Friday, April 29, 2011

Big News!

Remember when I posted about running on the ballot for the 2013 Printz Committee? Well, I got a call today that I was elected onto the committee!! I am thrilled beyond words and I can't wait to meet the other committee members and discuss YA.

I have to say a huge THANK YOU to all the readers, bloggers, and librarians who helped spread the word and who voted for me. I feel so loved and I'm so amazed at all the congrats that keeps pouring in-you guys are seriously making me blush!!

But wait...what does this mean for the blog?

As of right now, I don't know. I'll keep it going, I know that, but I think the amount of postings will go down come February 2012 when committee work starts. Most likely the amount of reviews will decrease as well, but I'm hoping to post more booklists, reader's advisory materials, program ideas, and Tween Tuesdays.

New Hunger Games Casting Rumor

Rumor is that Woody Harrelson, Stanley Tucci and Lenny Kravitz have been offered roles in The Hunger Games.

Woody Harrelson would play Seneca Crane but no word on the other two roles. My guess is that Stanley Tucci would be Cinna (which I think would be great!!) but maybe he's set for President Snow? And I'm not sure what role Lenny Kravitz could be filling-maybe he'll end up being Cinna? What are your thoughts/guesses?

Thursday, April 28, 2011

YA Movie News

-Exciting Hunger Games news this week! Elizabeth Banks was confirmed as Effie-I love her as Effie and I love that she tweeted her excitment to fans! District 3 & 4 got tributes this week as well. Entertainment Weekly has a great gallery of the cast so far.

-The other exciting news this week was the release of the latest Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows trailer for Part 2. It looks amazing!!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Judge A Book By It's Cover

We're all guilty of judging a book by it's cover. I can't help it-if the book cover is pretty and calls to me to pick it up (even better if it has a gorgeous dress on it!) then I want to read that book. I was browsing upcoming YA releases and came across some covers that in hardcover didn't catch my eye or seem interesting, but in paperback make me want to pick the book up right now and read it. Nothing has changed, it's the same story, same writing, but the cover markets to me in a different way and now I'm interested. So I'll admit to you my judging of books just by their new paperback covers!

First up: Legacy by Cayla Kluver

-This is the self-published cover. This cover is OK, but nothing special. It might make me pick up the book if I can't find anything else that catches my eye, but it doesn't really interest me.

Cayla Kluver has the same story has Christopher Paolini-young writer, parent self-publishes book, then it gets the attention of bigger publishers. Only in this case, the book has gotten two more publishers. Her first publisher was Amazon Encore.

-I remember when the book was published with this cover and I remember seeing it online. But this cover just looks so boring to me. It looks like a boring old book you'd be forced to read in school, so I passed on this one.

-Now the book is with a new publisher, HarperTeen, and they rescued the cover from boring and made it into something I want to read. (Remember what I said about pretty dresses equals love for me?) Same story, but this cover looks like something I would enjoy.

OK, this one is a bit of a cheat, because I've already read this book, but I love the paperback cover change and it would make me pick it up even more.

Revolver by Marcus Sedgwick

-Like I said, I read this one already, but I didn't pick it up because of the cover. I picked it up because it's a Printz Honor Book. The book is great and I think it would have appeal for readers who like survival stories, but this cover doesn't really tell me much and it's a bit blah.

-Love this new paperback cover! It lets me know it's historical, it looks dark and mysterious, and I want to know who that guy is on the cover.

Last, this is the most dramatic change. I've seen this book around my library, but I hate the cover and haven't had any interest in reading it. But the new paperback cover has changed my mind!

Folly by Marthe Jocelyn

-Ugh, this cover just does nothing for me! To me, this looks like a fantasy/fairy tale (not sure why) which is funny that it turns me off here because I typically like those stories. I think it looks dark and odd. In fact, it creeps me out a bit and does not make me want to read the book at all! Until I saw this:

-LOVE! This one made me immediately interested in the book. This cover lets me know it's set in a Victorian time period, which I love. I wanted to know more about it and read the summary and once I did, I wanted to read the book. Funny thing is, the summary hasn't changed and the story is the same, I just wasn't interested in the first cover to even read what it was about. (Bad reader and librarian, I know!)

I've admitted my judging of books by their cover. It's interesting how the same book can change from something I'm not interested in to something I want to read just by a cover change.

What books have changed covers that have made you change your mind?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Guest Post: Barbara Dee

photo credit: Randy Matusow

Please welcome Barbara Dee, author of Trauma Queen, to GreenBeanTeenQueen! I love her guest post about tweens and the library. This is exactly why I hope more libraries start to provide programs and books just for tweens!

Switching Rooms at the Library

When I was twelve years old, I ran out of books.

This was a big disaster for me, because I was the type of kid who lived at the public library. We had a pretty decent children’s collection—in fact, if I close my eyes right now, I can see where they shelved Harriet the Spy, A Wrinkle in Time, Pippi Longstocking, The Black Stallion, Beezus and Ramona, and all the Little House books. These books felt like my closest friends, and I read them all a gazillion times each.

Really, I loved everything about the Children’s Room—not just the books but the shaggy red rug and the oversized chairs and the smiling librarians. But one day, I realized I’d outgrown that cozy room. And that meant my only option was—gulp!—the grown-up section.

This was a major move. Back when I was twelve, we didn’t have a YA Room. YA wasn’t even a separate genre—either you were reading Harriet the Spy, or you were reading John le CarrĂ©.

