Posts for the ‘Who Knew’ Category
In an alternate history, as the United States and the Soviet Union teeter on the edge of a nuclear war and being a superhero is illegal, who will save the world? Enter the Watchmen…
As graphic novel readers and teen librarians know, Watchmen delivers a complex plot that goes far beyond deconstructing the idea of a superhero. Here are some tidbits to help the rest of us understand the cult phenomenon that is Watchmen.
The Graphic Novel
o Watchmen is not only in Time magazine’s top 10 graphic novels list, it is included in Time magazine’s 100 best English-language novels from 1923 to Present.
o The original 12 issues of the Watchmen comic book series were published by DC Comics in 1986-87.
o After two decades the graphic novel is still selling. In 2007 about 100,000 copies were sold, but when the trailer for the “Watchmen” movie was shown before “The Dark Night” in July 2008, sales skyrocketed. By mid-August DC put another 900,000 copies into print to meet demand (over 62,500 copies sold in July/August 2008). “Watchmen” became the top selling graphic novel in 2008.
o In 2008 Warner Bros. Entertainment released a narrated version of the original comic called Watchmen: Motion Comics. The first chapter sold on iTunes and other digital stores for the 1986 cover price of $1.50. The Complete Motion Comic was released March 3, 2009.
Opening night midnight viewings of the “Watchmen” generated $4.55 million in sales. The film opened in 1,595 theaters across the country and spread to 3,611 around the world, the most theaters ever to show an R-rated movie.
“Watchmen” was directed by Zack Snyder, and has been compared to Snyder’s 2007 feature film “300”, here are a few comparative stats from each opening weekends:
o While “Watchmen” brought in a total of $55.7 million in opening weekend tickets sales, “300” had a much stronger opening weekend with $70 million in tickets sales.
o The movie-goer’s desire to see action films on IMAX screens brought in $5.5 million in IMAX ticket sales for “Watchmen” during its opening weekend; “300” reached 65% of that mark with $3.6 million.
o Snyder’s “300” opened on 62 domestic IMAX screens and “Watchmen” opened on 124.
o “Watchmen” is 45 minutes longer than “300”, making it hard for theaters to have more than one showing per evening. “300′s” shorter running time gave theaters the opportunity to play two showings per evening, which likely had an affect on ticket sales.
o “300” had a production budget of $60 million. “Watchmen’s” budget is reported to be between $120 and $150 million.
Intrigued? Learn more at the following websites.
Watchmen movie and graphic novel:
Watchmen writer Alan Moore:
Comic and graphic novel sales/ trends:
Movie box office data:
-R. Sean Lamborne
Gustines, G.G. (2008, August 13). Film trailer aids sales of ‘Watchmen’ novel. The New York Times Online. Retrieved on March 7, 2009 from http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/14/arts/14arts-FILMTRAILERA_BRF.html?_r=1&ref=arts&oref=slogin
ICV2. Top 100 Graphic Novels Actual – August 2008 [Data File]. March 10, 2009 from http://www.icv2.com/articles/news/13297.html
ICV2. Top 100 Graphic Novels Actual – July 2008 [Data File]. March 10, 2009 from http://www.icv2.com/articles/news/13104.html
Michael White. (2009, March 6). ‘Watchmen’ may open with $70 million, lift box office. Bloomberg.com Retrieved on March 7, 2009 from http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601088&sid=aiiSmRwjr8lQ&refer=muse
Paul William Tenny. (2009, March 10). Watchmen experiences mass walkouts in new york city. Newsvine.com. Retrieved on March 10, 2009 from http://pwtenny.newsvine.com/_news/2009/03/10/2527065-watchmen-experiences-mass-walkouts-in-new-york-city
The Numbers: Box Office Data, Movie Stars, Idle Speculation. Watchmen [Data File]. Retrieved March 10, 2009 from http://www.the-numbers.com/movies/2009/WATCH.php
Watchmen (2004, July 22). In Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved March 7, 2009 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Watchmen#cite_note-57
Edited: March 16th, 2009
In recognition of the highly anticipated Twilight film, here are some fun facts about the series.
Twilight is the story of 17-year-old Bella Swan, who moves to a small town in Washington State and falls in love with a vampire named Edward Cullen. Published in 2005, the book was followed by New Moon in 2006 and Eclipse in 2007. The books have sold 8.5 million copies in the U.S., according to Publisher’s Weekly.
Author Stephenie Meyer, a Phoenix housewife with a degree in English from Brigham Young University, based the first novel on a vivid dream she had in 2003 (Stephenie.Meyer.com).
Breaking Dawn, the fourth book in the Twilight saga, sold 1.3 million copies on its publication date, August 2, 2008. Little, Brown reported it as the highest single-day sales in the company’s history (Publisher’s Weekly).
The Twilight books have been translated into 37 languages and sold more than 14 million copies worldwide, according to the Daily Telegraph (UK).
The Twilight series has drawn frequent comparisons with the Harry Potter series in terms of its cultural impact. Eclipse knocked the last installment of J.K. Rowling’s series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, to the #2 spot on the Barnes and Noble Fiction Bestseller’s list when it was published, and the series has made Meyer a millionaire many times over. The Twilight film was be released on Nov. 21, the same date the next Harry Potter film was originally going to be released (Wall Street Journal).
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows sold 8.3 million copies in its first 24 hours, according to the New York Times. The Potter books have been translated into 67 languages and sold 400 million copies worldwide (BBC). And while the four books in the Twilight series weigh in at 2,458 pages, the seven-part Harry Potter series breaks the scales at 4,100 pages (Wall Street Journal).
The series’ has not escaped controversy. Citing concerns about age-appropriate content, the Capistrano Unified School District in California banned the books from middle school libraries in September 2008 – only to reinstate the books four days later without explanation (Orange County Register).
Edited: November 25th, 2008
Summer reading programs are an integral part of public library culture, and many libraries strive to serve all ages including children, young adults, and adults. Some fun facts about summer reading include:
• In the summer of 2007, nearly 205,000 Colorado children participated in summer reading at their public library. In fact, over the past 10 years, approximately 1.5 million participants registered for summer reading programs at Colorado public libraries.
• Children in every income group who read six or more books over the summer gain more in reading achievement than children who do not.
• On average, children from low-income families lose nearly three months of grade-level equivalency during the summer months each year, compared to an average of one month lost by middle-income children.
• Despite some studies that claim teenagers are reading less than ever before, in January 2005 the Gallup organization asked 1,078 teenagers, ages 13-17 about the books they read for pleasure over the last six months. 82% said they had read at least one book.
• Libraries have used blogs as a platform for presenting adult summer reading programs to their patrons. The creator of Maggie Reads (http://www.maggiereads.blogspot.com) notes that in the summer of 2007, her first blog-based reading challenge prompted comments by over 80 bloggers in the community.
The Colorado State Library provides additional summer reading resources for libraries at:
Sources (in order of being quoted):
Maggie Moran. (2008). Reading + blogging: One perfect adult summer reading program. Mississippi Libraries, 72(1), p. 6-8.
Edited: June 3rd, 2008
National Library Week is observed each year in April, generally the second full week.
This year marks the 50th Anniversary of National Library Week.
The 2008 theme for National Library Week is “Join the circle of knowledge @ your library.”
Julie Andrews is the official voice for National Library Week 2008. Check out her Public Service Announcement.
Learn more about National Library Week.
Edited: April 11th, 2008
The United States Library of Congress is in charge of appointing the national Poet Laureate. This tradition began in the U.S. in 1937. The current Poet Laureate is Charles Simic .
You can read his poem “At the Library” here.
Literacy Through Poetry gives graduate students and elementary students an opportunity to communicate and learn together through poetry.
This brief report from the Ohio Literacy Resource center describes some ways (and presents some “whys”) for using poetry in adult literacy education.
The Academy of American Poets has a wealth of information and ideas for celebrating National Poetry Month http://www.poets.org/page.php/prmID/102
Former United States Poet Laureate Billy Collins has initiated a literacy program called Poetry 180, targeted at high school libraries and classrooms. http://www.loc.gov/poetry/180/
Edited: April 2nd, 2008
In the spirit of this weekend’s Super Bowl, we have collected resources relating how football is being used to promote literacy around the globe.
The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) reports that enterprising librarians at the University of Dubuque (Iowa) are using fantasy football to teach information literacy. “Fantasy football sessions created the building blocks for future information literacy successes by bridging the students’ existing experiences to the skills required for college.”
Reading The Game (RTG) is a partnership with the National Literacy Trust in the United Kingdom, working with professional football (soccer for those of us in the States) to promote literacy and to raise reading motivation for all ages. Thanks to funding from the Football Foundation, a unique post was established in 2002 at the NLT to help strengthen the role of football as a key motivational force in raising literacy standards for both children and adults. Reading The Game was launched at Manchester City Football Club on 25th September 2002. This partnership will continue for another 3 years from January 2008. http://www.nationalliteracytrust.org.uk/About/footballfoundation2007.html
The Houghton Mifflin Company’s online Education Place includes an interactive, football-themed literacy website for kids called “Tackle Reading.” Kids can use this website to set reading goals, find books, get reading tips, print bookmarks, read player’s stories, play football word games, and more.
The Wright Stuff
A New Orleans teacher’s encouragement has resulted in a literacy club whose student members are writing a novel about themselves as first-year college students.
Reading instructor Danyel McLain has helped eight of her students at Henry C. Schaumburg Elementary School form the club which has penned the story called “504 Boyz Go to College.” It tells the tale of first-year Louisiana State University students who are members of LSU’s band and football and basketball teams. So far the boys have written six chapters and plan on writing four more.
To keep the boys interested in writing, McLain helped them form the club, complete with its own logo and t-shirts. To celebrate their achievements she organized book signing in the school’s cafeteria.
“I didn’t think I was that smart before,” said Joshua, 14, one of the writers. But, he says, “I pay attention. I do my work.”
SOURCE: New Orleans Times Picayune, January 8, 2008
Introducing First-Year Student-Athletes to the Library:
The Michigan State University Experience
Athletics on college campuses is one of the oldest traditions in higher education. To this day, most institutions of higher education have intercollegiate athletic programs which means that a large number of student-athletes exist on American campuses. Student-athletes, like other special populations on campus, have unique needs that make them different from other students. One area that student-athletes need help in is in accessing and learning how to use the library system on their campus.
Rams Reader Team/ Literacy Initiatives:
The Rams place a high priority on literacy and partner with area organizations to increase interest in reading, provide free books for underserved communities and train tutors. The Rams also encourage youth to tackle reading by joining the Rams Reader Team , a program that targets kids from kindergarten to high school. Participants are encouraged to visit their local library, sign up to be a Rams Reader Team member, and choose a book from the reading list created from suggestions by the St. Louis Rams football players and chairman and owner, Georgia Frontiere. To reinforce the importance of literacy, each week during the program, players visit libraries and schools to read to children.
Other Super Bowl tidbits:
– The Super Bowl represents the No. 1 at-home party event of the year (even bigger than New Year’s Eve) and the No. 2 food-consumption day of the year.
– Approximately $55 million will be spent on Super Bowl food this year.
– Ten million man-hours is spent on Super Bowl food preparation.
Edited: January 31st, 2008
Publisher is matching donations — a new book for each dollar given — at First Book through December 31st.
Every dollar donated through Dec. 31 to First Book will be matched by Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing with an entire book, up to a million new books. First Book is a nonprofit organization that gives away new books to children in need. When a donation is made the giver can download and personalize a card to notify someone of the gift, or an e-card can be sent instantly. To donate go to First Book’s site at http://www.firstbook.org
Book stores show strong jump in sales from November to December.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. retailers with sizable jumps in sales between November and December 2006 were as follows: book stores (86 percent); clothing stores (49 percent); jewelry stores (155 percent); radio, TV and other electronics stores (60 percent); and sporting goods stores (65 percent).
