Sunday, November 21, 2010

When Mocking Reading is a Good Thing

The 2011 Newbery Award winner will be announced on January 10, 2011. For the first time, Queens is joining libraries and schools across the country in speculating which book will be awarded this medal for the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.

The Mock Newbery titles selected by Queens Library include:

Out of My Mind
by Sharon Draper

The War to End All Wars
by Russell Freedman

The Waterseeker
by Kimberly Willis Holt

The Boneshaker
by Kate Milford

As Easy as Falling Off the Face of the Earth
by Lynne Rae Perkins

One Crazy Summer
by Rita Williams-Garcia

This is an enjoyable professional development opportunity to offer librarians serving youth. The process began early this year when the Children's Materials Specialist formed a small committee of interested children's librarians. Suggestions were gathered each month through email with two in-person meetings necessary to narrow and vote out titles.

We are holding our debut Mock Newbery event on a morning a few days before the official award winners are announced. As it does require much reading, participation is optional. There will be time to discuss each book, followed by a vote (as detailed in the Newbery Selection Manual)and finally the announcement of the winner and honor books.

All children's librarians participate in the Mock Caldecott as part of our regularly scheduled youth services meetings. These titles will be announced shortly!

Mock Newbery Resources:

Newbery Award terms & criteria
Don't be fooled by authors without American citizenship!

Lisa Van Drasek, librarian at Bank Street College of Education, holds a Mock Newbery each year with her students. She posted her selections back in September, along with more behind the mock process.

Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Blog featured on School Library Journal

Allen County Public Library chose an impressive reading list of twenty two titles for librarians to discuss, and also offers a more concise list for children in grades 3 -6 who are interested in participating.

Kings County Library System narrowed the field down to eight choices, and invites parents and children to join the discussion and voting.

Elizabeth Bird, children's librarian at New York Public Library, previous Newbery committee member, and blogger extraordinaire, speculates from time to time on what will be chosen for this award as well as the Caldecott.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Locally Drawn

Considering Brooklyn is home to the largest concentration of children's book illustrators on the planet, it must have been difficult to select only thirty four for the latest exhibit at Grand Army Plaza, "Drawn In Brooklyn." I took the opportunity to tour this Brooklyn Public Library show following a meeting this week and it was fantastic! I particularly love the promotional image chosen from Big Red Lollipop.

Curated by John Bemelmans Marciano (aka the grandson of Madeline creator Ludwig Bemelmans) the exhibit features original art from children's books as well as display cases revealing the creation process of a picture book, installations and short video interviews with many of the artists.

Notably two of the illustrators included were featured in the recently announced New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Books of 2010: Sophie Blackall and Peter Brown. Other featured illustrators include Bryan Collier, Brian Floca, Brett Helquist, Betsy Lewin, Brian Pinkney, Brian Selznicck, and Paul O. Zelinsky.

There's also exciting events scheduled with various illustrators like art workshops or a chance to meet and hear them read from their work.

During the tour it was shared how many of the artists noted the powerful influence of comics in developing their initial interest in drawing as children. Yet another reason to purchase graphic novels for the kids at your library!

"Drawn in Brooklyn" will be on display until January 23, 2011.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


I have a bit of an obsession with cookbooks. Not only do I love to look at pretty pictures of food but also the inspiration of new techniques and ingredients. And all the better if the approach is seasonal, vegetarian or health minded. (Or from the Barefoot Contessa! I adore her.) It must be a cookbook time of year because I have in my pending request list at the library many a new title.

Among those in queue with ample programming ideas for school age children is Turkish Delights & Treasure Hunts: Delightful Treats & Games from Classic Children's Books.

Janet Brocket offers ideas inspired by Winnie the Pooh, Alice in Wonderland, Anne of Green Gables, the Borrowers, and the Chronicles of Narnia among others. The food inspired component could be a fun addition to a traditional book club, or a novel way to introduce many classic titles to youth.

There's also Candy Construction: How to Build Race Cars, Castles, and Other Cool Stuff out of Store-Bought Candy by Sharon Bowers.

Let candy be your new crafting material! Step by step instructions to create a chess set, spaceship, pyramid, woodland creatures, jewelry, as well as holiday ideas. The author claims that offering an alternative use for candy actually reduced the sugar consumption of her two young children. Use this resource to expand an existing Gingerbread House activity, or with a math, engineering and design bent for a hands on construction program.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Queens & Teens

Congratulations to my library system who was recently awarded the 2010 Joseph F. Shubert Library Excellence Award for their "Queens Library for Teens" in Far Rockaway!

