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Host: Roof Beam Reader
Name: 2015 TBR Pile (sign up here
) Note to self: actually go and share review links each month
Dates: January - December 2015
# of books: 12 to 14
My list of twelve:
Rachel Ray by Anthony Trollope. 1863. 403 pages. [Source: Bought]
Miss Marjoribanks. Margaret Oliphant. 1865. 512 pages. [Source: Bought]
Footsteps in the Dark. Georgette Heyer. 1932. 336 pages. [Source: Bought]
Green for Danger. Christianna Brand. 1944. 256 pages. [Source: Bought]
Georgette Heyer. Jennifer Kloester. 2013. 464 pages. [Source: Bought]
Escape from Sobibor. Richard Rashke. 1982/1995. 416 pages. [Source: Bought]
The Nazi Officer's Wife. Edith Hahn Beer. 1999. 305 pages. [Source: Bought]
The New World (History of the English Speaking Peoples, Vol. 2) Winston Churchill. 1956. 400 pages. [Source: Bought]
Young Fu of the Upper Yangtze. Elizabeth Foreman Lewis. 1932. SquareFish. 306 pages. [Source: Review copy]
I, Juan de Pareja. Elizabeth Borton de Trevino. 1965. SquareFish. 192 pages. [Source: Review copy]
Thimble Summer. Elizabeth Enright. 1938. SquareFish. 144 pages. [Source: Review copy]
Schindler's List. Thomas Keneally. 1982. 429 pages. [Source: Bought]
My two alternates:
Ayala's Angel. Anthony Trollope. 1881. 631 pages. [Source: Bought]
The Silmarillion. J.R.R. Tolkien. 1977. 386 pages. [Source: Bought]
© 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews
Giving Tuesday helps non-profits around the globe by bringing awareness to the importance of giving back and donating to a cause. This year will be YALSA’s third year in participating, and the Financial Advancement Committee’s (FAC) goal is to raise at least $4000 to send four...yes FOUR...YALSA members to National Library Legislative Day in Spring 2015. Financial Advancement chair Jack Martin (JM) and veteran member Melissa McBride (MM) interviewed each other below about the importance of giving to YALSA and having a strong presence at Library Legislative Day. You can help us NOW by signing on to a Thunderclap that will be released on Giving Tuesday as a means of spreading the word about our fundraising goal.
JM: Melissa, this is FAC’s third year participating in Giving Tuesday, right? What the response been like in the past?
MM: Yes, although this is only my second year participating. The response last year was wonderful, as a committee member it was so great seeing all the support for both the Thunderclap and the donations that came in on Giving Tuesday. We far exceeded our expectations and were able to send additional members to Legislative Day.
JM: I love hearing about this great response. I think our members truly understand the importance of Library Legislative Day, and they know how much of an impact it makes to have YALSA members there to rep our awesome association!
MM: As a Past President of YALSA, what does it mean for you to see such support from the members of YALSA?
JM: For me, it’s all about advocacy. I think it’s easy for us to see our members being activists by physically representing YALSA at Library Legislative Day. What I think is harder to sometimes see but even more important are those activists who are giving to YALSA--via Giving Tuesday or any other time. In fact, I see them as some of YALSA’s most important activists because they’re helping association fulfill its mission to fight for teen services in libraries all across the country. I love thinking about all of that youth-focused goodwill, and as a Past President it motivates me to do the same both locally and nationally. Plus, I think it’s important that because of all of these activists who give to us, YALSA is able to award over $150,000.00 of scholarships and awards to members. That’s big stuff!
Speaking of advocacy, we know that YALSA members often place Advocacy and Activism at the top of their list when it comes to getting support from YALSA. Can you elaborate how Giving Tuesday supports this goal in YALSA’s Strategic Plan?
MM: Giving Tuesday enables librarians and library workers to have a voice. Sending librarians and library workers to Legislative Day, who care about the same issues as other YA librarians is powerful. It sends a strong message not only to our legislators, but also to every library worker who struggles to get what they need for their patrons. There are some days when it is just nice to know that YALSA is there supporting library staff and helping us to have a voice. The resources YALSA provides are a huge help in advocating for what we do.
JM: I know a lot of YALSA members might have questions about how much they should give for Giving Tuesday. What have people given in the past?
MM: Anything! If every YALSA member just gave $1 we would far exceed our goal of $4000 (which would send 4 members to Library Legislative Day)! It’s important for people to understand that even the smallest amount is a huge help. If you are in a position to be able to donate more, then great! Give up your Starbucks for the day and help get our voices heard! I actually just finished teaching my 2nd graders about Sarah Hale and her letter writing campaign (that spanned 38 years) just to get Thanksgiving turned into a national holiday. She knew that every letter counted, just as every penny donated counts.
JM: Wow. I hadn’t thought about it in that way. Let me reiterate: if every member only gave $1, we’d reach our goal! Maybe even surpass it! But also, I know many members may be wondering how they can give. YALSA has made it really easy to give, right?
MM: YALSA has made it so easy this year! Not only can you log onto the ala.org and donate the traditional way, but now you can text to donate! All you have to do is text ALA TEENALA to this number: 41518 to make a $10 donation to YALSA. It couldn’t be easier!
JM: This has been a great conversation, Melissa! I hope everyone out there enjoyed learning about this super important initiative, and we’ll hopefully see everyone out there on social media to support YALSA’s Giving Tuesday campaign on Tuesday, December 2, 2014.
Thanksgiving is quickly approaching. One of my favorite Thanksgiving stories to share is Thanks for Thanksgiving by Julie Markes. This simple story is told in rhyme and features a boy and a girl sharing the things that they are grateful for. It is a great book to read before talking to little ones about the things they are thankful for in their lives. Preschoolers will enjoy looking at the beautiful, detailed illustrations and can relate to the children in the story.
Posted by: Liz
"Shh! We Have a Plan" revolves around four friends going into the woods to capture a bird. The smallest (or youngest) friend has another idea, however. He just wants to talk to the bird: "hello birdie". After several attempts, the youngest succeeds and draws a whole forest of red-hued birds to him. A large angry bird chases them off when the friends again attempt to capture a bird. At the end, the youngest points out a squirrel and they're off and running again. Younger readers will appreciate this book's slapstick humor, simple art and minimal text.
Host: You, Me, and a Cup of Tea
Name: Hard Core Rereading Challenge (sign up here
Dates: January - December 2015 (books started before January do not count)
# of Books: Level 5; 50+ Rereading ComaNote to self
: check back to see about review linkies. MUST, MUST, MUST add links to reviews to the linkies.
