Children's Literature

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  • Selfie Sweepstakes Reviews: Mary-Ellen O’Keefe’s Word-Speaking Diet

    The Horn Book
    Roger Sutton
    30 Mar 2015 | 12:04 pm
    [As an experiment last fall, I invited self-publishers to submit their best new titles for review. About a dozen heeded the call, and I am reviewing their books in this space.] Mary-Ellen O’Keefe’s Word-Speaking Diet; written by Tom Neely; illustrated by Sharad Kumar. Tom Neely, 2014. 36pp. ISBN 978-1502-44425-7. Paper ed. $9.97. Mary-Ellen has always been a big talker–at home. But why is she paralyzed into silence at school? Situational shyness is a condition known to most of us, and kids will understand why this gabby little girl seems almost like a different person once…
  • 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #425: FeaturingUp-and-Coming Illustrator, Haejin Park

    Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast
    28 Mar 2015 | 11:01 pm
      On the first Sunday of each month, I like to feature student or debut illustrators, but I’m doing things a bit early right now. I’m taking a tiny bit of a blog break this week, and since this means I will be posting on only a couple of days and also traveling, it would be harder to feature a student next Sunday. So, today it is. Her name is Haejin Park, and she’s very close to graduating in Illustration at RISD. She talks about her work below, and she shares some art as well. (Most, but not all of it, is in watercolors.) I thank her for visiting. Hello! I am a senior,…

    Finding Wonderland: The WritingYA Weblog
    27 Mar 2015 | 10:07 am
    I am ALL about the mysteries, and it's kind of all over the board - adult fiction, YA fiction, and now MG. I heard about this mystery series by an American woman raised in England last year from The Book Smugglers, and to be honest, I got tired of waiting for the American version. And, while we're on the topic, can I rant just a tiny bit about Americanized versions of British books? I deliberately chose the British version of this novel - and do you know why? Because it seems to be The American Way to ruin good British books with a lot of useless word changes, as if American tweens and middle…
  • Margaret A. Edwards Award Committee

    A Chair, A Fireplace, & A Tea Cozy
    Liz B
    31 Mar 2015 | 1:00 am
    This year, I am on the Margaret A. Edwards Award Committee.What this means for this blog: I will not be reviewing or writing anything about the Committee, books read, or authors considered. I will avoid reviewing or writing about any eligible titles or authors.Given the scope of the Award, that means that there is still plenty of titles I can write about (especially new and recent titles).I will also be blogging about the rules and polices for the Edwards Award.Image from the YALSA Edwards page.Amazon Affiliate. If you click from here to Amazon and buy something, I receive a percentage of the…
  • Africa is My Home: Children’s Africana Book Awards Weekend

    educating alice
    28 Mar 2015 | 4:55 am
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    The Horn Book

  • Selfie Sweepstakes Reviews: Mary-Ellen O’Keefe’s Word-Speaking Diet

    Roger Sutton
    30 Mar 2015 | 12:04 pm
    [As an experiment last fall, I invited self-publishers to submit their best new titles for review. About a dozen heeded the call, and I am reviewing their books in this space.] Mary-Ellen O’Keefe’s Word-Speaking Diet; written by Tom Neely; illustrated by Sharad Kumar. Tom Neely, 2014. 36pp. ISBN 978-1502-44425-7. Paper ed. $9.97. Mary-Ellen has always been a big talker–at home. But why is she paralyzed into silence at school? Situational shyness is a condition known to most of us, and kids will understand why this gabby little girl seems almost like a different person once…
  • Field Notes: “This Is Too Much!” Why Verse Novels Work for Reluctant Readers

    Dorie Raybuck
    30 Mar 2015 | 9:00 am
    Novels in verse have earned their place in the mainstream of children’s and young adult literature — Exhibit A: Kwame Alexander’s The Crossover winning the Newbery Medal — and this is good news for reluctant readers, especially reluctant middle-grade and middle-school readers. Compared to a conventional novel, a novel in verse has perhaps half the number of words per page — and isn’t that half the battle with reluctant readers? These readers often look at a page filled with words and think, This is too much! And quit before they begin. I recently told a young man, an eighth grader…
  • Review of Use Your Words, Sophie!

    Kitty Flynn
    30 Mar 2015 | 8:39 am
    Use Your Words, Sophie! by Rosemary Wells; illus. by the author Preschool   Viking   24 pp. 3/15   978-0-670-01663-1   $16.99   g Mouse-child Sophie uses lots of words. She welcomes her new baby sister home from the hospital in Jellyfish language (“Jubbabubba”); she growls that she’s “too big for naps” in Hyena language (“Grabvjkloz!”). But her distracted parents — who can’t even agree on the baby’s name — don’t listen, telling her over and over to “use your words, please, Sophie!” Then Sophie sings the “Baboon national anthem…as loud as she could,”…
  • Join some mock award discussions

    Lolly Robinson
    29 Mar 2015 | 3:54 pm
    Hello, Calling Caldecott readers. I want to alert you to a post that just went up in Lolly’s Classroom. My students will be holding mock award sessions during our last class on April 9. Come help them discuss these books here. Since there are nearly 30 students, we have four groups: two Caldecott committees, one Geisel, and one Sibert (concentrating on younger books). Follow the link above for more information and commenting. Here’s what the four slates look like: Caldecott 1: Caldecott 2: Geisel: Sibert: The post Join some mock award discussions appeared first on The Horn Book.
  • Mock book awards | Class #5, 2015

    Lolly Robinson
    29 Mar 2015 | 3:48 pm
    This year, most of our last class meeting in Children’s Lit will be devoted to mock book awards. Each student selected a committee to join (Caldecott for picture books, Geisel for easy readers, or Sibert for information books) and chose one or two eligible books published in 2014 to nominate and present to his or her committee. Presentations will be followed by discussion, voting, and of course snacking throughout. Each group will follow the terms and criteria as outlined by the American Library Association/ALSC: Caldecott terms and criteria Geisel terms and criteria Sibert terns and…
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    Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast

  • 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #425: FeaturingUp-and-Coming Illustrator, Haejin Park

    28 Mar 2015 | 11:01 pm
      On the first Sunday of each month, I like to feature student or debut illustrators, but I’m doing things a bit early right now. I’m taking a tiny bit of a blog break this week, and since this means I will be posting on only a couple of days and also traveling, it would be harder to feature a student next Sunday. So, today it is. Her name is Haejin Park, and she’s very close to graduating in Illustration at RISD. She talks about her work below, and she shares some art as well. (Most, but not all of it, is in watercolors.) I thank her for visiting. Hello! I am a senior,…
  • What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Sibylle Delacroix

    26 Mar 2015 | 11:01 pm
    “Jenny is feeling out of sorts, but she doesn’t want to talk about it.She just wants to be loved.”(Click image to see spread in its entirety)   This morning at Kirkus, I write about the anniversary edition of Heather Has Two Mommies, as well as a couple of Heather’s descendants. That link is here. Last week I wrote here about an import originally published in Quebec in 2013, Sibylle Delacroix’s Prickly Jenny (Owlkids Books, March 2015), so today I’m following up with some art from the book. Enjoy. “There’s nothing but ice cream for…
  • Jay Hosler and Sentient Beetles Before Breakfast

    23 Mar 2015 | 11:01 pm
    Here’s a book I’ve been wanting to blog about for a while, Jay Hosler’s Last of the Sandwalkers (First Second, April 2015). If you haven’t seen an early copy of this book, you’re in for a treat, especially if you love science and/or graphic novels. That’s because it’s a graphic novel created by a biology professor/entomologist and cartoonist, and it tells the story of Lucy, a beetle (a “sandwalker”), who loves to explore and investigate. She lives in a community of beetles, which includes a group of elders who harbor a secret about the…
  • Oksana Lushchevska: An International Collaboration

    22 Mar 2015 | 11:01 pm
    What a treat I have for readers today, especially those of you who, like me, enjoy following international picture books. In fact, next week is the Bologna Children’s Book Fair in Italy (how I wish I were going!), so the timing of this post is particularly good. Today, I welcome Oksana Lushchevska, a PhD student in Reading, Writing, Children’s Literature, and Digital Literacy in the Department of Language and Literacy Education at The University of Georgia. She is contributing a guest post on contemporary Ukrainian children’s literature. Oksana’s doctoral research is…
  • 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #424: Featuring C. G. Esperanza

    21 Mar 2015 | 11:01 pm
    “With her trunk she grabbed a brush and joined my little game.”   This morning at 7-Imp, I welcome artist C. G. Esperanza (Charles, pictured right), whose newest book is from Sky Pony Press. Red, Yellow, Blue (And a Dash of White, Too!), a promising author-illustrator debut, was released this month. Charles has previously illustrated Tania Grossinger’s Jackie and Me: A Very Special Friendship (Sky Pony Press, 2013), a story that is partly about famed baseball player Jackie Robinson, and he lives in the South Bronx. He tells me and 7-Imp readers more about himself below,…
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    Finding Wonderland: The WritingYA Weblog


    27 Mar 2015 | 10:07 am
    I am ALL about the mysteries, and it's kind of all over the board - adult fiction, YA fiction, and now MG. I heard about this mystery series by an American woman raised in England last year from The Book Smugglers, and to be honest, I got tired of waiting for the American version. And, while we're on the topic, can I rant just a tiny bit about Americanized versions of British books? I deliberately chose the British version of this novel - and do you know why? Because it seems to be The American Way to ruin good British books with a lot of useless word changes, as if American tweens and middle…
  • Thursday Review: THE WALLS AROUND US by Nova Ren Suma

    Sarah Stevenson
    26 Mar 2015 | 2:04 pm
    Summary: Happy book birthday—two days ago—to Nova Ren Suma's latest YA offering, The Walls Around Us! This title shares a lot with Imaginary Girls, most noticeably the atmosphere of strangeness and the slow unfolding of past and present events; the unreliable narrators and their limited viewpoints which only let slip a little at a time of what really happened. Our two narrators here are Violet and Amber. Violet is a talented dancer who shines onstage, but whose heart hides the pain of her best friend Orianna's imprisonment for a horrifying crime. Amber, locked in a girls' detention…

    25 Mar 2015 | 5:21 am
    I was attracted to this novel first by the cover depicting the SF Bridge, second by the name of the author, Ellery Kane which of course reminded me a great deal of Ellery Queen. Third, the author is a forensic psychologist which was the eventual when-I-grow-up goal of one of my best friends in high school - back when I though forensics only had something to do with guns. I'm always intrigued and enlightened with people with backgrounds other than in English lit write books. This dystopian novel begins with the fragmentation of a family... then of a belief system... and finally, a nation.

    23 Mar 2015 | 7:42 am
    Welcome to another edition of In Tandem, the read-and-review blog series where both A.F. and I give our two cents at the same time. (You can feel free to guess which of us is the yellow owl and which of us is the purple owl...we're not telling!) We're discussing the latest book from Elizabeth Wein today, the well-regarded NY Times bestselling YA fiction author, and, in the interest of disclosure, a personal friend. Told, as it is, in a series of essays, a letter, and flight logs, the novel is a pastiche of places and histories. Our discussion, to reflect this, will be more thematic than…

    20 Mar 2015 | 10:30 am
    I guess you know I'm not a "real" old-school Science Fiction person - "real" Science Fiction people can make it through H.P. Lovecraft. I can't. I've tried. It's not his labyrinthine sentence structure and 19th century word choices - I've read a lot of 19th century British and American lit; I can deal with that. It's just that I find his intense, twisted, and morbid work a little hysterical, gruelingly dark, and at the end of the day, I don't find that style of dramatic, gimmicky horror compelling. I get bored. What I like are books with a hint of Lovecraftian style -- novels that leaven…
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    A Chair, A Fireplace, & A Tea Cozy

  • Margaret A. Edwards Award Committee

    Liz B
    31 Mar 2015 | 1:00 am
    This year, I am on the Margaret A. Edwards Award Committee.What this means for this blog: I will not be reviewing or writing anything about the Committee, books read, or authors considered. I will avoid reviewing or writing about any eligible titles or authors.Given the scope of the Award, that means that there is still plenty of titles I can write about (especially new and recent titles).I will also be blogging about the rules and polices for the Edwards Award.Image from the YALSA Edwards page.Amazon Affiliate. If you click from here to Amazon and buy something, I receive a percentage of the…
  • Happy Birthday to my Mom!

    Liz B
    30 Mar 2015 | 1:00 am
    Amazon Affiliate. If you click from here to Amazon and buy something, I receive a percentage of the purchase price. © Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy
  • Short Review: Laughing At My Nightmare

    Liz B
    23 Mar 2015 | 1:00 am
    Laughing at My Nightmare by Shane Burcaw. Roaring Brook Press. 2014. Review copy from publisher.Burcaw's memoir, based on his tumblr of the same name, is a humorous look at his life with spinal muscular atrophy. It's told in short, episodic chapters -- while it's roughly chronological in order, it doesn't have to be read in order or even all at once. This structure is both a weakness and a strength: those wanting an in depth, detailed examination will be disappointed. But, that's looking for this bok to be something it isn't. It is, instead, a funny, hilarious look at life. And…
  • Review: The Walls Around Us

    Liz B
    19 Mar 2015 | 1:00 am
    The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma. Algonquin Young Readers. 2015. Reviewed from electronic galley.The Plot: Amber is telling about the night her world went wild because the doors opened and the guards were missing. Amber is locked up in a juvenile facility for girls and the electric went out and the generator didn't kick in and all the girls are let out and free and running wild.Violet is getting ready to go on stage. It is her final dance before she leaves for Juilliard. She is thinking about this final, home stage ballet dance and leaving this town and her family and her memories.
  • Review: Mistress Firebrand

    Liz B
    16 Mar 2015 | 1:00 am
    Mistress Firebrand: Renegades of the American Revolution by Donna Thorland. New American Library, published by the Penguin Group. 2015.The Plot: Manhattan Island, 1775. Actress Jenny Leighton wants to meet the influential General John Burgoyne. Jenny is an aspiring playwright, and hopes that Burgoyne will become her patron, opening up the world of London theater to her.American born, British intelligence officer Severin Devere's job is to protect Burgoyne and keep him safe from the American rebels. He's suspicious of the young American actress -- and also attracted to her.The Revolution…
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    educating alice

  • Africa is My Home: Children’s Africana Book Awards Weekend

    28 Mar 2015 | 4:55 am
  • Learning About Africa: How Does The US Media Represent Africa?

    28 Mar 2015 | 4:15 am
    Taken together, this anachronistic style of coverage reproduces, in condensed form, many of the worst habits of modern American journalism on the subject of Africa. To be clear, this means that Africa only warrants the public’s attention when there is disaster or human tragedy on an immense scale, when Westerners can be elevated to the role of central characters, or when it is a matter of that perennial favorite, wildlife. As a corollary, Africans themselves are typically limited to the role of passive victims, or occasionally brutal or corrupt villains and incompetents; they are not…
  • Two School Stories, Sophia McDougall’s Mars Evacuees and Robin Stevens’ Murder is Bad Manners

    27 Mar 2015 | 3:03 am
    Two new British imports, Sophia McDougall’s Mars Evacuees and Robin Stevens’ Murder is Bad Manners, offer middle grade readers clever young women, wry and witty authorial voices, hapeless teachers, excellent sidekicks, well-developed settings, and page-turning plots. Both are also just a lot of fun. Mars Evacuees opens at the Muckling Abbott School for Girls where twelve year-old Alice Dare learns that she is one of a handful of kids being evacuated to Mars. This is most likely because of her mother, a celebrity military pilot in Earth’s war with the Morror, invisible…
  • In the Classroom: My 4th Graders Read and Respond to El Deafo

    24 Mar 2015 | 4:58 am
    Every year I choose a newly published book for my 4th grade class to read in literature circles. It is fun to do a brand new book each year, one that is clearly going to be a classic. For instance, we did The One and Only Ivan shortly after it won the Newbery. This year, before it received its Newbery Honor, I decided it should be Cece Bell’s El Deafo. Once I started thinking about how to do it I realized the usual literature circle format (especially the roles) weren’t right for Bell’s wonderful graphic memoir. And so I left it more open, asking the children…
  • In the Classroom: Teaching Africa is My Home

    20 Mar 2015 | 2:43 am
    Last month I wrote a post about the Blue School’s Keren Lilu’s fabulous unit on Africa is My Home. Inspired, a colleague and I used Keren’s ideas with our own 4th grade students and it went wonderfully well. And so for others who might want to give it a try I’ve put together this page that details her methods so that others can follow them too. Keren also provided this video of the children’s wonderful paintings of Margru’s journey (inspired their study of Jacob Lawrence’s Migration series).
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    Chasing Ray

  • Fish spotting for Alaska’s commercial herring fleet

    31 Mar 2015 | 3:01 am
    I have an article up at ADN about the history of fish spotting for commercial fishermen in Alaska. It has been, and continues to be to a certain extent, extremely dangerous. Here’s a bit: In 1984, at the opening of herring season, there was a fatal crash over Togiak, a mid-air collision under a low overcast cloud layer that killed the occupants of both aircraft. According to the NTSB report, witnesses described the flight activity as “frantic,” “chaotic” and “insane.” In 1991, a mid-air collision near Tatitlek resulted in the death of one of the pilots, while the other…
  • A stunning documentary: “New Year Baby”

    25 Mar 2015 | 5:03 pm
    The other night I downloaded and watched New Year Baby, Socheata Poeuv’s documentary about uncovering her family’s story in Cambodia. This movie…..this movie is something amazing. Poeuv was born in a refugee camp in Thailand after the fall of the Khmer Rouge in 1979. She was called the “lucky one” as her parents, two sisters and brother were all subjected to life under the genocidal government and lived in labor camps until the country was liberated by the Vietnamese. Eventually, they all emigrated to the US and settled in Texas. As she explains in the…
  • Enormous Smallness: A Story of E.E. Cummings

    25 Mar 2015 | 12:51 am
    There are few things in life as delightful as a perfect picture book. Enormous Smallness: A Story of E.E. Cummings is especially delightful, a perfect combination of subject and illustration that includes a design that works with the playful nature of the poet’s words. There is a lot going on here, (with plenty of shout outs to interesting people and places), as author Matthew Burgess covers his subject’s life. He focuses a lot on Cummings’ childhood, education and lifelong love of words while illustrator Kris Di Giacomo presents those words as leaping off the page along…
  • The Center of Things

    19 Mar 2015 | 8:11 am
    From Jenny McPhee’s novel about a tabloid reporter (Marie) who is given the assignment of a lifetime–to prepare the obituary for dying film star Nora Mars, someone Marie has idolized her entire life: Marie’s excitement, however, was accompanied by an equally charged sense of dread. If she wrote the article, using a story that might well not be true, she would effectively transform a national female icon into a megalomaniacal baby killer. She imagined Brewster winking a Morse code message: “How bad do you want it, Marie?” What was “it”? she asked…
  • Assessing February on the Resolution Scale

    16 Mar 2015 | 12:21 pm
    We’re through February so here’s a belated look at how I did keeping my work resolutions for the year. 1. Reviewed two books for Booklist, one on the Iraq War and one on how income inequality in the U.S. affects children. This was a slower month but after January (where I reviewed 8), it was welcome. 2. No books read for Locus, but did submit the list for the next several months, made several requests and received a couple of books. 3. Six articles in the Bush Pilot blog including one on winter survival that generated some angry comments but is something I’m rather proud of.
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    Books for Boys - Children's Adventure & Mystery Author Max Elliot Anderson

  • A Special Message To Parents, Grandparents, Teachers, or Anyone Who Cares About Children

    29 Mar 2015 | 10:49 am
    In 2001, I made a conscious decision to write adventures & mysteries for children. My target was middle grade readers. Why? It’s that stage in life when they are still kids while, at the same time, they can’t wait to be all grown up.The down side to this age is it also is a time when children, especially boys, begin falling away from reading in favor of video games, TV, videos, computers, and other electronic devices. So how could my books make a difference at this critical time of development?I grew up hating to read. We didn’t have much in the way of electronics back then, but…
  • Vote for This Blog as Blog of The Month

    20 Mar 2015 | 4:54 am
    Vote for This Blog as Blog of The Month This blog has been nominated for Blog of The Month at the popular Book Fun Magazine. Please take a minute to vote for it now. See the voting boxes on the Home page, lower right hand column of where you see this picture. Thank you!
  • Status of Projects

    10 Mar 2015 | 9:08 am
    New covers are being developed for the Sam Cooper Adventure Series and a 4th title will soon be released with the original three books at Elk Lake Publishing. Work continues on covers and the book interiors for the first four books in the Accidental Adventure Series. Plans call for six books in each series. Editing on all the new books is ongoing at the publisher now along with additional writing here for these two exciting action and adventure books for middle grade readers. I hope to share the new covers on this blog soon.
  • NEWS! A 6 Book Contract Signed

    21 Feb 2015 | 9:09 am
    NEWS!  NEWS!  NEWS!6 Book Contract SignedA contract has been signed to publish six books at Elk lake Publishing. The publisher will re-release the first three books in the Sam Cooper Adventure Series:1. Lost Island Smugglers2. Captain Jack's Treasure                &3. River RampageThis is being done because the original publisher has decided to cease operating in publishing. Under the Elk Lake banner, each book will get a new look on its cover.Then, three more books are planned for the series. The…
  • Update on the Sam Cooper Adventure Series

    13 Feb 2015 | 12:36 pm
    The publisher for the Sam Cooper Adventure Series has decided to close up shop. Our original agreement called for six books. Three were published: Lost Island Smugglers, Captain Jack’s Treasure, and River Rampage. A manuscript for the fourth book in the series, This Property is Condemned, was submitted but not published.I’m happy to report that a new publisher is planning to re-publish the first three books and then complete the six book series. Expect a more formal announcement on that soon.Book Trailers for this SeriesLost Island SmuggglersCaptain Jack's TreausreRiver RampageThis…
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    American Indians in Children's Literature (AICL)

  • HOME by Carson Ellis

    30 Mar 2015 | 12:06 pm
    A lot--A LOT--of people are writing to me about a page in Home, the new book by Carson Ellis. Published in 2015 by Candlewick, here's the cover:I draw your attention to the last image in the top row (a tipi) and the first image in the fourth row (an igloo). And... I sigh. Once you start reading this picture book, you'll come to a page that says "Some homes are boats." But it isn't just a boat. No boat is just a boat, right? They have purpose.On the facing page of the boat are three figures, partially clothed, standing in front of a structure, looking out at that boat as it approaches. The…
  • AICL's Recommended/Not Recommended reads in 2014

    29 Mar 2015 | 4:37 pm
    I received a request from a person asking if I could write up a comprehensive list of books I read during 2014, with links to the page on which I wrote about the book. This isn't a list of books published in 2014. It is books I read in that year. Some are old, some are new. I'm bleary eyed from working on the list. I think it is complete but I may have missed some thing!Some of you may look at the books on the Not Recommended list and say to yourself "Really?! You set a high bar!" or something like that. Keep in mind that I read within a larger context than just one book. John Green's The…
  • THE CASE FOR LOVING by Selina Alko and Sean Qualls, but, what to do with what Jeter said about her identity?

