Friday, April 25, 2014

More Poetry on the Edge
from Bonnie & Uri's Class

Last Friday, a group from Bonnie & Uri's homebase came to the library to create their own Edge Poems.  At the end of the period, poems by Keb and Margot were voted the top two of the group.  Well done, class!  All of the poems are on display in the Library through the beginning of next week. 

"After the War" by Vinay

"Broken Pieces"  by Laney

"Champion" by Lulu

"Death" by Stella

"Enchanted"  by Haley

"Forever Free" by Tom H.

"Hopes and Fears" by Lindsay

"I'm Not Scared"  by Margot

"Me and Them"  by Olive

"Regret"  by Stella

"Silence"  by Haley

"The Different Ones"  by Stella

"The End"  by Erin Rose

"Twisted" by Alison

Untitled Poem   by Keb

"What A Wonderful World"  by Matthew

"Lost"  by Joanie

Thursday, April 24, 2014

What's in My Pocket?
Hint -- It's Poem in Your Pocket Day!

Way back in the spring of 1998, I tore a page out of The New Yorker.  That same page is still magneted to my refrigerator, and this remains one of my favorite poems.   Because it's spring, because they're daffodils, because inside each of us, still, is a gleeful child just waiting for something to make us clap with joy! 

 Today is Poem in Your Pocket Day, sponsored by the Academy of American Poets.

I have another favorite, and I probably like it for many of the same reasons I like "48 Big Daffodils" -- because the little things matter a lot. This poem was an assigned essay topic in my 10th grade American lit class, lo these many years ago, and I still have it memorized.  Do you know it?

Dust of Snow

The way a crow
Shook down on me
A dust of snow
From a hemlock tree

Has given my heart
A change of mood
And saved some part
Of a day I had rued.

-- Robert Frost

What poem will you share with the world today??

Friday, April 18, 2014

Reading Bowl Rolls Around Again

A sample of the books on the 2014 7th & 8th grade Reading Bowl lists. Click the image for complete listing.

Spring means junior high Reading Bowl.  Seventh grade competition started this week, and I sat in on a round with two teams from Jennifer & Tony's class and one from Bonnie & Uri's class.  Each Bowl consists of several rounds, and the six top scoring teams from the preliminaries go onto the final round, which will be next week.

Looks like "First Lines" for 300, Greg.
Reading bowl was started years ago by Jennifer and Greg (back when they taught together, if that dates it for you).  At the beginning of the school year, 7th grade and 8th grade  each get reading lists of 8 books, from which all the questions are taken.

Based on the TV game show Jeopardy, reading bowl actually started with a working Jeopardy game set programmed with answers and questions, bouncing daily doubles and the classic Jeopardy beep sounds, but these days it's gone low tech (and it works just as well).

Hmm, what was that dog's name?
Categories range from "First Lines" to "All About Anything" (aka, miscellaneous), teams choose the category and point value, and yes, there are buzzers!   The top scores bounce from team to team as right and wrong answers are offered, Jeopardy and Double Jeopardy pop up, and risky bets are taken.  The Final Jeopardy question determines everything.  Today's question -- "What is the name of the poodle in Born to Rock?"   Naomi??  No.  Good thing this JeTo class only bet 200.  Nobody knew the answer, and the high scoring team at the end was Jennifer & Tony 3.  Alas, even winning their round wasn't enough to put them into next week's Championship round.  The lowest scoring finalist had 18,400 points!

The complete Reading Bowl lists for both grades are posted in the Reading Lists section of the library catalog.  Many are available as audiobooks and ebooks as well as in print, making them accessible to a larger number of students.

Oh, and what was that poodle's name?  Why, Llama, of course!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

April Is The Edgiest Month --
(Edge Poetry, That Is)

Yes, National Poetry month has come again, and the library is sponsoring a couple of different activities in celebration. First is the return of Poetry on the Edge, featuring student and faculty "found poetry," written with titles on book spines.  Junior high classes are scheduling time to come to the library, browse for ideas, and create their own "edge poems" from our collection.  Greg's 7th graders came on Monday, and next week Jennifer's 8th graders plan to come.  The poetry is on display in the library, and will soon expand to the display cabinets in both the high school and the junior high commons!

