Financial expert Gordon Pape (father of three) teams up with his daughter Deborah Kerbel (mother of two) in a new book that gives parents a step-by-step approach to raising money-savvy kids. Anyone with children between the ages of 5 and 17 shouldn't miss this talk.
Thursday, January 31, 2013, from 7-8 pm at Riverdale Branch, 370 Broadview Avenue (corner of Broadview and Gerrard). No registration required.
Riverdale Branch is hosting a free creative arts program for children ages 9-12 called Swallowing Clouds. Working with professional dancers, musicians and an author, the children will be guided through an inspiring creative journey leading up to an exciting performance. The workshop is run by Tiger Princess Dance Projects, a local not-for-profit arts group.
The Swallowing Clouds workshop takes place from November 5-28, 2012, on Mondays from 4:00-5:30 and on Wednesdays from 4:00-6:00. The performance will take place on Saturday December 1 at 11:00 am.
Please register in advance at 416-393-7720 or in person at Riverdale Library, 370 Broadview Avenue (at the corner of Broadview and Gerrard). We're looking forward to it!
Have you been thinking about starting a small business? Marion Annau will teach you how to choose a business structure, how to understand and negotiate contracts, how to understand the legal aspects of hiring, and about intellectual property issues.
Ms. Annau is the President and Founder of Connect Legal, and also serves on the Board of Advisors of the George Brown Institute of Entrepreneurship and Community Innovation. Registration is not required for this program.
Please join us on Thursday, October 18, 2012, at 6:30 p.m.
Riverdale Library is located at 370 Broadview Avenue, on the corner of Broadview and Gerrard.
"Greetings, inferior one. I am Vordak the incomprehensible. Who you are doesn't matter. What does matter is my dastardly decision to add the world of book publishing to my growing list of conquests. Without even trying very hard, I have created a book of such unbelievable brilliance that it dwarfs all other literature preceeding it throughout the course of human history."
One thing Vordak isn't, is modest. One thing he is, though, is funny. Very, very funny. Oops! I meant scary, of course...you see, unlike the superheroes your son or daughter might have read about in the past, who are all about taking responsibility for your power, protecting the weak, and so on, Vordak is evil. Just pure evil. "I'm talking 'willing to pull the moon into a collision course with the Earth by means of a powerful, nuclear-powered tractor beam in order to get your way' evil." And his books (he's up to three so far) are all about getting kids to discover their inner bad guy and rule the world. I defy anyone to read this without laughing out loud at least once.
How to Grow Up and Rule the World includes such useful information as selecting a gut-wrenchingly evil name, how to create a lair, and how to select a henchman. Mr. Incomprehensible clearly knows his stuff. Say, I wonder why he isn't ruling the world?
This book is a great choice for middle-school readers who like their humour wacky and smart, and who still like lots of pictures enlivening their text. Here are book trailers for the first two volumes:
Don't miss the other Vordak the Incomprehensible books, or Vordak's awesome website!
If I were ever to indulge myself with a collection, I know exactly what it would be--table china (with perhaps a secondary collection of vintage tablecloths). I'm not talking about collecting in one pattern, either--who would want to limit themselves when there's so much variety out there? I come by my love of beautifully laid tables honestly--my mother set the bar very high, with rich and memorable tables set for every Christmas, Easter, and family event. Her sense of aesthetics and occasion influenced me deeply.
Some truly wonderful books about table china have been published in the past several years--not dry lists of patterns and values, but browseable, involving and exquisitely photographed volumes. My current favourite is Dish: 813 Colorful, Wonderful Dinner Plates by Shax Riegler. Riegler is a journalist, a collector of plateware and a scholar (his biography says that he is "now completing a Ph. D. from the Bard Graduate Center for Studies in the Decorative Arts, Design, and Culture"). The focus here is definitely on the plates--the backdrops are clean, with no tablecloths or other accoutrements to distract the eye. I love the variety we see here--from amazingly ugly Tortoiseshell ware (a trend in the 18th century) to themes such as monogrammed, floral, or animal patterns. From antique to modern, from anonymous designers to dishware designed by Pablo Picasso or Alexander Calder, from children's plates to Christmas dishes, it's all here for us to admire. My own favourites (although it's so hard to choose) include the seriously elegant dishes designed for the annual Nobel Prize banquet, and the playful, contemporary Jane Jenni melamine picnic plates. Here are some interior shots from the book:
A little narrower in scope, but equally gorgeous, is At Home With Wedgwood: The Art of the Table by Tricia Foley. I have a weakness for Wedgwood china for two reasons--Wedgwood's Osborne pattern is the china I picked out when I married, and it's graced our table for many happy occasions with friends and family. Also, I've met Lord Wedgwood briefly several years ago, and I found him to be a very warm and gracious man.
Foley curates her selections by focussing on either a person and their collection, a designer, or a type of china with each chapter. Although I associate Wedgwood primarily with classic traditional pieces, Foley also showcases some modern designers such as Vera Wang or Barbara Barry. The photographs are luscious and the tableware is often shown as part of a set table or in some other vignette style. There is also an inspiring chapter on Wedgwood's famous basalt busts.
Here's an unrelated shot of a teacup in my Osborne pattern:
Finally, here are some more "dishy" books in our collection:
What's your fingernail style? Whether you're going for funky, fun, or glamorous, we'll show you tips and tricks to perfect nails. All materials supplied for this free and fun spa afternoon for girls ages 8-15. Registration is required.
Saturday July 21, 1:30-3:00 pm at Riverdale Branch, 370 Broadview Avenue. (416) 393-7720.
Summer is the time for pleasure reading and book indulgence. And just in time, Chicago comic artist Jeffrey Brown has just come out with one of the best funny books I've read all year: Darth Vader and Son. The premise is simple: the Sith Lord as a modern-day Dad, juggling running his evil empire with raising his kids as a hands-on single father. I've seen a similar premise before in the Tiny Titans graphic books (where the evil supervillan Slade is cast as a responsible school principal) but it's never been so entertainingly explored as here. With lines like "When I was your age, we didn't even have Star Destroyers..." or "It is pointless to resist, my son...it's bedtime" (dragging a kicking young Luke off to bed), we see bad old Darth's hidden soft side. With its clear, colourful illustrations, this is a book that can be appreciated by even the youngest fan, and I'm betting some older ones will find it irresistable as well. Just out, this book is already so popular that a sequel is in the works (apparently involving Darth parenting a teenage Princess Leia).
Here's an author interview with Jeffrey Brown, and here's the publisher's book trailer:
If this only whets your child's appetite for more great Star Wars-related reading, check out Tom Angleberger's books, The Strange Case of Origami Yoda and Darth Paper Strikes Back. If your child liked the Wimpy Kid funny-chapter-book-with-pictures format, they'll find the Origami Yoda books similar. The plot revolves around an origami finger puppet who dispenses sage advice, in the manner of Yoda, to kids in the sixth grade of McQuarrie School. He also seems to be able to predict the future. Can a finger puppet really have The Force? The third book in the Origami Yoda series, The Secret of the Fortune Wookiee, comes out this summer. As Yoda would say, read, you should!
If your child prefers action to laughs, they might enjoy the Star Wars, The Clone Wars series of graphic novels put out by Dark Horse Comics. These books feature original adventure stories and high-quality art, set back in the time when Darth Vader (Anakin Skywalker) was Obi-Wan Kenobi's padawan, and still a good guy. The series, which is aimed at roughly ages 8-12, has received glowing reviews, with School Library Journal commenting that its "...brisk storytelling, bright colored artwork, and touches of humor will appeal to a wide audience." There are over a dozen titles in the series, and they can be read in any order. Here are a few to get you started:
Finally, if your child is entranced by the imaginative visuals of the Star Wars world, they may enjoy poring over our collection of Star Wars Visual Dictionaries. Always popular, these books showcase the characters, costumes and technology of the Star Wars stories with crisp, clear photography. Here's a sample spread:
What are your children's favourite Star Wars books?
"Rakugo, or "Fallen Words", is a storytelling art form that is unique to Japanese traditional culture, and one that is extremely interesting to me. The stories are handed down through generations, and the development and mood of a given story can be altered drastically by the personality and style of the performer. A single raguko story can be transformed into any number of wildly disparate performances. The pleasures of raguko emerge from this universal, mutable quality: generations of performers continue to retell these stories, improving on them and crafting them to suit the tastes of the present day."
(Yoshihiro Tatsumi, in his afterword to the English translation of Falling Words".)
In his long and distinguished career as a manga artist, Yoshihiro Tatsumi has won many significant awards both in Japan and internationally. Among his accomplishments is the development of a particular style of manga called gekiga. Gekiga style is marked by a serious, sometimes dark and violent, storyline and an artistic style that is more realistic than other mainstream manga.
With the newly published Fallen Words, Tatsumi experiements with something a little different; that is, a literary work that combines the realistic artistry of geika with traditional rakugo stories, "moral comedies" that highlight the follies and absurdities of our lives. Humour is not typically an element of geika style, but Tatsumi has a finely-tuned ability to pace and time a story to maximum effect. I have to admit I recognized some of these stories, as they have counterparts in Western folklore, but knowing the bones of the tale did nothing to mar my pleasure in Tatsumi's artistic storytelling.
You don't need a lot of cultural context to appreciate Fallen Words. If you've ever dreamed about winning a lottery, you'll recognize yourself in "The Innkeeper's Fortune". If you've ever seen a father struggling to control a wayward child in public, you'll recognize the characters in "New Year Festival". In "Fiery Spirits", a man's wife and his concubine engage in an escalating battle of curses until they both die, but even then he cannot appease their jealous and quarrelsome spirits. Greed, misunderstanding, trickery, desire, laziness--Tatsumi pokes fun at them all in these witty and sophisticated stories.
Here's a brief movie trailer which gives a further taste of Tatsumi's style:
Also just translated into English and handsomely published by Drawn and Quarterly press is Shigeru Mizuki's NonNonBa. This fascinating, quasi-autobiographical story follows a young boy in 1930s Japan, and the elderly lady who teaches him about the yokai, or Japanese ghosts. A veritable fountain of folkloric knowledge, NonNonBa guides the young Shigeru as he encounters a variety of spirits, some whimsical, some dangerous, some just downright strange. There is a vivid sense of place and time in this work, and I felt that NonNonBa, the grandmotherly wise woman with her practical advice (if hungry ghosts attack, draw the pictogram for "rice" on your palm and lick it three times), was probably among the last of her kind. Mizuki shows us not only the weird and fantastical aspects of the spirit world, but also the comfort we can draw from it during difficult times. According to its publisher, NonNonBa was the first manga ever to receive the European Angouleme prize for Best Album. In Japan, by the way, Mizuki is known as a master of Yokai manga, and has an entire museum dedicated to his life and work.
If you enjoy these, here are some other thought-provoking and well-reviewed reads from TPL's manga and graphic novel collection.