Archive for October 2014

Little Free Libraries Popping Up

October 30, 2014

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Down the street


In Search of Little Free Libraries

October 23, 2014

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On a bike path


October 16, 2014

We all make many choices in our lives. Some are good and some are bad. Whatever the case may be, we must deal with the outcome.

My husband and I made the choice to move closer to our daughter and her husband. We haven’t accomplished that yet because we’re still in the long, arduous process of trying to sell our home.

After a lovely weekend visit with our daughter and husband, my husband drove them to O’Hare airport – a six-hour, round-trip drive.

I chose to stay home and clean our house in order to dazzle potential buyers coming to the Sunday Open House.

My husband chose to use my car because it had more room.

I chose to go to early morning church to pray to anyone who would listen to me to deliver an offer on our house. (Yes, St. Joseph, I’m talking about you.)

I chose the extra key to my husband’s car – a car I never drive.

I chose to wear comfy flats instead of heels because I didn’t feel like dressing up.

I chose to leave my phone in the locked car so I had no distractions in church.

I humbly said my prayers, asking for a buyer to appear at our doorstep. Then I headed to car. I clicked the unlock button on the key. Nothing. I clicked the lock button. Nothing. I went click crazy. Nothing! Nothing! Nothing! Cars emptied out of the parking lot as I stalked around the car, looking for a way inside. Soon it was me, the car, and the funny looking key which didn’t fit into the lock.

I chose to swear right in front of church. (Good thing I was alone!)

I chose to walk a mile and a half home to get the other set of keys. I had no other choice!

I chose to ask my wonderful neighbor to drive me back. He did.

When my husband heard of my dilemma, he told me there was a key inside the key to open the door. Who knew? Not me! I never drive his car. He said I should have called him. Impossible! The phone was locked in the car.

I made some good choices and some bad choices. From now on my choices are:

Always choose to wear comfy shoes.

Always choose my car.

Always choose to carry my phone with me.

Who knew the right key and a phone would have made for a stress-free morning?

House still not sold!

Little Free Libraries

October 9, 2014

Have you noticed? Little Free Libraries are popping up everywhere. One may be just around the corner from you. Keep your eyes open for these adorable little libraries. It’s an ingenious concept. “Take a book, return a book.” Books are suddenly accessible on your way home from school, on your way to work, on a pleasant walk after dinner. Reading is important so why not add a Little Free Library to your front yard and share the wealth of reading!

Look what I found while riding around my neighborhood!


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Have you seen a Little Free Library in your neighborhood?

Jazz Up the Music Curriculum

October 2, 2014

Music teachers looking to introduce students to jazz and jazz greats might find these picture books a great addition to the curriculum.

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For the youngest set, Charlie Parker played be bop is spare in text, but it’s oh so much fun! The book is written and illustrated by Chris Raschka. His illustrations and text work together to create a lively rhythmic story about Charlie Parker and his saxophone. Rhyme and onomatopoeic words add to the fun of the book.

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For older students, there’s Ella Fitzgerald: The Tale of a Vocal Virtuosa written and illustrated by the award-winning duo of Andrea Davis Pinkney and Brian Pinkney. The story is told from the point of view of “Scat Cat.” He takes us through Ella’s life from the time she was a child to when she found her true calling as The Queen of Scat. Brian Pinkney’s whimsical scratchboard illustrations and Andrea Davis Pinkney’s cool cat language keep readers jiving through the book.

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Pair the above-mentioned book with Skit-Scat Raggedy Cat Ella Fitzgerald written by Roxane Orgill and illustrated by award-winning artist, Sean Qualls, and you have two impressive books about a jazz great. Both books provide back matter for added information and further study.

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Another picture book in the jazz category by the husband/wife team of Andrea Davis Pinkney and Brian Pinkney is Duke Ellington. Brian Pinkney’s illustrations use the same whimsical scratchboard technique as in the Ella Fitzgerald book, and Andrea Davis Pinkney’s lyrical language is music to the readers’ ears as they “Take the “A” Train” through the life of Duke Ellington. Once again, there is back matter for added information.

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In the book, Dizzy, Jonah Winter tells the story of Dizzy Gillespie, beginning from the time he was a poor, young boy living in the Deep South. Dizzy got into fights and broke rules, but when his music teacher gave Dizzy a trumpet, his life changed. The trumpet was his ticket to a better life. Winter tells how Dizzy’s “shenanigans” got him noticed and how he continually broke the rules when it came to using his trumpet to entertain the crowds. Playing with a band in New York, Dizzy puffed his cheeks, created his own BEBOP, and became a jazz sensation. The colorful and imaginative illustrations created by artist, Sean Qualls, bebop along with Winter’s story.

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One more book that features a jazz singer is Mister and Lady Day: Billie Holiday and the Dog Who Loved Her written by Amy Novesky and illustrated by Vanessa Brantley Newton. Lady Day took care of Mister, and Mister took care of Lady Day. Amy Novesky tells how Mister provided the loving support and courage that Billie Holiday needed – especially when she sang at Carnegie Hall. The use of bright colors, collages, and humorous spreads by illustrator Vanessa Brantley Newton add an appealing touch to a heart-warming story of a talented singer and her dog.

Are there any more suggestions?

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