Children's Literature

  • Most Topular Stories

  • Head of the River by Pip Harry

    ReadPlus Review Blog
    19 Sep 2014 | 2:18 pm
    University of Queensland Press, 2014. ISBN 9780702253263. (Ages 13+) Recommended. Set in present-day Melbourne, Head of the River tells the story of seventeen-year-old fraternal twins desperate to lead their school to victory in Head of the River. Their stories begin six months prior to Head of the River, an Australian school rowing event, however the twins, Leni and Christian both encounter many different challenges that push them to their limits as they fight to stay on the team while maintaining relationships with peers and family. All the characters in Head of the River were well rounded…
  • If I Stay movie review

    The Horn Book
    Shoshana Flax
    19 Sep 2014 | 8:00 am
    So, I saw that movie based on a YA novel about teens in love who are faced with questions of life and death. No, not that one, at least not most recently. I’m talking about the New Line Cinema/MGM adaptation of Gayle Forman’s 2009 novel If I Stay, directed by R. J. Cutler and released August 22, 2014. (Warning: If you stay with this post, you’ll find some major spoilers.) When I went looking for a viewing companion, the premise produced shudders from more than one friend. For the uninitiated, the title refers to seventeen-year-old Mia (Chloë Grace Moretz)’s wrenching decision…
  • Week in Review, September 15th-19th

    The Horn Book
    Katie Bircher
    19 Sep 2014 | 1:24 pm
    This week on… Marla Frazee Talks with Roger about The Farmer and the Clown (outtake — “Marla Frazee, wipe that smile off your face!”) If I Stay movie review Reviews of the Week Picture Book: Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin by Chieri Uegaki; illus. by Qin Leng Fiction: The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place by Julie Berry Poetry: Neighborhood Sharks: Hunting with the Great Whites 
of California’s Farallon Islands by Katherine Roy App: Breathe, Think, Do with Sesame Read Roger: “Does one size fit all?” How well do board books and picture books…
  • 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #398: Featuring Ninja Cat Vs. Angel Cat

    Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast
    20 Sep 2014 | 11:01 pm
    Hi, dear kickers. The illustrations I had planned to share today aren’t up, because I had some issues with the image files. Well, most of the images are fine, but two of them are not, so I’ll just wait. I’ll get that fixed soon (I hope) and post about the book another day. But since posting without images is just not something I can tolerate here at 7-Imp, I’m sharing a piece of art my 10-year-old made. She and her sister are all the time drawing ninja cats, and this particular image cracks me up. It’s the age-old narrative of good vs. evil. This time it’s…

    Finding Wonderland: The WritingYA Weblog
    20 Sep 2014 | 5:45 am
    Have you been on the fence about whether or not you're interested in KidlitCon? Have plans changed for you, but you thought you'd run out of time? You're in luck: we've been able to extend registration for one more week. The Citizen Hotel has graciously extended its block price (though only by phone; reservations after Friday, September 19th, MUST contact the onsite reservation coordinator Raquel at 916-492-4440. Raquel will ensure that they you added to the block at the group rate as long at there is availability) as well. Please go to the KidlitCon site and register. Diversity is our…
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    The Horn Book

  • Week in Review, September 15th-19th

    Katie Bircher
    19 Sep 2014 | 1:24 pm
    This week on… Marla Frazee Talks with Roger about The Farmer and the Clown (outtake — “Marla Frazee, wipe that smile off your face!”) If I Stay movie review Reviews of the Week Picture Book: Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin by Chieri Uegaki; illus. by Qin Leng Fiction: The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place by Julie Berry Poetry: Neighborhood Sharks: Hunting with the Great Whites 
of California’s Farallon Islands by Katherine Roy App: Breathe, Think, Do with Sesame Read Roger: “Does one size fit all?” How well do board books and picture books…
  • If I Stay movie review

    Shoshana Flax
    19 Sep 2014 | 8:00 am
    So, I saw that movie based on a YA novel about teens in love who are faced with questions of life and death. No, not that one, at least not most recently. I’m talking about the New Line Cinema/MGM adaptation of Gayle Forman’s 2009 novel If I Stay, directed by R. J. Cutler and released August 22, 2014. (Warning: If you stay with this post, you’ll find some major spoilers.) When I went looking for a viewing companion, the premise produced shudders from more than one friend. For the uninitiated, the title refers to seventeen-year-old Mia (Chloë Grace Moretz)’s wrenching decision…
  • Books mentioned in the September 2014 issue of Nonfiction Notes from the Horn Book

    Horn Book
    18 Sep 2014 | 11:01 am
    All about animals Did You Know? series DiSiena, Laura Lyn and Eliot, Hannah Chickens Don’t Fly: And Other Fun Facts Illustrated by Pete Oswald Gr. K–3      32 pp.      Little Simon      2014 Trade ISBN 978-1-4424-9353-7 Paperback ISBN 978-1-4424-9326-1 E-book ISBN 978-1-4424-9327-8 DiSiena, Laura Lyn and Eliot, Hannah Hippos Can’t Swim: And Other Fun Facts Illustrated by Pete Oswald Gr. K–3     32 pp.     Little Simon     2014 Trade ISBN 978-1-4424-9352-0 Paperback ISBN 978-1-4424-9324-7 E-book ISBN 978-1-4424-9325-4 Jenkins, Steve The Animal Book: A Collection…
  • After-school activities

    Horn Book
    18 Sep 2014 | 10:03 am
    Barnhart, Norm Dazzling Card Tricks Gr. 4–6   32 pp.  Capstone Barnhart, Norm Marvelous Money Tricks Gr. 4–6   32 pp.  Capstone Edge Books: Magic Manuals series. Accessible step-by-step instructions, clear demonstrative photographs, and “what you need” sidebars teach readers to master simple but impressive magic tricks with cards or money. Tips for performing the tricks effectively and smoothly in front of an audience are worked into the narrative. These books will be appealing and useful for anyone interested in magic. Subjects: Games, magic, and riddles Bolte,…
  • Careers and community helpers

    Horn Book
    18 Sep 2014 | 9:56 am
    Buckley, A. M. The Arts Middle school, high school   112 pp.  ABDO Freese, Susan M. Fashion Middle school, high school   112 pp.  ABDO Hamen, Susan E. Engineering Middle school, high school   112 pp.  ABDO Lusted, Marcia Amidon Entertainment Middle school, high school   112 pp.  ABDO Inside the Industry series. Each book describes four careers; for example, Arts covers artist, dancer, photographer, and curator. Readers learn what each job entails (e.g., “What Is an Artist?”) and what they can do to prepare for these competitive professions (“Would You Make a Good…
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    Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast

  • 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #398: Featuring Ninja Cat Vs. Angel Cat

    20 Sep 2014 | 11:01 pm
    Hi, dear kickers. The illustrations I had planned to share today aren’t up, because I had some issues with the image files. Well, most of the images are fine, but two of them are not, so I’ll just wait. I’ll get that fixed soon (I hope) and post about the book another day. But since posting without images is just not something I can tolerate here at 7-Imp, I’m sharing a piece of art my 10-year-old made. She and her sister are all the time drawing ninja cats, and this particular image cracks me up. It’s the age-old narrative of good vs. evil. This time it’s…
  • What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week, Plus What I DidLast Week, Featuring Qin Leng and Frank Morrison

    18 Sep 2014 | 11:01 pm
    “Melba and her music trotted around the globe, dazzling audiences and making headlines in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. All her life, Melba kept composing and arranging music, kept making her trombone sing. Spread the word!Melba Doretta Liston was something special.”(Click to enlarge spread) “Ojiichan played every morning. From his study, the clear, bright notes would drift upstairs, through the shoji screen doors to where Hana slept on sweet-smelling tatami mats, and coax her awake as gently as sunshine.”(Click to enlarge spread)   Today over at Kirkus, I…
  • Firebird: A Chat withMisty Copeland and Christopher Myers

    18 Sep 2014 | 6:04 am
    “Ballet is so rigorous and formally precise. I spent a lot of time watching videos of ballet and going to see Misty dance specifically, because as precise as ballet is, the specificity of her art was most important to me. I wanted not just to capture the excitement of ballet, but the thrill of watching Misty perform those precision moves, the artistry that she brings to it.”   Today over at Kirkus, I talk with Misty Copeland and Christopher Myers (pictured above), the creators of Firebird, a picture book released by Putnam this month. That’s Chris quoted above, who is…
  • A Conversation withNorwegian Author-Illustrator, Stian Hole

    15 Sep 2014 | 11:01 pm
    “‘Listen! The sea has so many voices,’ Anna whispers. ‘It sounds like a heavenly choir humming. A song about crabs, eels, and sea urchins cooing in the deep.’”– From Anna’s Heaven(Click to enlarge spread) This month, I reviewed Stian Hole’s Anna’s Heaven, released by Eerdman’s in September, for BookPage. That review is here. You all know I like to follow up reviews with art from the books I write about, if possible, but for this one I also decided to chat with the award-winning illustrator himself (pictured here) about this…
  • 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #397: Featuring David Biedrzycki

    13 Sep 2014 | 11:01 pm
    Hello, dear kickers. Today I have some artwork from author-illustrator David Biedrzycki, whose has a brand-new picture book out from Charlesbridge, Breaking News: Bear Alert (Charlesbridge, September 2014). It’s the story—in the style of a breaking-news, this-just-in television report—of two very curious bears who make their way into a busy town. It’s a fun story, and David has a handful of spreads from it to share today, as well as a few early sketches. The Kirkus review for this one notes that David’s Adobe Photoshop illustrations are “bold and playful,…
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    Finding Wonderland: The WritingYA Weblog


    20 Sep 2014 | 5:45 am
    Have you been on the fence about whether or not you're interested in KidlitCon? Have plans changed for you, but you thought you'd run out of time? You're in luck: we've been able to extend registration for one more week. The Citizen Hotel has graciously extended its block price (though only by phone; reservations after Friday, September 19th, MUST contact the onsite reservation coordinator Raquel at 916-492-4440. Raquel will ensure that they you added to the block at the group rate as long at there is availability) as well. Please go to the KidlitCon site and register. Diversity is our…

    19 Sep 2014 | 4:11 am
    My poppets, gather round, do! There's a simply scandalous novel you must sit down and read, right away! It's a school story - boarding school. It's set in the Victorian era. There are stern spinsters, callow boys, naughty dogs, and ...dead bodies buried in the garden!I reviewed an electronic copy of this novel and can't wait to see the finished product. The cover is adorable, but the endpapers and the illustrations of the girls in the front pages are going to be wonderful, when it all comes together. Summary: Seven young ladies, enrolled in a school for girls, are kept in fairly straitened…
  • Thursday Review: GIRL ON A WIRE by Gwenda Bond

    Sarah Stevenson
    18 Sep 2014 | 3:50 pm
    Right--in the interests of full disclosure, Gwenda and I have the same agent, and we've been blog buds for a number of years, so be aware that any viewpoints herein may or may not be free of personal bias. :) I received a review copy of this book from the author/publisher via NetGalley.Girl on a Wire is one of those books packed with all the characteristics I would have loved as a YA reader growing up: magic, mystery, and just a hint of Romeo and Juliet (literally: the main characters are Remy aka Romeo, and Jules aka Julieta). The high-flying circus setting lends even more drama and…

    16 Sep 2014 | 7:07 am
    I admit that this book put me in a bit of a spin, when I'd finished it. I had no idea how to talk about it. Magical realism? Historical fiction? Problem novel? The line between what was, and what wasn't was... a little shaky. The pacing was very gradual, especially at the beginning, and the conclusion... didn't leave me with much of a conclusion. Looking it up, I realized that it was a first in a series, which answered some questions, as to why it felt so slow to me -- the author will finish up the story elsewhere -- but it seemed a good idea that didn't receive the polish it needed in its…
  • Color Me Excited--It's Cybils Season Again!

    Sarah Stevenson
    15 Sep 2014 | 10:47 am
    I just wanted to make sure you all know that Cybils Awards judging panels will be announced this week--Wednesday, to be exact! It's always an exciting time because I know, once the panels get announced, it's time for me to start thinking about books to nominate. And this is a really inspirational year for children's and YA books: we've seen so much well-deserved attention being given to books featuring protagonists from a variety of races, ethnicities, socioeconomic background, gender, sexual's the year of #WeNeedDiverseBooks and countless other efforts to bring wonderful…
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    A Chair, A Fireplace, & A Tea Cozy

  • Review: Falling Into Place

    Liz B
    18 Sep 2014 | 1:00 am
    Falling into Place by Amy Zhang. Greenwillow Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. 2014. Review copy from publisher.The Plot: Liz Emerson, a high school junior, has crashed her car into a tree.She planned it, oh so carefully, to look like an accident.It wasn't.Now, as she lies in the hospital, hovering between life and death, Falling Into Place examines just what led her to that fateful moment.The Good: Falling Into Place has some seriously beautiful writing. I dog-eared (yes, dog-eared, don't tell) so many pages to mark passages where the language knocked me off my feet."But that…
  • Review: Poisoned Apples

    Liz B
    16 Sep 2014 | 1:00 am
    Poisoned Apples: Poems for You, My Pretty by Christine Heppermann. HarperCollins. 2014. Reviewed from electronic galley.The Plot: Fairy tale retellings, in poetry and photographs.The Good: Seriously, I just adore retellings. Whether it's looking into the historical origins of fairy tales, modernizing them, twisting them -- I just love what people can do with the familiar and the unknown, making them new and fresh.Poisoned Apples approaches fairy tales with a particular question: what do they say about what it means to be a woman? What does it mean in today's world?"The action's always…
  • Reading - It's Good For You!

    Liz B
    11 Sep 2014 | 1:00 am
    Honestly, I don't care.No, not entirely true -- telling me I should read something because it's good for me is a turn off.Really.The New York Times ran a Bookends dialogue asking, Should Literature Be Considered Useful?And I ask -- why. Why.As an adult, reading because I want to -- this really pisses me off.Does everything have to be "useful"? Does everything have to have reason, a point, a higher message?Listen, it's cool if that is why you read fiction. Or, rather, if that's one of the reasons you read. I think, at different times, we read for different reasons. So that some people are…
  • TV Review: Happy Valley

    Liz B
    9 Sep 2014 | 1:00 am
    Happy Valley, TV series on Netflix, originally created for and shown on BBC One.The Plot: Catherine Cawood is a Yorkshire police sergeant, divorced, living with her sister, raising her young grandson, Ryan.She's put together the pieces of her life following the tragedy of eight years before that ended in her daughter dead, Catherine's own divorce, raising her daughter's baby, and her son not talking to her.And then she finds out that he's back. Tommy Lee Royce, the young man responsible for her daughter Becky's death -- even though there was nothing Catherine can prove. That was then, this is…
  • Review: It Happens

    Liz B
    4 Sep 2014 | 1:00 am
    It Happens: A Guide to Contemporary Realistic Fiction for the YA Reader by Kelly Jensen. VOYA Press, an imprint of E L Kurdyla Publishing, LLC. 2014. Personal copy.It's About: Don't you just love non-fiction books? They have the entire pitch in the subtitle.Disclaimer: I am good friends with the author. I am quoted in It Happens. And I'm in the Acknowledgments.The Good: It Happens is organized into three sections: Real Tools; Real Reads; and Real Talk.The first part defines what, exactly, is contemporary YA fiction and why it matters to readers. As a former lawyer, I love that Jensen does…
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    educating alice

  • Learning About Africa: Ishmael Beal Tells it True “Still, the ways in which Africans are portrayed as less human have not lost the power to shock. “

    22 Sep 2014 | 1:41 am
    Ishmael Beah, in “The West ignores the stories of Africans in the middle of the Ebola outbreak” writes bluntly about much I’ve been thinking, but afraid to say.  He begins: It wasn’t surprising that Western journalists would react with doom-and-gloom when the Ebola outbreak began in West Africa. Or that the crisis would not be treated as a problem confronting all humanity — a force majeure — but as one of “those diseases” that afflict “those people” over there in Africa. Most Western media immediately fell into fear-mongering. Rarely did they tell the stories…
  • Some of My Right Words Celebrating Bryan and Sweet’s The Right Word

    18 Sep 2014 | 2:21 am
    This is so cool. Thank you, Erdmans! We thought we should mix Monica Edinger‘s great quote with an image proving her point that: “All in all, The Right Word is a spectacular brilliant marvelous superb magnificent dazzling work of art.” (Thanks for the love, Monica!)
  • Thoughts on Newbery: Flaws, Fatal or Not?

    13 Sep 2014 | 4:08 am
    Heavy Medal has started up again and some fascinating conversations are well underway.  One aspect of the conversation that has struck me is the idea of flawness (my made-up word). That is, are all books perfect? And if not, how do we grapple with perceived flaws? Can we reach consensus on the degree of their significance? This came to mind when in her Heavy Medal post on Deborah Wiles’ Revolution, Nina noted that “There is a fatal flaw that I find in REVOLUTION, and that is that Raymond is not as fully realized a character as Sunny, not by a very long shot.” She goes on to…
  • Books for Incarcerated Teens

    10 Sep 2014 | 2:23 am
    Many years ago I first heard Walter Dean Myers speak of his involvement with incarcerated teens. Later, when I found myself with an abundance of YA ARCs, I was pleased to hear that they were much needed for incarcerated teens and looked for a way to get them to them. After some struggles figuring this out (living in NYC I’m carless so getting lots of books places isn’t so easy) I discovered that Karlan Sick, who lives around the corner from me, is now chair of the board for Literacy for Incarcerated Teens. Karlan told me to bring the books to her and she’d get them to the…
  • Jen Bryant and Melissa Sweet’s The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus

    7 Sep 2014 | 12:34 pm
    I love words and I love art that plays with words. ABC books, abecedarian novels, lipograms, everything and anything that plays with the art of words is art right up my alley. And so having adored Jen Bryant and Melissa Sweet’s glorious Caldecott Honor A River of Words, I was agog with anticipation waiting for their latest, The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus.  And now that I’ve seen it, let me tell you — it was worth the wait.  Bryant again captures the essence of a complicated individual in spare and beautifully crafted text. Having now written a book about a…
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    Chasing Ray

  • The utter delight found in "Where My Wellies Take Me..."

    22 Sep 2014 | 11:08 pm
    Where My Wellies Take Me... by Clare & Michael Murpurgo is one of those books that is so pretty and smart that I hesitate to do much of any kind of review because it's too hard not to lump the superlatives and make it sound impossible. I want to tell you it functions remarkably well as a poetry anthology, that Pippa's story of gentle outdoor adventure will appeal to kids and parents who enjoy a good jaunt and that Olivia Lomenech Gill's scrapbook style design and artwork is classic in all the best ways. Oh heck. I love this book and I'm not afraid to just say tell you so. The basic story is…
  • State of Affairs on September 15th.

    15 Sep 2014 | 1:02 am
    An assessment of life at the moment: 1. I have realized that the work involved in getting an agent after your agent retires is really exhausting. My synopsis is done but I need to update the professional bio (which feels like college all over again) and come up with a list of comparable titles (thus proving that while my proposed book is still unique, it is not too unique). 2. I'm also supposed to provide 2 chapters. As I am still researching the stuff for the beginning of the book, I'm not sure how I'm supposed to accomplish this in any sort of chronological order, but 2 chapters are 2…
  • A tradition of September resolutions

    8 Sep 2014 | 11:15 pm
    From Tingle Alley: When Jane was working on this story on the history of Seventeen, we did a lot of emailing back and forth about Back to School magazine issues and how much we loved them. In junior high I read the hell out of every September issue of Seventeen, and the memory is all caught up with the anticipation of seeing people again after the summer and the belief that Everything Was Going To Be Different This Year. One year, one of the pieces of editorial advice was to soak cotton balls with perfume and lay them on your next day's outfit so that the outfit would become pleasantly…
  • Hiroshima in the Morning by Rahna Reiko Rizzuto

    1 Sep 2014 | 10:33 pm
    On the basis of Beth Kephart's recommendation in her book Handling the Truth, I ordered a copy of Hiroshima in the Morning through Powells. The author Rahna Reiko Rizzuto received a fellowship to go to Japan in mid-2001 for six months and research her planned novel about the bombing of Hiroshima. What she did not expect was the wrenching difficulty (in a myriad of ways) of parting from her husband and 2 young sons in NYC and how complicated it would be to navigate Japanese culture and gain the insight she wanted on her subject. This is a really tough book to classify because if I tell you it…
  • Finding Evelyn

    25 Aug 2014 | 11:18 pm
    Five (!!) years ago, I posted about my grandmother's cousin, Evelyn. She died relatively young of a disease (I thought typhus) that was caught from a used mattress. Her toddler son died as well. At the time, I did not know Evelyn's married name nor her husband's name nor her year of death. All I knew was that she and my grandmother were quite close as evident from the many photos of them together. Soooo...a couple of months ago I decided to get serious about Evelyn. Her mother was one of my great grandmother's younger half sisters and I hope to track down this missing branch of the family and…
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    Arthur Slade: The YA Fantastical Fiction Guy

  • Last Minute Ideas

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

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

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

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

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

  • Where is your ticket from Zurich to New York?

