Saturday, June 26, 2010

Update on the Byron Vaughns Sale

Hey everyone, here's the latest on the sale Mr. Byron Vaughns, comic atrist extraordinaire, is holding to support the library:

“Due to the technical difficulties of the art download, I have extended the last day of the Billy Batson & the Magic of Shazam original art sale to all day Tuesday, June 29, 2010. Pages have been downloaded for purchase and issues 8 and 9 will be downloaded by the end of today, Saturday, June 26, 2010

I have reduced the cost of each piece by $5.00 and in addition, all call in orders will also receive an original drawing of my new superhero, Paxton Knight

I am very much committed to making a personal contribution of 40% from this sale, including FREE SHIPPING & HANDLING, USA, to the
Charlotte Mecklenburg Library in honor of the Boys Rule Boys Read Blog, PLEASE HELP THIS WORTHWHILE CAUSE. BE SURE TO CLICK ON THE ARTWORK TO ENLARGE THE PAGE!

The Boys Rule Boys Read Blog , created for 9-14-year-old boys to encourage reading was created by library staffers, Carl Schwanke, Bill Corder & Zack Moore have been avid supporters of the Billy Batson & the Magic of Shazam series (especially Bill Corder. Although, Bill and Zack were laid off due to budget cuts, Bill, Carl, and Zack have a new blog, Boys Rock, Boys Read. Their commitment to guiding boys’ reading is still going strong.

Be sure to check this out, everyone! And, guys, be sure to check with your family before you order this stuff online. (PS--when it says "BE SURE TO CLICK ON THE ARTWORK... it probably means the artwork you'll see on the website)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Byron Vaughns Sells Artwork to Support the Library!

Hey, dudes, the plight of Charlotte Mecklenburg Library has reached not only the undead but also a very-much-alive artist named Byron Vaughns. He worked for DC Comics on Billy Batson and the Magic of Shazam. Bill was a big fan and wrote about his comic. Well, it turns out that Mr. Vaughn heard about the library's budget cuts and wanted to do something to help, so he's going to sell original artwork and donate part of the proceeds! Here's a press release from Betty, his publicity agent, that explains it all:

Emmy award winning cartoonist, Byron Vaughns is starting a 3-day original art sale on Friday, June 25, 2010, at in support of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Public Library System and elementary school-age boys who love to read comic books. He is asking for your help with his personal donation.

“This is unusual for me as an artist ….…selling my original comic book pages from the DC Comics Billy Batson & the Magic of Shazam series, hard for any artist really, but I was moved by the critical funding issues of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Public Library System which in turn affects the library’s unique, Boys Rule Boys Read Blog, created for elementary school-age boys to encourage reading; a place for boys to find terrific books and tell other boys about great reading. Because of the boys’ enthusiasm for the Billy Batson stories (a boy’s positive superhero image and exceptional relationship with his superhero sister), I felt this was a great cause to support. Hey, remember how good it felt to read comic books when you were a kid??”

“So….I am selling about 70 pieces of original, signed comic book pages and personally donating a portion of my proceeds (40%) to the Charlotte Mecklenburg Public Library System and as the donator, I will retain the tax deduction rights. I am also donating FREE SHIPPING & HANDLING, USA for each purchase at no cost to you!

The 3-day sale starts on FRIDAY, June 25, 2010 at 6am Eastern Standard Time and ends MONDAY, June 28, 2010 at 10pm Eastern Standard Time. BUY NOW THROUGH PAYPAL! OR ORDER BY PHONE (818-749-8536) THIS IS FASTER AND WILL ALLOW ME TO HELP THE LIBRARY’S IMMEDIATE FUNDING GAP. I CAN ALSO ACCEPT CHECKS BY PHONE.
If you would like a personal greeting on the comics page, call and let me know!
For more information on Byron Vaughns:

The Boys Rule Boys Read Blog, was created by the library staffers, Carl Schwanke, Bill Corder & Zack Moore. They have been avid supporters of the Billy Batson & the Magic of Shazam series (especially Bill Corder) Unfortunately, Bill and Zack were laid off due to budget cuts but Bill, Carl, and Zack have started another blog, Boys Rock, Boys Read.

