Friday, April 30, 2010

Celebrate Día Today!

April 30th marks the annual Children's Day/Book Day celebration, also known as El día de los niños/El día de los libros (Día).  Día celebrates literacy for children of all linguistic and cultural backgrounds.  The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), encourages parents to read at home with their children and promotes family library use. Here's more details from the ALSC Día Fact Sheet
Día’s vision is to spread “bookjoy” every day by linking children from all languages and cultures with books, and celebrating together across the country on April 30. Its goals are to honor children, their languages and culture; to encourage reading and literacy; and to promote library collections and programs that reflect our plurality.
El día de los niños/El día de los libros is an enhancement of Children’s Day, which began in 1925 as a result of the first “World Conference for the Well Being of Children” in Geneva, Switzerland. Children’s Day was designated as a day to bring attention to the importance and well being of children. It was then designated by the United Nations for November 20, by UNICEF for April 23 and by Mexico for April 30 (Día del Niño)...
More Día Resources:
Recommended Reading List (PDF) - from Get Caught Reading
(This list features some YA books that sound really interesting.  More for the TBR pile!)

Activities and Resources from Reading Rockets

Dia Celebrations from the National Latino Children's Institute

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Waiting On Wednesday: Mockingjay

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This is my first Waiting on Wednesday meme, so I want to feature the release I am anticipating most this year...the final book of The Hunger Games series:

by Suzanne Collins
Release Date: August 24, 2010

I won't post a summary description for this book because it would completely spoil the endings of the first two books of The Hunger Games series.  So instead I'll gush a little bit about why I'm obsessed with The Hunger Games.

If you're a fan of YA dystopian tales and haven't read the first book yet, don't wait another day.  The Hunger Games series takes place in a post-war North American society called Panem.  Panem is split into isolated districts, completely controlled by the Capitol.  Every year, the Capitol makes the districts draw the names of 24 teenage contestants (one boy and girl from each district) to participate in the Hunger Games, a fight-to-the-death competition that's on live TV.  It's gruesome and terrifying, but the last person standing gets to live and return to their district as a hero with riches. 

The story revolves around sixteen-year-old Katniss, who volunteers to take her younger sister's place in the games.  I love Katniss' character.  She's strong, knowledgeable of survival skills, somewhat cynical but still compassionate.  Sometimes I find teenage female protagonists in YA books can get really annoying, whiny, or self-centered.  Katniss is not and it's refreshing to read.  The two other important characters are Gale (her close guy friend and confidant) and Peeta (the boy from her district to compete in the games).  They are so different from one another, yet I love them both.  I don't want to give anything else away.  Suzanne Collins created a vivid, enthralling series that's up there on my list of favorites with Harry Potter and Twilight (pre-Breaking Dawn...but that's another rant entirely).

Read the first two books and let me know what you think. 
The Hunger Games (Bk. 1)
Catching Fire (Bk. 2)
**Don't read the description of Bk. 2 until you finish Bk. 1. It'll spoil the Bk. 1 ending!**

Monday, April 19, 2010

Reveiw: Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein

Here's my first book review! I'll explore with review formats in the future. Enjoy!

Title: Where the Sidewalk Ends
Author: Shel Silverstein
Description: (from the book jacket)
If you are a dreamer, come in,
If you are a dreamer,
A wisher, a liar,
A hope-er, a pray-er,
A magic bean buyer . . .

Come in . . . for where the sidewalk ends, Shel Silverstein's world begins. You'll meet a boy who turns into a TV set, and a girl who eats a whale. The Unicorn and the Bloath live there, and so does Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout who will not take the garbage out. It is a place where you wash your shadow and plant diamond gardens, a place where shoes fly, sisters are auctioned off, and crocodiles go to the dentist.

Shel Silverstein's masterful collection of poems and drawings is at once outrageously funny and profound.
(This copy is the 30th anniversary edition with 12 additional poems)

My Thoughts: Where the Sidewalk Ends is a fun collection of Shel Silverstein’s fanciful poems and drawings. The hilarious black and white illustrations make the poems shoot off the page and come to life. It’s a great book to read aloud to kids (or anyone else who’ll listen). Most of the ideas are ridiculous like eating countries in “Hungry Mungry” or a turtle that falls for a bagpipe in “The Bagpipe Who Didn’t Say No”. But it’s a fun journey with some poignant moral-of-the-story moments too. This is definitely one of those I-should-have-read-it-by-now books. So if you haven’t read it or it’s been a while, pick up a copy for National Poetry Month (NPM). This is the first of three poetry books I hope to read in April for NPM.

