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A Teen and Tween Librarian's thoughts on books, reading and adventures in the library.
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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.
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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.
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
Today I'm over at the ALSC Blog talking about our plans for summer programming and some changes to our summer storytimes.
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)
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!
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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.
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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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
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Today I'm over at the ALSC Blog talking about programming over school breaks and how much is too much. I'd love for you to join the conversation!
Tune In Tuesday is a monthly feature where I share some of my favorite music to use in library programs!
This month I'm going with an oldie but a goodie-Greg and Steve!
I grew up on Greg and Steve. I dance around the living room with my mom to Popcorn
. Listen and Move
is one of the best preschool dance songs ever. Greg and Steve's version of The Freeze
is the only freeze song I ever use because it's the best!
I love how so many of their songs are action based. They ask the kids to get up and move, dance, and encourage various movements. I use Animal Action 1 & 2
pretty much every animal storytime I ever do. Same with Can You Leap Like a Frog
. I love the skills kids learn from Listen and Move
-it requires the kids to remember what movement each musical piece stands for. Anytime I have any program with a bear, you know we'll be using Goin On a Bear Hunt
. I love Bop 'Til You Drop
as a variation of The Freeze
and using different styles of movement with the kids. The Boogie Walk is a great bunny hop type dance that's a lot of fun. (The awesome Miss P will be using it for our upcoming Giant Wiggle Party). And I use Dance With Your Teddy Bear
as part of our stuffed animal sleepover.
Sure some of the songs may sound a bit dated now, but the kids and the parents don't care-they're having fun! Greg and Steve are still making music and it's still a blast.
Check out my favorite collection, Kids In Motion
Release Date: 3/3/2015
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Did you know a gravy boat can change your life? Charlotte and Tobias Eggers do. After a prank on their terrible nanny involving gravy and tadpoles ends in a misunderstanding, Charlotte and Tobias's father packs them in the car, drives them to the desert, and leaves them outside of Witherwood Reform School. Before he can change his mind, a car accident leaves him with amnesia. Charlotte and Tobias have no choice but to enter Witherwood Reform School with is odd teachers, fierce animals, and unending chocolate pudding. But Witterwood is no ordinary school-the headmaster has perfected mind control. Can Charlotte and Tobias escape before it's too late?GreenBeanTeenQueen Says:
Obert Skye is a middle grade reader favorite at my library. He's a regular fixture at our local children's lit festival and he makes quite an impression on the kids. Each year I have a new group coming into the library asking for his books and eagerly wanting more. I'm delighted to report that Mr. Skye has a new series and it's one I know my fans will devour!
Charlotte and Tobias are pranksters and they're also very smart. They know to question things about their new school and they're determined to figure out the secrets of Witherwood. But what happens when the school gets the best of them and they get sucked in? And what happens when your father doesn't even remember that he's looking for you?Witherwood Reform Schoo
l is the first in a new series that is perfect for readers who enjoy their humor to be a little dark, their characters slightly mischievous, and mysteries with a side of suspense. Told in the vein of Lemony Snickett and Jason Segal's Nightmares
, readers who want something that's just a bit dark, just a tad creepy, and with a slight silliness will be sure to be lining up to get their hands on this one. There are plenty of questions remaining about this mysterious reform school so readers will be eagerly anticipating book two.Full Disclosure: Reviewed from galley sent by publisher
Want to win a copy? Fill out the form below to enter!
One entry per person
US Address only
Contest ends March 10
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I have the best staff in the world. I know all you other youth services managers think your staff is the greatest, but I'm here to tell you that while you might have an awesome staff, my youth services staff is truly amazing. I am constantly inspired by all they do and I feel so lucky to get to work with them every day.
Two of my amazing staff members have blogs that you really need to check out!
Pamela is one of my staff members who has a passion for tween services. She and one of my other staff, Miss. A, team up regularly to provide very fun and creative tween programs. We've always tried to provide programs for this age group, but with Pamela and Miss A as our tween power team, they are making it happen! She recently published an article with VOYA on last year's summer tween programs. She also works on our tween book groups and is pursuing her MLS and is already a fantastic librarian. The Moose is her favorite animal, which means anytime we get a new Moose picture book, it goes straight to Pamela!
I knew Valerie from the library world before she started working at my library and every time I got to talk to her, I thought she was so cool. So I was thrilled and delighted when she wanted to join our team! She is our teen librarian and she is bringing lots of energy and creativity into our teen department and I love watching her interact with the teens. She has great passive programs and is one of the most geekily awesome people I know. Valerie also loves Star Wars, Cosplay, and Sherlock which makes her even more cool.
Check out their blogs and they write about library programs, book reviews, and adventures in the library. They are both fantastic resources! I am lucky to have them!
Add to GoodreadsAbout the Book
: This is the history of the end of the world. After an accident in their small Iowa town, Austin and his best friend Robby, and his girlfriend Shann, are caught in the end of the world. Giant six-foot-tall unstoppable praying mantises are hatching. It's up to Robby and Austin to save the world. But Austin is dealing with teenage emotions and hormones and is caught between his love for Shann and Robby. Survival, hormones, and giant man-eating bugs-you know what I mean.GreenBeanTeenQueen Says:
There's a reason the tour for Grasshopper Jungle
and the upcoming book The Alex Crow
is titled "Keep YA Weird." Ask anyone about Grasshopper Jungle and I'm sure one of the first things they will say is "it's weird." Yep, it's weird. But it's also very good.
Yes, the book is about giant praying mantises that hatch, mate, and eat as they take over the world. But that's just one part and actually it's not the biggest part of the novel. This is more Austin's story about figuring out his history, his story, and dealing with his conflicted feelings about Robby and Shann. I saw someone describe it on Facebook as a "bi-gay-straight love triangle set at the end of the world" and I think that's a pretty good description.
We recently read Grasshopper Jungle
for my book club and I mentioned how it's a bit of a "coming-of-age" novel (even though I really hate that term) and someone else pointed out that they didn't think Austin ever really comes of age. Austin is "selfish" as Robby describes in the novel and I don't know that even by the end of the book he is less selfish or any less conflicted. But that's part of what makes Grasshopper Jungle
so good. There are no happy endings or easily resolved conflicts. This is a history and history is messy and confusing. Life doesn't always make sense.
I actually really loved Austin and Robby and loved their relationship. I liked Shann alright too, but I felt her character kind of got dropped about halfway through (this is Austin telling the story after all) but I would have liked to know more about Shann towards the end of the book as well. But back to Austin and Robby. Austin often refers to Robby as a hero and Robby is just so even-keeled and kind that I felt like I would be friends with Robby in real life. (I'd probably be friends with Austin too, but I think I would be just as annoyed with him as his friends are.) Robby really shines throughout, partly because of his actions and partly because of the way Austin talks about him. But Robby is a fantastic character and I absolutely loved the dialogue and the interplay between Robby and Austin.
Austin recording of history is honest and hilarious. He points out how roads converge and I found all of his recordings digging deeper into his own history as well as what else happened to have everyone end up at this moment fascinating. His job as historian is one he takes seriously and his comments are wry and serious which also makes them funny. And this is a teenage boy we're talking about here, recording a very honest history of being seventeen, so there is a lot of talk about being horny, having sex, and thinking about sex. Yet I never found any of it graphic or out of place. It fit Austin's history.
The most gruesome thing in the book is all of the bugs eating people, which would often feel very Twilight Zoney or like a B-Science Fiction movie.
There are many ways you could sell Grashopper Jungle to readers. It's a science fiction end of the world story, giant bugs who eat people, a love triangle, or a boy trying to get a handle on life and figure things out. But any way you sell it to readers, I think it will be enjoyed. It's a weird, crazy book that I had a ton of fun with. And I'm so glad Andrew Smith is keeping YA weird.Full Disclosure: Reviewed from galley received at ALA conference from publisher
Thanks to Penguin and Keeping YA Weird, I have a copy of Grasshopper Jungle
to giveaway! One lucky winner will get to enjoy the weirdness! Fill out the form below. One entry per person, US Address only please. Contest ends March 1. And stay tuned for more Keep YA Weird giveaways and a review of The Alex Crow!
About the Book: In this reimagining of "Jack and the Beanstalk," an unsuspecting girl brings one witch's magic into another witch's province, stirring certain disaster.
