Library Goodness

BLACKHEARTS by Nicole Castroman

IMG_3242Could. Not. Put. This. Down.
I started BLACKHEARTS yesterday, but I had to work (gah! – but I’m a LIBRARIAN! Can’t I read while I work? Pretty please?) I snuck it in my purse and read a few chapters whenever I thought I could get away with it. Which is why I’m not “sharing” this on Facebook. Too many work acquaintances. 😉

Now, I’m not a huge fan of romance. My boss teases me every day that I should write historical romances and I hiss at her. But Anne and Teach had me HOOKED. I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t watch Mission Impossible with the rest of the fam. I don’t like swoony romances – this is not one. Anne is such a smart character; I loved that she didn’t fall head-over-heels in love and act like a love-sick ninny. I also don’t like quicky romances, you know – met you today, in bed an hour later = true love. Blackhearts is not one of those, either. I LOVED the slow, sweet way these two fell in love and I couldn’t wait to read more.

I really, really, REALLY hope there is a sequel!

Review: Now That You’re Here

nowThatYoureHereIt’s been a while, but I’m going to try to read (and review!) more books in 2015 – starting with NOW THAT YOU’RE HERE by Amy K. Nichols.

I was excited to read NOW THAT YOU’RE HERE because the parallel universe concept seemed unique and it didn’t disappoint. I was a little afraid that it would be too science-geeky for me and while a few of the concepts were over my head, the author did a fantastic job of making me NOT feel like an idiot while I was reading. 😉

It was so nice to have a book where the characters were smart and not superficial, and nice to have a YA book that didn’t try to push the envelope. I can already think of some of my science-loving students who are going to love reading this.

Can’t wait for the next book, WHILE YOU WERE GONE coming out on August 4th! (I thought I loved this cover, but WHILE YOU WERE GONE’s cover makes me swoon with all kinds of colory-starbursty love. Check it out and pre-order it while you do!

Middle Grade May – Stargirl

Recently for Children’s Book Week the entire school dressed as their favorite book characters. It was a fun day!

Of course I dressed up (um…Librarian? How could I not?) — here is a photo of my daughters and I. Can you guess who we were?
Our fourth grade teacher dressed in a flapper costume and said she was Stargirl. I loved her costume, but hadn’t read the book yet. Time to fix that!
I read it in a few hours. Loved it! Couldn’t put it down. I don’t understand why it took me so long to read it.
Stargirl makes her own name(s), dresses however she wants (and not how everyone else dresses), brings a ukulele to school with her and serenades people on their birthday, makes random cards for people and delivers them, and all other non-conformist things. She doesn’t care what anyone else thinks.
At first, the other students love her and her differences, but after a while they turn on her for being so different.
Throughout the whole book I was either like, “OMG, that is SO me!” or “OMG, I wish that was me!” I think everyone who reads this (boy or girl) will see at least a little of themselves in Stargirl.
This is such a fantastic story about fitting in and even more importantly – not fitting in.
If you haven’t read it, then please do! It’s the best book I’ve read so far this year. Can’t wait to read LOVE, STARGIRL.

Middle Grade May – The One and Only Ivan

I decided to read only middle grade books in May (hence the name — Middle Grade May!) and I thought I’d share a few of the ones I’ve been reading on my blog with a little review.

The One and Only Ivan
By Katherine Applegate

I wasn’t sure what to think of this one, animal stories aren’t usually my favorite, but I’ve seen it on just about every list, so I thought — why not?

I downloaded it before I left for an all-night mall lock-in with my daughter.

Could. Not. Put. It. Down.
Even with dance music from the DJ blaring in one ear and hundreds of screaming, dancing, running girls blaring in the other one.

This is the first book I’ve ever read of Katherine Applegates, even though my students adore her Animorph’s series. I don’t know if this is her normal style of writing, but I LOVED it. Simple and beautiful. The characters she created were wonderful and I used four kleenex’s when I read it. That’s my idea of an amazing book.

In fact, I loved it so much that I downloaded it on my 10-year-old daughter’s Nook for her to read. I asked her for a quick review for the blog, so I’m sharing it here. She took the word “quick” seriously. 😉

Audrey’s (Age 10) Review:

It was cute and one of the best books I’ve ever read. I liked how the chapters were small and my favorite character was Bob.

Books Can Talk (or at least write)

Wow – where did the summer go?

Today was our first day of school for the new school year and the past few weeks I’ve been hard at work getting the library in tip-top shape. Decorating bulletin boards, new books in the system, and setting up new users among lots of other things.

Last year I made a sign and put it on the library door for the first day of school that said “Welcome back – the books missed you!” Quite a few of the kids got a kick out of this, so this year I made a sign for the bookshelves from the books.

My third-grader thought it was hilarious, and I suppose if one kid finds it funny maybe more will too. We’ll see, the first library classes invade the room on Friday. Can’t wait!

Book Fair!

It’s BOOK FAIR WEEK at school!

Since our school is so small our book budget follows suite. But each year some of the parents organize a Scholastic book fair so we can use the proceeds to get new books for the library.
The students LOVE the book fair and its always such a fun week.
I got to work there today and I usually spend more than we make, but that’s OK. My girls love browsing for new books to buy (and OK, so do I!) I came home with some new YA books I can’t wait to crack open.
Of course we have a ton of snow coming this week so hopefully we make it to school every day – but you never know here in Ohio.

Library Book Challenge

One of my favorite days is Friday.
It’s library day, of course!
Being the librarian at a small private school of Pre-K to 8th Graders is a blast, but it can also be a challenge. Every Friday I am bombarded by kids who either don’t want to read at all, who say I have no books there to read (what???), or who try to read books above their level so it will make them look cool to the other kids. Last week I had a second grade boy come up and slam a copy of Twilight on my desk for me to check out. HA!
The awesomeness of my Friday is that the other 95% of kids love to read and can’t wait to get books. They always want recommendations because they know I read what they read. The problem is that I have been so busy working on MY novel, I haven’t had a chance to read any books since school started in August. My to-read pile is almost as tall as my dining room table.

From left to right…
Ruined by Paula Morris, Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl, Savvy by Ingrid Law, Selling Hope by Kristin O’Donnell Tubb, Rules by Cynthia Lord, Claim to Fame by Margaret Peterson Haddix, The Last Boleyn by Karen Harper, Sent by Margaret Peterson Haddix, Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan, The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephenie Meyer, Into the Gauntlet by Margaret Peterson Haddix, Dark Life by Kat Falls, Spoiled Rotten by Brandi Johnson (I went to high school with Brandi!), Sabotaged by Margaret Peterson Haddix, Tennyson by Lesley M. M. Blume, People of Sparks by Jeanne DuPrau, Uprising by Margaret Peterson Haddix, City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau
So I came up with an idea. I’m challenging the kids to 1) guess how many books I can read during our Christmas break and 2) see if they can read more than I do!
This is a win/win/win.
Win #1 – Contests always get them excited to read!
Win #2 – I finally get the books in my pile read.
Win #3 – I’ll have lots of book recommendations for them on January 3rd!
I’m going to keep track of my tally here on the blog just in case any students happen to read it and I’ll be sure to post if any of my students beat me. (I’m hoping they do!!!)
Happy reading!