Children's Literature

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  • Week in Review, April 14th-18th

    The Horn Book
    Katie Bircher
    18 Apr 2014 | 12:20 pm
    This week on… April’s Notes from the Horn Book: Five questions for Cynthia Leitich Smith, YA fantasy sequels, picture books about the big city, reading for National Poetry Month, and intermediate books about wartime Reviews of the Week Picture Book: Here Comes the Easter Cat by Deborah Underwood; illus. by Claudia Rueda Fiction: Feral Curse [Feral] by Cynthia Leitich Smith Nonfiction: He Has Shot the President!: April 14, 1865: The Day John 
Wilkes Booth Killed President 
Lincoln [Actual Times] by Don Brown; illus. by the author App: Endless Reader Out of the Box:…
  • What I’m Up to at Kirkus This Week

    Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast
    18 Apr 2014 | 7:15 am
    This morning over at Kirkus, I take a look at Maira Kalman and Daniel Handler’s Girls Standing on Lawns, to be published by the Museum of Modern Art in early May. It made me want to find my own family photos of girls or women standing on lawns, which are in that piece over at Kirkus. Pictured above is my maternal grandmother. That column is here today. Pictured above is Dr. Alan Rabinowitz. I chatted with him at Kirkus yesterday about his picture book, A Boy and a Jaguar (Houghton Mifflin), illustrated by Catia Chen and also set to be released in early May. “This story,”…
  • ...yes, it's from 2009. BUT STILL.

    Finding Wonderland: The WritingYA Weblog
    18 Apr 2014 | 10:20 am
    Love, love, love, love, LOVE THIS MAN.Hat tip to Jules. This work is copyrighted material. All opinions are those of the writer, unless otherwise indicated. All book reviews are UNSOLICITED, and no money has exchanged hands, unless otherwise indicated. Please contact the weblog owner for further details.
  • Star Wars, Spiderwick, Wonder, A Tale Dark and Grimm, and Orgami Yoda Together?

    educating alice
    18 Apr 2014 | 3:10 am
    Yes indeed. Adam Gidwitz had for some time been hinting to me about a big secret project. At one point I thought it was a video game…but now I have learned  just what it is and it is indeed big.  And wild. Adam and three other big name children’s book writers will be writing brand new retellings (Adam is indeed perfect for that!) tied to the first three Star Wars movies.  They are indeed arguably as awesome as those grim Grimm fairy tales. Joining Adam are Wonder‘s R. J. Palacio, Orgami Yoda‘s Tom Angleberger, and Spiderwick‘s Tony DiTerlizzi.  From PW:…
  • "I still see her standing by the water"

    Chasing Ray
    17 Apr 2014 | 10:36 pm
    From Billboard magazine, yesterday: Glen Campbell has been moved into a care facility three years after being diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, reports. "He was moved to an Alzheimer's facility last week," a family friend told the title. "I'm not sure what the permanent plan is for him yet. We'll know more next week." The singer, whose "Rhinestone Cowboy" topped the charts in 1975, had been suffering from short-term memory loss in recent years. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in early 2011. His voice, and the songs he made famous, are as much a part of America to me as…
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    The Horn Book

  • Week in Review, April 14th-18th

    Katie Bircher
    18 Apr 2014 | 12:20 pm
    This week on… April’s Notes from the Horn Book: Five questions for Cynthia Leitich Smith, YA fantasy sequels, picture books about the big city, reading for National Poetry Month, and intermediate books about wartime Reviews of the Week Picture Book: Here Comes the Easter Cat by Deborah Underwood; illus. by Claudia Rueda Fiction: Feral Curse [Feral] by Cynthia Leitich Smith Nonfiction: He Has Shot the President!: April 14, 1865: The Day John 
Wilkes Booth Killed President 
Lincoln [Actual Times] by Don Brown; illus. by the author App: Endless Reader Out of the Box:…
  • A tisket, a tasket, books for Easter baskets

    Katie Bircher
    18 Apr 2014 | 10:15 am
    Spring hasn’t fully sprung quite yet in Boston — we got snow overnight earlier this week! But with Easter this weekend, we know it’s coming (eventually). Here are four springy board books to tuck into a little one’s Easter basket. The titular bunny of Kevin Henkes’s Little White Rabbit has limitless curiosity and imagination to match. Square-bordered pictures of the energetic bunny face clean white pages with a simple line or two, in which the rabbit “wonder[s] what it would be like to be…” just about everything. Alternating full-spread…
  • “Where do you buy these?”

    Randy Ribay
    18 Apr 2014 | 3:01 am
    Barnes and Noble at Cherry Hill, NJ. Eight years ago, the question shocked me: “Mr. Ribay, where do you buy these?” The student was holding up a book. He had no idea where to buy a book. That was my first year teaching in Camden, NJ and the first time I had ever encountered someone who had to ask this question. But it wouldn’t be the last. “Umm,” I said, “a bookstore.” The answer seemed obvious, but later I thought about it further. Had I bought it in a physical bookstore? I probably purchased it online. This eighth grader couldn’t do that without a parent with a credit card.
  • Endless Reader app review

    Katie Bircher
    17 Apr 2014 | 7:56 am
    From Originator (formerly Callaway Digital Arts), developer of the fantastic Endless Alphabet, comes Endless Reader (November 2013). Endless Reader closely follows the format and style of the previous app. A narrator speaks a sight word — such as all, eat, on, up, or you — as it appears in lowercase letters on the screen. A stampede of cute monsters scatters the letters, which the user places back into the correct order to spell the word. The narrator then reads a context sentence (this time with the invitation to put the words in the correct order after the whole sentence appears on the…
  • April Notes on the way

    Katie Bircher
    16 Apr 2014 | 11:00 am
    Vampires, werepeople, and yetis — oh my! In this month’s Notes from the Horn Book newsletter, I get to ask Cynthia Leitich Smith five questions about her (ahem) tantalizing new series Feral, a spin-off to her Tantalize quartet. Other goodies in this issue: • more YA fantasy sequels • picture books about the big city • recommended reading for National Poetry Month • intermediate books about wartime Read the issue online here, or subscribe to receive Notes from the Horn Book newsletter (and its supplement Nonfiction Notes) in your inbox. Find more recommended books and…
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    Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast

  • What I’m Up to at Kirkus This Week

    18 Apr 2014 | 7:15 am
    This morning over at Kirkus, I take a look at Maira Kalman and Daniel Handler’s Girls Standing on Lawns, to be published by the Museum of Modern Art in early May. It made me want to find my own family photos of girls or women standing on lawns, which are in that piece over at Kirkus. Pictured above is my maternal grandmother. That column is here today. Pictured above is Dr. Alan Rabinowitz. I chatted with him at Kirkus yesterday about his picture book, A Boy and a Jaguar (Houghton Mifflin), illustrated by Catia Chen and also set to be released in early May. “This story,”…
  • A Handful of Illustrations Before Breakfast:Featuring Renato Alarcão, K.G. Campbell,Emily Gravett, and Steve Jenkins

    17 Apr 2014 | 6:59 am
      Last week at Kirkus, I wrote about a handful of new picture books I like. All the talk talk talk is over here in that column, if you missed it last week. Today, I want to share some art from each book. And, in the case of Emily Gravett, I’ve got a couple of early sketches, too. Above is a thumbnail from one of her sketchbooks. The rest is below. Enjoy the art. (Note: The illustrations from Mama Built a Little Nest are sans text. The colors in those also appear here on the screen a bit brighter than they do in the book.) Emily Gravett’s Matilda’s Cat(Simon &…
  • Seven Questions Over Breakfast with Julie Fortenberry

    14 Apr 2014 | 11:01 pm
     Illustrator Julie Fortenberry is visiting 7-Imp today, and as you can see above, she brought her breakfast along — Cheerios with blueberries and coffee with milk. It looks just right to me (and healthy to boot), and I’m ready to chat with her over coffee. I should say that Julie, who started her career as an abstract painter, is an author-illustrator, actually. Earlier this month, she saw her writing debut, though previously she’s illustrated others’ books. You can read more below about The Artist and the King, her author-illustrator debut and what Kirkus calls…
  • Tap Tap Boom Boom‘ing Before Breakfast:A Visit with Author and Bookseller Elizabeth Bluemle

    13 Apr 2014 | 11:01 pm
    (Click spread to enlarge) Earlier this month, I reviewed Elizabeth Bluemle’s Tap Tap Boom Boom (Candlewick, March 2014), illustrated by G. Brian Karas, for BookPage. What a good book it is, and that review is here over at the wonderful BookPage site. Today, I’m following up with a couple of spreads from the book — and a chat with Elizabeth. She not only writes, but nearly 20 years ago, she also opened a bookstore along with Josie Leavitt, The Flying Pig Bookstore in Vermont, and she co-writes over at ShelfTalker (at Publishers Weekly), also with Josie. I took the opportunity…
  • 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #377: Featuring Elizabeth Rose Stanton

    12 Apr 2014 | 11:01 pm
      Good morning, all. Author/illustrator Elizabeth Rose Stanton visits 7-Imp today to talk about her debut picture book, Henny, which was published by Paula Wiseman Books/Simon & Schuster in January. The painting above, called Ignition, is not from that book, but I like it and it makes me laugh. Henny is the story of a chicken who has arms, and below Elizabeth tells us how she came to this premise, what reactions have been (the creeptacular painting below is my second favorite), and she also tells us a bit about what she’s up to next. I thank her for visiting and for sharing…
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    Finding Wonderland: The WritingYA Weblog

  • ...yes, it's from 2009. BUT STILL.

    18 Apr 2014 | 10:20 am
    Love, love, love, love, LOVE THIS MAN.Hat tip to Jules. This work is copyrighted material. All opinions are those of the writer, unless otherwise indicated. All book reviews are UNSOLICITED, and no money has exchanged hands, unless otherwise indicated. Please contact the weblog owner for further details.
  • Monday Review: POISON by Bridget Zinn

    14 Apr 2014 | 2:09 pm
    The first and only time I had the privilege of meeting author Bridget Zinn was during Kidlitcon in Portland a handful of years back. About my age, she was sweet and funny and quiet and one of so many kindred spirits I met that weekend, my first ever Kidlitcon. A fellow writer, a fellow blogger, her untimely death from cancer really hit me—and I'd hardly had a chance to get to know her. Her posthumously released YA fantasy, Poison, gave me another chance to know her, even if it was just a glimpse. It was such a bittersweet moment to see it on the YA new releases shelf at my library. It was a…

    11 Apr 2014 | 5:23 am
    So, I sat down to prep for reviewing a book that I have coming from the library when I realized I'd never reviewed its predecessor... um, wait. How did that happen? As I recall, this book's release date was at a super busy time for both of us here, so it slipped through the cracks. We'll fix that right now! Concerning Character: This is fantasy -- grand, high fantasy with the historical feel of ancient Korea. At first, in my head I was calling it "historical fantasy" but as we don't call Arthurian tales "historical fantasy," as if anyone believes that Arthur, Merlin et al were part of, say,…

    8 Apr 2014 | 6:55 am
    "The truth is not always pretty. It can be disturbing, enraging, and enlightening. I found my way out of Hell by choosing Truth, and, regardless of anyone’s opinion, I am committed to telling Truth AND extending Hope, through my stories." - Beth Fehlbaum, "When Story Touches a Nerve," Nerdy Book Club Blog, Author Posts, April 6, 2014 Kirkus, in its starred review of BIG FAT DISASTER, says "The fast pace, lively...dialogue, and timely topic make it a quick and enjoyable read." Honestly, I'm not sure what book Kirkus was reading. Don't get me wrong - the pace is fast, the dialogue is lively,…
  • Cybils Finalist Review: ROSE UNDER FIRE by Elizabeth Wein

    7 Apr 2014 | 1:08 pm
    Full disclosure: the author of Cybils finalist Rose Under Fire, Elizabeth Wein, is a blogging/writing friend of ours. Yes, that did make me excited to read this companion book to Code Name Verity (reviewed here by Tanita and here by me), which I greatly enjoyed, but I did my utmost to evaluate the book just as fairly as I did the other finalists. As with my other Cybils-related reviews, this final one is drawn from my notes during the Round 2 reading and judging process, which took place in January and February. Though it's a companion book to Code Name Verity, Rose Under Fire definitely…
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    educating alice

  • Star Wars, Spiderwick, Wonder, A Tale Dark and Grimm, and Orgami Yoda Together?

