Tuesday, June 23, 2015

New e-books for children and teens added to NCLS!

Big Top Burning: The True Story of an Arsonist, a Missing Girl, and the Greatest Show on Earth, by Laura A. Woollett.

With primary source documents and survivor interviews, Big Top Burning recounts the true story of the 1944 Hartford circus fire—one of the worst fire disasters in U.S. history. Its remarkable characters include: Robert Segee, the 15-year-old circus roustabout and known pyromaniac; and the Cook children, Donald, Eleanor, and Edward, who were in the audience when the circus tent caught fire.

Guiding readers through the investigations of the mysteries that make this moment in history so fascinating, this book asks: Was the unidentified body of a little girl nicknamed "Little Miss 1565" Eleanor Cook? Was the fire itself an act of arson—and did Robert Segee set it? Big Top Burning combines a gripping disaster story, an ongoing detective and forensics saga, and World War II–era American history, inviting middle-grades readers to take part in a critical evaluation of the evidence and draw their own conclusions. 

Emmy and Oliver, by Robin Benway.

Emmy and Oliver were going to be best friends forever, or maybe even more, before their futures were ripped apart. In Emmy's soul, despite the space and time between them, their connection has never been severed. But is their story still written in the stars? Or are their hearts like the pieces of two different puzzles—impossible to fit together?

Emmy just wants to be in charge of her own life. . . . She wants to stay out late, surf her favorite beach—go anywhere without her parents' relentless worrying. But Emmy's parents can't seem to let her grow up—not since the day Oliver disappeared.

Oliver needs a moment to figure out his heart. . . . He'd thought, all these years, that his dad was the good guy. He never knew that it was his father who had kidnapped him and kept him on the run. Discovering it, and finding himself returned to his old hometown, all at once, has his heart racing, and his thoughts swirling.

Readers who love Sarah Dessen will devour these pages with hearts in throats as Emmy and Oliver struggle to face the messy, confusing consequences of Oliver's father's crime. Full of romance, coming-of-age emotion, and heartache, these two equally compelling characters create an unforgettable story.

Everybody Sleeps (But Not Fred), by Josh Schneider.

Every kind of bird and beast has to sleep, from the monkeys in the jungle to the whales in the ocean to the ants under the ground.

But not Fred. His to-do list is far too long!

Armed with plenty of imagination, this determined little boy and his attempts to resist bedtime are sure to strike a chord with today's over scheduled families. Drowsy animals of all stripes look on in disbelief as Fred keeps on going and going and going, until . . .

Could it be that, after so much activity, even Fred needs to rest?

Shhh. Close the book softly, and please let Fred sleep. 

The Pirate Pig, by Cornelia Funke.

Who needs a treasure map when you have a pirate pig with a nose for gold? Stout Sam and his deckhand, Pip, find a pig washed up in a barrel on the beach. They want to keep her as a pet, but they soon realize Julie is no ordinary pig. She can sniff out treasure! What happens if Barracuda Bill, the greediest and meanest pirate who ever sailed the seas, hears about Julie's special talent?

Cornelia Funke's charming and fun chapter books are available to an American audience for the very first time.

The Porcupine of Truth, by Bill Konigsburg.

The author of Openly Straight returns with an epic road trip involving family history, gay history, the girlfriend our hero can't have, the grandfather he never knew, and the Porcupine of Truth.

Carson Smith is resigned to spending his summer in Billings, Montana, helping his mom take care of his father, a dying alcoholic he doesn't really know. Then he meets Aisha Stinson, a beautiful girl who has run away from her difficult family, and Pastor John Logan, who's long held a secret regarding Carson's grandfather, who disappeared without warning or explanation thirty years before.

Together, Carson and Aisha embark on an epic road trip to find the answers that might save Carson's dad, restore his fragmented family, and discover the "Porcupine of Truth" in all of their lives. 

The Rise and Fall of a Theater Geek, by Seth Rudetsky.

Broadway, New York. The shows, the neon lights . . . the cute chorus boys! It's where Justin has always wanted to be--and now, with a winter internship for a famous actor, he finally has his chance to shine. If only he could ditch his kind, virtuous, upright, and--dare he say it?--uptight boyfriend, Spencer. But once the internship begins, Justin has more to worry about than a cramped single-guy-in-the-city style. Instead of having his moment in the spotlight, he's a not-so-glorified errand boy. Plus, Spencer is hanging out with a celebra-hottie, Justin's best friend Becky isn't speaking to him, and his famous actor boss seems headed for flopdom. Justin's tap-dancing as fast as he can, but all his wit and sass might not be enough to switch his time in New York from nightmare-terrible to dream-come-true terrific.

