Archive | February, 2015

Moving Away

25 Feb

In Hoboken, there seem to be two seasons: the school year and moving away. Parents with mobile jobs; families that transfer to the New York area from another city; and a latent desire for the suburban house of a family’s dreams may all contribute to “moving house,” as some people say. However, a big change like moving can be difficult for young children. Leaving behind friends, familiar streets, and accustomed routines are strong shocks to the system of little ones.

The Hoboken Library has many books to help children understand the emotions they are experiencing, and to anticipate what living in a new place will feel like. There are actually books for the whole range of ages, but to limit this list, I’ve focused on picture books.

If you’re on your way to someplace wonderful, we wish you well but we will miss you at the library.

Herman’s Letter, by Tom Percival.


Herman, the bear, and Henry, the raccoon, are best friends. Henry, however, is moving far away. How can they keep their friendship when they won’t live near to each other? The two animals decide to become pen pals, but they find that staying in touch by letter is harder than they expected.

Peanut Butter & Cupcake, by Terry Border.


Peanut Butter has moved to a new town and needs to make new friends. The other foods are too busy to play soccer with him. Then he meets Cupcake who is just the right person to share a pick-up game of ball.

Ian Is Moving, by Pauline Oud.


After packing her favorite toys and saying good bye to his old house, Ian is ready to move. When he gets to his new house, he finds all kinds of surprises awaiting him.

I Want to Go Home!, by Tony Ross.


Little Princess and the Royal family are moving to a new castle. It should be an exciting experience, but Little Princess finds that she is very lonely for her old bedroom.

Alexander, Who’s Not (Do You Hear Me? I Mean It!) Going to Move, by Judith Viorst.


Alexander is having another horrible, no-good day when his parents tell him that they are moving. Alexander gets very angry and refuses to move, especially since it means leaving his special friends and the places he loves.

Dream Friends, by You Byun.


Melanie has moved to a new place and has trouble finding friends. To deal with the disruption, Melanie retreats to a fantasy world. In her imagination, she goes on great adventures and finds many new friends.

Ella the Elegant Elephant, by Camelo D’Amico.


Ella is starting a new school in a new town and needs confidence to be the new kid. She borrows her grandmother’s “good luck” hat, only to find that the other children in her school think that it is funny looking and make fun of her.

Bad Bye, Good Bye, by Deborah Underwood.


A very simple and straightforward book in rhyme that follows a family as they move to a new town.

Bella and Stella Come Home, by Anika Denise.


A little girl tries to reassure her favorite doll (and herself) that moving to a new place will be a good experience for them, both.

One of Us, by Peggy Moss.


Roberta finds lots of potential friends at her new school, but no one is exactly right. Then she learns that people can become friends even if they are very different.

When Edgar Met Cecil, by Kevin Luthardt.


Edgar the Robot is unhappy in his new town until he meets a very friendly alien creature named Cecil.

Tim’s Big Move, by Anke Wagner.


Pico is a stuffed dog who lives with a small child. When the pair finds out that they are moving, Pico is concerned that he won’t like a new place to live. His child reassures him that everything will be fine in their new home as long as they have each other.

We’re Moving, by Heather Maisner.


Amy and her family move to a new house and they must put some effort into making it feel like home.

Dear Panda, by Miriam Latimer.


Little Florence misses her friends when she moves and tries to make new friends by writing to the panda in the zoo, next door. Making friends with the panda leads to her meeting another panda-loving child who turns out to be a real friend for her.

On Meadowview Street, by Henry Cole.


What makes a house a home? For Caroline and her family, it is a new garden. They work to make their garden grow which attracts birds and animals and makes Meadowview Street a lot more like its name.

I Like Where I Am, by Jessica Harper.


A six year old child is sad about moving but finds happiness in his new home in this delightful rhyming book.

Where’s Jamela?, by Niki Daly.


Mama gets a new job and buys a new house for her family. Everyone is delighted about it except Jamela who likes her old house just fine.

The Red Boat, by Hannah Cumming.


When Posy and her dog, George, move to a new home they are unhappy with the change. Then they find a magical red boat that takes them on great adventures and helps them accept the changes in their lives.

Sunday Chutney, by Aaron Blabey.


Sunday’s family moves, not just from town to town, but all around the world, so she becomes an expert on developing the coping skills she needs to always be the new girl in class.

The New Arrival, by Vanya Nastanlieva.


Sam, the adorable hedgehog, has moved to a new home in a new forest. However, he needs new friends. Where will he find them, in such an unfamiliar place?

All of these titles, and a wide variety of titles about moving for older children, are available At the Hoboken Library and in other BCCLS libraries. By the way, when you settle in your new home, don’t forget to get your family new library cards. It’s a great way to get to know about activities in your new home.

