Children's Literature

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  • Boys & Learning: 'Active Learning' works!

    Literacy, families and learning
    Trevor Cairney
    29 Jun 2015 | 4:00 pm
    In an article in 'The Atlantic' Jessica Lahey called on schools to 'stop penalizing boys for not being able to sit still at school'. The article was motivated by her observations of boys as a teacher and her reading of the findings of research on boys published by the International Boys’ Schools Coalition’s 'Teaching Boys: A global study of effective practices'. Her teaching of boys suggested that while some struggled at school, others thrived. What is the ingredient that leads to inconsistency? Is it simply within the boys, or are there factors external to the boys that are at work?As a…
  • How Children's Reading Habits Are Changing & Six Ways to Support them

    Literacy, families and learning
    Trevor Cairney
    24 May 2015 | 4:23 am
    The National Literacy Trust in the United Kingdom has just published its annual report on children's literacy and there are some encouraging signs. The trust is the only national charity dedicated to raising literacy levels in the UK.1. The report highlightsThe 2014 report (released in 2015) of 32,026 children in grades 3 to 11 suggests some interesting trends:Levels of enjoyment have risen with 54.5% enjoying reading quite a lot.Daily reading rates have increased substantially with a 28.6% increase in children who read outside the class on a daily basis.Twice as many children read outside…
  • Sketching and imagination as tools for close reading and comprehension

    Literacy, families and learning
    Trevor Cairney
    12 May 2015 | 12:40 am
    *This is a revised version of a post I wrote a couple of years ago.Every teacher wants to help children to read deeply, to grasp the richness of characterisation, the devices the author uses to create mood and tension, the intent and purpose of the writer and the language devices employed. We also want them to be moved by the text and able to reflect and respond critically to it. I've written lots of posts about comprehension, but in this one I want to revisit a previously discussed strategy that I've used with children aged 3 to 12 years and which I continue to see as one of the most…
  • Lewis, J. Patrick. POEM-MOBILES

    Booktalks Quick and Simple
    4 Jul 2015 | 3:56 am
    Lewis, J. Patrick. POEM-MOBILES
  • 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #439: Featuring Akiko Miyakoshi

    Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast
    jules
    4 Jul 2015 | 11:01 pm
    It just so happens that my very favorite medium in picture book illustration is charcoal. I get all googly-eyed when I see it done well. But that’s not the only reason I love this book from author-illustrator Akiko Miyakoshi, The Tea Party in the Woods, coming in August from Kids Can Press and originally published in Japan back in 2010. The visuals here are pure magic and filled with intriguing details, and the story is one of mystery and friendship. A young girl, named Kikko, awakes to a “winter wonderland.” She heads out to deliver a pie to her Grandma, the one that her…
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    The Horn Book

  • A Home for Bird

    Alice Hoffman
    6 Jul 2015 | 5:36 pm
    A Home for Bird has been on my radar for a long time. I was on a recon mission at ALA for new books and I sneaked a slow peek while the Roaring Brook folks were busy. It took me a while to read it because I kept slowing down. There is just so much to take in. I need to admit right now that I love the loose, crayon-y strokes in this book. From the very first page (which is really the dedication page), I admired those strokes. The junker of a truck (“Careful Moving Co.”) is exactly the kind of truck my dad would have loved. There it is, spilling over with junk: a rug, chair,…
  • Wait, what?

    Alice Hoffman
    6 Jul 2015 | 5:29 pm
    Everyone here is busy reading and re-reading the books of 2012 in preparation for our Fanfare choices for the best books of the year. (Last year’s list.) Any and all available copies get pulled into service, meaning one editor might have the finished book, another an ARC, another an ebook or audio version. God knows I love me my gadgets, but is anybody else worried about the end of browsing? A character pops up you don’t quite remember reading about before, but checking back through what you’ve read in an ebook looks more efficient than it is: on my Kindle I have to call up…
  • Early books, late books, and books that fade from memory

    Alice Hoffman
    6 Jul 2015 | 5:23 pm
    alksdfjalk Next post about books that made a splash at the beginning of the year but fade by the end. Horn Book stars that don’t make it onto Fanfare (and some that weren’t starred but grow on us and DO find a place on the Fanfare list). In the next few weeks Robin and I will concentrate on the books that are still being discussed and that seem like very good contenders. Or that others are discussing but we don’t think should be on the list. The post Early books, late books, and books that fade from memory appeared first on The Horn Book.
  • Each Kindness

    Alice Hoffman
    6 Jul 2015 | 5:19 pm
    Darn you, Charlotte Zolotow committee! You beat me to the punch, awarding this fine book your award last week! The CCBC website explains, “The Charlotte Zolotow Award is given annually to the author of the best picture book text published in the United States in the preceding year….The award is administered by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center, a children’s literature library of the School of Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Each year a committee of children’s literature experts selects the winner from the books published in the preceding year.
  • ALA, the Sunday version

    Alice Hoffman
    6 Jul 2015 | 5:15 pm
    Here are a few pictures from my day. I did not take pictures at the publisher breakfast. It was a tad crowded and I was balancing a coffee cup on my knee. But I did get to hear about a bunch of new books. Always a good thing. Some librarians had volunteered to help out in the presentations. There was storytelling. At 7:00 AM. I am not really a storytelling sort of girl at any hour, so that was a little rough on me. However, I did love thinking about that new Brian Pinkney book. I am having some issues with these silly pictures…so I will just caption them and hope for the best! I visited…
 
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    Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast

  • Seven Questions Over Breakfast with Michael Emberley

    jules
    6 Jul 2015 | 11:01 pm
      Well, dear readers, it’s been a while since I’ve done a breakfast interview. Since I’ve been teaching this summer, it takes me longer to get to these more time-intensive Q&As. My visitor today, illustrator Michael Emberley, deserves an award (or a free breakfast perhaps) for his patience with me. We started talking last year about doing this interview. And I’m really glad we got around to it. I enjoy seeing his illustration work, and I really enjoyed chatting with him and hearing his responses to these questions. Emberley, the son of legendary illustrator…
  • 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #439: Featuring Akiko Miyakoshi

    jules
    4 Jul 2015 | 11:01 pm
    It just so happens that my very favorite medium in picture book illustration is charcoal. I get all googly-eyed when I see it done well. But that’s not the only reason I love this book from author-illustrator Akiko Miyakoshi, The Tea Party in the Woods, coming in August from Kids Can Press and originally published in Japan back in 2010. The visuals here are pure magic and filled with intriguing details, and the story is one of mystery and friendship. A young girl, named Kikko, awakes to a “winter wonderland.” She heads out to deliver a pie to her Grandma, the one that her…
  • What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Daniel Miyares

    jules
    2 Jul 2015 | 11:01 pm
    (Click to enlarge second image)   I’ve got a wee picture book round-up over at Kirkus today. That link is here. I wrote over at Kirkus last week about Daniel Miyares Float (Simon & Schuster, June 2015), so today I follow up with some final spreads from the book. Daniel also sent some early sketches. Note: I wrote in that column last week that Daniel created these illustrations digitally. That wasn’t entirely correct, and it’s since been corrected over in my piece. These were rendered via watercolors with digital tools. Enjoy! (Click to enlarge sketch)   (Click…
  • The Art of Emily Hughes

    jules
    2 Jul 2015 | 6:50 am
    “It was a flower. It was alive and wonderful. It gave the gardener hopeand it made him work even harder.”– From The Little Gardener(Click to see spread in its entirety)   From Wild(Click to enlarge)   Last week, I talked to author-illustrator Emily Hughes over at Kirkus, so today I’m sharing some spreads from her new book, The Little Gardener, coming to shelves in August, as well as 2013’s Wild (both published by Flying Eye Books). Enjoy!   Art from The Little Gardener (August 2015):   “This was the garden. It didn’t look like much…
  • Loads of Headbutting Before Breakfast

    jules
    30 Jun 2015 | 6:17 am
    “This is my rock.”(Click to enlarge slightly)   British author and illustrator David Lucas has a new book out, This Is My Rock (Flying Eye, May 2015), and I’ve got some art from it today. I always like to check out Lucas’ books, and this one has a poignant back story to its dedication. This is a story of power and ultimately, friendship, as a domineering goat atop a mountain claims it for himself but in the end discovers his own loneliness. It invites, as the Kirkus review notes, “a broader consideration of the ins and outs of ownership than the usual…
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    Finding Wonderland: The WritingYA Weblog

  • Monday Review: I'LL GIVE YOU THE SUN by Jandy Nelson

    Sarah Stevenson
    6 Jul 2015 | 11:30 am
    Summary: This one hadn't been on my immediate radar until I signed up to attend the Printz award ceremony at ALA in San Francisco at the end of June—and then I decided I'd better get going on reading the winner of that prestigious honor if I wanted to get the most out of the author's speech and the experience as a whole. Plus, it would really be a much better thing to have read the book if I somehow ended up talking to the author…which I didn't, but if I had, I'd have told her that her book is amazing and I wish I'd written it. I'll Give You the Sun is about family and love, art and…
  • TURNING PAGES: REBEL MECHANICS by SHAUNNA SWENDSON

    tanita✿davis
    3 Jul 2015 | 1:47 am
    Normally I'd gush about this being a great summer read to tuck into your bag for the beach, but I kind of hate the term "beach reads" and the relentless marketing campaigns and lists surrounding them. For me a beach read is a book I can get through quickly and simply be entertained, even while people are running around and screaming and flailing in the water -- but I realized that's more than a little reductive. Here at Wonderland, we feel there's not a thing wrong with a book primarily plot driven, fast-paced and doesn't require you to keep track of too many characters or their motivations.
  • TURNING PAGES: THE JUMBIES by TRACEY BAPTISTE

    tanita✿davis
    30 Jun 2015 | 4:38 pm
    This book is one off-the-beaten-track for me. It's definitely a MG chapter book, and skews quite a bit younger than the books we usually review here -- but I'm reviewing it anyway, because I'm excited that I'll have the opportunity to meet the author this fall. Tracey Baptiste is one of our keynote speakers for KidLitCon 2015, which will be held October 9 & 10 at the Hyatt Place Harbor East in Baltimore, Maryland. I wanted to read this book, too, because I'd not consciously heard of Jumbies... but for some reason, the word set off an echo that said... "haints." Now, a haint is... one of those…
  • Monday Review: GLORY O'BRIEN'S HISTORY OF THE FUTURE by A.S. King

    Sarah Stevenson
    29 Jun 2015 | 3:41 pm
    Summary: I don't know why I put off reading this one for so long. I really love A.S. King's writing, and every time I read one of her books I'm pretty much blown away. This one's no exception. Trying to summarize it is only going to make it sound truly bizarre, but it IS bizarre in a most wonderful way, so here goes.Glory O'Brien has a fairly circumscribed world. She lives with her father—her mother committed suicide when she was four, and it's left a gaping hole in her life as well as making her father lose his own way. Her best friend, Ellie, who is basically her only friend, lives in a…
  • TURNING PAGES: THE MEMORY CHAIR by SUSAN WHITE

    tanita✿davis
    23 Jun 2015 | 4:22 am
    After I sighed enviously through Susan White's Ten Thousand Truths and longed to live on a magical farm like that (despite the fact that there's nothing magical about having to dig and drudge and deal with small, mad chickens who don't want you to take their eggs), I was pleased to find another book which I can only describe as magical realism. Is it fantasy? Not really. Is it speculative? Kind of. Magical is just the best way to describe it, and it's a marvelous book to take you through an extra-long lunchtime spent munching the first tiny, sour plums of summertime. Summary: Betony Fraser…
 
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    A Chair, A Fireplace, & A Tea Cozy

  • Teaser - These Shallow Graves

    Liz B
    6 Jul 2015 | 1:00 am
    These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly. Delacorte Press. 2015. Reviewed from ARC. Publication date October 27, 2015.A historical mystery! In 1890's New York City, Josephine Montfort has everything: she's young, she's rich, her parents adore her, she has good friends. Soon, she'll be engaged to the handsome and rich young man who has been a good friend since childhood. She wants to be a reporter, like Nelly Bly, and puts together the school paper.All that changes when her father is found dead in his locked study, a gun in his hand. An accident.Jo can't understand how the accident…
  • Looking for recommendations....

