Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Bento Boxes

Have any of you guys ever made a bento box? I just got really into them a few weeks ago.

A bento box is a takeout or home-packed meal that is meant to serve one person. It started as a part of Japanese cuisine, but has recently taken off in other places and all over the Internet. A traditional bento box usually consists of rice, fish or meat, and one or more pickled or cooked vegetables as a side dish. But they can really be anything you like! The whole idea is that it's packed efficiantly and utilizes all of the boxes space. They're so economical! Bento containers can range from disposable and mass produced to fancy and hand crafted. Often, the box is partitioned, which helps it to be packed and stay put. I found the picture to the left on Boing Boing this morning. It shows a really awesome Care Bears bento box, but a quick Internet search will come back with tonssssss of different cute and themey bento boxes.

The first day that I discovered the bento box I attempted to make my lunch for the next day in bento form. See the picture to the right. It didn't include rice, fish, meat, or any pickled or cooked vegetables. (It does have an assortment of tiny things and vegan meats, however.)

On the bottom sides, there is a cut-up vegan bologna sandwich on a round sandwich thin, cut in half and facing out. Then I threw a few pieces of vegan pepperoni on top (to attempt to make it pretty. Fail, right?). Then I cut up a chocolate Vitamuffin and put it in a cupcake baking container and I did the same with a box of raisins below it. Then, because I thought it needed something to hold it in place, I dumped handfuls of Cheerios in all the gaps, and voila! Bento!

Welllllll, by the time I had driven my bento box to work and taken it out at lunch time, it had all jumbled up and the Cheerios were soggy and gross. So, wompwomp. But it was my first try and I had limited ingrediants, and it tasted good enough (other than the Cheerios), so I'm still pretty proud of myself!

Anyway, there are a few books on bento boxes in the Suffolk County Library System. If you're interested, put one or two on hold and maybe YOUR bento box will turn out better than mine did.

501 bento box lunches : 501 unique recipes for brilliant bento
Bento boxes : Japanese meals on the go
Simple menus for the bento box
Face Food : The Visual Creativity of Japanese Bento Boxes

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Cathy's Book: If found call (650) 266-8233

Cathy's Book by Sean Stewart and Jordan Weisman is the first interactive teen novel! It's been completely reworked from it's original form (click the link to reserve the original) and is available iPhone and iPod Touch!

"The publishing phenomenon Cathy's Book redefined the way teens approach novels and set a new standard for interactivity, using the most popular kids' technology to enhance the experience of reading a really good story... Part romance, part thriller, part mystery, Cathy's Book stands on its own beyond the interactive angle and the intense marketing campaign that made it a bestseller." -Amazon

But, with the new app, you'll get to experience the story by making phone calls, checking websites, discovering evidence and secrets, and exploring the pages of Cathy's private sketchbook.

For more information, check out Cathy's website here!

OR just go straight to itunes buy her app from the store. You can download itunes here (it works on a PC too). I'm going to buy it ASAP! Looks like so much fun!

Help Cathy solve the mystery before it's too late!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Crocodile Tears Book Trailer

Crocodile Tears is Anthony Horowitz's newest book in the Alex Rider series! Very exciting. Check out the trailer below:

Fire Book Trailer

Kristin Cashore recently published Fire, the prequel to her debut novel, Graceling. Check out the trailer for it below...

THEN you can create your own movie cast with this fun little gadget:

Monday, December 7, 2009

Cute Animal Videos

So, I'm sure you've all seen the Surprise Kitty video by now, right?

(Here it is just incase you haven't.)

BUT have you seen the skateboarding dog?

Monday, November 30, 2009

NaNoWriMo Finished!

Yes!!!!! It's November 30th and I finally finished my novel for National Novel Writing Month! I feel like the hugest weight has been lifted from my shoulders, and suddenly, it seems like I have so much free time!

All the past years I wrote novels (when my plots weren't outlined as well as they were this year) I knew my novel was over when I hit 50,000 words. This year, I had a specific outline that I followed and, unfortunately, my story ended at 47,000 words. But 47,000/50,000 words into NaNoWriMo is no time to quit! This is when it was time to implement "Operation Flashbacks and Dream Sequences."

This kind of felt like a copout at first, but as I was going through it, I realized that it was actually a nice sly way to develop characters! And, also, I realized that plenty of ACTUAL NOVELS are filled with flashbacks and dream sequences. They're a real thing! So, okay, it wasn't a cop out.

