Tuesday, March 29, 2016

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

Allie, First at Last, by Angela Cervantes.

Allie Velasco wants to be a trailblazer. A trendsetter. A winner. No better feeling exists in the world than stepping to the top of a winner's podium and hoisting a trophy high in the air. At least, that's what Allie thinks . . . she's never actually won anything before. Everyone in her family is special in some way — her younger sister is a rising TV star; her brother is a soccer prodigy; her great-grandfather is a Congressional Medal of Honor winner. With a family like this, Allie knows she has to make her mark or risk being left behind. She's determined to add a shiny medal, blue ribbon, or beautiful trophy to her family's award shelf.

When a prestigious school contest is announced, Allie has the perfect opportunity to take first — at last. There's just one small snag . . . her biggest competition is also her ex-best friend, Sara. Can Allie take top prize and win back a friend — or is she destined to lose it all?

The Apple Tart of Hope, by Sarah Moore Fitzgerald.

Fourteen-year-old Oscar Dunleavy is missing, presumed dead. His bike was found at sea, out past the end of the pier, and everyone in town seems to have accepted this as a teenage tragedy. But Oscar's best friend Meg knows he isn't dead. Oscar is an optimistic and kind boy who bakes the world's best apple tarts; he would never kill himself, and Meg is going to prove it.

Through interwoven narratives, the reader learns what really happened to Oscar. His sweet life had turned sour after Meg's family moved away. Though Meg didn't know it, Oscar had a manipulative bully plaguing him with toxic humiliation. Meg must confront the painful truth of Oscar's past six months—and the possibility that he might really be gone. Surrounded by grief and confusion, she starts to put the pieces back together. This story of love and friendship reminds us to keep hope in our hearts.

Dreaming of Antigone, by Robin Bridges.

Andria's twin sister, Iris, had adoring friends, a cool boyfriend, a wicked car, and a shelf full of soccer trophies. She had everything, in fact--including a drug problem. Six months after Iris's death, Andria is trying to keep her grades, her friends, and her family from falling apart. But stargazing and books aren't enough to ward off her guilt that she--the freak with the scary illness and all-black wardrobe--is still here when Iris isn't. And then there's Alex Hammond. The boy Andria blames for Iris's death. The boy she's unwittingly started swapping lines of poetry and secrets with, even as she tries to keep hating him.

Heartwrenching, smart, and bold, Dreaming of Antigone is a story about the jagged pieces that lie beneath the surface of the most seemingly perfect life...and how they can fit together to make something wholly unexpected.

The Great American Whatever, by Tim Federle. (Also available in audio.)

Quinn Roberts is a sixteen-year-old smart aleck and Hollywood hopeful whose only worry used to be writing convincing dialogue for the movies he made with his sister Annabeth. Of course, that was all before—before Quinn stopped going to school, before his mom started sleeping on the sofa...and before the car accident that changed everything.

Enter: Geoff, Quinn's best friend who insists it's time that Quinn came out—at least from hibernation. One haircut later, Geoff drags Quinn to his first college party, where instead of nursing his pain, he meets a guy—okay, a hot guy—and falls, hard. What follows is an upside-down week in which Quinn begins imagining his future as a screenplay that might actually have a happily-ever-after ending—if, that is, he can finally step back into the starring role of his own life story.

The Kid from Diamond Street, by Audrey Vernick. Illustrated by Steven Salerno.

Audrey Vernick and Steven Salerno have again collaborated to bring us a captivating picture book about a compelling but little-known piece of baseball history. Beginning in 1922, when Edith Houghton was only ten years old, she tried out for a women's professional baseball team, the Philadelphia Bobbies. Though she was the smallest on the field, soon reporters were talking about "The Kid" and her incredible skill, and crowds were packing the stands to see her play. Her story reminds us that baseball has never been about just men and boys. Baseball is also about talented girls willing to work hard to play any way they can.

Mission Mumbai: A Novel of Sacred Cows, Snakes, and Stolen Toilets, by Mahtab Narsimhan.

When aspiring photographer Dylan Moore is invited to join his best friend Rohit Lal on a family trip to India, he jumps at the chance to embark on an exciting journey just like their Lord of the Rings heroes, Frodo and Sam. But each boy comes to the trip with a problem: Rohit is desperate to convince his parents not to leave him behind in Mumbai to finish school, and Dylan is desperate to use his time in India to prove himself as a photographer and to avoid his parents' constant fighting. Keeping their struggles to themselves threatens to tear the boys apart. But when disaster strikes, Dylan and Rohit realize they have to set aside their differences to navigate India safely, confront their family issues, and salvage their friendship.

Summerlost, by Ally Condie. (Also available in audio.)

A tender and compelling contemporary novel for young readers about facing grief and finding friendship, from the international bestselling author of the Matched series.

