Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Oliver’s first snow

Back last June, my family became involved with the Pilot Dog program, which is based in Columbus. My son signed on as a puppy raiser for a school community project. The dog at 12 to 14 months old will be turned over to Pilot Dogs to receive more formal training to become a guide dog for the blind. So we received beautiful, adorable, mischievous Oliver, a yellow Labrador retriever. He was 7 weeks old then and now he is 7 months old…a bigger dog with a puppy-like brain. It is fun to watch him learn and explore his world, which could range from a pile of leaves in the backyard to the dark recesses of the toilet bowl.
Oliver does not have any boundaries. He enthusiastically bounds forward to meet each new experience. One of which, was his first snow. He woke up in the morning with his usual routine of going potty, eating his breakfast and finding ways to get attention. We let him out the back door, he runs outside…crunch…crunch…crunch and a slip across the deck floor. He suddenly stops, looks at his paws in confusion, takes a couple steps backwards, stops, sticks his nose straight in a small drift and snorts in surprise. He can’t figure it out and looks back at me for my reaction. My smile tells him this is fun and THEN he leaps in the air and pounces in the snow. Similar to a fox or coyote trying to pounce on a mouse through the snow for their dinner and then runs in circles like a snowplow gone wild.
Oliver loves snow. He loves the bracing, cold wet sensation on his nose. He loves the sounds he creates as he leaves a trail of paw prints, next to prints left by wildlife that live by the neighboring woodland. He loves how his breathy pants leave little misty clouds in his wake as he explores the fresh scents of squirrels, chipmunks and rabbits. He loves to attack low hanging tree branches and bushes, spraying snow powder upon h is head and back. He loves to try to catch the loosely packed snowballs I throw at him.
I love watching Oliver having fun in the snow. I love his doggy smile. I love that he is a great dog. I love that someday Oliver will help a blind person have the confidence to explore their own world. I love Oliver. I’ll miss him.
Checking out,
Mrs. V

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Christmas tree the highway gave up

I grew up on a farm, and times were usually lean and we lived off the land. My brother and I were not raised with many luxuries so Christmas was especially a time to look forward to. We might get a new toy or a few clothes that we wanted. We knew not to expect a bounty, but we never felt shortchanged. I guess it was the way we were raised that Christmas was not all about the presents. It was about love and enjoying family time with each other.

But, one particular Christmas when I was about 8 years old, my brother and I were told that Christmas would entail very little presents and we would not be able to afford a real Christmas tree, which was a family tradition. Instead, we would put up the ratty, ugly, used white tinsel tree (which ironically has become trendy these days). We made our usual decorations out of lights, popcorn, cranberries, candy canes and handmade ornaments. I am not sure why this particular Christmas was leaner than others, but I remember feeling a little scared and uncertain

There is a special ambiance in the home during Christmas, a special spirit that infuses the family and your friends. I have always loved it. But that Christmas, there was heaviness in our house. A sadness pervaded the positive outlook and no-quit attitude my parents usually exemplified and I wonder if they were angry that no matter how hard they worked and saved, it just wasn’t enough to get ahead. A parent just wants to make things perfect for their child, and they must have felt powerless in not being able to make that Christmas special.

Two weeks before Christmas, we experienced a blizzard during the night. Beautiful, pristine white snow blanketed the farm. A constant fall of night snow beckoned my father to impulsively wake us up. My mother helped us put on our winter coats and boots to go out into the front yard. I believe it was either midnight or 1 a.m.

Following the rays cast by the front porch light, my father ran through the glistening snow and pelted my mother with snowballs. Soon we were all in a giant snowball fight between the women and the men. Our sheepdog Spot was the referee, trying to insert his body between the warring clans. My mother and father were chasing each other in circles beneath the old, front yard apple tree, laughing like children. Later when we were worn out, we set to work creating snow sculptures of bears, rabbits, a snow family and a tiger laid out along the front yard. What a beautiful, magical night. Afterwards, I am sure when I went back to bed on the couch, my dreams were of our snow sculptures coming alive, dancing joyously beneath the still falling snow. We never did that again as family, but it was enough. A memory I will cherish forever.

The next morning, while my mom went to let Spot out to do his business I heard her gasp and screamed out my father’s name.

“Look outside! There is a tree in the front yard,” she said.

We all rushed to the front yard to see Spot sniffing the greenest, most lush Christmas tree I ever saw. The bright sun revealed that it had rolled down the hill from the highway we lived next to and settled near our snow sculptures. It was still compactly tied up, ready for the Christmas retail season. My father rushed out and carried it into our living room and immediately we were hit with that wonderful scent of fresh pine.

