Tag Archives: awards

Alice Munro:”master of the contemporary short story”

10 Oct

Congratulations on the Nobel Prize, Alice Munro!!!


“Munro is acclaimed for her finely tuned storytelling, which is characterized by clarity and psychological realism. Some critics consider her a Canadian Chekhov,” the committee said.

“Her stories are often set in small town environments, where the struggle for a socially acceptable existence often results in strained relationships and moral conflicts — problems that stem from generational differences and colliding life ambitions. Her texts often feature depictions of everyday but decisive events, epiphanies of a kind, that illuminate the surrounding story and let existential questions appear in a flash of lightning.”

Alice Munro hails from my part of the world and I often pictured my small town when I read her stories. I can credit my grade high school  teachers  for introducing me the Ms. Munro’s works, as well as the works of other Canadians. We sometimes felt that the mandate that we had to read Canadian authors was a bit plebeian, when we were anxious to spread our wings and explore the world. But reading  Lives of Girls and Women made me realize there were interesting stories to be found in towns like the ones I grew up in, and in the small details of an ordinary life.

I bet there’s a run on her books at the library!


16 Sep



The announcement has been made. If you haven’t read these, do so.  I’ve either read them or have them on my  hold list at the library. This is a rather excellent list.

  • Kathi AppeltThe True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp (Atheneum Books for Young Readers/Simon & Schuster)
  • Kate DiCamilloFlora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures (Candlewick Press)
  • Lisa Graff, A Tangle of Knots (Philomel Books/Penguin Group USA)
  • Alaya Dawn JohnsonThe Summer Prince (Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic)
  • Cynthia KadohataThe Thing About Luck (Atheneum Books for Young Readers/Simon & Schuster)
  • David LevithanTwo Boys Kissing (Alfred A. Knopf/Random House)
  • Tom McNealFar Far Away (Alfred A. Knopf/Random House)
  • Meg RosoffPicture Me Gone (G.P. Putnam’s Sons/Penguin Group USA)
  • Anne UrsuThe Real Boy (Walden Pond Press/HarperCollinsPublishers)
  • Gene Luen YangBoxers & Saints (First Second/Macmillan)


Deb CalettiCecil CastellucciPeter GlassmanE. Lockhart, Lisa Von Drasek

The “Kiss Me, Hardy” Pullover: 10 days of manic knitting

9 Jul


I sewed the pieces together last night and so, the “Kiss me, Hardy” pullover project is over. It was wonderful to finally pull it on last night, although I didn’t leave it on for long because the evening was warm. I can hardly wait for Autumn and cooler weather when I can wear it for real.

I knit perhaps more compulsively that I read. In warm summer weeks I rise early to air the house out before the sun comes up. Yesterday morning, after knitting past my bedtime, I got up at 4:15 to finish the sleeve and begin the neck. I finished the neck and sewed it all up after I got home from summer school.

Here is another picture of the sweater, by itself.


I listened to these audiobooks while knitting the sweater:

1.   Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick  by Joe Schreiber – awesome, but a little violent

2. Personal Effects  by E. M. Kokie – amazing

3.  Uncommon Criminals by Ally Carter – a fun romp with the rich & infamous

I’m taking a week off from knitting ( I already have 2 more projects lined up) so I can catch up on my reading.

Lucha Libros

6 Jul

If I filled a library with books on topics I was interested in it would be a wonderful place. For me. Fortunately, libraries are built on the interests of everyone. Sometimes I share those interests, often times I don’t. Take wrestling for example. I am totally not interested in it. But there are several really great books for kids about lucha libre, a form of professional wrestling that has developed in Mexico and other Latin American countries.

The newest is Niño Wrestles the World written and illustrated by Yuyi Morales.The book is a testament to a child’s imagination.


Underpants clad Niño has no trouble fending off monstrous opponents, whose biographies appear on the end papers.  When his little sisters awaken from their naps, he is in for a no-holds-barred wrestling match that will truly test his skills. Sound effects and ring announcements pepper the age-appropriate text and the illustrations capture the essence of lucha libre and Niño’s imaginative play. I  predict this one will be on the Pura Belpré  Illustrator Award list in January 2014.

For a lightly older crowd, we have LUCHA LIBRE The Man in the Silver Mask : A Bilingual Cuento by Xavier Garza.


