September 30, 2005

New List and Additions

Ok, today there is one new list and several additions to two existing lists. The new list is books about pumpkins that are not about Halloween (or at least not much). Oh, and there are links again (Michael has been working on my technical difficulties). Any suggestions are welcome!

Books Without Words

Carl Goes Shopping by Alexandra Day
Carl's Afternoon in the Park by Alexandra Day
Carl's Birthday by Alexandra Day
Follow Carl by Alexandra Day
Carl's Sleepy Afternoon by Alexandra Day
Tuesday by David Wiesner
10 Minutes till Bedtime by Peggy Rathmann

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Books with Alliteration

Miss Alaineus: A Vocabulary Disaster by Debra Frasier

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Books about Pumpkins that aren't about Halloween

The Berenstain Bears and the Prize Pumpkin by Stan and Jan Berentain
The Pumpkin Book by Gail Gibbons
Biscuit Visits the Pumpkin Patch by Alyssa Satin Capucilli, illustrated by Pat Schories
Too Many Pumpkins by Linda White, illustrated by Megan Lloyd
Postcards from Buster: Buster and the Giant Pumpkin by Marc Brown
Plumply, Dumply Pumpkin by Mary Serfozo, illustrated by Valeria Petrone
Apples and Pumpkins by Anne Rockwell, illustrated by Lizzy Rockwell
It's Pumpkin Time! by Zoe Hall, illustrated Shari Halpern
The Pumpkin Patch by Margaret McNamara, illustrated by Mike Gordon
Pumpkin Circle: The Story of a Garden by George Levenson, illustrated by Shmuel Thaler
The Bumpy Little Pumpkin by Margery Cuyler
The Little Pumpkin Book by Katharine Ross, illustrated by Katy Bratun
The Legend of Spookley the Square Pumpkin by Joe Troiano, illustrated by Susan Banta
Pumpkin Soup by Helen Cooper
Pumpkin Pumpkin by Jeanne Titherington

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September 29, 2005

Interesting Stuff

Today brought two facinating topics to mind.

The first I read about at Shakespeare's Sister. Apparently in Sweden one can now be promated after death! This turns the body to mulch that is used to make the soil richer and then people plant trees over the grave. I think that's wonderful! Too bad it won't catch on here for a very very long time.

The other thing is an issue that I rant about every once in a while, so it's nice to see someone else talk about it for a change. The issue is unisex bathrooms. I would really love to see more public places with unisex bathrooms. Bradford Plumer talks about it too. It just makes so much sense in so many ways! Unisex bathrooms are cleaner in general, people wash their hands more, and lines are shorter. Most of the arguements against the idea involve safety. Ok, I admit, there is a great chance a woman will get stuck in a bathroom with a guy and bad things could happen. Ok, first off, put security cameras in the main area of the bathroom (not the stalls). That way, even if the assault happens in a stall the cameras will catch the people going into the stall and it can be used for legal reasons. The other thing would be to make rape a bigger deal than it is today. That's really a whole different issue, but seriously, if we managed to change the current thinking that rape is the woman's fault (she went out late wearing clothes, the hussy was asking for it) and that it's not that big a crime it would make so much difference! As it is, women don't report it out of shame and men get little to no punishment for having raped someone. It's insane. Change those and maybe then sane things like unisex bathrooms and unisex hallways won't be so scary. Again, though, it's never going to catch on in this country. Not at this rate anyway.

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September 27, 2005

New List and Some Additions

Today there is one new list and some additions to two old lists. The new list is really small right now (two books), but I know there are many others out there, I just can't think of them. I'd really like some suggestions on this one if anyone has any! The list is books, probably mostly picture books, that are very heavy on alliteration.

Books with a lot of Alliteration

Anamalia by Graeme Base
Dr. Seuss's ABC: An Amazing Alphabet Book by Dr. Seuss

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Books with no words or easily covered words

Good Dog, Carl by Alexandra Day
Alphabet City by Stephen T. Johnson
Why? by Nikolai Popov

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Books for kids who recently became new big brothers/sisters

The Baby Sister by Tomie dePaola
Julius: The Baby of the World by Kevin Henkes

Again, no links. I'm working on it. Suggestions welcome!

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September 26, 2005

"Parental Empowerment Act"

I'm posting this because I'm very worried about this particular political issue. A few months ago a bill was introduced in the House called the "Parental Empowerment Act of 2005". Under this bill every elementary school would be required to ask a council of parents with children currently or very recently in the school to approve *any* purchase or acquisition of any "print material" (books) for the library or classroom use. If any state doesn't enforce this, they lose federal funding for education. I can't even explain how bad it would be if schools had to ask permission from parents to buy textbooks and library books. This is a pretty serious bill, and it hasn't gotten any notice as far as I can see.

The bill was sent to the Committee on Education and the Workforce. It is not yet on their list of bills being looked at, but I think that is because Congress is currently out of session. They will be picking up again in the next couple weeks. I plan to keep an eye on the committee website. Any news about this bill will be posted here. Two of the committee members are from Wisconsin, including the vice-chairman. I'm sure they will get letters about this from me. I will post information in the event that anyone else wants to write letters or make phone calls. The congressmen who are on the committee are listed on the committee website with links to their own websites.

This is a really big issue and I hope that the bill doesn't pass. I'm hoping that the teacher's union is on this issue as well. I'll post any news here.

Posted by Katie at 12:20 PM | Comments (0)

September 25, 2005

Strange News Stories!

Ok, so in the last two days I have come across two news stories that are just so - unique - I had to post about them.

The first comes from Croatia, where apparently reality TV shows like "Survivor" are becoming popular, but with a twist. The contestants/stars are not people trying to survive through stupid games and challenges, they are SHEEP living their lives on a farm. They get voted off each week and everything! Check it out!

The second story is from right here in the USA. Apparently, our military has trained killer dolphins. And in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, they lost them. Armed and dangerous Dolphins are loose in the Gulf of Mexico! They are armed with Lethal Dart guns that they are trained to fire. I'd avoid going swimming in the Gulf of Mexico right now, but since I'm safely a thousand miles away or so in Wisconsin, I find this story pretty funny.

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Happy Birthday Michael!

Happy Golden Birthday Michael! I hope you have a great day! I also hope you like your gift. :)

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New List Books

A few more books have been added to the World War II list. I haven't read some of these, so I can't attest for their quality. If I decide that they aren't very good after I read them, I'll remove them from the list. For the moment, however, they all appear pretty good. Still having technical difficulties, so no links again.

Remember Pearl Harbor: American and Japanese Survivors Tell Their Stories by Thomas B. Allen
Parallel Journeys by Eleanor Ayer
Air Raid - Pearl Harbor: The Attack that Stunned the World by Theodore Taylor
Surviving Hitler: A Boy in the Nazi Death Camps by Andrea Warren
World War II for Kids by Richard Panchyk
The Usbourne Introduction to the Second World War by Paul Dowswell

If you know of any books I should add, please let me know!

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New Avatar!

I have played with a bunch of avatar programs, but this is the first time I've found one I liked enough to use. I've added an avatar to the sidebar of the website. She will just kinda hang out there. I'll change what she is wearing and where she is, so she will generally look appropriate for representing me. Tonight she is in pajamas at a birthday party. Michael's birthday party just ended, so it seemed right. Anyway, I think she's cute and plan to keep her!

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September 23, 2005

New List and Some Additions

I have a new book list today and two additions to an existing list. There are no links due to some technical difficulties. Hopefully they will be added later.

Books about World War II for children

Farewell to Manzanar by Jeanne Houston
The Diary of Anne Frank
Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
The Yellow Star: The Legend of King Christian X of Denmark by Carmen Deedy
The Good Fight: How World War II Was Won by Stephen E. Ambrose
World War II by Simon Adams
The Molly Series by Valerie Tripp

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Additions to Books for kids who recently became big brothers/sisters

The New Baby by Mercer Meyer
A Pocket Full of Kisses by Audrey Penn

As always, if you know of any books that belong on these lists, please let me know!

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Fifth Line

Seen at Badgerings.

Rules:
1. Go into your archive.
2. Find your 23rd post (or closest to it).
3. Find the 5th sentence (or closest to it).
4. Post the text of the sentence in your blog along with these instructions.

Results:
I'm excited!

Ok, I admit, it's not a brilliant sentence. It was pretty random and out of context though, so I guess I can't expect that much. Context here.

