Art and the Library!

inoneear.JPGThe library hosts many exhibits of student art work, from collage and pottery to mobiles and and Zen gardens! We’re also lucky enough to sometimes collaborate with the Art teachers on special student projects.

Most recently, the Art Department, the Library, and the Technology Integration Specialist planned an exhibit of sculptures representing cliches and idioms, such as “In One Ear and Out the Other” (above, by Aastha N.) and “Don’t Cry Over Spilled Milk.”

After completing their sculptures, students wrote and recorded statements about their artistic visions, processes, rewards, and challenges. The final exhibit in the Library included both the sculptures and the Artist Statements, in audio format. Visitors acquired headphones to “tour” the exhibit, just as they do at many museums and galleries around the world. This allowed visitors more partipation in the exhibit, as well as a greater understanding of the concepts and techniques behind the pieces, which really were labors of love, creativity, and intellect.

Click here for an online sample of this exhibit on the Art Department’s website.

Click here to read the 42 Questions students used to write their Artist Statements.

Click here for a presentation on answering the 42 questions and preparing an Artist Statement.

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The Mystery of the Third Lucretia by Susan Runholt

lucretia.JPGCarrie and Lucas are best friends. They’re fourteen. They’re smart, creative, confident, and inquisitive. They don’t let anyone push them around. They’re interested in art, women’s rights, and international travel. So, they’re the perfect people to stumble upon the biggest art crime in the past hundred years. It all starts with a rude man in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and it all ends with a grey-haired nun in Amsterdam, Holland. What comes in between is probably my very favorite young adult mystery ever (or at least it’s up there with Gilda Joyce and Enola Holmes).

“Go away,” the man at the Rembrandt exhibit snarls at Kari, when she tries to take a look at what he’s painting. He covers his canvas and gives her a menacing look. What’s the big deal? she wonders. What’s this guy hiding? Is he just embarrassed that maybe he’s a really bad painter or something? But when, almost a year later, Kari and Lucas see the same man, at another museum, parked in front of another Rembrandt painting, in disguise, the girls suspect there’s something more going on with this guy than just low self-esteem. Together, Kari and Lucas conspire to uncover the identity of this mystery man and figure out what he’s up to. But when the investigation leads them into dangerous territory involving kidnapping, fraud, and maybe even murder, will the girls be able to manage it without getting killed – or grounded?

This novel makes it into my top five of 2008, easily. Before long, it will probably start showing up on recommended reading lists all over the place. Read it now, before somebody tells you the end and ruins it for you!

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So, there’s not much need to write about Twilight. I mean, you all know about Stephanie Meyer’s smash-hit series about Bella, the ordinary girl who moves to Washington State and falls in love with a brooding, handsome, centuries-old vampire named Edward Cullen. You all know about Twilight and New Moon and Eclipse and Breaking Dawn. You know about the romance. And the heartbreak. And the werewolves. And the page-turning suspense. And I’m sure you all know about the movie, which is coming out in theatres tomorrow. This is a photo of Edward from the movie. Some student put him up on my computer as a screen saver recently! Anyway, I know a lot of you are going to see it this weekend, so have fun! Maybe I’ll see you at the theatre.

Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer

lifeasweknewit.JPGHoly cow. I finally finished this book. I’ve started it about ten times, recommended it to students, and put it on the summer reading list, but until yesterday, I hadn’t read the whole thing through. That’s because it’s always checked out. It’s super popular among kids and it’s received fantastic reviews from all the critics. I can see why. This book is suspenseful and dark and scary and emotional. In case you don’t know, the plot goes like this: an asteroid hits the moon, pushing it out of its orbit and closer to Earth; as a result, cities are leveled by tsunamis and earthquakes, the climate changes, and the air becomes sooty from thousands of volcanic eruptions. People are dying from starvation and disease. It’s extremely grim. In rural Pennsylvania, Miranda and her family grow increasingly isolated, rationing their food, and boiling snow for water. This winter threatens to be the coldest in history, and there’s no oil. Will anyone survive?

I heartily recommend this book to anyone who likes survival stories, but be prepared — this is one bleak story! Also, keep a lookout for the companion to this novel, The Dead and the Gone. It’s the same series of events from the perspective of a boy living in Manhattan.

Man in the Moon by Dotti Enderle

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Is there really a man in the moon? Is it just an illusion of a face on the moon’s surface, looking down at us, or could there really be a mysterious life force up there with which we humans have a special, mystical connection?

This question sounds a bit wacky, but you might start asking yourself the same thing if you read this novel. In the summer of 1961, a strange man appears at Justine’s house just as her family seems to be at its absolute worst. Her father has no job, her brother, Ricky, suffers from an exhausting illness, and her mother is running herself ragged trying to keep everyone alive. Justine spends the hot summer days stuck inside with Ricky,  dreaming of freedom and joy and adventure.

Then, Mr. Lunas shows up, straight from the cornfields. Justine’s father recognizes him as the man who saved his life during the war; still, the man’s true identity is a puzzle. He talks about Earth as if it’s a foreign country, he enchants the family dog, and he tells Justine that anything is possible. Of course, she doesn’t think Mr. Lunas really means anything is possible. That’s just something nice people say, right? But when Ricky’s illness takes a terrifying turn, Justine prays that Mr. Lunas might be right.

Man in the Moon is an inspiring story that will remind readers that each new day is an opportunity for greatness, friendship, and magic.