Children's Literature

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  • Yes, I Am Afraid

    A Chair, A Fireplace, & A Tea Cozy
    Liz B
    20 Oct 2014 | 9:29 am
    Daily, I do certain things that in the book reviewing world are acts of courage.I use my own name.While I omit specifics about my work and family and home, I don't make up alternate facts to create a public persona that will offer me more protection.I use my own photograph, which means I am recognized in public.I use my own mailing address with publishers and agents and other professional contacts.Part of this is because I wanted to use what I do here, online, professionally, for writing and professional activities and programs and workshops.Part of this is because of cost: being on a tight…
  • Dear Author, Whose Book I Read and May Have Negatively Reviewed, Your Anger Will Not Silence Me.

    Finding Wonderland: The WritingYA Weblog
    21 Oct 2014 | 3:36 pm
    By now, the flurry of comments on the Guardian essay of last week have turned into their own weather system. I won't link to or add to the storm, but should you want to sort of track the round-up, Leila has stood in the eye of the hurricane, Beth Revis has responded as an author, and Kelly Jensen has some good thoughts on blogger privacy. I was disappointed, though, to hear that a couple of bloggers are considering leaving blogging over this. I am... baffled. Okay, I know - I'm often baffled, but seriously, I don't understand. NOT that I don't get the fear that something like this could…
  • Libraries, Peanut Butter, and Bears

    Chicken Spaghetti
    1 Oct 2014 | 10:17 am
    School has started, and with it, I'm back in the classroom once a week, reading to second graders. So far we have read these picture books: Tomás and the Library Lady, written by Pat Mora and illustrated by Raul Colón. A friendly bookseller at Manhattan's charming La Casa Azul recommended this one, which is sprinkled with Spanish words. Tomás, the child of migrant Texas farm workers, find a place of refuge in an Iowa library and enjoys the attention of two mentors in the "library lady" and his grandfather. It's based on the childhood experiences of Tomás Rivera,…
  • MarcoPolo Weather app review

    The Horn Book
    Katie Bircher
    23 Oct 2014 | 1:01 pm
    Three little anthropomorphic creatures — bunny Willow, bear Scout, and “hippo” (although he looks more like a goofy monster) Gorbie — teach kids about weather in free-play app MarcoPolo Weather (MarcoPolo, September 2014). Icons at the top of the screen allow you to control weather, temperature, and day/night for the meadow where the critters play. By adjusting these factors, you create a wide range of conditions to which the animals and their environment respond. A toolbar of the three characters plus their clothing, accoutrement, and food appears at the bottom of the screen.
  • What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,Plus What I Did Last Week (the Halloween Edition), Featuring Gerald Kelley, Harriet Muncaster,Greg Pizzoli, and Laura Vaccaro Seeger

    Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast
    23 Oct 2014 | 11:01 pm
    – From Carol Brendler’s Not Very Scary,illustrated by Greg Pizzoli   “I don’t know where my mom goes. She’s always my mom, but I think that sometimes she just needs a break from being a witch.”– From Harriet Muncaster’s I Am a Witch’s Cat(Click to see spread in its entirety)   – From Laura Vaccaro Seeger’sDog and Bear: Tricks and Treats   – From J. Patrick Lewis’M is for Monster: A Fantastic Creatures Alphabet,illustrated by Gerald Kelley   We’re celebrating Halloween today, 7-Imp style,…
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    The Horn Book

  • MarcoPolo Weather app review

    Katie Bircher
    23 Oct 2014 | 1:01 pm
    Three little anthropomorphic creatures — bunny Willow, bear Scout, and “hippo” (although he looks more like a goofy monster) Gorbie — teach kids about weather in free-play app MarcoPolo Weather (MarcoPolo, September 2014). Icons at the top of the screen allow you to control weather, temperature, and day/night for the meadow where the critters play. By adjusting these factors, you create a wide range of conditions to which the animals and their environment respond. A toolbar of the three characters plus their clothing, accoutrement, and food appears at the bottom of the screen.
  • Getting to know you

    Lolly Robinson
    23 Oct 2014 | 9:00 am
    One of the perks of my job here at the Horn Book — and I suspect for any of you working in publishing — is meeting and sometimes really getting to know some of my favorite illustrators and authors. Often, committee members attend dinners and other events featuring some of what may be their favorite authors and illustrators. So, what does this do to our critical abilities when we need to evaluate books created by these same people? Salley Mavor visited the Horn Book office and joined us for lunch in 2011 when she delivered the art for her January 2012 cover. One experienced and respected…
  • Mini-trend: Grrrl power grrraphic novels

    Elissa Gershowitz
    22 Oct 2014 | 9:29 am
    We’ve noticed a welcome trend lately: excellent graphic novel memoirs (or fiction that feels an awful lot like) written by women about their adolescence. Here are a few to enjoy. (Thanks, Marjane Satrapi, for breaking ground with Persepolis, and to the Tamaki cousins for Skim and This One Summer! Also Katie’s girl-crush Lucy Knisley, who has a new book out — An Age of License — described by the publisher as “an Eat, Pray, Love for the alternative comics fan.” The November/December 2014 Horn Book Magazine includes three graphic novel memoirs by women. At the age of…
  • Review of Strike!

    Jonathan Hunt
    22 Oct 2014 | 9:10 am
    Strike!: The Farm Workers’ Fight for Their Rights by Larry Dane Brimner Intermediate, Middle School    Calkins Creek/Boyds Mills    172 pp. 10/14    978-1-59078-997-1    $16.95 Brimner turns his attention from one part of the 1960s — the civil rights movement in the South (Black & White) — to another, a parallel movement among migrant farm workers in the Southwest for better wages and working conditions. This comprehensive history traces California’s burgeoning need for farm workers in the twentieth century, and the often-
forgotten early contribution of Filipino…
  • Here come the Yankees

    Elissa Gershowitz
    21 Oct 2014 | 9:44 am
    It’s not easy being a Yankees fan in Boston. Just ask my husband. Or Ben Affleck. (It’s ok, son. Let it out. We won’t judge. #dothprotesttoomuch) Here are three new children’s books that will have Yankees fans cheering. And not the Bronx cheer, either. Derek Jeter hung up his cleats earlier this year, and now he’s starting his own imprint. The Contract (written with Paul Mantell) is about a boy, named Derek Jeter, who chases his dreams of playing in the Major Leagues. According to an author’s note, it’s “based on some of my experiences growing…
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    Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast

  • What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,Plus What I Did Last Week (the Halloween Edition), Featuring Gerald Kelley, Harriet Muncaster,Greg Pizzoli, and Laura Vaccaro Seeger

    23 Oct 2014 | 11:01 pm
    – From Carol Brendler’s Not Very Scary,illustrated by Greg Pizzoli   “I don’t know where my mom goes. She’s always my mom, but I think that sometimes she just needs a break from being a witch.”– From Harriet Muncaster’s I Am a Witch’s Cat(Click to see spread in its entirety)   – From Laura Vaccaro Seeger’sDog and Bear: Tricks and Treats   – From J. Patrick Lewis’M is for Monster: A Fantastic Creatures Alphabet,illustrated by Gerald Kelley   We’re celebrating Halloween today, 7-Imp style,…
  • Drawing Blind with Philip C. Stead

    21 Oct 2014 | 11:01 pm
    “SEBASTIAN sat high on his roof—something he was never supposed to do.‘There is nothing to see on my street,’ he thought. ‘Nothing to see at all.’”(Click to enlarge)   Author-illustrator Phil Stead is visiting today to chat with me about his newest picture book, Sebastian and the Balloon, released by Neal Porter Books/Roaring Brook earlier this month. This is the story of a young boy who sets out on an adventure with “all the things he would ever need” and charts a course for the skies — in a balloon he’s built from his…
  • Seven Questions Over Breakfast with Stephanie Graegin

    21 Oct 2014 | 6:22 am
    Pictured above is the title page illustration from Nancy Van Laan’s Forget Me Not, released by Schwartz & Wade Books in August. This is the poignant and lovingly-rendered story of a young girl whose grandmother is experiencing significant memory loss. It slowly builds in the story — to the point where she is placed in an assisted living center, while her granddaughter watches with concern. The illustrations were rendered by my visitor today, Stephanie Graegin, pictured below. As you’ll read below, this is Stephanie’s fourth picture book. (Three were released last…
  • 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #402: Featuring David Mackintosh

    18 Oct 2014 | 11:01 pm
    (Click to enlarge) Happy Sunday, all … Right here over at BookPage, I reviewed Lucky from British designer and illustrator David Mackintosh, released by Abrams this month. Below, I’ve got some art from it, ’cause you know we just GOTTA take a peek inside the pages. (Click second image to see spread in its entirety)   (Click second image to see spread in its entirety)   “Leo says, In Hawaii, you drive around in golf carts and have spending money and drinks with fruit in them. And … There are erupting volcanoes there, with rivers of boiling lava and…
  • What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Jon Klassen

    17 Oct 2014 | 7:39 am
    “So they kept digging.”(Click to enlarge and see spread in its entirety)   “‘I have a new idea,’ said Dave. ‘Let’s split up.’ ‘Really?’ said Sam.‘Just for a little while,’ said Dave. ‘It will help our chances.’”(Click to enlarge and see spread in its entirety)   This morning over at Kirkus, I’ve got some good reads for Halloween — mostly picture books but a couple of books for older readers, too. That link is here. Since I wrote last week (here) about Mac Barnett’s Sam and…
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    Finding Wonderland: The WritingYA Weblog

  • Thursday Review: COMPLICIT by Stephanie Kuehn

    Sarah Stevenson
    23 Oct 2014 | 3:52 pm
    This cover is really awesome.Summary: Protagonists whose past is hidden--even, sometimes, from themselves. It's something author Stephanie Kuehn does well, if you've read her first book, Charm & Strange. Complicit is another suspenseful read, in which protagonist Jamie Henry's life is turned upside down (again) when he finds out his sister Cate is getting out of juvie. Cate is...well, everyone knows she's a psycho, and everyone knows Jamie as the psycho's sister, so nothing good can come of this. After all, before she was put away, she set fire to a barn and almost killed someone. It's…
  • Dear Author, Whose Book I Read and May Have Negatively Reviewed, Your Anger Will Not Silence Me.

    21 Oct 2014 | 3:36 pm
    By now, the flurry of comments on the Guardian essay of last week have turned into their own weather system. I won't link to or add to the storm, but should you want to sort of track the round-up, Leila has stood in the eye of the hurricane, Beth Revis has responded as an author, and Kelly Jensen has some good thoughts on blogger privacy. I was disappointed, though, to hear that a couple of bloggers are considering leaving blogging over this. I am... baffled. Okay, I know - I'm often baffled, but seriously, I don't understand. NOT that I don't get the fear that something like this could…
  • KidLitCon 2014: Further Thoughts (and Sketches)

    Sarah Stevenson
    20 Oct 2014 | 4:25 pm
    I meant to do this post last Thursday, but work spun dizzily out of my control, tossing me into a whirling black hole (do black holes whirl? I feel like they do) of getting-caught-up. Tanita's done some amazing posts with lovely photos of the KidLitCon last weekend, and while I can't compete with the photos (mainly because I forgot to take any...sigh) I do have a couple of quick sketches I did during sessions, which is a Thing I Do at Conferences when I'm not jotting notes. And I did jot notes, too, and was left with a lot of food for thought on blogging and on diversity.Charlotte of…
  • KidlitCon 2014: Notepad Forum, Part ii ~ The Weekend Word: "Appropriation"

    17 Oct 2014 | 3:45 pm
    This weekend's word is actually a phrase - Cultural Appropriation. I've blogged a bit about KidLitCon over the last week, and talked about how last weekend, Charlotte Taylor, our program director, came up with a great way to keep us thoughtful during those brief moments when people were at loose ends. She started a notepad conversation which was ongoing throughout the weekend, and one of the things on the pad was the somewhat plaintive question about how to judge cultural appropriation in fantasy. And the follow-up question someone else asked was even more direct: "Is using elements of…
  • KidlitCon, 2014: NOTEPAD FORUM, part i.

