Tag Archive | creativity

Listen to art talk – free audiobooks this week

Let’s talk about art – this week’s free audiobooks from SYNC are ready for you to download to your Sora shelf now!

These professionally narrated complete audiobooks are only available for Sora download from Thursday through Wednesday, or you can find them any time through your favorite independent bookshop or local library.

audiobook cover of Poemsia: a novel,  by Lang Leav. Read by Saskia Maarleveld. Published by Listening Library | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Poemsia: a Novel (free download 17-23 June 2021 on Sora)
by Lang Leav
Read by Saskia Maarleveld
Published by Listening Library

When an obscure poem found in her grandfather’s antiquarian bookstore is mistaken for one of Verity’s own writings, the Australian teen is offered a publishing deal and travel to New York City!

Supported by her life-long best friend and new boyfriend, Verity has to cope with sudden fame and high expectations as she strives to stay true to herself.

audiobook cover of This Is What I Know About Art, by Kimberly Drew.
Read by Kimberly Drew Published by Listening Library | recommended on BooksYALove.com

This Is What I Know About Art (free download 17-23 June 2021 on Sora)
by Kimberly Drew
Read by Kimberly Drew
Published by Listening Library

Access to art for all people, the relationship between art and protest – learn more about the ways that artistic expression can be open to everyone with the social media manager of NYC’s Metropolitan Museum of Art who communicates passionately about cultural studies, fashion, and Black contemporary art.

What art-inspired books can you recommend?
**kmm

Launch into DRAWING FOR BEGINNERS as you journal beyond the ordinary – grab your pencil & let’s sketch! by Jamie Markle (book review)

book cover of Drawing for Beginners: 100+ Ideas and Prompts to Release Your Inner Artist, by Jamie Markle. Published by Adams Media | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Doodle a little,
sketch what you imagine,
give your artistic self permission to try!

No requirements to only “draw exactly what you see”, no demands to practice drawing shapes over and over before attempting to capture something from life – you’re encouraged to try various techniques as you grow your own style over dozens and dozens of varied subjects in this hands-on journal.

The initial glossary of art terms and techniques is followed by more than one hundred prompts, most on double-page spreads, each with a few sketched lines to anchor your experimentations and a Take It Further challenge to try now or return to when you want more options.

Work your way page by page and project by project in this “illustrated drawing journal” or pick and choose what strikes your fancy at the moment, from outdoor settings or still-lifes, imagined images or live subjects. Birds on a Wire is followed by Bustling Bouquets, then a Ring of Keys and a Treasure Hunt map.

Whether you stick to your trusty #2 pencil or add pens and colored pencils to your drawing tools, you can improve your drawing skills and imaginative eye with this soft-cover journal.

Take to heart the words of this inviting book’s creator, “Let your drawing practice be your launching pad into self-expression as you find your visual voice.” (p. 191)

What do you want to sketch next?
**kmm

Book Info: Drawing for Beginners: 100+ Ideas and Prompts to Release Your Inner Artist / Jamie Markle. Adams Media / S&S, 2021. (author site) (publisher site) Review copy & cover image courtesy of the publisher.

She writes hopeful, worried LETTERS FROM CUBA to war-darkened Poland, by Ruth Behar (MG book review)

book cover of Letters From Cuba, by Ruth Behar. Published by Nancy Paulsen Books/ Penguin Random House | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Cross the wide ocean,
earn money slowly, slowly –
bring family to safety – soon, soon!

Papa went first to Cuba, trying to make enough money so their whole family could escape the increasing peril of merely being Jewish in Poland.

Esther is the oldest child, ready to travel across the sea and help Papa grow their savings faster, 11 years old on a ship crossing the Atlantic in 1938, writing letters to her sister Malka in an old notebook until time to send them.

Always-summer Cuba means sandals instead of woolen stockings, a small village in the hills away from the city, walking and walking with their peddler’s packs to sell goods throughout the countryside where the air smells like candy from the sugar mills.

As Esther learns Spanish, she’s befriended by Francisco Chang who came from China to his uncle’s store, Doctor Pablo and Senora Graciela whose daughter died young, and Manuela’s formerly enslaved grandmother who honors the gods of her African ancestors.

Angry sugar mill owner Eduardo thinks she and Papa don’t belong here, so the young woman takes refuge in the poems of Juan Marti shared by Senora Graciela as Esther designs and sews stylish cotton dresses that become popular in Havana.

Can she make enough dresses by herself to fill the orders?
Can they earn enough money to get their family here soon?
As Europe rejects Jewish people, will Cuba still welcome them?

As powerful people like Eduardo begin echoing Hitler’s anger and lies, Esther and Papa work hard and pray harder to bring their family to safety!

What letters have shared family stories with you?
**kmm

Book Info: Letters From Cuba / Ruth Behar. Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin Random House, 2020. (author site) (publisher site) Review copy & cover image courtesy of the publisher.

MISFIT IN LOVE all by herself? by S. K. Ali (YA book review)

book cover of Misfit in Love, by S. K. Ali, published by Salaam Reads | recommended on BooksYALove.com

She’s ready for yes,
he’s already moved on –
great summer now not-so-great…

Her brother Muhammad’s nikah wedding celebration will be the perfect time for Janna to tell Nuah that his year away at college confirmed she’s finally ready to be together, but there’s hardly a quiet moment as the small Muslim ceremony has become a 300-guest extravaganza at her Indian-American dad’s fancy Illinois lakeside estate!

Between her young half-brothers’ ice cream truck obsession, wondering who her best friend’s date is, and Sarah’s attempts to rein in her fiance’s over-the-top additions to the party, hijabi Janna’s stress levels are rising as family connections and conflicts swirl.

Sarah’s cousin Haytham is a so-charming singing poet, family friend Layth is a brooding young man, and Janna’s long-divorced Egyptian-American mom is suspiciously happy to see a handsome college classmate and his teenage daughters.

Has dad always been such an anti-Black racist?
Is mom’s happiness on hold till Janna leaves for college?
How can everyone have a happily ever after except her?

The story begun in Saints and Misfits (recommended here) continues as Janna tries to envision a future much different than her dreams. By the author of Love From A to Z (recommended here).

Happy book birthday to Misfit in Love!

How to you know when it’s time to let go of a dream?
**kmm

Book Info: Misfit in Love: a Saints and Misfits Novel / S.K. Ali. Salaam Reads – S&S, 2021. (author site) (publisher site) Review copy & cover image courtesy of the publisher.

YOU WERE MADE FOR ME…the perfect guy, created by me! by Jenna Guillaume (YA book review)

book cover of You Were Made for Me, by Jenna Guillaume. Published in USA by Peachtree Publishing | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Writing and hoping,
sketching and sculpting –
make your own dream come true…

“The day I created a boy started like any other” (p. 1) with Katie’s sketches and stories, dreaming of her perfect first kiss, swooning over Declan at school, and constant commentary by BFF Libby. Who knew that their art + science creative project last night would bring handsome, adorable Guy into their lives today?

How?! No time for questions when she awakens to the perfect teen boy in her bedroom! Theo from next door comes to the rescue, and they discover that he’s real, he has no belly button (she forgot to sculpt it), and he loves 16-year-old Katie more than anything!

Katie helped Theo as they lost his mum to cancer, and now he lets Guy share his added-on bedroom as they all try to figure out what’s next… a guy with no last name or ID can’t go to school with them, right?

Aside from Guy being utterly delighted by Katie and sunset and the beach and every new food he tries (which means everything), the rest of her life is the same – Mikayla and the mean girls are still hateful to her and Libby, she’s still nervous about painting the big mural at school, and Declan is still cute – what??

How can she balance her part-time job and Guy and school?
Why is Theo starting to act weird around her?
Will her first kiss be perfect?

A story in two voices, as Libby interrupts often to refocus Katie’s narrative of how Guy was created and learned to live in their Australian neighborhood below parental radar (mostly).

