Archive for category The Reading Room

Katniss is a 16-year-old girl living with her mother and younger sister in the poorest district of Panem, the remains of what used be the United States. Long ago the districts waged war on the Capitol and were defeated. As part of the surrender terms, each district agreed to send one boy and one girl to appear in an annual televised event called, "The Hunger Games."

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Wabi Sabi, a little cat in Kyoto, Japan, had never thought much about her name until friends visiting from another land asked her owner what it meant. At last, the master says, "That's hard to explain." And that is all she says. This unsatisfying answer sets Wabi Sabi on a journey to uncover the meaning of her name, and on the way discovers what wabi sabi is: a Japanese philosophy of seeing beauty in simplicity, the ordinary, and imperfection. Using spare text and haiku, Mark Reibstein weaves an extraordinary story about finding real beauty in unexpected places.

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The best snow is the snow that comes softly in the night, like a shy friend afraid to knock." A little disingenuously, as she seems to love all types, from fat, heavy flakes to the light falls that "make you notice the delicate limbs of trees," Rylant begins her celebration of snow. An acknowledged master of "spare" and "poetic," the Newberry Medalist delivers, her words drifting and blowing and coming 'round to the children who "love the snow better than anyone else does" in the end.

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A lighthearted, fact-filled look at elections in the United States. The engaging conversational narrative and funny cartoons lend appealing irreverence to a topic that can sometimes seem too dry and serious. Coverage includes the electoral college, campaigning, and many other aspects of elections, noting the flaws and absurdities in our system along with the many positive aspects. The text moves back and forth through time within each subject, offering useful and varied historical examples. A section on inaugurations makes reference to William Henry Harrison's two-hour speech,

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Although a paper turkey decorates Mrs. Moose's Thanksgiving table, she longs for the real thing–so her obliging husband sets out to find her one. He is joined by his soon-to-be dinner guests: Rabbit, in his quilted down vest; poky Porcupine, in his furry earmuffs; and ravenous Mr. Goat, who devours everything in sight, including Sheep's plaid hat. They find Turkey hiding in his nest, surrounded by signs that discourage visitors.

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Bod is an unusual boy who inhabits an unusual place-he's the only living resident of a graveyard. Raised from infancy by the ghosts, werewolves, and other cemetery denizens, Bod has learned the antiquated customs of his guardians' time as well as their timely ghostly teachings-like the ability to Fade.

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