Seth Rudetsky's second YA novel is endearingly human, laugh-out-loud funny, and for any kid who's ever aspired to Broadway but can only sneak in through the stage door. 

Stick and Stone, by Beth Ferry and Tom Lichtenheld.

When Stick rescues Stone from a prickly situation with a Pinecone, the pair becomes fast friends. But when Stick gets stuck, can Stone return the favor?

Author Beth Ferry makes a memorable debut with a warm, rhyming text that includes a subtle anti-bullying message even the youngest reader will understand. New York Times bestselling illustrator Tom Lichtenheld imbues Stick and Stone with energy, emotion, and personality to spare.
In this funny story about kindness and friendship, Stick and Stone join George and Martha, Frog and Toad, and Elephant and Piggie, as some of the best friend duos in children's literature.

Woundabout, by Lev Rosen, and illustrated by Ellis Rosen.

In the wake of tragedy, siblings Connor and Cordelia and their pet capybara are sent to the precariously perched town of Woundabout to live with their eccentric aunt. Woundabout is a place where the mayor has declared that routine rules above all, and no one is allowed to as questions—because they should already know the answers.

But Connor and Cordelia can't help their curiosity when they discover a mysterious crank that fits into certain parts of the town, and by winding the crank, places are transformed into something beautiful. When the townspeople see this transformation, they don't see beauty—they only see change. And change, the mayor says, is something to fear. With the mayor hot on their trail, can Connor and Cordelia find a way to wind Woundabout back to life?

(All descriptions from OverDrive.)

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

New children's and YA e-books added to NCLS!

Book Scavenger, by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman.

For twelve-year-old Emily, the best thing about moving to San Francisco is that it's the home city of her literary idol: Garrison Griswold, book publisher and creator of the online sensation Book Scavenger (a game where books are hidden in cities all over the country and clues to find them are revealed through puzzles). Upon her arrival, however, Emily learns that Griswold has been attacked and is now in a coma, and no one knows anything about the epic new game he had been poised to launch. Then Emily and her new friend James discover an odd book, which they come to believe is from Griswold himself, and might contain the only copy of his mysterious new game.

Racing against time, Emily and James rush from clue to clue, desperate to figure out the secret at the heart of Griswold's new game—before those who attacked Griswold come after them too.

The Night We Said Yes, by Lauren Gibaldi.

A fun, romantic read, perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen and Susane Colasanti! What happens when Matt and Ella reunite one year after their breakup? Are second chances really possible?

Before Matt, Ella had a plan. Get over her ex-boyfriend and graduate high school—simple as that. But Matt—the cute, shy, bespectacled bass player—was never part of that plan. And neither was attending a party that was crashed by the cops just minutes after they arrived. Or spending an entire night saying "yes" to every crazy, fun thing they could think of.

But then Matt leaves town, breaking Ella's heart. And when he shows up a year later—wanting to relive the night that brought them together—Ella isn't sure whether Matt's worth a second chance. Or if re-creating the past can help them create a different future.

The Night World, by Mordicai Gerstein.

A beautiful story about the secrets of nighttime and the beauty of dawn from Caldecott Medal-winning illustrator, Mordicai Gerstein.

One night, a little boy is awoken by his cat, Sylvie. Everyone in the house is sleeping, but outside, the Night World is wide awake!

Beginning with a beautiful black-and-white palette, the shadows of the Night World come to life: lilies, sunflowers, rabbits, deer, and owls are all revealed as Sylvie and the boy explore the world outside his door. But the animals all know something new is coming—what could it be? Finally, in an explosion of color, the dawn arrives.

The Notorious Pagan Jones, by Nina Berry.

Pagan Jones went from America's sweetheart to fallen angel in one fateful night in 1960: the night a car accident killed her whole family. Pagan was behind the wheel and driving drunk. Nine months later, she's stuck in the Lighthouse Reformatory for Wayward Girls and tortured by her guilt--not to mention the sadistic Miss Edwards, who takes special delight in humiliating the once-great Pagan Jones.

