What’s your favorite Christmas movie?

This is a question one group of students was talking about in class the other day. One said, “Die Hard, of course!” Another said, “The Nightmare BeforeChristmas” A third said she didn’t know any Christmas movies. My favorite Christmas story is “A Christmas Carol” and there are many movie versions.

Here’s a graded (leveled) text from Tween Tribune about why Charles Dickens wrote the story.

“Dickens may not have gotten rich off of the publication of A Christmas Carol, but he did make the world a little richer.”

I couldn’t agree more.

There’s a new movie out this year called The Man Who Invented Christmas, which is about this origin of the story and looks like a lot of fun (unfortunately, no date on when or if it’s coming to theaters in Japan).

Of the many movie versions, I like the one with Albert Finney the best, though the one with Patrick Stewart is good, too, and I always enjoy

There are also other versions, like “Scrooged” with Bill Murray, and the seasonal favorite “It’s a Wonderful Life” is also based on the story.

So have you seen any of these? Have you read the Dickens story? I used to teach at a JHS/HS that would put on this play at Christmas time (it was either that or Les Mis).

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First books

Do you remember the first book that had an impact on you? A few that I remember very, very vividly from my childhood, as much for the pictures as the stories.┬áNot suggesting you should buy these, but take a look at the “Look inside”:

Anyway, I thought about this after seeing this video about a non-profit called First Book in a rural part of Iowa, where a “lunch lady” is organizing a book bus to help get books to children during vacations:

Our short winter vacation is coming up soon. What do you plan to read?

A daily museum visit on your phone

DailyArt is a free educational app for your phone that helps you learn a little about art. Each day, you’ll see a work of art, accompanied by a short text with description and sometimes an interesting backstory. It’s a way to get a little English input and feel like you’re visiting a musuem every day or getting a short art history lecture.

This is today’s selection:

Using comics to tackle serious issues

I didn’t read Maus until a few years ago. The story of the author interviewing his father, a Holocaust survivor, about his experiences during the war, was written and serialized in the 1980s. Though it’s not considered to be the first graphic novel, it was the first┬áto win a Pultizer Prize, and it has influenced the way graphic novels have been done since.

In this video, we learn about how the novel was drawn: