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Fresh! Manga Eyes

by Laura C - 0 Comment(s)

Robin Brenner in her book, "Understanding Manga and Anime" suggests that if you didn't grow up reading manga, that you might find the distinct style and symbolism used by the artists to convey meaning off-putting. For me, this is exactly the reason why I love manga: it is packed full of hidden messages that tell a story of a culture different from my own.

Over the next few months I'll attempt to share with you what, in my opinion, makes manga great! Hopefully it will encourage you to try some for yourself or at the very least, give you some insight into why your teenager has become so involved in this burgeoning fandom. So, let's start with those huge eyes...

Eyes, they say are, "a window to the soul"… and nowhere except in manga can we see this message so clearly. In manga, size of eyes is often an indicator of innocence; the bigger the eyes the “purer” the character, and vice versa. This is particularly obvious in fantasy, romantic comedy, and adventure-type stories.

cover: Kenshin vol. 1 Cover: kenshin v. 11

One of the best examples of this is in “Rurouni Kenshin” by Nobuhiro Watsuki. It is the fictional story of Himura Kenshin who was the legendary assassin Hitokiri Battosai during the Meiji Restoration. Kenshin has pledged never to kill again, and has become a wandering samurai using his sword to protect the people in an attempt to atone for his sins. But, because he is strong and because society is still in turmoil, his resolve to not kill is continually being tested. Every time his eyes change from round orbs to tight slits you know that he's about to do something dangerous!

Cover: Ceres vol. 1Another good example of this can be found in Yuu Watase’s manga. Watase is primarily known for her shoujo (for girls) fantasy stories starring cheerful and naive teenage girls. Compared to her other protagonists, Aya in "Ceres: Celestial Legend" has been drawn with a slight downward angle to her eyes. Watase intentionally uses this device to help create a heroine with a bit of "attitude".

Personally, this is my favourite of Watase's translated works. "Ceres: Celestial Legend" is about twins Aya and Aki, whose destiny's overtake them on their 16th birthday. The goddess Ceres has been reborn in Aya; her mission is to find her long lost Celestial robes which were stolen by Aya's ancestor... the man who just happens to have been reborn in Aki.

The hidden messages and meanings that are found in manga are often the same as those found in Anime (Japanese animation) -- find out even more hidden meanings in, "The Anime Companion" and, "The Anime Companion 2" by Gilles Poitras. Or, if you're interested in learning more about the symbolism and history of eyes in manga, check out the book, "Manga" by Stuart A. Kallen.

Meet Our New Volunteer Adam!

by Katie R - 1 Comment(s)

Adam is just one of our 15 amazing Math Minds volunteers. Math Minds is a 14 week math tutoring program designed for children in grades one through six. Funded by Canadian Oil Sands Limited, the Math Minds program is a collaborative partnership aimed at improved numeracy throughout Calgary.

Currently in his 4th year in the University of Calgary’s General Mathematics program, Adam plans to pursue a Master’s degree in Economics. He has an obvious talent for numeracy and he knows what strategies will be effective. What makes Adam special is his dedication and ability to connect to his students. His friendly and engaging manner allows the learner to feel confident and willing to learn. Adam has not only recruited other volunteers to the program, but he has filled in for these volunteers when they have been ill. Adam has also volunteered in the World Partnership Walk, Cancer Society's Relay For Life, and Volunteer Eco Student Aboard (VESA).

When asked why he volunteers, Adam replied “I volunteer because it's important to give back to the community in any capacity that you can. In the past, I did a lot of fundraising for different organizations and as I have gotten older I have developed a new capacity to give back, which is the passing on of knowledge. Knowledge is the most vital resource in this technological age that I feel it is the best thing to give back to the community. I especially enjoy volunteering in the Math Minds Program because I love to see when students are able to connect seemingly unrelated ideas together or when they smile after realizing that Math doesn't have to be as difficult as people play it out to be.”

If your child is experiencing difficulties in mathematics, the Canadian Oil Sands Ltd Math Minds program offered by the Calgary Public Library could be the solution. Check out the links below for information on our summer program.

Fresh! Deadly Debuts

by Pam - 0 Comment(s)

I enjoy reading suspense filled fiction full of unusual characters. The twists and turns of new offbeat novels by Jamie Mason and Gregory Gibson kept me engaged until the last page.

Cover Three Graves FullIn "Three Graves Full", the delicious debut by Jamie Mason, you'll find a skillfull page turning thiller replete with delightfully quirky characters including two savvy detectives, a nosey surviving girlfriend and one stupendously intelligent dog. When quiet and unassuming Jason Getty decides to hire landscapers to tame his front yard it isn't long until they discover two bodies buried there. And neither one is the body that Jason knows is buried in the backyard. Jason is now petrified that his dark secret will beCover Old Turk revealed and his world quickly unwinds as he desperately tries to stay ahead of the game.

If remarkable characters appeal to you, then try Gregory Gibson's soon to be released novel "The Old Turk's Load". Set against the backdrop of the 1967 Newark riots,the lives of the shady real estate developer Richard Mundi, crime lord Angelo DiNoto, his socially activist daughter Gloria, and drug ridden cancer survivor Mailman collide in a crime spree of heroin and stolen art. It's up to private investigator "Walkaway" Kelly to discover the truth behind Gloria's revolutionary activities, but he is soon distracted by what appears to be the murder of Gloria's mother. It all cumulates in an unforgettable showdown over the Old Turk's Load.

To find these and other great new books check out Calgary Public Library's catalogue.

Quick Tip: Did you know that you can put holds on books before Calgary Public Library has them in stock? As soon as the book is ordered we create a record for it. Once you see the record in our catalogue, go ahead and place your hold!

Fresh! Dewey Decimal Class

by Lorrie - 0 Comment(s)

Have you ever wondered where the mysterious numbers come from on the spines of public library books? In fact, the library has staff who ensure that books are grouped with other books on similar topics so they can be easily discovered and browsed by customers.

Calgary Public Library staff use a numbering system called the Dewey Decimal Classification - named for its creator, Melville Dewey. Most public libraries, and many elementary school libraries use the same numbering system which groups books into 10 broad categories. Using the same system at all our branches is handy; if you use more than one public library branch, you will find the books and material labelled and arranged in the same order regardless of where you are.

Armed with your Dewey Decimal number you can find what you are looking for pretty easily. For example, when I drop my son off at Crowfoot Arena for his hockey practice, I usually pop into the Crowfoot Library and look for some budget recipe cookbooks. Hockey players eat a lot so I am always looking for recipes. The next day, when I’m down at the South Fish Creek Arena for my son's game, I visit the Shawnessy Library while he is doing his pre-game warm up. Using the same Dewey Decimal number I used at the Crowfoot Library, I can look for budget recipe cookbooks at the Shawnessy Library.

It's a useful shortcut in the same way that shopping at your neighbourhood grocery store is convenient because you know exactly where to go to get that last minute item you need for dinner. The Dewey Decimal System makes your library "shopping" and browsing a little bit easier!

Download Our New Early Literacy App!

by Shannon C - 0 Comment(s)

Grow A Reader app

Grow A Reader app icon

Acka backa soda cracker
Acka backa boo
Acka backa soda cracker
I love you!

Singing songs and reciting rhymes with your child is not only fun, it’s an excellent way to develop his or her early literacy skills.

If you're having trouble recalling songs or rhymes from your childhood, don’t worry — we have an app for that!

Grow A Reader is Calgary Public Library’s free early literacy app for iPads and iPhones. The app features videos of Calgary Public Library storytellers performing over 25 traditional songs and rhymes from our popular early literacy programs.

Use the app to learn the words, tunes and actions of fun songs and rhymes and then perform them with your child, as a way to develop a range of skills, from fine motor skills to language comprehension.

The Grow A Reader app includes tips for fostering early literacy and a list of our favourite board and picture books, focusing on five key early literacy practices: sing, talk, play, read and write.

Download the app today for free from the App Store!