What I (Actually) Reread
What I Plan On Rereading:
Georgette Heyer Novels I Want To Reread in 2015:
- Devil's Cub
- These Old Shades
- Civil Contract
- Sprig Muslin
- Black Sheep
- Cousin Kate
- Convenient Marriage
- False Colors
- Talisman Ring
Elizabeth Gaskell Novels I Want to Reread in 2015:
- Wives and Daughters
- North and South
Anthony Trollope Novels I Want To Reread in 2015:
- Lady Anna
- He Knew He Was Right
- Belton Estate
Charles Dickens Novels I Want to Reread in 2015:
- Our Mutual Friend
- Bleak House
- Oliver Twist
Wilkie Collins Novels I Want To Reread in 2015:
- Woman in White
- Man and Wife
Mystery Novels I Want To Reread in 2015:
- Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie
- The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey
- Some Buried Caesar by Rex Stout
- The Golden Spiders by Rex Stout
- Have His Carcase by Dorothy Sayers
- Murder Must Advertise by Dorothy Sayers
- The Nine Tailors by Dorothy Sayers
- Gaudy Night by Dorothy Sayers
- Busman's Honeymoon by Dorothy Sayers
Historical Novels I Want to Reread
- Sunne in Splendour by Sharon Kay Penman
- London by Edward Rutherfurd
- Sarum by Edward Rutherfurd
- Gone with The Wind by Margaret Mitchell
Science Fiction Novels I Want To Reread in 2015
- Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank
- Worthing Saga by Orson Scott Card
- Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
- Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card
- Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
- Foundation by Isaac Asimov
- Foundation and Empire by Isaac Asimov
- Second Foundation by Isaac Asimov
- Babylon 5: To Dream in the City of Sorrow by Kathryn M. Drennan
- Babylon 5: The Shadow Within by Jeanne Cavelos
- Bablyon 5: In the Beginning by Peter David
- Babylon 5: Legions of Fire: The Long Night of Centauri Prime by Peter David
- Babylon 5: Legions of Fire: Armies of Light and Dark by Peter David
- Babylon 5: Legions of Fire: Out of the Darkness by Peter David
Fantasy Novels I Want to Reread in 2015
- Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
- The Princess Bride by William Goldman
- The Great Hunt by Robert Jordan
- The Dragon Reborn by Robert Jordan
- The Shadow Rising by Robert Jordan
- The Fires of Heaven by Robert Jordan
- Lord of Chaos by Robert Jordan
- A Crown of Swords by Robert Jordan
- Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
Children's Novels I Want to Reread in 2015 (I'm sure I'll be adding *more* to the list.)
- Welcome to the Grand View, Hannah by Mindy Warshaw Skolsky
- You're the Best, Hannah by Mindy Warshaw Skolsky
- Love From Your Friend, Hannah by Mindy Warshaw Skolsky
Dr. Seuss Books I Want to Reread in 2015
- 1937 -- And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street
- 1938 -- The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins
- 1939 -- The King's Stilts
- 1940 -- Horton Hatches An Egg
- 1947 -- McElligot's Pool
- 1948 -- Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose
- 1949 -- Bartholomew and the OObleck
- 1950 -- If I Ran The Zoo
- 1953 -- Scrambled Eggs Super
- 1954 -- Horton Hears a Who
- 1955 -- On Beyond a Zebra
- 1956 -- If I Ran the Circus
- 1957 -- How The Grinch Stole Christmas
- 1957 -- The Cat in the Hat
- 1958 -- The Cat In the Hat Comes Back
- 1958 -- Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories
- 1959 -- Happy Birthday to You
- 1960 -- One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish
- 1960 -- Green Eggs and Ham
- 1961 -- The Sneetches and Other Stories
- 1961 -- Ten Apples Up On Top (Theo LeSieg)
- 1962 -- Dr. Seuss's Sleep Book
- 1963 -- Dr. Seuss's ABC
- 1963 -- Hop On Pop
- 1965 -- Fox in Socks
- 1965 -- I Wish That I Had Duck Feet (Theo LeSieg)
- 1965 -- I Had Trouble Getting to Solla Sollew
- 1968 -- The Foot Book
- 1969 -- I Can Lick 30 Tigers Today and Other Stories
- 1970 -- Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You?
- 1971 -- The Lorax
- 1972 -- Marvin K. Mooney Will You Please Go Now
- 1972 -- In A People House (Theo LeSieg)
- 1973 -- Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are
- 1974 -- There's A Wocket in My Pocket
- 1974 -- Great Day for Up
- 1974 -- Wacky Wednesday (Theo LeSieg)
- 1975 -- Oh, The Thinks YOu Can Think!
- 1975 -- Because a Little Bug Went Ka-Choo (Rosetta Stone)
- 1975 -- Would You Rather Be A Bull Frog (Theo LeSieg)
- 1976 -- Hooper Humperdink…? Not Him (Theo LeSieg)
- 1977 -- Please Try to Remember the first of Octember (Theo LeSieg)
- 1978 -- I Can Read With My Eyes Shut
- 1979 -- Oh Say Can You Say
- 1980 -- Maybe You Should Fly A Jet (Theo LeSieg)
- 1981 -- The Tooth Book (Theo LeSieg)
- 1982 -- Hunches in Bunches
- 1984 -- The Butter Battle Book
- 1986 -- You're Only Old Once
- 1987 -- I Am Not Going To Get UP Today
- 1990 -- Oh, The Places You'll Go
- 1995 -- Daisy-Head Mayzie
- 1996 -- My Many Colored Days
- 1998 -- Hooray for Diffendoofer Day
- 2011 -- The Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Stories
© 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews
Host: You, Me, and a Cup of Tea
Name: 2015 Birthday Month Reading Challenge (sign up here
Dates: January - December 2015
# of Books: 12Note to self:
remember to leave links to reviews on her linkies post.
Ideas for each month:
- J.R.R. Tolkien
- Wilkie Collins
- Charles Dickens
- Victor Hugo
- Mo Willems
- Margaret Oliphant
- Anthony Trollope
- Beverly Cleary
- Charlotte Bronte
- Ngaio Marsh
- Jerome K. Jerome
- Pat Frank (Alas, Babylon)
- Arthur Conan Doyle
- Dorothy Sayers
- Thomas Hardy
- Josephine Tey
- Erle Stanley Gardner
- Candice F. Ransom
- Joan Bauer
- Georgette Heyer
- Orson Scott Card
- E. Nesbit
- Kenneth Oppel
- Cynthia Harrod-Eagles
- P.L. Travers
- Diana Wynne Jones
- Elizabeth Gaskell
- Agatha Christie
- Roald Dahl
- Gail Carson Levine
- Julie Andrews Edwards
- Karen Cushman
- Lois Lensky
- Shel Silverstein
- Laurie Halse Anderson
- Elizabeth Cody Kimmel
- Katherine Paterson
- C.S. Lewis
- Neil Gaiman
- Astrid Lindgren
- Frances Hodgson Burnett
- Mark Twain
- George Eliot
- L.M. Montgomery
- Louisa May Alcott
- Neal Shusterman
- Carol Ryrie Brink
- Rudyard Kipling
- Mercer Mayer
- Rex Stout
- George MacDonald
© 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews
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, Keith Richards
, picture books for older readers
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Richards, Keith. 2014. Gus & Me: The Story of my Granddad and my First Guitar. Hachette Audio.
Keith Richards, the rough-edged, raspy-voiced, Rolling Stones guitarist, is hardly the man that comes to mind for a picture book writer and narrator, but then again, who better to tell the story of his first guitar?
Richards wins the listener over immediately with his folksy, working class Estuary English accent (think dropped h's and "intrusive" r's) and unmistakable fondness for his topics - his first guitar and his beloved Granddad, Gus. It was the musically talented Gus who introduced a young Keith Richards to the guitar, teaching him how to 'old it, and suggesting the classical Malagueña(r) as the pinnacle of guitar mastery.
