School Library Journal The world's largest reviewer of books, multimedia, and technology for children and teens Wed, 01 Oct 2014 08:00:35 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Go to the Head of the Class: College Readiness Programming at the Library Tue, 30 Sep 2014 22:12:53 +0000 summersession3rev 300x146 Go to the Head of the Class: College Readiness Programming at the Library

Lone Star College-CyFair Teen Librarian Elise Sheppard conducting a Study Skills workshop to high school juniors and seniors in the CyFair College Academy.

Why wait to offer study skills to academically troubled college students when they needed them beforehand? There’s a bit of a backstory to how the College Readiness program came to be at the Lone Star College-Cyfair Branch Library. I work for Lone Star College-CyFair (LSC-CF), one of the campuses of the Lone Star College System (LSCS) in metropolitan Houston, Texas, which has a shared library system with the Harris County Public Library.

From 2004–2008, the Counseling Department at LSCS in which I am a teen/reference Librarian, created and offered study skills classes called HUMD (Human Development) for our college students who were in trouble academically. Observing those sessions in 2007, I thought the information imparted by the counselors was invaluable and could benefit middle and high school students. The information could help students successfully maneuver through and graduate from high school, as well as from higher education. I decided to host my own classes based on the HUMD model. Our counselors generously gave me all of their class material which I revised to fit pre-college teens.

summersession2rev Go to the Head of the Class: College Readiness Programming at the Library

The Writing & Speaking workshop, also conducted by Sheppard, is popular with students.

My unique position serving teens in a completely meshed college academic/public library provided me with the resources and target group to achieve my goal.  In 2008 when LSCS became a stakeholder in the Achieving the Dream initiative, I incorporated college readiness workshops into my teen library programs. Achieving the Dream is a national course of action for community colleges to help students succeed in higher education, especially those students who have a variety of obstacles that endanger the successful completion of their associate degrees or workforce certificates. The initiative focuses primarily on students who are African American, first of family in college, or low-income.

Achieving the Dream makes the college accountable for putting educational support in place for students to be successful. In conjunction with the Achieving the Dream initiative, LSCS developed an accredited pre-college student success class called EDUC 1300 for students who tested into remedial classes but not into regular college-level classes. Beginning with the current semester academic year, EDUC 1300 has become mandatory for all incoming freshmen.

My study skills sessions for teens, based on our counselors’ HUMD classes and inspired further by EDUC 1300, were divided into eight sections lasting approximately 1-1/2 hours each:

  1. Memory – Short- and long-term memory; retrieval of information; frequent testing assists long-term memory and better test results; strategies used for aiding memory.
  2. Note Taking – The process of taking notes is as important as the notes themselves; effective note taking.
  3. Self-Esteem – How we see ourselves is more important than how others view us; having or lacking self-confidence affects everything we do; self-esteem leads to self-confidence; no one is perfect.
  4. Time Management – We don’t manage time, it manages us; quit procrastinating cold turkey and prioritize; do your most abhorrent or difficult tasks first and get them out of the way.
  5. Writing & Speaking – Prepare a formal three-part outline; how to overcome anxiety; guides and principles for writing well; lead your readers or listeners so they will want to continue reading/listening; the conclusion is as important as the introduction; rewriting.
  6. Selling Your Marketable Skills & Job Interviewing – We “sell” ourselves to others our whole lives; how to present yourself; resumes; how to, look for, apply for, and interview for a job.
  7. Preparing for an Exam – Study tips; test taking practice; simulating tests.
  8. Test Anxiety & Test Taking – Reducing anxiety; being prepared; test taking strategies – brain dump, eliminating wrong answers, essay questions.

Offered at different times during the year, I found that the best attended sessions were those held during the summer. June through July, the workshops were given once a week, but the most popular summer time frame was in August the week before school started, with back to back sessions, two per day, Monday through Thursday. Special workshops were given to specific requesting groups, such as homeschooled, students who went to private schooled, and even to individuals. One of the teen groups that I felt I could make an impact on and contribute to its mission was the LSC CyFair College Academy that evolved from a LSC-CF pilot program, “Middle School to College.”

The Academy involved African American and Hispanic middle and high school boys, helping to prepare them for college. As with many of my teen programs—semimonthly classic literature discussions; computer workshops; tutoring/SAT preparation for math, English, chemistry and physics; community service projects; other activities—it appeared to me that only the most motivated teens participated. Many kids who could have benefited from the workshops did not attend. I continue to reach out to these patrons, and also to the school district in our service area, hoping to help them get a jump start on their futures in college or in a workforce program by giving them the tools needed in middle and high school, and in life.

See also:
School and Academic Librarians Must Join Forces to Foster College Readiness
Study Ties College Success to Students’ Exposure to a High School Librarian


Elise Sheppard is a young adult librarian and professor at the Harris County Public Library/Lone Star College-CyFair Branch Library, located in Cypress, Texas.

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YALSA Summer Reading Grants; “My Library Story” Campaign from Gale | SLJTeen News Tue, 30 Sep 2014 20:19:33 +0000 YALSA 2015 Summer Reading and Teen Intern Grant Applications Now Open

Books DG Litfinalsmall YALSA Summer Reading Grants; My Library Story Campaign from Gale | SLJTeen NewsThe applications for the 2015 Summer Reading Resources Grant and the 2015 Summer Reading Teen Intern Grant are now open for members of the Young Adult Library Services Association. A total of 20 grants, $1,000 for each grant type will be awarded, thanks to the support of the Dollar General Literacy Foundation. Interested applicants are encouraged to apply by January 1, 2015.

Gale’s New “My Library Story” Campaign Advocates for Libraries

Change the Headlines1 YALSA Summer Reading Grants; My Library Story Campaign from Gale | SLJTeen NewsGale wants all library users—school, public, academic—to share their library story. For every story submitted that demonstrates the value and impact of today’s libraries (now through February 28, 2015), Gale will donate $1 toward advertising in mainstream media that will promote libraries during National Library Week in 2015. Check out this short video for inspiration.

Foreign Language Scholarships Available from the Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs

Approximately 600 scholarships are available for the 2015-16 academic year for American high school students to study language through the National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y) program. NSLI-Y is funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The program seeks to increase Americans’ capacity to engage with native speakers of critical languages by NSLI logo YALSA Summer Reading Grants; My Library Story Campaign from Gale | SLJTeen Newsproviding formal and informal language learning through a study abroad experience, which includes language classes and living in a local community abroad, often with a host family.

To be eligible for 2015-16 program scholarships, applicants must be U.S. citizens (ages 15-18) and high school students with a GPA of 2.5 or higher. Additional detailed eligibility criteria and more information about the NSLI-Y program can be found on the organization’s website. The application deadline is October 30.

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Magic and Mayhem: New Tales of the Supernatural | JLG’s Booktalks to Go Teen Tue, 30 Sep 2014 18:43:48 +0000 The supernatural has long been a popular teen lit subject. Today’s young adult novels explore even more areas, such as controlling the wakened spirits or blending the past and present with a steampunk flare. The mixture of magic, mayhem, adventure, and mystery lend themselves to creepy tales teens won’t be able to put down. Try the following selections chosen by the editors at Junior Library Guild. You’ll find yourself caught in the plots yourself.

Barnhill, Kelly. The Witch’s Boy. Algonquin. 2014. ISBN 9781616203511. JLG Level: FM : Fantasy/Science Fiction Middle (Grades 5–8).

Witchs Boy 199x300 Magic and Mayhem: New Tales of the Supernatural | JLGs Booktalks to Go TeenPeople gathered around the small dead child and they shook their heads. “We should have known he’d bungle it,’ they said. “He saved the wrong one. The wrong boy lived.” Building a raft shouldn’t have ended in tragedy for Ned and Tam, but it did. Now Ned has lost his brother and best friend. Weak and broken, he finds himself in a position to save his village from the Bandit King. To do that he must find courage he never knew he had and make an alliance with the enemy’s daughter.

Love Barnhill’s work and want to bring her to your school? Skype with her! There’s no cost for a typical visit. You’ll find details on her website. Be sure to read her hilarious responses to frequently asked questions. Meet the cast of her latest work on her publisher’s website. There’s also a great author essay that takes you behind the scenes in the writing of the novel. Though teen librarians may not recognize the artist behind the cover art (award-winning Jon Klassen), check out the backstory behind the author’s reaction. Watch a video of Barnhill reading from the book on YouTube.

Lu, Marie. The Young Elites. Putnam. Oct. 2014. ISBN 9780399167836. JLG Level: JLG Level: FH : Fantasy/Science Fiction High (Grades 9–12).

Young Elite 198x300 Magic and Mayhem: New Tales of the Supernatural | JLGs Booktalks to Go TeenSurviving the blood fever seems like a miracle when so many of the infected died. Yet, Adelina survives―hair turned silver and a scar leaving evidence of her missing left eye. Danger lies ahead for the teen, as many think that the survivors have special powers. They are called the Young Elite. They keep their identities secret, as the king seeks to destroy them. Who can she trust? Who is her enemy? Adelina cannot be sure. She must control her powers while learning to trust herself.

Read an excerpt on the publisher’s page. Learn more about Lu’s other series on her website. You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

Ritter, William. Jackaby. Algonquin. 2014. ISBN 9781616203535. JLG Level: MM : Mystery/Adventure Middle & HS (Grades 7–11).

Jackaby Magic and Mayhem: New Tales of the Supernatural | JLGs Booktalks to Go TeenAs a last resort Abigail Rook seeks employment as the assistant to R. F. Jackaby, a private detective who specializes in unexplained phenomena. Though not convinced she’s cut out for the job, Abigail is taken on by Jackaby as he investigates his next case. As it turns out, she notices the ordinary, making her perfect for the job. Anyone can notice the extraordinary, and she will need that in order to save herself from the series of crimes she’s about to encounter.

Meet the cast of Ritter’s debut novel on the publisher’s website. Follow him on Twitter. You can read an interview with the author on FictionFare. As this is the first book in the Doctor Who-meets-Sherlock-Holmes-type series, keep your eyes open for book two.

Stroud, Jonathan. The Whispering Skull. Disney-Hyperion. 2014. ISBN 9781423164920. JLG Level: MM : Mystery/Adventure Middle & HS (Grades 7–11).

Whispering Skull 198x300 Magic and Mayhem: New Tales of the Supernatural | JLGs Booktalks to Go TeenLockwood & Co. are back with another ghostly investigation sure to tingle your spine. What seems like a simple task of sealing a coffin with silver to prevent any further ghostly appearances, turns into a compelling, fast-paced adventure. Complicating matters is Lucy’s psychic ability which seems more connected to the skull in the jar. There are other things in this house to fear besides me. No one hears it but her.

For information about everything from his background to his work schedule, visit Stroud’s website. You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter. A series site has been developed where you’ll find video and excerpts from the novels. Don’t miss the haunting book trailer.

Yovanoff, Brenna. Fiendish. Penguin/Razorbill. 2014. ISBN 9781595146380. JLG Level: FH : Fantasy/Science Fiction High (Grades 9–12).

Fiendish 198x300 Magic and Mayhem: New Tales of the Supernatural | JLGs Booktalks to Go TeenTime marches on while Clementine is trapped in the cellar of her home. She’s bound by the willow roots, eyes sewn shut, and no idea how long she’s been there. After her rescue the now-teen is determined to find the truth. Who sealed her in the closet? Why was she down there? And why is her cousin the only one who remembers she ever existed?

Read the author’s blog on her website. You can follow her on Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter.

Additional Resources

The resources for the above titles have been organized in a new JLG Booktalks to Go: Fall 2014 LiveBinder. Titles are sorted by interest level, PreK-3, 3-6, 5-8, and YA. Check out our award-winning Spring 2014 LiveBinder which organizes resources for spring releases. All websites are posted within each LiveBinder, along with the accompanying booktalk. As I write more columns, more books and their resources are added. Everything you need to teach or share brand new, hot-off-the-press books is now all in one place. Booktalks and resources are also included on JLG’s BTG Pinterest board.

