Friday, January 30, 2015

ONCEKids Continues Their Commitment to Reading With the Literacy Project

The holiday season is also known as the season of giving, and that was no exception this season at ONCEKids. Author of the Fujimini Adventure Series, Eileen Wacker, and her staff at ONCEKids are committed to literacy and spreading a love of reading to kids everywhere. We strongly believe that no child should be devoid of the joys reading can bring. So to provide the wonders of a great book to children who don’t have many (or sometimes any) books to call their own, Ms. Wacker donated thousands of books to various schools and children’s hospitals across the country, including 10 inner city schools in New York City alone. 

To learn more about the ONCEKids literacy project, watch the video below:

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

A Review of Lisa Genova's "Still Alice" by Author Eileen Wacker

Still Alice is one of the most potent and engaging books I’ve read in a long time. I devoured in one day, crying my way through the novel. I thought the writer was smart in setting up the story. It wasn’t beautiful life described and then goes bad. From the first scene, she forgets a word in a lecture and how to get home from a run. The reader is instantly drawn in. The characters around Alice, namely John, Anna, Tom, and Lydia, were developing precisely right. We knew just enough about them to make the story move. The reinforced and provided a mirror so we could see the sides of Alice more clearly.

Alice is an extremely accomplished woman by anyone’s standards. One of the most esteemed Psychology professors at Harvard. But it was interesting to see, even before the Alzheimer diagnosis, she had weathered challenges and shifted priorities a few times. She speaks of how her priorities shifted more than John’s after children. She changes them again when she discovers she is sick. She wants to sabbatical with John and she wants to be with her family. John is a very consistent figure. He works a lot. He has always worked a lot. He doesn’t work to hurt her but his passion for his work has always been his priority. Although Alice understands this intellectually, this still hurts her feelings. But he is extremely supportive at the same time. Liked the realism inherent in his character.

I loved the middle of the book as we see her disease and suffering through her lucid and non-lucid self. I had to put the book down when she wished she had cancer instead. It was very powerful. And telling her children. And the history with her own father. Her contemplated suicide. Her letter to herself. All compelling.

Finally, Still Alice was a smart read for me. I learned something. There was the right amount of technical language. The reader can absorb it but it doesn’t take over the story. The painful journey is story. I highly recommend the book and will definitely see the movie.

-Eileen Wacker

Still Alice is now a major motion picture starring Julianne Moore and has been the recipient of several awards including a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress, a Critics' Choice Award for Best Actress, and an Screen Actor's Guild Award. It is currently pending nominations for an Academy Award, among several other nominations.  

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Sometimes Even Police Officers Have to "Shake It Off" In This Awesome Video

"Shake It Off" by Taylor Swift is undeniably catchy, so catchy in fact, that even this police officer from the Dover Police force cannot help himself from jamming along as he cruises through town. The Dover Police released this video a few days ago as part of a new video series they are doing called "DashCam Confessionals", and people online just can't get enough of it! My hats off to this officer for being part of the fun and letting his dance moves be viewed for all to see. It has only been on YouTube for two days and it already has over 9 million views and counting- wow!

Click below to watch the hilarious video clip that is blowing up the Internet: 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

If You Watch One Thing Today It Should Be Google's "Year In Search 2014"

There is no doubt that 2014 was a year of discovery, change, inspiration, and hope. There are countless YouTube videos that have gone viral documenting these great moments as 2014 has come to a close but if you only watch one of them, make sure it is Google’s “Year of Search 2014”. This video instantly gave me chills and I found myself watching it multiple times. If you’ve been looking for some motivation to make this year a great one, this video will definitely provide that for you. 

Click below to watch Google’s inspiring and heartwarming video documenting some of 2014’s greatest moments:

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The 10 Most Exciting Movie Adaptations Coming Out This Year

2014 was a great year for movies and 2015 is looking promising with the announcement of a dozen books being made into movies this year alone. And two, possibly even three, of them star Jennifer Lawrence- which is amazing news all on its own. Personally, I love to read the book first and then watch it come to life on the big screen, so I have a lot of reading to do, and if you’re like me you better get moving down the list- starting now!

Here is Chrissa Hardy’s List of 10 books to read before they hit the big screen this year:

1. Lisa Genova’s “Still Alice
This novel describes the amazing story of a successful woman who begins experiencing early onset Alzheimer’s disease. Starring Julianne Moore, the movie adaptation hits theaters starting January 16th.

2. Nathaniel Philbrick’s “In the Heart of the Sea”
Starring Chris Hemsworth and Cillian Murphy, the film adaptation of the incredible story about the tragic sinking of the Essex hits theaters March 13th.

3. Veronica Roth’s “Insurgent
If you enjoyed the first installment of the thrilling trilogy, “Divergent”, you will definitely enjoy the sequel, “Insurgent”. Starring Shailene Woodley and Theo James, book two will be hitting theaters March 20th. So if you haven’t already read the amazing book series, you better get started now!

4. Ron Rash’s “Serena
Serena describes a story about a newlywed couple set on building a timber empire in the woodlands of North Carolina. Serena, played by the amazing Jennifer Lawrence, is a fiercely loyal wife whose “feathers are never ruffled”. Another exciting addition to the movie is that Bradley Cooper will once again star alongside Ms. Lawrence. Be sure to read the awesome novel before it hits theaters March 26th. 

5. Nicholas Sparks’ “The Longest Ride
All the Nicholas Sparks lovers out there better get to Barnes and Noble and check this one off the list before it comes to theaters this April. This beautifully written novel describes a cowboy love story with an intersecting story of a 91-year-old WWII veteran who is dealing with the loss of his beloved wife 9 years earlier. 

6. Andy Weir’s “The Martian
This captivating novel tells the story of Mark Watney and his battle for survival after becoming stranded after a dust storm forces his crew to abandon him after landing on Mars. The movie adaption will star Matt Damon, Kate Mara, Kristen Wiig, and Jessica Chastain and is due to hit theaters November 25th.

7. John Green’s “Paper Towns”
If you were a fan of “The Fault in Our Stars” you should definitely give this book a read. John Green is a literary genius with his capturing of young love, resilience, and the human spirit. The movie will star Carla Delevingne and Nat Wolff and comes to theaters June 5th.

8. Thomas Hardy’s “Far From the Madding Crowd
Although written in the 1800s this book has a timeless appeal that is still very relevant today.The movie will star Carey Mulligan, Michael Sheen, and Tom Sturridge. Be sure to give this one a read before it comes to theaters May 1st. 

9.  Kyril Bonfiglioli’s “Don’t Point That Thing at Me”
This is the first book in the trilogy about art dealer Charlie Mortdecai and his battle between right and wrong, sane and insane, good and evil. The film adaption for this amazing book looks more than promising with an all-star cast including Johnny Depp, Olivia Munn, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Ewan McGregor. You better get reading because this movie comes to theaters January 23th. 

10. James Dashner’s “The Scorch Trials

If you haven’t read the first installment of this three-book series, "Maze Runner", go read that now and then read this one after! The fast-paced, heart stopping trilogy will keep you enthralled till the very end. The first book has already been made into an awesome movie and the second is soon to follow, coming to theaters September 18th and starring Dylan O’Brian, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, and Kaya Scodelario. 

Watch Kids' Hilarious Responses to their first "Birds and the Bees" Talk With Their Parents

Most parents feel unprepared and awkward about having the “Birds and the Bees” talk with their children for the first time, but for everyone besides the child it can make for a pretty hilarious interaction. Watch as these parents sit their child down and for the first time explain to them where babies come from without resorting to the comfortable excuses like they were ordered by the “baby delivery man”. The theories presented by the children followed by their reactions to the truth will have you cracking up.

Click below to watch the video: