Hope Katz Gibbs

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Costco Connection

“Georgia” On My Mind [Costco Connection]

By Hope Katz Gibbs
Freelance writer
[Costco Connection]

I no longer love you as I once did, in the dazzling rush of those early days. Time itself was feverish then, our bodies filled with fire … the metallic scent of the dark room, smells of sweat and linseed oil, a stain of cocoa on the dining room table. It was all smashed together back then — art, sex, life — mixed into the perfect color, every shadow had a substance, shape, and tone … My hands are cool now, the past remade and packed away. Sometimes, though, late at night the air lifts and I feel it — the faint burn of your eyes on my closed lids. Still. That sense of you rushing back in.

So begins Dawn Tripp’s novel, “Georgia,” an imagined first person account of the life of the legendary American artist Georgia O’Keeffe; and the passionately complicated relationship she had with the recipient of the note above — her manager and husband, famed photographer Alfred Stieglitz.

This is the fourth book by the author of the Boston Globe bestseller, “Game of Secrets,” who is also the winner of the Massachusetts Book Award for fiction for “The Season of Open Water.”

The Harvard grad tells the Costco Connection from her home in Massachusetts that “Georgia” has been the toughest topic she has tackled — not only because Georgia O’Keeffe was so complex, but because it took nearly a year for her to find the voice of the character.

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Dr. Seuss Does It Again With: “What Pet Should I Get?” [Costco Connection]

By Hope Katz Gibbs
Freelance writer

Although Theodore Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, died in 1991, nearly 25 years later he’s able to give us a remarkable gift—the new book What Pet Should I Get?

Cathy Goldsmith, VP and associate publishing director at Random House Books for Young Readers, was one of the first recipients of a call from Dr. Seuss’ widow, Audrey, who discovered the unpublished manuscript in the fall of 2013.

“We got the call as soon as she rediscovered the box filled with pages of text and sketches, which had originally been found shortly after Ted’s death in 1991 while remodeling their home,” Goldsmith shares from her home office in Manhattan. “But it spent all this time forgotten in a closet in his office until Audrey and Ted’s longtime secretary Claudia Prescott were cleaning house.”

Three days later Goldsmith flew to Geisel’s La Jolla, California, home to check out the treasure.

“The contents of the box were placed in neat piles on a glass-top table, and What Pet was there waiting for us,” adds Goldsmith, who estimates it was written between 1958 and 1962 because the starring brother and sister team are the same characters featured in his 1960 bestseller, One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish.

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Holy bagumba! Kate DiCamillo's "Flora & Ulysses" takes readers on an incandescent adventure [Costco Connection]

Holy Bagumba!

Kate DiCamillo’s “Flora & Ulysses” takes readers on an incandescent summer adventure

By Hope Katz Gibbs

Flora Belle Buckman is 10 and hates romance. She prides herself on being a natural-born cynic, and while she wants to believe in superheroes—she just can’t make herself buy into the premise.

At least, that’s how she feels during the summer after 5th grade when she’s reading, “The Illuminated Adventures of the Amazing Incandesto!”

With the whoosh of a vacuum cleaner, all that changes. Flora’s neighbor Mrs. Tickham was using her new Ulysses Super-Suction, Multi-Terrain 2000X—on the lawn—when she sucks up an unassuming squirrel — an incident that magically gives him superpowers. From then on, the squirrel is known as (what else?) Ulysses.

“Holy bagumba,” shouts Flora, witnessing the scene from her bedroom window.

Holy bagumba, indeed.

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The Art of Faking It ‘Till You Make It [Costco Connection]

“The Art Forger” turned Author B.A. Shapiro into an overnight success—more than two decades after she started writing books.

By Hope Katz Gibbs
Reporter
The Costco Connection

“I’m a cowardly writer,” admits Barbara Shapiro, author of the critically acclaimed bestseller, “The Art Forger,” a twisty tale of the largest unsolved art theft in history of paintings from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in 1990.