    12 Sep 2014 | 9:38 am
    Where is your ticket from Zurich to New York? Read the true adventure story of a 16 year-old solo traveler starting on page 148 in book Fun Magazine Author Page
  • 9 Sep 2014 | 2:22 pm

    9 Sep 2014 | 2:22 pm
    This week America again observes 9/11. Read an author interview and information about the middle grade action-adventure,                         When The Lights Go Out. So we never forget
  • 9/11 - Terrorism - and An Action/Adventure Mystery for Middle Grade Readers

    4 Sep 2014 | 4:43 am
    Review:  Updated for 9/11/2014Some dates burn deeply into our collective memory forever. I will never forget where I was and what I was doing on September 11, 2001. You probably know the same. Your children, quite possibly, were not yet born before 9/11, and you will have to explain that famous date to them at an appropriate time. They need your explanation of this shocking and tragic even in America. Max Elliot Anderson has dedicated his latest adventure fiction, When the Lights Go Out (Comfort Publishing, 2012), to “the memory of 9/11 and the people who lost…
  • My Book Trailers and Other Videos

    1 Sep 2014 | 2:45 pm
    Here are links to a number of videos you might find of interest concerning the action-adventures and mysteries I write for middle grade readers.Max Elliot AndersonAuthor Video - Accidental Adventures Series -, Read A Book - - Woods Poachers - Island Smugglers - of The White Wolf…
  • (AR) - Accelerated Reader and Middle Grade Mysteries & Adventures

    25 Aug 2014 | 9:04 am
    ARAn Open Letter to Teachers, Librarians, Parents, and Students about Middle Grade Mysteries & Adventures and Accelerated ReaderI grew up hating to read in spite of the fact my father was the author of over 70 books during his lifetime. Some of these were books for children. Since we lose many of our young readers after middle grade, I’m focusing my attention on mysteries and adventures for these readers.Accelerated Reader– With school just starting again, you already understand the affect this point system has on young readers. Several of my early books received AR tests so students…
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    Wands and Worlds

  • Calling all bloggers!

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

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

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

    2 Jun 2014 | 4:08 pm
    The Stark Law: No two living Starks can ever occupy the same place at the same time.Corollary: If any Stark is approaching a location where another Stark currently resides, the resident Stark will either leave or be killed.
  • Lassie, Devil Horns, Hot Men, and Worldbuilding: Day 2 at BEA

    31 May 2014 | 6:00 am
    Anyone training for a marathon should consider three days at BookExpo America for building endurance. By the end of day 2, every muscle and joint in my body aches. But it's so worth it to spend three days surrounded by books and book people.I spent the first part of the day in meetings with publishers to talk about the Cybils. I had some great conversations with some really interesting people. One of the best things about BEA is having the chance to talk to people who are passionate about books, children's and YA literature.After that, I had some time to walk the floor. Here are some of the…
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    American Indians in Children's Literature (AICL)

  • Heather Sappenfield's THE VIEW FROM WHO I WAS

    21 Sep 2014 | 3:57 am
    A colleague, Trish, wrote to ask me if I'd seen Heather Sappenfield's The View From Who I Was. She said it is set at a place called American Indian Preparatory School, modeled on the Native American Preparatory School. Trish didn't know it, but that school means a lot to Native people.I had not heard of the book, so looked it up and saw that an ARC (advance reading copy) was available at Net Galley (anyone can sign up to read ARC's via Net Galley). The View From Who I Was is due out in January. The description of the book is unsettling. Here's the first…
  • Heather Sappenfield's THE VIEW FROM WHO I WAS

    20 Sep 2014 | 2:46 pm
    A colleague, Trish, wrote to ask me if I'd seen Heather Sappenfield's The View From Who I Was. She said it is set at a place called American Indian Preparatory School, modeled on the Native American Preparatory School. Trish didn't know it, but that school means a lot to Native people.I had not heard of the book, so looked it up and saw that an ARC (advance reading copy) was available at Net Galley (anyone can sign up to read ARC's via Net Galley). The View From Who I Was is due out in January. The description of the book is unsettling. Here's the first paragraph:Sometimes the end…
  • Tim Tingle's NO NAME

    15 Sep 2014 | 4:12 pm
    In Removing the Word "Reluctant" from Reluctant Reader, Stringer and Mollineaux write that there are many reasons why teen readers choose not to read (p. 71):For some youth, reading difficulties may be intertwined with factors such as cultural background, language barriers, learning disabilities, emotional disturbances, family disruptions, teenage pregnancy, fear of failure, and peer pressure. These problems may occur with other stressors such as school transitions, low self-esteem, poor time management, and depression.In their work on the experience of Native youth in school,…

    15 Sep 2014 | 7:32 am
    A colleague asked me about H. M. Bouwman's The Remarkable and Very True Story of Lucy and Snowcap. Published in 2008 by Marshall Cavendish, it got a starred review from Kirkus, and was tagged as "serviceable" by School Library Journal. Right off the bat, I'm giving it a thumbs down.The setting is 1787. One character, Lucy, is "Colay" which is a fictional Native tribe the author made up for this fantasy. Because it is fantasy, people will defend what Bouwman does with characterizations of that made-up tribe.But because Americans know so little about Native peoples, I object to works of…

    12 Sep 2014 | 4:45 pm
    So! Scott (a colleague) wrote to ask me if I'd read The Education of Little Tree. I've written about that book here on AICL several times because it is not really a memoir. It was published as the memoir of a Cherokee named Forrest Carter, but that author's brother outed him as Asa Carter. Yeah, that guy. Of the KKK.Scott said that a friend's daughter is reading it as a class assignment. She is telling the teacher that there are problems with it, but the teacher things there are valuable lessons in it, so I guess that means the teacher thinks they can ignore the problems. I don't know what…
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  • Poetry Friday: Two Girls Staring at the Ceiling by Lucy Frank

    19 Sep 2014 | 6:04 am
    In neon running shoes I racethrough sand, sprintthrough the rainbowdroplets of a sprinkler,run straight up a waterfall,Shoot out a purple cloudof squid ink so no onecan see me jettingthrough the oceanon You'll never catch me! bubbles.- from the verse novel Two Girls Staring at the Ceiling by Lucy FrankView all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.Learn more about Poetry Friday.
  • World of Payne on its way from Tom Sniegoski and Frank Cho

    15 Sep 2014 | 5:53 pm
    As revealed at Comic Con, then reported in Comic Book Resources, Tom Sniegoski is writing World of Payne, which he co-created with Frank Cho. The story centers around a psychic private investigator named Lockwood Payne, who is actually a modern day sorcerer from an ancient society of witches and wizards and his strange misadventures in the world of the occult and unrealities. Along the way, he's helped by his ever-loyal and unflappable friend, Doctor Hurt, an urgent care doctor in the strip mall next door to Payne's office, and the beautiful Michelle, a witch-in-training. The series…
  • Poetry Friday: She Walks in Beauty by Lord Byron

    12 Sep 2014 | 6:06 am
    She walks in beauty, like the night Of cloudless climes and starry skies; And all that's best of dark and bright Meet in her aspect and her eyes: Thus mellow'd to that tender light Which heaven to gaudy day denies. One shade the more, one ray the less, Had half impair'd the nameless grace Which waves in every raven tress, Or softly lightens o'er her face; Where thoughts serenely sweet express How pure, how dear their dwelling-place. And on that cheek, and o'er that brow, So soft, so calm, yet eloquent, The smiles that win, the tints that glow, But tell of days in goodness spent,A mind at…
  • Poetry Friday: Maud by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

    5 Sep 2014 | 8:39 am
    All night have the roses heard The flute, violin, bassoon; All night has the casement jessamine stirr'd To the dancers dancing in tune; Till a silence fell with the waking bird, And a hush with the setting moon.- from Maud by Alfred, Lord TennysonRead the poem in its entirety here.View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.Learn more about Poetry Friday.
  • Best Books of August 2014

    31 Aug 2014 | 7:17 pm
    This month, I read 14 books and scripts. I also wrote roughly 130 pages of new material, most of which was written longhand with pen and paper before I typed and revised everything multiple times. (Many thanks to my beta readers and personal cheerleaders, notably AD, E, K, and C.)Before my fingers cramp up again, let me point to you to some interviews I did this month, all with authors who are celebrating the release of their new books:Jen Wang, who collaboratedwith Cory Doctorow on In Real Life; Kelly Jensen, blogger and author of It Happens; Julie Danielson and Betsy Bird, two of the three…
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    the excelsior file

  • goodnight brew

    david elzey
    13 Sep 2014 | 5:08 am
    by Ann E. Briated illustrated by Allie Ogg Bailiwick Press  2014 No. Wrong. Sorry. Not for kids. Terrible parody with no redeeming qualities. Seriously. You would be hard pressed to find a parody of a children's classic more tone deaf and misguided as this. The idea of a children's book parody should have echoes of childhood skewered with a winking eye. Goodnight Brew seems to labor under
  • shh! we have a plan

    david elzey
    12 Sep 2014 | 6:37 am
    by Chris Haughton Candlewick  2014 Four black-ops solders take on an impossible night mission with little hope of success. Just kidding! In the depths of a purple-blue night four night stalkers our out with their nets in hopes of coming across something to catch. Actually only three of the stalkers have nets, the smallest seems to be tagging along. When they come across a bird the Little One
  • richard scarry's best lowly worm book ever

    david elzey
    11 Sep 2014 | 6:11 am
    by Richard Scarry (mostly) Golden Books  2014 A recently discovered Scarry manuscript is unearthed... and out pops Lowly Worm! Weird-but-true, and totally irrelevant, anecdote about a Richard Scary book. Once while working in the bookstore a woman came in, furious, to return one of those cute little critter books because of its "gratuitous use of meat." Specifically, she was offended by a
  • jack the castaway

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

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

  • KidLitCon Registration Deadline Extended by One Week

    Jen Robinson
    19 Sep 2014 | 2:33 pm
    Reposted from the Kidlitosphere Central blog: We have a fabulous program and an exciting list of attendees for this year’s KidLitCon (being held October 10th and 11th at the Tsakopoulos Library Galleria in Sacramento, CA). The original registration deadline was today. However, we have room for a few more people, and we would love to have YOU among them. Therefore, we have extended the registration deadline by one week, to next Friday, September 26th. Now is your chance! The KidLitCon registration form is here.  KidLitCon offers a…
  • Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: September 19

    Jen Robinson
    19 Sep 2014 | 9:05 am
    Here are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage. Not included here are the many Cybils-related links, particularly when I was live-tweeting the Cybils panelist announcements. I do have links related to books, book lists, national book awards, diversity, growing bookworms, kidlitcon, reading, writing, parenting, literacy programs, literacy research, schools, and libraries.  Books, Book Lists, and Awards A Tuesday Ten: Inventors and Scientists Wanted | @TesseractViews #BookList TUT: The Story of My Immortal Life by @pj_hoover released…
  • The Case of the Stolen Sixpence (Maisie Hitchins): Holly Webb & Marion Lindsay

    Jen Robinson
    18 Sep 2014 | 8:10 am
    Book: The Case of the Stolen Sixpence (Maisie Hitchins, Book 1) (iBooks link) Author: Holly Webb Illustrator: Marion Lindsay Pages: 176 Age Range: 7-10 The Case of the Stolen Sixpence is the first book in a fun new mystery series by Holly Webb, author of the Rose series. The Maisie Hitchins series is aimed at readers who are past early readers, but not quite ready for middle grade novels. The lines are widely spaced, the chapters are fairly short, and there are black and white illustrations by Marion Lindsay every few pages. I believe that this title would fall happily into the Early Chapter…
  • Zac and Mia: A J. Betts