    18 Apr 2014 | 3:10 am
    Yes indeed. Adam Gidwitz had for some time been hinting to me about a big secret project. At one point I thought it was a video game…but now I have learned  just what it is and it is indeed big.  And wild. Adam and three other big name children’s book writers will be writing brand new retellings (Adam is indeed perfect for that!) tied to the first three Star Wars movies.  They are indeed arguably as awesome as those grim Grimm fairy tales. Joining Adam are Wonder‘s R. J. Palacio, Orgami Yoda‘s Tom Angleberger, and Spiderwick‘s Tony DiTerlizzi.  From PW:…
  • Albert Marrin’s A Volcano Beneath the Snow: John Brown’s War Against Slavery

    13 Apr 2014 | 3:41 am
    I confess, until recently what I knew about John Brown was pretty much limited to a vague awareness of his foolhardy attack on Harper’s Ferry. Then, last summer, I read this review of James McBride’s historical novel about Brown, Good Lord Bird,  listened to it, thought it terrific, and  was very pleased when it won the National Book Award. And so, having Brown much more on my radar, when I first saw Albert Marrin’s nonfiction book A Volcano Beneath the Snow: John Brown’s War Against Slavery I was eager to read it. Having now done so I can say without…
  • Ah, those fairies, they do seem to like to be photographed

    11 Apr 2014 | 3:03 am
    I’ve long been besotted with the story of the Cottingley fairies (those that two little girls supposedly photographed quite a while ago, one of which is above).  So, of course, was amused to see the most recent photographs of those little beings.  This time it is the Rossendale fairies as photographed by adult college lecturer John Hyatt. (One of his photographs is below).   While I don’t think I’m particularly fluffy-headed about fairies and such, I admit this lacks the magic of the Cottingley story. That one appeals to me due those two young girls’…
  • 26 Characters at Oxford’s Story Museum

    10 Apr 2014 | 2:28 am
    In Oxford, England, there is a unique museum blending art, performance, telling, viewing, and pretty much everything else story-related in imaginative ways. This is the Story Museum. Here’s a bit from my post  reporting my visit there a couple of years ago: Yesterday, Philip Pullman who is, unsurprisingly, one of their patrons took me to the museum where we got a fascinating tour with co-director Kim Pickin.  The physical space is a remarkable warren of rooms of all sizes with a fascinating history and, if they do even a smidgen of what they dream to do, it will be extraordinary.
  • Deborah Wiles’ Revolution

    6 Apr 2014 | 5:07 am
    Deborah Wiles’ Sixties Trilogy is set in the time of hers (and my) youth.  The first book, Countdown, is a vivid, compelling, and moving view of the Cuban Missile Crisis seen through the eyes of  eleven-year-old Franny and was, I thought, splendid causing me to wait on tenterhooks for the next one.  When I saw that the second book was coming out this year I was both elated and nervous. Could Wiles pull it off again? Here’s my tweet after reading it: Monica Edinger ‏@medinger  Mar 31I spent most of the weekend reading @deborahwiles‘s Revolution and it is…
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    Chasing Ray

  • "I still see her standing by the water"

    17 Apr 2014 | 10:36 pm
    From Billboard magazine, yesterday: Glen Campbell has been moved into a care facility three years after being diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, reports. "He was moved to an Alzheimer's facility last week," a family friend told the title. "I'm not sure what the permanent plan is for him yet. We'll know more next week." The singer, whose "Rhinestone Cowboy" topped the charts in 1975, had been suffering from short-term memory loss in recent years. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in early 2011. His voice, and the songs he made famous, are as much a part of America to me as…
  • "In other words, Marie was not lauded. "

    14 Apr 2014 | 10:46 pm
    I read Soundings by Hali Felt and learned that Marie Tharp and Bruce Heezen (scientist and co-worker and partner in every sense of the word with Marie) literally mapped the ocean floor. I had never heard of either one of them before this. Had no idea that Maria took the soundings gathered by Heezen and others at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and drew the map - drew the map!!! - of the ocean floor. She was a cartographer of the ocean floor. There is so much about Marie's career that blows my mind (here's a good overview in her obituary from Columbia University), but a couple of things…
  • The writer is bereft

    6 Apr 2014 | 8:12 pm
    This is my dog Hondo who died on Friday. If you have ever been through it then you know what it's like to sit in the vet's office as your pet is diagnosed with an incurable disease. You start with the pain medication and you watch him limp and first he is just the same except for the limp but then he is slower to stand, slower to sit. He eats a little less and then sometimes, doesn't want to eat at all. He used to follow you everywhere you go and now he only does part of the time. He sleeps more but does not sleep well; he is restless. And you increase the pain medication and you entice with…
  • Meeting Darwin's Ghosts

    1 Apr 2014 | 3:22 am
    I believe the first time I learned about Charles Darwin was in the 7th grade, during Earth Science class. (A very dismal course with a teacher who was annoyed from the first day of school until the last.) What I never could figure out, even after reading about the finches and barnacles, was how he put together the Theory of Evolution. It was always presented as a bit of a thunderbolt - he sat back, he watched, he studied and he figured it out. What I wanted to know was why no one else had. Flash forward many years and I came across an article about Alfred Russell Wallace and learned that…
  • Baseball season...finally

    31 Mar 2014 | 3:58 am
    My favorite time of year, when all the wins are still possible, when all the games hold promise. My heart is always with the Red Sox but I have a serious soft spot for the Cubs and especially for Wrigley Field. Eddie Vedder wrote "All the Way" at the request of Cubs great Ernie Banks which is perfect. I hope it gets you ready for the Boys of Summer...
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    Books for Boys - Children's Adventure & Mystery Author Max Elliot Anderson

  • New Middle Grade Mystery Coming Soon!

    7 Apr 2014 | 11:08 am
    Don't miss my next middle grade mystery, from Elk Lake Publishing, coming soon! I call it The Cat Burglars.Wish I could tell you a cat burglar was somebody who steals cats, but it isn’t.This is the first story in a brand new series. Don't miss it. More information will be posted on this blog. And watch for the exciting series video coming soon, too!
  • A special request for teachers and librarians

    3 Apr 2014 | 5:51 pm
    Chestnut Publishing Group is considering publishing my collection of middle grade reader short stories, Tree Fort, Pigtails, Pollywogs, and More. The company sells books directly to schools and libraries and is seeking input from teachers and librarians about this project.Would you take a few minutes, go to the following link, read the information there, and give your feedback on this project? Thank you very much!Max Elliot AndersonThe book’s IntroductionLooking back, my childhood was something of an adventure all by itself. I…
  • Books for Boys VS Books for Girls

    2 Apr 2014 | 5:32 am
    Articles have appeared recently suggesting books be published for universal use by both boys and girls. In other words, no more books specifically for boys or books for girls. You might find this new article helpful. page 166 Additional linksAmazon Author Page Video
  • Working On Video For NEW Middle Grade Reader Series

    27 Mar 2014 | 6:48 am
    I’m working on an exciting video for the new, middle grade reader series, The Accidental Adventures of Kurt Benson and his Friends, Riley and Jordan. More information about the publishing date coming soon! Amazon Author Page
  • Take a trip back to the early days of radio and TV "Then and Now"

    22 Mar 2014 | 9:39 am
    Take a trip back to the early days of radio and TV, then fast forward to what our kids are watching and listening to today. "Then and Now" is on page 134 of Book Fun Magazine
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    Wands and Worlds

  • Book Review: The Summer Prince

    2 Apr 2014 | 10:29 am
    The Summer Princeby Alaya Dawn JohnsonJune and her best friend Gil are thrilled to wrangle an invite to the official celebration of the newly elected Summer King, Enki. But they never anticipate that Gil and Enki will fall in love, or how much Enki will affect both of their lives. Although the Summer King has no real power, Enki, who comes from the lowest level of society, is determined to use what influence he has to help his people. June and Enki begin to collaborate on a big art installation, one that they hope will both send a message to the city, and win June the Queen's Award. But none…
  • Book Review: Rebel Heart

    1 Apr 2014 | 12:27 pm
    Rebel HeartDust Lands Book 2by Moira YoungWarning: this review may contain spoilers for the first book, Blood Red Road. If you haven't read Blood Red Road, I highly recommend it! It's about an incredibly tough heroine on a quest to save her brother in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. In Blood Red Road, Saba had one goal: find and save her twin brother Lugh from the people who took him. Saba knew that once she found Lugh, everything would be all right. But everything is most definitely not all right. Lugh and Saba have both been changed by the traumatic things they experienced, and the bond…
  • Thoughts on BookExpo America and BookCon

    29 Mar 2014 | 9:18 am
    So, yesterday I read this article in PW about Reed Exhibitions' plans for the new BookCon on the last day of BookExpo America (BEA). I posted an off-hand comment on Twitter and Facebook that I thought the new plan was great. Apparently, my comments weren't clear, and some people are confused and upset by the new plan. "Why is excluding the public a good thing?" I was asked, and that wasn't what I meant at all, and I don't think it's what BEA intended. In fact rather the opposite. BEA is working to include the public and craft a positive experience for them. Since it's difficult to clarify my…
  • Book Review: Underneath

    24 Mar 2014 | 1:05 pm
    Underneathby Sarah Jamila StevensonSunny Pryce-Shah is devastated when her cousin Shiri commits suicide. How could Shiri do it? Shiri always seemed so confident, and Sunny looked up to her older cousin. Then Sunny starts to hear thoughts, and from cryptic comments in Shiri's journal, she suspects that Shiri may have had the same problem. Hearing thoughts is more of a curse than a power. It can be painful to know what people really think of you, for example, and Sunny can't control it or stop it from happening. Sunny is already dealing with so much, but she knows that she has to get the…
  • The Infinite Sea Cover Reveal

    21 Mar 2014 | 6:56 am
    The cover for The Infinite Sea, sequel to Rick Yancey's The 5th Wave, has been revealed. You can see a larger image of it over at USA Today, along with an interesting interview with Rick Yancey. (Note: Although Yancey tries to be careful not to spoil anything, I think it does give some clues about the second book).The 5th Wave was an excellent book about the aftermath of an alien invasion, although one of the themes of the book is that this alien invasion is not a anything like what you would expect from movies and TV. ("...not-your-grandma's alien invasion," as Yancey says in the…
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    American Indians in Children's Literature (AICL)

  • A Look at Setting in 2013 CCBC Data on Fiction by/about American Indians - US Publishers

    16 Apr 2014 | 7:35 am
    On March 17, 2014 I published my analysis of 14 books on the Cooperative Center or Children's Books (CCBC). The set I analyzed are those published by publishers located in the United States. My findings?With one exception (Eric Gansworth's If I Ever Get Out of Here), the books major publishing houses put out are flawed in one way or another. With one exception (a book I could not get), the books small publishers put out are ones that I can--and do--recommend. Today I am pointing to the time period for the books. In short, are they set in the past? Or are they set in the present?My…

    14 Apr 2014 | 10:21 am
    I smiled as I read Chukfi Rabbit's Big, Bad Bellyache: A Trickster Tale by Choctaw author, Greg Rodgers. Chukfi Rabbit, we learn as the story opens, is lazy. If I was still teaching kindergarten or first grade, I'm have fun saying this line from the first page with my students:"Chukfi Rabbit is lay-zeeee." And I'd be sure to point out that Chukfi is the Choctaw word for rabbit!In the story, that lazy rabbit doesn't really want to help his friends build a new house, but when he learns that freshly made butter is part of the meal they'll share, he agrees to help (not). Remember--he's lazy.
  • American Indian Graduation Rates and Stereotypical Images On and Off the Field

    11 Apr 2014 | 9:00 am
    On May 31 of last year (2013), Education Week pointed to a new study of high school graduation rates that reported that the graduation rates of American Indian students had declined in three out of the five years the study examined. In 2010, Susan C. Faircloth and John W. Tippeconnic published a paper in UCLA Civil Rights Project that had similar findings. In their full report, they cite work by previous studies that tries to make sense of why this happens. Some factors are lack of empathy among teachers, irrelevant curriculum, lack of interest in school.Anyone who follows Native news or…
  • CNN points to American Indians in Children's Literature

    9 Apr 2014 | 11:49 am
    Greetings!Are you here because of the article on young adult literature at the CNN website? If yes, I have many books to recommend, and many that I find problematic, too.Look to the right of this page. See the links to lists of books I recommend? Click there to see the lists.If you want to read in-depth about books I don't recommend, you can scroll down to the piece I wrote about Rush Limbaugh's book, or, Rosanne Parry's book, Written In Stone. If you're an author or book reviewer, or librarian who selects/weeds books, please spend time reading on my site. And come back when you have…
  • Dan Snyder's "Original Americans" Foundation, or, WTF Dan Snyder?

    25 Mar 2014 | 6:32 am
    Monday, March 24th, 2014, Dan Snyder--the owner of the Washington professional football team--announced that he has established a foundation called "The Original Americans Foundation."I bet he likes the ring of the name he came up with: "Original Americans." The fact is, the "original Americans" were the Brits who lived in the 13 colonies who officially became Americans when they quit being whatever-they-called-themselves prior to the revolution.The Indigenous peoples of this continent go by our own names. We do that now. And we did that in the 1700s. And the 1600s. And the 1500s... Snyder…
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  • Rock the Drop TODAY!

