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Results 26 - 50 of 72,424
26. Blog Tour: Witherwood Reform School by Obert Skye (Review & Giveaway!)

3 soft & chewy snickerdoodles.

Cover Love:
This is one of those covers that I feel would be better in person than a digital file.  I don't love it, but I think if it was in my hands I would feel different about it.

Why I Wanted to Read This:
I was asked to participate in the blog tour for Witherwood and Obert Skye is a popular middle school author so I decided to join up!  Here's the synopsis from GoodReads:
After a slight misunderstanding involving a horrible governess, gravy, and a jar of tadpoles, siblings Tobias and Charlotte Eggars find themselves abandoned by their father at the gates of a creepy reform school. Evil mysteries are afoot at Witherwood, where the grounds are patrolled by vicious creatures and kids are locked in their rooms. Charlotte and Tobias soon realize that they are in terrible danger—especially because the head of Witherwood has perfected the art of mind control. If only their amnesiac father would recover. If only Tobias and Charlotte could solve the dark mystery and free the kids at Witherwood—and ultimately save themselves.

Romance?: Not that kind of book!

My Thoughts:
This story started out laugh out loud funny.  The first chapter when Tobias and Charlotte played their prank on their "nanny" was at times both funny and sad.  For a dad who seemed to love his children as much as theirs did, he was certainly clueless when it came to his children's needs and who was watching them.  But the description of the prank was gross and funny.  It would make a good read aloud.

I loved the author's style of writing.  I am not sure that authors like being compared to Roald Dahl, but that is was kept coming to mind as I got started reading this.  Fortunately kids really don't get tired or reading the wacky and unbelievable if there is a good dose of humor with it.  I haven't read any other Obert Skye books but was pleased at this style of writing. And a boarding school is always a good setting for the fantastic to happen.

I liked Tobias and Charlotte, very relate able characters. Tobias dives right in without thinking ahead and Charlotte observes more, but goes along with Tobias. They are fiercely loyal to each other and when they find themselves at Witherwood they are worried, scared and lonely.  Kind of like kids starting middle school for the first time!

Witherwood is a great setting, perhaps evil, certainly not normal and a little scary. I loved the illustrations and glad they were included. This book could get away without the, because of the authors clear descriptions, but I felt they added to the reading for me.

This is a series, so intends with no real resolution, which I didn't love. It's a reason I never read the whole Series of Unfortunate Events. I like a little more of an uptick at the end of my books, even ones that are series.  However, it never seems to bother young readers. This one will fit comfortably on my middle school library shelf, but not for long because I think it will be very popular.

To Sum Up: I think this would be a great beginning of the school year read aloud, but also just a fun read for older elementary and younger middle school readers.

GIVEAWAY!
Macmillan is offering a copy of Witherwood Reform School to one of my readers. Please fill out the form below to enter to win.  US residents only, contest runs through March 15.

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Please visit the other blogs involved in this tour:
2/18: Little Red Reads
2/19: A Reader’s Adventure
2/20: Stories & Sweeties
2/23: The Hiding Spot
2/24: Bumbles and Fairytales
2/25: Manga Maniac Café
2/26: The Book Monsters 
2/27: Mundie Kids
3/2: Milk & Cookies: Comfort Reading
3/3: Green Bean Teen Queen


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27. Tricky Vic - a review

Pizzoli, Greg. 2015. Tricky Vic: The Impossibly True Story of the Man Who Sold the Eiffel Tower. New York: Viking.

In 1890, the man who would one day be known by forty-five different aliases was born to the Miller family, in what is now the Czech Republic.  His parents named him Robert.


Working both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, Robert Miller was a con man of legendary proportions, becoming most famous for his "sales" of Paris' iconic Eiffel Tower. In addition to selling the Eiffel Tower (numerous times), Miller was a counterfeiter and a card sharp.

Yes, Robert Miller was a criminal of the worst order, but it will be hard for readers to remain unimpressed by the sheer chutzpah of the man.  It's a book that readers won't put down until they learn the fate of the legendary man who came to be known as Tricky Vic!

Not content with merely an intriguing story, Greg Pizzoli has enveloped Tricky Vic in outstanding artwork. The back matter includes an explanatory note about the unique combination of methods (including halftone photographs, silkscreen and Zipatone) used to achieve the book's dated, contextual feel.  Appropriately, the face of the elusive Tricky Vic is represented by a fingerprint stamp.

Back matter includes a Glossary, Selected Sources, Author's Note, Acknowledgments, and the aforementioned "Note about the Art in this Book."

Advance Reader Copy provided by the publisher. Coming to a shelf near you on March 10, 2015.