One Witch at a Time is a sequel to The Brixen Witch, but it can completely stand alone. It's a fun fairy tale retelling with a new spin and fairy tale fans are sure to love it.
I got to ask Stacy DeKeyser about her writing and love of fairy tales-I'm hoping she decides to explore those unanswered questions in Hansel and Gretel and gives us another book!
-What inspired you to write books with a fairy tale/folklore theme?
It started with the Pied Piper. There are so many unexplained things in that story. Why didn’t the villagers pay the piper for getting rid of the rats? And then, why did the piper take it out on the kids? I decided to try and write my own version of the Pied Piper story that answered some of those questions. The result was The Brixen Witch. Writing that book made me realize that every fairy tale has unanswered questions. For example, “Jack and the Beanstalk”: If Jack is clever enough to climb the beanstalk and steal stuff from the giant, how can he also be dumb enough to trade a cow for a handful of dried beans? I love exploring those questions and trying to fill in the blanks with plausible answers. -Why do you write for middle grade readers? Those were the books that made me a reader. And the themes that middle grade books explore—finding your place in the world, coming to terms with all the craziness life throws at you—have limitless possibilities, and they are topics that I still struggle with every day. I never get tired of writing about them. Lastly, I think middle grade books tend to preserve the most classic, traditional form of storytelling. (Sort of like fairy tales!) A middle grade book needs a good plot that keeps moving, and characters you care about. And the best stories broaden a reader’s experience while they entertain. That’s what I love to read, and it’s what I try to write. -What book (or books) would you recommend for someone wanting to start reading middle grade? Oh, wow, where do I start? Charlotte’s Web (E.B. White) and Because of Winn Dixie (Kate DiCamillo) both prove that a short, simple story can be very satisfying and profound. Any book by Barbara O’Connor. Historical fiction (Nory Ryan’s Song by Patricia Reilly Giff is a favorite of mine) can make readers curious about the facts of history. If you think you don’t like poetry, try Love That Dog by Sharon Creech. And of course I love fantasy, especially Jonathan Stroud’s books. I love his long sentences and complex plots. I love how he never underestimates his readers. -If you were trapped in a fairy tale, which one would you choose? “Hansel and Gretel.” First of all, Gretel has a buddy, which would be nice. Secondly, she’s the hero of the story! She rescues her brother and kills the witch. And what’s going on with that witch, anyway? What makes her want to eat children? She’s clearly very clever, to build a whole cottage out of gingerbread. Couldn’t she put that talent to use for good instead of evil? I’d love to know her story. Stacy DeKeyser is the author of The Brixen Witch, which received two starred reviews and was a Chicago Public Library Best of the Best Pick, and its sequel, One Witch at a Time, as well as the young adult novel, Jump the Cracks and two nonfiction books for young readers. She lives in Connecticut with her family. To learn more and to download a free, CCSS-aligned discussion guide, visit StacyDeKeyser.com.
One lucky winner will receive a set of Stacy DeKeyser’s bewitching reads for middle grades---ONE WITCH AT A TIME in hardcover and THE BRIXEN WITCH in paperback. (U.S. addresses only. One entry per person. Contest ends February 20)
Leave a comment below to enter!
Follow the One Witch at a Time Tour for more about the book and more chances to win!
Mon, Feb 9
Cracking the Cover
Tues, Feb 10
Haunting of Orchid Forsythia
Wed, Feb 11
Mother Daughter Book Club
Thurs, Feb 12
Fri, Feb 13
The Book Monsters
Mon, Feb 16
Tues, Feb 17
Read Now, Sleep Later
Wed, Feb 18
Thurs, Feb 19
Kid Lit Frenzy
Fri, Feb 20
The Flashlight Reader
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Today I'm over at the ALSC Blog
talking about how reading Good Night, Gorilla to baby GreenBean is helping me prepare for a year of committee year. Come join me!
I love being part of the Youth Media Awards. There is nothing like being in that room during the announcements and eagerly awaiting the titles of each award to appear. I was thrilled, shocked, and surprised with this year's choices which always makes for a fun experience.