So for a long time I wandered aimlessly around the Adult Room, which didn’t have a shaggy red rug and oversized chairs, and which had books that either scared me (Jaws) or didn’t interest me (The Winds of War) or just seemed embarrassingly romantic (anything by Georgette Heyer or Barbara Cartland).

For a kid who lived in the library, I was suddenly feeling homeless.

And then one day a librarian I didn’t know walked over and handed me a book. “Here,” she said. “Try this.” Then she walked away.

I stared at the book. It looked weird. A crazily-drawn horse on the cover, and a funny title. The Catcher in the Rye. Huh? What did that even mean? Why had she given me this book? Did she think this was the sort of thing I’d left the Children’s Room to read? Was she joking, or something?

Actually, she was right. I loved that book from the opening sentence. I didn’t get everything that happened in the plot, but I knew I was in the right section of the library.

Even so, it was a long time before I felt truly at home in that new section. Switching rooms in the library can be a long, tricky process, even now. Most public libraries have YA Rooms overflowing with wonderful books perfect for teens. But when you’re a tween—roughly defined as 9-13, although the definition is fuzzy—sometimes you aren’t ready for the darkest, edgiest YA stuff, and just browsing the YA shelves can feel uncomfortable. I remember when my own three kids hit this tricky period at the library, too old for the “babyish” Children’s Room (and for most books considered MG), but weirded out by the stuff in YA. That’s why I decided to write for tweens—to do what I could to bridge the sections.

At my wonderful local library, the YA Room has embraced tween fiction. And not just books for those awkward in-betweeners—our Head of Teen Services, Zahra Mirjehan Baird, has expanded the whole concept of library. We have Video Gaming competitions and knitting classes and test prep and anime film festivals. There’s even a big red sofa full of squishy embroidered pillows, where you can cuddle up with a great book and read all afternoon.

Very welcoming. Homey. Maybe I’ll go live there.

Thanks for sharing Barbara!

Want to win a Trauma Queen Prize Pack?

Three lucky winners will receive one copy of TRAUMA QUEEN by Barbara Dee along with a limited edition t-shirt! To enter, send an e-mail to In the body of the e-mail, include your name and e-mail address (if you're under 13, have a parent enter for you). One entry per person and prizes will only be shipped to US or Canadian addresses. Entries must be received by midnight (PDT) on 5/13/11. Winners will be selected in a random drawing on 5/14/11 and notified via email.

Barbara is a featured author on a new website called VYou. Readers can submit questions and chat with her! Just go to:

Barbara Dee's next stop on the tour is The OWL for YA at

Tween Tuesday: Trauma Queen by Barbara Dee

Tween Tuesday is a weekly mem hosted here at GreenBeanTeenQueen to highlight great reads for tweens!

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Genre: Contemporary/Humor

Release Date: 4/19/2011

Add to Goodreads

About the Book: Marigold has spent her whole life being embarassed by her mother. Sure, kids are always embarassed by their parents, but for Marigold, it's different. Her mother is a performance artist, which means she's always doing crazy things in public and on stage-embarassing things like wrapping herself in saran wrap. In fact, the last performance caused such a problem that Marigold is starting over at a new school yet again. She's trying to maintain her friendship with her BFF from her last school and make friends at her new one, but her mom isn't making it easy. Even worse, she's signed up to teach an improv class at Marigold's school! Now Marigold has to keep her mom away from her new friends and try to save herself from any more trauma.

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: Barbara Dee knows how to write for tweens. She has the middle grade mindset down perfectly! Marigold is easily embarassed by her mom-what tween couldn't relate? But take that times ten and you have Marigold's embarassment. Sure, we see that some of the stuff her mom does isn't bad and she's actually quite good at teaching improv, but Marigold refuses to see that. Like most tweens, she needs to discover for herself that her mom is fun instead of hearing it from her friends.

The story took a bit to get going since the first part of the book spends a lot of time giving us backstory on what made Marigold have to move again. The author does a great job balancing this backstory with what's currently happening. So while the story may take a bit to get to Marigold's mom teaching at school, it's never boring. It's also a quick read and one I'm sure tweens will devour.

I also love that Ms. Dee has a knack for writing fun, eccentric characters. Tweens are often so self concious about everything and it's great to see characters who have fun and make tweens think twice about caring what everyone around them thinks, what's popular, and what's fun.

There's a bit of a romance between Marigold and a boy at school and Marigold has to deal with a mean girl who thinks she runs everything. I love the way that Marigold learns to stand up for herself and I hope she gets other tweens to do the same. I was cheering for her!

Trauma Queen is a cute tween novel with some deeper issues. It would be a great mother daughter bookclub read, since a lot of the story is based on Marigold's relationship with her mom. If you need a good tween novel, check out Barbara Dee!

Book Pairings: This is Me From Now On by Barbara Dee, Surviving the Applewhites by Stephanie S. Tolan

Monday, April 25, 2011

Haymitch Rumors?

Rumors are circulating about John C. Reilly playing Haymitch in The Hunger Games movie. Although he was never anyone whose name I heard come up, I really like this pick and I think he would be great! I hope these rumors come true!! What do you think?

In other Hunger Games news, Paula Malcomson has been cast as Mrs. Everdeen. I think she looks like Jennifer Lawrence and I love when fake families in movies look like real families! (Maybe that's weird, but it's kind of a big deal to me-I hate when they don't really look like a family-anyone else??)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

YA Movie News

-YAY for new Harry Potter photos from Entertainment Weekly!! I think the one with Neville is my favorite.

