Yael Rasooly

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Yael Rasooly is a true artist. And an amazing singer.  I met her back in 2009, we had one appearance together (as I recall mostly Cole Porter tunes) in Shablul, and then she returned to her performance career, and I went on doing whatever I do. Lucky we have the photos of Maya Hed and the recordings we made together at Zaza studios. And lucky I have Ourboox to create a memory book of our brief collaboration.
Link to the book “ Through the Lens of Maya Hed :An Evening with Yael Rasooly
http://www.ourboox.com/books/through-the-lens-of-maya-hed-an-evening-with-yael-rasooly/
Do you have a memory you want to share in words and pictures? Perhaps add a video or two? Ourboox is the place to do it. Give us a try if you haven’t already.

The Magical Mystery Bus To Mitzpeh Ramon

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Jeff Pulver is a man of many dreams. One of them was stargazing with a busload of friends from the internet community. Yesterday, it happened. A busload full of us (and I mean full, 53 of the 54 passenger seats were occupied) drove down to “Mitzpeh Ramon” in the middle of the Negev desert to see the stars together. We chose an auspicious date, right after DLD, and with no moon visible to affect our night vision. We thought it would be a piece of cake to organize such an event, not having done anything remotely similar before (luckily we had Zoe and Omer on board). Somehow it worked. Magically. We stopped in the desert to see the sunset (and more singing, of course), then on to the crater. When the bus turned its lights off, the whole hemisphere lit up. Wine, beer, great food. Singing. Shivering (it was cold). Introducing ourselves. And looking up at half of the universe. Jeff explained the major constellations. Then a meticulous clean up of the area (also daunting in the dark), back in the magical mystery bus and home to Tel Aviv at 2:30 a.m.  So yes, we didn’t dress warmly enough, we didn’t arrive in time to see the crater, we didn’t bring a table and wood for a bonfire.  But these were minor issues on the greater scale of things. And I will never look up the same way again. 
A book of the first half of the trip: 

Ourboox has become a worldwide platform

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It’s now official! Ourboox has become a  worldwide platform.
Authors, illustrators and readers from 120 countries (122 if you include the U.S. Virgin Islands and St. Vincent & Grenadines) have visited our books (over 8000!) and platform during the past month!! Our greatest growth is from the UK, Italy, Germany, Saudi Arabia, France, Greece and Turkey. According to Google, 7 of our 17 most popular countries are predominantly Moslem (pretty amazing, when you consider where we are based!). The US continues to be our second most popular country. Where will Ourboox users come from in September? Stay tuned as the school year starts and children throughout the Northern Hemisphere bring us amazing interactive books. This is our year!
1.United States
2.United Kingdom
3.Italy
4.Germany
5.Saudi Arabia
6.France
7.Greece
8.Turkey
9.Australia
10.Egypt
11.Canada
12.Algeria
13.Ukraine
14.Tunisia
15.Palestine
16.Morocco

Stephen Pohlmann

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Stephen Pohlmann is my friend. He said he’s my friend and I believe him. But lately he is also my competitor. Since being introduced to Ourboox last year, Stephen has become a prolific  writer of delightful books comprising poetry and prose, reminiscinces, and even parody. His book on marmite is a classic (and is moving up the search engines as we talk). But now he is set to publish hundreds of e-books in a series called “Letters from Israel”. That is a call to war. I can only infer that he wants my title as the guy on Ourboox with the most books published. Stephen, that will never happen. I challenge you to an e-duel. The first person to reach 1000 e-books buys the other a beer. Are you game?

Link to Stephen Pohlmann’s books http://www.ourboox.com/community/stephen-pohlmann/

The Water Cycle

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Have you ever thought about the water cycle of our planet? Well, I haven’t, at least not recently. That is strange because I made a career studying the behavior of water, bacteria and oil. And because my Dad worked in Water Resources his entire career. And because I did a project on reverse osmosis in school. And because I drink more water than most people.
Over the past two days, students somewhere in the planet are creating e-books on our platform, describing how the water goes from one place to another, and back again. I’m amazed at the number of subject students and writers are covering on Ourboox. Yesterday’s books are water under the bridge. What will tomorrow bring? How about pumpkins (Hallowe’en is coming up)? Or persimmons (distant relative of pumpkin)? I’m on it. Hope you and your students are too!
Here’s a link to the lovely book “My Life As A Water Molecule” by Aymn Swatere
http://www.ourboox.com/books/my-life-as-a-water-molecule/

