone! Did you miss the Live Chat Ally did earlier this week? Well don’t fret you can watch it Here! And in case you missed the big cover reveal for the second book of the Embassy Row Series…. Have a good weekend! See you next week! Shellie   The post Ally’s Live Chat appeared first on Ally Carter.
  • Live Chat Details!

    Ally Carter
    4 May 2015 | 11:59 am
      Getting soooooo excited for tomorrow’s live chat and cover reveal for SEE HOW THEY RUN! If you want to join us, it’s very easy. Just follow this link: and RSVP now to get reminder emails about tomorrow. Or you can just log in closer to showtime (6:00 Eastern Standard Time tomorrow, Tuesday, May 5th). One hour before chat time this page turns from an RSVP link to a JOIN link. Fifteen minutes prior to start time (5:45 pm EST) someone from Shindig will come on to give some tips and instructions. Once the chat…
  • Magnificent Monday

    Ally Carter
    4 May 2015 | 8:55 am
    Hi Everyone! Tons of things going on around here at Ally Carter HQ! In case you missed Ally’s post on Thursday she revealed the title of book 2 of the Embassy Row Series! It’s titled See How They Run And she will be doing a Live Video Chat Tomorrow! Ally is currently on a writers retreat with other writers who will be making guest appearances during the live chat so you don’t want to miss it! Here is all the information: So clear your schedule and get those questions ready! Have a great week! Shellie   The post Magnificent Monday appeared first on Ally Carter.
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    Justine Larbalestier

  • What I’ll Be Doing In May: New York! Dallas!

    30 Apr 2015 | 7:45 am
    I have two events in New York in the next week and a bit. The first is in Manhattan and the other is a little bit upstate in Rhinebeck, a gorgeous town I’ve heard much about, but never visited before: Wednesday, 6 May, 6-7:30pm Teen Author Reading Night Melissa Grey, Corey Ann Haydu, Justine Larbalestier, Lance Rubin, Melissa Walker, Tommy Wallach. Jefferson Market Branch of NYPL Corner of 6th Ave and 10th St New York, New York Look at that star-studded line up! It shall be a wonderful night. I’ll be reading a very short amusing bit from Razorhurst. Yes, even a book that’s…
  • Razorhurst Out in North America Today!

    3 Mar 2015 | 10:10 am
    Today is the official publication of Razorhurst in the USA and Canada by Soho Press. For those of you who have been waiting since last July when it was published in Australia and New Zealand the wait is over! For those of who you have no idea what I’m talking about: Razorhurst takes place on a winter’s day in 1932 when Dymphna Campbell, a gangster’s moll, and Kelpie, a street urchin who can see ghosts, tip the balance in a bloody underworld power struggle. As you do . . . You can read the first chapter here. Razorhurst is my first solo novel since Liar in 2009. Loads of…
  • Why I’ve Been Quiet

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

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

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

  • Moggle Is Real

    18 May 2015 | 11:19 am
    Readers of the Uglies series may remember Aya’s pal Moggle in Extras, a semi-intelligent hovercam that tracks her around, providing footage of her exploits for her feed. It seems that someone has invented something similar, but called it Lily. Lily, of course, uses rotors instead of magnetic lifters, and only has 20 minutes battery life. It costs $500 if preordered now before anyone has reviewed a real one, and will be twice that when it ships next February. (Buyer beware.) Here’s the camera’s official site, and you can find tons of other articles around the web. It’s…
  • Zeroes Cover—Australian!

    7 May 2015 | 6:05 pm
    A quick reminder: Justine and I will be at Oblong Books in Rhinebeck, NY this Sunday! (May 10, 4PM) Click here for more details. And now, here’s the Australian version of the Zeroes cover! Behold: I think it’s pretty cool. The authors’ names are more balanced (Deb and Margo are Australian, after all) and it’s a little jazzier and less gritty than the US one. (Shown here for comparison.) The UK cover will be revealed soon! What do you guys think?
  • Oblong Books, Romantic Times, and BEA/BookCon

    27 Apr 2015 | 10:50 am
    I’m doing three events in May: an appearance at Oblong Books in Rhinebeck, NY; several panels and a signing at the Romantic Times Conference in Dallas, TX; and a few things around Book Expo America here in New York City. Oblong Books Sunday, May 10, 2015 4:00pm 6422 Montgomery Street Rhinebeck, NY 12572 Justine and I will be talking about our new books, Razorhurst and Afterworlds, and of course signing whatever you want us to sign. Here’s a link to the event. Romantic Times Dallas, TX May 12-17 I’m on three panels: YA: From Magic to Gadgets to Alternate Worlds, A YA Fantasy…
  • Texas and Mexico Mini-Tour!