-I love this article and interview with cast members of Harry Potter. I think Bonnie Wright's favorite moment is so sweet!

-Director Craig Gillespie is attached to Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Gillespie director Lars and the Real Girl, which I loved and I love the idea of a PP&Z movie! Thanks Shelf-Awareness for the news!

-Lots of Hunger Games news! Elizabeth Banks is in talks to play Effie, Willow Shields is cast as Prim, Jack Quaid and Leven Rambin are cast as Marvel and Glimmer, and Dayo Okeniyi and Amandla Stenberg as Thresh and Rue. I'm liking all these picks so far!

-HBO's Game of Thrones got picked up for a second season! This is more adult, but I know many YA librarians who love this series, so it's worth mentioning!

-Vampire Diaries star Nina Dobrev has joined the cast of The Perks of Being a Wallflower. The movie already stars Logan Lerman and Emma Watson.

The trailer for The Help was release this week. I still need to read this one!

Have more news? Let me know!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Prim is Cast!

The Hollywood Reporter reports that newcomer Willow Shields will play Prim in The Hunger Games movie. I'm really glad they're getting unknown actors as well and I think she looks like a great Prim! What do you think?

Divergent by Veronica Roth

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Genre: Dystopian

Release Date: 5/3/2011

Add to Goodreads

About the Book: In futuristic Chicago, the city has broken up into factions depending on value you hold most important. Are you selfless? Abnegation is for you. Value honesty about all else? Candor is your faction. Is bravery the most important thing? Dauntless is where you belong.

Sixteen-year-old Beatrice was born and raised in Abnegation, but she knows she can't stay. At the choosing ceremony, Beatrice decides to switch factions and become Dauntless. But becoming Dauntless won't be easy. The Dauntless will only accept ten new members into their faction and to become Dauntless, the initiates must compete and train in various skills.

Beatrice transforms herself into Tris and tries to excel at Dauntless training and decide who to trust. But Tris is hiding a secret from them all-one that could be dangerous to her and her new faction. As she uncovers a growing unrest among the factions, Tris must decide where her allegiances belong.

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: This book is getting a lot of marketing buzz behind it and is being touted as the "next Hunger Games." I've already shared my ARC with my teens and co-workers and they're raving about it, so I expect the hype to keep building! Divergent is similar to The Hunger Games without feeling like a carbon copy. Fans of The Hunger Games would be the first group I would give this book to. The story is different and unique and while it has flavors of other dystopian novels, Divergent is wholly its own story.

Tris is a great character and her world is an interesting take on the dystopian genre. Instead of it being the entire country or world, this dystopia focuses on one city. I did wonder what was going on in the rest of the country, so hopefully we get more answers in future books (because yes, this is a series). I found Tris to be gutsy as well as a bit soft and she balanced these two very well. She's never really a pushover yet she's never really a completely strong kick-butt girl either. She falls in between which gives her room to grow throughout the novel. I also liked that Tris showed a bit of a soft side, it made her more relatable to me.

The book is almost 500 pages long, yet it really is a quick read. I finished this in two days as the story was engaging enough to keep me reading. There were a few things that were a bit predictable and I would have liked there to be more that I can create theories on for future books, but I still had a lot of fun with it. Even though there were things I saw coming, there were others that I didn't which kept the book interesting and kept me up late reading. I do like surprises and twists when I read! I did think the author tried to squeeze just a bit too much in this book and I think some tighter editing could take place, but I'm hoping that's all because I read an ARC copy and the final book will be a tad tighter.

There's not just action and adventure, but there's a romance as well. Yes, I'm a sucker for romance, but I have to say I liked it. It wasn't love at first sight and the author took time to develop the characters and gave them a chance to like each other before the romance took off. Although this was one area that Tris bugged me a bit-she's a bit dense and I wanted to keep telling her that boy wasn't being mean, but liked her-it took her forever to see that!! I wanted to keep yelling at her, come on Tris, he likes you! But let me just say, thank goodness it's not a love triangle-thank you Ms. Roth!!!

I really enjoyed the world building and thought this dystopian Chicago was the perfect blend of creepy and crazy with a just hint of "oh my goodness, could this really happen?" which in my book makes for a great dystopian novel. Tris isn't the only character who gets to shine the supporting cast is well done. There's the right mix of characters you love, the ones you love to hate and the downright evil.

My only big gripe with the book is that the ending sort of fizzles out. It's not really a cliffhanger, but it still leaves lots of questions open for book two without answering much in this volume. The worst part is that I read this one early, so I really need book two now!

Divergent is definitely buzzworthy. If you're looking for the next big dystopian, add Divergent to your list!

Book Pairings: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi, Incarceron by Catherine Fisher

Full Disclosure: Reviewed from ARC from publisher I picked up at ALA

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Two More Tributes!

The District 1 Tributes have been chosen! Jack Quaid will play Marvel (yes he's Meg Ryan and Dennis Quaid's son!) and Leven Rambin will play Glimmer.

You can watch the casting come together with the tributes on The Hunger Games Movie Facebook page. One of my co-workers said the Facebook page unveiling of the tributes is creepy! It is a bit dramatic-what do you think of it?

Tween Tuesday: Lemonade: and Other Poems Squeezed From A Single Word by Bob Rackza

Tween Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted at GreenBeanTeenQueen to highlight great reads for tweens. It's poetry month and this week I've got a great poetry book for tweens!

