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maryleehahn July 11 2014, 20:19

Poetry Friday -- Chicory


by John Updike

Show me a piece of land that God forgot—
a strip between an unused sidewalk, say,
and a bulldozed lot, rich in broken glass—
and there, July on, will be chicory,

its leggy hollow stems staggering skyward,
its leaves rough-hairy and lanceolate,
like pointed shoes too cheap for elves to wear,
its button-blooms the tenderest mauve-blue.

How good of it to risk the roadside fumes,
the oil-soaked heat reflected from asphalt,
and wretched earth dun-colored like cement,
too packed for any other seed to probe.

It sends a deep taproot (delicious, boiled),
is relished by all livestock, lends its leaves
to salads and cooked greens, but will not thrive
in cultivated soil: it must be free.

I love chicory. Mostly for its blueness, but also for its love of freedom. Maybe that's why I picked it for my poetry website, which I killed and brought back to life again here. It is a work in progress.

I just realized about an hour ago that today is Friday. Summer and travel will do that to you.

Linda has the Poetry Friday roundup at Write Time.

tadmack July 11 2014, 20:18

Five/Dime Friday: From Suck to Smiles


You know it's a bad week when a friend writes you a condolence note and includes a link from the paper... Sir Terry cancelling his appearance at the UK Discworld Convention, due to his ongoing (since 2007) embuggerance, Alzheimer's, has just gutted a lot of fans. As those who have previously applauded my geek-ramble know, Tech Boy and I are huge Discworld nerds, and I've even gone so far as to bogart my way onto a panel at last summer's con with Charlotte and Sheila. I am so sad that he's not going to appear in the UK, where he's already local and everything -- because it is, for the fans, a clear sign of The Beginning of The End. Sir Terry has already let us know that he's going to take the end into his own hands, to do it his own way. And we can only love and grieve and dread...

...and support his right to do what he needs to do.

!?*&%&*#!$ stupid disease.


Has it not been the summer of Author Suck so far? Maya Angelou, Nancy Garden, Walter Myers, MAKE IT STOP.

Above this sea of suckitude, however, there are always gleams of silver edging the clouds. It's Friday, and at the end of the week, there's always a bit of extra to see us through. Let's dig in that couch, people. There's GOT to be something good there.

** Okay, Reading Rainbow's $5 million dollar plus coup IS the quintessential good news of the WHOLE summer. Let's not forget that one. That's a little gift from the world to books and literacy that will keep on giving.

** ABC News reported recently that there are new Octavia Butler stories which are being published!!! OH. MY. WORD. That is an unexpected little joy. According to Open Road Media, from whom the collection is available one is a novella called A Necessary Being, and the other is a short story called "The Childfinder," and both of them are sound like that evocative Butler style that reminds me, too, of the novellas of the grand dame of speculative fiction, Ursula LeGuin. ...I wonder if someday we'll find a YA equivalent of Butler and LeGuin? Hope springs eternal...

** Did you see that one shot of Lois Lowry with a black eye? No? Then you haven't been to the Wild Things!|Acts of Mischief in Children's Literature blog, where Jules and Betsy are posting all the stuff that they couldn't use in their upcoming book by the same title. This book is going to be SUCH a hoot!

** Bookriot's E.H. Kern introduces us to her fave animal... the nearly invisible book scorpion. No, really. I give props to her entomologist spirit, and know that I will try to avoid the auto-cringe-and-fling with which I greet silverfish, should I ever see one of these noble beast/beastettes... I am well on my way to helping them live in the world as I a.) buy used books, and b.) don't dust the bookshelves as I should. Book scorpions, FTW!

** Scholastic's site This Is Teen.com put out the funniest silliest, most recognizable little video... for all of us who both laugh and cry in public and can be completely antisocial when reading a book (YA or no) "STUFF YA READERS SAY" is for you. Also, I would pay good money to see someone throwing the Mockingjay sign in the workplace. Yes, readers: everyone thinks we YA types are weird. And with good reason.

** Hey! Do you have a MG novel published? Do you work with, or have you worked with Middle Grade kids in an educational setting? You could be in line to be the next Thurber House Children's Book Writer in Residence. GO NOW and find out how. Hat tip, Alan Gratz.

