Reading Life


Saturday, September 24, 2016

Writing Tips for Librarians

From Library Journal's John N. Berry III's  "Skills Librarian Need to Survive: Learn to Write."

1)  Delete the first two paragraphs of an essay to see if a better beginning has been discovered.

2)  Do the same for the conclusion of the essay. 

3) Avoid rhetorical questions.

4) Avoid words ending in "ly.
Writing skills are needed more than ever, John Berry explains in "Blatantberry" because it will take "powerful prose" to prove that libraries are not obsolete. 

Sunday, September 11, 2016

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

This epic story that  reads like a fairytale at times is the story of a Boyar, Pyotr, his sons, Sasha and Kolya and his strange daughter Vasilia. Before his wife died, she told him that Vasilia would be most like her mother who had the "gift."

Vasilia was born with  the ability to see the creatures that populate Russian airytale creatures--the rusalka, the vazila, domonvoi, vodianoy, leshy and the Frost King, Mozorko. While its commonplace to her, others are terrified of her abilities. Much of the town, and her stepmother, call Vasilia ("Vasya") a demon or a witch. 

Ironically, Vasya's stepmother, Anna, also has the ability to see these household spirits and cheyerti of the forest. Anna, however, denigrates what she sees as "demons" or manifestations of her madness. 

Konstantine, a priest sent by Prince Ivan to the wilds of Rus, terrifies the town by labeling the old village ways "demonic." Their fears only multiply the existing dangers. An old rivalry between two supernatural forces is renewed as the terrible Bear of the fairytales is released from his bindings. 

Friday, September 9, 2016

Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World by Rachel Ignotofsky

Women in Science includes great information about little known women scientists who made incredible advances in science. 

Illustrations by Rachel Ignotofsky are adequate but lack color. Each scientist is assigned a single neon color. For instance, illustrations for Maria Sibylla Merian who observed and painted the metamorphoses of butterflies are each some shade of bright blue against a charcoal gray background. Marie Cure's illustrations are neon green and so on. 

Interesting facts can be found in the margins. The entry for Ada Lovelace, for instance, relates in the margins that Lovelace signed each of her letters to Charles Baggage as "lady fairy." In another entry (for Rosalind Franklin) we learn that Franklin, who took the first photo of DNA's double helix structure, also created a huge sculpture of the tobacco mosaic virus for the World's Fair. 

Ignotofsky's Women in Science is a wonderful starting place for those writing biographies on scientists. Since the entries or so short, though, most students will need to consult more resources. 

This book will please everyone but its especially written for young readers, grade 2 through 5. 

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