Saturday, April 26, 2014

Teens Only | Dickinson, Yeats, Zaman and Aday

To my list of favorite poets -- including William Butler Yeats, Emily Dickinson, e.e. cummings, and Shel Silverstein -- I now add two more: Labibah Zaman and Sofia Aday. Perhaps you've not heard these names before, but trust me when I say: you won't soon forget them.
Labibah and Sofia are winners of the Cesar Chavez Central Library's Poetry Contest held in celebration of April being National Poetry Month. We asked youth (ages 5-18) to write a poem of 100 words or less about why they love the Library. The younger winners were announced Tuesday on the 4 Kids blog.
Today it gives me great pleasure to share with you, dear readers, the winners of the 11-13 age group and the 14-18 age group.
Why Do I Like the Library?
Kids like me, love the library,
It is cool and fun,
And it is open for everyone,
Babies, Kids, Teens, Adults,
And even old grandmas and grandpas,
You know what I mean?
Loving the library is okay,
For me.
Having fun...
Reading books,
Playing games,
Doing homework.
Did I mention checking out books for free,
Not only books, but video games, videos, magazines, and etc. for free,
I got to agree.
by Labibah Zaman, age 13
I love that Labibah captures the open access of our wonderful Library in her free verse. Way to go, Labibah!
Read on:
The Bibliophile
The bibliophile is a wanderer
Who traverses the shifting sands of the world,
Ever-seeking something more to feed on;
A victim of his own desire.
The library is his haven.
Where he is free to gloss through the stories
Of the unbecoming at his own leisure.
The sensation gives him peace.
Something he was never quite able to attain in the real world.
by Sofia Aday, age 18
All I can say is: Wow. This poem says it all. Thank you, Sofia. Thank you for getting it!
We are so fortunate all of our young poets took the time to enter this little poetry contest. Thank you ALL for sharing your creative genius with us.
The teen blog will return every Saturday afternoon to celebrate great books you'll want to check out from your local Library.
In the meantime, happy reading!

Books On Film | WonderCon 2014 Edition

WonderCon is a primarily a comic book and collectibles convention, but also includes games, books, and media. Attendees are able to attend moderated panels with industry professionals who come to discuss their upcoming projects as well as show sneak peaks. Several upcoming films promoted at WonderCon were adapted from books/comics and several were adapted into books/comics.
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The cast and director of The Maze Runner, schedule to be released September 2014, were present as part of the 20th Century Fox panel. The film is an adaption of James Dashner's teen novel of the same name. To see more about this book, check out one of my previous posts on upcoming 2014 YA adaptations. writer/producer of X-Men: Days of Future Past, schedule to be released next month, was also part of the Fox panel and there to discuss the film adaption of the 1980's Days of Future Past storyline. In the comic, Kitty Pryde transfers her mind into that on her younger self in order try to prevent occurrences in the past that lead to mutants being interned in the future. The movie adaption is obviously making one huge departure by sending Wolverine in to the past and it's yet to be seen what other changes have been made.
The writer of science fiction thriller Edge of Tomorrow, starring Tom Cruise and scheduled to be released X,  was present discuss the his adaptation of Hiroshi Sakurazaka's 'light novel' All You Need Is Kill. The novel is set in a future earth at war with mysterious aliens called Mimics. A new military recruit with no experience ends up stuck in a time loop after being killed on his first day.

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There's a children's film festival and anime festival that goes on as part of WonderCon, however I did not attend either because there are too many activities and not enough time.
However, I did watch the Warner's Brother animated film, Son of Batman, which is schedule to be released on DVD/Blu-ray next month, which was screened in it's entirety. The film is an adaptation of the comic book Batman and Son. The comic is about Damian Wayne, son of Bruce Wayne and Tahlia al Ghul, who meets for the first time.
The voice actors and writer of How to Train Your Dragon 2 were also present for the XX panel to talk about the second film adaptation of the How To Train Your Dragon series. To learn more about these books please visit my previous post on the series.

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Warner Brothers screened several episodes of their The CW shows, including this weeks episode of The 100. The 100 is an adaptation of a book of the same name by author Kass Morgan. The novel is about one hundred juvenile delinquents who are sent out by their space dwelling society to recolonize earth.
Falling Skies, TNT's science fiction television show produced by Steven Spielberg has been adapted into a comic of the same name by Dark Horse Comics. The series is about the survivors of an alien invaded earth and the comics take place between the seasons of the show.

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Since WonderCon is a comic convention there were, of course, many, many comic panels, including a special Batman 75th Anniversary panel in a new Batman Beyond short was shown. Batman Beyond is a bit unique in the Batman-verse. It started as an animated series and was later adapted into a comic unlike the original Batman comics and it's spin-offs. were also panels for aspiring novel, comic book, and television writers on the writing process, publishing, and more. Sadly, I missed the 'What's Hot in Young Adult Fiction' panel which featured several young adult authors discussing trends in YA fiction. However, I was able to catch a panel with paranormal romance novelist and Marvel comic author Marjorie Liu who discussed her career change from lawyer to writer, explained the difference between comic and novel writing, and gave tips for aspiring writers.
Liu is known largely for her Dirk & Steele and Hunter Kiss series as well as her run on Astonishing X-Men, X-23, and Black Widow comics.

Covers courtesy of LibraryThing.

Books On Film | Minority Report{CKEY}&searchfield1=GENERAL^SUBJECT^GENERAL^^&user_id=WEBSERVERHere's another one for the science fiction and/or Philip K. Dick lovers.

Minority Report is a short story written in 1956. It tells of a future society where crime is prevented through the visions of three precognitive mutants. A 'Precrime' police division is set up to arrest criminals before crimes are committed. A captain in the division ends up accused of committing a future crime and goes on the run in search of his minority report (predicted alternative path).{CKEY}&searchfield1=GENERAL^SUBJECT^GENERAL^^&user_id=WEBSERVERIn 2002, the book was adapted into a scifi thriller of the same name by Steven Spielberg. The film starred Tom Cruise as the main character and takes quite a few liberties with the source material, including a changed ending. However, the movie is very good.

Covers courtesy of LibraryThing

Friday, April 25, 2014

The Reader Digests | Coffee, Coffee, & More Coffee

Someone asked me earlier today how I can fit all the things I have going on into my schedule. I would love to say I am Superwoman, but the truth is I just get very little sleep. I do homework after my kids go to bed and usually turn in around 1 a.m., sometimes later.  Then I get up and go to work the next day.

So, how do I do it? It's coffee. Lots and lots of coffee.  I spend an inordinate amount of time (and money) at Starbucks. It's like "Cheers", except sometimes I get a little embarrassed that everybody there knows my name. And they only serve coffee and tea - at least, for now.

However, I remember the first time I went into a cafe. It was so intimidating. All those weird names for coffee - lattes, cappuccinos, macchiatos. What does it all mean? When I was a new coffee drinker, I wished someone had told me how to order
courtesy of
coffee, because there were many times I got something that just wasn't good. I hated holding up the line trying to figure out what I wanted (and doesn't it seem like they are getting longer?). I am no coffee snob, but I also don't want to look silly trying to order a cup of coffee.

So here's a little U.S. coffee menu explanation (If you were in Italy it would be a different ballgame, plus you would say caffe!):

Espresso - finely ground coffee served in shots.  More concentrated and darker than regular coffee.
Cappucino - Foamed and Steamed Milk over Espresso.  Dry means less milk, more foam.  Wet means the opposite.
I love you too!!!
Latte - Espresso with  steamed milk.
Mocha - Espresso with steamed milk and chocolate.  It can be white chocolate as well.
Machiatto - Espresso with a small amount of steamed or foamed milk added.  Baristas at many cafes use this drink to make designs, or latte art. Some also add caramel or hazelnut, to make flavored macchiatos. 
Americano - Espresso and water.  This is similar to a cup of brewed coffee. 

I'll end this post with some interesting coffee caffeine facts!
  • Espresso drinks usually have less caffeine than a cup of brewed coffee.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Learning | Roses

The rosebushes in my backyard are exploding with color right now.  I love to look at them through my kitchen window, or my patio door, or from my deck. After I appreciate their beauty, I start thinking about gratitude. 

