Northshire Bookstore Celebrates Kids.

On a recent trip to Manchester Vermont, I stopped into the local Indie bookstore.  Boy am I glad I did!  NORTHSHIRE BOOKSTORE is located in what once was an inn – with three stories of goodies.  In addition to what I expected to find – BOOKS – there is so much more in this wonderful store.  Plenty of gift items, toys, games, clothing, and a cafe that serves local and homemade sandwiches, soups and baked goods. (I highly recommend the cream of asparagus soup). 

The store is over 10,000 square feet with one entire floor devoted to children.  It is a world dedicated to and celebrating all things kids.  So many books thoughtfully displayed to show off as many authors as possible.  They’re in alphabetical order, overlapping, but with enough peeking out to find your favorite title.

It made me curious as to why more bookstores don’t display their picture books like this.  At least an unknown author has a chance of “showing off” a title to the world.

 

 

The store also had a separate room for kids looking to interact with books and games.  Rocking chairs, bean bag chairs, and stuffed animals graced the floor.  Books, games and activities were displayed on shelves and tables begging kids to TOUCH and PLAY.

Who wouldn’t want to hang out in a room like this?  It looks like a playroom in your best friend’s house.

I would have happily spent DAYS in NORTHSHIRE BOOKSTORE.  Does anyone know of other amazing bookstores like this?  I’d love to add them to my list of “must-see” places on my next vacation.

Anyone who loves books should plan on a stop to this great store.

https://www.northshire.com/manchester-store

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INTERNATIONAL PEACE DAY: Celebrate a World of Peace.

International Peace Day was established by a United Nations resolution in 1981 (resolution 36/67). It was first held on the third Tuesday of September, starting in 1982. Beginning in 2002, the UN General Assembly changed the date, setting September 21st as the date for yearly celebration.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all conflict, everywhere, stopped for a day?  IMAGINE a world of peace.  As John Lennon said in his iconic song of the same title, if we can imagine it, we can make it happen.  Play the song, hold a peace vigil, light a candle, join hands and spread the message.  A picture book version of this iconic song is available:   https://t.co/4UNMtPv4xK https://t.co/MPVIEPOmnl

For a wonderful picture book that spreads the message of PEACE try: THE PEACE BELL by Margi Preus (Henry Holt 2008) For older kids there’s THE LAST CHERRY BLOSSOM by Kathleen Burkinshaw

Peace to  all nations – One. Day. At. A. Time.


Talk is Cheap:The Importance of Talking to Babies.

While most of us may know that talking to babies is crucial to language and vocabulary development, not all of us realize just how important it is.  It’s not just listing vocabulary; rich, varied language with good grammar trains babies’ brains to learn through context.   Instead of saying “Here’s a banana”, it would be better to say, “Let’s put the banana in the bowl with the oranges and apples.”  Speaking in long sentences is best.

The earlier we talk to babies, the better.  A baby’s brain processes information long before he is able to respond. Researchers have found a “language gap” among children from low income  backgrounds.  Children from affluent, professional families hear millions more words when they are ready to begin school than poor kids. WORDS ARE FREE and should be used liberally from infancy on.  It doesn’t cost anything to talk to a baby, but the payoff can be measured in better school performance and more self confidence.

So how can we “talk more” to babies?

1. Use rich, varied language and longer sentences.

2. Don’t just label items.  Make connections.  Instead of “The dog is wagging his tail”, it is more effective to say, “The dog’s fluffy tail is fatter than the cat’s skinny tail.”

3. Put down your phone and turn off the TV.  Neither help a baby learn language.  Babies require PERSONAL INTERACTION to learn.  Have a conversation about anything and everything.  Ex. “Mommy is going to make some lunch.  Let’s see what we have in the refrigerator.  How about a salad with lettuce, cucumbers, and tomatoes?  I need to slice the cucumbers and tomatoes with this knife.  Then I’m going to butter the bread and put the slices in this pan for grilled cheese sandwiches”.  You get the idea.  It doesn’t matter WHAT you talk about, just that you talk directly to the child.  Overhearing adult conversations doesn’t count.

4. Reading a book for just 10 minutes a day adds up to a lot of language.  If parents aren’t good readers, talk about the pictures.

5. Fit conversation around everyday activities.  Talk about what you’re doing when you bathe the baby, the clothes you are changing her into, the scenery you pass when you go out for a stroll, etc.

In this busy, plugged-in culture we live in, talking often gets pushed aside in favor of texting, social media and the like.  In an effort to communicate, we are cutting off opportunities to talk to one another.  To ensure that our babies and toddlers grow up to be self confident, do better in school and are better able to communicate with others, PUT DOWN THE DEVICES AND TALK!  Your baby will be better off.

New Voices Award for Unpublished Picture Book by Author of Color

Writing and Illustrating


Submit Your Picture Book Manuscript to the New Voices Award!

New Voices Award Winner sealSummer is right around the corner! That means the eighteenth annual NEW VOICES AWARD is now open for submissions. Established in 2000, the New Voices Award recognizes a picture book manuscript by an unpublished author of color. It was one of the first (and remains one of the only) writing contests specifically designed to help authors of color break into publishing, an industry in which they are still dramatically underrepresented.

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Celebrate…Tomatoes!

If your garden is anything like mine, there are still plenty of fresh tomatoes to enjoy before the chill of fall settles in. No garden?  Head out to your local produce stand and sample the heirloom varieties that are becoming popular. Why not have a simple TOMATO SALAD for lunch or dinner?     Eat them alone or with some crisp cucumber slices.

summer saladAdd just a drizzle of olive oil, salt and basil leaves (if desired).  I like it at room temperature to get the best flavor from the tomatoes.  You can also dice them and make a fresh SALSA by adding diced onion, diced green peppers (it’s up to you how hot you want them to be), and some chopped cilantro.

Celebrate nature’s bounty and enjoy TOMATOES!

Here’s a great picture book about tomatoes: LITTLE YELLOW PEAR TOMATOES  by Demian Elaine Yumei

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24864.Little_Yellow_Pear_Tomatoes

Joshua David Bellin Presents…FREEFALL a New Sci/Fi YA Thriller.

Falling into FREEFALL: By Joshua David Bellin

FREEFALL started out as a love story, plain and simple. But it became something more.

Back in 2013, I participated in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) for the first time. I’d read some YA space operas beforehand, and I had an idea for one of my own. As is typical for me, I plunged into the writing without much of a plan; all I knew was that I wanted to write a deep-space romance involving a teenage boy named Cam and a teenage girl named Sofie. I didn’t think much about who they were, how they met, or anything else. I just wrote.

But within days, it became apparent that my romantic leads were taking me in a direction I hadn’t foreseen. For a variety of reasons—the need to ramp up the tension between them, the desire on my part to delve into lives beyond the one I myself had lived as a teen—the two were diverging radically from each other, Cam becoming a pampered child of the elite, Sofie a revolutionary leader of the oppressed. Once that happened, the rest of the book took shape: Earth in the twenty-second century stratified into two societies, the Upperworld and the Lowerworld, with the planned colonization of outer space a battleground between the two. The romance between Cam and Sofie was still central, but the book was no longer purely a love story; it was also a science fiction satire about a world where corporations rule, space exploration has become privatized, and the struggle for justice extends from Earth into the deepest reaches of the galaxy.

Once this new conception was in place, the personalities of Cam and Sofie developed naturally and dramatically.  Cam is a guy who has no reason to care about anyone else—he comes from one of the richest families on Earth, he’s been sheltered from the world’s problems all his life, and he’s about to leave the planet anyway. But he chooses to care. At considerable risk to his own status (and life), he involves himself in the lives of others who lack the freedom to make the choices he can make. With Cam, I wanted to be sure he had no super-powers like so many YA heroes have, that he couldn’t do anything beyond what a normal person could do. It’s his choices, not his abilities, that define him.