One thing I saw on social media and heard in the crowd murmurings after the announcement over and over again was how pleased people were that this year the books had appeal. It always went along the line "finally, a book that's popular/I can teach/give to kids/put in my library/say I enjoyed." But that's not the point of the awards. Yes, it's nice when a chosen title is cherished and loved by many (it's never all-every book has a critic). But that's not the point of the awards.
The Youth Media Awards such as the Caldecott, Newbery, and Printz are given for excellence in literature to a child (or young adult for Printz) audience. These books are for excellence in text and art, for literary quality and merit. The criteria states "Committee members must consider excellence of presentation for a child audience."
Nowhere in the criteria of these awards does it say the books must be bestsellers, be popular, be teachable in a classroom, or have wide appeal for the majority of readers.
Why do we demand such appeal factors and popularity from our children's and young adult book awards? We don't hear such outcry and push back over adult literary awards such as the Pulitzer or the National Book Award. Do we expect only books for children and teens to be appealing and are we more accepting of "boring and not appealing" books winning adult literary awards? Or do we just have a hard time defining literary merit when it comes to books for youth and instead want to focus on the readability and popularity of a selected title?
One thing I thought about often when I served on the 2013 Printz Committee was how to define literary merit. It's something the committees think about and discuss a lot throughout the year-it's at the forefront of every reading and every conversation. One way I thought about it was how often I am told that children's and teen books have no literary merit, are fluff, or are not well written. For everyone who sees the value in books for youth there is always someone who does not. I thought about finding the book that proved this value-that showed that books for youth have just as much literary weight as any other award winning book. Sometimes those books of high literary quality aren't the bestselling, popular, most beloved books, and that's okay.
What we seem to forget during the Youth Media Awards is that there are books for every reader. Just because we deem something unappealing doesn't mean there isn't an audience for it.
Not everyone will love every book and that's okay. That's our right as readers. But we have to remember to respect each readers right and remember that the Youth Media Awards are given not because of popularity or supposed appeal, but for literary quality. And it's not our job to agree with all their choices or love each choice made, but to respect and appreciate the hard work each committee member put into this past year of reading and appreciate the search of literary merit in children's and young adult books, regardless of how appealing each title may appear.
Me at the 2013 Youth Media Awards Announcement
I'm about to start another major award committee year. I can't wait to get started and I'm eager to meet my fellow committee members, share and talk books with them! Being on a committee is a lot of work and it's a huge undertaking! Here's what it's like being on a book award committee:
-June-July (about a year and a half before your actual term starts if you are to be elected): Find out that you have been asked to be on the ballot for a committee term in the upcoming ALA elections! Squeal loudly to your husband about this. Do not tell anyone else as this is top secret news.
-July-Mid-October-wait anxiously for more news.
-Mid-October-Finally hear more details about the election and learn that it is now on the ALA site so you can announce your news and tell friends you'd love if they voted for you!
-End October-November-Submit ballot information to ALA so you can have a cool bio on the election page. Fret of what to say and ask best library friends for lots of advice and editing help. They're awesome and cheer you on.
-December-March-Another long waiting game.
-End of March-ALA election! Cross fingers and hope people pick you.
-Early May-Election results are in! Friends say congrats on Facebook and you do a happy dance when you get the official phone call. Your library director screams in excitement and immediately tweets your news and your manager gives you a big hug and shares your excitement. Husband is excited but dreading the shifting of the bookshelves yet again and the amount of books coming. Small baby smiles and has no idea how many books will be read to him next year.
-May-July-Hear from committee chair and look up the others who were elected and friend them on Facebook, Twitter, etc. Start making connections with your fellow committee members. If you are appointed, this is about the time you would find out and the entire committee is formed.
-July-December-Read committee manual and start getting books from the suggested reading list to help you prepare. Read books on children's literature and evaluating children's literature. For Caldecott, there are also a lot of books on evaluating art and using art in picture books.
-December-Organize bookshelves and rearrange books and shelves to make room for committee books. Come up with a shelf system for "to read", "read", and "read again" books.
-January-Start making a list of books you want to take a look at. Look through publisher catalogs, look at Goodreads, anticipated book lists on blogs. Read review journals and check out reviews. While books will be sent to the committee for consideration, you can still put things on hold at the library and browse bookstore shelves for more ideas. Attend ALA Midwinter and have first in person meeting with fellow committee members and go over committee work and get to know each other. Squeal a lot in excitement!
-February-June-Read, read, read! More list making, review reading, and seeking out books. Lots of notetaking!
-June-Attend ALA Annual and attend committee meetings. Practice discussing titles that have been read so far, but no official nominations are in yet. This is more of a prep meeting for your big meeting in January and also to catch up with each other since your reading has been done in a vacuum up to this point.
-July-December-Read, read, and read some more! More notetaking, review reading and list making. More reorganizing of shelves and piling of books everywhere. Lots of saying no to hanging out with friends because you have to read. Typically nominations/suggestions are due from committee members in rounds with Caldecott and Newbery, but with Printz nominations/suggestions were open year round. Throughout this time you'll be getting emails from your chair with the nominations/suggestions from other committee members so you can prioritize your reading and know what you need to take an in depth look at for your January meeting. You should have a final list of all titles to be discussed by end of December-early January depending when the Midwinter meeting is.
-January-Mad rush to the finish line! Read, read, read, and notetaking like crazy! You need to be ready to defend the titles you feel strongly about and point out what makes them award worthy. What are the pros and cons? What works in this book that makes it stand out? What doesn't work in this book? Attend ALA Midwinter and spend three days sequestered in a room with your fellow committee members discussing and discussing and discussing and voting and voting and voting on the titles on the table. Sometimes it might be an easy discussion about a title and sometimes not. Sometimes you have to vote several times to get a winner and sometimes not. But at the end of it all you'll feel exhausted and exhilarated! On the Monday morning of the conference you'll wake up early and call your winners which is incredibly exciting (and honestly might make you cry!) Then you'll sit in the awards announcement and hope that everyone else is excited about your choices as you are. Then sit back and relax and celebrate your hard work!
-February-May-Relax! Take a reading break. Don't read anything in the genre or age group that you were reading in or don't read at all! That's OK!
-June-Attend ALA Annual and celebrate with your winning authors and publishers and committee members. Attend the awards banquet or reception and cheer for your authors and feel a major sense of accomplishment in all your hard work. Celebrate with family and thank them for their support in your year of epic reading!
It's a ton of work but also so very worth it! It's also made me a better librarian when it comes to evaluating materials for children and teens and reviewing books.
Have you served on a committee? Anything else to add? What was your year like?
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About the Book: Something strange is going on in the tiny coastal town of Liberty, Oregon. Cara has never seen a whale swim close enough for her to touch it—let alone knock her into the freezing water. Fortunately, cute newcomer David is there to save her, and the rescue leads to a bond deeper than Cara ever imagined.
So when she learns David’s interning as a teacher at her school, Cara is devastated. She turns to her best friend for support, but Rachel has changed. She’s suddenly into witchcraft & is becoming dangerously obsessed with her new boyfriend.
Cara has lost her best friend, discovered her soul mate is off limits, and has attracted the attention of a stalker. But she’s not completely alone. Her mysterious, gorgeous new friend Garren is there to support her. But is Garren possibly too perfect?
Swoon Reads is the perfect new imprint from Macmillan for romance readers. There are romances for every kind of reader and Save Me is a mash up of several different paranormal tropes. Mysterious new guys, strange small town happenings, and Readers who love paranormal, romance, and suspense are sure to fall in love with Save Me. Want to read it? Enter to win a copy!
-Open to US Addresses only
-Contest Ends January 24
-Fill out form to enter
Follow the Tour:
Jenny Elliott is a lifelong resident of Washington State and lives in Spokane with her husband and four kids. Writing fiction is her favorite method for avoiding insanity. Other avoidance techniques include reading, playing Scrabble, and browsing social media sites. Save Me is her first novel. Follow her on Twitter at @jennykelliott. Swoon Reads is the crowd-sourced teen romance imprint founded by Jean Feiwel and published under Feiwel and Friends, a division of Macmillan. Swoon Reads is a community where members are included in every step of the publishing process, from acquiring manuscripts to choosing cover directions. To find out more and discover the best in swoon-worthy novels visit SwoonReads.com or follow us on Twitter at @SwoonReads.
About the Book: (From Goodreads)-Winning what you want may cost you everything you love
As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions.
One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin.
But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined.