I have yet to see the print version of this story, but I don't believe it could surpass the audio book. A story with music at its heart needs music to be understood. Richards plays bits from Malagueña in appropriate spots throughout the story, and during a visit to a music shop in London, we hear Steve Jordan on drums. Once, the listener even hears a little chuckle - not musical, but surprisingly sincere. Richards collaborated with other authors, but this is obviously his story, and he delights in telling it.
(Run time: about 7 minutes)
My review of Gus & Me for AudioFile Magazine appears here with a small excerpt. Take a listen!
Star Stuff: Carl Sagan and the Mysteries of the Cosmos
by Stephanie Roth Sisson
Roaring Brook Press, 2014
The reviewer borrowed a copy of the book from her local library.
Star Stuff: Carl Sagan and the Mysteries of the Cosmos is an engaging picture book biography that will inspire young readers to ask "why" and "how" as they wonder about the universe. Stephanie
Mortal Heart. Robin LaFevers. 2014. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 464 pages. [Source: Review copy]
I liked it. I did. I really did. But I'm not sure I LOVED it. I do think it met my expectations, however. I expected it to focus on Annith. I expected it to uniquely tell her story, reveal more of who she is, and what makes her strong. And readers definitely get that. How did Annith come to the convict? What was it like for her to spend her entire life at the convent, to not know what life outside was like? What was it like for her to train all those years, to see others come and go? Has she had an easier time of it than Ismae and Sybella? Why is Annith never the one chosen to go on assignment, long-term or short-term assignment? Does not being chosen mean she's too weak or not trustworthy enough in the Abbess' mind? How does she cope with waiting? These questions are all answered in the third book of the trilogy. If you've dared to find Annith boring or obedient in previous books, you'll be challenged.
I did come to like Annith, to appreciate her story. (Sybella's story, I believe, remains my favorite.) And I did like the romance. I don't think I can say one word about the romance. If you haven't read it, then that might make no sense since usually, I don't consider naming a potential love interest a spoiler. But if you have read it, you probably can guess why I'm afraid of spoiling things. I will say I thought it was well done. I wasn't disappointed by it. (I think Sybella and Beast remain my favorite couple, however.)
I also really liked that half the book brings us back into company with Ismae and Duval and Sybella and the Beast. The first half of the book covers almost the same time period as Grave Mercy and Dark Triumph. The last half is more of a sequel, the plot progresses forward. Readers spend time with Duchess Anne and those close to her. What does Brittany's future look like? Will Anne ever have enough military support to hold onto Brittany's independence? Will the French be successful? How many will lose their lives in war to fight for the country they love?
While all three books have teased readers with mythology, with world-building, this one I think does so even more. I solidly like it. I do. I would definitely recommend people finish the series if they've enjoyed the previous books.
© 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews
Kids and teachers are loving a new book, The Fourteenth Goldfish
, and it makes me so happy to hear them raving about it. I had a chance this weekend to sit down with Milana, a ten year old I lent my copy to, and we really had fun talking about this book. Talking about books together really helps us deepen our appreciation, deepen our thinking about the layers in a story.
The Fourteenth Goldfish
by Jennifer L. Holm
Random House, 2014
Your local library
*best new book*
Sixth grade is tricky for Ellie, but the day her mom brings home a new kid turns everything upside down. At first, he seems like a typical surly teenager, but something "tickles at (her) memory." Ellie is shocked when she realizes this is her grandfather
Melvin, somehow turned into a thirteen year old boy. "I discovered a cure for aging... the fountain of youth!" he shouts. But he's stuck in this new body and can't get into his lab to recover the T. melvinus
specimen, the species of jellyfish that helped him change back into a teen.
My young friend, Milana, loved reading this so much that she bought one of her good friends a copy. "I got it for my friend because she's really into science and she really likes sea life. Now she's started it and won't stop reading it."
Holm seamlessly weaves into the story a love of science and Milana picked up on this. Right away, she talked about wanting to learn more about Salk's discovery of the cure for polio and Oppenheimer's race to build the atomic bomb. As I've been rereading this, I love how much science Holm incorporates, especially as Ellie gets to know her grandfather.
Melvin tells Ellie, "Scientists fail again and again and again. Sometimes for our whole lives. But we don’t give up, because we want to solve the puzzle... Scientists never give up. They keep trying because they believe in the possible."
The relationship between Ellie and her grandfather is what makes this book special for me. Holms creates believable, nuanced characters and I think that's one reason so many readers are responding to this story.
When Melvin, Ellie's grandfather, tells her mother, "'Your daughter’s interested in science. She shows great aptitude. You should encourage her.' I feel a flush of pride. Maybe this part of me—the science part—was there all along, like the seeds of an apple. I just needed someone to water it, help it grow. Someone like my grandfather."
As Milana and I were talking more about the characters, I asked her if Melvin reminded her of any of her grandparents. I wish Jenni Holm could hear this young girl talking about her grandfather, a doctor who's always busy thinking and talking on the phone -- and how this story helps her see a different side of him. Milana told me, "It makes me wonder what my grandfather looked like, how he acted and what he was interested in when he was my age."The Fourteenth Goldfish
left me thinking most about the themes essential to science: curiosity, discovery, possibility. A recent TED Radio Hour
explores these same things, albeit more for adults. It starts with James Cameron talking about his childhood, when he loved collecting and studying all sorts of things, curious about everything. "It's almost like the more we know about the world, the limits of what's possible start to crowd in on us." But this curiosity stayed with him--and imbues both his movies and his love of oceanography.
The real power of The Fourteenth Goldfish
? It's like so many well-crafted stories: creating conversation, creating a moment to think a little more deeply about those around us, creating an ah-ha moment that curiosity and a passion for discovery lay at the heart of science--believing in the possible.
The review copy came from my home collection and
our library collection and
Milana's collection (I've already purchased many many copies!). 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
The folks at 5 Minutes For Books host What’s On Your Nightstand? the fourth Tuesday of each month in which we can share about the books we have been reading and/or plan to read.
Reviews Coming Soon...in December...
Brown Girl Dreaming. Jacqueline Woodson
Jane Austen's First Love by Syrie James
Princess in Black by Shannon Hale
Tolkien: How An Obscure Oxford Professor Wrote the Hobbit and Became the Most Beloved Author of the Century. Devin Brown. Abingdon Press. 145 pages. [Source: Review copy]
I'll be reviewing this one at Operation Actually Read Bible this week or next. It was WONDERFUL.
Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms by Katherine Rundell. Review will be coming in January. (Yes, I'm all booked up for December already, at least at Becky's Book Reviews.)
Operation Bunny (Wings & Co. #1) Sally Gardner. Review will be coming in January.
Sleep In Peace Tonight. James MacManus. Review will be in January.
Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens
© 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews
Hansel & Gretel, written by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by Lorenzo Mattiotti is the newest release from TOON Graphics, a line of graphic novels for kids reading at 3rd grade level and above, launched by the superb François Mouly and the fantastic people at TOON Books. What Gaiman and Mattotti do with a very familiar fairy tale in their rendition is amazing, both for the spare starkness of
Recently I had the pleasure of attending the AAP Tri-State Book Buzz for Children’s and Teen Librarians here in NYC. This is an event where a whole heaping helpful of publishers gather together to do a kind of massive librarian preview for folks like myself. It’s a mix of big folks (Macmillan, Random House, etc.) and smaller houses you might not hear from otherwise. With that in mind, I’ve either already attended or am about to attend some of the big guys, so I’ll leave them off of this particular preview. Additionally, I had a meeting in the morning of the Book Buzz day so those publishers who just happened to present anything prior to 1 p.m. pretty much fell off of my radar. Sorry, guys!
Even though I only spent a small portion of my time at the Book Buzz I’m just going to highlight the books that caught my particular attention. Because honestly there were some truly interesting titles on display. Here’s just a small sampling of what I happened to see. First up:
Changes: A Child’s First Poetry Collection by Charlotte Zolotow, ill. Tiphanie Beeke (9781492601685)
This year (2014) I had a great deal of difficulty finding good poetry books. Honestly, at times it felt like I was pulling teeth to find anything halfway decent. This shouldn’t be so hard! So I was keeping a very sharp eye out for anything verse-like. I was quickly rewarded by this, the first collection of ALL of Zolotow’s seasonal poetry. You remember Ms. Zolotow, yes? Worked under Ursula Nordstrom? Mother of Crescent Dragonwagon? Yep, well I’ve always been a fan of her book Seasons as illustrated by Erik Blegvad so this is just a natural follow-up. It’s coming out in the same year when she would have celebrated her 100th birthday. If the illustrator (Tiphanie Beeke) looks somewhat familiar that may be because she was behind that rather lovely little book Fletcher and the Falling Leaves which came out a couple years ago.
Fairy Tale Reform School: Flunked by Jen Calonita (9781492601562)
On the middle grade side of things we have Fairy Tale Reform School: Flunked by Jen Calonita. Written by the author of the YA novel Secrets of my Hollywood Life the premise behind this one is that when a villain is vanquished in a tale it’s time for them to go to reform school. Our heroine is a normal girl who lives in a shoe with her siblings and is so poor that she’s forced to steal. One thing leads to another and the next thing she knows she’s in a reform school where all the teachers are former villains. Kinda writes itself, right?
This Book is Gay by James Dawson (9781492617822)
I don’t cover YA usually but for this book I shall make an exception. It was a little bit difficult to parse but insofar as I could tell this appears to be a handbook for dealing with sexual identity. It’s a YA nonfiction title with a forward is by David Levithan and it’s full of sketches, illustrations, and jokes. As they say, it’s for anyone exploring their own identity.
National Geographic Kids
Why’d They Wear That? by Sarah Albee (forward by Tim Gunn) (9781426319204)
Now see, the reason I like National Geographic Kids is that they’re reliable. Take Why’d They Wear That?, for example. You know what you’re getting here, even if you don’t know the details. Mind you, the details are where all the good stuff is. Chronicling the history of the world through the lens of fashion, the book covers everything from the Syrian warriors who rode into battle in fishnets to an Archbishop of Canterbury who wore a hair shirt so full of bugs that they left his body and flew into the cold when he was assassinated. From togas to mini skirts, this book talks about clothing and explains why folks wore one thing or another with plenty of historical context.
Untamed: The Wild Life of Jane Goodall by Anita Silvey (9781426315190)
I think I heard about this book a little while ago and got very excited . . . until I realized that it wasn’t coming out until 2015. Fortunately that year is breathing down our neck and so tis nigh! Nigh, I say, nigh! From her childhood in WWII England to the jungles of Gombe this book covers everything Jane related. Riveting and full of images (including the photography of Michael Neugebauer) this has lots of great content from the field. It’s the most up-to-date title out there for kids. At least for an older readership.
Dirtmeister’s Nitty Gritty: Planet Earth by Steve Tomecek (9781426319037)
Steve Tomecek, the Executive Director and founder of Science Plus, Inc., and Digger his prairie dog sidekick talk all about dirt. Or, put another cuter way, dish the dirt on dirt. Tomecek had a New York Kids show on WNYC radio in New York City for eight years so he’s old school. In his book, Fred Harper from Marvel illustrates multiple peppy comic book sections that start off each chapter. Inside you’ll find DIY experiments, facts, and science bios along with lots of STEM connections. Happy science stuff.
How to Speak Cat by Aline Alexander Newman and NPR’s Dr. Gary Weitzman (President of the San Diego Animal Humane Society) (9781426318634)
This would be a companion to the previously published How to Speak Dog. The dog vs. cat voice in my head wonders which of the two books will sell better. In any case in this tome you get, amongst other things, an explanation of what the 30 different cat poses mean. Lots of expert cat training advice is in this one as well.
1000 Facts About the Bible (9781426318665)
You don’t have to be a library in a religious community to appreciate what National Geographic is going for here. Big and small pieces of information give some great background. Little facts include the tidbit that David was crowned with a 75-pound crown and, elsewhere, that the blue of the robes mentioned in the text came from sea snails. Easy to understand words are helped in no small part by the Biblical scholars who were consulted. Naturally this makes me wonder how long it took them to write the darn thing. My suspicion: quite a while.
Maddeningly they also teased us with Fall 2015 titles as well. With that in mind look for . . .
Book of Nature Poetry edited by J. Patrick Lewis
Treasury of Norse Mythology by Donna Jo Napoli
Welcome to Mars by Buzz Aldrin
At this point in the proceedings, mention was made of a magazine I’d not heard of before. It’s not like I’ve been following the periodical trends for teens and pre-teens since I was one myself. So to hear that there’s a publication out there called Justine that contains “more teen book reviews than any other magazine” . . . well that’s just downright cool it is. Voila:
Based out of Philly. A quarter of this little publisher’s output consists of books for kids. I often say that small publishers just need one book to sustain them for life. Well Quirk produced Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children so I’d say they’re pretty much good to go. For, like, ever. Most of their children’s books coming out in 2015 are just sequels, but there was one adult title that actually caught my eye.
Horrorstor by Grady Hendrix (9781322126760)
A classic horror novel set in a Swedish furniture store, written like an IKEA catalog.
Next up, Chris Vaccari, a man clever enough to name drop his local library branch (Kips Bay). Chris thrives in a BookBuzz atmosphere. He is calm. He is at ease. And yet, all at the same time, he is capable of packing in loads of information about the books Sterling is producing soon. Case in point:
Good Question: History Series: Did Christopher Columbus Really Discover America? by Emma Carlson Berne (9781454912590)
This is a series that dare to question history. Particularly useful when we’re talking about that ever so controversial Italian Columbus.
Little Traveler series – How Tiger Says Thank You (9781454914976), How Penguin Says Please (9781454914969) by Abigail Samoun, illustrated by Sarah Watts
These are the latest two books in this series to come out. I should note though that my librarians are BIG fans of these books. They’re finding them easy to hand sell and really filling a need for those parents that wish to get their small children interested in other languages.
ABC Universe – done in conjunction with the American Museum of Natural History (9781454914099)
Just consider it an oversized board book for the budding little astronomers in your life.
