Sunday, September 27, 2009

Podcast Ideas

For my podcast, I will concentrate on Religion and the way it is presented in children’s books. I am Jewish and one of my favorite books as a child was “Sammy Spider’s First Hanukkah.” I was always sad that Sammy Spider was never able to celebrate Hanukkah with the family and that he was not allowed to spin dreidels because according to his mother, “spiders don’t spin dreidels, spiders spin webs.” To me, the spiders always seemed to represent children that were not Jewish but were curious about Judaism and looking in on the religion from an outsider’s point of view. I would like to focus my podcast on how different religions are presented in children’s literature and how that affects the children reading the books. For example, a non-Jewish child could identify with Sammy Spider if he or she wished he could spin dreidels and celebrate Hanukkah, but is not Jewish. I would like to find another book that examines a different religion as well and use that to further examine religion in children’s literature.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Quotable Quotes

“’Play dead,’ she said. White Dog turned his head to the side and closed his eyes. His paws went limp. The woman picked up the large shovel that was leaning against the trunk of the tree. She lifted it high in the air with both hands and brought the blade down swiftly on his head. White Dog’s body shuddered twice and his hind legs kicked out into the air, as though he were trying to run. Then he grew still.” (Otsuka 11)

When I read this passage, I was shocked. I couldn’t believe this had just happened. The woman had no emotions when killing her dog and afterwards it was a simple process for her of digging a hole and putting the dog’s body in it. I’ve never had a dog, but I can’t imagine doing this to any animal, especially if he or she had essentially become part of my family. I realize that it might have been easier for the woman if she was still in shock of being told she had to pick up all her stuff and move so quickly, but this scene stuck with me throughout the entire book. I still do not understand how to woman could possibly kill her dog in what seemed to be such an effortless and emotionless manner.

“In the morning he woke up longing for a class of Coke. Just one, with lots of ice, and a straw. He’d sip it slowly. And He’d make it last a long long time. A day. A week. A yea, even.” (Otsuka 59)

Although this passage was not very significant to the book as a whole, it stuck out to me quite a bit. The family is in a terrible living condition, and all the boy wants is a simple class of Coke. It’s something so small, but it means so much to him. I think that for him, Coke was a part of life before they had to move away. Therefore, it symbolized life as it was before, and the boy wanted not just Coke, but also for life to return to the way it was before they were forced to move away from their familiar home and lives.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Hello My Names Are...

1) Sharie – This is the name my parents gave me at birth and it is the name I go by most commonly. Although I changed the pronunciation of it a few times when I was younger, I have stayed with the current pronunciation of my name since I was in 2nd grade. Sharie is what most people address me as, and what I am most comfortable being called by people I meet for the first time. My name is not very common, so whenever people say it, I can usually be safe in assuming they are talking to me.

2) Shar – This is what my close friends from home call me. I’m not exactly sure how this started, but I know it was around 8th grade. Only my closest friends called me Shar and it is a name that has stuck with me to this day. There aren’t many nicknames that can come from “Sharie,” so I guess this was my friends’ attempt at giving me a special name for just them to call me.

3) Miss Sharie – Whenever I am called this, I know I am in a professional setting. During my senior year of high school, I took a class where I basically went to the elementary school I went to for a few hours a day and worked in a classroom of 5th graders. I became a part of this classroom and the best part of my day was walking in and seeing all of their faces light up when I walked in. I did everything in that class from grading tests to teaching lessons to walking around the classroom and helping the kids when they needed it. The kids addressed me as “Miss Sharie” because the teacher and I agreed that I had to be seen as somewhat of an authority figure, but I was still there to be their friend and not their teacher.

4) Sharie Rose – This is what my parents (mostly my father) called me when I got in trouble and I was little. Whenever I heard myself being called by the “first name-middle name” combo, I knew I had done something wrong and put on my best charm to try to get out of whatever it was. As I have grown up, this name has taken on a different meaning for me. My parents now call me this when they are extremely proud of me or want my full attention. I no longer view “Sharie Rose” as a name to fear being called, but as a name I want to be called.

5) Ree-Ree – When my sister was little, she had a very hard time saying my name. She called me “Ree-Ree” until she could properly say “Sharie,” but even when she could say my name, she still tended to call me “Ree-Ree” most of the time. Once she was about 4, she stopped calling me this name, but every once in a while when she wants something from me, she pulls that name out again and I am reminded of the great memories we have together from when she and I were younger.

Hello My Names Are Not…

1) Debra - Debra is my sister who is 4 years younger than me and has just entered her freshman year in high school. The problem lies when our parents try to call one of us to get our attention. Somehow, they always mix up our names. Therefore, when my parents want our attention, one of four names is usually called: Sharie, Debra, De-Sharie or Sha-Debra. I am most commonly called Debra when my parents mix us up and I always make fun of them for not being able to keep their daughters straight when they’ve known us for our whole lives.

2) Sherry (pronounced like the alcoholic drink sherry) – When I first moved to the Boston area, I discovered that people with strong Boston accents could not pronounce my name properly. When I introduced myself, they would pronounce my name like the alcoholic drink “sherry.” No matter how many times I corrected them, they couldn’t seem to say my name correctly, and I finally gave up after a while. It’s not so much a problem anymore, but it always bugs me when people can’t say my name the way I pronounce it.