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We don't really hear much about Superfund sites anymore but they haven't gone away. From last month's National Geographic Magazine:
Money remains a constant problem. The Superfund program once had two pillars: rules that held past polluters liable for cleanup and a "Superfund"--financed by taxes on crude oil and chemicals--that gave the EPA the resources to clean up sites when it could not extract payment from the responsible parties. Congress let those taxes expire in 1995; the program is now funded by taxes collected from all Americans. It's low on staff. The Superfund itself is nearly empty.
Superfund sites have entered a mostly benign but lingering state, dwarfed in the public's eye by issues like climate change, says William Suk, who has directed the National Institutes of Health's Superfund Research Program since its inception in the 1980s. "It's not happening in my backyard, therefore it must be OK," is how Suk sees the prevailing attitude. "Everything must be just fine--there's no more Love Canals."
[Post pic by Fritz Hoffman via Nat Geo: "The municipal water supply in Hastings was contaminated by landfills--and by the FAR-MAR-CO grain elevator. Fumigants sprayed to control rodents and insects leached into the ground. The city closed some wells, but cleaning the groundwater will take decades."]
Library Dance,January 10, 2015 (Photo by Paige Bentley-Flannery)
January at the Deschutes Public Library features Know Art! In the past, I’ve created and presented a Meet Art series for children on famous artists such as Henri Matisse, Paul Klee, and Georgia O’Keeffe. As a community librarian, I do programs for all ages. I was so excited to hear that the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York has a traveling exhibit titled Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs. I decided to re-create the exhibit through two art library programs for adults. We had so much fun! I also created a new list of resources for a children’s Matisse program.
Meet Henri Matisse: Cut-Outs:
Using the art medium gouache, paper and scissors, you’ll discover ways to explore Matisse’s cut-outs and interact with art using books, dance and apps all while creating your own masterpiece. This is a creative hands-on program.
While everyone is arriving, have them settle in by playing with gouache (an opaque watercolor paint). Paint one color on a piece of white card stock paper, covering the whole piece of paper, and set aside to dry. Have paint available in bold Matisse-like colors. (blue, orange, yellow, green…)
Dance like Matisse with Matisse Dance for Joy by Susan Goldman Rubin. Everyone up! Read the board book and encourage people to act out the dance moves together. Shake, wiggle, and bounce! “Rumble, tumble with a friend” is my favorite page! Optional: Display images from the board book on a big screen.
Imagine you are Matisse! Read aloud Matisse’s Garden, Henri’s Scissors or Snail Trail. One of my favorite children’s Matisse books is Oooh! Matisse by Mil Niepold. Have everyone guess the shapes and together say, “oooooh! Matisse.”
Matisse Cut-out (Photo by Paige Bentley-Flannery)
Create a BIG group cut-out. Spread out a HUGE piece of butcher paper on the floor (for smaller groups use a big piece of poster paper). Everyone cuts one shape, using a full 8” by 11’ piece of colored paper. Then place or drop the shapes onto the butcher paper. By now, the gouache papers will have dried so artists can create cut-outs from that paper too. Matisse used pins to secure and compose his shapes – but you can glue all the shapes onto the butcher paper. Decide as a group the title of your masterpiece and add the date at the bottom right corner. For example: Library Dance, January 10, 2015.
Most of all dance, create and have fun!
I love sharing postcards from different museums. If you know someone who’s visiting a museum, have them mail you a postcard! I ordered 40 Matisse postcards online at the MoMA store so participants could take home a postcard.
My new favorite Matisse book this year is Matisse’s Garden by Samantha Friedman ; illustrations by Cristina Amodeo ; with reproductions of artworks by Henri Matisse.
Art and other supplies:
Gouache in a variety of colors, card stock paper, scissors, colorful butcher paper, a few pieces of poster size paper (or use butcher paper), glue sticks, paint brushes, newspapers, paper towels, small paper plates and small paper cups for water. (Extra: postcards, projector, iPad/Tablet…)
Our guest blogger today is Paige Bentley-Flannery. Paige is a Community Librarian at Deschutes Public Library. For over fifteen years–from Seattle Art Museum to the New York Public Library to the Deschutes Public Library-Paige’s passion and creative style for art and literature have been combined with instructing, planning, and providing information.
Please note that as a guest post, the views expressed here do not represent the official position of ALA or ALSC.
If you’d like to write a guest post for the ALSC Blog, please contact Mary Voors, ALSC Blog manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pantai adalah salah satu tempat liburan paling populer, terutama selama musim panas. Tentu saja merencanakan perjalanan ke pantai sangat menyenangkan. Akan tetapi, juga bisa membuat kita stres jika tidak tahu harus bagaimana mempersiapkan segala sesuatunya.
Artikel berikut ini akan memberitahukan anda apa yang tidak boleh anda lupakan sebelum berwisata ke pantai.
Dengan begitu, maka liburan anda di pantai akan menjadi lebih seru dan lebih menyenangkan. Berikut adalah beberapa tips yang harus anda antisipasi dan persiapkan sebelum berlibur ke pantai.
