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Monday, October 28, 2013

Storytime (Assignment B)

  For SLIS 5420 Assignment B, I chose to conduct a storytime program for a Head Start class. The theme was The Three Pigs.

The stories I read for the program were:

Preschool Education (2012). Three little pigs. Retrieved from:  http://www.preschoolprintables.com/felt/3pigs/feltpigc1.shtml

Whatley, B. (2001). Wait! No paint! New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers. 

Wiesner, D. (2001). The three pigs. New York, NY: Clarion Books.

Module 9: Black Mirror

Module 9: Mystery

Black Mirror
Author: Nancy Werlin

Book Summary:
     Frances’s brother Daniel has killed himself; he died of a self-injected overdose of heroin. He apparently had a long term drug habit, and Frances noticed nothing. Black Mirror follows Frances as she tries to cope with life without her brother. Should she join the charity group, Unity, to which he belonged to memorialize him? She should paint more pictures to hang on her bedroom walls? She decides that since she is at school on a Unity scholarship that she should join the organization, but she quickly finds out that she is not welcome. With no friends on her side, she has to figure out why that is, if it has anything to do with the truth behind her brother’s death.
APA Book Reference:
Werlin, N. (2001). Black Mirror. New York, NY: Speak. 

     I read books in the mystery genre a lot, however many of them are for adults and revolve around murder or death. In Black Mirror, the death occurs before the narrative even begins. It is also clear that the death is a suicide, so where is the mystery? The mystery lies in the Unity organization and why they will not accept Frances as a member. I have to say I found this book very predictable. I knew that the apparent suicide was probably murder and that the Unity charity was most likely a front for something else, most likely a drug operation considering Daniel’s cause of death. However, there was one twist that did surprise me and that was who killed Daniel.
     Despite the predictability, I did find this book entertaining. It was a quick read, and I think high school students would especially like this book.  

Professional Review:
Stevenson, D. (2001). Black Mirror. Bulletin of the Center of Children’s Books, 55(2). 81-82. Retrieved from: https://libproxy.library.unt.edu/login?url=http://search.proquest.com/docview/223692394?accountid=7113

“Frances didn't think she could become any more isolated-she's an artistic loner and scholarship student at swanky Pettengill Academy, she's a half-Japanese half-- Jewish ethnic curiosity in her largely Caucasian town, she's estranged from her father and her mother has returned to Japan and holed up in a Buddhist monastery. On top of all this comes the suicide of her older brother, Daniel (also a Pettengill student), apparently as a consequence of a longterm drug problem of which Frances had been unaware. In her grief, Frances tries to connect with Unity, the charitable organization that funded her and Daniel's scholarships and with which Daniel was deeply involved. She's perplexed and angered by the hostility of the group (especially Daniel's girlfriend, Sasha) towards her intention, and she's also suspicious of Unity's charismatic leader and his plan to use Frances-and Daniel's death-for publicity purposes; soon she uncovers indications that something is very wrong at Unity and that Daniel's death may not have been a suicide at all. There is a smattering of extraneous details here and readers will see the plot points coming well before Frances does (ranging from the drug smuggling that is Unity's true mission to the unmasking of a mysterious older student as an undercover FBI agent), but there's still a good deal of pleasure in the tale of intrigue. Frances is an appealingly bumbling heroine, unsure rather than Holmesian, so she's sympathetic as she sorts out friends and foes, helped by classic devices ("Instead I paused just outside and, astonished at myself but also somehow excited, shamelessly eavesdropped") and the requisite sidekick (a developmentally delayed handyman underestimated by the Unity members). This doesn't offer the taut psychological complexity of The Killer Cousin (BCCB 9/98), but it's an enjoyable tale of false fronts, dangerous secrets, and a girl's struggle to find the truth in a world gone awry.”

Library Uses:
     This book could be part of a library sponsored mystery book club or it could be used in an anti-drug library program.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Module 8: Unwind

Module 8: Fantasy and Science Fiction

Author: Neal Shusterman

Book Summary:
     In the society after the “Heartland War”, families live with the option to “unwind” their children when they are between the ages of thirteen and eighteen. According the “The Bill of Life” human life may not touched from the moment of conception until the child is thirteen. After the unwinding process, all parts of the child, from their toes to their ears, are used to help others. Unwind follows three children with different backgrounds who are brought together by their desire to escape their unwind orders. They find an underground railroad of sorts, and various people help them to stay away from the unwind facilities/harvest camps and the juvey-cops out to take them there.