    18 Mar 2015 | 1:50 pm
    New this year (2015) is The Case for Loving: The Fight for Interracial Marriage by Selina Alko. Illustrations are by Alko and her husband, Sean Qualls.The author's note tells us that Alko is a "white Jewish woman from Canada" and that Qualls is an "African-American man from New Jersey."The story of Mildred Jeter and Richard Loving resonated with Alko and Qualls. Their case went before the United States Supreme Court in 1967. Here's the synopsis posted at Scholastic's website:For most children these days it would come as a great shock to know that before 1967, they could not marry a…
  • National Museum of the American Indian: Newsletter for Teachers

    17 Mar 2015 | 7:31 am
    Anytime you're in Washington DC, I hope you visit the National Museum of the American Indian. I was part of our tribal delegation when it opened several years ago. My daughter and I carry warm memories of that day. It was powerful and affirming in so many ways. I've worked with several people there, as well as attending some of their webcasts.Today I want to point you to their newsletter for teachers. Five issues are available online. Here's a screenshot of the most recent one (Winter 2015):Back in 2009, I wrote about When the Rain Sings: Poems by Young Native Americans that is featured in…
  • Game developer: "I decided to prove her wrong"

    16 Mar 2015 | 7:37 am
    In October of 2014, I wrote about an educational game called Kachina. It was still in development and being previewed at the Game Developers Conference (GDC). It, according to their website, is the oldest and largest conference of game developers. It has gone from "about 25 developers in the living room of a notable game designer 27 years ago, to a week-long conference for more than 23,000 industry insiders."Earlier this month (March 2015), I read a fascinating article about that game developer and what he did in response to my review. The game was developed by Ben Esposito. At this year's…
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  • #tothegirls

    29 Mar 2015 | 8:41 am
    From author Courtney Summers:"I write about girls."I write about girls because every girl deserves the opportunity to pick up a book and see herself in its pages."I write about girls because girls, and their stories, matter."It's my way of letting them know."On April 14th, 2015, please join me in telling the girls you know - and the ones you don't - that they are seen, heard and loved. Share advice, be encouraging. Tell us about or thank the girls in your life who have made a difference in yours. Use the hashtag #ToTheGirls along with your personal message of…
  • Tin Men by Christopher Golden

    28 Mar 2015 | 6:41 pm
    Christopher Golden's novel Tin Men will be hitting stores this June - and it's going to hit hard. While I can't say much for the sake of spoilers, I can tell you the mini-summary that the publisher is offering:Brad Thor meets Avatar in this timely military thriller for the drone age, which spins the troubles of today into the apocalypse of tomorrow. A rocket ride of a read packed with high action, cutting-edge technology, and global politics, Tin Men begins with the end of the world as we know it and takes off from there.I love sci-fi stories that are based in science and…
  • Alex As Well by Alyssa Brugman

    28 Mar 2015 | 6:20 pm
    In Alyssa Brugman's thoughtful novel Alex As Well, the teenaged title character often feels like two people - one female, one male - trapped in the same body. There's nothing like feeling uncomfortable in your own body. For Alex, the struggle is constant. Alex was born intersex, having physical characteristics of both genders. Doctors could not identify Alex as male or female. Alex's parents selected a gender-neutral name for their baby and were made to monitor their child's behavior and report back to doctors, who decided Alex's tendency to be more aggressive than passive indicated the child…
  • Poetry Friday: A tourist (Sidewalk Poetry)

    27 Mar 2015 | 6:01 am
    A touristin the cathedralof your silenceI am reverentfor all the wrong reasonsThis is one of many poems imprinted on the sidewalk in St. Paul, Minnesota:The St. Paul project has inspired a similar Sidewalk Poetry project in Cambridge.View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.Learn more about Poetry Friday.
  • Poetry Friday: If Spirits Walk by Sophie Jewett

    20 Mar 2015 | 9:27 am
    If spirits walk, love, when the night climbs slowThe slant footpath where we were wont to go,Be sure that I shall take the selfsame wayTo the hill-crest, and shoreward, down the gray,Sheer, gravelled slope, where vetches straggling grow.Look for me not when gusts of winter blow,When at thy pane beat hands of sleet and snow;I would not come thy dear eyes to affray,If spirits walk.But when, in June, the pines are whispering low,And when their breath plays with thy bright hair soAs some one’s fingers once were used to play-That hour when birds leave song, and children pray,Keep the old…
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    Jen Robinson's Book Page

  • Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: March 27

    Jen Robinson
    27 Mar 2015 | 1:59 pm
    Here are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter over the past couple of weeks @JensBookPage. (I was on vacation last week and did not post). Topics this week include book awards, book lists, diversity, gender, the Cybils Awards, growing bookworms, book-related events, literacy programs, national poetry month, Pi Day, play, reading, publishing, and schools. Awards 2015 Waterstone’s Book Prize Winners via @tashrow #kidlit #YALit Voting Opens for 2015 Indies Choice/E.B. White Read-Aloud Awards Finalists | @ABABook via @PWKidsBookshelf #kidlit…
  • Naked! Michael Ian Black & Debbie Ridpath Ohi

    Jen Robinson
    26 Mar 2015 | 8:30 am
    Book: Naked! Author: Michael Ian Black Illustrator: Debbie Ridpath Ohi Pages: 40 Age Range: 3-5 Naked! by Michael Ian Black and Debbie Ridpath Ohi is, as you might expect, a celebration of the joys (for preschoolers, anyway) of running around naked. A little boy escapes his weary mother after his bath and runs joyfully all around the house. He enjoys being naked so much that he imagines going to school or the playground naked. He eventually adds a cape to his (lack of) ensemble, and this seems for a time to be the perfect compromise. However, by bedtime, the cold drives him into giving some…
  • Growing Bookworms Newsletter: March 25

    Jen Robinson
    25 Mar 2015 | 4:59 pm
    Today, I will be sending out a new issue of the Growing Bookworms email newsletter. (If you would like to subscribe, you can find a sign-up form here.) The Growing Bookworms newsletter contains content from my blog focused on children's and young adult books and raising readers. I usually send the newsletter out every two weeks, but this time it's been three weeks, because I have been on vacation. Newsletter Update: In this issue I have six children's book reviews (picture book through young adult), one installment of my…
  • The Shadow Cabinet (The Shades of London): Maureen Johnson

    Jen Robinson
    24 Mar 2015 | 8:03 am
    Book: The Shadow Cabinet (The Shades of London series, Book 3) Author: Maureen Johnson Pages: 384 Age Range: 12 and up For some reason, I thought that The Shadow Cabinet was the conclusion to Maureen Johnson's Shade of London series. Just so you know, it's not. Which is great in that there will be at least one more book in this intriguing, atmospheric series. There will be spoilers in this review for books 1 and 2. If you haven't read them, I'll just tell you that they are ghost stories with some historical references set in modern-day London, and featuring a teenage girl from Louisiana who…
  • Bunnies: Kevan Atteberry

    Jen Robinson
    19 Mar 2015 | 8:24 am
    Book: Bunnies!!! Author: Kevan Atteberry Pages: 32  Age Range: 2-5 Kevan Atteberry's Bunnies!!! is an exuberant title that would make a fun read aloud for toddlers and early preschoolers. A not-very-threatening-looking purple monster is walking through the woods, saying hello to anything he encounters, animate or not, when he runs across a group of four colorful bunnies. His enthusiastic cry of "Bunnies!!!" shocks the little rabbits, and causes them to run away. The monster is sad and confused. The same scenario repeats, leaving the monster even sadder. But eventually, as even the…
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    Writing and Ruminating

  • Last Friday's book launch

    19 Mar 2015 | 10:36 am
    Well, hey there. I've been remiss in not posting this sooner. I will not enumerate the many things that have been taking my time of late, just assert that there's stuff going on around here, but it's really not a valid reason for not posting this a bit sooner.Anyhoo . . . The launch of my chapbook, The Universe Comes Knocking, published by Maverick Duck Press, went well, despite me having come down with a migraine shortly before the event. I am pleased that I didn't vomit on the audience, but managed to read poems aloud without incident. It was pretty well-attended, and all the seats in the…
  • Happy (Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations) Pi Day!

    14 Mar 2015 | 3:18 pm
    GUESS WHAT?I got my contributor copies of the student and teacher/librarian editions of The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations in the mail today. AND TODAY IS IT'S LAUNCH DATE!It's like Post Office magic, y'all. It's also Pi Day, and a special one at that, since it's 3.1415 today, which is the first FIVE numbers of Pi. This won't happen again for a century. *mind is blown*Also-also, Pi Day is one of the many, many celebrations contained inside the covers of The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations, edited by Sylvia Vardell and Joyce Wong. Also in there? My poem, "Pocket Change",…
  • Scientifically speaking - a Poetry Friday post

    13 Mar 2015 | 1:36 pm
    Since the launch of my first-ever chapbook, The Universe Comes Knocking, is tonight, I thought I'd share a poem from the collection. And since Kismet just knocked a pen off the bed, I thought I'd share this one:Scientificatly speakingFrom the next room, I hear a clatter.Startled, I wonder what's the matter.On the floor, I find a pen.The cat's been knocking things againto make sure gravity still works.(Sometimes house cats can be such jerks.)She's swatted nail files, paper clips,a spool of thread, a bag of chips.She's toppled bottles, rings, a hat.She's quite a scientific-cat.Her other life's…
  • Catching Up

    12 Mar 2015 | 8:04 am
    You guys, I have to tell you what I've been up to.Well, I don't have to, but I'm going to anyhow. If you're interested, of course.Here's my timeline:On Friday, I posted my sestina with the Poetry Princesses here, if you didn't get a chance to read it. On Saturday morning, I drove into Philadelphia to have lunch with lovely friend (and talented author) Jennifer L. Hubbard. We met for crêpes at a wonderful crêperie, then walked next door to Joseph Fox Bookshop (spell it with me people, "F-O-X"), which is a wonderful independent bookstore. Where I bought the following books, along with a…
  • Sestina - an original poem for Poetry Friday

    5 Mar 2015 | 5:43 pm
    Here it is, my sestina - a form I described and defined the other day. It contains emotional truth, but little factual truth, at least for me - I am not sick of winter at all, and am quite happy with yesterday's large snowfall. Also, I'm not going to China or Tibet, although there was a period earlier this week when my sweetheart and I were considering it, but only because we had misread the pricing for a river cruise. Alas.Without further ado, my poem, which borrows from several Shakespearean plays:Freeze, bitter sky, and blow, blow winter wind—Did Shakespeare speak of March, which as a…
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    The Miss Rumphius Effect

  • NPM Project: Jumping Into Form - At the Starting Gate!