    18 Apr 2014 | 12:31 pm
    Operation Teen Book Drop 2014 is being held TODAY!readergirlz started this event seven years ago, and it is held annually in April, on Support Teen Literature Day. Feel free to share the banner (above) at your blog and on social media, then print out copies of the bookplate (below). Slap the bookplates in your favorite YA books and leave the books in public spaces for lucky readers to discover.Want to join in the fun? Here's how you can get involved:* Follow @readergirlz on Twitter and tweet #rockthedrop* Print a copy of the bookplate and insert it into a book (or 10!) On April 17th, drop…
  • Poetry Friday: The Messenger by Mary Oliver

    18 Apr 2014 | 12:17 pm
    My work is loving the world.Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird - equal seekers of sweetness.Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums.Here the clam deep in the speckled sand.Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?Am I no longer young, and still not half-perfect?Let me keep my mind on what matters, which is my work,which is mostly standing still and learning to be astonished.The phoebe, the delphinium. The sheep in the pasture, and the pasture.Which is mostly rejoicing, since all ingredients are here,which is gratitude, to be given a mind and a heartand these body-clothes, a mouth…
  • Poetry Friday: Where is Love Now? by Sam Phillips and Nickel Creek

    11 Apr 2014 | 7:15 am
    If I should hold all my dreamsThrough the night of the way life sometimes seemsAnd if I can't see which way to go,I'll stay lost in silence 'til I know.- from the song Where is Love Now?Originally by Sam Phillips, Where is Love Now? is the final track on Nickel Creek's brand-new album, A Dotted Line. My favorite song on the album is Hayloft, followed by Destination - no pun intended.Click here to listen to Where is Love Now?View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.Learn more about Poetry Friday.
  • Interview: Kirsten B. Feldman

    10 Apr 2014 | 1:20 pm
    When I asked author Kirsten B. Feldman to sum up her book No Alligators in Sight in twenty words or less, she replied: "Lettie Endquist yearns to make herself a better life and travels from Provincetown to Key West to get it."The main characters of No Alligators in Sight were in Kirsten's head for years. The tale actually began as a short story, "Squelch." That short story then became the majority of Chapter 1, and over the course of about two years, "a chapter here and a chapter there grew to become the first draft," Kirsten explained. "The story grew because Lettie had more to say, and so I…
  • Poetry Friday: A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd

    4 Apr 2014 | 6:00 am
    Today's poem comes from the novel A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd. Early in the book, the main character, Felicity, creates and recites this poem on the fly for her little sister:"Frannie Jo lives in a house of stars.She has a cloud for a pillowAnd a comet for a car.She smiles like a sunrise,Cries a rainbow when she's hurt.She'll dance across the sky tonight,Then shake the stardust from her skirt."View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.Learn more about Poetry Friday.
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    bookshelves of doom

  • The Fun Home debate continues in South Carolina.

    18 Apr 2014 | 12:19 pm
    From the NYT: The College of Charleston, a public university, provided copies of Ms. Bechdel’s memoir to incoming students for the 2013-14 academic year, as part of its annual College Reads! program that tries to encourage campus-wide discussion around a single book each year. The books are not required reading. But one state representative, Garry Smith, told South Carolina newspapers this winter that he had received a complaint about “Fun Home” from a constituent whose daughter was a freshman at the college. Mr. Smith contacted the college to ask about other options for College Reads!,…
  • Genre debates: "literary" fiction versus SF/F.

    18 Apr 2014 | 4:40 am
    I'm really not into having the whole Which One Is Better debate, because I don't have a strong aversion to any genre: if it's a good book, it's a good book, yay books. YAY BOOKS. Anyway! Despite the title, ultimately, the essay is more about the differences between the two genres, and more especially about the strengths of SF/F: You absolutely cannot obscure underlying weakness with waffle. Otherwise the emails will arrive, picking up on discrepancies. Not just for the sake of point-scoring or nitpicking but because fans become so engaged with imaginary worlds and so…
  • Kindle Daily Deal: Strange Chemistry title.

    18 Apr 2014 | 3:39 am
    Yes, another one!: When the World was Flat (and we were in love), by Ingrid Jonach And yes, I bought it, description unseen, even!
  • Did we already know this, or did I just picture her as I read?

    17 Apr 2014 | 8:55 am
    From Screen Daily: Chloe Grace Moretz will star in the studio’s YA adaptation The 5th Wave that Graham King and Tobey Maguire are producing. Regardless, this news gives merit to my hypothesis that ChloMor, JLaw, and ShaiWood are currently the only actresses working in YA Hollywood.
  • A gentle reminder about a fabulous author.

    17 Apr 2014 | 6:42 am
    [View the story "If you haven't read Frances Hardinge, YOU SHOULD." on Storify]
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    Jen Robinson's Book Page

  • Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: April 18

    Jen Robinson
    18 Apr 2014 | 11:34 am
    Here are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage. There are a few more than usual, as I was traveling late last week, and then had a big burst of catch-up links on Monday and Tuesday. Lots of links this week about diversity and about libraries.  Book Lists and Awards RT @tashrow James Patterson wins the 2014 Chicago Tribune Young Adult Literary Award. #kidlit Make 'Em Laugh: Gut-Busting Picture Books That'll Have 'Em Rolling in the Aisles | @FuseEight for @NYPL #kidlit Booklist for Easter from @cjfriess |…
  • We Were Liars: E. Lockhart

    Jen Robinson
    17 Apr 2014 | 9:35 am
    Book: We Were Liars Author: E. Lockhart Pages: 240 Age Range: 12 and up We Were Liars, e. lockhart's upcoming young adult novel, is fabulous. I couldn't put it down, particularly the last third. On finishing it, I had to go back and immediately re-read large chunks of the book. This is something I never do. Yes, it is that good. Really, if you are an e. lockhart fan, or a fan of suspenseful young adult fiction of any stripe, that should be enough. You should stop reading here. Because this is NOT a book that you want spoiled. You want to go into it knowing as little about it as…
  • Pottytime for Chickies, Bedtime for Chickies

    Jen Robinson
    15 Apr 2014 | 9:17 am
    Books: Pottytime for Chickies and Bedtime for Chickies Author: Janee Trasler Pages: 24 each Age Range: 2-4 (padded board books) Pottytime for Chickies and Bedtime for Chickies, both by Janee Trasler, are part of a new series of padded board books focused on issues of interest to toddlers and early preschoolers (upcoming titles discuss the arrival of a new chick, and the development of table manners). Both books feature three little round chicks, apparently parented by three farm animals (Pig, Cow, and Sheep). The parent figures all look male to me, though this isn't completely, which makes…
  • Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: April 11

    Jen Robinson
    11 Apr 2014 | 8:26 am
    Here are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage. Book Lists Stacked: Revisiting YA Verse Novels: A 2014 Guide to the Format #yalit Always good choices | Waterstones Children’s Book Prizes 2014 | @tashrow #kidlit A roundup of Rapunzel retellings from @alibrarymama #kidlit Diversity Color Your Bookshelf: 39 Diverse Board Books to Give a Baby or Toddler from @SproutsBkshelf #kidlit On not stereotyping | Joseph Bruchac responds to "You Don't Look Indian" @CynLeitichSmith…
  • Moldylocks and the Three Beards: Noah Z. Jones

    Jen Robinson
    10 Apr 2014 | 9:07 am
    Book: Princess Pink and the Land of Fake-Believe: Book 1: Moldylocks and the Three Beards Author: Noah Z. Jones Pages: 80 (illustrated early reader) Age Range: 5-7 Moldylocks and the Three Beards (yes, Beards) is the first book in a new heavily illustrated early chapter book series by Noah Z. Jones called Princess Pink and the Land of Fake-Believe. Princess Pink has seven older brothers, and her parents were so happy to have a girl that they named her "Princess." Their last name is "Pink." She is the exact opposite of her name: "Princess Pink does not like fairies. She does not like…
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    Writing and Ruminating

  • Dizzying

    16 Apr 2014 | 5:28 pm
    Sorry to have fallen off the map, dear readers. I will be back, probably next week. Between my wonderful retreat last week and now, I've been dealing with vertigo on a daily basis. It will eventually dissipate, but it makes computer-based work quite tricky.And so, for now, adieu.
  • Over at Guys Lit Wire

    8 Apr 2014 | 8:55 am
    Over at Guys Lit Wire today, it's my review of CAMINAR by Skila Brown. A novel in poems about what it was like for a young boy to come of age in Guatemala during the time of political unrest characterized by murders, disappearances, and massacres. It is so darn good, you guys. You REALLY need to read this one. I mean it.In fact, I love it so much that I'm about to do a ridiculous amount of coding just so you can get a sense of the poems and how they both sing and race. Here are two poems from about 3/4 of the way through the book:Woke Up in the DarkI woke upin my treewith a   snap …
  • FACE BUG by J. Patrick Lewis

    7 Apr 2014 | 6:43 pm
    in the middle of last year, the good folks at Wordsong sent me a review copy of a poetry collection that frankly makes me a bit antsy. It's called FACE BUG: Poems, and the poems are written by former Children's Poet Laureate J. Patrick Lewis. The book features photographs of the actual bug faces by Frederic B. Siskind as well as illustrations by Kelly Murphy. The former are scientifically accurate, and the latter don't creep me out nearly as much. Because BUGS!The book contains 15 poems, comprised of an introductory poem plus 14 poems about individual insects, ranging from the Hickory Horned…
  • Good Monday to you

    7 Apr 2014 | 8:09 am
    Many apologies for the lack of posts in recent days. Friday was spent on lots of chores and preparations, though I had meant to post a review of the latest Billy Collins collection, but didn't. Saturday was spent in preparations, a party, and some cleanup (love seeing friends!!). And Sunday was spent driving from my house to Boyds Mills, PA, where I am sitting now in a lovely little cabin at the Highlights Foundation. I have forgotten to bring the Collins with me, though I will be posting a review later today of a different poetry collection.Meanwhile, I must attend to the manuscript I…
  • Stardines Swim High Across the Sky by Jack Prelutsky, ill. by Carin Berger

    3 Apr 2014 | 12:35 pm
    From the team that brought us the wonderful Behold the Bold Umbrellaphant eight years ago comes STARDINES Swim High Across the Sky: And Other Poems by Jack Prelutsky, illustrated with phenomenal collages by Carin Berger.I was fortunate to get a copy of this book last fall, as part of my duties judging the first round for the CYBILS Awards. The book picks up where Behold the Bold Umbrellaphant left off, with poems based on portmanteau words, and clever illustrations that practically leap off the pages. There is a poem about "stardines", of course, and one about "chormorants", busy birds that…
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    The Miss Rumphius Effect

  • Science Poetry Pairings - Rain

    19 Apr 2014 | 9:01 pm
    I may have grown up where snow was the weather that was most talked about, but my favorite form of precipitation has always been the rain. In our old house in the city I used to love to sit outside on the porch swing when it rained and rock to the beat of the drops, and sometimes the thunder. William and I still like to play in the rain in the summer and jump in puddles in our bare feet. My favorite rain is quiet rain, early in the morning.Today's book trio celebrates rain in all its wonder. Poetry BookOne Big Rain: Poems for a Rainy Days, compiled by Rita Gray and illustrated by Ryan…
  • Science Poetry Pairings - Forests

    18 Apr 2014 | 9:01 pm
    "The woods are lovely, dark, and deep," wrote the poet Robert Frost. I spent a lot of time in the woods as a kid, and still do today. When I lead science and outdoor education workshops I take teachers into the woods to look, listen, and learn. There is so much to discover by being still and observing closely.Today's book pairing will invite and encourage readers to go into the woods and explore. Poetry BookForest Has a Song, written by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater and illustrated by Robbin Gourley, is a collection of 26 poems about the flora, fauna, and seasons of the forest. One time through…
  • Poetry Friday - Take 2!

    18 Apr 2014 | 11:46 am
    If you could see my office right now, you'd probably be shocked at how messy it is. I have piles of books EVERYWHERE. All the books I've been pulling for my National Poetry Month posts, the books on economics from class last week, and all my inter-library loan books are scattered about the floor! I guess it makes sense that out of this chaos came these book spine poems from my collection of poetry books.Poem 1Summer beatMessing around the monkey barsHandspringsSummersaultsOh, grow up!(I so wish I had a book titled Never!) Poem 2Toasting marshmallowsKeeping the night watchFlicker…
  • Science/English Poetry Pairings - Animal Collectives

    17 Apr 2014 | 9:01 pm
    I fell in love with words at a young age. Coupled with my love for science, I became enamored of the words to describe groups of animals and spent hours researching and memorizing the names.  When I turned turned twelve and my mother took me shopping for my birthday, I used money I'd saved to buy The Stranger by Billy Joel (vinyl!) and the book An Exaltation of Larks or The Venereal Game by James Lipton (yes, THAT James Lipton). I carried that book around for years, always entertained and intrigued by the contents.While this topic may be more about etymology than science, young people…
  • Poetry Friday - By Messenger

    17 Apr 2014 | 9:00 pm
    I've shared poems by Amy Lowell before. This poem was first published in 1919 in a volume entitled Pictures of the Floating World. It is one of my favorite poems of all time.By Messengerby Amy Lowell One nightWhen there was a clear moon,I sat downTo write a poemAbout maple-trees.But the dazzle of moonlightIn the inkBlinded me,And I could only writeWhat I remembered.Therefore, on the wrapping of my poemI have inscribed your name.This poem and the book it was published in are in the public domain and have been digitized and made available by Google. You can read the entire volume…
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  • College Update

    2 Apr 2014 | 8:39 am
    March has been an anxious month waiting for college acceptances to arrive, and I suppose I don't write when I'm anxious. I can't say what else I was doing, besides churning over the same college information and cleaning out the computer/storage room. Oh, and shoveling snow, which was flippin' weird in March.But the results are in, and they are good for the Teen. She didn't quite make her reach school Columbia, but was admitted to its sister school Barnard. She swept our Virginia colleges with acceptances from University of Virginia, University of Richmond, and William & Mary, along with UNC…
  • Thursday Three: Hide and Seek

    6 Mar 2014 | 7:59 am
    Some library books I liked that helpfully fit into a theme of hide and seek. But they all also have classroom or home use for demonstrating values like working together, gratitude, and acceptance without being heavy-handed. Come Back, Moonby David Kherdian, illustrated by Nonny HogrogianBeach Lane Books, 2013When Bear is bothered by the light of moon and can’t sleep, he steals the moon. Under the clever leadership of fox, the forest animals work together to get it back. Simple text makes this ideal for younger storytimes or even as a beginning reader book. The soft, watercolor…
  • Boardbook Bonanza

    25 Feb 2014 | 10:23 am
    Since I haven't been reviewing much, I don't get much to review. That's totally fine and in fact preferred as I don't want to waste anyone's review copies and I can get much of what I want at the library where I work. But occasionally a package comes my way, as with a little collection of 2014 boardbooks from Chronicle. Now I don't actively look for boardbooks or tend to review them, so let's call this a set of "reactions." Because it sounds less formal.Creatureby Andrew ZuckermanI received both Numbers and Colors from the set, which also includes Sounds and Baby Animals. I am familiar with…
  • Poetry Friday: Forest Has a Song

    21 Feb 2014 | 9:56 am
    So excited to share the winning poetry book for the Cybils Awards!Forest Has a Songby Amy Ludwig Vanderwater, illustrated by Robbin GourleyClarion Books, 2013(review copy received)Poems document the seasons in the woods with sensory reflections on everything from the spongy feel of a dead branch to the sound of a proposal in a tree frog's song to the taste of a wintergreen plant. The beautiful watercolor illustrations capture the gentle feel of the forest and the poetry itself. Simply a lovely book to enjoy and share. So with the sharing in mind, here is one small sample poem. And yes, I am…
  • Personal Update

    19 Feb 2014 | 9:28 am
    Ahhhhhhhhhhh! That is the sound of me relaxing for the first time in... I want to say... years? Maybe it just feels that way, and certainly everything in my life hasn't reached a positive plateau. However, two big things are squared away. My senior was basically accepted into an excellent, affordable college, and while she hasn't decided on William & Mary, it's a relief to know that it's there as an extremely attractive option. She also just got the part of Cleopatra - the role she's been wanting and working towards, in a way since she starting acting. She's put a lot of time into this…
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        Poetry for Children

  • PFAS: “Teacher’s Look” by Shirley Smith Duke

    Sylvia Vardell
    18 Apr 2014 | 10:30 pm
    Cara S. uses images of hands and pens and a frowning teacher along with fun background sound effects to tell the story behind Shirley Smith Duke’s poem, “Teacher’s Look.”Check it out here (below).You’ll find this engaging poem in the 5th grade section of The Poetry Friday Anthology for Science in Week 13: Light & Sound.
  • PFAS: “Dinos in the Laboratory” by Kristy Dempsey

    Sylvia Vardell
    17 Apr 2014 | 10:30 pm
    Sarah S. uses story-like LEGO images and fun dino “roar” sound effects to dramatize Kristy Dempsey’s clever poem, “Dinos in the Laboratory.” Check it out here.You’ll find this clever poem in the 4th grade section of The Poetry Friday Anthology for Science in Week 2: Lab Safety.Now head on over to Robyn Hood Black's blog, Life on the Deckle Edge, for the Poetry Friday gathering. Not only is she organizing all the usual postings, she is also kind enough to feature some fun "back story" on The Poetry Friday Anthology for Science. Thank you, Robyn!
  • PFAS: “Albert Einstein” by Julie Larios

    Sylvia Vardell
    16 Apr 2014 | 10:30 pm
    Emma R. has created the next poem movie, complete with kids chiming in on the final word. Plus she includes kid comments and another reading of the poem along with the text of the poem. Click here to see Emma's video for “Albert Einstein” by Julie Larios.Look for this poem in the 4th grade section of The Poetry Friday Anthology for Science in Week 31: Famous Scientists.
  • PFAS: “Seeing School” by Kate Coombs

    Sylvia Vardell
    15 Apr 2014 | 10:30 pm
    Watch for the ending image of the smiling girl with glasses in this fun poem movie created by Shelly P. for “Seeing School” by Kate Coombs.Click here now.You’ll find this poem in Week 25 in the 1st Grade section of The Poetry Friday Anthology for Science.
  • PFAS: “Let’s All Be Scientists” by Renee M. LaTulippe

    Sylvia Vardell
    14 Apr 2014 | 10:30 pm
    Today Melinda L. features “Let’s All Be Scientists” by Renee M. LaTulippe. I think she really captures the spirit of the poem with her nature images and jaunty background music. Plus she includes a second reading by children, too! Check it out.Click here.You’ll find this poem in 2nd grade, Week 1 in The Poetry Friday Anthology for Science. 
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  • Cynsational News & Giveaway

    Cynthia Leitich Smith
    18 Apr 2014 | 6:52 am
    Compiled by Cynthia Leitich Smith for CynsationsChristian Slater, Annie Hall, Rejection, and Me (Not Necessarily in That Order) by Shawn K. Stout from the Writing Barn. Peek: "That feeling, right there. Do you know the one? That crushing ache? The one right there in the middle of my chest that tells me in that moment I’m unloved by the universe? That’s what rejection feels like to me. Every. Single. Time."A Logic Model for Author Success by Sharon Bially from Writer Unboxed. Peek: "Called the 'Logic Model'...its goal is to help writers make the best decisions about where to focus their…
  • readergirlz: Support Teen Literature Day & "Rock the Drop"

    Cynthia Leitich Smith
    17 Apr 2014 | 7:07 am
    By Melissa Walker of readergirlzfor Cynthia Leitich Smith's CynsationsIn conjunction with Support Teen Literature Day, top young adult authors, editors, teen lit advocates, and readers will “Rock the Drop” by leaving their books in public places for new readers to discover and enjoy.In recognition of the readergirlz’s seventh birthday of promoting literacy and a love of reading among young women, our fans and followers are also encouraged to donate YA books (or time, or even monetary contributions) to seven very worthy literacy philanthropies.Cyn supports Reading is Fundamental!The…
  • Five Questions for Cynthia Leitich Smith from The Horn Book

    Cynthia Leitich Smith
    16 Apr 2014 | 6:08 am
    Compiled by Cynthia Leitich Smith for CynsationsWhat fun it was to chat with The Horn Book about creepy cuisine, werecats and the kind of shape-shifter I'd most like to be!Pop over to check it out and join in the conversation!See also a review of my latest novel, Feral Curse (Candlewick, 2014) from The Horn Book. Peek:"Debut character Kayla — level-headed, religious, but also quietly proud of her shifter nature — holds her own, nicely complementing Yoshi’s swagger, Wild Card shifter Clyde’s newfound confidence, and human Aimee’s resourcefulness. Witty banter peppered with…
  • Guest Post & Giveaway: Michele Weber Hurwitz on Musings about Comparisons

    Cynthia Leitich Smith
    15 Apr 2014 | 6:48 am
    By Michele Weber Hurwitzfor Cynthia Leitich Smith's CynsationsI have a quote taped on the wall above my computer so it's the first thing I see every morning when I sit down to write."Comparison is the thief of joy."That little gem comes from some guy named Theodore Roosevelt.What a simple, true, and startling piece of advice. The idea that comparison is a thief, and it can steal your joy, take away your happiness.My mother had a more delicate, loving way of putting it: "Appreciate what you have, Little Miss Smarty Pants."This, in fact, seems to be my life lesson. I wish I could have told it…
  • Guest Post: Cheryl Rainfield on Writing Bravely

    Cynthia Leitich Smith
    14 Apr 2014 | 6:20 am
    By Cheryl Rainfieldfor Cynthia Leitich Smith's Cynsations I’ve always had a strong need to break the silence about abuse and oppression, and to speak my truth.Even my abusers, who repeatedly threatened to kill me if I talked, couldn’t shut down that part of my spirit.I just found another way to do it while they abused me—not through verbal speech, through “talking,” but through art and writing. There lay healing, release, and freedom. There lay reaching out to other people, trying to find safety—and, I found, helping others know they weren’t alone.I didn’t think of myself as…
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    Read Alert

  • Children’s Book of the Year Awards 2014

    Adele Walsh
    7 Apr 2014 | 7:14 pm
    This morning the Children’s Book Council of Australia announced the 2014 shortlists and notables in each of the categories. Early Childhood Eve Pownall Younger Reader Older Reader Picture Book Titles from the 2013 calendar year are nominated by their publishing houses and each of the state judges are whisked away for days until they decide each of the winners, honours, shortlists and notable lists. The Older Reader category (aka Young adult) notable list features thirteen Australian authors of YA fiction. Congratulations to the six talented authors gracing the 2014 CBCA Book of the Year…
  • 2014 Inky Awards longlist

    Adele Walsh
    19 Mar 2014 | 2:09 am
    Ladies and Gents, the Centre for Youth Literature interrupts your regular programming to bring you the 2014 Inky Awards longlist, fresh from the Somerset Celebration of Literature in Queensland! Drum roll, please… Gold Inky Award longlist (Australian books): Zac and Mia by AJ Betts All This Could End by Steph Bowe Steal My Sunshine by Emily Gale The Whole of My World by Nicole Hayes These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner The First Third by Will Kostakis Every Breath by Ellie Marney Fairytales for Wilde Girls by Allyse Near Run by Tim Sinclair The Sky So…
  • CBCA 2014 Book of the Year Prediction Events

    Adele Walsh
    12 Mar 2014 | 4:23 pm
    The Children’s Book Council of Australia (Victorian branch) held their 2014 Claytons Dinner on Tuesday evening at Trinity College, Kew.  For those unaware, the Claytons are the predictions from local experts on the CBCA Book of the Year Award Categories.  The event takes its name from a non-alcoholic beverage and advertising campaign (1970s-80s)  as it is not quite the real thing. The Older Readers category (Young Adult Fiction), as predicted by our very own Anna Burkey, were as follows: Wildlife by Fiona Wood (Pan Macmillan) Fairytales for Wilde Girls by Allyse Near (Random House)…
  • Welcome to the 2014 Inky Awards!

    Adele Walsh
    17 Feb 2014 | 4:01 pm
    Yes, your teen choice book awards are back, and better than ever with a brand new timeline. The Awards are all about showcasing the best and brightest young adult titles, as deemed by Australia’s teens, so following feedback we’ve revised the awards calendar:   How can you engage with the Inky Awards? Encourage students to submit an application for the teen judging panel. Review the longlist on as an armchair judge! Promote your students’ choices as for the Inky Awards in the classroom or library. Go on a blind date!  Cover books in brown paper and provide a…
  • Young Adult Voices at the Digital Writers’ Festival

    Jordi Kerr
    11 Feb 2014 | 11:18 pm
    According to adults, teenagers are digital natives. Often depicted as a generation glued to their smart phones, snapchatting their selfies, stuck to their Facebook walls with their memes, and their lolcats, and their blatant disregard for spelling and grammar… But what do young adults really think about the online environment? As ever, we’re keen to provide a space where the voices and views of young people can be heard, and we’re very proud to be working with the Digital Writers’ Festival to deliver that in an exciting, new way. Inside a Blog: the teen…
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    childrens-book « Tag Feed

  • That's Why We Don't Eat Animals

    9 Apr 2014 | 12:39 pm
      When I was in Seattle, I came across this children’s book called That’s Why We Don’t Eat Animals by Ruby Roth. I was blown away! I didn’t realize that children’s authors were writing about being vegetarian & vegans. It seems really obvious to me now, but I just didn’t expect it. I didn’t get a chance to actually look through the book, but I’m still really excited it exists. Hopefully in the next year or two, Ben and I will be celebrating a baby shower so I hope we get this book and lots of other books like this! Apparently author Ruby…
  • Baby Dinosaur Book

    9 Apr 2014 | 11:39 am
    A few weeks ago, while at the library, I came across a book called “1000 Children’s Books You Must Read.” It was a compilation of titles, with brief synopsis, and some illustrations from each book. As I flipped through the pages, I was amazed at how many titles I had read or had been read to me before I could on my own. Nearly every other book brought back memories and unabashed “awwwww”s, which probably looked really odd coming from an exceptionally dashing young man browsing the adult non-fiction section. After getting over the nostalgia, I had to remark on how…
  • A Review of Anita Mathias' Francesco, Artist of Florence: The Man Who Gave Too Much

    9 Apr 2014 | 11:32 am
    Anita Mathias’ Francesco, Artist of Florence: The Man Who Gave Too Much is the story of a Florentine
  • Gentle Tom And the Search for the Lost Sparkle

    9 Apr 2014 | 8:51 am
    Re-introducing children’s book “Gentle Tom And the Search for the Lost Sparkle” by Eve Stevens. Get ready to go on an adventure with Gentle Tom, his family and friends. They leave their mum and dad and the safety of their village to find more sparkle and they find lots of fun and laughter on the way. They meet more friends, including Little Pip and the dog and in the end the sparkle is found but where they least expected.   For more information and to purchase a discounted copy of this book click here Related Articles: ShieldCrest Publishing - Here Amazon Books –…
  • 5 Stars for At the Window by Joseph Forte

    Check it out...
    9 Apr 2014 | 8:08 am
    Kindle edition $0.99Paperback $13.20 My eight-year old daughter, and I really enjoyed this book!  It brought up a conversation that has never come up in our house before… “Mom, Where is their mommy & Daddy?” As I read this heart warming story to my daughter, she would ask me where Henry, and his sister’s parents were. So I explained as best I can about an orphanage, and why there is children all across the world that have to live their. But this book showed my daughter that some kids may not have a mom and dad but they can still have someone who loves, and cares…
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    School Library Journal

  • School Librarians: Ask Students to Vote to Get ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ Cast to Visit Your State

    18 Apr 2014 | 12:45 pm
    To promote the June 6 film release of the #1 bestselling New York Times YA title The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (Dutton, 2012), the film’s cast—Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, Nat Wolff, and the book’s author John Green— will be traveling the country, and school library book clubs and students can have a hand in getting the cast to visit their particular states. Here’s how: Go to the website: Find the gif that represents your state. Once there, “like” or “reblog” to count your…
  • In the 2014-2015 School Year, San Diego Schools May Restore Some Library Services

    Lauren Barack
    18 Apr 2014 | 6:00 am
    A proposal by Superintendent Cindy Marten would reopen doors to the roughly 40 libraries in the district that are currently shuttered. Official photo. More San Diego students may see the inside of their school libraries again, if a proposal being pushed by Superintendent Cindy Marten goes through for the 2014-2015 school year. More than 20 percent, or about 40 of the 180 schools, in the San Diego Unified School District have been without regular access to their school libraries since budget cuts in 2008 forced the district to reduce staff. This left media centers without qualified people to…
  • How a VA Middle School Librarian and Her Book Club Raised Funds to Provide 15,000 Meals for Students in South Sudan

    17 Apr 2014 | 8:34 am
    The “Feed and Read Sudan” group, librarian Lauren McBride (far right), Sudan Sunrise’s Heather Flor (far left), and Sudanese-American activist and former-”Lost Boy” Jacob Atem (center)./Credit: Eileen Chesnakas This year I had the opportunity to help a group of sixth graders elevate awareness in their community—as well as within themselves—about the ongoing crisis in Africa’s South Sudan and help my students raise funds to provide a group of South Sudanese students with school lunches and textbooks.  It all started with a book club. At the start of the…
  • SLJ Columnist Pat Scales Addresses Censorship Concerns in Libraries

    Pat Scales
    17 Apr 2014 | 7:00 am
    SLJ columnist Pat Scales I’m a collection development librarian for a very large public library. It’s our job to order books for the entire system. One of the bookmobile librarians is extremely conservative and doesn’t want us to send the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” (Abrams) or “Captain Underpants” (Scholastic) series to her bookmobile. She says she’s read that these books have been banned in some libraries, and she can’t defend them. Circulation data reveals the popularity of these books, but we can’t seem to convince her. The first thing this librarian needs to understand is…
  • Down with the Dinos | Touch and Go

    17 Apr 2014 | 6:39 am
    With brief texts offering a touch of drama and some basic facts, Oceanhouse Media’s “Smithsonian Prehistoric Pals” series, based on the books by Dawn Bentley, have found an audience with young children.Fans of the series will be familiar with Triceratops Gets Lost and It’s Tyrannosaurus Rex!. The developer has recently released A Busy Day for Stegosaurus and Pteranodon Soars; both of those productions are reviewed below. Interior screen from ‘A Busy Day for Stegosaurus’ (OM) Carr From the moment she awakens until she settles down to sleep, it’s A Busy…
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    A Fuse #8 Production

  • Press Release Fun: The Snow Queen joins the New York Musical Theatre Festival

    Elizabeth Bird
    18 Apr 2014 | 1:00 am
    You know when you make a friend who works in a different field than you and then, in time, your mutual interests come together?  Years ago my friend Katie married a talented composer by the name of Haddon Kime.  Haddon was kind enough to create the opening music of my short lived podcast and then that was that.  Now years have passed and the man behind the music and lyrics of the kick arse punk rock version of The Snow Queen (good timing with Frozen and all, eh?) is coming to the New York Musical Theatre Festival.  Woo-hoo!  Couldn’t be happier for everyone involved. Additional…
  • Fusenews: Not seething with envy. It’s more of a percolation process.

    Elizabeth Bird
    17 Apr 2014 | 1:00 am
    So what’s the talk of the town these days?  Well the relative brouhaha came about at the end of last week when ReedPOP announced a panel of “the world’s biggest children’s authors” in the field.  That the luminaries in question were all white and male struck a raw nerve with a whole slew of folks.  Since that moment there’s been some fancy footwork and a promise to add some additional folks.   The solution is ludicrously simple, of course.  If the gist of the grouping is to have the top selling authors of books for kids then just grab Rachel Renee…
  • Press Release Fun: Children’s Literary Salon – Podcasting Children’s Books

    Elizabeth Bird
    16 Apr 2014 | 1:00 am
    I’m so pleased with this next Salon that I’m fit to burst.  Somehow I managed to wrangle THREE of our best children’s literary podcasters into one place at one time.  If I were a person prone to the term “squee” I would apply it here, now. New York Public Library is pleased to announce our next Children’s Literary Salon held this Saturday, April 19th at 2:00 p.m.: Podcasting Children’s Books: Ins and Outs, Ups and Downs   Join podcasters Katie Davis (Brain Burps About Books), John Sellers (PW KidsCast), and Matthew Winner (Let’s Get Busy) in…
  • Review of the Day: Boys of Blur by N.D. Wilson

    Elizabeth Bird
    15 Apr 2014 | 1:00 am
    Boys of Blur By N.D. Wilson Random House Books for Young Readers $16.99 ISBN: 978-0-449-81673-8 Ages 9-12 On shelves April 8th. I like a kid’s book with ambition. It’s all well and good to write one about magic candy shops or goofy uncles or simpering unicorns or what have you. The world is big and there’s room for every possible conceivable type of book for our children you can imagine. But then you have the children’s book authors that aim higher. Let’s say one wants to write about zombies. Well, that’s easy enough. Zombies battling kids is pretty straightforward stuff. But…
  • Children’s Literature Online at a Glance: A Look Back at Friends Long Gone

    Elizabeth Bird
    14 Apr 2014 | 1:00 am
    So I was listening to an episode of Pop Culture Happy Hour the other day.  If you happen to unfamiliar with the show it’s just your basic pop culture based podcast where they dissect the trends and news of the day so you don’t have to.  In a recent episode called ‘Captain America’ And The Pitiless March Of Time a discussion was made of websites that have simply disappeared over the years.  The folks over at NPR were concerned about the fact that Television Without Pity is now defunct.  They mentioned how we live in this odd world where things we love and sites that…
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    Michael Gerson: Most Recent Articles and Archives

  • Barry Goldwater’s loss should be a warning to the GOP, not a rallying cry

    Michael Gerson
    17 Apr 2014 | 4:19 pm
    The 50th anniversary of the passage of the Civil Rights Act is also the 50th anniversary of the presumptive Republican nominee for president, Barry Goldwater, voting against the Civil Rights Act. Goldwater, his defenders effectively argue, was not a racist, only an ideologue. True enough. He had been a founding member of the Arizona NAACP. He helped integrate the Phoenix public schools. His problems with the Civil Rights Act were theoretical and libertarian — an objection to the extension of federal power over private enterprise. Read full article >>
  • In the Central African Republic, the only rule is terror

    Michael Gerson
    14 Apr 2014 | 4:38 pm
    BANGUI, Central African Republic The tents of displaced people reach nearly up to the runway at the airport — the first impression of a nation in flight and in fear. Befitting the sectarian cast of the violence in this country, there are two camps, one Christian and one Muslim. The Muslim camp has shrunken in size, as Chadian planes and truck convoys have taken some people out of danger. It is both a move to safety and the victory of religious cleansing. Read full article >>
  • Remembering and learning from Rwanda’s victims

    Michael Gerson
    10 Apr 2014 | 4:31 pm
    KIGALI, Rwanda At the 20th commemoration of the Rwandan genocide, the most moving moments were unplanned. In the audience at Amahoro Stadium, first one woman, then another, then dozens in turn, cried out in uncontrollable anguish and had to be escorted from the ceremony. They were overwhelmed by memory. In their screams you could hear the screams of two decades ago. Read full article >>
  • Obamacare has spawned a misguided debate

    Michael Gerson
    7 Apr 2014 | 4:50 pm
    Supporters of Obamacare are celebrating that the law is not an unmitigated disaster, just a mitigated one. As enrollment closed (for most) on March 31, the system passed 7 million exchange sign-ups. What some are taking as a triumph of governmental competence was actually an emergency rescue by private-sector volunteers after a laughable failure of government to construct and run its own system. This has hardly been a confidence-builder when it comes to public faith in bureaucracy. But never mind. Read full article >>
  • Our dysfunctional Senate

    Michael Gerson
    3 Apr 2014 | 4:51 pm
    God saves the queen. He saves this honorable court. But who will save the United States Senate? The venerable institution that Democrats control and Republicans covet has lately been something of a circus. The Senate majority leader, Harry Reid (D-Nev.), prevents amendments and pursues an unhinged vendetta against the Koch brothers, private citizens engaged in lawful political activity. The Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), is under political siege from right and left in his own state. Conservative populists gain presidential buzz by blowing up or shutting down Senate…
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  • Saturday Review of Books: April 19, 2014

    18 Apr 2014 | 9:44 pm
    ““Even when reading is impossible, the presence of books acquired produces such an ecstasy that the buying of more books than one can read is nothing less than the soul reaching towards infinity……we cherish books even if unread, their mere presence exudes comfort, their ready access reassurance.” ” ~A.E. Newton Welcome to the Saturday Review of Books at Semicolon. Here’s how it usually works. Find a book review on your blog posted sometime during the previous week. The review doesn’t have to be a formal sort of thing. You can link to your thoughts on a particular book,…
  • K is for Kyrielle

    18 Apr 2014 | 10:24 am
    “[P]oetry can do something that philosophy cannot, for poetry is arbitrary and has already turned the formulae of belief into an operation of faith.” ~Charles Williams kyrielle: derives from the Kýrie, which is part of many Christian liturgies. A kyrielle is written in rhyming couplets or quatrains. It may use the phrase “Lord, have mercy”, or a variant on it, as a refrain as the second line of the couplet or last line of the quatrain. In less strict usage, other phrases, and sometimes single words, are used as the refrain. Each line within the poem consists of only…
  • J is Just for Fun

    16 Apr 2014 | 2:29 pm
    “I shake the poems like doormats. Phrases tumble. Some are swept past the margins and stay there. A few find places in other poems. Some spots need a bit more mystery, and I nudge them around corners, away from the bright light, to let shadows do their work.” ~Jeannine Atkins Ogden Nash is one of my favorite poets. I have a theory that making us laugh at ourselves and at the world we live in is one of the important functions of poetry. Mr. Nash certainly makes the laughter and the fun of poetry evident. For instance, there’s this poem in which Mr. Nash volunteers his…
  • Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

    15 Apr 2014 | 4:46 pm
    The subject of Africa and Africans and the relationship of Africans to Americans is one of my fascinations. I read Ms. Adichie’s novel, Americanah, with that fascination firmly in place. But the book was just ironic, sarcastic, and insightful enough to make me a little uncomfortable. I don’t think I’d enjoy meeting the author, and I don’t think she would like me very much. (According to one character in the novel who may or may not speak for the author, “American conservatives come from an entirely different planet,” obviously not a good one.) I feel as if…
  • Saturday Review of Books: April 12, 2014

    11 Apr 2014 | 3:47 pm
    ““You get to feel things, visit places and worlds you would never otherwise know. You learn that everyone else out there is a me, as well. You’re being someone else, and when you return to your own world, you’re going to be slightly changed . . . You’re also finding out something as you read, vitally important for making your way in the world. And it’s this: The world doesn’t have to be like this. Things can be different” ~Neil Gaiman Welcome to the Saturday Review of Books at Semicolon. Here’s how it usually works. Find a book review on your blog posted sometime…
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    Ally Carter

  • A GG6 Spoiler (that didn’t actually happen)

    Ally Carter
    14 Apr 2014 | 1:49 pm
    So yesterday I got the following question on Tumblr. And answered it. But because I know a lot of you probably aren’t on Tumblr, I wanted to share the response with you as well. Because I think it might kind of freak you out.   bcbookobsessed asked: Are you ever going to let you readers know who you killed off in United We Spy but decided not to in the end? theallycarter answered: I suppose I can now tell you that in the early versions of UNITED WE SPY Preston died. And he died bloody. Perhaps some day I will talk about it more—explain the whole subplot that led to that and why…
  • Another writing post–what Jen said

    Ally Carter
    9 Apr 2014 | 10:09 am
    Hi all, Another quick post today on the subject of writing and publishing and–more specifically–publishing at a very young age. As many of you know, my BFF is Jennifer Lynn Barnes. Jen published her first novel when she was a teenager, and she writes very thoughtfully on the subject right here. I highly recommend you read it. Especially if you’re someone who has made a goal like “I will publish a novel by the time I’m 18!” I’m all for goals… But I do think that that particular type of goal is sometimes detrimental to a person’s happiness in…
  • What Natalie said…

    Ally Carter
    3 Apr 2014 | 12:53 pm
    Hi everybody! You know how sometimes I like to offer writing/publishing advice because I know a lot of you have that as a dream?  Well, today I want to point you to some most excellent advice and words-of-wisdom by author Natalie Whipple. Really, it is GREAT STUFF. And those of you who are interested in this crazy business would do well to go read it. Right now. -Ally   The post What Natalie said… appeared first on Ally Carter.
  • Greetings from New York!

