Thursday, December 20, 2012

best books 2012

Here is a list of the books I read and enjoyed that were published this year. There's actually one adult fiction book in the mix! I know, you're shocked! But I listened to it and the reader is Jim Broadbent was hard not to like it. The rest is children's and teen fic. :)

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold FryThe Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A bittersweet story about a man who sets out to mail a letter and decides to just keep walking, in the hopes of saving an old friend's life.

Jim Broadbent is an amazing narrator and did a great job giving each character their own voice. I highly recommend the audiobook version.

The Secret of the Fortune Wookiee  (Origami Yoda #3)The Secret of the Fortune Wookiee by Tom Angleberger

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I liked this one a lot better than 'Darth Paper', which I felt was sorta mean when it came to the kid's attacking poor Dwight. 'Fortune Wookiee' is a lot more fun as the kids try to figure out how Dwight is doing at the Tippet Academy (I love all the in-jokes for Star Wars fans). I also love that the creator of the Fortune Wookiee and Han Foldo is a girl. :)

Be warned, this ends on a cliffhanger!!

UnWholly (Unwind, #2)UnWholly by Neal Shusterman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When I heard Shusterman was writing a sequel to UNWIND, I cringed. It was not supposed to have a sequel. I was concerned that Neal had fallen upon hard times and his publishers were just trying to milk his award-winning book book for more...

WOW, was I wrong.

UNWHOLLY was fantastic. I haven't read a book that kept me on the edge of my seat in a long time. We find out about the aftermath of the Happy Jack Harvest Camp showdown and how it effected the rest of the world. And we finally get some insight into how Unwinding came to be. We meet up with favorite characters from UNWIND but we meet several new ones.

The book cover is devoid of color, a boy's face in shadow, and it fits - this story is all about navigating gray areas and trying to bring the truth to light. What makes it all so eerie is how plausible it still seems. How easily something that sounds horrific can become the status quo. How history is written by the victors. And how easy it is to bury the truth.

If you've read UNWIND, you NEED to read UNWHOLLY.

DramaDrama by Raina Telgemeier

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What I love about Telgemeier's SMILE and DRAMA is that they are stories about a girl - not a girl and a boy (though boys are involved, since we do tend to cross paths with them as we grow up) but a girl, living her life. And, in the end, she learns something about herself. They are about friendship; they are about growing up.

DRAMA is the story of Callie going through a production with her school's drama club as they mount an ambitious musical. She recruits two new members for the club, making friends with two new students, all the while navigating the ins-and-outs with her old friends and classmates.

If you liked SMILE, I think you will enjoy DRAMA. The story skews slightly older than SMILE, in my opinion, but it still ends with a very positive message for the reader.

Code Name VerityCode Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is an intense and fascinating story of survival and friendship. Reading the notes of the captured girl, you are pulled in to her internal struggle to survive and to stay true to herself. She describes her life before and the torture she undergoes every day from the Gestapo. And when it all comes to a head, about halfway through the book, you will not be able to put it down.

Of course, with the description of torture and threat of rape mentioned, you def. want to give this to a reader who can handle such harsh realities of war.

This may be one of the best historical fiction novels I have read. Well researched and well written.

Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Promise Part 1Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Promise Part 1 by Gene Luen Yang

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

WOW...this has everything the television series has - humor, action, and a plot-line that makes the reader think "What would I do?" I am so impressed with this comic and the direction of the story.

Everybody Sees the AntsEverybody Sees the Ants by A.S. King

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this book. Lucky Linderman might be one of the most honest and realistic teen characters I have ever read. This book was beautiful and heart-breaking and realistically represented the dark side of being a teenager, not in an over-the-top way, but in a way that anyone can identify with, but especially someone who has ever been plagued by a bully or felt misunderstood by the adults around them.

Ask The PassengersAsk The Passengers by A.S. King

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Nobody's perfect

It's a hard concept for a lot of people to come to terms with, especially for teenagers who are struggling to figure out who they are. And maybe even more so for a young person growing up in small town America.

Astrid Jones' story, like 'Lucky' Linderman in Everybody Sees the Ants, is not a single-issue story. A.S. King has created a character who is dealing with many different issues, just like all of us, and we watch her survive and endure and grow. It's a satisfying book that will make you laugh and possibly get a bit choked up near the end.

Definitely one of the best books I have read all year.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

misconception about librarians -- they read all day

"I would love to have your job and be able to sit around and read all day."

This statement is so false, it could not be MORE false. There are a finite number of times you will catch a Librarian reading while in the library - during their break or while trying to find books for their next storytime.

When a Librarian is not at the Information Desk, they are usually running around behind the scenes working on projects: planning programs, writing schedules, working on cataloging, updating the library's websites, contacting schools...the list goes on because every library is so very different.

While we don't sit and read all day, we do know a lot about books and what is out there because we read journals and websites with book reviews to build our knowledge. So don't hesitate to ask! Something we COULD do all day is recommend books to you! :D

Misconceptions about Libraries -- all librarians are old ladies

While, yes, there are many women in the profession, there are also lots of men and many of us are not "old". And we're also not always grumpy (unless there are budget cuts, then we get a bit depressed).

And while many people might be "older" than the young patrons they serve, I think you'll find most librarians are young at heart, with a passion for stories and life. A lot of them are into technology and computers in a big way (more on that in a later post).

Sunday, June 17, 2012

100 things blogging challenge

{Take the 100 Things challenge!}

In an effort to revitalize this blog, I'm going to participate in the 100 Things Blogging Challenge.

My topic -- 100 Library and Librarian myths DEBUNKED!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

storytime - friends, big and small

Lost and Found by Oliver Jeffers -- sweet little story, had a small group of kids today so this worked well since some of the pictures are only half a page. But they seemed interested in what would happen.

Little Beauty by Anthony Browne -- I wish I knew the sign-language for "I did it, I broke the televison". Might have made the ending a bit more interesting for the kids. But they enjoyed the tale of the monkey and his pet kitten.

Ernest, the Moose Who Doesn't Fit by Catherine Rayner -- They def. responded to this one, especially when I started unfolding that final page.

[song] Silly Dance Contest by Jim Gill

I Broke My Trunk by Mo Willems
-- you could tell the kids were familiar with Elephant & Piggie by how quiet they got when I picked up this book. Always fun to read his stuff out loud and the small crowd made this easier to present during storytime.

A Splendid Friend, Indeed by Suzanne Bloom -- this one just didn't do it for them, I don't think they quite understood bear's plight as Goose ran around him asking all kinds of questions.

[song] If You're Happy and You Know It -- one of my favorites. I use the book Clap Your Hands to read the words and actions.

Don't Worry Bear by Greg Foley -- big on pictures, short on text. Some of the kids knew what was coming but a few hadn't learned that basic caterpillar to butterfly story yet.

[craft] make little bear and butterfly puppets to take home and continue the story!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Storytime - imagination!

Me and My Dragon by David Biedrzycki -- great story to start off with since it's a bit morei involved. The kid's really seemed to like it and you could tell which of them had pets and saw the similarities between the relationship between the Dragon and the boy and them and their own pets.

Not A Box by Antoinette Portis -- I could hear them already getting wiggly (lots of little kids) so I went with this book which I always try to make interactive and have the kids shout out what the bunny is imagining the box to be. Kept some of their attention.

[song]The Irrational Anthem by Jim Gill -- great action song, the kids were giggling by the end. Good times. Will def. use this one again!!!

Do You Know Which Ones Will Grow by Susan A. Shea; paintings by Tom Slaughter -- this was my first storytime using this title and the kids LOVED it! I'm convinced that any time a child is given permission to shout "NO!" they are happy. Great illustrations made it easy for everyone to see.