Two reminders for this first Monday in March:

March is Women's History Month! Please visit KidLit Celebrates Women's History Month!  We've got a great month planned.  Today features author and librarian, Penny Peck.



Today is Nonfiction Monday.  Check out all of today's posts at the Nonfiction Monday Blog.


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28. Week in Review: February 22-28

The Lilies of the Field. William Edmund Barrett. 1962/1988. Grand Central Publishing. 128 pages. [Source: Gift]
The Warden. Anthony Trollope. 1855. Oxford World's Classics. 294 pages. [Source: Bought]
Shadows of the Workhouse (Call the Midwife #2) Jennifer Worth. 2005/2008/2013. HarperCollins. 304 pages. [Source: Library]
On the Banks of Plum Creek. Laura Ingalls Wilder. 1937. 340 pages. [Source: Library]
The Case of the Stuttering Bishop. (Perry Mason #9) Erle Stanley Gardner. 1936. 189 pages. [Source: Bought]
Her Royal Spyness (Her Royal Spyness #1) Rhys Bowen. 2007. Berkley. 336 pages. [Source: Library]
Tesla's Attic.  (Accelerati #1). Neal Shusterman and Eric Elfman. 2014. Disney-Hyperion. 256 pages. [Source: Library]
Scrambled Eggs Super! Dr. Seuss. 1953. Random House. 64 pages. [Source: Library]

What If...? Anthony Browne. 2014. Candlewick. 32 pages. [Source: Library]
The Amazing Stardust Friends #1: Step Into the Spotlight! Heather Alexander. Illustrated by Diane Le Feyer. 2015. Scholastic. 96 pages. [Source: Review copy]
Knowledge of the Holy. A.W. Tozer. 1961/1978. HarperCollins. 128 pages. [Source: Book I Bought]
First Love: The Joy and Simplicity of Life in Christ. John MacArthur. 1994. Victor Books. 191 pages. [Source: Bought]
The Trouble with Patience. (Virtues and Vices of the Old West #1) Maggie Brendan. 2015. Revell. 336 pages. [Source: Review copy]

This week's recommendation(s):

I'd say The Lilies of The Field and The Warden!

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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29. Video Interview: M.T. Anderson and the Symphony for the City of the Dead

What you learn in this life of children’s librarianship is that there is an exception to every rule. For example, normally I do not indulge in video interviews outside of my Fuse #8 TV ones. And normally I do not care diddly over squat for anything directed towards a young adult audience. But Mr. M.T. Anderson has a way of making a girl forget past restrictions. So when I was asked whether or not I would be interested in interviewing the man about his upcoming nonfiction title Symphony for the City of the Dead: Dmitri Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad I said, “Um . . . yes.  Yes indeed.”

Thus, what follows, is a slightly herky jerky (thanks to Google Hangout) but ENTIRELY worth it interview between myself and Tobin.  This is a story I’ve never heard.  I am ashamed to admit that prior to this talk I had only the slightest understanding of what the Siege of Leningrad constituted.  This clears much of the confusion up. And check out this cover!

As for the interview itself, here it is:

Thanks to the good folks at Candlewick Press for setting this up!

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30. Seuss on Saturday #9

Scrambled Eggs Super! Dr. Seuss. 1953. Random House. 64 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence:
I don't like to brag and I don't like to boast,
Said Peter T. Hooper, but speaking of toast
And speaking of kitchens and ketchup and cake
And kettles and stoves and the stuff people bake...
Well, I don't like to brag, but I'm telling you, Liz,
That speaking of cooks, I'm the best that there is!
Why, only last Tuesday, when mother was out
I really cooked something worth talking about!
Premise/Plot: Peter T. Hooper is bragging to a girl, presumably his sister? presumably named Liz? that he is the best cook ever, and that he recently made the best scrambled eggs ever. Of course, his scrambled eggs weren't ordinary. His eggs didn't come from ordinary hens. His eggs didn't come from a store. He sought out extraordinary birds--both big and small--and spared no expense or effort. He even recruited helpers to help him collect the most exotic bird eggs. 

My thoughts: Like If I Ran the Zoo, this is all about the rhyme. This is classic Seuss coming up with silly, bizarre yet oh-so-fun words to say.
Then I went for some Ziffs. They're exactly like Zuffs,
But the Ziffs live on cliffs and the Zuffs live on bluffs.
And, seeing how bluffs are exactly like cliffs,
It's mighty hard telling the Zuffs from the Ziffs.
But I know that the egg that I got from the bluffs,
if it wasn't a Ziff's from the cliffs, was a Zuff's.
The book is definitely silly and over-the-top. And Seuss is definitely beginning to develop his style.  Is it my favorite? Far from it.

Have you read Scrambled Eggs Super? Did you like it? love it? hate it? I'd love to know what you think of it!

If you'd like to join me in reading or rereading Dr. Seuss' picture books (chronologically) I'd love to have you join me! The next book I'll be reviewing is Horton Hears A Who!

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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31. Short Review: Salt and Storm

Salt & Storm by Kendall KulperLittle, Brown. 2014. Reviewed from ARC.

Salt and Storm is set in an alternate 1860s, where witches and magic are real. Avery is the granddaughter of the witch of Prince Island, and should have been trained and raised to be the next witch. Except, her mother -- who refuses to have anything to do with magic or witchcraft -- drags Avery away from her grandmother and forbids her to see her. At sixteen, Avery is trying to escape her mother's control and claim her inheritance.

What I liked most about Salt and Storm is that Avery wasn't aware of the full picture. She knew what she knew, believed she had the full picture, believe she knew the real story about the witches of Prince Island. She thought she knew herself, but it turns out things aren't what she thinks they are. Which means what she wants isn't what she thinks it is. I also like the historical information in here, about life on nineteenth century islands.

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

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32. Still Building!

We librarians are still building our Everyday Advocacy muscles, but we need to add one other thing to the mix, diversity. How can we as librarians connect advocacy and diversity? The talk of the day, the happening of our time, the attention grabber of our consciousness is the conversation taking place currently about diversity. The events in Ferguson, Missouri and similar events in other locations, the insensitive remarks spoken at a National Book Award event honoring Jacqueline Woodson and the on-going We Need Diverse Books campaign are stories which have captured our attention.

At breakout sessions during an ALA Midwinter meeting on diversity sponsored by the Children’s Book Council and ALSC, some takeaway ideas included the following:

  • Use parents and caregivers as resources.
  • Create virtual programs to reach untapped communities.
  • Develop partnerships which are crucial.
  • Create more diverse books.
  • Contact Barnes and Nobles to suggest a list of books that are not on its shelves, and then ask why.
  • Go to patrons wherever they are.
  • Be a change and a leader in your community

Issues raised during the meeting included: There should be more diverse staffing at publishing companies, there should be more characters with disabilities in literature for children. Jason Low of Lee and Low Publishing, suggested that a diversity problem is a cultural problem. Librarians asked these questions: How do you create a more diverse library? How do you reach out to diverse communities? ALSC and the CBC asked librarians in attendance,   what are some gaps you think we can fill? There were even more questions. One of the speakers asked the audience, what changes are you willing to make as librarians? When will you make a change, in one week, one month, one year?

There are many unanswered questions. There are even some final questions to ask ourselves: What are some of the challenges that your library is facing concerning diversity? What are the gifts you bring to the conversation? Gifts is a key word here.

We librarians bring our gifts every day to the jobs we do as librarians. It is part of the everyday advocacy that empowers us. Conversation is the thing that is being added to the mix, and the thing that will ultimately bring closure to the unanswered questions.

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

Today’s blog post was written by Barbara Spears, a member of the ALSC  Advocacy and Legislation Committee.

The post Still Building! appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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33. Day 1 of the March SOLSC! #SOL15

Welcome to the 8th Annual Slice of Life Story Challenge! This is where you share a link to your individual (not classroom) slice of life story. Then, remember to give at least three other slicers some comment love during the day today.

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34.

Egg: Nature's Perfect Package is the newest book from the brilliant Steve Jenkins and Robin Page, who always make seemingly uninteresting topics interesting and interesting topics even more interesting! I definitely recommend checking out the amazing making of page on their website to get a real idea of everything that goes into creating one of their books. Egg: Nature's Perfect Package 

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35. What If...? (2014)

What If...? Anthony Browne. 2014. Candlewick. 32 pages. [Source: Library]

Joe was going to his first big party. It was at his friend Tom's house, but Joe had lost the invitation and didn't know the house number. "It's OK, Joe," said Mom. "Tom lives somewhere on this street. We'll find it." So they set off.

Premise/Plot: Joe is anxious about attending his friend's party. Not just anxious about finding his friend's house, but about the party itself. He's worried about who will be there, what kind of food there will be, what games he'll be expected to play, etc. He's not sure if he'll want to actually stay at the party. (If his mom wasn't insistent, Joe might even not go to the party to begin with.)  He is walking to the party with his mom, and, together they are looking into the windows of each house trying to find the party.

What If...? got starred reviews in Kirkus, School Library Journal, and Publisher's Weekly.

My thoughts: I could relate to Joe's anxiety. So I wanted to like the book. But it was just a bit too odd for me to actually like it. What didn't I like? Well, the illustrations. They look into the windows of many houses on the street. These window scenes are illustrated in detail. And the scenes are just weird and slightly disturbing at times. It was hard to take them seriously. And since Joe's anxiety was real, I thought the illustrations were off. (In one scene, there's a man and woman sitting together reading. If you look closely, he's got antennas on his balding head. In another, there's an elephant in the house. In two more scenes, it looks like their are crimes being committed. Since readers are given two glimpses of each house, one from a distance, one up close, one is supposed to conclude that Joe's anxiety is getting the best of him perhaps and his imagination has run away with him. But I'm still not sure. I just don't like the illustrations.

Text: 3 out of 5
Illustrations: 3 out of 5
Total: 6 out of 10

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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36. February Reflections

In February I reviewed 56 books.

Board books: 0

Picture books:

  1. Vegetables in Underwear. Jared Chapman. 2015. Abrams. 40 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  2. Scrambled Eggs Super! Dr. Seuss. 1953. Random House. 64 pages. [Source: Library]
  3. What If...? Anthony Browne. 2014. Candlewick. 32 pages. [Source: Library]
  4. Such A Little Mouse. Alice Schertle. Illustrated by Stephanie Yue. 2015. [March 2015] Scholastic. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  5. How Do Dinosaurs Stay Safe? Jane Yolen. Illustrated by Mark Teague. 2015. [February 2015] Scholastic. 40 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  6. Monkey and Duck Quack Up! Jennifer Hamburg. Illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham. 2015. [February 2015] Scholastic. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]  
  7. If I Ran the Zoo. Dr. Seuss. 1950. Random House. 64 pages. [Source: Library] 
  8. Bartholomew and the Oobleck. Dr. Seuss. 1949. Random House. 56 pages. [Source: Library]
  9. Thidwick The Big-Hearted Moose. Dr. Seuss. 1948. Random House. 48 pages. [Source: Library] 
  10. ABC Bunny. Wanda Gag. 1933/2004. University of Minnesota Press. 40 pages. [Source: Library] 
Early readers/Early Chapter books:
  1. The Amazing Stardust Friends #1: Step Into the Spotlight! Heather Alexander. Illustrated by Diane Le Feyer. 2015. Scholastic. 96 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  2. All Hail the Queen (Anna & Elsa #1) Erica David. Illustrated by Bill Robinson. 2015. Random House. 128 pages. [Source: Library]
  3. Memory and Magic (Anna & Elsa #2) Erica David. Illustrated by Bill Robinson. 2015. Random House. 128 pages. [Source: Library] 
Middle Grade:
  1. The Greatest Skating Race: A World War II Story from the Netherlands. Louise Borden. 2004. Illustrated by Niki Daly. Simon & Schuster. 48 pages. [Source: Library]  
  2. The Cats in Krasinski Square. Karen Hesse. Illustrated by Wendy Watson. 2004. Scholastic. 32 pages. [Source: Library] 
  3. Wanderville.  Wendy McClure. 2014. Penguin. 224 pages. [Source: Library]
  4. Little Author in the Big Woods. Yona Zeldis McDonough. 2014. Henry Holt. 176 pages. [Source: Library]
  5. On the Banks of Plum Creek. Laura Ingalls Wilder. 1937. 340 pages. [Source: Library] 
  6.  Rain Reign. Ann M. Martin. 2014. Feiwel & Friends. 240 pages. [Source: Library] 
  7. Winterbound. Margery Williams Bianco. 1936/2014. Dover. 234 pages. [Source: Bought]
  8. All the Answers. Kate Messner. 2015. Bloomsbury USA. 256 pages. [Source: Review copy] 
  9. Invincible Louisa: The Story of the Author of Little Women. Cornelia Meigs. 1933/1995. Little, Brown. 256 pages. [Source: Library]  
  10. Thimble Summer. Elizabeth Enright. 1938/2008. SquareFish. 144 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  11. Debby. Siddie Joe Johnson. Illustrated by Ninon MacKnight. 1940.  Longmans, Green and Co. 214 pages. [Source: Bought]
  12. Young Fu of the Upper Yangtze. Elizabeth Foreman Lewis. illustrated by William Low. 1932/2008. Square Fish. 302 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  13. The Graham Cracker Plot. Shelley Tougas. 2015. Roaring Brook Press. 288 pages. [Source: Library]
