Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Program news: Phoenix

While I can't always get out to the libraries to check out their summer programs, the libraries often keep me in the loop via e-mail. This latest program update comes from Phoenix Public Library, which has partnered with the Phoenix Police Department to offer something new to their community - police officers reading to children.

Officer Joseph Marotta reads to the group at Phoenix Public Library.
Library director Noreen Patterson says: "The officers read books that we provide - for example, Officer Marotta read If You Give a Moose a Muffin by Laura Joffe Numeroff, and Officer Neary read Growing Vegetable Soup by Lois Ehlert.  The officers read a title for story time at 11am on Monday and a story at 1 pm at the start of the SRP.  Investigator Marotta read last Thursday at 1 pm during our stuffed animal sleepover. They are on duty officers - they interact with the children, read a story or two and return to duty. This is new  and the second week we have had the officers visit the library. Our police force is made up of PT officers from other forces around the area for the most part. I am glad the library is one way to connect the officers to this community and I am thrilled to have community leaders as reading role models for our children."

New e-books added to NCLS collection

The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion, and the Fall of Imperial Russia, by Candace Fleming. (Audio, narrated by Kimberly Farr.)

From the acclaimed author of Amelia Lost and The Lincolns comes more nonfiction at its very best--and a perfect resource for meeting Common Core standards.

Here is the riveting story of the Russian Revolution as it unfolded. When Russia's last tsar, Nicholas II, inherited the throne in 1894, he was unprepared to do so. With their four daughters (including Anastasia) and only son, a hemophiliac, Nicholas and his reclusive wife, Alexandra, buried their heads in the sand, living a life of opulence as World War I raged outside their door and political unrest grew.

Deftly maneuvering between the lives of the Romanovs and the plight of Russia's peasants--and their eventual uprising--Fleming offers up a fascinating portrait, complete with inserts featuring period photographs and compelling primary-source material that brings it all to life. History doesn't get more interesting than the story of the Romanovs.

Mama Built a Little Nest, by Jennifer Ward. Illustrated by Steve Jenkins.

A delightful exploration of the incredibly variety of nests birds build for their babies, illustrated by a Caldecott Honoree.

Mama built a little nest
inside a sturdy trunk.
She used her beak to tap-tap-tap
the perfect place to bunk.

There are so many different kinds of birds—and those birds build so many different kinds of nests to keep their babies cozy. With playful, bouncy rhyme, Jennifer Ward explores nests large and small, silky and cottony, muddy and twiggy—and all the birds that call them home!

Five, Six, Seven, Nate! by Tim Federle.

In the sequel to Better Nate Than Ever, Nate Foster's Broadway dreams are finally coming true.

Armed with a one-way ticket to New York City, small-town theater geek Nate is off to start rehearsals for E.T.: The Broadway Musical. It's everything he ever practiced his autograph for! But as thrilling as Broadway is, rehearsals are nothing like Nate expects: full of intimidating child stars, cut-throat understudies, and a director who can't even remember Nate's name.

Now, as the countdown to opening night is starting to feel more like a time bomb, Nate is going to need more than his lucky rabbit's foot if he ever wants to see his name in lights. He may even need a showbiz miracle.

The companion novel to Better Nate Than Ever, which The New York Times called "inspired and inspiring," Five, Six, Seven, Nate! is full of secret admirers, surprise reunions, and twice the drama of middle school...with a lot more glitter.

Deadly, by Julie Chibbaro.

Prudence Galewski doesn't belong in Mrs. Browning's esteemed School for Girls. She doesn't want an appropriate job that makes use of refinement and charm. Instead, she is fascinated by how the human body works and why it fails.

Prudence is lucky to land a position in a laboratory, where she is swept into an investigation of a mysterious fever. From ritzy mansions to shady bars and rundown tenements, Prudence explores every potential cause of the disease to no availuntil the volatile Mary Mallon emerges. Dubbed Typhoid Mary by the press, Mary is an Irish immigrant who has worked as a cook in every home the fever has ravaged. But she's never been sick a day in her life. Is the accusation against her an act of discrimination? Or is she the first clue in solving one of the greatest medical mysteries of the twentieth century?

(All descriptions from OverDrive.)