    Liz B
    5 Jul 2015 | 9:42 am
    Sometimes, I'm reading for outside reasons (right now,  I'm reading YA for the Edwards Award, and New Adult for various articles and webinars) - and sometimes I read for me. Don't get me wrong, I love YA and New Adult, but the truth is, I like to mix up what I'm reading. And after months reading about teens or young twentysomethings, I want a change -- I want to read about characters that, well, are closer to my age. (This desire is one of the reasons I'm sympathetic to the reader-driven aspect of New Adult, of people wanting to read about those in their own age group.)So that's the long…
  • Edwards Award: Who Was Margaret A Edwards?

    Liz B
    26 May 2015 | 1:00 am
    If all these posts about the Edwards Award makes you want to know more about the woman the Award was named for, here you go!At the YALSA website: Who Is Margaret Edwards and What Is This Award Being Given In Her Honor? by Betty Carter. This is an article that originally appeared in The ALAN Review, Spring 1992, 45 - 48.And, also at the YALSA website, some Award Facts.Amazon Affiliate. If you click from here to Amazon and buy something, I receive a percentage of the purchase price. © Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy
  • Edwards Award: Winners!

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

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

  • Tales of a San Francisco ALA on an Historic Pride Weekend

    medinger
    3 Jul 2015 | 5:04 am
    June 2014. Las Vegas. Evening. A gaggle of ALA-attending librarians trudge along the Strip past feathered showgirls, dodging happy folks with very large drinks, and loud hen parties full of girls in very high heels. “Next year it is San Francisco.” mutters one librarian. “On Pride Weekend.” she goes on, stone-faced.  “I heard that meant that they will be running around with their thingies out.” says another. “Oh jeez.” they all moan as they slip past a sort-of-naked person, enter a hotel, and stolidly march through the noisy…
  • Coming Soon: Steve Sheinkin’s Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War

    medinger
    23 Jun 2015 | 4:15 am
    This is an outstanding presentation of a very difficult time in US history. Sheinkin has managed to distill some very complex stuff into a compelling and, at times, compulsive read. Even for me who has a vivid recollection of much that is in the book*, seeing those bumbling Plumbers at work at the Watergate, reading Nixon’s comments, and being reminded of the horror of what we saw on the nightly news and newspapers as to what was going on in Southeast Asia made for a riveting reading experience. It fascinated me that Sheinkin is too young to have experienced any of this so for him it is…
  • The Championship Season

    medinger
    22 Jun 2015 | 3:34 am
    A few days ago Travis Jonker asked, Where Do You Fall On The Book Critic/Book Champion Continuum?  Travis suggested that at one end of the continuum were those who were purely critics and at the other those who were purely book champions. I commented: I define myself as both as a critic and as a book champion. I love reviewing for Horn Book, the Times, and my blogs and rarely write negative reviews. Like you I prefer to focus on what I like rather than what I don’t. And when I really love something I advocate for it like crazy, on my blog, on other people’s blogs in the comments, in…
  • Alice And The True Story Behind A Popular Fantasy

    medinger
    18 Jun 2015 | 3:29 am
    I highly recommend Tom Ashbrook’s On Point podcast, “Alice and the True Story behind a Popular Fantasy” featuring Robert Douglas-Fairhurst, author of The Story of Alice: Lewis Carroll and the Secret History of Wonderland, and Carolyn Vega, curator of the opening-next-week Morgan Library exhibit, Alice: 150 years of Wonderland.
  • The New Forthcoming Peanuts Movie

    medinger
    17 Jun 2015 | 3:00 am
    Somehow I missed that there was a new CGI Peanuts movie in the works. But now I’m up-to-date having just seen the below trailer. While I think the idea of Charlie Brown attempting to reinvent himself fits the character nicely, I’m having to get past my own aged preferences for the original (and by “original” I mean Schultz’s comics not the television shows) to recognize that this sort of CGI rendering will probably go over best for today’s kids. Also, while I knew and remembered the overwhelming whiteness of the Peanuts gang (the introduction of Franklin…
 
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    Chasing Ray

  • Greetings from Hollywood High, 1944

    colleen
    22 Jun 2015 | 12:41 am
    During World War II my maternal grandfather, Pete Hurley, received Seabee training in Port, Hueneme, California and apparently (from this postcard anyway) had a bit of time to take in the sights. Read about the Seabees and the naval base here. My grandfather worked in a shipyard in NYC before the war so was a perfect fit for the “Construction Battalion”. He sent this to his mother-in-law, my Nana, who not only kept the three photo albums I have been sorting through but also all of the postcards ever sent to her (plus some she picked up on her own and wrote “I was here”…
  • The NYC girls in the picture, circa 1915

    colleen
    15 Jun 2015 | 10:09 pm
    In the very back of one of the three photo albums that belonged to my great grandmother Julia, my mother and I found an unexpected surprise. Most of the photos were family (of course) but on these three pages were multiple rows of Julia’s girlfriends in small 2×2 or 2×3 inch photos. I have no idea who most of these women are. A few have names penciled on the back and a couple are of Julia’s younger sisters, Carol and Tina. They were taken by professional photographers in studios and cut down as they were placed in the album. Together, they form a record of working women…
  • On taking to another world with Neil Waldman

    colleen
    7 Jun 2015 | 8:00 pm
    Paging through Neil Waldman’s Al and Teddy is an immersive experience; the deep rich images are quite impressive: Waldman’s story is about two brothers, one of whom creates an imaginary world that he shares with his sibling. It’s simple and straightforward, with a sweet ending but the images really take it up a notch. It’s pretty hard to tear yourself away from something like this: Al and Teddy was published by Dream Yard Press. Proceeds from sales of the book go to the purchase of art supplies (and pizza!) for children of the Bronx who participate in the Dream Yard…
  • Assessing April & May on the Resolution Scale

    colleen
    1 Jun 2015 | 2:14 am
    And here we go! 1. Reviews of Bone Gap, Magonia and Shadowshaper submitted to Locus. I also read Archivist Wasp and will be submitting that review this week. 2. For Booklist I reviewed Modern Love by Aziz Ansari, Rhythm of the Wild by Kim Heacox and 81 Days Below Zero by Brian Murphy. 3. In April I completed two pieces, one a Q&A with author Leigh Newman about growing up between Alaska and Maryland and the other about the Scientist in the Field series of books for tweens/teens. I submitted queries on these to a couple of publications, waited six weeks with no reply and then sent…
  • Lost ships, lost planes, lost pilots, lost climbers, lost stories……..

    colleen
    27 May 2015 | 1:41 am
    In college I wrote a senior paper on the USS Indianapolis which became famously sunk and lost in WWII resulting in the largest recorded shark attack in history. I exchanged letters and phone calls with over 60 of the ship’s survivors (the 47 letters I received are on file with the Indianapolis Historical Society). There were many elements of the Indianapolis story that intrigued me, not the least of which was that it was relatively unknown at the time I was researching it. I couldn’t believe the US Navy lost a ship only to be found by sheer luck or that our history would so…
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    Arthur Slade: The YA Fantastical Fiction Guy

  • My Editor Says That These Two Words I Use Make Kitties Cry

    Arthur Slade
    18 Jun 2015 | 9:04 am
    The short of it:My editor finds an innovative way to point out my repetitious writing habits.How it began:I handed in draft number umpteen (that's an understatement) of my 1920's horror novel, Flickers. A short time later (geologically speaking) I received the edited version all marked up in Microsoft Word. All was well and I even laughed when I came across this:So I dutifully changed it to this:Then a few pages later this appeared:Another uproarious laugh exploded from my lips. Exploded, I tell you! This is the kind of back and forth authors love with their editors. And on the next page I…
  • The 1st Page Critique Offer

    Arthur Slade
    5 Jun 2015 | 9:40 am
    Let me read your writing!The first page of your writing project is the most important. It's where you hook the readers. This is the same truth whether it's a short story, novel, or non-fiction piece. So I'm offering to do a critique of the first page of your piece of writing for anyone who's a subscriber to my newsletter. The actual offer will be in my next newsletter (to come out on June 16th) and will be available until June 30th, 2015.Hmmm. The word critique bothers me. It implies criticism. Instead I should call it here-are-my-humble-suggestions-take-them-or-leave them. I've been doing…
  • Writing lessons from Mad Max: Fury Road

    Arthur Slade
    26 May 2015 | 9:36 pm
    *minor spoilers follow Mad Max: Fury Road is an understated movie. Oh, I know, I know it's perhaps the greatest action/car chase/things-blow-up movie in existence. But it's also very understated and that serves to make it more powerful.One of the things I think about when writing is the relationship with the reader. Am I telling the reader too much (IE the ol' show don't tell rule). Am I trusting the reader to put two and two together (and make four, of course) or am I not trusting them and telling them too much backstory (again!)? Readers become more engaged if they are allowed to…
  • 10,000 Copies Sold! Now I Can Retire

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

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

  • On The Cover of July's BOOK FUN MAGAZINE

    max
    2 Jul 2015 | 6:46 am
    I have the privilege to be featured on the July cover of Book Fun Magazine and with an interview on pages 118 - 127 http://digital.turn-page.com/i/534840-july-2015-magazine Max Elliot Anderson
  • Get kids started reading an exciting series this summer!

    max
    30 Jun 2015 | 2:06 pm
    Yes, there's still lots of time to get kids started reading an exciting series this summer! Books #1 and #2 of the Sam Cooper Adventure Series have been re-released by Elk Lake Publishing. These will be followed by #3 River Rampage, #4 This Property Is Condemned, #5 At The Buzzer, and #6 Ghosts In The Old Attic.Book #1 - Lost Island SmugglersBook #2 - Captain Jack's TreasureBook #3- River RampageBook #4 - This Property Is CondemnedBook #5 - At The BuzzerBook #6 - Ghosts In The Old Attic Order Lost Island Smugglers…
  • Good News For Middle Grade Readers

    max
    24 Jun 2015 | 3:08 pm
    In July, I'll be featured on the cover of Book Fun Magazine - circulation 480,000 - with a feature article inside.I'll post details when the issue is out.Watch for it, and please send the information on to middle grade readers, your family members, teachers, librarians, and circle of friends.Thank you!Max
  • Adventures & Mysteries for Kids - What Keeps Me Writing?

    max
    10 Jun 2015 | 6:22 am
    Writing for middle grade readers is a solitary pursuit. In fact, ask any author and you’re likely to get a similar response. Long hours, alone in my writing room, are required to produce the action-adventures and mysteries I write for this age group. And, for the most part, an author rarely receives much feedback directly from his or her audience. So, you can imagine what a delight it is to hear from some of my readers.In some cases, this takes place at a school visit where I have a chance to interact with middle grade students.There have also been countless emails from happy…
  • A Cure For Middle Grade Summer Reading Blues

    max
    30 May 2015 | 10:40 am
    Believe me when I tell you I grew up hating to read; not just in the summer, but all the time. There were several reasons for this, but the irony of the situation is my father authored over 70 books during his lifetime, and I didn’t read any of them as a child.Today I write action-adventures and mysteries, for middle grade readers, I would have enjoyed as a kid. My entire professional life has been devoted to the production of dramatic films, video programs, and television commercials.So, when it comes to writing for middle grade readers, I bring unique elements to each project.At the…
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    Wands and Worlds

  • Ten year blogiversary!

