Friday, June 22, 2012

Different Shades of LIght

     In the evening before darkness swallows the earth, twilight takes over for a few moments sharing its shadowy shades of light. The coolness sets in as the sun retreats. As a child I remember those long days turning into night, fireflies flickering, letting us know summer had arrived.
    
Light plays a significant role in our lives. We may not recognize this concept of how different shades of light or the lack of, can impact our memories and imaginations. For instance, Claude Monet, the great French Impriessionist painter, realized this concept as he painted famous scenes of countrysides and nature. What many people do not know is that he painted the same picture several times during different times of the day. Why? Because of his obssession and fascination with light.
    
H. H. Bennett, one of the world's first outdoor photographers, shared the same passion. He took photos of the same thing at different times of the day. In order to get a better exposure with his camera, Henry even white-washed the inside of a cave.

The morning turns sinister with a canopy of dark clouds overhead. Thunderstorms, with their wild lightning, create instant bursts of light What once frightened me as a child, I now enjoy. Today, look for different shades of light.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

My LIfe Long Love of Alliteration

The allure of alliteration began long before my adult years. My first reading of Edgar Allen Poe's The Tell Tale Heart rendered me radically changed. This timeless tale taught me appreciation for the fine art of alliteration. Alliteration is "the literaty device where words begin with the same sounds and are placed next to each other for effect." (http://www.reference.com)  

Several years ago while teaching a unit on alliteration, I expidited an educational experiment. My students combined their spelling words with an English assignment to produce alliteraive spelling stories. I followed suit...what a hoot! Pressing my luck with such stories as "Pete from Pitsburg," I prattled on and on about a professional pithy plumber. The short stories lacked in length, of which I was perfectly pleased. My pocket of prose was precisely the perfect length.

As I read the adventures of Pete, I peered over my desk at my pupils. They raptly listened to me repeat a plethora of "P" words.  Did I mention his brother Pat? Pathetic, I know. You get the picture. This lesson lured in my eleven-year-olds. My class adored those adventurous adults always in a mysterious mess. My fifth-graders were happily hooked on alliteration. Those are the teaching moments I miss the most!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

These Are Just a Few of My Favorite Books...

The Teacher's Funeral by Richard Peck
This book makes my A+ list. Seriously funny novel written by Peck will have you ROTFL!!! I do mean rolling on the floor laughing your head off. His mix of humor and historical fiction combines my favorite writing element along with my favorite genre. On the eve of school, two brothers learn their most hated teacher drops dead. They celebrate. They jump for joy. They whoop and holler. Until they find out the new teacher is their very own SISTER!!
Try Peck's other brilliantly written historical fiction novels, The River Between Us, A Long Way From Chicago, A Year Down Yonder, and Here Lies the Librarian.

From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg
This Classic book written in 1967 is the perfect summer read. An art mystery unfolds after a bossy sister and her little brother run away from home...to the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art! E. L. Konigsburg also wrote The Westing Game...hence my blog's title is a play on words...The Writing Game:-)

The Alex Rider Series by Anthony Horowitz
As an educator for years, I taught many boys including my own two sons. My quest, "Books for Boys," led me to author Anthony Horowitz. His faced-past, roller-coaster-ride, James Bond-like books will have you hooked on his books for good. These thick novels take you around the world to exoctic places, third world countries, and everywhere in between. Set in England, fourteen-year-old Alex Rider, finds himself working for MI6 (England's equivalent of America's CIA). He dodges evil, solves mysteries, and finds himself caught in the middle of a tangle of lies. Will he ever be a normal teenager again? Will his life ever be free from the world of espionage? Will Alex ever be the same after eight novels?  Horowitz has also written The Gate Keepers series and The Diamond Brothers Mysteries.

Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett
Chasing Vermeer is a game of chase around the city of Chicago. Two twelve-year-olds, Calder and Petra, are in hot pursuit of the famous stolen painting A Lady Writing. With intrigue, mysterious letters, and everyone's a suspect, this art mystery will have you running to read her next two books in this series, The Wright 3 and The Calder Game.

The Deadly Curse of Toco-Rey by Frank Peretti
My all-time favorite read-out-loud book happens to be set deep in the South American jungles where brother and sister tag along with their dad on a trip to remember. Just remember, not everything is as it seems. My fifth grade students jumped out of their seats when the chapters ended demanding me to read more;-) Another superbly written young adult novel by

Hangman's Curse is another superbly wriiten young adult novel by Frank Peretti.  Filled with nail-biting suspense,the grand finale, along with an explosion of creepy spiders, will leave you gasping for air!!

Surviving Hitler: A Boy in the Nazi Death Camps by Andrea Warren
This true stroy of twelve-year-old Jack Mendlebaum pushes your emotions to the breaking point. He is separated from his family soon after the war begins and finds himself fighting everyday for his own life. This book reads like an fast-paced adventure novel. Jack tells himself it's a game, and he must win against starvation, dysentery, the soldiers and even the doctor with a vival of poison ready to end Jack's life. Jack never expects to find anything of value in the concentration camps, but he finds lasting friendship among the horrors of war.

City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau
An underground city created to sustain the survivors of the end of the world has been running for over 200 years. But the ancient generator, that creates light and energy for the entire city, is failing fast. Leena and Doon must unravel the mystery and brave a great escape before their world crashes
in on them and the ones they love. Will they unlock the key to long lost letter? Will they find life above on the forgotten earth?

Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
The utltimate survival book, Hatchet, will keep you cheering long after the end of the novel. Brian's flight to the North abruptly ends whent the pilot has a heartache mid-air. He survivies the crash and learns the way of the woods. Just when he starts to figure things out, BAM, he gets hit again. Tornadoes, hunger, a moose; nature has a way of lashing out without mercy.

Lawn Boy by Gary Paulsen
A young boy needs to earn a few bucks to repair his tire on his ten speed. His Grandmother gives him an old lawnmower. His business begins. Mowing a few lawns, life is good. His business booms and expands. He hires a consultant. His consultant invests his money in the stock market. He winds up owning a prize fighter, Joey-Pow. By the end of the book, his invested measly forty bucks ends up like around..oh...$480,000.

Al Capone Does My Shirts and Al Capone Shines My Shoes by Gennifer Choldenko
These two novels, set in Alkatraz, revolve around the famous prisoner, Al Capone. These historic novels are terrific reads!

Happy Reading!!

September #IWSG: Change Is in the Air

Come join Alex J. Cavanaugh and the Insecure Writer's Support Group. We discuss our fears, insecurities, ups and downs of the wri...