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1. book review: Ask Me

book_askme_100title: Ask Me

author: Kimberly Pauley

date: Soho Teen; April 2014

main character: Aria Morse

 

 

Ask Me is the most recent offering from Kimberly Pauley who self describes as “half Chinese half everything else”. She was born in California and now lives in London. Pauley is the founder of YA Books Central, one of the largest teen book websites in the world.

Ask Me is a the story of Aria, a paranormal teen growing up in Florida with her grandparents. Like her grandmother, Aria has the ability to give and honest answer to any questions she hears. She provides an answer whether or not the question is directed at her. And, the answer is sometimes more of a riddle. This ability came to Aria at the age of twelve. Imagine being a 12 year old girl living with your grandparents who struggle to make ends meet and you suddenly find yourself blurting our answers to every question you hear. Aria was not very popular.

As a defense mechanism, she chose to wear earbuds as much as possible  to block the questions. But, when Jade, the one classmate who defended her turns up dead, the questions fly so fast that Aria cannot avoid hearing or answering them. She hears herself speak truths that she does not know how to handle. And she actually begins connecting to people.

She gets to know Will and Alex, the two boys who had been involved with Jade. Each of them warns her about the other and Aria follows her instincts in deciding who to trust. Readers wonder who will bring harm to Aria and who may be behind the murders but Aria trusts that she knows. Pauley maintains the intrigue about who really killed Jade until the very end.

Aria was meant to be a weak character, one with no friends and little confidence in herself but in giving her so little support, Pauley neglected to develop her beyond her supernatural ability. She was simply a girl who answered questions. When she finally begins to have a relationship with Will, he manages to speak to her in a way that doesn’t ask questions; that allows her to have a choice in what she says. While this had to be so empowering for her, why did this freedom have to come from a male friend?

Nonetheless, Pauley wrote this scene so well that readers will feel the flip of the switch when Aria becomes turned on to him.

The ability to answer questions is an usual talent in which Pauley explores the power of truth and coming of age by embracing both our talents and our voice. Ask Me is a fun, smooth read that keeps you wondering to the end.


Filed under: Book Reviews Tagged: Kimberly Pauley

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2. The Martian, by Andy Weir

The Martian, by Andy Weir (Random House 2014), was delightfully gripping.  The basic premise--Mark Watney is an astronaut abandoned on Mars after his spacesuit is punctured by a rouge antennae during a storm.  His crewmates, in a desperate hurry to leave the planet before it's too late for them all, are sure he is dead.  But he's not.

And now he is stuck on Mars, alone.  The next manned mission won't arrive for four years; he has food for only a few months.  He has no way to communicate with Earth.   But Watney is nothing if not resourceful, and he refuses to give in....

What follows is a harrowing survival story, in which human ingenuity is pitted against an environment where the smallest mistake can become deadly.    Basically, it's a grown-up version of My Side of the Mountain on Mars, and I enjoyed it very much.

Mostly it's told in Watney's log entries (in which he records all the various technical jury-rigging and repurposing projects that fill his days--don't try these at home), but when he finally manages to communicate with Earth, we get to see how NASA desperately does what it can to rescue him, and how the whole planet becomes riveted by what's happening out on Mars.   A lot of what concerns Watney is fairly technical, and I confess I read lightly over his engineering endeavours.  But I was riveted by his potato farming adventures--Watney is a biologist, as well as an engineer, and the 12 potatoes that flew to Mars for Thanksgiving turn out to be life-savers (composting for the win!).

I was sad this nearish-future vision of the scientific world hadn't made many strides with regard to the inclusion of women as full fledged geeks- true, the commander of the original mission is female, but NASA command is still pretty much all male.  And there were two gratuitous bits of nerd culture slamming that I wish hadn't been there (Watley wonders why one crew member is a nerd when she is so beautiful, and the PR woman at NASA sneers at colleagues who reference the Council of Elrond, which she's never heard of).  But I guess it's believable; attitudes take a while to change.

There's some strong language (the first sentence, for instance, is "I'm pretty much f***ed"), but I'd be comfortable giving it to my own eight-grader because there's really no point in pretending he doesn't know the f word at this point.

Anyway, I pretty much read it in a single sitting, and recommend it enthusiastically to anyone who enjoys harrowing survival stories that are chock full of science--instructive as well as entertaining.  And of course it could conceivably described as "a testament to the indomitable will of the human spirit" etc. etc. which is, you know, not a bad thing in thing to be reading in these difficult times when one's own spirit might be daunted by all there is to do at home and work.  At least I don't have to combine hydrogen and oxygen in the kitchen in order to wash the dishes.

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3. PFAS: “Teacher’s Look” by Shirley Smith Duke

Cara S. uses images of hands and pens and a frowning teacher along with fun background sound effects to tell the story behind Shirley Smith Duke’s poem, “Teacher’s Look.”

Check it out here (below).


You’ll find this engaging poem in the 5th grade section of The Poetry Friday Anthology for Science in Week 13: Light & Sound.


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4. #542 – Cat Says Meow: And Other Animalopoeia by Michael Arndt

c0ver.

Cat Says Meow: And Other Animalopoeia

by Michael Arndt

Chronicle Books               2014

978-1-4521-1234-3

Age 2 to 4           28 pages

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“Dog says woof . . . pig says oink . . . cow says moo. Animals and the sounds they make are paired up in playfully compelling ways in this eye-catching illustrated gift book featuring bold colors and an engaging use of onomatopoeia. Kids and parents will delight in discovering the ways in which the letters that spell out each animal’s sound are key elements of that animal’s illustration. With so much to see and to sound out, kids will relish this unique visual and educational experience, brimming with color and letters.”

Review

“Hi!”

“Woof!”

“Meow!”

“Quack!”

How do you say hello? Ask any of the animals in Cat Says Meow and you will get the answer you probably are expecting, but the animal may look a tad different from normal. The duck still says quack, but look closely at the animal that just spoke to you.

Its left eye looks like the letter “q.”

Its beak looks like a large “u.”

Its right eye looks like an “a.”

The wing looking like a large “c.”

Its legs that look like an odd “k.”

There is something odd going on. Still, if it looks like a duck, and it quacks like a duck, then it must be a  . . . wait a minute, that duck says “quack” and it is made out of the letters quack, which spells “quack!” This has to be a coincidence.

cow pig

Well, there are 25 animals in all, each greeting you in their native tongue, and each looking mostly normal. Take the cow. It greets you by saying, “Moo.” It looks normal as normal can be . . . wait, again. This cow is a bit odd looking.

Its right eye looks like an “m.”

Its left eye looks more normal, but still it looks suspiciously like an “o.”

Its nose looks like another “o.”

“Moo” says the cow that looks like moo.

There is a definite trend going on. A random turn of the thicker than usual pages brings me to an owl, which says, “Hooo.” An owl that looks like “hooo” and says, “Hooo.” Interesting. A pattern has definitely emerged from Cat Says Meow. Every animal, on every page looks like it sounds.

The author calls this animalopoeia, a word he has trademarked. Each animal, which the author also drew, looks like it sounds. A dog is “woof,” a lamb is, “baa,” and a horse is “neigh.” Onomatopoeia means words that sound like the actual act or thing. The words cough, growl, and boom are onomatopoeia. In Cat says Meow, all of these words are animal sounds. The author has coined these sounds Animal*opoeia. This is Michael Arndt’s debut children’s book.

mouse cat

Cat Says Meow is a great little book for teaching your child about 25 common animal sounds. As in reading, the words in each animal shape are formed from left to right, top to bottom. The large, singular illustrations little kids will easily recognize and will enjoy speaking like the animals and hearing you do the same.

Michael Arndt explained Cat Says Meow and Other Animalopoeia and animalopoeia in particular, “[aim] is to promote verbal and visual literacy as well as foster a love of animals at an early age.” Part of the Arndt’s proceeds from Cat Says Meow go back to animal rescue organizations, groups that are also dear to me. The next time you hear a familiar “meow” and think it is your Fluffy, take a quick look,  it could be an animalopoe*ia.

CAT SAYS MEOW: AND OTHER ANIMALOPOEIA. Text and Illustrations copyright (C w2014 by Michael Arndt. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Chronicle Books, San Francisco, CA.

Youtube video found by Erik at ThisKidsReviewsBooks. His review is HERE.

.

Learn more about Cat Says Meow and Other Animalopoeia HERE.

Buy a copy of Cat Says Meow and Other Animalopoeia at AmazonB&NChronicle Booksyour local  bookstore.

.

Meet the author/illustrator, Michael Arndt, at his facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/animalopoeia

Find more books at Chronicle Books’ website:http://www.chroniclebooks.com/

.

cat says meow


Filed under: 5stars, Children's Books, Debut Author, Library Donated Books, Picture Book Tagged: animalopoeia, animals, cat, children's book reviews, Chronicle Books, dog, Michael Arndt, onomatopoeia, words that are sounds

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5. Celebrate 404 Day!

On April 4, 2014, the Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) teamed up to celebrate 404 Day- the day that honors this little message that pops up when there’s an error and you can’t access a webpage. The OIF and EFF took this opportunity talk about the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA).

Enacted in 2000, CIPA was written to address concerns about the exposure of children to pornography and other explicit content, through the implementation of browser filters.  Additionally, public and school libraries that adhere to CIPA and apply to filters to at least the internet devices in their children’s department, are eligible for government funding.  More information on CIPA can be found at the FCC website and the OIF website as well.

Through a Google+ Hangout streamed on YouTube, Intellectual Freedom buffs Deborah Caldwell-Stone, Sarah Houghton, and Chris Petersen talked about what CIPA really means for libraries, how to cope with CIPA, and how to get your board to reconsider CIPA.

Since the Hangout is available for you to watch here, I won’t rehash the whole thing, but I will share some important points:

  • Many people think they understand CIPA fully, but they actually don’t.  If you don’t understand ask questions!
  • Filters are mainly English-centric.  If you have access to a translator page or spell some of the search terms wrong, you will most likely be able to bypass the filter.
  • Only lighter skin tones are recognized as skin tones.  Therefore, a filter might block any variation of this.
  • When asked the best way to start a library board to reconsider their filters and compliance with CIPA, Sarah recommended moving the conversation from a conversation about morality to a cost benefit analysis.  For example, how well are the filters doing their job?  Do things get blocked by the filter, that shouldn’t be? How much does it cost to have these filters in both time and money?

Also, Deborah shared that the OIF will be releasing a new white paper at the end of the month on the topic of CIPA and its role in your library.

Remember, the ALSC IF Committee is always here for you if you have questions about intellectual freedom issues or if you are facing a challenge (it doesn’t have to make the news!).  We’re here to help, so feel free to reach out via ALA Connect or email.

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6. This week's round-up of middle grade fantasy and science fiction from around the blogs (4/20/14)

Welcome to this week's round-up of middle grade fantasy and science fiction from around the blogs!  Please let me know if I missed your post.

The Reviews

Boys of Blur, by N.D. Wilson, at Fuse #8

The Bravest Princess, by E.D. Baker, at The Flashlight Reader

The Carpet People, by Terry Pratchett, at alibrarymama

Charmed Life, by Diana Wynne Jones, at Leaf's Reviews

Conrad's Fate, by Diana Wynne Jones, at Leaf's Reviews

Diego's Dragon, by Kevin Gerard, at Middle Grade Mafioso

The Dyerville Tales, by M.P. Kozlowsky, at Random Musings of a Bibliophile

Ever After High: The Storybook of Legends, by Shannon Hale, at Literary Omnivore

The Forbidden Library, by Django Wexler, at On Starships and Dragon Wings, Writer of Wrongs, and The Book Zone (For Boys)

Game of Clones, by M.E. Castle, at Ms. Yingling Reads

The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom, by Christopher Healy, at Sharon the Librarian (audiobook review)

Key to Kashdune, by Claudia White, at A Woman's Wisdom

The Last of the Dragons and some others, by E. Nesbit, at Jean Little Library

The Lives of Christopher Chant, by Diana Wynne Jones, at Leaf's Reviews

Lost Children of the Far Islands, by Emily Raabe, at Charlotte's Library

The Merman and the Moon Forgotten, by Kevin McGill, at This Kid Reviews Books

The Ninja Librarians: The Accidental Keyhand, by Jen Swann Downey, at Fanboynation

Northwood, by Brian Falkner, at The Book Monsters

The Orphan of Awkward Falls, by Keith Graves, at Good Books and Good Wine

The Pinhoe Egg, by Diana Wynne Jones, at Leaf's Reviews and Tales of the Marvelous

The Riverman, by Aaron Starmer, at 100 Scope Notes

Rose and the Lost Princess, by Holly Webb, at Debz Bookshelf (giveaway)

The School for Good and Evil, by Soman Chainani, at Fairytale Fandom

The Shadow Throne, by Jennifer Nielsen, at Cracking the Cover and Becky's Book Reviews

The Shadowhand Covenent, by Brian Farrey, at Book Nut

Smasher, by Scott Bly, at Charlotte's Library

The Spindlers, by Lauren Oliver, at Supernatural Snark

Suitcase of Stars, by Pierdomenico Baccalario, at Librarian of Snark

The Twistrose Key, by Tone Almhiell,  at Log Cabin Library

Who Could That Be At This Hour? by Lemony Snicket, at Reading the End

Witch Week, by Diana Wynne Jones, at Leaf's Reviews

Wonder Light, by R.R. Russell, at Sharon the Librarian


Authors and Interviews

Erin Cohn (Spirit's Key) at OneFour KidLit

Soman Chainani (A World Without Princes) at The Children's Book Review and The Enchanted Inkpot

R.R. Russell (Wonder Light) at The Hiding Spot

Delia Sherman (The Freedom Maze) at Big Blue Marble Blog


Other Good Stuff

Conversations about diversity were popping up all over last week, such as this post on Race, Power, and Publishing

For fans of the Queen's Thief series-Megan Whalen Turner has agreed to a video interview; if you have any questions for her you can submit them here.

