The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is a graphic novel series by Alan Moore Image result for The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen  volume 1which combines the characters from literary works into one action packed story.  Set in London 1898, Allan Quartermain, Mina Murray, Captain Nemo, Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and Hawley Griffin come together to save the world from a destructive mastermind.  They have their own ways of solving problems, which makes them a perfect team, using each other’s strengths to defeat evil; a good message for children. The book is made for ages 10 and up, grades 5+.  It won the 2000 Bram Stoker Award for achievement in dark fantasy and horror writing.  So this is not a story for the kind spirited, but for children that are interested in darker stories.

The book itself is drawn in dark and gloomy colors with random specks of brightness with the Invisible Man (when visible), adding to the gory tone of the tale.  The writing will make children think, as there are references to other stories.  The text is small but flows through the story, better for higher level readers,  The use of blood and graphic content again makes it for older elementary, but properly adds and follows the story line.

Margart Mackey, in Finding the Next Book to Read in a Universe of Bestsellers, Blockbusters, and Spin-Offs, said, “One option is to consider the originating text as the work of art and every subsequent adaptation as a dilution, a watering down, a Image result for The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen movie and bookweakening of the artistic value of the original.”  Unfortunately, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen fell victim to this in 2003 when the graphic novel became a subpar movie.  For example, Dorian Gray is in the movie and not in the book, while the movie left out other characters. However, one thing the movie did succeed in was getting my attention.  I have never heard of the graphic novel series before and the concept of combining characters from various literary works interested me, as I think it will upper elementary students.  This series would be a dark yet interesting introduction for students into classic books that they may read in school or independently as the get older.

 

Reference:

Mackey, Margaret. “Finding the Next Book to Read in a Universe of Bestsellers, Blockbusters, and Spin-Offs.”  Academic Quarter (Akademisk Kvarter):  The Academic Journal for Research from the Humanities, 7 (2013): 216-236. http://www.akademiskkvarter.hum.aau.dk/ pdf/vol7/15a_MargaretMackey_Finding %20The%20Next.pdf

Advertisements

Resources on Greek Mythology

A Fifth Grade boy came into the public library with an assignment description.  His teacher wanted him to create an original myth based on Ancient Greek mythology.  The story was to be historically accurate but also have elements that the students choose to add, such as drama, action, or humor.  The boy came in asking for some books and resources that would help him better understand the history of Greek myths and the characters, along with examples of exciting myths.  I asked the boy what type of books he usually enjoys reading, stating his interest in comic books, graphic novels, and short stories, not long chapter books.

Below is a collection of books, audio books, and DVDs ranging from the  Third-Fifth grade levels. These books range from collections of stories, graphic novels, and new spins on classic tales.   The first sets of resources are from the Yonkers Riverfront Library Branch.  The last set of resources are from various Westchester Libraries, available through inter library loan with a Yonkers Library card.

Myths:

 The Gods and Goddesses of Olympus, By: Aliki,  Juvenile Nonfiction- J 292 A

Aliki’s colorful text gives a summary of famous Greek Gods.  The author goes into detail about the holders of the 12 Golden Thrones of Greek mythology.  Each page explains a God or Goddess, giving a picture and a brief description of their character.  The illustrations give a good look into Greek history and culture.
Explore Greek Myths! :  with 25 Great Projects, By: Anita Yasuda, Juvenile Nonfiction- J 292 A 

A great connection of Greek storytelling and interactive ideas, this book giveskylix the reader a look into the Greek culture and their famous stories.  Readers will learn how myths from ancient times are still connected to the world today!  The author recreates the myths so you understand the Greek culture and then provides an activity that you can do, mostly on your own but at times with an adult. Activities include using papier-mâché, baking, and creating levers

Greek Myths: Stories of Sun, Stone, and Sea By Sally Pomme Clayton, J 292C

Beautifully drawn and textured pictures give you an amazing understanding and respect the Greeks have for their Gods. A collection of short, and sometimes long, stories tell the tales of the Gods.  A smaller book than others but still a great collection.

Junior Genius Guides: Greek Mythology, By: Ken Jennings, J 292JImage result for junior genius guide greek mythology

Written in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid style, this is a  complete kids guide to Greek Mythology.  The book gives profiles on each God, tells Greek mythology history, and does it all in a fun and comical way.  There is even a recipe related to the Trojan Horse!  A fun way to learn about Greek Mythology!!

