Friday, February 24, 2012

Did you read that movie?

Having your book turned into a movie is like seeing your oxen turned into bouillon cubes. ~John Le Carre

It's time for the Academy Awards again.  This year there are a lot of nominated movies that were based on books. 
Which ones?  Here's the list:

"Hugo" -- "The Invention of Hugo Cabret" by Brian Selznick

"The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" - "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" by Stieg Larsson
Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

"The Help" -- "The Help" by Kathryn Stockett

"The Descendants" -- "The Descendants" by Kaui Hart Hemmings
Matinee time. "Want a movie you can really connect with? The Descendants is damn near perfect." - Rolling Stone

"Moneyball" -- "Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game" by Michael Lewis
Moneyball Movie

"My Week with Marilyn" -- "My Week With Marilyn" by Colin Clark

"The Iron Lady" -- "The Iron Lady: Margaret Thatcher, from Grocer's Daughter to Prime Minister" by John Campbell
The Iron Lady (2011) DVDSCR 400MB Mediafire Links Free Download

"Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" -- "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" by Jonathan Safran Foer
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

"Albert Nobbs" -- "Albert Nobbs: A Novella" by George Moore
Albert Nobbs

"Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" -- "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" by John le Carré

"War Horse" -- "War Horse" by Michael Morpurgo
Project 365: Day 365 !!!  Hooray!  WAR HORSE

Which ones have you read?  Which ones did you see?  I skimmed through The Invention of Hugo Cabret when my daughter was reading it, but I never did find time to sit down and read it.  We didn't see the movie.  Both The Help and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo I read and then watched.  There are a few of those movie titles on my "To Read" list.  Maybe I'll get to them, maybe I won't.  Or maybe I'll just watch them.  Chances are that if I didn't catch it in the theater, I'm not going to see it.  It's rare that I plop down on the couch to watch a movie.  Somehow, there are always other things to do.  I can spend the same amount of time watching TV, and I don't feel guilty.  Maybe that's because I can get things done during commercial breaks.  The only thing that may get done is making popcorn, but I could get some laundry folded, dishes washed, or pages read if I wanted/needed to.  That's tangential though.

I see the Oscars in the same way my husband sees the Super Bowl.  Snacks are needed, and your whole evening is devoted to the television.  It's much more fun to watch award shows with friends.  Especially while you and your friends are on a tropical vacation.  But, I digress.  It's fun because everyone can throw out their own opinions on who should win, and who should not.  Between my husband and I, we've seen the same movies so there isn't a whole lot of discussion about which awards should go to whom.  That, and I don't think he really cares.  He feels about the Oscars much the same way I do about the football game that is played between commercials during the Super Bowl.

It's rare that I've had more than one film to root for to win.  This year there are a couple.  But, I'm especially excited about the ones based on books.  Hunh.  Imagine that.  If Hugo wins best picture, it would be the first time a Newberry award winner has also gotten the prize.  Really, how many times have Newberry books been nominated?  None.  But several of them have been made into movies.  Holes and A Wrinkle in Time were both made into movies in 2003. 

Do some checking around online.  You can find a whole list of books made into movies that have earned Academy Awards or other prestigious prizes.  To make your life easier, you can click here to find a selection of Best Picture Oscar Winners.  Although that list was compiled in 2006--so there may be some missing, especially after this year.  Six of the nine movies up for Best Picture this year were based on books.  

It's a good year to have read the movie.

Oscar statuettes

Never judge a book by its movie. ~J.W. Eagan

Friday, February 17, 2012

One language. Mihin olemme menossa seuraavaksi?

Language is the most imperfect and expensive means yet discovered for communicating thought.  ~William James
Marimekko Unikko wellies

I am not a great cook, I am not a great artist, but I love art, and I love food, so I am the perfect traveller. Michael Palin

The day after Christmas, my husband and I both expressed a desire to go on vacation.  Where to?  Who cares.  We just want to go somewhere.  Now that things have died down a bit more; and life has returned to it's normal daily routines, it's time to look forward to something interesting.  Travel.  I love exploring new areas of the globe.  Not that I've gotten outside of the United States much in my life.  But, even different parts of the state I live in are part of the globe.  I don't have to go anywhere far, but someplace different always seems to refresh me.  I don't even have to really do anything while I'm gone.  Just a change of scenery is enough. 

Our family heads off to Salolampi; Finnish language camp, for the weekend.  This will be our third year attending the family fun weekend.  The girls all spent their earliest years with a grandfather who would speak Finn to them.  They know way more of the language than I do.  I kind of think my brain isn't wired quite right to absorb another language.   I only learned one phrase in my three years of German during high school.  What was the phrase?  Ich habe keine idee.  (I have no idea.) 

