Monday, November 27, 2017

From the Patron Mailbox

A patron query recently came my way in regards to a previous blog submission. This past August, YALSA called upon the teenage masses to 'Rock the Vote' and let their collective voices be heard. A host of titles were nominated, with readers given a two-month window to select a Top 10. No easy task, mind you, considering the level of regard and honor each possess. Of the noteworthy finishers in 2016:
- Alive by Chandler Baker
- All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
- The Game of Love and Death by Martha Brockenbrough
- Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
- Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
- Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone
- The Novice: Summoner: Book One by Taran Matharu
- Illuminae by Amie Kaufman
- When by Victoria Laurie
- Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls by Lynn Weingarten

Patron writes:
"Chris, which of these have a good story line, interesting characters, a decent ending and no death, depression, suicide, space fantasy, bullying? Which adult books would you recommend for teens that have good story lines, interesting characters, etc? I have two almost 14-year-old granddaughters and two almost 12 year olds, also girls."

My first thought on how to respond? Gracious. The parameters by which to work with is much more narrow than the general readers advisory solicitations we tackle at the reference desk. While daunting, it didn't diminish my enthusiasm for discovering the appropriate works to meet her criteria. Before launching in to my own research, however, I decided to seek out wisdom from fellow peers in the industry in order to gain a variety of perspectives.

Melissa (Adult Department Assistant – BPL):
“Sadly, of the books on this particular list, I’ve not read them. And it will be a challenge to fit all the criteria into my recommendations. I can give you some suggestions, though, of books I’d be happy to give my granddaughters around that age.
"For 12 year olds, my all-time favorite would be Anne of Green Gables. The first few Anne books are great choices for 12-year-old girls. Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson is also a very good choice, although I do believe there’s a death in it. A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder. All of these are less contemporary, I know, but they’re what I would want mine to read. Also, my 12-year-old still loves Nancy Drew!
"For 14-year-old girls, it starts getting more complicated. They’re more mature, harder to please, and want to read what their friends are reading. Here are some ideas: The River of Time Series by Lisa T. Bergren, starting with Waterfall. This is a time travel love story written by a Christian author. It does have some violence, battles in it, so probably not totally free of death. The Legacy series by Cayla Kluver, starting with Legacy. A fairytale/princess/love story written by a young lady at the age of 16. It does have some battle/death in it, but otherwise age appropriate.
"Also, I know bullying is on your list, but I really recommend the book Wonder by R.J. Palacio. It’s a great anti-bullying read. With the accompanying movie (released November 17th), the kids are all interested in it. Just something to ponder.”

Brenda (Children’s Librarian – BPL):
Once Upon a Marigold trilogy by Jean Ferris. Pennyroyal Academy by M.A. Larson. Boston Jane by Jennifer L. Holm.”

Lori (Teen Librarian – MCPL):
“I have enjoyed Nicola Yoon’s books – Everything, Everything and The Sun is Also a Star. I can’t keep them on the shelves, and both teens and adults enjoyed them.”

“Thank you, thank you, all. Birthdays are coming up and you have given me some great ideas.”

Patron’s adult daughter added:
“My kids read Wonder as a class. (Daughter) enjoys biographies and historical fiction. (Other daughter) enjoys anything but the older classic types.”

Back to me:
Whew! A lot to absorb, right? And you probably thought all librarians do is shush noisy children and wear funny glasses. Okay, I do qualify for both of those stereotypes, but there is so much more that we regularly undertake. Case in point, trying to meet patron requests in the best fashion possible. 

Without stepping on the toes of my colleagues, and expanding too much further on an already expansive blog entry, let me add a few thoughts to the original patron query.

I wholeheartedly second Melissa’s validation of Palacio’s Wonder. It’s the book my BHS Functional Skills class selected for weekly read-alouds. To quote Dr. Wayne W. Dyer, “When given the choice between being right and being kind, choose kind.” Themes of bravery, standing up for oneself, attitude, and judgment, provide important familial ‘dinner table’ conversations. 

Other selections I would add for those in the pre to mid-teen range:

The Mysterious Benedict Society* by Trenton Lee Stewart
After passing a series of mind-bending tests, four children are selected for a secret mission that requires them to go undercover at the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened. *New York Times bestselling series

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. *New York Times bestseller, Mark Twain Award winner

Echoing Lori, Nicola Yoon is one of the most dynamic authors currently on the YA scene (her book signing at ALA featured the longest of lines). The Sun is Also a Star is, in fact, a 2017 Michael L. Printz ‘Honor Book’ for its literary merit.

In finality, I’ll bring this week’s blog to a close with one of the premiere web resources for youth material. As always, though, we’d love to see you at the reference desk to find the treasures to meet your needs!

This mailbag entry brought to you by YA Librarian, Chris and a host of friends.

Monday, November 20, 2017

There's an App for That!

