I'm taking a little blog/Facebook/Twitter break for the rest of the month so I can catch up on a few important things (including sleep!)
Photo by San Diego Shooter
I've been reading a bit about Martin Luther King Jr's prophetic last speech, given April 3, 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee. It's so important to have heroes like Dr. King. After all the obstacles he came up against, all the resistance, all the threats, he stood strong. On what would be his last night, when he was feeling too ill to speak, he still came up to that microphone to do what he did best. He strengthened others through his words. He gave them power. He was fearless so they could be fearless.
You can read the entire Mountaintop speech at American RadioWorks.
In honor of the day, here are a couple reviews of two excellent children's books about civil rights:
When I was a kid, I always felt sorry for all the poor kids who lived in warm climates and didn't get to have snow days! Today, work was canceled, so I got to spend the day tucked warmly inside, listening to Andrew Bird's Noble Beast, working on my new novel, and making delicious cornbread with honey butter (if it turns out well, I'll post the recipe on Friday). I wish every day could be a snow day!
So you can enjoy a bit of my lovely day, too, here's a cool live version of "Oh No."
Andrew Bird: Oh No
So today is kind of like the Oscars in the kidlit world. Today, the American Library Association bestows huge names like "Caldecott" and "Newbery" and "Printz" on the best children's books of 2010. The lists came out this morning, to much ballyhoo and celebration.
You can view the complete list of winners at the ALA website, but here are the bits I was most excited about:
A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip and Erin Stead
Won the Caldecott Medal!
The timeless charm of this book made it a shoo-in if you ask me. You can read my original blog post about Amos here.
One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia
Won The Coretta Scott King Award and a Newbery Honor Award!
Well-deserved. I loved how Williams-Garcia balanced humor and powerful moments in a story about three young girls who spend a summer at a Black Panthers day camp in the 1960s.
Wednesday, I posted a Sondre Lerche song from the movie Dan in Real Life, so how could I resist posting a clip from the movie today?
This is one of those movies that I can watch over and over again and it's not because it's amazing or mind-blowing. It won't change your life. It's simply a sweet/funny/sad story about Dan, a guy who is trying to raise three daughters, have a career, and find a way to get on with his life after his wife passes away.
Yes, the fact that Steve Carrell is the lead is a huge reason this movie is so great. He is so pathetic and endearing and hilarious as Dan. But the thing that puts it over the edge for me is that it's a movie about family. I come from a family of six kids, and when you're all on top of each other in the same house, nothing is private. Everything is fair game for dinner table conversation and merciless teasing. I can't help but howl with laughter at the way Dan's family tries to get involved with his parenting, his work, and his love life. This clip (while a bit mean to poor Ruthie Draper) is a perfect example. The song cracks me up every time.
Dan in Real Life: The Ruthie Pig-face Draper Scene
Over the break, Kevin and I spent a fair amount of time on the couch in our pajamas watching movies. We pulled out old John Cusack chestnuts, black-and-white screwball comedies, and new documentaries. When it's snowing buckets outside, there's nothing better than being cozy inside with tea and Christmas cookies and a stack (or Netflix instant queue) full of good movies.
One of my picks was Dan in Real Life, which is one of my favorites of the past few years. Watching it again reminded me how much music can make a movie. Norwegian singer/songwriter Sondre Lerche did all the music for the film, and I think it was a perfect match. I love the movie because it is lighthearted and silly, but with an underlying tension and sadness that feels very real. Kind of like this song exactly:
Sondre Lerche: My Hands Are Shaking