Those who work in public libraries are familiar with the challenge of balancing the energetic behavior of teens with the needs of other users. A few years ago, the situation at the Far Rockaway library was further exaggerated: the neighborhood is located on a peninsula isolated from the rest of New York City, with high unemployment due to the difficulty of commuting and local housing projects filled with gang activity. The library was a small yet highly used building without a separate space for young adults. With nowhere else in the community to gather, large groups of teens would congregate, disrupting and intimidating others with noise and horseplay. Expanding the current facility wasn't an option.

Rather than kicking out those most in need of a positive influence, Queens Library pursued grants to rent an empty storefront a few blocks away from the existing library and completely renovated the space, opening a building just for teens with specialized programs, technology, and collections.

Working with an interior design consultant who specializes in teen areas, a contemporary space along with 40 internet computers entices teens, with attendance averaging 120 each day. A recent addition is a sound studio, complete with a vocal booth, a recording computer and three computerized editing stations, funded by New York State Assembly members.

Some notable distinctions:

-staffing the library with youth counselors, not librarians. They provide service, referrals and act as positive role models, while librarians at the nearby branch offer traditional reference service. A licensed teacher and social worker are also available onsite.

-sign in upon entering. No gang signs or colors are permitted. If someone acts out, they are asked to leave, and if repeated will lose privileges for longer. There have been no incidents beyond this; teens want to use the space and respect the stated boundaries.

-after-school hours of service, from 2:30 - 6PM.

-specialized programming including pre-GED classes, Wii gaming, urban author visits, job readiness fairs, open mics, college fairs, computer skill workshops and more.

-no circulating collection. Due to the cost of duplicating collections and offering circulation staff, teens can browse magazines and online resources, and otherwise go to the regular library to borrow materials.

-relaxed rules. Food and cell phones are allowed and multiple teens can crowd around a computer.

In 2013, the Queens Library for Teens will be doubling in size in a newly constructed $19.3 million facility funded by Borough President Helen Marshall. More information on this initiative is available from School Library Journal, Library Journal as well as a video on NY1 featuring teen volunteers who mentor their peers.

And for even more reading on teens in Queens, visit the Queens Library Teen Challenge blog. The Coordinator of Teen Services has promised to donate $500 of her own coffee money to a charity of young adult librarians' choice if 10,000 teens register for Summer Reading 2011. Read it each Thursday to see the amount saved so far, along with ideas and thoughts on teen summer reading.

Monday, October 11, 2010

What to do when a class comes to you

Working on a presentation for children's librarians on conducting school outreach, I began to think more about hosting classroom visits to the library.

I always looked forward to offering these trips: the excitement of getting one's first library card, sharing a favorite book, disseminating library information, reaching students who wouldn't normally visit the library as well as seeing the regulars in their classroom setting. Not to mention the larger picture of building a relationship with local schools in a particular community.

There's always much to share with students like basic library card practices and good book behaviors. I like to take the opportunity to explain to children (and often their accompanying teachers and parents) how library books are organized and that the stickers on the spine of a book refer to the author's last name and *not* the level. It's also a perfect chance to promote upcoming library programs and ongoing activities like "Read Away Your Fines" or afterschool homework help.

I break up all the talking with one or more read alouds. Some of my absolute favorites to share are:

Kindergarten, First & Second Grades

Bark George by Jules Feiffer
Birds by Kevin Henkes
Clay Boy by Mira Ginsburg
Read It, Don't Eat It by Ian Schoenherr
Chickens to the Rescue by John Himmelman
The End by David LaRochelle
The Gingerbread Boy by Richard Egielski (I love this version set in NYC!)
Seven Blind Mice by Ed Young

Third & Fourth Grades

Actual Size by Steve Jenkins (This book is beyond cool and elicits wild reactions!)
One Grain of Rice: A Mathematical Folktale by Demi
Tikki Tikki Tembo by Arlene Mosel
Stories to Solve by George Shannon
The Sweetest Fig by Chris Van Allsburg

Fifth & Sixth Grades

For older students I might instead do a few booktalks on titles I enjoy with multiple copies available like City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau, When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead, The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman or The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart. I've also focused on non-fiction at a teacher's request, making it a game to see who can locate a specific non-fiction call number the fastest on the shelf.

And if you would like to still offer a read aloud, you can never go wrong with the first chapter of Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar (expect everyone to chime in on "apple").

Other fun ideas are to offer a library scavenger hunt after giving students a tour of the collection or ask book trivia questions.

Monday, September 27, 2010

These are a few of my favorite things

I love dogs.
I love books.
I love love Dog Loves Books.

by Louise Yates
Alfred A. Knopf
ISBN: 9780375864490

Dog enjoys books so much that he opens his very own bookstore. As business is slow, downhearted dog begins to read his wares. "When he read, he forgot that he was waiting. When he read, he forgot he was alone." Finishing one book, he chooses another and thus begins a new adventure.

As you can imagine, reading so many stories gives him excellent reader's advisory skills. Once customers start coming to his store, he gets to do his most favorite thing of all with books: share them!

Naturally the themes of Dog Loves Books made it the obvious choice to share during my goodbye party last week. And where exactly am I going?

I'm thrilled and honored to be the new Assistant Coordinator of Children's Services for Queens Library. I am completely excited to work with children's librarians in a new capacity and serve as a programming resource system-wide. One of my responsibilities this first week is to observe a library program for children on yoga-- which for anyone that personally knows me, knows that I find this beyond cool.

It will be curious to see if this change will have any effect on my blog. I hope to continue sharing ideas and inspiration in the form of books, activities, resources and more. If anything, now I will have even more library love to give... 63 to be exact!

Monday, September 20, 2010

I Am Invited to a Party!

Just like Piggie, I have been invited to a party!

In fact, it's my honor: a "Sarah Celebration" if you will, as planned and named by a co-worker to say goodbye to the families and friends I've made working at this particular library for nearly five years. More soon on where exactly I'm going!

In the meantime, as part of the festivities I will share a book. Considering how often I read stories aloud to groups, this part should be a no-brainer. Except for the fact that I'm oddly blocked on the appropriate choice.

Should I stick with the theme and choose a story involving librarians, reading or moving forward with new experiences? Read The Giving Tree or Love You Forever? (Smile: joke for us children's librarians.) Choose one of my favorites that invites audience participation, or a book that I just personally love?

I still have a few days to decide, and will likely bring many choices to see which feels just right. I've been considering this from the perspective of which story ultimately defines me, which may not be the proper question. The best part of being a librarian is sharing books with others, so I should read what moves me to do just that in the moment.

What would you choose?

Friday, September 17, 2010

Bless You

Welcome to allergy season.

It should be stated that I often use movement and various techniques to further engage children when sharing stories aloud. Children and parents quickly learn to repeat the actions I demonstrate and play along, otherwise known as modelling. One recent reminder of the influence of modelling in young children, and the extent to which one is being scrutinized was when, as sneezing during a read aloud, all of the children repeated this unrelated action!

This is not to say sneezing doesn't have its place in storytime. I encourage hygenic practices by inserting a sleeve covered pseudo sneeze while reading about the poor little baby with sneezes and chills in, "Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes" by Mem Fox. This sweet yet not overly sentimental book about the similarities of babies around the world is a rhythmic pleasure to read aloud with the most darling of illustrations.

I also add a sneezing extension to the song, "Five Little Monkeys Swinging from a Tree." Some might view this as slightly p.c., but my take is that it provides theatrical closure as well as another opportunity to practice one to one counting correspondence. I learned this trick from a children's librarian (and fellow vegetarian) while doing my library school practicum at the Grandview Heights Public Library in Columbus, Ohio. The song goes:

Five little monkeys swinging from a tree
Teasing Mr. Crocodile, "Can't catch me!"
Along comes Mr. Crocodile, as quiet as can be
And he SNAPS that Monkey right out of the tree!

Repeat with four, three, two, one

Here's an example of the song, complete with actions, courtesy of Mr. Mike.

After singing the last stanza, I note that there are no more monkeys left. The concept of zero is rather advanced for young ones, and something they might not fully grasp until age three or four. I make a zero with a hands, discussing how this means no more, all gone, nothing left etc.

But as it turns out, Mr. Crocodile is allergic to monkeys! Achoo! One monkey comes back. Achoo! Two monkeys... and so on, until all of the five little monkeys have reappeared for the next time we sing our song.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Future Foodies of America

For my latest summer reading club meeting for children in grades 3, 4 & 5, I decided to choose a popular topic... food!

