Quick Picks from CMCL

March 26, 2015

Kid’s Corner: Celebrate “Respect Your Cat Day” with Cat Stories

Filed under: Kid's Corner — Tags: , , , , , — jennytf @ 12:48 pm

March 28 is “Respect Your Cat Day”.  If you have a cat, you already know that most every day is Respect Cat StoriesYour Cat Day – at least your cat thinks it is!  There are some famous felines in children’s books who have more than their fair share of “catitude.”  These titles are “purrfect” for sharing. -Ginny W.

Pete the Cat by Eric Litwin and James and Kimberly Dean: Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes is the first in the series. He is a mellow fellow who always keeps his cool while movin’ and groovin’.   Pete has six picture books, several song books and early readers.  Check out Pete’s website too.

Rotten Ralph by Jack Gantos and Nicole Rubel: Ralph is the world champ at being a bad cat.  Ralph’s adventures in misbehavior are available in picture books and easy readers.  Do you like Ralph? Learn more about his creators, Jack Gantos and Nicole Rubel.

Bad Kitty by Nick Bruel: Bad Kitty lives up to his name!  In his first story, big trouble ensues when his favorite food is all gone.  Big trouble, four times over.  This series has picture books for reading aloud and chapter books for newly independent readers. You can visit Bad Kitty’s website too.

Splat the Cat by Rob Scotton: Splat is more nervous than naughty.  Seymour, his pet mouse, comes along to give him courage.  Splat stars in picture books and early readers.  And of course, Splat has a webpage and a Splat app.

Skippyjon Jones by Judith Schachner: Skippyjon has a flair for the dramatic.  He sees himself as more than an ordinary Siamese cat.  He is El Skippito – Zorro on four legs.  The Skippyjon Jones series has picture books and beginning readers.  Skippyjon Jones is also on the web and Facebook.

Chester by Melanie Watt: Armed with a red marker, Chester is going to draw the story his way, no matter what author-illustrator Melanie Watt wants.  Lock up the crayons!  Chester returns in two more stories: Chester’s Back and Chester’s Masterpiece.

Yoko by Rosemary Wells: Yoko is a sweet and gentle cat who is starting school.  Her mother makes sushi for lunch box and her fellow students make fun of it.   A thoughtful teacher and a new friend help make things better.  There are six Yoko stories, each with a loving lesson for children.  If you like the Yoko stories, find out more about Rosemary Wells and her other books.

March 24, 2015

Blurbs From the Branch: This Year’s Printz Winner is Awesome!

I'll Give You the Sun coverJandy Smith’s second novel for teens, I’ll Give You the Sun, won the 2015 Printz Award for quality teen literature back in February. This book is kind of amazing. It tells the story of twins Noah and Jude at the ages of 13 and 16, Noah narrating their life at 13, and Jude at 16. Smith has done an excellent job of creating two very distinct voices for her characters; there’s never a question as to which one is talking at any given point. This is pretty unusual in a teen book. Also, I never once questioned anything these teens said. I believed that every word she put in their mouths was something they would say, which is another pretty incredible feat in a teen book. It’s impossible not to love these characters: sweet, confused, quirky Noah and his struggle to be true to himself, and feisty, broken, strong Jude, and her own struggle to be true to herself (and her family). I laughed, I cried (a lot), and mostly, I wanted to keep on reading! This is a must read!!

– Becca

March 23, 2015

Movie Monday: Ilo Ilo

Filed under: Info, Inside Scoop, Movies — Tags: — lauradebacle @ 8:15 am

Ilo IloWhen I was very young, a frequent form of entertainment for my family was simply a car ride around familiar streets in our little city or out in the rural farm lands of Columbia County. We all enjoyed this quiet time together and usually it culminated in a stop for ice cream or perhaps an impromptu visit at Grandma’s house, always a treat. Back then, people were less likely to retreat into their homes, pulling the drapes and shutting out the world. If our car ride took place after dark, we had mini-glimpses into the lives of our community members. It was fun to speculate on what those people were working on, playing at, or celebrating as we passed by their homes.