-Written by Lois Rubin Gross, Senior Children’s Librarian

Film versus Broadway: Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Cabaret, and Once

18 Feb


I had the opportunity to see three Broadway shows in the past few months: Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Cabaret, and Once. After seeing the live shows, I watched the film adaptations, or the origin film in the case of Once, to relive the music, the stories, and the characters. While the films can’t recreate the experience of live theater, I enjoyed them all. All three films are available to borrow from BCCLS libraries. I also include catalog links to the soundtracks if you’re more interested in the music.

Hedwig and the Angry Inch


Hedwig and the Angry Inch (both film and stage show versions) is primarily a story about of a lover scorned, with a killer rock and roll score. The action follows Hedwig (born Hansel), a transgender woman from East Berlin, as she follows her former lover, rock star Tommy Gnosis, on his American tour. Hedwig, who has her own band called The Angry Inch, is responsible for many of Tommy’s hits and is angry she never received credit. Love, finding your “other half”, power, and gender are other themes explored in Hedwig.

The music is mostly the same in both versions, but the film has some plot differences. Hedwig and her band perform in a fictional chain restaurant called Bilgewater’s as she follows Tommy’s tour. Character actress Andrea Martin (author of a Funny Lady Memoir called Lady Parts) plays Hedwig’s manager, a role that does not exist in the stage show.

The film was released in 2001 and has some references that may seem dated now. Yitzhak, Hedwig’s husband and a member of The Angry Inch who has aspirations of his own, quits to perform in a touring production of Rent. These details in no way will diminish a viewer’s enjoyment of the film. Just try not to sing along to “Wig In a Box”, which Hedwig invites the viewer to do as the lyrics of the song appear on the screen. This film is so much fun to watch.

John Cameron Mitchell, who played Hedwig in the film, is currently starring in the stage show. How cool would it be to see him on stage, then watch the film?



Cabaret is set in 1931 Berlin, when the Nazi party was gaining power. The action is centered at the Kit Kat Club, a sexy but seedy place where the Emcee (Joel Grey) is the host and Sally Bowles (Liza Minnelli) is the headliner. Joel Grey and Liza Minnelli both won Oscars for their roles in the movie, and Bob Fosse won for Best Director. However, the movie could not beat The Godfather for Best Picture that year.

To me, Liza Minnelli is the ultimate Sally Bowles. My first exposure to this show was hearing a recording of “Cabaret” sung by Minnelli on a CD compilation of great Broadway songs called Ultimate Broadway. I was enthralled and persuaded my parents to let me see the 1990s Broadway revival at Studio 54, which starred Gina Gershon as Sally Bowles and Alan Cumming as the Emcee.

Seeing the musical reminded me how dark the story is, and the movie definitely captured that tone. There is just a sense of foreboding throughout the film, and the final image confirms that dread. Listening to the song “Cabaret” on its own makes the show seem lighthearted and fun, with upbeat chords and lyrics like “Life is cabaret old chum, so come to the cabaret!” But that performance comes toward the end of the film, when Sally sings it in desperation to save the career she wants and has sacrificed for. Perhaps Cabaret feels ominous because history documents the results of the Nazi regime.

Cabaret is soon ending its run on Broadway, but the movie and soundtracks are available.



Once is an anomaly here. The stage show, which made its Broadway debut in 2012 and ended its run this past January, was adapted from the 2007 Irish film. Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova star as Guy and Girl, respectively, who connect over music and spend a creative week together writing and recording original songs. The film was a hit and won a Best Original Song Academy Award for “Falling Slowly” in 2007. While “Falling Slowly” is certainly a gorgeous composition, I have to say “Gold” is my favorite song from both versions.

Girl meets Guy as he is singing on the street. They chat, and he tells her that he fixes vacuums for a living. She announces that her vacuum “doesn’t suck” and the next day she brings the vacuum to him for repair. The vacuum becomes a comic gag, as Girl drags it along with her as she and Guy go for lunch, ride the bus, and get to know each other.

The movie feels more like a musical performed in the theater, as the songs the characters sing express their thoughts, feelings, and experiences. In “Broken Hearted Hoover Fixer Sucker Guy”, Guy explains to Girl how his ex-girlfriend broke his heart and left him behind. Girl is estranged from her husband, with whom she has a young daughter. This pair has so much in common and there is definitely chemistry, which their music captures.

I saw one of the last performances on New Year’s Day, and was glad to experience this show (and hear “Gold”) live.

What are your favorite Broadway shows or film adaptations of musicals?

-Written by Kerry Weinstein, Reference Librarian

%d bloggers like this: