What is JacketFlap

  • JacketFlap connects you to the work of more than 200,000 authors, illustrators, publishers and other creators of books for Children and Young Adults. The site is updated daily with information about every book, author, illustrator, and publisher in the children's / young adult book industry. Members include published authors and illustrators, librarians, agents, editors, publicists, booksellers, publishers and fans.
    Join now (it's free).

Sort Blog Posts

Sort Posts by:

  • in
    from   

Suggest a Blog

Enter a Blog's Feed URL below and click Submit:

Most Commented Posts

In the past 7 days

Recent Posts

(from the Librarian category)

Recent Comments

JacketFlap Sponsors

Spread the word about books.
Put this Widget on your blog!
  • Powered by JacketFlap.com

Are you a book Publisher?
Learn about Widgets now!

Advertise on JacketFlap

MyJacketFlap Blogs

  • Login or Register for free to create your own customized page of blog posts from your favorite blogs. You can also add blogs by clicking the "Add to MyJacketFlap" links next to the blog name in each post.

Librarian Category Blogs

Blog Posts by Date

Click days in this calendar to see posts by day or month
new posts in all blogs
Viewing: Blog Posts from the Librarian category, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 26 - 50 of 74,343
26. Interview – Lauren DeStefano and A Curious Tale of the In-Between

First things first. Look at that book jacket.

CuriousTaleInBetween

Gaze upon it. Feast thine peeper upon its delightful creepy factor. That’s a cover, my friends. And it takes a good book to live up to it. Fortunately, A Curious Tale of the In-Between hasn’t exactly been lacking for the stellar reviews. As Kirkus put it, “DeStefano artfully concocts a moving and multilayered tale that is an effective mix of genres and tones, at times contemplative and philosophical yet also macabre and psychologically sophisticated. Love, loss, and hope are at the heart of this exciting read.”

You’ll understand then why I was intrigued when Bloomsbury offered unto me Ms. Lauren DeStafano herself for an interview. And actually, I saw her speak in person years ago. Remember the YA Chemical Garden trilogy? That was her! So saying, she agreed to my probing queries:

Betsy Bird: Hello!  Thank you so much for acquiescing to a rousing series of questions.  First things first, though.  What we have here appears to be a book by the name of A CURIOUS TALE OF THE IN-BETWEEN.  Can you give us a run down of what it’s about?

Lauren DeStefano: I like to describe it as a love story between a living girl, a living boy, and a ghost.

BB: Well, how did you come to write it?  Which is to say, why did you make it a middle grade book (for ages 9-12) and not YA.  You are, after all, the author of two New York Times bestselling YA series.  Why the switch into younger territory?

LD: When I wrote this story, I wasn’t conscious of the idea that it would get published, so things like MG and YA weren’t in my head. I had an idea about a girl who had a peculiar condition that caused her to conspire with ghosts, and I began to write it. After dinner one night, my cousin, who I think was 8 or so at the time, asked me to tell her a story. I told her about this one, though it was only half finished at the time. Her interest and questions really surprised me, and I began to wonder if Pram did have something to offer to younger readers.

BB: I know that writing books on the younger end requires an entirely different set of muscles than writing for the YA crowd.  How was writing this book for you?  Did anything surprise you along the way?

LD: Writing for younger readers was nothing but a joyous experience from start to finish. I had little of the fears and insecurities I have when tackling some of my other endeavors. All I had to do was believe in magic and let that carry me to the end.

BB: Great.  Now when an author gets a particularly good cover on their newest title I like to say they’ve made small animal sacrifices to the book jacket gods.  You fall into that category perfectly.  How do you like it?

LD: I LOVE it. I wish I could claim credit, but that all goes to my designers.

BB: This book has already been compared to Coraline, which is sort of the de facto thing reviewers say when dealing with gothic middle grade literature.  What are some of the books for kids you’d equate it with?  Related (or maybe not) what did you like to read when you were a kid?

LD: That is an incredibly flattering and humbling comparison, and I’m honored to hear that. I don’t know if, plot-wise or voice-wise, I could compare it to any particular work off the top of my head. When I was a young reader, Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH was my most treasured book and I obsessed over it for months. It reached me on some cosmic level that made me feel understood. I would just hope this story could do that for someone else.

BB: And finally, what are you working on next?

LD: A tangled web of secrets and intrigue.

Many thanks to Ms. DeStefano for submitting herself to questions that, I am sure, she has answered many times before and will answer many times again.  And thanks too to Bloomsbury for offering her up to me in the first place.

Share

0 Comments on Interview – Lauren DeStefano and A Curious Tale of the In-Between as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
27. Girls: Beyond Eyelashes and Bows

Not too long ago The Guardian had a piece out called Picture books that draw the line against pink stereotypes of girls.  I was keen on it, particularly since in the midst of all these children’s books about breaking down stereotypes, I’ve seen awfully few “tomboy” titles.  Books about girls who won’t wear dresses or care two bits about makeup and pink sparkles.  They exist, but they’re not often commented on, so I liked the piece.

In the midst of all its books mentioned, I was particularly intrigued by a Yasmeen Ismail title that I’d not seen before.  Called I’m A Girl!, it was described as, “a challenge to every instant playground assumption that a blue-clad, rambunctious speed demon must be a boy.”  It looks awfully neat, and it got me to thinking about a little commented upon children’s book character: The female who doesn’t sport eyelashes, bows, or pink.  In other words, books where girls are just as sordid and snarling or wild and wacky as their male counterparts.  An ode to my four favorites:

Sasspants from Guinea PIG, Pet Shop Private Eye

Sasspants

She made her debut just before the current wave of children’s graphic novel love sweeping our fair nation.  She was a guinea pig, dour and more interested in reading than interacting socially.  She solved crimes.  Her name was Sasspants.  Honestly, is there anything else that need be said?  Her series was fantastic, but might have been hampered by the fact that sizewise it looked like a picture book.  Still, you can’t help but adore any series where the fish make obscure MRS. FRISBY AND THE RATS OF NIMH jokes.

Bad Kitty by Nick Bruel

BadKitty

There are many reasons to love Bad Kitty.  She has more chutzpah than Garfield, more charm than Heathcliff, and more of an appetite than Grumpy Cat.  She uses the word “Feh” with flair and I would argue that she is a feminist icon since her driven self-interest makes her a wonderfully flawed character.  At no point does she fall in love or bat her eyelashes or do anything but act like a very inwardly focused cat.