    15 Oct 2014 | 1:14 pm
    Charlotte Taylor, our program director, has clear Leadership Skillz, and came up with a great way to keep us thoughtful during those brief moments when people were at loose ends. She put a note pad up in the foyer space of the library, right next to one of the (oddly hidden) bathrooms, and put pens out. Just... a blank piece of paper, and some markers. And she wrote, "Ask some questions!" or something to that effect. And the weird thing is, people DID. Charlotte may have asked the first one, to get us started, but then other questions - and answers - and arrows appeared. It was probably just…
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    A Chair, A Fireplace, & A Tea Cozy

  • Review: Gracefully Grayson

    Liz B
    23 Oct 2014 | 1:00 am
    Gracefully Grayson by Ami Polonsky. Hyperion, an imprint of Disney Book Group. 2014. Reviewed from ARC.The Plot: Grayson Sender is twelve years old.Grayson is lonely, even surrounded by classmates, even at home, living with cousins, an aunt and uncle.Grayson is lonely in part because of Grayson's parents death years ago, leading to Grayson being the odd child out at home.Grayson is lonely because Grayson cannot connect with others because Grayson is hiding the most important part of who Grayson is.In Gracefully Grayson, Grayson gradually gains trust and friends until Grayson can reveal…
  • Review: Crossover

    Liz B
    21 Oct 2014 | 1:00 am
    The Crossover by Kwame Alexander. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 2014. Reviewed from ARC.The Plot: Twelve year old twin brothers, Josh and Jordan Bell, are basketball players just like their father. And just like their father, they are GOOD.Josh loves basketball and words; he is the one telling the story, in a sequence of poems organized by sections as if it were a basketball game, starting with Warm Up, moving on to First Quarter, and ultimately ending with Overtime. His father loves music, giving Josh the nickname Filthy McNasty after a favorite song.His twin, Jordan, is JB, and loves…
  • Yes, I Am Afraid

    Liz B
    20 Oct 2014 | 9:29 am
    Daily, I do certain things that in the book reviewing world are acts of courage.I use my own name.While I omit specifics about my work and family and home, I don't make up alternate facts to create a public persona that will offer me more protection.I use my own photograph, which means I am recognized in public.I use my own mailing address with publishers and agents and other professional contacts.Part of this is because I wanted to use what I do here, online, professionally, for writing and professional activities and programs and workshops.Part of this is because of cost: being on a tight…
  • New Post: Bling Ring

    Liz B
    16 Oct 2014 | 1:00 am
    The Bling Ring: How a Gang of Fame-Obsessed Teens Ripped Off Hollywood and Shocked the World by Nancy Jo Sales. It Books. 2013. Library copy. Inspired film by the same name.The Bling Ring.It's About: The true story of how, in 2008 - 2009, a bunch of teens broke into the homes of their favorite celebrities and stole clothes and jewelry. The Bling Ring explores who those teens were, how they planned the crimes, and how they were caught.The Good: Both the film and the movie view this series of home robberies as an opportunity to examine entitlement celebrity fan culture. The teens…
  • Review: Complicit

    Liz B
    14 Oct 2014 | 1:00 am
    Complicit by Stephanie Kuehn. St. Martin's Griffin. 2014. Reviewed from ARC from publishers.The Plot: Two years ago, Jamie's older sister was sent to juvenile detention. She'd burnt down a neighbor's barn, killing several horses and injuring a young girl who'd tried to save those horses.Rumors have always swirled around Cate: she was that type of personality, that attracted and repelled and fascinated. And now... now she's been released.Jamie is afraid, to be honest. He's put that all behind him, what happened with Cate. What she did. He's been seeing someone to help. He lost his best…
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    educating alice

  • Holly Black and the Twelfth Doctor

    22 Oct 2014 | 1:40 am
    Holly Black has joined a stellar line-up of children’s authors (to name a few: Children’s Laureate Malorie Blackman, Patrick Ness, Eoin Colfer and Neil Gaiman) who have each crafted a short tale for every incarnation of the eponymous Time Lord. When the original run of e-books ended in November of last year Matt Smith was the incumbent Doctor but now acting heavyweight Peter Capaldi has taken on the role it seems apt that he should be featured in a story. Black’s story, Lights Out, is unique in many respects. She had the exciting but “super intimidating” task of penning an adventure…
  • A Westing Game Movie Directed by Neil Patrick Harris with a Screenplay by Gillian Flynn?

    18 Oct 2014 | 1:07 am
    What book would you most like to see turned into a movie? I have, for years, been a bit obsessed with “The Westing Game,” by Ellen Raskin. It’s a young adult murder mystery, about a group of residents in an apartment building, the death of a millionaire in a mansion nearby and their trying to solve clues left by the deceased to win his inheritance. Apparently it has already been made into a movie, but not by me! I’m dying to direct a really dark, moody version of it. Then I read that Gillian Flynn, of “Gone Girl” fame, loved this book growing up, as well. So now my infatuation has…
  • Frank Cotrell Boyce on the Importance of Story

    17 Oct 2014 | 1:55 am
    I love visiting schools. There’s a humbling, Homeric magic in the sight of a crowd of children sitting down waiting to listen to your story. A few months ago, however, a lovely young NQT stepped between me and that crowd and said: “Now we are very lucky to have Frank with us today. We’re going to use our Listening Skills (she touched her ears) to try and spot his Wow Words (what?) and his Connectives so that we can appreciate how he builds the story.” Imagine going on a date with her. “We’re going to have some proteins. Some carbs – not too many – and conversation. If you make…
  • A Victorian Wild Thing, Lewis Carroll

    14 Oct 2014 | 2:43 am
    I admit to a particular fondness for subversive books and so Betsy Bird, Julie Danielson, and Peter Sieruta’s Wild Things! Acts of Mischief in Children’s Literature would have been right up my alley even if I hadn’t known the three authors long before the book came into being. And so I was pleased as punch when Betsy and Jules invited me to answer a few questions about someone who created my favorite subversive book, Lewis Carroll. We know that you’ve done a fair amount of research on Alice in Wonderland in your spare time so let’s find out some stories folks…
  • Girl (AKA Lena Dunham) Wants to Make “Catherine, Called Birdy” Movie

    13 Oct 2014 | 2:15 am
    Lena Dunham discussed a wide array of topics with writer and author Ariel Levy during the 15th annual New Yorker Festival on Friday night, including her aspirations to turn Karen Cushman’s “Catherine, Called Birdy” into a feature film….”It’s a really interesting examination of sort of like coming of age and what’s expected of teenage girls,” Dunham said. “I’m going to adapt it and hopefully direct it, I just need to find someone who wants to fund a PG-13 medieval movie.” From Lena Dunham Wants To Turn ‘Catherine, Called…
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    Chicken Spaghetti

  • Libraries, Peanut Butter, and Bears

    1 Oct 2014 | 10:17 am
    School has started, and with it, I'm back in the classroom once a week, reading to second graders. So far we have read these picture books: Tomás and the Library Lady, written by Pat Mora and illustrated by Raul Colón. A friendly bookseller at Manhattan's charming La Casa Azul recommended this one, which is sprinkled with Spanish words. Tomás, the child of migrant Texas farm workers, find a place of refuge in an Iowa library and enjoys the attention of two mentors in the "library lady" and his grandfather. It's based on the childhood experiences of Tomás Rivera,…
  • Second Grade: Thumbs Up for "The Incredible Book Eating Boy"

    13 Jun 2014 | 8:36 am
    Another June, another school year coming to a close. Up here in New England we keep 'em in class until almost the end of the month. I've been a volunteer classroom reader for a while now, and I love it, even the unpredictable nature of the last few weeks of the academic year. I read in the afternoon, and sometimes the second graders are almost sleeping, exhausted from the heat (no a.c. at this school) and other times they are buzzing around the room like bees in a hive. They are always ready to listen to a read-aloud, though. Earlier this week I shared Oliver Jeffers' picture…
  • Bloggers Choose Children's Book Award Winners

    14 Feb 2014 | 8:16 am
    Announced this morning: the Children's and Young Adult Bloggers Literary Awards, a.k.a., the Cybils. You'll find many ideas for good reading in the lists of winners.  Take a look.
  • Norman's Best Books of 2013

    5 Jan 2014 | 1:49 pm
    Today I'm turning over the space to my husband, Norman Trepner, an avid reader and an all-around good guy. Take it away, Norm. Susan Once again Susan has asked me to share with her Chicken Spaghetti friends my favorite books I’ve read this past year, and once again I’m more than happy to comply! Three of my top ten books were stories about teens and tweens. A Tale for the Time Being, by Ruth Ozeki, is the story of a 16 year old Japanese girl who writes in her diary about her 104-year old Buddhist nun great-grandmother, and the book also tells of a woman in a remote British…
  • Thank You, Readers

    26 Nov 2013 | 7:32 am
    In the book What W.H. Auden Can Do For You (Princeton University Press, 2013), Alexander McCall Smith writes,  "[The poet W.H.] Auden reminds us to be grateful, and that is something that we increasingly need to be reminded of in a culture of expectations and entitlement." McCall laments a consumerist culture in which we're pushed to complain rather than express gratitude. But "Why not say thank you?" McCall Smith asks. He goes on to say that Auden's work points us in a appreciative direction because the poems after 1940 "tend to be poems of celebration,…
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    Chasing Ray

  • "...and the local library matters." - Bill Moyers

    23 Oct 2014 | 8:10 pm
    One of the best books I read this year and a truly important reading experience is The Public Library, a photographic essay by Robert Dawson. Published by Princeton Architectural Press, this is a gorgeously designed book of photos and essays on American public libraries, which I could not stop paging through. Right now, you are probably thinking you know what the book is and agree with me that it's important and yet you likely have no interest in paging through it. A book like this is a good thing, but you already value libraries, right? You think you don't need this one. Allow me to convince…
  • Celebrating Ballou Sr High School's library dynamo

    21 Oct 2014 | 2:17 am
    We are often asked why we have chosen to stay with Ballou Senior High School for our annual book fair. Prior to Ballou, Guys Lit Wire worked with a group serving juvenile offenders in Los Angeles and two schools on reservations in Arizona and New Mexico. While we certainly were happy to help those folks and felt that our book fairs did a lot of good and were appreciated, when we first teamed up with Ballou we quickly realized we had found a special situation. Melissa Jackson, the Library Media Specialist, loves her job and her enthusiasm is quite infectious. A look at the library's facebook…
  • Lizzie Borden, kick ass monster killer

    13 Oct 2014 | 10:06 pm
    Cherie Priest takes on an infamous American crime with Maplecroft, the first in the new Borden Dispatches series. She plants the reader in Falls Church, Massachusetts as Lizzie and her sister Emma stubbornly remain, living down the infamy of Lizzie's trial following the murder of their father and stepmother. Lizzie still has her axe, everybody thinks she did it and an air of mystery surrounds the comings and goings of the two women in Maplecroft, their impressive home. Then a whole bunch of monster killing happens and readers realize that whatever Lizzie Borden did or didn't do in real life…
  • Whew....catching up!