We started broadly, filling out the food pyramid with the basic food groups. We discussed the meaning behind the food phrases, "You are what you eat," and, "Don't play with your food!"

Which we of course promptly disobeyed by playing a guessing game involving fruits and vegetables. Children volunteered to come to the front of the room and once blindfolded, had to guess which fruit and vegetable was placed in their hands. At the market earlier I picked up some easy to guess options like an apple, pear, potato and cucumber, as well as some trickier varieties like a fig, pomegranate, ginger and an artichoke.

Continuing on the sensory journey, each table of children next received a tray of numbered cups, topped in aluminum foil with small holes poked through. They took turns smelling each cup and contemplating the source of each smell among their group. Most of the items I brought from home, like vanilla, lemon, vinegar, fresh mint, garlic and a banana.

Next came dessert: chocolate, to be exact. Starting by asking where chocolate comes from, I read aloud a brief non-fiction title with informative photographs, From Cocoa Bean to Chocolate by Robin Nelson.

Additionally there are many popular stories about chocolate like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl, The Chocolate Touch by Patrick Skene Catling and Chocolate Fever by Robert Kimmel Smith. I gave a brief booktalk on each, and shared a short selection from Charlie as it provided the perfect transition to our next activity. In the passage, taken from the first chapter of the book, it describes Charlie's poor family who, besides having a terribly cramped bed situation, often went hungry. The one thing Charlie longed for more than anything else was chocolate: he ate it only once a year, on his birthday, when he received one small chocolate bar that he would make last for more than a month.

After all this talk about chocolate, chocolate, chocolate, the natural progression was to finally eat some. But hold on a minute there! We weren't just going to eat chocolate... we were going to SAVOR chocolate. Each child chose from a selection of mini candy bars, and we all opened them at the same time. Once opened, we smelled the chocolate for a few moments and thought about how it felt to the touch. Finally, we took a bite -- but just a small one. We kept it in our mouths for a few seconds, considering how it felt and tasted while on the tongue. After this group process, children were invited to begin eating the chocolate, with an emphasis on taking as many bites as possible to finish the bar. The competitive encouragement worked, with a range from 19 to 80 bites!

And lastly, sweet met salty in our edible craft conclusion of magic wands. Take one long pretzel rod, spread chocolate frosting on the top half, and finish with a generous topping of sprinkles. Eat and enjoy!

These activities lasted about an hour, and the total cost was only $25 for 35 children. There are so many other food related programming possibilities. You could offer more chocolate tastings (different types of candy bars, white versus milk versus dark), even incorporating math and science concepts. Or go more crafty, making colorful Fruit Loop paintings.

Saxton Freymann's many books offer great inspiration as he captures such lifelike, convincing expressions using all kinds of fruits and vegetables. It would be fun to purchase a variety of foods and let the kids experiment.

For younger audiences, We Are What We Eat by Sally Smallwood has fun, playful photographs that create a food character. Whenever parents ask me for simple books about fruits and vegetables, I hand them this along with Eating the Alphabet: Fruits & Vegetables from A to Z by Lois Ehlert.

A final word about safety. I always ask whether anyone has food allergies before passing out anything edible. Also check to see whether your workplace has any specific regulations regarding foods; for example, in my library we must only use pre-packaged items purchased from a store to avoid any possible contamination.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Positively Positive!

My latest storytime discovery combines my two loves: a positive attitude and, well, shoes. Pretty genius!

Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes
by Eric Litwin
ISBN: 9780061906220

Meet this happy go-lucky cat out for a stroll in his brand new white shoes when he happens to step in a huge pile of strawberries! "What color did it turn his shoes?"

Shoe transformation occurs three more times with varying slants (and oddly enough, another mountain of fruit) but each time, "Did Pete cry?" "Goodness, no! He kept walking along and singing his song."

Pete's song, "I love my ________ shoes," repeated three times, invites audience participation along with the direct, reoccurring questions above. The rustic, colorful illustrations capture the casual, go with the flow nature of this zen cat whose expression remains the same throughout the story. The moral is clearly stated at the end: "no matter what you step in, keep walking along and singing your song... because it's all good."

Whether children will note the lesson of this big picture perspective and find beauty in their own mistakes is questionable, but also beside the point when the story is so enjoyable.

There's plenty of video inspiration for the tune of the song via an author bookstore reading, and two little ones sharing their memorized version at bedtime.

