Saturday, September 21, 2013

Books On Film | The Wizard of Oz

For the next week The Wizard of Oz (1939) will be playing in IMAX theaters, including the theater in Downtown Stockton. If you've ever wanted to see it on the big screen, now is your chance.

The movie is an adaptation of L. Frank Baum's 1900 classic book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. The book tells the story of a young girl, Dorothy, who gets swept into a magical land called Oz. The books were so popular with children that the author wrote several sequels before he died in 1919 and after his death other authors were contracted by his publishing company to write even more sequels. [see a full list of Oz books here]

The book has been transformed into a stage play, live-action films, as well as serving as the inspiration for the 2013 film Oz: The Great and Powerful

Trivia Time: Which character is NOT from The Wizard of Oz?
  • Toto
  • The Cowardly Lion
  • The Umpa Lumpas
  • The Scarecrow
  • The Tinman
  • The Wicked Witch of the East
  • Glenda the Good Witch
 Covers courtesy of LibraryThing.

Answer: The Umpa Lumpas. They are from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Wanderlust Librarian | The Art of Blogging

The Library Blog writers are a dedicated group of staff who have willingly given their time to write about topics they're interested in.  For this, I give much praise and love to the talented writers. All of the blogs are insightful, fun and embodies the life of its author. 

For me, writing about travel is liberating because it has unlimited avenues. As you can see by my Library Blog, I've written about a number of topics: staycationseating at a weekly food truck gathering and taking pictures when traveling

Coming up with fresh, new content weekly can be hard....especially when there are so many ideas floating around in my head. There are so many topics I have in the blog hopper, that when people read my work before it's finished, it's not really indicative of what the final post will be. The library carries many books on blogging that are available in both print format and through our e-book catalog. Check out our titles here

Every writer has a different writing method. My personal process is fairly simple:

*cue another famous Library Bloggess list!*

1. A Picture is worth at least 500 blog words. It's no surprise that I love to take pictures. In fact, almost every photo on my blog are ones that I take. The inspiration of just one image can launch a huge idea for me. Though the picture is always the start of an idea, it's the last thing I add before I share it with you. 

2. The Word Spew : Many writers call this a first draft or a "vomit pass". It's a burble of words and ideas meant to invoke the spirit of the topic. It's not always grammatically correct or spelled perfectly but the pieces are all ready to be put together. Just look at the Spew like making a mosaic. There are a lot of little bits and pieces that are going towards making one unified topic. It's going to be a mess for a bit until things start to get put together. 

3. Making it Work is my process of taking all of the pieces and making them fit in a cohesive, entertaining and understandable post. In the Blog Mosaic, not all of the pieces will be used. They were useful at the time of the Spew, but they're just not useful for this specific project. 

4. The Read through / Edit is when I read the post out loud to see if things make sense, if things need to be moved or just taken out. 

5. Celebratory cup of.... is when I pat myself on the back for a job well done and get myself a cup of: (choose from the following) coffee, tea, chai, cocoa, water or juice. I like to remind myself that it's okay to get excited about finishing a project. 

My friend and fellow blogger, Lori, wrote on a similar topic just a few weeks ago. I was pretty excited because my post expands on her great post. It was fun and she had a great book to share about the topic.

Writing is an adventure. It requires one to use their creativity and voice to express their story. Like all adventures... every single one is different and takes a different path. It should reflect the personality and of the person who shares it.  

Use your words to carve your path! 

Writing adventures are out there! 

The Library Bloggess

Book Bucket List | The Island Beneath the Sea

I hate to admit it, but I've been ignoring my own book bucket list lately.  This past Saturday however, I found myself with a rare free afternoon.  My friends were out of town and I had no plans to be with family.  So I looked at my list and decided to pick up Isabel Allende's The Island Beneath the Sea.  Luckily, I've made a habit of buying used books from Friends of the Library book sales, so the book was happily sitting on a dusty shelf waiting for me to pick it up.