Another poetry celebration is the return of Pocket Poems.  Every day or so, I'll be posting a poem somewhere on campus in a lift-up "pocket." Inspired by "Poem in Your Pocket" Day (April 24, 2014 - we may do this as well!), many of the pocket poems are favorites submitted by teachers.

Send in Your Poems! - If you're inspired, create an edge poem from your own book collection, take a photo and send it to me (with a title). and your photographed poem will go on display as well.  And if you'd like to suggest a pocket poem, email me or add it in the comments.  I hope you will!

Edge poetry by Greg's 7th graders.  Click the photo for a larger image of each poem.

"Silence" by Sarah

"A Journey in the Badlands" by Sam

"The Colors of Diversity" by Cory

"Coming Home" by John B.

"Dark Happiness" by Victor

"From Darkness Comes Light" by Josh

"From Nothing to Something Better"  by Matthew

"In Darkness"  by Hunter, Fernanda and Kendall

'Inner Waters' by Kendall

'No Turning Back'  by Margot

"Sirena" by Kendall, Fernanda and Hunter

"The Great Awakening" by Hunter

"This Side of Paradise" by Fernanda

"To Conquest the Greatest Are Born" by Hector

"Truth" by Eliza

Friday, April 4, 2014

2014 Awards Reading Report #2:
A Graphic Novel to Relish

Pun pun pun -- the Alex Award book I just finished is Relish: My Life in the Kitchen, a memoir of growing up 'foodie' by cartoonist Lucy Knisley.  It's another in the tradition of 'memoir with recipes' (think Under the Tuscan Sun or Tender at the Bone), written in cartoons instead of prose, and this is the perfect style for her story.

The narrative tells Knisley's entire life to date (she's about 30 now) in thematic vignettes, like the trip to Mexico at age 12, with best buddy & their moms,  who promptly came down with the flu.  While moms spent 4 days sick in the hotel, Lucy and Drew roamed the streets of San Miguel de Allende, discovering the best tamale carts and candy stands in town, as well as Mexican porn mags (for Drew -- no age limits for buying!) and how to handle a first period in a foreign language (for Lucy -- how embarrassing).  And all the time they thought their parents had no idea!  The recipe at the end of this chapter is, naturally, Heuvos Rancheros.

There's a chapter about her parents splitting up and moving with her mother to rural New York, where mom became a renowned chef and food writer.  The divorce seems to have been amicable, but Knisley makes very clear how different her two lives were, between her mom's rural handcrafted slow-food world and her dad's Manhattan fast-paced restaurant-appreciation world.  There's a move to Chicago for art school, and a whole new city and food scene to explore; a backpacking summer in Europe (and apricot croissants to die for!); and a recounting of friend Mark's disastrous Lemonade Chicken (takeaway lessons: avoid random recipes from the Internet, and even bad food is better with good company). Through it all, Knisley relishes both her childhood and the food that surrounded it, and (as a refreshing note to the previous Alex Award report) she adores her mother.  The title comes from a passage in Ray Bradbury's autobiographical novel of idyllic childhood, Dandelion Wine, which itself sprang from a short story first published in Gourmet magazine.

Relish is definitely recommended, and I'm going to recommend it for Bonnie & Uri's junior high class.  I think it might fit in nicely with Uri's "Food Studies" program.  It's fitting in nicely already with our graphic novel collection. 

~ ~ ~
Awards Reading Update

I've read and enjoyed
Help for the Haunted
The Lives of Tao
Mother, Mother
Midwinterblood (Printz Award)
The Death of Bees

Not yet read
Golden Boy
The Sea of Tranquility
The Universe vs. Alex Woods