These students painted their parking spots, and the results are a win for arts education.

A few weeks ago, Martha Caldera tweeted a photo of her parking spot at West Orange High School that went insanely viral because, well … just look at it.

Martha loves the rapper Drake and is also often late to school, so she decided to paint a clever take on his album titledIf Youre Reading This It’s Too Late.” Obviously, lots of people empathized with her message, with more than 24,000 Twitter users retweeting the photo.

“I’m happy my high school lets seniors do this, it’s awesome!” Martha said.

Meanwhile, Mark Hamilton and his son decided to paint a spot dedicated to “Napoleon Dynamite” a favorite movie of theirs.

“My son was elected Senior Class President. This was during his campaign. ‘Vote for Pedro’ came up often in discussion. It fit,” wrote Mark.

Since the students and parents seem to love this creative outlet, West Orange High School has turned painting parking spots into a yearly tradition.

Here’s a shot of all the spots from a drone that one student’s father (who also happens to be a professional photographer) took in August:

His daughter Sarah’s spot was inspired by her favorite Disney movie, “Tangled”:

Most of the seniors who painted their spots drew inspiration from something personally meaningful to them. Whether it’s a song, a movie, or a famous quote, they thought out of the box to bring each idea to painted fruition.

And West Orange isn’t the only school doing this. Several high schools in Texas have also adopted the painting practice.

It’s incredibly refreshing to see schools embracing artistic expression this way, especially considering how many art programs have been cut since the 2008 recession.

According to U.S. News & World Report, funding has been cut from more than 80% of schools in the United States in the last eight years, and the first things to go are almost always art programs.

This is a real shame because studies have shown that students who are exposed to art education are actually more proficient in reading, writing, and math.

Not only are art courses vital to students’ development, they can be instrumental in building skills needed for those coveted, high-paying jobs.

Drew Faust, president of Harvard University, put it succinctly: “The ability to innovatea skill that nine of out ten employers agree is the most important for new hiresrequires thinking beyond immediate needs and making creative leaps. Where better to model this approach than in the arts and humanities?”

Even though it may seem like a simple project, allowing students to express themselves through painting their parking spaces sends an important message to the rest of the education community: Art has an impact on our present and our future.

Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/these-students-painted-their-parking-spots-and-the-results-are-a-win-for-arts-education?c=tpstream

Add this library to your travel bucket list because it’s super old and super pretty.

Old libraries are pretty dope.

For bibliophiles like me, walking through an old library feels like walking through a cathedral. The way the light filters through the windows, the sound of hushed conversations, the slightly rough feeling of a leather-bound book sliding out of a shelf … old libraries even have their own smell.

And there are some really amazing old libraries, like Trinity College Library pictured above, or New York Public Library, or the British Library all of which I’ve either loved visiting or keenly want to.

But if we want to talk about old libraries, the Qarawiyyin Library beats them all.

Qarawiyyin is the oldest library in the world and is located in Fez, Morocco. The first foundations were put down in the year 859, making the library nearly 1,200 years old.

Unfortunately, at nearly 1,200 years old, the library was seriously starting to show its age.

I’m talking broken tiles, no insulation, cracked beams, walls that were starting to look considerably un-wall-like … there were even exposed electrical wires and sewage problems.

And what’s worse (at least from a bibliophile’s perspective) the books were in danger! Water had started to creep into the collections, threatening the library’s some 4,000 manuscripts. If you’ve ever accidentally dropped a favorite novel into a bath before, I don’t have to tell you how quickly water can ruin books. And when we’re talking about books older than the Renaissance, even just a spike in humidity can do some serious damage.

Taken together with the crumbling structure, the library needed to be closed off to the public for at least a couple years.

In 2012, the government asked architect Aziza Chaouni to help restore the library.

And, today, it’s going to be ready for visitors again!

The pictures from inside the library look amazing. Chaouni, a Fez native, has restored the library to its original glory, revealing a distinctly elegant building full of elaborately carved windows and archways, with Arabic calligraphy built into the walls and golden chandeliers hanging from the ceiling.

Behind the scenes, though, Chaouni’s renovations have also added a distinctly modern aspect to the library as well. Air conditioners run surreptitiously behind wooden carvings. Solar panels capture sunlight and help power the building. And, yes, they’ve even fixed the plumbing problems.

The books have also gotten their own upgrades.

An underground canal system will help drain that book-killing moisture away from the building, and a lab full of advanced machinery will help scholars preserve and digitize the rare books.

There’s even a special highly-secure room for the rarest and most valuable documents, including a 1,200-year-old copy of the Quran.

Precise temperature and humidity controls and strict security mean these super-rare, super-valuable texts and manuscripts receive the care and attention they deserve.

These changes mean that, once again, the library will be open to everyone, and it will rejoin Fez’s amazing cultural legacy.

