June 26, 2016

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Teen lives in documentaries

Teens live amazing lives. We know that, but we don’t always see it. These eight documentaries peek into the complicated, emotional, thought provoking lives of teens. Magic Camp It looks a little like Hogworts, and the greatest magicians of our time have emerged from its doors. It’s Tannen’s, a summer camp for aspiring magicians. Maidentrip […]

Fairytale of New York

If I ruled the world, Brooklyn would be the teen movie of the season. It has the vicissitudes of young romance, a love triangle, a heroine who blossoms from being pleasant-looking to full-on Titanic-era Kate Winslet, right down to the hair blowing and glowing in the ocean sunrise. It’s probably too quiet for wide appeal, though, […]

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My weekend reviews

Friday night–When Robert C. O’Brien’s 1975 YA Z for Zachariah made it onto the silver screen forty years later, you’d think its post-apocalyptic setting and sturdy heroine would have been enough to give it currency but NO: the famous two-hander is now a lurve triangle, and–spoiler alert–the attempted rape, so controversial in its time, is glossed over […]

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MakerSpace: Making Movie Magic with Tweens and Teens in the Library

Later today I’m giving a webinar with the Florida Library Webinars on Making Movies with Tweens and Teens. Below is the powerpoint and a few additional links I have found to get you started. I’m not incredibly great at making movies, but this is a good tool to get you started with the basics. This […]

Connecting the dots

Probably inspired by our seeing yesterday the wonderfully mysterious The Clouds of Sils Maria, I dreamed last night that we received for review a new YA novel that took the form of a high school yearbook. Apparently something very terrible had happened at that school, but the reader had to piece together clues in the text and […]

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Sunday Reflections: The narrative of competition

Sunday Reflections: The narrative of competition

I have really grown to appreciate a good documentary in recent years. These days, it’s hard for me to watch the news, and I often don’t have the fortitude to jump in to the weighty dramas that I usually enjoy in film, yet fluffy fun movies seem too frivolous to deliberately choose during my rare […]

A Lovely Night

A Lovely Night

We saw the new Cinderella last night and you should see it too. What I loved most was that it was genuinely a children’s movie. While Cate Blanchette as the stepmother and Helena Bonham-Carter as the fairy godmother were on hand to provide some camp (and there was a PG-pushing plethora of men in tights), neither […]

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2015 Calendar

2015 Calendar

Planning. It takes, well, planning. What kind of displays do I want to do? What kinds of programming? Here are some upcoming events that I am using to help me plan. I am a big movie junkie so I like to do tie-ins when I can, even if it is just a genre display. And […]

Paddington Finds a Home on the Big Screen | Movie Review

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Perhaps it’s not a coincidence that this frisky and good-natured take on Michael Bond’s beloved bear was produced by David Heyman of the “Harry Potter” film series. Both adaptations plant a big wet kiss on bustling, inclusive London.

Everything must change

Everything must change

I was in New York last week to catch up with publishers, Rockefeller Center, and theater. We saw two musicals, Side Show and On the Town (thumbs up for both) and the stage adaptation of Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time (possibly the least rememberable title since Rebecca Stead’s […]

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View from the Director’s Chair: Guest post by Lynette Pitrak

Downers Grove Public Library just finished a large redesign project, and two of the major changes were a brand new Teen Central area and a Digital Media Lab. While the Digital Media Lab is open to all ages, we thought that our teen patrons would be especially excited about this area’s advanced video, music, and […]

Why Can’t the English?

Why Can’t the English?

We saw Dawn of the Planet of the Apes last night–ehh. Some the intra- and inter-species encounters were quite moving and dramatic but the plot was on automatic and the fabulously watchable Judy Greer was wasted (she could have been completely blotto given that all she had to do was lie there with a suffering […]

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A winter’s tale

A winter’s tale

If you aren’t completely burned out on dystopian fiction, do go see* Snowpiercer, a big, violent, gorgeous, baroque movie about the end of civilization, its last remnant perpetually traveling the ice-covered globe in a nonstop great big train. There is NO love triangle, with eros limited to a couple of crypto-gay warrior-bonding types, and plenty to […]

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A Quick Guide to Sonic the Hedgehog Comics

A Quick Guide to Sonic the Hedgehog Comics

Sonic the Hedgehog, the star of over 70 video games since the early 1990s, will finally get to be the star in his own major motion picture. Sony Pictures and Producer Neal Moritz will work with Japan-based production company Marza Animation Planet, a division of Sega Sammy Group, to make a hybrid computer animation/live action […]

My sister AND my daughter

My sister AND my daughter

Over on child_lit, Cheryl Klein has been asking for titles of books with big reveals, the ones with a surprise that make you rethink the whole thing. Like Gone Girl, The Thief, and most of Robert Cormier. I contributed Gene Kemp’s The Turbulent Term of Tyke Tiler, the 1977 Carnegie-winning title about an obstreperous but […]

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Frank Baker on libraries and media literacy

Frank Baker on libraries and media literacy

Each year around this time, I reconnect with media literacy guru, Frank Baker (@fbaker) about his resources for thoughtfully examining the media messages surrounding those two, too-interesting-not-to-analyze big winter television events–the Academy Awards and the Super Bowl Yesterday, we had another chat. Although Frank is a strong supporter of our work, he believes that it is […]

“Kill the she-elf!”

“Kill the she-elf!”

Do we have any actual evidence that Peter Jackson has gone through puberty? Yes, there’s the beard, and the children, but his Tolkien movies all look like they were conceived and directed by a ten-year-old. I only saw The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey on TV but we saw The Desolation of Smowg in all its […]

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Jolly Holiday

Jolly Holiday

The Horn Book’s annual busman’s holiday took us to the movies to see Saving Mr. Banks. We laughed, we cried; it’s not a very good movie but the star power and chemistry of Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks kept me involved. I hear from more knowledgeable sources that the film is at some distance from […]

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Media Breaker–for talking back (and teaching fair use)

Media Breaker–for talking back (and teaching fair use)

Encouraging students to celebrate and use the rich portals of the ever-growing Creative Commons movement to find copyright-friendly media is an instructional no-brainer. Teaching students how and when to flex their fair use muscles–how to decide when their use of copyrighted media is truly transformative–is a greater challenge.  But it is a challenge we must […]

I only just got why he’s called ENDER

I only just got why he’s called ENDER

I saw Ender’s Game last weekend and enjoyed it more than I thought I would. What impressed me most was how much a true children’s movie it is; like Asa Butterfield’s (Ender) previous movie Hugo, Ender’s Game neither winks over children’s heads to an adult audience nor sexes things up for putative YA interest. Although […]

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