Posts tagged ‘artists’

MANHATTAN IN YOUR DREAMS

Magical Manhattan

Written by Gregory Hoffman

MagicalManhattan,pic

An intriguing urban fantasy tale that will appeal to young adult and adult audiences, but one that might be enjoyed by children as young as ten who will “grow into” the meaning of these fantasies as they mature.

Fourteen year old Sam has just received a bad report card. On Saturdays, he has a ritual of accompanying his mother to her job in an antique store on 80th street in Manhattan. Once there, he leaves to spend the day walking down to the twin towers in Lower Manhattan and back again. As they leave their apartment, Sam ponders how to break the bad news. He places the report card on the console after they cross the Brooklyn Bridge. Little does he know that he will experience an adventure that changes his life on his walk today.

Sam will meet a homeless man named Elijah who asks Sam for his shoes. Subsequently, they will encounter a bicycle messenger a human antenna, a talking train, spirits of artists in the Metropolitan Museum , a princess cloud and many others. The streets of Manhattan are transformed into a water paradise filled with lush vegetation. What does it all mean? Will anyone else believe Sam’s story? Does the experience have a impact on Sam’s future?

The adventure is magical on several levels. It is a wonderful walking tour of Manhattan; the author expertly captures the essence and spirit of New York City. The imagination and allegories presented by the author to the reader as food for thought have many layers of meaning. Clever and creative with no objectionable content. This book could be used for so many topics as a classroom discussion or starter for creative writing assignments.

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ORIGINAL AND MEANINGFUL

Van Gogh Today: Short Stories: How Van Gogh still touches our Daily Lives (Secrets of Van Gogh Book 3)

Written by Kelly Cole Rappleye

Vangogh,pic

I really enjoyed the marriage of a discussion of one of my favorite artists intertwined with stories explaining the influence of this man’s work on the lives of six very different individuals.

For example, Lily Evans is a young girl of twenty who is passionate about both art and her writing, but she cannot find the correct path to channel her passions. A chance visit to Van Gogh’s art show at The Hermitage Museum allows her to view his painting, “The Pink Orchard.” She realizes that Van Gogh never gave up on finding enjoyment in life. Her depression is lifted and her writer’s block removed. Another character named Brett Smith is a wealthy businessman in New York City. Behind the scenes, Brett has just returned from one year of rehabilitation from cocaine and alcohol addiction and is attempting to readjust to his former lifestyle. He is inspired by a friend’s prized possession, Van Gogh’s painting, “The Little Stream,” painted just one year before the artist’s death. Reverend Dan is a minister who works at Juvenile Hall and attempts to give the troubled youth something positive to keep them on the right track. The minister showed them Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” to display an example of the beauty of this world that can be found anywhere, even if one grows up in the ghetto.

Van Gogh is one of the world’s most talented artists, but he never received recognition during his life and spent a large part of it living in poverty and depression. At the same time he was driven to share a positive image of the world around us. Rappleye, in my opinion, has written a unique and inspiring work that shares photographs and insights from Van Gogh’s life and work, while at the same time creating interesting characters who change their lives as a result of his influence.

I recommend this book to tweens, teens and adults who are interested in learning about a gifted artist, and who are also willing to open their minds to exploring the influence of art on our thinking and everyday lives.

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