Friday, July 25, 2014

New directors in North Country

You might have noticed that we've got some new directors in our system these days. If you're out of the loop, let me fill you in:

Margaret J. Waggoner has begun as the new director of the Roswell P. Flower Memorial Library in Watertown this week. I haven't had a chance to corner Margaret for an interview yet, but lucky for me (and the readers of this blog), the Watertown Daily Times has.

New director Margaret J. Waggoner. Photo: Justin Sorenson, Watertown Daily Times.

The Ogdensburg Public Library named Penny Kerfien as their new director. No stranger to North Country libraries, Penny is the former director (and children's librarian) of Fulton Public Library and most recently worked at Oswego SD Public Library. Penny received her MLS from Syracuse University in 2003.

On how libraries have changed since she began working in libraries in 1989: "You can come into a library just to read a newspaper or read a book or work on a computer, or you can be home and download an e-book. The spectrum of what a library offers has been expanded many times over."

On what she's looking forward to at Ogdensburg: "The challenges of the library - finishing up two grants and possibly starting a third.  I have a wonderful staff, that has been very helpful.  Getting to know the people who visit the library.  Basically, I'm looking forward to the whole job."

The Norwood Public Library has hired Rebecca Donnelly as their new director. Rebecca served as the interim director after the departure of the library's previous director. I have had a chance to corner Rebecca for an interview, so look for that soon!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

New e-books!

Amelia Bedelia Means Business, by Herman Parish. Illustrated by Lynne Avril.

Amelia Bedelia makes her chapter book debut! In Amelia Bedelia Means Business, a New York Times bestseller and the first book in the new chapter book series, young Amelia Bedelia will do almost anything for a shiny new bicycle.

Amelia Bedelia's parents say they'll split the cost of a new bike with her, and that means Amelia Bedelia needs to put the pedal to the metal and earn some dough! With Amelia Bedelia anything can happen, and it usually does. Short, fast-paced chapters, tons of friends, silly situations, and funny wordplay and misunderstandings make the Amelia Bedelia chapter books an ideal choice for readers of the Ivy and Bean, Magic Tree House, and Judy Moody books.

 Big Bug, by Henry Cole.

Size is relative, but everything is worth seeing in this concept book from the illustrator of And Tango Makes Three.

Beginning with a beautiful close-up of a "big" ladybug, this book artfully depicts the concept of scale. The book zooms out from the bug, to a flower, to a cow, all the way to an expansive spread of sky. Then Henry Cole masterfully zooms back in from that sky, to a tree, to a house, to a window, all the way to the end where an adorable dog is taking a "little" nap.

In this ideal introduction to the concept of scale, young readers will love the lush illustrations of the animals, objects, and scenery of a farm, and they'll delight in seeing how something "big" can suddenly seem "little" with the turn of a page!

Gaston, by Kelly DiPucchio. Illustrated by Christian Robinson. 

A bulldog and a poodle learn that family is about love, not appearances in this adorable doggy tale from New York Times bestselling author Kelly DiPucchio and illustrator Christian Robinson.

This is the story of four puppies: Fi-Fi, Foo-Foo, Ooh-La-La, and Gaston. Gaston works the hardest at his lessons on how to be a proper pooch. He sips—never slobbers! He yips—never yaps! And he walks with grace—never races! Gaston fits right in with his poodle sisters.

But a chance encounter with a bulldog family in the park—Rocky, Ricky, Bruno, and Antoinette—reveals there's been a mix-up, and so Gaston and Antoinette switch places. The new families look right...but they don't feel right. Can these puppies follow their noses—and their hearts—to find where they belong?

I Lived on Butterfly Hill, by Marjorie Agosin. Illustrated by Lee White.

An eleven-year-old's world is upended by political turmoil in this searing novel from an award-winning poet, based on true events in Chile.

Celeste Marconi is a dreamer. She lives peacefully among friends and neighbors and family in the idyllic town of Valparaiso, Chile—until the time comes when even Celeste, with her head in the clouds, can't deny the political unrest that is sweeping through the country. Warships are spotted in the harbor and schoolmates disappear from class without a word. Celeste doesn't quite know what is happening, but one thing is clear: no one is safe, not anymore.

