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A Teen and Tween Librarian's thoughts on books, reading and adventures in the library.
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The Terrible Two by Mac Barnett and Jory John
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Miles is not excited to be moving to Yawnee Valley-how exciting can a place be when there's a yawn right in the name? Miles was known as the best prankster in his old town, always pulling stunts on his friends. When he discovers that Yawnee Valley already has a prankster, Miles has to figure out who it is-and take the prankster down. Each one tries to one up each other, leading to more epic pranks and jokes in a hilarious prank war.GreenBeanTeenQueen Says:
This book is sure to inspire tween pranksters everywhere! The Terrible Two
is the hilarious tale of two epic pranksters had me cracking up. I listened to the audiobook, so while I'm sure the book itself is great (there are illustrations inside making a perfect book to give kids who are enjoying chapter books with illustrations) I loved the audiobook so very much. Adam Verner, the narrator
, offers up a variety of voices for the characters and I laughed so much while I was listening-I especially loved his principal voice!
The pranks in this book are awesome and hysterical. These boys are not your average chalk in the eraser, whoopie cushion on the chair pranksters. They go above and beyond and their pranks are over the top that I know readers will get a kick of all their planning and pranking. The supporting characters are also very exaggerated, which adds to the humor. The principal comes from a long line of principals and he's a hapless leader. I loved the jokes about his speeches and principal lessons-I think adults would get a kick out of this book too.The Terrible Two
was a quick listen and a book I immediately went back to the library and started putting in the hands of my readers. It's perfect for readers who enjoy Jon Scieszka and when kid asks for a funny book, I know exactly what to give them. But make sure you have your readers promise they won't pull any of the pranks they learn on you!Full Disclosure: reviewed from audibook I checked out at my librar
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Visit Sharon Biggs Waller Online
About the Book:
In 1909 London, girls are expected to follow the rules, behave, and marry well. But Victoria Darling wants none of those things-she wants to be an artist. Her passion for art takes a turn when she scandalizes her family by posing nude at her secret art class. She is pulled from her finishing school and returned home where her parents arrange a marriage for her to the wealthy Edmund Carrick-Humphrey. But Vicky wants other things for her future-she wants to attend the Royal Academy of Art and she knows she can make it-but she has to finish her portfolio. She befriends a local policeman who becomes her muse and gets caught up in the burgeoning suffragette movement. Vicky wants to choose her own path and she is determined to make that happen.
GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: I love historical drama set in this time period anyway, so I was sure to fall for this book, but there was so much happening and Vicky is such a fantastic strong character that I think I would have fallen head of heels for it anyway-even without the historical setting!
Vicky is a cross between Sybil Crowley and Arya Stark. She's passionate, she knows what she wants and she's not afraid to go after it herself. In a time where women were told to stay quiet and behave, Vicky doesn't listen. Instead she stays strong, follows her own path and makes her own way. It's not easy and she doesn't expect it to be, but that's also why she's incredibly tough. She knows what she's giving up to go after her dreams-she knows she's giving up a nice cozy future and while it takes her awhile to fully let it go, she comes to terms with it in the end and realizes that some dreams are worth working for.
I'll admit there were times I wanted to scream and Vicky and ask what she thought she was doing! While she eventually realizes that marriage to a stuffy rich boy is not the way to art filled future, she is somewhat naive about others. She thinks that she'll be able to fulfill her dream of attending art school once married and it took her a long time to figure out that wasn't going to happen! I saw that coming and would get frustrated with her, but I also had to remind myself that she was coming at it from a naive viewpoint and was acting exactly as I would expect her to-frustrating or not.
I adored the romance in this book and loved that Vicky wasn't all about focusing on Will, the policeman she befriends. There is romance in the book, but it's not the focus and it's not something Vicky spends a lot of time fretting about. Instead she is more concerned with her future and working with the suffragettes. I also loved the details and characters from Vicky's work with fighting for woman's rights. These women went through a lot to fight for equality and the author doesn't shy away from the way they were treated or the horrific things they experienced-from beatings to starving in prison and being force-fed.
Vicky is an incredibly strong and thoughtful character and I loved her story. While the book dragged at times (which I think was especially noticeable while listening to it on audio) overall I really enjoyed it. Historical fiction readers, readers who enjoy strong female characters, and readers interested in women's rights are sure to enjoy this-and check it out on audio!
Full Disclosure: Reviewed from audiobook I checked out from my library
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Nate is off to New York City to start auditions for E. T.: The Broadway Musical! The show is full of child actors, a director who no one thinks can actually pull this off, and understudies who are even crazier in person! Will the show make it to previews? Will Nate make his Broadway debut?GreenBeanTeenQueen Says:
I adored Better Nate Than Ever
so very much. so I was thrilled to have Nate back and enjoy more of his naive optimism when it comes to show tunes, Broadway, and people and life in general.
As usual, Nate sees the good in everything around him and that makes him a very charming character. While the rest of the cast isn't sure this show is going to take off and just doing it for a job, Nate is there because he's living his dream and his belief that the show is magical makes it magical. He also could make Jordan, the lead child actor who is playing the role of Elliot into his nemesis, and while there is some early rivalry, Nate doesn't let that stop him from befriending Jordan-or the other kid actors. He even manages to make his way into the heart of one of the other E.T. understudies. Everyone who Nate comes in contact with really ends up falling for his charms-as do the readers, which makes this book so wonderful. Nate's optimism is infectious.
In addition to all the Broadway talk, show tunes references, and theater geek goodies galore, Tim Federle explores two tougher topics in a deftly and perfect way-the absence of Nate's parents and the topic of Nate's sexuality. While the topic of Nate's parents is hard to discuss in an otherwise happy-go-lucky feel of a book, but instead of getting too deep and bogged down, it's handled seamlessly in the story. Nate struggles with the absence of his parents, why they don't check in, why they don't seem happier for him, and why they don't share his passions and his dreams. But he finds comfort in his Aunt Heidi, who steps in as caretaker while he is in New York, and while I think it will take longer for Nate's dad to come around, I think there is hope for his mom to come visit him and see her son on stage someday.
Nate has a secret admirer in the book and he suspects it's one of the girls in the cast-and Nate isn't sure how he feels about that. And he's in for a surprise when he discovers who it is! The sweet, tender romance, of a gay boy isn't often explored in middle grade novels and again, the author does a great job fitting this into the story. Nate's romance is adorable and you just want to cheer him on throughout the entire book.
I listened the first book on audio and knew I had to listen to this one too. Tim Federle needs to narrate more audiobooks because he is awesome! Not only is his writing hilarious, but his narration is spot on. He nails the innocence of Nate, the overprotective stage parent, the tired (and a bit washed up) actors, the clueless director, the tough choreographer who rules the stage-they are all wonderfully created on audio via Federle's narration. I was so excited to see this auidobook win an Odyssey Honor!
While the book does have a bit of a 42nd Street
ending, I thought it fit Nate's story well and loved seeing the world of Broadway through his eyes. I can't wait to read more from Tim Federle-my inner theater kid needs more!
Book Pairings: Jack & Louisa: Act 1 by Andrew Keenan-Bolger and Kate WeatherheadFull Disclosure: Reviewed from audiobook sent by publisher
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Felicity Pickle is tired of moving around is hoping that Midnight Gulch will finally be the place where her momma's wandering heart will settle down. Felicity is a word collector and she sees words floating all around the people and places of Midnight Gulch. It used to be a magical place, but the magic is long gone. But Felicity and her newfound friend Jonah just might be able to stir some of that magic back into Midnight Gulch-and into everyone who lives there.GreenBeanTeenQueen Says
: Sometimes a narrator and a book were just made for each other and I think that's the case of Cassandra Morris and A Snicker of Magic
. I mean, there's a reason that this book is an Odyssey Honor Book! Just listen to the preview from Audible
Natalie Lloyd's debut novel oozes charm in such a good way that you want to curl up with Snicker, a bowl of delicious ice cream and read (or listen) all night long. This book has magic in it and it's the kind of magic that makes your heart sing and you just have to smile after you put the book down.