My parents had determined that the tree had come loose from one of the trucks transporting trees to the Christmas tree sale lots. A lost tree finding its way to our front yard never happened before or since. I believe it was a gift from someone up high and I believe my parents thought so too. For their positive outlook came back and I believe that tree to them represented they weren’t alone in their struggle to raise a family and maintain a home.

That Christmas was about finding joy in the simple things of life, be it a midnight festival of snowballs and sculpture or a surprise gift of a lost Christmas tree. Cherish these holiday memories, kids, because there will be a day when those memories will be all you have of your parents and grandparents. Make memories of your own…a simple, lifelong gift for a loved one.

Checking out,

Mrs. V

Sunday, November 28, 2010


Looking for gifts for my two teenage children and I thought Christmas CDs would be a great gift for my daughter to play at her college. As soon as Thanksgiving Day officially ends I am playing Christmas music. There is also a radio station 95.5 FM FISH of the same mindset. They continually play holiday music 24/7 and beyond Christmas. Even Sirius stations are totally devoted to playing several genres of holiday music.
I know I am not the only one out there that loves continuous Christmas music, but my daughter tells me getting a Christmas CD for a teenager is not great gift idea. Here is a list of upcoming popular music she made me to prove what teenagers are listening to and would like as a present either as a download or a CD rather than a holiday songs.
List by my daughter:

1. Taylor Swift’s album “Speak Now”
2. Rihanna’s album “Loud”
3. Kanye West’s album “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy”
4. Katy Perry’s album “Teenage Dream”
5. Nicki Minaj album “Pink Friday”
6. Mumford and Sons “Sigh No More”
7. Kings of Leon “Come Around Sundown”
8. Bruno Mars “Doo-Wops & Hooligans
9. Kesha’s album “Cannibal”
10. Ne-Yo’s album “Libra Scale”

Now I noticed that our “Glee: the Christmas Album” has 22 holds for 3 copies. With the popularity of Glee, I am going to assume that there are teenagers that would like to have this album. So I checked this out and played it for my daughter. She loved it! Surprising since many of the songs are old-fashioned, before-my-time music. The kids modernized the songs a little, but still retain the original score, bringing back girlhood memories. The album is mostly perky and fun, however there are two songs that will tug at your heart and bring a tear to your eye: Rudolphs’ Misfit Toys “The Most Wonderful Day of the Year” and “O Holy Night.”
It was fun to spend time with her and listen to an album, sharing some of my favorite Christmas music. So I guess this is one Christmas album teenagers would like. Check out Glee’s nonfiction book: Filled with glee: the unauthorized Glee companion
What is great about libraries is you can check these albums out and see if you really like them before you or Mom and Dad purchase them. Review our catalog and request one of these popular CDs and place a hold.
Checking Out,
Mrs. V

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The tragedy of loss and learning to move on

Growing apart is probably one of the hardest parts to growing up. But having your best friend die when you’re both only 13 is one of those great tragedies most of us luckily don’t have to face. In Dear Anjali, by Melissa Glenn Haber, Meredith cannot believe that her best friend Anjali could possibly be dead, so she decides to write her letters every day. Through these letters we get glimpses of depression, anger, and confusion. The letters are written on a typewriter, and also by hand, so there are different fonts in the book to give it a realistic journal-like feel. As Meredith struggles through the months after her friend’s death, she starts talking to and hanging out with the boy she’s had a crush on for years. Through this new friendship it is revealed that Anjali was keeping secrets from Meredith. The secrets aren’t nearly as dramatic as I hoped as a reader, but they were realistic and nonetheless shattering for Meredith. Yet, through these realizations, Meredith is finally able to move on with her life. Dear Anjali was a touching read, and was helped along by its unique format—who doesn’t like a book written entirely in letters. For all you scholars out there, when a book is written in this way, it’s called an epistle style novel. If you want a dramatic story about friendship and moving on, I would give Dear Anjali a try.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Popularity means hanging out with people who make you happy