For more information about the Boys Rule Boys Read Blog, contact Carl Schwanke at (704) 416-4630. Also check out Boys Rock, Boys Read! at a new boy’s blog by Carl Schwanke, Bill Corder & Zack Moore!

Thanks, Betty! And especial thanks to you, Mr. Vaughn! We are very touched by your generosity. So get to it, guys! And you grownups too! Here's a chance to purchase some original artwork by a fantastic comic artist and help the library.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Zombies For Libraries

Let me fill you in on the latest news about the library's status. There's much good news but also some bad. The good news is, to make a long story short, the city, the county, and some of the towns in Mecklenburg county were able to come up with about 70% of the money we were going to lose. That's good because we can keep 20 branches open instead of only eight. That also means we didn't have to lay off as many people as we thought. (and I am am one of the very grateful people who did NOT get laid off!) To learn the full and rather complicated story, click here. But the bad news is that we lost 30% of the money we need. That means we'll be open fewer hours and may not get to do as much cool stuff. That's why the library still needs your help!

A lot of of library fans are doing events to help; in fact, there's a great new effort among the undead to support our libraries! Well, actually it was done primarily by the living. A group called Charlotte Geeks teamed up with the library and Bouncing Ferret Films to create a bunch of promotional videos. Here's a message from the national Save The Libraries website:

Zombies for Libraries

Last week
Charlotte Geeks along with the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library and Bouncing Ferret Films filmed several library advocacy videos featuring zombies who are suffering from the loss of libraries in the community. Watch the videos, share, but be warned these may not be for very young eyes!

The Charlotte Geeks realized that the poor zombies of Mecklenburg county need to feed on brains and, since libraries feed brains, there will be no more brains for the hungry zombies if the libraries close!

Here are the videos showing the plight of the unfortunate zombies:

So do your part to help the zombies! Support your library!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Reel Guys Movie Afternoon---

---will be on Saturday, June 26 here at Imaginon. "What's the Reel Guys Movie Afternoon?" you ask. It's a chance for boys 9-12 years old to watch a movie with their dads, grandfathers, uncles, older brothers, mentors, or any important men in their lives. Since this year's Summer Reading theme is Make a Splash, what sort of movie would we show but a pirate movie? And what movie would we show but Captain Blood, that great old movie with Errol Flynn as Doctor Peter Blood, who is unjustly accused of treason, sold into slavery, and escapes to become the pirate Captain Blood. This is a true GUY movie--there are battles at sea, a sword fight on the beach, and lots of things that blow up! Come to the Round in Imaginon at 3:00 pm on Saturday, June 26 and let's have a good time together! Any questions? Call me at 704-416-4630.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Brandon Tells Us About Leprechauns! And the Library's Situation

Hey, one and all, sorry not to have posted for so long. I've busy here and haven't had much time for blogging. However, I ALWAYS have time to hear from you! We just got a review from our good friend Brandon. Let's hear him:

Leprechauns Don't Play Fetch
By Debbie Dadey & Marcia Thornton Jones
I enjoyed this short book. It was a silly book about a so-called Leprechaun who owned a pet store and was afraid of dogs. a group of kids thought that he was a Leprechaun because of the rhymes he told them to convince them to buy useless things. It's a great St. Patrick's Day reader. I would recommend this book for early readers or for older kids who just want a short book to relax with and read quickly.

Review by Brandon, age 10

Thanks, Brandon! This book is one of the Bailey School Kids series, which are a whole lot of fun. I read one called Dragons Don't Cook Pizza, which I really enjoyed. Brandon is right--these books are good for early readers or older guys who want something short and good. That's why I call it a Good Quick Read. If you want to find out about other Good Quick Reads, click on that label under this post or find them under this list on the left-hand side of the page. Keep writng in to us, Brandon, and don't forget to come by the Imaginon library and get your free book. (hmm--Brandon--good Irish name!)