Felicity is the type of person who I want to be friends with. She smart and has some spunk, but she's also a bit shy, as being moved around has made her grow more into herself. She's nervous to get close to those around her because she knows her family may just up and leave again so it's hard to make friends. But she can't resist Jonah-and really, who could? If I want Felicity to be my friend, then I want Jonah there with us leading the way. Jonah is wonderful and funny and is the perfect pull to Felicity's shyness and they compliment each other beautifully. It's a fantastic friendship and I loved every moment of it.
The rest of the cast of characters are eccentric and delightful and the town of Midnight Gulch is a character all its own. I wish Midnight Gulch was a real place because I would love to visit-especially for that ice cream! (Did I mention there was ice cream that sounds so good it will make you so mad that it's fictional in this book?) Felicity and Midnight Gulch are a wonderful next step for readers who are looking for something after Anne of Green Gables
or The Penderwicks
. I think if they could, Anne and Felicity would be great literary kindred spirits. Reading A Snicker of Magic brought me back to those books I grew up on with the characters I wanted to be and I can see a young reader out there hoping she can grow up and become just like Felicity.
Cassandra Morris has a sweet voice with the perfect southern accent to really bring Midnight Gulch to life and her slow deliberate narration and drawl add to the atmosphere of the book. I loved this one on audio! If you have families looking for a great listen on a car ride, I would give this one a try.
If you read it or listen to it, A Snicker of Magic
is an adorable and a splindiddly turn of words and phrases. Felicity is a word collector and Natalie Lloyd is a master of words herself. I can't wait to get lost in her book.
Book Pairings: The Penderwicks
by Jeanne Birdsall, Because of Winn-Dixie
by Kate DiCamillo, Anne of Green Gables
by L.M. MontgomeryFull Disclosure: Reviewed from audiobook sent by publisher for review
Did you know June is Audiobook Month?
I don't remember exactly when I first started listening to audiobooks. Most likely from the time I was very, very young. I remember checking out book and cassette tape sets from my local library. You know, the ones that had a beep to tell you when to turn the page. Then as I got older, I checked out chapter books. I would listen to them at night before I would go to bed and then I'd have to remember where I left off and rewind the book in the morning! My most favorite audiobook to listen to as a kid was From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs Basil E. Frankweiler-I listened to it so much I had parts of the book memorized. I'm sure most of the check outs on that audiobook from the library were from me!
I didn't listen to audiobooks after elementary school much and didn't give them much thought for a long time. Then when it turned out we were moving and it would be a 9 hour car ride, my mother-in-law suggested that we listen to audiobooks to help pass the time. Mr. GreenBeanSexyMan and I listened to Harry Potter and I fell in love with audiobooks all over again.
Now I recommend audiobooks to every patron who comes into my library, I have a list of favorite narrators, I eagerly await the announcements of the Audies Awards and the Odyssey Awards each year, and I even review for AudioFile Magazine!
So to celebrate audiobook month, I plan on sharing lots of audiobook reviews this month. First up are a few that I reviewed for AudioFile Magazine and gave Earphones Awards to (the equivalent of a starred review) You can click on each title to read the full review.
And a few others I reviewed that are well worth the listen!
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I am so excited to share with you today about a beautiful debut novel, Circus Mirandus, by Cassie Beasley. Myself and many other bloggers are celebrating this middle grade debut. There's even a letter from Cassie about how exciting it is to see her book enter to world today. Circus Mirandus has received three starred reviews and is an absolute gem of a book. Thanks so much to Word Spelunking for organizing this! More details about the book are below, as well as a Rafflecopter giveaway for a bunch of swag items, courtesy of Penguin Young Readers! Enter for a chance to win at the bottom of this post.
About the Book: Micah Tuttle believes in magic, even though his awful Great-Aunt Gertrudis doesn’t approve. Micah believes in the stories his dying Grandpa Ephraim tells him of the magical Circus Mirandus: the invisible tiger guarding the gates, the beautiful flying birdwoman, and the magician more powerful than any other—the Man Who Bends Light. Finally, Grandpa Ephraim offers proof. The Circus is real—and the Lightbender owes Ephraim a miracle. With his friend Jenny Mendoza in tow, Micah sets out to find the Circus and the man he believes will save his grandfather. The only problem is, the Lightbender doesn't want to keep his promise. And now it's up to Micah to get the miracle he came for. Readers will fall in love with Circus Mirandus, which celebrates the power of seeing magic in the world.
Ages ago I hung a poster in my room with the words “The Circus Opens Summer 2015” in bold letters across the top. At the time, it seemed that Summer 2015 would never come. Now, miraculously, June 2 is here, and Circus Mirandus is springing up in bookshops all over the country. In the story, those called to Circus Mirandus feel a change in the wind. They hear music on the air, pipes and drums leading them toward magic and hope and heart’s desires. Eventually they find themselves before the gates, standing, as I am now, on the threshold of somewhere both wonderful and unknowable. As people read the pages into which I’ve poured so much time and self, I wonder what they’ll think of the world I’ve created. I wonder if they will love it as much as I do. It’s an exciting moment, stepping through these gates into a place I’ve imagined but never seen. Thank you so much for making this journey with me. Thank you for supporting the book. Thank you, most of all, for believing.
CASSIE BEASLEY is from rural Georgia, where, when she's not writing, she helps out on the family pecan farm. She earned her MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults at the Vermont College of Fine Arts. CIRCUS MIRANDUS
is her first novel.
Happy Summer everyone! We are two weeks into our Summer Reading Program at my library (our program runs for 12 weeks!) and our programming starts today. I was inspired by my awesome friend Angie who tweeted this last week:
Summer is the MOST stressful time for a public librarian. BUT the secret they don't tell you is...it's also the most FUN.
(Miss P and me on the first day of Summer Reading!)
When people think of Summer, they still think of lazy days, lots of reading, vacations, and relaxing. When you become a public librarian your Summers become full of reading, programming, busy days, possibly working even more than you are scheduled to, and making it your mission (even more than usual) to get kids to read. This is can be tons of fun but it can also be stressful, exhausting, and incredibly rough.
I try to explain what it's like to my friends and family and even our regular patrons who wonder just why we're so busy. But it's hard to tell people what it's like unless they experience it from the front lines. To try and give you an idea, I looked up some stats to help tell the story.
- In January 2014 my library branch saw an average of 1,240 patrons walk through our doors each day.
- In June 2014 that number increased to an average of 1,552 patrons each day.
- Last year, my branch alone had 4,763 kids and teens participate in the Summer Reading Program (and remember, that's also kids and teens who are coming into our branch to check out books, pick up prizes, and attend programs-plus all the kids and parents who come & don't turn anything in for Summer Reading!)
- This Summer my staff is taking on 13 weekly programs in addition to lots of special and extra programming that is going on. This includes 7 weekly storytimes, 2 STEAM programs, 1 Tween program, 1 Fandom Jr program for preschoolers, and 2 outside performers (jugglers, musicians, etc that we bring in for special programs)
So we are exhausted by the end of an entire summer of this! It's so tiring and we end up answering a lot of the same questions which can sometimes make you feel like a librarian robot:
"how do you participate in the Summer Reading Program?"
"where is (enter popular series title)"
"when is storytime?"
"can you recommend any good books?"
"my child is learning to read, where are books for them?"
"why are there no (enter popular series title) on the shelf?"
There is hardly time to breathe because the lines are long, the questions are endless, you are constantly putting things on hold because nothing is ever on the shelf. We try but the shelves get wiped of anything anyone wants in the first week and there are hold lists all Summer long! If someone does find a popular book, I tell them it's their lucky day! Plus you have non-stop programming and you better have gotten it all planned before Summer Reading started because there is absolutely no time to get off desk to plan anything (remember that long line of patrons with questions/needing to turn in prizes/put books on hold?) And if you're the manager, good luck trying to make any meetings during the Summer and you'll most likely end up working on the schedule from home because it's the only time you have to work on anything!
Yet, as crazy as it is, as Angie mentioned, it's also our favorite time of year. It can also be incredibly rewarding. We get to share lots of success stories from families about their kids reading and learning about the fun and joys of reading. We get to see kids learn to read and read their first books on their own. We get to share in a families joy over discovering a great new family audiobook on their recent road trip. We get to show kids, teens and parents that they Library has amazing things to offer and has something for everyone. And we get to experience amazing stories like these (all of which I experienced in the last two weeks):
Just a couple of weeks ago I had a young boy come in looking for some books but the ones he wanted were checked out. He said he had to do Summer Reading because his mom was forcing him to. I told him that no one should be forced to read and asked him some questions about what he was interested in. After listening to his likes and dislikes, I found him a couple books I thought he might enjoy, pulled them off the shelf, gave him a short book talk (aka commercial for the book), and told him that if they didn't look good, it was OK-it didn't hurt my feelings and we'd try again. He took both books, read the first chapter of each, then excitedly came back to the desk to tell me he loved both of them and couldn't wait to read them!
We have a family that moved to France temporarily and this is their first Summer away. They decided they loved the Summer Reading Program so much they printed off their gameboards in France and are looking forward to turning them in when they visit home this Summer to get their free books!
I'm at a branch where we see a drop in program attendance once kids reach school age. They come to the Library but it's often to study or get homework materials and we don't see them as much during the school year. But once Summer comes they all come back and I get to see some of my favorite kids again. It's like a giant homecoming and I love it!
Summer is also the time we do the most Reader's Advisory (the suggesting of books) and it's a blast. It's the thing my staff tells me over and over that they love about Summer because we get to share books we're excited about, hear what our kids are excited about, and in general have a feel good time about reading.
So my fellow youth services librarians-let's cheer each other on. We know it's hard, we know it's exhausting, but we also know it's rewarding and fun. We're helping people find the joy of the library, we're helping them find the joy of reading, and we're helping them find the joy of having a place of their own. Rebecca at Hafuboti has a great idea for #libraryyes
Let's send some positive thoughts and love to each other this Summer. Let's remember to stay happy and positive and remember why we love our jobs. And let's remember to breathe, not stress, not worry, and enjoy the moment-let's have fun!
So next time you visit your Public Library or see your librarian, give them a hug, a smile, and maybe even some chocolate. And give them a high five and tell them you know how exhausting it is but remind them it's for a good cause. And they are fighting the good fight of Summer Reading.For more about what Summer Reading is like, check out Angie's Letter to a Young Librarian about Summer Reading Programs.
Summer is here at if you work in the Public Library, than Summer equals Summer Reading and Summer Reading Programs.
Summer Reading encourages kids to read during their school break, read for fun and enjoyment, and keep up their reading so they avoid the Summer Slide
. I think we do a great job promoting that kids should read during the Summer at my library and we have great involvement and feedback about our Summer Reading Program. Parents comment that kids were motivated to read, they had fun, and that they used the activities on the game board to create fun activities for their family over Summer. This is all great and I love it, but there is a very hard part to Summer Reading that happens each and every year. No matter how much I try, I always hear the following comments:
"Read real books."
"You can only read books on your level."
"Listening doesn't count in our house."
When I hear these or other similar statements, I have to try really hard to make sure I don't make this face:
Photo Credit: Flickr, Mindaugas Danys
Because that screaming child pretty much sums up how I feel anytime I hear someone discrediting any reading-of any genre, format, or suggested age and level.
Reading is supposed to be enjoyable and Summer Reading finally gives kids a chance to have a break from everyone telling them what to read all school year long. I still remember one of my teens telling me how high school pretty much ruined her reading life because she was sick and tired of being told to read at a higher Lexile level and being forced to read classics instead of the YA books she wanted to read. Do we really want to turn out kids into reading haters? They don't get enough choice in school, so let them have choice during Summer. If we want our kids to become readers, we know the best way to get them to read is to let them read what they want. The best way to increase their reading skills and reading levels (which let's be honest, I hate reading levels and think they are a lot of nonsense, but that's a post for another day!) is to let them read. Scholastic's 5th Annual Reading Report
shows that "Ninety-one percent of children ages 6–17 say “my favorite books are the ones that I have picked out myself.”
(And really, go read the whole thing-it's fantastic!)
When I give my Summer Reading Spiel to parents and kids, I stress that ANYTHING they read counts. Any format, any genre, reading aloud, reading silently, reading together, reading alone, looking at books for pre-readers, audiobooks, ebooks-ANYTHING! I make a big deal at my school presentations to the kids that I'm not going to tell them what to read, their teachers aren't going to tell them what to read, and that their parents aren't going to tell them what to read. And this year I told them that if they do, that they need to come talk to me, because I will tell them that Summer Reading is all about choice! (I haven't had anyone show up yelling at me yet, but I'm still waiting for that angry parent who is upset because I promised their kid free choice for Summer Reading!)
Parents seem to get the importance of Summer Reading. Yet they are shocked to discover they can read aloud, listen to audiobooks, or read comic books!
I try to point out that listening is a great way to read for auditory learners, it can help kids who are struggling readers with a longer text, it can help readers who need to follow along with text and read aloud, they are fantastic models for storytelling, and audio can be a way to share a book together as a family. I also love how audiobooks work great for kids who can't sit still and need to move around while reading-audiobooks can provide the best of both worlds-movement and reading.
I talk about how graphic novels aren't easier just because they have picture, but instead of creating a picture alone in your mind along with the text, readers have to evaluate text and pictures while reading! Graphic novels can also be a way for readers who need more of a visual element to read classics because there are illustrations to help explain the context.
We have a PowerPoint that advertises our programs, new books, and other Library info. I'm hoping to take some stats from these various reports and cycle through them on our slideshow to encourage parents to take note that reading in various formats is of course reading! I may not win every battle, but I'm going to try my hardest. And I will continue to stress to every child and parent that comes in my library that ANYTHING they read counts for Summer Reading. If you want your child to read, let them read what they want-any genre, any format, and a book of their choice-because that is what is going to get them to read.
About the Book: (from Goodreads) After her huge success with her first feature-length movie, seventh-grader Kate Walden is eager to start on her next film, a sci-fi romance called Bride of Slug Man. When a new kid comes to town from New York City, Kate thinks she might have a new found film buddy-someone to share her interest with. And it doesn't hurt that he's pretty cute. But it turns out that Tristan is making his own movie, and now the classmates Kate thought were eager to join her cast and crew are divided.
With rumors spreading in school and between sets, Kate finds herself juggling more than just call times and rewrites. And judging from the whispers Kate hears about Tristan Kingsley,she suspects that he isn't interested in having a fellow film-buff friend; he just wants to prove himself as the best filmmaker in school by winning the Big Picture Film Festival. Kate vows to enter too, and tries to focus on just making the best movie she can.
But between the cut throat popularity contest, a bully situation that goes from bad to worse, and several on-set mishaps, Kate is going to need all the movie magic she can get to make sure Bride of Slug Man hits the big screen.
Can I admit to a tiny pet peeve? It’s certain “mean girl” and “mean boy” characters in children’s books. You know the ones—everything they do and say is mean and their nasty behavior is usually aimed at the main character. They appear to have no role other than to cause problems for the MC. In contrast, the MC is the sympathetic “good kid” who sometimes suffers from terrible flaws like being too
generous or too
concerned about their friends and family.
