Hi, I'm Mrs. F-B!

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner - Stephenie Meyer

All I can say about this book is that the SHORT life was not nearly short enough. I liked the Twilight books, but this was BAD. And I don't often think a book is really bad. I feel confident that most of the 8th graders at WOMS could have written something equally as good as this and several of them could have written something better. The plot is weak, the characterization is weak, and the writing is awful. Seriously, this should NEVER have gotten published, and certainly if it had not been Stephenie Meyer's work, it never would have. 'Nuff said. Yuck! :(

TRY THIS, I dare you!

Here's a page from Fox in Socks:

A tweetle beetle noodle poodle bottled paddled muddle duddled fuddled wuddled fox in socks sir.

Can you say it even once fast? How about as fast as THIS girl? She's seriously amazing.

See you Wednesday with your cool socks to celebrate the birthday of the amazing Dr. Seuss! can't wait!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Happy birthday. Mrs. Wilcox

Here's our birthday girl with a favorite book of hers (and mine) Wild Girls by Pat Murphy. You should come down and get a copy for yourself.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Fox in Socks rap

You've gotta hear these guys from YouTube rapping the Fox in Socks book and and see them dancing to it. It's awesome! Here's the link.

Looking forward to seeing you sporting some sa-weeet socks next Wed. (March 2nd) for Dr. Seuss's birthday. Bring your swell socks on down to the library and get yourself a prize.

This just in...

The winners of the WOMS OBOB championships were the Bookwolves. They will be representing our school at Estacada Jr. High on Saturday, March 5th. Good luck Bookwolves!

More February babies!

So much cake, so little time. So many books, so little time! Hope everyone had a happy b-day and hope everyone finds a good book suggestion. Lots to choose from with this group! Look t all the OBOB choices :-)

One Crazy Summer - Rita Williams Garcia

This book was the 2011 Coretta Scott King Award winner (This award was designed to commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King and to honor his wife Coretta Scott King; given annually to one black author and to one black illustrator whose books are outstanding, inspirational, and educational contributions to literature for children and young people) a Newbery Honor book for 2011, a National Book Award finalist, AND the winner of the Scott O'Dell award for historical fiction. WOWSA. No wonder I loved it!

The story is set in 1968 and is about three young African American girls, sisters. They live with their father and grandmother, as their mother left when the youngest was just a baby. However, their father gets a job where he can't be at home, so he sends the three girls off to their mother for the summer in Oakland, California. The girls are set for it to be an adventure in the sunshine with trips to Disneyland and the ocean and finding out more about their mother. Their mother, not so much. She's not really interested in having the kids there, and she often makes remarks like, "I never asked for this," or "I never wanted this."

Every morning she sends them off to the Black Panther camp down the street where they get a free breakfast and get to do some activities, all related to the Black Panther movement. The Black Panthers were initially formed to protect local communities from police brutality and racism. The group also ran medical clinics and provided free food to school children. Within a couple of years the Black Panthers in Oakland were feeding over 10,000 children every day before they went to school. Unfortunately, the Black Panthers were sometimes involved in violence. The oldest girl, Delphine, knows some things about the Black Panthers and about some of the violent incidents. She becomes fearful and doesn't want to take her sisters to the center anymore. Her mother doesn't care what Delphine wants and insists they return.

Th story is told in Delphine's voice which is strong, clear, and often dryly funny. her perspective changes over the course of the summer, and she comes to some surprising conclusions about her mother, her sisters, the Black Panthers and even herself. It's a poignant story with incredible writing, strong characters and interesting historical information.

Highly recommended. Available at the Multnomah County library now and available in the WOMS library soon.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Crazy Sock Day coming up

Hey, Dr. Seuss's birthday is coming up, and we're going to celebrate with a Fox in Socks theme. On March 2nd, wear your craziest socks. Come to the library and show them off and get yourself a prize. Tongue Twisters may be in order as well. Should be a great time! Can't wait to see your socks :-)

Multnomah County Library art contest!

TEENS: Get your art in front of THOUSANDS of EYEBALLS!
Are you an artist in grades 6-12? Illustrate the cover of the 2011 Multnomah County Library Teen Summer Reading game-board — the theme is Get in Gear — and win a $50 gift certificate to Art Media! Teens across Multnomah County will see your artwork all summer long. The winner and honorable mentions will also be featured in an online gallery on the library’s website. Find the entry sheet on the library webpage near the the top.

