Graphic Novel Podcast

Infoblog has a podcast featuring Michael Cart on the best graphic novels where he defines the genre of graphic novels and gives some of the best of the best. No download is needed, you can listen to the podcast right in your browser.

Teens & Classic Lit

Teen reading: Read for fun or for future? is a newspaper article saying that college professors are saying that students are less likely to have read the classics before going to college. As an English major, I have read my share of the classics and now I read almost entirely children’s and teen books.
Yes, classics are important. Having a grounding in them is an important way to judge modern fiction. But isn’t the burden less on teens and more on the schools they attend? I had a good grounding in classical literature because I took those classes in high school. Then I added on to that with additional classes in college.
Even if that is not happening in high schools, teens can still choose to remedy any lacking reading themselves. There are many websites and reading lists for college teens. Just take a look and see if you have read ANY of them.
Hmmm. Maybe I am putting it back on the teens themselves afterall. My final word is READ! Just READ!

Cornelia and the Audacious Escapades of the Somerset Sisters

Cornelia and the Audacious Escapades of the Somerset Sisters by Lesly M. M. Blume.
This book is a charmer of a story.  It is the story of lonely, 11-year-old Cornelia, who finds it hard to make friends, hides behind her large vocabulary, and has an impossible relationship with her famous pianist mother.  As Cornelia grows lonelier and lonelier, she meets her new next-door neighbor who happens to be Virginia Somerset, one of the four famous Somerset sisters who traveled the world together.  In Virginia Cornelia finds a kindred spirit who listens to her, understands her and tells incredible stories.  Cornelia begins spending lots of time in Virginia’s apartment where each room has been redone to reflect a country she traveled to and with each visit, Cornelia hears a wonderful story or two.  By the end of the book, Cornelia has found herself changed and her mother as well. 
I often don’t like framed stories, because they are a little too neatly done and the stories mesh too well.  In this book though, the stories Virginia tells are wonderfully fresh and fun.  Readers will feel their own spirits rise along with Cornelia’s.  Cornelia is a shy, lonely child whom readers will also respond to.  She makes a great foil through which to see the gusto and verve that the Somerset sisters had in their lives. 
This would be a good readaloud for classes interested in women’s history or history in general.  Recommend it to any reader who enjoys history or girls having adventures.