Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sunday Links

Want to play Indiana Jones* while you Procrastinate? As muralgirl says, "This website gives you untranslated chunks of ancient Greek papyri texts from Oxyrhynchus, Egypt to transcribe. There are a series of characters for you to match up with what you see on the fragments. It’s kind of a fun puzzle, and it helps speed along the transcription of these documents so that they can be deciphered. Some of them are much harder to read than others, so click next a few times until you find a sheet where you can actually make out the letters. Nerdy fun! *Not the exciting part of his job." I've had way too much fun with this this week - and even got the girls helping! Early literacy - pattern recognition and all that.

Jennifer Egan has written the most fantastic short story here but she has cleverly disguised it as a list. Go read it. Trust me. SO GOOD! Thanks to Galley Cat for pointing me in that direction.

MelissaZD who hosts the fantastic Flannel Friday has created some Pinterest boards for Flannel Friday! I think it's about time I got off my cushy librarian chair and posted some of the Flannels I've made recently! Important question: if I make flannels and don't share them with the internet, do they make a sound?

As you can imagine I was over the moon with this list of pirate picture books. What are your favorites?

Also - I feel the need to point out that I had a daughter named Pippa before it was cool. (Hipster LP)

I am writing this on Saturday (cheater LP is a cheater) and it's the anniversary of the first Defenestration of Prague. And really any excuse to use the word defenestration I take! So! Happy Day After the Anniversary of the First Defenestration of Prague!

I am currently on a jet plane to Colorado to spend a week and a half. I may be even less bloggy than usual! Or maybe I'll be twice as prolific. VACATION - you never know what's going to happen.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

New Picture Book Round-up!

Title: Creepy Monsters, Sleepy Monsters: a lullaby
Author: Jane Yolen
Publisher: Candlewick
Pub Date: 7/12/2011
Reviewed from: Sitting here on the new books cart at my library

I read this book without looking at the author then when I decided to review it I looked at the author and said, "Oh! Jane Yolen! No wonder this book is so much fun." And it is. So. Much. Fun. Rhyming text sends monster after monster home and off to bed. Kelly Murphy's art is muted and gorgeous! I read Hush Little Dragon in storytime yesterday and recognized her art style immediately! SO pretty! I'm putting this on my "to be used in storytime ASAP" list.

Title: Farmyard Beat
Author: Lindsey Craig
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Pub Date: 6/14/2011
Reviewed from: Sitting here on the new books cart at my library

Yet another new book that I couldn't wait to use in a storytime! Last week I had a dance theme and when I saw this on the new books shelf I couldn't resist. One animal can't sleep and starts making their very own beat and then they all wake up. At the end they all make their special beats together for a rousing chorus! I think it would be great fun to record that end piece - or with older kids (in our 4,5,K) give each child their own beat - so we can have all the sounds going at once! I am proud of my storytime skills but I can only be saying one thing at a time. Anyway - this is lovely. Check it out and use it in storytime!

Title: Moo, Moo, Brown Cow, Have you any Milk?
Author: Phillis Gershator
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Pub Date: 6/28/2011
Reviewed from: Sitting here on the new books cart at my library

I want to pair this one with How to Make an Apple Pie and see the World by Marjorie Priceman. This is How to Make an Apple Pie and see the World for beginners, though. Drawing on the poem Baa, Baa, Black Sheep the poem tells you what humans use from each animal (sheep - wool, chickens - eggs, cow - milk) and tells you how each thing is used (down feathers - pillow, honey - spread on bread, etc) all while sticking with the rhythm of the nursery rhyme it's building on. This one is nice and sweet and is perfect to recommend to the person who loves reading the quiet, gentle books during storytime.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sunday Links

My friend* Julie wrote this great piece about how getting an MLIS could be so much better. My favorite part was where she said that, "children and teen librarians need to take courses in Child Development. The one class period spent during a materials class is not sufficient." As I said in the comments, I’ve been debating going back for some early childhood classes but lack the free time/money to do so so I’ve been self-educating with my library’s parent-teacher collection and TED talks (talks tagged children and education). It isn’t quite the same but it’s keeping me in the game! Do y'all have any favorite continuing education resources? I'm going to start sharing my favorites here - in a very thinly veiled effort to get me doing more!

Harry Potter. What can I say about HP7.5 except that I absolutely loved it and cried and cried and cried. That said (and despite my absolute love for Harry Potter) I also loved Sady Doyle's quite brilliant In Praise of Joanna Rowling's Hermione Granger Series.

Peter Dickinson wrote a gorgeous post called In Defense of Rubbish that made me super happy. It's from 2002 but I just discovered it!

*By friend I mean wonderful lady who I met once at a DLS conference who I have been blog-stalking ever since. I am an absolute hermit so I tend to count blog-stalking as friendship.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Secrets, Monsters, and Magic Mirrors by Donald B Lemke

Title: Secrets, Monsters, and Magic Mirrors
Author: Donald B Lemke
Publisher: Capstone
Pub Date: 08/01/2011
Reviewed from: egalley received from publisher

What can I say? I loved Secrets, Monsters, and Magic Mirrors. I'm a sucker for fairy tales. I'm a sucker for graphic novels. Take those two, combine them, and do them well? I'm yours forever. Secrets, Monsters, and Magic Mirrors doesn't retell any of the fairy tales - you never know why the witch so desperately wants a baby in Rapunzel or why the parents seemingly give her up without a fight. You just get the basic story and you get absolutely gorgeous artwork. Seriously. Look at this cover! The artwork is beautiful. I just wanted to lick the pictures. But I didn't because, ya know, egalley. No licking the electronics.

This is a short review just because what else is there to say? We all know these stories and the artwork just needs to be seen! Kinsie especially was a fan of these graphic novels and despite graphic novels being a pain in the keister to read aloud I have read them to her every night for a week and I am not complaining one iota.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Awaken - Katie Kacvinsky

Title: Awaken
Author: Katie Kacvinsky
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
Pub Date: 05/23/2011 (on shelves NOW!)
Reviewed from: egalley received from publisher

Awaken is a dystopian book* set in a future where school violence has let to all school being done at home on the internet. Everyone has become completely disconnected from everyone else - meeting someone face to face is rare. Ok, can we start by noting the weirdness of reading this book as an e-book?** And I read the majority of this book on my phone so every time they mentioned the ubiquity of everyone's "flipscreens" and how everyone seems glued to said flipscreens? I felt a huge pang of guilt.

*insert obligatory "all YA books nowadays are dystopian" comment
** I have a feeling that, since they gave out a lot of egalleys of this book that this has been a fairly common sentiment in the blogosphere. But I try to avoid reviews of books that I'm going to review because my opinion is easily swayed so I'm going to pretend that I'm original and brilliant here, ok?

Our hero, Maddie, is the daughter of the founder of digital school. A few years back she aided some hackers to try to take down digital school which broke her father's trust in her and she's been grounded ever since. Her father monitors everything she does online and the only bit of face-to-face socialization she gets is at soccer. Then she meets Justin online who convinces her to come to an in person study session and all heck breaks loose.

Overall this was an absolutely fun dystopian that made me want to grab a paper book*** and go read it outside in the sunshine. The romance was a bit heavy handed but I don't think a teenager would think so. I did wish I knew more what Justin DID. Everyone in the resistance keeps talking about how important Justin is to the resistance and oh mah geeze he's risking himself for some girl this will bring the whole resistance down tragedy tragedy tragedy! But what did he do for the resistance that was so special?

I very much appreciated that this book didn't try to say that technology is evil. The resistance lives a simpler life but not a completely lacking in computers/cars/lights/running water sort of life. I appreciate that! BUT! I do wish that dystopians would quit saying that in the future we're going to get all our food in convenient perfectly balanced nutritional pills/bars/crap. People absolutely love food and I don't think that we're going to let the government take that away from us any time soon. (Seriously - first they came for the pies and I didn't care because pie is evil. Then they came for the cakes and I STARTED A GOSH DARN REVOLUTION!)

Feminism quotient****: I got annoyed in the beginning because every dystopian ever***** has a girl enmeshed in the dystopia and then some enlightened man comes and enlightens her. Seriously - think about it. Have you ever read one with an enmeshed male and a female comes and enlightens him? Half a point for 1984 where Winston and Julia enlighten each other. As I read Awaken, though, her rebellion years earlier took on larger meaning. Justin was recruiting Maddie to the cause, yes, but her rebellion years ago had made her a hero to Justin and she had inspired him. Awaken is fairly heteronomative but in a book where you only get to see the inner life of two people I mostly forgive it. Overall I give it two feminist thumbs up.