    8 Oct 2014 | 5:29 pm
    After two quick trips to points both east and west, here is the current status of my reading life: 1. Lies in the Dust: A Tale of Remorse from the Salem Witch Trials by Jakob Crane/Art by Tim Decker. This graphic novel tells the story of Ann Putnam Jr., 14 years after the trials. Ann was one of the girls at the center of the accusations that led to the deaths of the so many. I never knew that she felt remorse--honestly I never thought too much about what happened to any of the girls. Crane does a great job of pulling readers in to Anne's adult (and that of the siblings she raises) and shows…
  • When Mother is Mad: Parents with mental illness in YA literature

    8 Oct 2014 | 5:06 pm
    TROUBLED TEENS have always been present in literature, long before the current crop of vampires and dystopian futures provided window dressing for their fears and struggles. Tales of addiction and separation, abuse and abandonment, have always been a staple of the young-adult publishing market, and their enduring appeal is easy to explain: young people are hyper-alert to injustice and pain. Not only do they have to get through every day (as we all do), but they often find themselves in powerless positions where their pain is discounted by the adults around them. Contemporary realistic fiction…
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    Books for Boys - Children's Adventure & Mystery Author Max Elliot Anderson

  • An excellent alternative to the dark side of Halloween

    22 Oct 2014 | 11:08 am
    An excellent alternative to the dark side of Halloween for readers 8 - 13 "The Scarecrow"
  • Remember Your hardy Boys & Nancy Drew?

    20 Oct 2014 | 2:42 pm
    If you enjoyed the Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew when you were young, and want that same kind of reading experience for your children or grandchildren today, check out COVERSVIDEO
  • Working My Way Back

    16 Oct 2014 | 7:58 am
    Well, it's been a tough slog. This was my first major surgery so I didn't know exactly what to expect in the recovery and healing process. The early days had their ups and downs and my energy level still fluctuates. So far I haven't had any interest in writing, but expect that to come around in time.Yesterday I had an appointment with my surgeon for his follow-up and to have the stitches removed. Mine was the traditional, large incision for a burst appendix. He explained again, since the entire area was such a mess, filled with poisons and other nasty substances, that he felt it necessary to…
  • First Major Surgery Of My Life

    12 Oct 2014 | 10:07 am
    A week ago tomorrow - at 1 AM - I found myself in an operating room with a burst appendix. I spent 2 1/2 days in the hospital and have been recovering at home since.  The process has had its ups and downs, and at my age is slower than if this had happened in my teens or twenties when it usually occurs. This was my first major surgery, and it was done in the old school way of a large incision, so I don't have any other real-world experience with which to compare it.Hopefully I'll be back to causing trouble again real soon but I wanted everyone to know why it's been so quiet from this…
  • Understanding Today's Young Readers

    29 Sep 2014 | 4:44 pm
     Understanding Today's Young Readers - find my article in Valley Living Magazine, page 30 at Amazon Author Page
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    Wands and Worlds

  • Cybils Nomination Suggestions!

    15 Oct 2014 | 9:07 pm
    Wednesday is the last day for Cybils Awards nominations, and there are still eligible books that haven't been nominated that maybe should be considered. If you're looking for something to nominate, here are some suggestions that might jog your memory. See this post for information on eligibility and how to nominate.Young Adult Speculative FictionChasing Powerby Sarah Beth DurstISBN 978-0802737557Published today (October 14), but still within the eligibility window.Amazon linkHas now been nominated.The Truth Against the Worldby Sarah Jamila StevensonISBN 978-0738740584Amazon…
  • Calling all bloggers!

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

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

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

    2 Jun 2014 | 4:08 pm
    The Stark Law: No two living Starks can ever occupy the same place at the same time.Corollary: If any Stark is approaching a location where another Stark currently resides, the resident Stark will either leave or be killed.
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    American Indians in Children's Literature (AICL)


    23 Oct 2014 | 10:25 am
    Decades ago--and now, too--I revel in the music of The Band. I was amongst those who went to see the film The Last Waltz. Of course, I bought CDs, too. At the time, I knew Robbie Robertson was Native, but didn't know much else about him. Today, I'm pleased as can be to share Rock and Roll Highway: The Robbie Robertson Story. Here's the cover:Thanks to this book, I've had the opportunity to learn a lot more about Robertson. Released this year (2014) by Henry Holt, the biography is written by Sebastian Robertson (yeah, Robbie's son). The illustrations by Adam Gustavson are…

    22 Oct 2014 | 2:33 pm
    There's a new board book out by Cree Metis artist, Julie Flett, and like her other ones, it is a winner!Like her previous works, We All Count: A Book of Cree Numbers is a bilingual board book. In this one, the numbers 1-10 are presented in English and Cree.Flett's collage work is gorgeous. I love the quiet and bold colors she uses in her compositions. Here's the page for number 1. The text reads "One prairie dog perching."And here's the page for number 10, where the text reads "Ten elk crossing." Flett's book is excellent for parents, teachers, or librarians to read to young…
  • K.V. Flynn's ON THE MOVE

    21 Oct 2014 | 5:38 pm
    There's a lot to like about K.V. Flynn's On The Move. As far as I know, Flynn is not Native. His main character, Callum, isn't Native either, but a Native kid named Obbie figures prominently in this middle grade story set in California. He's not the sidekick who will be the first to die. He's the real deal. That is, a Native kid who is grounded in his identity as a Native kid. It is a natural part of who he is--which is, one of several boys who hang out together. They are skateboarders.  In the first three chapters, we learn that Obbie is Native and that he spends his…

    21 Oct 2014 | 11:04 am
    Maira Kalman's Thomas Jefferson, Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Everything got starred reviews from Kirkus and Booklist. Horn Book noted its candor and substance, and The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books praised Kalman's candid discussion of Jefferson's contradictory views about slavery.Me? The title alone brought me up short. As far as I've read, no one else has noted the title.Apparently, the author, her editor and publisher, and obviously the reviewers, did not think how a Native person--especially one whose ancestor's were removed from their homelands--would…
  • Author Studies, Kathleen Hale, Native Authors

    20 Oct 2014 | 1:45 pm
    Last week, the Guardian published an article by Kathleen Hale that detailed how she had stalked a blogger who wrote a negative review of her book. Understandably, the article prompted a great deal of conversation on social media, with many bloggers expressing fear about being stalked.Amongst the responses to Hale were ones that said that reviews are about books, not their authors, and that an author should not take reviews personally. A book, some say, stands alone. The author does not matter.I appreciate that response but am hitting the pause button. Here's why.Teachers assign author…
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  • Poetry Friday: Head, Heart by Lydia Davis

    24 Oct 2014 | 6:01 am
    Heart weeps.Head tries to help heart.Head tells heart how it is, again:You will lose the ones you love. They will all go. But even the earth will go, someday.Heart feels better, then.But the words of head do not remain long in the ears of heart.Heart is so new to this.I want them back, says heart.Head is all heart has.Help, head. Help heart.- Head, Heart by Lydia DavisView all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.Learn more about Poetry Friday.
  • Sisters by Raina Telgemeier

    17 Oct 2014 | 9:21 pm
    When Raina was little, she begged her parents for a sister. She thought a sister would be the best thing the world.And then she got one.Fast forward a decade, when Raina, her siblings, and her mother take a road trip from San Francisco to Colorado for a family reunion. Headphones help Raina tune out her family's bickering and blathering. But when she blocks out the world, Raina runs the risk of missing important things happening around her. Road trips canbring out both the best and worst in people. Things along the way remind Raina of previous events, and the flashbacks add to the story,…
  • Poetry Friday: Good Hours by Robert Frost

    17 Oct 2014 | 6:01 am
    I had for my winter evening walk-No one at all with whom to talk,But I had the cottages in a rowUp to their shining eyes in snow.And I thought I had the folk within:I had the sound of a violin;I had a glimpse through curtain lacesOf youthful forms and youthful faces.I had such company outward bound.I went till there were no cottages found.I turned and repented, but coming backI saw no window but that was black.Over the snow my creaking feetDisturbed the slumbering village streetLike profanation, by your leave,At ten o’clock of a winter eve.- Good Hours by Robert FrostView all posts…
  • Courtney Sheinmel's Website

    16 Oct 2014 | 6:51 pm
    I'm super happy to reveal the new look of Courtney Sheinmel's website! Courtney is the author of My So-Called Family, Positively, Sincerely, All the Things You Are, and the Stella Batts series. Courtney's forthcoming young adult novel Edgewater, called a "YA Grey Gardens," will be available in 2015.Please visit
  • Wild Things! by Betsy Bird, Julie Danielson, and Peter D. Sieruta

    11 Oct 2014 | 3:32 pm
    If you are fond of anecdotes and children's literature, pick up WILD THINGS! Acts of Mischief in Children's Literature, written by Betsy Bird, Julie Danielson, and the late Peter D. Sieruta. Packed from cover-to-cover with funny stories and little known facts about famous authors, secret feuds, inspired illustrations, and classic characters, this is a great resource for readers and writers alike.This fun book contains true tales, the stories behind the stories. If you've read up on your favorite classic authors, you may already be familiar with some of these occurrences, such as the chapters…
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    Jen Robinson's Book Page

  • Bad Dog Flash: Ruth Paul

    Jen Robinson
    23 Oct 2014 | 9:20 am
    Book: Bad Dog Flash Author: Ruth Paul Pages: 32 Age Range: 2-6 Bad Dog Flash is a picture book aimed at toddlers and preschoolers, about the antics of a puppy named Flash. Each pair of page spreads follows Flash getting into some sort of mischief, concluding with a pronouncement from the grown-ups of: "Bad dog, Flash." Only at the end of the book, when a little girl holds Flash, is puppy-like behavior greeted with "Good dog, Flash."  Paul's minimal, lightly rhyming text makes this book accessible to the youngest of listeners. Bad Dog Flash could also be used as a very early…
  • Growing Bookworms Newsletter: October 22

    Jen Robinson
    22 Oct 2014 | 2:45 pm
    Today I will be sending out a new issue of the Growing Bookworms email newsletter. (If you would like to subscribe, you can find a sign-up form here.) The Growing Bookworms newsletter contains content from my blog focused on children's and young adult books and raising readers. I currently send the newsletter out every two weeks. Newsletter Update: In this issue I have eight book reviews (picture book through young adult), two posts with links that I shared on Twitter recently, and one post describing a recent literacy…
  • H2O: Virginia Bergin

    Jen Robinson
    21 Oct 2014 | 8:15 am
    Book: H2O Author: Virginia Bergin Pages: 336 Age Range: 12 and up Virginia Bergin's H2O is a young adult novel about an apocalypse that occurs when rain turns deadly, leaving only 0.27% of the population alive. I have mixed feelings about this book. I found the first-person narrator, Ruby, off-putting, and her chatty narrative style (with many diversions) annoying. And yet ... I couldn't put the book down, and consumed it in record time.  The plot of H2O carries echoes of various other apocalyptic survival stories (the loss of the immediate family, the quest to find a lost relative, the…
  • The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus: Jen Bryant & Melissa Sweet

    Jen Robinson
    20 Oct 2014 | 8:36 am
    Book: The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus Author: Jen Bryant Illustrator: Melissa Sweet Pages: 42 Age Range: 7 and up The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus is a picture book biography written by Jen Bryant and illustrated by Melissa Sweet. The publisher lists it for ages 7 and up, which seems about right to me. It's quite dense, and full of lists and historical tidbits that make it likely over the heads of younger readers. But for elementary age kids, and adults for that matter, particularly those who appreciate words and lists, The Right Word is simply a delight. This book made…
  • Sky Jumpers Book 2: The Forbidden Flats: Peggy Eddleman

    Jen Robinson
    17 Oct 2014 | 9:58 am
    Book: Sky Jumpers Book 2: The Forbidden Flats (iBooks link) Author: Peggy Eddleman Pages: 272 Age Range: 9-12 The Forbidden Flats is the second book in Peggy Eddleman's Sky Jumpers series (my review of Book 1 is here). Both books are set in a relatively near-term post-apocalyptic American West. One of the oldest adults remembers the pre-apocalyptic world, but most characters were born afterwards. Only small, spread out communities survive, with no means of communication between them. The Forbidden Flats begins with an earthquake, which sets off a reaction that threatens the survival of…
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    Writing and Ruminating

  • Good news Monday

    20 Oct 2014 | 9:16 am
    First, and most importantly, I hope that you receive some good news today, wherever you may be. I have an abundance of it today, though one piece I found out about on Friday evening. I am still so happy about it, though, that I am sharing it here.My chapbook, The Universe Comes Knocking, has been accepted for publication by Maverick Duck Press. Maverick Duck Press is a small press founded in 2005 to "give a voice to undiscovered talent in poetry." They specialize in small, limited-edition print runs of chapbooks, including those of some local poets I really admire, including Kendall Bell,…
  • Over at Guys Lit Wire

    15 Oct 2014 | 8:02 am
    I was late in getting my post for Guys Lit Wire up yesterday, so I don't want to be remiss in sharing it here. Especially since it's about meditation, a topic near and dear to me. The book I reviewed this month is Success Through Stillness: Meditation Made Simple by Russell Simmons. Yes, that Russell Simmons.I purchased my copy from Barnes & Noble, and was very glad to have done so. (It was a special preorder that came signed.)
  • Hoping for some good mail

    13 Oct 2014 | 2:36 pm
    Aren't we all? I'm sure I don't have to tell you what "good mail" is, but it does come in a variety of forms. Unexpected gifts or notes/letters/cards from friends and relatives are definitely up there. Also? Checks, or other versions of money. Who doesn't consider receiving money "good mail"? Also-also, acceptances for manuscripts or poems sent out into the world. Today, I sent a few poems out into the world. There are others already out there, of course, and I'm hoping for good news about them, rather than the alternative. (I've received some of those of late, but I try not to dwell on…
  • Creativity is a fickle thing

    11 Oct 2014 | 8:23 am
    At least sometimes. Mind you, I am firmly of the "show up every day and put in time and good things will happen in your work" camp, at least in principle, since I don't always manage to show up daily. But I set myself three modest goals for the month of October. They sound bigger than they really, are but they are to walk, write, and meditate each day in the month. To make it not such a big thing, I set myself a five-minute minimum for each of these things. I was aces at my goals for the first seven days. But by day seven, that five-minute minimum was starting to come into play on some of my…
  • Shakespeare: Original Pronunciation

    1 Oct 2014 | 2:01 pm
    My profound thanks to Jennifer Hubbard (writerjenn) for sending this video my way. In this presentation made available by Open University, father and son actor/scholars explain and demonstrate what Shakespeare's plays sounded like in Shakespeare's time. That is, they are fans of "op" or "original pronunciation", and are intent on sharing it with the world.Anyone who's read enough Shakespeare knows that there are words that obviously rhymed back in Shakespeare's time that no longer do, e.g., "proved" and "loved" at the end of Sonnet 116, which I've shared here several times before, including…
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    The Miss Rumphius Effect

  • Monday Poetry Stretch - Kodachrome

    20 Oct 2014 | 5:21 pm
    Over the last few weeks I have been scanning slides and revisiting old family photos. My uber-cute brother and sister are in the picture below! Don't you just love those Easter basket sunglasses?While immersed in this project I've been reminded me of a story NPR ran a few years ago about a photo historian who found an archive of more than 14,000 photos taken by Charles W. Cushman. Cushman began using Kodachrome soon after it came out and used it to capture the world in ways it had never been seen before. You can hear the story at The Found Archive of Charles W. Cushman.
  • Tuesday Poetry Stretch - Lipogram

    14 Oct 2014 | 8:00 am
    I looked back over the last month and realized I have failed to post a stretch for several weeks now. Mea culpa, mea culpa. If you only knew about all the crazy things happening in my life! Please forgive my absence here. I've missed writing with you! I have been working on a project with the Poetry Princesses that I hope will be unveiled in a few short weeks.That said, today I'm thinking about the lipogram. A lipogram is a piece of writing that avoids one or more letters of the alphabet. You can read more about lipograms at A.Word.A.DayHere is an example of…
  • Poetry Friday Is On!

    9 Oct 2014 | 9:01 pm
    Welcome friends to Poetry Friday! I'm thrilled to be your host this week. Today I'm sharing a bit of Robert Frost. He's the one poet I revisit every fall. Whether it's Gathering Leaves, Nothing Gold Can Stay, or After Apple Picking, Frost puts me in the mood for my favorite season.Octoberby Robert FrostO hushed October morning mild,Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;Tomorrow’s wind, if it be wild,Should waste them all.The crows above the forest call;Tomorrow they may form and go.Read the poem in its entirety.I'm rounding this one up old-school style, so please leave a note with a link to…
  • Poetry Friday - Zombie Poetry

    26 Sep 2014 | 5:45 am
    Yesterday at lunch my son and I were having a major discussion (that included math) over the check and tip. As I was explaining my thinking, the conversation took an unexpected turn.Son: Mom, did you just do all that math in your head?Me: Yes, I did.Son: Wow. If I were a zombie I'd totally eat your brain first.A strange compliment if I ever heard one, but I know exactly what his 13 year old mind was thinking!That conversation got me thinking about zombies and poetry. (Yes, I know my mind works in strange ways!) Did you know there was a book of zombie poetry?You can download a free sample. You…
  • Poetry Friday - Saved From the Discard Pile

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

  • Memoirs in poetry

    Sylvia Vardell
    17 Oct 2014 | 5:56 am
    Congratulations to Jacqueline Woodson whose book, Brown Girl Dreaming, was just named a finalist for the National Book Award. You know how much I love this book and already featured Jacqueline in a Poet to Poet interview with Carole Boston Weatherford. But did I mention that I also find it so intriguing that a memoir-in-verse is getting all this recognition? I think that’s wonderful! And I loved how Jacqueline said, “This is how memory comes to me -- In small moments with all of this white space around them.” That seems to be true for many poets and I thought it might be…
  • Poetry for TEEN READ WEEK

    Sylvia Vardell
    13 Oct 2014 | 9:55 am
    In honor of Teen Read Week (Oct. 12-18), I’d like to promote this year’s selection of poetry for young adults. As usual, I find that about a third of each year’s list of poetry published for young people targets the teen audience and most of those are novels in verse. That’s true once again this year. I would also add that you’ll find some of the most risk-taking and inventive writing here, by a diverse crop of writers, too. I’ve written about many of the titles below in previous postings, but here’s a round up of all the teen poetry this year, as far as I know. And of course,…
  • Poet to Poet: Helen Frost interviews Chris Crowe

    Sylvia Vardell
    2 Oct 2014 | 12:06 pm
    Here's another installment in my "Poet to Poet" series of interviews between poets who write for young people. This time, Helen Frost interviews Chris Crowe about his new book just published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Death Coming Up the Hill. It's a historical novel in verse about a teenage boy who is navigating high school, first love, and parental conflict during the Vietnam War and it highlights issues of conflict, resistance, and racism. It's built entirely upon haiku poems with a total of 16,592 syllables, one syllable as a tribute to each soldier's death in 1968 during the…
  • ALSC Institute Wrap up: The Science of Poetry

    Sylvia Vardell
    26 Sep 2014 | 12:07 pm
    This time last week, I was attending the ALSC Institute in Oakland, California. It was a great event, well-organized by Nina Lindsay and her team, and full of super-librarians full of energy and enthusiasm and a bunch of great author talks. I was honored to present alongside the fabulous Janet Wong, Susan Blackaby, Alma Flor Ada, Isabelle Campoy, and Margarita Engle. Here are a few nuggets from our presentations on The Science of Poetry. Enjoy!First up, we're so thrilled to be featured on the ALSC Blog. Thank you, Jill Hutchison, for her wonderful summary of our Thursday session here and…
  • Poet to Poet: Carole Boston Weatherford and Jacqueline Woodson

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

    Cynthia Leitich Smith
    24 Oct 2014 | 4:51 am
    By Cynthia Leitich Smithfor Cynsations2014 Arab American Book Award Winner:A Kid's Guide to Arab American History by Yvonne Wakim Dennis and Maha Addasi (Chicago Review Press, 2013). Peek: "...dispels stereotypes and provides a look at the people and experiences that have shaped Arab American culture in a format enjoyable for elementary students. Each chapter focuses on a different group of Arab Americans including those of Lebanese, Syrian, Palestinian, Jordanian, Egyptian, Iraqi, and Yemeni descent." Honorable Mention: The Arab World Thought of It: Inventions, Innovations and Amazing Facts…
  • Author Interview: Susan Kuklin on Writing Nonfiction & Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out

    Cynthia Leitich Smith
    23 Oct 2014 | 6:09 am
    By Cynthia Leitich Smithfor CynsationsFrom the promotional copy of Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out, words and photographs by Susan Kuklin (Candlewick, 2014).A groundbreaking work of LGBT literature takes an honest look at the life, love, and struggles of transgender teens. Author and photographer Susan Kuklin met and interviewed six transgender or gender-neutral young adults and used her considerable skills to represent them thoughtfully and respectfully before, during, and after their personal acknowledgment of gender preference. Portraits, family photographs, and…
  • Guest Post: Carmen Oliver on Founding a Children’s-YA Author & Illustrator Booking Agency

    Cynthia Leitich Smith
    21 Oct 2014 | 7:49 pm
    By Carmen Oliverof The Booking Bizfor Cynthia Leitich Smith's Cynsations“I don’t believe in barriers…just fly your plane.”—Captain Nicole Malachowski from Tanya Lee Stone’s Almost Astronauts (Candlewick, 2009)Over the last eleven years, I encountered a lot of barriers.A lot of uncertainty.But during that time, it afforded me the opportunity to really focus on studying children’s literature and the publishing industry. I have volunteered and apprenticed in various leadership and communication roles with the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, the Writers’…
  • Guest Post & Interview: J.L. Powers & George Mendoza on Children's Book Illustration & Colors of the Wind

    Cynthia Leitich Smith
    21 Oct 2014 | 6:34 am
    By J.L. Powersfor Cynthia Leitich Smith's CynsationsWhat would your life be like if it felt like you were looking into a kaleidoscope every time you opened your eyes?What would it feel like to experience strange visions twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, even at night when you dream?That’s what happened to George Mendoza when he started going blind as a teenager.My first picture book, Colors of the Wind: The Story of Blind Artist and Champion Runner George Mendoza (Purple House Press, 2014), is a picture book biography about George Mendoza.When George was 15, he lost his central…
  • New Voice: David Zeltser on Lug, Dawn Of The Ice Age

    Cynthia Leitich Smith
    20 Oct 2014 | 6:33 am
    Curriculum ResourcesBy Cynthia Leitich Smithfor CynsationsDavid Zeltser is the first-time author of Lug, Dawn Of The Ice Age: How One Small Boy Saved Our Big, Dumb Species (Egmont, 2014). From the promotional copy: In Lug’s Stone Age clan, a caveboy becomes a caveman by catching a jungle llama and riding it against the rival Boar Rider clan in the Big Game. The thing is, Lug has a forbidden, secret art cave and would rather paint than smash skulls. Because Lug is different, his clan’s Big Man is out to get him, he’s got a pair of bullies on his case—oh, and the Ice Age is…
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    Read Alert

