Wednesday, January 28, 2015

My ALA 2015 Awards Predictions

So I'm going to try my best to share my predictions and we'll see how close I can get (probably not close at all!) Here are my predictions (and hopes!) for Monday morning:

Caldecott Prediction:
Winner:



I wish I had come across this one when I was making my Mock Caldecott list because it would have made our final list for sure. If I was on the committee, this is one I would be championing for-the texture, the use of words in the art, the collage style-it's all fantastic.

Honor Books:

I think this may be a strong year for honor books and we may end up with quite a few depending on how the committee discussion and voting shakes down. 


I think this wordless book will be getting some love.


The detail! It's gotta count for something!

Caldecott Dark Horse:

I have two possible dark horses this year:


I've only recently been seeing Flashlight crop on other Mock lists. When this one came across my desk, myself and all of my staff immediately said Caldecott! I hope we're right!


Photography never does well in award discussions, but if any book can do it, I think Viva Frida can!

Newbery Prediction
Winner:


No surprise there-I think Brown Girl Dreaming is a shoe-in for the top title.

Honor Books:


Maybe it's just because I adored this book and am attached to it personally, but I really would love to see Snicker get honored!


It would be great to see a book featuring an average kid and the writing here is above average!


Fantasy for the win please! I think Glass Sentence has fantastic world building that could help this one in the final push for an honor.

Newbery Dark Horse:


Please, please, please can a graphic novel win this year???


Last year showed us that beginning chapter books have a chance and if any early chapter book has a shot, I think Dory Fantasmagory can lend itself to some fantastic discussion. I would love to hear critical discussion about this one!

Printz Prediction
Winner:

This one is tough because I think it's a close call between two books, but I think in the end it will be Grasshopper Jungle.


Honor Books: 


I think Glory O'Brien's History of the Future is the other book that could end up winning and it's a close call, but I think one will be the winner and one will be an honor book. I would love to see both with shiny stickers on them!


Andrew Smith is a powerhouse writer and I think he can pull of an epic Printz Win and Honor this year!



If we see any non-fiction honored this year by the Printz committee, I think it will the Romanovs. 

Printz Dark Horse:

I had a hard time thinking of a Printz Dark Horse just because I think the contenders are so strong this year. But if I had to pick one, I think would go with:



What are your predictions this year? Anything I left out?

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Mocking the Night Away: Mock Awards Results

This year my library hosted our first ever Mock Newbery! We hosted it just for staff, but I think it would be great to host one with our patrons someday as well. 

We had a shortlist of six titles that we read and discussed. After much discussion and voting, we came up with our winner and two honor books:



Winner: 
Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

Our group was impressed by the lyrical writing of Brown Girl Dreaming and how each poem stood alone but also contributed to the larger story. There were also comments on the characterization, which is very well drawn out. Even when we are introduced to a character with very little detail and background, we still felt that we knew them.

Honor Books: 
A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd
West of the Moon by Margi Preus 

The group again loved the well developed characters in A Snicker of Magic. There was lots of discussion about the wonderful wordplay and excellent world building and setting. Our readers also loved that Jonah was a character with a disability without it being part of his character or defining him-he was just Jonah. There were many passionate readers who had a lot of support for this novel. 

I have to say I was a bit surprised at the overwhelming love and support for West of the Moon from our group! I thought it would be one people didn't enjoy as much, but we had several members in our group who were very passionate about this one. They pointed out the world building and unique folklore style as high points of the novel. The author's note and factual information listed in the back were also a plus for our readers. 

On Saturday we hosted our third annual Mock Caldecott program. This discussion is open to patrons and we had a group of 15 eager readers ready to discuss! The age range of our group was from age 5-adult and the kid's comments were some of the best! We started with ten on our shortlist and came up with a winner and three honor books:

It was a tough choice and we had a great discussion, but our ultimate winner was:



Winner: 
Have You Seen My Dragon by Steve Light

The group pointed out the unique style and how the book had a lot of great detail without feeling too overwhelmed by the pictures. The full page spreads worked well. One of our younger readers pointed out how only the items that were being counted were in color, which made the book unique and stand out. The group also mentioned how the artwork in this book worked far away and close up which was a plus. They were impressed by the artistic style in ink.


Honor Books: 
Flashlight by Lizi Boyd
Have You Heard the Nesting Bird by Rita Gray, illustrated by Kenard Park
Firefly July by Paul B. Janeczko, illustrated by Melissa Sweet 

The group loved the interplay between light and dark in Flashlight and appreciated the cutouts on each page. One of my favorite comments was from our five-year-old member who did point out that animals can't hold flashlights and that part wasn't real. 

