Tag Archives: art

Teens, Stress & Anxiety

13 Oct

I just recently read an article in The New York Times about the number of teens who are experiencing severe anxiety. And my first thought, was how horrible that so many young people have to deal with what can be a debilitating disorder, but also what can we do, as a library, to help.

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Book Review: The List

5 Oct

33846933.jpgSynopsis: This science fiction, dystopian novel opens with Letta transcribing a list of words. Soon, we learn that Letta’s community, the Ark, only has a pre-approved List from which to communicate – 500 words. Specialized workers receive additionals words in order to do their job. But, when Letta’s master disappears under mysterious circumstances and Letta learns that the powers-that-be want to reduce the list even more, she is forced to make a difficult decision. Does she hold onto her trust for the community in which she has been raised or does she fight for what she believes is more importants – words, feelings, art, expression?

Review: I really enjoyed this dystopian novel. I was interested in the concept of a place where communication is limited to very basic words. Where discussing your feelings, talking with neighbors and sharing ideas is unheard of. Scarily enough, the author paints a picture of the world before the Ark and it is a very familiar setting – people who don’t take climate change seriously, until the world breaks down. And what’s left is a small group of people living under the control of a man who believes that talking is not the answer.

I really enjoyed the characters in this story – Letta is a strong apprentice who, at the beginning of the story, believes in her village and what her elders say, until she begins to understand the power of expression and the importance of words. Her relationship with her master is one of deep respect, love and trust and when he disappears, the world as she knows it disappears as well.

If you have kids who have loved Hunger GamesDivergent, or The Giver have them check out this title – it would make for a great discussion about climate change, censorship, art and more!

Twitter Booktalk (140 characters or less): Letta’s village only speaks w/ 500 words & the threat to reduce the List forces Letta to befriend someone who can help, but at what cost?

Title: The List
Author: Patricia Forde
Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
Publication Date: August 1, 2017
Page Number: 336 pgs.

Book Review: The Ghosts of Greenglass House

27 Sep

12Synopsis: Milo is hoping for a quiet holiday vacation, especially after last year when a number of unwanted guests showed up at his parent’s inn, but that wish disappears into the cold when a number of intentional (yet unexpected) and unintentional guests appear just before Christmas. Will Milo be able to crack the case (with the help of his mysterious friend Meddy) before the culprit leaves with stole goods? Fans of the first book, The Greenglass House will enjoy settling in near the fire for the next installment of Milo’s adventures.

Review: This is the second book about Milo and his family’s bed and breakfast and I fell in love with the setting, characters and the plot the first time and I’m excited to say, I enjoyed this title just as much. I really enjoy Milo’s search to better understand who he is as the Chinese adopted son of a white couple and what that means in a town where people assume certain things because of his ethnicity. It’s definitely part of the story, but I think that the author weaves this aspect into the story in a very believable way and helps Milo to grow as a young man.

Meddy is back in this story and her tale is heart-wrenching as the only thing she wants is to see her father and talk with him again. Milo and Meddy’s friendship is something to be shared and this would make a great book discussion for kids around the holidays as Meddy always seems to show up during this time.

The other characters are created with deep backgrounds and histories that emerge as Milo digs into the mystery at foot and although I was able to guess at some aspects of the ending, I was still surprised and delighted with the result. This is the perfect story for a middle grade reader who loves a good mystery, curling up next to the fire with a cup of hot cocoa and possibly a ghost or two.

Twitter Booktalk (140 characters or less): Milo’s back and this Christmas he’ll need to keep his wits about him as he searches for a mysterious map with friends old and new.

Title: The Ghosts of Greenglass House
Author: Kate Milford
Publisher: Clarion Books
Publication Date: October 3, 2017
Page Number: 464 pgs.

Book Review: The Secret Art of Dr. Seuss

18 Feb

22388055.jpgAs a former children’s librarian and book lover, I know Dr. Seuss’s work like the back of my hand, I know his real name was Theodore Seuss Geisel and I know we now have an easy reader award named in his honor.  What I didn’t know was that he was an artist in his own right – a part that was wholly separate from who he was as an author/illustrator.

My partner hid my anniversary gift on our bookshelf and told me to find it – we have a floor to ceiling book shelf in our office filled (almost to the brim) with books of all sizes and sorts. He’s figured out that books make me a very happy person, so for Christmas he did something similar and found the exact edition of Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them  that I was looking for and added it to my Harry Potter shelf (yes, Harry gets his own shelf). So for our anniversary, he added The Secret Art of Dr. Seuss to my picture book shelf – not exactly the right location, but I’ll forgive him for that.

This book is a collection of pieces done by Dr. Seuss that had never before been seen by the public or published in any of his children’s books. And it is fascinating! You can see the images and know it’s a Dr. Seuss piece, but at the same time many are very different from what you see in his artwork for his books. The art he created for himself is more developed in that there are backgrounds that are more fully realized and architecture that brings to mind M.C. Escher. And then you’ll see a part of the painting that brings to mind one of his books – it’s extremely interesting to see!

If you enjoy art and children’s literature, I highly recommend paging through this book. The only thing I wanted more of was background about Dr. Seuss’s life and his view on his artwork, but the introduction by Maurice Sendak is extremely interesting as they were close friends and seeing a little more into both their lives gives you, as the reader, a new perspective.

Nonfiction 10 for 10

10 Feb

nonfiction-10-for-10-1

I decided to go with books published in the last year – there are so many nonfiction titles available these days! I love how accessible nonfiction has become for kids. I also chose books that have won some type of award (CYBILS, Nerdies, etc.) and were not solely biographies (that could be an entirely different list). When I was growing up, it was often text-heavy with bad black and white photographs, now nonfiction picture books are bright and exciting to read!

  1. Pink Is For Blobfish: Discovering the World’s Perfectly Pink Animals by Jess Keating
  2. Because of an Acorn by Lola M. Schaefer
  3. Coyote Moon by Maria Gianferrari
  4. Maybe Something Beautiful by F. Isabel Campoy
  5. Around America To Win the Vote: Two Suffragists, a Kitten, and 10,000 Miles by Mara Rockliff
  6. Giant Squid by Candace Fleming
  7. The Polar Bear by Jenni Desmond
  8. The Marvelous Thing That Came From a Spring: The Accidental Invention of the Toy That Swept the Nation by Gilbert Ford
  9. Whoosh!: Lonnie Johnson’s Super-Soaking Stream of Inventions by Chris Barton
  10. Animals By the Numbers: A Book of Animal Infographics by Steve Jenkins

 

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