Children's Literature

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  • Week in Review, October 27th-31st

    The Horn Book
    Katie Bircher
    31 Oct 2014 | 1:43 pm
    This week on… Preview the November/December 2014 issue of The Horn Book Magazine John Green’s 2014 Sutherland lecture: “Does YA Mean Anything Anymore? Genre in a Digitized World” “Self service“: What self-publishers don’t know about children’s books (Nov./Dec. 2014 editorial) “Board Book Roundup: Fall 2014 Edition” Nonfiction Notes: Unexplained phenomena, memoir, domestic animals, big ideas, and cookery Reviews of the Week Picture Book: Fiction: Nonfiction: App: Millie’s Book of Tricks and Treats Vol. 2 Read Roger: “What’s…
  • What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Eva Eriksson

    Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast
    30 Oct 2014 | 11:01 pm
    “All storytelling has its backbone in realistic fiction. So many kids, even at a surprisingly young age, are eager to read scary stories. I tried to fill that gap. ‘Scary’ thrills them. It makes their hearts beat faster. … To me, the great sentence is: The door knob slowly, slowly turned. That delicious moment of anticipation, of danger climbing the stairs. I’ve tried to provide those chills, while still resolving each book in a safe way.” Over here at Kirkus yesterday, I talked to author James Preller, quoted above, about his Scary Tales series from Feiwel &…

    Finding Wonderland: The WritingYA Weblog
    29 Oct 2014 | 4:44 am
    Somehow, though I've been reading along faithfully, I never got around to reviewing the second in the Gail Carriger Finishing School series. Curtsies & Conspiracies was just as much hare-brained fun as my well-loved Etiquette & Espionage. May I have so eloquently named a series someday! Love the use of ampersands in a title, and I love the font. Though this entry into the series is a little uneven for me, for fans, it will be eagerly received and lapped up. Summary: Sophronia Temmick - still an entirely dreadful name - is now sixteen, and though further from the mutton-headed fourteen year…
  • Review: How We Fall

    A Chair, A Fireplace, & A Tea Cozy
    Liz B
    31 Oct 2014 | 1:00 am
    How We Fall by Kate Brauning. Merit Press. 2014. Reviewed from ARC.The Plot:  Jackie's feelings for Marcus are intense, but she tries to hide it. Oh, they flirt, and yes, there are stolen kisses. So why can't they just both admit that it's more than flirtation, why not go on a real date?Jackie's afraid, afraid of what people will think. Marcus is her cousin. And, to make matters more sensitive, or at least Jackie more sensitive to what people will think, their families share one home. They live under the same roof.Jackie has few people she can trust or turn to. Her older sister is at…
  • The “It” Book of 2014?

    educating alice
    31 Oct 2014 | 1:29 am
    So Goodreads decided to look at their own data to see what is 2014 so-called It book of the year, “It Book” being defined by them as: They’re the ones that we pass along, that we hope our friends have read so that we can discuss and debate. Love them or hate them, we can’t stop talking about them! Check out their results here (and then you may discuss amongst yourselves as to what it means in terms of the debate as to whether certain adult readers are going to hell in a handbasket or the opposite).
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    The Horn Book

  • Week in Review, October 27th-31st

    Katie Bircher
    31 Oct 2014 | 1:43 pm
    This week on… Preview the November/December 2014 issue of The Horn Book Magazine John Green’s 2014 Sutherland lecture: “Does YA Mean Anything Anymore? Genre in a Digitized World” “Self service“: What self-publishers don’t know about children’s books (Nov./Dec. 2014 editorial) “Board Book Roundup: Fall 2014 Edition” Nonfiction Notes: Unexplained phenomena, memoir, domestic animals, big ideas, and cookery Reviews of the Week Picture Book: Fiction: Nonfiction: App: Millie’s Book of Tricks and Treats Vol. 2 Read Roger: “What’s…
  • Halloween boooOOOoooks roundup

    Katie Bircher
    31 Oct 2014 | 12:19 pm
    Halloween is here — and so are Halloween books! Here are some recent recommended titles for you to share (perhaps through All Hallow’s Read?) with your little goblins. Horn BOO! 2014 Baby Horn BOO! 2014: Halloween-y board books Halloween-themed Notes from the Horn Book: 5Q for Julie Berry, eerie places, off-the-wall picture books, atmospheric audiobooks, and YA supernatural baddies Millie’s Book of Tricks and Treats Vol. 2 app Click on the tag Halloween books for previous years’ recommendations. The post Halloween boooOOOoooks roundup appeared first on The Horn Book.
  • Baby Horn BOO! 2014

    Katie Bircher
    31 Oct 2014 | 11:46 am
    In “Horn BOO!” we recommend our favorite new Halloween titles for big(ger) kids; here are some new festive board books for the littlest trick-or-treaters. For more Halloween board books, check out last year’s “Baby Horn BOO!” — and for more great board books to share all year round, see our our fall board book roundup. Author Anne Rockwell and illustrator Lizzy Rockwell’s seasonal classic Apples and Pumpkins (1989) follows a pigtailed, rosy-cheeked little girl and her parents on a visit to a local farm, where they pick apples from the orchard and a…
  • Editorial: Self Service

    Roger Sutton
    31 Oct 2014 | 8:33 am
    The Horn Book website was alight last month with a discussion of self-
publishing books for children. It began when I posted my thoughts on the subject in response to an email I received querying our policy of not reviewing books written and published by the same person. Like most good discussions, it was both heated and informative, and you can read the whole thing here. Self-publishing is certainly far from the days of the now-closed Vantage Press, leader of the pack of vanity presses who charged authors a fee to publish their books (aren’t the authors the ones supposed to be getting…
  • Horn Book Magazine – November/December 2014

    Horn Book
    31 Oct 2014 | 8:15 am
    Table of Contents Features “Does YA Mean Anything Anymore?: Genre in a Digitized World” by John Green The author’s 2014 Zena Sutherland Lecture. “Thom’s Rules of Order” by Thom Barthelmess Ten tips for good book discussion. “House Hunters: Storyland Edition” by Ron Koertge In which the Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe finds new digs. Columns Editorial “Self Service” by Roger Sutton What self-publishers don’t know about children’s books. The Writer’s Page “Beyond the Magically (Dis)abled” by Cammie McGovern…
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    Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast

  • What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Eva Eriksson

    30 Oct 2014 | 11:01 pm
    “All storytelling has its backbone in realistic fiction. So many kids, even at a surprisingly young age, are eager to read scary stories. I tried to fill that gap. ‘Scary’ thrills them. It makes their hearts beat faster. … To me, the great sentence is: The door knob slowly, slowly turned. That delicious moment of anticipation, of danger climbing the stairs. I’ve tried to provide those chills, while still resolving each book in a safe way.” Over here at Kirkus yesterday, I talked to author James Preller, quoted above, about his Scary Tales series from Feiwel &…
  • Preparing Your Supply of Light