But, I can absorb some of the cultural elements of this Scandinavian country, even if I don't think I will ever be able to hold more than the barest of conversations in Finnish.  After the weekend, the sauna song has had repeated appearances in my brain.  I kind of know what the words mean.  Kind of.  And, I can sing the song--mispronouncing words most of the way through. 

Book club cake of the month
Salolampi may not exactly be a new place for me, but it is a break in the routine.  I learn something new, and eat things that I don't usually eat.  I hear words spoken in a language different from the one I usually hear.  At the end of the day I can sit in one of the saunas and breathe in that hot, moist air.  From there, walk back to the cabin through the cold and quiet night.  Now that's refreshing!  A few days of this and I'm ready to get back to my real world.  Laundry, dishes, cooking, working, etc.  And for at least a few days, there will be some Finnish words used in place of English words.  I've already learned to make pulla (cardamom bread) and make that occasionally at home.  I'll get to enjoy lots of it this weekend along with all the coffee I can drink. 

Minulla ei ole aavistustakaan!  (I have no idea.)  I keep repeating it, practising it for the weekend.  Or at least the beginning of the weekend, when my few known Finnish words and phrases are farther back at the edges of my brain.  Thank goodness for google translate to help me prepare.  

And when I'm all Finned out at the end of the day, I will head back to my cabin and my book.  No TV or computer to interfere with my reading.  Bliss. 

Marimekko mug

If you can speak three languages you're trilingual.  If you can speak two languages you're bilingual.  If you can speak only one language you're an American.  ~Author Unknown

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Take a deep breath

One way to break up any kind of tension is good deep breathing. ~~Byron Nelson

33. (explored)

When the breath wanders the mind also is unsteady.  But when the breath is calmed the mind too will be still, and the yogi achieves long life.  Therefore, one should learn to control the breath.  ~Svatmarama, Hatha Yoga Pradipika

All right, everyone.  Take a deep breath.  Fill your belly with air.  (Really concentrate on filling your abdomen.)  Hold it.  Now slowly breath out through your nose and empty the air out of you.  Repeat 4 more times. 

Feel better?

Yoga deep breathing.  It helps calm me, and I can feel my blood pressure dropping with each breath.  Part of the reason is that I have to concentrate on filling my abdomen with air instead of just my lungs.  So, it kind of empties your mind at the same time as giving your brain a big boost of oxygen.  Try it.  Repeat as necessary.

We all love our kids.  Or most of us do.  Most of the time.  We want what is best for them and may not agree on the ways to give them the best.  Take some more deep breathes.  It's good to have a conversation.  Not so good to have an all out brawl.  It's best to keep an open mind.  You may not agree with what is going on, but you need to listen with an open mind.  You'll get your turn to talk.  It'll be better for everyone if you talk in a calm voice.  These are words of wisdom that I need to point at myself.   You might also need to remind yourself. 

Breathe.  Good.  Repeat.

Valentine's day is next week.  Yesterday in story hour I got to sing a fun book called The Ballad of Valentine by Alison Jackson.  Good thing there weren't any American Idol judges in attendance or I'd have to quit my day job.  Or not.  Sung to the tune of Oh My Darlin' Clementine, it tells the story of one man's attempt to get a message to his darling Valentine.  Things keep going awry, and his messages don't seem to be getting to their intended recipient.  All ends happily ever after, but it takes a bit of effort from everyone. 

Love takes effort.  If you think it shouldn't, you've read too many Harlequins.  Sometimes it takes no effort, and other times it takes a lot.  If it's worth it, it's worth working towards.  Right? 

I'm not a romantic.  I'm just not.  I can't really pretend to be either.  Those syrupy Hallmark cards just aren't it for me.  If you're going to buy me a card, it better be funny.  If you make me a card, put all the sentiment you want into it; and I will appreciate it all the more because I know you didn't just "eeny, meeny, miney, mo" it.  That's why I like to make my valentine cards.  (Also, I'm cheap.)  We also made valentines in story hour.  It's always fun to see the various ages and stages of kids and their various ways of making them.  From lots of thought into the words used by the 10-year-old down to lots of thought into forming the letters for a 4-year-old, it's nice to see the kids making a concerted effort in showing someone that they're thinking of them with love.   

If the deep breathing doesn't calm you, get out some paper and a pen and make a valentine.  How much thought and energy you spend on that is how much thought and energy you aren't spending on something that is a stressor in your life.  Don't have anyone to send a valentine to?  Send one to your library.  We'd love to have some love letters to hang on our walls.

love letter
Letters are expectation packaged in an envelope. ~~Shana Alexander
Letters are among the most significant memorial a person can leave behind them. ~~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Thursday, February 2, 2012

If you don't like it, change it.