It's the first real summer since the devastating accident that killed Cedar's father and younger brother, Ben. But now Cedar and what's left of her family are returning to the town of Iron Creek for the summer. They're just settling into their new house when a boy named Leo, dressed in costume, rides by on his bike. Intrigued, Cedar follows him to the renowned Summerlost theatre festival. Soon, she not only has a new friend in Leo and a job working concessions at the festival, she finds herself surrounded by mystery. The mystery of the tragic, too-short life of the Hollywood actress who haunts the halls of Summerlost. And the mystery of the strange gifts that keep appearing for Cedar.

(All descriptions from OverDrive.)

Friday, March 25, 2016

Where I Was: Week of March 14

I learn something new every day at this job.

Every. Single. Day.

However, one of the best things I've ever learned on the job was one of the first things I learned: NYS Education Law 259.1 - the ability for libraries to appeal directly to voters to increase library funding by way of a referendum on the school ballot.

This is kind of a big deal. This is the kind of big deal you need when you're looking to pay your staff a competitive wage, to increase the number of hours the library is open, to improve your collection, to implement a new program, to keep pace with technology - and your village or your town or the county isn't able to allocate the money you need to make it happen.

Currently, 47 of our 65 libraries receive funding through a school ballot referendum. In our system, libraries have a 97% success rate on the school ballot. Overwhelmingly, the voters in our area support library funding increases. Part of my job is to assist member libraries through the process.

Last week, I attended a school board meeting in Sackets Harbor to be support the two public libraries in that school district who have passed resolutions to place a referendum for a library increase on the school ballot this spring. This is the first time the libraries in that district have gone out to vote in over ten years, so making sure the community understands the process and has a chance to ask questions is important.

Especially now that Ed Law 259.1 is in the spotlight these days, thanks to a voter in the CNY area who objects to it.

I don't know what the particular objection is, but I do know that 259.1 is a pretty amazing exercise in democracy. Even if the representatives of your city or town or village decide that they cannot or will not provide the necessary funding for your library, your community can provide that funding directly - by voting to do so!

I also know that without 259.1 and the sustainable funding it provides, many of the libraries in this area would be forced to make some pretty difficult choices. Hopefully, they won't have to, and libraries will continue to be recipients of the strong community support they've gotten up to this point.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

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

Far From Fair, by Elana K. Arnold.

Odette Zyskowski has a list: Things That Aren't Fair. At the top of the list is her parents' decision to take the family on the road in an ugly RV they've nicknamed the Coach. There's nothing fair about leaving California and living in the cramped Coach with her par­ents and exasperating younger brother, sharing one stupid cell phone among the four of them. And there's definitely nothing fair about what they find when they reach Grandma Sissy's house, hundreds of miles later. Most days it seems as if everything in Odette's life is far from fair. Is there a way for her to make things right?

With warmth and sensitivity Elana K. Arnold makes the difficult topics of terminal illness and the right to die accessible to young readers and able to be discussed.

The Inn Between, by Marina Cohen.

Eleven-year-old Quinn has had some bad experiences lately. She was caught cheating in school, and then one day, her little sister Emma disappeared while walking home from school. She never returned.

When Quinn's best friend Kara has to move away, she goes on one last trip with Kara and her family. They stop over at the first hotel they see, a Victorian inn that instantly gives Quinn the creeps, and she begins to notice strange things happening around them. When Kara's parents and then brother disappear without a trace, the girls are stranded in a hotel full of strange guests, hallways that twist back in on themselves, and a particularly nasty surprise lurking beneath the floorboards. Will the girls be able to solve the mystery of what happened to Kara's family before it's too late?

Mutt's Promise, by Julie Salamon. Illustrated by Jill Weber.

Luna is a farm puppy who loves to dance, and has only known a happy, serene life surrounded by her mother, Mutt, and her siblings, and cared for by Gilberto, the son of farm workers. But now Gilberto and his parents have moved on, and Mr. Thomas the farmer doesn't feel he can take care of a whole family of dogs. He finds new homes for the puppies, not realizing that the man who took Luna and her brother does not have their best interests at heart. Luna and Chief, hungry and scared, are trapped in the smelly barn of a puppy mill—until they take matters into their own paws and find a way to escape. But can Luna and Chief find their way home?

With a lovable cast of animal characters and endearing illustrations, this charming story is a perfect read-aloud for fans of classic children's novels like Gentle Ben, A Cricket in Times Square, and Shiloh.

The Way I Used to Be, by Amber Smith.

Eden was always good at being good. Starting high school didn't change who she was. But the night her brother's best friend rapes her, Eden's world capsizes.

What was once simple, is now complex. What Eden once loved—who she once loved—she now hates. What she thought she knew to be true, is now lies. Nothing makes sense anymore, and she knows she's supposed to tell someone what happened but she can't. So she buries it instead. And she buries the way she used to be.

Told in four parts—freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior year—this provocative debut reveals the deep cuts of trauma. But it also demonstrates one young woman's strength as she navigates the disappointment and unbearable pains of adolescence, of first love and first heartbreak, of friendships broken and rebuilt, and while learning to embrace a power of survival she never knew she had hidden within her heart.