In Have You Heard the Nesting Bird, the group mentioned the nature feel of each page and that while the artistic style had been done before, it appeared fresh and new with this book. There were full page spreads that you could get lost in and would love to have prints of. One of our teen members mentioned how some of the pages had too much white space which made it a bit distracting, which was something I hadn't thought about before when I looked at this book!

And our final honor book, Firefly July was chosen for the unique style and the way the art evoked the various seasons.

One of my favorite comments of the day was when one of our younger members, age 8, mentioned that her favorite from the shortlist was Grandfather Gandhi because of the use of fabric. I think she's a future committee member in the making!

I love our Mock Award programs and they are something I look forward to every year! I love hearing all of the great comments and thinking and discussing books in a new way. 

We can't wait to  find out what wins!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Blog Tour: The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski PLUS Giveaway



About the Book: (From Goodreads)-Winning what you want may cost you everything you love 

As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions. 

One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin. 

But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined. 

Set in a richly imagined new world, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is a story of deadly games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: As an avid reader and librarian who has a constantly huge TBR pile, it takes a lot for me to get into a series and want to read a sequel and keep a series on my radar. And oh my goodness, let me tell you that The Winner's Curse is a book that I am keeping on my radar and eagerly awaiting the next book in the series and I can't wait to keep going!

There are so many things to like about The Winner's Curse. First off, I really love Kestrel. She's a strong female character and I love seeing strong women in YA, especially young women who really come into their own and learn to stand up for themselves over the course of the book. She doesn't swoon for boys or need a guy to save her. Kestrel is uncovering the veiled world she's lived in and questioning what she has always thought she knew and her journey there is fantastic to read. 

Arin might be a bit on the broody side, but he's a strong character as well. I LOVE that there was not a love triangle in this book-thank you Ms. Rutkoski!!! Kestrel and Arin are both having to uncover long held truths and put aside prejudices they have about each other and this aspect of the novel is especially well written and developed. I really liked the interplay between them as they go from mistrust to an uneasy trust to a possible relationship that has too many barriers in its way. It's intriguing and makes the novel especially appealing.

The world building is also fantastic. It's hard to classify this book exactly-it's a bit fantasy, a bit historical, a bit dystopian, a bit romance, a bit adventure, a bit mystery, and a bit political intrigue. There really is something for everyone. And while there is a romantic plot line, it is not so central to the story that non-romance readers would be turned off from it. 

I actually listened to this book on audio and I really enjoyed the various accents the narrator used throughout. It made the characters even more realistic and I thought it created even more intrigue. With a big surprise cliffhanger for the ending, readers will be eagerly anticipating the sequel!

Full Disclosure: Reviewed from audiobook checked out from my local library

The ‘Winner’s Curse’ is an economics term that means you’ve gotten what you wanted – but at too high a price.  What would you pay too much for?

As part of The Winner's Curse blog tour, participants have been asked what they would pay too much for. That is such a hard question! 

My first answer when I saw this question was books-ha! I know Mr. GreenBeanSexyMan would say that's the truth! But I can't help it-I love books. And while I don't think I would spend thousands of dollars (or more) for a signed copy or a limited edition (I'm not that much of a collector), I do think in my own way I spend too much for books at times. 

It's always a risk-taking a chance on a book that you may or may not like. If it turns out to be something you don't like, did you pay too much for it? Or what if you purchase a book and you don't ever end up reading it? And then it takes up room on your shelf (shelf space is valuable!!) and you keep telling yourself you promise you'll read it this year, but then another year passes and you still haven't read it? Was the price too high then? And like I tell my readers at the library all the time, life is too short to read bad books. It takes time to read-precious time out of your already busy day, so you want to make the most of it and read something that you will enjoy reading. You don't want it to be a chore. And if it becomes a chore, than it's not enjoyable anymore and you've paid too much by loosing your enjoyment of reading.

Maybe that's silly to think of books in that way. But with as much time as I spend thinking, researching, reading, talking, and writing about books, books make up a significant part of my life! I want to get what I paid for! Maybe that's why I should just stick to library books!

GIVEAWAY
Want to win a copy of The Winner's Curse? Enter the giveaway below!
-One entry per person
-US  address only
-ages 13+
-One entry per person
-Contest ends January 30


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Save Me by Jenny Elliott Giveaway



About the Book: Something strange is going on in the tiny coastal town of Liberty, Oregon. Cara has never seen a whale swim close enough for her to touch it—let alone knock her into the freezing water. Fortunately, cute newcomer David is there to save her, and the rescue leads to a bond deeper than Cara ever imagined.