    11 Jun 2015 | 8:30 am
    Ten years ago today, I made my first blog post. It was a report on BookExpo America 2005, and it doesn't sound all that different from my most recent posts, although written in a slightly more formal voice. It's funny to think that Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince hadn't been released yet when I started blogging. It seems so long ago now.I was inspired to start blogging by the fabulous Tasha Saecker, who now blogs at Waking Brain Cells. I had already been reviewing books on a website (the original Wands and Worlds, no longer online) that I created with my son. I followed and…
  • Game of Thrones: "The Dance of Dragons" - SPOILERS

    7 Jun 2015 | 7:04 pm
    SPOILERSPOILERSPOILERSPOILERSPOILERSPOILERSPOILERSPOILERSPOILERSPOILERSPOILERSPOILERGame of ThronesHow I hate youHow I love youWhydid wehave to seea girlburnedalive?But OH!DaenerysRidingADragon!
  • BookExpo America 2015: Day 2

    1 Jun 2015 | 5:26 pm
    On Thursday, I attended the YA Editors' Buzz panel. I always enjoy these panels; it's interesting to hear the editors talking about the story behind the book. For example, Laura Chasen from St. Martin's Griffin talked about sitting down to read the manuscript of Dreams Things True by Marie Marquardt, and two hours later she was in the office saying, "We have to acquire this book!" Several of the other editors had similar stories. Christian Trimmer from Simon & Schuster said that the finished manuscript for The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch was amazing, but he told Daniel Kraus that…
  • BookExpo America 2015: Day1

    29 May 2015 | 4:24 pm
    The main conference and exhibit halls for BEA 2015 started mid-day on Wednesday, and ran for half a day. This unusual late opening was convenient for travel, because I was able to drive up in the morning and save a day in the hotel. However, it gave an odd feel to the exhibit hall, almost as if it were a preview and not fully open for business. Although there were plenty of people in the hall, it seemed to me less crowded than usual, and the mood seemed subdued. It'll be interesting to see if things are different today, the first full day of the conference. I spent most of the afternoon in…
  • Game of Thrones: Thoughts about Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken (Spoilers)

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

  • KAMIK'S FIRST SLED by Matilda Sulurayok and Qin Leng

    6 Jul 2015 | 5:48 am
    Two years ago I read--and recommended--Kamik: An Inuit Puppy Story, a delightful story about a puppy named Kamik and his owner, a young Inuit boy named Jake. In it, Jake is trying to train Kamik, but--Kamik is a pup--and Jake is frustrated with the pup's antics. Jake's grandfather is in the story, too, and tells him about sled dogs, imparting Inuit knowledge as he does.Today, I'm happy to recommend another story about Kamik and Jake. The author of Kamik: An Inuit Puppy Story is Donald Uluadluak. This time around, the writer is Matilda Sulurayok. Like Uluadluak, Sulurayok is an…
  • Claiming, Misrepresenting, and Ignorance of Cherokee Identity

    3 Jul 2015 | 8:11 am
    Some books that we give to young children carry enormous weight. The Case for Loving: The Fight for Interracial Marriage is one example. It is about the Supreme Court's decision in 1967, in which they ruled that people could marry whomever they loved, regardless of race.Richard Loving was white. The woman he loved.... is misrepresented in The Case for Loving. The author, Selina Alko, echoed misrepresentations of who Jeter was when she wrote that Jeter was "part Cherokee."Jeter didn't say that she was part Cherokee.Indeed, her marriage license says "Indian" and when she elaborated elsewhere,…
  • Dear Tim Federle: Some thoughts on Native content in BETTER NATE THAN EVER

    1 Jul 2015 | 10:11 am
    Dear Tim Federle,I read your piece, Book for Kids Raises Eyebrows Over Young Gay Character, at Huff Post. There, you said that Better Nate Than Ever features:...a subplot about a teenager who's starting to notice other boys and beginning to wonder why.That subplot made some parents uncomfortable. So uncomfortable, in fact, that they decided to do what they could to prevent you from visiting the schools their kids go to. You quoted one such parent, who wrote a review that said...homosexuality is presented as normal and natural in this book.I love what you said right after quoting that parent.
  • Want a tri-fold of our We're the People: Summer Reading 2015 for your library?

    27 Jun 2015 | 4:02 am
    Turning your calendar to July? Looking for books to recommend to kids and teens? Ones that portray all of us who are The People of the U.S.?Given yesterday's Supreme Court decision, maybe you're looking for a book in which the author presents two dads, not as the main theme, but as a natural part of life? Take a look at When Reason Breaks by Cindy L. Rodriguez. It is on our list! Download a tri-fold pdf of the Summer Reading 2015 list that I worked on with Edith Campbell, Sarah Park Dahlen, Lyn Miller-Lachmann, Sujei Lugo, Nathalie Mvondo, and Ebony Elizabeth Thomas. Some…
  • First thoughts on Robbie Robertson's HIAWATHA AND THE PEACEMAKER

    24 Jun 2015 | 1:18 pm
    When I get a book written by a Native person, my heart soars with delight.In the mail yesterday, I got a copy of Robbie Robertson's Hiawatha and the Peacemaker.For now, I'm focusing on the words. To start, I flipped to the back pages and read the two-page Author's Note, in which Robertson tells us that he was nine years old when he was told the story of Hiawatha and the Peacemaker. Here's the last paragraph in Robertson's note. When I read it, my delight grew:Some years later in school, we were studying Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem about Hiawatha. I think I was the only one in the class…
 
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    Bildungsroman

  • Poetry Friday: To love thee, year by year by Emily Dickinson

    3 Jul 2015 | 6:00 am
    To love thee, year by year, May less appear Than sacrifice and cease. However, Dear, Forever might be short I thought, to show, And so I pieced it with a flower now.- Emily DickinsonView all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.Learn more about Poetry Friday.
  • Best Books of June 2015

    1 Jul 2015 | 9:31 am
    June 2015: 8 books and scripts readRecommended for adults and older teensTin Men by Christopher GoldenRecommended for ages 14 and upSaint Anything by Sarah DessenRecommended for ages 8 and upA Handful of Stars by Cynthia Lord BSC Graphix #1: Kristy's Great Idea by Raina Telgemeier
  • Poetry Friday: Much madness is divinest sense by Emily Dickinson

    26 Jun 2015 | 6:01 am
    Much madness is divinest sense To a discerning eye; Much sense the starkest madness. 'T is the majority In this, as all, prevails. Assent, and you are sane; Demur, - you're straightway dangerous, And handled with a chain.- Emily DickinsonView all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.Learn more about Poetry Friday.
  • Poetry Friday: The Mariposa Lily by Ina Coolbrith

    19 Jun 2015 | 6:00 am
    Insect or blossom? Fragile, fairy thing, Poised upon slender tip, and quivering To flight! a flower of the fields of air; A jewelled moth; a butterfly, with rare And tender tints upon his downy wing, A moment resting in our happy sight; A flower held captive by a thread so slight Its petal-wings of broidered gossamer Are, light as the wind, with every wind astir,-Wafting sweet odor, faint and exquisite. O dainty nursling of the field and sky, What fairer thing looks up to heaven's blue And drinks the noontide sun, the dawning's dew? Thou wingëd bloom! thou blossom-butterfly!- The Mariposa…
  • Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen

    13 Jun 2015 | 3:40 pm
    Peyton's crimes and convictions had skewed the view people had of my entire family. People in the neighborhood either stared or made a point of not looking at us; conversations at the pool or by the community bulletin board stopped when we came into earshot. It was like stepping into a fun house of mirrors, only to find you had to stay there. I was the sister of the neighborhood delinquent, drug addict, and now drunk drinker. It didn't matter than I'd done none of these things. With shame, like horseshoes, proximity counts.Readers who have felt overshadowed by an older sibling or overlooked…
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    Jen Robinson's Book Page

  • Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: July 3

    Jen Robinson
    3 Jul 2015 | 9:09 am
    Here are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage. Topics this week include Latino Book Awards, book lists, diversity, read-aloud books, speculative fiction, summer reading, time travel, growing bookworms, phonics, literacy programs, writing, ebooks, James Patterson, and teaching boys. Awards The 2015 International Latino Book Awards Winners, picture book to #YALit, reported at @LatinosInKidLit http://ow.ly/OWR2v  #DiverseBooks  Book Lists (including several diverse book lists) A Roundup of Kid's Book for Gay Pride, picture book to #YALit from…
  • A Library Book for Bear: Bonny Becker & Kady MacDonald Denton

    Jen Robinson
    2 Jul 2015 | 9:24 am
    Book: A Library Book for Bear (Bear and Mouse) Author: Bonny Becker Illustrator: Kady MacDonald Denton Pages: 32 Age Range: 3-7 I love Bonny Becker and Kady MacDonald Denton's Bear and Mouse books (starting with A Visitor for Bear). And I love libraries. So when I learned that A Library Book for Bear had been published, I simply had to buy it. For my daughter, ostensibly, but really for myself. In this installment, the ever-energetic Mouse is determined to take his set-in-his-ways friend Bear on this first-ever visit to the library. Bear resists, certain that he has enough books, but…
  • Growing Bookworms Newsletter: July 1

    Jen Robinson
    1 Jul 2015 | 10:12 am
    Today, I will be sending out a new issue of the Growing Bookworms email newsletter. (If you would like to subscribe, you can find a sign-up form here.) The Growing Bookworms newsletter contains content from my blog focused on children's and young adult books and raising readers. I usually send the newsletter out every two weeks. Newsletter Update: Can you believe it's July already? I can't. Anyway, in this issue I have four book reviews (picture book to YA). I also have two posts with literacy and reading links that I shared on…
  • Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: June 26 (posted June 30)

    Jen Robinson
    30 Jun 2015 | 2:13 pm
    Here are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage. Topics this week include book awards, book lists, summer reading, boys and reading, literacy programs, 48 hour book challenge, growing bookworms, KidLitCon, Poetry Friday, introversion, Judy Blume, reviewing, and schools. [This didn't post on Friday, I am just noticing, so I am posting it now. It it not updated to add links after Friday morning.] Awards Newbery / Caldecott 2016: Summer Prediction Edition — @fuseeight http://ow.ly/OKGq5  #kidlit  Landman, Grill Win 2015 Carnegie, Greenaway Medals…
  • Fraidyzoo: Thyra Heder

    Jen Robinson
    30 Jun 2015 | 8:50 am
    Book: Fraidyzoo Author: Thyra Heder Pages: 48 Age Range: 4-8 Fraidyzoo, by Thyra Heder, is a combination alphabet book and over-the-top story about the types of animals that one might find at the zoo. A family decides to go to the zoo one day. However, the younger daughter is afraid of the zoo. She just can't remember exactly what it is about the zoo that she fears. So her parents and sister embark on a day-long quest to help her remember what she might be afraid. They act out (with quite elaborate props/costumes) animals for each letter of the alphabet. By the end of the day, the little gir…
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    Writing and Ruminating

  • Today's tea break

    6 Jul 2015 | 1:47 pm
    I am enjoying a cup of black tea with a bit of natural sugar, and a small pack of Lorna Doone shortbread cookies that I brought home with me from the hospital last Thursday (when I had a follow-up medical test done to be sure that all was well, and it is). Tea and cookies reminds me of my Gramma Stewart, who was fond of having "a cuppa" and a small treat every afternoon. It is one of the best sorts of habits to form, I think, as long as one doesn't overdo it with the treats. But I digress.I am working on getting myself back on track this week after weeks and weeks of busy-ness. This, of…
  • Heart of a Lioness by Kelly Ramsdell Fineman - a Poetry Friday post

    3 Jul 2015 | 2:47 pm
    Tomorrow is the Fourth of July, a day for fun and fireworks here in the U.S. My sweetheart and I don't really have plans, apart from a bit of painting in the new kitchen and some London broil and corn-on-the-cob for dinner, followed by local fireworks. Possibly very local, since one of the neighbors on the next cul-de-sac can usually be counted on for a good show.Meanwhile, I thought to post a poem today for Poetry Friday, and lacking a Fourth of July poem, I thought I'd post a poem about my cat Mojo, who moved on to other realms four years ago. She continued to play like a kitten almost…
  • Fresh pesto