    Jen Robinson
    16 Sep 2014 | 9:04 am
    Book: Zac and Mia (iBooks link) Author: A. J. Betts Pages: 292 Age Range: 12 and up  Zac and Mia by A.J. Betts is, yes, another young adult novel about two kids with cancer who become involved with one another. But it's quite distinct from The Fault in Our Stars, from characters to setting (Australia). Zac and Mia begins with a first-person section from Zac's viewpoint. Zac is in isolation in a hospital in Perth recovering from a bone marrow transplant. Zac is 17 and is in an adult ward. As the story begins he is feeling pretty good, and is getting bored. He is intrigued when he…
  • Cybils and KidLitCon Updates

    Jen Robinson
    12 Sep 2014 | 1:52 pm
    It's time once again for an update on what's going with the 2014 Cybils Awards and the 8th Annual KidLitCon.  Cybils The Cybils organizers are all in place. You can see links to their profiles below. You can follow the Cybils organizers on Twitter via this handy list.  The application period to be a judge for the 2014 Cybils Awards has closed. The panelist announcements will be coming soon, after a slight delay due to circumstances beyond our control. If you applied to be a Cybils judge and are waiting to here, please be patient. We'll share the panels just as soon as we possibly…
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    Writing and Ruminating

  • Bossypants, or how Tina Fey almost ruined my cruise

    17 Sep 2014 | 9:44 am
    I'd like to thank Tina Fey for scaring the daylights out of me on my recent cruise in the Caribbean. And no, to my knowledge, she wasn't there. Allow me to explain.For my own entertainment, I packed her memoir, Bossypants, in my carry-on, and read it while waiting in airports and while lying by the pool on the cruise ship. I packed it because (a) I had already started it; (b) it was the paperback, so I figured I could donate it to the ship's library when done and not have to cart it home; and (c) it was funny, and therefore good "beach" reading. Right? Well, sure. Mostly.Until, that is, I…
  • Recent Caribbean cruise

    16 Sep 2014 | 1:10 pm
    My sweetheart and I left early (and I mean early) on Friday morning, August 29th to head to the airport in Atlantic City, whence we caught the first of two flights to take us to San Juan, Puerto Rico. When we got there, we checked into our hotel, the Chateau Cervantes in Old San Juan, which we both highly recommend. For one thing, the staff is nice, the place is clean, and they serve an excellent Continental breakfast with the world's best coffee (Puerto Rican espresso, as it turns out). For another, they upgraded us at no extra charge to the Presidential Suite. When they escorted us into the…
  • Jennifer, Gwyneth & Me by Rachel Bertsche

    15 Sep 2014 | 5:18 pm
    I know, I know, I will get you a post about my fabulous vacation soon. You should just be glad I'm not telling you all about the (not actually) fabulous head cold that I now have - a little something that my sweetheart picked up in an airport or plane on the way home from Puerto Rico. I am fuzzy and muddled and sickly and whiny and snotty and gross. But I will get you that vacation post because I have these awesome photos to share with you and such. Only I need to use a different computer and actually sit up and stuff. So it'll keep.IN THE MEANTIME, I reallyreally want to tell you about this…
  • Coming soon . . .

    8 Sep 2014 | 1:49 pm
    . . . a blog post about my recent vacation with my sweetheart, which involved airplanes, a large ship, and a series of six islands.But first, I've got to get my feet back under myself properly.
  • Harlem Hellfighters by J. Patrick Lewis, illustrated by Gary Kelley

    25 Aug 2014 | 2:27 pm
    Just released from Creative Editions, this picture book tells the story of African American soldiers who fought in an all-black regiment in World War I, and which included among their ranks Henry Johnson, whom Theodore Roosevelt called "one of the five bravest soldiers" in the war. The Harlem Hellfighters also included Jim Europe, a jazz band leader, and his band members, who played for the weary troops overseas. The book includes the history of the unit during and after the war, as well as giving details about some of the things going on back in the United States, such as the shameful…
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    The Miss Rumphius Effect

  • Poetry Friday - Saved From the Discard Pile

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

    12 Sep 2014 | 8:08 am
    I've been reading some terrific new poetry books this week, so today I'm sharing a lovely poem from the book EVERYTHING IS A POEM: THE BEST OF J. PATRICK LEWIS.The Gray of DayShy Evening paints all heaven gray,Erasing blue from balmy Day,Uncolors brute box elders, oaks,And elms with even, gentle strokes,Then finds the houses, whereuponShe dabs her brush ... their lights come onAs if two dozen stars fell downTo twinkle life into the town.But Evening's easel leaves undoneOne mischief streak of western SunTo grace the masterpiece she drew—Still Live: An Evening's Point of View—Till he robs…
  • Monday Poetry Stretch - Polysemantic words

    8 Sep 2014 | 5:38 pm
    I'm always inspired and a bit in awe when I read a poem that uses the same word in multiple ways. I often wish I were this clever. However, I've begun to think that like many things, getting better is a matter of practice.Polysemantic words are words that have multiple, diverse meanings. I often share these words in math and science to highlight just how confusing content vocabulary can be for students. Think about the word scale. Scale can be:an instrument used to measure weight or massthe outer covering on a reptile or fisha proportion between two sets of dimensionsa series of musical tones…
  • Elementary School Homework and Reading in Math and Science

    8 Sep 2014 | 5:23 pm
    Yesterday I read a post by Donalyn Miller entitled No More Language Arts and Crafts. It struck a chord with me as I thought about how we try to motivate kids to read, and all the ways we get it wrong.First, let me respond to this by telling you about a little rant I usually end up making during the first weeks of the semester. It generally occurs when I teach students how to write lesson plans and we get to the section labeled homework. I've seen a lot of bad homework over the years, as a parent and a teacher educator reading lesson plans. It seems that no one really thinks about why we give…
  • Monday Poetry Stretch - Labor

    1 Sep 2014 | 9:00 am
    Sorry I missed you last week, but with the start of the semester here, things got a bit crazy.Yesterday during morning mass and the Prayers of the Faithful we prayed for those who labor and wish to do so. I thought a lot about that over the course of the day and realized how very lucky I am to not only be employed, but to be engaged in work that (for the most part!) love to do.So, this is not very inspired on this day, but I want to write about work and labors of love. I hope you will join me. Please share a link to your poem or the poem itself in the comments.
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  • Cybils 2014

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

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

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

    18 Jun 2014 | 1:18 pm
    Last year I was so organized that I shared my booktalks online, while this year I've been lucky if they are mentally rehearsed before I go into the school. I've had a lot on my mind. But whether or not I have a graduating senior or need to plan the Girl Scout bridging ceremony for over a hundred girls, our booktalking season is upon us. Quite late this year as our kids are still in school. In fact, that senior doesn't even get to do the graduating part until June 23rd. Crazy, right? It's especially frustrating as other high schools were done yesterday, but we all have to take our turn with…
  • Ninth Annual 48 Hour Book Challenge: Winners!

    9 Jun 2014 | 7:41 pm
    What a weekend! With all the reading and reviewing done over the last couple of days, I feel like we're all winners. Am I right? But there were some noteworthy 48HBC achievements to be recognized and to prizes to award, so let's get started!With 38 hours and 34 books read, the Champion of the Challenge is one Ms. Yingling! She wins the opportunity to donate a set of forty multicultural titles to a school or library of her choice through the generosity of Reading is Fundamental. Since she was a big prize donor of books and is so reluctant to receive back, she'll be getting a surprise prize…
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        Poetry for Children

  • Poet to Poet: Carole Boston Weatherford and Jacqueline Woodson

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

    Sylvia Vardell
    8 Sep 2014 | 7:47 pm
    The September issue of Book Links (companion to ALA's Booklist magazine) is out now and includes my article, "Poetry and Social Justice." I was honored to include an interview with poets, George Ella Lyon and J. Patrick Lewis, as well as their editor, Rebecca Davis, about their new book, Voices from the March. Here are several excerpts from the article and the interview, as well as some "extra" material, FYI.Poetry and Social Justice: Honoring All VoicesIt’s been fifty years since the signing of the Civil Rights Act in 1964, when discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion,…
  • Poet to Poet: Julie Larios and Skila Brown

    Sylvia Vardell
    29 Aug 2014 | 6:30 am
    It's time for another installment of my "Poet to Poet" series-- in which one poet interviews another poet about her/his new book. Today, Julie Larios (author of the marvelous Yellow Elephant and Imaginary Menagerie) asks Skila Brown three questions-- about her new book, Caminar, a novel in verse set in Guatemala, about her childhood memories, and about writing that inspires her.JL: This question won't surprise you, Skila, because you know I struggle with it. You're drawn to both poetry and fiction, and your story Caminar (which is so well-written -…
  • GUIDE for Crossover by Kwame Alexander

    Sylvia Vardell
    22 Aug 2014 | 4:00 pm
    As we "crossover" from summer to back-to-school, I want to encourage you to put Crossover, a novel in verse by Kwame Alexander on your must-share list for the new school year-- particularly if you work with kids in 4th - 8th grade. It's such a fresh story with twin 12 year old boy protagonists who love playing basketball and are growing up-- and maybe apart-- as they cope with middle school, girls, and the expectations of their parents. The poems are full of energy and propel the story forward energetically. But I especially loved the picture of family life that comes across as each…
  • GUIDE for Silver People by Margarita Engle

    Sylvia Vardell
    14 Aug 2014 | 10:30 pm
    One hundred years ago today, the first ship passed through the newly completed Panama Canal changing the route through the Americas forever. Although this was and is celebrated as a technological achievement, I wasn't aware of the cost in human lives and ecological impact till I read Margarita Engle's vivid and compelling novel in verse, Silver People. I was fortunate enough to read an early copy of the book and create an educator's guide for sharing the book with young readers. You can download the guide here. To whet your appetite, here are just a few components to explore. To set…
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  • We Need Diverse Books Announces Incorporation as a Non-Profit & Inaugural Advisory Board

    Cynthia Leitich Smith
    20 Sep 2014 | 7:28 am
    See FAQ!Compiled by Cynthia Leitich Smithfor CynsationsGrassroots organization files for incorporation as a non-profit organization in the state of Pennsylvania, and welcomes its first advisory board members, authors Grace Lin, Jacqueline Woodson, Matt de la Peña, Cynthia Leitich Smith, and Cindy PonNew York City, NY: More than just a hashtag, We Need Diverse Books is a grassroots organization created to address the lack of diverse, non-majority narratives in children’s literature.We Need Diverse Books is committed to the ideal that embracing diversity will lead to acceptance, empathy, and…
  • Cynsational News