Oh My Gods!: A Look-It-Up Guide to the Gods of Mythology (Mythlopedia),By Megan Bryant, Juvenile Nonfiction-  J 292 B 

A collection of everything within the Greek Mythology genre.  Oh My Gods! is a humorous  example of the genre with a blog/Facebook like format, as if the gods themselves wrote the book.  The pictures are colorful and FUNNY, including an Apollo with sunglasses.  Yet, along with the playful tone, the book does include myths, a glossary of common Greek words, and a list of additional resources you may be interested to use.

Treasury of Greek Mythology: Classic Stories of Gods, Goddesses, Heroes, & Monsters, By: Donna Napoli, Juvenile Nonfiction- J 292 N

Part of a series of books from National Geographic on myths of different cultures, this book will give you a look at 25 major characters from Greek myths.  Dramatic and beautiful pictures, exciting stories, and sidebars with additional information will make this a great resource for any myths project.   Big book but big text!  Also available as an audio book from other branches through inter library loan.

Graphic Novel: Image result for poseidon earth shaker connor

Poseidon: Earth Shaker, By: George O’Connor, Juvenile Graphic Novels, J Graphic O’Connor

George O’Connor has a collection of graphic novels based on the Greek Myth genre.  Poseidon is the fifth volume of the Olympian series, and gives a detailed look into the character and complex life of Zeus’ brother and ruler of the water.  Other books in the collection include graphic retellings of: Zeus, Athena, Hera, Hades, Aphrodite, Ares, Apollo, and Artemis, all also available at this library.

Audio Books:

Related image

 The d’Aulaires’ book of Greek Myths [CD audio book], Juvenile audio.cd books, kits- J CD

Greek Myths brought to life through exciting storytelling.  Hearing the clear tales of the mighty Zeus, wise Athena, and playful Hermes will transport you to Mount Olympus, bringing them into their lives.  A great way to follow along with the book format of the myths, which is pretty long.

 

Greek Myths, By Geraldine McCaughrean, Juvenile Nonfiction- J 292 M

Silly, heroic, gruesome, and ordinary, this book gives the reader all areas of Greek mythological characters.  The retelling shares the epic stories from all the heroes, monsters, gods and goddesses from the genre.  Illustrations are cartoonish, a little odd looking at times, but add to the short stories.  Also available in audio book through inter library loan with the Westchester Library System.

Inter Library Loans

Greek Gods, Heroes, and Monsters. By Arts and Entertainment Network (DVD), DVD Image result for greek gods, heroes, monsters  dvd398 G

Rated TVPG from a History Channel broadcast, this DVD shares the history behind the ancient Greek myths.  Characters like Zeus, the Titans, and Hercules are brought to life as you get to watch them go through their famous tales.  A perfect pick if you are interested in the inspiration and story behind each myth.   (From the Larchmont Library)

 

The Journeys of Odysseus (DVD), By Andrew Schlessinger, Juvenile DVD- J DVD 292.1 J

An animated movie which teacher children the basics of Greek mythology.  This is a great pairing with the other books.  The quick paced stories are exciting, interesting, and provide explanations on themes at the end.  There are also discussion questions are the end which will help develop ideas for research projects. (From the White Plains Library)

 

The Mighty 12: Superheroes of Greek Myth, By Charles Smith, Juvenile Nonfiction, J 292 S  Image result for the mighty 12

A comic book lover’s Greek Myth collection that introduces all of the Gods and Goddesses.  It includes a description of each character from the genre along with select tales.  The pictures, making Zeus look Thor-ish, turn the characters into exciting new heroes of today’s comic books and Marvel movies.   (From the White Plains Library)

 

 

Resources list found with help from:

ALA. (2012). “2012 Notable Children’s Books List.” Association for Library Service to Children. Retrieved from  ALA Notable Children’s Book List

Fleishhacker, J. (2011). “Greek myths: OMGs!.” School Library Journal. Retrieved from: http://www.slj.com/2011/11/collection-development/focus-on-collection-development/greek-myths-omgs-focus-on/

PragmaticMom. (2014). “Top 10 Mythology Books and Resources for Kids.” Retrieved from:  PragmaticMom.com

A blog by a mom with children who wanted to help them catch up in their reading.  She offers book reviews, book clubs for kids, author visits, and  book lists on almost every topic.