Thank you to my amazing co-worker Rebecca for sharing the book with me!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Buzz buzz

Oh hey, what's up? Long time, no see. Excuses abound – the last few weeks have been highly interesting and can be summed up with the phrase, “embracing uncertainty.”

First I received a layoff notice due to potential massive library budget cuts. Thankfully much of the budget was restored by the Mayor and City Council, so it has since been rescinded. Next I was temporarily transferred to a busy new library where I am planning Summer Reading Club on the fly. Mostly though, I’m just really enjoying my summer so the last thing I want to do after work is sit in front of a computer.

So back to the new library! I'm having such fun getting to know the community in this lively and highly used children's room. This library is the only one in Queens where the circulation of children's materials is significantly higher than adult materials, by a 3 to 1 margin. It is constantly crowded with families that visit the library for hours at a stretch and are eager to attend programs. A bonus is that the neighborhood is predominantly Latino so I often get to practice my newly acquired Spanish skills (thank you NYU continuing ed!)

I only learned at the end of June that I would be staying there for the month of July, which required planning and leading programs like, immediately. I've taken the approach of reaching into my programming bag of tricks which, believe it or not, includes hosting a Spelling Bee.

I've had great success with Spelling Bees in the past. They meet my general qualifications of accommodating a wide variety of ages, being highly adaptable depending upon the participants and requiring no to minimal budget. In the past I've usually had anywhere from twenty to forty school age children attend; last week, for my summer Spelling Bee over eighty kids showed up!

These are some helpful practices I’ve learned along the way:

1) Select words in advance.

I print off grade specific word lists for kindergarten through sixth grade (often from the website, along with lists of challenge words. I highlight the words I want to use then have volunteers write them on small slips of paper to be placed into containers labeled, “Kindergarten”, “1st grade”, and so on. When it’s their turn, children choose from their corresponding grade level, making the experience a bit more dramatic and clearly without favoritism.

2) Make it as "official" as possible.

I always set up a microphone to make it more formal as well as ensure the audience can hear the speller. I instruct the participants in the official spelling bee behavior of first saying the word to confirm they heard it correctly, spelling the word, then repeating the word one more time to signal their answer is final. I emphasize that the audience is not allowed to give clues or assistance and must remain silent until I announce whether the answer is correct or incorrect. And of course, no matter what the outcome, the audience claps for each participant.

3) Consider your community.

Most children love competition. It could be your neighborhood kids would prefer a cutthroat spelling bee with a clear winner. My approach with many new speakers of English is to focus on the experience, emphasizing trying your best in a fun, supportive learning environment. In my most recent bee I let kids choose any grade level of word they preferred; many chose the “Super Challenge” words, while some selected easier grade levels. In a different library where I offered regular Spelling Bees, children started spelling at their grade and with every round they passed moved up a level. Clearly there are many ways to organize this and it’s quite easy to play it by ear.

With so many children at the program last week, I gave everyone who came up to spell a sticker to put on their shirt so I could easily tell who already had a turn. If the word was spelled correctly, two stickers were given. I had envisioned that perhaps at the end I would be able to reward those who participated most or spelled the most words correctly based upon this visual system, but after an hour and fifteen minutes there was only enough time for everyone to spell one word. I did have everyone with two stickers come up to the front for special recognition and another round of applause.

Some related materials to display are:

How to Spell like a Champ by Barrie Trinkle, Carolyn Andrews and Paige Kimble
Workman Publishing Group (2006)
ISBN: 9780761143697

Scholastic Dictionary of Spelling by Marvin Terban
Scholastic Reference (2006)
ISBN: 9780439764216

Pinky and Rex and the Spelling Bee by James Howe
Various editions, first published 1991

I Put A Spell on You by Adam Selzer
Delacorte Books for Young Readers (2008)
ISBN: 9780385735049

Spelldown by Karon Luddy
Aladdin (2008)
ISBN: 9781416916109

You can also recommended one of my favorite movies of all time, Spellbound. It's an amazing documentary that tracks eight finalists on their journey to the National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C.

Happy spelling!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Anti-Shush

Live in New York City?

Like libraries?

Then you should certainly attend We Will Not Be Shushed: A 24-Hour Read-In in support of New York City's public libraries. It begins this Saturday, June 12th at 5PM on the steps of Brooklyn Public Library's Central Library in Grand Army Plaza.