Wink Poppy Midnight, by April Genevieve Tucholke.

Every story needs a hero. Every story needs a villain. Every story needs a secret.

Wink is the odd, mysterious neighbor girl, wild red hair and freckles. Poppy is the blond bully and the beautiful, manipulative high school queen bee. Midnight is the sweet, uncertain boy caught between them. Wink. Poppy. Midnight. Two girls. One boy. Three voices that burst onto the page in short, sharp, bewitching chapters, and spiral swiftly and inexorably toward something terrible or tricky or tremendous.

What really happened? Someone knows. Someone is lying.

For fans of Holly Black, We Were Liars, and The Virgin Suicides, this mysterious tale full of intrigue, dread, beauty, and a whiff of something strange will leave you utterly entranced.

(All descriptions from OverDrive.)

Friday, March 18, 2016

Where I Was: Week of March 7

Wow. Last week was a doozy. Not so much the events themselves (a library board meeting, a school library council meeting, a literacy night at an elementary school, and an outreach event), but the driving it took to get to them all. I drove over 240 miles on Thursday alone. 

For you musical theater fans, that comes out to listening to the entire Broadway soundtrack of The Secret Garden three and a half times.*

For the rest of you, that's almost five hours. 

We're getting to the time of year where driving becomes a bigger part of my work week. From now until November, I can usually count on being out at the libraries at least a few hours a week with site visits, library board meetings, and other appointments as they arise.Which is great! It's actually one of the best parts of my job, getting to talk with people about what's going on in their libraries.

But the actual getting there can sometimes be a drag.

Audiobooks help, but it's not always easy to find a reader I like. And the radio isn't really a good bet, since I'm not the biggest fan of classic rock, modern country, or Top 40, which is what dominates the airwaves in this area. If I'm driving my own car, I'll listen to whatever's in the CD player, but I don't keep much music in the car.**

Obviously, when we get a regional rail in this area, I'll pass the time by reading.*** Until then, maybe I'll pull a Jackson Brodie and brush up on my French. 

*And oh, how my upper register is shot. Can't really sing Lily anymore. Or Colin, for that matter.

**It's amazing that any CD in my car even plays anymore, since the odds are good I've lost the case and the unprotected disc has been sliding around on the floor with an unfinished croissant and the road salt from my boots. 

***A girl can dream.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Guest Post: Read Across America at NNCS

Library card sign-up events can be challenging outside the walls of the library, but with good planning and communication, they can be a success. This post comes from Rebecca at Norwood, who talks about how two public libraries using different circulation systems worked with the public school they both serve to get students their cards.

As part of the celebration of Read Across America Day, the reading teachers at Norwood-Norfolk Central School invited staff from the Hepburn Library of Norfolk and Norwood Public Library to register kids for library cards. For public libraries, going into the schools can be a way to reach kids who never make it to the library, and sometimes those outreach visits can result in new regular patrons. Any kind of school outreach is valuable, but issuing library cards is perhaps the trickiest piece. Here's how it worked for us:

A reading teacher contacted Vicky (Hepburn Library of Norfolk) to ask about getting cards for kids. Vicky sent registration cards to the school, and the cards were sent home with students. Their parents filled them out and returned them to the school, and the school brought them to the Norfolk library. The school made sure that the registration cards were organized by grade and classroom, to make issuing the cards easier on the day of the event.

Because the Hepburn Library of Norfolk serves the upper half of the district, and Norwood Public Library serves the lower half, cards were issued to kids based on their home address. We also had the challenge of issuing cards from two circulation systems: Norfolk uses Mandarin, and Norwood uses Sirsi. Norfolk staff registered all their kids with Mandarin and then heroically came to use Sirsi at Norwood to issue the rest of the cards. Each library card was clipped to the registration card and organized by grade and teacher.

On the day of the event, library staff took the cards to the school. We had a schedule ahead of time, so we knew when each class was coming. We gave the cards to the kids, had them sign the back, and kept the registration cards to take back to the library. We also brought pencils and bookmarks for kids who weren't issued cards, so everyone came away from our table with something. Also, every kid received a sheet of paper inviting them to visit one of the two libraries and complete a short list of activities (read a book or magazine, do a coloring sheet, do a puzzle, tell us about a book they've read). We stamped the paper, and then the kids took the paper to the elementary principal for a prize.

The final count was 164 new cards for Norfolk and 128 for Norwood. This didn't include the number of kids whose registrations were incomplete or whose registrations had been returned only for us to discover that they already had cards.

Having the school incentivize visiting the library was a huge part of the success of the outreach visit. We've had new families in almost every day to do the activities. They're excited to see their local library and what we have to offer. It's a great opportunity to chat with parents about our regular programs, too.

What we would do differently next time: emphasize to the school staff the importance of giving the registration cards to us in plenty of time. We asked for at least a week, but we were given 75 late registrations the day before the event, which made Norfolk staff work incredibly hard to get everything done in time.

