Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Book Review: Alligator Bayou by Donna Jo Napoli

Calogero lives with his uncles and cousins in a small town in Louisiana where they run a fruit and vegetable store and a stand. They provide a needed alternative to the company stores, but they're not totally accepted by the white townfolk because they're Sicilian. They can't interact with African-Americans either, lest they give people another reason to turn against them. Calogero is lucky enough to have a tutor who teaches him english, while he absorbs his new surroundings. He's sweet on an African-American girl, Patricia. Eventually, things come to a violent head amidst rumors of attempted murder. The author used a real incident as a basis for her novel. Sicilian immigrants were lynched in the South just for being who they were around the turn of the 20th century. This is one sad story, but I'm glad Ms. Napoli told it.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Book Review: Crazy Beautiful by Lauren Baratz-Logsted

Think being the new kid in school is tough? Imagine being Lucius Wolfe, the kid who blew his own hands off in a misguided home chemistry experiment. Now you have hooks instead of hands. They remind you of what you did - not only did you lose your hands, you destroyed your family's home. Your family reminds you about what you did CONSTANTLY. Your peers look at you real funny and talk about how weird you are right in your face. The only saving grace is Aurora. She's new, too. And gorgeous. She's the only one, besides the school guard who treats you like a human being. Then you get on the wrong side of Jessup Tristan. He wants Aurora for himself. Can life suck any more than it already does? A modern retelling of "Beauty and the Beast" with a modern twist. It's a good, quick read, too.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Graphic Novel Info

Publishers are going out of their way to make assigned reading titles accessible. Take a look at Classical Comics: www.classicalcomics.com They've taken some of the Shakespeare plays and turned them into graphic novels. The difference here is that they have three versions: the original text, plain, or modern English, and quick text, which gets right to the point without a lot of words. They've done the same for titles like Jane Eyre and Frankenstein. We own Frankenstein in the original text at Hart - with the quick text versions of Frankenstein and Great Expectations, the original text version of Great Expectations, and Romeo and Juliet in all three versions on order. The website also offers free downloads for teachers and students.

BTW, the Friends of the Hart Library were really generous and agreed to all the items on my wish list. That's how I was able to buy the Classical Comics and much more:

Batman: Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader? - Neil Gaiman
Superman: Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow? - Alan Moore
Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451: the authorized adaptation - Tim Hamilton
Fruits Basket Vols. 22 & 23 - Natsuki Takaya
Green Lantern: Rage of the Red Lanterns - Geoff Johns
Naruto Vols. 45, 56 & 47 - Masashi Kishimoto
Tales of the Sinestro Corps - Goeff Johns
Garage Band - Gipi
Afro Samurai 1 & 2 - Takashi Okazaki
Cirque Du Freak: the manga, Vols. 1, 2, & 3 - Darren Shan
D. N. Angel Vols. 12 &13 - Yukiru Sugisaki
Escape From Bizarro World - Geoff Johns
Wolverine 1: Prodigal Son - Anthony Johnston
The Flash: Emergency Stop - Grant Morrison
The Color of Earth and The Color of Water - Kim Dong Hwa
Dungeon Monstres 1: The Crying Giant - Lewis Trondheim
Future Diary Vols. 1 - 5 - Esuno Sakae
Luuna Vols. 1 & 2 - Keramidas Nicolas
Bizenghast Vols. 3, 4, 5 & 6 - M. Alice LeGrow
Mugen Spiral Vols. 1 & 2 - Kusanagi Mizuho
All Star Batman and Robin, the Boy Wonder - Frank Miller
Amefurashi 1: The Rain Goddess and Amefurashi 2 - Atsushi Suzumi
Sanctuary - Melissa Marr
Bart Simpson: Son of Homer - Matt Groening
Simpsons Comics Hit the Road!
Simpsons Comics Wingding
The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya Vols. 1 - 4 - Nagaru Tanigawa
Wolverine: Worst Day Ever - Barry Lyga
Ender's Game: Battle School - Christopher Yost
Black Bird Vols. 1 & 2 - Kanoko Sakurakoji
Waiting Place - Sean McKeever
Cleburne: A Graphic Novel - Justin S. Murphy
Gettysburg: the Grraphic Novel - C. M. Butzer
Pride of Baghdad - Brian K. Vaughan
Kane De Manga: a fun, easy way to learn the ABCs of Japanese - Glenn Kardy
Kanji De Manga: the comic book that teaches you how to read and write Japanese - Glenn Kardy
Kanji De Manga 4 - Glenn Kardy
Kanji De Manga: YojiJukugo - Glenn Kardy
Manga University Presents...Kanji De Manga: the Comic that teaches you how to read and write Japanese! - Glenn Kardy
Manga University Presents Kanji de Manga 3
Shoulder-a-Coffin - Satoko Kiyuduki
Shoulder-a-Coffin Kuro 2 - Satoko Kiyuduki

Some of these have come in already. If you have any suggestions for individual titles and sereies, bring 'em on!

Monday, September 21, 2009

A Book Review and More

If you like "Twilight" and other supernatural romances, give "Lament: the Faerie Queen's Deception" by Maggie Stiefvater a look. Yeah, the same author who wrote "Shiver," which is currently on the NY Times Children's Best Seller list (Forgive them, they're adults). The Basics: Deirdre Monaghan is a talented harpist. She meets hottie Luke Dillon at a music competition and they literally make beautiful music together. There's something about Luke that's different, never mind the perfect four leaf clovers that litter Deirdre's path, and the mysterious red-haired guy who shows up every so often. Someone or something is after Deirdre, but for what purpose? Lots of thrills and chills, and faerie folklore. The sequel is "Ballad: a Gathering of Faerie," coming out in October.

Melissa Marr's "Wicked Lovely," another beware the faeries story has been optioned for the big screen. No dates or further info. yet.

October 21st at 6:30, we're having a special program for Teen Read Week. This year's theme is "Read Beyond Reality @ Your Library." The program is a Japanese writing workshop, with worksheets you can use to practice. There will be Japanese treats provided. The worksheets are provided courtesy of Japanime, publishers of the Manga University series, Kana de Manga series and "The Manga Cookbook." If you want to visit their site, the address is: www.howtodrawmanga.com