** The other day, Jen Robinson, Sarah and I were talking about our weddings... which took place at a justice of peace, a skateboard park, and a city hall, respectively. We all three either eloped or planned a no-fuss-no-muss day. Which is why first:second's upcoming graphic Something New by Lucy Knisley (author of Relish; My Life in the Kitchen, which Kelly Jensen ably reviewed here) sounds like a winner to us. Geek Girl Does Wedding! Wants tacos at the reception! Sounds like a party I'd attend.

** And, speaking of Jen, Sarah and I, three people who couldn't plan a wedding without a lot of migraines, we're somehow planning the Kidlit Con. There are spreadsheets and menus and contracts! Oh, My! But, it's getting done!!!! We are THIS CLOSE to getting that registration form up. Check out Jen's piece on how the Kidlit Con came to be, what it's all about, and who's invited (hint: YOU!) at The Nerdy Book Club. And, since the call for panels and sessions has gone up, we're all looking forward to talking more about diversity in children's lit, blogging about it, and etc.

** You know another fun thing? Marvel Method: Cosplay, the new Youtube show that tells you the deets on Cosplaying and making your own costumes. After watching the Gratz family win for years at Dragon*Con cosplay, this is the DIY blueprint for the less-gifted of us.

** C'mon, y'all. You know you're here because books make you smile. And, perhaps laugh maniacally. At worrisome intervals. In public. With strangers. This is as bad as that laughing alone with salad thing. Stock photos = so weird.

There, now you've started to get your smile back. Let the weekend take care of the rest. Peace, love, and bookshelf dust. Happy Friday, Chickadees. ☮

This work is copyrighted material. All opinions are those of the writer, unless otherwise indicated. All book reviews are UNSOLICITED, and no money has exchanged hands, unless otherwise indicated. Please contact the weblog owner for further details.

professornana July 11 2014, 19:09

Best Sellers

Publishers Weekly posted the top best sellers lists today: http://publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/bookselling/article/63195-ya-tops-nielsen-and-kindle-lists-for-2014-so-far.html#path/pw/by-topic/industry-news/bookselling/article/63195-ya-tops-nielsen-and-kindle-lists-for-2014-so-far.html

They provide details about Nielsen and Amazon Kindle lists of best sellers. What titles are in common? Here are the top books from BOTH lists. Bear in mind that these lists include children's, YA, and adult books.

The Fault in our Stars
The Book Thief
Looking for Alaska

The New York Times separated the books for younger readers from their adult lists some time ago during the time when J K Rowling was dominating the lists. I love that these lists do not make that separation. It makes it much easier to see which books are selling the most copies.
eathispoem July 11 2014, 16:24

"Savor" by Julia Wendell + Pistachio Gelato


Pistachio Gelato | Eat This Poem

It had been approximately eight weeks since I last visited the farmers' market, six weeks since I'd had a free weekend, and four weeks since I'd felt any sort of enthusiasm for cooking. Spring was hard. I paid no attention to its offerings, trading my time in the kitchen for taping together moving boxes. A few transitions (the kind most people like to spread out over a longer period of time) occurred simultaneously, and there were moments I thought we would never make it out the other side. But here we are. And it's summer!

At the end of June, Andrew and I woke up on our first free Saturday since the beginning of May. We made pancakes, then went to the gym (for my first yoga class in oh, four weeks)...And after that, we stopped by the farmers' market. Just that morning, I was lamenting how uninterested I was in cooking. I usually meal plan every week, heading to the store with a firm strategy in place for the dishes I planned to cook every night, but that morning I couldn't bring myself to flip through a magazine or give it any firm thought. I was completely uninspired, and I hated the feeling.

Pistachio 4.jpg
Pistachio 3.jpg
Pistachio Gelato | Eat This Poem

So we walked into the market with no plan whatsoever, and it was exactly what I needed. Without the trappings of my handy list, I let summer's first vegetables tell me what I should make. We went home with a pound of gold tomatoes, ruffled chard, kale, fingerling potatoes, red peppers, a case of strawberries, and pistachios.

It only took 20 minutes of standing among the stalls and trusting my instincts to tap into the enthusiasm again. I couldn't wait to start cooking. Andrew had been requesting ice cream steadily for the past month, so pistachio ice cream, or gelato, as it turned out, was the very best thing to make. I was also fresh off of reading a new poetry collection, Take This Spoon by Julia Wendell, so I was itching to make a pairing and find my way back to this space. 


by Julia Wendell

The velvety heat and sweetness
smothering ice cream's cold shock,
holding each soft spoonful in our mouths
as long as possible:

even my calorie-conscious self
couldn't say no. Stirring was a chore
for my mother, the impatient one.
She was glad to have me

fetch the double boiler, wooden spoon, tolerant
of my constant pleading: Is it ready yet?,
as stubborn white flecks of clotted cream
fought their subservience to chocolate,

resisting union.
But persistence wins. If you stir long enough,
it will thicken and delight,
and it will disappear.