Jarak adalah salah satu hal yang harus anda pertimbangkan sebelum anda melangkah menuju pantai yang ingin anda tuju. Cobalah untuk menemukan pantai-pantai yang indah dan tidak terlalu jauh tempatnya dari tempat anda menginap. Namun, jika anda harus pergi ke pantai yang jauh, pastikan anda mempertimbangkan budget, waktu, bensin atau bahan bakar untuk sampai ke tujuan. Selain itu, cobalah untuk mempertimbangkan berapa lama anda harus tinggal di pantai tersebut sebelum anda memutuskan kembali pulang. Karena anda tentu tidak ingin pulang kemalaman bukan?
Jika anda berencana untuk berenang di pantai, baju renang adalah kebutuhan yang tidak boleh anda lupakan. Selain baju renang, mungkin anda juga ingin membawa sandal jepit untuk berjalan-jalan di sekitar pantai.
Apakah anda ingin berlibur ke pantai dengan membawa segala sesuatu? Cobalah untuk menyesuaikan tas yang tepat untuk anda gunakan saat berlibur dipantai. Berlibur di pantai membutuhkan beberapa persiapan khusus seperti plastik. Plastik bisa anda gunakan untuk menyimpan baju renang anda yang basah agar tidak tercampur dengan pakaian kering yang lainnya.
4.Pakaian ringan dan topi
Angin kencang dan cuaca panas adalah gambaran yang paling tepat untuk pantai. Oleh sebab itu, topi mutlak anda butuhkan, terutama jika anda ingin menghabiskan waktu berjalan-jalan di pantai pada siang atau sore hari di pantai.
Sedangkan pakaian yang ringan adalah pakaian yang cocok anda gunakan untuk berjalan-jalan di pantai yang memiliki angin lumayan kencang. Pakaian yang ringan juga akan membuat tubuh anda lebih mudah untuk bernafas dan tidak kepanasan.
Gunakan selalu tabir surya dengan SPF 30 setiap 2 jam sekali agar kulit anda aman dari bahaya sinar UVA dan UVB. Seperti yang telah disebutkan di atas, pantai biasanya memiliki udara atau cuaca yang panas. Oleh sebab itu melindungi kulit dari sengatan sinar matahari mutlak anda lakukan.
Selain sunblock, mungkin anda juga membutuhkan sunglass yang bisa melindungi mata anda dari sinar matahari dan cerahnya suasana siang yang menyilaukan.
Tentu anda tidak ingin melewati beberapa momen indah di pantai bukan? Oleh sebab itu, cobalah untuk membawa kamera ketika anda berwisata ke pantai. Momen-momen khusus seperti sunriseatau sunset di beberapa pantai adalah momen yang wajib anda capture.
8.Bola dan peralatan bermain
Pantai adalah salah satu tempat yang paling menyenangkan untuk bermain bola bersama teman-teman. Selain itu jika anda memiliki anak yang suka bermain di pasir, mungkin anda bisa menyediakan mereka beberapa peralatan yang bisa anak-anak gunakan untuk membangun beberapa kastil atau rumah-rumahan pasir di pantai.
It is wise to start a new year on a positive note. Many begin with a resolution. A new book excites me. But how do you choose the perfect title that will not only entertain and enthral but also convince you to pick up another, again and again? Best to begin with a tale of […]
Here’s three powerful techniques for immersing readers into your story: use the sense of smell.
Of all the senses, smell has the strongest psychological effect. The mere mention of a smell evokes memories and triggers associations in the reader’s subconscious.
Mention a smell, and the scene comes to life. Mention two or three, and the reader is pulled into the scene as if it were real.
A single sentence about smells can reveal more about a place than several paragraphs of visual descriptions. For example, the hero enters a home for old people. “The place smelled of boiled cabbage, urine, and disinfectant.” These nine words are enough to convey what kind of old people’s home this is, and it creates a strong image in the reader’s mind.
Or try these: “The room smelled of pizza, beer and unwashed socks.” “The room smelled of beeswax, joss sticks, and patchouli.” “The corridor smelled of mold and leaking sewage.” “The kitchen smelled of coffee, cinnamon, and freshly baked bread.” “The kitchen smelled of burnt milk, overripe pears, and bleach.” “The garden smelled of lilacs and freshly mowed grass.” “The cell smelled of blood, urine and rotting straw.”
Where and How to Use this Technique
The best place to insert a sentence about smells is immediately after the point-of-view character has arrived at a new location. That’s when humans are most aware of smells, so it feels right if you mention them.
Smells trigger emotions. If you want your reader to feel positive about the place, use pleasant scents. To make the reader recoil, mention nasty odors.
Also, consider the genre. Thriller and horror readers appreciate being taken to places where odours are as foul as the villain’s deeds, but romance readers want a pleasant experience, so treat them to lovely scents.
If you like, you can use this technique in almost every scene. To keep it fresh, vary the sentence structure and the wording. Here are some suggestions:
The place reeked/stank of AAA and BBB.
The odors of AAA and BBB mingled with the smells of CCC and DDD.
Her nostrils detected a whiff of AAA beneath the smells of BBB and CCC.
The smell of AAA warred with the stronger odor of BBB.
The air was rich with the scents of AAA and BBB.
