but an awesome kids book


Edgar Cantero’s head-kick of a novel about damaged adults who used to be spunky kid detectives mixes bright, pulpy cartoon nostalgia with some seriously dark trauma-survivor subtext.

Critic Jason Sheehan says, “Look, I loved this book end to end and I am using my position as Deputy Commander of the NPR Nerd Army to instruct all of you to read it immediately, because it is funny and sad and tragic and pulpy, all in the best possible way.”

In ‘Meddling Kids,’ The Scooby Gang Grows Up — Hard

The Girl on the Bench

warnings: strong language, creepy dude that harrasses her, violence

A/N: I feel like this isn’t good but here it is anyway. It didn’t go how I thought it would but who doesn’t want a girl kicking ass right?

Y/N sat on the same bench everyday, at the same time, reading some book that was thicker than Peter’s arm. Everyday she’d be there and everyday he would watch her from a roof top before swinging away to protect the city.

That same bench is where she sat now. On the roof of an apartment building is where Peter stood, looking at the girl like she was an angel. She looked beautiful with her bright Y/E/C eyes and soft Y/H/C hair that she covered with a delicate  knit hat. Peter felt like he was looking at the sun when he saw her.

He came across her by chance one evening while on patrol. He scaled the very same building he was standing on now and glanced over the area before his eyes settled on Y/N.

He remembers she was had her hair down that day, and she wore a sweater with a “Star Wars” pun on the front. Wow she’s perfect.

When he told Ned about her he had to swear to him he wasn’t stalking the girl. “I only check on her Ned. I don’t sit around just staring at her”.

Just when Peter turned his head away from the girl on the bench he heard a commotion.

“What’s a pretty girl like you doing out here all by yourself?”

Y/N didn’t glance up. People don’t normally bother her so she ignored the man.

“Hey, I’m talking to you!”

Y/N finally looked at him, confusion written all over her face. “I’m sorry, I don’t know you.”

“You wanna know me baby? We can have some real fun.” His smile was sickening and creepy. “No, just leave me please.”

Peter saw her inch away from the guy, but the man only moved closer. Peter had to act now before something happened. He swung down from the building and moved up behind him. Peter tapped his shoulder. “Excuse me can you help me find ‘Don’t harass women street’ I’ve been looking everywhere and I just can’t seem to-”

“The fuck you just say punk?” The guy turned around. To anybody else his size would be intimidating, but to Peter this guy’s workouts were pointless against him. “Spider-man huh,” he laughed, “back off yeah? I’m just talking to this sweet thing, no big deal.” He turned back to Y/N.

“What do ya say baby, let’s head back to my place.”

“I’m only fifteen you creep. Now I’ve already asked you to leave me alone and if you don’t turn and walk away right now I’ll turn you into a fucking pretzel.”

Peter’s jaw dropped. Did she really just say that? 

The creep only laughed more. “That’s a dirty thing to say girl. You really need to work on that foul mouth of yours.”

“I warned you,” she said. Then Y/N jumped up, dropping her book into a puddle and beat the hell out of him. She was swinging fist, kicking his ribs, and looking like she just walked out of a “Taken” movie. Well she really didn’t need Spider-man at all did she.

“Now walk away shit head.” The guy crawled away gasping out profanities.

Peter watched him go until he heard her voice. “Thanks for coming to my rescue. I’m sorry you had to hear that, and that it came to violence.” She was leaning down to pick up her soaked book.

“Are you kidding? That was awesome!” The girl giggled and looked away. “Oh come on you can’t be shy after all that.”

She smiled brightly at him. “I guess I just feel like I’m meeting a celebrity or something.”

“And here I am meeting a ninja.”

She laughed even harder. “Say’s the boy who climbs walls.”

“Fair enough.”

“I’m Y/N,” she held her hand out.

“I’m Spider-man.”

“Fair enough.”


BOOOOY, I’ve found my childhood.

One day, when I was 5 or 6, my aunt gave me a book my cousin had grown up from already. It was “The Emperor of Shadows” (”Император Теней”) by Roman Kanushkin, with illustrations… Some of which you can see here.

