Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Books! Books! Books!

Two days ago, the Newbery Award Winner was revealed.  So I promptly downloaded the audio version of Dead End in Norvelt, by Jack Gantos.  I finished listening to it today and I believe it is well deserving of the Newbery Award.  The story is based partly on the author's own childhood growing up in Norvelt, Pennsylvania in the 1960's.  Grounded for the summer, Jack spends his time reading books about history and helping an elderly neighbor write obituaries for the local newspaper, all the while battling his "nose problem".  But things are changing in the little town of Norvelt.  The Hell's Angels have come to town and the little old ladies of the town are dying off.  Could these two events be related?  Jack Gantos tells his semi-autobiographical tale with great humor and reverence for history.  Several times I laughed out loud while listening to the audio book, which, by the way, is read by the author.  Incidentally, the books that Jack reads in the book are from the Landmark series which were published in the 1960's.  When I first started working at Marshall Lane, the library had many Landmark titles from the 1960's on the shelves.  Our library has been updated quite a bit since then.
 The next book I want to tell you about is The Fantastic Secret of Owen Jester, by Barbara O'Connor.  Barbara O'Connor is the author The Small Adventure of Popeye and Elvis which I wrote about here.  This adventure is slightly larger than that of Popeye and Elvis.  One night, while lying in bed trying to fall asleep, Owen Jester hears the distinct sound of a large object fall off a train.  The adventure begins when Owen and his friends search the nearby railroad tracks for the mysterious object.  What they find brings even more adventure.  This was really a delightful story.  I highly recommend it.
This next book is not yet in the library, but I hope to get a copy soon.  I had to buy this one for myself.  Extra Yarn was written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Jon Klassen, who you may remember as the author and illustrator of one of my new favorite books I Want My Hat Back which also earned a Geisel Honor.  Anyway, I follow both Mac Barnett and Joh Klassen on Twitter and was alerted that they had this book coming out so I pre-ordered it immediately, sight unseen, because it's called Extra Yarn.  The story is about a little girl  who finds a box of extra yarn and puts it to good use, but the box never seems to run out of yarn!   I have a box of extra yarn and it never seems to run out either!  It's a sweet story and our old friend Bear makes a cameo in the illustrations.

Well, that's all I've got for now.  There's a pile of new books waiting for me to finish processing them tomorrow.  Yay new books!

Monday, January 23, 2012

ALA Youth Media Awards Announced!

It's that time of year again.  When the librarians hand awards out for their favorite books.  May of this year's winners are already on the shelves at Marshall Lane Library.  For a complete list of the winners, you can go to the ALA website. Winners and honor books that can be found in the library are:
Dead End in Norvelt, by Jack Gantos.  This the Newbery Winner for 2012.   I haven't read this yet, but I've just purchased and downloaded the audio book so I can start listening to it right away.
The Caldecott Medal winner is A Ball for Daisy, by Chris Raschka.  Blackout, by John Rocco and Grandpa Green, by Lane Smith each won a Caldecott Honor.

Coretta Scott King Author Honors went to Eloise Greenfield who wrote The Great Migration: jOurney to the North, which was illustrated by Jan Spivey Gilchrist and to Patricia McKissack for Never Forgotten, which was illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon.

Wonderstruck, by Brian Selznick won a Schneider Family Book Award for "embodying an artistic expression of the disability experience."


The Elephant Scentist, by Caitlin O'Connell and Donna M. Jackson and Drawing from Memory, by Allan Say are two informational children's books that were given Robert F. Sibert honors.

And most exciting of all, the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award went to Tales for Very Picky Eaters, by Josh Schneider, with honors going to Mo Willems' I Broke My Trunk, featuring local favorites Elephant and Piggie, and also to Jon Klassen's I Want My Hat Back which has become quite a favorite at the Marshall Lane Library!

I will do my best to acquire the rest of the award and honor books from the ALA list but until then, you can check these out at the library!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Happy New Year, I want my hat back.

I hope everyone enjoyed their time off for the holidays. It already seems like it was ages ago, now that we are back in the swing of things. I had lots of people coming and going at my house so I was pretty busy cooking food and cleaning up messes and having fun with the people. But now I'm back to work and have books on my mind and knitting needles in my hands.

    This is the book that has been on my mind. It is my new favorite and I have enjoyed reading it to all the classes so much. It's called I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen. It's about a bear who has lost his hat and no one has seen it ... or have they?
I love the deadpan expressions of the animals in the book. I love how the color of the words match the animals who are speaking. I love the dark humor and the mystery of what may have happened to the rabbit. I use a croaky voice for the frog and a slow, deep voice for the turtle and the kids crack up! I love my job! I'm so obsessed with this book that I decided that I needed to make a hat like Bear's for myself. So, I did. Here's a picture:

    I made this hat by first knitting a very large pointy hat out of 100% wool yarn. After it was all knitted, I put it in the washing machine with a pair of jeans and some very hot water for about 30 minutes. Then I switched the machine to rinse and spin and when the cycle was done, my hat was finished! This process is called felting. People make hats and slippers and coats out of felted wool. Here is a picture of the hat before I put it in the washer:

    As you can see, the hat was much larger before it shrank in the wash. Here it measures out to about 14 inches in height. After felting, it measures about 11 inches tall. I created the pattern for this hat myself, so there was a bit of trial and error before I got it right. Here is a picture of the first one I made, which is not quite right:

If you'd like to try making this yourself, I created a pattern which you can download here.  If you have trouble downloading the pattern, leave me a comment or DM me on Ravelry and I'll email you the PDF.
And here's a book trailer for the book: