Plot/Content Summary: Shopping for supplies in a hardware store is nothing new for most do-it-yourself (DIY) crafters, but making beautiful, elegant and even delicate jewelry out of hardware store basics might be a bit more of stretch. Enter Hannah Rogge, a designer of exhibits and displays, who needed holiday gifts for her friends who “are creative, interested in innovative design, and have great taste,” (p. 9). The problem: Hanna had very little money to spend on gifts for her stylish friends. The solution: jewelry made out of common hardware store items.
Hardwear contains detailed instructions, illustrations, and photographs for making 24 items. The book is organized buy chapters that focus on a particular piece of hardware: washers, rope, metal connectors, nuts, and vinyl, plastic & rubber. For each item crafters are advised of the supplies and tools that are needed and then numbered and illustrated step by step instructions walk users through the process of creating the jewelry piece.
Critical Evaluation: Teens interested in DIY jewelry making will be excited and inspired by Hardwear. With easy to understand instructions and budget-friendly projects, this book is very user-friendly. The writing is casual and approachable, and Rogge encourages her readers to have fun and experiment. Not only are there 24 projects, but there are many opportunities for creativity, as most projects can be adapted in multiple ways to create a totally different piece. The book has a hard cover, but is psiral bound, allowing it to lie flat, which is helpful when reading directions while working on projects. Fill-color photographs of the finished product allow users to see what they are trying to achieve. A glossary explains the items used in the book in detail, and Rogge has also included a page of online supply sources for those items not found in the neighborhood hardware store. From washer chain earrings and hair hinges to hexagon necklace and coupling nut choker, these designs are sure to intrigue and inspire.
Reader’s Annotation: Hardwear: Jewelry from a Toolbox details how to create beautiful jewelry from items found at the local hardware store.
Information about the Author: Hannah Rogge is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and she is currently works at a custom design and fabrication studio. She is a creative thinker, who is inspired by everyday objects. “For me, the contradiction in making jewelry out of hardware is perfect because I love breaking boundaries and challenging the ‘norm.’” (Rogge, 2006, p. 10).
In addition to creating window displays and other cool stuff for her day job, Rogge has written a book about what to do with t-shirts for DIY crafters: Save this Shirt: Cut It. Stitch It. Wear It Now.
Category: DIY, Crafts, Jewelry Making
Curriculum Ties: Art
- Hold up a coupling nut or washer, etc. and ask people if they can picture a piece of jewelry that this item could be a part of.
Reading Level/Interest Age: Ages 14 to Adult
Challenge Issues: none
Why is this book included? As a craft lover, I immediately looked for this book when I saw it on the 2007 Annotated Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers list. Crafty teens love making things themselves and the low budget nature of the supplies makes this book accessible and fun for many teens.
Rogge, H. (2006). Rafter, M. (Ills). Hardwear: Jewelry from a Toolbox. New York, NY: STC Craft.
Plot/Content Summary: Sometimes a person does not realize that he is making a huge mistake until it is too late. Sometimes a person forgets to think about the consequences of his actions. Jack Gantos, now an accomplished author of books for pre-teens (including the Joey Pigza series), was in his late teens when he made a mistake that would change his life. In the early 1970’s $10,000 could buy even more than it can now, and that it what Gantos was promised as a payment if he could help a man sail a boat full of hashish from The Caribbean island of St. Croix to New York City. “I didn’t think of the danger involved with braking the law. I didn’t even consider that I had no idea how to sail a large boat…that anything bad could possible happen.” But we know something bad did happen, because Gantos opens the book with a discussion of his time in prison and the fear of random violence he lived with every moment of every day. Always interested in becoming a writer, but never following through, Gantos also started writing in earnest while he was in prison. This memoir was not his first or even second book, it was published over 30 years after he started his life in prison, but his words describe his past life as if the visceral memories or not, in any way, forgotten.
Critical Evaluation: Gantos’ voice is honest and frank. He manages to tell his story with a careful balance to the point of almost being objective. He’s not self-aggrandizing or egomaniacal nor is he overly self-deprecating, all traps into which memoir writers can fall. Gantos’ story is compelling, and though, as mentioned above, readers know from the start (the front cover shows his mugs hot) that Gantos will end up in prison, the path to get there take enough twists and turns that the story is still suspenseful and engaging. There are parts of the story that could probably have been edited a bit to speed up the pace, it felt a little long at times, but overall this book is well worth the read. There are many episodes from Gantos’ life that could inspire interesting and exciting class, book group, or family discussions. There are lessons to be learned from Gantos, not because he preaches and not because he feels sorry for himself, but because he earns his readers’ respect through sometimes brutal honesty and his willingness to make himself vulnerable and open for to truly see him and learn from his mistakes.
Reader’s Annotation: In the early 1970’s, Jack in Gantos was an aspiring writer who didn’t have the money he needed to attend college, and he was in a job he hated. So, when he was offered $10,000 to help sail a shipment of drugs from the Caribbean to New York City he said, “Count me in.”
Information about the Author: Jack Gantos is an award-winning author of children’s, tween young adult, and adult books. As a child he wanted to become a writer, in fact, according to his website, “The seeds for Jack Gantos’ writing career were planted in sixth grade, when he read his sister’s diary and decided he could write better than she could.”
It was in college that Gantos published his first children’s book; he received a BA and an MA from Emerson College in Boston. At Emerson he became an instructor in children’s book writing and eventually created a masters program in children’s book writing. Gantos also taught at Vermont College in the M.F.A. program for children’s book writers. “He now devotes his time to writing books and educational speaking.” (Jack Gantos’ Bio & Photos)
Genre/Category: Non-Fiction, Coming of Age, Suspense, Crime
Topics Covered: Drug Abuse, Alcohol Abuse, Illegal Activities, Incarceration, Growing Up, Coming of Age
Curriculum Ties: Health, Responsible Decision Making, Drug Abuse, Alcohol Abuse
- The immense and intense fear Gantos felt in prison
- Can one mistake ruin your whole life?
Reading Level/Interest Age: Ages 14 and up
Challenge Issues: Drug Use, Alcohol Abuse, Drug Selling, Illegal Activities.
Why is this book included? Hole in my Life won the Michael L. Printz and Robert F. Sibert honors; it is a compelling and moving story of a young man facing himself and not liking what he sees sometimes. It is non-fiction with all of the drama of fiction and the emotional honesty only a memoir can provide. In other words, it’s a great book, and a great addition to a non-fiction section for young adults.
Gantos, J. (n.d.). Jack Gantos’ Bio & Photos. Retrieved from http://www.jackgantos.com.vhost.zerolag.com/bio-photos/