Tag Archives: kids

Breaking News: Helping Students Navigate a Post-Truth World

Hillary Clinton Adopts Alien Baby! Macedonia Manufactures Metallic War Spiders! Ted Cruz Father Linked to JFK Assassination! The National Enquirer

Not so long ago, The National Enquirer was the bastion of almost joyfully fake news. Then things started getting, well… weird. Now we now find ourselves in a world of “post-truth” —the 2016 Word of the Year according to the Oxford Dictionary—where emotion and ideology are more powerful sculptors of public opinion than facts

shutterstock_115472515.jpgSo what is real? What is a lie, and what’s merely a joke? Is a fact, in fact, a fact? These days, it’s hard to tell.

Even though fake news isn’t new, more and more Americans are getting their news from social media, not legitimate news sources. And a staggering amount of this news isn’t news at all.  According to Buzzfeed—a popular online source covering digital media and technology—“fake news” outperformed mainstream news in the days leading to Election Day.

By now, most everyone has heard President Trump use the term “fake news.” Yet even this term isn’t exactly true, as he and his administration tend to use the label to mean anything that they don’t agree with versus what is proved to be untrue. While some fake news has a political purpose, most often the goal is to simply get a reader to click or to visit an advertiser. The more inflammatory the headline, the more clicks it often receives and, therefore, the more money is made and the more prominence that article is given. The “click-bait” phenomenon has gotten so bad that even Facebook and Google are trying to get a handle on curtailing it.

This is especially worrisome for kids and teens, who get most of their news from social media feeds and who haven’t developed the “site-smarts” to discern fake news from legitimate sources. This is, in many ways, the defining issue of our time. And it’s vital that today’s students develop the capability to become shrewd consumers of information.

Fake Checks and Balances

Media comes at us so fast that it often rushes past our ability to gauge its credibility. And viral content is exactly that: a virus that can spread beyond anyone’s ability to contain. This means that both kids and adults alike need to view news as an editor would: as fault-finders constantly questioning the validity of the information presented.

This chart by patent attorney Vanessa Otero shows where popular news media fall in terms of skew and quality of reporting, helping students to be better aware of their sources.

As a response to the fake news phenomenon, the State of California has already drafted legislation requiring “civic online reasoning” be added to curriculum as a response to a troubling study conducted by the Stanford History Education Group showing that young people are particularly susceptible to fake news stories.

The Stanford researchers studied middle school, high school and college students in 12 states and found they had difficulty distinguishing ads from articles and fake accounts from real ones. More than 80% of middle schoolers assumed that sponsored content was real news. High school students accepted photographs as fact. Most college students didn’t question the potential bias behind tweets from activist groups, or identify the difference between a mainstream and fringe source.

But it’s a challenge to wean children off fake news when their parents are so easily fooled.  Even if a story seems false, if it fits the reader’s particular ideology, then it’s often filed away as true regardless. This is, perhaps, the scariest part of all of this: even if something turns out not to be true, it is quickly dismissed as the lie has already been accepted.

Tools for Truth

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So it’s up to the educator, in many ways, to create media savvy students. And questioning what you read begins with questions. How believable is the story? If it seems fake, it often is. What do you know about the source? A little research can go a long way.

Other tips for helping kids to sniff out falsehoods include:

  • Start by looking at the address. Is it a .com? Is it a .gov? Is it a .edu? Be sure that students understand that .com represents the word “commercial” (businesses) and .org means “organization” (such as charities and non-profits) and that countries also have their own domain extensions. Unusual URLs—especially if the content is trying hard to appear as another legitimate source—are to be viewed with a grain of salt.
  • Consider the point of view of the source. What are they attempting to have readers believe? What do they have to gain through this viewpoint? Some Google sleuthing into the source could reveal possible motives and/or biases. Are the authors qualified to write about this issue? Are there any facts that are conspicuously missing?
  • Follow the money. Who paid for the content? Or, if content is clicked, who stands to get paid?  Spending a little time investigating a source—such as their About Us section—can be illuminating. If a site doesn’t include such a section, that’s a red flag in and of itself!
  • Double check the facts. It’s a good rule of thumb to compare three sources to gauge the validity of a fact, being sure that one of those sources is from an opposing viewpoint. Snopes, FactCheck.org and Wikipedia are easy ways to test the validity of wild claims. Also, see if mainstream news outlets are reporting the same news. If not, this could be a clue.
  • Looks can be deceiving. A lot of fake news outlets employ professional-looking graphics and design to convey a sense of reliability. Kids need to learn how to separate the information from the presentation. Helpful signs are grammatical errors, sensationalist images, outlandish claims and a lack of sources.
  • Read beyond the headline. Does the story itself match the intent of the headline? Is the date current? Is the site a satirical news site such asThe Onion?
  • Gain a foreign perspective. Another interesting approach is to have students consider how events are reported in different regions of the world. Looking at the same event through the lens of various foreign countries can reveal unique viewpoints.