    Ally Carter
    1 Apr 2014 | 12:35 pm
    Hi everybody! Guess what: I’m in New York! Now, those of you in and around NYC, don’t freak out–I’m not doing any public events. You didn’t miss any announcements. I’m just here for some meetings with my publisher. If and when I have some tour dates to announce, rest assured, I’ll let everybody know. Like how I’m going to be in NEW ORLEANS, LA in May and SAN ANTONIO, TX in July. Check here for details. I have spoken to Shellie and she and the baby are doing very well. She’s not getting much sleep though, as you might imagine, so she is…
  • He’s here!

    Ally Carter
    26 Mar 2014 | 5:58 pm
    Hi everybody, Ally here with a very happy-making announcement: Shellie is the proud momma of a very happy, healthy and beautiful baby boy! Baby boy joins one very adorable big sister, and the entire family is doing well. Won’t you join me in congratulating Shellie in the comments? XOXO, Ally   The post He’s here! appeared first on Ally Carter.
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    Justine Larbalestier

  • Spoiling Spoily Spoilers

    15 Apr 2014 | 10:21 pm
    I used to hate spoilers. I didn’t care what it was—a book, an ad, a shopping list—I didn’t want to know what happened until it happened. I wouldn’t read the back of books or movie posters or reviews. I wanted to know as little as possible before going in. I thrived on surprise. Now this would sometimes backfire. If I’d known a bit about Taken (2008) I would never have watched it on the plane. I just saw that Liam Neeson was in it. I used to like Liam Neeson. He was dead good in Rob Roy.1 But Taken? Worst. Most Appallingly Immoral. Movie. Of. All. Time. If I…
  • Don’t Do What I Did: On Writing Historicals

    8 Apr 2014 | 8:27 pm
    I started my professional life as an academic. I spent my days researching, making notes, writing scholarly tomes, delivering papers, supervising the occasional student.1 Starting when I was in the final year of my undergraduate degree I made a note of every single article and book I read, which included year of publication, where and who published it, in addition to jotting down any relevant quotes, and what I thought of it. In addition, everything I read was festooned with a forest of post-it notes. I had such good habits. I was a model of good researcherliness.2 But then I left academia. I…
  • In which I speak of Razorhurst in front of a Camera

    2 Apr 2014 | 3:57 pm
    As I may have mentioned once or twice I have a new book, Razorhurst, set on the seedy streets of Sydney in 1932 and packed with deliciously dangerous dames and brutal, bloodthirsty blokes.1 It’ll be published in Australia and New Zealand by Allen and Unwin in July and in the USA by Soho Teen in March 2015.2 The good people at Allen & Unwin made this vid in which I answer some questions about the book: Very happy to answer any other questions you might have about it. Yes, it will be available as an ebook. No, I don’t use product to get my hair to do that. The alliteration is…
  • Dear Person Yelling at Me

    30 Mar 2014 | 2:46 pm
    Dear Person Yelling Questions at Me from their Car while I am on My Bike Waiting for the Lights to Change, My face is redder than red because I’ve just left a very intense hour of boxing training where my beloved trainer took me at my word that I wished to work very hard.1 The jacket I’m wearing is not, in fact, making me hot. It is a fine example of modern engineering with multiple vents letting in all the cool air while still keeping Australia’s vicious sun off my delicate, pasty skin. Also, and this may shock you, Yelly Driver Person, when one cycles at speed it can get…
  • Getting Away

    19 Mar 2014 | 4:20 pm
    One of the things I need most as a writer is a routine. For me that’s not as much about what time of day I write, that varies, but about where I write. When I sit at my ergonomically gorgeous desk and writing set up I write because it is the place of writing. Unlike many other writers I don’t have a specific moment that signals writing will commence. I don’t drink coffee so that’s not how I start my day. Some days I write for a bit before breakfast. Some days not till after brekkie, going to the gym, and doing various chores. I do have a broad time for writing:…
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    I Have a Bed Made of Buttermilk Pancakes

  • Saying Hello to Latin America

    Jaclyn Moriarty
    9 Apr 2014 | 4:14 am
    The excellent publishers of the Latin American edition of 'A Corner of White' asked me to record myself saying hello to readers and telling them about the trilogy.  I tried 27 times.  Here are a few samples.Take 1Take 5Take 12Take 19Take 27
  • The Colours of Madeleine

    Jaclyn Moriarty
    10 Mar 2014 | 5:06 am
    Oh, look, I'm just always here blogging.  It's too much, you know.  It's like I can't stop talking. Ha ha.  I haven't been here since 2011. I  can't believe it.  I knew it had been a while, but I honestly didn't know it had been that long.  Time!  It's crazy these days.  I'm very sorry.  I think part of the problem is that months go by and then how can anything be significant enough to justify breaking the silence?  It's like when you run into a friend you haven't seen for years, and there is too much to say, which translates into having…
  • The Blue Plastic Chair Leg

    Jaclyn Moriarty
    25 May 2011 | 11:07 pm
    What if you decided to set up a little stall on a street corner. And you found strange things around your house, many of them broken— or actually, you made strange things out of the broken items around your house. Craft out of egg cartons and glued-on glitter, maybe. And let’s say you placed all these objects in your stall. And then people came by and said, ‘oh, that’s nice,’ about your strange broken pieces, and you were silent. Now and then you said, ‘Thank you,’ or, ‘Thank you so much. You are kind.’ Then, a while later you brought out another strange little piece and put…
  • Speaking

    Jaclyn Moriarty
    16 Aug 2010 | 4:05 am
    On September 10, there will be a one-day ‘Teen Writers’ Masterclass’, for 12 to 17-year-olds, at the National Maritime Museum, Darling Harbour. It will be run by Anthony Eaton, Susanne Gervay, publisher Linsey Knight, and me. The details are here. Also, I am speaking at the Abbotsleigh Literary Festival tomorrow, at MLC next week, and at the Melbourne Writers’ Festival on 31 August. Thank you.
  • Sponge Cake

    Jaclyn Moriarty
    16 Aug 2010 | 3:54 am
    My friend came to visit and she said, I’ll make a sponge cake, and she did. Her children played with Charlie, a game with the giant plastic candy cane from last Christmas. They were sliding it down the bannister. Also, they all painted pictures, and we pegged the paintings to the security door at the back of the house to dry in the wind. They left behind a quarter of the sponge cake, and all of the children’s paintings, and one of these paintings — a rainbow of colours by my friend’s three-year-old - was so good, the colours blending so beautifully, subtle yet bright, gently…
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  • Afterworlds Special ARC Cover

    15 Apr 2014 | 9:43 pm
    As you know, I’ve already revealed the cover of Afterworlds, three posts ago. But I also wanted to show you the cover of the special advanced readers’ copies (ARCs) sent to bookstore owners and the like, because it’s seriously my favorite promotional object of my entire career: Now, I know that looks like the back cover, but it’s the FRONT, because the blurbs were so funny that Sales was like, “Put them on the front!” (And yes, they are real blurbs. Thanks to John, Maureen, and Shannon!) Alas, only 200 copies of this were printed, and they are hard to…
  • Future of Storytelling

    11 Apr 2014 | 5:42 pm
    Here’s a longer video from The Creator’s Project (a Vice and Intel collaboration), about the Future of Storytelling work that the USC School of Cinematic Arts World Building Media Lab has been doing with my Leviathan series. What interests me about this project is that it’s a form of extreme rpg/fan fiction. They’re taking the raw materials of the world of Leviathan and building it into a digital environment that’s both interactive and useful for telling extended stories, often with different characters, altered timelines, and crazy new beasties. For me, it fires…
  • Ask About Afterworlds

    4 Apr 2014 | 10:41 pm
    For the next week, I’ll answer any non-spoilery questions about my next novel left comment thread of this post. UPDATE: THE ANSWERS ARE BELOW Let me answer a few obvious questions, just to get them out of the way: Afterworlds comes out September 23, 2014. It will be published by S&S in the US and UK, Penguin in Australia, Pocket Jeunesse in France, and Eksmo in Russia. More countries/languages to come! I will be going on tour (no firm schedule till late summer). No movie or TV deals on Afterworlds yet. Over to you guys now. Ask away! (Note: Questions about other books will be…
  • Afterworlds Cover Revealed!

    28 Mar 2014 | 1:56 am
    Tomorrow (Friday) at about 2PM EST in the US, the cover of Afterworlds will be revealed on Entertainment Weekly’s web site! UPDATE: IT HAS HAPPENED HERE IS THE LINK HERE IS THE COVER: HOPE YOU LIKE IT. THE BOOKS COMES OUT SEP 23. ________ I’ve already seen the cover, of course, and it’s quite awesome! The best thing is, it gets better once you’ve read the book. Like, there are meanings in this cover, which are subtle and cool. The cover will appear on this blog shortly thereafter. Actually, it might be a couple of hours, because it’ll be super early here in New…
  • Uglies on Humble Bundle

    19 Mar 2014 | 10:45 pm
    A couple of days ago, a new Humble Bundle featuring my book Uglies launched! Excitement! But what, you may ask, is a Humble Bundle? It’s a set of e-books (or video games) that are sold together to raise money for charity and for the creators of the books. Here’s why it’s cool: 1) It’s super cheap. In fact, you pay whatever price you want. The only limit is, if you pay less than the average of all previous purchases, you only get four of the books. But if you pay the current average or more, you get the two “locked” books as well (one of which is Uglies).
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    deborah wiles: field notes

  • debbie's big adventure (the snowy days)

    Debbie Wiles
    5 Apr 2014 | 10:09 am
    I flew into JFK in February knowing it was cold. I took public transportation from the airport to Great Neck, which took three train changes and about three hours. I saw Brenda Bowen on the train platform in Jamaica and we were both so frozen it took minutes (and boarding the next train) before it registered that that was really her. We wrote to each other later, "I thought I recognized that
  • it was a long winter

    Debbie Wiles
    5 Apr 2014 | 6:42 am
    It wasn't the amount of snow. It was the cold. It was how long it was cold, in Hotlanta. It was so cold this past winter. I just wanted to make soup and popcorn and burrow under old quilts and watch old movies; and look out the kitchen window to see the winter birds forage on all the old seed pods in the garden; take selfies of ourselves now, and compare them to old pictures of us on my dresser
  • my scholastic family, ala midwinter, revolution

    Debbie Wiles
    4 Apr 2014 | 6:15 pm
    And so it begins again, a new book to shepherd into the world. Here are some catch-up shots from ALA Midwinter in January, in Philadelphia, PA. Here are some of the inside pages of REVOLUTION that my editor David L. and I were working with up to the last second, trying to get just-right, sitting at rehearsal the morning of the Scholastic brunch. We'd done this at NCTE, too, the previous November,
  • this and that to begin a new year: experimenting

    Debbie Wiles
    4 Apr 2014 | 3:25 pm
    I'm sifting through an experiment. I got my first smart-phone in late November, and I put down my Nikon D-40 for four months. I've just learned (maybe this is a new blogger thing) that I can work on my laptop and access my phone photos here... very good! Google has done some silly stuff with animated gifs and an end-of-year doo-dad that's sweet, silly, and confusing, as I don't know a couple of
  • to be of use

    Debbie Wiles
    31 Dec 2013 | 10:02 am
    I've been sailing toward the end of the year, riding on the page proofs of the good ship Revolution. We went to Charleston the day after Christmas, as usual. I put most photos of the holidays and the trip to Charleston on Instagram, as I'm experimenting with that platform, so I'll direct you there for photos today. I want to leave you with a poem by Marge Piercy called "To be of use" -- To be
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  • Easter lilies

    19 Apr 2014 | 9:50 pm
    I know. They aren’t Easter lilies. I imagine there is no such thing. It’s a literal translation of the Swedish påsklilja. And there you might also find they flower round Easter. In England they are usually long gone by then. Besides, my green fingers have never really stretched to daffodils. I plant them, and one or two feeble ones turn up one year, never to be seen again.  
  • The Red Tree

    18 Apr 2014 | 9:35 pm
    It has a rather Finnish, Tove Jansson kind of feel to it. The Red Tree by Shaun Tan is a book I’d not read before, and I was struck by how Finnish it seemed. Not surprising, but still. I can’t make my mind up whether it is sad or not. It deals with feeling sad. Days that start bad and get worse. Shaun’s pictures show pretty vividly how bad you can feel; lonely and dark, and unsure of who you are, even. Reading this book and discovering you are not alone in feeling alone, ought to be a good thing. Finding you can share your thoughts and feelings with someone who has been…
  • Now, before and much earlier

    17 Apr 2014 | 4:05 pm
    At the same time as I read Tanya Landman’s Buffalo Soldier, which briefly featured the men who built the railways across America, I was facebook stalking Son and Dodo on their travels across America on possibly the very same rails. Or maybe newer versions of what was being built 150 years ago. It felt like one of those odd coincidences. Besides, modern people don’t usually cross that vast continent down at ground level, taking days travelling at speeds of 40 mph. After Reading Buffalo Soldier, the one unread book which I suddenly felt I must read was Laurie Halse…
  • Perfect for…?