Library funding for the upcoming budget year is still being determined, and as currently proposed by Mayor Bloomberg would devastate service as we know it. As in, a reduction of $16.9 million to Queens Library, $20.6 million to Brooklyn Public Library, and $37 million to New York Public Library, representing a cumulative 30% decrease in funding since 2008. This would result in 40 library closures citywide, 30% of library staff being laid off, and many libraries open only 2-3 days per week.

Unless the City Council votes to restore funding, these drastic measures will take effect on July 1, 2010. Show your support for the local library systems by attending We Will Not Be Shushed where public library supporters as well as staff will read aloud from books of their choosing. Readings will span multiple genres to reflect the wide range of information found within libraries, along with late night scary stories and a Sunday morning storytime for children.

Or if you're unable to come, take action by signing the various petitions in support of New York libraries, Queens Library, Brooklyn Library and New York Public Library. Write to your elected officials to tell them that library funding is important to you.

Monday, May 31, 2010

SLJ Day of Dialogue: the Books

Last week I attended School Library Journal’s Day of Dialogue during Book Expo America. It's a one day free event where librarians, authors, and publishers meet to discuss current issues and trends in children's and young adult literature.

Panels were offered on the steampunk trend among teens, the particularities of tweens and their reading habits, and picture books as compared to graphic novels. Additionally fall previews were presented from numerous publishing houses.

Some of the titles I’m most looking forward to reading are:

A Bedtime for Bear by Bonny Becker
September 2010
Candlewick Press

That particular Bear is back and now that he enjoys visitors, he's ready for a sleepover. Or IS he?

Knuffle Bunny Free! An Unexpected Diversion by Mo Willems
September 2010
Balzer + Bray

The final installment of Knuffle Bunny! I heard there's traveling involved.

Children Make Terrible Pets by Peter Brown
September 2010
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

A funny twist on the traditional pet story. A bear finds a small child and begs to keep it even though his mom warns him that, "children make terrible pets."

Art & Max by David Wiesner
October 2010
Clarion Books

Sadly the cover image isn't yet available. The three time Caldecott Medal winner is back with more of his signature hyper-realistic, detailed style. Two lizard friends with an interest in painting explore various mediums.

Piggie Pie Po by Audrey & Don Wood
September 2010
Harcourt Children's Books

Another rhyming picture book from this team who are one of my storytime favorites.

The Little Prince Graphic Novel illustrated by Joann Sfar
October 2010
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

A graphic novel adaptation of this classic book by one of my favorite illustrators. It is being released along with The Little Prince Deluxe Pop-Up Book as well.

Reckless by Cornelia Funke
September 2010
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Listening to Cornelia Funke read aloud from her upcoming book was completely mesmerizing and only partially due to her charming German accent. Prepare your fantasy readers to enter the world behind the mirror as inspired by the Brothers Grimm.

Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly
October 2010
Random House Children's Books

Two girls, two centuries apart. Yet somehow the story of a modern day Brooklyn teenager becomes linked to another living in France many years past when she finds her old diary.

Bright Young Things by Anna Godbersen
October 2010

From the author of the Luxe books, this new series is set in 1920's New York City and was described as The Great Gatsy meets Gossip Girls (how’s that for alliteration?) Flappers could very well be a new trend, as Vixen by Lila Fine is being released as part of a young adult trilogy in December by Random House.

One last notable mention: browsing the publisher's tables, I ran into my elementary school librarian Mrs. Burkey! She is still working as a school media specialist and drove all the way from Ohio to attend. How amazingly dedicated is that?

Monday, May 17, 2010

I'm From Ohio

Two of my favorite authors (and coincidentially ex-Ohioans) are releasing new books!

First is Louis Sachar, my go to author for reluctant readers and good books in general. In The Cardturner, seventeen year old Alton is forced to accompany his blind great-uncle to bridge four times a week. If anyone can pull off an engaging book on the premise of bridge, for teens no less, it would be him.

It was just reviewed in the Times by author Ned Vizzini. Recently I read an interview with Mr. Sachar and was surprised to learn he briefly attended Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio, as did I.

I must say I prefer the graphic UK cover over the understated US edition.

Another author with Ohio ties is Dav Pilkey. Born in Cleveland, he is FINALLY releasing a new book after a notable four year absence since the last Captain Underpants title. This spin-off series, The Adventures of Ook and Gluk, Kung-Fu Cavemen from the Future, is coming August 10, 2010!

With a title like that, what more really needs to be said?