It's Fairy Tale Fortnight; you can join the fun at this link up post at A Backwards Story

The pictures are copyrighted, I assume, but click through to see Fantasy Fiction Made Real aka a 13 year old Mongolian girl and the golden eagle she hunts with.   (Me--I would launch my eagle, my eagle would take off, and I would fall backward off the rocks.  Sigh).

And finally, here's a happy Easter greeting from days of yore, which I like because it shows the sport of rabbit jumping might be older than we had thought....

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7. The Fun Home debate continues in South Carolina.

Fun homeFrom the NYT:

The College of Charleston, a public university, provided copies of Ms. Bechdel’s memoir to incoming students for the 2013-14 academic year, as part of its annual College Reads! program that tries to encourage campus-wide discussion around a single book each year. The books are not required reading.

But one state representative, Garry Smith, told South Carolina newspapers this winter that he had received a complaint about “Fun Home” from a constituent whose daughter was a freshman at the college. Mr. Smith contacted the college to ask about other options for College Reads!, and said he was told there were none. Mr. Smith then proposed cutting $52,000 – roughly equivalent to the cost of the reading program, he said – from the college’s $20 million appropriation from the state. The budget cut is now moving through the legislature; South Carolina news media coverage indicates some sizable political support for the cut.

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8. Happy Easter

Happy Easter!

May the chocolate bunny overflow your basket  with goodies.


Filed under: Children's Books

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9. Blog Tour: Ask Me by Kimberly Pauley

GetAttachment

Ask Me by Kimberly Pauley was released this month by Soho Press.

Aria Morse is an Oracle, blessed—or cursed—with the gift of prophecy.  Ask her anything, and the truth spills out immediately. But Aria’s answers sound like nonsense, even to herself… just as they did at Delphi 2500 years ago. 
 
book_askme_100To cope, Aria has perfected the art of hiding in plain sight—until Jade Price, the closest person she has to a friend, disappears.  All of a sudden, everyone around her has questions. The “nonsense” Aria spouts becomes a matter of life and death.
 
She may be the only one who can find out what happened to Jade.  But the closer she gets to the truth, the closer she comes to being the next target of someone else who hides in plain sight. Someone with a very dark plan.  (Amazon)

She doesn’t want to hear the questions so that she won’t blurt our the answers. She avoids the questions by putting in her earbuds and cranking up her playlst.

Aria’s First Day of School Playlist
Music is so important to Aria, the main character in ASK ME. It’s what she uses to shield herself from the world. Each of the chapter titles in the book is a song that she would have been listening to during the chapter in question. But, what would she have listened to on her first day of school? This is what I think it would have been:

Listen on Spotify

Don’t Ask Me Why by Laura Marling
Mad World by Adam Lambert (rather than the Tears for Fears version, which would be mine)
You are Invisible by Anya Marina
Doesn’t Remind Me by Audioslave
On the Outside by Sheryl Crow
Stay Out of Trouble by Kings of Convenience
One of Those Days by Joshua Radin
Sullen Girl by Fiona Apple
Impossible by Shontelle
Unhinged by the Eels

 


Filed under: New Books Tagged: Kimberly Pauley, new release

1 Comments on Blog Tour: Ask Me by Kimberly Pauley, last added: 4/18/2014
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10. PFAS: “Climate vs. Weather” by Joan Bransfield Graham

Lauren S. has gotten children involved in reading aloud the poem for her movie adaptation of Joan Bransfield Graham’s poem, “Climate vs. Weather.”

Look for it here.


You’ll find this interesting poem in the 5th grade section of The Poetry Friday Anthology for Science in Week 17: Weather & Climate.


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11. Genre debates: "literary" fiction versus SF/F.

I'm really not into having the whole Which One Is Better debate, because I don't have a strong aversion to any genre: if it's a good book, it's a good book, yay books. YAY BOOKS.