    Cynthia Leitich Smith
    19 Sep 2014 | 6:03 am
    By Cynthia Leitich Smithfor Cynsations2014 Longlist for the National Book Award for Young People's Literature from the National Book Foundation:Laurie Halse Anderson, The Impossible Knife of Memory (Viking)Gail Giles, Girls Like Us (Candlewick)Carl Hiaasen, Skink—No Surrender (Knopf)Kate Milford, Greenglass House (Clarion)Eliot Schrefer, Threatened (Scholastic)Steve Sheinkin, The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights(Roaring Brook)Andrew Smith, 100 Sideways Miles (Simon & Schuster)John Corey Whaley, Noggin (Atheneum)Deborah Wiles, Revolution: The Sixties…
  • Guest Post: Chris Barton on A New & Diversity Bookselling Strategy: BookPeople's Modern First Library

    Cynthia Leitich Smith
    18 Sep 2014 | 7:00 am
    Newlyweds Chris & JennyBy Chris Bartonfor Cynthia Leitich Smith's CynsationsMany of my ideas -- good, bad, and otherwise -- originate while I’m exercising, and Modern First Library was among these.One evening this past winter, while my wife, fellow author Jennifer Ziegler, and I were walking our dog, I bemoaned an article I’d read about an independent bookseller’s baby gift registry.Of the classic picture books mentioned in the article -- through no fault of the store, I’m assuming -- the newest one was published during the first Nixon administration.We’re in a pretty terrific…
  • Author Interview: Paula Yoo on Twenty-two Cents: The Story of Muhammad Yunus

    Cynthia Leitich Smith
    17 Sep 2014 | 7:03 am
    Learn more about Paula Yoo.By Cynthia Leitich Smithfor CynsationsCongratulations on the release of Twenty-two Cents: The Story of Muhammad Yunus, illustrated by Jamel Akib (Lee & Low, 2014)! What was the initial inspiration for the book?Thank you! The initial inspiration was from one of my editors at Lee & Low Books.I worked with Jason Low on my last book, Shining Star: The Anna May Wong Story (Lee & Low, 2009).After that book came out, he and I discussed what my next book should be. At the time, Jason had read Muhammad Yunus’ autobiography Banker to the Poor: Micro-lending…
  • Book Trailer: The Vast and Brutal Sea by Zoraida Córdova

    Cynthia Leitich Smith
    16 Sep 2014 | 11:04 am
    Compiled by Cynthia Leitich Smithfor CynsationsCheck out the book trailer for The Vast and Brutal Sea by Zoraida Córdova (Sourcebooks Fire, 2014). From the promotional copy:This epic clash of sand and sea will pit brother against brother–and there can only be one winner. In two days, the race for the Sea Court throne will be over-but all the rules have changed. The sea witch, Nieve, has kidnapped Layla and is raising an army of mutant sea creatures to overthrow the crown. Kurt, the one person Tristan could depend on in the battle for the Sea King’s throne, has betrayed him. Now…
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    Read Alert

  • The 2014 Inky Awards Shortlist

    Adele Walsh
    18 Sep 2014 | 5:28 pm
    The Inky Awards are for the best new young adult books, as voted for by teen readers. The Centre for Youth Literature is extremely proud to announce the 2014 Inky Awards shortlist. We had a fantastic team of teen panelists (to find out more about them, visit our judges page on Inside A Dog), who spent hours warring over their favourite Inky Awards longlisted books. Our judges took their responsibilities very seriously, and it was great to see such a considered and diverse discussion about books. Their dedication, passion, and enthusiasm resulted in a smashing selection. Drum roll…
  • Announcing Reading Matters 2015

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

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

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

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

  • Children’s Books That Never Get Old

    15 Sep 2014 | 6:15 pm
    14 Children’s Books That Never Get Old “Oh, please don’t go — we’ll eat you up — we love you so!”
  • September Children's Book Recommendations

    15 Sep 2014 | 3:42 pm
    There is nothing quite like the feeling of fall’s arrival.  Crisp morning air, chilly evenings, the sun setting before dinner’s end, throwing another blanket on the bed for extra coziness. The fall all but begs for us to dive into a book and get snuggly.  What better way to develop your child’s love of books and sense of wonder than reading to them as part of your bedtime routine.  It’s never too early to begin reading to your little one.  Hearing your voice is how they learn language and the cadence of communication.  It’s also a great excuse to just quiet…
  • Leak stopped

    the resilient child book
    15 Sep 2014 | 2:43 pm
    Woke up this morning at 4:30 am to work on the drawings. Still a bit droggy here on my day job, but I have deadlines here too so it’s nothing that coffee will not deal with. This trio of scenes were drawn earlier and will be towards the end of the book. You have the grown ups just going up and down the stairs bailing flood water-slowly realizing that the water is receding. Mom notices it and stops, then dad does too, and Gerry stops and looks out the window trying go figure out what happened.                          …
  • Alphabetics

    15 Sep 2014 | 1:44 pm
    We’ve already made it abundantly clear about our love of and passion for Alphabet books, but not your ‘run of the mill’ Alphabet books, oh no! For us, the quirkier the better and this book written by Patrick and Traci Concepción has it in abundance and with a fabulously jaunty style to boot. Try the tongue-twisting descriptions that accompany each of Dawid Ryski’s iconic images. The predominantly white spreads with the striking type for each letter on the left hand side and the larger than life images providing a pop of colour on the right, is the perfect minimal…
  • Revenge of the Abandoned Author

    Je' Czaja
    15 Sep 2014 | 10:06 am
    Little Smarties Comics: Book One Little Smarties Comics: Critical Thinking for Beginning Readers Three months to complete two comic books with three stories each. That may not seem like a long time, but keep in mind that most of the stories have a 50-word vocabulary. About a month of that time has been proofing, changing, fixing screw-ups. The terrible part is, I’m pretty sure there are still screw-ups I cannot see. I asked my oldest daughter Mary to proof them, but NO, she never did. O.K., she has four kids and a non-profit to run-but she is a GENIUS and can spot screw-ups a mile away.
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    School Library Journal

  • Graphic Novels a ‘Gateway to Adult Literacy,’ Claims Study

    Gary Price
    21 Sep 2014 | 8:45 am
    The following article was published online in the past week. It appears in the new issue of Evidence Based Library and Information Practice. Title A Survey of Graphic Novel Collection and Use in American Public Libraries Author Edward Francis Schneider University of South Florida Source Evidence Based Library and Information Practice Abstract Objective – The objective of this study was to survey American public libraries about their collection and use of graphic novels and compare their use to similar data collected about video games. Methods – Public libraries were identified and…
  • Encyclopaedia Britannica Sees Digital Growth, Aims to Draw New Users

    Gary Price
    20 Sep 2014 | 9:46 am
    A recent Chicago Tribune article that has been syndicated to a number of newspapers. From the Article: Chicago-based Encyclopaedia Britannica, which shelved its venerable print edition in favor of a digital-only version more than two years ago, is looking to reclaim its legacy as the household reference of choice. [Clip] Some 50,000 households pay $70 annually and an additional 450,000 get full access through distribution partners such as telecom companies and Internet providers, a subscriber base that has remained stable despite the chipping away of the pay wall, Cauz said. Meanwhile, online…
  • Pictures of the Week: Huck Scarry at Book Launch for ‘Best Lowly Worm Ever’; Lonesome George Unveiled

    19 Sep 2014 | 7:43 am
        Iconic author and illustrator Richard Scarry’s son Huck Scarry at the launch of the newly discovered and never-before-published Best Lowly Worm Ever (Random, 2014) at Forbes Gallery in New York City on September 17. Photo by Rocco Staino.   Lonesome George, a Pinta Island tortoise (a subspecies of Galápagos tortoise native to Ecuador’s Pinta Island) and the last of his kind, who died at age 102 in 2012, was unveiled at the Museum of Natural History September 18. George was also the subject of Jean Craighead George’s Lonesome George (HarperCollins, 2014).
  • Sponsored Content: Get Your FREE FROSTFIRE Advance Readers’ Copy Today!

    Sponsored Content
    19 Sep 2014 | 7:12 am
    Amanda Hocking made headlines when her self-published “ Trylle trilogy” sold millions of e-copies. And when St. Martin’s Press re-released the trilogy in print, it spent a combined total of 23 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, reaching as high as #2. NOTE: This content was sponsored and contributed by Macmillan. In Frostfire, the first book in Hocking’s magical new YA series, readers meet Bryn Aven—an outcast among the Kanin, the most powerful of the troll tribes. Set apart by her heritage and her past, Bryn is a tracker who’s determined to become a…
  • Move Over, Waldo | SLJ Spotlight

    19 Sep 2014 | 6:00 am
    Two new books offer kids seek-and-find challenges in a format that they won’t be able resist: the foldout. Josh Cochran’s New York unfolds to reveal more than six feet of colorful scenes and iconic landmarks from Brooklyn’s Coney Island to the Bronx Zoo. James Gulliver Hancock’s Park takes readers through the seasons via a panoramic panel of silly scenarios, humming with activity and oversize creatures, wandering ninjas, and folks out for a bit of fresh air. In both titles, words are limited to a list of items to find and an occasional sign. New York: Inside & Out. illus. by Josh…
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    A Fuse #8 Production

  • Video Sunday: No. Seriously, Lisa. Hire me.

    Elizabeth Bird
    21 Sep 2014 | 1:00 am
    Howdy, folks.  I have news for you.  Did you have any idea that a children’s literature online show called KidLit TV was in the works?  Nor did I until I stopped by Roxie Munroe’s studio the other day.  She informed me that man-about-town Rocco Staino had been by with an honest-to-goodness film crew to talk to her about this new series. Calling itself, “The video resource for the greater kidlit community” it’s launching this fall.  Here’s the first video so far: Okay. I admit it. I’m a sucker for cute kids.  Thank goodness they don’t do…
  • E is for Esoteric: 2014 Alphabet Books Get Creative

    Elizabeth Bird
    17 Sep 2014 | 1:00 am
    What is it about the alphabet that gives artists the license to get weird?  Historically, the alphabet book is one of the earliest American children’s book forms.  You know.  “In Adam’s fall, we sinned all.”  That kind of thing.  I’m certain someone has already written, or is in the process of writing, the full-blooded history of American abecedarian outings for the young, so I won’t delve into such matters to any great length. Now every year we get some wacky alphabet titles in the mix.  The usual art books.  Coffee table picture books, if you…
  • Review of the Day: At Home in Her Tomb by Christine Liu-Perkins

    Elizabeth Bird
    16 Sep 2014 | 1:00 am
    At Home in Her Tomb: Lady Dai and the Ancient Chinese Trasures of Mawangdui By Christine Liu-Perkins Charlesbridge $19.95 978-1-58089-370-1 Ages 9-12 On shelves now When I say the word “mummy” what springs into your mind? Movies starring Brendan Fraser? Egypt and scarabs and rolls of crumbling papyrus? Absolutely. But what if I told you that recently the best-preserved mummy in the world was found? And what if I told you that not only was she a woman, not only was she surrounded by treasure, but she was also Chinese. Now I’ve known about mummies in South America and frozen on mountains.
  • Newbery / Caldecott 2015: Fall Prediction Edition