    30 Jun 2015 | 2:09 pm
    While I was at the local fruit and veg market, I spied ginormous bags of fresh basil for $1.75. That's a good $2.24 less than at the supermarket, and it's frankly for more product.Tonight, I'm making pesto, and the house smells amazing. Once it's done, it will be mixed with hot pasta, leftover roast chicken, and some peas for a delicious dinner.Here's the recipe I'm using:2 c. basil leaves, packed3 cloves garlic, peeled1/4 c. pine nuts1/2-2/3 c. extra virgin olive oilkosher salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste2/3 c. grated Parmesan cheesePut the basil leaves, garlic cloves, and pine…
  • 44 - an original poem for Poetry Friday

    26 Jun 2015 | 11:48 am
    I wrote this in early 2009. The title represents the 44th President of the United States. I've held this one for years, wondering whether I ought to share it. But today, a day of great joy and sorrow (joy for marriage equality, sorrow for the racist killings in Charleston), seems like the right time, finally.44by Kelly Ramsdell FinemanHope threatens to burstmy chest open,my Grinchy heartgrowing three sizes today.An unfamiliar feelingpride? patriotism? no—joy, enthusiastic and unbridled,accompanied by a palpable lighteningof heart, mind and spirit.Additional Poetry Friday posts can be found…
  • What I'm reading

    24 Jun 2015 | 4:04 pm
    Currently, it's these three books:The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are by Brené Brown. I'm reading it as part of an Oprah online course, where I work on a visual journal. Because I wanted to try visual journaling, and didn't know how to do it "right". And yes, the irony of me learning how to do it while reading a book about letting go of the idea of doing things "right" has occurred to me.Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg. Because I've had it for ages and haven't read it yet. Turns out it has…
 
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    The Miss Rumphius Effect

  • Monday Poetry Stretch - Cinquain

    Tricia
    6 Jul 2015 | 4:11 am
    My apologies to my fellow writers who have come around looking for stretches. I just spent two amazing weeks with a group of teachers and thought of little beyond math, math, and more math.Poetry relies on a great deal of math, from rhyme scheme (patterns) to counting syllables to forms that are based on mathematical sequences (Fibonacci numbers). Today I've selected a form that generally relies on syllable counting.*****Poets.org defines the cinquain in this fashion.The cinquain, also known as a quintain or quintet, is a poem or stanza composed of five lines. Examples of cinquains can…
  • Poetry Friday - Monotone

    Tricia
    26 Jun 2015 | 5:53 am
    I've been reading Sandburg the last few weeks, so today I'm sharing a poem I can't seem to get out of my mind.Monotoneby Carl Sandburg The monotone of the rain is beautiful,And the sudden rise and slow relapseOf the long multitudinous rain.The sun on the hills is beautiful,Or a captured sunset sea-flung,Bannered with fire and gold.A face I know is beautiful—With fire and gold of sky and sea,And the peace of long warm rain. I do hope you'll take some time to check out all the wonderful poetic things being shared and collected today by Carol at Carol's Corner. Happy poetry Friday…
  • Monday Poetry Stretch - Rondel

    Tricia
    15 Jun 2015 | 7:33 am
    The rondel is a French verse form. It consists of 13 lines in 3 stanzas and contains two refrains (repeated lines). The rhyme scheme is below. The uppercase letters represent the refrains.A B b aa b A Ba b b a ARondels are usually written in lines of 8 syllables.The Poetry Foundation defines it a bit differently. Here is their definition.Rondel (roundel)A poetic form of 11 to 14 lines consisting of two rhymes and the repetition of the first two lines in the middle of the poem and at its end. Algernon Charles Swinburne’s poem entitled The Roundel is 11 lines in two…
  • Poetry Friday - The Broad Bean Sermon

    Tricia
    11 Jun 2015 | 9:01 pm
    Today I'm thinking of gardens and summer and sharing a poem I came across while reading The Making of a Poem: A Norton Anthology of Poetic Forms by Mark Strand and Eavan Boland. This poem was in the chapter on the pastoral and I can't seem to get it out of my mind. That's always a good indication that I've come across a poem I need to share.The Broad Bean Sermonby Les MurrayBeanstalks, in any breeze, are a slack church paradewithout belief, saying trespass against us in unison,recruits in mint Air Force dacron, with unbuttoned leaves.Upright with water like men, square in…
  • Monday Poetry Stretch - Sapphic Stanza

    Tricia
    8 Jun 2015 | 5:15 am
    The Sapphic stanza is composed of 4 lines, the first three lines consisting of 11 syllables, the last line of 5 syllables. The long lines are called hendecasyllabics, while the short line is called adonic. In their writing, the Greeks focused on long and short vowel sounds, today we focus on meter. Here is what the lines look like.1 - two trochees, a dactyl, two trochees2 - two trochees, a dactyl, two trochees3 - two trochees, a dactyl, two trochees4 - one dactyl, one trocheeWhat does this mean? A trochee has two beats in the pattern stressed/unstressed, such as in words like…
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    MotherReader

  • Tenth Annual 48 Hour Book Challenge: Winners!

    MotherReader
    22 Jun 2015 | 4:47 pm
    Of course, we're really all winners to have had so much great reading time! But prizes are fun too, and there are among us some dedicated reader demons and they are...The One and Only Marfalfa who takes this year's 48HBC with 38.75 hours and 16 books! Incredible! This blogger will receive a prize package of signed books from my Book Expo America trip, along with some other great bookish gifts. Congratulations!Specific Junkie comes in just behind with 36 hours of reading - on the weekend they got a puppy! He will receive two fantastic signed ARC's from my BEA trip, along with some special…
  • Tenth Annual 48 Hour Book Challenge: Finish Line

    MotherReader
    21 Jun 2015 | 8:31 am
    Congratulations! You've completed the challenge!When you finish your 48 hours, sign in with Mr. Linky below with the link to your final summary, which should include the number and/or titles of books read and the amount of time spent on the challenge. Rounding to the quarter hour will do just fine. Given different time zones, all final summary posts should be up by 7:00 a.m. Monday, June 22nd. Winners, prizes and such will be announced on Monday afternoonish.Thanks to everyone who participated, supported, and promoted the 48 Hour Book Challenge! Links to material on Amazon.com contained…
  • 48 HBC: Personal Update II

    MotherReader
    21 Jun 2015 | 8:25 am
    I'll be editing this post as I finish my reading, but I wanted to get it up so that I can post the 48HBC Finish Line afterwards. So here's my quick update on my second 24 hour period. Saturday night I read The Girl in the Torch, by Robert Shareow from 7:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. I really enjoyed the book about an orphaned Jewish immigrant in the early days of New York City. Then I wrote my blog post and checked online stuff for an hour and got back to reading until 1:00 a.m. It was a challenge to keep reading after 11:00 p.m., because I was really tired from my long day. But fortunately Lies I…
  • 48HBC: Personal Update

    MotherReader
    20 Jun 2015 | 8:01 pm
    Coming up on the 48 Hour Book Challenge I knew that I'd have to contend with working on Saturday and dance recitals on Sunday. I didn't expect to be engaged of the logistics of getting my teen to American Idol auditions, but there you go. So my reading has been disjointed and distracted, putting any writing or connecting on the back burner. Only now, late Saturday evening, can I even figure out what I've been doing.I started at 6:00 p.m. on Friday, reading until about 10:30 p.m. I am glad I started off easy, with Elvis and the Underdogs: Secrets, Secret Service, and Room Service, by Jenny…
  • Tenth Annual 48 Hour Book Challenge: Starting Line

    MotherReader
    18 Jun 2015 | 9:10 pm
    So it begins. Whenever you start your 48 hour period, sign in with a link to your blog with old, reliable Mr. Linky. Keep track of your time — which includes reading, reviewing, blogging, and connecting (blog reading, tweeting, and general bookish socializing). To keep the Starting Line post at the top of my blog, I won’t publish my personal posts until sometime Saturday evening.On Sunday, I’ll have a Finish Line post where you can leave the link to your final summary, which should include the amount of time spent on the challenge. Rounding to the quarter hour will do just fine.
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        Poetry for Children

  • Celebrate Pride!

    Sylvia Vardell
    27 Jun 2015 | 10:51 am
    It's Gay Pride weekend in San Francisco where the ALA conference is going strong. Tomorrow is officially Gay Pride Day and the Supreme Court has made their historic ruling. What a confluence of moments! Celebrate with this fun poem:And here are the Take 5 activities that go with this poem: Play marching band music in the background as you read this poem aloud enthusiastically. One source is SoundCloud.com/lumarchingband.Read the poem again and invite children to cheer along with the phrase Hip Hip Hooray! as you read the rest of the poem.Share experiences watching, attending, or…
  • YALSA at ALA in San Francisco

    Sylvia Vardell
    26 Jun 2015 | 8:19 am
    It's time for the annual conference of the American Library Association, this time in San Francisco, California! I'm lucky enough to be presenting alongside an amazing panel, thanks to YALSA. Here's the lowdown: The WeNeedDiverseBooks movement challenges us to help young people connect with their passions, desires, and interests by embracing diversity. A panel of scholars, authors, and practitioners including Professors Sylvia Vardell and Antero Garcia, librarian Marianne Follis, and authors Janet Wong, Margarita Engle, and Lesléa Newman will discuss how diversity is key—in literature,…
  • Poet to Poet: Amy Ludwig VanDerwater Interviews Lee Wardlaw

    Sylvia Vardell
    11 Jun 2015 | 7:22 pm
    I'm pleased to post another installment in my ongoing "Poet to Poet" series in which one poet interviews another poet about her/his new book. This time it's Amy Ludwig VanDerwater and Lee Wardlaw who have very generously volunteered to participate. Both of these women write poetry in picture book form that are so endearing, fun and thoughtful for young readers.Amy Ludwig VanDerwater’s work has appeared in multiple anthologies and she is a frequent and popular workshop presenter and literacy consultant. She is a former fifth grade teacher and her current blogs, Poem…
  • New Young People's Poet Laureate: Jacqueline Woodson

    Sylvia Vardell
    5 Jun 2015 | 9:06 pm
    I'm so excited to announce that the next Young People's Poet Laureate has been selected. It's Jacqueline Woodson!Jacqueline is the multi-award winning author of approximately 30 books for children and teens-- including the recent National Book Award winner, Brown Girl Dreaming, her memoir in verse-- which you know was one of my favorite books of the whole year! She also published Locomotion (2003) and Peace, Locomotion (2010) featuring a poetry writing character, Lonnie (nicknamed "Locomotion") with poems woven throughout the narrative. And of course her novels and picture books…
  • Poet to Poet: Holly Thompson interviews Margarita Engle

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

  • Elli Woollard - Giant of Jum and Q&A

    Mudwaffler
    7 Jul 2015 | 3:59 am
    Elli Woollard is an author of picture books and children’s poems, from London. The Giant of Jum (with illustrations by Benji Davies) is her latest release (published April 2015 by Macmillan). It’s a delightful play on a classic fairy tale. Said the Mudwaffler… ‘Fee, Fi, Fo, Fum, deliciously enjoyable – a tale as tall as they come!’ The Story The Giant of Jum is grumpy and hungry, sitting in his cave with a tree in his hand – he really wants to eat a child, but not just any child of course, he wants to eat a snack, called… Jack! He trudges through fields and…
  • Gabriel Alborozo - Good Night, Firefly and Q&A

    Mudwaffler
    7 Jul 2015 | 2:49 am
    Gabriel Alborozo is an author and illustrator from the South of England. He previously worked as a cartoonist for Private Eye and Punch, and luckily for us he switched to picture books! Good Night, Firefly is his latest release (published June 2015 by Henry Holt), and is nothing short of lovely… Said the Mudwaffler… ‘Good Night, Firefly will leave you with a warm glow inside…’ The Story Nina is scared of the dark, but her night-light makes it OK, until, one night… the electricity goes out! Her room fills up with creepy shadows and monster whispers, and her mum and…
  • "Taran Wanderer" by Lloyd Alexander

    Zezee
    6 Jul 2015 | 8:07 pm
    The evil wizard reminded me of Voldemort in many ways. Another adventure in the Chronicles of Prydai
  • Nola The Nurse article in ADVANCE for Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants

    DrBakerNP
    6 Jul 2015 | 6:22 pm
    What an honor to have our very first healthcare magazine article written on Nola The Nurse. We are so thankful to ADVANCE for Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants magazine for this coverage.
  • Tubby Bear

    A
    6 Jul 2015 | 8:02 am
    Tubby Bear dreams of fish and candy apple trees.
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    School Library Journal

  • Role-Playing Victorian Teens Learn About History and Class

    SLJ
    6 Jul 2015 | 7:50 am
    Lady London (left), a.k.a. librarian Tricia London, with an attending Lord. A tall, uniformed butler at the entrance to the Avon (MA) Middle/High School Library, where I work, reads a calling card on a silver tray and announces in a booming voice: “Lady Yrvanie!” The lady in question curtsies and extends her gloved hand to Lady London (played by myself, left) and an attending Lord. Is this Downton AbbeyCon? No, it’s a library-based world history collaborative project that uses 19th-century artifacts to teach 20th-century investigative skills to freshmen. Ten years ago, I was clearing…
  • Teens Review David Levithan’s “Another Day,” an Interracial Romance, and More

    SLJ
    6 Jul 2015 | 7:00 am
    The members of the Kitsap (WA) Regional Library YA Book Group have dived into summer reading in full force. Check out their thoughts on David Levithan’s sequel to Every Day and upcoming horror and realistic fiction titles. CHUPECO, Rin. The Suffering. Sourcebooks. Sept. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781492629832. Gr 9 Up–Okiku and Tark return to Japan in this sequel to The Girl from the Well (Sourcebooks, 2014), this time to investigate the so-called Hell’s Gate in the legendary village of Aitou and the American ghost hunters who have gone missing in search of it. But deep in the…
  • Grants for Making; 2015 Int’l Latino Book Awards Announced | SLJTeen News

    Shelley Diaz
    6 Jul 2015 | 5:00 am
      Grants for making and literacy Youth Service America (YSA) is calling on kids to make this a Summer of Creativity. YSA, through support from Disney | ABC Television Group, will award Summer of Creativity Grants to young change-makers who have ideas for projects that positively impact their community. Kids in the U.S., ages five–18, may apply for the grants by submitting ideas for service projects that will make a difference in their local communities. One hundred and twenty-five winners will be awarded individual $500 grants to implement their projects. Select grantees will have a chance…
  • LAUSD Lays Off 22 Library Aides While Green-lighting Pay Raises

    Lauren Barack
    5 Jul 2015 | 2:59 pm
    A total of 22 library aides have lost their jobs in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) for the 2015-2016 school year even as the district increased its budget by $850,000 from last year. A budget of $7.8 billion was approved by the Los Angeles Board of Education on June 23, which includes a 10 percent pay raise for teachers and administrators. But layoffs are also on the books—including 261 teachers from adult education, with additional layoffs of secretaries, teaching aides and library aides, among other positions, according to the Los Angeles Times. A budget correction,…
  • ISTE 2015: Takeaway Tips for a Library Maker Space | ISTE 2015

    SLJ
    4 Jul 2015 | 6:24 pm
    Maker station at the ISTE Librarians Digital Age Playground at the 2015 ISTE conference in Philadelphia. The maker movement was front and center at the 2015 ISTE conference—and that’s a good thing for me. After following maker initiatives with great interest for some time now, I have the opportunity to design a maker space this year for 6th–12th grade students at my school, Worcester (MA) Academy. A search of this year’s program at ISTE, held June 28 to July 1 in Philadelphia, using the term “constructivist learning/maker movement” resulted in 67 related sessions. The ISTE…
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    A Fuse #8 Production

  • Karen Cushman Cover Reveal (are you ready for a fantasy novel?)

    Elizabeth Bird
    6 Jul 2015 | 9:00 pm
    You read that right, folks.  Karen Cushman has a new book coming out (hooray!) and it’s not like her books in the past.  Cushman has embraced her fantastical side in her latest title, Grayling’s Song.  Here’s the plot description: “When Grayling’s mother, wise woman Hannah Strong, starts turning into a tree, Hannah sends Grayling to call “the others” for help. Shy and accustomed to following her mother in everything, Grayling takes to the road. She manages to summon several “others”—second-string magic makers who have avoided the tree spell—and sets…
  • Video Sunday: Living dolls, shark costumes, buried books and goats in pjs

    Elizabeth Bird
    4 Jul 2015 | 9:00 pm
    As you may have noticed, I’ve not done a Video Sunday in a while.  It now appears that what I was waiting for all this time was Dan Santat’s parody of Serial, turning it into a reenactment of his Caldecott Award call.  I’m just ashamed that when he won it didn’t immediately occur to me that, “Wow. We’re going to get a really great video out of this.” Hindsight is 20-20. Nice that he got to take the shark suit out of mothballs, right? As a children’s librarian I associate American Girl dolls far more with their books than the actual dolls. …
  • Fusenews: [Enter Obligatory Winnie-the-Pooh/James Bond Pun Here]

    Elizabeth Bird
    2 Jul 2015 | 9:00 pm
    Did I mention that my new workplace has peregrine falcons? FALCONS, I SAY! As the House of Bird prepares for its inevitable move, I find myself rather entranced with my incipient home of Evanston, Illinois.  I’m coming to it with almost no prior knowledge of its existence, and find it to be completely and utterly lovely.  Example A: Check out this Humans of New York-esque photo series on Tumblr where the library talks to everyday citizens.  Good stuff! Last month I participated in the 21st Century Children’s Nonfiction Conference, located conveniently enough in New York City. …
  • Review of the Day: The Case for Loving by Selina Alko and Sean Qualls

    Elizabeth Bird
    1 Jul 2015 | 9:23 pm
    The Case for Loving: The Fight for Interracial Marriage By Selina Alko Illustrated by Sean Qualls Arthur A. Levine Books (an imprint of Scholastic) $18.99 ISBN: 978-0545478533 Ages 4-7 On shelves now. When the Supreme Court ruled on June 26, 2015 that same-sex couples could marry in all fifty states, I found myself, like many parents of young children, in the position of trying to explain the ramifications to my offspring. Newly turned four, my daughter needed a bit of context. After all, as far as she was concerned gay people had always had the right to marry so what exactly was the big deal…
  • Interview with Lynne Jonell: Cats, Rats, and Squishing Machines

    Elizabeth Bird
    30 Jun 2015 | 9:00 pm
    Folks, one of the things I love about this job is the fact that I get to watch authors’ careers bloom and blossom.  I see authors starting out or at the beginning of their careers and watch as they garner praise and flourishes throughout the years.  Today’s example is author Lynne Jonell.  Back in 2007 I very much enjoyed her book Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat.  She’s written so much since then, but her latest is the one that caught my eye.  Recently Kirkus said of The Sign of the Cat in a starred review that, “Intriguing, well-drawn characters,…
 
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    Michael Gerson: Most Recent Articles and Archives

  • Rust-belt revivalists can’t save the GOP

    Michael Gerson
    6 Jul 2015 | 5:38 pm
    Attempting to analyze political statements by Donald Trump is often a high dive into a shallow pool. But a number of conservative commentators are making the jump, discerning hidden virtues in his depiction of marauding immigrants intent on crime and rape. Read full article >>
  • Congress is about to face a critical choice on Iran

    Michael Gerson
    2 Jul 2015 | 1:22 pm
    On the morning of April 14, speaking to a meeting of about 55 senators, Secretary of State John F. Kerry argued against passage of the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, claiming it would complicate negotiations. (The White House had already issued a veto threat.) Sen. Bob Corker, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, challenged Kerry to explain how inspections would work under the just-announced nuclear framework agreement. Kerry fumbled his response. “He could not answer questions in this fundamental area,” recalled Corker. “At that moment, significant concerns emerged on both…
  • The next crucial question on gay marriage

    Michael Gerson
    29 Jun 2015 | 4:55 pm
    It is often the fate of conservatives to be concerned about the fire code and occupancy limit at someone else’s party. Never more conspicuously than concerning the Supreme Court’s gay marriage decision, Obergefell v. Hodges.Read full article >>
  • It’s time for conservatives to end the denial on climate change

    Michael Gerson
    25 Jun 2015 | 5:31 pm
    Reducing Pope Francis’s encyclical “Laudato Si” to a white paper on global warming is, in George Weigel’s fitting analogy, “akin to reading ‘Moby Dick’ as if it were a treatise on the 19th-century New England whaling industry.” The whole spirit and story of the thing are missed.Read full article >>
  • The power of forgiveness in Charleston

    Michael Gerson
    22 Jun 2015 | 5:04 pm
    When many relatives of those cruelly murdered in Charleston — by a man who talked and prayed with his victims for an hour before systematically gunning them down — publicly offered their forgiveness, it was stunning and admirable in many ways. Not least of which, it provided a contrast to our political culture. So many are engaged in a search for evidence of their victimization in order to justify their anger. Here, genuine victims of a horrible crime responded with mercy. Read full article >>
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    Semicolon

  • Captivated by His Beauty

    Sherry
    5 Jul 2015 | 5:40 pm
    The sermon at my church this morning was a Biblical exposition of this hymn, Hast Thou Heard Him, Seen Him, Known Him? My pastor spoke of the worth of knowing Jesus, of the worthlessness of idols, and of our joy and responsibility to “crown Him (our) unrivaled King.” I was reminded of this poem, Barter by Sara Teasdale: © 1871 Internet Archive Book Images, Flickr | PD | via WylioLife has loveliness to sell, All beautiful and splendid things, Blue waves whitened on a cliff, Soaring fire that sways and sings, And children’s faces looking up Holding wonder like a cup. Life…
  • Saturday Review of Books: July 4, 2015

    Sherry
    4 Jul 2015 | 7:22 am
    “What do we, as a nation, care about books? How much do you think we spend altogether on our libraries, public or private, as compared with what we spend on our horses?” ~John Ruskin Welcome to the Saturday Review of Books at Semicolon. Here’s how it usually works. Find a book review on your blog posted sometime during the previous week. The review doesn’t have to be a formal sort of thing. You can link to your thoughts on a particular book, a few ideas inspired by reading the book, your evaluation, quotations, whatever. Then on Friday night/Saturday, you post a link here at…
  • Biographies for the Fourth of July

    Sherry
    3 Jul 2015 | 10:02 am
    I have always enjoyed the Childhood of Famous Americans series of biographies of great Americans. These stories are somewhat fictionalized and usually focus on the childhood and young adult years of the well known person who is being written about. I found a few of these (ex-library copies) at a recent book sale: Tom Jefferson, Boy in Colonial Days by Helen Albee Monsell. Tom’s father tells him, “Just to be strong is not enough. You must also have a trained mind in your strong body.” Stephen Foster, Boy Minstrel by Helen Boyd Higgins. Did you know that Stephen Foster was…
  • Happy Canada Day!

    Sherry
    1 Jul 2015 | 12:44 pm
    July 1 is Canada Day. Here are some suggestions, mostly fiction, if you’re ready to celebrate with a good book: Picture Books: Bannatyne-Cugnet, Jo. A Prairie Alphabet. Illustrated by Yvette Moore. Carney, Margaret. At Grandpa’s Sugar Bush. Illustrated by Janet Wilson. Carrier, Roch. The Hockey Sweater. Illustrated by Sheldon Cohen. Gay, Marie-Louise. Stella, Queen of the Snow. Illus. Groundwood, 2000. Ellis, Sarah. Next Stop! Illus. by Ruth Ohi. Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2000. Harrison, Ted. A Northern Alphabet. Kurelek, William. A Prairie Boy’s Winter. Kurelek, William. A…
  • Question of the Week and Reading Slump

    Sherry
    29 Jun 2015 | 5:48 pm
    I posted this question on Facebook, but I thought I’d try it here on the blog as well. What is your favorite Bible verse or your “life verse(s)”? Has God given you a verse or passage that is especially meaningful to you? If you comment and tell me, I will mark your verse in my Bible as a reminder to pray for you. I’ve already enjoyed marking several verses for friends who commented on Facebook. I shaded the verses and wrote the person’s name beside the verse. That way whenever I read that particular verse, I will pray for that person. So far the verses that…
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    WordPress Tag: Children's Book Illustration

  • elf asleep

    Katerina Giavasi
    7 Jul 2015 | 4:26 am
    A tiny elf fall asleep on a leaf. He has such a nice house as you can see  but you know elves, they love flowers. Watercolour.
  • Woodblock prints and kimonos ; a week in Japan.

