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26. ALSC Member of the Month — Renee Grassi

Each month, an ALSC member is profiled and we learn a little about their professional life and a bit about their not-so-serious side. Using just a few questions, we try to keep the profiles fun while highlighting the variety of members in our organization. So, without further ado, welcome to our ALSC profile, ten questions with ALSC member, Renee Grassi.

1.  What do you do, and how long have you been doing it?

ReneeI am the Youth Department Director at the Glen Ellyn Public Library in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. I’m relatively new to this position, having started at Glen Ellyn in June of 2014. Previously, I was the Head of Children’s Services at the Glencoe Public Library for two years, and was a Youth Services Librarian at the Deerfield Public Library for four years.

2.  Why did you join ALSC? Do you belong to any other ALA divisions or roundtables?

One of the many reasons I joined ALSC was that I wanted to participate and advocate for the profession on a larger scale. What I particularly love about being an ALSC member is that I have so many opportunities to connect and learn from children’s librarians across the country. I have always appreciated ALSC’s commitment to innovation in the field of children’s library service, and I am continually inspired by the work that we as an organization do to enrich the lives of children. Besides ALSC, I am also a member of PLA and am a member of the ALSC Library Services to Special Populations and Their Caregivers Committee.

3.  Cats, dogs, or Butterflies?

Anyone who knows me knows I don’t even have to think twice about my answer–cats, for sure! One of my favorite things to do is to volunteer at local cat shelters. When I lived in downtown Chicago, you would often find me at Harmony House for Cats taking care of and socializing with the kitties. In my spare time, I enjoy the company of my two feline family members—Sanchez and Gus.

4.  E-books or Print?

Both. As much as we are hurdling towards everything digital, nothing will compare to the experience a child has holding a book for the very first time. For us as children’s librarians, I think it’s all about the balance between both.

5.  How do you prepare for the start of a new school year?

When I was a kid, I couldn’t wait for school to start. I was that kid who, mid-July, was just itching to go school supplies shopping, buy all of my notebooks and folders (and label them), and practice trying on my “first day of school” outfit. As of late, a new school year is synonymous with the end of Summer Reading. And as much as I just love Summer Reading and all of the exciting preparations that take place, there is nothing more enjoyable and therapeutic than taking all of the decorations down, cleaning off our desks, and starting fresh for the new school year.

6.  What do you love most about living and working in Illinois?

The librarian in me would respond by say that I feel so lucky to be in the company of countless incredible Illinois librarians, who continue to challenge and inspire me each day. We have strong support of libraries in this state and are fortunate to have such a fantastic Illinois Library Association as well. With Chicago being the epicenter of the American Library Association, we have the expertise of librarian leaders and powerhouses right at our fingertips. And the fact that the ALA Conferences always come back around to Chicago is pretty awesome, too.

The foodie in me would say one word: pizza!

7.  Are you a morning person or night person?

Night person, for sure. Some of my best ideas come to me at night, so I keep a journal next to my bed to jot them all down.

8.  Favorite tv show?

I have to choose one? Well, you will often find me tweeting about Glee, Parenthood, How I Met Your Mother, Sherlock, or The Big Bang Theory. And does the Tony Awards count? That’s like my Christmas.

9.  What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?

Chocolate. That was easy.

10.  What do you love about your work?

The variety. The challenge. The impact. The people.

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

Thanks, Renee! What a fun continuation to our monthly profile feature!

Do you know someone who would be a good candidate for our ALSC Monthly Profile? Are YOU brave enough to answer our ten questions? Send your name and email address to alscblog@gmail.com; we’ll see what we can do.

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27. Queen Victoria's Bathing Machine by Gloria Whelan, illustrated by Nancy Carpenter

Queen Victoria's Bathing Machine is a new, non-fiction picture book by Gloria Whelan, superbly illustrated Nancy Carpenter. Whelan, who is now in her 90s, is the author of several books for young readers, many of which are historical fiction that take place all over the world. While I have only read a handful of her books, I have loved and been moved by each and every one. You can read my

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28. #658 – You Are (Not) Small by Anna King & Christopher Weyant

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You Are (Not) Small

Written by Anna Kangtop-10-use-eb-trans
Illustrated by Christopher Weyant
Two Lions             8/05/2014
978-1-47784772-5
Age 4 to 8           32 pages
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“Two fuzzy creatures can’t agree on who is small and who is big, until a couple of surprise guests show up, settling it once and for all! Size all depends on who’s standing next to you.”

Opening

“You are small.”

Review

Two funny, hairy purple and orange creatures square off and let the other know about their size:  big or small. The orange creature tells the purple creature that he is small. The purple creature responds that he is not small, but the orange creature is big. Orange denies being big, despite towering over the purple, who denies being small, despite barely coming up the orange creature’s waist. STOP! What is going on with these two? Don’t they see the obvious?

Nope, they sure do not. The big guy denies he is big, bringing in others just like him to prove his point.

You Are Not Small int spread 3

 “They are just like me.”

Huh? The little creature brings in others just like him and he, too makes the same point. This argument is not logical, but young kids will not care. Honestly, in my first read-through, which is always for fun, I didn’t give much to the faulty logic either. I doubt I even noticed it—laughing excessively, wiping tears from my sparkling eyes, and holding my laugh-cramped stomach. Then the interaction gets a tad intense. Voices get louder.

“You are all small!’
“You are all big!”
“Small!”
“Big!”

Each of the supporting groups has interesting reactions. At first, the purple creatures look on, one wide-eyed (love it), but the orange creature’s are less interested. One even rolls his eyes (love it, more). Ratchet up the tension and voices. Everyone is now involved. This plot, the characters, the twist at the end all make for a charming book no young child should be without.

Five colors and a white background make perfect illustrations for this story. The black outlining brings character and emotions to these hairy big and small creatures. Their rotund figures remind me of polar bears. I love the small dot eyes. The comical noses on these creatures are huge and terrific. Add in the mitten-like hands and these creatures are all thumbs and harmless. Oversized text compliments these terrific illustrations, which children and their parents will love—enough to read many successive times.

 “BOOM”

Whoa! What was that? Two huge feet— each foot half a page in width—and two legs, cut off before the knee, slam down in the middle of the lively argument. The green, hairy creature is humongous! Tiny pink creatures find their way down by way of yellow parachutes. Purple and orange creatures look up with varying interest; including a wide-eyed, purple creature and a glasses wearing orange creature with a content smile (love the small details). Many of the creatures on both sides are smiling. Combatant purple looks to his orange sparring partner, points to one pink creatures and says,

“See? I am not small.”

Misunderstood orange, wearing a big smile, points to the green creature that dropped in only moments before, and says,

“See? I am not big.”

Notice, there are no exclamation points in either statement. The two creatures have come to a conclusion. Both sides smile, one declares something, and off everyone goes, happy as if no argument ever occurred. Lesson: your size is relative to whom you are standing near. You can be both small and big!