I think most kids want to be popular, but I don’t think it means that they want accolades or attention. I think they want to be popular because it is an affirmation that they fit in…that they have friends. Let’s face it eating lunch by yourself in the cafeteria is not a great experience.
Amy Ignatow’s debut novel, filled with humorous back-and-forth notes and sketches of her characters’ plans and desires to become popular, is in a similar style of author Marissa Moss’ “Amelia” books and author Rachel Renee Russell’s “Dork Diaries.” The book really hits the mark on the daily life of two fifth grade girls who are best friends. They partner up and research the successful characteristics of the popular girls at school. The project is called “The Popularity Papers, Research for the Social Improvement and General Betterment of Lydia Goldblatt and Julie Graham-Chang” Their approach is smart, study their subject and emulate them…a sure shot, they think, to the path of popularity. They discover it isn’t so easy and when they do achieve part of their goals, the popularity circle is not what it is cracked up to be and they almost lose their wonderful, quirky friendship in the process.
Reading the “Popularity Papers” brought back many memories of my desire to fit in and how hard it was to break down those social barriers my peers built against me. Basically I wanted to have friends. I moved into a new school district when I was in second grade and already there were strong clichés. I was not a shy child and I was bound and determined to make friends. I figured if I targeted the most popular girls at school and got in the group I would be free and clear…accepted. It wasn’t easy and for most of the year I ate by myself at lunchtime.
One day during recess, there were a group of popular girls playing jump rope…Thwack, Thwack, Thwack…the rope repeatedly hit the asphalt pavement. I watched carefully to see how they performed their jump rope routine and asked them if I could join in. The lead girl of the group told me NO, so out of spite I would just stand and watch. Every school day I asked and every time I was denied and I stayed and watched them. I guess you could say I was also stubborn. But eventually I gave up, but not the desire that I could be just like them…pretty, gregarious and always dressed with trendy clothes. I was neither of these things. I didn’t know who I was or happy with myself.
As I struggled to conform to these girls’ image, my parents were committed to keep me away from conformity. In 6th grade, I wanted to color my blonde hair black because I thought it would make my blue eyes stand out and my peers would suddenly see how beautiful I was. My mother absolutely denied me this opportunity. So as an alternative, I cut my hair. That was a real disaster. I tried to cut it like the Farrah Fawcett 70s hairstyle; instead it ended up being uneven shag. That brought me down lower in the social ladder. It wasn’t till high school, that I finally came into my own and embraced my strengths and found others who were likeminded. I eventually found my own brand of popularity and was very happy.
I would have loved growing up to have had best friends like Ignatow’s characters that were funny, smart, tenacious and best of all loyal to each other. If I had friends like these, I would have really appreciated those qualities that made me unique. Ignatow’s message is to be true to yourself and soon you will attract friends who will share and appreciate your unique traits and make you happy. To quote one of the girls’ oldest sisters, “Your friends should be the coolest people you know.”
By the way, decades later, the popular girl that did not let me play jump rope with them…apologized to me. Seems like all those years of snubbing me, wore at her conscience for many years. It is proof I think that there is a life after school and people do eventually grow up.
Though those were tough times for me growing up, however, I do not regret it. I grew up to become more sensitive to other’s feelings and was more determined to achieve my goals despite the obstacles. I grew up to become a strong woman who respects herself and others. It was worth the long journey, I think, toward “Social Improvement” and “General Betterment.”
Read Ignatow’s book, I will guarantee you will feel better about yourself.
Checking out,
Mrs. V.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Trend Alert!!!!

A 80s-early 90s trend I am seeing making a comeback has reached MPL...Converse neon shoelaces. They come in all kinds of bright colors and I am told you can get them at our local malls and shoe stores. Now I have seen kids wearing these patterned or neon-colored shoelaces before, sometimes with neon streaks in their hair to match. But what caught my attention is that each sneaker had a different neon color shoelace (pictured above). Is this a fairly recent trend? Don’t know, but thought it was worthy of my Trend Alert tidbit for the week.
Checking out Mrs. V.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