I've wanted to read Allende's books for a long time.  One of my favorite writing styles to read have a lot of mystical realism, and this is a style she's known for writing. Allende was born in Peru, and her family moved to Chile when she was a child.  Allende is also known for writing about her own experiences, the death of her daughter, and stories about women overcoming impossible obstacles.  She's also known as the world's "most popular Spanish-language author."   
The Island Beneath the Sea follows the story of Zarite, who only knows a life of slavery.  She was sold to a French plantation owner to be his wife's chamber maid, but he quickly became dependent on her as well.  This story spans four generations and follows Zarite as she comes into her own.  

I don't want to go into too much about the plot, as I just started and don't want to spoil anything.  If you're looking for a strong female writer, then Isabele Allende is your woman. 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Teens Only | True Confessions

Yes, you read that title correctly. This is true confessions time. I feel like I've been harboring a deep, dark secret for too long. It's time to let it out and move past it....if I can. And you, gentle readers and dear friends, are the comfortable place I have chosen to unburden myself.

Here is my true confession: I am a book addict.

Yes, some of you might think you are also addicted to books...and reading. But you must understand: I have it bad. Really bad.

First of all, I don't read one book at a time. Oh no. I have at least 4 books going at the any given time. You'll find these books strewn throughout my house. Right now I'm reading Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John LeCarre, The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett, Witness by Karen Hesse, and The Green Book by Elizabeth Rogers. 

Oh dear. That's 5 books, isn't it. See how bad I am?

Other life problems that arise from this, my book addiction: Laundry. Oh, I can start a load of laundry just fine. Sometimes I even remember to put it in the dryer. But then I see a book just lying there, and I pick it up. And I start reading. And reading. And pretty soon I realize that hours have passed. And the laundry in the dryer? Oh I've forgotten all about that. I told you. I'm addicted to books.

In addition to the 4 (or 5) books I have going at the same time -- in my house -- there is usually a book in my purse too. In fact, I had this really great purse I just loved. Then one day, the strap just broke. I was pretty bummed, and started considering whether that purse was poorly made. But then I looked inside. I had 3 books in there. I'm thinking now that was too many for the little purse strap to bear. Now I just carry one book in my purse. But I've got one in my car trunk and a few under my desk at work. Just in case.

Sometimes I get so caught up in a book I forget to sleep. True story. A few weekends ago I reread Nina Sankovitch's Tolstoy and the Purple Chair, which just happens to be the featured title of this year's One Book, One San Joaquin. I started rereading it around 7 pm. At 3:45 am my stomach started to growl. I wondered for a second whether I had eaten anything in a while. And then I looked at the clock. Darn. I was going to have to get some sleep. But I couldn't stop reading. So I let myself have another 30 minutes and then I went to sleep. Compromise is good. And so was that book!

Lastly. In preparation for this soul-bearing confession, I thought I would count the books I own. So these are all the books in my house, not counting the ones borrowed from the library. Just the ones I own. Total count? 896. Seriously. That's not too many, is it?

But you know what? Despite the lack of sleep and the problem with finishing laundry that this book addiction causes, I wouldn't give up my books for anything!

I love books. And I'm not too proud to admit it.

Happy Reading.

P.S. I just remembered. There's one more book I'm reading: To Stir a Movement: Life, Justice, and Major League Baseball by Jeremy Affeldt (of the San Francisco Giants). I love my Giants!

Learning | What Ate Your Homework?

Homework, my youngest son once whined, is worse than "something I think is REALLY boring." He said this shortly after he began attending kindergarten. He had a particularly difficult time sitting still long enough to do one worksheet.  

I remember one assignment that required him to count the number of doors and windows in his home. He didn't mind walking around and counting, but he was absolutely furious that he was expected to write those numbers down. (The nerve of some teachers!)

When I stumbled across this picture on, I thought of him.  I imagined him having a pair of scissors handy, to shred the offending piece of paper.  Unfortunately, I don't think most teachers will accept a "scissors ate my homework" excuse.

"Homework" courtesy of KimmerKC's photostream on
Some rights reserved.

