Wednesday, October 29, 2014

New e-books: All Snicket edition!

This week's e-book blog post focuses on one of my favorites, Mr. Daniel Handler. If you're a devotee of children's literature, you might know him as Lemony Snicket. If you're me, you might know him as a mysterious figure in a deserted hallway outside a ballroom. (Or not. We may never be able to verify that one.)

Anyway, I'm happy to report that the author is part of this year's Rosamond Gifford Lecture Series! Yes, in only a few short weeks, Mr. Handler will be braving Syracuse in snow season, proving that he is as hardy as he is talented. 

Until then, might I tempt you with his current children's series? Here's the latest volume:

"Shouldn't You Be in School?" (All the Wrong Questions #3)  (Also available in audio, narrated by Liam Aiken.*)

Do you smell smoke? Young apprentice Lemony Snicket is investigating a case of arson but soon finds himself enveloped in the ever-increasing mystery that haunts the town of Stain'd-by-the-Sea. Who is setting the fires? What secrets are hidden in the Department of Education? Why are so many schoolchildren in danger? Is it all the work of the notorious villain Hangfire? How could you even ask that? What kind of education have you had?

Maybe you should be in school? 

But before you dive into book three of this series, maybe you want to start with books one and two:

"Who Could That Be at This Hour?" (All The Wrong Questions #1)

In a fading town, far from anyone he knew or trusted, a young Lemony Snicket began his apprenticeship in an organization nobody knows about. He started by asking questions that shouldn't have been on his mind. Now he has written an account that should not be published, in four volumes that shouldn't be read. This is the first volume.

"When Did You See Her Last?" (All the Wrong Questions #2)

In the fading town of Stain'd-by-the-Sea, young apprentice Lemony Snicket has a new case to solve when he and his chaperone are hired to find a missing girl. Is the girl a runaway? Or was she kidnapped? Was she seen last at the grocery store? Or could she have stopped at the diner? Is it really any of your business? These are All The Wrong Questions. 

*Yes, Klaus Baudelaire himself. 

(All descriptions from OverDrive.) 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

New e-books added to NCLS!

Fiona's Lace, by Patricia Polacco.

An Irish family stays together with the help of Fiona's talent for making one-of-a-kind lace in this heartwarming immigration story from the New York Times bestselling creator of The Keeping Quilt.

Many years ago, times were hard in all of Ireland, so when passage to America becomes available, Fiona and her family travel to Chicago. They find work in domestic service to pay back their passage, and at night Fiona turns tangles of thread into a fine, glorious lace. Then when the family is separated, it is the lace that Fiona's parents follow to find her and her sister and bring the family back together. And it is the lace that will always provide Fiona with memories of Ireland and of her mother's words: "In your heart your true home resides, and it will always be with you as long as you remember those you love."

This generational story from the family of Patricia Polacco's Irish father brims with the same warmth and heart as the classic The Keeping Quilt and The Blessing Cup, which Kirkus Reviews called "deeply affecting" in a starred review, and embraces the comfort of family commitment and togetherness that Patricia Polacco's books are known for.

The Whispering Skull (Lockwood & Co. Book 2) by Jonathan Stroud. (Audio, narrated by Katie Lyons.)

In the six months since Anthony, Lucy, and George survived a night in the most haunted house in England, Lockwood & Co. hasn't made much progress. Quill Kipps and his team of Fittes agents keep swooping in on Lockwood's investigations. Finally, in a fit of anger, Anthony challenges his rival to a contest: the next time the two agencies compete on a job, the losing side will have to admit defeat in the Times newspaper.

Things look up when a new client, Mr. Saunders, hires Lockwood & Co. to be present at the excavation of Edmund Bickerstaff, a Victorian doctor who reportedly tried to communicate with the dead. Saunders needs the coffin sealed with silver to prevent any supernatural trouble. All goes well-until George's curiosity attracts a horrible phantom.

Back home at Portland Row, Lockwood accuses George of making too many careless mistakes. Lucy is distracted by urgent whispers coming from the skull in the ghost jar. Then the team is summoned to DEPRAC headquarters. Kipps is there too, much to Lockwood's annoyance. Bickerstaff's coffin was raided and a strange glass object buried with the corpse has vanished. Inspector Barnes believes the relic to be highly dangerous, and he wants it found.

The author of the blockbuster Bartimaeus series delivers another amusing, chilling, and ingeniously plotted entry in the critically acclaimed Lockwood & Co. series.

Winter is Coming, by Tony Johnston. Illustrated by Jim La Marche.