    30 Mar 2015 | 9:36 am
    On Saturday, April 11, Justine and I will be at Teen Book Con in Houston. Each panel presents four times a day, so you’ll be able to catch us both: “The Secrets That Bind Us” Ally Carter Lindsay Cummings Justine Larbalestier Henry Turner “Reality Need Not Apply” Lydia Kang Megan Miranda Kristen Simmons Tommy Wallach Scott Westerfeld Click here for details on Teen Book Con. On April 13, we’ll be in Austin, where Justine is doing an event with Ally Carter and David Levithan. (I will be lurking around.) Book People 603 N Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78703 Monday,…

    16 Mar 2015 | 7:34 am
    Hey, everyone. I’m back in the States for the New York Teen Author Festival (#NYCTAF). I’ll be doing several events, and there are many more to choose from. Here’s the complete schedule. And here’s my personal schedule: “What is YA anyway?” Monday, March 16 Mulberry Street NYPL, 10 Jersey St 6-8pm At a time when YA feels ascendant, we’re going to check in and ask: What is YA, anyway? Where does it come from? What does it mean to authors, readers, and the media? Where is it going? Are there fears that it’s just a “trend” right now, and that…
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    deborah wiles: field notes

  • picture book work-along intensive may 25-27

    Debbie Wiles
    22 May 2015 | 11:08 am
    Hello, hello! Over on Facebook a few friends and I have put together an event, a Picture Book Work-Along Intensive, May 25-27 (that's this coming Monday through Wednesday), designed to be a look at current picture books -- what makes them tick? What makes them sell? What makes them work for kids? Or not. If you're not on FB, no worries. Comment and work-along right here on the blog. I'll be summarizing each day's activity in a blog post, so you'll still be able to participate. Suggest titles, tell us what you think, tell us what works for you and your young readers! We're not interested…
  • green gables love and exploration

    Debbie Wiles
    20 Apr 2015 | 10:20 am
    Oh, Anne Shirley. Where have you been all my life? YES, friends have swooned over Anne of Green Gables and have told me I MUST READ THIS BOOK, and I have demurred and thought, meh, it just isn't in my wheelhouse, I'm just not interested, she lived in NOVA SCOTIA (wrong... sorta) and I am from the American South and it's going to be twee and saccharine and not at all interesting to me, and...Well, I was wrong. Even though I haven't yet met Gilbert (RIP, oh no) and have only gotten as far as the first picnic, I know I'm onto something special that is showing up now, to teach me. I just know it.
  • back to school

    Debbie Wiles
    17 Apr 2015 | 4:32 pm
    Notes on Being a Late Bloomer is here.The Year of Exploration is here. It occurred to me yesterday: I am intuitively doing what I did when I was so young and a single mom, uneducated, needy, and wanting a life for my kids, for myself, wanting to understand the world and to find my place in it. I went to school. I got my undergraduate degree from the many libraries I haunted during those years. I was barely 22, I was broke, I was alone with two small children, but I had a library card. I still have a library card. Now I have two (we made peace). Suddenly, in this year of exploration, I am…
  • a reply, and my reply to DeKalb County Libraries

    Debbie Wiles
    4 Apr 2015 | 8:13 am
    {DeKalb Libraries responded to my open letter (which you can read in my last post). Director Weissinger waived my yearly non-resident fee and promised to look into the situation at the Tucker branch. My reply is below. I well know this pushes my buttons for long-ago personal reasons, but I also know it's a vital issue today} Dear Ms. Weissinger,Thank you for such a prompt response. Even though you have waived it, I would like to pay my yearly non-resident fee -- I went into the library ready to pay it. My neighbors have had to do this as well, and they are avid library users, most of them…
  • an open letter to DeKalb County Georgia public libraries

    Debbie Wiles
    3 Apr 2015 | 7:15 am
    {As part of my #yearofexploration I decided to stop protesting the $45 fee I must pay to use the library up the street from me. Having two library systems will be much more convenient for the many expeditions I hope to helm this year. Here is what happened when I tried to renew and asked a question...}An Open Letter to the DeKalbCounty Public Libraries in DeKalb County, Georgia:April 3, 2015Dear Library Board and Director Weissinger: Yesterday at 3:00pm, I went to the Reid H. Cofer/Tucker branch of the DeKalb County Library with the intention of paying the annual $45 and renewing my…
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  • Is it like running?