What I Liked Most: The cute and whimsical writing! Here is one of my favorite poems in the book:

     LISTEN TO THE MUSTN’TS (pg. 27)
     Listen to the MUSTN’TS, child,
     Listen to the DON’TS
     Listen to the SHOULDN’TS
     Listen to the NEVER HAVES
     Then listen close to me—
     Anything can happen, child,
     ANYTHING can be.
My other favorite poems are “Colors” (pg. 24) and “Mr. Grumpledump’s Song” (pg. 171).

What I Liked Least: Don’t read it in one sitting. It becomes one long, wacky poem if you read too many in a row. I appreciated them more when I broke up my reading. Plus, I started this book late during the 24 hour read-a-thon…so I’m sure that had something to do with it.

More Like This: Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree.
Bottom Line: A MUST-read for all ages.
My Rating: 4/5

Thursday, April 15, 2010

National Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month!  National Poetry Month celebrates the importance of poetry in America.  There are so many ways you can participate—read a book of poems, attend a poetry reading, support local NPM events. Visit the National Poetry Month website (from the Academy of American Poets) to find poems, search for events and discover other great ways to celebrate. While you're there, browse the new releases of poetry books.  I don't usually read poetry, but these titles look interesting to me:

Vacations on the Black Star Line by Michael Cirelli

Shoulder Season by Ange Mlinko

Let’s Not Keep Fighting the Trojan War: New and Selected Poems 1986-2009 by Edward Sanders

I'm going to set a goal of reading three poetry books this month to celebrate!  I might try to get one of these books newly released titles.  I'll post reviews of what I read later this month. 

For the tech savy poetry enthusiast, check out this Poem Flow App for iPhones and iPod Touch. 

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

National Library Week!

April 11-17 is National Library Week!  It's a time to celebrate the contributions of libraries and promote library use and support.  If you haven't already visited one this week, go to your local library and use the wonderful resources.  Libraries have so many perks in addition to books---research databases, book discussions, resources for jobseekers, children's programs, used book sales, genealogy assistance, computer literacy lessons, and much more.  While you're there, thank the librarians, library staff and volunteers for their dedication.

Learn more about NLW: National Library Week Fact Sheet (ALA) 

Local Library Celebrations, Book Sales, and more:

Monday, April 12, 2010

Read-a-thon Wrap-up

This is a day late, but I needed some time to recuperate after the challenge. 

Final tally: 11 hours 20 minutes - reading
                 5 hours - blogging/mini-challenges/spreading cheer
                 7+ hours - eating/sleeping/walk/other breaks
 Participated for a total of: 16 hours 20 minutes

Pages read: 505

1. Which hour was most daunting for you? The final hour...between 3 and 4am.  Only four more hours to go.  At one moment it's 4 am, the next it's 4:38.  Yep, I fell asleep on the couch without realizing it.  That's when I decided to call it a night.

2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?  It'll be different for every reader because you have to read in the genre YOU prefer.  I love YA so I choose short YA books that would hold my interest. 

3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year? List all the mini-challenge winners on one page....maybe with the prizes.

4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon? Getting support from cheerleaders and other readers!

5. How many books did you read? 3 1/2

6. What were the names of the books you read?
The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling
Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein (read about 1/2)

7. Which book did you enjoy most? Tales of Beedle the Bard: I've wanted to read this book for a while now.  It was fun, gruesome and endearing all at once.  I loved Dumbledore's commentary!  As I read it, I felt as if I was reuniting with old friends...getting an extra glimpse into their world.  Now I have an urge to re-read all the Harry Potter books.  Maybe they'll get back on the TBR bandwagon.

8. Which did you enjoy least? I enjoyed all the books.  If I had to choose one, it would be Where the Sidewalk Ends only because I was extremely tired and loopy. I couldn't really appreciate it so late into the read-a-thon while falling asleep. 

9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders? I wasn't a cheerleader, but I did encourage a few other readers.   I would advise that cheerleaders comment about something specific the reader posted about.  It makes the readers think that someone is actually taking in what they wrote.

10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time? I'll definitely do it again.  I enjoyed the support of all the participants.  I got a good chunk of reading in and loved visiting/discovering other blogs.  Thanks for an awesome event! :)

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Read-a-thon Hour 19

Hour 19 Go Indie! Challenge:
This one is really easy for me to answer because I love the Chester County Book and Music Company in West Chester, PA.  Incredible book selection!  They have the stuff that the big box stores don't carry in stores. Plus, they have an amazing Cajun-style cafe.  Author Melissa Marr (Wicked Lovely series) has a signing there in May.

I can't believe I'm still up.  I'm gonna try really hard to finish now since I've stuck it out so long.  Notice it's taking much longer (and harder) to read.

Title of book(s) read since last update: reading Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein
Number of books read since you started: on my 4th book
Pages read since last update: 64
Running total of pages read since you started: 469
Amount of time spent reading since last update: 1 hour 40 minutes
Running total of time spent reading since you started: 10 hours, 10 minutes (+6 hours blogging-related/on my phone/lunch/dinner/making hot chocolate)...still doesn't add up to 19!
Mini-challenges completed:  9 mini challenges (Hour 1, 3, 5, 9, 16, 17 [2], 19 [above] and Name that Book Challenge)
Other participants you’ve visited: 10
Prize you’ve won: 0

Read-a-thon Hour 17

Hour 17 Early Favorites Challenge: the first book you remember loving.
#1 - Welcome to Dead House 
by R.L. Stine
As a kid, I was obsessed with the Goosebumps series.  I must have owned at least 30 of them.  It's funny since I disliked scary movies growing up and I tend not read horror or scary books even now.  It's hard to explain why I liked them so much, but they were first series of books I threw myself into.  After Goosebumps, I moved onto some Fear Street, the California Diaries series, and eventually Harry Potter.  Welcome to Dead House started it all!

Hour 17: Get the Heck Out of Here Mini Challenge
1- What steps did you take to ensure you’d be able to read as much as possible today? I didn't make any other plans for the day.  Also, I had a long list of possible books TBR so I could pick and choose based on my mood. 
2- Of those steps, which proved to be the most beneficial to your day? Having an empty schedule during the day.  I could focus on reading.
3- Is there anything you might do differently next time? I'll probably set up a template for my blog entries next time for mini-challenges and updates.  I spent a lot more time at the computer than I thought I would.  Right now it's harder for me to stay awake while reading than typing.

Title of book(s) read since last update: started Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein
Number of books read since you started: 3
Pages read since last update: 155 (since hour 9)
Running total of pages read since you started: 405
Amount of time spent reading since last update: 3 hours (since hour 9)
Running total of time spent reading since you started: 8 1/2 hours (+ 5 hours blogging-related/on my phone/lunch)...that doesn't equal 17...oh well!
Mini-challenges completed:  8 mini challenges (Hour 1, 3, 5, 9, 16, 17 [2 above] and Name that Book Challenge)
Other participants you’ve visited: 10
Prize you’ve won: 0

Read-a-thon Hour 16

Hour 16 - Write for a Reader Challenge:
   1. The Dark Divine
   2. An Irish Country Girl
   3. The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott
   4. Necessary Heartbreak
   5. She's So Dead to Us
   6. Fireworks Over Toccoa
   7. Beautiful Dead
   8. Scones & Sensibility
   9. All Unique Things
  10. Beautiful Creatures
  11. Perchance to Dream
  12. The Dead-Tossed Waves
  13. I Kissed a Zombie and I liked It
  14. Prophecy of the Sisters
  15. Very LeFreak
  16. The Girl Who fell from the sky
  17. Marriage and Other Acts of Charity
  18. Making Toast
  19. Fat Cat
  20. Letter to My Daughter

I missed the half way mark at hour 12, but so I'll touch on some of those questions now.

Wow, it's Hour 16 and the fatigue is starting to kick in.  I'm pretty tired.  Might make some hot chocolate to help stay up...don't want to drink coffee again.

What are you reading right now? I just finished reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl.  Adorable book! 

How many books have you read so far? It brings my total to 3 books read.  I hope to finish one more.  
What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon?  Something short and easy to read.

