30 January 2012

Days of the Blackbird

The Question: How to keep warm
and happy
when it is 
for days 

For those of us living in the Northern Hemisphere, near and above the 45 parallel, it is normally cold, dark and snowy. (Although, so far we've had a mild winter here in Michigan.)

The Sisters have a few secrets on how to get through a long winter:  read good books, keep a pot of tea handy, get outside and enjoy the weather (sometimes we forget, but all we need is one good sled run to get us re-focused!)

The BIGGEST secret is find something to celebrate. So we invite you to celebrate Giorni della Merla, or translated: Days of the Blackbird, with us. We found the wonderful legend via a favorite author, and spinner of legends, Tomie DePaola:
"In this elegant tale, Tomie dePaola imagines how the Days of the Blackbird in northern Italy came to be. Gemma and her father, the Duke of Gennaro, live in a house with a courtyard that fills with birds of all colors through the spring and summer. When the Duke falls ill at the end of summer, Gemma begs the birds to stay to raise his spirits with their song. However, as snow and fierce winds begin to swirl down on the village, the birds must fly south to stay warm, and eventually only one loyal bird remains."

Each year during the Days of the Blackbird, January 29, 30, and 31, we feed the birds, cut out and decorate blackbirds* and feel much warmer in general. We think of white birds turning black, trust in the promise of winter ending and spring returning and we watch as our chickadees, who stay here year round, feast at our bird feeder. To find a copy of Days of the Blackbird, click here.

How do you get through the coldest, grayest days of winter? Do you have any wonderful stories and/or legends that help you smile on the coldest days?

Happy Days of the Blackbird!

*To make the Blackbirds we simply trace some of the wonderful illustrations in Tomie's book and use them to cut shapes and create our own blackbirds.

26 January 2012

The (S)hero challenge

If you put a "S" at the beginning of the word hero you get the word shero & that's what this challenge is about! 

Shero isn't a real word, it should be heroine. Still, I love the word SHERO --even though it isn't in the dictionary!!!!!!!!!!

definition of heroine
from the New Oxford
American Dictionary
Take the Shero Challenge... tell us all about your favorite literary 
heroines or books with a Shero!
Me, The Big Sister, with my favorite "Shero" books, here is a list: (The links lead you to worldcat.org,
don't worry worldcat.org's safe!)

Tamora Pierce 

Madeleine L' engle 

Carolyn Keene 

Louise Erdrich 

E. D. Baker 

Rebecca Tingle 

Louisa May Alcott  
This Challenge is brought to you by The Big Sister, this the first Challenge I've done all by myself --with a little editing help from The Mom. Now I understand why Mom spends so much time working on this, it's so much FUN!
While you're here... do you have a Literary BFF? Take the Literary BFF Challenge and tell me about it! Or take the Herstory Challenge and learn about books that celebrate women in history. I'd also love to hear about books you didn't really like: try the The Calamity ChallengeI'd love to hear from you, feel free to email me, click here and send me your thought on books!
 Happy Reading,

20 January 2012

Get the Scoop! At Your Library: S.O.P.A and P.I.P.A

Introducing a new feature here at Books for Walls Project: Get the Scoop! At Your LibraryWe decided to share research we do, at the library, on timely topics. Enjoy. And please let us know if you have ideas for future features!

No, PIPA and SOPA are not children's book characters or soap or soup. We looked to the American Library Association and a few trusted library websites for help. Here is what we learned:

The letters stand for:




We like the perspective in this letter written by writers, musicians and artists, including author and library advocate Neil Gaiman and the band OK Go (click here for their super fun Rube Goldberg Machine video):
"We urge Congress to exercise extreme caution and ensure that the free and open Internet, upon which so many artists rely to promote and distribute their work, does not become collateral damage in the process." Read full text here
In her letter, posted on The District DispatchCorey Williams, Associate Director of the  Office of Government Relations for the American Library Association Washington Office, explained the American Library Association's position:
  "The ALA is on the record having taken a strong stance in opposition to these bills and we also constructed the PIPA, SOPA and OPEN Act Quick Reference Guide (see below).  In addition, the ALA deplores any legislation that would incentivize and likely increase surveillance of online activity promoted by these bills.  These bills, if passed, would likely blanket Internet activity with an immediate chilling effect – on first amendment free speech rights, intellectual freedom and privacy rights, among others."
The Reference Guide created by the ALA mentioned above, click here to open a PDF with links, click the photo to make them LARGER:

Want more? 
Use your freedom! 
Research and learn... 
head to the library!