    22 May 2015 | 9:53 pm
    Overwhelmed as I am by all the new and excellent books I see, I can’t help wondering how they happen. Are written. Get published. Is it like running faster? I’ve never understood how come people run faster with each generation. Once there was a fuss when someone could run a mile in under four minutes. I suppose there must be a limit to how fast a human being can run a mile? But then Stone Age runners might have thought so too, and their limit was probably far from four minutes. If they knew about minutes. So do authors today write better books because they know they have to to…
  • Stars Shall Be Bright

    21 May 2015 | 8:54 pm
    In memory of the lost children of Maryhill, who died in the Quintinshill Rail Disaster exactly one hundred years ago today. We don’t know their names or what they were doing on a train full of soldiers going off to war. Catherine MacPhail has a theory, which she shares with us in this Barrington Stoke story, Stars Shall Be Bright. She reckons they were siblings James, Belle and William, who set off to find their dad who was a soldier. Their mum has just died and to avoid being taken into a home, James decides to take his brother and sister on a trek to find their dad, lying in order to…
  • The Fugitive

    20 May 2015 | 9:34 pm
    The fifth Theodore Boone is here! I have to own up to still enjoying these junior John Grisham books very much. And that cliffhanger I could see at the end of the first book, which then didn’t materialise? Well, it’s here now. And matters continue to wobble near the edge of the cliff as we leave Theodore and have to wait for the sixth and last book. Strattenburg’s most wanted man is back. Theodore goes on a school trip to Washington, and accidentally comes across this suspected murderer on the run. Because Theo is Theo, he knows what to do to prove it’s Pete Duffy,…
  • Liz Kessler on Read Me Like a Book

    19 May 2015 | 9:33 pm
    The fact that I had looked forward so much to reading Liz Kessler’s Read Me Like a Book, doesn’t mean that I believe it will be all straight sailing. That’s why I nailed the lovely Liz to the spot and asked all kinds of questions on how she sees the future for this new book of hers: So, from mermaids via fairies and a bit of time travelling and some plain invisibility, to a book on discovering you are gay… That’s quite a journey. (I know you actually began with the gay book, before moving on to more conventional mermaids.) You’re right, I did write this book first –…
  • It’s Bookbug Week!

    18 May 2015 | 9:09 pm
    For a moment when the email came I was under the impression I was being invited to get into bed with Debi Gliori, but on closer inspection the invitation was ‘only’ to watch school children read books with Debi. In a bed, as you do with bedtime stories. On a farm, which is less common, but why not? Sheep next to your bed is handy for when you need to count them, if nothing else. And the children look as if they had fun. I might have gone to watch, had I not been otherwise engaged on Monday morning. But Scottish Book Trust have sent some photos on, so it’s almost as if I was…
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    Confessions of a Bibliovore

  • Reading Roundup: April 2015

    1 May 2015 | 7:44 pm
    By the NumbersTeen: 7Tween: 5Children: 3SourcesReview Copies: 6Library: 7StandoutsTeen: Dead to Me by Mary McCoyWhen the hospital calls, Alice is beyond astonished, because she hasn't seen or heard from her idolized sister Annie in four years. This was the very best kind of Hollywood noir mystery and I felt like I should be reading it with a cigarette and a bottle of scotch at my elbow.Tween: P.S. Be Eleven / Gone Crazy in Alabama by Rita Williams-GarciaOkay, these are two different books, but I have to count them together, if only because I picked up the second as soon as I was done with the…
  • Reading Roundup: March 2015