We also would ask classroom teachers to let us speak to each class ahead of the event to explain to kids what a library card can do for them, and then make sure that families got a notice with library information, programs, services, and so on, with their new card.

All in all, we were enormously happy to have been given a chance to participate in a school-wide event.

National Library Card Sign-up Month is September. Start planning your event today!

Guest Post: Lowville's Fairy Tale Festival

This guest post comes from Dawn in Lowville, who held a special program during the midwinter break:

While other teenagers are out spending their vacation down south, these teenagers are giving their time to the Teens As Teachers program at Lowville Free Library.

Teens  as Teachers is a program I developed a few years ago with my teen program.  I offer a wide variety of activities for the teens but feel along with that should be some community service opportunities.  I am all about giving back.  Little kids always look up to older kids so who better to put on programs for the little ones.  For winter and spring school vacations the teen put on several teen lead programs for the younger kids.   In the past they have put on carnivals, Lego manias, special story times, Hero Training Academy, Frozen party, Luau, Paws and Tales (had Humane Society bring in dogs which were the theme of all the books we read and they listened to stories with us) and Easter egg hunts.

This year the teens chose a Fairy Tale theme and the character they would play.  Fifteen teens volunteered , dressed up in costumes and ran games or crafts for the little ones.  There were five areas: Neverland, Enchanted Forest, Royal Court, Frozen Pass, and Wonderland.  Each contained activities directed by the teens.  Other events for the winter break included special storytimes, Lego mania, anime club, cooking classes and sewing class. Teens ended the week with instruction on how to use sewing machines, read patterns, and cutting material.   

Fidelis was our sponsor and the Lowville Elks Lodge let us use the lodge to hold the event.  Each teen had a craft or game they were in charge of.  I have to say I am always so proud of what the kids accomplish during that week.  I love going on Facebook and seeing the reaction from the community to their events.   I know I have a great group of teens and it's good to know the community thinks so too.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Where I was: Week of February 29 (Part 2)

I can't share any photos from my Thursday (3/3) visit, because it was to a state correctional facility, and visitors aren't allowed to bring their phones in past security. However, since I haven't been posting many photos these days, I suppose it doesn't really make a difference one way or the other.

There are five medium security correctional facilities in our four-county service area - Watertown, Cape Vincent, Ogdensburg, Riverview (also located in Ogdensburg), and Gouverneur - and our public library system provides services for the libraries there in the form of interlibrary loans and state funding. I'm interested in developing a program with the librarian at Watertown Correctional, so she invited me out for a visit.

After a chat about some programming possibilities and the unique challenges to library service in a prison environment (no Internet access!), I helped out with an information literacy exercise for a class working on their high school equivalency.

The exercise was specifically about knowing where to go to find certain information and the importance of citing your source. Print reference resources like almanacs and encyclopedias were passed around so that the class could answer questions like, "What is the Roman numeral for 50?" and "What day of the week were you born?"

I have used neither a print encyclopedia nor an almanac in at least 15 years, so it was a bit foreign for me.* But what was very familiar was the simple activity of helping people with reference questions. After a while, I was surprised to find myself completely at ease, which I confess I had never before been during a prison visit. It's a bit sobering to be in a place you know you can't get out of without someone unlocking a series of very big doors, some of which are topped by razor wire. However, helping patrons is helping patrons, no matter where you are, and I was glad for the opportunity to broaden my perspective.

*And hilariously eye-opening how bad I've gotten at print reference. The only thing I remembered about the almanac was the Flags of the World section, and that was only because I was once a fifth grader. **

**Fact: Kids love flags. 

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

The Charmed Children of Rookskill Castle, by Janet Fox.

"Keep calm and carry on." That's what Katherine Bateson's father told her, and that's what she's trying to do: when her father goes off to the war, when her mother sends Kat and her brother and sister away from London to escape the incessant bombing, even when the children arrive at Rookskill Castle, an ancient, crumbling manor on the misty Scottish highlands.

But it's hard to keep calm in the strange castle that seems haunted by ghosts or worse. What's making those terrifying screeches and groans at night? Why do the castle's walls seem to have a mind of their own? And why do people seem to mysteriously appear and disappear?

Kat believes she knows the answer: Lady Eleanor, who rules Rookskill Castle, is harboring a Nazi spy. But when her classmates begin to vanish, one by one, Kat must uncover the truth about what the castle actually harbors—and who Lady Eleanor really is—before it's too late.

Death Weavers (Five Kingdoms #4) by Brandon Mull.

Cole is about to face his biggest peril yet.

Since arriving in the Outskirts, Cole and his friends have fought monsters, challenged knights, and battled rampaging robots. But none of that has prepared them for Necronum.

In this haunting kingdom, it's hard to tell the living from the dead, and secret pacts carry terrifying risks. Within Necronum lies the echolands, a waystation for the departed where the living seldom venture.

Still separated from his power, Cole must cross to the echolands and rely on his instincts to help rescue his friends. With enemies closing in, Cole risks losing everything to find the one thing that might save them.

