Monday, August 27, 2012


Picture Book Trends: Mid-2012 Report

Photo of main display in children's book area
Center display in kids section... no picture books
Photo of main display of children's section of book store
More of the center display...the illustrated chapter book seems to be popular.

Every half year or so, I go to the big name bookstore in town (rhymes with Yarns and Global) to see what picture books they feature in the middle wall of the kids' section. This is my totally unscientific way to assess current picture book trends, or at least find out what picture books are considered the biggest commercial sellers.

Last week I went in and found . . . no picture books at all in that section. Instead, middle grade books were being featured, with a whole section devoted to the graphic novel/illustrated chapter books that were popularized by the Wimpy Kid series. 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Lake Champlain sunset


Sunset off Lake Champlain, VT © 2012 Sylvia Liu
© 2012 Sylvia Liu
Lake Champlain sunset © 2012 Sylvia Liu
© 2012 Sylvia Liu
I just spent a week in Shelburne, Vermont, and enjoyed 7 nights of beautiful sunsets over Lake Champlain (actually, Shelburne Bay, which is connected to Lake Champlain). Even though we often get beautiful sunsets in Virginia Beach, there is something special about viewing a sunset over water. Just thought I'd share this special one from our second to last evening.


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Friday, August 10, 2012

5 Excellent Web Comic Sites

I have recently started making comics and infographics, and only hope one day to be as inspired, funny, and smart as these five excellent web comic artists:

1) Indexed (Jessica Hagy)

Jessica Hagy is an artist and a writer with a mathematical mind. She draws clever and funny charts and Venn diagrams on all aspects of the human condition. Her blog has been popular since 2006, and her work is published in several books, including one of my favorite recent purchases, Information Graphics. Sample index card:
from Jessica Hagy's blog, Indexed, May 2012 archives

Monday, August 6, 2012

Project for a Hot Summer Day: Baking Cookies in a Car


Last month during one of the summer heat waves, my kids and I tried to bake cookies in our car. Our experiment was only half successful. It was close to 100 degrees outside, but instead of parking the car in the sun for several hours and letting nature and car do its course, we had to do some errands. So we kept opening the "oven" and cooling it down with AC. In the end, we only had half baked cookies that we finished in a real oven. The car smelled great, though, and next time we'll get it right.


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