Thursday, May 28, 2015

Movie Magic by Julie Mata - Guest Post and Giveaway - May 2015

Mata, Julie. Kate Walden Directs: Bride of Slug Man. Disney-Hyperion, 2015. 288p. $16.99. 9781423194606.

from Goodreads:
After her huge success with her first feature-length movie, seventh-grader Kate Walden is eager to start on her next film, a sci-fi romance called Bride of Slug Man. When a new kid comes to town from New York City, Kate thinks she might have a new found film buddy-someone to share her interest with. And it doesn't hurt that he's pretty cute. But it turns out that Tristan is making his own movie, and now the classmates Kate thought were eager to join her cast and crew are divided.

With rumors spreading in school and between sets, Kate finds herself juggling more than just call times and rewrites. And judging from the whispers Kate hears about Tristan Kingsley,she suspects that he isn't interested in having a fellow film-buff friend; he just wants to prove himself as the best filmmaker in school by winning the Big Picture Film Festival. Kate vows to enter too, and tries to focus on just making the best movie she can.

But between the cutthroat popularity contest, a bully situation that goes from bad to worse, and several on-set mishaps, Kate is going to need all the movie magic she can get to make sure Bride of Slug Man hits the big-screen

Read on to find out what Julie Mata has learned about director's tips and how she incorporated those into the Kate Walden series.

Movie Magic 

in 

Kate Walden Directs: Bride of Slug Man


By Julie Mata


In the movie Super 8, there’s a moment when a band of kids is shooting a movie scene at a train depot late at night. Suddenly, a real train hurtles out of the darkness toward them. The director, a kid named Charles, shouts “Production Value!” and feverishly tries to film while the train is passing by. This scene makes me laugh because it’s so true. Directors will do almost anything to add extra sizzle—also known as production value—to their movies.

In Kate Walden Directs: Bride of Slug Man, twelve-year-old Kate is dying to make a science fiction movie but her best friend longs to star in a romance. In Kate’s mind, flying saucers and aliens add sizzle. Romance does not. Throughout the story, she bounces between wanting to keep her friends happy and trying to make the epic sci-fi flick of her dreams.

One of the great parts of writing about a character who makes movies is that I get to research all kinds of fun filmmaking facts. To get ideas for a flying saucer, I laughed through the epically bungling movie Plan Nine from Outer Space, which won director Ed Wood the dubious title of Worst Ever Movie Director. Ed didn’t have a budget for fancy special effects so he tied fishing line to a toy UFO and dangled it in front of the camera. In an homage to Wood, and because it’s exactly what a twelve-year-old would do (sorry, Ed), Kate gets her UFO shots the same way.

Kate even uses a technique called forced perspective to make her flying saucer look life size. It’s all about putting small objects close to the camera lens to make them look huge, and placing people far off in the distance to make them look small. Kate feels pretty pro when she learns that Steven Spielberg used the same technique in Close Encounters of the Third Kind to make a model ship tanker look real. (And I felt pretty pro writing about it.)

Of course, some of the lessons Kate learns can’t be found in a moviemaking how-to manual. She learns the hard way that you don’t have to be a big-time Hollywood director to end up with a big-time Hollywood ego. She also struggles with bullies, friendship dramas, and wardrobe malfunctions while trying to finish her movie.

Writing about Kate has allowed me to combine two of my passions—moviemaking and writing. I’m no Spielberg but I did write and direct a short film once called Bus Driver. You can check it out on YouTube but be warned, it doesn’t have cool flying saucers or alien creatures from Mars. I guess I was out-sizzled by my own MC.


About the Author

Julie Mata grew up outside Chicago and currently lives in Wisconsin, where she owns a video production business with her husband.. She loves movies and once wrote and directed her own short film. She also loves traveling, gardening, and reading a really good book. Her first book was Kate Walden Directs: Night of the Zombie Chickens. For more information, including a downloadable curriculum guide and a filmmaking tip of the month, visit her website: juliemata.com.