    31 Mar 2015 | 3:44 am
    I've been looking for a good way to describe my choice of project this year and why I'm so passionate about poetic forms. After listening to this fabulous PBS NewsHour piece on Kwame Alexander​ and poetry, I can say it no better."See, I’m in love with poetry. And there are so many different forms of poetry. And I believe I wanted to have that sort of variety, that sort of diversity of verse, so that kids could sort of figure out what they were interested in and what they could latch on to and perhaps mimic some of these poems themselves."Ditto and Amen.See you tomorrow for the launch of…
  • Monday Poetry Stretch - Tripadi

    29 Mar 2015 | 9:01 pm
    I've embarked these last few weeks on exploring poetic forms that I've never written before, and in many cases, never even knew existed. This week I've chosen to explore tripadi.Tripadi is a form of Bengali Poetry. It originated in Eastern India sometime in the 10th century. The tripadi is a written in stanzas with any number of tercets. Here are the requirements of a tripadi.Each tercet is generally a sentence of 20 or 26 syllablesA tercet is broken into lines of 6-6-8 or 8-8-10 syllables. The rhyme scheme is: aax / bbx / ccx, etc.You can read more about this form and see an example at…
  • 2015 National Poetry Month Project - The Lowdown

    28 Mar 2015 | 1:35 pm
    I'm revving up for the kickoff of National Poetry Month in just a few short days. Here's what I've done in the past. 2014 - Science Poetry Pairings - project pairing poetry and nonfiction picture books2013 - Poetry A-Z - project covering a range of thematic posts with poetry titles selected by adjectives like xeric, penitent, impish, collaborative, and more. 2011 - Poetry in the Classroom - project highlighting a poem, a theme, a book, or a poet and suggesting ways to make poetry a regular part of life in the classroom.2010 and 2009 - Poetry…
  • Poetry Friday - Rock Me To Sleep

    26 Mar 2015 | 9:01 pm
    To say I'm exhausted is putting it mildly. Work is overwhelming at the moment, but I know all this will pass and the semester will end far too soon. Before I know it I will be bemoaning the dearth of students on campus.While I work to catch up, I will dream of sleep. Those dreams and a strong desire to see my mother have brought me to this poem today.Rock Me to Sleepby Elizabeth Akers AllenBackward, turn backward, O Time, in your flight,Make me a child again just for tonight!Mother, come back from the echoless shore,Take me again to your heart as of yore;Kiss from my forehead the furrows of…
  • Monday Poetry Stretch - Clogyrnach (Welsh Poetic Form)

    22 Mar 2015 | 9:01 pm
    I'm not quite ready to share my National Poetry Month project quite yet, but I'll admit to examining verse forms and speaking with poets as I prepare. One of the fine poets I spoke with extolled the virtues of "foreign" verse forms. I've been thinking about this ever since, and have started looking at forms completely unfamiliar to me. That's where this week's challenge comes from.Clogyrnach is a Welsh poetic meter that falls under the poetic form of awdl (odes). Clogyrnach are composed of any number of 6-line stanzas. Each stanza has 32 syllables. The first couplet is 8 syllables with an end…
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        Poetry for Children

  • Something to celebrate

    Sylvia Vardell
    27 Mar 2015 | 7:29 am
    In my opinion, there is almost always something to celebrate! Just ask my kids who have enjoyed half-birthdays and even "sister of half-birthday boy" occasions! Any excuse for a special meal, cupcakes, song, or a party! Planned or spontaneous, big or little, let's have more fun together. And if you spend any time at all with young children, you know they revel in discovering and celebrating the fun, odd, interesting things they're learning about every day. So, it's no surprise that I have loved being part of producing the latest installment in our POETRY FRIDAY series of anthologies: The…
  • PFA #4! The Poetry Friday for Celebrations

    Sylvia Vardell
    19 Mar 2015 | 10:10 pm
    I’m excited to announce the publication of the FOURTH book in the Poetry Friday Anthology series! It’s The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations  (Teacher/Librarian Edition and Children’s Edition) compiled with the amazing Janet Wong. You’ll find poems for 156 holidays in English and Spanish, including: Random Acts of Kindness Week, Children’s Book Week, World Laughter Day, National Camping Month, International Literacy Day, Global Hand Washing Day, and more! Poets include: Jack Prelutsky, J. Patrick Lewis, Joyce Sidman, Margarita Engle, Marilyn Singer, Nikki Grimes,…
  • Poet to Poet: Allan Wolf and Leslie Bulion

    Sylvia Vardell
    12 Mar 2015 | 11:00 pm
    It's time for another installment of my Poet to Poet interview series. This time, Allan Wolf is asking Leslie Bulion some fun questions about her new book, Random Body Parts.First, you may know Allan Wolf, author, poet, performer, and educator who lives in North Carolina and travels around the country (collecting hotel toiletries and) presenting poetry to audiences of all ages. He was the educational director for Poetry Alive for many years and is one of the driving forces behind that national Poetry Slam movement. He's the author of several books including the historical novels in…
  • Poet-a-Palooza for SCIENCE!

    Sylvia Vardell
    13 Feb 2015 | 7:08 am
    I'm so excited to report that the amazing Renée La Tulippe from the fabulous No Water River site is featuring The Poetry Friday Anthology for Science today-- complete with videos of seven poets reading their poems from the anthology. If you haven't ever visited No Water River, do it now. Here's the link!I'll wait. She is really creating a rich resource that supports poetry sharing and teaching. I especially love the video component-- so fun for kids (and adults!). Here's a link to my previous post about "How to use NoWaterRiver in the classroom. She is also a poet herself,…
  • Poetry = Newbery

    Sylvia Vardell
    2 Feb 2015 | 8:48 am
    It was so exciting to be in the audience when the awards were announced this morning and POETRY books were at the top of the list!The Newbery award went to... The Crossover by Kwame Alexander!Which was also recognized with a Coretta Scott King author honor awardYou'll find the guide for this book here.In the 83 years of Newbery history, the award has gone to a book of poetry FOUR times  (A Visit to William Blake’s Inn, Joyful Noise, Out of the Dust, and Good Masters! Sweet Ladies), so it's especially exciting to see a book of POETRY get this recognition.Newbery honors: Brown Girl…
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  • Video: A School Visit with Author G. Neri

    Cynthia Leitich Smith
    31 Mar 2015 | 6:24 am
    By Cynthia Leitich Smithfor CynsationsG. Neri is the Coretta Scott King honor-winning author of Yummy: the Last Days of a Southside Shorty (Lee & Low) and the recipient of the Lee Bennett Hopkins Promising Poet Award for his free-verse novella, Chess Rumble (Lee & Low).His novels include Knockout Games (Carolrhoda Lab), Surf Mules (Putnam) and the Horace Mann Upstander Award-winning, Ghetto Cowboy (Candlewick). His latest is the free-verse picture book bio, Hello, I'm Johnny Cash (Candlewick).Prior to becoming a writer, Neri was a filmmaker, an animator/illustrator, a digital media…
  • Guest Post & Giveaway: Deborah Lytton on What's True to You

    Cynthia Leitich Smith
    30 Mar 2015 | 6:35 am
    By Deborah Lyttonfor Cynthia Leitich Smith's CynsationsMy new contemporary YA, Silence (Shadow Mountain, 2015), is a story about a fifteen year old girl who has an accident that changes her life forever. The only person she can relate to is a boy who has his own tragic past. Out of tragedy comes true love.I spent years writing Silence, and the experience taught me several important lessons about being an author. It took me draft after draft (and many working titles) to find a way to tell the story. I think my agent has lost count of the number of drafts of Silence she read. I even set the…
  • Cynsational News & Giveaways

    Cynthia Leitich Smith
    27 Mar 2015 | 6:56 am
    By Cynthia Leitich Smithfor CynsationsCongratulations to Rebecca Van Slyke on the release of Mom School, illustrated by Priscilla Burris (Random House, 2015). From the promotional copy:In this adorable kid’s-eye view of what would happen if Mom went to school, a little girl imagines Mom School, where all moms learn their amazing skills, like fixing a bike tire and baking cupcakes. With warm, funny illustrations and a fun role-reversal story in which moms act like kids, young readers will love imagining what would happen if their own moms went to Mom School.More News &…
  • Guest Post & Giveaway: Ann Angel on The Power of Secrets in Things I’ll Never Say

    Cynthia Leitich Smith
    26 Mar 2015 | 6:38 am
    Ann AngelBy Ann Angelfor Cynthia Leitich Smith's CynsationsRight about the time I pitched my first anthology, a writer friend said she’d hate that sort of work.“It would be so time-consuming to read all those stories,” she said. “I can’t imagine having to edit all that content and you’ll have to write all that front and back matter and it will take away from your own writing.” Even though everything she said is true, I love editing anthologies. The reading can sometimes feel overwhelming and selecting stories is time consuming; editing requires right-brained analytic work and…
  • New Voice: Paul Greci on Surving Bear Island

    Cynthia Leitich Smith
    25 Mar 2015 | 6:57 am
    Paul GreciBy Cynthia Leitich Smithfor CynsationsPaul Greci is the first-time author of Surviving Bear Island (Move, 2015)(author blog). From the promotional copy:How did you approach the research process for your story? What was your greatest coup, and how did it inform your manuscript?The research for Surviving Bear Island was very hands on and spans twenty-five years. Since my teenage years, I have always been drawn to remote places. I have worked in roadless areas on the North and West Coasts of Alaska doing field biology. I have witnessed 12,000 walrus hauled out on a beach, 120,000…
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    WordPress Tag: Children's Book

  • A Kid's Guide to Keeping Chickens by Melissa Caughey

    24 Mar 2015 | 12:00 am
    Title: A Kid’s Guide to Keeping Chickens: Best Breeds, Creating a Home, Care and Handling, Outdoor Fun, Crafts and Treats  Author: Melissa Caughey Publisher: Storey Publishing Published: March 24th, 2015 Rating: 5/5 If your family have ever considered keeping chickens in your back yard, you really need to read this book! It tells about the author, a ‘city girl’, and her family being introduced to keeping chickens and how they now love doing so. It goes through all the steps to help set up your own flock, from choosing the best chickens, rearing them, looking after them and…
  • Illustrating a Children's Book

    Melan Kolly
    23 Mar 2015 | 4:52 pm
  • In Progress : Children's Book For Phoenix

    Saving Knots
    23 Mar 2015 | 2:34 pm
    I’ve started rewriting the story one sentence at a time and then going back to the beginning to see how it can improve. I’m not a writer so I’m going to have someone look at it before I start designing the pages. The layout of the book has also begun in thumbnail form. It’s about 20 pages long but making this children’s book involves much more planning and work than I’m used to. My paintings are spontaneous and my wood projects are barely drawn out. I’m excited to show Phoenix our book when it’s done. I hope she’ll be proud of it one day.
  • ReFoReMo Challenge...10 Things I'll Bet you Don't Know about Shel Silverstein

    Michelle R. Eastman
    23 Mar 2015 | 12:58 pm
    I write books for children. I’ve actually managed to get one published. But, I have a LOT to learn about the craft. The ReFoReMo Challenge was created by, children’s book writer, Carrie Charley Brown. You can learn more about it here As Brown puts it, the basic idea is: “As picture book writers, it is necessary to read heaps and gobs of picture books to truly understand the form, the market, and the craft of writing them.  This challenge will be a place to build your reading background with…
  • Patches and The Feelings Tree: Spotlight and Giveaway

    Child Life Mommy
    23 Mar 2015 | 9:45 am
    We all know how challenging it can be for children to name and express their feelings, especially when they are faced with traumatizing events. When they have the proper guidance and therapeutic strategies, their resilience can shine through. I am excited to introduce Kathylee Forrester, the creator of Patches the Bear and author of Patches and The Feelings Tree, two valuable resources to help children understand their emotions. With an entrepreneurial spirit and a messenger of hope, AngelicPreneur Kathylee Forrester and her popular, adorable creation, Patches the Bear, empower children…
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    School Library Journal

