Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Salt Cellar: Object Inspiration

By Photo by Nick Michael (Private collection)
[Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
On every visit, the salt cellar takes me back to our first meeting.   

When we flew from Washington, D.C. to London to meet my boyfriend’s parents, I was nervous and intimidated.  Their flat was in the upscale Mayfair area of central London.  Their neighbor was ‘Punch’ Sulzberger, former publisher of the NY Times.  They belonged to dining clubs.  

Their apartment overflowed with status, each museum-like piece reminding me of my modest experience in life. Persian rugs.  Original oil paintings.  When we sat down for dinner, there was so much sparkling crystal and silver, I felt the need to shade my eyes.

The intricately carved silver salt cellar (no, no, not just a bowl – a cellar) sat on the table mocking me.  The salt rested there, open-faced, fresh, clean white grains.  I LOVE salt.  I needed salt.  But…there was no spoon. 

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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

December Summaries: Two "Best" Books Lists

December.  We look back and summarize our year on Christmas cards. Book review journals summarize a year of publishing in "best" lists.

School Library Journal has published three Best Books lists: Fiction, Non-fiction, and Picture Books. (From the fiction list, you can access the other two lists.)

These SLJ lists hover around twenty titles in each category. It's interesting to compare those lists with the shorter (more selective?) list from Horn Book.

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Sunday, December 15, 2013

What's Better Than the Library? Nothing.

I've been spending a lot of time in the mall and online, looking for those perfect gifts for the special people in my life. I'm so happy when I find the exact perfect match for that special person, at this particular point in time.

I love it when I'm on the other end of that deal, too. When I open a box and in it is exactly what I want at that moment.

But I'm lucky. Really lucky. I get that feeling of opening up a box and finding that exact special treat so many times every year. I get it every time I walk into my library.

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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The 12 Days of Christmas (Bookstore Style)

Hope you enjoy this adorable 12 Days of Christmas video from the Bookish Elves! Happy Holidays!

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Thursday, December 5, 2013

Writers to the Core

To follow up on Julie's post, I think writers have been adhering to the "common core" for centuries.  Most writers are not just story tellers. They are teachers as well. It comes naturally to them to describe a scene, a sequence, a beginning and an end. Writers raise questions and answer them. They use history, science, anecdotes, folktales old and new, stones, ducks, rabbits and wizards to tell their stories. In every story there is something that relates to what constitutes an education for a child.

I was reminded of this today in a Wall Street Journal piece, "The Hunger Games" Is a Civic Lesson" by Robert Pondiscio, a former fifth grade teacher in New York's South Bronx. He explains that when parents decry the brutality in Suzanne Collins' novels, they overlook the excellent opportunity the author offers. Not only do the books keep "reluctant" readers turning the pages, but, Mr. Pondiscio says, "they also provide an opportunity to educate kids about the relationship between the individual and the state, personal rights and responsibilities, and the civic duties expected of citizens."

So, writers, worry not. Keep on writing, whether it is about Yetis, frogs, spoonbills, alligators or penguins, graveyards or vegetable gardens.  You are all "writing to the core."

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