You Are Not Small int spread 1

You Are (Not) Small has one of the funniest twists/lead-ins to a next book I have read in a while. Aside from the back matter telling us the author/illustrator team of Kang and Weyant are working on a sequel, the final spread gives it away. Kids will grab up the sequel as fast as the books hit the shelves. Pre-order the sequel now, well, if you could, but you cannot. What a shame.

Kids will howl at the twist, never having seen it coming until it hits. All readers, young and old, big and small, will adore this crazy book about size’s relative nature, be it of girth or problem. There is always going to be one bigger and smaller than yours.

Go get You Are (Not) Small right now. Read it every night—you will do this voluntarily. Read it to the kids, if you want. They will love it as much as you will. Laugh every day. Cry every day (from laughing). Then, when the new book is announced, pre-order as fast as your small, uh, big, uh . . . just do it. Wonderful debut from this husband / wife team.  Up next: That is (Not) Mine  2015

YOU ARE (NOT) SMALL. Text copyright © 2014 by Anna Kang. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Christopher Weyant. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Two Lions, New York, NY.
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Buy You Are (Not) Small at AmazonB&NBook DepositoryTwo Lionsyour favorite bookstore.
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Learn more about You Are (Not) Small HERE.
Meet the author, Anna Kang, at her facebook:    https://www.facebook.com/YouAreNotSmall
Meet the illustrator, Christopher Weyant, at his website:   http://christopherweyant.com/
Find more picture books to laugh at the Two Lions’ website:   http://www.apub.com/imprints

Two Lions is an imprint of Amazon Children’s Publishing

An interview with Anna Kang 

Art: India ink and watercolor
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Also by Anna Kang & Christopher Weyant
That is (Not) Mine  2015
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you are not small
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Copyright © 2014 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews


Filed under: 6 Stars TOP BOOK, Children's Books, Debut Author, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Picture Book, Series, Top 10 of 2014 Tagged: Amazon Children's Publishing, Anna Kang, children's book reviews, Christopher Weyant, debut author, picture book, Two Lions

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29. Evil Librarian Blog Tour: Michelle Knudsen Guest Post

Please welcome Michelle Knudsen to GreenBeanTeenQueen! She's sharing a playlist of her favorite musical theater songs in honor of her latest book, Evil Librarian.

About the Book: (from Goodreads): #EvilLibrarian He’s young. He’s hot. He’s also evil. He’s . . . the librarian.

When Cynthia Rothschild’s best friend, Annie, falls head over heels for the new high-school librarian, Cyn can totally see why. He’s really young and super cute and thinks Annie would make an excellent library monitor. But after meeting Mr. Gabriel, Cyn realizes something isn’t quite right. Maybe it’s the creepy look in the librarian’s eyes, or the weird feeling Cyn gets whenever she’s around him. Before long Cyn realizes that Mr. Gabriel is, in fact . . . a demon. Now, in addition to saving the school musical from technical disaster and trying not to make a fool of herself with her own hopeless crush, Cyn has to save her best friend from the clutches of the evil librarian, who also seems to be slowly sucking the life force out of the entire student body! From best-selling author Michelle Knudsen, here is the perfect novel for teens who like their horror served up with a bit of romance, plenty of humor, and some pretty hot guys (of both the good and evil variety)

Like Cyn, the main character in Evil Librarian, I love musical theater. In college, a bunch of my theater friends and I lived on the far edge of campus from where rehearsals usually were, and we got into the habit of listening to musical theater mix tapes during the drives there and back. I would often listen to my favorite songs from shows and sing along in the car when alone, too, but it was even more fun to do it with a few like-minded friends who could all sing different characters in the multi-part numbers. In honor of the Evil Librarian blog tour, I thought I’d put together a little playlist of some of my favorite musical theater songs — the ones that would definitely make it onto a playlist if I were making a new one today. These are in no particular order — it’s just a list, not a ranking. :)

1. “Quartet (A Model of Decorum and Tranquility” from Chess (U.S. version)
Chess is one of my all-time favorite musicals to listen to (both the Broadway and London versions, which are very different from each other) although I’ve never yet seen it performed on stage.

2. “I Heard Someone Crying” from The Secret Garden
This is one we used to sing together in the car on the way to rehearsal. I’ve never seen this one live either, although (of course) I’ve read the book it’s based on.

3. “Potiphar” from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
They did this one my freshman year of high school, and it was a lot of fun to watch and listen to. I still really love all the music, but this is one of the songs I most often find randomly popping into my head.

4. “Belle” from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast
I’d go with the movie soundtrack version on this one. Does that still count? I saw the movie in the theater 10 times when it first came out. And I still love to sing this one in the car. And outside the car. I still know every word by heart.

5. “Any Moment: Moments in the Woods” from Into the Woods
It was hard deciding between this one and “On the Steps of the Palace.” Those are my two favorite songs to sing from this show. I saw the Public Theater “Sondheim in the Park” production in 2012 which was amazing (with the same two best friends mentioned in #7 below).

6. “One Day More” from Les Misérables
One of my favorite songs from one of my favorite musicals of all time. I think I picked this one for this list over “Stars” (another of my favorites) because it’s got everyone in it, and I love big ensemble numbers so much.

7. “The Devil You Know” from Side Show
I first encountered Side Show at Broadway on Broadway in NYC with two of my best friends (the two friends Evil Librarian is dedicated to, actually) and I fell in love with it at once. I didn’t get to see it on Broadway before it closed, so I’m super excited about the revival opening this fall!

8. “Heaven on Their Minds” from Jesus Christ Superstar
I love to sing this one, but never where anyone can hear me. I know I can’t really sing it. I’m sure it sounds ridiculous and horrible when I try. But I love to anyway.

9. “Skid Row (Downtown)” from Little Shop of Horrors
We did this one in high school. It’s really not a good show for the chorus, at least in terms of stage time — except for a few small character parts, most of the chorus only got to sing in the opening and the finale. But it’s a fabulous show to watch/listen to. (I love the movie version, too, which is not always the case.)

10. “A Little Priest” from Sweeney Todd
I couldn’t end this list without including something from Sweeney Todd, which is the show Cyn and her classmates are doing in the book. One of my all-time favorites. If you’ve never seen it, buy or borrow a copy of the 1982 recording of the Angela Lansbury/George Hearn performance and watch! I love this song because it’s such a great example of the blending of the darkness and humor and madness and brilliance that runs through the entire show.

Follow the tour:
WhoRuBlog
9/9/2014
Elizabeth O. Dulemba
9/13/2014
Random Chalk Talk
9/10/2014
Books 4 Your Kids
9/11/2014
Green Bean Teen Queen
9/12/2014
Katie's Book Blog
9/15/2014
Word Spelunking
9/16/2-14
Book Chic Club
9/17/2014

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30. So You Want to Start a TAB?

At the library I have had a hard time connecting with teens because Youth Services is downstairs, but the YA section is upstairs. My office is located downstairs, where I spend much of my time. To combat this, I have placed a whiteboard/paper pad easel in the area where their books are. This seemed to help. When I asked what they wanted from the library, they said “Water Balloon Fight”. That totally happened as a BYOB (Bring Your Own Balloons). Providing sponges was cheaper and easier to clean up.

