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1. Impressions of ALA 2015

Thursday-June 25

I arrived in San Francisco on Thursday and the first thing I was excited to do was to see The Mix at SFPL.  I received a tour from the awesome Teen Librarian, Erich Haddon.  The Mix is the new digital media and learning lab for teens ages 13-18 where teens can explore their passions.  The Mix is partnering with five San Francisco, Bay Area organizations that will be offering programs for teens in areas of STEM, video creating/editing, music making and more.  There is also a makerspace where teens can create, make and collaborate.  The Mix is offering roughly 15 programs per week for teens.

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Saturday June 27

I spent a couple of hours at the YALSA table with the fabulous Stephanie Charlefour, Teen Librarian at the Wixom Public Library.  It was the first time for me tabling at YALSA and it was a great opportunity to connect with other teen librarians focused on the meeting the mission of YALSA as well as connecting with librarians interested in joining YALSA.

Voices of Youth: Community Partnerships for video production session featured a panel of six teens involved in the San Francisco Public Library (SFPL) Board of Advising Youth and they talked about their involvement in working with the library, architects and other advisors in building and creating the new teen space; The Mix.  The partnerships that SFPL has built with five Bay Area organizations will bolster teen programming and expose teens to areas of video creation and editing through the organization BAVC, music creation and editing, a makerspace that has endless possibilities and STEM programs by the California Academy of Sciences

Empower Your Teens! Civic Engagement Strategies that Work.  Five teens from the Youth Leadership Council of the Oakland Public Library presented on their work with the library.  The presentation was a phenomenal, completely youth led panel where each member talked about what the YLC does; building leaderships skills by engaging with members of civic institutions, improving library services by having this group be so imbedded in a number of decision making endeavors for teens and bridging the gap between youth and library staff.  Hands down the best session I went to!  The teens took the lead to share what they do and what they’ve learned from their experience with the YLC.

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YALSA President’s Program: Taking a Deep Dive Into Digital Literacy:  Shark Tank for Library Staff

I’m one of the members of the YALSA President’s Program Task Force and it has been a great experience serving on a committee with such dedicated teen services librarians.  The Shark Bowl program is based off the reality show “Shark Tank” that features aspiring entrepreneurs pitching their ideas to business experts, the YALSA version features six teen librarians pitching their digital literacy ideas to a panel of sharks-Susan Del Rosario (Tutor.com), Crystle Martin (Digital Media and Learning Hub UC Irvine) K-Fai Steele (National Writing Project) and David ten Have (Makey Makey and JoyLabz).  The winners are; Ricah Quinto, Shanna Miles and Erin Durrett with their projects.

 

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2. Happy Fourth of July!






Happy Fourth of July! It's time to have barbecues, watch fireworks, and celebrate with family and friends.



Here are some quick facts about July 4th:

  • July 4th is Independence Day or also known as America’s birthday in the United States.
  • We celebrate the 4th of July because it represents the day that America became separate from British rule.
  • The Declaration of Independence was written on July 2nd 1776.
  • The colonists decided to write a document announcing they were no longer part of the British government and they were going to be a new nation called the United States of America.
  • This document is known as the Declaration of Independence.


  • posted by Miss Meghan

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3. U is for Ukulele

U is for Ukulele meetup#alaac15 provides space for meetings of all kinds. Although we’re apparently not that “uncommon,” yesterday I attended a meet-up of ukulele-playing librarians at the ALA Networking Uncommons.  We exchanged emails, discussed creating a group FB page and played a few songs.  Perhaps next year, we can have an ALSC session on Using your Uke for Story Time and Outreach. Wouldn’t that be fun?  Check out today’s gatherings at the Networking Uncommons. http://www.alsc.ala.org/blog/

U is for Ukulele

The post U is for Ukulele appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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4. Grump (2001)

Grump. Janet Wong. Illustrated by John Wallace. 2001. Simon & Schuster. 32 pages. [Book I Bought]

Look how tired this Mommy is
Tired and frumpy
Grouchy chumpy
Oh, what a grump!


