Saturday, January 19, 2013

Books On Film | Little Red Riding Hood

Little Red Riding Hood is a French fairytale first published in Tales and Stories of the Past with Morals by Charles Perrault in 1697. It was intended to be a cautionary tale which emphasized the danger in children trusting strangers. In Perrault's version, the book ends with the little girl and her grandmother being eaten by the wolf. 

A later version of the tale published in 1812 by the Brothers Grimm introduces a huntsman who saves the little girl and her grandmother from the wolf. This is probably the most well known version of the story. There are many other versions of the story however, including international ones like Lon Po Po (a Chinese Little Red Riding Hood story).

There have also been many stage, television, and film versions of the tale. The latest of which included Red Riding Hood (2011), set in medieval Europe and geared toward the Twlight-loving crowd. Little Red Riding Hood, her grandmother, and many other fairytale characters are featured in the Stephen Sondheim's musical Into The Woods and in ABC's television show Once Upon A Time.   

In Into The Woods all of the characters live in the same kingdom and follow their respective stories, until the kingdom is "invaded" by the wife of the giant who Jack, from Jack and The Beanstalk, kills. In Once Upon A Time all the fairytale characters live in a little town in the Northeast US after being put under a spell by The Evil Queen. Once Upon A Time takes a lot of liberties with the stories, as part of the mystery is figuring out which towns person is which fairytale character!


Covers provided courtesy of LibraryThing

Friday, January 18, 2013

Food, Food, Food | The Week in Review

This week I am trying to make a concerted effort to eat three square meals a day.  This may make me sound crazy because so many of you already do that.  I have to force breakfast because I seldom wake up ready to eat.  Lunch I can do, but often by the time I am ready for dinner it's already bed time.

This reminds me of a time when my brother was little and he came to stay with me for a week-end.  First I had to tell him that all we had for breakfast was ice cream.  He was not upset about that.  Then at about 2:30 p.m. on Saturday he said, "Are you ever going to feed me lunch?"  I forgot, not having any kids of my own, that you have to feed them from time to time.  I was better prepared for him the next time he stayed.

Maybe that reminder just made me think that perhaps, if I had ice cream for breakfast I would be more enthusiastic!

I will let you know how it goes in next week's blog.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Wanderlust Librarian | The Promise

Sometimes you have to dream a dream bigger than when it comes true, you know that a miracle just happened. -Rena 

I wrote that in my journal a long time ago when I was barely a driving 16 year old and had no idea what life was all about. There must have been some old wisdom in my pen, because I kept those words close to me during a hard period in my life. 

My daughter was barely 5 years old and I was newly single. We had just moved back in with my parents and I was feeling pretty low. Little girls, with stars in their eyes, think the world of their mothers and could never bear to see them cry. Mothers of little girls try hard to hide the tears and tell them stories of better times. 

In that vulnerable moment, I made her a promise. A promise that was bigger than ourselves...that once it came true...would be one of the biggest miracles of all. I told her that after she turned 18, we would go to Paris for New Years Eve. Making this promise was scary...because I was working part time and living with my parents. I didn't know if I would have enough gas to get back and forth to work...but it was something that stopped my tears and pushed me to try. To try for my daughter, to try for try for Paris. 

It's 2013. The promise I made so long ago is so close, that I can smell the croissants. Her eyes still light up with the words I told her on my bed in my parents' house. The promise is no longer a dream, but an action. She and I scour websites together, make lists and plan for a trip so close to our hearts. 

Did I know that we would make it to Paris when I made that promise? 


Did I want to make it to Paris?


Soon after Gwyneth Paltrow's father died in 2002,  I saw this quote. She had asked her father why he had taken her on a special trip to Paris. He told her, “I wanted you to see Paris for the first time with a man who would always love you, no matter what.” 

In 2016, my daughter will be fresh out of high school and halfway into her Freshman year of college. I will be somewhere in my 40s. We will stand under the lights of the Eiffel Tower and cheer in the New Year with crowds of Parisians. 