But all of that is about to change. Pagan's old agent shows up with a mysterious studio executive, Devin Black, and an offer. Pagan will be released from juvenile detention if she accepts a juicy role in a comedy directed by award-winning director Bennie Wexler. The shoot starts in West Berlin in just three days. If Pagan's going to do it, she has to decide fast--and she has to agree to a court-appointed "guardian," the handsome yet infuriating Devin, who's too young, too smooth and too sophisticated to be some studio flack.

The offer's too good to be true, Berlin's in turmoil and Devin Black knows way too much about her--there's definitely something fishy going on. But if anyone can take on a divided city, a scheming guardian and the criticism of a world that once adored her, it's the notorious Pagan Jones. What could go wrong?

Powerless (Hero Agenda #1) by  Tera Lynn Childs and Tracy Deebs.

Kenna is tired of being "normal."

The only thing special about her is that she isn't special at all. Which is frustrating when you're constantly surrounded by superheroes. Her best friend, her ex-boyfriend, practically everyone she knows has some talent or power. Sure, Kenna's smart and independent, but as an ordinary girl in an extraordinary world, it's hard not to feel inferior.

So when three villains break into the lab where she interns, Kenna refuses to be a victim. She's not about to let criminals steal the research that will make her extraordinary too.

But in the heat of battle, secrets are spilled and one of the villains saves her life. Twice. Suddenly, everything Kenna thought she knew about good and evil, heroes and villains is upended. And to protect her life and those she loves, she must team up with her sworn enemies on a mission that will redefine what it means to be powerful and powerless...

The Revenge Playbook, by Rachael Allen.

Don't get mad, get even! In this poignant and hilarious novel, Rachael Allen brilliantly explores the nuances of high school hierarchies, the traumas sustained on the path to finding true love, and the joy of discovering a friend where you least expect.

In the small town of Ranburne, high school football rules and the players are treated like kings. How they treat the girls they go to school with? That's a completely different story. Liv, Peyton, Melanie Jane, and Ana each have their own reason for wanting to teach the team a lesson—but it's only when circumstances bring them together that they come up with the plan to steal the one thing the boys hold sacred. All they have to do is beat them at their own game.

The Stars Never Rise, by Rachel Vincent.

Sixteen-year-old Nina Kane should be worrying about her immortal soul, but she's too busy trying to actually survive. Her town's population has been decimated by soul-consuming demons, and souls are in short supply. Watching over her younger sister, Mellie, and scraping together food and money are all that matters. The two of them are a family. They gave up on their deadbeat mom a long time ago.

When Nina discovers that Mellie is keeping a secret that threatens their very existence, she'll do anything to protect her. Because in New Temperance, sins are prosecuted as crimes by the brutal Church and its army of black-robed exorcists. And Mellie's sin has put her in serious trouble.

To keep them both alive, Nina will need to put her trust in Finn, a fugitive with deep green eyes who has already saved her life once and who might just be an exorcist. But what kind of exorcist wears a hoodie?

Wanted by the Church and hunted by dark forces, Nina knows she can't survive on her own. She needs Finn and his group of rogue friends just as much as they need her.

Tiger Boy, by Mitali Perkins.

When a tiger cub goes missing from the reserve, Neil is determined to find her before the greedy Gupta gets his hands on her to kill her and sell her body parts on the black market. Neil's parents, however, are counting on him to study hard and win a prestigious scholarship to study in Kolkata.

Neil doesn't want to leave his family or his island home and he struggles with his familial duty and his desire to maintain the beauty and wildness of his island home in West Bengal's Sunderbans.

The Truth About My Success, by Dyan Sheldon

Paloma Rose is sixteen and already a major TV star. She has money, franchises, adoring fans—and an agent and parents who are dependent on her success to sustain their very comfortable lives. But all that could come to an end when Paloma becomes more famous for her bad behavior than for her acting and her show's sponsors threaten to cancel the upcoming season if things don't improve.

Meanwhile, Paloma's worried agent happens upon Oona Ginness working in a coffee shop. Maybe she's not as tall or as blond as Paloma, but details aside, they really might be twins. So a plan is born: What if they send Paloma to a brat camp to become a better person and put the malleable and much nicer Oona in her place?

