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Fantasy & Sci-Fi Books for Kids


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Coffee cups for writers

Writers are notoriously avid coffee drinkers. So, this writer sends out a big thank you to Šarūnė Mac and the mad geniuses at Bored Panda.

“Coffee. Some like it, some love it, and some are downright crazy about it. If you fit into the latter camp then this list of coffee-themed gift ideas is especially for you.

Compiled by Bored Panda, the collection below contains everything from bookmarks and rings to wooden coffee cup earrings and even caffeine molecule bracelets. You’re sure to find something to add to your wish list this Christmas.”

#1 Edible Sugar Doilies For The Prettiest Cup Of Coffee

Edible Sugar Doilies For The Prettiest Cup Of Coffee

#2 This Alarm Clock Will Wake You Up With A Fresh Cup Of Coffee

This Alarm Clock Will Wake You Up With A Fresh Cup Of Coffee

#3 Cookie Monster Coffee Cup

Cookie Monster Coffee Cup

#4 Aurora Borealis Heat Changing Mug

Aurora Borealis Heat Changing Mug

#5 Coffee Ice Tray

Coffee Ice Tray

#6 Coffee Cup Wall-Mounted Lamp

Coffee Cup Wall-Mounted Lamp

#7 Octopus Cup

Octopus Cup

#8 Ctrl-Alt-Delete Cup Set

Ctrl-Alt-Delete Cup Set

#9 R2-D2 Coffee Press

R2-D2 Coffee Press

#10 Cat Butt Coasters

Cat Butt Coasters


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A Day in the Life of Hedgehogs

I suspect these images have been PhotoShopped, but who cares, because hedgehogs! From Elena Eremina and the mad geniuses at Bored Panda.

“Ever wondered what a casual day in the life of a hedgehog looks like? Well, now you can find out, as photographer Elena Eremina has created an adorable series featuring the little spike balls.

Elena Eremina is a St. Petersburg-based budding photographer, gradually progressing to becoming a pro. From hamsters to pugs to hedgehogs – she is the master of photographing small animals in miniature settings. Even though most of the photos have probably been edited, her most recent series features hedgehogs doing everything from taking a bath to baking cookies and it’s too cute. You can buy Elena’s hedgehog photos in the form of posters and stickers here or hedgehog calendars here.

P.S. Don’t do this at home without consulting a veterinarian.”

Cute Hedgehogs

Cute Hedgehogs

Cute Hedgehogs

Cute Hedgehogs

Cute Hedgehogs

 Cute Hedgehogs

Cute Hedgehogs

Cute Hedgehogs

Cute Hedgehogs

Cute Hedgehogs

Cute Hedgehogs

Cute Hedgehogs


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Octopus-Inspired Designs

Did you know that October 8 was International Octopus Day? Oct. 8, get it? Personally, I think we should also celebrate the other cephalopods: squid, cuttlefish (especially LITTLE RED CUTTLEFISH), and nautiluses. From the mad geniuses at Bored Panda.

“Octopuses are exceptionally intelligent and creative creatures, and have been able to solve most of the puzzles and challenges that scientists put before them in laboratories. This, coupled with their unique and fearsome appearance, makes them the perfect inspiration for stories about terrors from the deep!”

#1 Octopus Chandelier

Octopus Chandelier

#2 Octopus Umbrella

Octopus Umbrella

 #3 Octopus Door Handle

Octopus Door Handle

#4 Octopus Watch

Octopus Watch

#5 Octopus Cup

Octopus Cup

#6 Octopus Hoodie

Octopus Hoodie

#7 Octopus Wood Iphone

Octopus Wood Iphone

#8 Octopus Ear Cuff

Octopus Ear Cuff

#9 Octopus Gate

Octopus Gate

#10 Octopus Table

Octopus Table

#11 Octopus Wine Glass

Octopus Wine Glass

#12 Octopus Duvet Cover And Pillow Cases

Octopus Duvet Cover And Pillow Cases

#13 Octopus Candelabra

Octopus Candelabra 

#14 Octopus Chair

Octopus Chair

#15 Octopus Hook

Octopus Hook

#16 Octopus Cellphone Holder

Octopus Cellphone Holder

#17 Octopus Collar Clip

Octopus Collar Clip

#18 Octopus Ring

Octopus Ring


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Interview with picture book author/illustrator Terry Fan

Terry Fan received his formal art training at Ontario College of Art and Design in Toronto, Canada. His work is a blend of traditional and contemporary techniques, using ink or graphite mixed with digital. He spends his days (and nights) creating magical paintings, portraits, and prints. Born in Illinois, he now lives in Toronto.

fanterry

For what age audience do you write?

Our books are listed for “young readers”, but I’d like to think that any age group could enjoy our books.

Henry: Please note: when Terry uses first-person plural, he is not employing the “royal we”. He collaborates with his brother Eric.

Tell us about your latest book.

Our latest book is entitled THE DARKEST DARK, in collaboration with Canadian Astronaut Chris Hadfield and co-writer Kate Fillion. It’s a very cool story inspired by real-life events that happened during his childhood. In picture book form, it recounts what how he overcomes his childhood fear of the dark and goes on to become an astronaut.

Henry: Teaching kids to reach for the stars. Literally and literarily. Well played, sir.

What do you hope readers will get from reading that book?

That everyone started from somewhere, and that it took conquering his fears to accomplish all the incredible things that he has. Hopefully it will inspire children to face their own fears, knowing that even future astronauts can be afraid of the dark. I’ll quote a lovely passage (written by Chris Hadfield for the epilogue of the book) that encapsulates what the whole book is about: “The dark is for dreams —- and morning is for making them come true.”

Henry: Speaking of quotes about the dark, I always liked “Character is who you are in the dark.” Bonus points for anyone who can name the movie in which that was uttered.

What aspect of writing do you find most challenging?

To be honest I find all of it challenging, it’s difficult to pick one aspect. However when it comes specifically to picture books, there often has to be a strict economy of words because it’s such a compressed format, so that’s definitely challenging. Our books often have spare dialogue, which some might think would make things easier, but it’s really the opposite. A lot has to be said with very little text and it has to marry with the illustrations seamlessly.

Henry: It IS all hard to write picture books! I agree the tight word count is a big challenge. As a non-illustrating author, I think another challenge (that you talented author-illustrators don’t face) is ensuring every aspect of a spread is conveyed without resorting to copious art notes. 

What is a powerful lesson you’ve learned from being a writer?

That it always takes so much more care, thought and time than most people realize, even for something as seemingly straightforward as a picture book. Countless revisions are pretty much par for the course, at least in my experience.

What has been a memorable experience that you never would have had if you had not been a writer/illustrator?

I never would have met our wonderful agent Kirsten Hall, published a picture book, met all the fantastic people associated with the books I’ve worked on, flown in a plane with Chris Hadfield… the list goes on and on.

What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

Just never give up. I didn’t start making a living off art until my mid-forties. Since joining her agency (Catbird Agency, based in NYC) I’ve finished two picture books with Eric and we have four more projects in the pipeline. That should give some hope to all those late-bloomers out there.

Henry: I was also a late-blooming kidlit author. It’s not when you start; you just have to start!

Do you have any favorite quotes?

I have a bunch of them, but here are a couple of my favorites:

“What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.” ~ Crowfoot

“The tree wants to be still, but the wind keeps blowing” ~ old Chinese proverb.

Henry: Nice. My wife uses a variant of the latter. “You want to lie on the couch, but I need you to take out the trash.”

Do you have any strange rituals that you observe when you write/illustrate?

I have similar rituals for both. Nothing too strange, usually just drinking wine, listening to music and sometimes chomping on a Nicorette. Creating art can be a lonely business, so a few distractions are often helpful.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be?

Super healing powers, because life is too fragile.

If you could have three authors over for dinner, who would it be?

Mark Twain, Charles M. Schulz and Maurice Sendak. They’ve all had a huge influence on me, and I’ve always felt a certain kinship with the way they approached things. Charles and Maurice might be a bit glum from what I’ve heard, but Mark would no doubt get them laughing. I’d also have to add Sir Arthur Conan Doyle because I’m a huge Holmes fan. Maybe there would even be a séance after dinner.

Henry: I can see Sendak’s influence in your art for THE NIGHT GARDENER. I have a relevant Twain quote: “Go to Heaven for the climate, Hell for the company.”

What is your favorite creature that exists only in literature?

That’s a tough one! I’d have to say Gollum, from THE HOBBIT. He’s just such an awesome, well-realized character with a fascinating back-story.

Henry: Great choice. He’s a classic example of “there but for the grace of God, go I.” Many readers don’t notice that without Gollum, the One Ring would never have been destroyed.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing/illustrating?

It feels like I’m always writing/illustrating, but I confess when not working I’m usually not up to much. I try to spend as much time as I can with family. Other than that, watching Netflix on my iPad or trying to catch up on my reading is about all I can manage. Although I do try to get out at least once a day. I live near a beach and there’s a boardwalk that runs along it, so when I get the chance, I go for brisk walks. I also enjoy cooking a lot and by extension, eating a lot.

What would you like it to say on your tombstone?

That Crowfoot quote.

Henry: We are all fireflies in the night.

Where can readers find your work?

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indigo Books, most independent book stores.

Henry: Thanks for spending time with us, Terry. You can see more of his beautiful artwork at http://www.krop.com/terryfan/


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Coffee Tables that Simulate Animals Emerging from Water

I must have a hippo table! From Derek Pearce and the mad geniuses at Bored Panda.

“Looking to spice up your living room with a unique piece of furniture? A coffee table portraying a floating animal by Derek Pearce should do the trick.

Derek Pearce is a man with one unique vision. Called ‘Water Tables’, he creates stunning coffee tables that portray animals “floating through water”. From hippos to dolphins to ducks – he designs the tables so the animals would be plunging in and out of the glass, which represents the water’s surface. The result is truly amazing.”


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Maine Coons – The Next Best Thing to Owning a Lynx

I’m more of a dog person, but when it comes to cats, I like Persians and Scottish Folds (and Sabre-toothed tigers and Kzin). But I just discovered a new breed – Maine Coons. From Robert Sijka and the mad geniuses at Bored Panda.

“Let photographer Robert Sijka introduce you to Maine Coons – the largest domesticated breed of cats in the world. They’re basically the closest thing to a lynx that you can share your home with, without worrying too much about your well-being.

Sijka always saw cats as majestic, almost mystical beasts, and now he came up with a way to share that image with the rest of us: “My passions are cats and photography, I do my best to combine these two things as good as possible,” the photographer shares on his website. And he managed to combine those passions perfectly in his royal-like Maine Coon portrait series.

He got the inspiration from a “photo of Dolce Vita and De La Loo – two of the most majestic black Maine Coons… photographed beautifully on a simple black background”, Robert told Cat Behaviourist. And ever since that moment, he was creating these mesmerizing portraits himself.”

Maine Coon Cat

Maine Coon Cat

Maine Coon Cat

Maine Coon Cat

Maine Coon Cat

Maine Coon Cat

Maine Coon Cat

Maine Coon Cat

Maine Coon Cat

Maine Coon Cat

Maine Coon Cat

Maine Coon Cat


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Puzzle Book With Pages That Must Be Solved

From industrial designer Brady Whitney and the mad geniuses at Bored Panda.

“Some books are hard to read, but few are as difficult as the Codex Silenda. Why? Because it actually won’t let you read it unless you’re smart enough to unlock it.

The laser-cut, hand-crafted, five-page wooden book is created by industrial designer Brady Whitney, who’s been raising funds for the project through Kickstarter. “Each page features a unique puzzle that requires the user/reader to unlock the corresponding bolts in order to progress to the next page,” read’s the website. “As the puzzler moves through the book, a story begins to unfold, depicting the story of an apprentice in Da Vinci’s Workshop who encounters the same Codex. However in the story the Codex acts as a trap set by Da Vinci to capture any would be spies/snoopy apprentices in order to protect his work. The only way to escape is to solve each of the puzzles before the master returns from his trip.”