Sunday, September 30, 2012

today begins banned book week

Celebrate your freedom to read.
The top 10 most frequently challenged books of 2011
1) ttyl; ttfn; l8r, g8r (series), by Lauren Myracle – offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
2) The Colour of Earth (series), by Kim Dong Hwa – nudity, sex education, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
3) The Hunger Games trilogy, by Suzanne Collins – anti-ethnic, anti-family, insensitivity, offensive language, occult/satanic, violence
4) My Mom’s Having A Baby! A Kid’s Month-by-Month Guide to Pregnancy, by Dori Hillestad Butler – nudity, sex education, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
5) The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie – offensive language, racism, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
6) Alice (series), by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor – nudity, offensive language, religious viewpoint
7) Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley – insensitivity, nudity, racism, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit
8) What My Mother Doesn’t Know, by Sonya Sones – nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit
9) Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily Von Ziegesar – drugs, offensive language, sexually explicit
10) To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee – offensive language, racism

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Callie is cool.

I read Drama by Raina Telgemeier yesterday. It's modern and inspirational and a must read if you love theater... this leads to the title "Drama", which definitely has a double meaning here.

It's a great middle grade graphic novel. Wonderful and respectful with all of a relationships twists and turns.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

naughty john

I'm currently reading a very scary book: 
The Diviners by Libba Bray.

Just so you know, Ouija Boards freak me out... and that's how this book gets going. I was hooked by the first two chapters.

The characters are amazing; the setting is brilliant. There are supernatural powers and an evil, evil, evil killer on the loose. I love it.

The writing is beautiful and plays like a movie in my head. And speaking of movies... Paramount has already picked up the rights to The Diviners. This will be one very scary movie!

Read at your own risk (and probably only during the day... it's that scary!)

The Diviners is the first book in a four book series... that's a lot of terror.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

but I also know that life goes on

Can Henry rebuild his life after the worst-case bully scenario?
a poorly chosen book cover for a heartbreaking tale

I just read The Reluctant Journal of Henry K Larsen by Susin Nielsen.

It takes only a moment for Henry's life to fall apart. In the wake of IT, Henry reluctantly begins to record his thoughts in a journal. The subject matter is terribly dark, but Susin Nielson's storytelling is heart warming and beautifully written.

I loved this book. It was brutal, and reminds us all that IT changes everything.

Monday, September 17, 2012

think for yourself

Banned Book Week
September 30 - October 6

Banned Book Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Celebrate the free and open access to information.

What will you be reading?

Sunday, September 16, 2012


I just finished Sharon Creech's newest book, 
The Great Unexpected.

It's a book about coincidences and unexpected connections. It's also about unexpected kindness and unexpected forgiveness. That's a lot of... unexpected.

Two story lines intermingle chapter by chapter, changing fonts to keep you organized. Naomi Dean and her talkative best friend Lizzie Scatterding live in the sad town of Blackbird Tree. Meanwhile, across the ocean in Ireland, a mystery unfolds.

It's an unusual, quirky story that includes a Dingle-Dangle Man, Unfortunate Souls, a winding bridge, and a couple of rooks (blackbirds).

Two quotes I loved….
"Did a delicate cobweb link us all, silky lines trailing through the air?"
"I had big thoughts to match the big wind. I wondered if we find the people we need when we need them. I wondered if we attract our future by some sort of invisible force, or if we are drawn to it by a similar force. I felt I was turning a corner and that change was afoot."

Sharon Creech reads the first chapter of The Great Unexpected:

Friday, September 14, 2012

the secret series

The Name of This Book is Secret by pseudonymous bosch is an awesome book. You've probably already read it, and if you haven't - you should.

In The Name of This Book is Secret, Cass and Max-Ernest discover The Symphony of Smells - a box filled with smelly vials of colorful ingredients. The Symphony of Smells reveals a mystery surrounding a dead magicians diary and the pursuit of immortality.

What made me remember The Name of This Book is Secret, The Symphony of Smells, and Synesthesia today?

This video:

Using one sense to interpret another is pretty cool... 
or even avant-guarde.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

nothing gold can stay

One of my favorite poems is 
Nothing Gold Can Stay by Robert Frost.

Nature's first green is gold
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

So, imagine my surprise when the book I'm reading, every day by David Levithan, gives a 'tip-of-the-hat' to Robert Frost:
"Wow. I mean, nothing gold can stay. How true is that?" She doesn't want to break the moment, doen't want to question what it means. And she's rewarded when he smiles and says, "I guess that means we'll have to be silver." When she leaves that night, he calls out, "So long, Silver!"

I loved every day.  I love the idea of every day a different body; every day a different life. 

Imagine... what are you aside from your body? Who are you without your body?

David Levithan writes:
Imagine yourself purely as a self, with no body. Who would you be? Would you really define yourself by the same standards by which you are now defined? What kind of person would you get to be if you didn't have to worry about gender or race or sexuality?

It's a captivating story, wonderfully written, inherently curious.

make the earth your companion

... walk lightly on it as other creatures do.

Friday, September 7, 2012


Being a kid isn't boring, but try explaining that to a potato.

I'm Bored by Michael Ian Black and illustrated by the amazing Debbie Ohi. Available in stores... yesterday.

Monday, September 3, 2012

a finer world

At school, V is studying civil rights and reading The Watsons Go To Birmingham by Christopher Paul Curtis. We had already read The Mighty Miss Malone by Curtis and loved it, so I'm sure 'The Watsons' will be just as informative and inspirational.

Historical fiction is a great way to experience a moment in history. The struggle for civil rights isn't something that happens to strangers, it's something that happens to families and children and people just like you and me. Inspired by Mr. Schu's Road Trip, we decided to read Glory Be.

Glory Be by Augusta Scattergood (a super awesome name) is full of history. Glory is a twelve-year-old girl who lives in Hanging Moss, Mississippi during the summer of 1964 (also known as Freedom Summer). You'll be able to experience what it would have been like to be part of one important summer in American history. 

Could I have been as brave as Glory? I'm not sure.

We are heading to Washington DC next month to see the Martin Luther King Memorial. One of the quotes on the Inscription Wall is:
 "Make a career of humanity. Commit yourself to the noble struggle for equal rights. You will make a greater person of yourself, a greater nation of your country, and a finer world to live in." 
~ MLK Jr.  (18 April 1959, Washington, DC)