    30 Oct 2014 | 9:11 am
    “Ripe mango / Fresh mango / Yellow mango / Mango in-between / Mango clusters / Balance yourself below the branch / Produce more mangos / That taste of honey and delight / For the lovers of the universe / All while preparing your supply of light”(a poem from Maríe-Andriele Charlot) This morning, the New York Times Best Illustrated Books list for 2014 was announced. It’s here. I get excited every Fall about this list. If you love picture books, it’s a kick to see these lists, because how often are picture books celebrated on a national scale? I was happy to wake up and…
  • When Terrifying Leaps of Faith Pay Off:An Art- and Sketch-Filled Q&A with Abby Hanlon

    28 Oct 2014 | 11:01 pm
    Last week at Kirkus, I wrote about two new chapter books for children, and today I’m going a bit more in depth with one of them, Abby Hanlon’s Dory Fantasmagory, released by Dial earlier this month. (I promise to have some art here at 7-Imp from the other chapter book this coming Friday.) I’m smitten with Dory Fantasmagory, but you can read why in that column, if you’re so inclined. Today, Abby—who was featured here at 7-Imp back in 2012 at the release of her debut picture book—visits to share some illustrations from the book, some early sketches, and to…
  • The Making of Viva Frida: Yuyi Morales’ Photo Essay

    26 Oct 2014 | 11:01 pm
      Yuyi Morales’ Viva Frida, released by Neal Porter/Roaring Brook in September, has been called “an ingenious tour de force” (Horn Book) and a “haunting beauty” (Publishers Weekly) and has been described as “resonant” (School Library Journal) and “luminescent” (Kirkus). The book is a visually rich tribute to artist Frida Khalo. As the starred Publishers Weekly review notes, in this book Frida is presented “less as a historical figure than as an icon who represents the life Morales holds sacred; Frida lives because she loves and…
  • 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #403: Featuring Virginia Lee Burton

    25 Oct 2014 | 11:01 pm
    Did you all know that this year is the 75th anniversary of the publication of Virginia Lee Burton’s Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel? Houghton Mifflin Harcourt has released an anniversary edition, and I have a wee bit of art today from it — in the name of celebration. So much has been written about this book, and many of you likely know it well. One thing I’d like to add on its birthday is this: If you have never read Barbara Elleman’s Virginia Lee Burton: A Life in Art—and if you enjoying reading about picture books and picture book creators—then I…
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    Finding Wonderland: The WritingYA Weblog


    29 Oct 2014 | 4:44 am
    Somehow, though I've been reading along faithfully, I never got around to reviewing the second in the Gail Carriger Finishing School series. Curtsies & Conspiracies was just as much hare-brained fun as my well-loved Etiquette & Espionage. May I have so eloquently named a series someday! Love the use of ampersands in a title, and I love the font. Though this entry into the series is a little uneven for me, for fans, it will be eagerly received and lapped up. Summary: Sophronia Temmick - still an entirely dreadful name - is now sixteen, and though further from the mutton-headed fourteen year…

    28 Oct 2014 | 4:09 am
    Wow, a book review!What with all the ranting going around here lately, I'd almost forgotten that I do that. But, partially to blame have been the number of books I've read recently that just haven't provoked a response. I checked out a pair from the library - a post-apocalyptic series, and on the front cover, of both, the girl had a great big swoopy cape and I just... couldn't. No. I mean, I read the first one, but... meh. Because I kept thinking: Really, character? Where did you GET that swoopy cape? Are you not scared and starving and living under the lash of a despotic scary military-type…
  • A KidLitCon 2014 Roundup

    Sarah Stevenson
    27 Oct 2014 | 11:54 am
    Between the two of us, Tanita and I have done several posts with our notes and impressions from this year's KidLitCon in Sacramento. I suspect for both of us, some of these were necessary in order to come down a bit from that special organizer's frenzy that seems to accompany the planning of such events. As you can see from the photographic evidence (photo courtesy of Tanita's husband D.), we lived to see another day, and the written evidence mounted over the past I wanted to round it all up in one place for the sake of convenience and simpler linking.First, though, I'd be remiss…
  • KidLitCon 2014: A Retrospective, Part II - Reflections on Floating Heads

    24 Oct 2014 | 1:00 pm
    The one and only Floating Head of Shannon Hale! It rocks! It talks! It silences its viewers! I didn't take as many notes as I should have, when author Shannon Hale "visited" KidLitCon on our second day. Mainly because I was on edge, hoping against hope that the Skype would stay hooked up (it didn't) and that laptop wouldn't blow up (oddly enough, it kind of did. Was it because I was thinking about that??), and that all would go well (somehow, in the end, it did). I regret that lack of note-taking and apologize for it. Even if you've never met her, reading her blog will reveal a Shannon Hale…
  • Thursday Review: COMPLICIT by Stephanie Kuehn

    Sarah Stevenson
    23 Oct 2014 | 3:52 pm
    This cover is really awesome.Summary: Protagonists whose past is hidden--even, sometimes, from themselves. It's something author Stephanie Kuehn does well, if you've read her first book, Charm & Strange. Complicit is another suspenseful read, in which protagonist Jamie Henry's life is turned upside down (again) when he finds out his sister Cate is getting out of juvie. Cate is...well, everyone knows she's a psycho, and everyone knows Jamie as the psycho's sister, so nothing good can come of this. After all, before she was put away, she set fire to a barn and almost killed someone. It's…
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    A Chair, A Fireplace, & A Tea Cozy

  • Review: How We Fall

    Liz B
    31 Oct 2014 | 1:00 am
    How We Fall by Kate Brauning. Merit Press. 2014. Reviewed from ARC.The Plot:  Jackie's feelings for Marcus are intense, but she tries to hide it. Oh, they flirt, and yes, there are stolen kisses. So why can't they just both admit that it's more than flirtation, why not go on a real date?Jackie's afraid, afraid of what people will think. Marcus is her cousin. And, to make matters more sensitive, or at least Jackie more sensitive to what people will think, their families share one home. They live under the same roof.Jackie has few people she can trust or turn to. Her older sister is at…
  • Review: Gracefully Grayson

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

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

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

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

  • The “It” Book of 2014?

    31 Oct 2014 | 1:29 am
    So Goodreads decided to look at their own data to see what is 2014 so-called It book of the year, “It Book” being defined by them as: They’re the ones that we pass along, that we hope our friends have read so that we can discuss and debate. Love them or hate them, we can’t stop talking about them! Check out their results here (and then you may discuss amongst yourselves as to what it means in terms of the debate as to whether certain adult readers are going to hell in a handbasket or the opposite).
  • Learning About Africa: Best Source for Ebola Info? Not What You May Think

    27 Oct 2014 | 2:08 am
    I have never agreed with the dismissal of Wikipedia as a source of information, even for students. This is because that while, yes, there are pages that are full of misinformation, others are excellent. The latter are carefully maintained by experts and highly knowledgeable people regarding the topic in question. I’d long ago read about scientists who were seeing to it that Wikipedia pages on their subjects of expertise were being properly maintained. I think that rather than teaching students NOT to use Wikipedia, we’d be better off teaching them to use it and other sources…
  • For All Benedict Cumberbatch Fans…

    26 Oct 2014 | 3:07 am
  • Holly Black and the Twelfth Doctor

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

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

  • Forsaken by Kelley Armstrong (an "Otherworld" novella)

    27 Oct 2014 | 10:56 pm
    I am a light reading fan of Kelley Armstrong's werewolf books, which started with Bitten (which spawned a tv series) (which I have not watched). In all honestly, I didn't love Bitten--the world building was pretty cool but there was some killing that seemed to be gratuitous and all the dramarama was a tad bit soap opera-ish at points to me. But I did read it and I didn't hate it and it certainly was not anything like Laurell K. Hamilton's succubus insanity so I've been open to reading Armstrong's other books in the series, especially the novellas released by Subterranean Press. Forsaken is…
  • "...and the local library matters." - Bill Moyers

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

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

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

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

  • On goodreads - my adventures & mysteries for young readers

    27 Oct 2014 | 7:31 am
    Find all my adventures & mysteries for young readers on goodreads -
  • An excellent alternative to the dark side of Halloween

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

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

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

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

  • Cybils Nomination Suggestions!

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

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

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

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

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

  • DOESN'T FALL OFF HIS HORSE by Virginia A. Stroud

    29 Oct 2014 | 10:20 am
    One of the things I love to see in a picture book about Indigenous peoples is a visual that puts the story and its teller in the present day. Virginia A. Stroud's Doesn't Fall Off His Horse does that beautifully.The first page from Stroud's book is to the right. See the little girl? See the wallpaper on the walls? See the glass windows in the house?To a good many of you it might sound ridiculous to point out those things, but there are so many people who think Native peoples are long gone, or if we're still here, that we live exactly like we did several hundred years ago. Some even think that…
  • What is wrong with Buzzfeed's WHAT IS YOUR SPIRIT ANIMAL and Neal Shusterman's UNWIND dystology

    27 Oct 2014 | 6:23 am
    Sheesh. The activities that let people figure out what their Indian name is, or what their spirit animal is, are so freaking bogus!So many assumptions and ignorance go into their making. Let's look at WHAT IS YOUR SPIRIT ANIMAL, created by Brieanna Watts Elmore (if that is a real name/person) at Buzzfeed.It assumes, for starters, that we are monolithic, that no matter where our homeland might be, we think the same way about salmon. And buffalo. And wolves. Fact? We don't. We're over 500 distinct nations, located across the US.We don't speak the same language. Our traditional clothing differs.

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

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

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

    31 Oct 2014 | 7:19 pm
    Jules Maroni has always worked in the circus. Jules, like her father, is a high-wire walker; her mother and her cousin Sam do dazzling work with the horses, and her grandmother used to fly on the trapeze. When her family joins the Cirque American, an old rivalry flares up between the Maronis and the Flying Garcias. Though she rarely falls off of the wire, Jules find herself falling for Remy, a Garcia boy - and she finds herself the target of threats and bad omens. While she and Remy try to figure out who is behind these unwelcome acts, they also have to hide their relationship from their…
  • Best Books of October 2014

    31 Oct 2014 | 6:55 pm
    October 2014: 9 books and scripts readRecommended for TeensHit by Lorie Ann GroverGirl on a Wire by Gwenda BondRecommended for KidsSisters by Raina TelgemeierWishing all of my readers a safe and happy Halloween!
  • Poetry Friday: Alexander Throckmorton

    31 Oct 2014 | 6:00 am
    In youth my wings were strong and tireless,But I did not know the mountains.In age I knew the mountainsBut my weary wings could not follow my vision-Genius is wisdom and youth.- Alexander Throckmorton in Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee MastersView all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.Learn more about Poetry Friday.
  • Author Spotlight: Austin Kleon

    29 Oct 2014 | 12:00 am
    If you are an artist of any kind - a writer, a poet, a singer, a painter, a filmmaker, anything creative - and Austin Kleon is not already on your radar, please tune in:In his book Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative, Kleon encourages people to be confident when approaching their projects, even when that voice in the back of your head is telling you, "But someone's already done something like this. Someone's already written a story about this, or make a similar sculpture, or created a collage like this..." Because guess what? Even if that is…
  • GraphicAudio Releases Their First Graphic Novel Adaptation - Cemetery Girl, Book One

    27 Oct 2014 | 6:41 pm
    If you cannot see the media player embedded above, click here to listen to the sample track at SoundCloud.GraphicAudio has released their first graphic novel adaptation - and it's CEMETERY GIRL Book One: The Pretenders by Charlaine Harris and Christopher Golden. Double cool! I loved the original book, and the audio sample released by the publisher (see above) immediately sets the stage for the story's location and feel. Kudos to Emlyn McFarland, who plays the main character, Calexa, and to the sound designers and producers.Read my review of the original graphic novel.
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    Jen Robinson's Book Page

  • Circle, Square, Moose: Kelly Bingham & Paul O. Zelinsky

    Jen Robinson
    31 Oct 2014 | 9:37 am
    Book: Circle, Square, Moose Author: Kelly Bingham Illustrator: Paul O. Zelinsky Pages: 48 Age Range: 4-8 Circle, Square, Moose is a companion book to Z is for Moose, by Kelly Bingham and Paul O. Zelinsky. The premise for both books is that a narrator is trying to teach teach something (shapes, in Circle, Square, Moose), until said narrator is interrupted by a wayward Moose. Zebra attempts to tame Moose's bad behavior, but this only makes things get more out of hand, until the poor narrator just gives up.  Circle, Square, Moose is just as funny as Z is for Moose. The goofy, determined…
  • Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: October 31

    Jen Robinson
    31 Oct 2014 | 8:37 am
    Here are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage. Please note that I expanded upon most of the Growing Bookworms tweets that I shared this week in a separate post, and so have not re-shared them here. But I do have links related to book lists, the Cybils awards, diversity, gender, events, kidlitcon, the kidlitosphere, schools, and reading.  Books and Book Lists 10 Picture Books to Scare Up Your Halloween Spirit selected by @rosemondcates #kidlit Ten #kidlit titles from @TesseractViews in which a witch is a character…
  • Charlie Bumpers vs. the Squeaking Skull: Bill Harley

    Jen Robinson
    30 Oct 2014 | 8:50 am
    Book: Charlie Bumpers vs. the Squeaking Skull Author: Bill Harley Illustrator: Adam Gustavson Pages: 160 Age Range: 7-10 Charlie Bumpers vs. the Shrieking Skull is the third title in the Charlie Bumpers series of illustrated chapter books, written by Bill Harley and illustrated by Adam Gustavson. I have not read the first two books, but didn't find this to be a problem. Fourth grader Charlie is excited when a friend invites him to a Halloween sleepover. He expects trick-or-treating in Alex's more upscale neighborhood to be more lucrative than usual, and he looks forward to NOT having to take…
  • Some Recent Articles on Growing Bookworms