17 January 2012

The Where are YOU from? Challenge

Part of our project is to learn about people, books, libraries and reading all over the world. Help us learn, tell us about life in your corner of the world --tell us a story, we sure love stories!

Tell The Sisters (and our readers) a little about where you are from, tell us a highlight, a favorite spot, share a little bit of treasure --even just the name of the town!

11 January 2012

Get a little JOY! (What books do at night, while we're sleeping!)

Last year they brought us Organizing the Bookcase, now Sean Ohlenkamp and Lisa Blonder Ohlenkamp are back. Forget the bookshelf --this time they have taken organizing to a whole new level... an entire book store! As Lisa explained, "I think the actual photography of (Organizing the Bookcase) took something like 11 hours" --we are dying to know how long The Joy of Books took!!!

Thanks for the inspiration Lisa and Sean (and your amazing team!) Sign us up to help you with the Library of Congress!!

10 January 2012

"Books to Unite the Digitally Divided Family"

On Books and Children and Modern Culture: "We gather to ask our annual question: “Can there still be books for the young?” Even now, in these darkening days, while Barnes & Noble eats independent booksellers, and Amazon eats Barnes & Noble. New problems to mask the old ones we never solved, since you can still sit out twelve years of school in the “remedial” program not because you’re “learning disabled” but because you aren’t home at night. Can our books still tell their stories in the age of the “digitally reduced attention span”? Can we still reach a generation whose own parents lost eye contact with them long ago? In the full knowledge that there is no app for eye contact…
Oh, yes. The answer is yes because never have the young needed us more. Never has a young generation on their way to adulthood lived this far from adults. Never has a generation needed an adult voice more, if only on the page and well disguised."
On Writing: "Writing is the most uncentering of experiences, and we really have nothing to say until we get ourselves off the page, off the stage, and let our readers become our characters, try them on for size. And so here is the sacred secret of what we do—and we need to share this with the creative writing teacher: a story is always about something that never happened to the author. E. B. White was never a mouse, or a spider. And Beatrix Potter was never a rabbit. J. K. Rowling did not attend Hogwarts. And Gary Paulsen was never dropped down in the wilderness with nothing in his hand but a hatchet. Stephenie Meyer was never bitten by a you-know-what. We write from observation, not experience. From research, not recollection. All fiction is based on research. We don’t write what we know. We write what we can find out. Every book begins in the library in the hope that it will end there."
From "Books to Unite the Digitally Divided Family" by prolific children's author Robert Peck, from the January/February issue of The Horn Book MagazineClick here to read the full article.

The Mom's favorite magazine: The Horn Book Magazine
Want to find the latest wonderful 
children's literature? 
Look no further!

Robert Peck stirs up a little animal fantasy 
with his latest Secrets at Sea,

Wonderfuly fun reading for 
the whole family!

04 January 2012

New Year, New Book Challenge

A New Year, A Fresh Challenge --nice and simple!

Click comment and tell the Books for Walls Project 
about your first read in 2012.

Start the year off RIGHT! Enter your email address and receive our posts in your email box!:

01 January 2012

Best of BFWP: The Blizzard Challenge

(Another blizzard is heading our way... on New Year's Day!!)

Breaking news: there seems to be a blizzard headed toward Northern Michigan and we think it is a perfect occasion for our first challenge that isn't on a Wednesday!
current color enhanced goes east infrared image
Current Weather Radar of USA.

What do you think? What would you read if you knew you needed to stay home for at least 36 hours? What is the perfect book to read in a blizzard?