Here’s my peeve—I raised two girls, hung out with a lot of middle school-age kids, and none of them fit either of the “good kid/bad kid” descriptions. I saw nice kids who had bad days and said mean things, even to their friends. I also saw kids who—yes—were more troubled, who had issues, but were still capable of kindness, humor and friendship.
In other words, they were real kids. When I sat down to write about Kate Walden, I wanted her to be a strong, likeable, funny character, but I also wanted her to be real. In Kate Walden Directs: Bride of Slug Man
, Kate has already finished one movie to great acclaim. All the kids at school want to be in her next project. Suddenly, a cute new boy shows up who also likes to make movies, and they become rivals. Kate struggles with spiteful feelings. She makes bad assumptions and nurses a grudge. Really, couldn’t that be any of us on a bad day? Luckily, Kate learns from her mistakes, which is what I think parents should hope for—not that our children will be perfect “good kids,” because that’s a huge expectation to put on anyone, but that they will learn from their stumbles and grow emotionally as they grow physically.
Let’s face it—middle school years can be tough. Innocent childhood is receding and adulthood looms on the far horizon like a scary gray fog. Like a lot of kids at that age, Kate worries about her social standing and what other kids think of her, but she’s also a plucky girl who’s not afraid to pursue a big dream. Hopefully, middle grade readers can relate to her character and maybe even see some of themselves in her humorous antics and social misfires.
About Julie: Julie Mata grew up outside Chicago and currently lives in Wisconsin, where she owns a video production business with her husband.. She loves movies and once wrote and directed her own short film. She also loves traveling, gardening, and reading a really good book. Her first book was Kate Walden Directs: Night of the Zombie Chickens. For more information, including a downloadable curriculum guide and a filmmaking tip of the month, visit her website: juliemata.com.
Follow along on the Bride of Slug Man blog tour!
Want to win a copies of the Kate Walden Directs books? Fill out the form below to enter!
-Contest thanks to Big Honcho Media and Disney-Hyperion Books
-One entry per person
-US Address only please
-Contest ends May 28
Please welcome Anna Banks to GreenBeanTeenQueen as part of her tour for her new book Joyride!About The Book: (from goodreads:) A popular guy and a shy girl with a secret become unlikely accomplices for midnight pranking, and are soon in over their heads—with the law and with each other—in this sparkling standalone from NYT-bestselling author Anna Banks.
It’s been years since Carly Vega’s parents were deported. She lives with her brother, studies hard, and works at a convenience store to contribute to getting her parents back from Mexico.
Arden Moss used to be the star quarterback at school. He dated popular blondes and had fun with his older sister, Amber. But now Amber’s dead, and Arden blames his father, the town sheriff who wouldn’t acknowledge Amber's mental illness. Arden refuses to fulfill whatever his conservative father expects.
All Carly wants is to stay under the radar and do what her family expects. All Arden wants is to NOT do what his family expects. When their paths cross, they each realize they’ve been living according to others. Carly and Arden’s journey toward their true hearts—and one another—is funny, romantic, and sometimes harsh.
-Your Syrena Legacy series features mermaids and Joyride is contemporary. Why did you make the switch? Was one genre easier or more difficult to write?
I didn’t intentionally make the switch to contemporary. I’m not familiar with how you should even write contemporary, because I hadn’t read too many before this. But it’s Carly who compelled me to write it. She has a story to tell even if it’s not fantasy, and I can’t ignore the her strong voice. Fantasy is much easier for me to write. I get to create a world in fantasy, where in contemporary, the world has already been created. You’d think that would be easier but it’s not. Sticking within the boundaries of this world and still telling an interesting story is hard writing. A lot of fantasies have high concept plots, it’s expected, and contemporaries tend to focus on character. In JOYRIDE, I tried to write a balance between plot and character. I hope you enjoy it. J
-What's the best prank you ever pulled?
I’ve pulled a lot of pranks in my time but here’s the most recent. I was selling one of my Coach purses on craigslist and agreed to meet a lady in a parking lot so she could buy it. We had texted and confirmed our appointment. When she got there, she told me I didn’t have any business selling a Coach purse for that much money and that I should just give it to her. Ummmm, no. She pretty much pitched a fit for like fifteen minutes that I wouldn’t give her my purse. So after our confrontation, I downloaded a picture of a black cat, made lost posters for it with the lady’s number on it and put a $500 reward on it. Every available street light in town got a poster. I’m pretty sure she’s going to have to switch her number.
-If you could have dinner with any fictional character, who would it be?
Warren from the Shatter Me series. Obviously, the guy is hot. But I’d want to pick apart his brain, and unfortunately he and I are amused by much of the same things. I think we’d get kicked out of the restaurant and that’s when our real dinner would begin.
-What books are on your nightstand right now?
I’m at RT, so I’ve got some steamy romance novels on my hotel night stand—and don’t think I’m not reading them all, either!
Want to win a copy? Leave a comment below!
Contest thanks to Macmillan Books!
-One entry per person
-Contest ends May 28
-US/Canada Address Only Please
If I woke up and discovered I was a princess, I would be both nervous and excited. I would immediately want to check out my new royal castle's library (because a castle has to have a library!) and I hope that it would look just like Belle's castle, because isn't that what every bookish princess wants?
I would also use my new princess powers for good and bring books and libraries to kids all over my kingdom. I would make sure my kingdom had libraries with great teen and children's librarians. I would even build a library just for kids and teens and staff it with the best librarians possible (all my friends of course who are the most amazing librarians ever!) And then one of my first acts as princess would be to bring a litfest to my kingdom bringing in authors and illustrators from all over the world. If I could, I would also use my powers to fund libraries outside of my kingdom and bring books to children everywhere I went.
Aside from all the bookish things I would do, I would make sure that Mr. GreenBeanSexyMan got to own a sports team, since that's his dream. If I get my dream library and get to bring books to everyone I meet, then Mr. GreenBeanSexyMan should get something too, right?
What would you do if you woke up and discovered you were a princess? That's what happens to Olivia in Meg Cabot's new book, From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess. Want to win a copy of the book? Leave a comment below!
Contest thanks to Macmillan Kids Books
Contest ends May 26
One entry per person please
US Address only please
About the Book: (from Goodreads) Michael is unsure about most things. Go to college? Enlist in the military? Break up with his girlfriend? All big question marks. He is living for the moment and all he wants is a few days at the biggest concert of the summer.
Cora lives in the town hosting the music festival. She's volunteering in the medical tent. She's like that, always the good girl. But there is something in the air at this concert and suddenly Cora finds herself wanting to push her own boundaries.
When Michael and Cora meet, sparks fly, hearts race, and all the things songs are written about come true. And all the while, three days of the most epic summer await them...
I am excited to welcome author Sarvenaz Tash to GreenBeanTeenQueen! Her newest book, Three Day Summer, is all about Woodstock. She captures the atmosphere and the music and I wanted to know more about the music in the book and the playlists she made to get inspired to write. I love this playlist and listening to it gets me in the mood for summer (and to read Sarvenaz's awesome book!) Be sure to check out the rest of her tour stops as well!
It will probably come as no surprise that I love the music of the 1960s. And although I myself was a teenager during the bizarre grunge/pop hybrid that was the mid- to late ‘90s, I actually spent most of my high school years listening to this music instead.
I made two Spotify playlists to go with my Woodstock love story, Three Day Summer
. One features the songs—and in some cases, some of the very performances—that my two main characters Cora and Michael hear during the festival itself. The other I like to refer to as my “’60s milieu” playlist, and I filled it with not only some of my favorite songs of the decade, but some of the tunes that I think best embody the many facets of it: from its socially conscious anthems to its feel-good pop to its trippy soundscapes. (I do have one strong caveat: Beatles songs are not available on Spotify and that’s the only reason they are not included on this list!)