The country has been taken over by a government that declares artists, protestors, and anyone who helps the needy to be considered "subversive" and dangerous to Chile's future. So Celeste's parents—her educated, generous, kind parents—must go into hiding before they, too, "disappear." To protect their daughter, they send her to America.

As Celeste adapts to her new life in Maine, she never stops dreaming of Chile. But even after democracy is restored to her home country, questions remain: Will her parents reemerge from hiding? Will she ever be truly safe again?

Accented with interior artwork, steeped in the history of Pinochet's catastrophic takeover of Chile, and based on many true events, this multicultural ode to the power of revolution, words, and love is both indelibly brave and heart-wrenchingly graceful.

Queen Victoria's Bathing Machine, by Gloria Whelan. Illustrated by Nancy Carpenter.

Prince Albert comes up with a royally creative solution to Queen Victoria's modesty concerns in this true story that reveals an overlooked splash of history.

Poor Queen Victoria! She loves to swim, but can't quite figure out how to get to the water without her devoted subjects glimpsing her swimming suit. (Because, of course, such a sight would compromise her regal dignity.) Fortunately for the water-loving monarch, it's Prince Albert to the rescue with an invention fit for a queen!

This quirky tale about the longest reigning monarch in British history is as fun as it is authentic, and the book includes a picture of the actual bathing machine Prince Albert created.

The Mystery of Meerkat Hill (Precious Ramotswe, Book 2), by Alexander McCall Smith. Illustrated by Iain McIntosh. (Also available in audio, narrated by Adjoa Andoh.)

Precious wants to be a detective when she grows up. She is always practicing at being a detective by asking questions and finding out about other people's lives. There are two new students in her class, a girl called Teb and a boy called Pontsho. She learns that they are brother and sister, and--even more exciting--that Pontsho has a clever pet meerkat named Kosi.

One day, Teb and Pontsho's family's cow disappears. Precious helps them look for clues to find the cow. But getting the cow back home will require some quick thinking and help from an unexpected source. 

(All descriptions from OverDrive.)

Monday, July 21, 2014

Hats off to storytime!

Just had to share this pre-K storytime from Linda in Gouverneur. The theme? HATS!

I've been a huge fan of hats my whole life. Some little girls liked the red velvet dresses at Christmas; I always longed for the white straw hats at Easter. Obviously, I'm on board with this theme, especially with the inclusion of the first story, which is one of my all-time favorites:

This is Not My Hat, by Jon Klassen. When a tiny fish shoots into view wearing a round blue topper (which happens to fit him perfectly), trouble could be following close behind. So it's a good thing that enormous fish won't wake up. And even if he does, it's not like he'll ever know what happened... (Description from Goodreads.)

Magritte's Marvelous Hat, by D.B. Johnson. D.B. Johnson writes and illustrates the surreal story of famous surrealist painter Rene Magritte and his very mysterious (and mischievous!) hat. While the art reflects some of Magritte's own work, the text sets readers on a fun and accessible path to learning about the simpler concepts behind Mr. Magritte's work. (Description from Goodreads.)

For rhymes and songs, she's using Hat Woes and That Spells Hat, both from the Storytimes Online Hats page.

But the craft is what really caught my attention. Partially because it's on Shakespeare's head. Partially because it's awesome.

Linda says: I used a paper bowl and affixed feathers, stickers, and sequins.  Probably best to use school glue, but I used a glue stick and so far everything's still attached. Simple. I opted for the Mardi Gras Powerpuff Girls look. For a fancier hat, you could run a ribbon around it and let it drape down the back. Or color it black and make a bowler.  Possibilities: endless.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

New e-books added to NCLS collection!

The Actual and Truthful Adventures of Becky Thatcher, by Jessica Lawson.

Becky Thatcher has her side of the story to tell—and it's a whopper—in this creative spin on Mark Twain's beloved The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, complete with illustrations.

Tom Sawyer's and Huckleberry Finn's adventures are legendary, but what about the story you haven't heard? In 1860, eleven-year-old Becky Thatcher is the new girl in town, determined to have adventures like she promised her brother Jon before he died. With her Mama frozen in grief and her Daddy busy as town judge, Becky spends much of her time on her own, getting into mischief. Before long, she joins the boys at school in a bet to steal from the Widow Douglas, and Becky convinces her new best friend, Amy Lawrence, to join her.

But the theft doesn't go as planned, and Widow Douglas ends up being unfairly accused of grave robbing as a result. So Becky concocts a plan to clear the Widow's name. If she pulls it off, she might just get her Mama to notice her again, as well as fulfill her promise to Jon in a most unexpected way. That is, if that tattletale Tom Sawyer will quit following her around.

The Astonishing Secret of Awesome Man, by Michael Chabon. (Audio, narrated by Marc Thompson.)

Awesome Man can shoot positronic rays out of his eyeballs, fly as straight as an arrow, and hug mutant Jell-O! Even villains like Professor Von Evil and the Flaming Eyeball are no match for this caped crusader. But Awesome Man also has a secret. . . . Can you guess what it is? The first picture book from Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Michael Chabon perfectly captures the fantasy life of young superhero fans.

A Hitch at the Fairmont, by Jim Averbeck.

An intrepid boy teams up with Alfred Hitchcock himself in this rollicking mystery rife with action, adventure, intrigue, and all the flavor of film noir.

After the mysterious death of his mother, eleven-year-old Jack Fair is whisked away to San Francisco's swanky Fairmont Hotel by his wicked Aunt Edith. There, he seems doomed to a life of fetching chocolates for his aunt and her pet chinchilla. Until one night, when Aunt Edith disappears, and the only clue is a ransom note chocolate?

Suddenly, Jack finds himself all alone on a quest to discover who kidnapped Aunt Edith and what happened to his mother. Alone, that is, until he meets an unlikely accomplice—Alfred Hitchcock himself! The two embark on a madcap journey full of hidden doorways, secret societies, cryptic clues, sinister villains, and cinematic flair.

Hold Fast, by Blue Balliett.

Where is Early's father? He's not the kind of father who would disappear. But he's gone . . . and he's left a whole lot of trouble behind.

As danger closes in, Early, her mom, and her brother have to flee their apartment. With nowhere else to go, they are forced to move into a city shelter. Once there, Early starts asking questions and looking for answers. Because her father hasn't disappeared without a trace. There are patterns and rhythms to what's happened, and Early might be the only one who can use them to track him down and make her way out of a very tough place.

With her signature, singular love of language and sense of mystery, Blue Balliett weaves a story that takes readers from the cold, snowy Chicago streets to the darkest corner of the public library, on an unforgettable hunt for deep truths and a reunited family.

The Julian Chapter: A Wonder Story, by R.J. Palacio. 

Over 1 million people have read Wonder and have fallen in love with Auggie Pullman, an ordinary boy with an extraordinary face. Now readers will have a chance to hear from the book's most controversial character--Julian.

From the very first day Auggie and Julian met in the pages of the #1 New York Times bestseller Wonder, it was clear they were never going to be friends, with Julian treating Auggie like he had the plague. And while Wonder told Auggie's story through six different viewpoints, Julian's perspective was never shared. Readers could only guess what he was thinking.

Until now. The Julian Chapter will finally reveal the bully's side of the story. Why is Julian so unkind to Auggie? And does he have a chance for redemption?

The Last Dragonslayer, by Jasper Fforde.

In the good old days, magic was indispensable—it could both save a kingdom and clear a clogged drain. But now magic is fading: drain cleaner is cheaper than a spell, and magic carpets are used for pizza delivery. Fifteen-year-old foundling Jennifer Strange runs Kazam, an employment agency for magicians—but it's hard to stay in business when magic is drying up. And then the visions start, predicting the death of the world's last dragon at the hands of an unnamed Dragonslayer. If the visions are true, everything will change for Kazam—and for Jennifer. Because something is coming. Something known as...Big Magic. 

Naked! by Michael Ian Black.

A hilarious new book about a boy who refuses to wear clothes, from comedian Michael Ian Black and illustrator Debbi Ridpath Ohi, the team that brought you I’m Bored, a New York Times Notable Children’s Book.

Michael Ian Black and Debbie Ridpath Ohi, whose “smart cartoony artwork matches Black’s perfect comic timing” (The New York Times Book Review), have paired up again to showcase the antics of an adorable little boy who just doesn’t want to get dressed.

