Saturday, October 24, 2009

Fall T-shirts

We just wrapped up our fall t-shirt program. We broke out a pile of stencils, fabric paint and fabric markers and turned 13 kids (great number for a Halloween-y program!) loose, just to prove, once again, that they are far more creative than I will ever, ever be. With Halloween party music going in the background, the kids turned out some pretty cool shirts! Check some of them out below!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

What Mrs N's Been Reading - Beige

Finished Cecil Castellucci's Beige a few nights ago. Probably wouldn't have picked this one up on my own, but a teen put it in my hands, literally. (Thanks Nia!) Enjoyed this one a good bit more than I thought I would. It's the story of a young Canadian girl, Katy, who has been raised by her single mom and hadn't seen her dad, a legendary punk rocker, since she was quite small. Katy is a bit of a neurotic, type A personality, quite reserved and likes everything in it's place. Needless to say dad is nothing like that, so when Katy is sent to a spend a few weeks in L.A. with him while her mom is on an archaeological dig in Peru, they don't exactly hit it off. The other people that Katy meets, a girl her age named Lake, also the daughter of a punk rocker, and a couple of boys, Leo, the drop-dead gorgeous type, and Garth, the awkward, slightly nerdy type who seems to be a punk rocker wannabe, aren't exactly the types that Katy would choose to hang around with either. Lake has been bribed to hang out with Katy (talk about demeaning!) and promptly nicknames Katy, Beige, in reference to her first impressions of Katy's personality. Katy struggles to get through the couple of weeks, with hope that it would all be over soon, but then she gets the news that a few weeks is now going to be the entire summer. At first I thought that the characters were going to be predictable, but I found them quite engaging and the story pretty compelling. Katy's parents are both recovering addicts, so there are drug references, but the references are to the consequences, especially long term. Nothing objectionable for older middle schoolers or high school students.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

What Mrs N's Been Reading - Living Dead Girl

Read Elizabeth Scott's Living Dead Girl over the weekend. If you've watched the news accounts of young women who had been kidnapped as children and lived, seemingly out in the open, with their kidnappers for years and wondered why they didn't seem to run or try to get help, this book might help you to appreciate the situations that they were probably in. It's a very disturbing and unsettling book, but a compelling read, that you can't put down once you start it. Scott does a remarkable job of conveying the horrific things that Alice, the narrator and main character, has experienced without being graphic. Nonetheless, this one is definitely not for middle schoolers, although if an parent were to read it, it might help them in talking to a younger child about abductors. The book puts you inside Alice's head as she realizes that her abductor is probably going to kill find a new younger girl to abduct and kill Alice. She sees how her abductor has manipulated her, but still doesn't see a way out that she believes won't endanger her family. Another book on a similar topic, that is just as compelling, but a good bit less horrific is Elaine Alphin's Counterfeit Son. For the right reader, I recommend both very highly.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Mario Kart Tournament Update

Another nice afternoon with a great bunch of kids. Only 15 in the tournament today (I think the really nice weather kept some people outside today) plus the usual extras there for the side and board games, but that meant we had time to do double elimination for the first 2 rounds so everyone got more chances to play. Our big winner today was Joe W with Chase S pulling out a second place finish. Thanks to Andrew for his help setting up, Nick for his help cleaning up, both Andrew and Nick for keeping the popcorn coming (did anyone eat lunch before they came?), and Ameer and Brandon for providing a little ukulele music in the background. I don't know, you just don't hear enough ukulele music anymore. Anyway, if you missed it, pics below.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

What Mrs N's Been Reading - The Hunger Games

Finished Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games late last night. Wow! I see why this one has been so popular. It's set in a futuristic country, taking up what's left of North America after several natural disasters and wars. There is a central government area where all of the power and money are, and 12 outlying districts where the people live under oppression and in severe poverty. There had been a 13th district, but after they led an unsuccessful attempt at an uprising, the entire district was destroyed to set an example. Now, as a reminder of the uprising, the central government holds the annual Hunger Games, where a boy and girl from each district are chosen at random and put into a cordoned off area to fight to the death, with the last child left alive winning fame and fortune for him or herself and a year of extra supplies for their district. The people in the districts are forced to treat the games like a festival, and to watch it being televised. I won't give away more of the plot, but I will say that it's well-written and compelling reading. I put myself in the hold line for the sequel, and I very seldom read more than one book in a series. Enjoy!