  • The Importance of Girls’ Stories: SLJ Chats with Nova Ren Suma About “The Walls Around Us”

    Shelley Diaz
    31 Mar 2015 | 3:00 am
    Photo by Erik Ryerson In her latest genre-bending YA novel, Nova Ren Suma explores the power of girls’ friendships, feminism, and unlikable narrators. Alternating between the points of view of two very different narrators—Violet, the up-and-coming ballet dancer with a dark secret and Amber, a teen who has been incarcerated since she was 13—the book has been much buzzed about and mentioned as one of the YA feminist reads of 2015. SLJ caught up with the author, who she shared what inspired her to write the ghostly The Walls Around Us (Algonquin, 2015). The two narrators in this novel…
  • Top-Notch YA Novels with Male Protagonists │ JLG’s Booktalks to Go

    Deborah B. Ford
    30 Mar 2015 | 11:30 am
    Teen readers are in for a treat with the latest books from these A-List male authors. Whether it’s a new book in the series or a standalone title, the following selections from the editors at Junior Library Guild live up to the promise that we’ve come to expect from these award-winning writers. AVI. Catch You Later, Traitor. 304p. Algonquin. 2015. ISBN 9781616203597. JLG Category: C+ : Advanced Readers (Grades 6-9). During the height of the Red Scare, Pete’s father is accused of being a Communist: one rumor and his whole life changes. His best friend isn’t allowed to talk to him.
  • Bedtime Bunnies, Western Railroad Waitresses, and Typhoid Mary Populate Boyds Mills | 2015 Spring Preview

    Rocco Staino
    30 Mar 2015 | 8:17 am
    During the 2015 American Library Association Midwinter Meeting in Chicago, Boyds Mills Press took the opportunity to share its Spring 2015 list with librarians. Every parent is familiar with the hassle of getting a reluctant child to go to bed. While Boyds Mills may not have anything as edgy as Adam Mansbach’s Go the F**k to Sleep (Akashic, 2011), readers will enjoy Julie Sternberg’s Bedtime at Bessie and Lil’s (2015), illustrated by Adam Gudeon, the story of two excited young bunnies whose mother attempts to soothe them to sleep with a bedtime story. For those who want to use bedtime…
  • Ann Burlingame Wins 2015 Sullivan Award; National Poetry Month Contest; Giveaways | SLJTeen News

    30 Mar 2015 | 4:00 am
    Just in Time for National Poetry Month: Words Unlocked Contest Words Unlocked 2015 is a month-long initiative that includes a seven-day structured poetry curriculum, sponsored and created by the Center for Educational Excellence in Alternative Settings (CEEAS).The practitioner-ready curricular materials, which include lessons á la carte, culminate with a nationwide competition and publishing venues for poetic works. The Words Unlocked 2015 theme is “Transformation! Through Words Unlocked.” CEEAS hopes to encourage young people who are held in juvenile justice facilities to…
  • Lulzbot 3-D Printer Giveaway

    Kathy Ishizuka
    29 Mar 2015 | 1:05 pm
    Some lucky classrooms and libraries will receive 3-D printers in a giveaway sponsored by Aleph Objects, Inc. Launched during the White House Science Fair, the first annual Lulzbot Education Giveaway will donate 20 Lulzbot desktop printers. But hurry—online applications are due by Sunday, April 5. The contest is open to any accredited school, community college, college, university, or library. Applicants must describe their plan to integrate a Lulzbot printer into curricula, classes, or projects and encourage the use of free software and open source hardware. Visit the giveaway page for more…
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    A Fuse #8 Production

  • Review of the Day: Red by Michael Hall

    Elizabeth Bird
    30 Mar 2015 | 1:00 am
    Red: A Crayon’s Story By Michael Hall Greenwillow (an imprint of Harper Collins) $17.99 ISBN: 978-0062252074 Ages 3-6 On shelves now Almost since their very conception children’s books were meant to teach and inform on the one hand, and to inform one’s moral fiber on the other. Why who can forget that catchy little 1730 ditty from The Childe’s Guide that read, “The idle Fool / Is whipt at School”? It’s got a beat and you can dance to it! And as the centuries have passed children’s books continue to teach and instruct. Peter Rabbit takes an illicit nosh and loses his fancy…
  • Fusenews: In which I find the barest hint of an excuse to post a Rex Stout cover

    Elizabeth Bird
    27 Mar 2015 | 1:00 am
    I’ve been watching The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt recently.  So far the resident husband and I have only made it through two episodes, but I was pleased as punch when I learned that the plot twist in storyline #2 hinged on a Baby-Sitter’s Club novel.  Specifically Babysitter’s Club Mystery No. 12: Dawn and the Surfer Ghost.  Peter Lerangis, was this one of yours?  Here’s a breakdown of the book’s plot with a healthy dose of snark, in case you’re interested. Good old Adam Rex.  Don’t know if you knew it but he’s got this little old major…
  • Review of the Day: Tricky Vic by Greg Pizzoli

    Elizabeth Bird
    26 Mar 2015 | 1:00 am
    Tricky Vic: The Impossibly True Story of the Man Who Sold the Eiffel Tower By Greg Pizzoli Viking (an imprint of Penguin Group USA) $17.99 ISBN: 978-0-670-01652-5 Ages 8-11 On shelves now I was listening to a favorite podcast of mine the other day when the panelists began discussing the difference between heist films and con man films.  A heist film is one where the entire movie is a build-up to a great and fabulous heist.  Ocean’s 11 and that sort of thing.  In the children’s book world this would be The Great Greene Heist.  A con man film is different.  There you have a single…
  • Walking and Talking with . . . Andrew Smith

    Elizabeth Bird
    24 Mar 2015 | 1:00 am
    That’s right. Andrew Smith. And it’s fantastic. The latest in Steve Sheinkin’s series “Walking and Talking”. Enjoy it. Big time thanks to Steve for putting these together and for this one in particular. Previous editions of this series include: Walking and Talking with John Corey Whaley Walking and Talking with Jenni Holm Walking and Talking with Gene Luen Yang Walking and Talking with Laura Vaccaro Seeger    
  • Where the Wild Books Are: Addressing the State of Global Publishing in America

    Elizabeth Bird
    23 Mar 2015 | 1:00 am
    It’s amazing what a blog post can do. About a year or so ago I wrote some thoughts about picture books created in other countries, and how they are received when they are brought to American shores.  I’ve a great deal of experience with librarians considering some types of illustrations too “weird” to promote to children and parents and it rankles.  Likewise, there are many publishers that eschew a certain kind of look that comes with picture books from other countries.  My blog post sparked something, it seems.  The great illustrator Etienne Delessert caught on to…
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    Michael Gerson: Most Recent Articles and Archives

  • The Pelosi-Boehner compromise on Medicare is a rare bird

    Michael Gerson
    31 Mar 2015 | 4:11 am
    The John Boehner-Nancy Pelosi agreement on Medicare doctors’ payments — permanently easing up on scheduled cuts, funded (partially) by means testing — has been praised as an incremental gain and criticized as a small backward step. In either case, it is a rare bird: the result of a March 4 meeting between leaders in a metaphorical smoke-filled room (and, given Boehner’s smoking habit, perhaps an actual one). Read full article >>
  • The next epidemic

    Michael Gerson
    26 Mar 2015 | 5:30 pm
    “Of all the things that could kill more than 10 million people around the world,” writes philanthropist Bill Gates in the New England Journal of Medicine, “the most likely is an epidemic stemming from either natural causes or bioterrorism.” Read full article >>
  • How to block a bad deal with Iran

    Michael Gerson
    23 Mar 2015 | 4:40 pm
    It is the common temptation of Republicans and Democrats to support a strong presidency when it is used to do things they like and to condemn it when it does things they don’t. There is, however, a group of committed institutionalists that has gathered around the bipartisan Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, now scheduled for a vote of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on April 14. Read full article >>
  • Clinton’s Nixonian path to office

    Michael Gerson
    19 Mar 2015 | 4:53 pm
    The effective kickoff of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign was an act of deck-clearing so breathtaking, so brazen, that it remains difficult to process.The former secretary of state summoned reporters to the United Nations, made a statement on Iran nuclear negotiations, then admitted deleting more than 30,000 e-mails she had deemed personal from the account she exclusively used while in office. This was the culmination of a deliberate, multiyear end run around congressional oversight, the Freedom of Information Act and the archiving of federal records. Documents she found inconvenient…
  • The effects of inequality on America’s kids

    Michael Gerson
    16 Mar 2015 | 4:56 pm
    It is rare for a work of sociology to leave readers choking back emotion. Max Weber and Emile Durkheim were not known for writing tear-jerkers. But Robert D. Putnam’s “Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis” is sociology as story, as tragedy and as an act of social solidarity. It is the culminating work of an academic career characterized by sound judgment and bigheartedness. And the more influence this book gains, the more just and generous our country will become. Read full article >>
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  • Saturday Review of Books: March 28, 2015

    27 Mar 2015 | 6:02 pm
    “I really demand a lot; sometimes, I think, too much. But I don’t want to waste time on a bad book. A bad book is any book you don’t like. A good book is any book you like.” ~Nancy Pearl Welcome to the Saturday Review of Books at Semicolon. Here’s how it usually works. Find a book review on your blog posted sometime during the previous week. The review doesn’t have to be a formal sort of thing. You can link to your thoughts on a particular book, a few ideas inspired by reading the book, your evaluation, quotations, whatever. Then on Friday night/Saturday, you post…
  • Happy Birthday Mr. Houseman and Mr. Frost

    26 Mar 2015 | 5:22 am
    I am taking a blog break for Lent, but I thought I’d share some of my old posts from years gone by. I’ve been blogging at Semicolon since October, 2003, more than eleven years. This post is copied and edited from March 26, 2010. © 2009 ajari, Flickr | CC-BY | via WylioA.E. Houseman, b.1859. Loveliest of trees, the cherry Robert Frost, b.1874. The Door in the Dark Fire and Ice Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening A Time to Talk A Prayer in Spring
  • Saturday Review of Books: March 21, 2015

    20 Mar 2015 | 5:59 pm
    “I need to read more. There are so many good books I want to read and so little time. If I added up the few minutes here and there that I spent checking Facebook this past week it wouldn’t be an insignificant amount of time. I’d rather give that time to reading.” ~Joshua Harris Welcome to the Saturday Review of Books at Semicolon. Here’s how it usually works. Find a book review on your blog posted sometime during the previous week. The review doesn’t have to be a formal sort of thing. You can link to your thoughts on a particular book, a few ideas inspired by…
  • Events and Inventions: 1944

    18 Mar 2015 | 4:57 am
    January 27, 1944. The Red Army (Russian) relieves the German siege of Leningrad, pushing the Germans back beyond artillery range. Leningrad has been under German guns for 900 days, and over one million people have died of hunger, cold, starvation, disease or from direct warfare. January 22, 1944. Allied troops land on the beaches of Anzio in southern Italy. March 18, 1944. Mt. Vesuvius erupts for last time in modern times. June 4, 1944. The U.S. Fifth Army under the command of General Mark Clark enters Rome, freeing the city from German occupation. June 6, 1944. Allied troops storm Normandy…
  • Quiet, A Servant in the Discernment of Truth

    16 Mar 2015 | 4:46 am
    “I have naturally formed the habit of restraining my thoughts. A thoughtless word hardly ever escaped my tongue or pen. Experience has taught me that silence is part of the spiritual discipline of a votary of truth. We find so many people impatient to talk. All this talking can hardly be said to be of any benefit to the world. It is so much waste of time. My shyness has been in reality my shield and buckler. It has allowed me to grow. It has helped me in my discernment of truth.” ~Mahatma Gandhi, from Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan…
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    Stories from NPR

  • Top Stories: Indiana's New Religion Law; Iran Nuclear Talks

    Korva Coleman
    31 Mar 2015 | 6:35 am
    Also: A Japanese municipality approves same sex marriage; Arizona's governor vetoes a bill shielding police identification after a shooting; and a solar powered plane makes its latest stop in China.» E-Mail This
  • Tigons And Ligers And Boys, Oh My!