    1 Apr 2015 | 11:30 pm
    By the NumbersTeen: 13Tween: 3Children: 6SourcesReview Copies: 7Library: 12StandoutsTeen: 37 Things I Love (in no particular order) by Kekla MagoonThis was a lovely, melancholic story about a girl coming to terms with all manner of changes in her life, including her own romance with another girl and her comatose father.Tween: Smek for President! by Adam RexI read the first book (The True Meaning of Smekday) years ago, so I was worried I wouldn't be able to remember the story. Groundless fears. There was much fun to be had here and some answers to some dangling threads from the first…
  • Reading Roundup: February 2015

    1 Mar 2015 | 8:54 pm
    By the NumbersTeen: 7Tween: 5Children: 8SourcesReview Copies: 3Library: 12StandoutsTeen: The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly BlackOh, the atmosphere on this one. This tale of wicked faeries and brothers and sisters got a boost from the dreamy feel of the whole book.Tween: Drama by Raina TelgemeierThat one-word title just sums up the whole of middle school, as far as I'm concerned. Crushes and friendships and just drama all around in this graphic novel of a middle-school stage crew. Also, I really wanted to join stage crew.Children: Mo Wren, Lost and Found by Tricia SpringstubbWhile Mo…
  • Book Review: Fairest by Marissa Meyer

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

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

  • A countess below stairs by Eva Ibbotson

    22 May 2015 | 8:36 am
    Speak, 2007. ISBN 9780142408650 (Age: 12+) Highly recommended. Romance. Feel good book. The Russian aristocracy have been forced to flee abroad by the Russian Revolution. Anna Grazinsky, a young countess, has been left penniless and decides that she can no longer live with her English governess Miss Pinfold and takes a job as a domestic servant in the household of the Westerholme family. Rupert, the Earl of Westerholme, has recently become engaged to a beautiful heiress and his country house must be made fitting for the new bride. Anna, armed only with The domestic servant's compendium by…
  • Billie's great desert adventure by Sally Rippin

    22 May 2015 | 8:32 am
    Ill. by Alisa Coburn. Billie's Super Dooper Adventures series. Hardie Grant Egmont, 2015. ISBN 9781760124434 (Age: 5-7) Recommended for fans of the Billie B series and as an introduction to the characters for younger children. In this picture book Billie is having a rainy day at kindergarten. Even though Billie has her duck boots on it is too wet to play outside so she makes herself a cave in the cushions and when her friend Jack comes along they go off on a wonderful adventure, finding a treasure cave and being chased by forty thieves with swords. This would be a great read aloud for young…
  • Ben by Jack Townend

    22 May 2015 | 8:29 am
    V&A Publishing, 2015. ISBN 9781851778287 Jenny the jeep by Jack Townend V&A Publishing, 2015. ISBN 9781851778294 (Age: junior primary) Recommended. Steamroller. Loneliness. War in England. Design. Ben the steamroller works well with his supervisor, Mr Dodie. He flattens the new roads in the town and works very hard. He is proud of the work that he does. Each night when he is shut away in his shed, tears fall as he is lonely there by himself. One day Mr Dodie tells him that he is to flatten the new road out of the town between this town and the next town, Wibsey. He is very excited. On…
  • Meet Banjo Paterson by Kristin Weidenbach and James Gulliver Hancock

    22 May 2015 | 8:24 am
    Random House Australia Children's, 2015. ISBN 9780857980083 The picture book series of Meet... has been extraordinarily successful in bringing the biographies of outstanding Australians to younger readers. Taking simple information and presenting it in a very accessible text accompanied by illustrations has opened up a whole new experience for younger students, giving them all a very clear picture of salient points about each subject's life and times. The latest offering in the series examines the life of arguably our most famous poet, A. B. Paterson, better known to all as Banjo, beginning…
  • Thank you: Cheeky monkey manners by Lisa Kerr

    22 May 2015 | 8:20 am
    Five Mile Press, 2015. ISBN 9781760067212 (Age: 1-3) Manners. This is a short board book suited for under 3 year olds to teach the simple courtesy of saying 'Thank you'. The cheeky monkey does not realise that the 'magic words' that his Grandma needs, and that he is sent to seek are the simple words, 'Thank you'. The illustrations are quirky and cute in this ten page narrative. Carolyn Hull
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    There's a Botticelli Angel Inside, Snapping Beans:

  • Blackbird by Larry Duplechan, movie and book

    12 May 2015 | 2:38 pm
    A movie called Blackbird is out (in very limited release, as far I can tell) based on Larry Duplechan's novel Blackbird. I've read the book, but decades ago. I still have my copy and hope to read it again before seeing the movie.Blackbird is about a black gay teen boy. I remember the moment of buying the book, because I remember not understanding why it was in the adult section of the bookstore rather than the YA section. In hindsight, it was published as adult, and I think the bookstore followed that in their shelving decision. Also in hindsight, I hadn't started children's lit grad school…
  • Working at Kirkus

    17 Mar 2015 | 12:17 am
    In Kirkus, my darling, my life and my bride, my friend Deborah explains some of the wonderful things she loves about our editor, Vicky Smith, and writing for the Kirkus children's section. Deborah, thank you for writing that. Cosign, cosign, cosign.
  • Write some fat characters, please.

    4 Mar 2015 | 12:57 pm
    Even though you can't write a thin character without saying something about fatness, and even though, regarding fatness, you can't talk about only yourself, and this is true within in-book worlds as well, it's still of vital importance for more fat characters to be written than are written now. The whole children's lit range, from the youngest picturebooks up through YA, needs fat characters badly. If you are an author who is considering writing a fat character (or hopefully more than one in the same book, so the one doesn't default to a symbol or token), but you're worried that you'll mess…
  • Intersectionality

    4 Mar 2015 | 12:19 pm
    Intersectionality is not a hard word and it's not a hard concept. It's not from academia in any kind of exclusive way. It's about activism. Most importantly, it's not abstract or obscure -- it's about real people and day-to-day life. Kimberlé Crenshaw coined the term.
  • via Publishers Weekly: Interlude Press Launches YA Imprint

    24 Feb 2015 | 4:18 pm
    Interlude Press, founded in 2014 as a boutique publisher of LGBTQ romantic fiction, is launching Duet, a young adult fiction imprint representing LGBTQ characters. I'll be hoping especially for queer characters of color, and trans characters.
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    I'm Here. I'm Queer. What the Hell do I read?

  • Caught In The Crossfire - Two Teen Boys At Bible Camp, and One Forbidden Love (The Crossfire Trilogy)

    Lee Wind, M.Ed.
    22 May 2015 | 6:05 am
    Caught In The Crossfire by Juliann Rich16-year-old Jonathan Cooper goes away to Spirit Lake Bible Camp, an oasis for teen believers situated along Minnesota's rugged north shore. He is expecting a summer of mosquito bites, bonfires with S'mores, and photography classes with Simon, his favorite counselor, who always helps Jonathan see his life in perfect focus. What he isn't expecting is Ian McGuire, a new camper who openly argues against phrases like pray the gay away. Ian is certain of many things, including what could happen between them if only Jonathan could surrender to his feelings.
  • Judith Marcin: Guest Post on Crafting Queer Characters

    Lee Wind, M.Ed.
    20 May 2015 | 6:03 am
    From Publishers Weekly, Judith and the other panelists on "Crafting True-To-Life LGBTQ YA Characters -- Writing Beyond Stereotypes"Ever wonder what it takes to craft great queer characters when writing for children and young adults? This question was explored at The Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) this April in Minneapolis. I had the privilege of moderating the only queer panel focused on children’s/YA literature at the conference, entitled “Crafting True-to-Life LGBTQ YA Characters--Writing Beyond Stereotypes.”Along with picture book and YA author Molly Beth Griffin…
  • In Which I Interview The Amazing Adam Rex In The Run-Up To The 2015 SCBWI Summer Conference

    Lee Wind, M.Ed.
    18 May 2015 | 6:00 am
    Author/Illustrator and #LA15SCBWI Faculty Member Adam RexNote: Parenthetical Stage Directions are believed at your own risk.Lee: Hey, Adam. I better start out with the question everyone wants to know… What will you be wearing to the Conference’s Saturday night “Sparkle & Shine Party?”Adam: Oh. Huh. That’s definitely the theme, is it? (Lee nods.) Well, my kid’s preschool is doing a unit on glitter right now, so I’ll see if he can make a little lapel pin for me. Otherwise, maybe I’ll wear the suit I bought for the premiere of HOME? I have to find some other occasion for it…
  • Giraffe People - A Teenage Girl Comes Of Age... And Comes Out

    Lee Wind, M.Ed.
    15 May 2015 | 6:05 am
    Giraffe People by Jill MaloneBetween God and the army, fifteen-year-old Cole Peters has more than enough to rebel against. But this Chaplain's daughter isn't resorting to drugs or craziness. Truth to tell, she's content with her soccer team and her band and her white bread boyfriend.And then, of course, there's Meghan.Meghan is eighteen years old and preparing for entry into West Point. For this she has sponsors: Cole's parents. They're delighted their daughter is finally looking up to someone. Someone who can tutor her and be a friend.But one night that relationship changes and Cole's world…
  • Writing Queer Characters - Launching A New Occasional Series with "Dear Authors" - A Queer Teen's spoken word poem about LGBTQAI+ Representation

    Lee Wind, M.Ed.
    13 May 2015 | 6:03 am
    I'm delighted to be launching this new series of posts with this very heartfelt video, "Dear Authors", which I'm sharing with the teen creator's permission:Writing queer characters for young people is a topic that's been getting more attention and coverage in writing conferences around the USA this past year, and we'll be hearing from some of those presenters.Stay tuned for some great stuff ahead! And thanks to @JoneMac53 over on twitter for the heads-up on "Dear Authors!"Lee
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    Literacy, families and learning

  • Sketching and imagination as tools for close reading and comprehension

    Trevor Cairney
    12 May 2015 | 12:40 am
    *This is a revised version of a post I wrote a couple of years ago.Every teacher wants to help children to read deeply, to grasp the richness of characterisation, the devices the author uses to create mood and tension, the intent and purpose of the writer and the language devices employed. We also want them to be moved by the text and able to reflect and respond critically to it. I've written lots of posts about comprehension, but in this one I want to revisit a previously discussed strategy that I've used with children aged 3 to 12 years and which I continue to see as one of the most…
  • Six reasons we sometimes need to say no to our children

    Trevor Cairney
    1 May 2015 | 4:21 am
    It seems in this age that parents struggle increasingly to say no to their children. "No you can't have another biscuit". "No you can't have a mobile phone because Ralph has one". "No you can't stay over at Annette's place when I don't know the family". "No we aren't going to McDonalds tonight".  "No you can't play that online game any longer tonight". Parents vary in terms of their parenting styles along a continuum from permissive to more authoritarian, and I've seen fine young people emerge from families with quite different styles. But it seems to me that irrespective of whether your…
  • 11 Memorable Picture Books for Anzac Day

    Trevor Cairney
    23 Apr 2015 | 5:34 am
    1. 'I Was Only Nineteen' by John Schumann and illustrated by Craig Smith (Allen & Unwin)John Schumann wrote an unforgettable song 'I Was Only 19' in 1983 with the band Redgum. It had the memorable refrain 'God help me, I was only 19'. The lyrics of this well-known Australian song have been brought to life in a children's picture book illustrated by the widely acclaimed Australian illustrator Craig Smith. The lyrics are used exactly as in the song and with Craig Smith's wonderful water colour and line drawings are a moving reminder of the Vietnam War. This was a war that was fought in…
  • 2015 CBCA Children's Book Awards Shortlist

    Trevor Cairney
    17 Apr 2015 | 1:03 am
    The Children's Book Council of Australia (CBCA) has recently announced the shortlist for the 2015 CBCA Children's Literature awards. There are a couple things worthy of note. First there are many books about war and conflict. This might not be surprising in this year that marks 100 years since the Gallipoli landing that is such a significant part of Australian, New Zealand and British history. Second, there are some wonderful non-fiction books on the list, a number developed by very small presses.The winners and honour books will be announced in Book Week (16-22 August, 2015). I have already…
  • 29 Great Examples of Children's Books that Feature Birds

    Trevor Cairney
    7 Apr 2015 | 5:42 am
    Above: One of the Ospreys observed at TuncurryI wrote a post about birds in books and have just had the joy of observing osprey while on holidays. So here's a refrain of my previous post. I want to encourage parents and teachers to share some children's literature that feature birds. I had fun brainstorming this list with daughter, son-in-law and 3 of my grandchildren. Why not celebrate the wonder of birds with some great literature.  Here are some examples that teachers might consider using.Young Readers (0-7 years) The following books are varied in age range from first books like 'Boo…
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    The Book Chook