    Elizabeth Bird
    15 Sep 2014 | 1:00 am
    Now we’re in the thick of it.  Do you hear that?  That is the clicking ticking sound of the reanimation of the Heavy Medal and Calling Caldecott blogs.  They’re a little groggy right now, trying to get their bearings, figuring out which foot to try first.  But don’t be fooled by their initial speed.  Very soon they’ll be acting like well-oiled machines, debating and comparing and contrasting like it’s nobody’s business.  But why let them have all the fun?  Time for a little predicting on my end as well!  I’ve been discussing these books with…
  • Press Release Fun: A $5,000 Award for School Libraries

    Elizabeth Bird
    13 Sep 2014 | 1:00 am
    A message for school librarians: ALA is now accepting applications for the 2015 Sara Jaffarian Award. The award recognizes K-8 schools for exceptional programming in social studies, poetry, drama, art, language arts, culture, or other humanities subjects. Apply by Dec. 15 at More information below. Please let me know if you have any questions. Sarah Ostman Communications Manager ALA Public Programs Office CHICAGO — The American Library Association…
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    Michael Gerson: Most Recent Articles and Archives

  • Our excessive tolerance of suicide

    Michael Gerson
    18 Sep 2014 | 5:22 pm
    From Belgium comes news that a mentally disturbed prisoner is to be granted government help in committing suicide. A typically shallow ethical debate ensued — isn’t assisted suicide for a prisoner a bit too close to capital punishment? — before the trump card of individual autonomy was played. “Regardless, he’s a human being,” said Jacqueline Herremans, the head of Belgium’s right-to-die association, “a human being who has the right to demand euthanasia.” Read full article >>
  • Leading from behind the curve on Ebola

    Michael Gerson
    15 Sep 2014 | 4:55 pm
    The nation of Liberia — founded by liberated American slaves with support from Henry Clay, Daniel Webster and James Monroe — is not unacquainted with suffering. Two civil wars in the period from 1989 to 2003 and decades of economic mismanagement caused an 80 percent decline in per capita GDP — perhaps worse than any country since World War II. Warlords reduced Liberia’s infrastructure to rubble. In the 15 years following 1991, there was no electricity in the country except for private generators. Read full article >>
  • President Obama’s careful war on terrorism

    Michael Gerson
    11 Sep 2014 | 4:48 pm
    The most compelling and encouraging parts of President Obama’s Islamic State speech — his intention to “degrade and ultimately destroy” the enemy, his pledge to hunt down its fighters and deny them “safe haven,” his moral clarity on their “acts of barbarism” — also sounded least like Obama. Everyone — and I mean just about everyone on the planet — knows that he was more comfortable declaring that the United States had moved “off a permanent war footing” and that the war on terrorism, “like all wars, must end.” Read full article >>
  • America’s resumption of ‘the long war’

    Michael Gerson
    8 Sep 2014 | 5:13 pm
    As the United States pivots back to the Middle East — in belated recognition that its enemies never pivoted from their intention to establish a territorial expression of radical Islamism — President Obama is more likely to change his policy than to change his rhetoric. We are more likely, in other words, to see “boots on the ground” in Iraq (already more than 1,000 troops are in supportive roles) than we are to hear an admission that the administration’s foreign policy approach has shifted. Read full article >>
  • The Ebola crisis demands that America act

    Michael Gerson
    4 Sep 2014 | 7:38 am
    Sometimes the artifice of writing — metaphors, historical comparisons, the just-so quote — fails. The Ebola outbreak in West Africa demands directness: We are about to witness a human catastrophe that could destroy large portions of a continent and pose a global threat. And the response of the world, including the United States, is feeble, irresponsible and disrespectful of nature’s lethal perils. Read full article >>
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  • Autumn Nature Reading

    21 Sep 2014 | 1:08 pm
    I found these two related posts about good nature books for children and adults in a long ago Carnival of Children’s Literature that I can’t get to now. I’m glad I saved the links. Beth at Real Learning has a whole 12 weeks worth of autumn nature reading suggestions for an intensive nature study. I’m thinking we should do this someday. Maybe I’d become more of a nature lover if I made myself get outside and read and study and observe along with the urchins. At the imponderabilia of actual life, Sandy lists her favorite nature books for children. Her favorite and…
  • The Winter Horses by Philip Kerr

    20 Sep 2014 | 5:10 am
    Historical fiction set in the Ukraine, winter, 1941. Or is it magical realism? The horses featured in the story are very, very intelligent, crafty, and communicative. Then, there’s the question of whether this book is middle grade fiction or young adult. The main character, a Jewish girl named Kalinka, is young, maybe twelve or thirteen? But a lot of what happens in this World War II-setting novel is very, very dark. I don’t exactly know how to classify this book, and that ambiguity in being able to pigeon-hole the book into “YA Holocaust novel” or “middle grade…
  • Hooray for Cybils Speculative Fiction (Middle Grade)

    19 Sep 2014 | 7:16 pm
    I am excited and honored to be joining the following fellow bloggers as a member of the Cybils judging panel for Middle Grade Speculative Fiction (Science Fiction and Fantasy) this year. © 2012 Dan Century, Flickr | CC-BY | via WylioRana Bardisi Reader Noir @readernoirblog Maureen Eichner By Singing Light @elvenjaneite Cindy Hannikman Fantasy Book Critic Katy Kramp A Library Mama @alibrarymama Brandy Painter Random Musings of a Bibliophile @brandymuses Charlotte Taylor Charlotte’s Library @charlotteslib This assignment means that my fellow panelists and I get to read LOTS of middle…
  • Saturday Review of Books: September 20, 2014

    19 Sep 2014 | 6:00 pm
    “This increasing facility, this breakthrough, reminded him of childhood, of that extraordinary realization that all those black marks on the page could speak, that they were words, language, that they related to what came out of people’s mouths, out of his own mouth. This time round, the black marks of another language began at last to make sense, to leap from obscurity, to tell a story. It was as though you broke into a new world, were handed a passport to another country.” ~Penelope Lively © 2014 the lost gallery, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio Welcome to the Saturday…
  • The Hero’s Guide to Being an Outlaw by Christopher Healy

    19 Sep 2014 | 5:17 am
    Pirates! Pirates! PIRATES!! OK, now that I’ve got your attention, the new League of Princes book by Christopher Healy, third in the series, does indeed have pirates. It also has all my favorite characters: Liam the Bold, Gustav the Great, Frederic the Fussy, and Duncan the Village Idiot (my names, and I love Duncan the best). The women in the story—Snow, Ella, Lila, and Rapunzel–escape from prison, form their own league (The Ferocious Female Freedom Fighters, or ffff!), and do a lot better than the guys at defeating Evil. There are also a a couple of new female characters…
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    Stories from NPR

  • Now This

    22 Sep 2014 | 1:59 am
    Steve Inskeep and Audie Cornish report.» E-Mail This
  • Politics In The News

    Cokie Roberts
    22 Sep 2014 | 1:59 am
    Congress is in recess with members campaigning in their districts ahead of the November vote. What is the role overseas events will play in the midterm election?» E-Mail This
  • Marketplace Morning Report

    22 Sep 2014 | 1:59 am
    Marketplace Morning Report» E-Mail This
  • Canadian Surfers Ride Chocolate River's Waves For Miles

    Murray Carpenter
    22 Sep 2014 | 1:59 am
    A muddy river in the Canadian province of New Brunswick is developing a reputation for its waves. A pair of surfers set a distance record, riding the wave of a tidal bore up the Petitcodiac River.» E-Mail This
  • Rockefeller Brothers Fund Forsakes Its Legacy

    Yuki Noguchi
    22 Sep 2014 | 1:59 am
    On Monday, at the U.N. climate change conference in New York, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and several dozen other groups will announce their divestment from fossil fuels.» E-Mail This
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    Ally Carter

  • All Fall Down: an Embassy Row novel

    Ally Carter
    19 Sep 2014 | 5:00 am
    Grace Blakely is absolutely certain of three things: 1. She is not crazy. 2. Her mother was murdered. 3. Someday she is going to find the killer and make him pay. As certain as Grace is about these facts, nobody else believes her–so there’s no one she can completely trust. Not her grandfather, a powerful ambassador. Not her new friends, who all live on Embassy Row. Not Alexei, the Russian boy next door who is keeping an eye on Grace for reasons she neither likes nor understands. Everybody wants Grace to put on a pretty dress and a pretty smile, blocking out all her unpretty thoughts. But…
  • All Fall Down: the cover!

    Ally Carter
    18 Sep 2014 | 12:07 pm
    Hello everyone! Ally here with what I hope you all will agree is VERY EXCITING NEWS! We have a cover for All Fall Down. AND an excerpt! Yeah…I thought you’d like that. Check them both out over at Justine Magazine and then come back and tell me what you think! -Ally ps: I’ll be posting the cover and excerpt right here on this site tomorrow.   The post All Fall Down: the cover! appeared first on Ally Carter.
  • Magnificent Monday–Alaska Photos!

    Ally Carter
    15 Sep 2014 | 7:36 pm
    Hi everyone! Ally here while Shellie is away with her family for a bit. I thought this might be as good a time as any to finally share with everyone a few of the pictures that I took on my recent cruise to Alaska. Now, a few years ago I was on tour and realized I didn’t have a good answer for when people would ask if I had any hobbies. For a long time, writing was my hobby. But now that my hobby is my job, I wanted to find some new creative outlet that was just for fun. That’s when I bought a “real” camera (I have a Canon DSLR T3i) and a few lenses (most of these…
  • A little more about MTLGTM

    Ally Carter
    10 Sep 2014 | 10:08 am
    Hi everybody! Ally here again. Thank you so much for the kind words about the Star of Bethlehem excerpt! I really love this story (and its characters) and I’m happy that you guys are liking it too. And I’m soooooo honored to be a part of the MY TRUE LOVE GAVE TO ME anthology! It has already received one starred review from one of the major review journals, and a rave review from RT Magazine. It is a thrill to be a part of a project so special.     A few of you have asked which of the skaters are from my story. Well, it’s the blond girl and the boy in the cowboy…
  • Magnificent Monday, Ally edition

    Ally Carter
    8 Sep 2014 | 6:19 pm
    Hi everybody! It’s Ally here. On a Monday! I know that’s going to freak you out, and I apologize. Shellie and her family are out-of-pocket for a couple of weeks, so you guys are just going to have to make do with me! I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what you guys might like to hear about today, but I decided to treat you to a little sneak peek at something instead! As most of you know, I have a short story in the upcoming holiday anthology, MY TRUE LOVE GAVE TO ME. My story is called “Star of Bethlehem” and here is a little taste! I hope you like it.  …
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    Justine Larbalestier