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Genre: Poetry

Release Date: 3/15/2011

Add to Goodreads

About the Book: Poetry can be squeezed from one single word. Taking one word and rearranging the letters, Bob Raczka creates poems ranging from funny to serious in a fantastic poetry collection.

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: Lemonade has library program for tweens written all over it! I first heard about this book during a upcoming book release webcast and knew I had to get my hands on it. I'm a big fan of Raczka's book, Guyku, and I was intrigued with the idea of taking one word and creating a poem.

The poems are so creative and fun! I love the layout of the book which lets the reader see how the poems were made and what letters were used. On the next page, the actual poem appears. This would a be a great tween program and I plan on using it in the writer's workshop programs I run for tweens and teens.

Sometimes it is a bit of a stretch to make the poem make sense, but it's the creativity that really counts for me. I also thought the book was a bit short-I wanted more poems. I did really love it and I hope we get more Lemonade poems soon. Such a fun and creative poetry book!

While I loved several of the poems, I think Vacation is one of my favorite:

Bob Raczka, from Lemonade, 2011

Book Pairings: Guyku by Bob Rackza, Blue Lipstick by John Grandits, Won Ton by Lee Wardlaw-add all these together for a great poetry workshop!

Full Disclosure: Reviewed from copy I checked out from the public library

Monday, April 18, 2011

More Hunger Games News

More Hunger Games movie news! According to Variety, Elizabeth Banks is in talks to play Effie Trinket in The Hunger Games movie. I'd heard her name tossed around for Effie before and I think she could work. I also approve of her because she's a Hunger Games fan-yay! Check out her tweet about Mockingjay:
@ElizabethBanks "MOCKINGJAY!!! Clearing three days of my life to devour this book. 3rd in Hunger Games trilogy. Read these!"-Thanks MTV News for sharing celebrity tweets!

What do you think?

Hunger Games Thresh and Rue

The Hunger Games has cast Thresh and Rue! Dayo Okeniyi and Amandla Stenberg will play the tributes from District 11. What do you think of the casting? I think they look perfect!!

You can follow The Hunger Games facebook page for more casting updates and news-and of course I'll post news here as well!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Children’s Choice Book Awards

Children's Book Week is celebrated May 2-8 this year. Children's Book Week is a national celebration of books and reading for youth. As part of Children's Book Week, there's a Children's Choice Book Award. The award is given by children and teens of all ages. Readers can vote at their school, library, bookstore or even online at Book Week Online. The deadline for voting is April 29th, so get your votes in soon!

This year's Teen Finalists are:

Burned (House of Night, Book 7) by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast (St. Martin’s Griffin/Macmillan)

Fang (A Maximum Ride Novel) by James Patterson (Little, Brown)

Mockingjay (The Final Book of The Hunger Games)by Suzanne Collins (Scholastic Press)

Spirit Bound (Vampire Academy, Book 5)by Richelle Mead (Razorbill/Penguin)

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan (Dutton/Penguin)

To celebrate Children's Book Week, I have a set of the teen finalists to give away to one lucky reader!

-Contest open to 13+
-Ends April 29th at midnight CT
-US Addresses only (no P.O. Boxes)

To Enter:

Leave a comment telling me which book in the teen finals you would vote for. I'll post the winner of the GreenBeanTeenQueen poll when I announce the winner.

Good luck-and get ready to celebrate Children's Book Week!

Friday, April 15, 2011

YA Movie News

-Happy Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One DVD Release Day! You can guess what I’m going after work tonight!:)

-More news on the film version of The Last Apprentice. The movie is titled The Seventh Son. According to Cynopsis Kids, Sam Calflin and Alicia Vikander are in talks to play the lead roles Tom and Alice.

-The Moral Instruments Star, Lily Collins, talks about her ideal Jace in this interview with MTV. Hopefully casting will happen soon!

-I LOVE this interview with Gary Ross and Suzanne Collins about The Hunger Games movie! Be sure to read it! I can’t wait for the movie.

-Want to be an extra in The Hunger Games movie and are in driving distance of NC? has all the details!

-EarlyWord reports that Anne McCaffrey's Dragon Riders of Pern is being scripted for a live action film.

-Kiersten White announced this week that a director, Scott Winant, is attached to the Paranormalcy movie. I'm keeping my fingers crossed this one gets made!!

-I noticed that my holds went up on Bethany Hamilton's biography, Soul Surfer, since the movie released. Anyone else have a hold list for this one now?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Guest Post: Jackie Morse Kessler

Photo Credit: Michelle Rowen

Please welcome Jackie Morse Kessler to GreenBeanTeenQueen! Jackie is the author of Hunger and the recently released companion novel Rage. Both books are part of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse Series.

Jackie has a post about libraries and storytelling which I love. I'm currently taking a storytelling class, so her post really made me smile. I hope you love it!

A Love Of Stories
By Jackie Morse Kessler

When I was in elementary school, the Internet was decades away. If you said “google” to anyone, they’d probably think you were saying something dirty or maybe that you meant a “googolplex.” Back then, the library wasn’t about computers or other media. (Sadly, it also wasn’t about comic books, one of my true loves.) It was all about books, and a fabulous librarian to help you find the things you didn’t even realize you were looking for.

My librarian was amazing. When I’d get lost in the aisles (because there were so many terrific stories to steal my attention), she’d fish me out. When I needed help doing research for my Big Humongous Paper in fifth grade, she helped me figure out what sort of books I would find useful. She was the official guardian/chaperone/keep them from killing each other grown up on site when the student council met (I was the fourth grade president and the sixth grade co-president). And every year, the librarian was in charge of the schoolwide storytelling contest.

Man, I loved that contest! Speaking in public gets me horribly nervous, but storytelling? That rocked, even when I was a kid. I loved retelling fairy tales (in the third grade, I was all about Sleeping Beauty), and by the fifth grade I was all about the Brothers Grimm (“Clever Gretel” for me that year). The school year revolved around when it was time to pick a story and start preparing for the contest. I did so well with my “Clever Gretel” rendition that the librarian asked me to tell the story in front of a sixth grade class. (That was a very Big Deal to me. I was both proud and terrified!)

While my dad helped foster my love of reading, it’s safe to say that my school librarian helped spark my love of telling stories. I’m so very grateful to her. And, in retrospect, it’s probably a good thing that she didn’t have any comic books in the library, because then I never would have left. :)

Thanks for sharing Jackie! Don't forget to visit Jackie's next stop at The Neverending Shelf.

Rage by Jackie Morse Kessler

Rating: 3/5 Stars

Genre: Contemporary with a touch of Fantasy

Release Date: 4/8/11

Add to Goodreads

About the Book: Missy didn't mean to cut. But after a bad school party and torment from her ex-boyfriend, Missy seeks comfort in the blade. Then Death shows up and grants Missy a sword and claims she is now a Horseman of the Apocalypse, more specifically, War. As War, Missy has a larger blade that can cut down anyone in her path. Through it all Missy learns the one thing that's been missing: control.

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: Rage is part of Jackie Morse Kessler's Horsemen of the Apocalypse series, which are very inventive books that tackle very serious issues.

When I first read the premise of the books, I wasn't sure how they would work, but the author manages to pull off a story that takes an issue that needs to be discussed and handles it in deft way. She's never preachy and the story is never perfect with a happy ending. Even with it's bent of fantasy with the Horsemen, the characters ring true.

Missy not only struggles with cutting, but she's being bullied at school. There's not a perfect solution and there's no easy way out, but there is hope. I think teens will appreciate that honesty.

I liked Rage because we get to see the character of Death more than we did in Hunger. I really like Death and in many ways he reminds me of Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer-snarky and funny but also a bit sensitive. While Missy's story might not resonate with every reader, I do think it's an important book and I really like the way the author tackles tough subjects in a creative way. She also adds a dark sense of humor so the book never feels heavy and issue driven-there are some lighter moments as well.

I'm looking forward to see if we get any more novels about the Horsemen!

There's a giveaway to go along with the books!

Riders of the Apocalypse giveaway! Three lucky winners will receive one copy each of HUNGER and RAGE along with postcards and a mini-poster! To enter, send an e-mail to In the body of the e-mail, include your name and e-mail address (if you're under 13, submit a parent's name and e-mail address). One entry per person and prizes will only be shipped to US or Canadian addresses. Entries must be received by midnight (PDT) on 4/30/11. Winners will be selected in a random drawing on 5/1/11 and notified via email.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

National Library Week: Why I Do What I Do

It's National Library Week-have you visted your library yet?

I wanted to share a guest post I wrote last year in honor of National Library Week. I still think it's one of the best things I ever wrote as a guest post and I hope it captures why I do what I do as a librarian.

If you met me today, especially in the library, you would probably not believe me when I said that I used to be painfully and awkwardly shy. I walk up to strangers in the library, talk to people every day, and I’m very energetic and outgoing. But as a kid, I couldn’t bring myself to talk to people. I talked to my family, but that was about it. I was actually loud and outgoing at home, but get me in public and there was no way I was going to say anything. I remember having to psych myself up before I approached kids in my class just to say hi.

So I read a lot as a child. I am very lucky to have grown up in a home of booklovers and my parents took me on weekly (sometimes daily) library trips. I would come home with my arms full of books and I would read. I even played library and would check out my books to my stuffed animals.

Books helped me so much during those years. My imagination grew with the help of Anne Shirley. I saved pigs with Fern, lived in a little house with Laura, and ran away to the Metropolitan Museum of Art with Claudia and Jamie. Meg Murray helped me see that I could be shy and have a temper, but I could also be strong-and Calvin liked her, so maybe someday a boy would like me!

All I ever wanted when I visited the library was for a librarian to say “oh, that’s a great book!” or “have you read this one”-but I was way too shy to ask. I remember how important books were to me growing up and how I wanted to find other readers. That’s one reason I love working in the library now-I’m surrounded by readers every day! I also remember how hard it was for me to ask for help, so I make sure I say hi to every teen that walks into my department. Some teens want suggestions, some are fine browsing on their own. But letting them know I’m there and that I love to talk books is what makes my job so great. I love when teens tell me about books they’ve been reading and I can tell them about books I’ve read. I love finding books for readers and matching them with the perfect book. I love sharing books so much, that I have to stop myself from asking everyone I see with a book even outside the library what they’re reading!

