Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Was reading the local paper last night and there was a big article about our Department of Education. The federal government has told them they will hire someone to monitor the federal grant monies as millions of it have not been spent, or not spent properly. This position is supposed to be filled by October and they haven't even developed a job description yet. I know everything moves on island time, but this is important. The state of the public schools in the U.S.V.I. is deplorable. I have met some incredibly dedicated teachers who are working with basically nothing in their classrooms. You have to be a unique individual to teach in the public schools down here. Some of the teachers who work on St. John live on St. Thomas and take the ferry over every day because of the high cost of rent on St. John.

Steve and I watched Michael Keating in White Noise the other evening. I cannot handle the slasher type horror movies with all the screaming and blood, but love suspenseful movies. The idea that our dead loved ones may be trying to communicate with us through the white noise around us on the radio or TV can be very creepy or reassuring, depending upon how you look at it. In this movie not only is it good ghosts that are communicating with humans, but bad ones too who can manipulate people. Don't watch this one while you are home alone at night!

So then I started to think about the "ghostly" YA novels I have read that I loved. One of my favorites is Haunting by Joan Lowery Nixon because of the references to Edgar Allen Poe and how the murder took place in the past and she has to figure it out from the ghostly clues. There are lots of Nixon's mysteries, supernatural and not, available for teen readers. After living in the Houston area for many years I was accustomed to Nixon appearing at local conferences and it is so sad to think there won't be anymore Nixon mysteries or historical fiction titles to share with children and teens. She was a neat lady.

On a spookier note, I love Vivian Vande Velde's short story collection Being Dead. Not one to read alone on a stormy night. It is required reading my YA literature courses and the students like it too. Although more horror than supernatural, my favorite Vande Velde book is Companions of the Night - a great vampire story. I was so glad to see it made the latest Best of the Best Books for Young Adults list. Imagine helping someone out who you think is being beat up by thugs to find out you just helped a vampire escape and now you are his "hostage", but you just might be falling for him? And Vande Velde can make you laugh while you are a tad bit grossed out by the spirit of a dead guy accidentally ending up in a bat in Never Trust a Dead Man. I love to booktalk this one as the main character is changed into a woman so he and bat can find out who really is the murderer. All the way around Vande Velde is a great author for teens of all ages.

Enough of my rambling for one day. I need to order a tankini from Lands End so I will be ready to hit the beach with Steve's daughter and family. :-)