Sunday, July 24, 2005

Places to Go

In the past week I have visited three places that have been enlightening.

My first stop was the River Music Experience which is described as a "one-of-a-kind urban entertainment experience that celebrates roots music along the Mississippi." It is located downtown in Davenport, Iowa. There is among other things an 81 foot wall of interactive multimedia fun that allows you to explore the innovators, styles, and movement of American song from New Orleans to St. Paul and outward to Chicago and beyond. It is well worth the $4 admission charge - you can't do it all in one trip.

While there I also took the opportunity to walk across the newly opened River Music Skybridge. This offers some great views of the Mississippi River.

My last trip in the past week was to Springfield, Illinios to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum and Library. Fantastic is the word I would use to describe this newest addition to honoring Lincoln. The "Ghosts in the Library" holographic presentation was wonderful as was the "Lincoln's Eyes" presentation in another theater. The "Blood on the Moon", a temporary exhibit was also very interesting. I spent about 4 hours at the museum and am sure I could go back and see and read more! If you have the opportunity take the time to visit Springfield to see this and other places of interest. One of my other favorite places to visit is the Dana Thomas House, a Frank Lloyd Wright design.

Painting the Black

This is not Carl Deuker's newest book, but since I am not a frequent reader of sports books I just read it. WoW! Ryan Ward's new neighbor is a star athlete, Josh Daniels, who draws Ryan into the magic world of baseball. Just as quickly Josh turns to football when that season rolls around. Ryan, a senior, who has never played on the team before is lucky enough to be chosen for the team in the Spring. He and Josh make a great pitcher-catcher duo, and Ryan is chosen as the Most Inspirational Player. Josh Daniels always pushes the limits, in sports and life, -- now Ryan has to make a decision that forces him to choose between his love for the game and his integrity.

Other books by Deuker are Night Hoops, High Heat, Heart of a Champion, On the Devil's Court, and the newest Runner (May, 2005).

Monday, July 18, 2005

Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy

I have been reading lots of books, but have not been good about posting this month. This book is the winner of the Michael L. Prinz Award and a Newbery Honor book. The author is Gary D. Schmidt.

This book is meaningful to me at this moment as I have just returned from a trip that included a visit to Maine, and I traveled very close to this town! Turner Buckminster seems to have problems from his first moments in Phippsburg. He is the son of a minister which causes him a great deal of angst. Turner is forced to go to Mrs. Cobb's, an elderly woman, to read to her and play the organ for her. He meets and develops a friendship with Lizzie Bright Griffin, a smart and sassy girl, who is from the nearby island of Malaga that was founded by former slaves. This friendship opens up a whole new world to Turner. He and Lizzie try to save the island and its residents from a group of racist townspeople of Phippsburg who want to force them out to help the tourist trade. This leads the two kids into a series of disasters that change their lives forever!

The book is a historical novel based on the 1912 destruction of the island community of Malaga Island. The characters are full and leave the reader with humor and sadness as they are introduced to this little known incident.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Raven's Gate

Anthony Horowitz has a new series, the Gatekeepers. This novel is different than his earlier series that began with Stormbreaker, and introduced us to Alex Rider. This one is just as good -- maybe better!

Matt Freeman is a 14-year-old orphan who is accused of a crime he did not commit, and he is sentenced to jail for three years or to one year in the LEAF (Liberty and Education Achieved through Fostering) project. In this project Matt will be sent to live with a family in the country for a year.

He is sent to Lesser Malling in Yorkshire to live with Mrs. Deverill -- an angry, mean widow. Everyone he meets seems to be very weird! They all seem to be involved with some kind of black magic. Is Matt a key to this? Is he one of the five children who saved the World from black magic before?

Raven's Gate is the first of 5 books in this series. I would label this novel as adventure, mystery, and science fiction.