Fresh Air’s Maureen Corrigan on Being a Book Critic

‘Fresh Air’ book critic Maureen Corrigan will be speaking at the 2018 Women’s Fund Breakfast hosted by the Women’s Fund of the Community Foundation for South Central New York. She joins us by phone to tell how she became book critic for ‘Fresh Air’, how many books land on her front porch every week, and what it is like to discover a great book by a previously unknown author.

RSVP to WSKG’s ‘The Great American Read’ Event

You’re invited to WSKG Studios for a special event celebrating the new PBS series The Great American Read! Join us on Thursday, June 14th for a one-hour screening, mingle with literary-minded guests, and hear remarks from author and Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me panelist Amy Dickinson.  

Partner organizations including Literacy Legacy Project, Lyceum, Riverow Bookshop, Four County Library System, and School Librarian Association of the Southern Tier East will also be on site throughout the evening. Doors open at 5:30pm.

Free ‘Little Women’ Webinar for Teachers & Librarians

FREE Webinar for Teachers & Librarians, Grades 6-12
Thursday, May 24, 2018 at 7pm EST

Loved by generations worldwide, LITTLE WOMEN is a universal coming-of-age story. In this webinar for educators, we use the new MASTERPIECE adaptation of LITTLE WOMEN and partner with the Great Books Foundation to explore why the classic novel’s themes still resonate with audiences 150 years after its publication. This webinar will support English teachers and librarians grades 6-12 and offers:

A tour of the media-based resources on PBS LearningMedia, featuring key scenes from the MASTERPIECE broadcast
A discussion of Great Books Foundation’s shared inquiry technique to help students think critically about the novel and reflect on its relevance today
Q&A with resource developers

Register Now

A Certificate of Participation will be sent to all who attend the live stream. A recording link will be available. Registration is limited so please sign up today.

'The Things They Carried' is Adapted as a Play

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Tim O’Brien’s award-winning book ‘The Things They Carried’ is the source for a series of events around the Binghamton area. Studio 271 Productions presents a dramatic reading at the Schorr Family Firehouse Stage on March 10 and 11 in an adaptation by Martin M. Murray. The SUNY-Broome Center for Civic Engagement presents a guided deliberative discussion—’The Limits of Power: The United States in Vietnam’ on March 8 at 6:30pm in the Decker Community Room of the Broome County Public Library. Tim O’Brien will also appear on March 25 in the Helen Foley Theatre of Binghamton High School. The events are  part of the NEA Big Read, a month-long series of programs highlighting ‘The Things They Carried’, presented by SUNY-Broome Community College.We hear more from director Kate Murray and Prof. Mary Donnelly.

'Around Binghamton' Charts Local History Through Photographs

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‘Around Binghamton’ is a new book to be released on Monday, February 13.  Jim Maggiore has grouped his own photographs with photographs of historical interest. “The Greater Binghamton area’s undulating history mirrors that of its terrain. The area has evolved from a transportation center to a hub of manufacturing and technology and, with the expansion of Binghamton University and SUNY Broome Community College, a growing center of erudition. First, canal boats and trains dominated the landscape, then, cigars were produced in abundance, followed by shoes, simulators, and computers. Now, with Binghamton University expanding into downtown, student housing, breweries, and eateries fill Binghamton’s streets.

Author Therese Walsh Talks About The Writing Craft (Don't Underestimate The Importance Of Coffee)

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Therese Walsh is the author of The Moon Sisters, The Last Will of Moira Leahy, and the forthcoming Author In Progress. She’s also the co-founder of WRITER UNBOXED, a website focusing on the craft and business of writing fiction. She spoke with Crystal Sarakas about writing rituals, the relationship between writers and their readers, and who inspires her.  

Photo by Rachel Burdick

 

'Tumbling Turner Sisters' Author Reads From Her Book Thursday Night In Binghamton

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Juliette Fay is the author of four novels, including the recently released novel The Tumbling Turner Sisters:
In 1919, the Turner sisters and their parents are barely scraping by. Their father is a low-paid boot-stitcher in Johnson City, New York, and the family is always one paycheck away from eviction. When their father’s hand is crushed and he can no longer work, their irrepressible mother decides that the vaudeville stage is their best—and only—chance for survival. With so much at stake, teenagers Gert, Winnie, and Kit, and recent widow Nell take to the road, and soon find a new kind of freedom in the company of performers who are as diverse as their acts. There is a seamier side to the business, however, and the young women face dangers and turns of fate they never could have anticipated.

For Your To-Read List: New Books By Fantasy Author Joshua Palmatier

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Joshua Palmatier is the author of several fantasy novels, and the co-founder of the small press Zombies Need Brains. He’s also about to have a very busy summer, with several books being released over the next couple of weeks, and another Kickstarter happening in August to fund three new anthologies from his small press. Erenthrall is a city powered by the mystical ley lines that thread through the world.  The ley is used to light the streets, heat homes, and power the transportation throughout the city and to the rest of the world beyond.  Kara is a Wielder, someone who can manipulate the ley and repair the lines when necessary.  Allan is a Dog, part of the brutal guard that keeps the ley under the strict control of the Baron and his Primes.  Both of their lives will be forever changed when a terrorist group called the Kormanley begins to attack the ley lines in an attempt to break the Baron’s stranglehold on the ley and bring them back into their natural alignment. The first book in the series is Shattering the Ley. The second book, Threading the Needle, will be released on July 5.

Honoring local winners of PBS KIDS Writers Contest

A day to celebrate the young creative writers of our community! On Sunday, June 12, 2016, twenty-six students, their families, and friends gathered at WSKG Studios in Vestal, NY to honor the winning story entries. Awards were given to First, Second, and Third place entries from the local PBS KIDS Writers Contest for students in Kindergarten through Grade 3. First, Second, and Third place awards were also handed out to students in Grades 4, 5, and 6 as part of the WSKG Youth Writers Contest.  

Judges spoke about each story and read their favorite excerpts to the audience. Students were honored for both their creative writing and dynamic illustrations.

Meet Superhero 'Gem Girl' in Elmira Girl's Winning Story

Caylee Hinman won 1st place in the Second Grade category in WSKG’s local 2016 PBS KIDS Writers Contest. Caylee is 8 years old and lives in Elmira, NY with her mom and dad.  She enjoys school, gardening, rocks and gems, building with Legos, baking, reading, and most of all writing stories!  Caylee wrote her first book at the age of 3 titled “Happy Fall” inspired by the changing seasons.  She has been writing books ever since.  When Caylee grows up she is thinking of becoming an author. Here’s a Q&A we held with her!:

What is your story about?  Can you summarize it in just a sentence or two? My story is about a battle between good and evil, where Gem Girl and Diamond Dog fight Hot Dog Guy and Pickle Poodle to save the city.

'The Adventures of Clean Guy and Trash' Wins Honor in Youth Writers Contest

Keyahn Sethi won 1st place in the Fourth Grade category in the 2016 WSKG Youth Writers Contest. He is 9 years old and in fourth grade at The Crescent Academy in Johnson City, NY. A prankster who loves to write funny stories, Keyahn’s ultimate passion is sports.  He’s on the travel hockey team, the lacrosse team and also takes Gymnastics and Ninja classes.  He loves the outdoors and you can usually find him outside with his sisters biking, hiking by the river, or slacklining.

'Faerie Realm' Awarded in Local Youth Writers Contest

Logan Everson won 1st place in the Sixth Grade category in WSKG’s local 2016 Youth Writers Contest.  He is 12 years old and the oldest in his family.  He really likes acting and has been in two short films with BFI. He practices martial arts, plays soccer and tennis, and loves video games, writing, and drawing.  Logan shared thoughts on his experience writing this story and submitting it with our contest:

What is your story about?  Can you summarize it in just a sentence or two? This story is about a kid who finds a place called the Faerie Realm and helps the inhabitants against the Dark Queen.

Robots Rule in Vestal Youth's PBS KIDS Writers Contest Story

Heyan Chung received 1st place in the Grade 2 category of WSKG’s local 2016 PBS KIDS Writers Contest.  Heyan is 6 years old and in first grade in African Road Elementary school. He’s been interested in robots, universe, and nature. He’s read a few books about robots, and visiting Carnegie Science center in Pittsburg and MIT museum in Cambridge encouraged him to learn more about robots. His hobby is singing, origami, Legos, playing board games and collecting natural objects like stones, leaves and twigs.

'Team Animal Ninja Competition' Combines Fact, Creative Writing and Beautiful Illustration

Inaaya Sethi’s story The Team Animal Ninja Competition has received the 1st place honor in the third grade category in WSKG’s local 2016 PBS KIDS Writers Contest.  Inaaya is 8 years old and in third grade at The Crescent Academy in Johnson City, NY.   Inaaya loves to draw, colour, and write stories.  She’s a Girl Scout who loves the outdoors and is on the lacrosse team.  You can often find her outside hiking by the river, swimming, slacklining or biking.

Ithaca Girl Shares Winning Story in WSKG's Youth Writers Contest

Juliana Grantz won 1st place in the Fifth Grade category in the 2016 WSKG Youth Writers Contest.  Juliana is eleven years old and lives in Ithaca, NY, but is in the midst of moving to Aurora, NY right now! She has three younger sisters, no brothers, and another sister coming in October. Juliana enjoys singing, acting, writing, drawing, and other creative pastimes. She would like to be many things when she grows up, including an author and songwriter.

'So Close to Home' Illuminates a Little-Known World War II Event

Recently, New York Times bestselling author Michael J. Tougias spoke with WSKG History about his new book, “So Close to Home: A True Story of an American Family’s Fight for Survival During World War II” (2016). Co-written with journalist Alison O’Leary, “So Close to Home” chronicles a U-boat attack in the Gulf of Mexico, a family’s resilience, and the daring patrol of the submarine commander. Michael J. Tougias is the author and co-author of over 20 books, including “The Finest Hours” (2009) which was adapted into a major motion picture starring Chris Pine and Casey Affleck in 2016. Many of his books have a predominant theme of true survival-at-sea adventures. He has also written for the New York Times, the Boston Globe, USA Today, and many other publications. Listen to the interview:

(The partial transcript below has been edited for clarity.)

 

Interview Highlights
On the war in the Atlantic

When the U.S. entered the war with Germany, the first thing the Germans did was launch Operation Drumbeat. They sent over U-boats here before we could become proficient at defending against them, and it was like a turkey shoot.

Winners Announced for 'PBS KIDS Writers' & 'WSKG Youth Writers' Contests

Thank you to the 203 students that shared their stories & illustrations with WSKG this year!  Our judging committee reviewed the entries and have selected the following winning stories.  Be sure to visit this webpage often as the stories will be uploaded for viewers to read! All children who entered the contests will receive their original story back through the mail. Kindergarten
1st Place | Grayden Everson | Spoon and Knife Adventure
2nd Place | Frances Miller | The Adventure Girl
3rd Place | Brooke Casey | Flutter and the Bumble Bee
Honorable Mention | Azreal Brown | The Two Bunnies

First Grade
1st Place | Heyan Chung | Robot Jobs
2nd Place | Hudson Scaglione | My Friend the Big Whale
3rd Place | Seema Patel | Trouble in Candy Land
Honorable Mention | Lydia Thompson | Our Cute and Funny Guinea Pigs!

Spring Writes Celebrates The Written Word – And The Writers Who Write Them

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The Spring Writes Literary Festival takes place April 28-May 1 at locations throughout Ithaca. More than 90 writers will present panels, workshops, readings, and more. The event is free and open to the public. Highlights from the weekend include:

Friday:

Reading and Workshop on Speculative Fiction, Poetry Open Mic, Literary Jeopardy

Saturday:

Beyond the Bechtel Test, Workshop: Comedy Writing, Reading: Jewish Noir

Sunday:

Discussion on Genre Publishing, Discussion on Developing Characters, Reading by Razi Rumi

 

Click here for the full schedule and festival details. 

'Read Across America' 2016 Arrives

Every year, on March 2nd, the National Education Association (NEA) celebrates Dr. Seuss’s Birthday as Read Across America Day. We’ve assembled a few online resources to help you celebrate Seuss-style and to encourage families to read together. Dr. Seuss Crafts Roundup from PBS Parents features adorable, low-cost craft ideas for the early learner! Are you a busy parent and short on time? PBS KIDS has compiled this online Reading Activity Calendar full of simple, easy ideas for you to incorporate at home! Co-watch The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That!  on WSKG TV (Monday-Friday at 1:30pm) and follow up with an online game.

A Story of Memory, Identity and Elephants in Space

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The book Barsk: The Elephant’s Graveyard is a science fiction space opera set in a far future where humanity is gone, but their successors live on in a race of civilized, sentient animals. The novel is an exploration of memory, emotion and identity, all within the story of a Fant named Jorl and truths that are revealed after centuries of being hidden. Lawrence Schoen spoke with Crystal Sarakas about writing about these anthropomorphic characters. Lawrence M. Schoen holds a Ph.D. in cognitive psychology, has been nominated for the Campbell, Hugo, and Nebula awards, is a world authority on the Klingon language, operates the small press Paper Golem, and is a practicing hypnotherapist specializing in authors’ issues. His previous science fiction writings includes many light and humorous adventures of a space-faring stage hypnotist and his alien animal companion.

Explore the weird west with Silver on the Road

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When Isobel turns sixteen years of age, she must choose what she’s going to do with her life. For her, that choice is to become the Devil’s own hand. Gabriel is just passing through Flood, but chooses to become Isobel’s mentor on her first journey on the road. Together, they toss a coin into the crossroads and set out to discover that the powers that are gathering are not just a threat to a green rider and her teacher, but to the entire territory the Devil rules. Laura Anne Gilman talks with Crystal Sarakas about Silver on the Road, her latest novel.

Sci-Fi fans invade Binghamton

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The RoberCon Science Fiction convention is this weekend.  It’s a two-day event this year at the Roberson Museum and Science Center, with expanded gaming opportunities at Binghamton High School.  Marketing Director Jason Fiume took some time off from organizing the event to chat with us. http://wskg.org/audio/roberconmix.mp3

Photo courtesy Roberson Museum and Science Center

Local Small Press To Publish Two New Anthologies

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The local small press, Zombies Need Brains, was founded by author Joshua Palmatier. The small press is currently running a Kickstarter campaign to fund its next two anthologies. In this interview, Palmatier talks about the work behind running a successful campaign, and why he’s dedicated to offering unknown authors a chance to submit their work to the anthology. http://wskg.org/audio/PALMATIERFINAL.mp3

March 12, 2015 | The Gin Game; author Deborah Blake; Romancing Spain

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Ti-Ahwaga Community Players present The Gin Game. 

Oneonta author Deborah Blake talks about the new book in her Baba Yaga series. We hear an excerpt from Romancing Spain by Lamar Herrin read by David Romm at last November’s Ithaca Out Loud event. Entertainment Editor Chris Kocher gives us a look at what is coming up this weekend.

January 22, 2015 | Little Delaware Youth Ensemble; Paul Schleuse; Bag 'Bones (the Sultana musical)

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Michael Hanbridge talks about the upcoming performances by the Little Delaware Youth Ensemble that is currently celebrating 15 years of making music. Jeff Stachyra and Laura Cunningham have written a musical about the disaster of the steamboat Sultana. They speak about the history of the Sultana and about the musical, Bag O’ Bones, which is coming to the Bundy Museum. Binghamton University professor Paul Schleuse continues his remarks about his book Singing Games in Early Modern Italy which will be published in the spring.

January 15, 2015 | Jersey Boys; Theatron Productions; Haydn's Seven Last Words

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Theatron Productions presents their first performance, a cabaret of show tunes from musicals that weren’t big hits. Crystal Sarakas speaks with a cast member of the touring company of the musical Jersey Boys. Conductor Gerald Wolfe talks about the winter concert of the Ithaca Community Chorus that features Haydn’s Seven Last Words. Binghamton University professor Paul Schleuse has written a book about music from the early days of the printing press.  We hear part one of Bill Snyder’s interview with him.