Saturday, December 31, 2011

Tidbits: Feminists like nail polish, Legos, voting, art crime, AND sparkles

I've been hoarding these up for quite a while, team.  I feel pretty terrific about getting them out before the end of the year, so there's a strong chance someone will be treating herself to a cappuccino later today.  Happy 2012!

  • Attention sparkleprincesses out there: the crack team behind the Hunger Games movie marketing has come out with a gimic you've probably seen on a thousand other blogs - Panem themed nail polish! As they note on this blog, the dozen colors seem to match up pretty well to each of the districts.  Except for 13, which is suspiciously missing from the map.  I smell a conspiracy!  Personally, I am hungry for foie gras.  Served in Peeta bread.

  • This magazine cover made me groan when the mail came in at work a few weeks ago.  Boooooo.  I'm pretty sure little girls like Legos.  And they don't need them to be sparkly or pink for the fantasy dream houses and giant towers we build, only to be knocked down by our little siblings. You know, kind of the same way boys play.  How do I know this?  Because I am a girl.  And I loved Legos.  
  • Let's keep going on this feminist bender! Here are thirteen fantastic female comic creators of 2011.  From this list, I've only read Anya's Ghost, but have been wanting to read Marzi for a while.  And now I want to read Ivy and Finder

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Case of the terribles: A Titantic cover hack job

A Thursday twofer to make up for totally slacking since oh...early December.  Tidbits, a recipe, and a review coming soon! 

  • I don't deny being a cover judger.  BUT.  Can someone please explain to me why Tim Burton may have been responsible for this whack gothic Nook Book Pride and Prejudice cover? Did they think it was Mansfield Park?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Tidbits: A Tidbits turned 2011 pseudo-Holiday Gift Guide

  •  YAMatters: This kind of cuts to the heart of the debate about the YA publishing boom (minus the whole e-Side of things).  He's right, what matters is not that it's here, it's that it's pervasive enough that we can't help but think and talk about it.  Keep being disruptive, YA! 
  •  Map of the Jellicoe Road:  It's been a while since I fawned over Melina Marchetta.  It's like she missed me.  She missed me so much that she put this gorgeous map of the Jellicoe Road boundaries up on her website.  I missed you too!  Good thing Froi of the Exiles arrived today from the fantastic Candlewick Press!
  • Library Bar, London:  AKA where I'm gettin' a gimlet and washing it down with a scone with Mrs. Gav's Book Reviews next time I'm in London. 
And then it turned into a mini-gift guide:
  •  For Chimney Corners girls:  While she might put our morning activity efforts to shame (seriously, she's totally the cabin overachiever), someone should tell this lady that they are actually called Gnome Homes.  Get it right!  This is also a great Christmas gift for my mom, who I'm 99% certain does not read this blog; she'll act surprised and delighted even if I'm 1% wrong.
  • For NZ Kids (real and at heart):  I crazy want Poo Bum.  Not actually, because gross.  But seriously, I dare you to whisper it three times quickly and not snicker.  Now you want it too!  American publishers, get on this already.  
  • A holiday gift idea for your favorite crabby librarian:  Or me, on draggy Tuesday afternoons.  Seriously.   I want this so I don't even have to speak.  I can just POINT.  Go bother someone else, kids!
  • Or for your other favorite crabby librarian:  Still me.  It is possible I need a snack.
  • Or for your other, other favorite crabby librarian (or really cool small child):  Anything at Out of Print.  I'm still crossing my fingers that one magical day their kids book kids t-shirts come in adult sizes...DO IT.  
  • Or for your other, other, other favorite crabby librarian:  It's a gift for the eyeballs!  You're welcome, library nerds who have been away from the internet for days and thusly missed this one!  There's a Ryan Gosling stocking stuffer joke in there, but I'm much of a lady to make it.  
  • Tis the season to be giving! Literarily, of course.  If you want to donate to a charitable but literary cause here are two great charities that would love your support this season:
    • San Juan del Sur Biblioteca: Awesome, amazing, wonderful grassroots library system in Nicaragua.  Te lo prometo.  Remember when I posted about it? Last week?
    • More Than Words:  Donate!  Or shop!  This fantastic organization will not only take away your old books, but is staffed and run by at-risk youth.  They just opened a second location in South Boston! 

