27 August 2008

Summer of Superman VI

USA Today talks about how the murder death of one of the creators may have been the catalyst for creating the superhero.

And in case you missed it, Funky Winkerbean has been dedicating the strip from August 11, 2008 to August 30, 2008 to the origins and continuing story of Superman, mentioning Kimberly Avenue in Glenville (Cleveland) where Jerry Siegel lived (comic ran on August 21, 2008).

18 August 2008

Miami Valley 2009 Big Read

And the winner is...
Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult

Summer of Superman Part V

This is not directly related to the Summer of Superman, but ties in:

Dayton Daily News, Sunday, August 17, 2008, Arts section
Jewish graphic novels get spotlight at Wittenberg
By Andrew McGinn
Staff Writer
SPRINGFIELD — Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, the Hulk and Iron Man.
All Jewish.
Captain America, too.
The comic book industry owes a great deal — maybe everything — to Jews.
But if Jewish artists and writers created the medium, with its countless men in tights, then they also get to take responsibility for elevating comics to the status of literature.
An upcoming reading and discussion series at Wittenberg University will be the proof.
Thanks to a grant from Nextbook and the American Library Association, Wittenberg will host discussions of five graphic novels beginning Sept. 9 under the banner
Modern Marvels: Jewish Adventures in the Graphic Novel.
If capes are your thing, you're out of luck.
But if you're curious about what kind of comic wins the Pulitzer Prize — Art Spiegelman's Holocaust tale "Maus" — this is for you.
Copies of the five books will be given to participants free of charge, which makes space limited.
To register, contact Wittenberg reference librarian Ken Irwin at (937) 327-7594 or kirwin@wittenberg.edu.
The books also will be available to check out at the Clark County and Greene County public libraries.
Matthew J. Smith, associate professor of communication, will lead the discussions, held from 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesdays in room 131 of Hollenbeck Hall on the following dates:
Sept. 9 — Will Eisner, "A Contract With God."
Arguably the first true graphic novel, this 1978 book from the creator of the Spirit is about 1930s immigrant life in the Bronx.
Sept. 23 — Spiegelman, "The Complete Maus: A
Survivor's Tale."
Comics were blasted to a whole new level when Spiegelman won a 1992 Pulitzer for this — the story of the Holocaust reimagined with Jews as mice and the Nazis as cats.
Oct. 7 — Ben Katchor, "Julius Knipl, Real Estate Photographer: Stories."
Oct. 28 — Harvey Pekar, "The Quitter."
From Cleveland's perkiest native son (and the writer of "American Splendor"), "The Quitter" is the story of Pekar's teen years.
Nov. 11 — Joann Sfar, "The Rabbi's Cat."
This won Sfar a 2006
Eisner Award — comics' highest honor.
And while we're on the topic of Jewish comic creators, here's one more lasting contribution: Archie.
Contact this reporter at (937) 328-0352 or amcginn@coxohio.com.

04 August 2008

Summer of Superman part IV

This Sunday's Plain Dealer reports on the state of Summer of Superman. Some events have taken place or are planned, but the big thing missing is a statue to Superman in the neighborhood where it was created - Glenview, or where the authors lived - University Heights.

http://www.cleveland.com/ Search for Superman to find the three articles from August 3, 2008. A statue in Metropolis, Illinois is pictured on the front of the Arts section.
If I heard of a campaign to raise money, I would contribute. Superman is a great example to all Americans.

01 August 2008

What's on My Desk August 2008

Beatrice's Goat by Page McBrier and Lori Lohstoeter, afterword by Hillary Rodham Clinton. Children's fiction/nonfiction. DONE.
This tells the story of one recipient of the Heifer Project and how a gift of a goat affected her life. The story is fine and all, but I was more impressed by a biography of the founder of the project, Dan West that I saw in a church basement once. One major difference is the biography of Dan West was by some small publisher and didn't get much press. This book is by Atheneum Books and has Hillary Clinton's name to go with it. The cover says for ages 4-8, but the 4 and 5 year olds that I read this to were kind of bored, so I would say for 6-8 year olds is more appropriate. This is a real story of hope and compassion and would be great to read with a church or class collection for the Heifer Project.