***I love digital books. I am not one who thinks that ebooks are heralding the end of paper books or lamenting what was - but Awaken did give me a feeling of nostalgia for paper books and seeing my neighbors! So reading in the park it was.

****Yes, this is a new thing. FEMINISM QUOTIENT. Hush. I'm trying to get more critical because I tend to just like all things at all times.

*****Slight exaggeration

Check out Anna's much more nuanced review for a less enthusiastic opinion.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Way belatedSunday Links

So - life has been full of hospital visits and wildness and thankfully everybody turning out ok but I've been way behind in both my RSS feed and my blogging (I keep making resolutions to blog more but pfft!) so please forgive me if some of these links are a bit old. They're just things I loved around the innertubes.

Abby the Librarian (who I probably link to way to much but whatevs. She's my blogging idol and if you don't read her you should) has continued her "help me help you" series with a post about summer reading. It's a pretty comprehensive list - the only thing I would add is Just because you've signed the kids up for summer reading doesn't mean you're done with sign-ups! Off you go to the adult services department to sign yourself up then get some great family reading time together!

My friend and fellow librarian linked to this awesome craft for making glowing firefly jars. My library doesn't allow us to do crafts that involve paint but I absolutely love this anyway. Someone in the comments mentioned donig the same thing to the inside of christmas ornaments - I'm thinking that may be a brilliant idea! Only then I'd hang them up in the girl's room? Maybe - we'll see.

I just read this post about the 10 hottest men in YA fiction and I only agree with maybe 2 of them but it got me thinking about who I think are the 10 hottest people in YA fiction. I feel like it changes every time I read a new book! What do y'all think?

I just read that Borders is going to officially close all stores which makes me sad. While I try to shop indie whenever I can, Borders closing seems to me to be one step closer to an Amazon monopoly which doesn't seem like it would be the best idea.

Monday, July 04, 2011

The Mystery of the Blue Ring by Patricia Reilly Giff

Title: The Mystery of the Blue Ring*
Author: Patricia Reilly Giff
Publisher: Open Road Media
Pub Date: rereleased on 06/28/2011
Reviewed from: Review copy from NetGalley

After reading the Net Galley article I linked yesterday I went over to NetGalley and found this fantastic book by Patricia Reilly Giff that I devoured instantly. The Polka Dot Private Eye has been around since I was a child but I'm not a huge fan of mysteries so I hadn't read it 'till now, and now that I've read the first one I feel rather guilty that I've let so much time go past without having read them.

Dawn "borrowed" her friend's unicorn awhile back and now they're not so much friends anymore. The interactions between Dawn and Emily are perfect. Dawn keeps trying to decide if she still likes Emily but Emily is taking up too much room when washing her hands! And Emily picked the vegetable that SHE wanted during art! So clearly she must be out to get Dawn still. Giff always seems to GET how kids interact, ya know? If you already semi resent someone (for being justifiably mad at you) then everything they do is obviously done just to upset you.

Anyway, Emily's blue ring goes missing and half the class thinks that Dawn did it because of the aforementioned unicorn incident so Dawn pulls out her new polka dot detectives hat and decides to solve the mystery herself.

This book is perfect for those just starting chapter books. I in fact have a special patron in mind who is just starting chapter books and who especially likes books where THINKS HAPPEN! who will be given this book on Wednesday. Fingers crossed that she likes it!

*I know normally I link to indiebound but I couldn't find this book there so y'all will have to deal with Amazon.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Sunday Links

I adore NetGalley - I haven't read anything from then in ages but that's my fault, not theirs. OliveReader has a fantastic blog post about how to craft a good NetGalley Bio. I hadn't looked at my bio in ages when I came across this and I definitely went back and looked over what I have on there! Fortunately I seemed to pass muster.

Do you want to absolutely pull your hair out with frustration? Then read this absolutely awful article entitled "Save the Library - Fire the Librarians. Many thanks (I think?) to Librarianbyday for tweeting a link. Warning: the link is rage-inducing and awful.