Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Haiku Part (and another review)

It occurs to me that I have neglected the haiku part of this blog, an oversight which I will remedy today. This blog came about thanks to my daughter, Emma, and my old boss at the West Valley High School library, the lovely Janet Madsen. It was the middle of winter, and Emma was going through a stage of spouting ironic and depressing haikus about the weather. She and I both shared them on Facebook because they were truly funny, and I was inspired to write more of my own. Janet read them and thought someday I should start a blog called "The Haiku Librarian." Fast forward a couple years, and voila, here we are.

When I first told Emma about my blog she was annoyed because "haikus are my thing." Then I told her I had been inspired by her awesomeness, and she was appeased. We have additionally been having fun with a set of magnetic haiku words that appeared on the fridge. For those haikus, you are limited by a strange assortment of words, including very few conjunctions or pronouns. I wish to share with you today two haikus. One is Emma's from the fridge magnets, and the other is an original of mine that I have mulled over for a couple of years.

Emma's Fridge Haiku:

In it is mushroom and fish
Me be howl and cry

Kristen's Haiku about Blogs:

To blog is human
To blog well a task divine
Thus I endeavor

Emma is much on my mind these past few days, since we stuck her on a plane last Saturday night, and she will spend the next month at Anaheim Ballet doing a dance intensive. My little girl is nearly grown up, and now she is totally jazzed that she will finally get to go to Disneyland. She was never into the Disney princesses much growing up. Sure, she had her obligatory princess party when she turned five, but really, they were not a big part of her young life. Now that she is sixteen, she has had a princess re-awakening, to the point that she has asked me how much money the people who play Disney princesses at the resorts make (not much, I think, and not a career path, I suspect). Her first couple days there have been great, and she has been able to attend a genuine California pool party. They were probably shocked that an Alaskan girl could have such a nice tan.

And now, on to my review. Today I am writing about "The Path of Names" by Ari Goelman, a piece of juvenile fiction. This summer I have been actively trying to read more juvenile fiction so I can give honest opinions to students about the books. I brought home two full boxes of books from my library that I am plowing through. This is the first book from my boxes that I completed this summer. It was, to coin a phrase, a real page-turner. This modern-day mystery featured a summer camp with an abandoned maze, mean girls, ghosts, a golem, math and numerology, and kaballa. This book winningly combines the topics of modern Jewish culture and old world Jewish mysticism.

Dahlia Sherman does not want to go to summer camp, where she will have to live in the shadow of her popular camp counselor older brother. She likes magic, math and reading, and figures she will be bored with crafts and nature hikes. Within minutes of arriving, however, she sees a couple of girl ghosts, and soon begins to have frightening dreams that seem all too real. The characters are well developed and realistic. The captivating story line leaps back and forth between the 1930s and the present. Young readers will need to be aware when following the time shifts, or they may end up confused.

This book is probably best for age ten and up, both because of it's length, and it's subject matter. There are several murders that have taken place in the past (why do you think there are ghosts?), and attempted murders in the present. They are handled tastefully, but still. Dahlia's older brother Tom and a friend buy and drink beer illegally. I'd let my ten year old read it, but perhaps not the eight year old.

Up next on today's schedule - finish organizing my disaster of a bedroom!

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