Here's an update on the library's situation. The County Commissioners voted last night to restore about half of the money that was going to be cut. The city of Charlotte and the other towns in Mecklenburg County may add enough for the library to get 70 % of the money we need. We should know for sure by the end of this week. That means, of course, that we won't be hit as hard as we thought, but it also means we still need your help. Click here to see what you, your family, and your freinds can do. Please take time to look at it. This is a time when all the reader out there need to speak up and say how much the library means to you! We want to keep providing you with good stuff, so take a look and see what you can do. And thanks for all the support you've given us so far!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Summer Reading and Two New 39 Clues

Tomorrow starts that time of year again, guys, the time to get prizes for reading! What could be better, huh? Well, you can do just that with the SUMMER READING PROGRAM!! Starting tomorrow, you can go to your local library and pick and pick up a reading record to track how many hours you read. You can claim prizes for 10 hours and 20 hours of reading. (remember that you get prizes for hours of reading, not number of books read) The Charlotte Mecklenburg Library's Summer Reading Program lasts form June 14--August 9. If you live outside of Charlotte, NC, your time might be different. Check with your helpful, friendly librarian to find out.

PS--if you're 12--18 years old, check out the Make Waves Summer Reading Program.

And here are a couple of really good books to start your summer reading--The Emperor's Code by Gordon Korman and Storm Warning by Linda Sue Park. Both are part of the fantastic 39 Clues series and both are a lot of fun to read!

In The Emperor's Code, Dan and Amy Cahill and Nellie Gomez, their au pair, go to China to find the next Clue to the secret of world-dominating power. Dan and Amy have a big fight in Beijing and Dan runs away only to be kidnapped by the Kabras, their totally ruthless cousins. What do they want from him and what will they do if he doesn't tell them? Will Amy try to find him of look for the next Clue? And what is Nellie hiding from them?

Storm Warning takes the Cahill kids to the Caribbean in search of the Clue left by Anne Bonny, a female pirate who looks just like their mother! Along the way, they face death by drowning in a cave and Amy must go face-to-face with Isabel Kabra, the most dangerous and evil of all their dangerous and evil cousins. On top of all that, major secrets are revealed in this book by The Man In Black, but wait!! What does the coded message say? Can they believe this stranger who has followed them all over the world? Remember the warning they heard at the beginning of the clue hunt--"Trust no one!"

I've said this before but I'll say it again--no one does it better than The 39 Clues!! These books are more FUN to read than anything else out there right now. They've got everything a guy could want--edge-of-your-seat suspense, laugh-out-loud humor, worldwide conspiracies, secrets hidden for centuries, and brain-teaser puzzles embedded in the books. Don't miss them!! And if you want to see reviews of the other 39 Clues books, click on the "39 Clues" label under this post.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Bill and Zack (and I) Blog Again!

Hey everybody in blogland, I have some outstading news. Our good friends and former cobloggers (and former coworkers too) Bill and Zack and I have started a new boys reading blog!! It's called Boys Rock, Boys Read! and it does rock. Bill already has a couple of posts up and one review and there is all the goofball humor and interesting book reviewing you've always expected from the Billster. So go check it out. I'll contribute stuff there too and so will Zack. The three of us had such fun blogging together for you guys that we just couldn't stand being away, so we've started this independent thing. Ah, it will be good to blog with those two again!

I also have more outstanding news about Bill. As you know, he was laid off from the library at the beginning of April due to all the budget cuts, but---here's the good news---he got a job as the Youth Services director of the Robeson County Public Library!! Yippee!! We are all SO GLAD for him! He starts this Monday, which is the first day of Summer Reading. Yes, Bill gets thrown right into the fire to start this new phase of his career, but I have no fear for him because he will rise up as the true champion he is and SLAM DUNK this new challenge through the HOOP OF SUCCESS!!

Good luck, Bill!! We're cheering for you!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

AXEL Claims His Prizes and Lucky: My Best Summer Ever

Our good friend AXEL SIMONE came by last weekend to claim his prize package for reading all 6 books in the Sluggers series. Here he is, proudly displaying his trophies of reading:And here are his reviews of the fifth and sixth books:

blasting the blues
after the payne family learns there is a mole on the team they try to figure out who it is. i loved it. i recommend the series to everyone. bye.

home of the brave
after their uncle is shot and the baseball is stolen the paynes head to baltimore. i loved it i reccommend it to everyone. bye.