Set in a richly imagined new world, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is a story of deadly games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.
GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: As an avid reader and librarian who has a constantly huge TBR pile, it takes a lot for me to get into a series and want to read a sequel and keep a series on my radar. And oh my goodness, let me tell you that The Winner's Curse is a book that I am keeping on my radar and eagerly awaiting the next book in the series and I can't wait to keep going!
There are so many things to like about The Winner's Curse. First off, I really love Kestrel. She's a strong female character and I love seeing strong women in YA, especially young women who really come into their own and learn to stand up for themselves over the course of the book. She doesn't swoon for boys or need a guy to save her. Kestrel is uncovering the veiled world she's lived in and questioning what she has always thought she knew and her journey there is fantastic to read.
Arin might be a bit on the broody side, but he's a strong character as well. I LOVE that there was not a love triangle in this book-thank you Ms. Rutkoski!!! Kestrel and Arin are both having to uncover long held truths and put aside prejudices they have about each other and this aspect of the novel is especially well written and developed. I really liked the interplay between them as they go from mistrust to an uneasy trust to a possible relationship that has too many barriers in its way. It's intriguing and makes the novel especially appealing.
The world building is also fantastic. It's hard to classify this book exactly-it's a bit fantasy, a bit historical, a bit dystopian, a bit romance, a bit adventure, a bit mystery, and a bit political intrigue. There really is something for everyone. And while there is a romantic plot line, it is not so central to the story that non-romance readers would be turned off from it.
I actually listened to this book on audio and I really enjoyed the various accents the narrator used throughout. It made the characters even more realistic and I thought it created even more intrigue. With a big surprise cliffhanger for the ending, readers will be eagerly anticipating the sequel!
Full Disclosure: Reviewed from audiobook checked out from my local library
The ‘Winner’s Curse’ is an economics term that means you’ve gotten what you wanted – but at too high a price. What would you pay too much for?
As part of The Winner's Curse blog tour, participants have been asked what they would pay too much for. That is such a hard question!
My first answer when I saw this question was books-ha! I know Mr. GreenBeanSexyMan would say that's the truth! But I can't help it-I love books. And while I don't think I would spend thousands of dollars (or more) for a signed copy or a limited edition (I'm not that much of a collector), I do think in my own way I spend too much for books at times.
It's always a risk-taking a chance on a book that you may or may not like. If it turns out to be something you don't like, did you pay too much for it? Or what if you purchase a book and you don't ever end up reading it? And then it takes up room on your shelf (shelf space is valuable!!) and you keep telling yourself you promise you'll read it this year, but then another year passes and you still haven't read it? Was the price too high then? And like I tell my readers at the library all the time, life is too short to read bad books. It takes time to read-precious time out of your already busy day, so you want to make the most of it and read something that you will enjoy reading. You don't want it to be a chore. And if it becomes a chore, than it's not enjoyable anymore and you've paid too much by loosing your enjoyment of reading.
Maybe that's silly to think of books in that way. But with as much time as I spend thinking, researching, reading, talking, and writing about books, books make up a significant part of my life! I want to get what I paid for! Maybe that's why I should just stick to library books!
Want to win a copy of The Winner's Curse? Enter the giveaway below!
-One entry per person
-US address only
-One entry per person
-Contest ends January 30
This year my library hosted our first ever Mock Newbery! We hosted it just for staff, but I think it would be great to host one with our patrons someday as well.
We had a shortlist of six titles that we read and discussed. After much discussion and voting, we came up with our winner and two honor books:
Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
Our group was impressed by the lyrical writing of Brown Girl Dreaming and how each poem stood alone but also contributed to the larger story. There were also comments on the characterization, which is very well drawn out. Even when we are introduced to a character with very little detail and background, we still felt that we knew them.
A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd
West of the Moon by Margi Preus
The group again loved the well developed characters in A Snicker of Magic. There was lots of discussion about the wonderful wordplay and excellent world building and setting. Our readers also loved that Jonah was a character with a disability without it being part of his character or defining him-he was just Jonah. There were many passionate readers who had a lot of support for this novel.