    Jen Robinson
    29 Oct 2014 | 2:03 pm
    I wanted to do some sort of growing bookworms post for today, but nothing particular came to mind. Luckily, there has been a fine crop of posts on this subject from some of my favorite blogs this week. Thus instead of sharing my ideas, I will point you to theirs: At What Do We Do All Day?, Erica shares her strategies for avoiding frustration/burnout in her relatively reluctant younger son's emergent reading. She offers a list of 10 alternatives to forcing your kids to learn to read. Personally, I think her hands-off approach, focused on maintaining a love for books, is the right way to go.
  • Harriet Can Carry It: Kirk Jay Mueller & Sarah Vonthron-Laver

    Jen Robinson
    28 Oct 2014 | 9:34 am
    Book: Harriet Can Carry It Author: Kirk Jay Mueller Illustrator: Sarah Vonthron-Laver Pages: 40 Age Range: 4-8 Harriet Can Carry It, by Kirk Jay Mueller and Sarah Vonthron-Laver, is the story of a hard-working kangaroo mom whose attempt to take a day off to relax with her son is derailed by other animals. All Harriet wants to do is take her Joey, with some towels and the boy's favorite toy, to the beach. But she meets a series of pushy animals along the way, all expecting Harriet to carry their gear in her pouch. Eventually, they push poor Harriet too far, and she gives up. Fortunately…
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    Writing and Ruminating

  • It's okay to change things. Really.

    31 Oct 2014 | 10:32 am
    Yesterday, I decided to bake Halloween cookies for my grandkids, since I have some Halloween cookie cutters (with which I made cookies for my own kids a couple weeks ago). After I was done rolling out the Halloween cookies from the first rounds of dough, I re-rolled the scraps and made these autumn cookies for my sweetheart and me. And they are spectacularly delicious: crispy but not hard, full of buttery goodness, and with the crackle of baked sugars on top.This post is not, however, designed to brag about my cookies, good as they may be. It's about the choice of recipe. Or about something…
  • Twas the day before Halloween . . .

    30 Oct 2014 | 9:12 am
    . . . and all through the house, well, nothing much was happening, really, since we don't have kids here, what with mine being at college and my sweetheart's being fully grown with families of their own.But I do have a Halloween-themed poem up over at Kathy Temean's blog, Writing and Illustrating. It's called "Scary Things Come Out at Night", and it's in great company, with poems from Eileen Spinelli and others. You can find it HERE!As stated up top, we may not have kids, but I am making an apple pie for us, and some Halloween cookies for the grandkids. And I did make a dress and cape so that…
  • Do you have a routine?

    27 Oct 2014 | 9:43 am
    I was fortunate enough to join Jeannine Atkins for a latte on Saturday morning while I was up in Massachusetts to visit Maggie at college, and Jeannine introduced me to Burleigh Mutén, whose book, Miss Emily, I reviewed a few months back. And during our conversation, which I quite enjoyed, Burleigh asked me this question: "Do you have a routine?"My answer quite surprised me. I said, "Not really," and further along in my grasping for an answer was surprised to hear myself say, "I'm still in transition."First, it surprised me that at present, I do not have a writing routing. Not in the way I…
  • Good news Monday

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

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

  • Poetry Friday - Thriller Rap

    31 Oct 2014 | 8:28 am
    As if I could post anything else today ...Rap from Thrillerby Rod TempertonDarkness falls across the landThe midnight hour is close at handCreatures crawl in search of bloodTo terrorize y'all's neighborhoodAnd whosoever shall be foundWithout the soul for getting downMust stand and face the hounds of hellAnd rot inside a corpse's shellThe foulest stench is in the airThe funk of forty thousand yearsAnd grizzly ghouls from every tombAre closing in to seal your doomAnd though you fight to stay aliveYour body starts to shiverFor no mere mortal can resistThe evil of the thrillerIf you have some…
  • Monday Poetry Stretch - Kodachrome

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

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

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

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

  • Poems for Halloween Plus

    Sylvia Vardell
    25 Oct 2014 | 8:28 am
    We’re breaking weather records for warm days here in Texas with the temperature hitting 90 degree today. Ugh. We’re all ready for cooler Fall weather here, especially with Halloween and November right around the corner. So, to get in the spirit, I thought I’d share a list of poems about superstitions, beliefs, luck, magic, dreams, and nightmares from my book, The Poetry Teacher’s Book of Lists. I’ve even updated the list to add a few recent titles. Enjoy!Poetry Books about Superstitions, Beliefs, Luck, Magic, Dreams, and NightmaresMany works of poetry promote a sense of wonder.
  • Memoirs in poetry

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

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

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

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

    Cynthia Leitich Smith
    31 Oct 2014 | 6:52 am
    By Cynthia Leitich Smithfor CynsationsPlease consider supporting We Need Diverse Books through a donation or signal boosting!At the time of this posting, we've raised $56,910, which is 57% of our goal.Thanks to all who've already participated. Diverse Campaign w Thanks Card from Undercurrent on Vimeo.Don't miss John Green on Why We Need Diverse Books and a celebration dance by WNDB president Ellen Oh and her daughter (Ellen promised this if we made $15K within 24 hours). See also Looking for a Diverse Middle Grade Book? from CBC Diversity.More News Author Interview: Martine Leavitt and…
  • Cynthia Leitich Smith's Feral Pride Cover Reveal, Feral Series Book Teaser & Giveaway

    Cynthia Leitich Smith
    30 Oct 2014 | 6:08 am
    By Cynthia Leitich Smithfor CynsationsCheck out the cover for my upcoming novel, Feral Pride (Candlewick, 2015) and the book trailer for the Feral series, produced by Book Candy Studios.From the promotional copy for Feral Pride:Anti-shifter sentiment is at an all-time high when Kayla’s transformation to werecat is captured on video and uploaded for the world to see.Suddenly she becomes a symbol of the werebeast threat and—along with fellow cat Yoshi, Lion-Possum Clyde, and human Aimee—a hunted fugitive.Meanwhile, a self-proclaimed weresnake has kidnapped the governor of Texas and hit…
  • Guest Post: Chris Barton on Writing & Cross-Generational Interests

    Cynthia Leitich Smith
    29 Oct 2014 | 6:26 am
    Via Public Domain PicturesBy Chris Bartonfor Cynthia Leitich Smith's CynsationsThere’s never an answer I that I find quick, simple, and faithful to the full truth when someone asks what inspired one of my books.Take Shark Vs. Train (Little Brown, 2010), for instance.Yes, I’m sure the seed was planted by my now 15-year-old son’s love of sharks and trains. But...He loved reading books about sharks. He loved playing with wooden trains. Putting the two things together, however, just wasn’t his style of play. As a small child, he had a much more literal view of the world. Sharks were…
  • Author Interview: Ginger Wadsworth on Yosemite's Songster: One Coyote's Story

    Cynthia Leitich Smith
    28 Oct 2014 | 6:18 am
    By Cynthia Leitich Smithfor CynsationsYosemite’s Songster: One Coyote’s Story, by Ginger Wadsworth, illustrated by Daniel San Souci (Yosemite Conservancy, 2013). From the promotional copy:A sudden rockslide in Yosemite Valley in California’s Sierra Nevada separates Coyote from her mate. Readers journey throughout the valley observing its many famous landmarks on four paws with Coyote. You’ll explore both the natural world and the human world with one’s nose leading the way. Who or what inspired you to write this story?Illustrator Dan San Souci and I have known each other for…
  • New Voice: Christine Kohler on No Surrender Soldier

    Cynthia Leitich Smith
    27 Oct 2014 | 6:22 am
    By Cynthia Leitich Smithfor CynsationsChristine Kohler is the first-time author of No Surrender Soldier (Merit Press, 2014). From the promotional copy:A young man, an old soldier, and a terrible injustice. Should the punishment be death?Growing up on Guam in 1972, fifteen-year-old Kiko is beset by worries: He’s never kissed a girl, and he thinks it’s possible he never will. The popular guys get all the attention, but the worst part is that Kiko has serious problems at home. His older brother is missing in Vietnam; his grandfather is losing it to dementia; he just learned that his mother…
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    Read Alert

  • 2014 Inky Awards – The Winners

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

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

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

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

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

  • Frog knight

    25 Oct 2014 | 3:51 pm
    Frog knight. Illustration by Glenn Woodrome

    25 Oct 2014 | 2:50 pm
    Check out the new cover design for The Magic Rainbow Stone by Candy Moon!
  • Grace's Secret

    25 Oct 2014 | 10:21 am
    Here are some examples from the set of 21 images I recently completed for a children’s book, which will be published at the end of 2014. The client for this project is Roshni, a charity dedicated to working with children, young people and vulnerable adults within minority ethnic communities across Scotland. The book is one of a series of nine, with each focusing on a different issue that would normally be difficult to discuss with young children. The subject of this particular book is neglect. The project was a collaborative effort with the charity, as I was provided the text for the story…
  • Book Review: The Secret Science Project That Almost Ate The School

    25 Oct 2014 | 7:37 am
    The Secret Science Project That Almost Ate the School by Judy Sierra Level: 3.4 LG My fourth grade son Highly recommends this book… while reading it he said:  ” Cool… the stuff ate her 3rd grade teacher!”  … I said, Wow, wish my science project ate my 3rd grade teacher!  LOLOL  This got me a terrible look… and “Although that is very funny, it sure is mean!  Daddy”  Ok…. I guess he told me!!  LOLOL  Love all the reading in our house! Have a great day and enjoy this book recommendation from my son! Little Karl
  • The Archers

    25 Oct 2014 | 6:08 am
    Archers page from Dragon Rock by Sylvia Stopforth I loved drawing this page for Dragon Rock in Pulp Literature, and now for the picture book. The two fellows are based on bits of a Lippi Adoration of the Kings painting, and the deer is from Richard II’s Wilton Diptych. I love drawing trees like this. Luckily. It takes a while.
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    School Library Journal

  • Manga Makes a Comeback

    Brigid Alverson
    31 Oct 2014 | 1:13 pm
    For a while, manga dominated the graphic novel scene, especially for teen readers. From the late 1990s to the mid-2000s, popular series such as Naruto and Bleach topped the graphic novel best-seller charts and racked up high circulation numbers in libraries, and shoujo manga offered teen girls comics designed just for them—the first in a long time. Then, in 2007, manga sales started to plunge, thanks to the decline and eventual closure of Borders and its mall-bookstore chain Waldenbooks, a sharp reduction in the amount of anime shown on TV, the rise of pirate sites, and the lack of a new…
  • At International Conference on Children’s Librarianship, Transformation and Puppets

    31 Oct 2014 | 11:07 am
    Krishna Grady addresses the audience. “Are you a Transformed Librarian?” That question was asked throughout the First International Conference on Children’s Librarianship hosted by the National Library of the Philippines (NLP) and held in Tagaytay City, Philippines, on October 13 to 15. The theme of the conference, “Connecting and Linking of Information Through Transformed Children’s Libraries to the Digital Era,” challenged children’s librarians from around the world to be transformation agents in their libraries. The first afternoon began with a warm welcome from Antonio M.
  • Rev Up for National Novel Writing Month 2014

    Mahnaz Dar
    31 Oct 2014 | 10:13 am
    photo credit: iStock/Thinkstock November 1 is the start of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), a project that challenges aspiring authors to create a 50,000-word novel in 30 days. The idea behind the event is to encourage writers of all ages, provide a community, and keep writers motivated. As in previous years, librarians are a pivotal part of the project in 2014. “Libraries are incredible places for making, experimentation, and community gathering,” Chris Angotti, director of programs at the nonprofit National Novel Writing Month organization, told SLJ. “I’m so glad…
  • Fighting for a Cause: From the Past to the Present | JLG’s Booktalks to Go Teen

    Deborah B. Ford
    31 Oct 2014 | 8:33 am
    Is it ever okay to break the law? What if you think it’s wrong? Whether it’s a civil rights or environmental issue, people―including teens―have protested throughout American history. From marches to sit-downs from political campaigns to fundraisers, teens can learn from past demonstrations in order to make an impact on their world today. The following selections by the editors at Junior Library Guild will inform, inspire, and guide today’s change makers by opening their eyes and spurring them to action. FLEISCHMAN, Paul. Eyes Wide Open: Going Behind the Environmental Headlines.208p.
  • Library of Congress Seeks Halloween Photos for American Folklife Center Collection

    31 Oct 2014 | 8:28 am
    Three boys on porch steps cutting faces in pumpkins. Copyright deposit 1917 (Copyright not renewed). Attention, shutterbugs. Looking to share your Halloween joy? Look no further: the Library of Congress is seeking Halloween photos for its American Folklife Center Collection, and anyone can submit. As of early morning on October 31, there were 288 photos shared on Flickr with the #folklifehalloween2014 tag, depicting a variety of Halloween and Dia de los Muertos–related experiences: gruesome zombie costumes, graveyards, jack-o-lanterns, children’s parties, and more. Submissions will be…
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    A Fuse #8 Production

  • Happy Halloween Ephemera

    Elizabeth Bird
    31 Oct 2014 | 1:00 am
    This marks the first year my daughter (now three) actually cared what her Halloween costume was.  She wanted to be a princess.  I brought home The Paper Bag Princess in response.  No worries.  She won’t be wearing a paper bag or anything.  I just wanted to combat the princess notion any which way.  And now – links! Almost exactly a year ago I attended the Society of Illustrators show where some of the best picture book art of the year was on display.  At that time the show was honoring the late great artist Barbara Cooney (she of Miss Rumphius fame, amongst other things). …
  • Cover Reveal: The Stratford Zoo Midnight Revue Presents . . .

