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Sea Change CCBC Best Book

The Canadian Children’s Book Centre (CCBC) has named Sea Change to the Best Books for Kids and Teens 2012 Spring list.

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Dylan Murray

Dylan Murray-Fantastic Film Maker and Amazing Editor

Dylan did the great work on the book trailer for Riot Act. He is a passionate film maker and editor and has studied film and video in high school for the last two years. He films and edits trailers and videos for school and personal projects. See his trailers on his youtube channel: dylmurray16. Want Dylan to create a book trailer for you? Contact him at dylmurray16@hotmail.com.

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Riot Act book trailer


Dylan created an amazing book trailer for Riot Act. Watch for my next post and learn more about  Dylan and the project. Thank you Dylan!

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Kids books for adults

 

A friend’s teen son recently handed her a book he’d just finished and said, “Maybe you and your book club want this one too– so you can read too much into it.”

Here are three reasons why adults are allowed to read kids’ books:

 

more...

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Hunger Games – Theme

I asked the grade 7 and 8 students at St. Alphonsus School which Hunger Games they preferred, book or movie. On both page and screen the action rockets. But what about the underlying plotline–theme and meaning? What about Katniss’s personal quest?

The movie stayed true to the book and some of the film imagery allowed a sharper focus on the big issues of political conflict. But the book kept us closer to Katniss as she grew from victim to survivor to victor. Hunger Games is about Katniss finding the courage to take back control. It’s about Katniss finding her voice. The movie left me wanting more from that scene with Rue.

Students at St. Alphonsus liked the book better and so did I. Which did you prefer?

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Why people riot

The St. Patrick’s Day riot in London, Ontario seems to lack an inciting incident. Some people got drunk and behaved badly; more joined in. There was no reason for it–no social injustice, no poverty or hunger. So why did ordinary people riot? What makes someone suddenly throw a brick at a police officer or torch a van?

 Mob mentality? Maybe. No one knows them and no one cares. And maybe it feels good to be part of something so viral. It’s a bit like the mania of a concert, or people rushing the doors for a big sale, or seeing a movie on opening weekend. Fervor catches.

The faceless crowd creates a perfect launch point for fiction because the rioter could be anyone, even you or me. Given the right context, we can identify.  How would you write this story?

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Vancouver Riot

 

Vancouver Stanley Cup riot June 15, 2011. It was a story waiting to be written.  It wasn’t about Game 7 of the Stanley Cup, or even about hockey. It was about hundreds and hundreds of people on the street, fueled by anger and mayhem. Ordinary people threw bricks and overturned cars. Ordinary people looted. Ordinary people poured into the site to watch and cheer. Police were overwhelmed by a city of bad guys, people like you or your brother or your kid. And the next day, ordinary people’s faces were pasted on Facebook: a few heroes; and hundreds and hundreds of villains.  Did you look for people you know?

On the face of it, Riot Act is about two guys in a riot. The thematic story is about identity– how the riot changes their sense of who they are. In big conflict like a riot, the distinction between hero and villain can be blurred. Daniel, the main character, says: whether a guy is bad or good depends on how you see it.

 And whether or not you get caught.

 

  Read more about Riot Act

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Everything is poetry

Everything is poetry—that’s a line from Nikki Tate’s new book, Fallout, published by Orca Book Publishers. Tara’s sister killed herself by stepping in front of a bus. Tara puts a keen steel edge to her grief in the form of spoken-word poetry—the novel is part wiry narration, part poetry. The poetry stands apart from the text, both in white space that surrounds it and intense imagery. It’s like a spotlight, and readers cannot resist its pull.

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Editors are heroes too

Conflict is good. Conflict forces change. In story, it’s a character’s inner conflict that compels the character to face the wreckage of their lives, learn something from it, and go forward. Frodo, Harry, Katniss: they face their inner villains. It’s what makes them heroes. This self-discovery defines the good guys—bad guys just never learn.

 In the backstage view, story is always a collaboration between writer and editor and it’s not always without conflict. Writers are generally good at editing their own work, but they only know what they know. An editor examines the story from a different distance—sometimes from farther out, sometimes from so painfully close that every comma seems under scrutiny. But that’s where the best work emerges. Writers do well to listen to their editors, to allow them space to do their job.

Thinking of turkey for some reason, and I remember a story about a woman who always hacked off a drumstick from the turkey before she put it in the roasting pan. When questioned, she said it was just the right way to do it, that her mother had done it that way and she did it that way and doesn’t everyone cut off a drumstick? Then her mother revealed that the only reason she cut off a drumstick was because her roasting pan was too small and the turkeys didn’t fit.

You only know what you know.

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Orca launches new titles

KL Denman, Christy Goerzen, Cristy Watson and Nikki Tate launched new reading last week at Kidsbooks South Surrey store. Check out these titles, all crafted for readers seeking quick, powerful fiction with accessible language and relevant themes.

KL Denman’s Stuff We All Get looks at the power of music and how it connects us. For Zack, music is light—he sees music in colours. Will he be blindsided by Jolene’s quest for the spotlight? Beautifully written. An Orca Currents book for middle school readers.

Christy Goerzen’s Farmed Out describes a very urban girl’s self-discovery at a goat farm. Laugh out loud moments—like Maddie’s new-age vegan mother communing with the livestock . An Orca Currents book for middle school readers.

Living Rough by Cristy Watson reveals the complexity of homelessness as seen through the eyes of a teenaged boy. Drawn from Cristy’s experience working with at-risk youth, Living Rough is credible and authentic. An Orca Currents book for middle school readers.

New for Nikki Tate and a new direction, Fallout speaks the language of grief and guilt as a teenaged girl struggles with her sister’s suicide. Spoken-word poetry creates intense emotional depth. Beautiful. An Orca Soundings book for readers 12 and up. 

These titles are available at Kidsbooks South Surrey and at kidsbooks.com. Thanks to Maggie at Kidsbooks for hosting.  Great store, Maggie. The young readers on my shopping list are going to love the titles you recommended.

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