Piggie from the Elephant and Piggie series

Piggie

Honestly, it wasn’t until Mo wrote I Am Invited to a Party that I realized that Piggie was a girl at all.  When it comes to animal characters, so many illustrators think it necessary to deck their girls out in bows and eyelashes and the like.  Mo figured out that if you say a character’s a girl then by golly it’s gonna be a girl.  And though at first you might worry that she’s the manic pixie dream pig to Gerald the elephant’s Eeyore-like persona, we know that at times she is just as prone to dour thoughts as her pachyderm pal.

Bink from Bink and Gollie

Bink

Of all the characters I’ve mentioned today, it is Bink that throws my four-year-old for a loop.  She refers to Bink as “he” constantly, though I point out repeatedly that Bink wears a skirt (unlike, say, any of the girls previously mentioned).  The skirt may throw her out of contention, but clearly it doesn’t register with her readership, so I’m keep her on this list.  Truth be told, Bink may also be my favorite gal here.  She has only three books but one can hope that the Bink & Gollie train has not entirely left the station.  Three is a perfect little number, sure . . . but four?  Four would be superb.  Four then, please!

Feel free to mention your own lovely ladies that don’t rely on frills and furbelows.

Share

13 Comments on Girls: Beyond Eyelashes and Bows, last added: 9/3/2015
Display Comments Add a Comment
28. Instagram of the Week - August 31

A brief look at 'grams of interest to engage teens and librarians navigating this social media platform.

As libraries continue to evaluate the needs of their communities, the physical space of libraries may evolve in an effort to meet those needs. Space may be repurposed for a teen area, new tables and chairs might arrive so patrons can create their own collaborative spaces, and group study rooms may be constructed. For patrons that rely on digital devices, additional outlets or charging stations could be in demand, desktop stations may move to make room for laptop bars, and mounted televisions for gaming, video conferencing, and collaborative projects may be needed. Below are some examples of libraries that underwent renovations, purchased new furniture, or reorganized bookshelves to make room for more open spaces and meet the changing technology needs of their patrons. Has your library undergone a similar change? We want to hear from you! Share with us in the comments section below.

For more information about teen spaces and the envisioned future of library spaces, please see The Need for Teen Spaces in Public Libraries and The Future of Library Services for and with Teens report.

 

Add a Comment
29. ALSC Online Courses – Fall 2015

Fall 2015 Online Courses

ALSC encourages participants to sign up for Fall 2015 ALSC online courses. Registration is open for all courses. Classes begin Monday, September 14, 2015.

One of the courses being offered this semester is eligible for continuing education units (CEUs). The American Library Association (ALA) has been certified to provide CEUs by the International Association of Continuing Education and Training (IACET). ALSC online courses are designed to fit the needs of working professionals. Courses are taught by experienced librarians and academics. As participants frequently noted in post-course surveys, ALSC stresses quality and caring in its online education options. For more information on ALSC online learning, please visit: www.ala.org/alsced

It’s Mutual: School and Public Library Collaboration
6 weeks, September 14 –October 23, 2015
Instructor: Rachel Reinwald, School Liaison/Youth Services Librarian, Lake Villa District Library

Storytelling with Puppets
4 weeks, September 14 – October 9, 2015, CEU Certified Course, 2.2 CEUs
Instructor: Steven Engelfried, Youth Services Librarian, Wilsonville Public Library

The Newbery Medal: Past, Present and Future
6 weeks, September 14 – October 23, 2015
Instructor: KT Horning, Director, Cooperative Children’s Book Center, University of Wisconsin- Madison

Detailed descriptions and registration information is available on the ALSC website at www.ala.org/alsced. Fees are $115 for personal ALSC members; $165 for personal ALA members; and $185 for non-members. Questions? Please contact ALSC Program Officer for Continuing Education, Kristen Sutherland at ksutherland@ala.org or 1 (800) 545-2433 ext 4026.

The post ALSC Online Courses – Fall 2015 appeared first on ALSC Blog.

0 Comments on ALSC Online Courses – Fall 2015 as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
30. I Left My Heart at ALA Annual

Around 8:00 a.m. PST on June 26th, 2015, I sat at a Starbucks, downing as much coffee as possible before my first day at ALA Annual began. As I anxiously flipped through Facebook, a theme spread like wildfire through every post: Marriage equality is the law of the land! Love wins! SCOTUS FTW! I could hardly believe my good fortune to be in what felt like the center of the universe for this landmark decision. Awestruck, I gathered up my things and headed to a 3.5-hour preconference: Rolling Out the Rainbow Carpet: Serving LGBTQ Communities. Later that same day, I heard Roberta Kaplan give the opening keynote speech. Two days later, I donned my rainbow regalia and watched the San Francisco Pride Parade.

In addition to all of that amazingness, my conference experience was made special in the following ways:

  • Attending a preconference. I gained so much in the way of programming ideas that the preconference practically paid for itself. Also, David Levithan magically appeared as part of a panel discussion and then signed books (squee!).
  • Fun, yet practical sessions. I learned the best strategies for approaching my manager with creative (read: far-fetched) ideas. I learned how to fearlessly weed print and digital materials. I learned how to fail gracefully and embrace “relentless optimism” (my new favorite phrase). I learned about the art in Caldecott winners and got a chance to apply that knowledge to upcoming contenders. All this, and more, were immediately applicable to my work.
  • The Newbery-Caldecott-Wilder banquet. Putting on a fancy dress and eating dinner with lovely individuals is great. What’s even better? Hearing Dan Santat and Kwame Alexander’s emotionally charged speeches, and then telling them that they made me cry a little bit. I also got to tell Dan Santat how, upon reading The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend, I ran around my library showing everyone Beekle’s backside, saying “Look at his little butt! Look at it!!”
  • Meeting authors. Cece Bell referenced the movie Heathers while being unbelievably sweet. After I gushed effusively over I’ll Give You the Sun, Jandy Nelson told me she wanted to take me with her everywhere—especially while writing. Tim Federle told me that my necklace was “funsies.” Authors are rock stars, and I will unapologetically geek out over these interactions for the rest of my life.
  • Exhibit hall happenstance. While booking it around the exhibit hall, I screeched to a halt in front of the world’s coolest and most versatile LEGO-Train-Light-Tinker Toy Table. Not only were we in the market, but it even fit my library’s color scheme. Serendipitous! I sped down an uncrowded aisle only to see Raina Telgemeier sitting in a booth all by her lonesome. Magical! I came across my grad school’s booth and there was my advisor! And there were cookies!!  Exhibit hall happenstance: it’s a thing.