APA Book Reference:
Shusterman, N. (2007). Unwind. New York, NY: Simon & Shuster Books for Young Readers.
     I enjoyed the different perspectives from which the story was told. Connor, Risa, and Lev have different stories to tell, especially when they are separated, so the format of the book allows the reader to follow all of the characters. Also having chapters from different perspectives seems to be a device used in many young adult books.
     I was unsure at first if I would like this book, because I thought it might be more political considering the subject matter, but it’s really about the lives of these three teens in a dystopian society. I did end up enjoying the book, and I did not realize this book is only the first in a trilogy. When I have time, I will have to read the two books that continue to follow Connor, Risa, and Lev.
The thing that most surprised me about this book was the chapter that follows Roland’s unwinding. I thought the unwinding process would remain a mystery considering that no one in the society knew exactly how the process worked. The chapter still leaves much up to argument however because Roland seems to cease to exist. However, the reader learns from the Admiral’s party at the end that memories and feelings still exist in the pieces.

Professional Review:
Peters, J. (2007). Unwind [Review of the book Unwind]. Booklist Online. Retrieved from: http://booklistonline.com/Unwind-Neal-Shusterman/pid=2120692
“Following in the footsteps of Jonathan Swift, Shusterman uncorks a Modest Proposal of his own to solve a Pro-Life/Pro-Choice dilemma. Set in a future in which abortions are outlawed but parents have the option of signing over their 13- to 17-year-olds to be used as organ donors, the tale focuses on 16-year-old Connor, who falls in with other prospective Unwinds and finds a temporary refuge (thanks to a clandestine organization with its own peculiar agenda) before being captured and sent to Happy Jack Harvest Camp. Though laced with intrigue, betrayals, and narrow squeaks, the story is propelled less by the plot (which is largely a series of long set pieces) than by an ingeniously developed cast and premise. But even readers who gravitate more to plot-driven fiction will find this present-tense page-turner thrilling, though it’s guaranteed to leave some feeling decidedly queasy—despite the (improbable) happy ending.”

Library Uses:
     Unwind could be used in a book talk that focuses on fantasy series. It could also be used to start a debate about dystopian future society’s and if they could someday truly exist.


Sunday, October 13, 2013

Module 7: No More Dead Dogs

Module 7: Realistic Fiction


No More Dead Dogs
Author: Gordon Korman

Book Summary:
No More Dead Dogs focuses on a middle school football player named Wallace Wallace. Wallace doesn’t ever lie, so when writing a review of the book “Old Shep, My Pal,” he admits that he does not like it because of the predictability of the dog dying in the end. His English teacher is not satisfied, so he gives Wallace detention until he can write something more “serious.” The teacher is also the director of the school play which is based on “Old Shep, My Pal,” so as part of Wallace’s detention he must miss football practice and attend play rehearsals. Wallace soon finds himself giving the actors suggestions for their roles, and realizes that perhaps the drama nerds aren’t such nerds after all. The football team loses games and someone is out to sabotage the play, but throughout the journey Wallace learns about true friendship and standing up for what you believe in.  
APA Book Reference:
Korman, G. (200). No more dead dogs. New York, NY: Scholastic     Inc. 

I liked the concept of this book; it’s based on the fact that in many “great” novels that include a dog, the dog usually dies. The book starts with Wallace Wallace stating that he knew the ending of the book from the very line based simply on that fact. I also liked that it was written in different perspectives: Wallace Wallace, Rachel Turner, Trudi Davis, and Mr. Fogelman. It also used different devices such as letters from Rachel to Julia Roberts and misinformed newspaper articles.
There was a lot of story crammed into this 180 page book, but the story didn’t feel rushed. No More Dead Dogs is a great example of realistic fiction for middle schoolers.

Professional Review:
Peters, J. (2001). No more dead dogs. Booklist, 98(3), 319. Retrieved from: http://go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?id=GALE%7CA79548265&v=2.1&u=txshracd2679&it=r&p=LitRC&sw=w&asid=d0e066f168151b4c9e4fa80828a15a3d

“Gr. 5-7. Here's one for every reader weary of being assigned novels in which the dog dies. For expressing his true views of Old Shep, My Pal, eighth-grade football hero Wallace Wallace earns a detention that takes him off the team and plunks him down in the auditorium, where his almost equally stubborn English teacher is directing a theatrical version of--you guessed it. To the delight of some cast members, but the loud outrage of Drama Club President, Rachel Turner, Wallace Wallace makes a few suggestions to punch up the production; by the end, it's a rock musical and the (stuffed) pooch actually pulls through. At least, that's the plan. Briskly stirring in complications and snappy dialog, Korman adds mystery to the fun with an unknown saboteur, caps the wildly popular play with an explosive (literally) climax, and finishes with Rachel and Wallace Wallace finally realizing that they were made for each other. Except for Old Shep, everyone, even the teacher, comes out a winner.”