Any special arrangements to free up your whole day? I didn't have make any additional plans for today, so not much of a need to make special arrangements.

Had many interruptions? How did you deal with those? Yep, calls, texts, meals, Phillies game on TV.  I stopped when I needed to and get distracted whenever the TV is on.
What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far? I spent all day participating, but a lot of that time was blogging, checking out other bloggers pages, and brainstorming the mini-challenges (even the ones I decided not to finish or submit).
Any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year? I would schedule writing challenges earlier on as mini-challenges if possible.  The creative juices are running low.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Read-a-thon Hour 9

Hour 9 Challenge: Soundtrack Song.
Book title: The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J. K. Rowling
Soundtrack Song: “Piece of my heart” by Janis Joplin
Why I chose this song: There are six different tales in the book and "The Warlock's Hairy Heart" definitely stood out to me.  It's about a young talented warlock who feels that weakness and foolishness come to his friends who love, so he secretly uses the Dark Arts prevent it from happening to him.  I don't want to give away the end of the story, but I will say song's intensity and lyrics are as impassioned at the story's ending.  Read it yourself and you'll see!  
YouTube - Janis Joplin - Piece of my heart

Two books complete! 

Title of book(s) read since last update: Just finished Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt
Number of books read since you started: 2
Pages read since last update: 89
Running total of pages read since you started: 250
Amount of time spent reading since last update: 2 1/2 hours.
Running total of time spent reading since you started: 5 1/2 hours (+ 3 hours blogging-related/on my phone/lunch)
Mini-challenges completed:  5 mini challenges (Hour 1, 3, 5, 9 [above] and Name that Book Challenge)
Other participants you’ve visited: 8
Prize you’ve won:

I'm going to start my next book before breaking for dinner. 

Next book up: 


Read-a-thon Hour 5

Hour 5 - Book/Soundtrack Challenge:
Choose a song that represents a chapter that you are currently reading. List the book/author/chapter. Give a quick synopsis about the chapter.
I'm currently reading Tuck Everlasting. I know it was made into a movie, but I haven't seen here's my take. 

In Chapter 5, 10-year-old Winnie decides to get up early and go into the woods next to her house.  She's never explored the woods before and is curious to see where the music she heard yesterday was coming from.  She comes across a large tree and a older boy leaning against it.  Winnie watches him for a while until their eyes meet.  

A song that comes to mind is Ribbons Undone by Tori Amos.  The melody might be similar to the music Winnie heard (we find out soon that's it a music box).  But I think it also portrays Winnie's innocence as she leaves the front yard by herself for the first time and wanders into the wood.

Want to hear it?  Go here and click play on the right hand side.
Leave a comment below to tell me what you think.

Title of book(s) read since last update: started Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt
Number of books read since you started: I'm on my second book
Pages read since last update: 50
Running total of pages read since you started: 161
Amount of time spent reading since last update: 1 hour.  I've been getting calls and texts so I haven't been able to read all the time since my last post.
Running total of time spent reading since you started: 3 hours (2 hours blogging-related and on my phone)
Mini-challenges completed:  4 mini challenges (Hour 1, 3, 5 (above) and Princess Bookie's Name that Book Challenge.)
Other participants you’ve visited: 5
Prize you’ve won: Not yet.

Read-a-thon Hour 3 Update

Hour 3 Till We Read Again challenge:
Favorite Female Character in a book: Katniss, The Hunger Games
Favorite Male Character in a book: Harry, Harry Potter series (of course!)
Favorite Side Kick in a book: Ron, Harry Potter series (gotta love him)
Favorite Couple in a Book: Noah and Allie, The Notebook
Favorite Book Series: Right now, I'm split between Harry Potter and The Hunger Games
Favorite Author: Another hard one...I love Shannon Hale.
Favorite Book Cover:'s on my TBR list.
Favorite Book of 2009: The Hunger Games for sure!