Before attending ALA Annual, I spent a lot of time researching it and getting advice from veteran conference-goers. The best piece of advice I got was to talk to everyone. Though extroverted, I am not always outgoing with strangers. But these are librarian-strangers—the best kind of stranger! By chatting with those around me, I managed to befriend people in libraries near my own (what are the odds?), learn major takeaways from sessions I’d missed, exchange business cards, programming advice, book recommendations, laughs, and hugs. Putting yourself out there is the best thing you can do.

Thank you so much to Penguin Young Readers Group and the award committee for allowing me the incredible opportunity to attend the ALA Annual Conference in San Francisco.

********************************************************

FullSizeRender

Photo courtesy of the guest blogger

Today’s guest blogger is Heather Thompson. Heather is a Children’s Librarian / eMedia Coordinator and science programming enthusiast at the Cook Memorial Public Library District. Heather was a recipient of the Penguin Young Readers Group Award.

Please note that as a guest post, the views expressed here do not represent the official position of ALA or ALSC.

If you’d like to write a guest post for the ALSC Blog, please contact Mary Voors, ALSC Blog manager, at alscblog@gmail.com.

The post I Left My Heart at ALA Annual appeared first on ALSC Blog.

0 Comments on I Left My Heart at ALA Annual as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
31. A Girl Named Disaster

A Girl Named Disaster. Nancy Farmer. 1996. Scholastic. 320 pages. [Source: Review copy]

I read A Girl Named Disaster and Shabanu: Daughter of the Wind the same week. That fact definitely influenced my thoughts on both books--fair or not. Reading is subjective, after all.

Did I enjoy reading A Girl Named Disaster? Yes and no. I didn't exactly "enjoy" it. I found it a bit slow at the beginning, and, a bit rushed at the end. There were times I definitely found it interesting, but, I never really found myself loving it.

Nancy Farmer's A Girl Named Disaster is set in Mozambique and Zimbabwe in the early 1980s. Nhamo has an interesting relationship to the rest of the family. She dearly, dearly loves her grandmother (Ambuya), and is in return beloved of her grandmother. (She is in fact probably the favorite granddaughter.) But the rest of her family is a different story. They seem to blame Nhamo for the circumstances of her birth. Her mother returned home from school (high school??? college???) pregnant and married to a "useless" man, a man named Proud. Neither is in her life when the novel opens. Her mother died when Nhamo was a toddler--eaten by a leopard. Her father had disappeared even before that. Nhamo is, without a doubt, a hard worker. Yes, she is slightly bitter that her tasks are more difficult and time-consuming than her slightly-older cousin's--Masvita. But she isn't hate-filled and overflowing with attitude either.

Like Shabanu, A Girl Named Disaster introduces readers to a culture where marriage happens VERY early in life for girls--twelve to fourteen, and where a woman's worth is very much tied to her ability to produce children, particularly sons. Like Shabanu, A Girl Named Disaster features a heroine who is to be sacrificed via marriage. Like Shabanu, this marriage is MOST, MOST unwelcome. Dare I say this would-be marriage sounds even more unpleasant than the one in Shabanu--and I never thought I'd say that. Like Shabanu, the heroine makes the only choice she can under the circumstances....

Nhamo runs away from home in an attempt to make it across the border to Zimbabwe. Once there, she'll pretend to be Catholic--her mother attended a Catholic school--and seek refuge with nuns. Is she actually Catholic? No. Of course not. Her ideas of who Jesus is are far from sound, to say the least. But that is not exactly the point of A Girl Named Disaster.

Her journey to Zimbabwe is....much longer than she imagined it ever could be. It is not a journey of a few days or even a few weeks. MONTHS go by with Nhamo still struggling to reach her destination. It is her fight for SURVIVAL. It is definitely nature versus Nhamo...with Nhamo receiving a bit of help from the spiritual world.

Will Nhamo's life be better--easier--in Zimbabwe? Will she find her father? Will she find her father's family? Will she find welcome with them? What will happen to her if she doesn't find them? What will become of her? What are her chances of a decent life, a good life???

A Girl Named Disaster is slightly less depressing than Shabanu. That's not fair. It's not. The ending sees Nhamo with a bit of hope and a chance at a future.

Still neither book "feels" like a children's book. And when I do think of Newbery or Newbery Honor, I tend to think CHILDREN'S BOOK more than anything else. Arranged marriages, child-adult marriages, don't really come to mind. Still exposure to diverse titles can be a good thing. And both books offer readers something to think about.

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

0 Comments on A Girl Named Disaster as of 8/30/2015 12:07:00 PM
Add a Comment
32. Using Memes in Education: Library Orientation

This year, I decided to use memes in the freshmen orientation for two reasons: 1. kids can relate to these (since they use and make them all the time themselves) and 2. let students know the library is more than rules, guidelines, and shushing. It can be fun, imaginative, creative, and inviting. I did a test drive with our new teachers for new teacher orientation, and although it was unexpected, they thoroughly enjoyed it! :) Basically, it's all about relationships, and this is a fun way to do it. Most of the memes I created myself using imgflip.com SUPER easy!!

0 Comments on Using Memes in Education: Library Orientation as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
33. Week in Review: August 23-29

When Books Went to War: The Stories That Helped Us Win World War II. Molly Guptill Manning. 2014. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 288 pages. [Source: Library]
Big Dog and Little Dog. Dav Pilkey. 2015. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 24 pages. [Source: Review copy]
There's a Wocket in my Pocket! Dr. Seuss. 1974. Random House. 30 pages. [Source: Review copy]
Your Hand in My Hand. Mark Sperring. Illustrated by Britta Teckentrup. 2015. [November] Scholastic. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]
When Sophie's Feelings are Really, Really Hurt. Molly Bang. 2015. [September] Scholastic. 40 pages. [Source: Review copy]
The View From Saturday. E.L. Konigsburg. 1996. 176 pages. [Source: Bought]

Shabanu: Daughter of the Wind. Suzanne Fisher Staples. 1989. 240 pages. [Source: Book I Bought]Go Set A Watchman. Harper Lee. 2015.  HarperCollins. 278 pages. [Source: Library]
Finding Serendipity. Angelica Banks. 2015. Henry Holt. 288 pages. [Source: Library]
The Original Jesus: Trading The Myths We Create For The Savior Who Is. Daniel Darling. 2015. Baker Books. 160 pages. [Source: Review copy]
John: That You Might Believe (Preaching the Word) R. Kent Hughes. 1999/2014. Crossway Books. 528 pages. [Source: Bought]
The Study Bible for Women: HCSB Large Print Edition. Dorothy Kelley Patterson and Rhonda Harrington Kelley. 2015. B&H. 2208 pages. [Source: Review copy]

This week's recommendation(s)

I loved WHEN BOOKS WENT TO WAR and BIG DOG AND LITTLE DOG. 

