Monday, December 28, 2015

‘Sex, Drugs and Asperger Syndrome’

With Sex, Drugs and Asperger Syndrome (Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2016), Luke Jackson offers A User Guide to Adulthood.

When he was 13, Jackson wrote Freaks, Geeks and Asperger Syndrome: A User Guide to Adolescence. Now 26, Jackson has accumulated “an entire lifetime’s worth of aging” since he wrote his previous book.

With forthright candor, Jackson offers guidance on various aspects of life — including work, education, bullying, friendship, intimate relationships and the use and abuse of drugs.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Bags from give-away materials

Two bags displayed, one layered over the other one. The bodies of the bags are from a brown- and tan-striped against white-background fabric. Each bag has a decorative square panel on the front with an abstract woven design. Folded and stitched strips of fabric form the bags' handles. One bag's handles are brown and the other bag's handles are black.

Each of these bags is one-of-a-kind and these two are the only two like them there are. Anywhere. In the world. I made them out of repurposed materials. The handles were strips of wool fabric, the decorative panels came from chair upholstery and the body fabric bore evidence of pleating — possibly curtains or a skirt. I feel good that this bag “closes the loop” by salvaging valuable materials and giving them new life.

‘Rules’ is problematic Schneider award recipient

Book cover: Rules by Cynthia Lord. A fish swims upward in water toward a rubber duck that is floating on the water's surface. Circular medalions on the book's cover proclaim it a Newbery Award Honor Book and a Schneider Family Book Award winner.
Continuing with my discussion of the Schneider Family Book Awards: I struggled with this next part’s social acceptability.

Would expressing concern about a prior award recipient be “second-guessing” a past committee, possibly inviting defensiveness, or would it demonstrate the need for nominated titles to be considered carefully?

Here goes:

For discussion of a problematic Schneider award recipient, I ask that the committee read a review of Rules by Cynthia Lord, the 2007 middle-school winner.

‘Commitment’ shouldn’t obligate children to stay in abusive friendships

A 2014 article by writer Amy Joyce for The Washington Post showed up this week in my Facebook feed. In it, Harvard psychologist Richard Weissbourd and his colleagues with the “Making Caring Common Project” offer five strategies to raise moral and caring children.

Friday, December 25, 2015

‘Meh’ means ‘Merry Christmas’

Card propped up against small potted pine tree. The card's hand-drawn and colored image shows a black cat emerging from an open box that is partially covered with red wrapping paper. There is a piece of red wrapping paper hanging off the cat's head and a potted tree is drawn in the background of the card's illustration.

“Meh! Meh!” Starfire says when she attacks wrapping paper, or otherwise behaves like the joyous cat that she is. And so, in this hand-drawn card, “Meh” means “Merry Christmas.”

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Schneider Family Book Award

Schneider Family Book Award, a circular silver-on-blue logo depicting children holding hands circling a globe with the name of the award rimming the top of the circle. The name of the award is written in Braille beneath the emblem.
Each year in January, I await the announcement of American Library Association Youth Media Award winners.

And each year with its emphasis upon portraying the experience of people with disabilities, the Schneider Family Book Award uniquely piques my interest — both as a woman on the autism spectrum and as a library professional who wants the collection to “mirror” the experience of a diverse readership.

Friday, December 18, 2015

‘The Red Bicycle’ by Jude Isabella

Book cover: 'The Red Bicycle' by Jude Isabella. A young girl stands holding a red bicycle amid a market scene of baskets on the ground that hold a variety of goods. In the background, a woman sits in the shade of an umbrella.
In North America, a young boy, Leo, saves the money he earns by doing work for his neighbors so that he can purchase a new bicycle. When he outgrows “Big Red,” his beloved red bicycle, he donates it to a bike-relief organization that transports it to the West African country of Burkina Faso.

“Big Red’s” story is told in The Red Bicycle by Jude Isabella with illustrations by Simone Shin (Kids Can Press, 2015).

This book offers an informative look at what can be accomplished by bicycle, when the luxury and privilege of automobile driving simply do not exist.

Yarnbombing at Gonville Cafe and Library

Three people stand with arms outspread between railings of a metal structure that has been decorated with 'yarn-bombing,' colorful strips of knitted fabric.
Photo credit: The Inked Librarian on Facebook
Readers of my blog may be familiar with Yarn Bombing @ Your Library, a project on Facebook where I curate images and articles about yarn-bomb installations involving libraries. The project’s scope is international and in the latest post to its timeline: the Gonville Knitting Group brought holiday color to the Gonville Cafe and Library in Wanganui, New Zealand. The Inked Librarian (Kelly Scarrow) wrote about the yarnbombing in her column for the Wanganui Midweek newspaper.

Friday, December 11, 2015

‘Every Vote Matters’ in 5-4 Supreme Court rulings

Cases that have direct bearing on students’ lives were decided with a vote of 5-4 by the U.S. Supreme Court. Their rights to free speech, limitations on speech, drug testing and treatment in the courts might be radically different if these splits had gone a different way.

In Every Vote Matters (Free Spirit Publishing, March 2016), Judge Tom Jacobs and his daughter Natalie Jacobs review several U.S. Supreme Court cases that were decided with a single vote.

Like the title suggests, “Every Vote Matters” to Judge Tom and Natalie Jacobs, and they present a strong argument that it needs to matter to young people reading this book. Their one vote could shape who is elected president or elected to U.S. Congress — which, in turn, affects the ideology of who is appointed to the United States’ highest court.

Autism Speaks: Two autists elected to board

From John Elder Robison, I learned this week that, for the first time, Autism Speaks has elected two actual people with autism to its board of directors.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

ESSA includes favorable library provisions

President Obama signs the ESSA. Photo credit: U.S. White House
President Barack Obama has signed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), and American Library Association (ALA) President Sari Feldman credited ALA members’ advocacy efforts with favorable provisions for school libraries.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

‘Susan B. Anderson’s Kids’ Knitting Workshop’

After three attempts at learning to knit, I finally succeeded with the help of a circular-knitting class: 16 inches of knit stitch on circular knitting needles to form the body of a bag.

It’s precisely this approach that is taken by Susan B. Anderson in her Kids’ Knitting Workshop (Artisan Books, 2015). “Knitting in the round is the easiest and most effective way for children (and adults) to learn how to knit.” All of the knitting in her book uses circular knitting needles.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Knitting: No longer ‘left-’ or ‘right-handed’?

Knitting-book authors seem to be moving away from terms like “right-handed” and “left-handed” knitting, referring instead to “Continental-” and “English-style” knitting. (In “Continental,” the yarn is carried in the left hand; in “English-style,” it’s carried in the right.