Saturday, April 4, 2015

Books On Film | The Passion of The Christ

Since Easter is around the corner, here is an Easter-adjacent adaptation. The film, The Passion of The Christ, was released in 2004 and directed and co-written by Mel Gibson. It depicts a short time period in the story of Jesus' life known as the Passion*, starting with a visit to Jerusalem and ending in his crucifixion

The film was based mainly on Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John from The Bible (Holy Scriptures of Christianity), The Tanakh (the Holy Scriptures of Judaism), and The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Chris by Anne Catherine Emmerich, a German nun who claimed to have had religious visions of the Passion. 


*Latin: passio means suffering.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Award-Winning Reads | A Monster Calls

The monster showed up after midnight. As they do. But it isn't the monster Conor's been expecting. He's been expecting the one from his nightmare, the nightmare he's had every night since his mother started her treatments, the one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming . . .   

This monster, though, is something different. Something ancient, something wild. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor.   

It wants the truth.
Image result for a monster calls patrick ness
Hello Everyone,

I've been in a bit of a somber, serious mood lately. (And no, that's not me reflecting and ruminating in the image to the right. Trust me, when I'm thinking deeply I look a lot scarier than that)! Unfortunately, there have been a couple of special people who were connected with the Tracy Library as well as people who I associated with in my congregation who passed away. I couldn't help but recall this literary treasure, which also reminded me how painful suffering loss can be.

The critically-acclaimed award winner of the week that I'm highlighting originates from across the pond. This book won, not only one, but two medals: the Carnegie and Greenaway Medals. According to the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP), the organization which confers these medals, the Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals are the United Kingdom's oldest and most prestigious children's book awards. Talk about a double honor!

The medals are awarded by children's librarians to books for children and young people. The Carnegie Medal is awarded for an outstanding book and The Kate Greenaway Medal is awarded for an outstanding book in terms of illustration. Since this title won both, you can expect an excellently executed story line with equally impressive illustrations.

And the 2012 Carnegie and Greenaway Medals go to . . .

(drum roll, please)

A Monster Calls! It is written by Patrick Ness, inspired by an idea from Siobhan Dowd, and illustrated by Jim Kay.

(I know the reveal isn't as dramatic since it's included in the title of this post, but please just try to act a little surprised).

I first read this hauntingly beautiful novel as an ebook on OverDrive and was immediately drawn to Conor, a thirteen-year-old boy who was primarily cared for by his mother. Conor struggles with his feelings while watching her battle a life-threatening illness. Suddenly an unnamed monster (why are the scariest monsters usually unnamed?) begins to regularly call on him at night. Who is this titular monster? Is it real or imagined? Friend or foe? And what could it possibly want with Conor? (Hint: it's in the opening quote). 

As the story develops and builds tension, so does Conor. His pent-up frustration and helplessness in a situation far beyond his control ultimately reaches its peak and the truth he discovers about himself leads to his much-anticipated catharsis. The black and white illustrations accentuate the dark, fantastical undertones of the story. If you want to try a deeply moving read, check out this book. 

Let me leave you a line from the novel.        

Stories are wild creatures. Who knows what havoc they might wreak?
Next week, find out about two friends - one human and one unimaginary (yes,  unimaginary *ooh*)!

Until next time, have a good reading!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Learning | Peter Rabbit and Peter Cottontail

Have you wondered about the difference between Peter Rabbit and Peter Cottontail? I have, for far too long.

RHS Flower Show Tatton Park, Knutsford, Cheshire, England, UK.
I first became familiar with Peter Rabbit from the works of Beatrix Potter, who created a rabbit character named Peter back in 1902. In the book, The Tale of Peter Rabbit, Peter was a naughty little rabbit who almost got caught when he sneaked into Mr. MacGregor's garden. (He should have listened to his mother!)

In the story, Peter has siblings named Flopsy, Mopsy and Cottontail.  I think that means their surnames would be "Rabbit," just like Peter. You know, Flopsy Rabbit, Mopsy Rabbit, and Cottontail Rabbit.  

In any case, Flopsy, Mopsy and Cottontail Rabbit all listened when their mother told them to stay out of Mr. MacGregor's garden. But Peter did not obey her.

Mr. MacGregor's Garden,
from Hannah Swithinbank's photostream
on Some rights reserved.

It's easy to understand why Peter wanted to eat lettuces, beans and radishes from Mr. MacGregor's garden. Just look at these pictures, from a re-creation of his garden at  Beatrix Potter's Hill Top Cottage in Sawrey, Cumbria, in England's Lake District.

Wouldn't it be fun to stroll around these gardens, and see the house where Beatrix Potter lived, when she wrote The Tale of Peter Rabbit? 

I think I need to add this to my bucket list.

Peter's Watering Can 1,
from Adam Russell's photostream on
Some rights reserved.
Beatrix Potter books, from Jennifer LaSuprema's photostream
on Some rights reserved.

The Tale of Peter Rabbit was the first of Potter's wildy popular series of "Little Tales." I can remember how special I thought they were, when I was very small, to hold a little book that was just the right size for my tiny hands. 

Of course, Beatrix Potter's illustrations of cute little animals wearing human clothes hold a child's interest, too. According to the Beatrix Potter official website, one of her books is sold every four minutes!

This being Eastertide, I started thinking about a children's song heard this time of year: "Peter Cottontail." It was written in 1949 by the same team of songwriters that brought us "Frosty, the Snowman." Gene Autry recorded the song in 1950; sometimes the name of the song is listed as "Here Comes Peter Cottontail."

Image from page 200 of
"Mother West Wind 'Why' Stories,"
by Thornton W. Burgess,
illustrations in colour by Harrison Cady.
From Internet Archive Book Images' photostream on
No known copyright restrictions.
I suspect that song is about another rabbit named Peter, created in 1910 by the American writer, Thornton W. Burgess.  

Peter Rabbit was one of many animal characters in Burgess' book, Old Mother West Wind. Later, Burgess wrote a book about him, called The Adventures of Peter Cottontail (available through Link+.)  

In that book, Peter Rabbit decides that his last name sounds too ordinary, so he chooses a name he thinks is fancier--"Cottontail."  By the end of the book, he decides he likes his original name and changes it back.  

Like Beatrix Potter, Burgess loved nature, and he mostly wrote stories about anthropomorphic animals. But he did not illustrate his own stories. Here is a picture from "Mother West Wind 'Why' Stories," illustrated by Harrison Cady.

If you would like to explore this subject in depth, SSJCPL has a nonfiction book for adults. If you would like to read it, you will first have to master its cumbersome, rambling, run-on title. 

It's called The History of The tale of Peter Rabbit : taken mainly from Leslie Linder's A history of the writings of Beatrix Potter together with the text and illustrations from the first privately printed edition.

Try saying that three times, very quickly, and Mr. MacGregor is your uncle!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Just Life| Spring Garden

Spring is here. Thanks goodness that we live in California and we don't need to worry about cold weather in Spring. Right now, The weather here is just perfect. It is just the perfect time for gardening.

Don't you think it is time to add some splash of colors to your garden? 

Your local library has countless books about gardening that can help you achieve a picture perfect garden. 

Here are a few gardening books from your local library. You can click on any of these titles to place a hold on it. Then within a few days, you can pick it up from your local library.