Monday, November 30, 2009
Recipe: Toffee Squares
From: Erin Fitzpatrick-Bjorn
1 c. butter or margarine
1 c. packed brown sugar
2 c. sifted flour
1 egg yolk
1 t. vanilla
1/4 t. salt
3-4 7/8oz. milk chocolate bars or 1 ½ c. chocolate chips
1/2 c. chopped nuts
Cream sugar and butter, egg yolk and vanilla. Stir in flour and salt until well blended. Spread in 13x10'' rectangle on cookie sheet. Leave about 1'' around edge of cookie sheet (it will fill it up. Once I made this and it was all over the oven because I didn't listen to the directions. E.). Bake 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees until evenly browned. It will still be soft. Remove from oven. IMMEDIATELY place separate choc. squares on top and let stand until soft. Spread choc. over entire surface then QUICKLY sprinkle with nuts and cut into small pieces while warm.
Rich cookie that tastes like toffee candy. Especially good at holiday time.
Makes 3-4 dozen cookies.
Even kids can make these, so go for it, WOMS students. Enjoy!
Friday, November 27, 2009
The black-haired girl
with the big
on the Queens train coming
in to work, so
opens her mouth so beautifully
in a ya-aawn, that
two stops after she has left the train
I have only to think of her and I
from The Cities (Collected Poems), 1985
Persea Books, New York, NY
Monday, November 23, 2009
DJ Schwenk is growing up, and she's still wants to blend into the woodwork as much as possible, but it's not very possible...not at all. Because really, DJ's been a football star, had a bad break-up with a boy she really liked, and had a superstar brother become paralyzed in a football injury. Living in a small town, things like this make hiding nearly impossible. Add to this that her goofy friend Beaner wants to date her and isn't afraid to announce it in front of everyone, and that her coach is pressuring her to be more of a leader on the basketball court, and it's clear that DJ Schwenk won't be hiding this year.
She can't hide from her brother, either, even though he's far away and in a rehabilitation center. He's calling her constantly asking her about college and playing basketball. DJ Doesn't want to really even think about it that much, and she darn sure doesn't want to play at a big school where the pressure is insanely intense, but some other people have different ideas.
There's a lot of introspection in this story. DJ spends a lot of time thinking, about both her present and her future. And she's learning a lot about herself - what she's capable of, what she wants, what she doesn't want. It's a nice finish to this trilogy, although I'm kind of disappointed it's the end. You never know, though, stranger things have happened, and perhaps we'll see a return of DJ later on. We'll just have to wait and see.
I've ordered this for our library, so we'll have it soon, but in the meantime you can find it at the Multnomah County Library.
I'm not usually a huge fan of war books, I'm pretty much a peacenik, but my nephew mentioned he wanted to read it, so I thought I'd read it and see what I thought about it. What I thought was WOW! As with most war books, there is a lot of heartbreak and death. There is also a lot of action and suspense. But this book, more than most other war books I've read, delved deep into the personal thoughts of Iraq war soldier Robin Perry, a young man who joined the army instead of going off to college, much to the dismay of his parents. Robin proves to be a deep thinker, though, even at such a young age, pondering who exactly are the enemies in this situation, and where God is in all this, or if he even IS at all.
All the scenarios in the story seem quite realistic, from the friendships built throughout the story to the combat scenes to the nightmares and pain. This story definitely does not glamorize war in any way. I do not know whether Walter Dean Myers was a soldier himself, but his writing certainly makes it seem like he has some shared experiences with these young men an women.
I highly recommend this novel for 8th graders and up who are looking for realistic war stories. Available at the West Orient library.
Now Simone has a hard decision to make. She talks it over with another friend of hers who's also adopted, and he is the one who really convinces her. He tells her how much he wishes he at least had the chance to know his mother, but even though he's tried, it's just not going to happen. Simone decides to give Ryvka chance, and it turns out to be an amazing experience for her. She learns about what happened, and how she ended up where she did, why Simone had to give her up, how Simone's family responded. Thee are things she never thought she wanted to know, but once she's begun this relationship she wants to know more and more. She also finds out about her Jewish heritage, something she's never practiced before. She's never practiced any religion.
