Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year! Welcome, 2012!

(photo by Xuan Che)

Year in review, resolutions, and goals. If that's what you're looking for, click the links, because that is not this post!

This post is about looking forward with happy anticipation. Here's what I look forward to in 2012 (in no particular order:

-Connecting with friends, near & far, and making new friends
(photo, Kangaroo & girls by Sam Hood)

-Time with family
(photo by Shiny Things)

-Events--concerts, plays, movies, festivals, sports, art shows, vacations, and whatever else is offered in the region
(photo © Copyright David Lally and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

-Writing and meeting with area writers
(photo by Julie Jordan Scott)

-Reading books newly published and older ones I've missed. A link to popular authors' 2012 releases is here.

-Nature--plants, animals, landforms, climates, ecosystems, forces, wonders
(photo of Madeline Island, WI, copyright 2009, Jane Heitman Healy)

That's just for starters. 2012 looks to be full of promise!

What do you look forward to in the year ahead? I hope it is wonderful!

(photo of St. Croix Falls, WI, fireworks, copyright 2011, Jane Heitman Healy)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas Stories New & Old

(photo by Enokson)

Though there's no snow falling here yet (and that's more than fine with me!), books are always calling! This time of year, it's time to dig out the old Christmas favorites and find some new favorites, too.

Some Christmas stories are standards based on songs or poems, such as "Rudolph" and "Frosty." Some are classics, such as Dickens' A Christmas Carol and Clement Moore's A Visit From St. Nicholas.

Two new Christmas books for children (which really means "all ages," don't you think?) popular in my region reflect the heritages of many of my area's residents. Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve, a South Dakota author, brings us a memory from her childhood on the Rosebud Reservation. The Christmas Coat: Memories of My Sioux Childhood takes us into the not-so-distant past on the plains. Virginia really needs a new winter coat, but so do the other kids she knows. When charity boxes arrive (called "Theast boxes" because they come from "The East"), a beautiful fur coat tempts her. But Virginia knows that, as the minister's daughter, she won't get first choice. Read the book to see how things work out for Christmas joy. The illustrations by Ellen Beier provide accurate detail of the times and situations to complement the story.

(photo by triplezero)

Jan Brett's new Christmas book, Home for Christmas features Rollo, the runaway Swedish troll. Brett's signature border art and depiction of the action make this a fun story for young and old. Rollo has adventures with many different animals before he finds that home may be best after all.

For more Christmas book ideas, see this list from Horn Book magazine.

(photo by Theresa, cheekycrows3)

We love stories of Santa, elves, trolls, and other magical creatures, but for me, Christmas magic is best told in the original Christmas story from the book of Luke. See Linus, of "Peanuts" fame, recite it in this 2 minute clip:

What stories are you delighting in this season?

Friday, December 16, 2011

Winter Wonderland

I intend to do an actual blog post soon, but in the meantime, here's something to tide you over--the Winter Wonderland at Falls Park in my city. It really does make me ooh & aah! Enjoy the video and find some wonder in your own neighborhood this season.