Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Sun and The Wind: New York Edition

It’s been a bit busy these last couple of weeks with work and school. I’ve been hitting the audiobooks, but my children’s and YA reading has slowed quite a bit to make room for school work. Because school is dominating my reading and writing time, I figured I would share something I wrote for school. This is a quick adaptation of The Sun and The Wind that I wrote for my storytelling class. Enjoy.

It was a spring day in Manhattan. The golden Sun shone brightly through the alley ways onto the pavement of Wall Street. Bankers passed by in tightly tailored suits as a chilly wind cried out from the Hudson River.

The Sun, in all his spring time glory turned to the Wind, smiled and said, “It’s such a lovely day—wouldn’t you like to see the folks down there shed those suit jackets and trench coats and enjoy the spring?

The Wind sneered and paused, then said to the Sun, “Do you see that banker there?”
The Wind pointed to a tired young Man, no more than thirty, sitting on the steep steps of Federal Hall. He wore a hand-me-down navy suit, worn wing tip shoes and a crumpled fedora to top it all off.

The Sun looked at the Man and replied to the Wind, “Yes I see him. The one there on the steep steps of Federal Hall.”

The Wind, with his sneer, said to the Sun, “I bet you all the bills in all the banks of Wall Street that I can make that Man lose his suit jacket before you can.”

The Sun, never one to shy away from a challenge, said, “It’s a bet.”

Just then, the Wind began to gust. He pulled every bit of air he could find. From the Battery of lower Manhattan to the Reservoir in Central Park and planted it on the young Man sitting on the steep steps of Federal Hall. The Man’s fedora flew from his head and toppled down the steep steps. He buttoned his jacket and trotted down after his hat.

The Wind was disappointed. He just knew that gust of air would knock the Man’s jacket right off him. The Wind was not one to give up so easily. Once again he began to gust. He pulled every bit of wind from the saxophones of street musicians, from the cheers in Shea Stadium, from the voices of Broadway, from the building tops and subway tunnels and planted it on the young Man standing near the steep steps of Federal Hall.

The Man, looking tired as ever, popped his collar, to shield against the wind. He picked up his hat and placed it back on his head. He was sure to push the hat as far down as it would go, to keep the Wind from pushing it off again.

Just then, the Sun smiled a big smile—for he knew something great would happen to the Man today. As the Sun smiled the dark crooked corners of Wall Street were illuminated with a light they had never seen before. The pavement radiated with a heat that could soak through the soles of your shoes.

The Man put his collar of his jacket back down. Feeling no relief the Man removed his hat and began to fan himself with it. He soon realized that there was no getting around it—he was hot. He unbuttoned his jacket, then—he removed it. He draped the jacket over his arm—as he did this, a slip of paper fell from one of the jacket pockets. The Man reached down and picked up the paper. It was a bond, purchased by his father more than thirty years ago. By his calculations, it was worth almost all of the bills in all the banks on Wall Street. The Wind whimpered, for he knew he was defeated. The Man smiled to himself, and the Sun smiled with him, as he took his bond all the way to the bank.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

In the Mood for Movies: A Reading Rec for Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer

Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer is on its way to theaters this weekend. While the movie is premiering with lackluster reviews, Book No. 1 of the series, Judy Moody Was in a Mood, shines bright.

In this book, Judy heads back to school to start third grade. Judy’s first assignment is to create a “me collage” to introduce herself to her new classmates. As Judy pieces together the collage she makes a new friend and gains a better understanding of who she is.

Looking at this summary you may think that Judy Moody is average elementary fiction fare—don’t be so sure. Judy is a character with gusto. She is fiercely independent, strong-minded and wears her heart on her sleeve. Judy Moody is enough like actual kids to resonate with actual kids—she’s also entertaining enough to be worth reading about—author Megan McDonald strikes a great balance. This book is sure to entertain—so check it out before or after seeing the upcoming movie.

Find Judy Moody Was in a Mood at a library near you!

Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer
In theaters: June 10, 2011
Rating: PG
For more info on the plot, rating and content visit

Sunday, June 5, 2011

That's a Wrap! Day 2 of the 48 Hour Book Challenge

I am now at the end of the 48 Hour Book Challenge. Over the past two days I have read for 843 minutes (14.05 hours), which means I exceeded my 12 hour goal. Victory! In the interest of making it to bed at a decent hour, I will keep this post and my reviews brief.

While I didn’t finish tons of books, I did finish The Hunger Games—and I loved it. I can be a bit of a contrarian. There are certain books that people go crazy over that I refuse to give in to. I’ve been holding out on The Hunger Games for a while but couldn’t resist any longer. I was totally enveloped by this book. I’d recommend this book for readers 12 and older who like action, adventure, thriller or sci-fi books. Click here for more information on The Hunger Games.

Much of my time has been spent listening to The Carrie Diaries this weekend, but I’m still not done with this book. So far I can say that the author, Candace Bushnell, and the producers of the audiobook truly capture the younger essence of the Carrie Bradshaw we know and love from Sex and the City. Beyond that I have to say that a lot of the situations seem cliché and the conflicts in this story seem to pile on. I know that there are real teens out there who have multiple, complex situations happening in their lives all at once. However, I think that the number of YA characters in the same situation seems to be inflated. Carrie is met with every vice and temptation a high schooler is likely to come across. In addition she has a deceased parent, abusive boyfriend, a best friend who is jealous of the boy friend, doesn’t get into her dream school—I could go on. While this book has been an interesting and enjoyable read/listen, I find that I believe the story less and less as it continues. My existing affinity for Carrie Bradshaw is the only thing keeping me interested in The Carrie Diaries. So, if you are a Sex and the City fan, this may be a fun pick. If not, you may be better off skipping this book. I have not finished The Carrie Diaries—so there may be more updates to follow.