NoveList Plus

Children’s Literature Comprehensive Database

Westchester Library System

 

Apps to Engage in Literacy

Untitled              Alison Mackenzie is a teacher from Australia who became a librarian.  In Year 5 geography, apps and the library, she shares an experience of introducing new apps for students to complete a geography project.  The first app was Google Earth which takes students to any country or neighborhood in the world.  She used that so students may study a specific assigned country.   Next, the class used FX PrintUtil to print material from the iPads.  Then, they used the Juxtaposer app to infuse the students into images from their country of study.  Lastly, the class used Popplet as a way to summarize and present information and reflect on the project process.  Though this project was used for a geography project, these apps could be used to engage students into literacy as well.  I would use the Juxatposer to put the students into images from their favorite pictures books.  Teacher librarians can also use popplet as a book report option.  Google Earth can be used with nonfiction, historical and realistic fiction texts so students can see the setting in which the book is based on.  As states in the Media and Young Minds article from the AAP, “there has been much hope for the educational potential of interactive media for young children.”  These apps are examples of how apps can make reading more interactive and engaging.

 

Resources:

Council on Communications and Media. (Nov, 2016). Media and young minds. Pediatrics, American Academy of Pediatrics.

Mackenzie, A. (2015). Year 5 geography, apps and the library. Access (Online), 29(2), 18.

Intellectual Freedom

Intellectual Freedom is a universal librarian value.  As Michelle Atkin discussed about Canada’s ideals on the topic, “The right to intellectual freedom is crucial to the health of the academy and to a vibrant and well-functioning democracy (2012).”  Society, at times unknowingly, depends on librarians to maintain and protect this right. Unfortunately however,  “According to the ALA , during the 1990s, 70% of all book challenges were aimed at materials in schools or school libraries (Thompson, 2004).”   A school library may be the only chance for students to have access to books related to their specific interests.  It is our job to foster interest, ideas, and expression, and it can only be done with intellectual freedom.

When evaluating a book, one must consider the book’s target audience. In “Banned Authors Speak Out”, Sarah Brannan, authorImage result for uncle bobby's wedding of Uncle Bobby’s Wedding explains that, “I decided that her beloved uncle would marry his boyfriend, rather than his girlfriend, when I heard that there are over a million children in this country being raised by same-sex parents (2009).” This is a prime promotion for librarians protecting intellectual freedoms, so families have books that reflect their stories.  Librarians need to maintain a collection that reflects the community as a whole, while supporting lifestyles.

In addition to maintaining a diverse collection, it is also important to retain the school librarian profession.  As budget cuts are being administered throughout the country, librarians are being released and the students are suffering as a result.  One of the main roles of school librarians is to protect minor’s First Amendment right to access information and to demonstrate leadership when there is a formal challenge to a library resource (Adams, 2011).  Only librarians have been trained and know the proper protocol for these challenges and allowing untrained non professionals take control could cause major constitutional backlash.

Blythe Woolston, author of Black Helicopters, claims “human lives depend on Image result for black helicopters bookintellectual freedom.”   Instead of banning a book and never acknowledging its existence, a better alternative would be to talk about it. “It’s not that fact that we want to protect children against a bad idea, but rather expose them to many other different ideas (Woolston 2015).”  Teaching children how to properly approach to varied books can make them cognizant of the world we live in today.   As librarians we can promote the access to these sources that better children and humanity as a whole.

Annotated Resources

Adams, H. R.  (March, 2011).  Fewer school librarians: The effect on students’ intellectual freedom.  School Library Monthly, 27(6), 52-53.

Budget cuts have been accounting for librarian lay offs and it comes with repercussions.  Administrators are devaluing the importance of librarians and what they bring to intellectual freedom.

Anonymous. (2009). Banned authors speak out. Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom, 58(6), 196-230.

Authors of challenged books show their view point of intellectual freedom.  They share the inspiration to their books, support they have received from librarians, and how, despite the controversy, people have better enriched from their books

Atkin, M.L. (October, 2012). Examining the limits of free expression through Canadian case law: Reflections on the Canadian library association’s code of ethics and its supporting statement on intellectual freedom. Journal of Education for Library and Information Science, 53 (4), 239-253.

The Canadian Library Association, like the ALA, has a code of ethics to protect children’s rights to materials.  This explains the reasoning and exceptions that come with such laws.

Thompson, V. (2004). Children’s rights in the library. School Libraries in Canada,  24(4), 38-42.

This article, from a presentation, is to explain the rights of children based on the Canadian Law.  The reader comes to understand that, as a democracy, Canada, just as the United States, protects the rights for children to unrestricted access to materials.