The film Ilo Ilo made me think of those brief glimpses that we sometimes get into the lives of people totally unrelated to us.  The film takes place in Singapore during the 1997 Asian financial crisis and follows the day-to-day concerns of the Lim family who are stressed and overwhelmed with their jobs, the trying behavior of their grade school aged son, Jiali, and the prospect of another baby on the way. The quality of the film draws the viewer in at a deep level, as though you’re an invisible entity following along with this family in their daily lives.

To bring some relief to their hectic household, the Lim’s hire Teresa, a Filipino immigrant, as a live-in maid and nanny for Jiali. As Teresa settles in with her employers and learns to navigate the newness of Singapore, her story also expresses an immediacy that is surprisingly intimate. Teresa struggles with Jiale’s impish escapades and eventually forms a unique bond with him. She becomes an important member of this harried family with a connection that is painful to break when the family’s life veers off in an uncertain direction.

The intimacy that Ilo Ilo conveys stems in large part from the fact that the story is based on the Director’s life experience.  Screenwriter/Director Anthony Chen and his younger brothers were among an entire generation of Singaporean children who were brought up by live-in maids while their hardworking parents spent long days and nights at work. Chen says, “The universal experience of children growing up with maids is one of having a ‘surrogate’ mother, a friend and a confidant. What is intriguing and never brought to light is the emotional inter-relations created, nurtured, cherished, and yet brutally taken away when circumstances change.”  Ilo Ilo brings this experience to life on film as evidenced by the standing ovation it received when it opened at Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands Grand Theater with the city-state’s President in the audience.

Winner of the Best First Feature Film Award in the Cannes Film Festival, Ilo Ilo was part of the line-up in Portland’s International Film Fest in 2014. This week, on Wednesday night, March 25th, Ilo Ilo is the featured selection of Cedar Mill Library’s monthly Film Club. Come and join us for the screening and stay for discussion afterwards. We begin at 6:15pm in the library’s 2nd floor community room.

March 20, 2015

Checking In: Peter Weir’s ’70s Films and the Natural World

picnic“Everyone agreed that the day was just right for the picnic to Hanging Rock – a shimmering summer morning warm and still, with cicadas shrilling all through breakfast from the loquat trees outside the dining-room windows and bees murmuring above the pansies bordering the drive.” – the first line of Joan Lindsay’s 1967 novel-turned-film Picnic at Hanging Rock, a stillness portending disaster

Australian director Peter Weir’s career is a tale of two halves. The first part, prior to the release of 1985’s Witness, came as part and parcel of the Australian New Wave of the 70s and 80s. Kicked off in the public consciousness by Nicolas Roeg’s 1971 Aboriginal drama Walkabout and the recently rediscovered classic Wake in Fright from the same year, the Australian New Wave largely differentiated itself with interrogations of masculinity and especially Australia’s problematic relationship with its Aboriginal population. Two of Weir’s films from the ’70s exemplify the Australia-specific obsessions of the New Wave.

The first film, his 1975 breakthrough Picnic at Hanging Rock, tells the “true” story of a Valentines Day 1900 outing by students and staff of an all-girl’s school to a nearby rock formation, the subsequent disappearance of a group of them and the psychological impact their vanishing has on the survivors. Based on a novel (long out of print in the US) by Joan Lindsay, Hanging Rock differentiates itself from its contemporaries by focusing on the relationship of the feminine to the natural world, and much of its tension (sexual and otherwise) is left to subtext. The film drifts hazily, its summer weight oppressive as the survivors try to make sense of the incomprehensible.

lastwaveShifting gears in 1977, Weir made the underrated thriller The Last Wave, the story of a Sydney lawyer (played by Richard Chamberlain) plagued by apocalyptic visions who defends an Aboriginal man on charges of murder. Last Wave shares a woozy sense of unease with Hanging Rock, and explores the Aboriginal concept of the Dreamtime, particularly as it relates metaphorically to the complexities of Australian race relations and politics, of culpability and guilt (not the least of which is, ironically, the appropriation of Aboriginal culture itself). Whether or not the people who populate the world of The Last Wave deserve to be swept away to start another Dreaming is left deliberately ambiguous, and it’s this ambiguity that gives the film its lasting power.