Find Julie on Twitter: @juliehmata

Kate Walden Directs: Bride of Slug Man - Book Trailer


Find more Kate Walden videos on her YouTube Channel! 

You can receive a copy of BOTH Kate Walden Directs: Night of the Zombie Chickens and Kate Walden Directs: Bride of Slug Man! US Only. One entry per person/email. Ends 6/4/15 11:59 pm.


Stops on the Blog Tour

Monday, May 18
GreenBeanTeenQueen
Wed. May 20
Once Upon a Story
Thurs, May 21
Read Now, Sleep Later
Fri, May 22
Curling Up with a Good Book
Tues, May 26
The Haunting of Orchid Forsythia
Wed, May 27
BookHounds YA
Thurs, May 28
The Brain Lair
Fri, May 29
Kid Lit Frenzy

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Top Ten Graphic Novels - #FreeComicBookDay

Woot! Today is Free Comic Book Day! Use FreeComicBookDay.com's store locator to find a store near you!

If you are looking for some graphic novels to buy, here are the Top Ten Graphic Novels checked out by The Stanley Clark School students (summaries from Goodreads):












Bake Sale by Sara Varon
Cupcake’s life is pretty good. He’s got his bakery, and his band, and his best friend, Eggplant. His days are full of cooking, socializing, and playing music. But lately, Cupcake has been struggling in the kitchen. He’s sure the solution to all his problems is out there somewhere. But maybe that solution is hiding closer to home.

Cardboard by Doug TenNapel
When cardboard creatures come magically to life, a boy must save his town from disaster.

Smile by Raina Telgemeier
From the artist of BSC Graphix comes this humorous coming-of-age true story about the dental drama that ensues after a trip-and-fall mishap.

The Amulet Series by Kazu Kibiushi
Graphic novel star Kazu Kibuishi creates a world of terrible, man-eating demons, a mechanical rabbit, a giant robot---and two ordinary children on a life-or-death mission. 

The Bone Series by Jeff Smith
After being run out of Boneville, the three Bone cousins, Fone Bone, Phoney Bone, and Smiley Bone, are separated and lost in a vast uncharted desert.

El Deafo by CeCe Bell
2015 Newbery Honor. Starting at a new school is scary, even more so with a giant hearing aid strapped to your chest! At her old school, everyone in Cece's class was deaf. Here she is different. She is sure the kids are staring at the Phonic Ear, the powerful aid that will help her hear her teacher. Too bad it also seems certain to repel potential friends. 

Bad Island by Doug TenNapel
Something on this island is up to no good . . .

Dumbest Idea Ever by Jimmy Gownley
Jimmy Gownley's graphic novel memoir about the "dumb" idea that changed his life forever!

Naruto series by Masashi Kishimoto
Naruto is a ninja-in-training with a need for attention, a knack for mischief and, sealed within him, a strange, formidable power. (technically manga but they love it.)

Trickster: Native American Tales edited by Matt Dembicki
Meet the Trickster, a crafty creature or being who disrupts the order of things, often humiliating others and sometimes himself in the process. Whether a coyote or rabbit, raccoon or raven, Tricksters use cunning to get food, steal precious possessions, or simply cause mischief.

Today is also Independent Bookstore day! So find your local independent bookseller here and go shopping!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Take 5 for Kids Comics Joey Weiser - Blog Tour



Celebrate kids comics with Q&As with fantastic children’s cartoonists for Children’s Book Week! Join us as great authors talk about their own creative work and the graphic novel industry throughout April and May. Comics for kids are reaching a time of unprecedented acceptance in the American literary scene, and it’s now true that there are comics for everyone. All interviews are conducted by Jorge Aguirre and Rafael Rosado (Dragons Beware!).