    Mike Danforth
    31 Mar 2015 | 6:18 am
    An ambitious 7-year-old calls into this episode of How To Do Everything with one simple question: Can he one day be half-man, half-cheetah?» E-Mail This
  • The Challenge: Curb Violence In Most Violent City. Hint: Nuns Can Help

    Jim Burress
    31 Mar 2015 | 6:15 am
    This year, at Emory University's global health challenge, students had to come up with clever solutions for a pressing problem. Only it wasn't a superbug. It was the extreme violence in Honduras.» E-Mail This
  • How Many Stars Are There?

    Adam Frank
    31 Mar 2015 | 6:09 am
    The night sky carries the weight of many meanings for humanity. Astrophysicist Adam Frank directs us to a short video addressing the sum of the stars in the sky.» E-Mail This
  • Deadline Day Arrives For Iran Nuclear Talks

    Bill Chappell
    31 Mar 2015 | 6:04 am
    The six nations that have been debating a plan to curb Iran's nuclear program – and ease economic sanctions — will hit the deadline for a framework agreement at 6 p.m. ET.» E-Mail This
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    Ally Carter

  • Magnificent Wedding Monday

    30 Mar 2015 | 10:12 am
    Hi Everyone! Well I hinted about a fun announcement last week and now I am happy to tell you all… A Gallagher Wedding is now available here on the site! Just in case you don’t know, a Gallagher Wedding is a brief short story that was made available in special limited editions of UNITED WE SPY. We are honored to offer it here, for free, for all readers. WARNING: This story takes place after the conclusion of UNITED WE SPY and does contain spoilers for the final Gallagher Girls book and the entire series. I know there were so many of you who wanted to be able to read this awesome…
  • Magnificent Monday

    23 Mar 2015 | 6:54 am
    Hi Everyone! Well I survived a week of Spring Break and am excited we have all gone back to our regular routine! I am also super excited to share some awesome news with you all!!! Ally has added another tour date!!!! WooHoo!!! She will be in Houston, TX on April 11 for the Teen Book Con and now in Austin, TX on April 13 at Book People this is a Joint event with David Levithan and Justine Larbalestier! If you are in the Texas area here are 2 great chances to meet Ally and get your books signed!! I also have some other exciting news but I am going to wait to share that so keep checking back.
  • Magnificent Spring Break

    16 Mar 2015 | 4:22 pm
    Hi Everyone! It is Spring Break around here and I am loving it! The sunshine is out and the weather is warm. We spent the day at the Tulsa Zoo and had a great time! Any one else on Spring Break this week? Any fun plans if you are or when you are? Whether you are on break or stuck in school I hope you have a FANTASTIC week! Shellie   The post Magnificent Spring Break appeared first on Ally Carter.
  • See Ally THIS WEEKEND!!!

    13 Mar 2015 | 2:18 pm
    Hey Everyone! If you are in the Tucson, AZ area please come see Ally this weekend March 14-15 at Tucson Festival of Books Lots of authors and fun things to do!   Shellie The post See Ally THIS WEEKEND!!! appeared first on Ally Carter.
  • Magnificent Monday

    9 Mar 2015 | 8:09 am
    Hey Everyone! Ally did a Live Chat last week on Twitter and she answered a TON of questions. I thought I would post  some of the Q&A’s here for all of you who missed it!   Did you make all of the men in your books hot on purpose? Uh…Yes What is your favorite quote from your books? Crazy. I went crazy. If one of your characters come to life, what would you say to him/her? I’d tell Grace “it’s gonna be okay” Will we see more of Grace’s brother in ER2? YESSSSSSS!!!!! Which one of your characters is the best role model? Macey. She turned her…
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    Justine Larbalestier

  • Razorhurst Out in North America Today!

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

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

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

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

    30 Nov 2014 | 7:32 pm
    Here are two “facts” about writing I’ve been hearing lately that I must beat until their stuffing falls out and their non-factness is apparent to all.1 1. On average published authors write 2-3 novels before publication. Um, what? How was such a statistic arrived at? Where does it come from? Why is everyone repeating it? Oh, who cares. It’s irrelevant. It does not matter how many novels other authors wrote before they were published. It has no effect on you. I wrote two novels before I was published. Scott sold the first one he finished. I know of authors who wrote…
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    Scott Westerfeld

  • Texas and Mexico Mini-Tour!

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

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

    3 Mar 2015 | 5:21 pm
    Razorhurst, the latest novel from my lovely wife, Justine Larbalestier, is finally out in the US and Canada! (It came out in Australia last July.) It’s about Kelpie, an orphan in 1932 Sydney, who can see ghosts. Raised by restless spirits on the streets of Razorhurst, a crime-ridden slum, she stumbles into the middle of a gang war. To survive, she must forge an alliance with Dymphna, a young call-girl who’s being pursued by one of the city’s crime bosses. It all takes place across one bloody day in the neighborhood where Justine and I live in Sydney. (Which is much nicer…
  • Zeroes Cover!

    19 Feb 2015 | 8:41 pm
    Here is the cover for Zeroes! Click here for a description of how Zeroes came about, and what it’s about. (Superpowers! Lashings of superpowers, each one more super than the last!) I am unusually proud of this cover, because I made more of a contribution than usual. Authors do get a say in their covers, sometimes. But it’s not like we’re graphic designers, so nobody has to listen to us. In this case, though, I got lucky. My designer, the lovely Regina Flath, had sent us all an early version of the spray paint design. It was definitely moving in the right direction, but we…
  • Afterworlds Paperback Cover

    5 Feb 2015 | 4:01 pm
    Behold, the cover for the Afterworlds paperback! We figured we would go for a change. I really like the background, to go with the gray afterworld in Darcy’s book, and how it contrasts with that splash of color that is NYC. And, as with the first cover, the teardrop is a great symbol for the novel as a whole. Check it out:
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    deborah wiles: field notes

  • something different

    Debbie Wiles
    27 Mar 2015 | 10:32 am
    I'm taking an art class -- two -- at Creativebug when I return from family, schools, and a conference in Mississippi. Both are on-demand work-alongs -- you choose the time and place to work on each session -- and both are Lisa Congdon classes. Sketchbook Explorations and Basic Line Drawing.I'm a life-long doodler as well as a notebook devotee and evangelist, as you may know, and in this year of exploration, I've dedicated myself to working more with my hands, going back to my roots. I want to get out of my head -- all those words! -- and use my mind in a different way.I leave for Mississippi…
  • the year of exploration

    Debbie Wiles
    23 Mar 2015 | 9:25 am
    For some time I have been birthing -- in my head and on paper -- a new way of seeing, working, living, connecting, and being in the world. Why? Maybe it's turning 60, with the knowledge that there is less time before me than behind me for sure. Maybe it's recent disappointments and realizations. Maybe it's recent gifts and surprises. Maybe it's the on-going therapy, which is hard work. I'm sure it is.Whatever it is, this shift in my thinking feels major, so I'm going to do something about it, and I will chronicle it here, March 20, 2015 to March 20, 2016 (start where you are, and I started…
  • on being a late bloomer

    Debbie Wiles
    21 Mar 2015 | 5:50 am
    This is the hashtag I used on Instagram -- #teachinghongkong2015 -- to document in photos my trip to Hong Kong this month. You can find photos of the trip there, and even more on Facebook, here, along with a few thoughts about teaching writing to students who are learning to be fluent in both English and Mandarin Chinese.  We mainly focused on personal narrative and moments we could add color and flavor and texture to, characters we could create from those moments -- and how to make them come alive on the page -- and then we moved into fiction with them.We used several mentor texts,…
  • winter work

    Debbie Wiles
    2 Feb 2015 | 6:27 am
    My life as a writer is punctuated by bouts of teaching. Sometimes, when the teaching comes thickly into my life, my life as a teacher is punctuated by bouts of writing... (continued after these photos):                            I'm a writer who also teaches writing, something of a rarity in the school visit world. I decided fifteen years ago, when I started this gig professionally, to teach when I went into schools, to try and make the day as meaningful and useful to teachers as possible, to have fun with students but…
  • this morning's mail

    Debbie Wiles
    1 Feb 2015 | 12:40 pm
    Story connects us in ways we will never know. This just in: here is a letter passed on to me from a friend who gave REVOLUTION to her 73-year-old aunt in Texas. It now becomes a primary source document for future researchers. Just as important, it serves to show how a heart becomes awake and aware in the world. I was the storyteller for Mary, and now Mary is the storyteller for me. This is how it works. I am grateful. xo Debbie ============January 23 Oh, Sally,Thank you so much for making me aware of Revolution. It has unleashed a torrent of conflicting emotions and memories in me, none of…
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  • Harrogate

    30 Mar 2015 | 9:15 pm
    Now I dream of Harrogate. Me, who has never even made it to Betty’s Tea Rooms. 27 years in the Northwest and not a single trip to Harrogate… Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Writing Weekend is not something I have seriously considered going to before, especially as it takes place in mid-July, which is a time fraught with holiday plans and trips to Sweden. And things. Last year I felt dismay when I heard JK Rowling was attending, but quickly dismissed this negative thought. And now, now there are more people who draw me there and I so want to go. Sara Paretsky will be there,…
  • Jessica’s Ghost

    29 Mar 2015 | 9:32 pm
    What a perfect book! I’d long wanted to read something by Andrew Norriss, and Jessica’s Ghost was a great place to start. It’s the kind of book that makes you glow gently as you read, and you feel you want to go on forever. I’ve seen it described as a death book, but while any book about a ghost is obviously about death, I wouldn’t give it that label. It’s more about standing out because you’re different, lonely, and depressed. Francis has no friends, and is bullied at school, so when he meets Jessica – who is a ghost and also dead –…
  • The Dragonsitter’s Party

    28 Mar 2015 | 10:23 pm
    ‘Never take popcorn from a dragon.’ Obviously. And when you find a babysitter who ‘does pets’ you shouldn’t assume she will do dragons, especially if they get annoyed at having to share the popcorn. We are back with Eddie and his family, and the dragons. Who just happen to turn up for Eddie’s birthday party. Eddie’s mum is still very much in love with Gordon, so she puts up with him having brought the dragons, although, as I said, it’s hard to go out for a romantic dinner when the sitter doesn’t do pets. Or dragons. They have a magician…
  • Retiring Philippa

    27 Mar 2015 | 10:17 pm
    My pangs of envy and regret started even before Philippa Dickinson’s retirement festivities got under way on Monday. When you’re online you can see what everyone else is doing and quite a few people announced they were heading that way, making me wish I was too. But there are drawbacks to moving to Scotland, and the spontaneity of sudden trips south is one of them. So I wasn’t there, and now I can follow – online again – those who were, and there are more pangs. But I’m glad there was a party, and that it was good, and that – almost – everyone…
  • Do they even know?

    26 Mar 2015 | 9:59 pm
    Recently I had a brief discussion with an author about a small factual mistake in their book. I had sort of noticed it when I read the book, but was too busy actually reading and enjoying, so thought no more of it. It took the Resident IT Consultant to bring it up, and I decided I might as well mention it to the author, in case they’d rather know, perhaps with a view to correcting it in a reprint later on. The author sighed, along the lines of how ‘the editor, copyeditor and proof reader could all have picked it up too, but didn’t.’ I’m not surprised. Not…
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    ReadPlus Review Blog

  • Bridget : a New Australian by James Moloney

    31 Mar 2015 | 8:52 am
    A New Australian series. Omnibus Books (Scholastic Australia), 2015. ISBN: 9781742990989 This book introduces a new series from Scholastic called A New Australian, which will tell the migration stories of children to Australia, each book written by individual authors. Irish history is fertile ground for storytelling; one of its most tragic episodes was the potato famine of the mid-1800s. This intersected with the history of pioneer Australia, leading to one of the great waves of migration to this land. The story begins with the Nelligans, an Irish cottier family who are evicted by their…
  • The Gallipoli story by Patrick Carlyon

    31 Mar 2015 | 8:50 am
    Allen and Unwin 2015. ISBN 9781760112479 (Age: Upper Primary and early Secondary) Well recommended. This book was first published in 2003. As the centenary of Gallipoli is here in 2015 the factual entries are still very poignant and relevant when reading about WW1 and Gallipoli. The author says he 'set out to explore the events of Gallipoli in 1915. I have tried to find the facts, but it is not always possible to separate fact from legend' (Author's Note in the 2003 Edition). This book, with a new striking cover is full of amazing, intimate facts of the soldiers who landed at Anzac Cove.
  • World War 11 Tales by Terry Deary

    31 Mar 2015 | 8:47 am
    Bloomsbury, 2015 The Bike Escape. ISBN 9781472916242 The Apple Spy. ISBN: 9781472916211 (Age: 8-10) Recommended. The Bike Escape - London 1939. Young Harry is a rough and tumble kind of boy, he's an opportunist whose London life is about to drastically change as is the world around him. It is 1939 and the government decides that hundreds of children were to be evacuated from the city, sent in their best clothes with a label and gas mask hanging around their neck, to an uncertain future. School life is tough for the boy; corporal punishment is given out for stealing one piece of chalk. When…
  • iF: A mind-bending new way of looking at big ideas and numbers by David J Smith

    31 Mar 2015 | 8:46 am
    Ill. by Steve Adams. New Frontier Publishing, 2015. ISBN 9781925059267 Smith has taken a whole host of little known or discussed statistics and scaled them down to more manageable time frames, numbers or items. As stated in the blurb, 'iF the sun were the size of a grapefruit, Earth would be the size of a grain of salt. Even the largest planet, Jupiter, would only be as big as a small pea . . . Space, time, inventions, resources, humanity and more - iF scales down big concepts and invites readers to see the world in a mind-bending new way.' Containing stylised illustrations with brightly…
  • Paper planes by Steve Worland

    31 Mar 2015 | 8:42 am
    Puffin Books, 2015. ISBN 9780143308744 (Age: Upper Primary and early Secondary students) Well recommended. It's interesting to read a book of quality after a film has been made, but this is a story of commitment and obsession. Dylan lives in outback Western Australia and because of a chance suggestion from a student teacher he becomes enchanted with paper planes. Dylan's commitment takes him to Sydney and then Tokyo. Along the way, he copes with his depressed Father who is unable to deal with his wife's death and an inspirational, feisty grandfather who, with his lady friends from the Waleup…
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    There's a Botticelli Angel Inside, Snapping Beans:

  • Working at Kirkus

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

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

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

    24 Feb 2015 | 4:18 pm
    Interlude Press, founded in 2014 as a boutique publisher of LGBTQ romantic fiction, is launching Duet, a young adult fiction imprint representing LGBTQ characters. I'll be hoping especially for queer characters of color, and trans characters.
  • My disability has a new name: SEID

    22 Feb 2015 | 10:29 pm
    Something stunning happened recently in the world of CFIDS/CFS/ME. The NIH, the CDC, and the Dept of Health and Human Services (and more) had asked the Institute of Medicine to look into the evidence base of this illness. They have now come out with a smashing report. Please read this brief report on their findings and recommendations. Even shorter, a few key facts they want people to know. If you'd like to see more, like the public release video and/or links to other parts of the report, go here.The IoM comes down for a narrower definition and a new name. As a person who's had this illness…
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    I'm Here. I'm Queer. What the Hell do I read?

  • Maxine Wore Black - A Teen Transgender and Lesbian Love Story... And Murder!

    Lee Wind, M.Ed.
    30 Mar 2015 | 3:00 am
    Maxine Wore Black by Nora OlsenMaxine is the girl of Jayla’s dreams: she’s charming, magnetic, and loves Jayla for her transgender self. There’s only one problem with Maxine—she already has a girlfriend, perfect Becky. Jayla quickly falls under Maxine’s spell, and she’s willing to do anything to win her. But when Becky turns up dead, Jayla is pulled into a tangle of deceit, lies, and murder. Now Jayla is forced to choose between love and the truth. Jayla will need all the strength she has to escape the darkness that threatens to take her very life. You can check out Nora's article…
  • Swans and Klons - A Science Fiction Adventure Starring A Lesbian Teen Couple

    Lee Wind, M.Ed.
    27 Mar 2015 | 3:05 am
    Swans and Klons by Nora OlsenWhat does it take to survive in a world built on lies?Sixteen-year-old Rubric loves her pampered life in the Academy dormitory. She's dating Salmon Jo, a brilliant and unpredictable girl. In their all-female world, non-human slaves called Klons do all the work. But when Rubric and Salmon Jo break into the laboratory where human and Klon babies are grown in vats, they uncover a terrifying secret that tears their idyllic world apart.Their friends won't believe them, and their teachers won't help them. The Doctors who rule Society want to silence Rubric and Salmon…
  • Frenemy Of The People - Two Teen Girls Who Hate Each Other Turn Out To Actually Like Each Other... A Lot!

    Lee Wind, M.Ed.
    25 Mar 2015 | 3:03 am
    Frenemy Of The People by Nora OlsenClarissa and Lexie couldn't be more different. Clarissa is a chirpy, optimistic do-gooder and a top rider on the school's equestrian team. Lexie is an angry, punk rock activist and the only out lesbian at their school. When Clarissa declares she's bi and starts a Gay-Straight Alliance, she unwittingly presses all of Lexie's buttons, so Lexie makes it her job to cut Clarissa down to size. But Lexie goes too far and finds herself an unwitting participant in Clarissa's latest crusade. Both are surprised to find their mutual loathing turning to love. A change in…
  • Fifty Yards And Holding - A Street Gang Leader and High School Sports Star Fall In Love

    Lee Wind, M.Ed.
    23 Mar 2015 | 3:00 am
    Fifty Yards And Holding by David-Matthew BarnesVictor Alvarez is in serious trouble. Now seventeen and flunking out of high school, he’s been chosen as the leader of the violent street gang he’s been a member of since he was thirteen. Riley Brewer has just broken a state record as the star of their high school baseball team. When Riley and Victor meet by chance, a connection begins to grow. When friendship turns to love, both young men realize their reputations contradict who they really are. Once their secret relationship is discovered, Victor realizes their lives are at risk. Refusing…
  • HOLD ME CLOSER: The Tiny Cooper Story – "A Musical Novel" About A Gay Teen

    Lee Wind, M.Ed.
    20 Mar 2015 | 10:30 am
    HOLD ME CLOSER: The Tiny Cooper Story by David LevithanHere's the description from David's Goodreads interview for the book:When YA favorites David Levithan and John Green decided to collaborate on Will Grayson, Will Grayson, their hit 2010 novel of two very different high schoolers with the same name, they had no idea that another character—the irrepressible Tiny Cooper—would end up stealing every scene. Now David has given Tiny the attention he deserves in a new solo novel-as-musical, Hold Me Closer, the Tiny Cooper Story. Yes, both Will Graysons will make an appearance…
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    Literacy, families and learning

  • 16 Holiday Activities that Stimulate Creativity & Learning

    Trevor Cairney
    27 Mar 2015 | 4:14 am
    This is a revised version of a post I wrote a few years ago. As Australian schools prepare for the Easter holidays I thought I'd remind you of some well known activities that can reduce screen time and boredom when your kids have more time on their hand.Parents who have children to care for might try some of the fifteen easy activities. All are fun, simple and can be done at home. Of course, while it's a post about holiday activities any of the ideas can also be used at other times. For many parents holidays mean more hours to fill each day with activities that will keep your children…
  • Eight ways early writing reinforces reading

    Trevor Cairney
    19 Mar 2015 | 4:16 am
    The desire to write starts early!This is a revised version of a post that I did in 2013. I thought that I'd revisit it. Children begin to write early - very early! In fact, they begin to make marks on their world as soon as they can dip fingers into food, water and dirt. Once they can hold a pencil or crayon they are ready to 'compose'! It is important that in the first two years of life that children are given the chance to experience writing. By this, I don't mean structured learning activities, I simply mean an encouragement to try to make marks that might just represent meaning. Very…
  • Questions, Exploration & Learning

    Trevor Cairney
    11 Mar 2015 | 4:39 pm
    Children ask lots of questions. Sometimes their questions don’t move beyond repetitive “Why?” questions that can be annoying. But as well as helping them to learn, children's questions can also teach us a great deal about them and their learning.  Children’s questions usually show us how keen they are to learn – We see that there are gaps in their knowledge, new areas of interest, & things that puzzle them.Questions offer us a window into children’s learning – We discover what they are interested in, their learning styles, and how well they learn best.Questions are also…
  • Non-fiction for Younger Readers: Five New Titles to Explore

    Trevor Cairney
    6 Mar 2015 | 3:34 am
    I've reviewed lots of non-fiction books on this blog over the years. In this post I feature five books (three by the same author) for younger readers. All have some unique qualities.1. 'Before After' by Anne-Margot Ramstein & Matthias Arégui (Walker Books) Everyone knows that a tiny acorn grows into a mighty oak and a caterpillar becomes a butterfly. But in this clever, visually simple and yet stunning hardcover book, French artists Ramstein and Arégui do much more than offer a simple book of word concepts. They offer visual springboards to problem solving and imagination. The authors…
  • 8 Wonderful New Books with the Theme of War

    Trevor Cairney
    22 Feb 2015 | 3:42 pm
    The theme of 'war' is a very common one whether in adult books or those for children and young adults. Typically, these books focus on the impact of war on children's lives and families. As many nations around the world remember various key centenary dates relating to World War I there seem to be many new and varied books addressing this theme for children. What I like about the collection of books that have come across my desk in recent months is the complexity of the stories that a told and the effort to apply new lenses to an old theme. I have reviewed them below in appropriate age order.
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    Kids Love Comics

  • 30 Mar 2015 | 12:24 pm

    John Gallagher
    30 Mar 2015 | 12:24 pm
    Come visit the Kids Love Comics crew at our new locations:Website: http://www.kidslovecomics.netFacebook:
  • Jon's Comics

    Ray Friesen
    11 Jan 2010 | 11:20 am
    I got emailed the other day by Jon Esparza, a real nice guy and big Kids Love Comics fan (in fact, I quite remember having a big long chat about Don Martin with him at the last San Diego Comic Con)Anyway, he's an aspiring cartoonist, dancing the 'how do I get people to notice my work?' dance that so many of us go through, and so I thought I'd share a few of them with all you whoever you are that read this blog! See?!? Never underestimate the power of asking people nicely to do things for you. Just don't over estimate it either.Best of luck to you Jon!
  • A Very Ninja Christmas