Not to toot my own horn too much or anything, but I think this was my best novel yet. However, it still (a) doesn't have a title and (b) seems too awful to actually show people. So I guess that's it. Another 50,000 words down. I'm just enjoying having free time!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Library 101!

This is a video project all about libraries! I love it! Library 101...are you in?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Is anyone out there doing National Novel Writing Month this year? I wanted to post about my experiences with it because this is my FOURTH year participating.

In a nutshell, the goal of NaNoWriMo is to write a 175-page/50,000 word novel between November 1st and November 30th. Word count is the only goal. Unlike any other writing you've probably done, NaNoWriMo encourages quantity and that's it. So, as a participant you have to kind of train yourself to keep writing and stop worrying about what you write. In fact, Chris Baty, the director of the program, encourages that it's a stress-free thing, anything goes (content-wise).

For me, that's hard, producing something you know isn't great writing, but having to just deal with it.

My experiences so far have been like this:

Year #1 (2006): I was awesome at developing characters (I had a mother character who was a police officer and was OBSESSED with her job and all things in life being aligned with the law) but terrible at keeping any kind of plot going for 50,000 words. The end product was okay, I wasn't about to go showing it off, but it was DONE. I had just written my first novel!

Year #2 (2007): This year was a flop. My plot literally didn't exist. My characters just kept doing things like going to work, having lunch, and hanging out with their friends. I would never let anybody even come close to reading this novel, but again, I finished. I wrote two novels!

Year #3 (2008): I didn't fully outline a plot but I knew I had to plan out some kind of direction for my story because I did not want a repeat of 2007. I had good characters (based on people I knew in real life, which was probably the best thing I could have done) and a lot of funny scenes, but I had only planned out a basic, overall idea for the plot and I had trouble stretching it all the way to 50,000 words. Because of this, I wound up with a lot of silly and sort of random scenes for length. But again, I finished and was now a THREE-BOOK AUTHOR!!!

Year #4 (2009): Happy Day 3! This year I did so much prep work. I typed up a 10-page outline with every scene I planned to include and I also to decided change genres! I moved from realistic fiction alllllllllllll the way to children's fantasy (maybe because I just read The Golden Compass). The only thing I'm noticing is that my characters and my writing just aren't as strong as they once were.

Anyway we'd all LOVE to hear about your challenges and progress along the way. It's a crazy month!!!!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Where The Wild Things Are Screening!

Last Wednesday was the Where The Wild Things Are private screening in NYC, and I had the opportunity to attend it, along with fellow children's librarian, Nadine of the Sysosset Public Library.

We were so excited; we planned and talked about it since the day we bought the tickets (weeks before the event), and then when we finally got there, it was all we had hoped for! Both before and after the movie, we got to take part in a Q&A with bunch of people from the cast and crew (and by "take part in," I mean "listen to."), including Max Records (who plays Max), author Dave Eggers, director Spike Jonze (who also touched my camera!!!), comedian John Hodgeman (PC from the Mac commercials!), and musician Karen O. from the Yeah Yeah Yeah's who composed the movie's soundtrack. Following the movie and the Q&A, there was a reception a few blocks away, where we got to do a bit of mingling with the stars! Here are some pictures of the exciting event.

It was so much fun and the movie was awesome; beautifully written and directed and PERFECTLY adapted from Maurice Sendak's book. It was touching and fun at the same time. You've probably heard some people say that it's not for kids, but I disagree! If you haven't seen it yet, I think it's fine for younger children, not to scary or anything. However, I think that adults, teens, and older kids will get more out of its deeper meanings and darker undertones, and will probably be able to draw more parallels to real life. But no matter what age you are, I'd definitely recommend seeing this movie! It was one of the best I've seen EVER.

And don't forget to check out Maurice Sendak's book, the original Where The Wild Things Are. Reserve it here. Or if you want you can reserve the movie's soundtrack here!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Did You Know 4.0

This is a really interesting video I found about the current state and future of technology:

Saturday, October 10, 2009


Check out the latest from Scott Westerfeld (author of the Uglies series, Peeps and the Last Days, the Midnighters trilogoly, and more)...


Click here to reserve your copy now!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Third Time's A Charm!

Welp, it seems I've started yet another blog.

Yep, that's right, again.

But, this time I have a plan. This is my blog for all things children's librarian. If you're into reliving your childhood love of books and media and fun (like I am) let's chat!
Copyright 2009 Laura Druda