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Showing posts from July, 2012

a tale involving multiple tails

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As you will notice over the next few days I've been reading loads of Newbery winners this summer, and just now catching up with blogging about them:

The title says it all of 2004 Newberry winner, The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup and a Spool of Thread, Kate DiCamillo. Okay, it gives you a general idea of some of the important themes of the book. What the title leaves out is love and hope! Despereaux isn’t like other mice, and for this he is cast into the dungeons of the castle; an evil plot comes to light—can his love for the princess help him get out and save her in time?

The only thing I didn’t like is that DiCamillo interjected her voice into the story a little too much with her, “Dear Reader…” comments. Otherwise, loved the story; I haven’t read a DiCamillo book yet which I haven’t enjoyed.

Age: Amazon lists 7+.

another medeival newbery book

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The Door in the Wall, Marguerite De Angeli, was 1950’s Newbery Award winner.

Wow, Newbery judges love books set in medieval times: The Door in the Wall; The Midwife’s Apprentice; Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village; Crispin: The Cross of Lead; The Whipping Boy; and I am sure the list goes on, but I won’t.

A young boy is left behind—his mother goes off in service to the queen, his father to serve as a nobleman soldier with the king—to be sent off to the service of a nobleman, where his training for a future such as that is to begin. But it is not to be so for Robin! He becomes stricken with illness and finally taken under the care of a monk(s) who begin to show him that his new illness-induced crippling injuries shouldn’t stop him in his quest to rise to be a noble man.

Not my favorite, not the worst. Would I recommend it? Maybe, but there are much better books out there.

Age: Amazon lists 10+.

reading to kids

Thought I would share this fun article: Hating Ms. Maisy: The Joy, Sorrow and Neurotic Rage of Reading to Your Children

Also, wanted to welcome new follower, Library Cat.

boys and beards

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Combining things I love: beards and boys

Carnegie medal winners

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I recently read both 2012 winners of the Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction & Nonfiction:
Anne Enright's The Forgotten Waltz (Fiction) and
Robert K. Massie's Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman(Nonfiction)

Enright begins The Forgotten Waltz, with a forbidden kiss witnessed by a child; we travel back with Gina Moynihan as she recollects her loves and lust in Dublin's suburbs. Though the book was well written I didn't enjoy it. I really struggle with works of fiction that revolve around affairs and indiscretions. I just don't enjoy watching as people throw away their marriages and lives for moments of passion, and inevitably wind up destroying those around them. (My exception to this rule is Gone With the Wind).

I loved Massie's Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman, which is an amazingly detailed account of Catherine the Great's Life from her early beginnings as Sophie Friederike Auguste von Anhalt-Zerbst-Dornburg (Damn! Royalty hav…

trying not to fail as a witness

Heading to Michigan AGAIN today after work for the 3rd of my 4 weddings this year. Always enjoy the time away, spent with friends, but definitely getting tired of the 6 hr. roundtrip drive. I will be taking a break from the drive for the month of August, and hopefully spending more time discovering Cleveland!
More soon, I feel like my posts lately have been lackluster, but until this Stella rediscovers her groove, I will share this wonderful poem:
"Little Summer Poem Touching the Subject of Faith" Every summer
I listen and look
under the sun's brass and even
into the moonlight, but I can't hear

anything, I can't see anything --
not the pale roots digging down, nor the green stalks muscling up,
nor the leaves
deepening their damp pleats,

nor the tassels making,
nor the shucks, nor the cobs.
And still,
every day,

the leafy fields
grow taller and thicker --
green gowns lofting up in the night,
showered with silk.

And so, every summer,
I fail as a witness, se…

I can handle it if you can

Oh my God, this made me laugh so hard this weekend. I love the internet.

food and books, my favorite things

Cuyahoga County Public Library, Branch: Middleburg Heights - Meeting Room
Type of Event: Program
Date: Tuesday, July 24, 2012 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM
Local author, food writer and culinary instructor, Marilou Suszko, brings her book, Farms and Foods of Ohio: From Garden Gate to Dinner Plate, to life through color  photos and an entertaining narrative. Find out where the best flavors in the state can be found! Book sale and signing will follow program. Registration required. Sponsored by the Friends of the Middleburg Heights Library.

To register click here.

stomping around

For my next storytime I am doing the ever popular DINOSAUR theme; thought I would share the things I am doing and some more fun resources. DINOSAURS ROAR! 1.Intro myself and theme

2.Music/Movement:
“Shake Your Sillies Out,”#13, Raffi’s More Singable Songs

3.Rhyme/Flannel Board: ??

4.Book 1: Dinosaurumpus!, Tony Mitton, illus. Guy Parker-Rees

5.Book 2: Stomp, Dinosaur, Stomp!, Margaret Mayo, illus. Alex Ayliffe

6.Music/Movement: “T Rex Boogie,” #12, A T Rex named Sue (782.42TRE)

7.Book 3: Dinosaur Days, Linda Manning, illus. Vlasta Van Kampen OR
If the Dinosaurs Came Back, Bernard Most (BIG PICTURE BOOK)

8.Prop Story: Snappy Dinosaurs OR Dinosaur Stomp: A Monster Pop-up, Paul Strickland

9.Music/Movement: Music: We Are the Dinosaurs (from The Best of the Laurie Berkner Band)
Other Possibilities:
Books: Edwina, the Dinosaur Who Didn’t Know She Was Extinct, Mo Willems Dinosaur vs. Bedtime, Bob Shea How Do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food, Jane Yolen, Mark Teague
All Aboard the Dinotrain, Deb Lund
Captain Flinn…

hiking outside Cleveland

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A few weekends ago A3, Dayna, my niece Savannah and I hiked parts of South Chagrin Reservation (part of the Cleveland Metro Parks system). It was a perfect day of sun and heat, but enough of our hike was in the woods or along shady trails (we were trying to not cook the baby); just a great day in a lovely, lovely park! We are finding that Cleveland and its' surrounding areas do a lot of things right, like parks and food.
If you're ever in the Cleveland area and want to check out a gorgeous park, try South Chagrin Reservation.

The Okee Dokee Brothers

My coworker just shared The Okee Dokee Brothers with me this week. The boys are a Parents Choice Award Winner and music that I enjoyed listening to too! NPR had this to say of the boys,
"The Okee Dokee Brothers] remind us of the American belief that we're bound for better weather. Their album [Can You Canoe?] celebrates everyday explorers, young and old, who rediscover that notion daily" --- NPR's All Things Considered

Check them out!

put your patriotic pants on!

This could have been a great storytime, but it wasn't. I had one child who ruined it for everyone else by shrieking through most of our activities; because so many people showed up for our story the storytime room was hotter than the blazes of Hell, so that didn't help either.

Thought I would share what we did and some resources that we didn't use, but that might help others in the planning of their future July 4th storytimes.

Music/Movement:
“Shake Your Sillies Out,”#13, Raffi’s More Singable Songs CD

Book 1: Apple Pie 4th of July, Janet S. Wong, illus. Margaret Chodos-Irvine

Music/Movement: “You’re a Grand Old Flag,” #1, Yankee Doodle Mickey CD w/sticks

Prop Story: “Going on a Picnic” w/plastic food (see below)

Music/Movement: Yankee Doodle,” #2, Yankee Doodle Mickey CD w/shakers

Book 2: How to Bake an American Pie, Karma Wilson, illus. Raul Colon

I once was a barefoot boy

I an in Michigan this weekend for Kate and Chris' wedding shower...Ugh...I hate showers of the wedding and baby variety. So, while I am bound to a chair playing ridiculous games and pretending to ooh and aah at household appliance gifts, the real me will be fantasizing about wandering barefoot through my old garden plot at the farm; wondering at the barefoot boy in all of us.

"The Barefoot Boy"
Blessings on thee, little man, Barefoot boy, with cheek of tan! With thy turned-up pantaloons, And thy merry whistled tunes; With thy red lip, redder still Kissed by strawberries on the hill; With the sunshine on thy face, Through thy torn brim’s jaunty grace; From my heart I give thee joy,— I was once a barefoot boy! Prince thou art,—the grown-up man Only is republican. Let the million-dollared ride! Barefoot, trudging at his side, Thou hast more than he can buy In the reach of ear and eye,— Outward sunshine, inward joy: Blessings on thee, barefoot boy!
Oh for boyhood’s painless p…

let us find

I swear I am going to post soon about library stuff and work and some of the cool places I've been too lately and about life, but until I can do that, here is some lovely poetry and a great video.

"In July"
Let us find a shady wady
Pretty little brook;
Let us have some candy handy,
And a picture book.

There all day we'll stay and play and
Never mind the heat,
While the water gleaming, streaming,
Ripples round our feet.

And we'll gather curly pearly
Mussel shells while bright
Frightened minnows darting, parting,
Scurry out of sight.

What if, what if, - heigho! my oh! -
All the "ifs" were true,
And the little fishes wishes,
Now, what would you do?

--Evaleen Stein

Pink's Crystal Ball

composed of nows

Forever – is composed of Nows – ‘Tis not a different time – Except for Infiniteness – And Latitude of Home –
From this – experienced Here – Remove the Dates – to These – Let Months dissolve in further Months – And Years – exhale in Years –
Without Debate – or Pause – Or Celebrated Days – No different Our Years would be From Anno Dominies – --Emily Dickinson I swear I will write soon, but until then, lovely poetry!

lovely words on a lovely day

We've finally found some wonderful summer weather after the heat wave of last week. Those miserable days did provide us with some wonderful rain storms complete with thunder and lightning, though all were far too brief! Stumbled upon this Lenore Kandel poem on one of those stormy nights and loved it. Thought I would share...it's just too nice to stay in and write. Going to go outside and enjoy the sun!

"Storm July"
sweet birds swim past my window
frozen by my eye against the sky of wind
birdflight    windform   treeburst
my room is warm
and soon the rain begins
--Lenore Kandel

the working class

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"The less cooking you know how to do, the more competent you feel. It's only when you know how to cook that it worries you when it foes wrong, because when you don't know, you don't know it's gone wrong. The more experienced I got the more I worried."
--Margaret Powell, Below Stairs

I recently read Powell's, Below Stairs--inspired to do so by my love of Downtown Abbey--a look at a British house servants life circa the 1920s. The writing wasn't the best, but considering that Powell came from a poor family, worked as a servant, and later worked hard to educate herself, you don't mind that bit so much. The story is made up of anecdotes about her time working as a housemaid, and later cook. Overall a fast read that offers some insight into that way of life. I enjoyed the read, especially enjoyed hearing about her attempts to become a cook; the above quote resounded with my own experience of learning to cook en masse (when I worked as a cook at the …

too hot to do anything

"Heat"
O wind, rend open the heat,
cut apart the heat,
rend it to tatters.

Fruit cannot drop
through this thick air--
fruit cannot fall into heat
that presses up and blunts
the points of pears
and rounds the grapes.

Cut the heat--
plough through it,
turning it on either side
of your path.      


--Hilda Doolittle

finding inspiration

I love TED talks.

This is Brene Brown, "Listening to Shame." It's great. Best quote:

"Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation creativity and change."
--Brene Brown

kids multicultural lit

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Saw a link (on Chicken Spaghetti's blog) to a great resource the other day; according to the Cooperative Children's Book Center: 50 Multicultural Books Every Child Must Know

Happy 4th of July

I grew up in a very patriotic household: both grandparents, nearly every uncle, some aunts, many cousins, my dad and both my brothers all served in some capacity of the U.S. military. We are from blue collared stock--like so many other families here we trace our lineage to immigrant beginnings--which with each generation has had the opportunity to better themselves, some of us even becoming, *gasp* white collareds. We are the kind of people who take off our hats and put hands on our chests during the National Anthem, and maybe even get tears in our eyes too (at least I do). Ingrained in us from a very young age was an awareness of the flaws in our country, but also a very deep love of the many freedoms that we have as Americans.

This week as we've been beaten over the head with more pre-election talk and people complaining about being tired of hearing about the health care reform, I was just thankful to be living in a place where this is what we're fighting about--non-violent…

the country I come from

For me, the genius of musicians like Dylan is that he has such a lexicon of lyrics, I can always find something that makes me feel connected and understood.

Oh my name it is nothin’
My age it means less
The country I come from
Is called the Midwest
I’s taught and brought up there
The laws to abide
And that the land that I live in
Has God on its side...

--Bob Dylan, from "With God on Our Side"

feeling that old tug

I want to get into my car and go on a journey, just drive and drive...or move from here and start somewhere new. The word "journey," is like magic, isn't it?

"The Journey"
One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice—
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do—
determined to…

my YA top reads

After reading Forever Young Adult's lists of  their Top 5 YA Novels--their response to NPR's challenge-- you know I had to do my own too. (YA in this case is 12-18 year olds)

My Top 5 YA Novels:

To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
Harry Potter series, J.K. Rowling
The Outsiders, S.E. Hinton
The Book Thief, Marcus Zuzak
The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger

I also really wanted to include John Green's, The Fault in the Stars