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PreK Bits - "P" is for PRINCESS and PRINCE

Mon, 08/07/2017 - 5:01pm

Ms. Rachel told Prince and Princess Stories this week.
The PRINCESS And The PEA by Rachel Isadora is a classic folktale re-set in Africa.
"Cinderella Dressed In Yellow" is a traditional jump rope rhyme. We had plenty verses with more colors to clap with the rhythm.
KLIPPITY KLOP is an action and participation story by Ed Emberley. It is out-of-print and AADL copies are gone. You can borrow a copy through MelCat. It is a story about Prince Krispin and his horse Dumpling going on an adventure.

For more stories of Princes and Princesses try these titles:
DARING PRINCE DASHING ... a twisted fairy tale.
The PRINCE WHO WAS JUST HIMSELF
The PAPER BAG PRINCESS
The PRINCESS And The FROGS
The PRINCE'S BEDTIME
The PRINCE And The PORKER
PRINCESS LILA BUILDS A TOWER
The SEVEN PRINCESSES
WOULD YOU RATHER BE A PRINCESS Or A DRAGON ?
The FROG PRINCE

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Saints for All Occasions: the best of the best in Irish-Catholic family sagas

Sat, 08/05/2017 - 10:09am

J. Courtney Sullivan, author of Maine, Commencement and The Engagements, again returns to Boston (where at least a portion of all of her books take place) in her latest family saga, Saints for All Occasions. A master of depicting tight-knight Irish-American families full of secrets, Sullivan possesses the rare ability to tell stories that span decades without losing the reader in time. Saints for All Occasions technically begins twice: first in 2009 when Nora Rafferty’s oldest son Patrick dies in a car crash and again in 1957 when Nora and her sister Theresa make the voyage from Ireland to America to join Nora’s fiancé, Charlie, in Boston.

What transpires between 1957 and 2009 seems at first simple: Theresa gets pregnant out of wedlock—at the time a particularly terrible fate for a young Irish Catholic girl—and goes reluctantly to a nunnery for the duration of her pregnancy and to have the baby. She doesn’t want to give her child up, but is forced to by the nuns. Nora—recently married to Charlie—agrees to take the boy in and raise him as her own. The effects of this choice drive the rest of the story, which introduces us to Nora’s other three children and to the path that Theresa followed after her pregnancy. Anyone who is familiar with Boston, with Irish-Catholic families, or with both will connect immediately to the portrait of the Raffertys that Sullivan paints in Saints for All Occasions. Her characters and their choices are believable and well-formed, and she travels between time periods deftly, revealing the secrets of the story to readers at the exact right moments.

Saints for All Occasions is a wonderful read to sneak in on your summer reading list.

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Dying: A Memoir

Sat, 08/05/2017 - 9:47am

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At the age of 50, [a:Taylor, Cory|Cory Taylor] was diagnosed with stage 4 melanoma. She wrote [b:1513059|Dying: a Memoir] 10 years later, in an energetic rush of creativity, right before her death, when the melanoma had spread to her brain. This perceptive output, at such a time, is astounding, and as readers we are its lucky recipients.

“Despite the ubiquity of death, it seems strange that there are so few opportunities to discuss dying,” says Taylor as she works to establish a conversation around death. “Death is a taboo subject, absurdly so. It is tidied away in hospitals, out of public view, the secret purview of health professionals who are generally unwilling to talk about what really goes on at the bedsides of a nation.” Taylor strives to change this, in part by taking control of the dialogue around her own death, and by taking control of her death itself. She begins the book by telling us that she has just purchased her own euthanasia drugs. She doesn’t know that she’ll use them, but it comforts her to know that she can dictate her end. She doesn’t try to convince us that dying isn’t hard, or sad, but nor does she shy away from the fact that it is unavoidable. “No, there is nothing good about dying. It is sad beyond belief. But it is part of life, and there is no escaping it. Once you grasp that fact, good things can result.” When addressing the fear that she admits to feeling, she adds, “I haven't died before, so I sometimes get a bad case of beginner’s nerves, but they soon pass.”

Taylor moves away from the topic of death for one section of this slim volume to highlight some memories from her interesting childhood spent in Australia and Fiji. This exploration highlights an understanding of her parents, their relationship to each other, and to her, that perhaps she was recognizing in an end-of-life reflection. But even in looking back at her life experiences, Taylor does not fall prey to sentimentality, nor is she mired with regret. “I don't have a bucket list because it comforts me to remember the things I have done, rather than hanker after the things I haven't done. Whatever they are, I figure they weren't for me, and that gives me a sense of contentment, a sort of ballast as I set out on my very last trip.”

Taylor writes beautifully, and it is sad to think we won’t get more from her, but we are fortunate to have this.

Add this to the ranks of [b:1485873|When Breath Becomes Air], [b:1458885|Being Mortal], and [b:1512049|The Bright Hour], the books we read to try to gain insight on and understanding of the inevitable end we all face. Cory Taylor eloquently bestows both to us.

“And that is what I’m doing now, in this, my final book: I am making a shape for my death, so that I, and others, can see it clearly.”