Oona thinks it's a stupid idea, but the money is hard to resist, given her family's dire circumstances. What does she have to lose? Of course, plans don't always work out the way they're supposed to. . . . 

(All descriptions from OverDrive.)

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Guest post: Good craft for single-staff libraries

Speaking as a children's librarian who no longer conducts regular programming for children, I rely on member libraries in our system (and yes, Pinterest) for good, low-cost craft ideas to pass along. This one comes from Kristy at Hawn Memorial Library in Clayton:  

This morning I had the three second grade classes from my local elementary school at the library listen to a book on insects (Roberto the Insect Architect) and doing insect crafts.  It's a complement to the insect unit they have just finished in school.

I ordered the butterfly, tarantula, and ladybug puppets from NCLS* to go along with the crafts.  The kids LOVED the puppets.  The craft was incredibly easy to put together, too.  We just took construction paper and cut dozens of shapes out.  We got other materials like tissue paper, feathers, popsicle sticks and markers and asked the kids to design a house for an insect.

I thought it would be more fun to let the kids use their imaginations, rather than making a prescribed "this is a grasshopper" type of craft, as I have found in the past that some children get frustrated if their craft isn't turning out like the example.  Plus, it is less tedious to grab handfuls of the things that you already have than to cut out hundreds of grasshopper legs!

I think that this could be a good take home craft for single-staff member libraries.  You could easily read this story and have a sandwich baggie of craft materials for kids to take home and work with if there isn't time or space at the library to have them do it on site.

Love it! Especially speaking as one whose crafts never come out looking like the model...

*Yes, we have puppets. Yes, you can borrow them.

Road Trip: Wilder Homestead receives Literary Landmark status

I've lived in New York State most of my life, but it's only been in the last few months that I discovered we are home to the Wilder Homestead - childhood home of Almanzo Wilder, whose experiences there formed the basis of Farmer Boy, by Laura Ingalls Wilder.*

Even cooler, the place is just about to receive Literary Landmark status.

I don't know about you, but a literary landmark is EXACTLY the kind of thing I'm looking to visit on a nice Saturday. Especially if it's already in Northern New York.**

Here's the scoop, copied shamelessly from my inbox:
Wilder Homestead Receives National Recognition

          The New York Library Association (NYLA), in conjunction with the Empire State Center for the Book, has secured Literary Landmark status for the Wilder Homestead in Burke (Franklin County).  United for Libraries, a division of the American Library Association, accepted NYLA’s application for the Wilder Homestead to be included in their program that highlights historic literary sites around the USA.  The Homestead, the setting for Laura Ingalls Wilder’s FarmerBoy (1933), is where Laura’s husband Almanzo grew up from 1857 until his family moved to a farm in Minnesota in 1875. 

          The Wilder Homestead plans to have the dedication of their Literary Landmark plaque on Saturday, July 11.  A bronze plaque will be unveiled during the ceremony in conjunction with the Homestead’s Children’s Art Event (10 a.m. until 4 p.m.)  There will be art activities for children and 19th century games, along with an awards ceremony for the children’s art show which begins Saturday, July 4.  The public is invited to hear William Anderson, award-winning author and historian, speak about the Ingalls/Wilder family homes.  Museum admission applies to this event.  On Facebook.com, “like” the Almanzo Wilder Farm to receive additional details about the dedication ceremony plans as they are finalized.
Laura Ingalls Wilder (1867 – 1957) first wrote about her childhood growing up on the American frontier in Little House in the Big Woods (1932).  Farmer Boy was the second title in her “Little House” series.  The farmhouse is the only “Little House” venue still on its original property.  The Homestead includes the original Wilder home with period furnishings and an 1860s-era one-room schoolhouse which was added in 2013.  The barns at the farm were rebuilt on the sites of the original ones according to blueprints Almanzo recreated from memory.  There is a small museum gift shop and the Trout River, where Almanzo fished, is across the road.  The Wilder Homestead has been named to both the New York State Register of Historic Places and the National Register of Historic Places.

*Nope, never read it. I'm coming to understand that I will never, ever be able to catch up on all the children's literature I am supposed to have read, but this one just bumped itself closer to the top of my list by being set in the North Country.

**And is also a 19th century farm. Once on my way to St. Louis, I impulsively made a detour to see the Lincoln Log Cabin Historic Site. Will brake for historic farms.