Here then are the songs I chose for the Three Day Summer
—In the Mood soundtrack (followed, of course, by the playlist itself!):
1“Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is a Season)” The Byrds
Between the out-of-this-world harmonies and the profound lyrics (partially taken from the Bible no less!), this is just one of those songs that makes me feel calm, reflective, and peaceful. I thought it was fitting since the peace sign is one of the most enduring symbols of the 1960s.
“Happy Together” The Turtles
True to its title, this song just makes me feel toe-tappingly happy and, I think, is indicative of the some of the best pop to come out of the decade. Plus it’s about being head over heels in love which, of course, also goes along with the book.
“Piece of My Heart” Janis Joplin
I’m not sure it’s possible to find a more gutsy and gut-wrenching performance of a song that’s both about heartbreak and about girl power. (This line: “I’m going to show you, baby, that a woman can be tough” is a particular favorite to belt out in the shower! Amiright, ladies?). Janis plays an important role in the book and she performed this song at Woodstock too!
“"America” Simon & Garfunkel
Another song with harmonies that slay me in the best way. I also think the lyrics portray both the hope and the heartache that came with the changing face of what it was to be young in 1960s America.
You Keep Me Hangin’ On” The Supremes
The sound of Motown was a huge, indelible part of the 1960s and The Supremes were for sure the queens of it.
“Build Me Up Buttercup” The Foundations
Yes, this has played at every Sweet 16 you’ve been to since the beginning of time (or, at least, since 1968) but there’s a reason for it: you simply must sing and dance along to its unshakeable beat.
“Somebody to Love” Jefferson Airplane
From another Woodstock performer, I love the contrast of this song to the one before it and I think it’s a great example of some of the more psychedelic sounds of the decades. Plus lead singer Grace Slick is another fantastic rocker chick that embodies the feminist spirit of the decade.
“Don’t Worry Baby” The Beach Boys
You can’t love the ‘60s without loving the beautiful harmonies of The Beach Boys and this one is one of my very favorite love songs of theirs . . . that also just happens to be about drag racing.
“These Boots Are Made for Walkin’” Nancy Sinatra
Remember all that girl power I mentioned before? In the age of Gloria Steinem and Betty Friedan, this kiss-off anthem just fits right in. Plus I know that Nancy wore a lot of fabulous go-go boots to perform it—and what is more ‘60s than that?!
“Joy to the World” Three Dog Night
The lyrics don’t make a whole lot of sense (why is this person friends with a bullfrog?!) but you can’t help singing along anyway as this ode to the world is quite joyous indeed.
“I’m a Believer” The Monkees
Full confession: The Monkees were my first-ever concert (see the first paragraph of this post) and I’ve adored them for practically as long as I can remember. Though they started out as a made-for-TV Beatles parody band, they ended up with some truly spectacular songs in their oeuvre. This bouncy number is a particular favorite.
“Bad Moon Rising” Creedence Clearwater Revival
Also performed at Woodstock, this song comes in at a key point in the story. I also think it has a particular rock/bluegrass vibe that was a big part of the ‘60s sound.
“Time of the Season” The Zombies
I find this song both sultry and trippy, which I think showcases yet another facet of the decade.
The ultimate anthem for the teen population of the 1960s? I think so! Of course, I’m not sure how the Who feel now about belting out lyrics like “I hope I die before I grow old” but I think that it’s hard to find a song that better embodies the universal feeling of being young and misunderstood.
“A Change Is Gonna Come” Sam Cooke
A song that remains as beautiful and pertinent today as it did when it came out, Cooke was directly singing about the civil rights movement of the 1960s and the hope for a better tomorrow that led so many to fight for equality.
Follow the Tour:
Mon, May 11
What a Nerd Girl Says
Tues, May 12
Wed, May 13
Mother Daughter Book Club
Thurs, May 14
Curling Up with a Good Book
Fri, May 15
The Compulsive Reader
The Hiding Spot
Tues, May 19
Adventures of a Book Junkie
Wed, May 20
Thurs, May 21
The Haunting of Orchid Forsythia
Fri, May 22
The Eternity Key is here! Check out the awesome book trailer!
Get ready for some awesome preview quotes from The Eternity Key!
The book releases on April 28! If you haven't read The Shadow Prince
, don't worry! It's out now so check your local library or bookstore (it's out in paperback!)
About the Book: (from the publisher) Case File: The First Unsittable
The Association Linking Intergalatics and Earthlings (hereby known as A.L.I.E.N.) has a new member. After months of investigation, Gabby Duran, Associate 4118-25125A, has proven herself to be a babysitter extraordinaire. Her celebrity clients fly her around the country to care for their rambunctious little humans. Our spy, Associate 4118-23432B, otherwise known as Edwina, believes Gabby can be trusted with the truth: aliens are living among humans on Earth. And here at A.L.I.E.N we believe that even extraterrestrials need a babysitter now and then. No one was up to the task...until now.
After accepting the top-secret position, Edwina has paired our new associate up with her first charge, a little girl from the planet Flarknartia. The timing for associate 4118-25125A is less than ideal. It's a school day on Planet Earth, Gabby's audition for the solo part in the band is tonight, and this tiny alien is a bit more than meets the eye.
Can Gabby Duran, Associate 4118-25125A, First Sitter to the Unsittables, keep her otherworldly charge safe in the unpredictable halls of middle-school and keep A.L.I.E.N hidden?
GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: i was first intrigued by this book when I saw it billed as "Babysitters Club meets Men in Black." Two things I loved as a tween and teen combined? I was sold. And luckily, Gabby Duran lived up to my excitement.
Gabby is a super babysitter-she's like Kristi, Claudia, Mary Ann, and Stacy combined with a dash of super nanny. So of course she would be awesome at babysitting aliens! And she gets some crazy clients! A kid that can turn into a giant slug? Gabby to the rescue! The story is filled with lots of humor and though there are aliens, it's sci-if light, so u think readers who typically shy away from science fiction would still be interested. Tweens are sure to get a kick out of Gabby's adventures, while feeling grateful about their own babysitting charges! Lots of fun and I'm looking forward to book two!
Want to win a Gabby Duran prize pack? Thanks to Disney Publishing, one lucky winner will receive a copy of Gabby Duran and the Unsittables, a Gabby Duran tumbler, and a lightup UFO flyer.
Fill out form below to enter!
-US Address only
-one entry per person
-contest ends May 2
Please welcome K. E. Ormsbee to GreenBeanTeenQueen! K.E. Ormsbee is the author of The Water and the Wild. I asked her to share about libraries and I love the libraries she talks about! She even shared pictures and I want to visit these libraries now!
About K. E. Ormsbee: I was born and raised in the Bluegrass State. Then I went off and lived in places across the pond, like England and Spain, where I pretended I was a French ingénue. Just kidding! That only happened once. I also lived in some hotter nooks of the USA, like Birmingham, AL and Austin, TX. Now I'm back in Lexington, KY, where there is a Proper Autumn.
In my wild, early years, I taught English as a Foreign Language, interned with a film society, and did a lot of irresponsible road tripping. My crowning achievement is that the back of my head was in an iPhone commercial, and people actually paid me money for it.
Nowadays, I teach piano lessons, play in a band you've never heard of, and run races that I never win. I likes clothes from the 60s, music from the 70s, and movies from the 80s. I still satiate my bone-deep wanderlust whenever I can.