The smell of AAA failed to mask the stench of BBB.
The stench of AAA hit him first, followed by the odor of BBB.
Beneath the scent of AAA lay the more ominous odors of BBB and CCC.
The scents of AAA and BBB greeted her.
The smells of AAA and BBB made his mouth water.
He braced himself against the stink of AAA and BBB.
These examples show how authors have used this technique in their fiction.
The room smelled like stale smoke and Italian salad dressing. (Michael Connelly: The Poet)
I took a couple of deep breaths, smelled rain, diesel, and the pungent dead-fish-and-salt stench off the river. (Devon Monk: Magic to the Bone)
The place smelt of damp and decay. (Jonathan Stroud: The Amulet of Samarkand)
A rare south wind had brought the smell of Tyre to last night’s landfall: cinnamon and pepper in the cedar-laced pine smoke, sharp young wine and close-packed sweating humanity, smoldering hemp and horse piss. (Mathew Woodring Stover: Iron Dawn)
The smell hit her first: rotting flesh, ancient blood. (Kristine Kathryn Rusch: Sins of the Blood)
The air reeked of hot metal, overheated electronic components, scorched insulation – and gasoline. (Dean Koontz: The Bad Place)
The air held the warm odours of honey and earth, of pine resin and goat sweat, mingled with the scents of frying oil and spice. (Rayne Hall: Storm Dancer)
Have a go. Whatever story you’re working on right now, whatever scene you’re writing, think of two or more smells that characterize the place. Write a sentence about them. If you like, post your sentence in the comments section. I’d love to see what you come up with.
Rayne Hall has published more than fifty books in several languages under several pen names with several publishers in several genres, mostly fantasy, horror and non-fiction. She is the author of the bestselling Writer's Craft series and editor of the Ten Tales short story anthologies.
She is a trained publishing manager, holds a masters degree in Creative Writing, and has worked in the publishing industry for over thirty years.
Having lived in Germany, China, Mongolia and Nepal, she has now settled in a small dilapidated town of former Victorian grandeur on the south coast of England where she enjoys reading, gardening and long walks along the seashore. She shares her home with a black cat adopted from the cat shelter. Sulu likes to lie on the desk and snuggle into Rayne's arms when she's writing.
I’m a dreamer. I grew up in a lower middle class environment where the stretch goal was simply survival. Many of my neighbors had never ventured far from the city. Reading wasn’t a popular hobby. Dreams were for other people.
But my mother introduced me to every free or low cost cultural program she could find. I took art classes at the Museum of Art. Spent days sketching by a replica of The Thinker near the reflecting pond. And my weekends existed living in the stacks of the Public Library and carrying home as many books as I was allowed at the end of the day. Whenever I needed to escape my environment, books were there to guide me. I immersed in Barbar and envisioned myself traveling with the king to a far distant land. I was Madeleine lined up in a row of similarly dressed girls. All the while I doodled designs of futuristic cities while munching popcorn in front of Lost In Space. I imagined being tutored by the magical Mary Poppins. But in those books and movies the characters were animals or they were white. Other than Star Trek, people of various backgrounds didn’t exist in the imagined futures for our world. I loved Uhura, Checkov and Sulu. But I wanted them to be my Captain Kirks.
A few years ago, I spoke at a public library in Arkansas. Over the course of a week I talked about writing to 25 busloads of elementary school children. At the end of the week a teacher returned and said one of her students was perplexed that I had gone to MIT. The teacher, confused by the girl’s question, pressed her. The young girl wanted to know if she could go to a school like that, given that she was Hispanic. She wanted to know if it was allowed. And if so, could she tag along with the teacher who, herself, was studying for her Masters degree at a nearby college. In that child’s neighborhood, college wasn’t in the vocabulary. And in her literature, girls like her didn’t exist at all.
I want you to think about that a minute.
Decades after the multicultural Star Trek series debuted, contemporary literature and the media still play a large role in the perception that options for children of color are severely limited. Popular fiction and blockbuster movies center around children who are not Hispanic, or Native American or . . . (fill in the blanks). In the rare instance where they are, movie directors make a course correction. For instance, in writing Wizard of Earthsea, Ursula LeGuin created a world in which all of the communities were populated by people who were various shades of brown. No specific ethnicity is delineated. The hero is brown, the villain is blonde and blue eyed. In translating the book into a mini-series for the SyFy channel, Producer Robert Halmi of Hallmark Entertainment cast all the characters using white actors and said he had “improved upon the author’s vision.” Ursula LeGuin responded by saying he had wrecked her books.
In recreating the popular Avatar: The Last Airbender, director M. Knight Shamalayan cast all of the Asian heroes with white actors. The villain who was white in the series, became Asian in the movie. Children of color are tokens in the background of Harry Potter’s universe but not in his inner circle. The olive-skinned girl in Hunger Games becomes Jennifer Lawrence. See the trend? For children of color the message is clear: when it comes to being a hero in a fantastical adventure . . .
But it also sends a more dangerous message to society. For people of a majority race it may imbed a subconscious message of “only you,” or worse . . .