  • 2014 Inky Awards – The Winners

    Adele Walsh
    20 Oct 2014 | 10:32 pm
    The Centre for Youth Literature at the State Library of Victoria today announced the winners of 2014 Inky Awards – Australia’s only national teen choice literary prize. The Gold Inky is awarded to an Australian author and includes $2,000 prize money. The 2014 Gold Inky winner is: The First Third by Will Kostakis (Penguin). Life is made up of three parts: in the first third, you’re embarrassed by your family; in the second, you make a family of your own; and in the end, you just embarrass the family you’ve made. The Silver Inky is awarded to an international author. The 2014…
  • 2015: The Year Ahead in Youth Literature

    Adele Walsh
    12 Oct 2014 | 7:04 pm
    presents 2015: The Year Ahead In Youth Literature Tuesday 2 December, 6pm – 8:30pm The Courtyard, State Library of Victoria Cost: $18 per person Bookings: Book online or (03) 8664 7099 Are teen memoirs really the next big thing?  Will old favourites shock us with something terrifically new? The world of youth literature is an ever evolution place with many stories to be told.  Join a fabulous roster of publishers, literary organisations, and teen fiction fans for a fast-paced, sneak peek at the year ahead. Upcoming trends and interests for youth readers, projects, and programs will be…
  • 2014 Inky Awards Celebration

    Adele Walsh
    2 Oct 2014 | 5:32 pm
    Date: Tuesday 21 October 2014, 10:00am - 12:30pm Cost: $9.90 (teachers with a group of 10 students will receive one complimentary ticket) Bookings Book online 03 8664 7099 Venue: The Courtyard - Main entry, Swanston St   Australia’s top teen-choice book awards – the Inky Awards – are back! Join the celebration of great new books and young adult voices at the 2014 Inky Awards winners’ announcement ceremony. The Inky Awards are an annual literary prize for the best new Young Adult literature as chosen by teen readers, in two categories: the Gold…
  • The 2014 Inky Awards Shortlist

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

    Adele Walsh
    9 Jul 2014 | 5:47 pm
    It’s that time again on the youth literature calendar – Reading Matters 2015 is in production! Reading Matters is a national celebration of youth literature taking the audience on a journey into fiction, graphic novels, poetry, gaming and prose. Dates:   28 May – 2 June 2015 in Melbourne; then touring. There are six key components to Reading Matters 2015: National conference for youth literature professionals and advocates. Publishing Expo, pop-up bookshop and author signings. Schools program in Melbourne. Public events program in Melbourne. Victorian tour: regional public,…
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    Esme Raji Codell
    28 Sep 2014 | 3:11 pm
    The Pilot and the Little Prince:  The Life of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry by Peter Sis (Farrar Straus Giroux). 

    Esme Raji Codell
    4 Mar 2014 | 3:41 pm
    My Teacher is a Monster!  (No, I Am Not.) by Peter Brown.  A boy with a penchant for irritating his teacher encounters her outside of school and finds her to be an entirely different creature.  Brown's pictures are funny and Ms. Kirby's illustrated metamorphosis into a human being is gradual and pretty darn great.  This book, despite it's laughs, has an unexpected depth and speaks volumes about teacher/student relationships; the only disappointment is that when Robert regresses into his bad behavior back in the classroom at the end of the book, Ms. Kirby is depicted as the…

    Esme Raji Codell
    28 Feb 2014 | 6:57 pm
    Firefly July:  A Year of Very Short Poems by Paul B. Janeczko, illustrated by Melissa Sweet.  Sun's a roaring dandelion, hour by hour.Sometimes the moon's a scythe, sometimes a silver flower.But the stars!  all night long the stars are clover.Over, and over, and over!- Robert Wallace, "In the Field Forever"What greater gift on the bookshelf than a perfect anthology of poems?  This lovely, over-sized tome of thirty six well-chosen treasures takes us through the wheel of the year with evocative and colorful full-edge mixed media. The only complaint might be wishing the…

    Esme Raji Codell
    21 Feb 2014 | 4:31 pm
    Aviary Wonders, Inc.:  Spring Catalog and Instruction Manual by Kate Samworth.  Extremely creative and extraordinarily gorgeous build-your-own-bird guide that painlessly introduces children to high-level science vocabulary and explores biology part by beautiful painted part, while quirky Q&A and assembly instructions also introduce readers to wonderful expository writing.   Teachers, this is an out-of-the-box mentor text, as children will enjoy creating their own catalogs and order forms for creatures that inspire them.  Imagination takes flight.Link for information;…

    Esme Raji Codell
    12 Feb 2014 | 6:41 pm
    Brother Hugo and the Bear by Katy Beebe, illustrated by S.D. Schindler.  Based on a real note found in a 12th century manuscript, a monk loses a library book when it is eaten by a bear, and makes penance by recreating the manuscript page by painstaking page.  But will the bear be waiting for another course?  An exciting read-aloud that teaches the process of how books used to be made, you don't have to be a bruin to find this book delicious.  I only wish the publisher had invested in a little illumination...ah, well, nothing a gold marker can't fix.Link for information;…
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    WordPress Tag: Children's Book

  • Book Review: Playing Beatie Bow

    From an ink smeared page
    16 Oct 2014 | 1:03 pm
    Playing Beatie Bow is a children’s novel that delves into time travel, the search for identity, and the magical connections that link the past and the future. Abigail lives in Sydney Australia with her Mum who owns a collectables store in an historic area of the city. While babysitting the next door neighbour’s children, Abigail sees a scruffy young child intently staring from the edge of the playground at the children who are playing a frightening game called Beatie Bow. The child’s appearance is so unusual that Abigail decides to approach the child. When the child runs,…
  • Peter and the Whimper-Whineys gets 5-Star Review in time for Halloween!

    Sherrill S. Cannon
    16 Oct 2014 | 11:44 am
    Whine-Stopper! I was delighted to discover another 5-star review for Peter and the Whimper-Whineys!  Peter has been hippity-hopping along for a few years now, helping kids learn how to stop whining, and introducing them to the Whimper-Whineymen who are just a little bit scary (especially at Halloween)…Please take a look at the cute Kalpart cover… Can you see the Whineyman hiding behind the title? At any rate, here is the lovely review I received from Lorilyn Roberts: A Delightful Story Told in Rhyme By Lorilyn Roberts – October 14, 2014 “I’ve read other stories…
  • Writing and Reading- Hammer and Nail

    Pete's Words for Today
    16 Oct 2014 | 8:24 am
    I have been doing a lot of research on where to begin my writing. Everything I read , or listen to on writing podcasts , say the more you read the better for your writing. This is good because I love to read , but what should I be reading? The genre I decide to write about , or anything and everything. I would love to get your opinion on this. Is writing to reading like hammer is  to nail.
  • #38 Pick-Pocket

    16 Oct 2014 | 8:07 am
    I steal. It’s true. My eyes are always open—searching for something that sparkles. My ears are always cocked—listening for something that sounds perfect. I usually steal several times during a regular week, but when I travel to conferences, I am like a New York City pick-pocket. I get paid! No one is better at stealing other people’s teaching ideas than me. A few years ago, I went to the TYCA Midwest conference, and I attended a jackpot session on things to do with reading assignments. From there, I stole “The ABCs of Reading” technique. I also stole the idea to have students make…
  • Book Review: Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing - Deluxe Edition

    16 Oct 2014 | 5:30 am
    Disclaimer: Zondervan provided me with a free copy of this book for reviewing purposes. Summary Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing, written by Sally Lloyd-Jones and illustrated by Jago, is a collection of devotional prose written especially for children. This particular copy, due to be released later this month, is the deluxe edition which includes the full audio narration by David Suchet on CD’s. If you are familiar with the very popular Jesus Storybook Bible (and the audio narration of that book), you are familiar with Lloyd-Jones, Jago, and Suchet already. I believe the…
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    School Library Journal

  • Review of the Winner of the 2014 Kirkus Prize in Young Readers’ Literature

    Carolyn Sun
    24 Oct 2014 | 6:00 am
    The winner of the first-ever 2014 Kirkus Prize in Young Readers’ Literature is Kate Samworth’s Aviary Wonders Inc. Spring Catalog and Instruction Manual: Renewing the World’s Bird Supply Since 2031 (Clarion, 2014). Modeled on mail order catalogs of the past and present, “Aviary Wonders Inc. is a picture book that widens the definition of the genre. While truly a picture book, it was created for readers aged 10 and up with well-developed sensibilities and senses of humor. Confronting environmental issues in a clever and whimsical way, it is original, highly unexpected,…
  • Hostile School Environments the Norm for LGBTQ Youth, Says GLSEN Report

    Mahnaz Dar
    24 Oct 2014 | 6:00 am
    Click image to view full report For LGBTQ youth, school is a potentially dangerous environment, according to a report released by the Gay, Lesbian, & Straight Education Network (GLSEN) on October 22, “The 2013 National School Climate Survey.” The report confirmed that the hostile educational climates that LGBTQ youth regularly face have adverse academic and social effects. According to the report, 74 percent of teens were harassed due to their sexual orientation and another 55 percent were bullied due to gender expression. GLSEN found that this directly affected school…
  • Curl up with these books about bears | SLJ Spotlight

    24 Oct 2014 | 6:00 am
    These enormously appealing picture books show bears both big and small preparing to hibernate for the winter, saying good night to friends, and finding just the right bed. Feasting until full and being safe and warm helps the animals settle in for the duration. Oh, and a rude awakening results in two hungry bears heading to town for a high-spirited romp. Biedrzycki, David. Breaking News: Bear Alert. illus. by David Biedrzycki. 32p. ebook available. Charlesbridge. 2014. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781580896634. K-Gr 2 –Better suited to individual reading than storytime, this picture book is loaded with…
  • Hot New Titles by Angleberger, Stiefvater, and Yancey | SLJ Sneak Peek

    24 Oct 2014 | 3:00 am
    Can’t wait to see what hot, new books are reviewed in our upcoming November issue? The SLJ review editors selected a few standout titles for this month’s “Sneak Peek.” Preschool to Grade 4 Hanlon, Abby. Dory Fantasmagory. illus. by Abby Hanlon. 160p. Dial. 2014. Tr $14.99. ISBN 9780803740884; ebk. $10.99. ISBN 9780698135932. LC 2013034996. Gr 1-3 –Six-year-old Dory, known as Rascal to her family, wants more than anything to be included in her older siblings’s fun, but her endless questions and make-believe monsters drive them crazy. When Violet and Luke tell Dory a…
  • Locke Jetspace: L.A. School “Library of the Future”

    Lauren Barack
    23 Oct 2014 | 8:00 am
    The renovated library space at Locke High School in Los Angeles is futuristic and minimalist, with movable seating so that kids can discuss and collaborate. All images provided by NRBLB. A spacious 3,000-square-foot student area tagged “Locke Jetspace,” the former school library at the Alain LeRoy Locke College Preparatory Academy (Locke HS) in Los Angeles, CA, has been renovated by the L.A. design collective No Right Brain Left Behind (NRBLB) and national charter school system Green Dot Public Schools (GDPS), which took over the high school in 2008. The former library space has been…
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    A Fuse #8 Production

  • Walking and Talking with . . . Jenni Holm!