Author visit: Becky Albertalli

Save the date, all you readers of YA! On July 13 at 4pm the Flower Memorial Library in Watertown will be hosting Becky Albertalli, the author of this summer's Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda.

Tons of good buzz about this book, including a starred review from Kirkus and a recommendation from O Magazine to "steal this book from your teen."

The author will be speaking about the book and also signing copies. If you haven't gotten your copy yet, no worries. New, hardcover copies of the book will be sold during the visit - while they last.

There are also rumors of Oreos being served. Just saying. See you there!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

New children's and YA e-books added to NCLS

Today marks the beginning of OverDrive's Summer Read program, and they're offering two titles for middle grade readers - with simultaneous use. That's right - no lines, no waiting. The titles are:

The Fat Boy Chronicles, by Diane Lang and Michael Buchanan.

It's bad enough being the new kid, but as a freshman, Jimmy finds school less enjoyable than many of his classmates. Standing 5'5" and weighing 187 pounds, he's subjected to a daily barrage of taunts and torments. His only sources of comfort are his family, his youth group, and his favorite foods.

When his English teacher assigns a journal as a writing project, Jimmy chronicles not only his struggles but also his aspirations - to lose weight and win the girl of his dreams. Inspired by a true story and told in first-person journal entries, The Fat Boy Chronicles brings to life the pain and isolation felt by many overweight teenagers as they try to find their way in a world obsessed with outward beauty.

Red Berries, White Clouds, Blue Sky, by Sandra Dallas.

It's 1942: Tomi Itano, 12, is a second-generation Japanese American who lives in California with her family on their strawberry farm. Although her parents came from Japan and her grandparents still live there, Tomi considers herself an American. She doesn't speak Japanese and has never been to Japan. But after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, things change. No Japs Allowed signs hang in store windows and Tomi's family is ostracized. Things get much worse.

Suspected as a spy, Tomi's father is taken away. The rest of the Itano family is sent to an internment camp in Colorado. Many other Japanese American families face a similar fate. Tomi becomes bitter, wondering how her country could treat her and her family like the enemy. What does she need to do to prove she is an honorable American? Sandra Dallas shines a light on a dark period of American history in this story of a young Japanese American girl caught up in the prejudices and World War II.

OverDrive's Summer Read runs from June 9 through July 9. Enjoy it while you can!

In regular news, here are the titles NCLS has added this week:

Finding Audrey, by Sophie Kinsella. (Also available in audio, narrated by Gemma Whalen.)

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Shopaholic series comes a terrific blend of comedy, romance, and psychological recovery in a contemporary YA novel sure to inspire and entertain.

An anxiety disorder disrupts fourteen-year-old Audrey's daily life. She has been making slow but steady progress with Dr. Sarah, but when Audrey meets Linus, her brother's gaming teammate, she is energized. She connects with him. Audrey can talk through her fears with Linus in a way she's never been able to do with anyone before. As their friendship deepens and her recovery gains momentum, a sweet romantic connection develops, one that helps not just Audrey but also her entire family.

Miss Hazeltine's Home for Shy and Fearful Cats, by Alicia Potter. Illustrated by Birgitta Sif.

A tale with many tails, perfect for cat lovers everywhere!

Miss Hazeltine is opening a very special school for shy and fearful cats. They come from all over, and Miss Hazeltine gives them lessons in everything, from "Bird Basics" to "How Not to Fear the Broom."

The most timid of all is Crumb. He cowers in a corner. Miss Hazeltine doesn't mind. But when she gets in trouble and only Crumb knows where she is, will he find his inner courage and lead a daring rescue?

Filled with adorable illustrations and ideal for fans of Disappearing Desmond and The Invisible Boy, Miss Hazeltine's Home for Shy and Fearful Cats is a story that's perfect for shy and fearful children as it both helps them face scary situations and accepts them just as they are. 

One Family, by George Shannon. Illustrated by Blanca Gomez.

Just how many things can "one" be?
One box of crayons.
One batch of cookies.
One world.
One family.

From veteran picture book author George Shannon and up-and-coming artist Blanca Gomez comes a playful, interactive book that shows how a family can be big or small and comprised of people of a range of genders and races.

The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly, by Stephanie Oakes. 

A hard-hitting and hopeful story about the dangers of blind faith—and the power of having faith in yourself.