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

0 Comments on Week in Review: August 23-29 as of 8/29/2015 5:52:00 PM
Add a Comment
34. August Reflections

In August I read 55 books.

Board books:

  1. Board Book: Carry and Learn Shapes. Scholastic. 2015. 10 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  2. Board Book: I Love My Puppy. Caroline Jayne Church. 2015. Scholastic. 10 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  3. Board Book: Oh No, George! Chris Haughton. 2015. Candlewick Press. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  4. Board Book: Ten Playful Penguins. Emily Ford. Illustrated by Russell Julian. 2015. [October] Scholastic. 22 pages. [Source: Review copy] 
Picture books:
  1. Fab Four Friends: The Boys Who Became The Beatles. Susanna Reich. 2015. Henry Holt. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  2. Friendshape. Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld. 2015. [August] Scholastic. 40 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  3. The Queen's Hat. Steve Antony. 2015. [August] Scholastic. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy] 
  4. When Sophie's Feelings are Really, Really Hurt. Molly Bang. 2015. [September] Scholastic. 40 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  5. Your Hand in My Hand. Mark Sperring. Illustrated by Britta Teckentrup. 2015. [November] Scholastic. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  6. A Lucky Author Has A Dog. Mary Lyn Ray. Illustrated by Steven Henry. 2015. [August] Scholastic. 40 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  7. Elephant in the Dark. Mina Javaherbin. Illustrated by Eugene Yelchin. 2015. [August] Scholastic. 40 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  8. Where Did My Clothes Come From? Chris Butterworth. Illustrated by Lucia Gaggiotti. 2015. Candlewick Press. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy] 
  9. Frog on a Log? Kes Gray. Illustrated by Jim Field. 2015. [September] Scholastic. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  10. Where's Walrus? and Penguin? Stephen Savage. 2015. [August] Scholastic. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  11. Clifford Goes to Kindergarten. Norman Bridwell. 2015. Scholastic. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy] 
  12. Railroad Hank. Lisa Moser. Illustrated by Benji Davies. 2012. Random House. 40 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  13. Peppa's Windy Fall Day. Adapted by Barbara Winthrop. 2015. Scholastic. 24 pages. [Source: Review copy] 
  14. (Peppa Pig) Best Friends. 2015. Scholastic. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]  
  15. Double Play: Monkeying Around With Addition. Betsy Franco. Illustrated by Doug Cushman. 2011. Random House. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  16. Marvin K. Mooney Will You Please Go Now! Dr. Seuss. 1971. Random House. 36 pages. [Source: Library]
  17. In A People House. Dr. Seuss. (Theo LeSieg) Illustrated by Roy McKie. 1972. Random House. 36 pages. [Source: Library]
  18. Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are? Dr. Seuss. 1973. Random House. 47 pages. [Source: Library] 
  19. The Shape of Me And Other Stuff. Dr. Seuss. 1973. Random House. 36 pages. [Source: Library]
  20. There's a Wocket in my Pocket! Dr. Seuss. 1974. Random House. 30 pages. [Source: Review copy]
Early readers and chapter books:
  1. Big Dog and Little Dog. Dav Pilkey. 2015. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 24 pages. [Source: Review copy]  
  2. Eva Sees A Ghost (Owl Diaries #2) Rebecca Elliott. 2015. Scholastic. 80 pages. [Source: Review copy]
Middle grade:
  1. Milo Speck, Accidental Agent. Linda Urban. 2015. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 272 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  2. Walk Two Moons. Sharon Creech. 1994. HarperCollins. 280 pages. [Source: Bought]
  3. The Whipping Boy. Sid Fleischman. Illustrated by Peter Sis. 1986. 96 pages. [Source: Bought]
  4. Finding Serendipity. Angelica Banks. 2015. Henry Holt. 288 pages. [Source: Library]
  5. The View From Saturday. E.L. Konigsburg. 1996. 176 pages. [Source: Bought]  
  6. A Girl Named Disaster. Nancy Farmer. 1996. Scholastic. 320 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  7. Shabanu: Daughter of the Wind. Suzanne Fisher Staples. 1989. 240 pages. [Source: Book I Bought]
  8. Missing in Action. Dean Hughes. 2010/2015. Random House. 240 pages. [Source: Review copy] 
Young adult:
  1.  Terezin: Voices From the Holocaust. Ruth Thomson. 2011. Candlewick. 64 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  2. A Little In Love. Susan Fletcher. 2015. Scholastic. 288 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  3. An Ember in the Ashes. Sabaa Tahir. 2015. Penguin. 446 pages. [Source: Library]
Adult:
  1. The Life of Charlotte Bronte. Elizabeth Gaskell. 1857/1975. Penguin Classics. 623 pages. [Source: Bought]
  2. When Books Went to War: The Stories That Helped Us Win World War II. Molly Guptill Manning. 2014. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 288 pages. [Source: Library]  
  3. Gut: The Inside Story of Our Most Underrated Organ. Giulia Enders. Illustrated by Jill Enders. 2014/2015. Greystone Books. 288 pages. [Source: Library]
  4. A Bitter Truth. Charles Todd. 2011. HarperCollins. 352 pages. [Source: Library]
  5. Go Set A Watchman. Harper Lee. 2015.  HarperCollins. 278 pages. [Source: Library] 
  6. Wish You Well. David Baldacci. 2000/2007. Grand Central Publishing. 432 pages. [Source: Library]
  7. Murder at Longbourn. (Elizabeth Parker #1) Tracy Kiely. 2009. St. Martin's Press. 320 pages. [Source: Library]
Christian nonfiction:
  1. John: That You Might Believe (Preaching the Word) R. Kent Hughes. 1999/2014. Crossway Books. 528 pages. [Source: Bought]
  2. The Original Jesus: Trading The Myths We Create For The Savior Who Is. Daniel Darling. 2015. Baker Books. 160 pages. [Source: Review copy]  
  3. Compassion: Seeing with Jesus' Eyes. Joshua Mack. 2015. P&R Publishing. 48 pages. [Source: Review copy] 
  4. Ladylike: Living Biblically. Rebekah Curtis and Rose Adle. 2015. Concordia. 224 pages. [Source: Review copy] 
  5.  Our Only Comfort. Neal Presa. 2015. Westminster John Knox Press. 160 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  6. Modesty. Martha Peace and Kent Keller. 2015. P&R Publishing. 176 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  7. Five Minute Bedtime Bible Stories. Retold by Amy Parker. Illustrated by Walter Carzon. 2015. Scholastic. 192 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  8.  Respectable Sins. Jerry Bridges. 2007. NavPress. 192 pages. [Source: Bought]
  9. The Unbelievable Gospel: Say Something Worth Believing. Jonathan Dodson. 2015. Zondervan. 240 pages. [Source: Review copy] 
Christian fiction:
  1. Through Waters Deep. (Waves of Freedom #1) Sarah Sundin. Revell. 384 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  2. Lady Maybe. Julie Klassen. 2015. Penguin. 400 pages. [Source: Library]

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

0 Comments on August Reflections as of 8/31/2015 10:23:00 PM
Add a Comment
35. Library Loot: Fifth Trip in August

New Loot:
  • Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann
  • Winston the Book Wolf by Marni McGee
  • Ding Dong Gorilla by Michelle Robinson
  • Digger and Tom by Sebastien Braun
  • Toot and Pop by Sebastien Braun
  • The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly
  • The Curious World of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly
  • Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko
  • Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata
  • Elijah of Buxton by Christopher Paul Curtis
  • Whittington by Alan Armstrong
  • Criss Cross by Lynne Rae Perkins
  • Arthur, For The First Time by Patricia MacLachlan
  • Oh, the thinks you can think by Dr. Seuss
  • Wacky Wednesday by Theo LeSieg
  • Would You Rather be a Bullfrog by Theo LeSieg
  • Hooper Humperdink--? Not him! Theo LeSieg

Leftover Loot:
  • An Appetite for Violets by Martine Bailey
  • The Well by Stephanie Landsem
  • The Tomb by Stephanie Landsem
  • The Last Sin Eater by Francine Rivers  
  • There's A Wocket in My Pocket by Dr. Seuss
  • A Question of Honor by Charles Todd 
  • An Unwilling Accomplice by Charles Todd
  • The Great Good Thing by Roderick Townley
  • The Matchmaker: An Amish Retelling of Jane Austen's Emma by Sarah Price
  • Second Chances: An Amish Retelling of Jane Austen's Persuasion by Sarah Price
  • Vango. Between Sky and Earth. Timothee de Fomb
  • Great Day for UP by Dr. Seuss
  • The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm translated by Jack Zipes  
  • Wouldn't it Be Deadly an Eliza Doolittle and Henry Higgins Mystery by D.E. Ireland
  • The Zookeeper's Wife by Diane Ackerman
  • An Unmarked Grave by Charles Todd
  • Murder at the Brightwell by Ashley Weaver
  • The Little Way of Ruthie Leming by Rod Dreher
  • Mr. Churchill's Secretary by Susan Ella MacNeal 
       Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Linda from Silly Little Mischief that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

0 Comments on Library Loot: Fifth Trip in August as of 8/29/2015 10:24:00 PM
Add a Comment
36. 7 Things I Want the Writers in my Classroom to Know

I am uneasy referring to myself as an author. I have writers I admire and I know there’s a vast divide between us, but I write. I enjoy writing; I write to improve my voice and my craft all in an effort to teach my students what it means to be a writer. As an educator I know all my students ARE writers. I don’t qualify who is and who is not a writer by the quality of their writing. I am working to give myself this same level of acceptance as a writer.

Add a Comment
37. Review: We Believe the Children

We Believe the Children: A Moral Panic in the 1980sby Richard BeckPublicAffairs. 2015. Review copy via NetGalley.

It's About: A look at the child abuse prosecutions of the 1980s.

The Good: We Believe the Children was the cry of the media, prosecutors, and families during the prosecutions and lawsuits of the daycare child abuse allegations of the 1980s.

I was in law school in the late 80s; I remember studying the varying ways that children were being questioned, and how their testimony was being presented in court. I remember thinking, how could children lie about such things? Why would they?

We Believe the Children gives answers to those questions, and not answers that are very comforting or easy. At this point, I think many familiar with these cases and the time know about some of the "why", about doctors and therapists and police and prosecutors and family members who, at best, weren't equipped to investigate such claims and, at worst, made it worse with leading questions, faulty science, and almost abusive questioning tactics of very young children.

Beck discusses those things, but also puts what was happening in the context of the times.Why, for example, was it so easy for people to believe? He points to fear, yes, but also the bigger context of politics -- it was easier for people to believe that the danger of abusers was outside the home (in the daycares, in places which employed those of lower socioeconomic standings), and to link those dangers to changing family structures (the "danger" came from the child being outside the home, in a daycare, so while the parent (ie mom) was not doing what she should).

How does memory work? What does it mean, to repress a memory? What is multiple personalities, is it real, and how does that contribute to what people think about child abuse and what children say?

This book is not an easy read; and the consequences of what happened in 1980s are still ones we live with, and not just in terms of the individuals on all sides of the investigations and prosecutions. Not just the people sent to jail, or the children subject to problematic questioning. It lingers in today's reactions that demand more than allegations; look at happened the last time "we believe" became a tagline. It's also still around in how people view daycare and parenting, as well as how child abuse is viewed, prosecuted, and treated.

It also raises the questions of how people believe what is reported in the here-and-now, without reflection. Truth be told, there are some things in the book that I've read before and agree with, but other points, well, I had a bit more skepticism about. I'd want to look more into, before agreeing a hundred percent.

We Believe the Children also made me think of novels, of fiction that is based on current events and "torn from the headlines" stories. Books that used these stories as parts of plots or motivations.



Other reviews: The New York Times review; The Guardian review.




Amazon Affiliate. If you click from here to Amazon and buy something, I receive a percentage of the purchase price.

© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy

0 Comments on Review: We Believe the Children as of 9/1/2015 6:01:00 AM
Add a Comment
38. President's Report - July & August 2015

Happy End of Summer and Back-to-School!