How Nicky Flynn gets a life and a dog

The picture on the cover of this new book “How I, Nicky Flynn, finally get a life (and a dog) “grabbed my attention. . .a picture of a German Shepard’s face and nose is designed prominently on the cover as if the dog is about to give you a giant sloppy doggy kiss. I am glad I picked it out as one of my book reviews. The author, Art Corrivea, successfully conveys the thoughts and feelings of an angry 11-year-old boy struggling with changes in his life. The tone of voice Corrivea gives the character Nicky is “spot on” and believable. Forced to move from a plush suburban home and well-off lifestyle to inner-city Boston with his mother after his parents’ divorce, Nicky becomes an angry boy who treats his mother with disdain and internalizes his fears of attending a new school and a emotionally distant father. Corrivea’s premise to join Nicky with another abandoned and unwanted animal , a former guide dog named Reggie, his mother adopts reveals the vulnerability and strength underneath Nicky’s sarcastic bravado. Solving the mystery of why the former guide dog was placed in a dog pound becomes Nicky’s obsession. Nicky’s journey to cope with the changes in his life, the relationship with his mother and father, and the partnership and growing bond with his dog, make for a great read. However, I was not satisfied with the conclusion given regarding Reggie’s past life as a guide dog and the reasoning behind the decision to place him in a dog pound. Maybe you will feel differently. Anyway, it was really nice to get to know Nicky and learn more about the responsibilities of a guide dog.
Checking out,
Mrs. V.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Tweens get soaked at MPL

Hello Tweens,

Had a great time at the WaterWorld Games held July 16 at the Read House. Some of you were VERY persistent in getting me soaked with the water balloons and water guns. Next year I am going to make this event bigger and better. About 400 water balloons were depleted within 15 minutes. It was great fun! Below is an article I wrote about the day with pictures that I sent out to various newspapers. Hope it gets published. Some of the pictures will soon be placed on the library Facebook page. Stay cool like Mrs. V.
Tweens soak up the sun at library

MENTOR-Taking a defensive position while standing back to back upon the lawn strewn with balloon fragments, sisters Kristen and Kerri Halick were ready to soak the nearest boy in their vicinity. After depleting their supply of water balloons, each sister was equipped with a fully loaded water gun and they knew how to use them. Someone was going to get wet.
More than 30 tweens attended the Mentor Public Library WaterWorld Games July 16 held at the neighboring Read House. Hundreds of water balloons and water guns were used in an hour-long skirmish.
“It was really fun getting soaked in the hot sun,” Venkat Suru said.
Craig Vandemark also agreed the above 80-degree day made for perfect conditions to soak his opponents.
“It was really fun and I liked the water balloons,” he said.Suru and Vandemark had to constantly look over the backs for one sneaky challenger, Raghav Malik.
“I came here to soak everyone,” Malik said. “The water balloons were the best. They worked really well because water guns only do a little damage.”
By the end of the program, the Halick sisters were able to achieve their common goal.
“We came here to get very wet,” said Kristen.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Trend Alert!!!!

Hello Tweens,
Some of you already know this….but the Silly Bandz craze has hit Lake County. For the past three weeks I have seen a huge increase of kids coming into the Children’s Department with multiple rubber bands in different colors strung out along their forearms. Then to my surprise they take these rubber bands off and they immediately revert back into a shape.
According to my Google research efforts Silly Bandz is a brand of silicone rubber bands formed to make shapes of animals, objects and letters. They are worn as “tight, tight” bracelets by elementary, middle school and high school students. These “bracelets” come in different shapes, colors and themes and can be found in most drugstores.
Several kids that have come to visit me have worn their whole collection of Silly Bandz along their arms like sleeves. Apparently they are becoming collectible and many kids are trading with other kids for Silly Bandz they don’t have.
I had a conversation with MPL patrons and sisters Anna and Patricia Hadzinski about why they are riding this trend.
“I like them because there are different shapes and sizes and they are really COOL,” said Anna.
Patricia likes to trade some of her Silly Bandz to get “better ones.” One she will not give up is her elephant-shaped Silly Bandz. Anna’s favorites are her cowboy and horse Silly Bandz.
Silly Bandz was first sold online in November 2009 then gained in popularity in Alabama. They moved east that same year. As of April 2010, Silly Bandz sold the bracelets to 8,000 U.S. stores and now they are here gaining popularity.
Well, I see why you like them…let me know if you can find any Silly Bandz that are in the shape of a hamster. Fuzzy might like it.

Checking Out,
Mrs. V

Friday, May 21, 2010

A Little Mouse with a Big Heart

A Nest for Celeste by Henry Cole
(written for children in grades 3 through 5)