September is around the corner

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The summer is a great time to think about the coming school year. What is our dream for the autumn? As I explained to Nik Peachey in the recent interview, I believe that teachers all over the world will start to realize the potential of e-books. Not only e-books that they write on their teaching methods and class lessons, but by enabling their own students to write exciting e-books and share them online. How exhilarating  for an eleven-year old  is to publish a page-flipping book online on her vacation, include text and photos, embed a Google map of his trip and a video of his great moments. We see that children who use Ourboox become confident story tellers in their own right. They hone their skills. They are proud of their published work. And they develop important grammar and literary skills at the same time. If you’re a teacher, you may want to check out this short e-book which shows you some of the amazing things you can do. For free. Feel free to e-mail me as well, with any questions you might have (mel@ourboox.com). http://www.ourboox.com/books/ourboox-for-teachers-and-teaching-3/

 

Gene Wilder

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Gene Wilder had so many wonderful and wacky movies that most people might be hard pressed to choose one. Not me. It would have to be “The Woman in Red”, a movie I have seen umpteen times which Shuli (wife and Ourboox CEO) saw for the first time in Schevinegin and umpteen times since then. So what if it was panned by critics? It also featured the song “I Just Called to Say I Love You”, which I would belt out at the Bulldog karaoke club way back when. But I digress. Gene Wilder was so funny that I always made sure to pee several times before watching him (to avoid wetting my pants). May he rest in peace. In the meantime, I’m dedicating my recent book “The Case of the Missing Chocolate”  http://www.ourboox.com/books/the-chocolate-thief/
in his memory. It just seems right.

Lakota

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Ourboox co-founder and CTO Ran Shternin in the past that our platform supports hundreds of languages. but this story is a first. Lakota is a language spoken by the Sioux Indians for thousands of years, and the language is close to disappearing from the world. Only some 2,500 people still speak it (although many more are enrolled in schools that teach Lakota). So how exciting it was to receive our first book in Lakota, and to receive the following e-mail from the e-mail, teacher Allen Wilson. We are delighted to be a platform that embraces so many types of books and content in so many language. Viva diversity!! Enjoy, and don’t forget to write!

 

“… I am currently a Lakota language, history, and culture teacher at St Joseph’s Indian School and beginning my 3rd year teaching. I plan on creating more books in Lakota throughout the year along with more details. The book I published was a lot of fun to create and I am learning how I can add audio to the text so readers can hear the correct pronunciation and practice the words…your website has provided an amazing resource for language lesson plans and I have also informed my fellow Lakota language teachers of this awesome website.
Wóphila tȟáŋka ečhíčiye!”
Link to the book Wamakȟaskan http://www.ourboox.com/books/wamak%C8%9Faskan/

My New Course on Children’s Book Writing. 

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A friend at a prominent college here has asked me to consider teaching an external course for adults on writing children’s stories. After all, most of us have come up with original stories for children. Parents dream up original tall tales for their kids. And many of us remember at least some of the stories our parents made up when we were kids. So I had the following thought while working on the syllabus: wouldn’t it be great if the participants in the course could create their own stories on Ourboox? In addition to sharing the age-old sage advice on how to write a good story, I will explain how they can create their own artwork, hire artists in Israel and abroad, and bring their story to life on Ourboox. Who knows? I may even offer them the ability to create a small run of print books as well. During the course I will emphasize that very few of us will ever be as good as leading professional storytellers and writers. But hey, that doesn’t mean that we can’t create great stories to share with our family and friends. And the more that we write, the better we get. On Ourboox you can always go back and improve your text, even after you have published it. I do it all the time.

Oscar’s Trick

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Professor Oscar Har-El’s book on the Ourboox platform is seen by many dozens of people each month looking for information on the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain. How does he do it? The truth is that we do not know. Many of our books are on the top page of search engines, especially when you look for images. But few are as prominent as the book of Prof. Har-El. If you don’t believe me search “bilbao guggenheim museum” and tell me what you find on the home page. Oh, and here is the link to his lovely and informative book: The http://www.ourboox.com/books/the-bilbao-guggenheim-museum/