Award-winning author Sharon Creech wove a lot of her own life into her books for young adults, including her first one, Absolutely Normal Chaos. Written as a journal as are many of her novels, what strikes a reader immediately are her humor and casual way of storytelling. Everything is told offhand, as if it doesn’t really matter—just a 13-year-old chattering. Until what happens does matter and things get serious. That’s when readers are grateful for the humor, and having a strong if strange family really becomes important.
I don't care if you are a kid, teen or adult - it feels great to be able to do some impressive tricks for your family and friends at the next backyard barbecue, like blowing a bubble within a bubble or slicing an unpeeled banana. If you want to move beyond mere parlor tricks, you can learn how to identify clouds, ride a boogie board or fold fortune cookies thanks to the super-easy directions in Show Off: How to Do Absolutely Everything One Step at a Time, by Sarah Hines Stephens and Bethany Mann.
What makes "Show Off" a fantastic book are the step-by-step picture directions. Since I am a graphic learner, this makes it so much easier for me than trying to decipher a page of text describing how to fold a ninja star. The ingredient lists tend to be very slight, which is a bonus for parents. If you want to learn more about an activity, several of them have longer descriptions in the back under "tell me more." The 224 activities are grouped under the categories of "amaze," "investigate," "create," "explore," "cook," and "move." Most of these are easy to do by yourself if you're at least 10 years old, while others will require adult help.
Congratulations to the winners of the 2018 Claudia Emerson Teen Poetry Contest! Many thanks to our contest judges: University of Mary Washington faculty members Amanda Rutstein, adjunct English instructor, and Laura Bylenok, assistant professor of English.
Our guest reader for May is also our guest speaker at CRRL Con. Come listen to Steve's lively talk on making it as an artist in the game industry and as a comic writer on Saturday, May 19, 2:00-3:00 at Howell Branch. Steve will also be signing copies of his books.
Steve Ogden has been a professional artist, animator, and writer for almost 40 years. He’s worked for a variety of game companies, including Cyan (maker of the 1990s hits Myst and Riven) and currently works for Sid Meier’s Firaxis (Civilization, Railroads, and X-COM) just north of Baltimore. He is the creator of several comics: Croaker’s Gorge; the award-winning graphic novel Moon Town; his most recent, Madigan’s Guide to Acting Human; and Magnificatz, which is syndicated through Universal/Andrews & McMeel.