Thursday, 14 February 2013

Term 2 - Vlog: The Hobbit an Unexpected Journey

Hey guys! Here is my VLOG on The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

**Please Note: You do need a password to access the video, so please comment below if you would like to see it.**

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Term 2: Book Review on a Peer's Review - Stargirl

Written By: Jerry Spinelli
Review By: Heather Ngo

Stargirl; captivating, original, and diverse. Jerry Spinelli has successfully crafted a novel that leaves his readers wanting more and feeling as if they have now formed strong bonds with the characters. A fellow peer of mine, Danika V., has also read this story and has described it as heartwarming, love filled, and inspirational. In her book review, Danika, also talked about the main theme that Spinelli was tryng to get across to his audience. She had stated that the theme of the book was, “Stargirl taught us to always be ourselves, and never change for anyone else.” After comparing Danika’s opinions with my own, I would definitely agree with her commentary however her views on theme are very different from my perspective. Although it is true that Stargirl taught us to be ourselves, I felt that this was more of an allegory than a theme. Instead I would depict the theme as the thoughts of an “ethical” society and the desires of fitting in.

Jerry Spinelli wove an exquisite tale that manages to capture the hearts of his audience and make them feel in tune with the story and setting. Throughout the novel I was strongly captivated by Spinelli’s character development. In the novel, Stargirl, we are able to deeply connect with the characters mainly because it is from a first person perspective. Although Spinelli did not focus on describing Leo’s appearance, we are still able to see his thoughts and emotions according to the situation at hand. Leo is clearly the protagonist in this novel and I was able to understand his feelings and connect with what he was dealing with. The main setting in the novel, took place at Mica High. Once again, Spinelli did not focus on the physical attire of the school but he still managed to describe the community in spiritual ways using people and correlating events. I often felt that without Stargirl Mica High was like an empty shell, having a hard outer core but nothing magical on the inside. Mica High is the main setting in which, the characters would be affected by Stargirl; on the first day of Stargirl’s entrance she immediately puts the student body under a trance and changed their lives forever. Gone was the quiet, undisturbed Mica High and replaced, was a frenzy of individuality and independence. Here is a part of the novel that shows us her affects on the community and how the individuality starts.“A plain, timid girl painted her toenails kelly green. A boy showed up with purple hair. There was no PA announcements, no TV coverage, no headlines in the Mica Times: MAHS Students Astir Individuality Erupts. But it was there it was happening.” –Leo Page 41. Overall I thought that Stargirl was a fantastic book and Spinelli did a great job of keeping his novel short and sweet. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves to be inspired and who likes a heart warming story.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Litspiration Challenge #2: Stargirl Character Sketch

Stargirl Litspiration Challenge: Character Sketch

The reason why I chose to draw Stargirl as my litspiration challenge was because I felt that she had a very important and crucial role in the the novel, Stargirl. Although my litspiration challenge does not seem like a "challenge", I personally thought that it was quite difficult because of the symbols and thought that I put in to it. I also had difficulties with drawing Stargirl and I wanted her to look as realistic as possible. Overall I am very proud of my work because I think the final product ended up quite well and my symbols have deep meaning towards it. (This is something I will explain in more detail).

Background Information:
This character sketch is based off of the character, Stargirl in Jerry Spinelli's novel Stargirl. Stargirl revolves around the challenges within a society and the need to be "normal". Although Stargirl was not the protagonist in the book, she played a crucial role in changing the thoughts of the people surrounding her and was able to influence and inspire people from inside the book and out. Stargirl is different. She plays a very unique character throughout the story and her main role was influencing and changing the society around her. In my character sketch her outward appearance has been based off on my own opinions, events in the novel, and Spinelli's own descriptions. 

Things I Considered Before:

1.) The Background Colour:
The background colour is coming out from Stargirl's body and is first a creamy, luminescent white that then ranges in to a yellow and blue. My main intention in doing so, was to show the moods and personalities of the society. The white that is illuminating from Stargirl's figure is to show that she shines like a "star" and frequently brightens the lives of others. The yellow is to represent her bubbly and carefree personality. Whenever we read about Stargirl, we could see that the actions and the things that she said were all to benefit and help another character in the book. No matter what the situation, she plastered a smile on to her face and tried to do something beneficial to her classmates. There was even a quote that depicted her actions. This is the quote, "When a stargirl cries, she sheds not tears but light." This quote is essentially showing us that even when she was upset her actions were never for herself, instead they were for another. Lastly the blue in the background is to represent everyone else in the society (Not including Stargirl). The blue shows us the mood of everyone else and how they are so similar to one another, but by being similar it was equivalent to being sad. There was no excitement, no originality, and certainly no fun. But as we get closer to Stargirl we can see that the bright yellow is illuminating on to the blue and is certainly affecting it and them. As one person gets closer to Stargirl, they become happy and joyous, just like Dori Dilson and Leo Barlock.