Another way to better connect with the teens is by starting a TAB. With our first meeting a success, I think I have made an impact on the teens.

Following basic guidelines for starting a TAB, I was sure to include key phrases when presenting this option. “Meeting with snacks” worked like a charm. Teens are always hungry. I’ve had a few come to my office bragging about how much they can eat. One teen boy says he can eat a whole pizza. Challenge accepted! A total of six teens met for the first meeting. With the promise of pizza next month, I’m sure more will make their way over to the library.

My library is renovating the entire Youth Services area (not including the YA area on the upper level). The area will include a kitchen! The TAB is excited to learn that we will be able to make food when it opens in October. They were more than willing to provide food ideas to the agenda. Some suggested pizza (of course), sushi, and cheesecake (I’ll have to find a quick bake recipe for that one).

Additionally, I’ve requested that the teens be able to volunteer 10 hours per month as a TAB member. This should help with implementing prep for programming, especially in regards to the kitchen. In the agenda, I included a “new ideas” section. One of the new TAB members is interested in teaching Cantonese at our library!! Bonus for her since it counts as volunteer hours.

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31. Dead is Just a Dream

Dead Is Just a Dream Marlene Perez

Jessica and the other viragos are having a hard time figuring out Nightshade’s most recent run of murders. People are dying with looks of terror on their faces. They can’t figure out a pattern, and there are too many suspects. Is it the new art teacher who specializes in creepy marionettes? What about the landscape artist whose work has suddenly taken a morbid and disturbing tone? Or is it the ghostly horse that runs through town at night? And why does Jessica keep seeing a clown with a mouth of dripping blood outside her window in the middle of the night? To make matters worse, Dominic’s ex-girlfriend is in town and is making no secret of the fact she wants him back.

I love this series. This is a fun installment because it features the return of Daisy. Where she’s been in the periphery of the last few books, she and Jessica team up to solve this mystery, which is hitting really close to home when Sam ends up in an nightmare coma. Also, unlike some of the other mysteries, this one was hard to figure out because there were a lot of likely suspects and no clear pattern.

I like how this series balances paranormal mystery drama and regular high school drama. In addition to Dominic’s ex-girlfriend hanging around, graduation is looming, and Side Effects May Vary is going on tour, all of which make Jessica insecure about their relationship’s future. It manages to balance the different sides of the story with a light town that really works and why this entire series is consistently a delight.

The first printings also have a bonus short-story that works as an epilogue to the whole series (so I think this may sadly be the last one.)


Book Provided by... my local library

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32. The Hachette/Amazon War: One Writer’s Perspective

Not too long ago I linked to a letter Amazon had released regarding their spot o’ trouble (to put it mildly) with the publisher Hachette.  In my post I encouraged authors to tell me what they thought about it and they did, but not on my blog itself.  And why should they?  With all the power Amazon wields it would be foolish to draw their ire so directly.  As such, I received one email that particularly caught my attention.  Together we decided that it was worth publishing, though it would have to remain nameless.  Here then is one perspective on the Amazon letter from a writer caught up in the midst of it all.

“Hi, Betsy –

Per your request for opinions from Hachette authors on the Amazon/Hachette ebook pricing fight, here are some thoughts I wish I had time to shape into more concise/coherent form:

As best I can tell, Amazon’s larger strategic purpose in keeping ebook prices as low as possible — and what Hachette emphatically does NOT want — is for ebooks to become so much less expensive than physical books that they kill off bricks-and-mortar bookstores, making Amazon and ebooks pretty much the only game in town.

As a children’s book author without much name recognition, this is bad for me on two levels:

1. The ebook market for kids’ books is much smaller than for adult books.

Children’s books, especially MG, have been much slower to migrate to ebooks than adult titles in general and adult genre titles (romance, mystery, sci-fi) in particular. Since the large, large majority of sales of MG titles are still physical books, the death of real bookstores would likely be disastrous for MG kids’ book sales.

Amazon’s claims of price elasticity — the “we’ll sell x at this price, but 1.74x at the lower price” or whatever — are limited to the Kindle sales channel and don’t take into account the potential loss of sales from sources other than Kindle. If I sell 1.74 times more books on the kindle…but my sales at physical bookstores plummet because the bookstores no longer exist…am I better off? My guess is no.

I’m also skeptical that price elasticity is the same for kids’ books as it is for, say, adult mystery novels — not sure that 1.74 number would be true for a MG title. But again, that’s less important than the fact that Kindle sales represent a very small fraction of the total pie of MG book sales.

2. Marketing

For an author like me without a James-Patterson-sized following, discoverability is huge. Fewer physical bookstores mean fewer opportunities for audiences to discover new writers both via hand-selling by booksellers and display space. A world in which Amazon is the primary gatekeeper is one in which the only new authors who break out are the ones Amazon promotes. Having had one of my books end up on Amazon’s “best of the year” list, I know that getting on an Amazon list definitely sells books…and not being on their list (as in the case of other books I’ve written) means you DON’T sell books.

All things being equal, I’d rather not leave the decision about whether my books get wide exposure in the hands of a single bookseller.

Some other observations:

Unless I missed something, none of Amazon’s public arguments in favor of its position have addressed the fundamental problem with lowering ebook prices — that if those prices fall far enough, the business model for physical bookstores will be unsustainable, and they’ll gradually disappear (or suddenly disappear, like Borders did). Amazon keeps bringing up the publishers’ resistance to adopting paperbacks half a century ago, but a hardcover-to-paperback transition didn’t fundamentally threaten the existence of physical bookstores the way books-to-ebooks does.

And while an all-ebook (or primarily ebook) ecosystem might be just fine for adult genre writers, it’ll almost certainly suck for MG writers. Can you think of a single MG kids’ book writer (Amanda Hocking comes to mind, but she’s YA) who’s launched their career or built a significant audience via ebooks? There are a bunch of successful examples in adult genre fiction, but none that I know of in MG. Rick Riordan and R.J. Palacio have both released ebook-only short works that hit the bestseller list, but those were companion pieces to works that had become phenomenally successful as physical books first.

As far as I can tell, kids and their parents just aren’t discovering new MG authors through ebooks. Maybe that’ll change in the near future, but I’m skeptical — based on my experience with both readers and my own kids, even digitally native kids seem to gravitate more toward physical books than ebooks.

On a semi-related note (since what’s at stake in the Amazon fight isn’t just the viability of traditional bookstores, but traditional publishers), I’d like to add that I’ve personally benefited enormously from having been traditionally published, both financially and creatively. My current book has a ton of illustration, which has meant a lot of heavy lifting in the graphic design department. While I could have self-published my more traditional, non-illustrated MG titles without sacrificing much in the way the audience experiences the story, if I’d tried to do the current book without the help of Hachette’s art department, the results would have been ugly.

Given how many kids’ books rely on illustration, I suspect the art and design support that traditional publishers provide is a much bigger deal overall for kids’ books than adult titles.
Moreover, Hachette’s marketing support, even for less prominent titles on their list, is much more substantial than I can accomplish independently, no matter how much I spend out of pocket on publicists, building a social media presence, etc.