With Sofie, the development of her character was even more striking. I love characters who change as I write them, who seem to be pushing against whatever limits I might unconsciously be imposing on them, because those characters seem the most real to me. Sofie was that kind of character; no sooner did I start writing than she took control and insisted on becoming a passionate spokeswoman for the voiceless. There’s a lot of talk in YA fiction about “kick-butt heroines,” and I think Sofie fits that description—except she fights not with her fists but with her mind, her words, and her faith. For her and Cam to trust one another, walls had to come down; for their love to survive, it had to face not only external opposition but their own fears and doubts. At last, I had a world worth fighting for, and a duo worth rooting for.

I sometimes ask myself whether I should plan out my novels more thoroughly before I start writing them. How, I wonder, would FREEFALL have developed if I’d done that? But I trust the creative process. I believe that when it comes to fiction, my intuition knows more than my intellect. And with FREEFALL, I’m convinced that readers will enjoy discovering this story as much as I did.

The fate of the human race hangs on the actions of two teens from very different backgrounds in this thrilling sci-fi adventure.

In the Upperworld, the privileged 1% are getting ready to abandon a devastated planet Earth. And Cam can’t wait to leave. After sleeping through a 1,000-year journey, he and his friends will have a pristine new planet to colonize. And no more worries about the Lowerworld and its 99% of rejects.

Then Cam sees a banned video feed of protesters in the Lowerworld who also want a chance at a new life. And he sees a girl with golden eyes who seems to be gazing straight through the feed at him. A girl he has to find. Sofie.

When Cam finds Sofie, she opens his eyes to the unfairness of what’s happening in their world, and Cam joins her cause for Lowerworld rights. He also falls hard for Sofie. But Sofie has her own battles to fight, and when it’s time to board the spaceships, Cam is alone.

Waking up 1,000 years in the future, Cam discovers that he and his shipmates are far off-course, trapped on an unknown and hostile planet. Who has sabotaged their ship? And does it have anything to do with Sofie, and the choices—and the enemies—he made in the past?

Joshua David Bellin has been writing novels since he was eight years old (though the first few were admittedly very short). A college teacher by day, he is the author of three science fiction novels for teens and adults: the two-part Survival Colony series (Survival Colony 9 and Scavenger of Souls) and the deep-space adventure Freefall. Josh loves to read, watch movies, and spend time in Nature with his kids. Oh, yeah, and he likes monsters. Really scary monsters.    

Links:

Website: http://www.joshuadavidbellin.com

Blog: http://theyaguy.blogspot.com/

Twitter: http://twitter.com/TheYAGuy

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/joshuadavidbellin

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7393959.Joshua_David_Bellin

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/joshuadavidbellin/

Freefall (Amazon): https://www.amazon.com/Freefall-Joshua-David-Bellin/dp/1481491652

Freefall (Barnes & Noble): https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/freefall-joshua-david-bellin/1125685808

Freefall (Simon & Schuster): http://www.simonandschuster.com/books/Freefall/Joshua-David-Bellin/9781481491655

Freefall (IndieBound): https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781481491655

Survival Colony 9 (Simon & Schuster): http://www.simonandschuster.com/books/Survival-Colony-9/Joshua-David-Bellin/9781481403559

Scavenger of Souls (Simon & Schuster): http://www.simonandschuster.com/books/Scavenger-of-Souls/Joshua-David-Bellin/9781481462440

 

 

 

 

 

HATE HAS NO HOME HERE:TEN WAYS TO FIGHT HATE

Despite what we see on TV and social media, there are more people opposed to hate than those who try to spread it.  All over the country people are fighting HATE and standing up against the forces of division, hatred, and oppression. When hate flares up, GOOD PEOPLE rise up against it, often in larger numbers and with stronger voices.  You can join this movement to fight hate.

Among the ways to fight hate: Act, Join Forces, Pressure Leaders, Support Victims, Educate Yourself, Create an Alternative.

To find out more about this important movement:

The Southern Poverty Law Center has a brochure that you can download: TEN WAYS TO FIGHT HATE. For your free copy visit

https://www.splcenter.org/20170814/ten-ways-fight-hate-community-response-guide

Be a force for good and join the fight against hate!