Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Election day is finally here - thank goodness! The local ads in KY have been pretty nasty and are on TV constantly - I will not miss them. However, I have a sneaking suspicion they will be replaced by Holiday style ads. One of the GPS brands already has theirs out. Even I, the Christmas music aficionado, can get too much of a good thing! Our voting location is less than 5 minutes away so I will head out mid morning and hope I miss the large early morning crowds.

The NC School Library Media Association Conference in Winston-Salem was wonderful. I had more energy than I have had in months so doing my booktalking presentation was so much fun. I booktalked Titles that Make you Tremble from the themes of Historical Scares, Futuristic Frights, and the Monsters Among Us. I am always fired up to do lots of reading and booktalking every time I do a presentation, but time hasn't allowed me to do much reading.

However, I have to share a tear-jerker. I was getting a pedicure and was quietly hiccup sobbing as I finished a Sept. 2008 Farrar, Straus & Giroux YA novel - Forever Changes by Brendan Halpin.http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Forever-Changes/Brendan-Halpin/e/9780374324360/?itm=1 If I had known how much it was going to affect me I would have waited until I got home to read the last couple of chapters. What a sometimes blunt, but beautiful, insider's view of how a feisty teen deals with cystic fibrosis. Brianna wants to live her life to the fullest, but she doesn't shy away from sharing that she is scared silly by the thought of dying - of dying before she does the things she wants to. Brilliant in math, Brianna views the world, and herself, from a mathematical perspective. She develops a relationship with her math teacher, who also understands the fear of death, and tells her - "So, though I, or you for that matter, or any of us, may be, as collection of atoms, practically indistinguishable from zero, this does not necessarily mean we are insignificant. Indeed, it may be that, like the infinitesimals in our discipline here, we are crucially important." Further adding the mathematical reality we may well be - "Though I am but one, I contain the infinite. While you couldn't, of course, do this in practice, in theory it is possible to divide me into the infinite number of points I occupy, rather than by the finite, but ever-increasing number of atoms that make up my body. Thus my hope is, in death, I shall not cease to be, I shall just become more fully what I already am; one, and infinite." Even typing this I get a lump in my throat, but smile as I think of how my son Mic would have loved to converse with the very self deprecating Mr. Eccles about math and the never ending possibilities of us. He also would have loved to sit for hours and talk with Brianna - they would have been great friends. However, Brianna does acquire a really cool, but nerdy, guy friend who becomes a part of her, prior to Adam only-girls, inner circle of friends. I wish every teenage girl could see the incredible men many of those nerdy guys in school will become. I am looking at a copy of Halpin's How Do Ya Like Me Now http://search.barnesandnoble.com/How-Ya-Like-Me-Now/Brendan-Halpin/e/9780374334956/?itm=2 which tackles the realities of being one of two white teens in a multiracial urban school in Boston. It is on my book shelf, but is going to be moved to my "gotta read" pile. Halprin has just moved to my YA authors to watch list.

Since the YA novel I address has a mathematical theme, I thought I'd talk about a Holiday House NF book that came out in the summer - David A. Adler's Fun with Roman Numerals. http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Fun-with-Roman-Numerals/David-A-Adler/e/9780823420605/?itm=1. Most of you know Adler is a prolific writer of elementary level NF about a variety of subjects, including his myriad primary level biographies. What delighted me the most about this math book are the bold illustrations by Edward Miller III. Of course - he has a Roman numeral in his name, but Edward Miller, the 3rd looks kinda funny! No wonder we use the Roman numerals for the generational carrying down of a paternal name. I love the examples of how a Roman numeral is created - I need this when trying to figure out the copyright date of older books! He even teaches kids how to add with Roman numerals. Not something they will be doing often in real life, but what fun! My favorite pages - the last double page spread shows real life use of Roman numerals - clocks, chapter heads, and of course the Super Bowl! Go Texans! (Definitely a pipedream about my favorite team going to the Super Bowl any time soon!) This is a gotta have book for any elementary level collection, and for personal collections like mine where I just might need it to look up a date. :-)