Monday, August 28, 2017

ALA Revisited

As I sit and reflect on the many highlights of this summer, picking a singular favorite would be a tall order. One that stands out, at least for purposes of this particular blog, was my visit to the American Library Association Annual Conference & Exhibition which took place June 22-27. With this year's event featured in Chicago, being able to drive proved to be a blessing in disguise. You see, a great benefit to the 'Exhibition' portion of such gatherings is the abundance of merchandise regularly distributed. Had this trip been to a faraway destination, lugging back 40 (yes 40) books wouldn't have been feasible (space and cost factors). Add in the 7 tote bags and 8 buttons, I'd have had to exchange bringing back clothing to make room for Patricia Bailey’s The Tragically True Adventures of Kit Donovan. I'm not positive, but that might be a TSA infraction.

It's not just about the giveaways, mind you. There's also the opportunity to connect with thousands of fellow librarians…my peeps. You get to talk shop with associates hailing from around the 50 states, share ideas and notes, celebrate the happenings in your community. Furthermore, the platform provides us in the library world a venue to meet with authors and artists within the publishing world. With a host of panel discussions, programs, and classes, the only difficulty resides in trying to coordinate a schedule to attend as many presentations as possible. That being said, here are several of the forums I attended:

The Rise of Graphic Novels for Kids in Europe and the USA
European and American publishers and authors discussed the emergence of the format and its phenomenal rise internationally in the past decade. Amongst those headlining – Teresa Radice and Stefano Turconi, with their award-winning Globetrotting Viola, and Caldecott Award winner Vera Brosgol (Anya's Ghost).

YA Authors Dish about YA!
Authors from Blink, HarlequinTEEN, and Balzer + Bray explored some of the newest trends and topical issues facing Young Adult authors and books today. Panelists included: Jen Lancaster (The Gatekeepers), Angie Thomas (The Hate You Give), McCall Hoyle (The Thing with Feathers), Amanda Foody (Daughter of the Burning City), Alison Gervais (In 27 Days), and Gregory Scott Katsoulis (All Rights Reserved).

Tools of Engagement: Inspiring Younger Readers, and the Adults Who Guide Them
Laurie Arnold (Hello There, We've Been Waiting for You!) and Sally Sanford (Henry and the Huckleberries) examined how to use modern media and traditional tools to help librarians connect children to books appropriate for their reading levels.

WNDB Presents: Spooky Tales for Middle Grade Readers
We Need Diverse Books brought together middle grade authors for a dialog on folk tales and contemporary works. Through their stories, the aim is to show how dark narratives can be uplifting and teach readers to see themselves as the hero(ine). National Book Award winner Will Alexander was part of the roundtable.

Location, Location, Location: When Setting Becomes as Important as Character
Three 2017 Debut Middle Grade Authors reflected on the importance of setting in books for middle grade readers. They discussed how a fully developed setting shapes the story, helps readers relate to a variety of characters and themes, and brings books to life across a range of genres.

WORLDS and WORDS beyond: Gateways into Sci-Fi and Fantasy
Sara Ella (Unraveling) and Mary Weber (The Evaporation of Sofi Snow) explained why libraries are the perfect place to introduce fantasy and sci-fi to readers who have never tried the style. As library professionals, we're personally challenged in helping our patrons find new and exciting stories and authors.

Getting Kids Excited About STEM
Bestselling author Andrea Beaty talked about encouraging STEM for young readers with her collection of picture books Rosie Revere, Engineer and Iggy Peck, Architect. Gregory Mone discussed his new series, Jack and the Geniuses, which is co-authored by Bill Nye the Science Guy.
If you’re interested in hearing more about the conference, or have specific questions about the various expositions, drop me a line!

This musing brought to you by YA Librarian, Chris.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Book Review

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library
By Chris Grabenstein

Twelve-year-old Kyle Keeley is a whiz when it comes to board games; a handy skill to have in helping to level the playing field in competition with two older brothers. As Kyle is about to find out, it may also give him a leg up as a participant in the opening of the town's new public library. You see, the benefactor behind such a generous gift (five hundred million dollars) to Alexandriaville is none other than Mr. Luigi Lemoncello, world famous game designer. An eclectic gentleman, to say the least, his institution will be like none ever seen before.

Mr. Keeley, being one of a dozen lucky children selected to take part in the library's special, "Invitation only" extravaganza, finds his skills put to the test as the mysteries of the lock-in unfold. More than just a night of food and entertaining activities, enough to wet anyone's whistle, Mr. Lemoncello has secretly planned an offering for his young contestants. His proposition? Escape from the library, fame and glory await!

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library borrows from some of the fantastical themes that made Charlie and the Chocolate Factory so popular; from mannerisms and a wardrobe with unique flair, not to mention characters distinctly comparing the title character to Willy Wonka. Readers will no doubt connect and take a shine to one of the many personalities as the story unfolds. If you self-identify with Charles, raise your hand. On second thought, it might be best to lay low. While library aficionados will find comfort in a familiar setting (giving a personal head nod to that), it’s the puzzles that will appeal to an even wider audience. You might even find yourself competing with/against individuals for solutions (another approving head nod). Brief chapters provide for quick pacing in a near 300-page novel with plenty of laughs and intrigue to satisfy most audiences.

Would you like to play a game?

Rating: 4.1 out of 5

This review is brought to you courtesy of YA Librarian, Chris.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Rock the Vote

Teens’ Top Ten is a “teen choice” list where teens nominate and choose their favorite books of the previous year. Nominators are members of teen book groups in fifteen school and public libraries around the country. Fascinating side-note, at least to me, is that two of these members are representatives from Indiana – Peggy Vaniman of Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne and Hope Baugh of Carmel Clay Public Library in Carmel.

Nominations are posted on the Thursday of National Library Week (surely you recall when I dressed up as the ‘Man with the Yellow Hat’). Readers age 12 to 18 will vote online between Aug. 15 and Teen Read Week (Oct. 8-14) on the Teens’ Top Ten site.

(Click here to visit the site!)

The winners will be announced the week after Teen Read Week.

Make your vote count!

How many 2016 Teens’ Top Ten have you read? Answers welcome in the comments section.

1. Alive by Chandler Baker
2. All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
3. The Game of Love and Death by Martha Brockenbrough
4. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
5. Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
6. Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone
7. The Novice: Summoner: Book One by Taran Matharu
8. Illuminae by Amie Kaufman
9. When by Victoria Laurie
10. Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls by Lynn Weingarten

Monday, August 7, 2017

Getting to Know . . . Keely

Introducing another valuable member of our YA Volunter Team, Keely Miller! A 14-year-old freshman, Keely has volunteered 37.25 hours at the library since October 2016.

FAVORITE BOOK GENRES:  Realistic fiction
FAVORITE TV SHOWS:  Girl Meets World
AN INVENTION SHE WOULD UNINVENT:  The Dab or bottle flipping
ROLE MODEL: Her Grandma
INTERESTING FACT:  She is learning to speak French
FAVORITE QUOTE:  "Life is like a flower; we grow, we bloom, then wither away." ~ Keely Miller