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1. Starred YA Books: Movers and Shakers, Fall 2012

I’ve been keeping track of the starred reviews for YA books published this year in the big six reviewing publications — The Horn Book, Publisher’s Weekly, School Library Journal, Booklist, Kirkus Reviews, and The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books. Some movers and shakers within the last few months are:

Six Stars
Dodger by Terry Pratchett (Harper/HarperCollins)
Horn Book, PW, SLJ, Booklist, Kirkus, Bulletin

Moonbird by Phillip Hoose (Farrar)
Horn Book, PW, SLJ, Booklist, Kirkus, Bulletin

Five Stars
Ask the Passengers by A.S. King (Little, Brown)
PW, SLJ, Booklist, Kirkus, Bulletin

Beyond Courage: The Untold Story of Jewish Resistance During the Holocaust by Doreen Rappaport (Candlewick)
PW, SLJ, Booklist, Kirkus, Bulletin

Bomb: The Race to Build—and Steal—the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Shienkin (Roaring Brook/Flash Point)
Horn Book, PW, SLJ, Kirkus, Bulletin

My Book of Life by Angel  by Martine Leavitt (FSG/Ferguson)
Horn Book, PW, SLJ, Booklist, Kirkus

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater (Scholastic)
PW, SLJ, Booklist, Kirkus, Bulletin

Four Stars
A Certain October by Angela Johnson (Simon & Schuster)
Horn Book, PW, SLJ, Kirkus

Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass by Russell Freedman (Clarion)
PW, SLJ, Booklist, Kirkus

Drama by Raina Telgemeier (Scholastic)
PW, SLJ, Booklist, Kirkus

The Impossible Rescue by Martin W. Sandler (Candlewick)
PW, SLJ, Booklist, Kirkus

My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece by Annabel Pitcher (Little, Brown)
PW, SLJ, Booklist, Kirkus

Three Stars
After Eli by Rebecca Rupp (Candlewick)
PW, Booklist, Kirkus

All You Never Wanted by Adele Griffin (Knopf)
SLJ, Booklist, Kirkus

The Bronte Sisters: The Brief Lives of Charlotte, Emily, and Anne  by Catherine Reef  (Clarion)
PW, Booklist, Kirkus

The Diviners by Libba Bray (Little, Brown)
SLJ, Booklist, Kirkus

Every Day by David Levithan (Knopf)
SLJ, Booklist, Kirkus

The Fitzosbornes at War by Michelle Cooper (Knopf)
Booklist, Kirkus, Bulletin

The Girl with Borrowed Wings by Rinsai Rossetti (Dial)
PW, Booklist, Kirkus

Passenger by Andrew Smith (Feiwel and Friends)
PW, Booklist, Kirkus

Pinned by Sharon G. Flake (Scholastic)
Horn Book, PW, Kirkus

Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson (Simon & Schuster)
PW, SLJ, Booklist

Son by Lois Lowry (Houghton)
SLJ, Booklist, Kirkus

Two Stars
A Soldier’s Secret: The Incredible true Story of Sarah Edmonds, a Civil War Hero by Marissa Moss (Abrams/Amulet)
PW, Kirkus

Amber House by Kelly Moore, Tucker Reed, and Larkin Reed (Scholastic/Levine)
PW, Bulletin

Cardboard by Doug TenNapel (Scholastic/Graphix)
SLJ, Kirkus

Don’t Turn Around by Michelle Gagnon (Harper/HarperCollins)
SLJ, Kirkus

The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There by Catherynne M. Valente (Feiwel and Friends)
Booklist, Kirkus

The Good Braider  by Terry Farish (Amazon Children’s)
SLJ, Booklist

Keeping Safe the Stars by Sheila O’Connor (Putnam)
PW, Kirkus

Kepler’s Dream by Juliet Bell (Putnam)
Booklist, Kirkus

The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde (Harcourt)
PW, SLJ

My Family for the War by Anne C. Voorhoeve (Dial)
SLJ, Booklist

Pirate Cinema by Cory Doctorow (Tor)
SLJ, Booklist

Reached by Ally Condie (Dutton)
PW, Kirkus

Soonchild by Russell Hoban, illus. by Alexis Deacon (Candlewick)
PW, Booklist

To the Mountaintop: My Journey through the Civil Rights Movement  by Charlayne Hunter-Gault (Roaring Brook/Flash Point)
PW, Booklist

The Unfortunate Son by Constance Leeds (Viking)
SLJ, Bulletin

See the full list here.

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2. Movies Based on Books: November to December 2012

(1. Skyfall  2. Lincoln  3. Breaking Dawn Part 2
4. Anna Karenina  5. Silver Linings Playbook  6. Life of Pi
7. Rise of the Guardians  8. Hitchcock  9. The Hobbit
10. Jack Reacher  11. On the Road  12. Les Miserables)

Release dates are nationwide dates when applicable and are subject to change!