I’m only slightly exaggerating when I say I grew up in the library. Both my parents were educators who read to me constantly and taught me how to read for myself. They created one insatiable bookworm. I munched through books with a voracious appetite, and I looked forward to my weekly visit to the library more than I did trips to the pizzeria. Oh yeah. I was a Supreme Nerd. Growing up, I was well acquainted with many public library branches in my hometown of Lexington, KY. I knew which branch had the best Middle Grade section (Beaumont), which had the best storyteller (Lansdowne), and which had the coolest CD collection (Central). On occasion, I even got to visit the behemoth William T. Young Library on the University of Kentucky’s campus. Truth be told, a college library was pretty boring stuff to nine-year-old Kathryn, but I lovedskipping through the automated sliding bookshelves, deliciously terrified that the motion sensors might not detect me. To be crushed in the Anthropology section would be a spectacular way to go, reasoned Little Kathryn. I was a pretty morbid kiddo.
I’ve always considered libraries to be magical places, and I’ve discovered some rather spectacular ones in my travels, from London to Prague to Seville to Cambridge. I mean, take a peek at this teeny but cozy library at King’s College, Cambridge: (Magical, right? Magical.)
It wasn’t until my senior year of college, however, that I discovered the Library of Dreams, the Library to End All Libraries, MY FAVORITE LIBRARY. In 2011, I set foot in the newly opened Library in the Forest in Vestavia Hills, Alabama. And yes, this library is just as cool as it sounds. Library in the Forest, which is located on the edge of nine wooded acres, is Alabama’s first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified facility. My personal favorite feature of the library is the Treehouse Reading Room, a special space where you can read suspended above the forest. I spent many days studying at Library in the Forest, soaking in the natural light from its giant windows and watching kids explore the surrounding area on class field trips. Whenever I reached my writing limit, I knew I could just rip out my earbuds, swing on my backpack, and step out into the great outdoors for a hike. But it’s not just Library in the Forest’s location or facilities that make it so cool. It’s the people who tirelessly work to provide the community with great programming and countless opportunities for kids and teens to learn and explore. What makes the library extra special to me is all the time I spent there with friends who loved the winning combo of books, nature, and community-minded programming just as much as I did. It seems rather fitting, then, that I worked on revisions for The Water and the Wild while at Library in the Forest, since the importance of nature, stories, and friendship are all central to Lottie Fiske’s story. I think all three of those things carry a little bit of magic in them, whether they’re found in the pages of a fantasy book or in a library just outside Birmingham, Alabama.
So! Next time you’re in the area, be sure to stop by the very special Library in the Forest. I hope you’ll feel the magic, too.
About The Water and the Wild: A green apple tree grows in the heart of Thirsby Square, and tangled up in its magical roots is the story of Lottie Fiske. For as long as Lottie can remember, the only people who seem to care about her are her best friend, Eliot, and the mysterious letter writer who sends her birthday gifts. But now strange things are happening on the island Lottie calls home, and Eliot's getting sicker, with a disease the doctors have given up trying to cure. Lottie is helpless, useless, powerless—until a door opens in the apple tree. Follow Lottie down through the roots to another world in pursuit of the impossible: a cure for the incurable, a use for the useless, and protection against the pain of loss.
Want to win a copy? Leave a comment below to enter to win a signed copy!
-One entry per person
-Ages 13+ up
-Contest ends April 30
I love knowing how author's see their characters, so these character profiles for Haden and Daphne from Bree Despain's Into the Dark Series are so much fun! I especially love reading who the inspiration was for each character. Character Profile: Daphne Raines
Name: Daphne Raines (a.k.a. The Cypher)
Hair color: Golden blonde
Eye color: blue
Height: Just little over 6 feet
Build: Tall and curvy--often described as looking like an amazon.
Favorite food: BBQ bacon cheese burger with avocado and a single onion ring.
Favorite drink: Rootbeer!
Special skills: singing, guitar, floral design, animal charming, can hear special tones and music put off by all living/organic things. Uses these tones and sounds to read people and situations. (May be able to do even more with this ability--like control the elements.)
Weaknesses: Abandonment issues from being raised without her father, has difficulty letting people in, overly focused on her goals, can't drive.
Life goal: Become a world famous musician on her own merit--not because her father is athe Joe Vince "the God of Rock."
Character inspirations: Taylor Swift meets Dean Winchester from Supernatural + Katara from Avatar: The Last Airbender.
Character Profile: Haden Lord
Name: Haden Lord (a.k.a. Lord Haden, Prince of the Underrealm)
Hair color: Dark brown hair in daylight. Appears midnight black in the dark.
Eyes: Jade green with amber fire rings around his pupils. Sometimes, especially when vexed or otherwise emotional, it looks like he has actual flames dancing in his eyes.
Height: about 6'4"
Build: Big and muscular like a Spartan warrior.
Favorite food: Braised hydra in plum sauce and steamed griffin's milk . . . or pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.
Favorite drink: Pomegranate nectar--definitely not soda like Daphne, it burns!
Special skills: tracking, hunting, sword fighting, hand-to-hand combat, languages, stealth--to the
point of being almost invisible in the dark, playing the guitar and singing (he just doesn't know it yet!)
Weaknesses: Impulsive, sometimes selfish, occasionally compassionate of the less fortunate, sentimental about his deceased mother, too human.
Life Goal: To have his honor restored and to reclaim his standing as heir to the throne of the Underrealm. (Or so he thinks.)
Character inspirations: Prince Zuko fromAvatar: The Last Airbender, Sam Winchester from Supernatural, Castiel from Supernatural, Thor and a little bit of Loki.
Guys, blogging with a baby is hard. Really hard. I have so many blog posts written in my head that I just need to sit down and actually take the time to write out, which is so much easier said than done. I don't know what it is about blogging that just seems to take up so much more energy, but man, it drains me.
But becoming a mom hasn't changed my reading. I still read-A LOT. I listen to books and I read books and there are books all over my house, probably more than usual if you count the amount of board books all over the floor at any given moment. Reading isn't hard, it's just finding the time to write the reviews. Sigh. I'll get there.
The fun thing is I have a great reading buddy. Baby GreenBean loves to read which makes this librarian mama very happy. But what really interests me is his fascination and interest in certain books. He judges my books by their covers on a regular basis and I find it so interesting what books he's drawn to. I've tried to snap pictures when I can, so I thought I'd share some of the books Baby GreenBean has most interested in:
I like to think that he has fantastic taste in books and knew this one was getting award buzz which is why he tried to grab it every time he saw it anywhere in the house. I'm not sure what he found so appealing-maybe the colors were calming? But anywhere the book was, Baby GreenBean was sure to find it!
I think it was the bright colors and smiling face that got his attention. Plus, it's a graphic novel-what's not to love?
Really, who wouldn't want to read a book about dragons? Baby GreenBean was all about this book and would never let me read it because he wanted it for himself! He loved flipping through the pages of this one and even decided to try napping/reading it at one point. I guess thick books make good pillows.
Ok, I admit, this one might be cheating. He wasn't feeling well this day and snuggling together and reading books for committee prep might have been more my choosing than mine, but he still picked up the book!
Other books he's been interested in, but I didn't get pictures of:
He likes big books! He's been very interested in getting his hands on my ARC of An Ember in the Ashes
by Sabaa Tahir lately.
Mr. GreenBeanSexyMan has been re-reading Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
and left his large hardcover laying around. Baby GreenBean opened it up and was very intrigued by the maps on the first page. I think he's going to be a fantasy reader.
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Release Date: 3/10/2015
About the Book: Three months after the events in Seraphina, Goredd is facing a brewing war between dragons and humans. Seraphina discovers that there may be a way that she and the other half dragons may be able to fight the dragons in a powerful way. Seraphina is given a task to gather other half dragons and sets off on a journey to find those she's only known in her mind garden in real life. Along the way she encounters a dangerous someone from her past who can enter into others minds and control them and has her own motives for gathering the half dragons together. Seraphina needs to keep herself and the others safe and embrace a powerful new destiny.
GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: When someone is looking for an epic high fantasy, especially one featuring dragons, I have to suggest Seraphina. The characters, worldbuilding and story are so rich and unique that I know it will be a great read for someone wanting lots of high fantasy detail. The same can be said for Shadow Scale which is a richly detailed sequel to Seraphina.