I’m so excited to be sharing my first YALSA President’s Report!

It’s been a whirlwind since ALA Annual, and here’s what I’ve been working on since then:

Done & Done!

  • Appointments to Edwards, Printz & Nonfiction Committees
  • Assigning Board liaisons to Strategic, Selection & Award Committees
  • Assign Board Members to Standing Board Committees
  • Column for Fall 2015 issue of YALS
  • Virtual training for New YALSA Board members
  • YALSA blog post on Presidential Initiative: 3-2-1 Impact! Inclusive & Impactful Teen Services
  • Worked with YALSA Board to appoint Renee McGrath to fill Krista McKenzie’s vacancy on the YALSA Board
  • Had first call with the Whole Mind Group, who YALSA is working with on Strategic Planning
  • With Chris Shoemaker, hosted first monthly chat with the YALSA Board, where we discussed YALSA’s Standing Board Committees
  • Interviewed candidates for Member Managers for the Hub blog and Teen Programming HQ; appointed Molly Wetta as new Hub Member Manager and Jessi Snow as new Teen Programming HQ Member Manager

Works in Progress

  • Filling Strategic Committee vacancies
  • Filling Rachel McDonald’s Board vacancy
  • Appointing YALSA representatives to ALA groups
  • Strategic Planning
  • Preparing for YALSA’s YA Services Symposium & Fall Executive Committee meetings
  • Seeking content experts for Teen Programming HQ
  • Seeking out partnerships with ALA ethnic caucuses, ALA LGBT Round Table, ASCLA, Wattpad, National Writing Project, Connected Learning Alliance, DeviantArt and more

Media & Outreach

Stats & Data

  • Friends of YALSA raised $1,155 in June 2015
  • Friends of YALSA raised $436 in July 2015
  • Membership: 5,113 (down -0.3% over this time last year)

Important Deadlines

  • Oct. 1 - Deadline to submit a volunteer form to be on YALSA's upcoming award, selection and strategic committees! More information here

Last, but certainly not least -

THANK YOU

  • All of our members for all that you do to support teens and teen library services in your communities, every day!
  • Chris Shoemaker, YALSA’s immediate Past President, for passing the torch and mentoring current President-Elect Sarah Hill
  • YALSA’s ALA Annual 2015 Local Arrangements Committee, for a terrific job coordinating travel tips & info and local YALSA events in San Francisco
  • YALSA Board, for your hard work, leadership and enthusiasm - I know it's going to be a great year!
  • YALSA Staff, especially Beth Yoke, Letitia Smith & Nichole O'Connor, for your assistance and support with association logistics

Until next time!

Respectfully submitted,

Candice Mack, YALSA President

 

Add a Comment
39. #726 – Photo Doodles: A Creative Sketchbook by ViiiZ

Photo Doodles: A Creative Sketchbook

By ViiiZ*
Quirk Books       8/20/2013
978-1-59474-652-9
160 pages       Age 8—12 +
.
“You’ve never seen a doodle book quite like this one!”
”Wait, you can talk?”

“Photo Doodles combines kid-friendly photographs and cool creative challenges into the perfect canvas for anyone capable of wielding a crayon. Young artists and designers can complete dozens of fun and playful pictures of everything from roller coasters and soda cans to book covers and palaces. Perfect for sketching, scribbling, and coloring outside the lines, Photos Doodles will unleash the aspiring artist inside children of all ages.” [front jacket]

Review
Photo Doodles is a fun-filled book for those kids—and adults—who love to doodle, but may not know how to get started. Similar to writing prompts, each spread contains a one sentence prompt to help you with ideas to doodle your way to a fun, satisfying end. Here are two of those prompts:

download

“Who (or what) is at the other end of the rope?”

2marked

“What outfit will the puppy wear today?”

With 160 pages to doodle and color, it seems the options are endless. From decorating a sea of umbrellas to filling in storyboards with your own story. There is even one many students will find hard to resist:

“It’s your turn at the blackboard . . . what will you write?”

How about “No more math problems,” or maybe “School’s out early today: Leave at noon,” or maybe you would use your turn to make tomorrow a teacher conference day—“Students stay home!”

1

There are plenty of open spaces in Photo Doodles or those kids and adults who can doodle and draw with ease and loads of pages with images to make colorful and expressive, rather than drawing from scratch. A total of 200 pictures await your crayons, colored pencils, markers, or other artistic medium. While marketed for the middle grade set, younger children will enjoy many of the easier prompts in Photo Doodles and adults will love the range of images and prompts.

I enjoyed playing with Photo Doodles. I love to draw, but have a hard time getting started. Photo Doodles made getting started easy and the images and prompts got me thinking of ways to doodle other than the normal doodles in the margin of a page.

3

Coloring books for adults are in every corner of every bookstore online and off, but doodle books that prompt you to create imaginative scenes and messages, like Photo Doodles, is not as common. I think kids of all ages will enjoy Photo Doodles as much as I have.

PHOTO DOODLES: A CREATIVE SKETCHBOOK. Text and illustrations copyright © 2015 by ViiiZ. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Quirk Books, Philadelphia, PA.

Buy Photo Doodles: A Creative Sketchbook at AmazonBook DepositoryQuirk Books.

Learn more about Photo Doodles: A Creative Sketchbook HERE.
The Sell Sheet can be found HERE.

Meet the authors/illustrators, ViiiZ.
Vahram Muratyan at his website:  http://www.vahrammuratyan.com/
Elodie Chaillous at LinkedIn:  https://fr.linkedin.com/pub/elodie-chaillous/84/79a/462/en
.        . (ViiiZ is the artistic team of Vahram Muratyan and Elodie Chaillous andfounders of ViiiZ, an art    direction and graphic design studio created in 2005 in Paris. They graduated from the acclaimed Parisian design school ESAGPenninghen.)

Find middle grade novels at the Quirk Books website:  http://www.quirkbooks.com/
.

Copyright © 2015 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved

Full Disclosure: Photo Doodles: A Creative Sketchbook by ViiiZ, and received from Quirk Books, is in exchange NOT for a positive review, but for an HONEST review. The opinions expressed are my own and no one else’s. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


Filed under: 5stars, Books for Boys, Children's Books, Middle Grade, NonFiction Tagged: art, art prompts, colored pencils, crayons, creativity, doodling, imagination, Photo Doodles: A Creative Sketchbook, Quirk Books, ViiiZ

Add a Comment
40. The Value of ALA Annual: Reflections from a First Time Attendee

This summer my husband and I packed up, threw a couple of dogs in our car, and moved from Texas to Massachusetts. I had resigned from my amazing job as an elementary librarian in Coppell, TX and accepted the Media Specialist position at Shrewsbury High School (just outside of Worchester, MA).   Our summer was spent looking for houses, attempting to understand the foreign language that is real estate, and playing Tetris with all of our belongings.   On the bright side, between packing, driving, and across country flights, I have finished a record number of audio books.

