March 2009: Staff Picks
Book: What Is the What
I recently read the novel What Is the What by Dave Eggers. It follows the life of Valentino Achak Deng from the destruction of his village, Marial Bal, his long hike through the wilderness with the Lost Boys of Sudan, and his new life in America as a refugee. It was a book that enraged me, intrigued me, and made me laugh all at once.
While I was devouring this novel, I had the wonderful opportunity to work with some students at an international high school (many who have come to the United States from Sudan and Ethiopia) on a heritage project. It was an incredible experience to hear about what animals, food, and even dances are important in their culture. There was one student in particular who really got into the project and happily wore some cow horns I constructed out of tag board.
Through this experience I realized that What Is the What is one of those books you can’t just read, put on your shelf, and check off your list. Fortunately, there is an organization that helps you learn more about what you read, and gives you an opportunity to do something in response. The Valentino Achak Deng Foundation was formed after the release of What Is the What and works to improve the lives of the Sudanese through development projects, educational and economic projects, and changing U.S. foreign policy with Sudan. Everyone should go to this website and at least read about the history of Sudan. Get informed about how much there is to be done and what we can do to help!
We would love to hear what books you have been reading. Log into Facebook, and find our new group, Rainbow Rumpus: Young Adults FTW. Then post a message on our discussion board.
Game: World of Goo
World of Goo is a new independent game you can download for PC, Mac, or Wii, and I have been playing it nonstop. Actually, I think I have a problem. But really, if you like games that are more puzzle than action, you will love this one. Each level has a starting point, an ending point, and interesting obstacles in between. You build structures with little goo balls that connect the start to the finish—kind of like making a structure with toothpicks and marshmallows. There are many types of goos, and each has its own personality. Some like to build up, some hang down like drool, some float in the air, and some stick to walls. The levels really challenge you to figure out creative solutions to problems. It may sound complicated, but the game teaches you how to play as you go through the levels. The story line is humorously foreboding as the little goos learn more and more about their place in the world and fight against the evil MOM.
This game really appeals to everyone from your 8-year-old brother to your 80-year-old grandma. The independent developer, 2D Boy, won some awards for the game in 2008, and it will be fun to see what they come up with next. You can go to their website, 2dboy.com, to download a demo of the game for your computer, and if you get hooked like me, the full version is only $20. If you have a Wii, you can download it through WiiWare.