My Life as a Zuchinni is a beautiful claymation work imported from France. Our version has both the original audio track and an English one that was done by good actors. This may look like a movie for little people on the outside, but it’s rating is PG-13 due to some rough situations that lead to the various kids being sent to an orphanage. During the narrative Zuchinni learns to forgive himself, deal with bullies and make new friends. It’s just lovely! (Recommended for MS and older)
Check out this podcast if you are looking for a good story. Oliver Sipple was just a guy going for a walk, when he found a big crowd of people waiting for the president. He stood in the crowd, waited with everyone else, and then as a woman took out a gun to shoot the president, his intervention saved him. He was able to deflect the bullet and was heralded as an all American hero.
However, this put him in the public eye, in the spotlight, and soon information came to light that was broadcast from coast to coast. To his parents, to his community, to his friends. Life was never the same for him. Listen to the rest to find out more.
As a librarian, I must confess that I’m not much of a reader. I can’t sit still, and have a terrible time sitting for long stretches and reading. I am, however, a rabid consumer of audio content, both audiobooks and podcasts.
I’ve been wanting to recommend some podcasts recently, and thought I would take this moment to write about the recommendations.
First off, if you are just starting with Podcasts, you may want to get a curation tool for your phone or device. I like BeyondPod, which allows easy downloading, and is free.
Check Out Some of These Spectacular Podcasts:
This American Life: Stories of life, usually in 4 acts, centered around a common theme.
My favorite, absolutely, is Prom, 4 stories of the beauty of the High School Prom.
Radiolab: A variety of topics, from one of their first episodes about Blood, the social context and biology under the skin, to Eye in the Sky, about a drone that tracks crime, to an episode about how we experience our Things.
Radiolab Presents More Perfect: One of the Radiolab authors spun off into a podcast all about the history and context and importance of the Supreme Court of the USA, and it is fascinating.
The Story Collider: This podcast takes scientists and gives them a platform to discuss their discoveries, their challenges, their triumphs, their inspirations, and more. It is science, it is a story.
Serial: This podcast is a commitment. The first season goes into a court case, about a girl from a Baltimore High School who goes missing, the man who is accused, and the innocence that he claims. Every new episode goes to a deeper part of the story, a new witness, a new suspect, a new claim. And the end isn’t set, even still.
Embedded: This podcast, as they say, takes a news story and goes deep. They travel around the world, to the Texas Gang Shooting, to Doctors Without Borders in Haiti, to a district school system in Pennsylvania, to the capital of El Salvador. It is fascinating to hear a news headline turned inside out, with an hour of interviews that are often poignant and unexpected. A highly recommended podcast.
The Sporkful: Dan Pashman talks about the joy of food in his podcast “for eaters, not foodies.” It’s a celebration of food, eating, customs, and all the things in between. The series “Other People’s Food” and “Who is this Restaurant For?” were both stunning, enlightening, and enjoyable. I also found the Maria Bamford episode particularly entertaining.
Gastropod: Two lovely ladies talk food, the historical and cultural context that makes what we eat common. Some personal favorites are The Buzz on Honey and The United States of Chinese Food. This light and joyous podcast is a good listen while in the kitchen!
On the Media: If you are into news, I find On the Media very informative and clear. Although, the reason I recommend them is because of their recent series on poverty in America: a look at the myths that surround poverty and stories of how it works in reality.
Kubo and the Two Strings is an absolutely gorgeous new stop-motion animation film from Studio Laika. The story is inspired by a Japanese folk legend of a boy who has to fight his grandfather, the Moon King, in order to protect his humanity. The animation in the video is awesome – the leaf boat, the origami fighters, the sword skeleton – but the story is also a tender one centered on family. Though this is an animated film I would recommend it for kids 8 and up because it has some legitimately scary scenes. Adults will find much to appreciate as well.
Hey everyone, the limitless summertime days (I may be sugar-coating that) can often be an excellent time to pick up some books and really dig in. Naturally I took full advantage and here of some of best from my summer list that you may also want to try:
The top of the Middle Grades reads were Ghost, the story of an inner-city kid who faces a lot of challenges to pursue his talents as a runner and Fish in a Tree, in which a dyslexic 6th grader finally begins to get the support she needs to celebrate her artistic strengths and to face her difficulties with text. Both were excellent!
In the SciFi/Fantasy world I found a new middle grade series to love and a gritty young adult novel that brings all the intensity of the Hunger Games. Akata Witch could be described as a Nigerian Harry Potter. In book one Nigerian-American Sunny begins to recognize her gifts and is inducted to the magical world. Book two will be out later this fall but I have an advance reader copy that I can loan you in the meantime. Scythe is currently in the running for a Teen Choice 2017 award. It is a powerful story of life and death in the near future. Both are action packed.
In realistic Young Adult I read 2 great ones, Dumplin‘ and the Upside of Unrequited. Both are terrific coming-of-age stories about dating and high school life.
In the adult world I read 2 great fiction books and 2 wonderful non-fiction books. My fiction stories are both advance reader copies so let me know if you would like to borrow them. Artemis is the new title by Andy Weir who wrote The Martian (top notch sci-fi). His second book is set on a lunar colony and has a plucky female protagonist. The Immortalists is about 4 siblings who find out their death dates from a fortune teller. They don’t know if the dates are real but the knowledge shapes their lives just the same. This one moves forward in time from the 1970s to the near future. I expect some big buzz in the literary fiction world from this one.
My non-fiction choices are both currently on our Overdrive site. They were reflective and interesting books about the main character’s inner journeys but also very relevant to many people. The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown was a terrific self-help book about developing courage and gratitude. Hunger by Roxanne Gay is about the author’s personal journey with food.
And what about you all? Any great reads from the summer that you would like to share?
K read a stack of books over the summer, both in audio and in print.
The audiobooks of Unaccustomed Earth and Hillbilly Elegy were perfect for the rolling hills of Iowa, telling stories during the long drives across the state.
The Year of the Flood, by Margaret Atwood, was a fantastic dystopia. It was an excellent follow-up to Handmaid’s Tale, and involved heavy food themes alongside a religious tribe.
The favorite of the summer, by far, was The Diamond Age, by Neal Stephenson. The story follows a few characters but is told mainly through the eyes of a young girl. She grows up in a poor and abusive household, surviving through grit, and one day, her older brother brings home a special gift that he lifted from a rich man in the city. It is a book, and it becomes her most prized possession, her teacher, and in some ways, her mother.
Other delightful reads:
Mister Tender’s Girl, an advanced reader copy, was a thrilling adventure to look forward to later in the year.
When Dimple Met Rishi was a hilarious and sweet read.
Orphan Island is a beautiful MG read.