In the middle of all this, I flew to San Francisco for my first ALA Annual conference. I fortunately received a Penguin Young Readers Award, an award that is given to support 4 members of ALSC who have fewer than 5 years experience in the library to attend their first ALA Annual.  This experience may not have been a moment of calm amidst my chaotic summer, but it was a reinvigorating weekend that went beyond my expectations.

Conference attendance provides the important opportunity to increase your involvement in ALSC and ALA as well as network with colleagues. This is the core justification for my continued participation at ALA conferences. I am a member of the ALSC Membership Committee, and as a part of my commitment to this committee, I helped to organize the ALSC 101 event. I have had the opportunity to learn more about the division through the committee, but ALSC 101 helped to provide a greater understanding of opportunities for involvement within ALSC.

Each opportunity to work on a committee or volunteer in any way helps ALSC support library services to children. We are a passionate group of individuals and our voices carry weight within the world of libraries, children’s literature, and education. Take the opportunity to become involved.

Our community is a powerful resource for any librarian. I was able to speak with many others who work with children and teens in the library. There were also a number of sessions I attended about school libraries, STEM programming, and diversity.  This conference allowed me to take advantage of the wealth of experience from other conference attendees as I bring a stack of new ideas and perspectives to my library.

As I write this, I am one week away from my first day at a new school, with high schoolers for the first time, and across the country from everything I know. The conference was not a reprieve from my chaotic summer. In the span of 4 days, I attended my first Newbery/Caldecott/Wilder Banquet, explored San Fransisco, watched an incredible city wide Pride celebration, met a number of phenomenal authors, snagged a few amazing ARCs for review, and hung out with some the coolest librarians I know. It was busy, it was crazy, it was fun, but most importantly it was transformative. My first ALA Annual gave me the confidence to take on my new role and the knowledge that there is a large community within ALSC and ALA to support my library, my students, and me.

**********************************************************

EmilyEmily Bredberg works as a High School Media Specialist in Shrewsbury, MA. She has spent the few remaining weeks of her summer reading and hiking through some of New England’s beautiful forests. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram, @BredbergReads.

Please note that as a guest post, the views expressed here do not represent the official position of ALA or ALSC.

If you’d like to write a guest post for the ALSC Blog, please contact Mary Voors, ALSC Blog manager, at alscblog@gmail.com.

The post The Value of ALA Annual: Reflections from a First Time Attendee appeared first on ALSC Blog.

0 Comments on The Value of ALA Annual: Reflections from a First Time Attendee as of 8/31/2015 2:15:00 AM
Add a Comment
41. Fab Four Friends

Fab Four Friends: The Boys Who Became The Beatles. Susanna Reich. 2015. Henry Holt. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]

I love the Beatles, have spent several decades loving the Beatles, so I was quite excited to read Susanna Reich's picture book biography of the fab four. She introduces each Beatle individually, starting with John, of course. As each one meets John and joins the band, his story is then told in some detail. It is a partial biography, not a full one. The book concludes circa 1963 with the Beatles just beginning to become HUGE in England. (Think Love Me Do and Please, Please Me.)

The details are age-appropriate, in case you're curious. If you're familiar with the Beatles--as a group, or as individuals--then you know that there is plenty that could have been said, could have been shared, for a mature adult audience. The book captures them at their innocent best.

I've read a handful of books about the Beatles--mainly biographies--over the years, and this one did a good job with the basics. I liked the simple approach for a younger audience. Though this one would definitely be a picture book for older readers, and not a book ideal for preschool read aloud.

The Illustrations are by Adam Gustavson. I spent time looking at each spread of this picture book, absorbing the details in the text and in the illustration. I've spent plenty of time looking at photographs of the Beatles--I had a new Beatles calendar for several years in a row. So what did I think of the illustrations? I liked them for the most part. There were one or two that I thought were practically perfect. But I couldn't really say that of each and every page. Still, I liked the illustrations overall.

If used in a classroom, this one would pair well with the first Beatles Anthology album. Students could listen to "early" recordings of the Beatles.


© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

0 Comments on Fab Four Friends as of 8/31/2015 10:55:00 AM
Add a Comment
42. The Chronicles of the Black Tulip: The Vanishing Island, Book 1, by Barry Wolverton, 338 pp, RL 4

In 2012 I reviewed Neversink, a superb, Watership Down-esque tale of animals living in the Arctic Circle by Barry Wolverton. I've been waiting three years to see what he does next and The Vanishing Island, the first book in the Chronicles of the Black Tulip series is every bit as exciting as Neversink and inventively set in the alternate past of 1599! The town of Map is the "dirtiest,

0 Comments on The Chronicles of the Black Tulip: The Vanishing Island, Book 1, by Barry Wolverton, 338 pp, RL 4 as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
43. Are we there, Yeti?

Be warned.  This could be an ear-worm trailer.


Are We There, Yeti? by Ashlyn Anstee



0 Comments on Are we there, Yeti? as of 8/31/2015 12:27:00 PM
Add a Comment
44. Big Dog and Little Dog

Big Dog and Little Dog. Dav Pilkey. 2015. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 24 pages. [Source: Review copy]

I definitely enjoyed reading Dav Pilkey's Big Dog and Little Dog. It is newly published in early reader format. (The book was originally published in 1997. The end-of-the-book activities are brand new additions to the 2015 edition.)

In this early reader title, young readers meet Big Dog and Little Dog. The good news is that if little ones LOVE reading about Big Dog and Little Dog, this is the first in a series. There are PLENTY of other books to get them excited--to keep them excited and to keep them READING.

Here is how this one begins, "Big dog and Little Dog are hungry. Big Dog and Little Dog want food."

My favorite part, I must admit: "Big Dog gets in the big bed. Little Dog gets in the little bed. Big Dog is lonely. Little Dog is lonely, too." The illustrations tell the rest of the story!

I love it because it is simple and straightforward. And being simple does not in any way prevent it from being clever and funny and A STORY. The illustrations are bright and bold.