Monday, December 12, 2011

Case of the Terribles: On the 5th day before winter break my students gave to me...

One do it yourself defibrillator, instructions included!

The real question: how in the blazes am I going to get it off without following the questionable directions of my deviants?

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Wikkeling, by Steven Arntson: Things not to put on your coffee table

The Wikkeling
by Steven Arntson, illustrated by Daniela J. Terrazzini
Philadelphia: Running Press, 2011
ISBN 978-0-7624-3903-4

This…is not a normal book.  Which  means I feel okay about not doing a review of my normal format.  It also means I feel okay about admitting that I’m not sure how I feel about this book.  Honestly, I think it may be a book that tried to be too many things for too many audiences.   If you remember way back, I was lured in by the cover – it gives me the shivers yet is marketed to kids?  So I borrowed it from the library, where it is now heinously overdue, which has finally prompted me to write the following review.  

Thursday, December 8, 2011

San Juan del Sur Biblioteca: Tip Top Tipitapa

Tip Top Tipitapa
Originally posted on Simmons Dispatches from the Field

Day 4, January 7, 2009

We spent the night in Managua again on our way south, which meant that we were able to get in a site visit to Tipitapa, a community on the outskirts of Managua and another Wisconsin-Nicaragua partner library. I have to say, this was probably my favorite site visit of the trip, for a number of reasons. We were warmly welcomed by Dona Rosa, the librarian whose house is also home to the library, her young assistants, Karen and Carla, and a bunch of children who were at the library. Through the volunteer staff’s hard work, persistence, and dedication, the site has prospered and has been really valued by the community.
Dona Rosa welcomes us to Tipitapa

It seems like Tipitapa is a site that really gets it; there are a wide range of books in Spanish for kids of all ages, and they are all about the subjects kids actually want, like dinosaurs, animals, magic, etc. I was pleased with the diversity in the collection too; while this is clearly a library mostly for children, there is consideration for all reading levels, including adults. Jeremy made the excellent point that the bookshelves are on a level easily accessed by children.
Courtyard in the Tipitapa Biblioteca
Lauren reads a story in Tipitapa
One of my favorite moments of the entire trip occurred in Tipitapa when I was checking out the book room with some young boys. Fishing for questions I could handle asking in my bumbling Spanish, I settled on asking them to show me their favorite book on the shelf was. My little posse of boys eagerly started looking through the shelves, and one of them made a grab for a book. He pulled it down and thus began one of the more amusing conversations I’ve ever had in Spanish; it was about “dinosauros,” (I think you can all handle the translation on that one). Dudes, I have trouble pronouncing dinosaur names in ENGLISH. Throw in some accents and rolled r’s in with 13 to 15 letters, and voila, here comes Tiranosaurante Rex. Luckily, the language of little boys is universal, so the roars needed no translation, and nor did the mockery of me when I told them that my favorite dinosaur is the triceratops (sorry, no translation. Also, admit it, I know I’m not the only one to have read Homer Price and the Enormous Egg and fantasized about having my very own pet triceratops!), and a picture of a T-Rex eating a triceratops was instantly produced.
Outside of this, the library is clearly a library with the goal of serving the community in mind. The kids feel comfortable here, evidenced by the fact that they all had no problem marching right into the book room and browsing leisurely to their hearts content. The women who work here know the children by name and are equally respected by the kids, who were actively engaged in a number of activities (a passion for crayons, like little boy language, seems to be universal). Moreover, the kids here were super friendly to us, despite their initial shyness, which to me indicates they felt comfortable there, even with all these day-glo white strangers talking at them in gibbersish.
While helping kids make Cordoroy calendars, I had the singular pleasure of meet a boy with perhaps the best name ever…Maverick. For those of you who don’t know, one my all time favorite movies hands down is Topgun. I contemplated asking him if he had a best friend named Goose, but figured I’d play it cool and settle for photographic evidence of my encounter with Maverick. I attempted to take a picture of him with his calendar, which had his name written across the top. Tragically, the writing didn’t turn up in the picture! You’ll just have to take my word that there is a boy by the name of Maverick living somewhere in Tipitapa, Managua, communicating, keeping up foreign relations, and maybe even requesting a fly by.
I’d also like to add that Dona Rosa showed some of us a slide show she’d put together of a project the volunteer librarians have taken upon themselves to start. They have started doing a pseudo bookmobile of their own to the dump in Managua, which sadly has a community living in it, and a good number of children. She showed me pictures of the holiday party that they threw for the kids, which included a small gift and snack for the kids. It’s kind of incredible that these women do this; the sites we visited on the trip could probably be considered as being below the poverty line. Yet these women who already selflessly volunteer their time, go far and beyond their responsibilities and are working to bring literacy and books to the poorest of the poor in Nicaragua. To say I’m impressed and a little bit awed is an understatement.
Cordoroy Calendars in Tipitapa
As we hit the road, we were showered with hug and kisses from the library staff, the kids, and the adults there. Dona Rosa told us that we should consider the library ours too. I have to admit I got a little misty! All in all, it was a great visit, and I hope that Tipitapa continues to do the fabulous work they have been, both inside and outside their community. They’re clearly doing something right!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

San Juan del Sur Biblioteca: Book Mobile

Book Mobile
Originally posted on Simmons GSLIS Dispatches from the Field

Day 5, January 8, 2009

Most of the GSLIS girls and boys were up early to head out by 8:15 on our first book mobile trip out to the campo (countryside). We had a tasty breakfast made and served by Roxana, the hotel’s mistress of all things breakfast, sister to Edwin, and mother to Luis Carlos. After the feeding frenzy and a delectable cup of the SJDS Biblioteca coffee farm coffee (you too can enjoy this tasty coffee for just $10 a bag, and have the double satisfaction of knowing that you are supporting the library. Contact me, or any of the trip participants, and we’ll hook you up.), we headed to the library, which is literally a stones throw from the hotel. Jane gave us a tour, and we piled into the back of our sweet ride. It has leopard print seats! As has been covered before, the best way to get around Nicaragua is in the back of a truck. While I was initially apprehensive, the leopard print seats combined with the wrought iron people-cage and fresh breeze convinced me to give it a whirl. And whirl we did, hair blowing in the wind as we bounced joyously down the road to our first visit.
Biblioteca Movil
Biblioteca Movil + GSLIS = Riding in style, photo by Lauren

Oraguan Trail
The Or-aguan Trail
After bumping along country roads, fording small rivers (otherwise known as creeks), and passing several teams of oxen we arrived at our destination: Oregon. Kidding, I actually never found out the name of our site, which is a shame. If anyone in the group remembers and wants to correct me, by all means chime in! Anydoodle, our first trip out on the SJDS Biblioteca Movil took us to what is normally a two room, open air school house. Since the schools were all still on vacation, we had to squeeze in through barbed wire to get into the schoolyard.
Open air school
One room of the open air, two room school house that was our site visit
From what I gather, when the book mobile goes out to schools, there is usually quite a crowd because there is a whole school full of kids jonesing for their literary fix. Since school was out, it took a little while for kids to trickle in, long enough for me to have one of my most terrifying bathroom experiences ever. It involved a tin floored latrine that kind of buckled when I stepped onto it, a seat that might have been designed for children, and hearing an animal in the bushes outside (it turned out to be three somewhat little piggies). Visions of Slumdog Millionaire were dancing through my head.
3 Piggies
3 little piggies go to school
Once kids started turning up, we started chatting them up, asking what kinds of books they liked or getting them to read to us. While we had our smallest turnout, the kids were all eager to see the books and sweet enough to talk to us. Nelly, another SJDS librarian, asked me to read Cordoroy again, which I did, before suggesting a pick up game of soccer. Erikka, Jeremy and I took on a team of three boys. While I’d say two of the three were no taller than my hips, and the other was wearing flip flops, they gave us a run for our money!
On our way out, a local woman and her kids came running up late. Very kindly, the staff took out the books, and let them take their pick before sending them off with a snack. It made me really happy when the mother chose a book for herself; it may have been a kids chapter book, but it was a book nonetheless. In a country where much of the adult population came of age in extremely tumultuous times and is consequently illiterate, this was a very hopeful and heartwarming thing to witness.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

San Juan del Sur Biblioteca: Groovin' from Granada to San Juan del Sur

Groovin' from Granada to San Juan del Sur
Originally posted on Simmons Dispatches from the Field

Day 4, Part 2
January 7, 2009
On our way to SJDS, we stopped in Granada for a delish lunch and jaunt around the town. I lived life on the edge and tried two Nicaraguan specialities for lunch. I had the coyolito, a drink that is certainly “muy sabroso.” It is made from a berry of (I think) a cactus fruit, and is a bit spicy and almost gingery, but is still sweet and refreshing. Two thumbs way up! I also tried the guapote, a fresh water fish that lives in Lake Nicaragua/Cocibolca. It too was muy sabroso, especially accompanied by the live folk music performance with which we were serenaded. For desert, we had a dance performance by Erikka and Edwin, Nicaragua’s Lord of the Dance.

Nica Lord of the Dance
Nica Lord of the Dance
Forgetful chef
The Chef, forgetting to grill my lunch
We had a bit of time to wander around the town before heading back out. Granada is beautiful architecturally, and was clearly a popular tourist destination.
Granada Cathedral
Granada Cathedral
Granada doors
Granada is known for its beautiful doors. Color me jealous! I want doors to my house that look like this!
Excitingly, as we sat in the shade of the cathedral listening to the music from the service after our frantic shopping endeavors, the Bibliobus, a German-Nicaraguan library endeavor (serving primarily prisons) that apparently predates Jane’s SJDS Biblioteca Movil project, pulled up down the road! We took off on a hunt for the founder, who turned out to be a spry 80 something year old German woman, who was as perky and adorably motivational as you can imagine! Since she spoke no English, and we spoke no German, I think that her Bibliobus project serves prison communities…but I could be totally wrong!
Granada doors
Our goose hunt took us to the local art school, where a few of us wound up getting some beautiful paintings by a student. I purchased one called “Sirena,” or “Mermaid.” Also nearby? A donut shop. Erikka gamely tried the Boston Crème and gave it a big thumbs up.
Granada Donuts
What could that be?
Erikka's Taste Test
Erikka traveled to Nicaragua from Boston JUST for this Boston Creme!
We piled back into our van, now driven by Miguel, since Richard was unavailable. Miguel is just as lovely and has beautiful eyes (I said it! You all thought it!). We did a quick drive down to the shore of the lake, but ultimately decided that we’d rather head straight to SJDS rather than take a boat trip at twilight (Edward Cullen was unavailable). Allegedly, there are fresh water sharks in the lake, but they are close to extinct. I was okay with not using myself as bait to test the theory.
We arrived in SJDS at our home away from home, Hotel Villa Isabella shortly after dark, checked in, got a little dolled up, and headed up to the Pelican Eyes resort for a traditional Nicaraguan happy hour night cap, featuring Flor de Cana, juices of sorts, and a florescent green cherry. MMmmacaus!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Tidbits: Sweeeeet Valley, kids learn to read good, someone gets lotioned up, a cookbook with rave reviews

  • In really excellent news, there may one day be a Sweet Valley High movie with Diablo Cody doing the writing (or something).  What is there not to love about her promises to make it "glamorous and colorful and bubblegum and a feast for the senses"?  Me and my middle school self are down.  Especially if Armie Hammer plays Elizabeth and Jessica; he does blonde twins so well.  And now all I can't get the tv series theme song out of my head...Sweeeeeet Vallllley, Sweeet Valley, Swweeeeet VALLEY HIGH.  Good luck getting this out of your head!
  • Via the New York Times, this is a rather interesting article about how many parents of young children are eschewing e-Books in favor of print books for their children.  Frankly, as a former children's librarian, I can't agree with them more; learning to read should be a physical, tactile experience.   Interestingly, this great interview with a Candlewick publisher about the future of children's publishing came out this week too.  Read them together, have a ponder.
  • Need a laugh?  I dare you to keep a straight face while watching this Time piece on romance novel covers.  Particularly when the makeup artist describes getting the male model ready ("I had to wet him down, I had to lotion him, so there's a little bit of shine..."). Have I mentioned that I'm twelve?

You keep it classy, ladykiller.

    Saturday, December 3, 2011

    A Case of the Terribles: The Worst Mail Ever

    This is horrible.

    Yes, this actually came in the mail.
    Yes, I gasped, laughed, gasped, laughed, shook my head, and showed my coworkers and some students, who all agree:
    Handicap International, you should be ashamed of yourselves for this fundraising gimmick!
    This is such badvertising for you. 
    Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...