Archive | art RSS feed for this section

Identity: #GNCelebration

29 Oct

Unknown

Goodreads Summary: Yumiko is a young Japanese woman who has made London her home. She has a job, a boyfriend; Japan seems far away. Then, out of the blue, her brother calls to tell her that her father has died in a mountaineering accident.

Yumiko returns to Tokyo for the funeral and finds herself immersed in the rituals of Japanese life and death – and confronting a decision she hadn’t expected to have to make.

Fumio Obata is a Japanese exile himself.  He moved to Britain in 1991 to study illustration at Glasgow School of Art and never left, so he knows all about the conflict of belonging. This is a lovely book that leads me to an illustrated work, which is NOT a graphic novel.

Unknown-1

The Inker’s Shadow, by Allen Say, is a companion to the Sibert Honor Book  Drawing From Memory. 

Unknown-2

In The Inker’s Shadow, we follow young Allen as his father  sends him to an American military academy, so that his son could learn English and “become a success in life.”As the school’s first and only Japanese student, he experienced immediate racism among his fellow cadets and his teachers. Allen  an American military academy, so that his son could learn English and “become a success in life.” He works part-time and his talent is eventually “discovered” by a teacher or two leading to special opportunities and scholarships.

An insanely great book: #GNCelebration

15 Oct

Several years ago I read Karen Blumenthal’s Steve Jobs: The Man Who Thought Different. I almost didn’t finish the book because I found Jobs so off-putting. 

I was a little nervous when I picked up Steve Jobs: Insanely Great by Jessie Hartland,

Unknown-1

expecting to feel the same anger and irritation at Jobs. Although Hartland talks about Jobs’ difficult relationships with people, I  enjoyed this graphic biography immensely.

The text really focuses on Jobs as an innovator and reveals his innovations by repeating the book’s  subtitle: “insanely great”.

Unknown-2

The book follows Jobs’ life in chronological order, but pages are arranged creatively, sometimes with two or three cells per page, sometimes with only one. Hartland’s simple  black & white line drawings make his life interesting and even entertaining.

One of the real strengths of the book is that it does not assume readers know about the technologies that predated personal computers. One and two-page spreads explain “old” technology like arcade games, the history of the computer and how records had to be played on record players. All this is cleverly tied into Jobs’ great desire to make technology better and more beautiful. The overall impression I have from this book is that, for good or ill, Steve Jobs was a man who had a vision and would do whatever it took to implement it. You might not admire his style, but it certainly left me admiring his tenacity in adhering to his ideals.

This graphic biography would be a great introduction to the life of Steve Jobs. It also includes a bibliography in case readers want to learn more about the Apple co-founder.

If you enjoyed reading this post, please check out the other graphic novels recommended during October’s Graphic Novel Celebration.

gncelebration_square

 

The Return of Fall Rains

16 Sep

Almost everyone I know is relieved at the weather change. Fall seems to be back: they sky is grey and it seems to have rained overnight. A big El Niño debate is raging: will it be really rainy or really cold?

One of my first winters in Portland, an El Niño year,  it was so rainy they sand bagged downtown for fear the Willamette River would overflow. It didn’t, but floods certainly happened in outlying areas.

This gets me thinking about Don Brown’s new nonfiction book Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina & New Orleans.

Unknown

 

This is a stunning graphic chronicle of the tragedy that hit New Orleans in 2005. As with The Great Dust Bowl, the illustrations are powerful and the text combines facts and details that attest to wide research and reading on Brown’s part.

images Unknown-1 Unknown-2

Brown does not shy away from telling the hard parts of this story, in addition to the heroic. Graphic nonfiction makes for an easy way to build students’ background knowledge of events that happened before they were born or before they can remember. This book will be an excellent addition to any classroom library.

Marvelous

27 Jul

Another fantastic ARC I got at the ALA conference was The Marvels by Brian Selznick!!!

Unknown

Unlike The Invention of Hugo Cabret and  Wonderstruck, where the pages of illustration alternate with the text, in The Marvels,  Selznick begins with 400 pages of a story told through illustration alone. This story follows five generations of a legendary family of actors, beginning with young Billy Marvel, the lone survivor of a shipwreck.  It is followed by about 200 pages of text which centers on a boy in 1990 who runs away from school to his estranged uncle’s enigmatic London house. Then there are 50 more pages of illustration. The two stories seem to be unrelated, but are brought together in the brief, but powerful conclusion.

The story was inspired by Selznick’s visit to the Dennis Severs’ House in London and Selznick provides an explanation about this strange inspiration in the Afterword.

I am excited that I have this copy that I can out on the shelf of my new classroom in September.

Charity Crafting

16 Jul

IMG_1964

I finished the sweater on Monday. It took me several hours to sew all the seams, fix the spelling mistake and weave in all the ends. I pressed it for two days and now, it is sitting on my kitchen table ready for Sunday’s Oregon Basset Hound Games.

A few weeks ago I responded to a blog post from Knitpicks asking people about what sorts of charity crafting they do. I sent an e-mail that said:

I got Clara, my first basset hound in 1996. She belonged to my former roommates. Clara & I hit it off from the start. After I moved out, my friends called me and said Clara missed me, would I like to have her. Of course, I took her, but felt sorry for her being home alone, so I took my first step into basset hound rescue and got her a companion, Louie.

When Clara passed away, in 2008, I got Fiona, my first basset from Oregon Basset Hound Rescue (OBHR). Louie passed a year later and I got Lucy, as a companion for Fiona and began volunteering for OBHR.

Every year, OBHR holds summer games in Woodburn Oregon. In addition to the Games, there is a raffle. Four years ago, I started knitting a sweeter for the raffle. I am currently working on my 5th sweater for the Games. It has become a games tradition.

I’m not sure that this is the sort of “knitting for charity” project you are looking for, but I’d love to share more about it, if it seems interesting to you.

 

I got an e-mail asking if I’d be willing to talk about it on their podcast and said yes.

Last week, I called a number and recorded my one minute description of what I do each year for OBHR. You can listen to that podcast HERE.

There are lots of ways you can craft for charity. I hope this inspires you to find your muse.

Basset Games Sweater Problems

10 Jul

BassetGamesLogo

The 2015 Oregon Basset Hound Games will take place next Sunday, July 19th. I am madly knitting to finish this year’s sweater. I usually have it finished by now,  but, I got a late start this year. I could blame my Morris Committee work for not being finished, but it is my own darn fault.

You see, I had an idea for a sweater of my own design. But I am not a designer. I planned to use a plain sweater pattern, but knit a basset head on the front and it’s cute backside on the back. I even found an online chart creator to convert pictures into something knitable. But I realized I should knit a prototype to see if it actually worked and I just didn’t want to. So, I opted to reuse a pattern from a few years ago, using the intarsia from this pattern by Peggy Gaffney’s Kanine Knits but on a different sweater than the pattern called for.

kanine101

I was almost finished the front when I noticed a problem. I guess the first time I knit this pattern I caught the error in the pattern. Here is the first sweater I knit about 5 years ago.

IMG_0681_medium2

What I noticed the first time, but didn’t this time in my haste to finish the sweater was that the chart spelled basset with two t’s: bassett. Bassset owner see this frequently, and kindly correct it, just as they kindly correct people who call their bassets beagles.

Here is the unassembled front with the spelling mistake.

IMG_1961

Fortunately, I can remedy this problem by sewing duplicate stitch over the offending “t”.

Today’s task is to finish the first sleeve and start the second. I have 9 days to finish both sleeves, fix the spelling, knit the collar and assemble the sweater. It is a good thing I am on vacation. I will finish on time and probably be able to squeeze in a book or two before the Games on the 19th.

 

 

The Clothing Dilemma

25 Jun

Today, I’m packing my bag for my trip to the ALA conference in San Francisco.

AC15_Attending_250x124

Portland is expecting a heat wave, with temps hitting 100ºF by Saturday. UGH. Fortunately, San Francisco is expecting lovely, normal temps in the 60’s & 70’s.

Packing means thinking about what events I have to attend, how much walking I’ll be doing, a jacket for morning and evenings, clothes I can mix and match but still feel as though I’m not wearing the same thing day after day.

Sarah Albee has a new book out through National Geographic, entitled  Why’d There Wear That? Fashion as the Mirror of History.

Unknown

Publisher’s Summary: Move over Project Runway. Get ready to chuckle your way through centuries of fashion dos and don’ts! In this humorous and approachable narrative, kids will learn about outrageous, politically-perilous, funky, disgusting, regrettable, and life-threatening creations people have worn throughout the course of human history, all the way up to the present day. From spats and togas to hoop skirts and hair shirts, why people wore what they did is an illuminating way to look at the social, economic, political, and moral climates throughout history.

You can see some details in this trailer:

This is a book you can read cover to cover or by dipping into things that catch your interest, especially after perusing the amusing chapter titles.

Chapter 1 That’s a Wrap: The Ancient World 10,ooo B.C. – A.D. 1000

Chapter 2 Keeping the Faith: The Middle Ages 1000 – 1400s

Chapter 3 Going Global: The Age of Exploration 1400s -early 1500s

Chapter 4 Ruff & Ready: The Renaissance 1500s -early 1600s

Chapter 5 Lighten Up!: The Age of Reason 1600s – 1700s

Chapter 6 Hats (and Heads) Off: revolutionary Times mid-1600s – early 1800s

Chapter 7 Growing Pains: Marching Toward Modernity mid-1700s – early 1900s

Chapter 8 Labor Pains: The Industrial Revolution mid-1800s – early 1900s

Chapter 9 Class Dismissed: World at War The 20th Century & Beyond

Fact boxes and sidebars are off-set in blue and yellow, which doesn’t interrupt the flow of the main text.Back matter includes a timeline, a lengthy bibliography, author’s notes, an index and a list of the images used.

Tons here to interest kids with a wide range of interests.

John James Audubon: Fiction/Non-fiction Pairings

19 Jun

I just got my hands on This Strange Wilderness:The Life and Art of John James Audubon by Nancy Plain.

Unknown

 

John James Audubon’s The Birds of America, was published in 1838, a mere 32 years after the  Lewis and Clark expedition  returned from their cross-country journey. I think we forget how challenging it must have been for Audubon to produce his masterpiece. Plain’s book is an excellent biography of the artist and naturalist, giving us an idea of the personal tragedies he suffered  and the challenges he faced as he roamed the country to paint the 489 pictures of The Birds of America. The book includes many full-page, full-color interior illustrations.

While reading This Strange Wilderness,  I got thinking about books n which John James Audubon plays a role. The first one that came to mind was one of this year’s OBOB books, A Nest for Celeste by Henry Cole.

Unknown-1

Celeste, a mouse longing for a real home, becomes a source of inspiration to teenaged Joseph, assistant to the artist and naturalist John James Audubon, at a New Orleans, Louisiana, plantation in 1821.

Audubon’s The Birds of America  plays a significant role in Gary D. Schmidt’s Okay for Now.

Unknown-2

As a fourteen-year-old who just moved to a new town, with no friends, an abusive father, and a louse for an older brother, Doug Swieteck has all the stats stacked against him until he finds an ally in Lil Spicer–a fiery young lady. Together, they find a safe haven in the local library, inspiration in learning about the plates of John James Audubon’s birds, and a hilarious adventure on a Broadway stage.

 

 

Echo

11 Jun

As a teacher I like to think that the influence I have had on my students echoes down through the years. Merriam-Webster defines “echo” this way:

: a sound that is a copy of another sound and that is produced when sound waves bounce off a surface (such as a wall)

: something (such as a feature or quality) that repeats or resembles something else

: something that is similar to something that happened or existed before

In Echo,  Pam Muñoz Ryan’s new book, I think we have a Newbery contender.

Unknown

The eponymous echo is something that is similar to something that happened or existed before. This is the story of kids facing hardships and how they manage to overcome them. It is about the power of music.

Publisher’s summary: Lost and alone in the forbidden Black Forest, Otto meets three mysterious sisters and suddenly finds himself entwined in a puzzling quest involving a prophecy, a promise, and a harmonica.

Decades later, Friedrich in Germany, Mike in Pennsylvania, and Ivy in California each become interwoven when the very same harmonica lands in their lives, binding them by an invisible thread of destiny. All the children face daunting challenges: rescuing a father, protecting a brother, holding a family together. How their suspenseful solo stories converge in an orchestral crescendo will resound in your heart long after the last note has been struck.

The book is set from the early 30’s Germany and stretches through WWII. The harmonica travels through the lives of our protagonists, offering solace and hope. There are moments of heartache and worry for the reader, but it all wraps up as nicely as you hope it would.

 

Simple Beauty

27 May

I was almost brought to tears by the beauty of Sidewalk Flowers by JonArno Lawson and Sydney Smith.

Unknown

It is a deceptively simple story, told without words. A little girl is out walking with her dad along city sidewalks. She picks all the flowers she sees as she goes.

Unknown-1

But it is what she does with the flowers that makes this book so powerful. She delivers them to those who need them: a homeless man, a dog, her baby brother, a dead bird.

images

As you can see, the book is mostly black and white, but bright spots of color share the beauty of this little person. Her actions are pure of heart. She isn’t doing this for praise or attention. And that is what makes Sidewalk Flowers  so moving.

Randy Ribay

YA author, teacher, nerd

The Fat Squirrel Speaks

Knitting, spinning, and assorted awesomeness.

Global Yell Blog

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

Jone Rush MacCulloch

Deo Writer: Musings to Spark the Spirit

Klickitat St. Readers

Just another WordPress.com site

Readerbuzz

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

PLUMDOG BLOG

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

Gail Carriger

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

Kate Messner

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

Cybils Awards

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

Someday My Printz Will Come

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

The Librarian Who Doesn't Say Shhh!

Opening books to open minds.

Tundra Books

Home of Penguin Random House Canada Young Readers and Friends

andrea gillespie

Inquiring My Way Forward

Kirby's Lane: A Place for Readers and Writers

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

The Horn Book

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

The History Girls

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

%d bloggers like this: