Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Whitewashing....colorwashing...and it's not about laundry

It's a hot topic right now, whitewashing on bookcovers and one I most definitely agree with, MUST be changed!! And that's when my mind started to wander. This is such a far departure from the serious topic, but if you've ever experienced a mind-wandering state, you'll understand. If not, then you must try it! Here's where my mind took me....
I was reading posts about whitetwashing, and all of a sudden, I saw something while sitting in the library. I saw colorwashing on bookcovers. I saw a cover and said, "Oh! That reminds me of another book I read." and when I thought why, it's because of the covers had the same color on it! I think purple is the new black. If you find a book with purple, it will probably be about something spooky or fantastical...
Have you seen any colorwashing of genres lately?

Sunday, March 28, 2010

This is one book that was finger-lickin' good!!!

Just when I thought there was a stopping point, nay, a saturation point of how much YA lit one could read, along comes a book that cleansed my palate.

Enter Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Killer by Seth Grahame-Smith.

The author of the book lives in the most quaint town in New York. His passion of writing gave way to other more important things, like marriage and children, and he soon finds himself the sole employee of a small five-and-dime store. No one really comes by, except for wealthy Henry, who buys fifty bucks worth of things and goes on. But one night, something extraordinary happens when Henry delivers a treasure trove. Ten lost journals of Abraham Lincoln, which chronicles not only his life since childhood, but his involvement with the dark side...and his first encounter with vampires...

Read like a true biography of Abraham Lincoln, the reader becomes intrigued in the smooth segues between true history and absolute fiction. It's seamless and it's simply fascinating to read. From his early childhood in Kentucky to all the moves afterwards that Thomas Lincoln took his family through, the journals chronicle everything historical that happened to Abraham. His mother's death wasn't through disease, but by vampiric intervention. It details the historically arguable fact of his move to New Salem and his first true love, Ann Rutledge, who also died because of sinister political vampire motivation. Was Jefferson Davis a supporter of the Southern Vampire and did he actually try to kill Lincoln? What about John Wilkes Booth? Human or vengeful vampire?

The premise of this book is why the Civil War was actually fought, but the origination of vampires in America begins with John White in 1587 and his colonists who disappeared with only CRO carved on a tree. Henry Sturges was there in the beginning and is the man who gave the journals to the author working the five-and-dime. He was the guiding force behind Abe's career as a vampire killer and the force behind Abe's presidential nomination and win.

Grahame-Smith second book with this novel approach was more to my taste because of the historical nature of the book itself. What a keen and sharp mind this novelist had to create and capture what has been written by countless biographers of Abraham Lincoln's life and weave in fictional details that coincides perfectly with reality.

Could this be one teens would pick up? Absolutely! Pair it with James Swanson's Licoln's Killer, a great YA non-fiction book and you have a pair that's a winner. I am definitely putting this on my booktalk list! And the cherry on top? The "photos" interspersed within the novel as well as the cover....

Friday, March 26, 2010

Birthmarked by Caragh M. O'Brien

Gaia just delivered her first advanced. In a world that has been ravaged by the energy hungry people of the past, Gaia’s world at the beginning of the 25th century consists of months of no rain, eating mycoprotein, living on the shores of the unlake (once, one of the Great Lakes) and serving as a midwife. Every month, three babies from Wharfton, a town outside the walls of the Enclave, are taken from their mothers and given a better chance at life inside the protected walls of those with more wealth and privilege.

Gaia doesn’t mind too much. With the scar covering most of the left side of her face, she’s an abomination to others, but her parents still love her. And with dedication, Gaia is striving to become as good as midwife as her mother and better at serving the Enclave.

Until one night when the Guards arrest her parents and Gaia’s mother’s assistant flees to the Dead Forest. And at her own home, Gaia first meets young Captain Gray, with hard eyes, no emotions, and a vested interest in his service to the Protectorat. After their encounter, Gaia begins to wonder what will happen, but the uncertain future turns into action when she is given a secret her parents have been keeping from everyone....

Gaia ventures out of Wharfton and away from her normal life of hard work, rewarded by TValtar passes for entertainment, to the white-washed, perfect world of the Enclave. She will find her parents and help them escape from prison…but will they make it out?

Add this to the list of amazing dystopian YA novels already published. O’Brien’s dark future and the rules that govern the new world go hand in hand with some of today’s controversial issues, especially ones dealing with genetics. The stark reality that Gaia and the others live and deal with as normalcy slowly evolves into an awareness of what is truly happening not only in their lives, but in their societies as well. This is the first installment, with a sequel to follow and will definitely be an excellent companion lit to Collins’s Hunger Games and Shusterman’s Unwind.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Things all participants should know about doing the convention in Texas

And if you've never been, you MUST come! San Antonio, to me, is one of the best venues by far for this and weather promises to be great! I remember my first time - lonely and scared, I didn't know a person at all. Went to the workshops and went straight back to my room. And worst of all, never even made it into the exhibit hall. Had NO idea what was going on. So, here are some things (if you're new, been there a time or two, or have lived and breathed it for decades) that I think all TLA'ers should know about one of the largest state library conventions in the U.S.:

1. Come early, stay late! There is way too much to go to when it comes to speakers, workshops, and programs. Some of my favorites this year are - Teri Lesesne's New Books for Teens (and some Tweens, Too); Novels in Verse: Powerful Poetry for Teens; Booktalking YA Reading Lists; Speed Geeking with New Technology Tools; Tayshas: Hot High School Authors; A Conversation Between Books and Technology.

2. Browse that program guide until your hands bleed!! Look at the pictures (remember, in testing, pictures are very important! So too, in program guides!) Look for authors' names, other librarians who are presenting that you recognize from blogs or listservs, and most importantly scheduling conflicts. Network it!!

3. Okay, this should have been number one, but too late. I was going to say book a room, but you still can! They'll be booking rooms for next year this year! DO IT NOW...save some headaches for later.

4. OMG...that's all I can say about the exhibit halls. Did you know they give away ARCS like crazy? Did you know they give away tons of candy? Did you know you can enter to win all sorts of amazing things? Authors are there IN THE BOOTHS!!! I remember seeing Beth Coe one year and people just passing her by like she wasn't there. TALK...say hello...you never know....

5. Take it all in and be prepared to let it all out at night! That may be going to the socials, free or paid, if that's your thing. (Follett's Sweets Night is always a popular one!) It could mean hanging on the riverwalk doing some dinner. It may mean sitting in your hotel under a warm blanket reading the newest galleys you just received. Or it could be getting onto the free wi-fi somewhere where you don't have to pay stinking 15.00 bucks a day to use and blogging, checking email, putting in new bookmarks, etc...

6. You are my hero if you wear shoes with heels over half an inch that aren't made of something cushiony. At this point, fashion goes to the back of the wardrobe and I'll be rockin' it in Nike's, Sperries, Vans, or flip flops! Same with the clothes. Bermudas, comfy sweaters (because sometimes the convention center is like the NORTH POLE) and khakis round out my outerwear : )

7. And will you still be alone? Never fear!! I'm a pretty friendly person and I'd love to hang out with you and have lunch, and since I know San Antonio pretty well, we can get some great Mexican food : )

See ya'll in two weeks!!!

Friday, March 19, 2010

I was going to read a WHOLE bunch during spring break...really I was!

I had a list of books, including the newest galley from April Henry (which is on the top! LOVED the premise of this book!) waiting to be read during long drives and late nights. And on top of that, I decided to get out of my familiar comfort zone of realistic YA fiction and read something I haven't in awhile, including fantasy and science fiction.
Well, I'm stalled in the fantasy area. Those books are HUGE!! I'm talking about 600 pages huge! I'm nearly done with it, but I've been reading Dragons of Darkness by Antonia Michaelis. And I'm thoroughly enjoying it. For those teens out there who devour dragon books and the incredible, they need to be prepared for this journey into dark lands, darker warlords and two teenage guys with lots of luck and fortitude.
I'm reserving final judgment on this book until I've finished with it, but thought I'd let you know I haven't stopped blogging, just reading an incredibly thick book. And to think I wanted to swim through Stephen King's Under the Dome. What was I thinking??