A lonely little mouse living a dull life, weaving baskets within a musty hole, inside a 17th century New Orleans plantation begins an adventure of a lifetime. She meets the famous naturalist painter John James Audubon (April 26, 1785 – January 27, 1851), who is a guest of the plantation owner. From the shirt pocket of Audubon’s thirteen-year-old assistant Joseph Mason, Celeste watches as Audubon kills, paints, catalogues and describes the birds of North America.
The book cover advertises “A Nest for Celeste” as a story about art, inspiration and the meaning of home. However, I believe this story is about perseverance, friendship, and the importance of possessing a compassionate heart. For such a little creature, Celeste makes a big impact on her wildlife neighbors and humans alike.
There are several parallels to Celeste and Joseph’s stories: Celeste lost her family when the crops were harvested and Joseph, a lonely, young boy, leaves his family far behind for two years to travel the country with Audubon. His job is to learn how to paint the backdrops for Audubon’s pictures and learn a trade. After a house cat narrowly misses killing Celeste she finds a temporary home in Joseph’s boot; he later relocates her to his shirt pocket. From this pocket, Celeste witnesses Man’s impact on wildlife: shooting down hundreds of Passenger Pigeons, the killing of other fowl for Audubon’s pictures. Both Joseph and Celeste take these killings to heart and both try to influence Audubon’s methods of painting the perfect picture by suggesting alternatives that end up saving lives.
In one scene in the book, Joseph, drums up some courage and confronts Audubon on his methods. An Ivory-billed woodpecker was shot in the wing by Audubon two days before and dies of his wounds and a broken heart. Joseph is upset when Audubon asks him for pins to secure the woodpecker’s carcass onto a board.
“This doesn’t seem right…” said Joseph.
“What doesn’t,” said Audubon.
“I don’t know…the way we’re doing this, the paintings?” said Joseph. “You are looking to capture its life on paper, but by killing it first? By pinning it to a board? It was so majestic up in that enormous cypress tree…”
Audubon argues that there were plenty of woodpeckers where that one came from and questions Joseph on would he rather hold a live woodpecker while it pecked at his hand during the painting process.
“I am preserving their beauty forever. If I could paint their portraits as well another way I would.” Audubon states.
Joseph leaves the room thinking about his lonely moments since he left his family and wonders if all the other woodpeckers were killed off but one, how lonely would that one woodpecker be flying along the river valley “on an endless and futile search up and down the valley, looking to find another ivory-billed woodpecker?”

Read this thought-provoking book full of many wildlife characters captured within the author’s quaint illustrations and find out how Joseph and Celeste face the challenges of being alone in the world and how their friendship brings love, courage, freedom and...the wonder of “how love can start with something as simple as the gift of a peanut.”
Checking Out,
Mrs. V

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Pretty little liars and their dirty little secrets

I must say I am totally in love with Pretty Little Liars right now. Okay, so I haven’t even finished the first one yet, but I can tell already I’m completely hooked. By the way it starts, with an omniscient voice saying how this perfect setting she’s describing isn’t really so perfect, it kind of reminds me of Desperate Housewives—for teens. And I should warn you this is definitely for the older teen crowd, what with the mature situations, mild drug use, and sexual situations. But it’s the mystery that keeps this so addicting. In seventh grade, five girls are best friends and the most popular in their upper class private school. Then one of the girls--the girl who knows every dirty little secret about the other four—goes missing. Flash forward to 11th grade and the four remaining friends have grown apart. Then they start getting messages from someone reminding them of all their secrets. Who could it be? What should they do? Which designer bag should they buy next? Each question more revealing than the next (except maybe that last one). It’s Beverly Hills 90210 in book form, with a mysterious twist (I’m referring to the original 90210, I must admit I have not seen the remake). Oh! And there’s a show coming out! Check out a copy before you’re the last girl who doesn’t know what’s going on!
~Amanda D.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Puppy to arrive at Mrs. V's house

At the end of May, my family will be picking up an 8-week-old, male, yellow, Labrador Retriever in the Pilot Dog program in Columbus. My 17-year-old son signed on to be a puppy raiser for a school community service project. The dog will eventually, at 1 year or 14 months old, be turned over to Pilot Dogs so the dog can get more formal training to become a guide dog for the blind.
It has been two years since we last had a dog in the house, so the family is very excited about hearing the patter of little paws in the house again. This is a huge responsibility for my son. He needs to take the puppy to an obedience course when the puppy is 4 to 5 months old. The puppy also needs to socialize with animals, people and be exposed to traffic conditions and other environments.

Once the dog is returned to Pilot Dogs, it begins formal training with professional trainers/instructors. This training typically lasts about five months. As the dogs advance, the training schedules are changed so that the dogs begin training in the streets of Columbus where they learn how to navigate buses, revolving doors, escalators, elevators, and all other conditions the blind may encounter once returned home with their pilot dogs.

The blind student and their dog train together for four weeks and learn to navigate their way through the largest department stores, on and off buses, and across the busiest thoroughfares by themselves.