Shadow Scale is a sequel and I do think readers should read Seraphina first because things would make a lot more sense, but I do love that Shadow Scale isn't just a continuation of the story introduced in Seraphina, but also has it's own new plot and storyline. So often sequels just feel like someone took the first book, cut it in half, and the sequel is just more of the first story. Shadow Scale does not suffer from that problem and it stands well on its own feet with details continuing the story as well as introducing a new villain and journey for Seraphina.
Characters from the first book are there as well as many new faces giving the book a very large cast of characters. Yet each character is balanced well and I felt as though I knew each character well. Ms. Hartman has a talent for creating characters that you fall in love with and you feel as though you know them and they are part of your life as you read the story. Each of the half dragons we meet have a great story and we get to know them, yet the story never feels bogged down in telling their backstories or giving information about them. It's all wonderfully weaved into the plot.
I was sucked into the book and got lost in Seraphina's world. The book is long, but it has a very quick pace. The worldbuilding is wonderfully done. As Seraphina travels around The Southlands, each new region and city has a distinct culture and atmosphere. The new villain introduced is frightening. Maybe because I listened to part of the book on audio as well and the narrator does a fantastic smarmy and manipulative voice that it added to the character's evilness, but she was chilling!
I also love that these books feature a romance without it being a big central focus of the story. It's there, but Seraphina and Kiggs know that they have bigger things to deal with than their feelings for each other. Seraphina has larger battles to fight than analyzing her feelings for the Prince and I love her for it.
Shadow Scale is a fantastically rich and engaging sequel that is sure to please fans of the first book. I would happily read more from this world and Seraphina and I love visiting her again for awhile.
Full Dislcoure: Reviewed from ARC received from publisher
Rockin' The Boat: 50 Iconic Revolutionaries- From Joan of Arc to Malcom XAdd to Goodreads
About the Book: We love to root for the underdog, and when it comes to underdogs, few are more impressive than the world’s great revolutionaries.
After all, it’s pretty hard to find a more powerful opponent than the world’s biggest empires and emperors. And that’s part of why we’re drawn to the stories of revolutionaries. Many of these men and women were born into virtual dystopias, and they fought throughout their lives, against all odds, to forge a path to a better future. And whether they succeeded, failed, or succeeded only to become a new kind of enemy, there’s something inherently fascinating about that effort to change the world.
Rockin’ the Boat tells the stories of fifty such iconoclasts — including the gladiator Spartacus, the Carthaginian general Hannibal Barca, the inspired religious fighter Joan of Arc, the abolitionist John Brown, women’s rights icon Margaret Sanger, and Maori chief Hono Heke — from an incredibly diverse set of places and times. Each entry includes a mix of history, biography, and analysis, and is supplemented with photos, sidebars, and an incredible amount of trivia as well.
As a result, Rockin’ the Boat provides a unique and powerful view of history — a view from the bottom up, through the eyes of people who dared to imagine a different world from the one in which they lived.
You know what I always think is weird? History is not my favorite subject (sorry GreenBeanSexy Man history teacher!) I found it interesting enough but never anything I wanted to keep researching or read about in my free time. Yet I'm a sucker for books that give interesting tidbits and facts about cool people and events in history. I'm not sure why. Maybe it makes history a bit more engaging? Maybe I can handle the small snippets? I'm not sure. But even if you have readers who may snub their nose at a history book, they should still give Rockin' the Boat a chance.
There are 50 people profiled in the book. Some are well known and others are not. Each section is short and they can be read in order (chronologically) or you can jump around and read about whoever you're interested in that moment. Pictures and clever captions add to the lighthearted appeal of the book.
Want to win a copy? Fill out the form below!
-One entry per person
-Ends March 30
Contest thanks to Zest Books!
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Zest Books is a fantastic publisher of non-fiction for teens. If you're looking for fun, engaging, and informative non-fiction, add these to your collection!
Secret societies are fascinating. Did you know there's even a secret (and pricey!) club at Disney? Some of the groups may be familiar, some may be new, but all have interesting secrets to share!
For teens looking for a fun read exposing secret clubs and societies, this is a book that would be a blast. It could also be a fun starting point for research projects.
With so much information coming at teens, how do they know who and what to trust? How can they find out information for themselves? Debunk It helps teens sort out what's true and what's false.
Debunk It helps teens sort out information and decide for themselves what to believe.
Over Spring Break, we had a full week of programming ranging from storytime to a Lego-Build-Along. Since Ms. A was hosting a Cinderella programming for the tweens the week after Spring Break, I wanted to make sure I had something fairy tale themed for the younger kids who might have wanted to attend the tween program but couldn't because they were too young. I've also been wanting to do a big fairy tale party for a long time, so I thought this would be perfect timing.
I hosted the Fairy Tale Bash on Friday night at 7pm. It was a busy day and the weather was rainy and yucky, so combined with the theme, I thought I'd get a large turnout. Surprisingly, I only ended up with six kids, so I ended up not using the songs I had planned because they were content to read all the books-yay! But even with the low turnout, we still had a blast and I have plenty of stuff to recycle for next time!
I sadly didn't remember to take many pictures until the room was getting taken down. I only have a few to share-sorry!
Here's what I did:
For books, I pulled a variety and since I had a small group, I let the kids choose which books they wanted to read. I used fractured tales and retellings since I wanted something the kids most likely hadn't read before, they entertain the parents as well, and they're fun!
I actually had more books than I needed, but the kids picked everything but The Sunflower Sword to read, so having a small crowd meant for more reading time!
After the books, I let the kids loose at all the stations I had planned (which again, was plenty and way more than I really needed!)
-Princess and the Pea-I had the kids hide the pea under a mattress and then try and guess where it was hiding. They had lots of fun hiding the pea from their parents!
-Jack and the Beanstalk Counting Game
-I made beanstalks out of paper plates and paper towel tubes. I added a paper castle and some cotton balls on the plates to create a castle in the sky. I got the idea from several things I found on Pintrest, but modeled my beantalks after the ones on Fantastic Fun and Learning
. I then put out bowls of beans and some dice and had the kids roll the dice, then place that number of beans on the plate. They quickly learned to set the beans on the plates gently and ended up balancing a bunch of beans on the beanstalk (I think the highest count was around 80!) They had a blast with this one and it was easy to make.
-Three Little Pigs House Building-I used cotton balls as the straw, Popsicle sticks as the sticks, and legos as the bricks. The kids built houses and then tried to blow them down and see which one was the strongest. Another very popular activity!
-Goldilocks and the Three Bears Opposites-I created a chart in Word and printed it out for the kids. It had six boxes and each box contained a word-hot, cold, big, small, hard, soft. I put out various magazines and had the kids find items in the magazines that matched the words to fill in their opposite charts. I also put out crayons in case they wanted to draw their own items in, but I think everyone took the magazine route-cutting and gluing was too much fun.
-Fairy Tale Maps-Since I wasn't sure what age I'd end up with, I wanted something that was easy for the younger kids but that could be more detailed for the older kids. I provided paper and crayons and invited the kids to draw a map of a fairy tale world. They drew maps of how to get through the forest to granny's house and how to help Goldilocks out of the bear's house. It wasn't very popular with the young crowd I had.
-Fairy Tale Matching Game-I printed of pictures of various items and the names of fairy tales and fairy tale characters. I then cut them out and scrambled them up. The kids had to match things like Jack to the Beanstalk, Goldilocks to Porridge, Cinderella to the Glass Slipper, Hansel and Gretel to Candy, Snow White to an Apple, Sleeping Beauty to a Spinning Wheel, Rapunzel to a Tower, Little Red Riding Hood to a Basket. The kids knew most of the matches but they did get stumped on a few. The parents commented on how much they loved this activity because it asked the kids to remember details from the stories and it gave them a chance to talk about the fairy tales and recap the stories with their kids.