  • A List of Free PDFs for Teachers, Parents and Librarians

    21 May 2015 | 12:00 pm
    Written by Susan Stephenson, www.thebookchook.comEvery so often I create a PDF that I hope supports parents interested in children’s education and my fellow-educators like teachers and librarians. I offer these PDFs for free as my way of giving back to the community that shares my passions. They are stored at my website, and are free to download if you are a parent, teacher or librarian who wants to use them with kids. In order to have a record of each PDF at The Book Chook too, I’ve added them to a Listly List. This List will be updated over time, so go ahead and bookmark /share this…
  • Reviews: A Monstrous Mouthful of Children's Picture Books

    19 May 2015 | 12:00 pm
     Children's Book Reviews by Susan Stephenson, www.thebookchook.comWhat is it attracts children to books and videos about monsters? Is it the fact that illustrators go wild with the gross factor and kids love gross? Is it that there’s a little hint of actual remembered fear shadowing, even enhancing children’s delight? Whatever the reason, we know for sure that children love to share, shudder over, and read books about monsters. Here are six children’s picture books with a monsterish theme, each one potentially ready to intrigue or comfort a child near you!Monster Chef by Nick…
  • Children’s iPad App, Monki Animal Builder

    17 May 2015 | 12:00 pm
    Children’s iPad App, Monki Animal BuilderReviewed by Susan Stephenson, Here’s a new digital toy called Monki Animal Builder that I think will suit kids under 7. It encourages them to imagine and build cute and quirky creatures. From the developer:KEY FEATURES:- Kids friendly (4+ years).- 6 different characters with their own personality.- Over 30 body parts to build up your very own animal.- 60+ animations that brings everything to life.- More than 15 accessories: sunglasses, pirate hats, diving glasses and more.- 90+ audio tracks with educational vocabulary and…
  • Let’s Celebrate Mother Goose Day

    14 May 2015 | 12:00 pm
    Let's Celebrate Mother Goose Dayby Susan Stephenson, www.thebookchook.comWhy should we celebrate Mother Goose Day? For me, Mother Goose is synonymous with nursery rhymes, and they are some of the earliest texts we read, sing and chant with kids. That means they’re a powerful tool in the parenting box of tricks. Our little ones are exposed to all the wonders of language in a playful way with Mother Goose and other simple rhymes: to the rhythms of poetic language, to rhyming words, to very simple story sequences, to sound patterns, and, frankly, to some wild and wacky situations that provide…
  • Children’s Book Review, Eliot, Midnight Superhero

    12 May 2015 | 12:00 pm
    Children's Book Review by Susan Stephenson, www.thebookchook.comEliot, Midnight Superhero is a children’s picture book, written by Anne Cottringer, illustrated by Alex T. Smith and published by Scholastic UK, 2014. RRP: $Au 15.99. (I notice the same book may also be called Eliot Jones, Midnight Superhero.)From the publisher: By day, Eliot is a quiet boy who likes to read and play with his toys. But when the clock strikes midnight, Eliot is transformed into a hero! When he's not showing off his super swimming skills or wowing the crowds with his expert-lion taming, you can find him assisting…
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    Gail Carson Levine

  • Ready, set, beginnings

    13 May 2015 | 10:06 am
    On August 5, 2014, nevvawinter wrote, I have a question about beginning a story. I often come up with elements for a story, such as a setting and a character or some dialogue and a conflict, but I have trouble putting these elements together and adding elements to make a complete story out of my initial slightly-fuzzy vision. Any advice would be appreciated.I have all those problems, too!End of post.Just fooling--about it being the end of the post.I started The Two Princesses of Bamarre prequel that I'm working on right now by telling the reader something my main character doesn’t find out…
  • The Twisting, Turning Way

    29 Apr 2015 | 2:42 am
    I have two events coming up post-tour! Next Saturday, May 9th, I'll be at Byrd's Books, 126 Greenwood Avenue, Bethel, Connecticut, at 11:00 am. And the following Sunday, May 17th, I'll be participating in the South Carolina Book Festival at the Columbia Metropolitan ConventionCenter located at 1101 Lincoln Street. I'll be speaking there from 12:30 pm to 1:30 pm and then signing books. Hope to see some of you at one of these events!If you don’t already know, Stolen Magic came out on April 21st, and I just finished my tour. I met a few of you, and I’m so glad I did!On December 27,…
  • Onward! Or Backward?