The book itself is no less scary and gorgeous as the last black winged unicorn with fire-rainbow mane. It’s about a little boy and… whatever a thing his friend is, who travel the parallel (old and dying) universe trying to  save their uncle and the world itself. There were mad from grieving Restlesses, a langolier-like thing which eats the time and space itself, the wind which turns friends into enemies, insane creatures, Lovecraftian setting and lots of other creepy as the Old One’s shit things. In addition, the atmosphere was so melancholic that it could rival Dark Souls. And yep, it was for kids. Should I mention that it was my absolutely favorite book back then?

What memories.

Short opinion: This is the best book.  Not the best Animorphs book, just the best book of all time.  Period.

Long opinion:

This is one of those books where plot and character are difficult to sort out, because the plot is so character-driven and the characters are so influential to the plot that they are irreparably wrapped up in each other—and the entire story is driven by the protagonists’ agency.  This book opens and closes on Jake’s dreams, and in that first dream sequence he’s this tiny, helpless human in the face of this ginormous cosmic power.  I love that this scene draws attention to the fact that Jake first encountered Crayak under circumstances when he was literally the most helpless he’s ever been in his life: Jake is literally paralyzed because of the dying yeerk inside his brain when he suddenly finds himself facing down this malicious all-knowing deity.  In that scene Jake describes himself as the “keeper” of his brother’s memories (Have I mentioned the Cain parallels recently?), foreshadowing both the fact that by the end of the book he’ll be the only being with Howler DNA or memories in the whole universe, and the fact that by the end of the series he’ll be the only being with Tom’s memories in the universe.

The next scene with the kids watching a production of Lion King (funny how that plot hinges on the villain killing his older brother…) in a way that makes them utterly themselves: Rachel is pretty much daring a guy to try and hit on her so she can release a little pent-up frustration on a harasser, Marco is pulling ridiculous stunts to get Jake to laugh, Cassie is totally zoned out because let’s be real she doesn’t give a crap about the fine arts, and Jake is enjoying the peace and quiet for a bit while also not giving a crap about the fine arts.  When Ax shows up he’s totally confused but goes into hyper-protective mode toward his team anyway, and when Tobias pops up he figures out in two seconds flat what it took everyone else a few minutes to catch on to: this is the Ellimist at work.  

One of my favorite subtle moments in the series is when Marco snarks at the Ellimist about the pinnacle of ketran evolution being the ability to look like a teenager with braces, and then almost immediately has a silent freak-out because he just sassed a divinity.  I really love how Marco’s quick thinking gets him in trouble almost as much as it gets him out, and how it shows that even his clever one-liners are a coping mechanism rather than a calculated attempt to appear cool.  His inability to get through a stressful situation without making dumb jokes literally almost gets the kids killed in #30 and #42, and here he has the good sense to realize that the Ellimist is the absolute last person he should be mocking—about ten seconds after he’s already gone and done it.

Also, Jake and Rachel’s relationship in this book is heartbreaking and awesome.  When the kids first learn about the conflict with the Iskoort they’re understandably reluctant to get involved in yet another cosmic war but Rachel especially argues that they shouldn’t get themselves killed needlessly in a conflict that has nothing to do with the yeerks… Until Jake admits that Crayak has been harassing him in his dreams.  Rachel does a one-eighty to “No Crayak space monster is gonna beat up on my cousin” the millisecond she finds out (#26).  Marco also jumps sides of the argument immediately with an eye to defending Jake, and before they know it they’re already off to the races.  Later on, just before the final battle, Rachel literally holds Jake in her arms in grizzly morph while he becomes a Howler for the first time, because she’s the only person Jake trusts to kill him without hesitation if he loses control of the morph.  These two share a level of trust—Jake trusts Rachel to defend his life, but also more importantly to know when to end his life when the cost of defending it would be too high, and Rachel has exactly the same level of trust in Jake—that we don’t see with any other pair on the team.  It goes way, way beyond their simple shared willingness to get their hands dirty; it’s about trusting each other with their lives but also with their deaths.  

