A Month to Celebrate Unlikely Friendships

Categories: Kids, News

Goodbye February, hello March.  “In like a lion, out like a lamb” is the proverb we associate with this month’s weather, and it got us thinking: lions, lambs, the harsh and the soft meeting in the middle when we never thought they would (think Beauty and the Beast)–sounds like an unlikely friendship.  While we hope you’re familiar with the runaway bestseller Unlikely Friendships by now, you may not have known that the book has been adapted for younger readers.  In each book in the Unlikely Friendships for Kids series, kids can read five stories of improbable, heartwarming friendship between species.  The books come “out like a lamb” in April, and are great for animal lovers age 7 and up.

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Washington’s Birthday, Fandex Style

Categories: News

Today we wish a happy birthday to George Washington, born this day in 1732.This year would mark his 280th birthday!  Not only was GW our nation’s first president, he is also the very GQ cover boy of our Presidents Fandex Family Field Guide.

As the first president, Washington set the standards for the American presidency: he selected the first cabinet, oversaw the bill of rights, warned against foreign alliances, and bowed out after 2 terms.  Forty-three presidents have followed since then, but most have struggled to live up to Washington’s legacy.  Read about them all in the Presidents Fandex–and if you have a minute, send your birthday regards to George!

Presidents from the front and back of the deck join George Washington in celebration.

 

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Dispatch from Patricia Schultz: Sydney

Categories: Author guest post, Travel

photo by Flickr user HerryLawford

Patricia Schultz, author of 1000 Places to See Before You Die, continues her whirlwind tour with another guest post:

I love big cities, so I knew good-lookin’ Sydney would win me over. Established in 1788 as a British outpost, today it’s a beautiful and vibrant modern city that is the NYC and London of Australia. An international center for commerce, art, fashion, culture and tourism, it is understandably rated one of the most liveable cities in the world–in great part due to the 4 million spirited and fun-loving Sydneysiders who call it home. The iconic Opera House always has a world-class performance going on, or you can follow in Oprah’s footsteps and sign up for the Bridge Climb up and over the “coathanger” (it celebrated its 75th birthday in 2007) for breathtaking views of the stunning harbor, the city’s playground. Jump on one of the countless ferries that ply its waters and head out to Manly for a beachfront stroll to watch the surfers; make sure to stop for a bite at Hugo’s at the wharf before heading back.

Tips:

  • The Bridge Climb is especially magical at twilight.
  • The Bridge Climb is expensive, but you can get a glimpse of the excitement merely by walking across the pedestrian walkway for free!
  • With great views of the Opera House and harbor, the nearby newly renovated Park Hyatt is the city’s #1 hotel; it’s also a fun spot to linger for a cappuccino or a late afternoon cocktail.

For more recommendations from Patricia Schultz, check out 1000 Places to See Before You Die and 1000places.com!

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A Toast to Rejection at The Strand

Categories: Events

For cartoonists, getting published in The New Yorker is quite an achievement, but even the tried-and-true among them aren’t immune to rejection.  They loved you last week, but this week you’re “too lowbrow”?  It stings.  Matthew Diffee, who managed to sneak into The New Yorker between rejections, compiles the cast-aside submissions of well-known cartoonists in The Best of the Rejection Collection: 293 Cartoons that Were Too Dumb, Too Dark, or Too Naughty for The New Yorker.  Join him and several other rejectees as they celebrate the book and the agony of defeat on Thursday, January 12th at Manhattan’s Strand Books.

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Dispatch from Patricia Schultz: Papua New Guinea

Categories: Author guest post, Travel

photo by Flickr user Ian @ ThePaperboy.com

When we last left 1000 Places to See Before You Die author Patricia Schultz, she was offering tips on traveling to Rio de Janeiro. Now she joins us again for a sojourn to PNG.

Simply put, Papua New Guinea is unreal. Or surreal. Unlike anything I have ever experienced anywhere on the planet. For a country that is wild, untamed, and locked in the Stone Age (albeit a Stone Age where the appearance of a cell phone is not unusual ), its people are unexpectedly warm, welcoming and curious. We traveled there in August 2011 for the 50th anniversary of the Mt. Hagen Sing Sing Festival, but the country is a remarkable destination at any time of year. More than a third of the country’s 5 million people live in dense, rugged rainforest in remote highland villages, and hundreds of tribes travel for days to the festival where they fiercely compete in dance, song, and costume. It’s a heady display of colors and sound proudly put on for the locals and a modest number of international tourists who–if they’re like us–felt as if they had died and gone to National Geographic heaven.
Tips:

  • More than 800 languages are spoken throughout the country, but it’s easy to learn a few words of the commonly spoken Pidgin (“Happy noon,” for example. means good afternoon).
  • Even if you are not an avid birder, bring your binoculars: Some of the 42s pecies of the Bird of Paradise that live in PNG are found nowhere else.
  • You will rarely see an outstretched hand asking for money. You may be tempted to bring practical gifts to the villages (such as the pencils and pens often welcomed elsewhere), but simply interacting and talking with the villagers is most recommended by the local tour guides. Villagers are shy but curious and love, love, love to have their photo taken (and would never dream of asking for remuneration. Something rare indeed!).

For more recommendations from Patricia Schultz, check out 1000 Places to See Before You Die and 1000places.com!

 

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Dispatch from Patricia Schultz: Rio

Categories: Author guest post, News, Travel

photo by Flickr user priscillajp

This guest post comes from Patricia Schultz, author of 1000 Places to See Before You Die.