Exit, Pursued by a Bear, by E.K. Johnston. (Also available in audio.)

Hermione Winters is captain of her cheerleading team, and in tiny Palermo Heights, this doesn't mean what you think it means. At PHHS, the cheerleaders don't cheer for the sports teams; they are the sports team—the pride and joy of a tiny town. The team's summer training camp is Hermione's last and marks the beginning of the end of...she's not sure what. She does know this season could make her a legend. But during a camp party, someone slips something in her drink. And it all goes black.

In every class, there's a star cheerleader and a pariah pregnant girl. They're never supposed to be the same person. Hermione struggles to regain the control she's always had and faces a wrenching decision about how to move on. The assault wasn't the beginning of Hermione Winter's story and she's not going to let it be the end. She won't be anyone's cautionary tale.

A Tyranny of Petticoats, edited by Jessica Spotswood.

Crisscross America — on dogsleds and ships, stagecoaches and trains — from pirate ships off the coast of the Carolinas to the peace, love, and protests of 1960s Chicago. Join fifteen of today's most talented writers of young adult literature on a thrill ride through history with American girls charting their own course. They are monsters and mediums, bodyguards and barkeeps, screenwriters and schoolteachers, heiresses and hobos. They're making their own way in often-hostile lands, using every weapon in their arsenals, facing down murderers and marriage proposals. And they all have a story to tell.

Where You'll Find Me, by Natasha Friend.

The first month of school, thirteen-year-old Anna Collette finds herself...

DUMPED by her best friend Dani, who suddenly wants to spend eighth grade "hanging out with different people."
DESERTED by her mom, who's in the hospital recovering from a suicide attempt.
TRAPPED in a house with her dad, a new baby sister, and a stepmother young enough to wear her Delta Delta Delta sweatshirt with pride.
STUCK at a lunch table with Shawna the Eyebrow Plucker and Sarabeth the Irish Stepper because she has no one else to sit with.

But what if all isn't lost? What if Anna's mom didn't exactly mean to leave her? What if Anna's stepmother is cooler than she thought? What if the misfit lunch table isn't such a bad fit after all? With help from some unlikely sources, including a crazy girl-band talent show act, Anna just may find herself on the road to okay.

(All descriptions from OverDrive.)

Monday, March 14, 2016

Where I Was: Week of February 29 (Part 1)

On March 1, my entire department drove to Albany to participate in Library Advocacy Day, which is when we try to convince the state government to fully fund libraries.

And when I say 'fully fund libraries' I actually mean 'to allocate in the state budget the full amount mandated by NYS Education Law to Library Aid.' Public library funding is a patchwork of different funding streams, and in no way is state government responsible for making sure each individual library is fully funded. (That's a whole other blog post, and in fact, a whole other blog entirely.)

Rather, the state allocates a certain amount of funding to libraries, some of which the local libraries receive in the form of Local Library Services Aid. Some is used to fund public library systems, which, in turn, provide services to its member libraries.

The amount mandated for Library Aid in New York State is $102.6 million. It sounds like a lot of money until you remember that it goes to help fund libraries across the entire state - and not just the public ones, either.

It's also only a tenth of a percent of the entire state budget.

Currently, the state allocates $91.6 million in Library Aid, which is not $102.6 million. So, we go to Albany and make a case for the other $11 million.

If you missed Library Advocacy Day and want to let the state government know that libraries should be fully funded, the New York Library Association provides a handy pre-drafted letter for you to send to your elected representatives.

You're welcome. And thank you.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

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

Hour of the Bees, by Lindsay Eagar.

While her friends are spending their summers having pool parties and sleepovers, twelve-year-old Carolina — Carol — is spending hers in the middle of the New Mexico desert, helping her parents move the grandfather she's never met into a home for people with dementia.

At first, Carol avoids prickly Grandpa Serge. But as the summer wears on and the heat bears down, Carol finds herself drawn to him, fascinated by the crazy stories he tells her about a healing tree, a green-glass lake, and the bees that will bring back the rain and end a hundred years of drought. As the thin line between magic and reality starts to blur, Carol must decide for herself what is possible — and what it means to be true to her roots.

Readers who dream that there's something more out there will be enchanted by this captivating novel of family, renewal, and discovering the wonder of the world.

Lady Midnight (The Dark Artifices #1), by Cassandra Clare.

It's been five years since the events of City of Heavenly Fire that brought the Shadowhunters to the brink of oblivion. Emma Carstairs is no longer a child in mourning, but a young woman bent on discovering what killed her parents and avenging her losses.

Together with her parabatai Julian Blackthorn, Emma must learn to trust her head and her heart as she investigates a demonic plot that stretches across Los Angeles, from the Sunset Strip to the enchanted sea that pounds the beaches of Santa Monica. If only her heart didn't lead her in treacherous directions...