This is also the book where (if he didn’t already have it) Jake definitely earns the title of “war-prince.”  Not only does he fight a battle against two infinitely more powerful beings and win, not only does he outmaneuver the most deadly alien species the kids ever face using the power of love, but he also plays the part of Team Mom throughout this nightmarish field trip while just as scared and lost as everyone else present.  He takes the time to check on Cassie in the middle of the night while also terrified the Howlers will attack at any moment.  He gently talks Marco down when Marco’s about to panic at the sheer foreignness of the situation.  He not-so-gently calls Erek on the fact that Erek is lying by omission for large parts of this book.  All the while he also weighs and balances everything he knows about the Howlers and the Iskoort, constantly gathering more information (frequently at risk to his own life, as with that awesome-nutso gambit with jumping off a cliff to acquire Howler DNA) until eventually he figures out the motivations of everyone else jerking him around.  He describes himself as “an ant on a chessboard,” but that doesn’t mean he can’t learn how to play.  By the end of the book he’s thinking on the same level as the Ellimist and Crayak, while also viscerally understanding the ordinary Howler or Iskoort.  As Rachel’s bulletin board says:  ’“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the results of a hundred battles.’ - Sun Tzu” (#4).  

Jake also verbally embraces the title of “prince” for the first (possibly only) time in the series during this book, twice ordering Ax to defend his own life against the Howlers.  Jake doesn’t totally get andalite culture, evident in the fact that he’s not sure why Ax cares so much about having run from an unwinnable battle.  But he also knows and understands (and cares about) Ax, enough so to grasp that what Ax needs is the reassurance of his prince that he didn’t do anything wrong.  Jake has to practically step on Rachel’s toes to stop her from volunteering for the suicide mission (because of course) but he does it, aware that Ax will view this as a chance to reaffirm his place on the team and regain what “honor” he lost by running from the Howler.  Jake is never comfortable with the leadership role, and least comfortable of all when someone puts a formal title on his leadership.  However, he also understands that when Ax is literally ready to die in order to affirm his place on the team, the whole “prince” bit is not about him; it’s about helping Ax.  And so he calls himself Ax’s prince, not once but twice, in order to save Ax’s life.  Because it’s what needs doing in order to keep the team alive.  

In addition to the spot-on characterization and the mind-bogglingly huge plot, this book also has some vicious commentary on philosophy of war.   Marco actually calls Erek on the fact that, when the Animorphs are about to be slaughtered by a far more powerful enemy, Erek’s decision not to act is an action in and of itself.  Maybe Erek doesn’t have a choice about not causing harm, even at the expense of preventing a murder, but Erek also sure as hell does not have the moral high ground.  Pacifism is not a righteous course of action in the face of atrocity, and Erek standing by to watch his friends get slaughtered—knowing all the while that the entire Iskoort species also hangs in the balance—is not the moral high ground.  Jake actually feels loathing for the Pemalites as he frantically flies back toward the hopeless battle that might have cost Cassie and Rachel their lives, thinking that he’ll never forgive them if they got his friends killed with their short-sighted, obsessive nonviolence when they programmed the Chee.  

The social comment in this book isn’t a particularly comforting or comfortable one (but then when are they ever, in Animorphs books?) but it is an important message: that the world is an ugly place in which simple neutrality is the prerogative of the privileged.  One cannot call oneself moral simply by standing by and refusing to fight back while evil triumphs (X).  As Cassie points out to Jake, only slave owners and Nazis have ever had the luxury of branding entire groups of people as uniformly evil and one’s own cause as uniformly good (#26).  In order to stop a terrible wrong, the kids have to commit a terrible wrong.  The war is not won through anything as easy as standing on principle, because no lofty abstract principle ever works in 100% of cases in the real world.  Erek is no better or worse than any of the kids because he is held to a certain standard of behavior by external constraints; even an idea as pure as “do no harm” does not stand up when one has the chance to stop genocide and cannot.  

Crayak understands the idea better than the Pemalites did, when he designs the Howlers: the opposite of love isn’t hate; it’s indifference (X).  The Chee aren’t programmed to hate—or to love—any other species.  

More specifically, this book also calls Erek out on his tendency to consider himself above the Animorphs because of his nonviolence.  Erek is every bit as vengeful (bloodthirsty, even) as Ax or Rachel throughout this whole conflict, but he also refuses to acknowledge that fact.  He conveniently forgets to mention the fact that the Howlers are innocent (relatively speaking) in their childish indifference to death and ignorance of failure until Jake also discovers that fact.  Years before the Animorphs use Erek to do their dirty work in the fight against Tom’s yeerk, Erek uses them to do his dirty work through setting up the fight with the Howlers and letting them annihilate another species without even having all of the facts about who they’re fighting.  

The motif is writ large throughout the series: war is won through sacrifice, and most of those sacrifices are not as clean or glorious as simply dying for one’s cause.  Erek stands by, choosing to give up the fight after only one battle turns too ugly for his liking (#10), and as a result the entire species of Howlers gets wiped out by Crayak.  As a result of his later actions, both Tom and Rachel get killed and the Blade ship remains free to conquer another planet (#53).  And yet this is a being who (allegedly) never hurts anyone for any reason.  Erek is self-righteous, vengeful, and morally hypocritical.  That fact gets a little lost in books like #20, #32, or #45, but here Jake makes the contrast between his friends—who are running headlong into a deadly battle for the sake of some yeerk-descendants—and the Chee—who are forced to stand by and risk nothing with nothing gained—painfully clear.  

This book offers no simple answers, and it shows that in war, there are no simple answers.  However, it also ends with Jake surrounded by his friends, taking triumph from the fact that he’s just a helpless little human facing down a malicious all-knowing deity whose ass he just kicked.  USING THE POWER OF LOVE.  Have I mentioned that this is the best book ever written?  


We’re celebrating LGBT Pride Month at the Library with 30 days of #RainbowReading recommendations and events! Our librarians are honoring LGBTQ authorship and literature with three awesome book lists – one for kids, one for teens, and one for adults – each with 30 diverse books, one for every day of LGBT Pride Month. We’ll also be hosting #LGBTPrideMonth events across our branches - check out the book lists and event highlights now.

“All adults have days when we feel completely drained.  When we no longer know quite what we spend so much time fighting for, when reality and everyday worries overwhelm us and we wonder how much longer we’re going to be able to carry on.  The wonderful thing is that we can all live through far more days like that without breaking than we think.”–from Beartown by Fredrik Backman

There have been some days like that over the past couple of weeks.  The situation with my parents is severe at this point, and I frequently feel like everything I try to do do to help is just the equivalent of bashing my head against a wall.  But, I have to accept that there is only so much I can do. People do not change unless they choose to.  I have to accept that.

It was wonderful to have a day like yesterday to take my mind off of things!  Yesterday, I led a family volunteer event at work.  It was awesome!  The kids and parents really enjoyed sorting the book donations and we processed thousands of books to be delivered to our partner organizations who have requested them! Then, the husband, Wayne, and Shannon met me at the office to go out and do the Austin Independent Bookstore Crawl (a scavenger hunt with the chance to win prizes)!  It was so much fun!  And, the husband actually chose to do it with us!  He is not a fan of pictures or an abundance of socialization, but he went and had a great time!  We stopped at Quality Seafood–YUM–and then the husband and I had a barbecue at a friend’s house to go to.  We played some kind of weird wine bottles on stakes frisbee game?  It was super difficult (for me, anyway) but fun!  Then, we wrapped the night up with some lovely no-child-in-the-house sex! :)  NEVER a bad thing!

Today, I’m relaxing with coffee and a book until around noon when Conner gets home and then we’re going for a bike ride and likely to our standard weekend meal spot, Black Star, for dinner and Uno on the patio!  :)  Have a great weekend, friends!

Tangled The Series and DuckTales IDW Publishing Teams Panel At Comic-Con International

IDW’s Ultimate Kids’ Comic Panel! July 23 • 10:00am

Star Wars ! The Powerpuff Girls ! DuckTales ! Tangled ! My Little Pony ! Have your attention, kids? Come learn about these awesome comic books and, more important, how to make your own! Hosted by IDW group editor Sarah Gaydos and editor Bobby Curnow, this panel of “grown-ups” including Derek Charm, Haley Mancini, Jake Goldman, and Agnes Garbowska talk about how they make some of your favorite kids’ comics. Plus: free comics for all the kids!