Source: Service Sector Statistics
Obama’s book tops Amazon’s popular gift list
Amazon.com’s most popular gift for 2006 was Barack Obama’s book, The Audacity of Hope. It was the only book among their 19 most popular gifts for the year.
Boston-area library in 15th year of holiday book-giving program
The Acton Memorial Library in Acton, Massachusetts is currently in its 15th year of the popular Holiday Book Program. Donors purchase pre-selected titles from the library’s “wish list” in order to add to the library’s collection. The giver receives a card and a bookplate to dedicate to recipients with their name inside the purchased book, and a chance to be the first to read the book once it is processed. Last year, gifts totaled more than $1,500.
Edited: December 16th, 2007
The British journal Education reported on results from the Literacy Skills for the World of Tomorrow study conducted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and UNESCO. Their review of the research indicates that 15 year-old girls in all 43 countries surveyed are surpassing their male counterparts in literacy. Source: Girls out-read boys worldwide. (2003). Education, 109, 1, Retrieved November 14, 2007, from Academic Search Premier database. Full research report available at http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/43/9/33690591.pdf
The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Literacy Initiative for Empowerment ( LIFE) seeks by 2015 to help reduce by half the rate of adult illiteracy in the world. LIFE operations, a global strategy to raise awareness on the importance of literacy are country-led, respond to country-specific needs and priorities, and correspond to national capacities. Designed to further the goals of the UN Literacy Decade (2003-2012), LIFE is being implemented in 35 countries with a literacy rate of less than 50 per cent or a population of more than 10 million illiterates.
Source: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?newsid=19773&cr=literacy&cr1 =
“A poll commissioned by Teletext in 2007 questioned 4,000 adult readers on their reading habits. The survey found the top 10 fiction books that Britons cannot finish are:
1) Vernon God Little, D.B.C Pierre (35%)
2) Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, J. K Rowling (32%)
3) Ulysses, James Joyce (28%)
4) Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, Louis De Bernieres (27%)
5) Cloud Atlas, David Mitchell (24%)
6) The Satanic Verses, Salman Rushdie (21%)
7) The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho (19%)
8) War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy (18%)
9) The God of Small Things, Arundhati Roy (16%)
10) Crime and Punishment, Dostoyevsky (15%)”
-”A survey of 1,000 people for Bedtime Reading Week 2002 found the most popular place to read was in bed (65% of the sample). 25% relax with a book in the bath, 10% take a book to the loo (mainly men), almost half like to read on holiday and a third read on the journey to work. Over a third of those interviewed said they wish they had more time to read.”
-”Surveys by Muse, BML, DCMS, CIPFA in 2006 found that 47% of UK adults are registered with their local library”
-”A survey by Book Marketing for World Book Day 2001 found that the average British reader reads for between 4 and 6 hours a week. In Scotland the average is 5.8 hours. 54% said they read for relaxation or to relieve stress.”
“Iceland is full of readers. Iceland has the highest number of book readers per head of population in the world. This correlates with the fact that it has a near 100 percent functional literacy rate.”
Source: Literacy in Iceland from Australian School Library Association Inc. (ASLA) http://www.asla.org.au/pubs/access/a_commentary_180204.htm
According to the 2000-20004 estimated figures from the UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) Institute for Statistics, China has a 90.9% literacy rate and an illiterate population of 87 million.
The latest National Endowment for the Arts report draws on a variety of sources, public and private, and essentially reaches one conclusion: Americans are reading less. The 99-page study, “To Read or Not to Read,” was released November 19, 2007 as a follow-up to a 2004 NEA survey, “Reading at Risk,” that found an increasing number of adult Americans were not even reading one book a year.
Among the key findings:
Americans are reading less – teens and young adults read less often and for shorter amounts of time compared with other age groups and with Americans of previous years.