November 9

Skyfall
Starring Daniel Craig, Helen McCrory, and Javier Bardem
Based on characters created by Ian Fleming
James Bond returns in the third film of the series featuring Daniel Craig

November 16

Lincoln
Starring Daniel Day-Lewis, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and John Hawkes
Directed by Steven Spielberg
Based in part on the book Team of Rivals: the Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2
Starring Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and Taylor Lautner
Based on the book by Stephenie Meyer
The final installment in the Twilight film franchise

Anna Karenina
Starring Keira Knightley, Jude Law, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and Matthew Macfadyen
Based on the novel by Leo Tolstoy
The classic Russian saga gets the big budget treatment with a script adaptation by playwright Tom Stoppard

November 21

Silver Linings Playbook
Starring Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, and Robert De Niro
Based on the book by Matthew Quick
A realistic drama about a man just coming home from a mental institution

Life of Pi
Starring Suraj Sharma, Irrfan Khan, Adil Hussain, and Tabu
Directed by Ang Lee
Based on the book by Yann Martel
A magical story of a boy and a tiger adrift in the Pacific Ocean

Rise of the Guardians
Starring the voices of Hugh Jackman, Alec Baldwin, and Isla Fisher
Based on the Guardians of Childhood series by William Joyce
An animated fantasy adventure for children

November 23

Hitchock
Starring Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren, and Scarlett Johansson
Based on the book Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho by Stephen Rebello
A peek into the romantic life of Alfred Hitchcock during the filming of Psycho

November 30

Killing Them Softly (Rated R)
Starring Brad Pitt, Ray Liotta, and Richard Jenkins
Based on the novel by George V. Higgins
Mob crime thriller about a poker game gone wrong

December 7

Lay the Favorite (Rated R)
Starring Rebecca Hall, Bruce Willis, and Vince Vaughn
Based on the memoir by Beth Raymer
Comedy about the world of sports gambling in Las Vegas

December 14

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Starring Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage, and Andy Serkis
Directed by Peter Jackson
Based on the book by J.R.R. Tolkien
The first in a trilogy based on The Hobbit and other Tolkien mythology

December 21

Jack Reacher
Starring Tom Cruise, Rosamund Pike, and Richard Jenkins
Based on the book series by Lee Child
A gritty action thriller about a homicide investigator

On The Road (Rated R)
Starring Garrett Hedlund, Sam Riley, and Kristen Stewart
Based on the book by Jack Kerouac
This iconic 1960s road trip story gets the big screen treatment

December 25

Les Misérables
Starring Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, and Helena Bonham Carter
An adaptation of the stage musical based on Victor Hugo’s novel

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3. Starred YA Books: Movers and Shakers July/August

I’ve been keeping track of the starred reviews for YA books published this year in the big six reviewing publications — The Horn Book, Publisher’s Weekly, School Library Journal, Booklist, Kirkus Reviews, and The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books. Some movers and shakers within the last two months are:

Six Stars
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein (Hyperion)
Horn Book, PW, SLJ, Booklist, Kirkus, Bulletin

Five Stars
Seraphina by Rachel Hartman (Random House)
Horn Book, PW, SLJ, Booklist, Kirkus

Four Stars
The Brides of Rollrock Island by Margo Lanagan (Knopf)
Horn Book, PW, Booklist, Kirkus

Liar and Spy by Rebecca Stead (Wendy Lamb Books)
Horn Book, PW, SLJ, Kirkus

Miles to Go for Freedom: Segregation and Civil Rights in the Jim Crow Years by Linda Barrett Osborne (Abrams Books for Young Readers)
PW, SLJ, Booklist, Kirkus

Three Stars
A Certain October by Angela Johnson (Simon & Schuster)
Horn Book, SLJ, Kirkus

A Confusion of Princes by Garth Nix (HarperCollins)
Horn Book, SLJ, Kirkus

Invincible Microbe: Tuberculosis and the Never-Ending Search for a Cure by Jim Murphy and Alison Blank (Clarion)
SLJ, Booklist, Kirkus

My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece by Annabel Pitcher (Little, Brown)
PW, SLJ, Kirkus

Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson (HarperTeen)
PW, SLJ, Kirkus

Two Stars
After Eli
by Rebecca Rupp (Candlewick)
PW, Kirkus

Bomb: The Race to Build—and Steal—the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Shienkin (Roaring Brook/Flash Point)
PW, Kirkus

The Diviners by Libba Bray (Little, Brown)
Booklist, Kirkus

Drama by Raina Telgemeier (Scholastic)
PW, Kirkus

Every Day by David Levithan (Knopf)
Booklist, Kirkus

The Girl with Borrowed Wings by Rinsai Rossetti (Dial)
PW, Kirkus

The Impossible Rescue by Martin W. Sandler (Candlewick)
Booklist, Kirkus

In a Glass Grimmly by Adam Gidwitz (Dutton)
PW, Kirkus

Jim Henson’s Tale of Sand by Ramon Perez (Archaia Entertainment)
PW, Booklist

My Book of Life by Angel  Martine Leavitt (FSG/Ferguson)
PW, Kirkus

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater (Scholastic)
PW, Kirkus

Son by Lois Lowry (Houghton)
Booklist, Kirkus

This is Not A Test by Courtney Summers (St. Martin’s Griffin)
PW, Bulletin

See the full list here.

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4. My Favorite Books So Far This Year

We’re already halfway through 2012 (can you believe it?), so I thought I’d share some of my favorite 2012 books so far this year:

Ask the Passengers by A.S. King

This one doesn’t come out until October, but keep it on your radar. A.S. King’s latest novel deals with sexual identity, family, and small town life with a blend of wry humor and keen observation. Beautiful, poignant, and realistic, this one’s at the top of my favorites for the year.

