Monthly Archives: June 2013

Review: My Sister Lives On The Mantelpiece

My Sister Lives On The Mantelpiece
My Sister Lives On The Mantelpiece by Annabel Pitcher
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I haven’t been so choked up while reading a book in a long time. This book is a real heart-breaker.

Summary: Jamie’s sister Rose was killed during the London bombings. Jamie’s family has been broken ever since – his mother and father drifting apart, acting as though the urn in the living room is still a real girl while Rose’s twin sister Jasmine tries to find her identity, and getting upset with Jamie when he doesn’t cry over the lost sibling. Of course, it’s hard for Jamie to remember a time when the family was happy: he was only a toddler when Rose died. Yet his parents ask him regularly to talk about Rose and cry about Rose even ten years later. Now his father has moved Jamie and his sister out to the country but sadly, the isolation only lets his father turn into a complete drunk and Jamie finds himself alone, trying to understand a world that doesn’t make sense.

This book is very well written but it is a tough read. Jamie is naive and innocent and the reader will know when he is being led astray, and it’s painful to watch as the adults in his life fail him in more ways than one. While I felt the ending might have been a little too hit-you-over-the-head with meaning, to Pitcher’s credit, she didn’t make everything magically better a few days later. This book is all about the slow healing process of getting over the loss of a loved one.

This would be a great book discussion title (in fact, I read it because of Books for the Beast in October), but it’s not exactly a fun read. But the story will probably resonate with those born post-9/11 who watch their parents and other adults in their lives mourn that day, and wonder why we still cry even though it seems so long ago.

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Review: Mitchell’s License

Mitchell's License
Mitchell’s License by Hallie Durand
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I checked this out because I really love Tony Fucile’s art style. The book was not a disappointment! It’s adorable and sweet and a great story with great illustrations. It’s about a little boy who doesn’t want to go to bed until his dad gives him a “license” to drive (Dad is the car). It has a lot of humor and heart. The large pictures and quick text will make this good for read-alouds too. Don’t be surprised if it’s on one of my storytime lists soon!

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fun with social media: Instagram tag search

So I was posting to Instagram the other night and decided to play with tags. Our tag for the summer has been #summerreading when we post to Twitter/Facebook, but I noticed that on Instagram, the tag was #summereading so I clicked on it to see what the people are posting.

It’s mostly teens posting images of the books they are being forced to read this summer and talking about how terrible the book is. And, honestly, most of the books are the same old crap everyone has been forced to read over the summer for the past 20 years (though I did spot a few lucky teens with Jurassic Park and Book Thief – wanted to comment but thought that might be creepy). Anyway, I just think teachers and parents need to realize that any ASSIGNED book is automatically a dumb, boring, long, badly written book. I really wish they summer reading assignments would just be to READ. Because, let me tell you, most of the books that were assigned to me in high school? I’m only JUST NOW understanding them. Most of the classics do not resonate with teenagers today and they really won’t do anything except make them hate reading. Reading them during school, when a teacher is there to guide them through the language and the themes is a better idea. Instead, give them choices of MODERN titles that might touch upon the same themes. There are plenty of ‘Catcher in the Rye’ stories that were written in this past year, believe me. Have them read Cory Doctorow’s “Little Brother” over the summer then draw parallels when you make them read 1984 in class.

side note: 1984 must feel to these teens as far into the past as the future felt to the original readers of the title.

OH! And then I was like “hey, I tag a lot of my post as “librarian”, let’s see what else is in that tag. This tag is mostly populated by girls wearing Tina Fey glasses. When I did my initial search, I got an image of a girl on her bed trying to take a photo of her shoes she said made her “feel like a librarian” but mostly ended up a picture of her butt. **sigh** The tag has been repopulated now but there are still more random glasses than actual librarians. “librarians” has more pictures of staff, maybe we tend to photograph ourselves in groups?