For library resources, tips, and ideas, please visit JLG’s Shelf Life Blog.

Junior Library Guild (JLG) is a collection development service that helps school and public libraries acquire the best new children’s and young adult books. Season after season, year after year, Junior Library Guild book selections go on to win awards, collect starred or favorable reviews, and earn industry honors. Visit us at (NOTE: JLG is owned by Media Source, Inc., SLJ’s parent company.)

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A Picture Paints 1,000 Words: Books About the Power of Art │ JLG’s Booktalks to Go Tue, 30 Sep 2014 16:00:36 +0000 Children often learn to draw, paint, and create by copying the works of others. Supplying them with stories about successful artists who overcame obstacles to do what they love most can inspire them—especially as budget cuts continue to reduce the number of art programs across the country. The following selections by the editors of Junior Library Guild are sure to be welcome in libraries and classrooms and the hands of aspiring artists.

Edward Hopper 300x300 A Picture Paints 1,000 Words: Books About the Power of Art │ JLG’s Booktalks to GoBURLEIGH, Robert. Edward Hopper Paints His World. illus. by Wendell Minor. Holt. 2014. ISBN 9780805087529. JLG Level: BE : Biography Elementary (Grades 2–6).

On the cover of his pencil box Edward Hopper wrote “Would be Artist.” He knew what he wanted and worked towards his goal. He practiced. He went to school. He studied. He painted. He illustrated magazines, but what he really wanted to do was to present America in a fresh new way. He sought subjects that moved him. But no one wanted to buy his artwork. He needed a break, but when would he get it?

Read more about the author Burleigh and his work on his website. Kids can learn more about the book’s illustrator Minor by taking advantage of the “send a free postcard” opportunity listed on his website. Video trailers of his books are also available, including Edward Hopper Paints His World. Follow Minor on Facebook and Twitter. For more on Edward Hopper and his paintings, visit The Metropolitan Museum or the Smithsonian Museum websites. Other resources suggested in the back matter are included in the JLG Fall 2014 LiveBinder.

Draw 237x300 A Picture Paints 1,000 Words: Books About the Power of Art │ JLG’s Booktalks to GoCOLÓN, Raúl. Draw! illus. by author. S & S. 2014. ISBN 9781442494923. JLG Level: E+ : Easy Reading (Grades 1–3).

Africa comes to life in the imagination of a boy who loves to draw. Sketchpad in hand, he enters the savannah and sets up his easel. He takes a ride on an elephant, shares sandwiches with gorillas, and runs from a rhinoceros. Where will his adventures end?

Colón draws inspiration for this wordless picture book from his own life. An author’s note indicates that as a child, he spent a great deal of time reading and drawing in his room. You can read more about the author at the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature, and follow him on his publisher’s website. In an interview on the blog “Illustration Friday,” Colón shares information on his technique.

Emilys Blue Period 249x300 A Picture Paints 1,000 Words: Books About the Power of Art │ JLG’s Booktalks to GoDALY, Cathleen. Emily’s Blue Period. illus. by Lisa Brown. Roaring Brook. 2014. ISBN 9781596434691. JLG Level: E : Easy Reading (Grades 1–3).

Emily likes to paint, but she is having a blue period, now that her parents are divorced. Her confusion leads to missed classwork assignments and blank pieces of paper. How can she create a depiction of her home when she’s not sure where that is anymore? Just how long will Emily’s blue period last?

Where did Daly get the idea for her new picture book? Read the interviews at The Horn Book and Mr. Schu Reads for the backstory. You can follow the author on Twitter. An interesting side note about the illustrator? Her favorite writing partner is her husband, Daniel Handler. They share the story of how they inspire each other in a post on The Daily Beast. Brown’s website reveals interesting videos about Daly’s work. Be sure to visit her contact page where you’ll also see some interesting responses to FAQs.

Include Emily’s Blue Period while teaching about the girl’s favorite artist, Picasso. From lesson ideas on Pinterest to Brain Pop (a portion of the lessons are free) to Teach Kids Art and The Artist’s Toolkit (an ALA Great Website for Kids), resources abound for the art curriculum. Blend them with your storytime or library lessons to support the arts.

Remy and Lulu 229x300 A Picture Paints 1,000 Words: Books About the Power of Art │ JLG’s Booktalks to GoHAWKES, Kevin. Remy and Lulu. illus. by Hannah E. Harrison. Knopf. 2014. ISBN 9780449810873. JLG Level: E : Easy Reading (Grades 1–3).

Remy couldn’t see very well, but he loved to paint portraits. Lulu is a dog who befriended him in his journey to success. Few people were willing to pay for Remy’s wobbly-painted likenesses, so Lulu pitched in. She could paint pet portraits with great distinction and character, unbeknownst to Remy. The man grew in fame and fortune, thanks to his secret partner. But what happens when the artist learns the truth about his success?

Kids may be interested in the drawing tips on Hawkes’s website. They can contact him via email. And get an inside look at the book on the publisher’s website. Harrison, who painted the pet portraits, posts her biography and examples of her animal paintings, illustrations, and miniatures on her website. Fans can write to her via her contact link.

Mr Cornells Dream Boxes 300x255 A Picture Paints 1,000 Words: Books About the Power of Art │ JLG’s Booktalks to GoWINTER, Jeanette. Mr. Cornell’s Dream Boxes. illus. by author. S. & S./Beach Lane. 2014. ISBN 9781442499003. JLG Level: NEK : Nonfiction Early Elementary (Grades K–2).

Mr. Cornell didn’t draw. Mr. Cornell didn’t paint. Mr. Cornell made shadow boxes with things he found when he roamed the city―Wonderlands covered in glass. What he liked to do with his dream boxes was to share them with children. He wanted them to dream too.

Winter wrote this book as a tribute to the artist. In an author’s note, she confides that she too, often builds boxes, filling them with things she loves. Kids can create their own boxes. A Google search for images reveals links to collage, lesson plans, and how to make them, as well as images of Cornell’s works. For more about Joseph Cornell, visit The Joseph Cornell Box which also gives you sources for box materials. As his boxes are scattered among many museums worldwide, visit Artcyclopedia for a list of collected works.

Additional Resources

The resources for the above titles have been organized in a new JLG Booktalks to Go: Fall 2014 LiveBinder. Titles are sorted by interest level, PreK-3, 3-6, 5-8, and YA. Check out our award-winning Spring 2014 LiveBinder which organizes resources for spring releases. All websites are posted within each LiveBinder, along with the accompanying booktalk. As I write more columns, more books and their resources are added. Everything you need to teach or share brand-new, hot-off-the-press books is now all in one place. Booktalks and resources are also included on JLG’s BTG Pinterest board.

For library resources, tips, and ideas, please visit JLG’s Shelf Life Blog.

Junior Library Guild (JLG) is a collection development service that helps school and public libraries acquire the best new children’s and young adult books. Season after season, year after year, Junior Library Guild book selections go on to win awards, collect starred or favorable reviews, and earn industry honors. Visit us at (NOTE: JLG is owned by Media Source, Inc., SLJ’s parent company.)

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Shannon Miller: Integrating Technology into Curriculum through Banding Together Tue, 30 Sep 2014 15:06:41 +0000 Library Journal Mover & Shaker and former K−12 librarian of the Van Meter (IA) Community School District, turned a Rainbow Loom craze amongst her students into a learning opportunity called Banding Together.]]> ShannonMillerWeb1“Putting a 3-D printer into the library gives the kids a voice in their own education,” says Shannon Miller, a 2014 Library Journal Mover & Shaker and former district-teacher librarian and technology specialist for the Van Meter (IA) Community School District for the past seven years. Miller writes about her work integrating technology into school libraries on the award-winning blog the Van Meter “Library Voice.” In March 2014, she wrote an entry about her project Banding Together (BT) where her students from Van Meter Elementary (K-5) joined forces with students from around the world to send colorful Rainbow Loom handmade bracelets—with red, heart-shaped charms created by 3-D printers—to students in Mangalore, India, according to “Library Voice.”

Watch a YouTube video of two Van Meter third graders as they print out a heart charm using the 3-D printer:

BT began as a simple research project with her third grade students. Miller saw how much the kids loved “creating and sharing” through using the Rainbow Loom, and she turned their enthusiasm into a research project. The activity included having them research information about the loom and create presentations while using EasyBib, an online citation tool.

Miller tells SLJ she’d blogged about her students’ work on “Library Voice,” and it caught the attention of two women: Saira Rao, head of marketing, and Carey Albertine, head of concept and creative development, from the children’s book publisher In This Together Media. Eventually, Miller used Google Hangouts to connect the two women and her students.


Miller’s students connect with the women of In This Together through Google Hangouts. Photos courtesy of The Van Meter “Library Voice” blog.

It was during the Google Hangouts, that Rao informed Miller and her students about her aunt Baj Viegas who “lives and teaches in a convent in Mangalore, India,” according to the online flyer (on Smore). After learning about the students’ project around the Rainbow Loom bracelets, Viegas had informed Rao, ‘“There are so many very poor children here. However many bracelets you send… I will get them to the kids, and they will love it.”’

The project “Banding Together” was born, and soon other grades joined in. “We were going to send these bracelets where kids needed some hope and love and a message,” says Miller. The bracelets became an opportunity for the children at Van Meter Elementary to become pen pals with youths in Mangalore. In addition, Miller’s friend and SLJ School Librarian of the Year finalist, Andy Plemmons, who teaches in Athens, GA, created a heart-shaped charm with his students using a 3-D modeling program, Tinkercad, and shared the file.

Miller set up a Banding Together Facebook page, an online flyer, a Tumblr blog, and an Edmodo page—outlets which got the word out—and as a result, Miller related that “tens of thousands of bracelets [and printed heart charms arrived] from all over the world.” They sent the bracelets to Mangalore this past summer.

The Mover & Shaker, who has a background in art, had acquired the 3-D printer for the elementary school library back in January 2014 through a MakerBot 3-D printer grant and the education crowdfunding platform, DonorsChoose. The printer has yielded rich opportunities for kids of various ages to have a voice, says Miller. Her second graders printed their own game pieces from fairy-tale characters they’d researched online.

Even though she is no longer working full-time in the school district and began as an independent library and technology integration specialist full-time this fall, she’s still part of the Banding Together team. “We’re doing it again this year… and now [we are]  going to start sending them [to] other places, too, in India, Africa…”

In spite of changes, Miller’s mission still remains constant: to make a difference in education by “using technology and social media, project based learning… and to [help kids] think for themselves.”

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SLJTeen Talks with YA Debut Team, Suzanne and Melanie Brockmann Tue, 30 Sep 2014 11:29:08 +0000 Night Sky.]]> Night Sky by New York Times-bestselling author Suzanne Brockmann and first-time novelist Melanie Brockmann hits shelves on October 7. The title is set in the not-too-distant future in which the US economy is decaying and everyone has trouble finding a job and supporting a family. Skylar Reid’s life is turned upside down when the little girl she babysits is violently kidnapped. The disinterested police blame a domestic dispute, but Skylar knows there is something more sinister going on. When she is rescued from a berserk drug addict by a mysterious girl on a motorcycle named Dana, Skylar begins to believe the online rumors about Greater-Thans. With more access to their brains’ infinite power, Greater-Thans can move at super speeds, see the future, and in some cases, move objects with their minds.

Brockmann 4a SLJTeen Talks with YA Debut Team, Suzanne and Melanie BrockmannReaders may recognize Suzanne Brockmann’s name as the author of over 50 books for adults. She has teamed up with her daughter to write their first young adult series. SLJTeen caught up with this busy pair just before the release of Night Sky (Sourcebooks) to talk about their writing process and super powers.

