Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Results are in! Can you guess the top book of the year?

The top 50 books of school year 2011-2012 here at Melissa High School are on a Pinterest board. Check it out:

The Library Media Center Pinterest

Friday, March 23, 2012

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly: Books to Movies

I might very well be biased. Alright, I am totally biased! Books that become movies are often disappointing, rarely satifying, and sometimes downright awful. Here's my list of the best and worst adaptions:

The Good
  • The Harry Potter series was lovingly recreated for the most part with input from author J.K. Rowling. There were a few missteps (McGonagall sending students to the dungeon? No way!) but the filmmakers got it right for the most part. How thrilling was it to see Diagon Alley and Hogwarts Castle come to life? The dragon escaping Gringotts was brilliant.
  • The Lord of the Rings series was a visual stunner and only the most die-hard fan of the book would find much to dis in Peter Jackson's films. My own gripe is not including Tom Bombadil. A lot of his lines went to Treebeard instead.
  • Pride and Prejudice was brilliantly filmed for British telly back in 1995. Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy....whoah. The scene of him jumping in the pond? Just saying'!
  • Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (the 1971 original, with Gene Wilder) perfectly captured the magic and whimsy of Roald Dahl's book.
  • To Kill a Mockingbird. Gregory Peck was the perfect Atticus.
  • The Outsiders (1983) was perfectly faithful to S.E. Hinton's book and the casting was great, a who's who of young Hollywood, with Patrick Swayze, Tom Cruise, Ralph "Karate Kid" Macchio, Emilio Estevez, C. Thomas Howell, Matt Dillon, and Leif Garrett. One complaint...Dally is supposed to be a towheaded blond. Not a look Matt Dillon could've pulled off.
  • Fight Club (1999) didn't lose any of Chuck Pahlaniuk's edgy brilliance in the film version. Of course, David Fincher directing had a lot to do with that.
  • Holes (2003). Even though I couldn't get the image of Shia LaBoeuf as Louis Stevens out of my head, he was pretty good in this one. Funny, wise, true to the original story. Author Louis Sachar wrote the screenplay.
The Bad
  • The Lightning Thief. Are you kidding me? Campers don't live in cabins by father, no Clarice, no Ares, no Titans. Annabeth should've been blonde. Grover reminded me of Jar Jar Binks (never a good thing). He was a protector, not just comic relief! Gah!
  • Anything originally written by Stephen King except The Shining and Stand By Me. Honestly. Even when King directed the movie himself, it turned out lousy.
  • Eragon. The movie kept the shell of the story and removed the heart. No character development at all. And it was boring. Directed by the same guy who ruined Master and Commander and The Bourne Identity.
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events. This one was doomed from the start despite a good performance by Jim Carrey. It's just not Lemony Snicket without the narrator's voice but it would be awkward to translate this to film.
  • Stormbreaker. Alex Pettyfer was too old and the writers decided there needed to be more laughs than action/suspense. Bomb.
The Ugly
  • Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant (2009). Worst adaption of anything, ever. Darren is magically American. Grateful these filmmakers didn't get their hands on Harry Potter! Steve and Darren battle (Huh? That happens much later.), John C. Riley brings an unwanted Stepbrothers comic vibe to the role of menacing Mr. Crepsley. No Debbie. Mr. Tiny sides with the Vampaneze? Spare me.
  • The Cat in the Hat. Mike Myers should be condemned to making Wayne's World sequels for all time as punishment for desecrating Dr. Seuss. Unfunny, too long, and oddly inappropriate jokes. Mike, go make Austin Powers 3.
  • A Wrinkle in Time (2003) Horrible CGI and special effects. Annoying, no-purpose changes in characters' names and appearances (No glasses for Meg, No red hair for Calvin). All the energy and fierceness of Meg were sucked out. The Man with the Red Eyes and IT were essentially merged. Themes were glossed over and reduced to cliches. Thanks a lot, Disney. You ruined it.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Books Everyone is Reading

Want to know what everyone's reading? Here are the top circulating books in the LMC since September:

  1. The Death Cure by James Dashner
  2. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  3. The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan
  4. Unwind by Neal Shusterman
  5. Birth of a Killer by Darren Shan
  6. Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer
  7. Crank by Ellen Hopkins
  8. For the Win by Cory Doctorow
  9. Identical by Ellen Hopkins
  10. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Carlos Will be President!

We've had two amazing sessions with with author Matt de la Pena today. We just finished lunch....Matt predicts that our own Carlos C. will be president some day. CC made a great observation about We Were Here. I am totally cool with CC being our nation's leader in a few years :)

Here's Matt eating lunch and Juan being Juan:

We've had great conversations about author's craft... about where authors get (steal!) ideas for characters, about the musicality of language, and about the importance of revision (104 times?!).

Such a great day here in the library.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Author Matt de la Peña to Visit MHS!

Matt de la Peña
 This makes the second year in a row that small but mighty Melissa High School has hosted a nationally known author. Woot!

Matt de la Pena is the author of several highly-regarded young adult novels, including Ball Don’t Lie, Mexican White Boy, and We Were Here.  These are what I call “street stories”, stories of young people growing up in dire circumstances, facing big challenges. They are gritty and realistic. Matt went to college on a basketball scholarship and many of his stories involve sports. He is also a teacher of creative writing at NYU.

You guys will hear him in one of three sessions. See below:

All three sessions will be in the library. There will be no study hall that day.

Session One (All students who have English 1st or 2nd period)

9:05 to 10:05
All students will report to first period for attendance, then come to the library.
When students exit the library, they will be handed a pass to second period
Session Two (All students who have English 3rd or 4th period)
10:50 to 11:50
All students will report to third period for attendance, then come to the library.
When students exit the library, they will be handed a pass to 4th period

Session Three (All students who have English 6th, 7th, or 8th period)
1:45 to 2:45
All students will report to 6th period for attendance, then come to the library.
When students exit the library, they will be handed a pass to 7th period.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Teen Read Week 2011!

Look out, Cardinals! TRW 2011 is coming soon: October 17th - 21st. We've got a full week of activities to celebrate books:

Monday: Wear Your Teen Read Week Shirt! (See Mrs. Niche to order. Order by November 5th)
*Film a book trailer: Create a short commercial for your favorite book then come into the library during English to film it. Just talk on camera about a favorite book. That's it! Going on all week. Videos go on our YouTube and TeacherTube channels. Make a commercial, get an ice cream party ticket.
*Quote Graffiti: Pick a favorite line or quote from a book and write it on the sidewalk during English class.
*Voting for the Talon Awards begins

Tuesday: Character Costume or T-Shirt Day

Dress like a character from a book or make and wear a t-shirt representing that character. Stop by the library to be photographed in your costume/shirt. Everyone who is photographed gets a ticket to the ice cream party on Friday.
Wednesday: Poster Contest

Advertise your favorite book/series/author. Everyone who turns in a poster to be judged gets a ticket to the ice cream party. Turn in posters by the end of lunch (5th period) Wednesday. Must show effort to earn ticket!

Thursday: The Pajama Read-In & Make a Music Playlist (NEW!)

 Read-in during second and third periods: Come dressed in appropriate pajamas. Bring your pillow, your blanket, and something good to read. Read!
Make a music playlist to go with a book you like. Tell which songs go with what action in the book and why. Print it out for display. Give to Mrs. Niche to earn an ice cream ticket!
Friday: Ice Cream Party Hot fudge, banana splits, whoo hoo!
• Ice cream party during lunch for those who’ve earned ice cream tickets
• The Talon Awards announced.
• Costume and poster contest award winners announced
• Book trailers unveiled