Strawberry Girl by Lois Lenski. Children's Fiction. Newbery award winner, 1946. DONE.
I could definitely see the appeal of this book. The characters jump out of the page. This is a pioneer story set in Florida. I hadn't thought of 1900 Florida as virgin territory, but it was mostly undeveloped and still very wild. The Strawberry Girl and her family get by with their farm, but their no-account neighbors keep causing trouble. How will this be resolved? Recommended for fans of Little House on the Prairie.
The dialect takes a little getting used to, and the native Floridians call themselves Southern Crackers, resentful of any Yankees that might come their way. The author says in the preface that she based the story on interviews and historical data that was originally researched. The Newbery committee must have been impressed by her research.
Lois Lenski is an Ohio author, from Springfield in Clark County. Later she lived in Anna, Shelby County, Ohio and attended the Ohio State University.
I haven't read these books, but maybe I will:
"Lenski published her first written and illustrated book, Skipping Village, in 1927. Her second book, A Little Girl of 1900, was published in 1928. Both of these books are autobiographical, based on her childhood in Ohio; Skipping Village is a fictional name for Anna, Ohio".

Once Upon a Marigold by Jean Ferris. Children's Fiction. DONE
If you liked the Princess Bride, Ever After, Ella Enchanted, Shrek, or Enchanted, then this book is for you. This quirky fantasy is funny, heartwarming, and original, but reads like a familiar favorite with ogres, fairies, princesses, yappy dogs, a wicked queen, and inventions.
Harold and the Purple Crayon: The Birthday Present by Valerie Garfield and Kevin Murawski. Children's Fiction. DONE.
This one didn't seem quite as creative as the others in the series. It was easy to guess the ending. Nevertheless, it is just as sweet as the others Harold books and will give children an idea of what to give their parents for Christmas, birthdays, or Mothers' Day or Fathers' Day.
I had to get this one through interlibrary loan, but upon my recommendation, our children's specialist says she will now buy these Harold books for our collection.
Doctor Dan, the Bandage Man by Helen Gaspard and Corinne Malvern. Children's Fiction. DONE.
I am glad to see that Little Golden Books has reissued some old familiar favorites such as this one. I bought this at my local bookstore. I had not seen the book with the bandages intact before, since this part is quickly separated from the book. This brings back fond memories. As a child my favorite Little Golden Book was Little Mommy and my favorite Little Golden Books plus 45 record played on the Mickey Mouse turntable were the Poky Little Puppy and one about a tuba player (I forget the name of this one). In that one they played the song "Many brave hearts lay asleep in the deep, so beware. Be-ee-ee-ee-ware"! Is it Tubby the Tuba?
Follow up: No. It is not Tubby the Tuba. What was the name of that book?
Skylar by Mary Cuffe-Perez. Children's Fiction. DONE.
A great book for children or adults. Can "pond geese" rise to the occasion and help a lost heron find his way home? Can they aspire to be "wild geese"?
This was really delightful and reminds me of E. B. White or other great writers featuring animal main characters.
Well and the Mine by Gin Phillips. Adult Fiction. DONE.
This is a touching story and a quick read showcasing life in blue collar Alabama during the Great Depresssion. Who put the baby down the well to die? And will the Moore family be able to keep going with enough money to put bread on the table? Can we really blame the woman if she already had 6 or 10 starving children at home?
Here is a quote from aunt of the main character, Virgie. Virgie is wondering if she could somehow afford college.
"An educated old maid was the worst of all, bottom of the list. Aunt Celia said no man wanted a woman who cared more about books than she did about him."
"When I repeated it to Papa, he said, 'It don't pay to be too stupid, either.'"
Amen, brother!
Why Things Don't Work: Race Car by David West. Children's Fiction. DONE.
See comments about others in this series. My favorite part of this book was on pages 28 and 29 where they show different kinds of race cars and races for cars. If I can remember the difference between Formula 1, rally cars, NASCAR, dragsters, demolition derbies, and kart races I will be able to have more informed conversations with people that are into that kind of thing (like my father and one of my co-workers).
Blue-Ribbon Henry by Mary Calhoun and Erick Ingraham. Children's Fiction. DONE.
I chose this book because it is county fair time in this part of the country. Henry is a cat with lots of personality and I think I will read more in the Henry series. This book is kind of realistic, in that the cat doesn't talk or anything, but he is an extremely intelligent cat. It is a nice mix of exaggeration and reality and satisfied the audience who was curious about what we see at fair time. My library has this in the preschool collection, but I think it is more of a 1st or 2nd grade level.
Tubby the Tuba by Paul Tripp and Henry Cole. Children's Fiction. DONE.
This is some older song, but I had not heard of it. The information on the dust jacket says the song sold 13 million copies. I turned the book in forgetting to listen to the included CD recording. That was a mistake. I was wondering what it would sound like since the book makes obvious references to music and sounds. Again, this book is in the preschool section, but it has a number of words and concepts that are not familiar to the average preschooler, or even the average parent or librarian who would be reading it. Instruments such as piccolos, celestes, and French horns are probably not instruments that the children have seen before, but this book could be used to introduce children to the members of the orchestra. I had a hard time pronouncing Signor Pizzicato's name, but with practice was able to do so.