 

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Where to begin with Elizabeth Wein’s Code Name Verity? This is a complex novel of young female pilots in World War II packed with torture, treachery, intrigue, and wartime violence with an intense friendship at the core. While a bit slow to start, this one’s worth sticking around for.

 

Liar and Spy by Rebecca Stead

Rebecca Stead has written another fantastic middle grade novel set in New York City. Liar and Spy features a boy narrator dealing with a family crisis that requires a move to a new apartment building with some interesting neighbors. Lots of humor and quirkiness, but not without a moving family story at its heart.

 

Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

There was nothing unexpected about this summertime novel, but Morgan Matson proves she’s a contemporary YA star with the perfect mix of tender family moments, believable female friendships, and charming romance all in a dreamy, small-town lake setting.

 

Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone by Kat Rosenfield

A compelling mystery coupled with lyrical, dream-like writing make Kat Rosenfield’s debut YA novel a mesmerizing read. Two stories are interwoven – one of Becca, who just wants to escape her small town, and one of Amelia Anne, who is found dead there and upsets the balance of life for Becca and others.

 

Friends with Boys by Faith Erin Hicks

A charming graphic novel from Faith Erin Hicks about a formerly home-schooled teenaged girl trying to make friends in high school and deal with her mother’s abandonment. I have a longer review at No Flying, No Tights.

 

Runners-Up:

5. Starred YA Books: Movers and Shakers

I’ve been keeping track of the starred reviews for YA books published this year in the big six reviewing publications — The Horn Book, Publisher’s Weekly, School Library Journal, Booklist, Kirkus Reviews, and The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books. Some movers and shakers within the last month or so are:

Five Stars
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein (Hyperion)
Horn Book, PW, SLJ, Booklist, Kirkus

Four Stars
Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore (Dial)
PW, SLJ, Kirkus, Bulletin

The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour (Penguin)
PW, SLJ, Booklist, Kirkus

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
PW, SLJ, Booklist, Kirkus

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman (Random House)
Horn Book, PW, Booklist, Kirkus

Three Stars
A Confusion of Princes by Garth Nix
Horn Book, SLJ, Kirkus

The Chaos by Nalo Hopkinson (S&S/McElderry)
PW, Booklist, Kirkus

The Difference Between You and Me by Madeleine George (Viking)
PW, SLJ, Kirkus

Keeping the Castle by Patrice Kindl (Viking)
PW, SLJ, Booklist

Moonbird by Phillip Hoose (Farrar)
Horn Book, PW, Kirkus

Waiting by Carol Lynch Williams
PW, SLJ, Kirkus

Two Stars
Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone
by Kat Rosenfield (Dutton)
PW, Kirkus

Chuck Close Face Book by Chuck Close (Abrams)
PW, SLJ

Enchanted by Aletha Kontis (Harcourt)
SLJ, Kirkus

Lies, Knives, and Girls in Red Dresses by Ron Koertge (Candlewick)
Horn Book, PW

Marathon by Boaz Yakin (First Second)
Booklist, Kirkus

On the Day I Died: Stories from the Grave by Candace Fleming (Random/Schwartz & Wade)
PW, Kirkus

Railsea by China Mieville (Del Rey)
PW, Booklist

Small Damages by Beth Kephart (Philomel)
PW, Kirkus

Team Human by Justine Larbalestier and Sarah Rees Brennan (HarperTeen)
PW, Kirkus

Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson (HarperTeen)
PW, Kirkus

The Year of the Beasts by Cecil by Castellucci and Nate Powell (Roaring Brook Press)
SLJ, Booklist

See the full list here.

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6. Movies Based on Books: June to August 2012

(1. Snow White and the Huntsman  2. Bel Ami  3. Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter
4. Amazing Spider-Man  5. Savages  6. Trishna
7. The Dark Knight Rises  8. The Bourne Legacy  9. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days)

June 1

Snow White and the Huntsman
Starring Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth, and Charlize Theron
Based on the Snow White tale by the Brothers Grimm
An epic fantasy spin on the traditional fairy tale

June 8

Bel Ami (Limited Release) (Rated R)
Starring Robert Pattinson, Uma Thurman, and Kristin Scott
Based on the novel by Guy de Maupassant
A 19th-century period drama about a young man who achieves power by manipulating rich women

June 15

The Woman in the Fifth (Rated R)
Starring Ethan Hawke, Kristin Scott Thomas, and Joanna Kulig
Based on the novel by Douglas Kennedy
About a man in Paris trying to escape his past, only to get caught up in more drama

June 22

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
Starring Benjamin Walker, Rufus Sewell, Dominic Cooper, and Mary Elizabeth Winstead
Based on the book by Seth Grahame-Smith
Imagines our 16th president as a killer of the undead

July 3

The Amazing Spider-Man
Starring Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, and Rhys Ifans
Based on the Marvel Comics character
A darker re-boot of the popular franchise

July 6

Savages
Starring Aaron Johnson, Taylor Kitsch and Blake Lively
Based on the novel by Don Winslow
An intense crime thriller about a young woman kidnapped by a Mexican drug cartel

July 11

Easy Money (Limited) (Rated R)
Starring Joel Kinnaman, Matias Varela, and Dragomir Mrsic
Based on the novel by Jens Lapidus
A Swedish thriller about the drug trade

Trishna (Limited)
Starring Freida Pinto, Riz Ahmed, and Anurag Kashyap
Based on Tess of the d’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
An interpretation of the classic story set in contemporary India

July 20

The Dark Knight Rises
Starring Christian Bale, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Gary Oldman, and Michael Caine
Based on the DC Comics character
The final installment of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy

August 3

The Bourne Legacy
Starring Jeremy Renner, Rachel Weisz and Edward Norton
Centered on a new CIA operative in the universe based on Robert Ludlum’s novels.

Total Recall
Starring Colin Farrell, Bokeem Woodbine, and Bryan Cranston
Based on the Philip K. Dick short story “We Can Remember It For You Wholesale”

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days
Starring Zachary Gordon,

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7. Movies Based on Books: April to May 2012

(1. The Lucky One  2. Think Like a Man  3. The Moth Diaries
4. The Raven  5. The Pirates! Band of Misfits  6. Headhunters
7. The Avengers  8. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel  9. What to Expect When You’re Expecting)

April 6

The Hunter (Rated R – Limited Release)
Starring Willem Dafoe, Sam Neill, and Morgana Davies
Based on the novel by Julia Leigh
Critically acclaimed Aussie thriller set in the Tasmanian wilderness

April 20

The Lucky One
Starring Zac Efron, Taylor Schilling, and Blythe Danner
Based on the novel by Nicholas Sparks
Another Nicholas Sparks romance, this time featuring a young marine searching for his true love

Think Like a Man
Based on the book Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man by Steve Harvey
Starring Chris Brown, Gabrielle Union, and Kevin Hart
Four men turn the tables on their women’s relationship games

The Moth Diaries (Rated R – Limited Release)
Starring Sarah Bolger, Sarah Gadon, and Lily Cole
Based on the novel by Rachel Klein
Horror flick featuring teen girls at a boarding school

April 27

The Raven
Starring John Cusack, Alice Eve, and Luke Evans
A fictionalized account of the last days of Edgar Allan Poe’s life, in which the poet pursues a serial killer whose murders mirror those in the writer’s stories.

The Pirates! Band of Misfits
Based on Gideon Defoe’s Pirates! series
Starring the voices of Hugh Grant, Salma Hayek and Jeremy Piven
Animated, kid-friendly pirate film

Headhunters (Rated R – Limited Release)
Based on the novel by Jo Nesbø
A Swedish thriller

May 4

The Avengers
Starring Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, and Jeremy Renner
Based on the Marvel comic books
Directed by Joss Whedon, this blockbuster comic-book movie brings together some of the biggest names in the Marvel universe including Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Based on the novel by Deborah Moggach
Starring Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, and Maggie Smith
British retirees, played by some of the biggest names in UK film, vacation in India

May 18

What to Expect When You’re Expecting
Starring Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Lope

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8. Graphic Novel Resources for Librarians

There’s no denying that comic books, graphic novels, manga, and the like are as popular as ever. But where can a librarian start to get a handle on these materials? Here are a few resources to get your feet wet in the wide world of graphic novels.

  • No Flying No Tights: A group review site written by librarians for librarians featuring reviews of graphic novels, manga, and anime for kids through adults. Also offers other recurring features like best of lists, top 5 lists on different topics, and interviews with artists. (Full disclosure, I review for this site)
  • Graphic Novel Reporter: This site, part of the Book Report Network, produces a huge amount of content. Besides reviews for kids through adults, there are interviews, editorials, lists, behind-the-scenes peeks into the industry, and more.
  • Good Comics for Kids: A collaborative blog hosted by School Library Journal featuring news and reviews on comics and graphic novels for kids and teens
  • Comics Worth Reading: News and reviews of graphic novels, manga, comic books, and related subjects. Intelligent and well-written take on the industry, especially appreciate the manga coverage and the comics by women list.
  • Great Graphic Novels for Teens: The year’s best graphic novels for teens as selected by a YALSA committee, started in 2007. (Note, you will have to log in or fill in a survey to view the lists)
  • ALSC Graphic Novels Core Collection: A selected list of graphic novels for grades K-2, 3-5, and 6-8 created by Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) in October 2011. Mostly recent titles.

Do you have a favorite resource for graphic novel reviews and news? Let me know in the comments!

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9. Links of the Week (and beyond): March 2

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10. Resource Spotlight: YALS Online Companion


If you’re a YALSA member, hopefully you received your print copy of the winter issue of Young Adult Library Services (YALS). For an extended reading experience (even for non-members), check out the new online companion to YALS, which features additional links and resources related to the current issue. As a member of the YALS advisory board, I contributed a post related to an article on the juvenile justice system. Another member wrote about additional resources for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM), which is the issue’s theme. Keep the site on your radar as new content will be added monthly!

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11. Library Day in the Life

For the first time, I am joining the over 300 librarians participating in the Library Day in the Life Project! The Library Day in the Life Project is a semi-annual event coordinated by Bobbi Newman of Librarian by Day. Twice a year librarians, library staff and library students from all over the globe share a day (or week) in their life through blog posts, photos, video and Twitter updates.