Poem reprinted with permission from the author. Visit Main Street Rag to order your copy.

"Holding each soft spoonful in our mouths as long as possible." Isn't that the essence of summer, in a way? Whether it's ice cream or a sunset or a bonfire or a meal under the stars, summer days swing from one to the next and we try not to fall until September.

"Savor" invites us in by using a memory many can relate to. Mother and child waft between patience and impatience, and the tasks ahead seem mundane until the moment when "persistence wins," and the ice cream "will thicken and delight, and it will disappear," just like every summer afternoon. That's how it always works, doesn't it? We fight and resist, we let frustrations take over, but once we let go, that's when the magic happens. This poem is a beautiful meditation on relationships, on seasons, and on cooking, the driving force that fuels so many of us. It set me on the right course to embrace the coming days as best I can, and I hope it does the same for you. 

Pistachio Gelato | Eat This Poem


This recipe is a hybrid of the pistachio butter from 101 Cookbooks, and the pistachio gelato from David Lebovitz. Making gelato (instead of ice cream with an egg-base), really allows the pistachio flavor to shine through. I scooped mine onto a strawberry crumble, but it would also be wonderful drizzled with homemade chocolate shell

For the pistachio paste
1 1/2 cups pistachios
1/3 to 1/2 cup hot water
1/4 cup teaspoon salt

For the gelato
4 cups whole milk
2/3 cup organic cane sugar sugar (use 1/2 cup if you'd like it a touch less sweet)
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 1/2 cup cup pistachio paste (see above)
A squeeze of lemon juice

Puree the pistachios in a food processor until broken down. Drizzle in the water until the puree is creamy, then let it run for about  three minutes; it will be the consistency of hummus.

Rinse out the food processor, then add 1/2 cup milk and the cornstarch, blending until the starch is dissolved and the liquid is smooth, about 1 minute.

Heat the rest of the milk in a medium-sized saucepan with the sugar. When it almost starts to boil, stir in the cornstarch mixture and cook at a gentle simmer for about 3 minutes, stirring constantly.

Remove from the heat and chill thoroughly, at least 4 hours. Once chilled, whisk in the pistachio paste and a few drops of lemon juice until smooth. If you prefer a really smooth gelato, puree the gelato in a sturdy blender before freezing in your ice cream machine.

kellyrfineman July 11 2014, 15:51

An update on Revision Camp

Yesterday afternoon, I finished the draft of the picture book I was talking about in yesterday's post about the revision process and how long it takes. I was completely happy about it, and celebrated with a drink at dinner and everything.

Of course, today I am wondering whether I want to leave it the way it is, in a first-person telling, or switch it to third person and assign character names. But that is the way these things go. And I will probably try it and see how I like it either way.

Plus I still have full book dummies to do for this picture book and the other one I mentioned, which is about a kitten. (Want to know how to make one? I highly recommend Tara Lazar's post on the topic.

An author's work is rarely done. So those plateau moments when one major thing has been accomplished and it's not time to start the next step are truly worth celebrating. Because really, life needs more celebrations.

Site Meter

robinellen July 11 2014, 15:50

Four on Friday...

1. I'm behind on my book reports -- but surely I will get to them this weekend...right? :)

2. E finally got to have a sleep-over. She's a lot like I was at that age -- she likes the concept, but the actuality isn't always as enjoyable. Hopefully, though, she's having a good time.

3. D wants nothing more than to play tennis every day (all day long). Sadly, no one else really likes it that much around here. I enjoy it, but I don't like being out in the heat...he needs a tennis buddy in the neighborhood!

4. We're just past the halfway point of our summer break. *sigh* My goal for July is to do as little as possible ;)

How are the dog days of your summer going?
sevenimp July 11 2014, 14:52

What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Amrita Das



“A child’s life is hard, especially if you’re cursed to be poor. It’s gone even before you start on it. … If you dream for a moment,
you’re asked why you’re twiddling your thumbs.”

(Click to enlarge and read full text)


This morning over at Kirkus, because I’m preparing for a presentation about the best picture books of the year thus far, I thought I’d weigh in my with tippy-top favorites.

Thank link is here.

* * *

Last week, since I wrote (here) about Amrita Das’ Hope is a Girl Selling Fruit, an April release from India’s Tara Books, I’m following up with some art today.



“At the workshop, I was asked to think of a story to draw. I didn’t know where to start. I wanted to draw women, but what story would these women be part of?
I thought of my own childhood. … and started to paint two girls under a tree.
Here they are: they’re dancing, happy to be jumping on the leaves. Everything’s green, the leaves rustle pleasantly, the birds chirp. It’s an idyllic scene.
But was my childhood really like that? Was this the truth?”

(Click to enlarge)


“It all started when I met that girl’s eyes: poor, inncocent eyes that said so much, even while she was so silent. …”
(Click to enlarge and read full text)


“The first night on the train, well past midnight, I woke up and looked for her.
She was not there! I panicked. …”

(Click to enlarge and read full text)


“This other girl was poor too, and her clothes were torn. She had lost a leg, but she managed to push her cart around confidently. … She’s her own creature, I thought, she’s walking around, she’s earning and supporting her family.”
(Click to enlarge and read full text)


“… We’re all in this together, I remember thinking, lost, but not quite. We have to take what we have, go our own ways, and try to make the most of it. …”
(Click to enlarge and read full text)



* * * * * * *


HOPE IS A GIRL SELLING FRUIT. Copyright © 2013 by Tara Books. Illustrations reproduced by permission of the publisher.

slayground July 11 2014, 13:05

Poetry Friday: If I can stop one heart from breaking by Emily Dickinson

If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.

- Emily Dickinson

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.

Learn more about Poetry Friday.

slatts July 11 2014, 12:28

11 JULY 2014

FPO (FOR POSITION ONLY) That's what that boxed green illustration is and was intended to be when I placed it there at my "work/lunch" this week.

I didn't have this illustration available at the time. And not that it would matter—it's only correct in its concept.

Yes, I wanted an image of "Peter, Paul and Mary," where Paul was A Hard Day's Night Paul in his beard disguise (I forgot that he wasn't wearing glasses—that's those silly RUBBER SOUL session pictures).

But once I decided the image was only to be the width of the headline box above, it then required complete recomposition.

And here it is...

kslatts logo
about kevin slatts slattery kevin slattery art kevin slattery's journal shop at kslatts.com contact kevin slattery

laurabowers July 11 2014, 12:05

My tweets

alphasoup2 July 11 2014, 10:21

three books, a winner and a blog break



“Black Bear-y Pie” by Shawn Braley (available as a print or greeting card)

Ah yes. The time has come once again to sniff out a few more pies take a little summer blog break.

I’m looking forward to relaxing, tackling my TBR pile, and inviting Mr. Firth over for some intellectual conversation. :)

But before I sign off, wanted to mention three upcoming titles I’m especially excited about. They all hit shelves on that magical day, August 5, 2014:


1. Wild Things!: Acts of Mischief in Children’s Literature by Betsy Bird, Julie Danielson and Peter Sieruta (Candlewick, 2014).

Secret lives, scandalous turns, and some very funny surprises — these essays by leading kids’ lit bloggers take us behind the scenes of many much-loved children’s books.

Told in lively and affectionate prose, this treasure trove of information for a student, librarian, parent, or anyone wondering about the post–Harry Potter children’s book biz brings contemporary illumination to the warm-and-fuzzy bunny world we think we know.

I’ve been anxiously waiting for this one for at least five years, since I’m a big fan of all three authors’ blogs. It will be somewhat bittersweet since Peter is no longer with us, but it will be good to read his words again and remember how much we all admired his rapier wit and finely honed children’s literature chops.

Do check out the cool new Wild Things! website, where Julie and Betsy will be posting “cutting room floor” stories daily up until release date, and where you’ll find their blog tour and personal appearances schedule.


2. Eat Your Science Homework: Recipes for Inquiring Minds by Ann McCallum and Leeza Hernandez (Charlesbridge 2014). 

Hungry readers discover delicious and distinct recipes in this witty companion to Eat Your Math Homework. A main text explains upper-elementary science concepts, including subatomic particles, acids and bases, black holes, and more. Alongside simple recipes, side-bars encourage readers to also experiment and explore outside of the kitchen. A review, glossary, and index make the entire book easy to digest.

Remember when Ann and Leeza dropped by to tell us all about Eat Your Math Homework? Happy to see they’ve created another cookbook with a science theme. I hope to try one of the recipes and report back next month. :)


3. Spic and Span!: Lillian Gilbreth’s Wonder Kitchen by Monica Kulling and David Parkins (Tundra Books, 2014). 

Born into a life of privilege in 1878, Lillian Moller Gilbreth put her pampered life aside for one of adventure and challenge. She and her husband, Frank, became efficiency experts by studying the actions of factory workers. They ran their home efficiently, too. When Frank suddenly died, Lillian was left to her own devices to raise their eleven children. Eventually, she was hired by the Brooklyn Borough Gas Company to improve kitchen design, which was only the beginning.

Lillian Gilbreth was the subject of two movies (Cheaper by the Dozen and Belles on Their Toes), the first woman elected to the National Academy of Engineering, and the first female psychologist to have a U.S. postage stamp issued in her honor. A leading efficiency expert, she was also an industrial engineer, a psycologist, an author, a professor, and an inventor.

Sounds good, no? Will be featuring this one next month, too!

Happy Early Book Birthday, Betsy, Julie, Peter, Ann, Leeza, Monica and David!!

*   *   *


Yes, yes, I know you’re anxious to hear who will be receiving a brand new copy of Julia, Child by Kyo Maclear and Julie Morstad.

We bribed Scotland Yard with 1,283 Chocolate Almond Cupcakes to help us locate the erudite, ever reliable M. Random Integer Generator. From past giveaways you probably know he is in such high demand that he’s taken to fleeing at a moment’s notice, globe-trotting with famous chefs and Italian clothiers, and geocaching himself just for fun.

All in the name of suspense (it beats a simple drum roll any day).

This time he remarked on the poetic beauty of the entrants’ given names, particularly swooning over favorites “Emmeline,” “Tanita,” and “Michelle.”

Mon Dieu! He actually fell in love with them all, and was indeed at sixes and sevens over having to pick just one winner.


CONGRATULATIONS, KIRSTEN!!! Please send your snail mail address to: readermail (at) jamakimrattigan (dot) com, so we can send your book out to you pronto!

Thanks one and all for entering the giveaway. Anyone wishing to rendezvous with M. Generator, please send a telegram to: 81 rue de l’Université, Paris. Ooh-la-la!

*   *   *

“Vacation” by Toby Fonseca (available as a print, notecard, mug, phone case and rug)

Okay, I’ll see you around mid-August or so. Enjoy the rest of your summer — have fun and eat a lot of treats!


Copyright © 2014 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

cakespy2 July 11 2014, 10:21

Baker's Dozen: A Batch of Sweet Links!


Cookie cake pie.

Whoa, Crumbs is closing forever and ever? I hate seeing bakeries close.

Brilliant baked goods worth lining up for in Melbourne. Yum!

Queen Latifah has cake recipes? This one is amazing!!! (thanks, Delany!)

Every Friday, I have cake for lunch. What's your cake tradition?

Does rain affect cake baking? An interesting exploration.

A great skill to have: how to make a purple ombré cake.

I could also do some damage to this peanut butter ombré cake.

Am I the only one who could go for a slice of cupcake cream pie right now?

DIY gremlins. You could use this tutorial to make a fondant Gizmo. Just saying.

Dark chocolate cherry breakfast bread. Since it has fruit, it is a Health Breakfast.

Baileys chocolate cream pie. Intoxicatingly delicious.

The progress on my recipe page continues! Enjoy the index photos, sweeties.

A look at the history of the Heath bar.

Book of the week: Licking the Spoon: A Memoir of Food, Family, and Identity by Candace Walsh. Do you love foodie memoirs as much as me? This one is a beautiful story, full of the effed-up stuff that happens in families, a struggle for identity, and plenty of tasty food. This one is worth a read.

irenelathamblog July 11 2014, 08:55

Quilts & Pears & the Summer Poem Swap!


stained glass quilt by Bettye Kimbrell
Hello, and Happy Poetry Friday! I am adventuring today with my Camp Buttercup girls, but I did want to leave a few goodies for my Poetry Friday friends. :) Be sure to visit lovely Linda Kulp at Write Time for Roundup!

As many of you know, I love quilts. I've even created a few, though none so gorgeous as those picture here and made by Bettye Kimbrell, an Alabama quilt-artist whose work earned her a National Heritage Fellowship Award.  learned about Bettye at a recent quilt program presented by Alabama Folklife Association. Her work is so amazing, and she's self-taught! Here's one using a leaf pounding technique:

And here is a postcard piece of art created by Joy Acey, to whom I sent a poem as part of the Summer Poem Swap. (She sent me the postcard as a thank you.) Isn't it lovely?? I immediately started a "pear" poem. :) Thank YOU, Joy!!! You multi-talented poets inspire the heck out of me!

And here is another bit of loveliness I received that I haven't been able to stop thinking about, both picture and poem, from Diane Mayr:

photo by Russell Lee, courtesy of Library of Congress

On the Beach
by Diane Mayr

Not a body, I have no memory
of flesh -- but a thin, faded and
worn, cotton patchwork quilt

made me stop and gape.

I wanted to shake someone,
To yell, "What are you doing?"
How could you be so

careless as to bring family

history to the beach to
cradle your Coppertone
slicked sweating bodies?

Sand, salt, and the sun

will exact a toll on the
handiwork of your mother,
or grandmother, long-gone.

If only, I could finger

the yo-yos of the quilt that
once lay on her bed and say,
"Tell me, who made this?

And when. And where. And how?"

Isn't that great?? How many times have I wanted the answers to those same questions... alas. Thank you, Diane, for putting it in a poem. I will treasure it. And thanks again and again to Tabatha for running the Swap! SO inspiring and FUN!
fuseno8 July 11 2014, 08:16

Fusenews: Because nothing says “birthday” like Barbarsol



First and foremost, hello.  How are you?  Are you having a nice day?  So nice to see you here, but before we go any further I must tell you that you very much need to leave me.  Just for a little while.  As you may have heard, my book with Jules Danielson and Peter Sieruta, Wild Things: Acts of Mischief in Children’s Literature, is coming out August 5th.  To prepare, Jules and I have created a blog that posts a story a day that got cut from our final book.  Here’s what you may have missed so far:

Bunny 300x191 Fusenews: Because nothing says “birthday” like Barbarsol- A story about the greatest ALA Conference photo of all time.
- A tale of all the various authors and illustrators who have gotten advice from Maurice Sendak over the years.
- Advice on why you should never invite Hans Christian Andersen to stay the night.
- A tribute to everybody’s favorite Wicked Angel.
- Two rough broads / Newbery and Caldecott winners.
- A tribute to the fantastic Nancy Garden.

That said, here’s all the other news what wuz.

  • All the world is ah-buzz with the information that J.K. Rowling just released on Pottermore.  Rita Skeeter is still reporting (so no, there is no justice in the universe) and she has the scoop on 34-year-old Harry today, as well as his buddies.  For my part, I’m just socked that I’m only two years older than Harry.  Makes my crush on Snape that much more creepy, I guess.
  • One of my favorite blogs, Pop Goes the Page by the Cotsen Children’s Library, is turning one!  Best of all, if you send them your artistic birthday well-wishes, the selected winner will receive a $150 online shopping spree at Discount School Supply.  Not half bad!  Go do that thing.
  • Credit Martha Parravano for creating a quite incisive interpretation of the Caldecott winners and near misses of 2013.  Lots to chew on, even if you don’t always agree.
  • There were many reasons to attend this last ALA Conference in Vegas.  But three in particular are standing out for me today.  Reason #1: I could have seen Mo Willems and Daniel Handler sharing a stage at the same time.  THAT would be an event well worth witnessing.  Can I get a witness who was there?.  Reason #2: Starr LaTronica’s Shoes.
StarrShoes Fusenews: Because nothing says “birthday” like Barbarsol

Need I say more?

Reason #3: This blog got a little shout out in Brian Floca’s Caldecott speech.  See if you can spot where it is (hint: it’s not by name).

