Saturday, February 14, 2015

Learning | The Crossover is a Winner!

Last Monday, I read the latest Newbery Medal Winning book.  It took me only one day to read The Crossover by Kwame Alexander. This book is really different from the typical Newbery book; it is a novel written in verse. 

The book gets its title from a basketball maneuver that involves rapidly switching hands while dribbling the ball. Good players say they can make an opponent break his ankles, when they change sides suddenly.

Josh Defines Crossover in a Poem,
The Crossover
by Kwame Alexander

I must admit, when I first started reading the book, I wondered if I would like it. I don't have anything against basketball, but if the whole book was going to be about basketball, I wasn't sure it would hold my interest. 

I was mistaken.

There is a lot of basketball talk in this book, because Josh (the narrator) and his twin brother are basketball stars at their school. Basketball talent must be hereditary in their family; their father is a retired pro basketball player.  But there's so much more to this book. For example: 

  1. Josh is part of a loving family. But they are headed for some rough patches in this book, which test their bonds.  
  2. Josh loves words!  In between the poems that move the story along, there are poems about vocabulary words. 
  3. Basketball is a metaphor in this book.  Especially the term "crossover." Read the book. Think about this. Then tell me what you think about it.
  4. Josh's poems are so varied! Some of them have fun visual effects; some sound like lyrics from a song. Others are more like narratives.  I found myself wondering what I would find, whenever I turned a new page.
  5. Remember what I said about not being sure the book would hold my interest? I got so absorbed in this book, I didn't want it to end.

Middle school and high school aged readers will especially enjoy The Crossover, but I would recommend it to anybody from 6th grade and up.

Books On Film | Fifty Shades of Grey & Kingsman: The Secret Service

There are two book adaptations being released this Valentine's Day weekend. 

The first, a film adaptation of the erotic romance novel Fifty Shades of Grey, which was expanded into a trilogy, about a woman who enters into a BDSM relationship with her wealthy, handsome love interest.
When literature student Anastasia Steele is drafted to interview the successful young entrepreneur Christian Grey for her campus magazine, she finds him attractive, enigmatic and intimidating. Convinced their meeting went badly, she tries to put Grey out of her mind - until he happens to turn up at the out-of-town hardware store where she works part-time. 
The second, a film adaptation Mark Millar's graphic novel Kingsman: The Secret Service about a newly trained spy and his trainer discovering a conspiracy when investigating missing actors and a mass murder.
The world's greatest secret agent is on the most exciting case of his career. But will the end of the world as know it take a back seat to training his street-punk nephew to be the next James Bond?

Friday, February 13, 2015

She's Crafty | Tiny World Terrariums

Spring is nearly upon us and it's time to think about growing plants, iiifff that's the sort of thing you're into. Me? I don't have much of a green thumb. I know my way around a potted plant but transplanting and pruning, seasonal timetables and the fine art of growing the perfect tomato? None of that has ever been my, "thing".

However, I can get behind growing a little garden in a terrarium.
ter·rar·i·um noun \tə-ˈrer-ē-əm\ : a glass or plastic box that is used for growing plants or keeping small animals indoors.
Thank you, Merriam Webster
Oh, and lucky me, terrarium gardening is making a big comeback at the craft stores! This time around the trend in terrarium gardening is to make tiny little scenes from tiny little fantasy worlds out of the typical terrarium contents like moss, soil, rocks, plants, and water with a tiny little upgrade, the creative application of miniatures. Of course, you also have to put your little garden in a container that would look at home in your local apothecaries office circa 1880 or Pottery Barn.

Brandy Snifter Terrarium with Cow by Josh Leo. Some Rights Reserved.

To get the low down on the basics I requested the book, Tiny World Terrariums by Michelle Inciarrano and Katy Maslow from Link+. 

Tiny Worlds is beautifully designed and the information is well-organized and easy to navigate, which is incredibly important in a craft book. The photography, done by Robert Wright, is fantastic and Wright does a great job of showcasing the tiny worlds the authors Michelle Inciarrano and Katy Maslow have created. Jam-packed with inspiration and helpful resources, Tiny World Terrariums is a great guide to building a tiny living world of your very own. Step by step, Inciarrano and Maslow guide you along the path to terrarium success. Which is good, I need all the help I can get to create my very own Bag End in a jar.


Monday, February 9, 2015

Just Life| Pont des Arts

It was a cold winter morning in Paris. I was walking with my daughter along the River Seine trying to get to Notre Dame when we came across this unattractive bridge over the Seine River. It was called Pont des Arts.

" What an ugly bridge"

Pont des Arts. Picture from DEMOTIX.COM

The bridge was so unattractive and out of place compared to all the other magnificent bridges that we had seen so far.

The bridge had black railings and there were thousands and thousands of padlocks covering the railings on both sides.

There has to be a story behind it. I was a bit intrigued. Later on, I was surprised by what I learned about that bridge.

I found out that lovers go to Pont des Arts bridge and attach padlocks to it's railing and then they throw the keys in the river below to achieve eternal love.

How romantic is that. The bridge was becoming more attractive by the second. I wished my husband was there with us.

Pont Alexandre III, Paris

I have never been fortunate enough to visit Paris with my husband, but when that day comes, I guarantee that I am taking a sturdy padlock with me. :)

So, don't forget Pont des Arts on your trip to France and don't forget to check out travel books from your local library.

Notre Dame
Signing off until next Monday- Panteha