Coming soon – adventures in library promotion: Annapolis Comic-Con

Annapolis Comic-Con June 29

So, this Saturday, I get to attend the local Comic-Con as a representative of the library!

I’m actually pretty excited. Not only will I be paid to attend a convention, these are my people! I can’t wait to share information about the library with them. I feel like this is a group, probably tech savvy, who might not know about the different services we offer for free. And I’m not just talking about the free comic books (which we have) or the fact that we take part in events like Star Wars Reads Day – I’m talking about the plethora of digital services they could access from home, without having to step foot into a library (well, maybe once to get the card).

I found our library “mascot” today and decided I would make him a superhero costume to wear to the event and hopefully get some cosplayers to snap photos with him. I am also going to attempt my first “live-tweeting” on behalf of the library while I am there (@aacpl)

We are even listed on the guests page, which just cracks me up!

Wish me luck! I hope to update again after the event! 🙂

This morning I had a message from another librarian in my system sitting in my inbox. She told me that during her shift the evening before a young lady, a senior in high school, came into the library with her family. Her younger siblings were signing up for the Summer Reading program and the librarian told her about the teen program we have this year. This prompted the girl to start telling the librarian about how she didn’t used to like reading until she visited my branch. Apparently, she was at my library and her father told her she couldn’t leave until she picked out a book and she huffed and puffed and dragged herself over to the Information Desk.

This is the point in the story where my colleague decided the girl was talking about me –

[…]the teen asked for book recommendations. She told the librarian she enjoyed The Hunger Games and said the librarian became so excited she was spazzing out. It was pretty funny; she starting waving her arms etc. and you recommended several titles but I remember The Uglies. She said she read every one and rattled off other titles that I’ve seen you post about.[…] She said please tell her everything you see here (and she waved her hand from her head to her feet) is all because of her! It was very sweet.

How awesome is that?  Usually I worry (after the fact) that my spazzing will scare the children and teens away from reading.  But apparently she found it endearing and really enjoyed the books I gave her.  So, YAY! I really hope she makes her way back to my branch at some point, I’d love to put a face to this story. ❤

Librarian pet peeve – changing cover art mid-series

20130618-131516.jpg

These are three books, all in the same serious. I feel bad for any male teen that enjoyed book 1 and 2 when book 3 has such hideous artwork. Why do publishers do this?

Okay I know why – to sell books. But it feels like the third book is not even part of the series and the cover is a blatant attempt to tap into the ya fantasy for girls market.

Sometimes cover art changes for a new edition and that’s fine. Usually they can update it, make it more appealing. But when I see books like this, I feel bad for the author and readers.

(First time posting from my iPhone so pardon any typos)

Review: Bink & Gollie: Best Friends Forever

Bink & Gollie: Best Friends Forever
Bink & Gollie: Best Friends Forever by Kate DiCamillo
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I adore this series, perfect for the precocious beginning chapter book reader since the language and humor can be a bit advanced, even if there are only a few sentences on each page. Tony Fucile’s artwork is some of the best out there (he works for Disney/Pixar so it is not really a surprise).

In this book Gollie discovers her great-great-[…]aunt was royalty and decides she will be queen for awhile (Bink is not amused), Bink decides she should be tall and places and order with Acme, and then Bink & Gollie decide they want to break a world record of some kind…and end up making their own fun.

I always recommend these titles for parents and kids to read together because I feel like the humor and art will appeal to all ages.

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Review: That Is Not a Good Idea!

That Is Not a Good Idea!
That Is Not a Good Idea! by Mo Willems
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Another hit from Mo Willems! Super cute and I loved the ending.

It’s meant to look like a silent film, with the pictures on one page and the text on a blank black page. The little chicks are the “viewers” reacting to the story.

I think this would be really fun for storytime, especially if you’re good at doing different voices – a sinister voice for the wolf, a sweet, innocent voice for the duck, and then a frantic set of voices for the little chicks.

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