Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Classics Considered

Guys, I'm pretty horrible at keeping up with a blog. To think, when I was in middle school, I had no problem documenting my 12 year old angst a few days a week. These days, I can't even manage once a month. Being a grown-up is hard, kids. Stay young.

But, in the sunny side of grown-up land, I don't have school, so I can use my extra time however I like! I've been on a bit of a crafty yarn-spree: a few weekends ago I crocheted two hats in 3 days. I also have a few exciting book and pop culture related crafty wearables to share with you in the coming weeks. I've also been reading a lot. Now, thats sort of a silly statement coming from a librarian, but it's true. I may be stuck in a YA novel rut, but I am zooming through those little guys. While YA books seem to be what garner my attention lately, a recent work project has brought me to think a bit more about the classics of children's literature.

The nature of "classics" in children's literature is different from that in the general Canon. While the "canon" is infamous for housing the works of dead white men & irrellivent subject matters, the children's canon seems much more fluid. While the winning of a major award seems like it should make a book destined for greatness, it isn't always so with the Newbery. I was looking at the Newbery list earlier today, and I noticed the years where beloved classics were given the honor while a now nearly unknown received the medal.

One of the most commonly quoted examples of this is Charlotte's Web (E.B. White) being passed over for The Secret of the Andes (Ann Nolan Clark). Now the latter may be a wonderful novel, but I've never read it, I don't know anyone who's read it, and I've never seen a child check it out. Charlotte's Web is inundated into pop culture. There are cartoons, live action movies, and many editions of the books (with different, colorful covers). Children still read Charlotte's Web, without prompting from teachers, parents or librarians. Some may argue that it is the job of the librarian or teacher to make kids read these "great books," the truly great books are the ones that last on their own, the ones kids want to read. These are the children's classics.

I've read a lot of books, but there are things that have slipped through the cracks, especially when it comes to children's books. People are surprised whenever I tell them what I haven't read. But here is my goal, readers: I'm going to read one of these a month until I finish this list. And post about it (so you may be guaranteed a post a month for a little while).

Charlotte's Web by EB White
Sounder by William Armstrong
Old Yeller by Fred Gipson
Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George
The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin
Fudge by Judy Blume
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl

I'm going to throw in some "new" classics for good measure:
Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech
Catherine Called Birdy by Karen Cushman
Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli

I'm sure I'm missing plenty of kid's must reads. What's on your kidlit must read list? What are some new books you think are destined to become classics?

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Twitter is down, and so goes the world.

It's a sad state of my own personal world when a social networking/microblogging site goes down, and I am distraught. Anytime the internet stops working in my presence, I always have to research the downtime's cause. It's because I'm a librarian, I'm sure. Infinite thirst for knowledge and all that. But this morning's twitter outage brought with it a realization: When your job is so immersed in the internet, (as is the modern public librarian), loss of internet resources affects your ability to do your job. Granted, twitter isn't exactly a research resource, for the most part (though I do use it to find new and exciting craft projects!), but it is a major website. And in the library world, whenever anything doesn't work, patrons expect the librarian to be able to fix it. Luckily, none of my library kids are avid tweeters, so I don't have to worry about explaining the downtime. But what about when Google fails? One Saturday last spring I was working on the children's reference desk, and every website i searched for through Google came up as a potentially harmful site, and became impossible to reach through the links Google provided. Granted, it isn't as huge a failure as unplanned downtime but it certainly took away the usefulness of Google. I had to use yahoo (cue shock and awe face).

For reference, the twitter downtime is the result of a denial of service attack. The Tech Crunch blog insinuates that the website is back up, but I haven't had any luck. Neither has my new favorite internet resource, down for everyone or just me.

So, until next time, kids. And I hope my next blog post will come before the next internet fail.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Best Laid Plans

So, I graduated. I am still waiting to receive the actual piece of paper, due to some slow administrative stuff, but I know all my grades and wore the robe and walked across the stage. So, I am a real librarian. School is over, for the time being. I still harbor some thoughts of a doctorate, far off in the future, but I'll have to get over my current hatred of school. Hah.