Witness the changing of a season through a watchful child's eyes in this story of nature and discovery from award-winning author Tony Johnston and New York Times Best Illustrated artist Jim La Marche.

Day after day, a girl goes to her favorite place in the woods and quietly watches from her tree house as the chipmunks, the doe, the rabbits prepare for the winter. As the temperature drops, sunset comes earlier and a new season begins. Silently she observes the world around her as it reveals its secrets. It takes time and patience to see the changes as, slowly but surely, winter comes. 

(All descriptions from OverDrive.)

Friday, October 17, 2014

Crafty time - Cheesecloth ghost!

Hawn Memorial Library in Clayton goes supernatural with its decor! Kristy and Beth show you how to haunt your own library with this cheesecloth ghost: 

Here are two links to different versions of this craft:

We used the Mama Guru directions.  The link for the Love and Laundry site gives a bit of a.....cuter ghost I guess you could say. 

To get the rounded shape, we laid the cheesecloth over a balloon.  The balloon was sitting in a vase to make it tall enough.  (It's amazing all the stuff we have laying around here!)  We placed  the cheesecloth over a spray bottle to get the arm effect.
Expect it to take overnight to dry.

Thanks to Kristy and Beth for keeping my Friday both light and eerie. You can see this ghost-friend in person at the library on Saturday, October 18, during the Punkin Chunkin and Kansas City BBQ Festival!

Punkin Chunkin in Clayton

This just in from Kristy at Hawn Memorial Library in Clayton: 

Tomorrow is the Punkin Chunkin & Kansas City Style BBQ festival in Clayton.  Each year, we hold a pumpkin carving and decorating contest at the library.  Participants sign up in advance, we supply the pumpkins, and they return them in the week leading up to the event.

I thought maybe everyone could use a smile on this somewhat gloomy Friday by getting a glimpse of some of our entries:

We'll be doing crafts starting at 10 a.m., have a costume party at noon, and announcing our pumpkin contest winners at 1 o'clock (the public can vote on their favorites) so stop by!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Notes from an author visit.

Last week, children's librarian Ashley Pickett hosted children's author Eric Litwin at the Roswell P. Flower Memorial Library in Watertown.  This week, she tells The Frozen Librarian all about it. 

Ashley: Wow, I'm not sure where to start--it was one of the most chaotic, challenging, and most importantly FUN programs that I've ever hosted! We had a wonderful time with Eric's visit and each of the families raved over his performance. We were very tight on space (had at least 25, if not more watching outside of the door, plus 140 inside the room!). It was really hot in the room and the performance was still a blast. Thank goodness I planned to do the signing in another part of our building!

A Pete the Cat fan waits for her book to be signed by author Eric Litwin.
I had originally heard about Eric's visit to the Oswego area through you, Angela! When I started looking into it, I wasn't sure if this kind of event would be possible without an auditorium or gym to use. Our space was as full as we were allowed to make it, plus those who were outside of the door. If I were to have another big author event, I would definitely look into using or even renting a bigger space.

Angela: As you know, I excused myself from the program room when it started to get a little crowded. I did hear the strains of a harmonica at one point from out back behind the circulation desk, but can you fill me in on the rest?

Sure! He opened the performance with one of his songs that incorporated movement. I wish we had had a little more space for the kids to move around, but it did mean that families had to sit quite close together which was something he encouraged, so it worked. He moved into Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons, during which we had lots of fun movements. He did a few more of his own songs, and then performed Pete the Cat--I Love My White Shoes (with more audience wiggling and the harmonica!). We were very warm to say the least by this point.

He introduced us to his new family, the Nuts, by performing The Nuts-Bedtime at the Nut House. I was supposed to have a copy of this one as well (I turned the pages for each story up in front of the audience), but Amazon sent it to me a day late... The last part of his performance was a story that was unpublished! It was about a dog named Joe and involved lots of math for the kiddos. I looked at the clock after this one and was surprised to find 40 minutes had passed. It was a blur!

Having a big name author must have set your budget back a little. How were you able to swing it?

Our Friends group generously agreed to pay for the performance fee, and our Board of Trustees paid for the travel fees. Without them it wouldn't have been possible! A bit of advice--these fees can be tricky to sort out at first, especially when you've never booked a big author before. I didn't realize the travel fee was in addition to the performance fee. When we book performers as a group of libraries, each additional show generally lowers the price slightly. This was not the case this time around!

This was your first big name author event?

Yep it was. And I couldn't have asked for a better performance!

So, is it fair to say you'll do another event like this in the future?

I definitely would! I had just as much fun as the kids. 

(And they did; check out these great photos from the Watertown Daily Times!)

One last question: What advice would you give to other librarians contemplating an author visit? 

My advice to any librarian contemplating an author visit has two parts: 1) ask any question you may have, no matter how small you may think it is. Eric's team provided a great support system for me and patiently answered everything I asked. They had some specific tech and signing requirements, along with a few other things that I was unsure about, so I felt like I was constantly asking questions. They assured me multiple times that I was on the right track.

And 2) just give it a try! I really didn't think we would be able to swing both the cost and the space, but the program ended up being successful beyond my wildest dreams. CAPC even generously donated a Pete the Cat costume for us to use. And when we couldn't find someone to wear it, one of their teachers stepped up and graciously withstood the heat to make our night complete. Please don't let things that seem like huge roadblocks stand in your way--you might be pleasantly surprised in the end!

Ashley Pickett has been the children's librarian at Flower Memorial since 2011. She received her Masters in Library and Information Science from Syracuse University.  Her favorite foods are French fries and strawberries (but not together, of course), and she loves the snow. One of her favorite books to share with children is Cat Secrets by Jef Czekaj.

New e-books added to NCLS

Skink: No Surrender (Skink series), by Carl Hiaasen. (Audio also available, narrated by Kirby Heyborne.)

Classic Malley--to avoid being shipped off to boarding school, she takes off with some guy she met online. Poor Richard--he knows his cousin's in trouble before she does. Wild Skink--he's a ragged, one-eyed ex-governor of Florida, and enough of a renegade to think he can track Malley down. With Richard riding shotgun, the unlikely pair scour the state, undaunted by blinding storms, crazed pigs, flying bullets, and giant gators.

Carl Hiaasen first introduced readers to Skink more than twenty-five years ago in Double Whammy, and he quickly became Hiaasen's most iconic and beloved character, appearing in six novels to date. Both teens and adults will be thrilled to catch sight of the elusive "captain" as he finds hilariously satisfying ways to stop internet predators, turtle-egg poachers, and lowlife litterbugs in their tracks. With Skink at the wheel, the search for a missing girl is both nail-bitingly tense and laugh-out-loud funny.
100 Sideways Miles, by Andrew Smith.

Finn Easton sees the world through miles instead of minutes. It's how he makes sense of the world, and how he tries to convince himself that he's a real boy and not just a character in his father's bestselling cult-classic book. Finn has two things going for him: his best friend, the possibly-insane-but-definitely-excellent Cade Hernandez, and Julia Bishop, the first girl he's ever loved.

Then Julia moves away, and Finn is heartbroken. Feeling restless and trapped in the book, Finn embarks on a road trip with Cade to visit their college of choice in Oklahoma. When an unexpected accident happens and the boys become unlikely heroes, they take an eye-opening detour away from everything they thought they had planned—and learn how to write their own destiny.

Girls Like Us, by Gail Giles.

Quincy and Biddy are both graduates of their high school's special ed program, but they couldn't be more different: suspicious Quincy faces the world with her fists up, while gentle Biddy is frightened to step outside her front door. When they're thrown together as roommates in their first "real world" apartment, it initially seems to be an uneasy fit.

But as Biddy's past resurfaces and Quincy faces a harrowing experience that no one should have to go through alone, the two of them realize that they might have more in common than they thought—and more important, that they might be able to help each other move forward. Hard-hitting and compassionate, Girls Like Us is a story about growing up in a world that can be cruel, and finding the strength—and the support—to carry on. 

The Impossible Knife of Memory, by Laurie Halse Anderson.

For the past five years, Hayley Kincaid and her father, Andy, have been on the road, never staying long in one place as he struggles to escape the demons that have tortured him since his return from Iraq. Now they are back in the town where he grew up so Hayley can attend school. Perhaps, for the first time, Hayley can have a normal life, put aside her own painful memories, even have a relationship with Finn, the hot guy who obviously likes her but is hiding secrets of his own.

Will being back home help Andy's PTSD, or will his terrible memories drag him to the edge of hell, and drugs push him over? The Impossible Knife of Memory is Laurie Halse Anderson at her finest: compelling, surprising, and impossible to put down.

Noggin, by John Corey Whaley

Travis Coates has a good head...on someone else's shoulders. A touching, hilarious, and wholly original coming-of-age story from John Corey Whaley, author of the Printz and Morris Award–winning Where Things Come Back.