I’m Not Reading by Jonathan Allen(978-1910126240)
Man. Way back at the beginning of my blogging career, around 2006 I reviewed the Jonathan Allen baby owl book I’m Not Cute. It’s nice to see the series not only still kicking around but upgrading to a whole new board book form.
Ally-Saurus by Richard Torrey (9781454911791)
Who says only boys get to love dinosaurs? Yet when Ally starts school she finds she’s the only girl there who’s into dinosaurs. She is subsequently snubbed by princess lovers (and on this, the 10th anniversary of Mean Girls). I know I’ll be looking forward to this.
A Dozen Cousins by Lori Houran, ill. Sam Usher (9781454910626)
The plot is simple: one girl has a dozen boy cousins. She loves them but they sure do bug the heck out of her. Nice and multicultural, this is utterly pleasant (and more interesting than a lot of the other “big family” tales out there).
The Birthday Cake: The Adventures of Pettson and Findus by Sven Nordquist (978-0735842038)
I believe this is a reprint of an older title. In it, Pettson is a forgetful farmer and his neighbor gives him a kitten named Findus. So he reads the kitten so much that the cat starts to talk. In this book it’s Findus’s birthday (which somehow happens more than once in a year). The dilemma? Our intrepid heroes need flour for a cake. To get the flour they need a bike, to fix a tower they need to get into the shed, to get into the shed they need a ladder to get to the sunroof, and so on and such. Phil Pullman did the blurb for the books and said that it has a folktale feel. Noted.
Mr. Squirrel and the Moon by Sebastian Meschenmoser (978-0735841567)
If you buy nothing else I mention to you today, buy this. Show some of the art. On the endpages you see a boy with his father and one of the man’s wheels of cheese is rolling down the hill and flies into the sky. Later, a squirrel wonders how the moon got into his tree. Worried that someone will think he’s the thief he tries to roll it off the tree. The cheese next gets stuck on a hedgehog and a goat gets stuck in it. The art is the real lure here. A-maze-ing.
The Bernadette Watts Collection: Stories and Fairy Tales by Bernadette Watts (978-0735842120)
Turns out, Ms. Watts is beloved in Europe. They just call her Bernadette there. In this book you will find thirty-eight timeless tales with an Eric Carle forward. The result is a book containing pitch perfect, sumptuous backgrounds.
Perseus Books Groups (Running Press Kids)
Go, Pea, Go! by Joe Moshier and Chris Sonnenburg (978-0762456789)
I’ll give ‘em this. I have never seen a potty book that used peas in some manner. This book features one such rhyming pea. He is told by his family to go. See the world. A potty chart and stickers are part of the ensemble.
Butterfly Park by Elly Mackay (978-0762453399)
A paper cut artist takes it to the next level. In this story a girl moves next to a butterfly park and then goes and sees that there aren’t any there. She then gets the community together to plant the plants that attract butterflies.
My Life in Dioramas by Tara Altebrando (978-0762456819)
In this tale a 12-year-old girl’s family is selling their red barn home. She’s against this move so she creates dioramas of each room to best preserve her memories. She also tries to throw a wrench in the works to prevent the sales. One color illustrated dioramas for each chapter. Essentially, it’s all about moving forward.
And that was that. Phew! I can’t imagine how tricky it would be to organize such a thing. Many thanks to the folks who presented. I’ve high hopes for these books.
A brief look at 'grams of interest to engage teens and librarians navigating this social media platform. This week we're looking at how libraries can use Instagram as a platform for readers' advisory. An interesting example that popped up this week comes from the UK. In the United States National Bullying Prevention Month takes place during October, but the UK holds Anti-Bullying Month throughout November with National Anti-Bullying Week falling during the third week (November 17-21 this year). As a way to raise awareness and spark discussions about bullying, Sarah Churchill, a bibliophile with a book-focused YouTube channel, started the Anti Bullying Readathon for which participants would read books with bullying themes. A Goodreads group was created and more than 700 members have created a list of 150 books that touch on bullying for a variety of reading levels. Participants engaged in discussions and shared their reading on social media using #AntiBullyReads. Engaging readers in an active discussion, developing themed reading challenges, as well as posting images of recommended books and resources available in the library are excellent ways for libraries to reach patrons on Instagram for readers' advisory.
How has your library engaged in readers' advisory through social media? Share with us in the comments section below.
Please follow the link to view this week's Instagram of the Week images directly on the Storify website: Instagram of the Week - November 24
To view the list of bullying books created by the Anti Bullying Readathon, visit the Goodreads group: Anti Bullying Readathon
Have you come across a related Instagram post this week, or has your library posted something similar? Have a topic you'd like to see in the next installment of Instagram of the Week? Share it in the comments section of this post.
Join us every Tuesday for the Slice of Life Story Challenge!
We're sharing our presentations from NCTE with you, along with quotes I jotted down from a variety of authors and literacy leaders. ALSO, take a peek at some photos from our Slicer Dinner.
Cast Away on the Letter A by Fred, the pseudonym of Frédéric Aristidès, creator of one of the most famous graphic novel series in France (did you know that the French have long been huge graphic novel fans?) was originally published in 1972. This is the first time it has been translated in English, thanks to the amazing François Mouly and the fantastic people at TOON Books who are
Mac Barnett is having a very good 2014! He has three picture book releases this year, all of which are delightful! Be sure to check them out!Sam and Dave Dig a HoleAdd to GoodreadsAbout the Book:
Sam and Dave are digging a hole and they won't give up until they find something spectacular.GreenBeanTeenQueen Says:
Mac Barnett teams up with Jon Klassen for another winner. Klassen's illustrations match the text perfectly and gives the feel of an outdoor adventure. Readers will spot the spectacular treasure that is hiding just out of Sam and Dave's reach and are sure to laugh when the get so close but then change directions. They'll also be sure to notice the dog is the only one who seems to have a nose for treasure hunting. A fun tale that is sure to inspire some digging of your own.President Taft is Stuck in the BathAdd to GoodreadsAbout the Book
: President Taft is stuck in the bath! How will he get out?GreenBeanTeenQueen Says:
Mac Barnett takes on a presidential tall tale with humorous results. The president is stuck in the bath and everyone has an idea of how to help. The ideas get more and more ridiculous, from butter to explosions. There are also plenty of textual humor from the secretary of the treasury who responds with "throw money at the problem" to "the answer is inside you" from the secretary of the interior. Chris Van Dusen's illustrations are cartoonish and add to the humor of the tale. The end of the book provides some historical facts about President Taft and his bathtub. This would pair with King Bidgood's in the Bathtub
for a silly bathtime storytime.Telephone
Add to GoodreadsAbout the Book:
It's time for Peter to fly home, but his message about dinner gets scrambled along the telephone line.GreenBeanTeenQueen:
Remember the game telephone? Where what you start out saying ends up completely different? Mac Barnett and Jen Corace re-imagine the telephone game with a flock of birds on a telephone wire with hilarious results. Each new message gets more and more mixed up which is sure to leave young readers howling with delight. Each bird hears something new that makes sense to them and matches their own interests and hobbies. The illustrations reflect the each birds interests and helps the reader find clues as to why each bird heard what they did. A hilarious take on a the game of telephone perfect for reading aloud.Full Disclosure: Sam and Dave Dig a Hole and President Taft is Stuck in the Bath reviewed from finished copies sent by the publishers. Telephone reviewed from library copy.