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September 18, 2005

Book Lists

Ok, so I work in the children's department of Barnes and Noble most of the time. This means that I get interesting questions like "I need a book for a seven year old girl obsessed with the weather channel. Can you suggest something?" I finally decided that I was going to write down my suggestions and what the customer or I find in the store for some of these questions and post them here (mostly for my own reference, but also because it could be interesting to other people). These lists now have a page of their own in the Books section of the site. I will also post lists or additions as blog entries as they are added. Here are tonights two new lists!

Books for kids who recently became big brothers/sisters

A Baby Sister for Frances by Russell Hoban, illustrated by Lillian Hoban
Angelina's Baby Sister by Katharine Holabird, illustrated by Helen Craig
Arthur's Baby by Marc Brown
Big Sister Dora by Alison Inches, illustrated by Dave Aikins
The Berenstain Bears' New Baby by Stan and Jan Berenstain
The Berenstain Bears and Baby Makes Five by Stan and Jan Berenstain

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Books with no words or easily covered words

The Mysteries of Harris Burdick by Chris Van Allsburg
Dinosaur! by Peter Sis
Window by Jeannie Baker
The Spider and the Fly by Mary Howitt, illustrated by Tony DiTerlizzi

If you have any suggestions for any existing list (or if I missed your favorite or your child's favorite or something) I would love to hear about it! Post suggestions in the comments please!

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September 16, 2005

My age?

Cute quiz found on Viv's blog. I only act two years younger than I really am! I'm 24, for those of you who wouldn't know.

You Are 22 Years Old
Under 12: You are a kid at heart. You still have an optimistic life view - and you look at the world with awe.

13-19: You are a teenager at heart. You question authority and are still trying to find your place in this world.

20-29: You are a twentysomething at heart. You feel excited about what's to come... love, work, and new experiences.

30-39: You are a thirtysomething at heart. You've had a taste of success and true love, but you want more!

40+: You are a mature adult. You've been through most of the ups and downs of life already. Now you get to sit back and relax.
What Age Do You Act?
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September 15, 2005

Gaming Updates!

Ok, a bunch of NPCs have been added to the page for my current D&D game. That game should end tonight, so hopefully there will only one more update for that page (perhaps with a plot summary and wrap-up).

There is also a new link on the sidebar to replace the one to the D&D page, it is Role Playing Games and goes to a page with a link to the Prophesies and Choices page as well as the wiki for Michael's new Shackled City campaign that I am playing in. The wiki is cool and constantly updated, so it's worth checking out if you are at all interested.

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September 09, 2005

Katrina Relief for Children

I haven't posted anything about the news lately because everyone else pretty much has it covered. However, I do want to post something now about the Katrina relief effort that Michael and I are contributing to.

SCBWI is putting together comfort packages for children who have been displaced by Katrina. Each kit will have two age appropriate books in it (picture books or chapter books/novels) as well as a stuffed animal or toy, a flashlight and a toothbrush/toothpaste set. Most of these children have lost everything and anything that we can give them will help them get through this (especially for young children this can make a big difference). They are accepting donations of new or like-new books, new toys and stuffed animals and money for the other needed supplies. The address to send things to is:

SCBWI Katrina Relief
8271 Beverly Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90048

Michael and I ordered several books from Amazon and had them sent to the above address. If you can, pick out some of your favorite children's books or simple toys and send them!

There are children heroes too. The first story to make me cry outright was this one about a six year old boy who cared for six other children, including his five month old brother, and got them to help. That is one amazingly brave and responsible six year old. I hope that somebody writes a picture book about him, he deserves it and other kids deserve to hear his story. I hope he gets one of the relief kits.

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September 06, 2005

Wedding Pictures

As I mentioned, I got married on August 13. There are now lots and lots of pictures online at Random Dialogue with more on the way. Some of them are just beautiful. There is a great one of the whole bridal party around bench that looks just great. The girls look beautiful in their dresses (I loved the color and style - it looked good on all of them and really stood out). The guys all look dashing in their tuxedos. What is it about tuxes? I don't know any guys who don't look good in them!

The gardens made a wonderful backdrop for the wedding and it really shows in the pictures, especially the formal ones and the ceremony ones.

We are planning on scanning some of the pretty cards and drawings we got from the reception (we had cards and crayons instead of a guest book). I think those are great and will provide another link when they are up. And there is one amazing drawing that is unsigned, so I would like to know who drew it!