    Elizabeth Bird
    30 Oct 2014 | 1:00 am
    One of my favorite graphic novels this year was the awfully ambitious (and awfully good) The Stratford Zoo Midnight Revue Presents . . . MacBeth.  Any book that uses that much ketchup in its plotting has my instant love.  So when the folks at First Second asked if I wanted to present the cover reveal for the next book in the Stratford Zoo series, you can bet I said yep. Good readers will remember which play was alluded to on the last page of the last book.  And here she is! Author Ian Lendler puts it this way: “When I travel to schools and ask if anyone has heard of Shakespeare,…
  • Press Release Fun: A Charlotte’s Web Celebration Par Excellence

    Elizabeth Bird
    29 Oct 2014 | 1:00 am
    IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                            LIEV SCHREIBER, DAVID HYDE PIERCE, JANE CURTIN, MICHAEL POTTS AND MORE CELEBRATE THE BELOVED AUTHOR OF CHARLOTTE’S WEB WITH READINGS AND MUSIC   Symphony Space, First Book – Manhattan and HarperCollins Publishers announce A star-studded evening honoring E.B. White on November 16, 2014    October 2, 2014 NEW YORK, N.Y.— After the success of last year’s sold-out event…
  • Fusenews: Bemoaning, Lamenting, and Generally Carrying On

    Elizabeth Bird
    28 Oct 2014 | 1:00 am
    A stumper to begin the day. I got this message from my aunt and I simply do not know the answer. Librarians of the world, do you know? Just to clarify beforehand, the answer is unfortunately not Are Your My Mother? by P.D. Eastman: “… seeking info on a children’s book that was [a] favorite at least 30 years ago about a baby bird (with goggles) who is having trouble learning to fly.” Here’s a new one.  Apparently the 2014 Nobel Prize winner for literature is a French author with a children’s book to his name.  And the book?  According to Karen MacPherson…
  • Is It Rude to Ask?

    Elizabeth Bird
    27 Oct 2014 | 1:00 am
    There are questions in this world that it is always safe to ask a children’s librarian about his or her children.  Prominent amongst them: “So what are your kids reading these days?” The “kids” in question here would be the librarian’s children.  Yet I’ll admit that when I’m asked, there’s always that brief moment of confusion on my part where my brain tries to access the answer.  I read her four books less than 12 hours ago so why can’t I recall any of their titles?  Eventually I’m able to piece together a list of her…
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    Michael Gerson: Most Recent Articles and Archives

  • A global attention on disease gives Bill Gates his moment

    Michael Gerson
    30 Oct 2014 | 5:24 pm
    “Ebola has reminded people that it is not just poor people who can die of infectious disease,” Bill Gates tells me, in a characteristically matter-of-fact tone. In a tragic, unsought sense, this is Gates’s moment. The focus of his life — preventable disease — is suddenly the obsession of the world. Gates, who has donated $50 million to the Ebola fight (through his foundation), will give a major address Sunday at the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. According to a preview copy of the speech, he will cover the waterfront of vicious infections, from sleeping sickness…
  • At L’Arche, those at the margins find love at the center

    Michael Gerson
    27 Oct 2014 | 4:41 pm
    In an older, gentrifying, suburban Virginia neighborhood — the kind with porch flags and pumpkins on the front steps — I am welcomed at an indistinguishable door to an exceptional little community called L’Arche. Here, intellectually disabled “core members” are paired with often young and intensely idealistic “assistants” who share their lives, normally for a year or two. (L’Arche has more than 140 such group homes in 35 countries.) Read full article >>
  • Michael Gerson: The world is in denial about Ebola’s true threat

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

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

    Michael Gerson
    16 Oct 2014 | 5:42 pm
    In any health care setting, it is wise to listen to the nurses, who see all. Their reports from Dallas about the initial procedures used in treating Thomas Eric Duncan are appalling. Safety suits with exposed necklines left nurses to cover skin with tape. When tape is removed, it abrades the skin. One health expert I consulted described this practice in dealing with Ebola as “moronic.” Read full article >>
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  • Saturday Review of Books: November 1, 2014

    31 Oct 2014 | 9:00 pm
    “All books are divisible into two classes, the books of the hour, and the books of all time.” ~John Ruskin Welcome to the Saturday Review of Books at Semicolon. Here’s how it usually works. Find a book review on your blog posted sometime during the previous week. The review doesn’t have to be a formal sort of thing. You can link to your thoughts on a particular book, a few ideas inspired by reading the book, your evaluation, quotations, whatever. Then on Friday night/Saturday, you post a link here at Semicolon in Mr. Linky to the specific post where you’ve written your book…
  • Blue Sea Burning by Geoff Rodkey

    31 Oct 2014 | 5:22 am
    This final book in the Chronicles of Egg trilogy begins as Egg has just been saved from death by hanging by his uncle, the pirate Burn Healy. The first chapter begins with three problems: the ship is sinking, other pirates are out to kill them, and the ship’s crew is giving Egg and his friends murderous looks and muttered threats as they look for a way to get rid of him. The book just gets better and better from that fine start. There’s a sea battle, so well described that I read every word, instead of skimming the fighting part, as I usually do, to get to the end and find out who…
  • Little Green Men at the Mercury Inn by Greg Leitich Smith

    30 Oct 2014 | 5:20 am
    Aidan and his best friend, Louis, live in Florida near Cape Canaveral. Aidan’s parents own The Mercury Inn, a seaside hotel, and they are known for their launch parties, where residents of the inn can watch a NASA spacecraft launch from the swimming pool area or even the beach nearby. However, when a possible UFO disrupts the launch, Aidan and Louis discover that space aliens may be actually living at the Mercury Inn! If you’re a UFO conspiracy theorist, and if the names “Roswell” and “Project Blue Book” and “SETI” mean something to you, then…
  • School of Charm by Lisa Ann Scott

    29 Oct 2014 | 5:32 am
    Chip (aka Brenda Anderson) isn’t sure how she can possibly stand living with her mean old grandmother in Mount Airy, North Carolina, especially since her daddy, the one who really understood her tomboy ways, has just died. But mom says they can’t afford the house anymore, and she and the three girls have to move in with Grandma. Just when Chip is hoping for some magic to help her understand her grandma and fit in with her family, she discovers a charm school hidden back in the woods. Miss Vernie, the teacher and proprietor, has two other students, Dana and Karen, and Miss Vernie…
  • I Lived on Butterfly Hill by Marjorie Agosin

    28 Oct 2014 | 5:29 am
    This story takes place before, during, and after the Pinochet reign of terror in Chile in the 1970’s. Although the dictator’s name is never mentioned and the author takes some liberties with the timeline and with the historical facts, Ms. Agosin, who herself lived in Chile during the Pinochet years, brings to life the anxiety and the courage that emerged in many of those who experienced the “desaparedcidos” and the government repression that took place during Pinochet’s presidency. Celeste is an eleven year old only child who lives with her parents, her…
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    Ally Carter

  • Embassy Row ARC Giveaway #4

    27 Oct 2014 | 11:54 am
    Hi Everyone! Who is ready to Win an Advanced Reading Copy of All Fall Down, Book 1 of the Embassy Row Series? For your fourth chance to win an ARC of All Fall Down head over to Ally’s Facebook Page, Contest Rules: To be entered into the contest you must  do 2 things on Facebook: 1. Like Ally’s post regarding the contest 2. Comment on Ally’s post regarding the contest. Winner will be picked randomly in 48hours! Katie Clarke is the winner of the Facebook contest! Congratulations Katie! And that’s it. Next Monday we will run a whole new contest (with…
  • Embassy Row ARC Giveaway #3