The story has a lot of philosophy intertwined in the plot, and I think it's a book that would best be appreciated by mature 8th graders or high schoolers. There's nothing inappropriate for younger readers, but I think they'll just get lot less out of it and would appreciate more as an older reader.
Available at the Multnomah County Library.
This is really a story of self discovery more than anything by a boy named Will who wanted to be apprenticed to battleschool to become a warrior but who was asked instead to be the apprentice of a Ranger. At first Will was very disappointed, but he begins to find that he actually likes the things the Ranger does, although he's not entirely sure what ALL the things are. Seems like he's always learning something new. He finds a lot of adventure and learns a lot about the art of fighting throughout the story.
I thought this was a story with a lot of excitement and action that had great pacing and suspense. It did have some fantasy as I said, but the fantasy elements definitely were not the overriding factor. At the end of the story I could hardly stop reading, even when it was way past my bedtime! I'd definitely recommend this book as a great choice. There are several books in the series for those of you who are series fans. Available on the Oregon Battle of the Books spinner rack.
Many secrets of the town's residents are revealed over the course of the investigation, secrets they clearly would rather have left alone. Some of the secrets turn out to be closely related to the mystery, and some do not, but all dovetail into the answer in one way or another.
There is a whole art component to this story as well, and while it is central to the mystery, it's also quite informative about art, and I thought it was interesting how the author wove this in to the story. I'm curious about her background and whether she knew some things about art before she started or had to research everything. I'm thinking the former, but you never know.
I'd recommend this to adult readers who like mysteries that aren't necessarily thrillers. Available at the Multnomah County Library.
Friday, November 20, 2009
The Turkey Shot Out of the Oven
The turkey shot out of the oven
and rocketed into the air,
it knocked every plate off the table
and partly demolished a chair.
It ricocheted into a corner
and burst with deafening boom,
then splattered all over the kitchen,
completely obscuring the room.
It stuck to the walls and the windows,
it totally coated the floor,
there was turkey attached to the ceiling,
where there'd never been turkey before.
It blanketed every appliance,
it smeared every saucer and bowl,
there wasn't a way I could stop it,
that turkey was out of control.
I scraped and I scrubbed with displeasure,
and thought with chagrin as I mopped,
that I'd never again stuff a turkey
with popcorn that hadn't been popped.
Monday, November 16, 2009
Also, Mrs. FB is looking for a few more kids to volunteer on Monday from 10-noon to move the book fair over to the gym. Pizza for all workers will be served at noon!!! sign up in the library.
Friday, November 13, 2009
The Book Fair is opening on Monday!! Time for you to dig under the couch cushions an beneath the car seats to see what spare change you can come up with! there will be lots of great titles available for everyone.
There is no frigate like a book
To take us lands away,
Nor any coursers like a page
Of prancing poetry.
This traverse may the poorest take
Without oppress of toll;
How frugal is the chariot
That bears a human soul!
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Monday, November 09, 2009
One thing Cathy Lamb does really well is character development, and I had a particularly favorite character in this one, and that was Amelia Earhart. No, not the REAL Amelia Earhart, but don't tell Grandma because she's pretty sure she is. The main characters in this story are three sisters and their brother Henry. The story is focused on their relationships with one another as well as their family history which has deeply affected all of them. Their grandmother has Alzheimer's, and she is sure she is Amelia Earhart, the famous woman pilot. She is never out of character and lends a bit of lightheartedness to a sometimes heavy novel.
Recommended for adult readers. Available at the Multnomah County Library.
Friday, November 06, 2009
Bill used to mention
Snippets of story
I heard but never
He might have been describing
It was an untouchable
Part of his past.
