Showing posts from 2013
Take reading to new heights with THEBOOKJEANIE


We will miss your courageous voice but your words will always be there to inspire and comfort us.

Read Long Walk to Freedom, the autobiography of Nelson Mandela,  to better understand the man who left us his legacy of hope over despair, diplomacy over confrontation,  love and forgiveness over hatred.

This past month we also regretfully said goodbye to two authors, Doris Lessing and Barbara Park, both prolific and influential in her genre. Doris Lessing was most acclaimed for The Golden Notebook, a vast novel addressing Stalinism, feminism, and nuclear proliferation among other topics; she was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2007 at the age of 87. Barbara Park helped to revolutionize children's literature with her wit and humor, creating the beloved and irreverent Junie B. Jones among other memorable young characters in her numerous books. 

Bildungsromanis a German literary term, meaning literally "for…
Return to Roxaboxen with THEBOOKJEANIE

Recently I took a roadtrip through the desert to the small town of Yuma, Arizona , the setting of Alice McLerran's timeless children's book Roxaboxen. Based on a handwritten book created by the author's mother in 1916, Roxaboxen tells the story of children who built their own magical world out of stones and wooden boxes, amidst the sand and thorny cactuses on a nearby rocky hill. In the town of Roxaboxen, the streets and houses were marked in the sand with white stones but "Frances. . .built herself a new house outlined in desert glass, bits of amber, amethyst, and sea-green: a house of jewels." There were two ice cream parlors - you could eat all you liked - and if you wanted to ride away "all you needed for a horse was a stick and some kind of bridle, and you could gallop anywhere." McLerran takes us back to a time when all that was needed for hours of childhood play was creativity and imagination, those abilities…
More than a quarter century ago, we used to pack the kids in the car and make the long drive from our home in Kuala Lumpur to the colonial hill station of Cameron Highlands when we needed an escape from the heat and humidity of the capital. There was a fairly modern highway up to the town of Tapah but from there it was necessary to turn off onto a narrow twisting road with literally hundreds of curves and hairpin turns along the way, climbing to an altitude of over 1500 metres at Tanah Rata. The long and gradual ascent began with dense jungle but eventually gave way to undulating fields of emerald green tea plantations. With our windows rolled down, we would breathe in the cool fragrant air, looking forward to the chill in the evening and to roasting marshmallows in the fireplace of our cottage. Days were spent hiking, visiting tea plantations, flower nurseries, and exploring the jungle trails where butterflies, orchids,…
The BOOKJEANIE invites you to celebrate the freedom to read.
Numerous titles have been challenged and removed from public and school libraries this past year including two of my favorite books for children: The Family Bookby Todd Parr as well as And TangoMakes Threeby Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell. The Family Book celebrates families of all kinds, an inclusive  book that resonates with all children. And TangoMakes Threeis the true story of two male chinstrap penguins at the NY Central Park Zoo who, unable to find mates, become partners and care for an egg from another penguin.   Many other books over the years have been targets of censorship including Catcher in the Rye, The Grapes of Wrath, James and the Giant Peach, Slaughterhouse Five, and In the Night Kitchen.This week I am reading a truly thought-provoking novel for middle grade students that won the Newbery Medal for Children's Literature but has been challenged many times over the years: The Giver,  by Lois Lowry.

J. Co…
THEBOOKJEANIE bids farewell to SEAMUS HEANEY,1939-2013
Postscript by Seamus Heaney

And some time make the time to drive out west
Into County Clare, along the Flaggy Shore, In September or October, when the wind And the light are working off each other So that the ocean on one side is wild With foam and glitter, and inland among stones The surface of a slate-grey lake is lit By the earthed lightening of flock of swans, Their feathers roughed and ruffling, white on white, Their fully-grown headstrong-looking heads Tucked or cresting or busy underwater. Useless to think you'll park or capture it More thoroughly. You are neither here nor there, A hurry through which known and strange things pass As big soft buffetings come at the car sideways And catch the heart off guard and blow it open
Seamus Heaney, poet and  recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature,  passed away in Dublin on August 30th. 

History says, Don't hope On this side of the grave. But then, once in a lifetime The longed-for tidal wave  o…
During the Renaissance, wealthy Venetians built magnificent stone palazzos with elegant balconies along the Grand Canal. In 1903, a unique museum opened in a quiet neighborhood off the Back Bay Fens in Boston, created by heiress Isabella Stewart Gardner in the style of the Venetian palazzos with an important difference: Gardner's palazzo was designed inside out, the exterior imposing but austere, the inside courtyard a dreamy magical space of soaring balconies, intricate stonework, and lush tropical gardens under a glass roof. Gardner spent many years passionately collecting treasured art works throughout Europe and Asia, assembling a world-class collection of over 2500 paintings, sculpture, and unique decorative items. On March 18, 1990, two thieves masquerading as Boston policemen responding to a call from the museum, entered the gallery, tied up the guards, and walked out with masterpieces …
Behold a summer lotus with  THEBOOKJEANIE
 My good friend in Rhode Island recently sent me this photo, taken when she spotted a small pond covered in lotus blossoms. For centuries the lotus has been a subject beloved by poets: "In the scriptural language and sacred poetry of Hinduism and Buddhism, the lotus perfectly embodies the soul, rising up through the murkiness of worldly experience until it reaches the surface of the spiritual realm and blooms, vibrant and pure, free from all taint and attachment." from Poetry Chaikhana.

Book Reviews
Sahar Delijani was born in Tehran's infamous Evin Prison, her mother a political prisoner in post-revolutionary Iran. After a few short months, Sahar was taken from her mother and delivered to her grandparents with whom she would stay until her parents were released from prison years later. Delijani's own story forms the basis of her first novel, Children of the Jacaranda Tree, and it provides a very personal view of the years in Iran a…