So when she learns David’s interning as a teacher at her school, Cara is devastated. She turns to her best friend for support, but Rachel has changed. She’s suddenly into witchcraft & is becoming dangerously obsessed with her new boyfriend.
Cara has lost her best friend, discovered her soul mate is off limits, and has attracted the attention of a stalker. But she’s not completely alone. Her mysterious, gorgeous new friend Garren is there to support her. But is Garren possibly too perfect?


Swoon Reads is the perfect new imprint from Macmillan for romance readers. There are romances for every kind of reader and Save Me is a mash up of several different paranormal tropes. Mysterious new guys, strange small town happenings, and Readers who love paranormal, romance, and suspense are sure to fall in love with Save Me.  Want to read it? Enter to win a copy!

-Open to US Addresses only
-Ages 13+
-Contest Ends January 24
-Fill out form to enter




Follow the Tour:


Jenny Elliott is a lifelong resident of Washington State and lives in Spokane with her husband and four kids. Writing fiction is her favorite method for avoiding insanity. Other avoidance techniques include reading, playing Scrabble, and browsing social media sites. Save Me is her first novel. Follow her on Twitter at @jennykelliott.

Swoon Reads is the crowd-sourced teen romance imprint founded by Jean Feiwel and published under Feiwel and Friends, a division of Macmillan. Swoon Reads is a community where members are included in every step of the publishing process, from acquiring manuscripts to choosing cover directions. To find out more and discover the best in swoon-worthy novels visit SwoonReads.com or follow us on Twitter at @SwoonReads.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

The Life of a Committee Member

Me at the 2013 Youth Media Awards Announcement 

I'm about to start another major award committee year. I can't wait to get started and I'm eager to meet my fellow committee members, share and talk books with them! Being on a committee is a lot of work and it's a huge undertaking! Here's what it's like being on a book award committee:

-June-July (about a year and a half before your actual term starts if you are to be elected): Find out that you have been asked to be on the ballot for a committee term in the upcoming ALA elections! Squeal loudly to your husband about this. Do not tell anyone else as this is top secret news. 

-July-Mid-October-wait anxiously for more news. 

-Mid-October-Finally hear more details about the election and learn that it is now on the ALA site so you can announce your news and tell friends you'd love if they voted for you!

-End October-November-Submit ballot information to ALA so you can have a cool bio on the election page. Fret of what to say and ask best library friends for lots of advice and editing help. They're awesome and cheer you on.

-December-March-Another long waiting game.

-End of March-ALA election! Cross fingers and hope people pick you.

-April-More waiting.

-Early May-Election results are in! Friends say congrats on Facebook and you do a happy dance when you get the official phone call. Your library director screams in excitement and immediately tweets your news and your manager gives you a big hug and shares your excitement. Husband is excited but dreading the shifting of the bookshelves yet again and the amount of books coming. Small baby smiles and has no idea how many books will be read to him next year.

-May-July-Hear from committee chair and look up the others who were elected and friend them on Facebook, Twitter, etc. Start making connections with your fellow committee members. If you are appointed, this is about the time you would find out and the entire committee is formed.

-July-December-Read committee manual and start getting books from the suggested reading list to help you prepare. Read books on children's literature and evaluating children's literature. For Caldecott, there are also a lot of books on evaluating art and using art in picture books.

-December-Organize bookshelves and rearrange books and shelves to make room for committee books. Come up with a shelf system for "to read", "read", and "read again" books.

-January-Start making a list of books you want to take a look at. Look through publisher catalogs, look at Goodreads, anticipated book lists on blogs. Read review journals and check out reviews. While books will be sent to the committee for consideration, you can still put things on hold at the library and browse bookstore shelves for more ideas. Attend ALA Midwinter and have first in person meeting with fellow committee members and go over committee work and get to know each other. Squeal a lot in excitement!

-February-June-Read, read, read! More list making, review reading, and seeking out books. Lots of notetaking!

-June-Attend ALA Annual and attend committee meetings. Practice discussing titles that have been read so far, but no official nominations are in yet. This is more of a prep meeting for your big meeting in January and also to catch up with each other since your reading has been done in a vacuum up to this point.

-July-December-Read, read, and read some more! More notetaking, review reading and list making. More reorganizing of shelves and piling of books everywhere. Lots of saying no to hanging out with friends because you have to read. Typically nominations/suggestions are due from committee members in rounds with Caldecott and Newbery, but with Printz nominations/suggestions were open year round. Throughout this time you'll be getting emails from your chair with the nominations/suggestions from other committee members so you can prioritize your reading and know what you need to take an in depth look at for your January meeting. You should have a final list of all titles to be discussed by end of December-early January depending when the Midwinter meeting is. 