Anyway! Despite the title, ultimately, the essay is more about the differences between the two genres, and more especially about the strengths of SF/F:

You absolutely cannot obscure underlying weakness with waffle. Otherwise the emails will arrive, picking up on discrepancies. Not just for the sake of point-scoring or nitpicking but because fans become so engaged with imaginary worlds and so passionate about their characters.

That passion, so easily mocked by laughing at Trekkies and Whovians, is another thing that distinguishes SF and fantasy from literary fiction. Mocking that passion is missing a key aspect of speculative fiction. By drawing readers in large numbers, contemporary fantasy becomes a platform to debate key, current social and political challenges, while science fiction continues to explore the impact of technological developments, for good and ill, before we have to tackle these things in reality.

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12. Jumping Jack by Germano Zullo and Albertine

<!-- START INTERCHANGE - JUMPING JACK -->if(!window.igic__){window.igic__={};var d=document;var s=d.createElement("script");s.src="http://iangilman.com/interchange/js/widget.js";d.body.appendChild(s);} <!-- END INTERCHANGE --> Germano Zullo and Albertine are the duo who created Little Bird and Line 135 and now the very funny, kind of weird Jumping Jack. Jumping Jack and Roger Trotter are

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13. Week in Review: April 13-19

The Shadow Throne. Jennifer A. Nielsen. 2014. Scholastic. 336 pages. [Source: Review copy]
Starstruck. Rachel Shukert. 2013. Random House. 339 pages. [Source: Review copy]
Mansfield Park. Jane Austen. 1814. 464 pages. [Source: Book I Bought]
A Year Down Yonder. Richard Peck. 2000. Penguin. 144 pages. [Source: Library]
Starters. Lissa Price. 2012. Random House. 352 pages. [Source: Review copy]
Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, A Man Who Would Cure the World. By Tracy Kidder. Adapted for Young People by Michael French. 2013. Random House. 288 pages. [Source: Review copy] 
And He Dwelt Among Us: Teachings From the Gospel of John. A.W. Tozer. 2009. Regal. 224 pages. [Source: Bought]
Saved In Eternity (The Assurance of Salvation #1) D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. 1988. Crossway. 187 pages. [Source: Bought]
Safe in the World (The Assurance of Salvation #2). D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. 1988. Crossway. 160 pages. [Source: Bought]
The Life of Our Lord: Written For His Children During the Years 1846 to 1849. Charles Dickens. 1934/1999. Simon & Schuster. 128 pages. [Source: Bought]

This week's favorite:

I loved, loved, loved The Shadow Throne by Jennifer A. Nielsen. This series is oh-so-wonderful.

© 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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14. THINGY THINGS: Crabby Crab and Cowy Cow by Chris Raschka

Back in 2000 Caldecott Medalist Chris Raschka published eight Thingy Thing books that eventually went out of print in 2006. Now abrams appleseed has revived the series and plans to publish four new Thingy Things books! Raschka originally conceived the series for his son, now a college freshman, when he was three. As Cecily Kaiser, publishing director of abrams appleseed, and the person

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15. Reread #16: A Year Down Yonder

A Year Down Yonder. Richard Peck. 2000. Penguin. 144 pages. [Source: Library]

I loved A Year Down Yonder so much more than Richard Peck's A Long Way From Chicago. And I definitely enjoyed A Long Way From Chicago! While A Long Way From Chicago was told from Joey's point of view, A Year Down Yonder is told from Mary Alice's point of view. Because of the Depression, Mary Alice has been sent by her parents to live with Grandma Dowdel. Mary Alice has spent more than a few summers with her Grandma, alongside her brother, but this time she'll be there all year long, and without her brother.

While A Long Way From Chicago is fun, in many ways, it is a bit disjointed as well. Each chapter tells the story of a summer vacation. In A Year Down Yonder, the plot is more traditional. The book follows the course of an entire year. Readers get a better chance to KNOW the characters, to appreciate the characters and the small town setting. And Mary Alice is a great narrator!!! I loved her story. My favorite chapters were "Rich Chicago Girl," "Vittles and Vengeance," "Heart and Flour," and "A Dangerous Man." I loved the slight traces of romance. 


I would definitely recommend both A Long Way From Chicago and A Year Down Yonder. Both books do stand alone, but, they do go together well.

I first reviewed A Year Down Yonder in May 2008.

© 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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16. Library Loot: Third Trip in April

New Loot:
  • Lost in Shangri-La by Mitchell Zuckhoff
  • Kinfolk by Pearl S. Buck
  • The Living Reed by Pearl S. Buck
  • East Wind, West Wind by Pearl S. Buck
Leftover Loot:
  • Richard Scarry's Best Nursery Tales Ever by Richard Scarry
  • English German Girl by Jake Wallis Simons
  • Mommy & Me Craft (DK)
  • Mommy & Me Start Cooking (DK) 
  • The Diary of A Young Girl: The Definitive Edition by Anne Frank, edited by Otto H. Frank and Mirjam Pressler; translated by Susan Massotty.
  • How The Beatles Changed the World by Martin W. Sandler
Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Linda from Silly Little Mischief that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.

© 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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17. Kindle Daily Deal: Strange Chemistry title.

Yes, another one!:

When the World was Flat (and we were in love), by Ingrid Jonach

And yes, I bought it, description unseen, even!

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18. Together We Can Make a Difference

Imagine the impact if all of us who care about children and libraries arrived together in Washington urging our legislators to support the crucial work we do! Can’t make it to Washington? Neither can I. But you and I and children’s librarians everywhere can participate in Virtual Library Legislative Day (VLLD). Every one of us can let our Senators and representatives in Congress know how important we are to our communities and to our nation’s literacy. VLLD this year is May 6. No time on May 6 to write a note? Any day from May 5-9 will do. But let’s do it together on these days so our voices will be heard.

The ALSC Advocacy and Legislation Committee and ALSC’s Everyday Advocacy web site are supporting our members so that we can all participate in VLLD 2014. Find contact information for your Senators and Representatives at http://www.contactingthecongress.org/. Then, think about the issues that are most important to you. In the coming days, the Advocacy and Legislation Committee will be providing you with talking points on such issues as Library funding through the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) and the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS); libraries, early learning, and the Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) program; and support for school libraries in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Now, check our Everyday Advocacy VLLD page at http://www.ala.org/everyday-advocacy/take-action-vlld-14 for a growing wealth of resources.

Do your Senators and Representatives know that LSTA funds provide libraries with databases that are essential for students doing their homework and to citizens looking for help in writing resumes and finding jobs? Do they know that the IAL program is vital to students learning to function in the digital age? Will they support an ESEA bill that will maintain dedicated federal funding for school libraries and move us toward school libraries with state-certified school librarians in every public school? Do they know the work you are doing to prepare children for entering school and to foster literacy as they grow into lifelong learners?

Do your librarian colleagues know about VLLD? Perhaps not, but you can help spread the word to friends and fellow librarians. Through local listservs, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other social media, you can help us swell the call for library support. The goal is to contact legislators between May 5 and May 9.

As funding for libraries is threatened, who among us cannot find five or ten minutes to let legislators know that our work is crucial to our country’s future? Participate in VLLD 2014. You’ll feel good about your participation. Together we can make a difference.

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

Rita Auerbach, member of the ALSC Board and of the Coretta Scott King/Virginia Hamilton Lifetime Achievement Award Committee, and the Co-Chair of the Pura Belpré 20th Anniversary Task Force, wrote this post on behalf of the ALSC Advocacy and Legislation Committee.

 

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19. The Cat with Seven Names - an audiobook review


(My review of The Cat with Seven Names, as it appeared in the April, 2014, edition of School Library Journal.)



Johnson, Tony. The Cat with Seven Names. 1 CD. 15 min. Recorded
Books. 2014. $15.75. ISBN 9781490602479. digital
download.

PreS-Gr 2— A plump, seemingly stray cat wanders occasionally into the home of an older librarian. She names her visitor Stuart Little. At an elderly neighbor's home, he receives the moniker Kitty-boy, while a lonely Mexican man names him Placido for his "singing" voice. A homeless vet calls him Dove, for the peace he brings. Only the cat is lacking his own voice in this heartwarming story of a busy neighborhood, full of unconnected adults. Each character has his or her own first-person narrator, each distinctly different. The Hispanic man peppers his speech with Spanish words, as he first meets "Placido" on a day when it rains gatos y perros. Humorous wordplay abounds throughout, in which the cat is the common fixture in the lives of seven adults and a young girl. When the cat has a near accident, the full cast calls out seven different names, as each rushes to save the feline that has befriended them all; and through the cat, they befriend each other. The Cat with Seven Names will be sold with and without its corresponding picture book. Consider purchasing the set. Absent illustrations, the steady stream of elderly and adult voices may not be enough to hold a child's attention.


Copyright © 2014 Library Journals, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. Reprinted with permission.
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20. Participate in the next ALSC Community Forum

ALSC Blogger Starr LaTronica

ALSC President Starr LaTronica will present the next ALSC Community Forum (photo courtesy Starr LaTronica)

The ALSC Board of Directors and ALSC President Starr LaTronica will be hosting two ALSC Community Forum live chats on the topic of the topic of adding STEAM to your Summer Reading Program.