Library Uses:
This book would be great in a book talk. It could be paired with other books where perhaps the dog does die, and then No More Dead Dogs could be introduced as satire on that fact.
It could also be used to present the lesson that popularity isn’t important; people should do what makes them happy.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Module 7: Wintergirls

Module 7: Realistic Fiction


Author: Laurie Halse Anderson

Book Summary:
  Lia and Cassie are “wintergirls:” frozen and empty. They are best friends with their corresponding eating disorders and disorderly conduct. When Cassie dies suddenly, Lia is sent reeling on a rollercoaster of depression, calorie counting, and hallucinations. Lia’s disorder controls her life, and even her close relationship with her step-sister cannot cure her. She refuses to let people help her; she lies to her therapist and tells the doctors what they want to hear. She cannot truly be helped until she allows herself to be helped. Will she get better? Will she allow herself to unthaw?
APA Book Reference:
Anderson, L.H. (2009). Wintergirls. New York, NY: Speak. 

  I loved the way this book was written. The prose was beautiful, and the crossed out sections that show the words that Lia will not allow herself to think allow the reader to further connect with her character. The numbers written next to every food item showing calories allow the reader to dive even deeper into Lia’s psychosis.
  This book was a well-written but depressing read. It was realistic and relatable. This book illustrates how one girl deals with some dark issues from the death of her best friend to her own near death experiences. Lia is a stubborn, at times annoying, character to follow. I sometimes found myself taking her parents’ side in their various arguments even though I was given Lia’s point of view and could sort of understand her motives. However, her relationship with her sister is what saved me from putting the book down. It gave me hope that she would seek help in the end.
  I was unsure of how Wintergirls would end. It could have had a happy ending (Yay she gets better!), it could have had an awful ending (she joins Cassie and they are “wintergirls” in the afterlife), but I found myself suspecting it would go the way of Go Ask Alice where the reader is left hopeful that she is getting better then on the next page she’s dead. I suppose I liked how it ultimately ended though; I wanted Lia to have hope.

  Side Note: This is yet another book that mentions A Wrinkle in Time. What’s the deal? I had never heard of that book until this class, and now it’s popping up everywhere.

Professional Review:

Kraus, D. (2008). Wintergirls [Review of the book Wintergirls]. Booklist Online. Retrieved from: http://www.booklistonline.com/Wintergirls-Laurie-Halse-Anderson/pid=3201361

“Problem-novel fodder becomes a devastating portrait of the extremes of self-deception in this brutal and poetic deconstruction of how one girl stealthily vanishes into the depths of anorexia. Lia has been down this road before: her competitive relationship with her best friend, Cassie, once landed them both in the hospital, but now not even Cassie’s death can eradicate Lia’s disgust of the “fat cows” who scrutinize her body all day long. Her father (no, “Professor Overbrook”) and her mother (no, “Dr. Marrigan”) are frighteningly easy to dupe—tinkering and sabotage inflate her scale readings as her weight secretly plunges: 101.30, 97.00, 89.00. Anderson illuminates a dark but utterly realistic world where every piece of food is just a caloric number, inner voices scream “NO!” with each swallow, and self-worth is too easily gauged: “I am the space between my thighs, daylight shining through.” Struck-through sentences, incessant repetition, and even blank pages make Lia’s inner turmoil tactile, and gruesome details of her decomposition will test sensitive readers. But this is necessary reading for anyone caught in a feedback loop of weight loss as well as any parent unfamiliar with the scripts teens recite so easily to escape from such deadly situations.”

Library Uses:
  Wintergirls main themes are death and eating disorders. This book could certainly start a discussion about eating disorders. It wouldn’t be a good book to use in a discussion of dealing with death because Lia is an already troubled girl who does not deal with it very well. It could also be used in a discussion about family or dealing with divorce; Lia’s parents are divorced; her family consists of Mom “Dr. Marrigan” and Dad Professor Overbrook, Jennifer (dad’s wife) and step-sister Emma. She obviously has a hard time relating to her parents and many children could relate to this.