  • Anywho, I wasn’t able to attend that conference because of my pregnancy.  I also wasn’t able to attend this conference: The Second Annual 21st Century Nonfiction Conference.  Doggone it.  Held in lovely New Paltz, NY, I was pleased at least to see that my co-worker Amie Wright kicked butt and took names.  You can read a great write-up of the event here.
  • I know you have a lot going on today, but if you enjoyed watching Faerie Tale Theater with Shelley Duvall back in the day then maybe you’ll appreciate this catchy little ditty made out of all the times the charming host said, “Hello, I’m Shelley Duvall.”  I don’t do ringtones but if I had to choose one . . .
  • I can still remember it like it was yesterday.  Way back in 1992 I listened to a librarian read Sukey and the Mermaid by Robert D. San Souci (illustrated by Brian Pinkney) to a group of kids.  It was remarkable at the time, not just because it featured a black mermaid, but because it featured a mermaid at all.  I don’t know if you read my recent review of The Mermaid and the Shoe, but mermaid picture books aren’t exactly prevalent.  Well over at Latin@s in Kid Lit, Cindy L. Rodriguez has written the post Diversity Needed Under the Sea: Not All Mermaids Have Blond Hair and Blue Eyes.  Their focus is mostly YA, but it’s interesting to note that aside from Sukey, picture book mermaids of color are few and far between.  Fairies of color have it even worse.
  • Get out your fightin’ gloves.  SLJ has just launched the Up for Debate series.  Them’s fighting words (literally).
  • Daily Image:

Trying to figure out how we could pull this off in the States.  Over in Britain the Story Museum hired a photographer for its 26 Characters exhibition.  His mission?  To photograph famous authors as their favorite literary characters.  The image of Neil Gaiman as Badger from Wind in the Willows circulated a couple months ago.  Now more pics have been revealed and they are lovely.  Here are two . .

Philip Pullman as Long John Silver

PullmanSilver Fusenews: Because nothing says “birthday” like Barbarsol

Michael Morpurgo as Magwitch from Great Expectations

MorpurgoMagwitch 500x394 Fusenews: Because nothing says “birthday” like Barbarsol

Naturally I’m trying to figure out how we could do this here.  The Eric Carle Museum could host the images (we’d have a brief debate over whether or not photography is technically “illustration” and then decide ultimately that it was).  Or maybe the Rich Michelson Gallery could do it.  Then it’s a question of finding a photographer and picking the authors.  As for the costumes and make-up, Britain utilized The Royal Shakespeare Company.  Can’t really top that but it would be nice to get professionals involved. Pondering, pondering, pondering . . .

share save 171 16 Fusenews: Because nothing says “birthday” like Barbarsol

gk_npralmanac July 11 2014, 06:02

Jul. 11, 2014: The Writer's Almanac



Friday's Poem: "The Last Perfect Season" by Joyce Sutphen from After Words. Friday's Literary Notes: To Kill a Mockingbird was published on this date in 1960. Nelle Harper Lee started writing anecdotes about life in the South after she moved to New York City in 1949, but they just weren't coming together. The work she produced was good enough to land her an agent, who encouraged her, but in 1957 she became so frustrated that she threw her manuscript out the window of her apartment. Luckily for lovers of literature, she quickly repented and retrieved the pages. She completely dismantled what she had written, rebuilt it, and turned it into the book that would go on to win the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1961...
tabathayeatts July 11 2014, 04:57

13 Ways of Looking at a Roller Coaster


Worry is like a roller coaster ride that you think will take you somewhere, but it never does.
~Shannon L. Alder

Roller Coaster at Sea World, Surfers Paradise, Australia.
Photo by Marc Dalmulder.

Sharing another summer swap poem today. It makes my day to get a poem from a friend! And Heidi packaged hers so cleverly...

Tube o' poem. Thank you, Heidi!

13 Ways of Looking at a Roller Coaster
by Heidi Mordhorst
after Wallace Stevens

Among twenty showy amusements,
The only moving thing
Was the nose of the roller coaster.

I was of three stomachs,
Like a mouth
In which there are three roller coasters.

The roller coaster whirled in the summer winds.
It was a small part of the drama.

A boy and a girl
Are one.
A boy and a girl and a roller coaster
Are one.

I do not know which to prefer,
The terror of anticipation
Or the terror of compulsion
The roller coaster cresting
Or just after.

Popsicles filled the long line
With barbaric ice.
The shadow of the roller coaster
Crossed it, to and fro.
The mood
Traced in the shadow
An indecipherable scream.

O shorn boys of Highschool,
Why do you imagine golden coasters?
Do you not see how the silver coaster
Careens around the hands
Of the girls about you?

I know robust actions
And loose, inescapable rhythms;
But I know, too,
That the roller coaster is involved
In what I know.

When the roller coaster flew out of sight,
It marked the edge
Of one of many ellipses.

At the sight of roller coasters
Flying in a neon light,
Even the rowds of ecstasy
Would cry out harply.

He rode over Kings’ Dominion
In a fiberglass trap.
Once, a fear pierced him,
In that he mistook
The shadow of his peloton
For roller coasters.