This bilingual book from 2005 would not stay on the shelves of my library.When Carlitos attends a wrestling match in Mexico City with his father, his favorite masked-wrestler has eyes that are strangely familiar. Garza captures Carlitos’ excitement and enthusiasm it is contagious! The graphic-novel-style illustrations, reminiscent of Mexican folk art,  enhance  the story.

Finally, for readers ready for chapter books there is Maximilian & The Mystery of the Guardian Angel  also by Xavier Garza.


This bilingual book was a  2012 Pura Belpré Author Honor Award winner. It is similar in that a young man, Margarito, loves lucha libre match. However,  in the summer just before sixth grade, he tumbles over the railing at a match in San Antonio and encounters his greatest hero of all time: the Guardian Angel. As the book unfolds, Margarito learns the surprising, true identity of the Guardian Angel.

These are all great books to get Hispanic boys reading. At my school, where we are about 70% Hispanic, this can be a struggle, but these 3 books will entice even the most reluctant readers.

2013 Hub Reading Challenge final check-in

22 Jun

reading challenge logo - finisher

The HUB reading Challenge ends today. I finished a few weeks ago, but kept going because there were books on the list I wanted to read. I loved some and had to force myself to finish others. I abandoned a few.  I hope that through my posts about it, you might join the 2014 HUB Reading Challenge. Or, you might just find a really great book to read.

I have a notebook where I record the books I read. This week, I added a new subtitle: Summer Reading. I hope your summer reading experience is as wonderful s I hope mine will be. I’ve posted the list of the books I read for the HUB Challenge below, in case you’d like to add some of them to your summer reading list.


1. Blumenthal, Karen – Steve Jobs: The Man Who Thought Different

2. Green, John – The Fault in Our Stars (audio)

3. Hopkinson, Deborah – Titanic: Voices from the Disaster

4, Levinson, Cynthis – We’ve Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children’s March

5. Levithan, David – Every Day

6. Saenz, Benjamin Alire – Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

7. Sheinkin, Steve – Bomb: The Race to Build – and Steal – the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon

8. Hoose, Phillip – Moonbird: A Year on the Wind with the Great  Survivor B95

9. Mazer, Harry – Somebody, Please Tell Me Who I Am

10. Hicks, Faith Erin – Friends with Boys

11. Danforth, Emily M. – The Miseducation of Cameron Post

12. Murakami, Takashi – Stargazing Dog

13. Telgemeier, Rania – Drama

14. Pierce, Tamora – Alanna: The First Adventure

15. Paolini, Christopher – Inheritance (audiobook)

16. Pierce, Tamora – In the Hand of the Goddess

17. Pierce, Tamora – The Woman Who Rides Like a Man

18. Pierce, Tamora – Lioness Rampant

19. Lambert, Joseph – Annie Sullivan and the Trials of Helen Keller

20. Hartman, Rachel – Seraphina

21. Fetter-Vorm, Jonathan  – Trinity: A Graphic History of the First Atomic Bomb

22. Andrews, Jesse – Me & Earl & the Dying Girl

23. Bray, Libba – The Diviners (audiobook)

24. Long, Mark – The Silence of Our Friends

25. Wein, Elizabeth – Code name Verity (audiobook)

26. Backderf, Derf – My Friend Dahmer

27. Adams, S. J. – Sparks: the epic, completely true blue, (almost) holy quest of Debbie

28. Brenna, Beverley – The White Bicycle

29. Buzo, Laura – Love and Other Perishable Items

30. Brunt, Carol Rifka – Tell the Wolves I’m Home

31. Newman, Leslea – October Morning

32. Fama, Elizabeth – Monstrous Beauty (audio)

33. Semple, Maria – Where’d You Go Bernadette

34. Hassman, Tupelo – Girlchild

35. Baggott, Julianna – Pure

36. Crockett, S. D. – After the Snow

37. Sloan, Robin – Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore


2013 Hub Reading Challenge check in #19

16 Jun

The HUB Reading challenge ends in a week, but I’ve pretty much been done for a while. I met the goal of 25 books weeks ago and had good intentions about reading  all the Alex, Morris & Printz winners, but my enthusiasm flagged a little. I mostly managed one book a week for the last few weeks and now I’m reading my last Challenge book. I saved this one


for last because it is about books and reading. And it got a great review from a friend. I just started it yesterday and i’m not that far in but I’m already hooked.  Mr. Penumbra won an Alex award ( adult fiction great for YA). The main character is a young art college grad who falls victim to the economy, loses his first job and stumbles into a new job at Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. The store is not what it seems and I’m just discovering what it’s really all about.

So, adult reader friends, add this one to your summer reading list.

2013 Hub Reading Challenge check in #17

1 Jun

I have read 2 novels entitled Pure this year.

Unknown  Unknown-1

The first, by Andrew Miller,  is set in pre-revolutionary France, follows an engineer named Jean-Baptiste Baratte and chronicles his efforts in clearing an overfilled graveyard which is polluting the surrounding area. The book won the 2011 Costa Book of the Year award. It was a wonderful read and had the feel of the 19th century French novels I love to read, even though it was written by an Englishman.

The second, written by Julianna Baggott, is set in post-apocalyptic America, follows a girl named Pressia, who has a doll’s head fused into her hand, and a boy named Partridge, who is a Pure (undamaged by the bomb) and chronicles their efforts in  leading a real resistance. The book was a  2013 YALSA award winner. Lots of similarities here to other dystopian trilogies (this is book 1 of 3). The twist here is that the Pures live in a protected Dome and those outside are all disfigured by the blast by burns, fusings and other scars. It was pretty good, but I don’t know that I’m dying to know what happens to Pressia & Partridge.

Children’s Book Week is Here!

14 May


May 13-19, 2013

Children’s Book Week is the annual celebration of books for young people and the joy of reading.

Established in 1919, Children’s Book Week is the longest-running national literacy initiative in the country. Every year, commemorative events are held nationwide at schools, libraries, bookstores, homes — wherever young readers and books connect!

Children’s Book Week is administered by Every Child A Reader, a 501(c)(3) literacy organization dedicated to instilling a lifelong love of reading in children. The Children’s Book Council, the national non-profit trade association for children’s book publishers, is an anchor sponsor.

Even though you celebrate reading and children;s books every day, there are some great ideas and tools you can use on the Children;s Book Week website.

The Digital Toolkit is an excellent place to start.

You can booktalk the finalists for the Children’s Choice Ward Book of the Year for the age group you work with and then let the kids watch the announcement of the WINNERS!

The Educators’ Page offers lots of ways to celebrate.

I’d love to hear how you decide to celebrate.


2013 Hub Reading Challenge check-in #14

11 May

I am concentrating on reading the Alex and Morris winners.  Alex Awards are given to ten books written for adults that have special appeal to young adults, ages 12 through 18. The William C. Morris YA Debut Award honors a debut book published by a first-time author writing for teens and celebrating impressive new voices in young adult literature. If you are looking for something really good to read, these are two lists to help in your pursuit.

I only finished one Challenge book this week, Where’d You Go, Bernadette  by Maria Semple.


Oh, so funny, and not just because I am a Canadian  or because I am living in the Pacific Northwest. Semple’s Bernadette lampoons both these in such an amusing way. It has family drama and heart-break, but doesn’t get you down because it is wrapped in delightful, satirical writing. I have recommended this to several adults and hope you take the time to read it, too.

2013 Hub Reading Challenge check-in #13

4 May

Once I’d hit 25 on the 2013 Hub Reading Challenge, I decided to try to read one book a week and concentrate on off-list reading. I failed this week because I finished 3, bringing my total up to 32. I have always been a OCD reader.

First, I finished Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt.


Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. Mostly because I saw myself in June and my twin sister in Greta. I was the quiet, shy twin & my sister was very out-going. We had our ups and downs and high school was hard because that’s when we really got our own separate sets of friends, just like June & Greta.

Then, my hold on  October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard by Leslea Newman  arrived at the library.


Also awesome. Newman, who I knew from the elementary school chapter book Hachiko Waits, knocked my socks off. I wish I’d read this during National Poetry Month and I wish I taught older kids because I really wanted to share this with my students. It is beautifully written and made me feel real, anger, sadness and hope. Newman personifies inanimate objects and uses the actual words real people said in love and in anger, while she explores a variety of kinds of poetry.  Very well done.

Finally, just yesterday, I finished listening to the audio versions of  Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama.


I probably would not have picked this one up, but for the Challenge. And it was really good, too. At first I was skeptical of a mermaid story, but this is not Disney’s Little Mermaid. It is dark and horrific (without being scary or graphic enough to make me gag) in places but the reading was riveting. Because the chapters alternate between the present and 1872/3, I kept listening to find out what happened next. I’m glad I listened to this one!


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