• Less than one-third of 13-year-olds are daily readers, a 14 percent decline from 20 years earlier. Among 17-year-olds, the percentage of non-readers doubled over a 20-year period, from nine percent in 1984 to 19 percent in 2004.1
• On average, Americans ages 15 to 24 spend almost two hours a day watching TV, and only seven minutes of their daily leisure time on reading.2
Americans are reading less well – reading scores continue to worsen, especially among teenagers and young males. By contrast, the average reading score of 9-year-olds has improved.
• Reading scores for 12th-grade readers fell significantly from 1992 to 2005, with the sharpest declines among lower-level readers.3
• 2005 reading scores for male 12th-graders are 13 points lower than for female 12th-graders, and that gender gap has widened since 1992.4
• Reading scores for American adults of almost all education levels have deteriorated, notably among the best-educated groups. From 1992 to 2003, the percentage of adults with graduate school experience who were rated proficient in prose reading dropped by 10 points, a 20 percent rate of decline.5
The declines in reading have civic, social, and economic implications – Advanced readers accrue personal, professional, and social advantages. Deficient readers run higher risks of failure in all three areas.
• Nearly two-thirds of employers ranked reading comprehension “very important” for high school graduates. Yet 38 percent consider most high school graduates deficient in this basic skill.6
• American 15-year-olds ranked fifteenth in average reading scores for 31 industrialized nations, behind Poland, Korea, France, and Canada, among others.7
• Literary readers are more likely than non-readers to engage in positive civic and individual activities – such as volunteering, attending sports or cultural events, and exercising.8
Less than one-third of 13-year-olds are daily readers, a 14 percent decline from 20 years earlier. Among 17-year-olds, the percentage of non-readers doubled over a 20-year period, from nine percent in 1984 to 19 percent in 2004.1
On average, Americans ages 15 to 24 spend almost two hours a day watching TV, and only seven minutes of their daily leisure time on reading.2
Edited: November 20th, 2007
In 2006, there were a total of 63 challenges to books, materials, events, and exhibits in Colorado public libraries. This was the lowest number of challenges since 2003. Of the 115 public libraries in the state, 23 had a challenge during the year. And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson was the title most often named in a challenge.
The first Index of Prohibited Books was drawn up by order of Pope Paul IV in 1559. The lists were issued 20 times through the centuries by different popes, the last issued as recently as 1948, and finally suppressed in 1966.
The origin of the term censor in English can be traced to the office of censor established in Rome in 443 BC. In Rome, as in the ancient Greek communities, the ideal of good governance included shaping the character of the people. Hence, censorship would have been regarded as an honorable task.
Sources: http://www.beaconforfreedom.org/about_project/history.html and http://encyclopedia.farlex.com/censor+(magistrate)
The first recorded book burning in the United States was in 1650. William Pynchon’s A Meritorious Price of Our Redemption was ordered destroyed by a court because the religious publication contained “errors and heresies.” The book was burned by the public executioner.
Aristophanes’ Lysistrata, Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, Boccaccio’s Decameron, Defoe’s Moll Flanders, and various editions of The Arabian Nights were all banned for decades from the U.S. mail under the Comstock Law of 1873. Officially known as the Federal Anti-Obscenity Act, this law banned the mailing of “lewd”, “indecent”, “filthy”, or “obscene” materials. The Comstock laws, while now unenforced, remain for the most part on the books today; the Telecommunications Reform Bill of 1996 even specifically applied some of them to computer networks.
50 years ago Poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti contacted the ACLU to defend the publication of Howl. U.S. Customs officials had seized the books, stating, “You wouldn’t want your children to come across it.” A state court judge ruled that the poem could not be suppressed as obscene by local authorities.
In 2007, fearing repercussions from the FCC, in a New York radio station decided against airing Howl on the 50th anniversary, choosing to stream the poem on its web site instead.
The ALA Office of Intellectual Freedom reports there were more than 3,000 attempts to remove books from schools and public libraries between 2000 and 2005. J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series tops the list of the most challenged books of the 21st century. Source: http://www.ala.org/ala/oif/bannedbooksweek/bbwlinks/topten2000to2005.htm
The Lorax by: Dr. Seuss was banned in the Laytonville, California School District on grounds that this book “criminalizes the forestry industry.”
