The Importance of Diverse Fantasy Spaces in Books

"Children have a right to books that reflect their own images and books that open less familiar worlds to them…for those children who had historically been ignored – or worse, ridiculed – in children's books, seeing themselves portrayed visually and textually as realistically human was essential to letting them know that they are valued in the social context in which they are growing up…At the same time, the children whose images were reflected in most American children's literature were being deprived of books as windows into the realities of the multicultural world in which they are living, and were in danger of developing a false sense of their own importance in the world."

- Rudine Sims Bishop, from, "Reflections on the development of African American Children's Literature," Journal of Children's Literature, Vol. 38, Iss. 2 (Fall 2012): 5-13.

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Maggie O'Farrell – Life & Books

Maggie O'Farrell was born in Northern Ireland in 1972 and grew up in various locations across Wales and Scotland. When she was just eight she contracted encephalitis, an experience she describes in a chapter called "Cerebellum (1980)" in her memoir, I Am I Am I Am. The illness did long term damage, leaving her physically weak and sometimes unstable, and likely brought on neurological traits of unease, oversensitivity and dissatisfaction.

Despite this major childhood trauma, O'Farrell returned to school and attended Cambridge University, studying English before embarking on a career as a journalist. She published her debut, After You'd Gone, in 2000, and is now the author of seven highly acclaimed novels.

In her memoir, I Am I Am I Am: Seventeen Brushes with Death, O'Farrell creates vivid snapshots from her life, based on numerous near-death experiences, but there are only a few references to her successful career as an author. Readers curious to map O'Farrell's literary output to the incidents described in her memoir may find the following chronology of interest:

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Syrian Culture: A Rich, Layered Legacy

The voices and stories of Syrian refugee experiences are not the only thing drowned out by the international news agencies' overwhelming focus on conflict, war, and death tolls. Underneath the tragedy, now literally buried beneath the rubble in many cases, is a cultural legacy that has spanned centuries and empires. The empires that ruled over and influenced Syria from the ancient to the modern period included the Mesopotamians, Egyptians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, and Byzantines, with the Ottoman empire ruling from 1516 to 1918. Religious, art, music, and food cultures are the legacy left behind that vary both according to cultural differences and regional differences, as well as a number of UNESCO World Heritage site designations for places of archeological importance across human history such as Damascus, Aleppo, Bostra, Palmyra, Krak des Chevaliers, and Qal'at Salāh al-Din.

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How to Write a Manifesto

Women & Power by Mary Beard is labeled a manifesto, which comes from the Latin word manifestus, meaning "to manifest, to clearly reveal, or to make real." It is a broad term for a public statement of intent, belief, or a call to action issued by an organization or an individual.

Most nonprofit and political groups have a manifesto of some sort which states their purpose – why they exist and what they hope to accomplish. This allows them to frame the organization's goals succinctly, be able to communicate those aims, and recruit others to the cause. These declarations are also meant to inspire, to share a vision and excite others. For this reason, some corporations are ditching their mission statements – which have a dry static connotation – for the more dynamic manifesto form.

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The Poem That Inspired The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

Kristin Hannah's The Great Alone, takes its title from a line in "The Shooting of Dan McGrew", a poem composed by Robert W. Service, whose work inspires the main character throughout the book.

Robert W. Service Robert W. Service (1874-1958), known as "The Bard of the Yukon," was born in Lancashire, England, the son of a banker and an heiress. He was sent to Kilwinning, Scotland at the age of five to live with his paternal grandfather and three unmarried aunts, who spoiled him shamelessly. He's said to have written his first poem there — an improvised grace — at the age of six, much to the delight and astonishment of his relatives.

God bless the cakes and bless the jam;
Bless the cheese and the cold boiled ham:
Bless the scones Aunt Jeannie makes,
And save us all from bellyaches. Amen.

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Literary Inmates: Famous Books Written in Prison

At BookBrowse, we believe that books are not an end in themselves but a jumping off point to new avenues of thought and discovery. This is why, every time we review one we also explore a related topic. Here is one such "beyond the book" article by Jamie Samson, originally titled "Literary Inmates" and written in conjunction with his review of Denis Johnson's The Largesse of the Sea Maiden:

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