Friday, May 6, 2011

I Want to Be Like Anita and John!

I'm dating myself here. Remember the old Nike commercial "I want to be like Mike"? Well, I want to be a combination of my two favorite people I follow on Twitter.

Anita Silvey's Book-a-Day Almanac and John Schumacher's Watch. Connect. Read. Every morning I make coffee and then get on my IPad and check both of these informative and fun sites.

Anita Silvey's credits are a mile long. Former editor of Horn book and author herself, each day she highlights a favorite book of hers. Her article is always loaded with wonderful tidbits. She also reports each day about author birthdays, and days like National Bubble Gum day. I find that my day has not started until I've read every single word.

John Schumacher was just named as one of the movers and shakers in the librarain world. If you need to know the hottest and newest books, he's your guy. His specialty is book trailers, the latest and greatest. His impressive goal for 2011 is to read 2011 books, he's nearing one thousand already. I think he's going to SMOKE that goal! A librarian, teacher, and techie, oh my! He brings authors into his school via Skype. He uses QR codes to get his students interested in new books. He hangs posters in the bathrooms of all the new books he's purchased at the wonderful Anderson's Book Store! He is what all librarians want to be. Young. Okay, I'm kidding...well, maybe only a little.

To say that they inspire me is an understatement. Their passion for kids and books are my passions. My hope is that I can glean knowledge from both of them, little by little, and share with my students, fellow teachers, and librarians. If you love kids and books, join me, and take a look at these two amazing people. You won't be disappointed. ENJOY AND KEEP READING!

REVOLUTION by Jennifer Donnelly

Jennifer Donnelly has done it again with REVOLUTION. Another near perfect book. I've only read one of her other books, A NORTHERN LIGHT. Totally different but brilliant as well. I loved them for different reasons but give both 5 of 5 stars.

Andi blames herself for her younger brother's death, and, maybe unconsciously, her parents estrangement. But she's angry and deservedly so. Her passion is music but her father doesn't hear it. She is researching an 18th century composer Amade Malherbeau. (Whom I believed to be real, he's not. Ms. Donnelly made him up.) Andi's research and a mysterious discovery leads her to a young girl during the French Revolution. You, the reader, get to go back and forth from Andi's life and Alex's life.

Maria, from West Side Story. Sing it. Hear those 3 notes? Ma♪ri♪a♪. Before I read REVOLUTION, I didn't know why I love minor notes and chords, I just knew they moved me. Those three notes are called a triad. From Wikipedia: triad - three-note chord consisting of a "root" note together with the third and fifth above it. Music is just part of REVOLUTION, but for me, it's very important.

In an interview with her at Booktunes I quote, "I wanted very much to make the point of the power of art to sustain. I love the idea of reaching back to our artistic ancestors for help and comfort and guidance. I’ve been sustained by the work of other writers my entire life. Andi is sustained by generations of musicians, stretching from Johnny Greenwood all the way back to Malherbeau (a fictional 18th-century French composer I conjured for this book). If there’s one thing I really want to get across to readers, especially teenage readers, is that this priceless legacy – be it music, or paintings, or books – exists. And it exists for you. If things are bad, take hold of it and let it carry you."

Sometimes, I don't always "get" why a book moves me. I mean, I know what moved me. The music moved me but it was the connection to the music. It took this article for me to understand that connection, that it SUSTAINS me and it can help my students to know that it can sustain them, too.