When in Doubt, Head for the Library

Chicago librarian Kylie Peters is on the front lines of the war against fake news.

“Librarians are the original search engine,” says Peters. “People think they don’t need libraries because of Google. In fact, they need us more than ever to help them combat information overload, and sort and evaluate the current glut of information.”

Here are a few of her tips for helping students navigate a world of falsity.

  • Scroll to the bottom of the page and look at who owns the copyright. Is it an individual? A business? A smaller division of a large business? What makes this site qualified to provide accurate information on the topic the site covers?
  • Does the website cite its sources? Are the sources reliable? Does it link to reliable sites?
  • Poor graphic design may be an indicator of low-quality material.
  • Watch for “bias words” that indicate emotion, opinion or slant.
  • Don’t use Google search rankings as an indicator of accuracy. There are a lot of tricks people will use to make their Google search rankings go up. Google also pushes its own properties to the top of the search results.

Peters also suggests that students test their media manipulation skills by Googling the phrase “Save the Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus” and clicking on the site that comes up first. This site was specifically designed to teach students digital literacy and has some built-in clues to help identify false information.

And Peters advises that if a student feels overwhelmed, that they can always seek out a librarian to help them with essential media literacy skills.

Other tools for combating fake new include these Google lesson plans for evaluating the credibility of sources and an irreverent syllabus called Calling Bullshit in the Age of Big Data created by two University of Washington professors tackling critical thinking in regards to “data and models that constitute evidence in the social and natural sciences.”

The News is Fake but the Threat is Real

Ignorance and propaganda are a threat to the American way of life as democracy depends on the acknowledgment of facts to help steer our government through a sea of opinions and self-interests. Even more so, fake news can strip away faith in our institutions, effectively making them useless.

It’s up to the educational system to help create a more savvy generation of citizens to lead our country forward. This entails not only the ability to more accurately sift through fact and fiction, but a better understanding of constitutional democracy and the structure of government.

Perhaps a push for media literacy and more comprehensive civics education could help mend our fractured political landscape. And while creating a civics curriculum can be a touchy thing—walking a tightrope to avoid the potential ire of parents—it is essential in giving students a unifying foundation and hope for the future. This skill would also offer students strong examples of how powerful “true” journalism can be in revealing societal ills, thus encouraging solutions.

As Chris Berdik recently reported in Slate, preliminary research suggests that students who receive media literacy training are better able than other students to evaluate the accuracy of political claims and distinguish advertising, entertainment, and advocacy from news.

With social media’s popularity as a news source, it’s more important than ever that we equip students with the media literacy and critical thinking skills to distinguish fact from fiction. Admittedly, it’s a challenging task. But our civil society depends on a well-informed citizenry— including tomorrow’s voters—that have the tools to make up their own minds. As Thomas Jefferson (purportedly—I’ll have to check three sources) said: “An ignorant people never remain a free people.”

Check out these resources for incorporating “truth-seeking” into your classroom:

The Circles of Heck vs. Circles of Hell: A Primer in Pre-Teen Perdition

One of the top questions I am asked—second only to “How the hell did you get into my living room!?”—is “How is your AMAZING book series for middle-readers—Heck: Where the Bad Kids Go—inspired by Dante’s epic poem, Inferno?”

Well let’s go back a bit…In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over…okay, maybe that’s too far back. I’ll skip a bit.

It was, like, 2005 or something. A filmmaker friend of mine wanted to collaborate on an animated short about the devil—sort of a VH1’s Behind the Brimstone sort of thing—so I got to thinking, which is what I tend to do when I want to avoid actual work.

One of the nuggets I came up with was a Hell for children (thank you, Pat Benatar) that—of course—just had to be called Heck. It was loosely based on the structure of Dante’s Inferno, and the story just sort of grew organically from there. Since the subject material was so potentially bleak (even eternal darnation can still be something of a bummer), I wanted it to strike the proper tone between funny, silly, exciting, and meaningful.