    16 Apr 2014 | 9:54 pm
    If you want to add to the description of a book, you could say it’s a bit like ‘XX.’ But only if it is a bit like XX. Sometimes when I’ve written along those lines, I lie awake at night, wondering if anyone else will see it the same way, or if I have been misleading. Or you could say it would suit someone who also likes XX or YY, whether they are genres or authors or single book titles. Because it helps in the describing, and it might genuinely assist fans of whatever it is, to try this particular book or author. But again, it needs to have some semblance of truth…
  • An Austen-free upbringing

    15 Apr 2014 | 9:55 pm
    After wondering why I didn’t read the books by Jane Austen or the Brontës in my early teens, I suddenly realised why, and who I could blame for this regrettable shortcoming. (Always important, because it certainly wasn’t my fault.) My Swedish teacher when I was 15, is who. The last year of secondary school we had free reading once a week. I am – with my mature adult hindsight – guessing it was a way to get the non-readers to read. Anything. At. All. We were allowed to read whatever we wanted, and could bring our own books or use the school library. I generally sat…
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    Confessions of a Bibliovore

  • Reading Roundup: March 2014

    1 Apr 2014 | 12:16 pm
    By the NumbersTeen: 10Tween: 2Children: 1SourcesReview Copies: 5Purchased: 1Library: 6StandoutsTeen: Stupid Fast by Geoff HerbachSometimes Felton was astonishingly wise and perceptive, sometimes he had the emotional intelligence of a mummified hamster. A very realistic fifteen-year-old, in other words.Tween: Into the Unknown: How Great Explorers Found Their Way by Land, Sea, and Air by Stewart Ross, illustrated by Stephen BiestyAlthough parts were problematic (they entirely left out the treatment of native peoples during the Age of Exploration, for instance), it was really interesting to see…
  • Book Review: The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski

    8 Mar 2014 | 8:23 pm
    Book: The Winner's CurseAuthor: Marie RutkoskiPublished: March 4. 2014Source: ARC from a friendIn the Herrani city conquered and occupied by the forces of the Valorian empire, everything and everybody has their place. Kestrel knows what's expected of her, as General Trajan's daughter. She will either join the military or she will marry. Either way, she will take a predetermined place in the adult world by her twentieth birthday.Unfortunately, at seventeen she's miserably unsuited for either. In spite of her clever strategic mind, she's only okay at actual combat with actual weapons after…
  • Reading Roundup: February 2014

    1 Mar 2014 | 8:51 pm
    By the NumbersTeen: 9Tween: 2Children: 4SourcesReview Copies: 6Library: 9StandoutsTeen: The Winner's Curse by Marie RutkoskiTwo lovers playing emotional chess with each other and themselves, in the midst of the kind of political upheaval that lays waste to empires. The only thing I hated about this book was the cover, and in my review I will tell you why.Tween: Renegade Magic by Stephanie BurgisA deeply fun romp about a girl who's arguably smarter than most of the adults around her, and of course frustrated beyond the telling of it.Children: Lord and Lady Bunny - Almost Royalty! by Polly…
  • Reading Roundup: January 2014

    2 Feb 2014 | 1:13 pm
    Sorry to be a day late on this, guys. When I realized it was the first day of the month, I was already half-asleep. It was a light reading month anyhow.By the NumbersTeen: 12Tween: 3 Children: 2SourcesReview Copies: 6Purchased: 2 Library: 6StandoutsTeen: The Drowned Cities by Paolo BacigalupiWrenching, harrowing, violent, and for me, totally unputdownable. Even though it was a terrible world, I kept wanting to crawl back into it and find out whether Mahlia and the others were going to save their lives or their souls.Tween: Starry River of the Sky by Grace LinI have to say, while I deeply…
  • 2014 Youth Media Awards

    27 Jan 2014 | 7:23 am
    John Newbery Medalfor the most outstanding contribution to children's literatureFlora and Ulysses: the Illuminated Adventures by Kate DiCamillo, illustrated by K.G. Campbell(H) Doll Bones by Holly Black(H) The Year of Billy Miller by Kevin Henkes(H) One Came Home by Amy Timberlake(H) Paperboy by Vince VawterRandolph Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished American picture book for childrenLocomotive by Brian Floca(H) Journey by Aaron Becker(H) Flora and the Flamingo by Molly Scharr Idle(H) Mr Wuffles by David WiesnerMichael L. Printz Award for excellence in literature written for young…
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    ReadPlus Review Blog

  • How I Love You by Anna Pignataro

    15 Apr 2014 | 9:40 am
    Scholastic, 2014. ISBN: 9781742838182. Highly recommended for all readers aged 0-60+. In this gentle, beautifully illustrated Australian tale, each baby animal in the bush spends time with its mother, demonstrating how it loves her. With carefully worded, sparse text, and perfectly paired images, each double page focuses on a different mother and baby. Clean white backgrounds add to the uncluttered nature of the book and hence the illustrations cannot help but draw the reader's attention to every detail. Direct speech is employed as each animal makes its declaration of love to its mother and…
  • Half Bad by Sally Green

    15 Apr 2014 | 9:38 am
    Penguin, 2104. ISBN: 9780141350868. Themes: Good vs Evil; Witchcraft/Magic; Coming-of Age. The author uses the Shakespearean quote from Hamlet, 'There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so', as an opening epigraph. This book is about witches - White or Black. The epigraph perhaps introduces the idea that witches may be either good or bad depending on how you view them. Perhaps setting aside the idea a 'rotten apple' is rotten even if there are portions of it that look good, this book focuses on the Witch world that lives alongside our own 'fain' world. The central character,…
  • Ubby's Underdogs: Heroes Beginnings by Brenton McKenna

    15 Apr 2014 | 9:36 am
    Magabala, 2013. ISBN: 9781922142139. The second title in the Ubbys Underdogs Trilogy, this book continues the story of Ubby, a tough aboriginal girl and her gang as they try to find the Chinese girl Sai Fong. Containing an assortment of over twenty characters, some of whom are animals with an assortment of unlikely talents or abilities, this is a rollicking tale of adventure, twists and turns as good strives to win over evil. Because many of the characters originate from a diverse variety of countries and backgrounds, the author seems to draw on legends and tales of each location as well. The…
  • Kokoda by Alan Tucker

    12 Apr 2014 | 9:47 am
    My Australian story. Scholastic, 2014. ISBN 9781743622056. Recommended for 12 years and above. The 39th Battalion which faced the Japanese on New Guinea's Kokoda Track in 1942 were militia, meaning that they were civilian reservists, rather than regular army. Poorly trained, ill equipped and under resourced, they were disparagingly referred to as 'Chocolate soldiers' (due to the colour of their uniforms) and were considered to be second rate. The amazing courage and endurance displayed by these soldiers who not only survived intolerable conditions but effectively resisted the previously…
  • First reader series by Kerry Argent

    12 Apr 2014 | 9:43 am
    Omnibus Books, 2014. One woolly wombat. ISBN 9781742990477. Hide and seek. ISBN: 9781742990491 Best of friends. ISBN 9781742990484. At the beach. ISBN 9781742990507. (Age: 4-7) Highly recommended. Early reader. Australian animals. Counting. A lovely set of four early readers showcases Wombat of One woolly wombat fame and is ideal for young children just beginning to read. What makes the series so outstanding is the quality of the illustrations which make the stories come alive. Full of humour, the entertaining stories will be a delight for any child learning to read. There is a short line of…
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    I'm Here. I'm Queer. What the Hell do I read?

  • Goblinheart - A Fairy Tale Picture Book About Not Fitting In (And Also A Very Supportive Transgender Allegory)

    Lee Wind, M.Ed.
    18 Apr 2014 | 3:05 am
    Goblinheart by Brett Axel, illustrated by Terra BidlespacherThis book is the story of Julep, who has wings like the fairies do rather than claws, but who feels like a goblin on the inside and through some effort gains acceptance from the tribe as a goblin. Tellingly, the book contains no gender pronouns. As the author writes, "Its intention is to support gender equality in children." I really liked this picture book, and wish it had been read to me when I was a little kid.Add your review of "Goblinheart" in comments!
  • My Article In Writer's Digest "Writing For Kids & Teens" May/June 2014 Magazine!

    Lee Wind, M.Ed.
    16 Apr 2014 | 3:03 am
    I'm delighted that my article, "Your Web Presence: 3 Keys to Connecting with Young Readers Online" is out and available now!Here's the cover of the issue: "Writer's Digest Writing For Kids & Teens" May/June 2014The first two pages of my article! (which is on pages 32-35) It's a four page article, offering navigational advice for steering an online path to reach your readers. It's packed with tips and examples of authors who are doing amazing things in their online spaces that we can learn from, including: Cynthia Leitich Smith, Kiera Cass, Jeff Kinney, Ellen Hopkins, Mitali Perkins,…
  • Ursula (The Disney Villain From "The Little Mermaid") Re-Sized... and Re-Cast as a Hero?

    Lee Wind, M.Ed.
    14 Apr 2014 | 3:00 am
    I thought this performance by Melissa May, "Dear Ursula," was brilliant. (Note that it includes some profanity.)Here's Ursula's before and after:I want to be an ally to the fat community, and helping spread the word about this - and the injustice of it - is one way to do that. Let your voice be heard, too.Find out more about Melissa May at her website here.Namaste,Lee
  • I'm moderating the "Drawing The Imagination" Picture Book Panel at the 2014 LA Times Festival of Books on Saturday, April 12!

    Lee Wind, M.Ed.
    11 Apr 2014 | 3:05 am
    I'm really honored to once again be moderating a panel at the LA Times Festival of Books!It's called "Drawing the Imagination" and my panelists are rock star author/illustrators:Jon J. Muthwhose new picture book is "Hi, Koo! A Year of Seasons"Salina Yoon (who is sure to have a fun angle on the discussion)whose new picture book is "Found"Gianna Marino, whose new picture book is "Following Papa's Song"andJoe Cepeda,whose newest picture book is "Two Bunny Buddies" (written by Kathryn O. Galbraith)Of course, I'll be asking Jon, Salina, Gianna and Joe all kinds of questions,…
  • The Trans-fer Student - A Transgender Girl At An All Girls School, and The Witch Hunt To Find Her Out

    Lee Wind, M.Ed.
    10 Apr 2014 | 3:04 am
    The Trans-fer Student by Elise HimesRachael, a young transgender girl, gets the chance to attend a privileged girls' school. Her dream becomes a nightmare when rumor spreads that one of the new students happens to be trans. Events begin to mirror the play the school will perform, Arthur Miller's The Crucible, as students do their own modern day "witch" hunt. This book was published by the author, who themselves is transgender. Add your review of "The Trans-fer Student" in comments!
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    Literacy, families and learning

  • 22 Great Non-fiction Books for Boys (& Girls)

    Trevor Cairney
    14 Apr 2014 | 6:20 pm
    This isn't my first post about the importance of non-fiction books (see some more links at the end of the post) for boys as readers. Some young readers find non-fiction more engaging than fiction. So finding good non-fiction is worth the effort if you want some boys to read. In an earlier post I talk about this at length (HERE). This post is simply a quick review of some good books published in the last year or so, it isn't meant to be comprehensive. I have arranged the examples I offer of varied types of non-fiction roughly in order of difficulty and age interest. It goes without saying that…
  • How Can a Child Learn to Write in 30 Minutes?