In watching the protests around the country starting with, but not limited to Ferguson Missouri, I found myself wondering if someone like ex-officer Darren Wilson grew up surrounded by images of people like him who were the heroes, the leaders, the enforcers and where people who didn’t look like them were villains to be feared. Police officers who are later assigned to patrol neighborhoods where gifted children are stunted because they were trained by society, and sometimes their own communities, to stop dreaming beyond the end of the street.
In crafting The Lost Tribes I envisioned a world where those children were integral to the story and allowed to take center stage. Children who were very smart, but not perfect. Children who bickered and made mistakes while they worked out solutions and came together as a team out of necessity but remained together out of mutual respect. I envisioned characters informed by their cultural backgrounds but not constrained by them. I wanted to create an environment where the characters faced frightening situations and had to work out the solutions without the use of magic wands or other tricks that would substitute for logic and team work. In a sense – if your world is falling apart what would an ordinary kid do with few skills and no training?
I had a vision, for instance, of who the character of Serise would be. She’s Navajo and I knew book research wouldn’t substitute for spending time in her environment. So I spent two weeks in Rock Point, Arizona. It is a small town on the reservation where I met two teens who were Goth and quiet. I met another who was quite outspoken. I came armed with books, including a lot of age appropriate fiction. They leaped for the nonfiction, showed me how to log on to a password protected satellite dish so I could check emails, and talked about their lives and dreams with me. And so Serise was reborn as a computer hacker, far from the stereotypes people have about Native American girls.
My protagonist, Ben, thinks basketball is the ticket to success. He eschews his parent’s scientific interests as the stuff of nerds. In working with urban students I learned that many hide being smart. It’s easier to be athletic. It’s expected. It’s often emphasized. So it is fascinating that a friend and librarian forwarded an excerpt of Neil deGrasse Tyson’s book in which he talks about fulfilling society’s expectations of aspiring to be a top athlete until he read a fascinating fact about the speed of light and black holes. He decided science was infinitely more interesting and became an astrophysicist.
My characters, like my readers, crave adventure and as an engineer writing science fiction I understood that Earth already held much stranger backdrops than anything I could make up. For example the Moai of Easter Island or the Terra Cotta Army.
I wrote Tribes to say “Yes. You belong in the wider context of the universe.” “Yes. You can be the center of an adventure.” “Yes, children from different backgrounds can and do work together for a common purpose.” “Yes you can dream bigger than the landscape of your own neighborhood.”
As we approach February, inevitably children across the country will be introduced to the same ubiquitous fare that adults provide every year. We’ll fill their reading lists with realistic fiction, historical fiction and angst based nonfiction centered around race. But we won’t tell them they can aspire to slay dragons, build castles or venture out into the great unknown. They won’t travel to outer space or even abroad to a foreign land. When they are looking at the stars, we’ll quiz them on books that go no farther than their own environments. And when some children are dreaming of the future, we’ll be drilling into their heads only visions of a painful past.
During Black History Month we’ll ask, “What are you doing to fulfill Dr. King’s dreams?” and therein lies the rub.
Because it’s the wrong question.
We should be asking, “What are you doing to fulfill YOUR dreams?” and then make it our priority to point them toward a path that will get them there.
I’m still a dreamer. I found my path forward in books and used the clues to figure out how to reach for the stars. Perhaps it is time for publishing to provide those clues forward without our readers needing a universal translator to see themselves between the pages. Perhaps it is time for a broader selection of children to be shown leading the way.
C. Taylor-Butler is the author of more than 70 books for children. A graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with dual degrees in Civil Engineering and Art and Design, she serves as Chair of one of their regional Educational Councils. After traveling the world and speaking to thousands of children with dreams of their own, she has decided children of color shouldn’t have to settle for second place.
The Lost Tribes Series
“Well-written and well-paced: a promising start to what should be an exciting and unusual sci-fi series. (Science fiction. 10-14)” Kirkus Reviews, Jan. 2015
To find more speculative fiction featuring children of color (sci-fi, fantasy, paranormal, time travel, alternate history, dystopia, horror, etc.), see the list compiled by Zetta Elliot.
A longtime reader wrote to ask if everything’s okay. He was concerned because I post here so rarely.
Everything is okay! My stepdaughter, Autumn, turned twenty-one! Often I still think of her as the little waving girl in the photo above. But she is an astounding young woman, a clear and compassionate thinker, a poet, a gift, my only child. Also, my goddaughter and her mom moved away. I miss them tons. And my cats died, a few months apart. Oof, as my friend Carrie says. That was sad.
Right now there’s a blizzard outside. I’m drinking water and tea and working on my book, which is usually what I’m doing, unless I haven’t refilled the water and tea recently.
The manuscript is due in 2016, and I asked for regular installment deadlines with my editor to keep myself on task, and I’m so busy writing that I actually got excited when an app I use to keep myself from wasting time online malfunctioned for a few weeks. It cut off my access to half the Internet, including this very site. I’m also working on a related profile-essay thing that’s taking me a long time to finish to my satisfaction, and I’m very excited about it. And I’ve been doing a lot of weird, wide-rangingreading, which I’m sure will all be reflected in my book, if you’ve missed my meandering fixations.