In fact, the entire neighborhood, known as the Medina of Fez, is so amazing that the UN has declared it a World Heritage Site.

The library is also attached to a mosque and university, and it features archives, reading rooms, cafes, and even a courtyard adorned with fountains.

No definite opening date has been set yet, but the Qarawiyyin Library is expected to open by the end of the year. Morocco’s King Mohammed VI is expected to inaugurate it when that day comes.

Chaouni wants this renovation to be part of a plan to restore Fez’s status as a cultural center of Morocco, too. New music festivals have helped young people rediscover the medina and Chaouni has a plan to restore the river in Fez after years of pollution.

“I would like my kids to be able to see this heritage,” Chaouni told The Guardian.

This library’s story is particularly heartening considering how many important Islamic cultural sites are in trouble right now.

While Morocco has been more or less an island of stability, many other nations in the region have not been so fortunate. In 2013, for example, insurgents set fire to a library of historic manuscripts in Timbuktu, Mali. Farther away, ISIS has been targeting cultural sites throughout Iraq and Syria, including destroying thousands of books and documents when they raided the libraries of Mosul, Iraq.

This is especially hard to see considering the intimate and historic connection between scholarship and Islam.

Libraries are more than just a collection of books. They’re a part of our heritage.

When the Qarawiyyin Library’s founder, Fatima al-Fihri, first envisioned the library, she wanted to give her community a place of learning and wisdom.

It’s awesome to see that nearly 1,200 years later that heritage is still intact.

Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/add-this-library-to-your-travel-bucket-list-because-its-super-old-and-super-pretty?c=tpstream

Puzzle Book With Pages That Must Be Solved to Unlock the Next

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.”

If you want one then head over to Kickstarter and get your name on the waiting list.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Watch the video below for more info:

Read more: http://www.boredpanda.com/puzzle-book-unlock-pages-codex-silenda-brady-whitney/

Woman Paints Staircase With Her Favorite Book Covers

Pippa Branham and her husband moved to their first permanent home just last year, which meant it was finally time for Pippa to personalize their home. Her first target was the staircase.

Pippa wanted to make the stairs safer for children, so she thought carpeting the stairs (£200) would be a good idea. That was until she stumbled upon a DIY picture on Pinterest… Inspired by it, she decided to decorate the stairs with the covers of her favorite books. She made a list of her fave books, found the original copies that she read for the first time, and got to work! The result is not only amazingly good looking, but also safe for kids, as she mixed the paint with children’s play sand to make it grippy, and not to mention £180 cheaper than her original idea to carpet the stairs!

(h/t: demilked)

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Read more: http://www.boredpanda.com/painted-staircase-book-covers-pippa-branham/

3 reasons why all the adults you know have started coloring again.

There’s never been a better time to feel like a kid again.

For as long as there have been mortgages, taxes, jobs, and speeding tickets, there have been adults who wish they could turn back the clock to simpler times. That’s nothing new.

But nostalgia has recently gone next-level.

If you want, you can now go away to adult summer camp, where you’ll leave all technology at the entrance and enjoy four days of archery, tie-dye, and hiking. You can also spend a day at adult preschool, where you’ll do arts and crafts, play games, and reconnect with your favorite childhood buddy: nap time.

Who’s up for a trust fall? Photo by Ville Miettinen/Flickr.

Coloring books, though, are by far the most popular kids’ activity for grown-ups. And it’s not hard to see why.

Just imagine your favorite coloring book as a kid, only updated to reflect your much-improved motor skills and worldliness. Wouldn’t it be nice to take an hour with a cup of coffee and get lost in a sea of possibility and imagination?

If you did, it might look something like this.

Trust us, you haven’t seen a coloring book like this before. Photo and coloring skills by Jenni Whalen/Upworthy.

Beautiful, isn’t it? So beautiful, in fact, that crotchety, jaded adults all over the world are dusting off their crayons and giving it a try.

These books are selling at breakneck pace. Publishers are even having trouble keeping them in stock.

The book that started the craze, “Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Coloring Book,” has sold over 2 million copies worldwide since its release in 2013.

Some credit illustrator Johanna Basford with launching the adult coloring trend in 2013. Photo by Jenni Whalen/Upworthy.

And there are many more like it burning up the bestseller lists.

“We’ve never seen a phenomenon like it in our thirty years of publishing. … We just can’t keep them in print fast enough,” Lesley O’Mara, managing director of Michael O’Mara Books, told The New Yorker.

It doesn’t look like this coloring book train is slowing down any time soon, so here are three reasons you need to get on board.

1. A good coloring session can relieve stress and anxiety.

Many coloring books use geometrically soothing patterns to relieve anxiety. Photo by Jenni Whalen/Upworthy

There might be more to this whole coloring thing than just feeling like a kid.