There is no better question to ask a librarian than “can you recommend a good book” so celebrate National Library Week by visiting your library and talking about good books. And maybe you’ll come across a shy reader who just wanted to know someone else loved books as much as they do.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Happy Birthday Beverly Cleary

Happy Birthday Beverly Cleary! Today is Ms. Cleary's 95th birthday and it's also D.E.A.R. Day (Drop Everything And Read). I remember reading the Ramona books as a kid, checking out each book from the library, and laughing along with all of Ramona's adventures. Then after I read the books, I checked out the TV series from the 80's starring Sara Polley as Ramona-anyone else remember this?? (I was a child of the 80's so it didn't look dated to me, it just looked cool!:)

I loved Ramona and her sister Beezus and they were some of my favorite books I read growing up. And it wasn't just Ramona. I adored Ralph S. Mouse and his motorcycle! And I read all about Henry Huggins (who doesn't love Henry?)

What I love most about Beverly Cleary's books though are that they really do have a timeless feel to them. I read them when they were considered "outdated" but I didn't care. I could relate to Ramona and she was so funny and spunky that I didn't care what time period her adventures took place. Working in the library now, I still recommend Beverly Cleary's books and come across young readers who are fans of those books.

Happy Birthday Ms. Cleary and thank you for writing some of my favorite children's books!

Tween Tuesday: Win a Skype Visit with Middle Grade Authors

Tween Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted here at GreenBeanTeenQueen to highlight great reads for tweens. There's a fantastic middle grade author blog called From the Mixed Up Files....of Middle Grade Authors. This month, the authors are taking off on a Skype Tour Contest. It's such a fantastic idea, I had to share all the details!!

A group of noted middle-grade authors hits the virtual highway this month as the huge Mixed-Up Middle-Grade Skype Tour begins cruising through cyberspace. Destination… maybe a town near you!

Every month for the next year, classrooms, book clubs and groups will have the chance to win a free, 45-minute Skype visit with a noted middle-grade author simply by entering at From the Mixed-Up Files…of Middle-Grade Authors, a group blog of middle-grade writers.

“As far as we know there’s never been another SKYPE tour with so many authors, so many potential destinations, and so many WINNERS!” says tour organizer Tami Lewis Brown.

The contest works like this: each season a group of five or more authors will set off in the Mixed-Up Middle-Grade Skype Tour Bus. You’ll have about a month to enter your class, club, or group to win a Skype visit from one of that season’s authors, along with a copy of their book, and more. For every retweet and/or Facebook reposting, you’ll get another entry. To increase your class or group’s chances, invite other adults- parents, teachers, or group members to leave comments at Each entry must be made in a separate comment. At the end of the month, a winner will be drawn for each Skype author visit. You’ll have six months from that date to schedule and conduct the visit. Authors and winners are paired randomly--you don’t enter to win a visit from a particular author. The winning entry will also receive a copy of the author’s book.

The first group of authors to hit the virtual highway will be: Sydney Salter (JUNGLE CROSSING), Bobbie Pyron (A DOG’S WAY HOME), Tom Angleberger (THE STRANGE CASE OF ORIGAMI YODA), Kate Messner (SUGAR AND ICE), Beverly Patt (BEST FRIENDS, FOREVER) and Hillary Homzie (THE HOT LIST). Entries open on the blog on April 6.

Later drawings will feature the fabulous: Kathy Erskine (MOCKINGBIRD), Tricia Springstubb (WHAT HAPPENED ON FOX STREET), Sarah Aronson (BEYOND LUCKY), Uma Krishnaswami (THE GRAND PLAN TO FIX EVERYTHING), Jennifer Nielsen (ELLIOTT AND THE GOBLIN WAR), Erin Moulton (FLUTTER), Rosanne Parry (SECOND FIDDLE), Tami Lewis Brown (THE MAP OF ME), Wendy Shang (THE GREAT WALL OF LUCY WU), Kimberly Little (THE HEALING SPELL), Sheela Chari (VANISHED), Sayantani DasGupta (THE DEMON SLAYERS AND OTHER STORIES), Katherine Schlick Noe (SOMETHING TO HOLD), and Jen Blom (POSSUM SUMMER).

The tour is sponsored by the From the Mixed-Up Files...of Middle-Grade Authors, a group blog of middle-grade authors celebrating books for middle-grade readers. For anyone with a passion for children’s literature—teachers, librarians, parents, kids, writers, industry professionals— the blog offers regularly updated book lists organized by unique categories, author interviews, market news, and a behind-the-scenes look at the making of a children's book from writing to publishing to promoting.

The promotion will last a full year, kicking off in April 2011. “We’re excited about drawing winners every month,” says Brown. “We plan to load the winners up with as much author swag as possible. And of course an unbelievable encounter with a celebrated author that will boost excitement about reading and writing.”

So cool, right? I couldn't keep the news all to myself! So check out the blog and enter to win a Skype visit with one of these fantastic authors. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for my library!:)

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Odyssey by Gareth Hinds

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Genre: Graphic Novel/Historical/Mythology

Release Date: 10/12/2010

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About the Book: Homer's epic poem about Odysseus trying to return home after the Trojan War transferred into a graphic novel format.

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: I had to seek this one out and read it after The Odyssey knocked out my pick One Crazy Summer in SLJ's Battle of the Kids Books. I mean, how could something beat out my pick, One Crazy Summer?? I had to know!

It's an impressive undertaking to transfer this poem into a graphic novel format. Some might think because it's a graphic novel it would be easier to read, which isn't the case at all. It's still a very dense book with a lot of detail and a lot of story. It's also not toned down at all for young readers. I think it's easy to say, oh this is The Odyssey, so we can hand this over to Percy Jackson fans! But this is not the lighthearted, funny story of Percy. This is The Odyssey, complete with gore, fighting, blood, backstabbing, sex, betrayal, and death. Sure, some fans will enjoy it, but it's not an easy read and though both stories deal with Greek Mythology, they are very different.