Along for the Ride, -Sarah Dessen

I've already read this book, but I decided I wanted to listen to it, so I checked out the CDs from the Multnomah County Library. The reading was pretty good, but the reader was not the best I've heard. I was actually glad I'd read it a while ago, because there were enough details that were fuzzy that I still enjoyed it. I wasn't always sure what was coming next.

The book is vintage Sarah Dessen. Girl with a problem. Boy with a problem. The two of them come together and help each other cope. And a lot happens in between. There are also lots of girl relationship pieces that I think are super important in this book, and mother-daughter relationship pieces. Sarah Dessen is really just the complete package!

This story all takes place at the beach, and I'm beach bound this weekend, so I cannot wait. although the NC shore in summer and the Oregon coast in winter are a teensy bit different, that's for sure...

A friend of mine who's a librarian said this is her third favorite YA love story! That's pretty good, because she reads a LOT. Available at the WOMS library.

A Wrinkle in Time - Madeline L'Engle

There IS such a thing as a tesseract. Who knew? Well, besides Meg's physicist father, Mrs. Who, Mrs. Which and Mrs. Whatsit, of course. In this classic science fiction tale, Meg, her brother Charles Wallace and their friend Calvin find out all about tesseracts and their encounter gets a little too close for comfort sometimes, almost to the point of losing Charles Wallace completely. There's a lot of suspense and tension in the story, and a lot of science. There's also a lot more religion than I remembered. Kind of interesting. Not many mainstream books that are so overt thee days.

I'm not a huge sci-fi fan, so I didn't love this book, but I thought it was OK and it is a great book for fans of the genre. Available at the WOMS library.

Num8ers - Rachel Ward

THIS was a weird and cool book. I listened to it, and the reader was fantastic. The accents were amazing and I just wanted to keep on listening all the time. I can still hear the voice in my head. The premise is that the main character sees everyone's death date when she looks into their eyes. Creepy, hey? And it's pretty creepy for her, too. Jem hates it. She's fifteen, an orphan, in special education at school, and basically has no friends. She doesn't want any, either, because then she just has to keep her secret from them. But one boy, Spider, won't give up on being her friend.

When Jem and Spider are seen running from a bombing at the London Eye, they're chased by the police and end up fleeing into the countryside. A burgeoning romance between the two is clouded by Spider's number. Can Jem change the course of fate if she tries?

Recommended for high school and up.

Forge - Laurie Halse Anderson

This is the sequel to the book I thought should have won the Newbery last year, Laurie Halse Anderson's Chains. That book was a stunner, and this book, while not quite as good, we certainly excellent. The focus of this story is Curzon, the young male character from Chains. Curzon has settled in with the Army at Valley Forge, where the conditions are harsh. Anderson provides a realistic view of the situation, and begins each chapter with excerpts from primary source documents that reinforce the realities in the camps. Te tension builds when Curzon's former master shows up in camp and builds until the end. I am not a huge fan of how Anderson abruptly ended both this and the previous novel, but at least this time I was more prepare for it. A great read. Highly recommended. Available at the WOMS library.

The Little Prince - Antoine de St. Exupery

I love, love, love this book, but unfortunately, the book group girls did not agree. I think this book is just a bit too philosophical for middle schoolers maybe. It has a simple story on one level, but there's a much deeper story as well. I love the simple beauty in so many of the sentences. And the pictures. so fab. Guess I'll save this for high schoolers, though. Sigh.

Genius Squad - Catherine Jinks

Listened to this book as well, and loved the Aussie accent, of course. Strengths: Compelling storyline, could read as a stand-alone even though it is a sequel, high-tech excitement. Weaknesses: adult characters didn't seem terribly realistic on either side (good or bad), addressing of the cerebral palsy of one of the main characters is weak. Recommended for fans of suspense and action stories like Artemis Fowl, Alex Rider and the like.