Making things even more complicated, Julian's brother Mark—who was captured by the faeries five years ago—has been returned as a bargaining chip. The faeries are desperate to find out who is murdering their kind—and they need the Shadowhunters' help to do it. But time works differently in faerie, so Mark has barely aged and doesn't recognize his family. Can he ever truly return to them? Will the faeries really allow it?

Maybe a Fox, by Kathi Appelt. Illustrated by Alison McGhee.

Sylvie and Jules, Jules and Sylvie. Better than just sisters, better than best friends, they'd be identical twins if only they'd been born in the same year. And if only Sylvie wasn't such a fast—faster than fast—runner. But Sylvie is too fast, and when she runs to the river they're not supposed to go anywhere near to throw a wish rock just before the school bus comes on a snowy morning, she runs so fast that no one sees what happens...and no one ever sees her again. Jules is devastated, but she refuses to believe what all the others believe, that—like their mother—her sister is gone forever.

At the very same time, in the shadow world, a shadow fox is born—half of the spirit world, half of the animal world. She too is fast—faster than fast—and she senses danger. She's too young to know exactly what she senses, but she knows something is very wrong. And when Jules believes one last wish rock for Sylvie needs to be thrown into the river, the human and shadow worlds collide.

Writing in alternate voices—one Jules's, the other the fox's—Kathi Appelt and Alison McGhee tell the searingly beautiful tale of one small family's moment of heartbreak, a moment that unfolds into one that is epic, mythic, shimmering, and most of all, hopeful.

On the Edge of Gone, by Corinne Duyvis.

January 29, 2035. That’s the day the comet is scheduled to hit—the big one. Denise and her mother and sister, Iris, have been assigned to a temporary shelter outside their hometown of Amsterdam to wait out the blast, but Iris is nowhere to be found, and at the rate Denise’s drug-addicted mother is going, they’ll never reach the shelter in time. A last-minute meeting leads them to something better than a temporary shelter—a generation ship, scheduled to leave Earth behind to colonize new worlds after the comet hits. But everyone on the ship has been chosen because of their usefulness. Denise is autistic and fears that she’ll never be allowed to stay. Can she obtain a spot before the ship takes flight? What about her mother and sister? When the future of the human race is at stake, whose lives matter most?

Rebel of the Sands, by Alwyn Hamilton.

Mortals rule the desert nation of Miraji, but mythical beasts still roam the wild and remote areas, and rumor has it that somewhere, djinn still perform their magic. For humans, it's an unforgiving place, especially if you're poor, orphaned, or female.

Amani Al'Hiza is all three. She's a gifted gunslinger with perfect aim, but she can't shoot her way out of Dustwalk, the back-country town where she's destined to wind up wed or dead.

Then she meets Jin, a rakish foreigner, in a shooting contest, and sees him as the perfect escape route. But though she's spent years dreaming of leaving Dustwalk, she never imagined she'd gallop away on mythical horse—or that it would take a foreign fugitive to show her the heart of the desert she thought she knew.

Rebel of the Sands reveals what happens when a dream deferred explodes—in the fires of rebellion, of romantic passion, and the all-consuming inferno of a girl finally, at long last, embracing her power.

The Secret Subway, by Shana Corey and Red Nose Studio.

New York City in the 1860s was a mess: crowded, disgusting, filled with garbage. You see, way back in 1860, there were no subways, just cobblestone streets. That is, until Alfred Ely Beach had the idea for a fan-powered train that would travel underground. On February 26, 1870, after fifty-eight days of drilling and painting and plastering, Beach unveiled his masterpiece--and throngs of visitors took turns swooshing down the track.

The Secret Subway will wow readers, just as Beach's underground train wowed riders over a century ago.

The Serpent King, by Jeff Zentner.

Dill has had to wrestle with vipers his whole life—at home, as the only son of a Pentecostal minister who urges him to handle poisonous rattlesnakes, and at school, where he faces down bullies who target him for his father's extreme faith and very public fall from grace.

He and his fellow outcast friends must try to make it through their senior year of high school without letting the small-town culture destroy their creative spirits and sense of self. Graduation will lead to new beginnings for Lydia, whose edgy fashion blog is her ticket out of their rural Tennessee town. And Travis is content where he is thanks to his obsession with an epic book series and the fangirl turning his reality into real-life fantasy.

Their diverging paths could mean the end of their friendship. But not before Dill confronts his dark legacy to attempt to find a way into the light of a future worth living.

The Steep and Thorny Way, by Cat Winters.

 A thrilling re-imagining of Shakespeare's Hamlet, The Steep and Thorny Way tells the story of a murder most foul and the mighty power of love and acceptance in a state gone terribly rotten.

1920s Oregon is not a welcoming place for Hanalee Denney, the daughter of a white woman and an African-American man. She has almost no rights by law, and the Ku Klux Klan breeds fear and hatred in even Hanalee's oldest friendships. Plus, her father, Hank Denney, died a year ago, hit by a drunk-driving teenager. Now her father's killer is out of jail and back in town, and he claims that Hanalee's father wasn't killed by the accident at all but, instead, was poisoned by the doctor who looked after him—who happens to be Hanalee's new stepfather.The only way for Hanalee to get the answers she needs is to ask Hank himself, a "haint" wandering the roads at night.