After his bath, the little boy begins his hilarious dash around the house…in the buff! Being naked is great. Running around, sliding down the stairs, eating cookies. Nothing could be better. Unless he had a cape…

The Total Tragedy of a Girl Named Hamlet, by Erin Dionne.

All Hamlet Kennedy wants is to be a normal eighth grader. But with parents like hers - Shakespearean scholars who actually dress in Elizabethan regalia... in public! - it's not that easy. As if they weren't strange enough, her genius seven-year-old sister will be attending her middle school, and is named the new math tutor. Then, when the Shakespeare Project is announced, Hamlet reveals herself to be an amazing actress. Even though she wants to be average, Hamlet can no longer hide from the fact that she- like her family - is anything but ordinary.

Waiting for Normal, by Leslie Connor.

Addie is waiting for normal. But Addie's mom has an all-or-nothing approach to life: a food fiesta or an empty pantry, jubilation or gloom, her way or no way. All or nothing never adds up to normal. All or nothing can't bring you all to home, which is exactly where Addie longs to be, with her half sisters, every day.

In spite of life's twists and turns, Addie remains optimistic. Someday, maybe, she'll find normal.

Leslie Connor has created an inspiring novel about one girl's giant spirit.

(All descriptions from OverDrive.) 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Limberjacks and cranberries.

Two things I learned at the Williamstown Library summer reading kickoff last night:

 1. Thanks to performer Cathy McGrath, I learned what a limberjack is.  Also called jollyboys or jig dolls, limberjacks are a rhythm instrument in the form of a puppet. Ms. McGrath entertained the crowd outside on the lawn with songs, drumming, and dancing.

2. I learned that Williamstown is the Cranberry Capital of New York State. This is the kind of thing I pull the car over for.

Many thanks to the Williamstown Library for inviting me down. It's so nice to see children and families signing up for cards, heading to the circulation desk with an armload of books, and enjoying a library event.

Friday, July 11, 2014


So, I bought a house. There are two main reasons that this is important.

1. Now, I will have nothing to distract me from all the reading. Because there is no reading to be had when a drummer lives upstairs.

2. It also means that now the North Country is stuck with me, at least for a little while.

After this move, I will have moved six times in as many years. On the bright side, it means that I'm very good at packing, and also that I've never had time to let much dust accumulate.

However, it also means that I've had to move my books six times in as many years.

When I moved to Philadelphia to go to library school, I divested myself of a lot of them, including my entire hardcover set of Harry Potter. I donated it to a girlfriend of mine who is a middle school teacher, and I have no regrets. (Though I did have to buy a paperback copy of The Prisoner of Azkaban, because what was I thinking?)

But then I lived in the Philadelphia area for four years. You know what they have a lot of in Philadelphia that we don't have here in the North Country? (Apart from places to get cheesesteaks?) Bookstores. In my first neighborhood, I had to walk past two just to get to the grocery store. My last birthday in Philadelphia was spent bookstore-crawling from Old City back to my house in the Art Museum neighborhood. It's fair to say that I returned from Philly with more than just an appreciation for a good soft pretzel. There were so, so many liquor store boxes.

(Liquor store boxes = small and sturdy = the best book boxes.)

I did attempt to keep the number of books in my house under control. My rule for years was that I could only own as many books as would fit on the shelves I already owned. If a book came into the house, a book left. Three books came in, three left. And then I moved into an apartment with built-in bookshelves.

You can imagine how that played out.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Librarian at the farmers market.

In my defense, I did also buy raspberries, but I'd eaten them all by the time I took this photo.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

New e-books added to NCLS collection!

The Boundless, by Kenneth Oppel.

All aboard for an action-packed escapade from the internationally bestselling author of Airborne and the Silverwing trilogy. The Boundless, the greatest train ever built, is on its maiden voyage across the country, and first-class passenger Will Everett is about to embark on the adventure of his life!

When Will ends up in possession of the key to a train car containing priceless treasures, he becomes the target of sinister figures from his past. In order to survive, Will must join a traveling circus, enlisting the aid of Mr. Dorian, the ringmaster and leader of the troupe, and Maren, a girl his age who is an expert escape artist. With villains fast on their heels, can Will and Maren reach Will's father and save The Boundless before someone winds up dead?

The Chicken Squad: The First Misadventure, by Doreen Cronin.

They're darling. They're daring. They know their shapes! They're chicks on a mission—and on this, their first (mis)adventure, the Chicken Squad launches a galactic backyard expedition. Meet the Chicken Squad: Dirt, Sugar, Poppy, and Sweetie. These chicks are not your typical barnyard puffs of fluff, and they are not about to spend their days pecking chicken feed and chasing bugs. No sir, they're too busy solving mysteries and fighting crime.

So when Squirrel comes barreling into the chicken coop, the chicks know they're about to get a case. But with his poor knowledge of shapes ("Big" is not a shape, Squirrel!) and utter fear of whatever it is that's out there, the panicky Squirrel is NO HELP. Good thing these chicks are professionals. But even professionals get worried. Especially once they see that round, shiny, green, BIG thing in the yard. What if it's a UFO full of aliens who want chickens as pets? It's up to the Chicken Squad to crack a case that just might be out of this world. 

Flights, Chimes and Mysterious Times, by Emma Trevayne.

In nineteenth-century England, a boy is about to discover a mysterious mechanical world he may never escape. Ten-year-old Jack Foster has stepped through a doorway and into quite a different London.

Londinium is a smoky, dark, and dangerous place, home to mischievous metal fairies and fearsome clockwork dragons that breathe scalding steam. The people wear goggles to protect their eyes, brass grill insets in their nostrils to filter air, or mechanical limbs to replace missing ones. Over it all rules the Lady, and the Lady has demanded a new son—a perfect flesh-and-blood child. She has chosen Jack. His only hope of escape lies with a legendary clockwork bird. The Gearwing grants wishes—or it did, before it was broken—before it was killed. But some things don't stay dead forever. Fans of books like Splendors and Glooms and Goblin Secrets will find Flights and Chimes and Mysterious Times irresistible!

Lincoln's Grave Robbers, by Steve Sheinkin. (Audio, narrated by Will Patton.)

A true crime thriller — the first book for teens to tell the nearly unknown tale of the brazen attempt to steal Abraham Lincoln's body!

The action begins in October of 1875, as Secret Service agents raid the Fulton, Illinois, workshop of master counterfeiter Ben Boyd. Soon after Boyd is hauled off to prison, members of his counterfeiting ring gather in the back room of a smoky Chicago saloon to discuss how to spring their ringleader. Their plan: grab Lincoln's body from its Springfield tomb, stash it in the sand dunes near Lake Michigan, and demand, as a ransom, the release of Ben Boyd —and $200,000 in cash. From here, the action alternates between the conspirators, the Secret Service agents on their trail, and the undercover agent moving back and forth between the two groups. Along the way readers get glimpses into the inner workings of counterfeiting, grave robbing, detective work, and the early days of the Secret Service. The plot moves toward a wild climax as robbers and lawmen converge at Lincoln's tomb on election night: November 7, 1876.

Lulu's Mysterious Mission, by Judith Viorst.

Lulu has put her tantrum-throwing days behind her. That is, until her parents announce that they are going on vacation—WITHOUT LULU. Not only that, but they are leaving her with the formidable Ms. Sonia Sofia Solinsky, who says hello by bellowing, "The Eagle has landed," and smiles at you with the kind of smile that an alligator might give you before eating you for dinner.

The second her parents are out of the house, Lulu tries out several elaborate schemes to bring them straight back. But just when she seems to finally be making some headway, her babysitter reveals an astonishing that has Lulu crossing her fingers that her parents will go on vacation all the time—without her!

The Thing About Luck, by Cynthia Kadohata.

The winner of the National Book Award for Young People's Literature, from Newbery Medalist Cynthia Kadohata. There is bad luck, good luck, and making your own luck—which is exactly what Summer must do to save her family.

Summer knows that kouun means "good luck" in Japanese, and this year her family has none of it. Just when she thinks nothing else can possibly go wrong, an emergency whisks her parents away to Japan—right before harvest season. Summer and her little brother, Jaz, are left in the care of their grandparents, who come out of retirement in order to harvest wheat and help pay the bills.