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Celebrating the Life of Poet, Seamus Heaney

Fri, 08/04/2017 - 8:24pm

In the month of August I am always reminded of the poet, Seamus Heaney, who died fours years ago on August 30th. He was a prolific writer; he left behind many poems and a translation of the epic tale, Beowulf.

Every August, I celebrate his life by rereading my favorite book of poems, North. Heaney grew up on a farm in Northern Ireland. His book of poems, North, begins with two poems about the farm he grew up on called Mossbawn. The first few lines of the poem are: "There was a sunlit absence./ The helmeted pump in the yard/ heated its iron,/ water honeyed..."

North has two parts. The first half of the poems deal with Greek mythology and Heaney's "Bog people." The second section of the collection speaks of the political climate and the conflicts in Northern Ireland during the 1970's and before.

If you are looking to delve deeper into Heaney's work, please do! AADL has volumes of Heaney's poetry calling your name...

Selected Poems, 1966-1987

Human Chain

The Burial at Thebes

The Spirit Level

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Badge Drop #8: Let's Review!!!

Fri, 08/04/2017 - 6:00pm




PHEW! Summer 2017 has been CRAZY GOOD so far! Full of long days, warm nights, and that odd, rarely-seen kind of weather that consists entirely of HOT, SUMMER SUNSHINE!



Honestly, the SUPERIOR QUALITY of this summer has us a little bit blown away! Never before have we experienced a summer so EXHILARATING, so POIGNANT, so SWELTERING HOT and RIDDLED WITH CONSTRUCTION. We deliberated for days, thought long and hard about where we could go to release our MANIC SUMMER ENERGY in an orderly and wordy fashion. Now, FINALLY, we've figured out the PERFECT PLACE to unleash our TIRADE of POSITIVE COMMENTARY about how good, exhilarating, poignant, sweltering and riddled our summer has been so far: RIGHT HERE IN THE LIBRARY CATALOG!



Please, we know you're shocked, but for goodness sake, contain yourselves.


2017 Badge Drop #8
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Unlike your postman, your bus-driver, your boss, or your pregnant friends, WE WANT TO KNOW WHAT YOU THINK!!!



Did you just read a book that knocked your socks into the stratosphere and left you with a burning desire to tell the world about your SPACE-BOUND SOCKS? Find that book in the catalog and WRITE A REVIEW! Is there a terrible movie that UNJUSTLY STOLE 120 minutes of your summer? DEMAND THEM BACK with some CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM! Got a really awesome story about how your DOG once did a ROUNDHOUSE KICK like CHUCK NORRIS? Save that GLORIOUS GEM for your postman, because IT'S NOT ACTUALLY A REVIEW and will do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to help you earn those prestigious REVIEW MASTER BADGES!



If you find yourself OPINION-LESS, not to worry! This week's drop is bringing you plenty more SHINING NEW BADGES for you to LAY JUDGEMENT upon!



Thanks for telling us what you think and THANKS FOR PLAYING!!!


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Fabulous Fiction Firsts #648

Wed, 08/02/2017 - 12:05pm

Named one of the Sydney Morning Herald Best Young Australian Novelists, Balli Kaur Jaswal's North American hardcover debut - Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows, is set in the Sikh community of Greater London.

A great disappointment to her Punjabi immigrant family, a "westernized" Nikki Grewa tends bar at the local pub after dropping out of law school. She is bewildered that her sister Mindi, a nurse, is willing to try arranged marriage. While at the community center to post Mindi's dating profile, she impulsively answers an ad for a creative writing teacher.

Unable to engage her students - proper Sikh widows who show up expecting to learn English and not short-story writing, until one of them finds among Nikki's teaching materials an erotica (Nikki's genre of choice) in English, and hijacks her lesson plans, unleashing a wealth of fantasies and creativity.

As more women are drawn to the class all across London, they draw the attention of the Brotherhood, the self-appointed morality police. But it is Nikki's curiosity about the strange death of a young woman named Maya that would land her in grave danger.

"With a keen ear for dialogue and humor, Jaswal deftly entwines these women’s lives, creating a world in which women of multiple generations find common ground in the erotic fantasies that reveal both lived experiences and wistful dreams. By turns erotic, romantic, and mysterious, this tale of women defying patriarchal strictures enchants." (Kirkus Reviews) Film rights optioned by Scott Free Films.

Suggested read-alikes: Together Tea by Marjan Kamali; A Cup of Friendship by Deborah Rodriguez; and Life Isn't All Ha Ha Hee Hee by Meera Syal. For anyone who doubts that there is life after 50, check out Calendar Girls.

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Baby Bits - Books and Music for fun with Babies

Tue, 08/01/2017 - 5:39pm

People ask where we find our songs that we use in programs. Here you can View All Public Lists on the AADL website.

Here are some lists created especially for enjoyment between Babies and Caregivers.
Ms Rachel's Favorite CDs for Preschool Songs and Music
The CD artists and titles on this list have been personal favorites for many years.
Choose something to calm you ... something to rev you up ... something with a different beat ... and something great for background sound during play.