For the most part I enjoyed the graphic novel, although the ending where there was blood all over the palace and suitors speared everywhere was a bit gross. (Like I said, it is very gory and I'm a chicken when it comes to gore!!) But the way the author kept true to the story and almost brought it to life through the illustrations is quite impressive. He also had to pare down the text so it would fit within the confines the graphic novel panels. I don't think he lost the meaning or the beauty of the poem and the art and text work together well to tell the whole story.

I do think it would be interesting to use this version in the classroom so readers can have a visual element to go along with the text. I think a lot of readers would respond to the story even more if they had both. An excellent graphic novel and a fantastic version of a classic story, Gareth Hinds version of The Odyssey is worth checking out.

I have to add my side tangent about The Odyssey. I always get annoyed at Odysseus. He goes off and cheats on Penelope with various goddesses, because you know, he was under a spell and all, and Penelope stays and home and fights off the advances of many suitors-for 17 years. Doesn't really seem all that fair if you ask me! But hey, the book is still good, even with my gripes!:)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Revolver by Marcus Sedgwick

Rating: 4/5 Stars
Genre: Historical/Suspense/Mystery

Release Date: 7/16/2009

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About the Book: It's 1910 and Einar and his family are living in a small cabin in the Arctic Circle. Sig has just discovered that his fathers sled fell through the ice when trying to cross. Now Sig waits alone in the cabin with his fathers corpse, waiting for help to arrive. A stranger appears at the door, demanding that Sig give him his share the gold Einar had stolen from him. Sig knows nothing of the gold and must find a way to escape the strange man and save himself.

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: In my attempt to read all the award books this year, I picked up Revolver. I don't know if I would have picked it up if it wasn't for the Printz Honor, so I'm grateful for the award for forcing me to read it!

I really enjoyed Revolver and I think readers who like suspense and mystery stories will love this one. I also think teens who enjoy survival stories will be drawn into this story. It's historical, but not so historical that teens who aren't fans of historical fiction are turned off by the historical setting. I think if you sell it as a suspenseful mystery and survival story, you'll have teens picking this one up.

The book is told in present time and in flashbacks. We know what's happening presently with Sig as he's trapped in the cabin with the strange, Wolff. We also get a storyline of what happened leading up to this point. We learn how Einar and his family came to their cabin, about Einar's job working with the gold miners, his mother's love for the Bible and his father's respect for a gun. All of this adds up to a compelling mystery.

The chapters are short which make this a fast read and there's enough suspense that this should be an easy sell to reluctant readers. I'm adding it to my list of books to recommend when a teen says they hate reading-it has a lot that will hook readers.

I think what I enjoyed most about the book is the authors look at how there isn't an easy way out. Often choices aren't just godo or bad, but a third option is there- you just have to look for. This theme runs throughout the book and I think it's what made me really like the book overall.

Audiobook Note: I did listen to this one on audio and I have to say that while I liked the narrator, it never felt like a historical novel to me. The narrators voice just felt too modern. I don't know if this was just the voice or the actual text of the book though that felt more modern. And I don't know what a "historical voice" would be exactly, just that the narrator didn't quite fit for me. He wasn't bad, just not my fit for this book.

Book Pairings: Gary Paulsen and Will Hobbs survival stories

Full Disclosure: Reviewed from audiobook I purchased from Audible

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

To Rate or Not To Rate??

UPDATE: WOW! Thanks for the comments everyone! I know the rating discussion gets talked about every now and then, but I wanted to post about it because I love posts that generate discussion. I also love hearing that a lot of people really like ratings-makes me feel better!:) I think I'm going to work on a larger rating system (plot, characters, etc) so that will be in the works. And thanks again-you guys made my day! This is one of the reasosn I love blogging-I love reading everyone's thoughts!:)

There's been some discussion about book ratings recently which has gotten me thinking about book ratings on my blog. Currently I rate books on a 1-5 star scale and I put this information at the top of my reviews. I like to be able to give people a snapshot look at what I thought of the book, and if they're interested, then they can read the entire review.

But maybe this just encourages my readers to be lazy. They don't have to read a review, instead they can just look at the rating and move on. I would like to think that people would still be interested if they're interested in the book and read the review as well, but I know that's not always the case. That's not always the case for me. Sometimes I'm just too busy to read everything and my feed reader is too full and there's just no way I can read every review I have listed.

For me, a rating system helps me see what the general census of a book is, even if I can't read the reviews. Honestly, most of the time I do end up reading the reviews-via blogs, Goodreads, Amazon, etc. But I like having that snapshot view of the reviewers thoughts. And any book review site such as Goodreads, Amazon, LibraryThing, etc. you are going to end up rating books anyway, even if you don't rate them on your blog.

It's really, really hard to rate books though. I've often given half stars and even
.75 stars because it's hard to get just the right rating. I've seen comments that ratings are dependant on the reviewers mood, but I have to argue that reviews are the same way. If the book wasn't the right fit for me, or I wasn't in the right mood when I read it, won't that play into my review, rating or no rating? To me, a rating reflects my overall review of the book. At the same time, I can see how ratings might turn off readers. What if they see I gave two stars to a book they loved? Yet, if they read my review and discover I didn't like the book when they loved it, wouldn't that turn them off as well, with or without a rating attached?

