Looking Elsewhere for Imports

Apr. 27th, 2017 05:14 pm
[syndicated profile] kirkus_kidlit_feed
If, as I am, you are interested in reading picture book imports, you know precisely which publishers will take chances here in the U.S. on stories from other countries.

Rory Harrison

Apr. 27th, 2017 04:00 am
[syndicated profile] kirkus_ya_feed
A boy and girl go on a road trip to California. They visit the World’s Largest Ball of Twine. They fall in love. The plot of Rory Harrison’s debut novel, Looking for Group, sounds typical enough; the book itself is anything but.

Celebrate Spring With Romance

Apr. 24th, 2017 06:04 pm
[syndicated profile] kirkus_ya_feed
The sun is shining, all of the trees have buds, the garlic in our garden is growing a mile a minute, the birds are making a racket, and both of the cats dragged chipmunks into the house this morning. What does that all add up to? SPRING IS FINALLY HERE FOR REAL.

Facing Down Fears with Helen Oxenbury

Apr. 21st, 2017 04:12 am
[syndicated profile] kirkus_kidlit_feed
If you are a fan of the work of British illustrator Helen Oxenbury, now is a good time. “Helen Oxenbury has charmed generations of children with her award-winning illustrations,” says one. “Helen Oxenbury is among the most popular and critically acclaimed illustrators of all time,” says another. I refer to the jacket-flap bios of two brand-new Oxenbury-illustrated picture books on shelves now, Julia Donaldson’s The Giant Jumperee and Timothy Knapman’s Time Now to Dream. Both are the recipients of starred Kirkus reviews, and both—as some of the best of Oxenbury’s books do (as well as ones she has illustrated)—show characters deconstructing their fears.


Apr. 20th, 2017 08:07 pm
[syndicated profile] kirkus_ya_feed
Now they’re both in high school, and while Gem is flailing more and more, Dixie appears to be thriving. As far as Gem can tell, Dixie not only doesn’t need Gem any more, she doesn’t even really want her around. So when an opportunity appears—a chance to ease the monotonous pressure and the unfair responsibility and the experience of always putting herself last, last, last—Gem thinks long and hard about walking away from her sister, her mother, and the life she’s always known.
[syndicated profile] sumana_feed
When I was eight or nine years old, I think my parents went through a chunk of "how do we support this weird kid?" planning and work. Around this time I remember coming across a book my parents had acquired, something like How To Deal With Your Gifted Child, the kind of book that has 70 pages of large-print line art-illustrated stories to read to your kid and discuss with them, followed by 40 pages of smaller-print nonfiction prose meant just for the adults. I read the whole thing, of course. Pretty hard to prevent a kid who loves reading from reading the whole book and finding use and joy where she can.

Another one of the paperbacks that made its way into our house around this time was about word puzzles, trivia about English, neologisms, and so on -- it had something to do with Mensa, I think. This is how I learned that the twelve most common letters in the English language are, in order, ETAOINSHRDLU.

Also I remember being given a collection of modern British short fiction and essays, for use in a supplemental tutorial or something -- this is how I read my first George Orwell, his essay "Shooting an Elephant", and my first D.H. Lawrence, his short story "The Rocking-Horse Winner", and my first taste of how truly dark Roald Dahl could get, "The Great Automatic Grammatisator".

The advice on dealing with myself, as a gifted child, helped some -- I got it into my head that an aversion to doing things that I wasn't already good at would be harmful, for instance, even if I couldn't prevent acquiring a bit of it anyway. Everyone who comes out of childhood has scorch and stretch marks. I'm glad I got an early start on Dahl, Lawrence, and Orwell, warning me about technology's effect on art, obsession's effect on childhood, and imperalism's effect on the oppressor, respectively. And though ETAOINSHRDLU caused me to regard "Wheel of Fortune" the way many programmers feel about Sudoku -- that it presents problems to humans that properly ought to be solved by computers -- and thus be a bit of a funless jerk for a while about a TV show that provides pleasure to many people, it's has proven useful in countless games of Hangman, and in an inadvertent audience participation moment during a play I saw in Manchester in 2014.