So let us analyze the differences between Dante’s Hell and Dale’s (my) Heck:

• Inferno (Italian for “Hell”) is the first part of Dante Alighieri’s 14th-century epic poem Divine Comedy. It chronicles the journey of Dante through the medieval concept of Hell, guided by the Roman poet Virgil. In the poem, Hell is depicted as nine circles of suffering.

• Heck (not quite “Hell) is a series of books for pre-teens, teens, and anyone who likes the dark and goofy. It chronicles the journey of Milton and Marlo Fauster through an underworld middle school. There is a character named Virgil. In Heck, there are nine circles of supreme irritation based on childish “sins.”

And, since we live in a distracted age and need simple things to hold our attention…what is that spot on my wall? Is it a spider? Oh…it’s just a squooshed spider. So I guess it was a spider but now…anyway, I made the following chart to illustrate the key differences between Dante’s Inferno and Heck:

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Now let’s dig deeper: in fact, all the way to the underworld! All aboard…

 LEVEL ONE

 Limbo: The First Circle of Hell

You are in Limbo, a place of sorrow without torment. Here, there are the virtuous pagans, the great philosophers and authors, un-baptized children, and others unfit to enter the kingdom of heaven. The atmosphere is peaceful, yet sad.

 

VS.

 

Limbo: The First Circle of Heck

Welcome to the most boring, dull, drab, awful, endless, monotonous place where you ever twiddled your thumbs and stared off into space. Limbo is like having a Time Out…forever. Everything moves soooooooo tortuously slow. But hey: at least the broken clocks are right twice a day. Now go wait in the corner and think about what you’ve done—for all eternity.

 

LEVEL TWO

 

Lust: The Second Circle of Hell

Here, sinners are blown around endlessly by the unforgiving winds of unquenchable desire as punishment for their transgressions. The infernal hurricane that never rests hurtles the spirits onward. You have betrayed reason at the behest of your appetite for pleasure, and so here you are doomed to remain.

 

VS.

 

Rapacia: The Second Circle of Heck

Gimme gimme gimme! Didn’t anybody ever tell you that greed would get you nowhere? Well…nowhere good at least. Welcome to Rapacia: Where you could never get enough, and what you did get is now completely worthless. Remember how you swore you’d die if you didn’t get it all? Well, be prepared to hand over all the pretty, shiny, glittery things you had to possess and obsess over. It’s the price you have to pay. Greed it and weep!

 

LEVEL THREE

 

Gluttony: The Third Circle of Hell

The gluttons are punished here, lying in the filthy mixture of shadows and of putrid water. Because you consumed in excess, you meet your fate beneath the cold, dirty rain, amidst the other souls that there lay unhappily in the stinking mud.

 

VS.

 

Blimpo: The Third Circle of Heck

You are what you eat…so you must be one sugary, salty mess of fudge, milkshakes, and curly chili fries with cheese! Welcome to Blimpo: Where your best friend is food and your gross lack of willpower is your worst enemy. You are all urge, and no purge. Never feel full? Get used to it—because this is one mess you can’t eat your way out of.

 

LEVEL FOUR

 

Greed: The Fourth Circle of Hell

Here, the prodigal and the avaricious suffer their punishment, as they roll weights back and forth against one another. You will share eternal damnation with others who either wasted and lived greedily and insatiably, or who stockpiled their fortunes, hoarding everything and sharing nothing.

 

VS.

 

Fibble: The Fourth Circle of Heck

White lies, whopping lies and everything in between makes you a liar, liar, pants on fire! You want the truth? You can’t handle the truth! Welcome to Fibble: Where believing your lies makes you the best liar of all. So go ahead: lie through your smiling teeth. Lie in wait. But, above all, lie low. You’ll be here awhile. Honest.

 

LEVEL FIVE

 

Anger: The Fifth Circle of Hell

Here are the wrathful and the gloomy. The former are forever lashing out at each other in anger, tearing each other piecemeal with their teeth. The latter are gurgling in the black mud, slothful and sullen. Their lamentations bubble to the surface as they try to repeat a doleful hymn.

 

VS.

 

Snivel: The Fifth Circle of Heck

Boo hoo. Who? You. Forever! Welcome to Snivel, where spilled milk is just one of the many things you’ll be crying about. It’s a place where the whining flows freely,  and no one cares about your moaning because they’re too busy groaning themselves. Now you’re really down in the dumps: way, way down!