I am currently working as a school library intern one day a week in a K-8 independent school. This is my day:

6:20 Wake up, shower, eat, catch up on email, Twitter, and Tumblr

7:25 Make the 20-minute commute to the school

7:45 Arrive, meet with my mentor librarian and talk about day’s plan before school starts at 8. She found a box of old paperbacks to give away to students, so a gaggle of lower school kids are sifting through. It takes them a while to understand that these are books they get to keep and don’t have to bring back to the library!

8:00 School starts, no classes for the first two periods, but a board committee is meeting in the library. I catalog a stack of donated books including some popular chapter books and easy reader non-fiction. Mostly copy cataloging, but we do add longer descriptions and more subject terms, though these are totally informal. Have to look up a few series numbers for a few titles that aren’t clearly numbered and do a bit of original cataloging for some Pokemon books. A few books are library bound, so I just add barcode and spine labels to go straight on the shelf.

9:50 Time for the daily school-wide assembly! Wednesdays are kind of a grab bag, so I never know what to expect. Today, the 8th graders did a flash mob dance to Eye of the Tiger to interrupt a fake current event. Not the usual fare, but lots of fun.

10:05 Recess time! More students hear about the free books and check them out. A 2nd grader comes by to do a survey about what kind of books people like to read. I answer comic books from her list of choices. Start shelving the overflowing returns cart.

10:20 First of two 5th grade classes in a row. I observe the lesson which includes a review of BibMe, which they are using for a project, and some read-alouds that tie into their other classes: The Hatmaker’s Sign by Candace Fleming for their colonial unit and the beginning of The Friendship by Mildred Taylor, since they just read Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry.

11:10 During the second 5th grade class, I shelve books and finish up a few cataloging tasks from earlier.

12:00 Lunch-time! After eating, we are on library duty. More kids come in and finally empty out the free paperbacks box. Lots of students are in using the computers, but mostly to take pictures of themselves with FaceTime.

12:40 Study hall/SSR time. The library is open to 7th graders for quiet study or reading and lots of students are  using the computers and some settle in on the couches and in the storytime area to read. I help a student find some more dystopian books to read — she’s read a lot, but I give her a few more titles that interest her.

1:20 I go collect the 1st grade students for their library class. The single file line does not stay single file for the very short walk to the library! I observe the lesson which includes a reading of I See a Kookaburra! by Steve Jenkins and

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12. Links of the Week: January 28

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13. Starred YA Books of 2012

Like last year, I’ve started keeping track of the starred reviews for YA books published in the big six review publications — The Horn Book, Publisher’s Weekly, School Library Journal, Booklist, Kirkus Reviews, and The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books. The reviews for books published in 2012 are rolling in and here is the list so far:

Five Stars
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (Penguin)
Horn Book, PW, SLJ, Booklist, Kirkus

Four Stars
Crow by Barbara Wright (Random House)
Horn Book, PW, SLJ, Kirkus

There is No Dog by Meg Rosoff (Penguin)
Horn Book, PW, Booklist, Kirkus

Three Stars
Miles to Go for Freedom: Segregation and Civil Rights in the Jim Crow Years by Linda Barrett Osborne (Abrams Books for Young Readers)
PW, SLJ, Kirkus

The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour (Penguin)
PW, SLJ, Kirkus

Two Stars
Beneath a Meth Moon by Jacqueline Woodson (Penguin)
PW, Kirkus

Dragonswood by Janet Lee Carey (Dial)
SLJ, Kirkus

Try Not to Breathe by Jennifer R. Hubbard (Penguin)
PW, Kirkus

I’m having a hard time getting the stars from Booklist and Publisher’s Weekly — I only have access to them via a database and they’re embargoed for a month or two each. If you have access to a print subscription and would like to help me compile this list, please let me know!

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14. Mock Printz Roundup 2012



The Youth Media Awards, the collection of awards handed out by the American Library Association, will be presented this Monday, January 23. For young adult literature, the Michael L. Printz award is considered the highest achievement. Awarded annually since 2000, it honors the best book (fiction, non-fiction, poetry, or anthology) in terms of literary merit and up to four honor books that were published in the United States during the award year. A committee of nine YALSA members discuss the eligible titles at the Annual and Midwinter ALA meetings and choose the winner and honor books in a closed door session.

To promote the reading and discussion of quality YA books, many library systems and regional library groups organize Mock Printz events. Typically, librarians will choose a shortlist of titles that they think merit inclusion on the Printz list. They then meet to discuss the books and choose their own winner and honor books before the official ceremony.

I’m always curious to see what books look like contenders for the award, so for the last two years (2011, 2010) I have compiled Mock Printz lists and winners. It’s not the best predictor of the eventual winner, especially since a lot of the groups share lists to some extent, but still an interesting exercise. Last year, for example, Ship Breaker and Nothing had a lot of Mock Printz buzz, while the others were pretty much under the radar.

This year, I looked at 20 lists. Several titles appear on multiple lists, but there are a lot that only appear on one list. A total of 55 individual books were listed.