The Kevinian cult has taken everything from seventeen-year-old Minnow: twelve years of her life, her family, her ability to trust. And when she rebelled, they took away her hands, too.

Now their Prophet has been murdered and their camp set aflame, and it's clear that Minnow knows something—but she's not talking. As she languishes in juvenile detention, she struggles to un-learn everything she has been taught to believe, adjusting to a life behind bars and recounting the events that led up to her incarceration. But when an FBI detective approaches her about making a deal, Minnow sees she can have the freedom she always dreamed of—if she's willing to part with the terrible secrets of her past.

(All descriptions from OverDrive.)

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

New children's and YA books added to NCLS!

Because You'll Never Meet Me, by Leah Thomas.

Ollie and Moritz are best friends, but they can never meet. Ollie has a life-threatening allergy to electricity, and Moritz's weak heart requires a pacemaker. If they ever did meet, they could both die. Living as recluses from society, the boys develop a fierce bond through letters that become a lifeline during dark times—as Ollie loses his only friend, Liz, to the normalcy of high school and Moritz deals with a bully set on destroying him. But when Moritz reveals the key to their shared, sinister past that began years ago in a mysterious German laboratory, their friendship faces a test neither one of them expected.

Narrated in letter form by Ollie and Moritz—two extraordinary new voices—this story of impossible friendship and hope under strange circumstances blends elements of science fiction with coming of age themes, in a humorous, dark, and ultimately inspiring tale is completely unforgettable.

Charlie, Presumed Dead, by Anne Heltzel.

In Paris, family and friends gather to mourn the tragic passing of Charlie Price—young, handsome, charming, a world-traveler—who is presumed dead after an explosion. Authorities find only a bloodied, ID'd as Charlie's.

At the funeral, two teens who are perfect strangers, Lena Whitney and Aubrey Boroughs, make another shocking discovery: they have both been dating Charlie, both think Charlie loved them and them alone, and there is a lot they didn't know about their boyfriend.

Over the next week, a mind-bending trip unfolds: first in London, then in Mumbai, Kerala, and Bangkok, the girls go in search of Charlie. Is he still alive? What did their love for him even mean? The truth is out there, but soon it becomes clear that the girls are harboring secrets of their own.

No one knows who to trust in this thrilling tale of suspense and deception.

Circus Mirandus, by Cassie Beasley. (Also available in audio, narrated by Bronson Pinchot.)

Do you believe in magic? Micah Tuttle does.

Even though his awful Great-Aunt Gertrudis doesn't approve, Micah believes in the stories his dying Grandpa Ephraim tells him of the magical Circus Mirandus: the invisible tiger guarding the gates, the beautiful flying birdwoman, and the magician more powerful than any other—the Man Who Bends Light. Finally, Grandpa Ephraim offers proof. The Circus is real. And the Lightbender owes Ephraim a miracle. With his friend Jenny Mendoza in tow, Micah sets out to find the Circus and the man he believes will save his grandfather.

The only problem is, the Lightbender doesn't want to keep his promise. And now it's up to Micah to get the miracle he came for.

The Girl at Midnight, by Melissa Grey. 

For fans of Cassandra Clare's City of Bones and Laini Taylor's Daughter of Smoke & Bone, The Girl at Midnight is the story of a modern girl caught in an ancient war.

Beneath the streets of New York City live the Avicen, an ancient race of people with feathers for hair and magic running through their veins. Age-old enchantments keep them hidden from humans. All but one. Echo is a runaway pickpocket who survives by selling stolen treasures on the black market, and the Avicen are the only family she's ever known.

Echo is clever and daring, and at times she can be brash, but above all else she's fiercely loyal. So when a centuries-old war crests on the borders of her home, she decides it's time to act.

Legend has it that there is a way to end the conflict once and for all: find the Firebird, a mythical entity believed to possess power the likes of which the world has never seen. It will be no easy task, though if life as a thief has taught Echo anything, it's how to hunt down what she wants . . . and how to take it.

But some jobs aren't as straightforward as they seem. And this one might just set the world on fire.

Hi! by Ethan Long.

A string of comically stylized animals greet each other in masterfully rhyming couplets—an owl's "hoo" is answered by a cow's "moo"; a crow's "caw" is returned with a donkey's "hee-haw"—all leading up to the "hi!" and "good-bye!" of a human toddler and his mom!