I have to say I was a bit surprised at the overwhelming love and support for West of the Moon from our group! I thought it would be one people didn't enjoy as much, but we had several members in our group who were very passionate about this one. They pointed out the world building and unique folklore style as high points of the novel. The author's note and factual information listed in the back were also a plus for our readers.
On Saturday we hosted our third annual Mock Caldecott program. This discussion is open to patrons and we had a group of 15 eager readers ready to discuss! The age range of our group was from age 5-adult and the kid's comments were some of the best! We started with ten on our shortlist and came up with a winner and three honor books:
It was a tough choice and we had a great discussion, but our ultimate winner was:
Have You Seen My Dragon by Steve Light
The group pointed out the unique style and how the book had a lot of great detail without feeling too overwhelmed by the pictures. The full page spreads worked well. One of our younger readers pointed out how only the items that were being counted were in color, which made the book unique and stand out. The group also mentioned how the artwork in this book worked far away and close up which was a plus. They were impressed by the artistic style in ink.
Flashlight by Lizi Boyd
Have You Heard the Nesting Bird by Rita Gray, illustrated by Kenard Park
Firefly July by Paul B. Janeczko, illustrated by Melissa Sweet
The group loved the interplay between light and dark in Flashlight and appreciated the cutouts on each page. One of my favorite comments was from our five-year-old member who did point out that animals can't hold flashlights and that part wasn't real.
In Have You Heard the Nesting Bird, the group mentioned the nature feel of each page and that while the artistic style had been done before, it appeared fresh and new with this book. There were full page spreads that you could get lost in and would love to have prints of. One of our teen members mentioned how some of the pages had too much white space which made it a bit distracting, which was something I hadn't thought about before when I looked at this book!
And our final honor book, Firefly July was chosen for the unique style and the way the art evoked the various seasons.
One of my favorite comments of the day was when one of our younger members, age 8, mentioned that her favorite from the shortlist was Grandfather Gandhi because of the use of fabric. I think she's a future committee member in the making!
I love our Mock Award programs and they are something I look forward to every year! I love hearing all of the great comments and thinking and discussing books in a new way.
We can't wait to find out what wins!
So I'm going to try my best to share my predictions and we'll see how close I can get (probably not close at all!) Here are my predictions (and hopes!) for Monday morning:
I wish I had come across this one when I was making my Mock Caldecott list because it would have made our final list for sure. If I was on the committee, this is one I would be championing for-the texture, the use of words in the art, the collage style-it's all fantastic.
I think this may be a strong year for honor books and we may end up with quite a few depending on how the committee discussion and voting shakes down.
I think this wordless book will be getting some love.
The detail! It's gotta count for something!
Caldecott Dark Horse:
I have two possible dark horses this year:
I've only recently been seeing Flashlight crop on other Mock lists. When this one came across my desk, myself and all of my staff immediately said Caldecott! I hope we're right!
Photography never does well in award discussions, but if any book can do it, I think Viva Frida can!
No surprise there-I think Brown Girl Dreaming is a shoe-in for the top title.
Maybe it's just because I adored this book and am attached to it personally, but I really would love to see Snicker get honored!
It would be great to see a book featuring an average kid and the writing here is above average!
Fantasy for the win please! I think Glass Sentence has fantastic world building that could help this one in the final push for an honor.
Newbery Dark Horse:
Please, please, please can a graphic novel win this year???
Last year showed us that beginning chapter books have a chance and if any early chapter book has a shot, I think Dory Fantasmagory can lend itself to some fantastic discussion. I would love to hear critical discussion about this one!
This one is tough because I think it's a close call between two books, but I think in the end it will be Grasshopper Jungle.
I think Glory O'Brien's History of the Future is the other book that could end up winning and it's a close call, but I think one will be the winner and one will be an honor book. I would love to see both with shiny stickers on them!
Andrew Smith is a powerhouse writer and I think he can pull of an epic Printz Win and Honor this year!
If we see any non-fiction honored this year by the Printz committee, I think it will the Romanovs.
Printz Dark Horse:
I had a hard time thinking of a Printz Dark Horse just because I think the contenders are so strong this year. But if I had to pick one, I think would go with:
What are your predictions this year? Anything I left out?
(This post was orignially published in January 2014, but I think it's fitting that I have friends serving on the award committees this year and I want them to read this encouragement once again and know it's for them too!)
