Holly W.

Holding Up the Earth

Monday, January 28, 2008

I was raised in a home that my parents built when I was 5 years old.So I know the history of the house.I currently live in a home built in 1927 and I often wonder about the history of the house. I know a little of the history through the original deed I was given when we purchased the house.For instance, the property was originally owned by one of the McPherson brothers of Howell.Technically I live in the McPherson subdivision in Lansing.But what I really wonder about is the people who lived there before us and what their lives where like.I want that personal glimpse into the past….

When Hope was 8 years old, her mother was killed in a car accident.Hope, now 14, has bounced around from foster home to foster home.Sarah, her current foster mom is different than the others.But Hope has long given up on the thought of adoption.Sarah and Hope travel from Minneapolis one summer to Nebraska and the farm where Sarah was raised.While there, Anna, Sarah’s mother, shares the history of four generations of young women who have lived on the farm.Through letters, Hope learns of Abigail’s struggles in 1869-1870 when the property was homesteaded. Rebecca’s diary tells of her time as the hired girl in the summer of 1900.Anna tells her own story of June1936.And finally, Sarah shares her own diary of 1963 with Hope.Will the farm capture Hope’s heart as it did those before her?

 

The reviewer in Horn Book said it best:

“The stories of five teenaged girls – separated by decades, but joined by their love of a Nebraska farm- are pieced together like a patchwork quilt in this first novel…A carefully structured work full of recurring connections and patterns, peopled with strong female characters.”

Holly, Youth Services

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The Invention of Hugo Cabret

Monday, January 28, 2008

Children’s librarians and lovers of children’s books eagerly await the annual announcement of the Caldecott winner.The Caldecott Medal is given to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children.The 2008 winner is The Invention of Hugo Cabret.As I’m constantly telling people, you are never too old to enjoy a good picture book and this year’s winner holds true.What is different is that The Invention of Hugo Cabret is not your typical picture book.The American Library Association’s web site describes it best…

From an opening shot of the full moon setting over an awakening Paris in 1931, this tale casts a new light on the picture book form. Hugo is a young orphan secretly living in the walls of a train station where he labors to complete a mysterious invention left by his father. In a work of more than 500 pages, the suspenseful text and wordless double-page spreads narrate the tale in turns. Neither words nor pictures alone tell this story, which is filled with cinematic intrigue. Black & white pencil illustrations evoke the flickering images of the silent films to which the book pays homage.

Regardless of your age, spend some time with Hugo; let yourself be drawn into the story and drawings- savor the magic.Better yet, share it with someone.I’ll be watching for more from Brian Selznick and others in this new picture book form.

Holly, Youth Services

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Why Gender Matters

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

As a mom of a 3 year old boy I find it fascinating to watch the way he thinks and his endless energy. Robbie is so different from our neighbor's daughter who is only 9 months older. Leonard Sax, M.D., PhD. addresses gender differences in Why Gender Matters. Sax's research is not "touchy-feely" but based on brain research. An interesting read that has applications for me as a parent and professionally as one who works with children. Okay, it even explained a little bit about my husband!

Holly, Youth Services

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