Monday, May 30, 2005

My Dog

I have been busy reading shelves and working on end of the year computer lab projects so I have not been keeping up with my posting. Instead, this week I will share a picture of my dog who loves to walk along the Hennepin Canal. He likes to wade in to get drinks, chase fish, turtles, and ducks or geese.

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Thursday, May 19, 2005

Farewell to Manzanar

Franklin Roosevelt issued an executive order to have Japanese living in America transferred to relocation centers in 1942. JeanneWakatsuki Houston was a very young girl when she and her family were forced to move to Manzanar, a camp in the desert about 200 miles northeast of Los Angeles. The book is a true account of life for this family at an internment camp. The reader can see a side of American history that may not always be presented in a general American history class. It presents another prejudice that is part of our past. There is a film called "Snow Falling on Cedars" that tells a similar story. I also found a Library of Congress site, Ansel Adams's Manzanar Photographs, that will give you a visual of this story.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

A Kick in the Head

The title attracts your attention, doesn't it? This is a book about 29 poetic forms -- wait don't quit reading yet! Here is a fun way to learn about the rules of poetry, and the book shows you that sometimes poets are not slaves to every aspect of poetic form. The author tells the reader that you should think of the rules of poetry like the rules of a game; they are in place to add challenge and excitement. The book is not filled with words to confuse you, and the artwork is great, and the poems are wonderful.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Code Talker

Joseph Bruhac uses the storytelling style to have the main character, Ned Begay, tell of his experiences as a Navajo code talker in World War II to his grandchildren. Bruhac does not want the reader to forget that Native Americans were often forced to drop their language and customs to be accepted as part of the society of the United States. During the war, the Navajos were asked to use their native language to radio battlefield information and commands in code -- this was a secret until 1969. The Japanese were never able to break this code!

Ned, who is only 16 when he joins the Marines, sees action on Guadalcanal, Bougainville, and Iwo Jima; he is injured on Guam. Other Marines are assigned to keep him safe, but that is not always possible. The narrator's experiences in battle change him, but he takes pride in being able to use his culture to protect the United States. This is a good book for anyone interested in the history of World War II.

For more information look-up Navajo code talkers, World War II fact sheet, or Navajo Code Talkers (from the U.S. Mint).

Friday, May 06, 2005

Chinese Cinderella

Adeline Yen Mah, a writer and a physician, knows about child abuse because she suffered at the hands of her father and step-mother. She is born into a wealthy and powerful family in China in the 1940s, but because her mother died giving birth to her the family labeled her "bad luck". When her father remarries Adeline's life becomes even worse, she is restricted to certain areas in the house. Aunt Baba and Grandfather Ye Ye are the only ones who praise her. Not only does her father mistreat her, but her siblings blame her for their mistreatment.

In Chinese Cinderella and the Secret Dragon Society, the author builds a novel from her autobiography. The setting is WWII and 12-year-old CC is thrown out the house by her father. She is taken in by Grandma Wu, who is with the Secret Dragon Society. CC meet three boys of differing ethnic and religious backgrounds and they all learn skills that help them become part of the Secret Dragon Society. Their adventures are part of the Japanese occupation of Shanghai and Japan's war with the United States. They are involved in a rescue of some downed American pilots.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Ivory-Billed Woodpecker

This story is really amazing! For more than 60 years it has been thought that the showy bird was extinct. Scientists believe they have made seven sightings of this elusive bird in the forests of central Arkansas. To read more about this bird and the discovery, go to NPR, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Wikipedia, or Audubon.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Surviving Antarctica Reality TV 2083

Its 50 degrees below zero.
The wind and snow blow so hard, you can't see your hand in front of your face. Your heating fuel is nearly gone, and so is your food. How do you survive?

As you read, you are with five 14-year-olds on a reality show of the future - Antarctic Historical Survivor. These kids are to retrace the adventure of Robert F. Scott's doomed try for the South Pole in 1912. This is not just for fun; this is the only way these young people will be able to continue their education. If they win, they will get a scholarship. As you read this book you will learn much about Scott's trip, you will also learn about each of the members of the teen team. As I read, I really disliked the Secretary of Entertainment who was named "Hot Sauce" by the teens. This fictional glimpse into the future is unnerving. The bright spot is the crew on the nightshift at the DOE.