“Some writers sit down and begin a novel without knowing where it will end, trusting the process to bring their story to a satisfying conclusion,” explains the writer of nine books, including five published suspense novels. “But not me. I need an outline that allows me to believe my idea might be transformed into a successful novel. I need a working plot. Which is why it takes me so damn long to get from the first glimmer of an idea to a complete manuscript.”

The good news for readers is that Shapiro fell in love with Isabella Stewart Gardner back in 1983. True, the heiress died in 1924, but when two men dressed as police officers bound broke into her museum and stole 13 pieces of art that today is worth more than $500 million—Shapiro knew she had plenty of juicy details to work with.

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Vanessa Diffenbaugh's "Language of Flowers" is Blooming Brilliant [Costco Connection]

By Hope Katz Gibbs
Publisher
Be Inkandescent magazine

Acadia means secret love, aloe means grief, basil indicates hate, and mistletoe says: I surmount all obstacles. Give a lover a planter of lavender and you are saying that you don’t trust them. However, a bouquet of jasmine says it is attachment you desire.

That’s but a pinch of what you’ll learn about the meaning of flowers in Vanessa Diffenbaugh’s breakout novel, “The Language of Flowers,” the tragic coming-of-age tale of orphan Victoria Jones, a child whose emotional scars are exacerbated by the foster care system that can’t find a way to help her.

From page 1 of the first section, “Common Thistle,” it’s easy to see why Victoria’s saga has inspired romantics, enchanted book clubs, and galvanized a legion of people who are determined to help teens newly emancipated from foster care at 18.

“Like Victoria, who ended up living in the woods after she left the system, these teens often have few resources, little support, and limited prospects for a happy future,” explains Diffenbaugh, who was 23 when she got a taste of the troubles plaguing foster kids.

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Adriana Trigiani's Dance With Fate [Costco Connection]

By Hope Katz Gibbs
The Costco Connection
September 2012

Bestselling author Adriana Trigiani unfurls the epic tale of her grandparents’ love story in her latest book, “The Shoemakers Wife.”

“I don’t know how Adriana Trigiani goes into her family’s attic and emerges with these amazing stories, I’m just happy she does,” says bestselling author Kathryn Stockett of Trigiani’s newest release, “The Shoemaker’s Wife.” “If you are meeting her for the first time, get ready for a lifelong love affair.”

That endorsement from the author of “The Help” is typical of the buzz around Trigiani’s epic tale of Ciro Lazzari and Enza Ravanelli—the fictional characters who depict the real lives of her grandparents and their sweeping, international love affair.

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Charles Best: Teacher Supplies on Demand [Costco Connection]

By Hope Katz Gibbs
Costco Conntection
August 2012
Photos by DonorsChoose.org

Educator Charles Best came up with a very big idea one day back in 1999 while eating lunch with his fellow high-school teachers in the Bronx.

“My colleagues and I were talking about books that we wanted the students to read, field trips we wanted to take them on, and art supplies that we needed—but we all knew these ideas wouldn’t go beyond the teacher lunchroom because of funding issues,” explains the founder of www.DonorsChoose.org, one of the nation’s first peer-to-peer philanthropic websites, which he created in the year that followed.

Best spent $2,000 to get the beta site up and running—and several platters of his mom’s famous roasted pears with orange-rind dessert to bribe his colleagues to post those projects they had only dreamed of.

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A Haunting Divinity [Costco Connection, April 2012]

By Hope Katz Gibbs
Costco Connection
April 2012

“In the beginning, the boy thought he saw his father everywhere. Outside the latrines. Underneath the showers. Leaning against barrack doorways. It was 1942. Utah. Late summer. The wind was hot and dry and the rain rarely fell and wherever the boy looked he saw him: Daddy, Papa, Father, Oto-san.”