Of the lists I looked at, here are the books that appeared on the most lists and the number of lists they appeared on:

  • Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys (16)
  • Chime by Franny Billingsley (14)
  • A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness (13)
  • Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor (9)
  • Everybody Sees the Ants by A.S. King (8)
  • Blink & Caution by Tim Wynne-Jones (6)
  • Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma (7)
  • Paper Covers Rock by Jenny Hubbard (7)

I also weighted the lists that picked honor and award books (15 of the lists) to generate a slightly different list. Award books got three points, honor books got two points, and other nominees got one point:

  • A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness (25 – 4 wins and 4 honors)
  • Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys (25 – 2 wins and 5 honors)
  • Chime by Franny Billingsley (19 – 1 win and 3 honors)
  • Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor (14 – 1 win and 3 honors)
  • Everybody Sees the Ants by A.S. King (10 – 2 honors)
  • Paper Covers Rock by Jenny Hubba

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15. ARCs I’m Pining For

With the ALA Midwinter Meeting just days away, I’m getting excited to see and learn about all of the books that will be coming out in the first part of the year. While I do like the serendipity of discovering new titles on the exhibit hall floor, there are a few that I’ve heard buzz about that I will definitely be looking out for. What books are you looking forward to in the next several months?


Drowned Cities by Paolo Bacigalupi
May 2012 (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)
The sequel to the Printz Award-winning The Ship Breaker

Perfect Escape by Jennifer Brown
July 2012 (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)
Looks like an interesting brother/sister road trip book from the author of Hate List and Bitter End

Messy by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan
6/5/12 (Little, Brown/Poppy)
The sequel to Spoiled from the FugGirls

The Rivals by Daisy Whitney
February 2012 (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)
The sequel to the Mockingbirds (which I still haven’t read, but just picked up the paperback from my local indie bookstore!)


Boy 21 by Matthew Quick
3/5/12 (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)
I loved Quick’s Sorta Like a Rock Star, so am curious to see read his next book

Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver
2/28/12 (HarperCollins)
The sequel to the dystopian Delirium

Insurgent by Veronica Roth
5/1/12 (HarperCollins)
The sequel to Divergent

Bitterblue by Kristen Cashore
5/1/12 (Penguin)
The long-awaited third book in the Seven Kingdoms series (Graceling, Fire)


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16. Downton Abbey Read-Alikes for Teens


It seems everyone around the internet has Downton Abbey fever. This British period drama set in the 1910s follows the lives of an aristocratic family and their servants during a time of great social and cultural change. The first series aired in the UK in 2010 and the US in early 2011. The second series, already aired in the UK, is currently broadcasting in the US on PBS on Sunday nights.

Here are a few titles that relate to some aspects of the series. Know any other good read-alikes? Let us know in the comments!

For the era:
Shirley by Kaoru Mori
A collection of manga stories about teenage maids in Edwardian England. The artist produced another series, Emma, about maids in the Victorian era.

 

 

 

The Entomological Tales of Augustus T. Percival: Petronella Saves Nearly Everyone by Dene Low
Sixteen-year-old Petronella teams up with her eccentric uncle, her best friend Jane, and Jane’s brother to find the important guests who were kidnapped from her birthday party in Edwardian London.

 

 

 

For the World War I aspects:
Without Warning: Ellen’s Story 1914-1918 by Dennis Hamley
The account of a working-class English girl as she comes of age during World War I, witnessing the horrors of war first at home and then as a nurse in France.

 

 

 

The Foreshadowing by Marcus Sedgwick
Able to see when someone is going to die, Alexandra travels to France as a nurse to save her brother from the fate of war.

 

 

 

For the era from an American perspective:
Bright Young Things series by Anna Godbersen
Two teen girls from the midwest run away to New York and find themselves swept up into the glamour of big city high society in the 1920s.

 

 

 

Timeless by Alexandra Monir
Sent to live with her estranged grandparents in New York, Michele discovers she can transport herself to 1910 through a diary. There, she meets the dashing Phillip Walker and becomes embroiled in a longstanding family feud.

 

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17. 2011 in Books



Even though it’s already two weeks into the new year, I still wanted to review my reading from 2011. It was my biggest reading year yet! Inspired by some other YA bloggers who read hundreds of books a year, I set my own reading goal at 150 — and I made it (just barely!). For my purposes, I don’t count picture books or easy reading books, but most other books add to the total. Let’s take a look at the breakdowns.

In 2011, I read:

  • 94 YA books
  • 35 adult books
  • 21 kids/MG books
  • 30 ebooks
  • 15 audiobooks
  • 13 graphic novels
  • Average rating:3.6/5

Favorite 2011 Releases:
Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt
Hopefully a shoe-in for a Newbery Medal or Honor, Doug Swieteck’s sometimes humorous, sometimes heartbreaking, story got me right in the gut.

Like Mandarin by Kirsten Hubbard
This debut novel about an intense friendship between two girls in rural Wyoming blew me away with lyrical prose that perfectly evoked its setting and made the characters come alive.

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
An honest story about the hurt cancer wreaks on a family, from the perspective of a young boy, that expertly incorporates elements of magical realism.

I’ll Be There by Holly Goldberg Sloan
I adored this heart-wrenching novel about two homeless brothers and their journey to find a place for themselves.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
I didn’t know I could love a book about fallen angels, but I fell in love with this world with its fantastical creatures and its kick-ass, blue-haired heroine.

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
It’s safe to say that Stephanie Perkins has perfected the contemporary YA romance novel with her second installment about two quirky teens in San Francisco.

Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan
This space-travel epic is filled with deceit, religious awakenings, coups, rom

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18. Movies Based on Books: January to March 2012

(1. One for the Money 2. The Woman in Black 3. Big Miracle
4. The Secret World of Arrietty 5. Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax 6. Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters
7. Mirror Mirror 8. Hunger Games 9. The Pirates! Band of Misfits)

January 20

Coriolanus
Based on the play by William Shakespeare
Starring Ralph Fiennes, Gerard Butler, and Brian Cox
(Limited Release — Rated R)

January 27

The Grey
Based on the short story “Ghost Walker” by Ian Mackenzie Jeffers
Starring Liam Neeson, Dermot Mulroney, and Frank Grillo

One for the Money
Based on the novel by Janet Evanovich
Starring Katherine Heigl, Jason O’Mara, and Daniel Sunjata

Albert Nobbs
Based on a short story by George Moore
Starring Glenn Close, Mia Wasikowska, and Aaron Johnson
(Rated R)

In Darkness
Based on In the Sewers of Lvov by Robert Marshall
Starring Robert Wieckiewicz, Benno Fürmann, and Agnieszka Grochowska
(Rated R)

February 3

The Woman in Black
Based on the novel by Susan Hill
Starring Daniel Radcliffe, Janet McTeer, and Ciarán Hinds

Big Miracle
Based on Freeing the Whales by Thomas Rose
Starring Drew Barrymore, John Krasinski, and Kristen Bell

February 17

The Secret World of Arrietty
Based on The Borrowers by Mary Norton
Screenplay by Hayao Miyazaki
Starring the voices of Bridgit Mendler, Amy Poehler, and Will Arnett

March 2

Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax
Based on the book by Dr. Seuss
Starring the voices of Zac Efron, Taylor Swift, and Danny DeVito

Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters
Loosely based on the story by the Brothers Grimm
Starring Jeremy Renner, Gemma Arterton, and Peter Stormare

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen
Based on the novel by Paul Torday
Starring Ewan McGregor, Emily Blunt, and Amr Waked
(Limited Release)

March 9

John Carter
Based on the novel John Carter of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs
Starring Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins, and Willem Dafoe

The Raven
A fictionalized account of the last days of Edgar

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19. Links of the Week: October 7

Nominations are open for the Cybils Children’s and Young Adult Bloggers’ Literary Awards until Oct. 15. Any books published in English since last October are eligible.

Publisher’s Weekly takes a look at the current YA market from the industry perspective.

The trailer is out for the film Young Adult starring Charlize Theron as a young adult author who returns to her hometown in an attempt to fix her life.

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20. This Week in Reading: October 10

Read

Paper Covers Rock by Jenny Hubbard
Sixteen-year-old Alex attends an all-boys boarding school in the mid-1980s. One of his best friends dies in a swimming accident, so Alex takes to keeping a diary of his life as it unfolds over the following months, especially detailing his crush on the young English teacher and the cover-up of the true story surrounding his friend’s death. In the vein of classic boarding school stories like A Separate Peace, this story is full of angst, literary references, and unrequited love. While this has received some high praise in review publications, probably because of its literary aspirations, the story and Alex’s voice fell flat for me. The mystery surrounding the death was not surprising and did not get a satisfying resolution. It’s especially difficult to imagine most teens enjoying this book with its 1980s pop culture references (Cheryl Tiegs is the pin-up du jour) and uninspired plotline.

Destroy All Cars by Blake Nelson
I’ve heard a lot of good things about Blake Nelson, so when I saw this on the shelves at the library I picked it up on a whim. Told in a sort of diary format, interspersed with dialogue transcripts and English assignments, we get a look into the life of high school junior James Hoff. He’s anti-car and anti-consumerism and not afraid to speak his mind, especially in his school essays. But he’s still not over his break-up with Sadie and not sure how to deal with his mainstream classmates, especially the girls. Nelson does a fantastic job articulating James’s voice — I felt like I could have gone to high school with a guy like him. Similarly disaffected readers will enjoy his sarcasm, but it may be off-putting to others who don’t buy into his worldview. It’s quick to read at just over 200 pages, though the end does feel a bit rushed.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Karou, a teenaged, blue-haired, art student living in Prague, leads a secret life where she runs errands for a teeth-collecting chimera in an parallel world full of fantastical creatures and powerful wishes. While not the normal teen experience, it’s all she’s known as an orphan growing up in this magical environment. When a mysterious something threatens Karou’s world, a breathtaking stranger enters her life and a bevy of secrets about her past starts to unfold.

I absolutely adored this novel from Laini Taylor. While it could technically be classified as a paranormal romance, it sort of transcends the genre. The world-building is fantastic, Karou is a kick-butt heroine, and the romance is swoon-worthy. This one definitely lives up to its hype and will even appeal to non-fantasy/paranormal readers.

Reading

Bright Young Things by Anna Godbersen
I love the YA trend of historical chick lit as perfected by Anna Godbersen. The Luxe novels were a delight read, so I’ve been meaning to pick up the 1920s-set Bright Young Things

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21. Links of the Week: October 14

The finalists for the 2011 National Book Award were announced, including six title in the young people’s literature category:

  • Chime by Franny Billingsley
  • My Name Is Not Easy by Debby Dahl Edwardson
  • Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai
  • Flesh and Blood So Cheap: The Triangle Fire and Its Legacy by Albert Marrin
  • Shine by Lauren Myracle
  • Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt

Another day, another piece about how dark children’s and young adult literature have become — this time, The New York Times.