Dear Committee Member-
On the eve of the youth media awards and your committee announcements, I offer you some words of advice from someone who has been there before.
Your choices are amazing. You have done a fantastic job and worked the hardest you have ever worked over the past year. You have read, and re-read, and re-read yet again, taken notes, analyzed, and discussed titles in more depth than you ever thought possible. Your hard work is appreciated.
When the announcement happens and your choices are known, just remember that your titles are amazing. You know why you honored the books you did and now you get to share those amazing titles with the world. You get to watch as others read them and discuss them and discover the intricacies in the plot, setting, characters, and voice that you did. Be proud that you get to share these titles with readers everywhere. Be proud that you have honored an author for their incredible work. Be proud that you get to highlight literary excellence in children's and young adult literature.
Be happy with your choices and don't listen to any naysayers. They don't know these titles as well as you and your fellow committee members. Remember it's not about popularity. That popular mock favorite that you didn't honor? It's OK. The obscure title that surprised everyone? It's OK. The title that everyone has mixed opinions on? It's OK. No matter what you choose, your titles are worth reading, worth knowing, and worth sharing. It doesn't matter if the honored titles don't match everyone's expectations-you know why your books were honored and be proud of giving these books a chance to shine. Feel good about sharing these fantastic titles with readers everywhere and giving them books to discover (or re-discover).
Understand that you just undertook a year of immense critical reading and it's OK to take a break from reading. Your work was exhausting and you deserve a chance to step away from books and not read for awhile. It doesn't make you a bad librarian or a bad reader-you deserve a break. Come back to reading when you're ready-and read something you want to read and find fun. And don't be surprised if the way you read has forever changed-you'll find yourself reading critically, but you can also give yourself a break and read for fun-and sometimes those things will intertwine.
Feel good about the work you did and be proud of your committee. Seek out your titles in a bookstore and library and feel proud when you see that shiny sticker placed on the cover. Be excited when you get to booktalk one of your titles and share it with a reader. And share away-that's one of the best parts of committee work-sharing your titles with others and getting them to read the books you worked hard to honor.
Thank you for your amazing year of reading and re-reading. Thank you for taking the time to discuss titles with your fellow committee member. Thank you for working hard to shine a light on great titles and honoring the best children's and young adult literature has to offer. Thank you for your amazing list of titles and congrats on a job well done! We're all cheering you on!
Now sit back and enjoy celebrating your hard work over the next year!
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About the Book: (from Goodreads) This is the story of Billy Kinsey, heir to a lottery fortune, part genius, part philosopher and social critic, full time insomniac and closeted rock drummer. Billy has decided that the best way to deal with an absurd world is to stay away from it. Do not volunteer. Do not join in. Billy will be the first to tell you it doesn’t always work— not when your twin sister, Dorie, has died, not when your unhappy parents are at war with one another, not when frazzled soccer moms in two ton SUVs are more dangerous than atom bombs, and not when your guidance counselor keeps asking why you haven’t applied to college. Billy’s life changes when two people enter his life. Twom Twomey is a charismatic renegade who believes that truly living means going a little outlaw. Twom and Billy become one another’s mutual benefactor and friend. At the same time, Billy is reintroduced to Gretchen Quinn, an old and adored friend of Dorie’s. It is Gretchen who suggests to Billy that the world can be transformed by creative acts of the soul. With Twom, Billy visits the dark side. And with Gretchen, Billy experiences possibilities.Billy knows that one path is leading him toward disaster and the other toward happiness. The problem is—Billy doesn’t trust happiness. It's the age he's at. The tragic age. Stephen Metcalfe's brilliant, debut coming-of-age novel, The Tragic Age, will teach you to learn to love, trust and truly be alive in an absurd world.
I created a playlist for The Tragic Age
-I think it's going to rain today by Randy Newman
-Love to hate you by Erasure
-I hate everyone by Get Set Go
-Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want by The Smiths
-Mad About You by Hooverphonic
-Girl Inform Me by The Shins
-Do You Realize by The Flaming Lips
-Roxanne by The Police
Anything by Avenged Sevenfold
You want to read this book and I've got a chance for three lucky winners to win an ARC!
One entry per person
Contest ends February 12
13+ older to enter
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