RAFAEL/JORGE:  Hi, Joey, thanks for
answering our questions. We're both fans of Mermin the Merman from Mer, which incidentally, is a fun thing to say. Mermin the Merman from Mer.  Mermin the Merman from Mer.  Okay, and now for the questions...



QUESTION: We like this quote of yours from an FCBD Interview, "Each book I do is a reaction to the one before it. They use things I’ve learned from the previous experience, building on positives and negatives that I see when analyzing the book I just completed." What did you learn from "The Ride Home" that informed the Mermin series? And what are you learning from Mermin, that's informing your next work?

Joey Weiser: The Ride Home was pretty straight-forward, following a single character from point A to B to C.  With my next book, Cavemen in Space, I played around with having a big cast of characters and watching their storylines intersect.  Mermin is a little of both:  There is one central character, but the supporting characters have large roles, especially as the series progresses. 

The biggest difference in Mermin might be that it’s a series.  I’m enjoying being able to spend a lot of time developing the characters over multiple volumes, and learning a lot from that experience, but I’m also looking forward to returning to a single-volume graphic novel after I come to a stopping point with Mermin.  I think I’ll try to put as much character development, action, and fun into my next book as I can!

QUESTION (FROM JORGE):  You went to Savannah College of Art & Design.  My nephew is going to start going there this Fall.  What advice do you have for young artists going to art school?  What should they be focus on while at school so they can make a living working in the arts once they graduate?

Joey Weiser: I think that a lot of people know that both your professors and your fellow students are great resources to learn from and grow while in college.  However, I think it should be stressed that it’s up to YOU to push yourself as hard as you can, make the decisions to take the hard classes that may seem like a pain but will ultimately help you the most, and do the absolute best on your work that you can.

QUESTION: What comic would you recommend to a kid starting to read graphic novels today?

Joey Weiser: The first book that comes to mind is Jeff Smith’s Bone.  It’s absolutely one of my favorite comics of all time, great for kids, and made me the cartoonist I am today.

QUESTION: What are you working on now?

Joey Weiser: I am finishing up my next Mermin graphic novel, Mermin Book 4: Into Atlantis.  After the events of the last book, we get to explore Atlantis, the other undersea kingdom besides Mer!  Look for it this Fall!

Besides that I do fairly regular work for SpongeBob Comics, and other things here and there.  I’m also in the middle of a giant sketch project, Daily Dragon Ball, where I am drawing just about every character from Akira Toriyama’s Dragon Ball in order of appearance.  You can follow that at http://dailydragonball.tumblr.com/

QUESTION:  What's on your nightstand?


Joey Weiser: I’ve just begun reading Eiji Tsuburaya: Master of Monsters, a biography/photo book of the man behind the special effects for classic Japanese monster movies and television like Godzilla and Ultraman.  I love that stuff!

Wait - there's more! Check out this schedule!


































Monday, April 20, 2015

Dragons Beware! - BATTLE CRY!

Aguirre, Jorge. Dragons Beware. First Second Books (Macmillan), May 2015. $14.99. 160p. 9781596438781.

Amazon
| Indiebound

Genre: Fantasy, Graphic Novel
Cover Appeal: CHARGE! All the kids will want this. All of them.

From the publisher:
Scrappy Claudette sets out once again with her pal Marie and her little brother Gaston to right wrongs and fight evil. And this time, it's personal. Claudette is out to get the dragon who ate her father's legs...and his legendary sword. But as usual, nothing is as simple as it seems, and Claudette is going to need Marie and Gaston's help more than ever. Funny, fast, high-energy storytelling in an inventive and perilous fantasy landscape makes Dragons Beware! a fantastic follow-up to 2012's middle-grade hit Giants Beware!

Are you ready for Claudette! Well, she's back! 

Check out how some kids are helping Claudette come up with the BEST BATTLE CRY! Dragons Beware!!


video

Are you psyched yet? Hop on over to the Dragons Beware site to see some additional videos and some inside pages! May 12th can't get here soon enough!