There's a bit in Sherlock Holmes: A Working Hypothesis where a lecturer, solving a Hangman-style puzzle and mocking the audience for our wrong answers, says something about the likelihood of the next letter. I blurted out something like "E, then T, then A, because the twelve most common letters in the corpus of English-language writing, in order, are ETAOINSHRDLU". The speaker teased me occasionally for the rest of the act, and I later learned that several other audience members inferred that I must be a castmember, a plant.

More and more frequently I find that other people in my communities treat me as though I must be one of the cast, not one of the audience. As though I am important. One way of looking at impostor syndrome is that it looks at two people with the same characteristics and pasts and treats one as less important, always the audience and never the cast, solely because it's the self. The How to Deal book had stories about kids who got swelled heads, and stories about kids who never believed they were good enough. "Shooting an Elephant" said: once you're in the cast, you have to follow the script or there'll be hell to pay. And ETAOINSHRDLU has long represented to me the power of double-checking whether something really is random, and finding patterns, and sharing them with others, empowering us. Which can break a kind of fourth wall between watching and acting.

In a little over a week, I'm a guest of honor at Penguicon, and one of my sessions will be a reprise of my LibrePlanet 2017 keynote, "Lessons, Myths, and Lenses: What I Wish I'd Known in 1998" (description, video, in-progress transcript). I'll give the audience a menu of topics and they'll select the ones I talk about, and the order. It'll be massively different from the LibrePlanet version because the audience will choose different topics or a different order, barring deliberate collusion. One reason I'm doing my Guest Of Honor talk this way is because there is too much to say, and this way each story or insight has a fighting chance to get said. But another is that I have given written-in-advance keynote speeches enough times before that it's in danger of becoming a habit, a local maximum. And -- perhaps this does not speak well of me -- I think this particular audience participation method also provides a release valve for the pressure of being the Important one in the room. Instead of performing as a cast of one, I turn everyone into a plant.

To close out, my favorite chunk of Orwell, the ending of "Some Thoughts on the Common Toad":

At any rate, spring is here, even in London N.1, and they can't stop you enjoying it. This is a satisfying reflection. How many a time have I stood watching the toads mating, or a pair of hares having a boxing match in the young corn, and thought of all the important persons who would stop me enjoying this if they could. But luckily they can't. So long as you are not actually ill, hungry, frightened or immured in a prison or a holiday camp, Spring is still Spring. The atom bombs are piling up in the factories, the police are prowling through the cities, the lies are streaming from the loudspeakers, but the earth is still going round the sun, and neither the dictators nor the bureaucrats, deeply as they disapprove of the process, are able to prevent it.

[syndicated profile] tufts_dca_feed

Posted by Daniel Santamaria


As the campus office charged with collecting and preserving Tufts history, Tufts Digital Collections and Archives is seeking to partner with student groups to document their activities. We accept records in about as many formats as you can imagine, including digital materials. We are especially interested in documenting the campus reaction to the 2016 election and its aftermath.

By placing your group’s records with us, you’ll ensure that your time at Tufts will be preserved for future generations of the Tufts community—including future generations of your group’s members.

Even if your organization existed for only a semester or around a single cause or event, documenting your organization with the University Archives means that its contributions to campus life will live on.

For more information please see our brochure on donating student organization records.

Archives staff will have a table at the Community Fair during Jumbo Days (April 20th and April 21st) and are always available to answer your questions at archives@tufts.edu or 617-627-3737.


[syndicated profile] tufts_dca_feed

Posted by Sari Mauro

“Although individual black alumni of Tufts have been duly recognized for their on-campus accomplishments, the overall experiences of black students, past and present, have largely remained unrecorded. This exhibit seeks to highlight the experiences of black students at Tufts over the course of the twentieth century.”

– Gerald Gill, Another Light on the Hill

Since the Gerald Gill Papers arrived here at Digital Collections and Archives last fall, we’ve been working to process and describe the collection. As we wrote earlier, we’ve also participated in the Center for Study of Race and Democracy symposium “The African American Freedom Trail Symposium at Tufts: The Past, Present, and Future of Black Boston” and developed a physical exhibit which can now be viewed in Tisch Library.  We’ve also been working to develop a new online exhibit based on Professor Gill’s work entitled Another Light on the Hill.
screen capture of Another Light on the Hill exhibit

















Professor Gill’s Another Light on the Hill was a long term project that developed over many years. First exhibited in 1988, the Another Light on the Hill exhibit sought to tell the often-overlooked story of black alumni. The physical exhibit was staged three separate times before 2002 when Professor Gill wrote a version of the Another Light on the Hill manuscript for publication in Tufts Magazine. A portion of the Another Light on the Hill exhibit is on permanent display at the Africana Center at Tufts University.