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

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

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

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

  • Accompanying Scott on his tour of the USA

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

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

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

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

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

  • Still on Tour

    10 Oct 2014 | 8:10 am
    The Afterworlds tour is pretty much over, except for my visit to Toronto, Canada and YallFest in Charleston, SC. (See my Appearances page for details on those.) For the rest of you, here are some amusing photos from tour. This is evidence of studious reading: Here’s what an audience looks like when you’re giving a presentation. In no way intimidating! This is one I took for my upcoming Tumblr, IndieBookstoreBathrooms: It’s always great to see Midnighters tattoos: Holly Black and Cassandra Clare were also on tour at the same time, so they left me and Justine friendly notes in…
  • Afterworlds Spoiler Thread

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

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

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

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

    31 Oct 2014 | 10:58 pm
    The conundrum the other day was how cold it was in the conservatory, aka our dining room. It was probably slightly colder than it was in the fridge (that’s the fridge that came with the house, and which is integrated, and that is why we put up with it being a little on the warm side). It felt ridiculous. But with the help of an electric heater, the breakfast area improved. That’s the same heater we used to fry our former piano. (It’s not former as in late. It just became unwell.) The Grandmother used to sleep next to the piano when she visited, and she felt the cold, so we…
  • The Episode of the Black Dog

    30 Oct 2014 | 7:52 pm
    It’s not every young teenage boy who has a grandfather born in 1835. But Alex does, and he knows his grandfather might be old, but he’s cool. Practically a James Bond, even at his age. So Alex is more than happy to gallivant round Europe with the old man, again. After all, they survived their last adventure. So, here they are, on a train across the Continent, bound for more adventures. Author Damien M Love has called this excerpt The Episode of the Black Dog, and it will eventually form part of Like Clockwork, Volume 2: The Old Man’s Back Again, which will be published…
  • The onion fryers

    29 Oct 2014 | 9:59 pm
    I’m reading a real onion fryer kind of book right now. I almost got impatient with the Resident IT Consultant for coming back from his walk, because I was reading so comfortably and there he was and I had to make conversation instead. Who am I kidding? I did get impatient, but only quietly. It was just the right kind of day for reading; chilly and dark, and it was so inviting, there in my holey armchair. (Don’t worry, I’ve covered the holes with a blanket for the moment. Tartan. Because we’re in Scotland.) Despair had been creeping in, because I’d had a few…
  • My teacher, Mrs Christie

    28 Oct 2014 | 10:25 pm
    When Sophie Hannah was talking at Bloody Scotland about growing up with Agatha Christie, it was like hearing myself speak. Or it would have been if I could sound as intelligent and articulate as Sophie. And I wished I’d known this ‘sister’ back when I was twelve, except at the time her mother Adèle Geras was barely out of university herself, so Sophie and I were never destined to be the same age at the same time. Also, we wouldn’t have had a language in common. It was more our behaviour and reading patterns that seem to have coincided. I’m pretty sure I…
  • Yes! We have no milk today

    27 Oct 2014 | 10:21 pm
    Nor do we seem to have a duty manager. Or at least we don’t know who it might be. I was quite impressed with Son’s tale of needing milk (he was always fond of it) a while back. Living in a metropolis (Edinburgh does count as one of those, I trust?) he is in the somewhat unusual situation that his corner shop is, well, one of the large supermarket chains. It is only a few minutes away from his flat and being enormous, it has done what large shops do; killed off the competition. Hence it being his corner shop. There is no other place to get milk (or sliced bread or bananas, which…
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    Confessions of a Bibliovore

  • Have You Nominated for the Cybils Yet?

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

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

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

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

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

  • A-Z of convicts in Van Diemen's Land by Simon Barnard

    1 Nov 2014 | 5:10 pm
    Text Publishing, 2014. ISBN 9781922079343 (Age: 12+) Highly recommended. This encyclopedia is a wonderful book that brings to life the history of the convict period in Tasmania from 1803 to 1853. The 73,000 convicts who arrived in the colony, lived lives that were largely hidden from us till now. Simon Barnard has used his wonderful drawing skills to bring to life and faithfully depict the people, their suffering, achievements, activities and the buildings, where they lived and worked. Each alphabetically listed item, starting with 'absconder' has detailed, accurate and fascinating details of…
  • The beach they called Gallipoli by Jackie French and Bruce Whatley

    1 Nov 2014 | 5:08 pm
    HarperCollins, 2014. ISBN 9780732292263 (Age: 8+) Highly recommended. World War One, Gallipoli, War, Environment. Kitted out with army uniform, great boots and a bayoneted rifle, fifteen year old Alec Campbell stares out at the reader from the front cover of Jackie French's latest picture book. People who have read about this war will know that he was one of the underage boys who enlisted, but unlike many others, he survived. Reading this book the reader can only wonder how anyone survived this particular battlefield. Each page has French's brief words, encapsulating what happened at…
  • The Books of The Raksura series by Martha Wells

    1 Nov 2014 | 5:05 pm
    Night Shade Books, various dates. The Cloud Roads. 2011. ISBN 9781597802161 The Serpent Sea. 2012. ISBN  9781597803329 The Siren Depths. 2012. ISBN 9781597804400 (Age: 15+) Highly recommended. Fantasy. Belonging. Moon has been hiding all his life. He has the ability to shape shift into a winged creature that can soar into the air. He has been unable to find anyone others like him and has done his best to fit in with the groundling communities where he attempts to live. When Stone, a huge shape shifter, finds and rescues him and takes him to the Indigo Cloud community, he discovers that…
  • Jessica's Box by Peter Carnavas

    1 Nov 2014 | 5:03 pm
    New Frontier Publishing, 2014. ISBN 9781921928574 (Ages 4-6) Highly recommended. School Life, Integration, Family, Friendship. Peter Carnavas has worked with the Cerebal Palsy Alliance to recreate his award winning picture book Jessica's Box. Jessica is a creative little girl who is encouraged by her family to enjoy her first days of school. She looks forward to making new friends. Every morning she sets off in her wheelchair with a cardboard box on her lap, hidden inside are her special treasures. When her teddy bear doesn't impress her classmates, she tries delicious iced cupcakes, then her…
  • Sally Snicker's knickers by Lynn Ward

    1 Nov 2014 | 4:59 pm
    Ill. by Anthea Stead. Walker, 2014. ISBN 9781921720499 (Age: 4+) Recommended. Verse, Underwear, Humour, Difference. Sally is unusual and likes to wear her knickers on her head in preference to a hat. The first half of the book shows her in her knicker wearing guise, with vibrant images showing a broad range of undies; boxer shorts, Y-fronts, long johns, cottontails, lycra, all placed on Sally's grinning head. But not everyone accepts her oddity, particularly not her teacher who reminds her of the school hat rule. But the rest of her class make the teacher change her decision and all is…
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    I'm Here. I'm Queer. What the Hell do I read?

