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Fold or fold not. There is no try. Tom Angleberger’s “The Strange Case of Origami Yoda” is as much about life at a typical middle school as it is about Star Wars and the wonderful art of origami. Dwight, a sixth-grader with the reputation of an oddball, usually is a little too weird for his classmates. But when he makes an origami puppet of Jedi master Yoda that predicts the future and suggests the best way to deal with tricky situations, Dwight’s classmates start lining up with questions about homework, love and everything in-between.
Sixth grader Tommy gathers students’ case files to determine whether origami Yoda actually works before he takes Dwight’s/Yoda’s advice on a crucial matter…involving a certain girl and the middle school dance. Lots of students get voices in this fun story, and there are Star Wars doodles, tips for folding your own Origami Yoda, and other fun bonus material. And the best part? Much like “Star Wars,” the story continues!
Every student introduced in the first book gets their own back story and continues into the next grade level, when Dwight is asked to leave school. What does Dwight’s nemesis, Harvey, have to do with this turn of events, and does it have anything to do with Harvey’s new puppet, Darth Paper? Read “Darth Paper Strikes Back” and “The Secret of the Fortune Wookiee” to find out what happens when Dwight and his origami Yoda puppet are missing at a crucial time for our middle school heroes and heroines.
I love how these books reflect real issues for middle schoolers and for the eudcational system in general. No topic is safe. Don’t believe me? See what an increased emphasis on standardized testing (amusingly referred to in this series as the “FunTime Menace”) does to Angleberger’s characters in the latest books, “The Surprise Attack of Jabba the Puppet” and the upcoming “Princess Labelmaker to the Rescue!”
I had a blast reading these books. True, I am a huge Star Wars nerd in general, and I’m a big fan of Yoda in particular. But I’m now even more interested in what’s going to happen to these kids–will Harvey ever show a shred of decency? Does Dwight’s Yoda really work? Can the principal really be as bad as the Emperor? All these questions are waiting for you inside the “Origami Yoda” series–as well as drawings, doodles, and directions for you to create your own origami fun. Will you love this series as much as me? That’s hard to answer…”Strong am I with the Force, but not that strong.” I’d love to hear your comments about these books and see your own origami creations. Now excuse me while I try to use all of the library’s paper to create my own origami Millennium Falcon…
Originally published at Books for Dudes – “Origami Yoda” Series.
We recently added “Strongman” to the DBRL collection. The film won the grand jury prize at the Slamdance Film Festival in 2009 and currently has a rating of 100% from critics at Rotten Tomatoes. Here’s a synopsis from our catalog:
A modern cinema-verite classic, Strongman follows the hopes and heartbreaking humanity of professional strongman Stainless Steel, the only person in the world who can bend a penny with his fingers as he attempts to reshape his world with his mighty grasp.
Imagine being able to claim that you live a zero-waste lifestyle. What does that mean and how hard would it be? Is it really possible? In Amy Korst’s book “The Zero-Waste Lifestyle: Live Well by Throwing Away Less,” she gives a blow by blow description of how to come very close to achieving this. In fact, she states, “What if I told you that you could go from an overflowing can perched on the curb each week to making less than five pounds of trash in a year? That taking the trash-free plunge would simplify your life, ease the strain on your pocketbook, and help the planet, all at the same time?”
Recently on a walk I discovered one of my neighbors picking through a huge load of trash left curbside on our street. She had unearthed a set of chef’s knives, among other things. Oh my goodness! It was hard to conceive of throwing those out; they could have been donated to Goodwill or the Salvation Army or given to friends or coworkers (donating items you no longer use is one way to just say no to the landfill). I’ve worked on paring down my waste stream since I’ve become more conscious of my contributions to the landfill, but I have a long way to go to get to zero. If this seems like an overwhelming idea to you, consider that the most important thing to do is start somewhere and choose something that seems manageable for you. For example, you might start buying food and cleaning products in bulk, purchasing used clothing or composting kitchen waste. Korst’s book is very inspiring with lots more suggestions to help you move in this direction. She has certainly motivated me to regroup and continue to take new measures to reduce my waste. If we all work collectively at this we can make a sizeable impact and stake our claim to living more sustainably.
In “Making Home: Adapting Our Homes and Our Lives to Settle in Place,” Sharon Astyk describes how she and her family arrived at the decision to live in a more sustainable manner: “We came to this project simply – we had little money but a strong desire for a good life for ourselves, for our children and for our extended family. We wanted to eat good food, drink clean water, breathe good air. We wanted a home and a place to call our own, a stable place where our kids could live and thrive. We wanted our children to grow up with family. We wanted elderly family to live well as long as they lived. We wanted relationships with good neighbors and reasonable comfort. We wanted to do as little harm to others as possible and have as happy a life as we could. Someone, we thought, had to model what a life with less that produced more could look like. Why not us?” This family has examined the systems in their lives that provide them with what they need (staying warm/cool, access to food and water, shelter, etc.) and figured out ways to provide for themselves using fewer resources while producing more of what they need on their own and by accessing community resources.