Seperti namanya, pantai ini memang banyak dihiasi oleh tebing-tebing karang. Debur ombak yang pecah ketika menghempas batukarang menjadi suara yang sangat dominan di tempat ini. Angin yang bertiup serta suasana pantai membuat tempat ini terlihat sangat eksotik.
Dahulu, pantai ini dikenal dengan nama Pantai Karang Suraga. Hal tersebut berkaitan erat dengan cerita rakyat yang mengisahkan tentang seseorang yang memiliki kesaktian, dia adalah Suryadilaga. Sekarang, pantai ini banyak dikenal dengan nama Pantai Karang Bolong karena pintu gerbang memasuki pantai ini adalah sebuah karang yang bolong.
Bagi anda yang ingin sejenak terlepas dari suasana perkotaan, hiburan berupa pantai dan debur ombak merupakan alternatif tepat untuk merefresh jiwa dan raga anda. Pantai karang bolong adalah tujuan wisata yang bisa anda masukkan ke dalam list liburan anda yang akan datang.
Di tempat ini anda bisa melakukan beberapa kegiatan seperti menikmati keindahan pantai, mengabadikan momen-momen, berenang, dan berjalan-jalan.
Fasilitas dan akomodasi
Fasilitas yang dimiliki oleh pantai karang bolong sudah cukup mumpuni. Hampir setiap hari pengunjung datang ke pantai ini. Dan boleh dikatakan pantai ini tidak pernah sepi dari pengunjung. Warung-warung makan juga menjadi salah satu fasilitas yang mendukung. Tidak hanya itu, fasilitas lain seperti mushola, tempat parkir, dan beberapa wahana permainan ada ditempat ini.
Jika anda datang dari luar kota, anda tetap bisa menginap di tempat ini karena terdapat beberapa cotage dan villa yang memang disewakan untuk mereka yang datang berlibur dari jauh.
Tips berwisata di Pantai Karang Bolong
Namun cobalah untuk tetap berhati-hati terlebih ketika anda memesan makanan di tempat ini. Beberapa pengalaman buruk dari mereka yang sudah lebih dahulu pernah ke tempat ini harus anda jadikan pelajaran. Cobalah untuk menanyakan terlebih dahulu harga makanan sebelum anda memakannya. Kuliner yang disajikan di daerah ini tentu saja kuliner seafood. Makanan khas banten, serta bumbu-bumbu yang sedap. Tidak hanya itu, anda juga bisa menikmati kelapa muda sambil duduk-duduk di atas karang.
Beberapa orang menikmati pantai ini dari ketinggian dengan menaiki bukit-bukit yang ada di pinggir pantai. Apabila anda ingin melakukan kegiatan ini, cobalah untuk tetap berhati-hati dan melihat situasi serta kondisi. Apabila medan licin, jangan memaksakan diri.
Menyaksikan pemandangan dari atas tebing adalah pengalaman tersendiri yang tidak semua orang bisa melakukannya. Oleh karena itu spot terbaik di tempat ini adalah di atas tebing.
Rute Objek Wisata
Rute yang bisa anda tempuh untuk mencapai pantai karang bolong adalah jalan Tol Jakarta – Merak, Cilegon barat, Anyer, Karang Bolong. Tempat ini berjarak kurang lebih 140 km dari Jakarta dan 50 kilometer dari Serang Banten.
Listening and sharing ideas in our Mock Newbery discussions
In our Mock Newbery book club, students were able to choose which books they wanted to read. In order to vote, they had to read five or more of the nominated titles. I wanted to give them freedom to choose what to read, but I also really enjoyed listening to them recommend titles to one another. We had informal book club meetings once a week for lunch in the library, and then we met in January for our final discussions. Many students chose to read today's three books--I hope I can capture some of their comments.
Right from the beginning, students started talking about how Nuts to You was both funny and full of adventure. After a hawk captures the unsuspecting squirrel Jed, his friends TsTs and Chai are sure that he's still alive. They set off following a trail of "buzzpaths" and "frozen spiderwebs" (electrical lines and utility towers) to rescue him. I love that the kids responded to the satirical footnotes and twists in language. Just take this example from near the beginning:
“To squirrels, ‘Are you nuts?’ is a combination of ‘Have you lost your mind?’ and ‘You remind me of the most wonderful thing I can think of.’”
Some students had trouble getting into this story and found the tone or perspective confusing. Maisy said at one meeting that she was half-way through the story and didn't quite see what's funny about it yet. McKenna told her that it starts getting funnier and funnier as you start getting more into the book--in fact, she wondered if it would be funnier the second time you read it. Talia and Gwen definitely agreed with McKenna.
Students consistently mentioned The Red Pencil not only as a powerful, touching book, but also one that they could really understand what the characters were going through even though it was so different from their lives. When the Sudanese rebels attack her village, young Amira's home is destroyed and her whole life is upended. She escapes to a refugee camp, but what about her dreams of going to school?
When we were discussing plot and pacing, Corina expanded on why she thought The Red Pencil was so effective:
"I felt like I always knew what was going on even though it wasn't familiar to me. Each small moment, the author would break it down so you knew how everyone was feeling about it. You didn't know what was going to happen next -- you felt like you were in the present of the story and were right there with the characters."--Corina
I just went back and checked -- it's fascinating that Pinkney writes this in the present tense. Amira's emotional journey was important to students. She had to escape her war-torn home, and she also had to discover how to navigate following her own dream of learning to read and write despite her mother's traditional views.
Just look at all those post-it notes--so many kids read Snicker of Magic. We all agreed that kids liked it, but during our Mock Newbery discussions we tried to explore why the story and writing were especially good. When Felicity Pickle moves to Midnight Gulch, Tennessee, our readers could tell right away that she was lonely--but Nia's comment to book club back in October was: "She think the word lonely is really really strong to say." Time and again, students mentioned how Felicity sees words, but they also noticed how the author really shows readers how Felicity feels. This magical element helped them see deeper into Felicity's feelings and Lloyd's themes.
This mix of magical fantasy elements in a real-life setting appealed to many readers. They loved the details like blueberry ice cream that helps you remember lost memories, and they could relate to many of the characters. A few mentioned that the pacing seemed a bit uneven ("sometimes it speeded up and then other times it was really slow or went off into something that didn't go with the plot") but others strongly disagreed and liked the way different plot elements wove together.
In our discussions we didn't have enough time to explore the themes of the stories, but I firmly believe that those underlying themes are a major reason why these different stories all appealed to readers. Whether it's TsTs' loyal friendship in Nuts to You, Amira's resiliency in The Red Pencil or the Beedle's generosity in Snicker of Magic, each of these deeper themes resonated with readers in lasting ways.
The review copies came from my home collection and our library collection. Early review copies were also kindly sent by the publishers, HarperCollins, Little Brown and Scholastic. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books. Thank you for your support.
The folks on the east coast of the US who are being bombarded by a blizzard should totally have an army of awesome Japanese snow robots that scoops up snow and poops out snow bricks perfect for building snow forts. I’m sure there will still be plenty of snow leftover for the epic snowball fight that all those snow forts will require.
Next, Books as obstacle course, which Javier Marías makes sound rather appealing. The walls of his parents’ apartment covered in books with art hinged to the shelves, what a magical place it sounds!
Remember Dirty Chick? The book is now available on audio read by the author. You can have a twenty minute sample listen at SoundCloud. It’s from the beginning of the book when she is taking care of her parents’ chickens and duck and the duck sexually assaults one of the chickens. It will give you a good flavor of what the whole book is like.
Finally, can books change the world? Sure they can! Darwin’s The Origin of Species anyone? What about 1984? Or Jane Austen’s entire oeuvre? Rick Kleffel offers Nine World-Changing Books from 2014 (via). I’ve heard of some of them, others not at all. And there are several I’d really like to read and a few I’m content just reading good essays about them by others who have read them. Are there other books from 2014 that should be on the list? Are there books there that shouldn’t be? Is there a book from 2014 that changed your personal world? I had a number of books that rocked my world in 2014 but none that changed it. Still, several large book-quakes are nothing to sneeze at.
The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Mikheil Javakhishvili's early Soviet-era classic, Kvachi, a nice addition to Dalkey Archive Press' Georgian Literature Series (and translated by the leading Georgian-literature authority, Donald Rayfield).
More so than any other comics-based film, the Josh Trank-helmed reboot of The Fantastic Four, has been a divisive prospect for fans. The veil of mystery and the lack of anything official emerging from production – not even a set photo – coupled with many out-of-context descriptions (ex: Doctor Doom is an angry blogger!) have led to much justified worry.
Tonight, Steve Weintraub over at Collider is finally pulling back the curtain a bit, as the site has released an interview with Trank and screenwriter Simon Kinberg (X-Men: Days of Future Past), where they discussed the secrecy surrounding the production, the recent re-shoots, and some of the visual influences that are imbued into the newest adventure of Marvel’s first family.
On whether the lack of any concrete information is a sign the movie has “issues”:
Trank: I think a lot of that stuff is stemming from the fact that we’ve consciously decided to not release anything official. This isn’t like The Avengers. Even when the first Avengers came out, there were four other movies that people were familiar with. The suits and the tone and the look and the feel. So they could release those things or drop them on Twitter. With Simon on the X-Men movies, there were other movies that came before the last X-Men movie so Bryan [Singer] could feel more confident in tweeting teases of what’s to come. But this movie, we really want the audience to have the proper reaction to this material seeing it for the first time. You’ve really got to put your best foot forward. You can’t just leak an image to strike up a conversation. You want people to see something that has thought behind it. And the teaser should do just that. With conversations online, you can’t really control it. In this day and age people have come to expect that artists are going to give everybody information on Twitter about what they’re doing, but not every artist is like that. I’m not really like that. If I was painting a picture I wouldn’t want to take a picture of a single paint stroke. I’d rather show people what it looks like when it’s done.