Despite graduating and moving to my grown up apartment (I'm so excited, I bought a couch!), my aspirations to blog more often have gone to naught. I have blogging ideas, of course, I just haven't come up with the time. But, fear not, I will start blogging with actual content soon.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Dreams of summer

Among my favorite stores I can't afford is Anthropologie. Despite only being able to afford the lowest of the clearance rack items, I receive their e-mails and drool at the pretty clothes and housing items. Today, I got this email featuring "pretty, packable outfits" made up of bathing suits, cover up dresses, and accessories. I thought I would create my own, using items I am much more likely to afford (and fit into, in the case of anthro's teenie bikinis.)

Swimsuit:Grecian one-piece from Lands End

I love this swimsuit, but it's hard for me to justify spending 100 dollars on a suit, even if i will use it a lot.

Sandals: Eleora Flat Sandals from Target

I love these sandals. I already have plans to buy them in blue for graduation, and I kind of want a lime green pair as well. They are super comfy and the price is right for a style that may only last a season.

Bag: Shopping Bag from a billboard, from Etsy seller EntrePeaux

The billboard material makes a great waterproof bag. I love how this looks like bamboo.

Cover up: Cotton Jersey Dress from Old Navy

My only complaint is that I wish this came in richer colors. Super comfy and lightweight dresses and skirts make for the best suit cover ups, and you could easily go into town for lunch in this outfit.

And last but not least, a book. Books are the ultimate beach accessory. This is where I need help from you, the public. What are your favorite summer reads? Do you devour chick-lit? Are you a fan of the classics? Do you like zombie mayhem? What will you be reading this summer?

Until next time!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

8 Things

We interrupt your regularly scheduled silence to bring you this survey, Courtesy of Amber at Newly Domesticated.

8 Things I'm looking forward to:
1. Graduating from library school (12 days, people!)
2. Not having such a ridiculous schedule
3. Moving into my grown up apartment
4. Having time to bake!
5. Seeing my family
6. Vacation in July
7. A summer full of reading (both in and out of the library!)
8. Blogging more!

8 Things I did yesterday:
1. Went to work, however briefly
2. Left work early, due to a terrible migraine.
3. Took a nap
4. Wrote a paper
5. Ate a tasty burger
6. Postponed a craft
7. Daydreamed about furniture purchasing
8. Worked on a final

8 Things I wish I could do:
1. Cook tasty, healthy food.
2. Find time to exercise
3. Finish summer reading planning
4. Have my cupcakes look good, not just taste good.
5. Finish a sewing project
6. Move into my new apartment NOW!
7. See old friends
8. Get a dog!

8 Shows I watch:
1. Law & Order, SVU
2. Ace of Cakes
4. CSI New York
5. House
6. Heroes (though i am only in season 2)
7. Lost (also in season 2)
8. Weeds

And, on to tagging.

Kristi(e) at Purple Polka
. . . Yeah I don't have many blogfriends.

Expect real updates as early as this weekend. May 11th is my last day of classes, May 19th is graduation. I am almost a librarian, guys.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

A, B, C!

I'm still exploring what I want the bounds of this blog to be. I know its possible for me to get entirely ridiculous (I definitely have the resources), but I'm not sure about just how ridiculous I want to be. One of the bonuses of working with children is that you never really have to grow up. And it's come to my attention that kid culture is so much cooler than it was when I was a that age. For most of elementary school, my wardrobe was made up of stirrup pants or soccer shorts and big tee shirts from vacation spots or summer camp. Now, kids have a choice of all sorts of things that look just like a mini version of adult clothes! (I'm not going to get in to whether or not this is a good thing, as I'm not really into a heated "growing up to fast" debate). Kids TV has gotten cooler, too. Sesame Street was always awesome, even if they did facilitate Elmo's hostile overthrow of the world. Musicians have always been guest stars, from Johnny Cash to Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon to REM. My personal favorite from my childhood was Smokey Robinson, singing "You Really Got a Hold on Me" with the visual accompaniment of a large, orange, very clingy U.

Sadly, at this stage in my life, past childhood and pre-children, I don't find much opportunity to watch Sesame Street, so I don't find out when they have great musical guest stars, until videos start to circulate the internet. I ran across this one last summer, an awesome rewrite of Feist's "1,2,3,4" performed by the woman herself. Oh, and it has chickens.