What is a rebel? A man who says no.  ~Albert Camus

Ft. Vancouver High School Library Media Center 14

I met with the principal of Vandyke Elementary School on Monday.  We had a good debate.  She didn't change my mind, and I don't think I changed hers.  Here are the things I walked away with after that meeting:

-Plan One was the only plan that had a school library.  They are now on Plan Four.  Plan One was the plan that parents saw when they came to the school for conferences in November.

-Each classroom will have its own collection of books.  These books would also be changed out periodically.  "Finger-tip access" to books for children at their reading level.  Students who are above or below the reading level of the majority of books in the classroom would be free to collect books from another classroom. 

-No official proposal has been made by the school district to the public library.

-The elementary school principal has met with the director of the Arrowhead Library System once. 

Mrs. Hoeft has a list of questions that need to be finalized.  Questions about funding and allocation of added job duties are on that list.  There are a lot of questions about the funding of various parts of this whole plan.  I don't know who else is working on getting these answers, but that should get done before the school board finalizes it's plans for the school. 

I was told that having a school library when there is a beautiful public library across the street is not taking advantage of the duality of these services.  Which I interpreted to mean: it's a waste of taxpayer money to have a school library when a public library can do the same job.  Having worked in a public library for 13 years, I know that these libraries play vastly different roles in the growth and development of students.  I believe that by closing the school library we are setting ourselves up for a backslide of the great progress we've made with reading in our district.  I've heard more than once from people entering the school for the first time about how impressed they are with the importance placed on reading, and the obvious love the children have for it in our school. 

Reading level materials in the room is a great idea.  For some kids.  Once my 2-grades-above-level daughter has read all the books in her reading level in the classroom, she can go get a book from a different classroom.  Somehow, I don't see her doing that.  If she did make an effort to go find a different book, when would she do it?  Would she be bursting into the middle of another class's lesson to find something that would interest her?  Would she be going on her own, with no guidance of any sort?  How about the kids reading below grade level?  I can't imagine a second grader with a kindergarten reading level going to the kindergarten room to pick up a book.  There go two kids who aren't challenged, and won't succeed they way they could have with a school library and its variety of materials.  There go two kids that the education system at Greenway failed.

For being on plan 4 and only the first having a school library, it sure seems as if the district has made its decision already.  There are a lot of unasked questions that still need to be answered.  There are a lot of people involved in this sort of undertaking, school staff, library staff, and city staff (someone has to clean up the dirt tracked in).  There are also funding issues that need to be decided.  When I asked Mrs. Hoeft what would happen if Jane Doe checked out all of the books on leaves a week before the second grade class would be using them, she replied that that is where modern technology; things like Kindles, would come into play.  Wow.  Those things aren't free.  Where is the money for that coming from? 

There are many questions that need to be answered.  Staffing issues: who will be switching out books from classrooms?  Sharing of wireless Internet: who picks up the tab for that?  Changing bar codes from the school's system to the system the Arrowhead Library System uses: who funds that, and where will the money come from?  Who is going to pay for the added work done by the public library staff?  I know that $8,000 was cut from the Coleraine Public Library's budget for the year, so it's not like they've got any extra cash laying around.  What happens if the library's budget gets cut so much that library hours need to be restructured?  It's happened in many of the libraries in the area.  What happens if they need to close for a day a week?

There are numerous studies that show the importance of school libraries.  They all point to access to books being a huge factor in how well students do in school.  Our students have done amazing because of how much they have been exposed to libraries.  Not just one, but two.  It would be a shame to cut that exposure in half.

In The Importance of School Libraries; a study conducted by
Keith Curry Lance, PhD, Lance states:

School libraries are a powerful force in the lives of America’s children. The school library is one of the few factors whose contribution to academic achievement has been documented empirically, and it is a contribution that cannot be explained away by other powerful influences on student performance.

It's a misconception that the public library and school library are the same.  Our school board members need to be aware that this choice is absolutely not a step in the right direction for our children.  I urge you to get in contact with them.  Talk to the teachers, principal, superintendent.  Click here to get the list of current board members for the Greenway school district.  If you're outside of this district, check and see how your school board feels about your school library.  Make sure this isn't happening to you. 

Ft. Vancouver High School Library Media Center 12

A love of books, of holding a book, turning its pages, looking at its pictures, and living its fascinating stories goes hand-in-hand with a love of learning. Laura Bush