Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Learning | Wolves

It happened two days in a row. Two very different kids asked for "wolf books." After talking to them a little bit to see what they meant by that, I discovered they both wanted fiction books about wolves.  I remembered Jack London's classic "White Fang," which I had read at their age, but I looked up a few newer series which have wolves.

Grey Wolves, scientific name Canus lupus. Status: Endangered. From U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters' photostream on Some rights reserved.

Both the boy and girl I helped chose books from Kathryn Lasky's Wolves of the Beyond series. This is a spinoff of her very popular animal fantasy series, The Guardians of Ga'hoole. The series starts off with a book called Lone Wolf, in which a baby wolf is born with a twisted paw.  How could a person resist reading further, to find out what happens to it? The series is recommended to readers in grades 3-7.

There's another series I would like to suggest.  In The Chronicles of Ancient Darkness, the main character, Torak, is friends with a wolf cub.  In fact, he can communicate with the wolf cub.  This adventure takes place six thousand years before our time. Twelve year old Torak becomes separated from his tribe, and finds himself in a unique position to battle evil in his land. These books are recommended for readers age 10 and up.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

She's Crafty | Art Journaling

Remember a while back, at the beginning of this year, I wrote about my crafty New Year's Resolutions? And one of my resolutions concerned art journals? Remember that? If you don't, read it here.

To tell you the truth, I almost forgot that I planned to revisit the topic. But revisit it I shall, in this very blog post.

During the last week of 2013 I went on a hunt for my first and oh-so-perfect art journal. I went to book stores and used book sales to find the "one" that I would spend some time with, exploring art and craft creation. Meet my journal, Red, a used book I finally found at the Friends of the Ripon Memorial Library book sale.

Red reminds me of a super hero!

You can find more information about all of our Friends of the Library book sales by clicking here.

Instead of a store-bought journal I decided to go with a used book and prep it for art journaling. This prep work involved ripping every tenth page out to make some extra room for paint textures and the bulk of added collage papers.

Pages removed.

Journaling in a used book offers the choice to work with text already on the page or to cover it up to various degrees and use the text as more decorative background. I have even used some of the ripped out pages (since I saved each and every one) to collage with random text blocks.

Re-purposing removed pages

On the night of New Years Eve I set aside a tiny chunk of time to create my first page.


And it was a lovely experience! A tiny project with complete creative freedom. A chance to make a tiny mess and focus on making something meaningful on my own terms. I didn't have to worry about the outcome too much. I rarely give myself the chance to be so loose with art. It's something I strive for in all that I create and think art journaling will help me expand that freedom.

Along with finding a bit of stillness in the chaos of life as journals are so great at doing.

If you're interested in starting you own art journal, we have plenty of books to get you started. Find one with a style you like and with projects that inspire you, that way your journey through art journals will be an inspiring and exciting adventure!

Here are the hands-on craft books that will show you all the wonderful things you can create in an art journal:

Journal Revolution: Rise up and Create!
Altered Art Circus!
The Art Journal Workshop
Creative Wildfire: an Introduction to Art Journaling
Raw Art Journaling
True Vision: Authentic Art Journaling
The Art of Vintage Journaling and Collage
The Journal Junkies Workshop
Journal Spilling
The Elemental Journal
Adventures in Mixed Media

We even have a book in our digital library showcasing the art journals of a few artists, illustrators, and designers.

An Illustrated Journey
Click here to borrow it from Overdrive.

So, let's talk about art journaling! Tell us in the comments whether you art journal, are thinking of starting an art journal, have any tips for beginners, have a favorite art journal craft book to gush about, or if you just want to say, "hello!"

Malia & Kaye

Ms. Suzy Reads | And Learns About Changing History

It's not everyday that we get to really understand historical events through the perspective of someone who was there

Understanding historical events is so very important to understanding where we are now, and to having true empathy for those who lived through terrible injustices. And just as important, it's a chance to applaud courage and bravery in the face of incredible odds.

Well, my friends, our community is quite fortunate to have an incredible opportunity this Friday, September 12, at 3:30 pm. 

Geraldine Hollis, a member of the Tougaloo Nine, will be here -- at the Cesar Chavez Central Library -- to talk about how a group of nine college students took a stand against injustice.

You won't want to miss her story! Trust me.


Monday, September 8, 2014

Just Life| A Farewell To Arms

I am reading Ernest Hemingway's A Farewell To Arms. I love Ernest Hemingway's introduction to this book. He talks about the grand tragedy of human wars.

"I believe that all the people who stand to profit by a war and who help provoke it should be shot on the first day it starts by accredited representatives of the loyal citizens of their country who will fight it."

The book has two forewords. One by Ernest Hemingway's son Patrick Hemingway and one by his grandson Sean Hemingway

I like reading this book. The protagonist is Frederic Henry, an American volunteering as a soldier in the Italian Army during world war I. Frederic is in charge of transporting the wounded from the front Line. In the middle of the war, Fredric falls in love with Catherine Barkley, an English nurse working close to the front line. 

I don't know how their story ends, I haven't finished the book yet but I am savoring it.

To be honest, I don't want this book to end. But as they say, all good things must come to an end.

I leave you with these words by Hemingway:

Picture from Wikipedia

"If people bring so much courage to this world, the world has to kill them to break them, so of course it kills them. 

The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places. 

But those that will not break, it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially."