Category Archives: Books&Art

Book and art reviews, postings, tutorials.

Two -Dimensional Ideas on Paper: Make It Abstract

Two -Dimensional Ideas on Paper: Make It Abstract
Make It Abstract

Make It Abstract

 MATERIALS:

Markers

Pencils

Crayons

Construction or bond paper

PROJECT:

  1. Find interesting objects in your home and trace them.
  2. Arrange them on construction or bond paper creating an abstract design.
  3. Trace the objects with markers or pencils or crayons. Trace one object at a time, adding objects as you go or lay them all down and trace them.
  4. Remove the objects from the paper. Choose three colors or two colors plus black. Now add patterns to the traced objects: dots, stripes, zigzags, checks or color some of the areas in the design.
  5. Mat the abstract design and display it or use it as a cover for a favorite book.

 

VARIATION:

Trace one object, turning the paper as you trace. Or overlap the object by placing it vertically, horizontally, upside down, etc.

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Just Loved Reading: Paper Boy by Vince Vawter

Just Loved Reading: Paper Boy by Vince Vawter

Just Loved Reading:

Paperboy

Middle Grade Fiction

Vawter, Vince. Paperboy. New York: Delacorte Press, 2013

Words in the air blow away as soon as you say them but words on paper last forever.” (Paperboy, p 21)

Memphis, Tennessee, 1959. The protagonist in Paperboy can’t say his name without inhaling big gulps of Gentle Air as his speech therapist taught him. (We learn his name in the last chapter and that his first name and his last name start with the same letter.) Some words are easier to say than other words depending on the first letter of the word because some letters are easier to pronounce than others.

He calls his best friend Rat because it’s easier to say than his real name, Art.

He throws a mean ball, though – it’s the one thing he knows he’s good at –  in the opinion of his team. He feels at home on the baseball mound but not everywhere else in his white suburban world.

He takes over Art’s paper route for one month even though he knows it will be hard for him to communicate with the customers on collection day. He knows he’s taking on a challenge. But the people and the events that he encounters, the hidden family secret he uncovers and the surprising new friends he makes during that month and on that paper route changes his attitude life forever.

And that is just the beginning.

WHY I LOVED READING THIS BOOK:

The protagonist is one of the most likable, sympathetic, inspiring children in children and Young Adult literature that I have ever read about. I wanted to hug him. Other readers may want to hug him, too. He never stops thinking of ways to overcome his stuttering but confesses his loneliness because his stuttering sets him apart from other kids. In spite of everything, he doesn’t give up or feel sorry for himself. Instinctively, he lives one day at a time but tries everyday to overcome his “affliction.”

The reader will root for him through every step of his journey from trying to collect money to witnessing a knifing to becoming friends with a deaf boy and a retired sailor to discovering a family secret. This boy is a hero because of the way he handles himself in these situations with the kinds of people he encounters and the decision he reaches about his family’s past.

In the author’s note, Vince Vawter, a stutterer, quotes James Earl Jones, who overcame his stutter and became a renowned actor: “One of the hardest things in life is having words in your heart that you can’t utter.” Like the author, the hero in Paperboy realizes that although it is hard for him to speak, he is better at writing words (and throwing a fast ball).

Paperboy will lift up your spirits.

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JUST LOVED READING: The School The Aztec Eagles Built

JUST LOVED READING: The School The Aztec Eagles Built

 

JUST LOVED READING

The School the Aztec Eagles Built

Non-Fiction/Middle Grade

Nicholson, Dorinda Makanaohalani. The School the Aztec Eagles Built. New York: Lee and Low Books, 2016.

            Relations between Mexico and the US were not always cordial especially when they fought over what were once Mexico’s northern territories. In 1835, Texas declared its independence from Mexico. This led to the US – Mexican War which lasted from 1846 to 1848. When it ended, Mexico lost Texas, Nevada, California, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico and parts of Wyoming and Colorado.

On May 13 and 22, 1942, German U-boats torpedoed two unarmed Mexican oil tankers off the Florida coast. Germany refused to apologize for the aggression and Mexico declared war on the Axis powers, Germany, Italy and Japan. Mexico had a small military and had never fought another country overseas.

US President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Mexican President Manuel Avila Comacho met to discuss how the two countries could help each other. By this time, Japan had attacked the US at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The result of these discussions was the formation of the Mexican Expeditionary Air Force. The flight operations unit was known as Air Fighter Squadron 201 or the Aztec Eagles.

The Squadron consisted of pilots and ground crew who took care of the airplanes. They trained initially in Idaho and then in Texas where they encountered prejudice from the locals and distrust from the American air pilots with whom they were going to work. Eventually, the American and Mexican pilots forged a mutual respect. The Squadron flew missions from the Philippines which ended when the US dropped the bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. When the pilots and crew returned home, they were hailed as heroes and decorated veterans.

Angel Bocanegra was a school teacher in his village of Tepoztlan, Morelos, Mexico. Tepoztlan had a small two room schoolhouse that could barely hold a couple of the grades. Many of the children formed classrooms on neighbors’ porches, on the grass and anywhere there was space to sit and learn.

Bocanegra enlisted as one of the Squadron’s ground crew. President Comacho reviewed the men before they left for the US and asked if anyone had any requests. Bocanegra shouted out that he had a request for a schoolhouse for his village. President Comacho agreed.

When Angel Bocanegra returned to his village, he saw a brand new building named Escuela Escuadron 210.

WHY I LOVED READING THIS BOOK:

This book narrated the little known story of the Aztec Eagles, Squadron 210 of the Mexican Air Force and how World War II helped to establish goodwill between the US and Mexico. The footnote about Angel Bocanegra was interesting, too. But the book also narrates an account of the Bracero Program brokered by President Roosevelt and President Comacho. The program allowed Mexican workers to enter the US on temporary work permits. So from 1943 to 1945, over 100, 000 laborers worked on farms and railroads. This helped to plug the hole in the work force left by enlisted soldiers and sailors and was another way Mexico, with its small military, could help with the war effort.

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JUST LOVED READING: Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns, A Muslim Book of Colors

JUST LOVED READING: Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns, A Muslim Book of Colors
Old mosque old Rhodes City, Rhodes, Greece

Old mosque old Rhodes City, Rhodes, Greece

Just Loved Reading:

Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns: A Muslim Book of Colors

Picture Book

Khan, Hena. Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns: A Muslim Book of Colors. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2012.

           Objects that are a part of Islamic tradition and the Muslim religion (food, clothing, domes, etc) resonate in a specific color in the eyes of a girl: red reminds her of the red prayer rug her father uses to pray five times a day; blue represents the blue hijab her mother wears; gold covers the domes of the mosque; purple is the color of the gift the girl receives during the holiday, Eid; brown is the color of dates, etc.

This picture book of colors brings the Muslim religion vividly to life.

WHY I LOVED READING THIS BOOK:

The colors of the objects used when practicing the faith illuminate the Muslim religion and its traditions in this book. The illustrations are colorful and beautiful; the language is simple yet descriptive for children to absorb the information. Told in verse.

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JUST LOVED READING: Paperboy

JUST LOVED READING: Paperboy

Just Loved Reading:

Paperboy

Middle Grade Fiction

Vawter, Vince. Paperboy. New York: Delacorte Press, 2013

“Words in the air blow away as soon as you say them but words on paper last forever.” (Paperboy, p 21)

Memphis, Tennessee, 1959. The protagonist in Paperboy can’t say his name without inhaling big gulps of Gentle Air as his speech therapist taught him. (We learn his name in the last chapter and that his first name and his last name start with the same letter.) Some words are easier to say than other words depending on the first letter of the word because some letters are easier to pronounce than others.

He calls his best friend Rat because it’s easier to say than his real name, Art.

He throws a mean ball, though – it’s the one thing he’s good at – in his opinion. It’s also the opinion of his team. He feels at home on the baseball mound but not everywhere else in his white suburban world.

He takes over Art’s paper route for one month even though he knows it will be hard for him to communicate with the customers on collection day. He knows he’s taking on a challenge. But the people and the events that he encounters and the surprising new friends he makes during that one month and on that paper route changes his life forever.

And that is just the beginning.

WHY I LOVED READING THIS BOOK:

The protagonist is one of the most likeable, sympathetic, inspiring children in children and Young Adult literature that I have ever read about. I wanted to hug him. Other readers may want to hug him, too. He never stops thinking of ways to overcome his stuttering but confesses his loneliness because his stuttering sets him apart from other kids. Inspite of everything, he doesn’t give up or feel sorry for himself.  Instinctively, he lives one day at a time.

The reader will root for him through every step of his journey from trying to collect money to witnessing a knifing to becoming friends with a deaf boy and a retired sailor to discovering a family secret. This boy is a hero because of the way he handles himself in these situations with the kinds of people he encounters and the decision he reaches about his family’s past.

In the author’s note, Vince Vawter, a stutterer himself, quotes James Earl Jones, who overcame his stutter and became a renowned actor: “One of the hardest things in life is having words in your heart that you can’t utter.”

Paperboy will lift up your spirits.