  • Associate Publisher and Editor Stephanie Lurie: The Exclusive Pre-#NY15SCBWI Interview

    Lee Wind, M.Ed.
    31 Oct 2014 | 2:55 am
    Stephanie Lurie is the associate publisher of Disney-Hyperion, an imprint that publishes approximately eighty titles a year, for preschoolers through young adults. Stephanie manages a team of eighteen people and also edits picture books and novels. Recently she has had the privilege of collaborating with such authors as Bob Shea, Jonathan Stroud, Eoin Colfer, and Rick Riordan. She is the mother of two young men, both of whom are writers, and has been married to her beau from college for thirty-three years.Associate Publisher Stephanie LurieHere's our interview:Lee: You'll be part of the…
  • Gender 101, Episode 28 Redux: Emmi's Tips on Interacting With Gender Non-Conforming People

    Lee Wind, M.Ed.
    29 Oct 2014 | 3:03 am
    Emmi shares some wonderful advice:Thanks Emmi!Here are the comments from the initial post:Cynthia Leitich Smith said...Respecting self-identification works well for biracial people as well. There are all kinds of reasons a mixed-race person might identify with one side of their heritage or another or both or neutral, despite their outward appearance and apparent posturing to other people.May 2, 2012 at 7:31 AM Angie said...Thank you so much for doing this series, Lee. And thanks to Emmi, Nenu and others for openly sharing and educating!May 2, 2012 at 8:08 AM Elizabeth Twist said...This is…
  • Religion and LGBTQ Equality - A Panel I'll Be Moderating on Nov 13, 2014

    Lee Wind, M.Ed.
    27 Oct 2014 | 3:00 am
    I'm really looking forward to this - working with The Lavender Effect (which aims to teach, celebrate and advance the future of LGBTQ History and Culture), I'll be moderating a fascinating discussion about the tipping points that bring religious communities from scapegoating through tolerance, acceptance, and ultimately to celebrating our LGBTQ lives and relationships.The idea is to explore open and affirming congregations, who and what work is being done in our community, and how we can use that insight and knowledge to encourage more faith-based communities to affirm LGBTQ people regionally…
  • Adaptation - A Bi Teen Sci Fi Thriller

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

    Lee Wind, M.Ed.
    22 Oct 2014 | 3:03 am
    Benji (a.k.a. Lucy) continues the conversation about Gender with Emmi...You can find out more about Julia Serano at juliaserano.comThanks Lucy and Emmi!You can see the original posting here.Namaste,Lee
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    Literacy, families and learning

  • Reading to children: Why & How to do it well?

    Trevor Cairney
    29 Oct 2014 | 4:29 am
    Listening to your child reading is more complex, and important than people think. While I've written previously on reading to your child (here) and listening to them (here) back in 2008, I wanted to revisit these two topics in the one post. It's easy to do it badly, but not so easy to do well. In this post I'll comment on three things:The value of reading out loudSome DOs and DON'Ts for listenersA couple of specific read aloud strategies1. Some general comments on the value of oral readingAs an instructional strategy oral reading has some clear advantages:Anyone can do itIt ensures that the…
  • 10 Great New Non-Fiction Books for Younger Readers

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

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

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

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

  • Create Presentations and Infographics with Visme

    30 Oct 2014 | 11:00 am
    Create Presentations and Infographics with Vismeby Susan Stephenson, I love finding new ways we can create images. Recently I discovered Visme, an online space that calls itself the Swiss Knife for creating engaging content. Right now, it’s focused on presentations, infographics and animations, with more to come. I think this site has the potential to be useful to teachers, bloggers and anyone interested in creating media for an audience. As a blogger, I am always looking for easy ways to illustrate my own articles. (I mentioned some of my favourites in Book Chook…
  • Reviews: Recent Children’s Picture Books about Birds

    28 Oct 2014 | 11:00 am
    Reviews: Recent Children’s Picture Books about Birdsby Susan Stephenson, Recently I brought you Recent Children's Picture Books about Animals. Next week, we'll look at Recent Children's Picture Books about Dinosaurs. Today we look at some picture books for kids about birds. Bring on the Birds:Pre-schoolers can have very strong ideas of what they want to read. Some already prefer non-fiction. Bring on the Birds is by Susan Stockdale and published by Working Title Press, 2014. It’s a companion to Fabulous Fishes which I mentioned in Four Picture Books to Help Kids…
  • Children’s iPad App, My Story - Book Maker for Kids

    26 Oct 2014 | 11:00 am
    Children’s iPad App, My Story - Book Maker for Kidsby Susan Stephenson, I love to find ways for children to create and express themselves, especially when that involves putting their thoughts into a digital story. My Story - Book Maker for Kids is an iPad app that facilitates creating with photos, voice, stickers, drawing and text, resulting in an ebook that can be shared various ways, including to iBooks. You can see two screen grabs from the test story I made about Fat Cat in the image above. From the developers: Create and share ebooks and stories by adding drawings,…
  • Secret Codes and Language Games for Kids

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

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

  • Mama Mia!

    29 Oct 2014 | 5:49 am
    For those of you who are about to dive into NaNoWriMo, all my best wishes! Don’t forget to eat and sleep and read this blog!I look forward to meeting one--carpelibris!--or more of you this Saturday in Albany, New York!Now, imagine fanfare, a trumpet blowing, confetti. See it first here: the final cover for Stolen Magic!I think it's appealing and inviting, just what we want a cover to be.And on to the post. Two related questions came in over the summer. On July 23, 2014, Elisa wrote, What do you do with parents? I mean, I write from the perspective of children and teens--for the most…
  • Out With the Old... Or Not

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

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

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

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

    30 Oct 2014 | 9:56 pm
     Ludwig Bemelmans Please, Mrs. Kennedy–start rhyming!   The Madeline in New York: The Art of Ludwig Bemelmans show at the NY Historical Society was amazing. Ludwig Bemelmans had written a letter to Jackie Kennedy telling her she inspired the story he outlines below, and inviting her to work on it with him. Jackie Kennedy replied (her letter was also exhibited) thanking him and joking threatening a suit over his inspiring her young daughter, Caroline, to imitate one of his book characters by jumping into the Potomac. He includes wonderful nuggetsof wisdom about creativity, wants…
  • Children’s Book Art Auction Piece: Dr. Seuss Tribute

    13 May 2014 | 10:09 pm
      Here’s my donation to this year’s American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE) 2oth Annual Children’s Book Art Auction. This year’s illustration theme is a special dedication to Dr. Seuss. I’ve borrowed his characters, as you can see (I did add my own Who, and the Cat in the Hat is none other than Dr. Seuss himself). The giant instrument was from a story I wrote that was a bit Seussian, in its own way, and it seemed apropos here. I enjoyed doing the flat watercolors. He used black ink to shade and outline. I’ve used pencil here.
  • New Pieces with blue warthog

    4 Apr 2014 | 4:48 pm
    Here are two new children’s book illustrations for a postcard featuring a blue warthog and various other characters in part or whole for a story. I used a softer brush for this style than I usually do. I like the effect.  Guess this is my blue period?  
  • 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…
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    TR - Blog for Books, Reviews, Opinion and discussion

  • Heidi - A celebration of Relationship

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

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

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

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

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