Fabulous Fiction Firsts #494 - “Magic: it was what happened when the mind met the world, and the mind won for a change.” ~ Lev Grossman

The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg is "an extraordinary adventure both dark and whimsical that will delight (readers) of all ages."

19 year-old Ceony Twill, graduated (at the top of her class) from the Tagis Praff School for the Magically Inclined, arrives at the cottage of Magician Emery Thane with a broken heart. Despite her dreams of being a smelter, she has been assigned as a "Folder," (paper magic) - the lowest in the hierarchy in the pantheon of magicians.

Things get off to a rocky start when she is greeted at the door by a paper skeleton, but under the tutelage of the amiable Emery Thane, Ceony learns to bring the most amazing paper creatures to life. That is until Emery's past comes back to haunt him. To save her teacher's life, Ceony must face an Excisioner—a practitioner of dark, flesh magic and embark on an unbelievable adventure.

Just released is The Glass Magician, the sequel.

If you have been floundering for something magical to read since The Night Circus, your wait is over. Fans of Karen Russell and Lev Grossman might want to check these out too.

Surviving Hitler: A love story

Directed by John Keith Wasson, Surviving Hitler: A love story is an inspiring account of war, resistance, and survival in Nazi Germany. Jutta is a teenager in a country that is on the threshold of war when she discovers that she is Jewish. Struck by this discovery, and faced with the atrocities of war, she joins the German resistance and meets a wounded soldier named Helmuth. The two quickly form a romantic attachment and join the Valkyrie plot to assassinate Hitler. Though there are tragic elements to the story (inevitable when it is set in Nazi Germany), there is a happy ending.

This film is a combination of interviews with Jutta and original 8mm footage shot by Helmuth. According to GQ magazine, these “home movies, which miraculously survived the war in Helmuth’s mother’s apartment, are reason enough to watch Surviving Hitler, providing a rare and intimate glimpse of relatively ordinary life carrying on in Berlin despite the encroaching horror.” (read the whole review here)

Surviving Hitler premiered at the Museum of Jewish Heritage and has won 3 awards including the Full Frame Inspiration Award, Ojai Festival Theme Award, and the Kroll Fund for Jewish Documentary Film.

Chicken Soup with Rice, so nice!

In November’s gusty gale I will flop my flippy tail
And spout hot soup-I’ll be a whale!
Spouting once, spouting twice
Spouting chicken soup with rice!

There is a small collection of books that travels through life with me and comes out when I want the comfort of an old friend. The book Chicken Soup with Rice by Maurice Sendak is one of them and is almost always plucked from the bookshelf around the time the leaves near the end of their fall dance and coats and mittens become a part of my daily wardrobe. Written in 1962, it‘s part of a small collection of books Sendak called the Nutshell Library. (The other titles in the series are: Alligators All Around: an alphabet, One was Johnny: a counting book and Pierre: a cautionary tale.) Each book tells a different story in rhyme and covers topics like the months, counting and the alphabet. Chicken Soup with Rice covers the days of the month and you get the picture early on that the little boy in the book really loves chicken soup with rice! The book is delicious in its play with rhymes and the illustrations are true Maurice Sendak. A nice compliment to this little gem can be found on Carol King’s CD Really Rosie. She put the words to song and created a nice little ditty that will have you humming it for days.

PreK BITS - "J" for Journey and Jaguar

Ms. Rachel received "J" in the Letter Box .... so-o what can you do with "J" ?

Mouse went on a "Journey" to mother's house ... a story from MOUSE TALES by Arnold Lobel.
We used verbs that begin with "J" (jiggle; jog; jazz; jitterbug; jump) to the tune of "Walk Walk Walk ... Around The Block" ... accompanied by Miss Sara's music.
Jaguar took a jealous journey with his jungle drum, ... just as Leopard did in LEOPARD'S DRUM, an Asanti trickster folk tale.

For more books on Journeys:
JOURNEY, an illustrated masterpiece for taking a visual journey.
DREAM ANIMALS a Bedtime Journey
FOLLOWING PAPA'S SONG
WE'RE SAILING DOWN The NILE, a Journey Through Egypt
The QUEEN'S PROGRESS, a sumptuous journey through the English countryside with Queen Elizabeth I in 1500 on her way to her summer home.
MY NAME I NOT ALEXANDER an imaginative journey, where Alexander discovers how great men become heroes.
RED KNIT CAP GIRL

TV Spotlight: Pee-wee’s Playhouse

Mekka-lekka-hi, Mekka-hiney-ho! Pee-wee’s Playhouse, Seasons 1 – 5 are now available at AADL! This cult classic stars Paul Reubens and aired from 1986-1990. Created by Reubens, it was designed to be an educational show for children and adults and was influenced by 1950s television shows such as Captain Kangaroo and Howdy Doody. With its quirky characters and colorful playhouse set, the show was a hit and remains a classic. The show features the zany Pee-Wee Herman and his many silly friends, including Cowboy Curtis, Conky the Robot, and Reba the Mail Lady. For more Pee-Wee, check out Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure and The Pee-Wee Herman Show on Broadway.

Hook's Revenge!

New to the shelves is Heidi Schulz's Hook's Revenge! This rousing adventure book features thirteen-year old Jocelyn, better know as Captain Hook's only daughter! After Hook meets his untimely end, Jocelyn must track down the fearsome crocodile that killed him in order to avenge her famous father. Along the way, Jocelyn meets a few familiar faces, including pirates, mermaids, fairies, and even Smee, Peter Pan, and the Lost Boys themselves. Especially hilarious is the narrator, who tends to be a bit.... snarky. Over the course of the novel, Jocelyn finds her calling behind the helm of her ship and leads her swashbuckling friends through dangerous adventures. Hook's Revenge is a funny and touching book about a young girl struggling to find her place in the world.

Looking for other popular pirate books? Try Magic Marks the Spot and it's sequel: The Terror of the Southlands. Both novels are a part of The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates series by Caroline Carlson, and follow main character Hilary Westfield, a girl who escapes finishing school to join a group of buccaneers on their pirate adventures.

TV Spotlight: Hinterland

If you’re looking for some new series to settle into cold temps with and are a fan of crime dramas, give Hinterland a try.

Hinterland is a noir crime drama set in Wales featuring DCI Tom Mathias as an intense detective searching for redemption while solving hate crimes along with his band of detective colleagues. He falls in line the current slew of brooding Scandinavian detectives just fine. While filming the show, each speaking scene was shot twice -- once in English and once in Welsh! The discs we have are in English. Hinterland is to Wales as The Killing is to Denmark and Wallender is to Sweden - both shows I love, so I just had to give it a try.

AADL has Series 1, which is four 90 minute episodes. Series 2 will air in 2015.

British culinary history comes to life in Historic Heston

I was fascinated when I picked up the amazing new cookbook Historic Heston, by Heston Blumenthal. The book is a James Beard Award Winner for Cookbook of the Year 2014 and that prize was certainly well-deserved. In this fascinating tome, Blumenthal takes readers and chefs on a journey through the culinary history of Britain, from the middle ages all the way to modern day. “Alighting upon the most iconic and intriguing dishes, such as Meat Fruit, Powdered Duck, Tipsy Cake and Mock Turtle Soup, he delves into the story behind each one, before using them as inspiration for his own modern recipes,” reads the cover. I was particularly wonder-struck by the photography in the cookbook by Romas Foord: the image of a beautiful orange on one page is revealed to be constructed completely out of marzipan on the next. Later in the book, a close-up of meat stew is detailed enough to expose the individual spices in the broth. Seeing the ancient dishes as they would have been created in midieval times is a treat and Blumenthal’s adaptations to make them modern are completely usable. Historic Heston is truly a must-peruse for those interested in cooking, photography or British history.

Emerging Writers: Writing & Review Meetup

Thursday February 19, 2015: 7:00 pm to 8:45 pm -- Traverwood Branch: Program Room

This event is intended for adults and teens grade 6 and up.

This is a monthly meetup that welcomes all writers to ask questions, connect with other writers, or simply have a dedicated time and place to work on their projects. Local authors Lara Zielin and Margaret Yang will be on hand to offer encouragement, answer questions, and point writers to resources. These open houses complement the Emerging Writers Workshops. These events feature perspectives from both traditional publishing and indie publishing and considerations of fiction and non-fiction writing.

Emerging Writers: Writing & Review Meetup

Thursday January 22, 2015: 7:00 pm to 8:45 pm -- Traverwood Branch: Program Room

This event is intended for adults and teens grade 6 and up.

This is a monthly meetup that welcomes all writers to ask questions, connect with other writers, or simply have a dedicated time and place to work on their projects.

Local authors Lara Zielin and Margaret Yang will be on hand to offer encouragement, answer questions, and point writers to resources.

These open houses complement the Emerging Writers Workshops. These events feature perspectives from both traditional publishing and indie publishing and considerations of fiction and non-fiction writing.

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