  14. Boundless. Kenneth Oppel. 2014. Simon & Schuster. 320 pages. [Source: Library] 
  15. Best Kept Secret. (Family Tree #3) Ann M. Martin. 2014. Scholastic. 224 pages. [Source: Review copy]
Young Adult:
  1. Tesla's Attic.  (Accelerati #1). Neal Shusterman and Eric Elfman. 2014. Disney-Hyperion. 256 pages. [Source: Library] 
  2. Entangled. Amy Rose Capetta. 2013. HMH. 336 pages. [Source: Library] 
  3. Beyond the Parallel. Robin Brande. 2015. Ryer Publishing. 348 pages. [Source: Review copy] 
Adult Fiction:
  1. The Lilies of the Field. William Edmund Barrett. 1962/1988. Grand Central Publishing. 128 pages. [Source: Gift]
  2. The Warden. Anthony Trollope. 1855. Oxford World's Classics. 294 pages. [Source: Bought] 
  3. The Case of the Stuttering Bishop. (Perry Mason #9) Erle Stanley Gardner. 1936. 189 pages. [Source: Bought]
  4. Her Royal Spyness (Her Royal Spyness #1) Rhys Bowen. 2007. Berkley. 336 pages. [Source: Library]
  5. Hard Times. Charles Dickens. 1854/1992. Everyman's Library. 336 pages.  [Source: Library]
  6. Rachel Ray by Anthony Trollope. 1863. 403 pages. [Source: Bought]
  7. Sleep in Peace Tonight. James MacManus. 2014. Thomas Dunne Books. 368 pages. [Source: Library]
  8. As Chimney Sweepers Come To Dust. Flavia de Luce #7. Alan Bradley. Random House. 392 pages. [Source: Review copy] 
  9. Dying in the Wool. (Kate Shackleton #1) Frances Brody. 2009/2012. Minotaur Books. 368 pages. [Source: Library]  
  10. Medal for Murder. (Kate Shackleton #2) Frances Brody. 2010/2013. Minotaur Books. 432 pages. [Source: Library] 
  11. Murder in the Afternoon. (Kate Shackleton #3) Frances Brody. 2011/2014. Minotaur Books. 400 pages.  [Source: Library]
Adult Nonfiction:
  1. Shadows of the Workhouse (Call the Midwife #2) Jennifer Worth. 2005/2008/2013. HarperCollins. 304 pages. [Source: Library] 
  2. Jane Austen Cover to Cover: 200 Years of Classic Book Covers. Margaret C. Sullivan. Quirk Publishing. 224 pages. [Source: Library]
Christian Fiction:
  1. The Trouble with Patience. (Virtues and Vices of the Old West #1) Maggie Brendan. 2015. Revell. 336 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  2. The Crimson Cord: Rahab's Story (Daughters of the Promised Land #1) Jill Eileen Smith. 2015. Revell. 368 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  3. Where Trust Lies. Janette Oke & Laurel Oke Logan. 2015. Bethany House. 336 pages. [Source: Review copy] 
Christian Nonfiction:
  1. Knowledge of the Holy. A.W. Tozer. 1961/1978. HarperCollins. 128 pages. [Source: Book I Bought]  
  2. First Love: The Joy and Simplicity of Life in Christ. John MacArthur. 1994. Victor Books. 191 pages. [Source: Bought] 
  3. Tyndale's New Testament. Translated by William Tyndale. A Modern Spelling Edition of the 1534 Translation with an introduction by David Daniell. 1996. Yale University Press. 466 pages. [Source: Bought] 
  4. Killing Christians: Living the Faith Where It's Not Safe To Believe. Tom Doyle. 2015. [March 2015] Thomas Nelson. 240 pages. [Source: Review copy] 
  5. Things of Earth: Treasuring God by Enjoying His Gifts. Joe Rigney. Foreword by John Piper. 2015. Crossway. 272 pages.
  6. What Every Christian Needs to Know About Passover: What It Means and Why It Matters. Rabbi Evan Moffic. 2015. Abingdon Press. 224 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  7. Wycliffe New Testament 1388: An edition in modern spelling, with an introduction, the original prologues, and the Epistle to the Laodicieans. William R. Cooper, ed. 2002. British Library. 528 pages. [Source: Bought] 
  8. Chiseled by the Master's Hand. Erwin Lutzer. 1993. Victor Publishing. 153 pages. [Source: Bought]
  9. The Unexpected Jesus. R.C. Sproul. 2005. (AKA Mighty Christ in 1995). Christian Focus. 142 pages. [Source: Bought] 

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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37. Adventures in Outreach: Pick a Project

Volunteers from a partner organization help students with college applications.

Volunteers from a partner organization help students with college applications.

Last week we talked about finding your perfect community partner, the one who can make all your dreams come true. Once you’ve met a few potential partners and really gotten to know them, you may be ready to choose one and move forward on a shared program or project.

As you’re working with the partner to formulate the project, here are some questions to consider.

1. Do the partners play equally important roles?

This could shake out lots of different ways. Maybe you provide the space, the pizza, and the marketing, and the partner provides the expertise. Maybe you’re creating all of the program content, and the partner is bringing the audience. (Although ideally, you’d probably want to check in with the partner to make sure your content is relevant. If you can create the content collaboratively, even better.)

What matters most is that roles are clearly defined and both sides are making significant, meaningful contributions. If that isn’t happening, you may be doing something cool, but it’s not a partnership.

2. Does the project deliver something important to both partners?

Just as both partners have to put something in, both have to get something out. Outcomes should be clearly stated and deliver something that each side needs to further its mission. For the library, outcomes will often be concerned with promoting equity.

3. Does the project have an end point?

It took me a while to realize how important this is. Even if a project is relatively small and low-impact, set a firm date to pause and examine how things are going. If things are going really well, pat each other on the back and agree about how awesome you are. Make minor adjustments if necessary, then dive right back into it.

If things are not going so well, or if circumstances have changed for one of the partners, you’ll be glad to have a built-in opportunity to make big changes, start all over, or quietly pull the plug. Even in this worst case scenario, you'll have learned something valuable that you can bring to your next partnership.

4. Do the partners agree about how the project will be evaluated?

What are the top priorities? What kind of evaluation tool will you use: pre- and post-tests? Surveys? Interpretive dance?*

Who will design the tool? If you can, work with the partner to create evaluation tools collaboratively or, even better, empower the youth themselves to design the tools and evaluate the program.

And one last tip: Write it all down! We use a Memorandum of Agreement form to make sure that everyone knows what’s up with a new project. Better to tackle misunderstandings before you begin than in the middle, when it’s hard to adjust expectations, or at the end, when disappointment or resentment may have set in. Communication is key throughout the process, but good communication late in the game can’t make up for a lack of it up front.

 

*Note: Don’t use interpretive dance.

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38. Red Butterfly

There are some stories that are SO tender that you finish them and want to pick it up and start over.  That is what A. L. Sonnichensen's Red Butterfly was to me.  It is a very touching story of Kara - a baby abandoned at birth and taken in by an american woman living in China.  What we find out a ways into the story is that Kara's "mama" is not legally in China and Kara has never been officially adopted.  Kara is immediately taken away, at age 11, and sent to an orphanage to start over with her life.  Her emotions are tender and raw and her anger and hurt is real.  When another family, from Florida, is chosen to be her new family, Kara doesn't desire to be a part of their family and her confusion and frustration are so real that I ached right along with her.  The novel is told in prose and I loved literally EVERYTHING about it - tender, touching and oh so wonderful!

 

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39. It’s Not Too Late

It's not too late to sign up for the SOLSC!

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40. Instagram of the Week - March 2

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

This week we're focusing on school libraries and media centers. From board games to book dominos and book clubs to volunteer opportunities, school libraries can provide a place for students to have fun and unwind during free periods or before and after school. Prominent displays are one way to grab students' attention and connect them with books and library services with which they may unfamiliar. Book themed bulletin boards can also call attention to library materials or can drum up interest for upcoming events.

We've included a few examples below, but we want to hear from you! Do you offer before and after school programs for your students? What's the coolest display you've put together? Which bulletin board theme has been most popular? Do your teens give you input or decorate for you?

 

Have you come across a related Instagram post this week, or has your library posted something similar? Have a topic you'd like to see in the next installment of Instagram of the Week? Share it in the comments section of this post.

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41. Classroom Slice of Life Story Challenge: Day 1 of 31

Welcome to Day One of the Classroom Slice of Life Story Challenge!

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42. Meet Inspector Barnaby

The Killings At Badger's Drift. (Inspector Barnaby #1) Caroline Graham. 1987/2005. Felony & Mayhem. 272 pages. [Source: Library]

I'm so glad I checked out The Killings at Badger's Drift on a whim!!! It's always a good thing to browse in the library!

The Killings at Badger's Drift is the first book in the Inspector Barnaby mystery series. Readers meet Detective Chief Inspector Barnaby and Sergeant Troy (his assistant). I definitely liked Inspector Barnaby!!!

The first character readers meet is Miss Emily Simpson, a spinster who stumbles upon something she shouldn't see in the woods. That knowledge will lead to her death...readers however are not told exactly what she saw--or WHO she saw...leaving plenty of mystery and suspense for the rest of the book.