On eve of 2017, my daughter will be in Paris for the first time with a mother would always love her... no matter what. 

Book Bucket List

Hello everyone!

The Book Bucket List will be on break until January 24.

Enjoy January everyone!

 - Lisa

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Short Attention Span Challenge | The Organizer

It's 2013 and some of us are starting out the year with our resolutions.  Keeping this in mind, I chose a skill to learn this week that most people, even the masters, could probably brush up on, Organizational Skills.  I know, right?  Blah!  How boring! And you know what? I agree!  I have always considered myself "functionally disorganized".  I have piles of stuff around my home.  Do you know what though?  I know where pretty much everything is.  Those disorganized piles are organized.  My life if busy and hectic, but I make it work.  It takes some amazing time management skills for me to keep it together.  I mean, a disorganized person couldn't do all that right?  So, when I walked into my house a week ago with a pile of library books about "Organization". I was surprised when my husband asked, "Are you going to learn how to be organized this week?  That is FANTASTIC!"  He looked way too happy.

"What are you talking about?  I am organized!  I am just going to improve on the organizational skills I already have," I said.

I followed his eyes as they traveled across our living room.

Okay, fair enough, so maybe I have more than a thing or two to learn about organization.

The Challenge
The "Plastic Stuff" drawer
The "Random Stuff" cabinet
My original goal was big.   I was going to perfectly organize my entire house.  A little ambitious, yes.  Delusional, absolutely.  As I read my books by professional organizers, I realized not only would a hugely ambitious organizational project be difficult, it would be disingenuous, because organization is not only a skill, but a commitment.  Organization is not something that can be done in one night willy-nilly.   It is a way of life.  There is a reason that the magazine article I found at the library was called "A Year of Organized Living" and the book I checked out was One Year to An Organized Life.  So, since I have a week to learn this skill, I decided to scale it down.  I would organize the messiest drawer (The Plastic Stuff Drawer) and cabinet (The Random Stuff Cabinet) in my kitchen.  Yes, we actually call them that. 

The Process
It seemed sort of silly to me, and perhaps boring, that I would write an entire blog post about my kitchen cabinet and drawer.  However, I think we know that this is more than just about my functionally disorganized kitchen.  Organization is about time management.  It is about making things easier.  How many times can I lose those keys, or that cheese grater?  I hate to say it, but on more than one occasion I have put something important in a "safe" place, and forgot where that was.  If everything had a place, that wouldn't happen.
For some people organizing might seem intimidating.  Like most things, tackling the project step-by-step is the key.

There seems to be a fairly consistent set of steps to organizing.  Most of you probably do it intuitively.  While there are many ways to word these steps, I found this book seemed to sum it up best.

Step 1: Eliminate
Empty fish bowl down there, not so necessary.

Lay out everything you are going to organize.  Go through it.  Check for things you don't use.  For example, as I looked through the drawer, I found an old curly straw.  I probably kept it because my daughter didn't want to throw it away, but here is it is in the drawer, unused and oh, look, MOLDY! Gross!  Out of the drawer and into the garbage.  Maybe there are things you have that you could use, but you don't.  In my cabinet I found a brand new salad spinner.  I remember buying it.  I thought we would eat more salads if I purchased it.  You know what though?  Maybe a charity thrift store could sell it to someone who would use it more than I would.  By getting to the bare bones of the things you are organizing, it creates more room and makes it less intimidating.

Step 2: Categorize
Put related items together.  In this case, the easiest way to do this was to put everything in piles on the counter. 

Step 3: Organize
Think about the items you have and what is the best way to use them.  For example, this drawer was used for storage of cookie cutters and children's eating utensils, but they didn't need to be thrown haphazardly into the drawer.   How much time and energy does it save to be able to open the drawer and reach into the exact spot where I know the items would be?  Think about how often the items are used.  Should the eating utensils be in the back, in a difficult spot to reach?  Probably not. Instead, maybe the Christmas cookie cutters, which are only used once a year.  

As mentioned before, organization is a commitment.  According to the experts, in order to keep a household (or workplace or whatever) organized, everyone must be on board.  This means, it is the responsibility of the organizer to inform others of how things are organized.  This can be accomplished several ways, such as  creating labels, making a chart, or even just talking about how things are organized and structured so everyone is aware.  I chose to make labels. 

The Result
I now have an organized kitchen cabinet and drawer!  No longer will I wonder where my Santa Claus cookie cutter is, or the party cups for my Magic Bullet.  The "Plastic Stuff" drawer and the "Random Stuff" cabinet are organized, easy to look through, and time saving! 

Now on to the Christmas Tree!!!

Okay, so organization might not be SO exciting, but next week I will be.....


Learning | Learning by Example

Recently, a very young man came to my desk with some books to check out.  "It's for my homework," he explained.  The thing is, he didn't even look old enough to be in kindergarten.  His grandmother noticed my surprise, and said he watches his 8 year old cousin doing homework every afternoon. She always gives him some paper and a pencil to "do his homework" beside the bigger boy.  

Sometimes, the best way to get ready to learn something is to observe it being done. I recall watching my older siblings reading, or learning to read.  I wanted to be just like them. Of course, my mother and father were good role models, as well. They sat in their matching armchairs in the evenings, reading.  They would trade books before taking them back to the library. 

I have compiled a short list of books about reading.  They are all entertaining, first of all, but I hope they might inspire somebody you know to catch the reading bug.

Just as the title suggests, if you ever wanted to teach a slug to read, this is the book for you.  It consists of a list of strategies, with cartoon-caption quips from some little slugs. Clever parents will be able to glean some wise advice, if they read between the lines--and so will their children.

 This adorable Elephant and Piggie book by Mo Willems is designed for beginning readers. If your child likes silliness, you need look no further.

The Bear in the Book
This beautifully illustrated story is about a boy's bedtime reading.  He has a book about a bear preparing to hibernate for the winter.  The bear steps out into the sunshine when spring arrives, but by that time, the little boy has fallen asleep. 

Another lovely picture book is The Lonely Book by Kate Bernheimer and Chris Sheban.  A library book is portrayed as an object with feelings. At first, it's very popular.  Later, it becomes sad when it sits neglected on the shelf.  Happily, it ends up in the possession of a child who repairs it and cherishes it.

How Rocket Learned to Read This is about a little dog named Rocket, who is taught to read by a little yellow bird.

What goes hand-in-hand with learning to read? Learning to write!
Rocket and his teacher, the little yellow bird, are back in this book.

I'm a dog lover anyway, so you can imagine how much I love Rocket, who goes around telling people, "I'm looking for words!" He collects words, writes them down, and hangs them on a tree. He decides to write a story. At first, it's hard to decide what to write. He finds inspiration in the pine tree.  He writes every day, and reads to the owl in the tree. The owl helps him to write the perfect ending.

Five Little Monkeys Reading in Bed You've probably seen other books about these busy little monkeys. They bounce on the bed, sit in the tree and wash the car, to name just a few.  Here, their mother has kissed them all goodnight and turned off the lights, but they decide to turn a light on and read some more.

But Excuse Me That Is My Book 
Lola has a favorite book, called "Beetles, Bugs and Butterflies (BBB.)"  She insists on checking it out every time she goes to the library, even though Charlie thinks she needs to broaden her interests. He shows her other books, and she can't find BBB! Which is her book--why would somebody else dare to check it out?

Arthur's Reading Trick D.W. bets her big brother that she can teach their baby sister to read. At first, Arthur thinks D.W. has bested him--until he realizes he's being tricked. It's not long before he turns the tables, and wins the bet.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

4 Kids | Dear Mr. President

With President Obama's second inauguration just a few days away (Sunday, January 20th, in case you were wondering), I started thinking about what a hugely important job being the President of the United States is. And then I thought: If I had the chance to meet President Obama, what would I ask him? (I hope I would ask something really smart.)