Woolston, B. (October 2015).  Books unchained: The protective power of access to ideas. Knowledge Quest, 44(1), 78-80.

An author who wrote a controversial book about a teen terrorist speaks her mind about depriving children “questionable books.”  She talks about her personal experience growing up and reading books she wasn’t allowed to and getting punished for it.

The Adventures of Captain Underpants

The Adventures of Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey is a silly series of books that reflect the true mindset of two Fourth Grade boys.  The stories follow a principal, Mr. Krupp, who hates children.  However, the main characters, George and Harold, have used their humorous, somewhat twisted, creativity to turn their principal into CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS.  Mr. Krupp turns into this superhero when he is hypnotized by the michevious children, clearly showing that this is a realistic fiction book right?  Though some school districts and parents have taken Pilkey’s “potty humor” as being inappropriate for the book’s target audience, ages 7+ with a fourth grade reading level, the series is perfect for children and families with a sense of humor.  Little boys like fart jokes and books that reflect their own thinking and experiences.  Captain Underpants is a way to get children who enjoy comedy to read.  Dav Pilkey is proud of his challenged book because although the main characters may be class clowns, it gives children a genre that relates to their personalities.  This chapter book, at times written in a comic book format, is a perfect addition to any children’s chapter book library collection.  You will not be able to keep them on the shelves.

Pilkey, D. The Adventures of Captain Underpants. Scholastic, 1997. $8.99. ISBN: 978-0-54-549908-8

Sibert Vs. NCSS

The Sibert Information Book Medal is awarded to the writer andAfbeeldingsresultaat voor we are the ship illustrator with the most notable information book chosen by the Association for Library Service to Children.  In 2009, the winner was We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball by Kadir Nelson.  An artfully constructed book with painted images shares a personal telling of Negro League Baseball players’ fight for social justice.  This non-fiction texts geared towards older youth, grade levels 3-7, is written in prose, which makes it feel like you are listening to your grandfather tell a story to you on the back porch.  Each chapter is an “inning”, written in prose, sharing the trials of these brave Americans.

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor sit in bookThe Woodson Book Award, established by the national Council for the Social Studies, is given to books that present ethnicity in the United States.  In 2011, one of the winner was Sit-In: How Four Friends stood Up by Sitting Down by Andrea Davis Pinkney and illustrated by Brian Pinkney.   This picture book, for grades 1 and up, is written with a mixture of formats.  Similar to We Are the Ship, this book is written in prose and  reads like a firsthand story being told.  However, the format also differs, as it also includes timelines.  Also similar to We Are the Ship this book also has themed headings to set the part of the story, this one being food related.  One difference is that this book includes a variety of authentic pictures from the time period as well as paintings.

Though both texts focus on the injustices African Americans faced in America, I would award Sit-In above We Are the Ship.  Sit-In has a creativity which disguises it at a normal picture book and does not seem like a nonfiction book which We Are the Ship is more obvious to be.  This book shows that there is always room for imagination in non-fiction.

Nelson, K. We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball. Jump At The Sun/Hyperion, 2008. $18.99. ISBN: 978-1437969535

Pinkney, A. Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2010. $18.99. ISBN: 978-0316070164

Newbery Award: Anti Sci-fi & Fantasy??

The Newbery Award was first created in 1921 by Frederic Melcher to celebrate children’s literature and it remains one of the most coveted awards in literature. However, in recent Image result for newbery awardyears, the science fiction and fantasy genres have not been well represented on the recipients list of winners or nominees. In one article, Elisabeth Kushner discusses, “speculative fiction” as being “notorious[ly] slight[ed] fiction in favor of realism, especially earnest historical realism”. Is it possible that the prestigious Newbery Medal plays favorites and has some bias against more abstract genres?

Discussion about the reasoning behind the winners or nominees is nothing new. As Maughan explains, people have questioned the winners for many reasons. However, she noted that, “That’s what Melcher wanted—that kind of discussion and exchange. People care about the awards. Even the harshest critics care very much, and Melcher wanted people to care about excellent books.” It seemed that Melcher was not scared of a backlash from critics; his focus was to bring new, different books to the public’s attentions for them to make their own opinions about and discuss. Perhaps, although science fiction and fantasy are popular, they do not meet the standards of challenging readers or creating discussions as Melcher designed the award to do. Or, maybe because of their popularity, the judges choose books in less-popular genres so as to give attention to notable books that are otherwise ignored by the general population (like historical fiction).

