Archive for November, 2012

Major news agencies being fooled by satire

November 29th, 2012

Check your sources!

The China’s People’s Daily is China’s communist party’s official newspaper and this week it reposted a satirical article from The Onion about North Korea’s Kim Jong Un as if it were real. Earlier this year, The Onion ran a parody story about how some people in the United States preferred the leader of Iran (a country we have had a bunch of tension with) to President Obama and Iran’s news agency ran it as true.

Also this week, a fake press release about Google acquiring a wi-fi company had been submitted to PRWeb, a site that news agencies can get press releases from. Big tech news sites like TechCrunch took the story and ran with it because it made sense that the giant Google would buy up another company. Since the press release was fake and neither company had been in talks about a buyout, the news agencies had to provide apologies for not checking their sources.

This reminds me of when Shane Fitzgerald posted a fake quote to Wikipedia and then news agencies requoted it as if it were true.

Fear by Michael Grant

November 27th, 2012

At its core, Michael Grant’s Gone series is about children transitioning into adulthood – and, you know, superpowers and horrific monsters and all that. That theme of transition carries through to the very last page of Fear and it’s done very well. Yes, the story is action-packed and suspenseful, but it’s the tough life situations that the characters grapple with that floors me.

When we transition from our teen years into adulthood, we look at what we’ve been taught all our lives and then form our own opinions and beliefs. Multiple characters in Fear go through this process and are stuck at different stages. That developmental dissonance does get edgy, though, since the same doubts and fears that the characters have are ones that students have and it may hit a little too close to home – or, on the positive, provide a voice for students who may not have someone to talk about with these issues.

I can’t say much more about the plot because that would ruin the great endings of the other books in the series, but I will say that there is a countdown again in this book and I am impressed with how Michael Grant can pull off a satisfying, climactic ending each time and yet keep it pretty free of clichés (even though you know there’s going to be a super-powered brawl at the end of each).

We’ll see if I’m truly the tallest librarian in the world.

November 21st, 2012

I just submitted the claim to the Guinness Book of World Records. Now we wait four weeks to see if they’ll even adjudicate it.

Amulet: Prince of the Elves by Kazu Kibuishi

November 13th, 2012

I’ve been a fan of Kibuishi’s Amulet series since the first book and enjoy seeing more and more of the grand scale of the story. It’s still about the characters, with Emily and Navin developing more into their roles as heroes.

Where this one branches off, though, is in following Prince Trellis of the Elves for the majority of the narrative. We get to walk around in a trippy memory/dream sequence (signified by squiggly borders around the frames, obviously) and learn about the causes of the war with the elves. We do get to learn more about the actual amulet, which is great because some of my suspicions from the first book are finally starting to play out.

Side note: We use the SpringBoard curriculum in our district and this graphic novel ties in with the angle analysis in the unit for The Giver. The perspectives that Kibuishi uses are definitely on purpose to communicate mood and focus.

The artwork is amazing and always captures both the awe and panic of the setting and plot in such vivid detail. My only complaint is the length between each book’s release. After having worked my way through Bone and enjoying the seamless continuity, I miss Amulet‘s flow and found myself wondering, “Who’s that bearded guy? I’m sure I would have remembered such an awesome beard.” Amulet will translate really well into one giant book when it’s all said and done, though, so it’s no big fault on Kibuishi’s part.

Think about how many flags will have to be replaced

November 8th, 2012

The results of Puerto Rico’s vote are in and they have chosen statehood. Now we wait on Congress to approve it. If they do, we’ll have a 51st state.

The Giver Movie

November 7th, 2012

Jeff Bridges owns the rights to the Lois Lowry book and will be playing the title character. No word as to when it will come out.

Can we get more people to choose the stairs by making it fun to do?

November 2nd, 2012

There were quite a number of great ideas presented by Zachary Walker today at the BER conference. I’ll be posting some of the ways that we’re using them as we go through the remainder of the school year, but one that I wanted to share right now was this video from Volkswagen about motivation to do what’s right compared to what’s easy:

Our Grand Canyon List for 2014

November 1st, 2012

We just released our top ten picks for the Grand Canyon Reader Award:

Charlie Joe Jackson’s Guide To Not Reading by Tom Greenwald (2011)
Deadly by Julie Chibbaro (2011)
The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen (2012)
Icefall by Matthew J. Kirby (2011)
Legend by Marie Lu (2011)
Mindblind by Jennifer Rozines Roy (2010)
The Outcasts by John Flanagan (2011)
The Red Umbrella by Christina Diaz Gonzalez (2010)
Sources of Light by Margaret McMullan (2010)
This Dark Endeavor by Kenneth Oppel (2011)

Some, like Cinder and Divergent, we had to surrender to the teen list no matter how much of a temper tantrum I threw. That doesn’t take away from how much I like the titles we selected.