Thursday, July 19, 2007

Two More Days

The wait is almost over and I'm getting very excited. It looks like the library's Harry Potter Birthday Party is filled with a waiting list. It's hard to not be overwhelmed with publicity about the final installment of this series. Kids, adults, parents, teachers and librarians are filled with wonder. It's a wonder that this series caught on with the public - driven by children clamoring for the book. It's a wonder that our interests haven't waned as we waited. It's a wonder how rich J.K. Rowling is. It's a wonder if we'll all keep reading and looking for books about wizards, magic, war, love, death and life. As you are wondering - here are my thoughts. It is actually quite brilliant that this story caught the public's interest, children's interest and never left us. The movies kept nonreaders just as interested. Even if a young person outgrew the series, new readers found it. We all can find out how rich J.K. Rowling is almost anywhere you find information. (A librarian can find this very quickly!) The amazing thing isn't HOW rich, it is that she is richer than the Queen of England. That fact staggers me! And lastly, I am not worried that kids won't keep on reading. They will find books, or ask for recommendations, that will take them to the same places they've been with Harry Potter. No, they won't be at Hogwarts, but they will find it. After all, we found it. We found justice, cruelty and morality with Atticus Finch. Doesn't he remind you of Dumbledore? You can find wisdom, life, love and death with a spider named Charlotte and a friendship with a pig named Wilbur. You can find wonder with a boy named Peter and a place called Neverland. I could go on, and I might....but think of your favorite books and remember how it felt to close the book on the last page. If it was a great book, you were still thinking/crying, /laughing and thinking. Harry will live forever between the covers of his books, and in the hearts of readers.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Graphic Novels and Center for Cartoon Studies

My son is at cartoon camp. OK, not really. But he is having such a wonderful time and learning so much that it could be a camp. He is actually at the Center for Cartoon Studies in White River Junction, Vermont. (Check out their website at ) In this picturesque town, there is a school offering one- and two-year courses of study and summer workshops. He is taking both summer courses. He has been wowed by Steve Bissette, a cartoonist for 20 years and a collaborator of Alan Moore.

I met James Strum (founder of CCS) at the recent ALA conference, along with illustrator/cartoonist Nick Bertozzi. CCS has recently published Houdini: The Handcuff King, written by Jason Lutes and illustrated by Nick Bertozzi. I highly recommend this book to anyone that like comics, graphic novels, and comic strips. It is a short story, but well done and if a person is interested in Houdini there is a lot of information in the back of the book, including a bibliography for further reading. Check out the book and budding cartoonists should check out CCS!
Joyce Laiosa

Monday, July 16, 2007

Summer Reads! Summer Fun!

Is your reading still fun this summer? Have you bogged down with books you aren't really loving? Are you just waiting for H.P. #7? If you have answered 'yes' to any of these questions then let's revive the old reading lists - the bibliography! And get yourself over to the library to be inspired by displays.

For a quick read, try Brian Selznick's The Invention of Hugo Cabret. It is brilliant storytelling that is a fast read because the storyline includes wonderful drawings. So you feel that you are reading a graphic novel and a regular book. I highly recommend this book.

"Get a Clue @ Your Library" is the theme for the summer reading program here. We had a first great week that followed an amazing (in attendance) kick-off program with ventriloquist Sylvia Markson and a fun ice cream social. The kids seem very excited about their reading and books are flying off the shelves. But I'm not worried about the kids that come to the library in the summer. I worry about the kids that don't get to the libray. I worry about kids who go to the mall and pick out books because they like the covers. I worry about the kids that get these books home and then don't like the stories. They get discouraged about reading because it seems pretty boring. Good books really are a great way to escape. But every book isn't a "good" book. Check out the library lists, check out more books than you have time to read and maybe in that group you'll find the one that makes a difference. Joyce Laiosa