Well, they predict SNOW IN TEXAS tomorrow so that'll be a great respite from road-tripping for spring break. Home and a good book...or three..

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

What's your book?

In the last three years, I've read some amazing YA books, some that were okay, and some that were disturbing to read, which is as it should be. Not all YA lit is going to be what affects every person the same. Case in point, after reading Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott, I thought about that book for days afterward. In fact, I could only read that book in chunks, even though it was relatively short. And then, news about J.C. Dugard came out and I couldn't help but think about Scott's YA novel and real-life....and yes, I thought this book was amazing.
So, if you had to pick a book (or two but no more than three)that had full impact, which one(s) would it be? For me, it was the above, but also Julius Lester's Guardian. Can't believe we haven't heard more about that from blog posts and/or listserv posts. To me, it was that powerful, but as I stated above...
So, if you come across this post and have two minutes, post what you think are those books that are what you consider power YA novels that make you think, cringe a little, and dig a little deeper....

Monday, March 15, 2010

Chasing Brooklyn by Lisa Schroeder - book trailer

I finished this Friday, but then spring break started. I love posting on this blog, sharing on the listserv, talking to fellow colleagues, spring break still calls. If you asked me what the date is today, I'd say, "Who cares?" So for those of you on spring break, you feel me, and those of you that aren't - be patient....it's coming : ) SO...I am posting this trailer I just finished. Enjoy it! I'll put it on schooltube for embedding and sharing later this week.
BTW, this isn't the first trailer I made for this author. Also did one for Far From You as well. I just enjoy her writing and her books. Thanks Lisa for your talent!

I'm giving you the NHS library link of booktrailers so you can see it in all of it's glory - http://www.nisdtx.org/120820731141528687/blank/browse.asp?A=383&BMDRN=2000&BCOB=0&C=70538

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Things to do...

1. Put this 23things to bed and soon!! I'm slowly but surely working with others to create a dynamic 23things for librarians in our district, but didn't know until we started working on it how much goes into creating one of these!! It'll be great though, and am looking forward to piloting this on librarians here...

2. Finish the Chasing Brooklyn by Lisa Schroeder trailer. Look for it to be posted Friday or Saturday. So far, I'm about 1/3 of the way finished, and I'm liking what I'm seeing : )

3. Getting reading to gear up for the spring booktalk and getting that ppt in order, but I think this time I'm going to do a prezi! Only, I can't embed Animoto into a free subscription, so it may have to be powerpoint. Here are the titles I'll be booktalking:

Very LeFreak by Rachel Cohn
Chasing Brooklyn by Lisa Schroeder
The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown
Nevermore: Photobiography of Edgar Allen Poe by Karen Lange
Dawn by Kevin Brooks
Rikers High by Paul Volponi
The Dark Devine by Bree DeSpain
Mysteries of Beethoven's Hair by Russell Martin
I'm Down by Mishna Wolff
Lockdown by Walter Dean Myers
Numbers by Rachel Ward
Broken Soup by Jenny Valentine
Sleepless by Thomas Fahy
Coffeehouse Angel by Suzanne Selfours
Last Night I Sang to the Monster by Benjamin Saenz
Purge by Sarah Littman
Reality Check by Peter Abrahams
Bad Girls Don't Die by Katie Alender
Freeze Frame by Heidi Ayarbe
Lockdown by Alexander Smith
Wish You Were Dead by Todd Strasser
Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey
Oh. My. Gods by Tera Childs

Hmmmm, looking back at the list, I have:
3 non-fiction
2 adult titles
1 novel in prose
9 guy books
11 girl books
3 romantic "chick lit"
2 mystery
10 realistic fiction
4 supernatural books
4 suspense/thriller

Looks like a great, rounded set of booktalking books to me!!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Chasing Brooklyn by Lisa Schroeder

Brooklyn is still trying to cope. It’s only been a year since Lucca left her, and she can’t shake that feeling away. She feels the loss, the emptiness…and wishes time and time again she would’ve been home when the accident happened. Would things have gone differently? Still, she glides through life, smiling empty smiles and pretending Lucca can see and hear her, is near her even though it’s only a cemetery or a comic book shop she used to go to every Friday with him…

Nico gets up everyday feeling the same emptiness and loneliness. It’s bad losing your little brother, but even worse when he was your best friend too. Nico takes out his frustration by pounding the pavement, the track…running running running. At school, he becomes invisible, not talking to anyone – not even old friends. And home? It seems the only thing his parents can see is perfect Lucca and how Nico will never be able to hold a candle to his spirit.

But tragedy lends itself to more tragedy in Brooklyn and Nico’s life when a good friend of theirs, as well as Lucca’s, kills himself. He couldn’t handle the fact that he was the one behind the wheel…the one in the car when Lucca died…and now there’s two gone.
But are they?

Brooklyn has nightmares. She wakes up screaming, trying to run away from the dead, but Gabe keeps following her, both in and out of sleep and he won’t stop until she understands what he’s saying to her. Equally, Lucca is keeping Nico awake, haunting him with warnings, hoping Nico understands the message that is so important to Lucca.
But can both the living and dead understand what is truly going on?

Lisa Schroeder writes YA novels that are to be devoured. Quick-paced with a wealth of characters, this novel not only visits the impact of death on teens who have experienced a loved one dying, but it also mildly segues into her previous novel, I Heart You, You Haunt Me. These two novels of Schroeder’s share a lot in common theme-wise, but build that theme differently, from the characters’ relationships with not only their friends, but their families as well, which defines who they are. Joining the ranks of other supernatural YA fiction, Schroeder’s novel will be well-received by YA readers, but it’s her departure into prose that makes this one stand out.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Cool library video

TAKS testing kicked my butt!! Had to test for two days and couldn't get back into the groove. Sorry that I haven't posted in awhile. Have some books read to do that though! In the meantime, enjoy their oddly weird but cool video.
PS - check out the mentos gum commercial. I don't know if I'm happy cool kids hang out in the library or upset that the stereotype is still alive and well....

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Some interesting websites...

Do you keep a booklist? I do...have one by genre that I add to everytime I read a new one. I'm starting to keep better tabs on them with my 22books.com but there's a lot of lists I'm still needing to update. And there are some real treasures out there of lists of YA books. Technology...gotta love that it takes the guesswork, as well as the leg work, out of listing! Here are some of my favorites:

Flashlight Worthy Books: This website is chock full of lists, either created by the two guys who started this website, or by contributors. The lists for young adults is pretty comprehensive and updated!

Library Booklists: This website isn't only for YA, it has children's, adult and non-fiction lists as well! I like the clean interface, and the lists are actual links to other entities (mainly libraries) that has created lists on a particular topic. Consider this a compendium of booklist links. You'll be overwhelmed in a good way!

Who doesn't know about goodreads.com? I think everyone should visit this site at least once, but be warned....it's like Lay's potato chips. Bet you can't visit just once! I especially like their lists page. Just type in "young adult" and start falling in love. This is by far the best of the websites. Extremely updated and visually appealing. Give the listopia a try!

Know of any others? Add a comment and share with the others who follow this blog, plus I'd like to see some more as well.
I have an interesting list I'm working on right now. Every six weeks I ask teachers to send me what they read and I put a placard on their door. It's cool to see what teachers are reading as well as the many books they've read. Let's not forget the reading connection they're creating with students! A lot of the books they're reading or have read we have in the library or I'm ordering because they just need to be in the library. I'm going to create a list as well as put all of these with the teacher's name beside it on display in the library. Bring a little of the classroom onto the shelves and continue creating relationships.
I had this epiphany while sitting in a class giving a TAKS test...that's what several loooong hours will do! After the test was returned,I got to read quietly with my student and chose Very LeFreak by Rachel Cohn, which will be reviewed here in a day or two. Preview: Hmmmmmm.....Interesting book....

Monday, March 1, 2010

My newest booktrailer is a departure from the rest...

I read the most interesting YA non-fiction book in the last six months, and decided to create a trailer for it. Who says book trailers are just for fiction only?