Ms Rachel's Favorite Books to Read to Babies
The artists and authors on this list have also been special favorites.
Choose something to talk about ... choose something to laugh about ... choose something of interest ... choose something to make you feel good.

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Three Books By Three Sisters: Re-Reading the Classics

Mon, 07/31/2017 - 8:16pm

It is hard to imagine a family with more talent and tragedy woven through all its members than the Brontes. After I saw the new, most excellent film about the Bronte sisters, To Walk Invisible, I became curious to know more about their lives and to set about reading (and re-reading) their books, to explore further the depth of their genius, and how it was nurtured in near isolation on the moors of Yorkshire.

We have many biographies of the three sisters, but I found these three books especially interesting and approachable:
The Bronte Sisters: The Brief Lives of Charlotte, Emily and Anne
The Bronte Cabinet: Three Lives in Nine Objects
The Brontes at Haworth

Charlotte most famously wrote Jane Eyre which is a book you can return to again and again, for the atmospheric setting, the twisty plot, and the parade of complex characters. Jane is one of most enduring and beloved heroines in literature. There have been over 50 film versions of the book, so far, and a new one comes about every 5-6 years. Real fans of this book have strong opinions about which one captures the essence of plain Jane and the tortured Rochester. This BBC version leaves very little out of the original, and this one, from Masterpiece, is also very true to the feeling of the book. But for the real experience read it! The book is better than any film version I have seen, and that runs to somewhere around 10 of them (my favorite is the 1996 Charlotte Gainsbourg version). I bet you read this in high school or college and loved it. It might be time to revisit Jane.

Anne wrote two novels, the better-known one being, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, which is still not as famous as Charlotte and Emily’s books. I am reading it now, and I find this relative obscurity unfortunate because it is excellent, with all the requisite moody, atmospheric settings and the strong, mysterious heroine. It explores the themes of domestic violence, alcoholism, child abuse, and the independence of women, even married women, in such a shocking way that it was considered scandalous when it was published. It is considered one of the first feminist novels. The film version of this book is outstanding.

Emily wrote quite a lot of captivating poetry, but she only published one novel, the enigmatic Wuthering Heights. Here is a sample review, which appeared in Graham’s Lady Magazine, when it first came out: "How a human being could have attempted such a book as the present without committing suicide before he had finished a dozen chapters, is a mystery. It is a compound of vulgar depravity and unnatural horrors." Emily died believing the book was a failure. Little did she know the perennial fascination and loyalty the ill-fated relationship between Heathcliff and Cathy, and all the films based on it, would inspire.

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Badge Drop #7: Tags! You're it!

Fri, 07/28/2017 - 6:05pm




HOLY MOLY, SUMMER GAMERS! Now that you've shown some SUPREME STARPOWER, gotten ON BOARD, and sought out the SPECTACULAR, what MORE SUMMER FUN could POSSIBLY be LEFT?!?!? You might imagine that your STELLAR performance had STUNNED all of us here at SGHQ into silence.



FEAR NOT, intrepid players, because we've taken a deep breath, wracked our respective brains, and want to assure you that there's still ONE MORE MONTH of curious clues, hectic hunts, and scintillating searches to go!



DON'T STOP NOW!



We've got a BUSHEL of BEWILDERING BADGES dropping today, awaiting the quick wit and calculated cunning of YOU, the most SHREWD SUMMER GAMERS!



Whether your interest is piqued by CHROMOSOMES or CRYPTOZOOLOGY, or whether you'd rather hunt for BIGFOOT or a DUMBO OCTOPUS, we've got a badge for YOU! We've got TOWERS, DRAGONS and even a little HEAVY METAL!



2017 Badge Drop #7
echo theme_summergame_badge(1448,1449,1450,1451,1452,1474,1476,1473,1477,1447,1464,1471,1479,1467,1478,1469,1470,1472);
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So SNAP TO IT! Grab those badges, rack up those points, and move on up that leaderboard by tackling this week's contributor trophies and tacking TAGS onto your favorite items in the catalog!



We're extending some GO GET 'EM enthusiasm to you — TAG(s)! YOU'RE IT!



THANKS FOR PLAYING!!!


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50th Anniversary of The Outsiders

Thu, 07/27/2017 - 4:28pm

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the novel The Outsiders, by S.E. Hinton, which she started to write at the age of 15. Fifty years, and never out of print, the book is still relevant and read today, touching many generations.

It’s a coming of age tale narrated by Ponyboy, a teen living in small town Oklahoma with his two brothers. Living on the poor side of town and known as Greasers, they and their friends face daily run-ins with the kids from the other side of town – the Socs.

In 1983 a film version of The Outsiders directed by Francis Ford Coppola was released, starring many up and coming young actors who got their break in the film. In 2005 a new version of the film was released, which includes additional scenes that add to the story. The intense behind-the-scenes casting process also included is priceless.

Reading and watching as a kid in the 80s, it was one of the first films and books that had a profound effect on me.

Stay gold, Ponyboy, stay gold.