    Elizabeth Bird
    23 Oct 2014 | 1:00 am
    This is our second “Walking and Talking” installment by the clearly multi-talented Steve Sheinkin.  This week?  Jenni Holm discusses how she works and gives some background on the blood, sweat and tears that went into The Fourteenth Goldfish. Be also sure to check out the first Walking and Talking with . . . John Corey Whaley.  Big thanks to Steven too for letting me post these!
  • The 9th Annual Carle Honors – 2014

    Elizabeth Bird
    22 Oct 2014 | 1:00 am
    Traditionally I tend to attend the Carle Honors secretly pregnant.  I’m not sure why this is but at least twice I have walked about, discretely refusing any and all alcoholic beverages.  One of those times I’d discovered the pregnancy mere hours before the event. No hidden incipient heirs were on display this time around, and that suited me fine.  But what are The Carle Honors, precisely?  Well, they’re best described as an annual benefeit gala for The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art.  As their little program says, “At the heart of The Carle Honors is a…
  • Announcing the Debut of Fuse #8 TV

    Elizabeth Bird
    21 Oct 2014 | 1:00 am
    Got me a blog. Got me a library job. And now I’ve got me a TV show. Sorta kinda. The nice folks here at SLJ took a gander at that little Newbery/Caldecott pre-game/post-game show I created with Lori Ess last January (and I just rewatched the post-game show which I would like to play at my funeral someday) and decided to give me a little airtime. Announcing the debut of Fuse #8 TV! Here’s the official description: Fuse #8 TV is a monthly webcast hosted by A Fuse #8 Production’s Elizabeth Bird featuring interviews with notable authors of literature for children and young…
  • Press Release Fun: Hervé Tullet – The Exhibit

    Elizabeth Bird
    20 Oct 2014 | 3:18 am
    My 3-year-old daughter is currently an Hervé Tullet fan, but not in the sense you might think.  It’s not Press Here that strikes her fancy (though she enjoys it well enough) but his board books with Phaidon.  Who knew?  Now there’s an exhibit up over in Brooklyn I need to take her to. Brooklyn Public Library Hosts sole United States exhibition of  Hervé Tullet’s art running through February 1, 2015 at BPL’s Central Library    WHERE: Central Library, 10 Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn, NY 11238 WHO: Best-selling children’s author and…
  • Video Sunday: Meet Jbrary for All Your Hand Rhyme Needs

    Elizabeth Bird
    19 Oct 2014 | 1:00 am
    So here’s the deal.  In libraries nationwide there are systems where trained children’s librarians are a scarcity.  There are any number of reasons for this.  It could be that the city or system is low on funds and isn’t hiring.  It could be that there isn’t a reliable library school in the state.  Whatever the case, just because a branch or a library doesn’t have a children’s librarian that doesn’t mean there isn’t a need for storytimes.  It’s not like people stop having kids just because there isn’t any programming for them…
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    Michael Gerson: Most Recent Articles and Archives

  • The world is in denial about Ebola’s true threat

    Michael Gerson
    23 Oct 2014 | 4:55 pm
    It is such a relief about that Ebola thing. The threat of a U.S. outbreak turned out to be overhyped. A military operation is underway to help those poor Liberians. An Ebola czar (what is his name again?) has been appointed to coordinate the U.S. government response. The growth of the disease in Africa, by some reports, seems to have slowed. On to the next crisis. Read full article >>
  • For the GOP, Senate control could be a doubled-edged sword

    Michael Gerson
    20 Oct 2014 | 5:27 pm
    On the theory that chickens should not only be counted before they hatch but also killed, let us consider the downsides for Republicans of winning both houses of Congress. This hypothetical now seems the most likely outcome, according to the various poll aggregators we now treat as oracles. The Post Election Lab, striding furthest out on the ice, puts the odds of a GOP Senate takeover at 93 percent. Read full article >>
  • Ebola challenges America’s ability to adapt

    Michael Gerson
    16 Oct 2014 | 5:42 pm
    In any health care setting, it is wise to listen to the nurses, who see all. Their reports from Dallas about the initial procedures used in treating Thomas Eric Duncan are appalling. Safety suits with exposed necklines left nurses to cover skin with tape. When tape is removed, it abrades the skin. One health expert I consulted described this practice in dealing with Ebola as “moronic.” Read full article >>
  • U.S. isolation is bad policy, even if Americans say they want it

    Michael Gerson
    13 Oct 2014 | 5:20 pm
    The value of U.S. foreign policy conducted by majority vote — which might have resulted in a Nazi-occupied London — is once again evident. In 2013, 52 percent of Americans agreed that their country should “mind its own business internationally.” (In 1964, the figure was 20 percent.) This robust consensus for disengagement was soon followed by the rapid expansion of the Islamic State in a vacuum left by U.S. inattention, and then by an outbreak of Ebola in West Africa that should have been confronted months earlier with larger resources. Read full article >>
  • A question of leadership

    Michael Gerson
    9 Oct 2014 | 5:05 pm
    Disloyal or not, former defense secretary Leon Panetta has delivered a root-and-branch critique of President Obama’s approach to the Middle East. In his new book, “Worthy Fights,” and in surrounding interviews, Panetta contends that the White House was “eager to rid itself of Iraq”; that in 2011 an agreement to preserve American influence in that country was allowed to “slip away”; that this outcome endangered Iraq’s “fragile stability”; and that he warned the White House this might result in “a new haven for terrorists to plot attacks against the U.S.” Panetta argues…
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  • Grave Images by Jenny Goebel

    24 Oct 2014 | 4:32 am
    Gold is for the mistress–silver for the maid– Copper for the craftsman cunning at his trade. “Good!” said the Baron, sitting in his hall, “But Iron–Cold Iron–is the master of them all.” ~”Cold Iron” by Rudyard Kipling Grave Images is a nice, scary sort of story for reading in the crisp days (or evenings) of October as we approach Halloween. Twelve year old Bernie’s (short for Bernadette) family owns a grave monument company and they live, of course, next door to the cemetery. When a strange drifter, Mr. Abbott Stein, comes to…
  • A World Without Princes by Soman Chainani

    23 Oct 2014 | 5:19 am
    A sequel to Chainani’s first novel, The School for Good and Evil: A World Without Princes takes Agatha and Sophie back to the fairy tale world that they worked so hard to escape in the first book. Only this time the questions and dichotomies are multiplying in a dizzying way: Is Sophie reformed, or is she evil? Is Agatha good, or is she betraying her friend? Are princes the real heroes of all the fairy tales? Are girls the true heroines? Can a witch become a princess? Can a prince become an evil slob? Can Agatha trust Sophie? Can Sophie trust Agatha? Can Agatha trust her prince? Should…
  • Oliver and the Seawigs: Not-So-Impossible Tale by Philip Reeve

    22 Oct 2014 | 5:32 am
    An army of sea monkeys. A boy villain named Stacey de Lacey. A nearsighted mermaid. Rambling Isles that walk/swim around the ocean. Sarcastic seaweed. A talking albatross named Mr. Culpepper. And a beach optician. Not in that order. The author of this stew of ridiculous is the same Phillip Reeve who wrote a dark Arthurian saga called Here Lies Arthur and won the Carnegie Medal for it in 2008. Oliver and the Seawigs is not dark, not Arthurian, and not a saga—and contrary to the series title (yes, there’s a series of at least two books so far), not very possible. But then again, who…
  • The Lost Planet by Rachel Searles

    21 Oct 2014 | 4:59 am
    This debut novel, first in a projected series, is just the ticket for Star Wars fans. Are there still Star Wars fans around these days? Like Trekkies? Tell me that Trekkies still exist. Anyway, The Lost Planet opens with our amnesiac hero recovering from a nasty head wound. He doesn’t know where he is or who he is. However, a somewhat damaged memory chip embedded under his scalp (ouch!) indicates that his name might be “Chase Garrety”. The only thing he remembers, sort of, is a message: “Guide the star.” What does it mean? Who is he really? And is someone trying…
  • Dreamer Wisher Liar by Charise Mericle Harper

    20 Oct 2014 | 5:54 am
    Ashley is mad and sad and and jealous and worried and grumpy. Her best friend, Lucy, is moving away at the end of the summer, and now Lucy is going away to summer camp—without Ashley. What’s more, Ashley’s mom wants her to spend the next few weeks babysitting the seven year old daughter of an old friend. The seven year old, Claire, shows up with a list of “surprise” stuff to do (Ashley hates surprises) and with an over-powering extroverted Pollyanna personality (Ashley is more of a melancholy introvert). It’s going to be the worst summer ever. Then, Ashley…
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    Ally Carter

  • Embassy Row ARC Giveaway #3

    20 Oct 2014 | 6:19 am
    Hi Everyone! Who is ready to Win an Advanced Reading Copy of All Fall Down, Book 1 of the Embassy Row Series? For your third chance to win an ARC of All Fall Down head over to Ally’s Instagram Page, Contest Rules: To be entered into the contest you must  do 3 things on Instagram: 1. Post a picture of the All Fall Down book cover (like the one above) 2. Tag @theallycarter, #AllFallDown #EmbassyRow 3. Comment on Ally’s post regarding the contest. Winner will be picked randomly in 48hours! We have a winner! Congratulations whatisakelly! Please send your…
  • Christmas in October!

    Ally Carter
    14 Oct 2014 | 5:00 am
    Hi everyone! Ally here, and today I’m going to tell you a story. You see, last December I had just turned in the first draft of ALL FALL DOWN to my editor, and I had a little time off while I waited for Editor David to read the draft and tell me what I needed to work on in draft 2. So I did what any self-respecting person does when they are faced with a few free days in December: I put on my stretchy pants and fuzzy socks and proceeded to watch about 200 cheesy holiday made-for-TV movies. You know the ones? Where the plunky heroine and hunky hero trade barbs and banter under mistletoe…
  • Embassy Row ARC Giveaway #2

    13 Oct 2014 | 6:29 am
    Hi Everyone! Who is ready to Win an Advanced Reading Copy of All Fall Down, Book 1 of the Embassy Row Series? For your second chance to win an ARC of All Fall Down head over to Ally’s Tumblr Page. Contest Rules: To be entered into the contest you must REBLOG today’s Tumblr post! You may add your own comment on Tumblr if you like but not necessary. Winner will be picked randomly in 48hours! We have a winner! Congratulations cchcutie you are the winner! And that’s it. Next Monday we will run a whole new contest (with all new rules) on one of the other social media sites. Good…
  • Embassy Row ARC Giveaways

    6 Oct 2014 | 5:14 am
    We promised we would have some awesome contests and giveaways and they are all starting NOW!!! We have 4 Advanced Reading Copies of All Fall Down!! And 4 Different contests to win them! Over the next few weeks we will be posting contests on all of Ally’s Social Media Outlets:  Tumblr, Instagram, Facebook, and Here on the Blog! That’s 4 Chances to Win an ARC of All Fall Down, Book 1 of the Embassy Row Series! We have a winner! Congratulations Arianna! Arianna Gomez says: October 6, 2014 at 11:44 am (Edit) I started reading Gallagher Girls when I entered middle school. I finished…
  • Magnificent Monday is BACK!!!!

    29 Sep 2014 | 6:38 am
    Hi Everyone! It’s Shellie here and I am back!! I missed you guys! It has been about 4 weeks since I have posted and fall is in full gear around here. So what has been going on in the past couple of weeks? What has everyone been up to? We have a ton of things in the works here at Ally Carter HQ and I cannot wait to start some great contests for All Fall Down! xoxo, Shellie   The post Magnificent Monday is BACK!!!! appeared first on Ally Carter.
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    Among Amid While

  • Conflux 10 appearances

    Among Amid While
    26 Sep 2014 | 6:54 pm
    I appear to be taking a year off from this blog. Which is long enough to have to re-learn how to get into it. Way to complicate things, Google and Blogger.      Anyway, I'm breaking radio silence to bring you my schedule for next weekend's appearances at Conflux 10 in Canberra, where I am really pleased to be Guest of Honour, alongside Alisa Krasnostein.      Here's what I'll be doing on the
  • 2013 in review: an out-and-out skite

    Among Amid While
    22 Dec 2013 | 5:29 pm
    My four Aurealises, and my Horror-Awards-bestowing  gloves I've been meaning to compile a list of all the Sea Hearts/ Rollrock achievements, and the end of the year provides a neat excuse, as well as the time, of course *waves cheerily to the day job*. So here we go. Some of this is from last year, but I wanted all the glory in one place, so forgive me if it gets repetitive. Also, if anyone
  • Meanjin Tournament of Books...