Both Picnic at Hanging Rock (also available through WCCLS in a new special edition that includes a copy of Lindsay’s novel) and The Last Wave are available to check out – moody, gorgeous, and very Australian.

“Across the level golden plain long shadows were crawling out of the forest, over the thin lines of post and rail fences, a few scattered sheep, a windmill with motionless silver sails catching the last of the sun.” – another day ends near Hanging Rock’s clefts and crevices, its secrets kept close.

-Patrick

 

March 18, 2015

Straight Out Of The Box: Deep Cleaning, Coming-Clean and Cleaning Up Our Act

With this springtime weather comes the desire to clean – in all it’s manifestations. Here’s a few new books that caught my attention as I unpacked boxes from our book vendor. — Pam

JacketThe Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing, by Marie Kondo Japanese cleaning guru Marie Kondo takes tidying to a whole new level, with a method that she says will keep you from relapsing forever! The KonMari Method has you attack your clutter category-by-category, rather than room-by-room. She says dealing with all your books, clothing, or knick-knacks at one time helps you winnow your stuff down to either 1. essentials or 2. things that bring you joy, helping you get rid of all the rest for good.

Jacket2Leaving Before the Rains Come, by Alexandra Fuller  The author of Don’t Let’s Go To the Dogs Tonight has done it again, writing a no-holds-barred memoir that threads together memories of her childhood in war-torn Rhodesia, the extremely complicated family she left behind in Africa, and the collapse of her marriage to an American. “Fuller reveals how, after spending a lifetime fearfully waiting for someone to show up and save her, she discovered that, in the end, we all simply have to save ourselves.” (quote from the Amazon description)

Jacket3Scary Close: dropping the act and finding true intimacy, by Donald Miller author of Blue Like Jazz                          “After decades of failed relationships and painful drama, Donald Miller decided he’d had enough. Impressing people wasn’t helping him connect with anyone. He’d built a life of public isolation, yet he dreamed of meaningful relationships. So at forty years old he made a scary decision: to be himself no matter what it cost…  and [gained] the freedom that comes when we stop acting and start loving.” (Amazon description)

March 13, 2015

Checking In: Stephen Baxter’s Proxima

proximaShe was the craft herself. And she, indeed, was a throng. She would never be alone.

With an effort of will, a subtle reprogramming of her structure, she turned her senses outward, to the void.” – Angelia, a sentient solar sail, leaves the Solar System in Proxima

Moving out into space is a tricky prospect. Most Solar System choices for relocation are poor to no-go. None have breathable atmospheres (the methane ice sludge of Saturn’s moon Titan is one of the more promising candidates) which means that the long-term will require terraforming or finding somewhere with a suitable atmosphere. British author Stephen Baxter in his latest novel Proxima looks beyond the Solar System to one of our nearest neighbors – the red dwarf Proxima Centauri. Proxima‘s twin narratives continue Baxter’s career-long exploration of what it means to be human in the vast, quiet expanse. Away from Earth’s cradle, how much humanity must be shed to ensure we continue down through the eons? And what, if anything, will be left?

The story of Angelia, an 80kg AI-turned-solar sail drifting to Proxima with her thousands of mirror-sisters, “alone” in the expanse, alternates with Yuri Eden’s story of a ship full of unwilling colonists forced to make the planet Prox c their new home in the early going of Proxima, and it isn’t long before politics, mysterious new technology and the human penchant for making messes all collide in Baxter’s best novel since the one-two punch of Flood and Ark.

“‘Mom! Dad!‘ Beth, quite agitated, was almost screaming now. And when Yuri and Mardina finally got there, at the edge of the pond’s muddy fringe, they could see immediately why.

Beth had found a human footprint.”

For more Baxter, try the Manifold Trilogy (Manifold: Time, Manifold: Space, and Manifold: Origin), a trio of loosely connected novels which tackle Fermi’s paradox, any of the novels in his epic Xeelee sequence, which all deal with the far future of humanity (start with Vacuum Diagrams and then move on to the novels) or the aforementioned Flood and Ark, Baxter’s take on the disaster novel. The second book in this series, Ultima, will be out in August!