On setting The Fantastic Four apart from other superhero franchises:
Trank: I would say that the science fiction of it is a big thing that sets it apart from most of the other superhero genre films. I’m a huge David Cronenberg fan, and I always viewed Fantastic Four and the kind of weirdness that happens to these characters and how they’re transformed to really fall in line more with a Cronenberg-ian science fiction tale of something horrible happening to your body and [it] transforming out of control. And the potential for a hard sci-fi take on that material makes me really excited. I don’t really see that kind of potential and that kind of take being implemented on any of the other superhero movies that seem to be coming out in the next few years. Superhero movies have become a genre unto themselves and I didn’t really grow up on superhero movies. I grew up on genre movies before superhero was a genre. I don’t know if there are Blockbusters [the video chain] anymore, but there would probably be a superhero section. And this would fit more into the science-fiction, or horror, or even drama sections of the Blockbuster. And that’s just kind of the way I look at it. I want it to feel like it’s its own thing.
Kinberg: One thing that’s unique to it is that it’s always been about a family. Most comic book superhero movies are about a superhero protagonist or a superhero group. But they’re ever really exploring what it is to be family. And when I first read the comic that’s what was so compelling about it. I think the reason it’s endured this long, the powers are great, but the defining thing is the surrogate family. That’s something we really spent a long time talking about and putting into the film. I think that will differentiate us as well from all of the different superheroes and superhero groups out there.
Regarding any specific comic runs that this film is pulling from:
Kinberg: Yeah, I think The Ultimate Fantastic Four is probably our biggest influence because it’s the younger Fantastic Four. And a lot of the science specifics are there. And a lot of the means of transformation we took from those books. As you’ll see a little bit in the trailer and a lot in the movie, there are influences really from the beginning of what Kirby and Stan were doing in the 60’s all the way up into the present day. I’ve done it both ways from adapting a specific story-line like Days of Future Past or jumping off like in First Class and using more of the mythology of the characters without necessarily adhering to an existing plot line. This is an origin story in many regards and it is inspired by The Ultimate Fantastic Four as much as anything else.
And while they were tight-lipped about the plot, this is what Trank was willing to release insofar as story-specifics:
I would just say that this is a modern telling of how these four iconic characters came together and came to be.
Here in the New York City area, we’re pretty much sick and tired of being sick and tired of winter! Freezing temperatures and mushy snow make us long for summer. But will we feel the same way in summer? Will we long for the cool, magical, coziness of winter? Well, if you can’t decide, weigh in . . .
Winter vs. summer. Who’s the winner, in your opinion?
... Me! Betsy Bird, with School Library Journal, interviewed me for her new and awesome web series. We talk roller derby and graphic novels and the comic strip "For Better or For Worse". WHAT ELSE COULD YOU WANT? Thanks for having me, Betsy!
The title is from this fascinating article from the NewYorker, which gave me much food for (rambling) thoughts about words and reality, libraries and the Internet, memories and memorials.
In it, the writer attacks the myth that what’s online stays online forever. Instead, she says, the Internet is intrinsically ephemeral. Unlike books, the Internet cannot be catalogued because it lacks the dimension of time; online, it’s always today. Academic and legal footnotes and references to books and documents (those painstaking page numbers, edition, publish date) have been replaced by web links. But what happens when those links no longer exist? The evidence disappears, the original source vanishes; anything could be true.
Anyone who says we no longer need libraries because ‘it’s all online’ should read this article. It isn’t all online. Some of it might have been, yesterday, but that’s no guarantee that it will be today. Or it might look like what was there yesterday is still there today, but in fact it could have been completely rewritten since yesterday, and you’d never know.
Funnily enough, I spent most of yesterday hunting for an online article about some Russian legislation, adopted in October last year, that retroactively legalises pro-Russian authorities in Crimea from February 2014 when Crimea, according to Russian law, was legally part of Ukraine. From a legal point of view, Russia rewrote history with that bit of legislation.
The article, as far as I can see, is no longer on the Internet. It disappeared, and history is rewritten.
I know, history is always rewritten, that’s whathistory is; a constant interrogation of the evidence from yesterday, viewed through the inescapable prism of today. But what if the evidence from yesterday no longer exists? What if it’s been written over, or just disappeared?
Two years ago I visited the museum of political history in St Petersburg. It used to be called the museum of the revolution (there you go, history rewritten). It’s full of fascinating exhibits, but the one that struck me most was a catalogue of exhibits that weren’t there.
It was a fat, handwritten ledger, open on a page listing all the documents and artefacts relating to Trotsky which had been removed in the late 1920s, when Trotsky was ‘rewritten’ as an enemy of the people. The museum staff had got rid of the historical evidence, yet they had kept a carefully catalogued record of the evidence that no longer existed. I really wonder why they did that. Despite orders to rewrite the past did they too believe, like the Internet librarians, that ‘our job is memory’?
Is that really what a library is – a repository of memory? As someone who uses libraries all the time as a reader and as a writer (just got my PLR statement, hurrah!) I started to wonder, do we write books, fact and fiction, because at least part of our job is memory?
Libraries are repositories of facts and interpretations of facts to make versions of history, but they are also a storehouse for imaginary worlds and other people’s memories. We write things down so as not to forget them. We record them and we transform them through language, through fancy, through characters, into (in the best books) something unforgettable.
Do we write (do we read) to remember, or to be remembered?