Look at Baby
Smart, good Baby
Happy Baby
Making gravy
Applesauce and ketchup gravy
Not too lumpy
Not too bumpy
Squish squish
DUMP!

Grump is one of my favorite, favorite, favorite books. I almost don't even need to make the qualification of favorite picture book. It's a book that begs to be read aloud again and again and again. The rhythm of it is almost magical--at least to me! I love the use of language, I do. I love the way it sounds, the way it feels on my tongue. It's real life. It's poetry. It just works.

The story of this one is simple. It's been a LONG, LONG, LONG day for this Mom and her Baby. And even if the Baby doesn't think he needs a nap, he needs a nap. But will this baby go down for a nap? Not without an all-too-familiar-struggle!

Baby's going to take a nap now
Baby's going to take a nap now
Baby's going to take a nap now
Take a nap now
Little lump.

She puts him in his crib and...

And oh of course that baby cries
Cries and whimpers
Cries and whimpers
Cries and whimpers
Play with me!
So Mommy sits 
And reads to Baby
Reads so pretty
Reads so softly
Reads and reads and reads until--

Can you guess what happened to the oh-so-tired, oh-so-grumpy Mommy?

This one is such a GREAT book. I loved how true-to-life it was. Not only for the baby, not only for the mommy--but it captures the ups and downs of the whole relationship.

This one has been a favorite going on ten years. Today I was looking to review some board books, hoping to find something great to share with you, when I thought again of Grump. Why isn't Grump still in print? Why hasn't it been reprinted? Why??? It's just a WONDERFUL book. And it would be a great board book!!! The combination of this story with that format would be just perfect!!!!

Text: 5 out of 5
Illustrations: 4 out of 5
Total: 9 out of 10

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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5. Weekend of celebration at #alaac15

In addition to the Gay Pride celebrations in San Francisco this weekend, we  also had an opportunity to celebrate & honor award-winning authors as they accepted their well-deserved accolades.

You can now read the acceptance speeches online.  (How cool is that?) Just click to download and read the speeches.

Batchelder  [PDF – 652K]

Belpré  [PDF – 595K]

Caldecott  [PDF – 616K]

Carnegie  [PDF – 936K]

Geisel  [PDF – 1MB]

Newbery  [PDF – 2MB]

Sibert  [PDF – 1MB]

Wilder  [PDF – 1MB]

 Enjoy!

The post Weekend of celebration at #alaac15 appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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6. ALSC Membership Meeting (abridged, in comics) at #alaac15

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The post ALSC Membership Meeting (abridged, in comics) at #alaac15 appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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7. When Hitler Stole the Pink Rabbit written and illustrated by Judith Kerr, 192 pp, RL 4

  Because my mother taught fourth and fifth grade for almost two decades I have known about Judith Kerr's book When Hitler Stole the Pink Rabbit for almost as long as I have known about her Mog the Cat books. For some reason, though, I never put two and two together and it wasn't until I sat down to write about one of my favorite childhood books, Mog the Forgetful Cat, that I discovered that

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8. Pura Belpré Celebración #alaac15

Sunday’s Pura Belpré 19th annual award ceremony featured a vibrant mix of illuminating speeches, laughter, and entertainment that celebrated Latino Children’s Literature.

Highlights included:

  • Yuyi Morales’s acceptance speech in which she vividly recounted her positive and life-changing experiences as a young mother and new immigrant visiting the San Francisco Public Library’s Western Addition branch. Ann, a librarian at the branch, put The Watsons Go to Birmingham in her hands and it was the first English language chapter book she loved, that she shared with her son.
  • Duncan Tonatiuh invited civil rights leader Sylvia Mendez, the subject of his award-winning book Separate Is Never Equal, to address the audience.
  • United States Poet Laurete Juan Felipe Herrera’s speech chronicled his research and writing that documented the extraordinary achievements of Hispanic-Americans.
  • Heartfelt speeches by Susan Guevara, John Parra, and Marjorie Agosín.
  • A fantastic performance by by Quenepas, a Bomba youth song and dance ensemble.

