Saturday, February 28, 2009
Friday, February 27, 2009
Henry, Jessie, Violet and Benny Alden are brothers and sisters -- and they're orphans. The only way they can stay together is to make it on their own. One night, during a storm, the children find an old red boxcar that keeps them warm and safe. They decide to make it their home.
From the Introduction, page 7: "on June 4th, 2007 I cut a skull out of orange paper and posted it online with the note, I'm making a skull image every day for a year."
I inter-library loaned this book - it came to me from Washington County Library System. I had a tangle of thoughts going on that were sorting themselves into an "Inside Nan". This isn't the post yet that I am working on, that one involves an editorial by Garrison Keillor and some obituaries. This post is about ideas for Summer Reading Programs and all the hoopla that goes with it. In late January comes the catalog with the product -- I guess that came this year about the same time there was a flurry in the blogs about books and "product" and that was a seed for this post. And I came across the Skull book. The theme is something like "Be Creative @ Your Library" -- OK this theme thing usually sends me off on some rant as well but for now I'm thinking about the idea of the discipline of creating something everyday for everyday of summer. Well, not me. Readers at the library. Readers who want to play Summer Reading Program. I'm not done with this yet, it is swirling. It's about programmed product I think and conformity and that resistance I have to "the way it has always been done"... I have to go get a haircut, back later...
Short stories that focus on the lives of Black pre-teen boys. Tyree has assembled a wide range of characters that reflect the diversity of experiences of Black boys - characters that are funny, serious, edgy, street-wise, studious, and all unforgettable. " -- cover.
The black and white images throughout are personal reflections, uniquely felt and rendered by award winning artist Kadir Nelson. They are accompanied by the uplifting words of Barack Obama and commemorate the movement and the moment that have changed our history.
In Moundville, Alabama, in 1917, twelve-year-old Dit hopes the new postmaster will have a son his age, but instead he meets Emma, who is black, and their friendship challenges accepted ways of thinking and leads them to save the life of a condemned man.
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Illusionist, escape artist, movie star, aviator, and spy—Harry Houdini was all these and an international celebrity and the world’s most famous magician. This biography looks at all the facets of Houdini’s amazing life and includes 21 magic tricks and illusions for a hands-on learning experience.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
With the aid of Bartleby, an enormous Tower of London guard known as a Beefeater, Nathan travels through time to stop his father from changing the past. Read Karen's thoughts about this book over at Literate Lives. "There was no longer a window, and there was barely a wall. There was only the bright night sky facing him through a hole in the plaster and the brick: a clot of silver stars that shone from a man-sized smash in the side of the apartment-a Henry Cobbe-shaped hole..."--page 37
Sunday, February 22, 2009
When wealthy, spoiled, thirteen-year-old Tad Spencer wishes he were someone else, he awakens as Bob Snarby, the uncouth, impoverished son of carnival workers, and as he is drawn into a life of crime he begins to discover truths about himself and his family.
When, after intercepting a secret message from their mother, their evil Uncle Hidehira uncovers their samurai disguise, Kimi and Hana again must flee for their lives and, with the help of a fellow student, undertake a perilous journey to find their mother and brother before they are captured by Hidehira's samurai.
In 1974 when her father leaves New Delhi, India, to seek a job in New York, Ashi, a tomboy at the advanced age of sixteen, feels thwarted in the home of her extended family in Calcutta where she, her mother, and sister must stay, and when her father dies before he can send for them, they must remain with their relatives and observe the old-fashioned traditions that Ashi hates.
Ama, Jo, and Polly, three close friends from Bethesda, Maryland, spend the summer before ninth grade learning about themselves, their families, and the changing nature of their friendship.
Unlike his news-reporter father and art-historian mother who find living in the ancient, war-torn country of Balabad endlessly interesting, twelve-year-old Oliver, homesick for New York City, feels very much out of his element until he gets caught up in a centuries-old mystery involving stolen artifacts and buried treasure.
Through letters to his little sister, who is living in a different foster home, sixth-grader Lonnie, also known as "Locomotion," keeps a record of their lives while they are apart, describing his own foster family, including his foster brother who returns home after losing a leg in the Iraq War. Read a wonderful introduction to and interview with Jacqueline Woodson at the Brown Bookshelf. This is part of their presentation of 28 of the best and brightest youth literature creators February 1 - 28.
"Dear Lili, When Jenkins leans on me to get out of that wheelchair and onto those crutches, it's like there's a giant on my shoulders. And sometimes it feels like I'm gonna fall right down under all the weight. But I don't, Lili. I stay standing. I stay standing. Peace, Lili. Locomotion" -page 132
A quiet, lonely girl, Eleanor Roosevelt was born to a world of privilege, but not one of love. Eleanor found solace in books and in the life of her lively and independent mind. Her intellectual gifts and compassionate heart won her the admiration of many friends--and the love of her future husband, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. While other young women of her class were spending time at dances and parties, Eleanor devoted her energies to teaching children in New York City's poorest neighborhoods. Later, she became the most socially and politically active--and controversial--First Lady that America had ever seen. Ambassador, activist, and champion of civil rights, Eleanor Roosevelt changed the soul of America forever.
"Very early I knew there were men and women and children who suffered."
"What one has to do usually can be done."
"You must do the things you cannot do."
"Do what you feel in your heart to be right -- for you'll be criticized anyway."
"Do something everyday that scares you."
Thirteen-year-old Kat, still not comfortable in her role as a medium, and her friend Jac, undergoing a serious crisis about the role of music in her life, try to find a way to help the unhappy spirit of a young boy in the abandoned house next door. The child in the photo is the author, age 6, reading Alice in Wonderland. Kimmel has written many books for young people, visit her website here.
When Mazy Rabbit arrives at the Hare Detective Agency, she asks Sensible Hare to find her missing suitcase of carrots.
Orphaned, twelve-year-old Miles Wednesday discovers some surprising things about his past when he sets out with his angel companion Little and the blind explorer Baltinglass on a quest to recover the powerful tiger's egg stolen by the evil Cortado.
Friday, February 20, 2009
Earlier in the day I read this post in James Preller's blog about revision. He used the phrase "messing with the second pass" to discuss ("stages of doubt and second-guessing") revision. He was talking about the writing and editing process of his new book Bystander (Fall, 2009). The post content was a clear window into his world but his words were about more than his work as I read them yesterday. He was embracing and celebrating the changes, the revision, the stages, the process, the journey...OK, at one point he wonders if "this is all too self-obsessed". I wanted to comment as soon as I read it but didn't -- I guess I had too much to say.
About how I suffer under process - the turmoil of it - the recognition of the need for change that spurs the turning away from what was toward what is next and necessary and right and good and knowing that it is never done but always another revision, another stage... Elizabeth Gilbert's illuminated talk focuses on visits of genius and creativity and the fragile vessels we are -- her point -- just show up for it, keep showing up.
Monday, February 16, 2009
When their fathers insist that they get summer jobs, three fifteen-year-old friends in Tacoma, Washington, dedicate their summer vacation to fooling their parents into thinking that they are working, which proves to be even harder than having real jobs would have been.
Ten years after the end of the Second World War, the town of Rolfen, West Germany, looks just as peaceful and beautiful as ever, until young Peter Liebig discovers a secret about his past that leads him to question everything, including the town's calm facade and his own sense of comfort and belonging. Herr Schafer, a professor in East Germany, now a bricklayer in West Germany, works for Peter's father. Here are thoughts Herr Schafer shares with Peter.
"There are some Jews, Peter, who believe that in every generation there are only thirty-six righteous people in the whole world and no one knows who they are. Without those thirty-six the world could not exist. For myself, I think there are many more..."-pg 76
"...Being Jewish is not a game like checkers with a set of rules. Any Jew, or any Christian for that matter, will tell you we find out a little more about ourselves every day. What we were yesterday we are not today and will not be tomorrow. Don't be in such a hurry, Peter. Let each day teach you something, even if it comes from a mistake. Sometimes mistakes are the biggest lessons of all..."-pg 113
Saturday, February 14, 2009
In nineteenth-century England, young Charles Darwin rejects the more traditional careers of physician and clergyman, choosing instead to embark on a dangerous five-year journey by ship to explore the natural world.
Nick and his friend Marta decide to investigate when a mysterious fire starts near a Florida wildlife preserve and an unpopular teacher goes missing. David Pogue, book reviewer for the New York Times writes "What’s truly amazing is how much mileage Hiaasen gets here from mining the same narrow niche. Every novel is an eco-mystery set in Florida. Every plot features a greedy businessman (with a dumb-as-bricks henchman) bent on getting rich at the expense of Florida wildlife. Each plot is energized by improbable and hilarious action sequences." Read the rest of the review from the NYT Sunday Book Review.
Friday, February 13, 2009
Describes the assassination of the sixteenth president of the United States and the pursuit and capture of John Wilkes Booth, his killer, and his accomplices. This book is based on Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln's Killer, which won the Edgar Award. The author, who was born on Lincoln's birthday, has collected books, documents, and artifacts about the life and death of Lincoln since he was 10 years old.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
When Chico the monkey wakes up to a loud clatter, he puts on his tool belt and searches his tree house to find what is making the noise, only to discover Clark the elephant stuck in the laundry chute.
This addition to the popular Evil Genius series brings creative new projects to middle and high school students and hobbyists everywhere. Written by two veteran science teachers the collection features challenging projects, each of which begins with a hypothesis, includes a list of necessary parts and tools, and follows standard Science Fair requirements, allowing you to create and customize your own unique projects. See additional titles in the Evil Genius Series here.
Detectives Chet Gecko and his partner Natalie Attired try to solve the mystery of why Emerson Hicky Elementary school students have suddenly started acting strangely. Bruce Hale has a pretty nifty website - you can read an excerpt from Chapter 1 and learn all about Chet.
..."Zhis machine vill automate all ze vork in ze library. Storytime, book selection, checkout - everything." Bitty Chu's hand shot up. "But what about our librarian, Cool Beans?' she asked. "What will he do?" Principal Zero cleared his throat. "He will be, ah, leaving us..." - page 3.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Monday, February 9, 2009
A million dollars, or a clue? Police report a break-in at an elite hotel, and the suspects sound suspiciously like Amy and Dan. There's a car and speedboat chase and an angry mob! When there's a Clue on the line, anything can happen. READ THE BOOKS, COLLECT THE CARDS, PLAY THE GAME, WIN THE PRIZES The Chase begins in Book 1, the race is on to find the 39 Clues...A book with fine print on the back cover -- "No Purchase Necessary. Many will Enter but Few Will Win."
In Northern California, Julian Carter-Li and his friends, old and new, fight to save a grove of Redwoods from an investment company that plans to cut them down. Operation Redwood has its own website with information for teachers, games and resource links. "...These trees are so old. They're older than the dinosaurs. When all the continents in the world were still smushed together, there were redwood trees, or something like them...the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs - the redwoods were fine..."
Sunday, February 8, 2009
Told through the voices of those who knew the man—Northerners and Southerners, blacks and whites, neighbors and family members, adversaries and colleagues—and through stories carefully selected from long-forgotten newspapers, magazines, and family scrapbooks, Looking for Lincoln charts the dramatic epilogue to Lincoln’s extraordinary life when, in a process fraught with jealousy, greed, and the struggle for power, the scope of his historical significance was taking shape. Looking for Lincoln is the companion volume to a PBS special.