Anyway, go look at the pictures, they are wonderful. Even I admit I was beautiful that day! And I've never seen pictures of Michael looking so happy!

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September 05, 2005

New Dolls and Pixel Art!

Wow. It's been forever since I updated with some new dolls. I been just a *little* busy lately. Anyway, today I have two new dolls and one piece of pixel art. Both dolls are really simple because I was just sort of getting used to dolling again, but I think that both of them turned out well. The first is Princess Aurora from Disney's movie "Sleeping Beauty". This dress is from a book cover (one of the Disney Princess storybooks, I think). The second doll is Kim Possible in her cheerleading outfit. The pixel art piece is a really pretty Dior purse that I love (but could never afford). Click on the dolls for their base sites. The purse was drawn by hand without a base.

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September 04, 2005

Gracie's Birthday!

Tonight we went to visit my parents and celebrate Gracie's birthday! She's four years old today. She got cake and ice cream to celebrate (that was exciting).

Here's how Gracie looks now:

And here is how she looked when she first came home as a puppy:

Isn't she adorable? For some scale, the fuzzy toy next to Gracie in the second picture is about six inches in diameter. Wasn't she a tiny puppy? She's a little bigger now (almost six pounds).

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Comic Characters

I have added the Micro Hero pixel dolls of the seven founding members of the Justice League from the current television show to the Comic Character Dolls page. There are some more of this type of doll that will hopefully be added later.

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Essays

I read a facinating musing on the blog Academic Splat! about the use of essays in teaching. The entry focuses on the use of essays in college classes (which makes sense, since Camicao is a college professor), but I think the concern stands for grade school, middle school and high school just as much, if not more. How many of us were taught to write the dreaded 5-paragraph essay, or worse, the 20-minute essay? Did you feel like you got much out of it other than a hatred for essay questions? I mean, even when the question was interesting (especially in college classes - which usually asked more interesting questions) being required to write a certain type of essay (determined either by actual guidelines or previous experience with what the professor/teacher wants) often made me lose all interest in the question itself.

I'm wierd and would sometimes write something different from a traditional essay because I liked the question so much and felt it deserved better than my horribly edited form essays, but that usually backfired in a poor grade or a confused professor. And it drove my grade school and high school teachers absolutely batty. I remember my favorite English teacher in grade school calling me in after a twenty-minute essay exercise because I had loved the question and so written something that (while still mostly an essay) bore no resemblence to the form asked for. I was livid. I loved that essay (now I don't remember what it was about, just that I thought it was great and she was hung up on the stupid form). It makes me wonder what the purpose of teaching form is. I see that it is vitally important for papers intended for publication and such (and have gotten much better at traditional essays over the years), but how many people really ever intend to publish essays about anything? I do, but again, I'm a freak.

I don't know. This is more of me being frustrated with the state and specifics of the education system. I feel that I have valid points, but I may just be crazy. I do realize that what I would design for an education system would never be accepted. I guess that's ok. I can at least use my ideas to try and come up with ways to change the system that *might* be acceptable someday. That's how change happens, right?

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September 01, 2005

Book: Hindu and Sikh Wedding Ceremonies

Hindu and Sikh Wedding Ceremonies
Ramesh Chander Dogra and Urmila Dogra
2000

This was a fascinating book written by a Hindu couple living in Britain about the rituals and ceremonies in Hinduism and Sikhism that surround weddings and marriages. It was obviously written in English by non-native speakers, but everything was perfectly easy to read and understand. The book also has several colour and black and white photographs to help readers visualize what is being explained and show images of gods and goddesses. The book discusses historical viewpoints and the meaning behind each ritual.

I found this book fascinating. It has a definite Hindu bias to the writing (really only important to note for the Sikh passages) and the writers are obviously devout believers in the Hindu way of life and outlook. I found the various rituals and their meanings very interesting, but was a little frustrated that the book spent more time on rituals related to marriage or life after the wedding than on the wedding rituals themselves. I would have really liked more in-depth descriptions of the aspects of the wedding ceremony, which almost felt glossed over in parts of the book.

In general, I liked this book. It was very interesting. It wasn’t really what I was looking for, but it gave me some of the information I wanted. I think I’ll need to go looking for a better book on Hindu wedding rituals for a more in-depth explaination.

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