And so begins the third and title chapter of Julie Otsuka’s incandescent novel, “When the Emperor Was Divine,” a bittersweet glimpse into the internment of a Japanese-American family durinag World War II.

The boy, Otsuka says, is her favorite character.

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Who's a Dork? [Costco Connection, November 2011]

By Hope Katz Gibbs
Costco Connection
November 2011

Sometimes kids just know whom they are going to be when you grow up. Take Rachel Renee Russell, author of the New York Times Bestselling Series, the “Dork Diaries,” who has been writing young adult books since she was in the 6th grade.

That’s the year she wrote “The Donny and Ronny Book,” for her younger twin brothers.

“They loved peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and Sesame Street, and I told the story of their lives with markers and construction paper,” explains the native of Saint Joseph, Michigan who from that point on dreamt of becoming a professional writer. At Northwestern University, though, her literary dreams were dashed.

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Practical Magic: A glimpse inside author Alice Hoffman's enchanting career [Costco Connection, September 2011]

By Hope Katz Gibbs
The Costco Connection
September 2011

Love. Loss. Survivorship. These are the themes that are at the heart of the 18 novels, eight young adult books and three books of short fiction that the prolific Alice Hoffman has crafted since the beginning of her career in 1973.

Her novel, Here on Earth, was an Oprah Book Club choice in 1998. That same year, her book, Practical Magic, was made into a Warner Brothers film starring Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman. Her young adult novel, Aquamarine, made it to the silver screen in 2006, starring teen queens Joanna “JoJo” Levesque, Emma Roberts and Sara Paxton.

Hoffman says that while it’s thrilling to watch her books make a splash in theaters, her goal is to understand life’s biggest questions. Her novel, At Risk, for instance, concerns a family dealing with AIDS, and can be found on the reading lists of many universities, colleges and secondary schools.

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Picture Perfect [Costco Connection, January 2011]

By Hope Katz Gibbs
The Costco Connection
January 2011

From a fatal car crash and the death of a parent, to the drama of comforting a sick child and coping with infidelity, life’s greatest emotional challenges play out in the pages of Caroline Leavitt’s “Pictures of You.”

Here’s the scenario: Two slightly desperate women get into their cars late on a September afternoon in an attempt to run away from their marriages. But on a windy, foggy highway they collide. The survivor of the fatal accident is left to pick up the pieces, and not only of her own life. Within months she becomes intimately involved in the lives of the other woman’s devastated husband and fragile son, who suffers from chronic asthma. Can they build a new life together?

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Beverly Cleary's World [The Costco Connection]

By Hope Katz Gibbs
The Costco Connection
April 2010

“RAMONA QUIMBY WAS nine years old. She had brown hair, brown eyes, and no
cavities,” writes beloved children’s book author Beverly Cleary in the first chapter of her bestseller, Ramona’s World. It chronicles the day our heroine meets her new baby sister, Roberta.

This is one of more than three dozen books penned by Cleary in the more than five
decades (her first book, Henry Huggins, was published in 1950; her last was Ramona’s World in 1999) that she has been drawing kids into the adventures of her characters. Klickitat Street, where several of them live, is based on her own childhood neighborhood.

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Motion Pictures: Scanimation inventor creates a literary movement [Costco Connection]

By Hope Katz Gibbs
January 2010
The Costco Connection, page 71

“I’m mostly interested in finding ways to make magic,” says Rufus Butler Seder, a filmmaker, inventor, toymaker, and author of several moving picture books published by Workman Publishing including Gallop! (2007), Swing! (2008), and his 2009 newest release, Waddle!

What is scanimation?

“It is a technique that combines the eye’s ability to use parallax perception with moiré-style multiple-line patterns, and a sheet of acetate,” Seder explains. “Ultimately, the brain thinks that the images on the page are actually moving. But really the only thing that is happening is what is going on between your ears. It’s a wonderful, patented, optical illusion.”