(All descriptions from OverDrive.)

Friday, March 4, 2016

Where I Was: Week of February 22

To paraphrase my own 13-year-old self trying to keep a New Year's resolution, I am surprised at how quickly keeping up with journaling has gotten away from me. As February ends, I find myself out of the office more and writing less. Still, there's time to quickly bring this blog up to speed.

Last Monday I went down to Parish (86 miles round trip) for a New Director Orientation. New Director Orientation is something our consulting department provides to member libraries, and it's a way for us to review some essentials (minimum standards, types of funding, role of trustees, etc.) as well as the services that the system provides (delivery, technology support, online resources, etc.). The conversation will vary, depending on how much experience the new director already has - especially if they have already been working in a member library and are familiar with NCLS - but it's a good opportunity for questions and clarification.

On Tuesday, I went to Fulton (116 miles round trip) to attend a meeting of the Oswego BOCES School Library System Council, of which I am a member. The meeting was spent reviewing and modifying the school library system's plan of service for the next five years. Incidentally, this is also something my public library system is in the process is doing, so it was interesting to see the process from another angle.

On Wednesday I was sick. (Truly, I'd been sick for a week, but Wednesday I finally gave in.) I stayed home and ate the last two pieces of toast in my house and watched Inside Llewyn Davis and Belle, sometimes through my eyelids. Thursday and Friday were largely spent catching up from being out of the office all week.

Next: Advocacy, Outreach, and Orientation. Tune in!

Thursday, March 3, 2016

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

After the Woods, by Kim Savage.

Julia knows she beat the odds. She escaped the kidnapper who hunted her in the woods for two terrifying nights that she can't fully remember. Now it's one year later, and a dead girl turns up in those same woods. The terrible memories resurface, leaving Julia in a stupor at awkward moments-in front of gorgeous Kellan MacDougall, for example.

At least Julia's not alone. Her best friend, Liv, was in the woods, too. When Julia got caught, Liv ran away. Is Liv's guilt over leaving Julia the reason she's starving herself? Is hooking up with Shane Cuthbert, an addict with an explosive temper, Liv's way of punishing herself for not having Julia's back? As the devastating truth about Liv becomes clear, Julia realizes the one person she thinks she knows best-Liv-is the person she knows least of all. And that after the woods was just the beginning.

All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook, by Leslie Connor.

From Leslie Connor, award-winning author of Waiting for Normal and Crunch, comes a soaring and heartfelt story about love, forgiveness, and how innocence makes us all rise up. All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook is a powerful story, perfect for fans of Wonder and When You Reach Me.

Eleven-year-old Perry was born and raised by his mom at the Blue River Co-ed Correctional Facility in tiny Surprise, Nebraska. His mom is a resident on Cell Block C, and so far Warden Daugherty has made it possible for them to be together. That is, until a new district attorney discovers the truth—and Perry is removed from the facility and forced into a foster home.

When Perry moves to the "outside" world, he feels trapped. Desperate to be reunited with his mom, Perry goes on a quest for answers about her past crime. As he gets closer to the truth, he will discover that love makes people resilient no matter where they come from . . . but can he find a way to tell everyone what home truly means?

Forest of Wonders (Wing & Claw #1), by Linda Sue Park.

From Newbery Medal–winning author Linda Sue Park comes a captivating fantasy-adventure about a boy, a bat, and an amazing transformation.

Raffa Santana has always loved the mysterious Forest of Wonders. For a gifted young apothecary like him, every leaf could unleash a kind of magic. When an injured bat crashes into his life, Raffa invents a cure from a rare crimson vine that he finds deep in the Forest. His remedy saves the animal but also transforms it into something much more than an ordinary bat, with far-reaching consequences. Raffa's experiments lead him away from home to the forbidding city of Gilden, where troubling discoveries make him question whether exciting botanical inventions—including his own—might actually threaten the very creatures of the Forest he wants to protect.

The first book in an enchanting trilogy, Forest of Wonders richly explores the links between magic and botany, family and duty, environment and home.

The Key to Extraordinary, by Natalie Lloyd. (Also available in audio.)

The highly anticipated new stand alone novel from rising star Natalie Lloyd! Everyone in Emma's family is special. Her ancestors include Revolutionary War spies, brilliant scientists, and famous musicians—every single one of which learned of their extraordinary destiny through a dream. For Emma, her own dream can't come soon enough. Right before her mother died, Emma promised that she'd do whatever it took to fulfill her destiny, and she doesn't want to let her mother down. But when Emma's dream finally arrives, it points her toward an impossible task—finding a legendary treasure hidden in her town's cemetery. If Emma fails, she'll let down generations of extraordinary ancestors...including her own mother. But how can she find something that's been missing for centuries and might be protected by a mysterious singing ghost?