Friday, April 17, 2015

My Soul Looks Back

I have read my share of window books.

And your share.

And your share.

And your share.

I have read so many window books,
I'm afraid to read a mirror book.

For fear I may no longer recognize myself,
and the mirror shatters.


Friday, April 10, 2015

Honey Ma'am

Sigh.

Will I Ever
Tire
of being upset
when
The worker half my age
calls me
Honey?

No.

Isn't it Better
Than
Ma'am?

No.

What if they said "thankyousomuchforvisitingourestablishment,werecognizewewouldnothaveajobherewithoutyourcontinuedpatronage, Honey, Ma'am."

No.

No, honey.
No, ma,am.





Thursday, March 26, 2015

We The Children - #SOLC 26

When the kid graduated from 5th grade they sang We The Children by Parachute Express. It is a weird song meant to make parents feel sentimental. As we listened to it on our drive home, a few lines really stood out for me:

Every act of kindness has a way of being passed along
we are all a deep reflection of the lessons we've been shown
...
we the children are golden
and we the children are light
we dance on the top of the mountain
we shine like stars in the night...

And for reasons known only to my neurologist, I started thinking about all the librarians I know. How they are out there shining like stars in the night. How they define what it means to be a school librarian - which has no definition because school librarian work to reflect what their schools need. So your school librarian may not do the things that his or her school librarian does. And that's ok. We are all reflections of the lessons we've been shown. Whether that's a lesson from my friend Sherry and your librarian is out there moving and shaking and post-it noting window displays, or playing guitar like my friend Andy, or maybe your librarian is hosting a podcast like Matthew, or giving you the lowdown like Kurt, or is your librarian showing you the hidden gems of picture book design like Travis? Do you have the kind of librarian that has made all the books easily accessible and gone Dewey-free like Shannon? Maybe your school librarian also teaches English classes like Megan? Is your librarian doing Maker Mondays like Stacey? Providing an advisory resource like Jen? 

Some of my librarian friends head committees and some travel around helping other teachers and librarians. They are book experts,, technology experts, student experts. 

And these things I mention are only a very small fraction of what they do every day. EVERY SINGLE DAY. 

They are the children. They are the light. They are the librarians.


Last of the Sandwalkers by Jay Hosler- Blog Tour


Hosler, Jay. Last of the Sandwalkers. First Second Books (Macmillan), April 2015. 320pg. $16.99. 9781626720244.

Affiliate Links: Amazon | Indiebound

Genre: Science Fiction, Graphic Novel
Cover Appeal: Bug on a skeleton? All the middle school kids will want this!


(from the publisher) Nestled in the grass under the big palm tree by the edge of the desert there is an entire civilization—a civilization of beetles. In this bug's paradise, beetles write books, run restaurants, and even do scientific research. One such scientist is Lucy, who leads a team of researchers out into the desert. Their mission is to discover something about the greater world...but what lies in wait for them is going to change everything Lucy thought she knew.

Beetles are not the only living creatures in the world.



Character Name: Bugs
Species: Atemeles pubicollis
Length: 4 - 5 mm
Color: golden brown.
Habitat: ant colonies
Superpower: Olfactory deception

No one likes a freeloader, but you have to admire the evolutionary adaptations of the rove beetle Atemeles pubicollis. This small beetle has cracked the top secret communication codes of various ant species and uses the information to infiltrate their nests.

Ants communicate with each other using odors. Their eyes aren’t so hot, but they have great sniffers, capable of detecting the difference between family and foes. At least, most of the time they can. The problem with relying on a highly specific code for communication is that if someone else cracks the code, they can really take advantage of the system. Over evolutionary time, Atemeles has evolved the ability to mimic not one, but two of the chemical cues used by certain ants. It can release odors from its appeasement gland to calm guard ants. Most ants are pretty aggressive, so the beetle’s appeasement gland makes it possible for it to approach the colony. Once it has made nice with the guard, it releases another odor that smells just like a baby ant. Since the ant can’t see very well, it trusts its sense of smell and carries the beetle into the colony. Once in, Atemeles can much away on baby ants and enjoy the full protection of the colony.

