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Circle of Cranes by Annette LeBox

  • Circle of Cranes Thirteen-year-old Suyin is a poor orphan who has a strange gift with languages and a mysterious connection to the cranes in her small Chinese village. When a shady human trafficker arrives promising luxury and riches beyond belief in America, the villagers elect Suyin - whom they consider lucky - to go as their benefactress. But instead of luxury, Suyin is forced to work in a sweatshop in New York City's Chinatown. Suyin's future seems hopeless, until her beloved cranes arrive and reveal that she is no ordinary girl - instead, she is the daughter of the Crane Queen. Now her mother's life is in danger, and Suyin must prove herself worthy of her position as the Crane Princess, in order to save her mother and the entire clan of cranes.

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  •      Mrs. Penn and Miss Rak from the Library Media Center hosted a Dia de los Meurtos  (Day of the Dead) celebration.  Several stations were set up around the LMC that included a variety of paper crafts focused on calacas (skeletons), poetry activities, a butterfly migration interactive website and a themed bingo game.  The featured work of Mexican artist Jose Guadalupe Pasada with skulls and skeletons became associated with Dia de los Muertos after a public works mural by Diego Rivera included La Catrina, a highly recongized figure in Mexican tradition.      
         A food station provided samples of traditional Mexican foods, including pan de muerto (bread of the dead), leche quemada (translates to "burnt milk," but tastes like a caramel/butterscotch blend candy), and agua jamaica (a hibiscus tea spiced with brown sugar, cinnamon, and cloves).     
         The ofrenda (altar) station was an example of a Dia de los Muertos altar dedicated to deceased loved ones. It typically is made up of pictures of the deceased, sugar skulls, marigold flowers, foods that the deceased enjoyed, and other decorations. Maggie, a student volunteer, provided an explanation of its meaning to students.
         Sugar skulls (calaveras), made of sugar, meringue powder, and water, represent departed souls.  Typically, the names of the deceased are inscribed on the forehead, decorated, and placed on the ofrenda as another offering to those who have passed on. They're a type of traditional folk art that has expanded to be more well-recognized in popular culture.     
         The afternoon assembly was presented by Amor and Heritage and featured dancers, storytelling, percussion instruments and a dance lesson for all.