Friday, April 24, 2015

Reasons Why You Shouldn't Join Twitter (the unlearning experience)

So, I would say I'm a pretty connected librarian, and I definitely will say my professional Twitter account has really taught me a lot.  Not only have a learned SO MUCH, but it has also helped me connect with colleagues, authors, and libraries; be a voice for the librarian in a chat room full of teachers and administrators; and allows me to share my passions.

With that in mind, I'm dedicating this blog post to some of the best things I've tweeted, learned about, and connected with since January 2015.  This is just a sampling and if you like the taste of this tech piece of chocolate, you really should think about joining in :)

What I've learned from others (Jan 2015-present):

Things I've Shared (Jan 2015-present:

My three favorite Twitter chats:
#readYAlit (of course!) It happens once a month and is all about young adult literature.  Not just titles, but more meaty topics about YA lit.  Topics like sexual violence in YA lit to revamped dystopia/author chat to unreliable characters in YA lit are discussed.  And yes, there are tweet chat where it's all about readers'choice of excellent YA books too.  It really helps me keep updated on new books and really helps with my ordering list!

#eduality  happens every Monday night, and I wish that evening was free, but alas!  I can't always join this one.  But when I do, I LOVE IT.  This is a no holds barred chat about education...the good, the bad and everything in between.  The chats are also very thought provoking as well.  Questions like, "If you could put something from today's world of ed in a time capsule to make sure in 100 yrs it is valued, what would it be?" The other tweets this anonymous Twitterer writes are hilariously true!

#txeduchat is on Sundays weekly and if nothing else, I love to be involved and to learn from teachers and administrators from around the state and the different ways districts in Texas are doing innovative things.  There is nothing like "hometown" connections, and this chat, although not one specifically for librarians, is perfect for the teacher side of this librarian.

Lurking, tipping your toes in the water, or doing a freefall into's all good! Hope to see you on the flip side!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Cuckoo Song by Frances Hardinge

Amulet Books, May 2015

Triss has woken up, not really knowing what happened before.  She vaguely remembers who she is, where she’s from, or who her family is.  Triss is also afraid.  She sees the dolls she’s always loved since childhood, watching her as she moves around the room, calling to her.  Is it her mind playing tricks on her or is it really happening?  All she knows is she’s ravenously hungry…

When the Crescents arrive home after their fatal holiday, they also begin to notice changes in their beloved daughter.  She’s eating everything set before her as well as everything in the pantry.  She begins to snoop on her parents’ conversation instead of being the docile and obedient daughter she once was.  The only thing that hasn’t changed is her little sister’s utter contempt and hatred for her. 

Triss begins to notice changes in herself she desperately tries to hide.  Leaves fall from her hair and dirt ends up in her bed and nightgown.  She’s eaten some of the dolls in the room and has even gone outside to devour the rotten apples no longer clinging to the trees.  These slow changes come to fruition when she realizes exactly who she is…and she’s not Triss.

Pen, her little sister, has been in contact with the Architect, a dark man who is handsomely disguised, driving a beautifully menacing black Daimler.  He’s the one who had the power to bring Triss to life and trade her for the real Triss.  He also isn’t finished with the havoc he wants to reap on Piers Crescent and him family for the binding agreement Piers made with him.  Something dark and personal…  Triss realizes she needs to help not only stop to the Architect and the Besiders from hurting the real Triss, but also from hurting her as well. 

Set in the backdrop of England after World War I, the reader will get completely lost is the magical realism Hardinge writes.  You’ll meet characters like Violet, a girl who loves jazz and rides a motorcycle but always is running from the winter she brings to Mr. Grace, a tailor who wields his scissors with talent along with the beautiful tea cakes he sets before his guests to the family dynamics of the Crescents, who don’t like change in a world on the tip of tremendous transformation.    Hardinge takes everything from a magical period in history and blends it with the magic in the book portrayed from the sympathetic Triss to the ruthlessness of the Architect to the strange creatures called the Besiders who live within the bridges and buildings of the city.  EXCELLENT read and highly recommended for JH/HS.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

The Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Orion, 2015

Mare Barrow lives in a world divided between the wealthy (the Silvers) and the poor (The Reds). Her days consist of pick-pocketing to help her family survive.  Her father, a veteran of the war, cannot help so she and her sister take on work, either legal or illegal, to supply what little food and electricity they can.

The lives between the Silvers and the Reds run in completely separate veins.  Mare, her family, Kilorn (her best friend), and everyone else living in poverty in the Stilts are Reds.  They have nothing special about them except to ensure Silvers' lives of leisure.  The blood that runs through their them is even 

Silvers, on the other hand, not only have money and power, but are also gifted with extraordinary abilities.  Some can manipulate water, other can read your minds, still others are strong enough to crush rock with their bare hands.  There are fire starters, swifts, greeneys, and stoneskins, to name a few, and ever Silver is not only gifted with an ability, but their blood also runs silver, a beautiful and rich color.

Life in the Stilts is about to get worse for Mare Barrow's family.  When her sister can no longer work, Mare goes into full mode pick-pocketing.  Her best friend Kilorn, whom Mare has known since childhood, is in danger of being conscripted to fight in a battle between the Lakelanders and the Norta, which has lasted decades and decades.  His leaving is tearing at Mare, and she'll do anything to stop this from happening.

One fateful night will forever change the destiny of not only Mare, but her family's and Kilorn's as well.  Once a roamer of the streets, Mare is now at the Silvers monarchy's summer palace to serve and it's there that she unleashes a power unlike anything ever seen. But how can a Red have the abilities of a Silver?

Mare's life becomes a whirlwind where she now needs to balance two opposing sides - first as a newly formed future princess and pawn to a crown prince and secondly, as part of a hidden renegade group of Reds wanting to take down the hierarchy. But which life will she fight hardest for and whose trust will turn out to be a lie?

This is a novel that fantasy readers have been waiting for.  From the land where Reds and Silvers live to the individual powers displayed, to the deep and cunning nature of the renegades, Aveyard has created a sweeping fantasy that enchants and intrigues the reader to keep trying to figure out the twists, plots, schemes and relationships it presents.  Mare is a strong main character and the two characters vying for her attention in different ways create a polarity in personality that makes this book work.  The only thing missing is a map of this new world Aveyard has created, but those with enough fantastical imagination can create one of their own easily through the richness of the setting written in this new fanasty for YA.  Highly recommended for JH/HS