The forum will include live audio from ALSC President Starr LaTronica followed by a discussion led by the School Age Programs and Services Committee. ALSC members are invited to attend to discuss these topics and what their libraries are doing to meet these needs.

Your two opportunities to join in the discussion are:

  • Monday, April 28 at 11 am EST
  • Wednesday, April 30 at 3 pm EST

ALSC Community Forums take place on Adobe Connect. Later this week, ALSC members will receive an email with a URL link to the forum.

Visit the ALSC website for more information about using Adobe Connect. There are also links to previous ALSC Community Forums chats. Questions? Contact Dan Bostrom or by phone, 800-545-2433 ext 2164.

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21. A Snicker of Magic, by Natalie Lloyd -- Nominated for the 2015 Emerson Mock Newbery (ages 9-12)

Last week, two girls came bounding into our lunchtime book club bubbling over about how much they loved a new book they both just read: A Snicker of Magic. Their enthusiasm immediately spread to other friends. Hooray!! And so, here is our first book nominated to the 2015 Emerson Mock Newbery, followed by Thea and Fiona's review.
A Snicker of Magic
by Natalie Lloyd
Scholastic, 2014
preview on Google Books
*2015 Emerson Mock Newbery*
Your local library
Amazon
ages 9-12
A Snicker of Magic
Review by Thea and Fiona

A Snicker of Magic is a great book about a young girl, Felicity Pickle, who sees words around people and things .”Some words glow, and some words dance Some have wings , and some have zebra stripes.” After moving (again) to her mom’s childhood home, Midnight Gulch, (which is magic) she learns some important things about her family. But there’s still a gaping hole. Will she find it out in time or is she going to feel the hole forever?

Natalie Lloyd
We think that the moral of A Snicker of Magic is you can believe in anything you want to and always believe in yourself and your family. Our evidence of this is at first Felicity did not believe in magic until she started learning about her family. What we have in common with Felicity is that sometimes we don’t always believe in something until we have seen or witnessed it.

We recommend this book because this story has a really good plot that makes you want to never put it down once you started it. It has magic mixed with family drama , and amazing characters like Felicity and the Beedle, and lots of suspense.

WE RECOMMEND THIS BOOK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thea enjoyed Natalie's recent post on the Nerdy Book Club, all about the magic of memories that are hidden away in the books we read. This is certainly part of the wonderful charm of A Snicker of Magic.
There's a Lion in My Closet, by Natalie Lloyd

My first novel, A Snicker of Magic, takes place in a quirky Tennessee mountain town called Midnight Gulch. The sugar-wind blows through Midnight Gulch thanks to a famous (er… infamous, rather) ice cream factory called Dr. Zook’s. While Zook’s boasts all sorts of strangely delicious concoctions, the most popular flavor is only sold locally. It’s called Blackberry Sunrise, and years ago, the first batch was made from a crop of wild berries, sugar, milk … and memories. That’s the problem with eating Blackberry Sunrise, as my hero, Felicity Pickle, soon discovers. That particular flavor always calls up a memory. And you never know if the memory will be sweet or sour unless you’re brave enough to take a bite.

Sadly, I don’t know how to hide memories in ice cream.

But I know how to hide memories in books.

For more, head to the Nerdy Book Club post.

Thea and Fiona are nominating A Snicker of Magic to our 2015 Emerson Mock Newbery. Our process is that a book must be nominated by two readers to be entered into our final reading list. Students commit to reading at least 5 books from our list to participate in our voting in January. Thank you, Thea and Fiona, for sharing about why you want all of us to read A Snicker of Magic!

The review copy was kindly sent to us by the publishers, Scholastic Press. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books. Thank you for your support.

©2014 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

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22. Free tickets to see Andrea Davis Pinkney!

2014 Arbuthnot Lecturer Andrea Davis Pinkney

Andrea Davis Pinkney (image courtesy of Scholastic)

ALSC and the University of Minnesota Libraries, Children’s Literature Research Collections (CLRC) would like to remind the public that tickets for the 2014 May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture featuring Andrea Davis Pinkney are available.

The lecture, entitled “Rejoice the Legacy!,” will be held at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 3, 2014 at Willey Hall on the campus of the University of Minnesota. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. A reception and signing will follow the event. Required tickets are free for the lecture and must be obtained through the University of Minnesota website. To learn more about acquiring tickets, please visit the 2014 May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture website.