    Suzanne
    6 Jul 2015 | 4:11 pm
    There is a wonderful shop, Hara Shobo , in Tokyo where they deal in Ukiyo-e, woodblock prints. They were kind enough to talk for hours about the history, process and stories behind the pictures. The Ukiyo-e Ota Memorial Museum of Art has a big collection of prints, and the Edo-Tokyo Museum has a fascinating display of the printing process. Apart from getting slightly obsessive about woodblock prints, we wandered around gorgeous temples, bamboo forests and a seven storey stationary shop. I didn’t have time to find the shop that made the beautiful plastic food displayed at every…
  • Lagoon

    izzyburton
    6 Jul 2015 | 9:02 am
    A painting I did today where I wanted to show the world above and beneath the water. Was quite fun!
  • STUDENT NEWS- WORLDWIDE PICTURE BOOK COMPETITION

    mdxillustration
    6 Jul 2015 | 2:16 am
    Second year student EVA STRASSBURGER has been selected as one of the winners of this year’s WORLDWIDE PICTURE BOOK PRIZE. Now in it’s second year the international competition run by Walker Books and the International Centre for the Picture Book in Society invites illustrators from around the globe to submit their work. Below are some of Eva’s spreads from ‘Poor Dragon Willy Dinkywing’. “One of our second year projects was to produce a children’s book. I decided to tell the story of a dragon who one day finds himself out of flames. He learns he has a…
  • Seals of New Zealand- free colouring sheet

    drawingescape
    4 Jul 2015 | 8:50 pm
    I posted earlier this week on instagram that I would be releasing this ‘Seals of New Zealand’ colouring-in sheet as a free download on the blog- and finally its ready! Inking done on SEALS OF NEW ZEALAND poster! Stay tuned for the colouring in page which will be available for free download on my blog later this week 🐧🐳🐡 #nature #newzealand #pinnipeds #seals #naturalhistory #SciArt #ink #rotring #illustration #art #biology #scientific A photo posted by Emma (@emmascheltema) on Jun 29, 2015 at 4:03pm PDT Equipment used: inked with a Hunt dip pen and detailed with…
 
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    Stories from NPR : NPR

  • Beijing Hosts 'Space Out' Competition

    7 Jul 2015 | 4:39 am
    Contestants had to sit still — oblivious to distraction — for two hours. Judges monitored movement, composure and heart rate. Only things like head scratching and nose picking were permitted.» E-Mail This
  • Man Re-Enacts Scene From Pixar's 'Up'

    7 Jul 2015 | 4:33 am
    A Canadian man attached giant helium-filled balloons to a lawn chair -– and soared for miles over Calgary during a promotional stunt. But things went wrong, and he had to skydive back to land.» E-Mail This
  • Driving To Pluto: How Long Would It Take?

    Adam Frank
    7 Jul 2015 | 4:32 am
    A road trip to Pluto is not something you want to try with kids — the asteroid belt is nothing but tourist traps and the rest stops really thin out after Saturn, says astrophysicist Adam Frank.» E-Mail This
  • 'Unnoticeables' Is A Raunchy Ride Through Punk, Horror And Pop Culture

    Jason Heller
    7 Jul 2015 | 4:03 am
    Robert Brockman's day job is helping to run Cracked.com, and he brings that site's irreverent wit to this lightweight but satisfying tale of a waitress and a punk rocker battling eldritch horrors.» E-Mail This
  • As Another Deadline Looms, There's Still No Sign Of Nuclear Deal With Iran

    Eyder Peralta
    7 Jul 2015 | 3:53 am
    Western powers and Iran said they will not be pressured into accepting a bad deal by a deadline. The two sides had already extended a previous deadline for a final deal in June.» E-Mail This
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    Ally Carter

  • Magnificent Giveaway Monday

    Shellie
    6 Jul 2015 | 10:51 am
    Hi Everyone! Today I am giving away a signed copy of All Fall Down! To be entered for your chance to win just comment what your first Ally Carter book you read was! I will choose a winner at random in 48 hours. US residents only. One entry per person please. Good Luck! Shellie   The post Magnificent Giveaway Monday appeared first on Ally Carter.
  • Happy Summer!

    Ally Carter
    2 Jul 2015 | 1:17 pm
    Hello, everyone! Or should I say Bon jour? Ally here. As some of you may know, I recently went on a big European adventure. (Or…well…a moderately-sized European adventure.) Thanks to my wonderful UK publisher, Orchard Books, I was able to visit London last month. We got to visit the Guardian offices where I recorded THIS interview. (Check it out if you want to hear me read from ALL FALL DOWN and talk a little about a whole lot of things.) I also got to do some amazing stuff at the Orchard offices, AND…of course…I got to meet a lot of you! Huge thanks to everyone who…
  • New Interview With Ally

    Ally Carter
    30 Jun 2015 | 12:13 pm
    Hi Everybody! Ally here. Yes, it is me. Yes, I am still alive. I’m happy to say that I’ve finished SEE HOW THEY RUN! (Or, well, the part of SEE HOW THEY RUN I was working on. There will still be some stuff to do in a few weeks, but for now the heavy lifting is over.) So I’m above water temporarily, and I wanted to share something cool with you. A few weeks ago I was in London, as many of you know. And while I was there I popped in to see the good folks at The Guardian, and now a recording of that visit is live and online for all of you to listen to if you are so inclined.
  • Magnificent Monday

    Shellie
    29 Jun 2015 | 8:19 am
    Hi Everyone! I took a few weeks off to spend some time with my family but I am back and ready to get this blog up and running again! Let’s take care of a few house cleaning items. This blog is for Ally Carter fans who want to have fun and share their love of reading and all things Ally Carter! I monitor all comments and will not approve any negative comments or comments with your personal information included. Ally loves Fan Art and I like to post your fan art to her Tumblr page. You can send your art work to allycartercontest@gmail.com Ally does her best to stay in touch with readers.
  • Magnificent Giveaway Monday!

    Shellie
    8 Jun 2015 | 9:17 am
    Hi Everyone! To kick off summer in style we have a really fun giveaway today! A SIGNED copy of Carrie Ryan’s Daughter of Deep Silence. This is an Advanced Reading Copy which makes it even more valuable. Fun Fact: According to Ally, Carrie got the idea of this book while she was staying at Ally’s house! We have a winner!!! CONGRATULATIONS KELLY!!! Kelly says: June 8, 2015 at 12:41 pm (Edit) For this summer, I’m so excited to read Deep Blue by Jennifer Donnelly. I’m a little obsessed with Mermaids and Spies, and your books fill the latter while Deep Blue will hopefully fill the…
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    Scott Westerfeld

  • Me at SDCC

    scott
    1 Jul 2015 | 2:41 pm
    I’ll be talking about my next novel, ZEROES, at San Diego Comic Con next week, in company with my co-authors, Deb Biancotti and Margo Lanagan. We have our own panel to discuss the book! We’ll have swag and chapter samplers there as well. The details: “From Zeroes to Heroes” Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan, Deb Biancotti Thursday, July 9, Noon Horton Grand Theater 444 4th Ave. San Diego, CA Please share this graphic with ALL YOUR SDCC-GOING FRIENDS!
  • Uglies in Time Magazine

    scott
    24 Jun 2015 | 8:11 am
    Time Magazine has a cover story about ubiquitous plastic surgery this week, and I am quoted in my capacity as Author of Uglies and Fake Expert on Body Image Stuff. Behold:
  • Zeroes BEA Interview

    scott
    14 Jun 2015 | 1:02 pm
    At Book Expo America, I spoke with Jessica Mazo about Zeroes, my next novel, cowritten with Deb Biancotti and Margo Lanagan. Behold:
  • Moggle Is Real

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

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

  • 48 days, day 23-24: halfway

    Debbie Wiles
    6 Jul 2015 | 2:19 pm
    {{ I am chronicling 48 days of writing before my July 31 travel. If you are chronicling your summer writing/days and would like to share, please link or comment so we can all cheer one another through. Strength to your sword arm! }}The writing pump gets primed with something else, and then -- voila -- I can go back to my revision.  Yesterday I worked on an essay that may or may not ever be finished, but I got lost in the world I created, and looked up hours later, blinking.Today I'm back with Rachel and working on the revision that has sat since DAY 4!, when I wrote that I had a crummy…
  • 48 days, day 21-22: what's asking for expression

    Debbie Wiles
    5 Jul 2015 | 4:43 pm
    {{ I am chronicling 48 days of writing before my July 31 travel. If you are chronicling your summer writing/days and would like to share, please link or comment so we can all cheer one another through. Strength to your sword arm! }}Jim: "We are ready for an ice age."Jim's brunch at Homegrown this morning with family.out-of-focus bean blossoms. too excited to focus well. bean blossoms!the cosmos! the cosmos! the cosmos! -- not carl saganjelly bean tomatoes growing in the front yard flower bed. WE ATE THEM. yes we did.moving ferns to the rocks next to the new walkway. to the right is that…
  • 48 days, day 19-20: field trip, unwrinkling

    Debbie Wiles
    3 Jul 2015 | 10:43 am
    {{ I am chronicling 48 days of writing before my July 31 travel. If you are chronicling your summer writing/days and would like to share, please link or comment so we can all cheer one another through. Strength to your sword arm! }}Two days off. I'm took my Fourth vacation early. Jim and I plan to work through the July Fourth weekend. We often do this sort of thing in order to avoid crowds, and because it often works better with our schedules, the writer and the musician. I've always told my kids that I'm not particular about celebrating holidays on a pre-arranged culturally-approved day…
  • 48 days, day 18: bountiful moon

    Debbie Wiles
    30 Jun 2015 | 11:14 am
    {{ I am chronicling 48 days of writing before my July 31 travel. If you are chronicling your summer writing/days and would like to share, please link or comment so we can all cheer one another through. Strength to your sword arm! }}This is my grandmother's house in Jasper County, Mississippi, setting for Freedom Summer; Love, Ruby Lavender; Each Little Bird That Sings; and The Aurora County All-Stars. My grandmother, the original Miss Eula, is on the right. Her mother, who becomes Great-great Aunt Florentine in Little Bird, is standing next to her. I still go back to this house every year,…
  • 48 days, day 17: multi-tasking, or not

    Debbie Wiles
    29 Jun 2015 | 2:31 pm
    {{ I am chronicling 48 days of writing before my July 31 travel. If you are chronicling your summer writing/days and would like to share, please link or comment so we can all cheer one another through. Strength to your sword arm! }}"Now, you're either on the bus, or off the bus." -- Ken Kesey (photo by Joe Mabel at Wikipedia)It's a short hop, in my imagination, from yesterday's Neil Diamond to today's Magic Bus. That traveling salvation show led me to think about Ken Kesey's bus, Further, the Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, and the many other trips Further made across the U.S., which led me to…
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    Bookwitch