Long story short, I’m on Hachette’s side. It may be that physical books and bricks-and-mortar bookstores are doomed over the long run, but as a non-prominent writer of middle grade kids’ books, anything that extends their lifespan — and keeps not just bookstores but traditional publishers healthy — seems to be good for me as an author.

As someone once said (was it a French guy? I can’t remember) — I apologize for not having the time to write you a shorter letter.”

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33. The night before.




I started running 2 years ago and chronicled my journey here. How excited I was to be able to run 3 miles without stopping, the struggles I had, and the pounds I lost. However, my true love of running didn't show up until just about a year ago when it also became my form of cheap therapy. All of my insecurities and stresses poured out of me while I was running and so I just ran. A lot.  

I felt so much better when I was moving, but I don't think I ever truly let go of those things that were powering my legs to go. I just used them as fuel. Every day stresses, major insecurities, hurts, family drama, work stress, etc. I'd run and get out the frustration and anger, but it would always show back up, worming its way into my optimistic nature and positive attitude and leaving me mentally tired. 

This training has been amazing. Hard -- brutal some days -- but so worth it. I'm in better shape than I've ever been and most of all, I'm proud of myself. I haven't felt that way in a very long time and I know I deserve it. I've worked so hard and have fought against asthma, humidity, heat, time constraints, and my own brain telling me I'm not good enough, but I am. I am good enough for this. 

Tomorrow, when I reach that finish line (and I WILL reach the finish line) in all of my hot pink glory, I'm finally letting it go. I'm leaving it all out there on that course. It's going to be one of the hardest things I've ever physically done, but one of my very best friends, an ultra-marathoner, sent me a text today that said "when your legs and body get tired, run with your heart. Run with your spirit. You know why you're running, so just do it." And that's exactly what I'm going to do. I'm going to run. And I'm going to run for me. 




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34. Library Dance Parties

I love my Bibliobop Library Dance Party program. It might just be my most favorite program that I do. What could be better than dancing around with kids?

I started hosting our Biblibop program two years ago and the popularity has continued to build. During the summer, I host a dance party every month, but during the rest of the year, I host one every programming period (every three months). I decided on this format because I didn’t want to wear out our patrons, but I think I could host it every month and still get an audience.

The format is simple. I open up with a book about dancing or singing, tell the kids the rules (watch out for other dancers, big people dance too, and have fun!) and then we dance! I make a playlist of songs and we dance the morning away. Some songs have more instructions to them, like Greg and Steve’s The Freeze or Can You Leap Like a Frog? Others are free dance songs like Justin Roberts Great Big Sun or Ralph’s World Liesel Echo. I also have songs for scarves, instruments, and the parachute. I take a reading break about halfway through the program and then we continue to dance. The entire program lasts anywhere from 45 min-1 hour depending on the group.

I was using a CD player and CDs from our collection until our department got an iPad and portable speaker. Now I add the music to iTunes, make my playlists on the iPad and I’m good to go.

So why host a library dance party? Well, first of all, it’s fun! It’s a great chance to have adults interact and play with their kids. It’s a great way to get the kids moving and exercising. And it’s a fabulous way to highlight your music collection. It’s also a wonderful chance to expose children to creative movement and music.

So put on your dancing shoes and give a library dance party a try!

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35. YALSAblog Tweets of the Week – September 12, 2014

A short list of tweets from the past week of interest to teens and the library staff that work with them.

Do you have a favorite Tweet from the past week? If so add it in the comments for this post. Or, if you read a Twitter post between September 12 – September 18 that you think is a must for the next Tweets of the Week send a direct or @ message to lbraun2000 on Twitter.

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36. Blog Tour: Visions of the Future: Writers Talk About Their Apocalypses

I'm very excited to host the next stop in the Visions of the Future Tour from MacTeens. Emmy Layborne is talking about her post-apocalyptic world in her series Monument 14.




Ah! Post-apocalyptic visions of mass destruction - you are so varied, so specific and so horrible! It’s a pleasure to be here today talking about my own personal brand of ruination.

In the Monument 14 trilogy, an escalating series of environmental catastrophes results in a breach of chemical weapon storage facilities at NORAD. 

Two chemical weapons are released. One is a magnetized blackout cloud, designed to hover above the detonation site and jam all radio, television and cell signals. The other is a compound called MORS, which divides the population based on blood type, turning people with Type AB blood into paranoid freaks, people with A blood blister up and die almost immediately. Type O people become deranged, consumed with bloodlust, driven to slaughter indiscriminately. The fourth blood type, B, shows no outward symptoms. They’ve been made sterile and infertile, but otherwise they’re fine - and must witness the chaos and bloodshed around them.

Fourteen kids ranging in age from 5 to 18 wind up stranded together in the relative safety of an empty super store. Inside, they must band together to form a new society in order to survive the threats of their new world.

Once I finished Monument 14, I took a moment to ask myself: What is wrong with you, Emmy?
Why did you feel the need to cast the world into such darkness? Why did you have a mega-tsunami wipe out the eastern seaboard? (That happened in the chain of catastrophes I mentioned before.) Why did you set the epicenter of all this misery in Monument, Colorado - where your own mother-in-law lives?! 
Okay, so I can totally answer the first one. It had nothing to do with destroying my MIL’s hometown, I promise. I simply wanted a small town in Colorado, and I was familiar with Monument and knew I’d be visiting Monument 2-3 times a year to do additional research. I swear!

But why did I feel the need to create such a dark world? And why did my vision of the future have such a high body-count? One answer is that I created a dark world so that the inner light of my characters could shine through. There’s truth in it, but that seems a little easy, doesn’t it? 

Did I do it because I was following the trends? God, no. If I’d been following the trends I would have made the central character a girl and put her smack dab in the middle of a Niko/Jake love triangle!

I think my impulse to destroy the world comes from a sub-conscious recognition of a true need that young adults have. I think post-apocalyptic and dystopian YA literature originates from this: Teenagers need to destroy the world of their parents so that they can create their own, new worlds. 

And so, in the twisted, terrifying world of Monument, CO in the year 2024, I forced the characters to create a new social construct and to find out who they are - in a new (okay, terribly dark and violent) world. 
So there you have my rumination on the post-apocalyptic world I created in the Monument 14 trilogy. Hey, I’d love for you to read the series and tell me why you think I put the kids in such terrible danger.

Thanks again for having me here! If you’d like, follow me on on InstagramTwitter or like my author page over at Facebook. And over at www.emmylaybourne.com you’ll find giveaways and the latest news on the “Monument 14” movie deal. 


Be sure to follow the tour:
Monday: Andrew Smith at Cuddlebuggery 
Tuesday: Caragh O'Brien at Finding Wonderland
Wednesday: Farel Dalrymple at The Book Wars
Thursday: Here!
Friday: Carrie Ryan at Forever YA

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37. Press Release Fun: A $5,000 Award for School Libraries

A message for school librarians: ALA is now accepting applications for the 2015 Sara Jaffarian Award. The award recognizes K-8 schools for exceptional programming in social studies, poetry, drama, art, language arts, culture, or other humanities subjects.