Image result for speculative fictionWhether these genres can meet the standards of challenging readers is debatable. Literary fiction or realism seems to dominate the literary world while speculative fiction is seemingly discounted because of its outward-looking perspective, which is often beyond the realms of reality. The creativity aspect of each genre, like in speculative fiction, and its popularity, is often the most notable element. Although Melcher may not have seen creativity as a standard to winning a Newbery Award, the lack of creativity in favor of realism does not define what makes a piece of literature excellent. Nevertheless, the negative stigma against these two particular genres is a topic that needs to be addressed.

References:

Kushner, E. (2012, Jan. 24). The Newbery Medal and Speculative Fiction. Retrieved from   http://www.tor.com/2012/01/24/the-newbery-medal/

Maughan, S. (2011, Dec. 02). And the Winner Is… Publishers Weekly. Retrieved from http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/childrens/childrens-book-news/article/49729-and-the-winner-is.html

Images from:

https://www.bing.com/images/search?view=detailV2&ccid=X7HFKR34&id=5E7CE2AE59BD8DF3B5796F0B6CD064635AEC79BC&q=speculative+fiction&simid=608045943207691416&selectedIndex=6&ajaxhist=0

Book Talk Reflection

Image result for american tall taleI presented a Book Talk last week on a collection of tall tales called American Tall Tales my Mary Pope Osbourne.  Based on the feedback I received, I feel like the one thing that I could improve on is the use of the book itself.  Although I feel that my introduction well explained the genre and the first focus tale- Pecos Bill, showing a picture would have given a visual connection to the story which would have hooked the students to want to flip through the book themselves.  Especially since the wood engraving illustrations is such an unique aspect of this book.  Also, reading an excerpt from the story would have given an even better cliffhanger, building further interest in the story.

From doing this assignment I realized how difficult it is to prepare a book talk.  A read aloud gives you natural guidance, following the plot of the story.  However, with a book talk you have pinpoint the specific areas that you would want to cover within a limited amount of time.  It is also hard to consistently say back a prepared book talk the same way more than once.  Every time I practiced the talk came out a little different.  I am glad that I did a book talk because now I will be cognizant about how I present new books, genres, or stories to students and children.

Osborne, Mary Pope. American Tall Tales. Michael McCurdy. Alfred A. Knopf, 1991. $15.99 ISBN: 0-679-90089-6

 

Scholastic Reads Podcast

The Scholastic Reads Podcast is a useful tool for librarians, teachers, and parents who are interested in current reading topics.   A podcast is posted about every two weeks and focuses on a specific genre, book, author, or recent literary related event or study.  I listened to two podcasts which represents the well spanned collection of posts.

The first podcast I listened to was a conversation with Pam Munoz Ryan, famous author of Esperanza Rising and her most recent book Echo.  I am currently reading Echo, have been for about 4 months (#teacherproblems), and was interested in hearing about her process of creating the story.  She went through a process of researching through historical topics ad series of conversations with her editor, Tracy Mack, which ultimately resulted in the book.  Overall, the process she went through would be a good study for aspiring authors and librarians to know the book’s background.

The second podcast I listened to is titled, Survey Says: Kids Like ReadingThis podcast is great for facts about the positive effect reading has on children.  The main idea to take away from it was that reading aloud to children should not end when they are in preschool, but continue through and passed childhood.  Making reading a habit will make children enjoy reading.

I would absolutely recommend this podcast to all librarians, educators, and parents.   I have found my new favorite podcast.

 

May the Odds be Ever in your Favor

Mockingjay is the third installment in Suzanne Collin’s Hunger Games trilogy.  This Andre Norton Award Nominee for best Science Fiction story transports the reader to final battle of a dystopian society.  After years of compliance, the Districts, with their Mockingjay leader Katniss Everdeen, are ready to fight back.  The book borders the transition from Middle Grade to Young Adult books, being an enjoyable read for both audiences.  However, make sure young Middle Grade readers have parental consent due to graphic events including death, as it follows the underlying gory theme of the trilogy.  Though the book reads slow at times, losing pace with the actual hunger games missing from this last book, the fight for your life mentality will keep diehard fans’ attentions.  Verdict: It is needed to complete the series, but may lead to unhappy readers with its controversial ending.  $7.49; Grades: 6-12; Guided Reading Level: Z; Lexile: 800L; DRA: 70.

Collins, Suzanne. Mockingjay. Cover Art by Tim O’Brien. Scholastic Press, 2010.  390 pages. $7.49; ISBN: 978-0-545-66326-7