I'm glad I was raised by a mother who shared her love of roses with her children.  Every house we lived in had to have roses in the garden. She patiently taught me how to carefully trim rosebushes, to encourage more blooms.  She shared the technique of watering a rosebush at the base, to prevent wet leaves from causing the black spot disease (which was very common in Louisiana.) She had a collection of small vases, suitable for displaying single blossoms. I loved replacing the tired-looking blossoms with fresh cuttings. I can remember a few names of the varieties she grew: Peace, President Lincoln, Queen Elizabeth, Chrysler Imperial, American Beauty, and Freedom.
Peace Rose.  From T.Kiya's photostream on
Some rights reserved.

I also think about how thankful I am that the previous owners of my house chose to plant so many bushes, and selected such a variety of types.  I don't know the names of all of them.  

Rose lovers (and trivia buffs, and other readers of non-fiction) will appreciate Douglas Brenner & Stephen Scanniello's A Rose by Any Name: the Little-Known Lore and Deep-Rooted History of Rose Names.

Did you know more than 15,000 varieties of roses are cultivated around the world? Brenner and Scanniello tell some interesting tales about the naming of some of them--not just the names, but what certain roses represented in times past. Which rose became a symbol for the American temperance movement? Which rose was named after a not-very-diplomatic diplomat? The answers to all of these questions, and many more, are revealed in this book.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

4 Kids | Poetic Geniuses Among Us

So I'm back after a very lengthy absence. I could tell you that I've been traveling to places far away, performing on Broadway, etc., etc., etc., but that would not be truthful! But I am back and ready to share a whole bunch of great books with you each and every week.
Before that, however, I think it important that we celebrate poetry since April is National Poetry Month.
Earlier this month I hosted a little poetry contest at the Cesar Chavez Central Library. I asked young people (ages 5 -18) to write a poem no longer than 100 words about why they love the Library. I received some really great poems, but alas had to pick just 4 winners. Today I am proud to share the winners from the 5-7 age group and the 8-10 age group. I'll share the other winning poems on the teen blog (which you'll see returning to the Library website on a Saturday very soon).
The winner of the 5-7 age group is written by Atticus Chan, age 6! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do:
I like the library,
because it's great!
I might even learn,
how tigers mate.
The library is the best,
I like the library,
and I like fiction,
and all about berries!
My favorite book,
is always due, 'cause
I've been looking in it,
for a week or two!
The winning poem from the 8-10 age group is written by Amelia Morrison, age 8. (If these  poems don't inspire you to write some of your own, I don't know what will!)
One thing I need
Is a good book to read.
Just take a look
On the shelves for a book.
They're quiet as mice
Librarians are so nice.
The library is great
Don't turn your book in late!
By the way, whenever you check out items from the library, you get to enjoy them for 3 whole weeks! If the due date is approaching and you're not quite finished, you can renew your items online, by phone, or at the library. It's very simple.
So let's give a big round of applause to our two poetic geniuses -- Atticus Chan and Amelia Morrison! You make us all proud!
Until next week, happy reading!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Just life | Free Plant Seeds

I planted some garlic cloves today. I am learning to like gardening.

Did you know that you can pickup free plant seeds from Cesar Chavez library? 

If you are in the mood for gardening, come by the Cesar Chavez reference desk to pickup some free plant seeds. You just need to fill out a tiny form, that is all.

I was telling my dad about this program and he loved the idea and he is planning to get some eggplant seeds from the library since he loves the eggplant dishes that my mom makes.

I want to plant tomato and cucumber instead.

Chavez Seed Library

Here are a few examples of what you find in this seed library:

Basil seeds,

Cucumber seeds 

Eggplant seeds

Garlic seeds,

Melon seeds,

Broccoli seeds,

Ornamental flower seeds

I got to say a big thank you to Patty Parch Lovato who has started this program at Chavez. She has spent numerous hours working on this project.

I got to thank Librarian extraordinaire; Gretchen Louden for making this program a reality at Chavez. 

For novice gardeners like me, there would be an orientation at Cesar Chavez Library on April 30, 2014 at 3:00pm.

Here is the link to the Seed Library program

Take me home

So tell me, what are you planting today?

Signing off until next week- Panteha