Suzanne, was this the first book you wrote with a coauthor? How did that change your process? Did it help that you know her very well?

I’ve collaborated on other projects, but Night Sky was the first book I cowrote. And I have to admit that after writing over 50 books by myself, it was a little scary knowing that this one was going to be created completely differently. But once Mel and I got started, it quickly became clear that just because it was different, it didn’t mean it was going to be less enjoyable.

For one thing, the outlining process turned from solitary note taking and staring off into the distance (while the dogs looked at me and wondered if I had turned into a statue), to a lot of fun conversations with my daughter that started, “Wouldn’t it be cool if …”

And once the actual writing got started, Mel handled much of the first draft. Which made it the easiest first draft I ever wrote.

What has surprised you about the publishing process or what has been your favorite part of it so far?

This is my first novel!  And I am truly excited to be published. I’m not sure what my favorite part about the whole process has been so far. Honestly, I’m not entirely sure if reality has even truly set in yet. I would say that my favorite moment so far was when I held the first ARC in my hands. Something about seeing my name on the cover of an actual book really made me feel proud.

A lot of this experience has been much different from what I had anticipated. For instance, I had mistakenly assumed that once a book is finished and the author has typed THE END on to the last page, that the work on the author’s part ends. Boy, was I wrong!  There are conferences, interviews, meetings with editors and publishers, and decisions to be made about a variety of things. I’m not complaining, though—this book is like my baby. I love talking about it, and I love working on it. And I also can’t wait for the second book to be released. (Mom and I are writing the sequel as we speak, so stay tuned!)

As a veteran author, Suzanne, have you had a chance to relive your first publishing experience through Melanie? What has changed since your first book?

One of the real pleasures of writing Night Sky with Melanie has been witnessing—and vicariously experiencing—the thrill of going through each step of the publishing process for the first time. Interacting with an editor, reading the first reviews, holding a book—a real book—in your hands, and seeing your name on the cover. As a parent, and as a fellow author, it’s hard to describe the pride I felt as I watched (and felt) Melanie go through these moments.

And while many of the details of publishing have gone through amazing changes since my first book was released (everything was done on paper; imagine how much money we all spent overnighting everything from contracts to cover proofs to manuscripts back and forth across the country!), the bottom line remains the same—you put in the work, and the end result is this wonderful product—a book.

I noted a few fitness and nutrition tips scattered throughout the book. Melanie, how did your experience as a personal trainer affect your experience as a writer?

Writers often pull from their own personal experiences in order to create a more realistic experience for the reader, and, yes, I certainly added some fitness and nutrition-related content into Night Sky.  I’ve been training now for about seven years, and during that time I have had the unique and wonderful experience of working with a variety of people, and watching many individuals transform themselves.

I am of the belief that the most authentic, three-dimensional characters are ones who experience a personal transformation throughout the course of the story they are telling. And I wanted my characters to transform in very special ways. Skylar Reid, the reluctant heroine of Night Sky, begins her story as a teenage girl with typical feelings of self-doubt, angst, and the desire to fit in. Skylar finds, as the story progresses, that she is capable of some very awesome things. Some of them are extremely athletic; for example, Sky can run a mile in less than four minutes .As Sky’s abilities are unveiled to her—and to readers—her confidence begins to increase. And she realizes that many of the parts of her that she had previously viewed as flaws are actually traits that make her unique … and also Greater-Than. So, in a sense, Sky’s transformation is much more internal than external. But she learns a lot about how capable her body really can be.

I knew, also, that if I was going to write a novel for teenage girls, I wanted to deliver the message that strong is beautiful. Dana, another important player in the story, has a very ripped, muscular physique, and she eats … a lot!  I wrote one scene in which both Sky and Dana are devouring a pizza. Dana instructs Skylar that, in order for both of them to be able to kick so much butt, they need to have the proper energy from food sources.In our society, unfortunately, women are taught to fear carbs and calories, and I want to dispel this silly myth. We all need to eat!

I’m an avid runner myself—although I average a slightly slower pace than Skylar—and I have learned, through trial and error, how to properly nourish my body. I wanted to create characters who can be role models for other young women out there—females who take care of themselves and treat their bodies like the temples that they are.

What has it been like to write a book together? What are the benefits of having your mother or daughter as your writing partner? Are there any drawbacks?

Suzanne: Having my daughter (as opposed to someone not related to me) as my coauthor made it easier. We have a lot of shared history, we already know each other’s likes and dislikes—it’s just simpler to share ideas when that kind of foundation is already in place.

Melanie: Writing with my mom has been a unique experience. I was nervous when we first decided to give it a try—mainly because I didn’t want to place both of us in a position where someone might get her feelings hurt. We know how to be mom and daughter (and that relationship even took a while to figure out).  But taking our personal relationship and adapting it so that we could both effectively coauthor? It was like learning a new language.

I wouldn’t do anything differently. I’ve had a blast writing with my mom. We have very similar writing voices, and we’ve discovered a writing process that works for both of us, one that allows us to create what I believe is a very seamless finished product.

The best part about writing with my mom? I get to send her scenes that I think will make her laugh.  And I get to hear back from her right away.  It’s interesting (and sometimes nerve-wracking) to show another person your work before it’s completely done. But my mom offers great feedback. And we both know now how to receive constructive criticism without taking it personally.

As for drawbacks—I think the only potential drawback is our current geographic situation. Mom spends part of her time in Massachusetts and I’m in Florida full-time. So a lot of our collaborating at the moment happens long-distance via email and phone calls. And—to be honest—I miss her. I also think it’s much easier for us to write efficiently when we’re in the same state. Considering our current circumstances, we’re still writing great books together.

Can you describe your writing process? Did you each take a chapter, a scene, a character?

Melanie: Mom and I had a very specific process when writing Night Sky, and we’ve continued to use this process as we write the sequel. We brainstorm together. If possible, we put our heads together in the same room. Mom has a pen and legal pad, and she jots down every idea. It’s kind of a free-for-all “What about this?!” and “How about he does that?!”

Then, after we’ve both blurted out all of our awesome scenarios, we organize and pick and choose. We figure out what needs to happen in the book, what can wait for a later installment, and then Mom goes to work. She organizes all of the notes and turns it into a detailed outline. All of our big, broad story arcs get chopped into smaller segments, until we have a very clear idea of what’s going to occur in every single chapter, and then, breaking it down even more, in every single scene. Then the writing starts—once I know what I need to write, I’m unstoppable! I love plunging forward with the action. Mom is great at paying attention to details. She’s amazing at revising. We both have our strengths and weaknesses, and we know how to help each other to get the book written.

Where did the idea for Night Sky come from and how did you decide to write it together?

Suzanne: I’d been interested in working with Mel for quite a long time. I knew that she was a very talented writer, and a voracious reader. I just didn’t have the right subject until I wrote Born to Darkness (Ballantine), my first mainstream paranormal. I got the idea that Melanie’s brilliant, youthful writing voice would really work for a young adult novel set in the same world as Born to Darkness. And when I asked her if she wanted to co-write a YA book, happily she said yes.

nightsky SLJTeen Talks with YA Debut Team, Suzanne and Melanie BrockmannIn Night Sky you have a diverse cast of characters. Have you been following the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign? What do you think we can do to foster a diverse range of characters and authors in young adult literature?

Suzanne: I am aware of (and I love!) the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign, but the idea for the diversity in the cast of characters in Night Sky was independent of any outside influence. Mel and I both believe that good fiction—especially fiction that incorporates paranormal elements—is strengthened when the world created by the authors has authentic ties to the “real” world. And for Melanie and me, the real world contains people of different races, physical abilities, religions, sexual orientations—you name it. For us, a diverse cast of characters wasn’t a choice, it was a must.

Can you give us any hints on the second book in the series?

The second book in the series is called Wild Sky. And sorry—it would be impossible to talk about it without revealing spoilers in Night Sky. But I can tell you that Sky and her friends (Dana, Milo and Calvin) will be back for more exciting and dangerous adventures. I can also say that it’s a blast spending time in this world again, especially with Melanie.

If you were a Greater-Than, what abilities would you want?

Suzanne: I have to admit that when I’m asked this question, my answer changes depending on how I’m feeling at that moment. About seven weeks ago, one of my two miniature schnauzers—her name is Little Joe—suffered a serious spinal injury, and lost all feeling and movement in her hind legs. Thanks to wonderful veterinary care and hard work, she has regained the ability to walk, but she is still very weak in one of her legs. So if I could choose a super power, I think I’d choose the power to heal others—and I’d start with Little Joe.

Melanie: A lot of people have been asking me lately about which ability I would choose if I were a Greater-Than. I have to say that my answer changes daily, too. Today, I also wish that I had the ability to heal others. My boyfriend has a whopping headache, and I think it would be very convenient if I could fix that for him. I also think that Dana and Skylar’s self-healing powers are equally awesome.

Kate McNair is a young adult librarian at Johnson County Library, Kansas.

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Sponsored Content: ‘All the Rage’ Advance Reader’s Copies Available Now Tue, 30 Sep 2014 09:49:12 +0000 All the Rage, which deals with themes of sexual violence, bullying, and the culture of shame.]]> We’re hopelessly devoted to Courtney Summers.

ALL THE RAGE 198x300 Sponsored Content: All the Rage Advance Reader’s Copies Available NowWe’ve been fans of her raw and realistic teen fiction since the very beginning. We were heartbroken by “Perfect” Parker Fadley’s shame spiral in CRACKED UP TO BE, watched the Fearsome Fivesome crumble in SOME GIRLS ARE, mourned the loss of Eddie Reeves’s father in FALL FOR ANYTHING and wondered about the end of the world in THIS IS NOT A TEST. And now ALL THE RAGE is finally here. And O-M-G. Get your copy today and find out why we’re kvelling.

NOTE: This content was sponsored and contributed by Macmillan.

If you’re a librarian in the United States, please request your complimentary advance reader’s copy by emailing Macmillan. Please include “ALL THE RAGE” in your subject line.

OR download** your copy of ALL THE RAGE today from Edelweiss.

 **If you’re a librarian in the United States and interested in being pre-approved to download our e-galleys, please follow these steps:

 1. Register for Edelweiss with your library-issued e-mail address.

2. Send Anne a note that includes the e-mail address you registered with, your full name and your current library (subject: Edelweiss).

Whitelisting is only available to librarians currently employed in the U.S.

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The Big Screen’s ‘Dear White People’ and a Roundup of Not-to-Miss YA Novels Mon, 29 Sep 2014 23:32:35 +0000 Dear White People, written and directed by Justin Simien, takes a satirical look at race relations in America. Be prepared for the October 17 premiere with a selection of books for teens that deal with intolerance, civil rights, and racism.]]> DWPmovie The Big Screen’s Dear White People and a Roundup of Not to Miss YA Novels Dear White People (R) depicts the experiences of four African American students as they maneuver through the challenges of campus life and racial politics at a predominantly white (and fictional) college. Firebrand activist Samantha White (Tessa Thompson), host of the purposefully provocative radio show for which the movie is named, has been elected head of Winchester University’s traditionally black residence hall and is determined to save it from being diversified.

Meanwhile, Sam’s head-of-house predecessor, Troy Fairbanks (Brandon P. Bell), the establishment-embracing son of the university’s dean, pushes expectations by joining the college’s humor magazine; Afro-wearing sci-fi nerd Lionel Higgins (Tyler James Williams) is recruited by the all-white school newspaper staff to go undercover (though he knows nothing about black culture); and wannabe reality-TV-star Coco Connors (Teyonah Parris) intends to parlay the controversy into a career opportunity.

Things come to a boiling point during a Halloween party with a poorly chosen theme torn from the headlines. Written and directed by Justin Simien, this satirical look at race relations in America premieres on October 17. Teens can visit the official website to view a trailer and episodes of  “The More You Know (About Black People),” wry PSAs that take on stereotypes with the same sly humor.

Great Reads for Teens

Dear White People will get teens thinking—regardless of their cultural identity. These compelling novels, all set in the current day, focus on the wide-ranging experiences of African American young adults. The powerfully drawn characters encounter the effects of intolerance and racism, explore the world around them, and make discoveries about themselves and others. Eye-opening and thought-provoking, these books encourage readers to contemplate race in contemporary America and open up much-needed discussion.

The View from the Streets

DearWhitePeople.4 The Big Screen’s Dear White People and a Roundup of Not to Miss YA Novels An inner-city neighborhood is thrown into turmoil when Tariq Johnson, a 16-year-old African American, is shot and killed on the street by Jack Franklin, a white man who is apprehended and released after claiming self-defense. Kekla Magoon combines multiple first-person narratives to paint a vivid, heart-rending, and brilliantly multifaceted picture of How It Went Down (Holt, Oct. 2014; Gr 9 Up). Though the facts seem straightforward, the specifics of this racially charged incident are shrouded by uncertainty. Did Tariq have a weapon? Was he wearing gang colors? Even the eyewitness accounts are contradictory.

The young man’s family and friends, local gang members, neighborhood residents, and others describe the incident and its aftermath in snapshot–style chapters. Each character has a distinctive voice and life story that influences his or her perspective—including Tariq’s devastated mother; the best friend who relied upon Tariq’s strength and street cred to keep them safe from forced conscription into the Kings; the gang leader equally set on recruiting Tariq into the organization; and a nationally renowned minister who arrives on the scene looking for publicity and political mileage. This timely story becomes more nuanced with each turn of the page, and is as riveting as it is harrowing. Readers get a strong sense of Tariq’s persona, the challenges he faced daily in his community, and the utter tragedy of this senseless act, while also witnessing how personal biases and motivations can affect perceptions.

G. Neri addresses another tough taken-from-the-headlines topic in Knockout Games (Lerner/Carolrhoda Lab, 2014; Gr 9 Up). Recently relocated due to her parents’ separation, 15-year-old Erica’s white skin and flaming red hair make her a standout—and a left out—at Truman High, a mostly black school in St. Louis. However, her artistry with a video camera soon puts her on the radar of Kalvin, aka the Knockout King, leader of the TKO club. Consisting mostly of middle schoolers, the TKOs target and assault unsuspecting strangers with a devastating punch to the face—just for the adrenalin rush. Looking for kinship and maybe even fame, Erica becomes their videographer, posting her work on social media, and soon finds herself embroiled in the world of theDearWhitePeople.6 The Big Screen’s Dear White People and a Roundup of Not to Miss YA Novels TKOs and attracted to the dangerous yet charismatic Kalvin. As their relationship heats up and the acts of violence escalate—and turn deadly—members of the community speak out and Erica finally begins to see the consequences of their actions with clear eyes and struggles to make hard choices.

Neri digs deep into the need for teenagers to find acceptance, not only with his portrayal of Erica, but also with his depictions of TKO members, boys desperate to find a place to belong. Drawn as magnetic and malicious, Kalvin’s multidimensional characterization invites readers to think about how his experiences, perceptions, and emotions influence his behavior. Gritty, gripping, and worthy of discussion.

Starring an endearing protagonist nicknamed for his fledgling boxing efforts, Jason Reynolds’s When I Was the Greatest (S. & S., 2014; Gr 7-10) is an engaging and affecting tale of friendship and self-discovery. Ali, 15, lives with his mom and little sister, Jazz, in Brooklyn’s Bed-Stuy neighborhood, where he can most often be found hanging out on the stoop with his best friends, brothers who live in the dilapidated building next door. Noodles, a secret comic-book geek, has an ill-advised penchant for “pulling a caper,” and pushes theDearWhitePeople7 The Big Screen’s Dear White People and a Roundup of Not to Miss YA Novels edges of Ali’s patience. They both look after Needles, who has Tourette’s syndrome, and has taken to knitting to calm his physical symptoms. When the three wrangle their way into an exclusive adults-only party at a nearby brownstone, trouble erupts, Ali puts his untried pugilistic skills into practice, and all three friends must deal with the evening’s aftereffects.

Packed with vivacious dialogue, poetic touches, distinctive details, and appealing humor, the authentic first-person narration creates a strong sense of the action and setting, while also tackling substantial themes including inner-city race and class schisms, taking responsibility for one’s actions, and standing up for what’s right.

DearWhitePeople.5 The Big Screen’s Dear White People and a Roundup of Not to Miss YA Novels Across the East River in Harlem, best friends and high school juniors Darius & Twig (HarperCollins, 2013; Gr 8 Up) rely on each other to pursue their passions and keep their dreams for the future alive. Darius, a writer, hopes to get a story published to bolster his mediocre grades and win a college scholarship. Twig (Manuel Fernandez), a talented cross-country runner, has been training hard and is beginning to catch the eye of sports recruiters. But first, they will have to survive the challenges that life throws at them daily: unsupportive, overburdened, and absent family members; bullies who seem determined to stop anyone from getting “away from the crappy little universes they had created for themselves;” and a neighborhood where gang warfare, police raids and gunfire are routine (“It is Harlem. It is night. No big deal”).

Darius’s first-person narrative eloquently reveals his struggle to find his voice as a writer, the strength he finds in friendship, and his resolve to persevere and be the best that he can be. Walter Dean Myers’s novel is heartfelt and hope-filled.

The View from High School

DearWhitePeople8 The Big Screen’s Dear White People and a Roundup of Not to Miss YA Novels In Brian F. Walker’s Black Boy White School (HarperTeen, 2012; Gr 9 Up), 14-year-old Anthony Jones, also an aspiring writer, leaves his rough East Cleveland neighborhood and heads to an elite prep school in Maine (Ant decides to accept a scholarship offer after his best friend Mookie is killed in a random shooting). At Belton Academy, he feels “adrift in a Caucasian sea” and struggles to adapt to the mostly upper-class crowd and fight against stereotypes (many of his well-intentioned classmates assume that he’s from Brooklyn and plays basketball). He encounters blatant prejudice in a local community strained by the arrival of numerous Somali refugees.

Pressured to conform to the expectations of students and faculty and determined to succeed, he feels as though he is losing his identity, and finds himself equally out of place during visits home. As challenges multiply and events unfold, Ant must discover a way to function in both worlds, while remaining true to himself. Based on the author’s similar personal experiences, this thought-provoking novel is written with a potent and engrossing narrative voice.

DearWhitePeople9 The Big Screen’s Dear White People and a Roundup of Not to Miss YA Novels Scheduled for publication in February of 2015, Renée Watson’s This Side of Home (Bloomsbury, Gr 7 Up) is told from the viewpoint of Maya Younger, who, like her identical twin sister Nikki, was named by their community activist parents for Mom’s favorite poets. Both girls are seniors at Portland’s Richmond High, a school that has often garnered media attention for violence, but their down-and-out neighborhood is beginning to change, with white families moving in and upscale businesses blossoming. Nikki embraces the transformation while Maya feels as though the roots of their community are crumbling. Different faces are also showing up at school, where the new principal is determined to focus on the newfound racial diversity at the expense of its traditional core. As president of the student council, Maya fights for what she holds dear—such as retaining their annual Black History Month celebration—while also trying to win media attention for the positive things that are happening there. However, her beliefs and self-perceptions are shaken when she falls for Tony, the white boy who has moved in across the street.

In this accessible and enchanting novel, Watson raises difficult questions about race relations, the tough situations faced by African American teens, and how we see ourselves and the people we love.

DearWhitePeople.2 The Big Screen’s Dear White People and a Roundup of Not to Miss YA Novels Arriving at his new high school in Stepton, Georgia, with his latest Fake ID (Amistad, 2014; Gr 9 Up) in hand, Nick Pearson plans to keep a low profile. Several years ago his father agreed to testify against a dangerous crime boss, and the family has been part of the Witness Protection Program ever since, relocating and changing names four times due to Dad’s inability to stop dabbling in criminal ventures. Nick is befriended by Eli Cruz, an aspiring journalist who singlehandedly runs the school newspaper. Eli tries to recruit Nick by alluding to “Whispertown,” a scandal that will blow the lid off their small town. When Eli is found dead in the journalism room a few days later, the police rule it a suicide, but Nick and Eli’s sister Reya suspect that Eli may have uncovered deadly information and are determined to get to the truth.

Racial tensions are subtlety woven into the narrative, which is propelled forward by heart-pounding suspense, intertwining mysteries, and danger-fraught action (as well as Nick’s burgeoning romance with Reya). Lamar Giles’s thrill-filled narrative is at times humorous, often self-reflective, and always enthralling.

The View from the Heart

DearWhitePeople.1 The Big Screen’s Dear White People and a Roundup of Not to Miss YA Novels Kwame Alexander’s He Said, She Said (HarperCollins, 2013; Gr 10 Up) combines a star-crossed romance with a burgeoning sense of social conscious. Transplanted from Brooklyn to South Carolina’s West Charleston High, senior Omar “T-Diddy” Smalls’s slick skills as quarterback of a state champion team have earned him media fame and a full ride to the University of Miami, and the only thing he loves more than football is being a “playa” with the ladies (with a capital S). Claudia Clark is a straight-laced, straight-A Harvard-bound student who writes for the school paper. When the school board makes drastic cuts to the arts budget, these two polar opposites find themselves on the same side of a protest to restore the funding. As the movement grows—via T-Diddy’s surprisingly effective leadership and Dr. King-inspired acts of civil disobedience—so does their attraction to each other, and they just might end up falling in love.

Told in alternating chapters by each of the protagonists, the narrative zings with lively dialect and sometimes explicit street slang, Facebook posts, emails, and newspaper articles. This sweet and satisfying romance packs a positive message along with plenty of heart.

DearWhitePeople.3 The Big Screen’s Dear White People and a Roundup of Not to Miss YA Novels Part bio-thriller, part sizzling romance, and part journey of self-discovery, Alaya Dawn Johnson’s Love Is the Drug (Scholastic, 2014, Gr 10 Up) is absolutely captivating. The daughter of two well-respected African-American scientists, Emily Bird, 17, attends an exclusive Washington D.C. prep school, has the perfect socially acceptable and professionally ambitious boyfriend, and is on the fast track to an Ivy League school. However, she secretly longs for a different kind of life. After attending a party at a senator’s home, she wakes up eight days later in the hospital and soon ascertains that she was given an unidentified memory-clouding drug. Her efforts to piece together what happened that night puts her squarely in the sights of an intimidating national security contractor and into the arms of Coffee, classmate and son of a Brazilian diplomat. Though Coffee has a drug-dealing dark side, he sees in her the powerful woman that she is capable of becoming. Meanwhile, a deadly pandemic flu deployed by foreign bio-terrorists has D.C. strictly quarantined and under military law.

Suspense builds, as she begins to uncover astounding secrets, and clues lead her to dangerous discoveries about the flu’s origins. Falling more and more deeply in love with Coffee, Bird gradually casts off the confining expectations that have been placed upon her and truly begins to soar. Instances of discrimination due to race and social class are woven into the narrative, which also touches upon racial identity. Sophisticated, complex, and lyrically written, this novel will satisfy teens looking for a substantial read.

Looking for a way to expand the discussion? See the SLJ article #Two apps on the Civil Right Movement and a pirate story headline our best-of-the-month column#

Publication Information

Alexander, Kwame. He Said, She Said. HarperCollins/Amistad. 2013. Tr $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-211896-7; ebook $9.99. ISBN 978-0-06-211899-8; pap. $9.99. ISBN 978-0-06-211898-1.

Giles, Lamar. Fake ID. HarperCollins/Amistad. 2014. Tr $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-212184-4; ebook $9.99. ISBN 978-0-06-212186-8.

Johnson, Alaya Dawn. Love Is the Drug. Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine Bks. 2014. Tr $17.99. ISBN 978-0-545-41781-5; ebook $17.99. ISBN 978-0-545-66289-5.

Magoon, Kekla. How It Went Down. Holt. Oct. 2014. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780805098693; ebook $9.99. ISBN 9781627791595.

Myers, Walter Dean. Darius & Twig. HarperCollins/Amistad. 2013. Tr $17.99. ISBN

978-0-06-172823-5; ebook $9.99. ISBN 978-0-06-220925-2; pap. $9.99. ISBN 978-0-06-172825-9.

Neri, G. Knockout Games. Lerner/Carolrhoda Lab. 2014. Tr $17.95. ISBN 978-1-4677-3269-7.

Reynolds, Jason. When I Was the Greatest. S. & S./Atheneum. 2014. Tr $17.99. ISBN 978-1-4424-5947-2; ebook $10.99. ISBN 978-1-4424-5949-6.

Walker. Brian F. Black Boy White School. HarperTeen. 2012. Tr $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-191483-6; ebook $11.99. ISBN 978-0-06-209917-4.

Watson, Renée. This Side of Home. Bloomsbury. Feb. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 978-1-5999-0668-3.

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Pictures of the Week: Queens Library’s First Pre-K; Joshua David Bellin Launches ‘Colony 9’ Mon, 29 Sep 2014 19:46:15 +0000 Queens Library in New York began its first-ever pre-kindergarten class at the Woodhaven branch on September 22. The library is the first in the nation to provide formal early childhood education at its libraries, using dedicated, licensed early childhood educators hired by the institution for the program.

Queens PrK girl Pictures of the Week: Queens Librarys First Pre K; Joshua David Bellin Launches ‘Colony 9’

Photos courtesy of Queens Library

Queens PrK hands Pictures of the Week: Queens Librarys First Pre K; Joshua David Bellin Launches ‘Colony 9’

Queens PrK legos Pictures of the Week: Queens Librarys First Pre K; Joshua David Bellin Launches ‘Colony 9’

Joshua David Bellin celebrated his debut YA novel’s book launch on September 22 at the Pittsburgh-area Mystery Lovers Bookshop in Oakmont, PA. The author gave a reading of his sci-fi thriller Survival Colony 9 (S. & S., 2014) to a crowd of more than 75 people and signed books for the attendees.

2Launch Party Bellin signing rvd2 Pictures of the Week: Queens Librarys First Pre K; Joshua David Bellin Launches ‘Colony 9’

Joshua David Bellin at his YA debut novel’s launch party at the Mystery Lovers Bookshop in Oakmont, PA.


2Launch Party Bellin signing2 rvd2 Pictures of the Week: Queens Librarys First Pre K; Joshua David Bellin Launches ‘Colony 9’

Bellin signing copies of Survival Colony 9.

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The International Association of School Librarianship Will Publish Book Series with Libraries Unlimited Mon, 29 Sep 2014 16:55:39 +0000 Singh  5 The International Association of School Librarianship Will Publish Book Series with Libraries Unlimited

Diljit Singh, president of IASL, is located in Kuala Lumpar, Malaysia / All photos courtesy of IASL

Libraries Unlimited (LU), a professional development and advocacy publisher for librarians and educators, is partnering with the International Association of School Librarianship (IASL) to publish a series of professional development books covering topics and trends relevant to school librarians globally, according to an LU press release dated August 25.

Prior to this publishing partnership, LU’s published content has not been specifically geared towards school libraries, nor has it reached an international school library community. The collaboration gives the organization access to IASL’s rich archives of research papers made available at IASL annual conferences and “through agencies with whom we have agreements… ERIC, EBSCO, and ProQuest, ” says IASL President Diljit Singh who resides in Kuala Lumpar, Malaysia.

The partnership will also expand IASL’s ability to reach its members beyond its quarterly newsletters and biannual journal publications, states Singh. (The newsletter and journal are free to IASL members and available to non-members for a subscription.)

The topics of the book series will be culled from recent IASL conference papers—and IASL member interests—with additional research to be added by LU’s slate of expert authors, along with a publications committee composed of IASL members, Singh says. LU will edit, package, and publish the books in paper and digital forms—while IASL will advertise the books to their members.

hungary2003 The International Association of School Librarianship Will Publish Book Series with Libraries Unlimited

A school library in Hungary.

The first title in the series will be published in June 2015 and will highlight collaboration practices for school librarians, says Blanche Woolls, the consulting editor of LU, who adds that “inquiry learning” is one of the possible future topics. Singh also hopes to publish research on the uses of technology, as well as IASL’s main missions: education, funding, and policy advocacy for school libraries around the globe.

“One of the things about this type of [collaborative] literature is that… [IASL and LU] have common problems,” Woolls says. “We are [both] struggling for funding, for attention to the fact that children need school libraries.” She adds that many of the issues have global relevance.

Irene Reid, the head librarian at the Westville Girls’ High School in Durban, South Africa, agrees. “School librarians’ issues are very similar across all cultures and just vary in terms of the context of the problem.”

Reid is also excited about the lasting effects of the partnership and its collective continuing education. She feels that the “global collaborative learning” fostered by the partnership will empower school librarians everywhere and “the books will help school librarians understand one another worldwide.”

The partnership does not cost IASL—or its members—anything. In fact, it should generate revenue, says Singh, which will be “used for future conferences, awards, and research.”

According to Woolls, the books will be “moderately priced” similar to comparative titles offered by other publishers. However, she acknowledges that for school librarians in developing countries even “moderately priced books… may be [difficult to purchase].”

Singh is confident the partnership will enable the sharing of best practices among school librarians across borders and cultures.

Mythili Sampathkumar is a UN reporter and freelance journalist based in NYC and loves visiting old libraries and used book stores in every city she travels. Follow her on Twitter @RestlessRani.

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JukePop Opens Kickstarter to Get Indie Ebooks into Libraries Sat, 27 Sep 2014 12:50:52 +0000 Expanding ebook access at public libraries has been, well, an ongoing process. But one site is aiming to have an impact, giving libraries a chance to offer their patrons digital titles by independent authors.

JukePop—a Palo Alto, CA-based start-up that crowdsources independently published books—is teaming up with public libraries to let readers check out titles, one chapter at a time. A trial service began at the Santa Clara (CA) County Library (SCCLD) in April 2014. This week, JukePop launched a Kickstarter campaign, hoping to raise $15,000 to expand its library service to 60 additional branches in states including California, Utah, and Arizona.


“The key is to make the platform really useable for libraries,” says Jerry Fan, JukePop’s founder and CEO. “We want to eliminate a lot of the manual work, so they can manage the indie catalogue through our site.”

Pledges of $25 or more will earn donors the right to nominate a library branch of their choosing—with each nomination pushing branches higher on the priority list. If JukePop’s Kickstarter is fully funded—the campaign closes October 15—the site will spend $10,000 to streamline its software, with the remaining $5,000 used to launch the service to libraries—for free.

SCCLD and JukePop’s initial co-launch earned them a 2014 Innovation Leader award through the Urban Libraries Council, and since April, more than 1,060 people have used the service through SCCLD’s website. Megan Wong, virtual library manager, is encouraged by those numbers.

“It’s pretty fantastic,” she says.

JukePop’s core service works by allowing independent writers to submit stories to run on its platform one chapter at a time. The site gives readers a chance to offer feedback on the stories by voting on them and submitting comments. The best pieces rise to the top.

Wong says SCCLD had been looking for ways to bring self-published books to their community, but hadn’t found a good avenue until she met JukePop’s CEO Jerry Fan, who created a single line of code, which allowed the library to serve selected JukePop titles to patrons. Titles that have gone through JukePop’s analytics and have some resonance with readers are sent to Wong and SCCLD librarians, who select those books they think their readers will connect with the most. To Fan it’s a win not only for libraries—but for its own users as well.

“Libraries are untapped resources for authors,” he says. “The minute a book gets into libraries you’re instantly in front of millions of avid readers who, if they like a book, will talk about it and tell their friends. Indie authors need to tap into this.”

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Engaging the Reluctant Middle Grade Reader Fri, 26 Sep 2014 20:45:34 +0000 Thursday, October 16th, 2014, 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM ET / 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM PT
Join us for this free one-hour webcast moderated by Kira Moody, a youth services librarian at the Whitmore Public Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. You’ll get a sneak peak at intriguing new books about life in prison, the mysteries of the Mawangdui tombs, and the fascinatingly gross side of science, from Charlesbridge and Darby Creek. We’ll also look at electronic and audio options for readers who prefer their stories in digital formats. Register Now!]]>
ReluctantReaders2014 Header 550px Engaging the Reluctant Middle Grade Reader

Presented by: Charlesbridge, Lerner Publishing Group, & School Library Journal

Event Date & Time: Thursday, October 16th, 2014, 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM ET / 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM PT
register button Engaging the Reluctant Middle Grade Reader

Getting a struggling and/or reluctant reader excited about books is a challenge for many librarians. Very often, a voracious reader is hidden within these kids—they just need to find the right books which will help spark their interest.

Join us for this free one-hour webcast moderated by Kira Moody, a youth services librarian at the Whitmore Public Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.  You’ll get a sneak peek at intriguing new books from Charlesbridge and Lerner Publishing Group including high-interest fiction and  nonfiction titles covering topics from prison life to Mawangdui tombs and toilet reinvention to supernatural tales.  We’ll also look at electronic and audio options for readers who prefer their stories in digital formats.


Julie Bliven – Associate Editor, Charlesbridge

Lisa Dunham – Marketing Manager, Lerner Publishing Group


Kira Moody – Youth Services Librarian at the Whitmore Public Library in Salt Lake City


register button Engaging the Reluctant Middle Grade Reader

Follow us on Twitter! @SLJournal #SLJReluctantReaders

Need help getting registered? Send us an email describing your problem.

By registering for this webcast, you are agreeing that School Library Journal may share your registration information with sponsors currently shown and future sponsors of this event. Click here to review the entire School Library Journal Privacy Policy.


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Interview: Gregory Maguire on Why the World Needs Magic and ‘Egg and Spoon’ Fri, 26 Sep 2014 19:30:09 +0000 Wicked, the book that spawned the blockbuster Broadway play, Gregory Maguire talks with SLJ about his latest otherworldly novel Egg and Spoon, who should be reading it, and why fairy tales are necessary nutrition for the modern world.]]> Maguire Egg and Spoon 9up Interview: Gregory Maguire on Why the World Needs Magic and Egg and Spoon

Gregory Maguire is no stranger to children’s fiction. While many people recognize him as the author of Wicked (HarperCollins, 1995), the book on which the blockbuster Broadway play is based, he’s also consistently written works for younger readers. Among these include What-the-Dickens (2007) and now Egg and Spoon (2014, both Candlewick). He is even a founding member of the Children’s Literature New England organization. Maguire talks with SLJ about his latest otherworldly Egg and Spoon, who should be reading it, and why fairy tales are necessary nutrition for the modern world. 

What is it about children’s books that make you return to this audience again and again?

For me it is more striking to write for children because of their position in their life experience. They’re innocent and untried and they brook no nonsense. They don’t want to waste their time when they’re reading a book. Writing for children is the most demanding exercise.

In Egg and Spoon, the entire country of  Russia feels as if it’s a protagonist, from the Elena’s barren village to the courts of the Romanov dynasty. What inspired you to write during last years of Tsarist Russia?