Readers next meet another spinster, Miss Lucy Bellringer, Miss Simpson's best, best friend. She is convinced that her friend was MURDERED. And she is seeking out Inspector Barnaby. The doctor may not be convinced that there was a crime, but, she is out to convince Barnaby and Troy to investigate and see for themselves. (They do take the case).

Plenty of characters are introduced and described throughout the book, throughout the investigation. Most, if not all, are potential suspects. Some seem more obvious than others. But. All are flawed in one way or another...making it just plausible enough that they could be guilty...

I definitely enjoyed this one. It was a quick read. I definitely HAD to know what happened.

Death of A Hollow Man. (Inspector Barnaby #2) Caroline Graham. 1989/2006. Felony & Mayhem. 306 pages. [Source: Library]

Death of a Hollow Man is the second book in the Inspector Barnaby series by Caroline Graham. I definitely liked it, even though I had some reservations. Why? Well, I know I'm in the minority, but, I prefer my fiction to be on the clean side. It's not necessarily the content so much as the description involved--if that makes sense. That being said, I liked this one. I never once seriously thought of putting it aside.

Death of a Hollow Man is set in a small-town theatre world. Most of the characters--suspects and victim--are actors for their local theatre. (Inspector Barnaby's wife is among the actors--though not the list of suspects.) Amadeus. That is what they'll be performing. Over half the book occurs BEFORE the crime, setting the stage for the oh-so-dramatic on-stage murder. Lest you think I'm spoiling things dreadfully, it's mentioned on the jacket copy. I won't be mentioning WHO the victim is OR who the top suspects are. That would definitely be spoilerish. After all, I like my mysteries to stay mysteries.

I liked the writing for the most part. There are SO many characters. Some I liked, some I didn't like at all.

My library only has one more book in this series. But I've decided to start watching Midsomer Murders for more Inspector Barnaby fun.

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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43. Juna's Jar, by Jane Bahk and Felicia Hoshino (ages 4-7) -- imagination and friendship soar

I adore picture books for the way they let us escape into our imagination, but they can also help us recognize our resilience (and our children's) as we face disappointment. Share Juna's Jar, a lovely new picture book by debut San Francisco author Jane Bahk, and talk with your children about how Juna's imagination helps her when she misses her friend Hector.
Juna's Jar
by Jane Bahk
illustrated by Felicia Hoshino
Lee & Low, 2015
Your local library
Amazon
ages 4-7
Juna and Hector always loved collecting things together and putting them in Juna's kimchi jar, but Juna is at a loss when Hector moves away. It's especially sad that she hasn't had a chance to say goodbye.
"Juna loved to take the jar and go on adventures with her best friend, Hector."
Her big brother, Minho, helps cheer her up, getting her a fish. That night, Juna dreams of diving into the ocean, swimming with her new fish and looking for Hector. The next night, after her brother gives her a bean plan to fill the jar, she journeys into the rain forest. On the third night, Juna rides a cricket in her dreams, traveling far outside the city to Hector's new home. As she sees him sleeping, Juna is able to whisper goodbye.

Felicia Hoshino's gentle watercolor illustrations capture Juna's wistful emotions, full of longing but also the final promise of new friendship.

I love how friend Margie Myers-Culver sums it up in her review at Librarian's Quest:
Juna's Jar "asks readers to think about friendship, family and the potential of imagination. It's not about looking at life as a glass half full or not but what can happen when we fill the glass."
Jane Bahk won the 2010 Lee & Low New Voices Award for an unpublished author of color, with the manuscript for Juna's Jar. I look forward to more stories from her! I also want to honor and thank Lee & Low for this important award.

The review copy was kindly sent by the publisher, Lee & Low. 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

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44. Reading Roundup: February 2015

By the Numbers
Teen: 7
Tween: 5
Children: 8

Sources
Review Copies: 3
Library: 12

Standouts
Teen: The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black
Oh, the atmosphere on this one. This tale of wicked faeries and brothers and sisters got a boost from the dreamy feel of the whole book.
Tween: Drama by Raina Telgemeier
That one-word title just sums up the whole of middle school, as far as I'm concerned. Crushes and friendships and just drama all around in this graphic novel of a middle-school stage crew. Also, I really wanted to join stage crew.
Children: Mo Wren, Lost and Found by Tricia Springstubb
While Mo Wren clearly lives in a poorer urban area, this book doesn't focus on that, but on her difficult adjustment to big changes in her life. As purely charming as the first.

Because I Want To Awards
Must Have the Last Book NOW PLEASE: Fairest by Marissa Meyer (link leads to my review)
While it was interesting to see how Levana got to where she is, this book mostly left me desperate for the final book in the series, due out in November.
Most Confunding: Beastkeeper by Cat Hellisen
This one threw me for a loop, mostly to do with the ending, which veered away from what I expected in a middle-grade fantasy title.
Niftiest Hook: Follow Follow: a book of reverso poems by Marilyn Singer
Read the poem, then read it backward. They're deceptively simple, but must have taken forever. Hats off, Ms Singer. 

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45. Step Into The Spotlight (2015)

The Amazing Stardust Friends #1: Step Into the Spotlight! Heather Alexander. Illustrated by Diane Le Feyer. 2015. Scholastic. 96 pages. [Source: Review copy]

Marlo's mom has just joined the circus: joined as a chef. Her and her mom will now be living on a circus train. There are several other children for Marlo to get to know: some are performers themselves, some are children of employees and/or performers. Marlo really wants to become friends with the three Stardust girls: Allie, the acrobat, Bella, the animal trainer, and Carly, the clown. She's been told she can join the Stardust Parade IF she can come up with an amazing act of her own. She has just TWO days until the next performance. She's very determined and quite ambitious. Perhaps she can learn to be an acrobat? or a clown? or work with animals? Or perhaps not. Can Allie, Carly, and Bella help Marlo find her own way of being amazing? And will Marlo become a Stardust girl too?

This is an illustrated chapter book. I liked it. I did. It's a fun book with a playful premise.


© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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46. Classroom Slice of Life Story Challenge: Day 2 of 31

It's Day Two of the Classroom SOLSC!

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47. Video Sunday: La la la!

Morning, folks.  We’ve a good store of goodies this morning, and I’m pleased as punch to give them to you.  First up, a short film.  A very short film, actually.  I’ve spoken in the past on how Hollywood views children’s writers and the creation of children’s books.  This film seems to believe that children’s books in general are being urged to be “darker”.  Even picture books.  An odd sentiment, but there you go.

Thanks to Stephanie Whelan for the link!

So, First Book is doing something called the Speed Read Challenge.  It’s being done to draw attention to First Book’s Be Inspired campaign, which is attempting to get 1 million books into the hands of kids.  You can see a whole slew of celebrities told to speed read book in ten seconds.  First, recent Newbery winner Kwame Alexander:

Next, Mo Willems:

I wanna do it.

As you may have heard from folks like Travis Jonker, Jimmy Kimmel started a regular feature where he has a bookclub with kids.  So far they’ve covered Goodnight Moon and There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly.  Naturally when it came time to embed one, I went with The Giving Tree. To know me is to know why.

Barb Langridge has made it her goal to get the ALA Youth Media Award titles back in the public eye and conversation.  Here she talks with the people of Baltimore about the recent winners.  Good stuff.

 

And for our off-topic video,  I had two really good choices.  Still, in light of last Sunday’s Oscars, this seemed like the link that made a bit more sense:

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48. Day 2 of the March SOLSC! #SOL15

Anyone who starts the SOLSC today, tomorrow, or on Wednesday, 3/4 will still be eligible for one of the incredible prizes we’re offering. All you have to do is “write, share, and give” today and every day for the rest of the month. If you have a friend who’s on the fence about committing to the Challenge, please encourage him/her to jump in because it’s not too late!

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49. #DUBLIT15

I am a Michigan girl at heart, but there is something special about the educators in and around the Dublin, Ohio area. I had the privilege of presenting and attending the Dublin Literacy… Continue reading

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50. Upcoming ALSC Online Learning

ALSC Online Education

ALSC Online Education (image courtesy of ALSC)

Online Courses

Explore new ideas and great library thinking with ALSC online courses! ALSC is offering four great options including three CEU-certified courses. All courses are offered asynchronously (self-directed) meaning you won’t need to logon at a specific time. Learn new youth library-specific skills at a pace that’s comfortable and convenient. Courses start Monday, April 6, 2015.

Webinars

Because life in a library moves fast, ALSC webinars are the perfect solution for someone who wants and needs educational information but doesn’t have a lot of time or resources.  These short (one to two hour) interactive sessions taking place in Adobe Connect give librarians and library support staff the opportunity to learn right at their desks.

March

Building STEAM with Día: The Whys and Hows to Getting Started
Tuesday, March 17, 2015, 12 pm Eastern/11 am Central

May

Celebrating with Poetry Snapshots
Thursday, May 7, 2015, 3 pm Eastern/2 pm Central

Archived Webinars

Missed a webinar you wanted to attend? Don’t worry! ALSC presents archived versions of webinars, which are offered at a discounted price. Archived webinars cost only $25. Please note that recorded versions are not available until all of the live sessions of that webinar have taken place.

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