Sunday, January 29, 2006

The 2006 Newbery Medal Winner and Newbery Honor Books

New children's books I must read:

"The 2006 Newbery Medal winner is Criss Cross written by Lynne Rae Perkins, Greenwillow Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

Criss Cross follows the lives of four 14-year-olds in a small town, each at their own crossroads. This ensemble cast explores new thoughts and feelings in their quest to find the meaning of life and love.

'Writing in a wry, omniscient third-person narrative voice, Perkins deftly captures the tentativeness and incompleteness of adolescence,' said Award Committee Chair Barbara Barstow. 'In 38 brief chapters, this poetic, postmodern novel experiments with a variety of styles: haiku, song lyrics, question-and-answer dialogue and split-screen scenarios. With seeming yet deliberate randomness, Perkins writes an orderly, innovative, and risk-taking book in which nothing happens and everything happens.'

2006 Honor Books

Whittington by Alan Armstrong, illustrated by S.D. Schindler (Random House)

In Whittington, Armstrong creates a glorious barnyard fantasy that seamlessly weaves together three tales: Whittington the cat’s arrival on Bernie’s farm, his retelling of the traditional legend of his 14th-century namesake, and one boy’s struggle to learn to read. These three tales unite the disparate citizens of the barn community in a celebration of oral and written language, the support of friends, the healing power of humor and the triumph of life.

Hitler Youth: Growing Up in Hitler's Shadow by Susan Campbell Bartoletti (Scholastic Nonfiction, an imprint of Scholastic)

How could the Holocaust have happened? Bartoletti delivers a chilling answer by exploring Hitler’s rise to power through the first-hand experiences of young followers whose adolescent zeal he so successfully exploited and the more extraordinary few who risked certain death in resisting. The meticulously researched volume traces the Hitler Youth movement from the time it formally gathered strength in the early 1930s through the defeat of the Third Reich. The grace and clarity of the writing make Hitler Youth: Growing Up in Hitler’s Shadow a powerful addition to Holocaust literature for children.

Princess Academy by Shannon Hale (Bloomsbury Children's Books)

Miri and the other young women of her rocky highland village are forced to leave their close-knit community when the prince must choose a bride in 'The Princess Academy.' Like the miri flower, which sprouts from the cracks in the linder rock, Miri soon becomes the strong, resilient and courageous leader of the academy. The book is a fresh approach to the traditional princess story with unexpected plot twists and great emotional resonance.

Show Way by Jacqueline Woodson, illustrated by Hudson Talbott (G.P. Putnam's Sons)

'And the children leaned in./And listened real hard.' Jacqueline Woodson’s magnificent poem Show Way tells the story of slavery, emancipation and triumph for each generation of her maternal ancestors. She pays tribute to the creative women who guided their 'tall and straight-boned' daughters to courage, self-sufficiency and freedom. Whether with quilts or stories, poems or songs, these women discovered and shared the strength to carry on. 'There’s a road, girl./There’s a road.'"

-from the Newbery Medal homepage

To which race of Middle Earth do I belong?


Wednesday, January 25, 2006

NAR-NI-A! NAR-NI-A! (part two)

"Discovering the Heart of Narnia" in Crossroad 77 last night was a nice event. There were lots of people in Narnian costumes. Boiled brown eggs, toasted bread, sardines, tea, and Turkish delight was served. Just like in the book/movie! = ) So I finally got to taste Turkish delight! = ) It's this gelatin-y sweetie. REALLY sweet. Just a little bit is enough for me. Now that I think of Edmund chomping down on the stuff I feel kinda sick. It's so sweet! A little bit goes a long way, man.

The entrance to the venue was a wardrobe door. We had to walk into the wardrobe and through coats to get to the "snowy woods" room! COOLNESS! There were "Narnian games." (The Edmund who eats the most Turkish delights will be the king of Narnia!) We got to watch clips of the BBC version of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. And I got a lot of spiritual insights about The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe from "King Caesar Conde the Wise, from the High Mountains of Valiant Dreams," the speaker for the night. = ) I've always thought/known that "King Caesar" would make a great university professor. That was confirmed last night. He imparted spirituals truths in/from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe using the Socratic method of teaching by asking questions (instead of telling/lecturing/preaching). His "talk" reminded me of a GOOD university class. = )

There are some things I really have to get off my chest.

The Chronicles of Narnia are NOT allegory. It really annoys me every time a movie critic refers to The Chronicles as Christian allegory. First of all, The Chronicles do not fit the definition of allegory: "in literature, symbolic story that serves as a disguised representation for meanings other than those indicated on the surface. The characters in an allegory often have no individual personality, but are embodiments of moral qualities and other abstractions" (from And secondly, C. S. Lewis did not intend The Chronicles to be allegory. He discouraged people from reading The Chronicles as allegory. The Chronicles are SUPPOSITION. God is God, and He is the God of everything. SUPPOSING there was another world, God would be the God of that world too. How, then, would He rule that other world? What would the story of salvation be like in that world? Lewis believed that Narnia answered SUPPOSALS/"what if" questions. What if Jesus became incarnate in a different sort of world as a lion? What if He had to save that world too? THIS IS NOT ALLEGORY AT ALL.

I also don't like it when people compare the Narnia movie to the Lord of the Rings movies. First of all, the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy is complete. We have yet to see and judge the other Narnia films. Secondly, we have to remember the context of a movie before we judge it. For example, we wouldn't expect a mushy romantic comedy from Quentin Tarantino now, would we? The Lord of the Rings was written for adults. The Chronicles were written for children. The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy is from New Line Cinema. The Narnia movie is from Walden Media and Disney Pictures. Walden Media makes movies for children. Disney Pictures makes movies for "the family."

P.S. Bridge to Terabithia (based on the beautiful book by Katherine Paterson) starts filimg in NEW ZEALAND this month. Yipee! This movie project is also from Walden Media and Disney Pictures. I love Walden Media! I love Disney! = ) The main character, Jess, will be played by that cute kid in Zathura and Little Manhattan. = ) I think he's perfect for the role. Walden Media is also going to make the film adaptation of The Giver by Lois Lowry, another beautiful book for children! I don't know if Disney will be involved with that as well. And I don't know when they will start filming for The Giver.

My Philosophy

"When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up."

- C.S. Lewis

Tuesday, January 24, 2006


I have watched The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe five times now. And I want to watch it AGAIN. I still want to watch Lucy discover Narnia. The look on her face when she discovers Narnia is PRICELESS. I still want to watch Edmund's transformation from sour and sulky to happy and smiling. I'm HAPPY every time I watch the Narnia movie. :)

Just a few of the delightful things about the Narnia movie:

1. Lucy Pevensie/Georgie Henley as Lucy Pevensie - I love Lucy!

2. Tilda Swinton as the White Witch is awesome.

3. Seeing Pauline Baynes illustrations come to life

4. The awesome battle scenes

5. The beautiful music

6. The humor in the movie

7. The awesome characterization of the Pevensie children

I'm now going to a/n talk/event in Crossroad77 about the Narnia movie. :) So I'll probably have more to write about soon. In my next entry I also want to blog about how The Chronicles of Narnia is NOT allegory.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

I am Prince Caspian and Cedric Diggory!

According to the Narnia personality quiz from, I am like Prince Caspian. "As Prince Caspian you are a noble, goodhearted but mischievous scallywag! Fun loving, you are admired for your easy going nature."

And according to the Harry Potter personality quiz (from the same website) I am part of Gryffindor House and like Cedric Diggory. "As a member of Gryffindor, you are brave and loyal." "As Cedric, you are good looking, cool and popular. You are a natural born leader, and are talented and resourceful."

Um, why am I male characters?

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

My Yahoo Avatar!

Yahoo! Avatars

As my friend Ren says, "Not a bad likeness." =)

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (the movie)

Sunday night I watched The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe in the Gateway cineplex with my cousin Kate, my brother JP, and JP's girlfriend Fran [Fuwannie Goo =)]. The Chronicles of Narnia are my favorite books (but my favorite in the series is actually The Horse and His Boy) and I felt like I had been waiting my whole life for the (new) movie versions. So Sunday night was very exciting for me!

It's a great movie. [But no, it isn't better than The Lord of the Rings movies. (The Lord of the Rings are also my favorite books.) But there are more Narnia movies coming up so we'll see. ;)] I'm planning to watch it 3-4 more times! Because, first of all, I love the movie and want to watch it over and over again. I was sad when the movie was over. =( Secondly, I'm a scholar of fantasy and I'm teaching The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe to my Lit 13 class so I should/want to study the movie.

The battle senes in the movie were awesome. And the characterization of the four Pevensie children in the movie was even better than their characterization in the novel. I loved how the characterization was done in the movie! I loved all the details in the movie. The acting was great, especially the acting of Georgie Henley (little Lucy). She was adorable! =) My favorite part of the movie was the scene of Peter and the White Witch duking it out. That, for me, was the scene with the best action, the best acting, and the most palpable emotion in the whole movie.

I'll be able to post more about the movie after I have watched it and studied it a couple more times. For now what I can say is: I want more of it!!!!!! And already I can't wait for the next Narnia movie, which I hear is Prince Caspian. =)

Saturday, January 07, 2006

The Bears

Four of my cousins are bears. Seriously! They are Dino Bear, Charles Bear, Lina Bear, and Bobby Bear. =) They are my younger cousins (their last name is Bear - their dad is an American) and when they were still kids they were often annoying. Hahaha! I wasn't close to them when they were younger. Now they are teenagers and no longer annoying. (Well, Bobby is still, um, quite a handful. Hahaha!) Dino is even on the verge of adulthood. =) I spent almost all my holiday time in Gensan with the Bears. I got close to them and now I consider them my new brothers and sister! I love my Bears! =)