This fantastic event was hosted by the dream team Reforma and ALSC, and is always one of the highlights of ALA conferences. Next year will mark the 20th Anniversary of the Belpré Award and it promises to be a huge occasion. See you in Orlando!

The post Pura Belpré Celebración #alaac15 appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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9. #alaac15 Leaving Las Vegas- Wait! That was last year!

As I’m packing up my stuff and moving on home, I’m so grateful to ALA for providing me the opportunity to grow and learn. Thanks not only for the memories but for all the exciting things I am going to take back with me. Next up is Boston in JANUARY! I can’t wait to see what I will take away from that adventure in snowy (but hopefully not to snowy) Boston!

The post #alaac15 Leaving Las Vegas- Wait! That was last year! appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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10. Babies Need Words Everyday at #alaac15

Warning: these are paraphrases!

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The post Babies Need Words Everyday at #alaac15 appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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11. #TWTBlog 3.0

It's my pleasure to announce the classroom teachers who will join our co-author team!

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12. Follow Your Gut

Follow Your Gut. Rob Knight with Brendan Buhler. 2015. Simon & Schuster (TED) 128 pages. [Source: Library]

Just how much microscopic life dwells inside you? If we're going by weight, the average adult is carrying about three pounds of microbes.

Follow Your Gut is reader-accessible science. The book is packed with information--what we know for sure, what we think we know, how much we just don't know quite yet, what we still need to spend time researching. The focus of the book is on microbes: the microbes living in us and on us. How every individual has their own unique combination of microbes. Our microbes can tell scientists where we live and how we live. Most of the book focuses on the microbes living in our guts. The book seeks to convey HOW VERY, VERY, VERY important it is to have good microbes in our gut. How essential gut health is to overall health, but, especially brain health.

Table of contents:
  • The body microbial
  • How we get our microbiome
  • In sickness and in health
  • The gut-brain axis
  • Hacking your microbiome
  • Antiobiotics
  • The future 
The book is packed with (basic) information. And I think it's information that should be more well known. I think knowledge is the first step, a good solid step in the right direction. I do wish the book was slightly more practical. Yes, it's good to know what microbes do or might do. But which strains of microbes are best for dealing with specific health issues? And how can one add/change one's microbes?!

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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13. Winging My Way Back from #alaac15

I write this blog post as I’m sitting in the San Francisco Airport, waiting to depart for home. My shuttle got me here about 3 hours before my flight is scheduled to leave. Luckily, I have some great books to occupy my time while waiting and while on the plane.

Photo by Abby Johnson

Photo by Abby Johnson

Here are a few of the great books I picked up at the Exhibit Hall and at publisher events during the conference. These are some of the books that I’m looking the most forward to and make sure to pack in my carry-on for airport/plane reading.

Fellow conference-goers, what books are making it into your carry-ons for the trip home? I would love to know!

— Abby Johnson, Youth Services Manager
New Albany-Floyd County Public Library
New Albany, IN

The post Winging My Way Back from #alaac15 appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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14. #ALAAC15 The Disruptive Bone in YOUR Body!

Anyone care to Find the DISRUPTIVE bone in your body?

Disrupt: : to cause (something) to be unable to continue in the normal way : to interrupt the normal progress or activity of (something)

As I walked from event to event in  San Francisco, rode the shuttle buses and rubbed elbows at the sit down and stand up events, I really wanted to know what it was like to be in other people’s library world and to get a sense of  their challenges.

So I asked people this question, “What would you do to be disruptive in your library world?”

That word disruptive hit some people instantly as something negative and unruly. There was a little bit of fear in the first hearing of it.

But being librarians they pushed past the fear and really thought about it. I heard about school librarians who work in more than one building.

I met librarians who come in to different libraries in their district and who see librarians who are holding on to “their system” and “their way of doing things.” One story was about a librarian who shelved all of the Barbie and Batman books (etc.) by author significantly challenging anyone to find more than one book on these characters.

I heard about the struggle a public library system has to create a partnership with their public school system.

I heard about the fight to “teach” the community about the VALUE of libraries and what we have to offer.

I thought about the long line of librarians who have been fighting the good fight for so many years and remembered this piece I’d seen recently.

In October 1945 the ALA Executive Board dedicated a morning to explore the future of librarianship. Here are some quotes from this ALA Executive Board meeting from 70 years ago (and the source is the A.L.A. Bulletin published in February 1946.)

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“If the profession seems to lack dynamism some of the responsibility rests with administrators. All too many still hold professional members to routine work and give what seem valid reasons why all must take their turn at essential clerical tasks.

We need an improved type of professional personnel, a conception of administration which would make use of all the thinking, all the ideas and potential planning of the entire professional body in an institution, not just of departmental heads.

Personally, I believe in the Campbell soup method. It is very nearly impossible to pick up a magazine without coming face to face with a colorful Campbell soup advertisement or a glamorous liquor ad. The first makes you hungry and the second makes you want to go right out and imbibe. This method must be good. Even religion is catching on. “Go to church next Sunday” is the exhortation I’ve been noticing on billboards and in magazines these last few years.

I should like to know what an advertising campaign on a national scale would do for libraries. I’d be willing to wager that it would up their status as a matter of course. Communities generally get what they want if they want it hard enough, and when the people as a whole get library conscious they will tend to demand better libraries.

As to coverage, brought into the picture by Mr. Richards, Mr. Ulveling, and Miss Rothrock — deploring the low percentage of use of libraries –I agree that it is deplorable, but I am convinced that the answer is not just a question of obtaining finances for exploiting all the new devices — the film, the record, the phonograph, television — which will insure us a new dynamism, but something more basic, even more fundamental, important as that is, than a reorganization which will free the heads of departments, as Miss Herbert urges, “to do the thinking and planning.”

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This board in 1945 was shouting out the need to be disruptive, to let new ideas push through, to invite librarians at all levels in the organization to create new ideas and make the library synonymous with the word dynamic.  Does any of this sound familiar?

So now it’s your turn…… “What would you do to be disruptive in your library system?”

The post #ALAAC15 The Disruptive Bone in YOUR Body! appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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15. Program-a-Looza at #alaac15

Yesterday at the Networking Uncommons we held the first Program-a-Looza. This open share session, brainchild of Danielle Jones, Kahla Gubanich, Mary Pearl, and yours truly, focused on cheap, easy children’s programming for public libraries. Inspired by grassroots sessions, such as Guerrilla Storytime and YA Smackdown, Program-a-Looza was created as a way for children’s library staff to take home tangible programming ideas, tips, and resources.

During yesterday’s session participants were encouraged to brainstorm and bring their personal strengths and experiences to the table. First, each person shared a favorite easily replicable program. Ideas ranged from a simple recycled materials egg drop to cookie forensics, Halloween at the library to community member enhanced storytimes. Next, we picked a programming topic and spent 2 minutes brainstorming ideas using pens and sticky notes. This quick activity sparked a list of over 20 activity ideas around topics like multi-generational programming and STEAM for elementary.

Sound interesting to you? Stop by Program-a-Looza today at 11:30am at the Networking Uncommons. We’re planning to try Program,-a-Looza at midwinter in Boston, so keep your eyes open for those times as well!

The post Program-a-Looza at #alaac15 appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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16. Board Book: The Doghouse

Board Book: The Doghouse. Jan Thomas. 2008/2015.  Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 36 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence:
Kick
Oh no! The ball went into THE DOGHOUSE.
Who will get it out?