-Photo Ops-We have some large painted cardboard face cutouts that we've had forever. One is Little Red Riding Hood, one is Rapunzel, one is Humpty Dumpty and one is Yoda. I used everything except Yoda, although I did debate bringing Yoda out just for fun! Humpty Dumpty is a nursery rhyme, but since I only had princess-types, I wanted something else. I also was lucky enough to borrow these awesome My Little Pony foam noodle horses from another branch:
I used these in the photo op section as well. The best part was when the kids started posing the ponies into the face cutouts and the ponies became Rapunzel! I thought about using the ponies with some sort of jousting something, but I had so much already, I opted not to do that.
At each station I included some basic instructions for each activity as well as some talking points for parents. I saw the parents actually read the suggestions for what to talk about at each station and then talk to the kids, so I think it went over pretty well.
I also had a huge book display of various fairy tale books and many of the books checked out.
The program was open for grades pre-K-grade 5, but I had mostly pre-K-Kindergarten.
What I learned: I will for sure repeat this program because it was so much fun, the activities were easy to put together, and the kids loved it. They stuck around until 8:30 playing with everything and making sure they visited every station. I would change the time though and make it a bit earlier. I think 7 was just too late and the following week we hosted another evening program at 6:30 which had a much larger turnout. I avoided using any specific theme other than fairy tales, but I think catchy names and characters are an initial draw, so maybe I would add something to appeal to that (although I really wanted to not focus on anything Disney!) I would also like to come up with a big dance or movement activity to go along with the fairy tale theme and I would encourage the kids to come in costume as well. Overall it was a lot of fun and I can't wait to do it again!
Photo Credit: Shirleen Hieb Photography
I love to hear what writer's have to say about libraries. I relate so much to what Margi Preus shares about growing up surrounded by stories. May we all be as lucky!
The stories of writers who as children were non-readers or slow readers or were saved from gangs or a life of crime by fairy godmother-like librarians—these stories are fascinating, and we readers thrive on hearing them. By comparison, my own story is as dull as dirt. I grew up in a pleasant Minnesota town where people were generally good to each other. We had fine schools and nice teachers. I had a wonderful family and many friends. I was never bullied, nor do I think I was a bully. I was a good student. And I always liked to read. In short: a thoroughly dull and nondramatic life. Except that it wasn’t. My world was populated with trolls and gnomes and golden castles that hung in the air—thanks to the stories my father told. I knew where fairies danced at night and that nissen(little people) were to blame for hiding my mother’s sewing scissors—because she told me that herself. I lived in a storied landscape and a world of stories, not least because my elementary school had a big, vibrant library stuffed full of books, and a librarian who made sure good books, important books, stayed on the shelves—even books that parents objected to, like (believe it or not) Harriet the Spy, the book that made me want to become a writer, or Are You There God, It’s Me, Margaret, a book that caused me to wander about in a daze for a full week, mind-blown. I may not have lived an outwardly exciting life, but through books, I sailed with Jim Hawkins and rafted with Huck Finn, sat under a Spanish cork tree with Ferdinand, wandered the magical realm of Narnia, made way too many donuts with Henry Huggins, and had tea on the ceiling with Mary Poppins. I felt every kind of emotion and lived through times both devastating and joyous. I was grumpy with Harriet, knew the comfort of friendship with Mole and Toad and Rat, felt loneliness and privation on the Island of Blue Dolphins, suffered prejudice with Hannah in The Witch of Blackbeard Pond, felt wildly free and independent with Pippi, and wept with Wilbur over the death of our mutual friend, Charlotte.
Like readers before me and after me, I learned to empathize, at least in part—and maybe a big part—because of books. And by books I mean novels. Fiction transported me to many worlds where I made friends and even lost a few, and where I experienced every kind of hardship and sorrow as well as the best kinds of delight, pleasure, and joy. Thanks to stories, my life was never dull, has never been dull, and never will be dull. And thanks to my elementary school library and librarian, I got a good start down the road to adventure just when it counted the most.
About Enchantment Lake: On the shores of Enchantment Lake in the woods of northern Minnesota, something ominous is afoot, and as seventeen-year-old Francie begins to investigate, the mysteries multiply: a poisoned hotdish, a puzzling confession, eerie noises in the bog, and a legendary treasure said to be under enchantment—or is that under Enchantment, as in under the lake?
Would you like to win a *signed copy* of Enchantment Lake?
Fill out the form below to enter.
Contest thanks to University of Minnesota Press!
(open to ages 13+, one entry per person, contest ends April 8)
Today I'm over at the ALSC Blog talking about our plans for summer programming and some changes to our summer storytimes.
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You might remember hearing about Egmont closing their doors in the US earlier this year. I was so sad to see this publisher say goodbye. I had met wonderful people at Egmont during various ALA conferences and they were always so wonderful. They were also publishing lots of fantastic books, including a series that I had enjoyed recently, Into the Dark by Bree Despain.
I am a sucker for greek mythology and Into the Dark was a new take on Hades and Persephone, which I was intrigued about. So when Bree Despain put the call out for Into the Dark Ambassadors, I knew I needed to help! I'll be posting some previews, giveaways, and other goodies about the series in anticipation of book two, The Eternity Key, coming later this month. Be sure to check out the first book, The Shadow Prince, if you haven't already! And just to refresh your memory, here's my review of The Shadow Prince and a sneak peak:
GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: I really love stories based on Greek Mythology, so when I first heard about Into the Dark I was excited but wary. The Persephone myth seems like a popular trend right now in YA and I wasn't sure how yet another offering of the story would measure up. I was not disappointed as Into the Dark has a fresh, unique take. It may be inspired by the myth of Persephone, but the story is original take on the myth of Persephone as a launching point for a new tale about the Underrealm.
At first glance, it might seem like another girl meets boy with supernatural powers romance. But don't let first impressions deceive you. Yes there's romance between Haden and Daphne, but it's not insta-love. It's a relationship that's brewing all throughout the novel as the two spend time together and get to know each other. Haden isn't a brooding, mysterious lead. Instead he's somewhat awkward as he's trying to navigate a human world he doesn't understand. He's from the Underrealm and his lessons about humans are dated at times so his language and manners are a bit stiff as he tries to figure out how to communicate with Daphne. I found this aspect of Haden actually charming and funny at times. Sometimes his mannerisms reminded me of a cross between Sheldon Cooper and Data from Star Trek which is kind of an odd statement about a romantic lead I know but I found it endearing.
Daphne is a strong character who is independent-and not about to be swept off her feet by a mysterious stranger. Daphne and Haden don't have a "meet cute" moment. In fact Haden messes up their first meeting pretty badly and ends up getting punched in the face-not your typical love at first sight moment which I appreciated. Daphne wants to make her own choices about her future and Haden wants her to as well instead of trying to control her or decide her future for her. And there's no love triangle-yay!!!
The cast of supporting characters is well rounded and not just stock sidekicks and best friends. They are all involved in the future of the Underrealm-even if they don't realize it. Both Daphne and Haden have characters around them but they are all woven into the story together. The story is mainly about Daphne and Haden but there are rich subplots with Daphne's new friend Tobin determined to find his missing sister and Daphne's estranged father wanting to make up for lost time. I really enjoyed the layered plot and how all the stories and characters tied together. I felt it made the novel have more of a mystery feel than just romance. There are lots of twists and while some things were a bit predictable, I was still pleasantly surprised by others.
This is the first in a series and while there are still many unanswered questions at the end, I didn't feel as though I was led hanging. The book had a good conclusion that left me satisfied while still eager for more. A great start to a new series perfect for fans of mythology.
Full Disclosure: reviewed from egalley from publisher