The first in a brand-new board book series on animal (and human) first words by award-winning author and illustrator Ethan Long.

More Happy Than Not, by Adam Silvera. 

The Leteo Institute's revolutionary memory-relief procedure seems too good to be true to Aaron Soto--miracle cure-alls don't tend to pop up in the Bronx projects. Aaron could never forget how he's grown up poor, how his friends aren't there for him, or how his father committed suicide in their one bedroom apartment. Aaron has the support of his patient girlfriend, if not necessarily his distant brother and overworked mother, but it's not enough.

Then Thomas shows up. He has a sweet movie-watching setup on his roof, and he doesn't mind Aaron's obsession with a popular fantasy series. There are nicknames, inside jokes. Most importantly, Thomas doesn't mind talking about Aaron's past. But Aaron's newfound happiness isn't welcome on his block. Since he can't stay away from Thomas or suddenly stop being gay, Aaron must turn to Leteo to straighten himself out, even if it means forgetting who he is.

My Cousin Momo, by Zachariah OHora. 

Zachariah OHora's distinctive retro art and kid-friendly humor take the stage in this story about accepting and celebrating differences.

Momo is coming to visit, and his cousins are SO excited! But even though Momo is a flying squirrel, he won't fly for his cousin's friends. Plus, his games are weird. He can't even play hide and seek right! But when Momo's cousins give his strange ways a chance, they realize that doing things differently can be fun...almost as much fun as making a new friend.

Fans of Peter Brown and Bob Shea will fall in love with Zachariah OHora's bold artwork and hilarious characters.

Nook and Crannies, by Jessica Lawson. 

Sweet, shy Tabitha Crum, the neglected only child of two parents straight out of a Roald Dahl book, doesn’t have a friend in the world—except for her pet mouse, Pemberley, whom she loves dearly. But on the day she receives one of six invitations to the country estate of wealthy Countess Camilla DeMoss, her life changes forever.

Upon the children’s arrival at the sprawling, possibly haunted mansion, the countess reveals that each of the six children is adopted, and that one of them is her long-lost grandchild—and heir to a large fortune. Not only that, but the countess plans to keep and raise her grandchild, regardless of what the adoptive parents have to say about it.

Then the children beginning disappearing, one by one. So Tabitha takes a cue from her favorite detective novels and, with Pemberley by her side, attempts to solve the case and rescue the other children…who just might be her first real friends.

Rude Cakes, by Rowboat Watkins.

Who knew that cakes were so rude?! In this deliciously entertaining book, a not-so-sweet cake—who never says please or thank you or listens to its parents—gets its just desserts. Mixing hilarious text and pictures, Rowboat Watkins, a former Sendak fellow, has cooked up a laugh-out- loud story that can also be served up as a delectable discussion starter about manners or bullying, as it sweetly reminds us all that even the rudest cake can learn to change its ways.

(All descriptions from OverDrive.)

Black River team wins 2015 Battle of the Books!

Congratulations to the Black River Spirit Readers, who took first place at the 2015 North Country Battle of the Books! Thirteen teams duked it out on Saturday, May 30, at St. James School in Gouverneur, and even though this was only the second time the Sally Ploof Hunter Memorial Library has sent a team to the event, their team took home the trophy.*

The Black River Spirit Readers, with mascot.
Canton Free Library's SLEJ Hammers took home the (soon-to-be-traditional?) second prize pizza, and Carthage Free Library's Mystic Elements finished in third place.

The complete list of teams and their libraries is as follows:

SLEJ Hammers - Canton Free Library
Mystic Elements - Carthage Free Library
Novel Ninjas - Depauville Free Library
Comprehension Conquerors - Hepburn Library of Lisbon
Hot Head Readers  - Hepburn Library of Madrid
Star Readers - Hepburn Library of Waddington
The Wave Readers - Macsherry Library
Boundless - Massena Public Library
The Mysterious Pandas - Ogdensburg Public Library
MYPD - Potsdam Public Library
Rockin' Readers - Reading Room Association of Gouverneur
The Nerds - Roswell P. Flower Memorial Library
Black River Spirit Readers - Sally Ploof Hunter Memorial Library

Thanks to all the teams, coaches, parents, library staff and volunteers who made this such a great event. Look for next year's reading list in the fall! 

*Well, technically, I took home the trophy, to get it engraved with their team info. But they took it home in spirit.