-January-Mad rush to the finish line! Read, read, read, and notetaking like crazy! You need to be ready to defend the titles you feel strongly about and point out what makes them award worthy. What are the pros and cons? What works in this book that makes it stand out? What doesn't work in this book? Attend ALA Midwinter and spend three days sequestered in a room with your fellow committee members discussing and discussing and discussing and voting and voting and voting on the titles on the table. Sometimes it might be an easy discussion about a title and sometimes not. Sometimes you have to vote several times to get a winner and sometimes not. But at the end of it all you'll feel exhausted and exhilarated! On the Monday morning of the conference you'll wake up early and call your winners which is incredibly exciting (and honestly might make you cry!) Then you'll sit in the awards announcement and hope that everyone else is excited about your choices as you are. Then sit back and relax and celebrate your hard work!

-February-May-Relax! Take a reading break. Don't read anything in the genre or age group that you were reading in or don't read at all! That's OK! 

-June-Attend ALA Annual and celebrate with your winning authors and publishers and committee members. Attend the awards banquet or reception and cheer for your authors and feel a major sense of accomplishment in all your hard work. Celebrate with family and thank them for their support in your year of epic reading!

 It's a ton of work but also so very worth it! It's also made me a better librarian when it comes to evaluating materials for children and teens and reviewing books. 

Have you served on a committee? Anything else to add? What was your year like?


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Tune In Tuesday

It's the first Tuesday of the month, which means it's time for Tune In Tuesday. Tune In Tuesday where I share (and invite others to share) some of their favorite music to use in storytime and library programs-or just for fun!

This month's featured artist: Koo Koo Kangaroo! Really, this just goes to show that I should listen to the other youth services staff at our other branches when they suggest music. Our library has hosted Koo Koo Kangaroo in concert twice, but I sadly missed the shows both times. Then Ingrid at Magpie Librarian posted her toddler dance party playlist and it had an awesome song from Koo Koo Kangaroo and I just knew I had to include them in my upcoming dance party too!

I used Dinosaur Stomp:




I love that there's even a video you can share with dance moves if you wanted. I might do that in storytime sometime, but I didn't set up the video for the dance party. I just used the moves and got the kids dancing, stomping and chomping. I thought maybe it would be a bit long for my younger kids, but they loved it and had a blast stomping around. And all that stomping and chomping is a workout! This song would also pair well with Laurie Berkner's We Are the Dinosaurs for a dinosaur theme.

I also really love Wiggle It which is another great one to use with little kids and older kids alike!


Friday, January 2, 2015

Resolve to Rock in 2015


Storytime Underground has encouraged everyone to share their professional goals for 2015 and resolve to rock the year! Here are my professional goals for 2015 and how I hope to rock this year:

1. Create monthly stats and stories reports for my manager, administration, my staff and myself. Stats are gold in the library world. And stats and stories are a powerful way to communicate what we see every day in the library. I know the impact youth services in the library has on our community. I hear the feedback from our patrons. But how often do I share that with staff, managers, and administration? My goal is to create short reports highlighting something the youth services department did each month to share.

2. Time management professionally and personally. I'm entering into a committee year, which means tons of reading in my personal time. I also blog and review for review journals in addition to my job and my family and social life. I want to really focus on making sure I have good time management skills to balance everything I do and work on finding a balance between what I do for work and what I do for me.

3. Keep up! I am notorious for having stacks of review journals on my desk and a backlog in my feedreader. This goes along with time management I guess, but I want to take time to read the review journals, keep up with the blogs I read, and keep up with the various organizations I'm involved in. This also ties into my fourth goal:

4. Being OK with taking off desk time. I've gotten better at this in the last few months, but as a manager it's hard to take off desk time. I have so many things I need to do, the desk needs to be covered, I have patrons to help, I have to set up or plan a program, make the schedule, schedule outreach and special events, attend meetings, talk to staff, and so much more! I have a hard time consistently taking time off desk to work on these things and it's something I need to get better at doing.

5. Cover the YA desk once a week. This has been my goal since I became youth services manager three years ago and I finally have staff in place where I can make this happen. We have a separate YA and Children's department location, even though we're all together in one service and department umbrella. I want to continue to make sure we blend together as youth services and part of that for me is making sure I stay in touch with the YA department and the teens and spend time there once a week covering the desk. It also means we have more YA desk coverage and the department staffed more often.

What are you goals for rocking 2015?



 
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