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee was banned as recently as August 2001, in Oklahoma for “racially charged language.” It was also banned from the Lindale, Tex. advanced placement English reading list (1996) because the book “conflicted with the values of the community.” Also challenged at the Warren, Ind. Township schools (1981), because the book “represents institutionalized racism under the guise of ‘good literature’.” Also challenged–and temporarily banned–in Eden Valley, Minn. (1977).
Sources: http://library.dixie.edu/new/whybanned.html http://title.forbiddenlibrary.com/
The Intellectual Freedom Committee of the Colorado Association of Libraries has information on how libraries can deal with challenges and other important information:
For more information about banned books visit:
Banned Book timeline
American Library Association
And finally a few quotes to end our Who Knew about Banned Books:
“Books and ideas are the most effective weapons against intolerance and ignorance.”
– Lyndon Baines Johnson, February 11, 1964
“Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? – Who will watch the watchers?”
Edited: October 8th, 2007
In 2006, Colorado had 1,420 school libraries staffed by 1,652 FTE staff–817 of them endorsed school librarians. Collections included nearly 14 million print books and a total circulation of 36 million. School libraries had 14.8 million individual visits and 1.5 million group visits, underscoring the library as a place for students to study, conduct research, meet with each other, and, most importantly, learn information literacy.
Sixty-two percent of college students said they would choose an electronic textbook over a new print textbook, according to a new study by Versaware.
15 states (alas, not Colorado) had ‘Sales Tax Holidays’ during the month of August – periods of time with no sales tax on certain school-related items.
“We expect more than 53 million students to be enrolled in the nation’s elementary and high schools this fall, and that’s even higher than the total enrollment in 1969 when the last of the baby boomers were still in school,” says Robert Bernstein of the U.S. Census Bureau.
The US produced 10 billion pounds of apples in 2006. The chances are good that the apples your children present to their teachers or enjoy for lunch were grown in Washington state, which accounted for more than half of the nation’s total production.
Average annual 2005 earnings of workers 18 and older with an advanced degree was $79,946. This compares with $54,689 a year for those with bachelor’s degrees, $29,448 for those with a high school diploma only and $19,915 for those without a high school diploma.
13.6 million computers are available for classroom use in the nation’s 111,000 elementary and secondary schools; that comes down to 1 computer for every 4 students.
The average cost before financial aid for one year of a full-time master’s degree education at a public institution in 2003-04 was $21,900 (includes tuition and fees, books and supplies, and other living expenses).
The average cumulative amount borrowed for a master’s degree for those graduating in 2003-04 was $27,200.
Back-to-school spending is estimated reach $17.6 billion, up from a poor showing of $13.4 billion last year, according to the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) 2006 Back-to-School Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey. Average back-to-school spending by category and family for primary and secondary school age children: 
* Electronics/Computers: $114.38
* Apparel/Accessories: $228.14
* Shoes: $98.34
* School Supplies: $86.22
For more Back to School Fun Facts visit:
Facts for Features at the U.S. Census Bureau: http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/releases/archives/facts_for_features_special_editions/010218.html
IES’s Back to School Statistics at the NCES: http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=372
LRS.org Big Facts: http://www.lrs.org/quotable.php
U.S. Census Bureau, RadioZone: Quotes & Sound Bites: http://www.census.gov/pubinfo/www/radio/sb_03back2school.html
U.S. Census Bureau: http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/releases/archives/education/009749.html
U.S. Census Bureau: http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/2003/cb03ff-11.html
Institute of Education Sciences: http://nces.ed.gov/das/library/tables_listings/show_nedrc.asp?rt=p&tableID=2146
Student Financing of Graduate and First-Professional Education, 2003–04: Profiles of Students in Selected Degree Programs and Part-Time Students (See Table 2.13.) at: http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2006185
About.com: Retail Industry: http://retailindustry.about.com/od/sales_holiday/a/back_to_school.htm
Edited: September 4th, 2007