Wednesday, April 22, 2015

She's Crafty | Concrete Poetry

In honor of National Poetry Month, let's celebrate concrete poetry.

The Mouse's Tale by Lewis Carroll.

When you make concrete poetry you take the words of your poem and shape them into an image that reflects the subject of the poem in some way. When the Mouse from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland decides to tell his "long and sad tale," Alice is puzzled that he would refer to his tail as sad. Well, by the time Mouse begins his tale, Alice imagines the poem above in the shape of a mouse's tail. Lewis Carroll also illustrates Alice's diminishing attention by making the text smaller and smaller until you can no longer read the poem. All round, a very clever piece.

In A Dazzling Display of Dogs, poet Betsy Franco and illustrator Michael Wertz use concrete poetry to showcase Franco's poems about dogs. One of my favorites is "Emmet’s Ode to His Tennis Ball."

Franco's poems and Wertz's illustrations are a wonderful take on concrete poetry. The match of shaped poem and colorful illustrations is fantastic. It reminds me of a project I thought of doing in college where you combine minimal illustrations with text that is shaped to match the content. I was going to illustrate the lyrics to Bob Dylan's 115th Dream, but in the end I went with a different project. I think of it from time to time. Hmmm, perhaps I will revisit this project in honor of National Poetry Month.

There are different ways to play with concrete poetry. The simplest is to type or hand write a poem into a simple shape in a font with uniform size and color. 

XLV by E.E. Cummings. Photo, cummings_xlv,
uploaded by William Cromar. Some Rights Reserved.

You can step it up by playing around with shaped letters, font size, and colors to add more complexity and reinforce your image. Like in, "Emmet's Ode to His Tennis Ball," up above uses shaped letters to help make the curve of the ball well-defined and fit the words together tight to help the impression of a solid object.

2013-07-04 13.41.32 by trevor.patt. Some Rights Reserved.

For the concrete poem project brewing in my head, I'm definitely inspired by Dazzling Display of Dogs. I'm itching to get some bright papers and collage a fun background. Then, I'll either create my concrete poem by hand-lettering the passage directly onto my background or by scanning my collage into the computer and digitally setting the type. Actually, I might try this with the Bob Dylan song. Yeahhh...

Well, feeling like giving concrete poetry a try? I hope you do. And I hope you get a chance to checkout Dazzling Display of Dogs. It's such a great book to look at, and would be great for story time. And before Dazzling Dogs, Betsy Franco came out with A Curious Collection of Cats (available through Link+), also featuring concrete poems.

In fact, here's a list of Betsy Franco poem books we have at our SSJCPL branches featuring her poetry or the poetry of others:

Monday, April 20, 2015

Just Life| Do it Yourself Manual

I just came across this great book called Complete Do-It-Yourself Manual. I think this a great book for any family to have.

It covers home problems from plumbing, electrical, interior repair, painting, landscaping, and more.

The book has great step by step pictures for the visual learners too. This is a great Father's Day gift idea.

Your library is a great resource for do-it-yourself projects. Here are some books on this topic:

If I had a hammer : more than 100 easy fixes and weekend projects

The complete photo guide to home improvement

  • Signing off until next next Monday- Panteha

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Books On Film | Child 44

The film adaptation of Tom Rob Smith's first book Child 44 will be released this weekend. The movie adaptation stars Tom Hardy as the main character Leo Demidov.
In the years following World War II, Joseph Stalin establishes great power and control over the Russian people; citizens are deceitfully told that their country is free from crime and offenders. However, a serial killer targeting children is, in fact, on the loose. And now, Leo Demidov, a decorated soldier, must locate this murderer while keeping his capture a secret.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Just life| National Library Week

April 12-18 2015 is National Library Week. This year's theme is " Unlimited Possibilities".  

National Library Week is the time to celebrate our libraries and our librarians and to promote literacy in our community.

Picture from ALA website

National Library Week was established in 1958.

Here is little bit of history about National Library Week from the ALA website:

"In the mid 1950's, research showed that Americans were spending less on books and more on radios, televisions, and musical instruments. Concerned that Americans were reading less, the ALA and the American Book Publishers formed a nonprofit citizens organization called the National Book Committee in 1954. The committee's goals were ambitious. They ranged from encouraging people to read in their increasing leisure time to improving incomes and health and developing strong and happy family life."

Inside the Hazelton Public Library.

National Library Week is the perfect time to visit your local library, to get a library card, or to check out interesting books for free or enjoy fantastic and free library programs.

Your library is waiting for you. 

Hazelton Marble Library, Stockton, CA.
In honor of National Library Week, here are a few of my favorite books:

Outliers : the story of success                  

The Paris wife : a novel

The power of habit : why we do what we do in life and business      

Sick day for Amos McGee

So please tell us what you like best about your local library? 