Apply by Dec. 15 at www.ala.org/jaffarianaward. More information below.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Sarah Ostman

Communications Manager

ALA Public Programs Office

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http://www.ala.org/news/press-releases/2014/09/school-librarians-invited-apply-5000-humanities-programming-prize

CHICAGO — The American Library Association (ALA) Public Programs Office is now accepting nominations for the 2015 Sara Jaffarian School Library Program Award for Exemplary Humanities Programming.

School libraries, public or private, that served children in grades K-8 and conducted humanities programs during the 2013-14 school year are eligible. The winning library will receive $5,000.

Applications, award guidelines and a list of previous winners are available at www.ala.org/jaffarianaward. Nominations must be received by Dec. 15, 2014. School librarians are encouraged to self-nominate.

Applicant libraries must have conducted a humanities program or program series during the prior school year (2013-14). The humanities program can be focused in many subject areas, including social studies, poetry, drama, art, music, language arts, foreign language and culture. Programs should focus on broadening perspectives and helping students understand the wider world and their place in it. They should be initiated and coordinated by the school librarian and exemplify the role of the library program in advancing the overall educational goals of the school.

Named after the late Sara Jaffarian, a school librarian and longtime ALA member, ALA’s Jaffarian Award was established in 2006 to recognize and promote excellence in humanities programming in elementary and middle school libraries. It is presented annually by the ALA Public Programs Office in cooperation with the American Association of School Librarians (AASL). The award is selected annually by a committee comprising members of the ALA Public and Cultural Programs Advisory Committee (PCPAC), AASL and the Association for Library Services to Children (ALSC).

Funding for the Jaffarian Award is provided by ALA’s Cultural Communities Fund (CCF). In 2003, a challenge grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities kick-started a campaign to secure the future of libraries as cultural destinations within the community. Since then, CCF has grown to more than $1.7 million, serving libraries as they serve their communities through the highest quality arts and humanities programs. To contribute to CCF, visit www.ala.org/ccf.

About the ALA Public Programs Office

ALA’s Public Programs Office provides leadership, resources, training and networking opportunities that help thousands of librarians nationwide develop and host cultural programs for adult, young adult and family audiences. The mission of the ALA Public Programs Office is to promote cultural programming as an essential part of library service in all types of libraries. Projects include book and film discussion series, literary and cultural programs featuring authors and artists, professional development opportunities and traveling exhibitions. School, public, academic and special libraries nationwide benefit from the office’s programming initiatives.

About the American Association of School Librarians

The American Association of School Librarians, www.aasl.org, a division of the American Library Association (ALA), empowers leaders to transform teaching and learning.

About the American Library Association

The American Library Association is the oldest and largest library association in the world, with approximately 57,000 members in academic, public, school, government and special libraries. The mission of the American Library Association is to provide leadership for the development, promotion and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.

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38. I Kill the Mockingbird (2014)

I Kill the Mockingbird. Paul Acampora. 2014. Roaring Book Press. 176 pages. [Source: Library]

Lucy, Michael, and Elena are best friends. They have almost always been best friends. I Kill The Mockingbird is about a secret summer project these three think up and orchestrate.

It starts with the announcement of Miss Caridas' summer reading list:
  • David Copperfield
  • Ender's Game
  • Fahrenheit 451
  • War Horse
  • War of the Worlds
  • The Giver
  • To Kill A Mockingbird
 Lucy remembers that Miss Caridas was not their only English teacher that year. She replaced another teacher, Mr. "Fat Bob" Nowak, who died of a heart attack in October. He had told the class that he would assign only one book for the summer: To Kill A Mockingbird. Lucy reminds her friends of this, and expresses how she wishes everyone would read it and WANT to read it. The friends think and consider and brainstorm. What if they could manipulate supply and demand and make people really desperate to find a copy and read it?

I Kill the Mockingbird is about that project, about their misshelving books at bookstores and libraries across the state of Connecticut, about their online campaign "I Kill the Mockingbird."

It's a quick read. It has some depth to it. Lucy is worried that her mom's cancer might come back someday. Lucy is still missing the teacher who died. Lucy and her friends are thinking about life and death and legacies. But it is in many ways a light novel about three best friends who love to read and who want others to love to read too. It would almost be impossible for me not to like--really, really like this novel about reading. I still haven't decided if I LOVED it or just really, really, really LIKED it.

© 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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39. #659 – Fat and Bones and other stories by Larissa Theule & Adam S. Doyle

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Fat & Bones: And Other Stories

Written by Larissa Theule
Illustrations by Adam S. Doyle
Carolrhoda Books            10/01/2014
978-1-4677-0825
Age 8 to 12           104 pages
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“Welcome to Bald’s Farm. Well, perhaps it’s not Bald’s Farm anymore. The old man has kicked the bucket, setting off a wave of conflict from the muddy pig pen to the tall wheat fields. In this darkly funny, slightly supernatural chain of tales, no creature is safe. Not Leonard Grey, a spider with sophisticated tastes. Not Esmeralda, a resentful one-footed pig. Not Tulip, a plant with a mean streak. And as for Bones, the old man’s son, and Fat, his winged rival? They’ll learn that danger lurks in the strangest of places . . .”

Opening

“Fat stood on the topmost branch of the tree, gazing in the direction of the farmhouse.”

The Story

Bones is the son of his father, the farm owner, who has most recently passed away. Fat is the former farmer’s fairy. They hate each other with a passion usually reserved for love. Now that Bone’s father has died, Bones will run the farm and his first priority: get rid of excess Fat.

In the span of one day, Bones tries to take out Fat, who tries to take out Bones. The pigs must move around on less and less feet to supply Bones with his favorite meal of pig foot stew. Pa may be dead, but Bones is still hungry. Ma, who is crying herself blind ventures out to the pigpen to grab a foot. Which one does she get?

Leonard’s family thinks he is the strangest spider that has ever spun a web. He cannot sneak and lives alone. He reads poetry while drinking herbal tea. Down below, Fat is making a new potion and needs the fresh blood of a spider. Leonard picks this moment to prove he can sneak. He cannot.

The Dead Man Song is for Priscilla Mae, the escaped spider for which Leonard has found love. She sees a group of animals honoring the dead farmer’s passing. Jimmy’s in Love pits mouse against mouse for the love of a mouse across the kitchen floor. Cat lurks on the floor, waiting for a wandering mouse. Sometimes he greets the mouse.

“Good afternoon, mousie-pie.”

Sometimes he pounces. Occasionally, that tricky cat does both. A mouse just never knows. Jimmy decides to take a chance but the floor is full of water—salty, tear stained water. Daisy and Tulip are the best of friends, sharing a puddle. All is well, until little sprouts move in and choke the water supply. Daisy and Tulip argue over how to get the sprouts to leave. The differences could mean the end of Tulip or Daisy.

Finally, Dog Alfred visits his Ma. Ma wants Alfred to go home. Alfred is sneezing. He has a cold. Alfred is upset, (and sets up Ma to speak a line of funny I love)

“Ma,” he said, [pleading voice] “I came all this way. I can’t go home now.”
“You live next door,” she said.