    Among Amid While
    2 Dec 2013 | 11:50 pm all about watery themes this year, so the shortlist is very blue, except where it's green or black. And wonder of wonders, Sea Hearts (a) is on it and (b) has made it through the first round.
  • Sea Hearts is nominated for the IMPAC

    Among Amid While
    2 Dec 2013 | 11:41 pm
    I know, it's outlandish. But it's true. Me and Hilary. And, erm, 150 other authors/books. I am celebrating now, in the expectation of its not getting any further. We'll find out in April.
  • Not one, not two, but THREE reprints!

    Among Amid While
    27 Oct 2013 | 1:08 pm
    The Wagga residency was two weeks of energetic writing and leisurely exploring the very green countryside in that part of the Riverina, with Griffith Agricultural Show and Junee's Broadway Museum being highlights. Wagga's Museum of the Riverina was beautifully and professionally curated, too, but I also like a collection that's just everyone's old stuff piled into rooms with assorted labels (or
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    Justine Larbalestier

  • Accompanying Scott on his tour of the USA

    5 Oct 2014 | 6:31 pm
    I’ve not been blogging much because I’m accompanying Scott on his Afterworlds tour. So far we’ve been to Raleigh, Lexington, Louisville, Philadelphia, Washington DC, St Louis, Chicago and Milwaukee. And there’s much more to come. Check out the rest of the tour here. I’d be delighted to sign anything you want signed but mostly I’m just happy to say hi and chat. We’ve had many adventures so far including staying in what I swear was a haunted hotel. Uncannily cold temperatures? Check. Eerie cold winds that came rushing out of the elevators/lifts? Check.
  • The Habit of Getting Ideas and Turning Them into Story

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

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

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

    2 Sep 2014 | 1:21 pm
    The distinction between Real Life and the internet is frequently made. Particularly by people for whom the internet is not a big, or in some cases any, part of their social lives. But the internet is not on a different planet. It’s right here on Earth it was created by people and is made up of people just like Sydney or New York City or Timbuktu. The internet is a huge part of my life, and has been since the early 1990s, when I was first introduced to the weird and wonderful World Wide Web. Oh, the glory of it. I remember my very first email address. Hard to believe now, but back then…
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    Scott Westerfeld

  • Still on Tour

    10 Oct 2014 | 8:10 am
    I’m still on tour for Afterworlds, because touring is fun. If you live in San Francisco, or Boston, you can come see me this week! And in November I’ll be in Toronto and Charleston, SC. Just check out my Appearances page for details. For the rest of you, here are some amusing photos from tour. This is evidence of studious reading: Here’s what an audience looks like when you’re giving a presentation. In no way intimidating! This is one I took for my upcoming Tumblr, IndieBookstoreBathrooms: It’s always great to see Midnighters tattoos: Holly Black and Cassandra…
  • Afterworlds Spoiler Thread

    22 Sep 2014 | 9:02 pm
    It’s that time again: A TIME OF SPOILAGE. Use the comment thread of this post to discuss all that happens in Afterworlds. If you haven’t read the book, however, it might be wise to NOT LOOK AT THE COMMENTS. Don’t forget what happened to this person back in May of 2006. I quote from the famous Specials spoiler thread: oh god, i read the spoiler section before i read the book. i would have read the book by now but the bookstore doesn’t have it in yet! i got the first two before the sale date. why can’t i do that now!? crap i can’t believe i read the spoiler section . . .
  • The Committee Strikes

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

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

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

    23 Oct 2014 | 8:14 pm
    For once I find myself speechless on this blog. And considering it’s while we’re on the subject of a dictionary, this ought not to happen. Let me just say that the Resident IT Consultant has some – mostly – wise things to say about the dictionary I have permitted him to play with for a few days. Over to the man who can think to look up words like chi-squared: “Who needs a dictionary in these days of instant access to infinite amounts of information? HarperCollins obviously believe somebody does, because it has just published a 12th edition of its Collins English…
  • Jellybaby corpses and other gruesome stuff

    22 Oct 2014 | 7:24 pm
    Last time I went to Waterstones Argyle Street (Glasgow, for those of you who don’t know) was to talk to John Barrowman. That was nice. Two and a half years later I returned to launch Kirkland Ciccone’s second novel Endless Empress, only to find that in the corner where John’s fans had queued, someone had built a café. Very nice (but where will they queue next time?). And toilets (where the interview happened…). Also very nice, not to mention convenient. Where was I? Oh, yes, launching Ciccone’s book. (I might have told you already how disappointed I was when I…
  • Dragons at Crumbling Castle

    21 Oct 2014 | 9:18 pm
    It was touch and go with the glacé cherries. But four hours before I learned that every house has a packet somewhere, we re-acquired a tub of cherries. Phew. Terry Pratchett’s youthful short stories, as collected in Dragons at Crumbling Castle, just prove that he has always been what he is. Only he was younger once, but then that is an affliction we have all suffered from. I admit, I was worried that someone, somewhere was scraping the barrel, and that I’d not like this book so much. I’m sorry, I occasionally get very crazy notions. Won’t happen again. There are…
  • To be more right than others

    20 Oct 2014 | 9:15 pm
    Honestly, I prepared last Wednesday’s blog post because I liked the list of books and its ethos, but basically I was being lazy. I imagined the list would pass silently by most of you. But oh no. When you least expect it, trouble brews. And it brewed pretty stormily, too. Because two of the books celebrating diversity were ‘only spouting stereotyping.’ In this case of Native Americans (and I don’t know if this is the acceptable term, but it was used by my attackers), and no one could have been more surprised than I was. The authors, on the other hand, were not. They…
  • Night Runner

    19 Oct 2014 | 9:46 pm
    Tim Bowler’s latest book, Night Runner, is absolutely normal, by which I mean it’s got none of the supernatural that he is so well known for. It was almost a relief. Sometimes I’d rather be scared by ordinary decent mean-ness than by the inexplicable. And you certainly are in this book. Tim has come up with some really nasty characters in Night Runner. Zinny knows his parents are involved – probably separately – in some funny business. He just doesn’t know quite what. His mum seems to be having an affair, and his dad is never at home, and when he is, he is…
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    Confessions of a Bibliovore

  • Have You Nominated for the Cybils Yet?

    12 Oct 2014 | 3:35 pm
    Because today is the Very. Last. Day.If you're not sure what to nominate, check out some of the posts on, where people have gathered lists of the books they would like to see nominated and would have nominated themselves except they already nominated one because it's sooooo haaaard to choooooose!
  • Reading Roundup: September 2014

    1 Oct 2014 | 7:50 pm
    By the NumbersTeen: 10Tween: 3Children: 2SourcesReview Copies: 10Library: 3StandoutsTeen: Sway by Kat SpearsI really liked this examination of a morally grey kid with a surprisingly good heart.Tween: My Year of Epic Rock by Andrea Pyros (link goes to my review)It's a tale as old as time - dumped by your BFF on the first day of seventh grade. Luckily for Nina, there's nowhere to go but up from here.Children: Thursdays with the Crown by Jessica Day GeorgeThe third adventure for the royal family finds them far from home and trying to work out what really happened hundreds of years before. You…
  • Cybils Eve

    30 Sep 2014 | 11:30 am
    Guess what!Go on, guess!Okay, fine, I'll tell you. Starting tomorrow through October 15, you get to nominate books for the Cybils! The world's only Children's and YA Blogger award opens its nomination period tomorrow, in thirteen categories from picture books to YA fiction, from book apps to poetry.Anybody can nominate, and the books can be anything published in English in the US or Canada in the past year.  Remember, each book (or app) can only be nominated by one person. So if you're going in, take at least a few faves in each category with you.  More info here: Nominating for the…
  • Book Review: Nothing Special by Geoff Herbach

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

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

  • Clariel by Garth Nix

    24 Oct 2014 | 4:05 pm
    Abhorsen bk 4. Allen & Unwin, 2014. ISBN 9781741758627 (Age: 13+) Highly recommended. The long awaited prequel to the Abhorsen series (Sabriel, Lireal and Abhorsen), continues this series that Cassandra Clare says has 'influenced a generation of fantasy writers' (back cover). Sixteen-year-old Clariel has an affinity for the forests of Estwael, and hates being in the city of Belisaere. Here she finds that her mother has been keeping secrets from her about her abilities as a member of the Abhorsens, and that she is expected to follow the demands of everyone around her. The King has…
  • Starring Jules (Super-secret spy girl) by Beth Ain

    24 Oct 2014 | 3:53 pm
    Allen & Unwin, 2014. ISBN 9781743318850 (Age: Year 6-7) Second grade has ended, which means it's time for Jules Bloom, beginner actress to film her first movie, The Spy in the Attic. Unfortunately, Charlotte her ex best friend has Jules worrying about impressing her teen idol, Emma Saxony. Her new best friend, Elinor has gone back to her home country England for a visit and they can only keep in touch by email. Sadly Jules has been forced to take a road trip to Montreal without Elinor and she might not have the courage to go down the mud slide in the movie's climax. Luckily Elinor has…
  • Cured by Bethany Wiggins

    24 Oct 2014 | 3:48 pm
    Bloomsbury, 2014. ISBN: 9781408842959 (Age: Older teens) Recommended. Cured by Bethany Wiggins is the sequel to her post-apocalyptic adventure of a novel, Stung. Cured is a story based on another girl's perspective after the aftermath of Fiona Tarsis and how she helped stop the pandemic that was claiming the civilized world and destroying the way of life as we know it. When honey becomes worth more than gold and the small surviving populations live in secluded, defensive clusters and the infection beasts are slowly being cured and saved, Jacqui is one of the only girls living outside of the…
  • The naughtiest girl saves the day by Anne Digby

    24 Oct 2014 | 3:46 pm
    Hodder Children's Books, 2014. ISBN 9780340917756 (Age: 9-13) This novel is a fiction book. Elizabeth is known as the naughtiest girl, but is she really the naughtiest girl? Elizabeth is accused of committing naughty deeds, but did she do them? This novel is set at Whyteleafe Boarding School. Elizabeth, who is also known as the naughtiest girl in the school, is suspected of doing several naughty things in school. Elizabeth knew she didn't commit them, but everyone else believed she did. Elizabeth eventually discovers who really committed them. This novel was very interesting. It kept me, as a…
  • Ambon by Roger Maynard

    24 Oct 2014 | 3:28 pm
    Hachette Australia, 2014. ISBN 9780733630484 (Age: Senior Secondary) Subtitled: The Truth About One of the Most Brutal POW Camps in World War II and the Triumph of the Aussie Spirit. This book describes the deployment of 1150 Australian soldiers in a unit called Gull Force, to the island of Ambon in the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia) just after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour in December, 1941. At the end of the war less than 300 had survived captivity by the Japanese. The reviewer's father who is vividly described in the first chapter of the book was one of the lucky survivors. The book…
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    I'm Here. I'm Queer. What the Hell do I read?