Premise/Plot: A cow, a mouse, a duck, and a pig are playing ball together....when....it happens. The ball is kicked into the doghouse. Who is brave? Who is scared? Will they get their ball back? Read and see!

My thoughts: I do love Jan Thomas. And The Doghouse is a great example of just why. The Doghouse is funny, playful, and dramatic. Some drama can help keep read alouds fun and spirited. This one is just predictable enough--repetitive enough--to keep it fun.

The same characters can be found in A Birthday for Cow. (Cows feature into two other Thomas picture books: Let's Sing A Lullaby with the Brave Cowboy and my personal favorite, Is Everyone Ready for Fun?)

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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17. #WNDB: Talk to Action at #alaac15

Warning: paraphrase alert!

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18. Instagram of the Week - June 29

A brief look at 'grams of interest to engage teens and librarians navigating this social media platform.
As of this year, the American Library Association (ALA) has designated June as GLBT Book Month to celebrate authors and books depicting the lives and experiences of members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community. While many libraries Instagrammed their GLBT displays earlier in the month, many more images were posted after last week's Supreme Court decision to legalize same-sex marriage. With photos of book spines arranged in rainbows, #bookfacefriday posts, and images of library booths at pride events, libraries showed their support for the GLBT community.
For resources on selecting materials for displays or collection development, the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table (GLBTRT) provides resources including the Stonewall Book Award recipients and lists of Rainbow Books and Over the Rainbow Books for youth and adults, respectively.

 

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19. Managing Youth Services Innovators at #alaac15

We all want great staff at our libraries, yet many of us have found ourselves in frustrating situations with administration at our libraries. How do we, as managers, support youth services innovators, folks who embrace change and want to bring new, innovative programs and services to our libraries? How can innovators make their needs heard with their managers?

I had the pleasure of speaking on a panel of amazing youth services librarians, addressing these very issues. Managing the Future: Supporting Your Youth Services Innovators took place on Saturday morning and we had a great discussion about how managers can support youth services staff and what youth services staff can do to make their needs know when they feel like they’re not being supported.

You can follow the conversations we had at the Twitter hashtag #futureYS, and here are MY takeaways from the session (yes, I’m learning even from the session I’m presenting on…!):

For youth services employees seeking a change or new project:

  • When meeting with your boss about implementing a change or starting a new project, come prepared with a bullet-pointed list of how it will work, a clear idea of what budget you need, and examples of successes (if it’s something that’s been tried at other places). All of this goes a LONG WAY towards getting a yes.
  • Be open-minded about brainstorming. Your boss has more experience than you (or at least different experience than you!). And when your boss comes to you with a new idea, be open-minded about that, too.
  • Don’t be discouraged if RIGHT NOW is not the time for your new idea. Play the long game. You have a long career ahead of you and plenty of time to do all the things you want to do. Hold on to your good ideas.

For youth services managers seeking to motivate and support staff:

  • THINK YES. Get in the mindset of saying yes. If you cannot say yes immediately, don’t say no right away, but say you’ll think about it. (But then actually think about it and follow up!)
  • Give your staff credit for their good work. Give them genuine praise to their faces, but also praise them to your director, your Board, your community. Don’t take credit for ideas that aren’t yours, but bask in the glow of having supported staff in achieving great things.
  • Invite your staff to speak to the Board, the Rotary Club, other community stakeholders about the great work they are doing.
  • Give employees a budget to manage, even if it’s a small one (for programming, any collection they are developing, a project they are doing). This gives them more ownership over their department.
  • Have regular scheduled meetings to discuss ongoing projects, new ideas, etc. with your staff. Don’t just expect to manage them off the cuff. Show them you value their time by regularly giving them some of your time.

You can read more about the panel by checking out the Twitter hashtag #futureYS.