Joyce Valenza at SLJ’s NeverEndingSearch posted an extensive list of curated resources from the site Scoop.it related to libraries, reading, and education.

Love the insight from Someday My Printz Will Come about finding the best books to read for award committees.

A writer at Salon thinks teens should be encouraged to read adult fiction to expose them to life’s realities — as if YA fiction does not or can not do the same.

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22. Movies Based on Books: November to December 2011

Movies Based on Books November/December 2011(1. Breaking Dawn Part 1 2. The Descendants 3. Hugo
4. Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows 5. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo 6. The Adventures of Tintin
7. We Bought a Zoo 8. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close 9. War Horse)

November 4

My Week With Marilyn
Starring Michelle Williams, Eddie Redmayne, and Kenneth Branagh
Based on the books My Week with Marilyn and The Prince, the Showgirl and Me by Colin Clark
(Limited Release)

November 18

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1
Starring Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and Taylor Lautner
Based on the book by Stephenie Meyer

The Descendants
Starring George Clooney, Judy Greer, and Matthew Lillard
Based on the novel by Kaui Hart Hemmings

November 23

Hugo
Starring Asa Butterfield, Chloë Grace Moretz, and Christopher Lee
Directed by Martin Scorsese
Based on The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

A Dangerous Method
Starring Michael Fassbender, Keira Knightley, and Viggo Mortensen
Based on A Most Dangerous Method by John Kerr

December 2

We Need to Talk About Kevin
Starring Tilda Swinton, John C. Reilly, and Ezra Miller
Based on the book by Lionel Shriver
(Limited Release)

December 9

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Starring Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, and Tom Hardy
Based on the novel by John le Carré

December 16

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
Starring Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law, and Jared Harris
Based on characters created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

December 21

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Starring Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara
Directed by David Fincher
Based on the book by Stieg Larsson

The Adventures of Tintin
Starring Jamie Bell, Andy Serkis, and Daniel Craig
Directed by Steven Spielberg
Based on the comic book series by Hergé

December 23

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23. Halloween: Nancy Drew Costume

nancy drew costume
While brainstorming a last-minute Halloween costume, I thought it would be fun to go as Nancy Drew circa 1930. Using the original covers as inspiration, I created this Polyvore set to brainstorm a costume in an ideal world.

Have you used literary characters as inspiration for a costume?

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24. Book List: Games in Fiction

In anticipation of National Gaming Day @ your Library on Saturday, November 12, an initiative to bring games of all kinds into libraries, I’ve compiled a list of books that prominently feature board, card, and role playing games. The list includes both recent and classic titles for both YA and middle grade readers. Enjoy!

The Cardturner: A Novel about a King, a Queen, and a Joker by Louis Sachar (2010)
Alton Richards is facing a boring summer when his parents enlist him to serve as a cardturner for his blind great-uncle at his regular bridge tournaments. While bored at first, Alton soon becomes entranced with the game and the intriguing Toni Castaneda, the only other person his age at the bridge club.

 

 

Into the Wild Nerd Yonder by Julie Halpern (2009)
Jess is perfectly content staying home on Friday nights sewing her signature skirts, but her longtime friends would rather hang out with her brother’s punk rock buddies. So Jess looks for a new crowd to hang out with and finds herself playing D&D with a group of lovable nerds.

 

 

The Girl Who Invented Romance by Caroline B. Cooney (1988)
Frustrated with her own love life, Kelly decides to make a board game fashioned after the real life ups and downs of love and dating, called Romance.
 

Interstellar Pig by William Sleator (1984)
In this 1980s sci-fi story, 16-year-old Barney befriends his mysterious neighbors who are addicted to a strange board game called Interstellar Pig. When he starts noticing weird coincidences with his life and the game, Barney realizes that there may be more at stake than just winning or losing. A sequel, Parasite Pig was released in 2002.

 

Games: A Tale of Two Bullies by Carol Gorman (2007)
Instead of suspension, eighth graders and enemies Mick and Boot are ordered to spend every afternoon playing board games until they can work out their issues.

 

 

 

Wizards of The Game by David Lubar (2003)
Eight grader Mercer Dickensen stirs up controversy when he tries to organize a gaming convention based on his favorite role-playing game &l

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25. Links of the Week: November 18

Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai has won the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature.

The Boston Globe takes a look at the burgeoning young adult book market.

YALSA launched a redesign of its website this week.

I love this digital signboard showing live library statistics from the Darien Library in Connecticut.

The Pew Internet and American Life Project released a report on Teens, Kindness and Cruelty on Social Network Sites based on surveys conducted earlier this year.

Forever YA posts about library YAngelism — getting adults to read teen titles. Includes some great pictures of displays!

It’s that time of year for best of lists. Largehearted Boy is my go to source for a frequently updated list of lists and Early Word is collating the children’s lists into a spreadsheet.

I love this new Research Roundup from the YALSA blog — a monthly feature highlighting academic research articles related to libraries and young adults.

What else has been getting buzz this week?

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