What attributes would you give to the perfect person for you?
**kmm

Book Info: You Were Made For Me / Jenna Guillaume. Peachtree Publishing, 2021. (author link) (publisher link) Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

N for DARING DARLENE, QUEEN OF THE SCREEN, by Anne Nesbet (MG book review)

book cover of Daring Darleen, Queen of the Screen, by Anne Nesbet. Published by Candlewick Press | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Adventure, danger, action!
Motion picture camera rolling,
try to escape the real bad guys!

“What the public wants” in 1914 is train wrecks and car chases, so the family motion picture studio puts Darleen in one seemingly perilous scene after another for their popular serial photoplay. The twelve year old is secretly thrilled; her widowed Papa is not.

But her uncles’ new idea of having her fake-kidnapped at a New York City theater grand opening so they can try night-filming an episode of “The Dangers of Darleen” goes awry when real kidnappers get her and a young heiress!

Victorine and Darleen must get away from the ruthless gang, but there aren’t trick movie locks or melted-sugar windowpanes or secret passageways in this dingy old house!

What if Victorine’s guardian won’t pay the ransom?
Why is grumpy teen Jasper from the studio seen nearby?
Could Darleen be taken away from Papa like her dear mama was?

Go back to the age of the Silver Screen before Hollywood and talkies, when a New Jersey studio could produce thrilling silent movies, and our young heroine Darleen can use her stage skills to pull off a real-life escape!

New this week! Request it from your local independent bookstore via Bookshop.org or on your library’s website!

What adventure would you choose, if you knew there was always the chance for a retake?
**kmm

Book info: Daring Darleen, Queen of the Screen / Anne Nesbet. Candlewick Press, 2020. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Magical books to read with your ears as AudioSYNC summer ends

Our magnificent summer of free audiobooks from AudioSYNC and publishers ends with with a magical pair of stories to read with your ears!

Click on the title for the free download page before late-night Wednesday July 31, 2019. You can keep these free audiobooks on your device and listen whenever you want.

Thanks again to the publishers who’ve provided over 2 dozen free professionally produced audiobooks this summer through AudioSYNC!

CD cover of Akata Witch,  by Nnedi Okorafor | Read by Yetide Badaki Published by Tantor Audio | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Akata Witch, by Nnedi Okorafor Read by Yetide Badaki Published by Tantor Audio

Sunny is mocked in her parents’ Nigerian town for being born American, albino, a girl who loves soccer. The 12 year old discovers that she’s a “free agent” born to non-magical parents and becomes part of a quartet of young people studying magic seen and unseen. Soon it’s up to them to catch an evil criminal, ready or not!

CD cover of All the Crooked Saints,  by Maggie Stiefvater | Read by Thom Rivera Published by Scholastic Audiobooks | recommended on BooksYALove.com

All the Crooked Saints, by Maggie Stiefvater Read by Thom Rivera Published by Scholastic Audiobooks

Under the Colorado desert stars, miracles are waiting to happen in Bicho Raro, where the Soria family lives. Cousins Beatriz, Daniel, and Joaquin can see the love, happiness, peace that others need – but their own lives and thoughts are not so clear. Two strangers arriving bring changes, perhaps even for the cousins whose help they seek.

What magical tales and audiobooks are your favorites?
**kmm

Meow meets wow in photos – Men & Cats, by Marie-Eva Gatuingt and Alice Chaygneaud

book cover of Men & Cats by Marie-Eva Gatuingt and Alice Chaygneaud published by Perigee | recommended on BooksYALove.comIf kitty pix make you go “Awwww” and photos of gorgeous guys make you go “Rawr!” then this is your book!

Add it to your favorite indie bookstore wishlist (search here for a great bookstore near you: http://indiebound.org) or just go buy it now as a gift for the person who appreciates cat cute and masculine musculature.

And, yes, the French photographers are adding more fellow and feline picture-pairs to their tumblr!

**kmm

Book info: Men & Cats /Marie-Eva Gatuingt and Alice Chaygneaud. Perigee Books, 2015.  [authors’ tumblr]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Photos of men and cats in matching poses prove that no words are needed to communicate the concepts of “cute plus captivating” as the creators of the wildly popular Des Hommes et des Chatons tumblr have created 50 new combos for this book.