Rio–the very name of the city makes me smile! Aptly named “Cidade Maravilhosa,” the exhilarating Marvelous City is one of the world’s most beautifully situated. From atop Corcovado, under the outstretched arms of the 120-foot-tall Christ the Redeemer statue (who wouldn’t embrace this view?), you can see much of the city’s almost uninterrupted 45-mile strip of white-sand beach (most popular are Ipanema, Copacabana, and Leblon). Cariocas (the residents of Rio) have raised life to a seductive art form–always with a score of samba playing in the background. Don’t even think about coming during hedonistic Carnaval season in February or March if you don’t relish the idea of getting swept up by the world’s largest street party. Ditto for New Year’s Eve, when millions of barefoot revelers dressed in white dance to live samba bands on Copacabana beach under a panoply of fireworks.

Tips:

  • The two-stage aerial cable to Pão de Açúcar (Sugar Loaf) is open late: go at dusk and watch the lights flicker on across the waterfront city and see the Christ statue illuminated across the bay.
  • Take the old-fashioned tram up to the regentrified, hill-top neighborhood of Santa Teresa for a simple meal in a trendy restaurant, then linger in small music venues. Or head to the historic, charmingly shabby neighborhood of Lapa in central Rio, but remember, it doesn’t really get going until after midnight.
  • The grand Copacabana Palace was inspired by the old waterfront hotels of the French Riviera and today hosts Carnaval’s most exclusive ball. Come any day for people watching over a potent but refreshing caipirinha, the national drink.

For more tips from a consummate world traveler, check out 1000 Places to See Before You Die and 1000places.com!

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How to Actually Use That Gadget You Got For Christmas

Categories: News

Were you one of the millions out there who were lucky enough to get an e-reader this holiday season?  Or maybe you’ve resolved that 2012 is the year you finally figure out what for Twitter, Facebook, and Skype are all about.  Is This Thing On? A Computer Handbook for Late Bloomers, Technophobes, and the Kicking & Screaming is a guidebook for all things tech, designed for people who might be more comfortable dialing on a rotary phone rather than the iPhone’s touch screen.  And now it’s been revised to include not just computers, e-mail, and web surfing, but the next phase of gadgets: Kindles, Nooks, iPads, smartphones, not to mention the wide world of social networking.  Want to get started?  Follow author Abby Stokes on Twitter, and visit her website here.

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A Very 1000 Places Christmas

Categories: Holiday, News, Travel

The brand new edition of 1000 Places to See Before You Die makes great reading any time of year, but during the holiday season, there’s the added magic of imagining all the places around the world where you could be celebrating Christmas.  Here are five destinations from the book where you might be especially excited to find yourself on December 25th:

  1. You could journey to Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi, Finland the gateway to Finnish Lapland and the closest a kid can get to the North Pole he or she’s always pictured.  Marvel at the elves’ toy factory and the 700,000 or so letters from children that wind up here each year.
  2. All over Germany and Austria, Christkindlmarkts host carolers, baked goods, and old-fashioned (as in, Medieval) Christmas spirit.  Nuremberg and Dresden’s markets are the oldest in Germany, while Munich’s is one of the largest.
  3. For the diehards, don’t rule out a pilgrimage to Bethlehem in the Palestinian territories, where a 15-point star in the Grotto of the Nativity marks what is thought to be the site of Jesus’s birth.
  4. Stateside, Christmas in New York City wouldn’t be complete without the gigantic tree in Rockefeller Center, twinkling beside (and towering above) a small ice rink where you can rent skates.
  5. Like the Rockefellers with Rockefeller Center, we have the Vanderbilt family’s largesse to thank for The Biltmore, an Asheville, North Carolina estate (built in 1895 and still the largest private residence ever built in the country!) that now houses an inn as well as extensive holiday festivities, including visiting choirs, candlelight tours, and crackling fireplaces.

Read about all these destinations, along with hundreds more for the other 364 days of the year, in Patricia Schultz’s book, now in a full-color second edition.

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Workman Jam Session

Categories: Kids, News

Barney Saltzberg, known around the office for being a Good Egg and a Beautiful Oops-urtunist, recently took a break from working on his next book, Arlo Needs Glasses, to stop by the Workman offices.  In addition to his talent for writing and illustrating, Barney plays guitar, a hobby he shares with Workman’s group publisher, Bob Miller.  Watch the two play Jackson Browne’s “Song for Adam” below.  The song doesn’t have much to do with Arlo, an interactive book for kids (coming in April) about the elementary school rite of passage of going from two eyes to four, but we like it anyway.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NnLADagnCfU[/youtube]

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1,000 Places Around the Web

Categories: News, Travel

In addition to 600 full color photos, destinations in 28 new countries, and everything else that’s packed into the new edition of 1,000 Places to See Before You Die, the book now has a brand new home on the web, for when armchair travelers want to engage in some double-click traveling: 1000places.com.  There, you can preview a few of the places featured in the book, get a sneak peak at the app, download the aforementioned indexes, order the book, and more.

Elsewhere on the web, we’ve been engaging in bracketology for the first time as we follow HuffPost Travel’s Ultimate Places to See Before You Die Sweet 16 Challenge, now in round three.  Sixteen destinations were culled from the (already exclusive!) 1000, which voters then winnowed down to 8, and now 4.  There’s still a chance to vote in this round before the finals start tomorrow, at which point the one place to see before you die to rule them all will be selected.  Don’t weep for the losing destinations, though: we’re guessing Moscow’s Red Square and Ipanima Beach in Brazil will continue to appear on plenty of travel wish lists despite their crushing defeats.

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