-Patrick

March 10, 2015

Blurbs From the Branch: Locke & Key

Filed under: Blurbs from the Branch, Books — Tags: , , , , — Becca B @ 8:00 am

lockeandkeyJoe Hill, Stephen King’s son, has proven himself to be an excellent horror writer with his novels Heart-Shaped Box, Horns, and NOS4A2, and his short story collection 20th Century Ghosts. In my opinion, however, his best work is his graphic novel series Locke & Key. This six book series is about the Locke children and their mother who move to Lovecraft, Massachusetts to live with their uncle on the family estate after witnessing their father’s brutal murder. What they find at Keyhouse is a bunch of magical keys that each do something amazing and different, and an ancient evil that wants to be let out. With beautiful artwork by Gabriel Rodriguez, exciting storylines, and well developed characters, this series is a must for any fan of Joe Hill, horror, or graphic novels in general.

– Becca

March 9, 2015

Off the shelf: Rebel Girls

Filed under: Info — klsseong @ 5:00 am

Yesterday was International Women’s day. To commemorate the occasion, I want to share a biography and a documentary of two seminal figures in music.

The Punk Singer is a documentary film that follows Kathleen Hanna of Bikini Kill.  Hanna was on the forefront of Riot Grrrl movement in the 90’s. It’s a personal film that takes us back to Hanna’s heyday as the reigning queen of “Girls to the Front” movement and let’s us catch up to what she has been up to in the last few years.

I have been waiting for Kim Gordon’s book ever since I laid my eyes on the jacket artwork last summer.  I will also share that it has been the most re-pinned pin from my Pinterest board. By reading Girl in a Band, we will get to live out the early days of Sonic Youth from the guitarist’s perspective and get a look into her personal life with the band’s leader with whom later divorced.

hanna gordon

March 6, 2015

Kid’s Corner: Help Your Child Get Ready to Read

Filed under: Kid's Corner — Tags: , , — jennytf @ 12:43 pm

PicMonkey Collage baby

Join us tomorrow and find out how you can help your child develop six early literacy skills that prepare him/her to become a reader with practical, age appropriate ideas to try at home.

Workshop for parents of babies and toddlers from birth through age 2

Saturday, March 7 2015

1:30p.m. -3:00 p.m.

Adults only please. No registration required. 

Held upstairs in the meeting rooms at the Cedar Mill Library.

Questions?? 503.644.0043 ext. 112

Checking In: Curiosity on Mars

curiosityroverOn Sunday August 5th, 2012, NASA engineers delivered a package to the surface of Mars (as a part of the Mars Science Laboratory mission) which included a roughly one ton car-sized rover named Curiosity. Significantly larger than Spirit and Opportunity, the last two rovers to explore the Red Planet’s landscape, Curiosity gets its story told in this new book which focuses on the logistics and political infighting that nearly derailed the project. Jet Propulsion Laboratory chief engineer Rob Manning and William L. Simon team up to tell the tale of Mars Rover Curiosity.

One of the major hurdles surrounding the design and launch of the MSL spacecraft was how to get its payload successfully down to the surface. Bouncing around in an inflatable bubble like Spirit and Opportunity did wasn’t going to work for Curiosity – too large and dependent on a careful landing, NASA and JPL engineers came up with a complex, untested solution. Using a deployed parachute to slow the rover down, coupled with carefully applied retrorockets to fine-tune its landing (and compensate for Mars wind speed) and a detachable umbilical to put it down safely and gently, Curiosity was designed to land on Mars more or less ready to rove.

Mars Rover Curiosity lays out the blood, sweat and tears of a multibillion-dollar science project in a way that is breezy and easy to understand, and the clash of design ethe (minimalist vs. elaborate) make up the bulk of this fascinating account of design and engineering. For other books about Curiosity and its launch, try Curiosity’s Mission on Mars (a kid-friendly read) or the gorgeously illustrated Mars Up Close: Inside the Curiosity Mission. And for a more holistic view of rover history, try Red Rover: Inside the Story of Robotic Space Exploration, From Genesis to the Mars Rover Curiosity.

-Patrick

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