My son will receive a picture of the dog and his new owner when the dog has graduated from the program. We know that letting go of our new puppy within a year will be very hard, but we are expecting a great experience and many stories to tell. Will keep you updated on the puppy’s progress and any advice on how to raise a puppy is welcome.

Meanwhile, check out our link (just click on the picture) to all the wonderful books we have in our collection regarding guide dogs. I recommend reading Gertrude Chandler Warners’ fiction book “The Guide Dog Mystery”; Stephanie Calmenson’s picture book “May I pet your dog?: the how-to guide for kids meeting dogs (and dogs meeting kids)”; and Glenna Lang’s picture book “Looking Out for Sarah.”

Checking Out,
Mrs. V

Friday, March 19, 2010

Newer Vampire Books

So you have read the twilight series a dozen times and gone through the list that MPL gave out last year. What Now!?
Well in honor of our New Moon screening on Tuesday, March 23rd, we have compiled a list. Of What?...of the vampire books that were published in late 2009 and early 2010, of course.

(The standard disclaimer applies. Some of the books are good and some are bad. Sometimes it’s just your opinion.)

And now the list:

New Books: (might even be the first in a series)
• Never bite a boy on the first date by Tamara Summers
• Hearts at Stake by Alyxandra Harvey
• Bad Blood by Marianne Mancusi
• I kissed a zombie and I Liked It by Adam Selzer
• Strange Angels by Lili St. Crow
• Eternal Kiss edited by Trisha Telep
• Vamped by Lucienne Diver
• Reformed Vampire Support Group by Catherine Jinks
• Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fanaskey

Latest in the Series:
• Van Alen Legacy by Melissa De LA Cruz (Blue Bloods Series)
• Eleventh Grade Burns by Heather Brewer (Chronicles of Vladmir Todd)
• Hourglass by Claudia Grey (Evernight Series)
• Shadow Souls by L.J. Smith (Reprints) (Vampire Diaries: The Return)
• Thirst Series by Christopher Pike (Reprints)
• Fade Out by Rachel Caine (Morganville Vampire Series)
• Betrayals by Lili St. Crow (Strange Angels Series)
• Royal Blood by Ellen Schreiber (Vampire Kisses Series)

See you at the screening!!

Amy W.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Love of a Dog

I miss my dog. I miss her a lot. Though she passed away two years ago at the age of 12 ½ years old, I sometimes still look for her face pasted against the front door window when I pull into the driveway. Sometimes at night I will get out of bed and do a shuffling step to determine where she is laying by my bed so I do not trip. Then I realize she won’t be there and there is no need to be careful.

I have owned dogs all of my life. I presume I will continue to have them until I am too old to take care of them. Life seems easier to handle with a dog by your side. Sometimes I prefer to hang out with a dog than some people I know. They are good company. Dogs do not live very long, but I believe the wonderful, funny memories and the unconditional love they give you far outweigh the heartache of their loss. The lessons they teach are invaluable. I recently watched one of our newest DVD releases we have at the library, “Hachi, a dog’s tale.” The movie is adapted from a true story of a dog born in Japan named Hachiko. Children’s author Pamela S. Turner wrote the story “Hachiko, the true story of a loyal dog” after her visit in Tokyo. The true story is about a dog that waited for his deceased master to arrive at the train station for 10 years.
The film Hachi touches on many elements of Turner‘s story, but the setting takes place in a small NY community. Nevertheless, the story moved me. The devotion and love between a dog and his owner is beautifully portrayed in the film. I have no doubt that the love between Hachiko and his owner was so strong that it was the impetus for a dog to meet the train for 10 years in the hope his owner would be there. Get ready to get the Kleenex out for the children’s book and the film…tears will fall. The story of Hachi brought back some wonderful memories of all the dogs that have passed through my life. Their love I will cherish always in my heart. Yes, I really miss the company of my old dog Babe.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Poem book hits the right chord

Hello Tween,
I love the rhythm of poetry...the way poems can make the words sing.

I have recently read a new book of original poems called “Dizzy in Your Eyes” by children’s book author Pat Mora that I would highly recommend. There are about 50 poems which convey many universal experiences of tween/teens.
Written in a variety of forms, these poems touch on love for sports and family; admiration for teachers; the loss of a loved one; the giddiness of first love and the pain of heartache. I can guarantee there will be at least one poem for you that will hit the right chord.
My Song
by Pat Mora

So many memories,
and I’m still young.
So many dreams,
my song’s just begun.