It is a charming book cover to cover.

I also appreciated the end-of-the-book activities. For example, one activity has young readers practice story sequencing and has them retelling the story.


© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

0 Comments on Big Dog and Little Dog as of 8/29/2015 5:52:00 PM
Add a Comment
45. Diary of a Mad Brownie - an audiobook review

I can't republish certain reviews that have already appeared in print or elsewhere online, but I can point you to where you might find them.

The Enchanted Files: Diary of a Mad Brownie by Bruce Coville. (Listening Library, 2015)
Suggested for ages 8-12.  298 minutes.

http://www.audiofilemagazine.com/reviews/read/102097/

Diary of a Mad Brownie is the first book in Bruce Coville's new series, The Enchanted Files.  I listened to the audio book, and I can tell you that it was the most fun I've had listening in a long time. And it's read by a full cast!

Read my review here: http://www.audiofilemagazine.com/reviews/read/102097/


Note:
My copy of the book was supplied by AudioFile Magazine.

0 Comments on Diary of a Mad Brownie - an audiobook review as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
46. Seuss on Saturday #35

There's a Wocket in my Pocket! Dr. Seuss. 1974. Random House. 30 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Did you ever have the feeling there's a wasket in your basket?

Premise/plot: The narrator starts out asking a series of very silly questions. There's no doubt there's more silliness than actual plot to this one. Readers "meet" lots of fanciful creatures in, on, behind, up, and under common household objects in a special sort of house. The narrator warns: some are friendly; some are not.

My thoughts: I like this one. I do. It's one I definitely remember from childhood. And it's one I recommend parents read to their children. It's just a lot of silliness!

Have you read There's a Wocket in My Pocket! Did you like it? love it? hate it? I'd love to know what you thought of it!

If you'd like to join me in reading or rereading Dr. Seuss (chronologically) I'd love to have you join me! The next book I'll be reviewing is Great Day for Up!

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

0 Comments on Seuss on Saturday #35 as of 8/29/2015 3:37:00 PM
Add a Comment
47. Write. Share. Give.

WRITE a slice of life story on your own blog. SHARE a link to your post in the comments section. GIVE comments to at least three other SOLS bloggers.

Add a Comment
48. Why We Gather: The Importance of a Classroom Meeting Area

You might be so completely used to your classroom arrangement that it seems normal to you -- but it maybe could be better.

Add a Comment
49. Book Review: 5 to 1 by Holly Bodger

Book: 5 to 1
Author: Holly Bodger
Published: 2015
Source: Review copy from publisher via NetGalley

After decades of gender selection, the ratio of boys to girls has become 5 to 1, and the tiny country of Koyangar has instituted elaborate tests for girls to pick their mates. The winners will get marriage, money, and a life of trying to breed more daughters. The losers will get menial jobs or worse, sent to the wall that separates Koyangar from the rest of the Indian subcontinent, an almost certain death sentence.

Sudasa is the granddaughter of a highly-placed woman in the government, and knows that she is expected to select a particular contestant. But she keeps getting distracted by Contestant 5, who helps out the other contestants and shows compassion for the injured that are ignored by every other boy. What she doesn't know is that Contestant 5 has come to the Tests without any intent of winning a wife. Instead, he plans to escape, because anything is better than Koyangar.

Initially, Contestant 5 disdains Sudasa as spoiled and corrupt, and Sudasa can't fathom why he would risk the wall rather than try for a life of comfort and plenty as her husband. But as they get to know each other in stolen moments, they come to understand that they both want the same thing: freedom.

I have to be honest: I've been completely over the whole novels in verse thing for awhile, so while Sudasa's free-versified thoughts and feelings were interesting, I was always relieved when I got back to the prose of Contestant 5's sections. That being said, seeing Sudasa slowly realize that there was a life for her outside of Koyangar, and her grandmother's control was a fascinating character arc. I just wished it had been more fleshed out. Free verse tends to be extremely spare, without a lot of detail. This is obviously a personal preference, so your mileage may vary.

With its themes of gender inequity (girls are still treated like property, their rarity adding to their value like precious gems, locked away in a safe most of the time) and political corruption (always, always political corruption) this book fits into the usual run of current dystopian fiction. The non-Western setting and culture makes it stand out, but at only 246 pages (and about half of those in free verse), it feels like we skimmed over the setting and honestly, everything outside of the Tests themselves.

0 Comments on Book Review: 5 to 1 by Holly Bodger as of 8/30/2015 5:07:00 AM
Add a Comment
50. Leo: A Ghost Story, by Mac Barnett & Christian Robinson -- a story of friendship and acceptance (ages 3-7)

Even though children are surrounded by other kids at school, they often don't feel seen or acknowledged. Mac Barnett and Christian Robinson tap into this feeling in their delightful story about Leo, a little ghost who makes a friend.

Leo: A Ghost Story
by Mac Barnett
illustrated by Christian Robinson
Chronicle, 2015
Your local library
Amazon
ages 3-7
*best new book*
Leo has a hard time making friends because he’s a ghost. No one can see him. But we can. He’s pretty satisfied spending time by himself, but he is happy when a family moves into his house. It's good to have company. But the family doesn't see things the same way.

Kids will know just what it's like not to be wanted, and they will empathize with Leo as he leaves home. The cool blues of Robinson's illustrations match the soft, subdued mood. One afternoon, "Leo found himself roaming along a sidewalk covered in drawings." Jane looked right up at Leo and asked if he'd like to play. At first, Leo is stunned that she's talking right to him.
"Leo, do you want to play Knights of the Round Table?"
Leo is delighted by her imaginary play as she knights him in their game, but he's nervous that she will be scared when she finds out he’s a ghost. I love how accepting Jane is, how open she is not only to Leo but also to her own imagination. Jane is kind, direct and self-assured--definitely one of my favorite characters this year.

I won't give away the ending, but be rest assured that it will bring a smile to your face and let kids know that they can find a friend who likes them just the way they are.

Enjoy this book trailer. Just like the book, the kids' voices shine through.

Check out these other reviews & interviews:


Illustrations ©2015 Christian Robinson. The review copy was kindly sent by the publisher, Chronicle Books. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books. Thank you for your support.

©2015 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

0 Comments on Leo: A Ghost Story, by Mac Barnett & Christian Robinson -- a story of friendship and acceptance (ages 3-7) as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment

View Next 25 Posts