Kari Stuart’s life was going nowhere – until she unexpectedly won the lottery. Now an instant millionaire, she’s trying to decide what to do next when an orphan cat, a failing animal rescue and a murder mystery all fall into her lap. On this episode of Off The Page, we talk with author Deborah Blake about her new cozy mystery series.
Thank you to all of the young writers who shared work with us during the 2021 Student Writing Challenge. Congratulations to the following students who are receiving honors. You can watch our awards ceremony here. Materials for the 2022 contest are available here! FICTION
Best Fiction, Grades K-1
‘Look Where Your Keys Go’ by Audriann G., Vestal, NY
Best Fiction, Grades 2-3
‘My Fractured Fairy Tale’ by Cameron W., Vestal, NY
Best Fiction, Grades 4-5
‘Haunted Manor’ by Grayden E., Conklin, NY
Best Fiction, Grades 6-8
‘The Discontented Man’ by Heyan C., Vestal, NY
Best Fiction, Grades 9-12
‘The Siege of the Sea’ by Daisy D., Binghamton, NY
Honorable Mention, Grades 9-12
‘Heaven or Hell, that is the Question’ by Emma P., Owego, NY
Best Personal Essay/Non-Fiction, Grades K-1
‘About Children’ by Zelda S., Vestal, NY
Best Personal Essay/Non-Fiction, Grades 2-3
‘Wolf Connection’ by Amina S., Binghamton, NY
Honorable Mention, Grades 2-3
‘Personal Narrative’ by Zoey R., Lodi, NY
Best Personal Essay/Non-Fiction, Grades 4-5
‘The Cat and the Coconut’ by Maya S., Vestal, NY
Best Personal Essay/Non-Fiction, Grades 9-12
‘Screaming for Those that Can’t’ by Erin R., Binghamton, NY
Best Poetry, Grades 2-3
‘Art’ by Moussia S., Vestal, NY
Honorable Mention, Grades 2-3
‘Ducks’ by Shterny C., Vestal, NY
Best Poetry, Grades 4-5
‘Freedom’ by Mushky C., Vestal, NY
Honorable Mention, Grades 4-5
‘Death Poem’ by Aviva K., Vestal, NY
Best Poetry, Grades 6-8
‘The Wall’ by Faris S., Vestal, NY
Best Poetry, Grades 9-12
‘Real-ationship’ by Lily B., Binghamton, NY
Honorable Mention, Grades 9-12
‘Women’ by Lydia C., Apalachin, NY
TEXT WITH VISUALS
(GRAPHIC NOVEL, ILLUSTRATED WORK, PICTURE BOOK)
Best Text with Visuals, Grades K-1
‘How to Brush Your Teeth’ by Anastasia G., Binghamton, NY
Best Text with Visuals, Grades 4-5
‘The Lone Hero’ by Bilal K., Vestal, NY
Best Text with Visuals, Grades 6-8
‘The Queen Called Evil’ by Imogen K. and Hannah J., Binghamton, NY
Thank you to Mary Ann Karre, Lonna Pierce, Sarah Reid, Sara-Jo Sites, Sandy Stiles, the George F. Johnson Memorial Library, Jenny Gordon, Rachel Rissberger, Nikki Waskie-Laura, the School Librarian Association of the Southern Tier EAST, and the WSKG Education Advisory Committee.
ROCHESTER, NY (WXXI) – The rise of big-box bookstore chains like Barnes & Noble, Borders, and Waldenbooks battered independent bookstores in the 1990s. Indies have since been rendered an endangered species by Amazon. Most that remain, at least in the city, specialize in used books, first editions, and hard-to-find titles. CLICK HERE.
When L. Frank Baum published The Wonderful Wizard of Oz in 1900, he was 44 years old and had spent much of his life in restless pursuit of his American dream. After working and failing at a string of odd jobs that honed his instincts for showmanship — chicken breeder, actor, marketer of petroleum products, shopkeeper, newspaperman and traveling salesman — Baum and his family headed west from their home in Syracuse, New York, in 1888. During his travels from Chicago to the Great Plains during the American frontier’s final days, he witnessed a nation coming to terms with the economic uncertainty of the Gilded Age. But he never lost his childlike sense of wonder and eventually crafted his observations into an enduring, magical tale of survival, adventure and self-discovery. American Oz tells the remarkable story of the man behind one of the most beloved and quintessential American classics, reinterpreted through the generations in films, books and musicals.
The book, titled ‘American Crisis,’ is Cuomo’s attempt to convince readers that New York formed a competent response to the pandemic, while characterizing President Donald Trump and his administration as careless and dismissive to the virus.
University of Rochester assistant professor of history Brianna Theobald explores the history of the forced sterilization of Native American women. She says the federal government subsidized doctors to perform these procedures in the 1970s.
Acclaimed author to offer her unique take on changing literary and information landscape on eve of National Library Week. PBS Books and U-M Penny Stamps Speaker Series present the livestream Thursday, April 4, at 5:10 p.m.
Join WSKG at the Sherburne Public Library on Thursday, August 23, 2018 for a special screening of The Great American read. Vote on-site for your favorite book, enjoy the library’s collections, and help yourself to refreshments. The library is located at 2 East State Street Sherburne, NY, and the event beings at 6:00pm. https://youtu.be/MRCF_qIPvnM
To celebrate summer’s splendor, we share our summer reading list. This is a collection of books you can sink into, spend some extra time with, pages and passages waiting to be pored over unhurriedly. These are stories and topics meant to savor.
‘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.
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.
Tom Wolfe wasn’t interested in fitting in. In his signature white suit, the best-selling author and journalist described himself as “the village information gatherer.” Wolfe died Monday in a New York hospital.
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
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.
Author Tony Villecco has been researching the life and work of silent film star Pola Negri for decades. His new book is an exhaustive and entertaining look at her career in Hollywood films, both silent films, and “talkies”. His book signing is Sunday, September 17 at the Roberson Museum and Science Center
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’ 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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
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!
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:
Reading and Workshop on Speculative Fiction, Poetry Open Mic, Literary Jeopardy
Beyond the Bechtel Test, Workshop: Comedy Writing, Reading: Jewish Noir
Discussion on Genre Publishing, Discussion on Developing Characters, Reading by Razi Rumi
Click here for the full schedule and festival details.
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.
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.
Horror writer Kevin Lucia talks about his latest works, the horror industry today, and about what scares him. (Hint – it’s not the monsters he writes about.) Lucia will read from his works Through A Mirror Darkly and Things Slip Through on Friday, October 30th at Barnes & Noble, Vestal, NY.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.