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Riding shotgun with Velva Jean [Costco Connection]

By Hope Katz Gibbs
The Costco Connection / Book Beat
August 2009

“Daddy says I’m going to hell,” writes Jennifer Niven in the first chapter of her first work of fiction, Velva Jean Learns to Drive, a coming-of-age tale of a spunky young woman growing up in Appalachia in the years before World War II.

“You, my baby, are not going to hell,” comforts her mother. “You’re a good child, true and pure, and the Lord will call you when it’s time. You can’t bloom the flowers before they’re ready.”

After reading those few paragraphs it’s nearly impossible to keep from being drawn into Niven’s melodic prose as she unfurls the bittersweet drama of Velva Jean’s life. Readers are quickly catapulted into the pivotal period from July 22, 1933, the day her father insists she be baptized, to the tragic moment her beloved mother dies a few weeks later.

Before Velva Jean’s mama passes, she urges her only daughter to “live out there” in the great wide world. “That’s where you belong.”

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G is for Green [Costco Connection]

Article by Hope Katz Gibbs
The Costco Connection
April 2009

From organic peas to natural wooden toys, more parents and grandparents are determined to expose their little ones only to the safest, environmentally correct products. Execs at the UK-based publishing company Priddy Books have taken the cue from these savvy customers, and recently launched the Organic Baby book series, which is printed on recycled paper with soy ink.

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The Gooseberry Patch is Cooking [Costco Connection magazine]

By Hope Katz Gibbs
The Costco Connection
November 2008

Things are cooking at Gooseberry Patch, a multimillion-dollar company with a country flair that publishes catalogs, comfort-food-friendly cookbooks, calendars and organizers.

Last year, the company published its 100th cookbook and shipped out more than 350,000 packages from its catalog of more than 500 items less than $20-which includes a selection of wall and pocket-size calendars, night lights, Mason jars, bowls, kitchen accessories, food items and kits, Christmas ornaments and soap pumps.

The company’s 100 employees are like family, say founders Vickie Hutchins and Jo Ann Martin-two entrepreneurs who didn’t expect to build an empire back in 1984. They were both stay-at-home moms looking for something to do after the kids went off to school. One morning the neighbors were chatting over their shared backyard fence in picturesque Delaware, Ohio, and decided to start a catalog company.

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An Answer to Cancer? [The Costco Connection]

By Hope Katz Gibbs
September 2008
Dr. David Servan-Schreiber believes we have the power to fight cancer

BEFORE HE WAS diagnosed with brain cancer at age 31, Dr. David Servan-Schreiber could be found scarfing down a bowl of chili con carne on the elevator at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine in between teaching classes and seeing patients.

“I’d sometimes add a bagel to the mix, and wash it all down with a can of Coke,” admits Servan-Schreiber, the author of Anticancer: A New Way of Life, which hits bookstores in September. “It’s a pretty scary mix to me now.”

However, it took another bout with cancer seven years later, when he was 38, before the neuropsychiatrist could bring himself to slow down or change his habits.

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Dr. Ben Carson's "Take the Risk" [Costco Connection]

by Hope Katz Gibbs
Costco Connection / Author Spotlight
February 2008

How risky is it to separate conjoined twins? Dr. Ben Carson, director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, says he doesn’t think about his work in those terms. “You don’t go into a field that requires cracking people’s heads open or operating on something as delicate as the spinal cord unless you are comfortable with taking risks,” explains Carson in his latest book, “Take the Risk: Learning to Identify, Choose, and Live with Acceptable Risk” (Zondervan, 2008).