Title of book(s) read since last update: The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling.  I loved this book!  Great and sometimes gruesome stories.  It makes me want to re-read all the Harry Potter books sometime soon.
Number of books read since you started: 1
Pages read since last update: 111
Running total of pages read since you started: 111
Amount of time spent reading since last update: I posted 1 and 1/2 hours I've read for about maybe 50 minutes...My mom called so I chatted with her for a few.
Running total of time spent reading since you started: Just under two hours!  I'm keeping a running tally of when I start and stop reading.  The other time was spent blogging and participating in challenges.
Mini-challenges completed:  3 mini challenges (Hour 1 meme, Hour 3 above and Princess Bookie's Name that Book Challenge.
Other participants you’ve visited: 4
Prize you’ve won: None yet...but I'm hopeful!

When the read-a-thons over, I'll post more thoughts about the individual books I read.  Stay tuned!

Read-a-thon: Hour 1

Just finished hour 1.  The first mini-challenge is to answer the following meme.

Where are you reading from today?  I'm reading from apartment in the burbs of Philadelphia.

3 facts about me …
 1 - I work in a library and hope to be a librarian someday.
 2 - This is my first 24 hr read-a-thon in one day (I've done 24 hrs in a week).
 3 - I'm a vegetarian, been one for the last 9 years.

How many books do you have in your TBR pile for the next 24 hours?
 I have 9 potential books on my TBR pile.

Do you have any goals for the read-a-thon (i.e. number of books, number of pages, number of hours, or number of comments on blogs)?  I want to participate between 16-18 hours, which I think is a reachable goal. Since I selected many short children's books, I hope to finish at least 4. 

If you’re a veteran read-a-thoner, Any advice for people doing this for the first time?  I'm a first timer. I'll let you know next year  :)

Friday, April 9, 2010

Dewey’s 24-Hour Read-a-thon!

Tomorrow is Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-thon!  It's a read-a-thon when everyone participates at the same time.  There's a time zone list so you can look up when to start reading.  Over 300 readers signed up!  Everyone reads, blogs about it, and visits other readers' blogs.  There's a bunch of fun mini-challenges readers can participate in throughout the day too.  This is my first one-day read-a-thon and I'm ready to start it.  I can shoot for reading/blogging all 24 hours, but 16-18 will be more feasible. 

I'll definitely take some of their tips to heart, such as:
  • "Pick shortish books": Check!  I got a bunch of childrens/YA library books I'm dying to sink my teeth into.  Most of them are somewhere in between 88-200 pages.  Hopefully I can finish at least 4 books.
  • "Choose something light": Yep, my selections are fun and playful (listed below). There's no way I could read a long, sluggish tome for an event like this.
  • "In general, don’t be a masochist. This is supposed to be fun!": OK, this is something I will keep in mind. Why participate if it's not fun?!? 
See more tips on Dewey's FAQ page.  Oh, and did I mention---there are a ton a prizes! YAY!

Here's my list of potential reads for tomorrow: 

Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt 
The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling 
When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead 
From the mixed-up files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg 
Charlie and the chocolate factory by Roald Dahl 
Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl
Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milner 
Ever by Gail Carson Levine 
Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein

Or I can throw any of my other 150+ TBR books in the mix.  We'll see tomorrow.

Let's start at the Beginning

Welcome to The Ramblings...of a BookCrosser!  I'm Michelle.  I spend my days working in academic library and read in most of my spare time.  I love BookCrossing and have a new found obsession for reading book blogs.  My favorite books to read are YA/childrens books and series.  This is my first real attempt at blogging, so I will be figuring out my writing style and discovering blogging identity along the way.   

Don't know what BookCrossing is?  Well, it's an awesome site where you register your books, get a tracking number for it (aka BCID) and release the book into the world in the hopes to see where it goes in the future.  Well, that's the main premise but all BookCrossers are different and use the site in many ways.  Some people use BookCrossing (BC) to organize and review books but never release any.  Some BCers love to release books into the wild without reading.  While others, like myself, enjoy reading and then releasing the books to other BCers, especially people wishing for the book.  I find the website fun and pretty flexible.  BookCrossers are extremely nice and love to chat in the forum.  To learn more about the concept and terminology, go to their extensive FAQ page.

But I want to blog beyond all things BookCrossing.  I'll try my hand at book reviews and (maybe) memes.  Plus, I'll incorporate some author/publishing news and information about local book events to the Philadelphia area....anything else that might be relevant.    

Feel free to leave a comment on my posts.  I would love any advice or ideas from other bloggers.  Thanks for stopping by!  I hope you'll follow my future posts.  Enjoy reading!