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Another Healthy Apple Salad

Another Healthy Apple Salad
@Photograph by Marion Constantinides Oct. 2016

@Photograph by Marion Constantinides Oct. 2016

Apple Salad:

2  cups Romaine (or greens of choice)

1 – 2 unpeeled red apples, diced

1/2 cup diced celery

1/4 cup craisins (or raisins)

1/4 cup chopped walnuts (or slivered almonds)

For the dressing:

1/2 cup light mayonnaise

2 Tablespoons pineapple juice

1 Tablespoon sugar

In a large salad bowl, toss lettuce, celery, craisins, apples, and walnuts. In a small bowl, mix the ingredients for the dressing. (Or use a mild dressing of your choice.) Pour over the salad and toss.

Take to a picnic or serve with grilled food. Serve immediately.

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Pythagoras and the Number 8

Pythagoras and the Number 8
Number 8

Number 8

The Sketchbook Project “is the world’s largest library of artists’ books…”  The sketchbooks also travel North America and even the world via the Mobile Library. For more information, go to https://www.sketchbookproject.com.

I participated in the Sketchbook Project in 2012 and 2013. It’s time to take part again.  This year’s theme is Numerology and the visual power of numbers and letters and their relationship to each other.

“The universe is based on the fundamental reality that all things are related and within that underlying notion of unity, all things are energy.”

from The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Numerology

The Number 8 is the number of leaders and bosses. It is the number of money, power and success. Love of work and the thrill of achieving success motivates the Number 8. Success is not defined by making money selling a product but of reaching a goal that helps all of humankind.

The symbol of the number 8 is the joining of two spheres representing heaven and earth. The two circles also emulate the infinity symbol

Associated with the Number 8 are the colors pink and rose and the letters H, Q and Z.

For further reading:  

Lagerquist, Kay. The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Numerology. Indianapolis, IN: Alpha Books, 1999.

Millman, Don. The Life You Were Born to Live. Tiburon, CA: H. J. Kramer/New World Library, 1993.

Pythagoras and Numerology

Numerology is the study of the meanings of names and numbers and their relationship to each other and has its roots in  the cultures of ancient Greece, China, Rome and Egypt and the Hebrew Kabbalah.

Pythagoras was a Greek mathematician and mystic from the 6th century B.C.E. He is one of the fathers of numerology and regarded as the father of geometry.

He based his system of names and numbers on his belief that numerical relationships permeate nature. Numbers are a source of form and energy and numbers 1 through 9 represent the nine stages of the cycle of life.

Pythagoras and his followers believed that divine law could be calculated through mathematics.

Pythagoras, however, associated numbers with many ideas not just divine law. For example, he explored musical harmony through mathematics and called his concept “The Music of the Spheres.” Pythagoras believed that everything vibrates to its own special harmony; the higher the vibration, the more (or positive) force it has but the lower the rate of vibration, the less (or negative) force it has.

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The Sketchbook Project: Pythagoras and the Number 1

The Sketchbook Project: Pythagoras and the Number 1
The Number One

The Number One

The Sketchbook Project “is the world’s largest library of artists’ books…”  The sketchbooks also travel North America and even the world via the Mobile Library. For more information, go to https://www.sketchbookproject.com.

I participated in the Sketchbook Project in 2012 and 2013. It’s time to take part again.  This year’s theme is Numerology and the visual power of numbers and letters and their relationship to each other.

 

The number one is the number of new beginnings and new opportunities.  One represents spirit at the

center of all things. The symbol of the number one is the perpendicular line  symbolizing creation, assimilation and expression and  red is the color associated with it. 

Letters are also associated with numbers: A, J and S resonate with the number one.

 

Bibliography:

Lagerquist, Kay. The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Numerology. Indianapolis, IN: Alpha Books, 1999.

Hay, Louise L. Colors and Numbers, Your Personal Guide to Positive Vibrations in Daily Life. Carlsbad, CA: Hay House, 2010.

Millman, Don. The Life You Were Born to Live. Tiburon, CA: H. J. Kramer/New World Library, 1993.

 

Pythagoras and Numerology

Numerology studies the meanings of names and numbers and their relationship to each other and has its roots in  the cultures of ancient Greece, China, Rome and Egypt and the Hebrew Kabbalah.

Pythagoras was a Greek mathematician and mystic from the 6th century B.C.E. He is one of the fathers of numerology and regarded as the father of geometry.

He based his system of names and numbers on his belief that nature is composed of numerical relationships. Numbers are a source of form and energy and numbers 1 through 9 represent the nine stages of the cycle of life.

Pythagoras and his followers believed that divine law could be calculated through mathematics.

Pythagoras, however, associated numbers with many ideas not just divine law. For example, he explored musical harmony through mathematics and called his concept “The Music of the Spheres.” Pythagoras believed that everything vibrates to its own special harmony; the higher the vibration, the more (or positive) force it has but the lower the rate of vibration, the less (or negative) force it has.

 

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My Big Fat Greek Vacation Photos of Chios

My Big Fat Greek Vacation Photos of Chios

From a previous trip….

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