  • The Habit of Getting Ideas and Turning Them into Story

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

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

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

    2 Sep 2014 | 1:21 pm
    The distinction between Real Life and the internet is frequently made. Particularly by people for whom the internet is not a big, or in some cases any, part of their social lives. But the internet is not on a different planet. It’s right here on Earth it was created by people and is made up of people just like Sydney or New York City or Timbuktu. The internet is a huge part of my life, and has been since the early 1990s, when I was first introduced to the weird and wonderful World Wide Web. Oh, the glory of it. I remember my very first email address. Hard to believe now, but back then…
  • No Bestselling Women’s Fiction Book Club This Month

    25 Aug 2014 | 6:29 pm
    Due to a terrible combination of deadlines, travelling, illness and other assorted calamaties Kate Elliott and myself will not be doing the book club this month. We’re bummed about it too. But life she threw too much at us this month. We will be back in September to discuss Han Suyin’s A Many-Splendored Thing (1952). This is the first out of print book that we’ll be reading. I haven’t been able to find an ebook edition either. It’s truly out of print. Start putting it on hold at your library now. You can see the schedule for the rest of the year here. That…
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    Scott Westerfeld

  • The Committee Strikes

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

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

    12 Sep 2014 | 12:57 am
    Between now and November, I’m posting excerpts from a work in progress called How to Write YA. You can’t buy it yet, but you can preorder Afterworlds, my book about a young novelist living in NYC, on the bottom of this page. What Are Stories? Okay, it’s time to get to the writing advice part of this book. Almost. First we must talk about stories. Like, what are they? Stories are a technology. They’re a tool, one invented to inform, persuade, and entertain other humans. This technology is very old, probably created not long after humans came up with language itself.
  • What Is YA? (HTWYA 1)

    10 Sep 2014 | 7:57 am
    My next novel, Afterworlds, is about a young writer reworking her first novel after NaNoWriMo. I thought a fun and useful promotion for it would be a series of writing advice posts. I got carried away. So between now and November, this blog will host excerpts from a non-fiction book I’m releasing next year, called How to Write YA. You can’t buy it yet, because it’s not done, but you can preorder Afterworlds on the bottom of this page. It comes out September 23. What Is YA? Young adult fiction has exploded over the last two decades. Once a small and sleepy corner of…
  • Afterworlds Tour

    2 Sep 2014 | 8:02 am
    Starting in three weeks, I will be on tour in the US, UK, and Canada. I have move all this info to my ON TOUR NOW page.
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    deborah wiles: field notes

  • picture stories

    Debbie Wiles
    20 Sep 2014 | 8:34 pm
             An afternoon drive out of Atlanta, a patriotic rest stop, a Confederate flag flying over the Columbia, South Carolina Statehouse, an arrival at Mama's house on John's Island.O Charleston, O Youth, O History of Long Ago. The marsh, the swamp, the salt, the breeze. Falling in love with the sousaphone player in the high school marching band who would grow up to be the piano man who would lure me to Atlanta, where I've lived these past ten years.Yesterday we traveled, like we often do, to the place where we fell in love and parted from one another for…
  • birthing a revolution

    Debbie Wiles
    7 Sep 2014 | 3:55 am
    Friends, I am Mississippi as I write this. I have an essay at the Nerdy Book Club blog today, about birthing Revolution in MississippiI wrote it on the eve of my trip. I am still in Mississippi, with family, until tomorrow, when I come home and write about my adventures in schools, in bookstores, and in my own heart. In the meantime, you can read the Nerdy post and then catch up visually with this past week's adventure on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Most of the photos are at Instagram.It has been an emotionally packed week that has walloped me upside the head more than once, has…
  • debbie's big adventure (the snowy days)

    Debbie Wiles
    5 Apr 2014 | 10:09 am
    I flew into JFK in February knowing it was cold. I took public transportation from the airport to Great Neck, which took three train changes and about three hours. I saw Brenda Bowen on the train platform in Jamaica and we were both so frozen it took minutes (and boarding the next train) before it registered that that was really her. We wrote to each other later, "I thought I recognized that smile!"I had come to New York to work at Great Neck South Middle School and to visit my Scholastic peeps and put REVOLUTION to bed bed BED, and I knew it was going to snow while I was there. I didn't…
  • it was a long winter

    Debbie Wiles
    5 Apr 2014 | 6:42 am
    It wasn't the amount of snow. It was the cold. It was how long it was cold, in Hotlanta. It was so cold this past winter. I just wanted to make soup and popcorn and burrow under old quilts and watch old movies; and look out the kitchen window to see the winter birds forage on all the old seed pods in the garden; take selfies of ourselves now, and compare them to old pictures of us on my dresser and tell ourselves we're not that old yet; buy an enormous (heavy!) cast iron pot and make more and more soup; get up at four in the morning and turn on the lovely lamps and write in my cozy writing…
  • my scholastic family, ala midwinter, revolution

    Debbie Wiles
    4 Apr 2014 | 6:15 pm
    And so it begins again, a new book to shepherd into the world. Here are some catch-up shots from ALA Midwinter in January, in Philadelphia, PA. Here are some of the inside pages of REVOLUTION that my editor David L. and I were working with up to the last second, trying to get just-right, sitting at rehearsal the morning of the Scholastic brunch. We'd done this at NCTE, too, the previous November, going over a first-pass of these same pages, looking at design and making some hard decisions. I arrived in Philadelphia and took public transportation to the gig:Readers' theater with Julia…
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  • Sophie Hannah on Poirot

    21 Sep 2014 | 4:13 pm
    Sunday morning at Bloody Scotland just had to mean Sophie Hannah on writing the new Poirot. As Alex Gray who talked to Sophie said, it’s the kind of thing that will make you very excited. There had been a lot of serendipity involved in her getting the job, which involved Sophie’s crazy maverick of an agent (a man with hints of Sophie’s mother, Adèle Geras), a HarperCollins editor, Agatha Christie Ltd, and the fact that Sophie already had an idea for a plot that she simply couldn’t make fit into her own novels. A life-long Agatha Christie fan, Sophie knew the books…
  • Into the unknown

    20 Sep 2014 | 7:13 pm
    The day had its ups and downs. Twice, in fact. I’d carefully chosen my morning event at Bloody Scotland to be down at the Albert Halls, so you can work out what had to happen. Had to collect my ticket at the Stirling Highland Hotel first, way up where I was on Thursday. The Resident IT Consultant drove me there, and while I got the tickets and hobbled down the hill again, he drove home, parked the car and walked back to the Albert Halls. (Because, yes, I had given him permission to join me.) Apart from venue, I had chosen events with people I don’t know. Leaving your comfort…
  • Poppy the Pirate Dog and the Treasure Keeper

    19 Sep 2014 | 9:47 pm
    It’s lampshade time for Poppy the Pirate Dog. Oh, the shame of it. Poppy and George the kitten, and the children, are preparing for Mum’s birthday. Things go a bit wrong, before they go a bit all right. And in the end it is actually thanks to the dreadful lampshade Poppy has to wear, that the all right bit happens. You know me; I adore Poppy. This is another of Liz Kessler’s Early Reader stories featuring her own Poppy. And I know that Liz tried to interest her Emily Windsnap fans in telling their younger siblings about the Poppy books, but you can never be too old for…
  • Off the Page with Cathy Cassidy

    18 Sep 2014 | 6:54 pm
    Deep down I knew. All day I stalked round the house ‘just knowing’ that whichever coffeeshop I picked for meeting Cathy Cassidy in, it would be the one that was closed. Luckily I was wrong. The place gave us half an hour before turfing us out. We drank fast and then we ran. But not before Cathy had insisted on paying. I told her it was my turn as she paid last time, and her retort to that was incredulity that anyone would remember. Remember? I even have a photo of her money. So, anyway. Cathy came to Stirling on this momentous day for Scotland, feeling jealous because she is no…
  • The Sun Is God

    17 Sep 2014 | 9:14 pm
    The end of Adrian McKinty’s The Sun Is God is unlike most crime novels. I won’t say how, but it’s hardly surprising that an unusual crime story ends in a somewhat unorthodox way. It wasn’t at all as I had imagined, even when I did visualise something the complete opposite of Adrian’s Northern Irish crime. Set in German Neu Guinea in 1906 it is very different, but at the same time quite normal, while also rather insane. I hope that describes it? Will Prior is a most Duffy-like character, and you will feel right at home with him. I found it harder to feel at home…
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    Confessions of a Bibliovore

  • Book Review: Nothing Special by Geoff Herbach

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

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

    13 Sep 2014 | 4:27 pm
    Book: My Year of Epic RockAuthor: Andrea PyrosPublished: September 2, 2014Source: review copy from publisher via NetGalleyNina can't wait for the start of seventh grade, even if her best friend hasn't called her back at all since getting back from her summer trip. She's sure that things will be just like they always have, Nina-and-Brianna ready to take on the world.But on the first day of seventh grade, Brianna seems more interesting in hanging out with sophisticated Shelley than even talking to Nina. It doesn't take long for Nina to be exiled to the "allergy table" in the cafeteria, where…
  • Reading Roundup: August 2014

    1 Sep 2014 | 11:06 pm
    By the NumbersTeen: 11Tween: 5Children: 3SourcesReview Copies: 11Purchased: 2Library: 3StandoutsTeen: The Girl from the Well by Rin ChupecoIt starts with a murderous ghost who's not even the villain, and ends . . . well, no, I can't tell you that. In between, it crawls through Japanese ghost stories and gives you the creepies to no end.Tween: The League of Seven by Alan GratzWhile I thoroughly enjoyed the old-fashioned adventure story feel of this (with a soupcon of steampunk!), my favorite part lay in the construction of a world where Europeans, mysteriously cut off from Europe, get absorbed…
  • Book Review: Red Thread Sisters by Carol Antoinette Peacock

    23 Aug 2014 | 12:45 pm
    Book: Red Thread SistersAuthor: Carol Antoinette PeacockPublished: 2012Source: Local LibraryAt eleven years old, Wen has finally been adopted by an American family. She gets to leave the poor, crowded, noisy orphanage in China, but she'll also have to leave behind her best friend, Shu Ling. Even though they've always promised each other that the first to get adopted will find a family for the other, the separation is wrenching.Family life in America isn't all that easy, either. Wen struggles with her English, with the differences between China and America, and with fears of being rejected by…
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    ReadPlus Review Blog

  • Head of the River by Pip Harry

    19 Sep 2014 | 2:18 pm
    University of Queensland Press, 2014. ISBN 9780702253263. (Ages 13+) Recommended. Set in present-day Melbourne, Head of the River tells the story of seventeen-year-old fraternal twins desperate to lead their school to victory in Head of the River. Their stories begin six months prior to Head of the River, an Australian school rowing event, however the twins, Leni and Christian both encounter many different challenges that push them to their limits as they fight to stay on the team while maintaining relationships with peers and family. All the characters in Head of the River were well rounded…
  • A Last Dragon Slayer Novel: The Eye of Zoltar by Jasper Fforde