Sunday July 23, 2017 10:00am - 11:00am Room 23ABC

LGBTQ Teens of Color Speak Out

To celebrate Pride here at Rich in Color, I thought I’d gather a few teens to talk about the intersectionality of being an LGBTQ Teen of color and the representations, or lack thereof, they see of themselves in books. Spending 8 hours a day with Teens of Color, I was able to gather a few LGBTQ teens for a lively roundtable discussion and one-on-one interviews. The teens are a mix of future, current and former students whose ages range from 13-16. All of the students are very outspoken about LGBTQ issues and are voracious readers, hence the perfect kids to ask about their thoughts on what they want and need from their literature.

First off, teachers, librarians, publishers, anyone who wants to get diverse LGBTQ stories into the hands of teens of color, we all need to step it up. When I asked my students if they had ever read a book with an LGBTQ protagonist, let alone a protagonist of color, all of them, ALL OF THEM, said no. With the roundtable, the “no”s were so forceful that I was momentarily taken aback. These young people, who love to read, had never read a book that featured an LGBTQ character, especially a character of color, as the lead. Instead, they stated, they turned to fan fiction. The reasons they were drawn to fan fiction was that it offers “more perspectives of people like us, more LGBTQ, more options in genres, more points of view,” stated Awesome Kid #1. Then a student remembered reading Alex Gino’s novel, “George”. Awesome Kid #2 was excited to read the book “because it matched how people feel. Sometimes you can feel more feminine and sometimes more manlier. It captures how some us feel sometimes. We feel trapped, in some body that doesn’t feel like ours.” Former student, Awesome Kid #3, fell in love with the Half Bad Trilogy because “it mixes my two of my favorite things - gays in love and magical powers.” While Awesome Kid #3 did love the trilogy, they did not particularly enjoy the heartbreaking ending because it is a trope that is harmful and they wished to see a happy ending in an LGBTQ story.

Since none of my students saw mirrors of themselves in YA literature, I asked them what type of stories they would like to see and their responses were just as varied as the types of books they read. Awesome Kids #3 & 4 wanted less of a focus on “coming out stories and/or discovering sexuality” tropes and focus more on normalizing the character, that being LGBTQ is just who they are. Awesome Kid #4 said, “I would really love to see a book not focus on sexuality or gender identity, cause then I want people to normalize that you shouldn’t really focus on someone’s sexuality. I have friends who are bisexual or trans and I don’t focus on that.” Awesome Kid #3 agrees, saying they want “a story that’s not a big deal of their sexuality, yeah slide it in there, but like don’t make it every single aspect of them. Don’t make it a constant struggle with it [sexuality].” Awesome Kid #5 stated that they would love a book where a lesbian fell in love with a girl who is straight because that is something they experienced and would love to see that conflict brought up in a book.

As their teacher, I of course, asked them about reading books with LGBTQ characters in class. All of them agreed that it would have been helpful, not just for themselves, but for their classmates as well. Awesome Kid #4 stated, “Teens find ourselves through middle school and we get that encouragement from adults, even homophobic adults are like ‘okay, you don’t know, you’re young,’ but it’s not really because it’s so difficult to find yourself and if there was a book out there it would be really useful and make you think it’s not wrong to be like this.” Again, Awesome Kid #3 concurs that teachers should include more stories involving LGBTQ characters, and characters of color, because “[teachers] don’t want to offend or assume someone that’s [gay} in there, but they should always assume. My thing that I always remember, I saw it in a post, is that 1 in 10 kids…there’s about 30 kids in a classroom so 3 kids are hiding a secret, so you never know what someone needs.” All students stated that having teachers read books would have helped them, but the Awesome Kids of the roundtable did express concern about how teachers would handle the immaturity of some of the other students in the class. They also mentioned that in order for the teachers to be able to share books that feature LGBTQ characters, the teachers themselves would need to check their own feelings towards LGBTQ students. Awesome Kid #2 was surprised to find “George” in their teacher’s classroom because they know that some teachers are not supportive. Awesome Kid #2 stated, “I was confused but happy because I didn’t think teachers would have books like that because sometimes they [teachers] aren’t supportive and you can see it how they, the way they look when you bring something up like that, but to have a teacher like Mrs. D have the book made me feel calm.”  Awesome Kids #3 & 4 both stated that if teachers used books that featured LGBTQ characters, especially characters of color, in their classes, it would help open the minds of straight kids and allow them to see past stereotypes and see that LGBTQ kids are the same as any other kid.