Fat & Bones: And Other Stories

Review

Fat & Bones: And Other Stories is a fast read with only 104 pages. On those 104 pages, every word counts thanks to wonderful writing and editing. Each story has something to teach kids. In Leonard Grey III, Leonard learns it is okay to be yourself and love is better than alone. Fat feels morally obligated to care for his neighbors, even when he is the one who injured said neighbor. Be nice to others; get to know your neighbors; be responsible for each other. Esmeralda must decide which is more important, her jealousy and “revenge” or the good of the group. Fat and Bones is philosophy 101 for the middle grades.

I am not a fan of the cover. The moon grinning as it does is eerie, but that is the intent. The illustrations use dark tones of green, grey, and black. The image is often part of the shadow or obscured by it. I am sorry to say, I am not a fan of these illustrations. I love the individual stories. I enjoyed the way one story depends on the other. What happens in one story—or does not happen—affects another story, which affects another, and so on, yet none may be the wiser. Fat & Bones: And Other Stories play this out for kids in a way they can understand.

Humor plays a big part, easing what are actually dark themes of death, jealousy, war, and dejection into an enjoyable, funny story, odd as that may sound. Some kids may not like the darker, philosophical themes, while others will love them. I think the older the child, the more they will enjoy Fat and Bones.

These Seven stories, all intertwined, are a great read. Each story has a unique mix of characters from the Bald Farm. Each has their own plot, conflict, and resolution, yet the stories build on each other, need each other to live. There are many things kids can learn from these stories while reading a funny, heart-felt whole divided into parts that seem to stand on their own—because they do. Older kids will enjoy this book. Adults will enjoy this book. Fat & Bones: And Other Stories is the author’s debut.

FAT AND BONES AND OTHER STORIES. Test copyright © 2014 by Larissa Theule. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Adam S. Doyle. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Carolrhoda Books, Minneapolis, MN.
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Purchase Fat and Bones at AmazonB&NBook DepositoryLerner Booksyour favorite bookstore.
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Learn more about Fat & Bones: And Other Stories HERE
Meet the author, Larissa Theule, at her twitter page:    https://twitter.com/larissatheule
Meet the illustrator, Adam S. Doyle, at his website:    http://adamsdoyle.com
Find other middle grade novels at the Carolrhoda Books blog:   http://www.carolrhoda.blogspot.com/

Carolrhoda Books is a division of Lerner Publishing Group.

fat and bones
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Copyright © 2014 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews


Filed under: 4stars, Debut Author, Library Donated Books, Middle Grade Tagged: Adam S. Doyle, Charolrhoda Books, children's book reviews, Debut Book, fairies, farm life, feuds, Larissa Theule, Lerner Publishing Group, middle grade novel, pig foot stew

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40. Orpheus in the Underworld

The Unwritten: Orpheus in the Underworld Mike Carey and Peter Gross


Tom ends up back in the story, but there are so many refugees--the Wound that Pullman gave to Leviathan means stories are dying--with horrible consequences in the real world and in fiction. It's hilariously awesomely horrible what some of our favorite characters from literature are forced to do. Tom journeys to the underworld to save Lizzie but Hades has been disposed by Pauly (PAULY!) But hey, Cosi and Leon are there to help out. (Oh, those kids! I’m so glad they’re still around in the story.)

This was pretty great. Pauly’s horrible, but I’m glad to finally see where that was going. Plus, we get to see what Carey thinks would happen in a Zombies vs. Vampire fight.

But let’s face it-- the FINAL PAGE makes it the greatest thing EVER. Because the final page sets up the next volume, which is a FUCKING FABLES CROSSOVER.

I cannot WAIT for it to come out.


Book Provided by... my local library

Links to Amazon are an affiliate link. You can help support Biblio File by purchasing any item (not just the one linked to!) through these links. Read my full disclosure statement.

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41. Week in Review: September 7-12

Fahrenheit 451. Ray Bradbury. 1953/1991. Del Rey. 179 pages. [Source: Bought]
Unbroken. Laura Hillenbrand. 2010. Random House. 473 pages. [Source: Library]
I Kill the Mockingbird. Paul Acampora. 2014. Roaring Book Press. 176 pages. [Source: Library]
Everything on a Waffle. Polly Horvath. 2001/2008. Square Fish. 176 pages. [Source: Review copy]
The Attenbury Emeralds. Jill Paton Walsh. 2010/2011. St. Martin's Press. 352 pages. [Source: Library]
Max and the Won't Go To Bed Show. Mark Sperring. Illustrated by Sarah Warburton. 2014. Scholastic. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]
Red Panda's Candy Apples. Ruth Paul. 2014. Candlewick. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]
I'm My Own Dog. David Ezra Stein. 2014. Candlewick. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]
Peppa Pig Ballet Lesson. Adapted by Elizabeth Schaefer. 2014. Scholastic. 24 pages. [Source: Review copy]
I Feel Five. Bethanie Deeney Murguia. Candlewick. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]
Go To Sleep, Little Farm. Mary Lyn Ray. Illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal. 2014. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 40 pages. [Source: Review copy]
The Scarecrows' Wedding. Julia Donaldson. Illustrated by Axel Scheffler. 2014. Scholastic. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]
The Loch Mess Monster. Helen Lester. Illustrated by Lynn Munsinger. 2014. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]
Big Bad Bubble. Adam Rubin. Illustrated by Daniel Salmieri. 2014. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 40 pages. [Source: Review copy]       
Poppy the Pirate Dog's New Shipmate. Liz Kessler. Illustrated by Mike Phillips. 2014. Candlewick. 64 pages. [Source: Review copy]
Tony Baloney Buddy Trouble. Pam Munoz Ryan. Illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham. 2014. Scholastic. 40 pages. [Source: Review copy]
Biggety Bat: Hot Diggety, It's Biggety! Ann Ingalls. Illustrated by Aaron Zenz. 2014. Scholastic. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]
Cinderella in the City. (Level 2) (Flash Forward Fairy Tales) Cari Meister. Illustrated by Erica-Jane Waters. 2014. Scholastic. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]
Snow White and the Seven Dogs. (Level 2) (Flash Forward Tales) Cari Meister. Illustrated by Erica-Jane Waters. 2014. Scholastic. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]
Monkey and Elephant Go Gadding. Carole Lexa Schaefer. Illustrated by Galia Bernstein. 2014. Candlewick. 48 pages. [Source: Review copy]
Racing the Waves (Tales of the Time Dragon #2) Robert Neubecker. 2014. Scholastic. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]
Steve & Wessley in The Sea Monster. (Level 1) J.E. Morris. 2014. Scholastic. 32 pages. [Review copy]        
The Savior of the World. Benjamin B. Warfield. 1991. Banner of Truth. 270 pages. [Source: Bought]
The Early Readers Bible: New Testament. V. Gilbert Beers. Illustrated by Terri Steiger. Zonderkidz. 256 pages. [Source: Bought]
The 30 Day Praise Challenge. Becky Harling. 2013. David Cook. 208 pages. [Source: Bought]

This week's favorite:

What a week! I LOVED so many books this week! There were two picture books that I just ADORED. And then there's Unbroken. What a book! It is an incredible nonfiction read. Compelling and emotional. It's a book to be experienced. Easily one of the best nonfiction books I've read this year. Yet. It's up against Fahrenheit 451! I've read Ray Bradbury's novel again and again and again. It's powerful and unforgettable and so beautifully written. I marked so many passages! I choose Fahrenheit 451.