Marti Faist, an art therapist, told the Baltimore Sun, “When someone is coloring, their mind and body are operating in a more integrated way. It’s almost a meditative process.”

“I’ve watched people under acute stress, almost panic-attack levels, color and have their blood pressure go down very quickly. It’s cathartic for them.”

And Marti’s not the only one. Maybe you’ve heard of a guy named Carl Jung?

Jung was a big fan of art therapy, and he used coloring as a relaxation technique back in the early 1900s. He even believed that the colors his patients chose reflected an expression of deeper parts of their psyche. Jung himself actually used to draw and color mandalas, or spiritual geometric shapes, every morning. These same mandalas are the foundation of a lot of the most popular stress-relieving coloring books today.

2. No paper? No problem. Now, you can color on the go.

Now there’s a brand new way to kill time on your smartphone. Photo and digital coloring skills by Heather Kumar/Twitter.

You know the rule: It’s not an official craze unless it’s integrated into social media. So, as appealing as drawing at your kitchen table for hours on end sounds, you can now color on your smartphone or tablet with just a few swipes of your finger, and you can easily tweet or Instagram your creations, too.

Colorfy, the most popular coloring app on the market, has been a huge hit with the mobile crowd, pulling in over 23,000 reviews on iTunes (it’s also on Android).

A recent reviewer wrote: “This is a really great app. It lets me pass the time in a calming yet creative way.”

But maybe the best thing about a coloring app is that it’s easy to erase your design, start over, and create something completely different.

3) These coloring books are also hilarious.

What a handsome drawing. Photo and coloring skills by Clare Emily/Twitter.

Coloring isn’t just about the beautifully elaborate sketches like those found in “Secret Garden” and its follow-up, ” Enchanted Forest.

If you’re more into some mindless fun, you might also enjoy coloring pictures of Ryan Gosling or iconic images from ’90s pop culture!

And, if you’re a real free spirit, you might enjoy a, um, truly “adult” coloring book.

Just a suggestion: might not want to pull this one out in public.

Whether you’re coloring to relax or just to have some fun, there’s a coloring book out there for you.

Coloring might become your favorite hobby … again.

Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/3-reasons-why-all-the-adults-you-know-have-started-coloring-again?c=tpstream

Ever wonder “How to get my book reviewed”?

Man Reading Books

Man Reading Books/Image Source: Tippy Tricks

So you’ve published your book. Its been edited and published, and now you’re trying to figure out how to get to your potential readers. While starting your marketing campaign usually happens well before your book is finished, getting your first reviews can’t happen until your book is done or in a final draft status.

Many stores won’t carry a small press or self-published book that doesn’t have reviews from a recognizable publication. So how do you get someone to pay attention to your book among all of the hundreds, if not thousands, of submissions they see every month?

City Book Review, publishers of the San Francisco Book Review, Manhattan Book Review and Kids’ BookBuzz all have programs to help you. Kids BookBuzz is only for children, tweens and young adult books, but the other two will take almost any book you have (including children’s books).

So how do you get your book reviewed by the San Francisco Book Review?

If your book is within 90 days of the release date, you can submit it for general review (at no cost). The closer you are to the 90 days, the less of a chance it will have to be reviewed, but you can still start there. The SFBR gets more than 1000 submissions a month, and only reviews 300 or less, so your likelihood of getting your book reviewed in this way is less than 33%. But you can give it a try and see if it gets reviewed.

General Submission Guidelineshttp://www.sanfranciscobookreview.com/submission-guidelines/general-submission/

If your book is more than 90 days past its publication date, or you really want to have it reviewed and don’t want to just hope it’ll get picked up through the general review, you can go through the Sponsored Review program. While there is some dispute about paying for a review, SFBR is a respected outlet like Kirkus or Foreward Reviews and doesn’t offer vanity reviews for payment. You can expect the same level of professionalism from their standard reviews. And they don’t mark sponsored reviews any different than the other reviews.

Get My Book Reviewed from the San Francisco Book Reviewhttp://sanfranciscobookreview.com/submission-guidelines/sponsored-review/

Get My Book Reviewed from the San Francisco Book Review

There are a lot of different options for getting your book reviewed, mostly around how long it takes to get your review back, and if you want more than one or an interview as well.

  • Standard Reviews Take 8-10 weeks for turnaround from the time they receive your book. Starts at $150.00
  • Expedited Reviews Take 3-5 weeks for turnaround from the time they receive your book. Starts at $299
  • Get more than one review for the same book you’ll get a discount on the normal cost of 2 or 3 reviews. Reviews range in price from $150 to $299.
  • Getting a podcast interview for Audible Authors to promote yourself and your book, and you can add an interview to a review package at a discount.