    Trevor Cairney
    6 Apr 2014 | 3:11 pm
    The title of this post might seem outrageous, and was certainly designed to get your attention, but I want to suggest that in one sense it's true! Let me explain. While the groundwork for the creation of young writers takes years, the point of take-off can occur in as a little as 30 minutes. This post is an illustration of how this can occur. In fact, in this single post you will see how one five year-old goes from a non-reader with some early knowledge of sounds to a reader and writer in one week.The example is drawn from recent observations of one of my grandchildren, but I have seen it…
  • LEGO Education StoryStarter: Creative New Language & Literacy Tool

    Trevor Cairney
    27 Mar 2014 | 4:35 pm
    Readers of this blog will know that I've written often about the benefits of play (HERE) and the role that story has in learning and life (HERE).Play stimulates creativity and learning, language use, integration of many forms of learning, development of interpersonal skills, problem solving, collaboration with others, interest, engagement and challenge.So I was more than a little bit interested when I heard that LEGO had developed a new product designed to use their materials as a tool for language and literacy. The new product is called StoryStarter (see materials below) and uses LEGO play…
  • 10 New Picture Books that Will Challenge, Amuse and Teach

    Trevor Cairney
    20 Mar 2014 | 4:33 am
    1. 'Rivertime' written illustrated by Trace Balla (Allen & Unwin) I love this book! Of course I approach it as a lover of birds and wildlife, a person who always has an eye towards the sky. I also love clever well-written, designed and illustrated picture books. This book ticks lots of boxes for me. And it will for readers of varied ages.It is a lovely story of a boy and his bird-watching uncle who head off on a paddling trip on Australia's Glenelg River. Like many 10 years old boys Clancy doesn't see much appeal in camping and leaving behind technology. And then of course there will be…
  • 'The Adventures of Pinocchio': Ingpen illustrates Collodi's original text

    Trevor Cairney
    12 Mar 2014 | 9:01 pm
    Robert Ingpen Robert Ingpen is one of Australia’s most successful illustrators and has written and/or illustrated more than 100 books. He was born in 1936 and did most of his growing up as a boy in Geelong. From an early age he was obsessed by stories and says that at times he had trouble distinguishing fantasy from reality. Now as a man in his 70s he sets a pace that few could match. He is arguably Australia's greatest children's book illustrator and is one of the best illustrators of our time anywhere in the world. You can read more about the illustrator and his work in my previous…
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    The Book Chook

  • Children’s iPad App, Write About This

    17 Apr 2014 | 12:00 pm
    Children’s iPad App Review by Susan Stephenson, Write About This intrigued me as soon as I read about it. I love to find and share any tools that encourage children to write, so I was excited to discover Write About This not only prompted kids to write, but also to create their own prompts. Double delight! From the developer: Write About This is a visual writing prompt and creation platform perfect for classrooms and families! With endless ways to respond and the ability to craft custom photo prompts, it will kick-start any writing activity. 125 categorized images and…
  • Children's Book Review, Little Red Riding Hood

    15 Apr 2014 | 12:00 pm
    Children's Book Review by Susan Stephenson, www.thebookchook.comEvery family needs a picture book version of the Little Red Riding Hood tale. This version, Little Red Riding Hood, re-written by Katie Cotton and illustrated by Alison Jay, has lovely simple language and illustrations. It was published in Australia by Koala Books (2013) and the RRP is $14.99. In the UK, the publisher is Templar. Even though the Wolf is suitably menacing, this isn't a violent story. The woodcutter uses rope and the wolf is not cut open, but carted off in a barred wagon to a special school for naughty fairy tale…
  • Story Bags as Prompts for Storytelling and Writing

    13 Apr 2014 | 12:00 pm
    Story Bags as Prompts for Storytelling and Writingby Susan Stephenson, Story bags are wonderful zero-tech tools that work well for both children’s story writing and their story telling. I like to use them with children who find it hard to start from the abstract. A story bag contains things that are real and physical - often holding an object, or arranging several on a surface seems to unleash creativity. At home, story bags make fun games that allow kids to practise vocabulary, practise sequencing a story, and gain confidence with speaking skills. Changing the objects…
  • Children’s Books for ANZAC Day 2014

    10 Apr 2014 | 12:00 pm
    Children’s Books for ANZAC Day 2014by Susan Stephenson, www.thebookchook.comOriginally, ANZAC Day in Australia was to remember the ANZACs - soldiers who fought in Gallipolli during World War 1. Generally though, ANZAC Day is a national holiday set aside on April 25 for us to remember all Australians and New Zealanders who have lost their lives in wars and conflicts. Because many parents, teachers and librarians do their best to help children understand the spirit of ANZAC Day, I want to introduce some books you might appreciate.Midnight Midnight is a children’s picture book by Mark…
  • Children’s Book Review, The Swap

    8 Apr 2014 | 12:00 pm
    Children's Book Review by Susan Stephenson, www.thebookchook.comThe Swap is a children’s picture book written by Jan Ormerod, illustrated by Andrew Joyner and published by Little Hare, an imprint of Hardie Grant Egmont (Australia 2013). I’ve previously reviewed Ormerod’s delightful 101 Things to Do with Baby and When an Elephant Comes to School. When a baby is born, little brothers and sisters are not always enthusiastic about the new arrival. Such is the case with Caroline Crocodile. Her baby brother is smelly, dribbles, is no fun and takes up all the room in Mum’s lap. So she…
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    Reading Rumpus

  • Serendipity Saturday: All the best "stuff" I find interesting all over the place, published on Saturdays, mostly about books and education, but with some nerdy stuff too.......

    Cheryl Vanatti
    19 Apr 2014 | 7:05 am
    Some education resources I have stumbled upon:Getty Virtual Library - great for art teachers, but you might find some general knowledge text mixed in for interdisciplinary useWellcome Images - free use images (both via Bookshelves of Doom)ReadWorks - every reading teacher/ language arts teacher knows about this place, right? So good it is worth repeating; over & overGreat 3 part Edutopia sessions on Close ReadsFor parents (and teachers): Guides to the big social media sites from ConnectSafelyDid you know that Google has a great archive of old newspapers?For my ELA pals.... Storyboard…
  • The Ascendance Trilogy by Jennifer Nielson concludes with The Shadow Throne

    Cheryl Vanatti
    17 Apr 2014 | 5:56 pm
    The final installment of the The Ascendance Trilogy comes to a thrilling conclusion every bit as suspenseful and enthralling as the first. King Jaron begins as an orphan boy in The False Prince and matures to the great king he was destined to be in the final installment, The Shadow Throne. Although this trilogy reads like a fantasy, it is really a mixture of suspense and adventure. Nielsen is skilled at plot twists and character development providing readers with motivation to continue and investment in beloved characters. I have written about the first two books here as I'm quite the…
  • A bunch of books that I want. Just sayin'

    Cheryl Vanatti
    17 Apr 2014 | 5:12 pm
    Sparky by Jenny Offill with illustrations by Chris AppelhansPublishers synopsis: "Sparky stars a pet who has more to offer than meets the eye. When our narrator orders a sloth through the mail, the creature that arrives isn't good at tricks or hide-and-seek . . . or much of anything. Still, there's something about Sparky that is irresistible."My thoughts:  Love the 'retro' look of the illustrations, think it sounds funny :-)Available March 11, 2014 / 40 pages /Picture Book / ISBN: 978-0-375-87023-1A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd (debut author alert!)Publisher's…
  • Iconic Giver adaptation makes me uneasy...

    Cheryl Vanatti
    21 Mar 2014 | 5:43 am
    I just don't know. When you take something so iconic, there are always bound to be difficulties. Fingers crossed. © 2007-2014 Cheryl Vanatti for
  • PEANUTS: New movie next year! Squee!

    Cheryl Vanatti
    18 Mar 2014 | 4:44 pm
    I cannot begin to express my excitement: Even better, I read that Schulz's son kept it grounded in the sweet innocence that helped to make it so deeply contemplative. -------------------- That's all folks! -------------------- © 2007-2014 Cheryl Vanatti for
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    Gail Carson Levine

  • On-again, off-again character traits

    16 Apr 2014 | 5:03 am
    In the last post, we looked at part of Alyssa’s question. Here’s more: I gave my MC the ability to know if people are lying just by looking into their eyes, and if they are lying, then she can learn the truth. Also, she can understand the cries of infants. I realized that the eye-reading ability I gave her isn't in use much. I might use it three times in one page, then not mention it again for about 20+ pages. The infant-cry-ability isn't used at all.I've also been thinking about expanding this eye ability. She goes through a lot of complicated stuff, so she ends up hating a lot of…
  • Character flip-flop

    2 Apr 2014 | 7:05 am
    First off, I hope to see some of you at the book festival in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, this weekend. Check the website for details.This is part of an appeal for help that came into the website late in January from Alyssa: I might say something about a character, and then say something completely opposite that on the next page. For example, I might say that someone does charity work all the time, and that she is an awesome person to be around, but then later say that she would never do a thing for anybody else and nobody likes her. I can just revise that away, right? Or is that one of those…
  • Vexing complexity

    19 Mar 2014 | 5:22 am
    First off, I want to tell you that I’ll be talking and signing at the book festival in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, from April 4th through April 6th. Details are posted here on my website: However, the schedule when you click on it needs to be updated, because I’ll be leaving by about 2:30 on Sunday. Anyway, I’d love to meet some of you there. Please come if you can!On January 16, 2014, Melissa wrote, Does anyone have ideas on how to keep things from getting over-complicated? I feel like I get so far into my story that I get stuck and can never…
  • Expressions in your world

    5 Mar 2014 | 5:01 am
    On January 14, 2014, J. Garf wrote, What's a good way to come up with figures of speech? There are things we all say every day, and I feel like a few of these add color to a story, but some expressions just don't make sense. For example, you can't exactly say "what on earth is that?" if your story doesn't take place on earth. Another good one that doesn't work is "holy cow!" I use this one all the time in daily speech but can't in my book because it originated because of Hindus’ beliefs that cows are sacred, and since my book is fantasy this religion doesn't exist on my fantasy world. There…
  • Plot dilemmas and a villain

    19 Feb 2014 | 5:37 am
    On December 13, 2013, this came into the website from Alyssa: I reached a point in my book where I needed an explanation for something, but I couldn't think of one, so I just put something down so I could keep going. I don't really like the explanation, but it was the best thing I could come up with. Do you have any advice for moments like that?Also, I feel like there are large parts of my book where I am just making things up as I go along. Is this normal for you, or do you have a general idea of how your story is going to end when you finish your book?My third question was, when you create…
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  • Children’s Book Illustrations: Creating Characters

    4 Apr 2014 | 4:48 pm
    Children’s Book Illustrations: Creating Characters   Here are two new children’s book illustrations featuring a blue warthog and various other characters in part or whole for a book. I used a softer brush for this style than I usually do. I like the effect. This post will discuss what goes into creating characters for children’s books.     When creating characters designed to appeal to young kids (as well as parents and publishers), there are many things to keep in mind. You must be able to show your characters from panel to panel in different poses, different…
  • Creative Routines

    31 Mar 2014 | 10:08 am
    This fascinating poster is from the book Daily Rituals by Mason Currey, outlining the daily routines of famous creative people. We could all do to learn something from them. Ben Franklin would “Rise (early, of course), Wash, and address Powerful Goodness!”  Victor Hugo took public ice baths on the roof. Maya Angelou works “always in hotel or motel rooms. ” Some had some not-so-healthy habits—Honore de Balzac drank up to 50 cups of coffee per day, and Freud smoked 20 cigars per day (and they were just cigars). He also trimmed his beard every day. Maybe he…
  • Illustration Friday – “Sizzle”

    28 Mar 2014 | 8:29 pm
    Who you callin’ “Dragon Breath?” Dragon is both hot and cool as he gets ready for a big date! See this and all the submissions on Illustration Friday.   The post Illustration Friday – “Sizzle” appeared first on .
  • How important are connections?

    22 Dec 2013 | 11:26 pm
    “But it’s not what you know, it’s who you know!” I’ve heard people say you can’t get published unless you know the right people, or attend the right schools. Or they feel they were crowded out by others who got special treatment. These are excuses. Connections do count. So does name recognition. Celebrities sign children’s book deals with huge marketing budgets, despite not having devoted themselves to the craft. In all fields of writing, men are taken more seriously. Men almost always win the Caldecott despite being a small percentage of illustrators…
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    The Divergent Series

  • Allegiant Book review
    5 Apr 2014 | 6:09 pm
    Allegiant Book review Allegiant is the third book in the Divergent trilogy by author Veronica Roth. As with the other books, it was published by Harper Collins and completes the story line started in Divergent. It expands on the themes presented in the other two books and brings a compelling end that, while tragic on one hand, presents hope in the other. Expanding on the themes found in the first two books, the main character is now joined with a previously secondary character to form a perspective combined. This expansion to a perspective of two main character allows the reader to understand…
  • Insurgent Book Review
    5 Apr 2014 | 6:06 pm
    Insurgent Book Review The second book in the Divergent trilogy, Insurgent is a novel by author Veronica Roth. Published by Harper Collins, Insurgent expands on the society and themes first explored in Divergent. It follows the main character, first introduced in the first book, as she navigates a society consisting of five factions that wrestle for eventual control over the city of Chicago. The themes of betrayal, romance bravery and courage are still main components with the added thrill of rebellion and heroism thrown in to complete the mix. Secondary characters are adequately represented…
  • Divergent Book Review
    5 Apr 2014 | 6:02 pm
    Divergent Book Review The first in a series of novels for young adults, by author Veronica Roth. Noted on the New York Bestseller list, Divergent is a novel that further expands the look and feel of the dystopian genre in young adult fiction. Similar in feel to the book Hunger Games, by author Suzanne Collins, Divergent looks more towards the internal personality of its characters and the resulting struggles in dealing with their identity and future. The novels tell of a dystopian future, in which children, at the age of sixteen, are evaluated by testing and then placed in factions. The…
  • Divergent Movie Australia
    3 Apr 2014 | 5:02 pm
    The Divergent movie, based on the book by author Veronica Roth, is set to be released in Australia in cinemas on April 10 2014. PRE-ORDER THE DVD NOW on The post Divergent Movie Australia appeared first on The Divergent Series.
  • Veronica Roth Books – About the Author of the Divergent Series
    13 Mar 2014 | 4:17 pm
    Veronica Roth – The Early Years Even if you haven’t heard the name Veronica Roth before, you’ve most certainly heard of her best selling book, Divergent. While Veronica Roth is one of the most popular young adult authors in the United States, she is also one of the youngest. At age 21, just before graduating from Northwestern University, Roth had sold her first book. That title, Divergent, kicked off a trilogy which has been made into a feature film starring Shailene Woodley. Read on to learn more about Roth’s life, inspiration, and plans for future novels. Roth is the…
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