Most of the resources from the original exhibits were drawn from archival collections held by Digital Collections and Archives (DCA) at Tufts University. In 2007 DCA began a collaboration with Professor Gill to recreate the physical exhibit as a permanent digital exhibit. This work ceased when Professor Gill passed away suddenly in July 2007.

The project undertaken in this online exhibit is significant, both in topic and in extent and will be debuted in multiple iterations. This first iteration contains text written by Professor Gill and applicable images to accompany the text. We have purposefully and specifically maintained the voice and stylistic choices of Professor Gill’s manuscript.

Ultimately, DCA intends for this exhibit to stand as an introductory resource for all who are interested in the history of black faculty, staff, and students at Tufts University, with a descriptive timeline of events as well as associated biographical and topical pages. As such, updates will be made to exhibit items, text, structure, and content on a rolling basis.

Tufts students, alumni, and faculty interested in participating in expanding this exhibit are encouraged to contact Tufts Digital Collections and Archives.

Another Light on the Hill is one of the first of DCA’s digital exhibits to premiere in Tufts’ new exhibit format on exhibits.tufts.edu. This new software makes it easier to build and maintain exhibits and creates a more uniform and user-friendly browser experience. Most importantly, in the spirit of Another Light on the Hill, we hope to use this technology to help bring other overlooked stories to light.


Liking the Unlikable

Apr. 17th, 2017 05:02 pm
[syndicated profile] kirkus_ya_feed
Sixteen-year-old Nina Faye loves her boyfriend, Seth. She loves him so much that she’s careful to keep his interest by never seeming too interested, by staying ever-so-slightly remote. She loves him so much that she never asks him to put on the music she wants to hear; never asks him to turn the heat up or down in the car; never burdens him with her worries, her frustrations, her thoughts.

Alternate Questions

Apr. 17th, 2017 01:15 pm
[syndicated profile] sumana_feed
Is it still in vogue for US tech companies to ask quantitative estimation/implausible-problem questions like "how many phone booths/piano tuners are there in Manhattan?" in hiring interviews, particularly for programming-related jobs? Fog Creek asked me one of those in 2005. There was even a book, How Would You Move Mount Fuji?: Microsoft's Cult of the Puzzle -- How the World's Smartest Companies Select the Most Creative Thinkers.* How many companies are still into that?**

I ask because I came up with a couple you could use, maybe for a digital humanities kind of position:

  1. How many people, throughout history, have actually been named "Flee-From-Sin"? I feel like you see this as a jokey Puritan first name in books like Good Omens or the Baroque Cycle, but was it a name that some non-negligible number of people actually had?
  2. Out of all the people currently within New York City limits, have more of them written a sonnet or a dating profile? What's the ratio?

* That's right, two subtitles. That's how you know you're getting a lot for your $16.00 MSRP.

** It's hard to tell these things sometimes even if you listen to lots of people discuss hiring and recruiting. "Five Worlds" and its decade-later ramifications apply to work culture, not just software development methodology. Stripe's engineering interview aims to "simulate the engineering work you'd do day-to-day" (link via Julia Evans) so I think you can expect your interviewer won't show up wearing a question-mark costume and screeching, "Riddle me this, Batman!" This software engineer, who's just been through scads of hiring interviews, doesn't mention puzzle questions. This level of detail ain't exactly on the "How to Become a Computer Programmer" page in the Occupational Outlook Handbook from the US Department of Labor -- but then again we already knew that the assessment vacuum in software engineering skills is a huge problem.

Barry Lyga

Apr. 17th, 2017 05:21 am

Wild and Wonderful

Apr. 14th, 2017 04:36 am
[syndicated profile] kirkus_kidlit_feed
At the end of John Cage and Lois Long’s Mud Book, we see a birthday cake made out of mud with dried dandelions for candles. To boot, we’ve been instructed prior to that precisely how to make a mud cake. “Make a wish,” this last page states with unequivocal glee.
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