Friday, December 2, 2016

A Monster Calls - read the book first!


A Monster Calls (with Liam Neeson as the monster) is due out in theaters this month.  The movie is based on a book which was begun by Siobhan Dowd and finished by Patrick Ness. I wrote a booktalk for A Monster Calls in 2011.  You can read it here.

It's too soon to tell if the movie will be as good as the book, but give yourself a chance to find out.  Read the book first.  Below is the original book trailer, followed by the new movie trailer.

Enjoy.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Moo - a review

I recently reviewed the audio book version of Moo by Sharon Creech.

I'm not permitted to repost my review here, but you can easily hop over to AudioFile Magazine and read it there. [http://www.audiofilemagazine.com/reviews/read/117341/moo--by-sharon-creech--/]

Sharon Creech's customary poetic frugality with words is evident in Moo, a story of two siblings, a family's move to Maine, and an obstinate cow named Zora. The audio version is read by Brittany Presley. You can't go wrong with Sharon Creech, and the brevity of her offerings makes her a perennial reluctant-reader favorite.




Other Sharon Creech books or short stories featured on Shelf-employed:
Can you tell that I'm a big Sharon Creech fan? 😊

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wishing that you have many things for which to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. 

Enjoy these late 19th and early 20th century images from the Library of Congress.

Uncle Sam's Thanksgiving Dinner / Thomas Nast, 1869
 
 




Thanksgiving turkey, circa 1910





 Want to see more images of early Thanksgiving photos, documents, and articles?  Start with the Library of Congress' digitized collection. [https://www.loc.gov/photos/?q=thanksgiving]  The Library of Congress has a vast collection of online resources on a wide variety of subjects.  Visit your national library online at hhttp://loc.gov or in person next time you're in Washington, D.C.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Gunpowder Girls - a review

Gunpowder Girls: The True Stories of Three Civil War Tragedies by Tanya Anderson
Quindaro Press, 2016

Gunpowder Girls is an historical account of three tragic events that took place during the Civil War—deadly explosions at arsenals in Lawrenceville, PA, Richmond, VA, and Washington, DC.   The majority of those killed in the explosions were poor young, hoop-skirted girls.  Many were Irish or German immigrants or young women and girls in dire financial circumstances due to the war.

Tanya Anderson combines first-person accounts, photographs, maps, explanatory asides, and realia, e.g., payroll records, Minié balls, and percussion caps, to bring little-known stories of the Civil War to life.  Anderson takes great care to explain not only what happened, but how it happened, to whom it happened, and the aftermath of the events.

In one instance, an accidental contributor to a deadly explosion provided an account of the incident prior to her death from injuries sustained. Her own account is used to set the scene,

     At about 10:45 A.M., one of the supervisors, Mr. McCarthy, made his usual rounds, checking on the girls and reminding them about working quickly but safely.  He had a reputation for being almost overly concerned about safety.  As he stepped beside Mary Ryan, he pointedly told her to be careful.  Her work was particularly dangerous, and Mary had been warned before when she tried to bang loose some primers that were stuck on a varnish board.  Satisfied that he had reminded her, Mr. McCarthy left the room.
     Mary continued working, picking the primers from the boards and stacking them into piles in front of her.
Mary's eventual failure to heed Mr. McCarthy's warning, however, isn't the whole story.  There was overcrowding, pressure to meet quotas, a desperate need to make money, paltry pay based on "piecework," and other factors.  Gunpowder Girls brings the complex stories of these young girls to light and life in a way that will resonate with young people.

Several two-page explanatory insets add context to the story, explaining among other things, the workings of rifles and the process of making cartridges.

Gunpowder Girls is another solid addition to Quindaro's new lineup of true stories written for today's YA readers.  They must be doing something right.  My daughter took my copy home with her to read on the plane.

Extremely well sourced and researched, Gunpowder Girls contains
  • Introduction
  • Table of Contents
  • Epilogue
  • Author's Note
  • Endnotes
  • Bibliography
  • Recommended Reading
  • Index
  • About the Author
 Enjoy this official Gunpowder Girls trailer, targeted at its YA audience:



In August, I reviewed Tillie Pierce: Teen Eyewitness to the Battle of Gettysburg, also by Tanya Anderson, from Quindaro Press.

My copy of Gunpowder Girls was provided by LibraryThing Early Reviewers Program.