Tuesday, December 30, 2014

‘Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore’ by Robin Sloan

There is something odd about the San Francisco bookstore where Clay Shannon clerks overnight.

From shelves filled floor-to-ceiling — the equivalent of three floors — Clay retrieves books not sold but loaned to members of a mysterious club. In addition to tracking each volume they take, he must document their appearance and behavior.

Inside the books, “a solid matrix of letters,” “an undifferentiated jumble.”

Clay stumbles ever deeper into a centuries-old pursuit to unlock a secret code, firmly placed in a modern world of online search, crowdsourcing and 3D-imaging.

Hand-made books during ‘Teen Crafternoon’

Handmade book, stood-up with front cover forward. Visible behind it are the spines of shelved books.

Having been exposed to the rewarding task of library book repair, I’ve long wanted to try hand-bookbinding. I got the opportunity during “Teen Crafternoon” with the Ashland library teen department.

Monday, December 29, 2014

‘The London Eye Mystery’ by Siobhan Dowd

Books show up in unexpected places in an actively-used library, as patrons remove items from shelves and then set them down.

Locating and reshelving out-of-place books leads to serendipitous discoveries.

On a list of books about characters with autism I’d seen The London Eye Mystery, and mentally filed it under want-to-read. So when I saw it perched atop a magazine rack while straightening in Bellview library, I seized my opportunity.

Later, a member of a library listserv also mentioned the book, saying she would love to hear my thoughts.

Knitting socks with Dreamz Symphonie Wood

Clear package of double-pointed, wooden knitting needles, separated in ascending sizes. Next to them is a sock in-progress on the largest-size double-pointed needles.

Until this Christmas, my sock-knitting pursuits involved “Boye” Size 3 double-pointed knitting needles that I found packaged in a tube with an original printed price of 45 cents. This morning I worked the socks onto my Christmas gift from Jonathan, Knitter’s Pride Dreamz Symphonie Wood needles.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Alan Turing: autistic in ‘The Imitation Game’

Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game.
Image courtesy of The Weinstein Company Publicity

For Christmas Day, Jonathan and I (joined by a neighbor, also named Jonathan) saw The Imitation Game at Varsity Theatre in downtown Ashland. This film dramatizes an effort by Alan Turing in England during World War II to create a machine able to crack the Germans’ “unbreakable” Enigma code.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Autism ‘expert’ status: Why so misplaced?

From Shannon Des Roches Rosa, writing at BlogHer.com, here’s a question that really must continually be asked: “Why Do Autism ‘Experts’ Say Such Awful Things?” (Or perhaps the question should be, when these so-called experts speak, why do so many award them credibility?)

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Socks knit in teal stripes

Black work basket containing dark-and-light teal-striped sock, the leg of a second sock on double-pointed knitting needles with balls of dark and light teal yarn. With them is a book by Ann Budd, Getting Started Knitting Socks.

Winter break finds me more than halfway through my latest pair of hand-knit socks, once again worked from Getting Started Knitting Socks by Ann Budd. This pair combines Ella Rae Classic Superwash in dark and light teal blue stripes.

Cross-posted to Ravelry

Sunday, December 21, 2014

‘Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism’

Book cover, Thinking Person's Guide to Autism. What You Really Need to Know About Autism: From Autistics, Parents, and Professionals.
The interested reader could easily fill a bookshelf addressing multiple facets of autism: behavioral therapies, sensory challenges, whether or not to medicate, K-12 educational policies. But this reader would have to buy one book first, and Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism would be an ideal place to start.

Published in 2011 by the Myers-Rosa Foundation, the book is edited by Shannon Des Roches Rosa, Jennifer Byde Myers, Liz Ditz, Emily Willingham and Carol Greenburg.

Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism provides an informative overview from a variety of contributors.

Friday, December 19, 2014

‘Gaby, Lost and Found’ by Angela Cervantes

Cover: Gaby, Lost and Found by Angela Cervantes
Among third- to fifth-grade titles in this year’s Oregon Battle of the Books, Gaby, Lost and Found caught and held my interest as a longtime animal caregiver.

I couldn’t resist the cover image of a brown-tabby cat, poking her head and paw out of a girl’s backpack.

Written by Angela Cervantes (Scholastic, 2013), Gaby, Lost and Found centers around volunteer efforts by a young girl and her classmates to help abandoned animals find homes. But while Gaby’s animal profiles bring in adoptive caregivers, Gaby herself feels like a stray. Her mother was deported to Honduras and her father rarely has time for her.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

‘If I Ran the Dog Show’ in Jackson County school libraries

Ashland elementary librarian Lauren Hall reads ‘If I Ran the Dog Show’
to a group of first-grade students at Bellview Elementary School.
/ CYNTHIA M. PARKHILL
The Southern Oregon Kennel Club has donated a copy of “If I Ran the Dog Show” by Tish Rabe, featuring the Cat in the Hat, to every public elementary school and charter school library in Jackson County.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

‘Food Chaining’ by Cheryl Fraker, et al.

Book cover: 'Food Chaining' by Cheryl Fraker, et. al. Cover image combines a cartoon-like illustration of an apple, carrot, a meat, tomato, lettuce and cheese sandwich and a child gazing at a beverage in a cup with straw, with the photo of a child holding a slice of bread so that it obscures his or her face.
As validated as I felt learning that a book like this exists, I felt even more validated when reading Food Chaining by Cheryl Fraker, Mark Fishbein, Sibyl Cox and Laura Walbert.

Eating is easily the most difficult sensory task I face. In childhood, I easily fit the profile of a “problem eater,” as described in this book. I accepted few foods, had strong adverse reactions that included gagging and was reluctant to even touch new foods.

My difficulties didn’t have the benefit of a book like this, however. Instead, adults labeled me “picky,” “spoiled” and “bad” because I could not eat what was served to me.

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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Keep Autism Speaks out of library-service discussion

In my dual personal and professional capacities, I am a strong advocate for the success of any project like Targeting Autism, which focuses the efforts of Illinois libraries to provide services to people on the autism spectrum and their families.

I want to caution the Illinois libraries’ project, however, about having any relationship or appearing to endorse the group Autism Speaks.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

‘Cat Champions’ by Rob Laidlaw

My beautiful cat Starfire examines
Rob Laidlaw’s book Cat Champions
My assignment this week for my online children’s literature class was to examine an informational picturebook against evaluation criteria in The Joy of Children’s Literature by Denise Johnson.
For the assignment, I couldn’t resist returning to a recent favorite.

Cat Champions, Caring For Our Feline Friends by Rob Laidlaw (2013) addresses issues related to the care of abandoned or feral cats. It places special emphasis upon young “cat champions” who care for these cats.

Monday, December 8, 2014

‘Crunch’ by Leslie Connor

I subscribe to various email lists related to library services to children, and in response to requests for recommendations on two very different topics, one book immediately came to mind.

I posted a review of Crunch by Leslie Connor (Katherine Tegan Books, 2010) in December 2013.

More recently, I recommended the book across one of the listservs I subscribe to. My recommendation was in response to a request for books with an environmental theme.

Set in present-day, Crunch depicts what happens when gasoline supplies abruptly disappear.

‘Hattitude’: Newsboy hats in plaid

Eight-paneled crown for 'newsboy' style hat in blue and burgundy plaid Eight-paneled crown for 'newsboy' style hat in green and brown plaid
Eight-paneled crown for 'newsboy' style hat in reddish-purple plaid Eight-paneled crown for 'newsboy' style hat in red and gold plaid
Muted or vibrant, there’s something so beautiful about the combinations of colors in plaid. Here are some recent plaid creations for Hat People in southern Oregon.