    Ray Friesen
    30 Nov 2009 | 7:19 pm
    Just saw Jimmy's new book 'A Very Ninja Christmas' plastered all over the holiday display at a Barnes & Noble in LA. High Five Mr. Gownley!What are the rest of you peoples up to, huh? Cuz I dunno...
  • Baltimore Comic Con

    Ray Friesen
    8 Oct 2009 | 11:32 am
    Well, apparently the Baltimore ComicCon is this weekend. I won't be going, indeed, have never been, but I hear it's great, and I know KLC has a big honkin booth, so everybody have a baltimoretastic time, and post some groovy photos upon your return! Back East Kids Comics Fans: GO! Buy Books, have fun times, or else.
  • San Diego Comic Con 2009

    Ray Friesen
    19 Jul 2009 | 12:49 pm
    Just thought I'd remindify everybody here who's coming to the San Diego Comic Con (in justa few days! So much stuff to do to get ready! Augh!) to come and visit us Kids Love Comickers! (Does any one else think we need a snappier nickname? Post comments suggesting clever ones, we'd love to hear.) Me, (Ray Friesen), and Jimmmy Gownley (Jimmy Gownley) are going to be sharing a booth and poking each other at #2207. Scott Christian Sava is going to be at booth 2002. You can remember them easily, since they both have two 2's in them. Also, Scotts booth, if it were a year, is the past, while Jimmy…
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    The Book Chook

  • Looking Back to January, February, March 2014

    29 Mar 2015 | 11:00 am
    Looking Back to January, February, March 2014 by Susan Stephenson, www.thebookchook.comLast year I did a regular feature on The Book Chook, where I looked at popular posts from previous months and years. Today I'm re-visiting popular posts at The Book Chook from January, February and March of 2014. Don't forget you can use the right sidebar to find earlier posts, too. Click Creating, Learning, Reviews, Reading, Writing and Celebrating to explore those themes, or try the Blog Archive to browse by months. The Free PDFs button takes you to my website where you can download any of the free…
  • Tips and Resources for Poem in your Pocket Day

    26 Mar 2015 | 11:00 am
    Tips and Resources for Poem in your Pocket Day by Susan Stephenson, www.thebookchook.comPoem in Your Pocket Day 2015 will be held on Thursday, April 30. It’s part of a national emphasis on poetry in the USA for the month of April. By my reckoning, it ought to be celebrated world-wide! I love the way Poem in Your Pocket Day is so simple and achievable. The idea is to select a poem, carry it in some kind of pocket, and share it with others. Children can choose a favourite poem someone else has written, or choose to celebrate themselves as poets by carrying a creation of their own.Poem in Your…
  • Children’s Book Review, Hoot Owl, Master of Disguise

    24 Mar 2015 | 11:00 am
    Children's Book Review by Susan Stephenson, www.thebookchook.comHoot Owl, Master of Disguise is a children’s picture book written by Sean Taylor, illustrated by Jean Jullien and published by Walker Books Australia, 2014 and Random House in the USA. From the publisher: Hoot Owl is no ordinary owl - oh no! - he's a MASTER OF DISGUISE! And he will use his formidable camouflage powers to trick his unsuspecting prey into succumbing to him! Tiny animals of the night ... BEWARE! But, SOMEHOW, Hoot Owl's prey keeps escaping... Hmmm, perhaps he isn't quite as masterful as he believes. Will he ever…
  • Creative Prompt for Kids, Start with an Animal

    22 Mar 2015 | 11:00 am
    Creative Prompt for Kids, Start with an Animalby Susan Stephenson, www.thebookchook.comHere’s a new creative prompt in my series that hopes to inspire some creativity in your kids. You can find more creative prompts for children in my list, embedded below. * Observe an animal really carefully but from a safe distance. Jot down all the details you notice about it, sketch it, take photos or all three. What does the animal feel like/look like/sound like/smell like? What do those things remind you of? How does it move? Combine your ideas into a poem. * Choose an animal character to write or…
  • A List of Important Special Days for Kids

    19 Mar 2015 | 11:00 am
    A List of Important Special Days for Kids by Susan Stephenson, www.thebookchook.comA few months ago I published a List of Book-related Special Days. Then I shared a List of Fun Special Days for Kids. Today’s list is of the “important” special days we can use as a focus for children's learning, that are not specifically book-related.It’s difficult to separate Important Special Days from Fun Special Days, and indeed from Book-related Special Days. Why shouldn’t the important days be fun too? Of course they are. But generally I have called the more frivolous special days “Fun”…
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    Gail Carson Levine

  • Plots and subplots

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

    4 Mar 2015 | 5:41 am
    Just curious: Did anyone join in the Woozworld event? I found it strange and didn’t feel as if I met anyone, really. If you were there, what was your experience?Here’s a link to an interesting article in The New York Times about the cheerful bias in journalism and, by extension I guess, in humanity: I think it’s something to keep in mind as we write stories.On September 18th or later, writeforfun wrote, I’ve been meaning to start writing the third book in my trilogy for months now, but I’m stuck, and a…
  • Pain! Agony!

    18 Feb 2015 | 6:23 am
    First off: a reminder about my appearance on Woozworld on February 21st from 1:00 to 2:00 PM. I’ll be there in the form of an avatar (with gray hair and gray-green eyes--and the resemblance ends there), answering advance questions and questions that crop up at the time. If you participate, I’ll meet you through your avatar, but we probably won’t recognize each other in the actual universe. My hesitations about the event are that it may be too young for many of you, and (the more serious hesitation) that you have to join Woozworld to participate. Please discuss this with your parents…
  • Smooth sailing

    4 Feb 2015 | 7:39 am
    Before the post, this news: On Saturday, February 21st at 1:00 PM, there will be a virtual launch party for Writer to Writer, which will run for an hour on Woozworld. HarperCollins has set this up and I've never done it before, but I'll be there answering questions. I'm a newbie, so I don't know what it will be like. There's an avatar who sort of looks like me in a funhouse mirror kind of way (minus the wrinkles). It may be a bit young for many of you, but if you're interested in ways that publishers promote books these days, this will be an example. I'm hoping that we can interact a bit and…
  • Setting Wake Up

    20 Jan 2015 | 9:00 pm
    On August 15, 2014, carpelibris wrote, Anyone have the opposite problem: livening up a story that takes place on a single, rather ordinary location?Let’s break this into two pieces, the ordinariness and the unmoving-ness of the setting and start with the first.Pick the most boring, most blah place in your life that you can go to right now. Your assignment, as soon as I tell you to, is to take yourself there.Right now I’m in my most boring space, a Metro North train rattling toward New York City, where I often write the blog. I’m not talking about my fellow passengers, who often aren’t…
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    Blog - Alan Dapré - Children's Author

  • Back In The Room…

    7 Mar 2015 | 7:01 am
    It’s good to be back! I have taken time off from writing this blog to concentrate on writing children’s books. It takes a while to create meaningful, exciting and engaging characters who jump off the page, climb up your nose and playfully mess about with your brain. I shall be posting soon about some exciting new […]
  • Far from perfect grammar

    14 Jan 2014 | 3:39 am
    My Grammar School inconveniently forgot to teach me grammar. Fact. We had a few lessons about verbs and adverbs, prepositions and commas – and that was about it. When I became a Primary teacher I swotted up on the basics, while older colleagues banged on about the dubious merits of Box Analysis.   As a […]
  • ‘It’s good to write badly’ – Writing tips from Alan Dapre

    4 Jan 2014 | 7:50 am
    It’s good to write badly. Baldly, in my case. Back in the noisy days of  typewriters I was indebted to a strip of white tape that I placed on the paper to strike out mistakes. This was replaced in time by liquid paper. Nowadays the computer Delete key is my friend. Though I enjoy drafting […]
  • Of the 8 million children in institutions worldwide, more than 90% are not orphans.

    3 Jan 2014 | 1:26 pm
    So says Lumos. A UK based charity dedicated to getting children out of institutions. Further to my earlier blog about Lumos – the charity chaired by J.K. Rowling – I thought I’d share more about what it is trying to do. ‘Across the globe 8 million children are living in institutions that deny them individual […]
  • Looking for quality picture ebooks for kids at a great price?

    30 Dec 2013 | 11:46 am
    I’ve decided to offer two of my picture ebooks at a great discount. Why? I want to get my ebooks read as much as possible so it makes sense to lower the cost – to less than a third of the original purchase price. Wiggle Jiggle  (UK link)   (US Link) (Canada Link) Cuddle Muddle  (UK link)  (US link) (Canada […]
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  • Flu Piece

    29 Mar 2015 | 9:04 pm
      Here’s some art I did for a story I’m working on. It seems to be always cold and flu season around here, but this green spotted stuff is truly serious!
  • The Unwritten in picture books: free Webinar

    26 Mar 2015 | 2:26 pm
    Just thought I’d link to this free Webinar, The Unwritten, starring editors Harold Underdown and Eileen Robinson. They’re offering a class in picture book writing that sounds pretty good! Interesting Webinar points out the subtext in picture books using A Snowy Day (and there have been lots of those this year!). Click for the Webinar. Just as in art, the negative space shapes your painting, in writing, the pauses and what’s left unsaid give meaning to your words. It’s not just about showing what’s unsaid in the illustrations, because not everything is shown in…
  • Tomi Ungerer

    25 Jan 2015 | 9:30 pm
    Author and Illustrator Tomi Ungerer, subject of the film Far Out Isn’t Far Enough, is also the subject of an exhibit at The Drawing Center in NYC and a book, All In One. He did not do just children’s books such as Tortoni Tremolo, the Cursed Musician, but political satire and advertising art. These days we need more minds like his. Born in 1931 in France, he has done over 140 books for both children and adults. In his adult books has targeted animal cruelty, the Vietnam War, and written about eroticism (Wikipedia). This is one of my favorite kids’ books of his, which I…
  • Ursula K. Leguin

    29 Dec 2014 | 6:54 pm
    Love these remarks about publishing by Ursula K. LeGuin! She talks about how publishers should hang onto integrity and resist commercial pressures. She talks about how sci-fi and fantasy were once not considered suitable literature (now, dystopia is practically the rule!) She also scathingly criticized Amazon. A publishing executive called “the most ferocious speech ever given at the National Book Awards.” Besides books for children, she has written poetry and criticism. She’s a natural rebel, being from Berkeley, CA! More info at NPR. Here is her own site.  
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    TR - Blog for Books, Reviews, Opinion and discussion

  • Quote - Secret of Success

    imTabula rasa
    31 Mar 2015 | 6:44 am
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  • Stray thoughts on Christine by Stephen King

    imTabula rasa
    29 Mar 2015 | 4:30 am
    I  was a new entrant to the world of  Stephen King and the curves he throws up so I opened the book with no sense of foreboding or aware of the impending fright that was waiting for me... [[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]]
  • Quote - What's a Miracle?

    imTabula rasa
    23 Mar 2015 | 9:50 pm
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  • Where are You?

    imTabula rasa
    22 Mar 2015 | 5:44 am
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  • Perceptions or Changing hues of beauty

    imTabula rasa
    26 Feb 2015 | 10:41 pm
    The delicate shells lay on the shore; The bubbles of the latest wave Fresh pearls to their enamel gave; And the bellowing of the savage sea Greeted their safe escape to me.  I wiped away... [[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]]
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