Thursday, May 30, 2013

Armchair BEA Day 3: Giveaways & Literature

The fun of Armchair BEA marches on! Today we are sharing how books have changed our lives. It's also giveaway day for Armchair BEA! Thanks to Walden Pond Press, we have a giveaway of The Girl From Felony Bay by J.E. Thompson. Visit our review to fill out the form and get yourself entered to win.  Jen also has a giveaway of Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality by Elizabeth Eulberg for you, see below to read more about it. 


Which works of art have changed your life?  Be creative and make a list outlining books featuring specific subjects (i.e., animals, recommended prize-winners, outstanding authors, etc.). Truth be told, every book I have read has changed my life. Of course, I'll admit, some impacted my life in much larger ways than others. James Joyce's book A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man completely changed my teaching life. I had a super, mega, insanely difficult time reading Mr. Joyce's semi-autobiographical novel when I was in high school. 
A few years ago, I realized that if you asked me about reading at that point in my high school career, I would have spewed out my frustrations and utter dislike of Mr. Joyce. Lucky for me, I already loved reading before my encounter with the man otherwise known as Mr. Joyce so my reading life and I survived. BUT, I do have Mr. Joyce to thank for changing my teaching life because when I remembered my supreme and ultimate dislike of Portrait, I was able to totally get that we can't force kids into books. Choice is so important. When I made this connection, I totally went through my bookshelves at my parents' to find my copy of Portrait and I have showed it to lots of students since then...especially all the places where I wrote, "huh?" in the margins. I have aboslutely no idea what I even kept that book, but I did and I'm glad I did! I tell people how if you don't like reading, then you just haven't found the right book yet! And I do believe that if we can connect kids with that book that's just right for them, then we find the book that changes their life.  

In high school, I yearned for girly books with characters experiencing some of the same things I was. It's the best feeling to know that young adult literature has completely blown up because there are so many more books out there for kids to connect with. Over the weekend, I devoured Elizabeth Eulberg's book Take a Bow. Where was she and where were here books when I was in high school? Actually, she was probably in high school, too...but still, totally wish her books were around then but let's celebrate that they are around now! 
I saw Elizabeth recently for a book signing of her most recently published book Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality. I haven't read it yet but it sounds awesome and I'll definitely be reading it soon. And maybe you will, too! Click on this link to enter a giveaway of Elizabeth Eulberg's book Revenge of the Girls with the Great Personality!


Which works of art have changed your life?  Be creative and make a list outlining books featuring specific subjects (i.e., animals, recommended prize-winners, outstanding authors, etc.). I am lucky enough to be part of a the Amelia Elizabeth Walden Book Award committee. Our goal is to find a book that is the epitome of literary merit, has widespread teen appeal, and promotes a positive approach to life. Since I cannot talk about the books we are discussing currently for the 2013 award, I would love to talk about the finalists and winner from last year.
     When a book is literary, it is so easy to realize because you get lost in the words. You can imagine every little essence described in the book and you are filled with emotions as you delve into the plot. Last year's five AEWA books are perfect examples of this. While reading all of the books that were honored, I kept my flags near by because I couldn't stop marking amazing pieces of text. Today I want to share with you some of my favorites from each of the books: 

"She said God had blessed me with an abundance of spirit, and not to ever squash it down. She said there was goodness in everything and everyone, and it was our job to let that goodness shine...'God loves you even on your blackest days, and He will always, always be there to guide you home. All you have to do is look for the light of his love. As long as you remember that one thing, why, then you can cast off the darkness and shine again, can't you?'"(Shine, Ch. 9) 

"I often practiced drawing by sitting in the basement of the gallery and copying works from my father's collection. All the expressionist artists had different styles, but they tended to use thick, harsh paint strokes or thin, jagged pen lines.  There was nothing smooth or easy about any of their work or the worlds they depicted.  I preferred their paintings and drawings of whores, exposing themselves to men on the street and in brothels. 
     But Dix, Grosz, and most of the other modern artists my father represented had fled Germany since the Nazis' rise to power. Hitler had deemed their art degenerate, and galleries were forbidden to show their work.  Many artists were arrested for public indecency or on political charges." (Berlin Boxing Clubp. 27)

"Lugh got born first. One Midwinter Day when the sun hangs low in the sky. 
Then me. Two hours later. 
That pretty much says it all. 
Lugh goes first, always first, and I follow on behind. 
An that's fine. 
That's right. 
That's how it's meant to be." (Blood Red Road, p. 1) 

"They took me in my nightgown. 
     Thinking back, the signs were there- family photos burned in the fireplace, Mother sewing her best silver and jewelry into the lining of her coat late at night, and Papa not returning form work.  My younger brother, Jonas, was asking questions. I asked questions too, but perhaps I refused to acknowledge the signs.  Only later did I realize that Mother and Father intended we escape.  We did not escape
     We were taken." (Between Shades of Grayp. 3) 

"and the moon in this place
is wearing a pale, thin dress
as it seems to jump from behind
one cloud to another, hiding
its exquisite face from us." (Under the Mesquite, p. 144)

Is there a book that changed your life? We would love to hear about it! Is there one book that really resonated with you or made you a reader? We always love to hear your stories!

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