Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Farewell, Blogger! Hello Dot Com!

I have had enough with the frustration of hackers putting pop-ups all over this blog.

I've moved to KaraPaints(dot)com

Come and visit me there, won't you?

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Exploring the Immigrant Experience through Literature


I'd like to take a brief moment to talk about this bibliography I have compiled, who it is for and why we (as Americans) need it. 

My final project for Library Materials for Children centers around literature that explores the immigrant experience in North America. The materials collected are for children in grades 3-5, and cover a range of materials from picture books to novels as well as a wide variety of experiences. These books can be used in a classroom setting as part of the social studies curriculum or in the home as jumping off points for conversations about cultural heritage and family traditions. 

As America is made of a patchwork of cultural histories and traditions all swirled together, it is important for children to learn about the many peoples who have become a part of the America we live in today. At some point in their lives, all children will meet someone who is “not from here”—whether that means another town, another state or another nation--and it is in everyone's best interest for our children to be able to empathize with that person. Today, one in every eight residents in the United States is foreign-born, and in more than 2/3 of the country foreign-born residents make up more than 5% of the population. As cross-border travel becomes easier and global communication becomes more frequent with the rise of the digital age, it is imperative that children understand that we are all human even though we may have different cultural traditions. 

We have all experienced the magic of a book: to transport us into someone else's life, to show us the world as we haven't seen it before.  I hope you will consider sharing some of these books with the kids in your life. 

Here is a list of the titles I have compiled. To read brief summaries, please go to my Pinterest board.

Alvarez, Julia. "Return to Sender" (2010).

Cheng, Andrea. "Honeysuckle House" (2004).
Fleischman, Paul. "The Matchbox Diary" (2013).

Himelblau, Linda. "The Trouble Begins" (2005).

House, Silas and Vaswani, Neela. "Same Sun Here" (2013).

Khan, Rukhsana. "Big Red Lollipop" (2010).

Lai, Thanhha. "Inside Out and Back Again" (2013).

Lombardo, Jenny. "Drita, My Homegirl" (2006).
Moore, Julianne. "My Mom Is a Foreigner, But Not to Me" (2013). 
Smith, David J. "If America Were a Village: A Book about the People of the United " (2009).
Tan, Shaun. "The Arrival" (2007). 
Trottier, Maxine. "Migrant" (2011).
Walker, Paul Robert. "All About America: A Nation of Immigrants" (2012)
Williams, Karen Lynn. "My Name Is Sangoel" (2009).

Monday, April 28, 2014

Thoughts on books

In case I haven't told you, or you weren't here when I mentioned it: I am getting my degree to be a LIBRARIAN. It's kind of like being a superhero but without the cape. Specifically, I am looking to work with children and teens. Adults, you guys are great, but you aren't going to sit on the floor with me and ooh over a picture book. You might come to an event where we explore how to make a podcast or a digital story--and that would be awesome. The tools available today to tell your own story are AMAZING. But there is this one thing that kids & teens have that adults seem to be missing--enthusiasm. I love spending time with people who have that deep-in-their-bones joy about something. And I don't care what that something is: dinosaurs, dance, Minecraft, sports, whatever is your reason to get a bounce in your step is awesome by me. I've had people ask me: then why not be a teacher? I've thought about that, but I am pretty sure the only thing I am cut out to teach is art. (I don't know if you adults have noticed, but art is usually the first thing on the chopping block when budgets get tight) But as a librarian--I can do ART and work with books and work with kids. It's a win-win-win.

So...what's so amazing about books?
Every book you have ever read started out as an idea inside someone else's head. Through books, you get to explore not just your own imagination but the imagination of the author (and illustrator)--and get this: that exploration makes your own imagination grow bigger.
Through books, you can learn about ANYTHING. Want to build a robot? There's a book for that. Who was the guy that designed the first lunar module? There's a book for that. How do I become a veterinarian? There's a book for that too.
Through books, you can travel ANYWHERE. Places on Earth? Sure! Places in space? Sure! Places somebody dreamed up that aren't on this Earth or in our space? Sure!
Having a rough day? There's a book for that.
Going to the dentist for the first time? There's a book for that.

Every now and then, I'm going to be offering up lists of books and talking about some things that I find interesting in the world of books and libraries. If you are looking for books on specific topics, you can email me (karapaints (at) gmail (dot) com) and I'll do my best to find the book that's right for you. 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Homework, is that you?

I'm working on coming up with a handout/lesson plan for teaching people how to use Blogger for a class (in a public library setting--relax, I'm not making any money here). And it occurs to me that I have been using Blogger for so long (10 years--YIKES) that it all seems second nature to me.
The challenge is to take a step back and look at it with a newcomer's eyes-- what is the very fundamental lesson that one needs to start with? What else needs to be included? What can be left out of an intro class?