Last Summer of the Death Warriors - Francisco Stork

Somehow I never got this entry published, even though I finished the book a long time ago. I listened to this book, and I was really, really hoping for a book that was even better than the amazing Marcelo in the real World by this author. However, while this book was quite excellent, it was no Marcelo. Strengths of this book: it is realistic in dealing with terminal illness, has strong friendships, thoughtful internal dialogue, great allusion, great quest. Weaknesses: a little too ethereal for middle level readers and allusion will be totally lost on them. Would recommend this book to thoughtful high school readers.

Five adult novels

A Fatal Grace - Louise Penny. A mystery set in the small town of Three Pines in Canada. had no idea who did it over most of the novel, and then when I actually DID figure it out I decided I was wrong. good thing I never became a detective!

I Heart New York - Lindsey Kelk. A chick lit book that I liked but didn't love. It was a nice easy read that suited me at the time I picked it up. I was expecting something different, so that was kind of nice in a way.

A Darcy Christmas - Grange, Lathan, & Eberhart. I think I OD'd on Pride and Prejudice sequels a little before I picked this one up. Also, it was three short stories, and I'm just not a big short story fan. There are other P&P sequels I'd choose over this.

A Duty to the Dead - Charles Todd. Reminded me of the Jacqueline Winspear Maisie Dobbs books. War nurse, mystery, secrets and lies. Good stuff. I actually like the Maisie Dobbs series a little better than this, but I'm wondering if it's because I've read so many of the Maisie books that I really feel I know her now. I'm checking out another Bess Crawford mystery to see if over time I like her as well as Maisie.

Her Fearful Symmetry - Audrey Niffeneger. SERIOUSLY cannot believe the ending of this book. It was a weird book the whole way through, requiring lots of suspension of disbelief, and then WHAM! What the heck??? Nuff said.

OBOB Final competition next Tuesday!

The Bookwolves will take on the The Platypi Strike Back in the final round of the WOMS 2011 Oregon Battle of the Books next Tuesday. The winner of that round will represent West Orient in the regional competition on March 5th. Good luck to both teams, and a great competition by all!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Green Award book available here!

Winners of the Newton Marasco Foundation's 2011 Green Earth Book Awards, which honor authors and illustrators whose work inspires young readers to appreciate and care for the environment, are:

Picture Book: The Earth Book, written and illustrated by Todd Parr (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)
Children's Fiction: Mallory Goes Green by Laurie B. Friedman, illustrated by Jennifer Kalis (Darby Creek/Lerner Publishing Group)
Young Adult Fiction: Boys, Bears and a Serious Pair of Hiking Boots by Abby McDonald (Candlewick)
Nonfiction: Not Your Typical Book about the Environment by Elin Kelsey, illustrated by Clayton Hammer (Owlkids Books)

Yeah for Abby McDonald! Find Boys, Bears and a Serious Pair of Hiking Boots here at the WOMS library!

Birthdays from the first half of Febraury!

Hope everyone had a great celebration. There are some awesome book suggestions here - take a look!

FREE music from the Multnomah County Library

Who doesn't love some free music?? You can get up to three free downloads a week with your library card. Check it out!!!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

"Take Your Family to the National Parks" Essay Contest!

Mr. Bjorn and I are on a quest to visit all the national parks! Here's your chance to visit one, too - for free!

If you've always dreamed of visiting a national park, and wanted to take your family along, here's your opportunity. Three grand-prize winners of the Traveler's first Take Your Family to the National Parks essay contest will win lodging for four members of their family in one of the country's national parks, and some gear to help to help them enjoy the trip.

Today's younger generations will become tomorrow's park stewards. With that in mind, we want to hear from youngsters in elementary, middle, and high school on how they view the national parks.

Entries are being accepted through March 1 from students in three age brackets: 8-11, 12-15, and 16-18. Essays, which must be solely the work of the participant, must be submitted to essays@nationalparkstraveler.com . Word limits are 300-500 for the first two age brackets, and up to 700 words for 16-18 year-olds.

Elementary students in the 8-11 age bracket should address this question: "Why are national parks good for kids?"

Middle school students in the 12-15 age bracket should address this question: "If you were to write President Obama telling him why the National Parks should be saved, what would you say and why?"

High school students in the 16-18 age bracket should address this question: "What are the greatest threats to our national parks, and how can they be countered?"

For contest rules and submission guidelines, visit this page.

Friday, February 11, 2011

We are all made of books

I saw this on a woman's blog today and couldn't resist posting! If you'd like to see the full entry, click here. The woman who write the blog is a photographer and she's publishing a book of amazing, fun baby photos called When My Baby Dreams in 2012.


PS Does this photo remind you a little of the artwork hanging outside Mrs. Mandis' classroom?

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Hey writers - check this out!

Hey, writers - here's an opportunity for you from author Lisa Schroeder - Young Writer's Workshop at Powell's Books in Beaverton on Friday, Feb. 11th at 4:30 p.m. We'll be talking about characters and doing a couple of fun exercises. The "official age" for the workshop is 10-18, but anyone who wants to learn is welcome to join us!

Our library is a better place because of his work

Brian Jacques, whose Redwall series, set in the mythical Redwall Abbey, has sold more than 20 million copies, died last Saturday of a heart attack. He was 71.

The 22nd and final book in the Redwall series, The Rogue Crew, will be published in May by Philomel, a Penguin Young Readers Group imprint.

Philomel president and publisher Michael Green noted that Jacques "initially wrote Redwall to entertain the children at Liverpool's Royal Wavertree School for the Blind, where he would read aloud, giving voice to the many accents, giving aroma and flavor to the famous Redwall Abbey feasts, and giving life to a world in which mice and hares were heroes to the end. The world has lost not only a talented author, but a truly gifted entertainer and champion of children."

Jacques was born in Liverpool, England. Penguin said that his interest in adventure stories began in childhood, when he read the works of Daniel Defoe, Sir Henry Rider Haggard, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Robert Louis Stevenson and Edgar Rice Burroughs. One of his favorites was The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Graham.

BBC noted that Jacques showed literary talent at an early age (and we're lucky he survived a teacher's reaction): "He was caned by a teacher who could not believe that a 10-year-old could write so well when he penned a short story about a bird who cleaned a crocodile's teeth."

Friday, February 04, 2011

Poetry Friday - Anthem - Leonard Cohen

It's been a while since I posted a Poetry Friday update, but I recently listened to a book by Louise Penny called A Fatal Grace and throughout the story they kept quoting this Leonard Cohen verse about how, "there is a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in." I really loved that, so I went and looked it up. Leonard Cohen is a songwriter who's been writing for four decades, and he's written some amazing stuff, including this beautiful song.

Sometimes I want everything to be just so, and I work really hard to make it that way. This song reminds me that if I'd just let things be, I'd realize that even with the cracks and imperfections, there's light getting in, and often that's quite enough. I need to remember this. Maybe I'll write it on a post-it and stick it on my mirror!

So here's the full piece, and here is a link to see/hear Leonard Cohen perform "Anthem" on YouTube.



The birds they sang
at the break of day
Start again
I heard them say
Don't dwell on what
has passed away
or what is yet to be.

Ah the wars they will
be fought again
The holy dove
She will be caught again
bought and sold
and bought again
the dove is never free.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.

We asked for signs
the signs were sent:
the birth betrayed
the marriage spent
Yeah the widowhood
of every government --
signs for all to see.

I can't run no more
with that lawless crowd
while the killers in high places
say their prayers out loud.
But they've summoned, they've summoned up
a thundercloud
and they're going to hear from me.

Ring the bells that still can ring ...

You can add up the parts
but you won't have the sum
You can strike up the march,
there is no drum
Every heart, every heart
to love will come
but like a refugee.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.
That's how the light gets in.
That's how the light gets in.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Cosmo Girl article from Sarah Dessen

You all know she's my fave, and THIS is a link to a great article she wrote about those boys of hers. Who's your favorite boy in Sarah Dessen's book? Mine used to be Wes, but I'm kinda likin' Owen best these days...Sa-woon.

birthdays from January - I think?!

So somehow my system broke down, and I had a bunch of pics on the camera that I think are all January birthdays, but I'm not 100% positive. Not only did my system break down, but also my camera wasn't set correctly - it said I had taken some of the birthday pics on December 29th, and I know full well that is flat out NOT true. So, better safe than sorry I say. If you are getting your second moment of birthday glory, snatch it up. There's too little chance for glory in the world these days. If it was your birthday in January, happy, happy birthday to you! Enjoy these book selections from your friends.