This is my last post for ABBA, for the moment anyway. Its been a privilege to contribute alongside such wonderful fellow writers, and a huge thank you to the administrators who keep it running. If you’re interested, you can follow my blog, updated mostly about Ukraine and Crimea affairs these days. Thanks for reading!
Way back in the early 90s, Nintendo Power published a serialized run of The Legend of Zelda: A Link To The Past limited comic series. Viz announced today that they’ve acquired the rights to the comic and are reprinting it in a full-color volume, available on May 5th. With story and art by manga master Shotaro Ishinomori of Kamen Rider and Cyborg 009 fame, this is a real treat for a fan of either the video game franchise or manga creator.
Widely considered one of the best games in the Legend of Zelda franchise, A Link To The Past saw life on the SNES, Gameboy Advance, and Virtual Console. Ishinomori’s comic following the overall arch of the game while expanding on certain characters and adding new plot twists.
This isn’t anywhere near a new adventure for Viz, however. They also publish a Legend of Zelda manga based off of other games in the franchise by Akira Himekawa (the collaboration of two women, A. Honda and S. Nagano; the first 10 volumes of which are available in a boxed set.
Getting vector art to have texture can sometimes be a challenge, but it is a challenge I love. In this video I outline how to give the illusion of fur to any vector object. I start by de-constructing a squirrel (that sounded bad, no squirrels were harmed). Then I move into the nitty-gritty how-to. I hope you enjoy this video and please give me some feedback.
At boersenblatt.net they look at the top-25 bestselling paperbacks in Germany in 2014 in both fiction and non -- alas only ranked, not with actual sales numbers.
Translated-from-the-English works dominate both lists, with Jojo Moyes and James Bowen each placing three of the top five titles in their respective categories (fiction, non) -- two authors whose very existence I have only the fuzziest awareness of, and whose books I can not imagine reading.
Wolfgang Herrndorf's Tschick -- bizarrely transformed into Why We Took the Car in English (see the Arthur A. Levine publicity page, get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk) -- is the top-selling domestic novel.
And at least a Patrick Modiano slips onto the list, at 24th.
The top non-fiction title is the legal reference book, the Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch (see the dtv publicity page) -- an almost 1000-pager --, while Florian Illies 1913 enjoyed success even in 2014 (15th), and Anne Frank's diary also made the top 25.
They've announced the longlist for this year's Libris Literatuur Prijs, one of the leading Dutch literary prizes.
The eighteen-title strong list was selected from the groslijst of eligible titles -- revealing quite a few familiar names who have had work translated into English and whose books didn't make the longlist cut, including: Kader Abdolah, Anna Enquist, Herman Koch, Tessa de Loo, Erwin Mortier, Dimitri Verhulst, and Tommie Wieringa.
As I was saying yesterday, this week's expected New England blizzard was a bit of a surprise for me. Today was committed to preparing to get through the next few days, which could mean a power outage in cold weather.
I spent a great deal of time preparing food that could be reheated on the wood stove. During a power outage after a hurricane, we ate pretty well. We also have 10-plus gallons of water for 3 people, one tub full of water, another tub with pails of water, pots of water in the kitchen, baby wipes to use for cleaning hands, flashlights, candles, oil lamps... We've done this before.
What I also did today was some work prep. First off, I posted the Connecticut Children's Lit Calendar in case I can't do it later this week. Additionally, I printed out some material related to the short work I'd decided on last week. The plan, and I have one, is to find some moments to at least outline some of these things. In the event that there's no power, I'll go back to working in the old paper journal. The best part of this scheme is that it directly addresses one of my goals for this year.
Maybe we won't lose power after all, and everything I did today was for nothing. One can hope. Hmm. Perhaps I should be thinking about an essay regarding why we worry so about the lights going out.
For a few months now, rumors have floated around that Avengers:Age of Ultron would be Joss Whedon‘s final bow with the franchise. Said rumors were quickly followed with reports that Joe and Anthony Russo (Captain America: The Winter Soldier) would step up to direct Avengers: Infinity War Parts 1 and 2 for a 2018 and 2019 release respectively.
While there hasn’t been official confirmation from either party, Whedon recently spoke to Empire (quotes via CBM) about his future in the Marvel Cinematic Universe:
I couldn’t imagine doing this again. It’s enormously hard, and it’ll be, by then, a good five years since I created anything that was completely my own. So it’s very doubtful that I would take on the two-part Infinity War movie that would eat up the next four years of my life. I obviously still want to be a part of the Marvel Universe – I love these guys – but it ain’t easy. This year has been more like running three shows than any year of my life. It is bonkers.
Based on the above quote, Whedon sounds like he’s ready to scale back his involvement with Marvel Studios. The popular filmmaker has been one of the creative forces of greatest influence for the studio since he came on board in 2010, particularly in providing re-writes to various scripts such Captain America: The First Avenger and Thor: The Dark World, along with completely overhaulingZak Penn‘s initial Avengers script.
It wasn’t too long ago when Jon Favreau was angling to direct that first Avengers entry. The years have really rolled by!
If Joss Whedon is indeed done after Avengers: Age of Ultron, who would you like to see take over? The Russos? James Gunn? Someone completely new?