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…
View More about The Zine Scene

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…
View More about Strong and Spunky Pint-Size Heroines

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…
View More about Create, Don’t Procrastinate!

U.S. Presidents Aren’t Boring

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…
View More about U.S. Presidents Aren’t Boring

What’s a B-Movie, Anyway?

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…
View More about What’s a B-Movie, Anyway?

The Biggest Oscar Upsets

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…
View More about The Biggest Oscar Upsets

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…
View More about Food for Thought

MLK Day For Pre-K

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…
View More about MLK Day For Pre-K

Native Tales: Not Just for November

We experience a flurry of readers seeking informational books and folklore during November, Native American Heritage Month. Here are a few of my favorite readalouds written by Native authors. Jingle Dancer by Cynthia Leitich Smith: The narrative revolves around the cultural keystones of a powwow and a jingle dance. The repetitive rhythm of the text lends reassurance…
View More about Native Tales: Not Just for November