The May Hill Arbuthnot Lecture is sponsored by ALSC. The lecture title honors May Hill Arbuthnot, distinguished writer, editor and children’s literature scholar. Each year, an author, artist, critic, librarian, historian or teacher of children’s literature is selected to prepare a paper considered to be a significant contribution to the field of children’s literature.

* * *

2014 May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture With Andrea Davis Pinkney
University of Minnesota Libraries, Children’s Literature Research Collections
Saturday, May 3, 2014 from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM (CDT)
Minneapolis, Minnesota

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23. YALSAblog Tweets of the Week – April 18, 2014

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

Do you have a favorite Tweet from the past week? If so add it in the comments for this post. Or, if you read a Twitter post between April 18 and April 24 that you think is a must for the next Tweets of the Week send a direct or @ message to lbraun2000 on Twitter.

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24. Phineas Redux (1874)

Phineas Redux. Anthony Trollope. 1874. 768 pages. [Source: Book I bought]

Phineas Redux is the fourth in the Palliser series by Anthony Trollope. Previous titles include Can You Forgive Her?, Phineas Finn, and The Eustace Diamonds.

It has been a few years since Phineas Finn left the joys and sorrows of political life to settle down and marry. (For the record, he didn't really have much of a choice in giving up the politics). But now his luck, for better or worse, is changing. His wife has conveniently died, and there is a new opportunity for him to run for a seat in parliament. He's hesitant but as always ambitious. He leaps for it knowing that he could easily regret it.

It has also been a few years since Lady Laura has left her husband, Robert Kennedy, whom she detests. She is still very obsessed with Phineas Finn. She loves him dearly, she makes him--in her own mind--her everything. Phineas Finn, on the other hand, remembers her kindly but rarely. She is NOT his everything: she hasn't been since she turned down his proposal all those years again. He would never--could never--think of her like that again. He respects her, but, he's content to keep his distance. Her confessions to him are improper, in a way, and prove embarrassing to him.

Lady Laura is not the only woman who has given away her heart to Phineas. Madame Max Goesler still loves him though she's at least discreet or more discreet. At the very least, she has a life outside her daydreams; her social life is active and she has many good friends. She's not as isolated, so, her love for Phineas perhaps does not come across as obsession.

While I was indifferent to Madame Max in Phineas Finn, I grew to really like her in Phineas Redux. Other female characters I enjoyed were Lady Chiltern (whom we first met in Phineas Finn as Violet Effingham), Lady Glencora (whom we first met in Can We Forgive Her?), and Lizzie Eustace (whom we first met in Eustace Diamonds). It was interesting to me to see which heroines Trollope allowed a happily ever after. I was so very pleased to see Lord and Lady Chiltern settling down quite happily. It was LOVELY to spend time with both of them. I still adore Lady Glenora and Plantagenet Palliser together. Lizzie reaps what she sows, but is fortunate in many ways!

There was a new romance introduced in Phineas Redux. Two men are in love with Adelaide Palliser: Gerard Maule and Thomas Platter Spooner. Adelaide, of course, has her favorite. But the other is very persistent. 

In terms of plot: A MURDER. A politician is murdered. There are two suspects. One suspect is Phineas Finn. He is put on trial for the crime...but the evidence is all circumstantial. Will he be convicted? Will doubt and uncertainty of his guilt prevent him from politics in the future? 

© 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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25. Picture book title brainstorm

I am brainstorming picture book titles here and I have come up with a template:

(Name), the brave little (animal, household appliance, vegetable, shape or person) who (verb past tense) to find a (place or group)

So here how it works.

Choose a name - like Hortense.

Then choose a thing, preferably non-human but... well, anyway, how about plunger?

Then insert a past tense verb - how about tabulated?

And last but not least, a place or group.  Usually this is something cuddly but not always.  Let me riffle through my dictionary here.    Hmmmm, pride.

So the title of my picture book will be:

Hortense, the brave little plunger, who tabulated to find a pride. 

http://sr.photos2.fotosearch.com/bthumb/CSP/CSP992/k13022794.jpg

That will generate a lot of excitement in the publishing world.  I will just wait for the offers to pour in.

You can change the template, too.  Maybe your brave little whatever went on something.

Hortense, the brave little plunger, might go on a mop.  Or, your brave little something-or-other could learn something.  Hortense, the brave little plunger, who learned to sleep.  Awesome!

Yep.  Hortense and I are going to RULE the picture book market.

(Obviously, I am at a loose end, today.  I think I'll take a walk.)

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