Listen—Travis Coates was alive once and then he wasn't. Now he's alive again. Simple as that.

The in-between part is still a little fuzzy, but Travis can tell you that, at some point or another, his head got chopped off and shoved into a freezer in Denver, Colorado. Five years later, it was reattached to some other guy's body, and well, here he is. Despite all logic, he's still sixteen, but everything and everyone around him has changed. That includes his bedroom, his parents, his best friend, and his girlfriend. Or maybe she's not his girlfriend anymore? That's a bit fuzzy too.

Looks like if the new Travis and the old Travis are ever going to find a way to exist together, there are going to be a few more scars.

Threatened, by Eliot Schrefer.

When he was a boy, Luc's mother would warn him about the "mock men" living in the trees by their home — chimpanzees whose cries would fill the night.

Luc is older now, his mother gone. He lives in a house of mistreated orphans, barely getting by. Then a man calling himself Prof comes to town with a mysterious mission. When Luc tries to rob him, the man isn't mad. Instead, he offers Luc a job.

Together, Luc and Prof head into the rough, dangerous jungle in order to study the elusive chimpanzees. There, Luc finally finds a new family — and must act when that family comes under attack.

As he did in his acclaimed novel Endangered, a finalist for the National Book Award, Eliot Schrefer takes us somewhere fiction rarely goes, introducing us to characters we rarely get to meet. The unforgettable result is the story of a boy fleeing his present, a man fleeing his past, and a trio of chimpanzees who are struggling not to flee at all.

(All descriptions from OverDrive.) 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

New e-books: Spooky edition!

Creepy Carrots, by Aaron Reynolds. Illustrated by Peter Brown. (Audio, narrated by James Naughton.)

In this hilarious picture book, The Twilight Zone comes to the carrot patch as a rabbit fears his favorite treats are out to get him.

Half-Minute Horrors, edited by Susan Rich.

How scared can you get in only 30 seconds? Dare to find out with Half-Minute Horrors, a collection of deliciously terrifying short short tales and creepy illustrations by an exceptional selection of writers and illustrators, including bestselling talents Lemony Snicket, James Patterson, Neil Gaiman, R.L.Stine, Faye Kellerman, Holly Black, Melissa Marr, Margaret Atwood, Jon Scieszka, Brett Helquist, and many more. With royalties benefiting First Book, a not-for-profit organization that brings books to children in need, this is an anthology worth devouring. So grab a flashlight, set the timer, and get ready for instant chills! 

J is for Jack-O-'Lantern: A Halloween Alphabet, by  Denise Brennan-Nelson. Illustrated by Donald Wu.

Who lit the first jack-o'-lantern? What creature of the night must return to his grave by dawn? And why do we holler "Trick or treat"? J is for Jack-O'-Lantern: A Halloween Alphabet invites you to come along on this A-Z adventure and celebration of all things that "go bump in the night." Poetry and prose combine to entertain and educate. H is for Haunted House A haunted house; you better beware. Only enter if you dare. Monsters lurking, looking mean— Just can't wait to make you scream! Classic autumn games, jokes, and recipes (including gooey deviled egg eyeballs!) help round out the Halloween festivities. Atmospheric artwork blends just enough fun with fright to provide the perfect backdrop.

Guys Read: Thriller, edited by Jon Scieszka.

A body on the tracks A teenage terrorist A mysterious wish-granting machine The world's worst private detective The second volume in the Guys Read Library of Great Reading is chock-full of mystery, intrigue, and nefarious activity. Featuring some of the best writers around, and compiled by certified guy Jon Scieszka, Guys Read: Thriller is a pulse-pounding collection of brand-new short stories, each one guaranteed to keep you riveted until the final page.

Zombie Tag, by Hannah Moskowitz.

Wil is desperate for his older brother to come back from the dead. But the thing about zombies is . . they don't exactly make the best siblings.

Thirteen-year-old Wil Lowenstein copes with his brother's death by focusing on Zombie Tag, a mafia/
capture the flag hybrid game where he and his friends fight off brain-eating zombies with their mothers' spatulas. What Wil doesn't tell anybody is that if he could bring his dead brother back as a zombie, he would in a heartbeat. But when Wil finds a way to summon all the dead within five miles, he's surprised to discover that his back-from-the-dead brother is emotionless and distant.

In her first novel for younger readers, Moskowitz offers a funny and heartfelt look at how one boy deals with change, loss, and the complicated relationship between brothers.

(All descriptions from OverDrive.)