Friday, May 27, 2011

You Can Be a Star!

On Friday, June 10, the library is having a party, and you're invited! We'll be celebrating the start of our summer reading program with a variety show/open mike night. Won't you join us on stage?

Some of the library staff will be showcasing their talents at the party. Here is an opportunity to see us in a new light! (Sneak preview: ukulele ladies will be there!) We'd love to share the fun with you.

You can sing a song, do a dance, read a poem, juggle, perform magic, tell a long as it's G- or PG- rated, and under 5 minutes long, anything goes! We'll have an accompanist at the keyboard as well, if you have sheet music you'd like to bring.

Please call the Children's Department at 610-688-7092, ext. 210, to sign up. We'll ask for your name, age, phone number, and what you'll be performing. Looking forward to seeing you there!

Summer Reading Kickoff Party/Variety Show/Open Mike Night
Friday, June 10, 2011
4:30-6:00 pm
in Tredyffrin Public Library's large meeting room


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Diana Wynne Jones: A Tribute

"Writing for adults, you have to keep reminding them of what is going on. Children you only need to tell things to once." ~ Diana Wynne Jones, 1934-2011

The world lost one of its best fantasy writers with the death in March of Diana Wynne Jones. Her writing was so good that, not only did it sell well, it became popular with children, teens, adults, and other fantasy writers, and several of her children's and teen books (and the all-ages nonfiction book The Tough Guide to Fantasyland) are now regarded as modern classics. She was friends with Neil Gaiman, and Jones and Gaiman were both fans of each others' work; she dedicated her novel Hexwood to him after something he said in a conversation that inspired a key part of the plot. Gaiman had already dedicated his 1991 four-part comic book mini-series The Books of Magic to "Four Witches", of whom Jones was one.

Reviewers and readers have also compared her work (especially the Chrestomanci series) to the Harry Potter series, but the comparison should really be the other way around. Jones was writing long before Rowling, and her work has a richness (and a brevity) that is sometimes lacking in Rowling's novels, in my opinion. Plus, Jones is very funny when she wants to be.

I have never been a big fantasy fan overall, but I am always enthusiastic about great storytelling, whatever genre it might be. The head of the children's department at the time introduced me to Jones' books when I started working at Tredyffrin about 20 years ago, and Jones made a fantasy reader out of me. Don't take my word for it. Check out one or more of her books and decide for yourself. Some suggestions are listed below, along with just a portion of the awards for which she and her books have been nominated over the years. Thank you, Diana. You will be missed.

Suggested Reading:
The Chrestomanci Series (if you're a Harry Potter fan), to be read in this order, suggested by Jones
Charmed Life
The Lives of Christopher Chant
Conrad's Fate
Witch Week
The Magicians of Caprona
Mixed Magics
The Pinhoe Egg

The Castle Trilogy (if you're a folklore and fairy tale fan), to be read in this order
Howl's Moving Castle (my personal favorite)
Castle In the Air
House of Many Ways

The Tough Guide to Fantasyland (nonfiction)
Dark Lord of Derkholm
Year of the Griffin

Awards and Honors:
British Fantasy Society Award
Guardian Award
Honorary Doctor of Letters from Bristol University
Hugo Award
Mythopoeic Award
Preis der Leseratten
World Fantasy Award for Best Novel

Academy Award Nomination for Best Animated Feature (for the film of Howl's Moving Castle, adapted and directed by Hayao Miyazaki)
Boston Globe-Horn Book Award
Carnegie Medal (multiple times)
Childrens Book Award
Guardian Award (multiple times)
Locus Award
Mythopoeic Award (multiple times)

More Information:

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Road Trip Thursday Goes Global!

Pack your bags and don't forget your passport! Road Trip Thursday is leaving our 50 states behind and heading for foreign shores this summer.

If you're entering grades 1-5 in the fall, come join us as we explore the stories, culture, games and (yes, sometimes) food of these countries. You do not have to come all 8 weeks, but you do have to register for each week you'd like to come. Registration for Week 1 (Mexico) begins June 13.

Our travel itinerary for the 8-week program is:

Week 1: Mexico
Week 2: South Africa
Week 3: Australia
Week 4: Japan
Week 5: India
Week 6: Russia
Week 7: Egypt
Week 8: France

See you there!

Photo by tiffini via Creative Commons

From Texas to Kansas

The last time we passed through Texas, we stopped at the Dallas Aquarium and checked out the manatees. This time through, it was Cinco de Mayo, so we celebrated the Mexican-American holiday by eating tortillas drizzled with honey and playing Loteria, which is most easily described as Mexican bingo. (But I know you're interested in more information about the game, so don't say I never gave you nothin.)

Our next stop was Kansas, the Sunflower State. In honor of the state's nickname, we ate sunflower seeds, and because I have a soft spot for wackiness, we tried our hands at pancake racing.

That cannot be what it sounds like, you might say. And I'd say, oh, but it is.

From the International Pancake Day website:

Many people are familiar with Mardi gras celebrations on the day before Lent. But in Liberal, Kansas, the day before Lent means just one thing – it’s Pancake Day.

The friendly little competition between Liberal, Kansas, and Olney, England, with women running down the streets of each town flipping pancakes, has been going on more than 60 years now. It is still the only race of its kind on the planet.

(Granted, we used board books instead of pancakes, but hey. You use what you have.)

Join us next time, as we get our clogging on in the bluegrass state. Until then!