Russia is a character in this novel because so much hangs on whether it is dead or alive—alive with magic. One of the things that I like writing about Russia is similar to why I love writing about Oz. They are alike because they’re equally extensive as maps of possibility. Each can serve as an analogy to the great and complicated United States of America.

Your signature snark and “truth-telling” is evident in Egg and Spoon, which can be appreciated by kids and adults. Who is your target audience for this work?

Probably me at about the age of 14. In some ways, since I was well read and well educated at 14, I was very full of myself and thought I was much more of an adult than my parents, teachers, and priest. My book is meant for anyone who remembers that feeling of aggressive affection with authority. It’s meant to be a crossover. It’s intended to appeal to readers of Wicked and kids who are good readers at 14, or those who are not embarrassed by reading fantasy.

I feel liberated by the current climate change in which there’s less apprehension of what’s suitable reading for kids or adults. People who love this kind of thing are going to love this kind of thing. That truth has liberated me to write whatever I want to write.

A couple years ago, I became a little self-conscious about the book because it was being released by children’s publisher. [The author] Susan [Cooper] asked what I was working on. I told her I was feeling nervous about it. She poked me in the shoulder and reminded me of something Maurice [Sendak] said: “Write the book that you need to write and readers will read the book that they want to read.” She reminded me of those words at just the right moment.

Gregory Maguire Author TB Interview: Gregory Maguire on Why the World Needs Magic and Egg and Spoon

Photo by Andy Newman

My favorite character in this novel is the hilarious Baba Yaga. And Cat and Elena have such spirit. Do you have a favorite character? Who do you identify with most?

Baba Yaga is a combination of Auntie Mame and Eleanor Roosevelt played by Carol Burnett. She’s someone with an incredible range of voice and a capacity for change and affection. Her voice was in-exorcisable. She was hysterical and at times I felt like I was channeling a deranged Miss Piggy. I just listened. And I took dictation whenever Baba Yaga decided she had something to say.

I love the child characters. They are named after my children Luke, Alex, and Helen. I’m concerned about the fate of the world for them. And that’s why I put them at the center of the fate of the world in this novel. One of my friends has told me that Father Uri is a lot like me because of my myopia and self-centeredness. Uri is actually the central syllable in my name. He’s the narrator and the writer in the piece. I reveal myself more than I intended.

At the end of Egg and Spoon, we see that the novel is dedicated in memory and honor of Maurice Sendak. Are there specific tributes to Sendak in the book?

The doctor is intentionally my interpretation of Sendak. He was famously combative and claimed to admire children, but not particularly like them. He had an uncanny grasp of what they [children] needed. I closed one of the final chapters with a quote from him. He said this in an interview with [NPR Fresh Air host] Terry Gross—one of the last interviews that Maurice did before he died:  “Live your life. Live your life. Live your life.” What more do protective parents want for their children than that they live their lives fully, responsibly, and foolishly?

So many of your books have strong connections to fairy tales. Why is it’s important for kids and adults to read these kinds of stories?

In the world at large—I don’t know if it’s a side effect of staring at flat screens the whole day—adults and kids have become more and more literal-minded and less capable of grasping analogy and symbolism. Fairy tales promise us from the very start that they’re not the real world. “Once upon a time” right away releases us.

I think the more Google-fied we become, the more we believe that there’s a factual interpretation for everything, and the more we rely on our skepticism and become immune to fairy tales, poetry, and dreaming. We need them more now than we did 40 years ago. It has become harder for us to live in comfort with analogy and suggestion. We want concreteness and absolutism. And fairy tales do not promise absolutes. That’s why they’re essential nutrition. One of the things that Egg & Spoon emphasizes is that the world is magical. As literal and concrete I am as a father, in my heart I am a child, and I believe that the world is still magic.

Can you share a little bit about what you’re working on next for young readers?

I haven’t admitted this out loud yet. My next one will be an adult book, and it will have an Alice in Wonderland connection.


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Selecting Children’s Books: A Reader’s Advisory by ‘The Horn Book’ Editors | Fostering Lifelong Learners 2014 Fri, 26 Sep 2014 16:46:43 +0000 Roger martha Selecting Children’s Books: A Reader’s Advisory by The Horn Book Editors | Fostering Lifelong Learners 2014

The Horn Book editors Martha Parravano and Roger Sutton. Photos by Carolyn Sun.

The Horn Book editors Roger Sutton and Martha Parravano charmed an audience of librarians and early childhood educators during their reader’s advisory and what-to-look-for session at the “Fostering Lifelong Learners” conference, presented by SLJ and sister-publication The Horn Book, at the Cuyahoga County (OH) Public Library on September 19.

Armed with a depth of knowledge about selecting board books—and humor—The Horn Book editor-in-chief Sutton and executive editor Parravano framed their advice on what elements to look for in children’s books and their picks based on the worldview of preschoolers (birth to age 5) for their presentation entitled “Reviewing/Selecting Books for Children and Reader’s Advisory for Parents and Children.” “They’re the center of the universe,” exclaimed Parravano to the audience in the auditorium of the Parma Snow branch near Cleveland.

The duo, co-authors of A Family of Readers: The Book Lover’s Guide to Children’s and Young Adult Literature (Candlewick, 2010), then held forth on the business of choosing board books for both babies (ages one and two) and toddlers (ages three and four).

GlobalBabies Selecting Children’s Books: A Reader’s Advisory by The Horn Book Editors | Fostering Lifelong Learners 2014

‘Global Babies’ from the Global Fund for Children.

“You want books that have familiar objects and situations, pictures without a lot of background distraction, and the chance to interact,” said Parravano. She referenced a comment by the event’s keynote speaker, Reach Out and Read cofounder Robert Needlman, who stated that “babies do not exist in a vacuum,” when she asserted, “Babies don’t exist in a vacuum. The more interactive you can be with a book, the more engaged that child is going to be.”

She went on to recommend selecting baby books with a tight focus, brief text, familiar backgrounds in the pictures, familiar subjects, opportunities to interact, and subjects children are exploring in their own little world, such as animals.

“One size does not fit all… Give [the kids] scrapbooks, animal magazines, board books—if it’s oriented toward them, give it to them,” said Parravano.

One prime example of a book geared towards the very young is Global Babies (Charlesbridge, 2007) by the nonprofit Global Fund for Children, which displays “picture after picture of adorable babies,” she said. Little ones looking at the book “will go right to the eyes of the babies [in the book].”

Roger podium Selecting Children’s Books: A Reader’s Advisory by The Horn Book Editors | Fostering Lifelong Learners 2014

Along with what to look for, Roger Sutton also spoke of what not to choose in children’s books.

Sutton talked about knowing what books not to select, which he likened to “What Not to Wear.” He cited one board book, Magritte’s Imagination (Chronicle, 2009) by Susan Goldman Rubin, as one example. Its surrealistic art is “beyond children,” said Sutton. “Mom, why is there a clock coming out [of] a person’s face?” he quipped, explaining how certain books may appeal to parents and librarians, but they don’t “speak to the aesthetic or development of a young child.”

Parravano spoke fondly of a book that came out when her daughter was a preschooler called Let’s Make a Noise (Candlewick, 1992) by Amy MacDonald that is “developmentally perfect for that age.” She revealed to the crowd that both she and Sutton chose both new and older picture books for the reader’s advisory, because “your baby will not care if the book was published in 1940s. There is no such thing as a jaded, world-weary 18-month-old.”

The duo bantered, while recommending board books such as Ten, Nine, Eight (Greenwillow, 1996) by Molly Bang; Blue Hat, Green Hat (S. & S., 1984) by Sandra Boynton, about colors and clothing with a fun read-aloud cadence and rhythmic text; and a bedtime and concept book called Orange Pear Apple Bear (S. & S., 2011) by Emily Gravett, in which the book reviews different colors.

The board book edition of Goodnight Gorilla (Putnam, 1996), originally a popular picture book by Peggy Rathman, has a “little red shiny balloon” at the end of each spread that a kid gets to follow as the pages turn, raved Parravano.

Books that go “thunk”

Sutton touched upon ebooks saying that he recently heard children’s book historian Leonard Marcus speak at the Cambridge Public (MA) Library who’d noted that books “lose their size when they become ebooks” and consequently lose the intended presentation of the designer and the author. Some picture books are inappropriately large for a young child—said Sutton, dropping a “mega-size” board book edition of Goodnight Gorilla with a thunk to illustrate. Choose something that a child can grasp, he urged.

isadora jake at gymnastics1 Selecting Children’s Books: A Reader’s Advisory by The Horn Book Editors | Fostering Lifelong Learners 2014It’s not always about board books, said Parravano, picture books are good for infants, too. She praised Jake at Gymnastics (Penguin, 2014) by Rachel Isadora about a group of kids who are doing gymnastics, rolling on a mat, and cheering each other on. “I found it very empowering—lots of ‘good jobs’ and ‘let’s try this,’” she said, praising the text and showing the illustrations that display a diversity of children so that every child can recognize him or herself in the pictures.

She also built upon what Needlman had said earlier in his keynote—how the language in books is so much richer than what’s used in everyday life—i.e. “Don’t do that.” Eat your peas.” One of her favorite tried-and-true children’s books for rich language and its variety of moods, she shared, is My Very First Mother Goose (Candlewick,1996) illustrated by Rosemary Wells. Parravano recited a selected rhyme:

Jelly on a plate! Jelly on a plate!

Wibble wobble, wibble wobble.

Jelly on a plate!

To which Sutton followed up with his Mother Goose favorite:

I’m Dusty Bill from Vinegar Hill.

Never had a bath—and I never will.

Pocketful Selecting Children’s Books: A Reader’s Advisory by The Horn Book Editors | Fostering Lifelong Learners 2014For the rest of their presentation, Sutton and Parravano recommended a slew of books, including: the nursery rhyme book Pocketful of Posies: A Treasury of Nursery Rhymes (HMH, 2010) by Sally Mavor, which features illustrations in embroidery and won the 2011 Boston Globe Horn Book Award for Picture Book; The Tiny King (Candlewick, 2013) by Taro Miura; Higher Higher (Candlewick, 2010) by Leslie Patricelli, Mr. Tiger Goes Wild (Little, Brown, 2013) by Peter Brown; and the wordless The Farmer and the Clown (S. & S., 2014) by Marla Frazee.

The Horn Book editors also spoke about selecting books for “slightly older children” (ages 3–4):

“You want high interest material, you want books about machinery, dinosaurs, you want books about other kids, you want books about animals that you can make the noises, you just want lots of action and sounds, things for them to join in with… definitely,  you want a beginning and an end.”

Selecting books is often a matter of taste, but reading to a child, said Parravano—is “the opportunity for the parents… the child, and the book to interact.” While reading books to kids is undoubtedly the best way to help them gain literacy for learning, according to Sutton, it is also vital to teach kids to just enjoy great books.

The daylong professional development event, “Fostering Lifelong Learners,” was sponsored by AWE, Candlewick Press, Junior Library Guild, PNC, and Simmons brought together by SLJ and sister publication The Horn Book. Program highlights from this early literacy event included a keynote by Reach Out and Read cofounder Robert Needlman.

Click here for a PDF of this presentation with book list (starting on page 6).

You may also be interested in:

Robert Needlman Keynotes Early Learning Conference | Fostering Lifelong Learners 2014

Slideshow: Ohio Early Learning Conference | Fostering Lifelong Learners 2014

Kevin Henkes’ Speech: Books for Beginning Readers (The Horn Book)

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The Popular Nonfiction Minute Site Launches Crowdfunding Drive Fri, 26 Sep 2014 16:16:35 +0000 nonfictionminute The Popular Nonfiction Minute Site Launches Crowdfunding DriveThe Nonfiction Minute, a site featuring audio clips of quality nonfiction written and read by some of the biggest names in the field, would seem to be a resource aligned with the demands of the Common Core. No wonder, then, that the site is attracting a lot of traffic.

Created by author Vicki Cobb and a cadre of nonfiction writers organized as a group called iNK Think Tank, The Nonfiction Minute is attracting more than 1,000 page views a day mostly from  word of mouth, says Cobb. The daily  posts, aimed at upper elementary school children, cover subjects ranging from crows and their habit of eating eyeballs, to the concept of a light year, and they’re short, about 400 words, with accompanying audio clips.

With no budget, Cobb is now looking for funding so she can keep the site going. While posts are set to run through the end of this year, it will take additional resources to continue The Nonfiction Minute. To that end, Cobb has launched an Indiegogo campaign with the goal of raising $50,000 before October 2.

The author co-founded the The Nonfiction Minute to help students and teachers discover the narrative woven into any good nonfiction story. Her goal? To get kids to realize fiction isn’t the only form of writing that can leave you hungry for more.

“One thing about trade nonfiction is that the best ones are written with voice and point of view,” says Cobb, a prolific author of approximately 90 books, including Science Experiments You Can Eat (HarperCollins, 1994). “Reading The Nonfiction Minute is a taste, something to eventually get you to a longer form.”

The authors, all published book writers, are names that resonate throughout the field—including Pamela S. Turner, and David M. Schwartz. The editor of this star-studded nonfiction writing array is Jean Reynolds, founder of Millbrook Press, former Chair of the Children’s Book Council.She was retired until Cobb gave her an offer she found she just couldn’t refuse.

“I was happily retired,” says Reynolds from her home in Danbury, CT, laughing. “But Vicki is very persuasive. After I got off the phone with her, I started thinking about the idea, called her back an hour later and said, ‘Yes.’”

Reynolds spends about two hours a day editing and overseeing the site. She looks for a balance of themes—from art to music, math to science—and plans about two weeks ahead so that she can have the stories ready to publish from wherever she may be. (Yes, she helps to run the technology side of the site as well.) Both Reynolds and Cobb believe part of the appeal of The Nonfiction Minute may lie in the MP3 audio files that run with each piece, literally giving students the chance to hear the author’s voice alongside the story. The affect is two-fold—the pieces are opened up to a wider range of students, and also challenge their vocabulary, says Reynolds.

“[MP3 files] free me from having the writers use a limited vocabulary at a third or fourth grade reading level, which can spoil the writing,” she says. “I am very happy to send kids to a dictionary. I want to make sure they understand the story, but if a word is in context, let’s let them figure it out.”

“We want children to know what it feels like to have fun learning something new every single day,” Cobb says. “We nonfiction authors are like professors at large for kids. We know content and speak child.”

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Teens Review A.S. King’s Latest; Books with Physics, Ghosts, and Hollywood Fri, 26 Sep 2014 13:53:55 +0000
A.S. King’s Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future has been getting rave reviews in professional and popular media, but I really like how our teen reader nails it—”This book destroyed me in the best possible way.” We have reviews of two debut novels, from Lindsey Lane and Hillary Monahan, and a twist on the ‘famous overnight’ tale from Rebecca Serle, Famous in Love. From feminism to physics and horror to Hollywood, there’s no lack of variety in YA publishing these days.
King, A.S. Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future. Little, Brown. Oct. 2014. Tr $15.99. ISBN 9780316222723.
gloryobrien Teens Review A.S. Kings Latest; Books with Physics, Ghosts, and HollywoodGr 8 Up—Glory O’Brien is graduating high school with no idea of where her life is going to go because she’s afraid she’ll follow in her mother’s steps and commit suicide. One night, Glory drinks a petrified bat and begins to see things—horrible visions of a future in which America is torn in two, and women’s rights are shattered to bits. As Glory races to record her visions, she ends up uncovering secrets of her family’s past and finding her own (albeit twisted) purpose. This book destroyed me in the best possible way. A.S. King is a brilliant author and she manages to weave minor characters into a gorgeous tapestry of a story. I really appreciate that King isn’t afraid to explore darker themes in her work as well as discuss the dreaded F word—feminism. This book resonated with me greatly because it brought everything I’d ever wanted in a book together. I had Glory, a well-written female protagonist who wasn’t sure about what she wanted to accomplish, racing to stop a terrible future that loomed ahead, all the while finding out who she really was. Hats off to King, because this book is a masterpiece.The idea that someone can see the future and is racing to stop it is always interesting, but King put a brilliant spin on it—there is no traveling repeatedly to the future to put an end to terrible regimes; instead, Glory is forced to work around the constraints of the present. This idea, for me, is what really set the novel apart from others in the sci-fi subgenre of YA. Also, the book addresses the problems young adults have with coping with loss, deciding where they want to take their future, and dealing with unhealthy relationships. King manages to encompass and address all of these issues without drawing readers’ attention away from Glory’s race to document the future. Anyone who enjoys a darker story line still set in the YA genre will devour this book, as well as girls (and boys, and those who aren’t either) who are starting to explore feminism. This book will definitely resonate with high school students who don’t know where they’re going to steer their life, because it gives them a strong, realistic role model to look up to. Glory doesn’t have all the answers, but she is preparing herself for them, and readers will definitely appreciate that.—Aroog K., age 15
Lane, Lindsey. Evidence of Things Not Seen. Farrar. Sept. 2014. Tr $15.99. ISBN 9780374300609.
Gr 8 Up—A geeky, eccentric kid named Tommy goes missing. His interest in physics and multiple universe theories have people wondering if he actually was kidnapped or died, or whether he went into another universe. The story follows many different viewpoints and stories of people who were touched by Tommy’s disappearance. I found this book to be very interesting. It quickly caught my attention and was a very straightforward story. Not very long, not very difficult, it was a great leisure book to pick up when class ended early or to read before bed. It ends with no real resolution, but it didn’t seem unfinished.
Evidence of things not seen Teens Review A.S. Kings Latest; Books with Physics, Ghosts, and HollywoodOverall, it was very enjoyable; each character was unique and had a different way of thinking. My personal favorites were Dwight and Alvin, and how the story followed seemingly unrelated characters (i.e. the prostitute, the couple who drove off, Dwight and his mother) and tied those interesting stories into the main course of events. Very well written! Evidence of Things Not Seen does a good job of shrouding Tommy’s disappearance, but it wasn’t what compelled me to read on. Each character was unique and made me curious to see if they would return in another chapter or what other personalities the author was capable of. Tommy’s story was a pushing theme for everything that occurred in the novel, and he was masked as an ultimate goal, but it wasn’t what kept me coming back.
This book was enjoyable and I look forward to reading more from Lane. I would recommend it to students around late middle school to early high school and fans of Orson Scott Card’s “Ender’s Game” books (Tor), James Patterson’s “Maximum Ride” series (Little, Brown), and similar sci-fi series.—Rhiannon, age 15
Monahan, Hillary. Mary: The Summoning. Disney-Hyperion. Oct. 2014. Tr $15.99. ISBN 978-1423185192.
Gr 7 Up—A girl named Jess forces her three friends to summon Bloody Mary with her. One time isn’t enough for Jess, and she continues berating her friends to meet the ghost. When the sacred bond to keep Mary in the mirror is broken, one of Jess’s friends is haunted and mauled by her several times. There is only one way to stop Mary from hurting you, and that is to get her to hurt someone else.
mary summoning Teens Review A.S. Kings Latest; Books with Physics, Ghosts, and HollywoodI thought it was an incredible book; probably one of the best things I have read in a long time. Each character had their own personality; Jess is a manipulative bully, Shauna is a calm, independent person (when not being haunted by Mary, of course), Anna is motherly and tends to her friends in their times of need, and Kitty is a shy, bashful teen who acts like a frightened mouse. Each person had their own type of relationship with each other and it was exciting to watch them battle together when Mary was attacking. The events played out perfectly; one detail wasn’t more significantly important than another and all of the details had a part in the story fairly evenly.
I really liked how there were sections in the book that had letters which Mary wrote to her sister Constance, so we could get more of a feel as to why she is what she is. We get to see the fear of the girls, and we also sense the helplessness and the anger coming from Mary’s side. Because of the way she was treated as a child, she finds it is impossible to forgive anyone, which is why she lashes out at any girl who attempts to summon her. People who love horror stories would absolutely love this book, as are people who are heavy Supernatural (the TV show) fans.—Sophie, age 14

Serle, Rebecca, Famous In Love. Little, Brown/Poppy. Oct. 2014. Tr $15.99. ISBN 9780316366328.

famousinlove Teens Review A.S. Kings Latest; Books with Physics, Ghosts, and HollywoodGr 8 Up—Famous in Love is a fun story about a girl who learns that living your dream can be more difficult than expected. When she gets the chance to become a famous actress, she is overwhelmed by the dynamic of the cast and crew and trying to maintain her old friendships, while navigating possible romance with her sexy costars. Famous in Love is ultimately a fun, addicting and relatable read. Although not many of us are budding stars like Paige, readers immediately connect to her as she struggles to adjust to her new Hollywood lifestyle. Like Paige, we have all been in situations where we feel out of place and confused and wonder how the heck we got there. She misses her friends from home and can’t seem to do anything right.
As time goes on, Paige begins to feel more comfortable with her surroundings and begins to fall for her costar, the Hollywood heartthrob Rainer Devon. Suspense grows as she moves closer to what seems to be the perfect relationship, but everything is more complicated than she ever expected. Especially when Rainer’s long time enemy Jordan arrives on set. Although Jordan is very cold towards Paige, they have a chemistry together that can’t be denied. Paige has always known what she wants, until now, when it seems the stakes are higher than ever before.
When I pick a book, I am often looking for romance, so for me, the anticipation of Paige’s possible relationships with her costars was the most compelling aspect. I wanted to read on to discover what decisions she would make and how they would affect her life and public image. It added a lot of suspense to the book and I wondered until the very end what her decision would be. I couldn’t put it down! Preteen and teenage girls of all ages will love this book, as it so perfectly captures the desire to be noticed and admired.—Annie D., age 16


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Parenting 101 | SLJ Spotlight Fri, 26 Sep 2014 13:00:59 +0000 beyondintelligence 193x300 Parenting 101 | SLJ SpotlightMatthews, Dona & Joanne Foster. Beyond Intelligence: Secrets for Raising Happily Productive Kids. 304p. index. notes. Anansi. 2014. pap. $19.95. ISBN 9781770894778.

Emphasizing the latest research, two experienced educators explore the many different ways that children learn and how best to encourage their intelligence, creativity, and interests to help them thrive socially and academically. Matthews and Foster cite recent studies that indicate that intelligence is an ongoing and fluid attribute and that tools for measuring intelligence can help parents and teachers recognize kids’ strengths and weaknesses; however, they stress that these are not necessarily predictors of success or happiness. The authors describe how parents and teachers can tailor educational methods to children’s individual interests and learning styles, offering checklists and sections called “our secrets.” They also advise readers on how to choose appropriate schools and handle bullying. Real life examples and personal anecdotes add interest to the academic discussion. Inspiring and informative quotes are interspersed throughout, and leading educators are referenced with valuable endnotes (though the book lacks a bibliography). A solid addition to parenting and professional collections.–Jackie Gropman, formerly at Chantilly Regional Library, VA

thisisabook 207x300 Parenting 101 | SLJ SpotlightOwens-Reid, Dannielle & Kristin Russo. This Is a Book for Parents of Gay Kids: A Question & Answer Guide to Everyday Life. 240p. Chronicle. Oct. 2014. Tr $18.95. ISBN 9781452127538. LC 2013040465.

As the title suggests, this book is targeted at parents of children and teens who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT). The authors detail their coming out stories in the introduction, which provides readers with a clear understanding of their background and perspective. In addition to the intended audience, teens may also find this title useful for making sense of their parents’ experience. Similar books do not provide such a personal look into the stories and experiences of LGBT children and teens. The authors have provided pinpointed lists of information and easy-to-follow charts along with short summaries of chapters. The question-and-answer format is clear and the responses acknowledge that there are different options for helping both children and parents deal with the coming-out process. Readers will find important advice and information they might otherwise be reluctant to seek out. An excellent and much-needed resource.–April Sanders, Spring Hill College, Mobile, AL

recipesforplay 250x300 Parenting 101 | SLJ SpotlightSumner, Rachel Ruth Mitchener. Recipes for Play: Creative Activities for Small Hands and Big Imaginations. 128p. index. photos. Experiment. Sept. 2014. pap. $14.95. ISBN 9781615192182.

This book opens with the question “Dear Mess, Why are we not better friends?” and continues with a promise to try to embrace a more chaotic home where children are full of wonder and excited by play. Aimed at parents of preschoolers, the work strongly emphasizes sensory play, laying out 40 different activities, including recipes for slime and pavement paint, ideas for creating a miniature boat race, and instructions on building a fairy house. Although a few activities are obvious, like taking all the cushions off the couch or playing with buckets of water, most are thoughtful and clever, such as freezing small objects in water and letting children become archaeologists to excavate the treasure. The activities are organized by where they would take place: indoors, outdoors, or on the go. Each project is clearly described with information on set-up and clean-up time, mess factor (low to high), needed supplies, and a sensory guide, which discusses the senses each activity will engage. The bright, full-color photographs bring this title to life. All activities are designed with a focus on natural materials, and the authors even include information on creating natural dyes so that kids can finally create truly edible play dough.–Rachael Myers-Ricker, Horace Mann School, Bronx, NY

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Carle Honors Recognize Jerry Pinkney, Henrietta Smith, Françoise Mouly, Perri Klass, and Brian Gallagher Thu, 25 Sep 2014 20:45:42 +0000 CarleAwards honorees 600x400 Carle Honors Recognize Jerry Pinkney, Henrietta Smith, Françoise Mouly, Perri Klass, and Brian Gallagher

Carle Honorees Brian Gallagher, Perri Klass, Henrietta Mays Smith, Françoise Mouly, and Jerry Pinkney.                           Credit: Johnny Wolf Photography


KidLiterarti, including publishers, authors, and illustrators Hilary Knight, Paul O. Zelinsky, and Huck Scarry, gathered in New York City on September 18 to celebrate the four recipients of the 2014 Carle Honor Awards during a gala evening and art auction.

The event, in its ninth year and sponsored by the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, MA, recognizes people who have supported children’s books as an art form that supports early literacy. The mission of the museum, founded in 2002 by illustrator/author Eric Carle and his wife, Barbara Carle, is to foster a love of art and reading through picture books.

Watch Rocco Staino’s KidLit TV interviews at the Carle Honors gala.

The museum bestowed awards in four categories: Artist, for lifelong innovation in the field; Angel, for generous support of picture books and education programs; Mentor, for professional championing the art form; and Bridge, for those bringing picture books to larger audiences.

Mouly 170x170 Carle Honors Recognize Jerry Pinkney, Henrietta Smith, Françoise Mouly, Perri Klass, and Brian GallagherIn accepting her Bridge honor, Françoise Mouly, publisher of TOON Books and art editor at the New Yorker, noted that  that “comics are making progress” in crossing into the world of children’s books, a long-term goal of hers. She acknowledged her husband, Art Spiegelman, creator of the groundbreaking graphic novel Maus (Pantheon, 1991), along with children’s literature historian Leonard Marcus, chair of the awards selection committee, for supporting her drive to put comics into the hands of children.

Mouly was joined by recipients Jerry Pinkney in the Artist category, the organization Reach Out and Read (ROR) in the Angel category, and distinguished librarian and library science professor Henrietta Mays Smith in the Mentor category.

KlassGallagher Carle Honors Recognize Jerry Pinkney, Henrietta Smith, Françoise Mouly, Perri Klass, and Brian GallagherROR was recognized for its promotion of early literacy through an initiative with pediatric professionals nationwide. On hand to accept the honors were the organization’s executive director, Brian Gallagher, along with Perri Klass, national medical director at ROR. Klass brandished a stethoscope in one hand and a board book in another while riveting the audience with an explanation of how ROR doctors give out books during checkups with children from six months to five years old.

Smith Carle Honors Recognize Jerry Pinkney, Henrietta Smith, Françoise Mouly, Perri Klass, and Brian GallagherDuring her acceptance speech, Smith, former chair of the Coretta Scott King Award Task Force, recalled starting her career in 1948 at the New York Public Library, where she worked with the famed librarian and storyteller Augusta Baker. Smith went on to become the first African American faculty member at the University of South Florida School of Information.

Caldecott-winning artist Pinkney. the illustrator of more than 100 books, has a long history with the Carle Museum. An early museum board member, he was present at the museum’s ground breaking.

Pinkney Carle Honors Recognize Jerry Pinkney, Henrietta Smith, Françoise Mouly, Perri Klass, and Brian GallagherPinkney spoke of his early days as an aspiring children’s book editor, as well as the inspiration that the Carle Museum exhibits and programming bring to visitors and burgeoning artists of all ages. “I am being honored by family, and there’s something pretty special about that, so it’s a kind of a shared honor in many ways for me,” he told SLJ.

The gala was hosted by Tony and Angela DiTerlizzi, a power couple in the world of children’s books. Tony is illustrator of the “The Spiderwick Chronicles,” and Angela’s most recent book is Some Bugs (2014, both S. & S.).

Fifty Shades of Fancy Nancy 600x411 Carle Honors Recognize Jerry Pinkney, Henrietta Smith, Françoise Mouly, Perri Klass, and Brian GallagherTony entertained the crowd by projecting book cover mashup ideas that he jokingly said he would present to the Carle Museum board at their next meeting. Cover images included a whip-brandishing Fifty Shades of Fancy Nancy; a horror-infused The Wrong Side of Busy Town; and a bow and arrow–wielding  Eloise in the Hunger Games.

While Eric Carle could not be present due to illness, a highlight to of the evening was the presence of his childhood friend Florence Trovato. The 85-year-old retired school secretary from the Syracuse, NY, area served as the inspiration for Carle’s book Friends (Philomel, 2013). Trovato and Carle were pals in the 1930s, when Carle lived on the north side of Syracuse. They fell out of contact for decades, but a journalist’s detective work reconnected them recently.

Pinkney BB 2009 SM Carle Honors Recognize Jerry Pinkney, Henrietta Smith, Françoise Mouly, Perri Klass, and Brian GallagherArtwork donated for the auction, a museum fundraiser, was on display throughout the evening. Pinkney gave a piece, related to his Caldecott-winning book The Lion and the Mouse (Little, Brown, 2009), that he created for a School Library Journal cover illustration.

“That particular issue celebrates the Caldecott medal winner, and I wanted to do something that was about the lion and the mouse celebrating,” Pinkney told SLJ. “The image came out of the idea of a star and the playfulness. But I really wanted to say that not only am I excited about the idea of getting the Caldecott Medal, but the central characters are also excited, so the image grew out of that idea.”

The highest bid of the evening was $16,100, for Carle’s Blue Horse, while Pinkney’s piece brought in $4,500.

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Books for Boys 2014 Thu, 25 Sep 2014 19:01:36 +0000 Wednesday, October 15th, 2014, 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM ET / 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM PT
Join us for our Books for Boys webcast to be sure you have the latest releases ready for your readers. Our featured panelists from Listening Library/Penguin Random House Audio, Disney Publishing Worldwide, and Tor Books will discuss genre trends, hot new releases, and upcoming titles. Register Now!]]>

SLJ Booksforboys2014 10152014 Header 550px Books for Boys 2014

Presented by: Listening Library/Penguin Random House Audio, Disney Publishing Worldwide, and Tor Books & School Library Journal

Event Date & Time: Wednesday, October 15th, 2014, 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM ET / 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM PT

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Learn about this fall’s collection of new books for boys during this School Library Journal webcast event. Covering everything from Greek gods to spooks and spectors, from picture books to young adult novels, this session will inspire anyone who’s looking to get new reads in the hands of boys grades K-12.

Join us for our Books for Boys webcast to be sure you have the latest releases ready for your readers. Our featured panelists from Listening Library/Penguin Random House Audio, Disney Publishing Worldwide, and Tor Books will discuss genre trends, hot new releases, and upcoming titles.


Alison Fisher – Publishing Coordinator, Children’s and Young Adult Division, Tor Books

Jodie Cohen – Senior Marketing Manager, Listening Library/Penguin Random House Audio

Dina Sherman – School & Library Marketing Director, Disney Publishing Worldwide


Tony Hirt – Librarian and SLJ reviewer

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Can’t make it on October 15th? No problem! Register now and you will get an email reminder from School Library Journal post-live event when the webcast is archived and available for on-demand viewing at your convenience!

Follow us on Twitter! @SLJournal #SLJBoysBooks

Need help getting registered? Send us an email describing your problem.

By registering for this webcast, you are agreeing that School Library Journal may share your registration information with sponsors currently shown and future sponsors of this event. Click here to review the entire School Library Journal Privacy Policy.

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An Informal Study: Do Book Challenges Suppress Diversity? | Banned Books Week Thu, 25 Sep 2014 15:48:23 +0000  Diversity Banned Books graph An Informal Study: Do Book Challenges Suppress Diversity? | Banned Books Week

What is the overlap between challenged books and books by diverse authors? Inspired by the recent flurry of challenges to titles with diverse characters or by minorities or LGBTQ writers, young adult author and Diversity in YA cofounder Malinda Lo conducted an informal study to see whether there is a correlation between challenged books and diverse content.

Using statistics from the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, Lo posits on the website that 52 percent of the top titles challenged since 2000 are about people of color and LGBTQ communities.

While many times the stated reason for a work’s challenge is cited as explicit language or religious viewpoint, Lo wonders if another bias is at work. Though by no means conclusive (the author herself admits to the limitations of the sample), the results illuminate the importance of raising awareness during Banned Books Week (September 21-27).

Since the publication of the study on the Diversity in YA website on September 18, Lo says she has received support from educators and advocates for diverse and banned books.

“I’ve been very gratified by the positive response to the post, and I hope it makes everyone involved with censorship issues look beyond the stated reasons for a book challenge, because I suspect those publicly stated reasons are sometimes hiding ulterior motives,” Lo told School Library Journal via email. “I’ve gone through my whole life dealing with subtle racism and subtle homophobia, and that’s the hardest kind to fight because people can deny it exists. But it does exist, and it has clear consequences.”

chart diversitycontent 2010to2013 An Informal Study: Do Book Challenges Suppress Diversity? | Banned Books Week

The following is an excerpt from Lo’s informal survey. See “Book Challenges Suppress Diversity” for the full post.

Although the data I am working with is a selected amount—these are Top 100 and Top 10 lists, not the raw list of 5,000+ challenges that the OIF received over the last decade —I think it’s still quite revealing. It’s clear to me that books that fall outside the white, straight, abled mainstream are challenged more often than books that do not destabilize the status quo.

This isn’t surprising, but the extent to which diverse books are represented on these lists—as a majority—is quite disheartening. Diversity is slim throughout all genres of books and across all age groups—except when it comes to book challenges.

The message this sends is loud and clear: diversity is actually under attack. Minority perspectives are being silenced every year.

I think it’s important to note that the reasons for a book’s challenge may be beside the point when the result is a broad silencing of these minority perspectives. Though some might protest a book’s explicit language, the real result is closing off dialogue and preventing readers from experiencing stories and lives outside the mainstream.

 See also: SLJ’s Resources On Banned Books and Censorship
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