    15 Apr 2015 | 5:21 am
    First off, I’ve come across a magazine that seeks story and poetry submissions from high school students, and, since the submissions must come from students themselves, not from schools, I assume you can be home schooled if you’d like to submit. And the publication actually pays a fee if a work is accepted, rare in the poetry world. Here’s the link: Be sure to tell us here if you get an acceptance. Good luck!Second off, I’ve announced on my website that there’s a sale on the e-book version of A Tale of Two Castles going on until…
  • Alone in a Character Desert

    1 Apr 2015 | 6:49 am
    Just in! You can hear a few minutes of the audio version of STOLEN MAGIC here:!Here’s a preview of my upcoming tour for Stolen Magic. You’ll see that the farthest west I’ll be coming is Ohio and also that the time isn’t set yet for my first appearance in Washington, DC, but you can contact the bookstore for details.Sunday, April 19th – Rhinebeck, NYOblong Books @4:00 PM (with Jeanne Birdsall)Tuesday, April 21st – Concord, NHGibson’s Bookstore @6:30 PMThursday, April 23rd – Fairless Hills, PAB&N Fairless Hills @7:00…
  • Plots and subplots

    18 Mar 2015 | 7:07 am
    On October 5, 2014, unsocialized homeschooler wrote, I'm on the fifth draft of my novel (oh the joy of calling my work a novel!) and I think I've lost my way. Originally the story was simple--boy likes girl, boy writes anonymous letters to girl, girl gets in trouble because of boy, girl hates boy, boy saves girl. Okay, so maybe not that simple, but now it's really complicated. There are multiple perspectives, half a dozen more important characters, and another subplot. With all this extra stuff, the stuff that made up my first draft now only takes up a quarter of the novel. Part of me thinks…
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    Nana's Buzz

  • Recordable Books and Toys Help You Connect

    21 May 2015 | 11:56 am
    It’s difficult being a long distance grandmother. Like most of you in this situation, I want to have a relationship with my granddaughter and not just be the nana she sees every now and then. I gave her this recordable book on my recent visit that I think will help keep us close. When she turns the pages it’s my voice reading her the story. I recorded it when I was with her and the two of us read it together many times so she could start to associate me with the book. It was wonderful to see her look of surprise, then recognition, when she heard my voice coming out of the book.
  • It’s Your Birthday!

    18 May 2015 | 2:16 am
    Almost everyone is a child at heart when it comes to his or her birthday.  Last week was my son’s birthday.  And even though he has now made 28 rotations around the sun, I know he would have been disappointed if there hadn’t been some packages and his favorite cake. It’s not easy to find presents for children – or grandchildren – when they get older.  But no one is too old for Dr. Seuss.  So in addition to clothing (shirts) and a piece of technology (wireless headset), I just had to include: “Today you are you!  That is truer than true! There is no one…
  • A Chair of Her Own

    14 May 2015 | 11:58 am
    I recently visited my granddaughter Hazel who lives halfway across the country.  I hadn’t seen her play in “her space” since she started walking.  It was a happy surprise to see how much she loves having a chair of her own.  The three shown above are wonderful gifts she received. It makes sense that Hazel would want to have something that’s her size, whether it’s a chair or a table or the small sink at her activity center.  It gives her a sense of independence and control to have something that is her size and that’s all her own.  I loved seeing her…
  • The Yellow School Bus

    11 May 2015 | 5:44 am
    The small (pop. 9,000) town in which I live is located on the tip of a peninsula.  For all intents and purposes, there is one road into and out of town.  Along that road there are 4 elementary schools.  So you can imagine that, during the morning hours of 7:30 – 8:30 and the afternoon hours of 2:30 – 3:30, traffic along that road during the school year is a nightmare. Recently the town undertook an initiative to reduce traffic by increasing ridership on school buses.  But a survey of parents revealed several concerns in addition to price.  Parents didn’t want their…
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