© 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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42. Volume Matters

Each morning, my husband and I stumble bleary-eyed toward our espresso machine. His drink is a single shot, the shorter and blacker the better. My drink is an Americano, the taller and milkier the… Continue reading

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43. THE COPERNICUS LEGACY: RELIC HUNT IN NEW YORK CITY!

Looking for a fantasy read that’s great for the classroom this fall? One stellar recommendation is The Copernicus Legacy: The Forbidden Stone by bestselling author Tony Abbott – now in paperback!

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A perfect pick for kids who love Percy Jackson, Kingdom Keepers, or Seven Wonders series, The Copernicus Legacy is a Da Vinci Code-style story for young readers. The book follows four kids who stumble upon a powerful ancient secret of the famous astronomer, Nicolaus Copernicus. Protected by notables throughout history, it now falls to our young heroes to become guardians of Copernicus’s secret, racing across the globe, cracking codes, and unraveling centuries-old mysteries in order to prevent it from falling into the hands of a vast and evil shadow network called the New Teutonic Order.

It’s the worldwide adventure and historical scope that makes the series both page turning and educational, earning it many great reviews including a starred review from Kirkus: “With engaging characters, a globe-trotting plot and dangerous villains, it is hard to find something not to like. Equal parts edge-of-your-seat suspense and heartfelt coming-of-age.”

There’s even a downloadable Common Core-aligned activities guide and star map poster so you can bring the adventure into the classroom.

Veteran children’s book author Tony Abbott is no stranger to epic adventure series having written over a hundred books including The Secrets of Droon. The Copernicus Legacy will include six full-length novels and six shorter novellas, each told from the perspective of one of the kids. The first novella, The Copernicus Archives #1: Wade and the Scorpion’s Claw, is available now and the next full-length novel, The Copernicus Legacy #2: The Serpent’s Curse, will be out on October 7.9780062194466_p0_v1_s260x420

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To celebrate the launch of the next books in this exciting series, on Saturday, September 13th, Tony Abbott will be leading a scavenger hunt at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, where four lucky winners of a national sweepstakes will work together to find hidden clues amongst the exhibits, crack codes, and earn prizes. You and all readers across the country will have another chance to win a trip to New York for the second Relic Hunt starting October 7 at www.thecopernicuslegacy.com!

After the Relic Hunt, Tony Abbott will be signing copies of The Forbidden Stone at 2:30pm at the Barnes & Noble on 82nd and Broadway in Manhattan.  The Barnes & Noble event is open to the public, and we invite you to join us there for a pizza party! It’s no mystery—the whole family will be in for good food and fun!

 

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44. Remembering the Miracles of 9/11/01

“America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand.” -Harry S. Truman

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45. App Advisory: Where to Start?

App-advisory can be intimidating, especially for those of us who are not heavily engaged in touch-screen technology in our personal lives.  Although I am excited to be a new member of the Children and Technology Committee, and this is a professional interest of mine, I must confess: I don’t own a smartphone or a tablet.  But I strongly believe that whatever your personal habits or philosophies, as professionals, we need to be willing and able (and enthusiastic!) to be media mentors, modeling responsible new media use and providing recommendations for parents and families.  With so many apps out there, many of which are labeled “educational,” we need to be able to provide parents with trusted recommendations and advice.  If you can do reader’s advisory, you already have the skills to do app advisory! Here are some suggestions, based on what we did at the Wellesley Free Library.

Get to know your material!  Read app reviews (see list of review sources below) and keep track of the apps about which you read. We use a Google spreadsheet, so that all Children’s Department staff can contribute.  This includes, when available, recommended age (though this is something significantly lacking in many app reviews), price, platform, categories, and our comments.  Keeping this information centralized and organized makes it easy to come up with specific apps to recommend to a patron, or to pull for a list.

Play around with the apps!  If you have money to spend (consider asking your Friends group for money for apps, especially if you will be using the apps in library programs), download some apps that seem interesting and try them out.  Even if you can’t spend money, you can try out free apps or download free “lite” versions of apps.  Playing with the app allows you to give a more in-depth description and detailed information in your advisory (consider the difference between recommending a book based on a review you read and having read the book itself).

Choose your method of advisory. App advisory can take many forms. There is the individual recommendation at the reference desk, there are app-chats (the app version of the book-talk), which have been discussed in an article on the ALSC blog by Liz Fraser, and then there are app-lists.  For the past year, we have created monthly themed app lists, mostly for young children between the ages of 2 and 6.  The themes have included: interactive books, music, math, letters, and more. Be sure to include free apps as well as apps available for non-Apple devices on your lists.

Provide advice, along with recommendations.  On the back of our paper app lists, and on the website where we post links to the app-list Pinterest boards, we offer advice to parents about using interactive technology with young children.

A year later, still without a smartphone or tablet, I feel much more confident about recommending apps to patrons, reviewing and evaluating apps, and building our collection, and you can too!  You already have the tools for evaluating media that meets children’s developmental needs and creating interesting and attractive advisory methods for families.  The next step is simply taking it to a new platform!

Some of our favorite review sources for apps:

Children’s Technology Review
Cybils Award
Digital Storytime
Horn Book App of the Week
Kirkus ipad Book App Reviews
Little elit
Parents’ Choice Awards
School Library Journal App Reviews

Clara Hendricks is a Children’s Librarian at the Wellesley Free Library in Wellesley, MA. She is a member of ALSC’s Children and Technology Committee.

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46. Ollie’s School Day: a Yes-and-No Book by Stephanie Calmenson

Ollie’s School Day: a Yes-and-No BookStarting school can be stressful for some children. If you are looking for a fun introduction to the school day and to lighten the mood, check out Ollie’s School Day. It is a question and answer book that follows Ollie through a day of school. Each set of questions includes three silly suggestions followed by the correct one. Will Ollie wear a bathing suit, a space suit, a police officer’s uniform or a pair of pants and a shirt to school? It’s sure to have kids laughing at the crazy suggestions of what Ollie will do throughout the day. While listening and laughing, young readers won’t realize they are learning how to behave at school. If you are looking for other silly school stories with a similar format, pair it with Saltzberg’s Cornelius P. Mud, Are You Ready for School? Or Milgrim’s Eddie Gets Ready for School.

Posted by: Liz


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47. Skink - No Surrender - a review

Hiaasen, Carl. 2014. Skink - No Surrender. New York: Knopf.
(Advance Reader Copy)

Skink - No Surrender is Carl Hiaasen's first foray into YALit, and he's making his entrance in a big way, employing Skink —the outrageous and outlandish character from his adult novels.