Thanks, AXEL! Very well done! Don't forget, guys, that you could get such a prize package for reading all 6 books. (although we're all out of Camp Half Blood t-shirts, we have lots of others)

Speaking of baseball books, here's one that I liked a whole lot! It's Lucky: Maris, Mantle, and My Best Summer Ever by Wes Tooke. This was a realsitc story, so there isn't a magic baseball but you could say there's magic involved--the magic of seeing your dreams come true.

It's 1961 and young Louis May lives with his father, stepmother, and stepbrother in White Plains, a suburb of New York City. Louis loves baseball and has a huge collection of baseball cards. In fact, he has memrozied all the information and statistics on all those cards. Imagine, then, his surprise when he gets to be a batboy for the Yankees! He gets to be friends with his two heroes, Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris, and watches with anticipation as they try to break Babe Ruth's record for the most home runs in one season. Louis's stepbrother is jealous, however, and seems determine to ruin his life--even attempting a very low trick with Louis's baseball card collection. Will his stepbrother actually win? And do Maris and Mantle get to break the Babe's record? You can find out only by reading this terrific book!

I liked it a lot. The story moves right along and you really care what happens to Louis, his family, Roger, and Mickey. It's great to see what happens as Louis achieves his dream of being a batboy, and the players' dreams of creating new baseball records. It's also great to see how Louis grows over this summer, learning how to deal with bullies, solve tough problems, and sneak a baseball star out of a locker room in a cart of dirty laundry! Be sure to read this one, guys! And if you like baseball books, click on the "baseball" tab under this post and see the books we've reviewed in the past.

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Results of the 48 Hour Book Challenge and Your Chance to Donate to the Library

Greetings, my brother readers! The CARLMAN has not only met the 48 Hour Book challenge but has conquered it! And not only conquered, but, in true MANLY MAN fashion, exceeded it!! My goal was to read 12 hours in the 48-hour period from 7am Saturday morning to 7am Monday morning. Yes, that seems like a lot but I not only rose to the occasion, I actually got in 14 HOURS!! Yes, I will pause now for gasps of astonishment. Here's the story.

I had 4 books on my TBR (To Be Read) pile--Redwall, The Red Pyramid, and The Emperor's Code, and Lucky: Mantle, Maris, and My Best Summer Ever by Wes Tooke (a book I had started before the Challenge) Here I am, reading away with no trouble in true MANLY MAN fashion.

It got tiring after a few hours, however--

--yet I knew I must go on, no matter how tough it was!
The guys are counting on me!

I--can't stop--no matter how heavy--the book gets--


But in the end, my superhuman powers of endurance prevailed, proving that, when it comes to reading, the CARLMAN is an Iron Guy!
OK, enough silliness. Here's what really happened (briefly):

Saturday, June 5
7:30 am--11:30 am
Lucky: Mantle, Maris, and My Best Summer Ever. A really good book. I'll give reviews later in the week on the books I read this weekend.

Redwall by Brian Jacques

Had to break for meals and a major phone call with some bad news.
12:30 pm--5:30 pm
Got hungry for some grownup reading:

Some writings of William Booth, who founded the Salvation Army

A section of The Civil War: A Narrative Part 1 Fort Sumter to Perryville by Shelby Foote--really riveting stuff. This book will keep you turning page after page for a very long time.

Our good friend Ms. Yingling said that physical activity is important during the Challenge, so I listened to Lad, A Dog by Albert Payson Terhune while taking an extended walk and attending to other duties. A really good Guy Book. I thought it would be some warm and fuzzy man-and-his-dog story but it surprised me. Within 3 chapters, there was a fight to the death with a copperhead, an attack on a burglar, and a fight with a rival dog.

More Redwall

We got to spend 1 hour looking at other blogs for every five hours of reading, so I checked out several other blogs.
After that, I hosted a going-away party for someone we all know. Will tell you about it later this week.