The tarmac is melting.
The roller coaster must be climbing.

It was afternoon all morning.
It was shining
And it was going to shine.
The roller coaster sat
In the steely loops.


Isn't it wonderful? You can find the Poetry Friday round-up at Write Time.

alchemistskitch July 10 2014, 19:30

A Literary Magazine for the Ear - Drum Magazine


I rarely feel comfortable with the sound of my own voice. Perhaps I write because in conversation I never get it right. And yet, my interview with Kirun Kapur for Drum: A Literary Magazine for Your Ears makes me happy. Like many interviews these days, I pushed record and answered the questions speaking into my iphone. Kirun asked smart questions and I had time to think about them before responding. As someone who has sat on both sides of the microphone, I know the best interviews happen when the interviewee surprises herself with an answer, discovers some new aspect of (in this case) her own writing practice. I hope you enjoy. I know I did!

tadmack July 10 2014, 15:47

Thursday Review: ASK ME by Kimberly Pauley


If you were ever that kid who gobbled up Greek myths like popcorn, then, like me, you may have been a bit intrigued and mystified by those exalted yet still human personages, the oracles. Cloistered in a rarefied environment, like the Oracle of Delphi on her remote island; clad in diaphanous robes, inhaling volcanic vapors and spouting the wisdom of the ages…it's hard to imagine anything like that happening in modern times, unless you make a habit of visiting psychics and palm readers. Anyway, it's not institutionalized as a part of the popular religion in the same way.

Enter Ask Me, the latest novel by Kimberly Pauley, author of Cat Girl's Day Off (reviewed here) and the very hilarious Sucks to be Me (reviewed here). I loved the premise of this book. The narrator, Aria Morse, is…an Oracle. From a long line of oracles, stretching back through the ages and including among their ranks her very own grandmother, with whom she lives. And being an oracle isn't all fun and games and telling the future. In fact, it pretty well sucks—because she has to answer Every. Single. Question. Not just questions posed directly to her, either. Every question within earshot prompts a dramatic, declamatory answer from her Oracle Voice, whether she wants to respond or not. Whether the question is about the past, present or future, the answer is always the truth, but it's often worded so cryptically that it's impossible to interpret until much later.

So basically, Aria is the school freak, wherever she goes—she's constantly muttering (the only way she can deal with her constant compulsion to answer questions is to do it quietly) and usually goes around with her earphones in so she can avoid any unnecessary and inevitably awkward conversation. (If you've read my novel Underneath, you'll know I'm interested in the idea of paranormal powers being a mixed blessing.)

Here's what else is making Aria's life miserable: most oracles lose their powers by the time they turn seventeen or so. But Aria has passed her major milestone and STILL HAS HER ABILITY. Not only that, a girl she knows at school has disappeared, and Aria might be the only one who can help figure out who is responsible. The question is, can she do it without endangering her own life? And if she has to reveal her ability in order to solve the mystery, will anyone believe her?

I really enjoyed the conflict, internal and external, created by Aria's being an oracle. She repeatedly faces the decision of whether to trust people with her secret, and whom to trust, and the ramifications of allowing herself to reveal such a powerful secret. Pauley has a very thoughtful approach to the idea of what would truly be like to have an ability like this, and how it affects the way Aria moves through her world on an everyday basis. In fact, the attention to the everyday details of contemporary teen life was an intriguing and ongoing contrast to Aria's kind of old-school power of Orating the Truth.

On that note—a complaint I (accidentally) saw in a random review, as I was entering the title on Goodreads, addressed the fact that the book made little or no reference to the historical context of oracles in ancient Greece. While I will agree that it might have been cool (oh, let's face it; it could have been SUPER cool) to tie the story into some ancient prophecy or something-or-other, I suspect this is a standalone title and as such, it stands alone quite well as a contemporary novel without a historical thread. I still really enjoyed the book. And even though I kind of guessed whodunit fairly early on, the story kept me flip-flopping, wondering whether by guessing that X did it, I was just playing into the author's hands, and it was really Y, or even Z. A fun, fast, suspenseful read.

You can find Ask Me by Kimberly Pauley online, or at an independent bookstore near you!

This work is copyrighted material. All opinions are those of the writer, unless otherwise indicated. All book reviews are UNSOLICITED, and no money has exchanged hands, unless otherwise indicated. Please contact the weblog owner for further details.

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