2.) "Smiles all around!":
The smiles in the background are meant to show the mood and the affect that Stargirl is having on Mica High. When I drew the smiles, I thought about Stargirl's actions towards her school mates and how she improved the mood and spirit of the school. The smiles are first starting small, but as they head outwards towards the edges of the blue they start enlarging. As Stargirl spends more time with her school mates, they start absorbing her happiness and spirit. Eventually the whole school is swept in to her hurricane of joyful ways.

3.) Coins: 
The path of coins that are leading towards Stargirl, are meant to represent the quarters and change that she gave away and dropped along the streets. Her reasoning to this action was, "Have you ever seen a kid's face when they found a penny?" -Stargirl. Even in this very statement we can see that her main action was for another individual in the book. Her actions weren't just for her school mates and the main characters, they were for strangers as well. 

4.) Pom Pom
The pom pom in her right hand is a way to show that Stargirl was an Electrons cheerleader. Although Stargirl was officially part of a group, she followed her own rules and her own ways of cheering. During one of the basketball games the star of the opposing team, Ron Kovac, is injured and Stargirl flies by his side. Although she is comforting the star player of the opposing team, Stargirl is recognized as a traitor against her own school and school mates. The tables have now turned and their original thoughts on Stargirl have done a 180ยบ degrees.

I personally drew the pom pom because it represented the good and bad times in the novel. At first, Stargirl is a great addition to their cheerleading team and helps increase the chances of the team's victory but as time passes Stargirl is recognized as a treason and a traitor. Eventually her goodness turns in to treason and the entire school is against her.

5.) Ukelele and Music Notes:
The ukelele in Stargirl's hand was one of the main things that made Stargirl different and unique. One of the ways that Stargirl improved the moods of her classmates was by singing them songs and Happy Birthday. In fact, on the very first day that Stargirl arrived she sang a song in the middle of the lunch room and amazed everyone. Even in the things that she said and her overall thoughts, her entire philosophy ranged and expanded a lot farther than her classmates. Stargirl was truly a heart warming character and an inspirational one as well.

6.) Presents and Card:
The presents and cards beside her foot is meant to represent her "business"; Stargirl frequently sent anonymous gifts and presents to her neighbours, classmates, and even strangers. She wanted to lift the mood of anyone that was unhappy and she even attended events such as funerals and birthdays. I drew these things because I think that it really showed her identity and her beliefs as an individual.

7.) Camera:
The camera in my character sketch is meant to represent a minor event that occurred in the novel. Towards the end of the story we were introduced to a very minor character named, Peter Sinkowitz. Peter is a little boy in the community and Stargirl was doing another good deed; she was creating a biographical scrapbook full of memories. Stargirl's logic to this was, "Don't you wish somebody came up to you today and gave you a scrapbook called, "The Life of Leo Borlock'? And it's a record, of what you did on such-and-such date when you were little. From the days you can't remember anymore. And there's pictures, and even stuff that you dropped or threw away, like a candy wrapper. And it was all done by some neighbour across the street, and you didn't even know she was doing it. Don't you think when you are fifty of sixty you'd give a fortune to such a thing?'. <-- Another example of her goodness.

8.) Rat - Cinnamon:
Cinnamon is Stargirl's pet rat. His fur is an orange-brown and he rides on Stargirl's shoulder. Cinnamon was one of the main things that separated Stargirl away from the others. Some information about Cinnamon is that he loves poking around human's ears and he lives in Stargirl's handbag and shoulder.                                                                     I drew Cinnamon in my character sketch because he was a major part of Stargirl's identity.

9.) Facial Expression:
Stargirl's facial expression is filled with joy and happiness. The reason why I gave her big eyes was because Leo often got lost into them and I thought that it was one of her characteristics that really defined her. It also added more romance in the novel, another thing that I added into her facial expression was a huge smile. Stargirl's personality was always happy and I wanted to show that through her smile. I think that Stargirl was a very inspirational character and Spinelli put a lot of thought and effort into her personality and actions.