SSJCPL has a surprisingly long list of titles about things that ate homework

I would like to draw your attention to one of the newest chapter books for Grades 3-6, Patrick Jennings' My Homework Ate My Homework

The main character, Zaritza, was, shall we say, in need of a little extra credit for her math grade. That's the reason she agreed to take care of Bandito, the class pet--even though she did not really like ferrets much, and she had other things on her mind, like getting a good part in the school play.  

As you might have guessed from looking at the cover picture, this is a funny book, and things did not go exactly as planned.  

In fact, the story began at the ending, when Zaritza told her teacher that Bandito escaped. I have to admit, the explanation for that dialog was not what I expected.  

Check it out! You'll enjoy it.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

4 Kids | Happy Belated Birthday, Mr. Dahl

Yes, I know I'm several days late, but that's ok. I think it's just fine to wish a belated happy birthday to one of the greatest authors for children ever. And I'm sure many of you readers agree with me that his books are just over-the-top funny with incredible characters and super great plots. 

Roald Dahl's birthday was September 13. He was born in 1916 in Wales to Norwegian parents. In addition to being one of the world's best-selilng authors, he served in the Royal Air Force during World War II and became a flying ace! 

When I think about it, Roald Dahl is the most asked-for author by children in the Chavez Library. At least that's what I think. 

So here are a few of his best books (in my humble opinion). If you've not read one or some of these, visit the library nearest you and pick up a copy!

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is probably one of Dahl's most popular books. What happens when the five luckiest children in the entire world walk through the doors of Willy Wonka’s famous, mysterious chocolate factory? What happens when, one by one, the children disobey Mr. Wonka’s orders? Read and find out how the nasty are punished and the good are deliciously, sumptuously rewarded.

One of my all-time favorites is James and the Giant Peach. Here's the blurb from the publisher: When James Henry Trotter accidentally drops some magic crystals by the old peach tree, strange things start to happen. The peach at the top of the tree begins to grow, and before long it's as big as a house. Then James discovers a secret entranceway into the fruit, and when he crawls inside, he meets a bunch of marvelous oversized friends -- Old-Green-Grasshopper, Centipede, Ladybug, Miss Spider, and more. After years of feeling like an outsider in the house of his despicable Aunt Sponge and Aunt Spiker, James has finally found a place where he belongs. With a snip of the stem, the peach starts rolling away, and the exciting adventure begins! 

My other favorite is Matilda. Poor Matilda. Life with her beastly parents is bearable only because Matilda teaches herself to read, finds the public library, and discovers literature. But there's a little more to the story, isn't there? Matilda has some very interesting and special talents. And of course, she loves using her lively intelligence to perpetrate daring acts of revenge. Such a fun story. If you haven't read it, I strongly recommend it!!

Thinking about these great books reminds me: we've got some super-fun kids' programs going on right now as part of One Book, One San Joaquin. That's right. Children can come out and make their very own book. So get creative and be a part of this special program. 

As always, happy reading. 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Just Life | Biographies Are Wonderful

I recently finished two biographies. They were eye openers.

One was The alley of love and yellow jasmines: a memoir by Shohreh Aghdashloo. She is the first Iranian actress to be nominated for an Oscar. 

The other was Cooked seed: a memoir by Anchee Min.
These two biographies not only have given me a glimpse into the lives of these two individuals, but also history lessons about the hardship of living during revolutionary Iran and during Mao's rein in China.

I tell you, biographies are great.

If you don't have time or energy to dive into a huge biography, then consider checking out a short biography like these

Curie (1867-1934) in 90 minutes

Darwin (1809-1882) in 90 minutes

Einstein (1879-1955) in 90 minutes

The Library system also has biographies on audio format. My favorite biography on CD is Battle hymn of the tiger mother. After listening to this bio, I realized what a lenient mom I am. I recommend this audio to all the moms out there.

If you want to introduce biographies to your child, consider checking out biographies by Mike Venezia His biographies are full of fun illustrations and fun facts. My daughter, a third grader, loves his books.

So on your next trip to your local library, don't forget the biographies.

Signing off until next Monday- Panteha