Our Pastor told the Bishop
About Bill's poetry.
While he was here, he
Bill did his funny ones
Two or three
And mentioned in passing
He had written some
About his war.
The Bishop asked to hear one, so
Bill went away and came
"Body Burning Detail."
Halfway through it,
He broke down.
I just remember him
Pouring down his face
It was real.
I could feel
with my heart
What he could never
I began to
Tuesday, November 03, 2009
I am SO excited because yesterday I received a letter in the mail telling me I get to meet James Patterson this week at the American Association of School Libraries conference and get a book signed by him! Can you believe it? SO exciting. He's the author of the Maximum Ride series which I love and a new series called Daniel X. So I'll be away at my conference the rest of the week, and hopefully I'll have great info to share and maybe even a few pictures when I get back! Hope everyone has a great week!
I actually had this book on my list to read for about two years, but you know how my list gets - if I were to start reading today and read without sleeping, eating, or going to the bathroom for the next three years, I probably couldn't finish my TBR stack. So anyway, I never got around to it. But then I read Zen and the Art of Faking It for the Battle of the Books, and I enjoyed it so much, I decided to move this one up on my list. That was a good idea, because I'd been missing out. Drums, Girls and Dangerous Pie is a powerful story about a boy whose baby brother gets leukemia. Not a funny thing, right? And it's not. But on the other hand, there's a lot of life, even when you or your little brother have cancer, that's pretty funny. And laughing about things is good for your blood pressure. I think it gets those little endorphin things that make our brains feel good move around or something. So we need to laugh, especially when things are hard. I really believe that, and apparently so does Jordan Sonnenblick.
Steven is in 8th grade, so you know there's a lot going on in his life already that's kind of tumultuous; adding his little brother's leukemia to the mix makes a lot of things much harder, and Steven sometimes has trouble dealing. So do his parents. so now you've got a 13 year old boy who's stressed and not very well able to cope without the people he relies on most to help him through because they can barely cope themselves. It's kind of a recipe for disaster. And there are definitely some disasters along the way. But there are a lot of good things that come out of it, too. I think this is an important thing to remember, although often hard to do, when someone gets really, really sick. Yes, it's cruddy and icky, and horrible to go through, but there are bound to be some bright spots along the way, and holding tight to those will help a lot.
I do some charity photography work with the Children's Cancer Association, and so I'm always looking for books that I think would be helpful for kids with cancer and/or their families to recommend to them. This one's going on that list.
Next up is Notes from a Midnight Driver. Jordan Sonnenblick told me (he's my Facebook friend!) it's his mom's favorite, so I can't wait to figure out why. He'd better get going on a new middle grade novel pretty soon, though, because after that, I'm out of novels by him, and I'm not going to be too happy about it!
This book has three girls as the main characters, two of whom have been friends for a long time, and a third girl who's just becoming their friend. This book is high school chick-lit. Friends, family, school and BOYS are the main topics of conversation, but the part I love is the role that food plays. The girls plan and shop for and prepare food for and with one another and I think it's magical. I truly believe in the healing power of food and in the power of food as a gift, so this book really spoke to me.
Character development is really strong in this book as well, and you know I love strong character development.
This book would be a great addition to a high school collection. I think it might take a little salesmanship to get kids reading it, but that's what librarians are for, right?
Available at the Multnomah County Library.
I thought it was cool how these authors were included and their works referenced - Blake's "Tyger, Tyger" poem is, in fact, a huge part of the story, but I doubt most kids reading it would even get it. Middle schoolers aren't often reading Blake. In high school they probably do - I wonder when? I'm not sure it makes a big difference as to whether a reader would like the story, but I do know that you'd get a lot more meaning from the story if you DO have that background as opposed to not having it.
If you were the person who recommended this book to me, please leave me a comment. Of course you may leave me a comment even if you aren't that person and you have something to say. :)
Have a great day!