The 48 Hour Book Challenge has been a fun and surprisingly relaxing exercise. I’m all rested up for a week of work, school—and more reading.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

It’s Been A Day! The First 24 Hours of the 48 Hour Book Challenge

The Experience
I suspected it was going to be a busy weekend when I embarked on this challenge. I was right. While I have been busy--I’ve been reading. I may not read through a stack of books during this challenge, but I am challenging myself--and that’s the whole point right?

Looking at my reading time sheet for the day, I’ve logged 361 minutes of reading--just over 6 hours. I am most interested in how I logged that time. Most of my reading has been completed in short increments. With 12 separate instances of reading my average read time was 30 minutes. My maximum reading time was 65 minutes, my minimum was 10 minutes.

Why is this important? My schedule is usually busy. I rarely have time to read for hours on end. 10 minutes here and 15 minutes there adds up. Today has made me realize that there is always time to read--even if it’s just a little bit of time.

The Books
At the end of day one I am about 1/2 way through the audiobook of The Carrie Diaries by Candace Bushnell and I’ve read 109/359 pages of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. While I’m really enjoying both books, my overall reactions to each are quite different. The Hunger Games, with all its popularity, obviously has broad appeal. There are very few readers from teen upwards that I could not recommend this book to. I'm excited to provide a more complete review once I’ve finished The Hunger Games.

As for The Carrie Diaries--I am most struck by the context and the content of this book. The Carrie Diaries follows Sex and the City’s Carrie Bradshaw through her senior year of high school. As a prequel, this book is met with a set of expectations from Sex and the City fans. Not all teen readers of this book will be familiar Sex and the City, but many will be. Thus far, The Carrie Diaries meets my expectations. As a high school senior, most of Carrie’s life is learning to handle relationships, both friendly and romantic. While Carrie is perhaps the most conservative and pragmatic of her group of friends, this book is peppered with sex, drinking and references to drug use making it a read for older teens and adults. I will follow up with a complete review of this book after I’ve completed it.

With 24 hours left in the challenge, I hope to complete 6 more hours of reading. Anything beyond that is bonus. I'm looking to finish The Hunger Games and perhaps sneak in Zombie Blondes or perhaps a graphic novel. Judging by the weight of my eyelids, bedtime is swiftly approaching--so reading will have to wait. Goodnight and happy reading.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Ready, Set, Start! The 48 Hour Book Challenge

The post marks my entry and starting time for the 48 Hour Book Challenge. Over the next two days I will read and blog as much as possible (for prizes, bragging rights, fun etc.) This book challenge focuses on books targeted at middle grades through adult.

While I would love to make a hefty dent in my “to read” pile, progress is measured by hours, rather than number of books read. To win prizes, I have to read for at least 12 hours--since it’s going to be a busy weekend 12 hours is my goal. Wish me luck and check back here to see my progress.

I will be Tweeting my progress @2TheLibrary. You can also follow other contestants of the 48 Hour Book Challenge using the hashtag #48hbc.

Click here for more information on the 48 Hour Book Challenge

Recommended Reads for the X-Men: First Class Moviegoer

The release of X-Men: First Class is just hours away. Perhaps you are already lining up for a midnight showing or maybe you’ll wait to see this flick when it’s released to DVD. No matter how pumped you are for X-Men: First class, I have some reads that are sure to stoke your enthusiasm to see the movie--or to get you through post-viewing depression.

Meet the X-Men by Clare Hibbert
Meet the X-Men is a level 2 easy reader released by DK Readers. This book is targeted at readers “beginning to read alone” but keep in mind that X-Men: First Class is rated PG-13 and may not be a great match for younger moviegoers. This easy reader offers quick bios of popular X-Men characters and would be a great way to introduce young readers to X-Men mythology before taking them to see the movie.

Astonishing X-Men: Gifted by Joss Whedon & John Cassaday
This teen graphic novel was an awesome read that made me truly excited to see X-Men: First Class. While reading Gifted I realized what many X-Men fans have known all along--there is a strong social justice theme laced throughout the X-Men story. X-Men are mutants, different from other members of society. Instead of being ashamed of their differences they choose to use their mutant powers to make the world a better place. In Gifted, the X-Men are met with a scientist who has developed a cure for the mutant gene. Many mutants (and some X-Men) are tempted by the idea of normalcy and are eager to use the cure. The X-Men cling to their mutant identities while getting to the bottom of the cure and its source. While this graphic novel contains mild sexual content, and references to drinking (though not under-aged)--I think the positives of the book’s themes shine through and make it a great read.

X-Men: First Class
In theaters: June 3, 2011
Rating: PG-13
For more info on the plot, rating and content visit

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Summer Movie Series

If you look at this year’s list of summer movies, you’ll see a lot of flicks inspired by books and comics for children and young adults. From Judy Moody to Green Lantern, there’s a lot to see-- and read. To celebrate summer movies and encourage summer reading, I will be reviewing and recommending books to enhance your movie going experience. So grab some popcorn and a box of gummy bears, it's going to be a great summer of reading and movie watching!

Coming Soon → Recommended Reads for the X-Men: First Class Moviegoer