Saturday's total: 9 hours

Sunday, June 6
Sunday mornig is a time of spiritual nourishment for me, so from:
7:30 am--8:30 am read Centuries of Meditations by Thomas Traherne. C. S. Lewis used this book a lot for his own edification.
After attending services, I had to go to the library to help with a special event, so I had to break up my reading time.
1:00 pm--2:00 pm More Redwall
5:00 pm--6:00 pm More Redwall
6:00 pm--7:00 pm left Redwall at the library, so I started on The Emperor's Code
8:00 pm--9:00 pm More Emperor's Code and some time reading Bulfinch's Mythology to my daughter.

Sunday's total: 5 Hours

Weekend total: 14 Hours!!

Yes, you call me a hero, but this is your chance to show your heroic side. I did this so you could donate money to the library for every hour I read. (You and your family should determine how much you give, of course) Donating is easy. Here's what you do:

1. Donate cash at the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library branch closest to you. Please put the money in an envelope and make sure the envelope is addressed to Dick Pahle, Main Library, 310 N. Tryon. No need to put a stamp on it because you're not mailing it. In fact, you should NEVER send cash through the mail!! As long as Mr. Pahle's name is on the envelope, it will get to him. (He's in charge of all our fundraising) If your local branch has a cash donation box, you could put it in there or you could give it to the helpful, friendly librarian behind the desk.
2. Your parents could write a check. You can mail it or drop it off at your local branch. If you mail it, make sure it goes to Dick Pahle, Main Library, 310 N. Tryon, Charlotte, NC. 28202. If you drop it off, please be sure to put Mr. Pahle's name and Main Library on the envelope.

Whether you write a check or donate cash, please add a note that says it's from the 48 Hour Book Challenge.

3. Donate online. All the info for donating online is here. Online donations automatically go to Mr. Pahle. If you do this, make sure your parents know about it first!! Or your parents could make the donations, of course.
I'll post the final amount when I know it. I've received two pledges already of $60 and $20 for a total of $80 so far and I've heard of another one out there. If you'd like to leave a comment with your donation/pledge, please feel free.

Thanks for donating, everyone. The library is in trouble and we need your help. Thanks also for Mother Reader for hosting this Challenge and to all who sent in comments over the weekend. It was fun and I'm looking forward to next year, when I can smash this year's record! Spoken like a true MANLY MAN!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Let the Readathon Begin!

Hey, guys, I'm not really here.

I mean, I'm starting the 48 Hour Book Challenge at 7:00 am this morning but I can't write about it this weekend. (I wrote this ahead of time and set it up to publish this morning) Since I work for the library, I write on the blog only during work time. This is my weekend off, except for a special library event on Sunday afternoon, so I can't post anything until Monday morning. You'll get a full report then. In the meantime, I'll be reading away, doing my utmost to put in 12 hours during these 48 hours.

Wait a minute--did I hear someone call me a wimpy reader? Did someone impugn my manliness and say that other readers will do 30 hours this weekend? 40 hours??? That some bloggers give up meals and sleep? Well, all I can say, then, is that I'm a MANLY MAN, not a CRAZY MAN! Actually, I have some other commitments this weekend and getting in 12 hours will be tough. But tough is the CARLMAN'S middle name!This is me, sneering with disdain at the thought of giving up!! The Iron Guy will read until the pages fall out!!

Until Monday morning, feel free to leave comments. And don't forget that this is for a good cause. I hope you will contribute however much money you'd like to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Library for every hour that I read. Thanks! You will be the real heroes!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

All the Scoop on the 48 Hour Book Challenge and Your Chance to Help the Library

The great test of the CARLMAN'S endurance and dedication comes up this weekend. It's the 48 Hour Book Challenge, an annual event in which kidlit bloggers try to read as many hours as they can in a 48-hour period. This year they're letting us use this event as an opportunity to raise money for our favorite charities, so I'm asking all you readers guys to donate however much money you and your families would like for every hour that I read. I'll post the results on Monday and you can see how many hours I actually read to determine how much to give. Here's how you can donate:

1. Donate cash at the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library branch closest to you. Please put the money in an envelope and make sure the envelope is addressed to Dick Pahle, Main Library, 310 N. Tryon. No need to put a stamp on it because you're not mailing it. In fact, you should NEVER send cash through the mail!! As long as Mr. Pahle's name is on the envelope, it will get to him. (He's in charge of all our fundraising) If your local branch has a cash donation box, you could put it in there or you could give it to the helpful, friendly librarian behind the desk. (Here's a picture of your typical Charlotte Mecklenburg librarian)

2. Your parents could write a check. You can mail it or drop it off at your local branch. If you mail it, make sure it goes to Dick Pahle, Main Library, 310 N. Tryon, Charlotte, NC. 28202. If you drop it off, please be sure to put Mr. Pahle's name and Main Library on the envelope.

Whether you write a check or donate cash, please add a note that says it's from the 48 Hour Book Challenge.

3. Donate online. All the info for donating online is here. Online donations automatically go to Mr. Pahle. If you do this, make sure your parents know about it first!! Or your parents could make the donations, of course.

As I said, you can donate however much you'd like. You can donate on your own or this might be something you and your family/friends/school would like to do. We really appreciate it, guys! The library is in trouble; check out my post from May 29 to find out.

My goal is to read 12 hours over the weekend. During that time, I plan to read The Red Pyramid, The Emperor's Code, (been saving those two for this weekend), and Redwall. (at long last!) I read slowly, so this should last me a while but I've got other stuff lined up if I finish them. We're also allowed to listen to one audiobook, so I've got one called Lad, a Dog ready to go. It's an old book, a true story about a man and his collie--and the dog doesn't die in this one!

As I said, I'll post the results on Monday. In the meantime, I'll be out there as a true MANLY MAN, reading for the greater good!

Michael Claims His Prizes!

Our good friend and frequent contributor Michael went to the University City library and picked up his prize package for reading all 6 books in the Sluggers series. Here is with his book bag and one of his free books. (The book is Mudville by Kurtis Scaletta)

And here's a close-up of him beaming with pride after his magnificent achievement.

Well done, Michael!! Keep up the good work!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

"It Was the Footprint of a Gigantic Hound": My Second Blast From the Past

"My dear Watson, if you know where that quote comes from, then you know I'm going to talk about The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle. If you haven't read this book, then let me tell you that you are in for a treat!! Wait--the game is afoot, Watson! I'll let my good friend Carl talk about it."

Thanks, Mr. Holmes. This is my second Blast From the Past, in which I talk about an old favorite that I've never reviewed. This one is really worth telling you all about!
Sir Charles Baskerville was found dead on the grounds of Baskerville Hall, an old mansion on the wild moors of Devonshire. They said it was because of his bad heart, but his friend Dr. Mortimer comes to Sherlock Holmes to say that Sir Charles died of fright. Then he tells the story of the Hound of the Baskervilles, a ghostly and savage beast that haunts the old estate. Dr. Mortimer says that he found the footprint of a gigantic hound near Sir Charles's body! Sherlock Homes, a thorough-going man of logic, doesn't believe in spectres but sends Dr. Watson to Baskerville Hall to protect Sir Henry, the only known heir, because Sherlock believes Sir Henry's life is in danger from a particularly dangerous criminal. The only way to catch the murderer is to send Sir Henry across the moor at night, when the hound will be out!! Will the young heir survive? And will even Sherlock Holmes be prepared for what they find??

Man, oh, man, you've got to read it to find out!! No one does it like Sherlock Holmes! There is hardly any place creepier than the moors around Baskerville Hall and no one creates mystery and suspense like Arthur Conan Doyle. I'd recommend this for the older reader guys who love good stories. And don't worry that's it's an older book--the language is easy to follow and not very difficult. Try it and see if you can possibly put it down!

PS--The library system has a graphic novel version, which I haven't read. Will have to get it.

PPS--There have been lots and lots of Sherlock Holmes movies and lots of famous actors have portrayed the fomaous detective. One was Peter Cushing, aka Grand Moff Tarkin:
And also Tom Baker who was, I believe, the third Dr. Who:
But my all-time favorite is Basil Rathbone, whose picture you saw at the beginning of this post. Here's a photo from his version of The Hound of the Baskervilles.

Dr. Mortimer tells the great detective that, near the body, were the footprints of "a gigantic hound." There was originally a video clip to go here but it doesn't work anymore. Yep, they don't get any better than Sherlock Homes!! Be sure to click on the "Sherlock Homes" tab below to see what other books I've reviewed.