SundayMorningReads

It’s getting  late! I wasn’t going to do this today, but I keep up with what I start!

I’ve been in the books today. I just finished Kiss Me Kill Me by Lauren Henderson. The book had a nice multicultural supporting cast as well as action packed suspense.

I wondered over to an online books store (sorry Kids Ink!) and ordered copies of The girls guide to getting kidnapped; Descent into Paradise and a Place to live; Guardian of the spirit and Draper’s Out of my mind. I’m about to start my read on Eighth Grade SuperZero while The gangsta we are all looking for is my current purse book. I’d call it a ‘pocket book’ but that’s what my mom always called her purse.

I’ve noticed quite often now that used books on Amazon cost more than new book. Can anyone enlighten me on this?

That’s it for the books! I’ve visited way too many ed tech sites to even begin to tell you what I’ve found! I’ll need to put my Delicious widget back so that I can share the sites I’m finding. I can say that if you’re missing Wordle, you should try WordItOut.

I’m looking into a new cell phone.  While the iPhone is o, so, cool, I think there are others out there that are just as useful with out the heavy monthly fees of an iPhone (and while I’m thinking about it I have to mention how little sense it makes to pay a company for Internet service in my home and then pay that same company so that my phone can have Internet service as well!).  I’ve seen numerous articles listing all the great educational apps for the iPhone but heck, my district still bans cell phones. I like this useful device for the Blackberry, but what’s really getting my attention is the Droid. How many apps do you really need?!

I hope to post later this week with a Haiti update. I’m sure the need for supplies is emerging as infrastructure slowly rebuilds. I’ll also have information on Chile.

book review: He forgot to say goodbye

book review:  He forgot to say goodbye
author: Benjamin Alire Saenz
date: 2008, Simon and Schuster
main characters: Ramiro Lopez and Jake Upthegrove

If I just said this is a superbly wonderful book would you rush out and buy it?

He forgot will remain one of my all time favorites. This review, probably not so good! I just don’t want to mess up Saenz’s story by telling incomplete parts, retold parts. The books is just too good for me to mess it up like that!

How did Saenz manage to tell a story that amazed me so well? I’d say he’s not a writer. I know he’s a poet.

I came to you one rainless August night.
You taught me how to live without the rain.
You are thirst and thirst is all I know.
You are sand, wind, sun, and burning sky,
The hottest blue. You blow a breeze and brand
Your breath into my mouth. You reach—then bend
Your force, to break, blow, burn, and make me new.
You wrap your name tight around my ribs
And keep me warm. I was born for you.
Above, below, by you, by you surrounded.
I wake to you at dawn. Never break your
Knot. Reach, rise, blow, Sálvame, mi dios,
Trágame, mi tierra. Salva, traga, Break me,
I am bread. I will be the water for your thirst.

Benjamin Alire Sáenz, “To the Desert” from Dark and Perfect (El Paso: Cinco Puntos Press, 1995).

And he’s a storyteller.

Saenz grew up speaking Spanish and only later learn English. In learning the language, not just carelessly picking it up, I think he honed it, learning to use it with precision and skill, words like ‘destroyed’ ‘effin’ and ‘achin elbow’ will stay with you when the story is long gone.

Saenz writes about two boys who don’t know their fathers. It’s easy for women, for me, to simply look at the events of the story: one boy learning to trust himself while another learns to respect his mother. But this is really a story of two boys finding a way to accept their fathers, their disappeared fathers. Things start a bit slow as it took a while getting into the rhythm of the writing, but you realize Saenz is writing with a wit and an intelligence not always found in YA literature. These two guys, Ram and Jake, you like them more as you get to know them better. But, Alejandra? Definitely my favorite character!

I walked Alejandra to the car. I got that hint from my mom. You know, I got one of those looks. So I walked her out. “Thanks, ” I said. “You’re really decent.”
She smiled at me. “That’s a pretty good compliment. Coming from you, I mean.”
“Yeah, well, it’s true. You’re really decent.”
“But am I pretty?”
She always went fishing, that Alejandra.
“You’ve always been pretty. And you’ve always known that. I don’t know why you need me to tell you that.”
She laughed. “Figure it out.”
I grinned.
She noticed–but see, I didn’t say anything.
Not quite convinced? Ram’s no good father, the one who he’s never seen? Well, when something tragic happens to Ram’s brother, he has to talk to his dad. You cannot imagine what his dad says!

disclaimer: This book was a Christmas give from Susan.

SundayMorningReads

Good morning! Our snow is turning to rain and possibly, quite possibly winter will begin turning to spring.  Spring testing. Spring breaks. Spring fever. Spring is quite a time for educators!

Please don’t forget that Sin’s of the Mother premieres tonight on Lifetime at 8pm/est and 5pm/pst

I’m trying to spend less time online as the sitting in one position for too long a time is not good for my neck and shoulders. I did manage to run into quite a few interesting pieces across the Internet and they certainly do make for good Sunday reading!

According to the Chinese Zodiac, the Year of 2010 is the Year of the Tiger, which commences on February 14, 2010 and ends on February 2, 2011. The Tiger is the third sign in the Chinese Zodiac cycle, and it is a sign of bravery. This courageous and fiery fighter is admired by the ancient Chinese as the sign that keeps away the three main tragedies of a household. These are fire, thieves and ghosts. (source)

The US Postal Service has come out with some quite attractive stamps to celebrate the the year of the Tiger.

One has to admire the Post Office’s effort to address multiculturalism in its product lines. Their winter holidays aren’t only about Christmas! This month, Anna Julia Cooper graces the Black History stamp. Cooper, whom our history ignores, wrote about how the Haitians impacted France’s developing democracy, in 1893 about the universality of the women’s cause as a leader in the field of education, developed community colleges.   She earned a PhD at age 64 and inspires me to keep on keepin’ on! I hope the Post Office continue to address diversity with more faces, celebrations and artifacts from the Latino, Native and Asian communities as well.  I like the Year of the Tiger stamps and will probably mail just a few more notes to share them with friends. I miss snail mail letters.

Have you ever heard that everything old is new again? This NYTimes article reminds me how parents used to teach math skills when they took their children to the market or souq with them.

I went back to MyYahoo this morning and found a few blogs I haven’t checked with in a while, like Apophenia.  Several interesting articles there, including “Race and Social Network Sites: Putting Facebook’s Data into Context” which is well worth reading and clicking all the links. The article takes us beyond the digital divide and looks at how networking is used by race and questions sex and class implications as well.

Using social networks connects us in very dynamic ways. Interacting with the technologies develops new skills and teaches etiquette.  If you don’t have online access, your experience diminishes. Many without online access at home do have it at school, but schools block many social networking sites. Too many educatores are so stuck on teaching to the test that they don’t have/make the time to teach or use blogs, wikis, Twitter or other tools that could enrich the learning experience while teaching responsible use of networking tools.

When the “digital divide” conversations started up, folks boiled down the discussion to being one of access. If only everyone had access, everything would be hunky dory. We’re closer to universal access today than ever before, but access is not bringing us the magical utopian panacea that we all dreamed of. Henry Jenkins has rightly pointed out that we see the emergence of a “participation gap” in that people’s participation is of different quantity and quality depending on many other factors. Social media takes all of this to a new level. It’s not just a question of what you get to experience with your access, but what you get to experience with your friend group with access. In other words, if you’re friends with 24/7 always-on geeks, what you’re experiencing with social media is very different than if you’re experiencing social media in a community where your friends all spend 12+ hours a day doing a form of labor that doesn’t allow access to internet technologies. Facebook’s data provides a glimpse into how Facebook access has become mainstream. It is the modern day portal. But I would argue that what people experience with this tool – and with the other social media assets they use – looks very different based on their experience.

Many folks think that I care about access. Don’t get me wrong – access is important. But I’m much more concerned about how racist and classist attitudes are shaping digital media, how technology reinforces inequality, and how our habit of assuming that everyone uses social media just like we do reinforces social divisions that we prefer to ignore. This issue became apparent to me when doing fieldwork because of the language that young people were using to differentiate MySpace and Facebook. (source)

Friday, I went to a local production of a one man show, “Boricua” by Ricardo Melendez. Without trying to review the performance, I’ll say I thought it was quite brave for the actor to make such boldly enlightening statements on a stage here in the heartland, one of the last places in the US where Latinos began to settle.  The monologue was a comedy as some things are best digested with a grain or two of sugar. But then, people began to realize they were laughing at things that just weren’t funny. Melendez had to appreciate that he did seem to have a thinking audience. OK, so it wasn’t quite so PC to have the Boricuan character diss Mexican workers, but I do believe those present now get that Latinos don’t have a single voice.  Mayra Lazara Dole brings that message to the book community in this post.  I’ve felt this for a while: in the need for lists, I’ve felt it a bit challenging to put together a list of Latino Authors. There are those with “Hispanic surnames” who do not write Latino characters. I don’t know how they identify themselves and it’s not for me to decide for them.  It reminds me of a line in the play where the Melendez says that we want to be a melting pot yet we need to label all the ingredients.

Are you watching and enjoying Faces of America or have  you been caught up in the Olympics? For me, it’s the Olympics and I really think I’m beginning to enjoy the winter Olympics much more than the summer. Sure wish I could find some of those cute little knit caps!

    Yes we are the world!

    Zambia: the Teacher Librarian

    I think one of the things I’m enjoying most about blogging here is finding organizations that work to improve literacy for women and children. I enjoy reading about the programs they create to support teachers, librarians and others who work to improve libraries and classrooms all over the globe.

    Today, it was an email containing Room to Read’s vision for the next ten years. I so agree with them when they say “World change begins with education.”  While exploring their website, I found the RoomtoRead blogwhich I’ll be adding to my feed. I also enjoy following the Friends of African Village Libraries blog.

    I continue to look for more ways to create these organizations.

    I can’t do much to help this group other than to pass this on.   BrainRetain.net is an academic network that supports the retention and development of research students in African universities by providing online mentoring, research resources and networking opportunities to African PhD candidates. Use the link to connect with the organization if you’re willing to mentor students.

    GRANT: Create Healthy Communities

    Libraries aren’t just about books!! We provide all kinds of information to the communities we serve. And sometimes, we get a little help!

    More money for less weight!  The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is offering Communities Creating Healthy Environments grants aimed at reducing childhood obesity by increasing access to healthy foods and safe places to play in communities of color.

    Grant range:  $250,000.     Deadline:  February 25, 2010.

    More info:  http://www.rwjf.org/applications/solicited/cfp.jsp?ID=20961

    Snow and dragons and such

    Happy President’s Day!

    Wow! We actually could have had a snow day!

    I’ve been reading China : land of dragons and emperors by Adeline Yen Mah and it’s an excellent read during Chinese New Year! Learn about the red envelopes, good luck foods and why firecrackers.

    This was quite timely:

    “Although few Chinese now believe that the dragon is a divine creature, it is still tactful not to disfigure or degrade a dragon in China. Recently, an advertisement showed the famous American NBA basketball player LeBron James killing a dragon and defeating two feitan (flying women). It was censored by the Chinese government after massive public protest, including an objection from Yao Ming, Chinese superstar who plays for the Houston Rockets.”

    And yet we have:


    Land of dragons and emperors is proving to be a great read for MG or young YAs with a developing interest in China. It’s the kind of book they’d sit down and read, not just use for a report.