Whether shirtlessly lounging in the sunshine or dually dapper in bowties, each pair of pix has a particular shared visual element (the one with blue eyes!).

Praying and yawning, serene and playful – enjoy men, enjoy cats, enjoy this preview of the book:

U is Universal car competition for Lowriders in Space, by Cathy Camper; illustrated by Raul the Third (book review)

book cover of Lowriders in Space by Cathy Camper, art by Raul the Third, published by Chronicle BooksThree friends with a dream,
ready to work hard
to drive their lowrider into orbit!

Enjoy cool cars, playful science, Spanglish conversation (and lots of glossary notes about both), and the pride of lowrider creators as Lowriders in Space takes off.

The publisher provides a free preview of the first pages here  so you can see Raul the Third’s art as you meet Lupe, Flapjack, and Elirio.

Ask for this fun graphic novel at your local library or local independent bookstore and head for the Universal Car Competition to ride “bajito y suavecito!”

Working together on a special project – share your story in the comments, please!
**kmm

Book info: Lowriders in Space /Cathy Camper; illustrations by Raul the Third. Chronicle Books, 2014. [author site]  [illustrator site]  [publisher site]  [book trailer] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Three friends who love custom cars work together to build the best lowrider in the galaxy so they can win enough money to open their own garage.

Lupe, Flapjack, and Elirio admire lowriders that zoom and drift, but they love cars that drive low and slow – bajito y suavecito.

This girl mechanic, expert car-washing octopus, and mosquito car-painter are so tired of working for others in the barrio. If they can win the Universal Car Contest, they will be able to open their own garage!

Can Lupe make the abandoned old junker run again?
Will Flapjack’s eight arms be enough to clean it up?
Does Elirio have time to paint their lowrider brighter than the stars?

A box of rocket parts and lots of determination add to Raul the Third’s ballpoint pen art with Sharpie accents and Cathy Camper’s mix of Spanish, English, and super science in this first book of a graphic novel pair.  (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Sticky Fingers, by Sophie Maletsky (book review) – duct tape DIY projects for all!

book cover of Sticky Fingers by Sophie Maletsky published by Zest BooksDuct tape in colors and patterns… check.
Nonstick scissors… check.
Great instructions for clever, creative items… get Sticky Fingers!

No, not your own fingers, but this step-by-step book of DIY (do it yourself) duct tape projects from craft blogger Sophie Maletsky.

Yes, there are the usual duct tape wallets and cute flowers to top your pencils, but you’ll also find clear instructions for an Earring Tree (I like the plastic dinosaur that she added), Spike Bracelet, and Smartphone Case with felt lining.

Summer boredom doesn’t stand a chance when you use your favorite duct tape with this “Easy to Pick Up, Hard to Put Down” book scheduled for July 1, 2014 publication – don’t miss the ideas for using up every teensy bit of those pricy patterned tape rolls.

What will you make next?
**kmm

Book info:  Sticky Fingers: DIY Duct Tape Projects – Easy to Pick Up, Hard to Put Down / Sophie Maletsky. Zest Books, 2014. 240 pg paperback. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley.

My book talk: Ah, so many colors and patterns of duct tape – and now Sticky Fingers collects the techniques and project ideas to make you a duct tape DIY whiz!

With just a few rolls of duct tape, proper work surface (many choices) and non-stick scissors, you can create durable items large and small, from the Support-Your-Cause Pin to Messenger Bag.

Your own color combo for the Woven Basket can take it from egg hunts to dresser organization, while the Pencil Case you make with duct tape will outlast any bought from the school supply store.

Of course, there are instructions for making Flowers, Neckties, and Bow Ties, so you’ll have all the corsages, boutonnieres, and neckwear needed for formal occasions.

Get gifty with the roll-and-go Checkerboard, Watermelon Purse, or Checkbook Keeper – the felt-lined Sunglasses Case is a great present, too.

Throughout this well-illustrated book, Sophie shares hints for strong duct tape fabric, clever closures, and using every last bit of your duct tape rolls (including the cardboard core). (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)