  • Adaptation - A Bi Teen Sci Fi Thriller

    Lee Wind, M.Ed.
    24 Oct 2014 | 3:05 am
    Adaptation by Malinda LoAcross North America, flocks of birds hurl themselves into airplanes, causing at least a dozen to crash. Thousands of people die. Fearing terrorism, the United States government grounds all flights, and millions of travelers are stranded.Among them are Reese and her debate team partner and longtime crush David, who are in Arizona when the disaster occurs. On their drive home to San Francisco, along a stretch of empty highway in the middle of the Nevada night, a bird flies into their headlights. The car flips over. When they wake up in a military hospital, the doctor…
  • Gender 101, Episode #27 Redux: Emmi's Gender Non-Conforming Heroes

    Lee Wind, M.Ed.
    22 Oct 2014 | 3:03 am
    Benji (a.k.a. Lucy) continues the conversation about Gender with Emmi...You can find out more about Julia Serano at juliaserano.comThanks Lucy and Emmi!You can see the original posting here.Namaste,Lee
  • GSA Mondays: A Great Quote On Race from Professor Dorothy Roberts

    Lee Wind, M.Ed.
    20 Oct 2014 | 2:51 am
    Professor Dorothy Roberts"We need to definitively reject the myth that human beings are naturally divided into races and instead affirm our shared humanity by working to end the social injustices preserved by the political system of race."- Dorothy E. Roberts is The George A. Weiss University Professor of Law and Sociology and Raymond Pace and Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander Professor of Civil Rights at the University of Pennsylvania. This quote was from page 14 of the Summer 2014 Penn Arts and Sciences Magazine, and I thought it was brilliant, inspiring, and a great catalyst for…
  • 3 Cubic Feet: A Novella about a Gay Teen in Missouri

    Lee Wind, M.Ed.
    17 Oct 2014 | 7:43 am
    3 Cubic Feet by Lania KnightTheo Williamson lives in Springfield, Missouri, an oppressive town hostile to change – no place for a gay teenager. His family has good intentions, but Theo’s father is recovering from a car accident, and his stepmother won’t give him a moment to himself. And Theo has guy problems–the closeted older man he seduced wants nothing to do with him, and Theo’s best friend Jonathan isn’t interested in anything more than friendship. When Jonathan’s father turns violent, Theo must decide just how far he is willing to go for love.Three Cubic Feet was a finalist…
  • Gender 101, Episode #26 Redux: Meet Emmi

    Lee Wind, M.Ed.
    15 Oct 2014 | 3:03 am
    Our Gender-Queer friend Lucy (a.k.a. Benji) introduces us to another wonderful Gender Queer community member, Emmi!I'm delighted to meet Emmi, and look forward to the discussions ahead.Here are the comments from the original posting:ivanova said...Way to go, Emmi! That was expressed so well. I love "Gender 101."April 18, 2012 at 10:36 AM Joanna said...Thanks, Emmi, I am so enjoying this series - every episode!April 19, 2012 at 10:32 AM Namaste,Lee
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    Literacy, families and learning

  • 10 Great New Non-Fiction Books for Younger Readers

    Trevor Cairney
    23 Oct 2014 | 2:19 pm
    1. 'Funny Faces' by Dr Mark Norman (Black Dog Books)This delightful book is a companion to 'Funny Bums' and 'Funny Homes'. The faces of some animals might look 'funny' to us but their eyes, ears, noses and mouths are what these animals need to survive. Dr Norman is Head of Sciences at Museum Victoria where he leads the large and active natural sciences research team. The books have wonderful photographs of different animals and clear and relatively simple text to explain why these creatures have these special features. The Tarsier, which is the cover image, has large eyes for hunting spiders…
  • Six Good Reasons Why Family Conversation is Still Important

    Trevor Cairney
    14 Oct 2014 | 4:20 am
    Have you noticed how when people under the age of 35 eat out, they usually do so with their smart phones on the table or in their hands, with sideways glances to share posts, funny videos, pictures and so on. While there's talk going on it's quite different. Conversation happens, but it is mediated by smart phones.More worrying than the above scenario is that when families eat out often the adults talk and the kids play with the smart phones. While I know adults need to talk without kids, when families get together over a meal it's a precious times for lots of things to occur.Above: Not all…
  • How do I know if my preschool child is ready for school?

    Trevor Cairney
    4 Oct 2014 | 3:05 pm
    This is a revised version of a post I wrote last year.I am asked constantly by parents of preschool children how they will know if their preschool children are ready for school. At back of this is their concerns about what they should do before they start school. People ask, should I:"Make sure they know their sounds before schools?""Teach them the letter names?""Teach them to write their name?""Make sure they can write neatly?""Teach them to read some simple words?""Teach them about numbers?"While the above are genuine questions about knowledge children will eventually need, most overlook…
  • 10 Great New Picture Books for Younger Readers

    Trevor Cairney
    24 Sep 2014 | 7:02 pm
    It has been about four months since I did a review of the latest picture books to land on my desk. I have so many wonderful books piling up I thought it was time to give the first of several updates. In this post I've chosen 10 books that have been published in 2014 that are worth reading to and with children.1. 'Vanilla Ice Cream' written and illustrated by Bob Graham (Walker Books)Bob Graham is one of Australia's finest authors and illustrators of picture books. With the familiar sharp lines, watercolour and simple yet very expressive characters he follows a wild sparrow’s journey. A…
  • Literature on Civil Rights for Younger Readers

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

  • Secret Codes and Language Games for Kids

    23 Oct 2014 | 11:00 am
    Secret Codes and Language Games for Kidsby Susan Stephenson, Do you have children or students who want to be cryptographers (i.e. those who study techniques for keeping messages secret)? Maybe you know youngsters who want to drive an elder sibling crazy by writing notes they can’t read, or have passers-by look askance as they communicate fluently (and loudly!) in Pig Latin. Whatever the motives, codes and cyphers or just speaking gobbledygook have been intriguing we humans for centuries, so why should kids miss out on the fun?Written CodesProbably the simplest written…
  • Children’s Book Review and Activities, The Storm Whale

    21 Oct 2014 | 11:00 am
    Children’s Book Review and Activities, The Storm Whale by Susan Stephenson, www.thebookchook.comThe Storm Whale is a children’s picture book written and illustrated by Benji Davies, and published by Simon and Schuster, 2013. You might recall I promised a review of The Storm Whale earlier this month when I reviewed On Sudden Hill. I’ve also added some activities below that might help parents, teachers and librarians extend the literature experience for The Storm Whale. From the publisher: Noi and his father live in a house by the sea, his father works hard as a fisherman and…
  • Children’s iPad App, Miximal

    19 Oct 2014 | 11:00 am
    Children’s iPad App, Miximalby Susan Stephenson, www.thebookchook.comA while ago, I saw that Miximal, a variation of the flip-book game we used to play as kids, was free for a time. So I downloaded it to see if it was something I could recommend here at The Book Chook. It is! While I advocate that young kids not spend too much screen-related time, Miximal is one of those apps that’s perfect for when your preschooler or Kinderkid wants a “turn” on the iPad. Basically, it’s a digital toy. The screen is divided into three and children can swap heads, upper bodies and lower bodies with…
  • Creating with Kids and Apps

    16 Oct 2014 | 11:00 am
    Creating with Kids and Appsby Susan Stephenson, I love to find ways for children to think creatively and express themselves. If I can find an activity that combines technology with creating something, I’m also pleased. That’s because I believe not only in limiting screen time for children, but encouraging them to use screens creatively where possible. In today’s post, I’ve gathered together all the apps (iPad and one Mac app) that I’ve tried out and reviewed so far that have potential for children to create something. Whether the creation process involves…
  • Children’s Book Review, Lucas and Jack

    14 Oct 2014 | 11:00 am
    Children's Book Review by Susan Stephenson, www.thebookchook.comLucas and Jack is a children’s picture book written by Ellie Royce, illustrated by Andrew McLean, and published by Working Title Press, 2014. From the publisher:Every week Lucas's mum visits Great Grandpop at the nursing home. And every week Lucas waits for her outside. Waiting is boring! Until Lucas meets Jack. A book to bridge generations.I always appreciate finding gentle, understated children’s picture books. Royce presents us with a young character, Lucas, who like most kids thinks he has nothing in common with the older…
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    Gail Carson Levine

  • Out With the Old... Or Not

    15 Oct 2014 | 5:12 am
    First off, I’ll be signing books from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm on November 1st at the book fair in Albany, NY. The event is at the Silipigno Athletic Facility, 140 Academy Road. If you are going to be in the area, I’d love to meet you.On to the post. On July 23, 2014 Bibliophile wrote, Does anyone else ever cringe when looking at stuff they wrote ages ago? I was rereading the one 'book' I ever finished writing and just started to die inside. The heroine gives in to the hero too easily, there is no real main conflict and the magic I use is not only cliche, but has no rules. The romance in…
  • Curtains

    1 Oct 2014 | 5:43 am
    First a little lovely news: Writer to Writer, From Think to Ink (based on this blog, for any of you who don't know) has been chosen by the discerning people at the Junior Library Guild as one of their selections when it comes out, and both Publisher's Weekly and Kirkus will soon be giving the book lovely reviews. Publisher's Weekly calls the book "valuable," and Kirkus says it's "comprehensive."Onto this week's post. On July 23, 2014, Penelope wrote, I've been having a really hard time with my endings. I'm doing a redo of a fairy tale and I'm split on the ending. What I originally…
  • When Bad Things Happen to Good Characters

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

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

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

    imTabula rasa
    22 Oct 2014 | 5:13 am
    HEIDISummary:Heidi is a story of an orphan girl who is sent to her reclusive grand father who has cut himself off from the rest of the community. It is a story of how unconditional love wins over the curmudgeon Old man and how Heidi's innocence and naivete wins over and ushers in changes in the lives of people she encounters.Review As a girl growing up in a small town , Heidi was given to me as part of summer vacation present to ward of infinite boredom. To say that I fell in love with the book would be an exaggeration. I thought it was a completely boring book!! It lacked action, adventure…
  • 50 Shades of Grey - Without Substance but full bodied

    imTabula rasa
    15 Oct 2014 | 1:02 am
      SummaryAnastasia Steele is a college student, graduating virgin fresh  to face the onslaught of the not so virgin world.  She meets Christian Grey, Young and dashing  CEO  who has a mesmerizing effect on her, he comes with a dark secret though. Anastasia soon discovers that the spell of hypnotism works both ways and that Christian Grey is susceptible to her charms too. Soon there begins a torrid affair with Anastasia discovering the dark secret of Christian Grey whom she has come to love whole heartedly.Will this secret part them forever or bring them…
  • Review of Judas Iscariot - traitor or a misunderstood man ?

    imTabula rasa
    14 Sep 2014 | 5:59 am
    . Judas The Betrayer I have grown up reading several documented histories about the rise of Christianity, the evolution of Son of Nazareth from the outcast to the glorified god who suffered for our sins. There has been books on him, some sneering, some speculative, Some pious ..The common theme in most of these book was a round condemnation of Judas, those that did not engage in downright denunciation elevated him to a status of Saint. Throughout this process, there has been one and only one thought scrolling in my mind. What would Judas say for himself? This book by Archer in collaboration…
  • Last Seen wearing - Review

    imTabula rasa
    11 Aug 2014 | 4:27 am
    Last seen wearing is a book about a girl who vanishes off the face of the earth! Obviously the plot does not end there..Death brings the girl back into everybody's life but not in a way one could even predict and that is the singular charm of Colin Dexter.The story is about a young girl Valerie Taylor who vanishes one fine day,subsequent digging brings forth her promiscuous lifestyle, involvement of her school and her teachers and few dark secrets that should have been buried. I started the book with enormous anticipation as Colin Dexter is one author who can catch you off guard with his…
  • Review - Tell No One - Harlan Coben

    imTabula rasa
    12 Jul 2014 | 4:54 am
    Tell no one written by Harlan Coben is suspense filled thriller keeping twists and turns right until the last pages.The plot line of the book rests on an event that would have happened in the past of the protagonists life. The Protoagonist Dr.Beck would have lost his wife 8 years ago under a mysterious circumstances. 8 years on, we find Beck still struggling to cope with the loss of his wife Elizabeth. When a anonymous mail lands in his box , exploding his already fragile world . Is his wife alive? Was the truth that he saw,understood all a elaborate coverup? why is he being hunted?what DID…
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