 

LEVEL SIX

 

Heresy: The Sixth Circle of Hell

Burning tombs are littered about the landscape. Inside these flaming sepulchers suffer the heretics, failing to believe in God and the afterlife, who make themselves audible by doleful sighs. You will join the wicked that lie here, and will be offered no respite.

 

VS.

 

Precocia: The Sixth Circle of Heck

Your attempt to grow up too fast only made you go down, down, down way before your time. Welcome to Precocia, where the bad kids who don’t think they’re kids go. Every day is Freaky Friday where your salad days are served with a sneeze guard, meaning, no more kidding around. Ever.

 

LEVEL SEVEN

 

Violence: The Seventh Circle of Hell

The violent, the assassins, the tyrants, and the war-mongers lament in the river, while centaurs armed with bows and arrows shoot those who try to escape their punishment. The stench here is overpowering.

 

VS.

 

Wise Acres: The Seventh Circle of Heck

Sticks and stones may break your bones, but down here, words hurt far, far more. Welcome to Wise Acres where those with sharp tongues can cut deep. It’s the place for kids who sass back with a vengeance. So, if this sounds like you, then get ready for the ultimate war of words, and pray that you never run out of ammunition.

 

LEVEL EIGHT

 

Fraud: The Eighth Circle of Hell

Those guilty of fraudulence and malice are whipped by horned demons while the hypocrites struggle to walk in lead-lined cloaks. The magicians, diviners, fortune tellers, and panderers are all here, as are the thieves.

 

VS.

 

Sadia: The Eighth Circle of Heck

The foulest of the foul. The most brutal of the brutal. Welcome to Sadia, a place where the end always justifies the mean. Here, you’ve got to be cruel to be a kid, because the golden rule is an iron-fist. Think you can roll with the punches? Well, here’s hoping you don’t bruise easily.

 

LEVEL NINE

 

Treachery: The Ninth Circle of Hell

This is the deepest level of hell, where the fallen angel Satan himself resides. His wings flap eternally, producing chilling cold winds. Sinners here are frozen deep in the ice, faces out, eyes and mouths frozen shut. Traitors against God, country, and family, lament their sins in this frigid pit of despair.

 

VS.

 

Dupli-City: The Ninth Circle of Heck

Friend or faux? Welcome to Dupli-City, where every kid puts their best face forward: both of them. Treachery, manipulation, and betrayal are always in fashion. It’s a place where you’ve always got to watch your back, becomes there’s always someone ready to stab you in it. And, after an eternity spent here, you may just find that your own worst frenemy is yourself.

 

 

So, the moral of all this is: ALWAYS READ THE FINE PRINT. In fact: read EVERYTHING! Be it the work of a long-dead Italian poet ruminating about a fantastical spiritual journey, or a middle-aged wise guy who likes his satire served with a side of groan-inducing puns. So read whatever you can get your hands on, even the bitter and dark because—without that—how would we truly appreciate sweetness and light?

 

Interview with Jacobsen’s Books

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1) What was the first piece you ever wrote?

Focusing the telescope of attention inward, the haziest memory of early writing I can think of is a gripping, multi-layered piece of fiction entitled “Snoopy Travels Around the World.” It probably won’t come as much of a shock to you—the person on the other side of whatever this is—that this short slab of edgy prose was about Snoopy, and how he…well, traveled around the world. I was probably seven or eight when my pen (or crayon, more likely) produced this genre-defying work. It was basically a list of places loosely held together with the dramatic conceit of Snoopy being bored, venturing forth, then returning home, realizing that he was happiest here all along. I believe some of the places he visited were “France, Italy, Africa, the desert, Mexico…” amongst others. I love the depth of thought that went into “the desert”…I even cribbed the main character. I’m surprised the Schultz estate hasn’t hounded me. Puzzlingly, the story was printed in The San Francisco Chronicle. Really. I ended up working there years later, probably on the merits of this early, disturbing work.

2) Where do you get most of your ideas?