In addition to being a master of olfactory disguise, Atemeles and other rove beetles are pretty good at origami. Kinda, sorta. Most beetles have long wing covers (called elytra) that extend the length of their bodies and cover their abdomens. A rove beetle has very short elytra. This makes if possible to have a much more maneuverable abdomen (good for waving deceptive odors in the face of ants), but it means you have less space to pack your wings. To that end, rove beetles have become quite good at folding their long wings under their little elytra. You can watch the process in slow motion in these videos (provided as supplementary material for an article in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences).

In Last of the Sandwalkers, our beetle heroes learn the hard way that even though the beetle Atemeles smells fishy to them, ants have a hard time sniffing out the truth.

About the Author
Jay Hosler is a biology professor at Juniata College, and a cartoonist. He enjoys telling stories about science and the natural world, and his first graphic novel (Clan Apis) won a Xeric Award and was selected for YALSA's 2002 Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults. His latest book, Evolution: The Story of Life on Earth, was a 2011 Junior Library Guild selection, a nominee for YALSA's 2012 Great Graphic Novels for Teens, and has been included in the Texas Library Association's Maverick Graphic Novel Reading List. He lives in central Pennsylvania with his wife and his two little nerdlings.


DON'T MISS ANY STOPS ON THE BLOG TOUR! EACH STOP REVEALS A DIFFERENT BEETLE!

Tuesday, March 24
Seven Impossible Things
Wednesday, March 25
Great Kid Books
Thursday, March 26
The Brain Lair
Friday, March 27
Supernatural Snark
Monday, March 30
The Book Rat
Tuesday, March 31
Miss Print
Wednesday, April 1
Mr. Schu Reads
Thursday, April 2
Geek Dad
Friday, April 3
Cuddlebuggery
Monday, April 6
Librarian’s Quest
Tuesday, April 7
SLJ Scope Notes
Wednesday, April 8
Alice Marvels
Thursday, April 9
The Roarbots
Friday, April 10
Sharp Read

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Always Remember - #SOLC 25

Always Remember by Train

Every single time this song come on, I remember my mom. And it feels like someone is reaching inside my chest and squeezing my heart. I miss her so much. It's hard to believe that she's gone. I wish I had spent more time with her. Every.Single.Time.I.Hear.It. You would think I would remove it from my iTunes.

I don't because I loved her. I want to remember her. I still love her. And I will always remember.

"Always Remember"

Always remember I'm by your side
Such a shame that you had to go
So much more that I'd like to know
So many things you forgot to show me how to do

When times are hard I forget you're gone
I go to call you before it dawns on me
That you won't be there now
But I still have these words that you gave me

Always remember I'm by your side
Always remember I'm by your side

I got two kids of my own now
They grow up so fast
And how I wish you did not miss that part of who I am
But I keep doing all that I can do
And I will smile when they ask about you
And I will sing to them every day
With the voice and the words that you used to say
Will change the world one day

Always remember I'm by your side
Always remember I'm by your side

And while they grow up you will show up
In things they do and say
Like a reflection to a connection
Of who they'll be one day
They will learn to get their wings
And fly through the changes life will bring
So on
And it will go on
And you will go on

And they will sing with the voice that you gave them
Always remember I'm by your side
Always remember I'm by your side
I'm by your side
I'm by your side


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

I Woke Up Like This - #SOLC 24

The kid and I spent two days in Mall of America. If you know anything about me, you know I don't like shopping - it involves people and interacting with them.

Anyway.

We had an awesome time! Hanging out with this almost grown-up, chit-chatting, and discussing the people. It's hard to believe she's nearly done with her first year of college.

Of course, this means that I will need to grow-up soon.

Sigh.


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