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Publisher Mascot Books is a start-up all-star [Costco Connection]

by Hope Katz Gibbs
Costco Connection magazine, November 2007
Book Beat, page 41

BACK IN 2002, AIMEE ARYAL was a mom on a mission. She and her husband, Naren, had just taken their 2-year-old daughter, Anna, to watch their college alma mater, Virginia Tech, play a football game. On the way out of the stadium the toddler made a request: “Mommy, I want a book about the Hokie Bird.” The Hokie Bird, of course, is Virginia Tech’s mascot. And the idea of taking home a souvenir sounded like a fine idea to Aimee, who graduated from the university with an accounting degree in 1993 (Naren graduated in 1992). But once inside the campus bookstore, she realized there was no such book to be found. So on the way from Blacksburg back to their house in northern Virginia, Aimee wrote one.

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What a difference a faux makes [Costco Connection magazine]

by Hope Katz Gibbs
The Costco Connection, March 2007
Member Connection profile, page 64

WHEN ADRIENNE VAN DOOREN, a Costco member in Alexandria, Virginia, went to check out a model home a few years a she noticed some extraordinary faux painting throughout the house. But when she asked the designer who had done the work, the woman wouldn’t tell.
“It made me angry because I’m a faux painter, and it didn’t seem fair that she would not give the artist any credit,” explains van Dooren, who decided the only way to liberate faux artists was to showcase them. She also wanted to prove that, for only a little money, the average person could use faux techniques (such as crackling and aging or sponging paint) to transform a home.

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On Crews Control [Costco Connection magazine]

by Hope Katz Gibbs
The Costco Connection, January 2007
Member Profile, page 23

MICHAEL H. NEEDED HELP. The producer / director had to schedule four video shoots for a documentary he was filming in India, and he didn’t know where to start. So he contacted Crews Control, a Silver Spring, Maryland, company that represents independent film crews from Alaska to Zimbabwe. The firm connected him with Dushyant Mehta of India Pictures, someone they had worked with for years. The shoot went off without a hitch.

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Secrets of the South [Costco Connection magazine]

by Hope Katz Gibbs
Costco Connection magazine, December 2004
Book Club, page 29

THE CHARACTERS STARTED COMING TO Edward Jones sometime in 1991. “I’d be standing on the comer waiting for a bus, or picking out some broccoli in the supermarket, and there they’d be,” says Jones. So by the time he banged out the novel a decade later, he was thrilled—and a bit relieved—to get the characters out of his head. The next goal for the author was to find a publisher.

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Picture This: Childrens books may fetch top dollars [Costco Connection magazine]

by Hope Katz Gibbs
Costco Connection magazine, September 2006
Book Beat, page 33

THOSE PICTURE BOOKS ON YOUR child’s bookshelf may be worth a small fortune, say Salt Lake City Costco members Linda and Stan Zielinski. In their newly self-published book, The Children’s Picturebook Price Guide: Finding, Assessing, & Collecting Contemporary Illustrated Books, they estimate just how much.

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Lessons in Leadership: Jonathan Alter captures essence of FDR [Costco Connection magazine]

by Hope Katz Gibbs
Costco Connection magazine, May 2006
Book Beat, page 53

WHAT TURNS A PERSON into a leader? What is the relationship between being a great personality and a great president? What enables one person to lead when others—perhaps more intelligent or experienced—to rise to the occasion?
Those are some of the questions Newsweek Senior Editor Jonathan Alter answers in his thought-provoking, highly readable new book, The Defining Moment: FDR’s Hundred Days and the Triumph of Hope.

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Bite me! The Historian brings Dracula to life [Costco Connection magazine]

by Hope Katz Gibbs
Costco Connection magazine, June 2005
Book Beat, page 39

YOU MAY WANT TO TUCK a few bulbs of garlic into your pockets when you read Elizabeth Kostova’s debut novel, The Historian. This novel about the life-and afterlife-of Vlad III of Wallachia (1431-1476-?) is wonderfully creepyespecially when read late at night. Even before its release, The Historian was predicted to be as popular as Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code. And that is what the book’s publisher, Time Elizabeth Warner’s Little, Brown, is banking on. After a heated auction last summer, Little, Brown paid Kostova $2 million to publish her 656-page book.