And if you really like your review, you can have it posted on the other publication’s website for $99, or get a new review from a different reviewer. Both can help with your marketing and search engine optimization.

So how do you get your book reviewed by the Manhattan Book Review?

The Manhattan Book Review uses the same format for the San Francisco Book Review. Different audience, so if you’re an East Coast writer, you might be more interested in having the credit from MBR over SFBR. Personal taste is the only difference between the two for reviews. If you are a local SF or Manhattan writer, they will also flag that in your review.

General Review Submission Guidelines for the Manhattan Book Review – http://manhattanbookreview.com/get-my-book-reviewed/general-submission/

Sponsored Review Submission Guidelines for the Manhattan Book Review – http://manhattanbookreview.com/get-my-book-reviewed/sponsored-reviews/

So how do you get your book reviewed by Kids’ BookBuzz?

First thing, all of the reviews for Kids’ BookBuzz are done by children. They are select age appropriate books, but the children read them and write the reviews themselves. The younger children have some help from their parents, but the words are all theirs. Don’t expect any easy reviews either. These kids see a lot of novels, so they know good books when they read them.

General Submission Guidelines for Kids’ BookBuzz http://kidsbookbuzz.com/get-my-book-reviewed-by-a-kid/general-submission/

Sponsored Review Submission Guidelines for Kids’ BookBuzzhttp://kidsbookbuzz.com/get-my-book-reviewed-by-a-kid/sponsored-reviews/

Stephen King and 600 more U.S. writers come out in opposition to Trump

King at a signing in Austin, Texas.

Image: Rick Kern/WIREIMAGE

Stephen King is the master of horror but even he has never experienced anything quite as horrific as Donald Trump.

That’s the gist of an open letter that’s doing the rounds Tuesday, signed by King and more than 600 of his fellow well-known American writers. The luminaries include Cheryl Strayed, Dave Eggers, Junot Diaz, Amy Tan, Mary Roach, Tobias Wolff, Richard Russo, Michael Chabon and Roy Blount, Jr.

“As writers, we are particularly aware of the many ways that language can be abused in the name of power,” the letter reads. “American history, despite periods of nativism and bigotry, has from the first been a grand experiment in bringing people of different backgrounds together, not pitting them against one another.”

“The rise of a political candidate who deliberately appeals to the basest and most violent elements in society, who encourages aggression among his followers, shouts down opponents, intimidates dissenters, and denigrates women and minorities, demands, from each of us, an immediate and forceful response.”

The list of signatories includes more than 10 Pulitzer Prize winners but it’s also astonishingly geographically diverse, with authors from the heartland more than holding their own against authors from the coasts.

It’s also growing fast, with more than 150 names being added to the list since it was first published online Tuesday morning.

A Twitter account called Writers On Trump has been set up by the letter’s creators, novelists Andrew Altschul and Mark Slouka. There’s also an online petition that anyone can sign; it currently boasts more than 3,000 signatures.

No word yet on whether King will make Trump the villain in his next novel; America may not be ready for something that terrifying.

Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2016/05/24/authors-against-trump/

15+ Reading Nooks Perfect For When You Need To Escape This World

Although some people claim that they can read anywhere, anytime, we all know that a comfortable, well lit, soft spot is ideal. On a blanket in a park is one such perfect spot; on dry, spongy moss, under a tree, is another good location. But what happens if you’re a city dweller (or not even!), and outdoor reading spots are at a premium?

Bored Panda has collected this list of reading nooks for you, those indoor bookworms that maybe like to read outside, but who also need a comfortable place inside to get the pages turning. Which reading nook looks most comfortable to you? Vote, or submit a picture of your own reading nook below! (h/t)

 

#1 Cozy Reading Nook

Report

Read more: http://www.boredpanda.com/cozy-reading-nooks-book-corner/

Guy Takes Fake Book Covers Onto Subway To See How People React

Some people have been known to lie about reading certain books in order to make themselves look smart. But nobody pretends to read certain books to make themselves look deranged or perverted. Nobody but comedian Scott Rogowsky that is.

Not only that but he did it on the New York subway, one of the busiest subway systems in the world. In full view of other passengers, the brave comedian pretended to be engrossed by such questionably-named publications as Ass Eating Made Simple, Mein Kampf: for Kids!, How to Hold a Fart In, Slut-Shaming Your Baby, A Beginner’s Guide To Taxidermy and 1000 Places To See Before You’re Executed By ISIS. Needless to say, several passengers were more than a little surprised by the comedian’s seemingly shameless interest in “alternative” literature, although it certainly made their commute to work a little more interesting than usual.

Think these fake books are funny? Then click 

Watch the full video to see more of his fake book covers:

Read more: http://www.boredpanda.com/funny-fake-book-covers-nyc-subway-prank-scott-rogowsky/