Is Everyone Ready for Fun? by Jan Thomas -- Jan Thomas is quickly becoming a storytime favorite of mine and this might be my favorite book so far. I had the kids stand up and we did all the actions the cows did. It's perfect since the last thing they do is sit down and take a nap. :)

What Little Boys Are Made Of by Robert Neubecker -- I wanted to feature a little boy because I was worried the next book might turn them off. This book has a lot in common with "Not A Box" in that you can encourage audience participation by asking the kids what the little boy is playing.

Princess Super Kitty by Antoinette Portis -- This was a HUGE hit but part of that was because I put on MY OWN Princess Super Kitty outfit as I read the book. I had my ears from Dragon*Con, a towel for a cape, and then my crown (which would be our craft at the end of storytime). Everyone enjoyed the little girl's antics.

[craft] Decorate a Crown so you can be Prince or Princess Super Kitty at home! (thank you Accu-Cut!). I put out crayons, stickers, and puffy balls for the kids to attach to the crowns. I also had my stapler so they could come to me to have their crown "fitted". A HUGE HIT FOR BOYS AND GIRLS!

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

storytime -- jungle critters

I Love It When You Smile by Sam McBratney -- Good story to start with, I think we actually had a "grumpy Roo" in the room, his brow was furrowed when he arrived with his little sister. The kids thought the mud puddle ending was funny.

I Know a Rhino by Charles Fuge -- Cute little rhymes, moves quick, and most of the kids new the animals names.

(song) The Wheels on the Bus by Jane Cabrera -- this one was fun. I modified some of the "noises" they made to make it easier for the kids. They had a really good time!

(fingerplay) Five Little Monkeys -- found some felt board monkeys and stuck them to our fingerplay glove. I had the kids stand up and jump with me, then we all called the doctor and wagged our fingers. They knew the rhyme already and I think it made them feel good after the tricky "Wheels on the Bus" revision.

From Head to Toe by Eric Carle -- classic. They acted out all the movements perfectly and they I told them shout out "I CAN DO IT!" each time.

I Spy with My Little Eye by Edward Gibbs -- got them to sit back down and do this one. The older kids knew a lot of the animals and had fun shouting out the answers.

Peek-a-Zoo! by Marie Torres Cimarusti -- this book, I want to like it but it never seems to go over as well in storytime. I think it's because the animals are so uncommon when it comes to making noises so they kids stumble. I think the Seal was the biggest winner of them all.

Craft: Hippo paper bag puppet -- a big hit! I had them all come up and talk to my puppet with their puppets after they were done.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

storytime - ducks!

Come Along, Daisy by Jane Simmons -- My first time reading this for storytime. I had the kids help with Mama Duck's "Come Along, Daisy!" line. They seemed to enjoy that. This was a hit.

Little Quack by Lauren Thompson -- Another first for me. Kept the older kid's attention when I asked them to count the ducks, but the little guys lost interest since counting to five is still pretty tricky for them. Plus, the older kids would just yell out "2 DUCKS!" but the little kids needed me to count with them. Just have to be prepared to do that next time. Maybe a flannel board version of this book would work best.

SONG: Six Little Ducks by Raffi -- I had the kids stand up and we flapped our duck "wings" and waddled while this song played, then during the "quack quack quack" part, we said it out loud and made "ducks" with our hands.

Duck Soup by Jackie Urbanovic -- I think this might have been a little to old for my crowd. This is a better lap book than storytime. The older kids were keeping up but it lost most of the little guys.

The Ducklings Gets a Cookie?! by Mo Willems -- Probably would have been more effective if I had the pigeon puppet...these are always fun to read but the little were getting wiggly and I had one wander up and grab a toy from behind me and it threw off my reading groove.

SONG/FINGERPLAY: Five Little Ducks -- I had Mama Duck get a little cranky by the end, it brought some LOLs from the kids and parents.

Ducks Don't Wear Socks by John Nedwidek -- Probably should have ended it with the fingerplay, but I really wanted to give this book a try! The kids that could still sit still enjoyed it but by this far into the storytime, most of them had a case of the wiggles!

CRAFT: Duck in a Pond (duck cutout, paper plate, popsicle stick)