December 22, 2012

Kids today...

I know many have written about the Newtown tragedy.  Many who are more eloquent, more poetic, and who can spell tragedy correctly.  But I'm going to write a bit of hope vs. anger vs. fear vs gun control vs mental illness.

These tragedies affect me pretty harshly.  I am a mom, an aunt, a teacher.  I love children, yes, but I also love humanity.  So when things like this happen (especially so very close to home. i.e.- Aurora), it affects me to my core.  I so want to see the good in people.  Especially in children.  And let's face it, it seems the young are doing these evil deeds...students...young men.  
Because of this, people are doubting the humanity of our boys, our young men.

So let me give you hope.  Let me tell you that there is great humanity in our children.  I see my students do remarkable things everyday.  Kind things, brave things, brilliant things.  And a majority of my students do not have a home life most of you take for granted.  Most of them have to work all night, go to school all day, take little siblings to practice or the doctor or the park.  I see them give hugs when a friend is sad.  I see them run to the counselor when a friend is upset.  I see them ask for help for a friend that feels that they can't go on.  I see them come in everyday with a smile when I know they are hungry or sick or mad or tired from being in the ER with their dying (or mentally ill parent.)  They are strong, and they really care about you and me.  Just look at my desk with cards, and candy, and homemade goodies...from boys...for the librarian!

During the election students where adamant about their views and opinions about policy...EVEN WHEN THEY COULDN'T VOTE.  When Hurricane Sandy hit, they volunteered money and donated items.  When Haiti was devastated students rallied together to raise money (without any motivation from teachers).  They wore green and white on Monday, they donate cans of food, sell bracelets to help 3rd world children...on and on and on.  When is the last time you gathered your friends to raise money for anyone?  

Still don't believe in our future leaders?  Just ask me about my nephews.  My sweet, brave, talented, kind nephews.  They are so talented and loving.  I am in awe of them.  When tragedy strikes (and for some reason my nephews have seen great great tragedy in their young lives) they persevere and get even stronger, and kinder.  And the way they all love and take care of their family and mothers.  And their faith...oh their hope and faith.  It would bring you to your knees.

Our children are good, strong, brilliant children.  Our boys are resilient.  Even though all of my nephews and son play video games with guns and read books about zombies they are kind, and good, and I would trust them with anything.

Don't give up on them, help them, love them, support them, above all believe in them.  They believe in us, even when they shouldn't.

December 20, 2012

December Reads Part 1...

Where Things Come BackOh wondrous book leaving me wanting more, how should I count the ways? Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley sucked me in at sentence one.  The main character has small town charm that is both endearing and real.  His Southern small town is seeing sudden fame with the possible sighting of a previously thought extinct woodpecker.  However, during the woodpecker take over of his town (hilarious banter about the local cafe calling their regular burger the "Lazarus Burger"), his beloved brother disappears.  Their are many subplots that at first intake you feel they have nothing to do with each other.  Then everything fits together with a simplistic beauty that makes sense all at once.

     This book has no action scenes, zombies, or guns, but it will still leave you breathless with it's candor, it's heart, humor, and it's legitimate display of humanity.

December 11, 2012

November Reads Part2...

I read a lot of fantasy...a lot...and it's been a long time since I've read something so different, so compelling as Seraphina by Rachel Hartman.  This book takes you to the world of  music prodigy, Seraphina.  A world where 40 years before dragons and humans battled and raged, killing large numbers of both species.  The General of the dragons and the Queen of the humans decided to end thousands of years of death and destruction with a peace treaty.
The catch?  Humans must not hunt dragons and except them as an intelligent species.  Dragons must be in their 'human form' at all times, not hoard gold, and not treat humans as a tasty snack.  In short, equality.
40 years later the peace is going well, although with much prejudice from both sides.  However, what happens when a dragon mates with a human?  An act seen as a crime, and strictly forbidden by both sides.  Song mistress Seraphina is an abomination, and must hide her biracial heredity or die.  But when the reluctant peace starts to falter she may be the one to bring change and progress.

Equal parts thrilling, thought provoking, and romance this book will not let you put it down until every page is devoured.

December 8, 2012

November Reads Part 1...

Occasionally I will post book reviews of things I have read.  This of course won't be everything I have read, but some of the highlights.  Enjoy concise, meandering summaries of some YA good reads...

Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey
This book starts with a bang as Charlie is pulled out of bed in the middle of the night by Jasper Jones.  Jones is the town bad boy, always blamed for anything the town deems as juvenile delinquency.  This time Jasper is in serious trouble.  He brings Charlie to a secret spot, where he sees something so hideous, so terrifying it changes him forever.  This book is equal parts thrilling, mysterious, funny, and touching as Charlie finds that truth is harder to take when it's surrounded in lies.

Why I gave it
4 stars=too much cricket.  This is such an American thing to say, but I have never watched and do not understand a thing about cricket.  So instead of completely negating the beauty of this book about a boy caught in a hideous string of events, I just skipped over the cricket pieces.  Well until the best friend made a legendary debut.

4 stars=the banter was lengthy.  I loved and laughed out loud during the banter between the main character, Charles, and his wonderful side kick, Jeffrey.  Yet at some points I thought it went long.

4 stars=everything was so packed together.  Can all of this shit happen within such a short amount of time?  The boyfriend gets there minutes too late, the sister...the mother...the estranged grandfather...the racists...the garden, etc.  That's one hell of a month.

Yet this book is a raw, page turning beauty that I did not put down until I had figured out what happened to Laura.  This could be an amazing movie.