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A Paper Cut Above: Another masterpiece from Robert Sabuda [Costco Connection magazine]

by Hope Katz Gibbs
Costco Connection magazine, November 2004
Book Beat, page 51

IT WAS THE POP-UP ADVENTURES of Super Pickle that did it.
Illustrator Robert Sabuda, then 7, was refusing to cooperate for the dentist and, in an attempt to keep him from escaping from the office, Sabuda’s mom reached into a bin of children’s books. Into his hands she placed the first pop-up book the young man from a tiny town in rural Michigan had ever seen.
Not only did Sabuda relax enough to keep from biting the doc, but pop-up art is the style of illustration he came to master.

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Odd Girl’ Speaks Out [Costco Connection magazine]

by Hope Katz Gibbs
Costco Connection magazine, February 2004
Book Club, page 47

IT HAPPENED ON THE PLAYGROUND. A nasty girl in Rachel Simmons’ third-grade class went around to the other kids and encouraged them not to play with the 8-year-old.
“I was mortified,” say the native of suburban Maryland, who admits the experience stuck with her. Fortunately, it also empowered her to write two books on the topic of female aggression.

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A Recipe for Success: Fix-It and Forget-It Cookbook [Costco Connection magazine]

by Hope Katz Gibbs
Costco Connection magazine, June 2003
Book Beat, page 65

WHEN PHYLLIS PELLMAN GOOD AND DAWN RANCK sat down to assemble the Fix-It and Forget-It Cookbook, they had no idea it would hit the New York Times bestseller list. And the Publishers Weekly bestseller list. And the USA Today bestseller list. Ditto for the Book Sense bestseller list, which tracks sales from 350 independent bookstores across the country.
It was the only book that sold more than I million copies last year, outselling the popular Lord of the Rings movie tie-ins by two to one.

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For the Birds: Sibley Guide [Costco Connection magazine]

by Hope Katz Gibbs
The Costco Connection, November 2001
Book Beat, page 61

SINCE HE WAS 7, illustrator David Allen Sibley has been wild about birds. He spent years trekking into the wilderness to study birds with his dad, well-known Yale University ornithologist Fred Sibley. Then, in 1980, after a year of studying biology at Cornell University, he realized he wasn’t going to learn all he wanted to know about the biology of birds inside a college lab. So he traded in his textbooks for a dark blue Ford Chateau van and began traveling from woods to marsh to swamp to beach throughout the United States, studying and sketching his feathered friends in their native habitats. It was a trip that would last eight years.

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An Ounce of Prevention [Costco Connection magazine]

by Hope Katz Gibbs
The Costco Connection, May / June 1999
Summer Recreation, page 29

YOUR CAREFULLY PLANNED TRIP OVERSEAS could be ruined by a mosquito. Yellow fever is just one of the nasty souvenirs the tiny insect could give you to remember it by, not to mention the serious infections you could pick up from food, water, surfaces, animals and people you meet. Before you pack your suitcase and update your passport for a trip to a developing country on business or pleasure, schedule a visit to your local travel clinic for required international immunizations. They may be your only defense against the most common international diseases, such as yellow fever, DTP, hepatitis A and B, typhoid fever, rabies and meningitis. Without proper vaccines, experts say, travelers will likely be quarantined and forced to get the shots at the border. More often than not, border guards administer vaccines themselves, frequently not using disposable syringes. Improper sanitation dramatically raises the risk of contracting AIDS, hepatitis B, and other blood-borne diseases. The smart thing to do is to get your shots before you leave the country.

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"I get by with a little help from my friends," says Hope, who gives special thanks to:

• MICHAEL GIBBS, website illustration and design: www.michaelgibbs.com
• MAX KUKOY, website development: www.maxwebworks.com
• STEVE BARRETT, portrait of Hope on Bio page: www.stevebarrettphotography.com

Contact HOPE KATZ GIBBS by phone [703-346-6975] or email.

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