— Abby Johnson, Children’s Services Manager
New Albany-Floyd County Public Library
New Albany, IN

The post Managing Youth Services Innovators at #alaac15 appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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20. #ALAAC2015 Be Who You Are

As Lizette Serano took the stage for the Scholastic Preview yesterday some of her first and best words were, “BE WHO YOU ARE.” We were about to be treated to Readers’ Theater by Jennifer Nielsen, Jennifer Holm, Alex Gino, Craig Thompson, Jon Muth and Dav Pilkey.

I had to run at the end of that fabulous event… I mean, really, Dav Pilkey doing the sound effects for other people’s stories? Uh YEAHHHHH…..and between that ballroom and my awaiting suitcase were the crowds lining the sidewalks and lampposts on Market Street.

The Gay Pride Parade was in full swing. The marchers and riders in the parade were exciting and colorful but the ROAR of the crowd that rolled down the street…that was where the goosebumps started.

I cannot even begin to describe the variety of human beings in the crowd. The best outfit I saw was created by a young lady who had made a rainbow dress out of flip flops. Tiers of flip flops encircled her beginning with red at the top and making its way through stacked rows of orange, yellow, green …you get the idea…flip flops ..a full length affair… Gorgeous!

It just struck me how authentic these people were being. How they were letting their “self” shine through even though that self might be a little different.

We all belong here in this library world. Some of us choose to serve on Committees with a capital C. Some of us choose to blog and shout out the news of the latest books. Some of us want to work with one person at a time outside of the limelight. Some of us want to be able to hand a child that very special book that sets off the reading explosion. Some of us guard the good treasure that has been created for years. Some of us look to create new treasure.

So, pick out your flip flops…whatever color you love and know you are a valuable part of this rainbow.

The post #ALAAC2015 Be Who You Are appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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21. Meg Cabot's Royalty



Royal Wedding: A Princess Diaries Novel

From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess

Wahoo! Princess Mia is back! It's a few years post-college and she's trying to juggle the antics of her grandmother and father, her charity work, and her royal commitments. Sadness though! Mr. Gianni (the math teacher her mom started dating in the first book) died a little bit before this book takes place. :(

The big press speculation is why hasn't Michael proposed yet, but hey! as you can probably guess by the title, he does! And then they have to deal with the headache of letting Grandmere anywhere near the wedding plans.

More complicating factors:

1. Her dad was arrested for driving his new race car (at race car speeds) down the highway
2. Her dad is going to lose the election for Prime Minister
3. Her dad has another child, who's been living out in Jersey that no one knew about.

Plus, Mia's usual insanity.

Honestly, if you like the Cabot, especially The Princess Diaries this is a good one to pick up. I love seeing Mia as an adult--she has really grown and matured while still being Mia and I'm excited that the new middle grade series will let us see where her life goes!

Speaking of the Middle Grade series, even if you don't read the rest of the series, I recommend reading From the Notebooks along with this book. There is MAJOR plot overlap, but it's from two different sides. I love the scenes where Mia is thinking "OMG, I've ruined this girl's life" and Olivia is thinking "OMG! THIS IS THE BEST DAY EVER!"

Olivia's track is also going to be very different than Mia's (how/why is a major spoiler so just trust me on this one) so I'm excited for the series in general.

Books Provided by... my local library

Links to Amazon are an affiliate link. You can help support Biblio File by purchasing any item (not just the one linked to!) through these links. Read my full disclosure statement.

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22. Empathy and Oscar the Grouch: Sonia Manzano #alaac15

Sonia Manzano

Sonia Manzano, Auditorium Speaker

If you ever wondered who Sonia Manzano’s (“Maria” from Sesame Street) favorite Muppet is, here’s her answer: Oscar the Grouch. “He’s negative.” He acts anywhere from age 80 to 8. He stirs up conflict in an otherwise harmonious neighborhood, and this conflict leads to stories.