Sometimes I hear
my private melody grow,
then the sound vanishes,
but returns, I now know.

I’ve heard my heart break;
wounded, I’ve felt alone,
but slowly I learned
to thrive on my own.

I want to keep learning,
to deepen my song;
in whatever I work,
may my best self grow strong.........

(check out this book and read the rest of Mora’s stanzas for this poem)

Checking Out,
Mrs. V

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Register NOW! Poetry and Pizza Night for Tweens

Hello Tweens!

When I was your age I loved poetry and wrote lots and lots of poetry. The words my favorite poets like Emily Dickinson really seemed to speak to me and reflected the "drama" I experienced in my young life. Funny thing is I can only write poetry when I am depressed...the good ones anyway. It has been many years since I wrote a poem, but every once in a while a stanza or two will creep in my mind and I won't have time to write it down. I might just take a gander at it for this upcoming program at the Main Library Children's Department.

Tweens will have the opportunity to share poems of their favorite poets or read what they have composed themselves inside the Children’s Theater. Song lyrics can also be shared or performed for their peers in grades fifth to eighth grades. Come read a funny, dramatic or sad poem in our intimate, relaxed café setting. Hot cocoa, pop, and pizza will be served. I believe this will be inspiring, so please join me and Mrs. Densmore for a poetic program. Register NOW!

Checking Out,

Mrs. V

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

New Moon Screening

Hello Tweens and Teens,

We have a great night planned for all “New Moon” fans! Don't miss the screening of "New Moon" on Tuesday, March 23 starting at 6:00 pm! We'll have refreshments a werewolf would love, games, and prizes. Bring your knowledge of the library and win "New Moon" themed goodies. Limited reserved seat tickets for the two rows are available when checking out 10 YA novels. Bring your receipts to the Adult Reference desk for your ticket and to get first dibs on a poster. All events will take place in the James R. Garfield Room at the Main Library. No registration required; for more info call (440) 255-8811. This movie is rated PG-13.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Hear the Eco! Listen to the Planet

Hello Tweens,
Whenever I get a spare minute from being a mom and working at the library I read my books or watch movies on my portable DVD player (a fantastic Christmas gift I received two years ago). Lately I have watched animated movies with an ecological bent and subject matter of a planet’s possible biological extinction if mankind or alienkind fail to take care of their planet or each other. There are three movies I would recommend: Science fiction movies “Battle for Terra” and “9”, as well as Barbie’s “Thumbelina.” They are movies with a message that are inspiring and thought-provoking.
Battle for Terra
Mala is a precocious girl living on the beautiful planet Terra, a place where peace and tolerance are celebrated. Unbeknownst to Mala and her fellow Terrians, the last inhabitants of Earth have exhausted the resources of their planet and those of three others. They are now searching for a new home. This Earthforce has discovered that the use of a Terraformer will make Terra habitable for humans. Unfortunately, it will become poisonous for the Terrians. When the Earthlings embark on a hostile invasion of Terra, Mala's father, Roven, is kidnapped. Hoping to save her father, Mala captures and hides Jim, a crashed human pilot. While Mala nurses Jim back to health, the two forge a friendship and a plan that could save both the human race and the planet of Terra. Soon, however, they realize that peace will not be secured unless they can combat both the Terraformer and dark political forces that will stop at nothing in their drive to achieve power for power's sake.
The animation production is beautiful and reveals the “soul” of the Terrians and the Earthlings. There is no bad guy in this film, just two species trying to survive in the universe. This film is about two friends who become ambassadors and peacekeepers over a planet that both species want for their own survival. This graceful and emotional tale is about sacrifices and the healing power of love and friendship.
When rag doll 9 first comes to life, he finds himself in a post-apocalyptic world where all humans are gone. It is only by chance that he discovers a small community of others like him taking refuge from fearsome machines that roam the earth intent on their extinction. Despite being the newest member of the group, 9 convinces the others that hiding will do them no good. They must take the offensive if they are to survive and they will need to discover why the machines want to destroy them in the first place. The very future of civilization may depend on them.
There is a certain innocence to these rag dolls, yet their circumstances and imperfections directs them to the same path mankind pursued…a dead end. 9’s hope and courage helps veer the group away from fear and destruction to instead a course of hope and survival. The group puts aside their different philosophies and personal motives to instead come together to battle one of mankind’s most technically fearsome war machine. It is a story of redemption and renewal.
Barbie Thumbelina
Meet a tiny girl named Thumbelina lives in harmony with nature in the magical world of the Twillerbees that's hidden among the wildflowers. At the whim of a spoiled young girl named Makena, Thumbelina and her friends have their patch of wildflowers uprooted and are transported to the city. This movie is about how one self-centered human being can negatively impact the world around them. Can you imagine how much damage can be inflicted by a population? Thumbelina is a feisty little character that will fight to keep her little garden world alive for future generations. This tiny character makes a huge impact on Makena, who underneath that selfish exterior lies a lonely girl striving to achieve her parent’s loving attention.
Check out this adorable movie and the special features where you can play the Flying Fairy Recycling game and Thumbelina's Green Thumb Challenge game.