Young Patron reading at the Troke Library

Signing off until next Monday- Panteha

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Books On Film | The Longest Ride & True Story


The Longest Ride, latest in a long line of adaptions of Nicholas Spark's work, will premiere this weekend. This book tells two different love stories taking place at two different times.

After being trapped in an isolated car crash, the life of an elderly widower becomes entwined with that of a young college student and the cowboy she loves.

True Story, based on the memoir True Story: Murder, Memoir, Mea Culpa will also premiere this weekend in a limited release. The film will star James Franco as Christian Longo and Jonah Hills as Michael Finkel.
A young, highly intelligent man named Christian Longo, on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list for killing his entire family, has recently been captured in Mexico, where he'd taken on a new identity - Michael Finkel of the New York Times." "The next day, on page A-3 of the Times, comes another bit of troubling news: a note, written by the paper's editors, explaining that Finkel has falsified parts of an investigative article and has been fired. This unlikely confluence sets the stage for a bizarre and intense relationship.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Award-Winning Reads | The Adventures of Beekle

Sometimes the best friends lie just beyond our imagination.

Did you have an imaginary friend when you were young? Many children do. The winner of the week references this common childhood experience; however, the imaginary friend in this story does the unimaginable

In The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend, follow Beekle as he ventures from a faraway island to the real world to finally meet his match - a special friend living in the city. It is a sweet tale about friendship and imagination. 

My friend and coworker Candace described it as a sort of reverse telling of another award winner, the 1964 Caldecott medalist, Where the Wild Things Are. Do you notice the crown and the white playsuit in both books?

The Adventures of Beekle is written and illustrated by Dan Santat. You might recognize his work from the Ricky Ricotta's Mighty Robot books. Santat won this year's prestigious Caldecott Medal! 

According to the American Library Association (ALA), the organization who designates these medals and honors, the Caldecott Medal was named in honor of nineteenth-century English illustrator Randolph Caldecott. The medal is awarded annually to "the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children."
This is a logo for the Caldecott Medal. Claiming fair use, this photo is being used for informational purposes only, to illustrate what the award looks like.

Head to your local library and pick up this award-winning book that will surely delight readers of all ages!

Until next time, have a good reading!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

She's Crafty | From seeds to flowers...

Tiny beads, also known as seed beads, can be combined to create all sorts of amazing objects. From an endless array of beaded earrings and other accessories to beaded sculptures and full flower arrangements. If you have ever beaded anything, chances are you have come into contact with a seed bead or two.

Various sizes and colors of seed beads with tubular bugle beads.
Photo by April. Some Rights Reserved.
Huichol beaded reptile. Photo by Leonora Enking. Some Rights Reserved.
603-08, Twisty Turvey. Photo and beadwork by Dini Alves. Some Rights Reserved.

Since we are firmly into Spring, it's a perfect time to look into the art of beaded flowers.

A few years back my mother found The Flowers of Venice by Giovanna Poggi Marchesi. This big beautiful book introduced her to the art of Venetian beaded flowers and the conterie, or glass seed beads, which have been made in Venice for hundreds of years. My mother was inspired to make her own beaded flowers.

My mother dug deep into the tutorials and books pertaining to beaded flowers and found a tutorial that guided her step-by-step to create a life-size beaded orchid with leaves and a bud from wire and glass seed beads.

She created this beauty a few years ago but unfortunately it stands alone as she did not make more flowers. She describes making beaded flowers as easy work but incredibly tedious; the hardest part is having the patience to string all the little seed beads onto thin wire. I remember traveling with her to find tools like bead stringing bowls that would help her with the stringing, but the one we finally settled on didn't work well with wire. After a while she just went on to her next craft adventure and stored all the books and tutorials she collected away, hoping one day to revisit the craft. 

Which may be sooner than later...

Recently I was grabbing stuff from around the house to put in an I Spy Spring display and spied her blue orchid. I gave it a good cleaning and though I have always admired its beauty, the time spent cleaning its petals and looking at the way the seed beads come together to create a flower, gave me a chance to admire the beauty in which it was constructed and how easy it really is to make.

Also, it made me think I should finally try my hand at beaded flowers. Imagining beaded plumerias in my hair helped a bit too. So now we're on the hunt for good stringing tools and various colors of seed beads. I feel a trip to the bead store is in my future.

If you're interested in creating your very own beaded creations, I came across two books available for check out that would help you bead-ify your world.

The Beaded Object: Making Gorgeous Flowers & Other Decorative Accents by Mary Jo Hiney.

Beads in Bloom : The Art of Making French Beaded Flowers by Arlene baker.