Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Ms. Candice's thoughts on children's authors Saxton Freymann & Joost Elffers

The most remarkable thing about authors Saxton Freymann and Joost Elffers's books is not the stories themselves, although they are simple and thoughtful, but rather the ingenious illustrations which are crafted from various raw fruits and vegetables. The expression conveyed by mere vegetables crafted into dogs, sea creatures, and various other animals and objects is artfully amazing. Some of Freymann and Elffers's titles include; Fast Food , One Lonely Seahorse , and Dr. Pompo's Nose , which explores the journey of a pumpkin to reclaim his misplaced nose.
Click the links and book covers above to reserve in our catalog.

Ms. Candice, Children's Dept.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Talking with Alabama Comic Book Writer Jason Aaron

Ever want to hear about comics and graphic novels from someone who actually creates them? Well, then tune in to the newest Homewood Hotcast, as Alabama comic book writer Jason Aaron – creator of Scalped and The Other Side – talks to us about his career, his influences, and his upcoming projects. Mr. Aaron has also worked for DC on Hellblazer and Joker’s Asylum and for Marvel Comics on Ghost Rider, Wolverine and Black Panther.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Old Woman Who Named Things by Cynthia Zylant

How does an old woman who has outlived all her friends keep from being lonely? By naming the things in her life she knows she will never outlive. Then a shy brown puppy appears at her front gate. She tells it to go home for fear of naming something that she may outlive. But the puppy has other ideas...

You can reserve this
book in our catalog.

Hope you enjoy!
Ms. Heather, Children's Dept.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Reason Magazine

reason magazine
I love magazine subscriptions. I usually sign up for several each year, only to let the subscriptions lapse because I find new titles to follow. Just this year I tried Rolling Stone, American Photo, National Geographic, U.S. News & World Report, Guitar World, and Scientific American, and I'm only renewing two of them.

This space is usually for reviewing book-length works, but if there are readers like me who follow periodicals closely as well, I'll recommend the one magazine title I've followed religiously for the past three years.

reason magazine is a monthly magazine published by the Reason Foundation, a non-profit organization that promotes libertarian thought. I'm a news/political junkie, but it's difficult to get actual news because most media outlets now are forced to choose a political side due to reader/viewership and advertiser demands, reason's non-profit status makes for a little more objectivity and a little less slant.

reason covers politics, science, arts, and literature, always with an eye on how economics applies to each of these. The "Brickbats" column features humorous news on how little common sense our government sometimes uses. reason's book reviews are the most in-depth I've read, spanning three to six pages and often including short interviews with the author.

While I don't always agree with every article in reason (I think it sometimes slavishly follows an atheistic objectivism where simple libertarianism would do) it does cause me to do one thing that as a former high school teacher I know lots of young people don't do, read and think.


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Note by Angela Hunt

Peyton MacGruder was called to the office of her editor, Nora Chilton, at the Tampa Times. According to a reader survey Nora tells Peyton that her column by the Heart Healer is not being read by enough people. Nora gives Peyton three weeks to bring up those reader numbers. In the meantime Peyton needs to consider where else she wants to work at the paper. On Wednesday, June 13, a flight left New York bound for Tampa. Chapter one gives details of that day including flight preparations by crew, controllers and pilots, what the passengers were doing during the flight, the food that was served in the air and the weather in New York and Tampa. Before reaching the Tampa airport the plane crashed, leaving questions as to what caused the tragedy. Of course, Tampa Times covered the crash with stories about the known facts. Days later someone stopped Peyton as she was leaving work. They gave her a sandwich bag containing a note which might have been written by a passenger of the ill fated flight. A friend at the newspaper, King, thought Peyton would save her column by finding the person who was to receive the note and writing about her search for her readers. He encouraged her to follow her heart. When Peyton wrote her first column about the note Nora read it and was surprised and upset by something she had not approved.
Then Peyton was approached by Julie St. Claire about sharing the story and getting television coverage of each step in that search. Even the CEO of the television station and newspaper asked Peyton to do this. When Peyton traveled to St. Louis for the first interview, Julie was there with a camera crew but Peyton had a signed confidentiality agreement from the first prospect. When Peyton agreed to share the story with Julie it was with the understanding that the outcome of the search would first appear in the Heart Healer on July 4. Julie St. Claire appeared with cameras at each interview location and was more invasive and upsetting to the prospects than was Peyton. Tanner Ford had even arranged with Julie to have coverage as he claimed the note was for him. Later Peyton was approached by a small strawberry blond at the lake in front of the newspaper building. She gave good reasons for claiming the note was meant for her. Julie St. Claire had planned a televised interview with Tanner Ford, the intended recipient of the note. Peyton knew he was lying and contacted him before that telecast. What would he do when Julie asked him his reaction to the note?
Hallmark's movie of The Note starred Genie Francis as Peyton MacGruder. King is played by Ted McGinley. Hallmark made several changes in the story for the movie such as the location of the newspaper and Peyton's home and the crash site. Some of the characters are different in the book and movie but both versions work. In both the book and movie there is a surprise revelation for Peyton herself and her friends. I saw the movie before reading the book and I suggest you enjoy both, too. Check the Hallmark schedule (it airs The Note Thursday evening September 18) to watch how the story unfolds and read the book which you will find on the library catalog.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

NEW! Vlogging for Teens: create movie-style trailers for popular books!

Saturday, September 27th
Large Auditorium
6th-12th graders only

We're looking for creative teens to make movie-style trailers for popular books. With the help of Marcia Jones a 20 yr. veteran of TV & radio, we'll choose a book, write a script, do storyboards, cast the parts, scout locations, film and edit the trailer. Snacks will be provided. Come to this first meeting to scope it out and help choose the book we'll be filming.

For more info email Ms. Heather, or call 205.332.6621.

Teens, don't miss this!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow

Marcus Yallow is a 17-year-old at Cesar Chavez High School in San Francisco. But he's not a typical senior. He's a hacker known as M1k3y. He's not a criminal, just someone who loves solving puzzles...especially puzzles like unbreachable security systems.

Then Marcus's life changes. Terrorists bomb San Francisco and Marcus and his closest friends are among those taken in for questioning by the Department of Homeland Security. They break him down for no other reason than they can. Then they let him go home. Home to a San Francisco that's been turned into a police state in the name of national security. A place where DHS is watching everything and everyone and civil liberties are a thing of the past. The injustice of it all turns mild-mannered Marcus into M1k3y, a hacker with a mission to bring down DHS.

This was an amazing and exciting thriller. Though full of techno talk regarding hacking and the way computers work, it was still extremely readable for those, like me, who can barely manage Windows Vista. I suppose it would be classified as science fiction, but it felt very plausible. Working on the premise that the United States government is fighting terrorists by restricting the lives of all it's citizens, it reads like a warning. Marcus/M1k3y is a brilliant hero and underdog. Hopefully there are thousands like him watching our backs.

What Is A Graphic Novel??

What Is A Graphic Novel???

The comic book industry has gotten a lot of attention the past few years with major motion picture releases like Dark Knight, Iron-Man, Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, and the much anticipated release of Watchmen in 2009.

While in my local comic book store this weekend I noticed a couple of moms and dads bringing in the kids and looking for comics of the heroes they'd just seen at the movies, and didn't quite know what to look for.

The best place to start if you or your children are interested in reading comics is the graphic novel. A graphic novel is simply a collection of issues of one title, bound together, usually in hardback or trade paperback format. For example, if you're looking for a Superman story that spanned 6 months in 1983, tracking down all those issues would be a challenge. With a graphic novel, all those issues are put together into one book, oftentimes with extras like commentary from artists and writers, and excerpts from the artists' sketchbook. Another plus is that graphic novels hold up much better after repeated reads than single issues.

So now that you know what a graphic novel is, which ones do you want? Some of the most successful graphic novels are:

Identity Crisis by Brad Meltzer, and features most of the big names in the DC universe, like Superman, Batman, Green Arrow, Wonder Woman, etc.

Civil War by Mark Millar, that features almost the entire Marvel Universe: Spider-Man, Iron Man, the Fantastic Four, Thor, Captain America, the Punisher, etc.

The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller and The Killing Joke by Alan Moore are must reads for fans of the new Batman movies.

Sandman: Preludes & Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman puts a new twist on popular mythology.

Click the following link to see a list of the top 30 graphic novels of all time:
Top 30 Graphic Novels of All Time

This is only a sampling of the best the comics world has to offer. You'll find hundreds of titles for different tastes and age groups, and finding a title you can't wait to come out each month is a great way to get young people reading.

As with anything your kids are involved with, know what they are reading. Some comics contain violence and dark subject material, and knowing you're interested and involved in picking out comics will make it a more exciting experience for them.

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

At Home in Dry Creek by Janet Tronstad

Barbara Strong caught the bridal bouquet while everyone watched. Including the sheriff. Since she had moved to Dry Creek with her children it seemed that people did not trust her or accept her in their midst. Actually Sheriff Wall had asked the citizens of Dry Creek to let her get settled in her home before asking her for favors, to be on committees or do odd jobs for social functions. He also asked the ranch hands not to date her for a year. In the meantime, he had her under surveillance. Barbara's ex-husband was in prison for his part in a robbery. But the money had never been recovered and the FBI hoped Barbara would lead them to it or at least one of the other robbers. What they did not know or believe was that she was trying to forget Neal and make a new life for herself, Amanda and Bobby. Life for Barbara took on new excitement and purpose when she agreed to help Sheriff Wall with his reelection campaign. He really did not feel the need of a campaign but liked the idea of meeting with Barbara and becoming better acquainted with her. Soon Linda at the cafe in town and Mrs. Hargrove were helping Carl in his efforts to date Barbara, even though she said they were meetings, not dates. She was not interested in dating or marriage again. She just wanted to be a good mother for Amanda and Bobby. Someday, too, she hoped the people of Dry Creek would include her in their events-maybe even ask her to pour coffee at a social. The sheriff and ranch hands in the area found that she was a caring and enjoyable addition to their town.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Generation Dead by Dan Waters

American teenagers have begun rising from the grave soon after their deaths. Whether suicide, car accident, or worse, the teens return to their families after their funerals. But not all families want them back. Some of the undead are abandoned by all who once loved them, shunned by their community and the nation as a whole. But there are so many, and more are rising by the day. Accommodations are being made, laws are being debated, but until legislation is passed, and until people start accepting them, these “living impaired” teens will remain outsiders.

Tommy is one such outsider. But instead of being repelled, Phoebe is fascinated. The living impaired teens have been attending local schools for awhile, but Tommy is the first to play on the football team, and the first to challenge the idea that he’s just an undead zombie with no thoughts or feelings. But the steps Tommy and Phoebe take toward friendship cause other students to cringe, or worse. Pete and his buddies, the “Pain Crew,” are determined to do whatever it takes to eliminate the zombies, and the zombie-lovers, from his school. Is it illegal to kill someone who’s already dead?

Generation Dead is a lot deeper than I was expecting. Couched within the intelligent novel are issues such as integration, political rights for minorities, school bullying and the power of love. The ending left enough room for a sequel, which I hope is already underway.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Eglamore and Cristobel: A Love Story by Dolores Hydock @ HPL

Dolores Hydock presented her debut performance of Eglamore and Cristobel: A Love Story May 16 & 17 at the library. It was a packed house both nights. Delicious hors d'oeuvres were served by Christian Catering Company. Needless to say, everything was a great SUCCESS! Visit her website at www.storypower.org.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Book Buffet (HPL's Book Group)

Second Tuesday of the month
6:30 - 8 pm
Lucretia M. Somers Boardroom

Our book discussion group meets in the Lucretia M. Somers Boardroom for lively discussion and light refreshments. We feature foods described in or related to the books we discuss. Meetings are the second Tuesday evening of each month from 6:30-8:00. Join us!

Here's our list of books to be read:

Sept. 9 -
Hissy Fit by Mary Kay Andrews

Oct. 14 - The Prince of Frogtown by Rick Bragg

Nov. 4 - The Appeal by John Grisham

Dec. - No Meeting

(Click the books above to reserve in the catalog)

Teen Read Week Oct. 12–18: Celebrate Books with Bite @ HPL

Homewood teens will be reading for the fun of it as libraries across the country celebrate the eleventh annual Teen Read Week, October 12–18, 2008. We will join thousands of other libraries, schools and bookstores across the nation who are encouraging teens to celebrate this year’s theme, "Books with Bite @ your library®." Teen Read Week is the national adolescent literacy initiative of the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), the fastest-growing division of the American Library Association.

So stop by Homewood Public Library during Teen Read Week to indulge your biting curiosity and check out books and graphic novels on animals, technology, cooking and even vampires! Here are some suggestions from ALA to get you started. You can also go to our catalog to reserve these:

Big Bites (prehistoric creatures & dinosaurs)

The Lost World by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Tunnels by Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams

Books with Byte (technology)

Feed by M.T. Anderson

I, Robot by Issac Asimov

Biting Humor

Vampire High by Douglas Rees

The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett

Get Bitten (monsters & vampires)

By These Ten Bones by Clare Dunkle

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

Bite the Bullet (high adventure)

Airborn by Kenneth Oppel

Stormbreaker by Anthony Horowitz