Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Brian Selznick came to Willow Glen Middle school tonight to talk about his new book Wonderstruck. He gave a wonderful presentation explaining how he took all his ideas and inspirations and crafted them into this book over a period of 3 years. Similar to The Invention of Hugo Cabret, the story is told through both words and pictures. What makes this book different is that he is telling two separate stories - one through words and one through pictures - which come together in the end. He was inspired by a film he saw called Through Deaf Eyes, which is about the history of deaf education and deaf culture in America. He was also inspired by a class he audited about the history of museums and includes many references to the book From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, by E. L. Konigsburg, and a great chunk of the story comes from his desire to draw a lightning strike. You can see a preview of the book and a video about the book at wonderstruckthebook.com. Mr. Selznick also shared with us some of his experiences in Hollywood as his book The Invention of Hugo Cabret was being made into a movie. He showed us a trailer, which you can see here, and he told us that the film is very faithful to the book, which is very good hear! He gave a very interesting talk and when one of the kids in the audience asked how he became a successful artist, he answered that he is always working at. He said if you want to be good at a thing, you have to keep doing the thing. So whatever it is you like to do and are good at, keep doing it!
Here is a picture of me getting my book signed:

And here is a picture of his shoes because a lady at Hicklebee's told me he would be wearing silver shoes, and sure enough, he was!

While I was waiting for the presentation to start, I started a sock:

Because I finished a pair last night:

Thursday, October 13, 2011

All Hallow's Read

I've spoken here before about All Hallow's Read. Here's a video of Neil Gaiman explaining what All Hallow's Read is about (click here if you can't see the video or it doesn't work properly):

So in the spirit of All Hallow's Read, here are some books that can be found in the Marshall Lane library that can be checked out and shared with a reading buddy.

Story Collections:
Half Minute Horrors, edited by Susan Rich
Don't Open the Door After the Sun Goes Down, by Al Carusone, illustrated by Andrew Glass
The Dark-thirty, by Pat McKissack, illustrated by Brian J. Pinkney
Things That Go Bump in the Night, edited by Jane Yolen and Martin H. Greenberg
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, collected and retold by Alvin Schwartz, illustrated by Stephen Gamell
Tales for the Midnight Hour, by J. D. Stamper
Troll's Eye View, edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling.

Picture Books:
Night of the Gargoyles, by Eve Bunting, illustrated by David Wiesner
The Dangerous Alphabet, by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Gris Grimly
The Wolves in the Walls, by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Dave McKean
There's a Nightmare in my Closet, by Mercer Mayer
Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich, by Adam Rex
The Spider and the Fly, by Mary Botham Howitt, illustrated by Tony DiTerlizzi

The Seer of Shadows, by Avi
The Light, by D. J. MacHale
The Ghost Road, by Tony Abbott
Bunnicula Meets Edgar Allan Crow, by James Howe, illustrated by Eric Fortune
Coraline, by Neil Gaiman
The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman
The Blue Ghost, by Marion Dane Bauer
The Ghost of Crutchfield Hall, by Mary Downing Hahn
Dying to Meet You, by Kate Klise
There's a Dead Person Following My Sister Around, by Vivian Vande Velde

Graphic Novels:
Babymouse; Monster Mash, by Jenifer L. Holm
Coraline, by P. Craig Russell and Neil Gaiman
Ghostopolis, by Doug TenNapel
Goosebumps; Creepy Creatures, by R. L. Stine
Murder & Myster, by Mike Vosburg
Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde and Other Stories of the Supernatural, by Robert Louis Stevenson
The Raven and Other Poems and Stories, by Edgar Allen Poe
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, by Washington Irving
The Invisible Man, by H. G. Wells
War of the Worlds, by H. G. Wells
Eight Tales of Terror, by Edgar Allan Poe
Some of these books are already on display in the front display case in the library. Come in a check some out. There are even more scary books in the library than what's on the list above. Ask me where you can find them. And share a scary story with a loved one today!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Yes, Virginia, Grown-ups Do Read Comic Books

Way back in April, I read and reviewed Ghostopolis by Doug TenNapel. I thought it was a terrific book so whenever a student checks it out, I tell them that I think it's a really good book and that I enjoyed reading it. Nine times out of ten, the student in question will give me a quizzical look and ask "You read it?" They seem a little surprised. This happened earlier this week when a boy checked out Ghostopolis. I told him how much I enjoyed it and he was very surprised that I had read it. Since then, he's been coming in every day to give me updates on where he's at in the story. Today he came in to update me and also told me that he had told his dad that I had read Ghostopolis and his dad was very surprised to hear that. I asked why and he told me that his dad didn't think grown-ups read comic books. I reassured him that lots of grown-ups read comic books. He then went on to tell me that his dad doesn't read anything because he has to work all day. I told him his dad probably is reading things, just not fun things. I know this because Mr. Richards used to have the same problem. He still has to work all day, but he reads more fun stuff now than he used to.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Two Books (audio) and a scarf

The weather suddenly feels very autumnish, which makes sense because it is, in fact, autumn.
I've finished a couple of audio books this week. The first one is called Masterpiece by Elise Broach. This is a story of a boy who befriends a beetle that can draw. The beetle draws a picture as a birthday gift for the boy but the boy's family thinks he drew it and that he's suddenly revealed a hidden genius talent. The boy and his beetle get drawn into a plot to foil some art thieves who are planning to steal a famous drawing from the local art museum. One thing that bothered me in this story is that the art thief turns out to be someone that the boy and his father and his father's friend know, and when they find this out, they actually consider not turning the thief in to the police because he is their friend. They actually say he is 'good' friend. This bothers me because a good friend doesn't use his friend's connections to art museum collections in order to steal from said art museum. That's not being a good friend. Otherwise, if you have an appreciation for art, you'll probably find a kinship with this author. She definitely likes to talk about art.

If you like mysteries with a scottish flair, this book is for you. Half Moon Investigations by Eoin Colfer is a terrific noir mystery featuring a hard-boiled 12 year old detective named Fletcher Moon. Eoin Colfer seems to have tapped in to the preteen psyche. As in the Artemis Fowl series, he deftly crafts grand adventures for his heroes while balancing the action with the kind of humor that preteens and the parents of preteens can easily appreciate. The book was expertly read by Sean Patrick Reilly who really brought the noir mood to life. Think of a 12 year old Humphrey Bogart as Sam Spade. I highly recommend this one.

Now, I know you want to know what I've been working on while listening to these audio books. Remember the Nerd Wars tournament I participated in over the summer? Well, Tournament 3 has commenced, but this time, I'm on a zombie themed team called Team Braaaaaains. Here is my first project submission, it's called You've Got Red On You.

This particular challenge required us to write a haiku to go with our projects. Here is my haiku:

Shamble, moaning, bite
Swing cricket bat at the head
You’ve got red on you

More than red on you
It seems you have intestines
Wrapped around your neck

Now you must be inspired to write your own zombie haiku so share it in the comments!