  • Old books

    bookwitch
    6 Jul 2015 | 8:43 pm
    When Mother-of-witch died, Offspring were young and needed looking after when I went off to be with her. There was a complete lack of available relatives at the time, so anyone who happened to be standing near when the Resident IT Consultant asked for assistance was roped in for after-school care. For six weeks! I can never thank them enough. Yesterday morning Helen Grant took one look at this blog – or what tried to pass itself off as Bookwitch – and told me she would write it herself, if I’d let her. It feels particularly appropriate to accept her kind offer, since she is…
  • Moonday

    bookwitch
    5 Jul 2015 | 9:02 pm
    It is ‘måndag’ today. That means moonday, which the English language appears to have shortened to Monday. This here is the moon above Bookwitch Towers. You may well have one of your own, where you are. The Resident IT Consultant, Daughter and I have been watching From the Earth to the Moon again, which is something you just can’t watch enough. At least if you are as weird as we are. (I will slowly work my way to better blog posts. Writing is a good healer. The main problem I have is a complete lack of time for almost everything I usually do. But I miss you.)
  • Goodbye

    bookwitch
    4 Jul 2015 | 9:08 pm
    We lost Grandmother yesterday. It will be a while until we are back to anything resembling normal, but I wanted you to know. She will be much missed. If you want to read about her thoughts on things like Fermat’s Last Theorem and The Da Vinci Code you need look no further than this. Or logarithm tables and slide rules.
  • Enforced hiatus

    bookwitch
    3 Jul 2015 | 8:14 pm
    No, I’m not in Manchester after all. Sad not to be, but you can’t always control what happens. Am very impressed with mcbf’s lovely Kaye Tew, who replied with kind words in the middle of the night, at her busiest time, mid-book festival. That’s class.
  • Katie and the Starry Night

    bookwitch
    2 Jul 2015 | 9:16 pm
    Here is Katie, back in the art gallery, back causing mayhem, in James Mayhew’s Katie and the Starry Night. Which, as any old person will know, is about Vincent van Gogh, and you probably know all the words to the song as well. Katie’s Grandma feels sleepy, so ‘rests’ on a bench while Katie looks at a painting with lots of stars in. And she helps herself to one of them. After which mayhem breaks loose, as the stars float away, out of the picture, with Katie in hot pursuit. In order to catch them she needs the help of various people from some other of Vincent’s…
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    Confessions of a Bibliovore

  • Book Review: Will Sparrow's Road by Karen Cushman

    Bibliovore
    4 Jul 2015 | 9:42 pm
    Book: Will Sparrow's RoadAuthor: Karen CushmanPublished: 2012Source: Local LibrarySold by his father for ale, mistreated by his new master, twelve-year-old Will Sparrow takes off, vowing to care only for himself. But the world of Elizabethan England isn't known for its kindness to the young and the vulnerable, and Will is taken advantage of time and again.When he falls in with a most unusual group - a dwarf man, a cat-faced girl, their wagon full of oddities, and Tidball, the man who owns them all - Will thinks he's found a place to belong, at least for a little while. But how long can such a…
  • Reading Roundup: June 2015

    Bibliovore
    1 Jul 2015 | 9:53 pm
    By the Numbers Teen: 13 Tween: 7 Children: 4 Sources Review Copies: 11 Library: 11 Standouts Teen: Hold Me Like a Breath by Tiffany Schmidt Riffing on both Rapunzel and the Princess and the Pea, this story about a frustrated, sheltered, and naive girl becoming a self-reliant young woman caught me hard. I just had to hang there through the slow start. Tween: The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer L. Holm This story of a grandfather who's discovered the fountain of youth and a granddaughter who's discovering science, and the way they both learn to accept that life is about change, tugged at my…
  • Book Review: Emmy and Oliver by Robin Benway

    Bibliovore
    27 Jun 2015 | 3:00 pm
    Book: Emmy and OliverAuthor: Robin BenwayPublished: June 23, 2015Source: review copy from publisher via Edelweiss Emmy and Oliver have been best friends since the day they were born. But when he was seven, he disappeared, kidnapped by his own father. Emmy spent the next ten years not knowing what became of him.Ten years later, Oliver is back, but he's changed. He's no longer a second-grader. He's taller, he's quieter, and he's spent the last ten years hidden away by his father. He's a completely different person - except for the moments when he remembers an old joke, an old event, or even…
  • 48-HBC: Finish Line

    Bibliovore
    21 Jun 2015 | 11:22 am
    I'm calling it done right now, even though I started at 1:00 on Friday, because I have to go to work this afternoon.Books Read: 8Time Read: 11 hrs, 22 minutes (just shy of the 12 hour mark, boo)Time spent on my audiobook: 4 hours, 24 minutes Time spent Blogging: 4 hours, 11 minutesTime spent cheering others on via Twitter and visiting their blogs: 41 minutesBesides having to work, I also had a family birthday lunch to go to on Saturday, as well as laundry and cleaning, so I definitely did not get as much time in as I wanted. That's okay, though, I still got a lot of books read! While I tend…
  • 48-HBC Book 8: The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer L. Holm

    Bibliovore
    21 Jun 2015 | 10:20 am
    My last book for this challenge was Jennifer L. Holm's The Fourteenth Goldfish. From my review: "I especially loved that she didn't just go the "rah-rah-science!!" route. A major theme of the book is the negative consequences of scientific discovery, such as Marie Curie's death from radiation poisoning or the aftereffects of Oppenheimer's atom bomb.  At the same time, Holm balances that with the wonder of discovering the world and its possibilities - a more nuanced rah-rah-science theme than most."I'm going to write a wrap-up post and also take some knitting time with my audiobook before…
 
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    ReadPlus Review Blog

  • Uncle Gobb and the Dread Shed by Michael Rosen

    7 Jul 2015 | 8:20 am
    Bloomsbury, 2015. ISBN 9781408851302 Suited to 8+ readers. Themes: School; Thinking. I think you have to be young to find this book enjoyable. It is 10+ on the Quirky Scale (which normally is 0-5 in its range). The main characters have incredibly bizarre nick-names, and views on the world. Uncle Gobb seems to be a cross between a dictator within the education system and the world's most unpleasant uncle. The plot is unusual, and chapter headings and non-fiction inserts are also weirdly irregular and sometimes quite far - fetched. The redeeming features are that the book has moments of humour,…
  • Super Fly by Todd H Doodler

    7 Jul 2015 | 8:18 am
    Bloomsbury, 2015. ISBN: 9781619633780 Themes: Bullying; Comedy; Super - heroes; Insects. Eugene Flystein is the central character in this amusing book written by Doodler (not his real name!). Eugene is starting at the new school in Stinkopolous (on the edge of the city dump). He is not a big, bold fly and immediately meets the bully in the school - Cornelius Cockroach. The rest of the story explains how Eugene transforms into Super Fly - The World's Smallest Superhero (with the support of his only friend Fred Flea) in a classic super-hero fight against evil. Not surprisingly, part of the…
  • The girl is murder by Kathryn Miller Haines

    7 Jul 2015 | 8:16 am
    The Girl is Murder bk 1. Roaring Brook Press, 2011. ISBN 9781596436091 (Age: 14+) Recommended. Mystery. Historical. World War 2 US. Iris Anderson's world has fallen apart. Her father has lost his leg in the attack on Pearl Harbour and has returned home, determined to make a go of his private detective agency. Iris is dying to help him out, especially when his is engaged to find a boy from her school who has gone missing, but he is not interested so she sets out on her own to investigate. She finds herself sneaking out, going to dances in Harlem and getting mixed up with a cool gang at school.
  • How to Be Bad by E. Lockhart, Lauren Myracle and Sarah Mlynowski

    6 Jul 2015 | 8:14 am
    Hot Key Books, 2015. ISBN 9781471404849 (Age: 15+) Recommended. Friendship. Road trip. Jesse and Vicks are good friends but things seem to be going a little awry as Jesse keeps a big secret from her friend and Vicks can't stop worrying about her boyfriend who has moved to college and hasn't contacted her for a fortnight. Mel is the new girl in town. She is rich and but is in the shadow of her pretty sister and is desperate to make friends. They decide to escape Niceville and go on a road trip to visit Vicks' boyfriend in Miami, having some hilarious escapades on the way. The characters are so…
  • To hold the bridge by Garth Nix

    6 Jul 2015 | 8:13 am
    Allen & Unwin, 2015. ISBN 9781743316559 (Age: 11+) Highly recommended. Fantasy, Short stories, Survival. When Garth Nix writes another episode of the Old Kingdom series, every reader will take notice, and this novella which is the first story presented in this large collection of his stories will please them all. I read again of the world he imagined and presented so clearly in those books rekindled as Morghan attempts to join the Greenwash Bridge Company. The company has been charged to build a bridge north of the Old Kingdom across islets and rivers separating them form the north. The…
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    There's a Botticelli Angel Inside, Snapping Beans:

  • Visiting Day by Jacqueline Woodson, illustrated by James E. Ransome

    2 Jul 2015 | 11:34 pm
    If you have or know young kids who have a loved one who is in prison, or if you have or know young kids who know other kids who do, or if you have young kids in your life who you want to know that some kids go through this, I'd like to recommend Jacqueline Woodson's picture book Visiting Day. James E. Ransome illustrates it in rich acrylic paintings. The cover looks like this. This book is warm, loving, serious, and layered. It has sweetness and it has mournfulness. Ransome does a lot of that, using visible brush strokes and stark value contrasts, and painting complex and nuanced emotions…
  • Choosing a Little Red Riding Hood

    2 Jul 2015 | 11:21 pm
    There are so very many picture book versions. Over many years, I've been trying to look at as many as possible. I'm quite fond of this particular one: Little Red Riding Hood by Jerry Pinkney. Just look at this art: Cover. LRRH when the wolf is in bed. This blogger has scanned in many of the pages very large.
  • "Dear Tim Federle: Some thoughts on Native content in BETTER NATE THAN EVER," by Debbie Reese

    2 Jul 2015 | 2:15 pm
    Over at American Indians in Children's Literature: Dear Tim Federle: Some thoughts on Native content in BETTER NATE THAN EVER, an open letter from Debbie Reese.
  • The problem in Mary Hoffman's Amazing Grace.

    21 Jun 2015 | 10:28 pm
    Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman is often cited, even outside our field, as a great book for empowering black kids, especially black girls. In an Everyday Feminism article from a year ago called 6 Things White Parents Can Do to Raise Racially Conscious Children, Bree Ervin says,One of my favorite books for young children is Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman, which invites the reader to reimagine Peter Pan as a Black girl! Try introducing the children in your life to a similarly diverse story. It can go a long way in helping them imagine people of color more complexly.The problem is, in one scene,…
  • I Am Jazz, by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings

    21 Jun 2015 | 2:38 pm
    Jazz Jennings is a real person. She's been out as trans for years, appearing on USian network television newsmagazines, doing interviews and features. She's a teenager now. In this picture book, she's a much younger kid. Although the book says right on the cover that it's "by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings," making it nonfiction/autobiography, it has the feeling of a fiction picture book.The most important thing about this book: it exists. And it's published by a mainstream publisher (Dial/Penguin). I think (please correct me if you know otherwise) that it's the first picture book…
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    I'm Here. I'm Queer. What the Hell do I read?

  • Bridget Smith (Dunham Literary): Agent Looking For Diversity

    Lee Wind, M.Ed.
    6 Jul 2015 | 6:00 am
    AGENTS AND EDITORSNEED TO ADVERTISE THEIR INTEREST IN DIVERSITYThat's the idea. And this series is an effort to do just that.For now we're focusing on agents, and today's post features agent Bridget Smith of Dunham Literary, Inc.Agent Bridget SmithHere's Bridget's Bio:Bridget Smith is an associate agent at Dunham Literary, Inc, where she's worked since June 2011. She represents middle grade, YA, and adult novels, with special interest in fantasy & science fiction, historical fiction, and women’s fiction. Her tastes run to literary and character-driven novels.Previously, she was an…
  • A High School Junior Peacefully Counter-Protests Two Homophobes... And Starts A Movement!

