Wednesday, October 7, 2015

All We Have is Now by Lisa Schroeder

Emerson and Vince are walking through the streets of Portland and it's pretty quiet...not a lot of traffic, not a lot of businesses open, very few people out.  It's been this way for awhile because everyone is spending time with their loved ones.  You see, in 28 hours, a meteor will hit the United States and those who survive will be few and far between.

Emerson and Vince just have each other.  They've been living on the streets and there is no one closer than each other.  With not much time left, both of them have made a pact to see the end of their world on their own terms, and with this in mind, they go to that jumping point in the city....and it's there that will change their lives.

Carl is standing on the bridge Emerson and Vince go to, and he saves their lives.  He tells the story of how he met someone who made a wish come true for him.  In turn, Carl is to pay it forward to five people, and Emerson and Vince will make his fifth wish happen.  When asked what they want, both of them reply with the only thing they've never really had an abundance of - money.  Carl gives him his wallet filled with money and has only one it forward.  People will be easy to find, you just have to look and see which ones have wishes or regrets and make them happen.

Emerson and Vince don't know what he's talking about until they meet people along the way as they make their way through town.  Until they see the one person who always wanted to go to Paris...and they make it happen for her.  They take two little girls home, but also take them on an adventure through a fairy tale.  And slowly, their friendship begins to change from that of friendship to one on a deeper level.

Emerson has a regret she's not sharing with Vince...the one that makes her want to go home one last time.  She knows if she tells him, he'll want to change the regret into reality, but it's so hard to go back after what she's been through...and it's too late, isn't it?

Part novel in verse, part prose, Schroeder is the weaver to lives.  Although many of the people Vince and Emerson meet are strangers, there is an invisible string that will weave their stories into one.  It's a story about what people do knowing their living their last days, but more than that, it's about the impact relationships have on one another, especially when viewed through different perspectives, even if it's the same situation.  Excellent quick read for high school!
Link to book trailer

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans by Don Brown

HMH Young Readers, 2015

I picked up this graphic novel because I was intrigued not only by the cover, but by how this non-fiction GN would stack up to what happened....I wasn't disappointed.

At this moment in time, there are two very significant historical moments high school students have lived through and will tell their grandchildren they were alive when it happened.  Most students can tell you about the 9/11 tragedy because there is a memorial set up, it's been televised and Youtubed, and schools usually honor those who died every year.

When asked what the other significant historical moment happened during their lifetimes, most had to think about it until I showed them the cover of the book.  Don Brown, who wrote and illustrated this GN, tells the tragic story of not only Hurricane Katrina the natural disaster, but also the tragedies that happened to those who stayed, the heroes and the villains, and how this natural disaster was SO overlooked not only by the state, but also by the federal government.  Brown's illustrations depict the sadness and desperation people felt, from those at the Superdome to those trapped in their homes, to the patients in hospitals left behind and based on factual evidence.

Brown also injects sad truth into the book as well.  Authorities in charge of the city from the top down weren't available or around during the aftermath.  Some in the police force abandoned their posts and the companies who volunteered their services  before the hurricane hit to transport those who couldn't get out were turned away...but there were the unknown heroes as well, who used their boats and other water vehicles to help those stranded on their rooftops.

While booktalking this book last week, I asked students to recall the heat in Texas in August, when temperatures easily reached into the 100s.  Would they be able to stand on a paved road for 24 hours with little or no water or food?  Coupled with extreme humidity, raw sewage, toxic water and the smell of death in the air....that's what people went through who were left behind.

This is the powerful image Don Brown creates, not only physically but emotionally as well.  And it is also something students need to know more about instead of compartmentalizing it as another hurricane that wrecked a city.

This is an important book to have in any library because it tells a story needing to be told in a format conveying more than words on pages.  Highly recommended.    

Monday, September 28, 2015

Infographic: Recommended YA Books with Book Trailers

Using a website called Mindomo (makes some great infographics and mind maps!) I made an infographic of what recommendations for YA novels.  There are 13 genres represented and comes with book trailers when available.

Recommended YA Books with Book Trailers

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Book Trailer: Shutter by Courtney Alameda

It was just begging for one!  Loved this book...perfect for those who enjoy horror fiction Recommended JH/HS

If you can't access Youtube, here is the link for it to view via Google Drive:

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Top Ten Tweets and Favorites (Plus One To Grow On)

I know there are many librarians who don't have a Twitter account, and some of the interesting things (okay, most) share is on Twitter.  So for those who aren't, here's a mish-mash of interesting things I shared on Twitter.  Includes links to websites, fun things for librarians, how to create relationships, quotes, and video. 
Enjoy :)

The National Book Awards Longlist: Young People’s Literature:

Summer Reading Programs and Scratch Tickets:


13 Common Sayings to Avoid Saying to Students:

Great retro Bat Girl library poster (Batman Day is coming up 9/27!):

9 Reasons Why Librarians Are Awesome:

 Tried and Tested Internet Sources for the Classroom...and beyond:
Personal Tweet: " I believe a sign posted on any library door should never use the words "closed" "not allowed" or "No (fill in the blank)  "
Personal Tweet: "Told the kids today the only thing they CANT do in the library is nothing :) " 
Excellent poster:  "Thanks For That Amazing Worksheet"
Teenagers react to printed encyclopedias and it's absolutely priceless:


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Tracked by Jenny Martin

A short review: 
Martin takes racing to a new level in this science fiction book about racing, freedom, and corruption.  Readers will relate to Phee, the main character in the book, whose tough as nails and doesn't let anything stop her.  Although the main character is female, she packs a punch, which makes this appealing to all readers.  The secondary characters round out the book by strategically placing not only teens, but adults in the narrative that aren't just stock characters.  Even better is Martin's ingenious use of slang from the future, revolving around the culture on the planet. 
Vividly descriptive, this book will take any reader to the end.  Like Hunger Games and other dystopia books, it shows not only how far humanity has traveled off the path of democracy, but also how the main characters are willing to sacrifice to make a change.
Highly recommended JH/HS

Links to book trailer:


NHS Digital Book talk:


Friday, September 11, 2015

Need by Joelle Charbonneau (trailer included)

2015, HMH Books for Young Readers

In the small town of Nottowa, people aren't aware of what's truly happening....

Kaylee Denham needs something. Her brother is slowly dying and there doesn't seem to by anyone that can help him, nit even her best friend Nate, who needs to pass a final after winter break.

Amanda sees their friendship and doesn't understand why Nate would even bother with Kaylee. Another one of Amanda's worries is trying to get those concert tickets. Everyone would be so jealous!

Jack, Nate's brother broke his phone again...and he was the first to get what he needed. There are others....Bryan wants a gun, Syndney needs money and the list goes on and on. And that's when the website Need came into their lives.


  One click of a button and an answer to the question posted on the site: WHAT DO YOU NEED? After Kaylee, Hannah, Nate, Jack and the other click on the button, their request is processed.

Everyone on the Need site knows each other because it's only for their high school. What they don't know is who is behind the site. What they care about is getting their requests fulfilled. What they don't understand is that you never get anything for free. All you have to do is a little harmless errand, something as simple as a note slipped somewhere, cookies delivered to someone's door, a simple receipt put in among the others.

  But it's all of those little things that begin to snowball, and now people are dying and lives are in danger. Kaylee is beginning to see the pattern, but it still isn't clear who is behind Need and the errands that are slowly becoming more malicious and complicated. There is a pattern..but is it too late?

NETWORK MEMBERS—657 NEEDS PENDING—652 NEEDS FULFILLED—109 The site is slowly growing, but membership is slowly dropping....

Joelle Charbonneau has written a fast-paced novel that will keep readers entranced not only in the story, but in the character development that happens alongside the plot. Written in small chapter and in various character voices and point of view, Charbonneau creates a web of lies and deceit that the reader will become entangled in, wanting to know the final answer. Quick, smooth, and electrifying, once the page is turned, there's no going back for the reader. it takes awhile to fully realize the characters because of so many voices in alternating chapters, but Charbonneau sharpens the reader's insight the more they read. It's definitely a book where you have to become invested in all of the characters, not just one. Highly recommended for HS

Monday, August 31, 2015

Using Memes in Education: Library Orientation

This year, I decided to use memes in the freshmen orientation for two reasons: 1. kids can relate to these (since they use and make them all the time themselves) and 2. let students know the library is more than rules, guidelines, and shushing. It can be fun, imaginative, creative, and inviting. I did a test drive with our new teachers for new teacher orientation, and although it was unexpected, they thoroughly enjoyed it! :) Basically, it's all about relationships, and this is a fun way to do it. Most of the memes I created myself using SUPER easy!!

Friday, August 28, 2015

Book Trailer: Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen

Used a great new tool ( and LOVE IT!  Free to use, but also inexpensive for a lifetime purchase. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

App Review: Making Book Trailers the Easy Way with this Amazing Trinity!

In this new BYOD world we live in, creating videos has never been easier.  You don't have to lug around a laptop can create stunning videos straight from your iPhone or iPad.

Two newer apps that have come on the scene and made things a LOT easier are both from Adobe and are amazing!  I'm not saying this flippantly..I love these two apps!  Admittedly, book trailers take time, but with these apps and an iPad students can start easily using their camera roll or online sources.  I'll break down both apps as well as give hints on making using these easier.

So here's a breakdown for both-

Adobe Voice:
-search photos on your camera roll OR through a CC image search built-in
- add music Adobe provides or use music from your iPad.
-record your voice to narrate a book trailer
-you can add titles and text between images for a more traditional trailer
-manage how long an image stays on the screen (up to 5 seconds)
-add icons
- from 32 themes that automatically add movement to your video
-save your project to work on at different times before you publish
-it has an option to make it private or public
-share via social media, email, or add it to your camera roll
-available only on iPad

Adobe Clip:
- add either clips or images from your camera roll.  This app doesn't have a CC search, so shooting videos will be the best option for this app.  You can search for CC images in Google and save them to your camera roll as the best option for images 
- has a built-in trimmer so you can customize your video clips or add slo-mo
-add individual text slides between clips or images
-add music from the library provided or from your stash on your ipad
-selection from three transitions: fade in from black, fade out to black, crossfade between clips
-has a built-in image enhancer with 30 different filters
- publish and share the video on social media or through Adobe Creative Cloud (there isn't a private button on this one)
-available on iPhone or iPad

-mash up these apps with different apps like Whiteboard or Paper 53 to add text or videos
-think of other places to get CC images or videos like Instagram, Facebook or Vine
- download Google Slides or Docs to create unique text slides
- use an app called Downloads Plus lite to download and use CC friendly music from Purple Planet

And now to play with Adobe Slate, the newest app that helps make reports, newletters and other text-based documents beautiful by adding photos into them.

Razorhurst by Justine Larbelestier

Allen & Unwin, 2014

Kelpie has been on her own for most of her life.  She has vague memories of her childhood, but the street life in Razorhust is her home.  She's been fortunate, getting help from people in the city...whether dead or alive.  Kelpie lives on the streets of Razorhurst, a  part of Sydney divided between two gangsters, their henchmen, and a beautiful moll.  And it's when Kelpie steals into a home she shouldn't have that her world completely changes.

Looking at the murder scene was rough enough, but now the ghost of  is following her.  What's more, Kelpie is being used as cover by Dymphna, who thought she was smart enough to leave gang life, or at least take over.  With the law prohibiting guns in Australia in the 1930s, everyone thought gang violence would wane, but razors came out, just as deadly.

Dymphna and Kelpie are polar opposites.  Called the "Angel of Death" because all of her boyfriends end up dead,  Dymphna is well taken care of by Gloriana Nelson, who considers her one of her most valuable assets.  Beautiful, well-coifed and dressed, Dymphna exudes glamour, although her path in life is far from glamorous.  Kelpie, on the other hand, is small, looking more like a child (although she's a teenager), fiercely (or perhaps ferally) independent, and hasn't known the inside of a bath tub in a long time.  And while they may be different, they share one very important thing in common-they both can hear and see ghosts...

They're now both on the lam.  Mr. Davidson, one gang leader, is stalking Dymphna, where his stalking has very serious undertones.  Gloriana is also searching for her, for reasons she doesn't have to explain.  And friends of Kelpie's are also following her, trying to make sure both she and Dymphna stay alive.  But is that possible in a cat and mouse game of the 1930s, where lawlessness abounds and innocent lives are considered a small loss in the pursuit of glory, power and control?

What makes this book such a standout is how Justine Larbelestier creates a dual-genred novel (both supernatural and historical fiction) that wraps itself around real history  and biographies of Australia and Australians in this book.  Readers will not only get caught up in the storyline but also begin to make connections and differences  between both the U.S. and Australia and how gangsters shaped the country.  Although this book is filled with male characters, both good and bad, it's the two females that create the strength in this novel.  Larbelestier uses the ghostly characters as a backdrop to further strength Kelpie's and Dymphna's character flaws and attraction.  I thoroughly enjoyed this one and consider it a strong historical fiction novel for YA.