Last week Jackie Woodson won The National Book Award for Young People’s Literature. It was a win so deserved that I had difficulty processing it. Under normal circumstances National Book Awards for children’s books come out of left field and are so blooming unpredictable that they almost always serve my perpetual amusement. The fact that a deserving book (one might call it “the” deserving book of the year) won was enormously satisfying. Of course, Ms. Woodson’s not exactly the new kid on the block. She’s been writing for decades, her style growing sharper, her focus more concentrated. When she wins awards it’s often for personal stories (her family story Show Way was the last picture book to win a Newbery Honor, for example). Now Brown Girl Dreaming is poised to do the rare double win of National Book Award and Newbery Award, a move that hasn’t happened since Holes back in 1999.
It feels right that a familiar author who has honed her craft should accrue more and more awards as time goes on. It seems logical. Yet once in a while a wrench is thrown in the works and a debut author will pop onto the scene and win scores of awards. It’s not a bad thing. It just sometimes happens that such authors and illustrators get more immediate attention as a result than their longstanding hardworking fellows.
On a recent(ish) episode of the podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour the topic was debuts. The show discussed musical debuts, acting debuts, and authorial ones as well. At one point I think it was Glen Weldon who pointed out that if you look at a typical high schooler’s summer reading list, it’s just debut title after debut title. To Kill a Mockingbird, Frankenstein, Jane Eyre, The Catcher in the Rye, Invisible Man, Catch-22, The Bell Jar, White Teeth, The Kite Runner, and on and on it goes.
Naturally, after thinking about this I wondered if this equated on the children’s side of things. So I took a gander at those old Top 100 Picture Books and Top 100 Children’s Novels polls I did of yore to see if the debuts were the majority of the titles there. Here are the top 20 in each category (correct me if I’m wrong about any of these):
#1 Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak (1963) – No
#2 The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle (1979) – No
#3 Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems (2003) – Yes
#4 Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Clement Hurd (1947) – No
#5 The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats (1962) – No
#6 Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey (1941) – No
#7 Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale by Mo Willems (2004) – No
#8 Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst, illustrated by Ray Cruz (1972) – No
#9 Bark, George by Jules Feiffer (1999) – No
#10 The Monster at the End of This Book by Jon Stone, illustrated by Mike Smollin (1971) – Yes (?)
#11 Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes (1996) – No
#12 Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss (1960) – No
#13 Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney (1982) – No
#14 Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina (1947) – No
#15 Frog and Toad Are Friends by Arnold Lobel (1970) – No
#16 Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson (1955) – Yes (in that it was the first he wrote and illustrated himself, I believe)
#17 The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf, illustrated by Robert Lawson (1936) – No
#18 A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip Stead, illustrated by Erin E. Stead (2010) – Yes
#19 The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter (1902) – Yes
#20 Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin, illustrated by James Dean (2010) – Yes
#1 Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White (1952) – Yes
#2 A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle (1962) – No
#3 Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling (1997) – Yes
#4 The Giver by Lois Lowry (1993) – No
#5 The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis (1950) – Yes (for kids anyway)
#6 Holes by Louis Sachar (1998) – No
#7 From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg (1967) – Yes (sorta – this was the weird case where her first two novels were published in the same year and BOTH received Newberys of one sort or another)
#8 Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery (1908) – Yes (?)
#9 The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin (1978) – No
#10 Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson (1977) – No
#11 When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead (2009) – No
#12 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling (1999) – No
#13 The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner (1997) – Yes (if a previously published short story doesn’t count)
#14 The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien (1938) – Yes (for kids, though I’m not sure when he did that Santa Claus letters book)
#15 The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett (1911) – No
#16 Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt (1975) – No
#17 Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh (1964) – Yes
#18 The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander (1964) – No
#19 Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder (1932) – Yes
#20 Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo (2000) – Yes
I was admittedly surprised by how many “Yes”es there were here. To my mind stunning debuts happen from time to time but are relatively rare. This seemed to hold true for the picture books, but on the novel side of things the classics are continually peppered with debut works.
Then there’s the difference between an authorial debut and that of an illustrator. I wasn’t able to tell if Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day was Ray Cruz’s debut or if he’d been working in the field for years. What about Mike Smollin and The Monster at the End of This Book?
Then there comes the question of how debut authors and illustrators are celebrated. Recently the periodical Booklist revealed an issue called “Spotlight on First Novels“. The cover showed primarily adult and YA titles, though there was an inclusion of Wonder by R.J. Palacio. Inside the regular feature “The Carte Blanche” by Michael Cart concentrated on what could potentially have won the William C. Morris YA Debut Award if it had originated in 1967. The Morris award, for folks who might not be familiar with it, “honors a debut book published by a first-time author writing for teens and celebrating impressive new voices in young adult literature.” Cart’s list is good and worth reading, though it include the baffling inclusion of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (a book that never could have won since it’s so clearly a children’s title). Children’s books too often get the short end of the stick when folks discuss debuts. For example, later in the issue a list of the “Top 10 First Novels for Youth for 2014″ mentions only the entirely worthy (and rather charming) The Luck Uglies by Paul Durham as the sole children’s inclusion.
Here then is a listing of some of my favorite children’s book debuts of 2014. I’m sure I’m getting folks here wrong when I say they haven’t published before, so if you see a mistaken entry do be so good as to let me know and I’ll amend accordingly.
- Anna Carries Water by Olive Senior, ill. Laura James – For Laura James. I believe Ms. Senior has written several books before.
- Anna & Solomon by Elaine Snyder, ill. Harry Bliss – Elaine’s debut, that is.
- Henny by Elizabeth Rose Stanton
- Sparky! by Jenny Offill, ill. Chris Appelhans – He’s contributed to the Flight series, but I hardly think that counts. Jenny is a known entity and not a debut.
Middle Grade Fiction
- Neighborhood Sharks by Katherine Roy (she did the illustrations for books like The Expeditioners but this is her formal writing debut)
- Grandfather Gandhi by Arun Gandhi and Bethany Hegedus; ill. Evan Turk – For Turk, naturally, though you could probably count Arun as well.
Then there’s the question of what you count as a debut when a picture book author writes their first middle grade or a YA author writes an easy book series. I leave that to the publishers.
Is there any debut author or artist with whom you were particularly taken this year?
This year we've seen lots of picture book biographies! Here are a few of my favorites:A Boy and A Jaguar by Alan Rabinowitz, illustrated by Catia Chein
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About the Book: A shy boy who stutters find comfort in talking to animals.
GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: Oh how I have my fingers crossed for a Schneider Award win for this book! (If you don't know about the Schneider Award, it is given to a book that "embodies an artistic expression of the disability experience." I believe that A Boy and A Jaguar does that perfectly. It's a powerful story told in a simple way. Alan Rabinowitz describes how he always had trouble speaking, that no one knew what to do about his stuttering and how he felt most at home when he was with animals. He talked to animals at the zoo and he practiced speaking to his pets at home. His love of animals combines with his desire to give animals a voice. As he studies jaguars and remembers the jaguar he saw and spoke to at the zoo, he becomes a powerful advocate for saving the jaguar. What I love most about this book is that it isn't a story about growing up and getting over a disability. It's a story of living with a disability and not letting it stop you from your dreams.
Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker by Patricia Hruby Powell, illustrated by Christian Robinson
About the Book: The fascinating story of entertainer Josephine Baker.
GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: I was vaguely aware of Josephine Baker before reading this book, but only as someone who was a performer. I learned so much from this book and I was dazzled by the text and the art. It is the perfect tribute to such an eccentric and fabulous star. The text is told in a verse, poetic format that makes you feel the jazz and rhythm of Josephine. The illustrations match this perfectly adding the perfect amount of spark and energy. The illustrations jump off the page and dance before the readers eyes. It's a dazzling picture book biography that is absolutely stunning. I would have put this on my library's Mock Caldecott list if I didn't think the length would deter some of the younger readers (it's a longer picture book biography, coming in at just over 100 pages). But maybe Josephine will surprise us all with an award win this Winter!
The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus by Jen Bryant, illustrated by Melissa Sweet
About the Book: The story of Peter Roget, who created Roget's Thesaurus, the most widely used and continuously published thesaurus.
GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: I feel like the theme of picture book biographies is sometimes "here's a quirky person and some facts that make them stand out and show that quirky is special." That's not a bad thing at all, but it sometimes gives picture book biographies a feel of simplicity and sameness (which I am sure Roget could have thought of better words!) And while that might be part of the message of The Right Word (Roget prefers to be alone, is shy, and loves to make lists of words), it feels different. The combination of text and illustrations blend together perfectly. Melissa Sweet uses letters, book pages, and a scrapbook style to create a visually stunning biography. Jen Bryant's text give insight into Roget's life without sounding too easy or simplistic. It's the perfect balance of fact and heart and brings readers into Roget's life. The Right Word was a book I finished and immediatly wanted to give to someone else to pour over, read, and enjoy all the illustrations. It's a beautiful package.
Full Disclosure: All titles reviewed from library copies
We're sharing our presentations from NCTE with you, along with quotes I jotted down from a variety of authors and literacy leaders. ALSO, take a peek at some photos from our Slicer Dinner.
The Man Who Invented Christmas. Les Standiford. 2008. Crown. 241 pages. [Source: Library]
Different readers will have different expectations when they see the full title of this one: The Man Who Invented Christmas: How Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol Rescued His Career and Revived Our Holiday Spirits.
The focus is not so much on Christmas, as it is on Charles Dickens: his private and public life, his writing career, his inspirations, his fears and worries, his relationship with his publishers. The focus isn't solely on A Christmas Carol. Yes, this work gets discussed in detail. But the same can be said of many of Dickens' novels. The book, despite the title, focuses on Dickens' career as a writer or novelist. This book mentions and in some cases discusses most of Dickens' published works. Not just his books published BEFORE A Christmas Carol, but his whole career.
A Christmas Carol gets special treatment in this one, perhaps, not because it has a Christmas theme, but, because it is a significant to his career. Before A Christmas Carol, he'd had a few really big bestsellers. But. He'd also experienced some failures. His last three books were disappointing to his fans. They didn't sell as well. The critics didn't like them. His publishers were discouraged and worried. Dickens needed his next book to be something wonderful, something that would sell, something that would be loved by one and all. He needed a success: a feel-good success, something to give him confidence and something to give his publishers confidence in him again, and a financial success, something to get him out of debt, something to pay his bills.
The secondary focus of this one is not Christmas. Readers might expect it to be related to Christmas, the history of Christmas, its invention, or reinvention. But. Something gets more time and attention than Christmas. And that is the writing and/or publishing industry. The book gives readers a history lesson in publishing. How books were written, illustrated, printed, published, sold. Not just what went on BEFORE it was published, but also what typically happened next. How novels were adapted to the stage by others, by many others. How little control--if any--that the publisher and author had over their books, their stories, their characters and plots. Plays could do justice, at times, to the books they were based upon. But they could also be absolutely dreadful. The lack of copyright laws or international copyright laws. How publishers in other countries could steal entire books, republish them, not paying the author anything at all. The book even has a chapter or two on fan fiction. Not that he calls it fan fiction. But he writes of how other writers could "borrow" characters and give them further adventures and publish them.
Does the book talk about Christmas at all? Yes. It does. It tells of two extremes: those in the past who celebrated Christmas too wildly, too wantonly, and those in the past who refused to celebrate it all, who would have it be illegal. Either extreme seems a bit hard to believe, perhaps, for modern readers. The book tells of traditions. Some traditions being somewhat established before A Christmas Carol, and other traditions becoming more established by being described in A Christmas Carol. What I probably found most interesting was his mention of how traditionally it was goose served for the Christmas feast UNTIL the publishing of A Christmas Carol. When Scrooge buys a turkey to give to Bob Cratchit and his family, it seems he inspired his readers to change their traditions. Turkeys becoming more and more popular.
For readers interested in the life and death of Charles Dickens, his whole career, this one has some appeal. It provides plenty of details about his books and the publishing industry, how he was received by the public.
For readers looking for a quick, feel-good holiday read, this one may prove to be a chore to get through.
I liked it well enough. I've read a good many of his novels. I have some interest in his life. It worked for me. It was packed with plenty of information.
© 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews
By: Lisa Taylor,
Blog: ALSC Blog
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After recently taking the ALSC Online Education course, “Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Programs Made Easy,” with Angela Young of Reed Memorial Library, my initial thought was to write a post extolling the virtues of ALSC’s Online Education, but then I remembered, I’ve already done that. (see earlier post)
Instead, as a veteran of five or more ALSC online classes, I have these few tips to help you make the most of your next class.
- Plan ahead. Remember to add your professional development needs to your annual budget requests.
- Think ahead. Don’t attempt to take a course during a season or time that you know you’ll be busy. There is homework.
- Folders, folders, folders. Whether the class is more instructional, e.g. Children with Disabilities in the Library, or more collaborative, e.g. Stem Programs made Easy, you will receive a lot of information in a short amount of time. Use your hard drive, thumb drive, or cloud storage to make a folder and subfolders for your course content. If your class is a collaborative one, i.e. each student contributing programs for re-use, you will receive a plethora of useful programs that you will want to use in the future.
- Rename files. Most students (myself included) will submit work to the group’s shared board with some variation of Name, Assignment Name, Date. This is helpful to the class instructor, but not to you as you frantically sort through folders trying find the great program on flight dynamics. If you download any of the proffered assignments, name them appropriately and include the author’s name (see below).
- Save a list of your classmates. In the future, you may need a name or email address to connect, collaborate, clarify or credit.
Any tips you’d like to share?
New classes start January 5th! What are you waiting for?
Clipart images free of copyright restrictions and obtained from Open Clipart .
By: Guest Contributor,
Blog: ALSC Blog
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Over the past two years, Iowa Library Services/State Library of Iowa has incorporated the recognition of Día in its annual strategic plan. Our efforts have resulted in a greater level of awareness among staff in many of Iowa’s 544 public libraries of the importance in recognizing the multiple cultures present in Iowa’s towns and cities, and of providing programming and collections that reflect those cultures.
Iowa’s population is currently just over 3 million people, with significant populations of many cultural groups. Among these are the following: 5.5% of the state’s population is Latino, with a projected increase by 2040 to 12.4%; African Americans at 3.2%; Asian-Pacific Americans at 2.3%; Native Americans at under .5% and recent immigrants from Eastern Europe and Africa. Information at these links from the Iowa Data Center and the PowerPoint presentation by Dr. Mark Grey of the University of Northern Iowa detail the specific cultural groups within these broader categories.
Families enjoy reading together during a Día storytime in Skokie, IL.
Preceding Iowa Library Services’ inclusion of Día in its strategic plan, the Marshalltown Public Library, which has long celebrated Día and has made other significant efforts to include Latino families in its services, was awarded the National Medal for Museum and Library Services in 2013, awarded by the Institute for Museum and Library Services. Marshalltown’s youth services manager, Joa LaVille, was instrumental in developing the services that in large part led to this award, and inspired us collectively to encourage other libraries to engage in outreach to all families in their communities, and to recognize the richness of the cultural diversity within their communities.
We then offered a webinar, offered on a statewide basis, last April 2, which is archived on our website. Joa and another youth services librarian, Betty Collins of the Musser Public Library in Muscatine, presented their successes with Día programming to Iowa’s youth services librarians. Both libraries have successfully mounted a variety of programs recognizing the multiple cultures in their communities. Many of Iowa’s libraries are very small, with limited staff and hours. But we encouraged them to do what they can, perhaps a display of books and other resources that can act as a welcoming gesture to families in their communities.
This spring, we were delighted to learn that one of our libraries, the Sioux Center Public Library, which serves a community of about 7,300 people won the national Mora Award, presented by REFORMA for the program their staff offered to celebrate Día. Ruth Mahaffy, Bilingual Services Director, developed the program and will accept the award at the ALA Midwinter Meeting in January.
This spring, at our biennial conference for Iowa’s public youth services librarians entitled “Kids First,” Ruth and other staff from the Sioux Center Public Library will present a program on Día, and how they put together an award-winning program with very little money. Joa LaVille will also be presenting a session on outreach to Spanish-speaking populations. We used to hold this conference at the end of April, but I’ve moved it to early May, so that it no longer conflicts with Día.
Putting together a state-wide initiative means a commitment to a long arc and working to help library staff start where they are . . . sometimes small rural libraries with one staff member and relatively few hours of service per week can feel overwhelmed at the thought of an outreach project. But by showing them that their peers are doing this, we can build momentum across the state in emphasizing the importance of recognizing the growing cultural diversity of their communities in their choices for programming, outreach, and collection development.
Merri M. Monks is the Youth Services Consultant for Iowa Library Services/State Library of Iowa. Her email is email@example.com.
By: Ashley Waring,
Blog: ALSC Blog
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I’ve been doing my Sensory Storytime for 3 years now. I posted a brief “how-to” guide here a few years ago, and still get contacted frequently by people who are looking to start a storytime and want some help. I am so happy that librarians continue to want to reach this audience and serve these families in their communities. In the interest of providing more useful advice to people looking to get started, I’m going to list out some of my “top tips” here, stuff I’ve learned during my 3 years doing this program. You’ll see that the prep that goes into a Sensory Storytime is really similar in many ways to the prep you’d do for a “typical” storytime. (For even more great tips, check out Renee Grassi’s recent post. It is full of helpful info for those getting started or those who have tried and want to change their approach.)
1) Think Like a Teacher
The way I see it, families bring their children to storytime to have fun, but librarians always have the motive of educating while we entertain. A Sensory Storytime crowd is no different, but the skills they are learning might be a bit different or broader than the early literacy skills we weave into our typical storytimes. For my Sensory Storytime, when choosing activities or books, I always ask myself “How can I turn this into a way for kids to practice their language skills? (both receptive and expressive) How can it help them practice social skills like eye contact or executive functioning skills?”
- Example 1: When I read The Deep Blue Sea by Audrey Wood, I pass out squares of colored felt. While I read the book, they need to wait for me to read the name of their color before they can come up and put it on the felt board (impulse control, receptive language, following directions…).
- Example 2: I hand out yellow, pink, and blue egg shakers. Then we sing a song and shake our eggs. I’ll put laminated colored ovals on my felt board that are yellow, pink, and blue and explain that while we’re singing, they can only shake their egg when they see their color on the board. (Receptive language, following directions, impulse control, motor planning…)
2) Think Like a Special Education Teacher:
When preparing materials for Sensory Storytime, I also ask myself questions like “How can I incorporate visual supports? How can I involve sensory input?” Visual supports are key for children with language challenges because it helps them know what to expect and scaffolds their language learning. You can see a picture of my visual schedule at my other post. Sensory input can come in many forms: tactile, visual, auditory, vestibular, proprioceptive… (If you’re interested in learning more, I like The Out of Sync Child by Carol Stock Kranowitz). Some kids are sensory seekers, some are sensory avoiders, and some are both, so you’ll see a range of responses to your sensory toys.
- Example 1: When I read If You’re a Monster and You Know It by Rebecca and Ed Emberley, I put up a visual for each movement I want the kids to do. A typical child will know to watch me and try to copy my movement. For my Sensory Storytime kids, a visual can help remind them of what the movement is going to be so they can focus more attention on the motor planning aspect of actually doing the movement.
- Example 2: When we read Tanka Tanka Skunk by Steve Webb, I hand out rhythm sticks. The kids clap their sticks together to match the rhythm of the book, as well as the tone (quiet when the animals are sleeping, loud when they wake up). The sticks give excellent sensory input (both auditory and proprioceptive). As I mentioned above, each child has a different sensory profile, so I noticed one little boy marching and beating the sticks really hard (and enjoying himself very much!) while another child seemed a bit nervous about the sound the sticks were going to make. Even the motor planning of holding the two sticks and clicking them together can be great practice for many children.
3) Be Flexible & Friendly
I’m sure this goes without saying, but go into the storytime room with way more books and activities then you’ll have time to do. Since my storytime is drop-in, I never know who I’m going to get, and I often need to switch my activities to cater to the ages and abilities in the room. The example above about matching the egg to the color on the board, for instance, may work well for kindergartners and up, but if I get a room full of young preschoolers and their toddler siblings, I won’t do it.
By being friendly and engaging, you can help create a trusting environment where parents can share more about their children. One mom shared with me that her son prefers nonfiction books, so I created visuals to go along with Who Lives Here? by Nicola Davies. And again, since my program is a drop-in, I had this book and these visuals with me and ready to go every month in case this family came to storytime.
4) Try Out Some Technology
iPads can be very motivating to all children, including those with special needs. One of my favorite apps I’ve used with this group is Cookie Doodle by Shoe the Goose. I have the children take turns coming up to interact with the app, which is based on making cookie dough, then baking, decorating, and eating cookies. Before the child gets to touch the iPad, I ask a simple question like, “What color icing will you use?” or “What shape cookie do you want?” The promise of using the iPad can be a strong motivator for kids to have a short social interaction with me!
Are you offering a Sensory Storytime or other program for children or teens with special needs? What top tips would you offer to someone getting started?
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