With her signature blend of lyrical writing, quirky humor, and unforgettable characters, Natalie Lloyd's The Key to Extraordinary cements her status as one of the most original voices writing for children today.

The Leaving Season, by Cat Jordan.

Middie Daniels calls it the leaving season: the time of year when everyone graduates high school, packs up their brand-new suitcases, and leaves home for the first time.

This year Middie's boyfriend, Nate, is the one leaving, heading to Central America for a year of volunteering after graduation. And once he returns, it'll be time for Middie to leave, too. With him. But when tragedy strikes, Middie's whole world is set spinning. No one seems to understand just how lost she is... except for Nate's slacker best friend, Lee. Middie and Lee have never gotten along. But with the ground ripped out from under her, Middie is finding that up is down—and that Lee Ryan might be just what she needs to find her footing once more.

Cat Jordan's heartbreaking story proves that no matter the season, no matter the obstacles, love can help you find yourself in the most unexpected of places.

The Lincoln Project (Flashback Four #1), by Dan Gutman.

Congratulations! You are invited to participate in a very special once-in-a-lifetime experience. Please do not share this invitation or discuss it with anyone.

In New York Times bestselling author Dan Gutman's all-new series, which blends fascinating real history with an action-packed and hilarious adventure, four very different kids are picked by a mysterious billionaire to travel through time and photograph some of history's most important events. This time, the four friends are headed to 1863 to catch Abraham Lincoln delivering his famous Gettysburg Address. They'll have to work together to ask the right questions, meet the right people, and capture the right moment. And most important—not get caught! Back matter separating fact from fiction and real black-and-white photographs make Flashback Four the perfect mix of true history and uproarious fun.

The Quickest Kid in Clarksville, by Pat Zietlow Miller.

It's the day before the big parade. Alta can only think about one thing: Wilma Rudolph, three-time Olympic gold medalist. She'll be riding on a float tomorrow. See, Alta is the quickest kid in Clarksville, Tennessee, just like Wilma once was. It doesn't matter that Alta's shoes have holes because Wilma came from hard times, too. But what happens when a new girl with shiny new shoes comes along and challenges Alta to a race? Will she still be the quickest kid? The Quickest Kid in Clarksville is a timeless story of dreams, determination, and the power of friendship.

Snow Job, by Charles Benoit.

Does who you are in high school brand you for life?

Nick sure hopes not. It's senior year, and he has decided that his loser friends may be going nowhere fast, but he isn't. Instead, Nick has created the perfect list of rules for remaking his life. But meeting dark-eyed Dawn and hanging out with teen thug Zod are nowhere on that list. And making illegal deliveries definitely isn't on it. So why is Nick caught up with these people and their dangerous schemes? Will Nick's list help him to be a hero—or turn him into a fall guy?

A Study in Charlotte, by Brittany Cavallaro.

The first book in a witty, suspenseful new trilogy about a brilliant new crime-solving duo: the teen descendants of Sherlock Holmes and John Watson. This clever page-turner will appeal to fans of Maureen Johnson and Ally Carter.

Jamie Watson has always been intrigued by Charlotte Holmes; after all, their great-great-great-grandfathers are one of the most infamous pairs in history. But the Holmes family has always been odd, and Charlotte is no exception. She's inherited Sherlock's volatility and some of his vices—and when Jamie and Charlotte end up at the same Connecticut boarding school, Charlotte makes it clear she's not looking for friends.

But when a student they both have a history with dies under suspicious circumstances, ripped straight from the most terrifying of the Sherlock Holmes stories, Jamie can no longer afford to keep his distance. Danger is mounting and nowhere is safe—and the only people they can trust are each other.

Tru and Nelle, by G. Neri.

Long before they became famous writers, Truman Capote (In Cold Blood) and Harper Lee (To Kill a Mockingbird) were childhood friends in Monroeville, Alabama. This fictionalized account of their time together opens at the beginning of the Great Depression, when Tru is seven and Nelle is six. They love playing pirates, but they like playing Sherlock and Watson-style detectives even more. It's their pursuit of a case of drugstore theft that lands the daring duo in real trouble. Humor and heartache intermingle in this lively look at two budding writers in the 1930s South.

Unbecoming, by Jenny Downham.

Three women. Three generations. Three secrets.

Katie's life is falling apart: her best friend thinks she's a freak, her mother, Caroline, controls every aspect of her life, and her estranged grandmother, Mary, appears as if out of nowhere. Mary has dementia and needs lots of care, and when Katie starts putting together Mary's life story, secrets and lies are uncovered: Mary's illegitimate baby, her zest for life and freedom and men; the way she lived her life to the full yet suffered huge sacrifices along the way.

As the relationship between Mary and Caroline is explored, Katie begins to understand her own mother's behavior, and from that insight, the terrors about her sexuality, her future, and her younger brother are all put into perspective.

Funny, sad, honest, and wise, this powerful multi-generational novel from international bestseller Jenny Downham celebrates life like no book before.

(All descriptions from OverDrive.)