Let me know if you have any suggestions for me regarding movies or books that convey a similar theme.
Checking out,
Mrs. V

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Go for the Gold, Be an Olympic Reader

Hello Tweens!
I watched the Men's Singles Short Program Figure Skating Olympic competition last night. What a tough sport. Some may think the event is just an artistry and not a sport, but I would definitely disagree. Can you imagine performing triple axles and quads in front of thousands and knowing millions are watching and critiquing your performance in probably the most important event of your athletic career? The strength and power of their technical routines must match the artistic flow and expression of their performance. I would not want to be in their skates. I am sure it is tougher than it looks. Loved the passionate performance of the second place finisher USA Evan Lysacek. The first place finisher Russian Evgeni Plushenko didn't WOW me as much as Lysacek, but he must have had a little something more for the judges.
I was prepared to not like Lysacek, based upon my opinion on some soundbites, that he was arrogant, but when he finished his performance with tears in eyes, I reassessed my opinion. I guess a good athlete needs to be sure and confident about him/her self. One has to be to compete in front millions. These athletes truly care about being the best at what they do, and I guess I can't fault them on being a little proud of a job well done. After all they commit much of their lives to working hard to achieve a goal and when they do they are going to want to crow about it. I respect Lysacek on "walking the talk." I am glad he did well. He made our country proud.

To join the ride to Olympic glory, the Main Library children's department and the branches are conducting a reading incentive program called Go for the Gold! Be an Olympic Reader. Enter a chance to win some official Olympic prizes, t-shirt, pins and a stuffed toy moose with every five books or more checked out. Check out our website for more information. Drawing to be held on Monday, March 1, 2010.

Signing Off,
Mrs. V

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Styling hair is an artform

I came across a beautiful book of about hair fashion illustrated and written by collage artist Terence Lawlor.
The fairytale-type setting takes place inside a palace full of lords and ladies with nothing better to do than pursue the latest trends in high fashion...especially hair fashion.
A monthly contest is held to name the top fashionista...mainly it is between three divas who regulary win the prize. These cold-hearted women were nicknamed by the social set as The Vanities. Their secret to their success and glory was an orphan child with a talent for hairstyling they "adopted."
Read how this orphan teaches the vanities a lesson in how to not be a fashion victim. This adorable Cinderella-like story is visually pleasing accompanied by lilting, humerous rhymes.

Signing Off,
Mrs. V.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Tweens have fashion sense

Recently went to a local mall and it seemed it had been turned into a venue for fashion week. Boy, do you kids know how to dress up into what I call a real art form, yet each person still managed to maintain their individuality despite the similar fashion sense of the group they were hanging out with.

There was the "scene look," which I am told is only about two years old. Tweens/teens wearing their dark hair in a shag-angle cut, flattened very straight. Their dark, heavy makeup matched the dark clothes accented by bright neon colors. A really rockin' and confident look.

The "preppy and popular" group dressed in light-colored, fitted, cowboyish, expensive brand-name clothing brought a smile to my face. I would describe this group as "flirty, bouncy and bright" wearing their Ugg boots and knit caps.

A crossover group of tween/teens seemed to have taken the best of both worlds and made it their own. One girl wore a long shirt dress, leggings, leg warmers with boots. The ensemble was accented with bright pieces of jewelry and long necklaces. This bohemian look was very pretty and feminine.

Thankfully I only saw two boys wearing those low-riding jeans with their boxers revealed. Dare I hope that fashion fad is on its way out. Anyway, great job kids! You are not only expressive, but fashion forward and I admire your initiative to be creative.

If you would like more accurate observations on current fashion trends check out the Feb/March issues of Girls Life and Discovery Girls magazines in the MPL Main Children's Department.

Checking out,
Mrs. V