In keeping with his customary practice of setting books in Florida's great outdoors (Hoot, Flush, Scat, Chomp), Skink No Surrender begins on a Florida beach where Richard finds Skink buried in the sandon the hunt for turtle egg poachers. Though at first taken aback by the one-eyed, cammo-wearing giant of a man with buzzard beaks braided into his beard, Richard soon finds out that he is the ex -Florida governor and a force to be reckoned with - even if he is presumed to be dead.

     All kinds of wild rumors got started, and some of them turned out to be true.  According to one Wikipedia entry, the ex-governor became a wandering hermit of the wilderness, and over the years he'd been a prime suspect in several "acts of eco-terrorism."  Interestingly, he'd never been arrested or charged with any serious crimes, and it seemed to me that the targets of his anger were total scumbags, anyway.
     The web article included interviews with a few witnesses who'd supposedly encountered Clinton Tyree by chance.  They said he'd lost an eye, and was going by the name of "Skink."  They had differing opinions about whether or not he was nuts.  The most recent entry quoted the governor's closest friend, a retired highway patrol trooper named Jim Tile, who said:
     "Clint passed away last year int he Big Cypress Swamp after a coral snake bit him on the nose.  I dug the grave myself.  Now, please let him rest in peace."
     Except the man was still alive.
An unlikely pair, Skink and Richard team up to find Richard's cousin, Malley, who has run off with (or been kidnapped by) a young man she met online.

An intense hunt takes the two across the swamps in search of Malley and a dangerous impostor.  Suspenseful and very funny at the same time, Skink No Surrender presents a case for Internet safety, bird habitat conservation, and the value of family, but you'll be havimg so much fun that you won't even notice!

Getting my autographed copy of Skink
See the first 56 pages of Skink No Surrender here.

On sale and in libraries beginning September 23, 2014.

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48. Reread #37 Fahrenheit 451

Fahrenheit 451. Ray Bradbury. 1953/1991. Del Rey. 179 pages. [Source: Bought]

It was a pleasure to burn. 

I've written about Fahrenheit 451 quite a bit. Once in May 2007, which was the first time I read it. Twice in 2010; one was a graphic novel. I've read A Pleasure To Burn: Fahrenheit 451 Stories, a book of short stories and novellas that show the thematic evolution of Fahrenheit 451. I've reviewed the movie. I reread it in June 2012 and September 2013.

Obviously this is a book that I absolutely love.

Fahrenheit 451 is a novel set in a world where thinking is a crime. I exaggerate perhaps. Thinking deeply is dangerous. Thinking for yourself is dangerous. Thinking superficial thoughts that everyone-else-in-society is thinking--like about what to watch, what to listen to, what to buy, where to go to have a good time--that is okay, more than okay. It is to be encouraged. It is individuality and contemplation and reflection that is dangerous. Every minute of every hour of every day is to be packed full of distractions making it impossible to think, to consider, to reflect, to observe, to question, to feel anything truly and deeply. It's a more, more, faster, faster world. And it's a world that our hero, Guy Montag realizes he loathes. He is a fireman. He burns books, houses, and sometimes people. But Guy Montag is living a secret life: he doesn't like burning books; in fact, he wishes he could save them and read them. He does manage to "save" a handful here and there. But taking them home and hiding them, well, there's a risk involved. He's willing to take it because he's so miserable, and he feels that society is so unreal and pointless. He wants answers, not ads. He wants to learn, to know, to feel.

Quotes:
"People don't talk about anything."
"Oh, they must!"
"No, not anything. They name a lot of cars or clothes or swimming pools mostly and say how swell! But they all say the same things and nobody says anything different from anyone else..." (31)
"We need not to be let alone. We need to be really bothered once in a while. How long is it since you were really bothered? About something important, about something real?" (52)
Who knows who might be the target of the well-read man? Me? I won't stomach them for a minute. (58)
Ask yourself, What do we want in this country, above all? People want to be happy, isn't that right right? Haven't you heart it all your life? I want to be happy, people say. Well, aren't they? Don't we keep them moving, don't we give them fun? That's all we live for, isn't it? For pleasure, for titillation? And you must admit our culture provides plenty of these. (59)
Did you listen to him? He knows all the answers. He's right. Happiness is important. Fun is everything. (65)
"We cannot tell the precise moment when friendship is formed. As in filling a vessel drop by drop, there is at last a drop which makes it run over; so in a series of kindnesses there is at last one which makes the heart run over." (71)
Every hour so many damn things in the sky! How in hell did those bombers get up there every single second of our lives! Why doesn't someone want to talk about it! We've started and won two atomic wars since 1990! Is it because we're having so much fun at home we've forgotten the world? Is it because we're so rich and the rest of the world's so poor and we just don't care if they are? Is that why we're hated so much? Do you know why? I don't, that's sure! Maybe the books can get us half out of the cave. God, Millie, don't you see? An hour a day, two hours, with these books, and maybe. (73-4)
It’s been a long time. I’m not a religious man. But it’s been a long time.’ Faber turned the pages, stopping here and there to read. ‘It’s as good as I remember. Lord, how they’ve changed it in our parlors these days. Christ is one of the family now. I often wonder if God recognizes His own son the way we’ve dressed him up, or is it dressed him down? He’s a regular peppermint stick now, all sugar-crystal and saccharine when he isn’t making veiled references to certain commercial products that every worshiper absolutely needs.’ (81)
"You're a hopeless romantic," said Faber. "It would be funny if it were not serious. It's not books you need, it's some of the things that once were in books. The same things could be in the 'parlor families' today. The same infinite detail and awareness could be projected through the radios and televisors, but are not. (82)
 Do you know why books such as this are so important? Because they have quality. And what does the word quality mean? To me it means texture. This book has pores. It has features. This book can go under the microscope. You'd find life under the glass, streaming past in infinite profusion. The more pores, the more truthfully recorded details of life per square inch you can get on a sheet of paper, the more 'literary' you are. That's my definition, anyway. Telling detail. Fresh detail. The good writers touch life often. the mediocre ones run a quick hand over her. The bad ones rape her and leave her for the flies. So now do you see why books are hated and feared? They show the pores in the face of life. The comfortable people want only wax moon faces, poreless, hairless, expressionless. we are living in a time when flowers are trying to live on flowers, instead of growing on good rain and black loam. (83)
"Caesarians or not, children are ruinous; you're out of your mind," said Mrs. Phelps.
"I plunk the children in school nine days out of ten. I put up with them when they come home three days a month; it's not bad at all. You heave them into the 'parlor' and turn the switch. It's like washing clothes: stuff laundry in and slam the lid." Mrs. Bowles tittered. "They'd just as soon kick as kiss me. Thank God, I can kick back!" (96)
© 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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49. Remembering the Miracles of 9/11/01

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50. Be a Changemaker Blog Tour

Be a Changemaker: How to Start Something That Matters  by Laurie Ann Thompson Simon Pulse/Beyond Words, 2014 ISBN: 1582704651 Grades 7-12 The reviewers received copies of the book from Blue Slip Media. Teens interested in making a difference in their communities (or even across the globe) will find Be a Changemaker inspiring and practical. Thompson has created an in-depth, step-by-step guide of

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