Mostly my brain…but then again, look what’s telling me that! My brain thinks it knows everything. It’s like it has a mind of its own sometimes. Anyway, I’m just this sort of living, breathing ransom note comprised of odd scraps of often conflicting things, hastily pasted together to form some kind of coherent incoherence. Sure, I read a lot—mostly nonfiction (here’s a parenthetical statement wedged inside of two dashes: I’m currently reading the first volume in an exhaustive and exhausting history of the Beatles. It’s fascinating, but I just found out that the second volume won’t be published in another six years, when I’ll be in my 50s…my sweet lord…)—I also wage a valiant yet doomed assault on The New Yorker, where I try to keep up, invariably fail, then cancel my subscription until I get another offer where they basically pay me to read it…throwing in a desk calendar or something. I used to be a movie critic, so I’ve spent a lot of time in the dark. I also absorb most every conversation I overhear in coffee shops. So all of this stuff coagulates in my brain pan—baking for a fortnight at about 350 degrees until golden brown—and then I chip it out of the pan and…great, now I’m hungry and I’ve completely lost my way. The point is, I get my ideas everywhere. I think my greatest strength, besides competitive thumb wrestling, is in putting ordinary things together in unexpected ways. I have to make something my own before I’m interested, which is why I’d be a terrible co-author!
3) Who was your favorite childhood author?

At first, the Peanuts anthologies, then the Hardy Boys, then Jules Verne, then the Foundation Trilogy by Isaac Asimov, then Dune, then Catcher in the Rye, then Crime and Punishment, and then a book of matches.

Probably Roald Dahl, for his wicked sense of humor. Then I got into sci-fi WAY hard. Inhaled most everything that had space ships in it. As a teen, I’d carry around anything by Kurt Vonnegut, even before I fully understood his books, perhaps hoping to absorb them through osmosis.

4) Who do you act out the scenes in your novels with?

I’m not sure I fully understand this question, though that has never stopped me before. I don’t really “act out” my scenes (though I have been accused of acting out, especially by my mom). I grab pictures of what I think my characters look like and pin them to a corkboard so they feel more real. I also have to sketch out my various monsters and creatures so I can describe them properly. That way I’m just recounting what I’m seeing rather than writing. The closest I’ve come to acting out my scenes (apart from literally acting out my scenes at readings) was one time when I was driving, which I almost never do as a committed cyclist, and I had a conversation playing out in my head, where it very much felt like two separate people, and I later realized it was Milton and Marlo Fauster, the two protagonists of my Heck series! What they were saying didn’t seem like what I would say at all. They were speaking for themselves! I’m lucky my insurance doesn’t cover meds or I would be out of a job.

5) What is your favorite thing you’ve written?

I was sort of a “Johnny come lately” when it comes to writing (as is evident by my use of phrases such as “Johnny come lately.”). As a kid I was really into drawing: mainly spaceships and superheroes (such as The Volt and the ill-named Human Faucet). Later, I was really into music, which was my driving passion up until my early 30s. I used to write stories, though, to supplement my drawings: mainly based on existing properties such as Star Trek. You know: having Kirk and Spock do cool things like destroy entire planets that wore white after Labor Day, or do awesome mash-ups with the Enterprise battling the Fantastic Four. I would also view the burden of writing a book report into an opportunity to use whatever subject was imposed upon me as a launch pad to write what I really wanted to write about. Like when I had to write about the Declaration of Independence. I housed my essay within a post-apocalyptic story where a man finds the document in the rubble of a destroyed building (razed by alien lasers) and, though English had changed so much he could only make out part of it, he gets the gist just as humanity is enslaved by our new alien overlords. It got an A, though that could have been because I used glitter on the cover. I became more serious about writing when I worked at The San Francisco Chronicle. Though I was mostly a messenger, I would review night clubs and books so that I could go to night clubs for free and get books before they were released to the masses. I found that I really enjoyed being published! Oh, and the writing too. From there, I began reviewing movies and became a movie critic, then started my own newspaper in Portland (Tonic), then was an Arts Editor at Willamette Week before being sucked into the Netherworld of advertising. When I look back at my reviews, they remind me a lot of the writing that I did as a kid, where I’d approach a subject as a springboard to talk about something else that sort of relates but doesn’t really. Like when I reviewed Alien 3 and it turned out to be mostly about my difficult relationship with my mother. I think it was the whole “hatching eggs, bleeding acid, and things eating their way out of stomachs” thing.

Oh…I almost forgot the question. I think one of the things I’ve written I’ve enjoyed the most was in my newspaper tonic. One was a fake news story of a bunch of dim-witted old protesters protesting the Arboretum, waving signs declaring that Arboretum Is Murder, and another where I did a fake profile on a guy that “tasted” local streets and reviewed them as if he were a wine connoisseur. Anyway, they seemed funny at the time. I’m probably the most proud of my books because, wow, it’s hard to sit for a year and write a book and not have a total breakdown.

6) What scene in your writing has made you laugh the hardest or cry the most?

My fourth Heck book, Fibble: Where the Lying Kids Go, takes place in an underworld advertising agency. So I had a lot of fun using my advertising experience for good use, coming up with ridiculous campaigns for products such as “Gee, Your Farts Smell Terrific!” (scented underwear) and flavored soap with a yummy “surprise” in the middle. That stuff cracked me up. In terms of crying, there is a note that Milton’s mother leaves him at the end of the second Heck book, Rapacia, where she is telling him he is not to blame for his sister’s death that gets me every time.

7) What do you think makes good writing?

A strong voice, declaring something that hasn’t been declared before, at least not in that particular way. I like experiencing a story through fresh perspectives. The story itself may not even be conventionally “good,” but I enjoy a ride in a new car, going someplace I’ve never been before. For instance, I love Tom Robbins’ Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas, not so much for the story, which I barely remember, but telling that story in second person was so exciting to me as a reader! I love that he took that chance!

8) What made you fall in love with writing?

I loved creating worlds to inhabit, as an escape. I think any outcast retreats into their imagination, and that is just one of the many ways that I am not unique. For a time I did it with music, then movies, but then I realized I could have the most control by writing: controlling every aspect of the world I was creating. It probably seriously started for me when I worked the graveyard shift at the San Francisco Chronicle. I would be SO bored that I wrote little stories for my friends on the day shift. Nothing like being alone in a huge building tending countless machines at 3 AM to get your creative juices flowing. They started as funny little anecdotes then expanded into surreal tomes involving all of the people I worked with.

9) How do you beat out your writers block?

Of the many problems I have, that is not one of them. In fact, I suffer from having too many ideas, so my books are like high pressure canisters. One day I will relax and not have that anxiety that comes with thinking that every idea you have should be captured. Some, well…don’t. I do, occasionally, feel like my mojo has left the building…that what I’m writing isn’t crackling with creative energy. So I’ll ride my bike. That tends to dislodge the sludge from my brain. Wrestling alligators also helps keep me in the moment.

10) Who is your favorite writer?

The guy that writes the Emergency Exit signs on planes. Those are very useful. There are so many writers that I am DEADLY jealous of…but, in terms of writing that has always affected me on multiple levels, I’d say Kurt Vonnegut. I mean, every book of his has some wonderful nugget. Like Mother Night (We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful what we pretend to be.) and Slaughterhouse Five (How nice–to feel nothing, and still get full credit for being alive.). Brilliant. I miss St. Kurt.

A Review of Wise Acres From December’s Booklist

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“Author Basye himself dies (of writer’s cramp) and so joins teen protagonists Marlo and Milton Fauster as they discover that mad Vice Principal Lewis Carroll has concocted a scheme to rewrite all of creation using a Tower of Babble. Meanwhile, the Fausters find themselves on rival teams in a reality-game-style War of the Words in the circle of Heck where mouthy kids go and face a string of challenges from a deep sar-chasm to encounters with ravening Where, Who, What, When, and Why Wolves. The series continues to pun-ish readers relentlessly in its seventh episode. Readers will anticipate the eighth circle of Heck.”

Wise Acres: The Seventh Circle of Heck is an Amazon Best Book of the Month!

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…available December 24th!

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The League of Extraordinary Writers!

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Trick and Treat WINNERS!

The Contest: Send a photo of you dressed as a Heck character for Halloween.

The Prize: A signed Circles of Heck book!

First Place: Elijah from New Jersey! Elijah is dressed as Milton Fauster from Snivel: The Fifth Circle of Heck. Not only did Elijah submit his entry mere moments from the contest announcement, but he has the most dismal expression on his face I’ve ever seen (that is, apart from this morning when I was shaving).image

 

Second Place: Spencer from Oakland. Spencer is dressed as Milton Fauster from Heck: Where the Bad Kids Go. Nice ferret in the backpack!

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Third Place: Jocelyn from Atlanta. While not a costume, per se, Jocelyn created the Gates of Heck using pipe cleaners and, for Marlo Fauster, an embellished Bratz doll. All in all, a creeptastic Heckoween display.

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Nice job, Hecklers! Your booty is in the mail. Books too!