    19 Sep 2014 | 2:16 pm
    Hodder & Stoughton, 2014. ISBN 9781444707281. (Age: 11+) Jasper Fforde uses a very conversational tone to portray his main character, Jennifer Strange, an orphan working for the Kazam house of enchantment in a very warped presentation of the word as we know it. Set in the 'Ununited Kingdoms' where sorcerers are free to go about their business and fantastical creatures thrive, Jenny is responsible for the last two dragons in existence, young males known as Colin and Feldspar who are under threat by the Mighty Shandar. The Might Shandar is an old and powerful Sorcerer who was charged with…
  • Look and see by Shane Morgan

    19 Sep 2014 | 2:14 pm
    Magabala Books, 2014. ISBN 9781922142221. (Age: Preschool) Aboriginal themes. Animals. Shane Morgan, a descendant of the Yorta Yorta people of Victoria received an advanced diploma from the Goulburn Community College where he studied Koorie Art and Design. He has put his skills to good use in this simple rhyming tale which shows six Australian animals in their environment. Each double page has an opening sentence asking the younger reader to look a the animal being show: the lizard is up a tree looking down on the narrator, the kangaroo hops over him, the emu catches him, then the fish chases…
  • Hasel and Rose by Caroline Magerl

    19 Sep 2014 | 2:12 pm
    Penguin/Viking 2014. ISBN 9780670077342. 'Rose was a new face in a new street. And there was a new town right outside her window.' What, for some, might be the start of a new adventure filled with anticipation and excitement, for Rose is a descent into loneliness and apprehension. Rose looked out her windows to the stars and wished. But the wish thing which has no name did not come. It did not make its way across country sweeping along the powerlines on the great poles that stride across the land; it did not come swept by stormy winds on a parachute. Nothing could bring peace and joy to…
  • Do you dare? series

    19 Sep 2014 | 2:10 pm
    Puffin, 2014 1836: Fighting Bones by Sophie Laguna. ISBN 9780143307556. 1844: The Last Horse Race by James Moloney. ISBN 9780143307822. (Age: Yr 3+) To quote Penguin's publicity because it encapsulates the concept so well . . . 'Do You Dare fills a much-needed gap for engaging Australian historical fiction for boy readers aged 8 to 12. These fast-paced, adventure-driven stories effortlessly bring to life so many facets of our past. But most importantly, they're compelling reads, driven by vivid action, great characters and some thrilling moments of jeopardy!' Written by some of Australia's…
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    I'm Here. I'm Queer. What the Hell do I read?

  • Banned Books Week Celebrates The Freedom To Read! September 21-27, 2014

    Lee Wind, M.Ed.
    22 Sep 2014 | 2:59 am
    You can find out more about Banned Books Week at the American Library Association's Website.As explained in the American Library Association's list of the most challenged and banned books of 2013-2014,This freedom, not only to choose what we read, but also to select from a full array of possibilities, is firmly rooted in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees freedom of speech and freedom of the press. Although we enjoy an increasing quantity and availability of information and reading material, we must remain vigilant to ensure that access to this material is…
  • My mother is dead. And I’m gay. But those aren’t causal.

    Lee Wind, M.Ed.
    19 Sep 2014 | 3:05 am
    DINA WIND1938 - 2014My mom in 1974, when I was seven. Our relationship was great until I realized – around age 12 – that I couldn’t be honest with her about the feelings I felt for other guys (and that I didn’t feel for girls.)When I finally came out to my parents at age 25, my mom acted like it was the big act-one finale of some grand opera – oh, the tragedy of her life, two gay sons (yup, my older brother is gay, too.) My truth meant, to her, a life of despair – no grandchildren, no joy, no hope.Her reaction was incredibly hard to experience. I’m 47 today, and when my mom died…
  • Gender 101, Episode #22 Redux: Community Insurance

    Lee Wind, M.Ed.
    17 Sep 2014 | 3:03 am
    I'm very excited to continue the conversation about Gender with Frankie Palacios.In this episode, Frankie shares about their fundraising efforts for their partner's top surgery… and the concept of "community insurance."VERY cool.You can see the original posting here.
  • The Elephant of Surprise: Book 4 in the Russel Middlebrook Series

    Lee Wind, M.Ed.
    15 Sep 2014 | 3:00 am
    The Elephant of Surprise by Brent HartingerGeography Club’s Russel Middlebrook and his friends Min and Gunnar are back, and they’re laughing about something they call the Elephant of Surprise—the tendency for life to never turn out the way you expect. Sure enough, Russel soon happens upon a hot, but mysterious guy named Wade—even as he’s also drawn back to an old flame named Kevin. Meanwhile, Min learns her girlfriend Leah is keeping secrets, and Gunnar just wants to be left alone to pursue his latest obsession, documenting his entire life online.But the elephant is definitely on…
  • Shadowplay - LGBTQ Teen Fantasy with Phantom Wings, A Clockwork Hand, and the Delicate Unfurling of New Love

    Lee Wind, M.Ed.
    12 Sep 2014 | 3:05 am
    Shadowplay: Micah Grey, Book Two by Laura LamThe circus lies behind Micah Grey in dust and ashes.He and the white clown, Drystan, take refuge with the once-great magician, Jasper Maske. When Maske agrees to teach them his trade, his embittered rival challenges them to a duel which could decide all of their fates. People also hunt both Micah and the person he was before the circus–the runaway daughter of a noble family. And Micah discovers there is magic and power in the world, far beyond the card tricks and illusions he’s perfecting…A tale of phantom wings, a clockwork hand, and the…
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    Literacy, families and learning

  • Literature on Civil Rights for Younger Readers

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

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

    Trevor Cairney
    28 Aug 2014 | 5:31 am
    The well-known Australian author John Marsden recently wrote a short piece in the Australian College of Educators publication 'Professional Educator' (Vol 13, Issue 3). As well as being a great author of children's and young adult books, he runs an alternative school in rural Victoria (Australia) for about 150 children called Candlebark. His key criteria for building the perfect school include having lots of space, interesting buildings, good resources, a challenging playground, great Internet and a variety of farm animals.Like many teachers and principals he has some common concerns about…
  • Australian Children's Book of the Year Winners Announced

    Trevor Cairney
    17 Aug 2014 | 4:11 pm
    The Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Book of the Year Awards were announced on the 15th August in Canberra. This event always marks the beginning of Children’s Book Week. As usual, the winners and honour books are a fabulous collection. But for every book that wins or is an honour book, there are many more worthy books. Thankfully, the CBCA publishes a list of approximately 100 notable books each year. You can find the lists HERE.  1. Older Readers (Young Adult Readers)Winner 'Wildlife' by Fiona Wood (Pan)  Life? It's simple: be true to yourself.The tricky part…
  • Author & Illustrator Focus: Chris McKimmie

    Trevor Cairney
    14 Aug 2014 | 3:41 pm
    Chris McKimmie is a writer, illustrator and artist. His career has had several phases. In the 1970s he worked as a graphic designer and publications designer for the ABC, the National Parks and Wildlife Services and the University of WA Press. As well, he wrote, illustrated and designed a series of 8 children's books as well as designing many book covers. Later he moved to Queensland and established the illustration program at the Queensland College of Art, Griffith University. He has also applied his skills, knowledge and experience to film. In the 1980s he was production designer for the…
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    The Book Chook

  • Organising a Literature Festival - on a Budget

    21 Sep 2014 | 12:00 pm
    Organising a Literature Festival - on a Budgetby Lisa D’OnofrioSo you want to put on a Festival?Before I go any further, I need to reveal my bias. I’m all for events which put children, young people and families at their very centre – events which are creative, interactive and community conscious, where the audience are creative participants and producers, not just passive recipients. These can take a little longer to plan and put on, but in the long run I believe have more benefits – after all it takes an entire community to raise a literate person!Firstly decide why you are doing…
  • Book Chook Favourites - Picture Quote Makers

    18 Sep 2014 | 12:00 pm
    Book Chook Favourites - Picture Quote Makersby Susan Stephenson, www.thebookchook.comLast year I mentioned lots of ways to create posters online in Online Poster Makers. Do take a look at that article, because there’s crossover here with some of those editors mentioned that are also useful to make picture quotes. Basically, the biggest difference I see between the two is that poster makers may include quote makers i.e. the poster may only be an image with a quote on it. But a picture quote maker usually doesn’t have all the options a good poster maker has. While I find picture quote…
  • Children’s Book Review, Nursery Rhyme Comics

    16 Sep 2014 | 12:00 pm
    Children's Book Review by Susan Stephenson, www.thebookchook.comYou may remember I reviewed Fairy Tale Comics early this year. Nursery Rhyme Comics is just as fascinating; just as much fun. Published by First Second books, and edited by Chris Duffy, it features the work of 50 cartoonists and illustrators.Kids will find loved nursery rhymes and new ones inside. They’ll also find slight variations on old favourites. Was there ever a more peculiar spider than the one who sat next to Miss Muffett? No wonder she ran off screaming! I predict children will adore the use of humour in so many…
  • Children’s iPad App, 30 Hands

    14 Sep 2014 | 12:00 pm
    Children’s iPad App, 30 Handsby Susan Stephenson, www.thebookchook.comAs you have probably guessed by now, I love to find ways for kids to create digital stories. I have a huge list of tools suitable for this creative activity in Creating Digital Stories with iPad. Today I want to tell you about the iPad app, 30 Hands Free. There’s also a Pro version which has all the in-app purchases bundled from 30 Hands Free. From the developer:30hands Mobile is a fun, innovative storytelling app that allows students, teachers and anyone with creativity to easily create narrated stories or…
  • Fun Early Literacy Activities

    11 Sep 2014 | 12:00 pm
    Fun Early Literacy Activitiesby Susan Stephenson, www.thebookchook.comAlthough I’ve been conscientiously recording my preparation for, and evaluation of, the Storytime at the Library sessions I’m doing with pre-schoolers, it occurred to me recently that I’m also intuitively adding lots of incidental literacy activities I don’t write down. So today’s post is about simple and enjoyable games and activities you can use with your kids that will contribute to their literacy skills. Lots of these can be done in a few moments, making them handy for those times you’re waiting for an…
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    Gail Carson Levine

  • When Bad Things Happen to Good Characters

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

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

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

    6 Aug 2014 | 5:53 am
    Thanks to all for the questions. That was terrific! My list is healthy again, but questions are always welcome.On June 2, 2014, Sunny Smith wrote, Hey, I was wondering if any of you guys have any tips on how to spice up travel scenes so they aren't boring? I'm writing a book where the main characters are doing a lot of traveling and I'm learned quickly that if you don't spice it up it can get pretty boring really fast. So that’s what I've been doing, but I keep wondering how much spice is too much spice. Where's the line between making the reader so interested they can't stop reading and…
  • Defined by decisions

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