If you would like more inspirational models and other ideas on how to live sustainably, come by and take a look at the display on the 2nd floor of the Columbia Public Library. From January 12 to February 9 we’ll have lots of books on this and related topics including renewable energy resources, energy conservation, nature conservation and climate change.
Zero Waste Encouragement Patrol by Ajay Tallam via Flickr. Used under creative commons license.
Steung Meanchey Garbage Dump by Raphael Surber via Flickr. Used under creative commons license.
A film about power, passion and the fine wine game. The great chateaux of Bordeaux struggle to accommodate the voracious appetite for their rare, expensive wines, which have become a powerful status symbol in booming China. Narrated by Russell Crowe.
I don’t make official New Year’s resolutions, but I do enjoy the clean slate feeling that comes each January. And I can’t help but catch a bit of the self-improvement bug, spurred on by my holiday overindulgence and the fact that January is Get Organized Month. If you are also looking to be a better you in 2014, your library can help.
Aspiring to improve your eating habits? Check out this program:
Learn to Eat Smart This Year
Monday, January 20, 2014 › 6:30-7:30 p.m.
Columbia Public Library, Friends Room
Dietitians Megan Kemp and Lauren Knaup will show you how to stick to your New Year’s resolution of eating healthier food and avoiding crash diets after the holiday binge. Sample some foods and go home with healthy recipes. Co-sponsored by the Central Missouri Dietetics Association.
Want to learn a new skill? Universal Class, available for free with your library card, offers hundreds of online, self-paced courses taught by actual instructors who communicate with you via email and evaluate your progress. These are rich continuing education courses in everything from accounting and real estate to cooking and crafting.
Ready to declutter? Here’s a whole slew of books to help you get started.
Finally, if you have made a resolution but are worried about keeping it, join us on Wednesday, January 15 at 6:30 p.m. at the Columbia Public Library (Conference Room B) for “Don’t Give Up on Your New Year’s Resolutions,” presented by Phoenix Programs, Inc.
The post A New You in the New Year With Help From Your Library appeared first on DBRL Next.
Wii U Family Game Time
Columbia Public Library
Monday, January 20, 2-3:30 p.m. -OR- 5:30-7 p.m.
Drop in to try out the library’s Wii U game console. Become a dancing superstar in “Just Dance 4″ or a bowling champion playing “Wii Sports.” We’ll also have snacks and a selection of new books for older kids and teens. Ages 10 and older. Parents welcome. Registration begins Tuesday, January 7.
Teen Game Night
Southern Boone County Public Library
Friday, January 24, 6:30 p.m.
Challenge your friends to a game on our Wii U console or to a board game tournament. We’ll have various games available as well as supplies for art projects. Refreshments provided.
Originally published at Upcoming Teen Game Nights.
We’ve had a great year of reviewing and recommending books, community events and library programs here at DBRL Next, and we thank you for your readership and contributing to our success. To ring in the New Year, here is a recap of our most popular posts from 2013. Read on for some great book recommendations from staff, patrons and around the Web.
- As part of this year’s Summer Reading program, we asked our readers to share books they had found personally groundbreaking. Read the comments at the end of this post to see the results.
- Celebrate strong women and check out these titles with not one damsel in distress.
- If you haven’t been following the recommendations of the library’s resident gentleman, you are missing out on some great books as well as some pretty hilarious writing from the gentleman himself. His profile of Lauren Beukes, thanks in part to a tweet from that author about his review, was his most-read piece this year.
- 2013 saw the launch of LibraryReads, a monthly top ten book list identifying those titles librarians nationwide identify as their favorites publishing that month. You, too, can read like a librarian!
- Read about the book one of our writers considers the most beautiful novel he has ever read.
- There are many reasons to pick up a book – to escape, to be entertained, to explore new topics, to expand our understanding of other people and places. Another popular post this year was this list of fiction for understanding mental illness.
- The crafting and upcycling craze of recent years continues, and we shared one librarian’s list of ideas for transforming your stacks of t-shirts into something new.
- It’s cold outside, but you can warm up by revisiting this list of recommended summer vacation reads.
- If your New Year’s resolutions include a radical reduction of your carbon footprint or a commitment to living with less, read this post about “living tiny.”
- Finally, at DBRL Next we enjoy digging up overlooked gems from the bottom shelves of nonfiction. Here are some bottom shelf books from the 600s that are sure to make your mouth water.
Happy New Year to all of our readers!