A joke is making the rounds these days that says if you’re looking for someone, start by first checking behind their phone. Yes, it seems as if we (and I’ll include myself) are continually wired in to our devices. From perusing email, texts, news developments, the latest Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat postings, and gaming. Whether we’re monitoring how many steps traversed in an hour or are anxiously anticipating a picture of what good old Uncle Saul cooked for dinner, it’s obvious we don’t want to miss a thing (there might be an Aerosmith song in there somewhere).

Now don’t start fretting here. This isn’t an ‘old codger’ segment about how we’re sacrificing the world going by in favor of a technological addiction. That’ll be a debate for next week’s blog…kidding! So go ahead and keep playing Clash of Clans, listening to Pandora, and streaming Netflix. For this submission, however, I’ll be taking a look at an app that you just might find rather helpful and educational (ahh, not the dreaded ‘e’ word!).

YALSA’s Teen Book Finder is a free online database with a target audience of teens, parents, librarians, and teachers - essentially anyone who loves Young Adult literature. And the kicker? The platform provides unprecedented access to nearly 4,000 titles! 

-        In addition to a ‘simple search’ for browsing, users will be made aware of selections honored each year by the Young Adult Library Services Association. Items can be located by title, author, genre, type of award, and book list.

-        A ‘Find It’ button, powered by OCLC WorldCat, which shows users where to track down the material in a nearby library.

-        A ‘Favorites’ button, for the creation of individualized booklists.

-        The ability to pass along recommendations through various social media platforms.

-        Seeking suggestions on reading material? Teen Book Finder has you covered there, too. Three ‘Hot Picks’ are featured daily on the homepage.
So why delay? Download the app today!

This musing brought to you by YA Librarian, Chris.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Book Review

TERRA by Tracy Korn

Jazz and the other first year cadets have escaped Gaia Sur only to become lost in caverns under the ocean floor. As the search begins for Fraya and Vox, it’s learned that aside from not being alone in the myriad of tunnels, a dangerous new world exists. This includes unexpected allies and treacherous terrain which must be crossed in order to continue their quest. Time, unfortunately, is a commodity that cannot be wasted; otherwise risking peril and being stuck in the caverns forever.

I started the first book, AQUA, and ended up binge reading through both novels, only coming up for air long enough to watch the video trailers on The Elements website:

While I enjoyed AQUA, TERRA turned me into an Elements Series addict. I loved the characters, tone, futuristic techie slang, and (yes, ladies) there’s even a love triangle. I had this instinct like the whole TERRA world was an old friend. At some point, it dawned on me that the tale reminded me of Jules Verne’s Journey to the Center of the Earth, with a more modern tone. Jules would undoubtedly approve and I’m really looking forward to reading book #3 in the series, AER. Those who like YA, world building, Sci-Fi, or dystopian should try out these selections by up-and-coming author Tracy Korn.

Rating: 4 out of 5

This book review brought to you by Adult Department Assistant, Melissa.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Getting to Know ... Davenna

Introducing another valuable member of our YA Volunter Team, Davenna Clark! An 11-year-old sixth grader, Davenna has accumulated 29 volunteer hours since September 2016. She hopes to one day be a model or possibly a Broadway star.

FAVORITE TV SHOWS:  Girl Meets World
AN INVENTION SHE WOULD UNINVENT:  Select words such as "savage"
ROLE MODEL: Mrs. Graverson
HAPPY PLACE: The beach
INTERESTING FACT:  She loves exploring anything and everything.
FAVORITE QUOTE: "Gravity is not responsible for people falling in love."

Friday, November 3, 2017

Movie Quote Answers

Here are the answers to this week’s blog posting! How well did you do in matching each quote with the correct movie?

1. "I look like Stevie Nicks."
               a. It's Kind of a Funny Story
               b. Beastly
               c. Freaky Friday
               d. Mrs. Doubtfire

2. "You have to get lost before you find yourself."
               a. Everything, Everything
               b. Bridge to Terabithia
               c. Twilight
               d. Paper Towns

3. "Some people show off their beauty because they want the world to see it. Others try to hide their beauty because they want the world to see something else."
               a. Aquamarine
               b. How I Live Now
               c. The Perks of Being a Wallflower
               d. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

4. "There's a new world, mama. It ain't all dark, and it ain't all light, and it ain't all ours."
               a. The Hunger Games
               b. Beautiful Creatures
               c. If I Stay
               d. Before I Fall

5. "Careful, old man, only my voice is gentle."
               a. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
               b. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
               c. Eragon
               d. Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events

6. "Having a luck dragon with you is the only way to go on a quest."
               a. The NeverEnding Story
               b. Eragon
               c. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
               d. How to Train Your Dragon

7. "They say when you meet the love of your life, time stops, and that's true. What they don't tell you is that when it starts again, it moves extra fast to catch up."
               a. The Fault in Our Stars
               b. Big Fish
               c. Tuck Everlasting
               d. A Walk to Remember

8. "I'm afraid so. You're entirely bonkers. But I'll tell you a secret. All the best people are."
               a. Alice in Wonderland
               b. The Outsiders
               c. Despicable Me
               d. Coraline

This quiz brought to you by YA Librarian, Chris.