The thing about Obaachan and Jiichan is that they are old-fashioned and demanding, and between helping Obaachan cook for the workers, covering for her when her back pain worsens, and worrying about her lonely little brother, Summer just barely has time to notice the attentions of their boss's cute son. But notice she does, and what begins as a welcome distraction from the hard work soon turns into a mess of its own.

Having thoroughly disappointed her grandmother, Summer figures the bad luck must be finished—but then it gets worse. And when that happens, Summer has to figure out how to change it herself, even if it means further displeasing Obaachan. Because it might be the only way to save her family.

Titanic: Voices from the Disaster, by Deborah Hopkinson. 

Critically acclaimed nonfiction author Deborah Hopkinson pieces together the story of the Titanic and that fateful April night, drawing on the voices of survivors and archival photographs.

Scheduled to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the tragic sinking of the Titanic, a topic that continues to haunt and thrill readers to this day, this book by critically acclaimed author Deborah Hopkinson weaves together the voices and stories of real Titanic survivors and witnesses to the disaster — from the stewardess Violet Jessop to Captain Arthur Rostron of the Carpathia, who came to the rescue of the sinking ship. Packed with heart-stopping action, devastating drama, fascinating historical details, loads of archival photographs on almost every page, and quotes from primary sources, this gripping story, which follows the Titanic and its passengers from the ship's celebrated launch at Belfast to her cataclysmic icy end, is sure to thrill and move readers.

(All descriptions from OverDrive.)

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Highlights from ALA Annual 2014

I'm happy to report that I'm back from Vegas, and in fact, I've never been happier to be back from a place in my life. I'm simply not meant for desert climes. Still, armed with sunblock, water, and cardigans (for the overzealous AC, you understand), I did have a rollicking good time at the ALA Annual Conference. Here are some highlights:

It WAS slots a fun walking down the Las Vegas Strip.
I attended my first Guerrilla Storytime, sharing program tips and techniques with other storytime providers in an informal, improvisational, and interactive setting. So excited to bring this back to the North Country!

Tried very hard not to pick up too many books from the exhibit hall, but apparently not hard enough. Ended up having to buy a small suitcase to get them all back home. Some folks ship theirs back, but I don't mind an excuse for new luggage. I'll be giving away most of these books throughout the summer, but definitely kept a few for myself.

Got to meet so many authors and illustrators, including Jonathan Auxier, Margi Preus, Kadir Nelson, Melissa Sweet, Mac Barnett, Jon Klassen, Nick Bruel, Yuyi Morales, and more! Got to sit next to Peter Sis at a dinner, and tried to help him fix his glasses, from which a lens spontaneously popped out.

Got to meet so many LIBRARIANS! (Some in real life, some via Twitter.) Tried to stay chilled out while talking to Abby the Librarian, who is basically my hero.

Met with the Sibert committee, which I can't tell you about at all, but I'm hoping that you'll be intrigued by my silence and will, as a result, seek out all the great informational books you can find.

Attended the acceptance speeches for the Newbery, Caldecott, Sibert, and Carnegie awards. Cried during Kate DiCamillo's speech, and I was certainly not alone. Laughed during the Carnegie speech, where 'Whack a Duck!' became the unofficial catchphrase for the rest of the ALSC events and meetings at the conference.

Went to sessions on rural and tribal libraries and RA for young adult nonfiction and listened to lectures by Amy Dickinson and Anna McQuinn.

Ran into one of my former landlords (wait what?), but also had an unexpected interlude with a stranger:

I'm sitting in a chilly, deserted hallway, reading the last twenty pages of my book, when I see - out of the corner of my eye - a man approaching me at a good clip. I look up. He looks remarkably like Daniel Handler. He takes hold of my book and says that he has to know what I'm reading. (It was North and South.) "Gaskell's good," he says, in a voice that sounds remarkably like the narrator of The Composer is Dead, before breezing past me toward the ballroom.

If I have, in fact, met Lemony Snicket, I wouldn't have wanted to meet him any other way than in a deserted hallway outside a ballroom, leaving me with a feeling of uncertainty about whether or not I'd met him at all. 

And that's pretty much the ALA ballgame. Looking forward to Midwinter in Chicago!