So I'm stuck. Do I join the no ratings club and start reviewing books without my star ratings attached? Or do I stick with it and continue to rate my reviews as is? What do you think of book ratings on blogs? Stay or Go Away?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Tween Tuesday: Captain Nobody by Dean Pitchford

Tween Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted here at GreenBeanTeenQueen to highlight great reads for tweens. Join the fun and add your link below.

Rating: 3/5 Stars

Genre: Contemporary

Release Date: 7/9/2009

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About the Book: Newt Newman is overlooked at school and lives in the shadow of his big brother Chris, the football star. At the big game, Chris is knocked into a coma. To keep his mind of his brother, Newt's friends encourage him to find his "inner other" for their Halloween costumes. Newt throws something together and discovers Captain Nobody, defender of the little guy. Soon Captain Nobody is saving the day. Can he also save his brother?

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: Captain Nobody is on the 2011-2012 Mark Twain list (our state reading list) and I think readers will love having a funny book on the list!

When I first picked this book up, I thought it was more a silly superhero story. At first I was a bit confused how the storylines worked together. I don't know if they really flowed together all that well, but it works and I think kids will love the humor.

While Newt is a great character and I liked Captain Nobody, for me the supporting characters were my favorites. JJ and Cecil are hilarious! Maybe they just stood out to me more because I listened to the book on audio and the voices the author uses to bring these characters to life is so much fun. JJ is obsessed with fantasy, she's an avid reader, and she's very smart. She also is very strict about grammar and the fact that signs are written incorrectly really bugs her. I loved Cecil. He's the motivator and very excitable. He's like an exuberant preacher always shouting about the next big thing.

Newt's story is a bit far fetched and his adventures too easily solved, but Captain Nobody is still a fun read. It's great for readers looking for adventure and humor.

Monday, April 4, 2011

We Have Peeta and Gale!!

Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth have been cast as Peeta and Gale. They have the opposite hair colors than the characters in the book, but I think they both look good. (And I can overlook the hair color thing-not sure how Josh would look as a blonde...)

So what do you think? Do you like Peeta and Gale? Thanks to Entertainment Weekly for the news!

The Big Crunch by Pete Hautman

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Genre: Contemporary

Release Date: 1/1/11

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About the Book: When June and Wes first meet, Wes thinks June looks like a fish girl. June thinks Wes is weird. June starts to date Wes's friend Jerry, but she's not really interested in him. June and Wes start to spend time together and they realize that a romance might be developing. But then June's Dad gets another new job and they have to move. Will June and Wes stay together and can first love really last?

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: Thank you Pete Hautman for writing a fantastic look at contemporary romance and first love! No vampires, no love triangles, no major family drama or issue driven plots. This is just a contemporary love story about meeting someone, falling in love, falling out of love, and wondering where it all leads.

Pete Hautman evokes the feelings of first love so perfectly. How at first June and Wes aren't sure about each other, then they want to spend time together, then they can't live with out each other. The ups and downs of teen relationships are played out throughout the course of the year that the book takes place. It's not a fairy tale and it's not a perfect romance, but it's realistic.

I've seen it compared to When Harry Met Sally and in some ways I can see that. The book advertises itself as a book that's not a romance yet is romantic and I think that describes it perfectly. This isn't a love at first sight with lots of swooning and sweeping romance. Instead this is a romantic story about two teens who eventually collide into each other's lives and figuring out what exactly they mean to each and how to make their relationship work.

I would have liked a few more things fleshed out a bit more, like Wes and June's relationship first taking off which seemed a bit sudden to me. And after they're together awhile, they're debating on if and when they should have sex, but that seemed a little out of place because it's mentioned here and there and then forgotten. But maybe that adds a more realistic feel to it because they don't have everything figured out and they are navigating things together. It's not tied up in a pretty bow either, which I really enjoyed.

Overall it's a great read and great for anyone looking for a break from the paranormal romances and instead looking for a good romantic story.

Book Pairings: The Unwritten Rule by Elizabeth Scott, An Abundance of Katherines by John Green, Forever by Judy Blume

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Contest Winners

Here are the winners of the contests that recently closed at GreenBeanTeenQueen.

Clarity Winners:
Rachel Leigh
Heidi Mark

Blogversary Winner:
Michelle Grogan

Congrats to the winners!

Friday, April 1, 2011

YA Movie News

What do you think of the new Harry Potter poster? I love it and I can't wait for the movie!!

-Did you see that Diary of a Wimpy Kid beat Sucker Punch at the box office last weekend?
Such craziness but I guess that shows Wimpy Kid's popularity!

-Summit picked up the rights to Alyson Noel's Immortals and Riley Bloom Series. Thanks to Publishers Weekly for the news.

-Photos from Breaking Dawn's Honeymoon scene were leaked yesterday, but they had to be taken down. But maybe this means we're close to an early preview?

-Jennifer Garner is supposedly set to start in a Miss Marple update, making Miss Marple a much younger character. I don't know why we keep having to reinvent things and make them younger! Thanks to MTV for the news.

-Another what was Hollywood thinking moment-check out this trailer for Mr. Popper's Penguins. They just couldn't stick to the book!!

-The Three Musketeers is coming to theaters in October and it's going to be in 3D. The movie looks good,but I don't know that it needs a 3D version.
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