Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Rachel Hartman takes us further down the rabbit hole in Shadow Scale as the political game between humans, dragons and the world in between. Our deeply mysterious protagonist, Seraphina, gets caught up in the brewing wars and must learn to master her own telepathic powers in order to travel the kingdom and bring together all the other half-dragons. She begins with our beloved Abdo, whose childish behaviour acts as a foil to Seraphina’s more subdued and refined actions. Hartman’s mythology in the kingdom of Gorred becomes more integral to the plot and the reader has to really keep track of many characters as Seraphina quests for answers. The last third of the book is a deeply personal battle that Seraphina must fight within herself and it was my favourite part of the book. Dragon lovers around the world are calling out for more Rachel Hartman and Shadow Scale trip doesn’t disappoint. As a second novel in the series though, it relies heavily on the more accessible first book Seraphina and will require a patient reader to remember the more complicated aspects of characters and Gorred history. There are students in my secondary school library who were willing to mudwrestle to take this book home for the summer.
I enjoyed the Audible.com version of this book. It is really important to have the continuity of Mandy Williams’ voice to enhance my experience of Seraphina’s first person narration. It was just excellent.
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This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate by Naomi Klein
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Reading this book has changed my life. This book is the first book I’ve read from the Ontario Library Association’s Evergreen selections for 2015. Naomi Klein is such an important voice for Canada that this book was on my to-read list well before it was nominated though. I enjoyed reading this book through Audible.com‘s selection so I listened to about 7 hours a week which was wonderful because it has a lot of important information about climate change that are combined with unfamiliar issues such as economics, world trade, environmental law, industrialization, and indentured slavery that I needed to digest in smaller pieces. Klein manages to put all of these issues together into one book and concludes that if we can’t manage to adjust our culture of consumption that we don’t have a chance of stopping global warming. More importantly though, that we need to start making right the crimes that we have committed through industrialization and globalization and make reparations to developing nations that are still disadvantaged by centuries of colonial actions. At home in Canada, Klein argues that we need to demand a higher minimum wage so that people can stop taking McJobs for shitty companies who continue to put capitalism first and human needs and the environment as distant seconds. In a deeply personal chapter, Klein reveals that her concerns for climate change exploded during her struggles with infertility and points to our dramatic increases in infertility and disease as the red flag symptoms that we continue to ignore by believing in the capitalism-driven pharmaceuticals instead. In summary: I learned a lot.
As a secondary school teacher-librarian, I will carry this book in my library but it isn’t going to be an easy sell. However, as a research tool it will be phenomenal and I will bring bits and pieces of it out to stimulate inquiry research and for discussion for years to come.
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I start off trying to set context for 4 variables in redefining reading: reader, user, hardware and software using myself as the reader/user. Then I add in various perspectives on how digital reading is changing reading and finally I suggest that teachers and teacher-librarians can play a key role in levelling the playing field for all students.
I’ve presented this just about three times now: at #ECOO13, at the UGDSB Literacy Symposium, and this week at the OLA Superconference 2014.
The link to my Prezi is here:
and here is the link to the Google Doc that we co-construct during the presentation.