Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Thank You, Public Domain

Ever wonder about public domain images? Photo Editor Todd Strand has some insight on the topic:

As a photo editor I am constantly looking for new sources of imagery to help illustrate our books.

One of the more interesting developments in image research is the advent of public and private institutions opening up online some of their art collections under such terms as public domain, open content, or open access. High resolution digital images are being made available without restrictions and they may be used for any purpose. You do have to read the fine print as you will occasionally find disclaimers stating “this image may be subject to third party rights including rights of privacy and publicity, under applicable law.”

Why are museums, private collections, and government institutions opening up their collections in this manner? There are a growing number of institutions wanting to make information and images more readily available for scholars, publishers, entrepreneurs, art lovers, innovation, education, and research. The policies are meant to help people understand what inspires great works of art.

In applying public domain policies in a global digital environment, the institutions will surely expand their scholarly and education outreach. I am slightly biased about this but I think it’s a win-win for everyone, and I am sure we will see many more institutions following this approach. It’s going to be fun to see how it all shakes out.

(I do need to state the Library of Congress and the National Archives have long been leaders in the area of public domain information and imagery.)

Below are few examples of public domain, open content, or open access images from various institutions that I have been looking at lately.

J. Paul Getty Museum and the Getty Research Institute
Title: The Parting of Sir Lancelot and Queen Guinevere
Julia Margaret Cameron, photographer [British, born India, 1815 - 1879]
Date: 1874
Medium: Albumen silver print
Image: 35.4 x 28.1 cm (13 15/16 x 11 1/16 in.)
Object Number: 84.XO.732.1.1.10
Place Created: Freshwater, England, United Kingdom, Europe

J. Paul Getty Museum and the Getty Research Institute
Collection Title: [Portraits of Inca kings and an Inca queen]
Medium: oil on vellum
Dimensions: sheets 21 x14.5 cm. or smaller
Object Number: 2772-712
Description: Incomplete series of full-length portraits of Inca rulers by an unidentified maker, probably an indigenous Peruvian or Bolivian artist, includes portraits of eleven kings and one queen. Each Inca king is shown standing on a grassy mound, wearing a long mantle, a short tunic, sandals, and a coiled turban headdress.

Los Angeles County Museum of Art
No-Tin (Wind), a Chippewa Chief
Henry Inman (United States, New York, Utica, 1801-1846)
Oil on canvas
Canvas: 30 1/2 × 25 3/4 in. (77.47 × 65.41 cm) Frame: 37 1/2 × 33 1/2 × 2 7/8 in. (95.25 × 85.09 × 7.3 cm)
Gift of the 2008 Collectors Committee (M.2008.58)
American Art
Not currently on public view

Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Architectonic Painting
Liubov Popova (Russia, 1889-1924)
Russia, 1917
Painting: Oil on canvas
29 13/16 x 21 in. (75.57 x 53.34 cm)
Purchased with funds provided by the Estate of Hans G. M. de Schulthess and the David E. Bright Bequest (87.4)
Modern Art

Credit: Gift of Mrs. Robert Homans Accession No.1954.7.2/National Gallery of Art
Title: Abigail Smith Adams (Mrs. John Adams)
Dated: 1800-1815
Artist: Gilbert Stuart 1755- 1828
Medium: oil on canvas

Friday, April 18, 2014

Free Book Friday!

Congratulations to Tammi Laney (@tammi3kids)! You've won a copy of Chasing the Storm: Tornadoes, Meteorology, and Weather WatchingPlease send us a DM on Twitter or an email to publicityinfo@lernerbooks.com with the subject line "Free Book Friday" and tell us your mailing addresses so we can get your book in the mail.

It's time to give away a YA novel! This week's Free Book Friday title is Corinne Demas's Returning to Shore, which Kirkus Reviews calls "a quiet, lovely story."

Her mother's third marriage is only hours old when all hope for Clare's fifteenth summer fades. Before she knows it, Clare is whisked away to some ancient cottage on a tiny marsh island on Cape Cod to spend the summer with her father—a man she hasn't seen since she was three.

Clare's biological father barely talks, and when he does, he obsesses about endangered turtles. The first teenager Clare meets on the Cape confirms that her father is known as the town crazy person.

But there's something undeniably magical about the marsh and the island—a connection to Clare’s past that runs deeper than memory. Even her father's beloved turtles hold unexpected surprises. As Clare's father begins to reveal more about himself and his own struggle, Clare's summer becomes less of an exile and more of a return.

Click here to download a free discussion guide for this thoughtful, amazing read. 

If you'd like a free copy of Returning to Shoreplease leave a comment on this post (including your name), or tweet this line: "Free Book Friday! RT to win  RETURNING TO SHORE by @corinnedemas from @LernerBooks. bit.ly/1OrSN #freebooks #yareads #kidlit"

We'll announce the winner on Friday, April 25, so visit the blog then to see if you've won!

Good luck!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Storm's a-comin'...along with FREE teaching resources!

Anybody remember the 1996 film Twister? No? Well, I don't blame you, but I may never forget the day I watched 42 minutes of it in my middle school science class. We never finished it, so I didn't get to find out whether the least memorable astronaut from Apollo 13 (Bill Paxton, the good guy) beat Westley from A Princess Bride (Cary Elwes, the bad guy) to that F5 (super big and dangerous) tornado they were chasing. But the film's premise, if not its plot, ignited my imagination and has made me curious about real-life storm chasers ever since.

Public service announcement for teachers: if you want to get your students excited scientific adventurers--in particular, those meteorological detectives known as storm chasers--don't have them watch Twister. Have them read Ron Miller's book Chasing the Storm: Tornadoes, Meteorology, and Weather Watching (Twenty-First Century Books), and then use our FREE eSource activities to help them get the most out of that reading experience. We offer a Common Core-based research and writing assignment, as well as guidelines for creating your own weather station--complete with rain and wind gauges, a wind vane, a barometer to measure air pressure, a hygrometer to measure humidity, and a weather emergency kit. It's enough to make this editor wish she was back in middle school discovering storm chasers all over again.

As a young'un, I thought storm chasing was EPIC.
I wish this page-turner of a book and Lerner's FREE classroom resources had been around back then,
but better late than never!
To download free resources for a book or series, find that book or series on our website. Then look in the right-hand column of the page for the eSource logo. Just under the Font Lens, you'll see the downloadable eSource files. Click on an individual file or on "download all."

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Sentence That Grabs You—and Won’t Let Go


Inspired by a piece I heard recently on NPR about The American Scholar magazine’s list of best sentences in fiction or nonfiction, I asked my editorial colleagues to share their favorites and to explain why they chose the sentence they did.

Kris’s favorite:

“It was a pleasure to burn.” –-Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

This sentence captures the inherent human inclination toward destruction. Human actions are often driven by cathartic release (smashing plates, driving dangerously fast) instead of pursuing real solutions or expanding knowledge. It is a warning not to let these desires overpower us.

Amy’s favorite:

“Do you think, because I am poor, obscure, plain, and little, I am soulless and heartless?”

–-Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Who doesn’t love an angsty rhetorical question from a nineteen-year-old misfit? I’ve never quite gotten over Jane’s tenacious insistence that she’s a thinking, feeling human being who deserves respect. It was a radical assertion for a woman in Bronte’s time, and it still packs a punch in ours. Can you issue a challenge like this in ninety characters or less? Twitter’s waiting!

Jon’s favorite:

“This world is painted on a wild dark metal” --Shadow Country by Peter Matthiessen

This is the very last sentence in the book, and it seems to be the perfect way to wrap up a rough and violent story. The missing period is intentional; it’s the main character’s (spoiler alert) final and perhaps unfinished thought before death. I told a friend recently that I would tattoo this sentence somewhere if I were ever to get a tattoo.

Domenica’s favorite:

“Also, the scrapbooks we keep of thank-you’s on White House stationery, time-to-time communications from California and Borneo, the knife grinder’s penny post cards, make us feel connected to eventful worlds beyond the kitchen with its view of a sky that stops.”

-–A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote

This sentence captures the human longing to transcend the limits of the physical body and those of perception and experience. It gets at the instinctive human desire to move beyond, which drives our creative—and destructive—urges.

Leesha’s favorite

“…there could have been no two hearts so open, no tastes so similar, no feelings so in unison, no countenances so beloved.” -–Persuasion by Jane Austen

This sentence has all the glory of an old romance. The narrator knows the nostalgia of unrequited love, and yet there is the glimmer of hope, for the sentence is bound up in the context of a love that may return and reclaim its own.

Jenna’s favorite

“Speed was a causeway between life and death and you hoped you came out on the side of life.” –-The Flamethrowers by Rachel Kushner

This poetic sentence captures so much with so little. It invites us into the psyche of the female narrator and presents her desire for breakneck speed—this danger zone between life and death—as both exhilarating and terrifying. The brilliance of the line is that it calls attention to the narrator’s aura of reckless power—and to her tremendous vulnerability.

What’s your favorite sentence? Let us know, and be sure to check in next month for more from TFCB!

[Photo credit: Fahrenheit 451, Letterology blog]

Friday, April 11, 2014

Free Book Friday!

Congratulations to Donna (@donnak4)! You've won a copy of Joy in MudvillePlease send us a DM on Twitter or an email to publicityinfo@lernerbooks.com with the subject line "Free Book Friday" and tell us your mailing addresses so we can get your book in the mail.

Storm season is coming up, so this week's Free Book Friday giveaway will help you prepare. Chasing the Storm: Tornadoes, Meteorology, and Weather Watching from Twenty-First Century Books is a fascinating look at the storm chasers and meteorologists who track twisters, hurricanes, blizzards, and other dangerous weather systems.

Huge, towering clouds build up in the sky—it's a super cell. The Doppler radar indicates that the system is rotating. But is there a funnel? Is it touching the ground? Only a storm chaser can confirm when a tornado is present—and help meteorologists warn nearby towns.

Whenever severe weather threatens, storm chasers hit the road to hunt for tornadoes, hurricanes, or violent storms. Some drive thousands of miles in just a few days as they follow a storm system from Iowa to Texas. Others serve their cities and towns by taking photos from their backyards and phoning in storm details to local weather stations. Specially trained Hurricane Hunters hop into aircraft packed with scientific instruments to fly deep into powerful hurricanes, hoping to reach the eye of the storm.

Are storm chasers a bunch of foolish daredevils? Not at all. Many are scientists while others are professional photographers and videographers. Storm chasers arm themselves with training about severe weather, use sophisticated instruments, and follow safety guidelines.

In Chasing the Storm, you'll meet real storm chasers and meteorologists, hear their stories, and discover how they do their work. You'll learn tornado basics, get a great window into the science of meteorology, and learn how to pursue a career in the field. You might even decide to become a storm chaser yourself!

Click here to download free instructions on how to make your own weather station, complete with a DIY hygrometer! 

If you'd like a free copy of Chasing the Storm: Tornadoes, Meteorology, and Weather Watching, please leave a comment on this post (including your name), or tweet this line: "Free Book Friday! RT to win  CHASING THE STORM from @LernerBooks. bit.ly/1OrSN #freebooks #weather #giveaway"

We'll announce the winner on Friday, April 18, so visit the blog then to see if you've won!

Good luck!