And truth be told, Blogger is probably the easiest way to start blogging. The templates/layout are already done. The toolbars are really similar to Microsoft Word.

Yeah. So, enough procrastinating.
Back to working on that handout.

Stay classy, interwebs.

Sunday, February 09, 2014


The funniest thing to me about the fact that I completely dropped the 30-day-photo-challenge was that I dropped on the day I was supposed to take a photo of a good habit. ALL I could think of was flossing my teeth--which, ew, nobody wants to watch and shhh, don't tell my dentist, I only do like every other day or when I remember or after I have eaten a pulled pork sandwich and food is squished up in between my teeth (see: ew, nobody wants to watch).

So I am going to take a page from the playbook of Miss Piggy, and change the subject completely. Over Christmas, Fiona and I took a bunch of selfies while at my in-laws house. This one is my favorite, because I am lovingly kissing her forehead and she is in the process of making a goofy face. It sums up our relationship fairly well.

I am in the thick of my digital content creation class and learning how to make new digital things like movies and podcasts! Once I figure out how to upload a podcast, I will totally share that with you. It's possible that the only person that will be interested in said podcast is my mom (Hi, Mom!), but I'm going to throw it out there because I made it. And it's kind of like painting with sound.

That got weird really quickly. I probably shouldn't type these things out when I'm reaching the end of a manic weekend and actively procrastinating. I am the Queen of the ProcrastiNation--I have a tiara and everything.

It doesn't look like I can import an MP3 file directly into a Blogger post, so I'm going to do some poking around and see what my options are. 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Day 14

Day 14: eyes.

What can I say about eyes that hasn't already been said? 
I'm glad I have eyes and I'm glad they work. 

Day 15

Day 15: silhouette 

This is from our day at the Shedd Aquarium. We got to meet a penguin! It was the coolest.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Day 13

Day 13: cannot live without

Indoor plumbing. 
If I've got indoor plumbing, I know everything else will be okay.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Day 12

Day 12: sunset

Yesterday's sunset was a blaze of orange. 
Also, the iPhone is probably not the best way to capture a sunset...

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Day 11

Day 11: something blue.

The tattoo on my right forearm. It is based off of a piece of art nouveau jewelry designed by Georges Fouquet. It was also part of the design that Aaron & I used on our reception invitations. 

Day 10

Day 10: childhood memory

Nana's house, with the SUPER FORMAL LIVING ROOM that no children were allowed in. Ever. And the piano that we couldn't play. Ever. 
That lady loved her fancy stuff. 

Day 9

Day 9: someone you love

My two little mess-makers. 

Seriously. How do two people create such a huge mess?

Day 8

Day 8: routine

Every day starts with coffee, and ends with tea. 

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Day 7

Day 7: changes to come.

I journaled my way through this one today. 

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Day six

Day six: obsession.
For me it is a two-way tie between books & art supplies. 
You can never have enough of either. I had to make a rule for myself to stop going into art supply stores for a few months because I was unable to say no to new supplies. 
I dream of a day when I will have a studio above ground and a library adjacent. 

Monday, January 06, 2014

Day 5

Day 5: after dark.

Snow drifts lit by headlights. 

The kids think it looks like the Himalayas. 

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Day four

Day four: something green. 
Green boots, guacamole
Kale, an in-progress painting

In the dark days of winter I crave green things. 

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Day 3

Cold weather winter clouds, high in the atmosphere. 
Today's forecast: more snow. 

Friday, January 03, 2014

Day two

Day two: what you wore.

This, plus long underwear because it was negative temps today. 

Illinois is not wooing me with this weather. 

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Thirty days starts now!

I found this photo challenge on Pinterest and tried to track it back to the original source, but got as far as another blogger saying they had found it on Pinterest. So if anyone knows the original source, let me know and I will give them full credit! 

So, day 1 is a self portrait. Here is me, in my studio with some of my books. I have a hard time being serious in photos...

(It's time to meet the muppets...it's time to light the lights...)

Wednesday, January 01, 2014


That's pretty awesome. 
About a decade ago I decided that I was done with making resolutions. Instead I pick one new thing to learn or try. 
Last year I started grad school-- one semester down, three more to go. Woo! 

This coming year, I will continue on with my studies and attempt to reconnect with blogging. The one new thing I want to learn is rock climbing. There's an indoor rock climbing place nearby and they have lessons-- I am going to sign up the whole family for a day of climbing. 

I'm also going to try a 30 day photo challenge, which I will be sharing here starting tomorrow.

Until then, be awesome my friends!