Feist on Sesame Street from Sundtrak on Vimeo.

And today, thanks to a college friends blog, all the funs, I was introduced to this awesome gem, a bouncy twist on the ABC song.

Tilly & the Wall on SESAME STREET from Team Love on Vimeo.
For those not familiar with Tilly and the wall, the back beat is tap dancing. And there is percussive tap dancing in every song.

I hope you've all enjoyed this video interlude. I can't promise anything resembling regular updates until after graduation, so I hope you are all willing to check back later.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Cover Story

In my hostile takeover of the children's room, I started a massive fiction section overhaul. With the help of a shelflist (and mostly due to one of the pages) we are marking missing books and pulling titles that aren't circulating. I'm going through the titles that haven't circulated much in the last four years, and discarding a good bit. In my discard travels, I've come across a number of phenomenal books & covers. Disclaimer: my excitement about these books has almost nothing to do with the content, and nearly everything to do with the title and/or cover art.

The book that started it all. Hey There, Owlface is possibly made more hilarious by my library school buddy's deep-seeded fear of owls. But who can deny the ridiculousness of that title?

A gem pulled out of the stack by Kristi(e), my blog-dealer/coworker. This begs important questions such as why are they giving babies away? And why is this child holding a large toddler? Also, please note the difficult to read gold text at the top "The classic Christmas story". What? I know Christmas involves a baby and presents, but I never realized it was about giving away babies. I think I've been celebrating this one all wrong.
I have no idea what this book is about. But please note everything about this cat. Including that one eye features a slightly less frightening cat and a child. I think this is supposed to be a horror book, but I wouldn't even need to read this book to be horrified. Imagine meeting this cat in a dark house, the faces of the cat and baby reflecting at you in the dark. No thank you, creepy cat. Why would you ever create this cover art?

Super fun bonus offensive book!!
I discovered this in the super out of date "Disney" section of the picture book collection.
I have personally never seen "Song of the South", but I looked into it's existence back in my lifetime as a college English major. Suffice to say i was pretty amazed to find this as part of my picture book collection, and even more amazed to note it was added as a gift in 2004. Collection development note: you do not have to add every donation to your collection. I encourage you to do this with great discretion. Or at least glance at the donations before adding them.

Well, I hope this foray into weird old books has been entertaining and informative. Remember kids, take pictures of weird things, and always judge a book by it's cover. It may serve you well.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

100 Teen Books

A book meme shamelessly stolen from my dear Kristi(e) over at Purple Polka.

100 Teen Books Meme

From Karen Brooks-Reese

The following list of books teens love, books teens should read, and books adults who serve teens should know about was compiled IN ABSOLUTELY NO SCIENTIFIC MANNER and should be taken with a very large grain of salt.

Put an "X" next to the books you've read
Put a "+" next to the books you LOVE
Put a "*" next to the books you plan on reading
Tally your "X"s at the bottom
Share with your friends!

1. Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy / Douglas Adams +
2. Kit's Wilderness / David Almond
3. Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian / Sherman Alexie +
4. Speak / Laurie Halse Anderson +
5. Feed / M.T. Anderson
6. Flowers in the Attic / V.C. Andrews
7. Thirteen Reasons Why / Jay Asher +
8. Am I Blue? / Marion Dane Bauer (editor)
9. Audrey Wait! / Robin Benway
10. Weetzie Bat / Francesca Lia Block+
11. Tangerine / Edward Bloor X
12. Forever / Judy Blume
13. What I Saw and How I Lied / Judy Blundell
14. Tyrell / Coe Booth
15. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants / Ann Brashares X
16. A Great and Terrible Beauty / Libba Bray
17. The Princess Diaries / Meg Cabot
18. The Stranger / Albert Camus X
19. Ender's Game / Orson Scott Card +
20. Postcards from No Man's Land / Aidan Chambers
21. Perks of Being a Wallflower / Stephen Chbosky +
22. And Then There Were None / Agatha Christie
23. Gingerbread / Rachel Cohn
24. Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist / Rachel Cohn and David Levithan +
25. Artemis Fowl (series) / Eoin Colfer
26. The Hunger Games / Suzanne Collins +
27. The Midwife's Apprentice / Karen Cushman
28. The Truth About Forever / Sarah Dessen
29. Little Brother / Cory Doctorow +
30. A Northern Light / Jennifer Donnelly
31. Tears of a Tiger / Sharon Draper
32. The House of the Scorpion / Nancy Farmer
33. Breathing Underwater / Alex Flinn
34. Stardust / Neil Gaiman +
35. Annie on My Mind / Nancy Garden X
36. What Happened to Cass McBride / Gail Giles
37. Fat Kid Rules the World / K.L. Going
38. Lord of the Flies / William Golding
39. Looking for Alaska / John Green X
40. Bronx Masquerade / Nikki Grimes
41. Out of the Dust / Karen Hesse X
42. Hoot / Carl Hiaasen
43. The Outsiders / S.E. Hinton +
44. Crank / Ellen Hopkins X
45 The First Part Last / Angela Johnson
46. Blood and Chocolate / Annette Curtis Klause
47. Arrow's Flight / Mercedes Lackey
48. Hattie Big Sky / Kirby Larson
49. To Kill a Mockingbird / Harper Lee
50. Boy Meets Boy / David Levithan X
51. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks / E. Lockhart
52. The Giver / Lois Lowry +
53. Number the Stars / Lois Lowry X
54. Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie / David Lubar
55. Inexcusable / Chris Lynch
56. The Earth, My Butt and Other Big, Round Things / Carolyn Mackler +
57. Dragonsong / Anne McCaffrey
58. White Darkness / Geraldine McCaughrean
59. Sold / Patricia McCormick
60. Jellicoe Road / Melina Marchetta
61. Wicked Lovely / Melissa Marr
62. Twilight / Stephenie Meyer X
63. Dairy Queen / Catherine Murdock
64. Fallen Angels / Walter Dean Myers
65. Monster / Walter Dean Myers X
66. Step From Heaven / An Na
67. Mama Day / Gloria Naylor
68. The Keys to the Kingdom (series) / Garth Nix
69. Sabriel / Garth Nix
70. Airborn / Kenneth Oppel
71. Eragon / Christopher Paolini
72. Hatchet / Gary Paulsen +
73. Life As We Knew It / Susan Beth Pfeffer
74. The Golden Compass / Phillip Pullman +
75. Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging / Louise Rennison
76. The Lightning Thief / Rick Riordan
77. Always Running: La Vida Loca / Luis Rodriguez
78. how i live now / Meg Rosoff
79. Harry Potter (series) / J.K. Rowling +
80. Holes / Louis Sachar X
81. Catcher in the Rye / J. D. Salinger +
82. Push / Sapphire
83. Persepolis / Marjane Satrapi X
84. Unwind / Neil Shusterman
85. Coldest Winter Ever / Sister Souljah
86. Stargirl / Jerry Spinelli X
87. Chanda's Secrets / Allan Stratton
88. Tale of One Bad Rat / Brian Talbot
89. Rats Saw God / Rob Thomas +
90. Lord of the Rings / J.R.R. Tolkien X
91. Stuck in Neutral / Terry Trueman
92. Gossip Girl / Cecily Von Ziegesar X
93. Uglies / Scott Westerfeld
94. Every Time a Rainbow Dies / Rita Williams-Garcia
95. Pedro and Me / Judd Winick
96. Hard Love / Ellen Wittlinger X
97. American Born Chinese / Gene Luen Yang X
98. Elsewhere / Gabrielle Zevin
99. I am the Messenger / Markus Zusak +
100. The Book Thief / Markus Zusak

38. I decided not to mark what I plan on eventually reading, because my reading intentions don't seem to matter much. What would be interesting though is the number of books on this list that I have purchased with large intent to read them, and still haven't. I find it interesting that I recall reading at least a few of these around 9 or 10 years old. Others that are "classics" I've just never gotten around to reading.

Dear blogworld, i'm working on that whole constantly updated blog thing. Please forgive me. Thanks, Sara.