In fact, Manzano’s new memoir, “Becoming Maria: Love and Chaos in the South Bronx” (Scholastic) is all about conflict–her tumultuous childhood in the Bronx, her Puerto Rican roots, and her longing for a “Leave it to Beaver” type of stability. With Maria, she was able to act out (and later, write scripts about) a character that children in inner cities could relate to, and provide them with storylines that offered satisfying resolutions–something they may seldom get in real life. She could be a mirror for these kids, an escape from a hard home life, and a role model.

Manzano thinks her difficult childhood lead to her success. Not in spite of her challenges, but because of her challenges, she was able to become a great actor, writer, and humanitarian.

She spoke quite a bit about the importance of empathy. Sure, people tell their kids to “Be nice.” But what about going beyond that? She questions why some people are afraid to let kids read sad stories. In books, readers are able to connect with characters and feel the deep emotions that dwell within them. It’s the perfect avenue for building empathy, and she believes we should consciously instill this value in children.

Manzano was a fabulous speaker. Many of us in the audience grew up watching her on television, and looked to her as one of the really inspirational and comforting adult figures in our lives. Manzano advocated for television; she pointed out that sometimes TV is a much-needed escape for some children, and that, like a book, it’s just the jumping off point for the imagination: What happens to characters when they’re not on TV, how does the story continue when the set is off? Kids with the freedom to imagine can, and will, grow up to be resourceful and successful adults.

The post Empathy and Oscar the Grouch: Sonia Manzano #alaac15 appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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23. City of Savages by Kelly Lee

Saga Press, 2015

Skyler and Phee are two sisters with very different personalities. Skyler is the quiet one, thinking things through while Phee jumps into a situation not thinking about the consequences of her actions. Right now, they, along with their mother, are on the move to what was once Central Park in order to stay safe through the winter.  It's not what any of them want, it's what they need in order to survive.

New York City, including the island of Manhattan where the girls and their mother live, have undergone changes because of World War III and the Red Army that took over.  While their mother may remember the time before WWIII, Sklyer and Phee only know the broken down streets, the savages lurking in dark corners, and Rolladin and her lords, who rule the decimated population at the POW camp once known as Central Park.

Rolladin rules with an iron fist, and those rules must be obeyed. When Phee, Skyler and their mother arrive late for the head count, they know they're in trouble. Those who don't make it are forced to try and survive outside the POW camp, where many have tried and failed.  But for some reason, Rolladin has a soft spot for the girls and instead of kicking them out, she allows them in with one condition...Phee must be part of the annual street fights in order to win their family a spot inside.  While Phee sees this as an opportunity, quiet Skyler sees the danger in it, understanding how manipulative Rolladin can be.

After playing her part, Phee, Skyler and their mother are able to move back into camp, but one fateful night will change their situation.  One chance meeting with outsiders and a conversation overheard will change the girls' world and future as they know it.  Instead of seeing themselves as safe, they now understand they are actually prisoners and are willing to risk the outside in order to flee, along with their mother and the two strangers, from the madness.

What they don't realize is that madness can be found anywhere, especially in a world that is trying to right itself and the struggle for power over what's left becomes the new battlefront.

Kelly Lee writes an amazing dystopian YA novel with a larger than life backdrop of a bombed out NYC and the different survivors dwelling there.  They say opposites attract, and Lee uses this through point of view alternating narratives between the sisters and how they see the same situation in completely different ways.  This is what creates the solidity of this novel.  The characters are real, the history is real, and those in the background create a stark reality.  This is what I've been waiting for....a great, believable dystopian novel with a fast pace and abrupt surprises.  Recommended.


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24. Tuesday Slice of Life Story Challenge

Welcome back everybody for another fantastic Tuesday Slice of Life Story Challenge! Write a story on your own blog. Leave a link to your story here, in the comment section. Then comment on… Continue reading

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25. Social Media and the Library

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