What would you ask the President of the United States?

The Smithsonian's website has some cool activities for kids. In the American Presidency exhibit, there are letters that ordinary kids have written to the President! And then there are tips on how you can write your own letter to the President. 

I think I'll write a letter to the President. 

How come we don't write letters that much anymore? Oh, I know we ALL email all the time, but that's not the same. I'm talking about the old-fashioned letter writing where you use a pen and paper, then put it in an envelope with a stamp and mail it! 

When's the last time you wrote a letter....the old-fashioned kind? I think we should all write an old-fashioned letter this week! Maybe not to the President, but I'm sure there is someone who lives far away that you can write to.

Which reminds me....I just stumbled across a great book that I have to tell you about! It's Our Tree Named Steve by Alan Zweibel. This book is a letter from a Dad to his children who are away visiting their Grandmother. In the letter, the Dad remembers how much their tree -- named Steve -- has meant in their lives. It's a cool message about appreciating what you have and the importance of being able to count on others. And it's a letter! A letter! A beautiful letter, even if might make you get a little teary-eyed.

So who are you going to write a letter to?

Happy Writing!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Professor O | Of Bunnys And Swords

Greetings and Salutations, fellow comic book adventurers!

Professor O has been eagerly devouring all things comic book, those little gems of the SSJCPL collection, and has managed to stumble on yet another great comic book read. A series that contains two of the professor's favorite things, samurai and cute fluffy bunnys. In this weeks installment, we will be diving into the world of one of the most action packed titles the library has to offer: Usagi Yojimbo, the one and only, samurai rabbit.
This is no fluffy bunny, this rabbit chops heads off!
 Written by the award winning Stan Sakai since 1984, he still continues to write about the samurai rabbit's exploits and adventures to this day. With over 17 Usagi Yojimbo books written, Sakai has created one of the most enduring (and endearing) comic book heroes of all time. Heavily influenced by the Samurai films of Akira Kurosawa, and taking the name of one of the greatest Samurai Warriors in film history, Toshiro Mifune's wandering ronin Yojimbo, this rabbit is both courageous and out to justly punish any wrong doers. Professor O wished he had a friend like that when he is arguing with his colleagues in the scientific community, sometimes those scientists can get a little out of hand.

Swords and cute animals, not the most ideal combination, but one that Stan Sakai has made work for a long time with award winning results. Look into the series, the SSJCPL has many of the books ready for any eager samurai fanatic.Get ready to polish that sword, warrior, Usagi Yojimbo is out to kick some tail!

The resemblance is uncanny.

Life & Style | In Defense Of All Old Things


Are you ready for my next confession?

Here we go:

I don't love E-readers.

I have a real hard time enjoying books on my old Kindle.

For me, reading books means relaxation but reading from my Kindle isn't relaxing for me.

You see, I spend numerous hours in front of a computer everyday, so the act of staring at another tiny computer screen feels like punishment.

Also, my old Kindle needs constant re-charging and it gets serious hot flashes.

Just give me the old paperback and I would be eternally grateful.

Maybe, I am afraid of what might be happening in the distant future; A library void of books.

It almost kills me whenever I hear someone say that they only take their E-readers on vacation since it saves them so much space.

In my case, unless I am backpacking across Europe or climbing Mount Everest, I can always find some space in my luggage for a couple of paperbacks.

Anyway, that is my two cents on this topic.

If you like to test drive this new technology, our library offers numerous pre-loaded Nooks such as (Bestsellers, Mystery, Romance, Non-fiction) that you can check out for free. 

You can also download free E-books from our library website on to your E-reader.
Let me know what you think about this topic.

Signing off until next Monday- Panteha