Ebert Fest Part One: The Man, The Literature

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Last week the sixteenth annual Ebert Fest was presented in Roger Ebert's hometown of Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. Ebert passed away shortly before his own curated festival last year. To understand the genius of one of the most popular film critics of all time, it is essential to read his literature to realize just how easily he […]

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Siblings On Screen

April 10, 2014 is National Siblings Day, and there have been a number of these sticky relationships depicted with finesse on the silver screen. Check out these titles for a peek into the secret world of siblings. Your Sister's Sister: Indie directress Lynn Shelton employs her minimalist mumblecore techniques to maximum effect in this contemporary look at Iris […]

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The Zine Scene

Chicago Zine Fest takes place this weekend, from March 14-15, with readings from zines at Hairpin Arts Center and exhibitions at Columbia College. What's a zine, you may ask? Whatcha Mean This book explains exactly what a zine is in the style and format of a small, self-published work, or zine. It provides a great […]

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Strong And Spunky Pint-Size Heroines

Women's history month is about honoring strong and independent women, whether they are famous or everyday heroines. You can also celebrate strong and independent girls! Here are a few fictional pint-size tough and spunky females you might want to get to know. Ella Sarah Gets Dressed: Ella Sarah really, really wants to wear “my pink polka-dot pants, my […]

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Create, Don’t Procrastinate!

With the wintry weather lately, it's no wonder that National Procrastination Week is March 8-14. Why don't you fight the urge to put it off by dipping into your productive and creative side? Bird by Bird contains  some of the most practical advice for creativity and life in general I've ever read. Taking its namesake from advice her […]

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U.S. Presidents Aren’t Boring

Statue of Abraham Lincoln at Lincoln Memorial

Try these tween books on U.S. presidents to find out something you won't learn in school. Two Miserable Presidents: Steve Sheinkin's guide to obscure Civil War history is well researched, yet thoroughly entertaining. It includes grisly details like Senator Charles Sumner's speech claiming the pro-slavery soldiers were "picked from the drunken spew and vomit," and how he […]

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What’s a B-Movie, Anyway?

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Every year, nerds descend on Northwestern University in Chicago to watch B-movies for 24 hours. Like subjects of the show Mystery Science Theater 3000, they cope with watching terrible movies by wisecracking about on-screen events. But why are so many people willing to lose sleep and smell so bad? And what exactly *is* a B-movie, anyway? Ed Wood: A lot […]

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The Biggest Oscar Upsets

Sylvester Stallone's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

American movie fans seem to have a love-hate relationship with the annual announcement of Oscar nominees. Time has vindicated the Academy with several flicks that have become cherished classics, but isn't it more fun to remember Hollywood's biggest upsets? Here are a few controversial choices for best picture from history's annals. Dances with Wolves over Goodfellas, […]

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Food for Thought

If you are anything like me, you are quick to make New Year's resolutions, many revolving around health. If, like me, you are also motivated by guilt, here are a few films about food that should scare you straight. Forks over Knives: This challenging documentary makes the bold claim that many American diseases, like diabetes, cancer and heart […]

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MLK Day For Pre-K

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Martin Luther King, Jr. Day can be a difficult subject to introduce to young readers since it encompasses such large themes. Yet we receive many parent, caregiver and teacher requests for this vital topic around this time of year. Here are some picture books I would recommend to address the themes of unity, peace and diversity that […]

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