    Lee Wind, M.Ed.
    3 Jul 2015 | 6:05 am
    This is so inspiring!"TILLAMOOK, Ore. – When she noticed two men carrying signs condemning homosexuality and yelling insults at passersby outside her mother’s workplace yesterday afternoon, Tuesday, May 19, Makaila Ragan decided to fight hate with love.“I was so irritated because I see them all around town and all they ever do is make people feel like crap about themselves,” said Ragan, a junior at Tillamook High School. The men were standing outside Eyes of Oregon, on 1st Street and Main Avenue, where her mother works. “I went inside and asked her and her boss if it would be all…
  • Jon Stewart On Caitlyn Jenner (and the sexism of our media)

    Lee Wind, M.Ed.
    1 Jul 2015 | 8:31 am
    I thought this moment from the Daily Show with Jon Stewart was great:The Daily ShowGet More: Daily Show Full Episodes,The Daily Show on Facebook,Daily Show Video ArchiveCaitlyn is incredibly brave.And Jon Stewart is awesome, for pointing out what women are faced with in our culture every day.
  • Picture Book Author and We Need Diverse Books Executive Vice President of Outreach Miranda Paul: The Pre-#LA15SCBWI Interview

    Lee Wind, M.Ed.
    29 Jun 2015 | 6:00 am
    Picture Book author Miranda Paul has blogged about the importance of Writing “Multicultural” literature and how “it’s extremely important for authors who are not of color to remain encouraging and supportive of the organizations who are consciously making an effort to address the call for diversity in children’s books” – both in terms of stories and the creators of those stories.She’s walked the walk, involved in the 1 Million Books For Gambia project, in her role as Executive Vice President of Outreach for the newly formed nonprofit We Need Diverse Books, and in her own…
  • BREAKING AWESOME NEWS: MY MARRIAGE IS LEGAL EVERYWHERE IN THE U.S.A.!

    Lee Wind, M.Ed.
    26 Jun 2015 | 4:19 pm
    Love this news (and my husband and daughter!)It's an historic, wonderful step – Cheers for our country bending that arc of history toward justice!Lee
 
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    Literacy, families and learning

  • Boys & Learning: 'Active Learning' works!

    Trevor Cairney
    29 Jun 2015 | 4:00 pm
    In an article in 'The Atlantic' Jessica Lahey called on schools to 'stop penalizing boys for not being able to sit still at school'. The article was motivated by her observations of boys as a teacher and her reading of the findings of research on boys published by the International Boys’ Schools Coalition’s 'Teaching Boys: A global study of effective practices'. Her teaching of boys suggested that while some struggled at school, others thrived. What is the ingredient that leads to inconsistency? Is it simply within the boys, or are there factors external to the boys that are at work?As a…
  • Graphic Novels: Reviews of some recent arrivals

    Trevor Cairney
    18 Jun 2015 | 4:58 pm
    What is a Graphic Novel?The term graphic novel has grown in popularity in the last decade, as an increasing number of authors have experimented with this format for presenting narrative accounts. In simple terms it is a text that makes added use of drawn images to communicate its meaning. In some cases, words are absent or largely secondary, whereas in other cases, word and image are used equally with clever integration.Some include comics within the category, although the pairing of 'novel' with 'graphic' reflects the increased development of long fictional works. But this textual form can…
  • Why we need to read to our boys: Ideas & suggestions

    Trevor Cairney
    5 Jun 2015 | 3:00 pm
    Why boys need to be read to Here are my top 6 reasons why we must read to our boys:1. We know that books widen knowledge, increase vocabulary and help to teach them about language and the world.2. We know that being read to at home is linked to later success in reading at school.3. We know that it helps to build common ground and strengthen relationships.4. We know that it helps them to develop attention span.5. We know that it helps us to build stronger relationships with the boys in our lives.6. We know that it helps to divert them from too much screen time. For a long time we've known that…
  • How Children's Reading Habits Are Changing & Six Ways to Support them

    Trevor Cairney
    24 May 2015 | 4:23 am
    The National Literacy Trust in the United Kingdom has just published its annual report on children's literacy and there are some encouraging signs. The trust is the only national charity dedicated to raising literacy levels in the UK.1. The report highlightsThe 2014 report (released in 2015) of 32,026 children in grades 3 to 11 suggests some interesting trends:Levels of enjoyment have risen with 54.5% enjoying reading quite a lot.Daily reading rates have increased substantially with a 28.6% increase in children who read outside the class on a daily basis.Twice as many children read outside…
  • Sketching and imagination as tools for close reading and comprehension

    Trevor Cairney
    12 May 2015 | 12:40 am
    *This is a revised version of a post I wrote a couple of years ago.Every teacher wants to help children to read deeply, to grasp the richness of characterisation, the devices the author uses to create mood and tension, the intent and purpose of the writer and the language devices employed. We also want them to be moved by the text and able to reflect and respond critically to it. I've written lots of posts about comprehension, but in this one I want to revisit a previously discussed strategy that I've used with children aged 3 to 12 years and which I continue to see as one of the most…
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    The Book Chook

  • Let’s Celebrate The Reading Hour 2015

    5 Jul 2015 | 12:00 pm
    Let’s Celebrate The Reading Hour 2015 by Susan Stephenson, www.thebookchook.comIn Australia, The Reading Hour will officially be held on Tuesday 18 August 2015, between 6:00pm and 7:00pm. If that hour doesn’t suit your schedule of course, feel free to celebrate at a different time, or indeed: all day, every day! Last year, there were many great ideas to mark the occasion, such as literary high teas, special picnics, pyjama parties, and film screenings. Even small ideas can make a big difference - a reminder on a library notice board, class blog or school newsletter might reach hundreds of…
  • Children's iPad App, Talking Dino

    2 Jul 2015 | 12:00 pm
    Children’s App Review by Susan Stephenson, www.thebookchook.comHere’s an exceedingly simple app that’s suited to even our youngest learners. Talking Dino is an interactive app that encourages children to make decisions while they create a digital dinosaur. From the developer (Education Services Australia): Design a talking dinosaur to present at show and tell. Create your dinosaur by selecting from a range of elements such as mood, size and colour. Choose a voice and background picture for your dinosaur. Decide on a name that suits your talking dinosaur. Select a note about your…
  • Children's Book Review, Go to Sleep Jessie

    30 Jun 2015 | 12:00 pm
    Children's Book Review by Susan Stephenson, www.thebookchook.comGo to Sleep, Jessie! is a children’s picture book, written by Libby Gleeson, illustrated by Freya Blackwood and published by Little Hare, (Hardie Grant Egmont) 2014. It’s been shortlisted by the Children's Book Council of Australia in the Early Childhood awards, and I can certainly see why. Jessie is a baby who cries and won’t go to sleep, much to the disgust of her big sister, Jo, with whom she shares a room. Kids with babies at home will certainly relate to wanting a crying little one to stop. Parents will relate too, to…
  • Looking Back to April, May, June 2014

    28 Jun 2015 | 12:00 pm
    Looking Back to April, May, June 2014by Susan Stephenson, www.thebookchook.com Last 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 the most popular posts at The Book Chook from April, May and June 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 educational…
  • April - June 2015 iPad App Reviews

    25 Jun 2015 | 4:28 pm
    April - June 2015 iPad App Reviewsby Susan Stephenson, www.thebookchook.comI've discovered it's useful to my readers not only to have access to my app reviews, but to have access to reviews according to theme, or in other groups. Accordingly, I've begun a periodic but regular feature where I curate and share my own iPad app reviews and articles.In 2013, I did a big round-up of my 2013 iPad app reviews and articles. Last year, I gathered my reviews from January to March 2014 into one post, April to June in one post, July to September into one post and October to December into one post. You can…
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    doodlesoop.com

  • Two Shows

    admin
    20 Jun 2015 | 7:22 pm
    Two shows I’m currently in–here is the lovely invite for the Brooklyn Public Library one, with stunning art by Melissa Iwai. CBIG EXHIBIT (click for CBIG blog)- Twenty one artists come together to illustrate FAIRY TALES! On view at the Brooklyn Public Library, Central Library, June 11 through September 25, 2015 See the CBIG Web site. Join curator Donna Miskend in conversation with Michael Patrick Hearn, children’s literary historian Saturday,  September 19 at 2pm about the history and relevance of fairy tales today. The BPL is a great place! Aaaand…   Master…
  • Flu Piece

    admin
    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

    admin
    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

    admin
    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…
 
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    Nana's Buzz

  • Fostering a Love of Music – Part 1

    nana2
    29 Jun 2015 | 9:47 am
    A friend stopped by my home for the first time recently and commented: “Quite a musical family.”  I realized that she might have been prompted to say that because, in our small living room, are a full-size electronic piano keyboard, a cello, and 2 acoustic guitars. I do place a high value on the role of music, listening to it or creating it, in one’s life: its ability to soothe in times of stress, and to give pleasure to oneself and to others.  For most people who manage to achieve some level of proficiency with an instrument, including the human voice, it comes only with…
  • Older IS Wiser!

    nana
    18 Jun 2015 | 11:45 am
    I imagine many of us have experienced the “look” from our children and grandchildren when we forget where the keys are, or are slow to answer a question or can’t figure out how to use our new cell phones. Now it’s time to turn the tables! We may be slower but there’s scientific proof that older really CAN be wiser! Scientists have observed that some mental faculties improve with age. Part of it is knowledge. Older people have been around longer, have more knowledge and score higher on certain measures of intelligence like vocabulary tests and crossword puzzles.
  • Go Fishing!

    nana2
    15 Jun 2015 | 7:25 pm
    There’s always something to celebrate.  June 18th is Go Fishing Day. It’s the perfect excuse to take the day off.  Whether you prefer a riverbank, the deck of a deep-sea vessel or a float in a lake or pond, grab your fishing pole or rod, lunch and a grandchild and head out for a special day.  With some luck, you may even catch something.  But that’s not really the point, is it? In the days and weeks that follow, you and your grandchild can relive the memories of that day while reading a book about fishing.  Here are some suggestions.  They are all so terrific that I…
  • Aeriums : Fun To Make and Share

    nana
    11 Jun 2015 | 2:10 pm
    This is a great idea for a fun and easy craft project with your grandchildren.  And, as a bonus, it’s a wonderful way share some of those special memories of good times together.  Aeriums are terrariums made with air plants, the easiest “living green thing” you can imagine.  Air plants (tillandsias) live and grow without soil and they get their moisture and nutrients from the air. Even forgetful grandmas and on-the-go children can keep them looking great.  You only need a container, the air plant, a little moss or lichen and something to add for interest. This is where…
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    Tips and Tidbits - Magical Read

  • Dream the dreams that little mice dream; of cheddar cheese pie and toasty warm things ...

    Rob Russell
    3 Jul 2015 | 4:10 pm
    Still fartin' about with pencils in Corel. Used about  half dozen different ones on this sketch. Too sharp, too smudgy. Ugh. Not a good day, but I think it's going to come back to the good ol' 2B, but with some adjustments. Ohhh ... those adjustments.
  • First Sketch on Corel Paint 2015

    Rob Russell
    1 Jul 2015 | 10:46 am
    My very first non-illustrator / photoshop sketch. It's a pain trying to find the right pencil and settings; but will keep at it. I'll post some more of these as I try to narrow down the pencil. Then on to the brushes! Ugh. Anyone got any good pencils, or brushes (coloured pencil / water colour) that you wouldn't mind sharing?
  • Draw man, draw!

    Rob Russell
    28 Jun 2015 | 6:50 pm
    Sometimes, ya just gotta doodle.
  • Illustrating the Front Line

    Rob Russell
    14 Jun 2015 | 10:45 am
    This was a very quick and simple drawing exercise that I tried. As you look at my little dragon thingie, you can tell that I drew the lines of this character that were closest to you in bold. This serves to illustrate the notion that close in objects appear bigger, bolder, etc. Objects and (for our purposes) lines that are farther away are smaller, thinner, and less distinct.This isn't a technique that I can say I use regularly, but I do think that it is useful in more commercial applications, or cartoon (animated and such), but perhaps less useful in children's illustrations. Thoughts?
  • How to Create Similar Characters

    Rob Russell
    12 Jun 2015 | 5:18 pm
    Do you need to make two or more characters look reasonably similar? I think an easy way to do this is to chose an aspect, or feature that helps bind them together like a muzzle, tail, or a funny nose! I've provided an example of a couple of woodland critters to help illustrate this. No pun intended. I don't endorse exactness, or excessive similarity between creatures; just harmony, however you achieve that.
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