Overall, the conversations I had with these Awesome Kids the past few days have been illuminating. This small group of 7 students is just a microcosm of the thousands of LGBTQ Teens of color who are wanting to see representation of themselves in literature. These teens are fully aware of how their media is failing them, but also know what could be done to bring about change. So I ask all of the teachers (myself included), librarians, writers, editors, publishers, anyone who is involved in producing books for teens, to take a good look at where you can step up to work harder to meet the needs of all the teens out there.

Check out this list.

Hey guys. This year I’m really hammering in the importance of independent reading. The awesome part is kids devour books out of my personal library. The not awesome part is sometimes they don’t come back. I know there are worse things that could be taken, but I am having to restock this year.

I have updated my list to reflect some books I know would have high interest. If you feel like it, please consider donating one to my library. Most are under $10 :) thank you

anonymous asked:

Do you know of any good vegan children's books? Looking for ways to explain veganism to a small child without scaring or upsetting them.

For sure! There are so many awesome children’s books out there for vegan kids now. Anything by Vegan Publishers is going to be really good, and I’ve heard great things about Ruby Roth’s books too.

Vegan Publishers

That’s Why We Don’t Eat Animals

Vegan Is Love: Having Heart and Taking Action

V Is for Vegan: The ABCs of Being Kind

There’s also a children’s book in the works on Indiegogo for teaching kids about not drinking animal milk called “That’s Not My Momma’s Milk!”

I haven’t read the books personally, but I know many parents who have bought/read them to their kids, and wouldn’t have bought them if they were graphic or scary in any way. I hope that helps!

Tagged by the marvellous @humblydefiant, the delightful @sweet-ree​ and the scrumptious @estalfaed. Thanks lovelies! Under a cut because I can’t help rambling…

Are you named after anyone?
Nope. Boring but true.

When was the last time you cried?
I cry a lot. A LOT. I never know what’s going to set me off. Last time was yesterday when I read a news article about a missing 3 year old girl. The time before that was last week when I went for dinner with my brother, who I hardly ever see, and we had some drinks and reminisced about our childhood. 

Do you like your handwriting?
Yes. It’s pretty neat and loops nicely, and I get the occasional compliment.

What’s your favourite lunch meat?
Salami. Smelly breath for me, please.

Do you have kids?
I have two godchildren and I love them ridiculously much. Kids are awesome, in my book.

If you were a different person, would you be friends with you?
But of course - I’m wonderful :)  Seriously though…I try to be a good friend and I’m generally pretty easygoing, so I think I’d get along with me. 

Do you use sarcasm?
Pfft. All the time. Or was that sarcasm…?  I actually got called out by a six year old recently for being too sarcastic, so maybe it’s time to dial it back a notch…

Do you still have your tonsils?

Would you bungee jump?
Heck no, I’ve heard too many stories about unsecured ropes and detached retinas. I’d give skydiving a go, though.

What’s your favourite cereal?
Honey Cheerios, unless porridge counts in which case that’s the winner. 

Do you untie your shoes when you take them off?
Not if I can get away with it!  My Converse refuse to cooperate though so I have to unlace them every time…boo…

Do you think you are a strong person?
In some ways, definitely. My emotional resilience is pretty poor (see above re: crying) but I’ve come through a lot and I’m still standing. I feel like I’m strongest when it comes to my principles; sometimes it’s hard to stick to your beliefs or stand up for them under fire, but it’s a thing I try hard to do and I mostly succeed.

What’s your favourite ice cream? 
My favourite flavour is called stracciatella, which is a plain cream ice cream with dark chocolate shavings. Brand-wise, I love Cherry Garcia by Ben & Jerry’s or Sainsury’s Salted Caramel and Dark Chocolate, which is basically stracciatella with salted caramel sauce. Yum.

What’s the first thing you notice about people?
Hmm. Their overall ‘look’ I think, the way they dress and style their hair. I’ve always been drawn to people who stand out from the norm and I appreciate it when people show some personality in what they wear. 

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